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Muni Default Domino... who's next?
Stockton Filing For Bankruptcy; Citizens Cry Foul
STOCKTON (CBS13) – A source confirmed with CBS13 on Tuesday prior to the City Council meeting that Stockton will indeed file for Chapter 9 bankruptcy protection, becoming the largest U.S. city to do so.
City leaders were unable to reach an agreement with creditors on $26 million in debt. It had a deadline of midnight Monday. It must pass a balanced budget by July 1 so the city was voting on a pendency plan on Tuesday on how to allocate its limited funds.
The city's decision to file for bankruptcy prompted dozens of critical remarks from citizens during the public comment portion of Tuesday's packed meeting at City Hall.
"The pendency plan is a death sentence to some and to others it's an unavoidable slap in the face," Joni Anderson said.
Stockton braces for possible bankruptcy as key vote looms
By Diana Marcum - LATimes.com
Stockton residents braced for a fateful City Council meeting on Tuesday night that could result in the city declaring bankruptcy.
The prospect of insolvency was generating national headlines Tuesday.
But on the Central Valley city's largely African American south side, the spectre of Stockton becoming the largest U.S. city to file for protection from creditors raised little interest.
"Bankrupt? We've been bankrupt," said the Rev. Dwight Williams of the New Bethel Baptist Church.
"This church works day and night to pay the PGE bill and keep the lights on. So many in our congregation have lost homes and jobs.
Where Does Money Come From? The Giant Federal Reserve Scam That Most Americans Do Not Understand
By Michael Snyder - TheEconomicCollapseBlog.com
How is money created? If you ask average people on the street this question, most of them have absolutely no idea. This is rather odd, because we all use money constantly. You would think that it would only be natural for all of us to know where it comes from. So where does money come from? A lot of people assume that the federal government creates our money, but that is not the case. If the federal government could just print and spend more money whenever it wanted to, our national debt would be zero. But instead, our national debt is nownearly 16 trillion dollars. So why does our government (or any sovereign government for that matter) have to borrow money from anybody? That is a very good question. The truth is that in theory the U.S. government does not have to borrow a single penny from anyone. But under the Federal Reserve system, the U.S. government has purposely allowed itself to be subjugated to a financial system in which it will be constantly borrowing larger and larger amounts of money. In fact, this is how it works in the vast majority of the countries on the planet at this point. As you will see, this kind of system is not sustainable and the structural problems caused by such a system are at the very heart of our debt problems today.
The Black Hole of Deflation - Part 1
BY JULIAN PHILLIPS - FinancialSense.com
The Global Picture and Where We Are Now
For the last few years we've watched as the Credit Crunch morphed into the Sovereign Debt crisis in Europe, which may re-cross the Atlantic to hit the U.S. Treasury market. During that time, we have watched a series of patch-up jobs on the crisis that have only succeeded in prolonging the crisis without any real structural remedies. We've also watched how central bankers have seen the 'buck' passed to them, when their role is strictly in support of government action that should have led the way. Central bankers are running out of tools to tackle the task they should never have been asked to tackle alone.
S&P says U.S. faces 20-percent risk of double dip
(Reuters) - The United States faces 20-percent odds of a return to recession, rating agency Standard & Poor's said on Tuesday, although it said a slow recovery remains the company's baseline forecast for the world's biggest economy.
"But the risk of another downward leg on the recession remains real," the agency said in a statement.
While S&P said it could be underestimating American consumers, years of stagnation, as Japan has seen, could also occur.
Euro Must Have Reform, Not Americanization
By William Pfaff - Truthdig.com
More than two decades ago, the Delors plan for European currency union was initially proposed. Some of us asked whether eight, 12 or 15 different European economies, with their distinct budgets (and budget priorities), fiscal situations and national debts, could really operate with a single currency.
A decade following the Delors plan, the European Central Bank was created, and a Stability and Growth Pact was signed by the EU members who envisaged joining the monetary union. There was no provision for individual currencies to be adjusted in value according to changing circumstances. Notably, this meant no devaluations, a past practice in countries with weaker economies, allowing them to compensate for less productive enterprises and work forces by competing on price.
