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ANTI-STATE • ANTI-WAR • PRO-MARKET
Updated: 5 hours 58 min ago

When a Majority Becomes a Minority

21 hours 24 min ago

In recent weeks, I kept meaning to write up a stylized history of the evolution of political ideology over recent centuries. But my examples—why Andrew Jackson rather than Alexander Hamilton will get booted off the currency, how Spike Lee learned painfully to start denouncing Hollywood for being run by whites and stop denouncing it for being run by Jews, and why democracy in Poland is undemocratic—grew into entire columns.

So now it’s time to get past the illustrations to the big picture. Here’s a simple outline of four eras, each when a different political ideology seemed inarguable:

(1) hereditary right

(2) majority rule

(3) minority right

(4) the inalienable right of minorities to become the majority (while maintaining all the privileges of a modern minority)

A half millennium ago, political power in the West was largely organized around the hereditary principle, whether aristocratic or monarchical. There were partial exceptions in which elections or randomness played a role in selecting leaders, such as the papacy, Venice, and the Holy Roman Empire. And medieval legislatures still survived. The trend in the 16th century, however, was toward the novel ideology of divine right monarchy.

Hereditary rule is seldom defended explicitly these days, but it retains a powerful grip on our political impulses. For example, the main qualification of the new Liberal prime minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau, is that he is the son of a former Liberal prime minister and a prominent groupie of the classic-rock era. Similarly, the great and good of America complacently assumed throughout the first half of the 2015 that the voters of both parties would have no objections to another Clinton-vs.-Bush election in 2016.

Over time, however, hereditary rule lost favor and the concept of majority rule, which had been in bad odor with intellectuals since the Athenian democracy executed Socrates, grew in self-evidentness.

During the first half century of the United States, Hamiltonian restrictions on the power of the masses, such as property requirements for the vote, eroded under the momentum toward Jacksonian democracy. The United Kingdom lagged, but followed in the same direction, repeatedly cutting back on property restrictions on the vote from 1832 to 1918.

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No Bank Bounce-Back

21 hours 24 min ago

KINGSTON, NY, 10 February 2016 — As evidenced in our Trends in the News broadcast, we forecast that the Panic of 2016 would usher in the new year. It did.

Despite Deutsche Bank’s shares, spiking today on the hype of a bond buy-back, the banking sector and fundamentals of the world economy remain at high risk. Global stock indexes have plunged into bear territory, currencies are crashing – and as commodity prices tumble, resource-rich nations going broke are begging the World Bank and International Monetary Fund to bail them out.

Neither “The Panic” nor the Global Recession, one of our Top Trends for 2016, will spare any country, large or small.

For example, China, the world’s second-largest economy, has seen its Gross Domestic Product descend to 1990s lows. To stop capital flight of its rapidly falling yuan, the government depleted its foreign-currency reserves by over $200 billion since December. While China still holds $3.23 trillion in reserve, the IMF estimates the nation needs an estimated $2.75 trillion to manage its financial system, leaving it with only a $500 billion buffer.

In Japan, the world’s third-largest economy, after its central bank initiated its negative interest rate policy less than two weeks ago, shares of Japan Post Bank tanked 20 percent, and the Topix Banks Index lost 21 percent.

Germany, the world’s fourth-largest economy, had its top two banks, Deutsche Bank and Commerzbank, plunge in value by nearly 10 percent on Monday.

Also on Monday, in the fifth top economy, the United Kingdom’s Standard Chartered Bank fell 6 percent, Barclays was off 5.3 percent and HSBC was down 4 percent.

Since the start of the new year, French giant Societe Generale tumbled over 30 percent and BNP Paribas fell 20 percent. Italy’s two largest banks, Unicredit and Intesa Sanpaolo, have declined 43 percent and 28 percent respectively. Swiss-based Credit Suisse plummeted 40 percent and UBS is down 30 percent. Spain’s Banco Santander has fallen 15 percent since 2016 dawned.

And in America, the world’s largest economy, the KBW NASDAQ Bank Index is down nearly 20 percent since the year began. Among the big-bank stock losers, Morgan Stanley is down 29 percent; Citigroup and Bank of America are off 27 percent; Goldman Sachs is down 17 percent; and Wells Fargo and JPMorgan Chase are both down 14 percent.

The Panic is on

This unprecedented bashing of bank stocks is a clear signal of great financial distress — the causes and effects of which we have detailed in our Trends Journals, Trends Monthly, Trend Alerts and Trends in the News broadcasts. In addition, with central banks imposing negative interest rates, it is less profitable for banks to lend, thus reducing their earning power, and adding more downward financial pressure during a time of increased distress.

Trend Forecast: While down early today, gold is the safe-haven commodity in times of geopolitical and socioeconomic strife. We forecast that gold must remain steadily above $1,200 to reach its next breakout point, $1,400. Once stabilized above $1,400, we project a $2,000 range.

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‘It Eats Salty’

21 hours 24 min ago

The critic of anything—food, wine, art, film, music—must develop ways to describe an experience that go beyond the usual vocabulary lists. Good, bad, beautiful, ugly and a few hundred other words related to the way things look, sound, and taste, and smell might be sufficient for ordinary description, but the professional opinion-giver has to keep things vivid and fresh. To do this, they might come up with new or unusual words, or uncommon metaphors, but sometimes what’s called for is a new syntactic structure. At least that seems to be the idea behind a linguistic trend making its noticeable way through the judges of Top Chef.

In a recent post on Language Log, Ben Zimmer took a look at this trend after it came to light through Top Chef judge Padma Lakshmi’s use of the phrase “it eats salty” to describe a dish made by a contestant. Merlin Mann, co-host of Top Scallops, a podcast about Top Chef, registered his objection to the phrase with a tweet:

In response, Daniel Tse pointed out that this type of construction isn’t as unusual as it might seem. It’s similar to the grammatical “middle voice” (or “mediopassive voice”) which is somewhere between active and passive. It’s what allows us to say “the orange peels easily” (Who’s doing the peeling? Not the orange) or “the book is selling well” (Who’s doing the selling? Not the book).

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10 CIA Concentration Camps

21 hours 24 min ago

The US Central Intelligence Agency has, according to multiple investigative reports from both mainstream media outlets and human rights organizations, operated numerous “black sites” across the world. These locations, according to the reports, are secret prisons used to house “ghost prisoners.” Those sent to these places are held captive without being charged with any crime and are not allowed any form of legal defense.

Ghost prisoners are subject to what the CIA calls “enhanced interrogation tactics”; most others call it torture. The CIA and their operatives’ methods allegedly include waterboarding, sleep deprivation, humiliation, physical beatings, electric shocks, and worse.

These secret prisons, dotted all over the world, might just be the most terrifying places on Earth.

10 Diego Garcia – Indian Ocean

Photo via Wikimedia

Diego Garcia is an atoll in the Indian Ocean located around 1,600 kilometers (1,000 mi) south of India and 3,200 kilometers (2,000 mi) east of Tanzania. The locale is claimed by the United Kingdom as part of their British Indian Ocean Territory.

In the 1960s and 1970s, the UK deported the native people of the atoll to Mauritius and the Seychelles in order to allow the United States to construct a large naval and military base now known as Camp Thunder Cove. The installation is currently home to roughly 4,000 military personnel and independent contractors.

Although the UK has long claimed that “ghost prisoners” haven’t been held at Diego Garcia, in a 2015 interview with Vice News, Lawrence Wilkerson (US Secretary of State Colin Powell’s former chief of staff) revealed that terrorism suspects were abducted and brought to the ocean base for special interrogations. Wilkerson stated that this was done by the CIA in the immediate aftermath of 9/11.

9 Temara Interrogation Centre – Morocco

The Temara Interrogation Centre can be found in a forest 14 kilometers (9 mi) outside of Rabat, Morocco. The facility is operated by a Moroccan government unit known as the Directorate for the Surveillance of the Territory (DST).

In 2003, Morocco was examined by the UN Committee against Torture. The UN considered evidence presented by the Moroccan government as well as by Amnesty International. Their findings were that, although human rights had generally improved in Morocco over recent years, there was also an increase in reported torture cases in the North African nation.

In 2004, Amnesty International alleged that the DST is a recurrent and flagrant abuser of human rights and that many of these offenses have occurred at Temara. Amnesty International’s report stated that Moroccan interrogators had repeatedly beaten, humiliated, electrocuted, burned, and waterboarded inmates at Temara. The alleged goal of the DST torturers was to extract confessions or information from detainees or to have them sign or thumbprint statements (the content of which the detainee may have no knowledge).

In 2010, the Associated Press reported that several US officials had confirmed that the facility was operated by Moroccans but was financed by the CIA. Morocco officially denies that the facility exists.

8 Mihail Kogalniceanu Airport – Romania

Photo credit: Crispas

Mihail Kogalniceanu Airport is the main airport for Romania’s southern Dobrogea region, located just a stone’s throw away from popular tourist resorts on the Black Sea coast. In 2015, the airport managed 2,227 flights involving over 63,000 passengers. However, some have alleged that a number of these flights were used to traffic ghost prisoners to and from a secret prison on the airport’s premises.

Romania claims that Mihail Kogalniceanu Airport is only used as a transfer point for CIA prisoners and not for actual detainment or interrogations. However, in 2008, USA Today quoted an unnamed Romanian official who claimed that the military portion of the airport contained three buildings which were strictly off-limits to Romanian officials but were frequented by US agents.

More evidence supporting the airport’s role in CIA detentions arose in 2010 whenDer Spiegel reported that the Swiss intelligence agency’s Onyx satellite surveillance system had intercepted a fax between an Egyptian foreign minister and his ambassador in London. The communique described the detention of 23 Iraqi and Afghan captives at the airport.

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Not a Dime’s Worth of Difference

21 hours 24 min ago

What if all the remaining presidential candidates really want the same things? What if they all offer essentially the same ideas couched in different words? What if these primary races have become beauty pageants largely based on personality and advertising?

What if our system of governance is so deep into the fabric of big government in the second decade of the 21st century that all the presidential candidates really believe that most voters actually want the government to care for them?

What if all major candidates in both major political parties promise a federal government that can right any wrong, regulate any behavior, tax any event, solve any problem and borrow unlimited amounts of money?

What if all the candidates for president favor the government using torture, detaining persons without trial, continuous surveillance of all the telephone calls, emails, and text messages of all persons in America — even though these behaviors are profoundly unconstitutional, morally un-American, uniquely destructive of personal liberty in a free society and fail to enhance public safety?

What if all these candidates — in differing degrees — reject the concept of limited government? What if they all want to bribe the rich with bailouts and the middle class with tax breaks and the poor with welfare? What if these candidates and their supporters and their attitudes about the role of government in our lives have reduced government at this sad time in our history to a game whereby everyone tries to live at someone else’s expense?

What if none of the candidates recognizes that government is an artificial creation based on force and ought to be exercised minimally? What if none of them understands that prosperity comes from the free choices of investors, workers, and consumers, and not from the decisions of the federal government’s central planners?

What if none of these current candidates acknowledges that individuals are sovereign, our rights are inalienable, our property belongs to us, our souls are immortal, and that the government works for us — not the other way around?

What ever happened to the right to be left alone? Where is a candidate who will defend it? What are lovers of liberty to do?

Reprinted with the author’s permission.

