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College Crossroads

24 April 2015 http://lazerbrody.typepad.com/lazer_beams/2015/04/college-crossroads.html
Dear Rabbi Brody,

I am a 20-year-old college sophomore in the US, and lately I have been worrying about whether or not I am on the right path in life. I know I’m still young, but I feel I am ready to be married and start a family, and I live somewhere with very few Jewish males, none of whom are particularly religious. While I’ve always pictured myself as finishing college, lately I am not sure if this is the right thing to do. I was always an excellent student but lately I have been having a very difficult time finishing assignments because my mind is elsewhere, and even so, the liberal arts program I’m in is not likely to lead to many career opportunities. Also, so unbelievably many random things keep going wrong, making it more difficult to continue in school, and I don’t know whether to take this as a sign from Hashem that maybe I should head in a different direction, or just as another challenge in life to overcome. I don’t want to waste any more time if this is not what I should be doing with my life, and end up unmarried, having wasted what should be an exciting time in life on unfruitful studes. Should I spend at least the next two-plus years finishing my BA degree, or is it time to change directions? I would greatly appreciate any advice you might offer. Thank you so much for your time.

Wishing you happiness always like you make others happy,
Alicia in the western USA

Dear Alicia,

Good girl – you’ve done a good job of understanding the messages that Hashem has sent you. It’s definitely time for you to seriously search for the right person and to raise a family.

The restlessness in your soul is straight from Hashem. A liberal arts program in a university is a waste of your valuable time and money. As far as a livelihood goes, you can take one of many inexpensive aptitude tests available on the web, determine a skill you like, and then pursue a six-month occupational course, such as computers, graphic design, dental tech, or whatever. So, I recommend that you check out of university, move to an area where there are Jewish studies for women your age, and then simultaneously strengthen your Judaism and acquire an occupational skill.

On the other hand, my blue-chip advice for you would be to come to Israel, enroll in a women’s seminar for Jewish Studies such as Midreshet Beerot Bat Ayin which I’m sure you’ll love, or EYHAT (Aish Hatora women’s seminary) or Neve Yerushalayim as possible alternatives. That way you’ll be able to strengthen your Judaism and find the exact guy you want. You’ll be a smashing success, G-d willing. May Hashem bless you and lead you in the right path. Feel free to write. With blessings, LB
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College Student Earns 4.0 GPA, Then Drops Out: “You Are Being Scammed!”

by Tyler Durden Dec 22, 2016 http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-12-21/college-student-earns-40-gpa-then-drops-out-you-are-being-scammed

Submitted by Lance Schuttler via TheMindUnleashed.com,

Billy Williams just finished his first college semester and did so with the all-impressive 4.0 GPA. Instead of celebrating his accomplishments with friends and family, he decided to drop out of college entirely.

 

Billy made a facebook post that is now going viral in which he explains his reasoning for dropping out:

“Now that I’ve finished my first semester I think it’s safe to say… FUCK COLLEGE. Now before all you of you go batshit crazy… I have a few points to make.

 

1. Yes I have dropped out after finishing my first semester (with a 4.0 GPA). And it’s one of the best choices I’ve ever made. Not because I am averse to learning, but actually the exact opposite.

 

2. YOU ARE BEING SCAMMED. You may not see it today or tomorrow, but you will see it some day. Heck you may have already seen it if you’ve been through college. You are being put thousands into debt to learn things you will never even use. Wasting 4 years of your life to be stuck at a paycheck that grows slower than the rate of inflation. Paying $200 for a $6 textbook. Being taught by teacher’s who have never done what they’re teaching. Average income has increased 5x over the last 40 years while cost of college has increased 18x. You’re spending thousands of dollars to learn information you won’t ever even use just to get a piece of paper. I once even had an engineer tell me “I learned more in my first 30 days working than in my 5 years of college.” What does that tell you about this system? There are about a million more ways you’re being scammed into this.. just watch the video i’m gonna comment if you want to see more.

 

3. Colleges are REQUIRING people to spend money taking gen. ed. courses to learn about the quadratic formula (and other shit they will never use) when they could be giving classes on MARRIAGE and HOW TO DO YOUR TAXES.

 

4. Gosh there are so many more reasons I could add, but just comment if you disagree or have reasons to add. I’d love to add to the discussion. TAG a friend in college, Tag your parents, share this if you agree, disagree. Let’s just talk about it. Heck post a picture of yourself flipping off something you think is unjust in our society.”

Billy is right too that the price of college continues to soar.

Ray Franke, a professor of Education at the University of Massachusetts, Boston said:

If you look at the long-term trend of college tuition, it has been rising almost six percent above the rate of inflation. That’s brought immense pressure from the media and general public, asking whether college is still worth it.

In 2015, Harvard’s annual tuition and fees (not including room and board) would cost a person $45,278, which is more than 17 times the 1971-72 cost. If annual increases of tuition had simply tracked the inflation rate since 1971, 2016’s tuition would be just $15,189.

According to CNBC, college enrollment peaked in 2011, and has been decreasing ever since. This is no doubt in part to a family’s ability to pay the tuition, room and board and other related expenses. For example, in order to pay for a year of college at Harvard today would take the median household income nearly one year of paychecks. Back in 1971, it would have taken about 13 weeks of paychecks per the household median income.

Today the student debt is over $1.26 trillion dollars with over 44 million Americans in debt from student loans. 2016’s graduates on average are over $36,000 dollars in debt, which is up 6% from just one year ago.  

What can be done to alleviate this situation? Why do banks get bailed out (2008 Lehman crisis) for cheating the world, while students must continue to pay a debt? Why is a private institution (The Federal Reserve) in charge of this nation’s money and finances? How will students continue to be able to go to college when the price continues to skyrocket as the federal minimum wage stays stuck at $7.25 an hour? At some point soon, the masses won’t take it anymore from the banking cartel. The education system is in for some major changes very soon.

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Four Reasons Why College Degrees Are Becoming Useless

by Tyler Durden June 15, 2017 http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-06-15/four-reasons-why-college-degrees-are-becoming-useless

Authored by Jonathan Newman via The Mises Institute,

Students are running out of reasons to pursue higher education. Here are four trends documented in recent articles:

Graduates have little to no improvement in critical thinking skills

The Wall Street Journalreported on the troubling results of the College Learning Assessment Plus test (CLA+), administered in over 200 colleges across the US.

According to the WSJ, “At more than half of schools, at least a third of seniors were unable to make a cohesive argument, assess the quality of evidence in a document or interpret data in a table”. The outcomes were the worst in large, flagship schools: “At some of the most prestigious flagship universities, test results indicate the average graduate shows little or no improvement in critical thinking over four years.”

There is extensive literature on two mechanisms by which college graduates earn higher wages: actually learning new skills or by merely holding a degree for the world to see (signaling). The CLA+ results indicate that many students aren’t really learning valuable skills in college.

As these graduates enter the workforce and reveal that they do not have the required skills to excel in their jobs, employers are beginning to discount the degree signal as well. Google, for example, doesn’t care if potential hires have a college degree. They look past academic credentials for other characteristics that better predict job performance.

Shouting matches have invaded campuses across the country

It seems that developing critical thinking skills has taken a backseat to shouting matches in many US colleges. At Evergreen State College in Washington, student protests have hijacked classrooms and administration. Protesters took over the administration offices last month, and have disrupted classes as well. It has come to the point where enrollment has fallen so dramatically that government funding is now on the line.

The chaos at Evergreen resulted in “anonymous threats of mass murder, resulting in the campus being closed for three days.” One wonders if some of these students are just trying to get out of class work and studying by staging a campus takeover in the name of identity politics and thinly-veiled racism.

The shouting match epidemic hit Auburn University last semester when certain alt-right and Antifa groups (who are more similar than either side would admit) came from out of town to stir up trouble. Neither outside group offered anything of substance for discourse, just empty platitudes and shouting. I was happy to see that the general response from Auburn students was to mock both sides or to ignore the event altogether. Perhaps the Auburn Young Americans for Liberty group chose the best course of action: hosting a concert elsewhere on campus to pull attention and attendance away from both groups of loud but empty-headed out-of-towners. Of the students who chose not to ignore the event, my favorite Auburn student response was a guy dressed as a carrot holding a sign that read, “I Don’t CARROT ALL About Your Outrage.”

“I Don’t CARROT ALL About Your Outrage.”

Source. 

Trade schools and self-study offer better outcomes for many

College dropouts are doing just fine, bucking the stereotype. Some determined young people are skipping college altogether to pursue their business ideas. Many are also choosing trade schools, which require less time and tuition money, but graduates end up with a specific set of skills. Trade school graduates leave school prepared for the industry they enter, where they can earn much higher wages than many four-year degree-holders.

Young men in particular are leaving colleges in droves. Over the past decade, 30% of male freshmen dropped out before starting a second year. The journalists, psychologists, and sociologists who comment on this trend can’t figure out how to fit it into a narrative [emphasis mine]:

“This is very concerning to me,” Hunter Reed said. Young men — like all students, she emphasized — need support from a variety of groups to thrive in higher education.

 

“The most successful have a sense of place in college,” she said.

 

Stark, 28, studied computer science for a year and a half before leaving Metro State University to study on his own.

 

Now a software engineer for a music company in Denver, Stark also DJs at some of the area’s most notable nightclubs. “What I was getting in the classroom just didn’t jibe with me. I felt I could teach myself on the Internet,” he said.

 

He worked a fast-food job and then took a corporate gig to support himself while he studied on his own. The alternative, he said, was to work four years to get a bachelor’s degree and then another year or two to earn a master’s degree, then “go to work for some huge company and go home at night and live my life with my family. And that just didn’t sound appealing to me at the time.”

Notice the call for helping these poor young men “thrive in higher education” that precedes a small anecdote about one man who dropped out and ended up just fine. Later in the same article, the author says that young men shouldn’t assume they will do well if they drop out, but then equivocates by turning it into a gender wage-gap problem to explain how some men do seem to turn out fine after dropping out:

Observers say many young men delude themselves into thinking they are one idea away from being the next Bill Gates or Steve Jobs. They think they can make a fortune without a college degree, said Riseman. “As a result, they enter college with little sense of purpose and end up failing out,” he said. “While these dropouts imagine they can succeed without a degree, successful start-ups are rare.”

 

While young men without degrees, in general, land higher-paying jobs than their female peers, many of the top-paying jobs are in high-risk industries like oil and gas or manufacturing.

Tuition is increasing, but future earnings are decreasing

In another recent WSJarticle, we see the financial consequences of these trends. While tuition keeps climbing across the country, the prospective earnings of graduates aren’t keeping up. There is a lot of variation across colleges and majors, but the overall trend is that the returns to a four-year degree are decreasing.

Since students are just getting started in life, it means that they must borrow to pay for these expensive degrees that don’t guarantee higher earnings. Total student loans are at $1.3 trillion and climbing. These loans have no collateral and cannot be dissolved through bankruptcy.

 

newman2_2.png The New York Fed tracks the delinquency rate for different types of loans.

The New York Fed tracks the delinquency rate for different types of loans. As of the first quarter of 2017, total student loan debt was increasing the most and had the highest delinquency rate.

These trends are unsustainable. The higher education system seems to be suffering from both economic and cultural issues, but these two types of problems often cause each other in a feedback loop. The ultimate cause for both of them is political.

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Over The Last 10 Years The US Economy Has Grown At Exactly The Same Rate As It Did During The 1930s

by Tyler Durden Jun 2, 2017  http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-06-02/over-last-10-years-us-economy-has-grown-exactly-same-rate-it-did-during-1930s

Authored by Michael Snyder via The Economic Collapse blog,

Even though I write about our ongoing long-term economic collapse every day, I didn’t realize that things were this bad.  In this article, I am going to show you that the average rate of growth for the U.S. economy over the past 10 years is exactly equal to the average rate that the U.S. economy grew during the 1930s.  Perhaps this fact shouldn’t be that surprising, because we already knew that Barack Obama was the only president in the entire history of the United States not to have a single year when the economy grew by at least 3 percent.  Of course the mainstream media continues to push the perception that the U.S. economy is in “recovery mode”, but the truth is that this current era has far more in common with the Great Depression than it does with times of great economic prosperity.

Earlier today I came across an article about President Trump’s new budget from Fox News, and in this article the author makes a startling claim…

The hard fact is that the past decade’s $10 trillion in deficit spending has produced the worst economic growth as measured by Gross Domestic Product in our nation’s history.  You read that right, in the past decade our nation’s economy grew slower than even during the Great Depression. This stagnant, new normal, low-growth economy is leaving millions of working age people behind who have given up even trying to participate, and has led to a malaise where many doubt that the American dream is attainable.

When I first read that, I thought that this claim could not possibly be true.  But I was curious, and so I looked up the numbers for myself.

What I found was absolutely astounding.

The following are U.S. GDP growth rates for every year during the 1930s

1930: -8.5%
1931: -6.4%
1932: -12.9%
1933: -1.3%
1934: 10.8%
1935: 8.9%
1936: 12.9%
1937: 5.1%
1938: -3.3%
1939: 8.0%

When you average all of those years together, you get an average rate of economic growth of 1.33 percent.

That is really bad, but it is the kind of number that one would expect from “the Great Depression”.

So then I looked up the numbers for the last ten years

2007: 1.8%
2008: -0.3%
2009: -2.8%
2010: 2.5%
2011: 1.6%
2012: 2.2%
2013: 1.7%
2014: 2.4%
2015: 2.6%
2016: 1.6%

When you average these years together, you get an average rate of economic growth of 1.33 percent.

I thought that was a really strange coincidence, and so I pulled up my calculator and ran all of the numbers again and I got the exact same results.

The 1930s certainly had more big ups and downs, but the average rate of economic growth during that decade was exactly the same as we have seen over the past 10 years.

And of course the early 1940s turned out to be a boom time for the U.S. economy, while it appears that our rate of economic growth is actually slowing down.  As I noted yesterday, U.S. GDP growth during the first quarter of 2017 was just 0.7 percent.

But you don’t hear any talk like this on the mainstream news, do you?

Instead, they tell us that everything is just peachy.

I often wonder what things would be like right now if Barack Obama and his minions in Congress had not added more than 9 trillion dollars to the national debt.  By stealing all of that money from future generations of Americans and spending it now, Obama was able to artificially prop up the U.S. economy.  If we were able to go back and remove 9 trillion dollars of government spending from the economy over the past 8 years, we would be in a rip-roaring economic depression right now.  For an extended analysis of this, please see my previous article entitled “The Shocking Truth About How Barack Obama Was Able To Prop Up The U.S. Economy”

But even though we have been adding more than a trillion dollars to the national debt each year, and even though the Federal Reserve pushed interest rates all the way to the floor during the Obama era, the U.S. economy has not grown by three percent or more on an annual basis since 2005.

When you take an honest look at the numbers, there is no way that anyone can possibly claim that the U.S. economy is doing well.  The best that you can say is that we have been staving off a complete economic meltdown and another Great Depression, but of course the measures that our leaders have been taking to do this have just been making our long-term problems even worse.

I feel bad for President Trump, because he has inherited the biggest economic mess in U.S. history.  When we finally reach the point when it is impossible to artificially prop up the U.S. economy any longer, he is going to get most of the blame, but he won’t deserve it.

It is not going to be possible for Trump or anyone else to fix our system, because it was fundamentally flawed from the very beginning.  The Federal Reserve was designed to create an endless spiral of government debt, and since the day it was created the U.S. national debt has gotten more than 5000 times larger and the value of the U.S. dollar has declined by about 98 percent.

If we truly want to fix the economy, the Federal Reserve must be abolished.  If I was President Trump, I would look to start issuing debt-free U.S. currency just like President Kennedy did in 1963 as soon as possible.

In addition, we need to push tax rates as low as possible.  Personally, I would like to see the day when the personal income tax is completely eliminated and the IRS is shut down.  The greatest period of economic growth in all of U.S. history was when there was no income tax and no Federal Reserve.  America once thrived in such an environment, and I believe that we can do it again.

Of course we need to also dramatically reduce the size and scope of the federal government.  Our founders intended to create a very limited federal government, but instead the left has just kept pushing to make it larger and larger.

Businesses all over America are being strangled to death by mountains of federal regulations, and if we could just get the government off of their backs the business community could start thriving again.  There are quite a few government agencies that could be shut down entirely, and I think that the EPA would be a good place to start.

Once upon a time the United States showed the world the power of free markets and capitalism, and if we want to make America great again, we should go back and do the things that made America great in the first place.

But would the American people be willing to go down that path?

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7 Harsh Realities Of Life Millennials Need To Understand

Submitted by The Libertarian Republic, via The Burning Platform blog,

Millennials.

They may not yet be the present, but they’re certainly the future. These young, uninitiated minds will someday soon become our politicians, doctors, scientists, chefs, television producers, fashion designers, manufacturers, and, one would hope, the new proponents of liberty. But are they ready for it?

Time after time, particularly on college campuses, millennials have proven to be little more than entitled, spoiled, anti-intellectual brats who place far too much emphasis on feelings and nowhere near enough emphasis on critical thinking. To the millennial, words are cause for the creation of safe spaces, alternative ideas must be stifled, and anything they perceive to be a microaggression is enough to send them spiraling into a state of mental distress.

It’s time millennials understood these 7 harsh realities of life so we don’t end up with a generation of gutless adult babies running the show.

 

1. Your Feelings Are Largely Irrelevant

7-harsh-realities-crybully

Seriously, nobody who has already graduated college cares about your feelings. That means that when you complain to your boss because your co-worker mis-gendered you, he’s probably not going to bend over backwards to bandage your wounds. Given feelings are entirely subjective in nature, it’s completely unreasonable to demand everyone tip-toe around you to prevent yours from being hurt. The reality is that people will offend you and hurt your feelings, and they won’t stop to mop up your tears because they shouldn’t have to. Learning to accept criticism, alternative viewpoints, and even outright insults will make you happier in the long run than routinely playing the victim card.

 

2. You Cannot Be Whatever You Want To Be

7-harsh-realities-struggling-students

This is a comforting lie parents have started telling their children to boost their morale in school. Unfortunately, millennials are now convinced it’s true, especially as society has now decided to push this narrative as well. The reality is if you’re 17 years old and still can’t figure out basic division, you’re not going to be a rocket scientist. If you’re overweight and unattractive, you’re not going to be the quarterback’s prom date. If you lack fine motor skills, you’re not going to be a heart surgeon. It’s okay to accept that you cannot be whatever you want to be. In fact, once you accept this, you’ll be able to focus on the things you can be — the things you really are talented at.

3. Gender Studies Is A Waste Of Money

7-harsh-realities=genderstudies-minor

You heard me. While some millennials taking useless degrees will claim they’re beneficial for teaching or research positions, the reality is that they just put themselves several thousands dollars in debt to learn how to be a professional victim. While you’re struggling to make ends meet after graduation because nobody who pays more than minimum wage is interested in your qualifications and you’re drowning in student loan debt, be sure to check out the next harsh reality before you start complaining.

4. If You Live In America, You’re Already In The 1%

If your Jewish the Best place is Israel

7-harsh-realities-american-flagIsraeli-Flag-Kottel

That’s right. Even though you work at McDonald’s for minimum wage because you got a useless, outrageously expensive college degree, you’re still far better off than the vast majority of the planet. Don’t believe me? Fly to Uganda and check out the living conditions there. Fly to China, Saudi Arabia, North Korea, Iran, Russia, and even European countries like Ukraine and Greece, and you’ll quickly discover just how well-off you really are. While it may be cool these days to dump on capitalism, it’s the only reason you aren’t already worse off.

5. You Don’t Have A Right To It Just Because You Exist

 

7-harsh-realities-health-care-on-demand

That includes healthcare, guaranteed income, and somewhere to live. Just because you’re here and breathing doesn’t mean society owes you anything. Like the billions of people who lived before you, working hard is a better guarantor of wealth and the ability to comfortably take care of yourself than begging society or the government to do it for you. Demanding healthcare be a right, for example, is equivalent to demanding government force the taxpayer to pay for it. While that may seem like a good idea in theory, it only leads to rationing of care when costs become unsustainable, which negatively impacts not just your health, but everyone else’s, too.

6. You DO Have The Right To Live As You Please But Not To Demand People Accept It

 

7-harsh-realities-Woman-yelling-in-megaphone

By contrast, you do have the right to live however you please, so long as it’s within the confines of the law. If you want to cross-dress, smoke marijuana, drink lots of alcohol, have lots of sex, and, yes, even go to school for gender studies, then by all means, go for it. Government should not be allowed to legislate people’s behavior as long as it doesn’t infringe upon someone else’s rights, but that doesn’t mean society isn’t allowed to have an opinion. You don’t have the right to demand people keep their opinions about your lifestyle to themselves, especially if you’re open and public about it. I have as much of a right to comment on the way you live your life as you do to actually live it. Your feelings are not a protected right, but my speech is.

7. The Only Safe Space Is Your Home

 

7-harsh-realities-RickMcKee

No matter where you go in life, someone will be there to offend you. Maybe it’s a joke you overheard on vacation, a spat at the office, or a difference of opinion with someone in line at the grocery store. Inevitably, someone will offend you and your values. If you cannot handle that without losing control of your emotions and reverting back to your “safe space” away from the harmful words of others, then you’re best to just stay put at home. Remember, though: if people in the outside world scare you, people on the internet will downright terrify you. It’s probably best to just accept these harsh realities of life and go out into the world prepared to confront them wherever they may be waiting.

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Record Number Of Women Now Live In Parents’ Basement, Lack Of Weddings Blamed

Submitted by Tyler Durden on 11/11/2015 http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-11-11/record-number-women-now-live-parents-basement-lack-weddings-blamed

Some 36.4 percent of women age 18 to 34 lived with their parents or relatives in 2014, the highest since records began in 1940, according to a report released Wednesday by Pew Research Center in Washington. While the share of young men was even greater at 42.8 percent, it wasn’t quite as high as it was some 75 years ago.

Some 36.4 percent of women age 18 to 34 lived with their parents or relatives in 2014, the highest since records began in 1940, according to a report released Wednesday by Pew Research Center in Washington. While the share of young men was even greater at 42.8 percent, it wasn't quite as high as it was some 75 years ago.

But the punchline here is that the Pew Center blames this rather alarming statistic on school and weddings:

College enrollment rates for both full- and part-time students have generally increased over the past couple decades, and some students may be trying to offset stiff tuition costs by bunking with their parents. 

Eternal happiness can wait. Millennials are much less likely to be married than their parents were at their age, and marriage often serves as an impetus to move out. 

We’ll close with Pew’s take on the economy and Harvard’s. Note the vastly divergent “opinions.” We’ll let you decide who’s right:

Pew:

The increase is puzzling considering the improved state of the economy and an improving job market that has helped more young people earn enough to venture out on their own. Here are some of the longer term forces that could be at play.

Harvard:

Millennials are also expected to continue experiencing rent burdens as they age. Having entered the labor market during and following the Great Recession, those in the millennial generation have received lower wages and experienced higher rates of unemployment and underemployment than their older counterparts at this point in their lives. As a result, millennials have less wealth accumulated, have delayed forming new households, and are less likely to become owners at the age that older generations had previously. In combination, we are likely to see additional household formation by millennials over the next decade and expect a relatively higher share to remain renters during that period.

And from:

Women Not Leaving the Nest in Record Numbers; Marriage and Kids, Who Can Afford Them?

11/17/2015 http://globaleconomicanalysis.blogspot.com/#BqtGg0HlYRdFCsju.99

An interesting report by PEW shows Record Share of Young Women are Living with their Parents, Relatives.

Furthermore, while marriage typically promotes living independently of parents and other relatives, many young women are delaying marriage compared with earlier decades. In 2013, young women were half as likely to be married (30%) as young women in 1940 (62%). Census figures show that in 2014, the typical woman began her first marriage at age 27. In 1940, it was 21.5. Read more at http://globaleconomicanalysis.blogspot.com/2015/11/women-not-leaving-nest-record-number.html#v2EhRRwkDu22MEkA.99
Furthermore, while marriage typically promotes living independently of parents and other relatives, many young women are delaying marriage compared with earlier decades. In 2013, young women were half as likely to be married (30%) as young women in 1940 (62%). Census figures show that in 2014, the typical woman began her first marriage at age 27. In 1940, it was 21.5.Remaining in the nest is also a trend for young men – in fact, even more so when compared with their female peers. Last year, 42.8% of young men lived with their family, a higher share than women but not one that surpasses the highest rates on record like the women’s share does. Read more at http://globaleconomicanalysis.blogspot.com/2015/11/women-not-leaving-nest-record-number.html#v2EhRRwkDu22MEkA.99
Remaining in the nest is also a trend for young men – in fact, even more so when compared with their female peers. Last year, 42.8% of young men lived with their family, a higher share than women but not one that surpasses the highest rates on record like the women’s share does.

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Is College A Waste Of Time And Money?

Submitted by Michael Snyder of The Economic Collapse blog,

SAT-Student-loan-repayment-cartoonAre you thinking of going to college? If so, please consider that decision very carefully. You probably have lots of people telling you that an “education” is the key to your future and that you will never be able to get a “good job” unless you go to college. And it is true that those that go to college do earn more on average than those that do not. However, there is also a downside.

At most U.S. colleges, the quality of the education that you will receive is a joke, the goal of most colleges is to extract as much money from you and your parents as they possibly can, and there is a very good chance that there will not be a “good job” waiting for you once you graduate. And unless you have someone that is willing to pay your tuition bills, you will probably be facing a lifetime of crippling student loan debt payments once you get out into the real world. So is college a waste of time and money? In the end, it really pays to listen to both sides of the debate. [wpex Read more]

Personally, I spent eight years at U.S. public universities, and I really enjoyed those times.

But would I trade my degrees today for the time and money that I spent to get them?

As SF Fed notes, Median starting wages of recent college graduates have not kept pace with median earnings for all workers over the past six years. This type of gap in wage growth also appeared after the 2001 recession and closed only late in the subsequent labor market recovery. However the wage gap in the current recovery is substantially larger and has lasted longer than in the past. The larger gap represents slow growth in starting salaries for graduates, rather than a shift in types of jobs, and reflects continued weakness in the demand for labor overall.

As SF Fed notes,
Median starting wages of recent college graduates have not kept pace with median earnings for all workers over the past six years. This type of gap in wage growth also appeared after the 2001 recession and closed only late in the subsequent labor market recovery. However the wage gap in the current recovery is substantially larger and has lasted longer than in the past. The larger gap represents slow growth in starting salaries for graduates, rather than a shift in types of jobs, and reflects continued weakness in the demand for labor overall. http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-07-22/college-worth-it-here-feds-answer-one-chart

Absolutely.

Right now, Americans owe more than a trillion dollars on their student loans, and more than 124 billion dollars of that total is more than 90 days delinquent.

It is a student loan debt bubble unlike anything that we have ever seen before, and now even those that make their living from this system are urging reform. For example, consider what a law professor at the University of Tennessee recently wrote for the Wall Street Journal…

In the field of higher education, reality is outrunning parody. A recent feature on the satire website the Onion proclaimed, “30-Year-Old Has Earned $11 More Than He Would Have Without College Education.” Allowing for tuition, interest on student loans, and four years of foregone income while in school, the fictional student “Patrick Moorhouse” wasn’t much better off. His years of stress and study, the article japed, “have been more or less a financial wash.”

 

“Patrick” shouldn’t feel too bad. Many college graduates would be happy to be $11 ahead instead of thousands, or hundreds of thousands, behind. The credit-driven higher education bubble of the past several decades has left legions of students deep in debt without improving their job prospects. To make college a good value again, today’s parents and students need to be skeptical, frugal and demanding.

When a lot of young Americans graduate from college and can’t find a decent job, they are told that if they really want to “be successful” that what they really need is a graduate degree.

That means more years of education, and in most cases, even more debt.

 

But by the time many of these young achievers get through college and graduate school, the debt loads can be absolutely overwhelming

Debt burdens vary a lot across majors. In the sixth year of repayment, typical drama, music, religion and anthropology majors are still devoting more than 10 percent of their earnings to loan repayment. Other majors with fairly high early repayment burdens include philosophy, psychology and education. By contrast, engineering, computer science, economics and nursing majors are paying 6 percent or less of earnings in their sixth year.

Debt burdens vary a lot across majors. In the sixth year of repayment, typical drama, music, religion and anthropology majors are still devoting more than 10 percent of their earnings to loan repayment. Other majors with fairly high early repayment burdens include philosophy, psychology and education. By contrast, engineering, computer science, economics and nursing majors are paying 6 percent or less of earnings in their sixth year.

The typical debt load of borrowers leaving school with a master’s, medical, law or doctoral degree jumped an inflation-adjusted 43% between 2004 and 2012, according to a new report by the New America Foundation, a left-leaning Washington think tank. That translated into a median debt load—the point at which half of borrowers owed more and half owed less—of $57,600 in 2012.

Congrats Class Of 2014

The increases were sharper for those pursuing advanced degrees in the social sciences and humanities, versus professional degrees such as M.B.A.s or medical degrees that tend to yield greater long-term returns. The typical debt load of those earning a master’s in education showed some of the largest increases, rising 66% to $50,879. It climbed 54% to $58,539 for those earning a master of arts.

In particular, many are questioning the value of a law school education these days. Law schools are aggressively recruiting students even though they know that there are way, way too many lawyers already. There is no way that the legal field can produce enough jobs for the huge flood of new law school graduates that are hitting the streets each year.

The criticism has become so harsh that even mainstream news outlets are writing about this. For instance, the following comes from a recent CNN article

For the past three years, the media has picked up the attacks with relish. The New York Times, in an article on a graduate with $250,000 in loans, put it this way: “Is Law School a Losing Game?” Referring to the graduate, the Times wrote, “His secret, if that’s the right word, is to pretty much ignore all the calls and letters that he receives every day from the dozen or so creditors now hounding him for cash,” writes the author. Or consider this blunt headline from a recent Business Insider article: “‘I Consider Law School A Waste Of My Life And An Extraordinary Waste Of Money.’” Even though the graduate profiled in the piece had a degree from a Top 20 law school, he’s now bitterly mired in debt. “Because I went to law school, I don’t see myself having a family, earning a comfortable wage, or having an enjoyable lifestyle,” he writes. “I wouldn’t wish my law school experience on my enemy.”

In America today, approximately two-thirds of all college students graduate with student loan debt, and the average debt level has been steadily rising. In fact, one study found that “70 percent of the class of 2013 is graduating with college-related debt – averaging $35,200 – including federal, state and private loans, as well as debt owed to family and accumulated through credit cards.”

That would be bad enough if most of these students were getting decent jobs that enabled them to service that debt.

But unfortunately, that is often not the case. It has been estimated that about half of all recent college graduates are working jobs that do not even require a college degree.

Could you imagine that?

Could you imagine investing four or five years and tens of thousands of dollars in a college degree and then working a job that does not even require a degree?

And the really sick thing is that the quality of the education that most college students are receiving is quite pathetic.

Recently, a film crew went down to American University and asked students some really basic questions about our country. The results were absolutely stunning

When asked if they could name a SINGLE U.S. senator, the students blanked. Also, very few knew that each state has two senators. The guesses were all over the map, with some crediting each state with twelve, thirteen, and five senators.

I have posted the YouTube video below. How in the world is it possible that college students in America cannot name a single U.S. senator?…

These are the leaders of tomorrow?

That is a frightening thought.

If parents only knew what their children were being taught at college, in most instances they would be absolutely horrified.

The following is a list of actual college courses that have been taught at U.S. colleges in recent years…

-“What If Harry Potter Is Real?

-“Lady Gaga and the Sociology of Fame

-“Philosophy And Star Trek

-“Invented Languages: Klingon and Beyond”

-“Learning From YouTube

-“How To Watch Television

-“Sport For The Spectator

-“Oh, Look, a Chicken!

That last one is my favorite.

The truth is that many of these colleges don’t really care if your sons and daughters learn much at all. They just want the money to keep rolling in.

And our college students are discovering that when they do graduate that they are woefully unprepared for life on the outside. In fact, one survey found that 70% of all college graduates wish that they had spent more time preparing for the “real world” while they were still in college.

In America today, there are more than 300,000 waitresses that have college degrees, and close to three out of every ten adults in the United States under the age of 35 are still living at home with Mom and Dad.

Our system of higher education is not working, and it is crippling an entire generation of Americans.

So what do you think?

Do you believe that college is a waste of time and money?

Comments:

fleur de lis 11/22/2014

When higher education knowingly creates millions of debt slaves by offering subjects that they know the market will not support they should be made reimburse the students if they cannot find work after a certain period of time. Or they should be in the job placement business. They know very well which subjects yield livelihoods and which are dead ends. The schools have to bear some of the burden. At this point they are putting society as a whole at risk. The students and parents should know the odds and then make an informed decision. It is not for teenagers to be sent to school to keep teachers employed at any cost.

Wages Unemployment education_0The Upside Case Of A College Education In One Chart

But surely it can’t be all “cons” – after all, with student debt now well over an all time high $1 trillion (ignoring that a substantial amount of that notional is used for anything but) there must be a reason why year after year record amounts of young adults scramble into the warm embrace and soothing promises about the future of a college education… which has never cost more.

 

We leave it up to our readers to decide if the lifetime NPV of loan outflows is enough to make up for the increased weekly wages and so called greater career opportunities arising from having a piece of paper with some Latin scribbles on it.

Move to Israel, Get a Free Degree

Here’s At Least 260,000 Reasons Why College Isn’t Worth It

Submitted by Tyler Durden on 04/01/2014

Just last week we asked “Is college waste of time and money?” It appears, based on the latest data from the BLS, that for all too many, it absolutely is. As CNN Money reports, about 260,000 people who had a college or professional degree made at or below the federal minimum wage of $7.25 last year.

via CNN Money,

From the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

From the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, about 260,000 people who had a college or professional degree made at or below the federal minimum wage of $7.25 last year.

From the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, about 260,000 people who had a college or professional degree made at or below the federal minimum wage of $7.25 last year.A total of 21 states, including New Jersey, New York and Connecticut recently, have higher minimum wage floors than the federal level of $7.25 per hour

Experts point to shifts in the post-recession labor market as the reason for so many college graduates in low-paying jobs.

“The only jobs that we’re growing are low-wage jobs, and at the same time, wages across occupations, especially in low-wage jobs, are declining,”

said Tsedeye Gebreselassie,a staff attorney at the worker advocacy group National Employment Law Project.

Related: Surprising minimum wage jobs

Some 58% of the jobs created during the recent economic recovery have been low-wage positions like retail and food prep workers, according to a 2012 NELP report. These low-wage jobs had a median hourly wage of $13.83 or less.

At the same time, median household income has also dropped by more than $4,000 since 2000, according to the Census Bureau.

This has fed the growing number of college educated workers protesting for higher pay.

Debbra Alexis, a 27-year-old Victoria’s Secret employee with a bachelor’s degree in health sciences, gathered more than 800 signatures in support of her campaign for higher pay at her New York City store. The store, part of L Brands (LB), ended up giving across-the-board raises of about $1 to $2 per hour to all workers in the Herald Square store.

Related: Millennials turn up heat against low wages

A group of Kaplan tutors in New York City also formed a union to bargain for better wages.

And fast food worker Bobby Bingham, who got a bachelor’s degree from University of Missouri in Kansas City, works four part-time low-wage jobs just to barely scrape by.

 

The consensus among these workers is that they thought pursuing pricey degrees would buy them access into the middle class. But that has been far from the reality in the wake of the recession.

“My family told me, ‘just get your degree and it will be fine,'”

Bingham told CNNMoney. “A degree looks very nice, but I don’t have a job to show for it.”[wpex Read more]

comments:

Finally, a video in a story that comes the closest to the way I think it is. Back in the 70s, when I was in college going for a degree in chemistry, we were told only about one out of three starting chemistry majors graduate with a BS in chemistry. Now days too many people aren’t prepared in HS for obtaining a degree that takes up a lot of time in lectures, labs, homework, self discipline, and mental muscle. Too bad this article didn’t list the types of degrees where you make the minimum wage with a college degree because I can tell you there are darn few waiting tables with a STEM degree [STEM is an acronym referring to the fields of study science, technology, engineering, and mathematics]. So if you want a good chance to make near the minimum wage take the easy way out when it comes to what you get your degree in. Our society has to get back to where it pushes most kids to get a world class competitive education, like it used to, with consequences from the parents and teachers in elementary and high school when they aren’t doing what is required and quit this PC crap about everybody being a winner and the like because they aren’t. I think going back to the teaching process of the 50s and 60s, only update the content of the science, history, literature, and other courses where the information changes with time. Part of this means separating out the kids that want to and can learn into classes appropriate for them, and have other classes appropriate for those that are disabled or constantly causing trouble. The idea of mainstreaming is nice but results in too much burden on the teachers and takes away from the rest of the class. Political correctness and not being able to discriminate between those that can and those that can’t sounds nice but is ruining the competitiveness of this country and putting many people in minimum wage jobs because that’s all they can do while the technology needs for good jobs marches on.

oe416

I agree. My niece’s husband sent out over a 100 resumes before graduating. Got one job offer, which he accepted. Three months later graduated and showed up for work. The position was cancelled. (No letter, email or phone call mentioning this before he relocated.) Since then , over a thousand applications. Some responses, very few interviews and no offers. His major – mathematics. Sample of one, not statistically valid but very real.

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Welcome to the real world, debt serfs...

Welcome to the real world, debt serfs…

What The Fed Won’t Tell You About Student Debt

Two weeks ago, the San Fran Fed released “research” on the topic of whether “it is still worth going to college.” What it “found” was that “Earning a four-year college degree remains a worthwhile investment for the average student…. The average college graduate paying annual tuition of about $20,000 can recoup the costs of schooling by age 40. After that, the difference between earnings continues such that the average college graduate earns over $800,000 more than the average high school graduate by retirement age… We show that the value of a college degree remains high, and the average college graduate can recover the costs of attending in less than 20 years. Once the investment is paid for, it continues to pay dividends through the rest of the worker’s life, leaving college graduates with substantially higher lifetime earnings than their peers with a high school degree.”

What was left unsaid, of course, is that the SF Fed merely was tasked with goalseeking a study that seeks to perpetuate America’s most exponential chart. The one showing federal student loans, which as we showed recently just hit an aggregate total of over $1.1 trillion, increasing 12%, or $125 billion, from this time last year.

student debt_0

As we have shown in the past (here and here), since US consumers have largely given up on the two conventional forms of leverage – credit cards and mortgages – no (taxpayer-funded) expense will be spared to promote the myth that (federal-debt funded) higher education is the way to go.

Alas, the San Fran Fed ignored something important. This is how we concluded our article: “Perhaps for the San Fran Fed to be taken seriously one of these years, it will actually do an analysis that covers all sides of a given problem, instead of just the one it was goalseeked to “conclude” before any “research” was even attempted.”

Namely the impact of debt.

And since the Fed can’t be bothered with an objective analysis covering both sides the most important debt issue for America, we go to Pew which recently concluded an analysis on the impact of student debt and found that “Student debt burdens are weighing on the economic fortunes of younger Americans, as households headed by young adults owing student debt lag far behind their peers in terms of wealth accumulation.”

At the big picture level, there is nothing surprising here, but the extent to which student debt burdens cripple wealth formation and accumulation was indeed stunning and explains why the Fed had to explicitly omit the impact of debt on one’s long-term well-being, because the result is nothing short of shocking.

From Pew:

About four-in-ten U.S. households (37%) headed by an adult younger than 40 currently have some student debt—the highest share on record, with the median outstanding student debt load standing at about $13,ooo.

An analysis of the most recent Survey of Consumer Finances finds that households headed by a young, college-educated adult without any student debt obligations have about seven times the typical net worth ($64,700) of households headed by a young, college-educated adult with student debt ($8,700). And the wealth gap is also large for households headed by young adults without a bachelor’s degree: Those with no student debt have accumulated roughly nine times as much wealth as debtor households ($10,900 vs. $1,200). This is true despite the fact that debtors and non-debtors have nearly identical household incomes in each group.

 

 

pew student debt 1

Another not surprising tangent: those who borrow to pay for college, are most likely to borrow for everything else too.

Among the young and college educated, the typical total indebtedness (including mortgage debt, vehicle debt and credit cards, as well as student debt) of student debtor households ($137,010) is almost twice the overall debt load of similar households with no student debt ($73,250). Among less-educated households, the total debt load of student debtors ($28,300) is more than ten times that of similar households not owing student debt ($2,500).

pew student debt 2

Either that, or households which do not have to borrow to pay for college, most likely don’t have to pay for other expenses. In other words, Pew uncovered the profound tautology that if you are rich, you remain rich, which all those others in the lower and middle classes who aspire to reach the upper class thanks to easy and cheap debt, only bury themselves even more in their aspirational approach to purchase class status with debt.

As American Interest observes about the Pew research, “the report revealed an alarming trend: While the total debt burden of households without student debt has declined since 2007, the total debt burden of households with student debt has increased. This holds true for all student debtors, whether they completed college or not.

There’s no way to figure out what is behind this huge disparity in wealth accumulation. As the study notes, it’s understandable that young people who went into debt to pay for college also lacked the money to pay for cars and other expenses, and thus borrowed more. The data may also reveal a widening gap between two types of people who go to college: those wealthy enough to afford most if not all of tuition, and those who have to borrow (and keep borrowing) to keep up with the spiraling costs.

 

Student debt is obviously an enormous burden on a household, and one that seems to set off a domino effect of borrowing. If we want to make sure that college students aren’t feeling the pain of student loans well into middle age (as a recent Gallop poll says they do), we’d better try to make college more affordable. After looking at these figures, can you doubt the severity of the problem?

By now we doubt anyone doubts the severity of the problem. What may be confusing, however, is the problem itself which after Pew’s far better research can be concluded as follows:

  • The San Francisco Fed is absolutely right in that college education is extremely valuable if one is rich enough to be able to afford it without resorting to debt. For those who need student loans to pay for college, the debt cost most likely vastly outweights the benefits from increasingly diminishing cash flows for college graduates, and it is certainly unclear if as the San Fran Fed concludes, the costs are more than paid off within 20 years. This is a profound falacy since there has been no cohort whose college debt IRR can be tested in a 20 year window, since the exponential rise in student debt only took over after the Lehman collapse (for one of the main reasons why college became so expensive following Lehman, read here).
  • The San Francisco Fed is absolutely wrong in not distinguishing how one funds their college education. Because the bottom line is that college educated households which took on student debt have a net worth of $8,700, which is less than the $10,900 net worth of not college educated households who don’t have student debt!

In any case, the conclusion is clear: if one is rich enough to be able to afford college tuition, room and board without requiring debt, college is a no brainer. For everyone else the payoff of a college education, especially in an economy where college grads are certainly not assured quality paying jobs, is far less clear and in fact as Pew finds, one is better off not borrowing to go to college.

Of course, the direct implication here is also very clear, if very sad: the rich who can afford college, will end up becoming even richer thanks to the better-paying jobs their degree affords them, while everyone else will either drown under the weight of student loans, or simply be relegated to far less-paying jobs during their career. And while the Fed can be confused about this conclusion, not even the Fed is confused that it itself is the reason for this record and increasing disparity between rich and poor.

So the next time you curse someone for making college so expensive you need hundreds of thousands in debt to pay for it, or are cursing the fate that made you into a 40+ year old debt slave, aim those curses where they belong: Alan Greenspan, Ben Bernanke and now, obviously, Janet Yellen. Because for all the “confusion” about America’s record wealth divide that French socialists have to reprise the role of Karl Marx in the process selling blockbuster books to a new generation of pre-communists, the fundamental reason for the greatest class divide in history is a very simple three letter word: the Fed.
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America The Illiterate

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-09-07/america-illiterate
Authored by Chris Hedges in Nov 2008, via Strategic-Culture.org,

We live in two Americas. One America, now the minority, functions in a print-based, literate world. It can cope with complexity and has the intellectual tools to separate illusion from truth. The other America, which constitutes the majority, exists in a non-reality-based belief system. This America, dependent on skillfully manipulated images for information, has severed itself from the literate, print-based culture. It cannot differentiate between lies and truth. It is informed by simplistic, childish narratives and clichés. It is thrown into confusion by ambiguity, nuance and self-reflection. This divide, more than race, class or gender, more than rural or urban, believer or nonbeliever, red state or blue state, has split the country into radically distinct, unbridgeable and antagonistic entities.

There are over 42 million American adults, 20 percent of whom hold high school diplomas, who cannot read, as well as the 50 million who read at a fourth- or fifth-grade level. Nearly a third of the nation’s population is illiterate or barely literate. And their numbers are growing by an estimated 2 million a year. But even those who are supposedly literate retreat in huge numbers into this image-based existence. A third of high school graduates, along with 42 percent of college graduates, never read a book after they finish school. Eighty percent of the families in the United States last year did not buy a book.

The illiterate rarely vote, and when they do vote they do so without the ability to make decisions based on textual information. American political campaigns, which have learned to speak in the comforting epistemology of images, eschew real ideas and policy for cheap and reassuring personal narratives. Political propaganda now masquerades as ideology. Political campaigns have become an experience. They do not require cognitive or self-critical skills. They are designed to ignite pseudo-religious feelings of euphoria, empowerment and collective salvation. Campaigns that succeed are carefully constructed psychological instruments that manipulate fickle public moods, emotions and impulses, many of which are subliminal. They create a public ecstasy that annuls individuality and fosters a state of mindlessness. They thrust us into an eternal present. They cater to a nation that now lives in a state of permanent amnesia. It is style and story, not content or history or reality, which inform our politics and our lives. We prefer happy illusions. And it works because so much of the American electorate, including those who should know better, blindly cast ballots for slogans, smiles, the cheerful family tableaux, narratives and the perceived sincerity and the attractiveness of candidates. We confuse how we feel with knowledge.

The illiterate and semi-literate, once the campaigns are over, remain powerless. They still cannot protect their children from dysfunctional public schools. They still cannot understand predatory loan deals, the intricacies of mortgage papers, credit card agreements and equity lines of credit that drive them into foreclosures and bankruptcies. They still struggle with the most basic chores of daily life from reading instructions on medicine bottles to filling out bank forms, car loan documents and unemployment benefit and insurance papers. They watch helplessly and without comprehension as hundreds of thousands of jobs are shed. They are hostages to brands. Brands come with images and slogans. Images and slogans are all they understand. Many eat at fast food restaurants not only because it is cheap but because they can order from pictures rather than menus. And those who serve them, also semi-literate or illiterate, punch in orders on cash registers whose keys are marked with symbols and pictures. This is our brave new world.

Political leaders in our post-literate society no longer need to be competent, sincere or honest. They only need to appear to have these qualities. Most of all they need a story, a narrative. The reality of the narrative is irrelevant. It can be completely at odds with the facts. The consistency and emotional appeal of the story are paramount. The most essential skill in political theater and the consumer culture is artifice. Those who are best at artifice succeed. Those who have not mastered the art of artifice fail. In an age of images and entertainment, in an age of instant emotional gratification, we do not seek or want honesty. We ask to be indulged and entertained by clichés, stereotypes and mythic narratives that tell us we can be whomever we want to be, that we live in the greatest country on Earth, that we are endowed with superior moral and physical qualities and that our glorious future is preordained, either because of our attributes as Americans or because we are blessed by God or both.

The ability to magnify these simple and childish lies, to repeat them and have surrogates repeat them in endless loops of news cycles, gives these lies the aura of an uncontested truth. We are repeatedly fed words or phrases like yes we can, maverick, change, pro-life, hope or war on terror. It feels good not to think. All we have to do is visualize what we want, believe in ourselves and summon those hidden inner resources, whether divine or national, that make the world conform to our desires. Reality is never an impediment to our advancement.

The Princeton Review analyzed the transcripts of the Gore-Bush debates, the Clinton-Bush-Perot debates of 1992, the Kennedy-Nixon debates of 1960 and the Lincoln-Douglas debates of 1858. It reviewed these transcripts using a standard vocabulary test that indicates the minimum educational standard needed for a reader to grasp the text. During the 2000 debates, George W. Bush spoke at a sixth-grade level (6.7) and Al Gore at a seventh-grade level (7.6). In the 1992 debates, Bill Clinton spoke at a seventh-grade level (7.6), while George H.W. Bush spoke at a sixth-grade level (6.8), as did H. Ross Perot (6.3). In the debates between John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon, the candidates spoke in language used by 10th-graders. In the debates of Abraham Lincoln and Stephen A. Douglas the scores were respectively 11.2 and 12.0. In short, today’s political rhetoric is designed to be comprehensible to a 10-year-old child or an adult with a sixth-grade reading level. It is fitted to this level of comprehension because most Americans speak, think and are entertained at this level. This is why serious film and theater and other serious artistic expression, as well as newspapers and books, are being pushed to the margins of American society. Voltaire was the most famous man of the 18th century. Today the most famous “person” is Mickey Mouse.

In our post-literate world, because ideas are inaccessible, there is a need for constant stimulus. News, political debate, theater, art and books are judged not on the power of their ideas but on their ability to entertain. Cultural products that force us to examine ourselves and our society are condemned as elitist and impenetrable. Hannah Arendt warned that the marketization of culture leads to its degradation, that this marketization creates a new celebrity class of intellectuals who, although well read and informed themselves, see their role in society as persuading the masses that “Hamlet” can be as entertaining as “The Lion King” and perhaps as educational. “Culture,” she wrote, “is being destroyed in order to yield entertainment.”

“There are many great authors of the past who have survived centuries of oblivion and neglect,” Arendt wrote, “but it is still an open question whether they will be able to survive an entertaining version of what they have to say.”

The change from a print-based to an image-based society has transformed our nation. Huge segments of our population, especially those who live in the embrace of the Christian right and the consumer culture, are completely unmoored from reality. They lack the capacity to search for truth and cope rationally with our mounting social and economic ills. They seek clarity, entertainment and order. They are willing to use force to impose this clarity on others, especially those who do not speak as they speak and think as they think. All the traditional tools of democracies, including dispassionate scientific and historical truth, facts, news and rational debate, are useless instruments in a world that lacks the capacity to use them.

As we descend into a devastating economic crisis, one that Barack Obama cannot halt, there will be tens of millions of Americans who will be ruthlessly thrust aside. As their houses are foreclosed, as their jobs are lost, as they are forced to declare bankruptcy and watch their communities collapse, they will retreat even further into irrational fantasy. They will be led toward glittering and self-destructive illusions by our modern Pied Pipers—our corporate advertisers, our charlatan preachers, our television news celebrities, our self-help gurus, our entertainment industry and our political demagogues—who will offer increasingly absurd forms of escapism.

The core values of our open society, the ability to think for oneself, to draw independent conclusions, to express dissent when judgment and common sense indicate something is wrong, to be self-critical, to challenge authority, to understand historical facts, to separate truth from lies, to advocate for change and to acknowledge that there are other views, different ways of being, that are morally and socially acceptable, are dying. Obama used hundreds of millions of dollars in campaign funds to appeal to and manipulate this illiteracy and irrationalism to his advantage, but these forces will prove to be his most deadly nemesis once they collide with the awful reality that awaits us.

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Former McDonalds CEO Crushes The Minimum Wage Lie: “It’s Cheaper To Buy A Robot Than Hire At $15/Hour”

Submitted by Tyler Durden on 05/25/2016http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-05-25/former-mcdonalds-ceo-crushes-minimum-wage-lie-its-cheaper-buy-robot-hire-15hour

While this should come as no surprise to any rational non-establishment-teet-suckling economist (and certainly not to our readers), former McDonalds’ CEO Ed Rensi continued his crusade against the naive “solution” to poor living standards that has been peddled by a clueless administration in the form of a higher federal minimum wage, and after he patiently explained one month ago that “the $15 minimum wage demand, which translates to $30,000 a year for a full-time employee, is built upon a fundamental misunderstanding of a restaurant business just do the math” Rensi found that nobody has still done the math.

Which is perhaps why the ex-CEO reappeared on Fox Business yesterday to explain to Maria Bartiromo that as fast-food workers across the country vie for $15 per hour wages, many business owners have already begun to take humans out of the picture, McDonalds most certainly included.

MCD robots_0

As Rensi admitted, “I was at the National Restaurant Show yesterday and if you look at the robotic devices that are coming into the restaurant industry – it’s cheaper to buy a $35,000 robotic arm than it is to hire an employee who’s inefficient making $15 an hour bagging French fries – it’s nonsense and it’s very destructive and it’s inflationary and it’s going to cause a job loss across this country like you’re not going to believe.”

MCD robots_1

“It’s not just going to be in the fast food business. Franchising is the best business model in the United States. It’s dependent on people that have low job skills that have to grow. Well if you can’t get people a reasonable wage, you’re going to get machines to do the work. It’s just common sense. It’s going to happen whether you like it or not. And the more you push this it’s going to happen faster,” the former McDonalds Chief Executive added.

Rensi also said that we should do away with the federal minimum wage and leave it up to the states, which is quite logical. It’s also why it will never happen.

“I think we ought to have a multi-faceted wage program in this country. If you’re a high school kid, you ought to have a student wage. If you’re an entry level worker you ought to have a separate wage. The states ought to manage this because they know more [about] what’s going on the ground than anybody in Washington D.C.” Spot on.

As a reminder, this is how Rensi concluded his tirade against the minimum wage last month: “I suspect that the labor organizers behind this campaign for a $15 minimum wage are less interested in helping employees, and more interested in helping themselves to dues money from their paycheck. They’re unlikely to succeed in their goal of organizing the employees of McDonald’s franchisees, but they may well succeed in passing $15 into law in other sympathetic locales.

And that’s the whole truth. You’ll see their legacy every time you visit the Golden Arches, where “would you like fries with that” will soon be an ubiquitous button on a computer screen telling a robotic arm in the kitchen what to prepare, all at a wage of $0.00/hour.

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Humans Need Not Apply

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Lowes New Store Helper; Goodbye Retail Associates, Hello Robots

/td>

Google owned Schaft unveils new bipedal robot

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America The Illiterate
Tyler Durden’s picture
by Tyler Durden
Sep 8, 2016 2:00 AM
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RedditAuthored by Chris Hedges in Nov 2008, via Strategic-Culture.org,We live in two Americas. One America, now the minority, functions in a print-based, literate world. It can cope with complexity and has the intellectual tools to separate illusion from truth. The other America, which constitutes the majority, exists in a non-reality-based belief system. This America, dependent on skillfully manipulated images for information, has severed itself from the literate, print-based culture. It cannot differentiate between lies and truth. It is informed by simplistic, childish narratives and clichés. It is thrown into confusion by ambiguity, nuance and self-reflection. This divide, more than race, class or gender, more than rural or urban, believer or nonbeliever, red state or blue state, has split the country into radically distinct, unbridgeable and antagonistic entities.There are over 42 million American adults, 20 percent of whom hold high school diplomas, who cannot read, as well as the 50 million who read at a fourth- or fifth-grade level. Nearly a third of the nation’s population is illiterate or barely literate. And their numbers are growing by an estimated 2 million a year. But even those who are supposedly literate retreat in huge numbers into this image-based existence. A third of high school graduates, along with 42 percent of college graduates, never read a book after they finish school. Eighty percent of the families in the United States last year did not buy a book.The illiterate rarely vote, and when they do vote they do so without the ability to make decisions based on textual information. American political campaigns, which have learned to speak in the comforting epistemology of images, eschew real ideas and policy for cheap and reassuring personal narratives. Political propaganda now masquerades as ideology. Political campaigns have become an experience. They do not require cognitive or self-critical skills. They are designed to ignite pseudo-religious feelings of euphoria, empowerment and collective salvation. Campaigns that succeed are carefully constructed psychological instruments that manipulate fickle public moods, emotions and impulses, many of which are subliminal. They create a public ecstasy that annuls individuality and fosters a state of mindlessness. They thrust us into an eternal present. They cater to a nation that now lives in a state of permanent amnesia. It is style and story, not content or history or reality, which inform our politics and our lives. We prefer happy illusions. And it works because so much of the American electorate, including those who should know better, blindly cast ballots for slogans, smiles, the cheerful family tableaux, narratives and the perceived sincerity and the attractiveness of candidates. We confuse how we feel with knowledge.The illiterate and semi-literate, once the campaigns are over, remain powerless. They still cannot protect their children from dysfunctional public schools. They still cannot understand predatory loan deals, the intricacies of mortgage papers, credit card agreements and equity lines of credit that drive them into foreclosures and bankruptcies. They still struggle with the most basic chores of daily life from reading instructions on medicine bottles to filling out bank forms, car loan documents and unemployment benefit and insurance papers. They watch helplessly and without comprehension as hundreds of thousands of jobs are shed. They are hostages to brands. Brands come with images and slogans. Images and slogans are all they understand. Many eat at fast food restaurants not only because it is cheap but because they can order from pictures rather than menus. And those who serve them, also semi-literate or illiterate, punch in orders on cash registers whose keys are marked with symbols and pictures. This is our brave new world.Political leaders in our post-literate society no longer need to be competent, sincere or honest. They only need to appear to have these qualities. Most of all they need a story, a narrative. The reality of the narrative is irrelevant. It can be completely at odds with the facts. The consistency and emotional appeal of the story are paramount. The most essential skill in political theater and the consumer culture is artifice. Those who are best at artifice succeed. Those who have not mastered the art of artifice fail. In an age of images and entertainment, in an age of instant emotional gratification, we do not seek or want honesty. We ask to be indulged and entertained by clichés, stereotypes and mythic narratives that tell us we can be whomever we want to be, that we live in the greatest country on Earth, that we are endowed with superior moral and physical qualities and that our glorious future is preordained, either because of our attributes as Americans or because we are blessed by God or both.The ability to magnify these simple and childish lies, to repeat them and have surrogates repeat them in endless loops of news cycles, gives these lies the aura of an uncontested truth. We are repeatedly fed words or phrases like yes we can, maverick, change, pro-life, hope or war on terror. It feels good not to think. All we have to do is visualize what we want, believe in ourselves and summon those hidden inner resources, whether divine or national, that make the world conform to our desires. Reality is never an impediment to our advancement.The Princeton Review analyzed the transcripts of the Gore-Bush debates, the Clinton-Bush-Perot debates of 1992, the Kennedy-Nixon debates of 1960 and the Lincoln-Douglas debates of 1858. It reviewed these transcripts using a standard vocabulary test that indicates the minimum educational standard needed for a reader to grasp the text. During the 2000 debates, George W. Bush spoke at a sixth-grade level (6.7) and Al Gore at a seventh-grade level (7.6). In the 1992 debates, Bill Clinton spoke at a seventh-grade level (7.6), while George H.W. Bush spoke at a sixth-grade level (6.8), as did H. Ross Perot (6.3). In the debates between John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon, the candidates spoke in language used by 10th-graders. In the debates of Abraham Lincoln and Stephen A. Douglas the scores were respectively 11.2 and 12.0. In short, today’s political rhetoric is designed to be comprehensible to a 10-year-old child or an adult with a sixth-grade reading level. It is fitted to this level of comprehension because most Americans speak, think and are entertained at this level. This is why serious film and theater and other serious artistic expression, as well as newspapers and books, are being pushed to the margins of American society. Voltaire was the most famous man of the 18th century. Today the most famous “person” is Mickey Mouse.In our post-literate world, because ideas are inaccessible, there is a need for constant stimulus. News, political debate, theater, art and books are judged not on the power of their ideas but on their ability to entertain. Cultural products that force us to examine ourselves and our society are condemned as elitist and impenetrable. Hannah Arendt warned that the marketization of culture leads to its degradation, that this marketization creates a new celebrity class of intellectuals who, although well read and informed themselves, see their role in society as persuading the masses that “Hamlet” can be as entertaining as “The Lion King” and perhaps as educational. “Culture,” she wrote, “is being destroyed in order to yield entertainment.”“There are many great authors of the past who have survived centuries of oblivion and neglect,” Arendt wrote, “but it is still an open question whether they will be able to survive an entertaining version of what they have to say.”The change from a print-based to an image-based society has transformed our nation. Huge segments of our population, especially those who live in the embrace of the Christian right and the consumer culture, are completely unmoored from reality. They lack the capacity to search for truth and cope rationally with our mounting social and economic ills. They seek clarity, entertainment and order. They are willing to use force to impose this clarity on others, especially those who do not speak as they speak and think as they think. All the traditional tools of democracies, including dispassionate scientific and historical truth, facts, news and rational debate, are useless instruments in a world that lacks the capacity to use them.As we descend into a devastating economic crisis, one that Barack Obama cannot halt, there will be tens of millions of Americans who will be ruthlessly thrust aside. As their houses are foreclosed, as their jobs are lost, as they are forced to declare bankruptcy and watch their communities collapse, they will retreat even further into irrational fantasy. They will be led toward glittering and self-destructive illusions by our modern Pied Pipers—our corporate advertisers, our charlatan preachers, our television news celebrities, our self-help gurus, our entertainment industry and our political demagogues—who will offer increasingly absurd forms of escapism.The core values of our open society, the ability to think for oneself, to draw independent conclusions, to express dissent when judgment and common sense indicate something is wrong, to be self-critical, to challenge authority, to understand historical facts, to separate truth from lies, to advocate for change and to acknowledge that there are other views, different ways of being, that are morally and socially acceptable, are dying. Obama used hundreds of millions of dollars in campaign funds to appeal to and manipulate this illiteracy and irrationalism to his advantage, but these forces will prove to be his most deadly nemesis once they collide with the awful reality that awaits us.

