Weekday NEWS to Comfort the Disturbed and Disturb the Comfortable.
Gold Outperforms As Stock Suffer
From Wal-Mart's 'Sinko-De-Abril'
Submitted by Tyler Durden - ZeroHedge.com
An ugly European market initially dragged stocks notably weaker overnight, with plenty of headline-makers from Apple's moves to WMT's 'Sinko-de-Abril' accounting for 20% of the Dow's loss, and Europe's macro data but after the first 30 minutes or so, S&P futures bounced off 4/10 day-session lows and leaked higher all day from there to end around last Monday's closing print. Volumes lagged as we rallied - as did average trade size - butin the last few minutes heavy volume and large average trade size stepped back in more biased to the downside. Stocks and volatility continue to follow very similar paths during this reflation phase as they did in 2010 and 2011 and while much was made of VIX's more-positive-than-expected performance today, we remind readers that we are at 8-month wides relative to realized vol - suggesting markets are anticipating a lot more anxiety ahead. FX markets leaked higher in the USD until shortly after the US day-session open and then drifted USD weaker from there as Treasury weakness coincided with EUR buying - smelling a lot like more repatriation flows.
Awash in money and piles of debt
By Stella Dawson
(Reuters) - The amount of money thrown at rescuing the world economy since the Great Recession began is truly staggering, probably more than $14 trillion, and the financial spigots are still open.
Industrialized and emerging nations pledged another $430 billion to boost the International Monetary Fund's lending power this weekend, doubling the size of its crisis-fighting war chest in case Europe's problems worsen and engulf more countries.
Three weeks earlier, European Union leaders set aside $1 trillion for Europe's bailout fund creating a firewall to prevent the euro zone's sovereign debt woes from spreading.
Duration Risk: How the Fed
is Creating the Next Financial Crisis
Over the weekend, we got to go through a lot of accumulated reading, the majority of which only confirms our view that US markets and investors are living in the eye of the proverbial hurricane. White the equity and bond markets in the US still have the outward appearance of normalcy, in the EU and around the world financial markets are in disarray. The only question seems to be when Americans will get the wake-up call. As the character Leon said memorably to Harrison Ford in Bladerunner: "Wake up. Time to die."
One of the stranger sensations we get on a weekly basis is when we are asked how long US interest rates will remain low. The question is interesting because we all hope that the Fed keeps things as they are. An increase in interest rates pretty much implies the apocalypse, if you know what we mean, so asking about Ben Bernanke easing up on the gas pedal could be seen as a sign of economic naïveté. But leaving things as they are has a cost too.
Politics, Markets, and People: On a Collision Course
BY JOE DUARTE - FinancialSense.com
The world is clearly on a collision path, ideologically, economically, and philosophically. And the markets are starting to reflect this.
The story of the weekend is Wal-Mart's bribery scandal. But Europe is about to head on another down leg as Spain's economy is shrinking and the European Central Bank is not interested in another round of money printing or bond buying. As we reported last week, European banks are already running out of the money that was put in their pockets by the LTRO bond buying arrangement with the ECB. So Monday is a major potential disaster about to happen.
Aiming for Clarity, Fed Still Falls Short in Some Eyes
By BINYAMIN APPELBAUM - NYTimes.com
WASHINGTON — The Federal Reserve chairman, Ben S. Bernanke, has tried to speak more clearly and more frequently than his predecessors. He has lectured college students, met with members of the military and, since last April, held quarterly news conferences.
But as Mr. Bernanke prepares to meet the press for the fifth time Wednesday afternoon, after a scheduled meeting of the Fed's policy-making committee on Tuesday and Wednesday, there are reasons to doubt that the efforts are increasing public understanding of monetary policy.
Welch, Geitner and Bernanke push balanced budget
March 21, 2012 -- At an Oversight and Government Reform hearing, Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.) talked with Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner about ways to create a balanced budget for a secure economic future.
"The big banks are buying up what they call fixed income instruments (bonds and other debt backed paper) and at the same time offering CDS insurance on the same. Just like they bought and sold protection on mortgages..."
This is a fairly good description of why the policies of Bush and Obama have failed to effect an economic recovery.
The policy of 'saving the banks' first and foremost, and of stuffing them with cheap money in the hopes that they will stimulate the real economy with loans, is a cruel hoax.
