Monday, February 27, 2012

Job Seekers and Employers Losing the Battle - Square-Pegged Workers in a Round-Holed Workplace

Job seekers, I've got news for you: your skills are outdated, your experience doesn't apply and you don't fit the company culture...welcome to the current state-of-affairs in job search.

Don't worry Employers, I've got news for you too: your standards are too high, the time and expense you spend in recruiting is too great and you are looking for talent that doesn't exist...welcome to the current state-of-affairs in talent acquisition.

Don't believe me? Look at this information from a BusinessWeek article. FACT: We've got 13M+ people out of work and 3M+ open jobs - and climbing. Why? Because our talent doesn't match the job openings:

"...it's evidence of an emerging structural shift in the U.S. economy that has created serious mismatches between workers and employers. People thrown out of shrinking sectors such as construction, finance, and retail lack the skills and training for openings in growing fields including education, accounting, health care, and government."

But wait, there's more:

"As bad as it is now, the mismatch will create bigger problems when the economy begins to expand again. First, the unemployment rate is likely to remain distressingly high because many people who want jobs will lack the appropriate qualifications. Second inflation could pick up sooner than expected if employers are forced into bidding wars to recruit the few people who are qualified for the work..."

The article goes on to explain a new index to measure the challenges in the labor market. Referred to as the 'Jobs Misery Index' (I'm not kidding!), it is the sum of the unemployment rate and the jobs openings rate. Why should you care? Well, historically, this number has hung at 8%. But last spring, it started a steep ascent and is now over 10% and some suggest it could stay there, even when the economy starts to recover. One potential reason for it to stay high is the fact that many Americans won't take jobs they feel are beneath them. Another is the inability (or desire) for talent to relocate i.e. job seekers with homes they can't (or won't) sell keep them stuck in a certain place. Yet, while the pride of workers and the immobility of talent hurts job placement rates for sure, the overwhelming factor remains that we've got a large pool of square-pegged job seekers who can't fit into a round-holed workplace. Here's an example:

Graduation season is approaching and soon millions of diploma-holding job seekers will start looking for work. Yet, without any practical work experience (a 2007 survey indicates that less than 30% of high school and college students work while in school, and those that do are rarely employed in professional settings), these job seekers will find it tough to get hired into corporate America. The 'Catch 222 of needing experience to get experience will leave many of these new grads in a professional stall pattern. And, when the economy rebounds, if companies aren't willing to train them, the road to a satisfying career could be a long one.

Where does this leave us?

Well, I agree with the article's reality check. Two things will need to occur:

1) Job seekers are going to need to take lesser-paying jobs as part of a 'course correction' for their career paths that will eventually lead to better pay and longer-term employability.

2) Companies are going to need to expand and improve their on-the-job training and succession planning so they can hire talent which are a 50% fit and develop them instead holding out for the 90% fit that will never knock on their door.

Now, I know what you are thinking. Job seekers and employers reading this are both saying, "Why me?" The answer: Because to get what you really want, you've got to put some skin in the game. It's not sacrifice, it's investment in a better future. As the article closing argument states:

"A mismatch of work and workers is never a good thing. But smart policy - combined with realism on the part of the employers and job seekers - can minimize the disruption."

Change is the Theme in a Roiling Cellular Industry

Now comes the hard part. Or, at least, the unwieldy, contentious, cumbersome and frustrating part.

In November, Verizon Wireless said that it will open its network to devices other than those it directly subsidizes. The story is well told at BusinessWeek: The company is facing a dwindling number of potential new subscribers and is being pushed by companies itching to create alternate paths to deliver their content to subscribers. This led it - and other carriers - to adopt the more open model that is popular in Europe and Asia.

The pronouncement became only somewhat less vague this week as Verizon Wireless held a meeting in New York City to outline its plans to vendors. The piece says another meeting will be held with developers and details are scarce with, for instance, no details on pricing or developer specs.

A recent post at the Industry Standard, which reports on the same conclave, reports that Verizon Wireless sounded defensive about the specs and the certification process. The writer goes through the recent history which, if nothing else, is entertaining: The unveiling of the iPhone last year was followed by rumors of a "Google phone," which turned out to be the more ambitious Android platform. This, in turn, was followed by open network announcements by Verizon Wireless and other carriers and a run of price reductions. The auction got under way in January. Throw in the LiMo open source platform - which the writer doesn't mention - and you have ample reason to follow his caution to be careful as the industry evolves rapidly and companies perhaps over promise.

This wider landscape clearly is encouraging new entrants. It's not a shock, for instance, to see Dell getting ready to take the smartphone plunge. It has been in the mobile game before - with the Axim PDA - and makes "cellularized" laptops. The company also needs to keep pace with rivals such as Apple, Hewlett-Packard and Toshiba, according to Network World. The piece reports on a Digitimes story that says Dell is working on a Windows Mobile device. Surprise or not, it is an indication of the creativity and marketing prowess that will join an already sophisticated sector. Clearly, the cellular industry is the big leagues.

The change in Verizon's access policies, as BusinessWeek points out, is deeply linked to the 700 MHz auction. That auction is over, though the winners have not yet been revealed. News.com reports that the various blocks of spectrum will be treated differently. The fate of the D block - which includes spectrum to be set aside for nationwide emergency services - is up in the air (no pun intended) because it didn't garner enough interest. Bidding was more robust for the other blocks (C, A, B and E) and the reserve prices were met. AT&T was mentioned as a particularly active participant.

This Capitol Valley post does a couple of things. It gives a good explanation of open access in plain English. More importantly - the concept of open access isn't terribly complex, so the explanation is nice but not vital - is the point that open access won't be too big a deal in the U.S. because carrier largesse in terms of phone subsidies is large enough to make all but the most ardent simply take the phone and the much lower monthly charge. That certainly is the case today. We must see, however, whether market forces and competition close the differential enough to make open access a bigger issue down the road.

It's a great time to be in - or reporting on - the cellular industry. The sector is evolving rapidly on several overlapping fronts. As is common in highly competitive industries, the winners will be the end users.

Sophisticated Hackers Get Personal

Humans, as a species, have a very trusting nature. We know that danger lurks in shadowy corners and occasionally marches out in broad sunshine. We just don't think that it's in every corner and we're confident that measures are in place that will protect us from the worst of the worst. Even when presented with a mountain of evidence that proves a particular course of action is unwise, we tend to think that we'll be alright. How else do you explain the alarming number of people who persist in advertising their personal details at every online opportunity presented to them?

The Internet is an indisputably convenient tool that enables us to significantly simplify our lives. We can bank online; do all of our grocery shopping, chat with friends, meet new people, play social games, and even date. There is very little need for us to leave the safety of our homes. All we need to do is trust the safety of all the applications we use.

But, no matter how secure sites claim to be there is always the danger of information being lost, stolen or misappropriated in some way. Hacking is no different from any other field of occupation in that it constantly develops and evolves. Increasingly sophisticated techniques allow hackers to fly in and out of sites undetected, wrecking havoc as they go.

Social networking sites, such as Facebook and MySpace, are like gold mines to the socially ill-adjusted. People don't give a thought to including all manner of personal details on these sites. Why wouldn't they? They're among friends, and the sites are assuredly secure.

This would be good news, except that an increasing number of pages are being hi-jacked and used for malicious purposes. In November last year, News Corp's pages on MySpace were hi-jacked so that when anyone clicked on them they were redirected to a site in China. The site aimed to lure users into downloading malicious software that would take control of their PCs.

