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 veryhotthread  Author  Topic: Stuff & Nonsense  (Read 127033 times)
purr
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xx Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #8265 on: Apr 3rd, 2013, 09:39am »

on Apr 3rd, 2013, 09:28am, WingsofCrystal wrote:
Foreign Policy

No, 12 million Americans don't believe the country is run by shape-shifting lizards

Posted By Joshua Keating
Tuesday, April 2, 2013 - 5:27 PM

A new Public Policy Poll on conspiracy theories has been getting a lot of attention. Among the survey's big findings are that 51 percent of Americans believe JFK was killed by a conspiracy, 21 percent believe a UFO crashed at Roswell, 13 percent believe Barack Obama is the antichrist, 7 percent believe the moon landing was faked, and 4 percent believe “lizard people” control our societies by gaining political power. A headline on the Atlantic Wire proclaims, "12 million Americans Believe Lizard People Run Our Country."

I'm always a bit surprised that this type of finding is taken at face value. Given the small sample size -- 1,247 voters -- we're talking about 50 people who actually said yes to the question. A long way from 12 million. But I'd hesitate to assume that even those 50 people actually believe this. Applying Occam's razor here, I'm going to assume that the people who answered yes to many of the questions on this survey fall into four categories:

1. The true believers. Some people genuinely do believe this stuff. The shape-shifting lizard theory, popularized by the former BBC sports presenter David Icke, has its adherents, as the recent video above shows. Some of the opinions the survey asks about -- global warming being a hoax or Saddam Hussein being behind the 9/11 attacks -- have been expressed by senior members of the U.S. government. Even the wackier ones have their constituents -- the sort of energetic citizens who call in to C-SPAN's Washington Journal to express their concerns about mind-control lasers or the creative types make elaborate YouTube videos about illuminati rappers.

But I still have a hard time believe the fake-moon-landing or lizard people constituencies are that large. Have this many people even heard of these theories -- some of which reside in the very deep recesses of the Internet -- before the poll-taker brought them up? Most Americans aren't even that informed about events that really did happen.

2. People messing the survey-taker. Can you honestly say that if you were kicking back at home with a couple of beers (or something stronger) one evening and you got a call on the phone asking, "Do you believe that shape-shifting reptilian people control our world by taking on human form and gaining political power to manipulate our societies, or not?" you wouldn't be just a little bit tempted to answer, "Totally, man!"

3. The delusional One summer in college, when I interned at a newspaper in Jersey City, I used to field daily phone calls from a woman who believed that a sinister alliance between the Vatican and the Gambino crime family were sending messages through her sciatic nerve from their headquarters behind the meat counter of the Stop & Shop. (This, by the way, is the most Jersey conspiracy theory of all time.) I'm reasonably sure that if she didn't believe that "the exhaust seen in the sky behind airplanes is actually chemicals sprayed by the government for sinister reasons," as 5 percent of those surveyed apparently do, it's mainly because she hasn't thought of it yet

4. The easily suggestible I'm willing to wager this is the largest category. The day after April Fool's Day is a good time to reflect on the fact that many of us are more suggestible than we'd like to admit. We've all had friends who have unquestioningly shared fake news stories on Facebook (There's a whole blog devoted to them) or relatives who've forwarded us dubious conspiracy e-mails. The questions asked on the survey are detail-heavy and quite specific. For instance: "Do you believe Paul McCartney actually died in a car crash in 1966 and was secretly replaced by a lookalike so The Beatles could continue, or not?"

We might hope that most people would say, no, of course not. If they had even heard of the theory, they would probably know that it was a running joke propagated by the Beatles themselves. But a significant number of people probably just heard all those facts and dates and though, "Huh, well I guess so."

Perhaps there are other explanations, but I'm willing to believe these categories are more likely than a scenario in which 5 percent of Obama voters believe they voted for the antichrist.