Cheap money is hot money and it seeks high beta returns. It does not seek investment with returns over long periods of time. And in an environment of lax regulation and little deterrence for abusive financial practices, one sets up a scenario ripe for fraud and another, more chilling, financial collapse.
Superheroes of Central Banking
By Adrian Ash - GoldSeek.com
"Monetary policy can be a powerful tool, but it is not a panacea for the problems currently faced by the US economy," confessed US Fed chairman Ben Bernanke last October. "There's a limit to what monetary policy can hope to achieve," agreed the Bank of England's Mervyn King the following month. "Monetary policy cannot do everything," sighed the ECB's Mario Draghi, speaking to the Financial Times in December.
Okay, so these guys are a long way from that "group of remarkable people" brought together by Samuel L.Jackson's growl "to fight the battles we never could" in the new Marvel Avengers movie. But couldn't they at least wear their underpants outside their trousers?
Global Markets Veer Lower on Turbulence in Europe
By VICTORIA SHANNON - NYTimes.com
An abrupt change in the political and economic winds in Europe roiled stock markets there and helped depress shares on Wall Street on Monday.
Major indexes in Europe were down about 3 percent for the day on the collision of negative indicators, while American markets were more than 1 percent lower in afternoon trading.
On the political side, the leftist presidential candidate in France scored a narrow victory over the incumbent in the first round of voting on Sunday, and the government in the Netherlands resigned on Monday after failing to agree on budget cuts.
Ministers ponder creation of EU super-president
BY ANDREW RETTMAN - EUObserver.com
BRUSSELS - Ideas kicking around in a reflection group of select EU foreign ministers include merging the roles of the EU Council and European Commission presidents.
A senior EU source told this website following a meeting of the club in the Val Duchesse stately home in Brussels on Thursday (19 April) that the new supremo would have more power than either Herman Van Rompuy or Jose Manuel Barroso do today but also more "democratic legitimacy" because he or she would be elected by MEPs.
In other reforms, the new figure would "streamline" the European Commission into a two-tier structure.
Ten EU Nations and a New 'Super-President' In a move that will strike many followers of this website as dramatic, 10 European Union nations are considering creating a powerful new office to lead that European combine.
By Ron fraser - TheTrumpet.com
en European nations propose a new EU super-president. These two entities—10 nations and a singular all-powerful leader—seem to match perfectly with Bible prophecy for these times.
Yet do they really?
Let's take a closer look.
Last week a meeting attended by representatives of 10 European nations convened in a palatial mansion in Brussels to consider creating a powerful new presidential post to lead the greatest trading bloc in the world, the European Union.
Europe pressed for action to end debt crisis
By Gernot Heller and Glenn Somerville
(Reuters) - Global finance chiefs pressed Europe in weekend talks to quickly put in place the economic reforms needed to finally extinguish its debt crisis now that newly increased financial buffers have bought some precious time.
A day after advanced and emerging countries agreed to double the firepower of the International Monetary Fund to help contain the crisis, the IMF's governing panel said on Saturday that the 17-nation euro area must cut government debt burdens further, push bold economic reforms and stabilize financial systems.
Debt problems will resurface and growth will stumble unless these steps are taken, the head of the IMF's governing panel, Singapore's finance minister, Tharman Shanmugaratnam, warned.
Bob Chapman Thinks Things Are So Bad In Europe
They Have To Keep Gold Down
Bob Chapman joined FSN again for our biweekly check-in. He believes things are going so badly in Europe, and they are getting worse by the moment. This means the elites must do everything in their power to keep the price of gold and silver in the cellar, no matter what it takes. But, it can only go on for so long until the market rights itself, and the manipulators get swept away. The good news is we're getting closer to that point, it's just a matter of time! While it's certainly a good idea to have some cold hard cash on hand, Bob believes it will only take a matter of days for people to adjust to the new monetary paradigm, when gold and silver become real money again.
France attitudes shifting far right...
underestimated support for the vivacious big blond gal
shocked the socialists, who won. Marine Le Pen scores stunning result
in French presidential election With between 18% and 20% of the vote, the far-right candidate has beaten the previous record for Front National
By Kim Willsher in Paris - Guardian.co.uk
In the run up to Sunday's first round presidential vote, it was hard to find many people in France publicly admitting they intended to vote forMarine Le Pen. Nevertheless between 18% and 20% appear to have done so – a stunning result for the far right.
