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Saturday, March 31, 2012

The Oil Conundrum Explained

Oil as a commodity has always been a highly valuable early warning indicator of economic instability.  Every conceivable element of our financial system depends on the price of energy, from fabrication, to production, to shipping, to the consumer’s very ability to travel and make purchases.  High energy prices derail healthy economies and completely decimate systems already on the verge of collapse.  Oil affects everything.

This is why oil markets also tend to be the most misrepresented in the mainstream financial media.  With so much at stake over the price of petroleum, and the cost steadily climbing over the past year returning to disastrous levels last seen in 2008, the American public will soon be looking for someone to blame, and you can bet the MSM will do its utmost to ensure that blame is focused in the wrong direction.  While there are, indeed, multiple reasons for the current high costs of oil, the primary culprits are obscured by considerable disinformation… 

The most prominent but false conclusions on the expanding value of oil are centered on assertions that supply is decreasing dramatically, while demand is increasing dramatically.  Neither of these claims is true…

The supply side of the oil equation is the absolute last factor that we should be worried about at this point.  In fact, global oil use since the credit crisis of 2008 has tumbled dramatically.  This decline accelerated at the end of 2011 and the beginning of 2012 all while oil prices rose:

http://www.energyasia.com/public-stories/markets-world-oil-demand-fell-300000-b-d-in-4q-2011-as-recession-grips-tighter


In its February Oil Market Report, the International Energy Agency (IEA) forecast a reduction in the growth of demand into the Spring of 2012, despite reports from the mainstream media that oil prices were spiking due to “recovery” and “high demand”.  Simultaneously, the IEA reported that petroleum inventories rose to the highest levels since October, 2008:

http://omrpublic.iea.org/currentissues/full.pdf


The Baltic Dry Index, which measures global shipping rates and the demand for freight in general, has fallen off a cliff in recent months, hovering near historic lows and signaling a sharp decline in world demand for raw materials used in production.  A fall in the BDI has on multiple occasions in the past been a predictive indicator of stock market chaos, including that which struck in 2008 and 2009.  A sharply lower BDI means low global demand, which should, traditionally, mean decreasing prices:

http://investmenttools.com/futures/bdi_baltic_dry_index.htm

So, supply is high across the board, inventories are stocked, and demand is weak.  By all common market logic, gasoline prices should be plummeting, and far more Americans should be smiling at the pump.  Of course, this is not the case.  Prices continue to rise despite deflationary elements, meaning, there must be some other factors at work here causing inflation in prices.

Ironically, stock market activity in the Dow has now come under threat from this inflationary trend in oil.  Rising energy costs have essentially put a cap on the epic explosion of equities, and many mainstream analysts now lament over this Catch-22.  The problem is that these investors and pundits are operating on the assumption that the Dow bull market is legitimate, and that the rally in oil is somehow an extension of a “healthier economy”.  This version of reality, I’m afraid, is about as far from the truth as one can stretch…

In the candy coated world of Obamanomics, high priced stocks are a valid signal of economic growth, and oil is rising due to demand which extends from this growth.  In the real world, stock values are completely fabricated, especially in light of record low trade volume over the past several months:

http://money.cnn.com/2012/01/19/markets/trading_volume/index.htm


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Agenda 21 on Steroids « The PPJ Gazette

 The Draft International Covenant on Environment and Development is Agenda 21 on steroids. If you take the word “Environment” out of the title (which seems to be thrown in to placate you), and call this the International Covenant on Development, you will more clearly see the intent of this manifesto.
The Covenant is intended to become a binding Global Treaty and the template for international law. International attorneys have been hammering this out for about 16 years. The 4th draft was issued in 2010.
The Covenant is about control of development, and social engineering, by the United Nations. Remember, the United Nations is a trade organization funded by money from corporations, organizations and associations funded by corporations, and foreign governments.
The Covenant states it focuses on “social and economic pillars.”
In the Covenant’s footnotes, it refers to the constitutions of Brazil, India, Namibia, and even the Islamic Republic of Iran. But this manifesto doesn’t adhere to the U.S. Constitution. If the Covenant is adapted by the United States, it will be the end of our Constitution and our rights.
The Covenant has 79 Articles.
The Covenant claims control of “areas beyond national jurisdiction, high seas and outer space.” (Article 3) The stated reasoning for this declaration of control of everything is because the global environment is a “common concern.”
The Covenant demands laws and regulations that “integrate” international law for ALL forms of physical planning. (Article 41) This includes town and country planning, ALL infrastructure (including highways, railways, waterways, dams, harbors, etc.), aquifers, drainage basins, coastal and marine areas and “any other areas constituting biological units.” It covers allocation of municipal, agricultural, grazing, forestry and other uses. It even “encourages” parties to limit their subsidization of private enterprises, including agricultural subsidies.

The Covenant covers everything.

In Article 34, “TRADE AND ENVIRONMENT,” (the operative word being trade), “sets out the duty to cooperate and establish and maintain an international economic system” with global rules of trade. The Covenant defines “duty” as a legal obligation. What do you think an “international economic system” is?
The Covenant is issued by the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) and the ICEL (International Council on Environmental Law).

The IUCN
On the IUCN website, it states: “IUCN links its Mission to the paramount goals of the international community on environment and sustainable development, in particular Agenda 21…”

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Enlist Dow Chemical - YouTube

State GOP: New St. Charles Caucus will be Fair, Transparent - O'Fallon, MO Patch

State GOP: New St. Charles Caucus will be Fair, Transparent - O'Fallon, MO Patch: State GOP: New St. Charles Caucus will be Fair, Transparent

The Missouri Republican Party announced a second St. Charles County Caucus at 7 p.m. April 10 at the St. Charles County Convention Center.


By Joe Scott
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March 23, 2012

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The Missouri Republican Party on Friday announced a second caucus for St. Charles County.
St. Charles Convention Center.
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The Missouri Republican Party announced it is calling for a new St. Charles County Caucus “after an earlier attempt ended amidst controversy last Saturday."

The caucus will be at 7 p.m. April 10 at the St. Charles County Convention Center. That is 11 days before the Congressional District Conventions. The state convention is June 1-2 in Springfield.

“Since Saturday, we have reviewed our options to determine the best way to move forward while ensuring that the voice of St Charles has been heard. We have concluded that the only proper remedy for this situation is to schedule a new St Charles County Caucus,” said David Cole, Chairman of the Missouri Republican Party, according to a news release.
“I want to make it clear to the people of St. Charles County that we will conduct this caucus in a fair, honest, and transparent manner,” Cole said.
Cole will open the meeting as temporary chairman, and the state GOP’s general counsel will serve as the parliamentarian.
Recording devices will be permitted.

Barack Obama's personal pledge to aid Syria rebels - Telegraph

Barack Obama's personal pledge to aid Syria rebels - Telegraph

Barack Obama's personal pledge to aid Syria rebels

Barack Obama has made his most explicit show of support yet for Syria's rebels with a personal pledge to provide "non-lethal" aid to opposition fighters seeking to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad.