As a side note, the biggest surprise to me in the survey was that only 29 percent belive that "aliens exist," while 47 percent don't. Aliens existing period? In the whole universe? That's not a very crazy thing to believe.

http://ideas.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2013/04/02/no_12_million_americans_dont_believe_the_country_is_run_by_shape_shifting_lizards

Crystal


Democracy is a wonderful thing, WingsofCrystal! Personally I feel strangely reassured by such findings, they at least show that no one has succesfully mindcontrolled the American population so far. With regard to the Lizards, I'd counsel US voters to select NON-LIZARDS only at the next elections, problem solved!

So I am happy. The only thing that has me faintly worried, from a Dutch (very secular) perspective is the number of Americans believing the Earth (and everything) was created some 6000(?) years ago.


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xx Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #8266 on: Apr 3rd, 2013, 09:40am »

on Apr 3rd, 2013, 09:28am, WingsofCrystal wrote:
Foreign Policy

No, 12 million Americans don't believe the country is run by shape-shifting lizards

Posted By Joshua Keating
Tuesday, April 2, 2013 - 5:27 PM

A new Public Policy Poll on conspiracy theories has been getting a lot of attention. Among the survey's big findings are that 51 percent of Americans believe JFK was killed by a conspiracy, 21 percent believe a UFO crashed at Roswell, 13 percent believe Barack Obama is the antichrist, 7 percent believe the moon landing was faked, and 4 percent believe “lizard people” control our societies by gaining political power. A headline on the Atlantic Wire proclaims, "12 million Americans Believe Lizard People Run Our Country."

I'm always a bit surprised that this type of finding is taken at face value. Given the small sample size -- 1,247 voters -- we're talking about 50 people who actually said yes to the question. A long way from 12 million. But I'd hesitate to assume that even those 50 people actually believe this. Applying Occam's razor here, I'm going to assume that the people who answered yes to many of the questions on this survey fall into four categories:

1. The true believers. Some people genuinely do believe this stuff. The shape-shifting lizard theory, popularized by the former BBC sports presenter David Icke, has its adherents, as the recent video above shows. Some of the opinions the survey asks about -- global warming being a hoax or Saddam Hussein being behind the 9/11 attacks -- have been expressed by senior members of the U.S. government. Even the wackier ones have their constituents -- the sort of energetic citizens who call in to C-SPAN's Washington Journal to express their concerns about mind-control lasers or the creative types make elaborate YouTube videos about illuminati rappers.

But I still have a hard time believe the fake-moon-landing or lizard people constituencies are that large. Have this many people even heard of these theories -- some of which reside in the very deep recesses of the Internet -- before the poll-taker brought them up? Most Americans aren't even that informed about events that really did happen.

2. People messing the survey-taker. Can you honestly say that if you were kicking back at home with a couple of beers (or something stronger) one evening and you got a call on the phone asking, "Do you believe that shape-shifting reptilian people control our world by taking on human form and gaining political power to manipulate our societies, or not?" you wouldn't be just a little bit tempted to answer, "Totally, man!"

3. The delusional One summer in college, when I interned at a newspaper in Jersey City, I used to field daily phone calls from a woman who believed that a sinister alliance between the Vatican and the Gambino crime family were sending messages through her sciatic nerve from their headquarters behind the meat counter of the Stop & Shop. (This, by the way, is the most Jersey conspiracy theory of all time.) I'm reasonably sure that if she didn't believe that "the exhaust seen in the sky behind airplanes is actually chemicals sprayed by the government for sinister reasons," as 5 percent of those surveyed apparently do, it's mainly because she hasn't thought of it yet

4. The easily suggestible I'm willing to wager this is the largest category. The day after April Fool's Day is a good time to reflect on the fact that many of us are more suggestible than we'd like to admit. We've all had friends who have unquestioningly shared fake news stories on Facebook (There's a whole blog devoted to them) or relatives who've forwarded us dubious conspiracy e-mails. The questions asked on the survey are detail-heavy and quite specific. For instance: "Do you believe Paul McCartney actually died in a car crash in 1966 and was secretly replaced by a lookalike so The Beatles could continue, or not?"

We might hope that most people would say, no, of course not. If they had even heard of the theory, they would probably know that it was a running joke propagated by the Beatles themselves. But a significant number of people probably just heard all those facts and dates and though, "Huh, well I guess so."