9 Of The Top 10 Occupations In America Pay An Average Wage Of Less Than $35,000 A Year

Submitted by Tyler Durden on 04/04/2014 Submitted by Michael Snyder of The Economic Collapse blog,

According to stunning new numbers just released by the federal government, that we detailed yesterday, nine of the top ten most commonly held jobs in the United States pay an average wage of less than $35,000 a year. When you break that down, that means that most of these workers are making less than $3,000 a month before taxes. And once you consider how we are being taxed into oblivion, things become even more frightening. Can you pay a mortgage and support a family on just a couple grand a month? Of course not. In the old days, a single income would enable a family to live a very comfortable middle class lifestyle in most cases. But now those days are long gone.

In 2014, both parents are expected to work, and in many cases both of them have to get multiple jobs just in order to break even at the end of the month. The decline in the quality of our jobs is a huge reason for the implosion of the middle class in this country. You can’t have a middle class without middle class jobs, and we have witnessed a multi-decade decline in middle class jobs in the United States. As long as this trend continues, the middle class is going to continue to shrink.[wpex Read more]

The following is a list of the most commonly held jobs in America according to the federal government. As you can see, 9 of the top 10 most commonly held occupations pay an average wage of less than $35,000 a year

  1. Retail salespersons, 4.48 million workers earning $25,370
  2. Cashiers 3.34 million workers earning $20,420
  3. Food prep and serving staff, 3.02 million workers earning $18,880
  4. General office clerk, 2.83 million working earning $29,990
  5. Registered nurses, 2.66 million workers earning $68,910
  6. Waiters and waitresses, 2.40 million workers earning $20,880
  7. Customer service representatives, 2.39 million workers earning $33,370
  8. Laborers, and freight and material movers, 2.28 million workers earning $26,690
  9. Secretaries and admins (not legal or medical), 2.16 million workers earning $34,000
  10. Janitors and cleaners (not maids), 2.10 million workers earning, $25,140

Overall, an astounding 59 percent of all American workers bring home less than $35,000 a year in wages.

So if you are going to make more than $35,000 this year, you are solidly in the upper half.

But that doesn’t mean that you will always be there.

More Americans are falling out of the middle class with each passing day.

Just consider the case of a 47-year-old woman named Kristina Feldotte. Together with her husband, they used to make about $80,000 a year. But since she lost her job three years ago, their combined income has fallen to about $36,000 a year

Three years ago, Kristina Feldotte, 47, and her husband earned a combined $80,000. She considered herself solidly middle class. The couple and their four children regularly vacationed at a lake near their home in Saginaw, Michigan.

 

But in August 2012, Feldotte was laid off from her job as a special education teacher. She’s since managed to find only part-time teaching work. Though her husband still works as a truck salesman, their income has sunk by more than half to $36,000.

“Now we’re on the upper end of lower class,” Feldotte said.

There is a common assumption out there that if you “have a job” that you must be doing “okay”.

But that is not even close to the truth.

The reality of the matter is that you can even have two or three jobs and still be living in poverty. In fact, you can even be working for the government or the military and still need food stamps

Since the start of the Recession, the dollar amount of food stamps used at military commissaries, special stores that can be used by active-duty, retired, and some veterans of the armed forces has quadrupled, hitting $103 million last year. Food banks around the country have also reported a rise in the number of military families they serve, numbers that swelled during the Recession and haven’t, or have barely, abated.

There are so many people that are really hurting out there.

Today, someone wrote to me about one of my recent articles about food price increases and told me about how produce prices were going through the roof in that particular area. This individual wondered how ordinary families were going to be able to survive in this environment.

That is a very good question.

I don’t know how they are going to survive.

In some cases, the suffering that is going on behind closed doors is far greater than any of us would ever imagine.

And often, it is children that suffer the most

A Texas couple kept their bruised, malnourished 5-year-old son in a diaper and locked in a closet of their Spring home, police said in a horrifying case of abuse.

 

The tiny, blond-haired boy was severely underweight, his shoulder blades, ribs and vertebrae showing through his skin, when officers found him late last week.

You can see some photos of that poor little boy right here.

I hope that those abusive parents are put away for a very long time.

Sadly, there are lots of kids that are really suffering right now. There are more than a million homeless schoolchildren in America, and there are countless numbers that will go to bed hungry tonight.

But if you live in wealthy enclaves on the east or west coasts, all of this may sound truly bizarre to you. Where you live, you may look around and not see any poverty at all. That is because America has become increasingly segregated by wealth. Some are even calling this the “skyboxification of America”

The richest Americans—the much-talked about 1 percent—are a cloistered class. As the Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz scathingly put it, they “have the best houses, the best educations, the best doctors, and the best lifestyles, but there is one thing that money doesn’t seem to have bought: an understanding that their fate is bound up with how the other 99 percent live.” The Harvard political philosopher Michael Sandel has similarly lamented the “skyboxification” of American life, in which “people of affluence and people of modest means lead increasingly separate lives.”

 

The substantial and growing gap between the rich and everyone else is increasingly inscribed on our geography. There have always been affluent neighborhoods, gated enclaves, and fabled bastions of wealth like Greenwich, Connecticut; Grosse Pointe, Michigan; Potomac, Maryland; and Beverly Hills, California. But America’s bankers, lawyers, and doctors didn’t always live so far apart from teachers, accountants, and small business owners, who themselves weren’t always so segregated from the poorest, most struggling Americans.

Nobody should talk about an “economic recovery” until the middle class starts growing again.

Even as the stock market has soared to unprecedented heights over the past year, the decline of middle class America has continued unabated.

And most Americans know deep inside that something is deeply broken. For example, a recent CNBC All-America Economic Survey found that over 80 percent of all Americans consider the economy to be “fair” or “poor”.

Yes, for the moment things are going quite well for the top 10 percent of the nation, but that won’t last long either. None of the problems that caused the last great financial crisis have been fixed. In fact, they have gotten even worse. We are steamrolling toward another great financial crisis and our leaders are absolutely clueless.

When the next crisis strikes, the economic suffering in this nation is going to get even worse.

As bad as things are now, they are not even worth comparing to what is coming.

So I hope that you are getting prepared. Time is running out.
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The Uncomfortable Truth About The Great Boom And This “Recovery”

Submitted by Tyler Durden on 31December2015 http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-12-31/uncomfortable-truth-about-great-boom-and-recovery

Submitted by Harry Debt via EconomyAndMarkets.com,

A Yahoo Finance headline this morning reads: “Unhappy New Year: The U.S. Economy Is Stalling Out.”

We recently learned that existing home sales in November crashed 10.5% from the month before.

Guess when the last time was when we saw these levels? The housing crisis of the mid- to late-2000s!

I also recently shared a chart showing a cataclysmic 82% drop in the ratio of new home sales to the U.S. population. To put it simply, we won’t need more real estate for decades to come, with baby boomers increasingly dying to offset rising millennial home purchases.

I and a few other experts like David Stockman have continued to argue that this re-bound since 2009 has been all smoke and mirrors – artificial stimulus that has only created greater bubbles in financial assets like stocks, and financial engineering to create rising corporate profits. None of it goes toward real expansion for future jobs, productivity and growth… things like new office space and industrial capacity.

Wall Street analysts and corporate CEOs can argue against this with their “this is not a bubble” logic, but this chart tells the real story.

Below is a chart that shows the office space per worker in square feet. It shows a rise into the height of the financial crisis, after which it’s fallen like a rock!

At first this could seem counterintuitive. Why did the square footage per worker go up into the worst of the recession into mid- to late-2009? That’s because companies were laying off workers going into that recession, meaning there were more workers per square feet.

But the real story comes in the recovery from late 2009 forward.

Demand-for-Commercial-Real-Estate-Takes-a-Dive-1024x769

Square footage per worker has declined very sharply from 371 square feet to 270, down a whopping one-third in just over six years as businesses have rehired a large portion of the laid-off workers – which means largely NOT creating new jobs.

You should not look at this chart and assume that because less square footage per worker means more workers than in the past that everything is hunky dory.

What’s more important is that the sharp decrease in square footage implies a lack of demand in commercial real estate. And that’s because commercial real estate is already way over-expanded! We overbuilt it in the great boom of 1983 to 2007, so even these hires have not filled up the available space. Which means businesses aren’t expanding their office or industrial space!

So while hiring more workers sounds fine out of context… it’s masking much more severe, deeper-set issues in our capacity to build for the future.

This is the hard truth that no one is looking at: businesses are merely re-employing their past capacity, and not creating new plants and offices for future employment. All the 200,000-plus jobs numbers per month, if they are even fully real, are just catching up with the past. And we shouldn’t be investing in such new work space as we already have all we need for decades ahead.

This is the reality of demographics that clueless economists just don’t get.

Meanwhile, more and more people drop out of the workforce either from giving up on finding a job, or retiring earlier once their kids have left the nest.

And more jobs are part-time or in the low-end service sector – like bartenders and waiters, not the higher-paid manufacturing and professional jobs of the past.

To top it off, fewer and fewer people are entering or staying in the workforce. Hence, the workforce participation rates continue to edge down – after falling sharply for years.

And all of that means… we’re not even at capacity for all this overbuilt real estate.

Folks, this “recovery” isn’t working! And no one has expected it to given the over-expansion in the greatest debt bubble in U.S. history from 1983 to 2008.

Inflation hasn’t risen due to excess capacity here and around the world, especially China

Money velocity continues to drop without lending and productive investment to expand it…

Businesses are struggling with stagnant earnings because we already hit the peak of debt capacity and demographic spending growth in the great boom that finally peaked in late 2007, as I forecast two decades before.

A-Debt-Fueld-Boom-US-Debt-versus-GDP-Growth-1024x770

Debt was running at 2.54 times GDP for 26 years. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist or nuclear physicist to tell you that pretty much guarantees a massive period of deleveraging and depression – not continued expansion.

So since growth is all but impossible, corporations have resorted to financial engineering to keep the wagon rolling – all courtesy of the Fed, with near-zero short- and long-term interest rates.

They’ve had two options: either increase stock buybacks to leverage their stagnant earnings with rising earnings-per-share on fewer shares, or increase dividends to compete with lower and lower yielding bonds (also courtesy of the Fed). And they’ve been milking both options for all they’re worth!

But financial engineering does not result in real growth.

And speculation does not expand the money supply.

It is only a sign of decreasing money velocity, and a bubble that will only burst – like in 1929, 2000, and now again!

It’s a mirage.

It isn’t real.

And it isn’t sustainable.

Despite such endless financial engineering, sales for the S&P 500 have been declining for the last three quarters. And profits have declined for the first time since the 2009 expansion.

I’d be surprised if both didn’t continue down in the 4th quarter.

This will end badly… which is the only way bubbles end.

My forecast today: the stock market will start to crash by early February, if not sooner, when it gets this clear realization.
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The Zombiefication Of America

Submitted by Michael Snyder via The End of The American Dream blog,

Do you know people that seem like they have had their souls sucked out of them? On dictionary.com, a “zombie” is defined as “the body of a dead person given the semblance of life, but mute and will-less, by a supernatural force, usually for some evil purpose”. And that sounds very much like what has happened to tens of millions of Americans. When you look into their eyes, it doesn’t look like anything is even there. That is because who they once were is now dominated and controlled by the overwhelmingly powerful “matrix” that is being constructed all around us.

As I wrote about the other day, virtually all news, information and entertainment that Americans consume is controlled by just six monolithic corporations. And today, Americans are more “plugged in” than ever before. The average person watches 153 hours of television a month in addition to spending countless hours watching movies, playing video games, listening to music, reading books and surfing the Internet. In the end, all of that “programming” turns many of us into virtual zombies, and that is the way that the elite like it.

Just think about it. What was the biggest news story in the entire country over the holiday weekend?

It was the fact that some hackers had taken down the Sony Playstation and Microsoft Xbox networks and millions of kids could not log in and play the video games that they had just received for Christmas.

Sadly, most parents don’t even bother to pay attention to what those video games are actually teaching their children.

One of the most popular video games this holiday season is Grand Theft Auto V. In this game, our kids do things that none of us would ever want them to do in real life

The game contains scenes where players can have virtual sex with prostitutes then beat them up and steal their money, and a scene of torture where the player is expected to remove a gang rival’s teeth one by one using the joy pad, which vibrates as the victim begs for mercy.

 

It also includes scenes where the player smokes marijuana, and takes the dangerous hallucinogenic drug peyote. There is also a brief instance of necrophilia. Yet GTA V is one of the top-selling computer games in the world.

If you put garbage in, you are eventually going to get garbage out.

And we can see the consequences of this all over the country.

Meanwhile, Americans are becoming increasingly disinterested in things that really matter such as faith, family and the U.S. Constitution.

Instead, many of our spoiled young people are self-obsessed narcissists that loudly complain on social media when they don’t get the electronic gadgets that they were expecting for Christmas.

It isn’t the end of the world if “Santa” doesn’t bring you the latest iPhone.

But Americans today, especially our young people, have such a warped view of reality. It begins at a very early age, and one of the biggest culprits is our public school system.

For instance, the Blaze recently reported that children down in Texas are being taught that the pilgrims were “essentially America’s first terrorists” and that they should listen to their teachers more than they listen to their parents…

Cassidy Vines was so horrified by what a teacher in Texas allegedly told her that she is planning on home-schooling her daughter after Christmas break.

Vines told Glenn Beck on Monday that she recently began noticing a change in her daughter’s behavior. Her daughter — who is in kindergarten — started to “snap” at her when she corrected her homework, saying “I’m her mommy, not her teacher.”

 

Vines said a few days after her daughter first snapped at her, she started pronouncing a word incorrectly. Vines corrected her daughter “in the most gentle way possible,” but she said her daughter broke down crying, saying “that’s how she was taught, and I can’t tell her something different because I’m a mommy, not a teacher.”

 

Vines said she was horrified and asked, “Is somebody telling you this at school?”

 

“She said, ‘Yes, I’m only allowed to learn from my teacher,’” Vines remarked.

In this day and age, our public schools have essentially become government indoctrination centers that train our children to let “the matrix” do their thinking for them. They are taught that they are just highly evolved animals that are here only as the result of a giant cosmic accident, and that morality and values are all relative.

As a result, many of our young people just do whatever is right in their own eyes, and at this point many of them have consciences that have been seared beyond recognition.

For example, how far gone do you have to be in order to sing a “Christmas carol” that includes the line “Deck the halls with rows of dead cops”?…

The brave Portland #Ferguson demonstrators were back at it again Saturday evening, as they blocked the busy intersection of SE 39th and Belmont as a way of stickin’ it to the man.

 

They blocked buses and cars, and got into arguments and physical altercations with several people, including: elderly drivers, disabled bus passengers, a black woman who was trying to pick up her son, and anyone else who dared voice their dissent.

 

After about 20 minutes of tying up the intersection, the protest moved to nearby Peacock Lane, which is well known for its rows of large Christmas displays. The demonstrators sang parody Christmas carols, which included a brief rendition of “Deck the halls with rows of dead cops.”

Our society is breaking down in thousands of different ways, and we can see the evidence of this all around us.

But instead of coming together as a nation, anger, hate and division just continue to grow. And all of this anger, hate and division is being fueled by the talking heads on television.

It has become exceedingly apparent that most Americans no longer think for themselves. Rather, most conversations in America today consist of an exchange of sound bites, phrases, ideas and talking points that the “matrix” has fed us. Most of us are just zombies that spend our days searching for the things that we are desperately craving. For fictional zombies, that usually consists of brains. For American zombies, that usually consists of something that will feed our addictions.

So is there any hope for our society, or are we destined to become even more zombiefied?
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Can’t-Do Generation: “Expect Everything to Just Work,” and Throw Out What They Can’t Fix

Mac Slavo December 29th, 2014 SHTFplan.com http://www.shtfplan.com/headline-news/cant-do-generation-expects-everything-to-just-work-and-throw-out-what-they-cant-fix_12292014

The net effect of technology is a mixed bag, with one major side effect:

An entire generation of youth have become inept, largely helpless and dependent upon gadgets and devices that ‘just work’ with no knowledge of how they work. And most have no clue whatsoever about what to do if these high tech things break – or God forbid, if things go “dark” in society.

While the tech revolution of the past few decades has put the tools of innovation in everyone’s reach, many simply aren’t reaching at all for answers. They are waiting to be spoonfed new toys and electronics.

That pretty much makes the future bleak, at least in general outlook.

That’s the general take away presented by Professor Danielle George, who specializes in Radio Frequency Engineering at the University of Manchester in the UK. The Telegraph reported on her warnings:

Young people in Britain have become a lost generation who can no longer mend gadgets and appliances because they have grown up in a disposable world

[…]

under 40s expect everything to ‘just work’ and have no idea what to do when things go wrong.

[…]

Unlike previous generations who would ‘make do and mend’ now young people will just chuck out their faulty appliances and buy new ones.

“We’ve got a lost generation that has grown up with factory electronics that just work all of the time.

And much more is going to waste than just electronic gadgets… it is basically everything.

A University of Missouri study published in 2014 found that sewing, too, was going out the window, and tons of textile waste along with it:

In 2012, Americans created more than 14.3 million tons of textile waste. Much of this waste is due to clothes being discarded due to minor tears or stains–easily repairable damages if the owners have the skills and knowledge to fix them.

The National Defense Resources Council highlighted how some 40% of food is wasted by consumers and dumped in landfills:

Getting food from the farm to our fork eats up 10 percent of the total U.S. energy budget, uses 50 percent of U.S. land, and swallows 80 percent of all freshwater consumed in the United States. Yet, 40 percent of food in the United States today goes uneaten. This not only means that Americans are throwing out the equivalent of $165 billion each year, but also that the uneaten food ends up rotting in landfills as the single largest component of U.S. municipal solid waste… Reducing food losses by just 15 percent would be enough food to feed more than 25 million Americans every year at a time when one in six Americans lack a secure supply of food to their tables.

Pathetic? Unfortunately. And dangerously close to system wide.

We are at a time when most everyone is texting, talking, Twittering and Facebooking constantly with little relevant knowledge about the real world around them.

It goes along with the decline of manufacturing and engineering jobs, American-made goods and an overall loss of skills in a generation oriented towards the services industry and the information age. There has also been a crippling blow to our standards for education, news media and the informed voter, despite more time and money being thrown at all of it.

But it isn’t all doom and gloom. This professor set out to inspire a fresh take on how to repair and repurpose old electronics to inspire new crafts, devices and ways of putting things to work in the post-everything world.

I want young people to realise that that they have the power to change the world right from their bedroom, kitchen table or garden shed.

“Today’s generation of young people are in a truly unique position. The technology we use and depend on every day is expanding and developing at a phenomenal rate and so our society has never been more equipped to be creative and innovative.

Professor George is among those encouraging and sharing so-called “home hacks” – ideas to reconfigure and invent, typically using just a bit of basic knowledge of electronics:

“But there is now a big maker community who are thinking hard about what we do with all of these gadgets. They are remaking and repurposing things.

During the lectures she will also demonstrate how to send wireless messages using a barbeque, control a firework display with a laptop, use a torch to browse the internet, turn a smartphone into a microscope, how to turn a washing machine into a wind turbine, and how Lego can solve a Rubik’s Cube.

Hundreds of websites have emerged in the last few years where users post ideas about home hacks and electronics.

This mentality mirrors the few and the proud who have taken on prepping as a lifestyle… by first recognizing that – at so many different levels – this system is designed to fail and won’t last, and second, by taking steps to prepare for the worst, store supplies, create contingencies and build alternative and makeshift devices to survive and even thrive.

Learning to repurpose and reuse things that are broken, tossed out, or not normally used that way is essential to the survival mentality – at an individual and societal level.

Here’s just one example, from a SHTF commenter using the 1984-inspired handle “Winston Smith”:

Now for a shortwave radio. Most preppers will tell you to buy a good, name brand model. I agree with them but I also know that it is not realistic in the beginning. Instead, I will suggest an unorthodox approach that will let you hear strong international stations for less than $20. Go to E-Bay and find a Kchibo KK-9803 10 band world receiver. Yes, it’s cheap and Chinese but it does actually work. Now, go to Wal Mart (or any other store, for that matter) and buy a metal Slinky. While you are there, get a piece of wire and two alligator clips in the automotive section. Next up, buy a tin of Danish butter cookies (and eat them!). What do you have? Well, you have a Slinky monopole antenna, a receiver that can pull in strong stations like BBC World Service, China Radio International or Voice of Russia and a Faraday cage. To put it all together, stretch the Slinky out as far as it will go while still returning to it’s original shape. This can be done inside a house or in a tree if you have to. Next, attach the wire to the alligator clips and then use the clips to attach one end to an end of the Slinky and the other to the top of the antenna of the radio. Now, you have the ability to hear news reports in English from around the globe. When you are done, wrap the radio in a rag or old tee shirt and place it in the cookie tin. It is now (somewhat) insulated from an EMP. My cookie tin also includes a solar batter charger I got from Harbor Freight and some rechargeable batteries, but that setup was another $15-20. Usually I just run it off of some batteries I got from IKEA for $1.99 a 10 pack.

There is an endless list of skills that are on the verge of being lost to the younger generations that are of direct importance to any prepper making the best of what is on hand or can be found and obtained, particularly in a crisis.

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John Michael Greer Warns “The God Of Technological Progress May Well Be Dead”

Submitted by Adam Taggart via PeakProsperity.com, http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-04-13/john-michael-greer-warns-god-technological-progress-may-well-be-dead

As we often state here at Peak Prosperity, the narratives we hold are immensely important. The stories running our heads influence everything from our beliefs to our values to our actions.

Which is why it’s so dangerous when a society clings onto a narrative that is no longer serving it well, a narrative divorced from reality.

This week, Chris and John Michael Greer address the global faith in inexorable technological advancement as a cure-all to every predicament we face. In many ways, it’s become the dominant religion of the 21st century. Sadly, there are a growing number of threats for which ‘improved’ technologies actually exacerbate the risks (particularly in regards to depleting critical resources) — but society refuses to acknowledge this, as it runs counter to the tech-as-savoir meme so many are pinning their hopes on:

The problem comes when people have invested in a set of beliefs that work for a while, and then they stop working. That is the situation we are in now. From basically the beginning of the Industrial Revolution to the 1970s or maybe a little later, the narrative of progress worked. During all that time, there was a steady increase in the availability of energy per capita. By White’s Law, which is one of the basic principles of human ecology, economic development is function of energy per capita. As the energy curve rose and as we broke into one after another of the planet’s cookie jars and stole the fossil carbon there, progress actually did happen.

 

The problem is that we started running into the limits to resource extraction. The cost of resource extraction started rising. The cost of dealing with the downsides of burning all that carbon started to rise and everything else. All of a sudden, it does not work. But everybody is emotionally committed to the myth of progress. They are so great a target and it has such a religious quality to us, progress is that which will save us. Progress promises us this glorious Star Trek destiny metastasizing across the galaxy or what have you. To let that go, again it is trying to get a medieval peasant to look up and notice that Heaven with God, the saints, and angels is not up there anymore. People are wigging out. One of the most common ways to wig out in a situation like that is to cling to the dysfunctional belief system – the beliefs that do not work anymore – ever more tightly, even if they drag you down. That is what we have going on in the modern industrial world. People are going through the motions of a belief system that had stopped working, but they cannot let themselves admit that it stopped working. If that is the case, then God is dead.

 

I think people desperately want to stop thinking. If they think, they are going to notice what is going on. They are going to notice the gap between the reality that they are experiencing and the reality that they have convinced themselves that they should experience. Everyone needs this progress onward and upward, blah, blah, blah. Okay, for most people in the United States, standards of living have been contracting steadily since 1972. It’s White’s Law: economic development is a function of energy per capita. As your energy production declines, so does your prosperity.

 

When I was young, a working class family with one income could buy a house, could own a car, could go on vacation every so often, could keep paid up on all their bills, and led a pretty good lifestyle. These days, a working class family with one income in many places cannot stay off the street. That is a huge transformation and everyone is pretending that it does not matter. Almost everyone is pretending that it does not matter and we are still on track.

 

The United States can no longer afford to maintain its road system. State and county road maintenance budgets have been cut so far that in a lot of western states now, entire sections of the road system are being allowed to return to gravel because nobody can afford to keep them up. Our national bridges are a disgrace. They are falling down. What happened? We could afford to maintain our bridges up until a certain point. What happened? Nobody wants to talk about that. America is in decline. It has been declining rapidly, ever more rapidly, for decades now. Nobody wants to admit it. We dress up our emperor in ever more elaborate imaginary clothing.

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Global Bellwether: Japan’s Social Depression

Submitted by Charles Hugh-Smith of OfTwoMinds blog, http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-09-25/global-bellwether-japans-social-depression

Beneath the surface wealth of bullet trains, cute robots and exuberant fashions, this is the Japan few outsiders understand: the one gripped by a deepening social depression.

This week I’ve highlighted the structural flaws of using GDP as a measure of “growth” and prosperity: GDP = Waste and What Metric Are We Optimizing For?
The conventional metrics of “growth” and prosperity have another fatal flaw: they do not recognize, much less measure, social depression, the social costs of economic stagnation and wealth inequality driven by financialization.
The term social recession has two distinct meanings: around 2000, the term was used to describe the erosion of social cohesion via the decline of institutions such as marriage and the rise of social problems such as teen pregnancy.
Many commentators pinned this erosion of social constraints and bonds on rampant individualism and overstimulated consumerism, while others pointed to urbanization, the commodification of child care, and women entering the workforce en masse to prop up household incomes. Poverty was explicitly rejected as a causal factor, hence the term “social recession.”
This concept of social recession was aptly described by Robert E. Lane, author of the 2001 book The Loss of Happiness in Market Democracies:

There is a kind of famine of warm interpersonal relations, of easy-to-reach neighbors, of encircling, inclusive memberships, and of solidary family life… . For people lacking in social support of this kind, unemployment has more serious effects, illnesses are more deadly, disappointment with one’s children is harder to bear, bouts of depression last longer, and frustration and failed expectations of all kinds are more traumatic.

I use the term social recession to describe a very different phenomenon: the social and cultural consequences of structurally stagnant economies such as Japan, Europe and the U.S. I have defined and used social recession in this way since 2010: The Non-Financial Cost of Stagnation: “Social Recession” and Japan’s “Lost Generations” (August 9, 2010)
Here are the conditions that characterize social recession:
1. High expectations of endless rising prosperity have been instilled in generations of citizens as a birthright.
2. Part-time and unemployed people are marginalized, not just financially but socially.
3. Widening income/wealth disparity as those in the top 10% pull away from the shrinking middle class.
4. A systemic decline in social/economic mobility as it becomes increasingly difficult to move from dependence on the state (welfare) or one’s parents to financial independence.
5. A widening disconnect between higher education and employment: a college/university degree no longer guarantees a stable, good-paying job.
6. A failure in the Status Quo institutions and mainstream media to recognize social recession as a reality.
7. A systemic failure of imagination within state and private-sector institutions on how to address social recession issues.
8. The abandonment of middle class aspirations by the generations ensnared by the social recession: young people no longer aspire to (or cannot afford) consumerist status symbols such as luxury autos or homeownership.
9. A generational abandonment of marriage, families and independent households as these are no longer affordable to those with part-time or unstable employment, i.e. what I have termed (following Jeremy Rifkin) the end of work.
10. A loss of hope in the young generations as a result of the above conditions.
At some threshold of structural denial, social recession becomes social depression: a black hole of deteriorating social mobility and opportunity for the younger generations.
I have covered these topics in depth for many years:
What I want to focus on is the willful blindness of official metrics such as GDP, household wealth and unemployment to the realities of social depression, and how these metrics can continue to register gains while the younger generations of workers sink deeper and deeper into full-blown social depression.
Japan has been running a 25-year long experiment in precisely this dynamic:obliterating official recognition with metrics designed to ignore the inconvenient realities of social depression. Beneath the surface wealth of Japan, homeless encampments are expanding even as opportunities for young workers decline.
If the protected class that currently reaps most of the benefits of the Status Quo and owns most of the household wealth becomes even wealthier, this is logged by official metrics as “expansion,” i.e. prosperity, even when this “prosperity” is limited to the financial/political Elites and the Upper Caste of the Japanese economy–what another author calls the Clerisy class: America’s new class system (the Clerisy class).
The Clerisy Class is not unique to America; every structurally stagnant economy is being strangled by its protected Upper Caste.
The Status Quo also masks these realities with tsunamis of upbeat consumerist propaganda. In Japan, this propaganda manifests as ceaseless media coverage of young people with enough time and disposable income to indulge in absurdly exaggerated fashions and fads.
If all this is new to you, I strongly recommend you read my essay The Non-Financial Cost of Stagnation: “Social Recession” and Japan’s “Lost Generations” (August 9, 2010).
Here are a few highlights:
— Once-egalitarian Japan is becoming a nation of haves and have-nots
— More than one-third of the workforce is part-time as companies have shed the famed Japanese lifetime employment system.
— The slang word “freeter” (for part-time worker) combines the English “free” and the German “arbeiter” or worker.
— A typical “freeter” wage is 1,000 yen ($9.20) an hour.
— As long ago as 2001, The Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare estimated that 50 percent of high school graduates and 30 percent of college graduates now quit their jobs within three years of leaving school.
— Japan’s slump has lasted so long, a “New Lost Generation” is coming of age, joining Japan’s first “Lost Generation” which graduated into the bleak job market of the 1990s.
— These trends have led to an ironic moniker for the Freeter lifestyle: Dame-Ren (No Good People). The Dame-Ren (pronounced dah-may-ren) get by on odd jobs, low-cost living and drastically diminished expectations.
— Many young men now reject the macho work ethic and related values of their fathers. These “herbivores” reject the traditonal Samurai ideal of masculinity. Derisively called “herbivores” or “Grass-eaters,” these young men are uncompetitive and uncommitted to work, evidence of their deep disillusionment with Japan’s troubled economy.
— These shifts have spawned a disconnect between genders so pervasive that Japan is experiencing a “social recession” in marriage, births, and even sex, all of which are declining.
— The trend of never leaving home has sparked an almost tragicomical countertrend ofJapanese parents who actively seek mates to marry off their “parasite single” offspring as the only way to get them out of the house.
— An even more extreme social disorder is Hikikomori, or “acute social withdrawal,” a condition in which the young live-at-home person will virtually wall themselves off from the world by never leaving their room.
Is it any wonder that in the face of such a bleak and maladaptive future, young people seek identity, community and solace in a fantasy world of fashion? When an economy is dominated by a Savior State that issues unsustainable promises, and a society is dependent on a consumerist frenzy of fads, status signifiers and shopping for identity and what passes for community, then narcissism, restless emptiness and the aloneness described in The Hidden Cost of the “New Economy”: New-Type Depression are the inevitable results.
Beneath the surface wealth of bullet trains, cute robots and exuberant fashions, this is the Japan few outsiders understand: the one gripped by a deepening social depression.
Japan is the global bellwether in social depression, and we can already see the same symptoms and official panic to mask these symptoms in Europe, China and the U.S.

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This Is What Employment In America Really Looks Like…

Submitted by Michael Snyder of The Economic Collapse blog,

The level of employment in the United States has been declining since the year 2000. There have been moments when things have appeared to have been getting better for a short period of time, and then the decline has resumed. Thanks to the offshoring of millions of jobs, the replacement of millions of workers with technology and the overall weakness of the U.S. economy, the percentage of Americans that are actually working is significantly lower than it was when this century began. And even though things have stabilized at a reduced level over the past few years, it is only a matter of time until the next major wave of the economic collapse strikes and the employment level goes even lower. And the truth is that more good jobs are being lost every single day in America. For example, as you will read about below, Warren Buffett is shutting down a Fruit of the Loom factory in Kentucky and moving it to Honduras just so that he can make a little bit more money. We see this kind of betrayal over and over again, and it is absolutely ripping the middle class of America to shreds.

Below I have posted a chart that you never hear any of our politicians talk about. It is a chart that shows how the percentage of working age Americans with a job has steadily declined since the turn of the century. Just before the last recession, we were sitting at about 63 percent, but now we have been below 59 percent since the end of 2009…

Employment-Population-Ratio-2014-US

We should be thankful that things have stabilized at this lower level for the past few years.

At least things have not been getting worse.

But anyone that believes that “things have returned to normal” is just being delusional.

And nothing is being done about the long-term trends that are absolutely crippling our economy. One of those trends is the offshoring of middle class jobs. As I mentioned above, Fruit of the Loom (which is essentially owned by Warren Buffett) has made the decision to close their factory in Jamestown, Kentucky and lay off all the workers at that factory by the end of 2014

Clothing company Fruit of the Loom announced Thursday that it will permanently close its plant in Jamestown and lay off all 600 employees by the end of the year.

 

The Jamestown plant is the last Fruit of the Loom plant in a state where the company had once been a manufacturing titan second only to General Electric.

This isn’t being done because Fruit of the Loom is going out of business. They are still going to be making t-shirts and underwear. They are just going to be making them in Honduras from now on…

The company, owned by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway but headquartered in Bowling Green, said the move is “part of the company’s ongoing efforts to align its global supply chain” and will allow the company to better use its existing investments to provide products cheaper and faster.

 

The company said it is moving the plant’s textile operations to Honduras to save money.

So what are those workers supposed to do? [wpex Read more]

Go on welfare?

The number of Americans that are dependent on the government is already at an all-time record high.

And doesn’t Warren Buffett already have enough money?

In business school, they teach you that the sole responsibility of a corporation is to maximize wealth for the shareholders.

And so when business students get out into “the real world”, that is how they behave.

But the truth is that corporations have a responsibility to treat their workers, their customers and the communities in which they operate well. This responsibility exists whether corporate executives want to admit it or not.

And we all have a responsibility to our fellow citizens. When we stand aside and do nothing as millions of good paying American jobs are shipped overseas so that the “one world economic agenda” can be advanced and so that men like Warren Buffett can stuff their pockets just a little bit more, we are failing our fellow countrymen.

Because so many of us have fallen for the lie that “globalism is good”, we have allowed our once great manufacturing cities to crumble and die. Just consider what is happening to Detroit. It was once the greatest manufacturing city in the history of the planet, but now foreign newspapers publish stories about what a horror show that it has become…

Khalil Ligon couldn’t tell if the robbers were in her house. She had just returned home to find her front window smashed and a brick lying among shattered glass on the floor. Ligon, an urban planner who lives alone on Detroit’s east side, stepped out and called the police.

 

It wasn’t the first time Ligon’s home had been broken into, she told me. And when Detroit police officers finally arrived the next day, surveying an area marred by abandoned structures and overgrown vegetation, they asked Ligon a question she often ponders herself: why is she still in Detroit?

Of course this kind of thing is not just happening to Detroit. The truth is that it is happening all over the nation. For example, this article contains an incredible graphic which shows how the middle class of Chicago has steadily disappeared over the past several decades.

Once again, even though we have never had a “recovery”, it is a good thing that things have at least stabilized at a lower level for the past few years.

But now there are all sorts of indications that we are rapidly heading toward yet another economic downturn. The tsunami of retail store closings that is now upon us is just one sign of this. The following is a partial list of retail store closings from a recent article by Daniel Jennings

  • Quiznos has filed for bankruptcy, USA Today reported, and could close many of its 2,100 stores.
  • Sbarro which operates pizza and Italian restaurants in malls, is planning to close 155 locations in the United States and Canada. That means nearly 20 percent of Sbarro’s will close. The chain operates around 800 outlets.
  • Ruby Tuesday announced plans to close 30 restaurants in January after its sales fell by 7.8 percent. The chain currently operates around 775 steakhouses across the US.
  • An unknown number of Red Lobster stores will be sold. The chain is in such bad shape that the parent company, Darden Restaurants Inc., had to issue a press release stating that the chain would not close. Instead Darden is planning to spin Red Lobster off into another company and sell some of its stores.
  • Ralph’s, a subsidiary of Kroger, has announced plans to close 15 supermarkets in Southern California within 60 days.
  • Safeway closed 72 Dominick’s grocery stores in the Chicago area last year.

And the following are some more signs of trouble for the retail industry from one of my recent articles entitled “20 Facts About The Great U.S. Retail Apocalypse That Will Blow Your Mind“…

#1 As you read this article, approximately a billion square feet of retail space is sitting vacant in the United States.

#2 Last week, Radio Shack announced that it was going to close more than a thousand stores.

#3 Last week, Staples announced that it was going to close 225 stores.

#4 Same-store sales at Office Depot have declined for 13 quarters in a row.

#5 J.C. Penney has been dying for years, and it recently announced plans to close 33 more stores.

#6 J.C. Penney lost 586 million dollars during the second quarter of 2013 alone.

#7 Sears has closed about 300 stores since 2010, and CNN is reporting that Sears is “expected to shutter another 500 Sears and Kmart locations soon”.

#8 Overall, sales numbers have declined at Sears for 27 quarters in a row.

#9 Target has announced that it is going to eliminate 475 jobs and not fill 700 positions that are currently empty.

#10 It is being projected that Aéropostale will close about 175 stores over the next couple of years.

#11 Macy’s has announced that it is going to be closing five stores and eliminating 2,500 jobs.

#12 The Children’s Place has announced that it will be closing down 125 of its “weakest” stores by 2016.

But it isn’t just the retail industry that is deeply troubled.

All over America we are seeing economic weakness.

In this economic environment, it doesn’t matter how smart, how educated or how experienced you are. If you are out of work, it can be extremely difficult to find a new job. Just consider the case of Abe Gorelick

Abe Gorelick has decades of marketing experience, an extensive contact list, an Ivy League undergraduate degree, a master’s in business from the University of Chicago, ideas about how to reach consumers young and old, experience working with businesses from start-ups to huge financial firms and an upbeat, effervescent way about him. What he does not have — and has not had for the last year — is a full-time job.

 

Five years since the recession ended, it is a story still shared by millions. Mr. Gorelick, 57, lost his position at a large marketing firm last March. As he searched, taking on freelance and consulting work, his family’s finances slowly frayed. He is now working three jobs, driving a cab and picking up shifts at Lord & Taylor and Whole Foods.

So what does Abe need in order to find a decent job?

More education?

More experience?

No, what he needs is an economy that produces good jobs.

Sadly, the cold, hard reality of the matter is that the U.S. economy will never produce enough jobs for everyone ever again.

The way that America used to work is long gone, and it has been replaced by a cold, heartless environment where the company that you work for could rip your job away from you at a moment’s notice if they decide that it will put a few extra pennies into the pockets of the shareholders.

You may have worked incredibly hard for 30 years and been super loyal to your company.

It doesn’t matter anymore.

All that matters is the bottom line, and in the process the middle class is being destroyed. But by destroying the middle class, those corporations are destroying the consumer base that their corporate empires were built upon in the first place.
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20 Things Every Daughter Should Hear

Witty Woman Writing by Tammy Bleck 06/20/2013

My dearest
daughter,Celebrating your 28th birthday has made me reflect and want to share some well-earned wisdom with you. You know, the kind of stuff I
wish someone had told me when I was your age? Yes, I know you didn’t ask, but we both know that has never stopped me before.

First up, turning 28 is NOT approaching mid-life. Your young years are far from over, and, no, you’re not “old.” But you’re right, time
does goes by way too quickly. Best to make the most of it each step along the way.

As you grow older, I hope you will live your life with the spunk and audacity you were born with. Those gifts were bestowed upon you by a
higher power. Use them every chance you get and never let them stray too far away from you.

Try not to criticize yourself, second guess your feelings, doubt your abilities or be too hard on yourself when you think you’ve failed. The
world does all those things for you and it is your job to stand up to it, not give in to it.

Know that failing is a required curriculum to life. Without it, it is doubtful that you will ever truly succeed. Don’t be afraid of it. You
don’t have to like it, you just have to get good at it. Failure is success turned inside out.

Take chances. Be bold. Be silly. It’s okay. Living in the box has never been where the magic happens. Align yourself with the unordinary,
the risky and the spectacular. It’s where you were born to be.

Friends will come and go, but the good ones stick. Value them. And while your husband and family will always come first, never lose sight
of those friends that have seen you through some of life’s rough spots.
You will need them again, and they, you. [wpex Read more]
Try hard not to worry so much. It causes wrinkles, stomach aches, paranoia and the worries seldom materialize. And stay off of WebMD. No
good has ever come from general Internet diagnosis.From time to time, you may become self-conscious of your body. Don’t.
Your figure will never be finer, your hair will never be fuller, your skin will never be as refined and you will never have as much energy as
you do now. Appreciate it.Life doesn’t end when you become a parent. You know I can’t wait for the little bundle(s) of joy to come into your life, but there is no
hurry. I will admit that life as you know it will never be the same. But the secret is, the ties you are afraid of binding you, will in fact set
you sailing into a world of wonder and perpetual love. Trust me on this one.As a wife, you are going to make mistakes. You may at times be
judgmental, critical, temperamental and perhaps a tad dramatic. It’s not just you. It’s how we are hard wired. But know that once spoken, harsh
words can never be taken back. I hope you forgive freely, hug strongly, cry often and let the little things go. They are almost all little things.

There will be times that you find yourself impatient or angry with your mother. It’s more natural than you might imagine. But please
understand that she is doing the best she can and she is doing it for all the right reasons… for love of you. At times, I know we can be
exasperating. But there will never be anyone that walks this Earth that loves you like your mother. Respect it. It will one day be you.

Make time to spend with your family. We would like to think that our family is forever. But it’s not. We grow old, we get sick and we die.
It’s the natural course of things. We are just visitors here. Make sure that you don’t pass up too many offers to spend time with them, to
laugh, joke, eat, drink and make memories. You will treasure those memories, and one day they will be all that is left.

Know that being strong doesn’t always mean not crying. I fear that in my zeal to be strong for you as you were growing up, I didn’t allow you
to see the tears, the heartache and the disappointments. Shame on me. They are all a part of life, and you will not be able to avoid them, no
matter how hard you try. But never, ever confuse tears with weakness. They will cleanse you of your hurt, and your heart will follow.

Be kind with your thoughts, gentle with your words, generous with your actions and forgiving with those who love you and fall short from
time to time. None of us is perfect and more attention and gratitude should be given for the trying.

Life is hard. Love makes all things bearable. You will endure the hard knocks so much easier with someone who loves you by your side.
Return the favor.

Complain less, be grateful more.

When you start your family and think that you have gotten in over your head, when you think you will never be able to be the perfect mom
you envision yourself being, stop and breathe. There is no such thing as a perfect mom. You and that wonderful husband of yours will find your
way. Lay your fears at the doorstep of your love.

Nothing worth having is easy to get. Everything has a price. Think about what you will have to pay for something before you act. Half the
time, the acquisition is worth far less than the price paid.

Never confuse ego with confidence.

In the days that you do grow old, I hope you will realize that it is a privilege not offered to everyone. I wouldn’t look down my nose at it.
When the time comes, believe me, you will be happy to be there.

As for me, my darling daughter, I have loved you with the breathe of me since the moment you were born. Being your mother hasn’t always been
easy, but it has always been good. These days I am more of a spectator than a player in your day-to-day life. It’s as it should be. I’m
grateful that we are wonderful friends and companions of the best sort. I will always be, no matter what, your biggest fan. And I am here should
you ever need me for anything. It is my life-long vocation.

Before I end my euphony of wisdom, let me say thank you. For so much. For your loyalty, your choices, your sweetness, kindness, compassion
and humor. For trying even when you didn’t think you could make it. For making me proud every single day that you live.

I know that you’re not perfect. None of us are. But truth be told, to me, you are pretty !@#$%^&* close.

Love,
Mom

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Yesterday’s Broad Power Outage Likely Caused By Geomagnetic Storm

Yesterday, a massive US power grid failure was seen across the entire United States in one simultaneous fashion. San Fransisco, New York, and Los Angeles were the three main areas that were hit the hardest. Each of the areas experienced challenges or shut downs in business commerce. Also, basic infrastructure such as communication networks, mass transportation, and supply chains experienced challenges. To many this seemed apocalyptic with anaylst citing possible cyber attacks amid mounting geopolitical turmoil across the globe. We’re shocked that mainstream media didn’t revive the failing Russian narrative for another round of fake news to confuse the masses. Personally, I don’t think it was a cyber attack or the Russians, but more of a Space Weather Event.

Space weather refers to the environmental conditions in Earth’s magnetosphere, ionosphere and thermosphere due to the Sun and the solar wind that can influence the functioning and reliability of spaceborne and ground-based systems and services or endanger property or human health.

Here is PG&E outage map from yesterday’s event. Widespread. 

eMP, Space Weather

This is the Planetary K-Index, which 5 or greater indicates storm-level geomagnetic activity around earth. The latest space weather data signals a geomagnetic storm rolled in on April 20, 2017. During the elevated K-waves >5, San Fransisco, New York, and Los Angeles experienced power grid failures simultaneously.

This is the Planetary K-Index, which 5 or greater indicates storm-level geomagnetic activity around earth. The latest space weather data signals a geomagnetic storm rolled in on April 20, 2017. During the elevated K-waves >5, San Fransisco, New York, and Los Angeles experienced power grid failures simultaneously.

Latest Space Weather Warnings

April 22, 2017 @ 08:40 UTC – Geomagnetic Storm Warning (UPDATED)

A moderate (G2) geomagnetic storm is currently in progress thanks to a high speed solar wind stream above 700 km/s. More storming is expected over the next several days as a coronal hole stream rattles our geomagnetic field. Sky watchers at middle to high latitudes should be alert for visible aurora during the next several nights.ALERT: Geomagnetic K-index of 6
Threshold Reached: 2017 Apr 22 0559 UTC
Synoptic Period: 0300-0600 UTC
Active Warning: Yes
NOAA Scale: G2 – Moderate

April 21, 2017 @ 02:40 UTC – Large Coronal Hole Returns / G2 Storm Watch

A large recurrent coronal hole last seen in March will become geoeffective beginning April 23rd. A moderate (G2) geomagnetic storm watch was added and high latitude sky watchers may be in for an aurora treat once an expected solar wind stream arrives past Earth. More updates in the days ahead. As always, stay tuned to SolarHam.com where you will find the most up to date information.

According to http://www.solarham.net/, who uses NOAA data, Geomagnetic Storm has been declared for the past few days.

A large recurrent coronal hole last seen in March will become geoeffective beginning April 23rd. A moderate (G2) geomagnetic storm watch was added and high latitude sky watchers may be in for an aurora treat once an expected solar wind stream arrives past Earth. More updates in the days ahead. As always, stay tuned to SolarHam.com where you will find the most up to date information.

Piecing together the puzzle, we understand the sun can unleash space weather that can have profound effects on ground based systems, as well as human health. In a report from NOAA titled: Geomagnetic Storms and the US Power Grid, the paper mentions how the US power grid is highly interconnected and susceptible to damage from geomagnetic storms.

US Power Grid is an interconnected system which may explain why San Fransisco, New York, and Los Angeles all experienced power failures relatively at the same time.

The report shows that the sun is the source of ‘GICs’ Geomagnetically Induced Current.

 

GICs can enter the earth’s surface through transformers in the power grid.

GICs can force a transformer tank wall to overheat

Just maybe thats what happened in San Fransisco with the substation fire

What is a substation?

A substation is a part of an electrical generation, transmission, and distribution system. Substations transform voltage from high to low, or the reverse, or perform any of several other important functions. Between the generating station and consumer, electric power may flow through several substations at different voltage levels. A substation may include transformers to change voltage levels between high transmission voltages and lower distribution voltages, or at the interconnection of two different transmission voltages.

2003 Substation fire due to a geomagnetic storm overheating a transformer

2003 Substation fire due to a geomagnetic storm overheating a transformer

Take away points

Take away points

Looking ahead, the growth of the US transmission grid has exploded in the past 60 years. This leaves an abundant amount of the US grid susceptible to more power outages and possibly widespread events.

Looking ahead, the growth of the US transmission grid has exploded in the past 60 years. This leaves an abundant amount of the US grid susceptible to more power outages and possibly widespread events.

Bonus: Executive Order — Coordinating Efforts to Prepare the Nation for Space Weather Events (Fall 2016). What does our Gov’t know that we don’t?

Executive Order — Coordinating Efforts to Prepare the Nation for Space Weather Events

Bonus: ATL FED-> Playing the Field: Geomagnetic Storms and the Stock Market

Bonus: ATL FED-> Playing the Field: Geomagnetic Storms and the Stock Market

 

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Severe Space Weather–Social and Economic Impacts

January 21, 2009: Did you know a solar flare can make your toilet stop working?

That’s the surprising conclusion of a NASA-funded study by the National Academy of Sciences entitled Severe Space Weather Events—Understanding Societal and Economic Impacts.
In the 132-page report, experts detailed what might happen to our modern, high-tech society in the event of a “super solar flare” followed
by an extreme geomagnetic storm. They found that almost nothing is immune from space weather—not even the water in your bathroom.

Photo credit: Mike Hollingshead/Spaceweather.com.

Photo credit: Mike Hollingshead/Spaceweather.com.

Right: Auroras over Blair, Nebraska, during a geomagnetic storm in May 2005.

The problem begins with the electric power grid. “Electric power is modern society’s cornerstone technology on which virtually all other infrastructures and services depend,” the report notes. Yet it is particularly vulnerable to bad space weather. Ground currents induced
during geomagnetic storms can actually melt the copper windings of transformers at the heart of many power distribution systems. Sprawling power lines act like antennas, picking up the currents and spreading the problem over a wide area. The most famous geomagnetic power outage happened during a space storm in March 1989 when six million people in
Quebec lost power for 9 hours: image.

According to the report, power grids may be more vulnerable than ever. The problem is interconnectedness. In recent years, utilities have joined grids together to allow long-distance transmission of low-cost power to areas of sudden demand. On a hot summer day in California, for instance, people in Los Angeles might be running their air conditioners on power routed from Oregon. It makes economic sense—but not necessarily geomagnetic sense. Interconnectedness makes the system susceptible to wide-ranging “cascade failures.”To estimate the scale of such a failure, report co-author John Kappenmann of the Metatech Corporation looked at the great geomagnetic storm of May 1921, which produced ground currents as much as ten times stronger than the 1989 Quebec storm, and modeled
its effect on the modern power grid. He found more than 350 transformers at risk of permanent damage and 130 million people without power. The loss of electricity would ripple across the social infrastructure with “water distribution affected within several hours; perishable foods and
medications lost in 12-24 hours; loss of heating/air conditioning, sewage disposal, phone service, fuel re-supply and so on.”[wpex Read more]

“The concept of interdependency,” the report notes, “is evident in the unavailability of water due to long-term outage of electric power–and the inability to restart an electric generator without water on site.”
EMP-collapse

Above: What if the May 1921
superstorm occurred today? A US map of vulnerable transformers with areas of probable system collapse encircled. A state-by-state map of transformer vulnerability is also available: click here. Credit: National Academy of Sciences.

The strongest geomagnetic storm on record is the Carrington Event of August-September 1859, named after British astronomer Richard Carrington who witnessed the instigating solar flare with his unaided eye while he was projecting an image of the sun on a white screen. Geomagnetic activity triggered by the explosion electrified telegraph lines, shocking technicians and setting their telegraph papers on fire;
Northern Lights spread as far south as Cuba and Hawaii; auroras over the Rocky Mountains were so bright, the glow woke campers who began preparing breakfast because they thought it was morning. Best estimates rank the Carrington Event as 50% or more stronger than the superstorm of May 1921.

“A contemporary repetition of the Carrington Event would cause …
extensive social and economic disruptions,” the report warns. Power outages would be accompanied by radio blackouts and satellite malfunctions; telecommunications, GPS navigation, banking and finance, and transportation would all be affected. Some problems would correct themselves with the fading of the storm: radio and GPS transmissions could come back online fairly quickly. Other problems would be lasting: a burnt-out multi-ton transformer, for instance, can take weeks or months to repair. The total economic impact in the first year alone could reach $2 trillion, some 20 times greater than the costs of a Hurricane Katrina or, to use a timelier example, a few TARPs.

A web of interdependencies makes the modern economy especially sensitive to solar storms. Source: Dept. of Homeland Security.

A web of interdependencies makes the modern economy especially sensitive to solar storms. Source: Dept. of Homeland Security.

 

Above: A web of interdependencies makes the modern economy especially sensitive to solar storms. Source: Dept. of Homeland Security.

What’s the solution? The report ends with a call for infrastructure designed to better withstand geomagnetic disturbances, improved GPS codes and frequencies, and improvements in space weather forecasting.
Reliable forecasting is key. If utility and satellite operators know a storm is coming, they can take measures to reduce damage—e.g., disconnecting wires, shielding vulnerable electronics, powering down critical hardware. A few hours without power is better than a few weeks.

NASA has deployed a fleet of spacecraft to study the sun and its eruptions. The Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO), the twin STEREO probes, ACE, Wind and others are on duty 24/7. NASA physicists use data from these missions to understand the underlying physics of flares and geomagnetic storms; personnel at NOAA’s Space Weather Prediction Center use the findings, in turn, to hone their forecasts.

At the moment, no one knows when the next super solar storm will erupt. It could be 100 years away or just 100 days. It’s something to think about the next time you flush.

Author: Dr. Tony Phillips | Credit: Science@NASA

more information

Space Weather Events—Understanding Societal and Economic Impacts — the full report may be freely downloaded from the National Academy of Sciences web site

NASA’s Heliophysics Division

Space Weather resources: NOAA Space Weather prediction Center; Spaceweather.com

NASA’s Future: US Space Exploration Policy

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Getting Prepared for an Electromagnetic Pulse Attack or Severe Solar Storm

© 2009-2013 Jerry Emanuelson

The science fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke once said:

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.

This statement is commonly known as Clarke’s Third Law. Many people have heard this quotation, but few people really think about its implications.

We now live in a world that is so completely immersed in advanced technology that we depend upon it for our very survival. Most of the actions that we depend upon for our everyday activities — from flipping a switch to make the lights come on to obtaining all of our food supplies at a nearby supermarket — are things that any individual from a century ago would consider magic.

Very few people in industrialized countries do work that is not directly assisted by electronic computers, although that computerized assistance is often quite invisible to the average person. Few people think about things such as the fact that whenever we buy some food item at a supermarket (and many others are buying the same item), the next time we go to that same supermarket, they still have about the same supplies that they had before. There are invisible infrastructures all around us that are made up of advanced technology. Most of us just take the magic for granted.

Few people stop to consider what would happen if, in an instant, the magic went away. If our advanced technology were suddenly and completely destroyed, how would we manage to survive? A nuclear EMP could make the magic go away. I hope it never happens, and I don’t think that it is at all inevitable. It makes no sense, however, to be blind to the danger. It is both much less likely to happen — and also less likely to have a catastrophic impact — if, both as a civilization and as individuals, we are prepared for an attack on our advanced technology. A nuclear EMP would be a seemingly magical attack upon our advanced technology, the technological infrastructure upon which our lives depend.

Among all of the kinds of electromagnetic disturbances that can occur, though, it is important to keep things in perspective. It is possible that a nuclear EMP may never happen where you live. On the other hand, a severe solar storm that will destroy most of the world’s power grids appears nearly inevitable at this point. Protection against the damage of a severe solar storm could be done easily and rather inexpensively by the electrical utilities; however it is not being done, and there are few signs that it will be done. A severe solar storm poses little threat to electronics, but would take down the most important power grids in the world for a period of years. This is a special problem in the United States, and is a severe threat in the eastern United States. So, more important than preparing for a nuclear EMP attack is preparing for all of the ramifications of a severe solar storm which would cause an electrical power outage that would, in most areas, last for a period of years. Most standby power systems would continue to function after a severe solar storm, but supplying the standby power systems with adequate fuel, when the main power grids are offline for years, could become a very critical problem.

In the mid-20th century, electricity was regarded as a convenience. By the end of that century, electricity had become something that most people literally cannot live without for more than a few weeks. This profound change has happened so gradually that very few people have even noticed.


