Survey: Negative Online Evidence Ruins Job Chances For Many Applicants

CHICAGO (UPI) — An increasing number of U.S. employers say they are finding photos or statements online that ruin an applicant’s chance at getting a job, a survey indicated.

In a Feb. 11-to-March  6 survey of 2,100 hiring managers, Harris Interactive, which conducted the survey on behalf of CareerBuilder, found that 43 percent or respondents who used social websites in researching a candidate indicated they had found content online that had ended the person’s chances of being hired.

In a survey a year earlier, the 34 percent of hiring managers who used social websites to research candidates indicated they had found negative content online that stopped them from hiring someone.

In addition, a larger percentage of respondents this year indicated they used social websites to do research on job candidates than the previous year — 39 percent to 37 percent.

What was so revealing on social sites, such as Facebook and Twitter, that might derail a job applicant’s chances of landing a job?

Fifty percent of hiring managers who browsed social websites indicated they found inappropriate photos. That was followed by evidence of drug use or drinking (48 percent), negative comments about former employers (33 percent) and the discovery that the candidate had poor communication skills (30 percent).

Those discoveries were followed by indications of racism or another form of discrimination and evidence the candidate had lied about job qualifications.

One the flip side, 19 percent of hiring managers indicated they had found evidence online that helped a candidate’s chances of landing a job.

Job applicants were helped by evidence of their professional image, a better understanding of their personality and even better qualifications than the hiring managers had believed.

There was also evidence online that indicted candidates were creative or generated favorable comments from others about themselves.

Harris Interactive said the survey had a margin of error of plus or minus 2.1 percentage points.

Mortgage Activity Slips On Rising Rates

WASHINGTON (UPI) — U.S. mortgage application activity declined last week as interest rates rose, the Mortgage Bankers Association said Wednesday.

Mortgage activity involving new loans dropped 3 percent and refinancing fell 5 percent, the MBA said.

The organization said average interest rates for standard 30-year, fixed-rate conforming loans increased from 4.17 percent to 4.46 percent. Average points for 30-year, fixed rate loans fell from 0.41 to 0.35, the MBA said.

For loans of more than $417,500, called jumbo loans, rates rose from 4.23 percent to 4.52 percent, the highest rates since March 2012. Points for long-term jumbo loans fell from 0.34 to 0.28.

Average rates for 30-year, fixed rate contracts backed by the Federal Housing Administration rose from 3.85 percent to 4.2 percent, the highest rate since August 2011, with points increasing from 0.22 to 0.4.

The average interest rate for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages increased from 3.3 percent to 3.55 percent, the highest rate since November 2011. Points increased to 0.43 from 0.39 in the week.

For short-term, adjustable-rate contracts, interest rates rose from 2.81 percent to 3.06 percent with points averaging 0.43, up from 0.39.

For short-term loans, the average rate is the highest it has been since October 2011, the MBA said.

U.S. First-Quarter GDP Growth Trimmed In Final Estimate

WASHINGTON (UPI) — The U.S. Commerce Department trimmed its first-quarter gross domestic product estimate sharply down to 1.8 percent in its final revision released Wednesday.

With weaker business investment and personal spending than previously considered, the department, in the third of its three estimates, cut its economic growth estimate for January through March from the previous figure of 2.4 percent.

Economists had expected the earlier estimate to hold up. But the Commerce Department said consumer spending rose 2.6 percent in the quarter. That was an improvement over the fourth quarter, when spending rose 1.8 percent, but it was a downgrade from the first-quarter estimate of 3.4 percent released a month ago.

Investment in non-residential structures was also revised, showing a spending decline of 8.3 percent. Previously, that spending on business structures was estimated at a decline of 3.5 percent.

Exports, previously listed as a 0.8 percent increase, were revised to indicated a decline of 1.1 percent. Imports were also revised lower, but imports count as a negative in the GDP figure, so fewer imports is an improvement.

The Commerce Department said investments in residential structures rose 14 percent, a slowdown from fourth-quarter growth of 17.6 percent but an improvement over the estimate in the previous GDP report that pegged spending on new homes up by 12.1 percent.

Watch: Prosecution In Trayvon Martin Case Uses Martin’s Racist Comments To Benefit Case Against Zimmerman

During a mumbling testimony in the George Zimmerman trial, prosecution witness Rachel Jeantel, 19, who claims to have been on the phone with Trayvon Martin moments before he was shot, said Martin told her a “creepy ass cracker” was following him before his fatal encounter with Zimmerman.

Jeantel also claimed that Martin’s remarks made her think that Zimmerman was a rapist and said Trayvon then informed her that the “nigger is now following” him.

Jeantel is a star witness for the prosecution, as her version of events portrays Zimmerman as the aggressor in the case.

“That a man just kept watching him,” she replied.

Following an objection from Zimmerman’s attorney, the prosecutor prodded, “Did you say anything back to him or did he say anything back to you?”

“Yes,” Jeantel answered. “I asked him how the man looked like. He just told me the man — the man looked creepy.”

“He said the man looked creepy?” the prosecutor asked.

“Creepy, white, kill-my-neighbors cracker,” Jeantel replied, adding after the court complained that her mumbling was making her testimony inaudible, “He looked like a creepy ass cracker.”

