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Video: Keiser Report: ‘Big Data’ Leaks (E1124)

Check Keiser Report website for more: http://www.maxkeiser.com/ Max and Stacy discuss 'big data' making the case for crypto by allowing for single point of...

Billionaire Betsy DeVos, Big Data, and the Public-Private Planned Economy

If cutting-edge educational technologies can scientifically maximize student learning, then why do so many Silicon Valley bigwigs at Google, Apple, Hewlett-Packard, and Yahoo! send...

When Big Data Becomes Bad Data

A recent ProPublica analysis of The Princeton Review's prices for online SAT tutoring shows that customers in areas with a high density of Asian...

New sensors will scoop up ‘big data’ on Chicago

David Heinzmann The curled metal fixtures set to go up on a handful of Michigan Avenue light poles later this summer may look like delicate...

Buying Your Vote – Dark Money and Big Data

Theodoric Meyer Cuomo Has Raised Millions Through Loophole He Pledged to Close The governor has called for closing a gap in the state’s campaign finance laws,...

Big data companies collect, mine and sell 75k personal details on each customer

While Americans debate how to rein in the National Security Agency’s domestic surveillance program, private companies are gathering massive amounts of data on individuals. According...

The White House Big Data Report: The Good, The Bad, and The Missing

Last week, the White House released its report on big data and its privacy implications, the result of a 90-day study commissioned by President Obama during...

White House ‘Big Data’ Report Excludes Critical Look at Surveillance State

Internal assessment admits some privacy reforms are needed, but proposes no aggressive overhauls Sarah Lazare The White House's internal report on 'Big Data' and privacy issues, released Thursday...

Beyond the NSA: What About Big Data Abuse by Corporations, Politicians?

John Nichols  RINF Alternative News  Taking steps to end, or at the very least to constrain, the federal government’s practice of storing information on the personal communications of...

Big Data + Big Pharma = Big Money

Need another reminder of how much drugmakers spend to discover what doctors are prescribing? Look no further than new documents from the leading keeper...

‘Big Data’ Dynamo: How Giant Tech Firms Help the Government to Spy on Americans

As the secret state continues trawling the electronic communications of hundreds of millions of Americans, lusting after what securocrats euphemistically call “actionable intelligence,”...

The Brave New World of Big Data

The Snowden leaks and ensuing debates about our government, big data, and privacy have led to more Orwell allusions than I’ve heard in all...

Millions in US tax dollars go to Big Data for wiretap capabilities

The US government uses American tax dollars to pay major Internet companies and telecommunications giants like Verizon and AT&T for unprecedented access into millions...

Bilderbergers talk “big data”

The 2013 meeting of the Bilderberg Group is currently underway, with the usual clampdown on media coverage, but it appears that Å“big data” is...

David Petraeus At Bilderberg to Craft “Big Data” Spy Grid

Former CIA Director David Petraeus is in attendance at the 2013 Bilderberg Group conference to help construct the “big data” spy grid, which is set to become the new frontier of clandestine statecraft as Internet connectivity becomes ubiquitous.

The Biggest Data Leak in Swedish History was also the Most Avoidable

It’s been described as “the biggest leak in Swedish history”, and it’s easy to see why. Looking to cut costs, in 2015,...
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Video: Panama Papers’ Reporters Explain How the Biggest Leak in Data Journalism’s History Materialized

http://democracynow.org - Hundreds of journalists around the world pored over the 11.5 million files leaked last year by an anonymous source that reveal how...

Don’t use Charlie Hebdo to justify Big Brother data-slurp — Data protection MEP

The European Parliament’s data protection supremo says calls from national leaders to monitor all airline passengers are “playing into terrorists' hands”. German MEP Jan Philipp...

Big Retail Is Watching You: Exposing Walmart’s Massive Data Collection Schemes

Outside of its growing reputation for poverty wages, worker intimidation and an overall culture of employee repression, a new report released Wednesday reveals that...

The Data Hackers: Mining Your Information for Big Brother

Big Bro is watching you. Inside your mobile phone and hidden behind your web browser are little known software products marketed by contractors to...

Move over NSA, here comes the Obamacare Big Brother database

James S. Robbins Rare July 21, 2013 Would you trust thousands of low-level Federal bureaucrats and contractors with one-touch access to your private financial...

“Big Brother Obama” Systematic Spying on Americans: Unconstitutional US Data-Mining

On June 5, London’s Guardianreported part of it. “NSA collecting phone records of millions of Verizon customers daily,” it headlined.On June 6, a follow-up...

The great big DNA database fishing expedition

In London the Met police have been rounding up and arresting children as young as ten who have committed no crime, for the purpose...

UK Government Drops Big Brother ‘Database’ But Remains Big Brother

The UK government wants communications companies to keep records of our phone, text messages, e-mail and Internet traffic, but has dropped plans to keep this information stored...

UK data watchdog issues Big Brother warning

By Andrew Thomas THE UK INFORMATION COMMISSIONER'S OFFICE (ICO) has warned that bureaucrats share citizens' data with each other willy-nilly and citizens probably don't even...

This Year's Poverty Data Looks a Lot Different When You Break It Down by...

Last week's Census release of data on income, poverty, and health insurance demonstrated two things: There are policies that work for people who are...

Sen. Warren Rips Anthem for Sending 'Bigger Tax Cuts or Else' Ransom Note

During a Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions hearing Thursday, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) slammed the insurance giant Anthem for threatening to...

New Netflix Series Big Mouth Is Peak Weimerica

Sep 13, 2017 By Reinhard Wolff | redice.tv On September 29, Netflix will add a new series to its lineup: Big...

New Report Exposes "Big Ag's Gag Agenda"

A new report puts a spotlight on so-called "ag-gag" laws, offering a clear look at how these efforts to criminalize whistleblowing "are part of...

LA wildfire biggest in city’s history, now spans 5,800 acres (PHOTOS, VIDEOS)

Published time: 3 Sep, 2017 11:28 The La Tuna bush fire is now the largest in...

Manafort and the Big Nothingburger

In a secretly taped video CNN’s Van Jones referred to the Trump-Russia story as a “big nothingburger.” Interesting that one of the network’s senior...

The CIA and Me: How I Learned Not to Love Big Brother

Photo by Andrea Yori | CC BY 2.0 In the wake of the 2001 terrorist attacks, Washington pursued its elusive enemies across the landscapes of...

Bannon's Ouster Welcomed, but Much Bigger Problem Remains in White House: Trump

White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference on February 23, 2017, in National Harbor, Maryland. (Photo: Michael Vadon) "The...

Trump condemns ‘display of hatred, bigotry & violence on many sides’ after Charlottesville clashes

President Trump has condemned the violent clashes and a car ramming incident in Charlottesville, Virginia, saying...

Donald Trump working on ‘big’ UK trade deal, takes a swipe at EU

Published time: 25 Jul, 2017 14:44 US President Donald Trump says he is working on...

Trump says he is working on ‘very big and exciting’ trade deal with UK

Donald Trump has said he is working on a “major” post-Brexit trade deal with the UK that could be “very big”.  The announcement in a...

Pound plunges before inflation data release, sparking fresh ‘leak’ concerns

A sharp fall in sterling just before surprisingly weak June inflation data was released has...

Govt ‘powerless’ to stop revolving door between civil service & big business – report

Whitehall bosses failed to stop any of their employees from joining the private sector for...

A Bigger Warning

(Yet another, will it help?) by T.P. Wilkinson / July 16th, 2017 In some casesone can seeanger comingfrom across the seaDestructivenesstravels no longerunder sailBut in data...

Payroll Data Shows Wider-Than-Average Gender Pay Gap in Trump White House

Days after the White House announced that it had ceased operations of its Council on Women and Girls, the Trump administration released data on...

The Latest London Terror Attack on Finsbury Park Mosque is Just Part-and-Parcel of Living...

My advice for the Muslim community is to carry on exactly as before. Get used to it guys: it's part and parcel...

Election scalps: Which political big hitters are facing the chop?  

Published time: 9 Jun, 2017 01:52 Edited time: 9 Jun, 2017 02:16 As the election...

The Arab Struggle Against Bigotry

For decades, Arabs in the United States have been the focus of bigotry that spikes after incidents of Islamist violence...

Trump: Surveillance & unmasking under Obama administration is ‘big story’

Published time: 1 Jun, 2017 16:10 Edited time: 2 Jun, 2017 18:04 Donald Trump says the...

Revealed! Big money bankrolling Tory campaign linked to claims of fraud, tax dodging

Theresa May’s Conservative Party has scooped almost three times more in cash donations than Jeremy...

Big Guns Work

By Erika Haas Bearing Arms May 20, 2017 A mother in Tennessee was forced to pull out the big guns Monday morning after a home intruder...

Trump Wants to Cut Energy Dept's Renewables Budget. Big Time.

The Trump administration is weighing putting the Energy Department's budget for its renewable energy and energy efficiency program on the chopping block with a...

Drones, lasers & more ships: Top US admiral dreams of bigger, better navy

To adequately perform its mission in face of global challenges, the US Navy needs to expand...

Victims paid WannaCry ransom hackers less than $70k, no data recovered – White House

WannaCry, the global cyber ransomware attack that infected more than 300,000 computers in 150 countries, yielded the hackers less than $70,000, and no federal...

UKIP in crisis? Biggest donor & party spokesman jump ship amid ‘war on Muslims’...

Not a full day had passed since the UK Independence Party (UKIP) launched its new...

NC Lawmakers Want to Shield Factory Farms from Big Damage Payments to Victims

Legislation moving through the North Carolina General Assembly would prevent people living near the state's numerous factory farms from recovering more than token damages...

Minnesota lawmakers take step to ban selling browser data

After the US Congress voted to loosen online privacy regulations, allowing internet providers to sell customers’...

DEA approves synthetic marijuana for big pharma company against legalization

A synthetic marijuana product could be available for commercialization after the DEA gave a newly approved...

Senate Might Let Internet Companies Sell User Data to 'Highest Bidder'

The Senate is set to vote this week whether to let broadband companies sell user information to the highest bidder—overturning rules implemented by the...

UKIP’s biggest donor launches ‘UKIP 2.0, the Force Awakens’ after being ‘suspended’

Published time: 14 Mar, 2017 15:45 UKIP’s last big donor, Arron Banks, has announced he will...

Health Care or Wealth Care? 24 Million to Lose Insurance Under GOP Plan While...

A startling new report from the Congressional Budget Office is projecting 24 million people will lose health insurance coverage by 2026 under the Republican...

CCTV mixed with bulk data collection increases threat to privacy – watchdog

Mass data collection and the proliferation of CCTV vastly increase the risk of citizens being...

Southern Communities Brace for the Impact of Big Oil's Expansion Plans

President Donald Trump kicked off last week with a Monday morning tweet hailing -- and seeming to wrongly take credit for -- Exxon Mobil's...
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Video: European States Pushing for Unbridled Retention of Its Citizens’ Data (2/2)

Mass surveillance policies often appease populist sentiment in the aftermath of a terrorist attack, but result in laws that are ambiguous and put citizens...

Southern Communities Brace for the Impact of Big Oil's Expansion Plans

President Donald Trump kicked off this week with a Monday morning tweet hailing — and seeming to wrongly take credit for — Exxon Mobil's plan for...

It’s Time We Acknowledge Women’s Contributions to the Economy—and How Much Bigger a Role...

Women hold 49.5 percent of payroll jobs. The health of the female workforce is hugely important to the health of the overall labor force....

In Afghanistan, America's Biggest Foe Is Self-Deception

America’s war in Afghanistan is now in its 16th year, the longest foreign war in our history.  The phrase “no end in sight” barely...

Not so Big Easy: New Orleans steps up surveillance ahead of Mardi Gras

Published time: 24 Feb, 2017 21:50Edited time: 25 Feb, 2017 13:44 New Orleans bar owners are pushing...

Reality of President Trump Is Stressing Out Americans… Big League

Americans have been taking to the streets in record numbers since the inauguration of President Donald Trump, but amid that uptick in resistance something...

With 'Valentine to Corruption,' Trump Officially Kills Big Oil Transparency

In a move global rights groups are decrying as a Valentine's Day gift to Big Oil, President Donald Trump on Tuesday officially voided a...

Congressional Dems Go Diverse on Their Classifed Data

While the MSM is still in full “attack Trump” mode, breathlessly reporting each of his tweets, attacking his cabinet picks, gleefully celebrating how the...

Mixed reaction as big clean up underway following DC Women’s March

They may have attracted the headlines, but the anti-Trump protesters who attended the massive Women’s March...

Obama’s ironic farewell: US must fight for democracy, not be ‘just another big country...

In his final official remarks to the American people, President Barack Obama explained "why we cannot withdraw from global fights." He returned to Chicago...

‘Make in USA or pay big border tax’: Trump blasts GM over cars made...

President-elect Donald Trump blasted General Motors Company for building some of its cars in Mexico, and...

Fugitive in biggest financial hack ever arrested upon return to US from Moscow

The FBI has arrested one of its most wanted cybercrime suspects, an American who fled to Russia. Under what conditions Joshua Aaron suddenly returned...

Big Media’s Contra-Cocaine Cover-up

Special Report: Twelve years ago, a campaign of character assassination by the major U.S. newspapers drove an honest journalist to...

GM Mustard in India: “fudged data,” “unremitting fraud” and “monumentally bogus”

Colin Todhunter The case of genetically modified (GM) mustard in India has reached the Supreme Court. The government has said it will bow to the...

Energy Interests, Mostly Fossil Fuels, Give Big to Ohio Campaigns

With the fate of the state's clean energy standards and the federal Clean Power Plan still unsettled, utility, fossil fuel and nuclear...

Sanders calls for investigations into Big Pharma insulin-price collusion

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders has requested the US Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission...

Big Pharma Lobbying For Price Hikes

Facing an increasingly outraged public, the leading Big Pharma lobby group is hiking its annual dues by more than 50 percent as it prepares...

Clinton’s Slog Deeper into the Big Muddy

By Daniel Lazare Attentive viewers may have noticed something curious about last week’s presidential debate. Asked if she would send troops to help stabilize Iraq...

Lawsuit accuses Yahoo of gross negligence over 2014 data breach

A class action lawsuit has been filed against Yahoo over a data breach of over 500...

WPost Wants a Bigger War in Syria

The neocon Washington Post wants an even bigger U.S. military intervention in Syria, ignoring the tenets of international law and assuming...

How much for ambassador? Hacked DNC files reveal plum posts for big donors

Hacker ‘Guccifer 2.0’ has offered support for allegations that Democrats rewarded big donors and fund-raisers with...

#BasketOfDeplorables-gate: Angry backlash after Hillary calls half of Trump supporters bigots

Baskets have never been so controversial. Hillary Clinton’s now-infamous “baskets of deplorables” jibe ignited a fierce political spat online: Trump got angry, Clinton somewhat...

DEA targeting of addiction treatment kratom will protect Big Pharma profits

The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), currently starring in the new season of the Netflix series “Narcos,”...

The Biggest Strike in World History? No Thanks, We’re Focusing on the New iPhone

Some of the tens of millions of Indian workers whose strike was ignored by US corporate media. (image: Democracy Now!) When tens of millions of...

The ‘Anti-Clinton Media’ Are Big Donors to Clinton Foundation–and to Clinton

“At least 85 of 154 people from private interests who met or had phone conversations scheduled with Clinton while she led the State Department...

‘Foreign hackers’ accessed Arizona, Illinois election databases – FBI

A secret FBI memo urged states to beef up the security of their voter databases, blaming...

TiSA… Big Brother and Big Business Together

(Photo: Tim Dorr) President Obama started a fresh push for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TTP) on Friday when he sent Congress a draft Statement of Administrative Action. That...

Big Pharma boss Shkreli attacks Bernie Sanders on Twitter, senator fails to take bait

Possibly the most hated man in America, Big Pharma baron Martin Shkreli has become embroiled in...

With DNC Leaks, Former ‘Conspiracy Theory’ Is Now True––and No Big Deal

For months, Bernie Sanders supporters and surrogates have complained about unfair treatment from the Democratic National Committee—only to have these concerns dismissed by media...

Failed Turkish Coup’s Big-Power Impact

Turkey’s failed “coup” has shaken up the region’s geopolitics, splintering the powerful Turkish military, forcing President Erdogan to focus on internal “enemies,”...

The Big Challenge of Finding Your Survival Retreat

There comes a time when every prepper takes a look at what they have done, what they are currently doing, and what they plan...

Microsoft wins federal appeal over warrants for data held outside US

Warrants issued by US authorities do not apply to electronic data, such as emails, held on...

Of Course 23andMe's Plan Has Been to Sell Your Genetic Data All Along

Today, 23andMe announced what Forbes reports is only the first of ten deals with big biotech companies: Genentech will pay up to...

UK police commit 2,300 data breaches in 4.5yrs – report

Some 800 UK police staff were responsible for more than 2,300 breaches of personal data...

Why isn’t the assassination attempt on Donald Trump bigger news?

The No. 1 trending question related to Donald Trump on Google right now is "Who tried to shoot Trump?" Which means a...

The Big One: ‘Large scale motion’ detected along San Andreas fault

Large scale motion has been detected along the San Andreas Fault line, thanks to new analysis of existing data that could help predict ‘The...

Republican AGs protest climate fraud probe into big oil, threaten fraud lawsuits of their...

Facing a fraud probe over whether ExxonMobil misled the public on climate change, Republican attorneys general...

Did Big Media Do in Sanders?

Many Bernie Sanders backers feel that the mainstream media did its best to marginalize the Vermont senator’s campaign and clear...

The Bigger Nuclear Risk: Trump or Clinton?

Exclusive: If the U.S. election comes down to Hillary Clinton v. Donald Trump, the American people will have to decide...

BDS a Bigger Issue After Israel’s Rightward Shift

40 years after the US formally criminalized the participation of US citizens in economic boycotts of the state of Israel, Americans remain...

Big Pharma Seeks to Capitalize on Pain-Reducing Compound Derived From Cannabis

(Image: Lauren Walker / Truthout) The medicinal properties of cannabidiol (better known as CBD), a compound found in the Cannabis sativa L. plant...

Still ruling the waves? UK’s biggest ever warship nears completion, amid claims it’s obsolete

HMS Queen Elizabeth, the first of two massive aircraft carriers, is approaching completion ahead of...

US reveals Saudi Arabia’s US debt holdings for the first time (and it’s big)

Saudi Arabia tops all other oil exporting countries in holding US debt, with $116 billion, US Treasury documents reveal. The first such disclosure in...

Twitter bans US intelligence access to Dataminr analytics – report

Twitter has banned the US intelligence agencies from using a service called Dataminr, which searches through real-time tweets to detect newsworthy events, including terror...

3rd biggest killer in US is medical error – Johns Hopkins study

Research has discovered that medical error is the third leading cause of death in the United...

Big Oil Isn’t Going Down Without a Fight

(Photo: Yann Caradec / Flickr) An extreme weather event hits Norway. Finally shocked into doing something radical about climate change, Norwegian citizens propel the Green...

Missing the Biggest 2016 Story

The biggest political story of 2016 has been the rise of protest candidates Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders, but it...

Good chance spies are hoovering up your personal data in bulk, documents show

British security services “routinely” collect personal data on bulk from thousands of public and private...

World’s biggest arms fair in London likely infiltrated by criminals, judge rules

It’s highly likely the world’s largest arms fair, held in London last year, was infiltrated...

Upskirt season: Warnings issues over creepy cameras as springtime hits the Big Apple

New York’s unseasonably warm weather in March brought out the hottest summer outfits as well as...

Panama Papers: World Leaders and Rich Lawbreakers Exposed in Massive Data Leak

Also see: Panama Papers Controversy Offers an Opportunity to Push for Transparency UPDATE: Iceland Prime Minister Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson has resigned following the...

‘Bigoted and misguided’: American Muslims file twin lawsuits over terror watch list

A seven-month-old baby is among 15 American Muslims named in two lawsuits being brought against the...

Joe Medicine Crow, last link to Battle of Little Bighorn, 'walks on' at age...

Tributes have poured in for Joseph Medicine Crow, sole surviving war chief of the Montana Crow...

Sir Costa-lot: World’s 2nd biggest coffee chain accused of ripping off customers

Costa, the world’s second largest coffee chain behind Starbucks, has been accused of duping customers...

Big Pharma Settlements Highlight the Need for Tougher Enforcement

Stronger enforcement is needed to deter pharmaceutical manufacturers from continuing to break the law and defraud federal and state health programs, according to a...

Big wins for Bernie Sanders in Washington, Hawaii, Alaska caucuses

Presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders achieved his goal of a trifecta in Saturday’s caucuses to chip away...

Google upgrades warnings to alert users to when Big Brother is watching

Google will display a full-page warning if state-backed attackers attempt to access a user’s Gmail account...

Big wins for Bernie Sanders in Washington, Alaska caucuses, waiting on Hawaii

Two down, one to go, for presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders, who hopes to win a trifecta...

Fascist Spain’s Biggest Supporters Were Hitler, Mussolini, and This American Oilman

(Photo: Gerard Stolk / Flickr) This piece has been adapted from Adam Hochschild’s new book, Spain in Our Hearts: Americans in the Spanish Civil War, 1936-1939. “Merchants...

There is a war between Big Pharma and the American people … and the...

Big Pharma has just scored a big victory with the appointment of Robert Califf as new head of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)....

Why GOP Bigwigs Fear Trump

A desperate Republican establishment is going all out to stop Donald Trump who has rallied the GOP “base” that the bigwigs...

