Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Significa Halloween 2012

Censored 2013: Dispatches from the Media Revolution
Addresses Crucial News Ignored by the Corporate Media

From signs of an emerging police state, to NATO war crimes in Libya, and the dangers US women soldiers face everyday, the 2013 edition of Censored: Dispatches from the Media Revolution reports the News That Didn't Make the News and analyzes Why. Censored 2013 features Project Censored's annual list of the top 25 underreported news stories for 2011-2012.

Censored 2013 celebrates the importance of independent journalism for democratic self-government, and it holds to account the corporate media for their failure to provide the public with complete, relevant news coverage.

The book's additional chapters include original analysis on drones and targeted killing, "GuatánamoSpeak," the democracy movement in Kashmir, corporate education "reform," the status of Iraqi refugees, the 1970 Kent State massacre, and the global network of the ruling 1%. Each chapter deconstructs the official narratives and propagandized news frames featured in corporate news coverage and this volume includes the latest on Junk Food News and News Abuse and updates from last year’s top censored stories.

Published by Seven Stories Press, Censored 2013: Dispatches from the Media Revolution is available now directly from Project Censored ( It will be available in bookstores around the country on October 30, 2012.

Events in celebration of the book's publication will take place at Moe's Books (2476 Telegraph Avenue,?Berkeley CA 94704) at 7:30pm on Saturday, November 3, 2012 and at the Arlene Francis Center for Spirit, Art, and Politics (99 6th Street, Santa Rosa, California 95401) on Saturday, December 1, 2012. No Lies Radio ( will stream both events live on the Internet.

Since 1976, Project Censored's mission has been is to teach students and inform the public about the role of a free press in a democratic society. The Media Freedom Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization supports Project Censored.

For more information, or to schedule an interview, please contact Mickey Huff (director), 510.798.6251,, or Andy Lee Roth (associate director), 520-289-6529,

Become a Project Censored Subscription Member for $5 a month and get the newest Project Censored Book for Free!

Be a sustaining member of Project Censored and become a Media Freedom Fighter by subscribing for as little as $5 a month.  This important contribution helps us keep our research going, keep our websites updated with the most current validated news stories, and will come with a special thank you gift, the most recent edition of Censored, our annual sourcebook for the media revolution.  We appreciate any support you can give, and we welcome you all in the struggle to achieve and maintain a truly free press of, by, and for We the People.

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YouTube Clip of the Week: Dulce Candy

I've known about Dulce Candy for years and it mystifies me why she still doesn't have a cable TV show. Here's the basic concept of her website & YouTube channel: she does 10-15 minute how-to guides on applying makeup for different looks. What makes this especially appealing is that she was apparently born on a secret island where they're conducting a Jessica Alba cloning experiment.

In this Halloween special, she shows you how to master the Wonder Woman look. Whenever the homosexuals who run Hollywood give this girl a chance, I guarantee you it'll be a huge hit, with a surprisingly unexpected high percentage of male viewers. My only advice for any producers of this show: you can't have too many super-slo mo shots of her applying lipstick.


'Argo' review: Gripping crisis in Iran
Amy Biancolli
Thursday, October 11, 2012

Action thriller. Directed by and starring Ben Affleck. (R. 120 minutes.)

Whether six Americans are rescued alive from Iran in 1980 is the engine behind the drama in the political thriller "Argo." And even though most people know the outcome, this movie still will have you on the edge of your seat.

That Ben Affleck can direct a film this good, this smart, this gripping is no surprise, not after his fine efforts in "Gone Baby Gone" and "The Town." That a now-de-classified tale from the 1979 Iran hostage crisis should make for such engrossing cinema is no surprise, either.

The main source of astonishment is the precision exhibited everywhere, from the slyly vintage look of Rodrigo Prieto's cinematography to the gradual, cinching tension in Chris Terrio's careful screenplay.

"Argo" opens with a clever rehash of Iranian history up through the revolution, the overthrow of the U.S.-backed shah and the ascension to power by Ayatollah Khomeini. It then hops into the story with the events of Nov. 4, 1979, when Iranian throngs, demanding extradition of an ailing shah from American shores, storm the U.S. Embassy in Tehran and take 52 Americans hostage.

Six escape out the back door, finding refuge in the home of the Canadian ambassador, portrayed, with his usual gravity and grace, by Victor Garber. But how to get them out, skins intact, amid widespread civil unrest and anti-American loathing?

Enter Tony Mendez (Affleck, shaggy, bearded and wisely underplaying every scene), a CIA operative who specializes in hush-hush extractions. He cooks up a plan to fly in alone and fly out with the six, all of them posing as a film crew scouting locations for a faux "Star Wars" knockoff titled "Argo."

The craziness of the scheme, and the crappiness of movie, allow for some amusing Hollywood observations - and a pair of risible supporting turns by Alan Arkin and John Goodman as a producer and effects man, respectively.

In this and other ways, Affleck evokes the era without fetishizing it: He gives us the sci-fi glitz, the clunky glasses, the full ashtrays, the butt-ugly hair, but none of these things detract or distract from the essential story.

Amy Biancolli is a Hearst movie writer. E-mail:


OCT 09, 2012

It happened again: you couldn’t make it to the biggest party in Munich. It’s fine; there are a lot of towns in America that hold their own beer celebrations during the early weeks of fall, so don’t feel too left out when you see photo galleries of gorgeous beer maids, salty pretzels the size of your head and golden streams of German beer being poured generously into the steins of smiling friends.

Over at Oktoberfest, the beers served must meet the criteria of the German Beer Purity Law, Reinheitsgebot, which dates back to 1516, and must be brewed within Munich city limits. There are only six breweries at this time that brew the beer for Oktoberfest, but it’s no secret that there are many breweries in America that sell their own limited edition beers back home just for the occasion. Here are the beers that we’ve been filling our mugs with to drink in solidarity with our beer-loving German brothers.


Starting with a beer that is served at Oktoberfest, Löwenbräu is most likely the first that comes to mind when you think of German brews. Founded in 1383, this beer has been served at every Oktoberfest since 1810. It’s available year-round, although in some places in America it’s hard to track down. The tasting notes of this pale golden ale are very light and grainy, although many find it more carbonated than other malts made in America.

Gordon Biersch Weizen Eisbock

Legend has it that Eisbock beer was developed by accident. A forgetful brewer from the Kulmbach Brewery in Germany accidently left kegs of bock beer outside during the winter, and to salvage the beer he scraped off the water that froze on top. The brewer found that it became stronger and maltier than the already stout brew. At 10% ABV it’s obvious that the alcohol strength is noticeable, but if you’re a fan of rich dark flavors, Gordon Biersch Weizen Eisbock beer is definitely for you.

Samuel Adams Octoberfest Beer

Samuel Adams is so confident in their flavoring, they don’t need a creative name for their oldest seasonal beer. Octoberfest Beer has been a staple of those who aren’t acquainted with craft brews during the fall months, and lucky for us they’ve done a great job capturing the true Munich taste. Blending five roasts of malt complemented by the bitter Bavarian Noble Hops, the master brewer feels that its stronger flavor is authentic to the Oktoberfest beers of old, as opposed to the lighter, blonder liters they serve up now.

Flying Dog Ale’s Dogtoberfest

Our friends over at Flying Dog brew up a mean batch of beer around this time as well. Narcissistically named Dogtoberfest, the beer is brewed with 100% imported German ingredients. This full-bodied caramel lager won three awards at the Great American Beer Festival for the best German-Style Marzen, making it perfect for eating as much cheese, schnitzel and ox as your belly can handle.


Stoner Cooking: The Algonquin

From Uncle Fats:

Tried a new cocktail, The Algonquin, and love it!  Two parts rye, one part pineapple juice and one part dry vermouth.  Stir don't shake (it will foam the juice) with ice and strain into a martini glass.  Yum.  For us, we did 6 ounces of rye, which equates to two drinks per person.

Did I mention yum?  It's a sweet drink that doesn't taste too sweet.  Dry vermouth is the key. Civilized.


PCs showing 'severe slump' as HP slips to No. 2
The worldwide computer market tumbled more than expected in the third quarter, but Lenovo edged past HP to take the top spot, according to Gartner. IDC, however, still has HP in the lead, but just barely.
Shara Tibken
October 10, 2012

It's even uglier than thought in the PC market, new data today shows.

IDC says the global computer market "withdrew sharply" in the third quarter, with shipments falling 8.6 percent from the prior year. The tech research firm had expected a decline of just 3.8 percent -- what it called a relatively quiet quarter as companies prepare for the upcoming Windows 8 launch.

Rival Gartner, meanwhile, said shipments slid 8.3 percent to 87.5 million units, worse than its expectation for a 6.5 percent decline.

Both firms noted that back-to-school promotions weren't enough to drive sales, something that showed the "vulnerability of PCs and the loss of mindshare among buyers," according to IDC. Tablets and smartphones have been putting pressure on the market, as has uncertainty over the global economy and the impact of Windows 8.