Perhaps there are other explanations, but I'm willing to believe these categories are more likely than a scenario in which 5 percent of Obama voters believe they voted for the antichrist.

As a side note, the biggest surprise to me in the survey was that only 29 percent belive that "aliens exist," while 47 percent don't. Aliens existing period? In the whole universe? That's not a very crazy thing to believe.

http://ideas.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2013/04/02/no_12_million_americans_dont_believe_the_country_is_run_by_shape_shifting_lizards

Crystal


Given that 15% of Americans are morons (a figure that I think is, if anything, optimistic), then not even all morons believe the stupider ideas mentioned in the article.

Seriously, I agree with the author. Small sample, too many variables, and so forth. I would not be surprised to learn the survey was a joke, even.
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xx Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #8267 on: Apr 3rd, 2013, 11:41am »

You could be right about the april fools joke. If not then it sounds like David Icke wasn't successful enough which his preaching. tongue
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« Reply #8268 on: Apr 3rd, 2013, 9:34pm »

You show the happy time. Seem you be happy person. Interestng you be here and on other site.
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xx Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #8269 on: Apr 3rd, 2013, 9:36pm »

Yes much come in spring. You wait for next beautiful thing. It come you enjoy.
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xx Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #8270 on: Apr 4th, 2013, 09:08am »

on Apr 3rd, 2013, 09:39am, purr wrote:
Democracy is a wonderful thing, WingsofCrystal! Personally I feel strangely reassured by such findings, they at least show that no one has succesfully mindcontrolled the American population so far. With regard to the Lizards, I'd counsel US voters to select NON-LIZARDS only at the next elections, problem solved!

So I am happy. The only thing that has me faintly worried, from a Dutch (very secular) perspective is the number of Americans believing the Earth (and everything) was created some 6000(?) years ago.


purr

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Good morning Purr,

It is interesting to know that most don't worry about shape shifters. grin

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xx Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #8271 on: Apr 4th, 2013, 09:10am »

on Apr 3rd, 2013, 09:40am, Lev Jong Un wrote:
Given that 15% of Americans are morons (a figure that I think is, if anything, optimistic), then not even all morons believe the stupider ideas mentioned in the article.

Seriously, I agree with the author. Small sample, too many variables, and so forth. I would not be surprised to learn the survey was a joke, even.


Good morning Lev,

It could have been done tongue in cheek. It was close to April Fools Day.

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« Reply #8272 on: Apr 4th, 2013, 09:14am »

Scientific American

New Film Examines if Internet Addiction Led to a Baby’s Death by Neglect

By Larry Greenemeier
April 3, 2013

In March 2010, police in South Korea arrested a husband and wife in a tragically ironic case that gained international notoriety—the couple let their three-month-old daughter, Sarang, starve to death in their apartment while they spent up to 12 hours a day nurturing a virtual daughter as part of 3-D fantasy massively multiplayer online role-playing game known as Prius. A new documentary uses the story of Kim Yoo-chul and Choi Mi-sun’s supposed “Internet addiction” as the starting point for a much broader, and more complicated, examination of a high-tech culture’s fascination with the blending of virtual worlds with reality.

Directed by Valerie Veatch, Love Child begins with Mi-sun’s mother describing how she and her 24-year-old daughter decided to visit a “PC bang”—a local gaming center—in 2008 as a way for Mi-sun to meet a potential spouse. PC bangs, as portrayed in the film, consist of dozens of consoles with comfortable chairs where patrons can log on for an hourly fee and immerse themselves in virtual world of their choosing. Such gaming centers have been common in South Korea for years thanks to both the country’s extensive high-speed Internet infrastructure and the population’s obsession with multi-player gaming as a social outlet, an extension of Korean culture, according to the film.

As Mi-sun’s mother tells it—no interviews with Mi-sun appeared in the Love Child preview screening Tuesday night in New York City—her daughter first came to know 34-year-old Yoo-chul through a multiplayer game both were playing. They later met in person and had a common-law marriage. Even though the couple spent more and more time playing Prius—up to 12 hours a day—Mi-sun gave birth to Sarang (Korean for “love”). Ironically, Prius’s online narrative includes mysterious childlike characters known as Animas that wander the virtual world until they connect with a particular player, after which they become devoted to that player and assist in game play.

