Sunday, February 3, 2013

US Social Security Admin: More Than Half Of Wage Earners Make $30,000 or Less!

The Govt is broke, the citizens are breaking and the debt keeps rising:
Around 100,000 Americans make 1,000,000.00+ every year. (or 0.033% of total US population)
The “raw” average wage, computed as net compensation divided by the number of wage earners, is $6,238,607,249,941.26 divided by 151,380,749, or $41,211.36. Based on data in the table below, about 66.6 percent of wage earners had net compensation less than or equal to the $41,211.36 raw average wage. By definition, 50 percent of wage earners had net compensation less than or equal to the median wage, which is estimated to be $26,965.43 for 2011.
Read it here;

“More than half of America’s recent college graduates are either unemployed or working in a job that doesn’t require a bachelor’s degree, the Associated Press reported this weekend. The story would seem to be more evidence that, regardless of your education, the wake of the Great Recession has been a terrible time to be young and hunting for work.
But are we really becoming another Greece or Spain, a wasteland of opportunity for anybody under the age of 25? Not quite. What the new statistics really tell us about is the changing nature, and value, of higher education.
First, here’s the nut of the AP’s findings, which it derived with the help of researchers from Northeastern University, Drexel University, and the Economic Policy Institute, based on data from the Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey and the U.S. Department of Labor:

About 1.5 million, or 53.6 percent, of bachelor’s degree-holders under the age of 25 last year were jobless or underemployed, the highest share in at least 11 years. In 2000, the share was at a low of 41 percent, before the dot-com bust erased job gains for college graduates in the telecommunications and IT fields.

Out of the 1.5 million who languished in the job market, about half were underemployed, an increase from the previous year.”

Now couple that with the cost of a college education for four years alone. A lot of students don’t graduate in four years by the way…
What are the trends in the cost of college education?
For the 2010–11 academic year, annual current dollar prices for undergraduate tuition, room, and board were estimated to be $13,600 at public institutions, $36,300 at private not-for-profit institutions, and $23,500 at private for-profit institutions. Between 2000–01 and 2010–11, prices for undergraduate tuition, room, and board at public institutions rose 42 percent, and prices at private not-for-profit institutions rose 31 percent, after adjustment for inflation. The inflation-adjusted price for undergraduate tuition, room, and board at private for-profit institutions was 5 percent higher in 2010–11 than in 2000–01.
SOURCE:U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics. (2012). Digest of Education Statistics, 2011 (NCES 2012-001), Chapter 3 . ”
So the cheapest tuition and room and board would cost you $54,400. Then you’d have a 50/50 shot of a job coming out. Many are underemployed. That usually means they’re working part-time in a bar or restaurant making minimum wage and hoping for tips.
It’s a national scandal.
“8.5 Million Americans Left Labor Force In Obama’s First Term”
“Number of Americans on Food Stamps Hit Another Record High
It doesn’t look like President Obama will be able to shed his reputation as the food stamp president any time soon. According to new data from the USDA, the number of people on food stamps has hit another all time high of 47,710,324 which is up by 600,000 from August. To be fair, this number is a bit distorted due to disaster relief from Hurricane Sandy.”
$30,000 sounds like a tons of money now, doesn’t it?
Wait until they pay for Obamacare.
“There are now 1,020,000 millionaires in China–a national record–and 63,500 “super-rich” Chinese.
To be classified as a millionaire, the report stated the individual must possess more than RMB 10-million, or US$1.6-million, while a “super-rich” individual required RMB 100-million (US$16-million) or more.”

Gold/Silver Exposes 2007 Dow $14,000 v. 2013 Dow $14,000


Gold/Silver Exposes 2007 Dow $14,000 v. 2013 Dow $14,000
I am just a nobody, but I thought I would just state the obvious here for the dailyPaul.
The Pump Monkeys on CNBC will declare “we are back from the brink” but what does Gold tell us about the recovery of the top in the DOW?
In 2007 it took 20 ounces of Gold to buy 1 stock in the Dow index.
In 2013 it only takes 8.3 ounces of Gold to by 1 stock in the Dow index.
The Dow is off 58% from its 2007 high in terms of Gold.
What does Silver tell us?
In 2007 it took 1056 ounces of Silver to buy 1 stock in the Dow index.
In 2013 it only takes 439 ounces of Silver to by 1 stock in the Dow index.
The Dow is off 58% from its 2007 high in terms of Silver.
Keep in mind all Metals are 2x OVER [200%] their 1980’s high with the exception of Silver which is just around ½ its High [64%].
Just to keep its current standing with the other Metals Silver right now today should be $100 per ounce.
Got Phyzz ???
P.s. “Crash JP Morgan Buy Silver”
Dow at 14,000… ? “Zimbabwe’s stock market was the best performer this decade – but your entire portfolio now buys you 3 eggs”

Iraq War Ends With A $4 Trillion IOU

Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dick.
WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) — The nine-year-old Iraq war came to an official end on Thursday, but paying for it will continue for decades until U.S. taxpayers have shelled out an estimated $4 trillion.
Over a 50-year period, that comes to $80 billion annually.
Although that only represents about 1% of nation’s gross domestic product, it’s more than half of the national budget deficit. It’s also roughly equal to what the U.S. spends on the Department of Justice, Homeland Security and the Environmental Protection Agency combined each year.
Near the start of the war, the U.S. Defense Department estimated it would cost $50 billion to $80 billion. White House economic adviser Lawrence Lindsey was dismissed in 2002 after suggesting the price of invading and occupying Iraq could reach $200 billion.
“The direct costs for the war were about $800 billion, but the indirect costs, the costs you can’t easily see, that payoff will outlast you and me,” said Lawrence Korb, a senior fellow at American Progress, a Washington, D.C. think tank, and a former assistant secretary of defense under Ronald Reagan.
Those costs include interest payments on the billions borrowed to fund the war; the cost of maintaining military bases in Kuwait, Qatar and Bahrain to defend Iraq or reoccupy the country if the Baghdad government unravels; and the expense of using private security contractors to protect U.S. property in the country and to train Iraqi forces.
Caring for veterans, more than 2 million of them, could alone reach $1 trillion, according to Paul Rieckhoff, executive director of the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, in Congressional testimony in July.
Other experts said that was too conservative and anticipate twice that amount. The advance in medical technology has helped more soldiers survive battlefield injuries, but followup care can often last a lifetime and be costly.
More than 32,000 soldiers were wounded in Iraq, according to the U.S. Department of Defense. Add in Afghanistan and that number jumps to 47,000.
Altogether, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan could cost the U.S. between $4 trillion and $6 trillion, more than half of which would be due to the fighting in Iraq, said Neta Crawford, a political science professor at Brown University.
Continue reading...