Here's what Jay Chou, IDC senior research analyst, had to say about the steep drop:

"PCs are going through a severe slump. The industry had already weathered a rough 2Q12, and now 3Q12 was even worse. A weak global economy as well as questions about PC market saturation and delayed replacement cycles are certainly a factor, but the hard question of what is the 'It' product for PCs remains unanswered. While ultrabook prices have come down a little, there are still some significant challenges that will greet Windows 8 in the coming quarter."

PC market growth has slowed of late as consumers, cautious about the global economy, hold off on computer purchases in favor of mobile devices. Intel, which has been driving the move to thin-and-light PCs dubbed ultrabooks, last month cut its revenue guidance for the third quarter by about $1 billion. At the time, the chip giant said it was seeing "weaker than expected demand in a challenging macroeconomic environment."

Other grim news today came from IHS iSuppli, which said PC shipments will fall in 2012 for the first time since the dot-com bust in 2001. The firm also cited a disappointing back-to-school period and uncertainty about the newest version of Windows.

Loren Loverde, an analyst with IDC, told CNET that his firm will be reevaluating its forecast for the full-year, as well. The firm typically updates its guidance when it receives final data for the quarter. IDC in August had projected the worldwide PC would grow 0.9 percent in 2012.

"I can safely say that these results are several points below our forecast, and we'll definitely need to bring down our forecasts, especially for 2012," he said. "It certainly will push us into negative territory for the year."

Gartner analyst Mikako Kitagawa, meanwhile, said Gartner now expects the PC market to be about flat from 2011. The firm previously estimated 2 percent growth for 2012, Kitagawa said.

Lenovo is No. 1?

The data today from Gartner and IDC were pretty similar, but they differed on one key point -- which company shipped the most computers. Gartner put Lenovo in the top spot with 15.7 percent of shipments, beating long-time incumbent Hewlett-Packard.

IDC, meanwhile, estimates that HP held on to the No. 1 position with 15.9 percent of the worldwide PC shipment market share, though Lenovo was close on its heels at 15.7 percent.

HP in a statement said some PC share reports don't measure the market in its entirety. The company said IDC's forecast includes "the very important workstation segment and therefore is more comprehensive."

HP, which saw its global shipments drop 16 percent from the previous year, according to both firms, has faced a tough time in the PC market of late. The company considered exiting computers to focus on high-margin enterprise businesses like storage, but it later backtracked on that plan.

IDC noted that "distractions caused by its reorganization, challenges in integrating its enterprise acquisitions, and an unclear strategy to regain its course remain key obstacles."

Lenovo, meanwhile, has been benefiting from its high exposure to the Chinese market and its strong operation selling computers to business users. The company yesterday unveiled several new convertible PCs it expects to appeal to consumers and businesses.

IDC and Gartner today said Lenovo's shipments rose about 10 percent globally in the third quarter. It also was the only PC maker on the list to post an increase in shipments in the U.S., with a 9.2 percent rise according to IDC, and a 6.1 percent rise according to Gartner. HP dropped about 19 percent in the U.S., and Dell fell 16 percent. Apple's shipments slid about 6 percent to 7 percent.

"A continuing slowdown in consumer PC shipments played a big part in the overall PC market decline," said Gartner's Kitagawa. "The third quarter was also a transitional quarter before Microsoft's Windows 8 operating system release, so shipments were less vigorous as vendors and their channel partners liquidated inventory."


‘Ironman’ suit could help paraplegics walk
Full Article:

A robotic exoskeleton similar to Ironman’s powered armor suit could help paraplegics walk, according to NASA researchers who designed the device to keep astronauts in shape on flights to Mars.

The 57-pound X1 suit is worn over a person’s body and can be used to either assist or inhibit movement of the leg joints.

Inhibit mode provides the resistance astronauts need for a workout while idle for months-on-end in a spaceship bound for Mars or doing time on the International Space Station.

In reverse mode, the exoskeleton works with the wearer, providing stability and movement assistance. This could be used to help paraplegics walk on Earth.

Other potential applications for the X1 include rehabilitation, gait modification, and offloading weight from the wearer to the exoskeleton.


Real life James Bond -- I never got the girl or the gadgets
Matthew Dunn
Published October 05, 2012

Editor's note: October 5 marks the 50th anniversary of the first James Bond movie, "Dr. No."

When I was an MI6 officer, I operated deep cover in hostile territories and had numerous aliases. Each alias would have different covers and lifestyles.
Playing the part of a jet setting millionaire businessman was great because I had to do the things a man like that would do. Sitting in a warzone trench while pretending to be a foreign freedom fighter or whatever was anything but James Bond.  But even when I got the chance to travel the world first class and stay at luxurious five star hotels, there were many things that Bond had that I didn’t.  Here’s 007 of them:

1. Glamorous Women
Bond could walk into a casino in Monte Carlo and announce to everyone that he was “James Bond.  British Intelligence.”  It was a fantastic way to grab people’s attention and he instantly had drop dead gorgeous women flocking around him.  Regrettably, I wasn’t allowed to tell the beautiful women I met that I was Matthew Dunn, let alone a spy.  Sigh…

2. Reliable Gadgets
The real MI6 has an entire department whose sole purpose is to create inventions every bit as ingenious and wacky as those created by Bond’s gadget man, Q.  But we had a problem.  First, it’s all well and good inventing a pen that could shoot bullets, but try travelling through airport security with one. If field operatives like me had been given watches that could cut holes through doors with a laser, we’d have told you that we might as well have the word “spy” tattooed on our foreheads.
It’s all well and good inventing a pen that could shoot bullets, but try traveling through airport security with one.

Second, for some reason those gadgets we could travel with would frequently fail to work upon arrival at our destination.  It happened so often that it became a joke.  I once had an attaché case within which was concealed a digital recorder.  If I flicked the case’s opening and closing switches it would turn the device on and off.  Prior to my travel, experts tested the case in every conceivable condition.  It passed with distinction.  And yes, it didn’t work when I needed it to.

3. An Aston Martin
Driving through the Swiss Alps, in an Aston Martin DB5, with two pairs of skis on the roof, a bottle of Moët et Chandon on ice by my side, and a beautiful Russian female double agent in the passenger seat -- Alas, that didn’t happen to me…not once.

4. A Great Soundtrack
From the opening Bond theme, through to the majestic additional music of Shirley Bassey, Louis Armstrong, Paul McCartney, and composer John Barry, Bond went about his business with a scorching soundtrack to remind him and everyone else that his work was big boys’ espionage.  Given many of my meetings with foreign assets took place in hotels, I went about my business to the soundtrack of elevator music.  You know the stuff – Vivaldi’s "The Four Seasons" and the like. The kind of music that every hotel lobby and, well, elevator, likes.

5. Travel to Exotic Locations
Among other exotic locations, Bond carried out his business in the Caribbean, Monaco, Florida, Thailand, and Vienna.  He always packed a tuxedo for use at the nearest casino or ambassadorial cocktail party, though sometimes he had to don a wetsuit or ski ware over the top of it and swim through azure waters or slalom down pristine mountain slopes to reach the venues.
My experience was different.  Typically, I operated in impoverished parts of the world, in warzones, and, on more than one occasion, Brussels.    

6. Fabulous Baddies
Like the arch baddies in the Bond books and movies, the ones I combated were highly intelligent, sophisticated, professional, and evil. But unlike each nemesis that Bond faced, mine didn’t have recourse to satellites that could fire continent-destroying death lasers, subterranean armed fortresses that were guarded by spear gun wielding frogmen, or a volcano that was actually a space program. Nor did my baddies have steel-rimmed bowler hats, golden guns, metal jaws, or a third nipple.  At least, not to my knowledge…

7. A License To Kill
Real MI6 officers don’t need licenses because everything we do overseas is illegal meaning we’re at the mercy of the lawmakers in the country we’re operating.  However, I concede it would have been cool to have carried such a document – particularly when in the UK and asked to provide photo ID.  It would have been great to whip out the License to Kill when applying for membership to e.g. Blockbuster’s DVD store or the local library.

Matthew Dunn is an author. His latest book is "Sentinel: A Spycatcher Novel." (HarperCollins 2012). As an MI6 field officer, Matthew Dunn recruited and ran agents, coordinated and participated in special operations, and acted in deep-cover roles throughout the world. During his time in MI6, Dunn conducted approximately seventy missions. All of them were successful. He lives in England.


Yasha Levine
OCTOBER 12, 2012

This article was first published on AlterNet

It’s Nobel Prize season again. News reports are coming out each day sharing the name of the illustrious winner of the various categories — Science, Literature, etc. But there’s one of the prizes that’s a little different. Well, that’s putting it lightly… you see, the Nobel Prize in Economics is not a real Nobel. It wasn’t created by Alfred Nobel. It’s not even called a “Nobel Prize,” no matter what the press reports say.