Photo: Reuters
The president's endorsement on Sunday of a US proposal to ferry medical aid and communications equipment to the faltering rebel movement came amid signs that Turkish plans to impose a buffer zone within Syrian territory were gaining traction.
US officials said that the delivery of aid to rebel militias would dominate the agenda when the "Friends of Syria", a coalition of Western and Arab powers opposed to Mr Assad, meet in Istanbul next Sunday.
Despite evidence that their foreign backers are drifting towards greater involvement in the yearlong conflict, Syria's rebels would have been hoping for more substantial succour.
Their disappointment was compounded after Nabil Elaraby, the secretary general of the Arab League, disclosed that there were no plans to discuss a proposal to arm the rebels at the meeting in Istanbul.
Qatar and Saudi Arabia have both voiced approval for such a move but have won little support from other Arab states or the West amid concern over divisions within the Syrian opposition and the make-up of some of Free Syrian Army's loosely affiliated militias.

"NUCLEAR TERRORISM": Obama’s Nuclear Disarmament Hoax

 his week’s gathering of world leaders at the Nuclear Security Summit in South Korea was the occasion for a great deal of cynical posturing about nuclear disarmament and world peace.
US President Obama took the lead, telling students at Hankuk University that the summit’s deliberations on “nuclear terrorism” were part of “our vision of a world without nuclear weapons.” Under his presidency, he declared, the US had signed a new START treaty with Russia to reduce nuclear warheads, committed itself to not developing new warheads, and “narrowed the range of contingencies under which we would ever use or threaten to use nuclear weapons.”
No one should be fooled by this high-blown rhetoric. The ruling classes have always prepared for war under the banner of peace. The slogan of “disarmament” is the means not only for duping working people, but of ensuring military advantage over any rivals, both immediate and potential.
As Obama admitted, even if the START treaty is fully implemented, the US will have a massive nuclear arsenal—more than 1,500 deployed nuclear weapons and around 5,000 warheads—that can obliterate any potential rival or alliance of rivals. As for “narrowing the range of contingencies”, the US has never renounced a first nuclear strike—that is, the “right” to use nuclear weapons in a pre-emptive war of aggression.
While it is not upgrading American nuclear warheads, the Obama administration is committed to spending at least $600 billion over the next decade to modernise weapons production facilities and delivery systems. These include a new generation of land-based ballistic missiles, a new fleet of nuclear-armed submarines and 100 new strategic bombers.
What is under way is not nuclear disarmament, but an arms race. The key index of this new build up is not the absolute number of nuclear warheads, but the sophistication of the delivery systems and their ability to evade detection and defensive measures. Moreover, while limiting the number of “deployed nuclear warheads,” the US retains the ability to rapidly construct tens of thousands of new ones from its huge stockpile of 400 tonnes of highly enriched uranium.
Under the guise of “disarmament”, the US is determined to maintain its absolute nuclear supremacy. The real purpose of the South Korean summit was to bar access to fissile material and thus nuclear weapons to countries that do not already have nuclear weapons. In that way, the US does not have to take a potentially nuclear-armed foe into account as it wages new wars of aggression.
Obama, the evangelist of nuclear disarmament and world peace, also used the opportunity in Seoul to renew his threats against Iran and North Korea. At Hankuk University, he ominously warned Tehran that “time was short” to reach a “diplomatic resolution” to the confrontation over Iran’s nuclear program. Having imposed what amounts to an economic blockade on Iran, the US and its European allies are demanding that Tehran dismantle facilities and programs developed legitimately under the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT).
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UK to help Syrian opposition unite against Assad with £500,000

UK to help Syrian opposition unite against Assad with £500,000: The UK has announced it will allocate some £500,000 to supply aid to the Syrian opposition.

03-30-2012 • http://rt.com


The UK has announced it will allocate some £500,000 ($795,000) to supply non-military aid to the Syrian opposition. The Foreign Secretary says it will help the ‘hard-pressed’ opposition groups to register violations by the Assad government.

Foreign Secretary William Hague expressed hope that the assistance would help the opposition unite as a credible force to fight President Bashar Al-Assad.

RT’s Laura Smith says exactly what type of support and equipment the opposition will receive is yet to be determined. What is already known is that the aid package is likely to include secure telephones that the British Foreign Secretary hopes will be used to document the regime’s violence.

The Right's Obama Martial Law #Fail | Mother Jones

The Right's Obama Martial Law #Fail

No, President Obama is not coming to steal your house and take all the food out of your fridge.

| Fri Mar. 30, 2012 3:00 AM PDT
obama lenin
President Obama wants to conquer your farmland, plunder its resources, feast upon the contents of your refrigerator, and then draft you into slave labor for his aggressive war on Iran.
Such is the narrative that has emerged out of the right's latest phony freak-out about Obama's wielding of executive power. On March 16, the White House quietly released the details of an executive order titled "National Defense Resources Preparedness." The order authorizes the federal government to identify "requirements for the full spectrum of emergencies, including essential military and civilian demand," and to "control the general distribution of any material (including applicable services) in this civilian market."
It's your standard government readiness policy—nothing particularly exciting or groundbreaking. In fact, almost identical executive orders have been issued by administrations since the early days of the Cold War, including those of Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Dwight Eisenhower.
And some conservatives—who have previously accused Obama of wanting to confiscate their guns, ammo, Bibles, and even Cheerios and fishing rods—have taken this as one more assault upon individual liberty from a radical president. Because the order identifies essential items that should be stockpiled in extreme scenarios—from livestock and water to construction materials and pharmaceutical products—some on the right have sounded the alarm.
Late last Sunday, the Washington Times blasted out an email titled "Obama authorizes himself to declare martial law." The column's author, Jeffrey Kuhner (who has a habit of referring to the president as a neo-pagan Lenin), writes that the order represents "a sweeping power grab that should worry every American" that "one would expect to find in Hugo Chavez's Venezuela or Vladimir Putin's Russia." Kuhner posits that Obama is gearing up for a devastating transatlantic war with Iran, in which Tehran-sponsored Hezbollah cells would retaliate by bombing American cities.
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McCain, Lieberman and Graham: The Senate’s three war-crazed amigos - Salon.com

McCain, Lieberman and Graham: The Senate’s three war-crazed amigos

John McCain, Joe Lieberman and Lindsey Graham have an exciting new idea (spoiler: It's war)