This is pretty good:

PHOTO OF THE DAY - Modern Warfare

Best Buy to close 15 stores in Canada

Best Buy to close 15 stores in Canada, cut 900 jobs


Best Buy said Thursday that it will close 15 of its stores in Canada and cut about 5 percent of its workforce in the country as it tries to revamp its strategy there.
The retailer said that in the first phase of a long-term transformation, it will permanently close eight of its Future Shop stores and seven of its Best Buy stores. The company bought the Future Shop electronics chain in 2001.
In turn, Best Buy is cutting about 900 jobs at various sites across the country.
The company said the move is an effort to reduce unnecessary costs and reflects a changing retail landscape.
Best Buy and other big box electronics retailers have struggled with sagging sales as customers have turned to discounters or online sites for their purchases. Or they come to Best Buy to check out products or solicit advice from store staff before making their purchase elsewhere, a practice known as "showrooming."
The company said that during the next three years it will move into the second stage of its strategy, opening new, state-of-the-art Future Shop web stores and new Best Buy Mobile locations across Canada, where and when it deems appropriate. The company said that move will enable it to better serve its customers in both more locations and smaller markets across the country.
Best Buy Canada has 120 Best Buy and Best Buy Mobile and 140 Future Shop stores across the country. Best Buy Canada Ltd. is a subsidiary of U.S.-based retailer Best Buy Co. Inc.
Shares of Best Buy rose 36 cents to close at $16.26 and gained 9 cents in after-hours trading.

"More people are going to be talking about rising gas prices than rising stock prices"

"More people are going to be talking about rising gas prices than rising stock prices"

15 Signs That You Better Get Prepared For The Obama Recession Of 2013

By Michael Snyder
The Economic Collapse Blog
February 1, 2013
You better get ready, because there are a whole host of signs that economic trouble is on the horizon.
U.S. economic growth slipped into negative territory during the fourth quarter of 2012.  That was the first time that has happened in more than three years.
Several important measures of manufacturing activity have also contracted in recent weeks, and consumer confidence is way down.
There is a tremendous amount of economic pessimism in the air right now, and Americans are pulling enormous amounts of money out of our banks and they are buying up precious metals at unprecedented rates.
Meanwhile, our “leaders” seem very confused about what is happening.  For example, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid continues to insist that we are “in a recovery“, and some other Democrats are calling the latest GDP numbers “the best-looking contraction in U.S. GDP you’ll ever see“.
On the other hand, the Federal Reserve says that economic growth has “paused” in recent months, and therefore a continuation of their latest quantitative easing scheme is necessary.  Well, no matter how hard any of them try to spin the numbers, there is no way that they are going to get them to look good.
Despite four years of outrageous “stimulus” spending by the federal government, despite four years of record low interest rates, and despite four years of unprecedented money printing by the Federal Reserve, the U.S. economy continues to perform miserably.
Later this year the federal government will probably finally acknowledge that we have entered another recession, even though the truth is that if the federal government used honest numbers they would indicate that we are already in one.
In any event, nobody should have ever expected that our debt-fueled prosperity would last forever.  When the debt bubble that we have been living in completely bursts, a “recession” will be the least of our worries.
Hopefully this little stretch of false economic hope that we have been living in will last for a little while longer.
I don’t think that too many people are very eager to repeat the horrible economic pain that we experienced back in 2008 and 2009.  Unfortunately, we never fully recovered from that last downturn and now the incredibly foolish decisions that our “leaders” continue to make have made another major economic downturn inevitable.
Personally, I would very much prefer for 2013 to be a year of peace and prosperity for America.  But at this point there appears to be a great deal of downward momentum for the economy.
The following are 15 signs that you better get prepared for the Obama recession of 2013…
#1 The mainstream media was absolutely shocked when it was announced that U.S. GDP actually contracted at an annual rate of 0.1 percent during the fourth quarter of 2012.  This was the first contraction that the official numbers have shown in more than three years.  But of course the truth is that the official numbers always make things appear better than they really are.  According to John Williams of, U.S. GDP growth has actually been continuously negative all the way back to 2005 once you account “for distortions in government inflation usage and methodological changes that have resulted in a built-in upside bias to official reporting.”
#2 For the entire year of 2012, official U.S. GDP growth was only about 1.5%.  According to Art Cashin, every time economic growth has fallen that low (below 2 percent annually) the U.S. economy has alwaysended up going into a recession.
#3 According to the Conference Board, consumer confidence in the United States has hit its lowest level in more than a year.
#4 For the week ending January 26th, initial claims for unemployment rose to 368,000.  In future weeks, watch to see if it goes above 400,000.  If we hit that level, that will be a sign of real trouble for the economy.
#5 During the first full week of January, an astounding $114 billion was pulled out of U.S. banks.  That is the largest amount that we have seen moved out of U.S. banks in one week since 2001.
#6 The U.S. Mint was on pace to sell more silver eagles during the first month of 2013 than it did during the entire year of 2007.  Why is so much silver being sold all of a sudden?
#7 The payroll tax hike that went into effect in January has reduced the paychecks of average American workers by about $100 a month.
#8 Several important measures of manufacturing activity along the east coast missed expectations by a huge margin in January.  The following summary is from a recent Zero Hedge article

So much for the latest “recovery.” While everyone continued to forget that in the New Normal marketsdo not reflect the underlying economy in the least, and that the all time highs in the Russell 2000 shouldindicate that the US economy has never been better, things in reality took a deep dive for the worse, at least according to the Empire State Fed, the Philly Fed, and now the Richmond Fed, all of which missed expectations by a huge margin, and are now deep in contraction territory. Moments ago, the Richmond Fed reported that the Manufacturing Index imploded from a 9 in November, 5 in December and missed expectations of a 5 print at -12: this was the biggest miss to expectations since September 2009.
#9 An astounding 33 percent of all “subprime student loans” are at least 90 days past due.  Back in 2007, that number was only at 24 percent.  Could this be evidence that the student loan debt bubble is beginning to burst?
#10 Time Inc. has just announced that it will be eliminating hundreds of jobs.
#11 Blockbuster recently announced that they are closing hundreds of stores and eliminating about 3,000 jobs.
#12 Toy maker Hasbro has announced that the size of their workforce will be reduced by about 10 percent.
#13 According to a new Pew Research study that was just released,one out of every seven adults in the United States is financially supporting their kids and their parents at the same time.  Pew Research is calling it “the Sandwich Generation”.
#14 According to one recent Gallup poll, 65 percent of all Americans believe that 2013 will be a year of “economic difficulty“, and 50 percent of all Americans believe that the “best days” of America are now behind us.
#15 According to a different Gallup poll, Americans are now more pessimistic about where the U.S. economy will be five years from now than Gallup has ever recorded before.
So what is Barack Obama doing about all of this?
Not much.
Actually, he is shutting down his much ballyhooed “Council on Jobs and Competitiveness”.  It last convened more than a year ago on Jan. 17th, 2012, and apparently Obama does not feel that it is needed any longer.
Of course we all know that it was just a political stunt to begin with.
Sadly, the truth is that both parties have been leading us down a road toward economic oblivion.  The past four years under Obama have been absolutely nightmarish, and even though the Republicans have been in control of the House for the last couple of years they have done very little to even slow him down.
For much more on the decline of the economy over the past four years, please see this article: “37 Statistics Which Show How Four Years Of Obama Have Wrecked The U.S. Economy“.
Yes, I tend to criticize Obama’s economic policies a lot, and rightfully so, but neither political party is willing to tell the American people the truth.
40 years ago, the total amount of debt in the U.S. economic system was less than 2 trillion dollars.
Today, the total amount of debt in the U.S. economic system has grown to more than 55 trillion dollars.
It hasn’t mattered which party has occupied the White House or which party has been in control of Congress.  The debt bubble that we have been living in has just continued to grow.
And all bubbles eventually pop.
The mainstream media is endlessly obsessed with the little fights that the Republicans and the Democrats are having, but they never talk about the bigger picture.
The prosperity that we are enjoying today is the result of the biggest debt binge in the history of the world.
We have stolen a giant mountain of money from our children and our grandchildren and we have destroyed their futures.
People can debate about whether the next “recession” has already started or not, but the truth is that what we are experiencing now is nothing compared to what is coming.
In the end, we will pay a great price for our decades of foolishness.
The U.S. economy is going to completely collapse, and the last few years have only been the very beginning of that process.