It was a record for France's Front National, beating the previous best in 2002 when Le Pen's father, Jean-Marie, won his way into the second-round run-off with 17% of votes.
EU politicians express concern over rise of far-right
BY HONOR MAHONY - EUObserver.com
BRUSSELS - EU leaders share responsibility for the rise in popularity of anti-European parties, the European Commission said Monday (23 April) but rejected the notion that austerity measures are contributing to the trend.
Speaking a day after Marine Le Pen's National Front party clocked up a record 17.9 percent of the vote in first round of French presidential elections in a campaign that focused on immigration, Brussels-bashing and single-currency-bashing, the commission said "more Europe" is needed.
"Faced with this crisis we need more Europe. We need member states to work together for the citizens. National solutions in a global village is not the way forward," said commission spokesperson Olivier Bailly.
Bundesbank's Weidmann Says
What No Politician Wants to Hear
By Jeff Black and Tony Czuczka - Bloomberg.com
Jens Weidmann is no longer his master's voice.
Almost a year into his new job as the head of Germany's Bundesbank, Weidmann, 44, has matured from Chancellor Angela Merkel's discreet right-hand man at global economic meetings into one of the few European policy makers warning that governments are failing to do what's needed to rescue the euro.
Weidmann's public criticism of measures such as the "fiscal compact" -- hailed by its architects as the first step to economic union -- has pitted him against Merkel and European Central Bank President Mario Draghi as they struggle to hold the 17-nation euro region together. With Europe in recession and rising Spanish bond yields threatening to reignite the debt crisis after a three-month lull, the Bundesbank's youngest-ever president says greater fiscal and monetary rectitude is the only way to win back investors' trust.
The Globalization of Hollow Politics
By Chris Hedges - Truthdig.com
I went to Lille in northern France a few days before the first round of the French presidential election to attend a rally held by the socialist candidate François Holland. It was a depressing experience. Thunderous music pulsated through the ugly and poorly heated Zenith convention hall a few blocks from the city center. The rhetoric was as empty and cliché-driven as an American campaign event. Words like "destiny," "progress" and "change" were thrown about by Holland, who looks like an accountant and made oratorical flourishes and frenetic arm gestures that seemed calculated to evoke the last socialist French president, François Mitterrand. There was the singing of "La Marseillaise" when it was over. There was a lot of red, white and blue, the colors of the French flag. There was the final shout of "Vive la France!" I could, with a few alterations, have been at a football rally in Amarillo, Texas. I had hoped for a little more gravitas. But as the French cultural critic Guy Debord astutely grasped, politics, even allegedly radical politics, has become a hollow spectacle. Quel dommage.
And now, for a little world history, which could be about ready to repeat itself...[not intended to promote any religious group's views or booklets - just look at the history] Europe Has Found Its Deadly "Christian Roots"
From the June/July 2008 Trumpet Print Edition Pope John Paul ii famously encouraged Europeans to "find your roots!" They have accepted the challenge.
BY GERALD FLURRY
The Habsburgs were the sword of the Holy Roman Empire throughout the Middle Ages. They did their killing while supporting artists like Bach, Mozart and Schubert. They were very sophisticated as they slaughtered people.
Adolf Hitler used to love to attend the opera. He idolized the composer Richard Wagner. He even said that one couldn't understand the Third Reich without understanding Wagner. That German composer was a sex pervert and an anti-Semite, yet Hitler was intoxicated by him.
In 1983, Pope John Paul ii was in Vienna—300 years after that city was attacked by the "barbarian Turks" and the Polish king rallied the European kings and drove them out. John Paul said at that time that Europe needed to return to its "Christian roots." The present pope delivers the same message. But does this world know what those Christian roots really are?
....The seventh Holy Roman Empire has almost been completely resurrected in Europe today. Pope Benedict xvi is the spiritual head of that empire. Many leaders in Europe are working feverishly to complete the Holy Roman Empire. Some say that to complete the process they only need a newCharlemagne—a strong leader after the image of the man who was crowned emperor of the Holy Roman Empire in a.d. 800. Then they will have found their Christian roots.