John McCain, Lindsay Graham and Joe Lieberman
John McCain, Lindsay Graham and Joe Lieberman  (Credit: AP)
When John McCain, Lindsey Graham and Joe Lieberman join forces, you can be sure of one thing: It will involve state-sponsored violence. Today, they want us to arm Syrian rebels. Though, you know, what they really wanted to call for was actually bombing the hell out of Syria, until there is freedom. They’re just taking it slow.
The Senate’s three most predictable and least credible warmongering “moderates” frequently join forces to publish joint Op-Eds or hold press conferences and the one thing they always, invariably want is for the United States to have just a little bit more war than it currently has, somewhere far away. Sure, we could draw down in Iraq … or we could listen to McCain, Lieberman and Graham and draw back up. We could draw down in Afghanistan … or we could stay the course and keep sending troops there until we win! Americans may be tired of endless war with no coherent goal, but on the other hand, “only decisive force can prevail in [whatever country John McCain, Lindsey Graham, and Joe Lieberman are talking about now].”
As the Hill recently explained in a story on how John McCain, Lindsey Graham and Joe Lieberman were pushing for a resolution basically promising to make war with Iran, “Graham, Lieberman and McCain are considered some of the top foreign policy experts in the upper chamber,” because they always, invariably support military intervention everywhere for any reason, and that is invariably considered a sign of “seriousness” in Washington. If you don’t like waging wars everywhere, forever, you are a weird kooky hippie, and everyone laughs at you. If you believe that bombs and troops have the power to magically solve all problems, you are invited on all the Sunday shows every week to offer your sober analysis of the foreign situation.
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Obama Told Pakistan: US ‘Not Ready’ to Stop Drone Strikes -- News from Antiwar.com

Obama Told Pakistan: US ‘Not Ready’ to Stop Drone Strikes -- News from Antiwar.com: Obama Told Pakistan: US ‘Not Ready’ to Stop Drone Strikes
'No Flexibility' In Talks
by Jason Ditz, March 29, 2012
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The highly anticipated meeting between President Obama and Pakistani Prime Minister Yousef Raza Gilani, potentially the last one before Gilani is jailed for contempt of court, was longer than initially scheduled, according to officials familiar with it, and centered on drone strikes.

The discussion saw Gilani reiterating parliament’s demand that the US halt all its drone strikes against Pakistan, and Obama insisting that the US is “not ready” to do that, and that the strikes will eventually “be helpful in eliminating terror.”

US to protect Australia from New Guinea? - YouTube

One more step in containing china

US to protect Australia from New Guinea? - YouTube
 

Counting on Millennial Homeownership

Counting on Millennial Homeownership

03/27/12 Baltimore, Maryland – The report that got us started on this tangent this morning: Home prices in 20 U.S. metro areas are now as low as they were nine years ago, according to the just released Case-Shiller Home Price Index.
S&P/Case Shiller Home Price Indices
In other words, housing prices are back where they were when the space shuttle Columbia blew up and Washington was about to foment the doctrine of “preventive war” in Iraq.
Good times.
(The index’s year-over-year decline works out to 3.8%. It would likely have been worse if the weather in January had felt, well, more like January.)
Alas, the Case-Shiller is but one of several limp housing numbers that have been released in recent days.
“From home builder sentiment to housing starts,” writes Diana Olick, one of the more sensible observers of the housing market in the mainstream press, “to home builder earnings right through to sales of newly built homes, there was not one hopeful headline in any of it…”
That Ms. Olick is employed by CNBC is one of those freakish facts we can chalk up only to… who knows, sunspot activity.
A year ago, in these pages, we covered a study from Wells Fargo gushed that “there are 51.5 million potential first-time homebuyers born between 1979 and 1991. Roughly 6 million more of these Millennials are reaching the prime home buying age than baby boomers did in 1977.”
The “Millennial” generation – age 30 and under – concluded the Housing Wire[link], will ride to the housing market’s rescue… restoring the National Association of Realtors (NAR) version of the American Dream.
And yet, one year on the opposite appears to be happening.
“Homeownership rates for young adults have plunged back down to near-1990 lows,” writes the aforementioned Neil Howe, “despite record-low interest rates and very attractive prices for a new home.”
Homeownership Rate for Americans Under Age 35
What’s more, first-time buyers are disappearing: From 2009-11, only 9% of people age 29-34 got a first mortgage. A decade earlier, it was 17%.
The reasons are legion: According to a Chicago Fed study, several factors are at work: Young couples are waiting longer to have kids… thus the urgency to buy a home is less.

Read more: Counting on Millennial Homeownership http://dailyreckoning.com/counting-on-millennial-homeownership/#ixzz1qiy9kUgp

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Hilarious Reasons for Why We Need the Government

03/16/12 The Gold Coast, Australia – It doesn’t matter where you go, Fellow Reckoner…it doesn’t matter how far you wander or for how long you travel…you can’t escape the world improver brigade. Whether we like it or not, they are here to protect us from the horror of having to make our own decisions. And there’s an opening for one in every village.
We’ll get to that in a second. First, out regular beat…
Stocks were up again yesterday. The Dow rose another 60 or so points, pushing it to gains of over 2% for the week. Gold, meanwhile, languishes around $1,660 per ounce. It’s back to where it was a couple of months ago.
And the markets are up because…because…
And gold is down because…because…
Well, we don’t know. And we don’t believe anyone who tells us they do. Vigilant Reckoners appreciate that completion of the above sentence requires of the author a profound sense of delusion, arrogance…or both.
As it happens, almost none of the tools required for a deeper understanding of the events unfolding in the world are to be found in the daily news. By definition, the news simply reports on things that have already occurred. Think of it as a kind of running data stream of digits and statistics, the unfolding pages of history, clumsily recorded and with a meaningful delay.

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Reflections on Post-Capitalism, Political Entrepreneurialism, and the Bernanke Contrarian Index - YouTube

Reflections on Post-Capitalism, Political Entrepreneurialism, and the Bernanke Contrarian Index - YouTube: Reflections on Post-Capitalism, Political Entrepreneurialism, and the Bernanke Contrarian Index

The Hutaree Case: Next, Time, They’ll Send in the Drones by William Norman Grigg

The Hutaree Case: Next, Time, They’ll Send in the Drones by William Norman Grigg

Following dismissal of the case, Hutaree defendant Michael Meeks, a 42-year-old former Marine, said that the salient lesson taught by the case was the need for Americans to "watch what you say. Even the most innocent of statements can be used against you."
Actually, the lesson is that anything said in your presence can be used against you – and if a sufficiently incriminating remark isn't forthcoming from you or your friends, the Feds can always pay somebody to perform on cue, and on camera.
While the Feds didn’t succeed in imprisoning the Hutaree defendants for life, they were able to steal more than two years of their respective lives through pre-trial incarceration.

Frog in the Boiling Pot of Government: US Immigration Agents Are Loading Up On As Many As...

Frog in the Boiling Pot of Government: US Immigration Agents Are Loading Up On As Many As...: US Immigration Agents Are Loading Up On As Many As 450 Million New Rounds Of Ammo : U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement  The Departmen...

