Weekday NEWS to Comfort the Disturbed and Disturb the Comfortable.
Gold Council Sees Central Bank Bullion Buying at 48-Year High
By Nicholas Larkin - Bloomberg.com
Central banks added the most gold to reserves in almost a half century last year as prices averaged a record, the World Gold Council said.
The banks bought 145 metric tons in the fourth quarter, an eighth successive quarter of net buying, the London-based industry group said today in a report. They added 534.6 tons to reserves last year, 17 percent more than in 2011 and the most since 1964, it estimates.
Gold – Safety Blanket or Quilting Essential?
BY ADRIAN ASH - FinancialSense.com
The patchwork quilt of diversification looks awful smart. It's more than pretty with gold in it, too...
Investment experts keep telling us two things.
One, you must diversify your savings. Nothing works for ever. Two, your annual returns are set to be miserable, because there's no return to the out-sized gains of the 1980s and '90s. The last 10 years prove that.
What, Me Worry? CBO warns of fiscal doom,
and our president reacts like Alfred E. Neumann.
By DOUG BANDOW - Spectator.org
President Barack Obama won his budget pound of flesh in the "fiscal cliff" showdown. Taxes on the "rich" are going up. But that hasn't solved Washington's deficit crisis. Nor would approval of the new taxes that he proposed help avoid the impending budget sequester.
The Congressional Budget Office once had the reputation of a bland government bureaucracy, churning out detailed reports that only a policy nerd would read. Today CBO reports have taken over the literary genre of horror stories. The first movie can't be far behind.
Why Democrats Should Fear Budget Sequester Cuts
by Joshua Green - Businessweek.com
While both parties are beginning to position themselves for the showdown over the $1.2 trillion in automatic "sequestration" cuts that take effect on March 1, Democrats are generally seen as having the advantage. The programs they're most concerned about (Medicare, Medicaid, nutrition assistance) are, for the most part, spared the budget axe. The same is not true for Republicans. Sequestration makes deep cuts to the military budget, a source of intensifying concern for conservatives, who have already begun fighting amongst themselves over how to respond. The emerging viewamong Washington insiders is that the sequester will probably not be averted before March 1, but that Republicans will probably make concessions as the cuts begin to bite.
Fed policy has put "pedal to the metal" in 2013: Bullard
By Alister Bull
STARKVILLE, Mississippi | Thu Feb 14, 2013 3:01pm EST
(Reuters) - The Federal Reserve has ramped up its monetary stimulus "considerably" this year compared with 2012, thanks to two significant changes, a senior Fed official said on Thursday.
James Bullard, president of the St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank, said the switch to outright open-ended bond purchases, plus adopting thresholds to guide expectations on when the Fed would begin raising interest rates, had made policy more effective.
The Missing $20 Trillion How to stop companies and people dodging tax,
in Delaware as well as Grand Cayman
CIVILISATION works only if those who enjoy its benefits are also prepared to pay their share of the costs. People and companies that avoid tax are therefore unpopular at the best of times, so it is not surprising that when governments and individuals everywhere are scrimping to pay their bills, attacks are mounting on tax havens and those that use them.
In Europe the anger has focused on big firms. Amazon and Starbucks have faced consumer boycotts for using clever accounting tricks to book profits in tax havens while reducing their bills in the countries where they do business. David Cameron has put tackling corporate tax-avoidance at the top of the G8 agenda. America has taken aim at tax-dodging individuals and the banks that help them. Congress has passed the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA), which forces foreign financial firms to disclose their American clients. Any whiff of offshore funds has become a political liability. During last year's presidential campaign Mitt Romney was excoriated by Democrats for his holdings in the Cayman Islands. Now Jack Lew, Barack Obama's nominee for treasury secretary, is under fire for once having an interest in a Cayman fund.
No End in Sight for Global "Currency Wars"
BY GARY DORSCH - FinancialSense.com
With frigid temperatures expected to hover between 15-degree and 23-degree Fahrenheit this weekend in Moscow, it's a wonder why the world's most powerful finance chiefs and central bankers would schedule their Feb 15-16th meeting in Vladimir Putin's backyard. Instead, a better venue for the Group-of-20 would've been the Cayman Islands. The Islands are warm year-round, with average highs holding steady in the 80's. January and February are the coolest months with lows averaging in the lower 70's. However, Russia holds the presidency of the G-20 this year, - so finance chiefs will have to endure the frozen tundra.