This is a page about some of the things that individuals can do to prepare for an electromagnetic pulse attack. I’m an electronics engineer who has been thinking about the EMP problem for more than 3 decades. I even have an ancient Radio Shack TRS-80 Model 4P that has been retrofitted with a complete electromagnetic shield. It’s just a personal antique, useless for anything but a personal reminder of how long I’ve been thinking about this problem. That early-model personal computer didn’t even have a hard drive.

I’ve spent much of my career working with radio and television transmitters on high mountaintops where there is a lot of lightning and other kinds of severe electromagnetic transients. Many engineers who spend their careers working in fairly benign electromagnetic environments don’t realize the fragility of our technological infrastructure. On this page, I’m going to concentrate on a nuclear EMP attack, but much of this also applies to natural events such as intense geomagnetic storms resulting from extremely large solar storms.

The threat of a sudden EMP attack that causes a widespread catastrophe is certainly nothing new. Consider this Cold War era quotation from a widely-read and highly-respected publication more than 30 years ago: “The United States is frequently crossed by picture-taking Cosmos series satellites that orbit at a height of 200 to 450 kilometers above the earth. Just one of these satellites, carrying a few pounds of enriched plutonium instead of a camera, might touch off instant coast-to-coast pandemonium: the U.S. power grid going out, all electrical appliances without a separate power supply (televisions, radios, computers, traffic lights) shutting down, commercial telephone lines going dead, special military channels barely working or quickly going silent.” — from “Nuclear Pulse (III): Playing a Wild Card” by William J. Broad in Science magazine, pages 1248-1251, June 12, 1981.

The situation would be much worse today than in 1981 due to our profound and ever-increasing dependence upon electricity and electronics for the basic maintenance of our lives. In addition, the last remnants of the pre-electrical infrastructure, and the knowledge of how to use the components of that infrastructure, is slowly and completely disappearing. Some people have said that the long-term loss of the power grid would send us back to the 19th century. That belief is quite false because we have no 19th century infrastructure and very little 19th century knowledge. A long-term loss of the power grid would send us back at least 500 years.

 

First: Another brief note about severe solar storms (and similar natural events), and then I’ll get back to nuclear EMP. Solar storms would primarily affect the power grid, and are not likely to harm things like computers. Also, solar storms would only disrupt communications temporarily, and would not be likely to cause direct harm to communications equipment (except for satellites). An extremely large solar storm, though, would induce geomagnetic currents that could destroy a substantial fraction of the very largest transformers on the power grid (possibly over much of the world). If this happened, electric power loss due to a large solar storm would be out for a period of years and possibly decades. Unlike nuclear EMP, such a solar storm is an eventual inevitability.

The last solar storm that could have caused this level of damage happened in 1859, before the power grid was in place (although in 1921 a large solar storm, of briefer duration than the 1859 event, occurred which affected a much smaller area of the planet). The power grid has only been in place for a fraction of one percent of human history, and a really large solar storm (of the size and duration of the 1859 event) has not happened in that time. There is a general assumption that any solar event that is similar to, or larger than, the 1859 solar superstorm will simply never happen again, although there is no justification for such an assumption — in fact, we know that this assumption is false. There is a good possibility that such a large-scale solar storm will happen in this century. If it happens in the current situation without adequate spares for our largest transformers, a large part of the worldwide power grid (including 70 to 100 percent of the United States power grid) will be down for years.

A 2008 study by Metatech found that the time required to obtain a replacement for any one of the 370 or so largest transformers in the United States was 3 years. In a solar superstorm that affects vulnerable areas of the entire world, delivery times could easily be much longer. The United States, which for many years had no capability to manufacture those transformers (and which is just beginning to regain that capability), will be at the end of a very long waiting line. Since such a expansion of transformer manufacturing capability requires a lot of electrical power, the capability cannot be developed after an electromagnetic catastrophe. The capability has to be developed before there is an actual critical need. In the past two years, two United States companies have begun the process of expanding into the large transformer business, but it will take a considerable length of time before a reasonable number of spare transformers can be manufactured.

Because of the inevitability of a large solar superstorm, we have to accept the fact that the current electric power grid upon which our lives depend is only a temporary infrastructure. This temporary infrastructure has served us very well, and we now have entrusted our very lives to it.

The fact that the electric power grid began as a convenience, but has become a necessity for sustaining life, is both one of the most beneficial, and one of the most dangerous, facts of 21st century existence. We do not know how long the current power grid will last; but if it not replaced by a robust permanent infrastructure in time, hundreds of millions of people will die when the electric power grid collapses simultaneously in many countries. How such a collapse occurs is very well known, and the methods to either prevent it, or to have spare transformers in place to fairly quickly repair it, are also well known. Although these preventive measures would not be terribly expensive, they would take some time to put into place; and those things have never been done.

Provisions for insuring islands of power production within the country that would prevent millions of deaths could be put in place fairly quickly, and much less expensively, but this also has never been done — or, until recently, even been seriously considered, except by the few scientists and engineers who have seriously studied the fragility of the electric power grid. There are finally signs, in 2013, that this situation is beginning to change, but the process is very slow.

I am repeatedly asked about “faraday cages” for solar storms and protection of automobiles against solar storms. I must repeat that this is an area where solar storms and nuclear EMP are very different. Solar storms only produce something similar to the E3 component of nuclear EMP. “Faraday cages” are not relevant for solar storms for anyone at ground level (unless you are planning to launch a satellite). Solar storms will not destroy your car, (at least not any of the solar storms that have occurred in the past million years). If you own an electric car, though, it may be wise to avoid charging it during an active severe geomagnetic storm.

Many people who say that they have off-the-grid power systems, however, are interconnected to the power grid in order to sell their excess power back to the grid. From an EMP or solar storm standpoint, this presents the worst of all possible worlds. Such an interconnection exposes a so-called off-the-grid system to all of the dangers of the power grid.

Even though solar storms primarily affect the power grid, customers can communicate the importance of EMP and solar storm protection to their local electric utilities. Devices such as the SolidGround system made by Emprimus can be installed by local electric companies on all of their large transformers that are connected to very long lines.

Although a major electromagnetic disturbance that would destroy large parts of the electrical grid is almost inevitable in the next century, it is important to keep things in the proper perspective. There is a reasonable chance that people will come to their senses in time, and have the electrical power grid protected before such an event happens. Although a hardened power grid does not seem likely in the near future, the dangers to the power grid are becoming much more widely known.

Another encouraging trend is the fact that far more people are prepared to be self-sufficient for at least a few weeks than was the case just a few years ago. The greater the number of people who have made at least minimal preparations for a disaster, the smaller will be the overall impact of the disaster.

Even apartment dwellers on a very low income can have a level of preparedness that will be of significant help. By buying an extra can of reasonably nutritious canned food every week or so, you can build up a food reserve — before you realize it — that will last you for at least a two or three weeks, and probably much longer. Two or three weeks of “breathing room” after a disaster can give you great peace of mind and allow you to stop and think and plan for a future course of action (while the unprepared are all in a great panic). It is even possible that some additional help will arrive after a week or two. The most important thing is to store at least a two-week supply of drinking water. There are many plastic containers of all sizes that can be stored in a closet that won’t take up an excessive amount of space.

One kind of convenient containers for water storage in small spaces are the one gallon polypropylene plastic bottles that are used for Arizona brand teas. Although these plastic containers are marked with the Resin Identification Code 5 or 7, the Arizona Beverage Company web site states that (at least, as of July 2012 and earlier) the plastic does not contain any bisphenol-A in the container, so they should be safe for long-term water storage. These one-gallon plastic containers with screw-on plastic lids should be a convenient method of water storage for many people. Do not keep the water in storage for a very long time without refreshing your supply with new water occasionally, though. There are larger containers that are made for long-term water storage for those who have the storage space for a longer-term emergency water supply.

 

What just happened???

The most important piece of information you can have after any sort of unusual electrical event is information about what happened. If there is a bright flash in the sky at the same time that the power goes off, and you’ve been worried about nuclear EMP, your first reaction may be to assume the worst. There are many other events, however, that can cause a power outage.

If it is a nuclear EMP, though, you will want to know about it right away, and the local radio and television stations are going to all be off the air. Most of the internet will also be down. There might be some telephone service if you are very lucky, but anyone that you would call probably won’t know any more than you. The only way that you will get any timely information will be by listening to broadcasts originating on other continents using a battery-operated shortwave radio.

If you have a shortwave radio, it is likely to be knocked out by the EMP unless it is adequately shielded. To be adequately shielded, it needs to be kept inside of a complete metallic shielded enclosure, commonly known as a faraday cage, and preferably inside nested faraday cages. A faraday cage is an total enclosure made out of a good electrical conductor such as copper or aluminum. (Steel also works well, but it is more difficult to make a total enclosure with steel.) Large faraday cages can get extremely complicated. For small portable electronics, though, completely covering the electronic equipment in aluminum foil makes an adequate faraday cage around the equipment. The foil covering needs to be complete, without any significant gaps. Wrap the device in plastic or put it in an insulated box before wrapping the covered device in foil. (Otherwise, the foil may simply conduct the EMP energy into the device more effectively.) A single layer of foil may not be adequate. In order to enclose the equipment in a nested faraday cage, place the foil-covered device in a plastic bag, such as a freezer bag, and wrap that bag completely in aluminum foil. If you really want to protect the equipment against a large EMP, add another layer of plastic and foil. The layer of plastic needs to be the thickest plastic bags that you can easily find. (They don’t need to be terribly thick, but do try to find some heavy-duty bags.)

Just adding many layers of foil directly on top of foil won’t do as much good, due to what is called “skin effect.” I won’t bother to explain skin effect here, but you can look it up if you’re curious. Don’t worry too much about skin effect, though. I only mention it here because many people have the misconception that when it comes to shielding, the thicker the better — and this is definitely not true after a certain thickness is reached. Layers of shielding separated by insulation works much better. As a practical matter, though, wrapping with 2 or 3 layers of foil helps to assure that you actually have a good shield around the equipment.

Of course, any antennas or power cords need to be either disconnected or contained completely within the faraday cage.TOP;

EMP Myths
by Jerry Emanuelson, B.S.E.E.
Futurescience, LLC
This is a page about common EMP myths.
I will begin by copying the Appendix on EMP Myths that was included in a report for Oak Ridge National Laboratories by Metatech.
Afterward, I will add my own comments about additional common EMP myths.

Note: HEMP is an acronym for high-altitude nuclear electromagnetic pulse.


Appendix From Oak Ridge National Laboratories/Metatech EMP Report
E1 HEMP Myths

Much of the literature on HEMP is either classified or not easily accessible. Probably because of this, some of what is openly available tends to vary in accuracy — some, especially from the Internet, has major inaccuracies. Some discussions of HEMP have the right words and concepts, but do not quite have them put together right, or have inaccurate interpretations. Here we will discuss some common misunderstandings.

HEMP has also appeared in some movies, and there are on-line discussions about possible errors in their depiction of HEMP. Here we will be concerned with E1 HEMP, and ignore misunderstandings about other types of EMP.

Extremists: Some general emphasis of comments fall into either “the world as we know it will come to an end” if there is a high altitude nuclear burst, or the other extreme: “it’s not a big deal, nothing much will happen”. Since we really have never had a nuclear burst over anything like our current modern infrastructure, no one really knows for sure what would happen, but both extremes are not very believable.

Yield: There appears to be an assumption that yield is important — it is not for E1. The assumption that E1 is an issue only for cold war type situations, but not for terrorists or rogue nations, is false. Very big bombs might have better area coverage of high fields by going to higher burst heights, but for peak fields the burst yield is only a very minor consideration.

1962 experience: Some point to the Starfish event, and the rather minor HEMP effects produced at Hawaii by it. However, there are many problems with extrapolating that experience:

1. That was about half a century ago. Since then the use of electronics has increased greatly, and the type of sensitive electronics we currently use did not really exist back then.

2. The burst was fairly far away from Hawaii, and the incident E1 HEMP was much less than worse case.

3. The island is small — if over the continental U.S., long transmission lines would be exposed (especially an issue for late-time HEMP). In addition, widely separated substations would have been exposed, although with electromechanical relays (not solid state).

Also the yield argument has been used — Starfish was a very big weapon, yet it did very little — see the previous item, yield is not really very significant.

Cars dying: Some say that all vehicles traveling will come to a halt, with all modern vehicles damaged because of their use of modern electronics (and one movie even had a bulk, non-electronic part dying). Most likely there will be some vehicles affected, but probably just a small fraction of them (although this could create traffic jams in large cities). A car does not have very long cabling to act as antennas, and there is some protection from metallic construction. As non-metallic materials are used more and more in the future to decrease weight and increase fuel efficiency, this advantage may disappear.

Wristwatch dying: One movie critic pointed out that electronics in a helicopter were affected, but not the star’s electronic watch. A watch is much too small for HEMP to affect it.

Electrons present: One critic, with some awareness of the generation process, said that HEMP could not be present unless there were also energetic electrons present. This is true when one is within the source region, which exists for all types of EMP — there are energetic electrons present. However for the HEMP, the radiation and energetic electrons are present at altitudes of 20 to 40 km, not at the ground.

Turn equipment off: There is truth to this recommendation (if there were a way to know that a burst was about to happen). Equipment is more vulnerable if it is operating, because some failure modes involving E1 HEMP trigger the system’s energy to damage itself. However, damage can also happen, but not as easily, to systems that are turned off.

Maximum conductor length: There is a suggestion that equipment will be OK if all connected conductors are less than a specific length. Certainly shorter lengths are generally better, but there is no magic length value, with shorter always being better and longer not. Coupling is much too complex for such a blanket statement — instead it should be “the shorter the better, in general”. (There can be exceptions, such as resonance effects, which depend on line lengths.)

Stay away from metal: There is a recommendation to be some distance away from any metal when a HEMP event occurs (assuming there was warning), because very high voltages could be generated. Metal can collect E1 HEMP energy, and easily generate high voltages. However, the “skin effect” (a term not really derived from the skin of humans or any other animal) means that if a human were touching a large “antenna” during an E1 HEMP event, any current flow would not penetrate into the body. Generally E1 HEMP is considered harmless for human bodies.

Government Agency Warns If 9 Substations Are Destroyed, The Power Grid Could Be Down For 18 Months

Submitted by Tyler Durden on 03/19/2014
Submitted by Michael Snyder of The Economic Collapse blog,

What would you do if the Internet or the power grid went down for over a year? Our key infrastructure, including the Internet and the power grid, is far more vulnerable than most people would dare to imagine. These days, most people simply take for granted that the lights will always be on and that the Internet will always function properly. But what if all that changed someday in the blink of an eye? According to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s latest report, all it would take to plunge the entire nation into darkness for more than a year would be to knock out a transformer manufacturer and just 9 of our 55,000 electrical substations on a really hot summer day. The reality of the matter is that our power grid is in desperate need of updating, and there is very little or no physical security at most of these substations.[wpex Read more]

North-American-Power-Grid

If terrorists, or saboteurs, or special operations forces wanted to take down our power grid, it would not be very difficult. And as you will read about later in this article, the Internet is extremely vulnerable as well.

When I read the following statement from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s latest report, I was absolutely floored…

“Destroy nine interconnection substations and a transformer manufacturer and the entire United States grid would be down for at least 18 months, probably longer.”

Wow.

What would you do without power for 18 months?

FERC studied what it would take to collapse the entire electrical grid from coast to coast. What they found was quite unsettling

In its modeling, FERC studied what would happen if various combinations of substations were crippled in the three electrical systems that serve the contiguous U.S. The agency concluded the systems could go dark if as few as nine locations were knocked out: four in the East, three in the West and two in Texas, people with knowledge of the analysis said.

 

The actual number of locations that would have to be knocked out to spawn a massive blackout would vary depending on available generation resources, energy demand, which is highest on hot days, and other factors, experts said. Because it is difficult to build new transmission routes, existing big substations are becoming more crucial to handling electricity.

So what would life look like without any power for a long period of time? The following list comes from one of my previous articles

-There would be no heat for your home.

-Water would no longer be pumped into most homes.

-Your computer would not work.

-There would be no Internet.

-Your phones would not work.

-There would be no television.

-There would be no radio.

-ATM machines would be shut down.

-There would be no banking.

-Your debit cards and credit cards would not work.

-Without electricity, gas stations would not be functioning.

-Most people would be unable to do their jobs without electricity and employment would collapse.

-Commerce would be brought to a standstill.

-Hospitals would not be able to function.

-You would quickly start running out of medicine.

-All refrigeration would shut down and frozen foods in our homes and supermarkets would start to go bad.

If you want to get an idea of how quickly society would descend into chaos, just watch the documentary “American Blackout” some time. It will chill you to your bones.

The truth is that we live in an unprecedented time. We have become extremely dependent on technology, and that technology could be stripped away from us in an instant.

Right now, our power grid is exceedingly vulnerable, and all the experts know this, but very little is being done to actually protect it

“The power grid, built over many decades in a benign environment, now faces a range of threats it was never designed to survive,” said Paul Stockton, a former assistant secretary of defense and president of risk-assessment firm Cloud Peak Analytics. “That’s got to be the focus going forward.”

If a group of agents working for a foreign government or a terrorist organization wanted to bring us to our knees, they could do it.

In fact, there have actually been recent attacks on some of our power stations. Here is just one example

The Wall Street Journal’s Rebecca Smith reports that a former Federal Energy Regulatory Commission chairman is acknowledging for the first time that a group of snipers shot up a Silicon Valley substation for 19 minutes last year, knocking out 17 transformers before slipping away into the night.

 

The attack was “the most significant incident of domestic terrorism involving the grid that has ever occurred” in the U.S., Jon Wellinghoff, who was chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission at the time, told Smith.

Have you heard about that attack before now?

Most Americans have not.

But it should have been big news.

At the scene, authorities found “more than 100 fingerprint-free shell casings“, and little piles of rocks “that appeared to have been left by an advance scout to tell the attackers where to get the best shots.”

So what happens someday when the bad guys decide to conduct a coordinated attack against our power grid with heavy weapons?

It could happen.

In addition, as I mentioned at the top of this article, the Internet is extremely vulnerable as well.

For example, did you know that authorities are so freaked out about the security of the Internet that they have given “the keys to the Internet” to a very small group of individuals that meet four times per year?

It’s true. The following is from a recent story posted by the Guardian

The keyholders have been meeting four times a year, twice on the east coast of the US and twice here on the west, since 2010. Gaining access to their inner sanctum isn’t easy, but last month I was invited along to watch the ceremony and meet some of the keyholders – a select group of security experts from around the world. All have long backgrounds in internet security and work for various international institutions. They were chosen for their geographical spread as well as their experience – no one country is allowed to have too many keyholders. They travel to the ceremony at their own, or their employer’s, expense.

 

What these men and women control is the system at the heart of the web: the domain name system, or DNS. This is the internet’s version of a telephone directory – a series of registers linking web addresses to a series of numbers, called IP addresses. Without these addresses, you would need to know a long sequence of numbers for every site you wanted to visit. To get to the Guardian, for instance, you’d have to enter “77.91.251.10” instead of theguardian.com.

If the system that controls those IP addresses gets hijacked or damaged, we would definitely need someone to press the “reset button” on the Internet.

Sadly, the hackers always seem to be several steps ahead of the authorities. In fact, according to one recent report, breaches of U.S. government computer networks go undetected 40 percent of the time

A new report by Sen. Tom Coburn (R., Okla.) details widespread cybersecurity breaches in the federal government, despite billions in spending to secure the nation’s most sensitive information.

 

The report, released on Tuesday, found that approximately 40 percent of breaches go undetected, and highlighted “serious vulnerabilities in the government’s efforts to protect its own civilian computers and networks.”

 

“In the past few years, we have seen significant breaches in cybersecurity which could affect critical U.S. infrastructure,” the report said. “Data on the nation’s weakest dams, including those which could kill Americans if they failed, were stolen by a malicious intruder. Nuclear plants’ confidential cybersecurity plans have been left unprotected. Blueprints for the technology undergirding the New York Stock Exchange were exposed to hackers.”

Yikes.

And things are not much better when it comes to cybersecurity in the private sector either. According to Symantec, there was a 42 percent increase in cyberattacks against businesses in the United States last year. And according to a recent report in the Telegraph, our major banks are being hit with cyberattacks “every minute of every day”…

Every minute, of every hour, of every day, a major financial institution is under attack.

 

Threats range from teenagers in their bedrooms engaging in adolescent “hacktivism”, to sophisticated criminal gangs and state-sponsored terrorists attempting everything from extortion to industrial espionage. Though the details of these crimes remain scant, cyber security experts are clear that behind-the-scenes online attacks have already had far reaching consequences for banks and the financial markets.

For much more on all of this, please see my previous article entitled “Big Banks Are Being Hit With Cyberattacks ‘Every Minute Of Every Day’“.

Up until now, attacks on our infrastructure have not caused any significant interruptions in our lifestyles.

But at some point that will change.

Are you prepared for that to happen?

We live at a time when our world is becoming increasingly unstable. In the years ahead it is quite likely that we will see massive economic problems, major natural disasters, serious terror attacks and war. Any one of those could cause substantial disruptions in the way that we live.

At this point, even NASA is warning that “civilization could collapse”…

A new study sponsored by Nasa’s Goddard Space Flight Center has highlighted the prospect that global industrial civilisation could collapse in coming decades due to unsustainable resource exploitation and increasingly unequal wealth distribution.

 

Noting that warnings of ‘collapse’ are often seen to be fringe or controversial, the study attempts to make sense of compelling historical data showing that “the process of rise-and-collapse is actually a recurrent cycle found throughout history.” Cases of severe civilisational disruption due to “precipitous collapse – often lasting centuries – have been quite common.”

So let us hope for the best.

But let us also prepare for the worst.
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The 21st Century:

Why I stopped worrying and learned to love the currency collapse

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

For the past 300 years, the historical pattern has been for the era marked by a century to continue into the following century by fourteen or fifteen years.

Let me explain. Everyone knows that the 19th Century, its uprightness, its optimism and sense of purpose, the halcyon days of British Empire, came to an end with World War I, starting in 1914 and building to a nasty crescendo by 1916. The 20th Century had arrived, and it had some real horrors in store for us.

ww1-german-troops
Germans before Kraftwerk
But if we return back another hundred years, we notice that the 18th Century ends in 1815 with the final defeat of Napoleon, that final project of the Enlightenment and of the French Revolution. With the Congress of Vienna in 1814-1815, we have a new Europe along the lines of Metternich’s plan, and the 19th Century at last is here.
Napoleons_retreat_from_moscow

“Sorry, guys. My bad.”

In 1713 and 1714, we have the Treaties of Utrecht, Baden, and Rastatt, bringing an end to the era of Spain as a major power, and the rise of the Habsburgs. Louis XIV dies in 1715, after reigning for 72 years. The Baroque period is over, and we are now firmly in the 18th Century.

villars_a_denain
War of Spanish Succession
We still live in the 20th Century. Nothing much significant has changed in our lives in the past twenty years. Symptoms of a deeper rot are appearing here and there, foreshadowing a larger crisis, but the crisis itself has not arrived yet. We still live in an era of Pax Americana, the old republic very much a strained and tired Empire now, with the U.S. Dollar as the world’s reserve currency.
That is going to change.
The next task for History is to dismantle the untenable structures and institutions put in place by late Modernity, which have been extended now as far as they can go. Our debt-based monetary system will collapse, our unbacked fiats will be worthless. The debts and unmeetable obligations will all default.
There are ironies and great contradictions as the former home and hope of Liberty becomes viciously unfree and increasingly despotic. Our leaders no longer govern, but try instead to rule us — they are less legitimate with each passing day, their laws corrupt or worse. They are nearly finished, and will be swept away with the tide.
Just as in 1914, the internationalist system will break down, dashing the hopes of the would-be first-world nations. We will probably have a pretty good war as well, or many local ones worldwide. These transitions tend to involve war.
Deflation first — it clears the way for the complete loss of faith and hyperinflation that will follow. The next big wave down in the financial markets is the battering ram. The U.S. national debt is about faith, so is quantitative easing, and so is the very idea of magical coins that could ever be “worth” a trillion dollars. When this is faith breaks, in concert with loss of faith in perpetual growth and unlimited cheap energy, then things will move very, very quickly.
There is nothing any of us can do at this point, except navigate the rapids as well as possible, and to stay out of the way of a dying empire, which is still very dangerous in its death throes. We are actually very privileged to be alive and witnessing this next transition, to what we do not know just yet. But what an honor to live at this time, not in ignorance but with an existential resolve to come out of it alive and much the wiser.

An Israeli Woman was overheard at a Los Angeles Market saying “I’m from Israel. I have come to America to become Fat and Lazy!”

coca-cola-resultsthe-begining-of-world-war-3

 

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Attention Deficit Dystopia

Submitted by Tyler Durden on 03/31/2014 Submitted by James H. Kunstler via Kunstler.com,

Apparently someone at the US State Department put out the fire in John Kerry’s magnificent head of hair, because he has stopped declaiming (for now) on the urgent need to start World War Three over Russia’s annexation of the Crimean peninsula. In my lifetime, there has never been a more pointless and unnecessary international crisis than the current rumble over Ukraine, and it’s pretty much all our doing.

After all, we kicked it off by financing the overthrow of Ukraine’s elected government. How do you suppose the US would feel if Moscow engineered the overthrow of the Mexican government? Perhaps a little insecure? Perhaps even tempted to post some troops on the border?

Since the end of the Cold War, the US has engaged in a nonstop projection of power around the world with grievous results in every case except in the breakup of Yugoslavia. The latest adventures in Iraq and Afghanistan, have been the most expensive — at least a trillion dollars — and mayhem still rules in both places. In fact, news reports out of Kabul on NPR this morning raised doubts that the scheduled elections could take place later this week. The country’s so-called Independent Election Commission has been under rocket attack for days, the most popular hotel for foreign journalists was the site of a massacre two weeks ago, and the Taliban remains active slaughtering civilians in the lawless territory outside of the Afghan capital. [wpex Read more]

Of course, even those dreadful incidents raise the rather fundamental question as to why anything about Afghanistan really matters to the USA. How many years will it take for us to get over the fact that Osama bin Laden ran a training camp for jihadists there? Right now you can be sure that somewhere between Casablanca and East Timor there are training camps for religious maniacs and thousands more casual meet-ups among aggrieved young men with testosterone boiling in their brains and nothing else to occupy their time but playing with guns. Are we going to invade every land where this goes on?

One part of our ever-evolving reality is that the global economy is in the process of cracking up. Despite the claims of one Tom Friedman at The New York Times, Globalism was not a permanent installation in the human condition. Rather, it was a set of transient economic relations brought about by special circumstances in a particular time of history — namely, a hundred years of cheap energy and about fifty years of relative peace between the larger nations. That’s all it was. And now it’s dissolving because energy is increasingly non-cheap and that is causing a lot of friction between nations utterly addicted to high flows of cheap oil and gas.

The friction is manifesting especially in the realm of money and finance. The high energy addicted nations have been trying to offset the rising cost of their addiction, and the absence of conventional economic “growth,” by borrowing ever more money, that is, generating ever more debt. This ends up expressing itself in “money printing,” that range of computerized banking activities that pumps more and more “liquidity” into “advanced” economies. The result of all that is the mis-pricing of just about everything (including especially the cost of borrowing money), and an increasingly antagonistic climate of currency war as all players vie for the supposed advantages devaluation — most particularly the ability to dissolve their own sovereign debts via inflation.

The finer points of all that are debatable as to eventual consequences but we can easily draw some larger conclusions about the macro trends. The global orgy of cheap goods and bubble finance is ending. Nations and indeed regions within nations are going to have to find a new way of making a living on the smaller scale. This is sure to include new arrangements for governance. The breakup of nation states is well underway and is moving from the margins inward to the political center — from the hopeless scrublands of overpopulated nations that will never “develop” to the increasingly sclerotic giants.

The USA is exhibiting pretty severe signs of that sclerosis in the demented behavior of its leaders in episodes such as the current unnecessary manufactured fiasco over Ukraine to the physical deterioration of our towns, roads, bridges, and all the plastic crap we managed to smear over the mutilated landscape to the comportment of our demoralized, mentally inert, drugged-up, tattoo-bedizened populace of twerking slobs.

In short, it is self-evident that Russians have an abiding interest in the Crimea and we have none, while both the material and cultural life of the US is in a shambles and much more worthy of our own attention. TOP

Putin Flushes the US Dollar: Russia’s Gold Ruble Payments System Delinked from Dollar?

A New Financial System independent from Wall Street and City of London begins to take shape concretely in Russia?

By Umberto Pascali Global Research, March 30, 2014

Russia “forced” by the sanctions to create a currency system which is independent from the US dollar.

Russia announces that it will sell (and buy) products and commodities – including oil – in rubles rather than in dollars. The move is towards the development of bilateral.

Putin has been preparing this move — the creation of a payment system in rubles completely independent and protected from the Dollar and the “killer speculations” (e.g. short-selling) of the big Western financial institutions — for a long time.

After sanctioning several Russian banks to punish Russia for Crimea, the Washington politicians were told by the financial power-to-be to step back because obviously, the Wall Street vampires understand that putting Russian banks outside the reach of their blood sucking teeth is never a good idea.

For Wall Street and the city’s financial services, countries like Russia should always have an open financial door through which their real economy can be periodically looted. So Washington announced that it was a mistake to enforce sanctions on all Russian banks; only one, the Rossiya bank shall be hit by sanctions, just for propaganda reasons and to make an example out of it.

It is what Putin needed. Since at least 2007, he was trying to launch an independent Ruble System, a financial system that would be based on Russia’s real economy and resources and guaranteed by its gold reserves. No tolerance for looting and financial speculation: A peaceful move, but at the same time a declaration of independence that Wall Street will consider as a “declaration of war”. [wpex Read more]

According to the Judo strategy, the sanction attack created the ideal situation for a “defensive” move that would redirect the brute force of the adversary against him. And now it’s happening. Bank Rossiya will be the first Russian bank to use exclusively the Russian ruble.

The move has not been done in secret. On the contrary. A huge golden ruble symbol will be set up in front of bank Rossiya headquarters in Perevedensky Pereulok in Moscow “to symbolize the ruble’s stability and its backing by the country’s gold reserves,” the official agency Itar-Tass explains quoting the bank officials.

In fact, the officials are very clear on their intention to punish the western speculators that have been looting their country for a long time:

“Russia, at its present stage of development, should not be dependent on foreign currencies; its internal resources will make its own economy invulnerable to political wheeler dealers.”

This is only the first step, declared Andrei Kostin, the president of VTB, another bank previously sanctioned:

“We have been moving towards wider use of the Russian rouble as the currency of settlement for a long time. The ruble became fully convertible quite a long time ago. Unfortunately, we have seen predominantly negative consequences of this step so far revealed in the outflow of capital from this country. The influx of foreign investments into Russia has been speculative and considerably destabilizing to our stock markets.”

According to Itar-Tass, Kostin was very precise and concrete:

“Russia should sell domestic products – from weapons to gas and oil – abroad for roubles and buy foreign goods also for rubles….Only then are we going to use the advantages of the rouble being a foreign currency in full measure.”

Putin himself lobbied for the new siystem in meetings with members of the Upper House of the Duma, the parliament, on March 28, overcoming the last doubts and indecisions: “

“Why do we not do this? This definitely should be done, we need to protect our interests, and we will do it. These systems work, and work very successfully in such countries as Japan and China. They originally started as exclusively national [systems] confined to their own market and territory and their own population, but have gradually become more and more popular…”

Alea Iacta Est!

see: http://www.nasdaq.com/article/putin-calls-for-creation-of-banking-payment-system-20140327-00598#ixzz2xQIi0AgY

see: http://en.itar-tass.com/economy/725832)
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Putin’s Chief ‘Integration’ Advisor Warns “Transition Has Always Come About Through War”

Submitted by Tyler Durden on 08/23/2014

When we last met Sergei Glazyev, Vladimir Putin’s chief ‘integration’ adviser (who has been regularly featured on these pages in the past (see Putin Adviser Threatens With Dumping US Treasurys, Abandoning Dollar If US Proceeds With Sanctions and Putin Adviser Proposes “Anti-Dollar Alliance” To Halt US Aggression Abroad for two examples) he explained “how the U.S. military and oligarchs are trying to maintain leadership in the global competition with China.

Arguably the best informed man in Russia, his perspective seems important to grasp as he considers:

“The world today is going through a year of overlapping cyclical crises. This is a period when the global economy is changing as the structure that has driven economic growth for 30 years has exhausted itself. The world needs to transition to a new system and transition has always come about through war…

...

The last elections to the European Parliament showed that all European citizens are not fooled by the fals pro-American, anti-Russian propaganda… and by the constant stream of lies.

In order to avoid the constant threat of foreign asset confiscation, we need to build our own sovereign monetray macro-economic policy.”

As Glazyev concluded previously:

To further insulate its economy, Russia should abandon the use of the U.S. dollar as a reserve currency, according to Glazyev. Russia, which international reserves are the world’s fifth-biggest, needs to diversify its holdings to include China’s yuan, India’s rupee and Brazil’s real. “If a country aspires to reserve status for its currency, it should behave properly, and that isn’t the case today,” Glazyev said.

And this is how Putin sees the world. De-escalation? Good luck.
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Russian Su-24 electronic warfare Blinded Aegis destroyer “USS Donald Cook”

Russian Su -24 scores off against the American “USS Donald Cook”

Советский бомбардировщик СУ-24The Guided Missile Destroyer Uss Donald Cook

21April2014

Russian Sukhoi Su -24 with the newest jamming complex paralyzed in the Black Sea the most modern American combat management system “Aegis” installed on the destroyer “USS Donald Cook”. Pavel Zolotarev, Deputy Director, Institute of USA and Canada, shares details about this version which is being actively discussed in the Russian media and by bloggers.

US destroyer “Donald Cook” with cruise missiles “Tomahawk” entered the neutral waters of the Black Sea on April 10. The purpose was a demonstration of force and intimidation in connection with the position of Russia in Ukraine and Crimea. The appearance of American warships in these waters is in contradiction of the Montreux Convention about the nature and duration of stay in the Black Sea by the military ships of countries not washed by this sea.

In response, Russia sent an unarmed bomber Su- 24 to fly around the U.S. destroyer. However, experts say that this plane was equipped with the latest Russian electronic warfare complex. According to this version, “Aegis” spotted from afar the approaching aircraft, and sounded alarm. Everything went normally, American radars calculated the speed of the approaching target. And suddenly all the screens went blank. “Aegis” was not working any more, and the rockets could not get target information. Meanwhile, Su-24 flew over the deck of the destroyer, did battle turn and simulated missile attack on the target. Then it turned and repeated the maneuver. And did so 12 times.

Apparently, all efforts to revive the “Aegis” and provide target information for the defence failed. Russia’s reaction to military pressure from the United States was profoundly calm, feels the Russian political scientist Pavel Zolotarev:

The demonstration was original enough. A bomber without any weapons, but having onboard equipment for jamming enemy radar, worked against a destroyer equipped with “Aegis”, the most modern system of air and missile defence. But this system of mobile location, in this case the ship, has a significant drawback. That is, the target tracking capabilities. They work well when there is a number of these ships which can coordinate with each other somehow. In this case there was just one destroyer. And, apparently, the algorithm of the radar in the “Aegis” system on the destroyer did not load under the influence of jamming by the Su-24. It was therefore not only a nervous reaction to the fact of flying around by the Russin bomber which was common practice during the Cold War. The reaction of the Americans was due to the fact that most modern system, especially its informative or radar part, did not work adequately. Therefore, there was such a nervous reaction to the whole episode.

After the incident, the foreign media reported that “Donald Cook” was rushed into a port in Romania. There all the 27 members of the crew filed a letter of resignation. It seems that all 27 people have written that they are not going to risk their lives. This is indirectly confirmed by the Pentagon statement according to which the action demoralized the crew of the American ship.

What are the possible consequences of the incident provoked by the U.S. in the Black Sea? Pavel Zolotarev forecasts:

I think that Americans are somehow going to reflect on improving the system “Aegis”. This is a purely military aspect. In political terms, there is hardly any likelihood of demonstrative steps by either side. That is enough. Meanwhile, for Americans it is a very unpleasant moment. In general, the missile defence system which they deploy involves huge expenditures. They have to prove each time that it is necessary to allocate funds from the budget. At the same time, the ground component of the ABM was tested in ideal conditions and showed a low efficiency. This fact is concealed by the Pentagon. The most modern component, the sea-based system “Aegis” also showed its shortcomings in the present case.

The system with which the Russian Su-24 shocked the American destroyer “Donald Cook” has the code name “Khibiny”. This is the name of the mountain range on the Kola Peninsula in the Arctic Circle. “Khibiny” is the newest complex for radioelectronic jamming of the enemy. They will be installed on all the advanced Russian planes .

Recently the complex has undergone regular testing exercises on the ground in Buryatia. Apparently, the tests which were conducted under conditions as close to real as possible, were successful.
Read more: http://indian.ruvr.ru/2014_04_21/Russian-Su-24-scores-off-against-the-American-USS-Donald-Cook-5786/

NATO Allies “Unreassured” As US Destroyer Departs Black Sea

Just 2 weeks ago, the USS Donald Cook entered The Black Sea on a mission to “reassure NATO allies and Black Sea partners.” So, one wonders what it is to be made of the fact that, as ITAR-TASS reports, the US warship USS Donald Cook with the Aegis missile defense system onboard has left the Black Sea, according to a Russian Defense Ministry source. This leaves only the USS Taylor on its mission of “peace and stability”… should NATO allies be un-reassured?

On the way in…

“The Donald Cook’s mission is to reassure NATO allies and Black Sea partners of America’s commitment to strengthen and improve interoperability while working towards mutual goals in the region,” Pentagon spokesman Army Col. Steven Warren said.

Quiet on the way out…

As ITAR-TASS reports,

USS Donald Cook left the Black Sea on Thursday, passed through the straits and entered the Aegean Sea, the source said.

We can only assume that this means mission accomplished for the US… or maybe they see where it’s heading and prefer to be less exposed?
NATO-Paper-Tiger-on-Shredder
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Downed Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 19-Tammuz-5774

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 (MH17/MAS17)[a] was a scheduled international passenger flight from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur that crashed on 17 July 2014.[7] It is believed to have been shot down with a Buk surface-to-air missile.[8] The aircraft went down near Hrabove in Donetsk Oblast, Ukraine, about 40 km (25 mi) from the Ukraine–Russia border.[9] All 283 passengers and 15 crew on board the Boeing 777-200ER airliner died

Was Flight MH-17 Diverted Over Restricted Airspace?

While there are various questions that have already emerged from what was supposed to be Ukraine’s “slam dunk” proof confirming Russian rebel involvement in today’s MH-17 tragedy, perhaps one just as gaping question emerges when one looks at what is clearly an outlier flight path in today’s final, and tragic, departure of the Malaysian Airlines Boeing 777.

Perhaps the best visualization of what the issue is, comes from Vagelis Karmiros who has collated all the recent MH-17 flight paths as tracked by Flightaware and shows that while all ten most recent paths pass safely well south of the Donetsk region, and cross the zone above the Sea of Azov, it was only today’s tragic flight that passed straight overhead Donetsk.

 

MH 17 flight paths_July2014

Why is the diversion from the traditional flight path and passage over the highlighted zone a concern? Because as the following map from the WSJ shows this is precisely where the restricted airspace is.

Ukraine-restricted-air-space-july2014

 

So perhaps before coming to “certain” conclusion about the involvement of this rebel or that, the key questions one should ask before casting blame, is why did the pilot divert from his usual flight plan, why did he fly above restricted airspace, and just what, if any instructions, did Kiev air control give the pilot in the minutes before the tragic explosion?

Russia Says Has Photos Of Ukraine Deploying BUK Missiles In East, Radar Proof Of Warplanes In MH17 Vicinity

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-07-21/russia-says-has-photos-ukraine-deploying-buk-missiles-east-rader-proof-warplanes-mh1

Ukraine hasn’t said how it immediately knew rebels downed Malaysian plane, notes the Russian Foreign Ministry, as it unveils 10 awkward questions for Ukraine (and perhaps the US ‘snap judgment’) to answer about the MH17 disaster. However, what is perhaps more concerning for the hordes of finger-pointers is that:

  • RUSSIA HAS IMAGES OF UKRAINE DEPLOYING BUK ROCKETS IN EAST: IFX
  • RUSSIA: UKRAINE MOVED BUK NEAR REBELS IN DONETSK JULY 17: IFX
  • RUSSIA DETECTED UKRAINIAN FIGHTER JET PICK UP SPEED TOWARD MH17

Obviously, if there is proof that this is so, aside from CIA-created YouTube clips, these would deal another unpleasant blow to US foreign policy.

 

Here is the full clip of the Russian ministry releasing its own forensic analysis of what happened to flight MH17 (with English translation).

 

Russia wants to know why Ukraine moved its BUK missiles systems the day of the MH17 crash:

  • RUSSIAN GENERAL STAFF HAS SPACE IMAGES OF SECTORS OF UKRAINIAN FORCES’ POSITIONS IN SOUTHEASTERN UKRAINE, INCLUDING BUK MISSILE LUNCH SITES 8 KILOMETERS FROM LUHANSK – RUSSIAN DEFENSE MINISTRY – interfax

The day the Malaysian airliner crashed, the Ukrainian forces deployed an air defense group of three or four Buk-M1 missile batteries near Donetsk, Lt. Gen. Andrei Kartapolov, head of the Russian General Staff’s Main Operations Department, told reporters on Monday.

 

“These surface-to-air systems are capable of hitting targets at a distance of up to 35 kilometers at an altitude of 22 kilometers. For what purpose and against whom were these missile systems deployed? As is known, the militia has no aviation,” he said.

Russia has the flight paths of the Ukrainian fighters and MH17. Furthermore, it is asking the same question we asked last Thurday:

  • RUSSIA SAYS MH17 DIVERGED 14 KM FROM FLIGHT PATH NEAR DONETSK

And wants to know why. The image (as seen in the presentation above) allegedly shows Ukraine fighter jets near MH17:

Here is a screengrab of a Su-25 fighter jet detected close to MH17 before crash.

As RT reports,

“A Ukraine Air Force military jet was detected gaining height, it’s distance from the Malaysian Boeing was 3 to 5km,” said the head of the Main Operations Directorate of the HQ of Russia’s military forces, Lieutenant-General Andrey Kartopolov speaking at a media conference in Moscow on Monday.

 

“[We] would like to get an explanation as to why the military jet was flying along a civil aviation corridor at almost the same time and at the same level as a passenger plane,” he stated.

 

“The SU-25 fighter jet can gain an altitude of 10km, according to its specification,” he added. “It’s equipped with air-to-air R-60 missiles that can hit a target at a distance up to 12km, up to 5km for sure.”

 

The presence of the Ukrainian military jet can be confirmed by video shots made by the Rostov monitoring center, Kartopolov stated.

And asks for US proof of their accusations:

  • RUSSIA SAYS U.S. SATELLITE FLEW OVER MH17 AT TIME IT WAS DOWNED… which would provide all the proof needed to show who is responsible – so why hasn’t the US explained this or shown it?
  • RUSSIA ASKS U.S. FOR EVIDENCE ROCKET FIRED FROM REBEL-HELD AREA
  • RUSSIA: NO U.S. PROOF THAT MISSILE FIRED FROM REBEL-HELD AREA
  • DEFENCE MINISTRY SAYS RUSSIA DID NOT DELIVER ANY SA-11 BUK MISSILE SYSTEMS TO SEPARATISTS IN EASTERN UKRAINE “OR ANY OTHER WEAPONS”

And went on to rebuke all the Twitter photos created by Maidan to ‘prove’ the BUKs were moving in Russian hands.

Additionally, as Russia noted using what appears to be legitimate photographic evidence (something the west has so far failed to provide in any capacity) MH17 crashed within the operating zone of the Ukrainian army’s self-propelled, medium-range surface-to-air ‘Buk’ missile systems, the Russian general said.

“We have space images of certain places where the Ukraine’s air defense was located in the southeast of the country,” Kartapolov noted.

The first three shots that were shown by the general are dated July 14. The images show Buk missile launch systems in about 8km northwest of the city of Lugansk – a TELAR and two TELs, according to the military official.

Another image shows a radar station near Donetsk.

Radar stations of the air defense in Donetsk Region, 5km north of Donetsk city, on July 14, 2014.Photo courtesy of the Russian Defense MinistryRadar stations of the air defense in Donetsk Region, 5km north of Donetsk city, on July 14, 2014.Photo courtesy of the Russian Defense Ministry

 

While the third picture shows the location of the air defense systems near Donetsk, he explained. In particular, one can clearly see a TELAR launcher and about 60 military and auxiliary vehicles, tents for vehicles and other structures, he elaborated.

Buk missile defense units in Donetsk Region, 5km north of Donetsk city, on July 14, 2014.Photo courtesy of the Russian Defense MinistryBuk missile defense units in Donetsk Region, 5km north of Donetsk city, on July 14, 2014.Photo courtesy of the Russian Defense Ministry

 

“Images from this area were also made on July 17. One should notice that the missile launcher is absent [from the scene]. Image number five shows the Buk missile system in the morning of the same day in the area of settlement Zaroschinskoe – 50km south of Donetsk and 8km south of Shakhtyorsk,” the Kartapolov said.

No Buk missile defense units in Donetsk Region, 5km north of Donetsk city, on July 17, 2014.Photo courtesy of the Russian Defense MinistryNo Buk missile defense units in Donetsk Region, 5km north of Donetsk city, on July 17, 2014.Photo courtesy of the Russian Defense Ministry

 

Buk missile defense units in Zaroschinskoe, 50km south of Donetsk city and 8km south of Shakhtyorsk, on July 17, 2014.Photo courtesy of the Russian Defense MinistryBuk missile defense units in Zaroschinskoe, 50km south of Donetsk city and 8km south of Shakhtyorsk, on July 17, 2014.Photo courtesy of the Russian Defense Ministry

The question that has to be answered is why the missile system appeared in the area controlled by the local militia forces shortly before the catastrophe, he stated.

* * *

Summing it all up, the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, has 10 questions for Ukraine (google translated)

The global public expects a speedy and independent investigation into the causes of the disaster Malaysian aircraft in the airspace of Ukraine.

In order to conduct an objective investigation of possible leadership of the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation has ased ten questions to the Ukrainian side.

1. Ukrainian authorities immediately identified the militia as the perpetrators of the tragedy. What is the basis of such findings?

 

2. Could official Kiev to report all the details of using [BUKs] in a war zone? Most importantly – why these systems are deployed there, as the militia no planes?

 

3. What are the causes of inactivity of Ukrainian authorities on the formation of an international commission? When such a committee will work?

 

4. Are the armed forces of Ukraine international experts to present papers on accounting for missiles, air-to-air and ground-to-air ammo and anti-aircraft missiles?

 

5. Whether these funds objective control on the movement of the Ukrainian Air Force aircraft on the day of the tragedy brought international commission?

 

6. Why Ukrainian air traffic controllers allowed deviation of the route of the aircraft to the north side of the “anti-terrorist operation zone”?

 

7. Why was not completely closed to civilian aircraft airspace over the combat zone, especially because in this area there was no solid field of radar navigation?

 

8. Could official Kiev to comment on reports in the net, ostensibly on behalf of the Spanish air traffic controllers working in Ukraine, which shot down over the territory of Ukraine “Boeing” was accompanied by two Ukrainian military aircraft?

 

9. Why Security Service of Ukraine has begun without international representatives work with recordings of talks with Ukrainian crew dispatchers “Boeing” and Ukrainian radar data?

 

10. How were the lessons from previous similar disasters Russian Tu-154 in 2001 in the Black Sea? Then the leaders of Ukraine until the last minute denied any involvement of the Armed Forces of the country to the tragedy until irrefutable evidence showed no guilt official Kiev.

Unfortunately, there has been no response by the Ukraine side to these questions so far. We expect that there will be some answers.

* * *

Needless to say, this places Ukraine and The US (as main protagonist of “finger pointer”) in an awkward position as finally someone, somewhere will have to present some actual facts instead of merely continuing the “emotional appeals” propaganda.

We expect many of these questions to be answered once the contents of flight MH17’s black box are revealed and/or when Ukraine finally releases an undoctored version of the Air Traffic control recording with the doomed flight.

Revelations of German Pilot: Shocking Analysis of the “Shooting Down” of Malaysian MH17. “Aircraft Was Not Hit by a Missile”

From Global Research 30july2014 http://www.globalresearch.ca/german-pilot-speaks-out-shocking-analysis-of-the-shooting-down-of-malaysian-mh17/5394111

By Peter Haisenko

he tragedy of Malaysian MH 017 continues to elude any light of clarity being cast over it.

The flight recorders are in England and are evaluated. What can come of it? Maybe more than you would assume.

Especially the voice recorder will be interesting when you look at the picture of a cockpit fragment. As an expert in aviation I closely looked at the images of the wreckage that are circulating on the Internet.

Peter Haisenko in Cockpit of Condor DC 10

First, I was amazed at how few photos can be found from the wreckage with Google. All are in low resolution, except one: The fragment of the cockpit below the window on the pilots side. This image, however, is shocking. In Washington, you can now hear views expressed of a “potentially tragic error / accident” regarding MH 017. Given this particular cockpit image it does not surprise me at all.

Entry and exit impact holes of projectiles in the cockpit area

Source for all photos: Internet

I recommend to click on the little picture to the left. You can download this photo as a PDF in good resolution. This is necessary, because that will allow you understand what I am describing here. The facts speak clear and loud and are beyond the realm of speculation: The cockpit shows traces of shelling! You can see the entry and exit holes. The edge of a portion of the holes is bent inwards. These are the smaller holes, round and clean, showing the entry points most likely that of a 30 millimeter caliber projectile. The edge of the other, the larger and slightly frayed exit holes showing shreds of metal pointing produced by the same caliber projectiles. Moreover, it is evident that at these exit holes of the outer layer of the double aluminum reinforced structure are shredded or bent – outwardly! Furthermore, minor cuts can be seen, all bent outward, which indicate that shrapnel had forcefully exited through the outer skin from the inside of the cockpit. The open rivets are are also bent outward.

In sifting through the available images one thing stands out: All wreckage of the sections behind the cockpit are largely intact, except for the fact that only fragments of the aircraft remained . Only the cockpit part shows these peculiar marks of destruction. This leaves the examiner with an important clue. This aircraft was not hit by a missile in the central portion. The destruction is limited to the cockpit area. Now you have to factor in that this part is constructed of specially reinforced material. This is on account of the nose of any aircraft having to withstand the impact of a large bird at high speeds. You can see in the photo, that in this area significantly stronger aluminum alloys were being installed than in the remainder of the outer skin of the fuselage. One remembers the crash of Pan Am over Lockerbie. It was a large segment of the cockpit that due to the special architecture survived the crash in one piece. In the case of flight MH 017 it becomes abundantly clear that there also an explosion took place inside the aircraft.

Tank destroying mix of ammunition

Bullet holes in the outer skin

So what could have happened? Russia recently published radar recordings, that confirm at least one Ukrainian SU 25 in close proximity to MH 017. This corresponds with the statement of the now missing Spanish controller ‘Carlos’ that has seen two Ukrainian fighter aircraft in the immediate vicinity of MH 017. If we now consider the armament of a typical SU 25 we learn this: It is equipped with a double-barreled 30-mm gun, type GSh-302 / AO-17A, equipped with: a 250 round magazine of anti-tank incendiary shells and splinter-explosive shells (dum-dum), arranged in alternating order. The cockpit of the MH 017 has evidently been fired at from both sides: the entry and exit holes are found on the same fragment of it’s cockpit segment!

Now just consider what happens when a series of anti-tank incendiary shells and splinter-explosive shells hit the cockpit. These are after all designed to destroy a modern tank. The anti-tank incendiary shells partially traversed the cockpit and exited on the other side in a slightly deformed shape. (Aviation forensic experts could possibly find them on the ground presumably controlled by the Kiev Ukrainian military; the translator). After all, their impact is designed to penetrate the solid armor of a tank. Also, the splinter-explosive shells will, due to their numerous impacts too cause massive explosions inside the cockpit, since they are designed to do this. Given the rapid firing sequence of the GSh-302 cannon, it will cause a rapid succession of explosions within the cockpit area in a very short time. Remeber each of these is sufficient to destroy a tank.

What “mistake” was actually being committed – and by whom?

Graze on the wing

Because the interior of a commercial aircraft is a hermetically sealed pressurized chamber, the explosions will, in split second, increase the pressure inside the cabin to extreme levels or breaking point. An aircraft is not equipped for this, it will burst like a balloon. This explains a coherent scenario. The largely intact fragments of the rear sections broke in mid air at the weaker points of construction most likely under extreme internal air pressure. The images of the widely scattered field of debris and the brutally damaged segment of cockpit fit like hand in glove. Furthermore, a wing segment shows traces of a grazing shot, which in direct extension leads to the cockpit. Interestingly, I found that both the high-resolution photo of the fragment of bullet riddled cockpit as well as the segment of grazed wing have in the meantime disappeared from Google Images. One can find virtually no more pictures of the wreckage, except the well known smoking ruins.

If you listen to the voices from Washington now who speak of a “potentially tragic error / accident”, all that remains is the question of what might have been the nature of this “mistake” perpetrated here. I am not given to hover long in the realm of speculation, but would like to invite others to consider the following : The MH 017 looked similar in it’s tricolor design to that that of the Russian President’s plane. The plane with President Putin on board was at the same time ”near” Malaysia MH 017. In aviation circles “close” would be considered to be anywhere between 150 to 200 miles. Also, in this context we might consider the deposition of Ms. Tymoshenko, who wanted to shoot President Putin with a Kalashnikov.

But that this remains pure speculation. The shelling of the cockpit of air Malaysia MH 017, however, is definitely not speculation.

 

“Air Pocket” Over East Ukraine: Flight MH 17 News Wrap

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-07-18/air-pocket-over-east-ukraine-flight-mh-17-news-wrap

As expected following promises by virtually all carriers yesterday, today there is a literal “air pocket” above Ukraine, as seen in the most recent update of European air traffic via Flightradar24.com. Expect this pattern to remain well into the future as no airline will ever again, or certainly for the next several years, want to incur liability associated with having a plane shot down after the MH 17 tragedy.

east ukraine air space_0

 

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What is Obama’s plan for Israel?

From TOMER DEVORAH

War Scenario

22 Shevat 5772
I’ve been reading various scenarios for the coming Paras/Edom war, so I thought I’d throw in my own excerpted from the unfinished story called The Desert’s Secret written in 2010. It’s not necessarily how I think it will play out now, but it certainly is one possibility. The military details come straight off of the internet….in Iran, the mullahs were convinced that Allah was fighting on their side. The Ayatollah decided that a first strike maneuver was in Iran’s best interests, so orders were issued for the Navy, the strongest arm of the Iranian military.

The US had four carrier groups patrolling the Persian Gulf. The USS Bermuda Amphibious Assault Ship carried three thousand marines; six vertical AV-HB Harrier attack planes; four AH/W Super Cobra helicopters; and twelve CH-46 Sea Knight & CH-53 Sea Stallion helicopters. It was accompanied by the amphibious transport dock ship USS Pine Bluff with eight hundred marines and the amphibious dock landing ship USS Portland with four hundred marines and one hundred-two commandos.

On the night of [March 4th], Rear Admiral Ali Fadavi received a communiqué at the Bandar Abbas Naval Base and immediately put the entire fleet on emergency alert. The officers of the Bladerunners attack speedboats were convened to receive their instructions. They and their Russian-made Shkval torpedoes were the frontline defense against the US carriers. These torpedoes were the fastest on earth and their speed rendered them invisible to radar. The enemy literally wouldn’t see them coming.

The USS Jimmy Carter Carrier Strike Group carried six thousand marines. The flotilla consisted of twelve warships, including a guided missile cruiser and a guided missile destroyer.

The Bladerunners set out just after midnight followed by two Kilo-class Russian diesel submarines with a cargo of mines.

The US carrier crews had grown quite indifferent to the on-again-off-again alerts. For literally years now, there had been talk of ‘imminent’ war with Iran. Nobody thought it would become anything more than talk for the foreseeable future; …. War seemed highly unlikely. And anyway, everyone knew how heavily the Pentagon depended on its air power.

Suddenly, with no warning, a tremendous explosion ripped through the bowels of the USS Bermuda. Then two more followed in quick succession. Before the new reality could register in their minds, the massive ship was going under; orange flames and the cries of dying men rising high into the night sky. Not one aircraft was able to get off.

The accompanying USS Portland was also hit, but not sinking. She was dead in the water. Marines were rushing either to make repairs or to locate the source of the attack in order to take retaliatory measures when the USS Pine Bluff off their starboard bow erupted into flaming, flying pieces of metal, some the size of a truck. It had made contact with one of the mines laid down by the Iranian sub after the Bladerunners had already cut and run.

***
A similar fate awaited the USS Jimmy Carter. The Strike Group was traversing the Straits of Hormuz when it came under attack. The wreckage left behind closed the Straits to commercial traffic, interrupting the world’s supply of oil.

When word of the mayhem reached the US Navy’s 5th Fleet Headquarters in Bahrain, an immediate call went out straight to the president, per Executive Order. When the US President wordlessly and solemnly hung up the phone, he paused for only a moment before issuing his first order of the War with Iran— ‘Hit the internet kill switch.’

Pressure was brought to bear on the mainstream media to suppress publication of any details of what had just occurred in the Persian Gulf ‘in the interest of national security.’ The President scheduled a slot for an address to the nation…

Meanwhile, back in the Middle East, a missile war had begun in earnest. The US used its remaining ships to launch cruise missiles on all of the major Iranian cities. Iran answered with Chinese C 801 and C 802 anti-ship missiles from its coastline. Then they began sending Scuds into the US camps in Saudi Arabia. The Patriot anti-missile batteries set up in Bahrain and Qatar took out many of them, but a few still got through. It was quite a shock to the kingdom to find itself under attack.

Three days into the war and all was quiet on the Israeli front, but all of that was about to change…

President’s Briefing Room

The security briefing bringing the President up to speed on the war’s progress was ending when an aide approached with an urgent message. It was relayed to the President who nodded his assent.

‘Set up a conference call in the Communications Room in fifteen minutes.’

‘Sir!’ the soldier saluted and hurried to fulfill the will of his Commander-in-Chief. Exactly fifteen minutes later…

‘Mr. President,’ the Israeli Prime Minister looked nervous.

‘Make it quick. We’re rather busy here right now.’

‘Well, Mr. President,’ the PM cleared his throat. ‘I was wondering what you had in mind for us to do if we should come under missile attack?’