The Big Issue Is Big Money

The biggest falsehood of Hillary Clinton’s campaign is to call Bernie Sanders a “single-issue” candidate, since he has actually addressed many issues. But Michael...

Austerity causes biggest rise in England’s death rate since WWII – health expert

Government cuts to social services could be killing large numbers of vulnerable people in England, a health journal has said, as new figures show...

Missing the Days When Candidates Pretended We Had No Big Problems

A big thing David Brooks will miss about Barack Obama will be his not being Bernie Sanders. (photo: Doug Mills/NYT) “I miss Barack Obama,” writes...

Oh the irony: Anti-extremism advisor listed in terrorist database

Liberal Democrat politician Maajid Nawaz, who advised every British PM since Tony Blair on countering extremism, was given a “terrorism” designation in a confidential...

Leaking Classified Info Not Such a Big Deal (Except When Whistleblowers Do It)

Defense Department says no demotion for General David Petraeus by Andrea Germanos In what some are calling another example of a two-tiered justice system, the Pentagon...

Anger and Ugly Faces of Bigotry

Millions of Americans feel disenfranchised by the political establishment — numbers reflected in the populist candidacies of Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders — but...

‘Break Em Up!’: Sanders Speech Takes Aim at Big Bank Greed

Speaking in downtown Manhattan, presidential hopeful calls to break up 'too big to fail' banks and reinstate Glass-Steagall by Lauren McCauley Speaking just blocks away from the...

Eyes on the road: Police surveillance database logs 30mn car journeys every day

Britain’s surveillance commissioner has questioned the legality of a police database that holds the details of 22 billion road journeys and was established without...

How Governments Are Helping Big Companies Pay Less Tax

Corporate tax policy says more about power than anything else. Corporations seek to minimise the tax they pay - and, while governments ordinarily try...

Too big to Investigate: Vaccine industry now enjoying total immunity from all laws due...

November 2016, when American voters will once again cast their ballot for president, is still a long way off. However, judging by the rising...

Big Pharma, petrochemical companies and criminal banksters paid Bill and Hillary Clinton more than...

When Democratic presidential contender Hillary Clinton hits the campaign trail, she does her level best to portray herself and her ex-president husband, Bill, as...

During Every Market Crash There Are Big Ups, Big Downs And Giant Waves Of...

Michael Snyder (RINF) This is exactly the type of market behavior that we would expect to see during...

Exposed: Big Brother’s ‘Unique and Productive’ Relationship with AT&T

Newly disclosed National Security Agency documents show that the U.S. government's relationship with telecom giant AT&T has been considered "unique and especially productive," according...

Total criminality of Hillary Clinton on full display as she turns over email server...

It's astonishing to learn the degree of total criminality Democrats will tolerate in their own Presidential candidate. No crime is too big for a...

Councils misused & lost citizens’ data thousands of times – privacy watchdog

Privacy rights campaigners are demanding that UK council staff face prosecution after an investigation revealed government employees stole, lost or inappropriately accessed citizens’ sensitive...

Scott Walker’s Big Lie

Eric Zuesse I have written lots of articles about Barack Obama’s lying. To expose lies by Republicans is not at all a partisan matter for me; it’s...

New York Times Big Lies

by Stephen Lendman (RINF) - The Times is an establishment publication - a lying machine, a mouthpiece for powerful monied interests at the expense of...

Data Show Cops Growing More Aggressive Against Black People in Missouri

New statistics from Missouri show that the racial disparity in police stops, searches and arrests of drivers was higher, last year, than at any...

‘UK police can access personal data hundreds of time per day’

Privacy campaigners in the UK say British police are granted access to private phone and email records of people almost every two minutes. This...

Why the ACLU’s Big Victory Against NSA Surveillance Falls Short

I don’t like to be a wet blanket, but at the risk of mixing metaphors, I’m going to throw some cold water on the...

Wall Street Titans Who Crashed Global Economy in 2008 Go Big for TPP

As billionaire class and financial elites push corporate-friendly pact, new data shows empty promises and 'job-killing' reality of previous agreements (Common Dreams) - Even as...

The Jonas Salk Polio Vaccine: A Medical Breakthrough or a Propaganda Campaign for Big...

Timothy Alexander Guzman (RINF) — When polio (poliomyelitis) became an epidemic in the U.S. and other parts of the world many people were understandably concerned. Diseases...

Big Brother finds new way to track every vehicle owner

We predicted it would happen. A year after the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) scuttled plans to build its own nationwide database of vehicle...

As Was Always the Plan: California Water Authorities Using Smart Meter Data as Evidence...

The smart grid isn’t coming. It’s already here. Everywhere people’s houses are being fitted if they already haven’t with smart electric meters and smart water...

4 Ways That Corporations Owe Us Big Time

Paul Buchheit The distorted belief that wealthy individuals and corporations are job creators has led to sizeable business subsidies and tax breaks. The biggest giveaway is...

How Big Oil Frackers Get Away With Polluting Your Drinking Water With Dangerous Chemicals

We were twenty minutes into one of the most boring Power Point presentations I have ever seen. While we looked at “shaded areas of...

Big Pharma’s Mass Vaccination Agenda: Propaganda Assault on Informed Consent

James F. Tracy  RINF Alternative News Major US news media have presented a grossly distorted and misleading interpretation of vaccines and their relationship to public health...

The US Intelligence Community Is Bigger Than Ever, but Is It Worth It?

The U.S. spends nearly $1 trillion on national security programs and agencies annually, more than any other nation in the world. Yet despite this...

Theresa May Wants Database To Track All EU-Passengers

The home secretary, Theresa May, led demands for a new Europe-wide travel database to track the movement of all air, train and ferry passengers...

Big Pharma Promotes The Most Profitable, Not Effective, Medicines

For more than five decades, the blood thinner Coumadin was the only option for millions of patients at risk for life-threatening blood clots. But...

“The GMO Deception”: How Big Ag and the Government Are Putting Your Food at...

Colorado and Oregon could soon become the first states in the nation to pass ballot initiatives mandating the labeling of food products containing genetically...

Big Media Has Betrayed the People

For years, Americans relied on the mainstream U.S. news media for information; some folks were even convinced the MSM was “liberal.” But the current reality...

Parent Alert! NSF Awards Grant for Data Mining Children

Diane Ravitch The National Science Foundation has awarded grants of $4.8 million to several prominent research universities to advance the use of Big Data in...

Google, Facebook’s spying on users bigger intrusion than NSA’s

Unlike Facebook and Google who collect enormous amount of users’ data, the NSA is not actively snooping on Americans’ internet and e-mail accounts and...

Why We Allow Big Pharma to Rip Us Off

Robert Reich According to a new federal database put online last week, pharmaceutical companies and device makers paid doctors some $380 million in speaking and...

Why Is Big Tobacco Suddenly Trying to Warn People About the Risks of Smoking?

Their motives for warning people about the dangers of e-cigarettes are hardly pure. Allegra Kirkland If you’ve stopped into a corner store or gas station recently,...

The Sandy Hook Massacre: Continued Ambiguity And Augmented Realities

Professor James F. Tracy RINF Alternative News A recent report notes that FBI crime statistics reflect no homicides occurred in Newtown, Connecticut throughout the year 2012.* This...

Snooping on Everyone While the Big Box Thieves Get Busy

Congress is still dragging its feet on fixes more than a year after Edward Snowden's alarming revelations first came to light. Emily Schwartz Greco and...

Streams Of Profit And Rivers Of Poison: Big Agritech’s Lasting Legacy

Colin Todhunter RINF Alternative News Handing over agriculture to Big Agritech concerns is akin to letting the foxes guard the hen house. What do they care...

Big Brother Wants ‘To Make Life Easier’ For You – But Ask Yourself Why

Rather than a telescreen sinisterly watching you from the corner, the future will be about citizens communicating with government through the screen. Tim Adler Government today...

Any Palestinian is exposed to monitoring by the Israeli Big Brother

Testimonies from people who worked in the Israeli Intelligence Corps tell of a system where there were no boundaries I enlisted in the Intelligence Corps...

9/11: The Mother of All Big Lies

Stephen Lendman RINF Alternative News They're an American tradition. They date from the republic's inception. Notable ones began in the mid-19th century. They facilitated annexing Texas. Half...

This Is a “Pivotal Moment” for the Movement to Remove Big Money From Politics

John Nichols The Senate will wrangle this week over whether to amend the Constitution to allow citizens and their representatives to organize elections where votes...

Hard Truths v. MSM Big Lies

Stephen Lendman RINF Alternative News In his book "Inventing Reality: The Politics of the Mass Media," Michael Parenti said former FCC commissioner Nicholas Johnson "once urged people...

Economic data show gathering global slump

Nick Beams  RINF Alternative News The latest economic statistics from Europe, Japan and China point to deepening recessionary trends in the global economy. The eurozone economy is...

Government Will Withhold One-Third of the Records from Database of Physician Payments

Many payments to doctors made by pharmaceutical and medical device companies will not be included in the public release of the database next month....

‘Too Big To Fail’ Banks: Bigger, Badder… and Here To Stay

Jon Queally Nearly six years after the financial crisis of 2008 that helped spur a global economic meltdown, federal regulators in the U.S. on Tuesday...

Don’t Be Fooled: Banks Still Too Big to Fail

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The Four Biggest Right-Wing Lies About Inequality

Even though French economist Thomas Piketty has made an air-tight case that we’re heading toward levels of inequality not seen since the days of the nineteenth-century robber barons, right-wing conservatives haven’t stopped lying about what’s happening and what to do about it.

Herewith, the four biggest right-wing lies about inequality, followed by the truth.

Lie number one: The rich and CEOs are America’s job creators. So we dare not tax them.

The truth is the middle class and poor are the job-creators through their purchases of goods and services. If they don’t have enough purchasing power because they’re not paid enough, companies won’t create more jobs and economy won’t grow.

We’ve endured the most anemic recovery on record because most Americans don’t have enough money to get the economy out of first gear. The economy is barely growing and real wages continue to drop.

We keep having false dawns. An average of 200,000 jobs were created in the United States over the last three months, but huge numbers of Americans continue to drop out of the labor force.

Lie number two: People are paid what they’re worth in the market. So we shouldn’t tamper with pay.

The facts contradict this. CEOs who got 30 times the pay of typical workers forty years ago now get 300 times their pay not because they’ve done such a great job but because they control their compensation committees and their stock options have ballooned.

Meanwhile, most American workers earn less today than they did forty years ago, adjusted for inflation, not because they’re working less hard now but because they don’t have strong unions bargaining for them.

More than a third of all workers in the private sector were unionized forty years ago; now, fewer than 7 percent belong to a union. 

Lie number three: Anyone can make it in America with enough guts, gumption, and intelligence. So we don’t need to do anything for poor and lower-middle class kids.

The truth is we do less than nothing for poor and lower-middle class  kids. Their schools don’t have enough teachers or staff, their textbooks are outdated, they lack science labs, their school buildings are falling apart.

We’re the only rich nation to spend less educating poor kids than we do educating kids from wealthy families. 

All told, 42 percent of children born to poor families will still be in poverty as adults – a higher percent than in any other advanced nation. 

Lie number four: Increasing the minimum wage will result in fewer jobs. So we shouldn’t raise it.

In fact, studies show that increases in the minimum wage put more money in the pockets of people who will spend it – resulting in more jobs, and counteracting any negative employment effects of an increase in the minimum. 

Three of my colleagues here at the University of California at Berkeley — Arindrajit Dube, T. William Lester, and Michael Reich – have compared adjacent counties and communities across the United States, some with higher minimum wages than others but similar in every other way.

They found no loss of jobs in those with the higher minimums.

The truth is, America’s lurch toward widening inequality can be reversed. But doing so will require bold political steps.

At the least, the rich must pay higher taxes in order to pay for better-quality education for kids from poor and middle-class families. Labor unions must be strengthened, especially in lower-wage occupations, in order to give workers the bargaining power they need to get better pay. And the minimum wage must be raised. 

Don’t listen to the right-wing lies about inequality. Know the truth, and act on it. 

Wall Street Greed: Not Too Big for a California Jury

Sixteen of the world’s largest banks have been caught colluding to rig global interest rates.  Why are we doing business with a corrupt global banking cartel?

United States Attorney General Eric Holder has declared that the too-big-to-fail Wall Street banks are too big to prosecute.  But an outraged California jury might have different ideas. As noted in the California legal newspaper The Daily Journal:

California juries are not bashful – they have been known to render massive punitive damages awards that dwarf the award of compensatory (actual) damages.For example, in one securities fraud case jurors awarded $5.7 million in compensatory damages and $165 million in punitive damages. . . . And in a tobacco case with $5.5 million in compensatory damages, the jury awarded $3 billion in punitive damages . . . .

The question, then, is how to get Wall Street banks before a California jury. How about charging them with common law fraud and breach of contract?  That’s what the FDIC just did in its massive 24-count civil suit for damages for LIBOR manipulation, filed in March 2014 against sixteen of the world’s largest banks, including the three largest US banks – JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America and Citigroup.   

LIBOR (the London Interbank Offering Rate) is the benchmark rate at which banks themselves can borrow. It is a crucial rate involved in over $400 trillion in derivatives called interest-rate swaps, and it is set by the sixteen private megabanks behind closed doors.

The biggest victims of interest-rate swaps have been local governments, universities, pension funds, and other public entities. The banks have made renegotiating these deals prohibitively expensive, and renegotiation itself is an inadequate remedy. It is the equivalent of the grocer giving you an extra potato when you catch him cheating on the scales. A legal action for fraud is a more fitting and effective remedy. Fraud is grounds both for rescission (calling off the deal) as well as restitution (damages), and in appropriate cases punitive damages.

Trapped in a Fraud

Nationally, municipalities and other large non-profits are thought to have as much as $300 billion in outstanding swap contracts based on LIBOR, deals in which they are trapped due to prohibitive termination fees. According to a 2010 report by the SEIU (Service Employees International Union):

The overall effect is staggering. Banks are estimated to have collected as much as $28 billion in termination fees alone from state and local governments over the past two years. This does not even begin to account for the outsized net payments that state and local governments are now making to the banks. . . .

While the press have reported numerous stories of cities like Detroit, caught with high termination payments, the reality is there are hundreds (maybe even thousands) more cities, counties, utility districts, school districts and state governments with swap agreements [that] are causing cash strapped local and city governments to pay millions of dollars in unneeded fees directly to Wall Street.

All of these entities could have damage claims for fraud, breach of contract and rescission; and that is true whether or not they negotiated directly with one of the LIBOR-rigging banks.

To understand why, it is necessary to understand how swaps work. As explained in my last article here, interest-rate swaps are sold to parties who have taken out loans at variable interest rates, as insurance against rising rates. The most common swap is one where counterparty A (a university, municipal government, etc.) pays a fixed rate to counterparty B (the bank), while receiving from B a floating rate indexed to a reference rate such as LIBOR. If interest rates go up, the municipality gets paid more on the swap contract, offsetting its rising borrowing costs. If interest rates go down, the municipality owes money to the bank on the swap, but that extra charge is offset by the falling interest rate on its variable rate loan. The result is to fix borrowing costs at the lower variable rate.

At least, that is how they are supposed to work. The catch is that the swap is a separate financial agreement – essentially an ongoing bet on interest rates. The borrower owes both the interest onits variable rate loan and what it must pay on its separate swap deal. And the benchmarks for the two rates don’t necessarily track each other. The rate owed on the debt is based on something called the SIFMA municipal bond index.  The rate owed by the bank is based on the privately-fixed LIBOR rate.

As noted by Stephen Gandel on CNNMoney, when the rate-setting banks started manipulating LIBOR, the two rates decoupled, sometimes radically. Public entities wound up paying substantially more than the fixed rate they had bargained for – a failure of consideration constituting breach of contract. Breach of contract is grounds for rescission and damages.

Pain and Suffering in California

The SEIU report noted that no one has yet completely categorized all the outstanding swap deals entered into by local and state governments.  But in a sampling of swaps within California, involving ten cities and counties (San Francisco, Corcoran, Los Angeles, Menlo Park, Oakland, Oxnard, Pittsburgh, Richmond, Riverside, and Sacramento), one community college district, one utility district, one transportation authority, and the state itself, the collective tab was $365 million in swap payments annually, with total termination fees exceeding $1 billion.

Omitted from the sample was the University of California system, which alone is reported to have lost tens of millions of dollars on interest-rate swaps. According to an article in the Orange County Register on February 24, 2014, the swaps now cost the university system an estimated $6 million a year. University accountants estimate that the 10-campus system will lose as much as $136 million over the next 34 years if it remains locked into the deals, losses that would be reduced only if interest rates started to rise. According to the article:

Already officials have been forced to unwind a contract at UC Davis, requiring the university to pay $9 million in termination fees and other costs to several banks. That sum would have covered the tuition and fees of 682 undergraduates for a year.

The university is facing the losses at a time when it is under tremendous financial stress. Administrators have tripled the cost of tuition and fees in the past 10 years, but still can’t cover escalating expenses. Class sizes have increased. Families have been angered by the rising price of attending the university, which has left students in deeper debt.

Peter Taylor, the university’s Chief Financial Officer, defended the swaps, saying he was confident that interest rates would rise in coming years, reversing what the deals have lost. But for that to be true, rates would have to rise by multiples that would drive interest on the soaring federal debt to prohibitive levels, something the Federal Reserve is not likely to allow.

The Revolving Door

The UC’s dilemma is explored in a report titled “Swapping Our Future: How Students and Taxpayers Are Funding Risky UC Borrowing and Wall Street Profits.” The authors, a group called Public Sociologists of Berkeley, say that two factors were responsible for the precipitous decline in interest rates that drove up UC’s relative borrowing costs. One was the move by the Federal Reserve to push interest rates to record lows in order to stabilize the largest banks. The other was the illegal effort by major banks to manipulate LIBOR, which indexes interest rates on most bonds issued by UC.

Why, asked the authors, has UC’s management not tried to renegotiate the deals? They pointed to the revolving door between management and Wall Street. Unlike in earlier years, current and former business and finance executives now play a prominent role on the UC Board of Regents.

They include Chief Financial Officer Taylor, who walked through the revolving door from Lehman Brothers, where he was a top banker in Lehman’s municipal finance business in 2007. That was when the bank sold the university a swap related to debt at UCLA that has now become the source of its biggest swap losses. The university hired Taylor for his $400,000-a-year position in 2009, and he has continued to sign contracts for swaps on its behalf since.

Investigative reporter Peter Byrne notes that the UC regent’s investment committee controls $53 billion in Wall Street investments, and that historically it has been plagued by self-dealing. Byrne writes:

Several very wealthy, politically powerful men are fixtures on the regent’s investment committee, including Richard C. Blum (Wall Streeter, war contractor, and husband of U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein), and Paul Wachter (Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s long-time business partner and financial advisor). The probability of conflicts of interest inside this committee—as it moves billions of dollars between public and private companies and investment banks—is enormous.

Blum’s firm Blum Capital is also an adviser to CalPERS, the California Public Employees’ Retirement System, which also got caught in the LIBOR-rigging scandal. “Once again,” said CalPERS Chief Investment Officer Joseph Dear of the LIBOR-rigging, “the financial services industry demonstrated that it cannot be trusted to make decisions in the long-term interests of investors.” If the financial services industry cannot be trusted, it needs to be replaced with something that can be.

Remedies

The Public Sociologists of Berkeley recommend renegotiation of the onerous interest rate swaps, which could save up to $200 million for the UC system; and evaluation of the university’s legal options concerning the manipulation of LIBOR. As demonstrated in the new FDIC suit, those options include not just renegotiating on better terms but rescission and damages for fraud and breach of contract. These are remedies that could be sought by local governments and public entities across the state and the nation.

The larger question is why our state and local governments continue to do business with a corrupt global banking cartel. There is an alternative. They could set up their own publicly-owned banks, on the model of the state-owned Bank of North Dakota. Fraud could be avoided, profits could be recaptured, and interest could become a much-needed source of public revenue. Credit could become a public utility, dispensed as needed to benefit local residents and local economies.

__________________

Ellen Brown is an attorney, founder of the Public Banking Institute, and a candidate for California State Treasurer running on a state bank platform. She is the author of twelve books, including the best-selling Web of Debt and her latest book, The Public Bank Solution, which explores successful public banking models historically and globally.

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Wolfgang Halbig’s Quest for Truth

Requests for public records under the Connecticut Freedom of Information Act can result in threats of arrest under felony harassment charges. This is what former Florida State Trooper and school safety expert Wolfgang Halbig discovered after repeatedly telephoning and sending the series of emails, a portion of which appear below, to Newtown, Connecticut state and U.S. federal officials demanding more information on the Sandy Hook School massacre of December 14, 2012.

All of the requests below, spanning from records on Sandy Hook’s routine asbestos inspections to the key FBI crime report on the incident, have been met with almost complete silence. The non-responses from Connecticut and federal agencies were punctuated by two residential visits from local Lake County Sheriff’s deputies threatening to lock Halbig up if he persists in his pursuit of the truth. The most recent visit from law enforcement took place on Tuesday, February 18, when deputies questioned Halbig on his recent remarks to American Free Press’ David Gahary that he intended to travel to Newtown on a fact-finding mission in March.-JFT

From: Wolfgang Halbig
Fri, 27 Sep 2013 09:00:43 -0500
To: [email protected]
Cc: [email protected]
Subject: Mike Kehoe your Police Chief should be immediately fired for Negligence

Mrs Llordra:

I find this e-mail very difficult to write but as a Former Florida State Trooper and old now find the actions of your Police Chief very disturbing.

