Monday, August 15, 2016

Hillarium Cynicism (Dwarfing Hillary) - Forget About It!  (Rigged System Not to Be Acknowledged) Clinton Enables GOP? (Perkins Coie Wikileaked: DNC Death Mystery Deepens (Or Not))  Big Banks/Insurance Send Scary Signals  (The Obama Jig Testimony)  Hillary/Obama Branding Lets Wall Street Walk

Yes, this argument has been made here since, what? . . . seems like forever. (I've got a crush on this guy. He's soooo much smarter than the average bear.)

With Trump Certain to Lose, You Can Forget About a Progressive Clinton

Lies. Lies. And more lies?

Not from Corey Robin:

I’ve been saying that one of the problems with the “Trump is like no Republican we’ve ever seen before” line is that it prevents us from consigning the Republican Party to the oblivion it deserves. In making Trump sui generis, by insisting that he is an utter novelty, you allow the rest of the party to distance themselves from him, to make him extreme and themselves respectable, and to regroup after November.

Now a leaked email from DNC Communication Director Luis Miranda, which I stumbled across in Carl Beijer’s excellent discussion here, makes plain just how costly this strategy is. Writing back in May, Miranda protests that the Clinton campaign wants to separate Trump from the GOP so that it can point to all the Republican officials who oppose Trump and support her. But as Miranda points out, what’s good for Clinton is bad for down-ballot Democrats. So long as down-ballot Republicans distance themselves from Trump, he says, Clinton is willing to give them an out, thereby hurting their Democratic opponents. (And as Carl points out, Clinton is keeping a lot of the money her organization raised for down-ballot Democrats, doubly hurting them.)

Not only is this bad for down-ballot Democrats. It lets the entire Republican Party—all the decades of its rotten, racist, revanchist formations—off the hook. Clinton gets to say she has the support of mainstream, respectable Republicans; they get to say, if not I’m with her, then at least I’m not with him. And with that, a ticket to legitimacy.
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The Really Gross Domestic Product of the Image Nation

This is When the Jobs “Recovery” Goes KABOOM

Bill And Hillary Clinton Made A Quarter Billion Dollars Since Leaving The White House, Mostly From Speeches

So they're just like us - except not actually suffering from the continuing recovery Depression.

But don't worry.

There is no way the system is rigged.

This longest of election cycles has rightly been called the Year of the Outsider. It was a year that saw a mighty surge of economic populism and patriotism, a year when a 74-year-old Socialist senator set primaries ablaze with mammoth crowds that dwarfed those of Hillary Clinton. It was the year that a non-politician, Donald Trump, swept Republican primaries... But if it ends with a Clintonite restoration and a ratification of the same old Beltway policies, would that not suggest there is something fraudulent about American democracy, something rotten in the state?

And no one has mentioned Denmark.


Welcome to the USA! USA! USA!

Don't forget to duck.

* * * * *
My mentor at BLCKDGRD has saved me the trouble of trying to summarize the OBombrdDrumpfdHillarity and it's a solemn moment so, please, give proper pause:

” All of these men are among the most bloodthirsty elements in the right-wing firmament.

But now they’ve been re-branded as “center-right foreign policy voices.” Also ▼

  • I'm tempted to think Hillary Clinton's sole consideration in everyfuckingthing is that she wants to be president, fuck everyfucking thing else:  There is plenty more to say about how Clinton and her surrogates have taken this election as their opportunity to attack leftist activists, positions, and priorities, but her campaign's relationship with down-ballot candidates is the clearest indication of how she will wield power. Given the opportunity to win back the House and Senate, overcome Republican obstruction, and advance an agenda - not just a leftist or progressive agenda, but an agenda of any kind - Clinton has chosen instead of consolidate her power and maintain the political status quo. She is not only leaving down-ballot candidates to fend for themselves, but is actually placing them in a weaker position by refusing to nationalize this election and turn every Congressional race into a referendum on Trump.

  • In the past I would highlight the hands of the oligarchs at work here:  you must have a Yankees to play the Red Sox in a legendary rivalry to keep the league profitably, unassailably afloat. It's still true, and I need remind myself that beyond my (not even fun anymore) contempt for Hillary, the Hillarium, and motherfucking Hillaryites, Triskelions demand the status quo and no one - since it's to her direct benefit in her myopic determination to be POTUS, dammit - can ensure it more cynically than Hillary Clinton.

