Making Unique Observations in a Very Cluttered World

Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Mitt Romney aide tells reporters to "kiss my ass" in Poland. Classy foreign policy preview.. -

Mitt Romney aide tells reporters to "kiss my ass" in Poland. Classy foreign policy preview.. - 

An aide to Mitt Romeny told reporters to “kiss my ass” in Warsaw on Tuesday, as the Republican
candidate’s overseas trip draws to an end after days of negative headlines.

Traveling press secretary Rick Gorka lost his cool after reporters shouted questions at Romney as he walked to his car from Pilsudski Square in Poland. Romney had just laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

"Governor Romney do you feel that your gaffes have overshadowed your foreign trip?" one reporter yelled at the candidate, while another askedif he had a statement for Palestinians who were offended by his suggestion in Israel that the Jewish culture is superior.

When a reporter protested that the press hadn’t been allowed to ask Romney a question, Gorka lost it.

"Kiss my ass. This is a holy site for the Polish people,” he barked. “Show some respect."
He then told another reporter to “shove it.”

Gorka reportedly called reporters to apologize for his outburst.

The confrontation came after days of negative headlines about Romney’s trip, starting in London, where he ticked off some UK officials by questioning if the country was ready for the Olympics, as well as highlighting the shared Anglo-Saxon heritage between the U.S. and Britain.

U.S. reporters traveling with the Romney have also been frustrated about their lack of access to the GOP candidate.

Here's a transcript of the questions and Gorka's response:

CNN: "Governor Romney are you concerned about some of the mishaps of your trip?

NYT: "Governor Romney do you have a statement for the Palestinians?

Washington Post: "What about your gaffes?

NYT: "Governor Romney do you feel that your gaffes have overshadowed your foreign trip?"

CNN: "Governor Romney just a few questions sir, you haven't taken but three questions on this trip from the press!

Gorka: "Show some respect"

NYT: "We haven't had another chance to ask a question..."

Gorka: "Kiss my ass. This is a Holy site for the Polish people. Show some respect."

Moments later, Gorka told Jonathan Martin, a reporter for Politico, to "shove it." About a half-hour later, the aide called reporters to apologize.
Gorka's comments to the media came just hours before Romney's foreign policy speech in Warsaw.

Researchers Develop Drug That Causes Blind Mice To Regain Vision... -

Researchers Develop Drug That Causes Blind Mice To Regain Vision... - 

A team of University of California, Berkeley scientists has come up with an amazing discovery: a drug that temporarily restored some sight to blind mice.

“We’ve been very excited,” said lead researcher Dr. Richard Kramer.

Dr. Kramer and his team are part of group that discovered a chemical compound that offers hope to individuals who are born with an inherited form of blindness called retinitis pigmentosa or those who become blind because of age-related macular degeneration.

The UC Berkeley researchers studied mice born with a genetic mutation that causes blindness.

Some of the mice were injected with the treatment. These mice, when exposed to a bright light, showed a reaction: their pupils constricted. The pupils of the untreated mice showed no response.

Researchers call the chemical compound “AAQ”. The effects are temporary, but the scientists are already working on newer versions of the chemical that work for a even longer period of time.

“We could restore some level of visual function for up to 24 hours, usually less than 24 hours but the new compounds that we developed can restore function for many days up to two weeks at a time,” said Dr. Kramer.

How does it work? With some diseases that cause blindness, the light sensitive cells in the retina die off. This drug, when applied to the retina, harnesses other different, surviving cells to jump into action and do the job.

“We could make them respond to light,” said Dr. Kramer.


All three of Tom Cruise’s ill-fated marriages have come to an end when his wives were 33 years old -

All three of Tom Cruise’s ill-fated marriages have come to an end when his wives were 33 years old - 
All three of Tom Cruise's wives were 33-years-old when the marriages ended.

For Tom Cruise, 33 is an unlucky number when it comes to love.
All three of Tom Cruise’s ill-fated marriages have come to an end when his wives were 33, which just happens to be a significant number for the actor’s Church of Scientology.
The original membership organization for the controversial religious group, the Hubbard Association of Scientologists, was founded in Phoenix, Arizona, which lies on the 33rd parallel, Perez Hilton reports.
The number is also the known as the “Master Teacher,” which represents altruism and raising mankind’s positive energy in numerology, according to Seven Life Path.

Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/entertainment/tom-cruise-33-problem-split-3-wives-hit-age-number-meaning-scientology-article-1.1105588

Australia seizes record $525 million drug haul -

Australia seizes record $525 million drug haul - 

Australian police on Tuesday seized a record half a tonne of the drug ice and heroin worth up to $525 million hidden in a shipment of terracotta pots from Thailand.

Seven people, including four from Hong Kong, were arrested after a year-long investigation following a tip-off from U.S. authorities, police said.

The 306 kg of methamphetamine, also known as ice, was Australia’s biggest seizure of the drug, while the 252 kg of heroin was the nation’s third largest-haul of heroin.

“At the end of the day, there’s a lot of ‘Mr. Mediums’ and ‘Mr. Littles’ that work with ‘Mr. Big’,” Deputy Commissioner Andrew Colvin told reporters. “I think we’ve got a good combination of the people responsible for this importation.”

The drugs were found hidden in a shipment of 3,200 terracotta pots at Sydney’s Port Botany.

Those arrested were charged with conspiracy to import illicit drugs and holding a commercial quantity of illicit drugs. The charges carry a maximum penalty of life in jail.

“We’re talking about a significant quantity of two separate types of substances which generally have different source countries,” Colvin said, adding the investigation was continuing and further arrests were possible.