I have dedicated my life in public service and to read about your police chief giving Lt. George Sinko only a letter of reprimand for failing to respond to the Sandy Hook Elementary School Shooting on Dec 14, 2012

You should ask yourself as to how a Lt. working an off-duty detail at a construction site and making overtime money can ignore 911 calls and a Newtown police dispatcher requesting help from police officers for shots fired at The Sandy Hook Elementary School.

I cannot imagine any police officer ignoring emergency help requests when children and school staff lives are being threatened.  To sit in your car and listen to all those emergency calls go over the airwaves and do nothing is negligence.

For over two hours he sits and does absolutely nothing while children and school staff are being shot and killed.

Your Police Chief states in the newspaper that he is not a first responder.  He also states that he was off duty.

I can tell you and so can any other certified law enforcement officer when working an off-duty detail that you are never off-duty especially when lives of children and school staff are at stake.

We in law enforcement are on duty 24/7 always on call.

This Lt is  24 year veteran and if he does not know his responsibilities then he should also be immediately be fired along with the Police Chief.

This is a national embarrassment that clearly demonstrates negligence by both the Police Chief for not calling him to duty that morning and for the Lt not responding to this crisis.

We are all first responders even if you are a Lt.

How embarrassing for the City of Newtown Ct having a Lt. sit for over two hours and not respond and only be given a letter of reprimand.

I know that there is more to the story and I only hope that you use common sense in handling this huge embarrassment for your City.

Wolfgang W Halbig

From: Wolfgang Halbig
Date: Thu, 17 Oct 2013 14:11:53 -0500
To: Kathy June <[email protected]>
Cc: “[email protected]”  “[email protected]
Subject: Last try for Freedom of Information Act from your Interim Superintendent

Kathy;

Please tell your Interim School Superintendent that his response is total Horsepoop.

Hiding behind the safety of children and school staff in not releasing my information request is unprofessional if he is an educator.

I am simply asking for the Vendors name who you the school district or school hired to install the security system at Sandy Hook Elementary School with address and contact numbers

Just like Stanley Security Solutions has installed all of the security tools at the Sandy Hook replacement school.

They have donated over $100,000 thousand dollars in front door access control with CCTV CAMERA AND ACCESS BUTTON WITH CMAERA BEING A COLOR CAMERA.

THEY HAVE PROVIDED CARD READERS AT VARIOUS DOORS FOR STAFF USE.

THEY HAVE PROVIDEd YOUR SCHOOL WITH A NUMBER OF CCTV COLOR CAMERAS PLACED IN VARIOUS AREAS OF THE SCHOOL WHICH I DON’T WANT TO DISCLOSE SINCE IT MAY PLACE CHILDREN AND SCHOOL STAFF AT RISK.

What is wrong with your school district and your superintendents?  What are they afraid off?

I need the total cost of the project.

I need the date of completion.

I need the breakdown of the total cost as to what did the cameras cost? Are they color or just black and white?

I do not want to know the locations as I do know the placement of the cameras at the Sandy Hook replacement school and I promise not to ever hurt any child or staff in your school district.

Please comply with my FOIA as soon a possible since I have been waiting forever.

Wolfgang W Halbig

From: Wolfgang Halbig
Date: Tue, 29 Oct 2013 09:12:28 -0500
To: <[email protected]>
Cc: Kathy June <[email protected]>, “Katersky, Aaron” <[email protected]>, “[email protected]”, “[email protected]
Subject: Freedom of Information Act for the State of Ct.

Captain Rios:

Please provide me with copies of the contracts  and costs for the Crime Scene Cleanup in Decontaminating and Sanitizing the Sandy Hook Elementary School after Dec 14, 2012 .

The School Districts was considering allowing children and school staff to return to the school and now they have decided just to tear it down.

Who was the company that you the police allowed in the school providing me with the start date and end date of removing all of the Bio-Hazard materials.

Copy of the licenses that the company provided to you for transporting Medical Waste.

They would have to remove all the blood, bodily fluids, brain matter, skull fragments and around 45-60 gallons of blood based on the number of children and school staff shot and killed that day.

I am the Chief Investigator for the Children’s Safety Institute and a School safety Expert which now requires this information to be made available since it has been 11 month and you have not even provided a simple police or incident report.

If you do not have that information then please direct me to the agency that would have been responsible for decontaminating the crime scene and Sanitizing it since you allowed them into the school to remove furniture.

My address is [address]

Wolfgang W halbig

From: Wolfgang Halbig
Date: Wed, 13 Nov 2013 11:00:41 -0500
To: Boston <[email protected]>
Subject: Re: Do I need to get arrested to show the FBI’s negligence in Sandy Hook?

Boston FBI Offices;You get things done.Boston Marathon Bombing and spectators killed and seriously  injured and you the Boston FBI in three days solve this heinous crime.Millions of people watching and with a President stating in a National Press Conference that he will use every resource in his office in solving this horrendous crime just as he stated during the Sandy Hook Press Conference.You are good and now I am being told that the FBI has NO jurisdiction in the Sandy Hook Elemenatry School Shooting. That only the CT State Troopers and the Dansbury State Attorney control this event yet I am told that you the FBI in New Haven are being told to retract your official report and that is why it is taking so long.I call this Bullshit.  Sorry for the profanity.I know the FBI since I worked with you guys in Miami, Florida as a Florida State Trooper and will never for get April 11, 1986 when two of your Agents were killed and five others were serioulsy injured.>We are law enforcment partners for life and after having to seen that crime scene my request for information and help should not be that difficult.I understand crime scenes and how we collect evidence but after 11 months and the failure of disclosing the truth has caused National Panic and Fear in all schools across this country and I can take you guys on a field trip and show it.Panic and fear should not drive school safety especially when we have not heard the truth.You act accordingly when knowing all the facts.Please help and I know it is New haven but they refuse to respond.Wolfgang W halbig

From: Wolfgang Halbig
Date: Wed, 13 Nov 2013 17:17:45 -0500
To: <[email protected]>
Subject: Do I need to get arrested to make my point?

Newhaven FBI Field Offices:

In major crimes such at Sandy Hook Elementary School Shooting multiple agencies work closely together is trying to solve a crime as quickly as possible so rummors don’t fly around and create panic and fear as it now has now at sandy Hook.

You are part of this huge problem because I know that President has the report on the Sandy Hook supposed incident.

I know that the Attorney General Eric Holder has the report of the supposed incident at Sandy Hook.  Why not the National Media and put this ever occurring Sandy Hook terms to bed.

Boston; FBI replied and this was my response back to them.

>You make things happen.

You get things done.

Boston Marathon Bombing in which spectators were killed and seriously  injured and you the Boston FBI in three days solve this heinous crime.

Millions of people watching and with a President stating in a National Press Conference that he will use every resource in his office in solving this horrendous crime just as he stated during the Sandy Hook Press Conference.

You are good and now I am being told that the FBI has NO jurisdiction in the Sandy Hook Elementary School Shooting. That only the CT State Troopers and the Dansbury State Attorney control this event yet I am told that you the FBI in New Haven are being told to retract your official report and that is why it is taking so long.

I call this Bullshit.  Sorry for the profanity.

I know the FBI since I worked with you guys in Miami, Florida as a Florida State Trooper and will never for get April 11, 1986 when two of your Agents were killed and five others were serioulsy injured.

We are law enforcment partners for life and after having to seen that crime scene my request for information and help should not be that difficult.

I understand crime scenes and how we collect evidence but after 11 months and the failure of disclosing the truth has caused National Panic and Fear in all schools across this country and I can take you guys on a field trip and show it.

Panic and fear should not drive school safety especially when we have not heard the truth.

You act accordingly when knowing all the facts.

Please help and I know it is New haven but they refuse to respond.

Wolfgang W Halbig

From: Wolfgang Halbig
Date: Thu, 14 Nov 2013 08:18:58 -0500
To: Kathy June <[email protected]>
Subject: CT Freedom of Information Request again

Kathy;

You don’t return my phone calls and now I am requesting again the following which has nothing to do with the criminal investigation or places children and school staff at risk.

Please provide quickly.

Please provide me with copies of the contracts  and costs for the Crime Scene Cleanup in Decontaminating and Sanitizing the Sandy Hook Elementary School after Dec 14, 2012 .

The School Districts was considering allowing children and school staff to return to the school and now they have decided just to tear it down.

Who was the company that you the police allowed in the school providing me with the start date and end date of removing all of the Bio-Hazard materials.

Copy of the licenses that the company provided to you for transporting Medical Waste.

They would have to remove all the blood, bodily fluids, brain matter, skull fragments and around 45-60 gallons of blood based on the number of children and school staff shot and killed that day.

I am the Chief Investigator for the Children’s Safety Institute and a School safety Expert which now requires this information to be made available since it has been 11 month and you have not even provided a simple police or incident report.

If you do not have that information then please direct me to the agency that would have been responsible for decontaminating the crime scene and Sanitizing it since you allowed them into the school to remove furniture.

My address is [address]

Thanks

Wolfgang W halbig

From: Wolfgang Halbig
Date: Fri, 22 Nov 2013 08:38:07 -0500
To: “Rubio, Casework (Rubio)” <[email protected]>
Subject: Re: Request a investigative copy if the Sandy Hook School shooting from President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder now.

Whoever the case worker is:

You just don;t get it do you?  This is as urgent as it can get.  I am a Florida constituent who needs the Senator to get off his ass and get the report on Sandy Hook from the President or Attorney General Eric Holder.

You have NO clue as to what is happening out here with panic and fear running wild in all of our schools and you just don’t get it.

If you wait until Dec 14, 2012 when it becomes the first year anniversary of the Sandy Hook Shooting we will only escalate this panic and fear.

Do your research you don’t wait 11 month and have no solutions to the shooting especially when the FBI was directed by the President to investigate.

I need to hear from you and that Senator quickly on this issue and don’t tell me that this not an urgent issue pleae.

Wolfgang W halbig

From: “Rubio, Casework (Rubio)” <[email protected]>
Date: Thu, 21 Nov 2013 16:08:57 +0000
To: Wolfgang Halbig
Subject: RE: Request a investigative copy if the Sandy Hook School shooting from President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder now.

Dear Mr. Halbig,

Thank you for your comments. I will be sure to share them with the Senator. Please direct any future legislative comments via our website; http://www.rubio.senate.gov to ensure that a member of our legislative staff has an opportunity to respond to your concerns. This email account is reserved for Florida constituents who require immediate and direct assistance with a federal agency. Thank you for your cooperation and understanding.

Sincerely,

David

From: Wolfgang Halbig
Date: Wed, 27 Nov 2013 20:22:37 -0500
To: <[email protected]>
Subject: Re: Criminal Investigation is now closed so please provide my FOIA request now.

You need to be fired and actually if it turns out to be a conspiracy you need to go to jail and loose your pension like so many others in this heinous crime.

You guys should be ashamed of what you have done.

Your Lt stay on an off-duty construction site detail for over two hours and you justify it by saying he is not a first responder. I hope when you do your speaking engagements you share that will all our other law enforcement police chiefs and officers so they can have a great laugh.

You and vance are at the head of the line and you know it.  The truth will get out sooner or later.

Hope you sleep well you coward.

wolfgang

From: “Kehoe, Michael”
Reply-To:
Date: Wed, 27 Nov 2013 12:39:28 -0500
To: Wolfgang Halbig
Subject: Fwd: Criminal Investigation is now closed so please provide my FOIA request now.

Sir
The items you seek under FOIA are exempt from disclosure under the same law.

Thank you!!

Chief Michael Kehoe
Newtown Police Department
3 Main Street
Newtown, CT 06470
203.270.4256

From: Wolfgang Halbig
Date: Tue, Nov 26, 2013 at 3:28 PM
Subject: Criminal Investigation is now closed so please provide my FOIA request now.

I need you and your school superintendent to honor my CT State FOIA request that have been requested three months ago.

I requesting again under the CT State FOIA request protocols the following;

Contractors name and business address and contact numbers who was hired by the Sandy Hook Elementary School or the Newtown School District in installing the security system at the old Sandy Hook Elementary School.

The cost of the total project
The cost broken down by line item such as door locks at the front door, camera system to monitor people at the door and the recording system costs.

The cost of CCTV cameras for the school and the recording device purchased.

I do not want to know the locations of those cameras for school safety reason,

You were provided a complete and free security system by Stanley Security K-12 which included card readers for school staff, front door access controal with video monitoring and color CCTV cameras throughout the school.

I even know were they are located but I do not care about that just provide the information for the old Sandy Hook School.

Second Request under the Ct State FOIA request procedures;

1.The company that you the Newtown School Board and the Director of Facilities contracted to decontaminate and Santize the Sandy Hook Elementary School of all Bio-Hazards rsulting from the Dec 14, 2012 school killings.

2. The start date of the project in removing all Bio-Hazards such as Blood, Bodily Fluids, brain matter, skull  fragments, blood stained carpets in room 8 and room 10, blood splatter on desks and walls and windows etc.

3. The ending date of the project and total cost for decontaminationg the Sandy Hook Elementary School since you were considering opening the school again.

4. A copy of the contractors certification that he is approved in conducting crime scene decontamination of all Bio-Hazards in the State of Ct.

Your secretary took my other request of the FOIA dealing with the Life Insurance that the school board had to pay to six school satff members beneficiaries when they were killed in the line of duty.

Also the workers Compensation death benefits paid by the school board to the school  staff members beneficiaries who were killed in the line of duty by the school district.

This is my research project for my Doctorate so please provide this information.

Thanks

Wolfgang W halbig
352——–
[address]

From: Wolfgang Halbig
Date: Mon, 02 Dec 2013 09:06:02 -0500
To: Kathy June <[email protected]>
Subject: Ct Freedom of Information Act Request

Kathy;

This FOIA request is for the the name and all contact numbers of the Newtown School Districts licensed School Asbestos Inspector.

This request is also for all copies of all reinspections required every three years starting in 1997 through the demolition of the Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2013.

1997
2000
2003
2006
2009
2012

Please provide copies of written notification for each of the years listed to parents, school staff and employees organizations on an annual basis regarding the availability of the Sandy Hook Asbestos Management Plan.

Please provide training verification for your custodial Staff at Sandy Hook of the 14 hours of training and the two hours of training within the first 60 days of hire.

I hope that is not exempt as you always respond exempt.

Also do not make the Police Chief respond to my Newtown School District FOIA requests it is your responsibility.

I have forwarded my complaints to the Freedom of Information Commission for a response of your stone walling my requests.

Please mail all information requested to [address]

Thanks
Wolfgang w halbig
352———

From: Wolfgang Halbig
Date: Mon, 02 Dec 2013 08:43:53 -0500
To: Sally Cox <[email protected]>
Subject: SHS Parent Contact

I am a trainer for the US Justice Department COPS IN SCHOOL PROGRAM.

Are you a registered Nurse?

Why in the closet for four hours?

Why close your eyes when you have seen blood before you are a nurse?

Wolfgang W halbig

From: Wolfgang Halbig
Date: Mon, 23 Dec 2013 10:51:52 -0500
To: “Vance, Paul” <[email protected]>
Cc: “Kehoe, Michael” <[email protected]>, “Ross, Brian E.” “[email protected]” “Tom Winter (Personal)”
Subject: CT Freedom of Information Act request again

Lt. Vance;

You are great at ignoring CT Freedom of Information requests which being a law enforcement officer makes you intentionally reposnible since you threatened others for posting false information.

You threatened people with arrest and yet you fail to comply with the laws of CT.

I am requesting againg the Flight log of Ct Trooper One Helicopter for Dec 13, 2012 and Dec 14, 2012 starting each day at 6:00 am and ending each of those days at 6:00 pm.

I am requesting the helicopter manifest as to who was on board and all copies of video that was shot and recorded for both days that are dated and time stamped for accuracy.

I am also requesting the company that was contracted to clean up all Bio-Hazards such as all the blood, brain matters, bone fragments, stained carpet with blood.  Bookbags and furniture that was contaminated and had to be sanitized.

These are simple questions that even you should understand and have this request processed urgently

The case is closed and I believe the information is not exempt form public records.

Please act accordingly as someone who is a PIO for the CT State Police.

Thanks

Wolfgang W halbig
[address]
352———

From: Wolfgang Halbig
Date: Tue, 28 Jan 2014 09:25:05 -0500
To: Kathy June <newtown.k12.ct.us>
Cc: “Ross, Brian E.” <[email protected]>, “[email protected]
Subject: Asbestos in the Sandy Hook School

Kathy;

I am requesting under the CT Freedom of Information Act the Tri-annual Asbestos Inspection reports from a private individual certified in conducting this required inspections.

I want the name of the company ans contact numbers.

I need copies of the reports starting in 2002 through 2011.

I need copies of letetrs sent to parents and teachers informaing them of all of the Asbestos inside the Sandy Hook Elemenatry School.

There is NO doubt that Asbestos was present since I am providing you a picture of a company demolishing the scvhool and not using the proerr Asbestos removal protocol which is a serious federal violation.

Please provide this quickly since I have tried over and over again with NO return phone calls or repsonses to my Ct of Information Act requests.

Thanks again
Wolfgang W Halbig

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Sandy Hook: Free Homes and “Big Bucks” Incentives for Leaders and Players

By James H. Fetzer (with Wolfgang Halbig)

BREAKING NEWS! New Revelations expose the apparently corrupt motives of Newtown authorities and participants in the staged events at Sandy Hook, including free homes and a cut of $27 million (USD) in donations from a sympathetic but gullible public played for saps through the cynical manipulation of their subconscious fears.

Wolfgang

New research on Sandy Hook reveals powerful financial incentives that appear to implicate the highest officials of Newtown in a conspiracy to fabricate the Sandy Hook Elementary School Shooting, which extends to survivors of the “victims” and other participants who played key roles in conveying the impression of a massacre of children at Sandy Hook.

In addition, a new player, Wolfgang Halbig, has emerged who by background, experience and qualifications–as a former Florida State Trooper, former school principal and nationally recognized expert on school safety–has brought a new level of expertise to sorting out the illusion, where he is convinced it was a sham and that no one died at Sandy Hook.

These incentives include real estate transactions, whereby valuable homes were deeded to Newtown’s three Selectmen and to other participants for the sale price of $0 dollars on 25 December 2009, which may be the only real estate transactions on Christmas in the nation day, where they constituted very special and high-value-at-no-cost “Christmas presents”. The “survivors” have already raked in $27 million in donations to split. And now we have a new report that 200 Connecticut State Police are going to be rewarded for essentially “doing nothing”.

This information is so extraordinary that, as a journalist for Veterans Today, I have written to Newtown’s Selectmen, Patricia Llorda, William F.L. Rogers and James Gaston, Sr., to either confirm or deny that they were among the recipients of these extraordinary gifts. I am awaiting their replies. And, for the rest, in their eagerness to cash in on the hoax, they seem to have posted a United Way donation request 3 days early.

Who is Wolfgang Halbig?

A former Florida State Trooper, who spent 36 years as a school administrator (including as assistant principal and principal) and a nationally recognized authority on school safety (who also served as an expert witness in the Columbine shooting case), has an impressive biographical sketch, which I am providing here. He is by far the most highly qualified expert to address the questions raised by the Sandy Hook “event”:

The exceptional interview by Dave Gahary with Wolfgang Halbig has been posted on the America Free Press YouTube channel, where it has been drawing rave reviews and, as they say, has “gone viral”, perhaps especially because he has been threatened with prosecution for raising questions with Connecticut state officials. How could anyone of his credentials be threatened simply for asking questions about Sandy Hook?

David Gahary interviews Wolfgang Halbig

To listen to the interview of Wolfgang Halbig by David Gahary, click
Wolfgang on YouTube here

The fascinating questions that Wolfgang has raised include, “Why were 26 small Christmas Trees behind the Sandy Hook Volunteer Fire Department on 14 December 2012 and decorated on 15 December 2012?” They do not have, say, 60 or 100 trees because, if they did, it would be obvious that they would be having a Christmas tree sale. But instead we see that they have just 26 small trees all by themselves. That would seem to suggest there was a plan to have 26 “victims” whose deaths were to be observed, but before the event to be commemorated had taken place.

As he wrote of the Sandy Hook Research Group and others, “There are so many of you who have dedicated so much time and effort in seeking the truth which the CT State Police and the Danbury State Attorney refuses to share reminds me of Nazi Germany and East Berlin were many of my family members lived and died. My father spend four years in a Nazi prison camp so I know personally that if you or we ever stop asking questions and stop challenging those in power we the people are no longer free and will no longer be safe.”

Letter to the Newtown Selectmen

It was astonishing to discover that very unusual real estate transactions had taken place on 25 December 2009, where the homes of 15 of the 20 Sandy Hook child victims, 1-2 of the 7 adult victims, and all 6 of the Sandy Hook adult non-victims (the Phelps, Gene Rosen, the three Selectmen) have the mysterious sale date of Christmas Day and $0 sale price. Although not gifted on that same date, even the home of Nancy Lanza, the purported mother of the alleged shooter, Adam Lanza, was bestowed upon her for $0 on 8 February 2011:

Nancy Lanza's home

Nancy Lanza’s home

Altogether, some 35 homes were “gifted” for $0, where the data base for home sales is a matter of public record. These stunning transactions are so extraordinary and potentially explanatory that they are even being featured on YouTube, where I expect that they will now begin to receive the attention they deserve. I decided to write to the three Selectmen of Newtown, all of whom were recipients of this remarkable largess, for their verification. I had originally sent my inquiry to the members of the School Board, but noticed my mistake and corrected it:

From:James Fetzer
Date: Sat, Feb 15, 2014 at 1:17 PM
Subject: The strange purchase date and price of Sandy Hook homes
To: Patricia Llorda, William F.L. Rogers and James Gaston, Sr.
Cc: wolfgang halbig

Dear Newtown Selectmen,

This is to forward to you a message intended for you as well as the members of the Newtown School Board, since all of you have an interest in accurate and truthful reporting about Sandy Hook and such events as may have transpired at the elementary school.

