Archive for April, 2009

Tapping Your Cell Phone

Posted in New World Order, News with tags , , on April 30, 2009 by truthwillrise
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U.S. Economy: GDP Shrinks in Worst Slump in 50 Years (Update3)

Posted in Business, Economy, News, Stupid Government Tricks with tags , , , , on April 30, 2009 by truthwillrise

By Bob Willis

April 29 (Bloomberg) — The U.S. economy plunged again in the first quarter, making this the worst recession in at least half a century.

Gross domestic product dropped at a 6.1 percent annual pace, weaker than forecast, after contracting at a 6.3 percent rate in the last three months of 2008, the Commerce Department said today in Washington. The report, which reflected a record slump in inventories and further declines in housing, came hours before Federal Reserve officials said the economy continued to contract at a “somewhat slower” pace.

Smaller stockpiles may set the stage for a return to growth in the second half of the year amid signs Fed efforts to reduce borrowing costs and unclog lending are starting to pay off. The contraction persisted even as lower gasoline prices and larger tax refunds helped bring an end to the worst slump in consumer spending in almost three decades.

“We are likely to emerge from this recession very slowly and the recovery will be very weak,” said Richard Berner, chief U.S. economist at Morgan Stanley in New York. “The aggressive policy response we have gotten will take time to work, but it will counter the still-strong headwinds holding the economy back.”

The Fed refrained from increasing purchases of Treasuries and mortgage securities, saying that the economy is showing some signs of stability. “Household spending has shown signs of stabilizing, but remains constrained by ongoing job losses, lower housing wealth and tight credit,” policy makers said in their policy statement. The target rate was unchanged near zero.

Stocks Rise

Stocks rose as more companies beat profit estimates and investors speculated bank losses peaked. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index climbed 2.2 percent to close at 873.64. Treasuries dropped, pushing the yield on benchmark 10-year notes up to 3.09 percent at 4:16 p.m. in New York from 3.01 percent late yesterday.

“This is one of those good-bad numbers,” Joel Naroff, president of Naroff Economic Advisors Inc. in Holland, Pennsylvania, said in a Bloomberg Television interview. “Businesses are running about as lean as they possibly can be. It sets up the reality that any sort of increase in demand will cause firms to have to increase production.”

As a result, Naroff predicted growth won’t “be nearly as bad in the current quarter, and will probably be reasonably good.”

Deepening Slump

The world’s largest economy has shrunk 3.3 percent since peaking in last year’s second quarter, already making this the second-worst recession since the Great Depression. GDP shrank 3.8 percent during the 1957-58 contraction, according to figures from the Bureau of Economic Analysis.

The median forecast of 71 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News projected GDP, the sum of all goods and services produced, would shrink at a 4.7 percent pace. Estimates ranged from declines of 2.8 percent to 8 percent. Today’s advance report is the first of three estimates on first-quarter growth.

Consumer spending, which accounts for about 70 percent of the economy, climbed at a 2.2 percent annual pace last quarter, the most in two years. Purchases dropped at an average 4.1 percent rate in the last half of 2008, the biggest slide since 1980.

Part of the improvement may be due to government efforts to stem the recession. In its prior meeting on March 18, the Fed pledged to double mortgage-debt purchases to $1.45 trillion and buy as much as $300 billion in long-term Treasuries. That’s helped bring down rates on mortgages and auto loans.

Return to Growth

“Most people are saying we could bottom out in the second half of the year, maybe in the third quarter, and then see positive growth again,” Christina Romer, the White House’s chief economist, said in a Bloomberg Television interview. “We’re certainly looking for some positive news towards the end of the year.”

Companies trimmed stockpiles at a $103.7 billion annual rate last quarter, the biggest drop since records began in 1947. Excluding the reduction, the economy would have contracted at a 3.4 percent pace.

Companies cut total spending, including equipment, software and construction projects, at a record 38 percent annual pace.

Residential construction also decreased at a 38 percent pace last quarter, the most since 1980.