Greek Situation like Financial Cuban Missile Crisis
François Hollande and Angela Merkel
meet in Paris with high stakes at play
Franco-German discussions need to build
'a concrete path' for Europe, says José Manuel Barroso
By Ian Traynor - Guardian.co.uk
Chancellor Angela Merkel goes to Paris on Wednesday to try to strike a Franco-German deal with President François Hollande amid deep-seated differences at what has been described as Europe's defining moment.
With the two key EU countries split for the first time in 30 months of single currency and sovereign debt crisis, José Manuel Barroso, head of the European Commission laid bare the high stakes in play at an EU summit in Brussels on Thursday as well as the high frictions betweenGermany and France.
Italy gives world's oldest bank €2bn lifeline
Italy to buy up to €2bn in Monte dei Paschi di Siena bonds in country's first move of its kind since onset of eurozone crisis
By John Hooper in Rome - Guardian.co.uk
The Italian government is to lend the world's oldest bank up to €2bn in the first move of its kind in Italy since the onset of the eurozone debt crisis more than two years ago.
Mario Monti's government announced on Tuesday that it would buy up to €2bn in bonds from the Monte dei Paschi di Siena (MPS), Italy's third-biggest lender. A statement said the cabinet had decided to approve the initiative so that MPS, which was founded in 1472, could meet a 30 June deadline to bolster its finances imposed by the European Banking Authority.
Germany's indifference to Greece
can only lead to misery or divorce
Understanding that Berlin is entirely indifferent to Athens' fate should be key to Greek decision-making
by Phillip Inman - Guardian.co.uk
In a relationship, indifference is the most corrosive emotion. When there is so little to build on, divorce or misery are the only outcomes. For Greece, understanding that the German government is now entirely indifferent to its fate should be key to its decision-making.
Everything German ministers say in public is repeated in private. "We have done all we can for Greece. The future of the country is in the hands of its people," sums up several conversations with German officials.
Spain Poised For Downgrade To Junk
As Default Swaps Near Records
By Esteban Duarte - Bloomberg.com
Spain is poised for a downgrade to junk by Moody's Investors Service, according to investors who sent the cost of default insurance for the nation's biggest banks and companies close to record highs.
Credit-default swaps on Banco Santander SA (SAN), the country's biggest bank, jumped 23 percent this quarter to 454 basis points, compared with an all-time high of 474 in November. Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria SA (BBVA) rose 26 percent to 477, approaching May's record 516, while phone company Telefonica SA (TEF) surged 70 percent to a record 540 basis points.
Spain's Short-Term Debt Costs Nearly Triple
By: Reuters - CNBC.com
Spain's short-term borrowing costs nearly tripled at auction on Tuesday, underlining the country's precarious finances as it struggles against recession and juggles with a debt crisis among its newly downgraded banks.
The yield paid on a 3-month bill was 2.362 percent, up from just 0.846 percent a month ago. For six-month paper, it leapt to 3.237 percent from 1.737 percent in May.
More European States seek bailouts
Merkel buries euro bonds as summit tension rises
By Thorsten Severin and Catherine Bremer
BERLIN/PARIS | Tue Jun 26, 2012 6:39pm EDT
(Reuters) - German Chancellor Angela Merkel sought to bury once and for all the idea of common euro zone bonds on Tuesday, saying Europe would not share total debt liability "as long as I live", as the bloc's big four finance ministers met to narrow differences on how to solve a worsening debt crisis.
Two days before a crucial European Union summit, European Council President Herman Van Rompuy released a seven-page report on closer fiscal and banking union envisaging a euro zone treasury that would issue common debt in the medium term.
By Xavier Vives - Project-Syndicate.org
BARCELONA – The line of credit to Spain from fellow eurozone governments may help to stabilize a fragile banking system, at least in the short term, but it is a missed opportunity. Spain's banking crisis provides a perfect opening to move towards a European banking union.