I was struck by the recent article in which Selectman Llodra complimented the national press for its “respectful professionalism” in covering the observance of those events. Since I want to make sure I have my facts straight about a story that involves the three of you, I would appreciate having your comments on the article that I have just forwarded to the members of the School Board.

Thanks for a prompt response.

Jim

James H. Fetzer, Ph.D.
McKnight Professor Emeritus
University of Minnesota Duluth
http://www.d.umn.edu/~jfetzer/

———- Forwarded message ———-

From: James Fetzer
Date: Sat, Feb 15, 2014 at 1:17 PM
Subject: The strange purchase date and price of Sandy Hook homes
To: Debbie Leidlein, Laura Roche, Keith Alexander, John Vouros, David Freedman, Michelle Embree Ku, Kathy Hamilton
Cc: wolfgang halbig

Dear Newtown School Board Members,

While we are on the subject, I would like to invite your attention to an extremely disturbing article,

“The Strange Purchase Date and Price of Sandy Hook Homes”,  http://www.dcclothesline.com/2014/02/14/strange-purchase-date-price-sandy-hook-homes/

which I hope you can clarify for me because, as a journalist, I want to make sure I have things right. It lists some highly unusual real estate transactions on Christman Day of 2009, including these:

20. E. (Elin) Patricia Llodra, 70:

Llodra is the First Selectman and head of Newtown’s 3-member Board of Selectmen who supervise the administration of the town. Like the other two board members (#21 and #22 below), Llodra was elected to a 2-year term (12/1/2011 to 12/1/2013), which means the three were in charge of Newtown at the time of the Sandy Hook massacre. All three were recently reelected to another 2-year term (12/1/2013 to 12/1/2015).

A year ago, when I looked up Ellin P. Llodra on people search engines, her address was listed as 90 Riverside Rd, Sandy Hook, CT 06482.

VGS a year ago and today says Owner of Record: Robert M. & Ellin P. Llodra Ownership history: Sold to Robert M. & Ellin P. Llodra on 12/25/2009 for $0. Trulia has no price history on this property.

But when I look up Ellin Llodra on people search today, her address is listed as 3 Primrose St., Newtown, CT 06470, which is the address of the Newtown Municipal Center, and is owned by the Town of Newtown, with a sale date of12/25/2009 and a sale price of $0.

21. William Rodgers (2nd member of Newtown’s Board of Selectmen):

208 Hattertown Rd, Newtown, CT 06470 VGS says Owners: William & Moira Rodgers Ownership history: Sold to William & Moira Rodgers on 12/25/2009 for $0 Trulia’s price history: 4/22/1992 $362,000

22. James Gaston Sr. (3rd member of Newtown’s Board of Selectmen):

18 Main St., Newtown, CT 06470 VGS says Owner: Stephanie A. Gaston Ownership history: Sold to Stephanie A. Gaston on 12/25/2009 for $0 Trulia’s price history: 10/2/1992 $262,500

Frankly, I have never heard of anyone completing a real estate transaction on Christmas Day. The author summarizes his conclusions about these very strange transactions as follows:

“The homes of 15 of the 20 Sandy Hook child victims, 1-2 of the 7 adult victims, and all 6 of the Sandy Hook adult non-victims (the Phelps, Gene Rosen, the three Selectmen) have the mysterious sale date and $0 sale price.

“At the very least, that is interesting. The three Selectmen are especially interesting because if the hypothesis is that the massacre was a contrived event, then Newtown’s highest governing body would have to be “in the know.”

“Your guess is as good as mine as to what all those strange 12/25/2009 sale dates and $0 sale price mean. I’d appreciate input from readers of this blog who are in the real estate business and can shed some light of what the odd sale date and sale price mean.”

Since I am providing you with a link to this stunning article, whose contents you can confirm for yourselves, I would like to know if its author has anything wrong; and if his research is accurate, what in the world is going on? Homes in your area are extremely expensive. Why were you, the three selectmen, for example, deeded homes for $0 on 25 December 2009? Please do explain.

I will be publishing more articles about this and I want to make sure that I have my facts straight.

Thanks for a prompt response.

Jim

James H. Fetzer, Ph.D.
McKnight Professor Emeritus
University of Minnesota Duluth
http://www.d.umn.edu/~jfetzer/

P.S. An interview with Wolfgang Halbig is now up on YouTube. You don’t want to miss it:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6roDPt1WYYY&list=UUseEm_OTxRSzs8L_FTFP8Dg

Newtown official thanks media for covering Sandy Hook

Letter to the Newtown School Board

Learning that all three of the Newtown Selectmen, including Patricia Llodra, had received homes for $0 dollars shed light on the whole bizarre Sandy Hook experience, where it became obvious in retrospect that her expression of appreciation to the main stream media for their “respectful professionalism” in covering the observance was really an expression of appreciation for covering up what had actually happened. When Wolfgang wrote to the School Board, therefore, I sent my own follow up:

On Fri, Feb 14, 2014 at 9:23 AM, James Fetzer <[email protected] wrote:

Dear Newtown School Board Members,

As a former Marine Corps officer, retired university professor and especially as a journalist for Veterans Today, who has published several articles about the Sandy Hook event, I would like to have your response to what Wolfgang Halbig has addressed to you. Wolf is a former Florida State Trooper, a former school principal and a nationally recognized expert on school safety. Are you going to respond to his inquiries or will you pretend you never received them?

There are multiple indications that you, the Newtown School Board, have been participating in a cover up of what took place at Sandy Hook Elementary School. As we have observed in “Top Ten Reasons: Sandy Hook was an Elaborate Hoax” (with Vivian Lee, Sofia Smallstorm, James Tracy and other members of the Sandy Hook Research Group), the evidence is simply overwhelming that what happened was a carefully staged drill and not an actual shooting.

The questions that Wolfgang has raised are important ones, especially about the event itself but also about the building, which have been reported in articles that have appeared in the press, including “Widespread Haz-Mat Presence Would Have Hampered Sandy Hook Renovations” by John Voket (2 December 2013), which appeared in The Newtown Bee. And of course First Selectman Pat Llorda has been quoted thanking the press for its coverage of the Newtown event.

The questions that Wolfgang has raised about Sandy Hook Elementary School are obvious and elementary. As a journalist who has published and will continue to publish about this event, I want to be sure that I have my facts straight. So be sure to include me in your response to Wolfgang. And if you were not participating in a massive hoax to mislead the American people, inquiring minds want to know.

Thanks for a prompt response.

Jim

James H. Fetzer, Ph.D.
McKnight Professor Emeritus
University of Minnesota Duluth
http://www.d.umn.edu/~jfetzer/

From: Wolfgang Halbig
Date: Fri, 14 Feb 2014 07:38:20 -0500
To: Debbie Leidlein, Laura Roche, Keith Alexander, John Vouros, David Freedman, Michelle Embree Ku, Kathy Hamilton
Subject: Follow the CT Laws on the Ct Freedom of Information Act and please return phone calls

School Board Chairman and Board Members:

I have spend a lifetime as a Florida State Trooper In Miami, Florida from 1974 through 1977 and then realizing that I’m in the wrong profession.

When you work as a Law Enforcement Officer in Miami, Florida it seems as a lifetime even if it is only 3 years or less.

I was putting people in Jail instead of trying to prevent them from going to jail.

So I became a School Administrator for 36 school years.

I became a National School Safety Consultant after retiring form Education in 1999.

I was appointed by former Gov. Jeb Bush to the Florida Safe Schools Commission and confirmed by the Florida Senate.

I am asking you the Board Members to help me in getting your school superintendent to repsond to my Ct Freedom of Information Requests in a timely manner.

Your Facility Director does not even return phone calls after leaving a polite message.

My requests are simple requests and will not place your school district in any danger whatsoever.

I was an Expert witness in the Columbine shooting in 1999 and it causes me to ask the same questions.

I was in the Media Center three days after the shooting and I personally observed the horrific crime scene and I got to see it after they renovated the Media Center for School use again.

The incident at Sandy Hook Elementary School has caused nothing but panic and fear throughout all schools in our country and I believe you have a responsibility as Board Members to tell the truth as to:

Why were NO trauma Helicopters requested that morning when lives could have been saved?

Why No paramedics or EMT’S were allowed into the school building instead they were told to set up Triage?

Who declared all 24 school children and school staff legally dead within the first 11 minutes since only a Doctor can do that not a police officer per CT State Laws?

Two children supposedly died at the hospital which it took over an hour to transport. Why?

Who did the school board contract to remove all Bio-Hazards from the Sandy Hook Elementary School such as 45 to 65 gallons of blood, brain tissues and skull fragments, blood splatter, blood carpet removal etc just as they did at Columbine?

Who was the contractor who installed the security system at sandy Hook Elementary school and the total cost of the project?

Copies of the tri-annual Asbestos inspections that must be conducted by a Certified Inspector from outside the school system and that all parents must be notified of any asbestos, lead or any other dangerous substances that could cause harm to children and school staff on an annual basis.

I have requested those reports from 2002 through current year 2012. Now what is so difficult in providing me with those reports since parents of Sandy Hook should see those every school year?

Please comply.

I am asking you as a former educator and National School Safety Consultant to respond to my Ct Freedom of Information Act requests and return phone calls in a timely manner. You have had Dr. Ron Stephens National School Safety Center speak with you and he will give me a great reference if you check me out.

I will not stop asking as you will see until board members have the courage in sharing the truth.

How can a Lt. from the Newtown Police Department working an off-duty detail on Dec 14, 2012 and hearing that shots are fired at Sandy Hook Elementary School not leave his off duty job to repsond in saving children and school staff lives? He decided to stay until over two and a half hours passed to respond.

How can you [have] allowed that type of response from police in your community. He should be fired and not praised in your meetings?

Please have your school district respond to my requests.

Thanks.

Wolfgang W Halbig
352———
[address]

Sandy Hook School beyond rennovating

Wolfgang’s questions for The Newtown Bee

His letter to The Newtown Bee was so completely appropriate and reasonable that it seemed to me a bit more heat was deserved in this case, so I wrote a sequel in which I raised questions about an event as embarrassing relative to Sandy Hook as Jane Standley’s report of the “collapse” of WTC-7, which was broadcast 27 minutes early. So I asked about its very strange report of a phone call from the principal, Dawn Hochsprung, about the shooting, when she was said to be the first victim:

From: James Fetzer
Date: Sat, Feb 14, 2014 at 9:00 AM
Subject: About Wolfgang Halbig’s inquiries to The Newtown Bee
To: [Newtown Bee Staff]
Cc: wolfgang halbig

Dear Bee Editors and Staff,

As a former Marine Corps officer, retired university professor and especially as a journalist for Veterans Today, who has published several articles about the Sandy Hook event, I would like to have your response to what Wolfgang Halbig has addressed to you. Wolf is a former Florida State Trooper, a former school principal and a nationally recognized expert on school safety. Are you going to respond to his inquiries or pretend you never received them?

There are multiple indications that you, The Newtown Bee, have been participating in a cover up of what took place at Sandy Hook Elementary School. As we have observed in “Top Ten Reasons: Sandy Hook was an Elaborate Hoax” (with Vivian Lee, Sofia Smallstorm, James Tracy and other members of the Sandy Hook Research Group), you even published an interview with Dawn Hochsprung after she was officially dead:

Dawn Hochsprung—In an embarrassing fiction, The Newtown Bee reported on 14 December 2013 that Dawn Hochsprung, the Sandy Hook school principal, told the paper that a masked man had entered the school with a rifle and started shooting multiple shots – more than she could count – that went “on and on.” Of course, Dawn Hochsprung was allegedly killed by Adam Lanza and so could not easily have provided this statement. In fact, Dawn was said to have acted heroically, dying while lunging at the gunman—although one wonders who witnessed and reported this act of heroism. On 17 December 2013, The Bee retracted the report and apologized:

An early online report from the scene at the December 14 shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School quoted a woman who identified herself to our reporter as the principal of the school. The woman was not the school’s principal, Dawn Hochsprung, who was killed in the Friday morning attack. The quote was removed from subsequent online versions of the story, but the original story did remain in our online archive for three days before being deleted. We apologize for whatever confusion this may have caused our readers and for any pain or anguish it may have caused the Hochsprung family.

But how in the world could something like that have happened unless someone went off the script? Why in the world would anyone PRETEND TO BE THE PRINCIPAL OF AN ELEMENTARY SCHOOL AND CALL IN TO REPORT A SHOOTING? Surely you can see that your flimsy attempt to explain away an embarrassing gaff by The Newton Bee isn’t going to persuade anyone that you are not complicit in this massive deception and hoax? So be sure to include me in your response to Wolfgang, because I want to have my facts straight. And if you were not participating in a massive hoax to mislead the American people, inquiring minds want to know.

Thanks for a prompt response.

Jim

James H. Fetzer, Ph.D.
McKnight Professor Emeritus
University of Minnesota Duluth

http://www.d.umn.edu/~jfetzer

On Fri, Feb 14, 2014 at 7:43 AM, Wolfgang Halbig wrote:

Editor and reporters and Hicks:

How can you as a staff sit back in your offices and allow this to happen under your watch?

Your failure in placing every parent on notice before the Sandy Hook School Shooting about the serious high level of lead, asbestos and PCB’s in that school since it was built in 1956 should have been a warning sign long before they decided to tear it down.

Why did your News Paper not warn every parent and school board members of the serious exposures that every child and school staff member is confronted with on a daily basis and NO one warned the parents or school staff?

As you know by CT State and even Federal laws the Sandy Hook Elementary School is required to have a tri-annual Asbestos inspection by an outside certified asbestos inspector.

Those findings must be reported to parents of the children and school staff of Sandy Hook on an annual basis.

The school district must write a letter to very parent informing them of the high level of lead, Asbestos such as asbestos ceiling tiles, asbestos floor tiles and just as you finally reported before tearing down the school of how bad those Asbestos and Haz-Mat conditions where.

Children and school staff are working in classroom with high amounts of lead paint. Have you ever heard of allergies?

You call this a Vanguard School knowing that every child and school staff member who attended was being exposed to high levels of lead, serious Asbestos violations and many other Has-mat conditions such as PCB’s.

Why would any Elementary School parent allow their child to attend that school unless all those conditions were remediated long time ago?

These are serious conditions that a school district ignored and you must have known or maybe just an oversight in letting parents know of how bad those environmental conditions in that school where.

Did the school district on an annual basis write letters to every parent in informing them of these serious Haz-Mat and Asbestos conditions? You should find out because it is the law.

Wolfgang
352———

So what was Sandy Hook about?

Are the Newtown Selectmen going to move to make real estate records immune from public disclosure, just as the Newtown Clerk moved to keep children’s death certificates out of the public domain? Just how dumb are we supposed to be? As I explained in an earlier article, “Fusion and Fear in America: The Non-Existent Domestic Terrorist Threat”, on the basis of an extensive study by a subcommittee of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Intelligence, there appears to be no domestic terrorist threat, which may account for why we are subjected to contrived events, such as Sandy Hook and the Boston bombing:

“Despite reviewing 13 months’ worth of reporting originating from fusion centers from April 1, 2009 to April 30, 2010, the Subcommittee investigation could identify no reporting which uncovered a terrorist threat, nor could it identify a contribution such fusion center reporting made to disrupt an active terrorist plot.”–US Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs.

While this finding appears to be of the greatest importance to the American public, to the best of my knowledge, the mass media has ignored it completely. We know about the 300 or more FEMA camps distributed around the country. We know that Congress has authorized 30,000 drones to conduct surveillance on the American people. We know that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) had requisitioned 1.5 billion rounds of .40 calibre hollow-point ammunition, which is not permissible for use in warfare under the Geneva Conventions. And we know that Hitler, like Obama, promoted gun control in the name of “public safety”.

Since DHS does not conduct operations abroad, it must be acquiring that massive stock of ammo for use on us right here in the United States. That much is alarming enough all by itself. What we didn’t know is that DHS is some kind of monstrous joke, that it has been squandering billions of taxpayers’ dollars, and that it has turned up no evidence of any domestic terrorist threat! NONE! The situation is absurd. DHS has no financial oversight and cannot even identify how much it has spent, where there is more than $1 billion difference in its own estimates. So what precisely are we getting for our money?

Perhaps the biggest obstacle to the public’s acceptance of Sandy Hook fakery, in spite of a mountain of evidence that proves it, has been the question of motivation: What could possibly have induced so many to have lied so much about a matter of such immense significance, which has been parlayed into greater restrictions on gun control and new “mental health criteria” that entitle your physician to ask you about gun ownership? The answer, alas, should be obvious to everyone: free homes and free money from playing the American people for suckers. Don’t say no one ever told you, because we just did.

YouTube – Veterans Today -

Wolfgang Halbig, a former Florida State Trooper with 36 years of experience as a school administrator, is also a nationally recognized authority on school safety and has been threatened for asking questions about Sandy Hook.

Jim Fetzer, a former Marine Corps officer, is McKnight Professor Emeritus at the University of Minnesota Duluth and a journalist and editor for Veterans Today.

This article originally appeared at Veterans Today on February 16, 2014. It is republished here with permission.

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Bigger, Badder NDAA 2014 Quietly Passed the House and Senate — and It Is...

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How Big Food Creates an Illusion of Choice at the Supermarket

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Big Banks Are Being Hit With Cyberattacks “Every Minute Of Every Day”

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Internet’s new biggest threat? Hackers secretly redirecting web traffic around the world

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Too Big To Fail Banks Are Taking Over As Number Of U.S. Banks Falls...

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Amazon, Domino’s and Big Brother: Drones Flying the Not-So-Friendly Surveillance Skies

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America’s Next Big Rip-Off: Cars Might Be the Next Subprime Crisis!

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The 10 Biggest Polluters of the Industrial Age

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Mass Surveillance of Personal Data by EU Member States and its Compatibility with EU...

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Obamacare’s Biggest Failure So Far: Just 18% Of Uninsured Have Expressed An Interest In...

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Big Brother’s loyal sister: Feinstein

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Last week the Sacramento Bee published a report indicating the foreclosure rates had returned to “normal” levels and that the, “foreclosure crisis that overwhelmed...

Big Brother is Watching You: Pervasive Surveillance Under Obama

Path-breaking article first published on GR in July 2009 Under the rubric of cybersecurity, the Obama administration is moving forward with a Bush regime program...

Healthcare.gov exposed as data-gathering honey pot

To shamelessly harvest private consumer data and turn it over to the NSA Mike AdamsNatural NewsOctober...

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To shamelessly harvest private consumer data and turn it over to the NSA Mike Adams Natural News October 25, 2013 The pieces of the puzzle...

CIA-Funded Software Company Manages Private Data For Healthcare.gov

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‘Big Dollars, Little Sense’: Community and Student Groups Debunk Charter School Mythology

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Pepsi, Nestle, Coca Cola Revealed as Big Money Behind GMO Labeling Fight

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Plutocrats at Work: How Big Philanthropy Undermines Democracy

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Leak Shows NSA Grabbed Data On 70 Million French Phone Calls In Less Than...

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Towards a North American Homeland: U.S.-Canada “Cross-Border” Intelligence Sharing, Law Enforcement, Data Collection and...

Some of the corporate interests that are steering the U.S.-Canada Beyond the Border integration agenda are not quite satisfied with its progress so far...

In Big Win for Defense Industry, Obama Rolls Back Limits on Arms Exports

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Creative Protest Targets Massive NSA Data Center

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Bigger Than That: (The Difficulty of) Looking at Climate Change

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The US-EU Transatlantic Free Trade Agreement (TAFTA): Big Business Corporate Power Grab

The Transatlantic Free Trade Agreement (TAFTA) between the US and EU intends to create the world's largest free trade area, ‘protect' investment and remove...

EXPOSED: The iPhone and The Government Biometric Database

RINF Alternative News A recent video released by hacktivist group Anonymous presents compelling evidence which claims that Apple’s TouchID technology is linked to the FBI...

NSA’s Spying On Metadata Violates Our Freedom of Association

Why You Should You Care If the Government Spies On Your Metadata The government has sought to “reassure” us that it is only tracking “metadata”...

The Average American Family Pays $6,000 a Year in Subsidies to Big Business

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Big Oil PR Pros, Lobbyists Dominate EDF Fracking “Study”

Alongside releasing its controversial findings on fugitive methane emissionscaused by hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) on September 16, University of Texas-Austin also unveiled an industry-stacked Steering...

MN State Rep Joins 17 Others In Suing State For Illegally Accessing Drivers License...

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NSA gets data from Germany’s domestic security agency

rt.comSeptember 14, 2013 Germany' Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution regularly hands over classified...

Wall Street Banks Obtain Market Data Ten Minutes Before Everyone Else

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Prop 37 Redux? BigAg Dumps Millions to Defeat GMO-Labeling in Wash.

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US shares raw NSA data with Israel

National Security Agency headquarters in Fort Meade, Md. The administration of US President Barack Obama shares with Israel the raw intelligence data vacuumed up...

US shares raw NSA data with Israel

National Security Agency headquarters in Fort Meade, Md. The administration of US President Barack Obama shares with Israel the raw intelligence data vacuumed up...

NSA shares raw intelligence including Americans’ data with Israel

Glenn Greenwald, Laura Poitras and Ewen MacAskillThe GuardianSept. 11, 2013 The National Security Agency routinely shares...