Virtual currencies in cyberspace… moving to mainstream? With Amazon minting currency, Fed at risk In future, good money could drive out the bad
By Matthew Lynn
LONDON (MarketWatch) — Central banks are not exactly short of things to worry about right now.
The euro may well be on the road to a chaotic collapse, taking some of the world's biggest banks with it. A currency war may break out between Japan, the U.S. and Europe. Printing money has run out of steam, but there is still little sign of the global economy returning to the kind of growth rates it saw before the credit crunch.
Euro-Area Economy Shrinks Most Since Depths of Recession
By Marcus Bensasson - FinancialSense.com
The euro-area recession deepened more than economists forecast with the worst performance in almost four years as the region's three biggest economies suffered slumping output.
Gross domestic product fell 0.6 percent in the fourth quarter from the previous three months, the European Union's statistics office in Luxembourg said today. That's the most since the first quarter of 2009 in the aftermath of the collapse of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. and exceeded the 0.4 percent median forecast of economists in a Bloomberg survey.
U.S. and EU Plan to Create 'an Economic NATO' America looks to Europe to stimulate its economy.
By Richard Palmer - theTrumpet.com
America will attempt to negotiate a free trade deal with the European Union, U.S. President Barack Obama announced during his State of the Union address on February 12. The next day, EU leaders published a joint statement with Mr. Obama announcing that the two blocs "will each initiate the internal procedures necessary to launch negotiations on a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership."
Before negotiations can begin, the United States needs to notify Congress, and the EU needs approval from its member states. Each plans to have this completed by the end of June.
Could a $9 Minimum Wage Reduce Illegal Immigration?
By Peter Coy - BusinessWeek.com
President Obama didn't draw the connection in his State of the Union address, but his plan to raise the minimum wage might help him with his plan to curb illegal immigration.
If companies pay more for low-skilled work, they'll have an easier time finding native-born workers and legal immigrants to fill the jobs. That will decrease the demand for illegal workers.
PAUL RYAN: OBAMA 'DELUSIONAL' ON DEBT
by WILLIAM BIGELOW - Breitbart.com
House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) told his colleagues Wednesday that Barack Obama and the Democratic Senate are "deluding" themselves regarding the national deficit.
Ryan said, "It seems as if they think the heavy lifting on debt reduction, deficit reduction is behind us, we have just a little bit left and then we're done. I really worry that our partners in government, here — two-thirds of it, the Senate and the White House — are deluding themselves in thinking this thing is taken care of."
President Obama's Minimum Wage Delusion A study in liberal "good" intentions.
By RON ROSS - Spectator.org
Once again Democratic politicians want to increase the dosage of a popular but extremely toxic form of public policy snake oil. In his State of the Union message Tuesday President Obama proclaimed, "Tonight, let's declare that in the wealthiest nation on earth no one who works full time should have to live in poverty, and raise the minimum wage to $9 an hour. We should be able to get that done." Pat Quinn, the governor of Illinois, last week proposed raising his state's minimum wage from the current $8.25 an hour to $10 an hour.
A spokesman for Governor Quinn said, "The governor feels very strongly that nobody should work 40 hours a week and live in poverty. It's obvious the governor feels such an increase will be good for the economy and good for workers who drive our economic growth. So many people are struggling to make ends meet earning the basic minimum wage—and these ends never get met." If that's what the governor thinks, he couldn't be more confused.
$9 WAGE AS POVERTY CURE? $9 wage alone doesn't get workers out of poverty Obama will have to do more than raise the minimum wage
to lift people out of poverty.
NEW YORK (CNNMoney)
President Obama wants to raise the minimum wage to help working Americans escape poverty. But just hiking the hourly rate by $1.75 to $9 won't accomplish that.
A full-time job paying $9 an hour works out to about $18,000 a year. The poverty line is roughly $23,300 for a four-person household.
Shiller On Housing: Back? On Track? Or Still Cracked?
By Tyler Durden - ZeroHedge.com
Following on from our earlier discussion of the boomerang foreclosure problem, we thought a recent interview between Goldman and Bob Shiller well worth considering - given his relative independence and honesty.
Excerpted from a Goldman Sachs interview with Bob Shiller:
What's been driving the improvement in the US housing market over the past six to nine months?
