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Fri, 09 Dec 2022
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Are You Better Off Than You Were In 1970?

Thoughts for a Labor Day in 2012:

The real question isn't whether we are better off than we were four years ago. It takes a long time to recover from burst bubbles and near-depressions (the Japanese have still not recovered from their burst bubble of the early 1990s). The real question is whether the working and middle classes of the United States will go on allowing themselves to be taken advantage of by our super-rich, who are gathering to themselves more and more of the national income. The top 1% owned 25% of the privately held national wealth in the United States in the 1950s, but have 38% of it today.

In contrast, real wages per hour for the average worker in the United States, adjusted for inflation, peaked in 1970. We're now down from that, with a generation and a half blocked from meaningful economic advancement.

hourlt wages chart
© Faustian urGe

Dollar

EU's Poorest Member Country Bulgaria Smacks Down Euro As it Refuses To Join Eurozone

parasitic technocrat
© unknown
When a parasitic technocrat asks to shake your hand, you refuse
If one needs a shining example of why the days of Europe's artificial currency are numbered, look no further than the EU's poorest country which moments ago said "Ne Mersi" to the Eurozone and the European currency. From the WSJ: "Bulgaria, the European Union's poorest member state and a rare fiscal bright spot for the bloc, has indefinitely frozen long-held plans to adopt the single currency, marking the latest fiscally prudent country to cool its enthusiasm for the embattled currency. Speaking in interviews in Sofia, Prime Minister Boyko Borisov and Finance Minister Simeon Djankov said that the decision to shelve plans to join the currency area, a longtime strategic aim of successive governments in the former communist state, came in response to deteriorating economic conditions and rising uncertainty over the prospects of the bloc, alongside a decisive shift of public opinion in Bulgaria, which is entering its third year of an austerity program. "The momentum has shifted in our thinking and among the public...Right now, I don't see any benefits of entering the euro zone, only costs," Mr. Djankov said. "The public rightly wants to know who would we have to bailout when we join? It's too risky for us and it's also not certain what the rules are and what are they likely to be in one year or two."

Arrow Down

Paranormal Group Seeking Publicity

Alan Bennett
© Manchester Evening News
Keith Bennett’s brother Alan who hit out after a group of paranormal investigators claimed to have found a spade on Saddleworth Moor that may have belonged to Brady.
The brother of Moors murder victim Keith Bennett says he is 'offended and angered' by claims from a group of paranormal investigators that they may have found killer Ian Brady's spade.

The spade, which has no handle, was reportedly discovered on Saddleworth Moor by members of the Worsley Paranormal Group, which has been searching for Keith's remains.

They claimed to have found it at a spot where they believe Keith is buried.

But Keith's brother Alan Bennett said on an internet forum dedicated to finding Keith's remains: "This is complete nonsense as is the Worsley Paranormal Group's theories and activities.

"They are to be found all over the internet chasing anybody who they think will listen to them.

"They also post videos claiming to have picked up Keith on a 'ghost box' machine, all of which I find totally disgusting.

"They know my thoughts on their 'findings' and when they realised, finally, that I could not take them seriously, they got very angry to the point of being abusive.

"It seems now they, just like the other 'oddballs' in the news lately, have gone to a newspaper.

Arrow Down

Justice Miscarried? Shocking Fetus Dump Case to be Tried - For Soil Contamination

Dumped Fetuses
© Screen shot from NTV video
Russian prosecutors have requested a criminal investigation of a massive fetus dump in the Urals region. But the charges surrounding the gruesome incident will only look at the contamination of the soil with formalin, a chemical preservative.

­Four canisters containing a total of 248 mummified human fetuses were discovered in the forest in the Russian Urals in mid-July. The bright blue containers are though to have been discarded from a nearby road, after which their lids unlocked and many fetuses spilled out.

The investigation suggested that the fetuses, thought to have been either terminated, miscarried or prematurely born around 22-26 weeks into pregnancy, were used for scientific purposes, and the illegal dump was an apparent violation of waste control rules.

