“In public school, they were just happy you turned in your work.”
That’s the view of high-school basketball star Josh Hart, who transferred from a Maryland public high school to Sidwell Friends in Washington, D.C., where he hoped to get more attention from college basketball coaches. Here’s more of what he said to the Washington Post:
“With the academics, it was like a whole new world where they were speaking a different language,” recalled Hart, who had transferred from Wheaton. “In public school, they were just happy you turned in your work. Here, on the second day, the teacher was talking about explicating poems and I remember thinking it was going to be a long year.”
The good news is that thanks to the help of some involved parents, Hart improved his study habits and grades and is now an all-around success at Sidwell Friends. But how well are other students being served by schools where “they were just happy you turned in your work”?
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The Fed is a mystical entity for most Americans, a place where economic shamans conjure up money and master the a universe that spins around us.
But the folks at the Fed aren’t shamans, and though many may think they are, masters of the universe they are not.
The central bank does however have an excellent PR department and that is why most people remain snowed.
The post A Look Inside the Federal Reserve (An Infographic) appeared first on AgainstCronyCapitalism.org.
View full post on AgainstCronyCapitalism.org
Since President Obama was re-elected, it can be said that the most important shift in political power for the world in 2012 happened in Beijing. (Of course we still have a month and a half.)
A new, but pretty familiar bunch took the stage of the Communist Party cotillion last week, of which only 1 out of 7 was a “reformer.”
The Party, it appears, is increasingly concerned about it’s own existence given the rapid rise of the Chinese economy, coupled with what appears to be a rather nasty economic slowdown. Many of the “princelings” (the sons of the original Maoist leaders) have become fabulously wealthy and they would like to keep their comfortable stations. As such, they are interested in shutting down competition both in the economic sector and the political. That’s not generally a good recipe for a society.
Hu’s policy of closing the country down was popular inside Beijing for many reasons, but it became China’s new paradigm because it had the support of what David Shambaugh calls the “Iron Quadrangle,” state-owned enterprises, the security apparatus, the People’s Liberation Army, and Communist Party conservatives. “The coalition of these four power interest groups ‘captured’ Hu, who was too weak and disinclined to stand up to them, and they stalled reforms,” writes the noted George Washington University professor. Others define the constituent elements of the conservatives differently—many identify “powerful families” as being inside this circle of power, for instance—but it’s clear that entrenched interests now dominate politics in the Chinese capital.
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I detest them to and never post them and rarely listen to them BUT becuse of the unusual forecasts in this one I though it would be of some interest to some readers.
1) American presidents are rarely allowed a 3rd term.
2) This forecast and the audio message attracted the attention of the mainstream media – something that rarely if ever happens
3) The reaserch the commentator has made and is backed with mostly facts has a strong possiblity of being true
4) The forecast is based on energy mainly gas and oil and will be a 180 degree turn around from the current status of U.S. energy discoveries and suggests that the U.S. could be a net exporter of oil and gas in the hear furture and that there is astrong possiblity the price of oil could drop substantially in the next 2-3 years.This has the potential of pulling the U.S. out of its current economical situation.
5)This will have a huge impact on Canada – especially our oil and gas industry and in particular heavy oil.
Statistics: Posted by DIGGER DAN — Sun Nov 11, 2012 3:44 pm
View full post on opinions.caduceusx.com
The Third Term INSIDE: The Secret Plan to Retain Power Through 2020
A week prior to the election Porter Stansberry predicted Obama would win a second term and seek a third term.
In fact, within hours of Porter’s prediction, the mainstream press – led by ABC News – attacked Porter personally.
But the one thing they could NOT do was refute Porter’s research, which is based on a simple economic fact.
In short, whether you love Obama or think he’s the Anti-Christ, Porter has discovered something not 1 in 100 Americans realize about the President. Something that helped get him re-elected this term and what could ultimately propel him to an unthinkable third term.
This new economic force is surging through the American economy as we speak… and as soon as 2015 there will be a specific event that will occur that could change everything about how our economy works… making millions of Americans vastly wealthier.