2013: We Are Witnesses To A Grand Disconnect Of Hope/Perception From Reality AGAIN Like 2007


GDP Shows Surprise Drop for U.S. in Fourth Quarter
The U.S. economy posted a stunning drop of 0.1 percent in the fourth quarter, defying expectations for slow growth and possibly providing incentive for more Federal Reserve stimulus.
The economy shrank from October through December for the first time since the recession ended, hurt by the biggest cut in defense spending in 40 years, fewer exports and sluggish growth in company stockpiles.
The Commerce Department said Wednesday that the economy contracted at an annual rate of 0.1 percent in the fourth quarter. That’s a sharp slowdown from the 3.1 percent growth rate in the July-September quarter.
Dow flirts with 14,000
NEW YORK — Stocks may be near record highs, but they are not terribly expensive, at least by one measure.
Last week the broad Standard & Poor’s 500 index closed above 1,500 for the first time in five years. This week the Dow Jones industrial average has been flirting with 14,000, a level it hasn’t seen since October 2007.
Check Out The Stunning Fall In Government Spending That Crushed GDP

Krugman: ‘Depression Conditions’ Continue in the US

The U.S. economy is not ready to stand on its own, therefore the Federal Reserve should “keep the pedal to the medal” and continue quantitative easing (QE) well into 2015, Nobel Prize winning economist Paul Krugman tells Yahoo.
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Urgent: Should Obamacare Be Repealed? Vote Here Now!

Gary Shilling Expects Great Disconnect to Cause Stock Market Crash 2013

Jan 28, 2013 – 06:20 PM GMT
Steve Sjuggerud writes: Gary Shilling might have the best track record of any investor over the last 30 years…
If you had invested $100,000 in Shilling’s “big idea” 30 years ago, it would be worth over $6 million today.
While most investors didn’t pay attention to his big idea, Shilling was right. And he never gave up on his big idea.
Here in 2013, Shilling has some new big ideas… and some bold predictions… particularly about what he calls the “Grand Disconnect.”
Thirty years ago, Shilling’s big idea was that inflation would go away. He made this prediction in the early 1980s, when inflation was double digits.
He put his money where his mouth was… and put clients into the one particular investment that would profit the most (long-dated zero-coupon U.S. Treasurys). Shilling’s strategy of rolling money every year into the longest-dated Treasurys paid out 60-fold returns.
Stocks and gold couldn’t compete at all with Shilling’s strategy over that time… $100,000 invested in gold turned into $400,000, and $100,000 invested in stocks turned into $2.1 million. Shilling’s recommendation beat both of those by $4 million.
Last week, Shilling spoke with Canada’s Globe and Mail newspaper.
He explained his big idea today – he explained the “Grand Disconnect”…
Right now we’re in what I call The Grand Disconnect… The economies of the world are growing slowly… But investors couldn’t care less. All they are concerned about is the money being shoveled out the door by central banks.  
And I call that the grand disconnect between the real economy and investors’ view of the world.
Shilling thinks the world economy isn’t really doing that well… and that you can’t get sustainable prosperity and sustainably higher stock prices by printing money. He thinks the Grand Disconnect has to end badly…

I think sooner or later it will be eliminated by some big shock… I think it could [be this year] but forecasting big shocks like this is obviously difficult. It’s in the cards, it’s just a question of when it will happen.

FLASHBACK 2007:  Real Estate: Disconnect from Reality - Charles Hugh Smith

Let’s launch “Disconnect from Reality” Week with that perennial favorite, real estate. And as a poster child of that disconnect, how about a boarded-up 100-year old “fixer-upper” in a mediocre neighborhood for $470,000?

U.S. Credit Perspectives–”Still Renting”:
We know from the NASDAQ bubble that once risk appetite changes, prices can shift violently in the other direction. Housing is different from equities because it is much less liquid; therefore price adjustments take more time. In a down housing market, the gap between buyers and sellers widens, and volumes fall. Buyers pull back and sellers take time to realize their listing prices are too high.
Eventually, housing prices in entire neighborhoods will get reset downward by the weakest hand. Just as prices went up and everyone in the neighborhood applauded the newest neighbor who bought at the top, prices will likely start to fall as financially-stretched home owners and speculators sell, and are forced out of the market. As this process unfolds, risk appetite for housing should take a sharp turn for the worse. This year’s weak start to the traditionally strong spring selling season suggests we have indeed entered the “buyer’s strike” phase of the cycle.
Recession Imminent (from Safe Haven, by Paul Kasriel)
As homebuilders’ stocks rise–”the worst is over” yet again–and as inventory of unsold houses piles up, we are witnesses to a grand disconnect of hope/perception from reality.It is merely an observation, not a value judgment, that reality eventually overwhelms perception.

Right now most people are holding CASH in their accounts or have switched to commodities, ETF’s or currencies. 

“Huge cash balances are being held by banks and brokerage houses. TD Ameritrade‘s (NYSE:AMTD) CEO confirmed Tuesday that they were sitting on over $90 billion in cash in customers’ accounts, which is almost double what it was at this time last year.”

MORGAN STANLEY: Japan Has Changed The Game, And Now There Really Could Be A Currency War
For real this time.

Stephen King: Economic nationalism will only fuel failure - FT

Currency wars may be all the rage but they are merely a symptom of a much more deep-rooted problem. We are witnessing the return of economic nationalism. At the 2009 London Group of 20 summit, it seemed for a fleeting moment that nations had learnt how to work together to solve the world’s economic and financial problems. That dream no longer holds. Persistent economic stagnation has left our political leaders increasingly looking for national solutions to what have become deeply-entrenched international problems.
It is not so much that nations are becoming deliberately more protectionist. Rather, the cheerleaders for globalisation have gone into hiding. They can no longer so easily claim that the forces of internationalisation have brought benefits to all. Without those cheerleaders, however, the temptation to pursue economic nationalism becomes ever greater….

Is the S&P 500 Forming a Dreaded Triple-Top?

Index approaching record highs, with the two prior highs being the tops in 2000 and 2007

SPX Chart
Click to Enlarge

On Tuesday, several sources of technical data featured the monthly chart of the S&P 500, noting the index is approaching record highs. The implication is that the index will form a triple-top and that prices will then head south.

Plenty of Taxpayer Dollars for Super Bowl Sunday, While Hurricane Katrina Victims Still Suffer

John Galt
Activist Post

Super Bowl XLVII is receiving a massive amount of military-grade support that will likely cost taxpayers millions of dollars as it has in years past. Some of it will likely be frivolously wasted such as when the Navy spent $450,000 taxpayer dollars for a flyover during Super Bowl XLV when the stadium roof was closed (as if that was even the main issue). Meanwhile, some victims of Hurricane Katrina continue to suffer more than 7 years later.

The Superdome has indeed been rebuilt to showcase overpaid athletes and entertainers, while the surrounding area has thrived according to mainstream news reports citing re-opened schools, new levees and a "thriving restaurant scene." Small comfort for those displaced and never able to return.

