Via: Rolling Stone
by: Matt Taibbi
The federal rescue of Wall Street didn’t fix the economy – it created a permanent bailout state based on a Ponzi-like confidence scheme. And the worst may be yet to come
Illustration by Victor Juhasz
It has been four long winters since the federal government, in the hulking, shaven-skulled, Alien Nation-esque form of then-Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson, committed $700 billion in taxpayer money to rescue Wall Street from its own chicanery and greed. To listen to the bankers and their allies in Washington tell it, you’d think the bailout was the best thing to hit the American economy since the invention of the assembly line. Not only did it prevent another Great Depression, we’ve been told, but the money has all been paid back, and the government even made a profit. No harm, no foul – right?
It was all a lie – one of the biggest and most elaborate falsehoods ever sold to the American people. We were told that the taxpayer was stepping in – only temporarily, mind you – to prop up the economy and save the world from financial catastrophe. What we actually ended up doing was the exact opposite: committing American taxpayers to permanent, blind support of an ungovernable, unregulatable, hyperconcentrated new financial system that exacerbates the greed and inequality that caused the crash, and forces Wall Street banks like Goldman Sachs and Citigroup to increase risk rather than reduce it. The result is one of those deals where one wrong decision early on blossoms into a lush nightmare of unintended consequences. We thought we were just letting a friend crash at the house for a few days; we ended up with a family of hillbillies who moved in forever, sleeping nine to a bed and building a meth lab on the front lawn.
It amazes me that the best investigative journalism now comes from Rolling Stone Magazine!
Read more: here
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Read more: here
Via: The New York Times
By ERIN HATTON
Politicians across the political spectrum herald “job creation,” but frightfully few of them talk about what kinds of jobs are being created. Yet this clearly matters: According to the Census Bureau, one-third of adults who live in poverty are working but do not earn enough to support themselves and their families.
A quarter of jobs in America pay below the federal poverty line for a family of four ($23,050). Not only are many jobs low-wage, they are also temporary and insecure. Over the last three years, the temp industry added more jobs in the United States than any other, according to the American Staffing Association, the trade group representing temp recruitment agencies, outsourcing specialists and the like.
Low-wage, temporary jobs have become so widespread that they threaten to become the norm. But for some reason this isn’t causing a scandal. At least in the business press, we are more likely to hear plaudits for “lean and mean” companies than angst about the changing nature of work for ordinary Americans.
Read more: here
Via: Daily Kos
A few years ago I was diagnosed with an advanced case of gum disease. I was showing pocket depths of 9s and 10s. Many of my teeth were actually loose. And it had become painful to eat certain foods.
My periodontist told me that in order to stop it from getting worse, I had to have as many as seven teeth pulled. Seven teeth! And, even with my insurance, it was going to cost many thousands of dollars.
The implications of this were devastating to me. Life-changing in some respects. As anyone with false teeth will tell you, it’s not a happy situation. From limiting what foods you eat, to actually altering your social behavior – including the way you smile – losing your teeth is no small affair.
Read more: here
Via: PJ Media
American conservatives have found themselves a new and unlikely bogeyman in the shape of (my fellow) Brit Piers Morgan, whose profile in the U.S. has risen in recent weeks as a result of his theatrical contributions to the debate over guns.
Morgan’s rudeness to pro-gun guests, dismissive attitude to the U.S. Constitution and the Bible, and generally anti-conservative tone have led his detractors to call him a liberal. The fact that he’s British has added an element of B-movie villainy, as if Morgan were a haughty redcoat general intent on personally confiscating Americans’ guns.
But while he may walk the liberal walk and talk the liberal talk, Morgan is no liberal; he has no discernible political philosophy. He’s an unprincipled, relentlessly self-promoting opportunist, a disgraced tabloid hack who doesn’t care whom he offends or how foolish he looks as long as he’s the center of attention. Morgan’s stance on a given subject is determined not by ideology, but by what will generate the most controversy, get him the most coverage, and strengthen his hand when negotiating his next book or TV deal. His efforts been given added urgency of late by the need to boost the paltry ratings of his CNN show.
Read more: here
Via: The Sun
By DANIEL JONES, Consumer Editor
Published: 20 hrs ago
SONY is set to unveil its new PlayStation on February 20 — with film-quality graphics and ten times the processing power of the PS3.
Leaks suggest the console, tipped to be named either PlayStation 4 or Orbis and cost around £300, will feature EIGHT computer chips in its electronic “brain”.
That will make it more powerful than a top-end PC and dwarf the capacity of its 70 million-selling PlayStation 3 predecessor.