The five real Nobel Prizes—physics, chemistry, literature, peace, and medicine/physiology—were set up in the will left by the dynamite magnate when he died in 1895. The economics prize is a bit different. It was created by Sweden’s Central Bank in 1969, nearly 75 years later. The award’s real name is the “Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel.” It was not established by Nobel, but supposedly in memory of Nobel. It’s a ruse and a PR trick, and I mean that literally. And it was done completely against the wishes of the Nobel family.

Sweden’s Central Bank quietly snuck it in with all the other Nobel Prizes to give retrograde free-market economics credibility and the appearance of scientific rigor. One of the Federal Reserve banks explained it succinctly, “Few realize, especially outside of economists, that the prize in economics is not an “official” Nobel. . . . The award for economics came almost 70 years later—bootstrapped to the Nobel in 1968 as a bit of a marketing ploy to celebrate the Bank of Sweden’s 300th anniversary.” Yes, you read that right: “a marketing ploy.”

Here’s a Nobel family member describing it: “The Economics Prize has nestled itself in and is awarded as if it were a Nobel Prize. But it’s a PR coup by economists to improve their reputation,” Nobel’s great great nephew Peter Nobel told AFP in 2005, adding that “It’s most often awarded to stock market speculators. . . .  There is nothing to indicate that [Alfred Nobel] would have wanted such a prize.”

Members of the Nobel family are among the harshest, most persistent critics of the economics prize, and members of the family have repeatedly called for the prize to be abolished or renamed. In 2001, on the 100th anniversary of the Nobel Prizes, four family members published a letter in the Swedish paper Svenska Dagbladet, arguing that the economics prize degrades and cheapens the real Nobel Prizes. They aren’t the only ones.

Scientists never had much respect for the new economic Nobel prize. In fact, a scientist who headed Nixon’s Science Advisory Committee in 1969, was shocked to learn that economists were even allowed on stage to accept their award with the real Nobel laureates. He was incredulous: “You mean they sat on the platform with you?”

That hatred continues to simmer below the surface, and periodically breaks through and makes itself known.  Most recently, in 2004, three prominent Swedish scientists and members of the Nobel committee published an open letter in a Swedish newspaper savaging the fraudulent “scientific” credentials of the Swedish Central Bank Prize in Economics. “The economics prize diminishes the value of the other Nobel prizes. If the prize is to be kept, it must be broadened in scope and be disassociated with Nobel,” they wrote in the letter, arguing that achievements of most of the economists who win the prize are so abstract and disconnected from the real world as to be utterly meaningless.

The question is: Why would a prize that draws so much hatred and negativity from the scientific community be added to the Nobel roster so late in the game? And why economics?

To answer that question we have to go back to Sweden in the 1960s.

Around the time the prize was created, Sweden’s banking and business interests were busy trying to ram through various free-market economic reforms. Their big objective at the time was to loosen political oversight and control over the country’s central bank.

According to Philip Mirowski, a professor at the University of Notre Dame who specializes in the history economics, the “Bank of Sweden was trying to become more independent of democratic accountability in the late 60s, and there was a big political dispute in Sweden as to whether the bank could have effective political independence. In order to support that position, the bank needed to claim that it had a kind of scientific credibility that was not grounded in political support.”

Promoters of central bank independence made their arguments in the language of neoclassical market efficiency. The problem was that few people in Sweden took their neoclassical babble very seriously, and saw their plan for central bank independence for what it was: an attempt to transfer control over economic matters from democratically elected government and place into the hands of big business interests, giving them a free hand in running Sweden’s economy without pesky interference from labor unions, voters and elected officials.

And that’s where the Swedish Central Bank Prize in Economic Sciences came in.

The details of how the deal went down are still very murky. What is known is that in 1969 Sweden’s central bank used the pretense of its 300th anniversary to push through an  independent prize in “economic science” in memory of Alfred Nobel, and closely link it with the original Nobel Prize awards. The name was a bit longer, the medals looked a little different and the award money did not come from Nobel, but in every other way it was hard to tell the two apart. To ensure the prize would be awarded to the right economists, the bank managed to install a rightwing Swedish economist named Assar Lindbeck, who had ties to University of Chicago, to oversee the awards committee and keep him there for more than three decades. (Lindbeck’s famous free-market oneliner is:  “In many cases, rent control appears to be the most efficient technique presently known to destroy a city — except for bombing.”)

For the first few years, the Swedish Central Bank Prize in Economics went to fairly mainstream and maybe even semi-respectable economists. But after establishing the award as credible and serious, the prizes took a hard turn to the right.

Over the next decade, the prize was awarded to the most fanatical supporters of theories that concentrated wealth among the top 1% of industrialized society of our time.

In 1974, five years after the prize was first created, it was awarded to Friedrich von Hayek, the leading laissez-fair economist of the 20th century and the godfather of neoclassical economics. Milton Friedman, who was at the University of Chicago with Hayek, was not far behind. He won the prize just two years later, in 1976.

Both Hayek and Friedman were huge supporters of the political independence of central banks. In fact, they built their careers on bashing government intervention in economic matters. Hayek developed a whole business cycle theory that blamed government and government-controlled banking systems for all economic problems. Friedman came out with a whole new subsection of neoclassical economics called “Monetarism” that had a scientific formula worked out, specifying exactly how much money central bankers needed to keep floating around in the economy to keep inflation low and unemployment high enough to keep big business happy. No democratic control over banking policies needed, just let the free-market do its thing!  The Swedish central bankers couldn’t get better spokesmen for their cause.

But Hayek and Friedman’s usefulness went way beyond Sweden.

At the time of the prizes, neoclassical economics were not fully accepted by the media and political establishment. But the Nobel Prize changed all that.

What started as a project to help the Bank of Sweden achieve political independence, ended up boosting the credibility of the most regressive strains of free-market economics, and paving the way for widespread acceptance of libertarian ideology.

Take Hayek: Before he was won the award, it looked like Hayek was washed up. His prospect of ever being a mainstream economist was essentially over. He was considered a quack and fraud by contemporary economists, he had spent the 50s and 60s in academic obscurity, preaching the gospel of free-markets and economic darwinism while on the payroll of ultra-rightwing American billionaires. Hayek had powerful backers, but was stuck way out on the fringes of reactionary-right subculture.

But that all changed as soon as he won the prize in 1974. All of a sudden his ideas were being talked about. Hayek was a celebrity. He appeared as a star guest on NBC’s Meet the Press, newspapers across the country printed his photographs and treated his economic mumblings about the need to have high unemployment as if they were divine revelations. His Road to Serfdom hit the best-seller list. Margret Thatcher started waving around his books in public, saying “this is what we believe.” He was back on top like never before, and it was all because of the fake Nobel Prize created by Sweden’s Central Bank.

"Unemployment iz necessary karmic price ov past inflationary policies"

Billionaire Charles Koch brought Hayek out for an extended victory tour of the United States, and had Hayek spend the summer as a resident scholar at his Institute for Humane Studies. Charles, a shrewd businessman, quickly put the old man to good marketing use, tapping Hayek’s mainstream cred to set up Cato Institute in 1974 (it was called the Charles Koch Foundation until 1977), a libertarian thinktank based on Hayek’s ideas. [Read eXiled eXclusive: Charles Koch told Hayek to use Social Security.]

Even today, Cato Institute pays homage to the Swedish Central Bank Prize’s marketing role in the mainstreaming of Hayek’s ideas and Hayek’s influence on the outfit:

The first libertarian to receive the Nobel Prize was F.A. Hayek in 1974. In the years leading up to the prize announcement, Hayek had reached a professional and personal nadir. Unable to maintain an appointment in the United States, Hayek had returned to Austria to take up a position at the University of Salzburg, Austria. With the announcement of the prize in 1974, however, Hayek’s work, and the fortune of Austrian economics, took a remarkable turn.

Hayek’s influence on Cato is profound. Two of Cato’s first books were by Hayek: A Tiger by the Tail: The Keynesian Legacy of Inflation & Unemployment and Monetary Policy: Government as Generator of the “Business Cycle.” Perhaps more than any other intellectual in the twentieth century, Hayek has inspired Cato and its researchers to develop policies that ensure a free society. When Cato moved into its current location in 1992, its auditorium was named in Hayek’s honor.

Friedman’s Nobel Prize had a similar impact. After getting the prize in 1976, Friedman wrote a best seller, got his own 10-part PBS series “Free to Choose” and became President Ronald Reagan’s economic advisor, where he had a chance to put the free-market policies he developed in Chile under Pinochet.

Like Hayek, Friedman was a big Pinochet fanboy. He would spend the rest of his time denying it, but he was deeply involved and invested in the Pinochet’s totalitarian free-market experiment. Chilean economist Orlando Letelier published an article in The Nation in 1976 outing Milton Friedman as the “intellectual architect and unofficial adviser for the team of economists now running the Chilean economy” on behalf of foreign corporations. A month later Letelier was assassinated in D.C. by Chilean secret police using a car bomb.

Friedman’s monetary theory was used by Federal Reserve Bank Chairman Paul Volcker to restrict the money supply, plunging American into a deep recession, doubling the unemployment rate, and had the added bonus of getting Reagan elected President. . . . And Hayek and Friedman were just the beginning.

