Weekday NEWS to Comfort the Disturbed and Disturb the Comfortable.
Putin Turns Black Gold Into Bullion as Russia Out-Buys World
By Scott Rose & Olga Tanas - Bloomberg.com
When Vladimir Putin says the U.S. is endangering the global economy by abusing its dollar monopoly, he's not just talking. He's betting on it.
Not only has Putin made Russia the world's largest oil producer, he's also made it the biggest gold buyer. His central bank has added 570 metric tons of the metal in the past decade, a quarter more than runner-up China, according to IMF data compiled by Bloomberg. The added gold is also almost triple the weight of the Statue of Liberty.
Gold could rise in 2013 if recent historical prices are any indication
Each peak in Gold rpices was followed by a long, deep correction, making these four more significant than other secondary peaks that occurred in the interims. Furthermore, two to five months before each peak, the gold price behaved similarly to the caprice we saw in January.
PRWeb - CommodityOnline.com
NEW YORK (Commodity Online): Gold prices could rise again in 2013 if recent historical prices are any indication, according to Arthur McGuire, Vice President of Gold Price, a leading US based precious metals adviser.
A review of gold prices since 2005 reveals a 21-22 month cycle that, theoretically, is set to come around again, sometime between May and July. In the last eight years, gold experienced four regularly spaced London PM fix price peaks:
What's really key for the price formation of gold?
By Lars Schall - SilverBearCafe.com
….Lars Schall: The growing interest in gold was underlined recently in a report that was published by the Official Monetary and Financial Institutions Forum (OMFIF), which has the title "Gold, the renminbi and the multi-currency reserve system". (1) I think that this report is quite remarkable for various reasons. Do you agree? Robert Blumen: The report suggests that the international monetary system will accept gold in a more recognized way as a reserve asset. I think that this is already true, informally. There are many signs of this. Central banks have gone from selling to buying in recent years.
On the intellectual plane, I think there the consensus of many decades, namely that gold had been permanently removed from its monetary role, is changing. There is increasing discussion gold as a monetary metal among the elites. Several years ago, Benn Steil, a CFR economist wrote an opinion piece for the Financial Times (excerpted here) suggesting that the global gold standard worked better than the current system of floating rates. Robert Zoellick, who was president of the World Bank at the time, wrote a gold-friendly op-ed also in the FT a couple of years ago.
Silver Climbs as Gold Little Changed
Before Euro Finance Meeting
By Phoebe Sedgman - Bloomberg.com
Silver gained, while gold was little changed before European finance chiefs meet today to discuss aid to Cyprus and Greece. Palladium declined.
Silver for immediate delivery advanced as much as 0.3 percent to $31.495 an ounce before trading at $31.45 at 10:24 a.m. in Singapore. Cash gold traded at $1,667.50 an ounce, while palladium fell 0.2 percent to $753.75 an ounce. Markets in Japan, China, Hong Kong, South Korea, Taiwan, Vietnam, Singapore and Malaysia are closed today for public holidays.
The Spark That Ignites A Hyperbolic Rise In Silver And Gold
By Patrick MontesDeOca - SilverBearCafe.com
As I look back at the gold and silver market signals we recently published and our 2013 silver forecast, which predicted a price well above $50 per ounce (the high reached in April 2011), I can't help but to wonder what fundamental factors will spark this "hyperbolic" move?
Several major fundamental factors are developing that could send precious metal prices soaring.
Free Money, Inflation and the Increasing Cost of Debt
PELOSI: THERE'S NO 'SPENDING PROBLEM'
by BEN SHAPIRO - Breitbart.com
With the sequester set to kick in on March 1, President Obama and his Democrat allies are hell-bent on shifting the conversation away from proper government cuts, and toward higher taxes. On Sunday, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) took to Fox News Sunday to explain that America does not have a spending problem. "It is almost a false argument to say that we have a spending problem. We have a budget deficit problem," Pelosi insisted.
Pelosi's motion was seconded by Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) on NBC's Meet the Press, where Durbin laughably explained that the sequester was "designed as a budget threat, not as a budget strategy" – and stated that the only approach to solving the budget problem was to raise taxes again.
On the Sequester… No Bending If Republicans Bend on the Sequester,
They Don't Deserve Our Support
By Paul Roderick Gregory - Forbes.com
I was frustrated by William Kristol'sDon't Be Seduced by the Sequester. Kristol argues Republicans must be the grown-up party. The sequester cuts will delay the deployment of two battle ships at a crucial time. Per Kristol: Republicans should negotiate a more measured (and smaller) reduction with the President even if means delays in spending cuts. Bad advice! Believe me: The sequestered funds will be the only cuts in discretionary spending we will get over the next four years. Any Republican who walks away from the sequester for a future "compromise" with Obama does not deserve our votes, contributions, or volunteer efforts.
Defense, domestic groups ally
for last-minute push to halt sequester
By Jeremy Herb - TheHill.com
The defense industry is joining forces with health, education and other domestic sectors to wage a last-minute push to stop the across-the-board sequestration cuts from taking effect.
The new approach from the Aerospace Industries Association (AIA) and domestic spending advocates is an attempt to convince lawmakers who care about defense that they should align with lawmakers worried about cuts to domestic programs.
Keiser Report: Wicked Debt Web (E404)
In this episode of the Keiser Report, Max Keiser and Stacy Herbert discuss the wicked web that has been weaved when banksters first set out to deceive, the first law of thermo-derivatives which states that risk cannot be destroyed and the hot tub of fraud in which the taxpayer owned Royal Bank of Scotland weaves their web of deception. In the second half of the show, Max Keiser talks to Mitch Feierstein, author of Planet Ponzi, who shows us what the Fed's $3 trillion balance sheet would look like in a briefcase and the Central Banking bag of tricks that include: divert and deflect, delay and pray and extend and pretend. Finally they ponder whether we face a global reset or sovereign failures?
