NSA reformers zero in on the magic number

by Rhonda Bauer on May 30, 2015

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nsa_the_world_by_kelevra2k9

The national security numbers….
Check it out:

Critics of the National Security Agency (NSA) are increasingly confident that they will pick up a trio of votes they need to get their reform bill across the finish line, following an after-midnight voting series a week ago that forced the Senate into overtime.

When lawmakers meet on Sunday evening, they will have just hours to save expiring parts of the Patriot Act that many have said are crucial to defending national security.

That prospect may force a handful of Republicans to switch their votes and support the USA Freedom Act, if it’s the only way to preserve the three parts of the counterterrorism law.

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fcc-chairman-tom-wheeler

Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Tom Wheeler announced on Thursday that he intends to expand Lifeline, popularly known as the “Obama Phone” program, to the Internet.
Check it out:

“I am circulating new proposals to “reboot” Lifeline for the Internet age,” Wheeler wrote in a blog post on the FCC’s Website. He said the reboot would include “establishing minimum standards of service for voice and broadband,” in addition to subsidies for low-income consumers.

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The New 10 Commandments

by Rhonda Bauer on May 30, 2015

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10-commandments

All about the hip hop….
Check it out:

I always thought of Lehigh University as a fairly elite school. Both friends and relatives of mine have attended. It’s not an Ivy League university, but it’s right up there.

So I was a bit surprised when I heard that Lehigh hosted a “hip-hop symposium.” Can anyone explain what a “hip-hop symposium” is – because I can’t.

Since hip-hop is supposed to be a musical genre (I fail to see it), one would assume the symposium would have a musical theme. Well, if one assumed that, one would be wrong. It was actually, as one might guess, a string of lectures basically disparaging whites and talking up the new leftist mantra of “white privilege.”

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57c45204-498c-4f00-8a17-843facc326ae

According to a new poll from Rasmussen Reports, 53 percent of Democrats believe illegal immigrants should have the right to vote in U.S. elections so long as they pay taxes. Although the number is significantly lower, 21 percent of Republicans believe the same. The majority of the country, 60 percent, believe illegal immigrants should not have the right to vote. From the survey:

The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that one-out-of-three Likely U.S. Voters (35%) now believes that illegal immigrants should be allowed to vote if they can prove they live in this country and pay taxes. Sixty percent (60%) disagree, while five percent (5%) are undecided. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

Fifty-three percent (53%) of Democrats think tax-paying illegal immigrants should have the right to vote. Twenty-one percent (21%) of Republicans and 30% of voters not affiliated with either major political party agree.

Earlier this year, secretaries of states from Kansas and Ohio sounded the alarm over President Obama’s December 2014 executive action giving illegal immigrants the ability to vote in elections.

“I want to bring to your attention my concern that the President’s recent Immigration Accountability Executive Actions will make it more difficult for elections officials to determine if all voters meet the primary standard for voting – U.S. citizenship. I am not here to debate immigration policy or the President’s executive actions. However, I am here to emphatically say that we cannot follow both the federal law and the executive action and ensure the integrity of the elections process without further assistance from Congress and the Obama administration,” Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted said to the House Oversight Committee in February. “For an estimated four to five million non-citizens, the President’s executive actions provide access to Social Security numbers and driver’s licenses. These are the same documents that federal law requires the states to recognize as valid forms of identification for voter registration. Under federal law, anyone with a valid Social Security number or driver’s license number can register to vote, provided they attest that they are a U.S. citizen. However, there is no way for us to validate this citizenship statement, since under the executive actions previously undocumented non-citizens will have access to the same documents as U.S. citizens. The issue becomes especially complicated in states like Ohio where millions of dollars are spent on third – party voter registration drives where no election official would be present to make clear the eligibility requirements for voting.”

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Conservatives’ Impossible Mission: Win in 2016

by Joyce Lambert on May 30, 2015

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campaign

At the outset, I declare it can be done. But, if all goes according to the RINOs’ plan, 2016 will be a banner year for the Democrats, though they think they are working for victory. Next year, Republicans will have to defend 24 seats in the Senate vs. only 10 for the Dems. Right now, the GOP has a plurality of only 8 votes over the Dems. In the House, all 435 seats are up for election; Repubs have a plurality of 57 votes.

The apparent RINO platform for 2016 is not that they fought the Democrats, after winning the Senate, not that they at least tried to stop Obama’s depredations on the Nation and its constitution; their platform will be the thrilling affirmation that they worked with Democrats to give Obama what he wanted, at every turn. That’s a real impetus for the base to stay home on Election Day, and for the independents to do the same.

Let’s face it: voting for Republicans just hasn’t worked out. Since 2010, we’ve handed them the House, a substantial majority of state houses and last November, the Senate. What did we, the voters get? When Republicans were a minority, they said they could do nothing; now they’re in the majority and they still do nothing.

Behold what Obama has done to America, over this period: reduced its military to pre-WW2 levels, the labor participation rate—the percentage of the labor force that’s working—is the lowest since March of 1978, race relations are worse than in the 1960s, with nationwide protests over alleged racism.