But in the process, it will also make a “false idol” out of Obama… giving him an unprecedented public mandate… which he will use (and abuse) to do the specific things that will make your stomach turn – whether you consider yourself Republican, Democrat or Independent.
You can access Porter’s analysis in written and presentation forms here.
Statistics: Posted by DIGGER DAN — Sun Nov 11, 2012 6:07 am
View full post on opinions.caduceusx.com
inside story of US envoy’s assassination
Exclusive: America ‘was warned of embassy attack but did nothing’
Kim Sengupta Friday 14 September 2012
US ambassador Chris Stevens and three staff killed in Libya after protesters angry at film that mocks Prophet Mohamed storm consulate
The provocateurs know politics and religion don’t mix
American officials believe the attack was planned, but Chris Stevens had been back in the country only a short while and the details of his visit to Benghazi, where he and his staff died, were meant to be confidential.
The US administration is now facing a crisis in Libya. Sensitive documents have gone missing from the consulate in Benghazi and the supposedly secret location of the "safe house" in the city, where the staff had retreated, came under sustained mortar attack. Other such refuges across the country are no longer deemed "safe".
Some of the missing papers from the consulate are said to list names of Libyans who are working with Americans, putting them potentially at risk from extremist groups, while some of the other documents are said to relate to oil contracts.
According to senior diplomatic sources, the US State Department had credible information 48 hours before mobs charged the consulate in Benghazi, and the embassy in Cairo, that American missions may be targeted, but no warnings were given for diplomats to go on high alert and "lockdown", under which movement is severely restricted.
Mr Stevens had been on a visit to Germany, Austria and Sweden and had just returned to Libya when the Benghazi trip took place with the US embassy’s security staff deciding that the trip could be undertaken safely.
Eight Americans, some from the military, were wounded in the attack which claimed the lives of Mr Stevens, Sean Smith, an information officer, and two US Marines. All staff from Benghazi have now been moved to the capital, Tripoli, and those whose work is deemed to be non-essential may be flown out of Libya.
In the meantime a Marine Corps FAST Anti-Terrorism Reaction Team has already arrived in the country from a base in Spain and other personnel are believed to be on the way. Additional units have been put on standby to move to other states where their presence may be needed in the outbreak of anti-American fury triggered by publicity about a film which demeaned the Prophet Mohamed.
A mob of several hundred stormed the US embassy in the Yemeni capital Sanaa yesterday. Other missions which have been put on special alert include almost all those in the Middle East, as well as in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Armenia, Burundi and Zambia.
Senior officials are increasingly convinced, however, that the ferocious nature of the Benghazi attack, in which rocket-propelled grenades were used, indicated it was not the result of spontaneous anger due to the video, called Innocence of Muslims. Patrick Kennedy, Under-Secretary at the State Department, said he was convinced the assault was planned due to its extensive nature and the proliferation of weapons.
There is growing belief that the attack was in revenge for the killing in a drone strike in Pakistan of Mohammed Hassan Qaed, an al-Qa’ida operative who was, as his nom-de-guerre Abu Yahya al-Libi suggests, from Libya, and timed for the anniversary of the 11 September attacks.
Senator Bill Nelson, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said: "I am asking my colleagues on the committee to immediately investigate what role al-Qa’ida or its affiliates may have played in the attack and to take appropriate action."
According to security sources the consulate had been given a "health check" in preparation for any violence connected to the 9/11 anniversary. In the event, the perimeter was breached within 15 minutes of an angry crowd starting to attack it at around 10pm on Tuesday night. There was, according to witnesses, little defence put up by the 30 or more local guards meant to protect the staff. Ali Fetori, a 59-year-old accountant who lives near by, said: "The security people just all ran away and the people in charge were the young men with guns and bombs."
Wissam Buhmeid, the commander of the Tripoli government-sanctioned Libya’s Shield Brigade, effectively a police force for Benghazi, maintained that it was anger over the Mohamed video which made the guards abandon their post. "There were definitely people from the security forces who let the attack happen because they were themselves offended by the film; they would absolutely put their loyalty to the Prophet over the consulate. The deaths are all nothing compared to insulting the Prophet."