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Deutsche Bank Is Scared

21 hours 24 min ago

It all started in mid/late 2014, when the first whispers of a Fed rate hike emerged, which in turn led to relentless increase in the value of the US dollar and the plunge in the price of oil and all commodities, unleashing the worst commodity bear market in history.

The immediate implication of these two concurrent events was missed by most, although we wrote about it and previewed the implications in November of that year in “How The Petrodollar Quietly Died, And Nobody Noticed.”

The conclusion was simple: Fed tightening and the resulting plunge in commodity prices, would lead (as it did) to the collapse of the great petrodollar cycle which had worked efficiently for 18 years and which led to petrodollar nations serving as a source of demand for $10 trillion in US assets, and when finished, would result in the Quantitative Tightening which has offset all central bank attempts to inject liquidity in the markets, a tightening which has since been unleashed by not only most emerging markets and petro-exporters but most notably China, and whose impact has been to not only pressure stocks lower but bring economic growth across the entire world to a grinding halt.

The second, and just as important development, was observed in early 2015: 11 months ago we wrote that “The Global Dollar Funding Shortage Is Back With A Vengeance And “This Time It’s Different” and followed up on it later in the year in “Global Dollar Funding Shortage Intensifies To Worst Level Since 2012” a problem which has manifested itself most notably in Africa where as we wrote recently, virtually every petroleum exporting nation has run out of actual physical dollars.

The point is, it all started with the rising dollar and the ensuing global dollar shortage, and thus, the Fed embarking on what may be the biggest central bank error of all time. To be sure, the consequences are wide ranging: from the collapse in crude, to the tremors and devaluations in China, to the tightening financial conditions, to the (manufacturing) recession in the U.S., and most recently, to whispers that Deutsche Bank, the bank with $60 trillion in notional derivatives, may be the next Lehman Brothers.

Which, incidentally, brings us to none other than one of Deutsche Bank’s most respected credit analysts, Dominic Konstam, who clearly has an appreciation of the existential risk he finds himself in, not only career-wise but in terms of the entire financial structure. We know this because after reading his email blast from this morning we realize just how vast the fear, if not sheer terror, is among those who truly realize just how broken the system currently is.

We have reposted his entire letter below because it represents the most definitive blueprint of everything that is about to be unleashed – especially since it comes from the perspective of one of the people who is currently deep inside Deutsche Bank and realizes just how close to the edge the German bank is.

What Konstam makes clear, in no uncertain terms, is that The problem is the one we laid out back in November 2014: “It is not oil, it is not in the banks, it is a run on central bank liquidity, especially dollar based and there needs to be much more ($) liquidity.”

He also makes it quite clear that investor fears about contagion are well-: here it is in the words of a Deutsche Banker:

The exposure issue has been downplayed but make no mistake banks are heavily exposed to Asia/MidEast and while 10% writedown might be worst case for China but too high for the whole, it is what investors shd and do worry about — whole wd include the contagion to banking hubs in Sing/HKong

His solution? It’s actually quite disturbing to all those who thought that all our warnings that cash would be outlawed were nothing but a joke. For those pressed for time jump straight to the “What needs to be done section” – it’s a doozy.

So back to the  original question WHAT NEEDS TO BE DONE. Simple?

  1. Recognize the problem. It is not oil, it is not in the banks..it is a run on central bank liquidity, especially dollar based and there needs to be much more ($) liquidity. Keynes said to deal with overinvestment boom you cut you don’t raise rates. QE is impractical but getting the dollar down would greatly lift dollar based liquidity. So for a starter Fed shd stop raising rates and clearly signal an extended time out.
  2. Draghi shd follow up with a one 2 punch, not to get rates down but open the refi spigot to banks and ease liquidity concerns.
  3. China needs to come clean. Devalue, stabilize reserves and then allocate 1 tn+ to short up strategically important institutions. Stop intervening in equity markets.
  4. And Basel 3 (?4) should be delayed specifically regarding leverage ratios and threat of higher. As a token move there shd be deemphasis of the SSM/bail in rules until there is clarity from the ECB on liquidity sources for stressed banks.
  5. how about some fiscal stimulus
  6. on negative rates – instead of making them punitive on the banks allow the banks to earn the spread, make them punitive to savers.. Cash shd be charged interest put the micro chip in large denom notes/tax cash withdrawals.. encourage spending not saving .. mortgage rates can be negative and banks can still earn a spread. The spread is the problem not the rate.

The existential fear in Deutsche Bank’s analyst is tangible, as is the implied threat: “don’t do these things, and if Deutsche Bank and its $60 trillion in derivatives blow up, it will be on you.”

And with that we check to the central bankers who will do precisely as instructed because Deutsche Bank is simply too vast and too systemically important to fail: in fact, its failure would be orders of magnitude more costly and more destructive for modern capital markets than Lehman.

As a result, we expect all of Konstam’s suggestions, from a major China devaluation, to a halt to negative rates, to a Yellen relent (perhaps as soon as tomorrow), to negative rates being passed on to savers, to the taxing of cash withdrawals “to encourage spending not saving”, and all the other bullet points. Unless, of course, someone is intent on seeing Deutsche Bank liquidate, as was the case with Lehman.

That said, Konstam’s final sentence is the most ominous:

“Austria July 31 1932 was a great success; Sept 1 1933 beginning of the end (see Worgl experiment, Gesell).”

He is referring to the “Miracle of Worgl“, when during 1932 – in the middle of the Great Depression – the Austrian town unleashed a monetary experiment in which “Certified Compensation Bills” were issued, a form of currency commonly known as Scrip, or Freigeld, one influenced by the monetary theories of the “hyper-Keynesian” Silvio Gesell.

Why does Konstam bring up scrip as the solution to not only Dutsche Bank’s problems, but the entire problem of a run on central bank liquidity, and by implication, credibility?

Because it’s coming… just to save the banks one more, final time.

* * *

Appendix: the part from Konstam’s letter not dealing with policy recommendations is below

Strategy Update: What we need…. Main point is still policymakers need to recognize the problem and have a total rethink of strategy…Yellen is a detail in the grand scheme of things if its more of the same about risks to the outlook but labor mkt strong, blah blah Even Draghi has clear re-think issues… No longer about more negative rates in the way they have been doing it but cutting thru the incipient financial crisis. All of these though are symptoms of the wider problem — the collapse in global liquidity that  is on going in the post-Fed qe phase, reflected in an overly strong dollar/loss of reserves and end user deleveraging from china to opec to credit. It picks off the weaker links and makes people think that that is the “problem”.

So about 3 weeks everyone was saying if only oil would stabilize.. and “it has”.. but that wasn’t the solution; Now it’s if only euro bank credit stabilizes, and no doubt there will be a level when that happens.. but that won’t be it.. The PCA analysis from Jerome was neat becos it captures the investor base-plus running on the hampster wheel thinking it’s found the problem. The very fact that the weightings have shifted from oil to euro financials doesnt mean the problem is different now then it was, it’s the same problem but PCA can’t find it– by definition. (Correlation is not causality). It merely captures the menu du jour. Soon enough the “problem” will be equities generally or maybe core rates dropping “too low”, these weightings invariably will rise — and thats why its very dangerous to use the last year’s correlation to determine which markets have over or under reacted to the best proxy of the problem, at any particular time. For example, rates look too low in the PCA now but that’s precisely becose they were almost invariant to lower oil late last year.

The refrain from the customer base last year if you recall was that rates don’t rally when there’s risk off.. that must be becos of loss of reserves or investor too long etc (George’s QT).. But now they are moving and the correlation is becoming stronger. I would posit that instead of a low correlation dissauding investors from hedging with rates they are actually needing to get super long to make up for poor performance on risk assets becos it is they only thing that comes close to a proper hedge. So the mother of all rate rallies will be driven by investors going way over long on the either side UNLESS or UNTIL policymakers do the right thing… Our traders have been debating whether the market trades long or not with idea that there seems to be better selling.. but CoT got shorter last week and even on the open interest adjment Alex Li did, it still looks to us that the market trades short — or not long enough..And that means we do not want to fade this move absent the policy shift,.. and that means why can’t 10s test the old lows. On the euro financial issue itself.. our equity analysts have got a lot of attention around the specifics of the euro fincl issue from the concerns over exposures to commodities/china.. the inability to earn in a low for long/negative yield world to the overreach of regulation with limitations on capital raising/bail in issues.. One of the main issues we would argue is that policymakers need to be break what wd become a liquidity issue for banks in the status quo. TLTROs had poor take up becos banks were capital constrained and didn’t want to lend — that now limits their access to liquidity going forward so if the exposure/bail in concerns force banks to the ECB there better be an open door. In the xtreme the ECB cd buy the (sub) debt but the politics probably don’t allow that — better might be to simply offer cheap liquidity for alternative vehicles to do so or better yet have unconditional LTROs — either way it is probably not the time to go deeper negative on rates.

The exposure issue has been downplayed but make no mistake banks are heavily exposed to Asia/MidEast and while 10% writedown might be worst case for China but too high for the whole, it is what investors shd and do worry about – whole wd include the contagion to banking hubs in Sing/HKong.. and for the record BIS data is as follows for countries’ bank exposures — we’ll give China first, whole second.. Australia: 32bn/74bn; france 43bn/226bn; germany 28bn/120 bn; japan  70 bn/367bn; uk 169bn/657bn; US 87bn/409bn. Note according to Fed rough proxy of US bank capital is over 1.5 tn so in worst case scenario it would “only” be 3% of capital.. a lot but managable.. but that’s then becomes the problem for UK, French banks in particular, ironically not obviously Germany so much..altho Europe has the issue of earning the capital that US banks are better able to do.

Reprinted with permission from Zero Hedge.

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The Top Dog’s Self-Destruction

21 hours 24 min ago

Inspired by a recent interview of Stephen F. Cohen by John Batchelor….

All around that dull grey world From Moscow to Berlin People storm the barricades Walls go tumbling in . All around this great big world All the crap we had to take Bombs and basement fallout shelters All our lives at stake . The bloody revolution All the warheads in its wake All the fear and suffering All a big mistake All those wasted years All those precious wasted years Who will pay? -        Neil Peart .

The Cold War seems so long ago.  Twenty-five years ago the Soviet Union was no more.  Whether you believe the Cold War was real or merely a ploy to consolidate global power, it seems unquestionable that the time was one of potential (and at times almost realized) nuclear holocaust, even if only by mistake.

This came to an end with the dissolution of the Soviet Union…supposedly.  In the intervening years, NATO – whose entire raison d’être was to protect Western Europe from Soviet expansion – has remained and grown, expanding further to the east.  While there is some disagreement as to what promises were and were not made at the time regarding an eastern expansion of NATO, it is undeniable that such moves would be and are seen as threatening to Russia.

Prologue

Stephen Kinzer writes, in “The US as a fading superpower”:

Fifteen years into the 21st century, it is clear that the United States faces an era full of new threats. Some are political and military. The most serious is psychological.

During this century, the United States will not dominate the world as it did during the last one. If Americans can adjust to this reality, there is hope for global stability. If we refuse — if we do not accept the relative decline in our power — our frustration may lead us to lash out in self-destructive ways.

Not only self-destructive.  In any case, this self-destruction is ongoing – perhaps the best date to mark the beginning of this decline is September 11.

Nations naturally rise and decline over the course of time. Those that survive the longest, like China and Iran, do so by riding the tides of history. Americans have no experience doing that. For us the tide has always been high.

To understand this, Americans would have to understand history – not a strong suit. Americans have no memory of being anything other than the one on top – the dictator.