For instance, in 1997 two economists won an award for their derivative risk models that minimized risk, just before derivatives would explode in the 2000s real estate-bubble.

The award was shared by economists Robert Merton and Myron Scholes for their work in figuring out how to value derivatives so as to minimize risk. The two economists used their Nobel-worthy economic models to run “the world’s biggest hedge fund,” which was called Long Term Capital Management (LTCM). And the fund really lived up to its name. Nine months after winning the Swedish Central Bank Prize in Economics, LTCM went belly-up, racking up over $1 billion in losses over a period of just two days. It was of course bailed out by then-Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, who considered LTCM “too big to fail.”

Then there’s Vernon Smith. In 2002, Vernon Smith, adored and funded by Libertarians like Charles Koch, won the “Nobel” — his patron looked at the money he spent funding Smith’s academic career as a successful speculatory venture, saying simply: “The Koch Foundation’s gift was an excellent investment.” Smith’s research basically entailed setting up theoretical “wind tunnels” to test how free-markets would respond in various conditions—all in a way that has nothing to do with reality.

As of 2011, 10 out of the 69 economists who’ve won the fake Nobel prize are Koch-connected libertarians.

It will take a brave act to bring this sham to the attention of the public. One year, one of the prize winners will have to speak out, and explain this ruse to the public as he wins the award.

Chavez Re-Election

Chavez Re-Election Shows How Media Does Not Like It When Washington Consensus Loses
Kevin Gosztola
Monday October 8, 2012

Hugo Chavez was elected to a fourth term on October 7. The victory immediately set off a flurry of United States media reports noting alleged inequities in Venezuelan elections that permit Chavez to continue to hold power. Through coded or overt language, the US media reported how the poor in Venezuela support Chavez but listed off what right wing free market conservatives or neoliberal centrists in think tanks in America consider to be the most dire issues facing Venezuelan society today. The impetus was, even if the elections were actually by some stretch free and fair, the poor do not realize they are voting for a socialist revolution that will plunge the country deeper into ruin.

The Carter Center, an organization founded by former US president Jimmy Carter, monitors elections in countries to help “enhance freedom and democracy.” The AFP reported on October 6, according to the Center, “Venezuelans have no reason to fear the secrecy of their ballots will be compromised by a new electronic voting system when they vote in presidential elections.” The Center “noted that many Venezuelans are concerned that the new electronic system might alert authorities as to how they voted, exposing them to retaliation if they vote against Chavez.” But there was “no basis” for the concern because the “software of the voting machines” were fully capable of guaranteeing “the secrecy of the vote.”

Carter stated before the election in Venezuela, “As a matter of fact, of the 92 elections that we’ve monitored, I would say that the election process in Venezuela is the best in the world.” Indeed, there have been a dozen elections while he has been the leader of Venezuela. One of the elections in 2004 was a referendum, an effort by the opposition to remove him from power that he survived.

Chavez won around 54% of the vote to defeat his challenger, Henrique Capriles Radonski, who won about 45% of the vote. Yet much of the coverage puts emphasis on the opposition with an eye toward investors in the richest one percent of America.

The Los Angeles Times report on the victory is indicative of the type of coverage so far:

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez apparently won reelection by a convincing margin Sunday, with allegiance among poor voters to his socialist revolution trumping dissatisfaction with a stunted economy, rising crime and the increasing polarization of society.

First, it strikes a snooty tone with the word “apparently” inserted in the first line, as if the LA Times doubts that he actually won. The LA Times also lists off reasons for why there is opposition in Venezuela to Chavez and appears to suggest poor people put their loyalty to one man before the good of the whole society.

A blog post at the  Financial Times suggests there may be a mass exodus of people leaving the country before the economy experiences more “negative implications.” Matthew Hulbert for Forbes laments the re-election as a setback to the future of free trade in oil markets. And, the AP story uses the word “nevertheless” twice to make it seem like the population is just plain ignorant of political realities.

An opinion editorial in the Wall Street Journal, “Democracy, Chavez-Style,” is far more ideological in its smugness and rejection of Chavez. It comes from Mary O’Grady, a WSJ editor who mostly writes on Latin America and uses the newspaper to promote her free market views:

Thanks to Hugo Chávez, the legacy of Chile’s Augusto Pinochet as the only Latin American military dictator in modern times to voluntarily give up power through the ballot box is preserved this morning. Pinochet looks like more of a hero than ever.

Mr. Chávez “won” the Venezuelan presidential election Sunday by collecting 54% of the vote to 45% for challenger Henrique Capriles Radonski. But he did it with control of all of Venezuela’s government institutions and, more important, near total ownership of the Venezuelan economy. This gave the Venezuelan state the power to directly manipulate voter rolls and ballots and an open checkbook to influence—some would say “buy”—the vote. Mr. Capriles was never engaged in a fair fight.

The editorial is at first glance astounding because it simultaneously lauds the military rule of Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet while contemptuously swiping at Chavez. Yet, if one knows world history, this is not surprising. Hero to free market ideologues, Milton Friedman, helped push Pinochet to carry out one of the first instances of economic shock treatment on a people for the benefit businesses and corporations.

Why Free Market Ideologues Celebrate a War Criminal

A group of Chilean economists that came to be known as the Chicago Boys trained under Friedman at the University of Chicago, as part of an initiative to influence the economic future in Chile so the country would not adopt socialist economic policies.

Journalist and author of The Shock Doctrine, Naomi Klein, wrote in 2010:

After the coup and the death of [Salvador] Allende, Pinochet and his Chicago Boys [including Friedman] did their best to dismantle Chile’s public sphere, auctioning off state enterprises and slashing financial and trade regulations. Enormous wealth was created in this period but at a terrible cost: by the early 80s, Pinochet’s Friedman-prescribed policies had caused rapid de-industrialisation, a tenfold increase in unemployment and an explosion of distinctly unstable shantytowns. They also led to a crisis of corruption and debt so severe that, in 1982, Pinochet was forced to fire his key Chicago Boy advisers and nationalize several of the large deregulated financial institutions.

Chavez is a “dictator” to O’Grady and other journalists because he promotes policies that guard against any US effort to shock the country and turn it into an economic disaster zone. It is this governance by Chavez that induces people like O’Grady to write such preposterous things like, “Dictators don’t walk away from power. They hold it until they die. Pinochet was an exception. Mr. Chávez proves the rule.” Their zealous belief in liberal free markets is why they downplay torture or war crimes carried out by Pinochet.

Omitting the US-Backed Military Coup in Venezuela from Chavez’s Political History

It is important to note, although the reports recount much of Chavez’s history as leader of Venezuela, most of the reports gloss over or entirely omit the fact that the United States was likely behind a failed coup against Chavez in 2002.

The Washington Post’s coverage is one example:

After coming to prominence in the 1990s after a failed attempt to seize power, Chavez, a former army paratrooper, won a series of elections: referendums that led to a new constitution and ended term limits and a vote that turned back a recall referendum in 2004...

In 2002, The Observer reported, “The failed coup in Venezuela was closely tied to senior officials in the US government, The Observer has established. They have long histories in the ‘dirty wars’ of the 1980s, and links to death squads working in Central America at that time.” Declassified documents, reported on in 2004, indicated the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) “knew dissident military officers were planning a coup in 2002 against Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.” The US government did not inform Venezuela there was a planned coup and sanctioned the plan by dissident military officers.

The New York Times, in the midst of the failed coup, celebrated this attempt to remove him from power:

With yesterday’s resignation of President Hugo Chávez, Venezuelan democracy is no longer threatened by a would-be dictator. Mr. Chávez, a ruinous demagogue, stepped down after the military intervened and handed power to a respected business leader, Pedro Carmona. But democracy has not yet been restored, and won’t be until a new president is elected. That vote has been scheduled for next spring, with new Congressional elections to be held by this December. The prompt announcement of a timetable is welcome, but a year seems rather long to wait for a legitimately elected president.

Such is symptomatic of the Washington Consensus, the market fundamentalism that leaders in Washington believe should be implemented or prescribed for any country, especially countries in Latin America with popular leftist movements in power.

It is worth noting that a decade later Washington still engages in “democracy promotion” and, as Mark Weisbrot pointed out ahead of the election, was doing so during this election, as it spent “millions of dollars within the country in addition to unknown covert funds to undermine, delegitimize, and destabilize democracy in Venezuela.”

Washington has turned to this tactic because violence and economic warfare have failed. As Noam Chomsky outlined in his book, Hopes and Prospects, the recent history of interfering in elections in the country:

After a popular uprising restored the elected government, Washington immediately turned to funding groups of its choice within Venezuela while refusing to identify recipients: $26 million by 2006 for the new program after the failed coup attempt, all under the guise of supporting democracy. When the facts were reported by wire services, law professor Bill Monning at the Monterey Institute of International Studies in California, “We would scream bloody murder if any outside force were interfering in our internal political system.”