Here Is What The "Other" Financial Health Metrics Are Showing
Submitted by Tyler Durden - ZeroHedge.com
For all those starry-eyed readers of Floyd Norris' New York Times real-estate column this morning who have been out viewing new homes this afternoon and already scratching together the down-payment with the family's EBT cards, we have a little contextual reality checking. Norris points to the factual reality that a broad ratio of all financial obligations - both homeowners and renters - relative to disposable income stands at an impressive-sounding lowest level since 1984, and uses this wondrous statistic, in its sublime uniqueness, as an indication to suggest the consumer may be coming back as the household debt burden has been so reduced from a record 14% of disposable income to a 'mere' 10.9% now indicating just what good little deleveraging beings we Americans have been.
A Short History of Modern Taxation in 4 Acts The last 30 years are often taken as one great experiment in tax cuts and bulging income inequality. In fact, the real story is much more spiky.
By Derek Thompson - TheAtlantic.com
The common story about modern taxes and the rich begins in 1981, when President Ronald Reagan took a sledgehammer to the tax code, and ends in 2012, with Republicans insisting that any tax increase on any sliver of the population amounts to an unforgivable assault on job creators. But, despite these notable bookends, the last 30 years aren't devoid of tax hikes. Actually, they're full of 'em.
President Reagan signed nine different tax bills in the 1980s. Seven of them raised tax revenue, according to the Office of Tax Analysis. Between 1986 and 1993, effective tax rates for the richest one percent didn't go down. They went up under bills passed under Reagan, Bush, and Clinton. That's two Republicans and a Democrat.
More companies planning to hire: NABE survey
(Reuters) - Companies are modestly stepping up hiring plans and increasingly report that wages are rising, according to a survey on Monday that suggested the economic recovery is gaining some traction.
The National Association of Business Economics' industry survey found that 39 percent of respondents expect hiring will pick up in their companies and industries during the next six months, up from 27 percent in January.
Some 48 percent of respondents expect hiring will hold steady. While that is down from 64 percent in January, it still underscores the slow pace of recovery in the labor market following the 2007-2009 recession.
Postal officials say they must close about 3,700 underused post offices (there are 32,000 nationally) while offering alternative services through local businesses. They also want to consolidate hundreds of regional processing centers and eliminate Saturday mail deliveries.
An aide to Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont was warning me about this last week. There are organic reasons for all of this: The U.S. Postal Service is staring down the same barrel trained at our magazine and newspaper businesses, i.e. its revenue model is being wiped out by the internet.
But politics also plays a huge part in this. In 2006, in what looks like an attempt to bust the Postal Workers' Union, George Bush signed into law the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act of 2006. This law required the Postal Service to pre-fund 100 percent of its entire future obligations for 75 years of health benefits to its employees – and not only do it, but do it within ten years. No other organization, public or private, has to pre-fund 100 percent of its future health benefits.
Rain, Snow, Sleet and Congress
Editorial - NYTimes.com
How vital is the United States Postal Service? The Senate is attempting to answer that this week as it debates the service's obvious need to drastically reform its business model in the age of electronic communication. Postal officials say they must close about 3,700 underused post offices (there are 32,000 nationally) while offering alternative services through local businesses. They also want to consolidate hundreds of regional processing centers and eliminate Saturday mail deliveries.
Lawmakers in both houses, fearful of constituents' wrath, would prefer to procrastinate as usual. But the quasi-independent service — which receives no revenue from the federal government but is subject to tight oversight from Congress — has set a May 15 deadline to begin making cutbacks if it is to avoid bankruptcy.
Senate to vote on array of Postal Service overhaul proposals
By Ed O'Keefe - WashingtonPost.com
The U.S. Postal Service would like Congress to allow changes to the mail delivery schedule and other reforms to better control costs, but a set of proposals expected to come to a vote Tuesday could place even more restrictions on when, where and how Americans receive their mail.
The Senate plans to vote on dozens of amendments designed to overhaul the Postal Service, by providing nearly $11 billion to fund the buyouts of hundreds of thousands of employees and, eventually, ending six-day-a-week mail delivery.
