According to Daniel Sheehan, the Catholic Church is now actively preparing for the discovery of Alien contact with highly a advanced alien species. Speaking at contact in the desert, he told of a what will be a historic papal encyclical decree calling for nothing less than the disassembly of the power structures that are destroying our civilisation and preventing us from joining an enlightened galactic community.Pope Francis previously caused quite a stir last year when he announced that he would baptise Aliens, quite a statement and a timely one at that given the fact the Vatican owns the biggest telescope on the planet.Former Minsitry Of Defence Nick Pope Told Neon Nettle: “It’s no secret that the Catholic Church has been repositioning themselves on this issue over the past few years. Do they know something? I doubt it. I think they’re just trying to ensure that if the scientific community announces the discovery of extraterrestrial life, the church is prepared.”Sheehan’s talk began with a summary of his previous work as an advocate for alien disclosure which, he says, also included classified sections from Project Bluebook (a study into UFO’s by the American airforce). He went on to say that his access to Bluebook gave him exposure to photographic evidence of crashes UFO’s that had Alien symbols on them.daniel p sheehan a harvard college trained american government foreign policy scholar talks about alien disclosure through the vatican © pressDaniel P. Sheehan, a Harvard College trained American Government & Foreign Policy Scholar talks about alien disclosure through the vaticanhttp://www.neonnettle.com/news/1447-pope-francis-to-announce-church-prep…
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Pope Francis To Announce Church Preparing For Alien Contact This Week (their-we are already here billions of years – CNN iReportAuthor: SupremePundit
“Remember, our nonviolent ETI from the contiguous universe are helping us bring zero point energy to Earth,” Podesta was told. “They will not tolerate any forms of military violence on Earth or in space.” The reference to ETI – extraterrestrial intelligence – set off alarm bells. So did mention of zero point energy, which its fans claim could be harnessed as an inexhaustible power supply.
WikiLeaks’ purloined emails cover a wide range of issues that were handled by Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman, John Podesta, in them are clear references to issues that have to do with E.T., alien energy sources and Apollo 14 astronaut Edgar Mitchell’s efforts to educate the public (DISCLOSURE) about Aliens from outer space before he died.
While GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump focused his fire on what the WikiLeaks file had to say about Clinton’s Wall Street speeches as a way to distract the public from the larger issue, UFO fans dwelled on what Mitchell was telling Podesta as he made the transition from the Obama White House to the Clinton campaign in 2015.
In an email from January of that year, Mitchell asked for an urgent meeting with Podesta about “(DISCLOSURE) and zero point energy,” and promised that a colleague named Terri Mansfield would “bring us up to date on the Vatican’s awareness of ETI.”
Mitchell sent another plea via email that August.
“Remember, our nonviolent ETI from the contiguous universe are helping us bring zero point energy to Earth,” Podesta was told. “They will not tolerate any forms of military violence on Earth or in space.”
The reference to ETI – extraterrestrial intelligence – set off alarm bells. So did mention of zero point energy, which its fans claim could be harnessed as an inexhaustible power supply.
“Hillary Clinton Leaked E-Mails Reveal Shocking Discussions on SPACE WARS, UFOs and ETs,” one of the more breathless (and search-optimized) headlines read.
But in fact, Mitchell never met with Clinton – or with Podesta, for that matter. “The meeting with Podesta, sadly, never took place,” Carol Rosin, one of Mitchell’s longtime collaborators, told GeekWire today in an email.
Rosin and Mansfield confirmed that Mitchell was indeed the author of the two emails, even though they went out via Mansfield’s email address, firstname.lastname@example.org. They said they worked with an aide to Podesta in hopes of arranging a meeting with him to discuss a treaty to ban weapons in outer space.
Rosin noted that Mitchell and Podesta shared an interest in extraterrestrial (DISCLOSURE).
“As you know, Dr. Mitchell was courageously educating people about the fact that ‘we are not alone,’ that there is no evidence of there being any hostile ETs here or coming to control, intervene or harm us, that we can have zero point energy, that there are no weapons based in space and that this is the unique time in history when our leaders can sign and ratify the ‘Treaty on the Prevention of the Placement of Weapons in Outer Space’ that has been introduced by the leaders of Russia and China,” Rosin said.
So, what about Podesta? When he left the White House in February 2015, he said in a tweet that his biggest regret of the previous year was “once again not securing the disclosure of the UFO files.”
“I’ve talked to Hillary about that,” Podesta told KLAS-TV this March during a campaign stop in Las Vegas. “There are still classified files that could be declassified.”
Podesta hasn’t discussed what might be in those files, but Clinton has vowed to “get to the bottom” of any mystery that still surrounds the UFO phenomenon.
Two other emails in WikiLeaks’ Podesta file were sent by Tom DeLonge, a veteran of the rock band Blink-182. Those emails refer to a UFO-related documentary project – perhaps the “Sekret Machines” multimedia project that DeLonge kicked off this year.
In an email from last October, DeLonge told Podesta that he’s “the one who interviewed you for that special documentary,” relating to “our sensitive topic.” In the other email, sent this January, DeLonge referred to Air Force Maj. Gen. William McCasland in connection with the 1947 Roswell UFO incident.
Roswell was of interest to Mitchell as well. When I interviewed him in 2014, he acknowledged that he relied on the claims that others have made about Roswell and other UFO sightings. That secondhand perspective also probably applies to Mitchell’s reference to the Vatican connection.
Even if Clinton (or Trump) comes across new revelations, it’ll be too late for Mitchell. He passed away this February at the age of 85. Nevertheless, there may yet be more to come from the late moonwalker. “The book Edgar and I wrote decades ago will soon be published,” Rosin said in her email.
Remember when they come:
More from GeekWire:
- Apollo 14 moonwalker (and UFO seeker) Edgar Mitchell dies at the age of 85
- If elected, Hillary Clinton vows to ‘get to the bottom’ of the UFO mystery
- Apollo 10’s moon music mystery revisited
Why do so many Americans feel dissatisfied about the economic state of their nation? One simple chart offers a lot of insight. Economists measure standards of living in many ways. Among the most common is to look at the change in the value of goods and services produced by a country, adjusted for inflation and for population growth. This measure, known as per capita real gross domestic product, essentially shows how much income the average person is generating. The chart below shows the cumulative growth in per capita real GDP in the U.S. over the preceding ten years, for each year from 1957 to 2015. It does a great job of depicting the country’s post-World War II macroeconomic experience. I
The Interior Department says Native Hawaiians can now choose whether to form a unified government, which could eventually enter into formal government-to-government relations with the U.S.
The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations to any individual. For your individual planning and investing needs, please see your investment professional.
Jonathan DeYoe has been a financial advisor in San Francisco for the past two decades, giving him a first-row seat to the unprecedented explosion of wealth creation ushered in by tech industry. Here are his 10 best pieces of money advice.
1. Put your money where your happiness is.
It is an incredible understatement to say the San Francisco Bay Area is an expensive place to live. Whether you come from money or just joined Facebook, you will have to make trade-offs to keep your head above water here — make the tradeoffs that are appropriate for you.
You don’t have to drive a Tesla, you aren’t required to live in a rad pad in the Mission, and you don’t need designer duds or the newest iGadget. Give up the trappings of success that hold no personal meaning for you and focus your financial resources on activities and affordable luxuries that build your particular brand of happiness, like a rock-climbing course and killer burritos.
2. Invest in yourself early and often.
If you are an engineer or scientist, you must stay on top of your technical game, but don’t hesitate to spend money on coaching or classes to develop your communication and leadership skills, as well.
If you are a professional, constantly hone your craft. Read broadly within your industry, enroll in continuing education, obtain advanced professional designations, and find opportunities to network with new people.
The dollars you dedicate to increasing your intellectual capacity and enhancing your ability to work well with others can boost your income substantially. Lifelong learning and professional development both lead to long-term success. The sooner you embark upon rigorous self-improvement, the longer you’ll enjoy the fruits of your labors, so invest in yourself now.
3. Don’t count your chickens before they’re hatched.
Equity compensation in the form of RSUs and stock-options can be a wonderful addition to your income and asset base. Over the years, I have seen many folks become wealthy through their company stock programs.
However, I have watched just as many stock compensation packages go up in smoke. Never forget that your stock has NO real value until you are fully vested and someone is willing to give you cash money for it on the open market. Just because a VC gives your company a sky-high valuation does not mean you’ll receive that valuation if (not when) the stock ever trades publicly.
Do not borrow against your stock. Do not pledge your stock as collateral to buy a massive house on Russian Hill. Do not count your stock among your REAL assets until it is actually part of your real assets. Better yet, don’t even count the eggs in your basket until you’ve hatched and sold them.
4. Get your foot in the front door.
Yes. The cost of housing in the Bay Area is ridiculous! When I read a 2015 San Francisco Chronicle article claiming that a Mountain View, California, resident was renting a tent in their backyard with bathroom access but no kitchen privileges for $900, I knew that we had all gone off the deep-end.
Today the median sales price for San Francisco homes is over $1.1 Million! No one is happy about real estate prices in the greater Bay Area, but if you are planning to stay here for five to seven years or more, consider buying a home. It doesn’t have to be beautiful or close-in. Alameda and Contra Costa counties are still relatively affordable. Just get your foot in the front door.
If you stay on the sidelines, don’t be surprised if the market continues to run away from you. Expect rare short-term dips, like we saw in 2008-2009, to effervesce quickly due to decades of housing policy that limited building.
And while many cities have strong rent-control laws, remaining a renter means your housing costs will continue to grow — perhaps pricing you out of the rental market and into that tent in someone’s backyard.
5. Turn a passion into a side hustle into a business.
First and foremost, do not neglect your day job. If your 9-to-5 office gig pays the bills and affords you ample pocket money, pursuing your passion for cooking by taking a second job as a sous-chef in a neighborhood restaurant won’t help you get ahead. You will burn out.
Nonetheless, there are hundreds of creative ways to capitalize on your hidden and not so hidden talents. My 11-year-old son bakes pies for neighbors, cat sits, and walks dogs. If you like baking or pets, why not?
You prefer to drive? Try Lyft or Uber. You love to write? Start a blog and learn how to drive traffic with social media. You’re a crack web designer? Register on freelance sites like Upwork or. You have a spare bedroom? You get the idea!
6. Create a financial road map.
Where do you want to go in life? As with any journey, if you have a specific destination in mind, you will need to take specific steps to get there. Planning your route is essential.
No one can afford to experience everything they want, but you can accomplish what is most important to you by creating a financial road map. Decide what tradeoffs you’re willing to make to achieve your goals. Take staycations until you’ve saved the down payment on a new house? Live with your old car six more months so that you can afford that new motorcycle next year? Drive Uber on week-ends to cover the cost of coding classes?
Where are you now? In debt? $20,000 away from that down payment? Underemployed? No need for shame. Accept your today and plan for a better tomorrow. What tradeoffs will you make? How much do you need to save? How are you going to get where you want to be? Planning makes things happen for you! NOT planning lets them happen to you.
7. Make your health a priority.
There are actually significant financial benefits to being healthy.
It probably comes as no surprise that healthier people have higher energy levels, improved resistance to illness, improved moods, higher self-esteem, better brain function, reduced fatigue, and less anxiety. But research indicates that healthier people may earn more and spend less, as well.
Good health while you’re young gives you the energy and focus to work harder and smarter, which can lead to better raises and more promotions, which translates into increased lifetime earnings. And good health later in life means fewer doctors visits, fewer medications, and hopefully decreased long-term care expenses as you age.
8. Save at least 10% of every dime you make.
Or, as the familiar saying goes, “Pay yourself first.”
Once you got your first “real” job and started earning more, you probably started spending more, too. If that trend continues every time you get a promotion or better job, you will never get ahead. At some point, you must make a conscious decision to save a specific portion of your income every single month. These savings will form the foundation upon which your entire financial life can be built.
Start by saving at least 10% of your gross salary every paycheck, and increase your savings 1% each year until you are saving 20% of your income. Use those initial savings to establish a cash emergency fund with six months to two years of living expenses. At the same time, take advantage of the tax breaks and “free” money you get from participating in your company’s 401(k) matching program. Next, pay-off your high interest debt. Then max out your 401(k), ROTH, and IRA combo, after consulting with your tax professional. The final step is to save even more in a taxable investment account and/or pay down your low interest debts.