Part of the improvement is just the benefit of the summer season. Summer and early fall have traditionally been periods of increasing home prices. Another factor is the ongoing decline in foreclosures. Foreclosed properties tend to sell at low prices and as the foreclosure rate declines, we might expect to see aggregate home prices increase. I also think that price increases that were likely caused by the decline in foreclosures may have been mistakenly taken by the public as a note of optimism, leading them to react to the thought that home prices might be rising again. Inventories of homes for sale are also low, in part because sellers have been holding off on putting their houses on the market in the hopes of further price increases or because millions of mortgages are still under water so many homeowners feel "stuck" in their homes until/unless prices rise more strongly and they can pay off their mortgage with the proceeds of their sale.
"Boomerang Foreclosures" Are Back
As Bernanke's Second Housing Bubble Begins To Pop
By Tyler Durden - ZeroHedge.com
Something curious happened in California in January: the foreclosure process virtually ground to a halt. Specifically, as RealtyTrac describes it, "the downward foreclosure trend in California accelerated into hyper speed in January, decisively shifting the balance of power when it comes to the nation's foreclosure activity", shifting it in favor of homeowners and effectively preventing banks from sending out Notices of Default (NOD) repossessing homes whose owners no longer pay their mortgages. This was the result of the Homeowners Bill of Rights, or legislation which "extends many of the principles in the national mortgage settlement — including a prohibition on so-called dual tracking and requiring a single point of contact for borrowers facing foreclosure — to all mortgage servicers operating in California. In addition the new law imposes fines of up to $7,500 per loan for filing of multiple unverified foreclosure documents." The outcome of this law as it propagates through the market can be seen in the chart below: in January 2013, California foreclosure starts are now down to levels not seen since 2005!
Welcome to Subprime U Student loans: Welcome to subprime university
By Lauren Silva Laughlin, Fortune.CNN.com
FORTUNE -- Make no mistake: the student loan market is a disaster. TheWall Street Journal recently reported that a third of borrowers in the $900 billion market are subprime, and about a third of those subprime borrowers aren't paying bills on time. Lending standards are not rigid. College education prices are inflating. And, at the very least, young college students facing a poor job market are offered seemingly endless amounts of cash with little initial recourse.
Heinz Confirms It Will Be Acquired By Buffett
In $28 Billion Transaction At $72.50/Share
by Tyler Durden - ZeroHedge.com
Just released by Heinz. Luckily, the brand new US Secretary of State has a full conflict of interest release.
H.J. Heinz Company Enters Into Agreement to Be Acquired by Berkshire Hathaway and 3G Capital
H.J. Heinz Company (NYSE: HNZ) ("Heinz") today announced that it has entered into a definitive merger agreement to be acquired by an investment consortium comprised of Berkshire Hathaway and 3G Capital.
Medicine for the Rich
Is About to Get Cheap Enough for Regular People
BY DANIELA HERNANDEZ - Wired.com
After years of exotic and very expensive machines sequencing DNA, the genomics industry finally looks poised for its cell phone moment.
Soon, the business of genetics could look a lot like the commodity-driven mobile industry, with providers selling hardware on the cheap and relying on software, apps and diagnostics to drive revenue. And, as with the app-filled smartphones we keep close to us 24/7, genomics could finally become a much more intimate part of our lives.
EU horsemeat affair prompts DNA testing
BY NIKOLAJ NIELSEN - EUObserver.com
BRUSSELS - The European Commission is urging member states to intensify DNA tests on meat products to see how much horsemeat there is in EU "beef."
"The tests will be on DNA in meat products in all member states," health commissioner Tonio Borg told reporters in Brussels on Wednesday (13 February).
He said EU countries should intensify tests in an initial 30-day period starting in March as part of a bigger, three-month-long programme.
Hidden Inflation Everywhere,
From Watered-Down Bourbon To Horse-Meat Chili
By Wolf Richter - ZeroHedge.com
We've had an endless series of products whose ingredients have been cheapened in order to maintain the price. Consumers won't be able to taste the difference, the theory goes. So, as the horse-meat lasagna scandal in Europe is spiraling beautifully out of control, we're now getting hit where it hurts: Maker's Mark is watering down its bourbon.
