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New Obama Executive Order Pushes Us Closer
To A North American Union
And A One World Economic System
By Michael Snyder - EndOfTheAmericanDream.com
When it comes to Barack Obama, one of the most important things to understand is that he is a committed globalist. He firmly believes that more "global governance" (the elite don't like to use the term "global government") will make the world a much better place. Throughout his time in the White House, Obama has consistently sought to strengthen international institutions such as the UN, the IMF, the World Bank and the WTO. At every turn, Obama has endeavored to more fully integrate America into the "global community". Since he was elected, Obama has signed a whole host of new international economic agreements. He regularly speaks of the need for "cooperation" among global religions and he has hosted a wide variety of different religious celebrations at the White House. Obama once stated that "all nations must come together to build a stronger global regime". If you do not want to live in a "global regime" that is just too bad. To globalists such as Obama, it is inevitable that the United States of America will be merged into the emerging global system. Just this week, Obama has issued a new executive order that seeks to "harmonize" U.S. economic regulations with the rest of the world. This new executive order is yet another incremental step that is pushing us closer to a North American Union and a one world economic system. Unfortunately, most Americans have absolutely no idea what is happening.
Obama Order Urges Rule Review
to Boost U.S. Company Trade
By Andrew Zajac - BusinessWeek.com
President Barack Obama issued an executive order requiring a White House policy group to seek ways to closer align U.S. regulations with rules in other countries.
The order issued today instructs the panel to focus on increasing international regulatory cooperation, particularly in areas of emerging technology.
Differences in regulatory approaches between U.S. agencies and those of counterparts in an increasingly global economy "might not be necessary and might impair the ability of American businesses to export and compete internationally," the order states.
From Communism Day to Government Loyalty Day
By Kurt Nimmo - Infowars.com
On May 1, Obama issued a presidential proclamation. He officially changed May 1 – otherwise known as Communism Day after it was hijacked by the Soviet Union for propaganda purposes – to Loyalty Day, or rather loyalty and sacrifice to government day. It is odd that Obama would reaffirm our allegiance to the Constitution when he has violated it continually.
From the White House website:
In order to recognize the American spirit of loyalty and the sacrifices that so many have made for our Nation, the Congress, by Public Law 85-529 as amended, has designated May 1 of each year as "Loyalty Day." On this day, let us reaffirm our allegiance to the United States of America, our Constitution, and our founding values.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim May 1, 2012, as Loyalty Day. This Loyalty Day, I call upon all the people of the United States to join in support of this national observance, whether by displaying the flag of the United States or pledging allegiance to the Republic for which it stands.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this first day of May, in the year of our Lord two thousand twelve, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-sixth...
Is Gold Today's Safest Investment?
By Jordan Weissmann - TheAtlantic.com
It appears Ron Paul fans aren't the only gold bugs roaming around out there.
For the second straight year, an annual Gallup poll has found that a plurality of Americans believe gold is the single safest long term investment option. Safer than savings accounts. Safer than real estate. Safer than stocks. A full 28 percent of adults ranked gold as their top choice, down from 34 percent last year, a drop just outside the five point margin of error. It was most popular among older Americans, those without a college a degree, and individuals who earned between $30,000 and $75,000 a year.
Central Bank Demand to Change Gold, Silver Markets and Prices
By: Julian D. W. Phillips - GoldSeek.com
We are currently watching the final moves of a long-term consolidation period, in the near-term and ahead of a strong move either way. A look at the bulk of market commentators shows they are pretty well split on which way the gold and silver prices are headed, up or down? It depends whether the short-term traders take control of the precious metal prices, or whether the forces we are about to describe will take over. It could be a combination of both, with short-term forces breaking resistance, or support, initially, until new pressures take over and force traders and speculators to go with them. We shall see!
Patterns in gold price puzzling - but understandable
The yellow metal seems increasingly resilient in the face of poor current fundamentals and strange downward price spikes from which it has recovered rapidly?
