Weekday NEWS to Comfort the Disturbed and Disturb the Comfortable.
Have A State Pension? Don't Count On It.
BY LANCE ROBERTS - FinancialSense.com
One to the biggest issues that face millions of retiring individuals in the coming years is the grossly underfunded pensions for state workers nationwide. Just recently the PEW Center For The States released their annual update on the status of state pension plans - the bottom line is not good. "States continue to lose ground in their efforts to cover the long-term costs of their employees' pensions and retiree health care, according to a new analysis by the Pew Center on the States, due to continued investment losses from the financial crisis of 2008 and states' inability to set aside enough each year to adequately fund their retirement promises. States have responded with an unprecedented number of reforms that, with strong investment gains, may improve the funding situation they face going forward, but continued fiscal discipline and additional reforms will be needed to put states back on a firm footing."The report, which is based on fiscal year 2010 data which is that latest complete data set available, the gap between states' assets and their obligations for public sector retirement benefits was $1.38 trillion, up nearly 9 percent from the fiscal year 2009. Of that figure, $757 billion was for pension promises, and $627 billion was for retiree health care
Will Central Banks Unload Gold?
By Stephen Ward - PerthMintBullion.com
The Perth Mint's Bron Suchecki says that gold prices are determined less by demand than the withholding of supply. "If you look at the gold market, there's quite a lot of above ground gold in stock. Mine supply is 2,800t, but the total amount of gold held above ground is 170,000t. So what matters is whether the holders of that above ground stock are going to sell or not. If they sell then that could easily overwhelm the marginal supply that's coming out of mining companies."
Rightly, investors are interested in the intentions of central banks towards gold. With many under pressure as a result of Europe's financial crisis, Bron summarises his views on the likely actions of central banks in this interview with The Street.
Gold Becomes a Tier 1 Asset Class for Banks Misdirection by MSM
as Gold Moves Towards The Banking System
By Vin Maru - GoldSeek.com
Despite what the Main Stream Media (MSM) or "Financial Pundits" tell you, the gold bull market is far from over. In fact, it is just starting, in our opinion. While the misdirected financial world tell you that gold is in a bubble and it has burst, the central bankers and government organizations all know it is far from over. In fact, gold is moving towards the banking system and not away from it. We all know that many central banks are now net buyers of gold and their holdings are increasing as their need to diversify away from risky assets and foreign bonds only grows.
Commodities Drop After Fed Cuts Growth Estimates;
By Bloomberg News -
Commodities and the euro retreated after the Federal Reserve cut growth estimates and expanded its stimulus program less than some investors had expected. Stocks gained andNew Zealand's dollar rose to a seven-week high.
Oil, copper and nickel fell more than 1 percent by 9:49 a.m. in Tokyo. The euro snapped a two-day advance against the dollar and yen as Spain prepared to sell bonds today, while New Zealand's so-called kiwi rose 0.6 percent after data showed the economy expanded more than predicted. The MSCI Asia Pacific (MXAP) Index rose 0.2 percent while Standard & Poor's 500 Index futures fell 0.1 percent.
Fed Downgrades Economic Outlook and Buys Insurance
BY ASHA BANGALORE - FinancialSense.com
Of the Fed's three options available today (do nothing, engage in QE3, extend Operation Twist), it has chosen the diplomatic route. It appears the Fed was concerned that if it took the path of using only language to indicate support it could rock a fragile global financial system. Given that emergency aid could not be justified, QE3 was out of the question at the present time. The Fed has chosen an extension of Operation Twist as it provides insurance and has fewer avenues of criticism. The Fed indicated that an extension of maturities of its Treasury security holdings will not expire as of June but will remain in place until the end of 2012. The expectation is that this action would exert downward pressure on long term interest rates.
Fed Expands Operation Twist By $267 Billion Through 2012
By Jeff Kearns and Joshua Zumbrun - Bloomberg.com
The Federal Reserve will expand its Operation Twist program to extend the maturities of assets on its balance sheet and said it stands ready to take further action to put unemployed Americans back to work.