Apple iPhone 5S: Big Brother Dream Come True

The latest iPhone is an ode to biometrics, spying, and the Big Brother control grid. Anthony...

Apple iPhone 5S: Big Brother Dream Come True

The latest iPhone is an ode to biometrics, spying, and the Big Brother control grid. Anthony...

Apple iPhone 5S: Big Brother Dream Come True

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Steve Jobs Is ‘Big Brother’ And Smartphone Users Are ‘Zombies,’ According To NSA Cell...

from the the-NSA-hates-you-for-your-freedom dept Tim CushingTechDirt.comSept. 10, 2013 Just in case you're not convinced the intelligence community...

Australia Votes to Crush Carbon Tax and Big Government

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NSA Can Spy on Smart Phone Data

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Walmart Workers Plan the Biggest Mobilization Since Black Friday

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DEA’s Hemisphere Project collects more phone data than NSA

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Is the big money exiting housing?

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Affordable Care Act’s Biggest Problem: Making Care Affordable

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WHO Is Delaying Release of Iraqi Birth Defect Data?

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Why The 2,776 NSA Violations Are No Big Deal

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Economy biggest worry of Americans: Poll

53% of Americans mention some economic issue as the most important problem.One in four Americans name the economy as the most important problem facing...

This Is The Biggest Cluster Of Hindenburg Omens Since The Last Stock Market Crash

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S&P gives higher grades to big banks

Among US rating agencies, Standard and Poorâ„¢s has been given higher grades to Wall Street banks since the financial crisis to back its business,...

US indicts 4 Russians in biggest hacking

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570,000 Requests Made For Web & Phone Data

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Using Outdated Data, FEMA Is Wrongly Placing Homeowners in Flood Zones

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Obamacare ‘Navigators’ will have unlimited access to personal data

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10 Ways That The Iron Grip Of The Big Brother Prison Grid Is Tightening...

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Anyone Traveling Into The UK Can Have Their Phones Seized And Data Downloaded Without...

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The 5 Biggest Obscenities of Capitalism Today

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How Big Is the Average Penis? You Might Be Surprised

July 12, 2013  | ...

How a SELECTed Bad Study Became Big News

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11 Big Myths About the Economy That Are Destroying America

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The Coming National DNA Database

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Pentagon Orders Purge of Osama Bin Laden’s Death Files from Data Bank

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Big Brother Bank Tracks Customers Phones

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Big Brother Writ Large in America

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NSA: If Your Data Is Encrypted, You Might Be Evil, So We’ll Keep It...

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The Surveillance State: Big Brother Writ Large in America

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Banks’ excess reserves at FED is one of the biggest scam by the FED and there is a conspiracy of silence as to its...

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Despite Big Bloomberg Money, Veto Protects Gun Rights in Nevada

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No Canadian NSA connection, but very own data snooping program

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‘Senate’s Big Oil Benefactors’ Slammed for Keystone XL Vote

As U.S. senators prepare to vote on the Senate Budget Resolution Friday the lawmakers will also be considering a slew of amendments proposed for the bill by a group of Big Oil friendly senators, including a bid for slipshod approval of the Keystone XL pipeline.

Kxl Pipeline (Photo: 350.org via Flickr / Creative Commons License) Senator John Hoeven has slipped into the budget resolution a proposal for an amendment that would claim Congress has the authority to approve the Keystone XL pipeline over the Executive branch.

The amendment would be largely symbolic, as it could not effectively supersede the powers of the State Department to approve or deny the pipeline, but would serve to garner support for a similar stand alone bill that was pushed by a group of oil friendly senators last week.

"I think it will get him (Obama) to approve [the pipeline] and if he doesn't, I think it will help us to get it done congressionally," Hoeven said.

"If the measure passes, it would be symbolic because the budget is a plan and will not be voted into law," Reuters reports.

However, as Danielle Droitsch at the Natural Resources Defense Council writes Friday, such an amendment, while nonbinding, "could support the approval and construction of the dirty and dangerous Keystone XL tar sands pipeline."

She continues:

It does not approve the pipeline, nor does it direct the president to approve it. It is instead an attempt to rattle the cage and call for a vote count on behalf of Big Oil. Senators should stand with the American people, not Big Oil, and vote against this amendment.

"Senate about to vote on KXL: nonbinding, but a good scoreboard of who's taking orders from Big Oil."

“If you understand climate science, there’s no way you can support this pipeline,” said Jason Kowalski, policy director for 350.org. “We know that this pipeline is a boondoggle—it will spill, most of the oil is for export, and it will make climate change worse. Anyone who tells you the opposite isn’t being straight with you or doesn’t know the facts.”

Droitsch continues:

The Keystone XL tar sands pipeline threatens American homes, farms, and ranches with tar sands oil spills.  And it threatens all of us by driving the expansion of the giant tar sands reserve and worsening climate change. It would raise oil prices. It would provide few jobs and derail continued growth in clean energy jobs. And it would funnel money to foreign oil corporations. The Keystone XL tar sands pipeline is all risk and no reward and has no place on the budget resolution.

Also Friday, Oil Change International released telling new statistics on the motives behind the Big Oil senators.

According to the group, the 10 senators co-sponsoring the pro-Keystone XL pipeline amendment (Hoeven Amendment 494) have on average taken $807,517 from the fossil fuel industry.

Those numbers, based on data from DirtyEnergyMoney.org, work out to be 254% more money than the average senator not sponsoring the amendment and total over $8 million dollars.

David Turnbull, Campaigns Director of Oil Change International, issued the following statement:

This puts to rest any delusions we might have that the Keystone XL pipeline is about anything but money for the fossil fuel industry and their allies in Congress. [...]

If approved, this non-binding amendment will not change anything in the process of the State Department’s review of the Keystone XL proposal. And it certainly will not change the fact that this pipeline risks our communities and our climate just to ship toxic oil through our country for export around the globe. [...]

The only thing this amendment would actually do is show which Senators would rather follow Big Oil’s money rather than listen to the people who elected them.

And Bill McKibben of 350.org tweeted Friday afternoon:

The Hoeven amendment is co-sponsored by mix of Democrat and Republican Senators: Hoeven (R-ND), Baucus (D-MT), Cornyn (R-TX), Manchin (D-WV), Roberts (R-KS), Heitkamp (D-ND), Barrasso (R-WY), Landrieu (D-LA), Murkowski (R-AK), and Begich (D-AK).

Click here for a slew of other amendments on the docket today, which resemble "a cut-and-paste from Big Polluters’ wish list."

_______________________

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Big Bang in HD: Astronomers map universe origin

Published time: March 21, 2013 16:18
Map of relic radiation (microwave sky) from the Big Bang, composed of data gathered by ESA's Planck satellite, launched in May 2009 to study Cosmic Microwave Background (AFP Photo / ESA / LFI & HFI Consortia)

The most detailed map yet of the afterglow of the Big Bang has been revealed by the European Space Agency (ESA). The cosmological chart has shed further light on when exactly the universe began, what it is made of and where it is going.

The 50-million pixel image, which gives a glimpse of the universe soon after the Big Bang, was created with data captured by the ESA’s Plank space telescope.

"This is a giant leap in the understanding of the origins of the universe," the agency's director-general Jean-Jacques Dordain told a press conference in Paris.

"What we are seeing is a picture of the microwave sky, a picture of the universe as it was 380,000 years after the Big Bang," George Efstathiou, director of the Kavli Institute for Cosmology at the University of Cambridge, told reporters.

The Planck craft has determined that the age of the universe is precisely 13.82 billion years old – 80 million years older than previous estimates. The ESA has also discovered that the universe is expanding at a slightly more leisurely pace than previously believed.

Information obtained from the satellite has further revealed that the composition of the cosmos entails slightly more ordinary matter than once believed – 4.9 per cent as opposed to 4.6 – and slightly less of the hypothetical dark energy that pervades all of space – 68.3 per cent compared to 71.

Most detailed map ever created of the cosmic microwave background –- the relic radiation from the Big Bang –- revealing the existence of features that challenge the foundations of our current understanding of the Universe (AFP Photo / ESA–Planck Collaboration)

There is also a bit more of the non-light-emitting or -absorbing dark matter, which makes up a sizeable chunk of the cosmos – 26.8 per cent rather than 24 per cent.

The findings released Thursday bolster a key theory called inflation, which posits that the universe erupted at warp speed from subatomic size to its now-observable expanse in a fraction of a second.

Launched in May 2009, the US$900 million satellite mapped the heavens by studying the uniform, cosmic microwave background radiation (CMB) which permeates the entire universe.

"This cosmic microwave background [CMB] shows tiny temperature fluctuations that correspond to regions of slightly different densities at very early times, representing the seeds of all future structure: the stars and galaxies of today," the ESA said in a statement.

In line with inflationary models of the universe, CMB was emitted some 380,000 years after the big bang, when the universe was a cooling cauldron of protons, electrons and photons. As the universal thermostat dropped to below 2,700 degrees Celsius, protons and electrons joined to form hydrogen atoms, releasing light in the process.   

"Planck has produced the most precise picture of the CMB ever obtained," Astronomy Now cites Professor George Efstathiou of the University of Cambridge as saying at an ESA press conference on Thursday.

Big Brother Knows How You’re Feeling

A company that develops crowd control weapons for the military and law enforcement personnel have now created an advanced 'Minority Report' style facial - and emotion - recognition system.

‘God particle’ confirmed: CERN says data ‘strongly indicates’ Higgs boson found

Published time: March 14, 2013 20:49
Real CMS proton-proton collision events in which 4 high energy electrons (green lines and red towers) are observed. The event shows characteristics expected from the decay of a Higgs boson but is also consistent with background Standard Model physics processes. (Image from cds.cern.ch)

It is now almost certain the subatomic particle that brings together everything in the universe has been found, CERN scientists announced on Thursday. Latest analysis of data from the Large Hadron Collider proves that the Higgs boson actually exists.

The search for the missing particle dubbed as ‘the holy grail of physics,’ which has been going on for almost half a century and has brought the $10 billion Large Hadron Collider (LHC) into existence, has finally resulted in some strong experimental evidence.

For the first time since the triumphant announcement of the new particle discovery in July 2012, the European Organization for Nuclear Research CERN has declared it is indeed the Higgs boson that they’ve found, as the analyzed LHC data “strongly indicates.”

“The preliminary results with the full 2012 data set are magnificent and to me it is clear that we are dealing with a Higgs boson, though we still have a long way to go to know what kind of Higgs boson it is,” said physicist Joe Incandela, the spokesperson for CERN’s Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS) team.

The silicon strip tracker of the Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS) nears completion. Shown here are three concentric cylinders, each comprised of many silicon strip detetectors (the bronze-coloured rectangular devices, similar to the CCDs used in digital cameras). These surround the region where the protons collide. (Image from cds.cern.ch)

The existence of the boson in question and its linked energy field was predicted by British physicist Peter Higgs as he was looking for answers of the open questions of particle physics. Without the Higgs boson, the Standard Model of particle physics fails to explain all the processes happening in the universe, its absence would also not be compatible with Einstein’s theory of general relativity – still a dominant way of explaining gravity.

The question which has eluded countless physicists for decades, and the missing link explaining how the universe works at the very basic level, is what gives mass to matter. In other words, what has brings all the flying particles together to form stars, planets and humans ever since the Big Bang.

Many scientists attribute this role to the elusive Higgs boson, although “exotic” theories exist, which go beyond the Standard Model.

Now, after petabytes of LHC data have been processed, CERN scientists are quite confident there is a Higgs boson – and that it most likely fits into the mainstream particle physics principles, as David Charlton of the LHC’s ATLAS team indicated during the Thursday CERN conference.

Although it might take years for the discovery to be fully confirmed and fleshed out, one cannot expect anything more sensational from the LHC team in the coming two years, as the 27-kilometer collider has been shut down for maintenance until the early 2015.

The Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS) instrumental in search for the Higgs bosone. (Image from ciemat.es)

Virtually ALL of the Big Banks’ Profits Come from Taxpayer Bailouts and Subsidies

bankers

The government has propped up the big banks for years through massive, never-ending bailouts and subsidies.

Bloomberg noted last year that 77% of JP Morgan’s net income comes from government subsidies.

Bloomberg reported yesterday:

What if we told you that, by our calculations, the largest U.S. banks aren’t really profitable at all? What if the billions of dollars they allegedly earn for their shareholders were almost entirely a gift from U.S. taxpayers?

***

Lately, economists have tried to pin down exactly how much the subsidy lowers big banks’ borrowing costs. In one relatively thorough effort, two researchers — Kenichi Ueda of the International Monetary Fund and Beatrice Weder di Mauro of the University of Mainz — put the number at about 0.8 percentage point. The discount applies to all their liabilities, including bonds and customer deposits.

Small as it might sound, 0.8 percentage point makes a big difference. Multiplied by the total liabilities of the 10 largest U.S. banks by assets, it amounts to a taxpayer subsidy of$83 billion a year. To put the figure in perspective, it’s tantamount to the government giving the banks about 3 cents of every tax dollar collected.

The top five banks — JPMorgan, Bank of America Corp., Citigroup Inc., Wells Fargo & Co. and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. – – account for $64 billion of the total subsidy, an amount roughly equal to their typical annual profits (see tables for data on individual banks). In other words, the banks occupying the commanding heights of the U.S. financial industry — with almost $9 trillion in assets, more than half the size of the U.S. economy — would just about break even in the absence of corporate welfareIn large part, the profits they report are essentially transfers from taxpayers to their shareholders.

The money hasn’t just gone to the banks shareholders … It has also gone to line the pockets of bank management:

Indeed:

All of the monetary and economic policy of the last 3 years has helped the wealthiest and penalized everyone else. See thisthis and this.

***

Economist Steve Keen says:

“This is the biggest transfer of wealth in history”, as the giant banks have handed their toxic debts from fraudulent activities to the countries and their people.

Nobel economist Joseph Stiglitz said in 2009 that Geithner’s toxic asset plan “amounts to robbery of the American people”.

And economist Dean Baker said in 2009 that the true purpose of the bank rescue plans is “a massive redistribution of wealth to the bank shareholders and their top executives”.

We’ve noted for years that the big banks – including CitiWellsBank of America and the rest – areactually insolvent.

Breaking up the big banks would stabilize the economy … and dramatically increase Main Street’s access to credit.

But the government has chosen the banks over the little guy … dooming both:

The big banks were all insolvent during the 1980s.

And they all became insolvent again in 2008. See this and this.

The bailouts were certainly rammed down our throats under false pretenses.

But here’s the more important point. Paulson and Bernanke falsely stated that the big banks receiving Tarp money were healthy, when they were not. They were insolvent.

Tim Geithner falsely stated that the banks passed some time of an objective stress test but they did not. They were insolvent.

Both the creditors and the debtors were mortally wounded by the 2008 financial crisis. The big banks wouldn’t have survived without trillions in handouts, guarantees, loans, idiot-proof profits courtesy of the government.

The little guy hasn’t been helped since 2008. He has been left to suffer with his life-threatening wounds. See thisthis and this.

So the government chose sides. The creditors were wiped out, just like a lot of Main Street was wiped out. In one sense, the government chose who would live (the giant banks and other bailed out and favored companies) and who would die (the other 99%).

But in fact, the big banks were no longer creditors after the 2008 crash. Specifically, the big banks which held the mortgages and the loans were wiped out.

The government moved the arms and legs of the big banks to pretend they were still alive … and have been doing so ever since. But they were no longer going concerns after they went bust.

The government pumped blood back in these dead banks and turned them into zombies. They will never come back to life in a real sense … they are still zombies, 3 years later.

Many of the world’s leading economists and financial experts say that by choosing creditors over debtors, the government is dooming the economy. See this and this.

The big zombie banks can never come back to life, and – by trying to save them – the government is bleeding out the little guy.

By choosing the big banks over the little guy, the government is dooming both.

Remember, the Federal Reserve has paid banks high interest rates to stash money (their “excess reserves”) with the Fed for the express purpose of preventing loans to Main Street.

And the Fed plans to throw more money at the banks when the Federal Reserve starts to tighten.  As FTreports:

US Federal Reserve officials fear a backlash from paying billions of dollars tocommercial banks when the time comes to raise interest rates.

The growth of the Fed’s balance sheet means it could pay $50bn-$75bn a year in interest on bank reserves at the same time as it makes losses and has to stop sending money to the Treasury.

***

In an interview with the Financial Times, James Bullard, president of the St Louis Fed, said: “If you think of the profitability of the biggest banks, if you’re going to talk about paying them something of the order of $50bn – well that’s more than the entire profits of the largest banks.”

***

At the moment it only pays 0.25 per cent interest on those reserves. But according to its exit strategy, published in June 2011, the Fed plans to raise interest rates before it sells assets. Interest of 2 per cent on $2.5tn of reserves would run to $50bn a year.

***

The eventual tightening could lead to substantial amounts being transferred to commercial banks from the Fed, given the amounts of cash they have parked there. Wells Fargo has $97.1bn sitting at the Fed, the largest amount of any bank, ahead of JPMorgan Chase at $88.6bn and Goldman Sachs at $58.7bn, according to an FT analysis of SNL data.

Foreign banks also have a striking amount of cash at the Fed, potentially aggravating the Fed’s PR problem. Analysts at Stone & McCarthy noted recently that there had been a steep increase in foreign banks placing reserves at the Fed and suggested that “US banks may have distaste for the opportunistic arbitrage”, between lower market rates and the interest on reserves, whereas overseas institutions “might not feel encumbered in the same fashion”.

Canada’s TD Bank, Germany’s Deutsche Bank and Switzerland’s UBS each have more than $12bn at the Fed.

And while this post focuses on bailouts and subsidies to big American banks,  a large percentage of the bailouts went to foreign banks (and see this). And so did a huge portion of the money from quantitative easing. More here and here.

Smartphones To Collect Biometric Data

The U.S. Department of Defense has awarded a $3 million research contract to technology firm AOptix to turn smartphones into devices that collect biometric data.

Which Jobs Have the Biggest and Smallest Wage Gaps?

Which Jobs Have the Biggest and Smallest Wage Gaps?

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Posted on Feb 13, 2013
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When it comes to paychecks, women are still making significantly less than men do in the same jobs, a Bureau of Labor Statistics report reveals. On average, women are getting paid roughly 81 percent of what their male counterparts are taking home.

According to the data, the gap in pay between men and women is biggest for insurance sales agents (62.5 percent) and retail salespeople (64.3 percent) and smallest for health technicians (103.7 percent) and counselors (102.6 percent).

NPR:

Part of the gap in pay is driven by choices, even within single job categories. Among physicians, for example, women are more likely than men to choose lower-paid specialties (though this does not explain all of the pay gap among doctors).

And among all workers, women are more likely than men to take a significant time off from work to raise children, and they tend to be re-hired at lower wages than their counterparts who remained in the workforce.

...One other detail worth noting: The jobs where the gap is biggest pay more, on average, than the jobs where the gap is lowest. The average weekly pay is $1,087 for jobs where the gap is biggest, and $773 for jobs where the gap is smallest.

Read more

—Posted by Tracy Bloom.

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Putin calls for transparency on Russian oil reserves data

RIA Novosti / Vladimir Vyatkin

RIA Novosti / Vladimir Vyatkin

Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered the details of the country’s oil reserves declassified.

“I think we should consider lifting the security label from the reserves balance data,” Putin said at a meeting of the Commission for development of fuel and energy complex on Wednesday.

­Reserves balance is a government document, which has data on volumes, quality, extent of research and production development of deposits, which is kept by the Russian Geological Fund and is based on data from mineral developers.

The secrecy is an “obvious anachronism”, as foreign companies are operating in the national fuel and energy industry, and Russian companies go through an international audit, Putin said.

We do not classify anything here, we do not hide, and it is not possible, it only does damage,” Putin elaborated.

The President believes Russia needs new classification system of its oil and gas resources, which would be close to international standards. Foreign investors are interested in Russian deposits, but differences in the systems of evaluation will vary the country’s resource potential.

This directly affects investment attractiveness of Russian companies,” Putin said. The country’s natural resources should have a justified, understandable and objective price, he added.

Russia has the most gas reserves in the world, followed by Venezuela and the Persian Gulf states by oil reserves. The country is the second biggest oil extractor after Saudi Arabia and second biggest gas extractor after the United States.

Russia’s oil reserves grew by 681 million tons and natural gas reserves were up 816 billion cubic meters in 2012, Russia’s Natural Resources Minister Sergey Donskoy said in January. In the period between 2005 and 2011, the total oil and condensate produced was 3.2 billion tons, while reserves grew by 4.7 billion; total gas production was 4.2 trillion cubic meters with reserves growing by 5.4 trillion cubic meters.

Too Big To Fail, Too Big To Jail? That Means Too Big To Exist

I am really excited that the long overdue battle over immigration reform and a path to citizenship has finally begun in earnest. While I am heartsick at the reason, it is good news that common sense gun safety laws are once again being discussed in this country almost two decades after we finally passed the Brady Bill. And the on-going, never ending budget fights remain urgently important in terms of stopping more damage to middle class and poor people in America. I know I will be engaging daily in the vitally important battles over all these issues, and I expect my progressive allies all over the country will be as well.

But I remain troubled, profoundly troubled, by the fact that fundamental economic issues seem to be the last thing on anybody’s minds in DC. Our economy may be slowly getting better, but we still have a very serious jobs crisis in this country- nowhere near to full employment and not on a path to get there for many years to come. Our manufacturing sector is still only limping along and our trade deficit remains catastrophically high. Our infrastructure is still badly in need of repair. Wages for most workers are still stuck in neutral or slipping compared to inflation, and a third of those who found new jobs after losing them in the great recession are being paid less than in the old job. Our housing market is getting stronger in some metro areas, but is still very weak overall in terms of prices, homeowners under water, and numbers of foreclosures and empty homes.