11 Signs That Time Is Quickly Running Out For The Global Financial System -

11 Signs That Time Is Quickly Running Out For The Global Financial System - 

Are we rapidly approaching a moment of reckoning for the global financial system?  August is likely to be a relatively slow month as most of Europe is on vacation, but after that we will be moving into a “danger zone” where just about anything could happen.  Historically, a financial crisis has been more likely to happen in the fall than during any other time, and this fall is shaping up to be a doozy.  Much of the focus of the financial world is on whether or not the euro is going to break up, but even if the authorities in Europe are able to keep the euro together we are still facing massive problems.  Countries such as Greece and Spain are already experiencing depression-like conditions, and much of the rest of the globe is sliding into recession.  Unemployment has already risen to record levels in some parts of Europe, major banks all over Europe are teetering on the brink of insolvency, and the flow of credit is freezing up all over the planet.  If things take a really bad turn, this crisis could become much worse than the financial crisis of 2008 very quickly.
All over the world people are starting to write about the possibility of a major economic crisis starting this fall.
For example, a recent article in the International Business Times discussed how some economists around the globe are fearing the worst for the coming months….
The consensus? The world economy has entered a final countdown with three months left, and investors should pencil in a collapse in either August or September.
Citing a theory he has been espousing since 2010 that predicts “a future lack of policy flexibility from the monetary and fiscal side,” Jim Reid, a strategist at Deutsche Bank, wrote a note Tuesday that gloated “it feels like Europe has proved us right.”
“The U.S. has the ability to disprove the universal nature of our theory,” Reid wrote, but “if this U.S. cycle is of completely average length as seen using the last 158 years of history (33 cycles), then the next recession should start by the end of August.”
The global financial system is so complex and there are so many thousands of moving parts that it is always difficult to put an exact date on anything.  In fact, history is littered with economists that have ended up looking rather foolish by putting a particular date on a prediction.
But without a doubt we are starting to see storm clouds gather for this fall.
The following are 11 more signs that time is quickly running out for the global financial system….
#1 A number of very important events regarding the financial future of Europe are going to happen in the month of September.  The following is from a recent Reuters article that detailed many of the key things that are currently slated to occur during that month….
In that month a German court makes a ruling that could neuter the new euro zone rescue fund, the anti-bailout Dutch vote in elections just as Greece tries to renegotiate its financial lifeline, and decisions need to be made on whether taxpayers suffer huge losses on state loans to Athens.
On top of that, the euro zone has to figure out how to help its next wobbling dominoes, Spain and Italy – or what do if one or both were to topple.
#2 Reuters is reporting that Spanish Economy Minister Luis de Guindos has suggested that Spain may need a 300 billion euro bailout.
#3 Spain continues to slide deeper into recession.  The Spanish economy contracted 0.4 percent during the second quarter of 2012 after contracting 0.3 percent during the first quarter.
#4 The unemployment rate in Spain is now up to 24.6 percent.
#5 According to the Wall Street Journal, a new 30 billion euro hole has been discovered in the financial rescue plan for Greece.
#6 Morgan Stanley is projecting that the unemployment rate in Greece will exceed 25 percent in 2013.
#7 It is now being projected that the Greek economy will shrink by a total of 7 percent during 2012.
#8 German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble says that the rest of Europe will not be making any more concessionsfor Greece.
#9 The UK economy has now plunged into a deep recession.  During the second quarter of 2012 alone, the UK economy contracted by 0.7 percent.
#10 The Dallas Fed index of general business activity fell dramatically to -13.2 in July.  This was a huge surprise and it is yet another indication that the U.S. economy is rapidly heading into a recession.
#11 As I have written about previously, a banking crisis is more likely to happen in the fall than at any other time during the year.  The global financial system will enter a “danger zone” starting in September, and none of us need to be reminded that the crashes of 1929, 1987 and 2008 all happened during the second half of the year.
So is there any hope on the horizon?
European leaders have tried short-term solution after short-term solution and none of them have worked.
Now countries all over Europe are sliding into depression and the authorities in Europe seem to be all out of answers.  The following is what one eurozone diplomat said recently….
“For two years we’ve been pumping up the life raft, taking decisions that fill it with just enough air to keep it afloat even though it has a leak,” the diplomat said. “But now the leak has got so big that we can’t pump air into the raft quickly enough to keep it afloat.”
The boat is filling up with water faster than they can bail it out.
So what is the solution?
Well, some of the top names in economics on both sides of the Atlantic are urging authorities to keep the debt bubble pumped up by printing lots and lots more money.
For example, even though the U.S. government is already running trillion dollar deficits New York Times “economist” Paul Krugman is boldly proclaiming that now is the time to print and borrow even more money.  He is proud to be a Keynesian, and he says that “you should be a Keynesian, too.”
Across the pond, the International Business Editor of the Telegraph, Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, is strongly urging the ECB to print more money….
Needless to say, I will be advocating 1933 monetary stimulus à l’outrance, or trillions of asset purchases through old fashioned open-market operations through the quantity of money effect (NOT INTEREST RATE ‘CREDITISM’) to avert deflation – and continue doing so until nominal GDP is restored to its trend line, at which point the stimulus can be withdrawn again.
But is more money and more debt really the solution to anything?
In the United States, M2 recent surpassed the 10 trillion dollar mark for the first time ever.  It has increased in size by more than 5 times over the past 30 years.