The central bank will prolong the program through the end of the year, selling $267 billion of shorter-term securities and buying the same amount of longer-term debt in a bid to reduce borrowing costs and spur the economy.
Bernanke 'prepared' to do more
By Annalyn Censky @CNNMoney
NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Could more stimulus be on the way?
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke certainly left the option on the table Wednesday, making perfectly clear that he stands ready to do more should the U.S. economy take a turn for the worse.
"In case things get worse, we are prepared to protect the U.S. economy and financial system," Bernanke told reporters at a press conference.
Bernanke Implores Congress To Help Him Fix Economy
By BRIAN BEUTLER - TalkingPointsMemo.com
The Federal Reserve opted Wednesday not to take significant new steps to hasten the economic recovery, further angering critics who believe it has failed to adhere to its dual mandate to keep unemployment low while maintaining price stability.
But in response to questions from skeptical media, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke reminded reporters that the Fed isn't the only game in town, and practically begged Congress to take affirmative steps to boost recovery.
Bernanke says Fed open to another round
of bond purchases to lower long-term interest rates
AP - NYPost.com
WASHINGTON — Chairman Ben Bernanke said Wednesday that the Federal Reserve is open to another round of bond purchases to lower long-term interest rates and boost growth if the job market doesn't improve.
"If we don't see further improvement in the labor market, we will be prepared to take additional steps if appropriate," Bernanke said at a news conference after the Fed's two-day policy meeting.
The Fed on Wednesday agreed to extend a program to swap short-term bonds for longer-term bonds. That doesn't expand the Fed's portfolio, but still puts downward pressure on long-term rates.
America is Greece… On Steroids
By Bob Bauman - Sovereign-Investor.com
Take a moment to consider this number: $16,084,425,792,391
At the last count, this is the level of the U.S. national debt. And if that number scares you… it should.
The fiscal and debt situation of the United States today is nothing less than Greece on steroids – with an added dose of political hallucinogens inducing insane denial.
"I have seen a grievous evil under the sun; wealth hoarded to the harm of its owners." – Ecclesiastes 5:13
MOST PEOPLE still get it. Hardly anyone dares guess where it leads.
"Part of the austerity mindset," says an Oxford professor, "is the belief that transfers from creditors to debtors are unfair, because they result from the feckless behaviour of the debtor. There is a clear parallel with the attitude to benefit recipients within a society."
"We're told more often than not," agrees a US think-tanker, "that the reason peripheral countries like Spain are in trouble is that their governments engaged in an irresponsible spending binge and are now reaping the consequences. [But instead,] the imposition of austerity and the waste of human potential this view is generating begs for moral judgement."
Greece Faces Downgrade
To Emerging-Market Status By MSCI
By Ye Xie and Belinda Cao - Bloomberg.com
Greece's stock market was put under review for reclassification to emerging markets by MSCI Inc. (MSCI), a change that would make the European Union nation the first advanced country to be cut to developing status.
The MSCI Greece (MXGR) Index, which includes only two companies, is "structurally no longer in line with Developed Markets size requirements," MSCI, whose stock indexes are tracked by investors with about $7 trillion in assets, said in a statement yesterday. The index provider said it may discontinue the calculation of the MSCI Greece Index should the stock valuations keep declining.
The Euro and us Europe's woes a warning
By John Bolton - NYPost.com
For America, as for Europe, the consequences of Sunday's elections in Greece and France are likely to be profound. Voters in the two Eurozone countries not only charted their own near-term political futures, but provided lessons for US voters in our rapidly approaching November contests.
Greece's center-right New Democracy Party under Antonis Samaris squeaked out a narrow plurality, beating the radical-left Syriza Party by under 3 percentage points. Because New Democracy didn't win a majority, it will have to partner with the Socialist Party, whose policies are largely responsible for Greece's parlous economic condition. Syriza rejected Samaris' call for a "government of national salvation," thus positioning itself to replace him should he fail.
Debt crisis: markets bet Germany
will be dragged down with everyone else Nobody ever got rich shorting Japanese government bonds, it is often said. Are those now aggressively shorting German bunds about to fall into the same trap?