Author: Lawrence Williams - Mineweb.com
LONDON (MINEWEB) - Are we seeing some interesting resilience in the gold price? Despite reported continuing subdued demand from the Indian subcontinent - one of the major drivers in physical gold consumption - and yet another strange trade on COMEX on Monday which knocked the yellow metal back $14-$15 in a single minute, gold rapidly regained its poise that day and after a flat start yesterday did, at one time, breach the $1670 level, although not for long.
Gold Standard for All, From Nuts to Paul Krugman
By Amity Shlaes - Bloomberg.com
Nut cases. That's what they are. And if you take an interest in them, you are a nut case, too.
That's the consensus among credentialed economists who describe advocates of a return to the monetary regime known as the gold standard. In fact, the economic pack will marginalize you as a weirdo faster than you can say "Jacques Rueff," if you even raise the topic of monetary policy in relation to gold.
Paul Krugman on How to Fix the Economy -
and Why It's Easier Than You Think
By Julian Brookes - RollingStone.com
Four years after the start of the Great Recession, nobody would mistake U.S. economy for a thrumming engine of growth, prosperity, and human flourishing. Sure, we're officially out of "recession." But the recovery is painfully slow and uneven, and 24 million Americans are still unemployed or underemployed. There's a lot of pain out there, and a lot of potential going to waste.
The worst part? It doesn't have to be this way. Or so says Paul Krugman. In a new book, End This Depression Now!, the Nobel-winning economist and New York Times columnist makes an urgent, even passionate case that our economic problems are, at root, fairly simple, and we have the knowledge and the tools to solve them. We've been here before, Krugman argues, during the Great Depression, and the actions that got us out of that crisis will get us out of this one, too.
The Invisible Red Line
BY JOHN BUTLER - FinancialSense.com
Professor Paul Krugman and Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) went head to head on BloombergTV this week. True to his neo-Keynesian form, Prof. Krugman insisted that the US government could and should add further debt to stimulate growth. Rep. Paul responded by asking how much debt would be too much, to which Krugman replied: "We're not anywhere close to a red line." Really? What makes him so certain? Certain red lines are like tipping-points. They can only be seen in retrospect. In my view, the US has already crossed the excessive debt 'red line' implying a dramatic future devaluation of the dollar. It is only a matter of time before Krugman and other members of the economic and policy mainstream look back on recent developments and reach this conclusion. Financial markets, however, will not wait.
The Fed Works for the Very Rich
Why Paul Krugman is Full of S--t
by ROB URIE - CounterPunch.org
Late last week Princeton University economist and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman wrote a piece on his NY Times blog that history will view as the best evidence to appear in at least several decades of the utter irrelevance of mainstream economics. The piece purported to respond to a Wall Street Journal editorial by Mark Spitznagel in which Mr. Spitznagel argued broadly the Austrian economists' line that all government spending favors one group over another and more specifically that the Fed's Quantitative Easing (QE) programs of recent years favor banks and the rich.
Why New York Times Economist Paul Krugman
Is Partly Right But Mostly Wrong
By Michael Snyder - TheEconomicCollapseBlog.com
In recent days, New York Times economist Paul Krugman has been doing a whole bunch of interviews in which he has declared that the solution to our economic problems is very easy. Krugman says that all we need to do to get the global economy going again is for the governments of the world to start spending a lot more money. Krugman believes that austerity is only going to cause the economies of the industrialized world to slow down even further and therefore he says that it is the wrong approach. And you know what? Krugman is partly right about all of this. The false prosperity that the United States and Europe have been enjoying has been fueled by unprecedented amounts of debt, and in order to maintain that level of false prosperity we are going to need even larger amounts of debt. But there are several reasons why Krugman is mostly wrong.
Krugman's Left-Wing Bullying of Bernanke
By LIZ PEEK, The Fiscal Times
Paul Krugman vaulted over the line recently, issuing an ad hominem attack on Fed Chair Ben Bernanke for not doing enough to boost the economy. Krugman's anxiety that the stuttering recovery will bounce President Obama from the White House seems to have loosened his already-fragile grip on reality. His conclusion – that "right-wing bullying" is holding Bernanke back – seems especially nonsensical, even for the truculent Mr. Krugman.
