April 2011 |







29
Apr 11

Watch How the Police Raid a Cellphone

(Sam Biddle)  Everyone knows the cops have tools to get inside your phone. But what do they do? They suck your iPhone’s entire soul in 15 minutes. With one single click. This is what it looks like.

Lantern 2 is an incredibly powerful piece of software. Plug your iPhone in. Click “Acquire.” Wait for a progress bar to complete. After about fifteen minutes, I had the entire contents of my phone in an extremely user-friendly interface—even with a lock screen activated. Anything you would want to know—or didn’t even know you’d want to know—about my phone is easy to tap. An entire minute by minute chronology of my text exchanges. Every picture I’d ever taken. My bookmarks. My cookies. Every Skype call I’ve ever placed. My entire Facebook friend list. Every cell tower my phone has touched, with longitude and latitude coordinates. All there. Lantern 2 is awesome—and must be a stellar thing to have in any cop’s arsenal (and for those wondering, no, you can’t download it—Lantern’s only available to government agencies researchers, and security firms). We just hope it (and our phones) never get into the hands of anyone on the other side of the law.

Watch the video here http://cdn.static.viddler.com/flash/as3/simple-publisher.swf?key=5b3945e4&ref=

Source-        http://gizmodo.com/#!5796373/watch-how-the-police-raid-your-cellphone


29
Apr 11

How Goldman Sachs Created The Food Crisis

(Fredrick Kaufman)  Demand and supply certainly matter. But there’s another reason why food across the world has become so expensive: Wall Street greed.

It took the brilliant minds of Goldman Sachs to realize the simple truth that nothing is more valuable than our daily bread. And where there’s value, there’s money to be made. In 1991, Goldman bankers, led by their prescient president Gary Cohn, came up with a new kind of investment product, a derivative that tracked 24 raw materials, from precious metals and energy to coffee, cocoa, cattle, corn, hogs, soy, and wheat. They weighted the investment value of each element, blended and commingled the parts into sums, then reduced what had been a complicated collection of real things into a mathematical formula that could be expressed as a single manifestation, to be known henceforth as the Goldman Sachs Commodity Index (GSCI).

For just under a decade, the GSCI remained a relatively static investment vehicle, as bankers remained more interested in risk and collateralized debt than in anything that could be literally sowed or reaped. Then, in 1999, the Commodities Futures Trading Commission deregulated futures markets. All of a sudden, bankers could take as large a position in grains as they liked, an opportunity that had, since the Great Depression, only been available to those who actually had something to do with the production of our food.

Change was coming to the great grain exchanges of Chicago, Minneapolis, and Kansas City – which for 150 years had helped to moderate the peaks and valleys of global food prices. Farming may seem bucolic, but it is an inherently volatile industry, subject to the vicissitudes of weather, disease, and disaster. The grain futures trading system pioneered after the American Civil War by the founders of Archer Daniels Midland, General Mills, and Pillsbury helped to establish America as a financial juggernaut to rival and eventually surpass Europe. The grain markets also insulated American farmers and millers from the inherent risks of their profession. The basic idea was the “forward contract,” an agreement between sellers and buyers of wheat for a reasonable bushel price — even before that bushel had been grown. Not only did a grain “future” help to keep the price of a loaf of bread at the bakery – or later, the supermarket — stable, but the market allowed farmers to hedge against lean times, and to invest in their farms and businesses. The result: Over the course of the 20th century, the real price of wheat decreased (despite a hiccup or two, particularly during the 1970s inflationary spiral), spurring the development of American agribusiness. After World War II, the United States was routinely producing a grain surplus, which became an essential element of its Cold War political, economic, and humanitarian strategies — not to mention the fact that American grain fed millions of hungry people across the world.

Futures markets traditionally included two kinds of players. On one side were the farmers, the millers, and the warehousemen, market players who have a real, physical stake in wheat. This group not only includes corn growers in Iowa or wheat farmers in Nebraska, but major multinational corporations like Pizza Hut, Kraft, Nestlé, Sara Lee, Tyson Foods, and McDonald’s – whose New York Stock Exchange shares rise and fall on their ability to bring food to peoples’ car windows, doorsteps, and supermarket shelves at competitive prices. These market participants are called “bona fide” hedgers, because they actually need to buy and sell cereals.

On the other side is the speculator. The speculator neither produces nor consumes corn or soy or wheat, and wouldn’t have a place to put the 20 tons of cereal he might buy at any given moment if ever it were delivered. Speculators make money through traditional market behavior, the arbitrage of buying low and selling high. And the physical stakeholders in grain futures have as a general rule welcomed traditional speculators to their market, for their endless stream of buy and sell orders gives the market its liquidity and provides bona fide hedgers a way to manage risk by allowing them to sell and buy just as they pleased.

But Goldman’s index perverted the symmetry of this system. The structure of the GSCI paid no heed to the centuries-old buy-sell/sell-buy patterns. This newfangled derivative product was “long only,” which meant the product was constructed to buy commodities, and only buy. At the bottom of this “long-only” strategy lay an intent to transform an investment in commodities (previously the purview of specialists) into something that looked a great deal like an investment in a stock – the kind of asset class wherein anyone could park their money and let it accrue for decades (along the lines of General Electric or Apple). Once the commodity market had been made to look more like the stock market, bankers could expect new influxes of ready cash. But the long-only strategy possessed a flaw, at least for those of us who eat. The GSCI did not include a mechanism to sell or “short” a commodity.

This imbalance undermined the innate structure of the commodities markets, requiring bankers to buy and keep buying – no matter what the price. Every time the due date of a long-only commodity index futures contract neared, bankers were required to “roll” their multi-billion dollar backlog of buy orders over into the next futures contract, two or three months down the line. And since the deflationary impact of shorting a position simply wasn’t part of the GSCI, professional grain traders could make a killing by anticipating the market fluctuations these “rolls” would inevitably cause. “I make a living off the dumb money,” commodity trader Emil van Essen told Businessweek last year. Commodity traders employed by the banks that had created the commodity index funds in the first place rode the tides of profit.