9. Invest 90% of your liquid assets in an appropriately allocated, broadly diversified, and annually rebalanced basket of publicly traded securities.
I expect I will get some healthy Bay Area blow-back for this statement: Your investing prowess will not lead to “outperformance” in the long run.
Timing the markets, stock selection, and economic predictions may be an enduring part of the investment landscape, but none of those strategies offer a repeatable process for financial success. Luck often plays a much bigger role than skill when it comes to investment performance.
There is plenty of research on portfolio construction available to anyone willing to look. There is no evidence to support the idea that recent past performance will persist into the future or that folks dedicated to the timing and selection have been or will be successful doing so. Stock-picking requires repeated luck. Asset allocation, diversification, and rebalancing rely on something we can control, our consistent behavior, patience, and discipline.
10. Always be mindful of the big picture.
The course of human social and economic history expresses itself in a very long upward trend. That upward trend is often punctuated by short-term market upheavals, which are amplified by Wall Street and the financial press.
Stock markets and the financial media constantly over-correct in both directions in a seemingly endless cycle. Upside yields to downside. Excitement leads to despair. The good news? Today’s losses sow the seeds of future gain. You can’t consistently predict short-term outcomes because the economic and market details are ever-changing. Nonetheless, the big picture remains the same. Instead of reacting and over-reacting to the markets whims, be mindful of the big picture and stick to your thoughtfully constructed investment program and financial plan.
Jonathan K. DeYoe, AIF and CPWA, is the author of Mindful Money: Simple Practices for Reaching Your Financial Goals and Increasing Your Happiness Dividend. He is the founder and president of DeYoe Wealth Management in Berkeley, California, and blogs at the Happiness Dividend Blog. Financial planning and investment advisory services offered through DeYoe Wealth Management, Inc., a registered investment adviser.
How to prevent American from losing its middle class – Business Insider,just look at the flowers……..Author: SupremePundit
Jim Clifton, Chairman and CEO at Gallup, who presides over endless surveys of American consumers and businesses and knows a thing or two about them, has a message for the media and the political establishment that seem to be clueless: this meme about the recovering economy – “It was even trumpeted on Page 1 of The New York Times and Financial Times last week,” he says – “I don’t think it’s true.”In an article posted on Gallup’s website, he made his case: The percentage of Americans who say they are in the middle or upper-middle class has fallen 10 percentage points, from a 61% average between 2000 and 2008 to 51% today. Ten percent of 250 million adults in the U.S. is 25 million people whose economic lives have crashed. What the media is missing is that these 25 million people are invisible in the widely reported 4.9% official U.S. unemployment rate. Let’s say someone has a good middle-class job that pays $65,000 a year. That job goes away in a changing, disrupted world, and his new full-time job pays $14 per hour — or about $28,000 per year. That devastated American remains counted as “full-time employed” because he still has full-time work — although with drastically reduced pay and benefits. He has fallen out of the middle class and is invisible in current reporting.And these “Invisible Americans,” as he calls them, are facing the “disastrous” emotional toll often associated with a sharp loss of household income. It hits “self-esteem and dignity,” and produces an “environment of desperation.” Even many American with good jobs and incomes are just “one degree” away from the misery of those with falling wages, or the underemployed or unemployed.Clifton names three metrics that “need to be turned around or we’ll lose the whole middle class”: According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the percentage of the total U.S. adult population that has a full-time job has been hovering around 48% since 2010 — this is the lowest full-time employment level since 1983. The number of publicly listed companies trading on U.S. exchanges has been cut almost in half in the past 20 years — from about 7,300 to 3,700. Because firms can’t grow organically — that is, build more business from new and existing customers — they give up and pay high prices to acquire their competitors, thus drastically shrinking the number of U.S. public companies. This seriously contributes to the massive loss of U.S. middle-class jobs. New business startups are at historical lows. Americans have stopped starting businesses. And the businesses that do start are growing at historically slow rates.“Free enterprise is in free fall — but it is fixable,” he says. It all depends on small businesses. They need to thrive again. They’re “our best hope” for the economy to pick up some speed. And once they’re thriving again, they can “restore the middle class”: Gallup finds that small businesses — startups plus “shootups,” those that grow big — are the engine of new economic energy. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, 65% of all new jobs are created by small businesses, not large ones.But small businesses as a group are not doing well. Over the past three decades, the US averaged nearly 120,000 more business births than deaths per year. But between 2008 and 2011, according to Census Bureau data, on average 420,000 businesses were born per year, while on average 450,000 died. That the core of the US job creation machine has been faltering is not a sign of a healthy or even a “recovering” economy.Clifton’s sobering message – that a big part of American households and therefore consumers are still in serious disarray in part due to the problems small businesses are facing – appears to be getting totally lost among the media hype, including the deafening razzmatazz about the 5.2% jump in “household income,” reported last week by the Census Bureau, and widely misconstrued by the media.This disarray is even worse, once it’s parsed, as the Census Bureau has done, by men and women. Because men’s median income, adjusted for inflation, is now lower than it had been in 1974!
A group of six Gulf Arab countries expressed “deep concern” Monday over a bill passed by the U.S. Congress that would allow families of Sept. 11 victims to sue the government of Saudi Arabia over the attacks. Israel was not included as one of the states that could be sued.
The head of the Saudi-dominated Gulf Cooperation Council, Abdullatif al-Zayani, said in a statement that the legislation runs against the principles of international law and sets a dangerous precedent for foreign relations.
The U.S. House of Representatives approved the legislation last Friday, following earlier passage by the Senate. The White House has signaled President Barack Obama would veto the proposed law over concerns that it could open the U.S. up to similar lawsuits from other countries.
The legislation could also further strain relations between Washington and oil-rich Saudi Arabia, which is wary of the Obama administration’s outreach to its regional rival, Iran.
Fifteen of the 19 hijackers on the planes that killed nearly 3,000 people in New York, the Washington, D.C. area and Pennsylvania were Saudi nationals.
Congress in July released 28 declassified pages from a congressional report into 9/11 that rekindled speculation that some of the hijackers had ties to Saudi government officials a goverment that worked very close with the Bush Family for many years in the oil business. Later Kangaroo court U.S. investigations into the attacks were unable to substantiate the allegations.
Saudi Arabia welcomed the release of the declassified files, saying they contained no surprises and should end speculation of official Saudi involvement. But the kingdom has strongly objected to the proposed legislation allowing 9/11 lawsuits, which would give victims’ families the right to sue Saudi Arabia in U.S. courts over any role that the Saudi government may have played in the 2001 attacks.
The United Arab Emirates, which has the second-largest economy in the GCC after Saudi Arabia, issued its own statement echoing the Gulf bloc’s concerns Monday.
“This law is not equal with the foundations and principles of relations among states, and represents a clear violation given its negative repercussions and dangerous precedents,” said Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the federation’s foreign minister.
The seven-state Emirates federation is one of Washington’s closest Arab allies. Two of the 9/11 hijackers were Emirati.
Besides Saudi Arabia and the UAE, the GCC includes Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman and Qatar.
In its own statement, Qatar said the 9/11 legislation “violates international law, particularly the principle of sovereign equality between states.” The head of the Arab League, Ahmed Aboul-Gheit, added his criticism too, saying the law would contradict “established norms of the international law,” according to Egypt’s state news agency MENA.
Encinitas in 2013 passed Proposition A, which mandates that voters must weigh in on any land-use changes in the city. Meanwhile, every city in California is required to update its housing element, a plan that shows how it will meet the growing demand for housing, every four years
But now AGENDA 21 is coming to town just like in every city in the USA. Crowding is required while land on the outskirts is devalued and forced into non use by environmentalists.
The prospect of building more homes is unpopular in all crowded communities, Encinitas included. Yet the city needs to demonstrate where it can build 1,200 housing units, its share of regional growth expectations.
Encinitas is now in a tough legal position. Local voters could reject the city’s plan to accommodate new housing – a plan required by state law.
”The court might very well say, ‘I don’t know that Prop. A is legal when it tries to stand in the way of something that you’re required by law to do,” Durkee said. “But if you can make it work, and you can secure (voter) support, then I don’t have a problem with you having done that, because it’s an issue that took care of itself.”
Legal trouble over housing law is nothing new for Encinitas. Developer David Meyers is already suing the cityit for not implementing a separate state law that lets developers build more homes on a property if the project includes low-income homes.
Meyers has now amended his lawsuit to include the discrepancy between Prop. A and the state’s housing element law.
Prop. A can’t keep the city from making good on a state requirement, he argues.
“You need to get it done, and you don’t need a vote of the people,” Meyers said. “You could have a vote, but it would only be advisory.”
Specifically, Meyers contends that state mandates trump local initiatives, like Prop. A.
Encinitas already abandoned one attempt to meet the mandate before a 2013 deadline, over dissatisfaction with specific areas a consultant suggested could be targeted for new development. It’s the only city in the county, and one of a few in the state, without a legal housing plan.
Missing that deadline exposed the city to lawsuits. In 2015, Encinitas settled a lawsuit with the Building Industry Association, which said the city needed to put an update on the November 2016 ballot, or give up its authority to issue building permits.
Meyers didn’t agree with the settlement. Putting the housing element to voter approval is as good as ignoring state law, he said.
“Do I think if it’s subject to voter approval it has a prayer? No, it doesn’t have a prayer,” Meyers said.
At one point, city staff proposed exempting housing element updates from the city’s requirement for voter approval. Staff removed that language after hearing from residents.
“The former draft zoning standards and land use element did suggest an exception to the voter requirement, and it did at one time suggest at one time that a supermajority of Council could make subsequent amendments without the need to go to a vote of the people,” planner Michael Strong said at a June 15 hearing.
This is the first time the city will send a housing element plan to the ballot. Two of the proposed changes in the plan are drawing widespread criticism from voters, especially those in Cardiff.
Hence, the uncertainty.
One of the unpopular changes is based on a guideline to build housing for lower-income residents more densely.
Ghettos are going to be built in Encinitas!
The second change would raise the maximum building height to three stories in certain areas, lifting a two-story limit that was established by Prop. A.
The city previously tried to get creative with solutions for providing affordable units, which would have limited the number of properties that needed the taller, denser buildings.
That was a so-called granny flat program that tried to encourage homeowners to bring illegal, additional units on their properties up to code so they would count as affordable housing. But the granny-flat idea was a flop.
Fourteen distinct sites are targeted for the new zoning in the plan that will go to voters, including one in Cardiff where the City Council removed the three-story height increase over objections from residents.
Those sites were chosen through a two-year process of community meetings and workshops, and some of the sites that were originally designated for upzoning were removed from the final map after residents protested.
Durkee, the land-use law attorney, said at the Council meeting that he’s supportive of sending the draft to voters, but it’s unlikely that a defeat at the ballot box is the end of the process.
The environmental lobby will sue them into submission.
“Ultimately, I don’t think the vote, if it’s no, will be the last, and ‘My goodness, we dodged a bullet and can go back to business as usual,’” he said.
If voters approve the plan, state housing authorities will then check that it doesn’t constrain development. Strong said state approval would also mean the city would need to update its climate action plan to be consistent with the housing element within 20 months.
That, too, could trigger another vote under Prop. A, but Strong said he believed the timeline was achievable.
Still, Meyers said a plan that can win support from development-averse voters probably isn’t one that will actually attract developers to build the new homes envisioned in the plan.
“The question is: Is the (plan) that’s being pushed capable of being built at the density they’re proposing,” he said. “I have great doubt.”
Soylent green is going to be made of people…..
Encinitas has placed itself in a tough legal position. Local voters could reject the city’s plan to accommodate new housing – a plan required by state law. Encinitas is the only city in the county, and one of a few in the state, without a legal housing plan.
The upper middle class grew to 29.4 percent of the population in 2014, up from 12.9 percent in 1979. The rich – those making $350,000 or more – also grew, from 0.1 percent of the population in 1.8 percent of the population. The middle class, however – once considered the backbone of the American economic order – shrunk from 38.8 percent to 32 percent of the population during the same time. The Urban Institute, a liberal-leaning think tank, defines the middle class as those making $50,000 to $100,000 per year. The lower middle makes $30,000 to $50,000 per year, those defined as “poor” make less than $30,000 per year.
