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Wednesday 09.17.2014

The War on Poverty Has Been a Colossal Flop
The U.S. Census Bureau will release its annual report on poverty. This report is noteworthy because this year marks the 50th anniversary of President Lyndon Johnson’s launch of the War on Poverty. Liberals claim that the War on Poverty has failed because we didn’t spend enough money. Their answer is just to spend more. But the facts show otherwise. Since its beginning, U.S. taxpayers have spent $22 trillion on Johnson’s War on Poverty (in constant 2012 dollars). Adjusting for inflation, that’s three times more than was spent on all military wars since the American Revolution. One third of the U.S. population received aid from at least one welfare program at an average cost of $9,000 per recipient in 2013. he federal government currently runs more than 80 means-tested welfare programs. These programs provide cash, food, housing and medical care to low-income Americans. Federal and state spending on these programs last year was $943 billion...

Top Wal-Mart exec resigns amid resume flap
A senior spokesman at Wal-Mart has resigned after the company found out he did not have the college degree he claimed to have. David Tovar's resume said he attended the University of Delaware for four years, but a background check that was conducted to clear him for a promotion revealed that he is not a college graduate. Tovar told CNNMoney that he even walked in the graduation ceremony. Months later, he said, the school contacted him to say that he was actually a few credits short. A University of Delaware spokeswoman confirmed that Tovar was enrolled between 1992 and 1996 and did not graduate, but could not say whether or not he walked at graduation. By the time Delaware told Tovar he didn't graduate, he had already landed a job and decided not to finish the remaining credits. "In retrospect it was obviously important and was a mistake on my part," he said.

Janet Tavakoli on bank bailouts and Yanis Varoufakis on Europe’s failing economy

U.S. military will lead $750 million fight against Ebola in West Africa
President Obama will announce Tuesday that the U.S. military will take the lead in overseeing what has been a chaotic and widely criticized response to the worst Ebola outbreak in history, dispatching up to 3,000 military personnel to West Africa in an effort that could cost up to $750 million over the next six months, according to senior administration officials. By the end of the week, a general sent by U.S. Africa Command will be in place in Monrovia, Liberia — the country where transmission rates are increasing exponentially — to lead the effort called Operation United Assistance. The general will head a regional command based in Liberia that will help oversee and coordinate U.S. and international relief efforts while a new, separate regional staging base will help accelerate transportation of urgently needed equipment, supplies and personnel. In addition, the Pentagon will send engineers to set up 17 treatment centers in Liberia — each with a 100-bed capacity...

Arizona senators dare to ask: Why haven’t any VA officials been fired?
Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) are pressing Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald to quickly fire VA officials involved in the health care scandal, and are asking why nothing has happened several weeks after Congress passed a bill allowing the VA to quickly dismiss or demote employees. “[W]e stress the importance of taking swift action and using the authority Congress has provided you to quickly remove the senior leaders at the VA who perpetrated the scandal of denied and delayed care for our nation’s heroes,” they wrote McDonald on Monday. “Senior VA leaders have… not been held accountable for delaying and denying patient care, silencing and intimidating whistleblowers, and enriching themselves by manipulating wait-time statistics to receive undeserved performance bonuses,” they added. In recent speeches, McDonald has said he wants to use his new authority to dismiss or demote VA workers involved in the scandal.

Will The Swiss Vote to Get Their Gold Back? - by Ron Paul.
On November 30th, voters in Switzerland will head to the polls to vote in a referendum on gold. On the ballot is a measure to prohibit the Swiss National Bank (SNB) from further gold sales, to repatriate Swiss-owned gold to Switzerland, and to mandate that gold make up at least 20 percent of the SNB’s assets. Arising from popular sentiment similar to movements in the United States, Germany, and the Netherlands, this referendum is an attempt to bring more oversight and accountability to the SNB, Switzerland’s central bank. The Swiss referendum is driven by an undercurrent of dissatisfaction with the conduct not only of Swiss monetary policy, but also of Swiss banking policy. Switzerland may be a small nation, but it is a nation proud of its independence and its history of standing up to tyranny. The famous legend of William Tell embodies the essence of the Swiss national character. But no tyrannical regime in history has bullied Switzerland as much as the United States government has in recent years.