Unfortunately, our debt has been growing much faster than GDP has over that time period.
For example, during the second quarter of 2012 U.S. government debt grew by 274.3 billion dollars but U.S. GDP only grew by 117.6 billion dollars.
Our problem is not that there is not enough money floating around.
Our problem is that there is way, way too much debt.
But this is how things always go with fiat currencies.
There is always the temptation to print more.
That is one of the big reasons why every single fiat currency in history has eventually collapsed.
Printing more money will not solve our problems.  It will just cause our problems to take a different form.
In the end, nothing that the authorities can do will be able to avert the crisis that is coming.
A lot of people are starting to realize this, and that is one reason why we are seeing so much economic pessimism right now.
For example, according to a new Rasmussen poll only 14 percent of all Americans believe that children in America today will be “better off” than their parents.
That is an absolutely stunning figure, but it just shows us where we are at.
Our economy has been in decline for a long time, and now we are rapidly approaching another major downturn.
You better buckle up, because this downturn is not going to be pleasant at all.


Sunday, 29 July 2012

First Pisa, now Rome's Colosseum - it's leaning -

First Pisa, now Rome's Colosseum - it's leaning -

The ancient Colosseum of Rome, where gladiators fought for their lives, is slanting about 40 cm (16 inches) lower on the south side than on the north, and authorities are investigating whether it needs urgent repairs.

Experts first noticed the incline about a year ago and have been monitoring it for the past few months, Rossella Rea, director at the 2,000-year-old monument, said in an article published in the Italian daily Corriere della Sera on Sunday.

The Leaning Tower of Pisa, another of Italy's most popular attractions, was reopened in 2001 after being shut for more than a decade as engineers worked to prevent it from falling over and to make it safe for visitors.

Rea has asked Rome's La Sapienza University and environmental geology institute IGAG to launch a study on the phenomenon, with investigations to be concluded in a year.

Tests have also started to observe the effects that traffic on nearby busy roads may have on the monument.

Professor Giorgio Monti, from La Sapienza's construction technology department, warned there may be a crack in the base below the amphitheatre.

"The slab of concrete on which the Colosseum rests, which is like a 13-metre (yard)-thick oval doughnut, may have a fracture inside it," he told the newspaper.

He said intervention could be necessary if the concerns are confirmed, along the lines of stabilization work carried out in Pisa, but he said it was too early to judge what kind of intervention would be most suitable.

The Colosseum - famous for hosting bloody gladiator fights in the days of the Roman Empire - attracts hundreds of thousands of tourists and is usually packed with visitors.