 It is also small comfort to those victimized by FEMA which in 2011 asked for thousands of people to return aid money after FEMA apparently mismanaged payouts. Huffington post highlighted Paul Wegener's outrageous case:

Paul Wegener, whose New Orleans home flooded up to the gutters after Katrina, felt short-changed when FEMA gave him a $30,000 grant for a house that wound up costing more than $566,000 to rebuild. He applied for more through the state's Road Home program but was told he didn't qualify. The thought of having to return some of his federal aid only compounds his frustration.
'They'll have to pry it from my dead hands if they try,' the 75-year-old said.
Or  28-year-old Luisa Meija who was had to escape a New Orleans suburb with her family:

'We left with nothing but important papers and maybe two sets of clothes,' she recalls. 'We were in Atlanta with no money, living in a home with 40 people.'
All they got from FEMA was a check for $1,200, which they used to buy clothes and food. Six years later, Mejia can't understand why FEMA would ask residents to pay for its employees' mistakes.
'I didn't get the type of money that would make me rich from Katrina,' she said. 'For people who were honest like me, it's crazy.' (Source)
And these are just a couple of stories among thousands similarly harassed. In addition to the financial burden, Science Daily has reported that people are still affected by the mental and physical trauma of the disaster. Researchers highlight that very few studies have ever tracked the long-lasting effects of disaster recovery. This long excerpt, while admittedly a limited study compared to the overall number affected, really encapsulates the scope of those who remain largely forgotten:

The sample size in the study was made up of 532 low-income mothers, most of whom were African American and whose average age was 26. They were interviewed in two follow-up surveys -- tracked down largely through their unchanged cellphone numbers, though they were spread across 23 states -- about 11 months and nearly five years after the storm.
Due to the makeup of the sample, Paxson cautioned that the study's results cannot be assumed to apply to the population as a whole, but they shed light on natural disasters' effects on a particularly vulnerable group.
The surveys helped rate the women on two signs of poor mental health: psychological distress and post-traumatic stress symptoms (PTSS). Researchers measured psychological distress using a series of questions (also in the initial questionnaire) typically used to screen for anxiety and mood disorders, asking about feelings such as sadness, hopelessness and nervousness experienced over the last 30 days. They measured PTSS using a test used to identify individuals at a high risk of meeting the criteria for post-traumatic stress disorder; for example, the women in the study were asked how often they thought about the hurricane in the last seven days and whether they had thoughts about the storm that they could not suppress.
The researchers found that even after four years, about 33 percent of the participants still had PTSS, and 30 percent had psychological distress. Though levels for both conditions had declined from the first follow-up 11 months after the hurricane, they were not back to pre-hurricane levels.
The researchers had also interviewed the study participants about the types of stressors they had experienced during the storm: home damage, traumatic experiences the week of the hurricane (such as being in danger or lacking food, water or necessary medical care), or death of a friend or relative.
Paxson and her collaborators found that these stressors played a role in whether the participants suffered from psychological distress or PTSS, or both. For the most part, the hurricane stressors, especially home damage, were associated with the risk of chronic, long-term PTSS alone or in combination with psychological distress.
'I think Katrina might be different from a lot of natural disasters in the sense that it completely upended most people's lives,' Paxson said. 'About two-thirds of the sample is back in the New Orleans area, but almost nobody lives in their old home. So they're living in new communities. They've been disrupted from their friends and their families. The whole fabric of their lives has really been changed.' (Source: Social Science and Medicine via Science Daily)
 It appears that, yet again, plenty of federal money is available when the military-industrial complex seeks to enrich its bottom line through fear-mongering about an exceedingly unlikely future terrorist event, but support of those people already experiencing a state of emergency are viewed as nothing more than a costly handout.

As mainstream media and corporate interests turn up the hype machine for the 47th Super Bowl as a boon to the New Orleans economy, let's not forget the federal failures that still continue there and in other locations, as Katrina was not an exception to an otherwise stellar performance by government; thousands are still without heat, water, and power more than 90 days after Hurricane Sandy. There will be no Super Bowl in those homes, even if they could stomach the spectacle.

Read other articles by John Galt Here

Why A Fed President Wants To Break Up The Banks

Richard Fisher's plan.
'The system is biased towards Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan.'
Excellent Bloomberg interview.  Dallas Federal Reserve President Richard Fisher details his plan to break up the banks.  Here's a quick summary:
  • There are 12 banks that meet the criteria for too big to fail.
  • Dodd-Frank is killing small community banks.
  • Fed is constantly reassessing stimulus.
  • QEternity is false.  Will not last forever.
  • Voted against latest round of QE.
  • Worried about Treasury bubble bursting.
  • Worried about Fed's exit strategy.
  • Biggest inflation hawk on the Fed and he sees little inflation.

Mis-selling scandal: banks let off the hook

Exclusive: FSA ‘bows to the banks’ with £1.5bn ceiling on payouts

Banks have been handed a free pass allowing them to get out of paying compensation on the biggest interest-rate swap mis-selling claims, The Independent has learnt.
The controversial products were pushed aggressively by banks on to small and medium-sized companies when they were sold loans. They were sold as a way of protecting against rising interest rates. But they left firms facing huge bills that sent some to the wall during the financial crisis, when interest rates unexpectedly plummeted.
Banks will now be allowed to throw out the biggest compensation claims.
The Financial Services Authority ordered banks on Thursday to review all sales, after a survey found that more than 90 per cent included in the review breached at least one of its rules.
But it has emerged that swaps of £10m and above will be excluded,  exempting the banks from compensating companies that took them out.
There was no mention of the figure in the watchdog’s press releases or in a detailed larger document. It was  accessible only through study of a complicated flow chart. While the £10m figure looks substantial, experts said it was conceivable that some relatively small enterprises, and many medium-sized firms, could be excluded from the process as a result.
City analysts suggest that banks’ compensation claims related to swaps mis-selling could reach £1.5bn – a large sum but only a fraction of the more than £10bn set aside to cover the mis-selling of payment protection insurance policies. Excluding the bigger claims will help keep the that figure down, amid mounting concerns about banks’ financial health.
Rich Eldridge, head of finance at the law firm Manches, described the “cap” on the review as “startling”.
Mr Eldridge, who contacted The Independent after spotting the get-out, clause said: “The FSA report just contains an oblique reference to customers who meet a balance-sheet and employee test being included in the review where their swap does not exceed £10m.  In fact all swaps over £10m have been unexpectedly excluded, irrespective of balance-sheet or turnover figures.”
Mr Eldridge continued: “Many people suspected the potential exposure of the banks was too large for taxpayer-owned banks. It seems the FSA has bowed to the pressure from the banks by agreeing to exclude the largest claims.
“I have lost all faith in the process. A process in which the FSA bows to the strength of the banks will not deliver a fair result for borrowers. It is particularly concerning that the FSA has not been upfront about changing the review to exclude the larger claims.”
As a result, shares in the banks have hardly moved. Barclays shares finished down just 2p at 300p following the announcement; Lloyds shares have lost only 0.62p to 51.64p, and HSBC has given up 4.5p to 719.6p. Royal Bank of Scotland, the only bank to warn of increased provisions as a result of the review, has lost 6.7p to 340.5p. That indicates the City is relatively relaxed about the review and the potential costs from it.
Watchdogs are privately extremely concerned about the potential cost of legal claims relating to the Libor interest-rate fixing scandal. None of the big banks has yet made any provision to cover these.
Critics have complained that, because the banks will be conducting the review, this leaves them in the position of being “judge and jury”, although the FSA will be closely watching how they carry it out.
A spokesman for the FSA defended the imposition of the £10m cap and said it was aimed at bringing more firms into the review process. Under the Companies Act, a number of tests are set for a company to be considered “small”. They are having a turnover of less than £6.5m, a balance sheet of less than £3.26m and less than 50 employees. A breach of any two means a company is no longer defined as small.
But critics said that could easily exclude many farms, which often employ more than 50 people, and whose land holdings push their balance sheet above £3.26m.
As a result the FSA abandoned the tests and simply set a £10m cap.
A spokesman for the regulator, soon to be replaced by the Financial Conduct Authority, said: “We introduced the £10m notional hedge limit to bring businesses such as farms, B&Bs and small care homes into the review. Without this change they might otherwise have been excluded due to the size of their fixed assets and numbers of seasonal [or] part-time workers.”
Q&A: Swap with a sting in its tail
Q. What is an interest rate swap?
A. It’s a financial product that was sold to a number of businesses alongside loans to protect them against rising interest rates.
Q. Why has there been problems with them?
A. Swaps have been described as similar to insurance, but they are actually complicated derivative products which often carry a sting in the tail. They left many companies facing high costs when the recession hit and rates unexpectedly tumbled.
Q. Why is there a mis-selling review?
A. The sophistication of interest rate swaps meant many firms weren’t clear about what they were buying into and the potential risks.
Q. Why does the Financial Services Authority want to impose a cap on claims?
A. It argues that the larger firms should have been able to seek advice from lawyers and accountants, although it is a matter of debate as to whether a small provincial lawyer or accountant would have had any more knowledge of the way some of the more complex swaps work than the companies they were advising.


