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The Collapsing US Economy and the end of the world
By Paul Craig Roberts - PaulCraigRoberts.org
In a recent column, "Can The World Survive Washington's Hubris," I promised to examine whether the US economy will collapse before Washington in its pursuit of world hegemony brings us into military confrontation with Russia and China. This is likely to be an ongoing subject on this site, so this column will not be the final word.
Washington has been at war since October, 2001, when President George W. Bush concocted an excuse to order the US invasion of Afghanistan. This war took a back seat when Bush concocted another excuse to order the invasion of Iraq in 2003, a war that went on without significant success for 8 years and has left Iraq in chaos with dozens more killed and wounded every day, a new strong man in place of the illegally executed former strongman, and the likelihood of the ongoing violence becoming civil war.
U.S. economy hits another big bump
Latest batch of data unlikely to show improvement in growth
By Jeffry Bartash, MarketWatch
WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) — In the wake of last week's disappointing U.S. jobs report, investors will be searching for clues that the economy is not as weak as it appears.
And that's about all this week's slate of economic data is likely to yield: small clues. On tap are second-tier reports on consumer confidence, wholesale inflation, consumer credit and U.S. imports and exports.
The Black Hole of Deflation - Part 3
BY JULIAN PHILLIPS - FinancialSense.com
In a Democratic world as well as in undemocratic nations the political and social consequences of deflation are considerably worse than those of inflation.
But the concept of inflation is poorly understood. In today's world it is thought of as simply rising prices due to shortages. In economics there are several forms of inflation that appear in different circumstances.
Overall governments favor low inflation because it gives the appearance of rising wealth as prices rise, provided that these levels are restrained around, say 3%. Above that and savings are visibly damaged and consequently the economic power of a nation.
US set for earnings roadblock as growth falters
By Ed Crooks and Arash Massoudi in New York
and Hal Weitzman in Chicago - FT.com
US manufacturers are set to report their slowest growth in earnings since 2009, hit by the European crisis and a slowdown in emerging economies. Analysts are forecasting that industrial companies will fall well short of last year's growth rates reported in the first quarter of 2012 despite being the fastest-growing sector in the US for second-quarter earnings, according to S&P Capital IQ.
Manufacturing has been one of the brighter areas of the US economy, but last week the US Institute for Supply Management survey showed its weakest reading for the industry since July 2009.
Weak Report Lifts Chance of Fed Action
[Google title for free article pass]
By JON HILSENRATH - WSJ.com - $$
Friday's disappointing jobs report increases the likelihood that the Federal Reserve will launch a new bond-buying program to boost economic growth, though it doesn't ensure such a move.
Fed officials emerged from their policy meeting in late June frustrated by the slow pace of the recovery and worried that the economic outlook was deteriorating. Economic data released since then have done little to allay those concerns, according to public comments by some officials and interviews with them before Friday's employment report.
ISM Indicates 'Economy Is Going Nowhere'
By Conor Dougherty - WSJ.com
Economists and others weigh in on the unexpected contraction in the U.S. manufacturing sector.
–If you haven't heard the news: stay on vacation, no reason to hurry back. This economy is going nowhere according to the purchasing managers at manufacturing firms. The latest reading from the Institute of Supply Management is saying the economy's engines have gone into reverse at the start of the summer. –Christopher Rupkey, Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi.
Steve Forbes: How to Bring Back America
BY RON HERA - FinancialSense.com
If there's any better system to ensure a stable value for money, it's yet to be found. For nearly all of America's first 200 years, the dollar was linked to gold. Since we went off the gold standard, we've had more and more financial, economic and banking crises.
Markets, Economies, Central Banks - All Out of Power
BY SY HARDING - FinancialSense.com
Having topped out into corrections in March and April, most global markets rallied back some in June, fueled by hopes that June's unusual schedule of promising events would provide rescues for the eurozone and the U.S. economy. As those events arrived, if one or two failed to produce results, the rally only paused momentarily as there were still remaining events that might produce results.
But now we're out of promising events for a while.