Venezuelans Much More Satisfied with Their Democracy Than Americans

Finally, Venezuelans are satisfied with their democracy—a reality that must deeply irritate those whose ideology leads them to oppose policies instituted by Chavez to help the poorest people in Venezuela. From a 2007 poll done by Latinobarometro:

When asked whether they were satisfied with their democratic system, 59 percent of Venezuelans said yes – second only to Uruguay and above the regional average of 37 percent.

On equality between the sexes, equality of opportunity, protection of private property, solidarity with the poor, equal distribution of wealth, and employment opportunities, Venezuela ranked first in the region.

When asked how they would describe the state of their country’s economy, 52 percent of Venezuelans described it as “very good” or “good,” the highest number in the region.

When asked how they predicted the economy would do over the next 12 months, 60 percent of Venezuelans claimed it would do “much better” or “a bit better,” the highest number in the region.

66 percent of Venezuelans expressed confidence in the government, the highest number in the region. The regional average was 39 percent.

Compared to Americans’ satisfaction with their “democratic system,” Venezuelans’ approval is likely much higher than Americans’ approval. Only four in ten, in a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll in 2010, said they were “satisfied” with how “democracy was working” in the US. Three in ten, as of September 2012, were “satisfied” with the direction of the country, according to a Gallup poll.

Venezuelans appear to demand more of their government. They turnout to vote in far greater numbers than Americans (80% of Venezuelans voted in this election). In 2008, even with Barack Obama seeking to make history by becoming the first African-American president, only around 66% of Americans turned out to vote.

The country did not re-elect Chavez because poor people are waging a class war led by a leader intent to further decimate Venezuelan society. They re-elected him because, as Weisbrot has noted, “Poverty has been cut in half and extreme poverty by 70%. And this measures only cash income. Millions have access to healthcare for the first time, and college enrollment has doubled, with free tuition for many students. Inequality has also been considerably reduced.”

Neoliberal and/or free market policies have been soundly rejected. Those at the bottom are doing better. Americans should begin to ask whether Chavez and his movement have been doing something right.

Austerity is much worse for the economy

IMF: Austerity is much worse for the economy than we thought
Brad Plumer on October 12, 2012

Earlier this week, the International Monetary Fund made a striking admission in its new World Economic Outlook. The IMF’s chief economist, Olivier Blanchard, explained that recent efforts among wealthy countries to shrink their deficits — through tax hikes and spending cuts — have been causing far more economic damage than experts had assumed.

How did the IMF figure this? That was the tricky part. Blanchard could have just plotted a simple graph showing that countries undertaking heavy austerity measures, such as Greece and Portugal, are faring more poorly than their peers. But that doesn’t actually prove anything—perhaps those countries are undertaking austerity because they’d run into economic trouble.

So, instead, Blanchard did something more subtle. He studied the IMF’s previous economic forecasts. If a country is already struggling for other reasons, the forecasters are likely to have taken that into account. And what Blanchard found was surprising: IMF forecasts have been consistently too optimistic for countries that pursued large austerity programs. This suggests that tax hikes and spending cuts have been doing more damage to those economies than policymakers expected. (Conversely, countries that engaged in stimulus, such as Germany and Austria, did better than expected.)

This all comes down to a long-standing debate over what’s known as the “fiscal multiplier.” Economists tend to agree that tax increases and spending cuts hurt growth. The question is how much they hurt growth—a variable that usually changes at different points in time.
This matters a lot for policy. If tax hikes and spending cuts only hurt growth a little bit, then a government with debt problems will want to enact some austerity measures. If a tax increase, on average, raises $10 in revenue but reduces output by $6, that might be painful, but it will ultimately shrink the deficit. (Indeed, those are basically the numbers that policymakers in Britain and elsewhere had been using.)

But if tax hikes and spending cuts hamper growth significantly, then austerity could be ill-advised. Indeed, if the fiscal multiplier is really, really high in certain situations—such as during a downturn—then austerity could prove counterproductive. Those higher taxes and severe spending cuts will cripple growth so much that the nation will end up with an even bigger deficit than it started out with.
Blanchard is now arguing that the fiscal multiplier appears to have been much higher over the past few years than policymakers, including the IMF, had assumed. It’s not 0.6. It’s somewhere between 0.9 or 1.7. If true, then countries in Europe and the United States should have been pursuing stimulus measures to boost growth—and not insisting on budget cuts. (Not surprisingly, Paul Krugman is claiming vindication, since this was his view all along.)

Yet it’s worth noting that not everyone is convinced by the IMF’s results. Over at the Financial Times, Chris Giles tried to replicate Blanchard’s calculations and found that the analysis was heavily skewed by Greece and Germany. That is, austerity appears to have kneecapped Greece much more forcefully than anyone expected over the past few years. And Germany seemed to get an exceptional boost from its stimulus programs. But if you remove those two countries from the equation, the results are murkier:

For the countries where the full data is available on the IMF website, the results lose statistical significance if Greece and Germany are excluded.

Moreover, the IMF results are presented as general but are limited to the specific time period chosen. The 2010 forecasts of deficits are not good predictors of errors in growth forecasts for 2010 or 2011 when the years are analysed individually. Its 2011 forecasts are not good predictors of anything.

So there are some caveats here. Fiscal multipliers can change over time. Keynesians have often said as much: Stimulus is a good idea when the economy is weak, but the returns diminish when the nation is at full employment. Similarly, as Blanchard notes, economists still need a much better understanding of when, exactly, stimulus is effective and when austerity can help shrink the deficit. How does monetary policy factor in? Does the price of oil and other commodities matter? And so on.

For now, though, as both Kate McKenzie and Matt Yglesias point out, it’s quite significant that the IMF has shifted its stance on austerity so dramatically. In the 1990s, the fund was famous (or infamous, if you prefer) for ordering countries with debt troubles to tighten their belts. But now the IMF is urging countries in the euro zone, such as Netherlands and France, to loosen up a bit. True, those countries do have high debts. But with Europe still facing weak growth, budget-cutting might not be the answer just yet. For the IMF, that’s a big change in attitude.

Crisis-hit Europeans see cruel joke in EU Nobel

Karolina Tagaris
ATHENS | Fri Oct 12, 2012

"Is this a joke?" said Chrisoula Panagiotidi, 36, an Athens beautician, laughing derisively upon hearing that the European Union had won the Nobel Peace Prize.

Three days ago she lost her job, becoming one of the one-in-four Greeks who is unemployed in the fifth year of a biting recession. Told it was no joke at all, her incredulity quickly turned to disgust.

"It mocks us and what we are going through right now," she said. "All it will do is infuriate people here."

Across a continent where the EU's policies are blamed for deepening the worst economic crisis in living memory, many Europeans said they were simply baffled by the prize. Others were outraged.

"I can't get my head around it. They'd be last on my list. It's such a bland and inert organisation," said Philip Deane, 48, an IT consultant walking along the River Liffey in Dublin.

"Given the state of the economy, the timing is really, really bad."

Ireland, like Greece, has been forced to turn to the European Union and IMF for a financial bailout, delivered in the framework of a strict austerity programme.

Mariana Fotiou, 69, an Athens lottery ticket vendor was furious.

"It makes me so angry. We have a financial war on, don't they realise that? The only morale it will boost is Merkel's," she said, referring to the German chancellor, whose insistence on austerity measures as the price for aid has made her a hate figure in Greece.

Earlier this week Merkel visited Athens. Protesters burned Nazi flags and clashed with police in fury at her presence.

The irony of awarding the prize at a time when the EU is being pilloried in several European capitals, occasionally by crowds of rioters, was not lost on the Nobel Committee itself.

"The EU is currently undergoing grave economic difficulties and considerable social unrest. The Norwegian Nobel Committee wishes to focus on what it sees as the EU's most important result: the successful struggle for peace and reconciliation and for democracy and human rights," said Nobel Committee chairman Thorbjoern Jagland in announcing the award in Oslo.

Ed Balls, a politician from the opposition British Labour Party, joked at a panel discussion in Dublin: "They'll be cheering in Athens tonight, won't they."


Yet even in countries hard hit by the tough economic times, there were still many people who said they understood the logic of awarding a prize to an organisation credited with helping maintain peace for more than half a century on a continent that was ripped apart in two world wars.

"It's a good thing," said 48-year-old Howard Spilane in Ireland, where unemployment has tripled since the crisis hit.

"Europe's in a crisis, but compared to the wars - even compared to the Cold War - Europe is in a better place. People are suffering, but they are not dying. On balance they have achieved a lot."

Such warm responses were also common in parts of Eastern Europe, where many prize membership in the EU as a badge of hard-won European identity and a bulwark against a return of Communist-era totalitarianism.

"I am glad of it, although I do find it strange," said Andras Kocsis, an 18-year-old student in Budapest, the Hungarian capital. "I think it's right, because indeed the EU does a lot for the rights of the people."

But even in the ex-Communist countries, praise was far from universal for an organisation that many have come to resent.

