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GOLD, SILVER, CURRENCIES
Is gold due for a year-end bounce?
By: Katie Holliday - CNBC.com
Gold could see a rally of around 5 percent before year end, according to one strategist, bringing a respite for the precious metal which has fallen 25 percent year to date and is on course for its worst year since 1981.
Andrew Su, CEO of Compass Global Markets, said gold prices will rise 5 percent in the next few weeks leading up to the end of the year, from Wednesday's trading level of $1,257 per ounce.
"We have an end-of-year target of $1,320 for gold and a medium-term target of $1,450... I think $1,350 is a relatively modest target for the end of the year," he said.
The Correction Isn't Over, But Gold's Headed to $20,000
By Louis James - GoldSeek.com
In April of 2008, Casey International Speculator published an article called "Gold—Relative Performance to Oil" by Professor Krassimir Petrov, then at the American University in Bulgaria, now a visiting professor at Prince of Songkla University in Thailand. He told us he thought the Mania Phase of the gold market was many years off, which was not a popular thing to say at the time:
"In about 8-10 years from now, we should expect the commodity bull market to reach a mania of historic proportions.
QE To Infinity Out. Gold Demand To Infinity In
By Stewart Thomson - GoldSeek.com
…. In my professional opinion, the Fed will taper QE to zero over the next 12-18 months. Is that bearish for gold? No.
Most of the weak hands in the gold market that bought gold based on a "QE to infinity" theme are gone. When the taper starts, there simply isn't much QE-oriented gold left to sell.
In 1980, an event like a QE "taper to zero" would have caused gold to crash. In 2014, demand from China and India should more than offset all the gold that could be sold by QE-oriented investors.
FLOWS: The Currency Cartel Carry Cycle
By Gordon T. Long - GoldSeek.com
Since 2008 the single-minded focus of central banks has been the repair of the balance sheets of the major international banks and sustaining the debt addicted funding for sovereigns consuming more than they produce, reeling from slow growth and chronic unemployment and incapable of fashioning Fiscal, Public & Economic Policy solutions. In the world of the blind, one eyed Monetary Policy has become King!
The urgently growing problem now is a crisis in the global pension industry. The Macro Prudential strategy of Financial Repression(negative real rates, penalized savings, regulatory arbitrage and currency debasement) has worked effectively for the banks and sovereign governments but has left those industries requiring 'yield' in dire straits. It cannot be stressed enough how important pension and insurance investments are to the life blood of the global economy. Banks may get the press but those less understood, toiling in the shadows, keep massive economic segments such as commercial real estate (temporarily) afloat.
Bitcoin rival or lost chance? J.P. Morgan applies to renew a 13-year old anonymous payments patent
By Saumya Vaishampayan - MarketWatch.com
The Internet is going wild over a recently discovered patent application filed by J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. JPM for a digital-payment network that it describes as "a computer-implemented method of providing an anonymous payment."
The craze was due in part to similarities between the patent and bitcoin, especially the use of the description "anonymous payment" and the open publication of payment addresses on the Internet. The virtual currency and protocol bitcoin has attracted the attention of tech companies, bankers, venture capitalists and regulators this year as its price has swung dramatically. Bank of America released a research note on bitcoin last week that highlighted its potential as a medium of exchange.
JPMorgan files patent application on 'Bitcoin killer'
Banking giant JPMorgan Chase has filed a patent application for an electronic commerce system that sounds remarkably like Bitcoin -- but never mentions the controversial, Internet-only currency.
The patent application was filed in early August but made publicly available only at the end of November; it describes a "method and system for processing Internet payments using the electronic funds transfer network."
JPMorgan files patent for Bitcoin-style payment system
By Tracy Alloway in New York - FT.com
JPMorgan Chase has filed a US patent application for a computerised payment system that resembles some aspects of Bitcoin, the controversial virtual currency.
Like Bitcoin, JPMorgan's proposed system would allow people to make anonymous, electronic payments over the internet, without having to reveal their name or account numbers or pay a fee, according to the patent application.
JP Morgan Aims to DOMINATE BitCoin
JPMorgan patents Bitcoin-like payment system
By Jose Pagliery - Money.CNN.com
NEW YORK (CNNMoney)
JPMorgan Chase has patented a digital payment system that could rival Bitcoin.
The system includes digital wallets, the ability to transfer money to anyone and anonymity too, according to a patent application filed to the U.S. Patent and Trade Office on Aug. 5. The Financial Times first reported the story.
JPMorgan has also patented payment software that would latch onto your Internet browser and allow you to shop without pausing to fill out forms with personal financial information. And with what the bank calls its Internet Pay Anyone Account, moving funds would be anonymous and as easy as sending an email.