Bush ‘Hangover’

“The hangover from the Bush administration is even worse than we thought,” Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney, chairman of the Joint Economic Committee, said in a statement. “These numbers reflect a drawdown in business inventories and continued weakness in the housing and commercial real estate markets. Americans are starting to spend more and I’m optimistic that we will begin to see the effects of the stimulus next quarter.”

President Barack Obama signed a $787 billion stimulus plan into law in February that included increases in spending on infrastructure projects and a reduction in taxes.

The economy is “leveling off at a low level” and doesn’t need a second fiscal stimulus package, former Fed Chairman Paul Volcker, one of Obama’s top economic advisers, said on Bloomberg Television’s “Conversations with Judy Woodruff” airing this weekend. In the recorded interview following the GDP report, he said the economy is functioning only “by the grace of government intervention.”

One reason for the larger-than-projected decline in GDP was that the government slashed spending at a 3.9 percent pace, the most since 1995. The drop reflected a cutback in defense spending and the biggest decrease in state and local government outlays since 1981, reflecting slumping tax revenue.

Production Cuts

Recent announcements by companies including General Motors Corp. indicate the economy will shrink again this quarter, albeit at a slower pace. GM last week said it will idle 13 U.S. assembly plants for multiple weeks to trim production by 190,000 vehicles from May through July. Sales in its home market fell 49 percent this year through March.

Still, data in recent weeks, including signs of stability in home sales, residential construction and consumer confidence, signal the recession will ease.

Ford Motor Co., working to avoid a federal bailout, is among companies seeing some improvement. The automaker last week posted a first-quarter loss that beat analysts’ estimates.

“We’re not quite sure where the bottom is,” Ford’s Chief Executive Officer Alan Mulally said in an April 24 Bloomberg Television interview. “But we believe with the stabilization of the banks, freeing up the credit, and the stimulus packages we have, both monetary and fiscal, that we’re going to see an uptick in the third and fourth quarter.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Bob Willis in Washington at bwillis@bloomberg.net

Last Updated: April 29, 2009 16:18 EDT

Combat Support Battalion Deployed to “Maintain Public Order” at Boston Marathon

Posted in Alex Jones, New World Order, News, Police State/Martial Law, Stupid Government Tricks, The Constitution, Unconstitutional with tags , , , , , on April 26, 2009 by truthwillrise
Kurt Nimmo
Infowars
April 22, 2009

On Monday, the National Guard deployed 400 Massachusetts National Guardsmen from the 126th Combat Support Battalion to keep the Boston Marathon race route clear for more than 26,000 runners, according to the U.S. Army website.

featured stories   Combat Support Battalion Deployed to Maintain Public Order at Boston Marathon  
Marahton featured stories   Combat Support Battalion Deployed to Maintain Public Order at Boston Marathon
   
Military presence during the 113th running of the Boston Marathon, April 20, 2009.  
   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Guardsmen don’t often experience interacting with the public while in uniform, and they see events like the marathon as a good opportunity to interact,” writes Sgt. James Lally for the American Forces Press Service. “The National Guard helps local police along the marathon route to safeguard spectators and maintain public order.”

The deployment is yet another example of the

 

 

 

 

U.S. military collaborating with local law enforcement around the country. Under the Posse Comitatus Act passed on June 16, 1878 after the end of Reconstruction, the federal uniformed services — including the Army, Air Force, and State National Guard forces — are prohibited from exercising nominally state law enforcement, police, or peace officer powers that maintain “law and order” on non-federal property, except where expressly authorized by the Constitution or Congress.

National Guard forces operating under the state authority are technically exempt from Posse Comitatus Act restrictions. However, with the passage of the John Warner Defense Authorization Act of 2007, federal law was changed so that the Governor of a state is no longer the sole commander in chief of their state’s National Guard, a direct violation of Article I, Section 10 and Clause 3 of the Constitution.

Last year, Defense Secretary Robert Gates announced a fiat accompli when ordered the Pentagon to conduct a “broad review” to determine if the military and the National Guard and Reserve can “adequately deal with domestic disasters,” including “a catastrophic attack on the country.” Gates “pressed officials to better integrate reservists into the modern day military and consider treating them on a more equal basis to the active duty troops,” according to CBS News.