Union Suing Indiana:
Claims Right to Work Laws Makes Slaves of Union Workers
by da Tagliare - GodFatherPolitics.com
Should not every person in the United States have the right to work without being forced to join a union and pay union dues?
The International Union of Operating Engineers first filed a lawsuit against Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels, Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller and Indiana Labor Commissioner Lori A Torres to challenge the state's right-to-work law. In the lawsuit filed in February, the union claimed that the state's right-to-work law is unconstitutional based upon the Fourteenth Amendment which guarantees equal protection under the law.
...."Compulsory membership and coerced dues and fees are the hallmarks of the union movement, yet they claim that giving workers more choice is an act of enslavement."
Senate debates curb on NLRB GOP aims to kill union-vote change
By Tim Devaney-The Washington Times
The National Labor Relations Board as a political hot potato shows no signs of cooling off anytime soon.
Senate Republicans on Monday introduced a motion of disapproval that would overturn the labor agency's recent move to allow what critics call "ambush elections" that would make it easier to install unions at a workplace. The vote will be held Tuesday afternoon.
"This vote's an opportunity to tell the NLRB to reverse course," said Sen. Michael B. Enzi, Wyoming Republican, who introduced the measure. "This resolution will not disadvantage unions or roll back any rights. What it will do is prevent the small businesses across America from being ambushed and employees from being misled."
American argues against union contracts Bankrupt airline says it is saddled with costly labor
By David Koenig - AP - WashingtonTimes.com
NEW YORK — American Airlines argued before a federal bankruptcy judge Monday that its union contracts need to be changed to make the company financially stable.
The airline lost more than $10 billion in the decade leading up to its declaration of bankruptcy in November. During that same period, most of its major rivals used the bankruptcy process to cut wages and benefits, which American says has left it saddled with higher labor costs.
American wants to eliminate 13,000 union jobs - about 1 in every 4 union workers - freeze or terminate pension plans, curb health benefits, reduce time off, and impose many other cuts.
Social Security Fund to Run Out in 2035, Trustees Say
By Brian Faler - Bloomberg.com
The Social Security program will exhaust its trust fund in 2035 and have to start reducing benefits to senior citizens unless Congress intervenes, its trustees said.
That is three years sooner than projected in 2011 for the retirement benefits program, which serves 44 million people, the trustees said in an annual report today. Social Security's disability program, which aids 11 million Americans, will run through its trust fund in 2016, two years earlier than predicted. The report attributed the fiscal stress in part to the weak economy.
Trustees say Medicare, Social Security funds running out quickly
By Sam Baker - TheHill.com
Medicare and Social Security are on a fast track to deep fiscal problems, trustees for the two programs warned Monday.
The Medicare trust fund will be "exhausted" — meaning it won't have enough money on hand to cover the benefits it's supposed to provide — by 2024, the trustees said, the same time frame anticipated in a report last year. Social Security will reach that tipping point in 2033, three years earlier than predicted last year.
US Welfare State To Run Out Of Cash Sooner Than Hoped For
Submitted by Tyler Durden - ZeroHedge.com
Medicare trustees just released their annual report on the program's finances and it does not make for healthy reading. In fact the main headline takeaway is that the social security fund itself will now run dry three years sooner than was projected in 2011. While 2035, the new deadline, seems a long way off, the 5% rise in medicare costs in 2011 should be enough to worry most and perhaps more disturbing is the separate disability program is set to run dry in 2016 (two years earlier than expected) and Medicare is to be depleted by 2014. Headlines via Bloomberg:
• MEDICARE COSTS RISE 5 PERCENT TO $549 BILLION IN 2011 :UNH US
• LONG-TERM PROJECTIONS FOR MEDICARE WORSEN, TRUSTEES SAY :UNH US
• HOSPITALS TO FACE MEDICARE PAYMENT CUTS IN 2024, U.S. SAYS
• TRUSTEES SAY FUND TO RUN OUT THREE YEARS EARLIER THAN PREDICTED
Added Tim Geithner's ever-positive spin-fest...
GAO says Medicare bonuses are bogus
Republicans see pre-election ploy
By Paige Winfield Cunningham-The Washington Times
Federal investigators said Monday that the administration is wasting billions on extra bonuses for health plans and should cancel them right away, fueling Republican complaints that President Obama is trying to postpone his health care law's unpopular Medicare cuts until after the election.