[note: Apple's iBeacons solution will upstage NFC]
PayPal president David Marcus: Bitcoin is good, NFC is bad
The leader of the payments business looks to the future and says Bitcoin is a good idea -- but not yet actually a currency. Tap-to-pay, meanwhile, is a dud.
by Stephen Shankland - CNET.com
PARIS -- Online payments will look completely different in the next decade, and Bitcoin has a better chance at revolutionizing commerce than the NFC tap-to-pay technology, PayPal President David Marcus predicted Tuesday.
"I really like Bitcoin. I own bitcoins," Marcus said at the LeWeb conference here. However, he believes people today don't correctly understand what bitcoins actually are, and he's not yet ready to let people link their bitcoin wallets with their PayPal accounts.
More Bitcoin articles below...
ECONOMICS, FINANCE, THE FED, BANKING, INTERNATIONAL
The Volcker Rule
How a Simple Idea to Rein In Banks Got Supersized
By Yalman Onaran - Bloomberg.com
Merriam-Webster's Dictionary defines "speculation" in 31 words. The key ones are "risk of a large loss." When Paul Volcker, the former U.S. Federal Reserve chairman, proposed banning speculation by federally insured banks to reduce risk to the world economy, he did it in one paragraph. Four years later, the nation's regulators issued a final rule based on Volcker's proposal. It runs close to 100 pages, with hundreds more in supporting material — and no one is quite sure how it will be enforced. It's a lesson in how complicated simplifying Wall Street can be.
Volcker Rule Winners: Securities Lawyers, Private Equity Firms
By Daniel Fisher, Forbes Staff
Volcker Rule regulations designed to keep big banks from straying too far into risky trading activities may or may not make the banking system safer. But they will prove profitable for at least two groups: Securities lawyers and private equity firms.
The rules were approved today by five regulatory agencies that oversee banks, including the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., the Securities and Exchange Commission, and the Commodities Futures Trading Commission. The fact that five agencies are involved alone illustrates the complexity of complying with the new regulations, which prohibit banks from engaging in proprietary trading or owning hedge and private equity funds that they might feel compelled to prop up in a crisis.
Volcker rule called 'reasonable,' but details will prove devilish, analysts say
By Sital S. Patel - MarketWatch.com
That is the general consensus from analysts and experts on the long-delayed Volcker rule voted in on Tuesday by five regulatory agencies, as part of the Dodd-Frank Act. That doesn't mean the banking industry is breathing a sigh of relief, far from it.
– "The big five U.S. regulators appear to have actually read the comment letters from their first draft and chosen to be reasonable," said Brad Hintz, analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein & Co.
Feds adopt Volcker Rule curbs on banks
By Peter Schroeder - TheHill.com
Financial regulators on Tuesday handed down the Volcker Rule, enacting significant new curbs on Wall Street trading that will likely be challenged in court.
Five federal agencies voted to adopt the regulations, closing the books on years of work, countless meetings, and intense lobbying by the financial industry and its critics.
Another perspective on the Volcker Rule
Wall Streeter's Lament Volcker Rule: "Liquidity Is About To Be Sacrificed At The Altar Of Ignorance & Fear"
by Anthony Peters of SwissInvest - ZeroHedge.com
Mario's Law and Volcker's Pandora's Box
Today, Tuesday, is a day rich in headlines from across Europe which confirm that all is well in the garden and that where things are not well they will become well.
Ireland will unquestionably receive its last tranche of bailout money because it has earned it, Cyprus will most likely receive its next tranche despite the fact that in truth it has barely deserved it and Greece continues to miss every deadline which has been set for it but will in the end surely also be found to be worthy – how can it not be?
The Fallacy Of The Volcker Rule (Or "Fixing" The Banks In 5 Easy Steps)
by Peter Tchir of TF Market Advisors - ZeroHedge.com
Volcker Rule - Who cares? I know we are supposed to care more about this convoluted rule, but we just can't.
The concept that somehow "prop" trading brought down the banks seems silly. The idea that market making desks were a dangerous part of the equation is ludicrous.
They could have fixed this with a few simple changes, but that would have meant some blame would have had to be shifted onto the regulators…
Volcker Rule Wall Street crackdown revealed
By KATE DAVIDSON and ZACHARY WARMBRODT | Politico.com
Regulators on Tuesday approved the highly anticipated "Volcker rule," finalizing new trading restrictions for Wall Street banks that have proven to be among the most contentious and heavily lobbied aspects of the 2010 Dodd-Frank law.