Hackers copy friend-lists from social networks and send mass emails under friendly disguises. We all know not to open attachments or emails from people we don't know, but why would we suspect our friends of malicious intent? We click open and descend into cyber-hell.

A new strategy used by hacking masterminds involves placing help-wanted ads in underground channels and hiring professional writers to pen enticing emails and ads, completely devoid of suspicious content. The innocuous nature and well-written content lulls users into a false sense of security. We forget all we've learnt about saying no to strangers and walk blindly into the dragon's lair.

Hackers are also extending their scope of interest, turning their attention to "smartphones". Phones like Apple's iPhone can run entire operating systems, support email applications and are capable of storing every aspect of your life. Many people are helpless without their smartphones because they keep all their information on them. They're a hacker's paradise. It's never been easier for them to steal your identity or hack into your bank account.

Cyber criminals use viruses and worms to disrupt and weaken corporate databases so that they can go in and steal ideas, designs and blueprints for prototypes. Intellectual property fetches magnificent prices on the cyber blackmarket.

We all need to get our heads out of the sand and face up to the fact that with incredible convenience comes incredible danger. For our financial, psychological and physical safety, we need to wise up and rethink what information we're willing to make public. We also need to consider the adage that warns against putting all of our eggs in one basket. We can't have become so dependent on technology that we can't make a trip to the supermarket when we run out of toilet paper rather than click "add to basket".

Why Do You Want To Blog?

Try searching in Google for the key words 'blogging for beginners' today and it will show you at least 2,650,000 links relating to this subject. Put in the key words 'why blog' and it will show you more than 315,000,000 hits. It's not exactly a bad thing, but sometimes it paralyzes the searcher with the sheer number of posts and ideas about blogging. These links will tell you how easy it is to have your own blog; how getting your blog address is easy as pie, how you can just pick it up from any one of those blogging sites, scribble a few words, click publish and your blog will be up and running in minutes. Some of these links will even show you how you can make money off your blog and then cite a few bloggers who have made it big.

However, before you get carried away and start having delusions of internet grandeur, pause for a moment and try to answer this question; Why do you want to blog? (What is your goal? What is your motivation?)

This is a question that is just begging to be answered. Sure, you can blog for blogging's sake if you're just another bored person who doesn't have any better thing to do, who's heard about blogging, who woke up on the wrong side of the bed one morning, and then declared to himself that it's a good day to create a blog. If this kind of impetuousness works for you, then go ahead, be my guest, and more power to you.

But if you are a person who values your time, who wants to have your own piece of lasting internet real estate, this question can spell the difference between having a fulfilling (and hopefully lucrative) online existence, and wasting a lot of time. If you don't have a clear answer to this question and you just blog for kicks(and as I said, you are certainly free to do so), then your blog is eventually destined to join the unnamed tombs of blogs that have fallen into the clutches of the internet's blog cemeteries. And there, laid to waste for all eternity, goes those innumerable hours spent blogging in front of your computer.

Consider this: In April 2007, Technorati's CEO, David Silfry reported that his company as of March 2007 has tracked 70 million blogs(note1) floating around the internet. When quizzed further by Businessweek about this number, it turned out that only 21% of all tracked weblogs are active(note2). Knowing yourself and having a clear idea of what you want has always been the foundation of all successful and lasting endeavors. In the same way, having a good understanding of why you want to blog ensures that you increase your chances of staying on the active side of Technorati's statistic.

Live Reported From the Stock Exchange: GOOG (+23%) - YHOO (-30%)

The game continues ...

Google

At the moment (25th of October) Google’s stock is valued 486.6 and Yahoo 24.5 dollar. In December (2005) the Google / Yahoo share price ratio was about 10, now the ratio increased to 20.
Google’s growth is leveraged by two factors: autonomous growth and growth through takeovers. For the autonomous part, Google needs a continuous increase in human resources. The amount of lawyers alone has risen from one to hundred already.

...”We will redouble our efforts to identify and hire the most qualified candidates ... we are committed to make Google a natural home for a diverse group of the most talented people in our industry and we will continue to work towards that goal.” (Google's Annual report 2004 investor.google.com/pdf/2004_AnnualReport.pdf - the file is fully protected to copy text)

This strategy is only possible for the autonomous part. For the takeover part, the human resources come as a package deal; then the human resources are part of the firm they takeover. In this case previous competitors are to cooperate in the new organization. Like in the case of the recent acquisition of YouTube.

... YouTube received funding from Sequoia Capital in November 2005 and the service was officially launched in December 2005. Chad Hurley and Steve Chen (two of the three original founders) proceeded to become the first members of the YouTube management team and currently serve as Chief Executive Officer and Chief Technology Officer respectively. (www.youtube.com/about)
When more companies are taken over, integration will become the enabling factor for future growth. Internal competition is a continuous threat. (This is not different for countries that absorb immigrants to facilitate growth)

In the meanwhile we read: “YouTube will stay independent, really! - The video site will keep its identity after its $1.65 billion sale to Google is complete, its CEO insists, but 'a lot [needs] to be figured out.' “ ([http://money.cnn.com/2006/10/13/news/companies/] pluggedin_google.youtube.fortune/index.htm)
And:

“How Google's Garden Grows. Its stock rally is being fueled by increasing optimism that Google will finally succeed in branching beyond search-related ads ... also successfully expand into other, more lucrative markets such as e-commerce ...“

When to Pray for Inflation, Currency Devaluation and Global Fear

Why would the Fed (the Federal Reserve Bank of America) want higher inflation?

Think about it. It's so they can make more money.

This is how I see it:

If inflation goes out of their target range on the upside, they use monetary policy to increase the interest rates to bring the inflation back into target range. Debt costs increase and this supposedly forces people to spend less to avoid the increased cost of the debt. Which, in turn forces consumer prices down to encourage more spending - i.e. lower inflation. But, on the flip side, where does the Reserve Bank (South Africa and the USA) make their money? Interest. If they are targeting the inflation rate by increasing interest rates, it has a very simple effect of MAKING THEM MORE MONEY.

What does this mean though? Let's break it down to a very simple calculation. If the South African inflation rate is sitting at around 4.1% and the American inflation rate is sitting at around 2.7%, what does this mean for you if you have money (cash capital) sitting in the bank? If it's sitting in S.A., it's losing value faster than if it were sitting in the USA. (These rates were at the time of writing this article).

But this is a pretty minuscule difference and will only really be felt by the super-rich, so it doesn't warrant any action, especially if we add currency fluctuations and interest earnings into the mix.

So, let's look at the currency quickly. The US Dollar has taken a beating across the board over the last year. Why? Was it on purpose? I think so, but I am no economist. I just try look at all the data with an open mind to see what specific incentives might be driving devaluing of the USD. And my conclusion of many hours of research is this - The U.S.A. is purposefully trying to inflate it's way out of the incredible debt it has. There are a host of reasons for this, but I'll go into that in another article some other time, as there are far too many to list here. What I will mention though, is that the new debt ceiling allows the US government to borrow more money (up to nearly $17 trillion) and they are already talking about QE3 (a third round of quantitative easing - basically printing more money later in 2011). At the same time, the more the currency devalues, the higher the inflation, the more the Federal Reserve Bank can use inflation targeting as an excuse to raise interest rates.