The EU fly in the ointment
Controversy over licenses could affect earnings
By John C. Dvorak
BERKELEY, Calif. (MarketWatch) — In the tech world, the European Union represents a problem for vendors of American entertainment and software products.
Over the past week, two important events took place that potentially will affect major U.S. corporations. The first was a lawsuit brought by Oracle Corp. against a small German company called UsedSoft. Apparently UsedSoft was reselling expensive Oracle licenses no longer wanted by the previous owner of the license.
Does Europe Need a New Marshall Plan?
BY ANTONY P MUELLER - FinancialSense.com
Whenever there is an international problem self-proclaimed experts show up and invoke the myth of the Marshall Plan. This has also recently been the case with the European crisis. Like many before him, such as Krugman, it was recently billionaire investor George Soroswho showed his lack of historical knowledge by pronouncing that Europe needs a new Marshall Plan and that it was foremost American generosity that brought the old continent back on the road to prosperity. He pointed out that the West Germany economic miracle was the result of the Marshall Plan and that now it was Germany's turn to do the same for Southern Europe. Facts, however, tell a different story than those who want us to believe that what makes economies grow is that governments spend ever more money to "stimulate" economies in depression.
Alternative Currencies Rise as the Eurozone Crisis Worsens
The advantages of non-political innovations
Matthew Feeney | Reason.com
For weeks commentators have been discussing the possibility of Greece leaving the eurozone and how a return to the drachma might be facilitated. But when it comes to currency, the drachma is not Greece's only option. If Greece does exit the eurozone an alternative currency could emerge or an already existing one could be adopted. In some parts of Greece social entrepreneurship, technology, and skepticism of politicians have already given rise to alternate trading mechanisms and created an environment where cyrptocurrencies could become increasingly popular.
German president tells Angela Merkel
to come clean on EU debt deal
Joachim Gauck, the German president, has ordered Chancellor Angela Merkel to clarify exactly what she agreed behind closed doors at the EU crisis summit ten days ago.
By Ambrose Evans-Pritchard - Telegraph.co.uk
German president Joachim Gauck has ordered Chancellor Angela Merkel to clarify exactly what she agreed behind closed doors at the EU crisis summit ten days ago, lending a powerful voice to critics dismayed by the surging costs of euro bail-outs.
"She has a duty to explain in great detail what it means, and what it means fiscally. There seems to be a lack of energy in telling the people what is really happening," he told ZDF television.
Angry Brokers Leave Firms — and Take $59B with Them
By ASHLEY LAU, Reuters - TheFiscalTimes.com
More than $59 billion in assets switched hands within the U.S. brokerage industry this year, as veteran financial advisers managing large pools of client assets left their firms in the wake of growing frustrations about their parent banks.
Bank of America's Merrill Lynch <BAC.N> and Morgan Stanley Smith Barney <MS.N> saw some of the biggest defections, with more than half of those total assets managed by advisers who left those two firms. Wells Fargo and UBS, the other top U.S. brokerages, had more success in retaining top talent, based on moves tracked by Reuters.
Libor rate-fixing scandal spotlight now on Citi, JPMorgan
By Agence France-Presse - RawStory.com
NEW YORK — The harsh light of the Libor rate-fixing scandal has crossed the Atlantic, with both Citigroup and JPMorgan Chase saying regulators and investigators have requested information from them in a so-far preliminary probe of the case.
Share prices for both — as well as Bank of America, which has not said if it was asked for information — have fallen sharply this week amid worries they could be in line for the type of heavy fines laid on Britain's Barclays Bank, at the center of the scandal.
What Did He Know and When Did He Know It?
BY BOB EISENBEIS - FinancialSense.com
This paraphrase of the famous question posed by Senator Howard Baker during the Watergate scandal is one that can and should be directed to a number of people as the Barclays LIBOR scandal unwinds. Former Barclays president Bob Diamond's testimony following his resignation is tantalizing, both because of the information that has come out and the myriad of unanswered questions that remain.