Bankers recognized a good system when they saw it, and dozens of speculative non-physical hedgers followed Goldman’s lead and joined the commodities index game, including Barclays, Deutsche Bank, Pimco, JP Morgan Chase, AIG, Bear Stearns, and Lehman Brothers, to name but a few purveyors of commodity index funds. The scene had been set for food inflation that would eventually catch unawares some of the largest milling, processing, and retailing corporations in the United States, and send shockwaves throughout the world.

The money tells the story. Since the bursting of the tech bubble in 2000, there has been a 50-fold increase in dollars invested in commodity index funds. To put the phenomenon in real terms: In 2003, the commodities futures market still totaled a sleepy $13 billion. But when the global financial crisis sent investors running scared in early 2008, and as dollars, pounds, and euros evaded investor confidence, commodities — including food — seemed like the last, best place for hedge, pension, and sovereign wealth funds to park their cash. “You had people who had no clue what commodities were all about suddenly buying commodities,” an analyst from the United States Department of Agriculture told me. In the first 55 days of 2008, speculators poured $55 billion into commodity markets, and by July, $318 billion was roiling the markets. Food inflation has remained steady since.

The money flowed, and the bankers were ready with a sparkling new casino of food derivatives. Spearheaded by oil and gas prices (the dominant commodities of the index funds) the new investment products ignited the markets of all the other indexed commodities, which led to a problem familiar to those versed in the history of tulips, dot-coms, and cheap real estate: a food bubble. Hard red spring wheat, which usually trades in the $4 to $6 dollar range per 60-pound bushel, broke all previous records as the futures contract climbed into the teens and kept on going until it topped $25. And so, from 2005 to 2008, the worldwide price of food rose 80 percent – and has kept rising. “It’s unprecedented how much investment capital we’ve seen in commodity markets,” Kendell Keith, president of the National Grain and Feed Association, told me. “There’s no question there’s been speculation.” In a recently published briefing note, Olivier De Schutter, the U.N. Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, concluded that in 2008 “a significant portion of the price spike was due to the emergence of a speculative bubble.”

What was happening to the grain markets was not the result of “speculation” in the traditional sense of buying low and selling high. Today, along with the cumulative index, the Standard & Poors GSCI provides 219 distinct index “tickers,” so investors can boot up their Bloomberg system and bet on everything from palladium to soybean oil, biofuels to feeder cattle. But the boom in new speculative opportunities in global grain, edible oil, and livestock markets has created a vicious cycle. The more the price of food commodities increases, the more money pours into the sector, and the higher prices rise. Indeed, from 2003 to 2008, the volume of index fund speculation increased by 1,900 percent. “What we are experiencing is a demand shock coming from a new category of participant in the commodities futures markets,” hedge fund Michael Masters testified before Congress in the midst of the 2008 food crisis.

The result of Wall Street’s venture into grain and feed and livestock has been a shock to the global food production and delivery system. Not only does the world’s food supply have to contend with constricted supply and increased demand for real grain, but investment bankers have engineered an artificial upward pull on the price of grain futures. The result: Imaginary wheat dominates the price of real wheat, as speculators (traditionally one-fifth of the market) now outnumber bona-fide hedgers four-to-one.

Today, bankers and traders sit at the top of the food chain — the carnivores of the system, devouring everyone and everything below. Near the bottom toils the farmer. For him, the rising price of grain should have been a windfall, but speculation has also created spikes in everything the farmer must buy to grow his grain — from seed to fertilizer to diesel fuel. At the very bottom lies the consumer. The average American, who spends roughly 8 to 12 percent of her weekly paycheck on food, did not immediately feel the crunch of rising costs. But for the roughly 2-billion people across the world who spend more than 50 percent of their income on food, the effects have been staggering: 250 million people joined the ranks of the hungry in 2008, bringing the total of the world’s “food insecure” to a peak of 1 billion – a number never seen before.

What’s the solution? The last time I visited the Minneapolis Grain Exchange, I asked a handful of wheat brokers what would happen if the U.S. government simply outlawed long-only trading in food commodities for investment banks. Their reaction: laughter. One phone call to a bona-fide hedger like Cargill or Archer Daniels Midland and one secret swap of assets, and a bank’s stake in the futures market is indistinguishable from that of an international wheat buyer. What if the government outlawed all long-only derivative products, I asked? Once again, laughter. Problem solved with another phone call, this time to a trading office in London or Hong Kong; the new food derivative markets have reached supranational proportions, beyond the reach of sovereign law.

Volatility in the food markets has also trashed what might have been a great opportunity for global cooperation. The higher the cost of corn, soy, rice, and wheat, the more the grain producing-nations of the world should cooperate in order to ensure that panicked (and generally poorer) grain-importing nations do not spark ever more dramatic contagions of food inflation and political upheaval. Instead, nervous countries have responded instead with me-first policies, from export bans to grain hoarding to neo-mercantilist land grabs in Africa. And efforts by concerned activists or international agencies to curb grain speculation have gone nowhere. All the while, the index funds continue to prosper, the bankers pocket the profits, and the world’s poor teeter on the brink of starvation.

Source-http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2011/04/27/how_goldman_sachs_created_the_food_crisis?page=0,1


28
Apr 11

Exxon Apologizes For Making $11 Billion

(AP) — Exxon made almost $11 billion and practically apologized for it.  Sensing public outrage over gasoline prices that have topped $4 in some states, the company struck a defensive posture Thursday after posting some of its best quarterly financial results ever.

Exxon said it had no control over high oil prices. It said it’s one of the biggest taxpayers in the United States. It cast federal subsidies as “legitimate tax provisions” that keep jobs at home, and cast itself as a victim of Washington scapegoating.

“They feel they have to demonize our industry,” said Ken Cohen, Exxon’s vice president for public affairs.

What’s more, the company argued, it doesn’t even make that much money selling gasoline.

Exxon’s profit of $10.65 billion for the first quarter was its highest since it made $14.83 billion in the third quarter of 2008, a record for a publicly traded company. That was also a time of $4-plus gas.

The first-quarter results were also the best among the big oil companies, which have reported improved results this week.

As oil company profits approach levels of three years ago, when gas prices last spiked in the United States, the industry is fighting a renewed push from President Barack Obama and Democrats to end its $4 billion a year in taxpayer subsidies.

This week, the industry’s lobbying group touted the 9.2 million jobs that depend on Big Oil and rolled out a study showing that oil and gas stocks are excellent investments for public pension plans.