The tiny bodies were marked with labels leading police to the Urals State Medical Academy, whose director authorities ordered to find out who was behind the dumping.

Some ten days after it was made known, police declared that the incident only constitutes an administrative offense, and no criminal case will be launched.

Question

Thai Group Says Steve Jobs Reincarnated as Warrior-Philosopher

Steve Jobs
© Fox News
When Apple Inc. founder Steve Jobs died after a long fight with cancer last year, software engineer Tony Tseung sent an email to a Buddhist group in Thailand to find out what happened to his old boss now that he's no longer of this world.

This month, Mr. Tseung received his answer. Mr. Jobs has been reincarnated as a celestial warrior-philosopher, the Dhammakaya group said in a special television broadcast, and he's living in a mystical glass palace hovering above his old office at Apple's Cupertino, California headquarters.

Mr. Jobs's death unleashed a wave of grief across the world when he died last October. From Shanghai to Sydney to New York, admirers of his iconic devices laid flowers and lit candles to mourn his passing. Some commentators described the outpouring as an homage to a kind of secular prophet whose innovations changed the ways millions of people live their lives, strengthening the appeal of a brand which already was approaching cult-like status.

Some of Mr. Jobs's admirers in Malaysia later gathered on a tropical island and in a religious ceremony each took a bite from an apple before flinging the fruit into the sea in a bid to speed up his reincarnation.

Now, Phra Chaibul Dhammajayo, abbot at the Dhammakaya Temple here just north of Bangkok, claims Mr. Jobs has already been reborn.

"After Steve Jobs passed away, he was reincarnated as a divine being with a special knowledge and appreciation for science and the arts," the Dhammakaya leader said in the first of a series of sermons beamed to hundreds of thousands of the group's followers around the world.

Phra Chaibul's claims are impossible to corroborate, and his sermons have unleashed significant criticism, including from some skeptics who suspect he is just trying to get attention to help with fundraising. Among other things, he has said the reincarnated Mr. Jobs spends much of his time lounging in a glass palace resembling an Apple store. Phra Chaibul also has said the being formerly known as Steve Jobs is attended by 20 servants, who seem to resemble the Apple store 'Geniuses' who help customers set up their iPhones and other devices here on earth.

Senior monks at the Dhammakaya Temple declined requests for comment.

Star of David

Promised land: Travel advisories describe Israel as country of criminals and bad drivers

Israel has a new reason to be concerned about is image abroad, if the official travel advisories issued to tourists by governments from Australia and Japan to the US are anything to go by.

Extracts from the stark warnings issued to would-be visitors compiled by the liberal daily Haaretz last week paint an unflattering picture which the paper summarizes as that of "a primitive crime-ridden country, full of bad drivers, religious extremists and even undrinkable water."

The US State Department in its advice to would-be travellers to the Holy Land lays heavy but - for now at least - arguably somewhat out of date emphasis on the need for its citizens to "use good judgment and exercise caution when visiting public areas and using transportation facilities in order to minimize exposure to possible terrorist attacks." Austria even advises against using public transport throughout the country.

USA

America is Not the Greatest Country in the World

American flag
I have been on this earth for 19 years, and not once had I ever felt that the United States was the greatest country in the world. All my life, I have never experienced a time of peace, prosperity, and freedom. I live in an era of recession, restricted freedoms, and war. To many, my sentiment towards the country I call home may seem unpatriotic. This is not true. I am an outspoken critic of the United States because I am a lover of my birth country. I care for it. I speak up when we do wrong. I speak up when we do wrong, because I want us to do better. I want us to succeed; indeed, I want us to become the greatest country in the world. I am patriotic. Before my time, we used to be the leaders, the revolutionaries, and the free; the land we call home used to be the path to opportunity, prosperity, and liberty - but we have lost the way.

