Apologies again for being slow posting.
We've been deep thinking.
We've posted this one before in a different format and couldn't find it, so here it is again,
As always, you can click on the graphic below for a full screen image.
After top level bankers and CEOs of international corporations, the best faith to be practicing in America lately of course is government worship, as it's priests and accolytes are among the highest paid faithful in the nation.
From the Mercatus Center of George Mason University, America is #2 (not 32 as incorrectily posted previously ... thanks Carolyn) in K-12 spending per student as compared with the other nations making up the Orgaization of Economic Development and Cooperation.
While student performance continues to lag.
The argument in America from teachers unions is that lower class sizes will improve results.
Maybe not so much.
Things gets worse as we consider the costs and performance of the fine colleges and universities of our fair land.
Again, from Financial Sense.com here's an inflation comparison of College Fees and Tuitions, Medical Care, Cost of a New Car, Food and Energy.
Students are paying for wildly inflated college costs by going into debt and are subsequently defaulting in huge numbers.
Why are they defaulting, you might ask?
Increasingly, despite what the Powers That Be keep telling you, college ain't worth the money.
Speaking of college.
Everybody hates lobbyists, lying politicians excluded, and probably rightfully so.
Among the reasons that schools at all levels are killing us with costs while failing at their job is the $1.2 Billion dollars the education lobby has showered on public bodies since 1998.
Which of course pales in comparison to the $5.3 Billion Pharma/Healthcare etc. has shelled out on the same public bodies, which should serve as an explanation as to why our healthcare system and Obamacare have both turned out to be such ....... what is the word I am looking for here? ....... abortions.
You may ask yourself, why is it that lobbying the government is such a great business?
That's where the money is.
That's all for today.
We've had some complaints.
No maps or charts for far too long.
It's true, we've been remiss mostly because maps and charts involve doing work, and we haven't been all that keen on doing work lately.
So ..... ok.
We begin with some old stuff.
Here are county by county election results for the 2008 and 2012 presidential elections.
The "mandate" Democrats want everyone to believe they have is for the most part limited to urban communities which as you will see below, have been and continue to grow.
Republicans have been methodically taking control of state governments lately.
Americans continue to get fatter, but then so does everybody else who keeps tabs on such things.
"Subjective Well Being" seems to be fair to middling with the exception of Russia, large swaths of Africa and of course, Afghanistan, Somalia and Iraq where seemingly nobody gives a rat's patootie one way or the other.
We particularly liked the part in this piece about the prominent UK politician who argued that "It’s time we admitted that there’s more to life than money, and it’s time we focused not just on GDP, but on GWB – general well-being."
Your habitually cynical Uncle Roany is of the opinion that there can be no finer goal for a politician than one that can't possible by measured.
The links to the map sources at Technovelgy.com have broken which was a disappointment as when we first went through them we thought the criteria to be even more obtuse than we had originally guessed it might be.
Still, we thought it was an excercise worth attempting and we remain pretty sure that happier is better.
This next one from the CIA's World Factbook is also a bit tricky as it maps the percentage of a nation's population living below the poverty line of that nation. It comes with the following qualifier,
"National estimates of the percentage of the population falling below the poverty line are based on surveys of sub-groups, with the results weighted by the number of people in each group. Definitions of poverty vary considerably among nations. For example, rich nations generally employ more generous standards of poverty than poor nations."
The following is The Fraser Institute's Freedom of the World 2007 map. I couldn't pull the 2012 map from the site for some reason. It's not like much has changed except for the U.S. going backwards. Click on the map below for the entire report for which the criteria is somewhat less obtuse than that behind the "Subjective Well Being" map above.
A very simple explanation of global economics is next.
Apologies for the fuzzy text.
Here's a different kind of map.
Unicef's An Urban World offers percentages of each individuals country living in town.
Click on the map for a quick and informative presentation.
Speaking of the world, it is for the most part opposed to the Obama Administration's fondness for killing people via missile attacks launched from drone aircraft.
Americans are slowly coming around to a similar line of thinking.
Slowly being the operative word.
As financial costs and freedoms lost continue to add up.
