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Tornadoes Ravage Oklahoma

“MOORE, Okla.—Violent tornadoes swept through towns just south of Oklahoma City Monday afternoon, killing at least 51 people, including at least 20 children, and laying waste to numerous buildings, including more than one elementary school.

One tornado leveled Plaza Towers Elementary, a school in Moore, a city of 55,000 people about 15 miles south of Oklahoma City, the state capital. Jerry Lojka, an official with the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management, said Monday evening that rescue workers were “trying to turn over every stick to find survivors” at the school. The estimated number of fatalities was as of late evening….”

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How to Make Money in Santa Ana

“In Santa Ana, real criminals never need fear arrest as police get $ to arrest law-abiding fathers, brothers, sisters, and children who have committed no crime except for failing to have their proof of citizenship. Do you have yours?

In Santa Ana, crime victims are rarely able to obtain assistance from the police when it’s needed. Police routinely ignore bruises, broken windows, and evidence of extreme violence. Policemen laugh as girls report child sexual abuse. Officers watch as elderly victims of torture are carried into ambulances. After the victims are removed, these officers allow violent intruders to occupy their homes. (Orange County case files: 30-2011-00503154-CU-PO-CJC)

Residents have been stunned by the lack of police support for actual crime victims in Santa Ana. But now the puzzle has been solved.

The Santa Ana Police Department is taking payoffs from ICE (Immigration and Custom Enforcement) to pick up law abiding people, fitting a racial profile, who have misplaced their identification or documents. Former Police Chief Paul Walters stated, “We treat [the jail] as a business.” Often these people, mostly Latinos, are legal citizens or residents. Has your driver’s license ever been missing? If so, there could be a cell in Santa Ana for you. But only if you fit the profile.

Roughly two thirds of the nation’s immigrant detainees are being held in local jails. Santa Ana has created two special dormitories for the purpose of housing undocumented residents.

70% of those picked up for the ICE holds have never violated any law. Of the remaining 30%, most of the violations are infractions – like speeding. In exchange for warehousing law-abiding people, the City of Santa Ana receives $87/day under a contract with ICE. It was estimated that payouts had been over $55 million in 2008 and roughly $57 million in 2009. The idea behind the SAPD contract with ICE was to make up for a budget shortfall. Eventually the detainee may be deported – even if he is a U.S. citizen.

Families have been broken up. Children have been orphaned. Neighborhoods have been thrown into tragedy by these racist tactics, reminiscent of the American roundups of Asians during World War II. Here, the incarceration is worse than the re-location of the 1940s. The immigrant detention facilities in Orange County are among the nation’s worst…..”

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Ernst and Young Says Pressure to Deliver Growth Has Companies Cooking the Books More Than Usual

“Hard-pressed company bosses across much of the world are under so much pressure to deliver on growth that many have resorted to cooking the books, Ernst & Young said in a survey Tuesday.

One in five of almost 3,500 staff quizzed in 36 countries in Europe, the Middle East, Africa and India said they had seen financial manipulation in their companies in the last 12 months, the accounting and consultancy firm said.

In addition 42 percent of board directors and top managers questioned in the fraud survey said they were aware of “some type of irregular financial reporting.”

And despite scandals and regulatory failures in the wake of the credit crunch, almost a quarter of top financial services staff surveyed said they were aware of manipulation, and almost 10 percent of all staff said their companies had understated costs, overstated revenues or used unprincipled sales tactics.

Almost half of the sales staff surveyed across all sectors did not consider anti-corruption policies to be relevant and more than a quarter thought it acceptable to offer personal gifts or services to win or retain business.

In India, over a third felt justified in offering cash—triple of that in western Europe.

“Our survey shows that to find growth and improved performance in this environment, an alarming number appear to be comfortable with or aware of unethical conduct,” said David Stulb, head of E&Y’s fraud investigation and dispute services practice.