How to Survive the Illusion of Recovery
John Williams interview - GoldSeek.com
….John Williams: I contend that the economy effectively hit bottom in June 2009, followed by a period of somewhat volatile stagnation, and it is beginning to turn down anew. There never was a recovery and no economic data shows the type of recovery that the official gross domestic product (GDP) report is showing. The GDP shows levels of activity now that are above where the economy was before the recession. It's been above that level now for more than a year. No other major economic series has shown a full recovery, shy of perhaps inflation-adjusted retail sales, which is due to a problem with the inflation rate used to adjust the series. Generally, the illusion of recovery has resulted from the government's use of understated inflation.
10 Immutable Laws Of Money
By Lance Roberts - SilverBearCafe.com
Money – we all want it, but few of us are willing to sacrifice to get it. Those that have it generally don't understand it, and those that don't have it come up with excuses why they can't get it. If this sounds confusing – it is.
For all that we have accomplished in the United States in the last 200+ years we have failed miserably at teaching our children the basics of money management. I am not talking about stock and bond portfolios but rather the basics of spending less than you make, understanding of credit, and how to balance a check a book.
Economy Haunted by 'Ghost of Inflation Past'
By: Rick Ackerman - GoldSeek.com
A good way to work a scam is to put a microscope on a short-term trend and pretend it is a reversal of the main trend. "Global Warming," for example. About 15,000 years ago there was a sheet of ice 5,000 feet thick over New England. As the ice age ended it melted away, and as a result sea levels rose about 390 feet. So you can say with confidence, the long-term trend is melting ice, and rising sea levels. All this happened without any human input at all — a mile of ice melts, sea levels rise 390 feet. Now, in the past 140 years, more ice has melted, and sea levels have risen about a foot.
The Tyranny of Political Economy
By Dani Rodrik - Project-Syndicate.org
CAMBRIDGE – There was a time when we economists steered clear of politics. We viewed our job as describing how market economies work, when they fail, and how well-designed policies can enhance efficiency. We analyzed trade-offs between competing objectives (say, equity versus efficiency), and prescribed policies to meet desired economic outcomes, including redistribution. It was up to politicians to take our advice (or not), and to bureaucrats to implement it.
Then some of us became more ambitious. Frustrated by the reality that much of our advice went unheeded (so many free-market solutions still waiting to be taken up!), we turned our analytical toolkit on the behavior of politicians and bureaucrats themselves. We began to examine political behavior using the same conceptual framework that we use for consumer and producer decisions in a market economy. Politicians became income-maximizing suppliers of policy favors; citizens became rent-seeking lobbies and special interests; and political systems became marketplaces in which votes and political influence are traded for economic benefits.
Fed's Warning on Junk Bond Bubble
Matters More Than You Think
By Dan Freed - TheStreet.com
NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- When a Federal Reserve governor other than Chairman Ben Bernanke gives a speech, the temptation to take a nap is powerful, but Thursday's warning from Jeremy Stein about a junk bond bubble matters more than many investors are likely to realize.
Speaking in St. Louis Thursday, Stein voiced concern about "a fairly significant pattern of reaching-for-yield behavior emerging in corporate credit."
Lessons From The 1930s Currency Wars
by Tyler Durden - ZeroHedge.com
With Abe picking his new dovish playmate, and Draghi doing his best to jawbone the EUR down without actually saying anything, it is becoming very clear that no matter what level of bullshit histrionics is used by the politicians and bankers in public, the currency wars have begun to gather pace. Japan's more open aggressive policy intervention is the game-changer (and increasingly fascinating how they will talk around it at the upcoming G-20), as if a weaker JPY is an important pillar of the strategy to make this export-oriented economy more competitive again, it brings into the picture something that was missing from earlier interactions among central banks of the advanced economies – competitive depreciation. The last time the world saw a fully fledged currency war was in the early 1930s. Morgan Stanley's Joachim Fels looks at what it was like and what lessons can be drawn for the sequence of events - there are definite winners and losers and a clear first-mover advantage.
Monetarists Don't Seem to Get "Monetizing"
By Jeff Snider, RealClearMarkets.com
The American Enterprise Institute's James Pethokoukis recently wrote a post ostensibly in defense of the Federal Reserve's QE programs. If not a full argument in favor, at the very least Mr. Pethokoukis is arguing that current Fed policy has been at least consistent with the historical norm. According to the chart presented, despite ongoing QE the Fed has been purchasing less of total US official marketable debt securities than it was during most of the 2000's (that featured no mistakable "monetization"). The implication seems to be that since we are not in uncharted territory there is no need to fret or worry about the potential for monetization, or even the level of monetary intrusion.
Cameron to push G8 on finance bonds for new 'social investment' David Cameron is to throw his weight behind radical plans to bring private investors into public services through rapidly growing new financial products called social impact bonds.
By Kamal Ahmed - Telegraph.co.uk
The Prime Minister will use the UK's presidency of the G8 this year to develop new agreements on "impact investing" where funds buy bonds with a guaranteed return if certain public policies are delivered.
One of the first social impact bonds in the UK was launched three years ago to support a project to reduce re-offending by inmates at Peterborough Prison. The projects are delivered by social enterprises, not-for-profit organisations, foundations and charities.