The rule bans banks from trading with their own funds for profit if they receive a federal backstop through deposit insurance or access to Federal Reserve loans. It also imposes tight restrictions on banks' ability to own or invest in hedge funds and private-equity funds.
Taper once again takes center stage
Commentary: Despite data, pullback in stimulus may have to wait
By Irwin Kellner, MarketWatch
The latest batch of economic statistics says "yes, yes," but there is "no, no" in the Fed's eyes.
The "yes" in the data means that the economy appears to be strong enough to withstand a tapering of monetary ease. A "no" means that the Federal Reserve is likely to wait a trifle longer.
To be sure, several Fed officials have already jumped on the taper bandwagon, urging their colleagues to reduce bond purchases by at least a modest amount as soon as this month.
Fed's Fisher: The Time to Taper Fed Bond Buys Is Now
By Michael S. Derby - NASDAQ.com
NEW YORK--Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas President Richard Fisher said Monday that it is time for the central bank to begin winding down its easy-money policies and give a clear time table for how that process will play out.
"The current program of purchasing $85 billion per month in U.S. Treasuries and mortgage-backed securities comes at a cost that far exceeds its purported benefits," Mr. Fisher said. "We at the Fed should begin tapering back our bond purchases at the earliest opportunity."
"To enable the markets to digest this change of course with minimal disruption, we should do so within the context of a clearly articulated, well-defined calendar for reducing purchases on a steady path to zero," he said.
US congressional leaders unveil two-year budget deal
Bipartisan deal will fix federal spending at $1.012tn and relieve worst effects of the sequester
By Dan Roberts in Washington - TheGuardian.com
Congress was on the verge of the first bipartisan budget deal in nearly three decades on Tuesday night after Democrat and Republican negotiators unveiled a proposal to fix federal spending at $1.012tn.
The long-awaited agreement struck between senator Patty Murray and congressman Paul Ryan staves off the threat of another government shutdown for two years and will relieve the worst effects of blanket budget cuts known as the sequester.
Budget deal is sealed
By Russell Berman, Erik Wasson and Mike Lillis - TheHill.com
Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) announced a budget deal Tuesday evening that would call for about $1 trillion in federal spending in 2014 while replacing some sequestration cuts.
The deal replaces $63 billion in sequester cuts over two years and trims an additional $23 billion in long-term deficits.
The agreement falls far short of the grand budget bargain Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and President Obama once envisioned. But if passed, it will bring a measure of fiscal peace to the capital for the first time since Republicans took control of the House in 2010.
How Far Will Stocks Fall This Time When The Fed Decides To Slow Down Quantitative Easing?
By Michael Snyder - TheEconomicCollapseBlog.com
When QE1 ended there was a substantial stock market correction, and when QE2 ended there was a substantial stock market correction. And if you will remember, the financial markets threw a massive hissy fit a few months ago when Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke suggested that the Fed may soon start tapering QE3. Clearly Wall Street does not like it when their supply of monetary heroin is interrupted. The Federal Reserve has tricked the American people into supporting quantitative easing by insisting that it is about "stimulating the economy", but that has turned out to be a massive hoax. In fact, I just wrote an article that contained 37 statistics that prove that things just keep getting even worse for ordinary Americans. But quantitative easing has been exceptionally good for Wall Street. During QE1, the S&P 500 rose by about 300 points. During QE2, the S&P 500 rose by about 200 points. And during QE3, the S&P 500 has risen by about 400 points. The S&P 500 is now in unprecedented territory, and stock prices have become completely and totally divorced from reality. In essence, we are in the midst of the largest financial bubble this nation has ever seen. So what is going to happen when the Fed starts pulling back the monetary crack and the bubble bursts?
The "Taper Trend" is Your Friend
by Greg Guenthner - DailyReckoning.com
The dreaded Fed taper is changing the way investors approach the market.
Well, not the taper itself, of course. That hasn't happened yet. But the investment community's fears over the taper, its timing, and impact on the markets have actually slowed the flow of money into long-term investment funds over the past six months.
You can profit from the "taper trend" by staying long equities heading into the New Year. It's that simple…
Did the Government Shutdown Help the Economy?
BY FRANK HOLMES - FinancialSense.com
From New Delhi to San Francisco to London, and finally back in San Antonio, I've been communicating one consistent theme to investors: Follow the money.
What's really important in following the money is for investors to not get caught up in the negative web spun by the media. There's a lot of drama these days about Obamacare and Washington dysfunction. Take the government shutdown in October, when the House and Senate fought over the debt ceiling. Economic data wasn't released, services were halted, national parks were closed, and "non-essential" government workers were told to stay home.