Mr Stevens, it is believed, was left in the building by the rest of the staff after they failed to find him in dense smoke caused by a blaze which had engulfed the building. He was discovered lying unconscious by local people and taken to a hospital, the Benghazi Medical Centre, where, according to a doctor, Ziad Abu Ziad, he died from smoke inhalation.
An eight-strong American rescue team was sent from Tripoli and taken by troops under Captain Fathi al- Obeidi, of the February 17 Brigade, to the secret safe house to extract around 40 US staff. The building then came under fire from heavy weapons. "I don’t know how they found the place to carry out the attack. It was planned, the accuracy with which the mortars hit us was too good for any ordinary revolutionaries," said Captain Obeidi. "It began to rain down on us, about six mortars fell directly on the path to the villa."
Libyan reinforcements eventually arrived, and the attack ended. News had arrived of Mr Stevens, and his body was picked up from the hospital and taken back to Tripoli with the other dead and the survivors.
Mr Stevens’ mother, Mary Commanday, spoke of her son yesterday. "He did love what he did, and he did a very good job with it. He could have done a lot of other things, but this was his passion. I have a hole in my heart," she said.
Global anger: The protests spread
The furore across the Middle East over the controversial film about the Prophet Mohamed is now threatening to get out of control. In Sana’a, the Yemeni capital, yesterday around 5,000 demonstrators attacked the US embassy, leaving at least 15 people injured. Young protesters, shouted: "We sacrifice ourselves for you, Messenger of God," smashed windows of the security offices and burned at least five cars, witnesses said.
Egypt’s Islamist President Mohamed Morsi yesterday condemned the attack in Benghazi that killed the US ambassador. In a speech in Brussels, Mr Morsi said he had spoken to President Obama and condemned "in the clearest terms" the Tuesday attacks. Despite this, and possibly playing to a domestic audience, President Obama said yesterday that "I don’t think we would consider them an ally, but we don’t consider them an enemy".
Demonstrators in Cairo attacked the mission on Tuesday evening and protests have continued since.
Militants said the anti-Islamic film "will put all the American interests Iraq in danger" and called on Muslims everywhere to "face our joint enemy", as protesters in Baghdad burned American flags yesterday. The warning from the Iranian-backed group Asaib Ahl al-Haq came as demonstrators demanded the closure of the US embassy in the capital.
Islamists warned they may "besiege" the US embassy in Dhaka after security forces stopped around 1,000 protesters marching to the building. The Khelafat Andolon group called for bigger protests as demonstrators threw their fists in the air, burned the flag and chanted anti-US slogans.
There was a Hamas-organised protest in Gaza City, and as many as 100 Arab Israelis took to the streets in Tel Aviv. In Afghanistan, President Hamid Karzai postponed a trip to Norway, fearing violence. Officials in Pakistan said they "expected protests". Protesters in Tunis burnt US flags.
Statistics: Posted by yoda — Thu Sep 13, 2012 7:15 pm
View full post on opinions.caduceusx.com
Bob Woodward has a new book out, The Price of Politics (review), taking an inside look at the U.S. debt crisis from the summer of 2011, where the federal government came within just $5 billion, or just half a day’s worth of its typical spending, of defaulting on its debt payments. While much of the focus on the story has been on its revelations that President Obama had no “Plan B” in case the deal being negotiated by congressional leaders broke down, which led to his being dressed down directly to his face by a congressional staffer, perhaps the most disturbing excerpt provided by the Washington Post from Woodward’s book involves how the crisis finally played out in the mind of U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner:
Geithner thought there was one other consideration. He did not mention it to anyone, not even the president, but he had thought about it a great deal. It was not just that Obama faced an economic choice or a political choice. He faced a moral choice.
The president should not put himself in the position of saying unequivocally that he would veto, Geithner concluded, for one simple reason: No one could be sure how to put the American or the global economy back together again. The impact would be calamitous.
“And the people who would bear the pain of that would be the people less prepared,” Geithner told others, “less able to absorb that cost. It would be something you could not cure. It is not something you can come back and say, a week later, ‘Oh, we fixed it.’ It would be indelible, incurable. It would last for generations.”