Government spending continues to climb regardless of Administration.
The silliness of President Obama regarding his tax and fiscal policies can be demonstrated in the following two charts.
A high percentage of Americans pay no taxes at all and over half of U.S. households are now "on the dole" for at least a part of their income.
Middle class or former middle class households have been pouring onto U.S. entitlement roles adding to deficits and crowding out the poor in a scramble for benefits.
When they tell you that wages are in decline, they ain't kidding.
Almost finally, the Fibonacci number or ratio sometimes known as the "Golden Ratio" is forever showing up all around you.
Among the better examples of it appearing in nature are shells.
In mathematics, Fibonacci numbers, Fibonacci series or Fibonacci sequence are numbers in the following sequence.
0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89 ......
Where the first two numbers in the Fibonacci sequence are 0 and 1, and each subsequent number is the sum of the previous two.
Or by formula Xn = X n -1 + X n-2.
It doesn't matter. Here's what it looks like.
Anyway, Fbonacci showed up again just recently off the coast of New York as Hurricane Sandy.
And finally, speaking of blowing hard.
Remember this chart the next time one of the talking dolls at CNN/MSNBC or anywhere else for that matter start talking about the housing recovery.
I forgot to take my medicine ...... again.
Anyway, this is the first thoughtful, mostly understandable, not politicized to the point of crushing stupidity treatment on the issue of "Global Warming" anyone around here has ever seen.
And best of all, it's pretty good entertainment.
If you're into that kind of thing.
Energy from Space.
A Review of Key Facts and Recent Developments.
To refresh your memory, about the only bipartisan piece of legislation to make it's way out of our hopelessly poisoned political system in years is the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012 which offers up the following atrocity.
Subtitle D — Counterterrorism
SEC. 1021. AFFIRMATION OF AUTHORITY OF THE ARMED FORCES OF THE UNITED STATES TO DETAIN COVERED PERSONS PURSUANT TO THE AUTHORIZATION FOR USE OF MILITARY FORCE.
(a) IN GENERAL. — Congress affirms that the authority of the President to use all necessary and appropriate force pursuant to the Authorization for Use of Military Force (Public Law 107–40; 50 U.S.C. 1541 note) includes the authority for the Armed Forces of the United States to detain covered persons (as defined in subsection (b)) pending disposition under the law of war.
(b) COVERED PERSONS. — A covered person under this section is any person as follows:
(1) A person who planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored those responsible for those attacks.
(2) A person who was a part of or substantially supported al-Qaeda, the Taliban, or associated forces that are engaged in hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners,including any person who has committed a belligerent act or has directly supported such hostilities in aid of such enemy forces.
(c) DISPOSITION UNDER LAW OF WAR. — The disposition of a person under the law of war as described in subsection (a) may include the following:
(1) Detention under the law of war without trial until the end of the hostilities authorized by the Authorization for Use of Military Force.
Now, here's the question you might think to be asking yourself.
If someone can be held without trial until the "end of hostilities" how can they possibly seek to demonstrate that a charge of having "supported al-Qaeda, the Taliban, or associated forces that are engaged in hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners, including any person who has committed a belligerent act or has directly supported such hostilities in aid of such enemy forces" is false?
That's before you even begin to start wondering about the fact that the federal government has supported and partnered with Al Queda for a generation .... think Libya for just the most recent example.
Which of course makes most of both houses of Congress, the last two Presidents of the United States, not to mention the current front runner for the Democrat nomination for President of the United States along with likely most of the CIA, units of "Military Intelligence, and certain investment banks, bankers and hedge funds guilty as sin of this very charge.
Which of course makes it obvious to any thoughtful person that this statute will be pursued selectively.
Not to even mention the fact that Al Queda is an invention of, if not a wholly owned subsidiary of the Federal Government of the United States of America.
"We" of course meaning for purposes of this conversation, someone other than "Me".
So anyway, here's an eight minute or so interview with Chris Hedges who among others has sued the United States Government in order to have this piece of legislation overturned as unconstitutional, wherein he discusses the progress of his lawsuit.
Finally, you may wish to reflect on the absence of this issue from you evening news report.