US Immigration Agents Are Loading Up On As Many As 450 Million New Rounds Of Ammo

US Immigration Agents Are Loading Up On As Many As 450 Million New Rounds Of Ammo: U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement
 The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and its Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) office is getting an "indefinite delivery" of an "indefinite quantity" of .40 caliber ammunition from defense contractor ATK.
U.S. agents will receive a maximum of 450 million rounds over five years, according to a press release on the deal.
The high performance HST bullets are designed for law enforcement and ATK says they offer "optimum penetration for terminal performance."
This refers to the the bullet's hollow-point tip that passes through barriers and expands for a bigger impact without the rest of the bullet getting warped out of shape: "this bullet holds its jacket in the toughest conditions."
We've also learned that the Department has an open bid for a stockpile of rifle ammo. Listed on the federal business opportunities network, they're looking for up to 175 million rounds of .223 caliber ammo to be exact. The .223 is almost exactly the same round used by NATO forces, the 5.56 x 45mm.
The deadline for earlier this month was extended because the right contractor just hadn't come along.
Looks like the Department of Homeland Security means business.
Thanks to loyal BI Military & Defense Twitter follower Allen Walter for the heads up.
T

Former U.S. Counterterrorism Official Claims China Has ‘Penetrated’ Every U.S. Company and Implanted Devices With ‘Trapdoors’ | TheBlaze.com

The April issue of Smithsonian Magazine focuses on Richard Clarke, a man who has served as the “counterterrorism czar” under three presidential administrations. In the feature, Clarke makes some strong claims, the most notable of which are that every U.S. company has been penetrated by China through cyberspace and remains vulnerable to attack, and that the United States made and launched the infamous Stuxnet worm.
Clarke, who is famously known for warning the White House to expect a “spectacular attack on American soil” from Al Qaeda and after 9/11 said “Your government failed you,” is now issuing another warning. Ron Rosenbaum for Smithsonian writes:
Clarke now wants to warn us, urgently, that we are being failed again, being left defenseless against a cyberattack that could bring down our nation’s entire electronic infrastructure, including the power grid, banking and telecommunications, and even our military command system.
“Are we as a nation living in denial about the danger we’re in?” I asked Clarke as we sat across a conference table in his office suite.
“I think we’re living in the world of non-response. Where you know that there’s a problem, but you don’t do anything about it. If that’s denial, then that’s denial.”
Who is it we should be most afraid of when it comes to cyber attacks? According to Clarke: China. He said that the countless amount of electronic material imported by the U.S. from China could be implanted with “‘logic bombs,‘ trapdoors and ’Trojan horses’”:
Click here to find out more!

Read the full article here

FABRICATING A "SMOKING GUN" TO ATTACK IRAN? Israeli Spies Disguised as Iranian Soldiers on Mission Inside Iran

FABRICATING A "SMOKING GUN" TO ATTACK IRAN? Israeli Spies Disguised as Iranian Soldiers on Mission Inside Iran: The fact that Israeli intelligence officers were on a secret mission in Parchin, dressed up as Iranians and driving Iranian military vehicles, while the IAEA was pressuring Tehran to visit that precise location, raises serious questions. The stated goal of those secret missions is the search for a smoking gun. The smoking gun allegations regarding Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction have proven that such evidence can be fabricated and used to launch so-called pre-emptive wars.

Why are Workers Striking Across Spain and Portugal?

Why are Workers Striking Across Spain and Portugal?
 

Everything Is Going To Be Alright?

Everything Is Going To Be Alright?

Everything Is Going To Be Alright?

Is the U.S. economy going to be okay?  Well, if the only source you listened to was the mainstream media, you would be left with the distinct impression that the U.S. economy is heading toward a full recovery and that everything is going to be alright.  Unfortunately, that is not the case at all.  The United States is rapidly becoming poorer as a nation and less competitive in the global marketplace.  At the same time, consumer debt levels are rising, corporate debt levels are rising, state and local government debt levels are rising and the U.S. government is indulging in a debt binge unlike anything the world has ever seen.  Considering the insane amount of money the U.S. government has been pumping into the economy, we should have seen a much more robust recovery by now.  Instead, the employment statistics have barely moved and government dependence is at an all-time high.  That is really sad, because this is as good as "the recovery" is going to get.  The next major economic downturn is just around the bend, and in future years millions of us will desperately yearn for the "good old days" of 2012.
Below, I have compiled a list of things that I have entitled "Everything Is Going To Be Alright?"
It is composed in the form of a song, but it really isn't meant to be sung.  It is probably actually more of an economic horror poem than it is a song.  What I have tried to do is to point out the absurdity of what we are all being told by our politicians and by the media.  Hopefully you will enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it....
-----
Yahoo is going to be laying off thousands of workers starting next work.
Don't worry about a thing - Barack Obama says everything is going to be alright.
Best Buy has just announced plans to close 50 stores.
Don't worry about a thing - JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon says everything is going to be alright.
The mayor of Los Angeles has announced that the city will be laying off "a large number of employees".
Don't worry about a thing - Barack Obama says everything is going to be alright.
Baltimore is so broke that it has decided to look into selling off some of the most famous historical landmarks in the city.
Don't worry about a thing - the mainstream media says everything is going to be alright.
The city of Costa Mesa, California is so broke that is has decided to sell off its police helicopters.

Friday, March 30, 2012

» Neonicotinoid pesticides tied to crashing bee populations, 2 studies find Alex Jones' Infowars: There's a war on for your mind!

» Neonicotinoid pesticides tied to crashing bee populations, 2 studies find Alex Jones' Infowars: There's a war on for your mind!: Neonicotinoid pesticides tied to crashing bee populations, 2 studies find

The Alex Jones Channel Alex Jones Show podcast Prison Planet TV Infowars.com Twitter Alex Jones' Facebook Infowars store

Miguel Llanos
msnbc.com
March 29, 2012

A widely used farm pesticide first introduced in the 1990s has caused significant changes to bee colonies and removing it could be the key factor in restoring nature’s army of pollinators, according to two studies released Thursday.

The scientists behind the studies in Europe called for regulators to consider banning the class of chemicals known as neonicotinoid insecticides. In the U.S., the Environmental Protection Agency told msnbc.com that the studies would be incorporated into a review that’s currently under way.

A pesticide trade group questioned the data, saying the levels of pesticide used were unrealistically high, while the researchers said the levels used were typical of what bees would find on farms.

Read more

» Army Officially Reprimands Soldier Who Spoke At Ron Paul Rally Alex Jones' Infowars: There's a war on for your mind!

» Army Officially Reprimands Soldier Who Spoke At Ron Paul Rally Alex Jones' Infowars: There's a war on for your mind!: The uniformed solider who endorsed Ron Paul during a rally in Iowa in January has been officially reprimanded by the US Army.

After being cut short during a CNN interview on January 3, Reserve Corporal Jesse Thorsen, who has served two tours in Afghanistan and was due to head back for a third, was invited on to the stage by Paul himself to address Paul’s cheering supporters.

“If there’s any man out there that’s had a vision out there, it’s definitely [Ron Paul],” Thorsen said. “His foreign policy is by far, hands down better than any other candidate’s out there, and I’m sure you all know that. We don’t need to be picking fights overseas and I think everybody else knows that, too.”

