January 10, 2012
Japanese Princess Kaoru Nakamaru, a UFO contactee, recently released a video in which she spoke of dramatic changes coming after 12/21/12. The Earth will pass into the “fifth dimension” and be plunged into three days of total darkness just before this, she warned. Watch her video:
January 10, 2012
By Mark Motive
The global economy is in turmoil. Europe is on the verge of collapse, probably taking the US down with it. As the euro-crisis worsens, we march ever closer to outright monetization of European debt by the ECB and, covertly, by the Federal Reserve. The developed world is perilously close to a monetary deluge that could make the Weimar Republic’s hyperinflation look like amateur hour.
Yet, I still talk to Wall Street analysts who clearly misunderstand gold’s place in a portfolio. Meanwhile, many people who are part of the world’s wealthy class are hoarding gold. What do they know that others don’t?
If you ask the common man in the street about investing in gold, most will give you a strange look. After all, they believe investing is about stocks, bonds, and CDs.
If you ask someone with a bit more investing knowledge, they will tell you to buy gold during inflationary periods.
If you ask a relatively sophisticated investor, they will tell you to buy gold during deflationary and inflationary periods. Some may even say to buy gold during periods of uncertainty and instability, or when real interest rates are negative.
However, if you ask the world’s wealthy class about gold they will give you a very different answer. At Plan B Economics, we’ve found that most of the world’s wealthy class doesn’t view gold as an investment at all! I would argue these folks have it right. Simply put, they consider gold to be a store of wealth and believe that anytime is a good time to own some gold.
With wealth storage (a.k.a. wealth preservation) as their goal, the rich are less fixated on daily fluctuations in gold prices. They aren’t trying to earn short-term profits from gold ownership – they are trying to maintain their overall purchasing power. Since the wealthy have large asset bases, losses in purchasing power add up to big dollar figures, but the wealth preservation characteristics of gold are just as beneficial to the middle class.
Gold can protect real wealth because it tends to move in a different direction than other types of assets (i.e. gold is negatively correlated with other assets), making it an effective portfolio diversifier. When gold prices are falling, other forms of wealth are often rising in real terms. When gold is rising, other assets are usually falling in real terms. Gold has an offsetting effect when it is part of an overall asset base – but there are more important reasons the wealthy own gold.
January 10, 2012
By John W. Schoen
When David Martin and his wife bought their north Seattle condo five years ago, they figured they had plenty of time to downsize if they needed to before they retired.
Now, with the property worth roughly $60,000 less than the balance of their mortgage, Martin, 68, has been giving serious thought to just walking away, a process lenders call “strategic default.”
“Guilt and morality are one side, and objective financial analysis are on the other side,” Martin said. “They’re coming to two opposite conclusions. I wonder how many other people are struggling with the same question.”
Strategic defaults like the one contemplated by Martin are on the rise. A survey last year by two Chicago-area finance professors, Paola Sapienza at Northwestern University and Luigi Zingales at the University of Chicago, found that roughly three out of 10 mortgage defaults in 2010 were by homeowners who could afford to make their payments, up from 22 percent in 2009.
“It’s a looming problem that’s in the shadows,” said Jason Kopcak, a mortgage trader at Cantor Fitzgerald who advises lenders on how to value the loans on their books. “It’s very worrisome to mortgage lenders.”
Researchers point to a number of forces that are driving borrowers to walk away from their mortgages. At the top of the list is the estimated 12 million homes that are underwater, meaning the owners owe more than they are worth.
Until recently, borrowers like Martin and many industry analysts held out hope that a housing recovery would reverse the rising tide of “negative equity.” But after stabilizing this summer, home prices began falling again, dropping 7.5 percent in the third quarter alone and leaving more homeowners underwater.
January 10, 2012
By Steven Newcomb
During my decades of research into the origins of federal Indian law and international law, I discovered that domination is the Latin language for “government.” I keep returning to this connection between “government” and “domination” as I reflect upon the U.S. Congress’s recent passage of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for 2012 on Bill of Rights Day, December 15, 2011.
A provision of the NDAA authorizes Barack Obama or any future U.S. president to have the U.S. military grab U.S. citizens and legal residents, without charge or trial, inside the United States, and to do so without evidence having been brought before a judge or grand jury. Such a person can be detained, and, evidently, even subjected to “enhanced interrogation” until “the end of hostilities,” during a time that has been called a period of war without end.