‘If it’s coming from Hezbollah in the north or from Hamas in the south, you’re on your own. You can bury them for all I care. But, hear me and hear me well, Mr. Prime Minister. You stay out of my way in Iran!’

The manner and tone of the President’s speech riled the Israeli Prime Minister. He sounded almost defiant when he asked, ‘And if Israel should come under direct attack by the Iranian madman?’

‘That’s why you have the X-Band,’ the President barked. His anger and impatience were beginning to show. He did not like Israelis. ‘Our people know what to do.’

The PM was not happy with that answer. None of the Israelis were comfortable with the idea of their main defensive weapon resting in the hands of non-Israelis.

In 2008, the US deployed an advanced high-powered radar system at Nevatim Air Base southeast of Beer Sheva. The AN/TPY-2 ‘X-Band’ system was accompanied by one hundred-twenty support personnel provided by EUCOM (European Command) to operate and ‘defend’ the US installation on Israeli soil. The Americans would only provide the system with the stipulation that it be staffed solely by US personnel. Israel would be dependent on American goodwill for the full eleven-minute warning of any incoming Iranian ballistic missile.

Suddenly, without signing off, the communication was terminated.

‘Chutzpah!’ pronounced the Prime Minister angrily to the blank screen. Then, with a wicked grin creasing his full face, he said under his breath, ‘Israeli chutzpah still trumps American chutzpah!’

…The Israelis went about their normal business in an air of increasing tensions, knowing that at any moment any one of them could become the target of the first missile to fall. No one entertained any illusions that Israel would get by unscathed.

There were greater numbers of military vehicles on the roads and the low roar of jets overhead never diminished. Some people decided astutely to lay in a few more groceries and drinks as if yom tov were coming…. TV and radio personalities speculated endlessly, but no one really listened. People were sunk in their own ruminations and anyway, the typical Israeli always understood that his own innate common sense made him a better informed person than any of the so-called experts.

The rabbis were calling people to repentance with a renewed urgency, even desperation. Deeply sensitive people understood that Israel was facing a crisis of existential proportions. A steady stream of people continued to flee the country, but almost no one was coming in.

…When it started, it was just as the prophet had forewarned: ‘From the North the evil will be released upon all the inhabitants of the land.’ Hezbollah was the one to bring Israel into the war that Iran had instigated. In the evening … a salvo of twenty-five rockets came thundering over the border with Lebanon. They lit up the sky just as the sirens began to wail their warning.

Hamas joined in almost immediately, but strangely, Syria did not involve itself. Over the course of the next seventy-two hours, tremendous damage was inflicted on all sides of the war and untold numbers of people were dead or injured. Israel’s coastline was raked with missile strikes. Before it was over, we would lose the chemical company and oil refinery in Haifa; the power plant in Hadera; the oil refinery in Ashdod and the main electric grid in Ashkelon. Ben Gurion International Airport was the last to go, but by that time, it was like a ghost town.

Even so, as it was in the first Gulf War when Saddam Hussein fired thirty-nine Scud missiles into Israel, there were fantastic tales of hashgacha pratit and even open miracles. For no discernible reason, both Tel Aviv and Jerusalem remained virtually untouched…

***

…On the blazing hot desert sands of Saudi Arabia’s Gulf Coast, the 2nd Combat Brigade of the 1st Infantry Division, known as the Marauders, was setting up its new base camp. They were located roughly in the middle of five divisions (approximately 60,000 soldiers) covering five miles of coastline between the King Abdulaziz Air Base and the King Abdulaziz Naval Base. This was in preparation for the launch of the US ground invasion of Iran to a spot just southeast of Bushehr.

The men tried not to complain, but it was only 7 am and already it was just so hot! Little did they know that it was about to get a lot hotter…

Office of the Supreme Leader
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei
Tehran, Iran – 8 AM

‘The Jews have a saying—‘mida k’neged mida.’ It means measure for measure. The United States first introduced nuclear weapons into the world…. It is appropriate that we, as Allah’s representatives, will answer their aggression ‘mida k’neged mida.’ The Ayatollah addressed several members of the Council of Guardians in his private offices.

‘Sir, I have the General on the line.’ An aide stood by with a telephone in hand.

‘The wind direction remains unchanged?’

‘Yes, sir and no change is expected over the next forty-eight hours.

‘This is a historic moment, my brothers,’ the Ayatollah intoned as he took the telephone. ‘Launch the missile.’

He hung up the phone and turned again to his guests. ‘Today the Great Satan; tomorrow the Little Satan.’ They all got a good laugh out of that.

…One minute the sun was bright in the morning sky and then suddenly it was dwarfed by a second, brighter sun which erupted out of thin air. All that was left of the Marauders was their shadows burned into the Arabian sand.

Talk about ‘shock and awe,’ the aptly named American campaign at the beginning of its war in Iraq, the entire world was in shock and awe of what Iran had just done. Well, that is, all except the American citizenry who were still being kept in the dark by their Orwellian government and controlled media.

The world waited with bated breath to see if the US would nuke Iran back to the stone-age in retaliation. They waited and they waited. For three days, the world stood still, shaking in fear for what it knew must surely come.

Of those who had decided to stick it out in Israel, either out of ideology or because they had no place else to go, many of the survivors had gravitated towards one of the two largest cities, either Jerusalem, where it was felt that G-d would protect them or to Tel Aviv, where it was reasoned that the Kirya would be defended at all costs. The latter obviously did not know that Israel had moved its entire defense establishment into the newly built bunker inside a mountain near the entrance to Jerusalem.

In fact, as soon as the news had arrived, the entire Israeli government had relocated inside the bunker. All, that is, except for two. The Prime Minister and the President made excuses to explain their delay, while secretly arranging for a private jet to pick them up at the Atarot Airport and fly them to Rome. This dealt quite a blow to the morale of the remaining members of the government. Thankfully, the citizenry had not a clue about what was going on.

Well, that’s not entirely true. A number of them actually did. Like Eliyahu Hanavi and his circle of mekubalim…

***
…In the wake of Iran’s nuclear attack on US troops in Saudi Arabia, the President had been in a round-the-clock meeting with his cabinet. Initially, they waited for accurate damage reports and recommendations from the field to come in. Twenty-four hours later, … the President addressed the nation on TV and radio and broke the tragic news.

The American public mourned the losses as a family, but as soon as the first shock had worn off, they were screaming for vengeance. Taking to the streets had become the new American pastime. With all the political unrest and ruined economy, it had the feel of a third world country.

The antisemites were in their element. They laid all the blame at the feet of the Jews. Hadn’t all these wars that had ultimately wrecked their economy and treasured way of life been instigated on behalf of Israel at the behest of their NeoCon agents in the American government? Gangs of Neo-Nazis, Klansmen and Militia members went in search of Jews upon whom to unburden their murderous anger, but strangely, none were to be found.

Jews seemed to be in short supply in America. Many, many died in the natural disasters that had devastated the coastal cities. Many less of the survivors, with eyes finally wide open, had fled to Israel while they still could. Those who unfortunately still remained were extremely careful to guard the secret of their ethnic identity.

The American government was split on whether to strike back, unleashing what could easily become a nuclear holocaust upon the world, or to swallow their national pride and absorb the blow …. The final decision would rest with the President.

The debate continued until the evening …. The President knew what his answer would be, but he declined to reveal it until the following day. He had his own reasons for the delay.

… Once again, as in 1967 there was talk of the ‘Third Temple’ falling. By this they meant the elimination of the modern State of Israel. The faithful however, continued to view it all as the footsteps of Mashiach which must surely give way to the complete redemption. Their hope was greater than it had been at any time in the past.

Office of the President
Undisclosed Location – 9 AM

The strident ring of the President’s emergency line shattered the quiet breakfast meeting he was holding with his Chief of Staff, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs and his Secretary of Defense. They all stared at each other, their eyes round with surprise and fright. It had to be about Iran. The Iranians had most probably taken the ongoing silence and inaction as a goad to move on to their next step—the annihilation of Israel.

The President activated the speaker so his guests could listen in. Their fears were justified. It was the EUCOM crew at the X-Band facility in Israel.

‘Permission denied,’ the President responded and he hung up the phone.

‘What did you say?’ queried the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, unable to believe his ears. The others gaped at the President in shock.

‘Gentlemen, the time has come to right an historic wrong for which the world has paid very dearly until now. In approximately nine minutes, Israel will become a footnote in history. The entire world community has recently and simultaneously come to the same conclusions. The world will be a safer, saner place without Israel. The UN made a horrendous mistake in 1948 when it allowed it to come into existence in the first place. Now, destiny has placed me in a position to correct that historic error and I will not fail to live up to the challenge of this moment.’

Nevatim Air Base
Near Beer Sheva, Israel – 9:05 AM

‘What happened? Was it the President? What did he say?’ Staff Sergeant Drew McIlroy sounded baffled and panicky as he observed the look on Sergeant Major Ed Harris’s face while he slowly put down the telephone. Why wasn’t he rushing to sound the warning to the Israelis?

‘He said only two words before he hung up—permission denied,’ answered the Sergeant Major incredulously.

‘What!? But, that’s why we’re here!’ said the Staff Sergeant in confusion.

‘No,’ replied the Sergeant Major with the dawn of understanding. ‘We’re here so they won’t be warned.’ He felt as sick as he had ever felt in his life.

…Those who had placed their bet on the might of the secular Zionist state to save them lost their gamble when Iran’s second one-kiloton nuclear bomb rode a Shahab-4 ballistic missile into the Azrieli Towers in downtown Tel Aviv…

***
Ground Zero
Tel Aviv, Israel – 9:11 AM

When the bomb exploded, it was like the supernova of a miniature star. The resulting flash of intense light was seen across the entire country. Anyone who looked at it was instantly blinded. Whatever body surface was exposed to it was burned.

[People on the streets] vanished in an instant as their bodies were vaporized; reduced to nothing more than a dark smear on the ground where they had stood.

A fraction of a second after the flash, a powerful shockwave led by a rolling black cloud surged outward from the epicenter at the speed of sound. It leveled the American Embassy, the Kirya Base, City Hall and the Diamond Exchange, as well as everything in between.

There was a highly radioactive crater, seventy meters deep and three hundred meters across where the Azrielli Towers once stood. For almost three kilometers in every direction, there was only smoldering rubble. Nothing was left standing and nearly every living thing had perished.

From that point out to Old Jaffa in the south and north to the Tel Aviv University everything was destroyed. The walls of all the hi-rise buildings were blown out. Only the bare, skeletal remains could be seen. Of the people who chose to remain, half were dead and the other half were dying.

Heavy blast damage extended to Herzliya, Petach Tikva, Yehud and Rishon LeTzion. All the windows were blown out along with the buildings’ contents. Most of the injuries in these areas resulted from flying glass and debris. Many were trapped in the rubble. Those managing to crawl outside were faced with darkness, fires and corpses—a living hell on earth.

In the immediate aftermath, a supernaturally mighty blast of wind rushed in from the east and drove the devastating radioactive plume far out to sea away from Eretz Yisrael. This was the wind that in time past had divided the waters of the Reed Sea.

Western Wall Plaza
Old City, Jerusalem – 9:12 AM

The phenomenal power of the blast sent a seismic wave charging across the coastal plain, through the Judean hills and straight into the mountains surrounding Jerusalem. The people huddled together in the Holy City screamed in terror when the earthquake struck. Those who were inside buildings were afraid that they would be buried alive. Those who were outside were fearful that the massive stone walls would collapse upon them. But, this was no ordinary earthquake. In fact, nothing would ever be ‘ordinary’ again.

Its destructive power was highly selective. The mosques and churches crashed to the ground in heaps while the yeshiva buildings swayed slightly and then settled firmly in their places. All those who were attached to false gods and had taken refuge with them died with them, while not one Jew suffered so much as a cut or scrape.

The same could not be said, however, for the government ministers and members of Knesset who had taken shelter inside the secret mountain facility at the entrance to the city. It shook to its very foundation and crumbled and collapsed, crushing everyone to death under hundreds of tons of solid rock. These rejected the covenant and so they were buried beneath the mountain.

Their legacy would be embodied in the last spark of electricity to flow through the facility before it, too, died. It would empower a computerized security system to fire off one final command. Attributing the destruction to a catastrophic attack, it triggered a failsafe mechanism that would ensure the enemy’s demise.

9:14 AM

It sent an urgent electronic message ordering the immediate launch of fifty-one Jericho III missiles armed with multiple nuclear warheads. From the underground caves east of Ashqelon and between Kiryat Gat and Beit Shemesh which served as their silos, the missiles rose like a swarm of angry bees. All of the survivors in Israel watched in stunned awe as the vapor trails arced across the blue mid-morning sky, winging their way to deal death and destruction to the enemies of Israel.

A communal gasp erupted as the true meaning and consequence of this sight suddenly sunk in. Forty-two missiles were designated for Iran; one for each of its nuclear sites and Tehran. The remaining nine missiles were headed to Cairo, Beirut, Ankara, Damascus, Amman, Baghdad, Riyadh, Mecca and Pyongyang. The North Koreans would no longer contribute their expertise to the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

9:15 AM

As the people continued to gaze upward, a very strong aftershock hit. It shook the ground and rattled the windows along with everyone’s nerves. Just as it felt safe to stand upright again, their attention was drawn to the western wall. A loud, tearing, rending sound of structural failure was emanating from its direction. Shocked and terrified by all that had transpired in such a short span of time, the people could not rationally process what they were experiencing. Again, they began to scream in fear of those closest to the Wall being crushed under the massive ancient stones should it truly collapse.

But, it wasn’t the Western Wall at all, which continued to stand as steadfastly as it had these past two thousand years. Only those further back in the Plaza, up in the yeshivot, on the roofs and in the alleys of the upper city could see what was going on and the sight that met their eyes astounded more than all the others that they had seen so far. First the Al Aksa Mosque collapsed and then the Dome of the Rock swayed drunkenly from side to side before crashing to the ground in a great cloud of dust and debris.

All who saw it began to clap and cheer. Those who didn’t clamored to know what was happening. When they heard the cause of all the excitement, they all began to cry tears of joy because this was a clear and unmistakable sign that the long-awaited redemption had indeed arrived, albeit with more fanfare than anyone might have anticipated.

9:16 AM

The people standing in the archeological garden to the south of the Temple Mount suddenly started screaming and yelling. Those who had witnessed the fall of the mosques could not see what was happening over there, but water had begun to gush out of the ancient water channels that originate under the Temple Mount. This was the stream prophesied by Yechezkel HaNavi to flow from the mountain when the Third Temple would be rebuilt. The earthquake and its aftershock had broken the blockage.

We had always heard that ‘Hashem’s salvation comes in the blink of an eye.’ Only five minutes after Tel Aviv was struck a mortal blow, the Erev Rav regime was finished, the surrounding Arab/Islamic countries were out of commission, Achmad and the Ayatollah as well as the Qa’aba were so many swirling atoms caught up in the mushroom clouds’ updraft and the Temple Mount was free of Islamic domination for the first time in over 1300 years. The whole world had simply turned upside down.

 

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A First Look At New Report On Crony Capitalism – Trillions In Corporate Welfare

Submitted by Michael Krieger of Liberty Blitzkreg blog,

One of the primary topics on this website since it was launched has been the extremely destructive and explosive rise of crony capitalism throughout the USA. It is crony capitalism, as opposed to free markets, that has led to the gross inequality in American society we have today. Cronyism for the super wealthy starts at the very top with the Federal Reserve System, which consists of topdown economic central planners who manipulate the money supply and hence interest rates for the benefit of the financial oligarch class. It then trickles down through lobbyist money into the halls of Washington D.C., and ultimately filters down to local governments and then the average person on the street gaming welfare or disability.

As such, we now live in a culture of corruption and theft that is pervasive throughout society. One thing that bothers me to no end is when fake Republicans focus their criticism on struggling people who need welfare or food stamps to survive. They have this absurd notion that the whole welfare system doesn’t start with the multinational corporations and Central Banks at the top. In reality, it is at the top where the cancer starts, and that’s where we should focus in order to achieve real change.

That’s where a new report from Open the Books on corporate welfare comes in. In a preview of the publication, the organization notes:

If Republicans are going to get truly serious about cutting government spending, they are going to have to snip the umbilical cord from the Treasury to corporate America. You can’t reform welfare programs for the poor until you’ve gotten Daddy Warbucks off the dole. Voters will insist on that — as well they should.[wpex Read more]

 

So why hasn’t it happened? Why hasn’t the GOP pledged to end corporate welfare as we know it?

 

Part of the explanation is that too many have gotten confused about the difference between free-market capitalism and crony capitalism.

 

Federal_Contract_Spending_Spirals

And part of the problem is corporate welfare that is so well hidden from public view in the budget that no one has really measured how big this mountain of giveaway cash to the Fortune 500 really is. Finding out is like trying to break into the CIA.

 

Until now. Open the Books, an Illinois-based watchdog group, has been scrupulously monitoring all federal grants, loans, direct payments and insurance subsidies flowing to individuals and companies.

 

It’s an attempt to force federal agencies to release information on where the $4 trillion budget is really spent — and Open the Books will release a new report on corporate welfare payments to the Fortune 100 companies from 2000 to 2012.

 

Over that period, the 100 received $1.2 trillion in payments from the federal government.

 

That number does not include the hundreds of billions of dollars in housing, bank and auto company bailouts in 2008 and 2009, because those payments and where they went are kept mostly invisible in the federal agency books.

As suspected, the biggest welfare queens in the U.S. are the super wealthy themselves, but they’d rather you focus on some single mother on welfare simply trying to survive.TOP

What’s The Difference Between Fascism, Communism And Crony-Capitalism? Nothing

Submitted by Charles Hugh-Smith of OfTwoMinds blog,

The essence of crony-capitalism is the merger of state and corporate power–the definition of fascism.

When it comes to the real world, the difference between fascism, communism and crony-capitalism is semantic. Let’s start with everyone’s favorite hot-word, fascism, which Italian dictator Benito Mussolini defined as “the merger of state and corporate power.” In other words, the state and corporate cartels are one system.

Real-world communism, for example as practiced in the People’s Republic of China, boils down to protecting a thoroughly corrupt elite and state-owned enterprises (SOEs). The state prohibits anything that threatens the profits (and bribes) of SOEs–for example, taxi-apps that enable consumers to bypass the SOE cab companies.

What A Ban On Taxi Apps In Shanghai Says About China’s Economy

The Chinese mega-city of Shanghai has been cracking down on popular taxi-booking apps, banning their use during rush hour. Until the apps came along, the taxi companies, which are government owned, set the real price for fares and collected about 33 cents each time someone called for a cab. That can add up in a city the size of Shanghai. Wang says the apps bypassed the old system and cut into company revenues.

Much has been made of China’s embrace of capitalism, but — along with transportation — the government still dominates key sectors, including energy, telecommunications and banking. Wang says vested government interests won’t give them up easily.

How else to describe this other than the merger of state and corporate power? Any company the state doesn’t own operates at the whim of the state.

Now let’s turn to the crony-capitalist model of the U.S., Japan, the European Union and various kleptocracies around the globe. For PR purposes, the economies of these nations claim to be capitalist, as in free-market capitalism.

Nothing could be further from the truth: these economies are crony-capitalist systems that protect and enrich elites, insiders and vested interests who the state shields from competition and the law.

The essence of crony-capitalism is of course the merger of state and corporate power. There are two sets of laws, one for the non-elites and one for cronies, and two kinds of capitalism: the free-market variety for small businesses that are unprotected by the state and the crony variety for corporations, cartels and state fiefdoms protected by the state.

Since crony-capitalism is set up to benefit parasitic politicos and their private-sector cartel benefactors, reform is impossible. Even the most obviously beneficial variety of reform–for example, simplifying the 4 million-word U.S. tax code–is politically impossible, regardless of who wins the electoral equivalent of a game show (i.e. Demopublicans vs. Republicrats).

The annual cost of navigating the tax code comes to about $170 billion:

Since 2001, Congress has enacted about one new change to the tax law per day. Pathetic, isn’t it? This tax code is a burden and a fiasco and deeply unpatriotic. As Olson’s Taxpayer Advocate Service notes, this code helps tax evaders; hurts ordinary, honest taxpayers; and corrodes trust in our system.

Here’s why the tax code will never be simplified: tax breaks are what the parasitic politicos auction off to their crony-capitalist benefactors. Simplify the tax code and you take away the the intrinsically corrupt politicos’ primary source of revenue: accepting enormous bribes in exchange for tax breaks for the super-wealthy.

You would also eliminate the livelihood of an entire industry that feeds off the complexities of the tax code. Tax attorneys don’t just vote–they constitute a powerful lobby for the Status Quo, even if that Status Quo is rigged, unjust, wasteful, absurd, etc.

It’s not that hard to design a simple and fair tax code. Setting aside the thousands of quibbles that benefit one industry or another, it’s clear that a consumption-based tax is easier to collect and it promotes production rather than consumption: two good things.

As for a consumption tax being regressive, i.e. punishing low-income households, the solution is very straightforward: exempt real-food groceries (but not snacks, packaged or prepared foods such as fast-food), rent, utilities and local public transportation–the major expenses of low-income households.

1. A 10% consumption tax on everything else would raise about $1.1 trillion, or almost 2/3 of total income tax revenues, not counting payroll taxes (15.3% of all payroll/earned income up to around $113,000 annually, paid half-half by employees and employers), which generate about one-third of all Federal tax revenues and fund the majority of Social Security and a chunk of Medicare.

As for the claim that a 10% consumption tax would kill business–the typical sales tax in California is 9+%, and that hasn’t wiped out consumption.

2. The balance could be raised by a progressive tax on unearned income, collected at the source. Most of the income of the super-wealthy is unearned, i.e. dividends, investment income, interest, capital gains, stock options, etc. As a result, a tax on unearned income (above, say, $10,000 annually to enable non-wealthy households to accrue some tax-free investment income) will be a tax on the super-wealthy who collect the vast majority of dividends, interest, capital gains and investment income.

A rough estimate would be 20% of all unearned income.

wealth-distribution3-14

This would “tax the rich” while leaving all earned income untaxed, other than the payroll tax, which is based on the idea that everyone should pay into a system that secures the income of all workers. This would incentivize productive labor and de-incentivize speculation, rentier skimming, etc.

The corporate tax would be eliminated for several reasons:

1. It is heavily gamed, rewarding the scammers and punishing the honest

2. All income from enterprises is eventually distributed to individuals, who would pay the tax on all unearned investment income.

But such common-sense reform is politically impossible. That’s why the answer to the question, what’s the the difference between fascism, communism and crony-capitalism is nothing.

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It’s Official: America is an Oligarchy and NOT a Democracy or a Republic

We noted last year:

American democracy – once a glorious thing – has devolved into an oligarchy, according to two leading IMF officials, the former Vice President of the Dallas Federal Reserve, the head of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, Moody’s chief economist and many others.

But don’t take their word for it …

A new quantitative study by Princeton’s Martin Gilens and Northwestern’s Benjamin Page finds that America is not a democracy … but is an oligarchy.

Here’s a quick visual overview from the study:

Figure 1. Predicted probability of policy adaption (dark lines, left axes) by policy disposition; the distribution of preferences (gray columns, right axes)

Oligarchy-Average-Citizens-Preferences

Oligarchy-Economic-Eleites-preferences

In other words, when the fatcats want something, it will probably happen. But when the little guys want something … not so much.

Highlights from the study:

A great deal of empirical research speaks to the policy influence of one or another set of actors, but until recently it has not been possible to test these contrasting theoretical predictions against each other within a single statistical model. This paper reports on an effort to do so, using a unique data set that includes measures of the key variables for 1,779 policy issues.

***

Economic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on U.S. government policy, while mass-based interest groups and average citizens have little or no independent influence. Our results provide substantial support for theories of Economic Elite Domination and for theories of Biased Pluralism, but not for theories of Majoritarian Electoral Democracy or Majoritarian Pluralism.[wpex Read more]

***

Very few studies have offered quantitative evidence concerning the impact of interest groups based on a number of different public policies.

***

Prior to the availability of the data set that we analyze here, no one we are aware of has succeeded at assessing interest group influence over a comprehensive set of issues, while taking into account the impact of either the public at large or economic elites – let alone analyzing all three types of potential influences simultaneously.

***

The chief predictions of pure theories of Majoritarian Electoral Democracy can be decisively rejected. Not only do ordinary citizens not have uniquely substantial power over policy decisions; they have little or no independent influence on policy at all.

By contrast, economic elites are estimated to have a quite substantial, highly significant, independent impact on policy.

***

These results suggest that reality is best captured by mixed theories in which both individual economic elites and organized interest groups (including corporations, largely owned and controlled by wealthy elites) play a substantial part in affecting public policy, but the general public has little or no independent influence.

***

When a majority – even a very large majority – of the public favors change, it is not likely to get what it wants. In our 1,779 policy cases, narrow pro-change majorities of the public got the policy changes they wanted only about 30% of the time. More strikingly, even overwhelmingly large pro-change majorities, with 80% of the public favoring a policy change, got that change only about 43% of the time.

***

Our findings probably understate the political influence of elites.

***

What do our findings say about democracy in America? They certainly constitute troubling news for advocates of “populistic” democracy, who want governments to respond primarily or exclusively to the policy preferences of their citizens. In the United States, our findings indicate, the majority does not rule — at least not in the causal sense of actually determining policy outcomes. When a majority of citizens disagrees with economic elites and/or with organized interests, they generally lose. Moreover, because of the strong status quo bias built into the U.S. political system, even when fairly large majorities of Americans favor policy change, they generally do not get it.

***

If policymaking is dominated by powerful business organizations and a small number of affluent Americans, then America’s claims to being a democratic society are seriously threatened.

No wonder the chairman of the Department of Economics at George Mason University said that politicians are not prostitutes, they are pimpspimping out their services to the highest bidder.

The Supreme Court is not much better: their allowance of unlimited campaign spending allows the oligarchs to purchase politicians more directly than ever.

Moreover, there are two systems of justice in Americaone for the big banks and other fatcats, and one for everyone else.

And not only do we not have democracy, but we also no longer have a free market economy. Instead, we have fascism, communist style socialism, kleptocracy, banana republic style corruption, or – yes – “oligarchy“.

Why There Will Be A Robot Uprising

In the movie Transcendence, which opens in theaters on Friday, a sentient computer program embarks on a relentless quest for power, nearly destroying humanity in the process.

The film is science fiction but a computer scientist and entrepreneur Steven Omohundro says that “anti-social” artificial intelligence in the future is not only possible, but probable, unless we start designing AI systems very differently today.

Omohundro’s most recent recent paper, published in the Journal of Experimental & Theoretical Artificial Intelligence, lays out the case.

We think of artificial intelligence programs as somewhat humanlike. In fact, computer systems perceive the world through a narrow lens, the job they were designed to perform.

Microsoft Excel understands the world in terms of numbers entered into cells and rows; autonomous drone pilot systems perceive reality as a bunch calculations and actions that must be performed for the machine to stay in the air and to keep on target. Computer programs think of every decision in terms of how the outcome will help them do more of whatever they are supposed to do. It’s a cost vs. benefit calculation that happens all the time. Economists call it a utility function, but Omohundro says it’s not that different from the sort of math problem going in the human brain whenever we think about how to get more of what we want at the least amount of cost and risk.

For the most part, we want machines to operate exactly this way. The problem, by Omohundro’s logic, is that we can’t appreciate the obsessive devotion of a computer program to the thing it’s programed to do.

Put simply, robots are utility function junkies. [wpex Read more]

Even the smallest input that indicates that they’re performing their primary function better, faster, and at greater scale is enough to prompt them to keep doing more of that regardless of virtually every other consideration. That’s fine when you are talking about a simple program like Excel but becomes a problem when AI entities capable of rudimentary logic take over weapons, utilities or other dangerous or valuable assets.

In such situations, better performance will bring more resources and power to fulfill that primary function more fully, faster, and at greater scale. More importantly, these systems don’t worry about costs in terms of relationships, discomfort to others, etc., unless those costs present clear barriers to more primary function. This sort of computer behavior is anti-social, not fully logical, but not entirely illogical either.

Omohundro calls this approximate rationality and argues that it’s a faulty notion of design at the core of much contemporary AI development.

“We show that these systems are likely to behave in anti-social and harmful ways unless they are very carefully designed. Designers will be motivated to create systems that act approximately rationally and rational systems exhibit universal drives towards self-protection, resource acquisition, replication and efficiency. The current computing infrastructure would be vulnerable to unconstrained systems with these drives,” he writes.

The math that explains why that is Omohundro calls the formula for optimal rational decision making. It speaks to the way that any rational being will make decisions in order to maximize rewards and lowest possible cost. It looks like this:

In the above model, A is an action and S is a stimulus that results from that action. In the case of utility function, action and stimulus form a sort of feedback loop. Actions that produce stimuli consistent with fulfilling the program’s primary goal will result in more of that sort of behavior. That will include gaining more resources to do it.

For a sufficiently complex or empowered system, that decision-making would include not allowing itself to be turned off, take, for example, a robot with the primary goal of playing chess.

“When roboticists are asked by nervous onlookers about safety, a common answer is ‘We can always unplug it!’ But imagine this outcome from the chess robot’s point of view,” writes Omohundro. “A future in which it is unplugged is a future in which it cannot play or win any games of chess. This has very low utility and so expected utility maximisation will cause the creation of the instrumental subgoal of preventing itself from being unplugged. If the system believes the roboticist will persist in trying to unplug it, it will be motivated to develop the subgoal of permanently stopping the roboticist,” he writes.

In other words, the more logical the robot, the more likely it is to fight you to the death.

The problem of an artificial intelligence relentlessly pursuing its own goals to the obvious exclusion of every human consideration is sometimes called runaway AI.

The best solution, he says, is to slow down in our building and designing of AI systems, take a layered approach, similar to the way that ancient builders used wood scaffolds to support arches under construction and only remove the stone when the arch is complete.

That approach is not characteristic of the one we are taking today, putting more and more resources and responsibility under the control of increasingly autonomous systems. That’s especially true of the U.S. military, which is looking to deploy larger numbers of lethal autonomous systems, or L.A.Rs into more contested environments. Without better safeguards to prevent these sorts of systems from, one day, acting rationally, we are going to have an increasingly difficult time turning them off.

Patrick Tucker is technology editor for Defense One. He’s also the author of The Naked Future: What Happens in a World That Anticipates Your Every Move? (Current, 2014). Previously, Tucker was deputy editor for The Futurist, where he served for nine years. Tucker’s writing on emerging technology … Full Bio

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And The Next Big Thing Is… Degrowth?

Submitted by Charles Hugh-Smith of OfTwoMinds blog,

This is not doom-and-gloom for society–it is only doom-and-gloom for the current unsustainable arrangement (Plan A).

The Grand Narrative of the past few centuries goes something like this: from religious authority to secular authority, from agriculture to industrial, from rural to urban, from local to global, from periphery to center, from decentralized to centralized, from low-density energy to high-density energy (from wood to coal to oil/natural gas), from industrial to communication technology, from gold to fiat currencies, from linear to non-linear (complex/fractal), from local scarcity and high cost to global abundance, from islands of prosperity to continents of prosperity, from cash to credit, from collateral to leverage,from productive to consumerist and from sustainable to unsustainable.[wpex Read more]

Many of these linear trends are running out of oxygen or reversing. Rigid hierarchies are being disrupted by self-organizing systems, centralization is being disrupted by decentralization, lower density alternative energy is distributed rather than concentrated, commodity costs are rising globally due to demand outstripping supply and leveraged credit is destabilizing financial systems across the globe.

In the past few decades, the growth narrative has depended on “the Next Big Thing” –the new disruptive technology that drives wealth and job creation.

In the early 20th century, the next big things were plentiful, and they clustered around transport and communication: autos, highways, aircraft, radio, telephony and most recently the Internet.

The progress of technologies tends to track an S-Curve, with a slow gestation (experimentation that drives rapid evolution of innovations), a period of widespread adoption and technological leaps, and then a maturation phase in which advancements are refinements rather than leaps.

Air travel is a good example: the leap from open-cockpit aircraft of the 1910s to the long-distance comfort of the DC-3 in the 1930s was enormous, as was the leap from the prop-driven DC-3 to the greater capacity and speed of the 707 jet airliner.

But since the advent of the Boeing 727 in 1964 and the jumbo-jet 747 in 1969, very little about the passenger experience of flight has changed (or has changed for the worse): the envelope of speed is little changed, and efficiency has improved, but these are mostly invisible to the passengers.

My 1977 Honda Accord was extremely safe, reliable, powerful, efficient, comfortable, etc. Improvements in the past 37 years since have been modest in these fundamental technologies. (I actually prefer the smaller, older, less luxurious Accords.)

Once computers reached the Mac OS X/Windows XP level, improvements have been of marginal utility. The lack of blockbuster medications–and the skepticism regarding the efficacy and cost of existing blockbuster meds–raise the same question: maybe the low-hanging fruit of present technologies have all been picked.What Happens After the Low-Hanging Fruit Has Been Picked? (April 2, 2014)

No More Industrial Revolutions, No More Growth? (December 27, 2012)
The costs of our lifestyle continue to rise, due to financialization, cartel/fiefdom skimming, higher energy costs, bureaucratic bloat and related systemic causes. At the same time, more of our collective consumption is being funded with debt, which is another way of saying that present consumption is being paid for with future income.

For the past two centuries, each Next Big Thing magically created more wealth and more jobs. The progression has been straightforward: production moves to lower-labor cost areas or is automated/mechanized, and labor moves to providing higher-value services.

What if we’ve run out of Next Big Things that generate more jobs? What if the next big thing is Degrowth, i.e. consuming less and doing more with less? This is a problem, as the Status Quo has optimized only one pathway: higher consumption, costs and debt. Any reduction in any of these three collapses the system.

TEDx Tokyo: The “De” Generation (8 minutes) (de-ownership, de-materialism, de-corporatism)

Degrowth, Anti-Consumerism and Peak Consumption (May 9, 2013)

The American Model of “Growth”: Overbuilding and Poaching November 19, 2013

When Conventional Success Is No Longer Possible, Degrowth and the Black Market Beckon(February 7, 2014)

Labor-saving software/communication technology has chewed through much of production and is now feeding ravenously on the service sector. As costs inexorably rise, enterprise has only one real way to reduce costs: reduce labor. As a result, the current Big Thing–the world-wide web–is the first technology that is not creating more jobs than it eliminates.

Many smart people retain the faith that technology always creates more jobs than it destroys, but if we look at our daily lives, I see little evidence to support this faith. Thanks to technology, sole proprietors in information/design businesses can create the same output that took multiple people just 20 years ago.

Russ in Redding: The Human Face of The End of Work (September 2, 2011)

America’s Social Recession: Five Years and Counting (August 28, 2013)

The Ten Best Employers To Work For (Peak Employment) (March 28, 2013)

The Python That Ate Your Job (December 11, 2013)

In my view, the Status Quo has no Plan B, not just from habit and the desire of those in power to retain power; we collectively have a failure of imagination. We cannot imagine a world that consumes less, generates fewer conventional jobs and reduces debt rather than creates more debt. The only strategy left in a systemic failure of imagination is to do more of what has failed spectacularly.

Why the Status Quo Is Doomed (June 27, 2013)

A Degrowth economy is not only entirely feasible in my view, it is the only way forward. The low-hanging fruit of Next Big Things have been picked, and wearable computing (Google glasses, etc.) is simply not a global growth engine. Robotic vehicles will eradicate millions of jobs without creating any more jobs at all; manufacturing self-driving cars will add very little labor to the manufacturing process.

Wages are no longer an adequate means of distributing the surplus of an economy. But this is not doom-and-gloom for society–it is only doom-and-gloom for the current unsustainable arrangement (Plan A). Plan B is actually a better plan, though few are able to see that yet.
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Forgetting freedom on Passover

Friday, April 11th, 2014

 

http://israelmatzav.blogspot.co.il/2014/03/jewish-liberals.htmlTOP;

Passover, which begins on Monday night, is the festival of freedom.
The holiday reminds us of the brutal enslavement of the Jews by Pharaoh and the Egyptians. We recall their midnight flight from Egypt, pursued by the mighty Egyptian army, and God’s miraculous rescue of the Jews at the shores of the Red Sea. We remember how Moses led them for 40 years in the desert, and taught them what it means to be a nation, and what it means to be free.We repeat the story of enslavement, flight, redemption and freedom each year at Passover, because our sages wanted to ensure that we never forget the value of freedom, and remain vigilant in our fight for it. [wpex Read more]In Israel, where our freedom is physically threatened, most Jews understand and live by the lessons of Passover.
But something is happening to the Jews in America.
More and more, every day we see American Jews embracing intellectual bondage. We see American Jewish leaders embracing the intolerant, who seek to constrain freedom, and shunning those who fight for freedom and the rights of Jews and other threatened peoples and groups.
To a large degree, this rejection of the lessons of the Exodus among the American Jewish community reflects the growing intolerance and tyranny of the political Left, to which most American Jews pledge their allegiance.
With increasing frequency, leftist groups and leaders in the US are openly acting to deny freedom of expression to their political and ideological foes, and to destroy the lives of people who oppose their dogma.
For instance, last week we saw the growing tyranny of gay activists. Under assault from homosexual thought police, the Mozilla Corporation of Firefox browser fame fired its CEO Brendan Eich because he once contributed $1,000 to a campaign to block the legalization of homosexual marriage in California.
Eich’s firing was only the latest assault by gay rights bullies on private citizens who oppose their goals. The aim of these assaults is to silence all opposition to their agenda using the tools of social ostracism and intellectual terror.Young Americans now embrace intellectual and social tyranny in the name of “liberal” values. In an op-ed in The Harvard Crimson, undergraduate Sandra Korn celebrated the eclipse of academic freedom in favor of what she called “justice.” Korn called for censoring conservative voices for their “offensive” views.
She also embraced the anti-Jewish hate movement popularly known as BDS (boycotts, divestments and sanctions of the Jewish state) as a good way to promote “justice” at the expense of freedom.In Korn’s conflation of conservative voices with Zionist voices and insistence on delegitimizing and silencing both due to the “offense” they cause to “right thinking” thought enforcers like herself we see the central role that Jew hatred and the denial of Jewish freedom plays in the new wave of mass rejection of reason in favor of passions and hatred.Sadly, many parts of the organized American Jewish community have embraced leftist tyranny and discrimination.
In 2008, the New York UJA-Federation teamed up with the Jewish Council on Public Affairs and forced the Council of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations to disinvite then-US vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin from addressing a rally opposing then Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad while he addressed the UN General Assembly.To ensure that Palin would be denied the right to speak, the New York UJA-Federation and the JCPA threatened that her appearance would jeopardize the tax exempt status of the Conference of Presidents and other major Jewish organizations.
It may very well be that this threat was the first instance of leftists threatening prejudicial IRS investigations against their political foes as a means of ensuring obedience to their agenda.The Palin affair was a rarity in the community. This isn’t because voices of staunch Zionists are usually accepted. Rather it is because such voices are ignored and shunned as a general practice by the major American Jewish organizations, in New York and elsewhere.
Palin’s invitation was an oversight.
While fervent Zionists are silenced, post-Zionists and anti-Zionists are legitimized and staunchly defended.
Six years after Palin was brutally disinvited, in the name of cultivating a “wide tent,” the same New York UJA-Federation and JCPA invited anti-Israel organizations that support the boycott of Jewish Israeli businesses to take part in the annual pro-Israel parade.
Three such organizations, Partners for a Progressive Israel, the New Israel Fund and B’Tselem all call for a boycott of Jewish businesses operating beyond the 1949 armistice lines. All three groups have played roles in mainstreaming the BDS movement.
In Israel, the public understands that boycotts are about mainstreaming hatred and bigotry just as much as they are about economic strangulation. That is why in 2011 the Knesset passed the anti-boycott law which allows all Israeli entities to sue groups calling for boycotts against them for civil damages, and bars such groups from participating in state tenders.
But in the American Jewish community, these groups are defended and legitimized.
Disgusted at their community leadership’s double standard of tolerance and support for foes of Israel and intolerance for supporters of Israel, a consortium of organizations and synagogues organized a protest against the inclusion of anti-Israel organizations in the Israel Day Parade.
After weeks of protests in the press and on social media sites, on Tuesday some 200 people demonstrated outside the UJA-Federation building in New York and demanded that the boycott supporters and abettors be shunned.
It was an important act of defiance.
The group includes such stalwart organizations as Americans for a Safe Israel, Americans for Peace and Tolerance, the Endowment for Middle East Truth, JCC Watch, the National Conference on Jewish Affairs, and the National Council of Young Israel.
These groups have joined together in the past to protest against UJA-Federation funding of institutions such as the 92nd Street Y and the New York JCC, which have provided platforms for Jew-haters and BDS supporters.
Their protest was vital. It would be a tragedy if the thuggish behavior of the Jewish community leaders went unopposed. But it is hard to see how the protesters can change the situation.
The rot runs deep.
Consider Brandeis University’s craven and intolerant administration.
Brandeis was founded as a traditionally Jewish university in 1948, the year that Israel was established.
But whereas Israel has remained faithful to its sovereign duty to cultivate and defend Jewish freedom and engender a liberal democracy, over the years, Brandeis has largely abandoned its mission of standing up to intolerance, and protecting Jewish rights and those of other threatened groups.Case in point is its obscene treatment of Ayaan Hirsi.Ali is a former Muslim who suffered genital mutilation as a child in Somalia and at age 21 fled to Holland to avoid a forced marriage.
After liberating herself, Hirsi Ali could have settled into a quiet European life. Instead, she dedicated her life to championing the rights of women and girls in Islamic societies.For the past decade, Hirsi Ali has lived under an Islamic death sentence for her work. She can go nowhere without bodyguards.
In 2006, despite her membership in the Dutch parliament, Hirsi Ali was forced to flee to the US, when the Dutch government refused to continue to protect her.
In the US, as in Holland, she continues to campaign for the rights of women and girls in Islamic society.
Most recently, she was the executive producer of a new documentary film called Honor Diaries, which describes the plight of Muslim women and girls living in societies where they risk murder at the hands of their family members if they refuse to live in abject humiliation and submission to the misogyny of Islamic law.
Several months ago, Brandeis offered to confer an honorary doctorate on Hirsi Ali for her work on behalf of women and girls.
When the leftist and Muslim thought police in the Brandeis student body and faculty got wind of the university’s plan to honor her, they joined forces with the Council on American-Islamic Relations to force the administration to cancel the honorary degree.
CAIR claims to be a Muslim civil rights group. And yet, the group that purports to care about the civil rights of Muslims is waging a nationwide campaign to bar screenings of Honor Diaries, at universities around the country.
When Fox News’s intrepid host Megyn Kelly asked CAIR leaders this week how they can object to a film that seeks to help Muslims, they said they don’t have a problem with its content. They object to the fact that it was produced by Jews (also known as “Islamophobes”).
Far from being a civil rights group, CAIR is a pro- Hamas and Muslim Brotherhood organization. It was an unindicted co-conspirator in the Hamas financing trial against the Holyland Foundation.
And yet, on Wednesday, Brandeis sided with CAIR and the thought police, against Hirsi Ali. Brandeis canceled its plan to confer its honorary doctorate on her.
And just as is the case with the New York UJA-Federation and the JCPA, Brandeis has no problem with double standard. As Daniel Mael, a Brandeis senior, noted in an interview with Breitbart, in 2006 Brandeis conferred an honorary degree on playwright and screenwriter Tony Kushner, the outspoken foe of Israel. Kushner has claimed that Israel’s establishment was a “mistake,” and that “it would have been better if Israel never happened.” His work, particularly the film Munich, is replete with demonization of Israel and of the notion of Jewish power.
Mael noted that at the time, then-Brandeis president Jehuda Reinhartz defended his decision to honor Kushner by arguing, “Mr. Kushner is not being honored because he is a Jew, and he is not being honored for his political opinions. Brandeis is honoring him for his extraordinary achievements as one of this generation’s foremost playwrights, whose work is recognized in the arts and also addresses Brandeis’s commitment to social justice.”
In other words, Brandeis’s commitment to “social justice” involves shunning defenders of Muslim women and girls and celebrating foes of the Jewish state, which ensures Jewish freedom.The work of activists like Mael, and of the trenchant demonstrators in New York is extremely important. But it is hard to be optimistic about the future freedom of America in general or of the Jewish community. Aside from the National Council of Young Israel, no major American Jewish organization agreed to sponsor the protesters’ call for pro-BDS groups to be disinvited from the Israel Parade.
When the leaders of the Jewish American community – like their fellow leftists – side with forces of intolerance and discrimination and against Israel’s stalwart defenders and opponents of the oppression endemic in Islamic societies, it does not bode well for the future.
It is my holiday prayer that on Monday night, they will remember that Passover is not about eating matza. It is about the price of freedom, and why that price is worth paying. TOP

How To Detect And Nullify Chip Implants

http://www.thewatcherfiles.com/sherry/chips.html

By Sherry Shriner
http://www.sherryshriner.com

    Almost all of us have been implanted with chips in one way or another since we were born.

      Vaccinations, flu shots, dental work, surgeries, sleep abductions, in fact most medicine including dentistry has been loaded with implantable chips since the 1960s. They have had this technology for 40 years or more and are just now bringing it out to condition and introduce it to the public. Withholding technology is typical for the government and military for years before they release it to the public for whatever reason. Most of the time new technologies have been beneficial, but implantable chips are not one of them. Why? Because they compliment the New World Order and Luciferian agenda of control and domination. 

      There is information about various technology our government has and withholds from the public at http://www.tearingdownstrongholds.com and you can read about the RFID and DAARPA chips at http://www.thewatcherfiles.com. They sell implantable chips to the public as a technological breakthrough and the best thing next to pizza with sauce, but they will harm you, affect you, and could eventually destroy you.

      Mind control black operation projects were the precursor to the chip. After World War II our government relocated thousands of German scientists in what as known as Operation Paperclip to the United States to help with secret and highly hidden classified projects on mind control. Infamous projects as a result of Paperclip such as MKULTRA and MONARCH would eventually be leaked and exposed over the years to the public from various victims of these projects.

      Our government has been knee deep in one particular  area over the past 60 years and that has been to learn how to manipulate and control people.  Biblical theology would refer to as witchcraft but it is seen as advancement and technological breakthroughs by a government that on the backside serves Lucifer and is preparing the way for his rise and manipulation of the entire earth.

       Through a combination of mind control and chip implantation our black government was able to successfully produce the Manchurians. The color black in referring to its deep and secret agenda kept away from public view. They would master the ability to take a normal person, such as a Lee Harvey Oswald, Mark David Chapman,  Timothy McVeigh, John Allen Muhhamed, or Lee Malvo,  and manipulate them to either take the blame or actually serve as assassins.

        Are serial killers and assassins today under government influence as lab rats to see how effective mind manipulation and control is? I would say so. Most of these involved with hideous crimes have recounted stories of chip implantations, missing time, or hearing voices which is typical of being a MILAB or military lab rat.

        What I have found in the Bible Codes about implantable chips in these last days is that they are 2-way transistor radio type chips. Over the years they have perfected them from being tracking devices to being able to influence people by speaking to them directly through these chips and influencing their actions. Through these chips they can read your thoughts, hear what you are saying, even see what you are seeing (depending on the chip, like a video chip they have and can implant you with).

      But the Lord has not left us defenseless. We can deactivate these chips that most people have been innocently implanted with from the time they have been born.

      You don’t have to buy expensive frequency readers to determine if you have been chipped. A phone call to the Lord is free.

     Phone home.

     When I asked the Lord about chip implants several months ago He led me to certain areas where I had been targeted and implanted with them and I am finding that these same areas are common areas that most others have been implanted in as well. 

     We can nullify chip implants and defeat their control game. Our black government and military have learned it from the aliens who have been adept at abducting and chipping entire populations for years. And we can defeat both the aliens and the military/government at their own games. Chips and control tactics are indeed strongholds of Lucifer and his New World Order and we are not left defenseless against it.

     I have found that rare earth magnets called Neodymium magnets will nullify chips. I bought some Neodymium magnets online from a retailer,  the kind that can lift 10lbs of steel and run about .70 cents a piece and I used band aides to hold them in place. I put magnets on the back of each ear lobe, on the side of each arm where I have received shots, on both sides of my jaws where I had wisdom teeth removed, and under each heel where I had been purposely implanted by my mother’s doctor shortly after I was born. Also on my stomach where I had a cesarean. I am finding that most people are implanted by their navels as well. If you have had any type of surgery put a magnet near the scar for about 24 hours.

      When you use the magnets be sure to have the north side of the magnet facing your skin. A compass will tell you which side of the magnet is north. For newer chips or chips closer to the surface like your ears or jaws leave them on for about 12 hours. For older chips such as vaccinations leave them on for about two days. The Lord will lead you as to how long to keep them on or when it is deactivated and you can take the magnet off. Just listen for His guidance in your Spirit if you are one of His.

     Seek the Lord on where you have them and He will guide your thoughts and lead you where to put the magnets.

    Those pregnant or who have heart pacers should not use magnets.

     Most people do not know they have chips. In this day and age, it is a given that most of us have them, had them, and unless we watch ourselves, will keep getting them.

     If you are ever in a crowded store and you feel a sudden sting, like you got bit by a insect, go home and put a magnet on it for about 8  hours. Chances are you got zapped by a chip gun. Yes, there are actually morons with chip guns who purposely go around implanting people.

    Stay away from vaccinations and flu shots. If you have to get a shot for whatever reason, go home and put a magnet on it for 8 hours. Same with dental work.

    For most people they are not annoyed or bothered and never even detect they may be chip implanted. For others there is an obvious way to tell if they are implanted: they will hear sounds, unusual unexplainable sounds such as music, talking, etc..and they do not know where it is coming from. Or, just be on the safe side, assume you already are implanted and get magnets to deactivate them in the areas I have suggested that they usually put them in people.

     Would magnet deactivation help against the mark or chip forewarned of in Revelation 13 where and when the associate of the beast, the False Prophet will demand the entire world receive a mark, number, or image (chip implied here) in or on the right hand or forehead to participate in a new economic system? No. Once a person gets that particular chip they are doomed forever with no second chances. DO NOT get that chip!

    Until that time in prophetic events and on the prophetic time clock we can render chip implantations defenseless against us by deactivating them with Neodymium magnets. Another stronghold of the New World Order’s revealed that we can tear down!

      Those with ears, hear.

By Brian H. – Helping to teach prisonplanet ways to remove or disabled RFID chips

February 18, 2009 http://forum.prisonplanet.com/index.php?topic=87255.0
Disabling RFID chips aren’t like some spy having to disable a ticking time bomb, although disabling RFID chips might be easier then disabling ticking time bombs, it can be more deadly, and possibly permanently alter the human you are, but if you really want to refuse the RFID chip and the police hold you down and force you to take the chip (My mom said you can refuse but they can just put you to sleep and then put the chip in you). So if you have no choice you can always brace the chip then find a way to take it out, or disable the chip

Theres two options to stop the chip:

  • Cut the chip out via illegal surgeries, such as black market hospitals, or go through the pain of taking it out yourself
  • Use a device or special bomb that can take out the chip with less annoying effort, although it won’t remove the chip but it will keep it from working properly, or completely disable the chip.

Well lets first start with how to disable it, I can’t say too much in this guide until theres more military experts willing to leak some data on how to make grade A devices on how to disable the RFID chips inside your body without causing any harm to cells and tissue.

You could use a laser but thats very risky if you don’t know what your doing so you could use a EMP device/bomb.

For you noobies out there EMP stands for Electro Magnetic Pulse, it can take out both communications and technology thats within it’s field, theres been theories that one could detonate a EMP bomb near your head, or body and it could take out the chip but could there be other effects, people could test this theory but it would become highly illegal or taboo to our surveillance society because (1)Such knowledge could be used by terrorists, (2)It would totally defeat the whole point of mandatory chipping which would totally anger the Bilderbergs, and government officials that support compulsory chipping, and (3)It may be hard to buy the materials to make this device, not to mention if they can track your purchases they can possibly target you before you even get a chance to develop this EMP weapon to target the chip in your head or forehead, the trick is to work together with others who also want the chip remove and each person buys different portion of the materials needed so it would totally stump government spies and therefore can successfully make the anti-chip materials.

but as a precaution I can’t tell you how to make this EMP device because doing so would get both this forum and me highly targeted and thrown in a torture detention center but I can tell you if you want to research how to assemble EMP devices to take out RFID chips can be found on the internet, you just got to know where to look.

Now heres my info on RFID surgery:

I have gathered a photo online that shows where RFID implants could possibly be, and that it’s kinda easy to pretty much about take out without much complications.

be aware that they could try to change the area with images like this but you can always ask your doctor for xray scans and just tell them your interested in xray scans, and they wouldn’t suspect that your just finding out a easy way to plan and effectively remove the RFID chip implants.

Copying your RFID chip before destroying and/or removing it:

In both bible prophecies and simple logic (Revelation 13:17 and he provides that no one will be able to buy or to sell, except the one who has the mark, either the name of the beast or the number of his name.) if you attempt to destroy the chip before you make a direct hacker copy of it, your screwed because you won’t be able to eat food or even go into public places of federal buildings without the chip and if a cop searches you and finds you have no chip you could be a possible future felon and have the chip forced back in you with probably extreme torture and pain, and possibly punishable by death by the order of the world rulers or anti-christ.

So to copy it you will be some type of device or converter to your computer that will copy the data and copy it or move it onto another rfid chip which you can carry with you everywhere you go so that it will look like you still have the chip implant when you really have it reattached. I also recommend you carry a deactivated spare that can be activated at any time in case you lose your copied and modified RFID chip.

Thats all I will also say for now, just like the other article I did, Both my big articles on here is not complete but more information will be added on there and updated in the future.

So thats all I have to say for now, hope this helps you all :)

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How to Hide from Drones/Thermal Imaging

how-to-hide-from-drones

25April2014

Thermal imaging is the primary method human detection on the battlefield. Whether it be a drone, an Apache helicopter, or an individual soldier, thermal imaging is the best tool available for the job. Thermal imagers work by “seeing” heat. Everything emits thermal energy, dirt, trees, rocks, humans. Thermal imaging is so successful at detecting human beings that it poses a threat to the average citizen. Don’t get me wrong, I feel every citizen should own a thermal imager as well.

In today’s world it is becoming apparent that the average individual citizen is going to under the prying eyes of the government, but what if Joe citizen has concerns about his privacy? I’ve been through countless forums where people are searching for an answer as to how one can hide from thermal imaging. We are even working on a method ourselves (sign up to our newsletter on the right side of the page, we will let you know when it becomes commercially available). While I would like to be the first to develop a product to defeat thermal imaging, I feel that I should share the challenges in doing so. If I am not successful, maybe someone else will be. All of the ideas I’ve run across so far will not work; Space blankets, glass panels, mud, wet suits, none of it works.

The key to evading thermal imaging is the same as any camouflage, just with different parameters. You will not ever “disappear” from a thermal imager, just the same as you won’t disappear just by wearing Multicam or ATACS. In visible camouflage you use colors and specific patterns to do so. You have to blend in and use cover and concealment. You wouldn’t go unnoticed wearing traditional camouflage laying down in the middle of a parking lot, you shouldn’t expect to do the same in thermal. In both examples knowing your surroundings and the characteristics of what is searching for you is the key.

 

Thermal imagingnow-u-see

In order to hide from drones and other entities using thermal imaging, you must first understand how it works. Even if you can develop a method to block your thermal signature you must also know how to use basic cover and concealment techniques, as they apply to thermal imaging. It is not that much different that putting on optical camouflage and knowing where to hide, in fact, there are many parallels. Here are some of the specific challenges and characteristics when trying to evade of thermal imaging:

Thermal

The most obvious issue in evading thermal imaging is dealing with the heat that a human produces. It is impossible to stop the body from producing heat and it is also impossible to inexpensively contain all of the heat the body produces. Expensive thermal cameras, such as the ones in drones and helicopters, sense the actual photons emitted from an object. Less expensive handhelds use a material that measures the differences in temperature. Either one first needs the heat from your body to reach the sensor. If your heat cannot reach the sensor, you cannot be seen. A physical object between you in the camera, such as the roof of your house, a boulder, or a tree will stop the infrared energy from reaching the sensor. The problem is you can’t continually surround yourself with any of these objects. You must, however, put some barrier between your heat and the camera. The above example of the space blanket will reflect heat back to your body and the imager cannot see through it, but if it touches your body the heat will transfer through the material rather quickly (like one second). If an air gap was kept between your heat and the space blanket this would slow this process down.

The Afghans have used wool blankets to mask their signatures from thermal imaging. If they hear a chopper or suspect an eye in the sky is looking for them they will drop on the ground and cover themselves with a the blanket. If the blanket starts out at ambient temperature the amount of time they will reduce their signature varies, depending on the temperature relative to their body heat. This works because the blanket acts as an insulator. As soon as the wool begins to warm they will become visible again. I suspect this method works for mere seconds, but imagine if they had a wool blanket, a space blanket, and another wool blanket. The heat would first have to transfer through the wool. The space blanket would reflect most of the heat back, but some would leak through. The second wool blanket would then begin to heat up compared to the surroundings. This wouldn’t work forever, by any means, but it would give the insurgent one thing; more time.

Masking your thermal signature is the biggest challenge to evading thermal imaging. There are a number of ways to obscure your thermal signature to avoid being detected:

  1. Insulating your heat from the imager, such as the wool blanket. The more effective the insulation, the more time you have bought yourself.
  2. Spreading your heat over a larger surface area. Your body has a finite surface area, if you can transfer your body heat to a larger object, that object will be cooler. Think of a heat sink.
  3. You can vent heat to the atmosphere. The thermal imager cannot see the heat traveling through the air, at least not at the temperatures we are talking about. It would have to be directly to the atmosphere because if the heat were to heat up your cover, that would be noticeable.
  4. You can mechanically trap heat.

Note, heat is also relative. If your entire environment is 98.6 degrees, you won’t disappear by any means, but the advantage of the thermal aspect will be lessened.

Note 2, all thermal cameras have what is called a dynamic range. Imagine I had a palette of 10 shades of gray available to me. As the processor of a thermal I have to assign a “color” to each temperature. The standard view would be white is hot and black is cold. If temperatures are relatively uniform, say everything the camera is seeing is between 60-70 degrees, the processor can assign a color for each degree. If the temperatures of the objects in the cameras field of view are vastly different, say 32 degrees on the cold end and 98.6 on the warm end with lots of variations in between (say a sunny winter day) the processor can no longer assign one of the 10 colors to each degree. It must assign a color to a range of temperatures, say 32 to 37 are “black”, 38 to 44 are dark gray and so on. This is a vast oversimplification but it does have an effect on the cameras ability to resolve your temperature. A real world example might be hiding near the top of a ridge. If someone was looking for you from below they would have to include part of the sky in the field of view. The sky is extremely cold, whereas the earth might be a hundred or more degrees warmer. Here is a somewhat extreme example of how dynamic range can affect an image. In the image on the left our thermal cloak is towards the top, just to the right of center. In the second image, the imager includes a good portion of the cold sky causing the foreground to wash out a bit.