With Yoo-chul, Mi-sun, and her mother engaging so much time in their virtual lives, Sarang was often left home alone, until the day in September 2009 when the couple returned to find that their infant daughter had died.

Prosecutors sought a five-year prison sentence for their role in Sarang’s death. The defense countered with the argument that Yoo-chul and Mi-sun were not responsible for their behavior due to an Internet addiction that impaired their judgment. This strategy—the first in South Korea’s history to employ Internet addiction as a defense—prevailed, and the couple avoided prison time, although they are prohibited from gaming. Yoo-chul now drives a bus, and the couple have a second child.

The case validated Internet addiction years before the American Psychiatric Association’s recent decision to include “Internet-use disorder” as a condition “recommended for further study” in the new version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM)—the international psychiatric diagnostic manual—to be released in May.

Still, categorizing Yoo-chul and Mi-sun’s gaming as an addiction appears to oversimplify the situation. The couple actually earned their living playing Prius and belonged to a guild, an organized group of gamers that worked as a team in the virtual world, according to Veatch, who co-directed 2012’s Me @ The Zoo. (Gamers can earn real money by selling virtual wealth accumulated during gameplay to other gamers.) As a guild advances, the game becomes more demanding and requires a greater time commitment.

The film also raises questions about the definitions of reality and virtual reality, with many of Veatch’s sources agreeing that we live in a time of “mixed reality,” where our physical and virtual interactions are blurred because of the ubiquity of technology. “If people play in a virtual world with real people, is that reality?” one of the film’s sources asks. “We’re transferring ourselves into a virtual space,” said Veatch, following the 20-minute preview of Love Child, which the director hopes to release later this year. “The story about [this] couple is a way of looking at this broader issue.”

South Korea’s heavy investment in Internet infrastructure puts its citizens in position to ponder these questions long before other countries. Most homes in South Korea have a high-speed Internet connection, and the country plans to build out its fiber-optic infrastructure so its upload and download speeds far exceed those found elsewhere in the world.

South Korea also tops the list in terms of wireless broadband subscriptions. All those improvements could see Prius-like gaming done at home rather than at a PC bang. Who knows what this might have meant for Sarang?

http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/observations/2013/04/03/new-film-examines-if-internet-addiction-led-to-a-babys-death-by-neglect/

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« Reply #8273 on: Apr 4th, 2013, 09:18am »

Defense News

Hagel Calls for Major Overhaul of U.S. Military Structure

Apr. 3, 2013 - 01:45PM
By MARCUS WEISGERBER

WASHINGTON — U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has called for a sweeping overhaul of the military structure, similar to major organizational changes made under the 1980s Goldwater-Nichols Act.

Despite shrinking in size dramatically during the 1990s following the end of the Cold War, the military has not adapted. Large commands, led by three- and four-star generals, and elaborate support structures have remained intact, Hagel said during a speech Wednesday at National Defense University.

“Left unchecked, spiraling costs to sustain existing structures and institutions, provide benefits to personnel, and develop replacements for aging weapon platforms will eventually crowd out spending on procurement, operations and readiness — the budget categories that enable the military to be and stay prepared,” he said during the speech, his first major policy address as defense secretary.

Hagel said DoD reform efforts must confront personnel costs, overhead and acquisitions, the principal drivers of cost in the Pentagon budget.

Hagel also said he is concerned the military’s modernization strategy depends on systems that are “vastly more expensive and technologically risky than what was promised or budgeted for.”

Hagel said the Pentagon “should never be” run like a corporation but can learn from the private sector when it comes to reducing layers of middle and upper management.

“[W]e need to examine whether DoD is structured and incentivized to ask for more and do more, and that entails taking a hard look at requirements — how they are generated, and where they are generated from,” he said.