Someone within the military infrastructure did not take kindly to Thorsen’s remarks, and a move was immediately set in motion to punish the 10-year veteran for his words.
 

» California Slammed With Fukushima Radiation Alex Jones' Infowars: There's a war on for your mind!

» California Slammed With Fukushima Radiation Alex Jones' Infowars: There's a war on for your mind!

California Slammed With Fukushima Radiation

  •   The Alex Jones Channel Alex Jones Show podcast Prison Planet TV Infowars.com Twitter Alex Jones' Facebook Infowars store
Zero Hedge
March 30, 2012
The Journal Environmental Science and Technology reports in a new study that the Fukushima radiation plume contacted North America at California “with greatest exposure in central and southern California”, and that Southern California’s seaweed tested over 500% higher for radioactive  iodine-131 than anywhere else in the U.S. and Canada:
Projected paths of the radioactive atmospheric plume emanating from the Fukushima reactors, best described as airborne particles or aerosols for 131I, 137Cs, and 35S, and subsequent atmospheric monitoring showed it coming in contact with the North American continent at California, with greatest exposure in central and southern California. Government monitoring sites in Anaheim (southern California) recorded peak airborne concentrations of 131I at 1.9 pCi m−3
Anaheim is where Disneyland is located.
EneNews summarizes the data:
Corona Del Mar (Highest in Southern California)
  • 2.5 Bq/gdwt (gram dry weight)= 2,500 Bq/kg of dry seaweed
Santa Cruz (Highest in Central California)
  • 2.0 Bq/gdwt = 2,000 Bq/kg of dry seaweed
Simon Fraser University in Canada also tested North American seaweed after Fukushima:
  • “In samples of dehydrated seaweed taken on March 15 near the North Vancouver SeaBus terminal, the count was zero; on March 22 it was 310 Bq per kilogram; and by March 28 it was 380 Bq/kg.” -Vancouver Sun
  • Seaweed in Seattle also tested positive for iodine-131; levels were not reported -KIRO
  • No results after March 28 were reported

Joel Skousen - Obama becoming a dictator | Gerald Celente Trends Blog

Joel Skousen - Obama becoming a dictator | Gerald Celente Trends Blog: oel Skousen - Obama becoming a dictator
Joel Skousen - World Affair Brief - 29 March 2012 Radio Liberty : Joel Skousen, author, retreat consultant, and founder and editor of World Affairs Brief, a weekly news-analysis service dedicated to providing an understanding of the hidden agendas behind the actions of world leaders and other powerful individuals who influence government from behind the scenes., Joel Skousen was the chairman of the Conservative National Committee in the 1980's. In this interview Joel Skousen talks about the hidden power structure that controls politicians of both parties from behind the scenes, the nature of the manipulated press, and the ongoing conspiracy to create a one world dictatorship.

Jim Tucker The Bilderberg Insider on the Alex Jones Show - 29 March 2012 | Gerald Celente Trends Blog

Jim Tucker The Bilderberg Insider on the Alex Jones Show - 29 March 2012 | Gerald Celente Trends Blog: im Tucker The Bilderberg Insider on the Alex Jones Show - 29 March 2012
Jim Tucker The Bilderberg Insider on the Alex Jones Show - 29 March 2012 Jim Tucker, a veteran Bilderberg hunter, that works for the American Free Press. Jim Tucker talks about the Bilderberg Group secret meetings in 2012 . Jim Tucker cited his insider sources who have revealed where the secret elite of the world will meet in 2012 and what their goals will be for humanity.

Gold and Silver Financial Review With Bob Chapman 04/06 by Gold Radio Cafe | Blog Talk Radio

Gold and Silver Financial Review With Bob Chapman 04/06 by Gold Radio Cafe | Blog Talk Radio: Chapman
by Gold Radio Cafe
in Finance
Fri, April 6, 2012 09:00AM Add reminder

"Rock Star" treatment for Ron Paul - YouTube

"Rock Star" treatment for Ron Paul - YouTube: "Rock Star" treatment for Ron Paul
 

Senate defeats Democrats' measure to kill off ‘Big Oil’ tax breaks, 51-47 - The Hill's E2-Wire

The Senate on Thursday thwarted Democratic plans to strip billions of dollars in tax breaks from the largest oil companies, just an hour or so after President Obama urged the chamber to kill off the deductions.
Lawmakers voted 51-47 to move forward with Sen. Robert Menendez’s (D-N.J.) bill. Sixty votes were needed to advance the measure.
Two Republicans — Sens. Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe, both from Maine — crossed party lines and voted to repeal the tax breaks. Four Democrats — Sens. Mark Begich (Alaska), Mary Landrieu (La.), Ben Nelson (Neb.) and Jim Webb (Va.) — voted against the bill.

The outcome of the vote was not a surprise, given that a similar plan failed 52-48 last May. But the decision to take another shot at passing the bill— and the decision by the White House to wade into the fight — underscore the political salience of rising gasoline prices in an election year.Obama has sought to deflect blame for high gas prices, in part by casting Republicans as allies of big oil companies. He used a Rose Garden speech to urge lawmakers to back the plan.
“Today, members of Congress have a simple choice to make,” Obama said. “They can stand with big oil companies, or they can stand with the American people.”
The vote Thursday followed several days of tactical maneuvering on both sides of the aisle. Republicans oppose the Menendez plan but unexpectedly voted Monday to allow debate on the bill, saying they welcomed the chance to pit their energy plans against those of Democrats.


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Obama Doesn’t Want You to Read This

Obama Doesn’t Want You to Read This

 


Obama Doesn’t Want You to Read This
By Charles Goyette
"No government will want its citizens to read this book. Because, in a nutshell, Goyette’s thesis for how individuals are to once again become prosperous: ‘The government must stop.’"
—Powell Gammill, Freedom’s Phoenix
America is at a crossroads.
We, as Americans, will determine if we continue down the same path—one littered with government regulations and mandates that strip away our freedom and prosperity—or if we choose a different path, a path back to the foundation our great country was built upon: "the land of the free."
The Path to Destruction
The facts are clear…
6 million homes are delinquent on their mortgages or in foreclosure. We can thank banks—central, investment and commercial alike—that securitized risky collateralized debt obligations (CDOs).
$1.2 trillion is spent on the National Security State each year. Add that up since the Bush administration, and you can easily see why we have $15.5 trillion in visible debt.
12.8 million Americans are unemployed today, with the unemployment rate holding steady at 8.3%—depression-era levels.
One out of seven Americans is on food stamps—that’s 46 million people! But contrary to Newt Gingrich calling Obama the "food stamp president," more Americans were added to the food stamp rolls under Bush.
And yet, the intellectual centers, the powers that be who decide when we’re in a recession and out of a recession stated that the mortgage-induced recession that began in December 2007 ended in June 2009.
June 2009? How out of touch from reality are these people?
It’s time to face the facts. We’re going backwards not forwards in this country. And we cannot continue down this destructive path any longer if we’re serious about turning America around.
What Can We Do?
Both parties are to blame for the fading American Dream. Republican and Democrat career politicians alike would rather pointlessly argue and fling mud, than enact real and effective change. No wonder a feeling of disenfranchisement is growing.
The time has come for a dramatic solution.
It is time to expose and stop Washington’s destructive agenda before it does us any more harm.
And that is the number-one reason why I wrote my new book, RED AND BLUE AND BROKE ALL OVER: Restoring America’s Free Economy.
In it, you’ll discover…