Dallas Fed President Richard Fisher's response? "No one bullies Ben Bernanke." Fisher was not the only speaker at the Milken Institute Global Conference taking place in Los Angeles who would challenge Mr. Krugman's highly partisan worldview.
U.S. considers issuing floating-rate debt
By Zachary A. Goldfarb - WashingtonPost.com
The Treasury Department is expected to announce Wednesday whether it will begin issuing a new type of federal debt for the first time in 15 years — a reflection of the global interest in storing cash in the United States and of the government's desire to avoid unexpected disruptions in its ability to borrow.
The Treasury is considering following the advice of Wall street traders by introducing a type of investment known as a floating-rate note. The note would allow the government to borrow money for a fixed period — say, two years — while paying a variable interest rate.
Total US Debt Soars To 101.5% Of GDP
Submitted by Tyler Durden - ZeroHedge.com
There is nothing quite like a $70 billion debt auction settlement at the last day of a month to bring total US debt to a record $15.692 trillion, which happens to be just $600 billion shy of the $16.394 trillion debt ceiling. (and no, contrary to simple economic textbook lesson, this does not mean that the private sector just got another $70 billion in debt capacity courtesy of taxpayers, as explained here). And now that we know what Q1 GDP was at the end of Q1, or namely $15.462 trillion, it is simply math to divine that today alone total US/debt to GDP rose by 50 bps to a mindboggling 101.5%.
Charles Biderman: EU Debt Crisis Going to Get Worse
By Greg Hunter's USAWatchdog.com
The most underreported story this week is the European debt crisis. Greece, Portugal and Ireland have all been in the spotlight with money troubles. Now, Spain is taking center stage, and its debt is more than double the previous three countries.
There has been one bailout after another. Nothing is working as many EU countries plunge into recession. Charles Biderman, CEO of Trim Tabs Investment Research, says the situation is bad and it's going to get a lot "worse." Mr. Biderman says the Europeans won't be the only ones that will feel financial pain. He thinks it's only a matter of time before the EU "implodes," and that crater will be big enough to pull down some very large U.S. banks.
Spain's unemployment prompts a look elsewhere
By Howard Schneider - WashingtonPost.com
MADRID — Six months after being laid off from a surveying job, Manuel Martin has had it with Spain.
The construction industry here is moribund, he said, and he has no expectation that it will rebound anytime soon. Pausing during a bicycle ride in the suburbs of Madrid, Martin and a friend noted the for-sale signs displayed at some of the apartment buildings and point to building projects that were abandoned mid-stream.
Europe's next recession risk: Germany
By Ben Rooney @CNNMoneyInvest
NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- As recession spreads across Europe, Germany may not be able to avoid being dragged down.
In the past week, Spain and the United Kingdom revealed that they had slipped back into recession, with two straight quarters of economic contraction.
In all, 12 European economies are now officially in recession.
Germany, the largest euro economy and the fourth largest worldwide, could be next: Its economy shrank 0.2% in the last three months of 2011, and it is expected to show another contraction when it releases data for the first quarter in mid-May.
We Are Not Powerless: Resisting Financial Feudalism
BY CHARLES HUGH SMITH - FinancialSense.com
That we are powerless is one of the key social control myths constantly promoted by the Status Quo. What better way to keep the serfs passive than to reinforce a belief in their powerlessness against the expansive Central State and its financial feudalism?
But we are not powerless. Our complicity gives the aristocracy its power. Remove our complicity and the aristocracy falls.
The pathway of dissent is to resist financial feudalism and its enforcer, the expansive Central State. Here are twelve paths of resistance any adult can legally pursue in the course of their daily lives:
Dimon Cites 'Give and Take' After Bank Chiefs Meet Fed Officials
Heather Hauswirth and Bradley KeounMay - WashingtonPost.com
May 2 (Bloomberg) -- JPMorgan Chase & Co. Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon said there was "give and take" when bank leaders met with Federal Reserve officials to discuss industry oversight in New York today.