“He told me the man was looking at him,” she added, “so I had to think it might have been a rapist. Might have been a rapist.”

H/T: Mediaite

Adult Dogs Behave Towards Caregivers Like Human Children Do

VIENNA (UPI) — The relationship between owners and dogs is similar to the deep connection between young children and their parents, researchers in Vienna said.

Scientists at the University of Veterinary Medicine in Vienna said human infants use their caregivers as a secure base when it comes to interacting with the environment — a toddler stands by a parent and gingerly takes a few steps to investigate his or her environment knowing a parent is nearby.

Lisa Horn of Vetmeduni’s Messerli Research Institute at the University of Veterinary Medicine examined the reactions of dogs under three conditions: absent owner, silent owner and encouraging owner. The dogs could earn a food reward by manipulating interactive dog toys.

The study, published in the journal Plos One, found the dogs seemed much less interested in working for the food, when their caregivers were not present. However, an owner encouraging the dog during the task appeared to have little influence on the animal’s level of motivation, Horn said.

In a follow-up experiment, Horn and colleagues replaced the owner with an unfamiliar person. The scientists observed the dogs hardly interacted with the strangers and were not interested in trying to get the food reward.

The researchers concluded that the owner’s presence was important for the animal to behave in a confident manner — the so-called “secure base effect” in parents and children.

“One of the things that really surprised us was adult dogs behave towards their caregivers like human children do,” Horn said in a statement.

Excavation Reveals 1,800-Year-Old Roman Road In Israel

JERUSALEM (UPI) — Archaeologists in Israel say they’ve uncovered a section of a 1,800-year-old Roman road that once ran from Jerusalem to the ancient port city of Jaffa.

The road was discovered by the Israel Antiquities Authority in the Israeli-Arab neighborhood of Beit Hanina in northern Jerusalem during excavations in advance of the installation of a drainage pipe, the Jewish Daily Forward reported Tuesday.

The presence of badly worn curbstones indicates the road was heavily used and underwent several periods of repair, the archaeologists said.

“The Romans attached great importance to the roads in the empire,” excavation director David Yeger said. “They invested large sums of money and utilized the most advanced technological aids of the period in order to crisscross the empire with roads.”

Other stretches of the road had been discovered previously by the Antiquities Authority but the section recently unearthed was by far the best preserved, Yeger said.

New Jersey May Have Been Hit By A Tsunami In Mid-June

MOUNT HOLLY, N.J. (UPI) — A freak wave in Barnegat Inlet on the New Jersey Shore may have been caused by a tsunami, the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration says.

The 6-foot wave June 13 knocked three people from a jetty, injuring two of them severely enough to be hospitalized, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported Tuesday. NOAA’s Tsunami Warning Center said 30 gauges recorded information suggesting a tsunami, a widespread wave usually associated with earthquakes.

In most areas, the tsunami — assuming that is what it was — would have been barely noticed. In Barnegat Inlet, it was pulled into the narrow entrance to Barnegat Bay.

In this case, the tsunami may have had its origins in a derecho in New Jersey, a narrow storm with straight-line winds.

The Jersey Shore has had earlier experience with tsunamis. A report by a retired National Weather Service staffer, Harry Woodworth, said a 1938 hurricane that devastated New England did considerable damage in New Jersey even though the eye of the storm was far out to sea, possibly because of a hurricane-generated tsunami.

New Bird Species Found In Cambodian City Of 1.5 Million People

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia (UPI) — An international team of scientists says it discovered a new species of bird living in a city of 1.5 million people in Cambodia.

Dubbed the Cambodian tailorbird, the species with distinct plumage and a loud call was discovered in Cambodia’s urbanized capitol Phnom Penh and several other locations just outside the city including a construction site, the Wildlife Conservation Society reported Wednesday.

The wren-sized gray bird with a black throat lives in dense, humid lowland scrub in Phnom Penh in an area where the Tonle Sap, Mekong and Bassac Rivers come together, scientists said.

Only tiny fragments of such scrub remain in Phnom Penh, they said, urging the species be classified as Near Threatened under the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List.

“The modern discovery of an undescribed bird species within the limits of a large populous city — not to mention 30 minutes from my home — is extraordinary,” WCS scientist Simon Mahood said. “The discovery indicates that new species of birds may still be found in familiar and unexpected locations.”

Recent decades have seen a sharp increase in the number of new bird species emerging from Indochina as explorations move into ever more remote areas, the researchers said.

“This discovery is one of several from Indochina in recent years, underscoring the region’s global importance for bird conservation,” Colin Poole, director of WCS Singapore, said.

Study: Having Friends Increases Disaster Survival Chances

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa (UPI) — Living by the maxim “a friend in need is a friend indeed” can help some animals live through natural disasters, South African researchers say.

A study of Barbary macaques in Morocco, published in the journal Biology Letters, suggests those with lots of friends were more likely to have lived through an unusually harsh winter in 2008-09.

Endangered Barbary macaques are no strangers to cold, but the 2008–09 winter was devastating, with a 64 percent mortality rate, researchers reported.

The study showed the more friends a monkey had — measured in social contacts involving shared grooming or bodily contact — the better its chances of survival.