US acted to conceal evidence of intelligence failure before 9/11 | World news | The Guardian

US acted to conceal evidence of intelligence failure before 9/11 | World news | The Guardian

 


The US government shut down a series of court cases arising from a multimillion pound business dispute in order to conceal evidence of a damning intelligence failure shortly before the 9/11 attacks, MPs were told.
Moreover, the UK government is now seeking similar powers that could be used to prevent evidence of illegal acts and embarrassing failures from emerging in court, David Davis, the former shadow home secretary, told the Commons.
The Justice and Security green paper being put forward by Ken Clarke's justice ministry has already faced widespread criticism from civil rights groups, media representatives and lawyers working within the secret tribunal system that hears terrorism-related immigration cases.
Davis demanded to know how its proposals could be prevented from being used to cover up crimes and errors. "In light of previous revelations about the UK government's complicity in torture and rendition of detainees to locations like of Libya, Afghanistan, or illegally into American hands … how will the Government prevent the Justice and Security green paper proposals being misused in a similar way to cover up illegal acts and embarrassments rather than protect national security?"
Davis said that in 1998 the FBI seized upon an opportunity to eavesdrop on every landline and telephone call into and out of Afghanistan in a bid to build intelligence on the Taliban. The Bureau discovered that the Taliban regime had awarded a major telephone network contract to a joint US-UK venture, run by an American entrepreneur, Ehsanollah Bayat and two British businessmen, Stuart Bentham and Lord Michael Cecil.
"The plan was simple" Davis said. "Because the Taliban wanted American equipment for their new phone network, this would allow the FBI and NSA, the National Security Agency, to build extra circuits into all the equipment before it was flown out to Afghanistan for use. Once installed, these extra circuits would allow the FBI and NSA to record or listen live to every single landline and mobile phone call in Afghanistan. The FBI would know the time the call was made and its duration. They would know the caller's name, the number dialled, and even the caller's PIN."
But the plan, Operation Foxden, was delayed by a turf war, during which "the FBI and the CIA spent more than a year fighting over who should be in charge", he said.
The operation was eventually given the green light on 8 September 2001 - three days before the al-Qaida attacks. "A huge opportunity was missed," Davis said.
He added that when Bentham and Cecil sued Bayat in the New York courts, and Bayat lodged a legal claim against the two Britons, the case was struck out and all records removed from the courts public database on the grounds of State Secrets Privilege, a legal doctrine that permits the US government to shut down litigation on the grounds of national security. The Britons attempted to sue in London, Davis said, but the case failed because "so long is the reach of the American State Secrets Privilege" that they were prevented from discussing key details of the US case.
"Through heavy-handed use of State Secrets Privilege, US agencies can dictate what British judges in British courts are entitled to know, and how much British citizens in British courts are entitled to say," Davis told MPs. "What chance did Bentham and Cecil, or anyone else in a similar position, have of getting a fair hearing when American intelligence agencies can shut down cases without explanation in the US, and use State Secrets Privilege to control what evidence courts can see in the UK?"
Davis said that when he talked about this episode with "someone in the know in one of the agencies involved" he was told: "Ten years have passed, and the culpable people have retired or moved on, so it's no longer embarrassing."
Davis said the British green paper proposals are "more Draconian than State Secrets Privilege", and added: "Giving a government agency an absolute right to secrecy encourages bad behaviour.
"This is the same State Secrets Privilege, and same American government, that the British green paper on Justice and Security is designed to protect," Davis said, adding that the case demonstrates "how intelligence agencies misuse these laws, not to protect our security, but to avoid their own embarrassment and cover up criminal activity."
Bayat has previously denied that he or any of his companies acted unlawfully and said that they have never acted as "an agent, informant or spy". He could not immediately be contacted to comment on Davis' speech.
The foreign officer minister Jeremy Browne told MPs: "The green paper proposals will enable better scrutiny [of government], which is a vital element in a healthy democracy." He added that proposals are "not about covering up embarrassment, it is about enabling the work of the courts".
Reprieve's Executive Director, Clare Algar, director of the legal charity Reprieve, said: "This demonstrates just how ready the intelligence services are to cry national security in order to cover up their own embarrassment. It is yet another compelling example - if one were needed - of why we cannot let the UK Government's plans for secret justice go ahead."

FBI Islamic training materials gave OK to infringe on targets' civil rights | World news | guardian.co.uk

FBI revelation comes after massive criticism over news the NYPD has carried out mass undercover surveillance on Muslim communities. Photograph: Mario Tama/Getty Images
Training materials used by the FBI for dealing with American Muslims and other Islamic communities have advised agents they can break the law and impinge on some of their targets' civil rights.
The instructions were contained in confidential materials reviewed by the Senate Judiciary Committee as part of an internal FBI probe into what sort of training agents were exposed to when dealing with Islam.
The investigation uncovered 876 pages and 392 presentations that failed to meet standards or could be considered offensive amid more than 160,000 pages of FBI documents and slides.
Though that material has not been published – and senate staffers were not allowed to keep copies – committee member Senator Dick Durbin has revealed some of its contents in a letter written to FBI director Robert Mueller.
In the letter – first revealed by the Danger Room blog on wired.com – Durbin describes one slide that read: "Under certain circumstances, the FBI has the ability to bend or suspend the law and impinge on freedoms of others."


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House votes for 90-day extension of transportation funding after rancorous debate - The Washington Post

House votes for 90-day extension of transportation funding after rancorous debate - The Washington Post: Despite several efforts to advance a bipartisan Senate bill championed by Boxer, House leaders opted for a three-month extension while they try to break a deadlock that has stalled their own proposal to fund transportation by expanding offshore oil drilling.

The extension leaves transportation financing in an increasingly precarious position.

After a morning of angry, finger-pointing debate, the House voted to extend the nation’s transportation funding at current levels for 90 days, counting on the Senate to follow suit before the money runs out at midnight Saturday.