Petr Hajek, deputy head of the office of Czech President Vaclav Klaus, who once supported the EU but has since turned against it, said the EU lacked "democratic legitimacy" and was contributing to "animosity among nations".

"Freedom and democracy are shivering in the corner similar to the way it was in the regimes we experienced in the 20th century in Europe," he said.

In Bosnia, which hopes to join the bloc but still remembers how a hesitant and divided EU stood by during its 1992-95 war, Kada Hotic called the award "shameful". Her son, husband and two brothers were among 8,000 Muslim men and boys massacred by Bosnian Serb forces in 1995.

"The EU had an obligation to protect minorities in Europe but was incapable or unwilling to protect Muslims in Bosnia and even today it is doing so little to prevent conflicts across the world," she said.

October surprise

US and Israel prepare to strike Iran
09 October, 2012

The United States and Israel are already involved in discussions over how they could soon conduct a joint surgical strike on Iranian nuclear facilities, a source close to the talks tells Foreign Policy magazine.

After months of urging from Israeli authorities for the US to intervene in a rumored Iranian plan to procure a nuke, a source speaking on condition of anonymity tells Foreign Policy’s David Rothkopf that the two allies have come close to signing off on an attack against Iran.

Although no plan of action has been set in stone yet, the source says the attack will likely be from the sky and consist of drone strikes and bomber jets for only “a couple of hours” at best but would not require more than “a day or two” of action.

But while the US has not officially signed onto the strike, the source reports, American involvement would be absolutely necessary in order to effectively take out the structures where Iranian scientists are assumed to be attempting to procure a nuclear warhead.

“To get to buried Iranian facilities, such as the enrichment plant at Fordow, would require bunker-busting munitions on a scale that no Israeli plane is capable of delivering,” Rothkopf writes in the article, published Monday, October 8. “The mission, therefore, must involve the United States, whether acting alone or in concert with the Israelis and others.”

Israel has long attested that Iranian officials are enriching nuclear materials to be used with volatile warheads, despite longstanding claims from Iran that any program they are operating exists for peaceful purposes only. Hostilities between Israel and their neighboring foe have only worsened as of late, prompting Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to insist that America draw “red lines before Iran,” and demand that the US offer them an ultimatum before time runs out. Last month US President Barack Obama dismissed Israel’s warnings against an escalating nuclear threat, though, saying he understand their concerns over what damage Iran could do with a nuclear weapon, but that he would continue to “block out any noise” from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as he insists on American intervention.

Speaking before the United Nations General Assembly only days later, though, President Obama appeared to be more willing to act if Iran is proven to be procuring a weapon of mass destruction, vowing, “the United States will do what we must to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon,” and said that any attempts by Iran to procure a nuclear warhead would “threaten the elimination of Israel, the security of Gulf nations, and the stability of the global economy” and is “not a challenge that can be contained.”

Now following a report RT published last week concerning classified footage of Iranian facilities believed to be handed over to American intelligence from a defected member of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad entourage, the US may finally be ready to give in to Israeli pressure and strike Iran.

If the rumored plan of attack is put into action, the source says, the strike is expected to set back the nation’s nuclear program “many years,” and doing so without civilian casualties. The end result, however, could be one immensely beneficial to America, specifically its holdings in the Middle East where the country has long expressed a vested interested.

Should US provide power to strike Iran, the source says, the attack would have a long-term effect in the region, but particularly on America’s investments there. The strike, says the source, would be “transformative,” – "saving Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, reanimating the peace process, securing the (Persian) Gulf, sending an unequivocal message to Russia and China, and assuring American ascendancy in the region for a decade to come."

Should Israel strike Iran without the direct aid of the US, however, America would not necessarily be in the clear. Although President Obama has advocated for a peaceful resolution to Israeli/Iranian disputes, Iran’s officials have suggested that they have no problem with striking the US if their allies make the first move.

Gen. Amir Ali Hajizadeh of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard told reporters last month that his country “will definitely be at war with American bases should a war break out,” explaining that "There will be no neutral country in the region," and, "To us, these bases are equal to US soil."

Celente Adjusts Presidential Election Forecast

Kingston, NY, 9 October 2012 — One year ago, on 3 October 2011, I forecast that President Obama would defeat any of the Republican front-runners competing for the nomination, Mitt Romney among them.

That forecast was not based on perceived or substantive differences between the Republican challengers and the President, nor was it made to further an agenda. My forecasts are based on data, facts and analysis, not on wishful thinking, wants or needs.

I’m an avowed political atheist: I don’t believe in political religions nor do I bow to political gods. And I will not participate in their ritual by voting for what I (and millions of other Americans) regard as a choice between the lesser of two evils.

I do, however, believe in God and believe He would judge it a sin if I cast my vote for “evil” ­ be it the lesser or the greater.

When I forecast an Obama win in 2011, it wasn’t because of his policies, principles or performance in office, but because of his performance on stage. And until he bombed in Denver at last week’s TV debate, Barack ‘Mr. Cool’ Obama had shown himself to be far a more accomplished song-and-dance man than Mitt ‘Stuffed Shirt’ Romney.”

And that’s all it is, one big show: The Presidential Reality Show. One year ago we wrote:

The Presidential Reality Show

“Reflecting back on the debates between Republican candidates, Celente says, “This isn’t politics as an exercise in Democracy in action, it’s politics as show business for ugly people.

Anyone who saw the September 12th debate hosted by CNN witnessed an early episode of The Presidential Reality Show. It was a star-spangled, made-for-TV-spectacle appropriating the lowest common denominator elements of the World Wrestling Federation, the Miss America Pageant and American Idol.

“Given that this is what is passed off as political ‘debate’ in America, come Election Day, the American Idol winner (a.k.a. The President of the United States) will be the best performer. And Barack Obama has proven that he can out-perform and out-teleprompt them all ­ he will tell the teleprompted truth the audience wants to hear.

And on a stage where performance counts more than the heart, fans (a.k.a. the electorate) will vote for the Best Actor. That actor will be the man who commands the stage, Barack Obama.” (Trend Alert, Celente Picks 2012 Presidential Winner, 3 October 2011)

Indeed, the Obama/Romney debate was an insult to anyone with a shred of intelligence. But Obama’s unexpectedly comatose performance served to negate ­ at least temporarily ­ the showbiz advantage that otherwise would have led him to victory.

Which contestant will win The Presidential Reality Show and lead America for the next four years?

Can Obama regain his “cool” and find his rhythm? What will Romney do for an encore? Will there be an October, or even a November surprise?

You’ll find the answers and our forecasts in the just-released Autumn Trends Journal.

Beyond politics, The Trends Journal analyzes trends and provides forecasts on where the global economy is heading, Iran/Israel and the Middle East wars, plus environmental, foreign policy and financial trends.

Over the course of 30 years of trend forecasting, our track record is unrivaled.

Zeke West
Media Relations, The Trends Journal
(845) 331.3500 ext. 1
©MMXII The Trends Research Institute

Project Pegasus

Project Pegasus is a quest begun in 1968 by Andrew D. Basiago when he was serving as a child participant in the US time-space exploration program, Project Pegasus.

Project Pegasus was the classified, defense-related research and development program under the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) in which the US defense-technical community achieved time travel on behalf of the US government -- the real Philadelphia Experiment.

Project Pegasus was launched by the US government to perform "remote sensing in time" so that reliable information about past and future events could be provided to the US President, intelligence community, and military.

It was expected that the 140 American schoolchildren secretly enrolled in Project Pegasus would continue to be involved in time travel when they grew up and went on to serve as America's first generation of "chrononauts."

The children found, however, that in the process of serving as child time travelers attached to Project Pegasus, they became America's time-space pioneers.

Andy was the first American child to teleport and one of America’s early time-space explorers, as will be told in his soon-to-be-published book, Once Upon a Time in the Time Stream:  My Adventures in Project Pegasus at the Dawn of the Time-Space Age.

In 1968, he resolved to one day tell the true story of his time travel experiences in Project Pegasus and reveal to the world that the US government had made secret a teleportation technology that if made public would revolutionize transportation across the face of our planet.

Today, Andy serves as the Team Leader of the new Project Pegasus, the only group in the world that is lobbying the US government to declassify its time travel secrets.

Under Andy's leadership, the mission of today's Project Pegasus is to lead the campaign in law, politics, and culture to urge the US government to disclose its teleportation capability, so that this revolutionary technology can be used to advantage humanity in the 21st century.

Andy envisions a world in which teleports will replace airports for "real time" transit between major transport hubs around the world, thereby making long-distance travel faster, easier, safer, and cheaper.

The declassification and deployment of the US government's teleportation capability may also be the most important environmental cause of our time, for it will prevent billions of tons of pollutants from conventional transport from entering the atmosphere every year.

Project Pegasus invites you to join Andy in his heroic quest to usher in the Time-Space Age. Together, we can transform life on Earth. Let's go for it!

Monday, October 29, 2012

"Weight Loss Coffee Pill" Has Top Doctors Raving

Why This Wonder "Weight Loss Coffee Pill" Has Top Doctors Raving
Stores Across U.S., U.K. Sold Out After Leading Medical Doctor Proclaims It 'Miracle' Weight-Loss Supplement.