Senator Lindsay Graham (R-S.C.) unequivocally stated during the limited discussion of the NDAA that “the battlefield” now extends to “the homeland” of the U.S. Senator John McCain (R-AZ) has said that anyone deemed to pose a threat to the national security of the United States, including an American citizen, may be held by the U.S. military and even carted off to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The “law of war” has been invoked in the NDAA, and thus the “law of war” is now evidently deemed by a majority of the members of Congress to apply to persons “covered” in the NDAA, inclusive of U.S. citizens.
As the basis for their work on the U.S. Constitution, the Founders of the United States looked to the model of ancient Rome. In The Rising American Empire (1962), historian Richard Van Alstyne points out that Benjamin Franklin regarded “first the British Empire, and then the American [Empire], as Roman in conception.” Franklin used the words ‘imperial’ and ‘national’ interchangeably. George Washington referred to the United States as a ‘rising empire.’
Czar Barack: The candidate Who Criticized Bush-Cheney Became The President Who Continued Their Legacy
January 10, 2012
By Steve Chapman
“Is Obama really different that Bush? If we keep electing the same old politicians, nothing is ever going to change.” –KTRN
Back in 2007, when Barack Obama was running for president, a mildly surprising bit of news emerged: He and Dick Cheney were eighth cousins. Today, though, it appears that report was wrong. Judging from Obama’s record in office, the two are practically brothers.
As a candidate, Obama criticized the last administration for holding Americans as enemy combatants without trial. He faulted it for wiretapping citizens without a warrant. He rejected the Republican claim that the president has the “inherent power” to go to war without congressional consent. He depicted George W. Bush and his vice president as a menace to constitutional limits and personal freedom.
But look at him now. Last week, Obama signed a bill letting him detain U.S. citizens in military custody without convicting them of anything — not for a month or a year, but potentially forever.
Obama pledges he will never use that power to hold an American. But Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., said the bill originally applied only to non-citizens. Citizens were included, he said, at the request of the White House. Even if Obama doesn’t plan to use the power, it will be sitting on the shelf for Mitt Romney or Ron Paul.
Those who voted for Obama in 2008 expected something different. “The detention of American citizens, without access to counsel, fair procedure, or pursuant to judicial authorization, as enemy combatants is unconstitutional,” he told The Boston Globe.
His reversal brings to mind not only Cheney but another Republican. “Obama has eclipsed Nixon in the establishment of an imperial presidency,” George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley told me. And Turley voted for Obama.
There is plenty of evidence for that conclusion. Last year, Obama ordered a drone strike in Yemen to kill radical Muslim Anwar al-Awlaki — a U.S. citizen. The administration claimed it had the legal authority to obliterate him, as well as evidence that Awlaki was engaged in active hostilities. But you’ll have to take Obama’s word, because he refused to make all this information public.
The targeted killing was justified by a secret legal memo that, The New York Times reported, “provided the justification for acting despite an executive order banning assassinations, a federal law against murder, protections in the Bill of Rights and various strictures of the international laws of war.”
And the evidence that Awlaki was plotting terrorist attacks, not merely spouting anti-American propaganda? Sorry, also secret. It’s possible to make a case that he posed a clear threat to American lives and that the missile was the only feasible way to avert it. But Obama, the vaunted champion of openness, saw no need to bother.
In some ways, though, the president has been perfectly transparent. Note his transparent disregard for both the Constitution and federal law in launching a military attack against Libya.
January 10, 2012
By Steven Shepard
“Ron Paul can defeat Obama. But we need to convince Republicans to give him a chance.” –KTRN
Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, run neck-and-neck with President Obama in a general-election matchup, according to a new CBS News poll released late on Monday that shows the two front-runners in Tuesday’s New Hampshire GOP primary running stronger against the president than their fellow Republicans.
Romney posts a two-point lead over Obama, 47 percent to 45 percent, within the poll’s margin of error of plus or minus 2.8 percentage points. He leads Obama, 45 percent to 39 percent, among independent voters.
Obama’s lead over Paul is just one point, 46 percent to 45 percent, as Paul leads among independents by 7 points.
(CAMPAIGN 2012: Poll: Romney, Paul Tie Obama)
The president posts more significant leads over the other GOP candidates, but against each he is below the critical 50-percent threshold: He leads former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, 49 percent to 41 percent; former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, 48 percent to 41 percent; Texas Gov. Rick Perry, 49 percent to 42 percent; and former Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa., 47 percent to 43 percent.