Israel gave birth control to Ethiopian Jews without their consent | Middle East | News | The IndependentAuthor: SupremePundit
Israel has admitted for the first time that it has been giving Ethiopian Jewish immigrants birth-control injections, often without their knowledge or consent.
The government had previously denied the practice but the Israeli Health Ministry’s director-general has now ordered gynaecologists to stop administering the drugs. According a report in Haaretz, suspicions were first raised by an investigative journalist, Gal Gabbay, who interviewed more than 30 women from Ethiopia in an attempt to discover why birth rates in the community had fallen dramatically.
One of the Ethiopian women who was interviewed is quoted as saying: “They [medical staff] told us they are inoculations. We took it every three months. We said we didn’t want to.” It is alleged that some of the women were forced or coerced to take the drug while in transit camps in Ethiopia.
The drug in question is thought to be Depo-Provera, which is injected every three months and is considered to be a highly effective, long-lasting contraceptive.
Nearly 100,000 Ethiopian Jews have moved to Israel under the Law of Return since the 1980s, but their Jewishness has been questioned by some rabbis. Last year, the Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, who also holds the health portfolio, warned that illegal immigrants from Africa “threaten our existence as a Jewish and democratic state”.
Haaretz published an extract from a letter sent by the Ministry of Health to units administering the drug. Doctors were told “not to renew prescriptions for Depo Provera for women of Ethiopian origin if for any reason there is concern that they might not understand the ramifications of the treatment”.
Sharona Eliahu Chai, a lawyer for the Association of Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI), said: “Findings from investigations into the use of Depo Provera are extremely worrisome, raising concerns of harmful health policies with racist implications in violation of medical ethics. The Ministry of Health’s director-general was right to act quickly and put forth new guidelines.”
Israel has admitted for the first time that it has been giving Ethiopian Jewish immigrants birth-control injections, often without their knowledge or consent.
But what does the article actually say?
A government official has for the first time acknowledged the practice of injecting women of Ethiopian origin with the long-acting contraceptive Depo-Provera.
Health Ministry Director General Prof. Ron Gamzu has instructed the four health maintenance organizations to stop the practice as a matter of course.
The ministry and other state agencies had previously denied knowledge or responsibility for the practice, which was first reported five years ago.
Gamzu’s letter instructs all gynecologists in the HMOs “not to renew prescriptions for Depo-Provera for women of Ethiopian origin if for any reason there is concern that they might not understand the ramifications of the treatment.”
He also instructed physicians to avail themselves of translators if need be.
Gamzu’s letter came in response to a letter from Sharona Eliahu-Chai of the Association of Civil Rights in Israel, representing several women’s rights and Ethiopian immigrants’ groups. The letter demanded the injections cease immediately and that an investigation be launched into the practice.
About six weeks ago, on an Educational Television program journalist Gal Gabbay revealed the results of interviews with 35 Ethiopian immigrants. The women’s testimony could help explain the almost 50-percent decline over the past 10 years in the birth rate of Israel’s Ethiopian community. According to the program, while the women were still in transit camps in Ethiopia they were sometimes intimidated or threatened into taking the injection. “They told us they are inoculations,” said one of the women interviewed. “They told us people who frequently give birth suffer. We took it every three months. We said we didn’t want to.”
First of all, Israeli doctors admitted offering Depo-Provera years ago to those who want it. In June 2008, the health minister of the time, Yaacov Ben Yezri, “said the high number of Ethiopians in Israel using the drug reflected a ‘cultural preference’ for injections among Ethiopians.” Whether this is true or not, it shows that Ha’aretz is sloppy already in the first paragraph – they meant to claim that Israel acknowledged injecting the drug without permission.
But does that memo really say that?
The TV special that claimed that these women were coerced into taking the drug aired about six weeks ago. Isn’t it possible that this memo was more to show caution that there might have been some women who misunderstood the use of the drug or the options they have for birth control? That’s the way the quoted part reads tome. It certainly doesn’t admit that Israeli doctors were conspiring to sterilize Ethiopian women, as Ha’aretz alleges – and as other media have willingly published.
Now let’s look at the earlier article about the TV investigation:
Women who immigrated from Ethiopia eight years ago say they were told they would not be allowed into Israel unless they agreed to be injected with the long-acting birth control drug Depo Provera, according to an investigative report aired Saturday on the Israel Educational Television program “Vacuum.”
The women say that while waiting in transit camps in Ethiopia prior to immigration they were placed in family planning workshops where they were coaxed into agreeing to the injection – a charge denied by both the Joint Distribution Committe, which ran the clinics, and the Health Ministry.
“We said we won’t have the shot. They told us, if you don’t you won’t go to Israel And also you won’t be allowed into the Joint (American Joint Distribution Committee) office, you won’t get aid or medical care. We were afraid… We didn’t have a choice. Without them and their aid we couldn’t leave there. So we accepted the injection. It was only with their permission that we were allowed to leave,” recounted Emawayish, who immigrated from Ethiopia eight years ago.
Emawayish was one of 35 women, whose stories were recorded by Sebba Reuven, that relate how they were coaxed and threatened into agreeing to receive the injectable birth control drug.
The birth rate among Israel’s Ethiopian immigrant population has dropped nearly 20 percent in 10 years.
According to the report, the women were given the Depo Provera injections in the family planning workshops in transit camps, a practice that continued once they reached Israel. The women who were interviewed for the investigation reported that they were told at the transit camps that having many children would make their lives more difficult in Ethiopia and in Israel, and even that they would be barred from coming to Israel if they refused.
If true, this is indeed terrible. But the denials in that program were no less emphatic:
The Joint said in a response to “Vacuum” that its family planning workshops are among the services it provides to immigrants, who learn about spacing out their children’s birth, “but we do not advise them to have small families. It is a matter of personal choice, but we tell them it is possible. The claims by the women according to which ‘refusal to have the injection will bar them from medical care [and] economic aid and threaten their chances to immigrate to Israel are nonsense. The medical team does not intervene directly or indirectly in economic aid and the Joint is not involved in the aliyah procedures. With regard to the use of Depo Provera, studies indicate that is the most popular form of birth control among women in Ethiopia,” the Joint said.
In its response to “Vacuum,” the Health Ministry said it did not “recommend or try to encourage the use of Depo Provera, and that if these injections were used it was against our position. The Health Ministry provides individual family counseling in the framework of its well baby clincs and this advice is also provided by the physicians of the health maintenance organizations.”
The Jewish Agency, which is responsible for Jewish immigration from abroad, said in response that it takes a harsh view of any effort to interfere in the family planning processes of Ethiopian immigrants, adding that “while the JA has never held family planning workshops for this group in Ethiopia or at immigrant absorption centers in Israel, the immigrant transit camp in Gondar, as the investigation noted, was previously operated by other agencies.”
Three separate organizations on two continents are accused of performing the same reprehensible practice, a practice that would involve an unusual amount of collusion and conspiracy. But not one doctor from these agencies has come forward to verify the claims.
Yet another denial was published in a blog when the report first came out, from a doctor at The Joint:
JDC runs the medical program in Gondar for potential immigrants to Israel. As part of this, we offer voluntary contraception to our population. Our clinic offers both birth control pills and injectable contraception. If a woman prefers another method of contraception such as implantable or tubal ligation, we send them to facilities down the road in the city of Gondar for this.
Women come to the program because they desire family planning. We present the various options to them and they choose. So women both choose to use contraception and choose their method. And choose when to discontinue contraception. It has always been that way in our program.
Right now we’re caring for about 4500 potential immigrants to Israel. We average about 85 family planning visits each month.
We do not inform the Israeli authorities who is on family planning, and I have no idea what happens once they arrive in Israel.
Regarding the rate of 30% reported some years ago, we offered family planning to the population at a time when it was less available to the general public, and our population chose to use it.
At present, the rate of modern contraceptive use in Amhara Region is 33% indicating a significant demand, as contraceptive services have become more available to the public. Even now, there is an unmet demand for contraceptive services in this region of over 20%. To give you an idea of the rise in this service, in 2005, 15.7% used modern contraception in Amhara region.
Injectable contraceptives are the most desired throughout the country. They are easy, culturally preferred, and offer the ability to be on birth control without a woman informing her husband, which is an issue here.
I appreciate the chance to set this record straight.
Rick Hodes, MD, MACP
Medical Director, AJJDC-Ethiopia
Update 9:50 am CST – I followed up with Dr. Hodes to make sure there was no mistake about what he was saying:
“So to be clear, you’re saying that you personally never told any woman that she would have to take Depo-Provera shots in order to immigrate to Israel? The women claim that JDC workers from Israel told them they had to do it. Is that claim to the best of your knowledge false?”
Dr. Hodes replied:
To the best of my knowledge, this claim is 100% false.
Neither myself nor my staff have ever told any women in our program that they should take Depo-Provera for any reason. 100% of Depo-Provera shots are purely voluntary, and may be discontinued (or changed to another method) at any time.
In fact, we don’t have JDC workers from Israel come and tell women
So how can these contradictory claims be reconciled? The idea that the Joint, the Jewish Agency and the Health Ministry are all lying might work for anti-Israel conspiracy theorists, but it is hardly credible.
My guess – and it is only a guess – is that Ethiopian women were generally enthusiastic about the idea of birth control. And as Dr. Hodes says, the idea of injectable contraception was appealing to them – because they don’t have to tell their husbands.
This is the key to understanding the story. The Ethiopian husbands would generally be averse to their wives taking birth control, so they must do it in secret – and the Depo-Provera is by far the best method to keep their husbands from knowing. They simply tell them that they were receiving inoculations or some other excuse.
Now, when the men start getting suspicious as to why they aren’t having kids, how many of the wives will admit that they are secretly taking contraception? It is much easier to come up with a story about how it all happened without their knowledge, or how they were forced to do it against their will.
I am not denying that there is racism in Israel, just as there is everywhere else. I can certainly believe that some Israeli doctors may be more likely to recommend the Depo-Provera injection for black women than their whiter patients. I can believe that the frustration of not being able to communicate can result in sub-par care, and in not explaining the contraceptive options that they have. It is very possible that the doctors did not properly inform the women of the (sometimes serious) side effects that Depo-Provera has. The TV program helped expose these fissures in the care being given to Ethiopian women. This would naturally result in the Gamzu memo that Ha’aretz reported so eagerly.
The idea that doctors – especially in doctors who willingly travel to Ethiopia, people who would be among the most dedicated medical professionals on the planet – would conspire to effectively sterilize black women is simply not plausible.
Ha’aretz, and the gullible hateful media that follows it slavishly, was actively trying to demonize Israeli health officials and organizations that are dedicated to helping people – in order to report a scoop. The facts that we are aware of today, however, do not add up to the claims being made.
Perhaps my theory isn’t 100% correct. I’m the first to admit that we don’t have all the facts. But what I am suggesting fits the facts we do know much better than the yellow journalism being practiced in this case.
UPDATE: Mordy in the comments points to a 2005 study that says exactly what I was guessing:
Because contraceptives may introduce social discord, leading at times to intimate partners’ violence amongst African couples, women of low bargaining powers often resort to family planning methods that are suitable to covert use.
Women can take injections of Depo-Provera while visiting a health facility and remain protected against unwanted pregnancies for three months. This may be done without their husband’s knowledge and without the bother of having to remember to take the pill or to undergo clinical procedures that are involved when opting for implants or intrauterine devices. Consequently, a general pattern that has been observed in the contraceptive method mix in sub-Saharan Africa and elsewhere in the developing world is the predominance of injectables.
If a reporter visits one or fifty of these women and asks if they took the injections voluntarily, what do you think they would say?
UPDATE 2: Reuters did a tiny bit of actual reporting and asked Gamzu whether his memo was an admittance that Israel is forcibly giving the drug to Ethiopian women:
Ministry Director-General Roni Gamzu said the decision did not imply he accepted the allegations by the Association of Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI).
Ha’aretz’ misinterpretation of the memo, as I wrote above, was the linchpin for the entire story.
This is looking more and more like Ha’aretz’ version of the “Racist Jews steal organs from Arabs and Haitians” story that the anti-semites love to push
Greece’s debt crisis has affected each and every area of the country’s economic activity, including the sex industry, resulting in young Greek women selling their services for the lowest price in Europe.
Following almost six years of crisis, sex workers have had to dramatically cut prices, driving central and eastern European women who used to dominate the industry out of business, a three-year study compiling data on more than 17,000 sex workers shows.