Banks Clamping Down on Unethical Currency Traders
After several probes revealed FX dealers are leaking customer information for profit, some top banks are reacting by introducing restrictive measures. To prevent currency traders from exploiting clients for profit, several top banks are imposing a series of restrictions. Sources tell Bloomberg that these measures include capping how much bank employees can charge clients for exchanging currencies, limiting access to information about customer orders, forbidding the use of online chat rooms and permitting trading only on electronic platforms. In a $5.3 trillion-a-day market that the news outlet describes as “largely unregulated,” some experts regard these measures as long overdue. “This is finally bringing the [foreign exchange] market into the 21st century,” Tom Kirchmaier, a fellow in the financial-markets group at the London School of Economics, tells Bloomberg. “What we’re seeing is a modernization of processes that probably should have been brought in 15 or 20 years ago.”

United Airlines To Offer Early Retirement To Flight Attendants, Wants To Curb Expenses
United Airlines is reported to be in a downsizing mode as it is currently offering its flight attendants a package of as much as $100,000. This U.S. based carrier have posted a quarterly loss on their earnings and needed to cut back on expenses. With the cost-cutting mode, the employees who have been offered the early retirement package are eligible for lump sum payments from the company. The carrier is aiming for around 2,000 personnel to accept the package. According to Megan McCarthy, spokeswoman for the carrier, the "cost is less to have a flight attendant with less experience versus one that has more." During the buyout discussions, the Assocuation of Flight Attendants were closely involved. The package was offered to both United Airlines and Continental Airlines employees prior to its merger and in the order of seniority. The parties are currently in the negotiation phase.

American Waistline Grows to 39 Inches: CDC
Americans' belt size continues to inch up, and women's waistlines are widening faster than men's, according to new government research. The average waist size ballooned more than an inch -- from 37.6 inches to 38.8 inches -- between 1999 and 2012, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention researchers found. Based on their waist circumference, 54 percent of Americans were abdominally obese in 2012, up from 46 percent 13 years earlier. "Waists are still expanding in the U.S., and particularly so among women," said study researcher Dr. Earl Ford, a medical officer at the CDC. While men's waists increased less than an inch -- about 0.8 of an inch on average -- women's midriffs grew about twice that, or 1.5 inches, Ford said. Waistlines larger than 35 inches for women and more than 40 inches for men are considered abdominal obesity, a risk factor for heart disease and diabetes.

U.S. Involvement in ISIS Fight Will Be Long

Whether You Like The Government Or Not, The IRS Expects Its Tax Revenue
Our once-proud nation is quickly devolving into a socialist nightmare where governmental coercion rules the day. Just read the comment section to any article posted on the Drudge Report; it’ll tell you all about it. Be that as it may, we’ve still got to pay our taxes. And if we don’t, the IRS will do it for us, as one taxpayer was reminded this week in the Tax Court. In Salzer v. Commissioner, T.C. Memo 2014-188, the taxpayer failed to file his 2010 tax return. This was nothing new, as the taxpayer had also failed to file his 2008 and 2009 returns. To be fair, the taxpayer didn’t leave the IRS in the dark as to why he wasn’t filing his returns; to the contrary, he was kind enough to send a letter to the Service explaining his dissent, which read in part as follows: We are citizens of the United States of America. We have paid taxes to what we thought was the United States of America. Apparently through the years, socialism has taken control of this country without us being aware of it.