They have taken away our literature, our ability to let our minds interpret freely and gave us propaganda, and force-fed our brains to accept policies that harm our interests. They have taken away our family members and sent them far off to a foreign land to fight a war based on twisted lies and hidden truths. They have taken away our right to property and prosperity, and they have tricked us to believe that capitalism is not only equated to corporatism, but that it's the root of our economic recession. They have taken away our vested powers to make the decisions for our country and gave those powers to failed organizations made up of leaders of foreign nations. They have taken away our ability to love whoever we were destined to love and have distracted us from realizing that marriage is a fundamental liberty that can never be interfered with. They have prohibited us from the victimless use of marijuana and have imprisoned many peaceful, productive members of society. They have taken away our belief that we can make a change and have sadly proven that our vote no longer counts.

Stormtrooper

Man with Tourette's says cops beat him for their own amusement

Police officers hold batons
© Reuters/Eric Thaye
A Georgia man that suffers from Tourette's says that police deactivated a device that controls his symptoms and then beat him for their own amusement. He is suing Chatham County Sheriff officials for negligence and infliction of emotional distress.

Charles Ray, 34, says Sheriff's deputies near Savannah, Georgia ignored his pleas and then purposely attacked him after he was arrested in July 2010 on drug possession charges.

Upon being brought to the Chatham County jail for processing, Ray alleges that he warned officers that passing through the facility's metal detector would deactivate the battery-powered deep brain stimulator that helps him control the symptoms of Tourette's. If the device does not work, Ray is prone to uncontrollable tics and obscene outbursts typical with the neurological disorder.

"Upon being transported to his cell, plaintiff advised the sheriff's deputies which were escorting him that he should not go through the scanning device as it would affect the batteries in his Tourette's device and render it useless," the complaint, filed this week, reads. "The deputies did not heed plaintiff's warning and forced him to go through the scanning device, which in fact did turn off his Tourette's device and cause the symptoms of Tourette's to evidence themselves, including jerking of his arms and legs, facial tics and other neurological actions which evidenced a lack of control on plaintiff's part."

Newspaper

Self-proclaimed messiah Rev. Sun Myung Moon dies at 92

Rev. Moon
© REUTERS/Lee Jae-Won/Files
Evangelist Reverend Moon Sun-myung blesses newlyweds during a mass wedding ceremony at Sun Moon University in Asan, south of Seoul in this October 14, 2009 file photo.
The Rev. Sun Myung Moon was a self-proclaimed messiah who built a global business empire. He called both North Korean leaders and American presidents his friends, but spent time in prisons in both countries. His followers around the world cherished him, while his detractors accused him of brainwashing recruits and extracting money from worshippers.

These contradictions did nothing to stop the founder of the Unification Church from turning his religious vision into a worldwide movement and a multibillion-dollar corporation stretching from the Korean Peninsula to the United States.

Moon died Monday at a church-owned hospital near his home in Gapyeong County, northeast of Seoul, two weeks after being hospitalized with pneumonia, Unification Church spokesman Ahn Ho-yeul told The Associated Press. Moon's wife and children were at his side, Ahn said. He was 92.

The church will hold a 13-day mourning period and start accepting mourners Thursday at a multipurpose gym at its nearby religious center, the church said in a statement. The funeral will be held on Sept. 15, and Moon will be buried at nearby Cheonseung Mountain, where his home is located, the statement said.

Moon founded his Bible-based religion in Seoul in 1954, a year after the Korean War ended, saying Jesus Christ personally called on him to complete his work.

The church gained fame - and notoriety - by marrying thousands of followers in mass ceremonies presided over by Moon himself. The couples often came from different countries and had never met, but were matched up by Moon in a bid to build a multicultural religious world.

Stormtrooper

Police State: Second Minnesota police officer placed on leave after brutality caught on video

The St. Paul police chief has placed a second officer on leave amid an investigation prompted by a video that shows a suspect being kicked while on the ground and then slammed onto the hood of a squad car, police said Friday, Aug. 31.


Officer Matthew Gorans has been disciplined in the past for using excessive force and was once named in a lawsuit filed by a man who was injured in a confrontation with police. The city settled the suit for about $250,000.

On Wednesday, officer Jesse Zilge was placed on administrative leave after he was identified as the officer shown in a video kicking Eric Hightower during his arrest Tuesday in the city's North End.