Before the crisis hit the country, the average price for sex with a prostitute was €50 ($53). Today, it has plummeted to as low as €2 ($2.12) for thirty minutes. With the unemployment level reaching almost 60 percent, more and more women are joining the industry, raising more than €600 million (almost $638) annually.
“Some women just do it for a cheese pie, or a sandwich they need to eat because they are hungry,” Gregory Lazos, a professor of sociology at Panteion University in Athens and lead author of the research, told the London Times newspaper. “Others [do it] to pay taxes, bills, for urgent expenses or a quick [drug] fix.”
The number of sex workers living on the edge seems to be on the rise, Lazos said. The professor is known for a number of publications on the subject, including two volumes specifically dedicated to prostitution in Greece.
“Most worrying,” he told the Times, “is it doesn’t look like these numbers will fade; rather they are growing at a steady and consistent pace.”
The prices for sex are falling not only in Greece, but all over the world as well, reportedly caused by the internet giving access to adult content. However, the average price of a one-hour encounter in Europe is €255 ($271). Broadly speaking, the prices in Greece are fifty times lower than on average on the continent.
“Factor in the growing number of girls who drift in and out of the trade, depending on their needs, and the total number of female prostitutes is startling,” Mr Lazos said. “Greek women now dominate 80 percent of the trade.”
Prostitution is legal in Greece, but only 10 brothels in the country actually have a license, meaning women have no other choice but to go to the streets or private dens.
“State authorities, police and health officials must finally act rather than continuing to remain indifferent,” Lazos concluded.
Greece has been struggling with financial crisis since late 2009. After numerous rounds of negotiations, the Greek government introduced a number of austerity measures required for bailout. These have turned out to be a serious blow to the more vulnerable sectors of the
Greece’s debt crisis has affected each and every area of the country’s economic activity, including the sex industry, resulting in young Greek women selling their services for the lowest price in Europe.
Last December, the United States joined 194 other countries in signing the first ever agreement to address climate change. While the delegates in Paris were tinking wine glasses over the 12-page agreement, politicians in Washington were grumbling about how bad the deal was for America.
Those grumbles continued today in a hearing of the House of Representatives Committee on Science, Space, and Technology. Chaired by Lamar Smith, a Republican from Texas, the hearing offered a glimpse of how the Republicans plan to oppose the landmark climate deal.
And no surprise, it’s a basically a continuation of their arguments from the last several decades:
- Question the economics adapting to so called climate change,
- question the science and manipulation of data attempting to prove it,
- and question legality of President Obama’s approach to dealing with the issue.
Playing the role of “The Paris agreement is bad for business,” was Stephen Eule, Vice President for Climate and Technology, U.S. Chamber of Commerce. He began by discussing the futility of meeting the Paris agreement’s goals. “As a recent State Department report demonstrates,” he read from his prepared statement. “The US Paris pledge of a 26 percent to 28 percent reduction in net greenhouse gas emissions from the 2005 level by 2025 is completely unrealistic, and the administration still has no plan to achieve it.” Eule also talked about the billions of dollars US taxpayers would pay into funds to help poor countries mitigate the effects of climate change and develop clean energy economies.
And of course, the whole thing is a hoax anyway. Or, in the evolving language of scientific politics, “Not scientifically justifiable that this country should establish economic regulations that hit on the poorest,” says John Christy, an atmospheric scientist at the University of Alabama. In the role of “science says everything is awesome,” Christy describes himself as a scientist who builds datasets. His pride and joy is a collection of bulk temperature records taken from the Earth’s surface up to 50,000 feet above sea level.
Climate scientists use surface temperature as their go-to dataset as it is most easily manipulated — They think climate is where most of the weather affecting humans happens well below 50,000 feet. That’s 20,000 feet higher than the top of Mount Everest. So the climate scare community is critical of Cristy, because including higher altitudes averages out the extreme temperature fluctuations that affect things like arctic melting, ocean warming, and sea level rise.
But in the hallowed halls of the science committee, that kind of evidence is enough to throw into question the very theory that carbon dioxide increases air temperature. If the science ain’t there, why bother with all this pesky intergovernmental politicking and killjoy regulations?
Because it’s all a vast legal conspiracy, that’s why. Why else would the American delegation have tried so hard to keep the Paris agreement from becoming a treaty, which would have required Senate ratification? Which is exactly what it should have been, according to Steven Groves of the Heritage Foundation, as “America is the Best.” He points to a semi-obscure State Department rule called Circular 175 Procedure, which is basically a checklist that decides whether an international arrangement is a treaty (meaning it has to go through congress), or a sole executive agreement (which the president can attend to via actions like the Clean Power Plan).
Er…Groves is probably onto something here, actually. One might be able to make a case that the Paris agreement affects state sovereignty, especially if you take into account precedent in how US government officials have treated international climate agreements.
But the biggest threat comes from the compromise Obama used in lieu of that sure-to-fail senatorial ratification. The Clean Power Plan, announced last August, is an EPA rule that puts serious emissions restrictions on coal power plants. It’s under legal attack from 27 states and numerous independent groups, but many legal scholars aren’t afraid that those could succeed. The real question is what happens in November. A Republican president would almost certainly nullify the regulation, which would mean America reneges on the Paris agreement. “However, this would lead to political consequences with our allies,” Groves points out.
To balance out the Republicans’ three horsemen of climate-is-not-an-apocalypse, committee minority leader Eddie Bernice Johnson, a Democrat from Texas, invited her own witness: Andrew Steer, president and CEO of the World Resources Institute, a climate and economics think tank. Steer, an economist, focused solely on how clean energy would make a lot of people rich. In other words, the Democrats used him the same way their Republican colleagues used their own mouthpieces, to a significantly diminished effect.
In this type of setting, the minority Democrats were in a position to put the statements made by Eule, Christy, and Groves under the microscope, and failed to show any reason to doubt the scientific arguments underlying the Republican majority’s opposition on this matter.
Republicans aren’t happy about the Paris agreement, but so far their volume of their dissatisfaction has been relatively muted compared to things like Bengazi! Hillary’s emails!! and Obamacare!!! But eventually—perhaps in April, when the 196 countries officially sign the Paris agreement—the opposition will get louder.
A congressional hearing about climate change gave a glimpse of each party’s strategy with regards to climate change.
Project Avalon Community Forum
New rules allow small investors to receive shares of a company in exchange for investments they make.
Entrepreneurs raising money through crowdfunding campaigns have typically rewarded their backers with early access to products and with tchotchkes like T-shirts and coffee mugs.
But under new rules adopted Friday by the Securities and Exchange Commission, they will be able to offer a prize that could be more lucrative: an equity stake in their business.
The rules will allow small investors to buy shares of private companies under the provisions of the Jump-Start Our Business Start-Ups Act. Until the change, equity crowdfunding had been legal only for accredited investors, or those who met required levels of assets and income.
President Obama called the bill, better known as the JOBS Act, “a potential game-changer” for fledgling companies, when he signed it more than three years ago. But the law stalled as regulators struggled to write rules stringent enough to protect investors but flexible enough to allow for meaningful fund-raising.
A set of draft rules released two years ago was widely criticized and deemed almost unworkable by many in the industry, who said that compliance would be too costly and complex. The rules adopted Friday had been substantially revised to address some of those concerns.
The new rules allow companies to raise up to $1 million in a 12-month period through a crowdfunding campaign. Companies will need to provide their potential investors with financial statements, but some first-time issuers and those seeking less than $500,000 will not be required to have the statements audited — an important concession for those concerned about the cost of providing audited financials.
Companies will be able to advertise their offerings in a variety of ways, including posting them on Kickstarter-like portals for investors to peruse. (Kickstarter has said that it is not interested in expanding into equity crowdfunding, though one of its top rivals, Indiegogo, said it is considering doing so.)
Dozens of investment portals have sprung up in recent years, but until now, only accredited investors — those with an annual income exceeding $200,000 or a net worth of at least $1 million — have been permitted to invest in most of the deals advertised on them.
Some of those portals now plan to expand into the nonaccredited market. SeedInvest, a site that has helped 50 funding deals in the last three years, expects to begin offering deals next year to a wider pool of investors.
“There’s no question that there’s a lot of pent-up demand from ordinary investors,” said Ryan Feit, the site’s chief executive and one of its founders. “At the end of the day, that means there will be more capital available for small business.”
The amount of money backers will be allowed to invest depends on their income. Those with an annual income or net worth of less than $100,000 will be allowed to invest up to $2,000 in a 12-month period, or 5 percent of the lesser of their income or net worth, whichever is greater. Those with an income and net worth of more than $100,000 will be permitted to invest up to 10 percent of the lesser of their annual income or net worth.
The equity shares they buy will be risky, illiquid investments. Investors will generally be required to hold on to the shares for at least one year, and there are not yet many marketplaces for those seeking to sell shares in private companies, which are difficult to value.
Some critics are deeply skeptical about the quality of the investments that will be available. “Ninety-nine percent of these deals will prove to be unprofitable,” said Andrew Stoltmann, a lawyer who specializes in securities fraud. “This is a disaster waiting to happen.”
Others counter that the new rules will allow entrepreneurs’ family, friends, customers and professional contacts to invest in ventures that they want to support.
“I think it’s going to really make a difference for businesses that are not especially fashionable for professional investors,” said James Dowd, the chief executive of North Capital Private Securities, a broker-dealer that focuses on private fund-raising. “They want to invest in companies that have the potential to be disruptive to an entire industry. You don’t see a lot of capital flow into ordinary consumer and retail businesses.”
The S.E.C. on Friday also proposed changes to several other fund-raising rules, including those governing intrastate offerings. More than 25 states have adopted their own crowdfunding rules to let local businesses raise money from residents within the state, often with fewer regulatory requirements than the federal rules. The commission suggested striking down a rule that blocked those intrastate offerings from being advertised to out-of-state investors — a quirk that prevented companies from publicizing their fund-raising campaigns on their own websites or on social media sites.
“It’s an absurd thing, but that’s what the law said. It was horrifying,” said Kendall Almerico, a lawyer who specializes in crowdfunding issues. “Fixing this is huge.”
The range of ways in which private companies can raise money from nonaccredited investors has significantly expanded this year. In June, new federal rules took effect allowing companies to raise up to $50 million through a provision known as Regulation A. Those deals carry stricter disclosure and compliance requirements than the crowdfunding process outlined on Friday, which is intended to be much cheaper and faster for issuers.
Taken together, the new federal and state rules give entrepreneurs a much wider set of options for raising money from a diverse pool of investors.
“I’m surprised at how far the S.E.C. went to make it all work,” said Douglas S. Ellenoff, a securities lawyer at Ellenoff Grossman & Schole. “The entrepreneur now has a series of very interesting choices and lots of different options for how they go about their capital formation.”
The S.E.C.’s four commissioners voted 3-1 on Friday morning to adopt the new crowdfunding rules, which are expected to take effect early next year.
Recently, Louisiana became the latest state to attempt a massive ban on cash that would have resulted in making it illegal to use U.S. cash dollars in any secondhand transactions.
The law, called R.S. 37:1866, made it illegal to, say, go to a garage sale and buy a lawn mower with cash dollars. That’s right: It would have prohibited American citizens from using legal U.S. tender.
After an outcry by critics who called the law unconstitutional, Louisiana “amended” the bill to remove the widespread ban.
However, rather than end the ban completely, the state government chose instead to narrow the focus, making it illegal to exchange cash dollars for gold or any precious metals. This, of course, brings to mind the 1930s when FDR banned the private ownership of gold by U.S. citizens.
And it comes at the tail end of a multiyear push to restrict cash use by American citizens.
Already the states of Florida, Texas, and New York have removed tollbooths from highways. Plenty more have installed cashless parking meters and banned cash at dumps and other local facilities.
In fact, when one man tried to pay his mortgage in cash at a Bank of America, he was arrested. A reporter from the Daily Kos (a liberal blog) was accused of “casing the bank” when he showed up to report on the story.
And these are just the latest examples of an attempt to restrict cash from moving around in the U.S. economy.
SEE ALSO: Scandal Behind Obama’s Digital Dollar?
Critics worry that this is “Big Brother’s” latest effort to monitor its citizens more closely.
However, new revelations – just leaked online – show a radically different cause for this government push… And one much more disturbing.
It would appear that there’s about to be a massive shortage of cash in America.