By Jeremy Warner - Telegraph.co.uk
To investors who think the ever more mountainous size of Japan's national debt is eventually bound to end in fiscal disaster, shorting Japanese bonds has long seemed the closest thing to a certain bet the international capital markets are capable of.
Yet J-bonds continue to defy the bears; just when you think yields can go no lower, they fall even more. However apparently illogical and damaging to economic redemption it might seem, government debt has remained the asset class of choice for the land of the setting sun.
Merkel Balks At Sovereign Debt Purchases To Overcome Crisis
By Patrick Donahue - Bloomberg.com
German Chancellor Angela Merkel balked at committing to direct sovereign debt purchases through the euro-area bailout fund, pushing back on calls by the bloc's leaders who backed the measure as a way to ease the crisis.
Such a move, while legally possible, "is not up for debate" at present, Merkel said yesterday in Berlin. French President Francois Hollande championed the idea of using the European Stability Mechanism to purchase indebted countries' bonds as a way to counter rising yields. Just returned from the Group of 20 summit in Los Cabos, Mexico, Merkel said: "I haven't heard about such things."
Treasuries Gain Before Spain Auction On Contagion Concern
By Masaki Kondo - Bloomberg.com
Treasuries rose, sending 10-year yields down for the first time in three days, as concern that contagion is spreading in Europe's debt markets damped investor confidence ahead of a Spanish note sale today.
Demand for the safety of U.S. government securities was supported before data today that may show manufacturing in the Philadelphia region stagnated. Two-year yields were near a two- month high after the Federal Reserve decided to extend its program to sell short-term notes and buy longer-term debt. Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke said yesterday policy makers are prepared to consider further asset purchases.
Irredeemable Currency Session 1, 1/2
Keith Weiner - Austrian School of Economics
Lecture on irredeemable paper money vs. gold. Session 1 presents the problem. Session 2 presents the solution.
In FOMC Rate Decision,
The Fed Does The Absolute Least It Can Do
By Mark Gongloff - HuffingtonPost.com
The Federal Reserve is failing to achieve both of its legally mandated goals, full employment and stable prices. And yet it chose on Wednesday to do the absolute least it could do to change that.
The Federal Open Market Committee, at the end of a two-day policy meeting,announced it was going to extend a bond-buying program known as "Operation Twist" for another six months. Under this program, the Fed sells short-term debt and buys long-term debt. The goal is to keep long-term interest rates low to help the economy. There is some debate about how much the program has really helped, but it is likely better than doing nothing.
Bove: To Fire Up Growth, Scrap Excessive Bank Rules
By Forrest Jones - MoneyNews.com
economy to encourage job creation, any decision to intervene won't work, says Dick Bove, a banking analyst at Rochdale Securities.
Scrapping regulations to encourage more lending will give the economy the jolt that it needs, Bove says.
"It seems clear that the United States economy's growth is slowing and that the global economy is facing major challenges. This suggests a need for some action by the Federal Reserve and other central banks," Bove writes in a note to clients, CNBC reports.
Dimon gets grief from pols — and cleaning lady
By KAJA WHITEHOUSE - NYPost.com
JPMorgan Chase boss Jamie Dimon wasn't the only working stiff in Washington yesterday hoping to get a fair shake.
After taking his lumps during his second grilling on Capitol Hill over the bank's $2 billion trading blunder, he was confronted by Adriana Vasquez, a 38-year-old janitor who says she earns $10,000 a year cleaning JPMorgan's tower in Houston.
"Despite making billions last year, why do you deny the people cleaning your buildings a living wage?" Vasquez asked the bank chieftain at the end of his two-hour grilling before the House Financial Services Committee.
J.P. Morgan Misleads Pensioners, Bails out Hedge Funds
By Walter Russell Mead - The-American-Interest.com Blog
Bloomberg reports that J.P. Morgan has been sued by the Louisiana Police Pension Plan for securities fraud, and this charge only scratches the surface of the company's misconduct.