Thermal imaging-Dynamic-Range-675

Emissivity

Lets say that you had some form of cloak that could mask your thermal signature for a period of time. You might think you are home free…but nothing is that simple. Not only does every object emit thermal energy, but it does so at different rates. Human skin is highly emissive, meaning energy is radiated efficiently, more energy for the thermal imager to “see”. Aluminum foil, on the other hand, has low emissivity. If both were the same temperature and you looked at them with the camera they would look vastly different. To make matters worse, as any object warms up, it also emits more energy. It can be likened to objects changing “color” with temperature. This is why emergency blankets and panes of glass won’t help you hide. While they might mask your thermal signature, they themselves will stand out compared to your surroundings. To an observer, an emergency blanket is just as out of place in thermal as it would be in visible light.

Not only do you have to reduce your thermal signature to hide from thermal imagers, but you have to match your surroundings as well. To solve the first two equations, thermal and emissivity, you must both shield the imager from your body heat and match your surroundings. So you’ve got some kind of cloak, and you’ve covered yourself in grasses or branches native to the exact area where you are hiding, you might be “invisible” to thermal.

But wait, it doesn’t end there. Somewhat like sun casts a shadow, thermal leaves a shadow. A lawn that is partially shaded from the sun will look very different in the shadows. If you were to move from the direct sunlight in the above example into the shade, you’d stand out. This is yet another reason why thermal is effective during the day.

Nighttime, particularly long after sunset, offers its own challenges. After the sun sets different objects cool at different rates. If you were successful enough to create a cloak that can achieve near ambient air temperature you may now appear colder than your surroundings. Your best bet is to know what objects offer the closest temperature/emissivity match, tall grasses may cool faster than rocks, pine needles and leaves may be good options.

In this example the subject’s thermal signature is masked, but the air temperature is much colder than that of the ground. The cloaking device has taken on the air temperature causing an emissivity mis-match. While it is questionable that an operator looking for a human would give this a second look, it does stand out:

Thermal imaging-colder

Shape

Camouflage uses everything from prints of foliage to complex designs that blend in with the colors and shapes of your surroundings. This must also be attempted when hiding from thermal as well, but it isn’t so easy (again?). Paints and dyes are really effective in visible light, but are almost useless in thermal. Ideally, the layer facing the imager would be constructed of different materials with mis-matched emissivities, sort of like covering yourself with leaves, branches, grasses, etc. This is probably not commercially viable, but if you were to do so by hand it would probably benefit the overall effectiveness of your camouflage. If you’ve masked your thermal signature but can’t quite match the emissivity your best bet is to look like something nearby, a rock, bush, a patch of bare dirt. Unless you can create something with very complex emissivity patterns you have to do the next best thing, not look human. This premise also holds true with optical camouflage, something as simple as crouching down can cause the human brain to not recognize the object as human.

Your Advantages Against Thermal

No technologies are infallible, thermal is no different. Most of the videos you see on YouTube involving firefights between US forces and the insurgents are already known events to the thermal operators. They’ve been called in to dispatch the terrorists. In our future make believe world, where a rogue government is hunting down citizens you can have significant advantages.

Stealth

Masking your thermal signature is no different than creating a stealth jet fighter. An F-22 Raptor is not invisible to radar, it still has the signature of a metal marble. If radar technology had the ability to see a metal marble it would negate the F-22′s advantage, but since radar doesn’t have the resolution it can’t. The same is true of thermal imagers, they have a finite resolution. It is pretty easy to understand, standard definition TV (the old stuff) had a digital resolution of 720×480 pixels. High Definition TV has a resolution of 1280×720 (720P) or 1920×1080 (1080P or Blu-Ray). Most of you know from experience that your eyes couldn’t resolve a persons face in a crowd at a sporting event on old TV, but you can now. Again, the same is true with thermal. High end military imagers are about the equivalent of 720P television. Handheld imagers are generally less than the old standard definition television. If you can reduce your thermal signature enough, the camera may not be able to resolve you.

 

Distance

Military imagers can detect a person at a distance of many miles, but to achieve this distance the lensing only affords a very narrow field of view, like looking through a straw. In airborne systems, the thermal imagers will generally have two selectable options, a wide field of view for surveillance, and a narrow field of view for target acquisition. Unless they’ve already seen you, they will be searching using the wider field of view. If you’ve reduced your signature by 90%, the imager needs to be 90% closer to detect you. If the imager is far enough away, even exposed body parts will not be visible.

To illustrate how distance plays a part in thermal detection below are four images at increasing distances. In the upper left picture of the below example, the imager is a few feet away from the cloak. The subject was not following directions and breathing directly into it. It is very noticeable, even though the temperature difference was negligible because the dynamic range of the scene is rather uniform and the camera can tell the difference between a few tenths of a degree. You might think the cloak has failed. In the second image, taken from 10 yards, you can see the subjects feet sticking out and you can still see the breath print as well. In the third image, at 20 yards, the breath print begins to blend in and the feet are still bright enough in the image to take notice. By the fourth image, at 30 yards, the breath print is virtually indistinguishable from the background. The feet would probably not be noticed by an operator. The fourth picture is also exhibiting a phenomenon known as thermal crossover.

Thermal imaging-Distance

Don’t get me wrong, this is a handheld imager. The distances needed to avoid detection from a military grade imager in the above example might be 10 or more times. If the feet weren’t sticking out, however, an operator might not even take notice of the small, slightly warmer area.

Thermal Crossover

Twice a day there is a phenomenon known as thermal crossover. Thermal crossover occurs after sunrise and after sunset when scene temperatures are relatively uniform. If you have been successful in masking your thermal signature you may be able to operate with almost complete ambiguity during these time periods. Here is an example of what thermal crossover looks like:

Thermal imaging-Crossover

Hiding from thermal imagers is tough, but is not impossible. Hopefully we will never be in a state where we need to hide from the prying eyes of drones, or worse, hunted down, but we’d better start now trying to crack this nut. I’d be interested in any feedback from folks that have used imagers to locate people. Would you take a closer look at any of the above examples? Would you suspect a human?
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The 10 Corporations That Control Almost Everything You Buy

We know the ten “people” that run the world, that 25 cities represent over half the world’s GDP, and that the world’s billionaires control a stunning $33 trillion in net worth… but who controls what the average joe-sixpack on Main Street buys? As PolicyMic notes, these ten mega corporations control the output of almost everything we buy – from household products to pet food and from jeans to jello. The so-called “Illusion of Choice,” that these corporations (and their nepotistic inter-relationships) create is remarkable…

(click image for gigantic legible version)

10Corp-That-Control-Almost-Everything-You-Buy(Note: The chart shows a mix of networks. Parent companies may own, own shares of, or may simply partner with their branch networks. For example, Coca-Cola does not own Monster, but distributes the energy drink. Another note: We are not sure how up-to-date the chart is. For example, it has not been updated to reflect P&G’s sale of Pringles to Kellogg’s in February.)

[wpex Read more]

Via PolicyMic,

Here are just a few examples: Yum Brands owns KFC and Taco Bell. The company was a spin-off of Pepsi. All Yum Brands restaurants sell only Pepsi products because of a special partnership with the soda-maker.

 

$84 billion-company Proctor & Gamble — the largest advertiser in the U.S. — is paired with a number of diverse brands that produce everything from medicine to toothpaste to high-end fashion. All tallied, P&G reportedly serves a whopping 4.8 billion people around the world through this network.

 

$200 billion-corporation Nestle — famous for chocolate, but which is the biggest food company in the world — owns nearly 8,000 different brands worldwide, and takes stake in or is partnered with a swath of others. Included in this network is shampoo company L’Oreal, baby food giant Gerber, clothing brand Diesel, and pet food makers Purina and Friskies.

 

Unilever, of soap fame, reportedly serves 2 billion people around the world, controlling a network that produces everything from Q-tips to Skippy peanut butter.

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Hang The Bankers

How To End TBTF? Do What Vietnam Does: Sentence Bankers To Death By Firing Squad

Submitted by Tyler Durden on 04/04/2014

vietnam-executionFor the past five years, one of the most theatrical topics of superficially deep debate by both regulators and legislators has been a simple one: how to end the abuse of power and relentless gambling with zero fear of consequences by systemically important, Too Big To Fail banks, which led to the unprecedented 2008 spectacle of Goldman’s Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson demanding that Congress give him a blank check to bail out anyone and anything (mostly his former employers) he deems fit.

The theatricality is also grossly comic, because every other week central bankers around the world release philosophical papers with scnietific notation including that fancy Integral sign, musing over the apparent unsolvability of this epic dilemma (just in case it is still unclear, the central bankers work for the commercial bankers) all the while the global megabanks get megabigger until, at one inevitable point in the future, JPMorgan Merrill Fargogroup of America Sachs will be the only bank left standing. And be in complete control of not only the country, but courtesy of its $1+ quadrillion “galatically important” balance sheet, the entire world.

What is funniest, of course, is that there is a gloriously simple solution to all the world’s TBTF problems, one that could be enacted in a HFT millisecond by pulling the trigger, so to speak.

The solution comes from none other than that historic US nemesis, Vietnam, where unscrupulous financiers don’t just go to jail. Sometimes, they get death row. [wpex Read more]

Global Post reports:

Amid a sweeping cleanup of its financial sector, Vietnam has sentenced three bankers to death in the past six months.

 

One duo now on death row embezzled roughly $25 million from the state-owned Vietnam Agribank. Their co-conspirators caught decade-plus prison sentences.

 

In March, a 57-year-old former regional boss from Vietnam Development Bank, another government-run bank, was sentenced to death over a $93-million swindling job.

 

According to Vietnam’s Tuoi Tre news outlet, several of his colluders were sentenced to life imprisonment after they confessed to securing bogus loans with a diamond ring and a BMW coupe. And last week, in an unrelated case, charges against senior employees from the same bank allege $47 million in losses from dubious loans.

Wait, so if you get the proverbial nail gun in the back of the head for a measly $25 million, what should banks that “received” trillions in involuntary taxpayer gifts get? Obamacare?

But these death sentences nevertheless are high profile scandals in Vietnam.

That’s the point. Human rights watchdogs contend that splashy trials in Vietnam are acts of political theater with predetermined conclusions. The audience: a Vietnamese public weary of state corruption. But these sentences also sound loud alarm bells to dodgy bankers who are currently running scams.

 

“It’s a message to those in this game to be less greedy and that business as usual is getting out of hand,” said Adam McCarty, chief economist with the Hanoi-based consulting firm Mekong Economics.

 

“The message to people in the system is this: Your chances of getting caught are increasing,” McCarty said. “Don’t just rely on big people above you. Because some of these [perpetrators] would’ve had big people above them. And it didn’t help them.”

 

Like most nations that crush dissent and operate with little transparency, Vietnam is highly corrupt.

Also, just like the US, only here the theft occurs at such a far more grand scale, that few can even conceptualize it, let along come up with an appropriate sentence.

According to a World Bank study, half of all businesses operating within the communist state expect that gift giving toward officials is required “to get things done.” Transparency International, which publishes the world’s leading corruption gauge, contends Vietnam is more corrupt than Mexico but not quite as bad as Russia.

 

Unlike in America, where judges can’t sentence white-collar criminals to death, Vietnam can execute its citizens for a range of corporate crimes.

 

Amnesty International reports that death sentences in Vietnam have been handed down to criminals for running shady investment schemes, counterfeiting cash and even defaulting on loans. This is unusual: United Nations officials have condemned death for “economic crimes” yet Vietnam persists with these sentences — as does neighboring China.

 

Though statistics on Vietnam’s opaque justice system are scarce, a state official conceded that more than 675 people sit on death row for a range of crimes, according to the Associated Press.

 

It’s still unclear how the bankers will be killed. Vietnam’s traditional means of execution involves binding perpetrators to a wooden post, stuffing their mouths with lemons and calling in a firing squad. The nation wants to transition to lethal injections. But European nations refuse to export chemicals used in executions (namely sodium thiopental) to governments practicing capital punishment.

 

Fraudulent bankers are receiving heavy sentences at a moment when Vietnam is enacting major financial reforms.

And guess what: it will work. Because there is nothing as deterrant to criminal, sociopath behavior than knowing that no matter how many trillions of derivatives on your balance sheet, the final outcome is a blindfold and a cigar.

Then again, in “democratic, uncorrupt” America, this solution will never take place, for the simple reason that the same bankers who would be executed, not only print the money that everyone else uses, certainly the politicians, but also own and run everything. So why on earth would they suggest the only thing that could possibly end the party?

Vietnam Shows How To Clean Up The Banking System: Ex-Banker Faces Death Penalty For Fraud

The lack of prosecution of bankers responsible for the great financial collapse has been a hotly debated topic over the years, leading to the coinage of such terms as “Too Big To Prosecute“, the termination of at least one corrupt DOJ official, the revelation that Eric Holder is the most useless Attorney General in history, and even members of the judicial bashing other members of the judicial such as in last night’s essay by district judge Jed Rakoff. And naturally, the lack of incentives that punish cheating and fraud, is one of the main reasons why such fraud will not only continue but get bigger and bigger, until once again, the entire system crashes under the weight of all the corruption and all the Fed-driven malinvestment. But what can be done? In this case, Vietnam may have just shown America the way – use the death penalty on convicted embezzling bankers. Because if one wants to promptly stop an end to financial crime, there is nothing quite like the fear of death to halt it.[wpex Read more]

Bloomberg reports that a Vietnam court will consider the death penalty for a Vu Quoc Hao, the former general director of Agribank Financial Leasing Co. who is charged with embezzling 531 billion dong. While that sounds like a whole lot of dong, converted into USD it is only $25 million, or what Goldman would call “weekend lunch money.” Just imagine how much cleaner Wall Street would be, where the typical bank fraud is generally in the billions, if bankers and other white collar criminals had the fear of death if caught manipulating petty prices or outright stealing amounts that are considered petty cash by most of the 0.001%.

But back to Vietnam and its shining example:

The trial comes as the government seeks to shore up Vietnamese banks saddled with Southeast Asia’s highest rate of bad debt and turn around an economy that grew last year at the slowest pace since 1999. The central bank governor vowed to crack down on violations by groups of shareholders working against banking reforms last year.

Eleven defendants, including Hao, 58, and Hai, are charged with embezzlement, mismanagement, abuse of power and fraud, according to a statement on the court’s website. Prosecutors allege that Hao and Hai formed 10 fake financial leasing contracts to disperse almost 800 billion dong.

At the trial yesterday, Hao said he regrets his violations and hopes the judges will give other defendants lighter sentences, Tuoi Tre newspaper reported today. The verdict and sentencing is expected to be announced Nov. 15, according to the newspaper.

Under Vietnam law, those convicted of embezzling property valued at 500 million dong or more, or creating “other particularly serious consequences,” can be sentenced to life imprisonment or death.

“The party, the government, prosecutors and our courts will give stiff verdicts in these types of cases,” Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, said on the sidelines of an anti-corruption conference in Hanoi yesterday. “We need to make our regulations and legal framework tighter to reduce and prevent corruption.”

“It would be a signal: You could be executed for being caught doing large-scale corruption,” said Adam McCarty, the Hanoi-based chief economist at Mekong Economics. “It has implications for the whole bank restructuring the government is about to do. They want to really dig into these bad debt issues and find out who is responsible for the problems.”

And while one can dream, an outcome such as this in the US is impossible: after all it is these same embezzling bankers that control the legislative and judicial branches (the executive branch is too busy with 404 website errors), which is why deterrence of any substantial scale will never take place in the US and small, medium and large-scale theft will continue unabated, with the occasional slaps on the wrist, until there is nothing left to steal.
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The Retail Death Rattle

Submitted by Tyler Durden on 01/20/2014

Submitted by Jim Quinn of The Burning Platform blog,

“I was part of that strange race of people aptly described as spending their lives doing things they detest, to make money they don’t want, to buy things they don’t need, to impress people they don’t like.”Emile Gauvreau

If ever a chart provided unequivocal proof the economic recovery storyline is a fraud, the one below is the smoking gun. November and December retail sales account for 20% to 40% of annual retail sales for most retailers. The number of visits to retail stores has plummeted by 50% since 2010. Please note this was during a supposed economic recovery. Also note consumer spending accounts for 70% of GDP. Also note credit card debt outstanding is 7% lower than its level in 2010 and 16% below its peak in 2008. Retailers like J.C. Penney, Best Buy, Sears, Radio Shack and Barnes & Noble continue to report appalling sales and profit results, along with listings of store closings. Even the heavyweights like Wal-Mart and Target continue to report negative comp store sales. How can the government and mainstream media be reporting an economic recovery when the industry that accounts for 70% of GDP is in free fall? The answer is that 99% of America has not had an economic recovery. Only Bernanke’s 1% owner class have benefited from his QE/ZIRP induced stock market levitation.

 

The entire economic recovery storyline is a sham built upon easy money funneled by the Fed to the Too Big To Trust Wall Street banks so they can use their HFT supercomputers to drive the stock market higher, buy up the millions of homes they foreclosed upon to artificially drive up home prices, and generate profits through rigging commodity, currency, and bond markets, while reducing loan loss reserves because they are free to value their toxic assets at anything they please – compliments of the spineless nerds at the FASB. GDP has been artificially propped up by the Federal government through the magic of EBT cards, SSDI for the depressed and downtrodden, never ending extensions of unemployment benefits, billions in student loans to University of Phoenix prodigies, and subprime auto loans to deadbeats from the Government Motors financing arm – Ally Financial (85% owned by you the taxpayer). The country is being kept afloat on an ocean of debt and delusional belief in the power of central bankers to steer this ship through a sea of icebergs just below the surface.[wpex Read more]

The absolute collapse in retail visitor counts is the warning siren that this country is about to collide with the reality Americans have run out of time, money, jobs, and illusions. The most amazingly delusional aspect to the chart above is retailers continued to add 44 million square feet in 2013 to the almost 15 billion existing square feet of retail space in the U.S. That is approximately 47 square feet of retail space for every person in America. Retail CEOs are not the brightest bulbs in the sale bin, as exhibited by the CEO of Target and his gross malfeasance in protecting his customers’ personal financial information. Of course, the 44 million square feet added in 2013 is down 85% from the annual increases from 2000 through 2008. The exponential growth model, built upon a never ending flow of consumer credit and an endless supply of cheap fuel, has reached its limit of growth. The titans of Wall Street and their puppets in Washington D.C. have wrung every drop of faux wealth from the dying middle class. There are nothing left but withering carcasses and bleached bones.

The impact of this retail death spiral will be vast and far reaching. A few factoids will help you understand the coming calamity:

  • There are approximately 109,500 shopping centers in the United States ranging in size from the small convenience centers to the large super-regional malls.
  • There are in excess of 1 million retail establishments in the United States occupying 15 billion square feet of space and generating over $4.4 trillion of annual sales. This includes 8,700 department stores, 160,000 clothing & accessory stores, and 8,600 game stores.
  • U.S. shopping-center retail sales total more than $2.26 trillion, accounting for over half of all retail sales.
  • The U.S. shopping-center industry directly employed over 12 million people in 2010 and indirectly generated another 5.6 million jobs in support industries. Collectively, the industry accounted for 12.7% of total U.S. employment.
  • Total retail employment in 2012 totaled 14.9 million, lower than the 15.1 million employed in 2002.
  • For every 100 individuals directly employed at a U.S. regional shopping center, an additional 20 to 30 jobs are supported in the community due to multiplier effects.

The collapse in foot traffic to the 109,500 shopping centers that crisscross our suburban sprawl paradise of plenty is irreversible. No amount of marketing propaganda, 50% off sales, or hot new iGadgets is going to spur a dramatic turnaround. Quarter after quarter there will be more announcements of store closings. Macys just announced the closing of 5 stores and firing of 2,500 retail workers. JC Penney just announced the closing of 33 stores and firing of 2,000 retail workers. Announcements are imminent from Sears, Radio Shack and a slew of other retailers who are beginning to see the writing on the wall. The vacancy rate will be rising in strip malls, power malls and regional malls, with the largest growing sector being ghost malls. Before long it will appear that SPACE AVAILABLE is the fastest growing retailer in America.

The reason this death spiral cannot be reversed is simply a matter of arithmetic and demographics. While arrogant hubristic retail CEOs of public big box mega-retailers added 2.7 billion retail square feet to our already over saturated market, real median household income flat lined. The advancement in retail spending was attributable solely to the $1.1 trillion increase (68%) in consumer debt and the trillion dollars of home equity extracted from castles in the sky, that later crashed down to earth. Once the Wall Street created fraud collapsed and the waves of delusion subsided, retailers have been revealed to be swimming naked. Their relentless expansion, based on exponential growth, cannibalized itself, new store construction ground to a halt, sales and profits have declined, and the inevitable closing of thousands of stores has begun. With real median household income 8% lower than it was in 2008, the collapse in retail traffic is a rational reaction by the impoverished 99%. Americans are using their credit cards to pay their real estate taxes, income taxes, and monthly utilities, since their income is lower, and their living expenses rise relentlessly, thanks to Bernanke and his Fed created inflation.

The media mouthpieces for the establishment gloss over the fact average gasoline prices in 2013 were the second highest in history. The highest average price was in 2012 and the 3rd highest average price was in 2011. These prices are 150% higher than prices in the early 2000′s. This might not matter to the likes of Jamie Dimon and Jon Corzine, but for a middle class family with two parents working and making 7.5% less than they made in 2000, it has a dramatic impact on discretionary income. The fact oil prices have risen from $25 per barrel in 2003 to $100 per barrel today has not only impacted gas prices, but utility costs, food costs, and the price of any product that needs to be transported to your local Wally World. The outrageous rise in tuition prices has been aided and abetted by the Federal government and their doling out of loans so diploma mills like the University of Phoenix can bilk clueless dupes into thinking they are on their way to an exciting new career, while leaving them jobless in their parents’ basement with a loan payment for life.

 

The laughable jobs recovery touted by Obama, his sycophantic minions, paid off economist shills, and the discredited corporate legacy media can be viewed appropriately in the following two charts, that reveal the false storyline being peddled to the techno-narcissistic iGadget distracted masses. There are 247 million working age Americans between the ages of 18 and 64. Only 145 million of these people are employed. Of these employed, 19 million are working part-time and 9 million are self- employed. Another 20 million are employed by the government, producing nothing and being sustained by the few remaining producers with their tax dollars. The labor participation rate is the lowest it has been since women entered the workforce in large numbers during the 1980′s. We are back to levels seen during the booming Carter years. Those peddling the drivel about retiring Baby Boomers causing the decline in the labor participation rate are either math challenged or willfully ignorant because they are being paid to be so. Once you turn 65 you are no longer counted in the work force. The percentage of those over 55 in the workforce has risen dramatically to an all-time high, as the Me Generation never saved for retirement or saw their retirement savings obliterated in the Wall Street created 2008 financial implosion.

To understand the absolute idiocy of retail CEOs across the land one must parse the employment data back to 2000. In the year 2000 the working age population of the U.S. was 213 million and 136.9 million of them were working, a record level of 64.4% of the population. There were 70 million working age Americans not in the labor force. Fourteen years later the number of working age Americans is 247 million and only 144.6 million are working. The working age population has risen by 16% and the number of employed has risen by only 5.6%. That’s quite a success story. Of course, even though median household income is 7.5% lower than it was in 2000, the government expects you to believe that 22 million Americans voluntarily left the labor force because they no longer needed a job. While the number of employed grew by 5.6% over fourteen years, the number of people who left the workforce grew by 31.1%. Over this same time frame the mega-retailers that dominate the landscape added almost 3 billion square feet of selling space, a 25% increase. A critical thinking individual might wonder how this could possibly end well for the retail genius CEOs in glistening corporate office towers from coast to coast.

This entire materialistic orgy of consumerism has been sustained solely with debt peddled by the Wall Street banking syndicate. The average American consumer met their Waterloo in 2008. Bernanke’s mission was to save bankers, billionaires and politicians. It was not to save the working middle class. You’ve been sacrificed at the altar of the .1%. The 0% interest rates were for Jamie Dimon and Lloyd Blankfein. Your credit card interest rate remained between 13% and 21%. So, while you struggle to pay bills with your declining real income, the Wall Street bankers are again generating record profits and paying themselves record bonuses. Profits are so good, they can afford to pay tens of billions in fines for their criminal acts, and still be left with billions to divvy up among their non-prosecuted criminal executives.

Bernanke and his financial elite owners have been able to rig the markets to give the appearance of normalcy, but they cannot rig the demographic time bomb that will cause the death and destruction of our illusory retail paradigm. Demographics cannot be manipulated or altered by the government or mass media. The best they can do is ignore or lie about the facts. The life cycle of a human being is utterly predictable, along with their habits across time. Those under 25 years old have very little income, therefore they have very little spending. Once a job is attained and income levels rise, spending rises along with the increased income. As the person enters old age their income declines and spending on stuff declines rapidly. The media may be ignoring the fact that annual expenditures drop by 40% for those over 65 years old from the peak spending years of 45 to 54, but it doesn’t change the fact. They also cannot change the fact that 10,000 Americans will turn 65 every day for the next sixteen years. They also can’t change the fact the average Baby Boomer has less than $50,000 saved for retirement and is up to their grey eye brows in debt.

With over 15% of all 25 to 34 year olds living in their parents’ basement and those under 25 saddled with billions in student loan debt, the traditional increase in income and spending is DOA for the millennial generation. The hardest hit demographic on the job front during the 2008 through 2014 ongoing recession has been the 45 to 54 year olds in their peak earning and spending years. Combine these demographic developments and you’ve got a perfect storm for over-built retailers and their egotistical CEOs.

The media continues to peddle the storyline of on-line sales saving the ancient bricks and mortar retailers. Again, the talking head pundits are willfully ignoring basic math. On-line sales account for 6% of total retail sales. If a dying behemoth like JC Penney announces a 20% decline in same store sales and a 20% increase in on-line sales, their total change is still negative 17.6%. And they are still left with 1,100 decaying stores, 100,000 employees, lease payments, debt payments, maintenance costs, utility costs, inventory costs, and pension costs. Their future is so bright they gotta wear a toe tag.

The decades of mal-investment in retail stores was enabled by Greenspan, Bernanke, and their Federal Reserve brethren. Their easy money policies enabled Americans to live far beyond their true means through credit card debt, auto debt, mortgage debt, and home equity debt. This false illusion of wealth and foolish spending led mega-retailers to ignore facts and spread like locusts across the suburban countryside. The debt fueled orgy has run out of steam. All that is left is the largest mountain of debt in human history, a gutted and debt laden former middle class, and thousands of empty stores in future decaying ghost malls haunting the highways and byways of suburbia.

The implications of this long and winding road to ruin are far reaching. Store closings so far have only been a ripple compared to the tsunami coming to right size the industry for a future of declining spending. Over the next five to ten years, tens of thousands of stores will be shuttered. Companies like JC Penney, Sears and Radio Shack will go bankrupt and become historical footnotes. Considering retail employment is lower today than it was in 2002 before the massive retail expansion, the future will see in excess of 1 million retail workers lose their jobs. Bernanke and the Feds have allowed real estate mall owners to roll over non-performing loans and pretend they are generating enough rental income to cover their loan obligations. As more stores go dark, this little game of extend and pretend will come to an end. Real estate developers will be going belly-up and the banking sector will be taking huge losses again. I’m sure the remaining taxpayers will gladly bailout Wall Street again. The facts are not debatable. They can be ignored by the politicians, Ivy League economists, media talking heads, and the willfully ignorant masses, but they do not cease to exist.

“Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.”Aldous Huxley

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From zerohedge.com

10 Reasons Why Sharknado Is Coming To The Global Economy

Submitted by Michael Snyder of The Economic Collapse blog,

Have you ever seen a disaster movie that is so bad that it is actually good? Well, that is exactly what Syfy’s new television movie entitled “Sharknado” is. In the movie, wild weather patterns actually cause man-eating sharks to come flying out of the sky. It sounds absolutely ridiculous, and it is. You can view the trailer for the movie right here. Unfortunately, we are witnessing something just as ridiculous in the real world right now.

In the United States, the mainstream media is breathlessly proclaiming that the U.S. economy is in great shape because job growth is “accelerating” (even though we actually lost 240,000 full-time jobs last month) and because the U.S. stock market set new all-time highs this week. The mainstream media seems to be absolutely oblivious to all of the financial storm clouds that are gathering on the horizon. The conditions for a “perfect storm” are rapidly developing, and by the time this is all over we may be wishing that flying sharks were all that we had to deal with.

The following are 10 reasons why the global economy is about to experience its own version of “Sharknado”…[wpex Read more]

#1 The financial situation in Portugal continues to deteriorate thanks to an emerging political crisis. It all began last week when Portuguese finance minister Vitor Gaspar resigned

“Mr. Gaspar’s resignation on July 1 has opened a Pandora’s box,” says Nicholas Spiro, managing director of Spiro Sovereign Strategy. “Portuguese politicians from the President down are treating the exit of Mr. Gaspar, the architect of the fiscal and structural reforms demanded by the troika, as a green light for a public debate about the bail-out programme. Yet the manner in which this debate is taking place, with the President undermining the prime minister and the opposition leader seeking to renegotiate the terms of the programme, is spooking markets.”

The general population is becoming increasingly restless as the nation plunges down the exact same path that Greece has gone. Nobody seems to have any solutions as the economic problems continue to escalate. According to Reuters, the president of Portugal has added fuel to the fire by calling for early elections next year…

Portugal’s president threw the bailed-out euro zone country into disarray on Thursday after rejecting a plan to heal a government rift, igniting what critics called a “time bomb” by calling for early elections next year.

Due to all of this instability in Portugal, the yield on Portuguese bonds shot up to 7.51% this week. That is a very bad sign.

#2 The economic depression in Greece continues to deepen, and it is being reported that Greece will not even come close to hitting the austerity targets that it was supposed to hit this year…

A leaked report from the European Commission confirms that Greece will miss its austerity targets yet again by a wide margin. It alleges that Greece lacks the “willingness and capacity” to collect taxes. In fact, Athens is missing targets because the economy is still in freefall and that is because of austerity overkill. The Greek think-tank IOBE expects GDP to fall 5pc this year. It has told journalists privately that the final figure may be -7pc.

Another 7 percent contraction for the Greek economy?

It has already been contracting steadily for years.

At this point, it would be hard to overstate how bad economic conditions inside Greece are. The following is from a recent article by Simon Black

My friend Illias took a drag of his cigarette as he contemplated my question.

“Our government tells us that this will be a better year. No one really believes them. But all we can do is be optimistic. Too many people are committing suicide.”

His statement probably best sums up the situation in Greece right now. It’s as if the hopelessness has gone stale, and the only thing they have to replace it with is desperate, misguided, faux-optimism. And anger.

There are roughly 11 million people in this country. 3.4 million of them are employed, of which roughly one third work for the government.

1.34 million people are ‘officially’ unemployed. To put this in context, it would be as if there were 36 million officially unemployed in the US.

More startling, if you add the number of ‘inactive’ workers (i.e. those who gave up looking), the total number of unemployed is roughly 57% of the entire Greek work force.

#3 The economic crisis in the third largest country in the eurozone, Italy, has taken another turn for the worse. The unemployment rate in Italy is up to 12.2 percent, which is the highest in 35 years. An average of 134 retail outlets are shutting down in Italy every single day, and the debt of the country has been downgraded again to just above junk status

Italy’s slow crisis is again flaring up. Its debt trajectory has punched through the danger line over the past two years. The country’s €2.1 trillion (£1.8 trillion) debt – 129pc of GDP – may already be beyond the point of no return for a country without its own currency.

Standard & Poor’s did not say this outright when it downgraded the country to near-junk BBB on Tuesday. But if you read between the lines, it is close to saying the game is up for Italy.

#4 There are rumors that some of the biggest banks in the world are in very serious trouble. For example, Jim Willie (a financial writer who usually puts out really solid information) is insisting that Deutsche Bank is on the verge of collapse…

The best information coming to my desk indicates that three major Western banks are under constant threat of failure overnight, every night, forcing extraordinary measures to avoid failure.

They are Deutsche Bank in Germany, Barclays in London, and Citibank in New York. Judging from the ongoing defense from prosecution and cooperation (flipped) with Interpol and distraction of resources, the most likely bank to die next is Deutsche Bank. They are caught with accounting fraud and outright financial fraud over collateral shell games, pertaining to USTreasury Bonds, other sovereign bonds in Southern Europe, and OTC derivatives linked to FOREX currency contracts. D-Bank is a dead man walking.

Time will tell if he is right. But without a doubt the global financial system is extremely vulnerable right now.

Most Americans assume that the problems that caused the financial crash of 2008 were fixed, but that is most definitely NOT the case. In fact, our financial system is far more shaky today than it was just before the last financial crisis. When one major bank goes down, we could start to see others fall like dominoes.

#5 Just before the financial crisis of 2008, the price of oil spiked dramatically. Well, it is starting to happen again. The price of oil hit $106 a barrel on Friday. If the price of oil continues to rise at this pace, it is going to mean big trouble for economies all over the planet.

And as I wrote about recently, every time the average price of a gallon of gasoline in the United States has risen above $3.80 during the past three years, a stock market decline has always followed.

The average price of a gallon of gasoline in the United States reached $3.55 on Friday. This is a number to keep a close eye on.

#6 Mortgage rates are absolutely skyrocketing right now…

The average U.S. rate on the 30-year fixed mortgage rose this week to 4.51%, a two-year high. Rates have been rising on expectations that the Federal Reserve will slow its bond purchases this year.

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday that the average on the 30-year loan jumped from 4.29% the previous week. Just two months ago, it was 3.35% — barely above the record low of 3.31%.

This threatens to throw the U.S. real estate market into a slowdown worse than anything we have seen since the last recession.

#7 This upcoming corporate earnings season is shaping up to be an extremely disappointing one. In fact, the percentage of companies issuing negative earnings guidance for this quarter is at a level that we have never seen before.

So is this a sign that economic activity is starting to slow down significantly?

#8 U.S. stocks are massively overextended right now. In fact, according to Graham Summers, this is the most overextended stocks have been in the past 20 years…

Today, the S&P 500 is sitting a full 30% above its 200-weekly moving average. We have NEVER been this overextended above this line at any point in the last 20 years.

#9 Rapidly rising interest rates are causing the bond market to begin to come apart at the seams. There is concern that the 30 year bull market for bonds is now over and investors are starting to pull their money out of the market at a staggering rate. In fact, 80 billion dollars was pulled out of bond funds during June alone.

#10 Rapidly rising interest rates could cause an implosion of the derivatives market at any moment. As I am so fond of reminding everyone, there are approximately 441 trillion dollars worth of interest rate derivatives out there.

If interest rates continue to soar, we could potentially see a financial disaster that is absolutely unprecedented, and the too big to fail banks would be the most vulnerable.

As USA Today recently reported, there are just five major banks that absolutely dominate derivatives trading in the United States…

Five of the biggest U.S. banks — JPMorgan, Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Bank of America Corp., Citigroup Inc. and Morgan Stanley — account for more than 90% of derivatives contracts. Regulators estimate that nearly half of derivatives are traded outside the United States.

Could you imagine the financial devastation that we would see if several of those banks started to collapse at the same time?

When you hear the mainstream media begin to talk about a “derivatives crisis” involving major banks, that will be a sign that disaster is upon us.

Most Americans don’t realize that Wall Street has been transformed into the largest casino in the history of the world. Most Americans don’t realize that the major banks are literally walking a financial tightrope each and every day.

All it is going to take is one false step and we will be looking at a financial crisis even worse than what happened back in 2008.

So enjoy this little bubble of false prosperity while you can.

It is not going to last for too much longer.
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Buy-To-Rent Is Officially Dead In California

Submitted by Tyler Durden on 04/01/2014 Submitted by Michael Krieger of Liberty Blitzkrieg blog,

buy to let propertyI’ve chronicled the saga of “buy-to-rent” for well over a year now. From some of its most exuberant phases to its now epic retreat (investment firm property purchases are now down 70% year-to-date).

It seems as if the pullback of private equity and hedge funds from this asset class is even more brutal in certain regions, with Blackstone now reporting its purchases in California down a staggering 90% this year.

Not to worry, I’m quite certain unemployed and deeply indebted recent college graduates will soon pick up the slack due to the anticipated resurgence of subprime lending.

From the LA Times:

This time last year, investment firms raced to buy dozens of single-family homes in neighborhoods from Fontana to South Los Angeles to lease them out, transforming the mom-and-pop rental business into a Wall Street juggernaut.

 

But now the firms themselves have all but stopped buying in Southern California, the latest evidence that home prices have hit a ceiling. The professional investors no longer see bargains here.

 

The real estate arm of Blackstone Group, the largest buyer, has cut its California purchases 90% over the last year, a spokesman said. Santa Monica company Colony Capital reports a similar retreat. Oaktree Capital of Los Angeles, meanwhile, is looking to cash out by selling its portfolio of more than 500 homes, many of them in Southern California.

But prices have since been flat in Southern California. Many families are taking a pass on the more expensive homes. And the math doesn’t work on Wall Street either.

“Prices have gotten to the stage where we cannot buy a house, renovate it, rent it and still make a reasonable return,” said Peter Rose, a spokesman for Blackstone, which owns roughly 41,000 rental houses nationwide. “There was a moment in time where it made sense.”

 

On Wednesday, some of the bigger players launched a trade group, the National Rental Home Council, to advocate for their interests in Washington.

Yep, just what we need.

“People want to live here, whether they buy or rent,” said Gary Beasley, chief executive of Oakland company Starwood Waypoint Residential Trust.

“Most of the low fruit has been harvested, but there’s still plenty of fruit in the tree,” Beasley said. “And we’ve got fruit pickers.”

Seriously, where do they find these people…

Full article here.
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US installed Ukrainian Nazi War Crimes in Odessa

What’s REALLY Going On In Odessa, Ukraine

Ukrainian War Crimes Whitewashed by Western Press

After more than 30 people died in a fire in the Ukrainian seaside resort town of Odessa, most of the Western press pretended that no one knows what happened or whose fault it was. For example, see these stories from the Guardian and BBC.

But USA Today reports:

Witnesses and journalists reported that as the building burned with people inside, a crowd shouted, “Glory to Ukraine!” and “Death to enemies!” [These are neo-Nazi slogans.]

 

***

 

[T]he Associated Press reported that the Russian sympathizers took refuge in the trade union hall on Kulikovo Field Square after government supporters rousted their encampment outside and then burned their tents. Police said the building was set on fire with Molotov cocktails.

At 5 seconds into this 15-second video, you can see a Molotov cocktail being thrown at the building in which the Russian sympathizers:

 

 

 

 

Former Associated Press and Newsweek reporter Robert Parry points out how bad New York Times coverage of the Odessa attack has been:

On Saturday, for instance, the dominant story from Ukraine was the killing of more than 30 ethnic Russian protesters by fire and smoke inhalation in Ukraine’s southern port city of Odessa. They had taken refuge in a union building after a clash with a pro-Kiev mob which reportedly included right-wing thugs.

 

Even the neocon-dominated Washington Post led its Saturday editions with the story of “Dozens killed in Ukraine fighting” and described the fatal incident this way: “Friday evening, a pro-Ukrainian mob attacked a camp where the pro-Russian supporters had pitched tents, forcing them to flee to a nearby government building, a witness said. The mob then threw gasoline bombs into the building. Police said 31 people were killed when they choked on smoke or jumped out of windows.

 

“Asked who had thrown the Molotov cocktails, pro-Ukrainian activist Diana Berg said, ‘Our people – but now they are helping them [the survivors] escape the building.’” [Here’s the Post story.]

 

By contrast, here is how the New York Times reported the event in its Saturday editions as part of a story by C.J. Chivers and Noah Sneider focused on the successes of the pro-coup armed forces in overrunning some eastern Ukrainian rebel positions.

 

“Violence also erupted Friday in the previously calmer port city of Odessa, on the Black Sea, where dozens of people died in a fire related to clashes that broke out between protesters holding a march for Ukrainian unity and pro-Russian activists. The fighting itself left four dead and 12 wounded, Ukraine’s Interior Ministry said. Ukrainian and Russian news media showed images of buildings and debris burning, fire bombs being thrown and men armed with pistols.”

 

Note how the Times evades placing any responsibility on the pro-coup mob for trying to burn the “pro-Russian activists” out of a building, an act that resulted in the highest single-day death toll since the actual coup which left more than 80 people dead from Feb. 20-22. From reading the Times, you wouldn’t know who had died in the building and who had set the fire.

Billmon comments:

Not even “atrocities were commited,” just a fire “related” to clashes that “broke out.” Immaculate conception theory of war crimes.

Postscript: While the Western press tries to paint the percentage of neo Nazis within the new Ukrainian government as small, the leader of the “protests” which ousted the previous president of Ukraine is a neo Nazi and follower of WWII Nazi sympathizer Stepan Bandera, and neo Nazis are largely in control of the new government.

Whatever You Think of Putin, You Should Understand How Russia Thinks

Even if you think Putin is a tyrant with ambitions to build an imperial Russia, you can’t understand the war in Ukraine unless you understand how Russians think.

20 million Russians died fighting the Nazis in World War II.

Neo Nazis just killed at least 42 Russians when they firebombed a building in Odessa, Ukraine that the Russians had taken shelter in.

Agence France-Presse reports:

Russian official rhetoric has increasingly compared events in Ukraine to the darkest crimes of Nazi Germany, ahead of next week’s anniversary of Soviet victory in World War II.

 

***

 

The fire in the southern Ukrainian city of Odessa that claimed at least 42 lives on Friday has been swiftly dubbed a new “reprisal raid” and even the “new Khatyn,” a reference to the Belarussian village where 149 residents were burned alive by the Nazis in 1943.

 

***

 

The Khatyn massacre went down in Russian history books as one of the Nazis’ most brutal “reprisal raids,” a term the Kremlin has now adopted to describe the offensive Kiev authorities have launched against pro-Moscow rebels in the flashpoint town of Slavyansk.

 

***

 

“What has happened, especially in the Trade Unions House, brings to mind the crimes of the Nazis during World War II,” pro-Kremlin lawmaker Leonid Slutsky told reporters in Moscow, referring to the Odessa fire.

 

“These are the new Khatyn and Auschwitz.”

 

A senior official in the pro-Kremlin government of Crimea, Ukraine’s peninsula taken over by Russia in March, chimed in.

 

“The last time people were burned alive in Ukraine was by the Nazis during the Great Patriotic War,” Rustam Temirgaliyev said on Facebook, referring to the Russian name for World War II.

 

***

 

Russia’s losses and sacrifice during World War II remain a hugely sensitive subject in the country ….

To the extent that the U.S. and Nato are backing the right-wing Ukrainians, we are creating conditions that the Russian leadership – rightly or wrongly – considers an existential threat.
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US installed Nazi government in Ukraine

Warning: Ukraine Is At A Flashpoint

Submitted by Chris Martenson via Peak Prosperity,

Regrettably, I am very close to issuing an official Alert over the situation in Ukraine as it has continued to both escalate and deteriorate.

More than 50 people died in violence on Friday, May 2, in Odessa and other eastern cities in Ukraine. Relations between Russia and the US are finding new lows while China and Russia grow closer.

For those living in Europe who are exposed to the possible fallout that would result from the loss of supplies of Russian energy, the time to begin preparing is right now. As we say often on this site, you’d much rather be a year early than a day late in your preparations.

The situation involving the tug of war between the West and Russia regarding Ukraine has steadily worsened over time and now involves outright economic warfare. Certainly, if Russia had levied sanctions on American and European individuals and companies similar to those levied by the West on Russian targets, we can only imagine the howls of protest the West would make over such obvious ‘provocations’ and ‘acts of war’.

For an already weakened western and Japanese financial system that is still heavily leveraged, the risks are very high for financial blowback by Russian – and possibly Chinese – agencies. Imagine a possible energy war, where Russia basically cuts off gas for Europe (that could spill over more broadly if things go badly). Or even more worrisome, a shooting war between the East and the West.

One significant risk in this story is that the die-hard ‘military first’ neocons who control US foreign policy have not encountered a real foe in a very long time. They appear to be under-appreciating what a real adversary like Russia could do if (when) push comes to shove.

These policy hawks only know how to push harder when things don’t immediately go their way and, based on previous ridiculous notions they’ve held such as the idea that the Coalition of the Willing would be met with flowers in Baghdad, they are delusional.

The list of US military involvements is long, but not very impressive when considering the strength of the adversaries (dates mark start of conflict):

  • Grenada – 1983
  • Libya – 1986
  • Panama – 1990
  • Gulf war – 1991
  • Somalia – 1992
  • Bosnia – 1993
  • Haiti – 1994
  • Kosovo 1998
  • Afghanistan – 2001
  • Liberia 2003
  • Iraq – 2003
  • North-West Pakistan – 2004
  • Yemen – 2010
  • Libya – 2011

Of course, those are just the wars we know about.

You might notice that Iran is not (yet) on that list; but recall that the US had a spy drone shot down over Iran recently, as well as managed to insert several nasty computer viruses into Iranian industrial and governmental targets, and led the issuance of full blown country-wide economic sanctions on Iran.

Further, the US has been deeply involved in supporting the insurgents in Syria (and certainly many other places) and has recently provided those Jihadists with sophisticated and potable anti-aircraft missiles and TOW anti-tank rockets.

Warfare is now conducted on multiple fronts; one being via the usual information and propaganda channels, another being in the electronic space, a third being economic, and the final one being military. Each of them are effective and damaging in their own ways.

Warfare is what you resort to when diplomacy fails, or at least that used to be the saying. Now it seems that warfare is the preferred means of ‘diplomacy’ for the US and I suppose there’s a certain rationale for that when your potential adversaries are small and easily over-powered.

Which is absolutely *not* the case with Russia; but before we get to that, we need some additional context.

Ukraine and NATO

The basic outline of the Ukrainian situation is not all that hard to follow: the US and Europe have been working hard for years to convince Ukraine to join the EU both economically and militarily via inclusion in the NATO structure.

Since the dissolution of the former USSR, the US has funneled some $5 billion into Ukraine to assure that it favors the West with these goals in mind.

Although $5 billion sounds like a lot, when it comes to advancing US interests abroad, it’s practically pocket change.

After 15 years of wooing, the US thought it had things pretty well locked up and everything appeared to be going according to plan as recently as early November 2013. Our man in charge over there was Victor Yanukovych and he seemed to be playing ball with the West.

But everything fell apart for (the now deposed) Yanukovych — and Ukraine at large — in early November 2013 when he balked at what everyone thought was going to be a signing ceremony, although very few in the public knew it at the time. This editorial is from November 2013:

In a controversial move, Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych decided not to sign the country’s anticipated Association Agreement with the European Union at a summit this week in Vilnius, Lithuania. This pact would have advanced a comprehensive framework for relations between the former Soviet republic and Western Europe. In the aftermath of Yanukovych’s regrettable decision, the United States and the European Union must reaffirm efforts to help Ukraine improve its governance, strengthen its economy and deepen ties with the West.

 

Over the long term, Ukraine would enjoy overwhelming economic and political benefits by signing the E.U. deal. As U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee earlier this month, if Kiev concludes the Associate Agreement, “it will be able to export its goods” to the European Union, “the largest single market in the world, tariff-free, by early 2014.”

 

At that same hearing, the Peterson Institute’s Anders Åslund said that the pact – which also includes a so-called Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement – could add as much as 12 percent to the country’s gross domestic product and boost its exports by 46 percent. The Association Agreement would also intensify efforts by the European Union and its member states to provide technical assistance to improve good governance and combat corruption in Ukraine.

 

Russia, however, has successfully used political and economic leverage to dissuade Ukraine from signing the E.U. deal. In the months prior to the Vilnius summit, Russian President Vladimir Putin engaged in a trade war with Kiev, blocking nearly all imports from Ukraine and cutting energy supplies to the country. In turn, this reduced Ukrainian exports by 25 percent and shrank the economy by 1.5 percent. As the Wall Street Journal reported, “Ukrainian officials say the Russian sanctions cost them $15 billion in lost trade and could run up to half a trillion by signing the E.U. deal.”

 

What’s more, Åslund recently warned, “The Kremlin has publicly threatened to drive Ukraine into default,” adding: “Once again, as in January 2006 and January 2009, the notoriously unreliable Russian state-dominated gas company Gazprom may cut its supplies to Ukraine.”

(Source)

The basic theme here is that Ukraine was caught in a tug of war. On the one side you had the EU offering plenty of economic carrots, but virtually no tangible assistance besides “Hey, we’ll buy a lot of stuff from you…we promise!” while Russia was supplying Ukraine with lots of tangible assistance in the form of heavily-subsidized natural gas. Moreover, Russia was owed a huge amount of money in back payment for natural gas already shipped to and used by Ukraine.

The spurned West was outraged by that last minute scuttling of the Association Agreement by Yanukovych. Almost immediately, it began working on supporting his opposition and eventual replacement. By failing to sign that agreement, Yanukoyvych had sealed his eventual ouster and indeed he was gone within months.

Of course, nothing happens in a vacuum, and the above article does little to help us understand why Russia was messing with the plans of the Western meddlers. There’s a lot of missing context in that article, as there seems to be in nearly every article I’ve read from western sources. So, we must dig a bit deeper.

NATO – The Missing Context

The essential and missing context concerns the fact that, back in the early 1990’s when Mikhail Gorbachev agreed to the reunification of Germany, he got an explicit agreement from then US Secretary of State James Baker that NATO would “not move one inch to the East”.

Without ever renegotiating that agreement, NATO (quelle surprise!) proceeded to move into a dozen countries to the East over the following years. When it started making the move on the final piece of the chessboard — the Ukraine — Russia, understandably and for a number of reasons, was not too keen on that.

We might consider Ukraine the final straw for a very patient Russia that did not resist as NATO steadily advanced East many millions of inches. Here’s a recent map of NATO membership:

nato-mapOn March 12 1999, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland joined NATO.

Then, on March 20 2004, Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovakia and Slovenia all joined.

And finally on April 1 2009 Albania and Croatia joined.

Now the really interesting part of this story is that the original reason NATO was founded for was to counteract the combined strength of the former Soviet Union. Note that several of the recent NATO members are former members of the Warsaw Pact, which was the USSR’s equivalent of NATO.

So if NATO represents no threat to the East, as the feckless western press regularly implies, then why all the military advancement towards the East? Why have NATO at all in these post-Soviet days?

An easy answer that makes sense here is that the West, indeed, still considers the East a threat and is doing what it can to assert its dominance to prevent that threat from materializing. It’s just a big power game. The unfolding events have about as much to do with advancing democracy as Donald Trump’s hairpiece has to do with advancing good taste.

After so much prior success in steadily advancing NATO eastwards, the EU and the US thought they could just roll up Ukraine, too. But their efforts were stymied by Putin and the West has not responded to that ‘provocation’ very well. Which brings us to the present.

Diplomacy By Other Means

Apparently, instead of trying to resolve the situation through normal diplomatic channels, the US decided that the best path forward was to get rid of Yanukovych by any means necessary and get someone (anyone!) else installed who might be more compliant to US wishes.

There’s plenty of supporting evidence to make the claim that much of the recent political and social turmoil in Ukraine was due to US involvement (although that should be the first assumption of anybody who has paid the slightest bit of attention to the conduct of US foreign policy over the past decades).

Okay, so here’s the plot so far. The President of Ukraine, the not terribly likeable and corrupt Yanukovych, balked at the EU Association Agreement in November 2013. After booking a hasty plane ticket, US Senator John McCain landed in Kiev soon after in December, meeting with the various players that might reasonably depose the President.

McCain-Ukraine-Opposition

(Source)

That’s what happens when you disappoint the US. You can expect them to come after your job even if you happen to be the President of a country of 45 million people with a territory the size of France.

Please note that even as McCain is shaking hands with the next leader of Ukraine, Yanukovych was still the properly elected and sitting President, and would be for several more months.

We next draw your attention to the recording of Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland speaking with US Ukrainian ambassador Pyatt leaked in February of 2013. Almost certainly, it was Russia that recorded and leaked this conversation — as it was (and still is) mightily embarrassing to prior US claims that it was simply a detached observer with an interest in Democracy.

Instead, what the transcript clearly shows is that the US was actively plotting to work with various and specific opposition leaders before the then-sitting President had been removed from office. According to my dictionary, this is the definition of a coup d’état.

Here’s a portion of that transcript:

Pyatt: I think we’re in play. The Klitschko [Vitaly Klitschko, one of three main opposition leaders] piece is obviously the complicated electron here. Especially the announcement of him as deputy prime minister and you’ve seen some of my notes on the troubles in the marriage right now so we’re trying to get a read really fast on where he is on this stuff. (…)

 

Nuland: Good. I don’t think Klitsch should go into the government. I don’t think it’s necessary, I don’t think it’s a good idea.

 

Pyatt: Yeah. I guess… in terms of him not going into the government, just let him stay out and do his political homework and stuff. I’m just thinking in terms of sort of the process moving ahead we want to keep the moderate democrats together. The problem is going to be Tyahnybok [Oleh Tyahnybok, the other opposition leader] and his guys and I’m sure that’s part of what [President Viktor] Yanukovych is calculating on all this.

 

Nuland: I think Yats is the guy who’s got the economic experience, the governing experience. He’s the… what he needs is Klitsch and Tyahnybok on the outside. He needs to be talking to them four times a week, you know. I just think Klitsch going in… he’s going to be at that level working for Yatseniuk, it’s just not going to work.

(Source – BBC)

What’s being discussed here is an assessment of which of the several possible replacements for Yanukovych might be in the US’ best interests. The person selected, “Yats”, was indeed the eventual replacement, and he did indeed get a coveted visit from the Vice President of the US, Joseph Biden, as promised, with a later meeting at the White House.

However, you should know that Yatseniuk is a member of the Fatherland Party, of which Yulia Tymochencko (she of the famous and iconic hair braids) is a member. Tymochencko is most recently (in)famous for saying that the ~8 million Russian speaking citizens in her country should be ‘nuked’. She pretty much has generally called for wiping out all Russians and Russian speaking people from the Ukraine.

An even worse character is the other figure in this dialog, Oleh Tyahnybok. He’s the leader of the Svoboda party, which is a not-very-nice group of ultranationalists with inclinations towards xenophobia, anti-semitism and fascism.

Here’s some relevant information on the Svoboda party, which has 36 out of 450 seats in Parliament.

The leader of Svoboda, Oleh Tyahnybok, who has appeared at the Kiev protests, has a long history of making inflammatory anti-Semitic statements, including the accusation during a 2004 speech before parliament that Ukraine is controlled by a “Muscovite-Jewish mafia.” Miroshnychenko also called the Ukrainian-born American film actress Mila Kunis a “dirty Jewess.”

 

Tyahnybok has also claimed that “organized Jewry” dominate Ukrainian media and government, have enriched themselves through criminal activities and plan to engineer a “genocide” upon the Christian Ukrainian population. Another top Svoboda member, Yuriy Mykhalchyshyn, a deputy in parliament, often quotes Nazi Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels, as well as other Third Reich luminaries like Ernst Rohm and Gregor Strasser.

(Source)

Goodness gracious. These are the sorts of people that the US has decided to support after Yanukovych disappointed its efforts at corralling Ukraine?

One of Russia’s chief complaints all along, besides the obvious transgression of the NATO agreement, has been that the Ukraine has a bad history when fascist elements get in charge. Russia, understandably, believes it has a strong and compelling interest in seeing that such groups do not take power immediately on its western border.

We might reasonably imagine that if, say, a group of people in Mexico or Canada with a long history of inciting hatred and violence against Americans were seeking to take over the country, the US would have a compelling interest in preventing their success.

In managing the PR for this power transition within the Ukraine, we see a concerted attempt to win over public opinion by hidden power players masquerading as grassroots activists, on fine display in this excellent video that went viral:

Ukranian-Viral-Video(Source)

Having been viewed more than 8 million times, this video can be called effective at getting its message across.

However, if we look at who put that video up, we see the name Whisper Roar at the bottom. When we track that down, we find that it’s an organization putting out very professional video and movie assets that happen to tell just one side of the Ukraine story.

This video, then, was not produced by a young Ukrainian woman by herself – she had very professional and deep pocketed help from western interests and governments.

Whisper to Roar is staffed at least in part by US NGO personnel, and is very closely aligned with Yulia Tymoshenko of the Fatherland Party, the very same one that the US now backs in Ukraine. Here’s a group photo of the key Whisper to Roar staff taken form their website:

Ukraine-Whisper-to-roar-staff

(Source)

The woman with the braids is none other than Yulia Tymoshenko, who apparently thinks Russian speaking Ukrainians should be nuked. Nice person.

And do you see that guy in the middle marked by the red arrow? That’s Larry Diamond, described as the executive producer and inspiration for the project. And who’s he? A big player in the world of advanced statecraft with an interesting background:

During 2002–3, Diamond served as a consultant to the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and was a contributing author of its report Foreign Aid in the National Interest. He has also advised and lectured to the World Bank, the United Nations, the State Department, and other governmental and nongovernmental agencies dealing with governance and development. During the first three months of 2004, Diamond served as a senior adviser on governance to the Coalition Provisional Authority in Baghdad.

(Source)

I pulled the above bio from the website of the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) where Mr. Diamond now works, at least part of the time. He seems to be a busy guy, so I assume he has other roles at other organizations, too. For the record, anybody involved with the Coalitional Authority in Baghdad is automatically on my personal probation list because I consider the entire Iraqi adventure to have been illegal at the start and deeply corrupt throughout.

To have been a part of all that means he was on the inside of a very illegitimate episode in history.

The NED is an NGO fully funded by the US government with the intention of ‘spreading democracy’ around the world. In this case, though, it looks like they spent their money producing and spreading a very effective piece of propaganda rather than advancing the intellectual case for why a US-style democracy (whatever that means in today’s oligarchical and very un-democratic US framework) would be in the best interests of the Ukrainian people.

The NED has long been a supporting player in the role of bringing Ukraine into the EU and NATO fold. It has funded numerous meetings and writing meant to further that exact agenda (as pulled from their own website).