In Spain, ranked alongside Russia and just below Nigeria and Slovenia, 61 percent of staff believed companies often exaggerated results, compared with only 7 percent in Finland.

And E&Y said the vast majority of managers from Norway to Nigeria and Russia to Greece were feeling the pressure to deliver a good financial performance over the next 12 months, despite little optimism that business conditions would improve….”

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Documentary: How High Frequency Trading Works, Trading Speed, & The Flash Crash

Given it is a few days away from the third anniversary of the Flash Crash i thought it might be interesting to delve into the subject matter.

What is really interesting about this documentary is that  pumping and dumping is explained in a nonchalant way…as if it were not illegal. Insane indeud!

Cheers on your weekend!

[youtube://http://www.youtube.com/ watch?v=NYWrtvSCziQ 450 300]

Didn’t get enough, here is another video to chew on:

[youtube://http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aq1Ln1UCoEU 450 300]



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Death of a Salesman

“Entrepreneurs start businesses that create lots of jobs and inject innovation into the US economy. Start-up America is our difference maker. Our edge.

But something seems to be going wrong. In another great note, “Where have all of the entrepreneurs gone?,” JPMorgan economist Mike Feroli highlights some disturbing trends with our entrepreneurial culture.

1. Net job growth is driven by new businesses. Existing establishments tend to shed jobs. But according to the Labor Department’s new Business Employment Dynamics report, “the trend has clearly shifted. In 12Q3 opening establishments added 1.27 million jobs. In the last cycle this figure averaged closer to 1.5 million jobs per quarter, and in the 1990s the figure averaged 1.75 million per quarter.” Down, down, down.

2. Feroli notes that employment “births” — a subset of openings not including reopenings of seasonal businesses — are also weak. Employment births in 12Q3 as a percent of all employment held at 0.7% in 12Q3 for the fourteenth consecutive quarter. In contrast, this figure stood between 1.1% and 1.3% during the 1990s.

And some charts highlight the problem…”

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High Speed Traders Engage in Illegal Trading Ahead Practices

“High-speed traders are using a hidden facet of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange‘sCME -0.65% computer system to trade on the direction of the futures market before other investors get the same information.

Using powerful computers, high-speed traders are trying to profit from their ability to detect when their own orders for certain commodities are executed a fraction of a second before the rest of the market sees that data, traders say.

The advantage often is just one to 10 milliseconds, according to people familiar with the matter and trading records reviewed by The Wall Street Journal. But that is plenty of time for computer-driven traders, who say they can structure their orders so that the confirmations tip which direction prices for crude oil, corn and other commodities are moving. A millisecond is one-thousandth of a second.

The ability to exploit such small time gaps raises questions about transparency and fairness amid the computer-driven, rapid-fire trading that increasingly grips Wall Street and confounds regulators.

The Chicago Mercantile Exchange, a unit of CME Group Inc., is the largest U.S. futures exchange, handling 12.5 million contracts a day on average in the first quarter, according to Sandler + O’Neill Partners L.P. High-frequency trading generated about 61% of all futures-market volume, up from 47% in 2008, according to Tabb Group.

Fast-moving traders can get a head start in looking at key information because they connect directly to the exchange’s computers, giving them the data just before it reaches the so-called public tape accessible to everyone else. The exchange connections contain a host of data, of which the advance notice of trade confirmations is only a piece.

All firms that connect directly to CME’s trading computers are able to get information ahead of the market when their trades are executed, firm officials say. But many companies are unaware of the advantage or choose not to use it, traders say, either because they don’t have the technology to take advantage of such tiny edges or employ different investing strategies.

CME spokeswoman Anita Liskey said the exchange operator is aware of the order delays, which industry officials refer to as a “latency.” …”

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Fun With Your Money

Well perhaps ghost money is not really your money….but the fun is there indeud!

“April 29 (Reuters) – Tens of millions of U.S. dollars in cash were delivered by the CIA in suitcases, backpacks and plastic shopping bags to the office of Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai for more than a decade, the New York Times says, citing current and former advisers to the Afghan leader.