FoxBusiness reports that in a "strictly confidential" report issued last year, J.P. Morgan admitted that underfunded pension liabilities amount to nearly $4 trillion—far worse than most observers believed. Fixing the shortfall would require drastic, politically unpalatable service cuts or tax hikes. As Charles Gasparino notes in the New York Post, New Jersey would either need to raise taxes by 17.2 percent or cut spending by a breathtaking 30 percent to put its pensions on firm footing. Other states and cities are in a similar bind.
These figures could undermine the entire system of municipal credit, to say nothing of pensions themselves. Investors in municipal bonds desperately need to get a grip on these figures because they could impact the creditworthiness of states and cities with large hidden pension liabilities. So why did J.P. Morgan hide the report?
Dimon on Display Our ad hoc Congress is out of its depth again
going after JPMorgan.
By LUCA GATTONI-CELLI - TheAmerican Spectator.org
Normally, government should not concern itself with a business' operations, but when taxpayer money and the public welfare are at risk, it has a responsibility to investigate. That was the premise of Senate Banking Committee Ranking Member Richard Shelby's (R-Ala.) opening remarks during a recent hearing where JPMorgan Chase Chairman and CEO Jamie Dimon answered questions abouttrading losses totaling over $2 billion sustained by his firm late this spring.
As Shelby noted, Congress was concerned that the incident may illustrate a threat to the financial system and to the economy as a whole. Multiple federal agencies, including the FBI, are investigating. And many commentators have been pointing to the losses as evidence that more financial industry regulation is needed.
Dimon Lambastes Loans
and Expresses His Devotion to Derivatives
BY WILLIAM K BLACK PHD - FinancialSense.com
The ongoing U.S. crisis was driven largely by financial derivatives. Nine of America's systemically dangerous institutions (SDIs) failed or had to be bailed out – Bear Stearns, Lehman, Merrill Lynch, Fannie, Freddie, AIG, Countrywide, Wachovia, and Washington Mutual (WaMu). The SDI failures were primarily due to losses caused or aided by the sale and purchase of enormous amounts of fraudulent derivatives, and deregulation, desupervision, and de facto decriminalization proved exceptionally criminogenic. The Commodities Futures Modernization Act of 2000 and the Gramm, Leach, Bliley Act of 1999, respectively, made credit default swaps (CDS) into a regulatory black hole and repealed the Glass-Steagall Act's prohibition against banks mixing commercial and investment banking.
Keiser Report: Elite Losers & Heroes of Fraud (E303)
In this episode, Max Keiser and co-host, Stacy Herbert, discuss whether elites are failures and losers or whether they are acting in show trials while wearing Presidential seals of approval. They also review Bloomberg's lawsuit seeking evidence of tacit collusion between the EU and Greece regarding Goldman Sachs' swap deals to hide its debt. In the second half of the show Max talks to economist, professor and Member of Parliament in Tunisia, Moncef Cheikhrouhou, about building real economies so that the next generation will inherit olive trees not debts.
'U.S. Per Person Debt to Increase
7 Times Faster than Italian Debt'
BY DANIEL HALPER - WeeklyStandard.com
A new chart, set to be released later today by the minority office of the Senate Budget Committee, finds that, in the next five years, "U.S. Per Person Debt To Increase 7 Times Faster Than Italian Debt."
According to the chart, which is based on numbers calculated by the International Monetary Fund, U.S. per person debt is currently $52,900, while Italy's per person debt is $41,200. In five years, America's is projected to be $67,500, and Italy's $43,200.
Dude, Who Stole My Net Worth?
"Thus far, both political parties have been remarkably clever and effective in concealing this new reality. In fact, the two parties have formed an innovative kind of cartel—an arrangement I have termed America's political duopoly. Both parties lie about the fact that they have each sold out to the financial sector and the wealthy. So far both have largely gotten away with the lie, helped in part by the enormous amount of money now spent on deceptive, manipulative political advertising." – Charles Ferguson – Predator Nation
When you dig into the charts and data supplied by the Federal Reserve generated report, the data which goes back to 2001 tells a story not addressed by the deceptive, manipulative, political propaganda that passes for investigative reporting by the captured mainstream media. The chart below compares the median versus mean income growth from the last three Fed consumer surveys. Overall, it reveals a lost decade of negative income growth for the average middle class family. In the early part of the decade the average middle class family made some progress as jobs were relatively plentiful and the internet crash mostly impacted the rich, who own most of the stocks in the country. This is why the median income rose while the average income fell. The wealthy have a large impact on the average because they own the vast majority of assets in this country. The stock market debacle was unacceptable to the oligarchs and their money printing puppet Greenspan.