As a result, GDP was expected to collapse.
The Biggest Bubble
investors' belief that there is no risk
by TheTechnicalTake - ZeroHedge.com
I don't have an official definition of a market bubble, but we can probably all agree on this: stock prices are currently divergent not only from the economy but from the underlying market fundamentals. So if you think the current stock run is justified, then you likely believe that stocks are forecasting better growth in the economy or market fundamentals (i.e., earnings) will improve or that there will be some catalyst that justifies the price ramp. The best and most easily identifiable catalyst has been Federal Reserve largesse, and this has done little for the economy. In addition, market intervention has distorted normal market signals. Federal Reserve policy doesn't improve investment in the real economy but rather diverts investment capital away from the economy and into risky assets. Like so many things about the years since the financial crisis, it creates the illusion of wealth without a sound underpinning. I have no doubt that keeping interest rates artificially low has a positive effect on those sectors of the economy that are interest rate sensitive, but all this does is pull demand forward like the "cash for clunkers" program. Is there demand for homes because wages and salaries are growing or because interest rates are a great deal? I would argue that it is the latter. It just doesn't seem intuitively correct that you can print your way to prosperity.
The World's Only Popular Tax
by Marc Faber - DailyReckoning.com
The November 2013 Investment Outlook published by PIMCO caught my attention with an essay by Bill Gross entitled "Scrooge McDucks".
Gross wrote remorsefully, "Having benefited enormously via the leveraging of capital since the beginning of my career and having shared a decreasing percentage of my income thanks to Presidents Reagan and Bush 43 via lower government taxes, I now find my intellectual leanings shifting to the plight of labor."
BlackRock Warns "High Valuations & Low Volatility Are A Lethal Mix"
Submitted by Tyler Durden - ZeroHedge.com
BlackRock said there is a 20% risk that world events could go badly wrong, either because the eurozone acts too late to head off deflation or because of a chain reaction as the Fed starts to wind down stimulus in earnest. As The Telegraph notes, BlackRock's risk indicator is almost as high as it was just before the dotcom bust. "The ratio of the two is the key. High valuations combined with low volatility can make for a lethal mix. This market gauge sounded the alarm well before the Great Financial Crisis." Furthermore, the largest asset manager in the world warns, "troubling trends of growing inequality and weak wage growth, bring into question the sustainability of profit margins." What is good for investors is corrosive for societies, hardly tenable equilibrium.
HEALTH CARE, MEDICINE, AHCCA (OBAMACARE)
Colin Powell Endorses Single-Payer Health Care
Some members of Congress want to take Obamacare a step further
By STEVEN NELSON - USNews.com
At a prostate cancer survivors breakfast last week, former Secretary of State Colin Powell, a Republican, marveled at the quality of single-payer health care systems abroad and suggested the U.S. follow suit.
Amid frustration with the rollout of President Barack Obama's health care plan, some members of Congress who agree with Powell are pushing for consideration of such a system.
Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., introduced the American Health Security Act of 2013 on Monday, which would require states to create their own single-payer insurance systems. A House version was introduced in March by Rep. Jim McDermott, D-Wash.
HHS Spending $55.5 Million to 'Bolster' Healthcare Workforce as Obamacare Causes Doctor Shortages
Grants include $5 million for 'nursing diversity'
BY: Elizabeth Harrington - FreeBeacon.com
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is spending an additional $55 million to "bolster" the healthcare workforce, as Obamacare contributes to shortages in the industry.
HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebeliusannounced last week that her agency will provide over 270 grants "from diversity to dentistry" to address worker shortages in the healthcare industry.
The funding includes $45.4 million to support the nursing workforce, $5.2 million of which will go towards "improving nursing diversity."
IRS intimidating health insurance broker helping people who lose policies
by Sara Marie Brenner - WashingtonTimes.com
WASHINGTON, December 9, 2013 — C. Steven Tucker,the man who helped cancer patientBill Elliott regain his health insurance policy, now believes that he is purposefully being intimidated by the IRS.
The Washington Times reported on Thursday that Tucker and Elliott received notices from the IRS on the same day, but for different matters. Since receiving his first notice, Tucker has experienced a series of events that have left him feeling targeted, but very determined.
Protecting Volunteer Firefighters from Obamacare
Rep. Lou Barletta introduces bill exempting volunteer fire departments from Obamacare regulation
BY: Monique Hamm - FreeBeacon.com
Rep. Lou Barletta (R., Pa.) introduced a bill Tuesday that will exempt volunteer fire departments from having to pay for their members' insurance benefits.