Read more -

Saturday, 28 July 2012

19 Examples Of How Control Freaks Are Killing America With Their Completely Ridiculous Regulations -

19 Examples Of How Control Freaks Are Killing America With Their Completely Ridiculous Regulations - 

The control freaks are winning, and they are absolutely killing America.  Our founding fathers intended to establish a nation where Americans would be free to pursue “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” in an environment where freedom was maximized and government interference was minimized.  Unfortunately, our nation has turned away from those principles and is now running 180 degrees in the other direction.  For some reason, our political system tends to attract psychotic control freaks that want to micromanage our lives and make most of our decisions for us.  These control freaks are actually convinced that freedom and liberty are “dangerous” and that there should be a rule or a regulation for just about everything.  This is not just happening on the federal level either.  The truth is that the control freaks are often the worst on the local level.  When you add up the red tape on all levels of government, we literally have millions of laws, rules and regulations in America today.  All of this red tape is suffocating our businesses, destroying our liberties and our freedoms, and slowly sucking the life out of all of us.  If we ever want to have any hope of restoring America to what it once was, then we have to start doing something about this horrific mountain of red tape.
In America today, there is very little that you can actually do without getting some sort of a “license” or a “permit” first.
Do you want to leave your home?
You better get a license to drive first or find someone that does.
Do you want to get married?
You won’t be able to do that without a license from the government.
Do you want to build a house?
Get ready for miles of red tape.
Do you want to start a business?
You better get ready for a very long relationship with licenses and permits.
At the rate we are going, pretty soon we will need permission from the government just to use the bathroom.
Our liberties and our freedoms have been turned into “limited privileges” that the government can revoke at any time.  With each passing day the grid of rules and regulations that we all live our lives inside is getting tighter and tighter.
How much tighter can this prison of red tape become before we all start going insane?
The following are 10 examples of how control freaks are killing America with their completely ridiculous regulations….
#1 An industrious 13 year old boy up in Michigan has had his hot dog stand shut down because of a zoning violation.  The funny thing is that Nathan Duszynski and his parents actually thought that they had jumped through all of the proper licensing and permitting hoops….
On Tuesday, as the young entrepreneur was downtown setting up a hot dog cart he helped buy with $1,200 saved from mowing lawns and shoveling snow, he got an unpleasant surprise courtesy of Holland City Hall.
Duszynski was told by city officials that his cart was in violation of a Holland zoning law that protects existing food businesses downtown against competition from mobile food vendors, and he would have to cease operation immediately.
It was a shocker for Duszynski, who, along with his parents, thought he had jumped properly through all the licensing and permitting hoops with the city and county.
#2 Could you imagine being sent to prison for collecting the rain that falls from the sky on your own property?
Well, that is exactly what happened to one man in Oregon recently.  The following comes from CNS News….
A rural Oregon man was sentenced Wednesday to 30 days in jail and over $1,500 in fines because he had three reservoirs on his property to collect and use rainwater.
What are they going to arrest us for next?  Breathing the air?
#3 Santa Monica, California has decided to make it illegal to smoke inside your own home.
The following is from a recent report by NBC Los Angeles….
Smoking is already banned at beaches, parks, restaurants and near buildings in Santa Monica, but Tuesday night the city council sought to expand that prohibition and voted 4-2 to ban smoking for all new tenants of apartments and condos inside their residences – with one exception.
“It also requires existing residents to designate their units as smoking or non smoking and from then on it will be prohibited to smoke in a non smoking unit,” said Adam Radinksy, head of the Consumer Protection Unit in Santa Monica.
#4 Apparently you are now considered to be “a terrorist” if you even dare to film what is going on at a TSA checkpoint.  But the TSA has no problem strip-searching elderly women and fiddling with their feeding tubes.
#5 In New Jersey, if you are driving around with an “unrestrained” cat or dog in your vehicle you can be fined up to $1000 for each offense.
#6 Do you believe in being generous with your neighbors?
If so, you might want to be very careful what you share with them.
For example, it is illegal to milk your cow and sell the milk to your neighbors in America today.
If you share raw milk with your neighbors, there is a very good chance that federal agents will be raiding your home at the crack of dawn with their guns drawn.
#7 Down in Miami Beach, Florida it will soon be absolutely mandatory to properly recycle your trash….
City commissioners passed a recycling ordinance on Wednesday.
Once the ordinance goes in effect in July 2013, people who don’t recycle would be fined $350 for their first violation, $500 for their second violation and $1,000 for the third violation.
If you live in Miami Beach and you don’t like to recycle hopefully you have a really, really big bank account.
#8 In Hazelwood, Missouri it is actually illegal for little girls to sell girl scout cookies in the front yards of their own homes.
#9 In one Denver neighborhood, children have been banned from drawing on the sidewalk with colored chalk.
#10 All over the United States, lemonade stands run by small children are being shut down by police because they do not have the “proper permits”.
#11 In the United States it is absolutely illegal to sell natural cures for cancer – even if they have been proven to work.
#12 Recently I wrote about a man that was arrested for hosting a Bible study in his own home.  Well, it turns out that he is still in prison serving his 60 day prison sentence.
#13 Are you growing a garden?
If so, you might want to be very careful that it is not violating any regulations.
In a previous article, I discussed how one unemployed woman in Tulsa, Oklahoma had her survival garden brutally ripped out and carted away by government thugs…
A Tulsa woman is suing the city’s code enforcement officers after she said they cut down her garden with no cause.
Denise Morrison said she has more than 100 plant varieties in her front and back yards and all of them are edible and have a purpose.
She knows which ones will treat arthritis, which will make your food spicy, which ones keep mosquitoes away and treat bug bites, but she said none of that matter to city inspectors.
Last August, Morrison’s front and back yards were filled with flowers in bloom, lemon, stevia, garlic chives, grapes, strawberries, apple mint, spearmint, peppermint, an apple tree, walnut tree, pecan trees and much more.
That unemployed woman was relying on that garden to provide the things that she needed.
But the government control freaks savagely ripped it all out and left her with nothing.
Now she will have to be dependent on the government because she has no other way to take care of herself.
#14 Does your child ever throw temper tantrums?
If so, your child may get arrested and sent to a mental institution if he or she throws a tantrum in front of the police.
For example, a 6-year-old girl down in Florida was “throwing objects, hitting administration personnel and screaming uncontrollably” so police handcuffed the 40 pound little girl and shipped her off to a mental institution for evaluation.
#15 Did you ever take plastic utensils with you to school when you were a kid?
Well, these days if you live in Florida you better not do that.
An 11-year-old kid down in Florida was actually arrested by police, thrown in jail and charged with a third-degree felony simply for bringing a plastic butter knife to school.
#16 In the state of Massachusetts, all children in daycare centers are mandated by state law to brush their teeth after lunch.  In fact, the state even provides the fluoride toothpaste for the children.
Isn’t that just so nice of them?
#17 In the city of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania it is illegal to make even a single dollar from a blog unless you buy a $300 business license. The city government even went after one poor woman who had earned only $11 from her blog over the past two years.
#18 If you saw someone that was thirsty, would you give that person a cup of cold water to drink?
Be careful before you answer that question – you might be breaking the law by giving someone water.
For example, down in Louisiana one church was recently ordered to stop giving out water because it did not have the “proper permit” to do so.
#19 This last example might be the saddest one of all.  If you can believe it, all over the United States cities are actually banning feeding the homeless.  The following comes from a recent USA Today article….
Philadelphia recently banned outdoor feeding of people in city parks. Denver has begun enforcing a ban on eating and sleeping on property without permission. And this month, lawmakers in Ashland, Ore., will consider strengthening the town’s ban on camping and making noise in public.
And the list goes on: Atlanta, Phoenix, San Diego, Los Angeles, Miami, Oklahoma City and more than 50 other cities have previously adopted some kind of anti-camping or anti-food-sharing laws, according to the National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty.
Are you angry yet?
You should be.

Read more -

Friday, 27 July 2012

17 Reasons Why Those Hoping For A Recession In 2012 Just Got Their Wish -

17 Reasons Why Those Hoping For A Recession In 2012 Just Got Their Wish - 

If you were hoping for a recession in 2012, then you are going to be very happy with the numbers you are about to see.  The U.S. economy is heading downhill just in time for the 2012 election.  Retail sales have fallen for three months in a row for the first time since 2008, manufacturing activity is dropping like a rock, sales of new homes are declining again, consumer confidence has moved significantly lower and a depressingly small percentage of businesses anticipate hiring more workers in the coming months.  Even though the Federal Reserve has been wildly pumping money into the financial system and even though the federal government has been injecting gigantic piles of borrowed cash into the economy, we still haven't seen an economic recovery.  In fact, we appear to be on the verge of yet another major downturn.  In California the other night, Barack Obama told supporters that "we tried our plan — and it worked", but only those that are still drinking the Obama kool-aid would believe something so preposterous.  The truth is that the U.S. economy has been steadily declining for many years and now we have reached another very painful recession.