Signs of the emerging new world are impossible to miss. A terror gang in the Middle East has seized territory, and we are forced to realize that despite all our military might, we cannot dislodge it without help from local partners. Russia openly defies us. Turkey, a NATO ally that was long our lap dog, ignores our pleas and goes its own way. Saudi Arabia launched a war without even consulting us.

It is even worse.  The US hasn’t been on the winning side of any meaningful “hot” war since about 1945 (yes, I know about Norman Schwarzkopf).  A super-power without resume.

Kinzer offers a sobering – and realistic – perspective:

Most challenging is our changing relationship with China. By mid-century, if not before, Americans will be faced with a reality we have never known: a rival that is more populous, richer, and more historically powerful than the United States. Our response to recent Chinese probes in the Pacific has been militaristic…. If we pursue this policy, the long-term victor is likely to be them, not us.

The risks are, unfortunately, high:

Great wars often explode at moments of tectonic geopolitical change: when rising states challenge a long-dominant power. The conflict is set off not by a challenger, but by the dominant power, which fears losing its top-dog status. Thucydides cited this as the reason for the Peloponnesian War 2,400 years ago: “It was the rise of Athens, and the fear that this inspired in Sparta, that made war inevitable.”

The Top Dog’s Self-Destruction

The inertia of empire allows for movement in only one direction…. From the Los Angeles Times:

The Obama administration wants to enlarge the U.S. military presence in eastern and central Europe next year by stockpiling heavy weapons, armored vehicles and other military equipment across the region, a substantial expansion of U.S. efforts to counter a resurgent Russia.

The proposed $3.4-billion initiative will permit the Pentagon to keep the equivalent of a 4,000-soldier armored brigade in the region at all times on rotational deployments, though no troops will be formally based there, officials said.

The Pentagon plans to construct or refurbish maintenance facilities, airfields and training ranges in seven European countries: Bulgaria, Estonia, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Romania. All are members of the NATO alliance.

Please take a moment to reflect on this list of countries; to aid in this, I offer the following:

Sofia, Bulgaria

Distance from:

Moscow: 1100 miles

Washington: 4900 miles

Tallinn, Estonia

Distance from:

Moscow: 540 miles

Washington: 4300 miles

Berlin, Germany

Distance from:

Moscow: 1000 miles

Washington: 4200 miles

Riga, Latvia

Distance from:

Moscow: 500 miles

Washington: 4400 miles

Vilnius, Lithuania

Distance from:

Moscow: 500 miles

Washington: 4500 miles

Warsaw, Poland

Distance from:

Moscow: 700 miles

Washington: 4500 miles

Bucharest, Romania

Distance from:

Moscow: 900 miles

Washington: 5000 miles

In each case, the distance to the closest point in Russia (as opposed to Moscow) would be perhaps half…or much less.

To ask the question: “for which country – Russia or the United States – are these countries of more regional concern or risk?” is to answer it.  Of course, an interventionist (or an advocate of US global hegemony) would look at the above listing and suggest that the risks are entirely due to Russia, having the audacity to place its borders so close to these countries.

Keep in mind: this NATO buildup, the equivalent of one brigade, while a symbolically significant increase, is still nothing more than a show – like a parade.

It would take at least seven NATO brigades, including three with tanks and other armored vehicles, backed by artillery and combat aircraft, to prevent Russian forces from “the rapid overrun” of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia, according to a study released this week by Rand Corp., a Santa Monica-based policy analysis organization.

In other words, there is nothing here to prevent Moscow from overwhelming any of these countries militarily if it chose to do so.

Russian forces could reach Estonia and Latvia’s capital cities in less than 60 hours, the study estimated.

One is reminded of the promises made by Britain and France to Poland (promises made at the prodding of Roosevelt): we will come to your aid if attacked.  The promises were empty – neither Britain nor France had the ability or intent to militarily intervene in a manner that would be of benefit to the Polish people.  The promises served one purpose – to stiffen the Polish resolve against any compromise with either belligerent neighbor. History rhymes.

Permanently placing large numbers of troops in such proximity wasn’t supposed to happen:

In a 1997 agreement meant to prevent a return to Cold War tensions, NATO and Moscow pledged not to station large numbers of forces on each other’s borders.

Unless you have good lawyers; you see, the troops won’t be permanent:

Pentagon officials say the proposed expansion does not violate that pledge because the troops will rotate in and out to multiple locations, even though the effect will be a constant presence.

If I am Going Down, I’m Taking All of You With Me

This isn’t only about conventional forces.  From Stephen Kinzer, “Rearming for the Apocalypse”:

Americans are in near-panic over the danger posed by Islamic terrorists. That danger, however, pales beside an emerging new one. President Obama has proposed a frighteningly wrongheaded plan to “modernize” our nuclear arsenal at the unfathomable cost of about $1 trillion over the next 30 years. Terror will never reach even 1 percent of our population. Nuclear “modernization” increases the prospect of true devastation.

Obama has unveiled a plan “to develop and buy 1,000 new missiles with adjustable nuclear capacity, 100 new long-range bombers, and a new fleet of nuclear-armed submarines.”

The nuclear threat seems diffuse and faraway, while the prospect of a deranged fanatic shooting up a cinema is as vivid as today’s news. Perhaps we have been lulled into security by the fact that no nuclear weapon has been used since 1945. Voices trying to alert us to the true threat are drowned out in a frenzy of over-the-top campaign speeches and TV rants about crazed Muslims.

As an aside, Kinzer doesn’t mention the name of the country that used nuclear weapons in 1945, or that it was the only country ever to do so, or that it was completely unnecessary to do so if the objective was to end the war.

However, to the main point – the discussion by today’s candidates for president regarding Russia is either a) we will destroy them (most candidates, or b) I would talk (Trump, at least sometimes).  In any case, the threat from terrorism overwhelms the conversation.

The cruise missiles Obama wants to build could be used to deliver either conventional or nuclear payloads. If an air defense controller in another country sees one incoming on radar, he or she would have no way of knowing whether it was armed to destroy a building or an entire city. The temptation to launch nuclear retaliation could be irresistible.

Comforting….

Nuclear weapons are useful for deterrence only. The United States has more than enough for that purpose.

While utilizing nuclear weapons for deterrence is, in any case, immoral, I understand the logic of deterrence.  I am not an expert on the utilization of nuclear weapons for deterrence as opposed to the utilization of nuclear weapons for offensive purposes.  It does seem to me that multi-purpose cruise missiles and nuclear-armed submarines fall squarely in the latter category.

Investing huge sums in a new arsenal will not protect us from tomorrow’s threats. Most depressing, the proposal for this investment comes from a president who campaigned on a pledge to reduce and seek to eliminate nuclear weapons — and who won a Nobel Peace Prize for his apparent sincerity.

Fool me once, shame on you; fool me forty-plus times (depending on who you want to include), shame on me.

Former U.S. Secretary of Defense William J. Perry, former U.S. Secretary of State George P. Schultz and California Governor Jerry Brown spoke at a press conferenceannouncing the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists’ latest “doomsday clock” estimates.  It is three minutes to midnight – not very comforting.

“The danger of a nuclear catastrophe today, in my judgment, is greater than it was during the Cold War…and yet our policies simply do not reflect those dangers,” said Perry, who is a faculty member at Stanford’s Center for International Security and Cooperation.

US policies reflect poking the bear in his den.

The doomsday clock was initially designed to communicate the threat from nuclear weapons, but has since been expanded to include cyber and biosecurity and the dangers of unsustainable climate change.

Climate change?  What?

Originally, the Clock, which hangs on a wall in the Bulletin’s office in the University of Chicago, represented an analogy for the threat of global nuclear war; however, since 2007 it has also reflected climate change and new developments in the life sciences and technology that could inflict irrevocable harm to humanity.

Whatever one believes about “climate change and new developments in the life science and technology,” the apocalyptic risks, if any, are decades or centuries away – not three minutes.  Nuclear war?  Those ICBMs or submarine launched missiles could be coming down on your head even at this moment.

It is unfortunate that the scientists associated with this clock have diluted their message in worship of political correctness.

A Brief Reflection on History

Recently Henry Kissinger gave a lecture at the Gorchakov Fund in Moscow:

From 2007 into 2009, Evgeny Primakov and I chaired a group composed of retired senior ministers, high officials, and military leaders from Russia and the United States, including some of you present here today. Its purpose was to ease the adversarial aspects of the U.S.-Russian relationship and to consider opportunities for cooperative approaches.

There are some in the alternative community who see such discussions as evidence of the workings of new world order.  Maybe.  When the stakes are nuclear Armageddon, it is difficult to criticize the idea that both sides talk to each other (but maybe this is all part of the game?).

The prevailing narrative in each country places full blame on the other side, and in each country there is a tendency to demonize, if not the other country, then its leaders.

Democracy demands demonization.  Democracy reduces the possibility for rational diplomacy.

Perhaps most important has been a fundamental gap in historical conception. For the United States, the end of the Cold War seemed like a vindication of its traditional faith in inevitable democratic revolution. It visualized the expansion of an international system governed by essentially legal rules.

The exceptional nation won.  Enough said.

But Russia’s historical experience is more complicated.

Don’t expect many in the US to understand “complicated,” especially when it comes to history.

To a country across which foreign armies have marched for centuries from both East and West, security will always need to have a geopolitical, as well as a legal, foundation. When its security border moves from the Elbe 1,000 miles east towards Moscow, Russia’s perception of world order will contain an inevitable strategic component.

How can it not?  The barbarians are at the gate!

The Alternative to Pursuing Peace is War

John Kerry – about whom it must be said has been the most rational voice on such topics among those within the current administration (a low bar, I admit) – understands the stakes.  Speaking to Syrian aid workers about the breakdown of Syrian talks in Geneva offers:

“‘[Kerry] said, ‘Don’t blame me – go and blame your opposition,’” one of the aid workers, who asked to remain anonymous to protect her organisation, told Middle East Eye.”

Kerry sees that the Russians are serious:

Both aid workers said Kerry told them that he anticipated three months of bombing during which time “the opposition will be decimated.”

Apparently not a sufficiently satisfactory statement; Kerry was pressed further:

“‘What do you want me to do?  Go to war with Russia?  Is that what you want?’” the aid worker said Kerry told her.

Because that is the alternative.

Conclusion

Pariah dogs and wandering madmen Barking at strangers and speaking in tongues The ebb and flow of tidal fortune Electrical changes are charging up the young . Whirlwind life of faith and betrayal Rise in anger, fall back, and repeat Slow degrees on the dark horizon Full moon rising lays silver at your feet . It’s a far cry from the world we thought we’d inherit It’s a far cry from the way we thought we’d share it You can almost feel the current flowing You can almost see the circuits blowing -        Neil Peart .

Reprinted with permission from Bionic Mosquito.

The post The Top Dog’s Self-Destruction appeared first on LewRockwell.

Bloomberg vs. Trump?

21 hours 24 min ago

The morning of the New Hampshire primary, Donald Trump, being interviewed on “Morning Joe,” said that he would welcome his “friend” Michael Bloomberg into the presidential race.

Which is probably the understatement of 2016.

The three-term mayor of New York and media mogul whose fortune is estimated at $39 billion, making him one of the richest men on earth, told the Financial Times on Monday he is considering a run.

Bloomberg had earlier confided he was worried about Hillary Clinton’s ability to turn back the challenge of Bernie Sanders, regards Trump’s rise with trepidation, and is appalled by the pedestrian character of the campaign rhetoric.