Before it even came out with the quarterly results, Exxon pleaded its case on a company blog, saying it was not to blame for high gas prices.

Then Cohen took an unusual step and spoke to reporters after Exxon reported the big profits. He said Exxon pays more taxes than any other company in the Standard & Poor’s 500 index — $59 billion in the United States over the past five years.

After taxes, the company earned $41 billion from U.S. operations during that period.

Drivers and politicians may still need some convincing. Gas costs more than $4 a gallon in eight states and the District of Columbia. The national average is $3.89 and has risen for 37 straight days.

At a time when most people aren’t getting raises, gas has risen 81 cents a gallon this year. High gas prices ate into the nation’s overall economic growth in the first three months of this year. The economy grew at a 1.8 percent annual rate, slower than the 3.1 percent at the end of last year.

Cohen has a point that Exxon doesn’t control the price of oil or gasoline. Oil is traded around the world on public exchanges, and experts point out that the world is consuming more oil now than it did before the recession, raising demand. When oil prices go up at the exchange, Exxon sells oil for more money to refiners and other buyers.

Gasoline is made from oil. So while gas prices can rise and fall based on other factors, like refining problems or natural disasters, they generally go up as oil prices rise on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Exxon noted that only 6 percent of its profit came from refining and selling gas in the United States. Other parts of its business, like selling oil and natural gas overseas, accounted for much more.

Argus Research analyst Phil Weiss finds that argument reasonable. But oil companies will struggle to win over people as long as they’re making billions of dollars every quarter, he said.

“They get these high profits and people get upset. That’s what politicians respond to,” Weiss said.

House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi called for a vote on ending taxpayer subsidies to oil companies next week. “There is no reason American taxpayers should subsidize Big Oil’s profits,” Pelosi said.

The tax provisions at issue include some rules put in place as long ago as 1913 and more recent ones designed to encourage companies to invest in the United States.

For instance, a 2004 rule that gives oil and other companies a special deduction for their U.S. operations could save the oil industry $18.2 billion over 10 years. A rule that allows faster depreciation of the value of oil and gas wells could save independent companies — those that only explore and produce oil but don’t refine it — about $11 billon over a decade.

Exxon officials said it would be unfair for Obama to end oil subsidies while keeping similar incentives for renewable energy. The Obama administration and clean energy advocates argue that profitable companies do not need special tax treatment while newer industries deserve breaks until they can establish themselves.

It’s not likely, though, that Exxon would give up its subsidies if the government also removed them for solar, wind and other renewables.

“Getting into trade-offs is not really helpful,” Exxon Vice President Bill Colton said.

Environmental groups say the industry needs no taxpayer help.

“Why does an industry that makes this much money need $4 billion in tax subsidies?” asked Bob Keefe, spokesman for the Natural Resources Defense Council. “Why can’t we use that tax money to improve and expand other alternatives, increase vehicle efficiency, better public transportation that would reduce our dependence on oil?”

Exxon counters that the government shouldn’t decide which energy companies succeed and which fail. Whichever fuel source “produces the biggest bang for the buck for the consumer” will be the one the market settles on, Cohen said.

The main reason the industry is doing well is that oil prices were up 20 percent from the same period last year. Exxon’s profit was 69 percent higher than the $6.3 billion it earned a year earlier. Revenue increased 26 percent, to $114 billion.

The rise in oil prices allowed Exxon to make more money despite producing 3 percent less oil overseas, about 2 million barrels per day, partly because of storms in the Middle East. Exxon sold crude in international markets for about $101 a barrel, up 36 percent from a year ago. In the U.S., Exxon sold oil for about $93 per barrel, up 27 percent from a year ago.

Exxon’s per-share earnings of $2.14 beat Wall Street estimates by 10 cents, but oil industry stocks fell anyway because investors fear that demand for gas, which has fallen over the past month compared with last year, will keep dropping in the United States.

Exxon Mobil Corp. shares lost 94 cents to $86.84 in afternoon trading.

The company has increasingly focused on producing natural gas, which it expects to replace coal as the second most important fuel source after petroleum within the next decade. Last year it acquired XTO Energy to become the largest U.S. natural gas producer.

AP Energy Writer Jonathan Fahey contributed to this story from New York.

Source-http://finance.yahoo.com/news/Exxon-earns-nearly-11-billion-apf-479576777.html?x=0&sec=topStories&pos=9&asset=&ccode=


28
Apr 11

Gas Pump Sticky Note Campaign Makes Its Way to Grocery Stores

(Doug Ross)  The Sticky Note Campaign is making deliveries in Georgia Supermarkets now.  Super-Charged with Conservative ideals REAL Americans all over the country and even an awakened Democrat or two are now participating in this grass roots initiative.  Its not a partisan issue either, no one  can afford these rising prices at the gas pump or the grocery store.

I just realized that I need to order more FREE PRE-PRINTED Sticky notes from the Koch Brothers — gotta go now.





Be sure take pictures of your STICKY NOTES, upload them to your Facebook, TAG all your friends in the pics and then also be sure to share them with the event page.

I like it. It’s a simple way to highlight the effects of the Democrats’ disastrous deficit spendingtheir insane drilling policies, and their hatred of all things free market.

Read more at Doug Ross@Journal


27
Apr 11

21 Statistics That Will Make You Think Twice About Going To College

(Economic Collapse)  Is going to college a worthwhile investment?  Is the education that our young people are receiving at our colleges and universities really worth all of the time, money and effort that is required?  Decades ago, a college education was quite inexpensive and it was almost an automatic ticket to the middle class.  But today all of that has changed.  At this point, college education is a big business.  There are currently more than 18 million students enrolled at the nearly 5,000 colleges and universities currently in operation throughout the United States.  There are quite a few “institutions of higher learning” that now charge $40,000 or even $50,000 a year for tuition.  That does not even count room and board and other living expenses.  Meanwhile, as you will see from the statistics posted below, the quality of education at our colleges and universities has deteriorated badly.  When graduation finally arrives, many of our college students have actually learned very little, they find themselves unable to get good jobs and yet they end up trapped in student loan debt hell for essentially the rest of their lives.