And don't let the second quarter GDP number on Friday fool you.  Analysts are expecting to see GDP growth of about 1.4 percent for the second quarter, but the only reason for our very small amount of "economic growth" is because the economy has been flooded with new dollars.

Let me give you an example.  If I could go out overnight and magically double the bank accounts of every single American, would we all be twice as wealthy?

No, because there would be twice as many dollars now chasing the same amount of goods and services.  The price of those goods and services would soon rise dramatically to reflect this new reality.

With all of those new dollars spinning around in the economy it would look like "economic growth" was going through the roof, but in reality the amount of real economic activity would be about the same.

So whenever we talk about GDP, we need to adjust it for inflation.

And as I noted the other day, after adjusting for inflation the U.S. economy has been continually experiencing negative economic growth since about 2005.

So let's not deceive ourselves.  The U.S. economy has been declining for a long time.

But soon even non-inflation adjusted GDP will turn negative.  We will probably see a slightly positive number for the second quarter, and the number will likely go negative either in the third quarter or the fourth quarter.

Economists will debate when this new recession officially "began" just like they do with every recession, but it doesn't take a genius to figure out what is happening to our economy right now.

The following are 17 reasons why those hoping for a recession in 2012 just got their wish....

1. U.S. retail sales have declined for three months in a row.  This is the first time this has happened since 2008.  Every other time this has happened in U.S. history (except for once) this has signaled that the U.S. economy was either already in a recession or was about to enter one.

2. The Philadelphia Fed index of manufacturing activity contracted for the third month in a row during July.  According to the Financial Post, this is a very bad sign....

Seven out of eight times when the average reading has been that low (-11.8) for that long the U.S. economy has tipped into recession.

3. Manufacturing activity in the mid-Atlantic region has also declined for three months in a row.  In fact, the only time in the past decade when manufacturing activity in the mid-Atlantic has fallen more dramatically was during the last recession.

4. A factory index calculated by the Institute for Supply Management has fallen to its lowest level since June 2009.

5. The Conference Board index of leading economic indicators has fallen for two of the past three months.

6. According to a recent survey conducted by the Conference Board, only 17 percent of CEOs had a positive view of the economy during the second quarter of 2012.  During the first quarter of 2012, 67 percent did.

7. Gallup's U.S. Economic Confidence Index is now the lowest that it has been since January.

8. Optimism among small business owners has declined in three of the last four months and is now at its lowest level since last October.

9. Believe it or not, the amount of waste being carted around on trains in the United States has an 82 percent correlation with U.S. economic growth.  Unfortunately, right now the number of garbage carloads on trains is falling dramatically.

10. Sales of previously occupied homes dropped by 5.4 percent during June.

11. Sales of new homes declined by 8.4 percent during June.  At this point new home sales are less than a third of what they were during the boom years.

12. An increasing number of Americans are relying on high interest "payday loans" to pay the rent and put food on the table.

13. Far more companies are defaulting on their debts this year than last year.

14. According to the U.S. Labor Department, the unemployment rate fell in 11 states and Washington, D.C. last month, but it rose in 27 states.

15. The unemployment rate in New York City is now back up to 10 percent.  That equals the peak unemployment rate in New York City during the last recession.

16. The teen unemployment rate in Washington D.C. right now is 51.7 percent.

17. A recent survey conducted by the National Association for Business Economics found that only 23 percent of all U.S. companies plan to hire more workers over the next 6 months.  When the same question was asked a few months ago that number was at 39 percent.

All of those are very powerful pieces of evidence that a new recession has started.

But do you want to know one of my favorite indicators that the U.S. economy is sliding into recession?

In a previous article, I noted that Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke made the following statement to Congress recently: "At this point we don't see a double dip recession. We see continued moderate growth."

As I mentioned the other day, Bernanke has a track record of failure that is absolutely embarrassing.  Back on January 10, 2008 Bernanke made the following statement....

"The Federal Reserve is not currently forecasting a recession."

That turned out to be a great call, didn't it?

On June 10, 2008 he doubled down on his call that the U.S. economy was going to avoid a recession....

"The risk that the economy has entered a substantial downturn appears to have diminished over the past month or so."

Just before Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac collapsed Bernanke made this statement....

"The GSEs are adequately capitalized. They are in no danger of failing."

And there are dozens of other examples just like these.

This is the guy running our economic system.

I am very critical of the Federal Reserve, but there are very good reasons for this.

The Federal Reserve is running our economy into the ground, and we need to pound this into the heads of the American people so that they will wake up and demand change.

Perhaps this next recession will be painful enough to wake people up.

The Wall Street Journal is already even using the "D word" to describe what we are experiencing.  Just today, the Wall Street Journal ran an article that asked this question: "Do Two Recessions Equal One Depression?"

Sadly, this is just the leading edge of what is coming.  By the time 2014 or 2015 rolls around, we are going to look back and long for the "good old days" of 2011 and 2012.

Over the next few years, the unemployment rate is going to skyrocket and poverty in the United States is going to get a whole lot worse.

Now is not the time to goof off.  Now is the time to work really hard to get yourself and your family into the best position that you can for the storm that is coming.

Nothing is going to stop the terrible economic crisis that is coming, but at least we can get prepared for it.