Bretton Woods III
By Sanjeev Sanyal - Project-Syndicate.org
SINGAPORE – Many analysts and observers believe that the global imbalances that characterized the world economy in the years before the 2008 crisis have substantially dissipated. But, while it is true that China's current-account surpluses and America's deficits have somewhat moderated since then, have the imbalances really been corrected? More important, can the post-crisis global economy enjoy both growth and balance?
To answer these questions, it is important to understand the imbalances' underlying dynamics. An economy's current account is the difference between its investment rate and its savings rate. In 2007, the United States had a savings rate of 14.6% of GDP, but an investment rate of 19.6%, generating a current-account deficit. By contrast, China had a fixed investment rate of 41.7% of GDP and a savings rate of 51.9%, reflected in a large surplus.
EU Leaders Agree on a Budget Deal
By VANESSA MOCK and MATTHEW DALTON - WSJ.com
BRUSSELS—European Union leaders struck a deal Friday on a seven-year budget, ending more than 24 hours of talks and months of disagreements over how the bloc should divide funds among farmers, investment aid for poorer members, and programs to boost growth and combat the joblessness that prevails in parts of Europe.
The deal calls for EU governments to contribute slightly less to this budget, after adjusting for inflation, than they did to the past seven-year funding plan. That was a victory for nations such as the U.K. and the Netherlands that argued the 27-nation bloc's spending should reflect the cutbacks that governments have adopted at home. But the deal still must be passed by the European Parliament, which has argued for a more expansive budget.
EU leaders throw weight behind US trade talks
BY BENJAMIN FOX - EUObserver.com
BRUSSELS - EU leaders have thrown their weight behind talks aimed at securing a comprehensive trade agreement with the US.
In a communique adopted following the EU budget summit on Friday (February 8), the European Council reiterated its "support for a comprehensive trade agreement" with the United States.
Any talks are likely to focus more on harmonising regulatory standards than on reducing already low tariff barriers, with the Council calling on trade talks to pay "particular attention to ways to achieve greater transatlantic regulatory convergence."
Moldova takes action on EU-Russia money laundering
BY ANDREW RETTMAN - EUObserver.com
BRUSSELS - Moldova has launched criminal proceedings in a money laundering case involving its biggest bank, the Russian mafia and six EU countries.
The move comes after a UK-based investment firm, Hermitage Capital, filed a complaint with the Moldovan prosecutor in June.
Documents obtained by Hermitage indicate that a Russian organised crime group - dubbed the Kluyev Group - in 2008 wired $53 million of stolen money from an account in Russia's Bank Krainiy Sever to two accounts in Moldova's Banca de Economii.
Obama's Economy of Illusions An Economy of Illusions
By Robert Tracinski, RealClearMarkets.com
Recently Mark Perry and Don Boudreaux published an article in the Wall Street Journalchallenging "The Myth of a Stagnant Middle Class." They point out that the middle class is better off than nominal measures of income might suggest, because "Household spending on food, housing, utilities, etc. has fallen from 53% of disposable income in 1950 to 32% today." This is exactly how economic progress works in a free society: it is not merely that wages go up, but that the same wages buy more as innovation drives down the cost of production.
As interesting as that article is, I found the response to it on the left to be even more interesting, because it reveals an important point about the real priorities of the welfare state and its defenders.
Restored Payroll Tax Pinches Those Who Earn the Least
By: Nelson D. Schwartz, NYTimes - via CNBC.com
Jack Andrews and his wife no longer enjoy what they call date night, their once-a-month outing to the movies and a steak dinner at Logan's Roadhouse in Augusta, Ga. In Harlem, Eddie Phillips's life insurance payment will have to wait a few more weeks. And Jessica Price is buying cheaper food near her home in Orlando, Fla., even though she worries it may not be as healthy.
Like millions of other Americans, they are feeling the bite from the sharp increase in payroll taxes that took effect at the beginning of January. There are growing signs that the broader economy is suffering, too.
The Worst Five Years Since the Great Depression
By Peter Ferrara, Contributor - Forbes.com
In February, 2009, I wrote for the Wall Street Journal an article entitled Reaganomics versus Obamanomics. The article explained that the emerging Obamanomics was pursuing exactly the opposite of every policy of the enormously successful Reaganomics, and predicted that it would produce exactly the opposite results.
Well, the results are in, and under President Obama the American people have now suffered the worst 5 years since the Great Depression, as first explained by Steve McCann of the American Thinker on January 25. McCann writes,
"From 2009 through 2012, the Obama cabal, and their allegiance to statist policies, has been in charge for four years. The global financial crisis took place in the previous year, 2008 [remember the Democrat majority Congress was elected in 2006], and based on the historical pattern of American economic recovery since the depression years, the United States should have been experiencing broad and significant economic and job growth by year three at the latest."
Show This To Anyone That Believes
That "Things Are Getting Better" In America
By Michael Snyder - TheEconomicCollapseBlog.com
How can anyone not see that the U.S. economy is collapsing all around us? It just astounds me when people try to tell me that "everything is just fine" and that "things are getting better" in America. Are there people out there that are really that blind? If you want to see the economic collapse, just open up your eyes and look around you. By almost every economic and financial measure, the U.S. economy has been steadily declining for many years. But most Americans are so tied into "the matrix" that they can only understand the cheerful propaganda that is endlessly being spoon-fed to them by the mainstream media. As I have said so many times, the economic collapse is not a single event. The economic collapse has been happening, it is is happening right now, and it will continue to happen. Yes, there will be times when our decline will be punctuated by moments of great crisis, but that will be the exception rather than the rule. A lot of people that write about "the economic collapse" hype it up as if it will be some huge "event" that will happen very rapidly and then once it is all over we will rebuild. Unfortunately, that is not how the real world works. We are living in the greatest debt bubble in the history of the world, and once it completely bursts there will be no going back to how things were before. Right now, we are living in a "credit card economy". As long as we can keep borrowing more money, most people think that things are just fine. But anyone that has lived on credit cards knows that eventually there comes a point when the game is over, and we are rapidly approaching that point as a nation.