Unlike the horse-meat folks, Maker's Mark announced it. They even had an official reason. "Fact is, demand for our bourbon is exceeding our ability to make it, which means we're running very low on supply," said the missive that COO Rob Samuels sent to his customers. They'd add water to the remaining batch—it would lower alcohol content from 45% to 42%—so that there'd be enough for everybody
Everything You Need to Know About
This Friday's Close Shave by Asteroid 2012 DA14
By Phil Plait - Slate.com
On Friday, Feb. 15, the Earth is going to get a veryclose shave by an asteroid*. Called 2012 DA14, this 50 meter (160 foot) rock will pass just over 27,000 kilometers (17,000 miles) from the Earth's surface. This is closer than our geosynchronous satellites, so this really is a close pass!
But, to be very clear: This asteroid poses no threat to us right now, nor in the foreseeable future. Friday's miss is just that: a miss. And, in fact, this is a good thing, since any time an asteroid gets close (but misses), we learn a lot, including how to find them, how to track them, and even how to talk about them to the public.
New dogma from the Vatican, heralded by the comet of century? WHEN LIGHTNING STRIKES: SOMETIMES IT IS SIMPLE ENERGY IN THE AIR AND SOMETIMES PERHAPS SOMETHING ELSE
It keeps rolling on: the implications, the signs, the symbols.
There was the lightning.
This is something that has always carried a spiritual connotation. Satan was seen (by Jesus) as falling like a bolt (Luke 10:18), and the meteorological phenomenon always has seemed a bit spooky -- the backdrop for countless suspense movies, for hauntings, a time during which the spiritual seems energized.
On February 11, 2013, it struck St. Peter's Basilica, twice.
It was just hours (around six p.m. Rome local time) after news broke that Benedict XVI was nearly immediately leaving the papacy.
The world was, yes, "thunderstruck."
Pope Says He Will Be 'Hidden to the World' in Retirement
By ELISABETTA POVOLEDO - NYTimes.com
VATICAN CITY — Saying he would soon be "hidden to the world," Pope Benedict XVI took his leave of parish priests and clergy members of the Diocese of Rome on Thursday as he offered personal, and incisive, recollections of the Second Vatican Council, the gathering of bishops 50 years ago that set the Roman Catholic Church's course for the future.
Benedict, who announced his resignation on Monday in a move that stunned the Roman Catholic world, also indicated that he would not hold a public role once his resignation became official on Feb. 28. Benedict is the first pope to step down in nearly 600 years.
Why, Despite the Boom in Oil Production,
are Gasoline Prices Still High?
By Joe Romm - OilPrice.com
On Monday, USA Today reported that the price of gasoline hit $3.60 a gallon for the first time since October — an early start in comparison to the usual price rise seen in the spring. The increase occurred despite world oil production climbing to 88.8 million barrels per day in 2012, about 2 million barrels higher than two years ago according to the Washington Post's Brad Plumer. And about half of that increased production is due to an oil boom in the United States that's driven imported oil to its lowest level since 1987.
Lessons From North Dakota's Oilfields Building the right climate for energy development
can produce remarkable results.
By JOHN HOEVEN - Spectator.org
Delayed energy projects and regulatory hurdles to domestic oil production not only cost the United States economy billions of dollars and millions of jobs, but they also stand in the way of an elusive goal: true American energy security.
I believe, however, that our nation is within striking range of that goal and, with the right approach, can achieve it within five to seven years. We have the resources and technology to produce more energy than we consume and break our long-standing dependence on foreign sources of oil. All we need is the will.
Panama Canal to become Major LNG Thoroughfare?
By John Daly - OiPrice.com
One of the most beloved terms of wargamers is "sea lines of communication," or SLOCs.
For the past several years the Pentagon has been preoccupied in planning for possible conflict over the Persian Gulf SLOC and, further east, the Malacca Strait SLOC.
But in the Western Hemisphere, the preeminent SLOC remains the Panama Canal.
The State of Obama The State of the Union speech was about just one thing:
the Obama project.
By Daniel Henninger - WSJ.com
Here's what has to be understood. It's all about him.
A State of the Union speech normally is about relating a president's public policies to conditions in the country. AnObama State of the Union speech is about one thing: the Obama project.
It would be unfair to say that everything and everyone else in a complex world are irrelevant. But let's be clear about the priorities: Congress, the Cabinet of courtiers, the press, the people and indeed the national problems described in that State of the Union speech—it's all brick and mortar in the future Obama monument.