The facts are still sketchy in a number of dimensions, but some are clear. The people responsible within Barclays for providing the daily LIBOR fixing to Thomson Reuters, on behalf of the British Bankers Association (BBA), knowingly submitted inaccurate information at times. In part, the false submissions were in response to pleading from derivatives traders seeking to protect positions that could be affected by the spreads posted across dollar, yen, and euro LIBOR rates of differing maturities.
'Liborgate' could trigger crucial banking reform
A Glass-Steagall split needs to happen and someone needs to get it done. There really is no alternative.
By Liam Halligan - Telegraph.co.uk
Finally, the British political classes are starting to get it. Finally, a head of steam is building. Over the past week, calls to impose a proper division between investment and commercial banking have become louder, more authoritative and part of mainstream debate. Pressure for the introduction – or reintroduction – of this crucial split could soon become irresistible, however much the politicians wiggle and the investment bankers deceive.
Until now, it's been mainly nerds like me who have advocated a full Glass-Steagall separation. Given the vested interests that would lose from this change, we've been lampooned for our "hot-headed" views.
The Libor warnings the Bank was told to heed
With Bob Diamond gone and a Parliamentary inquiry set to begin, the inside story of a scandal threatening to engulf the City is revealed.
By Harry Wilson - Telegraph.co.uk
If you had asked the average City analyst what the biggest problem in the banking industry was on the afternoon of Thursday November 17, 2007, most would have given one answer: "subprime".
Earlier in the day, Barclays had shocked the London market by announcing a £1bn-plus write-off of securities linked to cheap home loans to poor Americans who would seemingly never be able to repay them.
Bob Diamond would have known about Libor rigging,
Former senior Barclays employee says bank executives would have been told about interest rate fixing concerns in 2008
By David Batty - Guardian.co.uk
A former senior Barclays employee has claimed that the bank's ex-chief executive Bob Diamond would have known that his traders were involved in the interest rate rigging scandal.
The whistleblower's accusation comes after the bank announced on Friday that it had begun a formal investigation into attempts to fix Libor, meaning that criminal charges could be brought against implicated traders.
European commissioner to take action over Libor scandal: FT
(Reuters) - Michel Barnier, the European commissioner in charge of financial regulation, is expected to bring forward changes to his market abuse directive and regulation within in the next weeks, the Financial Times said on Monday.
In response to the Libor rigging scandal, Barnier will amend reforms to European Union market abuse rules so that potential "loopholes" are closed and criminal sanctions specifically cover tampering with indices such as Libor and Euribor, the newspaper said.
He is cited as calling the falsification of such benchmark rates a "betrayal" with potentially "systemic consequences".
Jenkins: Lies, Damn Lies and Libor
Call it one more improvisation
in 'too big to fail' crisis management.
By Holman W. Jenkins, Jr. - WSJ.com
Ignore the man behind the curtain, said the Wizard of Oz. That advice doesn't pay in the latest scandal of the century, over manipulation of Libor, or the London Interbank Offered Rate. The mess is one more proof of the failing wizardry of the First World's monetary-cum-banking arrangements.
One thing is clear –
the Bank knew Libor was broken and did nothing
Paul Tucker, the Bank of England's deputy governor, says he is keen to give evidence to the Treasury Select Committee "as soon as possible" to clarify what he sees as the misconceptions surrounding the Libor fixing scandal.
By Damian Reece - Telegraph.co.uk
Let's hope he gets his wish, because clarity is one thing we didn't get on Wednesday from Bob Diamond's appearance.
Diamond didn't satisfy the MPs and the MPs certainly didn't satisfy any watching voters with a session that rarely rose above the mundane. It was not a good advert for the committee which, with one or two exceptions, needs to be better briefed and cleverer in its questioning.
The Big Questions Raised by the Barclays Scandal
By SUZANNE MCGEE, The Fiscal Times
While cities and communities across the United States prepared for fireworks displays to celebrate the Fourth of July, in London the only fireworks on view took place during the hearing held by a British parliamentary committee into the apparent manipulation of London's famed benchmark interbank lending rate, LIBOR. And in the hot seat was Bob Diamond, who joined Barclays investment bank exactly 16 years earlier, on the Fourth of July – and who had resigned just the day before as its CEO, citing "external pressure."