The current IRS policy defines volunteer firefighters as employees for federal tax purposes. If voted into law, the Protecting Volunteer Firefighters and Emergency Responders Act will redefine volunteers as non-employees, which will relieve fire departments from the burden of paying for volunteers' health insurance.
DOMESTIC NEWS, REAL ESTATE, EDUCATION, JOBS
Wealthy Go Frugal This Holiday Amid Uneven U.S. Recovery
By Cotten Timberlake - Bloomberg.com
Last holiday season, literary agent Linda Chester bought herself a sheared sable fur coat and red evening gown, both from Ralph Rucci, and designer suede leggings. This season, the bicoastal fashion lover settled for costume jewelry earrings from SoHo designer Iradj Moini.
"I am definitely tightening my belt this year," said Chester, who cited an uneven economic rebound and concerns over a possible stock-market bubble, as well as a desire to spend more on charity. "I really am not looking."
Consumers have had enough, 'rage survey' says
By: Herb Weisbaum - CNBC.com
Americans are not very happy consumers. We're frustrated and angry—and for good reason.
More people than ever are dissatisfied with the products and services they buy, according to a new report from Arizona State University's W.P. Carey School of Business. And when there is a problem, we're less happy with the customer service we receive.
The number of households experiencing "customer rage"—they were very or extremely upset about the company response when they complained—jumped to 68 percent from 60 percent in the last survey, in 2011.
Tough times ahead for BIG mortgages
Good luck buying big city real estate next year
The lower cap on FHA mortgages will hit city dwellers hardest
By AnnaMaria Andriotis - MarketWatch.com
In just a few weeks, home buyers are going to have a harder time signing up for large mortgages.
The Department of Housing and Urban Development announced on Friday that it will lower the loan limits for its Federal Housing Administration mortgage — a loan used by many first-time and lower-income home buyers — from $729,750 to $625,500. The FHA insures mortgages that banks give to borrowers who make small down payments. Congress raised FHA mortgage caps six years ago in the wake of the downturn.
When it's better to rent a home in retirement
Retirees who need flexibility sign leases instead of mortgage documents
By Amy Hoak, MarketWatch
Many argue it's best to own a home in retirement instead of renting one. But there are exceptions.
Owning is more predictable — even if you don't own your home free and clear. There's no landlord to increase your rent or tell you to move; with a fixed-rate mortgage, your monthly payments are set.
"With a fixed-rate mortgage, you can control the principal and interest components of the mortgage. You can also control when that gets paid off," said Greg McBride, senior financial analyst at Bankrate.com. Owning a home also opens up the possibility of getting a reverse mortgage to help with cash flow, he said.
Supreme Court Opens Door for Online Sales Tax Loophole
States may seek new online sales tax laws after Supreme Court denial
By TOM RISEN - USNews.com
Lawmakers in many states will convene their legislatures in January, but it is unclear whether they will move to collect sales tax from Web retailers doing business in their states in both a politically sensitive election year and a period of economic recovery.
The U.S. Supreme Court's move on Dec. 2 rejecting challenges by Amazon and Overstock to a New York state law may give legislatures greater ability to collect existing sales tax from Web retailers operating in their states.
Rethinking Education: Self-Directed Learning Fits the Digital Age
BY AMY HARRINGTON - Wired.com
Taking apart the idea of school as we know it and getting back to the roots of children and learning is a pervasive thought which I am constantly researching and evaluating. There is no shortage of pedagogies out there but there seems to be a lack of application of relevant methodologies for out of the box creative thinkers.
Our public educational system as we all know it is one of the most broken institutions which is entirely counterintuitive to its intended purpose. Many parents have children and without thought register their children at the local school because currently that is the expected norm. Historically, compulsory schooling at an institution was not the norm and I am suggesting we rethink everything we currently know about traditional brick and mortar schools.
Mary Barra named GM CEO to become America's first female car chief
By Dominic Rushe in New York - TheGuardian.com
General Motors, America's largest car manufacturer, has named Mary Barra its chief executive, making her the first woman to head a major auto firm.
Barra's appointment was announced Tuesday, a day after the US government sold off its last stake in the auto giant. The daughter of a GM worker, Barra joined the company at 18 and is currently its global head of product development.
US sells remaining General Motors shares at a loss of $10.5bn
Treasury secretary Jacob Lew announced the selloff, after which taxpayers recovered only $39bn of the $49.5bn GM bailout
AP in Detroit - TheGuardian.com
The US government ended up losing $10.5bn on its bailout of General Motors, but still says the alternative would have been much worse.