In the medium term, help to Spain will merely reinforce the link between the sovereign and the banks' problems, causing even greater fragmentation in the European banking market and pushing Spain closer to potential insolvency by increasing its debt burden. By contrast, a direct equity stake in Spanish banks taken by an appropriate eurozone investment vehicle would decouple bank and sovereign risk. It would represent a decisive step toward unified European banking supervision, which could imply easier liquidation of non-viable institutions.
Cyprus's request for a bailout
greatly raises the fear of contagion
Cyprus has finally run out of quick-fix solutions to save its economy - just as it takes the reins of the EU presidency
By Charlie Charalambous - Guardian.co.uk
The timing could not be worse. Just days before Cyprus is due to take up the European Union's presidency and the task of guiding Europe out of its financial crises, it has become the fifth eurozone member to request a Brussels bailout.
It does not bode well that a bailout country is now mandated with securing agreement on the financial framework of Europe's budget for the next seven years. The Germans have already started to make noises about Cyprus holding the presidency while trying to negotiate a loan. But the government has chosen to draw attention to itself, and the plight of its economy, by waiting until the last moment to ask for a little help from its friends.
Stimulus: One Last "High" - Then Disaster
Stimulus fix to the death
By Martin Hutchinson - ATimes.com
Since 2008, economic policies throughout the rich world have boiled down to one word: stimulus. Interest rates in most countries have been held down well below the level of inflation, while spending programs have pushed national budgets far out of balance.
As in Europe calls rise for further doses of "fiscal stimulus" in spite of that continent's precarious budget position, while in the United States both fiscal and monetary stimulus is widely canvassed, the global economy languishes. It must surely now be becoming clear: as with most pernicious drugs, repeated usage of stimulus is lessening the stimulative effect while exacerbating the adverse long-term side-effects. As this recession drags on into its fifth year, it is becoming one of diminishing marginal returns.
Liquidation Is Vital
by John Aziz of Azizonomics - ZeroHedge.com
....In light of the zombification that now exists in Japan and also America (and coming soon to every single QE and bailout-heavy Western economy) — zombie companies, poorly managed, making all the same mistakes as before, rudderless, and yet still in business thanks to government intervention — it is clear that the liquidationists grasped something that Keynesians are still missing. Markets are largely no longer trading fundamentals; they are just trading state intervention and money printing. Why debate earnings when instead you can debate the prospects of QE3? Why invest in profitable companies and ventures when instead you can pay yourself a fat bonus cheque out of monetary stimulus? Why exercise caution and consideration when you can just gamble and get a bailout?
Economic Depressions: Their Cause and Cure
by Murray N. Rothbard - LewRockwell.com
We live in a world of euphemism. Undertakers have become "morticians," press agents are now "public relations counsellors" and janitors have all been transformed into "superintendents." In every walk of life, plain facts have been wrapped in cloudy camouflage.
No less has this been true of economics. In the old days, we used to suffer nearly periodic economic crises, the sudden onset of which was called a "panic," and the lingering trough period after the panic was called "depression."
Niall Ferguson - SIEPR Economic Summit 2012
Niall Ferguson, the Laurence A. Tisch Professor of History at Harvard University; Hoover Senior Fellow and author spoke about An Institutional Approach to the End of Western Ascendancy in his talk at the 2012 SIEPR Economic Summit.
Citizens Petition Federal Reserve: Fire Jamie Dimon
George Zornick - TheNation.com
The push to remove JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon and other financial-sector executives from the Federal Reserve Boards of Governors came inside the walls of the Fed on Monday, as noted economist Simon Johnson presented officials there with a petition and urged them to change the structure of the important boards.
At the twelve regional Federal Reserve banks, there are nine-member boards of directors. Six of the seats are selected by banks from the region—three directors to represent their interests, and then three directors, picked by the banks, that will allegedly represent "the public's interest."