Dimon, who said "everything" was a potential topic as he and other CEOs entered the New York Fed's offices, declined to elaborate on the talks as he left. Top executives were scheduled to meet with Fed Governor Daniel Tarullo today, four people familiar with the meeting said earlier this week.
American CEOs enjoy 15% pay rise
in second year of double-digit hikes
Boom time for America's top bosses in 2011 contrasts with wider economy, where average wages have been little better than flat
By Dominic Rushe in New York - Guardian.co.uk
America's top bosses have handed themselves double-digit pay rises for the second year in a row, according to interim figures from the most comprehensive survey of CEO pay.
The Guardian's exclusive first look at the research by GMI Ratings reveals that rising share prices helped drive a 15% pay hike for the average US CEO in 2011, with the average compensation package hitting $5.8m.
United States' new business formation rate
continues dropping steadily
By J.D. Harrison - WashingtonPost.com
Spend some time walking through Silicon Valley or New York City, and you'll likely leave under the impression that entrepreneurship is alive and well in the United States. But spend some time wading through some of the latest census data, and you may come away with a very different impression.
The country's rate of new business development continues to slide, according to a Census Bureau Business Dynamics Statistics briefing published by the Kauffman Foundation on Wednesday. The report shows the rate of new business formation has fallen to between 7 percent and 8 percent (as a portion of all companies), down significantly from the rate of 12 percent to 13 percent in the 1980s.
Is Wells Fargo a Lehman in the Making?
By Yves Smith - NakedCapitalism.com
Banking maven Chris Whalen has a must-read piece on the reckless real estate risk taking underway at Wells Fargo, the sanctimonious #4 bank. While I sometimes take issue with Chris on his readings on capital markets related businesses, he is solid on his knowledge of traditional banking and also has access to very good intelligence in that arena.
Thanks to the crisis just past, we tend to think of banks as creating danger to bystanders via their over-the-counter trading operations: securitizations, CDOs, derivatives, all that stuff that is now loosely termed as "shadow banking." But the US crisis prior to that was the S&L and the less widely recognized LBO debt meltdown of the early 1990s, both traditional bank lending. Even though economists airily wave it away as damaging but not catastrophic, it didn't look that way at the time. Citibank nearly failed and the entire banking sector was really wobbly. Greenspan engineered an extremely steep yield curve to help banks earn their way out of the hole faster.
Treasury: Tax receipts not changing deadline
on $16.4T debt limit
By Peter Schroeder - TheHill.com
Lawmakers will not have to re-fight their epic battle over raising the debt ceiling until after the November elections, according to the Treasury Department.
April tax receipts have not moved Treasury's debt-ceiling target date, and Secretary Timothy Geithner still expects lawmakers will have until the tail end of 2012 to raise the $16.394 trillion ceiling.
Treasury Dept. Fails to Implement
Two-Thirds of Post-Bailout Recommendations
by Noel Brinkerhoff, David Wallechinsky - AllGov.com
When the George W. Bush administration bailed out Wall Street four years ago, it created the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) and a special inspector general (SIGTARP) to advise theDepartment of the Treasury on the rescue. It turns out, though, that Treasury officials have largely ignored what SIGTARP had to say on preventing waste, abuse and fraud involving taxpayer dollars.
According to the special inspector general's latest report to Congress, the Treasury Department has failed to fully implement two-thirds of SIGTARP's 96 recommendations.
In many instances, the new special inspector general, Christy Romero, and others in her office haven't been able to get an answer on why the recommendations weren't heeded.
Why Reagan's Tax Reform Roadmap Won't Work Now
By ERIC PIANIN and MICHELLE HIRSCH, The Fiscal Times
As politicians and business leaders sound the battle cry to make over the loophole-ridden U.S. tax code, they often point wistfully to the Reagan as the perfect road map. The Tax Reform Act of 1986 achieved many of the goals now being espoused by Republicans and Democrats: It greatly simplified the income tax code, broadened the tax base and eliminated many tax shelters and preferences.