Who Tells Us What To Think?
Does The Mainstream Media = The Matrix?
By Michael Snyder - ThEconomicCollapseBlog.com
Do you believe that you really think for yourself? Did you come up with your attitudes, opinions and beliefs on your own, or are they continually being shaped and molded by someone else? Could it be possible that you and everyone around you is actually hooked into a real life version of "the matrix" that is constantly defining your reality for you? Sadly, the truth is that almost all of us have willingly hooked ourselves into a colossal media system that literally tells us what to think. In the United States today, the average American watches 153 hours of television a month. We also spend huge amounts of time watching movies, surfing the Internet, reading books and magazines, playing video games and listening to music. Many Americans are so addicted to being "connected" that they will actually become physically uncomfortable if they are at home and there is total silence. Unfortunately, as I pointed out in a previous article, somewhere around 90 percent of the "information" that we are allowing to be endlessly pumped into our heads is owned by just 6 gigantic media corporations. So could it be possible that the thousands of hours of "news and entertainment" that you are allowing these gigantic corporations to fill your head with each year is having an effect on you? Does the mainstream media have more control over you than you ever dreamed possible? If you want to continue on in blissful ignorance, stop reading now, but if you want to take "the red pill", keep on reading because the further down the rabbit hole you go, the stranger that things get.
Surge of sheriff groups
opposed to Obama gun control rises to 11
By Paul Bedard - WashingtonExaminer.com
In less than four weeks since President Obama proposed sweeping new gun control laws and a ban on assault-style weapons, the backlash from law enforcement groups that strongly support the Second Amendment has surged and now there are 11 state sheriffs associations opposed to the president.
The Illinois and Montana Sheriffs Associations became the last to join the growing crowd of police opposed to Obama, arguing this week that the president and state legislatures should instead be focused on mental health, not gun hardware.
Missouri Democrats Call for Gun Confiscation The denial is over: Government is coming for the guns.
By Kurt Nimo - InfoWars.com
Democrats around the country are in a race to destroy the Second Amendment and the latest outrage is going down in Missouri.
Democrats Rory Ellinger and Jill Schupp have introduced House Bill 545, a law that with the stroke of a pen will turn thousands of law-abiding Missourians into class C felons. It will ban the possession, sale, transfer or manufacture of semi-automatic rifles and magazines capable of holding more than ten rounds.
NRA CEO: Obama gun control effort a "charade"
By Brian Montopoli - CBSNews.com
National Rifle Association CEO Wayne LaPierre told the Wayne Convention and Sport Show of the National Wild Turkey Federation in Nashville today that President Obama's State of the Union address exposed the "charade" that the president's gun control efforts were tied to protecting children.
"It's not about keeping kids safe in schools...They only care about their decades-long, decades-old gun control agenda," said LaPierre.
• NRA CEO: "It's not paranoia to buy a gun. It's survival"
• Boehner: Congress has a "responsibility" to act on gun violence
REPORT: HAGEL SAID STATE DEPARTMENT CONTROLLED BY ISRAEL
By Paul Mirengoff - PowerlineBlog.com
In a March 2007 speech at Rutgers University, Chuck Hagel said that the U.S. Department of State was an adjunct of the Israeli foreign minister's office, according to a contemporaneous report of the event. The contemporaneous report consists of notes by Republican political consultant and Hagel supporter George Ajjan, who wrote about the speech on his website the following day.
As a Hagel supporter — then (Hagel was testing the waters for a presidential run) and now (Ajjan says he still would support Hagel for president) — Ajjan had no reason to give a false report on what Hagel said. Moreover, Ajjan stands by his report. "If I wrote it, then that's what happened at the time," he says.
Senate Republicans block Hagel nomination
for Defense secretary
By Jeremy Herb and Ramsey Cox - TheHill.com
Senate Republicans in a 58-40 vote Thursday blocked former Sen. Chuck Hagel's (R-Neb.) nomination as Defense secretary from proceeding to a final up-or-down vote.
Four Republicans — Sens. Susan Collins (Maine), Thad Cochran (Miss.), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) and Mike Johanns (Neb.)— joined 55 Democrats and Independents in supporting the nomination. Sixty votes were needed to cut off debate, leaving Democrats one vote short.