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Will Toledo, Ohio Be The First
Major American City To Be Owned By China?
By Michael Snyder - TheEconomicCollapseBlog.com
It has been said that there are two ways to conquer and enslave a nation. One way is by using the sword, and the other is by using debt. Fortunately, America is not in danger of being conquered by the sword right now, but America is being conquered by debt. The borrower is the servant of the lender, and today we owe China more than a trillion dollars. By running a gigantic trade deficit with us, China has been able to become incredibly wealthy. We have begged them to lend us back some of the money that we have sent them and this has made them even wealthier. Now China is gobbling up U.S. real estate and U.S. assets at an astounding pace. In fact, some cities are in danger of becoming completely dominated by Chinese ownership. One of those cities is Toledo, Ohio. In many "rust belt" areas, real estate can be had for a song, and the Chinese are taking full advantage of this. America was once the wealthiest nation on earth, but now we are drowning in debt and we are being sold off in chunks to the highest bidder. Is this the legacy that we are going to leave for future generations?
San Bernardino considers eminent domain
to seize underwater mortgages
By Alejandro Lazo - LATimes.com
San Bernardino County is pursuing a program that would use eminent domain to seize mortgages and restructure them for underwater homeowners stuck in their properties.
The aggressive plan, approved unanimously this week by the county Board of Supervisors, is titled the Homeownership Protection Program and partners the county with the cities of Ontario and Fontana. The program will use private funds from investors to acquire underwater mortgages – those that are worth less than the debt owed on them – and restructure them on behalf of homeowners in those cities.
Prime Real Estate Up for Grabs in a Rapidly Rising Market
By Erika Nolan - Sovereign-Investor.com
Thankfully, I didn't come to Phuket in southern Thailand for a vacation. If I had, I would have been terribly disappointed. Between us, I am not sure what people see in this place. I'm counting down the minutes until I get back on a plane bound for Singapore.
Fortunately, the two guys Jeff and I flew here to meet made this trip well worth it.
After reading about Mongolia in a variety of places, I went looking for the experts behind these stories. I had a feeling much of the information was coming from the same people, actively engaged – with their own money – in these frontier markets.
Fed Officials Sees Lower U.S. Growth, Slow Progress On Jobs
By Craig Torres - Bloomberg.com
Federal Reserve officials cut their estimates for 2012 growth after last month's slowdown in hiring and see little progress on unemployment during the rest of the year.
Fed officials lowered their central tendency estimate for U.S. 2012 gross domestic product growth to 1.9 percent to 2.4 percent from 2.4 percent to 2.9 percent in April. Estimates for 2013 centered around 2.2 percent to 2.8 percent, compared with 2.7 percent to 3.1 percent in the previous forecast.
From Rust Belt to Drone Belt Out of the ashes of automotive manufacturing,
Dayton, Ohio, is hoping to "re-skill" its workforce
with continuing technical education.
By Ellen Ruppel Shell - TheAtlantic.com
Every company, municipality, and government agency in America would be lucky indeed to have an Adam Murka on its payroll. Adam has the memory of a savant, the work ethic of a dairy farmer, and the can-do attitude of a young man who has never experienced disappointment or despair.
Except that he has.
Adam, who is 28, lives and works in the town where he grew up: Dayton, Ohio. Last week he took me on a tour of the place, a city for which he harbors enormous hope. We saw the Oregon District, with its chic shops and coffee shops and excellent taverns. We drove past the sweeping campuses of several universities. And then we drove to Moraine to see the General Motors assembly plant.