So who wins with this scenario? The U.S.A. inflates away large chunks of it's incredible debt. The Fed can use inflation as an excuse to raise the interest rates so it can effectively make more money. And the average consumer (namely us) is stuck in the middle with no control whatsoever over any of this.

How does this affect South Africa? Well, keep in mind that the USD plays an incredibly important part in the international financial system. It is the reserve currency used as the base measurement for pretty much all international trade. When the US dollar devalues against the Rand, it doesn't necessarily mean that the Rand has become stronger (it just means the USD has become weaker). But it does mean we sit facing very difficult problems due to our heavy reliance on exports for a large portion of our GDP. In fact, haven't you noticed a few articles recently about the S.A. government taking specific measures to devalue the Rand? If you haven't, take a look at these articles and do a bit of research for yourself:

Protecting Us From Opportunity

Securities laws are supposed to protect us from harm, but the rules that govern privately placed investments can end up shielding potential investors, not from fraud or theft, but from opportunity.

Federal laws were written after the Crash of 1929 to protect investors, particularly individuals with small portfolios, who got caught up in the mania of the Roaring Twenties and lost everything, often on investments they did not fully understand. The goal was to force companies to provide thorough and accurate data so that investors could make informed decisions. Not necessarily successful ones; the law recognized that investments will always have risk and many are not going to work out. The idea was that investors are entitled to know, in advance, exactly what they are getting into.

Today, however, this perfectly reasonable principle is producing patently unreasonable consequences. Because of U.S. securities regulations, Americans will be the only ones not allowed to invest in Facebook, an American company(1); a hedge fund is in legal trouble in Massachusetts for creating a website explaining its investment philosophy(2); and financial advisors who direct very large portfolios for clients may be unable to participate in similar investments themselves, even if clients would prefer that the advisor eat what he cooks.

The reason Americans will not be able to invest in Facebook is, paradoxically, because the public learned too much about the deal. Regulators consider investments in closely-held companies, such as Facebook, to be riskier because such companies are under less scrutiny from the Securities and Exchange Commission. Except for the smallest transactions, offerings can only be made privately to "sophisticated" investors who, based on the size of their investment portfolios, are presumed to have the experience and smarts to size up investments on their own or the cash to hire someone to do it for them.

The Facebook offering was nominally private, but the deal gained a great deal of attention in the general media, reaching members of the public who ordinarily would not be privy to such eyes-only information. Goldman Sachs, worried that regulators might decide the media attention constituted an offering to non-sophisticated investors, preemptively limited the offering to non-Americans. The company said in a statement, "Goldman Sachs concluded that the level of media attention might not be consistent with the proper completion of a U.S. private placement under U.S. law."

Goldman Sachs was not being unreasonable in thinking that the publicity might cause regulatory problems. In 2007, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts sanctioned a hedge fund for giving information about itself on a publicly accessible website, claiming that the website constituted an illegal public offering. The hedge fund, Bulldog Investors, did not make any untruthful claims, nor did it directly encourage viewers of the website to invest. It simply gave a transparent account of its strategy and track record.

Nevertheless, the state argued that "even though not couched in terms of a direct offer," information on a website still might "condition the public mind or arouse public interest in the particular securities." In other words, information must be kept away from the masses, who might not be intelligent enough to handle it without becoming "aroused" and making rash investments. Bulldog fought back and legal action is ongoing.

Of course, no matter how much small-time investors' interests were piqued by the media coverage of the Facebook deal or by Bulldog's website, they still wouldn't have been able to take any real action regarding those opportunities. In addition to restricting the flow of information to those not considered "sophisticated" enough to make complex investments, securities regulations also outright prohibit most people from taking part in these deals.

The Facebook shares would have been offered only to "qualified purchasers," and, no matter who read its website, Bulldog was permitted to enroll only "accredited investors." Both of those words, "qualified" and "accredited," mean wealthy. To be a "qualified purchaser" an individual must have an investment portfolio of at least $5 million. The standard is lower for "accredited investors." A person might be considered adequately sophisticated to make an investment one day, and then, due to an overall drop in the stock market, lose that mark of sophistication the next day. Financial advisors who use their expertise to evaluate investments for wealthy clients are prohibited from using that same expertise in managing their own portfolios.

There is a fine line between preventing con artists from taking advantage of ordinary investors and blocking individuals from making their own decisions about what risks to take. The line is currently drawn in the wrong place. Moving it back to where it belongs will require two major adjustments to the Depression-era laws.

First, information that is accurate and not misleading should never be illegal, no matter how widely it is disseminated. The current suppression of information creates an unfair advantage for certain investors. People who have no idea what kinds of deals and terms are being offered to the most sophisticated investors are likely to accept much less favorable terms themselves. We see a lot of deals offered to moderately wealthy investors that bigger players would never touch.

Second, the criteria for becoming a "qualified purchaser" or "accredited investor" should be based on the size of an investor's portfolio in relation to the potential investment, rather than simple net worth. A qualified purchaser might be defined as someone for whom the investment would not represent more than, say, 3 percent of a portfolio. An accredited investor might be someone for whom the investment would not exceed perhaps 5 or 10 percent. The total exposure in a small portfolio to nonpublic investments could be limited to something like 10 or 20 percent.

Usually, a private company can include up to 100 accredited investors or 500 qualified purchasers. Because of this limit on the number of investors, all but the smallest deals are likely to have steep enough minimum investments that these percentage-based limits would keep out most mom-and-pop participants. But the percentage limits would still permit small investors to at least participate, in a modest way, in some of the same types of opportunities that bigger players get.

Securities laws were intended to guarantee investors fair treatment, which is an achievable goal. While it might be "fair" in some people's minds to prohibit all Americans, including the wealthiest, from participating (wisely or otherwise) in Facebook's forthcoming offering, it certainly misses the point. The securities laws have drifted off target. It's time to get them pointed in the right direction again.

Sources:

Credit Card Issuers Reduce Vulnerable Data For Consumer Protection

In response to pressure from the National Retail Federation, Visa has agreed to reduce the amount of personal data they store in merchant systems. Retailers typically store credit card information in their systems to avoid having to repeat the process of inputting data every time they complete a transaction. Many corporations, however, have been victims of security breaches in which customer information was stolen. Credit card numbers can be used to access personal data and eventually lead to identity theft.

"By reducing the amount of vulnerable data in merchant systems that must be protected from compromise, merchants can see greater security as well as more streamlined compliance needs," said Eduardo Perez, who heads Visa's Global Payment System Security.

According to Perez, the latest objective of the company will be to expand security measures that are already intact. BusinessWeek notes that Visa will be encouraging more banks and merchants to disguise consumer security numbers and passwords when they're used in public. They'll also try to optimize their tokenization methods, which substitute proxy numbers for priority account numbers (PANs). PAN data is often used to resolve disputes and for other purposes.

BusinessWeek says that in the coming months, Visa will look to their shareholders for feedback on their security efforts. The company will be relying heavily on banks to follow through on their new measures and keep consumer data from falling directly into the hands of merchants.

While retailers typically try to implement best practices to secure personal data, no one can prepare for the unexpected. As technology continues to evolve, people are finding easier ways to hack into even the toughest security systems. The risk of identity theft runs high once personal information has fallen into the wrong hands. According to SpamLaws.com, approximately 10 million Americans are victims of identity theft every year, and less than half of all victims realize the theft has occurred within the first three months. For this reason, it's more important than ever to use caution when swiping a credit card.