A decline in federal defense spending is driving the calls for change. The Pentagon is facing a $41 billion cut to its 2013 budget and a total of $500 billion from planned levels over the next decade, known as sequestration.

DoD needs time and flexibility from Congress to implement this level of change, Hagel said, and sequestration offers neither.

“[W]e will need to take a critical look at our military capabilities and ensure that our force structure and modernization plans are directly and truly aligned with the president’s strategy. That includes taking a new look at how we define and measure readiness and risk, and factor both into military requirements,” Hagel said.

“It also includes balancing the competing demands of capacity and capability — how much of any given platform we need, and how much capability it needs to have to fulfill real-world missions.”

DoD also needs to reassess how much it can depend on allies and partners.

A review of the Pentagon’s year-old military strategy will examine ways to institute these changes.

“Change that involves not just tweaking or chipping away at existing structures and practices, but where necessary fashioning entirely new ones that are better suited to 21st century realities and challenges,” Hagel said.

The last major overhaul of the military structure was in the 1980s. Goldwater-Nichols was drafted during the Reagan administration, a time of major defense build up. It increased jointness among the military services and established clear operational chains of command.

Cost and efficiency were not major considerations when developing that law, Hagel said.

During prepared testimony for his confirmation hearing, Hagel said that if confirmed he would evaluate the implementation of Goldwater-Nichols and make recommendations and modifications if necessary.

“At present I am aware of no need to make changes to the act,” he said during the hearing.

In a statement, Rep. Howard “Buck” McKeon, chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, said, “Secretary Hagel, like many of his predecessors, has laid out a bold agenda for reform. Many of the measures he recommends, like transforming outdated bureaucracies and cumbersome acquisition processes, are long overdue and should be executed absent the military’s current resource crisis. I look forward to working with Secretary Hagel to reform these institutions and have already initiated an examination of similar reforms for consideration as part of the National Defense Authorization Act.

“As encouraging as many of the secretary’s remarks are, the fact that he is being driven to consider dramatic reform not because of strategic threats but because of an irrational budgetary environment remains troubling. The Armed Services Committee will do what it can to prevent the Pentagon from making ill-considered short-term cuts at the expense of long-term strategic need. We cannot allow inadequate budgets to drive unacceptable strategies. “

http://www.defensenews.com/article/20130403/DEFREG02/304030008/Hagel-Calls-Major-Overhaul-U-S-Military-Structure?odyssey=tab

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« Reply #8274 on: Apr 4th, 2013, 09:21am »

New York Times

Japan Initiates a Bold Bid to End Years of Falling Prices

By HIROKO TABUCHI
Published: April 4, 2013

TOKYO — In its first policy steps under its new governor, Haruhiko Kuroda, the Bank of Japan announced Thursday it would seek to double the amount of money in circulation over two years, initiating a bold bid to end years of falling prices and dispelling market fears that Mr. Kuroda might fail to follow up his recent tough talk with concrete action.

The central bank said it would aggressively buy longer-term bonds and double its holdings of government bonds in two years, in effect doubling the money in circulation in the process. The bank will aim for a robust 2 percent rate of inflation “at the earliest possible time,” it said.

“This is monetary easing in an entirely new dimension,” Mr. Kuroda said following the bank’s decision.

The dramatic turn in Japanese monetary policy could open up a new chapter in the country’s economic history, for years defined by what critics said was a halfhearted battle to end deflation — the damaging fall in prices, profits and wages that has weighed on its economic growth.

The Japanese stock market reacted enthusiastically, with the Nikkei 225-share index finishing the day 2.2 percent higher.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who took office in late December, has made beating deflation a central facet of his economic policy, and has already arm-wrestled the bank into committing to a target of 2 percent inflation.

So relentless was that pressure that the bank’s previous governor, the moderate Masaaki Shirakawa, resigned weeks before the end of his term, giving way to Mr. Kuroda, who shares Mr. Abe’s monetary fervor.

Mr. Kuroda emphasized the break with history, repeatedly pointing to a graph showing the planned jump in the country’s money supply as he answered reporters’ questions on the bank’s new policies.