The bonuses for high-quality MedicareAdvantage plans were designed to drive down the government's long-term costs by putting seniors in approved private plans that cut their out-of-pocket costs in exchange for limits on care and choice. But the Government Accountability Office report says the bonuses will cost the government $8.3 billion over the next decade, almost three times what was intended.
The Next Republican Party
By Richard Reeves - Truthdig.com
LOS ANGELES—Once upon a time there was a political tribe called "liberal Republicans," led by chieftains named Nelson Rockefeller, Jacob Javits, Mac Mathias and others. They were generally liberal on social issues and relatively conservative on fiscal issues.
They are extinct now. They were caught in a kind of pincer movement between conservative Republicans demanding ideological purity in their own party and more liberal Democrats, who were able to replace them by attacking them for not being liberal enough, particularly on issues like Vietnam and welfare. They were too liberal for their own party, but not quite liberal enough for the opposition. Some, in fact, like John Lindsay, just gave up and became Democrats. That never really worked, although conservative Democrats from the South, among them Strom Thurmond and Richard Shelby, were able to find Southern comfort in the Republican Party.
Dr. Paul Craig Roberts:
U.S. Police State Masquerades as A Democracy
Americans, the British, and Western Europeans are accustomed to thinking of themselves as the representatives of freedom, democracy, and morality in the world. The West passes judgment on the rest of the world as if the West is God and the rest of the world are barbarians in need of chastisement, invasion, and occupation. As readers know, from time to time I raise questions about the validity of the West's extreme hubris.
TSA installs undercover agents on Texas busses
If you are one of the select few that actually enjoys riding the bus, you might have a change of heart after hearing what the TSA is doing in Houston, Texas.
Democratic Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee held a press conference last week to discuss the details of Houston's newest initiatives. It is being branded as a program called "BusSafe" and the press release describes it as a necessity for enhancing safety in the city's public transportation system. Just exactly how they are going about accomplishing that has already attracted its fair share of critics, though.
Under the program launched last week, passengers on busses run by the Houston METRO system will be subjected to random questioning and searches from "counter-terrorism experts" hired by the Transportation Security Administration. Yes, the very same TSA that has become notorious for invasive pat-downs at airports across the country are opening up a new front in their war on privacy, and it's on Houston's public busses.
Democrats plan to force vote
on Arizona immigration law if it's upheld by court
By Rosalind S. Helderman - WashingtonPost.com
Senate Democrats are making plans to force a floor vote on legislation that would invalidate Arizona's controversial immigration statute if the Supreme Court upholds the law this summer.
Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) will announce the fallback legislation at a hearing on the Arizona law Tuesday, a day before the Supreme Court hears oral arguments in a suit to determine whether Arizona had the authority to enact the 2010 state crackdown.
Ex-FBI Agent Reveals What to Do
If The Police Get in Your Face
Mike Adams talks Dale Carson, a trial lawyer, former FBI agent, police officer, detective, SWAT team member, undercover operative and private investigator who now defends clients against unfair charges. He is the author of Arrest-Proof Yourself, which is required reading for anyone wanting to avoid unnecessary interactions with the law.
Are the Limits of American Power Closer Than We Think? It's getting tougher for the U.S. to impose its will, but we can still lead the world -- the trick is convincing the world to follow.
By Max Fisher - TheAtlantic.com
Here are a few of the big, global problems that the U.S. has recently tried and failed to resolve:
• North Korea's recent test-launch of a long-range missile, which U.S. diplomacy and threats couldn't deter.
• A new war between the Sudans, breaking a short-lived peace that the U.S. spent years building.
• Syria's continuing massacre of civilians, for which neither American diplomats nor American generals can find an acceptable solution.
• Egypt's tightening military rule, which has gotten so bad that the U.S. spent weeks just to extricate some detained American NGO workers.
• Israel's settlement growth in Palestinian territory, which the U.S. opposes as a barrier to Middle East peace.
• The Yemeni president's refusal to abdicate power, despite a U.S.-brokered pledge that he would step down.
• Afghanistan's unceasing war with itself, to which ten years of American-led war have not brought peace.
• Iran's nuclear development, which looks to be continuing despite U.S. sanctions and recent U.S.-led disarmament talks.