Monkeys with more friends had more opportunities to huddle against the cold, the researchers suggested, and those in large networks featuring social contact may have been able to look for food — seeds and grasses on the ground — with fewer interruptions from non-friended group members.

The more friends, the more chances of surviving a catastrophe, said Richard McFarland, a behavioral ecologist at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg.

An individual who loses his few close friends is “left with nothing” with which to cope with disaster, he said.

“Compare that to someone who has 10 relationships,” he said. “If one of their friends perishes during the winter, they still have nine more friends to go to.”

U.N. Weather Agency Says No El Nino Or La Nina This Year

UNITED NATIONS (UPI) — The Pacific Ocean will probably not have an El Nino effect or its La Nina opposite number through the end of the year, the U.N.’s weather agency said Wednesday.

The World Meteorological Organization said forecasts predicted climate patterns in the Pacific are likely to remain neutral, a United Nations release reported.

Temperatures, sea level pressure, cloudiness and trade winds have generally been at neutral levels, the WMO said, indicating that neither warming El Nino nor cooling La Nina conditions have been present.

El Nino conditions occur every two to seven years, causing a significant shift in rainfall patterns, often causing floods in usually arid countries in western South America and drought in the western Pacific.

El Nino events are often followed by La Nina conditions, a swing to unusually cool ocean surface temperatures in the central and eastern tropical Pacific.

The far eastern tropical Pacific Ocean temperatures cooled to well below average during May and early June, approaching “a borderline La Nina level,” the WMO said, but “the ocean-atmosphere system as a whole did not remain in a La Nina state for long enough to be considered a weak La Nina event.”

Study: Higher Education A Plus During Tough Economic Times

PARIS (UPI) — Well-educated people are faring better in these tough economic times than those who left school without a good education, a think tank in Paris concluded.

The international Organization for Economic Coordination and Development released a study showing a widening gap between young people with a good education and those who left school early.

“Leaving school with good qualifications is more essential than ever,” OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurria said.

The study covering 34 countries, including 21 EU states, found unemployment rates were nearly three times higher for low-skilled people than their highly educated counterparts between 2008 and 2011.

Salaries were also affected.

OECD found the average earnings difference between the highly educated and the lower educated rose 75 percentage points in 2008 to 90 percentage points in 2011.

Unfortunately, the economic crisis halted a long-term trend of rising investment in education, the report said.

Public spending on educational institutions from 2009 to 2010 as a percentage of gross domestic product fell by 1 percent on average.

Second IRS Official Invokes 5th Amendment Before House Panel

WASHINGTON (UPI) — A second IRS employee invoked the Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination Wednesday in an appearance before the U.S. House oversight committee.

Gregory Roseman, who was a deputy director of acquisitions at the Internal Revenue Service, invoked his right when Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., began to question him about panel findings that he helped a friend procure IRS contracts potentially worth $500 million.

Issa: “Before I continue, and because this committee is acutely aware that one or more on the panel may choose to assert their Fifth Amendment rights, and because this chair does not want to have anyone waive that right accidentally, involuntarily, or in any other way, does anyone here at this time intend to invoke their Fifth Amendment rights?

Mr. Roseman?”

Roseman: “Yes, sir, I do intend to waive my — I intend to invoke Fifth Amendment right to be silent.”

“Mr. Chairman, on the advice and counsel, I respectfully decline to answer any questions, invoke my Fifth Amendment privilege to remain silent,” Roseman said when asked to whom he reported.

The committee Tuesday released a report alleging Roseman’s “cozy relationship” with Strong Castle Inc. President Braulio Castillo helped the company secure contracts worth a possible $500 million.

In May, Lois Lerner, who led the IRS division on tax-exempt organizations before she was placed on administrative leave, invoked her right to remain silent during a hearing on the agency’s scandal last month.

When Issa asked Roseman when he became aware of a company called Strong Castle Inc., Roseman, who since has been removed from his position, again invoked his Fifth Amendment right.

In his opening statement, Issa said: “Our investigation is still in its infancy. Today, we are working with the I.G. [inspector general] and hope to work with others within the IRS to end this problem.”

Ranking Democrat Elijah Cummings of Maryland said the evidence obtained by the committee “indicates at least an appearance of impropriety, because Mr. Roseman did not disclose this relationship or recuse himself from the contracting process.”

The IRS, already embroiled in a scandal over disclosures it wrongly targeted conservative groups applying for a tax exemption, awarded the contracts to Strong Castle Inc., an information technology firm in Leesburg, Va., because of the relationship between Roseman and Castillo, the panel’s report said.

Castillo bought the business with his wife in January 2012, and within six months Strong Castle had upwards of a half-billion dollars in IRS contracts, the committee report said.

Before Castillo took over the company, it had no federal contracts, the report said.

But Roseman told Castillo on Dec. 31, 2011, shortly before he bought the business, the company would be “Fortune 500 in no time,” the report said.

“By inappropriately using a personal relationship and abusing a provision designed to help disadvantaged businesses, the IRS and Strong Castle have made a mockery of fair and open competition for government contracts,” Issa said in a statement.

Castillo had denied the friendship in an interview with CNS News in February but later told congressional investigators he and Roseman were friends.