There is hope in being prepared.

Sadly, most people will never even see the next crisis coming until they get blindsided by it.

Read more -

Why ‘Mitt the Twit’ Romney may be the best thing to happen to London’s Olympics -

Why ‘Mitt the Twit’ Romney may be the best thing to happen to London’s Olympics - 

Romney: ‘Like Mr. Bean’

In little more than 24 hours in London, the U.S. presidential candidate has gotten Britons to stop complaining about bumper-to-bumper traffic, cringing about cost overruns and fretting about shoddy security — and instead start taking pride in their country’s long-awaited day in the sun.

From Prime Minister David Cameron to ordinary Londoners rushing to work, Britons recoiled at the visiting American’s suggestion that the logistical problems encountered so far were “disconcerting.” Many who have themselves been slamming organizers as incompetent, and the massive competition as an expensive fiasco, are suddenly rallying around the flag.

“Mitt the Twit” screamed Friday’s headline in The Sun, which just days ago was trumpeting an embarrassing incident in which an official bus carrying the U.S. team from Heathrow airport got lost and spent hours in traffic.

“Who invited party-pooper Romney?” asked the Daily Mail.

“Nowhere Man” declared the more reserved Times of London, a reference to a biting comment by the famously diplomatic Cameron, who implied that Romney lacked the experience to offer advice to one of the world’s great capitals since the Olympics he helped organize in Salt Lake City, Utah, took place “in the middle of nowhere.”

“We are holding an Olympic Games in one of the busiest, most active, bustling cities anywhere in the world. Of course, it’s easier if you hold an Olympic Games in the middle of nowhere,” Cameron said.

Colorful London Mayor Boris Johnson also got in on the act, using Romney’s criticism as a rallying cry to stoke up a crowd of tens of thousands gathered at Hyde Park on Thursday night: “There’s a guy called Mitt Romney who wants to know if we are ready. Are we ready? Yes, we are!”

Residents learned of Romney’s comments from friends, television and social media. And the fact the Republican presidential candidate spent hours trying to dial back his dig with more positive statements seemed to win him little favour.

“What would he know?” asked Londoner Liudmila Troshina, wearing a Team Great Britain jersey and posing for pictures along with her husband in Piccadilly Circus. “I don’t really care what people from other countries think about us because I take my information firsthand — from people who live here.”

“No matter what some man said, we are prepared ... to support our country, our city and our sportsmen with everything we have,” she added.

Those sentiments are a quick about-face from the weeks of moaning many Britons have engaged in prior to the games, which begin with the opening ceremony Friday night.

For months, the nation has been awash in complaints — from taxi drivers angry over special traffic lanes for Olympics VIPS, to slack-jawed travellers staring down long lines at immigration, to commuters apoplectic about being asked to rethink their journey to avoid the crush of Olympic tourists, to residents alarmed that surface-to-air missiles have been placed on their roofs to fight terrorism.

Even the heavens have come in for a browbeating, with the Times of London publishing an editorial recently demanding an end to weeks of rain.

“It is a British sport,” Labour lawmaker David Winnick told The Associated Press on Friday. “We always complain.”

He should know.

One of the iconic images of London’s troubles was Winnick’s cutting exchange with the head of the G4S security group earlier this month after the company failed to provide enough Olympics workers, forcing the British military to step in.

“It’s a humiliating shambles for the country, isn’t it?” Winnick demanded of Nick Buckles after the CEO offered a groveling mea culpa on live TV, repeating the charge until Buckles could not deny that it was.

But even Winnick winced when he heard what Romney had to say.

“These are internal matters that would be well dealt with under our own democratic system,” he said. “There is a feeling, and I’m sure it applies in the United States, that ... families can quarrel bitterly in private, but should anyone from the outside have a go, the family is united. In other words: ‘Mind your own business.’”

Read more -

Feces From Homeless Plagues San Fran Subway Escalators, 'Gumming Up Gears, Wheels'... -

Feces From Homeless Plagues San Fran Subway Escalators, 'Gumming Up Gears, Wheels'... - 

 Bay Area Rapid Transit users have all experienced it; escalators that are down at their station. But what’s really behind the maintenance issues for the transit agency?

Officials said one of the main issues is the copious amounts of human excrement found in the escalator’s works, gumming up the wheels and gears. The bottom of BART’s stairwells often act as prime spots for the homeless to take shelter at night and in many cases, relieve themselves.

Last month, work crews opened up the broken BART escalator at San Francisco’s Civic Center Station and found so much human waste that they had to call in a hazardous-materials team.

BART police said there is little they can do about the problem as officers have to witness someone in the act to issue a citation.

Officials have begun the process of meeting with San Francisco leaders about cleaning up the plaza at San Francisco’s 16th Street Station. Currently, five of the nine escalators that aren’t working are located in downtown San Francisco.

Read more -

Thursday, 26 July 2012

Great Grandson of Hubbard Blasts Scientology - portly red-headed charismatic lying con-man pseudoscience self-help author -

Great Grandson of Hubbard Blasts Scientology - portly red-headed charismatic lying con-man pseudoscience self-help author -

The Church of Scientology is known for its famous followers and its reputation for secrecy. In an interview with CBS 5, the great grandson of the church’s founder L. Ron Hubbard blasts Scientology, accusing it of destroying his family.

You can’t choose your family but Jamie DeWolf wishes he could. In fact he said he is putting himself in danger by just talking to CBS 5.

De Wolf, who lives in the Bay Area, is the great grandson of L. Ron Hubbard, a man he refers to as a “portly red-headed charismatic lying con-man pseudoscience self-help author.”