Would Rachel Carson Find an Audience Today? Silent Spring for Us?
by PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS - CounterPunch.org
With her 1962 book, Silent Spring, Rachel Carson got DDT and other synthetic pesticides banned and saved bird life. Today it is humans who are directly threatened by technologies designed to extract the maximum profit at the lowest private cost and the maximum social cost from natural resources.
Once abundant clean water has become a scarce resource. Yet, in the US ground water and surface water are being polluted and made unusable by mountain top removal mining, fracking and other such "new technologies." Ranchers in eastern Montana, for example, are being forced out of ranching by polluted water.
OBAMA ADMINISTRATION PROGRAM
SPENT $10B TO CREATE 355 JOBS PER YEAR
BY: Washington Free Beacon Staff
The Obama administration spent $10 billion to create 355 renewable energy jobs per year, according to testimony offered Tuesday before Congress by a Congressional Research Services expert.
Asked by Rep. Cory Gardner (R., Colo.) "how many jobs were created" in 2009 and 2010 under the 1603 renewable energy grant program authorized by the Obama administration, a CRS specialist in public finance admitted that $10 billion was spent to create 3,666 construction jobs over a two-year period–and only 355 jobs per year going forward.
Supreme Court could reveal healthcare ruling Thursday
By Timothy M. Phelps - LATimes.com
WASHINGTON -- Television cameras will surround the Supreme Court on Thursday morning, as they did Monday, anticipating something that may, again, not happen.
The momentous healthcare decision could be announced Thursday. Or not. All we really know is that it is extremely likely to be handed down by the following Thursday, June 28, when the court is expected to end its current term.
• Professor says doctors use 'death pathway' to euthenasia of the elderly
• Treatment on average brings a patient to death in 33 hours
• Around 29 per cent of patients that die in hospital are on controversial 'care pathway'
• Pensioner admitted to hospital given treatment by doctor on weekend shift
By STEVE DOUGHTY - DailyMail.co.uk
NHS doctors are prematurely ending the lives of thousands of elderly hospital patients because they are difficult to manage or to free up beds, a senior consultant claimed yesterday.
Professor Patrick Pullicino said doctors had turned the use of a controversial 'death pathway' into the equivalent of euthanasia of the elderly.
He claimed there was often a lack of clear evidence for initiating the Liverpool Care Pathway, a method of looking after terminally ill patients that is used in hospitals across the country.
Congress contempt charge for US Attorney General Holder
A US House of Representatives committee has voted along party lines to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress.
Mr Holder refused to hand over papers relating to a botched sting operation.
The move comes after President Barack Obama used his executive privilege to withhold documents sought by the House Oversight Committee.
But Mr Holder said claims he did not co-operate over Operation Fast and Furious were "untrue".
Obama refuses to turn over 'Fast and Furious' documents House panel recommends Holder contempt citation
By Tom Cohen, CNN.com
Washington (CNN) -- Voting on strictly partisan lines, a House committee recommended Wednesday that Attorney General Eric Holder be cited for contempt of Congress for failing to turn over documents relating to the botched Fast and Furious weapons sting operation.
The vote ended an extraordinary daylong hearing that took place after President Barack Obama asserted executive privilege over some documents sought by the panel investigating Fast and Furious. The White House move means the Department of Justice can withhold some of the documents.
Ron Paul, Social Security opponent,
acknowledges he receives benefits
By Morgan Little - LATimes.com
WASHINGTON – Ron Paul, a staunch opponent of federal welfare programs, acknowledged Wednesday that he receives Social Security checks, shortly after advocating that younger generations opt out of the program.
Appearing on MSNBC's "Morning Joe," Paul was asked by Huffington Post's Sam Stein whether he should set an example for younger Americans and opt out of the program entirely. Paul, refusing the notion, compared the program to other common goods such as the post office.
Eisenhower's Warning Ignored,
Presidential Power Has Risen to Sinister Level
By Bill Boyarsky - Truthdig.com
By following a warlike path—and getting a free pass from too many progressives—President Barack Obama is making sure that foreign policy will remain in the hands of the military-industrial complex.