The Department of Homeland Security suggests that in the event you encounter an "active shooter" in your building, you seek to overpower him/her/it with a pair of scissors.
Which should pretty much guarantee that your headstone will read,
I'm thinking a Glock 9mm in your desk drawer might be an infinitely better approach.
Some years ago, I was poking around looking for something when I stumbled across American Rhetoric's list of the top one hundred speeches of Twentieth Century.
I've gone back and over and over and have now sat and listened to about every one.
Since it is Martin Luther King day, it seemed a good idea to post this link to American Rhetoric's opinion on the greatest speech of the Twentieth Century.
Click on the American Rhetoric logo below for the entire list complete with mp3s and transcripts.
Way, super, double, highly recommended.
I'm down with 1 and 2.
After that, differences abound.
#1 In December 2008, 31.6 million Americans were on food stamps. Today, a new all-time record of 47.7 million Americans are on food stamps. That number has increased by more than 50 percent over the past four years, and yet the mainstream media still has the gall to insist that “things are getting better”.
#3 According to one calculation, the number of Americans on food stamps now exceeds the combined populations of “Alaska, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wyoming.”
#9 In September 2009, during the depths of the last economic crisis, 58.7 percent of all working age Americans were employed. In November 2012, 58.7 percent of all working age Americans were employed. It is more then 3 years later, and we are in the exact same place.
#12 The number of jobs at new small businesses continues to decline. According to economist Tim Kane, the following is how the decline in the number of startup jobs per 1000 Americans breaks down by presidential administration…
Bush Sr.: 11.3
Bush Jr.: 10.8
#26 According to the U.S. Census Bureau, an all-time record 49 percent of all Americans live in a home where at least one person receives financial assistance from the federal government. Back in 1983, that number was less than 30 percent.
#27 Right now, more than 100 million Americans are enrolled in at least one welfare program run by the federal government. And that does not even count Social Security or Medicare. Overall, there are almost 80 different “means-tested welfare programs” that the federal government is currently running.
#29 Barack Obama has been president for less than four years, and during that time the number of Americans “not in the labor force” has increased by nearly 8.5 million. Something seems really “off” about that number, because during the entire decade of the 1980s the number of Americans “not in the labor force” only rose by about 2.5 million.
#34 As the economy has slowed down, so has the number of marriages. According to a Pew Research Center analysis, only 51 percent of all Americans that are at least 18 years old are currently married. Back in 1960, 72 percent of all U.S. adults were married.
#44 The U.S. economy continues to trade good paying jobs for low paying jobs. 60 percent of the jobs lost during the last recession were mid-wage jobs, but 58 percent of the jobs created since then have been low wage jobs.
#48 The U.S. tax code is now more than 3.8 million words long. If you took all of William Shakespeare’s works and collected them together, the entire collection would only be about 900,000 words long.
#64 Nearly 15,000 retired federal workers are collecting federal pensions for life worth at least $100,000 annually. The list includes such names as Newt Gingrich, Bob Dole, Trent Lott, Dick Gephardt and Dick Cheney.
#71 Medicare is also growing by leaps and bounds. As I wrote about recently, it is being projected that the number of Americans on Medicare will grow from 50.7 million in 2012 to 73.2 million in 2025.
#72 Thanks to our foolish politicians (including Obama), Medicare is facing unfunded liabilities of more than 38 trillion dollars over the next 75 years. That comes to approximately $328,404 for each and every household in the United States.
#74 During the first four years of the Obama administration, the U.S. government accumulated about as much debt as it did from the time that George Washington took office to the time that George W. Bush took office.
We've been methodically grinding through them.
I think we'll probably post them all as so far I've liked every one of the eight I've sat through.
If you don't want to wait for me, hit the little gear above and watch them all back to back to back.
This Telly Award-winning documentary is inspired by The Creature from Jekyll Isalnd a book by G. Edward Griffin who explains the history of the Federal Reserve Act of 1912.
Also featured is Dr. Edwin Vieira, Ph.D., J.D. from Harvard whose discussion of the Fed includes the single simplest explanation of how the banks benefit from "The Federal Reserve System" at your expense ... at about 20 min ... that we have ever come across.