And looming over these economic problems is quite literally the elephant in the room: these gargantuan Too Big To Fail, and apparently Too Big To Jail, Wall Street financial conglomerates.

Because of their massive economic and political power, the financial sector swallows up more than 40% of the economy in this country, and because they can make more money doing speculative high-speed trading than by investing in manufacturing or infrastructure or making loans to small businesses, those sectors get starved for capital. Because of Wall Street’s obsession with short-term profit, workers are not invested in and wages keep getting driven down. Because these banks’ accountants have figured out that their short term stock prices will stay higher if they continue to show inflated housing assets on their books, they have been unwilling to work with homeowners to write down underwater debt. Because of tax policies such as low capital gains and the carried interest loophole that favor the financial sector, the federal budget is starved for resources, and because Wall Street wants to be able to speculate with senior citizens’ money, the pressure keeps building to cut or privatize Social Security, as well as state and local government workers’ pensions.

Financial sector problems have been in the news a lot lately. Standard and Poor’s is finally (finally, finally) being sued. New emails from JP Morgan traders and execs have come out showing that they engaged in very shaky and probably fraudulent practices in bundling mortgage securities together. Ted Kaufman and activists are demanding more bank investigations and prosecutions. Frontline raised hell about DOJ dropping the ball on Wall Street prosecution, and the guy in charge of that for DOJ resigned the next week. Elizabeth Warren is investigating weak settlements between regulators and bankers. LIBOR prosecutions are still ginning up.

Wall Street is not responsible for all the ills in our economy. I’m happy to give plenty of the blame to conservative politicians in the pocket of wealthy special interests, companies like Wal-Mart driving down wages and destroying small retailers, health industry companies driving our medical costs through the roof, carbon spewing polluters refusing to make way for the green jobs of the future, and big businesses driving their small business competitors out of business. But the damage Wall Street did to the economy, and the parasitic power they still hold over it, is at the very heart of why our economy has not been able to get back on the road to true prosperity and full employment. And all these stories make clear, the corruption on Wall Street stinks to high heavy. The biggest players there are playing a rigged game and screwing the rest of us badly.

The only answer to why all this is not getting fixed in spite of the flashing red warning signs is something America’s founders understood well: the problem of concentrated power. They constructed our entire system around the guiding principle of distributed power, checks and balances. They knew that there was no way a democracy would survive if any one politician, region, or business sector became too powerful for too long. That fear has been a real danger a few times over our country’s history- slave power in the years leading up to the Civil War and the Robber Barons’ power in the late 1800s being the two worst examples- but for most of our country’s history the pluralistic idea has kept our democracy healthy. But when something as central to a nation as its financial system is controlled by institutions that there are this monumentally huge, we have a serious problem. And if the problem doesn’t get fixed, it will crush either our economy or our democracy or- most likely- both.

When you have top officials like Lanny Breuer at the DOJ openly alluding to the fact that he won’t prosecute banks because of the harm it might do to the economy; when you have the most free market worshipping conservative President in modern history turning his philosophy upside down on a dime and handing out government bailouts like a drunken sailor; when you have a Democratic President presiding over record profits and bonuses for Wall Street banks less than a year after the biggest financial collapse in 80 years while the rest of the country’s economy is in terrible shape, and not seeming terribly upset by that dynamic; when you have the most blatant financial sector fraud in many decades, and not a single criminal prosecution of a major bank executive- when you have all that happening, it is clear enough to this old political guy that the guys at the top of the Wall Street system have amassed way too much power.

The only way to break that power is break these biggest banks up. Unless and until we do that, the economy will continue to limp along, and future financial collapses caused by their concentration of power and corruption will periodically occur. Thankfully, Senators like Elizabeth Warren and Sherrod Brown are gearing up for the battle. The rest of us need to fight by their side.

Mass Surveillance: CIA To Access All UK Government Data

big brother is watching
All British government data will soon be available to the CIA, the NSA and other American intelligence agencies thanks to the extension of a controversial spy law. The European Union has warned that security will be compromised as U.S. intelligence agencies now have the legal right to examine all data stored on U.S. owned Cloud services.

Study Finds 80% of All Antibiotics in US Used for Big-Ag

Pew Charitable TrustsIn 2011, more antibiotics were sold for use in meat and poultry production than ever before—at least four-fifths of all antibiotics used in the US—according to a new report by Pew Charitable Trusts.

The report, which is based on new data released by the Food and Drug Administration, shows that antibiotics used in the big-ag industry to make livestock grow faster and resist bacteria in unsanitary living conditions, broke all previous records—a practice which is drastically contributing to the emergence of drug-resistant superbugs that render many antibiotic treatments for humans useless, the report points out.

In 2011, 29.9 million pounds of antibiotics were sold in the U.S. for meat and poultry.

Writing for Mother Jones, Tom Philpott adds:

Last year, the Food and Drug Administration proposed a set of voluntary "guidelines" designed to nudge the meat industry to curb its antibiotics habit. Ever since, the agency has been mulling whether and how to implement the new program. Meanwhile, the meat industry has been merrily gorging away on antibiotics—and churning out meat rife with antibiotic-resistant pathogens—if the latest data from the FDA itself is any indication. [...]

Takeaway: While the FDA dithers with voluntary approaches to regulation, the meat industry is feasting on antibiotics and sending out product tainted with antibiotic-resistant bugs.

As a result, as Pew stated in an email to Mother Jones, bacteria such as Salmonella is showing rates of up to 78% resistance to at least one antibiotic, among other startling facts.

Study Finds 80% of All Antibiotics in US Used for Big-Ag

Pew Charitable TrustsIn 2011, more antibiotics were sold for use in meat and poultry production than ever before—at least four-fifths of all antibiotics used in the US—according to a new report by Pew Charitable Trusts.

The report, which is based on new data released by the Food and Drug Administration, shows that antibiotics used in the big-ag industry to make livestock grow faster and resist bacteria in unsanitary living conditions, broke all previous records—a practice which is drastically contributing to the emergence of drug-resistant superbugs that render many antibiotic treatments for humans useless, the report points out.

In 2011, 29.9 million pounds of antibiotics were sold in the U.S. for meat and poultry.

Writing for Mother Jones, Tom Philpott adds:

Last year, the Food and Drug Administration proposed a set of voluntary "guidelines" designed to nudge the meat industry to curb its antibiotics habit. Ever since, the agency has been mulling whether and how to implement the new program. Meanwhile, the meat industry has been merrily gorging away on antibiotics—and churning out meat rife with antibiotic-resistant pathogens—if the latest data from the FDA itself is any indication. [...]

Takeaway: While the FDA dithers with voluntary approaches to regulation, the meat industry is feasting on antibiotics and sending out product tainted with antibiotic-resistant bugs.

As a result, as Pew stated in an email to Mother Jones, bacteria such as Salmonella is showing rates of up to 78% resistance to at least one antibiotic, among other startling facts.

Apple, Big Hedge Fund Stars & The Sell Side/Vaudeville Act To Burn Your Hard...

I see many pundits on CNBC commenting on Apple. I believe they are ALL wrong! To begin with, nearly all of them are coming up with revaluations after the fact - which is simply too late and lacks credibility. Second, Apple has someserious steps to take if it is to get back into the mobile computing race. David Einhorn's recommendation to return cash to shareholders (on the CNBC front page today) is not one of them. He's approaching this from a trader's perspective, and not from the perspective of a strategic long term investor. To date, Apple has outperformed nearly all hedge funds in the reinvestment of its cash. If Apple does the right thing, the  ability to replicate this performance by only 50% will whip the pants off of nearly every hedge fund, Einhorn's included. In addition, Apple is about to go through a depression style bout of margin compression that it will need cash to battle. I explained this to a group of entrepeneurs last year. Basically, Apple's $137B+ in cash is a call option on future opportunities and a put option on future mishaps. Einhorn is asking management to sell that call/put option straddle now, and forgo the ability to capitalize on future opportunities while running naked against margin compression at the same time that Apple's competition has surpassed it in technical ability (product/service wise) while Apple has shown ineptitude in competing in the cloud (see the maps fiasco), the next battle ground for the end user. This option sale will be had for the one time premium of a cash distribution. Wise, eh?

Does this mentality smack of the short term-ism indicative of a trader to you, or is it the mentality of the long term, innovative vision of Steve Jobs that got Apple where it is now? See the video below where I delve into this in detail...

Since I was practically the only one (at least that I know of) to accurately and timely call the turn on Apple BEFORE THE FACT, I would love to take this time to point out what it is that's wrong with Apple and what it would take for it to regain its shine. Just to illustrate this point, let's reminisce, shall we...

Let's contrast this to what I have espoused over a similar time frame...

Now, what do we have in sell sidevaudville today? CNBC reports Apple Heading Toward $200?: McLean.WTF???? What happen to $1,000????

Yes, I'm going after the sell side again. And I'll keep doing it. I'm a monster to the charlatan crew... A monster, I tell you...

Apple needs to start spending money, needs to spend wisely, needs to spend it in droves, and it needs to do ALL of this, NOW!!!! That is what Apple REALLY needs to do to compete with Google and enrich shareholders. Now, those shareholders with short term-ism will consider this Apple management burning cash in a desperate attempt to save the ship. These limited horizon guys will jump ship and drive the share price down. It is then that Apple will be a strong buy if, and only if, management succeeds in making leeway... Much in the same way that Google did in its acquisition spree that gave it some of its most valuable properties and multi-billion dollar franchises that literally run the web in their respective categories - to wit:

  • YouTube
  • Android
  • Google Voice
  • AdMob

For anyone who thinks this acquisition spree is a foolish endeavor, ask those who listened to the "short Google, long Apple" advice of the pros...

image001image001

Just as much (if not most, not withstanding the "Muppet Factor") of the Sell Side of Wall Street Doesn't Truly Understand Apple, many of them equally clueless regarding Google as well… Google has used it's call option of billions of dollars of cash and its cash producing cash cow business model of ad serving to literally buy value at discounted prices. Of course, those with short term vision can't see the value - just as fails to see a forest due to all of that tree bark in the way!!!

Google Final Report Sep 29 Page 53 copyGoogle Final Report Sep 29 Page 53 copyGoogle Final Report Sep 29 Page 54Google Final Report Sep 29 Page 54As a reminder, I warned in plenty of time to both avoid loss and profit on the short and long side for each company involved in these mobile computing wars. As a matter of fact, three years ago, I laid out in detail the entire mobile computing war map - along with the prospects of the major competitors - Google, Apple, Research in Motion and Microsoft/Nokia, reference "" series. How accurate were these predictions, predilections, and analyses?

Now, for all of you senstive types who may consider this bragging or boasting, it is far from such. As a matter of distinct fact, the contents of this entire post should have been glaringly obvious to anyone years ago who actively used and followed the products and services of the companies herein, and had even a rudimentary understanding of business valuation. You know, it's amazing how far an awareness of cognitive biases (Deconstructing The Most Accurate Apple Analysis Ever Made - Share Price, Market Share, Strategy and All) and a mastery of second grade math () can get you on Wall Street.

The Sell Side analytical community and the (sheeple) investors which they serve is another matter though. Subscribers can download the data that shows the blatant game being played between Apple and the Sell Side here: File Icon Apple Earnings Guidance Analysis. Those who need to subscribe can do so here.

Below, I drilled down on the date and used a percentage difference view to illustrate the improvement in P/E stemming from the earnings beats.

Again, a master of the basics, the fundamentals, common sense and 2nd grade math can actually bring you tomorrows news yesterday! For those interested in the research behind these many calls, as well as many others,Subscribe to BoomBustBlog today!

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Speed Trap: Big Oil Profits from High Gasoline Prices

WASHINGTON - February 6 - The Center for American Progress today released “Speed Trap: Big Oil Profits from High Gasoline Prices,” which shows that in 2012 BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil, and Shell made a combined $118 billion in profits—and used billions of these dollars to buy back their own stock and lobby Congress—while collecting on special tax breaks and producing less oil. Meanwhile, American households spend nearly 4 percent of their pre-tax income for gas.

This column digs deeper into the big five’s latest earnings—including how they spent them—and explains why companies this profitable should not be receiving billions of dollars in special tax breaks—especially while conservatives plan severe cuts in vital middle-class programs such as Medicare and those devoted to education and cancer research.

The big five oil companies invested nearly $50 million of their abundant bounty in lobbying Congress in 2012. They spent nearly $8 million on federal campaign contributions, with Republican candidates receiving $4 for every $1 Democrats received. A major goal of these political efforts was to retain Big Oil’s special tax breaks, which are worth $2.4 billion annually, according to the Congressional Joint Committee on Taxation. Last March Big Oil successfully lobbied against a Senate bill to eliminate the special tax breaks. The bill was defeated by a vote of 51 to 47, with 60 votes needed for passage.

Maintaining the existing special tax breaks for the big five oil companies makes little sense. In essence, the policy allows Big Oil to force Americans to pay them twice: first at the pump through high gasoline prices and then again by robbing the U.S. Treasury of $2.4 billion annually—money that is replaced with tax revenue from the middle class. After posting enormous profits in 2012, elimination of these unnecessary special tax breaks for the five largest oil companies is long overdue.

Read the full column here.

Download full data on Big Oil’s profits and activities in 2012 (.xls)

To speak with Daniel J. Weiss, please contact Christina DiPasquale at 202.481.8181 or [email protected].

The Center for American Progress is a think tank dedicated to improving the lives of Americans through ideas and action. We combine bold policy ideas with a modern communications platform to help shape the national debate, expose the hollowness of conservative governing philosophy, and challenge the media to cover the issues that truly matter.

Speed Trap: Big Oil Profits from High Gasoline Prices

WASHINGTON - February 6 - The Center for American Progress today released “Speed Trap: Big Oil Profits from High Gasoline Prices,” which shows that in 2012 BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil, and Shell made a combined $118 billion in profits—and used billions of these dollars to buy back their own stock and lobby Congress—while collecting on special tax breaks and producing less oil. Meanwhile, American households spend nearly 4 percent of their pre-tax income for gas.

This column digs deeper into the big five’s latest earnings—including how they spent them—and explains why companies this profitable should not be receiving billions of dollars in special tax breaks—especially while conservatives plan severe cuts in vital middle-class programs such as Medicare and those devoted to education and cancer research.

The big five oil companies invested nearly $50 million of their abundant bounty in lobbying Congress in 2012. They spent nearly $8 million on federal campaign contributions, with Republican candidates receiving $4 for every $1 Democrats received. A major goal of these political efforts was to retain Big Oil’s special tax breaks, which are worth $2.4 billion annually, according to the Congressional Joint Committee on Taxation. Last March Big Oil successfully lobbied against a Senate bill to eliminate the special tax breaks. The bill was defeated by a vote of 51 to 47, with 60 votes needed for passage.

Maintaining the existing special tax breaks for the big five oil companies makes little sense. In essence, the policy allows Big Oil to force Americans to pay them twice: first at the pump through high gasoline prices and then again by robbing the U.S. Treasury of $2.4 billion annually—money that is replaced with tax revenue from the middle class. After posting enormous profits in 2012, elimination of these unnecessary special tax breaks for the five largest oil companies is long overdue.

Read the full column here.

Download full data on Big Oil’s profits and activities in 2012 (.xls)

To speak with Daniel J. Weiss, please contact Christina DiPasquale at 202.481.8181 or [email protected].

The Center for American Progress is a think tank dedicated to improving the lives of Americans through ideas and action. We combine bold policy ideas with a modern communications platform to help shape the national debate, expose the hollowness of conservative governing philosophy, and challenge the media to cover the issues that truly matter.

New Database Puts Patients Privacy at Risk

Privacy campaigners and medical groups have warned the confidentiality of NHS patients could be in jeopardy as GPs are forced to hand over patient records to a central database.

IMF censures Argentina for dodgy economic data, threatens sanctions

International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director Christine Lagarde attends a session of the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting (WEF) on January 26, 2013 at the Swiss resort of Davos.(AFP Photo / Johannes Eisele)

International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director Christine Lagarde attends a session of the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting (WEF) on January 26, 2013 at the Swiss resort of Davos.(AFP Photo / Johannes Eisele)

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has issued Argentina with a 'declaration of censure' for providing inaccurate inflation and GDP data and has given it until September 29th to amend the problems or will impose sanctions.

The IMF Friday called on Argentina to fix its statistics “without further delay”

“The fund has issued a declaration of censure against Argentina in connection with its breach of obligation to the fund,” The IMF said in a statement.

The IMF said it would review Argentina’s progress in November and warned that if the problems are not sorted then it could impose sanctions on the country. This would bar one of South America’s biggest economies from voting on IMF policies and accessing financing.

Relations between the South American country and the IMF have been steadily deteriorating since Argentina’s 2001-2002 debt crisis, which many in Buenos Aires blame on IMF policies.

Argentina’s Economy Ministry slammed the IMF for unfair treatment and accused them of double standards.

The Friday declaration was “not only a new IMF error but a clear example of unequal treatment and the double standards with which this organization treats certain members. This is the same fund that showed itself to be complacent about the inexact data and failed policies that led to the global financial crisis,” the statement said.

The ministry pointed out the IMF hailed Argentinian economic policies of the 1990’s as a success, the same policies that resulted in Argentina’s economic meltdown and debt default. The ministry also asked for an extraordinary meeting of the IMF board to discuss the lender’s decisions and policy.

Christine Lagarde, the IMF Managing Director, warned Argentina in September last year that it could be penalized unless it sorted out its data problems. Previous IMF chiefs, including Dominque Strauss-Khan and Rodrigo Rato, unsuccessfully tried to mend ties with Argentina, while other officials have avoided commenting on the country.

Economic analysts have accused the government in Buenos Aires of underreporting inflation since 2007 in order to reduce payments on inflation indexed debt and for political gain.

Inflation in Argentina is estimated by private economists to be at 25% a year and rising but the government reported it at 11% or less for last year, according to the Financial Times.

“This is a very serious step by the IMF, the situation in Argentina is deteriorating very quickly…and there is no sign that the government has any interest or willingness to even try to address some of the basic concerns of the fund,” Biorden Roett, director of Western Hemisphere Studies at John Hopkins’ Paul H Bitze School of Advanced International Studies in Washington told Reuters.

US banks shaken by biggest deposit withdrawals since 9/11

Joe Raedle / Getty Images / AFP

Joe Raedle / Getty Images / AFP

US Federal Reserve is reporting a major deposit withdrawal from the nation’s bank accounts. The financial system hasn’t seen such a massive fund outflow since 9/11 attacks.

­The first week of January 2013 has seen $114 billion withdrawn from 25 of the US’ biggest banks, pushing deposits down to $5.37 trillion, according to the US Fed. Financial analysts suggest it could be down to the Transaction Account Guarantee insurance program coming to an end on December 31 last year and clients moving their money that is no longer insured by the government.


The program was introduced in the wake of the 2008 crisis in order to support the banking system. It provided insurance for around $1.5 trillion in non-interest-bearing accounts with a limit of $250,000. It was aimed at medium and small banks as the creators of the program believed bigger banks would cope with the crisis themselves.

So the current “fast pace” of withdrawal comes as a surprise to financial analysts because the deposits are slipping away from those banks which supposedly were safe. Experts expected savers in small and medium banks would turn to bigger players come December 31. 

There are a number of reasons behind this unpredicted fund outflow. Some experts believe it has to do with the beginning of the year when the money is randomly needed here and there. Others have concluded the funds are getting down to business and being invested.

Another set of data from the US Federal Reserve shows some deposits may have moved within the banking system from one type of account to another.

Apple Earnings Shock Offset By Good Cop/Bad Cop Macro Data

While the main topic of conversation overnight was the Apple implosion after earnings (which was mercifully spared inbound calls from repo desk margin clerks who had all gone home by the time the stock hit $460), there was some macro data to muddle up the picture, which, like everything else in this baffle with BS new normal came in "good/bad cop" pairs.

In early trading, all eyes were focused on Japan, whose trade and especially exports imploded when the country posted a record trade gap of 6.93 trillion yen ($78.27 billion) in 2012 and the seventh consecutive monthly drop in exports which showed that improved sentiment has yet to translate into hard economic data. Finance ministry data on Thursday showed that exports fell 5.8 percent in the year to December, more than economists' consensus forecast of a 4.2 percent drop. Trade with China was hit particularly hard following the ongoing island fiasco, which means that all the ongoing Yen destruction has largely been for nothing as organic growth markets simply shut off Japan. This ugly news was marginally offset by a tiny beat in the HSBC China manufacturing PMI which came slightly above consensus at 51.9 vs exp. 51.7, the highest print in 24 months, but as with everything else coming out of China one really shouldn't believe this or any other number in a country that will not allow even one corporate default to prevent the credit-driven illusion from popping.

Moving to Europe it too was a good/bad news story: shortly before 3 am the BIS FX team was summoned to defend the 1.33 support after French manufacturing PMI plummeted from 44.6 to 42.7, on expectations of a rise to 45.1 and the realization that the recession has fully engulfed Europe's core. However, this disturbing print was promptly offset by German PMI which in turn rose from 46.0 to 48.8, on expectations of a 46.8 print. Whether this modest bounce will be enough to push Germany out of what is now the first leg of a recession remains to be seen.

Judging by the fact that leading German bank announced plans to fire 4,000-6,000 earlier, we doubt there is much hope for a quick rebound in Germany.