The measure was made "revenue neutral" by decreasing individual tax rates and eliminating $30 billion a year in loopholes while increasing corporate taxes. Many of the brackets were consolidated, and the top tax rate was lowered from 50 percent to 28 percent.
Fannie Mae had seen benefits
to lowering some home loans, documents indicate
By Brady Dennis - WashingtonPost.com
Officials at government-backed mortgage giant Fannie Mae concluded years ago that the company could "reduce its losses substantially" by lowering loan amounts for some troubled borrowers, according to internal documents cited Tuesday by the top Democrat on the House oversight committee.
The new insights into Fannie Mae's analyses about the potential benefits of so-called principal reduction surfaced in a letter from Rep. Elijah E. Cummings (D-Md.) to Edward J. DeMarco, the acting director of the independent agency that oversees Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
Why U.S. House Prices Won't Recover
Taking inflation into account,
U.S. home prices are down to 1895 levels.
By Jack Hough - SmartMoney.com
When will U.S. house prices recover? Likely never. But that's no reason not to buy.
The latest S&P / Case-Shiller numbers, reported last week, show that prices in 20 major markets declined 3.5% over the year through February. They're now back to 2002 levels. If we subtract for inflation, they're back to 1998 levels.
But consider: After subtracting for inflation, prices are also back to 1986 levels. And 1955 levels. And 1895 levels (see chart).
Payroll Survey Signals U.S. Jobs Slowing as Orders Drop
By Shobhana Chandra and Timothy R. Homan - Bloomberg.com
Companies in the U.S. added fewer workers last month, according to data from a private survey, pointing to a cooling in the job market, as the Commerce Department also reported a decline in factory orders in March.
Private employment increased by 119,000, the smallest gain in seven months, after rising by 201,000 in March, Roseland, New Jersey-based ADP Employer Services said. Orders to factories fell 1.5 percent following a 1.1 percent gain in February.
ADP estimates businesses added only 119,000 jobs in April
By Paul Davidson, USA TODAY
Private payrolls grew by just 119,000 in April, according to a survey by payroll giant ADP, feeding fears that a larger, more closely watched government report on Friday will show disappointing job growth for a second month.
The gains in the ADP survey of private businesses were the fewest in seven months, as large businesses and manufacturers, in particular, posted weak employment growth.
95 Percent Of The Jobs Lost During The Recession
Were Middle Class Jobs
By Michael Snyder - TheEconomicCollapseBlog.com
Who is the biggest loser in the ongoing decline of the U.S. economy? Is it the wealthy? No, the stock market has been soaring lately and their incomes are actually going up. Is it the poor? Well, the poor are definitely hurting very badly, but when you don't have much to begin with you don't have much to lose. Unfortunately, it is the middle class that has lost the most during this economic downturn. According to Bloomberg, 95 percent of the jobs lost during the recession were middle class jobs. That is an absolutely astounding figure. Yes, some executives lost their jobs during the last recession as did some minimum-wage workers. But overwhelmingly the jobs that were lost were middle income jobs. Sadly, the limited number of jobs that have been added since the end of the last recession have mostly been low income jobs. A higher percentage of Americans are working low income jobs than ever before, and the cost of living continues to rise at a very brisk pace. This is causing an erosion of the middle class unlike anything we have ever seen in American history.
The Beginning of the End of the Unpaid Internship
By JOSH SANBURN - Time.com
In August 2011, when Diana Wang began her seventh unpaid internship, this time at Harper's Bazaar, the legendary high-end fashion magazine, she figured that her previous six internships – at a modeling agency, a PR firm, a jewelry designer, a magazine, an art gallery and a state governor's office – had prepared her for the demands of New York's fashion world.
"I was so determined to make this one really worth my while," says the 28-year-old Wang, who moved from Columbus, Ohio, to New York, where she was living with her boyfriend (also working as an unpaid intern at one point) and living off of her savings. "I knew I couldn't do anymore internships after this."
Wal-Mart to pay $4.8 million in back wages
By Ylan Q. Mui - WashingtonPost.com
The Labor Department on Tuesday ordered Wal-Mart to pay $4.8 million in back wages and damages to thousands of employees who were denied overtime charges, the latest in a string of embarrassments for the company over its business practices.