“Incremental steps of the kind we’ve seen so far weren’t going to get us out of deflation,” Mr. Kuroda said. “I’m certain we have now adapted all policies we can think of to meet the 2 percent price target,” he said.

And if prices did not rise as expected, he “would not hesitate” to step up the bank’s easing program, Mr. Kuroda said. That represent a sea change from his predecessors, who were faulted for being too ready to pull back at the first sign of higher prices for fear of runaway inflation.

The Japanese financial markets appeared to give a collective sigh of relief, with their rise in recent months seemingly justified by Mr. Kuroda’s strong positioning. Japanese stocks have soared in anticipation of a reversal in monetary policy under Mr. Abe, fanned higher by recent assurances from Mr. Kuroda that he would do “whatever it takes” to defeat deflation.

But in recent days, the stock market had pulled back as jittery investors wondered whether Mr. Kuroda could make good on his promises. Shortly after the bank’s announcement, the benchmark Nikkei index jumped from negative territory. The yen weakened to ¥95.40 to the dollar early evening in Tokyo from about ¥93 before the announcement.

“Kuroda did it,” Masaaki Kanno, an economist at JPMorgan Securities Japan, said in a note to clients. “This is a historical change in the B.O.J.’s policy..”

In a statement detailing the new measures, the central bank said it would buy longer-term government bonds, lengthening the average maturity of its holdings to seven years from three years and expanding Japan’s monetary base to ¥270 trillion by March 2015. Under that plan, the bank will buy ¥7 trillion of bonds each month, equivalent to over 1 percent of its gross domestic product — almost twice the pace of the U.S. Federal Reserve.

The policies are part of a new asset purchase framework that focuses on the monetary base instead of the overnight interest rate, which has remained close to zero for years doing little to increase prices or otherwise help the real economy. The bank will also consolidate all its purchases in a single operation in an attempt to improve transparency of the bank’s purchases.

Mr. Kuroda said that the bank would suspend a longstanding rule that limits its bondholdings to the amount of money in circulation — and he pointed out that limit had already been surpassed.

Some economists caution that the central bank’s huge purchases of government debt could eventually be seen by investors as enabling runaway public spending, quashing confidence that Japan will ever pare down its already sky-high public debt and driving up long-term interest rates. If Japan recklessly pursued aggressive monetary and fiscal policies, “the long-term interest rate could rise and fiscal collapse would ensue,” warned Ryutaro Kono, a Japan economist at BNP Paribas.

Others argue that rising prices, once stoked, could be hard to control, a warning rooted in Japan’s “bubble economy” of the 1980s, and its subsequent painful collapse.

Some experts also question whether monetary policy alone can end deflation in Japan, which suffers from other deflationary pressures, like a shrinking and aging population, and cumbersome regulations that make the economy inefficient. They charge that despite the easy money already available in Japan, lending has not increased dramatically because businesses and consumers see little potential for growth.

Mr. Kuroda said that risks or doubts should not hold the central bank back from fighting deflation. “We have debated the side effects, but we are currently not concerned that long-term interest rates might spike, or conversely, that there would be an asset bubble,” Mr. Kuroda said. “That risks exist should not hold us back from pursuing much-needed monetary easing. We will keep in mind those risks, but push ahead.”

He also said that once Japan had fought off deflation and reignited its economy, lending would surely follow, spurring more economic growth in a virtuous cycle. “We are already seeing an improvement in sentiment among consumers and companies,” he said. “As the economy expands and prices rise, lending will also grow.”

Mr. Kuroda acknowledged that Japan’s new monetary push is weakening the yen, which bolsters Japan’s exporters at the expense of overseas rivals — a sticking point between Tokyo and its trading partners. But he declined to comment further, saying currencies were beyond his mandate as central bank governor.