The so-called “ghost money” was meant to buy influence for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) but instead fuelled corruption and empowered warlords, undermining Washington’s exit strategy from Afghanistan, the newspaper quoted U.S. officials as saying.

“The biggest source of corruption in Afghanistan”, one American official said, “was the United States.”

The CIA declined to comment on the report and the U.S. State Department did not immediately comment. The New York Times did not publish any comment from Karzai or his office.

“We called it ‘ghost money’,” Khalil Roman, who served as Karzai’s chief of staff from 2002 until 2005, told the New York Times. “It came in secret and it left in secret.”

There was no evidence that Karzai personally received any of the money, Afghan officials told the newspaper. The cash was handled by his National Security Council, it added.

In response to the report, Karzai told reporters in Helsinki after a meeting with Finnish leaders that the office of the National Security Council had been receiving support from the U.S. government for the past 10 years. He said the amounts had been “not big” and the funds were used for various purposes including assistance for the wounded….”

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Letter Sent to Senator Roger Wicker Tests Positive for Ricin

“U.S. officials said they had intercepted a letter sent to Senator Roger Wicker that tested positive on Tuesday for the deadly poison ricin, and that the U.S. Capitol police, FBI and other agencies had launched an investigation.

The letter was postmarked from Memphis, Tennessee, and had no return address, Terrance Gaines, the Senate sergeant at arms, said in a warning to members of the Senate.

“Senate employees should be vigilant in their mail handling processes for ALL mailings,” Gaines said in a written statement.

Members of the Senate were briefed on the ricin incident by Gaines during a meeting with FBI Director Robert Mueller and Janet Napolitano, the secretary of Homeland Security, on Tuesday on the bombings in Boston….”

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“A leaked study examining genetically-modified corn reveals that the lab-made alternative to organic crops contains a startling level of toxic chemicals.

An anti-GMO website has posted the results of an education-based consulting company’s comparison of corn types, and the results reveal that genetically modified foods may be more hazardous than once thought.

The study, the 2012 Corn Comparison Report by Profit Pro, was published recently on the website for Moms Across America March to Label GMOs, a group that says they wish to “raise awareness and support Moms with solutions to eat GMO Free as we demand GMO labeling locally and nationally simultaneously.” They are plotting nationwide protests scheduled for later this year.

The report, writes the website’s Zen Honeycutt, was provided by a representative for De Dell Seed Company, an Ontario-based farm that’s touted as being Canadian only non-GMO corn seed company.

“The claims that ‘There is no difference between GMO corn and NON Gmo corn’ are false,” says Honeycutt, who adds she was “floored” after reading the study.

According to the analysis, GMO corn tested by Profit Pro contains a number of elements absent from traditional cord, including chlorides, formaldehyde and glyphosate. While those elements don’t appear naturally in corn, they were present in GMO samples to the tune of 60 ppm, 200pm and 13 ppm, respectively.

Honecutt says that the United States Environmental Protection Agency (FDA) mandates that the level of glyphosate in American drinking water not exceed 0.7 ppm and adds that organ damage in some animals has been linked to glyphosate exposure exceeding 0.1 ppm.

“Glyphosate is a strong organic phosphate chelator that immobilizes positively charged minerals such as manganese, cobalt, iron, zinc [and] copper,” Dr. Don Huber attested during a separate GMO study recently released, adding that those elements “are essential for normal physiological functions in soils, plants and animals.”….”

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Banks Drop Off IsdaFix Panel Amid Rate-Rigging Probes

“Banks are leaving the panel that sets ISDAFix, the benchmark for the $379 trillion swaps market, as regulators probe suspected manipulation of the rate.

HSBC Holdings Plc (HSBA)Europe’s largest bank by assets, and Japan’s Mizuho Financial Group (8411) stopped contributing to the ISDAFix dollar rate between November and January, and haven’t been replaced, documents on the International Swaps and Derivatives Association’s website show. The industry group didn’t give any reason for the lenders’ departure.