Credit card fraud can result in long-term credit score damage. After stealing your personal data, a thief can go on a reckless spending spree and do severe damage to your credit card or bank account. It can take years to rebuild your credit history after an identity theft incident, and you may have difficulty obtaining loans, lines of credit, and even employment or a rented residence once your credit score has been tarnished. Reviewing your credit card statements thoroughly and regularly monitoring your credit reports can help you keep an eye out for possible signs of credit card fraud and identity theft.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Wireless Still Dangerous Despite the Reduced Hype

Perhaps the major overall growth area in networking is wireless. Companies and consumers are putting more data on the air every day. Wireless safety still is a big issue, of course, but it doesn't seem to be getting quite as much hype as it was a year ago.

Safety at public hotspots rightfully gets the most attention. A vnunet.com piece, which reports on a study from Sophos, strongly suggests that a parallel problem is afoot. Insecure home networks, the piece says, are being illicitly used by outsiders. The study says that 54 percent of those surveyed admitted to illicitly horning into other folks' wireless service.

This would seem to be largely an ISP/consumer problem. The corporate angle is strong, however, for two reasons. One is that people store corporate data on their home computers, and it is vulnerable if the network isn't protected. The other reason that this is worrisome is that a good portion of home PCs and MACs are connected, at least part of the time, to the corporate local-area network (LAN). Thus, the laziness or ignorance of home users can end up creating a big back door opportunity for hackers.

Perhaps the consumer media is beginning to revisit wireless security. A couple of articles have recently appeared in prominent places. BusinessWeek, in the form of a question from a reader about using Wi-Fi at trailer parks, gives a nice overview of the differences between the Wired Equivalent Protocol (WEP) and Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA). USA Today has a similar instructional piece [http://www.usatoday.com/tech/news/computersecurity/2007-12-11-security-wifi_N.htm]. That story - a bit longer than the BusinessWeek effort - discusses the importance of encryption, the dangers of evil twins and discourages people from doing sensitive things from a hot spot.

Like many other security issues, a little attention can go a long way. Indeed, there are four steps that can be taken with fairly little trouble that greatly enhance the security of a WLAN. They are outlined nicely in this post at Network Liquidators. The four steps: rename the Service Set Indentifier (SSID); stop it from broadcasting; enable media access control (MAC) filtering and encrypt.

Consumer Wi-Fi isn't the only potential trouble spot. Companies also face challenges in their use of wireless local-area networks (WLANs) internally. AirDefense, in a survey released last month, found that 85 precent of 2,500 wireless devices it scanned at 3,000 shops in the United States and Europe were not secure.

Could We See A Xbox 360 Portable?

With the success of the Nintendo DS and the Sony PSP, it should come as no real surprise Microsoft wants a piece of the pie.

BusinessWeek is reporting that Microsoft is considering entering the market themselves, with a new multimedia device that would incorporate gaming.

Peter Moore, would not confirm such a project but did say that "any Microsoft media device would have to leverage the company's most significant consumer strength, video gaming."

If Microsoft were to create such a device, would it be more like an Xbox handled or more of a PocketPC PDA with gaming functionality. Moore says about the Xbox brand, "It can't just be our version of the iPod... I think the brand is an opportunity."

On the gaming side, Nintend's DS and Sony's PSP are at the top of the market, with both offering someting unique.

If Microsoft does go ahead with just a project, they would have to decide whether-or-not it would be part of the "Xbox" brand. BusinessWeek points out that "If the new device comes with the Xbox brand, most consumers will view it as a game player, like Sony's PlayStation Portable. That might limit its appeal, since the portable gaming market is much smaller than the one for digital media."

Can 9 Out of 10 Be Wrong?

A recent BusinessWeek article reported that 90% of the nation's managers think they're in the top 10% of performers in their workplace.

There's clearly a disconnect here, though it's nice to know we're such a confident group.

What causes this sort of optimism? I wonder if part of it is survey-induced. There's a natural tendency to try to look good, especially when there's no downside.

More dangerous to individual careers, though, is the fact of performance-review politeness. All too often, managers sugar-coat written performance evaluations, usually for one (or more) of these four reasons.

Fear

What if she gets mad? What if she yells? What if she cries? What if she goes to HR and complains about me? What if she stops working on this critical project?

Compassion

I don't want to put anything negative in his permanent employee record -- it might haunt him forever. I know he's just bought a house -- I don't want to impact his raise right now when he really needs it. He's a nice person, and smart, too; he's going through a learning curve at the moment, but he'll figure it out.

Overwhelm

If I write something negative, I'll have to put her on a performance improvement plan. I'll have to write up the whole thing for HR, and we'll have to have weekly meetings, with written notes, and a three-month interim review, and another one at six months. I don't have time for all that!

Expedience

He knows one of the board members -- I've seen them out for lunch, and I know they go golfing together. I don't know what might happen to my career if I write a bad review. And wouldn't it be cool if he said good things about me to the board!

So as an employee, how can you be sure you're getting honest feedback from your manager, so that the next time BusinessWeek asks, you'll know you're in the top 10%?

Simple. Ask!

But don't just run into her office and blurt it out. Here are six steps for setting the stage, making it safe for your manager and yourself, so you can get the feedback you want in ways that you can use.

Be sure you really want to know

Don't ask questions you don't want answered. If you're not sure you want to know what your manager thinks, first figure out why you're feeling uneasy. He may legitimately not have earned your trust -- or you may secretly know you're not performing to the standard you'd prefer. Either way, now may not be the time for you to ask.

Don't roll it into your regular review

By stepping outside the regular review process, you side-step all the reasons why your manager might give you less than complete feedback. Yes, you want to encourage her to "tell it like it is" in your review, but if she's not, that's not the time to push the point. Instead, approach her outside the review cycle when she's not in the review mindset.

Explain why you want to know

You don't want him to think you're feeling insecure. He might start wondering if there's a reason for it! You do want to give him as much information as he needs to give you solid, useful feedback. So why do you want that feedback? How do you see yourself growing, doing things differently, and being better at your job? What improved support might you offer him and the company as a whole? You may not have specific details since you don't know what he'll say, but you can -- and should -- have a general idea.

Explain what you want to know

Asking the general question, "Hey, boss, how'm I doing?" isn't useful, and is more likely to annoy her as a time-waster than impress her with your desire to grow. What do you want feedback about? Your own management abilities with your team? How you handle other areas' requests for assistance? Whether you're providing the right financial reports in the most useful format? Go in with a clear and specific question, and you'll get a clear and specific response. You can always ask at the end if there's anything else she'd like to comment on.

Ask for a meeting

Don't make a big deal out of it, but do request time when you know you'll have his full attention. Catching him in the hallway or popping into his office informally doesn't allow him time to prepare or to focus. Your question is almost certain to surprise him, especially if he's used to a little bit of sugar-coating. Be sure to explain why and what when you request the meeting, so he has a chance to prepare.

Getting good, useful feedback is as much an art form as giving good, useful feedback. Whether you're giving or getting, these tips will help.

The True Cost of Cost Basis

Cost basis is a simple idea to understand on the surface, but becomes increasingly complicated as you dig deeper. In order to fix this, Congress did what it does best: made the issue even more complex.

The Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 included new tax reporting requirements, mandating that custodians, broker-dealers, and transfer agents report the cost basis of sold securities, and whether the gains or losses are short- or long-term, to the IRS on Form 1099-B.

The requirements are phasing in over three years. The first phase took effect on January 1, 2011, covering equities acquired on or after that date. So for any stock sold that was acquired in 2011 or later (considered a "covered" security), the cost basis and holding period will be reported to the IRS on Form 1099-B. However, for positions acquired before 2011 (an "uncovered" security), no cost basis information will be reported to the IRS.

This creates the first layer of confusion. Custodians will have to separately report cost basis for some positions, but not for all of them. Taxpayers, on the other hand, must still report cost basis for all positions, and they must do so on both a revised Schedule D and a new Form 8949 (or, usually, multiple Forms 8949).

To make matters worse, there is no standardized reporting for all custodians to follow, so taxpayers may be issued Forms 1099-B that look slightly different. Custodians must also adjust cost basis to reflect stock splits, spin-offs, mergers, name changes and other corporate actions, which can all have different effects on cost basis. Many taxpayers are finding that the information reported by their custodian does not match their personal records. Reconciling the difference and then figuring out how to report it can seem an impossible task - especially during the crunch of tax season.

Another complication as a result of the new rules is the requirement for custodians to make so-called "wash sale" adjustments. A wash sale occurs when a taxpayer sells a security at a loss, and then repurchases the same, or a substantially identical, security within 30 days before or after the sale. The idea is to avoid taxpayers capturing losses without really losing exposure to the securities in question. In a wash sale, the loss from the sale of the security will be fully or partially disallowed, and the cost basis and holding period of the repurchased shares must be adjusted.

As many taxpayers learned this past tax season, they may trigger more wash sales then they thought. The usual culprits are reinvested dividends, which are common for long-term investors. According to the Investment Company Institute trade group, reinvested dividends accounted for almost $173 billion of the $202 billion in dividends that long-term mutual funds paid in 2011. Each reinvested dividend is considered a separate purchase, or trade lot. When reinvestment occurs within 30 days before or after shares are sold at a loss, this triggers a wash sale, often without the investor knowing it. In this case, part or all of the loss is disallowed, and the cost basis and holding period of the reinvested shares must be adjusted. The amount of the reinvested dividend, and thus the loss disallowed, is usually insignificant, but it can still create an administrative burden and lead to confusion during tax season if investors do not make regular adjustments to both their realized and unrealized positions.

The second phase of the new reporting requirements began on January 1, 2012, and covers mutual funds, Dividend Reinvestments Plans (DRIPs) and most ETFs. These securities are only considered "covered" if they were purchased on or after the effective date of January 1, 2012. So taxpayers will generally hold a mix of both covered and non-covered securities for years, until they sell all their pre-2012 positions.

The third and final phase was initially scheduled to take effect on January 1, 2013, covering other specified securities, including fixed-income and options. However, earlier this month the Internal Revenue Service announced that it will postpone the effective date for this third phase until January 1, 2014.

The new reporting rules are part of the government's effort to reduce the estimated $385 billion annual tax gap, which is the amount of taxes estimated to be owed versus the amount actually paid. According to the Joint Committee on Taxation, the new cost basis reporting requirement is estimated to raise $6.7 billion over a decade - or about 0.17 percent of the tax gap over the same time period. Thank you, Congress; now you can focus on the other 99.83 percent.

Before the new rules, the IRS only required custodians to report information about gross proceeds from sales of securities. Taxpayers were responsible for tracking their own cost basis, sometimes using information from their custodians or help from their accountants or financial advisers. Under the new rules, the IRS will be able to detect whether taxpayers are overstating losses or underreporting gains by comparing them with the cost basis information reported by the custodians on taxpayers' returns. If the information does not match, the IRS can issue a matching notice to the taxpayer.

While accurate reporting of costs basis is an important part of a fair and balanced tax system, the new rules have placed a significant burden on custodians, financial advisers and, ultimately, taxpayers. According to a recent article in Bloomberg BusinessWeek, custodians are spending an estimated $528 million to implement the new regulations. (1)

As the industry adapts, there may be unintended consequences that will ultimately hurt individual taxpayers and investors. Custodians' increased costs may eventually lead to increased fees and trading costs for investors. Accountants may increase their tax return preparation fees as a result of the additional forms necessary and the complexity of reconciling discrepancies in cost basis information. Taxpayers who would have otherwise prepared their own tax returns may find the new rules too confusing and, as a result, may need to hire an accountant for the first time.

A recent report from the research firm Celent explains how the new cost basis reporting requirements present an opportunity for tax firms to offer specialized services and to regain some of the market share previously lost to do-it-yourself tax preparation software. The report found that the new cost basis reporting regulations could provide an increase of $450 million annually in tax preparation fees. (2) The wealthy generally already hire accountants for tax services, so the majority of this increase will likely come from smaller, retail investors who previously prepared their own returns.

As with all regulations, Congress should consider the costs against the benefits and understand how the new rules will affect the public - especially the smaller, retail investors that make up the politically all-important middle class. Politicians always seem to promise a simpler and fairer tax code, but the new cost basis reporting rules are anything but simple.

Cell Phone User Bill of Rights Introduced

It did not take long for Minnesota state senator Mary A. Olsen, who was elected in 2006, to introduce new legislation calling for change in the cell phone industry. According to Businessweek, wireless operators have generated more complaints than any other industry in 2007. Some statistics show them to be in upwards of around 1,000.

Because of this spike in consumer concerns, Senator Olsen called for a consumer's Bill of Rights. The Democratic senator was reported as saying in a recent interview in Businessweek, "The cell-phone industry has been making a lot of money on [questionable] consumer practices."

Currently Minnesota is leading the way in the fight for a Bill of Rights for consumers in the cell phone industry, however 22 other states are following suit and have introduced some sort of the same type of Bill.

According to Spencer E. Ante of Businessweek, "The proposals vary widely, but they typically include clearer disclosure of fees and taxes and the end of unauthorized charges for ringtones and other third-party services. The Minnesota bill, which consumer advocates say appears to have the best chance of becoming law, could be voted on in the next two weeks."

Senator Olsen says she feels good about the bills strength to pass and become law. However the group of wireless carriers, who do not like being regulated to begin with, are not feeling so good as it puts them in a situation where they will be regulated by 22 different states all with their own different laws.

As these Bill of Rights get closer to passing and become law, lobbyists for the wireless industry are working hard, running ads telling people that these laws will only drive up the cost of their services.

Offshoring - Going Beyond India

Are companies becoming weary of Bangalore, India's increasing wage rates? Will this herald the beginning of a significant decline of outsourcing revenue to the giant? BusinessWeek reports it will, in it's annual outsourcing round up. Because of steadily increasing costs in India, the fact that much of the labor market has been saturated, most notably in Bangalore, companies are now seeking to move elsewhere in an attempt to bring down their costs. Indeed, Indian based companies themselves are looking beyond their own shores to maximize profits, and not lose clients.

Many companies complain that the problem with working with Indian companies, is that they're enthusiastic in the beginning, but once they've "earned" the valuable experience, pack up and leave for more greener pastures. This in turn leads the corporations to start looking elsewhere, most notably in Vietnam, Russia, Mexico and Argentina.

