All of the books we will ever need to make us as rich, as healthy, as happy, as powerful, as sophisticated and as successful as we want to be have already been written.
People from all walks of life, people with some of the most incredible life experiences, people that have gone from pennies to fortune and from failure to success have taken the time to write down their experiences so that we might share in their wealth of knowledge. They have offered their wisdom so that we can be inspired by it and instructed by it and so that we can amend our philosophy by it. Their contributions enable us to reset our sail based upon their experiences. They have handed us the gift of their insights so that we can change our plans, if need be, in order to avoid their errors. We can rearrange our lives based on their wise advice.
The important question is this: In the last 90 days, with this treasure of information that could change our lives, our fortunes, our relationships, our health, our children and our careers for the better, how many books have we read?
Why do we neglect to read the books that can change our lives? Why do we complain but remain the same? Why do so many of us curse the effect but nourish the cause? Those who wish for a better life cannot permit themselves to miss the books that could have a major impact on how their lives turn out. The book they miss will not help.
Reading is essential for those who seek to rise above the ordinary. We must not permit anything to stand between us and the book that could change our lives. A little reading each day will result in a wealth of valuable information in a very short period of time. But if we fail to set aside the time, if we fail to pick up the book, if we fail to exercise the discipline, then ignorance will quickly move in to fill the void.
Those who seek a better life must first become a better person. They must continually seek after self-mastery for the purpose of developing a balanced philosophy of life and then live in accordance with the dictates of that philosophy. The habit of reading is a major stepping-stone in the development of a sound philosophical foundation and is one of the fundamentals required for the attainment of success and happiness.
Nationwide bankruptcy filings dropped by more than 13 percent year-over-year in January, continuing a five-year trend, according to AACER bankruptcy data reported by Epiq Systems.
The total number of bankruptcies filed in the United States for January was 59,037, marking the fifth January in a row that bankruptcy filings declined year-over-year. January's filing total represented a 13.5 percent decrease from January 2014, when 68,271 bankruptcies were filed, and a decline of 42.6 percent from their highest total for any January, which was 102,835 reached in January 2010. Filings have declined year-over-year each January since 2011.
Month-over-month in January, the number bankruptcy filings declined by 6.4 percent from the total of 6,090 that was reported for December. However, there were 20 filing days in January compared to 22 in December, meaning that if the filings continued at January's daily rate of 2,952, January's total would have surpassed December's.
January's filing total of slightly more than 59,000 is 22 percent less than the 2014's monthly average of 75,840. The two states with the most overall bankruptcy filings for January were California (6,133) and Florida (4,476). Those two states accounted for 18 percent of all of the nation's bankruptcy filings for the month. The leading states in bankruptcy filings per capita for January were Tennessee, with 5.25 filings for every 1,000 people, and Alabama, with 4.61 for every thousand. Tennessee and Alabama led the nation in 2014 in bankruptcy filings per capita with 5.28 and 5.24, respectively. The national average for January 2015 was 2.28 filings for every 1,000, a decline from 2014's overall rate of 2.93.
Epiq Systems is a leading global provider of technology-enabled solutions for electronic discovery, bankruptcy and class action administration. Top legal professionals depend on us for deep subject-matter expertise and years of firsthand experience working on many of the largest, most high-profile and complex client engagements. Epiq Systems, Inc. has locations in the United States, Europe and Asia.
Just as they promised when they gained a majority in both the House and Senate in the November elections, Republicans are in talks to chip away at the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, according to a report from Reuters.
Citing sources familiar with the matter, the report stated that Republicans are seeking to repeal the section of Dodd-Frank that allows for government bailouts of banks that are failing, thus ending the highly controversial "Too Big to Fail" among financial institutions. Republicans expect they will be able to at least get attempts to reform Dodd-Frank out of the Senate and onto the president's desk, though the president has vowed he will fight any GOP efforts to tear down the landmark legislation that was passed in 2010 in response to the financial crisis. Previous Republican efforts to reform Dodd-Frank were always blocked by a Democrat-controlled Senate.