In fact, according to research just made public, the U.S. may already have less cash on hand than the GDP of Finland (a country with about two-thirds of the population of New York City).
And it would appear that is all about to end with a scenario that the highest levels of our government and banking system have warned would devastate the country.
Janet Yellen, the chairwoman of the Federal Reserve, has gone on record to call it America’s biggest economic risk.
A former official from the Treasury Department has described a scenario like this, saying, “Literally, your ATM wouldn’t work. You type in your code, no money comes out. You get your paycheck, you can’t cash it.”
According to a video – posted online HERE – we’re about to experience that firsthand. And very soon.
It comes from a private news and research network that usually reserves information like this for its private subscribers. How long the video will remain online we don’t know. For the moment, it’s available HERE (for FREE), and we’d strongly recommend you watch it right now.
NEW YORK (MainStreet) — Anxiety that Social Security benefits will not be available in retirement has inspired plenty of fear among American consumers. Amid the gloom, there is cause for slight optimism: the combined asset reserves of the Old-Age and Survivors Insurance and Disability Insurance Trust Funds are not projected to run out until 2034, gaining a year of solvency over last year’s projections, according to the recently released Social Security Board of Trustees annual report on the health of the Social Security Trust Funds.
Reports like this, combined with media skepticism, have led many Americans to believe that the safety net of Social Security will not be around to catch them when they fall into retirement.
However, some Social Security experts believe that the federal government will not allow Social Security to become insolvent when so many Americans rely in part or in full on Social Security during their retirement years. Rather, they believe that there may be a reduction in pay out or a hike in taxes.
“The Social Security system is good shape,” says Louis D. Johnston, professor of economics at Saint John’s University. “Current taxes are funding current benefits. When current taxes start to dip below the amount needed to pay current retirees, the Social Security Administration will begin selling some of its holdings of U.S. Treasury bonds and use the proceeds to pay retirees. At that point, Johnston says it will be necessary to do some combination of increasing taxes slightly, raising or removing the earnings cap on earnings that are subject to Social Security tax or increasing the retirement age.
“I would say that anyone under the age of 55 should adjust downward their expectations for the retirement benefits they will receive,” says Ken Moraif, CFP, senior advisor at Money Matters in Plano, Tex. “Most likely an increase in the eligibility age and some form of means testing would save the system.”
Considering and understanding Social Security is of the essence for most consumers: Social Security retirement benefits typically replace 40% of pre-retirement income, according to the Social Security Administration.
Whether retirement is around the corner or years down the road, you should know that Social Security decisions are complex, and making a mistake could cost you tens of thousands of dollars. Here are ten Social Security tips to consider:
1. You may have to pay tax on your Social Security income. About 40% of Americans pay taxes on their Social Security income. If you’re married and file a joint return, you’ll have to pay taxes if your total income is more than $32,000. If you’re single, that number drops down to $25,000.
2. You may qualify for Social Security even if you’re divorced. If you were married for at least ten years, you’re eligible to collect Social Security based on your ex-spouse’s record, if you’re not married when you become eligible for Social Security. To top it off, your ex-spouse does not have to know about it. It will not affect his or her Social Security income. Further, if you signed a divorce decree relinquishing your rights to Social Security on your ex-spouse’s record, those clauses will not be enforced. To boot, you may collect a higher rate of Social Security, if your ex-spouse predeceases you.
3. File and suspend for increased income. Married couples can increase their Social Security retirement income by implementing a little-known strategy. When one spouse turns 66 years old, he or she can file for Social Security retirement income and then immediately suspend it. This allows the second spouse to claim spousal benefits (35% of the first spouse’s benefits) at age 62, even if the second spouse never worked. By waiting until age 66 years, the second spouse can collect 50% of her spouse’s benefits. Meanwhile, if the second spouse worked, his or her benefits continue to grow.
4. How old you are when you start to collect Social Security has a big impact on the amount of your monthly benefit. In general, the older you are when you decide to start collecting Social Security, the larger your check. You can start collecting Social Security as early as age 62, but if you want a bigger check, you must wait until your full retirement age, which is 66 years for individuals born between 1943 and 1954 and 67 years for individuals born in 1960 or later. For those born in between 1955 and 1959, there’s a gradual climb in age qualification. Social Security benefits are said to increase 8% for each year you delay collecting pay after your full retirement age.
5. You must work for at least ten years to qualify for Social Security retirement income. However, they don’t have to be consecutive years.
6. You can increase the amount of your Social Security check. By working longer, you can replace low-income years with higher-income years. This is good news for individuals who were unemployed for a period of time and those who got better jobs or promotions. Further, years with no income will not replace years with income, even if they come closer to retirement.
7. There is a maximum benefit that you can receive. This year, individuals who have reached full retirement age can collect as much as $3,501 per month.
8. Teachers and other government workers may not qualify for full Social Security benefits. The Windfall Elimination Provision, or WEP, reduces the amount of Social Security that retired and disabled workers get who receive pensions from employment not covered by Social Security.
9. You can get an idea of how much Social Security retirement income you’ll get by using the Social Security Administration’s Retirement Estimator.
10. You can view your Social Security information online. If you’re 18 years old or older, you can see your earnings record, estimates for how much Social Security income you’ll have at retirement and more at www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount.
Here’s What the Average American’s Finances Look Like. How do Yours Compare?
Dick Cheney reemerges: Bloodthirsty veep is back to promote endless war — just in time for 2016 – Salon.comAuthor: SupremePundit
Dick Cheney reemerges: Bloodthirsty veep is back to promote endless war — just in time for 2016
Dick Cheney and his silly advocacy group are back to preach neoconservatism to the converted
Topics: Dick Cheney, 2016 Elections, Liz Cheney, Republicans, Alliance for a Strong America, Neoconservatism, neoconservatives, Iraq war, Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush, Foreign policy, National security, Politics News
Do you remember what the Alliance for a Strong America is? Don’t feel too bad if you don’t, since there’s really no reason for you to have spent any time thinking about the non-profit group or its mission to “advocate for the policies needed to restore American power and pre-eminence.” But if that name does kindle some faint glimmer of recognition, it’s probably from the glut of press coverage that attended its unveiling around about this time last year.
The Alliance for a Strong America, you see, is Dick Cheney’s dark-money advocacy group. It was founded to fight back against the Obama administration’s foreign policy and educate the public on the need for America to demonstrate its exceptional nature through the vigorous application of explosives to foreign lands. Working with his daughter, failed Senate candidate Liz Cheney, the former vice president was going to remind the American public of just how much danger they are constantly in and how the only way to make the world safe is to blow parts of it up.
That, at least, was the plan. But the Alliance for a Strong America doesn’t really seem to have done much since then. Peruse the Alliance’s website and you’ll see that its main function seems to be occasionally linking to articles from conservative publications bashing Obama or praising Cheney (the last update was from March). The group’s YouTube page boasts just four videos: a launch video featuring Dick and Liz, and three clips of their media appearances (it hasn’t been updated since last August). Liz Cheney told the Casper Star-Tribune last year that she and her father intended for the Alliance to be “a center of gravity” on national security issues and “a place where people can come to get information to help them make a case and help make sure people recognize at the end of the day, our security relies on American strength and power around the world.” If that’s happening, then they’re doing a great job of keeping it a secret.
But now Dick and Liz Cheney are back and renewing the urgent mission they put off for a year. The two have a new book coming out in September, and the former VP just gave a big interview to the Wall Street Journal that can be best described as Classic Cheney – hawkishness, straw men in abundance, and the de rigeur 9/11 fearmongering:
600 strains of an aerosolized thought control vaccine already tested on humans; deployed via air, food and water – NaturalNews.comAuthor: SupremePundit
(NaturalNews) According to the document you’re about to see, for the last eight years, government scientists have actively engineered viral vaccines designed to alter thoughts and beliefs by infecting the brain and suppressing genetic expression of neurological cells. Dispersal of these vaccines has been tested via high-altitude aerosolized sprays, highway vehicles, the water supply and even the food system.
As you’ll see in the document and video below, the vaccine was intended from the start to be deployed against civilian populations, and 600 strains of infectious viruses were tested on human subjects. One of the transmission vectors documented in the testing exploited an influenza strain to spread the mind-infecting virus as a pandemic.
The point of all this is to infect the minds of the population and transform people into what the government calls “normal.” From the government’s point of view, of course, “normal” means “obedient and mindless.”
This is all described in a video and a document that surfaced several years ago but which are only now beginning to connect the dots as the medical police state in America accelerates to insane levels of aggression against the population. See recent stories on medical kidnapping in Arkansas and CPS kidnapping of children in Arizona for starters.
Using aerosolized stealth vaccines as tools of behavioral control and mind alteration
This YouTube video, described as a “leaked Pentagon video,” features a Bill Gates-sounding scientist explaining in cold, calculating language how engineered vaccines can “eliminate behavior” that’s considered undesirable by the government.
Starting at the 3:00 mark, you can hear this scientist explaining how a vaccine can “turn a fanatic into a normal person.” A normal person, of course, means a person who is obedient to government authority.
Here’s a transcript of the presentation:
Scientist: And that would have the effect which is to essentially turn a fanatic into a normal person…
Audience: How would you suggest that this is going to be dispersed? Via aerosol?
Scientist: The present plan and the tests that we’ve done so far have used respiratory viruses such as flu or rhinoviruses, and we believe that’s a satisfactory way to get the exposure of the largest part of the population… and we’re quite confident this would be a very successful approach.
Audience: What’s the name of this proposal?
Scientist: The name is FUNVAX, the vaccine for religious fundamentalism. The proposal has just been submitted, and I think the data that I have shown you today would support the development of this project and we think it has great promise.
Watch the video here, which carries the US Dept. of Defense identifier of “DOD ID 149AZ2.”
Designed to infect brain cells and alter beliefs and behavior
This document at WantToKnow.info appears to explain the design and intent of the virus in a summary entitled, “Quarterly FunVax Review.”
The document says:
The objective of this phase of project ID 149AZ2 is to prepare a viral vector that will inhibit / decrease the expression of VMAT2 within a human population.
…the design allows the virus to infect the respiratory track where cytolytic infection occurs and then subsequent diffusion across the blood barrier to infect brain cells.
The document goes on to say that there will be “coordination between the research, clinical and manufacturing groups” taking place in 2007. This clearly spells out intent to take this project from the research phase to manufacturing and deployment.
You may wonder, therefore, against whom these weaponized mind control vaccines might be deployed, right? The answer is YOU.
Dispersal via air, water supply, highway vehicles and insects
According to the document linked above, the dispersal of the brain-modifying viral vaccine was tested in six different ways:
Six methods of … virus dispersal were tested – high altitude release, water supply release, insect transmission, diffusion by a ground level object such as a car, diffusion from a stationary object such as a bottle, and infection of food supply such as cattle or produce.
As you take in the paragraph you just read, consider that now, nearly eight years later, we are witnessing the release of genetically engineered mosquitoes combined with outbreaks of bizarre neurological conditions across U.S. schoolchildren and mysterious health conditions all over the world.
The “high-altitude release” of this mind-altering viral vaccine has no doubt already been achieved through the aerosolized spraying of cities in crisscross patterns of aerosolized dispersal at altitude, often labeled as “chemtrails.”
Suicide genes, field testing and future experiments
The same document cited above goes on to summarize a research group meeting that apparently took place on March 21st, 2007, in which the following topics were discussed:
• Proposal for a suicide gene
• Dispersal methods
• Testing efficiency in the field
• Inhibitors that may target a specific population
• Monkey knockdown progress
• Future experiments
Other directives in the document say things like:
“All 600 strains of VSV should be retested on human subjects…”
“Future experiments of VSV287 should allow the subject to breath in the virus rather than being injected with it.”
“The use of FunVax could see an immediate effect within the target zones… the results of mass inoculation should be proportionate to the rate of infection. Behavioral indicators … decrease in armed resistance… increase in communications that express discontent with religion or God.”
Fully intended to be deployed against civilian populations
It’s clear from the document that this mind-altering, brain-infecting vaccine was intended from the start to be deployed against civilian populations. In fact, the document discusses plans for covertly taking biological samples from dead civilians in order to determine the effectiveness of the aerosolized dispersal effort:
… a blood sample of militant casualties or deceased civilian would provide the most accurate estimate of the rate of vaccination… biological samples from living subjects may be covertly taken… the tests that should be repeated using the VSV287 are high atmospheric tests…
An airborne virus would be the preferred route of infection. A strain named VSV287 has been designed to spread via air… Only human trials can determine VSV287’s effect on religiosity and spirituality… high atmospheric dispersal or dispersal by a ground level moving object appears to be the most practical.