3 Major American Banks Brace for Moody's Credit Downgrades - NYTimes.com

Three Major Banks Prepare for Possible Credit Downgrades

James P. Gorman, chief executive of Morgan Stanley, which may be downgraded by Moody’s.Scott Eells/Bloomberg NewsJames P. Gorman, chief executive of Morgan Stanley, which may be downgraded by Moody’s.
Some of Wall Street’s biggest banks are bracing for fallout from a possible cut in their credit ratings.
Moody’s Investors Service, one of the two big ratings agencies, has said it will decide in mid-May whether to lower its ratings for 17 global financial companies. Morgan Stanley, which was hit hard in the financial crisis, appears to be the most vulnerable. Moody’s is threatening to cut the bank’s ratings by three notches, to a level that would be well below the rating of a rival like JPMorgan Chase.
Bank of America and Citigroup may also fall to the same level as Morgan Stanley, but those two are helped by having higher-rated subsidiaries.
Credit ratings are particularly important for financial companies, which greatly depend on the confidence of their creditors and the companies they trade with. A high credit rating enables banks to put up less money, which they can borrow cheaply, while a lower credit rating can mean they have to put up more money and perhaps pay more for their loans.
The three banks that stand to be the most affected by a ratings downgrade have already said that they would have to put up billions of dollars more in collateral to back trading contracts.
Having a substantially lower credit rating than rivals, however, could do much wider damage over time. It could affect billions of dollars in trading contracts that are an important business for Wall Street. Many of these contracts demand that the company on the other side of a trade have a high enough credit rating.
The country’s big mutual funds, asset managers and other institutions are reassessing their trading relationships in light of a possible ratings cut. In some cases, contracts are being rewritten. In others, big investors may walk away.
Weighing the creditworthiness and ratings of banks “is a major focus at Vanguard and at other buy-side companies who do business with Wall Street,” said William Thum, a lawyer with the mutual fund giant Vanguard, referring to institutional investors like his company.
Some of the funds that he deals with are prohibited from trading with banks that have a less-than-sterling credit rating.
“We are now in the process of diversifying our list of trading partners by signing up new dealers who appear most likely to maintain relatively high credit ratings,” he said.
Not all contracts would be affected by a downgrade by Moody’s. Many also require a similar action from the other major ratings agency, Standard & Poor’s. And Moody’s may not cut as deeply as was warned, or at all.
But if Moody’s does cut as it warned in February, Morgan Stanley, Bank of America and Citigroup would be rated Baa2 — just two notches above speculative, or junk — and the banks would have weaker credit ratings than major rivals.
The potential problem for Citigroup and Bank of America is mitigated by the fact that much of their trading of contracts — bets on changes in interest rates, currency values and the like — is done through higher-rated subsidiaries.
Morgan Stanley noted that only about 8 percent of its over-the-counter derivative trading contracts would be affected by a three-notch downgrade.


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WESTERN PSY-OPS AGAINST SYRIA: When Mrs Assad’s "Shopping" Becomes a "Crime Against Humanity"

WESTERN PSY-OPS AGAINST SYRIA: When Mrs Assad’s "Shopping" Becomes a "Crime Against Humanity"

Michelle Obama, the fashion style icon wife of US President Obama, is to have travel sanctions imposed on her by member countries of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, including Russia, China and SCO associate state Iran.
Mrs Obama’s annual six-figure budget for designer clothes and accessories is seen as an affront to moral decency at a time when her husband is overseeing foreign wars of aggression, mass murder in several territories using aerial drones, and ordering the assassination of individuals such as nuclear scientists in Iran.
The equally fashionista-conscious wives of British and French premiers, David Cameron and Nicolas Sarkozy, are also reportedly lined up for sanctions in several Middle East and Central Asian countries owing to these leaders supporting the illegal and murderous US-led NATO bombing campaign on Libya.

By now, the reader will have spotted the above “report” to be a spoof.
However, when it comes to the real world, the European Union is applying such unprecedented measures against the wife of Syria’s President Bashar Al Assad.
“EU slaps Sanctions on Assad’s Wife,” read several newspaper headlines after Europe’s foreign ministers banned British born Asma Assad from traveling to EU states, and ordered the freezing of her personal assets.
Describing the 36-year-old Syrian First Lady as stylish, glamorous, even sexy, the combined lurid portrayal was aimed at presenting Mrs Assad as an insensitive bimbo in the face of her country’s ongoing violence and misery.

Asma Al Assad

Samantha Cameron and Michelle Obama

Carla Bruni, Shimon Peres and Nicolas Sarkozy 
The Washington Post called her Syria’s Marie Antoinette, alleging that “while bloodshed continues, she shops for crystal-encrusted shoes”.
Despite the defamatory wording in the mainstream media written as if it were factual, it turns out that the hype about Mrs Assad, is based on “a trove” of emails obtained by the British Guardian newspaper allegedly from the private correspondence of the Assad family. Even the Guardian puts in a disclaimer about the veracity of the emails, which it says were supplied by “Syrian oppositionists”. There is more than a fair chance that the emails are bogus and forged by intelligence groups well-versed in the black arts of slander, such as MI6.
Suspicions are raised even further when such banal, personal matters such as a woman’s alleged internet shopping habits become the subject of foreign ministerial diplomacy.
British-born Mrs Assad is reputed to have splurged more than €40,000 on household and fashion items. Following the EU sanctions, which came into effect at the weekend, British foreign minister William Hague said: “It’s a sign of the determination of all the nations of the European Union and of the European Union as a whole to intensify the pressure, the diplomatic and economic stranglehold on this regime.”
Meanwhile, France’s foreign affairs minister Alain JuppĂ© commented: “We had a certain number of indications — I am sure it has not escaped you — how the wife of president Assad uses her money. It is perhaps this that pushed us to toughen the sanctions.” JuppĂ©’s concern with financial probity is particularly rich given that he was convicted in 2004 by a French court of “abusing public funds” and sentenced to an 18-month suspended jail term.
When one newspaper’s highlighting of a dodgy dossier of emails is regurgitated by all and sundry in the mainstream media, including so-called quality titles, and when that dodgy dossier forms the basis for EU ministerial sanctions, then there is the unmistakable whiff of a psy-ops job.
This is all the more so perceptible given that the Western governments and the slavish mainstream media have spent the most part of a year grossly distorting the reality of violence and conflict in Syria, with a view to destabilizing the alliance between Damascus and Tehran. President Bashar Al-Assad has been relentlessly accused of “butchering” his own people, despite growing evidence that his government’s forces are more accurately acting to protect the civilian population from terrorist groups armed and directed by the US, Britain, France, Israel, Turkey and the Al Qaeda-affiliated Gulf monarchies.
The Western campaign of demonizing the government of Syria has now been extended somewhat ludicrously to portraying Mrs Assad as a “callous shopaholic” who must be banned from the High Streets of all decent, law-abiding civilizations.
The irony is that the derisory cynical move by the European Union should actually be applied against known war criminals. There is ample evidence to convict past and present American and European leaders of war crimes and crimes against humanity regarding military aggression in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and ongoing towards Iran.
On the basis of legal and criminal facts, sanctions against Michelle Obama, Samantha Cameron and Carla Bruni make far greater sense.
Finian Cunningham is Global Research’s Middle East and East Africa Correspondent cunninghamfinian@gmail.com  

 Global Research Articles by Finian Cunningham

Baja Real Estate Blog: American dream - a big fat lie? - YouTube

Baja Real Estate Blog: American dream - a big fat lie? - YouTube: American dream - a big fat lie? - YouTube    Almost 4 years ago Wall street lead to the world towards financial collapse. Still million...