His mother is the daughter of Ron DeWolf, L. Ron Hubbard’s son. The son changed his name after he famously left Scientology. Jamie DeWolf said his mother never spoke about the church. “It destroyed and devoured both her grandfather and her father,” he said.

Jamie DeWolf never met his great grandfather. But in 2000, he did a one-man show based on L. Ron Hubbard and his son. The video has since become a YouTube sensation, and it didn’t go unnoticed by the Church of Scientology.

“Within 2 to 3 days Scientologists were at my door with fake cover stories claiming that they were performers doing a show with me. They had people following me, they were on me immediately,” DeWolf said.

But DeWolf has refused to be silenced. He has his own performance troupe, Tourettes Without Regrets, and frequently uses his family as material.

DeWolf doesn’t mince words when it comes to what he really thinks about his great grandfather’s ministry. He called it a “pyramid scheme that sells secrets and they sell them under the guise of self-help.”


THREE UFO Sightings Reported In Canada Per Day, Nearing Record... -

THREE UFO Sightings Reported In Canada Per Day, Nearing Record... - 

Although illegal aliens are an issue on our southern border, our neighbor to the north might have its own problem with aliens — from another world.

Ufology Research reports that there were about three UFO sightings per day in Canada, with 986 sightings total last year. The record for UFO sightings was in 2008 when a surprising 1,004 sightings were reported.

The report entitled “The 2011 Canadian UFO Survey” states that “the lion’s share of cases being Nocturnal Lights,” however a number of them were said to be shaped like boomerangs, spheres, and mysterious light sources.

The traditional “flying saucer” style UFO was only sighted about 3 to 4 percent.

However, most of the sightings were explained. Eight out of the 986 sightings are considered “high-quality Unknowns,” or cases with no obvious answer. This is much lower than the 3 to 4 percent of high-quality unknowns from previous years.

Although the public believes that most UFO sightings are made by cranks, the study states that many of the reports of UFOs were “pilots, police and other individuals with reasonably good observing capabilities and good judgment.”

The report admits that the increase in sightings does not have a simple explanation but it offers up a few explanations that are more down to earth.

The increase in UFO sightings could be “related to a growing awareness within the general population that there are agencies which collect UFO reports,” and that “there are more private websites allowing people to report their UFO sightings.”

Or just maybe, “there really are more UFOs physically present in the sky.”


Japanese Women Fly Coach to the Olympics; the Men Go Business Class -

Japanese Women Fly Coach to the Olympics; the Men Go Business Class - 

It was precisely a year ago that the Japanese women’s soccer team won the World Cup, beating the United States in the final and giving a boost to the spirits of a nation that had been battered by an earthquake, a tsunami and a nuclear disaster.

But when they flew to Europe on Sunday along with the men’s team, the women were in coach seats while the men were up in business class. The Japanese Football Association said the teams had left Tokyo together on the same Japan Airlines flight.

“I guess it should have been the other way around,” Homare Sawa, the leading player on the women’s team, told Japanese reporters this week. “Even just in terms of age, we are senior.”

Similar treatment was given to the Australian women’s basketball team, The Sydney Morning Herald reported on Thursday. The men’s team, known as the Boomers, was seated in business class, while the women, the Opals, were in premium economy seats.


Florida Strip Club hires Sarah Palin look-a-like to lure in Republicans during GOP convention -

Florida Strip Club hires Sarah Palin look-a-like to lure in Republicans during GOP convention - 

Gentlemen’s clubs in the Sunshine State are doubling down for the upcoming GOP convention, including one that will feature a Sarah Palin double to strip off for randy Republicans.
The convention will be held from August 27-30 and will feature speeches from New Jersey Gov Chris Christie, among other Republican headliners.
But after hours, a boom in business is expected in Tampa - especially in the area’s numerous strip clubs.

One of them, Thee Dollhouse in Tampa, is expecting a huge crowd of Republican customers in town for the convention, and has laid down $1million in renovations to make sure its customers are 'comfortable.'

Lookalike: Lisa Ann has starred in more than 200 pornographic films, but is perhaps most famous for her portrayal of Sarah Palin
And in the spirit of the convention, Thee Dollhouse has wrangled a Sarah Palin lookalike to get down and dirty for the clubgoers.
Multiple reports identify the stripper as porn star Lisa Ann, who was famously hired by Hustler to star in a porn film poking fun at the former vice presidential candidate shortly after she was chosen as John McCain’s running mate in 2008.
The result was Who's Nailin' Paylin?, a hardcore caricature of Palin that dropped Mama Grizzly in the middle of all sorts of sex acts.
Ms Ann, 40, - whose real name is Lisa Anne Corpora - has starred in more than 200 pornographic films, including several sequels to Who’s Nailin' Paylin?.
Appearances by Ms Ann at Thee Dollhouse are just one special event planned at strip clubs ahead of the convention.
WFLA-TV reported that another club, 2001 Odyssey, is offering convention attendees the opportunity to videochat with its dancers in the weeks before heading down to Florida.
Don Kleinhans, the owner of 2001 Odyssey, told the station: 'Not only can you see the dancers on the stage and in the dressing room, you can also talk to them in an online chat room.'
But the service does not come cheap, with a $19.95 membership fee along with a $4 a minute chat charge.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2178326/Florida-strip-club-hires-Sarah-Palin-lookalike-Lisa-Ann-strip-Republican-convention.html?ito=feeds-newsxml

Does This Aspartame Make My Butt Look Fat?

Does This Aspartame Make My Butt Look Fat?