  • Limits on drone warfare? Reminder:  Obama's a Triskelion fuck too.

  • When candidate's surrogates call for assassinations.

  • UPDATE! Yes, ▲ as Landru points out in comments is from 2010, does anyone doubt the sentiment has changed? That they would if they could? But yes, I should have acknowledged the Hillarium Official's real call for extrajudicial murder was not recent, as in, contemporaneously counter to Trump's not-call for Hillary's execution.

  • And you thought James Bond was from Scotland. According to the MSM, he's Russian (or something else very very evil).

    Death of Shawn Lucas Brings Attention to DNC Role of Prestigious Law Firm

    . . . . After the lawsuit was filed, Wikileaks released almost 20,000 emails that had been hacked at the DNC by an unknown party. The emails buttressed the allegations in the lawsuit and created so much media notoriety against the DNC that Wasserman Schultz stepped down as Chair along with three other DNC executives whose emails were leaked. Multiple emails also show lawyers at Perkins Coie engaging in strategy that appears to benefit Clinton over Sanders.
    . . . As of this writing, the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner for Washington, D.C. is not releasing the cause of death for Shawn Lucas. Prior to his death, Lucas had gained social media attention through a video released of the service of process. In the video, Lucas compares the serving of this lawsuit to his “birthday and Christmas” all rolled into one. He happily calls out to the DNC representative who eventually accepts the complaint, “Thank you so much, we’ll see you in court.” That video has now been viewed over 380,000 times.
    Perkins Coie has both revenues and reputation at risk in this matter. According to its web site, it has “more than 1,000 lawyers in 19 offices across the United States.” According to the legal web site, Chambers, “its client roster now reads like a who’s who of social media and technology companies.” Chambers lists three of the largest market cap companies in America as its clients — Amazon, Facebook and Microsoft – and notes that Boeing has been its client for a century. (Perkins Coie is headquartered in Seattle where Boeing was founded.)
    What has to be equally distressing to a powerful law firm is that the Chair of its Political Law practice, Marc Elias, has been implicated in the leaked emails from Wikileaks and is turning up in the pages of the Washington Post, owned by billionaire Jeff Bezos, the CEO of its client, Amazon.
    . . . In a 2014 article at Politico, titled “The man behind the political cash grab,” reporter Ken Vogel explains just how lucrative it has been for Perkins Coie over the years to be the legal-go-to-guys for the Democratic power base in Washington. Vogel writes:
    “Perkins Coie’s political law practice, anchored by Elias and former White House Counsel Bob Bauer, has something of a stranglehold on the Democratic Party’s election law business, representing not only the party committees themselves but everyone from [Harry] Reid (whose various committees have paid $317,000 in legal fees to Perkins Coie over the years) to Obama ($7.4 million) to the major Democratic super PACs ($19 million).”
    The thrust of the article, however, is that Elias played a central role in further opening the spigots for legal revenues his firm might be expected to collect in the future by tinkering with Federal legislation at the eleventh hour. Vogel writes:
    “A powerful Democratic lawyer helped craft a provision that was slipped into a year-end spending bill allowing political parties to raise huge new pools of cash — including some for legal fees that are likely going to be collected by his own firm…
    “The change has the potential to halt or at least slow the erosion of power of the political parties, since it would increase the maximum amount of cash that rich donors may give to the national Democratic and Republican party committees each year from $97,400 to $777,600 or more.”
    As "Wall Street On Parade" has regularly reminded our readers, this is not an election to be viewed as a spectator or taken casually — not if you care about the future of your country and the dreams and hopes of the next generation.