Across America today, “guidance counselors” are pushing millions of high school students to go to the very best colleges that they can get into, but they rarely warn them about how much it is going to cost or about the sad reality that they could end up being burdened by massive debt loads for decades to come.

Yes, college is a ton of fun and it is a really unique experience.  If you can get someone else to pay for it then you should definitely consider going.

There are also many careers which absolutely require a college degree.  Depending on your career goals, you may not have much of a choice of whether to go to college or not.

But that doesn’t mean that you have to go to student loan debt hell.

You don’t have to go to the most expensive school that you can get into.

You don’t have to take out huge student loans.

There is no shame in picking a school based on affordability.

The truth is that pretty much wherever you go to school the quality of the education is going to be rather pathetic.  A highly trained cat could pass most college courses in the United States today.

Personally, I have had the chance to spend quite a number of years on college campuses.  I enjoyed my time and I have some pretty pieces of parchment to put up on the wall.  I have seen with my own eyes what goes on at our institutions of higher learning.  In a previous article, I described what life is like for most “average students” enrolled in our colleges and universities today….

The vast majority of college students in America spend two to four hours a day in the classroom and maybe an hour or two outside the classroom studying. The remainder of the time these “students” are out drinking beer, partying, chasing after sex partners, going to sporting events, playing video games, hanging out with friends, chatting on Facebook or getting into trouble. When they say that college is the most fun that most people will ever have in their lives they mean it. It is basically one huge party.

If you are a parent and you are shelling out tens of thousands of dollars every year to pay for college you need to know the truth.

You are being ripped off.

Sadly, a college education just is not that good of an investment anymore.  Tuition costs have absolutely skyrocketed even as the quality of education has plummeted.

A college education is not worth getting locked into crippling student loan payments for the next 30 years.

Even many university professors are now acknowledging that student loan debt has become a horrific societal problem. Just check out what one professor was quoted as saying in a recent article in The Huffington Post….

“Thirty years ago, college was a wise, modest investment,” says Fabio Rojas, a professor of sociology at Indiana University. He studies the politics of higher education. “Now, it’s a lifetime lock-in, an albatross you can’t escape.”

Anyone that is thinking of going to college needs to do a cost/benefit analysis.

Is it really going to be worth it?

For some people the answer will be “yes” and for some people the answer will be “no”.

But sadly, hardly anyone that goes to college these days gets a “good” education.

To get an idea of just how “dumbed down” we have become as a nation, just check out this Harvard entrance exam from 1869.

I wouldn’t have a prayer of passing that exam.

What about you?

We really do need to rethink our approach to higher education in this country.

Posted below are 21 statistics about college tuition, student loan debt and the quality of college education in the United States….

#1 Since 1978, the cost of college tuition in the United States has gone up by over 900 percent.

#2 In 2010, the average college graduate had accumulated approximately $25,000 in student loan debt by graduation day.

#3 Approximately two-thirds of all college students graduate with student loans.

#4 Americans have accumulated well over $900 billion in student loan debt. That figure is higher than the total amount of credit card debt in the United States.

#5 The typical U.S. college student spends less than 30 hours a week on academics.

#6 According to very extensive research detailed in a new book entitled “Academically Adrift: Limited Learning on College Campuses”, 45 percent of U.S. college students exhibit “no significant gains in learning” after two years in college.

#7 Today, college students spend approximately 50% less time studying than U.S. college students did just a few decades ago.

#8 35% of U.S. college students spend 5 hours or less studying per week.

#9 50% of U.S. college students have never taken a class where they had to write more than 20 pages.

#10 32% of U.S. college students have never taken a class where they had to read more than 40 pages in a week.

#11 U.S. college students spend 24% of their time sleeping, 51% of their time socializing and 7% of their time studying.

#12 Federal statistics reveal that only 36 percent of the full-time students who began college in 2001 received a bachelor’s degree within four years.

#13 Nearly half of all the graduate science students enrolled at colleges and universities in the United States are foreigners.

#14 According to the Economic Policy Institute, the unemployment rate for college graduates younger than 25 years old was 9.3 percent in 2010.

#15 One-third of all college graduates end up taking jobs that don’t even require college degrees.

#16 In the United States today, over 18,000 parking lot attendants have college degrees.

#17 In the United States today, 317,000 waiters and waitresses have college degrees.

#18 In the United States today, approximately 365,000 cashiers have college degrees.

#19 In the United States today, 24.5 percent of all retail salespersons have a college degree.

#20 Once they get out into the “real world”, 70% of college graduates wish that they had spent more time preparing for the “real world” while they were still in school.

#21 Approximately 14 percent of all students that graduate with student loan debt end up defaulting within 3 years of making their first student loan payment.

There are millions of young college graduates running around out there that are wondering where all of the “good jobs” are.  All of their lives they were promised that if they worked really hard and got good grades that the system would reward them.

Sometimes when you do everything right you still can’t get a job. A while backThe Huffington Post featured the story of Kyle Daley – a highly qualified UCLA graduate who had been unemployed for 19 months at the time….

I spent my time at UCLA preparing for the outside world. I had internships in congressional offices, political action committees, non-profits and even as a personal intern to a successful venture capitalist. These weren’t the run-of-the-mill office internships; I worked in marketing, press relations, research and analysis. Additionally, the mayor and city council of my hometown appointed me to serve on two citywide governing bodies, the planning commission and the open government commission. I used to think that given my experience, finding work after graduation would be easy.

At this point, however, looking for a job is my job. I recently counted the number of job applications I have sent out over the past year — it amounts to several hundred. I have tried to find part-time work at local stores or restaurants, only to be turned away. Apparently, having a college degree implies that I might bail out quickly when a better opportunity comes along.

The sad truth is that a college degree is not an automatic ticket to the middle class any longer.

But for millions of young Americans a college degree is an automatic ticket to student loan debt hell.

Student loan debt is one of the most insidious forms of debt.  You can’t get away from student loan debt no matter what you do.  Federal bankruptcy law makes it nearly impossible to discharge student loan debts, and many recent grads end up with loan payments that absolutely devastate them financially at a time when they are struggling to get on their feet and make something of themselves.

So are you still sure that you want to go to college?

Another open secret is that most of our colleges and universities are little more than indoctrination centers.  Most people would be absolutely shocked at how much unfiltered propaganda is being pounded into the heads of our young people.