Dismal hiring shows economy stuck in low gear
By Jason Lange
(Reuters) - U.S. employers hired at a dismal pace in June, raising pressure on the Federal Reserve to do more to boost the economy and dealing another setback to President Barack Obama's reelection bid.
The Labor Department said on Friday that non-farm payrolls grew by just 80,000 jobs in June, the third straight month below 100,000.
Job creation was too weak to bring down the country's 8.2 percent jobless rate and the report fueled concerns that Europe's debt crisis was shifting the U.S. economy into low gear.
The Supreme Court's Dismal ObamaCare Decision
How conservative legal philosophy
helped create the health care ruling
By Sheldon Richman | Reason.com
Amid all of Chief Justice John Roberts's scholastic hairsplitting over whether ObamaCare imposes a tax or a penalty for failing to buy medical insurance, one passage should matter most to advocates of liberty:
Those subject to the individual mandate may lawfully forgo health insurance and pay higher taxes, or buy health insurance and pay lower taxes. The only thing they may not lawfully do is not buy health insurance and not pay the resulting tax.
We thus are "free" either to become customers of a government-licensed insurance company or to pay a special tax. But we are not free to opt out of this artificially constructed "choice" entirely.
The Dark Side of Roberts' Ruling
By Bill Blum - Truthdig.com
The individual mandate is constitutional and the media spin is in. In switching his vote at the eleventh hour and upholding the central pillar of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act—albeit as a tax—Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts not only came to the rescue of the president's primary domestic achievement, but also to the rescue of the court itself. With the stroke of his judicial pen, Roberts moved the institution away from the partisan divide that has crippled the country's civic life and politics and restored the court's reputation as an independent bulwark committed only to the rule of law. So let the canonizations of the chief begin; at least the branch of government under his wise guidance is above the fray.
Small Businesses: Big Losers in Obamacare Decision
By LIZ PEEK, The Fiscal Times
Lost in the hubbub surrounding the Supreme Court's decision on Obamacare is thatsmall businesses are among the big losers. For President Obama, triumphing over Republicans is pure nectar; stomping on the nation's job creators is surely dangerous.
Mitt Romney got into hot water for suggesting that corporations are, after all, people. No one can dispute that small businesses are just that, people – people who fear the complications and costs of the healthcare bill and who sued, through their advocacy group the National Federation of Independent Businesses, to prevent its implementation. This in spite of their long-standing alarm over the rising cost of providing healthcare for their employees.
IRS gearing up for new responsibilities in health care
By Stephen Ohlemacher, Associated Press - MSNBC.MSN.com
WASHINGTON -- The Supreme Court's decision to uphold most of President Barack Obama's health care law will come home to roost for most taxpayers in about 2½ years, when they'll have to start providing proof on their tax returns that they have health insurance.
That scenario puts the Internal Revenue Service at the center of the debate, renewing questions about whether the agency is capable of policing the health care decisions of millions of people in the United States while also collecting the taxes needed to run the federal government.
LePage calls IRS the 'new Gestapo'
The governor uses his radio address
to attack President Obama's Affordable Care Act.
By Steve Mistler - OnlineSentinel.com
Gov. Paul LePage used his weekly radio address to blast President Obama's health care law and described the Internal Revenue Service as the "new Gestapo."
The IRS description was a reference to a provision in the Affordable Care Act that requires Americans not insured by their employers or Medicaid to buy health insurance or pay an annual penalty when filing their tax returns. The provision, known more broadly as the individual mandate, was the subject of a multi-state lawsuit, but was recently upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court.
LePage said the court decision has "made America less free."
The most important tax increase in 'Obamacare'
Posted by Ezra Klein - WashingtonPost.com
Is the Affordable Care Act really "the largest tax increase in the history of the world," as Rush Limbaugh so grandiloquently put it? No. It's not even the largest tax increase in the history of this country.