Hardly discussed in the presidential campaign is how Obama personally picks targets on a kill list, hugely has increased drone attacks, and wages cyberwarfare against Iran. If these actions had occurred under Bush-Cheney, liberals would have taken to the streets. Instead, the practices are accepted as facts of life, barely worth comment.
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Big Brother for PROFIT... The 'faceless organization that knows everything about you' You for Sale: Mapping, and Sharing, the Consumer Genome
By NATASHA SINGER - NYTimes.com
IT knows who you are. It knows where you live. It knows what you do.
It peers deeper into American life than the F.B.I. or the I.R.S., or those prying digital eyes at Facebook and Google. If you are an American adult, the odds are that it knows things like your age, race, sex, weight, height, marital status, education level, politics, buying habits, household health worries, vacation dreams — and on and on.
Right now in Conway, Ark., north of Little Rock, more than 23,000 computer servers are collecting, collating and analyzing consumer data for a company that, unlike Silicon Valley's marquee names, rarely makes headlines. It's called the Acxiom Corporation, and it's the quiet giant of a multibillion-dollar industry known as database marketing.
• Devices connected to internet leak information
• CIA director says these gadgets will 'transform clandestine tradecraft'
• Spies could watch thousands via supercomputers
• People 'bug' their own homes with web-connected devices
By Rob Waugh - DailyMail.co.uk
When people download a film from Netflix to a flatscreen, or turn on web radio, they could be alerting unwanted watchers to exactly what they are doing and where they are.
Spies will no longer have to plant bugs in your home - the rise of 'connected' gadgets controlled by apps will mean that people 'bug' their own homes, says CIA director David Petraeus.
The CIA claims it will be able to 'read' these devices via the internet - and perhaps even via radio waves from outside the home.
120 Powerful Pieces Of Advice For Preppers
By Michael Snyder - EndOfTheAmericanDream.com
Our world is becoming increasingly unstable, and millions of Americans are feverishly preparing for what they consider to be "the end of the world as we know it". In fact, it is estimated that there are now approximately 3 million "preppers" in the United States. But for people that have never done much prepping before, getting started can be both confusing and intimidating. In fact, I get more questions about prepping than anything else. People are constantly asking me how they can prepare for the difficult times that are coming. Well, in this article I have compiled 120 powerful pieces of advice for preppers. No two situations are exactly the same, and almost every prepper approaches preparation differently, but there are some basic principles that apply to almost everyone. And without a doubt, a lot of people that are not preparing now are going to regret it in the years ahead. The global financial system is falling apart, the United States and Europe are absolutely drowning in debt, earthquakes and volcanic eruptions are becoming more frequent, signs of social decay are everywhere and war could erupt in the Middle East at any time. Actually, it is absolutely amazing that there are so many people out there that still believe that "prepping" is not necessary.
World leaders accused of failure
as Rio poised to set no new targets or timetables Obama and Cameron stay away as nations struggle to reach sustainable development deal.
By Michael McCarthy - Independent.co.uk
More than 100 world leaders, but not America's Barack Obama or Britain's David Cameron, gathered in Rio de Janeiro yesterday for a three-day UN summit on sustainable development – the formula for bringing millions of people out of poverty without trashing the environment.
The gathering at "Rio Plus 20" marks the 20th anniversary of the so-called "Earth Summit" in Rio in June 1992, regarded as one of the most influential environmental gatherings ever, not least for the two UN treaties it saw signed on climate change and biodiversity.
That's All Folks: Why the Writing Is on the Wall at Microsoft
by Philippe Silberzahn - Forbes.com
Should you ever fire the chief executive of a company that just reported record third quarter revenues and double-digit operating income growth? According to Forbes contributor Adam Hartung, the answer is a definite yes. Despite stellar financial results, Hartung argues thatSteve Ballmer has "singlehandedly steered Microsoft out of some of the fastest growing and most lucrative tech markets (mobile music, handsets and tablets) [and] in the process he has sacrificed the growth and profits of not only his company but 'ecosystem' companies such asDell, Hewlett Packard and even Nokia." And Microsoft's new tablet, announced this week, isn't about to be a game changer, as Hartung also argues. Indeed, the company has been trying to sell tablets since 1998.