WHITE HOUSE CONFIRMS:
OBAMA DID NOTHING ON BENGHAZI
By John Hinderaker - PowerlineBlog.com
The White House admitted today that President Obama made no phone calls–none, zero–on the evening of September 11, 2012, during the seven or eight hours when Americans were being murdered in Benghazi. He didn't talk to Leon Panetta, or any military personnel, or Hillary Clinton. What was he doing that night? We may never know; perhaps writing the speech that he gave at a campaign event the next day in Las Vegas.
Information on Benghazi has to be pried out of the administration with a crowbar; Lindsay Graham got the White House to identify the calls that Obama made that night–none–by holding up Chuck Hagel's confirmation. Graham says he will put a hold on John Brennan, too, until he gets more facts on Benghazi from the stonewalling White House. Good for him.
Advertising Growth Shows That for Many, Tablets Are the PC
BY MICHAEL V. COPELAND - Wired.com
When tablets first came out, and by that we mean the iPad, the sleek machines were primarily used for reading, watching video and playing games. Consuming stuff, in other words. Those activities are still a big part of how tablets earn their place in our lives, but a recent study suggests that more and more, tablets are being used more actively, to research and buy all kinds of stuff – formerly the province of the personal computer.
By the end 2013 tablets will account for 20 percent of Google's paid search ad clicks in the U.S., up from 6 percent in January 2012 according to research by Marin Software, a San Francisco-based company that helps large advertisers manage their online advertising.
Obama Presses Cybersecurity Effort
[Google title for free article pass]
By SIOBHAN GORMAN - WSJ.com
WASHINGTON—The Obama administration pressed ahead Wednesday with its campaign to bolster cybersecurity measures through an executive order while setting the stage for a new battle in Congress over how to ensure computer safeguards at companies that run the electric grid and other key infrastructure.
Republicans who last year derailed a White House-backed cybersecurity bill were quick to criticize the executive order, which President Barack Obama unveiled in his State of the Union address, and vowed aggressive oversight of the programs it establishes.
Congress Starts to Take the Internet Seriously
By Brendan Greeley, BusinessWeek.com
One day last October, more than 100 congressional staffers crammed into a room on the second floor of the Rayburn House Office Building to listen to four lawyers discuss smartphone and tablet patent litigation. The chief of staff for the House Judiciary Committee came a few minutes late and couldn't get a seat. This is a typical scene these days at the periodic lunchtime lectures put on by the Congressional Internet Caucus, a bipartisan collection of 125 House and Senate members who are, in the words of their mission statement, "working to promote the promise and potential of the Internet." Third on the list of the caucus's goals: "Promoting the education of Members of Congress and their staff."
A Chinese Hacker's Identity Unmasked
By Dune Lawrence and Michael Riley - BusinessWeek.com
Joe Stewart's day starts at 6:30 a.m. in Myrtle Beach, S.C., with a peanut butter sandwich, a sugar-free Red Bull, and 50,000 or so pieces of malware waiting in his e-mail in-box. Stewart, 42, is the director of malware research at Dell SecureWorks, a unit of Dell (DELL), and he spends his days hunting for Internet spies. Malware is the blanket term for malicious software that lets hackers take over your computer; clients and fellow researchers constantly send Stewart suspicious specimens harvested from networks under attack. His job is to sort through the toxic haul and isolate anything he hasn't seen before: He looks for things like software that can let hackers break into databases, control security cameras, and monitor e-mail.
China, technology and the U.S. middle class
By Chrystia Freeland
NEW YORK | Thu Feb 14, 2013 1:21pm EST
(Reuters) - President Barack Obama's State of the Union speech this week confirmed it: The pre-eminent political and economic challenge in the industrialized democracies is how to make capitalism work for the middle class.
There is nothing mysterious about that. The most important fact about the United States in this century is that middle-class incomes are stagnating. The financial crisis has revealed an equally stark structural problem in much of Europe.
Obama executive order redefines critical infrastructure More companies could get designated as part of the sector under this week's presidential cybersecurity order
By Jaikumar Vijayan - Computerworld.com
Computerworld - President Barack Obama's cybersecurity executive order, signed on Tuesday, could significantly expand the list of companies categorized as part of U.S. critical infrastructure sector, security experts said Wednesday.
The executive order requires federal agencies and critical infrastructure owners and operators to work cooperatively to minimize cyber risks and strengthen resilience to attacks. It also calls for the creation of new consensus security standards and best practices that critical infrastructure companies will be urged, but not mandated, to follow.