    The Cynicism of Hillary

    By Craig Murray, former British ambassador to Uzbekistan and Rector (i.e. president) of the University of Dundee.
    Hillary Clinton’s completely unfounded claim that Russia was behind the passing to WikiLeaks of Democratic National Committee documents was breathtakingly cynical. It was a successful ploy in that it gave her supporters, particularly those dominating mainstream media, something else to focus on other than the fact that the DNC had been busily fixing the primaries for Hillary.
    It was however grossly irresponsible – an accusation that a US Secretary of State would hesitate to make in public even at the height of the Cold War. It raises further the tensions between the World’s two largest nuclear armed powers, and plays into the mood of rampant Russophobia which we are seeing whipped up daily in the press. With the Ukraine and Syria as points of major tension, to throw such an accusation wildly in defence of her own political ambitions, shows precisely why Hillary should never be US President.
    This is all the more true as not only did Hillary have no evidence of Russian involvement, she almost certainly knows the allegation is completely baseless.
    Which brings me to the curious murder of Seth Rich, the DNC staffer killed by an armed street robber who left Rich’s gun, watch, cash and wallet. WikiLeaks have offered an award of US $20,000 for information on his assassination. This does not indicate that it was Rich who leaked the emails. It does indicate that WikiLeaks are aware of profound shenanigans involving the Hillary campaign, and are putting effort and resources into piecing together the picture.

    Big Banks and Big Insurers Send Scary Signals

    By Pam Martens and Russ Martens
    August 11, 2016
    There’s something big and scary going on behind the scenes but, as usual, the public isn’t reading about it on the front pages of the newspapers.
    Yesterday, the broad stock market, as measured by the Standard and Poor’s 500 Index, declined a modest 0.29 percent while big Wall Street banks like Citigroup and JPMorgan Chase fell by triple that amount. Bank of America, which bought the big retail brokerage firm, Merrill Lynch, in the midst of the 2008 crash, fell by 8.6 times the rate of the decline in the S&P to give up 2.50 percent.

    Equally noteworthy, two major insurers, MetLife and Prudential Financial, saw percentage market losses far in excess of the S&P. MetLife declined by 2.74 percent while Prudential Financial lost 1.68 percent. Prudential Financial has been named a Systemically Important Financial Institution (SIFI) by the Financial Stability Oversight Council. MetLife had received the same designation but won a court battle to rescind the designation. The U.S. government is appealing.

    The vote of no confidence on down market days in the complex U.S. banks that hold both insured deposits from Mom and Pop savers while also making huge derivative gambles is a repeat of the action we saw earlier this year. On February 3, 2016, four big Wall Street banks (Bank of America, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley) set 12-month lows in intraday trading – far outpacing the declines in the broader market index as measured by the S&P 500. The banks have recovered some since then but are nowhere near setting record highs as the broader market indices have of late.

    These mega banks should be a barometer of the overall health of the stock market and the U.S. economy. After all, these are the banks that are making corporate loans, underwriting corporate stock and bond issues, and doling out credit to consumers. If the mega banks are experiencing air pockets of buying interest in declining markets, this does not bode well for either the market or the U.S. economy.
    The price performance of MetLife should also be a red flag that perhaps the Financial Stability Oversight Council got it right when it designated the firm a SIFI.

    There is at least one potential concern that is contaminating market perception of the stability of these banks. That’s the fact that despite all of the promises that the Dodd-Frank financial reform legislation would rein in the Wild West derivative trading at these banks, no such thing has happened.
    Dodd-Frank was supposed to push the derivatives out of the commercial banks which hold the insured deposits to prevent another taxpayer bailout, the so-called “push out” rule. But in December of 2014, Citigroup was able to sneak legislation into the must-pass spending bill to keep the government running that overturned the push-out rule. The Congressman who placed the provision into the spending bill on behalf of Citigroup was Kevin Yoder of Kansas. The non-partisan Center for Responsive Politics shows  “Securities and Investment” as the number one industry contributing to Yoder’s campaign committee and leadership PAC.

    Using its insured bank’s balance sheet as ballast, Citigroup’s bank holding company now ranks as the largest holder of all derivatives in the U.S. According to the Comptroller of the Currency, the very bank that blew itself up in 2008 and received the largest taxpayer bailout in history, now holds $55 trillion in notional amount of derivatives.

    But far more alarming is the type of derivatives Citigroup appears hell bent on gaining market share in trading. Last week we reported that Citigroup is plowing into credit default swaps, the very derivatives that blew up the big insurance company, AIG, in 2008 and forced a government bailout of AIG to the tune of $185 billion. We noted on August 4: 

    “According to the data, Citigroup now has $2.08 trillion in Credit Derivatives (the vast majority of which are Credit Default Swaps). Only JPMorgan is bigger with $3.1 trillion in credit derivatives. Equally frightening, the vast majority of these are private contracts between financial institutions (Over-the-Counter) where regulators lack the granular details of the deals. President Obama falsely promised the American people that derivatives would be moved onto exchanges with proper capital and transparency following the Dodd-Frank financial reform legislation in 2010. That has not happened. The vast majority of all derivatives are still traded in the dark.