The department said its decision affects roughly 4,500 vision-center managers and asset-protection coordinators who worked at Wal-Mart between 2004 and 2007. Wal-Mart had considered those employees exempt from federal regulations requiring overtime pay but reclassified them in 2007. The government and the retailer have been negotiating the amount owed since then.
Collapsing U.S. Postal Service Needs Freedom to Cut Costs
By the Editors - Bloomberg.com
Like a Pony Express rider wobbling toward Fort Laramie with an arrow in his hat, the Senate bill passed last week to reform the U.S. Postal Service is far from its goal and facing attack from all sides.
The ambush -- led by House Republicans, postal-worker unions and the service itself -- seems overly aggressive: The bill is Congress's first earnest attempt to stop the impending meltdown of the Postal Service, which loses $25 million a day and says it might have to close thousands of post offices and hundreds of distribution centers in the next few months. The legislation also gets several issues right. First, it would revise payment schedules to two federal-worker retirement funds, allowing the service to offer retirement incentives and trim the workforce by 100,000 jobs.
Occupy May Day protests across US
as activists and unions link up
Occupy Wall Street movement regroups for largely orderly demonstrations in New York and skirmishes elsewhere
By Ryan Devereaux in New York - Guardian.co.uk
The Occupy Wall Street movement has attempted to breathe new life into its campaign against inequities in the global financial system with a series of May Day protests across around the US.
Thousands of people turned out in New York for a day of action that culminated in a confident march down Broadway in the evening sunshine towards Wall Street, the crucible of the protest that began last year with an angry backlash against banking excess.
More than 100 charged in massive Medicare fraud busts
in 7 cities in scams totaling $452 mil
AP - WashingtonPost.com
MIAMI — Federal authorities charged 107 doctors, nurses and social workers in seven cities with Medicare fraud Wednesday in a nationwide crackdown on unrelated scams that allegedly billed the taxpayer-funded program of $452 million — the highest dollar amount in a single Medicare bust in U.S. history.
It was the latest in a string of major arrests in the past two years as authorities have targeted fraud that's believed to cost the government between $60 billion and $90 billion each year. Stopping Medicare's budget from hemorrhaging that money will be key to paying for President Barack Obama's health care overhaul.
Lab Security Standards Raise Chances
of Mutant-Bird-Flu Catastrophe
By Brandon Keim - Wired.com
Fears that bioterrorists could learn from controversial experiments that make H5N1 avian influenza more virulent have overshadowed a more pressing danger: accidental releases, laboratory infections and disgruntled workers.
Dozens of all-too-human mistakes have occurred in just the last decade inside high-security laboratories, and many experts say new H5N1 flu strains engineered to infect mammals have not been handled with the care required to minimize chances of unintentional catastrophe.
In fact, research on less-threatening pathogens is conducted at higher security levels than research on the new bird flu and other strains made artificially more virulent.
Low level doses of radiation more harmful that high doses
The Low-Level Radiation Puzzle
By MATTHEW L. WALD - NYTimes.com
The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists is casting new light – or maybe just heat — on the murky field of sizing up the health effects of small radiation doses.
The publication's May-June issue carries seven articles and an editorial on the subject of low-dose radiation, a problem that has thus far defied scientific consensus but has assumed renewed importance since the meltdown of the Fukushima Daiichi reactors in Japan in March 2011. The accident contaminated the surrounding area, and questions persist about whether residents should be allowed to return or whether the radiation doses they would receive are too big a threat to their health.
Facebook and Organ Donation: Savvy or Stupid?
By MAUREEN MACKEY, The Fiscal Times
....While few would argue the tremendous good that organ transplantation can do, privacy experts and privacy attorneys see some gray and even dark areas when it comes to expressing a personal "status" about it.