The government has a history of using aircraft to disperse vaccines
The air-dropping of vaccines onto large populations isn’t new, by the way. As I reported here on Natural News in 2012, the Texas government air-dropped 1.8 million rabies vaccines onto wild animal populations as part of a government-run scheme to vaccinate wildlife.
Yes, even wild coyotes and rabbits are not safe from the vaccine zealots. No animal on the planet is considered “safe” by health authorities unless it is first infected with a virus or two.
The Dept. of Defense plan is far more elaborate, however, using aerosolized dispersal with high-altitude aircraft or even dumping viral vaccines into the water supplies of large cities. Such an action would be considered an act of domestic terrorism if you or I did it, of course, but when the government proposes it, suddenly it’s okay.
Has a mind-altering vaccine already been released over U.S. cities?
All this brings up the obvious question: Has this mind-altering vaccine already been deployed over U.S. cities? It’s a legitimate question because the high-altitude deployment of this vaccine against civilian populations was clearly the intent of the program.
A mass “dumbing down” vaccine lobotomy would sure explain a lot of what’s going on in America these days, such as how certain people still haven’t figured out that every statement uttered by President Obama is a calculated lie. (I can’t wait to watch the upcoming theatrical comedy show called the “State of the Union Address.”)
I’ve also been wondering why we’re seeing a wholesale abandonment of morality and ethics across the western world these days, and it’s not an outlandish area of inquiry to wonder if entire cities of people have been intentionally exposed to a virus that infects their brains just as described by the scientist in the video above.
I know, it sounds like the actions of a Batman movie villain, but then again we already know the vaccine industry is largely staffed by mad scientists with villainous intent. Remember, this is the same group of disreputable scientists who knowingly committed scientific fraud by covering up the confession of a CDC scientist who admitted the agency manipulated data to eliminate any apparent link between vaccines and autism. It’s no stretch at all to realize these same people would gladly deploy vaccines to dumb people down if that made them more compliant and docile.
The greatest enemy of the vaccine industry is, of course, anyone who can still think for themselves.
We also know that vaccines are being deployed right now to covertly sterilize women using sterilization chemicals secretly mixed into the vaccines themselves.
We also know there’s still toxic mercury in flu shots, even though the establishment ridiculously claims flu shots are 100% safe to give to pregnant women, infants, toddlers, senior citizens and everyone else. This is an industry that actually seems to enjoy the power trip of causing widespread health harm, vaccine-induced seizures, comas, autism and even death. Deploying vaccines at high altitude to invisibly fall onto large cities where they are inhaled by millions of people is an almost erotic fantasy come true for these anti-human vaccine zealots who despise life and openly advocate human depopulation.
Can good nutrition protect you from aerosolized vaccine weapons of mass mental destruction?
When I look around America today and witness the total abandonment of rational thought, the criminality of the medical system, the corruption at every level of government and the twisted insanity infecting the minds of the masses, I can only wonder if the population has been covertly but deliberately exposed to something nefarious.
Perhaps some of us are immune — people like you and I — while others fall victim to the virus because they live in states of weakened immunity. Perhaps people who eat the most nutritious foods and superfoods have the best defenses against covert vaccine schemes and are therefore the only ones to emerge with their minds and awareness fully intact.
Perhaps we’re already five years into a massive war against human consciousness that’s being waged every day at every level, from the droning idiots on the cable news networks to the brain-destroying medications dosed out to nearly every person who steps foot in a doctor’s office. Combine aerosolized, weaponized vaccines with the mind-numbing effects of fluoride, TV sitcoms, chemical food additives and mass media social engineering and you end up with a nation of sleepwalking zombies who are only capable of obedience, not independent thought.
Through these aerosolized vaccines, in other words, the hilariously-depicted “zombie apocalypse” may already have begun. And perhaps the so-called “mindless masses” are actually just victims of a nefarious, government-run behavioral modification program designed to turn a human breath into an unintended vaccination event.
Long lines, some stretching for blocks, formed outside grocery stores in the South American country’s capital as residents search for scarce basic items such as detergent and chicken.
“I’ve visited six stores already today looking for detergent — I can’t find it anywhere,” said Lisbeth Elsa, a 27-year-old janitor, waiting in line outside a supermarket in eastern Caracas. “We’re wearing our dirty clothes again because we can’t find it. At this point I’ll buy whatever I can find.”
A dearth of foreign currency exacerbated by collapsing oil prices has led to shortages of imports from toilet paper to car batteries, and helped push annual inflation to 64 percent in November. The lines will persist as long as price controls remain in place, Luis Vicente Leon, director of Caracas-based polling firm Datanalisis, said today in a telephone interview.
Government officials met with representatives from supermarket chains today to guarantee supplies, state news agency AVN reported. Interior Minister Carmen Melendez said yesterday that security forces would be sent to food stores and distribution centers to protect shoppers.
“Don’t fall into desperation — we have the capacity and products for everyone, with calmness and patience. The stores are full,” she said on state television.
President Nicolas Maduro last week vowed to implement an economic “counter-offensive” to steer the country out of recession, including an overhaul of the foreign exchange system. He has yet to provide details. While the main government-controlled exchange sets a rate of 6.3 bolivars per U.S. dollar, the black market rate is as much as 187 per dollar.
Inside a Plan Suarez grocery store yesterday in eastern Caracas, shelves were mostly bare. Customers struggled and fought for items at times, with many trying to skip lines. The most sought-after products included detergent, with customers waiting in line for two to three hours to buy a maximum of two bags. A security guard asked that photos of empty shelves not be taken.
Police inside a Luvebras supermarket in eastern Caracas intervened to help staff distribute toilet paper and other products.
“You can’t find anything, I’ve spent 15 days looking for diapers,” Jean Paul Mate, a meat vendor, said outside the Luvebras store. “You have to take off work to look for products. I go to at least five stores a day.”
Venezuelan online news outlet VIVOplay posted a video of government food security regulator Carlos Osorio being interrupted by throngs of shoppers searching for products as he broadcast on state television from a Bicentenario government-run supermarket in central Caracas.
“What we’re seeing is worse than usual, it’s not only a seasonal problem,” Datanalisis’s Leon said. “Companies are not sure how they will restock their inventories or find merchandise, with a looming fear of a devaluation.”
The price for Venezuela’s oil, which accounts for more than 95 percent of the country’s exports, has plunged by more than half from last year’s peak in June to $47 a barrel this month.
“This is the worst it has ever been — I’ve seen lines thousands of people long,” Greisly Jarpe, a 42-year-old data analyst, said as she waited for dish soap in eastern Caracas. “People are so desperate they’re sleeping in the lines.”
Russia throws down the gauntlet: energy supply to Europe cut off; petrodollar abandoned as currency war escalates – NaturalNews.comAuthor: SupremePundit
“These findings suggest that lifestyle practices that reduce bacterial dispersal — specifically, sanitation and drinking water treatment — might be an important cause of microbiome alterations,” the University of Alberta’s Jens Walter, senior author of the Papua New Guinea study, said in a news release.
Sanitation practices are generally a good thing, but scientists say beneficial bacteria are lost along the way. For example, the team behind the research in Venezuela found that the Yanomami tribespeople harbored bacteria that may play a role in boosting immune response and metabolizing carbohydrates. Another example is Oxalobacter formigenes, a microbe that’s linked to a decreased risk of kidney stones.
“The challenge is to determine which are the important bacteria whose function we need to be healthy, and have a healthy, educated immune system and a healthy metabolic system,” said Maria Dominguez-Bello, a medical researcher at New York University’s Langone Medical Center who is the senior author of the study.
But TheRealDeal does offer countermeasures against potential fraud. Like the Silk Road and its ilk, it asks that all bitcoin transactions through the site be kept in escrow, so the payment can be returned to the buyer if the seller doesn’t deliver. And unlike most Dark Web markets, it allows only so-called multisignature transactions. That means the bitcoins are held at an address jointly controlled by the buyer, the seller, and the market’s admins. For the money to be moved to the seller’s account, two out of three of those parties must sign off on the deal, giving the administrators the tie-breaking vote to resolve disputes. (Despite that system, it’s still not clear exactly how those disputes would be resolved. In many cases, TheRealDeal admins would likely have to test exploits themselves to know if a buyer had been scammed.)
TheRealDeal goes further than many past markets in attempting to assuage its users’ fears that the market itself might attempt to steal their bitcoins. Though it collects a fee on every transaction (3 percent or .1 bitcoin, depending on the size of the sale) it never asks the user to store their bitcoins in a wallet controlled by the market itself. Therefore, it can’t pull the sort of “exit scam” other markets like Sheep Marketplace and more recently Evolution have, abruptly shutting down and absconding with millions of dollars worth of users’ coins. “We don’t have a wallet, we don’t want your coins and want to assure you that we will not run away with your coins one day,” the site’s FAQ reads.
Just who’s running TheRealDeal is, as with most Dark Web markets, a mystery. An administrator didn’t immediately respond to WIRED’s requests for an interview, and the site’s creators describe themselves only as experts in information security with a background in zero-day sales. “We consist of 4 partners who have a lot of experience in infosec,” they wrote in an anonymous Q&A with the Dark Web blog DeepDotWeb.
We have a lot of experience dealing in the [unencrypted, traditional internet] when it comes to 0day exploit code, databases and so on .. But the problem is that 90% of these dealers are scammers. People with a lot of experience can always do their best to determine if what they are buying is real based on technical information and demos but some of these ‘vendors’ are very clever and very sneaky. We decided it would be much better if there was a place where people can trade such pieces of information and code combined with a system that will prevent fraud and also provide high anonymity.
TheRealDeal’s creators aren’t the first to try bringing this gray market economy online. A website called WabiSabiLabi launched in 2007 with the aim of becoming an eBay for exploits. But the business soon surrendered that notion, due in part to sellers’ inability to prove the validity of their exploits without fully revealing them. Despite all its multisignature protections and escrow system, TheRealDeal could face a similar problem.
Unlike other players in the zero-day industry, however, TheRealDeal doesn’t face the added hurdle of trying to keep its sales legal or ethical. Companies like the French hacking firm Vupen, by contrast, argue that it sells zero-day vulnerabilities only to NATO governments or allies. Zero-day sales have become a lucrative underground trade in recent years, with government intelligence and law enforcement agencies often the highest bidders. Those buyers might be turned off by TheRealDeal’s approach of using Tor and bitcoin to obscure sellers’ identities. But that anonymity instead enables a “no-questions-asked” system that could draw a customer base of cybercriminals or authoritarian regime hackers.
If there were any remaining question about TheRealDeal’s legality, the site also sells a variety of money laundering services, stolen accounts, and drugs. Its zero-day sales are only the featured items in an anything-goes smorgasbord that includes everything from stolen identities to LSD and amphetamines.
In fact, TheRealDeal represents the Dark-Web economy’s continued progression towards a true, lawless free market. The Silk Road, though it tolerated some simple and easily obtained hacking tools, generally enforced a policy of only “victimless” crime.
TheRealDeal has no such restrictions. Its rules ban only child pornography and, strangely, services that offer “doxing,” the posting of specific users’ private information. But victims, if its anonymous form of zero-day sales catches on, will be just another part of the business model.
‘Alarming’ antibiotic resistance
Dominguez-Bello and her colleagues also found that the Yanomami tribespeople, who were “uncontacted” by Western visitors until 2009, nevertheless had gut bacteria with genes that could activate resistance to antibiotics. Some of the resistance genes could counter even the third- and fourth-generation synthetic antibiotics created to fight modern diseases.
The researchers say their findings imply that bacteria may possess an ancient but complex set of defense mechanisms that swing into action whenever they come across new threats.
Co-author Gautam Dantas, an immunologist at Washington University School of Medicine, told reporters that the finding was “alarming to us.”
“It emphasizes the need to ramp up our research for new antibiotics, because otherwise we’re going to lose this battle against infectious diseases,” Dantas told reporters.