Mr Viera also discusses various long-term studies which indicate that the Federal Reserve System encourages war, destabilizes the economy, generates inflation (a hidden tax) and in general is THE THING ... you know ... in addition to your own self ... that is screwing you over.
Dr. Theodore Baehr completes the vid with a discussion of the relationship between the Media, the Fed and the Government and why you never see these issues discussed on network TV or in the mainstream media.
This stuff is not as dry as my explanation of it.
About 58 minutes.
Way double highly recommended.
Since we're already on the subject.
If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks … will deprive the people of all property until their children wake-up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered … The issuing power should be taken from the banks and restored to the people, to whom it properly belongs. Thomas Jefferson
I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies. Thomas Jefferson
The modern theory of the perpetuation of debt has drenched the earth with blood, and crushed its inhabitants under burdens ever accumulating. Thomas Jefferson
I wish it were possible to obtain a single amendment to our Constitution. I would be willing to depend on that alone for the reduction of the administration of our government to the genuine principles of its constitution; I mean an additional article, taking from the federal government the power to borrow money. Thomas Jefferson
If (As the supreme court had recently inferred) Congress has the right under the Constitution to issue paper money, it was given to them to be used by themselves, not to be delegated to individuals or corporations. Andrew Jackson
The Government should create, issue, and circulate all the currency and credits needed to satisfy the spending power of the Government and the buying power of consumers. By the adoption of these principles, the taxpayers will be saved immense sums of interest. Money will cease to be master and become the servant of humanity. Abraham Lincoln
Yes you did you half-witted narcissistic twit!!!!!
We've been methodically grinding through them.
I think we'll probably post them all as so far I've liked every one of the eight I've sat through.
If you don't want to wait for me, hit the little gear above and watch them all back to back to back.
The following video, Money as Debt 1 a short animated documentery by Paul Grignon explains just what exactly money is and where it comes from.
Hint, mostly it ain't the mint.
I know you think you know what money is, and maybe you do, but you may not know where it comes from.
At 47 minutes it's about all I can handle in one sitting.
Way double highly recommended.
We've been methodically grinding through them.
I think we'll probably post them all as so far I've liked every one of the eight I've sat through.
If you don't want to wait for me, hit the little gear above and watch them all back to back to back.
What the hell, if you live in New York City you'll probably be home all week anyway.
The first selection offered for your consideration is "Overdose: The Next Financial Crisis." It features; Peter Schiff, Gerald Celente, and Dennis Hannon, among others.
At 46 minutes it's about all I can handle in one sitting.
I think we've been plain enough in our opposition to the candidates for President being offered up by America's two great political parties.
We cheerfully acknowledge the liklihood that in addition to being deeply opposed to many/most/if not all of the policies put forward by President Obama, Mr. Romney and their respective party platforms, this may reflect a personal problem on our part as we have internalized ... and then some ... the following credo first presented by the beloved Groucho Marx.
So anyway, the libertarian/anti-war types have sniffed us out and have been bombing us with the stuff.
So to speak.
The following are some of our favorites.
We begin with Terry D's hands down favorite, which mostly just creeps me out.
Our strongly held opinion is that the next couple whatevertheyares accurately depict the overwhelming tone of the 2012 election.
This year, America will be voting against.
Conan get's it.
America's contempt for the political class continues to grow.
Which in the case of Vice President Biden, that contempt is well earned.
Speaking of War, some people are beginning to notice that the supposed anti-war left has been AWOL for the past four years and have drawn some conclusions.
Finally, a warning.
Be afraid ..... Be very afraid.
The photos all link up to somebody's site.
There are some random links within these excerpts that I couldn't get Drupal to identify within the edit function ... I've no clue what I did.