Obama never had to confront the veto question. A few days later, House Republicans dropped their insistence on the two-step plan. The final plan accepted a debt limit increase that would take the country through the 2012 presidential contest. It also postponed $2.4 trillion in spending cuts until early 2013.
The long-term deficit crisis had not been solved, but merely put off, leaving the United States at the edge of the fiscal cliff, where it remains today.
Perhaps the most disturbing element of this story, aside from the documented failures of leadership and the fact that it will resurface within weeks after the November 6 election, is that the U.S. Treasury Secretary never thought to provide this kind of council regarding the consequences of defaulting to the President, or anyone else, while the crisis was ongoing. And that is yet another failure of leadership.
View full post on MyGovCost | Government Cost Calculator
The problems that America is experiencing right now are not just confined to the field of economics. The truth is that there are signs of deep decay wherever we look, and without question the United States is rotting from the inside out in thousands of different ways. For a long time our debt-fueled prosperity has masked much of the social decay that has been festering underneath the surface, but now it is becoming increasingly apparent that the thin veneer of civilization that we all take for granted is beginning to disappear. For many Americans, it is easy to point a finger at a particular group or political party and blame them for all of our problems, but the reality of the matter is that our societal decay cuts across all income levels, all political affiliations and all regions of the country. We are being destroyed from within, and this decay can be seen on the streets of the most dilapidated sections of major U.S. cities and it can also be seen in the halls of power in Washington D.C. and on Wall Street. It is undeniable that something has fundamentally changed. The American people do not seem to possess the same level of character that they once had. So where do we go from here?
The following are 25 signs the collapse of America is speeding up as society rots from the inside out….
1. Homicides in Chicago are 38 percent ahead of where they were last year at this time. In fact, the Daily says that “homicide victims in the Windy City outnumber U.S. troops killed in Afghanistan this year”. Things are taking a turn for the worse in other major U.S. cities as well. Just check out the carnage that happened in New York City this past Friday night….
Across barely eight hours, at least seven New Yorkers were murdered and another 21 shot, stabbed or slashed across the city — with only three suspects arrested before the blood stopped flowing
2. Speaking of New York City, a teacher there recently posted the following on her Facebook page….
“Crupi and I survived a shootout today…Thank God we are ok…To all the wanna be gangstas of Staten Island (who say they are from Brooklyn but really aren’t), be grateful you have what you have and stop trying to live a lifestyle you will never understand.”
About a week later, her husband discovered her dead in a pool of her own blood in their apartment. She had been stabbed numerous times.
3. Reporter James Carlini recently discussed the growing problems that roaming gangs of youths are causing along the Magnificent Mile in Chicago….
There is an increase in problems at night with small gangs roaming around looking for the right prey.
Don’t bother looking for any cops, they are far and few between. Little perfume-size pepper spray canisters may be in vogue, politically correct and fit in a purse, but they are not practical. Forget about pepper spray, you’d need a gallon jug of it to stop five or six assailants.
Do you now need a .357 Magnum to walk down the Mag Mile? Maybe a compact .45 or a high-capacity 9MM “just to be on the safe side” is more what you should have. Even the police are telling each other that they better “carry large caliber” off-duty and not be caught unarmed.
4. Down in Florida, a lifeguard named Tomas Lopez was recently fired for attempting to saving a man that was drowning “outside his patrol zone“….
Lopez, 21, was hired by Jeff Ellis Management to monitor a portion of a public beach in Hallandale Beach, Fla. The company allegedly gave Lopez strict instructions to stay inside his patrol zone, ABC News reports.
But when Lopez spotted a man in distress outside his patrol zone Monday afternoon, he ignored those instructions and leapt into action.
By the time lifeguard Tomas Lopez got to the man, other bystanders had already pulled him to shore, the South Florida Sun Sentinel reports. Lopez stayed with the man until paramedics arrived.
That valiant act was Lopez’s last as a lifeguard, as his employer fired him for straying 1,500 feet outside his patrol zone.