The section of Dodd-Frank in question is Title II, or the Orderly Liquidation provision. Title II provides institutions with an alternative to bankruptcy in which the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), as a receiver, carries out the bank's liquidation and wind-up. Republicans claim this provision of Dodd-Frank enables government bailouts instead of ending them as the legislation purports. Title II permits FDIC to access a line of credit from the U.S. Department of Treasury to allow the banks to continue operating until they are sold off or wound down.
According to a report from Cornell University, the government issued $1.7 trillion to rescue several institutions that were allegedly too big to fail, such as Bear Stearns, CitiGroup, Bank of America, Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac. Despite the government bailouts, more than 250 banks failed from 2008 to 2010.
GOP lawmakers reportedly want to eliminate this provision of Dodd Frank and make bankruptcy the only option for a failing bank. The Republican-controlled House Financial Services Committee issued a report in July entitled "Failing to End 'Too Big to Fail: An Assessment of the Dodd-Frank Act Four Years Later'" which explains the reasons why they believe Dodd-Frank did not end "Too Big to Fail," but instead perpetuates it. "In no way, shape or form does the Dodd-Frank Act end ‘too big to fail.’ Not even (former Treasury secretary) Timothy Geithner believed his talking points on that," Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling said last July when the report was issued. "Instead, Dodd-Frank actually enshrines ‘too big to fail’ into law. Today, hardworking taxpayers are at greater risk of being forced to fund yet more Wall Street bailouts. Dodd-Frank officially designates an entire category of Wall Street firms as ‘too big to fail’ and then creates a taxpayer-financed bailout fund for their use."
Democrats such as Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts), one of the chief architects of the controversial Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and Representative Maxine Waters (D-California) have vowed to protect Dodd-Frank, claiming that the law and its provisions are necessary in order to protect America's financial system and that any changes made to weaken it could potentially result in a repeat of the 2008 financial crisis. "We put this rule in place after the collapse of the financial system because we wanted to reduce the risk that reckless gambling on Wall Street could ever again threaten jobs and livelihoods on Main Street," Warren said in December in response to Republicans' attempts to repeal Dodd-Frank. "We put this rule in place because people of all political persuasions were disgusted at the prospects of future bailouts. And now, no debate, no discussion, Republicans in the House of Representatives are threatening to shut down the government if they don't get a chance to repeal it."
TSA to Arrest Anyone Charged with any Crime trying to Come or Leave – including taxes ... The border is closing rapidly. First it was FATCA hunting Americans with any assets overseas whatsoever. Now just two days after taking charge of the committee chairing the House Homeland Security subcommittee hearing, U.S. Rep. John Katko introduced two bills. He is looking to effectively close the borders using terrorism as the excuse as always to hunt down Americans. Katko is a former federal prosecutor. So he knows precisely what he is doing writing a law that is so broad, that anyone suspected of a crime cannot leave the country. This is any crime. Keeping gold in a safe deposit box is money laundering carrying up to 25 years in prison. – This article from Martin Armstrong is a timely reminder that cross-border protections are getting stronger not weaker.
Dominant Social Theme: Terrorism has to be fought. Broad laws are better.
Free-Market Analysis: We've estimated in the past that within two years time it will be significantly more difficult to get funds in and out of the US. Armstrong has come to the same conclusion. Most of the terrorism legislation and military and civilian terrorism measures are not aimed so much at terrorists, from our point of view, as they are at citizens.
The idea is to reduce US constitutional freedoms to make the US more integrated into the larger Americas, especially North America. The US Constitution poses significant hurdles to such amalgamation. Nonetheless, this trend toward more constrictions on freedoms continues. It is not especially gentle but it is never couched in terms of restricting liberty and always in the context of providing safety and security.
This is how John Katco is positioning his bills, according to a recent press release:
Katko Introduces Legislation to Enhance Airport Security ... Days after chairing his first Transportation Security subcommittee hearing, Rep. John Katko (NY-24) has introduced two bipartisan bills to enhance security measures at domestic airports and to ensure funding is used wisely by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).