Beer sponsor Anheuser-Busch reproaches NFL over domestic abuse
Anheuser-Busch publicly chastised the National Football League on Tuesday for its handling of domestic violence cases, making the NFL's official beer sponsor the first major advertiser to put pressure on America's most popular sports league. In a brief but strongly worded statement, Anheuser-Busch, the maker of Budweiser and NFL official beer Bud Light, said it was "disappointed and increasingly concerned by the recent incidents that have overshadowed this NFL season. "We are not yet satisfied with the league's handling of behaviors that so clearly go against our own company culture and moral code." The company, owned by Belgian-Brazilian group Anheuser-Busch InBev, said it had shared its concerns and expectations with the 32-team league, a TV ratings juggernaut that brings in $9 billion in annual revenue. "We understand," NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said of the Anheuser-Busch remarks. "We are taking action and there will be much more to come."

Homeland Security: No evidence ISIS plotting to cross southern border
The federal government has no evidence of an imminent plot by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) to infiltrate the United States by sending operatives across the southern border, a top Obama administration official said Tuesday. “There is no credible information that there is an active plot to traverse the southwest border now," Deputy Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said during an event at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. Top Republicans and conservative media outlets have repeatedly warned that ISIS could cross into the U.S. from Mexico. Francis Taylor, another official with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), told members of Congress last week there has been social media chatter among ISIS followers about a potential border crossing, but the group poses no imminent threat to targets within the U.S. Texas Gov. Rick Perry, Sen. Rand Paul (Ky.), House Speaker John Boehner (Ohio), and others have urged the Obama administration to review its border policies...

Jet packs for US soldiers? Yes, it could happen
The U.S. military hasn't been shy about its desire to use technology to develop a new generation of super soldiers. But here's one effort that is sure to raise eyebrows: jet packs to make combat troops faster on foot. The equipment is worn like a backpack as part of Arizona State University's "4MM" project, according to a new video released by the school. That stands for "four-minute mile," which researchers want all U.S. servicemembers to be able to do while wearing the jet pack. "In a warfare-type arena, this could be potentially the difference between life and death," Jason Kerestes, a research on the project, says in the video. "If you think of a Navy SEAL or an Army soldier that has to get in somewhere quick and do whatever they've got to do, but maybe get out of there just as quickly ... hese devices can really help soldiers to not only accomplish their goals and succeed in their missions, but potentially save human lives as well."

Tony Stewart case goes to grand jury

UPS Expects to Hire up to 95,000 Seasonal Workers
UPS plans to hire up to 95,000 workers to help deliver packages during the busy holiday season — an increase from last year, when the company was caught unprepared for a boom in online shopping. The Atlanta-based company said Tuesday that the positions will include package sorters, loaders, delivery helpers and drivers. Last year, UPS underestimated the surge in deliveries during the holiday shipping season, which peaked several days later than the company had expected as shoppers jumped at offers of free shipping right up until a few days before Christmas. With faulty forecasts, the company didn't hire enough seasonal help. UPS originally planned to hire 55,000 seasonal workers in 2013 but wound up adding 30,000 more to handle the surge in deliveries, which drove up costs and reduced earnings. Even with the additional hiring, UPS couldn't keep up with the volume of packages, and some last-minute deliveries were delayed until after Christmas.

Boeing And SpaceX Win $6.8 Billion In NASA Contracts
NASA has chosen Boeing and SpaceX to build the vehicles that will transport its astronauts to the International Space Station, putting the two American companies on a course to take over a job that NASA has recently relied upon Russia to perform: carrying out manned space flights. NASA Administrator Charles Bolden says vehicles from the two companies are expected to be ready for service by 2017. Announcing its decision Tuesday, the space agency included these details: "The Boeing Company (Boeing) and Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) have each presented to us designs that will allow us to fly crews to the International Space Station in just a few years. Respectively, the vehicles are Boeing's CST-100 and SpaceX's Dragon. The total potential contract value is $4.2 billion for Boeing and $2.6 billion for SpaceX. The spacecraft will launch from Kennedy Space Center — Cape Canaveral complex."