Elsewhere, Spain reported its last depressionary data point, which was the Q4 unemployment, and which as expected rose to above the expected 26%, or a record 26.02% to be precise in the last quarter, and well above the 25.02% in Q3. Finally, completing the sad European picture were Italian November retail sales which too were worse than expected at -0.4%, on expectations of a -0.1% print, and the prior was revised further down from -1% to -1.3%.

Finally, in bad news for socialists everywhere, France has fully abandoned plans for its 75% tax rate, Europe1 reported.

More on the overnight events from DB's Jim Reid:

China's PMI and Apple's results are the two competing stories overnight with the latter weighing on sentiment in the Asian session. Indeed besides Japan (+1.2%), major bourses in Hong Kong, China and South Korea are down -0.1%, -0.3% and -0.9% respectively. Before we take a closer look at Apple’s disappointing results, the HSBC manufacturing PMI in China came in slightly above consensus (51.9 v 51.7) this morning. This was the highest print in 24 months with the series having gradually recovered from the lows of 47.6 in August of last year. Away from China, other Asian data flow overnight has generally been on the soft side. Korea’s Q4 GDP (+1.5% yoy v +1.8% yoy expected) fell short of market consensus while Japan posted a wider-thanexpected trade deficit (JPY641.5B v JPY-522.8B) in December. For Korea this is the slowest quarterly yoy growth since September 2009 and the Japanese trade deficit in 2012 is the widest on record on an annual basis.

Turning to Apple, the company managed to beat EPS consensus ($13.81 v $13.53) but revenue fell short of market expectations ($54.5bn v $54.9bn). More importantly forward looking revenue and gross margin guidance also came in light relative to street estimates. In terms of product performance in the latest quarter, our US colleagues noted that iPhone sales were largely in line but iPad sales were lighter than expected and Macs sales sharply disappointed. Apple’s shares plunged around 10% in after hours trading and have now lost a third of their value from the peak in September last year. Apple’s after market move is also dampening the performance of the S&P 500 Futures (-0.4%) and NASDAQ 100 Futures (-1.5%) overnight. It will be interesting to see how US markets trade throughout today after what proved to be a positive finish to yesterday’s trading session.

Indeed the S&P 500 edged higher (+0.15%) for its 6th consecutive session yesterday as sentiment was boosted by news that the US House of Representative has voted (285 v 144) to suspend the debt ceiling for three months. The earnings scorecard before the closing bell was also generally positive with 65% and 81% of companies that reported yesterday coming ahead of analysts’ EPS and revenue expectations, respectively. IBM’s better results helped drive the Dow (+0.49%) up to just less than 1% away from its all time highs. For the record the S&P 500 is also just 5pts away from the symbolic 1,500 mark.

On the fixed income side, its quite interesting to note that the Dell-driven LBO theme is pushing the skew on the CDX IG index to negative territory. The index edged a tad tighter yesterday and now trades about 5bps ‘rich’ to intrinsic value as some single names are seeing demand for protection on LBO concerns. Overall January continues to be a good month for risk, continuing the theme from the back end of 2012. However the growth outlook isn’t necessarily much better than where we were 3 months ago. The IMF published its updated global growth forecasts yesterday and now expects global GDP to grow by 3.5% this year. This is a touch lower than the 3.6% forecast they had in October last year. This is still ok but we'll need some upward momentum in the data to reach this level still.

In terms of the day ahead, flash PMIs from France, Germany and the Eurozone will be the key European data print today. As we said in our outlook, these readings need to get into the low 50s to justify current levels of markets rather than just above the mid-40s they generally are in Europe at the moment.

They have a few months grace to get there without upsetting the party but these prints
along the way will be informative. Elsewhere Merkel and Cameron will both speak at day-2
of the Davos conference today. On the other side of the pond we also get the preliminary
Markit PMI in the US as well as the usual weekly jobless claims. 3M and Microsoft are
some of the bigger names reporting today.

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“Return = Cash + Beta + Alpha”: An Inside Look At The World’s Biggest...

Some time ago when we looked at the the performance of the world's largest and best returning hedge fund, Ray Dalio's Bridgewater (split roughly evenly between his Pure Alpha and All Weather strategies), it had some $138 billion in assets. This number subsequently rose by $4 billion to $142 billion a week ago, however one thing remained the same: on a dollar for dollar basis, it is still the best performing and largest hedge fund of the past 20 years (assuming of course, JPM's $350 billion AUM Whale office has finally been "beached" and its positions unwound), and one which also has a remarkably low standard deviation of returns to boast. This is known to most people.

What is less known, however, is that the two funds that comprise the entity known as "Bridgewater" serve two distinct purposes: while the Pure Alpha fund is, as its name implies, a chaser of alpha, or the 'tactical', active return component of an investment, the All Weather fund has a simple "beta isolate and capture" premise, and seeks to generate a modestly better return than the market using a mixture of equity and bonds investments and leverage.

Ironically, as we foretold back in 2009, in the age of ZIRP, virtually every "actively managed" hedge fund would soon become not more than a massively levered beta chaser however charging an "alpha" fund's 2 and 20 fee structure. At least Ray Dalio is honest about where the return comes from without hiding behind meaningless concepts and lugubrious econospeak drollery. Courtesy of "The All Weather Story: How Bridgewater created the All Weather investment strategy, the foundation of the "risk parity" movement" everyone else can learn that answer too.

And while we absolutely agree with Dalio that "there is a way of looking at things that overly complicates things in a desire to be overly precise and easily lose sight of the important basic ingredients that are making those things up" (they need those Econ PhDs for something), we certainly don't agree with Bob Prince's assessment that the entire world is merely a "machine" which can be understood, in terms of its cause-effect linkages.

While this may be true in simple two actor environments, and in theoretical, textbook markets, it is certainly not the case in a enviornment filled with irrational actors, who respond in times of crises - so vritually all market inflection points - with their feelings, instincts, phobias and gut reactions, than with anything resembling logic and reason. And especially not in times of "New Normal" central planning.

Then again, it is Prince and Dalio who are multi-billionaires and run a $125 billion hedge fund, so perhaps they are on to something...

The annotated presentation of how one half of Bridgewater's bread and butter operates:

And the unabridged:

The All Weather Story

How Bridgewater associates created the all weather investment strategy, the foundation of the ‘risk parity’ movement

President Richard Nixon sat in the Oval Office staring into a television camera and addressed the nation: “I directed Secretary Connelly to suspend temporarily the convertibility of the dollar into gold.” After 27 years of relative monetary stability, the United States was breaking from the Bretton Woods system of fixed exchange rates that had tied the dollar’s value to gold.

Ray Dalio, fresh out of college, was then a clerk on the New York Stock Exchange. Watching Nixon’s speech in his apartment, he tried to fathom the implications. Paper money derived its value from being a claim on gold. Now those claims wouldn't be honored. The next morning he walked on to the chaotic floor of the NYSE expecting stocks to plummet. Instead the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose almost 4% and gold shot higher in what was later dubbed the “Nixon rally.” Ray had heard Nixon’s announcement but misunderstood its implications.

This event transformed Ray’s thinking about markets. Nothing like it had ever happened to him before, so it came as a shock. He quickly realized he couldn’t trust his own experience: anyone’s lifetime is too narrow a perspective. So he began to study the cause-effect linkages at work in the dollar devaluation and subsequent market pop. He discovered the Bretton Woods breakup was one of many seemingly unique occurrences that, in truth, are more infrequent than unprecedented. A broader perspective revealed that currency devaluations had occurred many times throughout history and across countries, and were the result of the same essential dynamics playing out under different circumstances. Ray dedicated himself to understanding what he would in time call the ‘economic machine’: the timeless and universal relationships that both explain economic outcomes and repeat throughout history.

Ray is now in his 60s. He founded Bridgewater Associates four years after the Nixon speech. Reflecting back on that incident, Ray said, “that was a lesson for me. I developed a modus operandi to expect surprises. I learned not to let my experiences dominate my thinking; I could go beyond my experiences to see how the machine works."

Ray realized he could understand the economic machine by breaking down economies and markets into their component pieces, and studying the relationships of these pieces through time. This type of thinking is central to All Weather. For instance, any market move can be broken down into a few key components. Markets move based on shifts in conditions relative to the conditions that are priced in. This is the definition of a surprise. The greater the discrepancy, the larger the surprise. That explained the Nixon rally. When countries have too much debt and their lenders won’t lend them more, they are squeezed. They, in this case the US, invariably print money to relieve the squeeze. The unexpected wave of new money cheapens its value and alleviates the pressure from tight monetary conditions sending stocks and gold higher. What Ray observed was 'another one of those' - a shift in conditions relative to what people had expected.

The principles behind All Weather relate to answering a deceptively straight-forward question explored by Ray with co-Chief Investment Officer Bob Prince and other early colleagues at Bridgewater - what kind of investment portfolio would you hold that would perform well across all environments, be it a devaluation or something completely different?

After decades of study Ray, Bob, Greg Jensen, Dan Bernstein and others at Bridgewater created an investment strategy structured to be indifferent to shifts in discounted economic conditions. Launched in 1996, All Weather was originally created for Ray’s trust assets. It is predicated on the notion that asset classes react in understandable ways based on the relationship of their cash flows to the economic environment. By balancing assets based on these structural characteristics the impact of economic surprises can be minimized. Market participants might be surprised by inflation shifts or a growth bust and All Weather would chug along, providing attractive, relatively stable returns. The strategy was and is passive; in other words, this was the best portfolio Ray and his close associates could build without any requirement to predict future conditions. Today the All Weather strategy and the concepts behind it are fundamentally changing how the biggest capital pools in the world manage money. What began as a series of questions has blossomed into a movement. This article tells the story of how All Weather came into being. It recounts how a series of conversations hardened into principles that are the foundation of a coherent and practical investment philosophy.

A Discovery Process

Ray founded Bridgewater in 1975 in his New York City brownstone apartment. At the time, he actively traded commodities, currencies and credit markets. His initial business was providing risk consulting to corporate clients as well as offering a daily written market commentary titled Bridgewater Daily Observations that is still produced. The competitive edge was creative, quality analysis.

Among his clients were McDonalds and one of the country’s largest chicken producers. McDonalds was about to come out with Chicken McNuggets and was concerned that chicken prices might rise, forcing them to choose between raising their menu prices or having their profit margins squeezed. They wanted to hedge but there was no viable chicken futures market. Chicken producers wouldn’t agree to sell at a fixed price because they were worried that their costs would go up and they would then take a loss on their supply contracts. After some thought, Ray went to the largest producer with an idea. A chicken is nothing more than the price of the chick (which is cheap), corn, and soymeal. The corn and soymeal prices were the volatile costs the chicken producer needed to worry about. Ray suggested combining the two into a synthetic future that would effectively hedge the producer’s exposure to price fluctuations, allowing them to quote a fixed price to McDonalds. The poultry producer closed the deal and McDonald’s introduced the McNugget in 1983.

This early work reflected a truth. Any return stream can be broken down into its component parts and analyzed more accurately by first examining the drivers of those individual parts. The price of poultry depends on the price of corn and soymeal. The price of a nominal bond can be broken down into a real yield and an inflation component. A corporate bond is a nominal bond plus a credit spread. This way of thinking laid the groundwork for constructing All Weather. If assets can be broken down into different component parts and then summed up to a whole, so too could a portfolio.

Portfolio Building Blocks

In time, Ray and Bob set their sights on managing liabilities, not merely advising on what to do with them. For any asset there is a corresponding liability and, relative to asset management, liability management appeared to be an underserved market. There was a long education process to convey the value proposition to a corporate treasurer, however. To do so, Ray, Bob and others would write a “Risk Management Plan.” These were tailored analyses that generally followed three steps; a) identify the risk neutral position for the corporation b) design a hedging program to reach that exposure and c) actively manage around that exposure, hiring Bridgewater and paying them based on performance around this neutral position. Over time this approach had Ray, Bob and others managing $700 million in corporate liabilities.

The evolution to managing assets occurred in 1987. The World Bank pension fund had been following Bridgewater‘s research. On the basis of this research and Bridgewater's track record managing liabilities, they opened a $5 million bond account. Given the decade plus of experience managing liabilities, Bridgewater approached the asset portfolio in the same way. The bond benchmark was the risk neutral position; the active management was the value added, or alpha, gained from deviating from the benchmark. The two are completely separate.

This is an important insight. While there are thousands of investment products, there are only three moving parts in any of them. Consider buying a conventional mutual fund. The investment may be marketed as a ‘large cap growth fund.’ The reality is that the return of that product, or any product, is a function of a) the return on cash b) the excess return of a market (beta) above the cash rate and c) the ‘tilts’ or manager stock selection (alpha). The mutual fund blurs the distinction between the moving parts, which makes it hard to accurately assess the attributes of any one part or the whole. In summary:

return = cash + beta + alpha

Many people, perhaps most, don’t look at investment returns from this perspective and as a result miss a lot. The cash rate is after all controlled by a central bank, not the investor, and can move up or down significantly. In the US after peaking above 15% in the 1980s, cash rates are now zero. Stocks and bonds price relative to and in excess of cash rates. A 10-year bond yield of 2% is low relative to history but high relative to 0% cash rates. What is unusual about the recent environment is the price of cash, not the pricing of assets relative to cash.

The characteristics of betas and alphas are distinct. Betas are few in number and cheap to obtain. Alphas (i.e. a trading strategy) are unlimited and expensive. The most important difference is the expected return. Betas in aggregate and over time outperform cash. There are few ‘sure things’ in investing. That betas rise over time relative to cash is one of them. Once one strips out the return of cash and betas, alpha is a zero sum game. If you buy and I sell, only one of us can be right. The key for most investors is fixing their beta asset allocation, not trading the market well. The trick is to figure out what proportion of stocks, bonds and commodities to hold such that a static portfolio is reliable. That is the question (‘what kind of investment portfolio would you hold that would perform well across all environments”) Ray, Bob, Dan and others were trying to answer. The first step was to separate out the beta from cash and alpha.

Balancing and Risk-adjusting Assets

By this time Bridgewater had decamped from Manhattan to rural Connecticut, eventually ending up in Westport. Now that Bridgewater was managing pension assets, other pension funds began exploring Bridgewater’s capabilities. Among those for whom Bridgewater provided advice was Rusty Olson, the CIO of a large US-based consumer goods manufacturer pension plan. Rusty asked what Bridgewater thought about his plan of using long duration zero coupon bonds in the pension portfolio. Ray gave a quick answer on the spot, suggesting it was a great idea but that they should use futures to implement it so that they could create any duration they desired. Ray said he would get back to Rusty with a more fully fleshed out idea. The brainstorming happened on a Friday. Merely getting asked the question was a coup. Not that long ago Bridgewater had been a niche investment adviser and at the time it had very little money under management. Now an iconic CIO was asking their counsel. Ray, Bob, Dan and a few other Bridgewater employees at the time worked all weekend to get Rusty an answer on how to do this best.

Step one in the pension analysis was breaking down this manufacturer’s pension portfolio into the three key components described above (cash or the risk free position, beta, and alpha). The typical institutional portfolio had (and still has) roughly 60% of its dollars invested in equities and as a result almost all of its risk. The rest of the money was invested in government bonds as well as a few other small investments, which are not as volatile as the stocks. This is the type of asset allocation many investors held at the time and remains the basic advice many investors still adhere to. Rusty was an innovative thinker and had begun deviating from conventional wisdom by trying to construct a high-returning portfolio out of uncorrelated returns, while maintaining a high commitment to equities. Rusty was struggling with what to do about nominal zero coupon government bonds. He thought they had too low a return to justify a place in his portfolio and were cash intensive, yet, at the same time, he correctly feared his portfolio was vulnerable in a deflationary economic contraction. So he had begun a program to protect his portfolio using long duration treasury bonds, which used much less cash than normal bonds. He wondered what Bridgewater could add to this approach.

Bridgewater's response documented two key ideas that would later reappear in All Weather – environmental bias and risk balancing assets. Ray, Bob and others knew that holding equities made an investor vulnerable to an economic contraction, particularly a deflationary one. The Great Depression was the classic example of this. Stocks were decimated. It was also true as Rusty suspected that nominal government bonds provided excellent protection in these environments. The goal was an asset allocation that didn’t rely on predicting when the deflationary shift would occur but would provide balance nonetheless.

The 1990 memo to Rusty put it this way, “Bonds will perform best during times of disinflationary recession, stocks will perform best during periods of … growth, and cash will be the most attractive when money is tight.” Translation: all asset classes have environmental biases. They do well in certain environments and poorly in others. As a result, owning the traditional, equity heavy portfolio is akin to taking a huge bet on stocks and, at a more fundamental level, that growth will be above expectations.

The second key idea stemmed from their work helping corporations hedge unwanted balance sheet exposures. Ray, Bob, Dan and others always thought first about risk. If the risks didn’t offset, the client would be exposed. Due to his equity holdings Rusty was exposed to the risk that growth in the economy would be less than discounted by the market. To 'hedge' this risk, the equities needed to be paired with another asset class that also had a positive expected return (i.e. a beta) but would rise when equities fell and do so in a roughly similar magnitude to the decline in the stocks. The Bridgewater memo agreed that Rusty should hedge this risk with long duration bonds that would have roughly the same risk as his stocks. Quoting from the study: “low-risk/low-return assets can be converted into high-risk/high-return assets.” Translation: when viewed in terms of return per unit of risk, all assets are more or less the same. Investing in bonds, when risk-adjusted to stock-like risk, didn’t require an investor to sacrifice return in the service of diversification. This made sense. Investors should basically be compensated in proportion to the risk they take on: the more risk, the higher the reward.

As a result of this work, Ray wrote Rusty, “I think your approach to managing the overall portfolio makes sense. In fact, I would go so far as to say that I think it makes more sense than any strategy I have seen employed by any other plan sponsor.” The long duration bonds, or futures equivalents, would make the portfolio roughly balanced to surprises in economic growth while not giving up return. Bridgewater began managing Rusty’s bond portfolio and also overlaid their own alpha (this portfolio became their first ‘alpha overlay’ account).

Balancing Growth and Inflation

Over time these discrete discoveries - breaking a portfolio into its parts, recognizing environmental biases, risk adjusting asset classes – began to harden into principles, concepts that could be applied over and over again. Running these portfolios in real time, particularly through economic shocks ranging from stock market crashes to banking crises to emerging market blow ups reinforced a confidence in the principles. Yet, there were a few additional insights that would come before All Weather would grow into a mature concept. A key step was framing growth and inflation as the environmental drivers that mattered and mapping asset classes to these environments.

Ray, Bob and their other close associates knew stocks and bonds could offset each other in growth shocks, such as they had mapped out for Rusty. They also knew there were other environments that hurt both stocks and bonds, such as rising inflation. That was obvious because they lived through these shifts. For a 1970s style environment it was much better to hold commodities than it was to hold stocks and nominal bonds. This notion was rattling around in conversations and became fully formed for Bob in a simple experiment.

Since the invention of the PC early Bridgewater employees had utilized technology to collect and chart data and process decision rules. They called these rules 'indicators.' These were the ‘timeless and universal’ linkages Ray had set out to understand in the 1970s. A PC was a big step up in efficiency from a slide rule or an HP hand-held calculator and graphs plotted by hand with colored pencils, which was what they used early on. Bob was fiddling around with a new computer program, Microsoft Excel. Microsoft had released the first windows based version of it in 1987. With these tools Bob began playing around to see how shifting asset weights would impact portfolio returns. He found that the best performing portfolio was 'balanced' to inflation surprises. This made some sense coming after the inflationary 1970s and the dis-inflationary 1980s. It also held true for more extreme shocks, like the 1920s German hyperinflation or the US Depression. Bob shared his discovery with Ray. “I showed it to Ray and he goes, ‘that makes sense,’” Bob recalled years later. “Then he goes, ‘But it really should go beyond that, it should really also be balanced to growth.’”

This was classic Bridgewater. Though the ‘data’ indicated one thing (to balance assets via inflation sensitivity) common sense suggested another. The message - don’t blindly follow the data. Ray proceeded to sketch out the four boxes diagram below as a way of describing the range of economic environments any investor has faced in the past or might face in the future. The key was to put equal risk on each scenario to achieve balance. Investors are always discounting future conditions and they have equal odds of being right about any one scenario.

This diagram tied key principles together and became a template for All Weather. Much as a portfolio can be boiled down to three key drivers, economic scenarios can be broken down to four. There are all sorts of surprises in markets, but the general pattern of surprises follows this framework, because the value of any investment is primarily determined by the volume of economic activity (growth) and its pricing (inflation). Surprises impact markets due to changes in one or both of those factors. Think about any stress scenario and it ends up putting a portfolio in one or two of these sectors unexpectedly. The 1970’s oil shocks, the disinflation of the 1980’s or the growth disappointments post 2000 were all shifts in the environment relative to expectations. This framework captured them all. More importantly, it captured future, yet unknown surprises. There were many economic surprises after Bridgewater started running All Weather, and they were different from the surprises that preceded the strategy but the strategy weathered them all. The framework is built for surprises in general, not specific surprises, the very issue Ray had been wrestling with at the outset.

Initially the four box framework was used to explain alpha diversification with prospective clients. The framework explained the concept in such an intuitive and clear way that it became the starting point of their conversations. To be sure, at this time the focus of the key Bridgewater personnel was on alpha, not beta. To do so, Ray, Bob and Dan were obsessed with identifying and articulating timeless and universal tactical decision-making rules across most liquid financial markets. The tactical strategy that resulted from this work, Pure Alpha, was launched in 1991, years before All Weather came into being.