It's Good to Be Goldman

A protestor holds a sign as Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner speaks during a congressional hearing on bailouts in 2009. (Reuters/Jonathan Ernst.)

This story originally appeared at Truthdig. Robert Scheer is the author of The Great American Stickup: How Reagan Republicans and Clinton Democrats Enriched Wall Street While Mugging Main Street (Nation Books).

Here’s a get-out-of-jail-free card, and while we’re at it, take this obscenely huge bonus for having wrecked the economy. As the inspector general for the Troubled Asset Relief Program pointed out in a devastating report this week, “excessive” compensation was approved by the Treasury Department for the executives of the three companies that required the largest taxpayer bailouts to survive.

In a stinging rebuke of Timothy Geithner’s Treasury Department, the report “found that once again, in 2012, Treasury failed to rein in excessive pay.” Whopping pay packages of $5 million or more were allowed by the Treasury Department for a quarter of the top executives at AIG, General Motors and Ally Financial, the former financial arm of GM.
But that’s nothing compared with the $21 million for last year’s work garnered by Lloyd Blankfein, CEO of Goldman Sachs, which is now free of TARP supervision. In addition to his paltry $2 million in salary, Blankfein received a $19 million bonus for his efforts. Not quite the $67.9 million bonus he got in 2007 before the market crash that his firm did so much to engineer, but times are still hard.
Goldman was the training ground for Robert Rubin and Henry Paulson, the two Treasury secretaries who did their best to grease the skids for Wall Street hustlers. It was Rubin under President Bill Clinton who pushed to get the law changed to allow investment banks like Goldman to become commercial banks, and it was Paulson under President George W. Bush who permitted Goldman to take advantage of that loophole and partake in the low interest Fed money available to the commercial banks. Throw in the AIG bailout that allowed the passage of billions of dollars to Goldman, and you get the picture.
What you may not know, and file this in the gallery of the terminally shameless, is the role of James A. Johnson, the longest serving director of Goldman Sachs and chairman of its compensation committee that awarded Blankfein his outrageous bonuses. Before being named a director at Goldman, Johnson served as the CEO of Fannie Mae when the once public-spirited federal housing agency joined forces with Countrywide CEO Angelo Mozilo and other mortgage scam artists in initiating the great housing bubble.
Back in 1996, Johnson had named Mozilo to be chair of Fannie Mae’s National Advisory Council, and together they cooked up a deal in which Fannie Mae came to rely on Countrywide’s proprietary CLUES software for short-circuiting the mortgage qualification process. Thus was born the housing mortgage debacle that to this day has haunted the economy.
Countrywide announced its “Strategic Agreement with Fannie Mae” in a press release that all but predicted the subsequent housing crisis: “The objective is to expand markets to accommodate more customers and streamline loan processing in order to reduce the upfront cost of homeownership. This entails increased acceptance of Countrywide’s proprietary CLUES underwriting technology, greater usage of short form appraisals, expansion of streamlined loan products, flow sales for expanded criteria loans, and guideline waivers.”
That history became inconvenient back in 2008, when Democratic candidate Barack Obama picked Johnson, a lifelong Democrat, to head the search for a vice presidential candidate. Turns out Johnson was one of the beneficiaries of the new streamlined loan processing system, being what was known inside Countrywide as a “friend of Angelo,” entitled to fast-track approval on loans. As a result, Obama had to drop him, but not so Goldman Sachs, where Johnson had landed as a director and remains today as the chairman of the firm’s compensation committee.
They do flock together, and so it makes perfect sense that Johnson would approve the enormous bonus for Blankfein. In the end, it doesn’t matter whether these folks are Democrats or Republicans, nor whether they are operating at the highest levels of government or banking—they take care of their own. It is the new model of crony capitalism that must have Adam Smith turning in his grave, for it has nothing to do with free-market performance.
The invisible hand of that primitive and pure free market so celebrated in the folklore of capitalism as the essence of efficiency and productivity has been replaced by the all-too-visible hand of the fixer, who can combine government power and corporate profits to game the system. Yes, visible. Just observe how easily folks such as Rubin, Paulson and Johnson move through the revolving door between corporate and government power undeterred by critical media notice. And now it is Geithner’s turn.
How did the makers of Zero Dark Thirty gain access to information even the 9/11 commission didn’t have? Robert Scheer investigates the latest in cinematic propaganda.

Terrorism as economic stimulus for US

Terrorism as economic stimulus for US

Watch the full Keiser Report E401 on Saturday!
In this episode of the Keiser Report, Max Keiser and Stacy Herbert discuss the global yellow cake baking, talcum powder shaking, perpetual war making, balloon boy chasing, fake it til you make it economy in which spoof trading and a shadow banking system collateralised by a combination of liar loans and temporary workers consuming genetically modified food-like products produces such heroes for our times as Robb U, the guy who was handed $6 million in loans based on having a YouTube music video with a million plus views. In the second half of the show, Max Keiser talks to former Scotland Yard fraud squad detective, Rowan Bosworth-Davies of about justice departments and regulators going after the 'little guy' because he is 'easier' to get than the too-big-to-fail.
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RT (Russia Today) is a global news network broadcasting from Moscow and Washington studios. RT is the first news channel to break the 500 million YouTube views benchmark.

All that pivots is gold

To quote the immortal line in Dashiell Hammett's The Maltese Falcon, as filmed by John Huston, "Let's talk about the black bird" - let's talk about a mysterious bird made out of gold. Oh yes, because this is a film noir worthy of Dashiell Hammett - involving the Pentagon, Beijing, shadow wars, pivoting and a lot of gold.