Or of the past 50 years. Or 20. It's not even the biggest tax increase scheduled to take effect in the very near future. (That's the expiration of the George W. Bush tax cuts slated for New Year's Day.)
LePage Rails Against 'Obamacare,' Calls IRS 'New Gestapo'
By IGOR BOBIC - TalkingPointsMemo.com
Maine Gov. Paul LePage (R) assailed the Affordable Care Act in his weekly radio address today and declared the Internal Revenue Service, which will require Americans to purchase health insurance or pay an annual fee under the individual mandate, as the "new Gestapo."
"This decision has made America less free," Le Page said. "We the people have been told there is no choice. You must buy health insurance or pay the new Gestapo - the I.R.S.."
High rents, tight credit put many at the mercy of the market
By Michelle Conlin and Ilaina Jonas, Reuters - MSNBC.MSN.com
One night last spring, David Hall returned home to his studio apartment outside Boston to learn that his monthly rent had spiked from $725 to $995.
It would be much cheaper for the maintenance manager to buy a nearby starter house than to stay put. But his mortgage broker told him that while his credit score was good, it was not high enough to meet banks' tough standards, he said.
"I know if I walk into a bank, they are just going to laugh at me," Hall says. "So I'm stuck."
He is not alone.
Global Food Prices Set to Soar: 2007-8 Food Crisis Revisited?
Global Oil Production Could Be Impacted by Instability
BY JOSEPH DANCY - FinancialsSense.com
The ongoing "Arab Spring" in the energy-rich Middle East has been fueled by rising food prices and economic stagnation – two factors that continue to play a major part in political developments in that part of the world. High and rising food prices led to the 2007-8 food crisis sparking riots, export restrictions, and instability – not something which would benefit the global economy or the global energy markets.
There Will Never Be Enough Jobs In America Again
By Michael Snyder - TheEconomicCollapseBlog.com
Well, we just had another bad jobs report. The U.S. economy created just 80,000 new jobs during the month of June. Normally, about 125,000 new jobs need to be created every month just to keep up with population growth. So it is a bit odd that the official unemployment rate did not rise above 8.2%. What is even more alarming is that the Social Security Administration is telling us that 85,000 U.S. workers "left the workforce" and enrolled in the Social Security Disability Insurance program during the month of June. That means that the number of Americans enrolling in Social Security Disability actually exceeded the number of new jobs that was created. That is definitely not a sign of recovery. Unfortunately, this is about as good as things are going to get. Right now corporate profits are at an all-time high and usually after a recession has ended the percentage of working age Americans that have jobs bounces back very strongly. But that has not happened this time, and when the next economic crisis hits things are going to get a lot worse.
Broader Jobless Rate Ticks Up to 14.9%
By Phil Izzo - WSJ.com
The U.S. unemployment rate was unchanged at 8.2% in June but a broader measure rose to 14.9% as the ranks of the underemployed grew.
The jobless rate was unchanged even at the number of people who consider themselves employed jumped by 128,000.. The unemployment rate is calculated based on people who are without jobs, who are available to work and who have actively sought work in the prior four weeks, and that number rose just 29,000. The "actively looking for work" definition is fairly broad, including people who contacted an employer, employment agency, job center or friends; sent out resumes or filled out applications; or answered or placed ads, among other things. The rate is calculated by dividing that number by the total number of people in the labor force. When the unemployed return to the labor force, both numbers increase and the unemployment rate climbs.
Friday's Jobs Report Becomes Sunday's Political Fodder
Republicans on Sunday morning news programs attacked President Barack Obama's handling of the U.S. economy, saying recent reports suggest it's weakening. Democratic defenders urged patience.
"There are almost a half a million more people unemployed today than four years ago," Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus said in a television interview on "Fox News Sunday," two days after the Labor Department reported the worst quarter for corporate hiring in more than two years. "Fire Obama and hire Romney. That's the best stimulus program for the country."
U.S. posts weak 80,000 jobs gain in June
Unemployment rate unchanged at 8.2%
By Jeffry Bartash, MarketWatch
WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) — The U.S. created just 80,000 jobs in June — about one-third of them temporary — as evidence hardened that the economy has hit another rough patch.