“I find the level of discourse and discussion distressingly banal and an insult to the voters,” said Bloomberg; the public deserves “a lot better.”conservative votes Bloomberg received to become mayor.

Now only would Bloomberg lose the Big Apple, his statewide vote would come mostly from the Democratic nominee, giving Republicans the best opportunity to carry the Empire State since Ronald Reagan coasted to re-election in 1984.

By spending a billion dollars, Bloomberg could blanket the nation with ads. But once Republican oppo research groups defined him for Middle America, perhaps 4 in 5 of his votes would come out of the basket upon which Democrats rely.

For example, as a Jewish-American, Bloomberg might do well in the Dade-Broward-Palm Beach County corridor, taking votes that Clinton or Sanders would need to carry Florida. Yet, where would Bloomberg get the rest of his votes to win the Sunshine State?

Clearly, Bloomberg is envious of the success of the Donald, since he descended on that escalator at Trump Towers on June 16.

The problem for Bloomberg is that, while this is the year of the outsider, with populist revolts breaking out in both parties, Sanders and Trump caught the lightning early, while he was restructuring his media empire. And, to be candid, Michael Bloomberg is no barn burner.

So all together now: “Run, Mike, Run!”

The post Bloomberg vs. Trump? appeared first on LewRockwell.

Never Complain, Never Explain

21 hours 24 min ago

This pithy little maxim was first coined by the British politician and prime minister Benjamin Disraeli, and adopted as a motto by many other high-ranking Brits — from members of royalty to navy admirals, to fellow prime minsters Stanley Baldwin and Winston Churchill. The maxim well encapsulates the stiff-upper lipped-ness of the Victorian age, but the timeless wisdom it contains has made it a guiding mantra of powerful, confident, accountability-prizing men up through the modern day.

The “nevers” of course aren’t ironclad and don’t apply to every situation, and even when they should apply, they can be hard to follow through on! But understanding when, where, and why to apply this maxim is truly a great help in becoming a more autonomous and assertive man.

Its four words pack a lot of truth in a small space and work on a few different levels. So let’s unpack them, starting with the meat of the matter — “never explain” — and working backward.

Never Explain

“Never explain — your friends do not need it, and your enemies will not believe you anyway.” –Elbert Hubbard

When Winston Churchill was a young cavalry officer, he was always looking for ways to get to the front and experience battle firsthand. With much persistence, he eventually secured a position in the field as a personal attendant to Sir William Lockhart, who was overseeing the British military’s campaigns in what is now Pakistan. When Churchill first joined the general’s staff, he “behaved and was treated as befitted my youth and subordinate station.” But then one day he saw an opportunity to offer a bit of advice that led to him being “taken much more into the confidential circles of the staff” and “treated as if I were quite a grown-up.”

Churchill heard that the general and his headquarters staff had been hurt and angry to hear that a newspaper correspondent who had been sent home from their camp had published a very critical article about one of their recent campaigns. The officers smarted at what they felt were unfair charges, and the Chief of Staff had written up a thorough rebuttal and mailed it off to the newspaper to be published. Churchill at once spoke up and tried to convince the staff that such a move was ultimately a bad idea, and that the piece ought to be intercepted before it was ever printed:

“I said that it would be considered most undignified and even improper for a high officer on the Staff of the Army in the Field to enter into newspaper controversy about the conduct of operations with a dismissed war-correspondent; that I was sure the Government would be surprised, and the War Office furious; that the Army Staff were expected to leave their defence to their superiors or to the politicians; and that no matter how good the arguments were, the mere fact of advancing them would be everywhere taken as a sign of weakness.”

In this, as in many things, Churchill turned out to be quite prescient and wise. Offering explanations does indeed demonstrate weakness, for several reasons:

Explaining gives power to another. When someone criticizes or insults you, gets offended by something you do or say, or questions your decisions and why you’ve chosen to do something a certain way, it’s natural to want to explain why you think they’re wrong — especially if said party has impinged on your integrity or honor. And some kind of response may indeed be in order.

If the person is someone you know and respect as an equal — someone you consider to be inside your “circle of honor” — and they have said something intelligent and interesting, you may want to explain yourself in order to invite further discussion.

If they’re your boss or a customer, you may need to offer an explanation to hold onto your job or their business.

If they’re someone you care about — a loved one or friend — and you’ve had a gross miscommunication, you may want to explain yourself in an effort to preserve the relationship.

But, if the critical/offended/skeptical party is someone you don’t know personally (like a stranger online or the public in general), don’t care about, and/or don’t respect as an equal — someone who shouldn’t have any say or sway over your choices — then taking the time to explain why they’re wrong, or why you’ve made the decisions you have, is ill-advised.

To be concerned with what someone outside your circle of respect thinks, is to allow yourself to be pulled down to his or her level.

Explaining yourself is essentially an attempt to seek another’s approval. It shows you’re stung that they’ve withdrawn that approval, and desirous of getting it back. When you show that you care about an opinion that you, and any observers, know you really shouldn’t, you show weakness. In losing the fight between trying to ignore them and craving the catharsis of engagement, you demonstrate a failure of self-control.

Further, when a chucklehead elicits a response, you validate his importance. He’s made you do something against your better judgment. You’ve given to him two of your most precious resources – your time and attention. You’ve gone from the offensive to the defensive. His status goes up and yours goes down.

People — whether irrationally angry customers, estranged family members, or a controlling significant other — will often demand explanations for what you do. They’ll say you are weak if you don’t offer one. But this is the cleverest of ploys! By targeting your pride, they’ll get you to hand over your power.

Of course restraining yourself from responding to someone who’s goading you on is easier said than done! As someone who’s subjected to a constant barrage of feedback on my work, day after day, I find I am able to successfully ignore about 98% of it. It’s when someone says something that impinges on my honor (even when I know they’re not part of my honor group), or when they seem like a dude I can have a good debate with that I get in trouble.

When someone is clearly off their rocker, it’s easy to ignore them as really out there. And when someone has something critical but intelligent to say, engaging them can actually be interesting and instructive. It’s the people who greatly distort who you are/what you did/what you said, but mix together sensible sounding discourse with nuggets of crazy, who prove the most irresistible. They almost sound like someone you can have a reasonable discussion with; it almost seems like you could explain to them why they’re objectively off the mark. But as it invariably turns out (and this is a lesson I have to learn over and over!), if someone’s mindset/mentality is such that they’re able to grossly misinterpret something, no amount of explanation — no matter how thorough and well-reasoned — is going to change their mind. Quite to the contrary — they’ll simply dig in their heels all the more!

“Never complain; never explain” doesn’t necessarily mean not saying anything to your doubters, complainers, and critics, but limiting your response to a sharp rejoinder. Disraeli in fact formulated his maxim after hearing the advice of fellow politician Lord Lyndhurst, who said: “Never defend yourself before a popular assembly except with and by retorting an attack.” Thus, a short, pithy rebuttal or a humorous, yet withering sarcastic quip (Churchill was the master of these) may be in order. Then you turn heel and don’t engage further.

Of course, even a simple retort may draw you into an argument you never wanted to have, which often makes compete silence the best possible response. In fact, nothing drives someone nipping at you heels crazier than to have their questions and demands go utterly ignored and unacknowledged.

Read the Whole Article

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The Bulls Will Be Slaughtered

21 hours 24 min ago
Needless to say, none of that stink was detected by Steve Liesman and his band of Jobs Friday half-wits who bloviate on bubble vision after each release. This time the BLS report actually showed the US economy lost 2.989 million jobs between December and January. Yet Moody’s Keynesian pitchman, Mark Zandi described it as “perfect”Yes, the BLS always uses a big seasonal adjustment (SA) in January——so that’s how they got the positive headline number. But the point is that the seasonal adjustment factor for the month is so huge that the resulting month-over-month delta is inherently just plain noise.To wit, the seasonal adjustment factor for the month was 2.165 million. That means the headline jobs gain of 151k reported on Friday amounted to only7% of the adjustment amount!Any economist with a modicum of common sense would recognize that even a tiny change in the seasonal adjustment factor would mean a giant variance in the headline figure. So the January SA jobs number cannot possibly reveal any kind of trend whatsoever—-good, bad or indifferent.But that didn’t stop Beth Ann Bovino, US chief economist at Standard & Poor’s Rating Services, from dispatching the usual all is swell hopium:

“Today’s numbers are about momentum, so while 151,000 new jobs in January is below expectations and off pace from prior months, the data shows America’s recovery is continuing. Amid all the global economic turmoil and domestic market gyrations, positive job growth, the drop in the unemployment rate to 4.9%, and the uptick in wages show the U.S. is heading in the right direction.”

Actually, it proves none of those things. For one thing, the January NSA (non-seasonally adjusted) job loss this year of just under 3 million was 173,000 bigger than last January—-suggesting that things are getting worse, not better. In fact, this was the largest January job decline since the 3.69 million job loss in January 2009 during the very bottom months of the Great Recession.

So are we really “heading in the right direction” as claimed by Bovino, Zandi and the rest of the Cool-Aid crowd?

Well, just consider two alternative seasonal adjustment factors for January that have been used by the BLS in the last five years. Had they used the January 2013 adjustment factor this time, the headline gain would have been 171,000 jobs; and had they used the 2010 adjustment factor there would have been a headline loss of 183,000 jobs.

We could say in a variant of the Fox News motto—–we report, you decide. But believe me, you can look at years of seasonal adjustment factors for January (or any other month) and not find any consistent, objective formula. They make it up, as needed.

Likewise, you would think anyone paying half attention would realize by now that the 4.9% official unemployment rate (U-3) is equally meaningless due to the vast number of workers who have exited the “labor force”. In a nearby post, Jeff Snider puts this in perspective by juxtaposing the bottom dwelling trend of the adult employment-to-population rate with the U-3 headline.

His graph makes plain as day that when the U-3 unemployment rate dropped in the past, it was logically correlated with a rising share of the civilian population being employed; and that 5% or better unemployment usually meant a 63-64% employment ratio for the civilian population.

Since the financial crisis of 2008, however, that correlation has broken down completely, and the ratio still has not risen above 59.5%. Yet given the 250 million adult population today, it would take about 10 million more jobs than reported on Friday to achieve the reported 4.9% unemployment rate at the historic 63.5% employment ratio.

The larger point is that the monthly jobs report has now become the essential vehicle for propagating a false recovery narrative that serves the interest of Wall Street and Washington alike.

Month after month the artificially concocted and misleading headline jobs number is used to drive home a comforting meme. Namely, that the nightmare of the financial crisis and recession is fading into the rearview mirror; that the Fed and Washington have fixed the underlying ills, for instance, via Dodd-Frank; and that the soaring values of stocks and other financial assets since the March 2009 bottom are real, sustainable and deserved.

In that context, Obama’s crowing about the alleged success of his economic policies, as evidenced by the 4.9% unemployment rate reported on Friday, was especially annoying. You might have thought that the former community organizer would have noticed that notwithstanding the unfailing appearance of improvement in the BLS charts that prosperity does not seem to be trickling down.

Food stamp participation rates are still the highest in history, and bear no resemblance to where these ratios stood during earlier intervals of so-called full employment. In a word, 4.9% unemployment can’t be true in a setting where the food stamp participation rate is nearly 15%.