The House Oversight report also asked why Castillo received a special designation as a “service-disabled veteran-owned small business” 27 years after being injured in military prep school.

“He was able to get this designation despite the fact that he never actively served as a member of the armed services, he played college football after the injury and 27 years went by before he sought the designation as a disabled veteran,” the report said.

“Castillo sought the disabled-veteran designation only months before he purchased the company,” the report added.

Gunman In Los Angeles Attic Dead, Police Say

LOS ANGELES (UPI) — A man who shot two police officers, then barricaded himself in a home in the Willowbrook section of Los Angeles is dead, police said Wednesday.

The unidentified man was found by SWAT officers after they entered the home they had surrounded for more than 13 hours, the Los Angeles Times reported, noting it was not clear if he was killed in an initial gun battle with police or died during the standoff.

The gunman, who shot and wounded two police officers searching the building, was found in the attic of the home, above the kitchen. Earlier Tuesday police ordered people to leave the home, LAPD Sgt. Albert Gonzalez said.

One officer suffered face and neck injuries and the other was shot in the leg, investigators said.

The incident began Tuesday when a parole officer and a LAPD gang officer were searching a home in unincorporated South Los Angeles and the gunman opened fire, the newspaper reported.

Multiple shots were exchanged in a gunfight during which bullets ripped through the ceiling and floor, authorities said.

The confrontation occurred in an area patrolled by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

Authorities temporarily closed one lane and the off-ramp of the eastbound 105 Freeway near the scene, the California Highway Patrol said.

America’s Smartest City Is Pittsburgh, Analysis Says

SAN FRANCISCO (UPI) — A real estate website announced Wednesday it quantified a list of America’s Smartest Cities and placed Pittsburgh at its top.

A blog post on Movoto.com, which is based in San Francisco and bills itself as “the lighter side of real estate,” said after examining criteria that included universities and college per person, libraries per person, education level of residents, media per person (defined as newspapers, radio, television and magazines), museums per person and a rank of its public schools, and applying them to the 100 most populous cities in the United States, it identified Pittsburgh the country’s smartest.

The rest of Movoto’s top 10 list, in order, includes Orlando, Fla., Washington, Atlanta, Honolulu, Seattle, San Francisco, Cincinnati and Miami.

Senate Passes ‘Border Surge’ Amendment, 69-29; 15 In GOP Vote In Favor

WASHINGTON (UPI) — Comprehensive immigration reform advanced in the U.S. Senate Wednesday when 15 Republicans joined Democrats in approving an amendment on border security.

A “border security surge,” which includes $38 billion in security spending added to $8 billion already included in the bill to achieve full surveillance of U.S. borders, passed by 69-29.

Sponsored by Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., and Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., the plan authorizes 20,000 additional border patrol agents and the construction of 700 miles of fencing. Those measures would have to be met within 10 years for immigrants to apply for green cards, the Washington newspaper The Hill reported.

Republicans who voted against the amendment were harshly critical of the bill, saying it repeats mistakes of a 1986 immigration reform bill by offering border enforcement as a promise and offering legalization first, the newspaper noted.

Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, said “it continues false promises of a secured border. It ought to be enforcement now and legalization later.”

Supreme Court Kills DOMA; House Won’t Bring Up Gang of Eight Bill; McRino Charges Critics; Obama’s Environmental Crusade; And More: Wednesday Morning News Roundup 6-26-2013

Here is a collection of some of the stories making the Internet rounds this morning. Click the links for the full stories.

  • The Supreme Court has struck down a key provision of the Defense of Marriage Act forbidding Federal recognition of gay marriages for couples residing in states that recognize their union. Source: Huffington Post
  • Good news via National Review Online’s Jonathan Strong:

  • And John McCain is going off on anyone who dares criticize the amnesty-laden Senate immigration effort.
  • Don’t tell the truth: An environmental official suggesting he worked for Organizing for Action, the Obama Administration’s advocacy group, sent a memo to supporters and pro-Obama pundits, warning them to avoid using “economic arguments” to defend the President’s new climate change, which could put a damper on coal plants and the Keystone Pipeline project. Source: Washington Examiner
  • Meanwhile¸ President Obama has angered lawmakers on both sides of the aisle by calling for new regulations on coal-fired power plants. One of them is Democratic Senator Joe Manchin from coal-industry driven West Virginia. Source: Fox Nation
  • Syrian activists say more than 100,000 people have been killed since the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad began in March 2011. Source: Voice of America 

Check back for updates, news and analysis throughout the day. Like us on Facebook. And follow our improved Twitter feed.

Obama Stalls Keystone Pipeline With Executive Order

The Barack Obama Administration announced Tuesday that it will, via executive order, halt further progress on the highly debated Keystone XL pipeline.

Executive action announced by the Administration asks the State Department not to approve construction on the pipeline unless the Environmental Protection Agency first determines that the project will not lead to a net increase in greenhouse gas emissions in the United States. The President’s order, announced during a speech on climate change at Georgetown University, will make it nearly impossible for construction on the pipeline to commence.

Obama has largely avoided discussing the Keystone project, as it put him in the middle of an argument between labor groups in favor of the pipeline and environmentalists opposed to it; both are groups that have supported the Obama Administration.