At most colleges and universities, when it comes to the “big questions” there is a “right answer” and there is virtually no discussion of any other alternatives.

In most fields there is an “orthodoxy” that you had better adhere to if you want to get good grades.

Let’s just say that “independent thought” and “critical thinking” are not really encouraged at most of our institutions of higher learning.

Am I bitter because I didn’t do well?  No, I actually did extremely well in school.  I have seen the system from the inside.  I know how it works.

It is a giant fraud.

If you want to go to college because you want to have a good time or because it will help you get your career started then by all means go for it.

Just realize what you are signing up for.

Source-http://theeconomiccollapseblog.com/archives/student-loan-debt-hell-21-statistics-that-will-make-you-think-twice-about-going-to-college


27
Apr 11

White House Releases Obama’s Long-Form Birth Certificate

(FOX)  The White House has released President Obama’s long-form birth certificate, saying the document is “proof positive” the president was born in Hawaii.

White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer said the administration decided to release the full document in response to mounting questions about the president’s birth. He noted that what started as Internet chatter had moved into the national political debate and ended up being discussed regularly on mainstream news outlets.

He said the president believed the matter was becoming a “distraction” from major issues.

Obama plans to discuss the release of the document Wednesday morning at the White House.

The document lists Obama’s birthplace as Honolulu, Hawaii, and his birth date as Aug. 4, 1961. The hospital listed is Kapiolani Maternity & Gynecological Hospital. The name on the birth certificate is Barack Hussein Obama II.

Obama’s presidential campaign, in response to questions raised in 2008, at the time posted a short-form version of the document on the Internet. But conspiracy theories continued to fester. They gained legs in recent weeks as Donald Trump, who is toying with the possibility of running as a presidential candidate in 2012, repeatedly and publicly questioned Obama’s origin.

Pfeiffer, on the White House blog, said the president thought the attention was “bad for the American people” and directed his counsel to request access to the long-form document from the Hawaii State Department of Health. The department granted an exception to release the long-form document “because of the tremendous volume of requests they had been getting,” the White House said.

“At a time of great consequence for this country — when we should be debating how we win the future, reduce our deficit, deal with high gas prices, and bring stability to the Middle East, Washington, DC, was once again distracted by a fake issue,” Pfeiffer said on the blog. “The President’s hope is that with this step, we can move on to debating the bigger issues that matter to the American people and the future of the country.”

Trump, speaking in New Hampshire, took credit Wednesday for the president’s decision to release the document. He said his team would have to examine the birth certificate and questioned why the White House took so long, but indicated he wanted to move beyond the issue.

“Today, I’m very proud of myself, because I’ve accomplished something that nobody else has been able to accomplish,” Trump told reporters. “Why he didn’t do it when everybody else was asking for it, I don’t know. But I am really honored, frankly, to have played such a big role in hopefully, hopefully getting rid of this issue.”

Click here to see the birth certificate. (First page)

Click here to see the birth certificate. (Second page)

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2011/04/27/white-house-releases-obamas-long-form-birth-certificate/#ixzz1KjW5Nvjl


27
Apr 11

Silver To Blow Through $50 An Ounce Any Day

(CNN MONEY)  Silver prices have doubled during the past six months, and are now within spitting distance of $50 an ounce, a key level for the precious metal.

Early Monday morning, silver prices surged 8% to $49.82 an ounce. That was just shy of the $50.35-an-ounce intraday record hit in January 1980, but higher than the all-time high closing price of $48.70 per ounce set 31 years ago.

As the trading session went on, prices pulled back from the lofty levels, with silver finishing the day up 2.4% to settle at $47.15 an ounce.

“The metals are getting a lot of attention right now,” said Terry Hanlon, president of Dillon Gage Metals, a precious metals trading firm based in Dallas. “We’ll run right through $50 per ounce for silver any day now, and two months from now, we won’t even remember it as a benchmark.”

Gold prices also continued to shine in record territory, rising 1% to hit a fresh intraday high of $1,519.20 an ounce before settling up 0.4% at a record close of $1,509.10 an ounce.

Both gold and silver, which is often called the poor man’s gold, have taken on the role of currencies as the dollar loses its luster and inflation fears run wild, said Hanlon. He expects gold to top $1,700 an ounce and silver to reach $75 an ounce within a year.

“This is a huge safety play,” he said. “Investors can’t sit on their cash anymore because the value of the dollar keeps deteriorating. To offset that, they’re parking money in precious metals.”
The dollar: 98-pound weakling of currencies

The dollar index, which measure the greenback’s value against a basket of currencies, has fallen more than 6% in 2011.

A number of factors are driving investors away from the dollar and toward safe- haven investments such as gold and silver. Among the reasons are deficit problems in the United States and Europe, and rapidly rising food and commodity prices, especially in emerging markets.

Ongoing political tensions across the Middle East and North Africa also have investors on edge.

“As long as these problems continue to simmer and occasionally surface, we’ll see more safe-haven demand from investors for precious metals,” said Jeffrey Nichols, managing director at American Precious Metals Advisors.

Nichols, who considers himself to be particularly bullish, says gold prices could reach $3,000 an ounce within the next few years, as silver prices double to nearly $100 an ounce.

But those levels won’t come without major hiccups — 10% to 20% short-term pullbacks — along the way.

And, when adjusted for inflation, gold and silver prices still have a long way to go. Gold rose to $825.50 per ounce on Jan. 21, 1980, which is $2,238.74 in today’s dollars, according to the government’s CPI inflation calculator. Meanwhile, silver’s inflation adjusted price peaks at $136.55 per ounce in today’s dollars.

Source-Read more at James West’s Midas Lett


26
Apr 11

Satanic Occult Symbols In Washington D.C.

( David J. Stewart)  The mall in Washington DC is laid out so the gardens and streets form the image of an owl. The owl is representative of the mythical goddess, Lilith. Pleas read, Bohemian Grove Exposed for much more information on the owl.

The street design in Washington, D.C., has been laid out in such a manner that certain Luciferic symbols are depicted by the streets, cul-de-sacs and rotaries. This design was created in 1791, a few years after Freemasonry assumed the leadership of the New World Order, in 1782.