 

Infowars and Prison Planet have reported numerous instances of the federal government violating Posse Comitatus. Earlier this month, we reported on a joint checkpoint operation involving DHS, federal and state agencies, the Air Force, and local law enforcement in Tennessee.

On March 11, we covered the U.S. Army dispatching soldiers to patrol the streets of Samson, Alabama, after a rampaging gunman killed 10 people.

Last June, Infowars posted an article by D. H. Williams of the Daily Newscaster reporting the deployment of 2,300 Marines in the city of Indianapolis under the direction of FBI and the Department of Homeland Security.

Prison Planet’s Paul Joseph Watson reported a story today on the assault of a local television news team by an irate police officer in El Paso, Texas. A video taken by the news videographer shows uniformed soldiers working with police officers at the scene of a car accident.

Other instances of military deployment and collaboration with local law enforcement are too numerous to post here. The deployments and exercises have increased significantly since the U.S. military announced last year it will place 20,000 troops on the streets of America by 2011 under the control of the Northern Command. In October, the Department of Defense announced it was assigning a full-time Army unit to be “on call” to facilitate military cooperation with the Department of Homeland Security.

As Sgt. James Lally notes in his article on the deployment of National Guard troops at the Boston Marathon, the point is to acclimatize citizens to the presence of uniformed soldiers at civilian events.

Lally said the soldiers were in attendance to “safeguard” the public. However, this role is usually assigned to the police, not a combat support battalion. The military’s job is to break things and kill people during war, not protect civilians from participants in a marathon.

Obama Rejects Truth Panel

Posted in New World Order, News, Stupid Government Tricks, The Constitution, Unconstitutional with tags , , , , , , , , , on April 25, 2009 by truthwillrise

Commission Would Have Investigated Abuses in Terrorism Fight

By Shailagh Murray and Paul Kane
Washington Post Staff Writers
Friday, April 24, 2009

 

President Obama rebuffed calls for a commission to investigate alleged abuses under the Bush administration in fighting terrorism, telling congressional leaders at a White House meeting yesterday that he wants to look forward instead of litigating the past.

In a lengthy exchange with House Minority Leader John A. Boehner (R-Ohio), Obama appeared to back away from a statement earlier this week that suggested he could support an independent commission to examine possible abuses, according to several attendees who spoke on the condition of anonymity so they could discuss the private meeting freely. White House press secretary Robert Gibbs, also seeking to clarify the president’s position, told reporters that “the president determined the concept didn’t seem altogether workable in this case” because of the intense partisan atmosphere built around the issue.

“The last few days might be evidence of why something like this might just become a political back and forth,” Gibbs said.

The push for a “truth commission,” which grew from the efforts of a few human rights groups, gained fresh momentum with last week’s release of the memos from the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel that provided the basis for the enhanced interrogation techniques, including the practice of simulated drowning known as waterboarding. Obama has said he is opposed to holding CIA interrogators legally accountable, but in a statement last week, he left open the possibility of legal jeopardy for those who formulated the policy.

On Tuesday, Obama explicitly raised the prospect of legal consequences for Bush administration officials who authorized the techniques applied to “high value” terrorism suspects, and said if Congress is intent on investigating the tactics, an independent commission might provide a less partisan forum than a congressional panel.

Some key lawmakers, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.), pounced on his remarks to push for a commission with subpoena power and the ability to grant immunity to some witnesses.

As Republicans rejected the idea, Democrats were deeply divided.

Yesterday in a briefing before the White House meeting, Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) instead said that the Senate intelligence committee would conduct its own review, a process that could stretch through December.

At almost the same time at another briefing across the Capitol, Pelosi told reporters that she has “always been for a truth commission,” a position she reiterated at the White House meeting, one participant in the session said.

But a White House official present at the meeting said Obama told lawmakers that a commission would “open the door to a protracted, backward-looking discussion.”

Boehner also urged Obama to release further classified memos detailing the questionable interrogation techniques. Former vice president Richard B. Cheney has argued that the memos will make clear that aggressive tactics yielded valuable intelligence information that prevented further terrorist attacks.