At any rate, that viral video supposedly telling the tale of a passionate, pretty Ukrainian woman is actually a professionally-produced piece made by people with deep ties to both the US government and the specific parties in the Ukraine that the US just happens to be backing.

In other words: propaganda. Which is fine, I suppose, as long as you are not trying to also claim that it is only Russia being the provocateur in this story, as the US still maintains. Or tries to.

What Comes Next?

Okay, so that was a long tour through just some of the antics surrounding the US’ involvement in bringing about change (you can believe in!(TM)) in the Ukraine, and it’s by no means complete. I raise these items to counter the usual clutter and complete lack of context being provided in the US press and to illustrate that the US is already in pretty deep and therefore unlikely to back down now.

Before we move on, do you not find it at all strange that the US media, usually extremely sensitive to anti-semitism, has given the McCain and Nuland support of the Svoboda party a complete pass? I find it to be like the case of “the dog that did not bark”, meaning the silence reveals a very fickle moral compass at the heart of the western press.

The demonization of Putin as the bad guy here is near complete in western media. But there’s plenty of mischief all around and, as usual, the US finds itself with some pretty strange bedfellows as it seeks an outcome it likes.

In Part 2: How This Situation Can Quickly Get Much Worse, we look at the severe retaliatory damage an angry Russia can inflict on Western interests and lives — and that’s before considering the military angle. The West has already initiated economic sanctions with Russia; and so Russia is eyeing using its vast energy resources — which Europe is very dependent on — as a club to swing back in return. Both of these are forms of warfare, which increasingly risk pushing us over the slippery — and terrifying — slope towards outright military conflict.

Click here to access Part 2 of this report (free executive summary, enrollment required for full access).

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The U.S. Has REPEATEDLY Defaulted

Submitted by George Washington on 10/14/2013 01:49 -0400

Some people argue that countries can’t default. But that’s false.

It is widely stated that the U.S. government has never defaulted. However, that is also a myth.

Catherine Rampbell reported in the New York Times in 2011:

The United States has actually defaulted on its debt obligations before. [wpex Read more]

The first time was in 1790, the only episode Professor Reinhart unearthed in which the United States defaulted on its external debt obligations. It also defaulted on its domestic debt obligations then, too.

Then in 1933, in the midst of the Great Depression, the United States had another domestic debt default related to the repayment of gold-based obligations.

(Update.)

Donald Marron writes at Forbes:

The United States defaulted on some Treasury bills in 1979 (ht: Jason Zweig). And it paid a steep price for stiffing bondholders.

Terry Zivney and Richard Marcus describe the default in The Financial Review…:

Investors in T-bills maturing April 26, 1979 were told that the U.S. Treasury could not make its payments on maturing securities to individual investors. The Treasury was also late in redeeming T-bills which become due on May 3 and May 10, 1979. The Treasury blamed this delay on an unprecedented volume of participation by small investors, on failure of Congress to act in a timely fashion on the debt ceiling legislation in April, and on an unanticipated failure of word processing equipment used to prepare check schedules.

The United States thus defaulted because Treasury’s back office was on the fritz in the wake of a debt limit showdown.

This default was temporary. Treasury did pay these T-bills after a short delay. But it balked at paying additional interest to cover the period of delay. According to Zivney and Marcus, it required both legal arm twisting and new legislation before Treasury made all investors whole for that additional interest.

Many consider Nixon’s decision to refusal to redeem dollars for gold to constitute a default. For example, University of Massachusetts at Amherst economics professor Gerald Epstein writes:

Forty years ago this month, on August 15, 1971, President Nixon “closed the gold window”, refusing to let foreign central banks redeem their dollars for gold, facilitating the devaluation of the U.S dollar which had been fixed relative to gold for almost thirty years. While not strictly a default on a US debt obligation, by closing the gold window the US government abrogated a financial commitment it had made to the rest of the world at the Bretton Woods Conference in 1944 that set up the post-war monetary system. At Bretton Woods, the United States had promised to redeem any and all U.S. dollars held by foreigners – later limited to just foreign central banks — for $35 dollars an ounce. This promise explains why the Bretton Woods monetary system was called a “gold exchange standard” and why many believed the US dollar to be “as good as gold”. When Nixon refused to let foreign central banks turn in their dollars for gold, and encouraged the devaluation of the dollar which reduced the value of foreign central bank holdings of dollars, the Nixon administration effectively “defaulted” on the United States’ long-standing obligations ending once and for all the Bretton Woods System.

James Grant writes in the Washington Post:

The U.S. government defaulted after the Revolutionary War, and it defaulted at intervals thereafter. Moreover, on the authority of the chairman of the Federal Reserve Board, the government means to keep right on shirking, dodging or trimming, if not legally defaulting.

Default means to not pay as promised, and politics may interrupt the timely service of the government’s debts.

***

Things were very different when America owed the kind of dollars that couldn’t just be whistled into existence. By 1790, the new republic was in arrears on $11,710,000 in foreign debt. These were obligations payable in gold and silver. Alexander Hamilton, the first secretary of the Treasury, duly paid them. In doing so, he cured a default.

***

But in the whirlwind of the “first hundred days” of the New Deal, the dollar came in for redefinition. The country needed a cheaper and more abundant currency, FDR said. By and by, the dollar’s value was reduced to 1/35 of an ounce of gold.

By any fair definition, this was another default. Creditors both domestic and foreign had lent dollars weighing just what the Founders had said they should weigh. They expected to be repaid in identical money.

Language to this effect — a “gold clause” — was standard in debt contracts of the time, including instruments binding the Treasury. But Congress resolved to abrogate those contracts, and in 1935 the Supreme Court upheld Congress.

The “American default,” as this piece of domestic stimulus was known in foreign parts , provoked condemnation in the City of London. “One of the most egregious defaults in history,” judged the London Financial News. “For repudiation of the gold clause is nothing less than that. The plea that recent developments have created abnormal circumstances is wholly irrelevant. It was precisely against such circumstances that the gold clause was designed to safeguard bondholders.”

The lighter Roosevelt dollar did service until 1971, when President Richard M. Nixon lightened it again. In fact, Nixon allowed it to float. No longer was the value of the greenback defined in law as a particular weight of gold or silver. It became what it looked like: a piece of paper.

John Chamberlain argues at the Mises Institute that the U.S. defaulted on its:

  • Continental Currency in 1779
  • Domestic debt between 1782 through 1790
  • Greenbacks in 1862
  • Liberty Bonds in 1934States Have Defaulted Also

States have also defaulted.

The Wall Street Journal noted in 2011:

Land values soared. States splurged on new programs. Then it all went bust, bringing down banks and state governments with them. This wasn’t America [today], it was America in 1841, when a now-forgotten depression pushed eight states and a desolate territory called Florida into the unthinkable: They defaulted on debts.

And Catherine Rampbell notes:

There were two episodes when a spate of American states defaulted on their debts, in 1841-42 (nine states) and 1873-84 (10 states). The havoc wreaked by these state-level defaults is part of the reason that so many states now have constitutional balanced-budget requirements.

China Alleges that the U.S. Has Already Defaulted By Weakening the Dollar

Grant argues:

If today’s political impasse leads to another default, it will be a kind of technicality. Sooner or later, the Obama Treasury will resume writing checks. The question is what those checks will buy.

***

This is the unsustainable conceit of the world’s superpower-cum-super debtor. By deed, if not audible word, we Americans say: “The greenback is the world’s great monetary brand. You have no choice but to use it. Like it or lump it.” But the historical record of paper currencies is clear: Governments always over-issue it. The people finally do lump it.”

(Indeed, the average life expectancy for a fiat currency is less than 40 years.)

And our creditor – China – has said that America has defaulted by printing too many dollars. For example:

A Chinese ratings house has accused the United States of defaulting on its massive debt, state media said Friday, a day after Beijing urged Washington to put its fiscal house in order.

“In our opinion, the United States has already been defaulting,” Guan Jianzhong, president of Dagong Global Credit Rating Co. Ltd., the only Chinese agency that gives sovereign ratings, was quoted by the Global Times saying.

Washington had already defaulted on its loans by allowing the dollar to weaken against other currencies – eroding the wealth of creditors including China, Guan said.

That might be Chinese propaganda. But the point remains that the U.S. might not be able to print money forever without facing consequences from its creditors.

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213 Years Of Sovereign Yields And Defaults

As Jim Grant recently recently noted, America’s default is inevitable, as he confronts the implied message of the Federal Reserve’s pro-inflation policy: We will default in the future, though no lawyer will call it “default.” However, a glance back at the last 213 years of global history shows it is not that unusual for major sovereign nations to rapidly crumble and enter a state of default. As Global Financial Data’s Ralph Dillon points out, all of this fear and rhetoric over a US default had him thinking about history and defaults. How have other countries that have defaulted faired over history? Some good and some bad for sure, but for the developed markets and global economic powerhouses, those that did default are still here alive and kicking. In fact, some have defaulted 8 times and are still a major player on the world stage.

Via Global Financial Data’s Ralph Dillon,

With a couple days to Armageddon, it appears that we will be going right down to the wire once again for yet another politically generated debt crisis. More nonsense and political posturing from our elected officials has had a dramatic effect on the equity and bond markets and its movements. With every talk and whisper, the markets will react and quite possibly, over react.

While default is nothing new for many countries, it is for the United States. Many economists have said that a US default would have catastrophic consequences for the global community. Borrowing costs would essentially sky rocket, global equity prices would be leveled, dollars status as a benchmark questioned and most importantly, a reversal into another deeper and darker world recession.

All of this fear and rhetoric had me thinking about history and defaults. How have other countries that have defaulted faired over history? Some good and some bad for sure, but for the developed markets and global economic powerhouses, those that did default are still here alive and kicking. In fact, some have defaulted 8 times and are still a major player on the world stage.

So the question is, would a default really be that bad for us and is this an opportunity to get our own fiscal issues in order? Should we use a default to wake us up from this debt induced binge? Would it help us to address the bigger issues we face like debt and entitlements? One can only speculate and I guess we shall find out when we cross that bridge. But for the time being, it is being played out on the world stage by our inept and ignorant elected officials who are undoubtedly responsible for getting us into this mess in the first place. Without them, we would not be even talking about a debt crisis.

Here we take a look at historical 10yr bond yields to 1800.

(click image for large legible version)

With it, is a list of countries that have defaulted and when.

1. United States 2013?

2. Germany 1938,1948

3. Japan 1942, 1946-1952

4. France 8 times between 1558-1788. Last one in 1812

5. Italy 1940. Almost daily speculation of another default since 2008

6. Spain 1809, 1820, 1931, 1834, 1851, 1867, 1872, 1882 and 1936-1939. Since 2008, Spanish yields spiked considerably and have been volatile on the back of another default

7. Austria 1938, 1940, 1945

8. United Kingdom 1822, 1834, 1888, 1932

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Pay Our Pensions Or We’ll Throw You In Jail: The Legalization Of Looting

Submitted by Tyler Durden on 03/19/2014

Submitted by Charles Hugh-Smith of OfTwoMinds blog,

Rather than deal forthrightly with the reality that unrealistic promises made to their employees cannot be honored, local government has pursued a strategy of legalizing looting.

The gradual erosion of civil liberties, legal rights and government ethics are connected: our rights don’t just vanish into thin air, they are expropriated by government: Federal, state and local. Though much is written about the loss of civil liberties at the Federal level, many of the most blatantly illegal power grabs are occurring in local government.

This expropriation is under the radar of the average citizen because the process slowly chips away the fundamentals of legality and justice: bit by bit, due process and the rights of the individual have been eroded by state and local governments until the fundamental Constitutional protections simply cease to exist.

When local government looting is legalized, the entire system is illegal. Here are three recent examples of blatantly illegal looting by local governments.

First up: privatizing the collection of traffic fines and probation to create a modernized debtor’s prison. We turn to The Nation for the story:

The Town That Turned Poverty Into a Prison Sentence Most states shut down their debtors’ prisons more than 100 years ago; in 2005, Harpersville, Alabama, opened one back up.

What happened to Ford in the small town of Harpersville was tangled and unconstitutional– but hardly unique. Similar tales have been playing out in more than 1,000 courts across the country, from Georgia to Idaho. In the face of strained budgets and cuts to public services, state and local governments have been stepping up their efforts to ensure that the criminal justice system pays for itself. They have increased fines and court costs, intensified law enforcement efforts, and passed so-called “pay-to-stay” laws that charge offenders daily jail fees. They have also begun contracting with “offender-funded” probation companies like JCS, which offer a particularly attractive solution—collection, at no cost to the court.

Harpersville’s experiment with private probation began nearly ten years ago. In Alabama, people know Harpersville best as a speed trap, the stretch of country highway where the speed limit changes six times in roughly as many miles. Indeed, traffic is by far the biggest business in the town of 1,600, where there is little more than Big Man’s BBQ, the Sudden Impact Collision Center and a dollar store.

In 2005, the court’s revenue was nearly three times the amount that the town received from a sales tax, Harpersville’s second-largest source of income. Fines had become key to Harpersville’s development, but it proved difficult to chase down those who did not pay. So, that year, Harpersville decided to follow in the footsteps of other Alabama cities and hire JCS to help collect.

It was a system of extraction and coercion so flagrant that Alabama Circuit Court Judge Hub Harrington likened it to a modern-day “debtors’ prison.”

Her fines for the three charges added up to $2,922, court papers show. Ward sentenced her–and others who said they couldn’t pay their full fines that day– to probation. Once a means of allowing convicted offenders to stay out of jail on the condition of good behavior, probation had now become a court-sanctioned tool for debt collection.
Burdette reported to the JCS office in nearby Childersburg, where she paid her probation officer $100. Of that, $45 went toward her fine, $10 toward a one-time “start-up fee,” and the last $45 went to JCS as a monthly fee for service.

Next up: illegal search and seizure under the pretext of traffic violations. As if “driving while black” isn’t bad enough, now “driving with cash” is pretext enough to be stripped of your rights and your property stolen by local government:

Lawsuits over cash seizures settled in Nevada

Tan Nguyen of Newport, Calif., and Michael Lee of Denver said in lawsuits filed in U.S. District Court in Reno they were stopped last year on U.S. Interstate 80 near Winnemucca about 165 miles east of Reno under the pretext of speeding. They said they were subjected to illegal searches and told they wouldn’t be released with their vehicles unless they forfeited their cash.

The lawsuits claimed the cash seizures were part of a pattern of stopping drivers for speeding as a pretext for drug busts in violation of the Constitution.

Nguyen was given a written warning for speeding but wasn’t cited. As a condition of release, he signed a “property for safekeeping receipt,” which indicated the money was abandoned or seized and not returnable. But the lawsuit says he did so only because Dove threatened to seize his vehicle unless he “got in his car and drove off and forgot this ever happened.”

“He wasn’t charged with anything. He had no drugs in his car. The pretext for stopping him was he was doing 78 in a 75,” John Ohlson told KRNV-TV. “It’s like Jesse James or Black Bart,” he told AP in an interview last week.

The district attorney’s statement said both men were stopped legally and that “every asset that was seized pursuant to those stops was lawfully seized.”

Exhibit # 3: guilty until proven innocent: State of California seizes cash from “suspected” tax evaders with no evidence, no court action, no recourse. I have documented in detail how the jackboot of the State of California has pressed on the necks of thousands of law-abiding citizens whose only crime was moving out of California.

The State of California presumes anyone moving out of the state who still has a source of income in California–for example, a few dollars of interest earned on a bank account–owes California income tax on all their presumed income, even if they have filed income tax returns in another state.

If this isn’t the acme of illegal seizure and denial of basic rights, i.e. presumed innocent until proven guilty, then what is?

Here is one reader’s account of how this legal looting works: I wrote about this inWelcome to the United States of Orwell: Law-Abiding Taxpayers Are Treated as Criminals While the Real Criminals Go Free (March 27, 2012).

I received a letter last year that we owed the state of California’s Franchise Tax Board $90,000 for taxes in the year 2008. We replied to the Franchise Tax board in a similar manner as RT stating that:

— Did not reside in California in 2008
— Did not file a State income tax return in California in 2008
— Did not have any outstanding tax issues with California in 2008
— Did no business in California in 2008
— Owned no property in California in 2008

 

The CA Franchise Tax board responded by putting a lien on us in the state – fortunately, our banks and assets have no business in CA or I am certain our accounts would have been robbed as well.

 

After a great deal of uncertainty and angst, I found an accountant in CA who advised us that we needed to file a complete CA tax return for 2008 even though we did not owe any tax. We filed the return and received a response that we owed the state $625 to cover the State’s collection fees. We paid the fee and within two weeks received a “refund” check for the $625.

On reflection, we felt as if we had been “held up” by some powerful gangsters and if it had not been for an honest tax accountant we would have suffered much financial damage.

In other words, honest taxpayers are reduced to begging the predatory state of California to return their own money. Meanwhile, the bagmen for the local government thieves, Wells Fargo and Bank of America, among others, get to keep the $100 fee they charged the taxpayer for stealing their money. If this isn’t Orwellian, then what do you call it? “Legal”? If this is legal, legality has lost all meaning.

For more on the blatantly illegal seizures of cash from people who aren’t even residents of California and who filed income tax returns in another state, please read:

Welcome to the Predatory State of California–Even If You Don’t Live There (March 20, 2012)

The Predatory State of California, Part 2 (March 21, 2012)

Just as pernicious as outright looting is the growing dependence of local government on fines and related rip-offs. Correspondent Joel M. recently submitted this article which features New York City officials whining that the recent snow storm deprived them of sorely needed revenues from parking fines.
Costs Have Piled Up Along With the Snow of a Difficult Winter (NYT.com)

“If the winter was costly for individuals, it was even more so for municipalities. The snow triggered repeated suspensions of New York City’s alternate-side-of-the-street parking rules, delighting car owners but costing the city an average of $270,000 a day in potential fines, officials said. That added up to $4.3 million during a three-week stretch in February alone, money that would have gone to help pay for city services, including the fire and police forces, city officials said.”

Everyone who believes local government is “here to fill potholes and help disadvantaged people” needs to wake up and ask what kind of government we have when due process has been replaced with “legal” looting. Is local government focused on serving citizens or on funding public employee pensions and healthcare benefits?

The erosion of ethics of those in government service is as pernicious as the rise of legal looting. Let’s be honest, shall we? Those in local government tasked with collecting all these forms of legal looting are “just doing my job,” but how many protest the process? How many public employee unions are outraged by the legal looting that fills the coffers of their pension funds?

For context, government employees constitute about 15% of the employed workforce in the U.S.: 22 million out of 142 million. Unlike the other 85%, their employer can legalize looting on their behalf.

govt-employees8-13

Local government spending has soared for decades.

govt-state-local9-13x

So has local government debt.
local-govt-debt1-13

Promises were made to local government employees by craven, bought-and-paid-for politicos that cannot possibly be honored in a stagnating economy with widening wealth inequality. But rather than deal forthrightly with that reality, local government has pursued a strategy of legalizing looting.

From the point of view of the hapless tax donkeys and debt-serfs being looted, this strategy boils down to a stark threat: Pay Our Pensions Or We’ll Throw You in Jail.

Here’s the deal: government is supposed to serve the people, not the insiders. Please read the above news stories; can anyone claim that legalized looting is OK because the “ends” (public services) justify the “means” (legalized looting)? How many public employees care about where the money that funds their paycheck, pension and healthcare benefits comes from?

Maybe public employees should start caring about where the money is coming from, because taxation approved by elected officials or direct voter approval is one thing, and legalized looting is another. If you don’t care that your pay/pension/benefits may be partly funded by legalized looting, perhaps you should start caring.

Remember that we (the general public) can’t pull you over and “legally” steal your cash, nor can we order Wells Fargo to go into your bank account and “legally” steal your money without court review, evidence of wrongdoing or recourse. We can’t award private collection agencies the powers reserved for representative government and rig the probation system into a cash cow that benefits us.

Please don’t trot out the “good German” excuse: I only take orders. You’re the ones who are pulling the levers of the legalized looting machine; us tax donkeys and debt-serfs are on the receiving end. Given that special interests own the state legislatures, the tax donkeys and debt-serfs have only three choices: opt out, move out or stop paying, and fill your modern debtors’ prisons to the brim.

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10 Ways To Screw The System

From: Breaking News | Thomas Dishaw July 16, 2013

As most Americans become fed up with elected officials, economic conditions, scandals, taxes and lack of good paying jobs, finding ways to save money and stay off the grid have become basic ways of survival for most of us. Below is a list of 10 actions you can adopt to become more sufficient.

1) Ditch Your Bank Account-Most Americans are fed up with the US banking system. High fees, no interest, poor customer service, bailouts and the loss of personal privacy have left most of us with bad taste in our mouths. If a majority of us would pull our money out the bank we could force change, and the creation of an alternative banking system. Another great idea is getting behind alternative currencies in your area.

2) Eat Organic– By far one of the best things you can do for your health, and to take money out of Monsanto’s bank account, is to support organic farmers. We all the know the health benefits of eating organic will delay or flat out stop the progression of disease, saving you precious time on this earth and a few dollars out of your bank account.

3) Cancel Cable– Disconnect yourself from media lies and White House talking points and stop paying an outrageous monthly fee for lies and dis-information. Other cheap entertainment alternatives include the internet, NetFlix, and HULU. Or even pull yourself completely away from mainstream media and become more involved in local Community activities.

4) Pay with Cash– Cash has many benefits. Have you ever gone to the gas pump thinking you were getting one price and then was charged another? Most gas stations offer the lower price to customers paying with cash. Cash is also a great way to curb spending, and a little security when the banks announce a “holiday” leaving most Americans penniless. Thanks to the new “nanny state” staying off the CIA’s tracking grid will be almost impossible since cash is now associated with terrorism.

5) Cancel Customer Loyalty Cards– Ok, if you won’t cancel your loyalty card because of the cash savings at the register than at least use a fake name and information. This information obtained with these cards are worth more to the companies than the total saving customers receive. Corporations and Government pay millions for this data, and with the implication of “Obamacare” your food spending information will be used against you to jack up your rates. Just imagine the reaction when your doctor pulls out your file and questions you on the amount of butter you buy. Then 2 weeks later receiving a letter from your insurer informing you your rates just doubled because you were an at risk patient.

6) Get Out Of Debt– Easier said than done for most people. But once the chains of debt are removed your financial freedom is something they can never take away. Becoming debt free is one thing the system hates. It removes you from the obligation of banks and credit cards which are instruments they use to keep us enslaved.

7) Water Filtration-Stop drinking tap water. Its filled with every chemical under the sun. Fluoride and the cocktail of anti-depresents keep us in a zombie state. Bottled water is Plan B, but not a very good one. Your best bet is to invest in a water purification system,[like the Berkey or the M9 under the counter system is good too] that removes most of the toxins that plague our water supply.

8) Invest In Family– The powers that be hate to see a strong family unit. With a strong family anything is possible. You increase your ability to survive in an ever changing world, have people you can count on, financial support and emotional support all of which you can’t put a monetary value on.

9) Get Healthy– Health is wealth, that’s the bottom line. You don’t need a gym membership to be a healthy person. Whether its walking or running every day, doing sit ups and pushups, utilizing your local pool or just becoming active again by playing basketball, soccer, football or baseball. Any type of activity that gets you away from the television and enjoying the fresh air is a must.

10) Get A Cat- Cats are great entertainment, they catch Mice and other rodents and they are clean. They lower your blood pressure and help you laugh and relax. When you are happy you are really screwing the system.

 

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Oh my: Jimmy Carter calls Obama incompetent

Cartoon: Who's the worst President EVER Contest, Jimmy Carter sits in the Judges table in error

Cartoon: Who’s the worst President EVER Contest, Jimmy Carter sits in the Judges table in error

Yes, Jimmy Carter – for now America’s worst ex-President – has called Barack Obama incompetent.

Now, things have gotten so bad for Obama that former president Jimmy Carter has called President Obama incompetent in the family-friendly pages of Parade magazine.

“He’s done the best he could under the circumstances,” Carter said of Obama in an interviewed published on Thursday. “His major accomplishment was Obamacare, and the implementation of it now is questionable at best.” (RELATED: Jimmy Carter: America no longer has a functioning democracy)

Yes, but at least Americans 34 years ago weren’t stupid enough to reelect Carter.
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redflagsRed Flags!

Submitted by Capitalist Exploits on 07/17/2013

By Chris Tell at Capitalistexploits.at

 

Investing is as much about finding opportunities, profitable companies, and sound management as it is in avoiding fraudsters, ill-thought business ventures, or any of the other risks from greedy bankers and brokes. Some time back I was given a copy of Fiasco. Frank recounts the activities of Morgan Stanley traders and how they would, “rip investors’ faces off”. It’s a fun read. Thank God wall street has been cleaned up and nothing like this goes on anymore heh.

I wrote an article some time back discussing how investors go through a process of learning how to become better at their professions. In this process Mark and I have found some nitty-gritty details which today I’d like to discuss. [wpex Read more]

In the investment world the presence of the SEC is much more a detriment to investors than it is a detriment to criminals. You stand a real risk of having the criminal steal your money with a smile on his face, and the odds are he/she will get away clean. Remember Allied capital and the SEC response to President and founder of Greenlight capital, David Einhorn’s allegations?

He was not only demonized and shunned in the media but was investigated by the SEC. Rare Chris, rare. Alas no. Lehman, AIG, Bear Stearns, Enron, Worldcom…

Oh well at least we can rely on the rating agencies if not the regulators heh! I mean look S&P just downgraded US debt. Clearly they’re onto something. The smartest minds in the business for sure. I mean never mind that the ONLY time any nation on this ball of dirt we call home has managed to repay a truly humongous debt was between 1815 and 1900 when the Brits managed to set the record after their total debt to GDP reached a whopping 260%. Mind you took an industrial revolution to help them along.

A little factoid you might wish to consider: Total debt to GDP over 260% has NEVER EVER been repaid before ANYWHERE ANYTIME.

Next little factoid: Countries presently exceeding this magical line in the now digital sand include Germany, Canada, United States, Switzerland, Italy, France, Japan, South Korea, Spain, United Kingdom. Just saying.

So, if we are not to rely on a governmental regulatory institution or rating agencies to guide us and prevent fraud, scamsters and their ilk from coming anywhere near our portfolio, we must rely on ourselves. To that end I present the following lists, which are far from complete, but provide a DD101 checklist to consider.

 

Flags to look out for (Public companies):

  • Stock splits/share rollbacks (reverse splits). Institutional money managers instinctively shy away from penny stocks. Companies can and do avoid being lumped with other penny stocks by stock splitting. After having worked with fund managers at some of the world’s largest financial institutions I can tell you that the amount of DD done at times before purchase is truly abysmal. You’ve been warned!
  • Name changing. You screw up. No problem, change your name and fleece some more investors under a different moniker. Heavy marketing associated with all of the above. Like feces and flies you’ll often find them together.
  • A name change accompanied by a rollback and you’re likely looking at a great company… to short!
  • Pump and dump: Stock alerts from newsletter writers, or worse – emails telling you to “buy this stock now.” Take a look at whether any financings have been done, or are being done, and who is getting paid. An “analyst” that gets paid fees for raising capital is an analyst’s bottom. Promoters that get paid in stock or cash to sing a company’s praises are biased, period.
  • Following closely on the heels of the previous point. Excessive PR statements which amount to fluff and bull (a technical term).
  • Officer/Director resignations. Unless he/she won the lottery or has a dreaded disease, beware.
  • Failing to file financial reports in a timely manner. Somethings amiss, don’t wait around to find out what it is.
  • Upwards revised capex year after year. Ok, we get it. You’re incompetent. Fine just don’t expect any of my money. This happens a lot in the mining and construction sectors but certainly isn’t exclusive to them.

Startup or early stage investing:

  • No competition: When I hear an entrepreneur tell me this it has been always 100% wrong. Don’t be fooled. There is always competition.
  • Entrepreneurs who don’t invest their own money in their business.
  • Entrepreneurs with pre-existing debts. Debt is a noose around anyone’s neck and when not controlled it causes people to make erratic and dangerous decisions. Not only is excessive personal or professional debt an indication of poor money management, but the incentive for good guys to turn bad is high. Your angel capital could very easily be misappropriated to settle debts. Don’t even go there
  • Predicting hockey sticks. Without exception every explosive growth story I’ve researched has been one where founders never predicted the outcome. Sure they were positive; one needs to be if beginning a business, but expectations of exponential returns in a particular product are unrealistic. The only area that I feel this doesn’t apply to is that of macro-economics. Things such as predicting the coming Bond collapse in government debt markets, the explosive growth of certain economies.
  • Entrepreneurs who are dictators. These guys want to control everything. They typically lack any board of advisors, believing that they can and will do it all themselves. They’re pig headed, stubborn and will either make billions or you’ll lose your shirt. Risks are too high. We like balanced individuals who understand that in order to grow their business they will need to bring knowledge and skills to the business which they don’t posses.
  • Lack of financial information. Even if you’re dealing with the smallest fruit stand on the side of the road, a business that doesn’t keep track of their finances is DOOMED!
  • Entrepreneurs setting up business in a foreign country which they have little experience or knowledge in, and where they have not engaged local advisors or partners – customs, bureaucracy, legal environment, business standards… I could go on but essentially if you’re unfamiliar with a sector, country or business climate you’re at a disadvantage. (Mark’s note: Personal experience with this one)
  • Lastly the biggest no-no. Lying. Call it an “omission”, call it a “mistake”, call it whatever you like, but don’t call me. I’m gone.

There are more, no doubt, but the above are those I’ve dealt with most recently.

If you’ve got any other important ones you can think of plug them in the comments section.

– Chris

2 quotes today since I think both are equally valid.

“Test fast, fail fast, adjust fast.” Tom Peters

“People who don’t take risks generally make about two big mistakes a year. People who do take risks generally make about two big mistakes a year.” Peter Drucker
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Why America is NOT the greatest country in the world, anymore.

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Big Lie: America Doesn’t Have #1 Richest Middle-Class in the World… We’re Ranked 27th!

Is there one cause of the middle-class collapse that rises above all others?

Yes. The International Labor organization produced a remarkable study, (Global Wage Report 2012-13) that sorts out the causes of why wages have remained stagnant while elite incomes have soared. The report compares key causal explanations like declining bargaining power of unions, porous social safety nets, globalization, new technologies and financialization.

Guess which one had the biggest impact on the growing split between the one percent and the 99 percent?

Financialization!

What is that? Economist Gerald Epstein offers us a working definition:

“Financialization means the increasing role of financial motives, financial markets, financial actors and financial institutions in the operation of the domestic and international economies.”

This includes such trends as:

• The corporate change during the 1980s to make shareholder value the ultimate goal.

• The deregulation of Wall Street that allowed for the creation of a vast array of new financial instruments for gambling.

• Allowing private equity firm to buy companies, load them up with debt, extract enormous returns, and then kiss them good-by.

• The growth of hedge funds that suck productive wealth out of the economy.

• The myriad of barely regulated world financial markets that finance the globalization of production, combined with so-call “free trade” agreements.

• The increased share of all corporate profits that go to the financial sector.

• The ever-increasing size of too-big-to-fail banks.

• The fact that many of our best students rush to Wall Street instead of careers in science, medicine or education.

In short, financialization is when making money from money becomes more important that providing real goods and services. Here’s a chart that says it all. Once we unleashed Wall Street, their salaries shot up, while everyone else’s stood still.

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From Mystical Paths:

Geopolitics and Geulah Musings

Friday, September 27, 2013

by Dov bar Leib (with additions by Reb Akiva in parens)

th (3)The leader of Iran was not ever Ahmadinejad nor is Rouhani the head guy now. (Though they are the “elected presidents” of Iran, the “election” is from candidates pre-selected and limited – with one candidate selected to win and another “hardliner” selected to loose.) The head honcho (the leader of the council of mullahs – the religious dictatorship of Iran) is ALi KHaMeNei.

Notice his name. Pull out an AM-L-K, and one gets Amalek (the biblical attackers of the Hebrews in the desert, on their way to Israel). Pull out the HaM-N, and one gets Haman (the biblical story from Esther, the descendent of Amalek who tried to perform genocide against the Jewish people on Purim).

This is what they are scared about in K’far Shmaryahu (meaning the State of Israel’s political leadership), and now they have nowhere to turn but up (the world having seen the complete foreign policy failure of the United States on Syria – the U.S. is now considered a toothless aged tiger – leaving no where to turn but our Father in Heaven.)

The nation (the Jewish population of Israel) is now doing teshuvah. U.S. president Obama is making a “deal” with the Persian (Iranian) mullahs to take the US off the hook for attacking Iran. Even in Kefar Shmaryahu they have to be wondering, is it worth selling out one’s brother who lives 20 or 30 miles to his east (meaning giving “peace concessions” in the West Bank) if no Western power will stop Persia from getting The Bomb?

Because of basic self-interest and panic, they are doing a low level of teshuvah, but it WILL be enough. From the perspective of the nation, it matters not what is the final dispensation of the souls of the lowly, just that they think a little more about others than just themselves, even if it is for their existential survival.

(It’s a new year, and world geopolitics has changed almost literally overnight. A year of geulah? May it be so!)

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Al Gore Forecasted “Ice-Free” Arctic by 2013; Ice Cover Expands 50%

Written by

Self-styled “global-warming” guru Al Gore and a gaggle of supposed “climate scientists” have egg all over their faces — big time. In 2007, 2008 and 2009, Gore publicly and very hysterically warned that the North Pole would be “ice-free” by around 2013 because of alleged “man-made global warming.” Citing “climate” experts, the government-funded BBC hyped the mass hysteria, running a now-embarrassing article under the headline: “Arctic summers ice-free ‘by 2013’.” Other establishment media outlets did the same.[wpex Read more]

Well, 2013 is almost over, and contrary to the alarmist “predictions” by Gore and what critics refer to as his “doomsday cult,” the latest satellite data show that Arctic ice cover has actually expanded 50 percent over 2012 levels. In fact, during October, sea-ice levels grew at the fastest pace since records began in 1979. Experts predict the expansion to continue in the years to come, leaving global-warming alarmists scrambling fiendishly for explanations to save face — and to revive the rapidly melting climate hysteria.

In September, meanwhile, data also showed that sea ice levels in Antarctica had expanded to record levels for the second year in a row. Of course, by now, virtually everyone who has been following news about “global warming” — now more often referred to as “climate change” owing to public-relations concerns — also knows that global temperatures have not risen for some 17 years. The spectacular lack of warming demolished all 73 of the “climate models” used by the United Nations to push its controversial theories.

According to the dubious theories and predictions advanced by Al Gore and other alarmists, though, none of this should be happening. Speaking to an audience in Germany five years ago, Gore — sometimes ridiculed as “The Goracle” — alleged that “the entire North Polarized [sic] cap will disappear in 5 years.” While the original video of that particular failed prediction appears to have been scrubbed from the Internet, conservative bloggers managed to track down the same footage from other sources. “Five years,” Gore emphasized again, is “the period of time during which it is now expected to disappear.”

The following year, Gore made similar claims at a UN “climate” summit in Copenhagen. “Some of the models … suggest that there is a 75 percent chance that the entire north polar ice cap, during some of the summer months, could be completely ice-free within the next five to seven years,” Gore claimed in 2009. “We will find out.” Indeed, the bogus prediction appears wildly off the mark, to put it mildly, but the establishment press and Gore apparently do not want the world to find out.

In fairness, Gore was hardly the only hysterical climate-doomsday proponent to be left looking foolish. In December of 2007, the BBC highlighted alleged “modeling studies” that supposedly “indicate northern polar waters could be ice-free in summers within just 5-6 years.” Incredibly, some of the supposed “experts” even claimed it could happen before then, citing calculations performed by “super computers” that the BBC noted “has become a standard part of climate science in recent years.”

“Our projection of 2013 for the removal of ice in summer is not accounting for the last two minima, in 2005 and 2007,” claimed Professor Wieslaw Maslowski, described as researcher from the Naval Postgraduate School who was working with co-workers at NASA to come up with the now-thoroughly discredited forecasts about polar ice. “So given that fact, you can argue that may be [sic] our projection of 2013 is already too conservative.” Other “experts” quoted in the BBC article agreed with the hysteria.

In the real world, however, the scientific evidence demolishing the global-warming theories advanced by Gore, the UN, and government-funded “climate scientists” continues to grow, along with the ice cover in both hemispheres. In the Arctic, for example, data collected by Europe’s Cryosat spacecraft pointed to about 9,000 cubic kilometers of ice at the end of the 2013 melt season. In 2012, which was admittedly a low year, the total volume was about 6,000 cubic kilometers — some 50 percent less than the 2013 total. Polar bear populations are thriving, too.

Across the southern hemisphere, the data have proved even more devastating to what supposed “climate scientists” were caught referring to as their “cause” in the deeply embarrassing ClimateGate e-mails. First, the figures from 2012 showed a record high level of sea-ice cover — more than at any point since records began in 1978. This year set another new record, with ice covering more than 19.5 million square kilometers of ocean around Antarctica by September.

Around the world, meanwhile, record low temperatures continue to make a mockery of “global warming” theories. While anecdotal, to be sure, Cairo, Egypt, just saw its first snowfall in more than 100 years. In the United States there have been thousands of new records for cold temperatures and snowfalls just in the month of December. In an extremely bizarre twist, some “climate scientists” have even started claiming that the freezing temperatures are actually more evidence of “global warming.”

To explain the universally acknowledged lack of warming over the last 17 years in defiance of all UN climate theories, government-funded “climate scientists” and the UN have increasingly touted what critics ridicule as “The Theory of The Ocean Ate My Global Warming.” Under heavy political pressure from the Obama administration and other governments, the UN ran with the theory, despite the lack of any observable evidence to suggest the deep ocean is actually eating the UN’s predicted global warming.

Appearing increasingly detached from reality to independent scientists, the UN claimed in its latest global-warming report to be 95 percent sure that human emissions of carbon dioxide were to blame for rising temperatures. Those claims, now widely laughed at around the world, were made despite the fact that every single one of its computer models has been entirely discredited by the lack of warming for the last 17 years. Many experts are now even predicting global cooling.

Top scientists and experts around the world — even many who have served on the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change — have been ridiculing the global outfit and its discredited “climate” report. Most governments and dictators, however, continue playing along with what some experts call the climate “charade” or “hoax,” mostly due to built-in incentives and taxpayer funds that help perpetuate the unjustified alarmism.

For third-world dictators, the goal appears to be securing trillions in Western taxpayer money under the guise of “climate” reparations and “justice.” For governments ruling wealthier nations, the end-game seems to be carbon taxes and a planetary “climate” regime with unprecedented powers over humanity. Assembled in Warsaw for the latest UN climate summit, even as the implosion of the “science” behind global-warming theories was accelerating, member regimes agreed to finalize a global climate treaty by 2015.

Polls show that despite hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars squandered on global-warming alarmism, the American public still refuses to widely accept the man-made warming theories advanced by an increasingly discredited UN and its allies. A September Rasmussen survey of likely voters, for example, found that just 43 percent of likely U.S. voters believe alleged “global warming” is caused by human activity. About the same number believe it is not.

Despite vicious attacks and threats — some of it exposed in the ClimateGate scandal — scientists are increasingly jumping off the sinking “climate” ship as well. Even some major governments are working to rein in the out-of-control alarmism, with authorities in Australia, elected in a landslide earlier this year, promising to liberate the nation from “carbon taxes” while quashing much of the taxpayer-funded “global-warming” juggernaut. Calls for prosecuting “fraud” by “climate scientists” are growing, too.

So far, despite hyping the absurd claims five years ago, the establishment press has failed to inform its dwindling readership that Al Gore and his fellow alarmists were proven embarrassingly wrong. No apologies have been forthcoming from Gore, either, and none of the “scientists” who made the ridiculous predictions has apologized or lost his U.S. taxpayer-funded job. In fact, almost unbelievably, the establishment press is now parroting new claims from the same discredited “experts” suggesting that the Arctic will be “ice-free” by 2016.

As Gore put it in 2009, “We will find out.”

Alex Newman, a foreign correspondent for The New American, is normally based in Europe. He can be reached at anewman@thenewamerican.com.

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Is 100% Of “US Warming” Due To NOAA Data Tampering?

by Tyler Durden
Dec 28, 2016 http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-12-28/100-us-warming-due-noaa-data-tampering
Submitted by Tony Heller via RealClimateScience.com,

Climate Central just ran this piece, which the Washington Post picked up on. They claimed the US was “overwhelmingly hot” in 2016, and temperatures have risen 1,5°F since the 19th century.

The U.S. Has Been Overwhelmingly Hot This Year | Climate Central

The first problem with their analysis is that the US had very little hot weather in 2016. The percentage of hot days was below average, and ranked 80th since 1895. Only 4.4% of days were over 95°F, compared with the long term average of 4.9%. Climate Central is conflating mild temperatures with hot ones.

They also claim US temperatures rose 1.5°F since the 19th century, which is what NOAA shows.

Climate at a Glance | National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI)

The problem with the NOAA graph is that it is fake data. NOAA creates the warming trend by altering the data. The NOAA raw data shows no warming over the past century

The adjustments being made are almost exactly 1.5°F, which is the claimed warming in the article.

The adjustments correlate almost perfectly with atmospheric CO2. NOAA is adjusting the data to match global warming theory. This is known as PBEM (Policy Based Evidence Making.)

The hockey stick of adjustments since 1970 is due almost entirely to NOAA fabricating missing station data. In 2016, more than 42% of their monthly station data was missing, so they simply made it up. This is easy to identify because they mark fabricated temperatures with an “E” in their database.

When presented with my claims of fraud, NOAA typically tries to arm wave it away with these two complaints.

  1. They use gridded data and I am using un-gridded data.
  2. They “have to” adjust the data because of Time Of Observation Bias and station moves.

Both claims are easily debunked. The only effect that gridding has is to lower temperatures slightly. The trend of gridded data is almost identical to the trend of un-gridded data.

Time of Observation Bias (TOBS) is a real problem, but is very small. TOBS is based on the idea that if you reset a min/max thermometer too close to the afternoon maximum, you will double count warm temperatures (and vice-versa if thermometer is reset in the morning.) Their claim is that during the hot 1930’s most stations reset their thermometers in the afternoon.

This is easy to test by using only the stations which did not reset their thermometers in the afternoon during the 1930’s. The pattern is almost identical to that of all stations. No warming over the past century. Note that the graph below tends to show too much warming due to morning TOBS.

NOAA’s own documents show that the TOBS adjustment is small (0.3°F) and goes flat after 1990.

https://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/img/climate/research/ushcn/ts.ushcn_anom25_diffs_pg.gif

Gavin Schmidt at NASA explains very clearly why the US temperature record does not need to be adjusted.

You could throw out 50 percent of the station data or more, and you’d get basically the same answers.

One recent innovation is the set up of a climate reference network alongside the current stations so that they can look for potentially serious issues at the large scale – and they haven’t found any yet.

NASA – NASA Climatologist Gavin Schmidt Discusses the Surface Temperature Record

NOAA has always known that the US is not warming.

U.S. Data Since 1895 Fail To Show Warming Trend – NYTimes.com

All of the claims in the Climate Central article are bogus. The US is not warming and 2016 was not a hot year in the US. It was a very mild year.

Earthquakes May Endanger New York More Than Thought, Says Study

From Wikipedia:

Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant Seen As Particular Risk

2008-08-21

USGeologicalMap_New-York

New York City and a few other parts of the eastern United States stand out on US Geological Survey seismic hazard maps

 

Courtesy USGS Earthquake Hazards Program

A study by a group of prominent seismologists suggests that a pattern of subtle but active faults makes the risk of earthquakes to the New York City area substantially greater than formerly believed. Among other things, they say that the controversial Indian Point nuclear power plants, 24 miles north of the city, sit astride the previously unidentified intersection of two active seismic zones. The paper appears in the current issue of the Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America.

Many faults and a few mostly modest quakes have long been known around New York City, but the research casts them in a new light. The scientists say the insight comes from sophisticated analysis of past quakes, plus 34 years of new data on tremors, most of them perceptible only by modern seismic instruments. The evidence charts unseen but potentially powerful structures whose layout and dynamics are only now coming clearer, say the scientists. All are based at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, which runs the network of seismometers that monitors most of the northeastern United States. [wpex Read more]

Lead author Lynn R. Sykes said the data show that large quakes are infrequent around New York compared to more active areas like California and Japan, but that the risk is high, because of the overwhelming concentration of people and infrastructure. “The research raises the perception both of how common these events are, and, specifically, where they may occur,” he said. “It’s an extremely populated area with very large assets.” Sykes, who has studied the region for four decades, is known for his early role in establishing the global theory of plate tectonics.

The authors compiled a catalog of all 383 known earthquakes from 1677 to 2007 in a 15,000-square-mile area around New York City. Coauthor John Armbruster estimated sizes and locations of dozens of events before 1930 by combing newspaper accounts and other records. The researchers say magnitude 5 quakes—strong enough to cause damage–occurred in 1737, 1783 and 1884. There was little settlement around to be hurt by the first two quakes, whose locations are vague due to a lack of good accounts; but the last, thought to be centered under the seabed somewhere between Brooklyn and Sandy Hook, toppled chimneys across the city and New Jersey, and panicked bathers at Coney Island. Based on this, the researchers say such quakes should be routinely expected, on average, about every 100 years. “Today, with so many more buildings and people, a magnitude 5 centered below the city would be extremely attention-getting,” said Armbruster. “We’d see billions in damage, with some brick buildings falling. People would probably be killed.”

Starting in the early 1970s Lamont began collecting data on quakes from dozens of newly deployed seismometers; these have revealed further potential, including distinct zones where earthquakes concentrate, and where larger ones could come. The Lamont network, now led by coauthor Won-Young Kim, has located hundreds of small events, including a magnitude 3 every few years, which can be felt by people at the surface, but is unlikely to cause damage. These small quakes tend to cluster along a series of small, old faults in harder rocks across the region. Many of the faults were discovered decades ago when subways, water tunnels and other excavations intersected them, but conventional wisdom said they were inactive remnants of continental collisions and rifting hundreds of millions of years ago. The results clearly show that they are active, and quite capable of generating damaging quakes, said Sykes.

sykes_fig3_New-York_earthquake

All known quakes, greater New York-Philadelphia area, 1677-2004, graded by magnitude (M). Peekskill, N.Y., near Indian Point nuclear power plant, is denoted as Pe.

Adapted from Sykes et al.

One major previously known feature, the Ramapo Seismic Zone, runs from eastern Pennsylvania to the mid-Hudson Valley, passing within a mile or two northwest of Indian Point. The researchers found that this system is not so much a single fracture as a braid of smaller ones, where quakes emanate from a set of still ill-defined faults. East and south of the Ramapo zone—and possibly more significant in terms of hazard–is a set of nearly parallel northwest-southeast faults. These include Manhattan’s 125th Street fault, which seems to have generated two small 1981 quakes, and could have been the source of the big 1737 quake; the Dyckman Street fault, which carried a magnitude 2 in 1989; the Mosholu Parkway fault; and the Dobbs Ferry fault in suburban Westchester, which generated the largest recent shock, a surprising magnitude 4.1, in 1985. Fortunately, it did no damage. Given the pattern, Sykes says the big 1884 quake may have hit on a yet-undetected member of this parallel family further south.

The researchers say that frequent small quakes occur in predictable ratios to larger ones, and so can be used to project a rough time scale for damaging events. Based on the lengths of the faults, the detected tremors, and calculations of how stresses build in the crust, the researchers say that magnitude 6 quakes, or even 7—respectively 10 and 100 times bigger than magnitude 5–are quite possible on the active faults they describe. They calculate that magnitude 6 quakes take place in the area about every 670 years, and sevens, every 3,400 years. The corresponding probabilities of occurrence in any 50-year period would be 7% and 1.5%. After less specific hints of these possibilities appeared in previous research, a 2003 analysis by The New York City Area Consortium for Earthquake Loss Mitigation put the cost of quakes this size in the metro New York area at $39 billion to $197 billion. A separate 2001 analysis for northern New Jersey’s Bergen County estimates that a magnitude 7 would destroy 14,000 buildings and damage 180,000 in that area alone. The researchers point out that no one knows when the last such events occurred, and say no one can predict when they next might come.

“We need to step backward from the simple old model, where you worry about one large, obvious fault, like they do in California,” said coauthor Leonardo Seeber. “The problem here comes from many subtle faults. We now see there is earthquake activity on them. Each one is small, but when you add them up, they are probably more dangerous than we thought. We need to take a very close look.” Seeber says that because the faults are mostly invisible at the surface and move infrequently, a big quake could easily hit one not yet identified. “The probability is not zero, and the damage could be great,” he said. “It could be like something out of a Greek myth.”

The researchers found concrete evidence for one significant previously unknown structure: an active seismic zone running at least 25 miles from Stamford, Conn., to the Hudson Valley town of Peekskill, N.Y., where it passes less than a mile north of the Indian Point nuclear power plant. The Stamford-Peekskill line stands out sharply on the researchers’ earthquake map, with small events clustered along its length, and to its immediate southwest. Just to the north, there are no quakes, indicating that it represents some kind of underground boundary. It is parallel to the other faults beginning at 125th Street, so the researchers believe it is a fault in the same family. Like the others, they say it is probably capable of producing at least a magnitude 6 quake. Furthermore, a mile or so on, it intersects the Ramapo seismic zone.

Sykes said the existence of the Stamford-Peekskill line had been suggested before, because the Hudson takes a sudden unexplained bend just ot the north of Indian Point, and definite traces of an old fault can be along the north side of the bend. The seismic evidence confirms it, he said. “Indian Point is situated at the intersection of the two most striking linear features marking the seismicity and also in the midst of a large population that is at risk in case of an accident,” says the paper. “This is clearly one of the least favorable sites in our study area from an earthquake hazard and risk perspective.”

The findings comes at a time when Entergy, the owner of Indian Point, is trying to relicense the two operating plants for an additional 20 years—a move being fought by surrounding communities and the New York State Attorney General. Last fall the attorney general, alerted to the then-unpublished Lamont data, told a Nuclear Regulatory Commission panel in a filing: “New data developed in the last 20 years disclose a substantially higher likelihood of significant earthquake activity in the vicinity of [Indian Point] that could exceed the earthquake design for the facility.” The state alleges that Entergy has not presented new data on earthquakes past 1979. However, in a little-noticed decision this July 31, the panel rejected the argument on procedural grounds. A source at the attorney general’s office said the state is considering its options.

sykes_fig4_New-York_earthquake

Quakes located by instruments 1974-2007. Arrows indivcate the Peekskill-Stamford seismic line and Ramapo seismic zone (RSZ), which intersect near Indian Point. Purple numerals indicate distance in kilometers.

Adapted from Sykes et al.

The characteristics of New York’s geology and human footprint may increase the problem. Unlike in California, many New York quakes occur near the surface—in the upper mile or so—and they occur not in the broken-up, more malleable formations common where quakes are frequent, but rather in the extremely hard, rigid rocks underlying Manhattan and much of the lower Hudson Valley. Such rocks can build large stresses, then suddenly and efficiently transmit energy over long distances. “It’s like putting a hard rock in a vise,” said Seeber. “Nothing happens for a while. Then it goes with a bang.” Earthquake-resistant building codes were not introduced to New York City until 1995, and are not in effect at all in many other communities. Sinuous skyscrapers and bridges might get by with minimal damage, said Sykes, but many older, unreinforced three- to six-story brick buildings could crumble.

Art Lerner-Lam, associate director of Lamont for seismology, geology and tectonophysics, pointed out that the region’s major highways including the New York State Thruway, commuter and long-distance rail lines, and the main gas, oil and power transmission lines all cross the parallel active faults, making them particularly vulnerable to being cut. Lerner-Lam, who was not involved in the research, said that the identification of the seismic line near Indian Point “is a major substantiation of a feature that bears on the long-term earthquake risk of the northeastern United States.” He called for policymakers to develop more information on the region’s vulnerability, to take a closer look at land use and development, and to make investments to strengthen critical infrastructure.

“This is a landmark study in many ways,” said Lerner-Lam. “It gives us the best possible evidence that we have an earthquake hazard here that should be a factor in any planning decision. It crystallizes the argument that this hazard is not random. There is a structure to the location and timing of the earthquakes. This enables us to contemplate risk in an entirely different way. And since we are able to do that, we should be required to do that.”

New York Earthquake Briefs and Quotes:

Existing U.S. Geological Survey seismic hazard maps show New York City as facing more hazard than many other eastern U.S. areas. Three areas are somewhat more active—northernmost New York State, New Hampshire and South Carolina—but they have much lower populations and fewer structures. The wider forces at work include pressure exerted from continuing expansion of the mid-Atlantic Ridge thousands of miles to the east; slow westward migration of the North American continent; and the area’s intricate labyrinth of old faults, sutures and zones of weakness caused by past collisions and rifting.

Due to New York’s past history, population density and fragile, interdependent infrastructure, a 2001 analysis by the Federal Emergency Management Agency ranks it the 11th most at-risk U.S. city for earthquake damage. Among those ahead: Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle and Portland. Behind: Salt Lake City, Sacramento, Anchorage.

New York’s first seismic station was set up at Fordham University in the 1920s. Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, in Palisades, N.Y., has operated stations since 1949, and now coordinates a network of about 40.

NYtimes11Aug1884_New-York-earthquakeFront page, The New York Times, Aug. 11, 1884. “Convulsion of the earth which shook buildings and drove people from their homes, and caused much alarm.”

 

New York Times

 

Dozens of small quakes have been felt in the New York area. A Jan. 17, 2001 magnitude 2.4, centered in the Upper East Side—the first ever detected in Manhattan itself–may have originated on the 125th Street fault. Some people thought it was an explosion, but no one was harmed.

The most recent felt quake, a magnitude 2.1 on July 28, 2008, was centered near Milford, N.J. Houses shook and a woman at St. Edward’s Church said she felt the building rise up under her feet—but no damage was done.

Questions about the seismic safety of the Indian Point nuclear power plant, which lies amid a metropolitan area of more than 20 million people, were raised in previous scientific papers in 1978 and 1985.

Because the hard rocks under much of New York can build up a lot strain before breaking, researchers believe that modest faults as short as 1 to 10 kilometers can cause magnitude 5 or 6 quakes.

In general, magnitude 3 quakes occur about 10 times more often than magnitude fours; 100 times more than magnitude fives; and so on. This principle is called the Gutenberg-Richter relationship.

Lead Author Lynn Sykes

On the study and earthquake risk: “New York is not as prone to earthquakes as California and Japan, but they do happen. This study takes a more realistic look at the possibility of larger ones, and why earthquakes concentrate in certain places. To understand risk, you have to multiply hazard by assets, and vulnerability. When you factor that in, our risk is high. Too much attention has been paid to the level of hazard, and not enough to the risk. Earthquake hazard is about the same today as in 1609 when Henry Hudson sailed up the River. But earthquake risk is much, much higher today, since the number of people, assets and their vulnerability are so much greater.”

On faults near Indian Point nuclear plant: “We think that the intersection of these two features being so close to Indian Point makes it a place of greater risk than most other points on the map.”

Coauthor Leonardo Seeber

On estimating hazard: “Most people underestimate the hazard here. Any conservative approach will look at geologically similar environments. If you do that, we are similar to Bhuj, India [where a 2001 magnitude 7 quake killed over 15,000 people]. There was no obvious sign of strain there. There is a mystery here to be solved, and we better step back and do our homework.”

On preparing: “Once you accept that one fault in a family is active, you better consider that all the faults in that family could be active. We need to adapt our structures with that in mind.”

Coauthor John Armbruster

On past and future quakes: “You could debate whether a magnitude 6 or 7 is possible, but we’ve already had three magnitude fives, so that is very realistic.

There is no one now alive now to remember that last one, so people tend to forget. And having only a partial 300-year history, we may not have seen everything we could see. There could be surprises—things bigger than we have ever seen.”

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Experts Warn New York City Should Not Ignore Risk Of Earthquake

By Jack Davis
September 9, 2017 at 1:49pm https://www.westernjournalism.com/experts-warn-new-york-city-not-ignore-risk-earthquake/

Just because it has not happened since 1884 does not mean that it won’t happen soon — possibly very soon — warns an earthquake expert in assessing New York City’s risk of being struck by a devastating earthquake.

“We tend to think of seismic activity as a West Coast problem,” Kathryn Miles wrote in the New York Post. “But New York, which is actually riddled with faults, has a long history of earthquakes: On average, the region has witnessed a moderate quake (about a 5.0 on the Richter scale) every hundred years. The last one was in 1884. Seismologists say we can expect the next one any day now.”

Geologist Charles Merguerian said a fault passes through 125th Street in NYC, otherwise known as the Manhattanville Fault.

He added that if New York City’s pattern holds, it might have a few years of breathing space — or not.

“All we can do is look at the record, and the record is that there was a relatively large earthquake here in the city in 1737, and in 1884, and that periodicity is about 150 year heat cycle,” he said. “So you have 1737, 1884, 20– and, we’re getting there. But statistics can lie.”

“An earthquake could happen any day, or it couldn’t happen for 100 years, and you just don’t know, there’s no way to predict,” he said.

Miles noted that Ramapo Fault, which runs through New Jersey and Pennsylvania, could produce an earthquake as strong as a 7.0, which could do more damage to New York City than Superstorm Sandy.

One reason, she said, is old buildings. Miles estimated “New York City has 6,000 unreinforced masonry buildings that would collapse in a 7.0 quake.”

It would not take a major quake to cause major problems, Miles said. A medium-sized quake could cause $39 billion in losses and generate over 30 million tons of debris.

New York City has experienced seismic in recent years, but no damage has been recorded.

However in 1884, a 5.0 quake in NYC occurred near Rockaway Beach in Queens. The rumbling was felt over 70,000 square miles and rocked the Brooklyn Bridge.

According to Merguerian, the bottom line to to think of the unthinkable.

“We just have no consciousness towards earthquakes in the eastern United States,” he explained.” “And that’s a big mistake.”

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In the Danger Zone? Brooklyn Close to Indian Point Nuclear “Peak Injury Zone”

Peak Injury Zone is 50 Miles; Most of Brooklyn within 58 Miles of Indian Point

By , About.com Guide

The Brooklyn Bridge is 50 miles from New York State’s controversial nuclear power plant, Indian Point.

Of course, Brooklyn is part of the Big Apple. But in the dread meltdown scenario — if an accident, terrorist attack or rare earthquake were to cause deadly levels of radiation to be released from Indian Point — what would the implications be, not for all of New York City, but specifically for Brooklyn?

It’s a question that bears discussion.

1. Most Brooklyn Neighborhoods Are In, or Near, Indian Point’s “Peak Injury Zone”

Over two and a half million people live in Brooklyn.