Why a flood of bankruptcies is good for America Clearing debts might be key to reinvigorating economy
By Michael Casey - MarketWatch.com
NEW YORK (MarketWatch) — "Americans are renowned for their skill in business and their spirit of enterprise. But in general they are considered bad debtors."
So wrote Alexis de Tocqueville, that great observer of U.S. society, when he reflected in 1831 on the remarkable frequency with which the citizens of his host country entered bankruptcy. The itinerant Frenchman, who was baffled by how a nation with such strong "chastity of morals" and "habits of work" could be so indifferent to the practice of not paying one's debts, called it "one of the greatest stains on the American character."
San Bernardino, Calpers fail to reach deal before court date
By Tim Reid
LOS ANGELES | Thu Feb 7, 2013 10:14pm EST
(Reuters) - Negotiations between the bankrupt California city of San Bernardino and the state's public pension fund over the city's unprecedented suspension of pension payments have failed to produce an agreement before a crucial court hearing, officials said on Thursday.
Senior officials at the California Public Employees Retirement System, the biggest U.S. public pension fund and San Bernardino's biggest creditor, have met with city budget officials and held telephone conversations with the city's mayor over the past several weeks, a Calpers spokesman said.
Tangled in Housing Bust, FHA Seeks a Hand
By NICK TIMIRAOS - WSJ.com
U.S. housing markets finally are improving, but taxpayers may not be off the hook yet.
The Federal Housing Administration, a significant backer of new mortgage lending over the past five years, is facing billions of dollars in potential losses, as many loans that it guaranteed during the recession have soured. The agency's independent audit last fall showed that at its current pace, the FHA would exhaust its reserves and need $16 billion from the U.S. government to cover projected losses.
Americans using homes as ATMs Americans Are Tapping Into Home Equity Again
By: Diana Olick - CNBC.com
Nearly 11 million borrowers are underwater on their mortgages, owing more than their homes are worth, according to CoreLogic, and yet home equity lines of credit are suddenly on the rise again.
During the housing boom of the last decade Americans withdrew over $1 trillion in home equity. They did it through cash-out refinances, home equity loans, and home equity lines of credit. The latter allowed them to use their homes like an ATM. They spent the money on cars, televisions, vacations and fancy home upgrades. It was seemingly endless equity, until suddenly that equity was gone.
'Obamacare' health care reform
ALREADY forcing doctors to close practices
By Valerie Richardson-The Washington Times
After 25 years of practicing medicine, Dr. Tamzin Rosenwasser packed in her dermatology practice in 2011, barely a year after the passage of President Obama's health care initiative. The timing wasn't coincidental.
"I have interrupted practicing medicine because of Obamacare," said Dr. Rosenwasser. "I'd read the bill. I was conversant with what had already happened with Medicaid, and I didn't want to go down that road with Obamacare."
Catherine Austin Fitts - national healthcare
This is a clip from an interview Catherine Austin Fitts did called "The Looting of America". Catherine, the daughter of a physician, has been watching the change in government regulations regarding the practice of medicine. Her unique perspective comes from having worked for a government agency in Washington.
Wyden says he has no plans
to again take up Medicare reform with Paul Ryan
By Elise Viebeck - TheHill.com
Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) has no plans to partner with Rep. Paul Ryan on a new Medicare reform bill, the senator has told The Hill.
The two lawmakers made waves in 2011 with a bipartisan proposal that infuriated Democrats and later inspired Mitt Romney's healthcare plan.
But Wyden said there will not be an encore anytime soon, especially as House Republicans move to balance the federal budget within 10 years.
Indiana soybean farmer sees Monsanto lawsuit
reach US supreme court Who controls the rights to the seeds planted in the ground? A 75-year-old farmer takes the agricultural giant to court to find out
By Paul Harris in New York - Guardian.co.uk
As David versus Goliath battles go it is hard to imagine a more uneven fight than the one about to play out in front of the US supreme court between Vernon Hugh Bowman and Monsanto.
On the one side is Bowman, a single 75-year-old Indiana soybean farmer who is still tending the same acres of land as his father before him in rural south-western Indiana. On the other is a gigantic multibillion dollar agricultural business famed for its zealous protection of its commercial rights.
President Obama to Appoint
MIT Physicist as New Energy Secretary
By Joao Peixe - OilPrice.com
Reuters have been told that President Barack Obama is thinking about appointing MIT nuclear physicist Ernest Moniz as the new Energy Secretary once Stephen Chu steps down.
Moniz has experience in government, having acted as undersecretary at the Energy Department during Clinton's time as president, and has often addressed congress at Capitol Hill on energy issues in the past.
America's Oil Revival Keeping abreast of the new energy reality —
how soon before the U.S. becomes an energy exporter?
By WILLIAM TUCKER - Spectator.org
Last week Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski unveiled the Republicans' new plan for energy development. She called for a partial opening of the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge, the development of offshore oil tracts plus more production from federal lands. Within hours the Natural Resources Defense Council had dismissed the whole thing as "a plan from the past." And in fact it was little more than a reiteration of the four-year-old cry, "Drill, baby, drill."
Anyone who thinks this signals another four years of energy stalemate, however, is sadly mistaken. The very next day, energy expert Daniel Yergin was telling a hearing of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee that, if anything, Washington is completely out of the loop as to what's happening in energy. "Our thinking has to catch up with reality," said Yergin, head of the prestigious Cambridge Energy Research Associates. "Everything has been turned upside down."