Firms are pulling out of rates such as the London interbank offered rate, Euribor and ISDAFix on growing concern that they may face lawsuits, fines and criminal penalties if found to have engaged in wrongdoing. Without data from a large number of firms, benchmarks risk becoming unrepresentative and losing the confidence of the market, said Owen Watkins, a former regulator at the U.K.’s Financial Services Authority.

Banks across the industry are “concerned about the regulatory scrutiny and they don’t see any upside,” said Watkins, who’s now a lawyer at Lewis Silkin LLP in London. “If it continues, the authorities would look to compel institutions to provide quotes, either through regulation or statute.”

Regulators including the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission and the U.K.’s Financial Conduct Authority, one of the FSA’s successors, are working on a set of principles to govern all financial benchmarks after they fined Barclays Plc (BARC)UBS AG (UBSN) and Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc more than $2.5 billion for rigging Libor. The CFTC has issued subpoenas to brokers at ICAP Plc (IAP) and as many as 15 banks amid allegations ISDAFix was rigged, Bloomberg News reported on April 8….”

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Intelligence Report Says North Korea is a Real ‘Moderate’ Nuclear Threat

“A new U.S. military intelligence assessment says for the first time that North Korea may have developed a nuclear device small enough to mount on a ballistic missile, but said such a weapon’s “reliability would be low.”

In an assessment by the Defense Intelligence Agency, a branch of the Pentagon, analysts appeared to upgrade U.S. estimates of North Korea’s nuclear-weapons abilities, according to a portion of the report disclosed by a lawmaker at a House hearing on Thursday.

There was disagreement in Washington over the extent of North Korea’s capabilities, with Obama administration officials and the Pentagon press office saying there isn’t evidence that the country could use such a weapon.

Tensions are running high in Washington over how best to address the North Korean threat without triggering precipitous reactions from U.S. allies in North Asia. The White House has made an effort to rein in tensions and more tightly control the message, but as the varying interpretations of Pyongyang’s abilities show, that can be difficult on politically charged issues.

The Defense Intelligence Agency, or DIA, rated its confidence in its finding as “moderate.” Experts said that, if proven accurate, the assessment would mark a dangerous advance in the North Korean program.

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Tepco Faced With Dumping Radioactive Water Into the Ocean

Tokyo Electric Power Co. (9501)’s discovery of leaks in water storage pits at the wrecked Fukushima atomic station raises the risk the utility will be forced to dump radioactive water in the Pacific Ocean.

Leaks were found in three of seven pits in the past week, reducing the options for moving contaminated water from basements of reactor buildings. Water in the basements is from the months after the earthquake and tsunami disabled the plant two years ago, when disaster teams used hose pipes and pumps to try and cool the reactors….”

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The Secret FDIC Rule That Puts Your Savings At Risk

“April 8, 2013

What happened in Cyprus isn’t a “one off” event.

The financial media and elite have been trying to convince the world that Cyprus was a unique situation… a “one time” deal… and that our money is safe in the banks.

This is untrue.

Spain, Canada, and New Zealand have already proposed similar measures through which individuals’ SAVINGS accounts would be used to prop up the banks during times of Crisis.

It’s called a “bail-in,” but really it’s “THEFT” plain and simple. The banks made the terrible mistakes that rendered them insolvent. They (the banks) should simply fail. But instead of failing, the regulators want to keep the banks in business… using YOUR money.

Why is this?

Two reasons:

1)   The regulators don’t have the money to actually insure deposits that they claim.

2)   Politicians realize that people are fed up with the public funding bank bailouts… so they’re targeting individual savers in the banks that are in trouble.

It’s a simple question of math regarding #1. Banking deposits are in the trillions of Dollars and most deposit insurance entities only have a few billion Dollars in funds. Obviously, if a large bank were to fail under these circumstances there wouldn’t be the funds to cover deposits…

Regarding #2, politicians have begun to realize that the public simply won’t stomach another Federal bailout of the banks. So instead of getting everyone and their children to chip in by using the public’s funds… they’re going after the deposits of a select few people who have their funds IN the troubled bank.