Read more: here
WASHINGTON (CBSDC) – The results of a new study indicate that suicide rates among veterans in the United States are increasing.
An estimated 22 military veterans take their lives every day in America, according to the study helmed by Robert Bossarte, an epidemiologist and researcher who works with the Department of Veterans Affairs.
“While the percentage of all suicides reported as Veterans has decreased, the number of suicides has increased,” the conclusion of the study stated.
What are we doing to our people?
Read more: http://washington.cbslocal.com/2013/02/01/study-22-military-veterans-commit-suicide-every-day/
BOSTON (Reuters) – As many as 60 students have been forced to withdraw from Harvard University after cheating on a final exam last year in what has become the largest academic scandal to hit the Ivy League school in recent memory.
Michael Smith, Harvard’s Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, sent an email on Friday saying that more than half of the students who faced the school’s Administrative Board have been suspended for a time.
Roughly 125 undergraduates were involved in the scandal, which came to light at the end of the spring semester after a professor noticed similarities on a take-home exam that showed students worked together, even though they were instructed to work alone.
The school’s student newspaper, The Harvard Crimson, has reported that the government class, Introduction to Congress, had 279 students enrolled.
Read more: http://www.reuters.com/assets/print?aid=USBRE9101AF20130201
A Lexus drives down the eight-lane highway outside Palo Alto, California, in heavy rush-hour traffic. Except for the rotating cylinder perched on its roof like an oversized tin can and the word “Google” on its doors, it looks like any other car. In reality, though, it’s a search engine on wheels.
The Lexus steers itself down the highway all by itself. The man in the driver’s seat — Dmitri Dolgov, a software engineer for Google — never actually touches the wheel.
Dolgov explains what the car can do, which turns out to be quite a lot. It can steer, accelerate and brake automatically; it surveys its surroundings with cameras and uses radar to measure the distance to the car in front of it; and its laser scanner — the cylinder affixed to the roof — monitors objects in all directions.
“See?” Dolgov asks, pointing as a car swerves in front of the Google vehicle from the right. There’s no need for Dolgov to intervene. The robotic car has identified what is happening and gently brakes until there is once again a proper distance between the cars.
Read more: http://www.spiegel.de/international/business/driverless-cars-are-a-reality-but-face-acceptance-obstacles-a-880716.html
Via: Truth is Treason
Kevin Hayden – TruthisTreason.net
Naperville, IL, resident Malia “Kim” Bendis and her neighbor were arrested on eavesdropping and resisting an officer charges after video recording two police officers and utility workers installing a “smart meter” – which have been linked to health issues – on her neighbor’s house. The home owner, identified only as Laura, is clearly seen on video refusing consent for the utility workers and police to be on her property, along with expressing concerns for her child’s health and safety, but is threatened with arrest if she interferes.
What happened to 4th Amendment requirements? What happened to private property laws?
Why are the police masquerading as enforcing City Hall requirements when in reality, they are protecting a private company?
Read more: http://www.truthistreason.net/utility-workers-and-police-trespass-to-install-smart-meter-threaten-arrest-video
By Michael, on February 1st, 2013
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.
Read more: http://theeconomiccollapseblog.com/archives/shocking-numbers-that-show-the-media-is-lying-to-you-about-unemployment-in-america
Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai 23 hours ago
If you’re one of those people who feel the urge to document each and every breathing moment of your life, but think it’s annoying to have to get out your smartphone to snap pictures and upload them every time, you’re in luck.
Thanks to startup Always Innovating, you’ll soon be able to have a mini-drone hover over your shoulder and do that job for you.
It’s called MeCam and it’s essentially a small quadrocopter flying robot that will be able to continuously follow you, snap pictures or videos with its built-in digital camera, stream them to an Android or iOS phone or tablet, and upload them to social networks like Facebook or YouTube.
Read more: http://mashable.com/2013/01/31/surveillance-mini-drone/
Via: Natural News
(NaturalNews) The approval process in many countries for genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and their chemical-based treatment technologies is largely a secretive affair, as the public is typically not made privy to the data used in the decision making process, nor the rationale behind officials’ ultimate decision to green-light a particular crop or chemical. But this appears to be changing in Europe, where the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) recently made public all available data originally submitted by Monsanto in 2003 for the approval of a popular GM corn variety known as NK603.