In Europe,  occult leaders were told by their familiar spirits as early as the 1740′s that the new American continent was to be established as the new “Atlantis,” and its destiny was to assume the global leadership of the drive to the New World Order. The United States of America was chosen to lead the world into this kingdom of Antichrist from the very beginning. The capital is Washington, D.C., which is evidenced by the preponderance of occult symbols.

George Washington (a 33° Freemason) selected French Freemason Pierre Charles L’Enfantto design the city’s layout in Washington D.C.

The boundaries of the city, established by George Washington in 1791, form a square 10 miles long on each side, centered on the originally proposed location for the Washington Monument. The east-west diagonal of the square crosses over the Capitol building and the north-south diagonal crosses over the White House.

The length of the north-south and east-west diagonals is 10 miles times the square root of 2, or 14.142 miles. This distance converts to 43,455 ancient Egyptian royal cubits, the same figure as the ratio between the Great Pyramid and the dimensions of the earth.

  • The height of the Great Pyramid is 481.13 feet, divided by 5,280 = .0911231 miles.
  • The mean radius of the earth is 3,960 miles, divided by .0911231 = 43,457.
  • The perimeter of the Great Pyramid is 3,023 feet, divided by 5,280 = .5725 miles.
  • The mean circumference of the earth is 24,880 miles, divided by .5725 = 43,458.
  • 3,960 miles (radius of the earth) / 14.142 miles = 280 (number of cubits in the height of the Great Pyramid)
  • 24,880 miles (circumference of the earth) / 14.142 miles = 1,760 (cubits in the perimeter of the Great Pyramid)

Converting the radius and circumference of the earth to cubits yields the same results.

The first series of symbols I will point out deal with the seat of the executive branch of government, the White House, indicated by the red arrow above.  If you are a Google Earth user, you can see these satellite images for yourself at Google Maps.

As you can see by my outline, the White House sits at the apex of an inverted pentagram.  This symbol is incomplete by only 2 small pieces, indicated by the yellow lines.

The hexagram is nearly complete, except for 1 small piece on the north-west side, outlined in yellow.

If you draw the pentagram and hexagram symbols together, you can see three sides of a cross.  Finishing the symbol on the land sitting in front of the White House reveals a perfectly symmetrical Knights Templar cross.

It has been said the Washington Monument obelisk (bottom arrow) sits due south from the White House.  This is not exactly true, as you can see in the photo above.  In reality, the obelisk is directly south from the Masonic Temple (top arrow) which sits 13 blocks north of the White House.

The pentagon is an infinite occult symbol — it is the center of a pentagram and a pentagram fits perfectly inside a pentagon.

Obelisks are phallic (penis) symbols related to the Egyptian Sun god, Ra. The 4 sides of the Washington Monument are aligned with the cardinal directions (i.e., east, west, north, and south). At the ground level each side of the monument measures 55.5 feet long, which is equal to 666 inches. The height of the obelisk is 555.5 feet, which is equal to 6,666 inches.

The temple is the headquarters of the Supreme Council of Scottish Rites of Freemasonry, modeled after descriptions of the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus, one of the 7 wonders of the ancient world.

As mentioned earlier, the 4 sides of the Washington Monument are aligned with thecardinal directions (i.e., east, west, north, and south).  At the ground level each side of the monument measures 55.5 feet long, which is equal to 666 inches.  The height of the obelisk is 555.5 feet, which is equal to 6,666 inches.  The obelisk is representative of the male sex organ, worship in nearly all pagan cultures.  It is a symbol of man’s carnal power and might.

Satanism and the occult are saturated with sexual perversion, child-molesting, and human sacrifices.  Most worshippers in these groups deny such claims, but some have openly professed it, such as the godless bisexual Aleister Crowley.  Such immoral occult influences are prevalent in rock music, feminism, and even in Walt Disney movies, such as The CHRONICLES of NARNIA.

In this photograph I’ve indicated both the White House (left) and the Capitol building (right).

The square and compass symbol stretches from the White House to the Capitol.

To the east of the Capitol sits a complete hexagram

A bird’s-eye view of the Capitol building reveals a figure resembling an owl.  The owl is a symbol which represents an pagan deity.  Nocturnal birds are symbols of sorcery and metaphysics because black magick cannot function in the light of truth (day) and is powerful only when surrounded by ignorance (night).  The owl is considered wise because the creature is able to see through the darkness of ignorance and materiality; hence its association with the goddess Athena and its veneration during the nocturnal cremation of care ceremony at the Bohemian Grove.

In his book, The Secret Architecture of Our Nation’s Capital, pagan David Ovason states that there are…

“zodiacs in the city, and at least 1,000 zodiacal and planetary symbols…”

SOURCE: The Secret Architecture of Our Nation’s Capital; by David Ovason; pg. 10, Harper Collins; 1999

Washington D.C. is absolutely infested with occult and astrology symbols.

In his book, Ovason documents the location of over 23 Satanic zodiacs in the federal district alone!  Why should God bless America?

Above the dome of the Capitol building stands Lady Libertas, the goddess Isis.

Guarding the entrance to the Capitol building is Nimrod (Baal) in the likeness of the Roman god Mars, whom the Egyptians called Osiris.  As you can see from the image below this entrance is identical to that of the Roman Panthenon of the Gods - as well as the Greek Parthenon.

There are several significant buildings in the District of Columbia with these ancient designs, including The White House.

  

  

The central part of the Supreme Court building is modeled after the Temple of Artemis, one of the 7 wonders of the ancient world.

The George Washington Masonic Memorial, modeled after descriptions of the Pharos of Alexandria - another wonder of the ancient world, sits across the Potomac in Alexandria, Virginia just inside the diagonal square border of D.C.

This statue of Washington in the Smithsonian Museum of American History was modeled after descriptions of the statue of Zeus at Olympia, one of the 7 wonders of the ancient world.  The museum is aligned to the cardinal directions, the statue sits at the western end of the main floor facing east.  Compare this portrayal of Washington to the images of Zeus and Baphomet – do you notice any similarities?

Satan on our Dollar

The eye represents Lucifer, the Prince of Darkness, who transforms himself into an angel of light (2nd Corinthians 11:3.