5. Authorities say that thieves are stealing identities and filing fraudulent tax returns on a scale never seen before….
With nothing more than ledgers of stolen identity information — Social Security numbers and their corresponding names and birth dates — criminals have electronically filed thousands of false tax returns with made-up incomes and withholding information and have received hundreds of millions of dollars in wrongful refunds, law enforcement officials say.
The criminals, some of them former drug dealers, outwit the Internal Revenue Service by filing a return before the legitimate taxpayer files. Then the criminals receive the refund, sometimes by check but more often though a convenient but hard-to-trace prepaid debit card.
In all, the IRS says that there were approximately 940,000 fake tax returns filed for 2010.
6. U.S. Secret Service agents are supposed to be “the best of the best” and are charged with guarding our top public officials. But even they have exhibited a consistent pattern of moral decay for many years according to one recent report….
Secret Service agents and officers have been accused of leaking sensitive information, publishing porn, sexual assaults, illegal wiretaps, embezzlement and drunkenness on duty, according to a 229-page log released yesterday.
After a prostitution scandal in April, when agents consorted with hookers while preparing for President Obama’s arrival in Colombia, Service Director Mark Sullivan apologized. But he said it was an isolated case, not a “systemic issue.”
However, the log, which the Service Service released yesterday after news organizations requested it under the Freedom of Information Act, shows a pattern of misdeeds dating back to 2003.
7. These days thieves will steal just about anything that is not bolted down and that they can sell for money. For example, three thieves recently broke into a Chicago beauty supply store and took off with hair extensions that were worth a total of $230,000.
9. According to one shocking new report, one out of every 10 Wall Street employees is a “clinical psychopath”. That is a rate about 10 times higher than the general population.
10. Even many police are going crazy these days. Over in Seattle, police zapped a pregnant woman with a taser three times just because she refused to sign a ticket.
11. Down in California, one man recently sliced off the ear of another man with a knife over an unpaid debt.
12. These days we are seeing senseless crimes being committed even in small towns in the heartland of America. Just check out what happened in Helena, Montana about a week ago….
Helena Police are working to identify two young men after what they call a random act of violence over the weekend. Helena Police found a 40-year-old homeless man badly beaten in an alley behind the Gold Bar around 2 a.m. Sunday morning.
Helena Police Detective Sergeant Richard Drysdale states,” The video shows two white males surrounding the victim as he was entering the walkway yelling at him and then knocking him down to the ground where they beat and kicked him until he was unconscious.”
You can find a video report about this incident right here.
13. One town in Connecticut was forced to shut down a beautiful new public fountain because too many people were using it as a toilet.
14. According to one very shocking study, the percentage of U.S. households that contain a married couple with children has fallen from 44.3% in 1960 to 20.2% today.
15. A huge brawl between parents erupted during one recent preschool graduation ceremony down in the Los Angeles area.
16. We continue to see “mob robberies” at retail establishments all over the nation. During one recent mob robbery in Detroit, thugs beat the living daylights out of one very unfortunate stock clerk.
17. Speaking of Detroit, nobody is immune to the spreading violence in that city. For example, just check out what happened recently to a 22-year-old pregnant woman….
A 22-year-old pregnant woman survived after being bound, driven to Detroit, set on fire and shot early Saturday morning.
The woman, who was nine-months pregnant, had returned from a movie with her boyfriend and dropped him off at his house in Warren when she was approached from behind, Warren police Sgt. Dave Geffert said.
The woman’s hands, feet and eyes were bound with duct tape. She was then forced into her car and driven to an unknown place in Detroit where she was doused with lighter fluid, set on fire and shot once in the upper back, he said.
18. Many families returned to their homes following the recent wildfires in Colorado only to discover that their houses had been robbed and looted.
19. One 33-year-old art teacher in Arizona was not satisfied with only having sex with one of her students. In fact, police have charged her with having sex with four of her male students.
20. Down in Florida, one man has actually been charged with biting the lips off of a kitten.
21. Over in Waco, Texas a 22-year-old man recently strangled and ate the family dog while he was high on drugs.
22. Of course most of us have heard of the recent outbreak of “zombie attacks” around the nation where criminals have actually been biting their victims and chewing their flesh. The following is another example of this phenomenon from a recent case in central New York….