Droning on about drones
By Michael Kugelman - DAWN.com
The buzz of drones is building to a crescendo.
I'm not referring to the drones themselves (though the tribal belt's skies do often seem choked with the pilotless Predators; six strikes occurred over just nine days last month).
Rather, I'm referring to public debate. With Congress holding confirmation hearings for CIA director-nominee John Brennan — an architect of the Obama administration's drones policy — discussion on op-ed pages, over airwaves, and across the social mediasphere has escalated to a fever pitch.
California County Inching Toward Drone Deployment?
BY DAVID KRAVETS - Wired.com
OAKLAND, California — Will Alameda County become California's first local government to deploy a drone?
If the decision were up to dozens of angry residents and several civil rights groups, the answer would be a resounding "No." They urged the Bay Area county's leaders, in a public hearing sometimes filled with acrimony Thursday, to squash a plan by the Alameda County Sheriff's Department to deploy up to two small, lightweight drones.
Dorner, Drones and the NDAA
By Kurt Nimo - InfoWars.com
Following the incineration of cop killer suspect Chris Dorner by the San Bernardino police, a lobbyist group dedicated to inserting drones in police work used the event to push the wares of their clients.
"Had a [drone] been able to be used in that environment, who knows what could have happened," said Peter Bale, chairman of the board for the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International.
At Least We're Not Measles:
Rationalizing Drone Attacks Hits New Low
By Matt Taibbi - RollingStone.com
Read an absolutely amazing article today. Entitled "Droning on about Drones," it was published in the online version of Dawn, Pakistan's oldest and most widely read English-language newspaper, and written by one Michael Kugelman, identified as the Senior Program Associate for South Asia at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C.
In this piece, the author's thesis is that all this fuss about America's drone policy is overdone and perhaps a little hysterical. Yes, he admits, there are some figures that suggest that as many as 900 civilians have been killed in drone strikes between 2004 and 2013. But, he notes, that only averages out to about 100 civilians a year. Apparently, we need to put that number in perspective:
South Korea unveils missile it says can hit North's leaders
(Reuters) - South Korea unveiled a cruise missile on Thursday that it said can hit the office of North Korea's leaders, trying to address concerns that it is technologically behind its unpredictable rival which this week conducted its third nuclear test.
South Korean officials declined to say the exact range of the missile but said it could hit targets anywhere in North Korea.
The Defence Ministry released video footage of the missiles being launched from destroyers and submarines striking mock targets. The weapon was previewed in April last year and officials said deployment was now complete.
Rethinking the US-China-Taiwan triangle
By Brantly Womack - ATimes.com
Taiwan's future is with China, not against China. However, no new image of the triangular relationship of Washington, Beijing, and Taipei has replaced the security triangle formed in the Cold War era.
Taiwan will neither be remolded into a uniform part of the People's Republic of China nor will it achieve global recognition as a sovereign state, and yet discussion of its options is often reduced to the extremes of either reunification or independence.
Iraq back at the brink
By Ramzy Baroud - ATimes.com
Soon after the joint US-British bombing campaign "Operation Desert Fox" devastated parts of Iraq in December 1998 , I was complaining to a friend in the lobby of the Palestine Hotel in Baghdad.
I was disappointed with the fact that our busy schedule in Iraq - mostly visiting hospitals packed with injured or victims of depleted uranium - left me no time to purchase a few Arabic books for my little daughter back in the states. As I got ready to embark on the long bus journey back to Jordan, an Iraqi man with a thick moustache and a carefully designed beard approached me.
Pope's Culture Club Masks Conclave
Packed With Benedict's Clones
By Thomas Penny - Bloomberg.com
When he appointed a group of five cardinals from the developing world in November, PopeBenedict XVI called his church one of "all peoples."
"She speaks in the various cultures of the different continents," he told an ecclesiastical council in Rome.
Yet while the Catholic Church has been gaining followers in faster-growing markets for years, it's been less quick to practice what it preaches when it comes to senior management. The leader of 1.2 billion Catholics, who will step down after eight years on Feb. 28, helped create an electorate for his successor dominated by Europeans and North Americans.