    “Not only are Citigroup’s Federal regulators allowing it to engage in this high risk trading but they are actually allowing Citigroup to purchase the high risk positions of a deeply troubled bank – Deutsche Bank. Risk Magazine reports… that Citigroup bought $250 billion of Credit Default Swaps from Deutsche Bank in 2013. Bloomberg News also reported on the $250 billion Citigroup purchase from Deutsche Bank.”

    The ink was barely dry on our article when the very next day, Bloomberg News reporters Jeff Voegeli and Donal Griffin wrote that Citigroup had “purchased a portfolio of credit-default swaps from retreating rival Credit Suisse Group AG” which had a notional value (face amount) of $380 billion.

    To many rational minds, $250 billion here, $380 billion there, pretty soon you’re talking about real money – and real potential for blowups like those seen in 2008.

    On March 8 of this year, the Office of Financial Research, which was created under the Dodd-Frank legislation to monitor the buildup of systemic financial risks, released a study on Credit Default Swaps. Its findings were deeply troubling.

    The report effectively suggested that the Federal Reserve was conducting its stress tests all wrong. The researchers noted that the Fed’s stress test is looking at only the bank holding company’s “direct counterparty concentrations” for credit default swaps rather than the indirect fallout. The authors found that “indirect effects can be as much as nine times larger than the direct impact” on the bank holding company, and ignoring that reality “could understate the stress on banks.”

    That study may have sent a shot across the bow of the Fed, alerting it to nip in the bud any cascading effect from loss of confidence in the European banks that are holding credit default swaps. Both European banks that sold Citigroup their credit default swaps (Deutsche Bank and Credit Suisse) have seen their share price implode over the past 12 months. Deutsche Bank’s stock has lost 56 percent of its value over the past 12 months while Credit Suisse is down by 58 percent based on mid morning trading.

    But if the Fed is attempting to ring fence credit default swaps by allowing Citigroup to be the buyer of last resort, that has the potential to spread panic not contain it. Citi is, after all, the bank that brought us this mess by muscling through the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act.

    Have you taken a close look at Michael Bloomberg's actions lately?

    Below is the testimony of Pam Martens to the Federal Reserve on June 26, 1998, imploring it not to repeal the Glass-Steagall Act and usher in an era where Wall Street banks like Citigroup could own both insured deposits at its commercial bank as well as engage in high risk trading at its investment bank.

    According to Forbes, during Michael Bloomberg’s 12-year stint as Mayor, his wealth exploded more than ten-fold, from $3 billion to $31 billion. The bulk of Bloomberg’s wealth has derived from leasing his Bloomberg data and news terminals at a cost of approximately $24,000 per terminal per year to tens of thousands of Wall Street trading desks and global banks around the world.

    The Mayor’s wealth and where it comes from is a reality that poses an inherent conflict of interest for any news outlet but it is especially so for a news organization like Bloomberg News that is supposed to be investigating the very Wall Street firms that write checks to pay for their Bloomberg terminals.

    While the Mayor was running the City of New York, maintaining a hands-off approach to the Bloomberg newsroom, investigative reporters there regularly distinguished themselves. Two blockbuster stories came out of that era that greatly advanced the public interest thanks to the courageous reporting of Bloomberg reporters.

    Mark Pittman was one of those reporters. His stonewalled Freedom of Information Act requests to the Federal Reserve led to Bloomberg News filing and winning a Federal Court case against the Fed. The Fed was forced to turn over documents showing that it had secretly funneled a cumulative $13 trillion in below-market-rate loans to Wall Street banks and foreign banks during the financial crisis. Pittman died at age 52 in 2009. (A Bloomberg News story carried in the Washington Post at the time of his death reported that “He had heart ailments, although the cause of death was not immediately clear.”)