According to the Nature news blog, EFSA intends to eventually iron out a full-scale plan to make all data on GMOs and chemicals publicly available. But at this point in time, the regulatory body is starting the process by responding to requests from members of the independent scientific community and the public about the details behind NK603’s approval. With the exception of “a small amount of commercially confidential information,” EFSA has reportedly publicly released all the data submitted by Monsanto for NK603.
Read me: http://www.naturalnews.com/038798_Monsanto_GM_corn_documents.html
U.S. drivers are now paying more to fill up their gas tanks than they ever have at this time of year.
The national average price of retail gasoline posted its biggest one-day increase in 23 months on Friday, rising four cents to $3.46 a gallon, according to AAA. The average price has risen 13 cents — a 4 percent increase — in the past week.
Gasoline prices have followed in part the climb in the stock and oil prices. Oil and equities have risen sharply over the last few weeks, as the Dow Jones Industrial Average reached 14,000 for the first time since 2007, Brent crude oil futures hit at 4-month high near $117 a barrel, while the U.S. oil price is near $98 a barrel.
Read more: http://finance.yahoo.com/news/gasoline-highest-price-ever-time-213515871.html
Via: LA Times
A Southern California surgery center charged teacher Lynne Nielsen $87,500 for a routine, 20-minute knee operation that normally costs about $3,000.
Despite the huge markup, the Long Beach Unified School District and its insurer, Blue Shield of California, paid virtually all of the bill from Advanced Surgical Partners in Costa Mesa. Blue Shield mailed the $84,800 check to the high school Spanish teacher last month and told her to sign it over to the surgery center.
Nielsen said she was outraged and refused to send the check. Instead, she asked the California attorney general’s office to investigate the matter. “This is insane,” she said.
Read more: http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-high-price-knee-20130131,0,6980121.story
Via: Columbia Journalism Review
By David Cay Johnston
Soon, we will get the president’s proposed fiscal 2014 spending plan. Much attention will focus on Social Security and Medicare, which have been flashpoints lately. Meanwhile, if coverage in years past is any guide, we can expect stories from many news outlets that will significantly understate a third huge slice of spending—the real costs of military and other national defense spending.
Chuck Hagel, on the griddle now as President Obama’s nominee for Secretary of Defense, famously called the Defense Department “bloated,” in a 2011 interview with Financial Times. But budget stories then and now tend to report on the base budget from the Department of Defense, leaving readers with the impression that that is the full cost of fulfilling the Constitutional mandate to “provide for the common defence.”
It isn’t. From the perspective of taxpayers who must bear the burden, total national security costs are as much as 2.5 times the base Defense budget. Reporters might want to take a look at the true costs, and not just at the way the White House prepares the budget and Pentagon spins it.
Read more: http://www.cjr.org/united_states_project/the_true_cost_of_national_secu.php?page=all
January 30, 2013 |
The national security state has an annual budget of around $1 trillion. Of that huge pile of money, large amounts go to private companies the federal government awards contracts to. Some, like Lockheed Martin or Boeing, are household names, but many of the contractors fly just under the public’s radar. What follows are three companies you should know about (because some of them can learn a lot about you with their spy technologies).
Read more: http://www.alternet.org/meet-contractors-turning-americas-police-paramilitary-force?paging=off
By Paul Craig Roberts
February 02, 2013 “Information Clearing House” – In the 21st century Americans have experienced an extraordinary collapse in the rule of law and in their constitutional protections. Today American citizens, once a free people protected by law, can be assassinated and detained in prison indefinitely without any evidence being presented to a court of their guilt, and they can be sentenced to prison on the basis of secret testimony by anonymous witnesses not subject to cross examination.
The US “justice system” has been transformed by the Bush/Obama regime into the ”justice system” of Gestapo Germany and Stalinist Russia. There is no difference.
Read more: http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article33807.htm
Last year, it was reported that the Department of Homeland Security had purchased 1.6 billion rounds of hollow point ammunition of various calibers for reasons that the agency refuses to reveal. On Wednesday, the DHS announced that it would acquire another 200,000 rounds from a company known as Evian Group, Inc.
The DHS put out a solicitation for the purchase on the FedBizOps.gov Web site on Dec. 17 for the agency’s Federal Law Enforcement Training Center, requesting .40 caliber hollow point rounds, Federal Ammunition of 1,000 rounds in 200 cases.
Not only is the reason for the agency’s stockpiling of nearly 2 billion rounds of ammo shrouded in mystery, but so too is the Evian Group. James Smith of Prepper Podcast did an investigation into the company and found some odd facts which he reported in an article on Thursday.
Read more: http://www.examiner.com/article/dhs-adds-200-000-rounds-to-its-2-billion-round-stockpile