“As the executive order on Keystone contemplates, the environmental impacts will be important criteria used in the determination of whether the Keystone pipeline application will ultimately be approved at the completion of the State Department decision process,” a senior administration official told Huffington Post. “In today’s speech, the president will make clear that the State Department should approve the pipeline only if it will not lead to a net increase in overall greenhouse gas emissions.”

While the Administration’s criteria for measuring the environmental impact of the pipeline remains unclear, a report out this week addressing the safety of the pipeline concluded that the pipeline would be minimally prone to failure, eliminating a key argument of environmentalists worried of the possibility of inland oil spills.

Stock Shock: Why Barack Obama Is The King Kong Of Drug Dealers

“Lesson No. 1: Don’t underestimate the other guy’s greed. Lesson No. 2: Don’t get high on your own supply.” — From the 1983 movie Scarface

President Barack Obama is worse than the corner crack dealer who tells kids, “The first hit is free.” Instead of getting a neighborhood addicted to cocaine, he has the Nation hooked on cheap money.

It all worked out perfectly well — for Obama, that is. He won his Nobel Peace Prize, gave the economy its “fix,” was re-elected President and is assured of having inner city-schools named after him for the next century. Mission accomplished for the egomaniacal President.

For you and me, the nightmare is just beginning. And we will look back and say it began on June 19, when Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke suggested he is going to wean the economy off cheap cash.

Currently, the Fed is spending $85 billion every month to buy debt that Uncle Sam can’t sell to anyone else. Bernanke had the audacity to suggest the Fed may start winding down its stimulus program because the markets are strong enough to stand on their own.

Wall Street financiers are savvy. When they heard those words, they felt the way Charlie Sheen feels when walking into the doors of a rehab clinic.

The market understands that the days of high times are over. Its sudden awakening erased 500 points from the Dow Jones industrial average, which in one fell swoop reduced wealth by a couple of hundred billion dollars.

Our Stock Market Nightmare

Sigmund Freud, the father of psychoanalysis, pioneered the understanding of dreams.  He also had a cocaine addiction. He found that cocaine helped cure depression.

In an article for CNN, Howard Markel, M.D., Ph.D., author of An Anatomy of Addiction, wrote: “Like so many others, Freud suffered from the most maddening symptom of addiction: the stealthy process by which the addict’s mind conspires to convince that nothing, nothing at all, is askew or dangerous about something that most decidedly is.”

Millions of people went on to find the ecstasy and short-term cure of cocaine. I suspect that many people (perhaps even Obama during his college days) discovered that it worked wonders until they were flat broke and even more depressed then when they started. Perhaps cocaine was Obama’s inspiration to get America hooked to an even stronger substance: cheap money.

The Independent reported in 2009:

Money works like a drug on the human brain – and even just the thought of earning a higher salary gives us a physical buzz, a study has found.

Scientists have discovered that thinking about cash stimulates the reward centres involved in pleasure and the higher the salary – even if it is just imagined – the greater the pleasure generated in the brain.

The results of the study suggest that the human brain is innately susceptible to the illusion of wealth that money can bring. This is known in economics as “money illusion” – when people get fixated on the nominal value of money, rather than on its actual purchasing power. Some economists have proposed that people behave irrationally when it comes to wages by being happier with higher salary increases in times of high inflation than they are with lower salary rises in times of low inflation.

For instance, studies have shown that people report being happier when they receive a 5 per cent increase in their salaries at a time of 4 per cent inflation, compared to a 2 per cent increase in salary at a time of low inflation.

That explains Obama-economics 101 and the basis for the feel-good economic programs he and special adviser Valerie Jarrett came up with during his Presidential campaign in 2008.

And it certainly has worked. The moneyed elite in America are richer.

But given the headline below, we should have known we were at a market top:

usatoday

I always heard there is no such thing as a free lunch, and it is true. Michael Lombardi wrote in Profit Confidential:

By creating trillions of dollars in newly printed money, the Federal Reserve inadvertently created a bubble in the bond market and spurred a big rally in the stock market.

By the end of this year, the Federal Reserve will have printed just under $1.0 trillion in new money—roughly equal to the U.S. government’s budget deficit for the year. What a coincidence.

So if the Federal Reserve stops buying U.S. Treasuries, who will step in and buy them?

It’s a rhetorical question. Nobody is going to buy Treasury debt — certainly not Russia, who is at odds with Obama over Syria, and not China, who is at odds with Obama over North Korea. That leaves the PIGS (Portugal, Ireland, Greece and Spain). These bankrupt European Union nations are desperate to sell off their own debt.

As for Obama, he is probably reviewing his blueprints to his Presidential library and his soon-to-be-purchased Hawaiian plantation, along with his bedecked Chicago mansion. The rest of us are left to deal with the financial catastrophe that he dealt us.

Don’t sweat it (pun intended). If you are starting to feel anxious and depressed and you really are sweating, it is just typical withdrawal.

In withdrawal the first reaction is loss. The second reaction is rage. And rage it will be when borrowing rates rise fourfold in the next two years.

Reagan Just Said No

The days of wine, roses and excess money took off during the Jimmy Carter Presidency. We got lucky because two things happened that saved the Nation. Paul Volcker, a fiscal-tough-love economist, was appointed Fed Chairman and Ronald Reagan was elected President.