FBI facial recognition database that can pick you out from a crowd is now 'fully operational'
The FBI's facial-recognition surveillance system that can pick out suspects from a crowd is now 'fully operational', officials announced today. Programmers have been working for three years to install the Next Generation Identification system in 18,000 bureaus across the country and compile more than eight million mug shots. By 2015, detectives will be able to use its in-built Interstate Photo System (IPS) to trace at least 52 million people - including innocent citizens. The system, which will ultimately replace the nationwide fingerprint database, is just the first of many phases in a bid to modernize US detective work. FBI Director James Comey told lawmakers in June: 'We’re piloting the use of mug shots, along with our fingerprint database, to see if we can find bad guys by matching pictures with mug shots.' But he admitted he was not sure where the pictures were coming from, amid claims driving license pictures as well as police mug shots would be used.

Keiser Report: Poison Pills

Is this the China stimulus we've been waiting for?
Chinese media reports that the People's Bank of China (PBoC) will provide hefty liquidity injections for its five largest banks are being viewed by some analysts as the major stimulus move markets have been waiting for, but others say something even bigger is round the corner. The PBoC will distribute 500 billion yuan ($81 billion) to each of its five largest banks through standing lending facilities - a tool that allows banks and commercial lenders to ask the central bank for one to three-month loans. The move has not been officially confirmed. "If this is confirmed, it essentially means the PBoC is undertaking quantitative easing; it is printing money and giving capital to banks in the hope they will lend it on," said Evan Lucas, market strategist at IG. The report saw copper futures spike 4 percent late Tuesday before retreating, a move so fast and powerful it triggered an automatic 10-second trading pause at the CME Group.

Under Pressure, Ukraine Leader to Seek Aid on U.S. Visit
Seeking elusive military and economic aid from the United States, President Petro O. Poroshenko of Ukraine headed to North America on Tuesday, while also facing increasingly skeptical questions both here and abroad about the slow pace of change. A White House meeting with President Obama and an address to a joint session of Congress on Thursday are likely to generate fresh moral support, if little else, for Ukraine in its conflict with Russia. “It is a clear sign of solidarity and support from the United States,” Pavlo Klimkin, the foreign minister, said in a brief interview before leaving. Photo opportunities alone are enough to help Mr. Poroshenko domestically, although given its raft of problems, Ukraine would like more. Winter looms with gas supplies from Russia cut off; it is unclear that limited self-rule for Russian-backed separatists regions is enough to satisfy the Kremlin; and the country is spending itself toward bankruptcy.

House Passes 'No Welfare for Weed' Bill
The House passed a bill Tuesday that could make it a little harder for people to use government welfare payments to buy marijuana in states where the drug is legal. Supporters call it the "no welfare for weed" bill. The bill would prevent people from using government-issued welfare debit cards to make purchases at stores that sell marijuana. It would also prohibit people from using the cards to withdraw cash from ATMs in those stores. A 2012 federal law already prevents people from using welfare debit cards at liquor stores, casinos and strip clubs. Rep. Dave Reichert, R-Wash., is the main sponsor of the bill. He said it is a logical extension of existing law now that Washington State and Colorado have legalized marijuana for recreational use. "The fact that some people are using welfare for weed is outrageous," Reichert said in a statement. "While some may decide to spend their own money on drugs, we're not going to give them a taxpayer subsidy to do it."

ISIS supporters urged to attack Times Square with pipe bombs
Supporters of the Islamic State terror group are being urged to attack Times Square and other popular American tourist attractions with easily assembled homemade bombs, according to a disturbing report Tuesday. A message posted on an ISIS Web forum lists widely available ingredients needed to build a pipe bomb, and includes photos showing how to combine them into a deadly explosive device, Vocativ reported. The Arabic-language message cites Times Square — the scene of a failed car-bomb attack in 2010 by al Qaeda sympathizer Faisal Shahzad — and the Las Vegas Strip as prime targets, but also suggests striking sites in Texas and mass-transit stations across the country. The message is titled “To the Lone Wolves in America: How to Make a Bomb in Your Kitchen, to Create Scenes of Horror in Tourist Spots and Other Targets,” and was written three weeks ago.

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