The unemployment rate was unchanged at 8.2%, the Labor Department said Friday.
In U.S. markets, stock prices SPX -0.94% fell. Economists surveyed by MarketWatch were expecting a net increase of 100,000 jobs in June. See Market Snapshot.
The disappointing employment report adds to fresh worries about the U.S. economy at a time when growth is slowing around the world and Washington is gridlocked about how to address the malaise.
This Jobs Number 'Stinks'
By Phil Izzo - WSJ.com
Economists and others weigh in on the tepid gain in jobs in June and the unchanged unemployment rate.
–At the outset, let's just agree; this number stinks. Job growth of less than 100,000 for the third consecutive month just stinks. However, today's number is not all fire and brimstone. Yes, the total number of jobs added was low. But there were a number of counterbalancing positives. Income growth picked up, hours worked picked up, construction added jobs again and the participation rate held steady. More broadly though, that we latch onto these modest positives speaks to the bias of low expectations. This was the worst quarter for job growth in about two years. –Dan Greenhaus, BTIG LLC
25 Signs The Collapse Of America
Is Speeding Up As Society Rots From The Inside Out
By Michael Snyder - TheEconomicCollapseBlog.com
The problems that America is experiencing right now are not just confined to the field of economics. The truth is that there are signs of deep decay wherever we look, and without question the United States is rotting from the inside out in thousands of different ways. For a long time our debt-fueled prosperity has masked much of the social decay that has been festering underneath the surface, but now it is becoming increasingly apparent that the thin veneer of civilization that we all take for granted is beginning to disappear. For many Americans, it is easy to point a finger at a particular group or political party and blame them for all of our problems, but the reality of the matter is that our societal decay cuts across all income levels, all political affiliations and all regions of the country. We are being destroyed from within, and this decay can be seen on the streets of the most dilapidated sections of major U.S. cities and it can also be seen in the halls of power in Washington D.C. and on Wall Street. It is undeniable that something has fundamentally changed. The American people do not seem to possess the same level of character that they once had. So where do we go from here?
Obama Admin Again Rejects Indiana's
De-Funding Planned Parenthood
by Steven Ertelt - LifeNews.com
For the second time, the Obama administration has rejected Indiana's effort to revoke taxpayer funding for the Planned Parenthood abortion business.
Written yesterday but released today, the Obama administration, through the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), a component of the Obama administration's Health and Human Services department, issued a letter recommended ruling against Indiana' defunding of Planned Parenthood.
Utah speed traps spur police probe
WSJ - FOXNews.com
Small-town speed traps are legendary among travelers, who often suspect police of targeting tourists from other parts of the country to help fill local coffers. But officers in tiny Springdale, Utah, may have used their radar guns to pocket cash from foreign drivers they stopped, according to the state auditor.
Three police officers in Springdale, a popular gateway to Zion National Park, collected $11,640 from overseas visitors they stopped from January through October of 2011, a report from Utah State Auditor Auston Johnson found. The auditor maintains the collections during the stops were a violation of state law.
Wichita's Race Against Fluoridation
By Travis Crank - Infowars.com
The Kansas Health Foundation is the latest player in a long-history of attempts to both bribe city leaders and dupe the public into approving the introduction of fluoride chemicals into our public water system; as Wichita is now ranked as the 4th largest city in the nation to have resisted prior efforts up to present-day and with a county population of about a half-million people, the majority of which are concentrated right here in Wichita – we're a big fish to fry indeed.
And fry, they are. Complete with local media propaganda and a steady stream of endorsements from the local medical community, all in concert and with the crescendo likely to be their presentation of proponent signatures – alongside their listing of endorsements by the local medical tyranny, later this month. Time is short!
The Regulatory Heavy Hand
By George Will - PatriotPost.us
PHOENIX -- The federal government is a bull that has found yet another china shop, this time in Arizona. It seems determined to inflict, for angelic motives and progressive goals, economic damage on this state. And economic and social damage on Native Americans, who over the years have experienced quite enough of that at Washington's hands.