Pentagon Plans New Spy Service... Defense Department Plans New Intelligence Gathering Service
By ERIC SCHMITT - NYTimes.com
WASHINGTON — The Pentagon is revamping its spy operations to focus on high-priority targets like Iran and China in a reorganization that reflects a shift away from the war zones of Iraq and Afghanistanthat have dominated America's security landscape for the past decade.
Under the plan approved last week by Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta, case officers from the new Defense Clandestine Service would work more closely with counterparts from theCentral Intelligence Agency at a time when the military and spy agency are increasingly focused on similar threats.
Drones to soar over US and Canada sooner than thought?
Non-military agencies have been gearing up to get unmanned drones in the sky across America, and now it looks like those controversial aircraft will soon be heading north, as well.
http://rt.com/news/iran-usa-drone-decode-755/Not only are surveillance drones expected to soar in droves across American airspace in the not-so-distant future, but now it has been confirmed that authorities in Canada have successfully followed through with test flights of the unmanned aircraft for their own use.
A spokesperson for CAE, Inc., which is located in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, has confirmed that a series of test flights have occurred in recent weeks as the country looks towards purchasing drones for domestic use. According to CAE's vice president, Pietro D'Ulisse, the capabilities of the craft will be a great asset for law enforcement across Canada.
* * * * * IMPORTANT * * * * *
DNS Changer Malware is serious -
find out if you computer is infected.
Non-invasive quick link for US check - http://www.dns-ok.us
if background is 'green' you're OK; if RED, not OK - seek antivirus software alternatives to restore system to normal.
DNS Changer - Information & links for other countries
The FBI is seeking information from individuals, corporate entities and Internet Services Providers who believe that they have been victimized by malicious software ("malware") related to the defendants. This malware modifies a computer's Domain Name Service (DNS) settings, and thereby directs the computers to receive potentially improper results from rogue DNS servers hosted by the defendants.
Tech groups pushing for cyberthreat info-sharing bill CDT and other civil liberties groups
continue to raise privacy concerns about CISPA
By Grant Gross - Computerworld.com
IDG News Service - Several technology trade groups are pushing the U.S. Congress to pass a controversial cyberthreat information-sharing bill, despite ongoing privacy concerns voiced by digital rights and civil liberties groups.
The U.S. House of Representatives could vote on the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, or CISPA, next week, and several tech trade groups have called for Congress to pass the legislation.
CISPA is a "measured approach that will better protect people and the systems we rely on from cyber threats," wrote Dean Garfield, president and CEO of the Information Technology Industry Council, and Bruce Mehlman, executive director of Technology CEO Council, in a Friday column for The Hill newspaper. "It will protect the fundamental relationship between Internet users and the companies that provide them online access and services. User experience and history, transactions, and personal information will be better safeguarded, providing more personal security online -- not jeopardizing it."
Facebook's Growth Slows as IPO Nears
By GEOFFREY A. FOWLER And SHIRA OVIDE - WSJ.com
As Facebook Inc. enters the final weeks before its landmark initial public offering, not all of the arrows are pointing up.
In what is likely to be the last snapshot of its financial condition before the expected May IPO, Facebook disclosed Monday that its first-quarter profit and revenue declined from the final quarter of 2011.
The social network's expenses are mounting, as it builds data centers and hires engineers to run a network for its more than 900 million users around the globe. The company also agreed to spend $550 million on a deal with Microsoft Corp. to shore up its patent arsenal amid escalating tensions in a legal dispute with Yahoo Inc.
Facebook pays Microsoft $550 million for AOL patents
By Alexei Oreskovic
(Reuters) - Facebook will pay Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O) $550 million in cash for hundreds of patents recently sold by AOL, the social networking company's latest move to bulk up its intellectual property in the wake of a lawsuit filed by Yahoo.
The deal will give Facebook 650 patents and patent applications, as well as a license to another 275 patents and applications owned by Microsoft.
Microsoft trumped Amazon, eBay and other tech giants earlier this month with its more than $1 billion purchase of most of AOL Inc. (AOL.N) patent trove.