The Green Coffee Bean is the latest buzz in the “battle of the bulge”. Since recently being studied on a popular doctor television show, millions of people are praising this so called “miracle weight loss pill”. Surprisingly, many people who struggle daily with their weight have yet to hear about this powerful supplement.

Normally, I don't recommend "weight-loss" supplements, especially weight-loss supplements that claim "easy" weight loss or "fast" weight loss. As a nutritionist, I strongly believe that the key to weight loss is a healthy diet and exercise, but there are some incredible super foods that can deliver an added boost. One super food in particular, the green coffee bean, is creating major media buzz, and the research has me truly amazed.
What has me and the scientific community so excited about green coffee bean extract is that people don't have to do anything different when taking this food supplement. They don't need to exercise, and they don't need to diet; they just appear to lose pounds fast.

Green Coffee Bean & Rapid Weight Loss

Let's cut to the chase: The most recent study on green coffee bean published in the Diabetes, Metabolic Syndrome and Obesity journal followed a group of 16 adults who supplemented with green coffee bean for only 12 weeks.

Over the course of the study, the subjects lost an average of 17 pounds each – this was 10.5% of their overall body weight and 16% of their overall body fat! More importantly, there were no side effects reported. This is very exciting information and one reason why I think that green coffee bean could be an effective weapon against the obesity epidemic in our country.

America's Hottest New Way To A Flat Belly

So, let’s dig into green coffee bean, starting with the question, “how does green coffee bean work against weight gain?”

Believe it or not, the key is not the caffeine! It is a very important natural active compound called Chlorogenic Acid. Chlorogenic Acid works by inhibiting the release of glucose (sugar) into the bloodstream, while at the same time boosting the metabolism or the “burning of fat" in the liver. These two mechanisms combined work together to inhibit the absorption of fat and cause rapid weight loss.

You may be wondering if you can get the same effects from the coffee you drink with breakfast in the morning – and the truth is that you can't. When you roast coffee beans, you remove the chlorogenic acid. Green coffee beans are unroasted, have little aroma and are extremely bitter – because they contain over 50% chlorogenic acid.

What To Expect From Green Coffee Bean
Rapid Weight Loss (Average of 17lb loss)
Found to increase metabolism, boosting weight loss by more than 800%.
Studies have shown a 39% reduction in cholesterol
Average 2 inch reduction in belly fat within 28 days
Effective Appetite Suppressant
Works Quickly, Proven Results
Increase in Focus
Increased Energy
No Crash
No Side Effects
Using Pure Green Coffee Bean

† Suggested Use: Take one capsule of Pure Green Coffee Bean about 30 minutes before meals. We recommend Pure Green Coffee Bean because it is the only 100% pure product on the market. I recommend taking them two or three times per day with a full glass of water for the best results. And remember that combining green coffee bean with a healthy diet and exercise can improve your results!

Ultra Global PRT

Ultra provides environmentally sustainable 21st century transport solutions

The Ultra team comprises a balance of technical and operational experience and are recognized leaders in the transport systems industry.

Originally an engineering research project to devise the optimum urban transport solution for the 21st century, Ultra began development in 1995 in association with the University of Bristol.

By 2001, the company had established a 1km test track in Cardiff, where it has conducted trial runs of several generations of PRT vehicles.

In 2000, Ultra won the UK government Innovative Transport contract resulting in £2.7m funding for the design and development of a full prototype. Three years later and the Ultra pod system was approved for public use by the UK Regulatory Authority (HM Rail Inspectorate).

In 2005, Ultra was chosen to build a pod system at London’s Heathrow Airport; this system now provides 900 passengers per day with a vital link from the T5 Business Car Park to the terminal.

Washington state’s first ‘zombie bees’ reported

Parasite causes bees to fly erratically, die
Monday, September 24, 2012

SEATTLE — The infection is as grim as it sounds: “Zombie bees” have a parasite that causes them to fly at night and lurch around erratically until they die.

And experts say the condition has crept into Washington state.

“I joke with my kids that the zombie apocalypse is starting at my house,” said Mark Hohn, a novice beekeeper who spotted the infected insects at his suburban Seattle home.

Hohn returned from vacation a few weeks ago to find many of his bees either dead or flying in jerky patterns and then flopping on the floor.

He remembered hearing about zombie bees, so he collected several of the corpses and popped them into a plastic bag. About a week later, the Kent man had evidence his bees were infected: the pupae of parasitic flies.

“Curiosity got the better of me,” Hohn said.

The zombie bees were the first to be confirmed in Washington state, The Seattle Times reported (

San Francisco State University biologist John Hafernik first discovered zombie bees in California in 2008.

Hafernik now uses a website to recruit citizen scientists like Hohn to track the infection across the country. Observers also have found zombie bees in Oregon and South Dakota.

The infection is another threat to bees that are needed to pollinate crops. Hives have been failing in recent years due to a mysterious ailment called colony collapse disorder, in which all the adult honey bees in a colony suddenly die.

The life cycle of the fly that infects zombie bees is reminiscent of the movie “Alien,” the newspaper reported. A small adult female lands on the back of a honeybee and injects eggs into the bee’s abdomen. The eggs hatch into maggots.

“They basically eat the insides out of the bee,” Hafernik said.

After consuming their host, the maggots pupate, forming a hard outer shell that looks like a fat, brown grain of rice. That’s what Hohn found in the plastic bag with the dead bees. Adult flies emerge in three to four weeks.

There’s no evidence yet that the parasitic fly is a major player in the bees’ decline, but it does seem the pest is targeting new hosts, said Steve Sheppard, chairman of the entomology department at Washington State University.

“It may occur a lot more widely than we think,” he said.

That’s what Hafernik hopes to find out with his website, The site offers simple instructions for collecting suspect bees, watching for signs of parasites and reporting the results.

Once more people start looking, the number of sightings will probably climb, Hohn said.

“I’m pretty confident I’m not the only one in Washington state who has them,” he said.


Information from: The Seattle Times,

Tesla Motors unveils 'Superchargers' at event

Tesla Motors unveils 'Superchargers' at event near Los Angeles
Dana Hull

HAWTHORNE -- Addressing a key concern consumers have about electric cars -- their range between charges -- Tesla Motors (TSLA) on Monday unveiled an aggressive plan to build a nationwide network of high-speed "Superchargers" to make it possible for drivers of its all-electric Model S sedan to go on long road trips without having to make long stops to recharge their batteries.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk, who has been dropping hints about Tesla's foray into electric vehicle charging for months, wore a black "Supercharger" T-shirt and spoke before an enthusiastic crowd at Tesla's design studio in Hawthorne. Some of the biggest applause came when he announced the charge-ups would be free for Model S drivers.

"You can drive almost anywhere in California right now," said Musk, who spoke in broad terms about the initiative but offered few details. "We've built these up in secret and are unveiling them for the first time tonight."

The Supercharging stations, which Tesla says will be twice as fast as any now in use, will be installed at highway rest stops, with the idea that drivers can top-off the charge on their battery while they go to the bathroom and grab a bite to eat. Six stations are already installed in California: at Gilroy, Harris Ranch, Tejon Ranch, Barstow, Folsom and Los Angeles.

By 2015, Tesla plans to expand to more than 100 charging stations across the United States.

In a video widely viewed on the Tesla Motor Club forum, Musk previously said the Tesla connector can deliver up to 90 kilowatts to the vehicle -- twice as much power as what would ordinarily be considered a fast charge.

"At 90 kilowatts, you're recharging about 100 miles of range every 20 minutes," Musk said in the video. "If you're traveling between cities, you don't have to stop for very long in order to recharge enough range to go to the next leg of your journey."

Tesla says the Model S was designed with supercharging in mind, and that frequent supercharging should not degrade the battery.

The Model S is available with three battery pack options that offer roughly 160, 230 or 300 miles per charge. All Model S vehicles equipped with the 300-mile battery or the 230-mile battery will be able to use Superchargers, but those equipped with the 160-mile battery will not.

The Superchargers will be rolled out along major highway corridors, and will be powered by solar panels from SolarCity, making it possible to "drive on sunlight." Musk is the chairman of SolarCity; his cousins Lyndon and Peter Rive run the company.

The Superchargers can only be used by Model S drivers; they won't work with other plug-in electric vehicles. Drivers of the Nissan Leaf, Chevy Volt and even the Tesla Roadster are out of luck.

"More power to them," said Felix Kramer, a well-known electric vehicle advocate and the founder of CalCars. "Tesla is moving more quickly than others to have a network of high-speed chargers, and they are giving their customers a fantastic new service."

Kramer owns a Nissan Leaf and a Chevy Volt and has reserved a Tesla Model X, a crossover SUV slated to launch in 2014. He noted that the nascent electric vehicle industry has yet to settle on a single standard for fast-charging, and that it makes sense for Tesla to get in the game.