POPE ENJOYS SWANSONG; INFLUENCE STILL A QUESTION
By NICOLE WINFIELD - AP.org
VATICAN CITY (AP) — New questions arose about how much influence Pope Benedict XVI will exert over his successor Thursday after the Vatican confirmed that Benedict's closest adviser would continue to serve him as a private secretary while running the new pope's household.
For a second day of his emotional farewell tour, Benedict sent a pointed message to his successor and to the cardinals who will elect him about the direction the Catholic Church must take once he is no longer pope. While these remarks have been clearly labeled as Benedict's swansong before retiring, his influence after retirement remains the subject of intense debate.
Peru Archaeologists Discover 5,000-Year-Old Temple in Lima
By Alex Emery - Bloomberg.com
Peruvian archaeologists discovered a temple in Lima that may predate Stonehenge and be the oldest known in the Americas.
The rectangular stone building in the El Paraiso archaeological complex in the north of the capital may date to 3000 B.C., Deputy Culture Minister Rafael Varon said in an e- mailed statement yesterday. The temple was found inside a complex of 10 buildings that were first explored in 1965.
Alien Contact - The Message (You have to see it for yourself)
Fascinating search into the Alien agenda and messages sent to earth from other worlds… Ancient alien artifacts, Giant Ufo's Crop circles and a secret message to our reality.. you have to see this to believe it... Sometimes truth is stranger than fiction
Dedicated to Revelations
of the mayans 2012 and beyond coming Disclosure
Hundreds of military and government agency witnesses have come forward with testimony confirming this extraterrestrial presence.
If extraterrestrials influenced human history, can evidence of their existence be found in hidden tunnels and caverns around the world?
Could a cave in Ecuador contain metallic books inscribed with secrets of alien technology? Was an ancient underground city in Turkey built with alien help... or as a refuge from an alien attack?
Rumors of the U.S. military working alongside aliens in a secret base inside a mesa in New Mexico continue to swirl, Native American legends mention strange inner-Earth beings, and recent archaeological discoveries in the Yucatan may point to an extraterrestrial reality behind. Source: History Channel
Take this next article seriously… not sci-fi.
The Singularitarians assume Singularity is unavoidable and imminent, and supposedly unstoppable - but they underestimate God Almighty and the return of the Lord Jesus Christ to redeem the earth, rid it of evil, and restore Man and this planet earth to it's original glory, as in the beginning. Believers need to be better informed regarding the plan to merge humans with machines, which supposedly will eventually REPLACE humans with super intelligence with hybrid or non-human bodies, thwarting the plan of God to redeem Man. Involves transhumanism, technocentric ideology and social movement, as in the days of Noah. Little wonder, the Lords asks, will He find faith on earth when He returns? It was down to eight the last time God destroyed the world with the deluge; next time it will be with fire.
Anonymous - The Singularity Project 2013 (Project Mayhem Has Begun) Message Concerning the Future
This event is known as the Singularity. In the year 2045, when hyper-intelligent artificial intelligence arises, armed with advanced nanotechnology, the vastly complex, systemic problems associated with aging in humans will be resolved. Alternatively, we will be able to transfer the human mind to sturdier vessels, such as computers and robots. This is a serious proposition, and many people who are alive in your time will wind up being functionally immortal… more online
[unwise statement for a smart cookie (see Clarke quote, below), but the Vatican may soon chime in to virtually agree, with alien 'roots' of man disclosure, and launch the one-world-religion that is coming as the 'apostate' church, to wreak havoc and persecution on both unbelievers and true believers who cling to Jesus Christ]
"It may be that our role on this planet is not to worship God - but to create him." ~Arthur C. Clarke
by Προμηθεύς [Koen De Paus]
The ideology of transhumanism and the concept of a singularity have been highjacked by people like Ray Kurzweil. Don't get me wrong, Ray is a really smart guy, a true modern day Thomas Edison, but he has brought about a huge influx of immortality fanboys. One might even call it a cult following, people who just mindlessly preach that we will all be immortal at 7am on the 1st of july in 2045. It is a fact that since Kurzweil's popularization of his views on mankind's future, many fake singularitarians have joined the transhuman movement. Fake because they join for the wrong reasons. They have no idea what transhumanism is about and are often not even aware that this philosophy exists while it is the underlying root of "real" singularitarianism. Kurzweil's focus on technology instead of ideals has created a sort of rabid life extension fanbase that doesn't really care about what transhumanism stands for.