Treasury secretary Jacob Lew announced Tuesday that the government sold its remaining shares in the Detroit automaker.
The government received 912m GM shares, or a 60.8% stake, in exchange for a $49.5bn bailout during the financial crisis in 2008 and 2009. It recovered $39bn of the money, meaning taxpayers came up more than $10bn short.
GM Auto-Lender Still Owes Federal Government $5 Billion
Feds lost $10.5 billion on GM bailout
BY: Bill McMorris - FreeBeacon.com
General Motors' (GM) troubled lending arm remains billions of dollars in debt to taxpayers.
The Treasury Department sold its remaining GM stock on Monday, a move that is expected to cost taxpayers $10.5 billion.
"With the final sale of GM stock, this important chapter in our nation's history is now closed," said Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew in a statement.
The matter, however, is not yet settled. GM auto-lender Ally Financial still owes taxpayers nearly $5 billion and the federal government owns 64 percent of the company, according to a Treasury Department official.
CARSON: Why did the founders give us the Second Amendment?
By Ben S. Carson - WashingtonTimes.com
When I was in high school, I joined the ROTC initially because I was attracted to the uniforms. I figured they would provide an opportunity to escape the constant berating by fellow students owing to my outdated clothing. I was fascinated with the guns and became an excellent marksman, winning several marksmanship awards.
I also led a drill team, which was very advanced with the art of disassembling and reassembling military rifles in record time. I advanced through the ranks, eventually becoming the city's ROTC executive officer and was offered a scholarship to West Point. I gained great respect for the military and its role in procuring and maintaining our freedom. I also gained great appreciation for firearms, as well as an understanding of how they can be used for great good or great harm.
ATF uses rogue tactics in storefront stings across the nation
Agency said failures of Milwaukee operation were isolated, but the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel found similar issues in at least six cities nationwide — targeting the mentally disabled, losing guns, encouraging crimes, damaging rented buildings and more.
By John Diedrich and Raquel Rutledge of the Journal Sentinel
Aaron Key wasn't sure he wanted a tattoo on his neck. Especially one of a giant squid smoking a joint.
But the guys running Squid's Smoke Shop in Portland, Ore., convinced him: It would be a perfect way to promote their store.
They would even pay him and a friend $150 a piece if they agreed to turn their bodies into walking billboards.
Key, who is mentally disabled, was swayed.
He and his friend, Marquis Glover, liked Squid's. It was their hangout. The 19-year-olds spent many afternoons there playing Xbox and chatting with the owner, "Squid," and the store clerks.
Federal Judge Says California 'Waiting Period' Gun Laws Are Likely Unconstitutional
BY: Washington Free Beacon Staff
Senior Federal District Court Judge Anthony W. Ishii on Monday denied California Attorney General Kamal Harris' arguments in a federal civil lawsuit, indicating that California's 10-day "waiting period" laws are likely unconstitutional.
The 10-day waiting period law means that gun purchasers in California must wait a minimum of ten days before they can take possession of the purchased guns.
POLITICS, OP/ED, GOV WATCH, GLOBALISM, RELIGION
House and Senate negotiators reach two-year budget deal
By Jacqueline Klimas-The Washington Times
Key lawmakers from both parties announced Tuesday a bipartisan budget proposal that would avoid another government shutdown and restore some defense spending that would have been lost to upcoming sequester cuts.
Rep. Paul Ryan, brushing aside objections from some fiscal conservatives that the proposal would undo spending caps that have helped slow the growth of the federal deficit, told reporters the compromise is a win for the GOP.
SCOTUS Dismisses Union Effort to Preserve Deals with Management
UNITE-HERE local had made deal with management to obtain worker info in exchange for labor peace
BY: Bill McMorris - FreeBeacon.com
The Supreme Court threw out a union's attempt to preserve backroom deals with employers on Tuesday.
The court dismissed the writ of cert forUnite Here Local 355 v. Martin Mulhallas having been "improvidently granted." The court had granted writ following an 11th Circuit Appeals Court ruling that found employers cannot exchange personal employee information for labor peace during organizing elections.
US Fails To Close TPP Deal As Wikileaks Exposes Discord
By Emma Woollacott, Contributor - Forbes.com
The latest round of talks over the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) have failed to lead to a resolution, with ministers confirming that debate is likely to continue into next year.
The announcement comes as Wikileaks releases an internal memoand spreadsheet, revealing that the US is putting heavy pressure on other nations to conform with its demands.