Obama responded that Cheney had done “a good job at telling his side of the story,” according to Democrats and Republicans in the room. “Obama said the memos weren’t as clear-cut,” one attendee said.

Earlier yesterday, Boehner criticized Pelosi and leading congressional Democrats who are pushing for the panel by noting that they had been briefed on interrogation tactics as far back as September 2002.

“All of this information was downloaded to congressional leaders of both parties with no objections being raised,” Boehner told reporters. “Not a word was raised at the time, not one word.”

But Pelosi said leaders were never briefed about the actual use of waterboarding, saying top lawmakers were told only about the existence of legal opinions supporting its rationale.

“We were not — I repeat — were not told that waterboarding or any of these other enhanced interrogation methods were used. What they did tell us is that they had . . . the Office of Legal Counsel opinions [and] that they could be used, but not that they would,” she said.

In late 2002, Pelosi was the ranking Democrat on the House intelligence committee, so she was part of the “Gang of Four” briefings given to the top members of the intelligence panels in the House and Senate. Pelosi continued receiving highly classified briefings when she became Democratic leader in 2003, as it is customary to brief the top Democrat and Republican from the House and Senate.

The select few lawmakers who were briefed about the handling of detainees were then forbidden from discussing with their colleagues what they had learned, she said.

“They don’t come in to consult,” Pelosi said of administration officials. “They come in to notify. They come in to notify. And you can’t — you can’t change what they’re doing unless you can act as a committee or as a class. You can’t change what they’re doing.”

Increasing lawsuits compels doctors to study law in school

Posted in Legal, News with tags , , on April 23, 2009 by truthwillrise

By Jimmy Chuang
STAFF REPORTER
Sunday, Apr 19, 2009, Page 2

An increasing number of physicians are beginning to study law, a Taipei Veterans General Hospital physician said yesterday.

“These doctors spend time studying law because they need it, not because they’re interested in the subject,” Ke Chin (葛謹), a physician at the hospital’s Department of Internal Medicine told a seminar at the hospital.

The seminar was aimed at sharing experiences and offering solutions for doctors to protect themselves in court should they face legal action.

He said the number of lawsuits concerning medical affairs was on the rise. These suits can become a burden for doctors, but most will not admit they’ve ever been sued.

“Being sued is something a doctor will not admit, because it can have an impact on his reputation,” Ke said.

Ke said more than 30 doctors in Taiwan had studied law, of whom six had passed the bar. The number of “doctors-lawyers” is increasing.

“We, as doctors, need to know how to protect ourselves when it comes to court,” Ke said.

A total of 119 students — including himself — graduated from Taipei Medical University at the same time, Ke said. About 60 have been sued, while six were convicted.

Former Bureau of Medical Affairs chief Hsueh Jui-yuan’s (薛瑞元) case was used as an example.

Hsueh was sued by a patient who had been through different surgeries performed by different doctors, including Hsueh.

The patient sued Hsueh because a swab was discovered in his stomach after the surgeries, which the patient believed was Hsueh’s doing.

Czechs acknowledge data breach at EU-US Summit

Posted in Identity Theft, New World Order, News with tags , , on April 23, 2009 by truthwillrise

PRAGUE (AP) – The Czech government confirmed on Saturday that a computer file containing personal information about European Union

leaders was mishandled during the April 5 EU-U.S. summit in Prague.
The statement from the government, which currently holds the EU presidency, was reacting to a report earlier this week by the Finnish news agency STT. It said the private information was found by a Finn on a public computer in a Czech hotel after the summit.
The STT report said the information included passport numbers, flights, blood groups and allergies of some 200 EU-U.S. summit participants, including some prime ministers and presidents. But the report said the file did not include details about Americans attending the summit.


The Czech government said Saturday that unidentified details about the EU delegations were made available to the public «in a limited way» because of an «unintentional human error» but that the computer file had «no confidential information» and was removed from the computer where it was found.
The Czech statement called the STT report about the blunder «overstated,» but said steps will be taken to prevent such problems in the future.