Government officials welcomed the bank’s decision. “The bold monetary easing steps go beyond expectations,” Economy Minister Akira Amari said. “The Bank of Japan is finally steering Japan toward rising prices.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/05/business/global/japan-initiates-a-bold-bid-to-end-years-of-falling-prices.html?hp&_r=0

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xx Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #8275 on: Apr 4th, 2013, 09:23am »

on Apr 3rd, 2013, 11:41am, philliman wrote:
You could be right about the april fools joke. If not then it sounds like David Icke wasn't successful enough which his preaching. tongue



Good morning Phil cheesy

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« Reply #8276 on: Apr 4th, 2013, 09:24am »

on Apr 3rd, 2013, 9:34pm, mawan wrote:
You show the happy time. Seem you be happy person. Interestng you be here and on other site.


Good morning Mawan,

Please feel free to post on this thread anytime you like. I try to make you feel comfortable here. cheesy

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« Reply #8277 on: Apr 4th, 2013, 09:26am »

on Apr 3rd, 2013, 10:35pm, justanotherposter wrote:



Mawan, I'm not sure if you answered my question.

As I am interested and respectful of other cultures of members here, there is a translation problem, yes?

In our culture - American - it is common courtesy to answer a civil question.

And I am perfectly serious here and am cognizant of your obvious different culture based upon your writings/posts.

Also, I am pretty sure that other members would like to hear from you in this regard.

As always, feel free to PM/IM me and I give you my word any messages will be answered in privacy and in the spirit they were sent.

Hoping to hear from you soon mawan,

-Қℓάť


Good morning Klat cheesy

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« Reply #8278 on: Apr 4th, 2013, 09:31am »








Kokomo 2008 UFO Boom

Darrell Rose
posted on April 4 2013

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« Reply #8279 on: Apr 5th, 2013, 08:23am »

New York Times

April 4, 2013

Data Leak Shakes Notion of Secret Offshore Havens and, Possibly, Nerves

By ANDREW HIGGINS

BRUSSELS — They are a large and diverse group that includes a Spanish heiress; the daughter of the former Philippine dictator Ferdinand Marcos; and Denise Rich, the former wife of the disgraced trader Marc Rich, who was pardoned by President Bill Clinton. But, according to a trove of secret financial information released Thursday, all have money and share a desire to hide it.

And, it seems safe to say, they — and thousands of others in Europe and far beyond, in places like Mongolia — are suddenly very anxious after the leak of 2.5 million files detailing the offshore bank accounts and shell companies of wealthy individuals and tax-averse companies.

“There will be people all over the world today who are now scared witless,” said Richard Murphy, research director for Tax Justice Network, a British-based organization that has long campaigned to end the secrecy that surrounds assets held in offshore havens. The leaked files include the names of 4,000 Americans, celebrities as well as more mundane doctors and dentists.

It is not the first time leaks have dented a thick carapace of confidentiality that usually protects the identities of those who stash money in the British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands, Liechtenstein and other havens. Nor, in most cases, is keeping money in such places illegal.

But the enormous size of the data dump obtained by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, a Washington-based group that, along with affiliated news media organizations, announced its coup on Thursday, has punched a big hole in the secrecy that surrounds what the Tax Justice Network estimates are assets worth at least $21 trillion held in offshore havens. “This could be a game-changer,” said Mr. Murphy, the author of a book about offshore tax shelters. “Secrecy is the key product these places sell. Whether you are a criminal laundering money or just someone trying to evade or avoid taxes, secrecy is the one thing you want.” Once this is gone, he added, “it creates an enormous fear factor” and has a “massive deterrent effect.”

And lifting the curtain on the identities of those who keep their money offshore is likely to cause particular anger in austerity-blighted Europe, where governments have been telling people to tighten their belts but have mostly turned a blind eye to wealthier citizens who skirt taxes with help from so-called offshore financial centers.

The leaked records, mainly from the British Virgin Islands, the Cook Islands and Singapore, disclose proprietary information about more than 120,000 offshore companies and trusts and nearly 130,000 individuals and agents, including the wealthiest people in more than 170 countries. Not all of those named necessarily have secret bank accounts, and in some cases only conducted business through companies they control that are registered offshore.

The embarrassment caused by Thursday’s revelations has been particularly acute in France, where the Socialist president, François Hollande, who wants to impose a 75 percent tax on millionaires, has been struggling to contain a political firestorm touched off this week by a former budget minister’s admission — after months of denials — that he had secret foreign bank accounts.