Obama's foreign policy: Dazed and confused at the White House
by Conor Higgins - WashingtonTimes.com
WASHINGTON, December 10, 2013 — In late 2013, the United States finds itself with no coherent foreign policy. It is led by a president who is better at apologizing for America's past than in safeguarding its future. He would rather lay blame for his failures than fix them to advance America's standing and interests in the world.
Recent events such as the Iran nuclear deal have stirred the pot of the president's foreign policy brew, and a nasty-looking brew it is.
A closer look at the Benghazi lie
New photos confirm the attack's coordination and its cover-up
By Tom Fitton - WashingtonTimes.com
The Obama State Department has finally released a second round of photos revealing the harrowing devastation wrought by a terrorist attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi on Sept. 11, 2012.
The new photographs depict rampant damage to the consulate. They show charred walls, smoldering fires, Arabic graffiti defacing exterior walls, and scattered debris throughout. The extent of the damage would lead any reasonably serious person to conclude that this was a cold, calculated attack, carefully coordinated to mark the 11th anniversary of Sept. 11, 2001. Unfortunately for the American people, the Obama-Clinton-Rice cabal that led to the Benghazi cover-up was far more interested in political-damage control than serious damage assessment.
ENERGY, CLIMATE, NATURAL DISASTERS
Will the Shale Gas Revolution Make North America's LNG Ambitions Obsolete?
BY JEFF RUBIN - FinancialSense.com
In the lifespan of multi-billion dollar projects, five years is a relative blink. It's why committing to big infrastructure projects is so nerve-wracking—the world can change in a hurry. Consider that only five years ago, plans were in place to build a terminal outside Quebec City to receive liquefied natural gas from Russia. At the time, natural gas prices were close to double digits and the skies ahead looked clear and profitable. The shale gas revolution, of course, changed that essentially overnight. Prices have tumbled and North America, far from being an importer of natural gas, is now positioning itself as an exporter.
Record 18 Year Cold Temp Proves Al Gore Wrong
Published on Dec 10, 2013
Feeling chilly? Here's cold comfort: You could be in East Antarctica which new data says set a record for "soul-crushing" cold.
Santa Warns In Greenpeace Video Christmas Will Be Canceled Due To Global Warming
WASHINGTON (CBSDC) — Greenpeace is warning children the world over Santa Claus might not be bringing gifts to them because of global warming.
A "Save the Arctic" video released by the environmental group shows a sullen and dirty Santa – played by Jim Carter of "Downton Abbey" — in a dark, concrete room with water dripping from the ceiling.
"Dear children, I regrettably bring bad tidings. For some time now, melting ice here in the North Pole has made our operations and our day-to-day life intolerable and impossible and there may be no alternative but to cancel Christmas," Santa warned in the Greenpeace video.
An urgent message from Santa
What Is Happening To Alaska? Is Fukushima Responsible For The Mass Animal Deaths?
By Michael Snyder - TheTruthWin.com
Why are huge numbers of dead birds dropping dead and washing up along the coastlines of Alaska? It is being reported that many of the carcases of the dead birds are "broken open and bleeding". The photo of some of these dead birds at the top of this article was originally posted by Alaska native David Akeya on Facebook. You can find more photos of these dead birds right here. And of course it isn't just birds that are dying. As you will see below, something is causing mass death events among various populations of fish as well. In addition, it has been reported that large numbers of polar bears, seals and walruses in Alaska are being affected by hair loss and "oozing sores". So precisely what is causing all of this? Could Fukushima be responsible? Authorities are claiming that all of this is being caused by "disease" or "harsh weather", but are they actually telling us the truth? Evaluate the evidence that I have shared below and decide for yourself…
Electric Buses that Can Charge En-Route
By James Burgess - OilPrice.com
Eaton, a power management company that works to develop and provide energy efficient technologies, has developed a new DC HyperCharger wireless charging system in Europe. This technological advancement, aimed at Europe's electric buses, means that the vehicles will be able to charge en-route, rather than visiting off-route fuelling stations, or basing the entire route around a central fuelling station.
Eaton already offers a fast charger for EV's known as the DC Quick Charger, which can provide an 80 percent charge within 30 minutes. Whilst this is good enough for most private EV owners, public services such as buses cannot afford to waste 30 minutes plugged into a charge station.
The future of Bitcoin: super currency or super fad?
Bitcoin is growing in popularity, but there is still considerable debate about where the currency will find its niche
Donna Leinwand Leger - USAToday.com
LAS VEGAS – Entrepreneurs flush with newly valuable Bitcoins are creating new products designed to simplify the technology and spread Bitcoin mania into the modern American mall.
More than 600 Bitcoin aficionados gathered Tuesday in a Las Vegas conference center to plot the future of a computer-generated currency that has steadily risen in value for the last two years.