The Petroleum Rollercoaster
By Professor Chris Rhodes - OilPrice.com
I wrote the following in a previous posting but there are a number of points of issue, which I shall now address. In particular, the aspect of the apparent rate of decline of oil production needs clarification, and indeed what exactly is meant by "oil".
"It has been estimated that the world's road transportation fleet will reach 2 billion by 2020, of which at least 50% will be cars. China's and India's automobile fleets are expected to grow at an annual rate of around 7 or 8%, while in the United States, it will be under 1% a year, and around 1 to 2% in Western Europe, but this depends tacitly on finding an expanding liquid fuel supply, and it is this which is at issue. Indeed, the International Energy Agency (IEA) has issued a report to the effect that a shortfall in oil production of 64 million barrels a day (mbd) can be expected by 2030, which represents a loss of 62% of the world supply of conventional crude oil, currently 84 mbd, assuming a demand by 2030 of 96 mbd, a figure significantly downgraded from prior estimates by the IEA of 120 - 130 mbd. At a mean decline rate of 2.9 mbd/year (-3.4%/year) this value accords closely with the prediction in a recent U.S. Army report that there will be a deficiency of 10 mbd by 2015, following a loss of any spare capacity for crude oil against demand for it by the end of this year (2012)."
Colorado Prepares for All-Out Gun Fight Newly blue state could see red with proposed gun laws
By LAUREN FOX - USNews.com
Colorado's state legislature is the stage where one of nation's fiercest gun debates will unfold.
A state with a strong tradition of sport shooting and hunting, Colorado is also home to two of the country's deadliest mass shootings.
Recently state legislators have introduced bills on everything from universal background checks, to limiting high-capacity magazines over 10 rounds, to holding gun manufacturers and dealers liable if their products fall into dangerous hands—a bill that actually runs counter to current federal law, which protects gun makers and sellers.
Clueless… AGAIN! PELOSI SAYS FIRST AMENDMENT GRANTS 'RIGHT TO A GUN'
by WARNER TODD HUSTON - Breitbart.com
As Nancy Pelosi appeared on Fox News Sunday with host Chris Wallace, she didn't seem to know the difference between the First Amendment and the Second Amendment.
During her February 10 segment, Pelosi premised her conversation by pointing out that Japan has, "the most violent games and the rest and the lowest mortality from guns." This, Pelosi imagined, was because Japan "might have good gun laws."
Vatican hopes secret files exonerate 'Hitler's pope' Author uncovers evidence
on Pius XII's wartime efforts to save Jewish refugees
By Dalya Alberge, The Observer - Guardian.co.uk
Pius XII has long been vilified as "Hitler's pope", accused of failing publicly to condemn the genocide of Europe's Jews. Now a British author has unearthed extensive material that Vatican insiders believe will restore his reputation, revealing the part that he played in saving lives and opposing nazism. Gordon Thomas, a Protestant, was given access to previously unpublished Vatican documents and tracked down victims, priests and others who had not told their stories before.
The Pope's Jews, which will be published next month, details how Pius gave his blessing to the establishment of safe houses in the Vatican and Europe's convents and monasteries. He oversaw a secret operation with code names and fake documents for priests who risked their lives to shelter Jews, some of whom were even made Vatican subjects.
HOW THE iWATCH COULD KILL THE PASSWORD
Imagine a day when you don't need to constantly retype passwords. If Apple develops an iWatch, we may never have to type in a password again, according to Bruce Tognazzini, a former Apple employee who specializes in human-computer interaction. "The watch can and should, for most of us, eliminate passcodes altogether on iPhones, and Macs and, if Apple's smart, PCs: As long as my watch is in range, let me in!" Obviously, some security concerns come to mind. In order to make it totally secure, Tognazzini writes, Apple would first need to implement a security feature where if you remove the watch, you would need to somehow reestablish authenticity when you put it back on.
Apple Is Testing Watch-Like Device
By JESSICA E. LESSIN - WSJ.com
Apple Inc. s experimenting with designs for a watch-like device that would perform some functions of a smartphone, according to people briefed on the effort.
The company has discussed such a device with its major manufacturing partner Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., one of these people said, as part of explorations of potentially large product categories beyond the smartphone and tablet.
Apple Granted Patent for New Solar Powered iPhone
By Charles Kennedy - OilPrice.com
Apple has just had a new patent approved for what could become the next major advancement in mobile phone technology in the form of an integrated touch and solar sensor panel; in layman's terms a solar powered iPhone.
New generations of smart phones have faster electronics, more powerful computer chips, and larger screens with a higher resolution, yet battery technology has changed little, and this is starting to limit further advancements. Phones are becoming thinner and thinner, but they can only be as thin as their battery allows them to be; using a solar panel would avoid that problem.
The Information Revolution Gets Political
By Joseph S. Nye - Project-Syndicate.org
NEW DELHI – The second anniversary of the "Arab Spring" in Egypt was marked by riots in Tahrir Square that made many observers fear that their optimistic projections in 2011 had been dashed. Part of the problem is that expectations had been distorted by a metaphor that described events in short-run terms. If, instead of "Arab Spring," we had spoken of "Arab revolutions," we might have had more realistic expectations. Revolutions unfold over decades, not seasons or years.
Consider the French Revolution, which began in 1789. Who would have predicted that within a decade, an obscure Corsican soldier would lead French armies to the banks of the Nile, or that the Napoleonic Wars would disrupt Europe until 1815?