Many vendors like IBM Global Services, Accenture, EDS and Genpact; have started pooling together talent from various outsourcing destinations across the world, to give their clients the best of both worlds. The example cited in BusinessWeek is of EDS who works with Continental Airlines in India in developing a software application that runs on its mainframes, and in Brazil taking care of its financial operations. Accenture claims that it has split its operations into three sectors: high-cost regions with 35% (U.S and Britain), medium cost regions with 20% (Spain, Canada etc) and low-cost regions with 45% (India, Philippines, etc). Of note, is the still majority reliance on low cost regions, which despite BusinessWeek's analysis, still maintains its dominant share.

But it isn't just cost that remains a concern for these companies, it's that it comes with suitable strings, in the form of no prominent difference in time zone, and a lack of economic and language barriers. In that capacity, Bucharest, Romania is earning a steady reputation as being that location, and offshoring providers across the globe are hoping its entrance into the European Union will herald a greater shift towards its combined set of skills. Because there seems to be a shift to moving towards off shore globalization, intellectual property issues are now more of an issue than they ever were. In an effort to combat this, software and outsource giant Infosys Technologies, has taken to eliminating USB drives on their computers, thereby allowing the transport of information to be that much more limited.

But of course, all of this comes at a price. Because now we (the American & British workforce) aren't just competing with some bloke in India, but with some thousands of employees across the world, spanning from Bucharest, to St. Petersburg, to Argentina, to Brazil, to somewhere in the Philippines. Don't believe me? Consider Indian giant Wipro's CIO, Mr. Laxman Badigo's words: "Overall, in terms of productivity and quality of life, beyond Bangalore is better."

It's Not Your Brand

Many marketers see their brand as an asset they own. Not completely true. I'm not arguing that the brand is worthless. I'm just saying you don't own it. You never have. And in today's web 2.0, social media world, you never will.

I laughed out loud when I ran across this from Citi's Chief Marketing Officer. She was on a social media panel talking about her decision not to dive into social media, nor let consumers have free access to the company's graphics.

"We're not there yet, and we're proceeding very cautiously," said Lisa Caputo, Citi's first company-wide CMO. "I am very loath to put it (the brand) at risk and let some individual do what they want with it."

Lisa, Lisa, Lisa. Thanks to all the social media tools in the market, consumers already are getting your logos and doing whatever they want with them anyway. People are already talking about Citi, its successes and its failures. Your risk is twofold: you think you own the brand and you are avoiding, not engaging consumers.

You'd think someone who has risen to this level would know that a brand is community property. The company, its employees, allies and consumers share the brand. A brand is not solely graphics, logos, taglines and such. Every interaction a company has with its various publics adds to or subtracts from the brand.

Even the venerable BusinessWeek - http://www.businessweek.com/innovate/content/aug2007/id20070830_589214.htm? - is off the mark when it comes to brands interacting with consumers through social media. The authors of the article say that smart marketers must realize that social media users have, "the potential to become brand partners - or brand message hijackers."

Consumers will say what they want to say. It's not hijacking, it's an opportunity for marketers to hear the truth and respond to it. End of story.

The Jurassic period of marketing with its with three-martini lunches is gone. Get used to it and get social. Your organization's survival depends upon it.

Harry Hoover is a partner in My Creative Team. He has 30 years of experience in crafting and delivering bottom line messages that ensure success for serious businesses like Bank of Commerce, CruisingTheICW.com, Duke Energy, Focus Four, Jacobsen, Levolor, National Gypsum, North Carolina Tourism, Premier, Rubbermaid, Ty Boyd Executive Learning Systems, VELUX, and Verbatim.

Are American Consumers Tapped Out?

Over the past 25 years, in every quarter except one, American consumer spending rose over the previous year, according to a November BusinessWeek article. Consumers have continued to shop through both good and bad times. Access to easy credit has been responsible for this spending spree. BusinessWeek sees the subprime crisis as the "beginning of the end for the long consumer borrow--and buy--boom." A recent New York Times report explores the possibility of an impending recession and notes, "It may be an unavoidable step toward purging the U.S. and...global economy of a major source of instability: an unhealthy dependence on the willingness of American consumers to keep buying even as debt mounts." Since the DR industry is heavily dependent on consumer spending, a pullback by consumers could have a big impact on our industry.

THE CRUX OF THE PROBLEM

First, let's look at the housing slump and its possible effect on spending. Cheap credit from 2004 to 2006 allowed Americans to take out more than $800 billion a year from their homes, according to the New York Times. So the decline in home prices could definitely impact consumer spending. Christopher Carroll, a Johns Hopkins economist, told BusinessWeek that every $1 decline in housing prices cuts about 9 cents off of spending. The report further shows that a 10- to 15-percent decline in home prices will decrease spending by $200 to $300 billion, which is about two to three percent of personal income. This decline in income is likely to diminish consumer discretionary purchases of apparel, automotive and certain luxury goods. Retailers and marketers of these types of goods could be hit hard if consumers cut spending.

Next, let's look at consumer credit card debt. Not everyone believes that consumers have exhausted their ability to spend. They have about $14 trillion in unused borrowing power left on their credit cards, which should be enough to buy a few more Magic Bullets or Little Giant ladders. However, credit card issuers are being more cautious about extending credit and some feel the next financial crisis will be the issue of mounting credit card debt, as reported by BusinessWeek.

It's important to note that not all the news is bad regarding the economy. The Wall Street Journal reports a surprising and broad-based surge in retail sales for November. The New York Times notes, "...the American economy has a history of unexpected resilience..." and that many experts feel we will only experience a slowdown or mild recession. Some believe that rate cuts by the Fed and a plan to keep adjustable mortgage rates from re-setting higher may cushion the impact on consumers.

No one can predict exactly where the economy is headed, but insights from those who track economic trends provide some possible scenarios for 2008 and beyond.

Generation Y: A Click Away From the Next Move

For today’s young adults, fresh out of college and with hard skills and technological savvy, and for those who employ them, relocation has taken on a whole new meaning.

Most graduates these days know they need experience first and foremost in order to get the most desirable jobs. But they don’t want to start up with just any company to get that experience. They want to work where they’ll be valued, where they’ll learn something, where they’ll be able to interact with more knowledgeable co-workers, where they will find flexibility in dress and work schedules, and, maybe most significantly, where they will make a difference.

For these young adults, the old paradigm of the workplace—where company loyalty generally doesn’t always extend beyond its financial gain and suit and ties are the norm—doesn’t mean much. And because this generation is nearly one-quarter of the workforce, and will be the fastest growing segment for the next five years, it doesn’t have to.

This generation, the most ethnically diverse ever, grew up with limitless options and an increasingly open-minded and connected world. Subsequently, they feel like they have the world at their fingertips, and they want to do something with their knowledge and skills. As graduates, they don’t consider monetary gain alone. They want to enjoy where they work, and they plan on making a difference in the world or at least within the company.

According to a 10/23/2006 USA Today article, “Millennials are the most socially conscious consumers to date.” Nearly two-thirds of 13- to 25-year-olds feel personally responsible for making a difference in the world; most have volunteered; and 69% consider a company’s social and environmental commitment when deciding where to shop.