BRICS influence in the world grows - YouTube

BRICS influence in the world grows - YouTube: BRICS influence in the world grows
 Chief Justice John Roberts said Wednesday what has long been known but seldom spoken. During the third and final day of Supreme Court hearings on whether the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 is unconstitutional, Roberts said  states have been compromising their sovereignty for decades through increased reliance on the federal government for money and accompanying directions on the governance of state affairs. 
"It seems to me that they have compromised their status as independent sovereigns because they are so dependent on what the federal government has done," the chief justice said during Wednesday's nearly three hours of hearings on the controversial health insurance law.
The final day's arguments had to do with whether the law could stand if the justices find the mandate for uncovered individuals to purchase health insurance is unconstitutional — something the court's conservative majority appears ready to do. Another feature of the law called into question by lawyers opposing the act is the expansion of Medicaid, the federal-state program that provides health care for low-income families. Under the Affordable Care Act, Medicaid is expanded to include a larger number of parents, as well as low-income adults with no dependent children. Half of the 32 million who would get new health insurance coverage under the law would receive it through Medicaid. Starting in 2014, the federal government would pay 100 percent of the cost of newly eligible participants. The federal share would be scaled back to 90 percent by 2020. States would still have the right to opt out of the program, but would stand to lose all of the federal funding, including the money they are already receiving. Currently all 50 state participate in the program. 

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Chief Justice Says States Have Compromised Their Sovereignty

Chief Justice Says States Have Compromised Their Sovereignty
 Chief Justice John Roberts said Wednesday what has long been known but seldom spoken. During the third and final day of Supreme Court hearings on whether the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 is unconstitutional, Roberts said  states have been compromising their sovereignty for decades through increased reliance on the federal government for money and accompanying directions on the governance of state affairs. 
"It seems to me that they have compromised their status as independent sovereigns because they are so dependent on what the federal government has done," the chief justice said during Wednesday's nearly three hours of hearings on the controversial health insurance law.
The final day's arguments had to do with whether the law could stand if the justices find the mandate for uncovered individuals to purchase health insurance is unconstitutional — something the court's conservative majority appears ready to do. Another feature of the law called into question by lawyers opposing the act is the expansion of Medicaid, the federal-state program that provides health care for low-income families. Under the Affordable Care Act, Medicaid is expanded to include a larger number of parents, as well as low-income adults with no dependent children. Half of the 32 million who would get new health insurance coverage under the law would receive it through Medicaid. Starting in 2014, the federal government would pay 100 percent of the cost of newly eligible participants. The federal share would be scaled back to 90 percent by 2020. States would still have the right to opt out of the program, but would stand to lose all of the federal funding, including the money they are already receiving. Currently all 50 state participate in the program. 

BRICS influence in the world grows - YouTube

BRICS influence in the world grows - YouTube
 

MF Global Customer and Fund Manager on JP Morgan and the Goldman Sachs Connection - YouTube

MF Global Customer and Fund Manager on JP Morgan and the Goldman Sachs Connection - YouTube
 

IRS seeks 4,000 agents, $303 million for Obamacare | Washington Examiner

IRS seeks 4,000 agents, $303 million for Obamacare | Washington Examiner

IRS seeks 4,000 agents, $303 million for Obamacare

1 day 2 hours ago
Internal Revenue Service Commissioner Douglas Shulman testifies recently before Congress. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
The Internal Revenue Service wants to add about 4,000 agents to hunt down tax cheats and still plans to spend $303 million building a system to oversee Obamacare even though its future looks bleak in the U.S. Supreme Court.

A new Government Accountability Office review of the IRS 2012 tax return season and the taxman’s fiscal 2013 budget request also found that the agency’s customer service rating has slipped and 5.5 million returns were delayed a week because of a computer programming glitch.

The news isn’t all bad though. A March 20 GAO performance audit found that the agency has seen a steady increase in e-filing and had processed 68 million returns so far, a 3 percent bump. What’s more, IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman said that the American Customer Satisfaction Index for his team has jumped to 73 percent and he added that for every $1 spent on enforcement, the agency collects a return of $4.30.

The audit looked at everything from customer service to pending budget issues. It found that the agency’s “level of service” via phone calls dropped from 70 percent last year to 61 percent currently, and that the number of “abandoned (calls,) busies and disconnects” jumped 41 percent this year and almost 150 percent since 2009. The average wait time for IRS help also surged 48 percent to 16.6 minutes.

As for the new workers sought, the GAO said the total will be about 4,500 with nearly 4,000 slated for enforcement. The IRS, however, argues that past budget cuts have forced the agency to cut jobs and set a hiring freeze. On the $303 million for Obamacare, the GAO said it will “continue the development of new systems and modifications of existing systems required to support new tax credits.”
 
 

Good Night, America, and Good-Bye by Philip Giraldi -- Antiwar.com

Good Night, America, and Good-Bye by Philip Giraldi -- Antiwar.com: Unfortunately, the Iranian people do not control Iran’s foreign policy, their government does. President Obama’s concern for their aspirations is as phony as his claimed desire to deliver genuine statehood to the Palestinians. Does he understand what is going on inside Iran or is he really speaking to some domestic audience? And talking about freedom of the Internet is the utmost in hypocrisy, as there is no nation that meddles more in cyberspace than the United States of America. And a more accessible Internet does not necessarily impede the march toward a war, particularly at a time when both the Israelis and Congress seem to be intent on violent confrontation no matter what Iran does. Unwillingness to talk directly to the officials who actually can make a difference is what the White House is all about because Obama intends to get re-elected and he is not about to rock the boat with the Israel Lobby. It means that nothing will happen this year, unless Israel decides to drop the first bomb. No war, no peace is precisely what the administration desires.

Labor rage: Arrests as General Strike locks Spain (PHOTOS, VIDEO) — RT

Labor rage: Arrests as General Strike locks Spain (PHOTOS, VIDEO) — RT: At least 58 people have been arrested and nine injured in Spain, as thousands take part in a general strike and rally against recent labor reforms. Flag-waving protesters fear the decree will undo employers’ hands and thus rob them of their rights.

The 24-hour general strike began before dawn, along with pickets and sporadic clashes with police. Most of those arrested were detained in the early hours, after trying to stop night shift workers getting to their jobs on public transport, in factories and in wholesale markets.

Demonstrators burnt mattresses, tires and other debris in an attempt to keep workers from their jobs. A Molotov cocktail was even thrown at a police car in the eastern city of Murcia. The car was destroyed and two officers were injured by the flames.

Hundreds of flights were cancelled, several local TV stations went off air, and several factories shut down for the day, including the Nissan and Seat facilities in Catalonia. Hospitals provided only minimal care, while at least a third of public transport was halted.