Congress to renew cybersecurity
scrap with Obama administration
By Jennifer Martinez - TheHill.com
A cybersecurity bill that received pushback from privacy advocates and the White House last year will be re-introduced on Wednesday, setting up a potential battle between Congress and the administration over cybersecurity legislation.
House Intelligence Committee leaders Reps. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) and Dutch Ruppersberger (D-Md.) will re-introduce their Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) and hold a public hearing analyzing the current state of cyber threat information sharing between the U.S. government and industry next week.
NASA Ames Catches Heat Over Alleged Tech Leaks To China
By George Anders, Contributor - Forbes.com
Two prominent Republican Congressmen contend that classified weapons know-how may have been illegally transferred to other countries, including China, by unspecified individuals at NASA's Ames Research Center in California, and that government probes of those allegations have been hamstrung by various delays.
The complaints are being raised by Frank Wolf of Virginia, chairman of the House Appropriations panel's subcommittee on commerce, justice, science and related agencies, and also by Lamar Smith of Texas, chair of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee. They raise their concerns in a letter dated Feb. 8 to Michael Horowitz, the Justice Department's inspector general. The letter's contents were first reported by Aviation Week.
* * * * * IMPORTANT issue about your privacy…
…."If you're not paying for the product, you are the product."
Software that tracks people on social media
created by defence firm Exclusive: Raytheon's Riot program mines social network data like a 'Google for spies', drawing ire from civil rights groups
By Ryan Gallagher - Guardian.co.uk
A multinational security firm has secretly developed software capable of tracking people's movements and predicting future behaviour by mining data from social networking websites.
A video obtained by the Guardian reveals how an "extreme-scale analytics" system created by Raytheon, the world's fifth largest defence contractor, can gather vast amounts of information about people from websites including Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare.
How Raytheon software tracks you online - video - World news
In this video obtained by the Guardian, Raytheon's 'principal investigator' Brian Urch explains how the Rapid Information Overlay Technology (Riot) software uses photographs on social networks. These images sometimes contain latitude and longitude details -- automatically embedded by smartphones within so-called 'exif header data'. Riot pulls out this information, analysing not only the photographs posted by individuals, but also the location where these images were taken
Google Moves to Destroy Online Anonymity …
Helping Authoritarian Governments In the Process
by George Washington - ZeroHedge.com
….A soon-to-be-released book by Google executive Eric Schmidt - called "The New Digital Age" – describes the desire of authoritarian governments to destroy anonymity. The Wall Street Journal provides an excerpt:
Some governments will consider it too risky to have thousands of anonymous, untraceable and unverified citizens — "hidden people"; they'll want to know who is associated with each online account, and will require verification at a state level, in order to exert control over the virtual world.
Last December, China started requiring all web users to register using their real names.
But the U.S. is quickly moving in the same direction. Gene Howington explains:
The Truthseeker: You're Being Watched Now (E8)
You, not terrorists, are the target for American spooks; Obama's Adventures in Murderland; and why the Police State makes a pedophile's paradise. Seek truth from facts with Endthelie.com editor Madison Ruppert, Truthout lead investigative reporter Jason Leopold, Law Professor Neil Richards, cyber security expert Rich Mogull, Kade Crockford of the American Civil Liberties Union and web multimillionaire Kim Dotcom.
EUROPE WANTS TO LIMIT GOOGLE AND FACEBOOK'S ABILITY TO SELL YOUR PERSONAL DATA
Reuters, Editing By Sebastian Moffett - BullFAX.com
BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Internet companies such as Facebook and Google may have to get more permission to use information if European Union lawmakers give users more control over their personal data. EU lawmakers want to limit companies' ability to use and sell data, such as internet browsing habits, to advertising companies, especially when people are unaware their data is being used in such a way. "Users must be informed about what happens with their data," said Jan Philipp Albrecht, a German Member of the European Parliament who is driving the reform. "And they must be able to consciously agree to data processing - or reject it." Facebook and Google, who were among the first to profit from users' data, have been lobbying against the curbs.
Google Chairman Eric Schmidt Plans To Sell 3.2M Company Shares Over The Next Year, 42% Of His Stake In Google
By FREDERIC LARDINOIS - TechCrunch.com
Google's executive chairman Eric Schmidt, the companytoday reported in an SEC filing, plans to sell about 3.2 million of the Class A common stock he currently owns through a stock trading plan, which would reduce his share in the company by about 42 percent. At Google's current stock price, this transaction would be worth about $2.5 billion.
According to the filing, Schmidt currently owns about 7.6 million shares of Class A and Class B common stock. That, Google reports, accounts for about 2.3 percent of Google's outstanding capital stock and 8.2 percent of the voting power.
Brussels fights US data privacy push
[Google article title for free access]
By James Fontanella-Khan in Brussels - FT.com
Europe's most senior justice official is adamant she will fight US attempts to water down a proposed EU data protection and privacy law that would force global technology companies to obey European standards across the world.
Viviane Reding, EU commissioner for justice, said that the EU was determined to respond decisively to any attempts by US lobbyists – many working for large tech groups such as Google and Facebook – to curb the EU data protection law.
Dick Cheney blasts Obama's 'second-rate'
national security team
AP - WashingtonTimes.com
CHEYENNE, Wyo. — Former Vice President Dick Cheney said Saturday night that President Obama has jeopardized U.S. national security by nominating substandard candidates for key Cabinet posts and by degrading the U.S. military.
"The performance now of Barack Obama as he staffs up the national security team for the second term is dismal," Mr. Cheney said in comments to about 300 members of the Wyoming Republican Party.