The gain from this pain? The most frequently cited study says "research to date ... is inconclusive as to whether" there would be "any perceptible improvement in visibility at the Grand Canyon and other areas of concern." The Environmental Protection Agency says the Navajo Generating Station is "near" 11 national parks, several of which are 175 miles distant.
The Drone Zone
Air Force Trains Drone Jocks by tracking civilian cars
By MARK MAZZETTI - NYTimes.com
Holloman Air Force Base, at the eastern edge of New Mexico's White Sands Missile Range, 200 miles south of Albuquerque, was once famous for the daredevil maneuvers of those who trained there. In 1954, Col. John Paul Stapp rode a rocket-propelled sled across the desert, reaching 632 miles per hour, in an attempt to figure out the maximum speed at which jet pilots could safely eject. He slammed on the brakes and was thrust forward with such force that he had to be hauled away on a stretcher, his eyes bleeding from burst capillaries. Six years later, Capt. Joseph Kittinger Jr., testing the height at which pilots could safely bail out, rode a helium-powered balloon up to 102,800 feet. He muttered, "Lord, take care of me now," dropped for 13 minutes 45 seconds and broke the record for the highest parachute jump.
60 Days In Prison And A $12,180 Fine
For Hosting A Home Bible Study In Arizona
By Michael Snyder - EndOfTheAmericanDream.com
The war on home Bible studies and house churches is heating up again. Down in Phoenix, Arizona a man has been sentenced to 60 days in prison and has been fined $12,180 for hosting a Bible study in his home. Since 2005, Michael Salman and his wife have been hosting gatherings of about 15 or 20 people where they share food, fellowship and discuss the Bible. Unfortunately, that kind of thing is against the law in Phoenix, Arizona apparently. At one point, nearly a dozen armed police officers raided their home and "evidence" of their "crimes" was gathered. Michael Salman was found guilty of 67 "code violations", and now he is going to be ripped away from his family and put in prison for two months. In addition, the assistant city prosecutor is asking the court to "revoke his probation and convert it into a 2 1/2 year jail sentence since he continues to hold worship gatherings on his property despite court orders." This kind of case has the potential to have a huge "chilling effect" on home gatherings of all kinds all over the United States.
States, Congress rallying for an e-sales tax
By Amrita Jayakumar - WashingtonPost.com
Online shopping in the Washington region is about to become more expensive.
A wave of states, including Virginia, have passed laws that will require consumers to pay sales tax on all Internet purchases as soon as next year. Others, including the District, are pursuing similar measures. And in Maryland, Gov. Martin O'Malley wants to go further and levy a tax on songs and other digital products bought through popular sites such as iTunes.
How to Avoid an Unwanted Vacation From the Internet
For perhaps 64,000 computers in the United States and 300,000 worldwide, the Internet will go dead starting Monday. The story is rather complicated, but at its bottom is a piece of devilment named the DNS Changer Trojan. Here you can find out if your Internet connection is set up for a KO punch and, if so, what you can do to sidestep it.
First, let's put the problem in perspective. According to one source, there are more than 1 billion computers in the world—which means the odds against being infected are vastly in your favor.
Now some facts about the villain of this piece. The DNS Changer is nothing new—it has been around since 2007—but compromised computers will not lose the Internet until Monday. We've assembled some articles here that offer details.
Internet blackout for thousands coming Monday
By Erin Kim @CNNMoneyTech
NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Hundreds of thousands of Internet users whose computers are infected with a particularly nasty virus will be unable to access the Web starting on Monday.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation will shut down Internet servers that it temporarily set up to support those affected by malicious software, called DNSChanger. Turning off those servers will knock all those still infected offline.
Facebook has to be careful with mobile ads
It risks alienating users if mobile ads clunky, invasive
SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) — Facebook Inc. finally has confirmed it will launch a new type of ad for the mobile versions of the social network, but how effective they will be and whether they annoy users is the big question.