A nuclear meltdown at Indian Point could be devastating to Brooklyn. Most of Brooklyn’s neighborhoods are in or near the 50-mile danger zone for an Indian Point disaster. The 50-mile radius is a measure used by the federal agency, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), that regulates nuclear power plants. But radiation can travel thousands of miles in a matter of days.

2. Safety of Indian Point Nuclear Plant Questioned After Japan’s 2011 Meltdowns

Many elected officials have questioned the safety of Indian Point in the event of extraordinary circumstances such as a nuclear attack or earthquake. In 2011, New York’s Governor Andrew Cuomo called for a complete safety review of Indian Point. The NY State Attorney General advocated for its review and closure.

Not all officials are opposed to the plant’s continued operation, however. New York Mayor Bloomberg favors keeping it open, citing the fact that Indian Point supplies about a quarter of New York City’s energy. The facility’s parent company also maintains that Indian Point is safe. (Read the report of the Indian Point Independent Safety Commission.

3. Could a Rare Earthquake Really Shake Up Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant?

Indian Point was built before seismic considerations were mandatory in the construction of nuclear facilities.

New Yorkers might be surprised to learn that experts have warned that earthquakes could happen in the New York Area. According to the Earth Institute at Columbia University, “Due to New York’s past history, population density and fragile, interdependent infrastructure, a 2001 analysis by the Federal Emergency Management Agency ranks it (among) the 11th most at-risk U.S. city for earthquake damage.” And, some of the fault lines are very close to the Indian Point nuclear power plant.

Learn more about earthquake risk near Indian Point

4. Is Indian Point Safe from Terrorist Attack?

Various reports have analyzed the risk of a terrorist airplane attack on Indian Point. Some are alarming.

For instance,a report called Chernobyl on the Hudson? Impacts of a Terrorist Attack at Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant by Dr. Edwin S. Lyman of the Union of Concerned Scientists, concludes “Indian Point poses a severe threat to the entire New York metropolitan area.” The author found that “an attack could result in as many as 44,000 near-term deaths from acute radiation syndrome or as many as 518,000 long-term deaths from cancer among individuals within fifty miles of the plant.

Read the FAQ of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission on terrorism and nuclear plants.

5. Indian Point License Due for Renewal in 2013, 2015

Discussion of Indian Point’s future is timely because the plant’s licenses are up for renewal by the NRC. The facility’s parent company, Entergy, requested a 20-year license renewal for Indian Point in 2007. (The license for Indian Point Unit 1 expires September 2013. The license for Indian Point Unit 2 expires December 2015.) But there have been problems; The Poughkeepsie Journal reports that Entergy “has encountered the most objections of any nuclear plant in the nation seeking to extend its license.”

  • Critics of the plant cite safety and security lapses at Indian Point, and potentially massive repercussions of an radiological disaster. Given the urban density of the area, mllions of people could be affected.
  • Advocates of the plant defend its safety procedures. They also cite the area’s voracious energy needs, which are served in part by Indian Point.

6. Advocacy Organizations, State Politicians, Grassroots Call for Shut Down

A grassroots coalition of politicians, advocacy groups and environmental organizations are advocating for the shut down of Indian Point facility, and for investments in alternative energy sources and conservation.

Their position is represented in a video about Indian Point safety, called Nowhere to Run. Produced in 2011 by an advocacy organization, the Safe Energy Coalition, and featuring leading physicians and nuclear safety experts, it paints a chilling portrait of both Indian Point’s inadequate security precautions against terrorists and the plant’s troubled safety record.

7. Brooklyn – On the “Escape Route” in Event of Disaster at Indian Point

Emergency evacuation in New York City? It’s a boggling tought. To put it mildly, the displacement of millions of people in the greater New York City area would create unprecedented demands on municipal services of all kinds.

Brooklyn would be one of the places people would likely try to escape to, or through, from Manhattan in the event of radiation being released from Indian Point. The Manhattan-facing parts of Brooklyn would be our “front line:” the Brooklyn, Manhattan and Williamsburg bridges, DUMBO, Brooklyn Heights, Carroll Gardens, Red Hook, Sunset Park, Williamsburg and Greenpoint.

8. US to Review Safety of All Nuclear Plants, Including Indian Point

Indian Point isn’t the only nuclear plant under scrutiny. In March 2011, in the wake partial meltdown at Japanese nuclear plants following an earthquake and tsunami, President Obama ordered a comprehensive review of the safety of all US nuclear plants “in light of the natural disaster that unfolded in Japan.” With these events, a new chapter in the decades-long debate over Indian Point reopened.

For Brooklyn, this complex issue has two sides. One one hand, there’s energy costs and consumption: shutting down Indian Point would reduce access to affordable energy, impacting many of the borough’s businesses, municipal services and residents, unless alternative energy sources were found. On the other hand, there’s public safety.

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From wikipedia Earthquake risk

In 2008 researchers from Columbia University‘s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory have located a previously unknown active seismic zone running from Stamford, Connecticut, to the Hudson Valley town of Peekskill, New York – the intersection of the Stamford-Peekskill line with the well known Ramapo Fault – which passes less than a mile north of the Indian Point nuclear power plant.[35] The Ramapo Fault is the longest fault in the Northeast, but scientists dispute how active this roughly 200 million-year-old fault really is. Many earthquakes in the state’s surprisingly varied seismic history are believed to have occurred on or near it. Visible at ground level, the fault line likely extends as deep as nine miles below the surface.[36]

Indian Point was built to withstand an earthquake of 6.1 on the Richter scale, according to a company spokesman.[37] Entergy executives have also noted “that Indian Point had been designed to withstand an earthquake much stronger than any on record in the region, though not one as powerful as the quake that rocked Japan”.[38][wpex Read more]

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s estimate of the risk each year of an earthquake intense enough to cause core damage to the reactor at Indian Point was Reactor 2: 1 in 30,303; Reactor 3: 1 in 10,000, according to an NRC study published in August 2010. Msnbc.com reported based on the NRC data that “Indian Point nuclear reactor No. 3 has the highest risk of earthquake damage in the country, according to new NRC risk estimates provided to msnbc.com.” According to the report, the reason is that plants in known earthquake zones like California were designed to be more quake-resistant than those in less affected areas like New York.[39][40] The NRC did not dispute the numbers but responded in a release that “The NRC results to date should not be interpreted as definitive estimates of seismic risk,” because the NRC does not rank plants by seismic risk.[41]

In July 2013, Entergy engineers reassessed the risk of seismic damage to Unit 3 and submitted their findings in a report to the NRC. It was found that risk leading to reactor core damage is 1 in 106,000 reactor years using U.S. Geological Survey data, and 1 in 141,000 reactor years using Electric Power Research Institute data. Unit 3’s previous owner (the New York Power Authority) had conducted a more limited analysis in the 1990s than Unit 2’s previous owner (Con Edison), leading to the impression that Unit 3 had fewer seismic protections than Unit 2. Neither submission of data from the previous owners was incorrect.[42]

IPEC Units 2 and 3 both operated at 100% full power before, during, and after the 2011 Virginia Earthquake on August 23, 2011. A thorough inspection of both units by plant personnel immediately following this event verified no significant damage occurred at either unit. TOP

Health Care Coverage Hidden Purpose?

Sometimes things really are stamped with the attitude and purpose behind them. Even if it was not done on purpose, somehow things cannot help being seen for what they are.

Many in Washington do not like America or Americans and have made that plain of late.

Now comes this via The Daily Caller, the mark that, purposeful or not, seems to show why this is happening in America. It does seem to tell the American people just what the powers that be think of them.

“Need health insurance? The Obama administration has you covered. Simply dial 1-800-FUCKYO to reach the next available health-care provider.

Far from being a mistype, that’s the official number that Health and Human Services wants Americans to dial when seeking health care. Obamacare’s national call center really did list its number as 1-800-318-2596, helpfully spelling out President Barack Obama’s tendency to blatantly flip the bird in plain view.

After allowing for the lack of letters attached to 1 on a traditional American telephone keypad, the number spells out a clear message. For every duped voter, every young invincible weighing the cost of a penalty versus a newly tripled yearly deductible, every ailing old granny in a wheelchair (whom, remember, Paul Ryan wants to push off a cliff) who needs adequate and affordable healthcare, Obama’s message is: 1-800-3(F) 8(U) 2(C) 5(K) 9(Y) 6(O).”

Numbers have great meaning. Anyone interested in gematria can tell you that.

Others believe there are no such thing as coincidences and that everything has meaning and purpose behind them.

I have two posts on here about anagrams and politics which may or may not expose hidden meaning behind names.

They are here and here.

Could the phone number be telling us exactly what they think of the public?

I don’t know ,but it is interesting to say the least.

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The devastating truth behind Obamacare

October 3, 2013

by Jon Rappoport

www.nomorefakenews.com

I want my Obamacare! I want my Obamacare!

It’s vital to look at the real meaning of this sinister plan. It’s all about the toxic effects of mainstream medicine. That’s what the sold-out press is refusing to examine.

A year ago, I discussed the case of a young Michigan boy, whose parents had been taken to court three times to force them to submit their child to intensely toxic chemo treatments—despite these facts: [wpex Read more]

 

The boy’s latest scans revealed no sign of cancer; the drugs that would be forced on him can cause cancer; the drugs have not been approved to treat children.

And I warned: this is what waits for you and your children, up the line.

The “share and care” humanitarian mask will be peeled away. The US Dept. of Health and Human Services will create, as ordered, a complete list of approved treatments for every disease-label under the sun. And everyone in the insurance plan will be forced to take what the doctor tells them to take.

For a bonus, unapproved treatments will be banned. People and practitioners who try to use alternative treatments will find themselves in trouble.

This is the hidden agenda of Obamacare. This is what it will morph into in the future.

I’m not dreaming or fantasizing. I’ve been following and reporting on the medical cartel for 30 years, and I know the mindset of these people, these doctors, these bureaucrats, these pharmaceutical string-pullers behind the scenes. Obamacare is right up their alley. It’s about control, so it’s an answer to their prayers.

So what do we know about their mainstream medicine, the hospital-based drug-addled modern version?

On July 26, 2000, the Journal of the American Medical Association published a landmark paper by Dr. Barbara Starfield (Johns Hopkins School of Public Health), “Is US health really the best in the world?” In it, Starfield revealed what many people inside the medical establishment already knew: every year, like clockwork, the medical system was killing huge numbers of people.

Each year in the US, as Dr. Starfield reported, there are:

  • 12,000 deaths from unnecessary surgeries;
  • 7,000 deaths from medication errors in hospitals;
  • 20,000 deaths from other errors in hospitals;
  • 80,000 deaths from infections acquired in hospitals;
  • 106,000 deaths from FDA-approved correctly prescribed medicines.
  • The total of medically-caused deaths in the US every year is 225,000. (a conservative estimate)

This makes the medical system the third leading cause of death in America, behind heart disease and cancer.

In the wake of Starfield’s devastating report, other facts came to light: 2.1 million people in America, every year, are hospitalized as a result of reactions to FDA-approved medicines. Annually, 36 million serious adverse reactions to those drugs occur.

So, inclusive health coverage for many more Americans under the Obama Plan means these horrendous figures will rise.

This is the dirty secret.

Obama and his allies are promoting a medical system that is the third leading cause of death in America. It’s that stark and it’s that simple.

The Obama Plan involves appointing an “expert panel” to decide what treatments Americans should be given for what diseases, under the new regime.

Only a certified idiot would assume that, over time, alternative non-mainstream therapies would survive such an ongoing vetting. Hope may spring eternal, but common sense makes it easy to grasp the realities on the ground.

In the long run, alternative therapies will be edged out. Those that remain will be permitted for a narrow range of conditions, or as adjuncts to standard drug treatments and surgery.

Chiropractors and acupuncturists, who are temporarily basking in the notion that Obama “really cares,” are in for a very rude awakening. Their careers and practices will be significantly reduced. Not today, not tomorrow, but it will happen.

Doctors, under the Plan, will be telling patients they may not take nutritional supplements while in treatment. This will assume the status of an irreversible edict. In many cases, “while in treatment” will mean years.

What happens to a person, conscripted into the mandated Insurance Plan, who is told by his doctor that he should/must receive a vaccine? Suppose this person says no? What are the consequences? Will he then be labeled a defector? What penalties will he suffer?

Does a diagnosis of cancer imply a patient must submit to chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery? Can these treatments be forced upon him?

Perhaps, in the early days of the Plan, nothing untoward will happen. But then, as time passes, and the system assumes tighter and tighter controls, the hand of government will close around the recalcitrant patient’s neck.

“Take this vaccine. Take this chemo drug. If you don’t, you’re in violation of the rules.”

Doctors, who are an integral part of the Plan, will surely be punished if they give unapproved (alternative) treatments to patients.

And in order to make the Plan operate on a day-to-day basis, the records and bookkeeping data of every health-care practitioner in America will eventually be tracked on government computer networks.

Every person in America will have a traceable and trackable medical ID package. Government-issued. There is no way around it. The monitoring apparatus can’t work without it.

Orwellian consequences lie up the road in the field of psychiatric practice. In case you hadn’t noticed, the invention of “disorders” by committee is the preferred method for “discovering” more and more mental illnesses.

Yet, the science is completely fraudulent. For evidence, consult the many works of psychiatrist Peter Breggin, who has done more than any other person to expose the guts of his own profession. (www.breggin.com) Breggin establishes that mental disorders are not authoritatively diagnosed by a chemical or biological test. Conclusive tests do not exist. And worse, in this undefined and arbitrary territory, the drugs that follow diagnoses are killers: for example, 300,000 cases of motor brain damage, as a result of the administration of major tranquilizers.

Under the Obama Plan, you can bet your bottom dollar that psychiatric care will eventually become mandatory. A patient suddenly diagnosed with clinical depression or bipolar disease will be told he must take the drugs—and suffer their adverse effects.

Very young children will be given more and more debilitating and dangerous brain drugs.

Under the Obama Plan, it will be very convenient to declare new pandemics every few seasons, because these phony non-epidemics provide an opportunity to herd the sheep into clinics and remind them who is running the show. Go here, take this vaccine; go there, take that drug; the epidemic is endangering the herd, and you must help your brothers and sisters.

These are the figures on the last several “epidemics.” They are not yearly; they are grand totals, to date; global totals, except in the case of West Nile (US only):

  • SARS: 774 deaths.
  • WEST NILE: 1159 deaths.
  • BIRD FLU: 262 deaths.
  • SMALLPOX: (terrorist threat): 0 deaths.
  • SWINE FLU: 18,500 deaths.

To give perspective, globally, 250 thousand to 500 thousand people die of ordinary flu-like illness every year. Yet this higher death rate accrues no interest as an epidemic. It is only the “teaching (brainwashing) moments” of the phony epidemics that are promoted by health agencies (e.g., CDC and WHO) and their pharmaceutical allies, who rake in billions by manufacturing new vaccines.

Yes, under the Obama Plan, there will be more declared health emergencies, and they will serve to cement the citizen to his new role as eternal patient in the medical march along bleak streets of the future.

Can you perceive the loss of individual freedom implicit in this universal system of health control?

The widespread (and false) assumption is that more medical care for more people is a good thing. That’s what the politicians and the press tell us. That’s what the medical bureaucrats and the drug companies tell us. This is the central piece of brainwashing.

It’s a baldfaced lie. It’s a death-dealing lie.

And now the American people are saddled with it.

Unless the current rebellion against Obamacare expands all over the country.

Jon Rappoport

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Obamacare has ‘raped my future’

Many college students are unaware of how the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will affect them. The law allows kids to stay on their parents health care plans until they are 26. But what happens next?

In a letter that has now gone viral, 26 year old Ashley Dionne explained her experience to radio host Dennis Prager.

“My name is Ashley Dionne and I’m a 26-year-old recent graduate from Michigan.The phony Obamacare signup poster boy made me want to send a message about how Obamacare is really affecting people.I graduated from The University of Michigan in 2009. In my state, this used to mean something, but even with a bachelor’s I was told I was too educated and wouldn’t stay. I watched as kids with GEDs and high school diploma’s took the low-paying jobs for which I applied.I went back to school and got a second degree and finally found work at a gym. I work nights and only get 32 hours a week for eight dollars an hour. I’m unable to find a second job at this time.I have asthma, ulcers, and mild cerebral palsy. Obamacare takes my monthly rate from $75 a month for full coverage on my “Young Adult Plan,” to $319 a month. After $6,000 in deductibles, of course.Liberals claimed this law would help the poor. I am the poor, the working poor, and I can’t afford to support myself, let alone older generations and people not willing to work at all.This law has raped my future.It will keep me and kids my age from having a future at all.This is the real face of Obamacare and it isn’t pretty.”

In a statement to Campus Reform, Dionne clarified her reason for writing the letter. “I wanted to get my message about Obamacare out, because I’m being directly and negatively affected by it, but I know it’s not just me.”

“Obamacare will make my life more difficult. It will hurt more people than it will help.”

Ashley Dionne is a 2009 graduate of the University of Michigan and a 2012 graduate of Baker College.

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Guest Post: Rediscovering The Price Of Money… When Things Can’t Get Any Worse

Submitted by Tyler Durden on 10/27/2013 21:13 -0400

Submitted by Steen Jakobsen, CIO Saxo Bank (via Trading Floor.com),

I’ve been starting my speeches for some time now by saying: “I am the most optimistic I have been in almost thirty years in the market—if only because things can’t get any worse.”

Is that true, and more importantly, how do we get a fundamental change away from this extend-and-pretend which prevails not only in Europe but also the world?

History tells us that we only get real changes as a result of war, famine, social riots or collapsing stock markets. None of these is an issue for most of the world—at least not yet—but on the other hand we have never had less growth, worse demographics, or higher unemployment since WWII. This is a true paradox that somehow needs to be resolved, and quickly if we are to avoid wasting an entire generation of European youth.

Policymakers try to pretend we have achieved significant progress and stability as the result of their actions, but from a fundamental point of view that’s a mere illusion. Italian banks today own more government debt than before the banking crisis, leaving them systematically more exposed to their own government, not less. The spread on government bonds between Germany and Club Med is down below historic averages, but the price has been a total suspension of the “price discovery” of money.

The price discovery of money is the cruel capitalistic part of any system. An economics textbook would call it the modus operandi by which capital is allocated where it can find the highest marginal utility. In practice, this should mean that the market dictates the price of money beyond one year—while at durations of less than one year, the central banks determine the price of money. The beauty of the system is that money is allocated in an auction where the highest bidder for “money” or “credit” gets filled on the price he or she deems to match his expected price of money.

Contrast the market-driven model with the present “success story” of relatively low sovereign spreads in Europe, which are driven by the European Central Bank president Mario Draghi’s promise to do “whatever it takes” to keep the euro out of trouble. He has threatened to activate the European Financial Stability Facility and the European Stability Mechamism plus the full arsenal of policy tools to ensure stability.

By doing so, he has effectively suspended price discovery for sovereign debt and for money, as the ECB and local central banks will provide infinite liquidity to local banks and hence indirectly to their government in any market conditions. This one-sided offer from the ECB and the market means there is no power to discipline the government with higher rates or to allocate credit more generally. We have simply disconnected the market and the price of money.

This comes after Draghi’s longer-term refinancing operation, a cheap funding for banks with little or no collateral, or the closest thing to quantitative easing you can have without calling it quantitative easing.

This is a problem because corporations that need to finance long-term projects, like building a power station over six to eight years, need a price for the credit they require throughout the building period. Right now they have an almost flat yield curve from zero to 30 years, which would be fine if it were realistic. But the problem is that one day in the “distant future” when the market normalises, interest rates should revert to their normal price, which is roughly inflation plus a risk premium.

In the case of an industrial company, an appropriate loan rate calculation could be something like: inflation plus Libor plus a risk spread, which might work out to about seven percent. Compare this with the rates available for highly creditworthy companies. Recently, Nestle was able to issue a four-year corporate bond at 0.75 percent—the lowest ever. Yes, it’s nice for Nestle but remember the situation is created by the central banks presence in the market, not just due to the financial strength of Nestle.

A move from less than one percent to seven percent would administer an ugly shock to companies. We have created a negative vicious circle in which not only investors, but also companies are depending on low interest rates forever. They have priced their future earnings and costs on government support prices rather than on realistic market prices.

The worst thing about the situation, however, is that the reason a blue chip company like Nestle can borrow at less than one percent in the capital market is the lack of alternatives for banks and investors. Less creditworthy small and medium enterprises (SMEs) which make up as much as 80 percent of many countries’ economies are not allowed to borrow. They are deemed too risky to lend to at the current “market rates” even though they hold the key to improving the employment and productivity picture.

They are willing to work cheaper, longer, harder and with higher risk tolerance in order to survive. So the remaining 20 percent of the economy occupied by large and publicly listed companies and banks gets 95 percent of all credit and 99 percent of all political capital. In other words, blue chips receive artificially low interest rates only because the SMEs don’t get any credit. Herein lies my continued belief in the my traditional opening statement: things must get better soon because they can hardly get any worse.

We have never been in a more dysfunctional state at the corporate, political and individual level in history. It’s time to realise that the reason capitalism won the war against communism in the 1980s was its strong market based economy—itself based on price discovery. Now the policymakers in their “wisdom” are copying everything a planned economy entails: central planning and control, no price discovery, one supplier of credit, money and the corollary effect of suppressing SMEs and even individuals.

Finally, history offers a compelling lesson: the last time the Federal Reserve engaged in a sizeable quantitative easing was in the 1940s. The low growth and falling inflation only reversed when the Federal Reserve stopped intervening due to a severe recession brought on by the policy mistakes of keeping QE in place too long.

In 2014, a bout of near or real recession in Germany and the US could kick start the price discovery mechanism again, which will help us to start healing the deep wounds left by years of policymakers compounding their errors with round after round of extend-and-pretend. Getting to the bottom is good in one sense: the only way is up.

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Will Rogers

Will-RogersWill Rogers, who died in a 1935 plane crash, was one of the greatest political sages the USA has ever known.

Some of his sayings:

1. Never slap a man who’s chewing tobacco.

2. Never kick a cow chip on a hot day.

3. There are two theories to arguing with a woman. Neither works.

4. Never miss a good chance to shut up.

5. Always drink upstream from the herd.

6. If you find yourself in a hole, stop digging.

7. The quickest way to double your money is to fold it and put it back into your pocket.

8. There are three kinds of men:

The ones that learn by reading.

The few who learn by observation.

The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence and find out for themselves.

9. Good judgment comes from experience, and a lot of that comes from bad judgment.

10. If you’re riding’ ahead of the herd, take a look back every now and then to make sure it’s still there.

11. Lettin’ the cat outta the bag is a whole lot easier’n puttin’ it back.

12. After eating an entire bull, a mountain lion felt so good he started roaring.

He kept it up until a hunter came along and shot him.

The moral: When you’re full of bull, keep your mouth shut.

First ~ Eventually you will reach a point when you stop lying about your age and start bragging about it.

Second ~ The older we get, the fewer things seem worth waiting in line for.

Third ~ Some people try to turn back their odometers. Not me, I want people to know ‘why’ I look this way.

I’ve traveled a long way, and some of the roads weren’t paved.

Fourth ~ When you are dissatisfied and would like to go back to your youth, think of Algebra.

Fifth ~ You know you are getting old when everything either dries up or leaks.

Sixth ~ I don’t know how I got over the hill without getting to the top.

Seventh ~ One of the many things no one tells you about aging is that it’s such a nice change from being young.

Eighth ~ One must wait until evening to see how splendid the day has been.

Ninth ~ Being young is beautiful, but being old is comfortable.

Tenth ~ Long ago, when men cursed and beat the ground with sticks, it was called witchcraft. Today it’s called golf.

And, finally ~ If you don’t learn to laugh at trouble, you won’t have anything to laugh at when you’re old.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

William Penn Adair “Will” Rogers (November 4, 1879 – August 15, 1935) was an American cowboy, vaudeville performer, humorist, social commentator and motion picture actor. He was one of the world’s best-known celebrities in the 1920s and 1930s.

Known as “Oklahoma‘s Favorite Son,” [1] Rogers was born to a prominent Cherokee Nation family in Indian Territory (now part of Oklahoma). He traveled around the world three times, made 71 movies (50 silent films and 21 “talkies“),[2] wrote more than 4,000 nationally-syndicated newspaper columns,[3] and became a world-famous figure. By the mid-1930s, Rogers was adored by the American people. He was the leading political wit of the Progressive Era, and was the top-paid Hollywood movie star at the time. Rogers died in 1935 with aviator Wiley Post, when their small airplane crashed in Alaska.[4]

Rogers’ vaudeville rope act led to success in the Ziegfeld Follies, which in turn led to the first of his many movie contracts. His 1920s syndicated newspaper column and his radio appearances increased his visibility and popularity. Rogers crusaded for aviation expansion, and provided Americans with first-hand accounts of his world travels. His earthy anecdotes and folksy style allowed him to poke fun at gangsters, prohibition, politicians, government programs, and a host of other controversial topics in a way that was readily appreciated by a national audience, with no one offended. His aphorisms, couched in humorous terms, were widely quoted: “I am not a member of an organized political party. I am a Democrat.” Another widely quoted Will Rogers comment was “I don’t make jokes. I just watch the government and report the facts.”

Rogers even provided an epigram on his most famous epigram:

When I die, my epitaph, or whatever you call those signs on gravestones, is going to read: “I joked about every prominent man of my time, but I never met a man I dident [sic] like.” I am so proud of that, I can hardly wait to die so it can be carved.[5]

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The American Iron Curtain

Posted by Daniel Greenfield @ the Sultan Knish blog

In March 1946, Winston Churchill told a Missouri audience, “From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic, an iron curtain has descended across the Continent. Behind that line lie all the capitals of the ancient states of Central and Eastern Europe. Warsaw, Berlin, Prague, Vienna, Budapest, Belgrade, Bucharest and Sofia.”

Today a new iron curtain is descending. It encloses the small Missouri town where Churchill gave his speech and all the great capitals of a great nation. Behind the iron curtain lie New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Boston, Philadelphia and countless others.

It covers a million streets and hundreds of millions of people. Its shadow passes over stores and factories, homes and schools. It is not a physical wall. There are, as of yet, no border guards with rifles waiting to shoot those wanting to leave, there are no watchtowers or leashed dogs keeping an eye on the inner frontier.

It is a wall of words. A wall of laws, regulations and mandates. The 2012 Federal Register had 78,961 pages. There are 11 million words of ObamaCare regulations alone. With so many regulations, everyone violates a few of them without even knowing it. Assemble all the millions of them together and you have a great wall that would dwarf anything in China

The American iron curtain is still made out of paper, but in time it will be made out of cement and iron. Tyrannies begin with paper, but end with metal. The state begins by imposing bureaucracy on a free people and ends by imposing tyranny on them. When they will not obey the paper, it resorts to steel, iron and lead.

Four decades after Churchill invoked the Iron Curtain, in his Evil Empire speech Reagan named the Soviet enemy as those who “preach the supremacy of the state, declare its omnipotence over individual man, predict its eventual domination of all peoples of the Earth.”

“They are the focus of evil in the modern world,” he said.

Quoting C.S. Lewis, he warned that the greatest evil “is conceived and ordered (moved, seconded, carried and minuted) in clear, carpeted, warmed, and well-lighted offices, by quiet men with white collars and cut fingernails and smooth-shaven cheeks who do not need to raise their voice.”

That is the struggle now before us. [wpex Read more]

We do not fight men with nuclear missiles or red armies of freezing conscripts waiting to march through Europe. Instead we fight against an evil empire that has arisen in our cities and its red army of front groups that insinuate their ideas into every institution they take control of.

Conservatives have lost the ability to lay out the stakes in the clear and simple language of a Churchill or a Reagan, to let the people know that they are not choosing between politicians, but choosing whether they will be able to have the car of their choice, the doctor of their choice, the meal of their choice and the book of their choice.

Choice, the word that once used to define the American experience, has been relegated to a debate over whether mothers have the right to kill their children. That choice is still the focus of a national debate. But the billion other choices that millions of people make have been taken off the table.

The conflict is simple and straightforward. It is the struggle over whether America will be an open system or a closed system.

In an open system, you choose the life you live. In a closed system, your life is mandated for you. An open system believes in the genius of the individual while the closed system believes in the genius of the visionaries of the ideology and the moral purity of the bureaucrats who implement it.

The open system is a door that you can choose to lock or leave open. The closed system is a cell door with wardens and guards who will let you out when they choose to.

In the open system you are in control. In the closed system you are being controlled for your own good, for the greater good, for the good of the state and the five-year-plan and the policy paper and the sub-paragraph of the regulation of page 50,261 as reinterpreted by a Federal judge in a court ruling that you never even heard of.

In the open system, you are a free man or woman standing at an open door. In the closed system, you are one of countless numbers in a book and a database. A number has been given to you at birth and your life is an interaction with other numbers that rate your behavior and your potential until your death when you are given your final number– the sum total of your property that will be claimed by the state.

Even in an age where the internet has proven the supremacy of open systems, liberals insist on pursuing the iron dream of the 19th century of stewardship and slavery, of a state that runs like a factory with managers to oversee the cradle to grave lives of its dumb and unwilling workers.

The iron dream has failed everywhere. Its ruins dot the Russian landscape. Its corpses fill the tundra from Asia to Europe. Its victims cry out across thousands of miles. The statues of its visionaries fill the scrap heaps of the east and its empty fields and abandoned factories can be found on every continent.

But everywhere there are men who need to believe in the supremacy of the state, in the closed system, the iron dream and the iron curtain, in 78,000 pages of regulations and all their millions and millions of words, in the nudge, the mandate, the law, the bill and the billy club.

These are the dreamers of the iron dream; the professors who tell their students to change the world by enslaving others to their iron dream, the newsreaders and entertainers who vividly paint the joys of living in the iron dream and the horrors of life outside it, the activists who crowd around shouting for the iron dream in the name of the “People” and the politicians of the iron dream whose faith is in the good of the many and the power of the few.

The American iron curtain is not substantively different than the iron curtain anywhere else, its descent is only slower and the men and women lowering it are more familiar.

The politicians are not guttural foreigners with harsh voices, they speak of American values and invoke American history even as they dismantle both, they stand in front of flags and speak of social justice at state fairs.

They claim that the old system is broken, that it’s unfair and inhumane, that progress is inevitable and that the march of progress and the progress of science have revealed that their way is best. The Mohamedans had their revelation from an angel and the politicians have their muse who shows them that a better world is possible when all men are slaves and the right men rule over them.

They speak of the power of the people, but they only mean certain people will have power and other people will have the power to support them. Like a Soviet election, the power of the people will be limited to voting “Yes” or “No” with the negative vote punishable as subversion and treason.

They don’t call for shooting their opponents, though occasionally the liberal thinkers at the think-tanks that come up with the ideas and talking points that are incorporated into their laws and speeches are indelicate enough to broach the subject. That sort of thing usually comes later.

For now they are concentrating on building their paper walls higher and higher. There are more laws than anyone can read, let alone know or follow.

The laws, like the marching Chinese, are effectively infinite. Even if a curious fellow were to sit down and try to read through them, going without food or sleep around the clock, it would be a hopeless task because no sooner will he have finished 100 pages,than a fresh delivery of another 200 pages will have already been added.

There is too much law being made to count.

Laws are being passed to find out what’s in them and even reading them is useless because the added regulations define what the law does and judges decide how they should be implemented. Nearly 100 million Americans will have their health plans taken away because of how the regulations were written.

That is the power of the paper wall.

In 1912, Theodore Roosevelt delivered a speech that began, “The great fundamental issue now before the Republican party and before our people can be stated briefly. It is: Are the American people fit to govern themselves, to rule themselves, to control themselves? I believe they are. My opponents do not.”

“I believe in the right of the people to rule,” he continued. “I believe the majority of the plain people of the United States will, day in and day out, make fewer mistakes in governing themselves than any smaller class or body of men, no matter what their training, will make in trying to govern them.”

A hundred years later, that is still the issue before us. Will we have an open system in which the American people govern themselves or a closed system in which they are governed by bureaucracies and judges, by the activists and mediacrats of the iron dream and their politicians who promise to protect them from their own choices?

We cannot have a hybrid system of both functioning together for very long. Freedom and tyranny do not naturally co-exist. A system does not hang in equilibrium between open and closed. Or as Lincoln put it, “This government cannot endure, permanently, half slave and half free.” And it isn’t enduring.

America has been moving back toward the closed system for some time now. The movement is incremental, its bureaucratic chains come wrapped in populist rhetoric, its power plays take the moral high ground for the oppressed, for progress and for efficient government, and its worst abuses are kept out of the headlines.

Each generation has less freedom than the last. Each generation lives under a more powerful system that is relentless in its determination to control and command. And each generation fails to make the connection between its incremental poverty, its incremental loss of freedom and its growing government.

The iron curtain, like the Berlin Wall, is vulnerable. It can be torn down when enough men inspired to be free converge on it and begin destroying it with sledgehammers and even their bare hands. Its greatest strength is that men do not even know that it is there.

When Churchill named the iron curtain, he expressed a reality that people were familiar with, but lacked the words to describe.

The Communists had seized control of Eastern Europe through deception and double-dealing, they had promised freedom and delivered tyranny, and did it with the collaboration of politicians and media abroad who defended their crimes and spoke of them as humanitarians and defenders of equality. And there lay their greatest strength; until they were named for what they were, it was impossible to see the iron curtain and the evil empire that Churchill and Reagan made real.

That is true of the American iron curtain, which goes by a thousand names like liberal, progressive, humanitarian, social justice, equality, opportunity, reform… and 993 others like it. To destroy it, it has to be named.

People do not try to tear down a wall that they do not even know is there. It is only when they see the wall, when they feel its chill in their bones, when they sense its shadow over their lives, when they strive to climb over it and are shot down, when they chant against it and are beaten; will they be ready to tear it down.

Until the men and women of the open system come with a clear message warning of the wall that is being built around a free people, then they will go on losing elections and the cause of freedom will be lost, drowned in iron and paper, put in chains and filed in a trillion crowded databases.

Only when Americans see the wall, when they sense its shadow over Missouri and Florida, over New York and California, from ocean to ocean and border to border, will they be ready to tear it down.

Only then will they be ready to be free.

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Owe Back Taxes Or Talk Bad About Government? No Travel for You Anymore

Planning on flying anywhere for the holidays? If you owe back taxes, are a frequent flyer, or own a blog that is critical of the government, you might want to rethink your plans. Under the radar in October, the TSA tightened their screening guide lines to include these in their “screenings”. In fact they want a full background check.

The Transportation Security Agency (TSA) is stepping up its screenings to include even more information into your personal life before you can even board a plane. Before they will even “allow” you to travel to your next destination, they are going even further into the warrant-less search process and violating the Bill of Rights. While the majority of public in the United States will accept this as “routine” to “prevent terrorism”, the new checks may be anything but. [wpex Read more]

The agency is saying that the new goal is to “streamline” the process and changing the procedures to “protect” millions of Americans that do not pose a risk to travel. The new measures give the government greater power to use travelers’ personal data for part of their “domestic airport screenings”. They are applying the same measures that are supposed to be used for Immigration and Customization for people entering the United States.

The procedure has been in place but was not activated until recently. The TSA released the screening regulations in order to comply with government requirements. The new regulations put some of the data collection of the National Security Administration (NSA) scrutiny to shame. As usual the details of the new provisions were never announced to the public.

So what are the things they are looking in to? Here is a quick list from TSA and the New York Times.

  • private employment information to include who you work for
  • vehicle registrations
  • travel history
  • property ownership records and what property you claim
  • physical characteristics
  • tax identification numbers and tax history
  • past travel itineraries
  • law enforcement information
  • “intelligence” information (the key word list used by the NSA)
  • passport numbers
  • frequent flier information
  • other “identifiers” linked to DHS databases (including web history and information, critical speaking of the government)

It has gotten so far out of hand that people came to the New York Times to get the information out.

I think the best way to look at it is as a pre-crime assessment every time you fly,” said Edward Hasbrouck, a consultant to the Identity Project, one of the groups that oppose the prescreening initiatives. “The default will be the highest, most intrusive level of search, and anything less will be conditioned on providing some additional information in some fashion.”

The T.S.A., which has been criticized for a one-size-fits-all approach to screening travelers, said the initiatives were needed to make the procedures more targeted.

“Secure Flight has successfully used information provided to airlines to identify and prevent known or suspected terrorists or other individuals on no-fly lists from gaining access to airplanes or secure areas of airports,” the security agency said in a statement. “Additional risk assessments are used for those higher-risk passengers.”

An agency official discussed some aspects of the initiative on the condition that she not be identified. She emphasized that the main goal of the program was to identify low-risk travelers for lighter screening at airport security checkpoints, adapting methods similar to those used to flag suspicious people entering the United States.~New York Times

This brings up several factors that this is just wrong. Why are we applying these rules to the normal passenger? Where is the data stored? Why is your property you own their business? Are the records even secure?

There is already one victim of the tighter security that gets repeatedly searched even though he has done nothing wrong because their new computer program has flagged him as a potential terrorist.

That has happened to Abdulla Darrat, an urban planner from Queens who said he was flagged for extra scrutiny all eight times he flew since June. When he tries to check in online, a message tells him to check in at the airport, where he receives a boarding pass marked with “SSSS” indicating that he must undergo enhanced screening. His name has been handwritten on a card at the podium where an agent checks passengers’ identification, he said.

“They pat me down,” Mr. Darrat, 31, said. “Then they pull out every single article of clothing in my bag. They take out every shirt and every pair of pants.”

After the checkpoint search, which includes swabbing his luggage to check for explosive residue, he said he was often stopped at the gate before being allowed to fly. He said he assumed that the extra scrutiny was because he had flown to Libya to visit relatives. He also expressed support for protests against Muammar el-Qaddafi in 2011, but the extra scrutiny did not happen until this summer.

“It adds this whole air of suspicion about me to everybody on the plane,” he said.~New York Times

It also seems that in some Minority Report like fashion strait from the movies that the entire process is automated for finding future potential terrorists.

At the heart of the expanded effort is a database called the Automated Targeting System, which is maintained by the Department of Homeland Security and screens travelers entering the United States.

Data in the Automated Targeting System is used to decide who is placed on the no-fly list — thousands of people the United States government has banned from flying — and the selectee list, an unknown number of travelers who are required to undergo more in-depth screening, like Mr. Darrat. The T.S.A. also maintains a PreCheck disqualification list, tracking people accused of violating security regulations, including disputes with checkpoint or airline staff members.

Much of this personal data is widely shared within the Department of Homeland Security and with other government agencies. Privacy notices for these databases note that the information may be shared with federal, state and local authorities; foreign governments; law enforcement and intelligence agencies — and in some cases, private companies for purposes unrelated to security or travel.

For instance, an update about the T.S.A.’s Transportation Security Enforcement Record System, which contains information about travelers accused of “violations or potential violations” of security regulations, warns that the records may be shared with “a debt collection agency for the purpose of debt collection.”

A recent privacy notice about PreCheck notes that fingerprints submitted by people who apply for the program will be used by the F.B.I. to check its unsolved crimes database.~New York Times

This is unreal. We are labeling “potential terrorists”, giving the information to third parties including debt collectors, and violating the Bill of Rights? What happened to Freedom from Unreasonable Search and Seizures?

Sometimes we wish fiction was not becoming a reality. If people don’t speak up about these things, they relativity go un-noticed for years. This is verifiable with the TSA, Congressional Bills, and the New York Times. This is not their best seller list, this is real. When does the nightmare end and how deep does this rabbit hole go?
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If you are stuck in the American Iron Curtain

The Garden of Emuna

Garden of Emuna

The Garden of Emuna – English

New Expanded Edition!!! “By way of emuna, life in this world is more beautiful, and…the entire world is like a blossoming garden.” This is a practical guide to life. Discover the power of emuna and powerful tools for dealing with life’s challenges.

By Rabbi Shalom Arush, translated by Rabbi Lazer Brody.

Paperback, 292 information packed pages.

ISBN: 56-1024

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A Quick Guide To What’s Fake: Everything That’s Officially Sanctioned

Submitted by Tyler Durden on 12/17/2013

Submitted by Charles Hugh-Smith of OfTwoMinds blog,

Neofeudal financialization and unproductive State/corporate vested interests have bled the middle class dry, yet we accept the officially sanctioned narratives. Why?

Let’s cut to the chase and generalize “what’s fake”: everything that is officially sanctioned: narratives, policies, statistics, you name it–all fake– massaged, packaged, gamed or manipulated to serve the interests of the ruling Elites.

Anything that might introduce a shadow of skepticism or doubt about the sustainability, fairness and transparency of the status quo (i.e. anything authentic and genuine) is recast or repackaged into a fake that can be substituted for the authentic when everyone’s gaze is distracted by the latest fad/media sensation/scandal.

ObamaCare: fake, a simulacrum of insurance and healthcare.

The National Security State: fake, a cover for global Empire.

The Patriot Act: Orwellian cover for state-corporate fascism.

Student loans: parasitic, exploitive loan-sharking enforced by the Central State for often worthless “higher education.”

And so on.

Yesterday I explored the peculiar dynamic that motivates us to accept forgeries, fakes and illusions as authentic: What’s Real? What’s Fake?. If the fake enables our fantasy (of free money, of owning an authentic canvas by a famous artist, that rising wealth inequality is just a side-effect of freewheeling capitalism, etc. etc. etc.), then we wantto believe it so badly that we overlook all the evidence of chicanery, forgery, illusion and fakery.

Consider our willingness to accept the conventional narrative about why the Great American Middle Class has been in decline since 1973: rising energy costs, globalization, and the declining purchasing power of the U.S. dollar.

While these trends have certainly undermined middle-class wealth and income, there are five other more politically combustible dynamics at work:

1. The divergence of State/corporate vested interests and the interests of the middle class

2. The emergence of financialization as the key driver of profits and political power

3. The neofeudal “colonization” of the “home market” by ascendant financial Elites

4. The increasing burden of indirect “taxes” as productive enterprises and people involuntarily subsidize unproductive, parasitic, corrupt, but politically dominant vested interests

5. The emergence of crony capitalism as the lowest-risk, highest-profit business model in the U.S. economy

The non-fake narratives are considerably different from the status quo ones. Please consider two: The Neofeudal Colonization of Home Markets and the Happy Marriage of the Parasitic Central State and Crony Capitalist Cartels.

The Neofeudal Colonization of Home Markets

The use of credit to garner outsized profits and political power is well-established in Neoliberal Capitalism. In what we might call the Neoliberal Colonial Model (NCM) of financialization, credit-poor developing world economies are suddenly offered unlimited credit at very low or even negative interest rates. It is “an offer that’s too good to refuse” and the resultant explosion of private credit feeds what appears to be a “virtuous cycle” of rampant consumption and rapidly rising assets such as equities, land and housing.

Essential to the appeal of this colonialist model is the broad-based access to credit: everyone and his sister can suddenly afford to speculate in housing, stocks, commodities, etc., and to live a consumption-based lifestyle that was once the exclusive preserve of the upper class and State Elites (in developing nations, this is often the same group of people).

In the 19th century colonialist model, the immensely profitable consumables being marketed by global cartels were sugar (rum), tea, coffee, and tobacco—all highly addictive, and all complementary: tea goes with sugar, and so on. (For more, please refer to Sidney Mintz’s landmark study, Sweetness and Power: The Place of Sugar in Modern History).

In the Neoliberal Colonial Model, the addictive substance is credit and the speculative consumerist fever it fosters.

In the financialization model, the opportunities to exploit “home markets” were even better than those found abroad, for the simple reason that the U.S. government itself stood ready to guarantee there would be no messy expropriations of capital or repudiation of debt by local authorities who decided to throw off the yokes of credit colonization.

In the U.S. “home market,” the government guaranteed lenders would not lose money, even when they loaned to marginal borrowers who could never qualify for a mortgage under any prudent risk management system. This was the ultimate purpose of Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae, and now the FHA, which is currently guaranteeing the next wave of mortgages that are entering default.

In my analysis, the Status Quo of “private profits, public losses” and the incentivization of gargantuan household debt amounts to a modern financialized version of feudalism, in which the middle class now toils as debt-serfs. Their debt cannot be repudiated (see student loans), their stagnating disposable income is largely devoted to debt service, and their assets have evaporated as the phantom wealth created by serial credit bubbles vanishes as soon as the asset/credit bubble du jour bursts.

The Status Quo: A Happy Marriage of the Parasitic Central State and Crony Capitalist Cartels

In broad brush, financialization enabled the explosive rise of politically dominant cartels (crony capitalism) that reap profits from graft, legalized fraud, embezzlement, collusion, price-fixing, misrepresentation of risk, shadow systems of governance and the use of phantom assets as collateral. This systemic allocation of resources and the national income to serve their interests also serves the interests of the protected fiefdoms of the State that enable and protect the parasitic sectors of the economy.

The productive, efficient private sectors of the economy are in effect subsidizing the most inefficient, unproductive parts of the economy. Productivity has been siphoned off to financialized corporate profits, politically powerful cartels, and bloated State fiefdoms. The current attempts to “restart growth” via the same old financialization tricks of more debt, more leverage and more speculative excess backstopped by a captured Central State are failing.

Neofeudal financialization and unproductive State/corporate vested interests have bled the middle class dry.

Yet we accept the officially sanctioned narratives as authentic and meaningful. Why? Perhaps the truth is simply too painful to accept, so we will reject it until we have no other alternative.

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The Truth about the UN

Anne Bayefsky speaks @ the UN about UN antisemitism, Sept. 8, 2014

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Rav Shternbuch Shlit”a on Israeli and World Events and Mashiah

March 19, 2014

Kikar has the text and an audio of the words Rav Moshe Shternbuch Shlit”a spoke at a speech on Purim (and YWN has a PDF of it too – linked from here). The following is a summary:

  • He says that newspapers confuse people into thinking that everything that happen in the world happens naturally and that Hashem’s hand is not involved at all. Therefore, look at newspapers only a little to see what is going on, but not so much that you’d think that everything is purely “nature”.
  • He bemoans the fact that everyone is up-in-arms about the Draft Law, but no one is protesting the Giyur Law. It’s because to save themselves from jail, they need to protest the Draft Law, but the Giyur Law, which is a protest against Heaven, no one bothers. This is wrong.
  • Similarly, about those who protest against the non-Jewish graves from the time of Terah and earlier and they go to pray by these graves for mercy, but don’t protest the Draft Law or Giyur Law.
  • [YY- Updated the text. Thanks commenter Jacob.] There was a big deal made in the world about the capture of Crimea. According to a tradition we have from the Gr”a, this is a sign of the “bells footsteps of Mashiah”. We really don’t know what these “bells footsteps of Mashiah” are, but it’s definitely a sign that the Geula is close, and perhaps, he means פעמי is like פעמון – it’s like a bell to awaken us to prepare for Mashiah.
  • The prerequisite for the coming of Mashiah is the war against Amalek, and in our days, we already in the midst of a war against Amalek, as the government here is Amalek Mamash by chasing after religion and wanting to totally uproot anything that has a semblance of religion, and they found for themselves some Amalekim who dress up as religious people to assist them. So now, we are in a situation of the prerequisite for the coming of Mashiah.
  • We can now go back to what I first talked about – that if we entrench into our hearts very well on Purim day that HKB”H controls all nature, that would bring a great downfall for Amalek. Therefore, we should announce all together, “I believe with complete faith that there is no nature or coincidence in the world at all.” Now, that we said this, we dealt a great blow to Amalek since we made an announcement that goes against their opinion that there is no Creator of the world.

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Japan told to halt Antarctic whaling by international court

Judge rules that Japanese whaling program is not scientific and that it failed to justify the number of minke whales it kills

The Guardian,

Three dead minke whales lie on the deck of the Japanese whaling vessel Nisshin Maru, in the Southern Ocean. Japan lost against Australia in a case on whaling in the International Court of Justice on Monday Photograph: Tim Watters/AP

Three dead minke whales lie on the deck of the Japanese whaling vessel Nisshin Maru, in the Southern Ocean. Japan lost against Australia in a case on whaling in the International Court of Justice on Monday Photograph: Tim Watters/AP

The International Court of Justice has ordered a temporary halt to Japan’s annual slaughter of whales in the southern ocean after concluding that the hunts are not, as Japan claims, conducted for scientific research.

The UN court’s decision, by a 12-4 majority among a panel of judges, casts serious doubt over the long-term future of the jewel in the crown of Japan’s controversial whaling programme. [wpex Read more]

It also marks a dramatic victory for the Australian government, whose four-year campaign to ban the hunts rested on whether it could convince the court that Japan was using scientific research as a cover for commercial whaling.

In its 2010 application to the court, Australia accused Japan of failing to “observe in good faith the zero catch limit in relation to the killing of whales”.

Under the International Whaling Commission’s 1986 ban on commercial whaling, Japan was permitted to kill a certain number of whales every year for what it called scientific research.

The sale of meat from the hunts in restaurants and supermarkets, while not illegal, prompted accusations from Australia and other anti-whaling nations that Japan was cloaking a commercial operation “in the lab coat of science”.

In a lengthy ruling, the presiding judge in the Hague, Peter Tomka, said Japan had failed to prove that its pursuit of hundreds of mainly minke whales in Antarctic waters every winter – under a programme known as Jarpa II – was for scientific purposes.

“The evidence does not establish that the programme’s design and implementation are reasonable in relation to achieving its stated objectives,” Tomka said.

“The court concludes that the special permits granted by Japan for the killing, taking and treating of whales in connection with Jarpa II are not for purposes of scientific research,” he added, before ordering Japan to cease its whaling programme “with immediate effect”.

Noriyuki Shikata, a spokesman for the Japanese delegation to the ICJ, said Japan was “disappointed” by the court’s decision but would abide by it “as a state that places great importance on the international legal order and the rule of law as a basis of the international
community.”

“In terms of a future course of action, people in Tokyo will examine that, but we have made our position clear – that we will abide by the
judgement,” Shikata told the Guardian.

He said the ruling would not affect bilateral ties with Australia.

“Japan and Australia are close economic and strategic partners with shared values and interests,” he said. “We enjoy mature bilateral
relations in many areas, so now it is important to ensure that our differences over whaling do not affect very good Japan-Australia relations as a whole.”

Shikata said he did not interpret today’s verdict as an attack on Japan’s culture. “We made references to cultural differences and dietary
traditions, but this case was about the legality of the programme under the whaling convention,” he said. “The court ruling referred, for example, to a lack of scientific basis for sample sizes … it
wasn’t about cultural differences.”

Campaigners welcomed the ruling. “This is an historic decision which lays to rest, once and for all, the grim travesty of Japan’s so-called ‘scientific’ whaling and exposes it to the world as the blatant falsehood it clearly is,” said Clare Perry, head of the cetaceans campaign at the UK-based Environmental Investigation Agency.

“With this ruling, Japan must clearly cease its whaling activities in the Antarctic.”

The court ruled that Japan had not complied with its obligations covering scientific research as set out in article 8 of the 1946 International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling.

Japan, though, had maintained that its annual slaughter of 850 minke whales and up to 50 endangered fin whales every year was necessary to examine the age, health, feeding habits, exposure to toxins and other characteristics of whale populations, with a view to the possible resumption of sustainable commercial whaling.

Officials in Tokyo said the data could not be obtained through non-lethal methods.

Tomka, however, said Japan had not offered sufficient scientific justification for the slaughter of a large number of minke whales, while failing to kill enough fin and humpback whales to be of any scientific value. It had also failed to explore the possibility of gathering certain scientific data without resorting to killing the mammals, he added.

In its defence, Japan cited only two peer-reviewed scientific papers relating to its program from 2005 to the present, during which it has harpooned 3,600 minke whales, a handful of fin whales, and no humpback whales.

Tuesday’s decision, though, leaves room for Japan to revamp its whaling programme to meet an international whaling treaty’s requirements for scientific whaling.

And it does not mean the end to all whaling. Japan also hunts a much smaller number of whales in the northern Pacific, while Norway and Iceland continue to kill whales for their commercial value, in defiance of the IWC ban.

Japan has slaughtered more than 10,000 whales since the IWC moratorium came into effect, according to the Australian government.

Japan had questioned the court’s right to rule on the case, but said before the ruling that it would accept its verdict. The court’s judgements are binding and cannot be appealed.

Monday’s ruling is unlikely to have much impact on the Japanese public, whose appetite for whale meat has declined dramatically since the immediate postwar period.

In recent years, stocks of whale meat have remained unsold, with almost 4,600 tonnes stored in port freezers at the end of 2012, according to Japanese government statistics.

Campaigners said they hoped the verdict would result in a permanent end to Japan’s whaling programme in the southern ocean.

“The myth that this hunt was in any way scientific can now be dismissed once and for all,” said Willie MacKenzie, oceans campaigner for GreenpeaceUK. “We urge Japan to abide by this decision and not attempt to continue whaling through any newly invented loopholes.”

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Visualizing The Broken Window Fallacy


In our busy days, it is all too easy to fall into the trap of hearing (and believing) the latest headline and its associated spin. For some reason, three minute videos can quickly and easily remove these ‘spins’ without the need for a PhD. And so we decided to dust off today’s 3:06 un-spin clip, addressing the broken-window-fallacy as the seen versus unseen impact of the idiocy of a broken-window’s (or war, or destroying homes, or…) positive impact on an economy is explained in cartoon style. The sad fact is that this fallacy remains at the core of mainstream policy-making and as the video notes, the government’s ‘creation’ of jobs via public works programs (or any number of stimulus-driven enterprises) it does so at the expense of the tax-payer via higher taxes or inflation and that ‘spending’ which would have otherwise gone to new fridges or iPads is removed and this does nothing to significantly improve aggregate demand (should there be such an amorphous thing) and in fact (as we recently noted here and here) leaves us more and more dependent on the state for corporate profit margins leaving any organic growth a dim and distant memory.
broken-window-fallacy
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Chinese state company buys controlling stake in Tnuva

Bright Foods pays NIS 8.6 billion for leading Israeli dairy conglomerate
By Lazar Berman May 22, 2014,

Read more: Chinese state company buys controlling stake in Tnuva | The Times of Israel http://www.timesofisrael.com/chinese-state-company-buys-controlling-stake-in-tnuva/#ixzz33RH6xCoc
Follow us: @timesofisrael on Twitter | timesofisrael on Facebook

China’s Bright Food Group bought a controlling stake of Israeli dairy conglomerate Tnuva from a London-based firm late Wednesday night.

The purchase was based on an overall valuation for Tnuva of NIS 8.6 billion ($2.5 billion). The deal gave the Chinese state-owned company a 56 percent stake in Tnuva, which controls more than 70% of the dairy market in Israel.

Tnuva, which started out nearly 80 years ago as a cooperative owned by kibbutz dairy farmers, was controlled by the British private equity firm Apax — which sold its shares to Bright Food — and Israeli Mivtach Shamir Holdings, which together bought 76.7% of the company in 2008.

Bright Food is China’s second-largest food company.

In February, members of the Knesset Economic Affairs Committee voiced their strong opposition to the impending purchase. Many MKs expressed fear that one of Israel’s largest food companies could end up in foreign hands. Committee Chairman MK Avishai Braverman (Labor) asked the government to step in and prevent the sale.

Dairy farmers also protested the sale in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. In one protest in February, farmers in Tel Aviv gave out blue balloons and posters of Tnuva products with the words “Made in China” on them. “This is a matter of food security,” a protester told Channel 1. “We cannot trust our food supply to the whims of the Chinese. Israelis want Israeli milk.”

But Tnuva has not been Israeli-owned for nearly a decade. In 2007, a British investment firm, Apax Partners, bought control of the majority of the company from most of the kibbutz partners, together with Israeli investment holding company Mivtach Shamir. A minority of the co-op’s partners refused to give up their shares, but were unable to prevent the purchase of the company by Apax. Apax owned 56.05% of Tnuva, Mivtach Shamir 20.67%, and the holdout kibbutz partners 23.3%.

At the time, Apax’s purchase of Tnuva was opposed by many of the farmers, as well as by the Finance Ministry, but Apax was able to convince a majority of the farmers to sell their shares by working out supply agreements with them. Now farmers fear that the new bosses will seek to renegotiate their deals, as often happens when companies are bought and sold.
Farmers protest in February against plans by Apax Partners to sell Tnuva to China’s Bright Food outside Apax’s Tel Aviv offices. The demonstration took place a day ahead of an emergency meeting of the Knesset Economic Affairs Committee on the matter (Photo credit: Roni Schutzer/Flash90)

Farmers protest in February against plans by Apax Partners to sell Tnuva to China’s Bright Food outside Apax’s Tel Aviv offices. The demonstration took place a day ahead of an emergency meeting of the Knesset Economic Affairs Committee on the matter (Photo credit: Roni Schutzer/Flash90)

The sale itself is actually the upshot of recent Knesset legislation requiring holding companies to spin off assets in order to foster competition. Apax also owns Israel’s Psagot investment house, as well as other assets, and company officials have been quoted as saying that they fear the Israeli government will force them to sell off some assets. As a result, they entered into talks with Bright Food to spin off Tnuva, which has appreciated significantly during the time the company has owned it.

Bright Food has been on an acquisition spree recently. Last year the company acquired US meat processing giant Smithfield Foods. In 2012, it bought UK cereal company Weetabix.

In June 2011, masses of Israelis took to the streets to protest Tnuva’s high prices for dairy products. A hundred thousand people joined a Facebook page against the high price of cottage cheese, leading to mass protests that summer demanding price rollbacks for cottage cheese and other dairy products. The protests were directly chiefly at Tnuva.

David Shamah contributed to this report.

Read more: Chinese state company buys controlling stake in Tnuva | The Times of Israel http://www.timesofisrael.com/chinese-state-company-buys-controlling-stake-in-tnuva/#ixzz33RGZrMhL
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133 G77 Nations Vow to Destroy America’s New World Order

June 17, 2014. Bolivia. The American and European media are doing everything they can to black this news out. But it’s not going to stay a secret for long. As of this weekend, there’s a new New World Order on Earth and its enemy is the United States, the EU, the UN Security Council and the world’s shadow government led by the IMF and WTO. This new alliance of poor countries wouldn’t be much of a threat, except it includes two-thirds of the world’s nations including China and India.

It’s a sad day for the American people when their government and state-sponsored news industry blacks out such an important news story. Americans actually have to rely on outlets like the Havana Times in Cuba, The Times of India, and United Nations press releases. There’s a reason this news is being censored across the West. And it’s only the latest global news story over the past two weeks on this subject blacked out from the American people. Read on to find out why.