America was weaned off of cheap money. It meant tough times for a spell, because the cure seemed worse than the disease. The Nation had to endure a rolling recession that cut deep into America’s agriculture and the resource sectors. Yet Reagan risked his political career because he knew it was the right thing to do.

If you are in your 50s or older, you will recall the early 1980s when interest rates shot through the roof.  We can look back on it and know it saved the U.S. dollar, but it was painful.

Consider what happened to the 30-year mortgage rate. It stood at 10 percent during the last year of the Carter Administration. Because the Fed squeezed the excesses from that economy, the 30-year mortgage rate reached 18.5 percent by 1981.

Reagan and Volcker understood that too much money and too much debt would kill the dollar over the long term. Kill the dollar, and in time you kill America.

Quantum Killer

Fast-forward three decades. Obama and his Fed Chairman did the exact opposite of Reagan and Volcker. Instead of pulling easy money out of the economy, they injected trillions of dollars more through three series of quantum easing. Obama and Bernanke didn’t care what America needed. (Of course, the claim is that the Fed acts independent of the White House. If you believe that, you probably believe that the National Security Agency isn’t spying on us).

The President and Fed Chairman have given the Nation copious amounts of ever cheaper money. And for five years, the Nation has believed it was doing better because the President and the Fed were injecting greater amounts of cash into our veins.

I have been looking at charts for more than 30 years, and I probably find them just as boring as most of you do. Yet the chart below really is worth looking at. It shows that Obama has been running the printing presses faster than a Latin dictator hopped-up on his own supply.

chart0625

Whatever previous Presidents have done regarding the printing of greenbacks doesn’t compare to what Obama has done. And stopping that tidal wave of money that the markets have become addicted to is going to cause a sickening withdrawal.

Prediction: Interest rates began to take off last week. The rates on three-month Treasury bills are rising. This is just the first indicator that, across the board, rates on mortgages, car loans, student loans and such are climbing. That is bad news for Big Board stocks, which have been soaring because bonds have been paying such a paltry return. Bad news for stocks means a falling stock market, and this market could easily lose half its value in the next 24 to 36 months.

Action to take: Lock in any loans you need for as long as you can. Sell all bonds and all stocks with the exception of special resource plays. Retain your physical gold and silver, but let’s see where prices go these next couple of weeks before adding to your position. Meanwhile, move money into cash — I mean cold, hard currency stored in a dry, safe place. Guns, ammo, canned foods and water should always be fully stocked, especially now.

Obama has written a huge check for us all, and the tab has come due.

Yours in good times and bad,

–John Myers

A New Beginning Without Washington’s Sanctimonious Mask

It is hard to understand the fuss that Washington and its media whores are making over Edward Snowden. We have known for a long time that the National Security Agency (NSA) has been spying for years without warrants on the communications of Americans and people throughout the world. Photographs of the massive NSA building in Utah, built for the purpose of storing the intercepted communications of the world, have been published many times.

It is not clear to an ordinary person what Snowden has revealed that William Binney and other whistle-blowers have not already revealed. Perhaps the difference is that Snowden has provided documents that prove it, thereby negating Washington’s ability to deny the facts with its usual lies.

Whatever the reason for Washington’s blather, it certainly is not doing the U.S. government any good. Far more interesting than Snowden’s revelations is the decision by governments of other countries to protect a truth-teller from the Stasi in Washington.

Hong Kong kept Snowden’s whereabouts secret so that an amerikan black-op strike or a drone could not be sent to murder him. Hong Kong told Washington that its extradition papers for Snowden were not in order and permitted Snowden to leave for Moscow.

The Chinese government did not interfere with Snowden’s departure.

The Russian government says it has no objection to Snowden having a connecting flight in Moscow.

Ecuador’s Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino responded to Washington’s threats with a statement that the Ecuadorian government puts human rights above Washington’s interests. Foreign Minister Patino said that Snowden served humanity by revealing that the Washington Stasi was violating the rights of “every citizen in the world.” Snowden merely betrayed “some elites that are in power in a certain country,” whereas Washington betrayed the entire world.

With Hong Kong, China, Russia, Ecuador and Cuba refusing to obey the Stasi’s orders, Washington is flailing around, making a total fool of itself and its media prostitutes.

Secretary of State John Kerry has been issuing warnings hand over fist. He has threatened Russia, China, Ecuador and every country that aids and abets Snowden’s escape from the Washington Stasi. Those who don’t do Washington’s bidding, Kerry declared, will suffer adverse impacts on their relationship with the United States.

What a stupid thing for Kerry to say. Here is a guy who once was for peace but who has been turned by NSA spying on his personal affairs into an asset for the NSA. Try to realize the extraordinary arrogance and hubris in Kerry’s threat that China, Russia and other countries will suffer bad relations with the United States. Kerry is saying that amerika doesn’t have to care whether “the indispensable people” have bad relations with other countries, but those countries have to be concerned if they have bad relations with the “indispensable country.” What an arrogant posture for the U.S. government to present to the world.