However, while they care about community, they equally value their own personal fulfillment and happiness, and they often find these things in the place that they live. According to CollegeRecruiter.com, Gen Yers believe “people should first choose where they want to live and then choose their employer.” In fact, FindYourSpot.com’s member demographics illustrate this trend perfectly. About one-third of FindYourSpot.com’s million members are young adults either graduating or getting ready to graduate looking for a new city or town in which to live. Of course, the job search is a significant component of their visits to FindYourSpot.com, but they first come to the site to find a place that will fulfill a variety of their needs, from recreational to cultural opportunities.

Plus, according to NAS Insights, more than half of college graduates don’t expect to get job offers just out of school, 56% of plan to relocate after school, and most believe they won’t be in the same location for extended periods of time. Companies that are not aware of this, but that want to cater to younger generations as their baby boomer employees gradually begin to retire, need to consider these factors if they want to attract and retain their talented, young employees. Not only should they have an inviting and flexible workplace, but they ought to be about to tout their city’s recreational, educational, and cultural opportunities And, they shouldn’t be surprised if their new hires are more concerned about vacation time than salary. (Think Google here. Google offers great benefits, in-house weight rooms, healthy cafeteria lunches, and even dog-friendly offices).

This sort of forced change—in the form of more vacation time, more flexibility with work schedules, and the possibility of telecommuniting—is good for the corporate world. “Lighten up,” is the message of the Y Generation. Europeans get just as much done with their average of 30 days of vacation per year. Plus, until recent legislation passed by the newly-elected US House of Representatives, elected reps in this country worked an average of three days per week, and they still got plenty done (right?). Besides, if companies don’t adjust, Gen Y’ers will likely just head out of town.

With the attitude of “My career is not my whole world; It’s just my job,” (www.daily49er.com), and with access to unlimited relocation resources on the web, including FindYourSpot.com, this new, quirky generation’s next move is just a click away.

Podcasts For Nonprofit Organizations: Development for Leaders, Board Members, Staff and Volunteers

There are some terrific podcasts available on the subject of nonprofit organizations. They cover topics including:

Starting a nonprofit organization
Fundraising
Leading and managing
Using technology effectively

Listening to informative podcasts is a great way to learn. You can listen to podcasts on your computer or with a portable mp3 player when you are away from your home or office. I have turned my car into a classroom! Rather than listening to the radio, I listen to podcasts I have downloaded to my mp3 player. There are special accessories that allow you to play your mp3 player through your car radio.

If you have an interest in the nonprofit world, consider listening to the podcasts described below. They are the best I have found. I continue to learn from them and I know you will as well.

501c3Cast for Nonprofits

The 501c3Cast is an independent podcast that is all about helping nonprofit professionals, not-for-profit volunteers, and other "do-gooders" in the philanthropic world.

This podcast is my personal favorite. Listen to it and you will learn a tremendous amount of information on a variety of topics pertinent to your role in the nonprofit world.

The Sony PS3 To Pack "Too Much" Of A Punch

When Sony announced their next-gen system the PlayStation 3, they touted it as having a massive amount of features. These range from producing 1080p HD visuals, HD movies via Blu-Ray functionality etc. Sony even went as far as promoting TiVo capabilities and functionality, an online service being promoted by fan-boys as PlayStation Live, as well as a content distribution system quite similar to iTunes. This sounds terrific from a consumer perspective, but from a gamer's perspective, where in this list does it say that it plays games? This is a major problem being brought to our attention by such publications as BusinessWeek, whom are saying that Sony may be going a little to far away from what PlayStation 3's core function should be, a video game system.

BusinessWeek's article was titled, "This PlayStation May Play Too Much." It basically spoke of the fear that with all of these features packed in, and a high cost of production, the standard consumers may be afraid of the Playstation 3 in fear of not knowing how to use it and what to do with it specifically. This is going to be a complicated and complex machine, argues BusinessWeek. They compared the PS3 to another endeavor Sony attempted not too long ago; "Exhibit A: the PSX. Released in Japan in 2003, it was designed to appeal to a broader audience than the hard-core gamers attracted to the PS2. It comes with a 250-gigabyte hard drive and a simple Web browser and plays games, movies, and music. But the PSX bombed as consumers were confused by the hybrid and put off by its $800-plus price tag."

If the PlayStation 3 releases around a similar price tag, which is being predicted by some, it could possibly have the same fate. BusinessWeek goes on to compare the PlayStation 3 to the Sony PSP as being more popular as a multimedia device rather than a full-fledged gaming system. This would equal out to a lower attach rate for games, meaning less games sold per console sold. This causes publishers to lose money and also costs Sony money because they do not have as much leverage in negotiating licensing fees to produce games on their console. After the high attach rate of games on the Xbox 360 launch, this is a fear that Sony must have because if the PlayStation 3 does not match the Xbox 360's numbers, Microsoft could gain a lot more momentum and getting even further support for their system.

Talking more about the PS3 BusinessWeek stated, "But since the PSP also plays music and movies, fewer people are buying games designed for it. In the PS2's initial year on the market, players bought more than three games for each machine that was shipped. For the PSP, that ratio slipped to 2 to 1." If the PS3 follows this pattern it could prove quite disastrous for Sony. As the launch of the PlayStation 3 grows closer, with a lot more news sure to come at E3 2006 in May, this should be an interesting few months to come.

Part 2 -- Avian Flu Fright: Politically Timed for Global "Latrogenocide"