“Historian/author Ralph Epperson has spent many years researching the history of the Great Seal, and has discovered that those who designed the two circles committed America to what has been called “A Secret Destiny.”  This future “destiny” is so unpleasant that those who wanted the changes it entails had to conceal that truth in symbols.”

SOURCE: The New World Order, back cover, by Ralph A. Epperson; 1990; ISBN: 0-9614135-1-4; publisher: PUBLIUS PRESS, Tucson, Arizona.

The capstone of the pyramid is symbolic of the antichrist, who when he comes will complete the pyramid.  The beast system is now being prepared, aka, the New World Order.  Below, you can get an idea of the power structure of these occult groups.  If you want to do research, look up the various groups on the internet, such as the Mother of Darkness.

The special positions at the top of the pyramid are those who are wholly committed to the Luciferian Ideology, i.e., a Totalitarian Godless Police State!

These things are all very real folks. We read in 2nd Thessalonians 2:10 that the masses of this world WILL BE deceived when the Antichrist comes because they don’t love the truth of God’s Word, “And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.”
The International Conspiracy

It means Satan is the god of this world, just as 2nd Corinthians 4:4 declares.  We see far too many articles on the internet today exposing the occult, but not enough that tie it all in with the Word of God.  Folks, a bunch of facts will never make any sense until you shine the Light of God’s Word upon it.  The Word of God is the missing key.  Satan is the god of this sinful world, and he controls his servants through occult organizations, such as Freemasonry, Skull and Bones, and Bohemian Grove.  The term “Illuminati” refers to the highest and most evil people in the pyramid structure.  Few people realize that Communism is simply a mask for the New World Order.  Please read about The Lucifer Trust.

The hidden secret behind Communism is that Wall Street bankers were instrumental in creating it.  I recently read an excellent book… PAWNS in the GAME, by William Guy Carr (1958).  If you want to learn all the details of the Illuminati and their sinister evil plan to take over the world, then this is the book to read!  PAWNS IN THE GAME exposes how every major war over the past 250 years has been deliberately caused, financed, and profited from by the money-lenders.  As shocking as it may sound, this includes the American Revolution which gave birth to America.  On pages 49-58, William Guy Carr tells how the American Revolution was plotted and planned by the same international group which plotted the English and French revolutions; and how the international financiers obtained control of the American economy.  You’ll never hear the truth in a public school classroom.

People listen to those who continually cry, as they did in Spain, “Communism can never cause a revolution here.”  They listen to those who give them a sense of false security.  The majority of citizens are like children, who hide their heads under the blankets when they fear danger.  It should be remembered that pulling the bedclothes over one’s head never saved a person from an assassin, a rapist, or an exploding bomb. (SOURCE: PAWNS IN THE GAME, page 128, by William Guy Carr, 1958).

I couldn’t have described Americans today any better!  They are only listening to those who give them a sense of FALSE SECURITY!  They are hiding their heads under their blankets.  Please read, It Can’t Happen Here by Congressman Ron Paul.  These quotes from PAWNS IN THE GAME (and I highly recommend the book) should clearly evidence to you that history does repeat itself, or in other terms, people never learn!

The following quote is from page IX in the introduction concerning the International Conspiracy:

Very few people seem to appreciate that Lucifer is the brightest and most intelligent of the heavenly host and, because he is a pure spirit, he is indestructible.  The Scriptures tell us his power is such that he caused one-third of the most intelligent of the heavenly host to defect from God, and join him, because he claimed God’s Plan for the rule of the universe is weak and impractical because it is based on the premise that lesser beings can be taught to know, love, and wish to serve Him voluntarily out of respect for His own infinite perfections.  The Luciferian ideology states might is right.  It claims beings of proven superior intelligence have the right to rule those less gifted because the masses don’t know what is best for them.  The Luciferian ideology is what we call totalitarianism to-day.

The Old Testament is simply the history of how Satan became prince of the world, and caused our first parents to defect from God.  It relates how the synagogue of Satan was established on this earth, it tells how it has worked since to prevent God’s Plan for the rule of the universe being established on this earth.  Christ came to earth when the conspiracy reached the stage that, to use His own Words, Satan controlled all those in high places.  He exposed the synagogue of Satan (Rev. 2:9;3:9); he denounced those who belonged to it as sons of the Devil (Lucifer), whom He castigated as the father of lies (John 8:44) and the prince of deceit (2nd Cor. 11:14).  He was specific in His statement that those who comprised the synagogue of Satan were those who called themselves Jews, but were not, and did lie (Rev. 2:9; 3:9).  He identified the Money-Changers (Bankers), the Scribes, and the Pharisees as the Illuminati of His day.

Page X brings the conspiracy up to date:

In 1774 “An Act of God” placed the Bavarian government in possession of evidence which proved the existence of the continuing Luciferian conspiracy.  Adam Weishaupt, a Jesuit trained professor of canon law, defected from Christianity, and embraced the Luciferian ideology while teaching in Ingoldstadt University.  In 1770 the money lenders (who had recently organized the House of Rothschild), retrained him to revise and modernize the age-old ‘protocols’ designed to give the synagogue of Satan ultimate world domination so they can impose Luciferian ideology upon what remains of the Human Race, after the final social cataclysm, by use of Satanic despotism.  Weishaupt completed his task May 1st, 1776.

The plan required the destruction of ALL existing governments and religions.  This objective was to be reached by dividing the masses, whom he termed Goyim (meaning human cattle) into opposing camps

America has been hijacked by criminals, i.e., the illuminati.  Don’t believe me?  Then maybe you’ll believe Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney, or Congressman Ron Paul.   Halliburton was recently awarded a contract to build concentration camps IN AMERICA!  The truth is that our political leaders are PAWNS in a global game, controlled by murderous and sinister thugs who manipulate this world’s wealth and resources.  Our political leaders are mere puppets to the puppeteers, and we are the gullible sheep.

Here’s a photo of Condoleezza Rice at the United Nations in 2005 with the numbers 666 behind her.  Notice how the logo below was cleverly designed, celebrating the UN’s 60th anniversary, to appear as 666 above.Source 


26
Apr 11

11 Prices That Will Rise Along With Your Gas

(Sarah Gilbert)  “Uggh,” tweeted a friend of mine Monday. “I just spent $74 to fill up my tank.” With my car-free lifestyle, I’ve been feeling a little smug lately — it sure is nice to avoid those kind of receipts. But then I watched a big truck rumble past my front window filled with food pallets destined for Trader Joe’s, and I started thinking about all the other things whoseprices will go up in step with the $4-a-gallon gas.