Nor did he mention the “good jobs” aspect of the usual Washington blather about employment. The chart below is the reason why. There has been no recovery in the number of full-time, full-pay jobs since the pre-crisis peak.

On the margin, the US economy swapped-out 1.4 million manufacturing jobs for only a slightly higher number of waiters and bartenders. Never mind the fact that the average manufacturing job pays $55,000 on an annualized basis compared to less than $20,000 for gigs in restaurants and bars.

We have previously called this the bread and circuses economy, and the January numbers once again did not disappoint. Nearly one-third of the 151,000 gain for January was in this category alone. Moreover, the 1.83 million job gain in this sector since the December 2007 pre-crisis peak accounts for 38% of all the net new jobs generated by the entire US economy during that period.

Another large—–and aberrant—–chunk of the January jobs gain was in retail. Consistent with normal post-holiday patterns the NSA count of retail sector jobs dropped from 16.3 million in December to 15.7 million in January, representing a loss of nearly 600,000 jobs.

You could call that par for the seasonal course, but you would be wrong. In defiance of all logic, the BLS seasonally adjusted the number into a gain of 58,000, thereby accounting for another one-third of the headline total.

Nor is this a one-month aberration, either. When you combine the leisure and hospitality  category of the nonfarm payroll with retail, temp agencies, personal services like gardeners and maids etc., you get a larger subset that we have labeled the Part Time Economy.

Not only did it account for well more than half of the of the January gain, but also a similar portion of the eight-year peak-to-peak gain since December 2007. That is, the US economy has generated 4.875 million additional nonfarm payroll jobs since we were at 5% unemployment last time around.

But as is evident from the graph, nearly 2.6 million or 53% of these gains represented part-time jobs. On an income equivalent basis, however, these payroll slots amount to a 40% job. Most of them generate less than 25 hours per week and pay rates of less than $14 per hour.

So on a full year equivalent basis that is an annualized pay rate of $20,000 per year compared to $50,000 for full-time jobs. We have labeled the latter as the Breadwinner Jobs category on the theory that these jobs generate annual earnings sufficient (barely) to support a family.

Needless to say, we are still not there yet when it comes to full-pay, full-time jobs. There are still a million fewer of these jobs today than there were at the pre-crisis peak. And nearly 2 million fewer than when Bill Clinton was vacating the White House back in January 2001.

At the end of the day, the monthly jobs report is an economic sideshow. The nonfarm payroll part of it, in particular, is a relic of your grandfather’s economy when most jobs  represented 40-50 hours per week of paid employment on a year round basis.

You could compare both short-term changes and longer-term trends because jobs slots where pretty much apples-to-apples units, and the BLS had not yet invented most of the insane trend-cycle modeling manipulations and dense and obscurantist birth/death and seasonal adjustment routines that have turned the report into quasi-fiction.

Likewise, Wal-Mart and the like had not yet invented labor scheduling by the hour nor did the notion of temp agency and contract employment by the gig even exist.

As I have suggested before, the world would be far better off if they simply shut down the BLS. Adding up minimum wage gigs a few hours per week with full-time employment slots in a factory, as per the establishment survey, is a completely stupid, useless and profoundly misleading waste of time.

Similarly, there are already far more timely, accurate and honest price and inflation indices published by a variety of private sources.

And if we need aggregated data on employment trends, the US government itself already publishes a far more timely and representative measure of Americans at work. It’s called the treasury’s daily tax withholding report, and it has this central virtue: No employer sends Uncle Sam cash for model imputed employees or for 2.1 million seasonally adjusted payroll records that did not actually report for work.

Stated differently, the daily tax withholding report is the real thing and the whole thing; it captures the labor input of the entire US economy in real time, and does not get revised and manipulated endlessly over the course of months and years from its original release.

Why is this important? My colleague Lee Adler has been tracking the daily withholding reports for more than a decade and knows their details and rhythms inside-out. He now reports that tax collections are swooning just as they always do when the US economy enters a recession.

In fact, his latest report as of February 6th indicates that,

“The annual rate of change in withholding taxes has shifted from positive to negative. It has grown increasingly negative in inflation adjusted terms for more than a month. Following on the heels of a weak December, it is a clear sign that the US has entered recession……..the implied real growth rate is now roughly negative 4.5% per year……it is the most negative growth rate since the recession. It follows the longest stretch of zero growth in several years, This can no longer be considered temporary or an anomaly. It has all the earmarks of a trend reversal and is getting worse.”

We will have more on this next week, but here’s the thing. Wall Street’s fast money boys and girls and robo-machines will have the mother of all hissy fits when it becomes apparent once again that the US is plunging into recession, and that all those sell-side hockey sticks on corporate earnings will be going up in smoke.

The talking heads have spent the entire first five weeks of this year insisting that the market’s rough patch is simply the pause that refreshes because there is never a bear market outside of recession.

Well, exactly. The recession is arriving; the bear market has incepted; and the bulls are heading for the slaughter. Again.

Reprinted with permission from David Stockman’s Contra Corner.

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Extraterrestrial Culture Day

21 hours 25 min ago

It’s Extra-terrestrial Culture Day, haven’t you heard?

The event takes place annually on the second Tuesday in February and was created to “celebrate and honour all past, present and future alien visitors”.

It began in 2003 when Daniel Foley, a Republican from Roswell, saw his proposal approved in the House of Representatives.

It said aliens have contributed to the recognition of New Mexico, with the state associated with little green men since the purported UFO crash in 1947.

We take a look back at the infamous Roswell incident.

What happened

On July 8 1947, an object crashed near a rancher’s home in Roswell, New Mexico, during a powerful storm.

Rancher W.W. “Mack” Brazel retrieved some of the metal debris and many witnesses associated with the incident noted its unusual properties.

“The odd thing about this foil was that you could wrinkle it and lay it back down and it immediately resumed its original shape,” William Brazel Jr, Mack’s son, reportedly said in a witness statement.

The “flying disk”

Suspicion was fuelled after Roswell Army Air Field (RAAF) public information officer Walter Haut announced in a press release that a “flying disc” had been recovered.

Hours later, as government scientists arrived in the area, it was stated instead that a weather balloon had crashed.

Aliens?

The incident soon became largely forgotten until 1978 when physicist Stanton T. Friedman interviewed Major Jesse Marcel, who had been involved in recovering debris in 1947.

Major Marcel claimed that the US government covered up the existence of an alien aircraft, sparking years of conspiracy theories.

In a deathbed admission, Haut said the weather balloon was a cover story and claimed to have seen aliens.

Read the Whole Article

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Why Spies and Cops Don’t Want You To Sleep

21 hours 25 min ago

A staggering 25 per cent of wrongful convictions in the US are said to have been made using false confessions.

Law enforcement officers have been known to deprive suspects of sleep while they carry out their investigations, and now a study has found a link between tiredness and fake statements.

Researchers have found that people are more likely to own up to something they haven’t done if they’re lacking in sleep, than those who are fully rested.

The study was carried out by Elizabeth Loftus and her team at the University of California, Irvine.

They examined whether the likelihood of a false confession is increased by sleep deprivation, which interferes with the ability to anticipate the consequences of one’s actions.

In two sessions separated by approximately a week, 88 undergraduate students completed computer tasks.

They repeatedly received warnings that pressing the ‘escape’ key on the keyboard would cause the loss of study data.

The night following the second session, half of the participants slept for eight hours in the laboratory.

The other half remained awake throughout the night.

In the morning, all of the subjects were asked to sign a statement falsely alleging that the participant had pressed the ‘escape’ key during the first session.

After a single request, the statement was signed by 18 per cent of the rested participants and half of the sleep-deprived individuals.

In fact, regardless of experimental condition, the odds of confessing were 4.5 times higher for participants who reported high levels of sleepiness, relative to participants who reported low-to-medium levels of sleepiness.

Read the Whole Article

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Eat It

Tue, 02/09/2016 - 02:01

By Dr. Mercola

Of all the treats available, chocolate is one of the most craved foods in the world. The first solid chocolate bar, made from cocoa butter, cocoa powder and sugar, was introduced by the British chocolate company J.S. Fry & Sons in 1847, but the history of chocolate goes back at least 4,000 years.1

Pre-Olmec cultures in Mexico produced chocolate as early as 1900 B.C. Originally, it was consumed as a bitter beverage. The cacao beans were fermented, roasted, and then ground into a paste that was mixed with water and spices like chili peppers and vanilla, sweetened with honey.

Throughout its history, chocolate — “the food of the Gods” — has remained a symbol of luxury, wealth, and power. During the 14th century, the Aztecs and Mayans even used cacao beans as currency.

Research has also revealed chocolate has some rather impressive health benefits, provided you’re willing to give up the now-familiar sweetness of modern day milk chocolate.

The Olmecs, Mayans, and Aztecs valued cacao for its mood enhancing and aphrodisiac properties, and it was typically reserved for the ruling class.

In the 17th century, cocoa and chocolate were considered potential medicine, and historical documents in Europe reveal they were used to treat angina and heart pain.2

With Valentine’s Day fast approaching, you may want to experiment with making your own candy this year. Stores like Amazon and Michael’s sell all sorts of candy molds you can use for the occasion.

Sources and References

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The Totalitarian Rip-Off

Tue, 02/09/2016 - 02:01

A recent look at some headlines, all less than two months old, gives us a scary view as to what is coming:

  • Bring On the Cashless Future – Bloomberg
  • China buyers go virtually cashless  – The Star
  • Norway’s Biggest Bank Calls For Country To Stop Using Cash – Int’l Business Times
  • Cashless future underway as Canadian consumers have more credit, debit and app options than ever – CBC
  • In Sweden, a Cash-Free Future Nears – NY Times
  • Germany proposes new cash ban and capital controls as Europe rushes towards NIRP – Examiner

With the Western World and China in danger of going into deflation, major banks have already started to charge negative interest rates.

Denmark’s central bank was a pioneer when it first cut its deposit rate below zero in 2012, and the trend has now spread to the eurozone and Japan. The Danish deposit rate now stands at minus 0.65 per cent. – Financial Times

Sweden has followed suit.  The USA is set to follow.  Major Bankers are calling for an abolition of money.  It may the only fix left, now that quantitative easing is failing.  But no one is going to put their money in banks!  Not if it means negative interest rates.

Don’t worry.  Governments will rise to the occasion and soon will be making cash illegal.  People will be forced to put their money in banks or the market, thus rescuing the central governments and the central banks that are incestuously intertwined with them.

Beyond that, cash is probably the last arena of personal autonomy left.  It can be spent any way one pleases, with no one watching.   It can be hidden from the government to avoid taxes.  It can be used to engage in transactions of a semi-legal nature.  It has power that the government cannot control; and that is why it has to go.

Of course, governments will not tell us the real reasons.  Might provoke a reaction.  We will be told it is for our own “good,” however one defines that.  It will be sold to us as a benefit.  Millions of smartphone users are being seduced to take advantage of the convenience of Apple Pay; and indeed it is convenient, until you lose your smartphone.

When that day comes — and we may be only one more “market correction” away — the call will go out to have all disposable cash surrendered in exchange for bank accounts or money funds.  A time period will be set up. Possibly two months, extended one or two times to make the bureaucrats appear merciful.  Fluff stories will appear in the press to ease the process.

There will be stories about a seventy-year-old granny who marches in with a mattress containing $100,000 of her life earnings.  She will smile, and tell the announcer, “I was always afraid of a fire; but now I feel safer.”  It will look so cute on the Five O’clock Action Report News.