Let's start with Beijing's official position; "We don't have enough gold". That leads to China's current, frenetic buying spree - which particularly in Hong Kong anyone can follow live, in real time. China is already the top gold producing and the top gold importing nation in the world.

Gold accounts for roughly 70% of reserves held by the US and Germany - and more or less the same for France and Italy. Russia - also on a buying spree - is slightly over 10%. But China's percentage of gold among its whopping US$3.2 trillion reserves is only 2%.

Beijing is carefully following the current shenanigans of the New York Federal Reserve, which, asked by the German Bundesbank to return the German gold it is holding, replied it would take at least seven years.

German financial journalist Lars Schall has been following the story since the beginning, and virtually alone has made the crucial connection between gold, paper money, energy resources and the abyss facing the petrodollar.

Whenever Beijing says it needs more gold, this is justified as a hedge "against risks in foreign reserves" - aka US dollar fluctuation - but especially to "promote yuan globalization". As in, suavely, having the yuan compete with the US dollar and the euro "fairly" in the "international market".

And here's the (elusive) heart of the matter. What Beijing actually wants is to get rid of the US dollar peg. For that to happen, it needs vast gold reserves. So here's Beijing pivoting from the US dollar to the yuan - and trying to sway vast swathes of the global economy to follow the path. This golden rule is Beijing's Maltese Falcon: "The stuff dreams are made of".

Have drone, will travel
Qatar also does pivoting - but of the MENA (Middle East-Northern Africa) kind. Doha has been financing Wahhabis and Salafis - and even Salafi-jihadis - as in North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) rebels in Libya, Free Syrian Army gangs in Syria, and the pan-Islamic gang that took over northern Mali.

The State Department - and later the Pentagon - may have woken up to it, as in the arrangement brokered by Doha and Washington together to spawn a new, more palatable Syria "coalition". But still very potent are those dangerous liaisons between the francophile Emir of Qatar and the Quai d'Orsay in Paris - which gathered plenty of steam already during the reign of King Sarko, aka former French president Nicolas Sarkozy.

Every informed geopolitical observer has tracked leak after leak by former French intelligence operatives to the deliciously wicked satirical weekly Le Canard Enchaine, detailing Qatar's modus operandi. It's a no-brainer. Qatar's foreign policy reads as Muslim Brotherhood Here, There and Everywhere (but not inside the neo-feudal emirate); this is Qatar's Maltese Falcon. At the same time Doha - to the delight of French elites - is an avid practitioner of hardcore neoliberalism, and a top investor in France's economy.

So their interests may coalesce in promoting disaster capitalism - successfully - in Libya and then - still unsuccessfully - in Syria. Yet Mali is something else; classic blowback - and that's where the interests of Doha and Paris diverge (not to mention Doha and Washington; at least if one does not assume that Mali has been the perfect pretext for a renewed AFRICOM drive.)

Algerian media is awash in outrage, questioning Qatar's agenda (in French). Yet the pretext - as predicted - worked perfectly.

AFRICOM - surprise! - is on a roll, as the Pentagon gets ready to set up a drone base in Niger. That's the practical result of a visit by AFRICOM's commander, General Carter Ham, to Niger's capital Niamey only a few days ago.

Forget about those outdated PC-12 turbo props that have been spying on Mali and Western Africa for years. Now it's Predator time. Translation: chief-in-waiting John Brennan plans a Central Intelligence Agency shadow war all across the Sahara-Sahel. With permission from Mick Jagger/Keith Richards, it's time to start humming a remixed hit: "I see a grey drone/ and I want it painted black".

AFRICOM does Niger is indeed sweeter than cherry pie. Northwest Niger is the site of all those uranium mines supplying the French nuclear industry. And it's very close to Mali's gold reserves. Imagine all that gold in an "unstable" area falling into the hands of ... Chinese companies. Beijing's Maltese Falcon moment of finally having enough gold to dump the US dollar peg would be at hand.

The Pentagon even got permission for all its surveillance gear to refuel in - of all places - crucial Agadez. The French legion may have been doing the hard work on the ground in Mali, but it's AFRICOM which will ultimately reap the profits all across the Sahara-Sahel.

Don't you know about the (Asian) bird?

And that brings us to that famous pivoting to Asia - which was supposed to be the number one geopolitical theme of the Obama 2.0 administration. It may well be. But certainly alongside AFRICOM pivoting all over the Sahara/Sahel in drone mode, to Beijing's growing irritation; and Doha-Washington pivoting in their support of the former "terrorist" turned "freedom fighter", and vice-versa.

And we did not even mention the non-pivoting involved in this noir plot; the Obama 2.0 administration keeping its appalling embrace of the medieval House of Saud and "stability in the Arabian peninsula", as recommended by an usual suspect, a mediocre - yet influential - "veteran intelligence official".

Play it again, Sam. In that outstanding Maltese Falcon scene at the start of our plot between Humphrey Bogart (let's say he plays the Pentagon) and Sydney Greenstreet (let's say he plays Beijing), the official is the goon, the third guy in the picture. The pivoting to Asia is essentially a product of Andrew Marshall, an allegedly Yoda-like totem of US national security.

Marshall has been behind the Revolution in Military Affairs (RMA) - all of you Donald Rumsfeld freaks know about it - failed Shock and Awe (which only served to destroy Iraq almost beyond repair, even with disaster capitalism involved); and now the concept called Air Sea Battle.

Air Sea Battle's premise is that Beijing will attack US forces in the Pacific, which is, frankly, ridiculous (even with help from a monster false-flag operation). The US would then retaliate via a "blinding campaign" - the naval equivalent of Shock and Awe. Both the US Air Force and the US Navy loved the concept because it implies a lot of hardware spending to be stationed in plenty of sophisticated Pacific bases, and in the high seas.

So even as David Petraeus-style counterinsurgency has pivoted to John Brennan's CIA shadow wars, the real deal is the pivoting to Asia; a pseudo-strategy, concocted to keep the Pentagon budget at exorbitant levels, promoting a new cold war with China. "They will never amass enough gold to impose their evil plans", one could hear Marshall say about China (without Bogart or Greenstreet's aplomb, of course). Hammett would be appalled; Marshall's Maltese Falcon is the stuff (war) dreams are made of.

Pepe Escobar is the author of Globalistan: How the Globalized World is Dissolving into Liquid War (Nimble Books, 2008). He may be reached at

(Copyright 2013 Asia Times Online (Holdings) Ltd. All rights reserved. Please contact us about sales, syndication and republishing.)

WHALEN: 'The Fed Is Creating ANOTHER Housing Bubble'

Deja Popped.
'Bernanke is just making it up as he goes along.  The Fed is acting more like the Marx Brothers than serious regulators.  The Fed and the Treasury are the biggest source of systemic risks in the market today, creating another bubble in housing and perhaps also in stocks."
Lauren Lyster with Chris Whalen on Tech Ticker last Friday.

Mexico probes if blast was attack or accident, 33 dead

Pics + Videos

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexico's government vowed on Friday to find out whether an explosion that killed 33 people at the headquarters of its state-run oil monopoly Pemex was a deliberate attack or yet another stain on the company's poor safety record.

Rescue workers continued to pull bodies from the debris on Friday and officials said the search would continue until everyone inside the Mexico City building was accounted for.