The final ingredient: inflation-linked bonds

If Bridgewater is the pioneer of risk parity, it is also true the firm played a critical role in the acceptance of inflation-linked bonds in institutional portfolios. Inflation-linked bonds play an important role in All Weather. The concept of a security whose principal value is tied to inflation dates to at least the 18th century but in the early 1990s inflation-linked bonds were not playing a significant role in institutional portfolios. Like the other discoveries along the way, this one came out of a conversation, or a series of them. A US foundation came to Bridgewater with a question: how could they consistently achieve a 5% real return? By law the foundation had to spend 5% of its money every year, so for it to keep operating in perpetuity it had to generate a 5% real return.

Going back to the building blocks of a given portfolio, the client’s “risk-free position” was no longer cash, but rather a portfolio that provided a real return. Inflation-linked bonds, bonds that pay out some real return plus actual inflation, would ‘guarantee’ this 5% hurdle, as long as one could find bonds paying 5% real coupons. The main problem, however, was that there weren’t any of these bonds in the US at the time. They were issued widely in the UK, Australia, Canada and a few other countries. As currency and bond managers, Ray, Bob and Dan knew how to hedge a bond portfolio back to dollars, eliminating the currency impact. The three of them sought to construct a global inflation-linked bond portfolio and hedge it back to the US dollar as a solution for the endowment. At the time, global real yields were around 4% so a little bit of leverage had to be applied to the inflation linked bonds to reach the endowment’s target.

Through their work for the foundation it became clear inflation-linked bonds were a viable, underutilized asset class relative to their structural correlation benefits. Inflation-linked bonds do well in environments of rising inflation, whereas stocks and nominal government bonds do not. As a result, the bonds filled a diversification gap that existed (and continues to exist) in the conventional portfolio. Most investors do not hold any assets that perform well when inflation surprises to the upside outside of commodities, which tend to comprise a tiny fraction of their overall portfolio. From the environmental perspective Bridgewater established, inflation-linked bonds helped balance out both boxes and other asset classes in a way no other asset class could (inflation-linked bonds are also negatively correlated to commodities relative to growth, an added benefit). Unsurprisingly, when the US Treasury decided to issue inflation-linked bonds, officials came to Bridgewater to seek advice on how to structure the securities. Bridgewater’s recommendations in 1997 led to TIPS being designed as they now are.
25 years in the making:

The All Weather Strategy

The fully formed All Weather emerged in 1996 as Ray, Bob and by this point the third CIO, Greg Jensen, who had joined Bridgewater out of college, sought to distill decades of learning into a single portfolio. The impetus was Ray's desire to put together a family trust and create an asset allocation mix that he believed would prove reliable long after he was gone. The accumulation and compounding of the investment principles Bridgewater had discovered, while hedging McNuggets, helping Rusty balance his portfolio, or managing inflation-linked bonds, came together into a real portfolio. The ultimate asset allocation mapped asset classes onto the environmental boxes framework, as shown in the diagram below.

Bridgewater had learned to map asset classes to the environments through study. They also knew that all the asset classes in the boxes would rise over time. This is how a capitalist system works. A central bank creates money, and then those who have good uses for the money borrow it and use it to achieve a higher return. These securities by and large come in two forms: equity (ownership) and bonds (loans). As a result, the boxes don’t offset each other entirely; the net return of the assets in aggregate are positive over time relative to cash. The environmental exposures cancel each other out, which leaves just the risk premium to collect.

Ray described creating the portfolio “like inventing a plane that’s never flown before.” It looked right, but would it fly? He started running a pilot with his assets, and it was someone’s part-time job to rebalance the portfolio from time to time. The portfolio flew the way Bridgewater expected, but it remained purely for Ray’s trusts. All Weather was never envisaged as a product. It was profound enough that no one was doing it but at the same time so straightforward that anyone could seemingly do it for themselves. While US equities were in the early stages of the tech bubble, Ray and others began propounding the concepts of balance, initially to rather indifferent interest.

The crash of 2000 changed that. With the bursting of the bubble came the realization that equities were by no means a “sure thing.” The tech bubble implosion shifted the mindset of the average investor, reminiscent of the disruptions of Bretton Woods, the oil shocks and the 1987 stock market crash. Many money managers began shifting towards alpha (tactical bets) as a way to cope with what they perceived as a now-unstable stock market.

Early Investors

Around that time, Bob began talking with Britt Harris, then CIO of a major corporate pension fund, which was a client of Bridgewater’s. Bob and Britt knew each other from coaching their children together and their children’s’ common nursery school. Britt called Bob up one Sunday and asked about inflation-linked bonds and how they would fit into an investment portfolio. Bob told Britt, “Let me tell you what I would do if I were in your shoes.” The portfolio he described and they built for Britt’s pension plan – as you might expect – was All Weather. It was so unorthodox that Britt insisted on a massive due diligence process, which further helped codify the principles underlying the All Weather approach. As Bob recounts, “Britt said, ’when the regulators come and ask me the question, I want to be able to pull the book off the shelf and show them all the work we did to show that this makes sense.’” The pension fund started with a $200mm allocation.

The second large client to adopt the All Weather approach was a major automobile company. They had just issued pension obligation bonds because they were severely underfunded in the aftermath of the 2001 stock market crash. The CIO wanted to manage this “new money” from the bond issuance in a “new way.” The CIO sent out perhaps 30 letters to the top institutional money managers in the world and ended up hiring five to manage his “new money”; Bridgewater was one of them.

Ray, Bob and Greg advised this company to build a portfolio based on principles the CIO could use for the entire fund: find the best asset allocation, find the best alpha, and then combine the two in such a way so as to reflect your relative confidence in each. The eventual total portfolio ended up being a roughly 70/30 split between beta and alpha (All Weather and Pure Alpha, Bridgewater’s actively-traded portfolio). The novelty was the All Weather component. It was slowly becoming apparent that some of their clients were recognizing the benefits of environmental balance and diversification and would be willing to hire Bridgewater to implement this for them.

To be sure, there was still resistance to the All Weather concepts. Peer risk dissuaded some investors for fear that they wouldn’t track their benchmark or peer group. The idea of leverage also raised questions. Some were wholly unfamiliar with the concepts of financial engineering and therefore were initially uncomfortable with derivative instruments (e.g., futures and swaps). And last, there was a big question over where exactly All Weather would fit in or who would own the profit and loss. However, after nearly a decade of poor performance and the credit crises of 2008, investors were hungry for an alternative. A clever consultant adopted the term “Risk Parity” and created an asset allocation bucket thereby opening the floodgates to strategies that one way or another seek to balance risks in a portfolio.

Gradually objections surrounding All Weather eased. As investors grew accustomed to looking at leverage in a less black-and-white way – “no leverage is good and any leverage is bad” – many have come to understand that a moderately-levered, highly-diversified portfolio is less risky than an unleveraged, un-diversified portfolio. Leverage is an implementation tool. If you can’t predict the future with much certainty and you don’t know which particular economic conditions will unfold, then it seems reasonable to hold a mix of assets that can perform well across all different types of economic environments. Leverage helps make the impact of the asset classes similar.2

The Elegant Solution

Fast forward to today. There is no limit to how the All Weather principles of balance can be applied and over time could perhaps contribute to a more stable financial system. One of the largest Canadian pension plans adopted All Weather as the benchmark for their entire plan. Other organizations have completely revamped their structure into alpha and beta teams. Some are introducing these concepts into defined contribution plans as an investment choice. A recent survey indicated most institutional investors are familiar with the concept and 25% are using it in their portfolio, though that of course means the vast majority of investors aren’t yet using what is effectively new technology.

All Weather grew out of Bridgewater’s effort to make sense of the world, to hold the portfolio today that will do reasonably well 20 years from now even if no one can predict what form of growth and inflation will prevail. When investing over the long run, all you can have confidence in is that (1) holding assets should provide a return above cash, and (2) asset volatility will be largely driven by how economic conditions unfold relative to current expectations (as well as how these expectations change). That’s it. Anything else (asset class returns, correlations, or even precise volatilities) is an attempt to predict the future. In essence, All Weather can be sketched out on a napkin. It is as simple as holding four different portfolios each with the same risk, each of which does well in a particular environment: when (1) inflation rises, (2) inflation falls, (3) growth rises, and (4) growth falls relative to expectations.

Overconfidence often pushes people to tinker with things they do not deeply understand, leading them to over-complicate, over-engineer, and over-optimize. All Weather is built very intentionally to not be that way. With the All Weather approach to investing, Bridgewater instead accepts the fact that they don’t know what the future holds, and thus choose to invest in balance for the long-run. Often Bridgewater people are asked at a cocktail party or a family gathering what to invest in. They don’t delve into the active alpha portfolio. That wouldn’t be useful anyway – the portfolio moves around. What the average person needs is a good, reliable asset allocation they can hold for the long-run. Bridgewater’s answer is All Weather, the result of three decades of learning how to invest in the face of uncertainty. Ray's trust assets remain invested in All Weather.

1. As an example, if you invest $10 in the S&P 500 and $10 in US bonds, the portfolio risk is dominated by the S&P because it is much riskier than the bonds. If instead you invest $5 in the S&P and $15 in 10 year bonds the portfolio is much more balanced, though with a lower return. Invest $5 and $15 in the manner described and add a bit of leverage and the portfolio has the same return as the stocks but less risk.

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New Report “Billion-Dollar Democracy” Shows Unprecedented Impact of Big Money in 2012 Elections

WASHINGTON - January 17 - It took just 32 billionaires and corporations giving Super PACs an average of $9.9 million apiece to match every single dollar given by small donors to Romney and Obama in the 2012 election cycle, according to “Billion-Dollar Democracy,” a new report by U.S. PIRG and Demos. Those small donations amounted to over $313 million from more than 3.7 million individuals.

READ Billion-Dollar Democracy

“Americans who are wondering why it seems tougher to get ahead or even get a fair shake in today’s economy should look to big money politics for answers,” said Adam Lioz, report co-author and Counsel for Demos. “When a tiny group of wealthy donors fuels political campaigns, they get to set the agenda in Washington, and the rest of us are left to argue over that agenda.”

The report provides a full and detailed analysis of all 2012 federal election spending and fundraising by campaigns and Super PACs. The data shows the undue influence of large donors, business interests and secret spenders in 2012:

  • Nearly 60% of Super PAC funding came from just 159 donors contributing at least $1 million.
  • Candidates for both House and Senate raised the majority of their funds from gifts of $1,000 or more; and 40 percent of all contributions to Senate candidates came from donors who gave at least $2,500. (Those donors are just 0.02 percent of the American population.)
  • Corporate donations accounted for a large portion of the funds of two of top ten most active Super PACs, including 18 percent of Restore Our Future’s total contributions and 52.6 percent of those of FreedomWorks for America.

“The first post-Citizens United presidential election confirmed our fears that the new unlimited-money regime allows well-heeled special interests and secret spenders to drown out the voices of ordinary citizens,” said Blair Bowie, U.S. PIRG Democracy Advocate and report co-author.

Billion-Dollar Democracy” also found that groups that do not disclose the source of their funds paid for well more than half of television advertising in the 2012 presidential race not sponsored by candidates or parties.

”These dark money groups hide key information about where they get their money from voters,” added Bowie. “Furthermore, because there’s no one to hold responsible for the content of their advertising, studies show they are far more likely to be misleading or just downright lying.”

Data in “Billion Dollar Democracy” also demonstrate to extent to which our big money system determines winners and losers, distorting our democratic process. Incumbents, for example, are big winners—outraising major challengers by 443% in the House and 316% in the Senate.

The report documents how vastly disproportionate influence by the “donor class” skews public policy, and concludes with specific solutions for every level of government to ensure that ordinary Americans can make their voices heard in financing electoral campaigns. These recommendations include amending the constitution, matching small political contributions with public funds, and requiring corporations to disclose political giving, among others.

READ “DOLLAR DEMOCRACY” HERE: http://demos.io/billions2012

GRAPHICS AVAILABLE HERE: http://demos.io/11A14wM

A multi-issue national organization, Demos combines research, policy development, and advocacy to influence public debates and catalyze change. We publish books, reports, and briefing papers that illuminate critical problems and advance innovative solutions; work at both the national and state level with advocates and policymakers to promote reforms; help to build the capacity and skills of key progressive constituencies; project our values into the media by promoting Demos Fellows and staff in print, broadcast, and Internet venues; and host public events that showcase new ideas and leading progressive voices.

New Report “Billion-Dollar Democracy” Shows Unprecedented Impact of Big Money in 2012 Elections

WASHINGTON - January 17 - It took just 32 billionaires and corporations giving Super PACs an average of $9.9 million apiece to match every single dollar given by small donors to Romney and Obama in the 2012 election cycle, according to “Billion-Dollar Democracy,” a new report by U.S. PIRG and Demos. Those small donations amounted to over $313 million from more than 3.7 million individuals.

READ Billion-Dollar Democracy

“Americans who are wondering why it seems tougher to get ahead or even get a fair shake in today’s economy should look to big money politics for answers,” said Adam Lioz, report co-author and Counsel for Demos. “When a tiny group of wealthy donors fuels political campaigns, they get to set the agenda in Washington, and the rest of us are left to argue over that agenda.”

The report provides a full and detailed analysis of all 2012 federal election spending and fundraising by campaigns and Super PACs. The data shows the undue influence of large donors, business interests and secret spenders in 2012:

  • Nearly 60% of Super PAC funding came from just 159 donors contributing at least $1 million.
  • Candidates for both House and Senate raised the majority of their funds from gifts of $1,000 or more; and 40 percent of all contributions to Senate candidates came from donors who gave at least $2,500. (Those donors are just 0.02 percent of the American population.)
  • Corporate donations accounted for a large portion of the funds of two of top ten most active Super PACs, including 18 percent of Restore Our Future’s total contributions and 52.6 percent of those of FreedomWorks for America.

“The first post-Citizens United presidential election confirmed our fears that the new unlimited-money regime allows well-heeled special interests and secret spenders to drown out the voices of ordinary citizens,” said Blair Bowie, U.S. PIRG Democracy Advocate and report co-author.

Billion-Dollar Democracy” also found that groups that do not disclose the source of their funds paid for well more than half of television advertising in the 2012 presidential race not sponsored by candidates or parties.

”These dark money groups hide key information about where they get their money from voters,” added Bowie. “Furthermore, because there’s no one to hold responsible for the content of their advertising, studies show they are far more likely to be misleading or just downright lying.”

Data in “Billion Dollar Democracy” also demonstrate to extent to which our big money system determines winners and losers, distorting our democratic process. Incumbents, for example, are big winners—outraising major challengers by 443% in the House and 316% in the Senate.

The report documents how vastly disproportionate influence by the “donor class” skews public policy, and concludes with specific solutions for every level of government to ensure that ordinary Americans can make their voices heard in financing electoral campaigns. These recommendations include amending the constitution, matching small political contributions with public funds, and requiring corporations to disclose political giving, among others.

READ “DOLLAR DEMOCRACY” HERE: http://demos.io/billions2012

GRAPHICS AVAILABLE HERE: http://demos.io/11A14wM

A multi-issue national organization, Demos combines research, policy development, and advocacy to influence public debates and catalyze change. We publish books, reports, and briefing papers that illuminate critical problems and advance innovative solutions; work at both the national and state level with advocates and policymakers to promote reforms; help to build the capacity and skills of key progressive constituencies; project our values into the media by promoting Demos Fellows and staff in print, broadcast, and Internet venues; and host public events that showcase new ideas and leading progressive voices.

Common Cause, Allies Mark Citizens United Anniversary, MLK Day With Actions Across the Nation,...

WASHINGTON - January 17 - Common Cause joined this week with ally organizations to mark Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and the third anniversary of Citizens United v. FEC with events drawing attention to the dual threats of voter suppression and unlimited corporate and special interest money in politics. Under the banner of Money Out/Voters In, organizers are hosting “Day of Action” events in more than 65 cities in 32 states on and around the weekend of January 19.

“Since the Citizens United decision three years ago, voters have been clear in their disdain for this decision,” said Common Cause President Bob Edgar. “The big question is whether our elected representatives will listen to those voices. Our goal is to build a wave of grassroots support so strong that they cannot ignore it. “

Additionally, two reports highlighting new data on spending in the 2012 election season were released today. A report by Demos and the U.S. PIRG Education Fund provides a wide-ranging analysis of the role of money in the 2012 elections, and a report by the U.S. PIRG Education Fund and the Center for Media and Democracy examines the role dark money nonprofits and shell corporations played in 2012.

For more information about the Money Out/Voters In Days of Action, please visit www.moneyout-votersin.com

New Report: “Billion-Dollar Democracy” Shows Unprecedented Impact of Big Money in 2012 Elections

WASHINGTON - January 17 - It took just 32 billionaires and corporations giving Super PACs an average of $9.9 million apiece to match every single dollar given by small donors to Romney and Obama in the 2012 election cycle, according to “Billion-Dollar Democracy,” a new report by U.S. PIRG and Demos. Those small donations amounted to over $313 million from more than 3.7 million individuals.

“Americans who are wondering why it seems tougher to get ahead or even get a fair shake in today’s economy should look to big money politics for answers,” said Adam Lioz, report co-author and Counsel for Demos. “When a tiny group of wealthy donors fuels political campaigns, they get to set the agenda in Washington, and the rest of us are left to argue over that agenda.”

The report provides a full and detailed analysis of all 2012 federal election spending and fundraising by campaigns and Super PACs. The data shows the undue influence of large donors, business interests and secret spenders in 2012:

  • Nearly 60% of Super PAC funding came from just 159 donors contributing at least $1 million.
  • Candidates for both House and Senate raised the majority of their funds from gifts of $1,000 or more; and 40 percent of all contributions to Senate candidates came from donors gave at least $2,500. (Those donors are just 0.02 percent of the American population.)
  • Corporate donations accounted for a large portion of the funds of two of top ten most active Super PACs, including 18 percent of Restore Our Future’s total contributions and 52.6 percent of those of FreedomWorks for America.

“The first post-Citizens United presidential election confirmed our fears that the new unlimited-money regime allows well-heeled special interests and secret spenders to drown out the voices of ordinary citizens,” said Blair Bowie, U.S. PIRG Democracy Advocate and report co-author.

“Billion-Dollar Democracy” also found that groups that do not disclose the source of their funds paid for well more than half of television advertising in the 2012 presidential race not sponsored by candidates or parties.

”These dark money groups hide key information about where they get their money from voters,” added Bowie. “Furthermore, because there’s no one to hold responsible for the content of their advertising, studies show they are far more likely to be misleading or just downright lying.”

Data in “Billion Dollar Democracy” also demonstrates to extent to which our big money system determines winners and losers, distorting our democratic process. Incumbents, for example, are big winners—outraising major challengers by 443% in the House and 316% in the Senate.

The report documents how vastly disproportionate influence by the “donor class” skews public policy, and concludes with specific solutions for every level of government to ensure that ordinary Americans can make their voices heard in financing electoral campaigns. These recommendations including amending the constitution, matching small political contributions with public funds, and requiring corporations to disclose political giving, among others.

READ “BILLION-DOLLAR DEMOCRACY” HERE: http://bit.ly/Wah17c

U.S. PIRG, the federation of state Public Interest Research Groups (PIRGs), stands up to powerful special interests on behalf of the American public, working to win concrete results for our health and our well-being. With a strong network of researchers, advocates, organizers and students in state capitols across the country, we take on the special interests on issues, such as product safety,political corruption, prescription drugs and voting rights,where these interests stand in the way of reform and progress.

Biggest Philly Fed Miss In 7 Months Ignored As Fed Injects Reserves Via Repo

A month ago we mocked the Philly Fed number which printed at an outlier level of 8.1, slamming expectations of a negative print, and sending algos into overbuydrive. A week ago we were validated when the annual revision brought that number down from 8.1 to 4.6. Today we get confirmation that the December print was a total farce, with a January Philly Fed print which is once again solidly in negative territory, or -5.8, which just happens to be the biggest miss to expectations of 5.6 in seven months. Yet while a month ago the huge beat was a reason for the robots to ramp stocks, today's miss is a reason to... ramp stocks even more. Why? Because moments before the disappointing announcement the Fed decided to inject even more liquidity in addition to the now daily unsterilized POMO, following the resumption of repos, which injected some $210 million in reserves into dealers. This is in addition to the $3 or so billion that today's POMO will add as stock purchasing dry powder for banks.

This is how today's Philly Fed looked: note the collapse in number of employees, which apparently nobody cares about anymore:

From the report:

The survey’s broadest measure of manufacturing conditions, the diffusion index of current activity, decreased from a revised reading of 4.6 in December to -5.8 this month (see Chart).* The demand for manufactured goods showed slight declines this month: The new orders index declined from a revised reading of 4.9 in December to -4.3 in January. The shipments index remained slightly positive but suggests no overall growth — the percentage of firms reporting increased shipments was mostly offset by the percentage reporting decreased shipments (26 percent). The indexes for both delivery times and unfilled orders recorded slightly negative readings this month.

Labor market conditions at reporting firms deteriorated this month. The employment index, at -5.2, fell from -0.2 in December. The percentage of firms reporting decreases in employment (16 percent) exceeded the percentage reporting increases (11 percent). Firms also indicated a decrease in the average workweek compared with last month.

And why was this huge miss completely ignored by algos and bank prop desks? Here's why, courtesy of the first Fed repo operation of 2013:

To summarize: two big misses to unadjusted data massaged by seasonal adjustments, and a major miss to a diffusion index, all ignored and offset by even more Fed liquidity.

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