Kids will turn in their piggy banks at school — does anybody still use piggy banks anymore? — for prepaid money cards.  They won’t be told the cards depreciate one or two percent a month, if they do not spend it immediately.  Remember, that in all of these transactions, the central government/bank wins.

Side stories will inform us that mugging is down. Crime is finally being defeated. What won’t be reported will be that hacking will shoot up.  Bank fraud will skyrocket.

Poor people, often liberal voters, will be sold on increased personal safety.  A cashless society means less crime in their neighborhoods.  No cash puts muggers at a disadvantage.  More importantly, they will be told that the rich can no longer hide their money and will be “forced to pay their fair share.”

Read the Whole Article

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How To Spot a Liar

Tue, 02/09/2016 - 02:01

How many people have you spoken with today? Chances are that most of them lied to you—and that they did it more than once. It’s a hard fact to accept, but even your closest friends and coworkers lie to you regularly.

University of Massachusetts psychologist Robert Feldman has studied lying for more than a decade, and his research has reached some startling conclusions. Most shocking is that 60% of people lie during a typical 10-minute conversation and that they average two to three lies during that short timeframe.

Most of the people in Feldman’s studies don’t even realize all of the lies they have told until after the conversation when it was played back to them on video.New research by Dr. Leanne ten Brinke at the Haas School of Business suggests that, while most of us have pretty good instincts when it comes to recognizing liars, we tend to talk ourselves out of believing (or, at least, acting on) what our instincts are telling us.

We hesitate to call liars out in professional environments because we feel guilty for being suspicious. Calling someone a liar for no good reason is a frightening proposition for most.

Thankfully, Dr. Brink’s research points to objective, well-documented physiological and behavioral changes—or “tells”—that we can use to make accurate assessments of other people’s truthfulness.

Keep an eye out for the following signs, and you won’t be taken advantage of by a liar.

They cover their mouths. People often cover their mouths when lying. A hand on the mouth or even a touch of the lips shows you that they are lying because this unconscious body language represents a closing off of communication. When lying, people also instinctively cover vulnerable body parts, such as the head, neck, or abdomen, because lying makes them feel exposed, vulnerable, and open to attack.

Read the Whole Article

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Even More Sinister Than You Thought

Tue, 02/09/2016 - 02:01

Psychological Operations » (Psy Ops) are « tricks of war », like the Trojan Horse. Under the influence of General Edward Lansdale, the United States equipped their armies and the CIA with these special Psy Ops units, first of all in the Philippines, in Vietnam and against Cuba, then as permanent fixtures [1].

Psychological Operations are far more complex than propaganda, which is aimed only at deforming the perception of reality. For example, during the war against Syria in 2011, allied propaganda consisted of convincing the population that President el-Assad was going to abdicate, as President Ben Ali of Tunisia had done earlier. The Syrians therefore had to prepare themselves for a new régime. But in early 2012, a psychological operation planned on substituting false programmes on national TV channels which purported to show the fall of the Syrian Arab Republic, so that the population would offer no resistance [2].

Just as today, there exist mercenary armies like Blackwater-Academi, DynCorp or CACI, there also exist private companies specialised in psychological operations, like the British company SCL (Strategic Communications Laboratories) and its US subsidiary Cambridge Analytica. In the strictest secret, they have helped the CIA to organise the « colour revolutions » and are now branching out into the manipulation of the electoral public. Since 2005, they have been participating in the British Defense Systems & Equipment International (DSEI) exhibition, and sell their services to the highest bidder [3]. Concerning Syria, SCL worked in early 2011 in Lebanon, where it studied the the possibilities of manipulating the population community by communuity.

In 1988, Ted Cruz spoke of his ideals in life : « Take over the world. World domination, rule everything, be rich and powerful, that sort of stuff ».

If he were to win the coveted place in the White House, it would prove that it is possible to subvert an electoral campaign by using the techniques of psychological operations.

Notes

[1] Edward Lansdale’s Cold War, Jonathan Nashel, university of Massachusetts Press, 2005.

[2] “NATO preparing vast disinformation campaign”, by Thierry Meyssan, Translation Olivia Kroth, Komsomolskaïa Pravda (Russia), Voltaire Network, 11 June 2012. “NATO PsyOp Against Syria Imminent”, Translation Roger Lagassé, Voltaire Network, 21 July 2012.

[3] “You Can’t Handle the Truth. Psy-ops propaganda goes mainstream”, Sharon Weinberger, Slate, September 2005.

[4] “The Man Who Out-Koched the Kochs”, Annie Linskey, Bloomberg, October 23, 2014.

[5] “Renaissance Avoided More Than $6 Billion Tax, Report Says”, Zachary R. Mider, Bloomberg, July 22, 2014.

[6] “Cruz partners with donor’s ’psychographic’ firm. The GOP candidate’s campaign is working closely with a data company owned by Cruz’s biggest donor”, Kenneth P. Vogel & Tarini Parti, Politico, July 7, 2015. “Cruz-Connected Data Miner Aims to Get Inside U.S. Voters’ Heads”, Sasha Issenberg, Bloomberg, November 12, 2015. “Cruz campaign credits psychological data and analytics for its rising success”, Tom Hamburger,The Washington Post, December 13, 2015.

[7] “Ted Cruz sing firm that harvested data on millions of unwitting Facebook users”, Harry Davies, The Guardian, December 11, 2015.

[8] “Ted Cruz’s Father Fires Up Campaign Rhetoric. Rafael Cruz’s Bible-laced speeches appeal to conservatives, but could alienate swing voters”, Janet Hook, Wall Street Journal, June 21, 2015. “Ted Cruz’s dad is even more frightening than Ted Cruz”, Robert Leonard, Salon, September 24, 2015.

[9] “Heidi Nelson Cruz, Ted’s Wife: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know”, Tom Cleary, Heavy, March 23, 2015. “Heidi Nelson Cruz: A Political Spouse Making Sacrifices and Courting Donors”, Steve Eder & Matt Flegenheimer,The New York Times, January 18, 2016.

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Dangerous Speech

Tue, 02/09/2016 - 02:01

“If you can’t say ‘Fuck’ you can’t say, ‘Fuck the government.’” ― Lenny Bruce

Not only has free speech become a four-letter word—profane, obscene, uncouth, not to be uttered in so-called public places—but in more and more cases, the government deems free speech to be downright dangerous and in some instances illegal.

The U.S. government has become particularly intolerant of speech that challenges the government’s power, reveals the government’s corruption, exposes the government’s lies, and encourages the citizenry to push back against the government’s many injustices.

Indeed, there is a long and growing list of the kinds of speech that the government considers dangerous enough to red flag and subject to censorship, surveillance, investigation and prosecution: hate speech, bullying speech, intolerant speech, conspiratorial speech, treasonous speech, threatening speech, incendiary speech, inflammatory speech, radical speech, anti-government speech, right-wing speech, extremist speech, etc.

Yet by allowing the government to whittle away at cherished First Amendment freedoms—which form the backbone of the Bill of Rights—we have evolved into a society that would not only be abhorrent to the founders of this country but would be hostile to the words they used to birth this nation.

Santilli, notorious for his controversial topics, vocal outrage over government abuses, and inflammatory rhetoric, is not what anyone would consider an objective reporter. His radio show, aptly titled “Telling You the Truth…Whether You Like It or Not,” makes it clear that Santilli has a viewpoint (namely, that the government has overstepped its bounds), and he has no qualms about sharing it with his listeners.

It was that viewpoint that landed Santilli in jail.

In early January 2016, a group of armed activists, reportedly protesting the federal government’s management of federal lands and its prosecution of two local ranchers convicted of arson, staged an act of civil disobedience by occupying the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Burns, Oregon. Santilli, who has covered such protests in the past, including the April 2014 standoff in Nevada between the Bundy ranching family and the federal government over grazing rights, reported on the occupation in Burns as an embedded journalist, albeit one who was sympathetic to the complaints (although not the tactics) of the occupiers.

When asked to clarify his role in relation to the occupation, Santilli declared, “My role is the same here that it was at the Bundy ranch. To talk about the constitutional implications of what is going on here. The Constitution cannot be negotiated.”

Well, it turns out that the Constitution can be negotiated, at least when the government gets involved.

Long a thorn in the side of the FBI, Santilli was arrested by the FBI following its ambush and arrest of key leaders of the movement. He was charged, along with the armed resistors, with conspiracy to impede federal officers from discharging their duties by use of force, intimidation, or threats—the same charge being levied against those who occupied the refuge—which carries a maximum sentence of six years in prison.

Notably, Santilli is the only journalist among those covering the occupation to be charged with conspiracy, despite the fact that he did not participate in the takeover of the refuge, nor did he ever spend a night on the grounds of the refuge, nor did he ever represent himself as anything but a journalist covering the occupation.

Of course, the government doesn’t actually believe that 50-year-old Santilli is an accomplice to any criminal activity.

Read between the lines and you’ll find that what the government is really accusing Santilli of is employing dangerous speech. As court documents indicate, the government is prosecuting Santilli solely as a reporter of information. In other words, they’re making an example of him, which is consistent with the government’s ongoing efforts to intimidate members of the media who portray the government in a less than favorable light.

This is not a new tactic.

During the protests in Ferguson, Missouri, and Baltimore, Maryland, numerous journalists were arrested while covering the regions’ civil unrest and the conditions that spawned that unrest. These attempts to muzzle the press were clearly concerted, top-down efforts to restrict the fundamental First Amendment rights of the public and the press.

As The Huffington Post reports:

The Obama administration’s treatment of reporters has caused controversy before. In 2009, the Department of Justice targeted a Fox News reporter in an investigation. Three years later, DOJ seized Associated Press reporters’ phone records. After that, former Attorney General Eric Holder ordered a review of the Justice Department’s news media policies. DOJ employees must consult with a unit within the Criminal Division before they arrest someone when there is a “question regarding whether an individual or entity is a ‘member of the news media,’” according to a January 2015 memo from Holder to DOJ employees.”

That the government is choosing to target Santilli for prosecution, despite the fact that they do not recognize new media journalists as members of the mainstream media, signals a broadening of the government’s efforts to suppress what it considers dangerous speech and stamp out negative coverage.

The message is clear: whether a journalist is acting alone or is affiliated with an established news source, the government has no qualms about subjecting them to harassment, arrest, jail time and trumped up charges if doing so will discourage others from openly opposing or exposing the government.

You see, the powers-that-be understand that if the government can control speech, it controls thought and, in turn, it can control the minds of the citizenry.

Where the government has gone wrong is in hinging its case against Santilli based solely on his incendiary rhetoric, which is protected by the First Amendment and which bears a striking resemblance to disgruntled patriots throughout American history.

Here’s what Santilli said: “What we need, most importantly, is one hundred thousand unarmed men and women to stand together. It is the most powerful weapon in our arsenal.”

Now compare that with the call to action from Joseph Warren, a leader of the Sons of Liberty and a principal figure within the American Revolution: “Stain not the glory of your worthy ancestors, but like them resolve never to part with your birthright; be wise in your deliberations, and determined in your exertions for the preservation of your liberties. Follow not the dictates of passion, but enlist yourselves under the sacred banner of reason; use every method in your power to secure your rights.”

Indeed, Santilli comes across as relatively docile compared to some of our nation’s more outspoken firebrands.