Wall Street analysts have been predicting for months that Facebook Inc. FB +0.83% was developing new types of mobile ads that would help the company gain more inroads in the faster-growing mobile market. The Wall Street Journal reported that Facebook plans to offer developers and advertisers the ability to place ads for apps directly in the news feed of its users on their mobile devices, whether or not the consumer has noted an interest in that company.
Burger King: Seducing Customers with Bacon
By STAFF, Knowledge@Wharton - TheFiscalTimes.com
Burger King (BKC) received lots of buzz last month when it launched its new summer menu, including an unexpected treat: a bacon sundae. Yes, that's soft-serve vanilla ice cream topped with hot fudge, caramel and crumbled bacon. And to emphasize the bacon part, the whole thing is served with a bacon-slice garnish.
Initially, some thought the company must be joking. "I wasn't sure if this was for real," says Wharton marketing professor Barbara Kahn.
Defining American Exceptionalism
By Joe Conason - Truthdig.com
The Fourth of July is the birthday of American exceptionalism—originally, the idea cherished by the nation's Revolutionary Founders that the practice of liberty, equality and democracy in these United States would kindle hope in a world downtrodden by every form of despotism, hierarchy and oppression.
Independence Day marked the determination of a new and diverse people to throw off the old yoke of hereditary rule, with all its attendant traditions of social and economic stratification. The Founders believed that America would inspire other nations as an ally and friend, rather than dominate them by force of arms or money. They did not regard their weak new republic as intrinsically superior or chosen by God to rule the world—but argued instead that the ideals of popular sovereignty and constitutional freedom represented the natural rights and the future of humanity everywhere.
Sikorsky, U.S. sign $7.3 billion Black Hawk order
(Reuters) - Sikorsky Aircraft, a unit of United Technologies Corp (UTX.N), has signed a five-year $7.3 billion agreement that will provide the U.S. Army, Navy and Air Force with more H-60 Black Hawk helicopters and other versions of the utility aircraft, according to several sources familiar with the deal.
The agreement puts in force a multi-year procurement that was approved by Congress as part of the Pentagon's fiscal 2012 budget. It includes several variants of the helicopter to be used by the different military services and runs through fiscal 2016.
Which Course Will North American Natural Gas Producers Choose?
BY MARIN KATUSA - FinancialSense.com
News of a "monster" natural gas find in British Columbia has one again highlighted that North Americans need to make a choice. Do we want to keep the huge volumes of natural gas that have been discovered in recent years across the continent landlocked and transportable only by pipeline, or should we develop the infrastructure that will enable us to transport this fuel to the gas-hungry markets of Asia?
Both options come with advantages and drawbacks, of course. Keeping the fuel landlocked will keep prices depressed, likely so much so that many producers will be unable to turn a profit and will shut up shop. Building the infrastructure to transport natural gas to faraway shores is expensive, but more importantly it would commit the continent to a future of fracking, liquefying, and exporting natural gas, a decision that carries heavy environmental repercussions.
Soros Promotes UN Control Over Gun Ownership
Written by Joe Wolverton, II - TheNewAmerican.com
George Soros is financing the fight to give the United Nations control of your guns.
Through his Media Matters organization, Soros is dumping pro-UN gun control propaganda into the mainstream media to coincide with the United Nations Conference on the Arms Trade Treaty being held in New York July 2–27.
In a blog post published on July 3, Timothy Johnson of Media Matters describes the notion that the United Nations would ever try to take away the right of Americans to keep and bear arms "laughable."
Hillary Clinton issues stern warning
to Assad as war of words escalates
Syrian president accuses Washington of fuelling bloodshed by arming rebel forces as country risks reaching point of collapse
By Matt Williams - Guardian.co.uk
US secretary of state Hillary Clinton warned hardline Syrian leaderBashar al-Assad that his days were numbered as both countries intensified the rhetoric in a war of words on Sunday.
Speaking in Tokyo, Clinton said an admission by UN mediator Kofi Annan that his peace plan was failing should serve as a "wake-up call for everyone". As to the future of Assad, the state secretary said it should be clear that "the sand is running out of the hourglass".
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