A synthetic drug known as “bath salts” is blamed for some bizarre behavior in central New York.
The Utica Observer-Dispatch reports that police officers were called to Stanley’s Bar Saturday night to check out a woman described as emotionally disturbed. When an officer approached her, she lunged at him and tried to bite his face. Police say she screamed that she wanted to “kill someone and eat them.”
The woman was taken to St. Luke’s Memorial Hospital for a mental health evaluation.
Another very disturbing “zombie incident” took place down in Georgia recently….
Karl Laventure, 21, was believed to be high on bath salts when he tried to attack the officers in Lilburn, Georgia.
And after they had managed to subdue him he began threatening to eat them.
Laventure appeared out of some woods and was seen running naked around a golf range near Atlanta, swinging a club around his head and screaming.
Police said that it took several officers to subdue the man who had ‘super-human strength’.
23. All over America, people seem to be losing their minds. Just check out what one man in New Jersey did recently when police arrived at his home….
Officers got a call that morning when a witness said Carter was threatening to harm himself with a knife. Two cops responded, kicked in the door and found Carter in the corner, the station reported.
Carter allegedly ignored officers’ orders to put down the knife, and instead began stabbing himself in the abdomen, neck and legs.
An attempt to pepper spray the bleeding man had no effect, the Associated Press reported.
That’s when Carter — disemboweled but responsive — reportedly threw bits of his skin and intestines at the officers.
24. One woman in the St. Louis area was recently caught cooking meth in her purse inside a Wal-Mart store.
25. Anyone that believes that slavery has been abolished in America does not know what they are talking about. Every single night sex slaves are being horribly abused all over the United States. The following is from a recent Daily Mail article….
The FBI has rescued 79 teens held against their will and forced into prostitution from hotels, truck stops and stores during a three-day swoop on sex-trafficking rings across the country.
The sex slaves were aged between 13 and 17, although one said she had been involved in prostitution since she was just 11, authorities said.
During the sting operations across 57 U.S. cities – including Atlanta, Sacramento and Toledo, Ohio – 104 alleged pimps were arrested.
It is estimated that “100,000 children are victims of prostitution and trafficking each year” in the United States.
Are you starting to get the picture?
Sadly, there are dozens and dozens more examples like these. If you want to see more examples of how the collapse of America is speeding up, check out these articles that I recently published….
The frightening thing is that this breakdown of our society is happening at the same time that our economy is completely falling to pieces.
This economic decline that we are experiencing is shredding the middle class and it is plunging millions of Americans into very desperate circumstances. The following is a brief excerpt from a recent Rolling Stone article….
Every night around nine, Janis Adkins falls asleep in the back of her Toyota Sienna van in a church parking lot at the edge of Santa Barbara, California. On the van’s roof is a black Yakima SpaceBooster, full of previous-life belongings like a snorkel and fins and camping gear. Adkins, who is 56 years old, parks the van at the lot’s remotest corner, aligning its side with a row of dense, shading avocado trees. The trees provide privacy, but they are also useful because she can pick their fallen fruit, and she doesn’t always have enough to eat. Despite a continuous, two-year job search, she remains without dependable work. She says she doesn’t need to eat much – if she gets a decent hot meal in the morning, she can get by for the rest of the day on a piece of fruit or bulk-purchased almonds – but food stamps supply only a fraction of her nutritional needs, so foraging opportunities are welcome.
Prior to the Great Recession, Adkins owned and ran a successful plant nursery in Moab, Utah. At its peak, it was grossing $300,000 a year. She had never before been unemployed – she’d worked for 40 years, through three major recessions.
You can read the rest of the article right here.
What would you do if you were in a similar situation?
Sadly, many more Americans will end up just like her. As I wrote about the other day, the U.S. economy is not going to be able to produce enough jobs for everyone anymore. In fact, the overall employment picture is going to keep getting worse for working Americans.
Things have gotten so bad that even many very highly educated scientists cannot find jobs in America right now. Almost everybody is hurting, and we haven’t even gotten to the next wave of the economic collapse yet.
The next time that there is a major spike in the unemployment rate, millions of Americans will lose all hope and will become very desperate.