Government officials have refused to speculate over what caused the explosion on Thursday but said they were keeping an open mind and had deployed large teams of experts to pore through the wreckage.

INDECT: Big Brother's Full Spectrum Surveillance Project

image: INDECT homepage
Nicholas West
Activist Post

The race to perfect and implement true pre-crime technology continues to accelerate. Stalwarts of computer tech, such as IBM seen below, and Microsoft in their agreement with the New York police, are investing in a cooperative effort with big government to hit the last nail in the coffin of human liberty - our thoughts.

Anonymous has previously issued several warnings and action items to thwart the encroaching surveillance grid, and now brings to light INDECT 2013 in their recent semi-satirical video. Whether or not Anonymous is controlled opposition shouldn't preclude investigation of this very real program. The INDECT initiative was reported on by The Singularity Hub back in 2009 as:
a wide ranging five year plan to bring passive and active monitoring to almost every aspect of public life in the EU. Hardware and software platforms to monitor public spaces for ‘abnormal behavior’, special search engines for images and documents using ubiquitous hidden digital watermarks, and internet based intelligence gathering that will monitor public networking communities – if you’ve had a nightmare about government invasion of privacy, chances are that Project Indect is trying to make it come true. (Source)
After tens of millions of pounds in funding, it seems that we are on the cusp of what INDECT promised for the "security of European citizens."

The core of INDECT is real-time behavioral analysis and mapping which ultimately could produce an algorithm of likely future behavior. It is the amalgamation of all of the pieces that have so far been introduced: video surveillance footage, biometric information, web-based data, drones, GPS, police databases and more. The project aims to correct the flaws contained in these disparate systems and offer seamless data integration across platforms in order to instantly determine threats.
 Perhaps the creepiest aspect of this technology is the reverence given toward the machine mind vs. the human mind. The video highlights inherent limitations in wide-range human scanning and instant analysis abilities. Mankind, comprised of such weaknesses, is implied to be ill-equipped to handle the new world of the ever-present terrorist and criminal threats. Therefore, humanity must be willing to relinquish its place to the vastly superior machine matrix where real-world tracking and Web searches merge into persistent surveillance of all human activity.

And, naturally, this matrix of systems will be automated, echoing similar goals for drones and other forms of machine warfare. The result is an all-encompassing attempt to render daily life as part of a terrorist threatscape where all are suspect and thus subjected to being scrutinized by the "flawless" scanning devices and decision making of the computer mind.

The following video is IBM's concept for enabling police to use predictive analytics to reduce crime by up to 30%. It's worth noting the use of the phrase, "Let's build a smarter planet." For key information about the "Smart" planet to which IBM likes to refer, please see the series of articles by Julie Beal, outlining everything from economic control to gun control.
 Just in case the above information might prompt anxiety about full implementation of such technology - and despite the fact that much of the surveillance apparatus already exists - we apparently shouldn't worry, because the European Commission would like to put our minds at ease with the following statement:
Not a European surveillance system
Contrary to widespread allegations, there are no plans for a European wide Orwellian surveillance system. INDECT will simply enable existing video surveillance systems in small areas to better react in crisis situations (such as violence on train platforms, crowd panics, hooligans throwing objects). Such video surveillance systems are already installed in underground stations or in football stadiums. INDECT will not add any new cameras, but will enable existing systems to be more efficient as it will help automate police or security officers' analysis of the huge amount of images provided through video surveillance cameras.
There will never be a centralized European INDECT system. The EU is merely co-financing a research project implemented by universities and research centres in 12 EU Member States with a total budget of € 15 mio (EU contribution of € 10,9 mio). It will then be up to Members States and research partners to implement decentralised and focussed improved video surveillance systems - in restricted areas - to improve security at places where risk is higher that persons can be harmed.
The main characteristics in a nutshell

  • INDECT is a security research project co-financed by the EU's Framework Programme 7 for Research and Innovation (FP7) (INDECT = Intelligent information system supporting observation, searching and detection for security of citizens in urban environment)
  • INDECT is not installing any cameras in the EU or filming people at random. It is also not linked to any of existing databases and social networks. All that INDECT is working on is an improved way to analyse the existing images of video surveillance cameras.
  • INDECT is thus developing algorithms to identify images that allow the detection of dangerous or criminal behaviour. Examples could for instance be crowd panic during public events, or when people throw objects in football stadiums.
  • There is no secret information on INDECT that is not published. There is nothing "secret" about INDECT. All the information on this project can be found on the website of the project and on the websites of the Commission.
  • INDECT is only tested by volunteers: Like most research projects INDECT is tested by volunteers. It will not be tested in real life situations. No testing of the research carried out by INDECT will take place during sport/entertainment events. An explicit disclaimer has been uploaded on the website of INDECT in 2011 on this matter.
  • Technologies developed by INDECT are intended for police and other law enforcement authorities of the Member States.
  • Should Member States intend to use such new technologies within the scope of Union law, they are bound to comply with the existing national and EU laws.
Advantages of INDECT 
INDECT could have helped to avoid mass panic during the Loveparade in Duisburg, Germany 
One could easily imagine situations where such a technology could have been very useful, like the crowd rush at the Loveparade in Duisburg or the tragedy in the Heysel Stadium in Brussels in 1985. 
The INDECT project is trying to tackle an essential problem for police work – there is too much surveillance footage to monitor.Mass panics can be better dealt with, ambulances better directed, lives can be saved 
In times of crisis or attacks it is nearly impossible for the police to monitor all the information provided by today's surveillance technologies. The most explicit example for this was the London bombing in 2005 which lead to the deaths of 52 innocent people. 
Following these attacks, the metropolitan police had to withdraw hundreds of police from the streets and put them in front of screens to identify the attackers and their background.

Media do not report accurately on INDECT 
Several media outlets have reported misleading information on the nature and aims of the INDECT project. This is a sign of a healthy democratic society in which media are free and no one can impose boundaries on the free flow of information. For the sake of accuracy, we have listed below a selection of misleading articles accompanied by the correct facts.
  • INDECT was not tested during the UEFA football championship. This was incorrectly reported by Die ZeitDer Spiegel, AFP, Focus, Der Standard
  • Poland did not withdraw from the project. This was incorrectly reported by Dziennik Gazeta Prawna in the article “O tym, jak MSW wystraszylo sie Anonymusa” page: 1 by Robert Zielinski on Monday, April 16, 2012 ; and by  Polska The Times in the article “MSW i policja wycofuja sie ze wspólpracy nad INDECT” page: 3 by Anita Czupryn on Monday, April 16, 2012 
Not the EU, but researchers in 12 EU Member States work on INDECT 
The European Commission is not working on INDECT, but is financing research carried in 12 Member States.
This statement, which can be read in full here, includes some of the additional wonderful benefits of such technology. I have to wonder which is more Orwellian: the technology itself, or the doublespeak issued by the European Commission that denies direct involvement while admitting to funding the project.

What do you think? Please leave your comments below.  

Read other articles by Nicholas West Here

Bill Gross Warns Investors To Be Wary of the Fed's Cheap Money Fueling the Bull Market in Stocks

Bill Gross Warns Investors To Be Wary of the Fed's Cheap Money Fueling the Bull Market in Stocks

'US a police state, Obama consciously allows torture' – CIA veteran John Kiriakou

Ten years ago, the idea of the US government spying on its citizens, intercepting their emails or killing them with drones was unthinkable. But now it’s business as usual, says John Kiriakou, a former CIA agent and torture whistleblower.