"I'm not even comfortable with the timeline" on Facebook, Mari J. Frank, an attorney and privacy expert in Laguna Niguel, California, told The Fiscal Times. "I think Facebook wants you to reveal as much as you can about yourself, because that helps their third-party vendors who pay them. That information gets shared. It can be seen by others, and what you post lives forever. If you want your friends and family to know your feelings about organ donation, tell them separately – in your will, your trust, on your driver's license." And let's not forget the black market for organs in places such as China, Frank added.
NRA ends silence and
comes out fighting for stand-your-ground laws
Initially silent amid controversy of Trayvon Martin's death, gun-lobby group vows to defend the controversial statutes
By Ed Pilkington in New York - Guardian.co.uk
The National Rifle Association has begun a rearguard action to shore up the controversial "stand-your-ground" laws that it has promoted across America, in the wake of the eruption of public anger over the killing inFlorida of the unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin.
Since Martin was fatally shot by George Zimmerman, a self-declared neighborhood watch leader invoking the stand-your-ground law, on 26 February the NRA has kept uncharacteristically silent. Numerous requests by journalists for the association to answer charges that it had encouraged violent vigilantism were met with "no comment".
'Supermoon' coming this Saturday
By Fox Van Allen, Tecca - USAToday.com
This weekend will be an absolute delight for both professional and amateur astronomers alike: On Saturday, the United States will be treated to a "supermoon" event — an evening where the full moon appears at its largest and brightest in the night sky. It's the first of six major celestial events slated to occur in the month of May.
The moon will officially become full at 11:35 p.m. on Saturday, May 5. This coincides almost perfectly with the moon's perigee — that is, the moment when the moon is closest to Earth in its orbit. This supermoon will be especially pronounced given that this will be the moon's closest approach of the year.
After 50 years, Cubans hope to travel freely
By PAUL HAVEN - Guardian.co.uk
Associated Press= HAVANA (AP) — After controlling the comings and goings of its people for five decades, communist Cuba appears on the verge of a momentous decision to lift many travel restrictions. One senior official says a "radical and profound" change is weeks away.
The comment by Parliament Chief Ricardo Alarcon has residents, exiles and policymakers abuzz with speculation that the much-hated exit visa could be a thing of the past, even if Raul Castro's government continues to limit the travel of doctors, scientists, military personnel and others in sensitive roles to prevent a brain drain.
Occupy Activists' Bomb Plot Foiled
By Arnold Ahlert - PatriotPost.us
Why the five would-be Cleveland terrorists are far from "fringe" elements of OWS.
Yesterday in the midst of the OWS May Day protests taking place around the nation, the U.S. Justice Department revealed exactly how far some of those associated with such protests are willing to go. In Cleveland, Ohio, five men who describe themselves as anarchists were arrested for their attempt to blow up the Brecksville-Northfield High Level Bridge that crosses the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio, Steven M. Dettelbach, characterized the defendants as men who "took numerous and repeated acts that demonstrated a commitment to violent, terrorist acts." And despite efforts to distance themselves from these wannabe terrorists, Occupy Cleveland media coordinator Jacob Wagner admitted that "at least some of the five men" attended that group's events.
Al Qaeda Magazine Calls for Firebomb Campaign in US
By RANDY KREIDER - ABCNews.com
The men who launched al Qaeda's English-language magazine may have died in a U.S. missile strike last fall, but "Inspire" magazine lives on without them -- and continues to promote jihadi attacks on Western targets, offering detailed advice on how to start huge forest fires in America with timed explosives and how to build remote-controlled bombs.
Two new issues of "Inspire" magazine have surfaced on jihadi forums, the first since radical cleric Anwar al-Awlaki and chief Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula propagandist Samir Khan were killed by missiles from a U.S. drone over Yemen on September 30, 2011. The magazines eulogize Awlaki and Khan as the "spirit" and the "tongue" of "Inspire" respectively, but deny that their deaths will stop the magazine or jihad.
How Strong Is al Qaeda Today, Really?
A year after bin Laden's death, we still often talk about his group's successful or failure in somewhat exaggerated terms. The truth may in fact be somewhere in the middle.