The Most Immediate Threats to Global Energy Security -
By Jen Alic - OilPrice.com
As global energy supplies come under increasing attack by non-state actors and private energy holdings become key targets of political maneuverings and criminal activities, Oilprice.com discusses the nature of the growing threat and how to reverse the risk with "smart power."
To help us look at these issues we got together with Corporate intelligence specialistsJellyfish Operations and security expert Jennifer Giroux.
Report Finds Fracking Causes Fewer Earthquakes
than Conventional Extraction
By James Burgess - OilPrice.com
Hydraulic fracturing has its problems, and one of the most extreme of these is that it can cause earthquakes. A new study has once again found that fracking does indeed cause earthquakes, however what is surprising is that conventional extraction of oil and natural gas causes more.
The study, 'Induced Seismicity Potential in Energy Technologies', and compiled by the National Research Council (NRC), looked into all earthquakes that have been linked to the full range of underground energy technologies, from conventional oil and gas wells, and geothermal energy, to carbon sequestration.
Israel after the Six-Day-War:
The Secret Peace Deliberations
By Walter Russell Mead - The-American-Interest.com Blog
To mark the anniversary of the 1967 Six-Day-War, in which Israel defeated multiple Arab armies and acquired the West Bank, Gaza, Sinai Peninsula, Golan Heights, and East Jerusalem, the Israeli National Archives has declassified hitherto unseen transcripts of the top secret government deliberations that took place following Israel's remarkable victory. The plan that emerged in those deliberations was to trade all the land back, except Jerusalem, for regional peace. Highlights of the transcripts include hardliner Menachem Begin proving surprisingly amenable to territorial concession and several religious parties favoring a return of land they would ultimately build settlements in.
Global Leaders Are Still Dithering on Syria and the Eurozone Obama's G20 press conference offered little substance
on the two crises facing the world.
By Steve Clemons - TheAtlantic.com
Yesterday evening on MSNBC's Hardball, Chris Matthews speculated before the start of an announced press conference in Los Cabos, Mexico that President Obama had an extensive slate of topics he could delve into and move his political ball forward.
There was rampant speculation that a deal of some sort had been cobbled together with Russia and other countries on a new game plan for dealing with violence in Syria. Others thought that the President would announce that European nations had finally agreed to measures that would end the Eurozone crisis. Some thought that the beleaguered nuclear talks that European High Commissioner for Foreign Affairs Catherine Ashton had been suffering through with Iran might have moved in a positive direction. Chris Matthews said that Obama is the first incumbent President of the United States who by executive order is ceasing deportations of young illegal residents, a hugely controversial political topic, might expand on that political chess move.
Russian Ship, Loaded With Attack Helos,
Turns Away From Syria
By Robert Beckhusen - Wired.com
A transport ship the U.S. believes is carrying attack helicopters to Syria is now heading back to Russia. Ostensibly, the MV Alaed turned around after its insurance coverage was pulled. But the ship's return coincides with a meeting between Obama and Vladimir Putin — a sign the two leaders may be starting to cooperate on what to do about Syria's deadly war.
According to press reports, the Alaed, with its load of Mi-25 attack helos, had its insurance yanked by its British insurer, Standard Club, on Monday. The insurer had been reportedly approached by British security services and informed that providing insurance to the Alaed, which is owned by Russian cargo line Femco, violated European Union sanctions prohibiting arms sales to Syria. The insurer pulled its coverage, and the ship then turned back toward the Russian port of Kaliningrad. The ship had earlier stopped about 50 miles off Scotland's northwest coast.
Syria 'truce agreed' to evacuate Homs civilians
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) says the Syrian government and rebel fighters have agreed a temporary truce to allow civilians to be evacuated from the city of Homs.
The ICRC said that its teams - with the Syrian Arab Red Crescent - were ready to enter the worst-hit parts of Homs.
However despite the agreement, aid workers have been unable to enter.
Elsewhere in Syria, activists say that at least 20 soldiers were killed by rebels in the province of Latakia.