January 10, 2012
International Business Times
By IBM Times Staff Reporter
“Ron Paul is the real deal. He nailed Gingrich in the last debate with this comment.” –KTRN
Ron Paul’s 2012 campaign got a boost when he uttered his famous “And I Went” line during Saturday’s New Hampshire debate in a heated exchange with Republican rival Newt Gingrich.
Paul was criticizing so-called “chickenhawks,” or politicians who are hawkish about going to war but personally shirked the opportunity to serve in the U.S. military.
“I think people who don’t serve when they could and they get three or four or even five deferments have no right to send our kids off to war,” said Paul in a clear reference to Gingrich.
Gingrich responded: “I was married with a child.”
To which Paul famously shot back: “When I was drafted, I was married and had two kids, and I went.”
Paul finished his sentence with pursed lips and a steely gaze. The crowd was silent for a moment. Then, it broke out in applause.
January 10, 2012
By Tana Ganeva
The FBI claims that their fingerprint database (IAFIS) is the “largest biometric database in the world,” containing records for over a hundred million people. But that’s nothing compared to the agency’s plans for Next Generation Identification (NGI), a massive, billion-dollar upgrade that will hold iris scans, photos searchable with face recognition technology, palm prints, and measures of gait and voice recordings alongside records of fingerprints, scars, and tattoos.
Ambitions for the final product are candidly spelled out in an agency report: “The FBI recognizes a need to collect as much biometric data as possible within information technology systems, and to make this information accessible to all levels of law enforcement, including International agencies.” (A stack of documents related to NGI was obtained by the Center for Constitutional Rights and others after a FOIA lawsuit.)
It’ll be “Bigger — Better — Faster,” the FBI brags on their Web site. Unsurprisingly, civil libertarians have concerns about the privacy ramifications of a bigger, better, faster way to track Americans using their body parts.
“NGI will expand the type and breadth of information FBI keeps on all of us,” says Sunita Patel of the Center for Constitutional Rights. “There should be a balance between gathering information for law enforcement, and gathering information for its own sake.”
Here are 5 things you should probably know about NGI:
1. Face Recognition
This month, the FBI is giving police departments in 4 states access to face recognition technology that lets them search the agency’s mugshot database with only an image of a face. Police can repay the favor by feeding the FBI mugshots they collect from local arrests, bulking up the agency’s database with images of more and more people.
The face recognition pilot program is supposed to expand to police departments across the country by 2014. When it’s fully operational, the FBI expects its database to contain as many records of faces as there are fingerprints in the current database — about 70 million, reports Nextgov.com. The agency’s optimism seems warranted. If most local police departments are agreeable about information-sharing NGI can vacuum up images from all over the country.
January 10, 2012
The Weekly Standard
By DANIEL HALPER
President Obama’s first chief of staff Rahm Emanuel once sat on the board of troubled federal mortgage giant Freddie Mac. Bill Daley, the president’s chief of staff whose departure was announced today, was previously a top executive at financial firm J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. So of course there should be little surprise that Obama’s latest chief of staff, announced today by the president himself, also has deep ties to the financial industry himself.
From 2006-2008, Jack Lew was chief operating officer of Citibank’s alternative investments division. And it was his division that made billions of dollars betting “U.S. homeowners would not be able to make their mortgage payments,” as the Huffington Post reported.
January 10, 2012
By Allison Aubrey
“Food is medicine. Eating good food is a lot more about being healthy than it is about looking good.” –KTRN
You may remember the controversial studies linking food coloring and additives to hyperactivity in kids. Or you may know parents who have pinned their hopes on an elimination diet to improve their kids’ rowdy behavior.
“When [elimination] diets fail, parents can feel they’ve failed,” says Linda Brauer, coordinator of the Grand Rapids chapter of the advocacy group Children and Adults with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder. She remembers feeling guilty when her son’s symptoms did not improve. But now she says the science is on her side.
A review paper published today in the journal Pediatrics evaluated the evidence from many studies on this topic. And it concludes that changing a child’s diet is usually not enough to effectively treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
“Elimination diets may help in a very small percentage of patients,” whereas stimulant medications are generally very effective, writes J. Gordon Millichap, a neurologist at Children’s Memorial Hospital in Chicago who authored the paper.
Now, before all of the we-are-what-we-eat believers among us dismiss this, you should know that experts don’t deny the importance of diet. Far from it.