BusinessWeek expects avian flu vaccine stockpiling by government officials will help the Sanofi-Pasteur company on behalf of Sanofi-Aventis and Chiron. "Tamiflu," it reported is an antiviral manufactured by Roche, . . . considered effective against avian flu. . . . The U.S. owns enough for 4.3 million people, with more on order." BusinessWeek failed to report: 1) Tamiflu's safety and effectiveness has not been determined in people with other chronic medical conditions--a significant percentage of the U.S. population-- and common side effects of this drug include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, bronchitis, stomach pain, dizziness, headaches, and much, much more; 2) Roche (Hoffman-LaRoche) was found guilty of price fixing the world's supply of vitamins in 1999 as part of the global petrochemical/pharmaceutical cartel evolved from Nazi-Germany's I.G. Farben organization;(2)(6) and 3) Sanofi-Aventis's corporate colleagues include Merck, a company that received a lion's share of the Nazi war chest at the end of WWII, whose earnings plunged after the withdrawal last year of its deadly Vioxx arthritis drug. According to recent news reports, Merck is partnering with Sanofi-Aventis to produce the world's first sexually-transmitted-cancer vaccine to be given to prepubescent boys and girls.(7) Merck is infamous for having developed the first hepatitis B vaccines that triggered the international AIDS pandemic according to published scientific research and stunning documents reprinted in this author's national bestselling book.(3)(8)
In the weeks and months following the 9-11 attacks on America, I traced the widely publicized anthrax mailings "mystery" to U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) commissioned biological weapons contractors with ties to Britain's MI6, Porton Down, and this same Anglo-American pharmaceutical cartel.(9) The anthrax mailings fanned fears of bioterrorism throughout America and economically served primarily vaccine and drug makers with administrative and financial links to these avian flu profiteers.(10)
People willingly relinquish their civil rights and personal freedoms in the wake of such engineered frights. The passage of the infamous "Homeland Security Act" in America, and its counterpart in Canada, are classic examples of this societal direction, forced legislation, and egregious manipulation.
Why Asia?
How convenient that Asia is said to be the origin, as with SARS, of this latest plague when Chinese-Anglo-American relations are strained to say the least.
In the days preceding the emergence of the first SARS cases, America raced to the Pacific Rim to impact escalating aggressions on the Korean peninsula. Communist China--a "most favored" trading partner with America--is politically allied with several American enemies, including those said to possess weapons of mass destruction, including Iraq. Coincidental? Not likely when viewing the larger political picture involving the Ango-American oligarchy's RMA, its global enterprises, and instigated planet-wide "conflicts short of war."
Consider also the fact the media's mainstream has been heavily influenced, if not entirely controlled, by multi-national corporate sponsors protecting and advancing the interests of a relatively small number of global entities. Also recall that the focus of news providers, on any given day or hour, results from intelligence agency directives, according to reputable authorities including myriad retired news officials and intelligence officers. So ask and answer the following intelligent questions:
* Why have American military officials, beginning with Secretary of Defense William Cohen during the Clinton years, publicized America's greatest vulnerability lies in the realm of biological weapons wielded by terrorists? Is this not a form of treason against the United States to relay such sensitive intelligence to potential enemies through the mainstream press?
* Why does the mainstream media continue to foretell of the expected arrival of the "Big One"-an influenza virus that will produce a super-flu that will kill billions of people, like the "Spanish flu" did between
1918-19, while totally disregarding the individuals, organizations, and laboratories that have labored to produce these weapons of mass destruction? Even the devastating Spanish Flu virus has been, literally, unearthed for further study and, do you suppose, deployment?
* Why was the "Spanish flu" influenza virus called the "Spanish flu" when it originated, by historic accounts, in Tibet in 1917? It is said that Spanish newspapers were the only ones reporting on the great plague due to their neutrality over World War I politics. However, Spain was as dear to America then as Communist China is to the United States today. The "Spanish flu" was named such following two decades of disputes between America and Spain over colonization of the Caribbean Islands, Hawaii and the Philippines beginning with the Spanish American war that ended in the Philippines in
1902. In fact, the grand Spanish flu began in military camps. Does this history appear to be repeating?
*Doesn't it make sense that America is being manipulated, if not targeted, for the purpose of advancing globalistic agendas, central among them is population reduction?
The "Big One"
As mentioned above, during the 1960s and early 1970s, military biological weapons contractors with intimate ties to leading drug industrialists prepared mutants of influenza and para-influenza viruses recombined with acute lymphocytic leukemia viruses. In other words, they stockpiled a quick spreading cancer virus which may also be deployed.(3)
Alternatively, many infectious disease experts and government health officials oblivious to this scientific reality say this avian flu might be the 'Big One." Several days ago, the United Nations released a report that stated as many as 150 million people worldwide might die from this avian flu.
Emma Ross of the Associated Press reported on SARS as the World Health Organization (WHO) launched its "crisis plan to attack" the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome. WHO, as you may recall, is a U.N. sponsored organization that is rumored to have helped spread AIDS to Africa by way of contaminated hepatitis B and/or polio vaccinations. There is a reasonable amount of evidence to support this contention.(1)
More disconcerting, the U.N. is known to be heavily influenced by Rockefeller family members and their petrochemical-pharmaceutical interests. History shows Rockefeller fortunes built the U.N. building in New York City. During WWII, the Rockefeller family and their Standard Oil Company supported Hitler more than they did the allies according to court records. One federal judge ruled Rockefeller committed "treason" against the United States. Following WWII, according to attorney John Loftus-an official Nazi war crimes investigator-Nelson Rockefeller persuaded the U.N.'s South American voting block to favor Israel's creation only to assure secrecy regarding his support for the Nazis. Earlier that century, John D. Rockefeller joined Prescott Bush and the British Royal Family in sponsoring the eugenics initiatives that gave rise to Hitler's racial hygiene programs. During the same period the Rockefeller family virtually monopolized American medicine, American pharmaceutics, and the cancer and genetics industries.(2, 3)
Today, the Rockefeller family, its foundation, U.N. and WHO remain at the forefront of administering "population programs" designed to reduce world populations to more manageable levels. As per an advertisement in Foreign Affairs--a prestigious political periodical published by the David Rockefeller directed Council on Foreign Relations--the U.S. population is being targeted for a 50% reduction.(2)
"We've never faced anything on this scale with such a global reach," said Dr. David Heymann, of the WHO, not regarding the avian flu, but SARS.
"This is the first time that a global network of [Rockefeller-directed infectious disease 'surveillance' outposts and] laboratories are sharing information, samples, blood, pictures," added Dr. Klaus Stohr, a WHO virologist coordinating labs internationally. "Basically overnight, there are no secrets, there is no jealousy, there is no competition in the face of a global health emergency. This is a phenomenal network."(1)
____________________
* The term "iatrogenocide" is derived from the combination of words "iatrogenesis," meaning physician induced illness, and "genocide," defined as the mass killing and/or enslaving of people for economics, politics, and/or ideology.
About the Author Leonard G. Horowitz, D.M.D., M.A., M.P.H., is an internationally known authority in the overlapping fields of public health, behavioral science, emerging diseases, and bioterrorism. He received his doctorate in medical dentistry from Tufts University School of Dental Medicine in 1977, was awarded a post-doctoral fellowship in behavioral science at University of Rochester, earned a Master of Public Health degree from Harvard University, and another Master of Arts degree in health education from Beacon College, all before joining the research faculty at Harvard. Dr. Horowitz is best known for his national bestselling book, Emerging Viruses: AIDS & Ebola - Nature, Accident or Intentional?
(Tetrahedron Press, 1998; 1-888-508-4787) which recently resulted in the United States General Accounting Office investigating the man-made origin of AIDS theory. (See: http://www.healingcelebrations.com/gao.htm) Dr. Horowitz's work in the field of vaccination risk awareness has prompted at least three Third World nations to change their vaccination policies. His stunning testimony before the United States Congress' Government Reform Committee, literally brought the hearing to a halt. (See: healingcelebrations.com) Dr. Horowitz questioned government health officials regarding a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) secreted report showing a definitive link between the mercury ingredient
(i.e., Thimerosal), common to most vaccinations, and the skyrocketing rates of autism and behavioral disorders affecting our children and the future of our nation.
Incredibly, Dr. Horowitz alerted the FBI, in writing and in person, one week before the first anthrax mailing was announced in the press, that a "major anthrax fright" was in the process of unfolding that demanded the FBI's urgent attention. Needless to say they did not heed Dr. Horowitz's prophetic warning.
Moreover, three months before the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon, Dr. Horowitz released his thirteenth book, prophetically titled Death in the Air: Globalism, Terrorism and Toxic Warfare. The book focuses on the West Nile Virus as an act of Bioterrorism, and considers what and who is really behind this and other recent outbreaks. Dr. Horowtiz argues that his disclosures expose the roots of global terrorism, along with the individuals and organizations at the heart of what he calls "the petrochemical-pharmaceutical cartel". He believes this "multi-national corporate beast" is in the process of committing global genocide, profiting from engineered frights, and at the same time, most efficiently culling targeted populations considered excessive.
As you may have heard, Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, called for an investigation into the links between recent West Nile Virus outbreaks and bioterrorism. Dr. Horowitz is among the leading pioneers of this theory.
Dr. Horowitz's most recent book is DNA: Pirates of the Sacred Spiral, a reference text on the electro-genetics of biology, disease therapy, and human spirituality. This work also details links between the anthrax mailings and human genome project heist, and leading intelligence agency, genetics industry, and pharmaceutical company officials.