    The reporting team of  Stephanie Ruhle, Bradley Keoun and Mary Childs broke the story in 2012 on JPMorgan Chase’s wild gambles in derivatives – a story that infamously became known as the London Whale. Those revelations led to Congressional hearings; an intense investigation by the U.S. Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations that revealed the bank had been using depositors’ savings to make its gambles; $1.2 billion in fines; and losses of at least $6.2 billion on JPMorgan’s wild gambles. Ruhle has moved on to MSNBC; Keoun is now a freelance writer; Mary Childs is now reporting for the Financial Times.

    In June of last year, Damaris Colhoun reported at the Columbia Journalism Review that “highly respected journalists” who had been “lured away from The Wall Street Journal,” were being “sidelined or pushed out…”

    Colhoun also wrote about how new investigations are now commenced at Bloomberg News:

    “…for an investigation to pass muster, it must hew to a more restrictive definition of an appropriate Bloomberg subject, namely finance, money, and power. To some, this represents a curtailing of ambition, one that favors softer, magazine-style articles over deep, sustained investigations…

    “That’s why it’s often been a thorny endeavor for Bloomberg to launch major investigations of corporate and other targets that pose a conflict of interest, akin to pointing a gun in the customer’s face.”

    Equally troubling, Colhoun also noted that the former mayor is spending “more time in the newsroom than he did even before leaving for city hall.”

    Two particularly embarrassing episodes have arisen in recent years. In 2015, an internal memo by Bloomberg reporter Dawn Kopecki was leaked to the media where she called the atmosphere at Bloomberg News “a climate that makes editors and reporters afraid to speak their minds.” Kopecki was part of a round of layoffs three months later. She now reports for the San Antonio Express-News.

    The former Editor-in-Chief, Matt Winkler, was called out in a New York Times article in 2013 after Bloomberg reporters alleged he had spiked articles critical of China after they had worked on the reports for the better part of a year. The New York Post also wrote that reporter Michael Forsthye “was escorted from Bloomberg’s Hong Kong office” on November 14, 2013 “after he was fingered as the person who leaked embarrassing claims about how the news and data giant spiked a story that could have angered leaders in China.” China is an important source of Bloomberg Terminal leases.

    "Wall Street On Parade" has also reported on a pattern of troubling editorials and opinion pieces at Bloomberg which are factually unsound and/or conflicted. In March we reported that now Editor-in-Chief-Emeritus Matt Winkler had written a highly questionable opinion piece titled “Stop Bashing Wall Street. Times Have Changed.”
    One of the most absurd assertions in Winkler’s column was on the issue of derivatives. Winkler wrote:

    “Banks also have reined in most of the proprietary trading in derivatives that brought them into conflict with their depositors.”

    At the same time that Winkler was making that statement, Citigroup – the giant U.S. bank that blew itself up in 2008 and received the largest bailout in U.S. history – was loading up on the very same derivatives, credit default swaps, that blew up the big U.S. insurer, AIG, and added billions of dollars more to Citigroup’s own losses. (See our report:  “Bailed Out Citigroup Is Going Full Throttle into Derivatives that Blew Up AIG.”)

    Then in May of this year, Michael Bloomberg teamed up with the CEO of one of his largest customers, JPMorgan Chase’s Jamie Dimon, to write an OpEd at the Bloomberg web site. The two billionaires were subtly suggesting in the opinion piece that the unprecedented wealth inequality in the U.S. might be improved if high schools offered vocational training to those not heading to college. Under Dimon’s leadership of JPMorgan Chase, the bank received a combined three felony counts in 2014 and 2015.

    That’s the first time that has happened in U.S. history where a major insured bank is involved. Is this really an appropriate voice to lecture the country on how to reform itself?

    During the "Occupy Wall Street" protests in Manhattan that occurred while Michael Bloomberg was the Mayor (which were directed against the firms that made Bloomberg a billionaire and continue to add billions to his net worth), the New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) and more than a dozen major media outlets and media associations wrote to the Bloomberg administration to document beatings, assaults, arrests and intimidations of reporters attempting to do their job. (See here and here.)

    The NYCLU noted the following in its letter:

    “Beyond preventing journalists from documenting the actions of the police, numerous journalists were arrested and subjected to physical force by NYPD officers during and after the eviction. We have heard numerous stories of NYPD officers liberally using force against both journalists and others. There seemed to be no supervisors in some of the areas, and officers gave the impression of ‘a blue-shirt free-far-all,’ in which they did not know what they were supposed to be doing and instead improvised aggressively.”