Electric vehicles have an onboard charger to transform alternating current from the electrical grid to DC, or direct current, for recharging the vehicle's battery pack. One of the key challenges to fast-charging is the connector or cable that attaches to the battery -- it has to be able to safely carry the current.

Electric cars are a game-changing technology with one big challenge: the battery. Most electric vehicles on the market have limited range, making it hard to drive from San Jose to San Francisco and back without stopping to recharge. And many industry experts say that mainstream consumers will never fully embrace electric vehicles until they can travel as far as a gas-powered car on a single charge.

Tesla's Model S already has the longest range of any electric vehicle on the market. By moving into charging, Tesla is trying to conquer the long road trip problem.

But some analysts criticize Tesla's decision as overly ambitious, given the enormous pressure the company is under to ramp up production of the Model S.

Tesla has more than 12,000 reservations for the Model S and has said it will make 5,000 Model S cars by the end of the year. But that target seems increasingly elusive, and in recent weeks Musk has backed away from that figure, focusing instead on the company's plans to produce 20,000 cars in 2013.

"It seems curious to go to the expense of setting up your own charging network," said John Gartner, a senior analyst with Pike Resarch. "There's already a West Coast EV highway that is being deployed along I-5. Rather than use what's already out there, Tesla seems intent on doing its own thing."

1. A Model S with the most powerful battery pack will be able to add 150 miles of range in about half an hour.
2. The Superchargers will be installed along major highway corridors across the country; six are already installed in California.
3. The Superchargers can only be used by Model S drivers: they won't work for the Nissan Leaf, Chevy Volt or even the Tesla Roadster.
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$9 Cardboard Bike

Full Article:

Izhar Gafni has designed award winning industrial machines for peeling pomegranates and sewing shoes. He’s also a bike enthusiast who’s designed a lot of carbon fiber rigs. But one day, he’d heard about someone who’d built a cardboard canoe. The idea drilled its way into his consciousness, and ultimately, led him to create a cardboard bike called the Alfa.

The Alfa weighs 20lbs, yet supports riders up to 24 times its weight. It’s mostly cardboard and 100% recycled materials, yet uses a belt-driven pedal system that makes it maintenance free. And, maybe best of all, it’s project designed to be manufactured at about $9 to $12 per unit (and just $5 for a kids version), making it not only one of the most sustainable bikes you could imagine, but amongst the cheapest, depending on the markup...

Bikes are amongst the most efficient transportation systems in the planet, converting up to 99% of a person’s power into mobility that’s up to five times faster than walking. Imagine the impact for developing nations, assuming the Alfa (or a derivative) could handle itself on unpaved roads--especially when fitted with an optional small motor upgrade to enhance range--or what you could do in a small school district where every child could be given a bike in place of a few days of school-bus gas...

A Faded Piece of Papyrus Refers to Jesus’ Wife

September 18, 2012

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — A historian of early Christianity at Harvard Divinity School has identified a scrap of papyrus that she says was written in Coptic in the fourth century and contains a phrase never seen in any piece of Scripture: “Jesus said to them, ‘My wife ...’ ”

The faded papyrus fragment is smaller than a business card, with eight lines on one side, in black ink legible under a magnifying glass. Just below the line about Jesus having a wife, the papyrus includes a second provocative clause that purportedly says, “she will be able to be my disciple.”

The finding was made public in Rome on Tuesday at the International Congress of Coptic Studies by Karen L. King, a historian who has published several books about new Gospel discoveries and is the first woman to hold the nation’s oldest endowed chair, the Hollis professor of divinity.

The provenance of the papyrus fragment is a mystery, and its owner has asked to remain anonymous. Until Tuesday, Dr. King had shown the fragment to only a small circle of experts in papyrology and Coptic linguistics, who concluded that it is most likely not a forgery. But she and her collaborators say they are eager for more scholars to weigh in and perhaps upend their conclusions.

Even with many questions unsettled, the discovery could reignite the debate over whether Jesus was married, whether Mary Magdalene was his wife and whether he had a female disciple. These debates date to the early centuries of Christianity, scholars say. But they are relevant today, when global Christianity is roiling over the place of women in ministry and the boundaries of marriage.

The discussion is particularly animated in the Roman Catholic Church, where despite calls for change, the Vatican has reiterated the teaching that the priesthood cannot be opened to women and married men because of the model set by Jesus.

Dr. King gave an interview and showed the papyrus fragment, encased in glass, to reporters from The New York Times, The Boston Globe and Harvard Magazine in her garret office in the tower at Harvard Divinity School last Thursday.

She repeatedly cautioned that this fragment should not be taken as proof that Jesus, the historical person, was actually married. The text was probably written centuries after Jesus lived, and all other early, historically reliable Christian literature is silent on the question, she said.

But the discovery is exciting, Dr. King said, because it is the first known statement from antiquity that refers to Jesus speaking of a wife. It provides further evidence that there was an active discussion among early Christians about whether Jesus was celibate or married, and which path his followers should choose.

“This fragment suggests that some early Christians had a tradition that Jesus was married,” she said. “There was, we already know, a controversy in the second century over whether Jesus was married, caught up with a debate about whether Christians should marry and have sex.”

Dr. King first learned about what she calls “The Gospel of Jesus’s Wife” when she received an e-mail in 2010 from a private collector who asked her to translate it. Dr. King, 58, specializes in Coptic literature, and has written books on the Gospel of Judas, the Gospel of Mary of Magdala, Gnosticism and women in antiquity.

The owner, who has a collection of Greek, Coptic and Arabic papyri, is not willing to be identified by name, nationality or location, because, Dr. King said, “He doesn’t want to be hounded by people who want to buy this.”

When, where or how the fragment was discovered is unknown. The collector acquired it in a batch of papyri in 1997 from the previous owner, a German. It came with a handwritten note in German that names a professor of Egyptology in Berlin, now deceased, and cited him calling the fragment “the sole example” of a text in which Jesus claims a wife.

The owner took the fragment to the Divinity School in December 2011 and left it with Dr. King. In March, she carried the fragment in her red handbag to New York to show it to two papyrologists: Roger Bagnall, director of the Institute for the Study of the Ancient World, at New York University, and AnneMarie Luijendijk, an associate professor of religion at Princeton University.

They examined the scrap under sharp magnification. It was very small — only 4 by 8 centimeters. The lettering was splotchy and uneven, the hand of an amateur, but not unusual for the time period, when many Christians were poor and persecuted.

It was written in Coptic, an Egyptian language that uses Greek characters — and more precisely, in Sahidic Coptic, a dialect from southern Egypt, Dr. Luijendijk said in an interview.

What convinced them it was probably genuine was the fading of the ink on the papyrus fibers, and traces of ink adhered to the bent fibers at the torn edges. The back side is so faint that only five words are visible, one only partly: “my moth[er],” “three,” “forth which.”

“It would be impossible to forge,” said Dr. Luijendijk, who contributed to Dr. King’s paper.

Dr. Bagnall reasoned that a forger would have had to be expert in Coptic grammar, handwriting and ideas. Most forgeries he has seen were nothing more than gibberish. And if it were a forgery intended to cause a sensation or make someone rich, why would it have lain in obscurity for so many years?

“It’s hard to construct a scenario that is at all plausible in which somebody fakes something like this. The world is not really crawling with crooked papyrologists,” Dr. Bagnall said.

The piece is torn into a rough rectangle, so that the document is missing its adjoining text on the left, right, top and bottom — most likely the work of a dealer who divided up a larger piece to maximize his profit, Dr. Bagnall said.

Much of the context, therefore, is missing. But Dr. King was struck by phrases in the fragment like “My mother gave to me life,” and “Mary is worthy of it,” which resemble snippets from the Gospels of Thomas and Mary. Experts believe those were written in the late second century and translated into Coptic. She surmises that this fragment is also copied from a second-century Greek text.

The meaning of the words, “my wife,” is beyond question, Dr. King said. “These words can mean nothing else.” The text beyond “my wife” is cut off.

Dr. King did not have the ink dated using carbon testing. She said it would require scraping off too much, destroying the relic. She still plans to have the ink tested by spectroscopy, which could roughly determine its age by its chemical composition.

Dr. King submitted her paper to The Harvard Theological Review, which asked three scholars to review it. Two questioned its authenticity, but they had seen only low-resolution photographs of the fragment and were unaware that expert papyrologists had seen the actual item and judged it to be genuine, Dr. King said. One of the two questioned the grammar, translation and interpretation.

Ariel Shisha-Halevy, an eminent Coptic linguist at Hebrew University in Jerusalem, was consulted, and said in an e-mail in September, “I believe — on the basis of language and grammar — the text is authentic.”

Major doubts allayed, The Review plans to publish Dr. King’s article in its January issue.

Dr. King said she would push the owner to come forward, in part to avoid stoking conspiracy theories.

The notion that Jesus had a wife was the central conceit of the best seller and movie “The Da Vinci Code.” But Dr. King said she wants nothing to do with the code or its author: “At least, don’t say this proves Dan Brown was right.”