Our world prestige is at a hundred year low: Obama has withdrawn America from its traditional role as the bulwark against power-seeking nations around the world, and the forces of evil have flourished.

Astoundingly, the president legalized millions of impossible-to-assimilate people, without the leave of Congress, and Congress funded it. Only a single judge has tried to halt it.

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julianne-moore-Twitter-640x480

On June 2 HBO, MTV, and a host of celebrities will be joining Michael Bloomberg and other pro-gun control groups to watch participating mayors proclaim “Gun Violence Awareness Day” in their cities.

Those participating will “wear orange” and MTV will “change its on-air logo — as well as several of its social media avatars — to orange in recognition of National Gun Violence Awareness Day.”

According to PRNewsWire, participating celebrities–aka, “cultural influencers”–include:

Julianne Moore, Russell Simmons, Sarah Silverman, Michael Stipe, Patti Smith, Aasif Mandvi,Alyssa Milano, Padma Lakshmi, John Hodgman, Amanda Peet, Perez Hilton, Melissa Joan Hart, Tiffani Thiessen, Tunde Adebimpe of TV On The Radio, Rise Against, Mario Batali, Anti-Flag, Nigel Barker, Grace Weber, Jon Foreman, Judith Hill, Amber Coffman of Dirty Projectors, Tyler Glenn of Neon Trees and Thomas Roberts of MSNBC.

On December 29, 2014, Breitbart News reported that Julianne Moore became the celebrity face for Everytown for Gun Safety’s year-end donations drive. CTNews reported that Moore wrote a letter asking possible contributors to cough up “$5 or more” to “stop gun violence” and “save lives.”

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baby

This one’s for all the parents raising their little snowflakes in our brave new world. Remember that first moment you saw their little faces? By ultrasound, or even just after delivery, when the doctor smiles up at you and says: “Congratulations! It’s a…something!”

That’s right, the archaic notion of boys and girls, sons and daughters, male and female, it’s all on the way out, as our brightest minds continue to push us toward progress…away from biology (and reality).

As always, Canada shows us the way forward.

A Human Rights Tribunal in British Columbia is considering whether to eliminate gender altogether on baby’s birth certificates.

The Trans Alliance Society filed a complaint about the basic practice, arguing:

“…doctors should stop assigning the sex of a baby based on a quick inspection of the baby’s genitals at birth when there’s a possibility they may identify under a different gender, or no gender, years later. (National Post)

“Birth certificates (may) give false information about people and characterize them in a way that is actually wrong, that assumes to be right, and causes people … actual harm,” said Morgane Oger, a transgender woman in Vancouver and chair of the society.

“It’s considered true and infallible when it isn’t.”

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A Recession Within A Recession

by Michael Snyder on May 29, 2015

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Recession - Public DomainOn Friday, the federal government announced that the U.S. economy contracted at a 0.7 percent annual rate during the first quarter of 2015.  This unexpected shrinking of the economy is being primarily blamed on “harsh” weather during the first three months of this year and on the strengthening of the U.S. dollar.  Most economists are confident that U.S. GDP will rebound back into positive territory when the numbers for the second quarter come out, but if that does not happen we will officially meet the government’s criteria for being in another “recession”.  To make sure that the numbers for Q2 will look “acceptable”, the Bureau of Economic Analysis is about to change the way that it calculates GDP again.  They are just going to keep “seasonally adjusting” the numbers until they get what they want.  At this point, the government numbers are so full of “assumptions” and “estimates” that they don’t really bear much resemblance to reality anyway.  In fact, John Williams of shadowstats.com has calculated that if the government was actually using honest numbers that they would show that we have continually been in a recession since 2005.  That is why I am referring to this as a “recession within a recession”.  Most people can look around and see that economic conditions for most Americans are not good, and now they are about to get even worse.

For quite a while I have been warning that another economic downturn was coming.  Well, now we have official confirmation from the Obama administration that it is happening.  The following is an excerpt from the statement that the Bureau of Economic Analysis released on Friday

Real gross domestic product — the value of the production of goods and services in the United
States, adjusted for price changes — decreased at an annual rate of 0.7 percent in the first quarter of
2015, according to the “second” estimate released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. In the fourth
quarter, real GDP increased 2.2 percent.

The GDP estimate released today is based on more complete source data than were available for
the “advance” estimate issued last month. In the advance estimate, real GDP increased 0.2 percent.
With the second estimate for the first quarter, imports increased more and private inventory investment
increased less than previously estimated (for more information, see “Revisions” on page 3).

The decrease in real GDP in the first quarter primarily reflected negative contributions from
exports, nonresidential fixed investment, and state and local government spending that were partly offset by positive contributions from personal consumption expenditures (PCE), private inventory investment, and residential fixed investment.

And actually, Q1 GDP would have been far worse if not for a very large inventory buildup.  Without that inventory buildup, Q1 GDP would have been in the neighborhood of negative three percent according to Zero Hedge.  Despite the happy face that most analysts are putting on these numbers, the truth is that they reveal some deeply troubling trends.