Kiriakou is now awaiting a summons to start a prison sentence. One of the first to confirm the existence of Washington's waterboarding program, he was sentenced last week to two-and-a-half years in jail for revealing the name of an undercover agent. But even if he had another chance, he would have done the same thing again, Kiriakou told RT.

Shocking Numbers That Show The Media Is Lying To You About Unemployment In America

Shocking Numbers That Show The Media Is Lying To You About Unemployment In America - Photo by Larali21
Did you know that the percentage of the U.S. labor force that is employed has continually been falling since 2006 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics?  Did you know that the increase in the number of Americans "not in the labor force" during Barack Obama's first four years in the White House was more than three times greater than the increase in the number of Americans "not in the labor force" during the entire decade of the 1980s?  The mainstream media would have us believe that 157,000 jobs were added to the U.S. economy in January.  Based on that news, the Dow broke the 14,000 barrier for the first time since October 2007.  But if you actually look at the "non-seasonally adjusted" numbers, the number of Americans with a job actually decreased by 1,446,000 between December and January.  But nowhere in the mainstream media did you hear that the U.S. economy lost more than 1.4 million jobs between December and January.  It is amazing the things that you can find out when you actually take the time to look at the hard numbers instead of just listening to the media spin.  Back in 2007, more than 146 million Americans were employed.  Today, only 141.6 million Americans are employed even though our population has grown steadily since then.  When the government and the media tell you that we are in a "recovery" and that unemployment is lower than it was a couple of years ago, I encourage you to dig deeper.  The truth is that even the government's own numbers tell us that the percentage of the U.S. labor force that is employed continues to fall and that the U.S. economy is heading into a recession.  The Obama administration and the media have been lying to you about unemployment and about the true condition of our economy.  After you see the numbers that I have compiled in this article, I think that you will agree with me.
First of all, let's take a look at the percentage of the civilian labor force that has been employed over the past several years.  These numbers come directly from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.  As you can see, this is a number that has been steadily falling since 2006...
2006: 63.1
2007: 63.0
2008: 62.2
2009: 59.3
2010: 58.5
2011: 58.4
In January, only 57.9 percent of the civilian labor force was employed.
Do the numbers above represent a positive trend or a negative trend?
Even a 2nd grader could answer that question.
So how in the world can the Obama administration and the mainstream media claim that the employment picture is getting better and that we are in a "recovery"?
But most Americans believe what they are told.  It is almost as if we are in some kind of a "matrix" where reality is defined by the corporate-controlled propaganda that is relentlessly pumped into our brains.
The only way that the government has been able to show a declining unemployment rate is by dumping massive numbers of Americans into the "not in the labor force" category.
Just check out how the number of Americans "not in the labor force" has absolutely skyrocketed in recent years...
2006: 77,387,000
2007: 78,743,000
2008: 79,501,000
2009: 81,659,000
2010: 83,941,000
2011: 86,001,000
In January, there were supposedly 89,868,000 Americans that were at least 16 years of age that were not in the labor force.
That number has risen by more than 8 million since Barack Obama first entered the White House, and that is highly unusual, because the number of Americans "not in the labor force" only increased by 2,518,000 during the entire decade of the 1980s.
You sure can get the numbers to look more "favorable" if you pretend that millions upon millions of American workers simply "don't want a job" any longer.  The truth is that if the labor force participation rate was at the same level it was at when Barack Obama was first elected, the official unemployment rate would be well above 10 percent.
But that wouldn't do at all, would it?  7.9 percent sounds so much nicer.
And of course even if you do have a job that does not mean that you are doing okay.
If you can believe it, in America today 41 percent of all workers make $20,000 a year or less.
To me, that is a mind blowing statistic.  It would be incredibly challenging for anyone to live on $20,000 a year, much less try to support a family.
If you live in Washington D.C. or New York City and you have a "good job" working for the establishment, you may not realize it, but there are tens of millions of American families that are really hurting out there.  According to the U.S. Census Bureau, more than 146 million Americans are either "poor" or "low income" at this point, and most of those people actually do have jobs.
For much more on the "working poor" in the United States, please see my previous article entitled "35 Statistics About The Working Poor In America That Will Blow Your Mind".
If something is not done, the middle class will continue to disappear and poverty in America will continue to explode.
In a previous article, I noted that during Obama's first term, the number of Americans on food stamps increased by an average of about 11,000 per day.
How bad do things have to get before people realize that we are living through a nightmare?
Sadly, most Americans still have faith in the system.
Most Americans are still convinced that our politicians will somehow find a way to turn things around.
Most Americans will gather around their television sets this weekend and watch the Super Bowl and laugh at all the funny commercials without even thinking about how America is literally falling apart all around them.
But there is one group of Americans that is acutely aware of how bad things have really gotten.  Small businesses have traditionally been the primary engine of job growth in this country, but right now small business owners all over the nation are facing a tremendous crisis.
Millions of small businesses are on the verge of extinction, and yet our politicians just continue to pile on more taxes, more rules and more regulations.
A recent Gallup poll found that 61 percent of all small business owners in America are "worried about the potential cost of healthcare", and that an astounding 30 percent of all small business owners in America are not hiring and fear that they will go out of business within the next 12 months.
In a previous article entitled "We Are Witnessing The Death Of Small Business In America", I detailed how small businesses in America are being systematically wiped out.  Small businesses are dying all around us, and the number of new small businesses continues to decline.
According to economist Tim Kane, the following is how the decline in the number of startup jobs per one thousand Americans breaks down by presidential administration...
Bush Sr.: 11.3
Clinton: 11.2
Bush Jr.: 10.8
Obama: 7.8
Is that a good trend or a bad trend?
All of this is so simple that even the family pet should be able to figure it out, and yet most Americans seem oblivious to all of this.  They just keep gobbling up the mainstream media propaganda and they just continue to go out and wildly spend money.
It is almost as if we didn't learn any lessons from 2008.
Even while household spending in Europe has moderated, household spending in the United States continues to soar.  Just check out the chart in this article.
And guess what?  The infamous "no money down mortgages" are back.  If we wait long enough, perhaps "interest only mortgages" will make a comeback as well.
Unfortunately, I am afraid that time is running out.  we have been living in the biggest debt bubble in the history of the world, and it is only a matter of time until it bursts.
2008 was just a "hiccup" compared to what is coming.  Our politicians and the Federal Reserve were able to keep the house of cards from completely crashing down back then, but they are not going to be able to avert the economic horror show that is rapidly approaching.
I hope that you are getting prepared.  Back in 2008, millions of Americans suddenly lost their jobs, and because many of them did not have any savings, many of them suddenly lost their homes.  One of the most important things that you can do to prepare for the coming crisis is to build up an emergency fund.  If things suddenly go bad, you don't want to lose your house and everything that you have always worked for.
In addition, anything that you can do to become more self-sufficient and more independent of the system is a good thing, because the system is failing.  The years ahead are going to be much more chaotic than what we are experiencing right now, and when the next crisis strikes you will be very thankful for the time and the energy that you put into preparing.
So what are all of you seeing in your own areas?
Are businesses shutting down?
Are people having a hard time finding good jobs?
Please feel free to post a comment with your thoughts below...
Kitty Scared By Unemployment - Photo by shira gal