Ladies Beware – New Mobile Phone
Allows Perverts to See Through Your Clothes
by Giacomo - GodFatherPolitics.com
I remember when I was a kid and watched Superman on televsion and wondered what it would be like to have his X-ray vision and see through walls. Then there were the cartoons where someone had x-ray glasses that could see someone's skeleton. I remember the other boys in the neighborhood saying they wanted a set of x-ray glasses to see through the girls' dresses.
Well, those perverted wishes are about to become a reality thanks to a new high technology computer chip being developed by researchers at the University of Texas in Dallas. Dr Kenneth O, director of Texas Analog Center of Excellence and chaired professor of electrical engineering at UT Dallas announced that his team has developed a chip that utilizes a range of the electromagnetic spectrum that has never been used before and that it falls between infrared and microwave.
Meteor Produces Sound and Fury
By ROBERT LEE HOTZ - WSJ.com
A fiery meteor created a thundering explosion and traced a rare daylight fireball seen for about 600 miles across Nevada and California on Sunday, before apparently breaking up harmlessly at high altitude, astronomers said.
NASA researchers at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory said the midair explosion, centered over California's Central Valley east of the San Francisco Bay area, was the equivalent of the detonation of about 3.8 kilotons of TNT—about one quarter the energy released by the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima, Japan, in 1945.
60 Minutes on the Plight of Palestinian Christians
By Robert Wright - TheAtlantic.com
Last night's 60 Minutes segment about the plight of Christians in the West Bank has gotten a lot of attention, in part because of the attempt by Israeli ambassador Michael Oren to intervene with CBS brass while the segment was being put together. (See the 11-minute point in the video below, where CBS correspondent Bob Simon confronts Oren with this fact.)
You can see why Oren might rather the piece hadn't aired. Things that Palestinian Muslims routinely say about the Israeli occupation may get more traction in America when Palestinian Christians say them. Such as this, from a Christian clergyman: "The West Bank is becoming more and more like a piece of Swiss cheese, where Israel gets the cheese--that is, the land the water resources, the archaeological sites, and the Palestinians are pushed in the holes."
Japan Nuclear Watch, April 23: Can You Rebuild a Cooling System Inside a No-Go Zone?
By: Scarecrow blog
The good news is that over the last two weeks or so at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear plant, there have been no further spectacular explosions, no new massive breaches of containment or as far as we know, massive releases of radiation, though there continue to be dangerous levels inside the reactors, in nearby water and in surrounding areas.
The bad news is the Japanese authorities have been unable to make substantial progress against the massive quantities of contaminated water still leaking from the damaged units. In the last three days, for example, they attempted to pump contaminated water out of the flooded trench outside Unit 2′s turbine building, but managed to lower the water level by only a few centimeters. In previous weeks, they would pump some out one day, but then find the water rising back the next with varying degrees of radiation, because water injected into the reactors leaked and found its way out and downhill.
China-Philippines Standoff Intensifies China's belligerency is on display on the world stage once again.
Beijing intensified a 10-day standoff between the Philippines and China on Friday by sending a third ship to a shoal in the South China Sea where both sides claim sovereignty.
The confrontation at the Scarborough Shoal began on April 10 when a Philippine warship accused eight Chinese fishermen of illegal entry and poaching in Philippine waters, and attempted to arrest them. Philippine officials said the vessels held endangered marine resources such as giant clams and live sharks, which it is illegal to catch. The Philippine officials attempted to arrest the fishermen, but were stopped by the arrival of two Chinese government vessels, which ordered the Philippine warship to leave Scarborough, saying it was Chinese territory. The Philippine ship refused to back down, saying that the territory lies well within Philippine waters. The UN Convention on the Law of the Sea designates a country's exclusive economic zone as 230 miles from its coastline, and the shoal in question is only 140 miles from the Philippine coast. China's closest territory to the shoal, Hainan province, is 542 miles away from the Scarborough Shoal.
North Korea threatens South with 'special attack'
By Shaun Waterman-The Washington Times
North Korea threatened Monday to reduce "to ashes" South Korean targets — including news organizations — with an unspecified "special attack," the latest round of aggressive rhetoric that many expect will culminate with Pyongyang's third nuclear test.
The North Korean military's "special operation action group" delivered the threat in a statement that was read during a special bulletin on state-run television. The action group directed the statement at the Seoul government, South Korean news organizations and other "rat-like elements" in the South it said were "destroying fair-minded public opinion."