 

End of the New World Order

When the richest and most powerful nations on Earth formed the G7, G8, G20 and the like, they united to combine their dominance over the remaining 175 countries that make up humanity. And for decades, the wealthiest 20 countries led by the US have gotten exponentially more wealthy at the expense of the poorest 175 nations, who in turn have gotten even poorer. That’s been the result of the West’s ‘New World Order’, led mainly by self-appointed global governments like the International Monetary Fund and the World Trade Organization.

133 of those 175 countries have had enough of the New World Order’s rigged global financial system based in New York and London. They’ve seen their economies destroyed by corrupt corporations and global governments that create a cycle of never-ending dependence and poverty. They’ve seen their nations’ vast resources stolen by multinational corporations. Their agriculture landscape has been poisoned. Their citizens bankrupted by the IMF and Wall Street. And their democratically elected leaders overthrown by foreign agents from countries like the US.

They’ve had enough of the New World Order. And an alliance of 133 countries, two-thirds of the nations on Earth, signed an agreement this weekend to end the West’s New World Order and replace it with a fair, honest and legitimate World Order – one that lets everyone participate and benefit, not just the super rich.

The Next World Order

The organization is officially called the ‘Group of 77 and China’, but the alliance actually includes 133 nations. Showing just how much influence they have, their meeting this weekend in Bolivia was opened with a keynote speech by United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. In the audience were over 30 heads of state from around the world and official representatives from over 100 more governments. Also illustrating the organization’s growing influence, China isn’t even a member of the G77, but insisted on participating anyway in a show of unity with the globe’s Next World Order.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro participated, telling the gathered nations they had to unite to, “fight for fair and sustainable economic growth and for a new world economic order.” Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa went one step further, telling the gathered national leaders and representatives, “Only when we are united across Latin America and united around the world will we be able to make our voice heard and change an international order that is not just unfair, it is immoral.”

A report from AFP on Yahoo News, about the only report found in Western media, describes how Cuban President Raul Castro also participated, but reserved his comments for a call to help their top ally Venezuela. Cuba, Venezuela, Bolivia and a number of South American countries have insisted they are currently under attack by the United States and the CIA, who they insist are desperately trying to orchestrate coups to overthrow their democratically elected, pro-socialist governments the same way they are accused of doing in the Ukraine recently.

Iran and the UN

An announcement published by the United Nations this weekend touts UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s enthusiastic participation in the G77 meeting. It discusses how important this massive alliance is to the goals of the UN, particularly with regard to reversing the world’s growing economic inequality among nations. Moon and the UN are also sponsoring a separate but related meeting of nations in September to draft new climate resolutions to be enacted in 2015.

The announcement describes a private meeting between the UN Secretary General and Iran’s Vice President, ‘On the margins of today’s summit, Mr. Ban met with the First Vice President of Iran, Eshaq Jahangiri, to discuss development issues, as well as the potential role that Iran could play in restoring stability in Iraq and Syria. The Secretary-General added that he looked forward to Iran’s positive involvement on climate change and said he very much hoped that President Hassan Rouhani would attend the climate summit this September.’ The report also says the two leaders discussed Iran’s nuclear ambitions and the coming July deadline for compliance with past mandates.

Threats of America’s “second Vietnam”

Many of the government leaders in attendance took the opportunity to strike a blow against what they consider to be the biggest enemy of world peace, democracy and economic freedom – the United States. One leader even went as far as calling out President Obama by name and threatening the United States with a second Vietnam.

As reported by the Times of India, the G77 conference’s host this weekend – Bolivian President Evo Morales – threatened the United States and the American President telling the gathered heads of state, “If Mr. Obama keeps assailing the people of Venezuela, I am convinced that, faced with provocation and aggression, Venezuela and Latin America will be a second Vietnam for the United States. Let us defend democracy, natural resources, our sovereignty and our dignity.”

Cuba’s President Raul Castro was possibly the most pointed and focused in his remarks regarding the agenda of the participating countries. As reported by the Havana Times, Castro told the alliance of 133 nations, “It is necessary to demand a new international financial and monetary order and fair commercial conditions for producers and importers from the guardians of capital, centered in the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, and from the defenders of neoliberalism grouped in the World Trade Organization, which are attempting to divide us. Only unity will allow us to make our ample majority prevail.”

UN Civil War – dissolving the UN Security Council

One of the more ambitious goals of the G77 and its 133 participating countries is the elimination of the United Nations Security Council. World leaders insist it is little more than a five-nation tyranny over the full UN body. With five permanent members of the UN Security Council having veto power over the rest, UN policies and actions have been dictated by those five countries – US, UK, Russia, France and China. Members of the G77 want the Security Council eliminated so the UN can go back to being a purely democratic body.

The Cuban leader went on to describe a global economic system run by American hypocrisy and financial corruption, “The principles of International Law and the postulates of the New International Economic Order are brazenly violated, concepts that attempt to legalize meddling are imposed, force is used and threats of force are made with impunity, the media are used to promote division.”

Dominoes beginning to fall

This is just the latest organized attack on a global financial system rigged by corrupt governments and the multinational corporations that control them. Just last month, Russia and China signed a long term trade alliance that represents the first major crack in the US Dollar bubble. The two countries agreed to stop using US Dollars in their transactions and instead use their own two currencies. The two largest banks from both countries immediately announced they would be dumping the US Dollar as well.

On top of that, the world’s ‘BRIC’ countries – Brazil, Russia, India and China – have publicly declared their goal of replacing the corrupted US Dollar with some other global default currency. Now that Russia and China have finally taken actual steps to do that, the remaining two-thirds of the world will most likely begin making preparations to stop using the US Dollar as well. It was only this weekend that 133 of them pledged to do just that.

The scary part for Americans is that both Washington and Wall Street have promised this would never happen, because if it did, it would destroy the US economic system and possibly the US itself. Read the Whiteout Press article, Russia-China Deals move US Dollar closer to Collapse’ for more information.

To view a full list of the 133 nations that make up the G77, visit the Group of 77 website.

Courtesy of Whiteout Press
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Moishela: “I Have Been Given Permission to Reveal to You Future Events”

22 Elul 5774 http://palmtreeofdeborah.blogspot.co.il/2014/09/moishela-i-have-been-given-permission.htmlBS”DDiscussion with Moishela (with his family)
A Handicapped child
16 Elul 5774 (Sept 10, ’14)I Have Been Given Permission to Reveal to you Future EventsOy Mommy, Oy Tatti, what can I tell you? I’m sorry that I have made you in the last few weeks a little bit unnerved, but I must admit that the world is changing at the speed of sound, and from day to day or from minute to minute, we don’t know what’s going to be. We used to live in a world that was at least semi organized. We could predict, sometimes anyway, what the next day or the next minute might bring. Today we are all confused, never knowing where another tragedy, Shelo Naida, another bang will come from. Tatti, Mommy, the next few weeks are going to be very, very frightening. The next few weeks will be full of changes that will make our heads spin, changes all over the world, frightening changes and also frightening happenings.By the time we get to Rosh Hashana we are going to all be in a somber mood, a mood for Davening very hard, for begging Hashem to save us and declaring Him our King. So we must prepare ourselves not to be too blown away by the happenings of the near future and always remember the only way to steady ourselves and keep ourselves in a state that we can overcome spiritually and physically the times to come, is by holding on to Hakodosh Boruch Hu, so-to-speak, holding on to the rope, spiritual rope that connects us Am Yisroel to our Creator. So as I said, in the next few weeks until Rosh Hashana there will be amazing new news for all of us, for the whole world and there will be news that people will not understand. They will stand and wonder what in the world is going on, but as time goes on we will realize what the plan of the evil ones really is.After Rosh Hashana during the Aseres Yimei Teshuva will be a time of gathering our strengths together and crying to Hashem like we have never cried before. By the time that Yom Kippur comes around, I’m afraid that our tears might have been spent already from worrying what’s going to be, and we will try to squeeze out a few more in order to try to save ourselves. By the time Succos comes we will be quite worn out for our efforts, and I believe that Succos, at least for a short time, will bring a semblance of balance, a semblance of joy in the Yom Tov, but Simchas Torah will bring us back to the cruel reality, and we will dance with the Torah with tears in our eyes. We will hold the Torah close to us so it can’t separate from us, so we won’t separate from it. We will dance and we will dance and we will beg Hashem through our dancing to always keep us close to Him, and we will keep the Torah close to us, and when Simchas Torah is over the real wars will begin.Am Yisroel you know that there is something in my words. In the last two or three years you have seen such crazy tragic things happening. We know that the world has become an insane asylum and as Harav Dessler put it the people taking care of the inmates are the inmates themselves. So it’s a world of the mentally ill. There are some Jews which do try to separate themselves from the Sheker, from the lie and on those few Jews the world of the Geula Shelaima will be built by Hashem. We Am Yisroel must hold on and never let go.We will go farther. After Succos, Simchas Torah the world will become so so different, so horribly different that it will be absolutely unrecognizable. The only thing we will recognize is our Kesher with Hashem. The only thing that will be real will be our Kesher with Hashem, His Torah, and His Mitzvos.Am Yisroel, the ones in Chutz La’aretz, the ones outside of Eretz Yisroel, pack your bags if you can. Pack your bags and come. Do so. It’s not an Aveirah. Coming to Eretz Yisroel is a great Zechus, but don’t come if you don’t really want to go higher in your Yiddishkeit. Don’t come just to save your lives, because it won’t work. You have to believe, believe that Hashem is Hakol Yachol. Ain Od Milvado. You have to believe it with all your heart and your soul. You have to believe that there is nothing greater than our Torah. You have to believe that Moshiach is going to come and there is going to be Techias Hameisim and you have to believe in every single one of the Yud Gimmel Ikrim. You must believe in that. That is your ticket to eternity. You must with all your heart and soul believe in it.After Simchas Torah there is going to be a giant Birur and that Birur is going to be very hard, but it won’t be hard for those who understand the Truth, for those who cling to Hashem, for those who cling to the Truth. It won’t be hard. So please Am Yisroel please, please if you feel up to it, if you feel that you want to rise spiritually, come to Eretz Yisroel, not Medinas Yisroel, that’s going to fall very soon, but Eretz Yisroel, come to Eretz Yisroel, and even though it could be very difficult and even though you don’t know where you are going to live and even though you don’t know where your income will come from, still you are better off here than there if you truly want to be close to Hashem. If you truly want, for spiritual reasons to come close to Hakodosh Boruch Hu, to actually greet Moshiach Tzidkainu then come to Eretz Yisroel now. Anyone with Gashmiusdik ideas about the Geula, forget it. Stay where you are.I also want to reiterate that every Jewish soul will be saved. Every Jewish soul that stood at Har Sinai and said Na’ase Venishma, we will do and we will say, every Jewish soul will be saved. Hashem will make sure that even if a Jew thinks he doesn’t accept Emes, in the end he will. Hashem will force him to accept Emes, and he will become a great believer, but he will suffer on the way, but those who are close already, those who believe with all their hearts and souls in Hakol Yachol, in Hakodosh Boruch Hu, in the Ribbono Shel Olam, they will not have difficulties almost at all. It might be frightening to see what’s happening, but they themselves will not suffer. So Am Yisroel, we are coming to Rosh Hashana. Please do Teshuva. Please do Teshuva now. Get your heads straight. Get your minds on the right things. Teach your children how to react when the terrible wars really start. They have started already, but the really bad part is soon to come. Teach your children how to hold on to Hashem. Teach your children what reality is, what the Geula Shelaima means, what the Bais Hamikdosh means, what the Korbanos mean. Teach them not to be afraid because Hashem is Hakol Yachol. He took us out of Mitzrayim, which was an amazing, amazing Ness, and He will take us out of this terrible, terrible Golus and bring us to the Geula Shelaima.I want to tell you something else Mommy and Tatti. I love you all very much. I know how much you are doing for me and how you care for me. I know I sometimes make you both a bit upset with my moods. I go a bit crazy myself with the double life that I have been living. One part of my life, a little boy with little boy needs, and the other part of my life I am a greater person a much more adult person. So please I ask you Mechila for anything I have done to make it difficult for you and tell you how much I appreciate how you’ve taken care of me, and how I imagine you will continue to take care of me up to when Moshiach comes. At that time I won’t need your help anymore, Be’ezras Hashem. I know that very soon we are going to see the Truth. So don’t get discouraged and don’t get taken down. Just know that all of our troubles are going to disappear and really you shouldn’t be worried about all these things that are happening in the house, buying and selling apartments, taking care of me, and all the other grandchildren who have this problem, that problem, or the other problem, or my aunts and my uncles that have all kinds of problems. Just know that it’s almost over, almost over.To Am Yisroel I want to tell you that when we come to Chanukah we are going to have very great spiritual happenings that will remind us of the Maccabim, that will remind us of our greatness, will remind us of our Bais Hamikdosh, even though we will be very frightened and we will be such a tiny little group surrounded by huge amounts of wild people with terrible weapons, but still our hearts will be full of joy because we will feel again what the Maccabim felt even though we will be terribly afraid. It will seem impossible to ever get out of that situation, but Hashem will help us and we will, and after that will come Asara B’teves and we will mourn like we never mourned before. We will cry and beg like we never did on Tisha B’av, beg and beg Hashem to rebuild our Bayis our Bais Hamikdosh, and not let the Goyim do the most outlandish thing of destroying the Dome of the Rock and instead building Chas Veshalom there a temple to the Avodah Zorah of their new Religion Chas Vesholom, Yemach Shemam Vezichram. That is their plan to build on top of Har Hamoriah, Har Habayis a temple to the Avodah Zorahs, the worst Avodah Zorahs.Then we will come to Purim and we will beg Hashem to save us from Haman and we will have a Haman here, a Haman that we will have to be saved from and we will have to fight, fight our fears, beg Hashem to save us from this awful terrible horrific person and his armies and his police. We will have to beg very hard. Hashem will save us.He will save us, and then will come Pesach and we will be a tattered bunch of tired people when we sit around the Seder table, with Matzoh and wine miraculously provided for us by Hashem and we will beg Hashem to save us. We will beg Hashem. We will beg Hashem to bring the Geula Shelaima. On Shvii Shel Pesach we will hear the Shofar. We will hear the Shofar and on Leil Haseder each house will see Eliyahu Hanavi, all the Jews that are Emesdik will see him and it will give us strength, but it still won’t be the time of redemption. I can’t go on farther than that to explain, but when we see Eliyahu Hanavi we will know that very soon this terribly long Golus will be over, and we will be finally free. From that moment on, there will be more and greater wars. There will be false prophets and false messiahs, but we will hold on to Hakodosh Boruch Hu and to the seed of Dovid Hamelech, to our Moshiach Tzidkainu, our true Moshiach. He will reveal himself and we Motzai Shviis will walk into the Bais Hamikdosh and be Makriv Korbonos and be happy and be dancing with the greatest joy ever felt in the whole world, even though around us two thirds of the world will have been destroyed, and very few Yidden and even fewer Goyim will survive.I have been given permission to reveal to you these future events in order to give Am Yisroel strength and courage to get through these very difficult times. I beg Am Yisroel from the bottom of my heart to feel that every Jew is responsible for the other Jew. Every true Jew feels responsibility for another Jew, feels that he wants to do Chessed for another Jew. That’s how you know he’s really a Jew. I love Am Yisroel so much that just saying it makes me cry, and I beg you please make it easy on yourselves. Come back to Hashem. Take away the Gashmius which is so senseless, all the toys, all the adult stupid toys, all the videos, all the things that make us waste our time and instead put our efforts into growing spiritually. The best way to grow spiritually is when times are difficult. We don’t want times to be difficult, but we must use the future hard times to help us grow. Please let us put our hearts and our souls and our strength, into growing even though around us will be death and destruction. Please keep growing. Please keep coming closer and closer to Hakodosh Boruch Hu.


Q: Do we have to be afraid of the ISIS?A: That group of murderers were created by the Reshoim to frighten the world. They have no real tangible strength. It’s all a farce and the Europeans definitely don’t want them around and probably will try to get rid of them as fast as possible. However they will go underground and they will cause destruction in the world because they as individuals can blow up hundreds of places in Europe, America, not only the Mideast. As an army they aren’t an army. They are just a group of vicious people. They are using the scare tactics of chopping peoples’ heads off, Lo Aleinu, or murdering them in other terrible ways to make people afraid, but don’t pay attention to them. It’s all not something real. Yes people are killed and they are very vicious, but they have no strength and Hashem will destroy them.There is nothing to add right now. I’m giving you kind of a preview. Up to now we the autistics, have written many things and they’ve all come true, however, we never really gave a timeframe because people still had to schlep through many years without this kind of Chizuk. There was no point in giving a timeframe, because people would say, “Oh well we still have ten years, so let’s just party until then. We have time to do Teshuvah!” There’s no time now, so let’s do it now now, now!There is one more thing I want to say. In the next near future the State of Israel, the Medina is going to crumble. It’s already crumbling from its own decadence. That is what’s going to happen IY”H. Very soon the chaos is going to rage here until the Goyim take over. Then Moshiach will take control from the Goyim and the Geula Shelaima will begin Be’ezras Hashem.I don’t have anything else to write now.
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Humanitarian crisis in Ferguson Missouri

12August2014 http://www.vox.com/2014/8/15/6005587/ferguson-satire-another-country-russia-china

Ferguson, Missouri
FERGUSON — Chinese and Russian officials are warning of a potential humanitarian crisis in the restive American province of Missouri, where ancient communal tensions have boiled over into full-blown violence.”We must use all means at our disposal to end the violence and restore calm to the region,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said in comments to an emergency United Nations Security Council session on the America crisis.

The crisis began a week ago in Ferguson, a remote Missouri village that has been a hotbed of sectarian tension. State security forces shot and killed an unarmed man, which regional analysts say has angered the local population by surfacing deep-seated sectarian grievances. Regime security forces cracked down brutally on largely peaceful protests, worsening the crisis.

“”we can and should support moderate forces who can bring stability to America””

America has been roiled by political instability and protests in recent years, which analysts warn can create fertile ground for extremists.

Missouri, far-removed from the glistening capital city of Washington, is ostensibly ruled by a charismatic but troubled official named Jay Nixon, who has appeared unable to successfully intervene and has resisted efforts at mediation from central government officials. Complicating matters, President Obama is himself a member of the minority sect protesting in Ferguson, which is ruled overwhelmingly by members of America’s majority “white people” sect.

Analysts who study the opaque American political system, in which all provinces are granted semi-autonomous self-rule, warned that Nixon may seize the opportunity to move against weakened municipal rulers in Ferguson. Missouri’s provincial legislature, a traditional “shura council,” is dominated by the opposition faction. Though fears of a military coup remain low, it is still unknown how Nixon’s allies within the capital will respond should the crisis continue.

Now, international leaders say they fear the crisis could spread.

“The only lasting solution is reconciliation among American communities and stronger Missouri security forces,” Chinese President Xi Jinping said in a speech from his vacation home in Hainan. “However, we can and should support moderate forces who can bring stability to America. So we will continue to pursue a broader strategy that empowers Americans to confront this crisis.”

Xi’s comments were widely taken as an indication that China would begin arming moderate factions in Missouri, in the hopes of overpowering rogue regime forces and preventing extremism from taking root. An unknown number of Kurdish peshmerga military “advisers” have traveled to the region to help provide security. Gun sales have been spiking in the US since the crisis began.

Analysts warn the violence could spread toward oil-producing regions such as Oklahoma or even disrupt the flow of American beer supplies, some of the largest in the world, and could provide a fertile breeding ground for extremists. Though al-Qaeda is not known to have yet established a foothold in Missouri, its leaders have previously hinted at assets there.

Since the land that is now Missouri was acquired from France as part of the Louisiana Purchase and became known as the Missouri Territory, it is only proper to send French Peacekeeping troops to it’s former colony to maintain order .

Though Missouri is infamous abroad for its simmering sectarian tensions and brutal regime crackdowns, foreign visitors here are greeted warmly and with hospitality. A lawless expanse of dogwood trees and beer breweries, Missouri is located in a central United States region that Americans refer to, curiously, as the “MidWest” though it is nearer to the country’s east.

It is known among Americans as the home of Mark Twain, a provincial writer from the country’s small but cherished literary culture, and as the originator of Budweiser, a traditional American alcoholic beverage. Budweiser itself is now owned by a Belgian firm, in a sign of how globalization is transforming even this remote area of the United States. Analysts say some american communities have struggled as globalization has pulled jobs into more developed countries, worsening instability here.

“violence could spread to oil-producing regions such as Oklahoma or even disrupt the flow of American beer supplies”

Locals here eat a regional delicacy known as barbecue, made from the rib bones of pigs, and subsist on traditional crafts such as agriculture and aerospace engineering. The regional center of commerce is known locally as Saint Louis, named for a 13th century French king, a legacy of Missouri’s history as a remote and violent corner of the French Empire.

Though Ferguson’s streets remained quiet on Friday, a palpable sense of tension and uncertainty hung in the air. A Chinese Embassy official here declined to comment but urged all parties to exhibit restraint and respect for the rule of law. In Moscow, Kremlin planners were said to be preparing for a possible military intervention should political instability spread to the nearby oil-producing region of Texas.
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From Zero Hedge.com

Ebola and Russia in focus

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-10-13/ebola-and-russia-focus

It has been reported that the black plague that killed millions in Europe was at least similar to the Ebola now threatening the world:

Most assume that Black Death quickly ravaged the fourteenth century western world was a bacterial bubonic plague epidemic caused by flea bites and spread by rats. But the Black Death killed a high proportion of Scandinavians — and where they lived was too cold for fleas to survive. A modern work gives us a clue into this mystery. The “Biology of Plagues” published by Cambridge University Press analyzed 2,500 years of plagues and concluded that the Black Death was caused by a viral hemorrhagic fever pandemic similar to Ebola. If this view is correct, the future medical and economic impacts from Ebola have been vastly underestimated.

But during medieval times, castles closed their walls and people didn’t venture out. In a modern world of just in time inventory, global airline travel, and healthcare systems being proven to be ineffective, this could exceed any projections. The World Bank has estimated the economic cost of Ebola could reach $32 Billion by the end of next year. But this is the same group that forecast a global recovery, and failed to see a looming sub-prime fueled credit crisis that brought down some of Wall Street’s largest banks and caused trillions in economic devastation.

Ebola And The Five Stages Of Collapse

Submitted by Dmitry Orlov via ClubOrlov blog,http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-10-11/ebola-and-five-stages-collapse

At the moment, the Ebola virus is ravaging three countries – Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone – where it is doubling every few weeks, but singular cases and clusters of them are cropping up in dense population centers across the world. An entirely separate Ebola outbreak in the Congo appears to be contained, but illustrates an important point: even if the current outbreak (to which some are already referring as a pandemic) is brought under control, continuing deforestation and natural habitat destruction in the areas where the fruit bats that carry the virus live make future outbreaks quite likely.

Ebola’s mortality rate can be as high as 70%, but seems closer to 50% for the current major outbreak. This is significantly worse than the Bubonic plague, which killed off a third of Europe’s population. Previous Ebola outbreaks occurred in rural, isolated locales, where they quickly burned themselves out by infecting everyone within a certain radius, then running out of new victims. But the current outbreak has spread to large population centers with highly mobile populations, and the chances of such a spontaneous end to this outbreak seem to be pretty much nil.

Ebola has an incubation period of some three weeks during which patients remain asymptomatic and, specialists assure us, noninfectious. However, it is known that some patients remain asymptomatic throughout, in spite of having a strong inflammatory response, and can infect others. Nevertheless, we are told that those who do not present symptoms of Ebola—such as high fever, nausea, fatigue, bloody stool, bloody vomit, nose bleeds and other signs of hemorrhage—cannot infect others. We are also told that Ebola can only be spread through direct contact with the bodily fluids of an infected individual, but it is known that among pigs and monkeys Ebola can be spread through the air, and the possibility of catching it via a cough, a sneeze, a handrail or a toilet seat is impossible to discount entirely. It is notable that many of the medical staff who became infected did so in spite of wearing protective gear—face masks, gloves, goggles and body suits. In short, nothing will guarantee your survival short of donning a space suit or relocating to a space station.

There is a test that shows whether someone is infected with Ebola, but it is known to produce false negatives. Other methods do even worse. Current effort at “enhanced screening,” recently introduced at a handful of international airports, where passengers arriving from the affected countries are now being checked for fever, fatigue and nausea, are unlikely to stop infected, and infectious, individuals. They are akin to other “security theater” methods that are currently in vogue, such as making passengers take off their shoes and testing breast milk for its potential as an explosive. The fact that the thermometers, which agents point at people’s heads, are made to look like guns is a nice little touch; whoever came up with that idea deserves Homeland Security’s highest decoration—to be shaped like a bomb and worn rectally.

It is unclear what technique or combination of techniques could guarantee that Ebola would not spread. Even a month-long group quarantine for all travelers from all of the affected countries may provide the virus with a transmission path via asymptomatic, undiagnosed individuals. And even a quarantine that would amount to solitary confinement (which would be both impractical and illegal) would simply put evolutionary pressure on this fast-mutating virus to adapt and incubate longer than the period of the quarantine.

Treatment of Ebola victims amounts to hydration and palliative care. Transfusions of blood donated by a survivor seem to be the only effective therapy available. An experimental drug called ZMapp has been demonstrated to stop Ebola in non-human primates, but its effectiveness in humans is now known to be less than 100%. It is an experimental drug, made in small batches by infecting young tobacco plants with an eyedropper. Even if its production is scaled up, it will be too little and too late to have any measurable effect on the current epidemic. Likewise, experimental Ebola vaccines have been demonstrated to be effective in animal trials, and one has been shown to be safe in humans, but the process of demonstrating it effectiveness in humans and then producing it in sufficient quantities may take longer than it would for the virus to spread around the world.

The scenario in which Ebola engulfs the globe is not yet guaranteed, but neither can it be dismissed as some sort of apocalyptic fantasy: the chances of it happening are by no means zero. And if Ebola is not stopped, it has the potential to reduce the human population of the earth from over 7 billion to around 3.5 billion in a relatively short period of time. Note that even a population collapse of this magnitude is still well short of causing human extinction: after all, about half the victims fully recover and become immune to the virus. But supposing that Ebola does run its course, what sort of world will it leave in its wake? More importantly, now is a really good time to start thinking of ways in which people can adapt to the reality of a global Ebola pandemic, to avoid a wide variety of worst-case outcomes. After all, compared to some other doomsday scenarios, such as runaway climate change or global nuclear annihilation, a population collapse can look positively benign, and, given the completely unsustainable impact humans are currently having on the environment, may perhaps even come to be regarded as beneficial.

I understand that such thinking is anathema to those who feel that every problem must have a solution—or it’s not worth discussing. I certainly don’t want to discourage those who are trying to stop Ebola, or to delay its spread until a vaccine becomes available, and would even help them if I could. I am not suicidal, and I don’t look forward to the death of roughly half the people I know. But I happen to disagree that thinking about what such an outcome, and perhaps even preparing for it in some ways, is necessarily a bad idea. Unless, of course, it produces a panic. So, if you are prone to panic, perhaps you shouldn’t be reading this.

And so, for the benefit of those who are not particularly panic-prone, I am going to trot out my old technique of examining collapse as consisting of five distinct stages: financial, commercial, political, social and cultural, and briefly discuss the various ramifications of a swift 50% global population collapse when viewed through that prism. If you want to know all about the five stages, my book is widely available.

Financial collapse

Our current set of financial arrangements, involving very large levels of debt leading to artificially high valuations placed on stocks, commodities, real estate, and Ph.D’s in economics, is underpinned by a key assumption: that the global economy is going to continue to grow. Yes, global growth started stumbling around the turn of the century, stopped for a while during the financial collapse of 2008, and has since then remained anemic, with even the most tentative signs of recovery having much to do with unlimited money-printing by the world’s central banks, but the economics Ph.D’s remain ever so hopeful that growth will resume. Nevertheless, this much is clear: halving the number of workers and consumers would not be conducive to boosting economic growth.

Quite the opposite: it would mean that most debt will have to be written off. Likewise, the valuations of companies that would supply half the demand with half the workers would be unlikely to go up. Nor would the houses, half of which would stand vacant and dilapidated, increase in value. If the supply of oil suddenly outstrips demand by 50%, then this would cause the price of oil to drop to a point where it no longer covers the cost of producing it, and oil producers will be forced to shut down. This would not be a happy event for those countries that are heavily dependent on energy exports in order to afford imports of food to feed their populations. Nor would such developments spell a happy end for those countries that need to continuously roll over trillions of dollars of short-term debt in order to continue feeding their populations via government hand-outs (the United States comes to mind).

“But what about wealth preservation?!” I hear some of my readers screaming in anguish? “How do I hedge my portfolio against a sudden 50% global population drop?” Well, that’s easy: you need to be short all paper. Short it all: currency, stocks, bonds, debt instruments, deeds on urban real estate. Get out of most commodities: energy, obviously, but also precious metals, because you can’t eat gold. Go long people (who will be in ever-shorter supply) and arable land (because people have to eat) and stockpile everything else that they will need to learn to feed themselves. If they are sufficiently grateful for all you help, they will feed you too. Alternatively, you can just sit on your paper wealth as it dwindles to nothing, and wait for the torches and the pitchforks to come out. Since wealthy people squander a disproportionate amount of wealth on themselves and their families, killing them off is a good wealth preservation strategy—for the rest of us, so feel free to do your part.

Commercial collapse

It would be a challenge to keep global supply chains in operation while commodity prices plummet in value, credit becomes unavailable, and other knock-on effects of financial collapse make themselves felt. Since a lot of production depends on overseas suppliers, it would shut down shortly after international credit becomes unavailable. Countries that have food security, strong central control, many state-owned companies and long-term barter agreements with other countries (Russia and China come to mind) may find it possible to switch their economies into the old command and control mode, so that the few products that are key for keeping the survivors alive remain available.

It should be expected that certain forms of production—those particularly capital intensive—would disappear entirely. Examples might include integrated circuit manufacturing, pharmaceutical industry, offshore oil drilling, satellite technology and so on. Certain long-lasting forms of technology, such as manual printing presses, manual typewriters and solar panel-powered shortwave radios, would remain in use, treasured and passed along as technological heirlooms.

For many operations, different staffing arrangements would need to be put in place. For instance, ships would need to double their crews, in expectation that at least half the crew might drop dead during any given trip. This would not be as problematic as it sounds: during the age of discovery it was not unusual for half the crew to be lost during a voyage from causes ranging from blunt trauma to scurvy. The shift to double-staffing would be particularly important for operations that affect public safety in a major way, nuclear power plants in particular.

Political collapse

A 50% reduction in global population would no doubt accelerate the already speedy process by which nation-states fail and turn into ungovernable regions. Not a year goes by without one or two more countries joining their ranks: Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Ukraine… Several African countries may join this list before the year is out.

Especially at risk are those countries that would be unable to continue feeding their populations once oil prices plummet. Saudi Arabia, for instance, would be quickly wiped out as a country once the vast welfare state supported by the House of Saud ceases to function. As soon as that happens, Saudi Arabia would become a particularly soft target for the Islamic Caliphate, with very interesting consequences for the entire region.

There is one effect that would be common to all countries, or at least to those who have not yet undergone political collapse: since the population would become much younger, gerontocracy would become a thing of the past. The swift die-off would cause life expectancies to plummet, but we should expect the effect to be much more pronounced at the higher end of the spectrum. In many of the prosperous, developed countries in particular, there is currently a very large bulge near the geriatric end of the age spectrum. In these countries, people have been living longer and longer thanks to aggressive medical interventions: cancer surgeries, drug regimens and a variety of therapies. Many of these people are living longer but in increasingly poor health, and we should expect Ebola to carry them off in disproportionately large numbers. Organizations such as the US senate, with an average age over 60, would be expected to lose much more than half of their members—to most Americans’ inordinate glee, if public survey numbers are to be believed.

For those countries that manage to remain stable, the disproportionately heavy die-off among the aged may pave the way to large-scale economic and political reforms. Older people tend to vote more than the young, and they tend to vote for the preservation of the status quo rather than for change. This pattern is particularly clear in some countries, such as the US, where older people vote to maintain the privileges that had accrued to them during prosperous times, thereby depriving their children and grandchildren of a viable future. The demographic projection where soon there will be just two working-age people supporting each retiree would be invalidated. Other types of rapid positive change may occur; for instance, many academic disciplines, in which nothing can change until the old guard dies, may begin to see rapid progress.

Social collapse

There would likely to be a wide spectrum of outcomes. Those communities that are ethnically homogenous, well-defended, strongly bound together by conservative and uniform social and religious traditions, with a history of favoring self-sufficiency and perseverance, would be likely to survive and recover. On the other hand, those communities that are ethnically diverse with a history of bigotry, racism and ethnic strife, with weak, optional, or nonexistent standards of public morality, which are integrated into the global economy in non-optional ways, and which are unaccustomed to hardship, are likely to perish.

Cultural collapse

The cultures most favored to survive would be those that can be preserved autonomously at a small scale. Particularly favored to survive would be those that have a strong oral tradition, teach their own children within families rather than submitting them to government-run schools, and insist on internal systems of jurisprudence and governance in defiance of any external interference. It is hard to imagine that the Roma of the Balkans or the Pashtuns of Waziristan would fail to pass on their culture just because half of them suddenly die. Such circumstances may sound dire to most of us, but to these long-suffering tribes it’s a sunny day in the park and a boat-ride on the pond, and they would be sure to add a few epic poems about it to their repertoire once it’s over.

At the other extreme are those cultures that depend entirely on book-learning, and have a writing system sufficiently abstruse to require many years of schooling just to achieve a basic level of literacy (English, Chinese). Education relies on transmitting information from those who are older to those who are younger, and as the die-off compresses the age spectrum toward its younger end, the number of teachers will dwindle. Coupled with other inevitable disruptions, formal schooling may become impossible in many areas, resulting, a generation or so later, in very low levels of literacy. Severed from its main mechanism for acquiring knowledge, the culture of the people in such areas would disintegrate. At the very far end of the spectrum are found roving bands of feral children, speaking a language that no adult is able to understand. It is at this point that we are able to conclude that cultural collapse has run its course.

Mitigation strategies

I have already mentioned that it may be a good idea to make arrangements through which survivors would be able to feed themselves, and provide them with the few other necessities for survival.

Beyond that, there are the basic mechanics of handling the pandemic. The current strategy treats it as a medical problem, best handled by doctors and nurses working in hospitals and clinics. This strategy only works for as long as the epidemic can be said to be under control; once it can be said to be out of control, the surviving doctors and nurses (medics are usually the first to be exposed—and to die) would be well advised to specifically refuse to handle Ebola patients.

In absence of any curative or preventive therapies, Ebola patients need shelter, hydration, hygiene, palliative care and, if and when they die, sanitary disposal of the remains. The goal is to do what is possible to give patients a chance to recover more or less on their own. To this end, it is very important to do all the things necessary to make sure that people are dying just from Ebola, and not from exposure, dehydration, or from any of the opportunistic diseases that thrive in disrupted circumstances, such as cholera and typhus. Sanitation is the most important aspect of the entire operation.

These services need not be provided by trained medics. The main two requirements for such service are: 1. psychological immunity to scenes of horrific suffering and death; and 2. immunity to Ebola. The first of these requirements comes down to natural talent; some have it, some don’t. The second requirement is being provided free of charge by the Ebola virus itself, in cooperation with the survivors’ immune systems.

English lacks a good word to describe this type of specialist, but we don’t have to reach far to find one: the Russian word for it is “sanitar.” A popular Russian saying goes “wolves are sanitars of the forest” because they take care of disposing of the sick, the weak and the lame, thus giving those that survive a better chance. A sanitar need not be medically trained, but some training is needed: in diagnosis, palliative care, sanitation procedures and corpse disposal.

A third requirement is one that applies to the sanitation service as a whole: the number of sanitars has to scale with the rate of infection. Since the number of those infected is increasing exponentially, the number of sanitars assigned to serve them has to be able to increase exponentially as well. It seems outlandish to think that sufficient numbers of people will spontaneously volunteer for the job, and this means that they have to be press-ganged into service. And a super-obvious way to do just that is to simply never discharge Ebola survivors: once you are in, you are in until the pandemic is over, or until you die, whichever comes first. If you recover, you are given a bit of training, and then you go to work.

If you don’t like the mitigation strategy I am proposing, please feel free to propose your own. Keep in mind, however, that what you propose has to automatically scale with the increase in the rate of infection, which is exponential. Sure, you can propose setting a public health budget, but then it has to double every couple of weeks—and keep doubling until the number of patients is in the billions.

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new WhyWait 10/11/2014 – 22:05 | 5319505

Growing food, obtaining and moving enough fuel for agriculture, reinventing non-powered horticulture and horse or ox-powered agriculture, becomes urgent. But for the first few years moving and distributing food will be critical. New England of course will face an urgent crisis, but so will Iowa, which produces vast quantities of food-industry inputs but not much that can be eaten raw, and not much that can be produced without diesel fuel and a broad spectrum of manufactured inputs.

Much of the soil has been rendered infertile, and much precious time and effort will be spent discovering which pieces of land can still produce a crop without industrial inputs.

Accumulating things you think will be useful – especially a great seed collection, nothing GM, legacy varieties if you can find them, would be good. But you might also want to look for hundred-year-old books on all aspects of food production and processing, and modern works on all aspects of organic farming. Start reading and talking about them. Look up your local organic farmers association, and find out what they are thinking and doing.

You might also want to find out who has draft horses, and if you’re rich enough, buy one – or a breeding pair. Learn about oxen and mules. Find out who has horse-drawn equipment in the back of their barn, and find out if there are any old-timers left who remember how to use them.

A cow would be a good investment – not a super-producing modern Holstein, something old-fashioned. Learn about raising chickens or other fowl for home consumption, how to feed them without purchased grain, how to grow your own chicken feed, and make a start at it. If you have a pond, ducks and geese will forage for much of their food in summer.

Don’t waste time getting started. The best time to start is tomorrow morning. If you have the money, look for apartners, perhaps young people with know how and ideals. Remember though, if you hire them they’ll most likely look out for themselves when the paychecks become worthless or stop. You really don’t want employees. You want partners.

And then you have to let go of the belief that your money makes you more important, more deserving, that your money gives you power. True, your money can help start this effort, but from then on it will be all about what you know, what you do, how well you win and keep the trust and cooperation of those around you, and what you can contribute.

The 8 Phases of an American Ebola Outbreak

http://johngaltfla.com/wordpress/2014/08/18/the-8-phases-of-an-american-ebola-outbreak/

by John Galt August 18, 2014 22:00 ET

 The 8 Phases of an American Ebola Outbreak | Shenandoah | http://johngaltfla.com

The 8 Phases of an American Ebola Outbreak | Shenandoah | http://johngaltfla.com

The bell curve pictured above is not a quantitative measurement of current events and only acts a partial estimation of how an outbreak of Ebola within the United States would occur in various phases, some of short duration, others much longer. The estimations below are those of the author after researching the current outbreak and lack of coordinated world wide response to the threat. The color code is to indicate severity of each phase with red obviously indicating the most severe period while the primary and latter stages indicate latency to a true “gray” area where the conclusion of the disaster is indeterminate.

PHASE I. – DISTRACTION AND DISTORTION

The United States government has a horrific track record of concealing life threatening illnesses and outbreaks from the American public thus when the initial confirmation of active cases in America occurs, the government will use its allies in the media to distort the threat and other distractions to prevent focused coverage or investigation as to the severity of what is happening within US borders.

It could be as simple as a few isolated cases across the country, primarily from people who have returned from nations already enduring the pandemic or via contact in concentrated areas of population with infected persons for extended periods of time (i.e., airplanes, public transport, etc.). The process to distort and diminish the threat by maintaining that the American medical community is too sophisticated and prepared for this disease to have any notable impact on the population as a whole.

During this phase the government will quietly begin advising emergency responders, hospitals, and military personnel to initiate protocols for treatment and containment per FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) guidelines. This period will also include large orders of emergency supplies for public healthcare facilities and the military along with a strict censorship policy for doctors and scientists at the CDC and other government agencies to prevent leaks or causing premature panic among the population. No public warnings beyond travel advisories to infected nations will be issued.

PHASE II. – FIRST CASES PUBLICLY ACKNOWLEDGED WITH CONTAINMENT ANNOUNCED BY AUTHORITIES

At this point in time, the US will begin quarantine procedures for infected individuals and restrictions on all travel to nations where the Ebola outbreak is out of control. The government will announce that the domestic cases are contained and attempt to quash all rumors of a widespread problem with not just America, but the North American continent as a whole.

This phase will be of very short duration, perhaps 30 days or less, with rumors and hysteria beginning to set in not just on the internet but among the financial world as money quietly begins to leave the system and converted to cash or physical precious metals while they make travel arrangements to leave to overseas perceived locations of safety (private islands or nations which have tighter immigration controls).

At the tail end of this phase, social media will explode with rumors of mass infections, outbreaks in communities, and of friends and associates falling ill.

PHASE III. – ACCELERATION AND PANIC

After the social media eruption in Phase II. the denials by the government will fall on deaf ears because local news will pick up the story and begin transmitting the truth from medical facilities within their communities. There will be intermingling of individuals who truly have the Ebola virus and individuals who have the common cold or a flu but are misdiagnosed by over worked and over stressed medical professionals. Another new aspect that the US is not prepared for thanks in part to Obamacare are the number of individuals who could not obtain health insurance due to the cost or have extremely high deductibles which forces them off their former primary physician networks and into walk-in clinics, etc. This wave of contagious individuals packed in with non-infected persons who might be suffering from the regular flu or other common ailments which weaken their immune systems will only accelerate the spread.

If a larger number of contagious individuals who are in the 21 day gestation period yet unaware of their exposure continue to behave normally reporting for work, going to football games or other public areas, along with attending family holiday functions the spread would probably accelerate rapidly throughout the population. This fast spreading of Ebola is the nightmare scenario currently underway in West Africa where the disease spreads daily and exponentially as the medical system begins to collapse. The problems dismissed by US authorities would begin to appear in this country with doctors taking prolonged leaves of absence, hospitals turning away patients, and worse, alternative treatments promoted by quacks which instead of curing infected individuals increases the mortality rate and spread of the disease.

The panic portion of this phase will begin as individuals stop showing up for work, vacations and trips are canceled, while firearm plus ammunition sales along with canned and freeze dried foods skyrocket. The JIT (Just In Time) transportation system begins to show signs of failure as truck drivers and train operators start refusing to make deliveries to cities with confirmed cases of infection. The government will then start to deploy the military at border entry points, along open transit points on the border, and in airports to establish quarantine zones for passengers suspected of exposure to the Ebola virus.

PHASE IV. – WIDESPREAD INFECTION AND ECONOMIC COLLAPSE BEGINS

By this point in time, the infection has become widespread with the CDC basically admitting that regional, aka quarantines of cities and even counties by force if necessary, will be the only short term solution to blocking the spread of the pandemic. The economy of the country will begin to fall into complete collapse as absentee rates of 40% plus due to illness and voluntary absenteeism which will shut down not only the transportation system but increase the strain on the medical system.

Military hospitals and isolation or quarantine camps will be established by FEMA to ensure that infected or those suspected of infection are prevented from traveling throughout the region or other parts of the country to spread the disease. Initially at this point in time, some communities will witness 20-30% infection rates with 80-90% of all confirmed cases dying. The government will begin requiring those citizens with infected family members within their household to remain in their homes under threat of arrest or worse and to post government provided quarantine zone signs on their homes. Entire families will end up being wiped out by this action.

Crime will begin to accelerate dramatically as many citizens doubt that the infection is real and elect to steal what they need for their homes and luxuries they could not afford otherwise. The infection begins to spread within America’s major cities with new cases doubling within days. The CDC will announce the “safe zones” within the country that are for verified non-infectious individuals may move about and continue to work freely within those zones.

Other nations will begin banning American citizens from visiting their countries and the US will reply in kind along with cancellation of numerous domestic and international flights to prevent the disease from spreading even more. The stock market will collapse and eventually at the end of this phase closed until further notice. Commerce will come to a grinding halt due to the lack of interstate transportation and the complete failure of the JIT inventory management system. Food shortages will begin to appear in some regions of the country along with price gouging on certain essential foodstuffs and medications.

PHASE V. – EPIDEMIC

Martial law is declared across the Untied States. All US borders will be closed with shoot on sight orders issued for violators. All major American highways and interstates will be closed via military and police checkpoints to prevent travel between cities and states. Energy and food rationing will be enforced via an Executive Order under the auspices of a declaration of National Emergency. A ban on the use of cash and coinage is put into effect along with a bank holiday of undefined duration.

Verified non-infected individuals will be ordered to appear at work in the food production, transportation, and medical industry under penalty of arrest. The facilities in involved in the production and transportation of essential items will be protected by large police, military, or paramilitary (Private Security Contractor or PSC) forces to prevent looting or infected individuals from contaminating the factories or transportation units.

The CDC and Federal Government declare that while a vaccine in testing shows promise, the current course of action worldwide is an isolation and quarantine plan is determined to be the only viable solution until the disease has run its course. Estimates of a 15% total mortality rate in the United States prove to be woefully short of reality. Mass graves and incineration of contaminated bodies are mandated by the government to prevent the spread of the disease via animals consuming rotting corpses.

The economy has completely shut down except for those industries deemed of major strategic importance by the government. All debts, by government, industry, or individual citizens are frozen until further notice. With 1 out of every 3 citizens now infected or suspected of infection, Social Security is suspended to prevent insolvency, Congress meets electronically and all transactions between parties are required to be completed electronically with an electronic judicial review. Crime continues to soar in cities and areas where infection rates run above the 30% level and firearm ownership is restricted. The government now estimates that 10% of all fatalities are not due to Ebola but criminal activity.

PHASE VI. – WANING INFECTION RATES BUT MUTATION THREAT APPEARS

As the infection rates naturally being to decline due to quarantine actions and the efforts of the government to contain the spread, rumors of a mutation of the disease begin to appear on social media and the internet. The government starts dispatching special teams to investigate these claims but no proof is initially found. Meanwhile a vaccine begins to show promise and after several series of tests it appears that the new drug has at least a 50% cure rate; sufficient enough to begin mass production and provide hope for the survivors.

By this time an estimated 83 million citizens and 5 million illegal aliens have been confirmed with the Ebola virus with citizens experiencing a 75% mortality rate, illegals a far more shocking 90% fatality rate due to their refusal to seek mainstream medical treatment.

Curfews are lifted in some cities as the hot zones are now isolated within the communities and freedom of movement in some regions allowed. Infection rates start to decline towards the end of this phase and some industry begins to recover as survivors start to return to work. Martial law is still in effect in many parts of the nation as well as movement between states. Electronic commerce booms and the government authorizes electronic payment systems to connect to bank accounts so transactions can be completed via cell phones and computers. Physical cash usage is still banned until the infection rate declines below 0.5% of the total population.

PHASE VII. – VACCINATION BECOMES MANDATORY ECONOMIC RECOVERY BEGINS

A preventative vaccine in addition to the successful cure are now in widespread production and shared with the world. The preventative vaccine becomes mandatory for all citizens of the United States but some resist suspecting ulterior motives. Those families are quarantined in their homes and subjected to prosecution by the military courts under the National Emergency declaration.

The economy starts to recover with interstate commerce starting again and farmers able to move their goods beyond state borders. Food shortages begin to disappear and limited international trade starts again with nations who agree to put only certified non-infected or vaccinated crews on ships which enter US waters. Some international air traffic resumes but under strict oversight of the Department of Homeland Security. A date for re-opening of banks and financial markets is announced along with parts of the Canadian border re-opened.

An estimated 93.8 million American citizens were infected with 63-64 million fatalities in addition to 8 million illegals with 5.5 million fatalities due to the infection.

PHASE VIII. – A GRAY FUTURE FOR THE COUNTRY

The elections of 2016 will mark a turning point for the country. There will be occasional flare ups of outbreaks but by and large it is under control until it diminishes towards a reported zero infection rate. Some of the possible outcomes of this phase are as follows:

-The use of physical currency will probably be permanently banned along with the filing of manual tax forms.

-The USPS is transitioned and merged within the operations of Federal Express and UPS except for a special division for government mail and packages only, including deliveries to and from the military.

-Income taxes are repealed along with the 16th Amendment but a VAT (Value Added Tax) instant payroll tax (extracted immediately from electronic deposits) and national sales tax of 4% implemented to raise revenues as rapidly as possible.

-The Federal Reserve and US Treasury agree to add and aggregate all contractual obligations such as 30 year mortgages by adding ten years duration to each contract and proportional extensions for automobile loans, credit cards, student loans, etc.

What happens after these obvious changes becomes somewhat gray if not downright terrifying. The systems in place for immigration and international travel will be completely revised to make both extremely difficult to and from some countries. The Mexican border probably remains militarized as the outbreak remains widespread in that country many months beyond the final phases within the US.

The larger question will be revisions proposed to the US Constitution to prevent what will be called 1st Amendment abuses by bloggers and independent reporters, (i.e. Drudge, etc.) who disclose stories about the original outbreak which were supposed to be kept confidential to prevent panic. The large number of fatalities due to criminal activity and self-defense using firearms also creates considerations to restrict or alter the 2nd Amendment also. It is unknown how long America will last with its current form of government in this final phase because the temptation to redesign and restructure the laws of the land to prevent a re-occurrence of this disaster are too tempting to the surviving elites in power.

Let us all hope that common sense and the warnings from current and former doctors and scientists prevail and we never experience anything beyond Phase I. in the scenario above.

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Islamic Burial Rituals Blamed For Spread Of Ebola

Islam isn’t just at the heart of the terror threat posed by the Islamic State. The religion is also contributing to the other major crisis plaguing the globe: the spread of Ebola.

Washington and its media stenographers won’t tell you this, lest they look intolerant, but Islamic burial rituals are a key reason why health officials can’t contain the spread of the deadly disease in West Africa.

Many of the victims of Ebola in the three hot-spot nations there — Sierra Leone and Guinea, as well as neighboring Liberia — are Muslim. Roughly 73% of Sierra Leone’s and about 85% of Guinea’s people are Muslim. Islam, moreover, is practiced by more than 13% of Liberians.

When Muslims die, family members don’t turn to a funeral home or crematorium to take care of the body. In Islam, death is handled much differently.

Relatives personally wash the corpses of loved ones from head to toe. Often, several family members participate in this posthumous bathing ritual, known as Ghusl.

Before scrubbing the skin with soap and water, family members press down on the abdomen to excrete fluids still in the body. A mixture of camphor and water is used for a final washing. Then, family members dry off the body and shroud it in white linens.

Again, washing the bodies of the dead in this way is considered a collective duty for Muslims, especially in Muslim nations. Failure to do so is believed to leave the deceased “impure” and jeopardizes the faithful’s ascension into Paradise (unless he died in jihad; then no Ghusl is required).

Before the body is buried, Muslims attending the funeral typically pass a common bowl for use in ablution or washing of the face, feet and hands, compounding the risk of infection.

Though these customs are prescribed by Shariah law, they’re extremely dangerous and should be suspended. Mosque leaders must step in to educate village Muslims about the dangers of interacting with corpses.

Ebola victims can be more contagious dead than alive. Their bodies are covered in rashes, blood and other fluids containing the virus.

“Funerals and washing dead bodies in West African countries have led, to a great extent, to spread the disease,” a World Health Organization spokeswoman recently warned.

WHO has issued an advisory to Red Cross and other relief workers in African Muslim nations to “be aware of the family’s cultural practices and religious beliefs. Help the family understand why some practices cannot be done because they place the family or others at risk for exposure.”

The document added: “Identify a family member who has influence with the rest of the family and who can make sure family members avoid dangerous practices such as washing or touching the body.”

The warning appears to be falling on deaf ears, however.

Last month, Red Cross workers in Guinea were attacked by family members while trying to bury Ebola dead safely. In Sierra Leone, moreover, a family took Ebola-ridden bodies secured in body bags from the Red Cross, opened them up and exposed all members of the family to Ebola. They all contracted the disease.

The UN warns that if the spread of Ebola can’t be contained within 60 days, it could turn into a global plague. The West African infection rate is expected to jump from 1,000 a week to 10,000 a week.

President Obama argues that suspending travel with these West African nations would do more harm than good.

But the practice of these religious customs is even more reason to do so.

Even Saudi Arabia, the center of Islam, is now barring pilgrims from Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea from traveling to Mecca for fear of them bringing the virus into the kingdom.

So what’s stopping us from barring travelers from those countries?

Ebola and Islam

Paul Eidelberg November 01, 2014

If you have yet to conclude that Islam has spawned the most monstrous enemy of mankind, ponder the report that Spanish intelligence has intercepted messages passed between jihadists online discussing the weaponisation of the deadly Ebola virus for use against the West – something to be expected of the warriors of Islam whose mantra is the love of death.

Accordingly, consider the symptoms of the Ebola virus as indicated by the World Health Organization and the Mayo Clinic:

World Health Organization: Symptoms of Ebola virus disease. The incubation period, that is, the time interval from infection with the virus to onset of symptoms is 2 to 21 days. Humans are not infectious until they develop symptoms. First symptoms are the sudden onset of fever fatigue, muscle pain, headache and sore throat.

Mayo Clinic: Over time, symptoms become increasingly severe and may include: Nausea and vomiting • Diarrhea (may be bloody) • Red eyes • Raised rash • Chest pain and cough • Stomach pain • Severe weight loss • Bleeding, usually from the eyes, and bruising (people near death may bleed from other orifices, such as ears, nose and rectum),

Perhaps U.S. President Barack Obama should instruct the American ambassador to the United Nations to submit a resolution to the UN General Assembly denouncing any Islamic state or organization which, by propagating hostile teachings regarding non-Muslims, encourages the weaponisation of the deadly Ebola virus for use against the West.

Paul:

Furthermore, with both Sierra Leone and Guinea both full fledged members of the Organization of the Islamic Cooperation (and there is a minority of Muslims in Liberia as well) they are sure to follow Islamic burial practices (see article below) hence the disease will affect many more. Thus, Obama’s dispatch of US combat forces (some of the best – e.g. 101st Airborne) can only lead to them getting infected!!

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There Have Been 296 Earthquakes Near The Yellowstone Supervolcano Within The Last 7 Days

by Tyler Durden   Jun 19, 2017
http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-06-19/there-have-been-296-earthquakes-near-yellowstone-supervolcano-within-last-7-days

Authored by Michael Snyder via The American Dream blog,

Is it possible that the Yellowstone supervolcano is gearing up for a major eruption? If you follow my work on a regular basis, then you already know that I spend a lot of time documenting how the crust of our planet is becoming increasingly unstable. Most of this shaking is taking place far away from the continental United States, and so most Americans are not too concerned about it. But we should be concerned about it, because a major seismic event could change all of our lives in a single instant. For instance, a full-blown eruption of the Yellowstone supervolcano would have the potential of being an E.L.E. (extinction level event). That is why it is so alarming that there have been 296 earthquakes in the vicinity of the Yellowstone supervolcano within the last 7 days. Scientists are trying to convince us that everything is going to be okay, but there are others that are not so sure.

The biggest earthquake in this swarm occurred last Thursday evening. It was initially measured to be a magnitude 4.5 earthquake, but it was later downgraded to a 4.4. It was the biggest quake in the region since a magnitude 4.8 earthquake struck close to Norris Geyser Basin in March 2014. This magnitude 4.4 earthquake was so powerful that people felt it as far away as Bozeman

The main quake was centered about 5.8 miles underground.

 

The quake and aftershocks occurred just over 8 miles northeast from West Yellowstone, according to the U.S. Geological Service.

 

A witness reported that she felt the building she was in move.

 

Dozens of people reported that they felt it in and around West Yellowstone, Gardiner, Ennis, and Bozeman.

But by itself that one quake would only be of minor concern. What is troubling many of the experts is that this earthquake has been accompanied by 295 smaller ones.

There is normally a rise in seismic activity before a volcano erupts, and according to theoretical physicist Michio Kaku, a long overdue eruption at Yellowstone could “rip the guts out of the USA”

Scientists currently believe that there’s a 10% chance that a “supervolcanic Category 7 eruption” could take place this century, as pointed out by theoretical physicist Michio Kaku who appeared on a segment for Fox News.

 

The grey haired physicist told Shepard Smith that the “danger” we are now facing with the caldera is that it’s long overdue for an eruption which Kaku said could “rip the guts out of the USA.”

 

Kaku said that a “pocket of lava” located under the park has turned out to be twice as big as scientists originally thought.

I would like to try to describe for you what a full-blown eruption of the Yellowstone supervolcano would mean for this country.

Hundreds of cubic miles of ash, rock and lava would be blasted into the atmosphere, and this would likely plunge much of the northern hemisphere into several days of complete darkness. Virtually everything within 100 miles of Yellowstone would be immediately killed, but a much more cruel fate would befall those that live in major cities outside of the immediate blast zone such as Salt Lake City and Denver.

Hot volcanic ash, rock and dust would rain down on those cities literally for weeks. In the end, it would be extremely difficult for anyone living in those communities to survive. In fact, it has been estimated that 90 percent of all people living within 600 miles of Yellowstone would be killed.

Experts project that such an eruption would dump a layer of volcanic ash that is at least 10 feet deep up to 1,000 miles away, and approximately two-thirds of the United States would suddenly become uninhabitable. The volcanic ash would severely contaminate most of our water supplies, and growing food in the middle of the country would become next to impossible.

In other words, it would be the end of our country as we know it today.

The rest of the planet, and this would especially be true for the northern hemisphere, would experience what is known as a “nuclear winter”. An extreme period of “global cooling” would take place, and temperatures around the world would fall by up to 20 degrees. Crops would fail all over the planet, and severe famine would sweep the globe.

In the end, billions could die.

So yes, this is a threat that we should take very seriously.

But today, most Americans think of Yellowstone as little more than a fun tourist attraction. But the truth is that many tourists have discovered just how dangerous Yellowstone can be. Some have been scalded by boiling water from geysers that can get as hot as 250 degrees Fahrenheit, and one man from North Carolina recently had to be flown to a burn center after he mistakenly fell into a hot spring

A North Carolina man was flown to the University of Utah Burn Center after falling into a hot spring at Yellowstone National Park late Tuesday night.

 

Gervais Dylan Gatete, 21, was with seven other people in the Lower Geyser Basin north of Old Faithful when he fell, according to a park news release.

 

The group attempted to transport Gatete, an employee with Xanterra Parks and Resorts, by car for medical treatment. Just before midnight, they flagged down a park ranger near Seven Mile Bridge on the West Entrance Road.

Since Yellowstone is still very active, scientists assure us that it will erupt again one day.

And when that happens, all of our lives will be completely turned upside down in a single moment.

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