Their thinking is that if you can’t steal a little from everyone, you might as well try to steal a lot from a few people.

Could this happen in the US?

You better believe it. In fact, the FDIC has already put forth a proposal to do EXACTLY this in the event of a Crisis.

Just four months ago, the FDIC drafted a formal strategy in which it suggested that during the next Crisis, it can…

1)   Decide WHAT banks are systemically important.

2)   Take control of any “systemically important” bank that it deems at risk of default.

3)   Once in control of the bank, YOUR savings deposits can be “written down” in value (meaning you LOSE money you thought was yours) as part of the bank bailout.

Less than 99% of Americans realize this is the case, but the legislation allowing this is already IN PLACE and the FDIC has already written out the rules for what will happen…..”

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Central Banks Take On More Risk

“Central bankers have diversified into riskier assets, such as equities and lower-rated government bonds, a new survey shows.

Central bankers around the world have traditionally put their reserves in U.S. Treasurys and government bonds of the safest European countries, but they’re expanding into currencies like the Australian and Canadian dollar, Scandinavian currencies and the Chinese renminbi, according to the survey by Central Banking Publications, a trade journal, and the Royal Bank of Scotland, the Financial Times reports.

Approximately 80 percent of the 60 central bankers polled said they have purchased or would consider purchasing Australian or Canadian dollars. Over 40 percent have already purchased or would consider the renminbi, about half have invested in or were considering Scandinavian currencies and the New Zealand dollar and 14 percent have bought or were considering the Brazilian real.

What’s more, 30 percent said they might invest in equities, according to the Times.

The central bankers participating in the survey, largely based in Asia and the Middle East, oversee $6.7 trillion.

The central bankers say current low yields of traditional assets and the falling dollar and euro have prompted them into riskier assets, the Times notes. Over four-fifths of the central bankers polled point to the aggressive monetary easing of the European Central Bank and the Federal Reserve is encouraging them to explore different currencies.

In an attempt to revive their economies, the Fed and other major central banks have set interest rates at record-low levels and pushed down the value of their currencies to try to increase exports. …”

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Cause and Effect

Link for iPhone users: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dAfO4fcP8UY

[youtube://http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lpAqiGSp29c 450 300]

“Thyroid abnormalities have shown up in American babies living along the West Coast, which researchers say was caused by radiation that leaked from Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in 2011.

Babies born in Alaska, California, Hawaii, Oregon and Washington between one week and 16 weeks after the nuclear meltdown began in March 2011 were found to be 28% more likely to suffer from congenital hypothyroidism (CH) than children born in those states during the same period one year earlier.

The results come from a new study (pdf) conducted by researchers at the Radiation and Public Health Project. The findings were published by the Open Journal of Pediatrics.

According to researchers, “Fukushima fallout appeared to affect all areas of the US, and was especially large in some, mostly in the western part of the nation.”

CH occurs as a result of radioactive iodine building up in thyroids. The condition can cause stunted growth, lowered intelligence, deafness, and neurological abnormalities….”

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Forget Reindeer, Grandma To Get Run Over by W.H.

“President Barack Obama’s proposed budget will call for reductions in in the growth of Social Security and other benefit programs by including a proposal to lower cost-of-living adjustments to government social safety net spending, a senior administration official says.

The proposal attempts to strike a compromise with congressional Republicans on the Fiscal 2014 budget by combining the president’s demand for higher taxes with GOP insistence on reductions in entitlement programs.

The official, who spoke on a condition of anonymity to describe a budget that has yet to be released, said Obama would reduce the federal government deficit by $1.8 trillion over 10 years.

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[youtube://http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xwh8kWuire8 450 300]

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[youtube://http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xow6VC851C0 450 300]

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