Katko's inaugural Transportation Security subcommittee hearing, entitled "A Review of Access Control Measures at Our Nation's Airports," was held this past Tuesday, February 3. The hearing followed reports of several high profile security breaches at domestic airports. Specifically, the hearing examined security programs designed to mitigate potential insider threats from airport employees, TSA personnel, and others who have access to sterile areas of domestic airports.
The bipartisan bills introduced by Katko are designed to enhance airport security measures in a cost-effective manner. H.R. 720, the Gerardo Hernandez Airport Security Act, directs the Department of Homeland Security to undertake a variety of activities to enhance security and communication at domestic airports, specifically requiring TSA to verify that all airports have appropriate security response plans.
H.R. 719, the TSA Office of Inspection Accountability Act, ensures that funding is used wisely by TSA. It would require that TSA Criminal Investigators spend at least 50 percent of their time investigating, apprehending, or detaining individuals suspected of committing a crime. Currently, TSA does not necessitate that its Criminal Investigators meet this requirement, despite being considered law enforcement officers and receiving premium pay.
We can see from the last Graf of this release that Katko's bill would shove the TSA in the direction of investigating ANYONE suspected of committing a crime. The TSA was set up to keep US skies safe from terrorism. Now it is morphing into a full-fledged criminal investigation agency.
The broad powers that Katko is seeking provoked Armstrong's column, as we can see above. But here's more:
Katko's bill will ... now result in the arrest of anyone for any alleged crime whatsoever and that will apply to taxes. Katko is constructing a highly dangerous version of the Berlin Wall around all American citizens. He is converting the TSA into a police force less concerned about air safety and focused more on catching anyone the government can argue violates some law federal or state. It is so broad, this would apply to domestic disputes as well.
U.S. payrolls increased more than expected in January, signaling a build in economic momentum as 2015 got underway. Employers nationwide added 257,000 new jobs last month, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) said Friday. Economists projected a payroll increase of 230,000. Adding to January's good news, payroll numbers for November and December were revised upward to 423,000 and 329,000, respectively, making November the best month for employment growth since May 2010.
The unemployment rate, which is measured from a separate household survey, ticked up slightly to 5.7 percent from December's 5.6 percent, reflecting an increase in the number of Americans looking for work. After accounting for annual adjustments to population controls, BLS said the civilian labor force rose by 703,000 in January, bringing the labor force participation rate back up to a still-low 62.9 percent. "The January jobs report marks a great start for 2015," said Fannie Mae Chief Economist Doug Duncan, who will be a keynote speaker at the upcoming Five Star Government Forum in Washington, D.C. on March 18. "The payroll increase of 257,000 in January, combined with upward revisions to the prior two months, pushed the three-month average monthly gain to 336,000—the best since 1997."
While decision makers at the Federal Reserve are likely to take notice of the faster rate of growth, recent statements from the central bank indicate they're in no rush to move early on their plans to raise interest rates. In a statement in late January, the Federal Open Market Committee described the pace of job gains as "solid," instead pointing to the slow rate of inflation as the factor holding them back. "This strong start to 2015 in the labor market will be received as encouraging news at the Federal Reserve which has signaled that the economic recovery may be strong enough to begin raising interest rates (i.e., 'monetary policy normalization') as early as its scheduled June meeting," said Robert Denk, Assistant VP for Forecasting and Analysis at the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB).
For all the positive signs in Friday's report, there were a few negative indicators, including an increase in the number of long-term unemployed people to 2.8 million—about 31.5 percent of the total jobless population. Meanwhile, the number of Americans who have given up on looking for work, while down from December, remained elevated at 682,000.
There was one more big encouraging stat, though: Hourly earnings jumped 12 cents in January to an average of $24.75, a sharp turnaround from December and a good sign for consumers stymied by stagnant wages. "A 0.5 percent jump in average hourly earnings was a welcome signal to American workers that recent months of robust hiring may finally lead to a much needed rising trend in wage gains," Duncan said. "The Fannie Mae January National Housing Survey, to be released next week, is expected to show that improving economic conditions are lifting consumer spirits and brightening views of their personal finances and the housing market. Together, our survey results and today’s jobs report strengthens our expectation that stronger hiring and income growth will be the primary catalysts for a faster pace of housing recovery in 2015."