Bond Traders Shunning Freddie Costs Taxpayers: Mortgages
By Jody Shenn - Bloomberg.com
The bond market is telling Freddie Mac it's not wanted even as taxpayers support two similar mortgage-finance companies.
Securities it guarantees are hovering near record low prices relative to the debt of its larger riva lFannie Mae. (FNMA) That's forcing Freddie Mac to rebate lenders that package loans into its bonds to compensate them for investors paying less for the debt, according to its disclosures and people familiar with its Market-Adjusted Pricing program. Banks slice off part of homeowner payments to buy its insurance.
IRS Says Offshore Tax Disclosures Have Yielded $5 Billion
By Richard Rubin - Bloomberg.com
The U.S. has collected more than $5 billion resulting from taxpayers' disclosures of offshore accounts, the Internal Revenue Service said today.
The IRS also announced new procedures to help some U.S. taxpayers living abroad catch up on their requirements to file returns. That includes people who recently learned that they are subject to the U.S. tax code.
How the Rich Convinced America's Middle Class
to Eliminate Themselves Rense Show
In Fifteen Steps to Corporate Feudalism, Dennis Marker provides a step-by- step account of how and why the US middle class has been working harder than ever and is still losing ground. This examination of fifteen specific policies promoted by conservatives and the superrich—and implemented through the vice grip of fear, anger, and greed—reveals that the decline of the middle class is no accident.
Time to Calculate the Jobs We Never Created
Crowdsourcing a New Report
On Government Job Destruction
By Charles Kadlec - Forbes.com
When the government issues the June employment report on July 6th, the one data point that will be missing is the number of jobs that have been lost – or never created – because of government regulatory, tax and monetary policies. Given that government spending and regulations now control more than 50% of the U.S. economy, these data may be the most important of all for understanding what is keeping the unemployment rate above 8%.
WHO DESTROYED THE MIDDLE CLASS – PART 3
By James Quiinn - TheBurningPlatform.com
....It is clear to me that a small cabal of politically connected ultra-wealthy psychopaths has purposefully and arrogantly stripped the middle class of their wealth and openly flaunted their complete disregard for the laws and financial regulations meant to enforce a fair playing field. Why did they gut the middle class in their rapacious appetite for riches? Why did the scorpion sting the frog while crossing the river, dooming them both? It was his nature. The same is true for the hubristic modern robber barons latched on the backs of the middle class. Their appetite for ever greater riches will never be mollified. They will always want more. They promise not to destroy the middle class, as that will surely extinguish the last hope for a true economic recovery built upon savings, investment and jobs, but it is their nature to destroy. A card carrying member of the plutocracy and renowned dog lover, Mitt Romney, revealed a truth not normally discussed by those running the show:
OECD raises red flag on U.S. long-term unemployment
By Lucia Mutikani
(Reuters) - The lengthy spells many Americans are spending without work risk leaving a lasting scar of higher unemployment on the U.S. economy and training programs are needed to avert the damage, the OECD said on Tuesday.
The warning from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development comes against the backdrop of stalled U.S. jobs growth and an uptick in the unemployment rate in May.
Got a good idea? Fund it with Kickstarter.com
A Company Selling Miniatures Finds Massive Success
BY JOSEPH FLAHERTY - Wired.com
Slobbering aliens, mutant zombies, and heroic space marines have helped raise over $1.2 million on Kickstarter—and climbing. The 30mm-tall customizable figurines, or minis, are parts in two board game projectsthat the company Cool Mini Or Not (CMON) recently floated out over the funding platform.
Elaborate table-top battles are awesome, certainly, but over a million dollars for a set of boardgames? How did minis get so big?
CMON has clearly succeeded in tending to a passionate community. CMON started as Chern Ann's humble hobby in 2001. It was a play on HotOrNot.com, but instead of ogling people, participants at Cool Mini Or Not rated a figurine's paint job. Then Ann found a way to grow the site organically, elevating it from a ragtag community to a major retail operation. His Atlanta-based company is now eight people strong and pulling in tons of figure-fueled funding.