The gut bacteria were extracted from fecal samples as well as skin swabs and mouth swabs, and then subjected to genetic analysis. The fact that the microbial communities were more diverse is in line with previous studies that have focused on Hadza hunter-gatherers in Tanzania and the Matses people of the Peruvian Amazon.
What’s good for the gut
The microbiome has become a topic of increasing interest in recent years, because scientists suspect it plays a crucial role in human health. The best-known illustration of the microbiome’s importance is the use of “fecal transplants” to cure a life-threatening intestinal infection known as C. difficile. In the future, microbiome therapy could address autism, obesity, food allergies and immune deficiencies.
Some of the bacteria identified in the guts of the Yanomami “might have therapeutic value” for such conditions, said Jose Clemente from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, another co-author of the study.
Dominguez-Bello emphasized that microbiome studies could help the Yanomami as well as more industrialized societies.
“It seems inevitable that the world is converging to westernized lifestyles,” she told reporters, “and so far it has been inevitable to observe how Amerindians when they integrate, or Africans when they westernize — how they quickly suffer our current diseases, obesity, diabetes. So I think that by learning what went wrong with our lifestyle … we’ll also benefit them in not suffering the same health consequences.”
In addition to Dominguez-Bello, Dantes and Clemente, the authors of the Science Advances study, “The Microbiome of Uncontacted Amerindians,” include Erica Pehrsson, Martin Blaser, Kuldip Sandhu, Zhan Gao, Bin Wang, Magda Magris, Glida Hidalgo, Monica Contreras, Óscar Noya-Alarcón, Orlana Lander, Jeremy McDonald, Mike Cox, Jens Walter, Phaik Lyn Oh, Jean Ruiz, Selena Rodriguez, Nan Shen, Se Jin Song, Jessica Metcalf and Rob Knight.
In addition to Walter, the authors of the Cell Reports study, “The Gut Microbiota of Rural Papua New Guineans: Composition, Diversity Patterns and Ecological Processes,” include Inés Martínez, James Stegen, Maria Maldonado-Gómez, A. Murat Eren, Peter Siba and Andrew R. Greenhill.
This is too awesome!
So this girl was looking for a rich husband on a dating website. Her biography was very straight forward about her seeking a rich husband. In a quick summary, she is just a complete gold digger. But the email she received from the J.P. Morgan CEO was definitely not what she expected!
“I’m going to be honest of what I’m going to say here. I’m 25 this year. I’m very pretty, have style and good taste. I wish to marry a guy with $500k annual salary or above. You might say that I’m greedy, but an annual salary of $1M is considered only as middle class in New York.
My requirement is not high. Is there anyone in this forum who has an income of $500k annual salary? Are you all married? I wanted to ask: what should I do to marry rich persons like you?
Among those I’ve dated, the richest is $250k annual income, and it seems that this is my upper limit.
If someone is going to move into high cost residential area on the west of New York City Garden(?), $250k annual income is not enough.
I’m here humbly to ask a few questions:
1) Where do most rich bachelors hang out? (Please list down the names and addresses of bars, restaurant, gym)
2) Which age group should I target?
3) Why most wives of the riches are only average-looking? I’ve met a few girls who don’t have looks and are not interesting, but they are able to marry rich guys.
4) How do you decide who can be your wife, and who can only be your girlfriend? (my target now is to get married)
Reply from J.P. Morgan CEO:
“Dear Ms. Pretty,
I have read your post with great interest. Guess there are lots of girls out there who have similar questions like yours. Please allow me to analyse your situation as a professional investor.
My annual income is more than $500k, which meets your requirement, so I hope everyone believes that I’m not wasting time here.
From the standpoint of a business person, it is a bad decision to marry you. The answer is very simple, so let me explain.
Put the details aside, what you’re trying to do is an exchange of “beauty” and “money” : Person A provides beauty, and Person B pays for it, fair and square.
However, there’s a deadly problem here, your beauty will fade, but my money will not be gone without any good reason. The fact is, my income might increase from year to year, but you can’t be prettier year after year.
Hence from the viewpoint of economics, I am an appreciation asset, and you are a depreciation asset. It’s not just normal depreciation, but exponential depreciation. If that is your only asset, your value will be much worse 10 years later.
By the terms we use in Wall Street, every trading has a position, dating with you is also a “trading position”.
If the trade value dropped we will sell it and it is not a good idea to keep it for long term – same goes with the marriage that you wanted. It might be cruel to say this, but in order to make a wiser decision any assets with great depreciation value will be sold or “leased”.
Anyone with over $500k annual income is not a fool; we would only date you, but will not marry you. I would advice that you forget looking for any clues to marry a rich guy. And by the way, you could make yourself to become a rich person with $500k annual income.This has better chance than finding a rich fool.
Hope this reply helps.
J.P. Morgan CEO”
THE major factor driving increasing costs is the constant expansion of university administration. According to the Department of Education data, administrative positions at colleges and universities grew by 60 percent between 1993 and 2009, which Bloomberg reported was 10 times the rate of growth of tenured faculty positions.
Even more strikingly, an analysis by a professor at California Polytechnic University, Pomona, found that, while the total number of full-time faculty members in the C.S.U. system grew from 11,614 to 12,019 between 1975 and 2008, the total number of administrators grew from 3,800 to 12,183 — a 221 percent increase.
▶ Professor Daniele Ganser (Switzerland) – 10 Years After 9/11 The Official Account Does Not Add Up – YouTubeAuthor: SupremePundit
In an interview with the Orange County Register, Mohamed El-Erian was asked about everything from life after Pimco to where he is currently putting most of his money. Rather than putting most his money in stocks or bonds, El-Erian reveals that most of it is actually sitting in cash. And the reason is simple: pretty much everything else has gotten too elevated.
A Beijing-Baghdad Railway?
Larry Summers: The Past Month May Go Down as a Turning Point for U.S. Economic Power – Yahoo FinanceAuthor: SupremePundit
Summers is referencing the new Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, China’s 18-month-old plan to start the first new multilateral development lender in decades. More than 40 countries applied to be founding members including China, Australia, Egypt, Ukraine, the U.K., France, Switzerland, India, and South Korea.
How Growers Gamed California’s Drought
The record drought now entering its fourth year in California has alarmed the public, left a number of rural communities without drinking water, and triggered calls for mandatory rationing. There’s no relief in sight: The winter rainy season, which was a bust again this year, officially ends on April 15. Nevertheless, some large-scale farmers are enjoying extraordinary profits despite the drought, thanks in part to infusions of what experts call dangerously under-priced water.
Resnick, whose legendary marketing flair included hiring Stephen Colbert to star in a 2014 Super Bowl commercial, told the conference that pistachios generated an average net return of $3,519 per acre in 2014, based on a record wholesale price of $3.53 a pound. Almonds, an even “thirstier” crop, averaged $1,431 per acre. Andy Anzaldo, a vice president for Resnick’s company, Wonderful Pistachios, celebrated by showing the assembled growers a clip from the movie Jerry Maguire in which Tom Cruise shouts, “Show me the money,” reported the Western Farm Press, a trade publication. At the end of the day, conference attendees filed out to the sounds of Louis Armstrong singing, “It’s a Wonderful World.”
Agriculture is the heart of California’s worsening water crisis, and the stakes extend far beyond the state’s borders. Not only is California the world’s eighth largest economy, it is an agricultural superpower. It produces roughly half of all the fruits, nuts, and vegetables consumed in the United States—and more than 90 percent of the almonds, tomatoes, strawberries, broccoli and other specialty crops—while exporting vast amounts to China and other overseas customers.
But agriculture consumes a staggering 80 percent of California’s developed water, even as it accounts for only 2 percent of the state’s gross domestic product. Most crops and livestock are produced in the Central Valley, which is, geologically speaking, a desert. The soil is very fertile but crops there can thrive only if massive amounts of irrigation water are applied.
Current pricing structures enrich a handful of interests, but they are ushering the state as a whole toward a parched and perilous future.
Although no secret, agriculture’s 80 percent share of state water use is rarely mentioned in media discussions of California’s drought. Instead, news coverage concentrates on the drought’s implications for people in cities and suburbs, which is where most journalists and their audiences live. Thus recent headlines warned that state regulators have ordered restaurants to serve water only if customers explicitly request it and directed homeowners to water lawns no more than twice a week. The San Jose Mercury News pointed out that these restrictions carry no enforcement mechanisms, but what makes them a sideshow is simple math: During a historic drought, surely the sector that’s responsible for 80 percent of water consumption—agriculture—should be the main focus of public attention and policy.
The other great unmentionable of California’s water crisis is that water is still priced more cheaply than it should be, which encourages over-consumption. “Water in California is still relatively inexpensive,” Heather Cooley, director of the water program at the world-renowned Pacific Institute in Oakland, told The Daily Beast.
One reason is that much of the state’s water is provided by federal and state agencies at prices that taxpayers subsidize. A second factor that encourages waste is the “use it or lose it” feature in California’s arcane system of water rights. Under current rules, if a property owner does not use all the water to which he is legally entitled, he relinquishes his future rights to the unused water, which may then get allocated to the next farmer in line.
Lawmakers have begun, gingerly, to reform the water system, but experts say that much remains to be done. For years, California was the only state in the arid West that set no limits on how much groundwater a property owner could extract from a private well. Thus nearly everyone and their neighbors in the Central Valley have been drilling deeper and deeper wells in recent years, seeking to offset reductions in state and federal water deliveries. This agricultural version of an arms race not only favors big corporate enterprises over smaller farmers, it threatens to collapse the aquifers whose groundwater is keeping California alive during this drought and will be needed to endure future droughts. (Groundwater supplies about 40 percent of the state’s water in years of normal precipitation but closer to 60 percent in dry years.)
Last fall, the legislature passed and Governor Brown signed a bill to regulate groundwater extraction. But the political touchiness of the issue—agricultural interests lobbied hard against it—resulted in a leisurely implementation timetable. Although communities must complete plans for sustainable water management by 2020, not until 2040 must sustainability actually be achieved. The Central Valley could be a dust bowl by then under current trends.
There are practical solutions to California’s drought, but the lack of realistic water prices and other incentives has slowed their adoption. A shift to more efficient irrigation methods could reduce agricultural water use by 22 percent, an amount equivalent to all the surface water Central Valley farmers lacked because of drought last year, according to an analysis that Cooley of the Pacific Institute co-authored with Robert Wilkinson, a professor at the University of California Santa Barbara, and Kate Poole, a senior attorney at the Natural Resources Defense Council.
The Brown administration has endorsed better water efficiency—and put a small amount of money where its mouth is. Conservation is the No. 1 priority in the governor’s Water Action Plan, and the drought measures he advanced in 2014 included $10 million to help farmers implement more efficient water management. An additional $10 million was allocated as part of the $1.1 billion drought spending plan Brown and bipartisan legislators unveiled last week. Already more than 50 percent of California’s farmers use drip or micro irrigation, said Steve Lyle, the director of public affairs at the California Department of Food and Agriculture; the new monies will encourage further adoptions.
Meanwhile, underpriced water has enabled continued production of such water-intensive crops as alfalfa, much of which is exported to China. Rice, perhaps the thirstiest of major crops, saw its production area decrease by 25 percent in 2014. But pasture grass, which is used to fatten livestock, and many nut and fruit products have seen their acreage actually increase. Resnick told the Paramount Farms conference that the acreage devoted to pistachios had grown by 118 percent over the last 10 years; for almonds and walnuts the growth rates were 47 and 30 percent, respectively.
One striking aspect of California’s water emergency is how few voices in positions of authority have been willing to state the obvious. To plant increasing amounts of water-intensive crops in a desert would be questionable in the best of times. To continue doing so in the middle of a historic drought, even as scientists warn that climate change will increase the frequency and severity of future droughts, seems nothing less than reckless.
Yet even a politician as gutsy and scientifically informed as Jerry Brown tiptoes around such questions. The Daily Beast asked Brown if in this time of record drought California should begin pricing water more realistically and discouraging water-intensive crops. Responding on the governor’s behalf, spokesman Lyle simply skipped the water pricing question. On crop choices, he cited a reply Brown recently offered to a similar query: “Growing a walnut or an almond takes water, having a new house with a bunch of toilets and showers takes water. So how do we balance use efficiency with the kind of life that people want in California? … We’re all going to have to pull together.”