 

 

Gun sales going ballistic Fears of regulation, crime spur sales of firearms and ammo

Posted in New World Order, News, Police State/Martial Law, Truth/Freedom with tags , , , , on April 21, 2009 by truthwillrise
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By Don Lehman
dlehman@poststar.com

Updated: Friday, March 20, 2009 10:32 AM EDT

Gunmakers can thank a former New York senator and presidential candidate for an ongoing boom in gun sales, if you ask one local firearms vendor.

George Nemec, owner of Nemec’s Sport Shop & Farm & Garden Center in Warrensburg, said gun sales at his business began to increase about two years ago, after Sen. Hillary Clinton announced her intent to run for president. People were concerned about the possible impact of a Democratic president on the Second Amendment right to bear arms.

“Handguns, shotguns, rifles — it’s every type,” Nemec said. “People are worried the government is going to take their guns away, or they’re going to tax them (guns and ammunition) to death.”

With a Democratic president in office and economic troubles fueling fears of rising crime, guns — and the rounds they fire — are a hot commodity these days.

Across the country, gun dealers are reporting a big uptick in sales of both firearms and ammunition. Requests for federal background checks for prospective gun buyers have surged since last fall, with the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms reporting a nearly 50 percent increase after the election of President Barack Obama.

Tom King, president of the New York State Rifle and Pistol Association, said gun and ammunition sales around the country have risen in recent months.

He said many are concerned a Democratic president and Democratic-controlled Congress will change gun laws and could potentially ban certain types of firearms, like those commonly referred to as assault rifles. Democratic lawmakers are generally viewed as less friendly to gun owners than their Republican counterparts.

“We’re hearing it around the country. People are concerned about losing their guns,” King said. “If they buy them now, they’ll be grandfathered if the laws are changed.”

Locally, gun dealers are seeing a number of trends when it comes to sales and purchases of firearms and ammunition.

Most said gun sales are up, while others said they are steady. Ammunition sales have risen dramatically, they agreed.

“We’re selling a lot of guns. It’s been that way since November,” said Kevin Zacharewicz, owner of Zack’s Sport’s in Round Lake. “Handgun sales are up; self-defense shotguns are up. People are worried about what’s going on financially.”

Zacharewicz said state government trends are also motivating sales in New York. The state Senate is now controlled by Democrats, which has many gun owners in the Empire State concerned about what gun-control laws might be pursued.

“There’s a lot of concern about the government and what they’re going to do,” said John West, whose family runs The Crossroads Country Store & Sport Shop.

At MacGregor’s Gun Shop in Queensbury, owner Scott MacGregor said he’s seen a “sudden influx” of customers wanting to buy “home defense-type weapons,” like shotguns.

Everyone interviewed by The Post-Star for this story agreed ammunition of all calibers has gotten tougher to find, as gun owners stock up. Prices skyrocketed in recent years as metal prices went up, which caused many gun owners to stock up in anticipation of rising ammunition prices.

There are also concerns that some larger calibers, or those used by military-type weapons, could be banned, restricted or taxed more heavily.

One northern Warren County resident found out recently the government is paying attention to such ammunition sales.

West said a customer of his recently stocked up on .223-caliber rounds, a caliber often used in assault-style weapons. The customer bought 1,000 rounds a few months ago through a mail order company.

Shortly after the purchase, he received a visit from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, whose interest was apparently piqued by a large-scale purchase of that caliber.

“His wife was home. He was at church,” West said.

“People are buying a lot of ammunition in bulk these days,” said Kathie Ferullo, owner of Discoveries USA, an outdoors outfitter in Warrensburg that sells guns and ammo. “For some types, we have to wait on a waiting list.”

The down economy is also causing people to liquidate some of their valuable assets, including guns.

West said his business hasn’t seen a big rise in gun sales, but it has seen a rise in people wishing to sell guns to his store for economic reasons. He said one man recently brought in an 80-year-old antique rifle to sell because he needed money.

“We’ve had guys come in with three or four guns to sell,” he said.