Sedition Wars: Battle for Alabaster
Already raised half-million dollars + with two days to go - funding ends Jun 30th - Could become a 'collectible' (Monopoly was created during the Great Depression)
22 Statistics That Prove That The American Dream
Is Being Systematically Destroyed
By Michael Snyder - EndOfTheAmericanDream.com
The American Dream is being systematically destroyed right in front of our eyes and most Americans don't even realize what is happening. In the old days, if you were a hard worker and you played by the rules you could always find a good job. That good job would enable you to buy a house, buy at least one car and support a family. It would also enable you to take a couple of vacations each year and buy some nice things for your family. After working for 30 or 40 years you would look forward to a comfortable retirement. But these days fewer and fewer Americans are able to enjoy the American Dream. Once upon a time, the United States had the largest and most prosperous middle class in the history of the world, but now that is changing at a breathtaking pace. Our economy is not producing nearly enough jobs for all of us anymore, and an increasing percentage of the jobs that are being produced pay 10 dollars an hour or less. The cost of living continues to rise steadily every single year while wages do not. Close to half of all American workers are living month to month, and many American families have gone deep into debt as they struggle to pay the bills. Millions more Americans are falling into poverty each year and dependence on the government is at an all-time high. Something is fundamentally wrong with our economy. It is not working the way that it used to, and the middle class is being absolutely shredded. Most American families are finding it harder and harder to make it through each passing year, and unless a miracle happens things are going to continue to get even harder.
Consumer Confidence In U.S. Declines To A Five-Month Low
By Michelle Jamrisko - Bloomberg.com
Confidence among U.S. consumers dropped in June for a fourth consecutive month as mounting concern over jobs and incomes dimmed the outlook for spending.
The Conference Board's sentiment index fell to 62, a five- month low, from a revised 64.4 in May, figures from the New York-based private research group showed today. Another report showed home prices were stabilizing.
Consumers hoarding more than spending
Confidence index down 4th month
By Anne D'Innocenzio - AP - WashingtonTimes.com
NEW YORK — Americans can't seem to shake their uneasy feeling about the economy.
Consumer confidence fell in June for the fourth straight month as worries about the economy outweighed relief at the gas pump, according to a private research group.
The Conference Board said Tuesday that its consumer confidence index is at 62. That's down from the 64.4 reading in May and the 63.2 analysts were expecting. The index remains well below the 90 reading that indicates a healthy economy - a level it hasn't been near since the recession began in December 2007. But it's far from the all-time low of 25.3 reached in February 2009.
Mandate or no, Obamacare will fail
Young Americans likely will choose to pay opt-out tax
Opinion by The Washington Times
With the Supreme Court close to a decision on the Affordable Care Act, it's worthwhile to explore the economic problems with the bill. One potential outcome is the court will strike down the individual mandate requiring Americans to purchase health insurance but leave the rest of the bill intact. That might be a minor victory for opponents of health care reform, but one consequence would be that supporters of the law could try to use it as a scapegoat for health care reform's eventual failure to work. Yet the reason the overhaul ultimately will fail will have little to do with the mandate or lack thereof and a lot to do with its most politically popular attributes regarding pre-existing conditions and price discrimination.
Busted! Health Insurers Secretly Spent Huge To Defeat Health Care Reform While Pretending To Support Obamacare
By Rick Ungar - Forbes.com
No matter what your perspective on the Affordable Care Act, this shocking bit of news should concern—and disturb—you greatly.
According to the National Journal's Influence Alley, at the very same time the American Health Insurance Plans (AHIP)—the health insurance industry super lobby—was cutting a deal with the White House leading to its stated support of the proposed Obamacare legislation, they were secretly funneling huge amounts money to the Chamber of Commerce to be spent on advertising designed to convince the public that the legislation should be defeated.
Home prices up again, but consumers less confident
By Leah Schnurr
(Reuters) - Home prices picked up in April for the third month in a row, the latest indication that a recovery in the housing market is gaining traction.