By Joshua Foust - TheAtlantic.com
This week marks one year since Osama bin Laden's death. We're hearing a lot about what the anniversary means for the larger struggle against Islamist violence around the world. Most assessments of the "War on Terror" fall into one of two categories: al-Qaeda is stronger than ever or al-Qaeda is dead or dying. Whatever you think about al-Qaeda specifically, the global movement of violent Islamism is more complicated.
U.S.-China deal freeing dissident now in question
Chen Guangcheng lawyer says
dissident feels 'pressure' and fears for his safety
Keith B. Richburg and Jia Lynn Yang
BEIJING — A lawyer for blind activist Chen Guangcheng on Wednesday questioned a U.S.-brokered deal to guarantee Chen's safety in China and said that, after leaving the protection of the U.S. Embassy here, the dissident may have no choice but to go to the United States.
Chen traveled from the diplomatic compound to a Beijing hospital with U.S. Ambassador Gary Locke on Wednesday afternoon, but soon found himself surrounded by Chinese plainclothes police, with no American diplomats present.
Geithner Sees Need for 1970s-Style Shift in China Economy
By Ian Katz - Bloomberg.com
U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner said the country has a "strong interest" in China's ability to reshape its economy in favor of consumption and private growth and away from exports and state-owned enterprises.
"In China, you are in the process of exploring the next frontier of economic reforms, recognizing as your predecessors did more than 30 years ago, that future economic growth will require another fundamental shift in economic policy," Geithner said in remarks prepared for the opening of annual U.S.-China talks in Beijing today. "The United States has a strong interest in the success of these reforms, as does the rest of the world."
BP to start three new Gulf of Mexico oil rigs
New drilling sites brings number of BP's Gulf rigs to eight – more than it operated before the Deepwater Horizon disaster
By Rupert Neate and agencies - Guardian.co.uk
BP is planning to start three new oil drilling rigs in the Gulf of Mexico this year. The launch of the new rigs will bring the number of BP rigs in the Gulf to eight – more than the oil giant had before the devastating Deepwater Horizon disaster three years ago.
Bernard Looney, BP's executive in charge of new wells, said BP is expecting to spend $4bn (£2.5bn) on new developments in the Gulf of Mexico this year and hopes to "invest at least that much every year over the next decade".
Taliban announces start of annual Afghan offensive
By Tom A. Peter, Special for USA TODAY
KABUL – The Taliban warned it will officially start its annual "spring offensive" in Afghanistan on Thursday.
The Taliban said this year's offensive would be code-named "Al-Farouk," the title of the second Muslim caliph who lived in the seventh century.
The Taliban said the offensive would focus on "all those people who work against the Mujahedeen, toil to pave ground for the occupation of Afghanistan and become the cause for the strength of the invaders."
Will Sadat's Camp David and the Zionist Embassy be Next?
by FRANKLIN LAMB, Beirut - CounterPunch.org
The Egyptian people are demanding the return of their sovereignty. According to recent opinion surveys they believe it was partially ceded to Israel by the two post-Nasser dictators, Anwar Sadat and Hosni Mubarak, at the behest of American administrations, from Nixon to Obama.
The removal of three humiliating shackles for Egyptians, the gas give-away scheme, the 1979 Camp David Accords and the US forced recognition of Israel, constitute a strategic national security objective for most of Egypt's 82 million citizens. According to the results of an opinion poll, conducted for Press TV and published on October 3, 2011, 73 percent of the Egyptian respondents opposed the terms of the agreement. Today the figure is estimated at 90%.
Israel Prepares for War
By Kurt Nimmo - Infowars.com
Israel's IDF has called up six reserve battalions as the situation on the Syrian and Egyptian borders deteriorates. The Knesset, the Israeli parliament, has given permission to call up an additional 16 reserve battalions if necessary, the Times of Israel reported on May 2.
"This signifies that the IDF regards the Egyptian and Syrian borders as the potential source of a greater threat than in the past," said former deputy chief of staff, Dan Harel.
"The army needs a better 'answer' than in the past to the threat," he added, mentioning Egypt's loss of control over the Sinai.
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