DERELICTION OF DUTY: OBAMA DID NOTHING
TO SAVE AMERICAN LIVES IN BENGHAZI--
AND LIED ABOUT IT
by JOEL B. POLLAK - Breitbart.com
Nothing. That is what President Barack Obama did on the night of September 11, 2012, as terrorists attacked the U.S. consulate in Benghazi and killed four Americans, among them Ambassador Christopher Stevens. President Obama's inaction was revealed in testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Thursday by outgoing Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey.
Under direct questioning by Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), Panetta admitted that he had no communication with President Obama after their "pre-scheduled" meeting at 5:00 p.m. EDT. The attack on the consulate had already been under way for 90 minutes at that time. Neither the president nor anyone else from the White House called afterwards to check what was happening; the Commander-in-Chief had left it "up to us," said Panetta.
Drones and biometric identity detection Ron Paul's Dire New Warning
The former Congressman and presidential candidate warned that the proposed McCain/Schumer immigration "reform" plan, as it exists now, would usher in warrantless surveillance of US citizens using drones, a de facto mandatory national ID system barring those without it from working legally, increased federal database information on US citizens, and the further erosion of our core civil rights under the guise of keeping our economy "safe" from illegal immigration.
Scariest paragraph of Ron Paul's post: "Harper rightly notes that E-Verify is in fact a national ID card, writing last week that, 'the system must biometrically identify everyone who works—you, me, and every working American you know. There is no way to do internal enforcement of immigration law without a biometric national identity system.'"
DHS Watchdog OKs 'Suspicionless' Seizure
of Electronic Devices Along Border
BY DAVID KRAVETS - Wired.com
The Department of Homeland Security's civil rights watchdog has concluded that travelers along the nation's borders may have their electronics seized and the contents of those devices examined for any reason whatsoever — all in the name of national security.
The DHS, which secures the nation's border, in 2009 announced that it would conduct a "Civil Liberties Impact Assessment" of its suspicionless search-and-seizure policy pertaining to electronic devices "within 120 days." More than three years later, the DHS office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties published a two-page executive summary of its findings.
CrossTalk: Drone Master
Is 'death by drone' justifiable? Or even effective? Is Washington's use of drones legal under international -- and now also national - law? What of the issue of blowback -- is this being taken seriously? And in sending out drones, what other message is the US sending out to the world? CrossTalking with David Swanson and Noel Sharkey.
Lawmakers urge oversight of drone program
By Philip Elliott, AP - WashingtonTimes.com
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Obama's use of unmanned drones to kill Americans who are suspected of being al Qaeda allies deserves closer inspection, lawmakers said Sunday, as even some of the president's allies suggested an uneasiness about the program.
Mr. Obama's stance toward the terrorist threats facing the United States has left some Democrats and Republicans alike nervous about the unmanned drones targeting the nation's enemies from the skies. Questions about the deadly program dogged Mr. Obama's pick to lead the Central Intelligence Agency last week and prompted lawmakers to consider tighter oversight. All killings carried out under the drone program have ballooned under the president's watch.
Is This the Secret U.S. Drone Base in Saudi Arabia?
BY NOAH SHACHTMAN - Wired.com
These satellite images show a remote airstrip deep in the desert of Saudi Arabia. It may or may not be the secret U.S. drone base revealed by reporters earlier this week. But the base's hangars bear a remarkable resemblance to similar structures found on other American drone outposts. And its remote location — dozens of miles from the nearest highway, and farther still to the nearest town – suggests that this may be more than the average civilian airstrip.
According to accounts from the Washington Post and The New York Times, the U.S. built its secret Saudi base approximately two years ago. Its first lethal mission was in September of 2011: a strike onAnwar al-Awlaki, the American-born propagandist for al-Qaida's affiliate in Yemen, which borders Saudi Arabia. Since then, the U.S. has launched dozens of drone attacks on Yemeni targets. News organizations eventually found out about the base. But they agreed to keep it out of their pages — part of an informal arrangement with the Obama administration, which claimed that the disclosure of the base's location, even in a general way, might jeopardize national security. On Tuesday, that loose embargo was broken.
Cantor offers support for administration's drone program
By Ben Wolfgang-The Washington Times
While promising that Republicans won't abandon their oversight role, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor on Sunday expressed support for the Obama administration's use of drones.
In an interview on NBC's "Meet the Press,"Mr. Cantor, Virginia Republican, said he and his colleagues soon will be "getting into examining" a recent Justice Department memo stating it's legal to use drones to target U.S. citizens in extreme circumstances. That memo was first obtained by NBC News last week.
5 Homeland Security 'Bots
Coming to Spy on You (If They Aren't Already)
BY ROBERT BECKHUSEN - Wired.com
It's been 10 years since the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) started up operations. During that decade, DHS has moved to the forefront of funding and deploying the robots and drones that could be coming soon to a neighborhood near you.
DHS funds research and development for surveillance robots. It provides grant money by the hundreds of thousands to police agencies to buy their own. And sometimes it's bought and deployed robots -- for their skies, the ground and the waters -- of its own, usually concentrated along the border. It's not clear how many of those robots police operate, and law enforcement isn't by any means the only domestic market for the 'bots. But the trend lines point toward more robotic spy tools for law enforcement in more places -- with more DHS cash.
It Has Happened Here the police state is real
By Paul Craig Roberts
The Bush regime's response to 9/11 and the Obama regime's validation of this response have destroyed accountable democratic government in the United States. So much unaccountable power has been concentrated in the executive branch that the US Constitution is no longer an operable document.
Whether a person believes the official story of 9/11 which rests on unproven government assertions or believes the documented evidence provided by a large number of scientists, first responders, and structural engineers and architects, the result is the same. 9/11 was used to create an open-ended "war on terror" and a police state. It is extraordinary that so many Americans believe that "it can't happen here" when it already has.