In April, the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition published a study linking diet soda consumption to an increased risk of diabetes and heart disease. Nobody blinked or cared because this research was just going to be thrown on the pile of allegedly conflicting studies about the safety of artificial sweeteners, particularly aspartame. This pile is referred to as the “aspartame controversy.”

Aspartame is the artificial sweetener sold under the brand names of Equal and NutraSweet. It is used commonly in diet sodas because it tastes the most like sugar, or at least that is what the people selling it say. Despite all the hype about controversy, there is no aspartame controversy. All of the aspartame-industry-sponsored research consistently concludes aspartame is safe, while the independent studies overwhelmingly find side effects and problems. There is no gray area between the two sides. Every study connected to those who sell it says aspartame is safe while the independent studies find concerns. The controversy is really over whether research funded by special interest groups is valid.


Caloric sweeteners like sugar and corn syrup certainly deserve some of the blame. Their consumption increased almost 40 percent between the 50s and 1999, when peak consumption levels reached a pancreas-busting 155 pounds per person per year — or 52 teaspoons of sugar a day. Or one of those rain-barrel-sized drinks they sell with your hexane-laced burger at the drive-through. But that is another story. Since 2000, sugar intake has reduced slightly due to a minor decrease in corn-syrup sweetened soda-slurping.

But the diet drink industry is booming.

The primary non-caloric sweetener used in diet sodas and teas is aspartame. Obviously, aspartame (introduced in 1974) and its buddies are not helping people lose weight because as a society, the more diet soda we consume, the heavier we seem to get. The reason for this phenomenon has been consistently found in independent research. That is, the taste for sweets, whether delivered by sugar or artificial sweeteners, enhances appetite. The only people who seem to think diet sodas help with weight loss are the manufacturers and some registered dietitians (RDs).


Library Installs Computer Privacy Screens For More Discreet Porn Viewing... -

Library Installs Computer Privacy Screens For More Discreet Porn Viewing... - 

In response to complaints about San Francisco Public Library visitors openly viewing explicit content, including pornography, the network has installed plastic screens to block monitors from people nearby, according to a recent New York Times report.

According to The Times, the library plans to post warnings on all computers to remind people to be sensitive to what others might see while they are web surfing.

The watching of such materials in public has increasingly been the focus of debate and legislation as broadband technology becomes more widespread, pitting people who want internet access to be unrestrained against those who feel that controls must be placed on the public viewing of mature materials.

Read more -

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

CIA used drug cartel hitman and Blackwater to run assasination unit -

CIA used drug cartel hitman and Blackwater to run assasination unit - 

It was one of the biggest secrets of the post-9/11 era: soon after the attacks, President Bush gave the CIA permission to create a top secret assassination unit to find and kill Al Qaeda operatives. The program was kept from Congress for seven years. And when Leon Panetta told legislators about it in 2009, he revealed that the CIA had hired the private security firm Blackwater to help run it. “The move was historic,” says Evan Wright, the two-time National Magazine Award-winning journalist who wrote Generation Kill. “It seems to have marked the first time the U.S. government outsourced a covert assassination service to private enterprise.”

The quote is from his e-book How to Get Away With Murder in America, which goes on to note that “in the past, the CIA was subject to oversight, however tenuous, from the president and Congress,” but that “President Bush’s 2001 executive order severed this line by transferring to the CIA his unique authority to approve assassinations. By removing himself from the decision-making cycle, the president shielded himself — and all elected authority — from responsibility should a mission go wrong or be found illegal. When the CIA transferred the assassination unit to Blackwater, it continued the trend. CIA officers would no longer participate in the agency’s most violent operations, or witness them. If it practiced any oversight at all, the CIA would rely on Blackwater’s self-reporting about missions it conducted. Running operations through Blackwater gave the CIA the power to have people abducted, or killed, with no one in the government being exactly responsible.” None of this is new information, though I imagine that many people reading this item are hearing about it for the first time.

Isn’t that bizarre?

The bulk of Wright’s e-book (full disclosure: I help edit the website of Byliner, publisher of the e-book) tells the story of Enrique Prado, a high-ranking CIA-officer-turned-Blackwater-employee who oversaw assassination units for both the CIA and the contractor. To whom was this awesome responsibility entrusted? According to Wright’s investigation, a federal organized crime squad run out of the Miami-Dade Police Department produced an investigation allegedly tying Prado to seven murders carried out while he worked as a bodyguard for a narco crime boss. At the time, the CIA declared him unavailable for questioning; the investigation was shut down before he was arrested or tried.

Read more -

No passport, no boarding pass, no ticket, boy, 11, flies to Rome... -

No passport, no boarding pass, no ticket, boy, 11, flies to Rome... - 

Boy, 11, flies to Rome alone without a passport or boarding pass after 'tail-gating a family'

An 11-year-old boy was allowed to take a flight to Rome on his own without showing a passport or boarding pass, it has been revealed.

Staff at Manchester Airport have been suspended after Liam Corcoran was allowed to pass through five security checks before making his way on to the Jet2.com flight yesterday.
The youngster is thought to have passed through security in Terminal 1 after 'tail-gating' a family of holiday makers.

A  spokesman for the airport described the security lapse as an 'extremely serious matter' and said it was being urgently investigated by officials from the airport and airline.
'It is clear that documentation has not been checked correctly at security and the boarding gate,' he said.
'The boy went through full security screening so the safety of passengers and the aircraft was never compromised.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2178565/Airport-lapse-Boy-11-flies-Rome-passport-boarding-pass.html?ITO=1490