Bitcoin as a commodity, not a currency...
Keiser Report Episode 534
Published on Dec 10, 2013
Max Keiser and Stacy Herbert discuss the bitcoin price plunge as Baidu ditches the crypto-currency and China bans it for financial firms. Unnoticed at the same time, Germany declares bitcoin to be private money and Merrill Lynch claims it can replace money transfer systems like Western Union. In the second half, Max interviews Dr. Christos Vlachos, CFO of the University of Nicosia, which is now accepting bitcoin as payment and he explains how the volatility in the price won't matter to the university. They also discuss Dr. Vlachos' hope to turn Cyprus into a bitcoin hub.
927 People Own Half Of All Bitcoins
By ROB WILE - BusinessInsider.com
Ownership of Bitcoin appears to be highly lopsided.
This has long been a source of consternation in the Bitcoin community, and people like the FT's Izabella Kaminska have written extensively about the implications of this apparent cartel on prices — basically, they get to dictate them, and the rest of us are just price takers.
Now Finnish entrepreneur Risto Pietilä, an active member of on Bitcointalk.org, has offered an estimate of just how severe this ownership imbalance could be.
When Bitcoin Is Not In The Hands Of The Bagholder
Submitted by Tyler Durden - ZeroHedge.com
If the Bitcoin marketplace is this excited to accept people's fiat - especially those who have not blown up any bailed out banks, traded on SAC-type information, or abused the NAR's exemption from anti-money laundering provisions - one wonders just how is all the buying interest being funded? And also, whatever happened to the no transaction friction pledge surrounding the digital currency? Actually, scratch that: if there are no transactions, there can be no frictions.
TECHNOLOGY, SCIENCE, PRIVACY, SUPERNATURAL, FUTURISM
iPhones are for browsing, iPads for buying
Why tablets are where the mobile money is
By Quentin Fottrell - MarketWatch.com
Americans are more likely to use their smartphones for browsing and their iPads or Android tablets to actually make purchases, research finds.
Tablets are where the mobile money is. They drove nearly 12% of all online sales over Cyber Monday, more than double that of smartphones, which accounted for just 5.5%, according to analysis by IBM's IBM +0.20% "Digital Analytics Benchmark," a real-time analysis of millions of online transactions from 800 retailers. What's more, tablet users spent $126 per order—more than the $104 spent on average by smartphone users. That trend is set to continue for the rest of the holidays, research firm eMarketer estimates: 71 million people or 63% of U.S. tablet owners will make purchases using their device this year versus 53 million or 39% of smartphone owners. (Smartphones, however, still drove nearly 20% of all online traffic compared with 11.5% for tablets.)
Twitter Makes Its Play for Private Messaging
BY MAT HONAN - Wired.com
Twitter rolled out a new version of its app for iOS and Android today. It's similar to what we'd already seen in the experimental versions (like the ability to swipe between timelines, and features meant to encourage you to interact with other users via direct and public messages). But there's one major difference: You can now send photos via direct message.
It's a big change to the way Twitter fundamentally works. Previously, when you uploaded a picture to Twitter it was public by default, which was why you couldn't send them via direct message. Now if you want to send a photo privately, that only you and the recipient can see, you can do that from right within the app.
FOREIGN ENTANGLEMENTS, GLOBAL CONFLICT, WARS
Kerry warns Congress: sanctions threat endangers historic Iran nuclear deal
By Paul Lewis in Washington - TheGuardian.com
John Kerry, the US secretary of state, struggled to persuade a deeply sceptical Congress to abandon a plan for new sanctions against Iran on Monday, warning lawmakers that they risked scuppering a major nuclear agreement.
Kerry said the notion of introducing new sanctions, a month after a historic interim agreement was reached with Tehran, and in the midst of negotiations for a final, comprehensive deal, was "gratuitous".
Israeli Defense Minister: Iran Has Terror Infrastructure in Central, South America
Moshe Yaalon says Iran using diplomatic mail to transport bombs, weapons
BY: Abraham Rabinovich - FreeBeacon.com
JERUSALEM – Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon said yesterday that Iran has built up a terror infrastructure in Central and South America from which to attack Jewish and Israeli targets in the region and as a base for attacking inside the United States.
"The Iranians use diplomatic mail in order to transport bombs and weapons," he said in a meeting with visiting Guatamalan President Otto Fernando Perez Molina, himself a former intelligence chief in his country. "We know that there are states in South America like Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua and Bolivia where the Iranians have terror bases, both in the embassies and among the local Shiite Muslim populations."
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