But in a sign of the struggles still facing the broader economy, separate data on Tuesday showed consumer confidence fell to its lowest level in five months in June as Americans' expectations on the economy soured.
The S&P/Case Shiller composite index of 20 metropolitan areas gained 0.7 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis, topping economists' expectations for a 0.4 percent gain.
Why China Is in the Business of Building America's Houses
By Matthew O'Brien - TheAtlantic.com
There's a government that wants to invest in the United States. That might seem hard to believe amidst our age of local austerity. But it's easy to find. Just go west. Keep going west. Seriously, keep going west. Okay, stop when you reach east. It's China.
The big news is that the Chinese Development Bank might pour a cool $1.7 billion into a pair of stalled San Francisco housing developments. Yes, the same Chinese Development Bank that typically makes infrastructure investments in the developing world.
Welcome to Third World America.
Michael Nutter and Peter G. Peterson -
CGI America 2012
Listen to a conversation moderated by Treasurer, City of Chicago Stephanie Neely between Mayor Michael Nutter of Philadelphia and Peter G. Peterson.
ZOMBIES AND WHEN YOUR CREDIT CARD STOPS WORKING
By Bill Bonner - TheBurningPlatform.com
Florida; Nobody knows anything in Florida. They're all retired down there. They don't have to think anymore.
And one of the things they don't think about very much is the zombie wars. You know what's happening. The productive sector of our economy is being eaten alive by the unproductive, zombie sector — including many of those retirees in Florida.
Which is probably a good point to make a distinction. There are honest retirees…and zombies. The honest ones worked hard, saved their money…and now they live off the fruits of their own labor.
The dishonest ones live on disability…Social Security…bailouts and government contracts. That is, they live off the fruits of someone else's labor.
Norway's Housing Bubble
Makes Ours Look Almost Cute By Comparison
By Matthew O'Brien - TheAtlantic.com
Everything is a bubble nowadays. Even how many words a picture is worth. Take a look at this chart from the San Francisco Fed comparing housing prices in the U.S. and Norway over the past century.
This picture is worth approximately eleventy billion words.
Norway has actually has had two housing bubbles the past two decades. The first looks relatively puny, but that's only because the second has been so mammoth. Norway's late-1980s bubble saw prices double in the span of a few years -- roughly the same size as our own burst bubble. But that looks downright Lilliputian compared to what's happened in Norway the past 15 years: Housing has quadrupled. And that's after inflation.
Obama to shoot down armed pilots
Removing 'last line of defense' would be risky move
Opinion by The Washington Times
The Obama administration's hatred for the Second Amendment has reached new heights. After nearly a decade of safe operation, the White House is looking to reduce the number of pilots who provide an extra layer of security against airborne terror by packing a pistol in the cockpit. This plan shouldn't fly.
The federal flight-deck officer program was put in place as a direct response to the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, when terrorists barged into the cockpits and seized control of airliners. The initiative provides $25.5 million for weapons training for pilots, including for cargo carriers and private charters. President Obama's budget would slash the amount in half.
Foreign law rules in U.S. courts
Supremes say state laws
cannot offend touchy leaders abroad
Opinion By The Washington Times
Can U.S. state laws be overturned because foreign governments don't like them? According to the Supreme Court, the answer is yes.
In Arizona v. U.S., the case over Arizona's S.B. 1070 immigration law, the Supreme Court gave one of the most comprehensive arguments yet justifying foreign influence over U.S. jurisprudence. In arguing for complete federal authority over immigration policy, the court decided on Monday that state statutes had to bow to the convenience of the executive in managing foreign policy. "Immigration policy can affect trade, investment, tourism and diplomatic relations for the entire nation, as well as the perceptions and expectations of aliens in this country who seek the full protection of its laws," Justice Anthony M. Kennedy wrote for the majority.
Apple Rolls Into Reno, Eyes $1B Data Center Bet
By Cade Metz - Wired.com
Apple is looking to expand its data center empire with a new computing facility just outside of Reno, Nevada.