And desperate people do desperate things.
The rot and decay that we are witnessing right now is just the beginning.
Things are going to get a lot worse.
So let us hope for the best, but let us also prepare for the worst.
View full post on The Economic Collapse
A 12,000-person mile-round glass mothership is about to land in the heart of Silicon Valley.
Futuristic, with its own self-contained electricity plant: plans for Apple’s new disc-shaped headquarters encompass the lasting legacy of the late Steve Jobs – a slick design, with an uber-efficient core.
Over the years dozens of technophiles, seduced by three decades of technological smut, have made the pilgrimage to One Infinite Loop, Apple’s current base in Cupertino, in the hope of getting under the skin of the highly-secretive company.
Few make it inside the main Apple building. A throng of security guards greets them instead, escorting them back onto the sidewalk, sometimes pointing them in the direction of the on-campus shop where they can buy a token Apple T-Shirt.
But a new book, released in the UK this week, finally gives a non-partisan insight into life as an Apple employee. And it isn’t what most expect.
According to Inside Apple, Apple is a glut of windowless offices, a neutering of egos and an ethos of fear with “cultish” overtones.
“Apple doesn’t talk about Apple. Apple talks about Apple products,” Adam Lashinsky, author of the book and editor of Fortune Magazine, told The Daily Telegraph.
Perhaps for good reason; the illusion of a free-spirited workforce sitting around on bean bags playing on the latest gizmos before they have their free lunch would be shattered.
Instead, a dictatorial CEO rules with an iron fist, Mr Lashinsky said. Employees don’t ask questions and they leave their egos at the door. There is only one person who was allowed to have a public ego and that was Steve Jobs, he said.
“It is a tough place to work. It is a very demanding work environment. It is not a joyous place the way Google presents itself,” Mr Lashinsky said. “It’s not a particularly happy place but it breeds people who can thrive in that environment. It’s a pressure cooker and some people like that.”
Apple employees are like pieces in a jigsaw puzzle and the only person who knows how to fit the pieces together is the CEO, a role Steve Jobs held until it was handed to Tim Cook last year.
Amid the wires, nodules and circuit board designs, is a company that is so clandestine, its own workers don’t know what they are creating, he said.
Windowless chambers, called lock-down rooms, are the only place where the next iPad or iPhone can be discussed, and even then senior vice presidents only enter the room to discuss their part in a design before being asked to leave, he said.
Information is strictly restricted to a select 100, hand-picked by Steve Jobs himself.
When it comes to product launch day, Apple employees gather around the television in the cafeteria to find out about the new product. They will be as surprised as everyone else despite having helped build it, said Mr Lashinsky.
Secrecy is engrained into every employee, Mr Lashinsky said. Anyone caught revealing Apple secrets whether accidental or intentional is dealt with swiftly: immediate termination from the company.
In the book, one employee recalled how he had nightmares over threats made to employees about breaching confidentiality.
"[Jobs would] say, ‘Anything disclosed from this meeting will result not just in termination but in the prosecution to the fullest extent that our lawyers can.’ That made me very uncomfortable. You have to watch everything you do. I’d have nightmares," the employee told Mr Lashinsky.
Even staff members who have left the business live in fear of retribution, Mr Lashinsky said.
“Jobs’s brutality in dealing with subordinates legitimised a frighteningly harsh, bullying, and demanding culture at Apple. Under Jobs a culture of fear and intimidation found roots throughout the organisation,” Mr Lashinsky wrote.
For a company so revered for its innovation, the neutering of entrepreneurial spirit might seem counterproductive, but Apple’s draconian treatment of its workforce is actually part of its formula for success, Mr Lashinsky explained. It creates a loyal ethos among the staff, protecting the products.
Tim Cook once said: "That’s part of the magic of Apple. And I don’t want to let anybody know our magic because I don’t want anybody copying it."
Cultish overtones or not, the Apple juggernaut shows no sign of stalling. This week Apple was valued at $415 billion – putting it neck and neck with Exxon Mobil as the world’s most valuable company.