    The New York Times and other media outlets described the following incident as one of many forms of physical abuse against reporters during the Occupy Wall Street protests:

    “…a photographer, standing on the sidewalk on Trinity Place, was photographing a man the police were carrying from somewhere in the park who was covered in blood. The photographer was standing behind a metal barrier 20 to 30 yards from the scene. As he raised his camera to take a picture two other police officers came running toward him, grabbed a metal barrier and forcefully lunged at him striking the photographer in the chest, knees and shin. As they did that they screamed that he was not permitted to be taking pictures on the sidewalk – the most traditionally recognized public forum aside from a park.”

    "Wall Street On Parade" also broke the story that the Bloomberg administration was overseeing a high-tech surveillance center in lower Manhattan which, bizarrely, allowed personnel from the same Wall Street firms being charged with serial crimes against the citizenry to jointly man the surveillance operation with the New York City Police Department.

    The Bloomberg administration refused to answer any of our Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) requests on this matter.

    Philosophically, you can't improve on listening to Harold Pinter's speech delivered when he won the Nobel Prize for Literature (not Peace).

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    And no one can do better than listen to Max and Stacy explain how all the economic games are really O-V-E-R (and understood very well by all discerning observers). (Do yourself a favor and take a 5-minute break to listen to their very articulate rendering of the horrors - and, don't faint, but there are a lot of laughs included in their telling (very dark telling) too.)

    Keiser Report:  Phantom Pension Funding (E952)

    Published on Aug 11, 2016

    Check Keiser Report website for more:

    In this episode of the Keiser Report from Washington DC Max and Stacy discuss the reckless gamble that Governor John Kasich of Ohio - one of the ‘legitimate’ and ‘respectable’ candidates (as per the media) in the Republican primaries - chose to take with the state’s pension funds. In the second half they interview Francine McKenna of about what Donald Trump’s tax returns might show. Francine suggests that they would show ‘yuge’ business losses but that ordinary people wouldn’t understand investing for the specific purpose of such losses. They also discuss what the IRS audit of the Clinton Foundation might show and what the transcripts of Hillary’s talks to Goldman Sachs would show.

    Keiser Report:  ‘Crexit’ & the Dark Heart of Italy’s Banking Crisis (E953)

    In this episode of the Keiser Report from Washington DC, Max and Stacy discuss “crexit” and the dark heart of Italy’s banking crisis, as central bank intervention increases financial risk. In the second half, Max continues his interview with Francine McKenna of about the current trials of auditors taking place in courts across the United States.

    Recorded from RT, Keiser Report , August 13, 2016

    Don't miss Francine McKenna! She will simultaneously impel your next heart attack and uplift your spirits.

    Keiser Report:  Collapse of Political World (E951)
    Published on Aug 9, 2016

    In this episode of the Keiser Report from Washington DC Max and Stacy discuss their observations on the road during election season 2016. They observe that the political world has collapsed because of the bailouts and now we have the most disliked candidates in modern history and the most insane conspiracy theories masquerading as political analysis.

    And if you have another few minutes, no one is better with whom to end your weekend on a high note (figuratively!) than Chris Hedges.

    Published on Aug 14, 2016

    Black America with Prof. Eddie Glaude of Princeton University

    On this week’s episode of "On Contact," Chris Hedges explores the harsh economic, social, and political realities of African Americans with Princeton Professor Eddie Glaude, as they discuss the institutionalized racism that is holding down black America, as addressed in Glaude’s book, Democracy in Black:  How Race Still Enslaves the American Soul. RT Correspondent Anya Parampil brings us the numbers that depict the racial divide.

    Chris Hedges Brace Yourself! The American Empire Is Over 2016

    Wow. Now that's a video for all times.


    TONY @oakroyd said...

    I see Clinton is polling far ahead of Trump in FLORIDA! A shoe-in as they say over here. Great Pinter clip by the way.

    Cirze said...

    Thanks. I loved it as well, and him too.

    And remind me . . . how long is it til Election Day?


    The wheel keeps turning.

    Round and round.

    Love ya!