Santilli: “I’m not armed. I am armed with my mouth. I’m armed with my live stream. I’m armed with a coalition of like-minded individuals who sit at home and on YouTube watch this.”

Now compare that to what George Washington had to say: “Unhappy it is, though, to reflect that a brother’s sword has been sheathed in a brother’s breast and that the once-happy plains of America are either to be drenched with blood or inhabited by slaves. Sad alternative! But can a virtuous man hesitate in his choice?”

And then there was Andrew Jackson, a hothead if ever there was one. He came of age in the early days of the republic, served as the seventh president of the United States, and was not opposed to shedding blood when necessary: “Peace, above all things, is to be desired, but blood must sometimes be spilled to obtain it on equable and lasting terms.”

This is how freedom rises or falls.

There have always been those willing to speak their minds despite the consequences. Where freedom hangs in the balance is when “we the people” are called on to stand with or against individuals who actually exercise their rights and, in the process, push the envelope far enough to get called out on the carpet for it.

Do we negotiate the Constitution, or do we embrace it, no matter how uncomfortable it makes us feel, no matter how hateful or ugly it gets, and no matter how much we may dislike its flag-bearers?

Comedian Lenny Bruce laid the groundwork for the George Carlins that would follow in his wake: foul-mouthed, insightful, irreverent, incredibly funny, and one of the First Amendment’s greatest champions who dared to “speak the unspeakable” about race, religion, sexuality and politics. As Village Voice writer Nat Hentoff attests, Bruce was “not only a paladin of free speech but also a still-penetrating, woundingly hilarious speaker of truth to the powerful and the complacent.”

Bruce died in 1966, but not before being convicted of alleged obscenity for challenging his audience’s covert prejudices by brandishing unmentionable words that, if uttered today, would not only get you ostracized but could get you arrested and charged with a hate crime. Hentoff, who testified in Bruce’s defense at his trial, recounts that Lenny used to say, “What I wanted people to dig is the lie. Certain words were suppressed to keep the lie going. But if you do them, you should be able to say the words.”

Not much has changed in the 50 years since Bruce died. In fact, it’s gotten worse.

What we’re dealing with today is a government that wants to suppress dangerous words—words about its warring empire, words about its land grabs, words about its militarized police, words about its killing, its poisoning and its corruption—in order to keep its lies going.

As I document in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, what we are witnessing is a nation undergoing a nervous breakdown over this growing tension between our increasingly untenable reality and the lies being perpetrated by a government that has grown too power-hungry, egotistical, militaristic and disconnected from its revolutionary birthright.

The only therapy is the truth and nothing but the truth.

Otherwise, there will be no more First Amendment. There will be no more Bill of Rights. And there will be no more freedom in America as we have known it.

As the insightful and brash comedian George Carlin observed:

“Rights aren’t rights if someone can take them away. They’re privileges. That’s all we’ve ever had in this country, is a bill of temporary privileges. And if you read the news even badly, you know that every year the list gets shorter and shorter. Sooner or later, the people in this country are gonna realize the government does not give a fuck about them! The government doesn’t care about you, or your children, or your rights, or your welfare or your safety. It simply does not give a fuck about you! It’s interested in its own power. That’s the only thing. Keeping it and expanding it wherever possible.”

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Kneecapping a Neocon

Tue, 02/09/2016 - 02:01

Lew Rockwell joins me for another debate analysis! The second-place slot is fluid in New Hampshire right now, so this debate could prove crucial.

Listen to the podcast

For audio of the previous debates go to TomWoods.com.

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Government Secrecy Evil Exposed

Tue, 02/09/2016 - 02:01

The world of secrecy is truly out of control. Most people don’t think about the fact that millions of pages of documents every year are classified and kept from public viewing, and that’s just in the United States alone. If a historian wanted to study the history of their country, how could they properly do it when a majority of their history remains ‘classified?’ It was only only three years ago (2013) when the Central Intelligence Agency finally admitted to the existence of Area 51. Although it didn’t ‘officially’ exist before the CIA made this admission, it was pretty clear that something secretive was going on in the Nevada desert. That secretive something would be the testing of secret aircraft and technology that the public has absolutely no idea about. Take for example the U.S. air strike against Libya in 1996. An f-111 jet was used, which had been operational since 1983, but its existence was still kept secret for a number of years after.

The efforts of Edward Snowden, Julian Assange, Bradley Manning and all of the other whistleblowers that you never hear about, are heroic, and no doubt important, but it’s interesting to ponder jus how far down the rabbit hole government secrecy goes. It’s in our nature to be curious, especially when it’s a known fact that there are things being concealed from us.

The United States has a history of government agencies existing in secret. The National Security Agency (NSA) was founded in 1952 but its existence was hidden until the mid 1960’s. Even more secretive is the National Reconnaissance Office, which was founded in 1960 but remained completely concealed for 30 years.

The real menace of our Republic is the invisible government, which like a giant octopus sprawls its slimy legs over our cities, states and nation … The little coterie of powerful international bankers virtually run the United States government for their own selfish purposes. They practically control both parties … [and] control the majority of the newspapers and magazines in this country. They use the columns of these papers to club into submission or drive out of office public officials who refuse to do the bidding of the powerful corrupt cliques which compose the invisible government. It operates under cover of a self-created screen [and] seizes our executive officers, legislative bodies, schools, courts, newspapers and every agency created for the public protection.  – John F. Hylan was Mayor of New York City from 1918-1925 (source)(source)

Here is a great video illustrating the pyramid of financial dominance

To see similiar quotes from people of the same ‘stature,’ you can click HERE.

The point of this article is to let more people know that our world is drenched with secrecy, and recent revelations in multiple areas are sparking, for some, a shift in consciousness. New information about our world that was once not known can always change things. Imagine if we lived in a world that was completely transparent, one that developed technology from a place of peace, one that used science to push the human race into greater depths of understanding regarding the true nature of reality.

In this day and age, it’s best to keep an open mind as new information is constantly surfacing challenging the belief systems of many.

There are so many reasons why transparency is important. Below are a few of many examples of government secrecy,

Examples of Government Secrecy

  • Patent Secrecy

The U.S. Patent and Trademark office is is a great example. The office is supposed to legally protect the inventions of entrepreneurs and companies, some of whom have developed ground breaking technology. Unfortunately, that’s not the case as new documents obtained via the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) reveal how the Patent Office has been using a secret system to withhold the approval of some applications.

This 50-page document was obtained by Kilpatrick Towsend & Stockton, LLP, who commonly represent major tech companies that include Apple, Google and Twitter (to name a few). You can view that entire document HERE. (1)

The program delaying patent applications is called the Sensitive Application Warning System (SWAS). Usually, when an application is submitted for a patent approval it requires a couple of examiners who work with the Patent office to go through their process of approval. This process usually takes approximately 1 to 2 years, but  applications that are filed in SAWS must be approved from several people, and can be delayed for a number of years.

“There is no official channel to notify an applicant once their patent is placed in the system, and the Patent Office has denied requests to divulge what applications are on the SAWS list.” (source)

The documents also indicate areas of technology that might have a patent application placed in the SAWS program – these include smartphones, internet-enabling systems and more. This information is set to be published in an online journal called “Law360” to inform the public. Tech Columnist Alyssa Bereznak at Yahoo News states that most companies are fully aware of this.

I first came across this recent information in her article, which you can view here, but I felt compelled to add more information.

As you will see below, there is more information that has surfaced prior to these documents that suggest this type of “invention secrecy” goes far beyond these technologies.

One great example (out of many) of delayed patent applications comes from Dr. Gerald F. Ross. He filed a patent application for a new invention he had devised to defeat the jamming of electromagnetic transmissions at specified frequencies. It was not until June 17, 2014 (almost 37 years later) that this patent was granted. (2)

s great as it is to see new information pertaining to invention secrecy come to light, it’s also important to note (as reported by the Federation of American Scientists; see annotated bibliography) that there were over 5000 inventions that were under secrecy orders at the end of Fiscal Year 2014, which marked the highest number of  secrecy orders in effect since 1994.(3)

This is all thanks to an act many people are unaware of. It’s called the “Invention Secrecy Act” and it was written up in 1951. Under this act, patent applications on new inventions can be subject to secrecy orders. These orders can restrict their publication if government agencies believe that their disclosure would be harmful to national security.(4)(5)

As mentioned earlier, “national security” has become an excuse and justification for the classification of a large amount of information on a variety of topics that the public is deliberately kept in the dark about. Apparently, many of these projects and inventions go far above and beyond presidential knowledge.

“It is ironic that the U.S. should be fighting monstrously expensive wars allegedly to bring democracy to those countries, when it itself can no longer claim to be called a democracy when trillions, and I mean thousands of billions of dollars, have been spent on projects which both congress and the commander in chief know nothing about.”  (source) – Paul Hellyer, Former Canadian Defense Minister.

So what type of technology is under restriction under the Invention Secrecy Act? We don’t really know, but a previous list from 1971 was obtained by researcher Michael Ravnitzky. Most of the technology listed seems to be related to various military applications. You can view that list HERE. (6)

As Steven Aftergood from the Federation of American Scientists reports:

“The 1971 list indicates that patents for solar photovoltaic generators were subject to review and possible restriction if the photovoltaics were more than 20% efficient. Energy conversion systems were likewise subject to review and possible restriction if they offered conversion efficiencies in “excess of 70-80%.” (source)

  • Black Budget Secrecy

“There exists a shadowy government with its own Air Force, its own Navy, its own fundraising mechanism, and the ability to pursue its own ideas of the national interest, free from all checks and balances, and free from the law itself.” – Senator Daniel K. Inouye, the highest ranking Asian-American politician in United States history (source)

Black budget programs  consist of Special Access Programs (SAPs). From these we have unacknowledged and waived SAPs. These programs do not exist publicly, but they do indeed exist. They are better known as ‘deep black programs.’ A 1997 US Senate report described them as “so sensitive that they are exempt from standard reporting requirements to the Congress.” (source)

The Washington Post revealed that the “black-budget” documents report  a staggering 52.6 billion dollars that was set aside for operations in the fiscal year 2013. Although it’s great to have this type of documentation in the public domain proving the existence of  these black budget programs, the numbers seem to be off according to some statements made by some very prominent people who have been involved in the defense sector for years. There is a lot of evidence to suggest that these programs are not using billions of dollars, but trillions of dollars that are unaccounted for. Here is a statement given by Canada’s former Minister of National Defence, Paul Hellyer in 2008:

It is ironic that the U.S. would begin a devastating war, allegedly in search of weapons of mass destruction when the most worrisome developments in this field are occurring in your own backyard.  It is ironic that the U.S. should be fighting monstrously expensive wars  allegedly to bring democracy to those countries, when it itself can no longer claim to be called a democracy when trillions, and I mean thousands of billions of dollars have been spent on projects which both congress and the commander in chief no nothing about(2)

We are talking about large amounts of unaccounted-for money going into programs we know nothing about. There have been several congressional inquiries that have noted billions, and even trillions of dollars that have gone missing from the federal reserve system. On July 16, 2001, in front of the house appropriations committee, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld stated:

The financial systems of the department of defence are so snarled up that we can’t account for some $2.6 trillion in transactions that exist, if that’s believable (3)

We don’t really hear about black budget programs, or about people who have actually looked into them.  However, the topic was discussed in 2010 by Washington Post journalists Dana Priest and William Arkin. Their investigation lasted approximately two years and concluded that America’s classified world has:

Become so large, so unwieldy and so secretive that no one knows how much money it costs, how many people it employes, how many programs exist within it or exactly how many agencies do the same work (4)

Another person was aviation journalist Bill Sweetman. Within the Pentagon, he estimated that approximately 150 special access programs existed that weren’t even acknowledged. These programs are not known about by the highest members of government and the highest ranking officials in the military. He determined that most of these programs were dominated by private contractors (Lockheed Martin, Boeing, etc.) and that he had no idea as to how these programs were funded(5)(8).