The Anti-Democracy Index Executive branch agencies make law via regulation with brazen disregard of the Constitution. Can Congress regain its proper role?
By WAYNE CREWS & RYAN YOUNG - Spetator.org
The United States Constitution gives "all legislative powers herein granted" to Congress. Neither the judicial nor the executive branch has the power to make laws, only interpret and execute them, respectively — at least in theory. In practice, things are quite different. Not only do executive branch agencies makes laws every day by issuing regulations that have the force of law, they do more lawmaking than Congress — a lot more.
Ben Carson for President The Johns Hopkins neurosurgeon
has two big ideas for America.
Opinion - WSJ.com
Whether this weekend finds you blowing two feet of snow off the driveway or counting the hours until "Downton Abbey," make time to watch the video of Dr. Ben Carson speaking to the White House prayer breakfast this week.
Seated in view to his right are Senator Jeff Sessions and President Obama. One doesn't look happy. You know something's coming when Dr. Carson says, "It's not my intention to offend anyone. But it's hard not to. The PC police are out in force everywhere."
Obama allies urge greater scrutiny of drones policy Lawmakers use Sunday political talkshows to question use of unmanned aircraft to kill American citizens
AP - Guardian.co.uk
President Barack Obama's use of unmanned drones to kill Americans who are suspected of being al-Qaida allies deserves closer inspection, lawmakers said on Sunday, as even some of the president's allies suggested uneasiness about the program.
Obama's stance toward the terrorist threats facing the United States has left some Democrats and Republicans nervous about unmanned drones targeting the nation's enemies from the skies. Questions about the deadly program dogged Obama's pick to lead the CIA last week and prompted lawmakers to consider tighter oversight. Killings carried out under the drone program have ballooned on Obama's watch.
Did the CIA Betray Syria's Rebels? Americans didn't keep promises to opposition leaders.
Now they've turned against the U.S.
By Mike Giglio - TheDailyBeast.com
In mid-August, a well-connected Syrian activist drove to the border city of Gaziantep in southern Turkey to meet two officers from the CIA. The officers had set up shop in a conference room at a luxury hotel, where representatives from a handful of opposition groups lounged in the lobby, waiting for their turn at an audience.
Turkey will not halt gold flow to Iran, demand may fall
By Asli Kandemir and Evrim Ergin
ISTANBUL, Feb 7 (Reuters) - Turkey will not be swayed by U.S. sanctions pressure to halt gold exports to Iran but Tehran's demand for the metal may fall this year, Economy Minister Zafer Caglayan said on Thursday.
U.S. officials are concerned that Turkey's gold sales, which allow Iran to export natural gas, provides a financial lifeline to Tehran, which is largely frozen out of the global banking system by Western sanctions imposed over its nuclear programme.
Tunisa in tatters Tunisian president's party 'to withdraw from coalition'
Congress for the Republic says its ministers will withdraw from transitional government on Monday
By Angelique Chrisafis in Tunis - The Guardian
Tunisia's transitional coalition government hung in the balance on Sunday after President Moncef Marzouki's key secular party, the Congress for the Republic (CPR), said its ministers would withdraw. Meanwhile the moderate Islamist prime minister held crunch talks with his ruling Ennahda party over replacing certain ministers to calm tensions in the wake of the murder of opposition leader Chokri Belaïd.
The CPR said the withdrawal was linked to its long-running demands for cabinet changes. A party leader told the state-run TAP news agency that the withdrawal would be confirmed on Monday.
Israeli strike in Syria might be first in series
By Joel Greenberg
and Babak Dehghanpisheh - WashingtonPost.com
JERUSALEM – Israel's recent airstrike in Syria, which according to Western officials targeted weapons destined for the militant Lebanese group Hezbollah, could mark the start of a more aggressive campaign by Israel to prevent arms transfers as conditions in Syria deteriorate, according to analysts in Israel and Lebanon.
Israel's readiness to strike again if necessary heralds a new and more volatile phase in the regional repercussions of Syria's civil war, which has raised concerns in Israel about the possible transfer of advanced or nonconventional weapons to Islamist militant groups.
Iranians on revolution day chant 'death to America'
By AL ARABIYA WITH AFP -Alarabiya.net
Hundreds of thousands of people marched on Sunday in Tehran and other cities chanting "Death to America" as Iran marked the 34th anniversary of the Islamic revolution that ousted the U.S.-backed shah.
In the capital, crowds waving Iranian flags and portraits of revolutionary leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini walked toward the landmark Azadi (Freedom) Square, in a government-sponsored rally which is now a cornerstone of the regime.
Iran and Hezbollah build militia networks
in Syria in event that Assad falls, officials say
By Karen DeYoung and Joby Warrick - WashingtonPost.com
Iran and Hezbollah, its Lebanese proxy, are building a network of militias inside Syria to preserve and protect their interests in the event that President Bashar al-Assad's government falls or is forced to retreat from Damascus, according to U.S. and Middle Eastern officials.
The militias are fighting alongside Syrian government forces to keep Assad in power. But officials believe Iran's long-term goal is to have reliable operatives in place in the event that Syria fractures into separate ethnic and sectarian enclaves.
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad says
Iran ready for nuclear talks with US President admits effect of sanctions and says West must 'pull away the gun from the face of the Iranian nation'
AP - Guardian.co.uk
Iran's president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, said Sunday that he is ready to have talks with United States if the West stops pressuring his country.
His remarks constituted the latest in a series of hints from leaders in both Washington and Tehran about the prospect of direct bilateral negotiations over the Islamic Republic's controversial nuclear program.