On Tuesday, the Reno Gazette-Journal reported that Apple is planning to build a data center east of Sparks, Nevada as part of a project that would see the company pump $1 billion into the state's economy over the next 10 years.
A Futurist Explains How The Internet Will Reboot Civilization
By Parmy Olson, Forbes Staff
Don Tapscott is one of those people often described as a futurist – and in this case, the label fits pretty well. The author and chairman of Moxie Insight was one of the first to lay out how the Internet would change business, and helped define the emergence of a Net Generation and "digital divide." His latest ideas surround how we are moving from an information age, to a networked age.
The Triumph of Artificial Intelligence! 16,000 Processors Can Identify a Cat in a YouTube Video Sometimes
In the quest for ever-smarter artificial intelligence, it's easy to let hype get ahead of performance.
By Alexis Madrigal - TheAtlantic.com
Perhaps this is not precisely what Turing had in mind.
But in what is being hailed as a triumph in machine learning, Google researchers turned 16,000 processors loose on 10 million thumbnails from YouTube videos to see what they could (machine) learn. This is a vast data set that's an order of magnitude larger than what had been attempted before, according to The New York Times.
What they found was that even without humans training the computers to know certain objects ("This is a cat"), the machines were able to teach themselves the features of a cat face, as you can dimly see above, among many other objects. As one of the researchers told The Times, "[The system] basically invented the concept of a cat" by looking at all those photos and looking for patterns.
Facebook's Lame Attempt To Force Its Email Service On You
By Kashmir Hill, Forbes Staff
You may or may not realize that you have a Facebook email address. It's an @facebook.com address you can use to correspond with people on external email accounts from your Facebook inbox. Though it was called a "Gmail killer" when it first came out in 2010, it seems instead to have been D.O.A. As far as I can tell, no one really uses it. No one seems to want the Facebook inbox to be their main email account (with good reason). Facebook is trying to change that with a new little nudge. On your profile page, Facebook has taken the liberty of making your Facebook email your default contact address. (See right, and check your own profile.)
Should Sex Offenders Admit Crimes on Facebook?
A new Louisiana law requires convicted sexual deviants to note their past on their profiles.
By D.B. Grady - TheAtlantic.com
On August 1, 2012, a new law in Louisiana will require sex offenders to register their criminal histories on social networking sites like Facebook. Because names like "the Scarlet Letter law" are being bandied about in the worst possible way, there seems to be some confusion about what the law is, what it does, and who it affects.
On its surface, the legislation might seem like a political ploy in a post-Katrina state painted solid red. Lawmakers who voted "Yea" can now appear tough on crime, savvy to technology issues, and protective of children, all while beating up the most-detested segment of the criminal population. And while the political benefits do probably apply, this legislation has a history that suggests careful thought, with goals loftier than the next election cycle.
Turkey Mobilizing: Media Manipulation, Provocation Or Reality?
Submitted by Tyler Durden - ZeroHedge.com
In the aftermath of the recent escalation in tensions between Turkey and Syria, whereby Syria was accused of hostile behavior for firing and taking down a Turkish fighter jet that supposedly spent at least 5 minutes in its airspace, today was a quiet day. At least until recently we saw the following footage in a clip uploaded to YouTube. Supposedly, Turkey has sent troop reinforcement to the Syrian border, after Erdogan's warning that soldiers approaching the border will be treated as targets, the clip explains, citing Turkish daily Zaman reported citing the Cihan news agency. This is unverified, nor is the statement that 15 military vehicles, including tanks and cannons, were dispatched to the border from Diyarbakir.
Turkish Tanks Deploy to Syrian Border -- 26.06.12
Turkey has sent troop reinforcement to the Syrian border, after Erdogan's warning that soldiers approaching the border will be treated as target, the Turkish daily Zaman reported citing the Cihan news agency.
It said 15 military vehicles, including tanks and cannons, were dispatched to the border from Diyarbakir.
Meanwhile, activists in the outskirts of Aleppo say that 280 soldiers defected today in Idlib near the main highway leading to Aleppo, al-Jazeera reports.