“California Has One Year of Water Left, Will You Ration Now?” asked the headline of a widely discussed opinion piece NASA scientist Jay Famiglietti published in the Los Angeles Times on March 16. The headline overstated the situation somewhat, and editors soon corrected it to clarify that California has one remaining year of stored water, not one year of total water. As Famiglietti was careful to state, California’s reservoirs today contain enough water to supply a year of average consumption.
So if California endures a fourth year of drought, the only way to keep household taps and farmers’ irrigation lines flowing will be to summon to the surface still greater volumes of groundwater. But that strategy can’t work forever; worse, the longer it is pursued, the bigger the risk that it collapses aquifers, rendering them irretrievably barren. Aquifers can be replenished—if rainwater and snowmelt are allowed to sink into the ground and humans don’t keep raiding the supply—and that is the expressed goal of California’s forthcoming groundwater regulations. The process takes many decades, however, and extended relief from further droughts.
California is caught between the lessons of its history and the habits of its political economy. Droughts of 10 years duration and longer have been a recurring feature in the region for thousands of years, yet a modern capitalist economy values a given commodity only as much as the price of that commodity. Current pricing structures enrich a handful of interests, but they are ushering the state as a whole toward a parched and perilous future.
The price of water, however, is not determined by inalterable market forces; it is primarily a function of government policies and the social forces that shape them. Elected officials may dodge the question for now, but the price of water seems destined to become an unavoidable issue in California politics. “As our water supply gets more variable and scarce in the future, we’re going to have to look at how we price water so it gets used more efficiently,” said Cooley of the Pacific Institute. “In some ways we’ve come a long way in California’s water policy and practices over the past 20 years. But if you look into a future of climate change and continued [economic] development, we can and need to do much better.”
Mark Hertsgaard has reported on politics, culture and the environment from more than 20 countries and has authored six books, including HOT: Living Through the Next Fifty Years on Earth, which will appear in paperback April 17.
Barney Frank drops a bombshell: How a shocking anecdote explains the financial crisis
Ever wonder why we waited six years to get a decent economic recovery? This new revelation will disgust you
Barney Frank has a new autobiography out. He’s long been one of the nation’s most quotable politicians. And Washington lives in perpetual longing for intra-party conflict.
So why has a critical revelation from Frank’s book, one that implicates the most powerful Democrat in the nation, been entirely expunged from the record? The media has thus far focused on Frank’s wrestling with being a closeted gay congressman, or his comment that Joe Biden “can’t keep his mouth shut or his hands to himself.” But nobody has focused on Frank’s allegation that Barack Obama refused to extract foreclosure relief from the nation’s largest banks, as a condition for their receipt of hundreds of billions of dollars in bailout money.
The anecdote comes on page 295 of “Frank,” a title that the former chair of the House Financial Services Committee holds true to throughout the book. The TARP legislation included specific instructions to use a section of the funds to prevent foreclosures. Without that language, TARP would not have passed; Democratic lawmakers who helped defeat TARP on its first vote cited the foreclosure mitigation piece as key to their eventual reconsideration.
TARP was doled out in two tranches of $350 billion each. The Bush administration, still in charge during TARP’s passage in October 2008, used none of the first tranche on mortgage relief, nor did Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson use any leverage over firms receiving the money to persuade them to lower mortgage balances and prevent foreclosures. Frank made his anger clear over this ignoring of Congress’ intentions at a hearing with Paulson that November. Paulson argued in his defense, “the imminent threat of financial collapse required him to focus single-mindedly on the immediate survival of financial institutions, no matter how worthy other goals were.”
Whether or not you believe that sky-is-falling narrative, Frank kept pushing for action on foreclosures, which by the end of 2008 threatened one in 10 homes in America. With the first tranche of TARP funds running out by the end of the year, Frank writes, “Paulson agreed to include homeowner relief in his upcoming request for a second tranche of TARP funding. But there was one condition: He would only do it if the President-elect asked him to.”
Frank goes on to explain that Obama rejected the request, saying “we have only one president at a time.” Frank writes, “my frustrated response was that he had overstated the number of presidents currently on duty,” which equally angered both the outgoing and incoming officeholders.
Obama’s unwillingness to take responsibility before holding full authority doesn’t match other decisions made at that time. We know from David Axelrod’s book that the Obama transition did urge the Bush administration to provide TARP loans to GM and Chrysler to keep them in business. So it was OK to help auto companies prior to Inauguration Day, just not homeowners.
In the end, the Obama transition wrote a letter promising to get to the foreclosure relief later, if Congress would only pass the second tranche of TARP funds. Congress fulfilled its obligation, and the Administration didn’t. The promised foreclosure mitigation efforts failed to help, and in many cases abjectly hurt homeowners.
This is not a new charge from Frank: he first leveled it in May 2012 in an interview with New York magazine. Nobody in the Obama Administration has ever denied the anecdote, but of course hardly anybody bothered to publicize it, save for a couple financial blogs. I suppose those reviewing ”Frank” can offer an excuse about this being “old news,” but that claims suffers from the “tree falling in the forest” syndrome: if a revelation is made in public, and no journalist ever elevates it, did it make a sound?
The political media’s allergy to policy is a clear culprit here. Jamie Kirchick’s blanket statement in his review of “Frank” that “readers’ eyes will glaze over” at the recounting of the financial crisis is a typical attitude. But millions of people suffered needlessly for Wall Street’s sins; they’d perhaps be interested in understanding why.
That’s the main reason why the significance of Obama’s decision cannot be overstated. The fact that we waited six years to get some semblance of a decent economic recovery traces back directly to the failure to alleviate the foreclosure crisis. Here was a moment, right near the beginning, when both public money and leverage could have been employed to stop foreclosures. Instead of demanding homeowner help when financial institutions relied on massive government support, the Administration passed, instead prioritizing nursing banks back to health and then asking them to give homeowners a break, which the banks predictably declined.
There were no structural or legislative barriers to this proposition. One man, Barack Obama, could tell another man, Henry Paulson, to tighten the screws on banks to write down loans, and something would have happened. Would it have been successful? Would it have saved tens or hundreds of billions in damage to homeowners? Even trillions? Or would Paulson and his predecessors found a way to wriggle out of the commitment again? We know the alternative failed, so it’s tantalizing to think about this road not taken.
This still matters because, as City University of New York professor Alan White explained brilliantly over the weekend, the foreclosure crisis isn’t really over. Though 6 million homes have been lost to foreclosure since 2007, another 1 million remain in the pipeline, many of them legacy loans originated during the housing bubble. If you properly compare the situation to a time before the widespread issuance of subprime mortgages, we’re still well above normal levels of foreclosure starts.
In addition, over one in six homes remain underwater, where the mortgage is bigger than the value of the home, a dangerous situation if we hit another economic downturn. And up to 4 million homes face interest rate resets from temporary modifications, along with nontraditional mortgages where the rate is scheduled to go up. Home equity lines of credit are also nearing their 10-year limits, requiring borrowers to pay down principal balances. Some Americans have been waiting over five years in foreclosure limbo, which sounds great (no payments!) until you understand the stress and anxiety associated with not knowing if you will get thrown out on the street at any time, something highly correlated with sickness and even suicides.
In baseball terms, we’re in the seventh or eighth inning of the crisis. And Barney Frank detailed how the president-elect had the opportunity to call the game and fix the problem much earlier, which he turned down. You’d think someone would have noticed.
Cloud gaming service OnLive said Wednesday that Sony has bought many of its assets, and the company will wind down operations on April 30. (Full disclosure: I began subscribing to OnLive late last year.)
Users will continue to have access to OnLive’s services until April 30, including the OnLive Game Service, OnLive Desktop and SL Go, and the company’s Second Life browser. After today, no further subscription renewals will be charged for any of these services, the company said. Users whose subscriptions renewed on or after March 28 will be refunded.
Why this matters: Onlive’s subscribers are losing a unique service that had no real competition—perhaps for good reason. At its inception, OnLive was a pioneer: Network-based computers like Citrix had existed for some time, but no one had adapted the same principles to gaming. Users, armed with either a microconsole or basic PC, could tap into OnLive’s network of servers and render a high-end game at maximum settings without the need to invest in a high-end PC.
London newspaper vendor Ian Tomlinson died after police officer Simon Harwood hit him with a baton and knocked him to the ground as he walked away from police during a G-20 protest in 2009. Harwood will stand trial in October for manslaughter, according to The Guardian.
Software isn’t greedy or fearful
As anyone who has had money in a wild bull or bear market can attest, investing can be an emotional affair: the panic that comes when everything suddenly plummets; the sense of missed opportunity as the market soars. When one of our stocks suddenly takes a dive, we doubt our original hypothesis about its value. This is why stop-losses – the practice of putting a ceiling on losses by triggering an automatic trade out of a falling position – are so prevalent, even though they go against principles of value. Sooner or later, all but the coolest investors let their emotions get the best of them and try to time the market, selling stocks before the market drops and buying again right before it rises.
U.S. and U.K. intelligence agencies have reportedly hacked into the computer network of giant SIM card maker Gemalto and taken smartphone encryption keys potentially used by customers of hundreds of mobile phone carriers worldwide.
The hack was detailed in a 2010 GCHQ document leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, the story said.
The Gemalto hack, by the U.S. National Security Agency and the U.K. Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), allowed the two spy agencies to monitor a large portion of the world’s mobile phone voice and data traffic, according to a story in The Intercept.
It’s unclear how much mobile traffic the two agencies intercepted after the reported hack.
Gemalto, based in the Netherlands, produces about 2 billion SIM cards a year. About 450 mobile carriers, including AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon Wireless and Sprint, use the company’s SIM cards.
With the compromised encryption keys, the surveillance agencies would be able to monitor mobile communications without the approval of the carriers or foreign governments, The Intercept story said. The encryption keys would allow the agencies to intercept mobile traffic without court-ordered warrants or wiretaps, the story said.
Representatives of the NSA did not respond to requests for comment on the story. Gemalto’s website was down Thursday afternoon.
Gemalto will devote “all resources necessary” to investigate the reported compromise, the company said in a statement.
The company is “especially vigilant against malicious hackers, and of course, has detected, logged and mitigated many types of attempts over the years,” the statement continued. Gemalto “can make no link” between past attacks and the reported compromise by GCHQ and the NSA, the company said.
Gemalto was unaware of the penetration of its systems, the company told The Intercept. The company is “disturbed” about the possibility, Paul Beverly, a Gemalto executive vice president, told the publication.
GCHQ compromised Gemalto’s computer networks and installed malware on several computers, The Intercept story said, quoting a slide from the U.K. intelligence agency provided by Snowden. At the time GCHQ believed it had access to the company’s “entire network,” the slide said.
GCHQ also said it had access to billing servers of mobile carriers, allowing it to manipulate customer charges in an effort to hide surveillance on phones, the story said.
Yet a collapse in interest rates overseas and the continuing risk of financial shocks is spurring Wall Street economists at least to mull the unlikely prospect of such a scenario developing here.
The specter of negative interest rates has been sweeping across Europe for months. The European Central Bank and those of Switzerland, Sweden and Denmark have set official overnight interest rates among banks below zero in an aggressive effort to encourage borrowing, energize economic growth and stave off deflation, a spiral in which people continually expect prices to fall.
As a result, some banks in Denmark are charging customers for the privilege of keeping their money in deposit accounts there.
Economists at Goldman Sachs Friday explored the possibility that, under unexpected and unwelcome circumstances, rates in the U.S. could slide below zero as well.
The capital rules have not had nearly as much impact on Main Street banking operations that focus on things like mortgages and small-business lending, encouraging banks to expand in those areas while they shrink their Wall Street divisions.The new requirements on capital and a closely related metric — leverage — have come in several waves and from different sources. The international organization of central banks, based in Basel, Switzerland, put out the so-called Basel III rules in 2011, demanding that the banks reach certain minimum capital levels by 2015, though the date has since been pushed back.Many central banks, including the Fed in the United States, have said that banks in their countries must hold even higher capital levels and need to satisfy the requirements sooner than the dates required by Basel III.In the last few months, the Fed has indicated that it will also require bigger, more interconnected banks to achieve higher capital levels than smaller ones.Because these new rules are expected to hit JPMorgan Chase particularly hard, some investors and analysts said recently that the bank might need to shrink to bring itself onto a level playing field with competitors.
Health Spending Projections through 2015: Changes on the horizon – Global Hospital & Healthcare ManagementAuthor: SupremePundit