Here we have a U.S. Secretary of State lost in delusion along with the rest of Washington. A country that is bankrupt, a country that has allowed its corporations to destroy its economy by moving the best jobs offshore, a country whose future is in the hands of the printing press, a country that after 11 years of combat has been unable to defeat a few thousand lightly armed Taliban is now threatening Russia and China. God save us from the utter fools who comprise our government.

The world is enjoying Washington’s humiliation at the hands of Hong Kong. A mere city-state gave Washington the bird. In its official statement, Hong Kong shifted the focus from Snowden to his message and asked the U.S. government to explain its illegal hacking of Hong Kong’s information systems.

China’s state newspaper, The People’s Daily, wrote: “The United States has gone from a model of human rights to an eavesdropper on personal privacy, the manipulator of the centralized power over the international internet, and the mad invader of other countries’ networks. . . The world will remember Edward Snowden. It was his fearlessness that tore off Washington’s sanctimonious mask.”

China’s Global Times, a subsidiary of The People’s Daily, accused Washington of attacking “a young idealist who has exposed the sinister scandals of the U.S. government.” Instead of apologizing, “Washington is showing off its muscle by attempting to control the whole situation.”

China’s official Xinhua news agency reported that Snowden’s revelations had placed “Washington in a really awkward situation. They demonstrate that the United States, which has long been trying to play innocent as a victim of cyberattacks, has turned out to be the biggest villain in our age.”

The Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov made it clear that Russia’s sympathy is with Snowden, not with the amerikan Stasi state. Human rights ombudsman Vladimir Lukin said that it was unrealistic to expect the Russian government to violate law to seize a transit passenger who had not entered Russia and was not on Russian soil. RT’s Gayane Chichakyan reported that Washington is doing everything it can to shift attention away from Snowden’s revelations that “show that the U.S. has lied and has been doing the same as they accuse China of doing.”

Ecuador says the traitor is Washington, not Snowden.

The stuck pig squeals from the NSA director — “Edward Snowden has caused irreversible damage to U.S.” — are matched by the obliging squeals from members of the House and Senate, themselves victims of the NSA spying (as was the director of the CIA, who was forced to resign because of a love affair). The NSA is in position to blackmail everyone in the House and Senate, in the White House itself, in all the corporations, in the universities, in the media and in every organization at home and abroad who has anything to hide. You can tell who is being blackmailed by the intensity of the squeals, such as those of Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Representative Mike Rogers (R-Mich.). With any luck, a patriot will leak what the NSA has on Feinstein and Rogers, neither of whom could possibly scrape any lower before the NSA.

The gangster government in Washington that has everything to hide is now in NSA’s hands and will follow orders. The pretense that amerika is a democracy responsible to the people has been exposed. The United States is run by and for the NSA. Congress and the White House are NSA puppets.

Let’s quit calling the NSA the National Security Agency. Clearly, NSA is a threat to the security of every person in the entire world. Let’s call the NSA what it really is: the National Stasi Agency, the largest collection of Gestapo in human history. You can take for granted that every media whore, every government prostitute and every ignorant flag-waver who declares Snowden to be a traitor is either brainwashed or blackmailed. They are the protectors of NSA tyranny. They are our enemies.

The world has been growing increasingly sick of Washington for a long time. The bullying, the constant stream of lies and the gratuitous wars and destruction have destroyed the image hyped by Washington of the U.S. as a “light unto the world.” The world sees the U.S. as a plague upon the world.

Following Snowden’s revelations, Germany’s most important magazine, Der Spiegal, had the headline: “Obama’s Soft Totalitarianism: Europe Must Protect Itself From America.” The article asks: “Is Barack Obama a friend? Revelations about his government’s vast spying program call that into doubt. The European Union must protect the Continent from America’s reach for omnipotence.”

Der Spiegal continues: “We are being watched. All the time and everywhere. And it is the Americans who are doing the watching. On Tuesday, the head of the largest and most all-encompassing surveillance system ever invented is coming for a visit. If Barack Obama is our friend, then we really don’t need to be terribly worried about our enemies.”

There is little doubt that German Interior Minister Hans Peter Friedrich has lost his secrets to NSA spies. Friedrich rushed to NSA’s defense, declaring: “That’s not how you treat friends.” As Der Spiegal made clear, the minister was not referring “to the fact that our trans-Atlantic friends were spying on us. Rather, he meant the criticism of that spying. Friedrich’s reaction is only paradoxical on the surface and can be explained by looking at geopolitical realities. The US is, for the time being, the only global power–and as such it is the only truly sovereign state in existence. All others are dependent–either as enemies or allies. And because most prefer to be allies, politicians–Germany’s included–prefer to grin and bear it.”

It is extraordinary that the most important publication in Germany has acknowledged that the German government is Washington’s puppet state.

Der Spiegel says: “German citizens should be able to expect that their government will protect them from spying by foreign governments. But the German interior minister says instead: ‘We are grateful for the excellent cooperation with US secret services.’ Friedrich didn’t even try to cover up his own incompetence on the surveillance issue. ‘Everything we know about it, we have learned from the media,’ he said. The head of the country’s domestic intelligence agency, Hans-Georg Maassen, was not any more enlightened. ‘I didn’t know anything about it,’ he said. And Justice Minister Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger was also apparently in the dark. ‘These reports are extremely unsettling,’ she said. With all due respect: These are the people who are supposed to be protecting our rights? If it wasn’t so frightening, it would be absurd.”