Transportation costs may not have immediate effects on the prices of other goods, but as they start to build up and the trucking companies’ hedges expire, everything gets more expensive.

Here are 11 prices that are sure to rise along with the price of gas:

Air travel is, of course, thing number one. Expecting an unusual number of trips to conferences this summer, and watching the price of a barrel of oil tick higher and higher, I snapped up tickets as soon as I had the cash on hand rather than waiting until the almost-last-minute (my usual m.o. is to wait for fare sales).

I needn’t have rushed; the last few price increase attempts by airlines haven’t yet been “sticky” – a few airlines will test the water with a $4 or $8 or $10 increase, waiting to see if other airlines on that route match the price before letting it fall back to its former level. But prices have been up between 6% and 17% all year compared to the same time in 2009, and the continued test increases say that airlines will keep pushing the fare envelope.

Fast food. Want burgers and fries? If you’re a regular visitor to one of America’s finest purveyors of cheap fattening food — say, a few times a week — you could end up spending just as much, if not more, at McDonald’s and Wendy’s than you do for gas. Price increases haven’t been announced yet, but it’s safe to say that $0.20 or $0.30 more on your favorite menu items isn’t out of the question. Depending on your orders and frequency, this could add up to a few hundred dollars a year.

Bananas and potatoes and tomatoes, oh my. Rising produce prices have been a problem almost all year, and bad weather in Mexico is still depressing prices. Canadians saw an especially nasty increase in the price of fruits and vegetables in March, 3.3% sequentially; year-over-year, average nationwide prices for fresh produce were up 9.8% in March. You’ll continue to see especially high prices on tropical fruits and those vegetables that are out of season in your neighborhood (think tomatoes and strawberries for most of the U.S.). Reports from local farmers here in Portland, Ore., have me worried that the wet weather is going to mean scary prices for fresh peas and lettuce when they start appearing in the market next month.

Stamps for postcards and packages. You know who uses a lot of gas? The people in the business of delivering letters and packages to your door — the ones you’re ordering online so you don’t have to spend money for gas. Well, there’s no such thing as free transportation (unless you’re a bicyclist or pedestrian, I suppose), and the USPS and its private competitors are going to have to pay more for trucking packages and mail across the great U.S. of A. While regular first-class mail stamps will stay at 44 cents each, postcards will go up a penny; larger envelopes and packages will cost more per ounce, as will mail to some international destinations.

Beef and bacon. We’ve already seen indications that bacon prices will skyrocket this year; the raw ingredient for bacon, lean pork bellies, is up 50% so far this year. Beef prices are the impetus for Wendy’s to raise prices — they use fresh beef and can’t hedge costs quite as easily at McDonald’s by stocking up. Even if we don’t see any other price pressures this year, the USDA predicts consumers will see 6.5% to 7.5% increase in the price of their meat.

Coffee. From Starbucks to Maxwell House, coffee prices are up as much as 56% since last year. My favorite coffee-and-pizza shop is now a pizza shop alone, thanks to rising coffee prices. The culprit is the skyrocketing price of green arabica beans, the building block of any good coffee. Unseasonable rains and frosts in Mexico and other tropical locales are the culprit; they send the harvest quantities downward and are creating such havoc in the markets that some coffee growers are hoarding beans, hoping for a huge payday to make up for the depressed yields.

Orange juice. Another victim of that unseasonable freeze in tropical areas — this time, Florida — Tropicana is raising prices on its orange juice. Prices are expected to go up from 4% to 8%, says Pepsi, its corporate parent. Last year, the company didn’t raise prices exactly, but it did downsize its packaging. One of its popular sizes went from 64 ounces to 59 ounces. Next year, will we see 55-ouncers, I wonder? How low can you go?

Chocolate. So, we’ve got Middle East tensions…two years of bad weather in Florida and Mexico…rising transportation costs…and dwindling supplies of pork bellies. What else could go wrong? In the Ivory Coast, political turmoil has caused cocoa bean costs to go way up. Sugar is more expensive, too; that’s what caused Hershey to raise wholesale prices for its chocolate by as much as 9.7%. I don’t watch prices of this sort of chocolate closely enough to know how that’s impacted Easter candy — some chocolatiers are absorbing the costs for now, it seems — but I think I’m going to stock up on my own favorite brand. In desperate times, a girl needs fair trade organic dark chocolate. You know?


25
Apr 11

Ron Paul Launches Presidential Campaign

(Cameron Joseph)  Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, whose outspoken libertarian views and folksy style made him a cult hero during two previous presidential campaigns, will announce on Tuesday that he’s going to try a third time.

Sources close to Paul, who is in his 12th term in the House, said he will unveil an exploratory presidential committee, a key step in gearing up for a White House race. He will also unveil the campaign’s leadership team in Iowa, where the first votes of the presidential election will be cast in caucuses next year.

Paul, 75, ran as the Libertarian Party candidate in 1988, finishing with less than one half a percent of the vote. After more than a decade as a Republican congressman, Paul gave it another shot in the 2008 presidential election, gaining attention for being the only Republican candidate calling for the end to the war in Iraq and for his “money bomb” fundraising strategy, which brought in millions of dollars from online donors in single-day pushes.

Paul took 10 percent of the vote in the Iowa caucuses and 8 percent in New Hampshire’s primary. He finished second, with 14 percent of the vote, in the Nevada caucuses, and eventually finished fourth in the Republican nominating process with 5.6 percent of the total vote. Paul’s campaign book, The Revolution: A Manifesto also reached No. 1 onThe New York Times best-seller list in 2008.

This would seem to be an ideal year for Paul: Since the last election, the Republican Party has moved much closer to his view on deficit reduction, which made him an early tea party favorite. All of the party’s top-tier presidential hopefuls are focusing on lowering debt, government spending, and tax rates, issues Paul has long advocated.

Source-http://www.nationaljournal.com/politics/ron-paul-launches-presidential-campaign-20110425