The scandal looked set to widen on Thursday as senior members of the government were forced to confront allegations that Mr. Hollande and others may have been aware that the budget minister, Jérôme Cahuzac, who resigned on March 19, was lying but failed to act.

Adding to the president’s trouble, the name of a close friend and treasurer of his 2012 election campaign, Jean-Jacques Augier, appeared in connection with the files released Thursday by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists. Mr. Augier, according to the newspaper Le Monde, was identified as an investor in offshore businesses in the Cayman Islands, another well-known tax haven.

Mr. Augier, a friend of Mr. Hollande’s, denied to Le Monde and Agence France-Presse that he had done anything illegal or improper. He said he had invested in funds that invested in China, and that he had no personal bank account in the Cayman Islands or any direct personal investment there. He conceded only that “maybe I lacked a bit of caution.”

Others identified included Maria Imelda Marcos Manotoc, a provincial governor and eldest daughter of the former Philippine president; Olga Shuvalova, the wife of Russia’s deputy prime minister, Igor Shuvalov; Gunter Sachs, a German playboy and photographer who committed suicide in May 2011 at age 78; and Baroness Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza, Spain’s wealthiest art collector and the widow of a Thyssen steel company billionaire. The president of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev, and his wife, Mehriban, were featured in the documents as having set up an offshore company in the British Virgin Islands, while their two daughters appeared in connection with three other offshore outfits.

The consortium did not specify how it got the information or where it came from. On its Web site, the group said “the leaked files provide facts and figures — cash transfers, incorporation dates, links between companies and individuals — that illustrate how offshore financial secrecy has spread aggressively around the globe, allowing the wealthy and the well connected to dodge taxes and fueling corruption and economic woes in rich and poor nations alike.”

In Germany, now gearing up for national elections in September and a country with both a strong sense of social justice and a long history of tax evaders sneaking money into nearby Switzerland, politicians expressed concern, even outrage, over the disclosures. Of particular concern were indications that big banks in Germany and elsewhere are deeply involved in moving money beyond the reach of tax authorities.

“We should introduce tougher penalties for those financial institutions that are ideal for tax fraud or take part in it,” Peer Steinbrück, the Social Democratic Party’s candidate for chancellor, was quoted as saying in the daily newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung.

The issue of tax avoidance has become a highly charged issue across much of Europe, particularly in richer northern countries that are increasingly fed up with demands for bailout money from heavily indebted countries like Greece. A key demand of a recent bailout deal announced for Cyprus was that the nation drastically shrink its role as a financial center and, many in Germany suspect, a haven for money laundering.

Robert Palmer, a policy adviser for Global Witness, a London research group that focuses on corruption, said the naming of offshore account holders could have powerful political reverberations across Europe because “it shows that if you are wealthy and well connected you play by different rules.”

He said the information released so far did not shed any new light on how offshore finance works but was still significant because it identified people who used hidden shelters.

“This is very unusual because it is so difficult to get any information out of these places,” he said. “It adds to the picture of how easy it is to move money around and will build up the anger of people who are being asked to make cuts but see that there are people out there who benefit hugely from the system.”

The disclosure of offshore financial information is also a potential embarrassment for Prime Minister David Cameron of Britain, in that much of the data released so far related to the British Virgin Islands, a British-ruled territory in the Caribbean.

Mr. Cameron had earlier spoken about the importance of tax and financial transparency and pledged to make it a priority issue at a meeting of the leaders of the Group of 8 advanced industrial nations in Northern Ireland in June.

The British Caribbean territory, however, is notoriously secretive and, Mr. Palmer said, one of the most egregious offenders in enabling wealthy people to hide their money to avoid taxes.

In a statement issued Thursday, Global Witness called on Mr. Cameron and fellow Group of 8 leaders to “crack down on anonymous company ownership.”


Steven Erlanger contributed reporting from Paris, and Chris Cottrell from Berlin.

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/05/world/europe/vast-hidden-wealth-revealed-in-leaked-records.html?ref=world&_r=0

Crystal
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