For those moronic amerikans who say, “I’m not doing anything wrong, I don’t care if they spy,” Der Spiegal writes that a “monitored human being is not a free one.” We have reached the point where we “free americans” have to learn from our German puppets that we are not free.

Read it for yourself here.

Present-day Germany is a new country, flushed of its past by war and defeat. Russia is also a new country that has emerged from the ashes of an unrealistic ideology. Hope always resides with those countries that have most experienced evil in government. If Germany were to throw off its amerikan overlord and depart NATO, amerikan power in Europe would collapse. If Germany and Russia were to unite in defense of truth and human rights, Europe and the world would have a new beginning.

A new beginning is desperately needed. Chris Floyd explains precisely what is going on, which is something you will never hear from the presstitutes. Read it while you still can.

There would be hope if Americans could throw off their brainwashing, follow the lead of Debra Sweet and others, and stand up for Snowden and against the Stasi State.

–Paul Craig Roberts

Obama Launches ‘War On Coal’ In Ill-Fated Energy Initiative

President Barack Obama delivered a much-anticipated speech at Georgetown University Tuesday, pledging to use executive orders to implement Federal regulations on power plant emissions of carbon dioxide after being stonewalled by a Democrat-controlled Congress during his first term.

Calling climate change the “threat of our time,” the President settled the controversy over the existence of human-generated global warming and ended any debate about its relative significance by admonishing:

The question is not whether we need to act. The overwhelming judgment of science, of chemistry and physics — millions of measurements have put all that to rest. Ninety-seven per cent of scientists — including, by the way, some who originally disputed the data — have put that to rest. They have acknowledged the planet is warming and human activity has contributed to it.

As an American; as a president; as a father, I am here to say, “We need to act.” Our planet is changing in ways that will have profound impacts on all of humankind.

Ahead of Obama’s climate change speech, Harvard Environmental Center Director and White House “climate adviser” Daniel P. Schrag told The New York Times that, for the Obama Administration, “a war on coal is exactly what’s needed.”

“Everybody is waiting for action,” Schrag said. “The one thing the President really needs to do now is to begin the process of shutting down the conventional coal plants. Politically, the White House is hesitant to say they’re having a war on coal. On the other hand, a war on coal is exactly what’s needed.”

Why is Obama doing this? In his stillborn, scandal-plagued second term, there is hardly much current political capital the President can tap for even a benign policy initiative. And taking decisive action against the coal industry — in the form of penalties for power plants that generate electricity through the burning of coal — is about as benign an initiative as instituting a state religion.

“When Democrats controlled both the House and Senate, Obama could not get climate control legislation passed. That explains why he is now seeking to go around Congress to enact anti-coal regulations by fiat,” writes Jennifer Rubin of The Washington Post, who goes on to argue that nothing Obama could have planned will galvanize his political opponents — as well as make opponents of regular Americans affected by the higher energy prices his policies will yield — than living out an Al Gore-type executive fantasy of implementing regressive, punitive energy goals:

The reason even Democrats balked on climate change regulations in the first term (it stalled in the Senate) is because it is economically debilitating, especially in energy producing states; politically unpopular in red states and among the vast majority of all conservatives nationwide; and useless (so long as China, India, etc. don’t follow suit it does virtually nothing for the planet as a whole — even if one buys the global warming hysteria)…

…Conservatives are once again bonded together in common cause against a president bizarrely antagonistic toward domestic energy production and low energy prices. The gubernatorial campaign of Ken Cuccinelli, in a dog fight with Democrat Terry McAuliffe, let loose on the Democrats’ plans, citing the energy resources in Virginia that directly or indirectly contribute to nearly 20,000 jobs and $2.5 billion toward the state economy. Now, there’s an issue that may turn out his base and get independents riled up.

Whether Obama’s executive actions on coal regulations can be mitigated by a saner President in the future, he’s already arming Republicans with everything they need to make mincemeat of their Democratic opponents in local and State elections.

Obama Ramps Up His War On America

The Barack Obama regime opened a new front in his war on America yesterday when he unveiled his plans to skirt Congress and cut so-called carbon pollution from existing power plants.

Most in Congress recognize the reality that the majority of Americans have concluded that anthropomorphic global warming is so much hokum and that any effort to further burden Americans with laws and regulations to stop something that doesn’t exist is a non-starter. But the collectivists, progressives and outright anti-human environmental lunatics that make up Obama’s inner circle don’t take “no” for an answer. So Obama says he’s going to regulate coal out of business.

Never mind that the first section of the first article of the Constitution grants all legislative powers to Congress; never mind that temperatures have not risen in 20 years, despite an increase in so-called “carbon pollution”; never mind that carbon dioxide is not a pollutant but is, along with oxygen, one of the two most important gasses in our atmosphere and vital to life; never mind that more regulations on energy will drive up energy costs and the prices of appliances, cars and machinery, and will further cripple the moribund economy and will drive more of the middle class toward poverty; and never mind that so-called renewable energy is not about creating renewable energy but is about transferring wealth, Obama is dead set on  his agenda to destroy the American way of life.