There is no independent confirmation but if the report is correct it would be one of the largest mass defections so far.
According to the activists cited by al-Jazeera, there were clashes between the defectors and the Syrian army. One helicopter was allegedly shot down and six tanks destroyed.
Turkey Says It May Target
Any Syrian Forces Nearing Border
By SEBNEM ARSU, ALAN COWELL
and PAUL GEITNER - NYTimes.com
ISTANBUL — Buoyed by support from his country's NATO allies, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned Syrian forces on Tuesday to stay clear of their troubled border or face a Turkish military response to any perceived threat, following the disputed downing of a Turkish warplane.
The Turkish leader's bellicose tone came as ambassadors from the NATO alliance, seeking to avoid a wider conflict, held emergency talks in Brussels at Turkey's behest. After the meeting, the NATO secretary general, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, said the alliance considered Syria's actions inshooting down a Turkish warplane last Friday "unacceptable."
Turkey threatens Syria with military retaliation over downed jet
Turkish PM also warns that armed forces will respond to any Syrian encroachment on the border
By Julian Borger, diplomatic editor
and Ian Black, Middle East editor - Guardian.co.uk
Turkey's prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, has threatened Syriawith retaliation for the shooting down of a military jet, and warned that Turkish armed forces would respond to any Syrian encroachment on their joint border.
The warning from Ankara came as opposition activists reported 92 people killed across Syria and Russia signalled that it would take part in new diplomatic attempt to end the crisis. The UN's head of peacekeeping told the security council that monitors were still unable to operate because of the risks they faced.
Syrian downing of Turkish jet serves as warning
By Greg Jaffe - WashingtonPost.com
The Syrian government's downing of a Turkish fighter jet has served as a stark warning that its military is capable of mounting a sophisticated defense against potential enemies, complicating a Libya-style intervention.
Turkey has said that it has no immediate plans to respond to the incident with military action. But the Turkish prime minister warned Tuesday that he had ordered commanders along the country's southern border to treat any Syrian military approach as a threat, escalating concerns that Turkey — along with the United States and its allies — could be drawn into a regional war.
* * * * *
SYRIA already at war...
Assad declares 'state of war' as regime's grip on Syria loosens
By Bradley Secker and Ruby Russell - WashingtonTimes.com
IDLIB, Syria — Syria's conflict heated up Tuesday with rebels battling the regime's elite Republican Guard forces in the suburbs of the capital, Damascus, as Turkey's prime minister threatened to defend his country's territory from Syrian military encroachments in response to the nation's downing of a Turkish war plane Friday.
The increasingly fierce fighting prompted Syrian President Bashar Assadto declare that the country is "in a state of war," while the White Houseremarked that Mr. Assad has been slowly "losing his grip over the country" during the 16-month-old Arab Spring uprising against the regime.
Assad says Syria at war as battle reaches capital
By Oliver Holmes
(Reuters) - Syrian President Bashar al-Assad declared on Tuesday that his country was at war and ordered his new government to spare no effort to achieve victory, as the worst fighting of the 16-month conflict reached the outskirts of the capital.
Video published by activists recorded heavy gunfire and explosions in suburbs of Damascus. A trail of fresh blood on a sidewalk in the suburb of Qudsiya led into a building where one casualty was taken. A naked man writhed in pain, his body pierced by shrapnel.
Syrian Regime Growing More Desperate
as Fighting Intensifies Around Damascus
Deadly clashes in Damascus suburbs
Dozens reported dead during fighting on edges of capital and other parts of Syria between army and opposition fighters.
Dozens of people have been killed in fierce clashes between Syria troops and opposition fighters, mainly in the suburbs of Damascus, monitoring groups have reported.
Opposition forces and Syrian army units were locked in fierce clashes around elite Republican Guard posts in the capital, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), an activist monitoring group, said on Tuesday.
Dr. Bill Deagle w/ Jeff Rense 2012/06/19
Radiation at 30,000 Feet
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