The amount that the US sets aside for sensitive operations each year is not allowed to be published for eyes outside of the intelligence community. We are in an age where the US is having a difficult time keeping sensitive information under wraps, and although there is an abundance of blatant information for the world to wake up to, that which is still kept under tight wraps has also become more transparent. Many phenomena previously labelled as merely a “conspiracy theory” are now surfacing as true and verifiable day after day.

  • The Corporate Connection To Government

“Because there’s absolutely no question. There are people in government, who truly agree when I talk with them, they agree that this mine shouldn’t go ahead, or that damn shouldn’t be built, or Monsanto shouldn’t be allowed to test its seeds here. It’s corruption really, the might of money, the corporations that hold governments in their hands, because of lobbying power and so forth, it’s really frightening.” – Jane Goodall

Because of this influence that corporations have over governments, a lot of information is swept under the rug. This happens in all industries, from energy to health, all the way to finance and education.  I’ve written a lot about medical fraud, and it’s a great way to show how corporate influence dominates our world, and manipulates/distorts important information.

The latest example comes from an independent review found that the commonly prescribed antidepressant drug Paxil (paroxetine), is not safe for teenagers, despite the fact that a large amount of literature already previously suggested this. The 2001 drug trial that took place, funded by GlaxoSmithKline, found that these drugs were completely safe, and used that ‘science’ to market Paxil as safe for teenagers.

“It is simply no longer possible to believe much of the clinical research that is published, or to rely on the judgment of trusted physicians or authoritative medical guidelines. I take no pleasure in this conclusion, which I reached slowly and reluctantly over my two decades as an editor of the New England Journal of Medicine”    Dr. Marcia Angell, a physician and longtime Editor in Chief of the New England Medical Journal (source)

To view the most widely accessed article in the history of the Public Library of Science (PLoS), click here: Why Most Published Research Findings Are False It was a study published more than a decade ago bringing more awareness to this topic.

“The case against science is straightforward: much of the scientific literature, perhaps half, may simply be untrue. Afflicted by studies with small sample sizes, tiny effects, invalid exploratory analyses, and flagrant conflicts of interest, together with an obsession for pursuing fashionable trends of dubious importance, science has taken a turn towards darkness.” Dr. Richard Horton, the current editor-in-chief of the Lancet (source)

“The medical profession is being bought by the pharmaceutical industry, not only in terms of the practice of medicine, but also in terms of teaching and research. The academic institutions of this country are allowing themselves to be the paid agents of the pharmaceutical industry. I think it’s disgraceful.”  – (source)(source) Arnold Seymour Relman (1923-2014), Harvard Professor of Medicine and Former Editor-in-Chief of the New England Medical Journal

Another example comes fromA merican psychologist Lisa Cosgrove, who investigated Financial Ties between the Diagnostic and Statistical Manuel of Mental Disorders (DSM) panel members and the pharmaceutical industry. They found that, of the 170 DSM panel members 95 (56%) had one or more financial associations with companies in the pharmaceutical industry. One hundred percent of the members of the panels on ‘mood disorders’ and ‘schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders’ had financial ties to drug companies. The connections are especially strong in those diagnostic areas where drugs are the first line of treatment for mental disorders. In the next edition of the manual, it’s the same thing. (source)(source)

The list here is a long one, and I just wanted to provide a brief example, and a place to start if you are further interested in continuing your research.

  • What’s Going On In Space?

“This thing has gotten so highly-classified… it is just impossible to get anything on it. I have no idea who controls the flow of need-to-know because, frankly, I was told in such an emphatic way that it was none of my business that I’ve never tried to make it to be my business since. I have been interested in this subject for a long time and I do know that whatever the Air Force has on the subject is going to remain highly classified.” – Senator Barry GoldwaterChairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee (source)

Space news has been at an all time high lately, especially with the recent discovery of water on Mars.

Also in the news recently, the Russian government has called for an international investigation into the United States moon landings. They are concerned about the disappearance of film footage from the original moon landing, as well as the missing 400 kilograms of lunar rock that was taken from multiple missions. You can read more about that here.

Perhaps one of the strangest things is the recent disclosure of UFO files by multiple countries around the world. These files indicate that governments have spent a great deal of resources investigating this very serious/real phenomenon.

For example, here is an article that sources various documents detailing what happens when a UFO is tracked on radar.

Here is a document (1 of thousands of pages) from the FBI illustrating what type of documents were typed up, and the ‘important’ people they were sent to. It provides details of extraterrestrial bodies and craft on pages 21 & 22. You can read more about that document here.

Here is an NSA document pertaining to UFOs, and here is another.

I’m skeptical about many things, including the notion that government always knows best, and that the people can’t be trusted with the truth. The time to pull the curtain back on this subject is long overdue. We have statements from the most credible sources – those in a position to know – about a fascinating phenomenon, the nature of which is yet to be determined.” – John Podesta, Councillor to Barack Obama, former Chief of Staff at the White House under the Clinton administration, and current head of Hilary Clinton’s presidential campaign (taken from Leslie Kean’s 2010 New York Times bestseller, UFOs: Generals, Pilots, And Government Officials Go On The Record, in which Podesta wrote the forward)

Here is a video of him at the National Press Club speaking about the issue.

Here is the latest batch of files released by the UK government.

Keep in mind that these files, in my opinion and according to my research, are not even the tip of the iceberg when it comes to government secrecy about UFOs and extraterrestrial life. Who knows what information remains hidden from the public, or why it is so?

All of these now-public documents and statements, like the one below, have people turning their heads.

To view some more statements like the one below, you can browse through THIS heavily sourced article.

“There is a serious possibility that we are being visited and have been visited for many years by people from outer space, from other civilizations. That it behooves us, in case some of these people in the future or now should turn hostile, to find out who they are, where they come from, and what they want. This should be the subject of rigorous scientific investigation and not the subject of ‘rubishing’ by tabloid newspapers.” (source) – Lord Admiral Hill-Norton, Former Chief of Defence Staff, 5 Star Admiral of the Royal Navy, Chairman of the NATO Military Committee

“Decades ago, visitors from other plants warned us about where we were headed and offered to help.  But instead, we, or at least some of us, interpreted their visits as a threat, and decided to shoot first and ask questions after.” – Paul Hellyer, Former Canadian Defense Minister (source)

“Intelligent beings from other star systems have been and are visiting our planet Earth. They are variously referred to as Visitors, Others, Star People, Et’s, etc…They are visiting Earth now; this is not a matter of conjecture or wistful thinking. – Theodor C. Loder III, Phd, Professor Emeritus of Earth Sciences, University of New Hampshire (source)

Excerpt from the book “A.D. After Disclosure” written by Richard Dolan and Bryce Zabel

Richard Dolan’s Thoughts on the “Breakaway Civilization”

By now, the classified world has moved far beyond the reach of the public world, and far beyond in its power and capabilities. Consider the story of a former NSA scientist who spoke with the authors. According to this individual, the NSA was operating computers during the mid-1960s with a processing clock-speed of roughly 650 megahertz(MHZ). To put that in perspective, it took 35 years for personal computers in the consumer market to reach that speed. Indeed, in 1965 there were no personal computers at all. Immediately, the near-fatal Apollo 13 mission in 1971 comes to mind, with its reliance on slide-rulers by mission specialist to guide the damaged NASA spacecraft back to Earth. When presented with this image, the NSA scientist shrugged and stated that secret computational capabilities were too important to share with NASA. So in, in computing, the National Security Agency was an amazing 35 years ahead of the rest of the world. This leads one to wonder what its computational powers are today.

Another example was the U.S. air strike against Libya in 1986. The raid employed f-111 fighter aircraft. Left out of the mission, however, was the F-117A Nighthawk, better known as the stealth fighter. It had been operational since 1983, but was still classified in 1986. In a form of logic both perverse and rational, the F-117A was so radically advanced that keeping it secret was more important than using it for this military mission.

Given the mixture of a treasure chest of government money, and private connections, the likelihood exists that six decades later there is a clandestine group that possesses:

  • Technology that is vastly superior to that of the “mainstream” world.
  • The ability to explore areas of our world and surroundings presently unavailable to the rest of us.
  • Scientific and cosmological understandings that give them greater insights into the nature of our world
  • A significant “built off the grid” infrastructure, partially underground, that affords them a high degree of secrecy and independence of action

This might well qualify them as a separate civilization – one that has broken away from our own, in effect, a breakaway civilization. Still interacting with our own, its members probably move back and forth between the official reality of what we are supposed to believe, and the other reality which encompasses new truths and challenges.

Reprinted with permission from Collective Evolution.

The post Government Secrecy Evil Exposed appeared first on LewRockwell.

Avoid Last-Minute Panic

Tue, 02/09/2016 - 02:01

Few can deny the common sense behind preparing for something that is definitely going to happen, yet every year, an impending winter storm sends people rushing out to the store at the last minute, prepping for a blizzard that is due to hit in mere hours. Every winter, if you live in certain climates, blizzards are going to occur. Usually, at least one storm will hit that will cause you to be snowed in. Often, those storms mean you will also lose power. There is the inevitable rush to the store for milk and bread, during which people battle it out for the last supplies left on the shelves.

But you can avoid all that. You don’t have to be a bunker-dwelling, MRE-chomping, camo-clad prepper to see the logic behind keeping some extra food and other supplies on hand for something that happens every single year.

This year, avoid the last minute panic and the discomfort of being unprepared. This article is full of links to previous articles that will help you in prepping for a blizzard. Put together a at least the bare minimum kit for riding out the storm.  (Camo is optional.)

Bare Minimum

Advanced

Other tools and supplies

Some basic items will make your life much easier during an emergency. The good thing is, most folks already have the supplies on the “bare minimum” list. All you need to do is collect them and put them in one easily accessible container.

Shopping Lists

Bare Minimum

  • Lighter/waterproof matches
  • Batteries in various sizes
  • Manual can opener
  • Basic tools: Pliers, screwdriver, wrench, hammer
  • Duct tape
  • Crazy glue

Advanced

First Aid kit

You probably won’t need a field trauma kit that allows you to amputate limbs or remove a bullet, but you definitely want to have a few things on hand. It’s important to have a basic first aid kit on hand at all times, but particularly in the event of an emergency.  Your kit should include basic wound care items and over-the-counter medications.

Shopping Lists

Bare Minimum

  • Bandages
  • Antibiotic ointments
  • Disinfecting sprays
  • Pain relief capsules
  • Cold medicine
  • Cough syrup
  • Anti-nausea pills
  • Allergy medication
  • Anti-diarrheal medications
  • First aid book

Advanced

Special needs

This is something that will be unique to every family. Consider the things that are needed on a daily basis in your household. It might be prescription medications, diapers, or special foods.  If you have pets, you’ll need supplies for them too.  The best way to figure out what you need is to jot things down as you use them over the course of a week or so.

Reprinted with permission from The Organic Prepper.

The post Avoid Last-Minute Panic appeared first on LewRockwell.

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