Statistics: Posted by yoda — Sun Jan 29, 2012 6:10 pm
View full post on opinions.caduceusx.com
Fraud By The Big Banks – More Than Anything Done By The Little Guy – Caused The Financial Crisis
The U.S. Treasury’s Office of Thrift Supervision noted last year (page 7):
The FBI estimates that 80 percent of all mortgage fraud involves collaboration
or collusion by industry insiders.
This confirms what one of the country’s top fraud experts has said for years: that it was fraud by the big banks – more than anything done by the little guy – which caused the financial crisis:
William K. Black – professor of economics and law, and the senior regulator during the S & L crisis – explained last month before to the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission why banks gave home loans to people who they knew couldn’t repay. The whole piece is a must-read, but here are excerpts from the introduction:
The data demonstrate conclusively that most liar’s loans were fraudulent, which means that there were millions of fraudulent mortgage loans because liar’s loans became common (Credit Suisse estimates that they represented 49% of new originations by 2006). The data also demonstrate that even minimal underwriting of the loan files was sufficient to detect the overwhelming majority of such fraudulent liar’s loans. No honest, rational lender would make large numbers of liar’s loans. The epidemic of mortgage fraud was so large that it hyper-inflated the housing bubble, which allowed refinancing to further extend the life of the bubble (and the depth of the ultimate Great Recession.
In the cases where there have been even minimal investigations (New Century, Aurora/Lehman, Citi, WaMu, Countrywide, and IndyMac) senior lender officials were aware that liar’s loans were typically fraudulent. The lenders could not make an honest business out of selling overwhelmingly fraudulent mortgages.
Liar’s loans were done for the usual reason – they optimized (fictional) short-term accounting income by creating a “sure thing” (Akerlof & Romer 1993). A fraudulent lender optimizes short-term fictional accounting income and longer term (real) losses by following a four-part recipe:
A. Extreme Growth
B. Making bad loans at a premium yield
C. Extreme leverage
D. Grossly inadequate loss reserves
Note that this same recipe maximizes fictional profits and real losses. This destroys the lender, but it makes senior officers that control the lender wealthy. This explains Akerlof & Romer’s title – Looting: The Economic Underworld of Bankruptcy for Profit. The failure of the firm is not a failure of the fraud scheme. (Modern bailouts may even recapitalize the looted bank and leave the looters in charge of it.)
The first two “ingredients” are related. Home lending is a mature, reasonably competitive industry. A lender cannot grow extremely rapidly by making good loans. If he tried, he’d have to cut his yield and his competitors would respond. His income would decline. But he can guarantee the ability to grow extremely rapidly by being indifferent to loan quality and charging weaker credit risks, or more naïve borrowers, a premium yield.
In order to become indifferent to loan quality the officers controlling the lender must eviscerate its underwriting.
There is no honest reason for a secured lender to seek or permit inflated appraisal values. This is a sure marker of accounting control fraud – a marker that juries easily understand.
In other words, banks made loans to borrowers who they knew couldn’t really repay because the heads of the banks could make huge bonuses based on high volumes and fraudulent appraisals, and they didn’t care if their own companies later failed.
In short, they looted their companies and the economy as a whole.
Professor Black brings us current to where we are today:
History demonstrates that if the control frauds get away with their frauds they will strike again.
By allowing the banks to use their political power to gimmick the accounting rules to permit them to hide their massive losses on liar’s loans we have made it far harder to take effective administrative, civil, and criminal sanctions against the elite frauds that caused the Great Recession. Hiding the losses also adopts the dishonest Japanese approach that cripples economic recovery and public integrity.
Prosecuting the elites control frauds can be done successfully. Create a new “Top 100” priority list and appoint regulators that will make supporting the Justice Department a top agency priority. That’s how we obtained over 1000 priority felony convictions of elite S&L criminals. No controlling officer of a large, non-prime specialty lender has been convicted of running a control fraud. Only one has even been indicted.
The FBI has written that any discussion of the crisis that ignores the role of mortgage fraud is “irresponsible.”
But instead of prosecuting fraud, the government just continues to cover it up.
Statistics: Posted by yoda — Wed Dec 14, 2011 1:56 pm
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