One of the things that is driving this current downturn is the fact that our trade balance continues to get even worse.  In other words, the gap between how much we buy from the rest of the world and how much we sell to the rest of the world is growing.

During the first quarter, imports surged by 5.6 percent.  That means that we are buying more from the rest of the planet than we did before.

Unfortunately, during the first quarter of this year exports dropped by a staggering 7.6 percent.  That means that the amount of stuff that we are selling to the rest of the planet is falling precipitously.

When our trade deficit expands, we lose jobs, businesses and economic infrastructure at an even faster pace.  This is why I write about trade issues so much.  Our economy is being absolutely eviscerated, and the Obama administration is pushing another giant trade deal which will greatly accelerate this process.

We are committing national economic suicide by running colossal trade deficits year after year.  But instead of addressing our problems, our “leaders” just continue to conduct business as usual.

And to make themselves look good, they just keep manipulating the numbers until they seem “reasonable”.  As I mentioned above, the negative number for Q1 is causing a lot of consternation in Washington, so now the Bureau of Economic Analysis is going to modify the way that GDP is calculated once again.  The following comes from Bloomberg

The way some parts of U.S. gross domestic product are calculated are about to change in the wake of the debate over persistently depressed first-quarter growth.

In a blog post published Friday, the Bureau of Economic Analysis listed a series of alterations it will make in seasonally adjusting data used to calculate economic growth. The changes will be implemented with the release of the initial second-quarter GDP estimate on July 30, the BEA said.

Although the agency adjusts its figures for seasonal variations, growth in any given first quarter still tends to be weaker than in the remaining three, economists have found, a sign there may be some bias in the data. It’s a phenomenon economists call “residual seasonality.”

Why can’t they just give us honest numbers?

Meanwhile, we also learned on Friday that corporate profits declined again during the first quarter of 2015.  This was the second quarter in a row that we have seen this happen.  The following comes from CNS News

The BEA report also released data on corporate profits, which showed a decrease from the previous quarter. ‘Profits from current production decreased $125.5 billion in the first quarter, compared with a decrease of $30.4 billion in the fourth,’ BEA said.

Can you guess the last time that corporate profits declined for two quarters in a row?

It was in 2008.

So many of the exact same red flags that popped up seven years ago are popping up once again.

I know that I must sound like a broken record, but right now there are more signals that another major economic downturn is approaching than there has been at any other time since I started The Economic Collapse Blog in 2009.

Hopefully this summer will be relatively quiet, but I fully expect for events to start accelerating significantly during the second half of this year.

So if you have things that you need to get done before the next crisis arrives, you better hurry up, because time is quickly running out.

The post A Recession Within A Recession appeared first on The Economic Collapse.

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wage

Unions were over the moon about the Los Angeles City Council’s vote last week to raise the city’s minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2020.

AFL and CIO affiliated unions were some of the biggest advocates of the minimum wage hike.

But with the $15 minimum scheduled to kick in, in a series of increments between now and 2020, the unions want…an exemption from the minimum-wage law for themselves.

Rusty Hicks, who heads the county Federation of Labor and helps lead the Raise the Wage coalition, said Tuesday night that companies with workers represented by unions should have leeway to negotiate a wage below that mandated by the law.

“With a collective bargaining agreement, a business owner and the employees negotiate an agreement that works for them both. The agreement allows each party to prioritize what is important to them,” Hicks said in a statement. “This provision gives the parties the option, the freedom, to negotiate that agreement. And that is a good thing.”

Of course, the parties to a union contract are not exercising freedom; they’re exercising the option of negotiating within certain limits. That’s the thing about curtailing people’s economic freedom. Those who advocate doing it always want special privileges for themselves. Always. Whatever clamps are to be placed on the public, the advocates for the clamps want to be able to control which clamps they, personally, have to operate with.

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rand paul and bobby jindal

Senator Rand Paul and Governor Bobby Jindal thought they were arguing starkly different views on foreign policy. But the two 2016 GOP presidential candidates were really making one half of the same argument.

The argument began when Paul appeared on MSNBC’s Morning Joe this week and answered a question about critics of his foreign policy.
QUESTION:

A guy that works very closely with John McCain that is going to be running against you, we think, he’s going to be a heat-seeking [missile against Rand] the entire campaign. Lindsey Graham, Lindsey Graham would say, ISIS exists because of people like Rand Paul who said let’s not go into Syria, what do you say to that?

randSEN. RAND PAUL

quoteI would say it’s exactly the opposite. ISIS exists and grew stronger because of the hawks in our party who gave arms indiscriminately and most of those arms were snatched up by ISIS. These hawks also wanted to bomb Assad, which would have made ISIS’ job even easier. They created these people. ISIS is all over Libya because the same hawks in my party loved Hillary Clinton’s war in Libya, they just wanted more of it.

But Libya is a failed state and a disaster, Iraq really is a failed state or a vassal state now of Iran, so everything they’ve talked about in foreign policy they’ve been wrong about for 20 years and yet they somehow have the gall to keeping saying and pointing fingers otherwise.quote

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