“The powers of financial capitalism had (a) far-reaching aim, nothing less than to create a world system of financial control in private hands able to dominate the political system of each country and the economy of the world as a whole. This system was to be controlled in a feudalist fashion by the central banks of the world acting in concert, by secret agreements arrived at in frequent meetings and conferences. The apex of the systems was to be the Bank for International Settlements in Basel, Switzerland; a private bank owned and controlled by the world's central banks which were themselves private corporations. Each central bank...sought to dominate its government by its ability to control Treasury loans, to manipulate foreign exchanges, to influence the level of economic activity in the country, and to influence cooperative politicians by subsequent economic rewards in the business world.” Prof. Carroll Quigley from Tragedy and Hope
"But what of the inequality in income that exists in today’s state-corporatist economy? Did the 1% acquire its wealth solely through hard work? The answer is hardly in many cases. Though there are some innovative businessmen who became rich by providing new and better products, the sharp increase in income inequality over the past two decades is due to an economic phenomenon outside of normal market operations.
Krugman and Stiglitz rightfully point out that the greatest periods of income inequality in the United States were the late 1920s and the period since the mid-1990s. What they fail to mention is that both these periods were not defined by capitalism run amok but by massive credit expansion. This expansion in credit, aided and abetted by the Federal Reserve’s loose money policy, is the real culprit behind vast income inequality." - James E. Miller, www.Mises.ca, 08-07-12
TARP, despite its mind-boggling size, was puny and practically irrelevant compared to the many trillions—how many trillions exactly is still being argued over—the Fed printed and handed out through a variety of programs, and the money started flowing to banks, and not only to American banks but to foreign banks, and to industrial companies like GE and to just about everybody on or off Wall Street who was well enough connected. With this money, they acquired assets and drove up their value. The banks ended up with more free money from the Fed than they knew what to do with, but instead of making low-cost loans, they bought treasuries and other assets, and they made profits not by doing what a bank should be doing but by benefiting from the Fed’s largesse. And they paid out record bonuses.
Thelargest banks, the prime beneficiaries, were eager to buy back the preferred stock and warrants they’d issued to TARP because it was expensive money compared to what the Fed was handing out, which was free. Thus, the Fed had done what Hank Paulson couldn’t bamboozle Congress into letting him do, namely unlimited funds to any entity, including his ownGoldman Sachs. And in doing so, the Fed had bailed out TARP.
TARP wasn’t large enough to prop up the house of cards that these mega-banks had become. It wasn’t large enough to even bail out Citi by itself. Had the Fed not stepped in with its trillions, the banks would have blown through the TARP billions in no time, and then that would have been it. The “catastrophic losses” would have been reality.
However, there were casualties. One of them was capitalism. The Fed had preserved rotten-to-the-core banks that should have collapsed—or rather it had bailed out stockholders, bondholders, and counterparties. Now these banks are even larger, and the creative destruction of capitalism, and thus capitalism itself, has been replaced by the Fed’s will and its printing press. Wolf Richter, Testosterone Pit
"Consider the inter-campus rivalry in recent years. There was a breather in 1992: Bush (Yale) vs. Clinton (Yale law School). Then came 2000. It heated up again: Gore (Harvard) vs. Bush, Jr. (Yale). But this was not a full-scale confrontation. Bush also went to Harvard Business School. Then, the nation got another breather. It was John Kerry, Yale (Skull & Bones) vs. Bush, Yale (Skull & Bones). In 2008, an outsider entered the fray: McCain (Annapolis). He battled Obama (Harvard Law). Today, Yale is on the outs. It's Harvard Law vs. Harvard Law, plus Harvard MBA (Romney earned both in one shot). Dr. Obama, J.D., vs. Dr. Romney, J.D., MBA.
There have been only two major presidential elections since 1932 that did not conform to this Punch and Judy arrangement. One was in 1964, when Goldwater was able to get the Republican nomination, and the Eastern Republican Establishment literally walked out of the convention, and then spent the rest of the summer torpedoing Goldwater's campaign. The other exception, which was only a partial exception, was Reagan's election in 1980. His new Chief of Staff was James Baker III. Baker, then as now, was one of the chief advisors to George H. W. Bush. The Reagan administration was run by Bush's men, with only a few exceptions, for all eight years. Then Bush replaced him.
The American people, decade after decade, generation after generation, are persuaded that presidential elections are fought over fundamental differences regarding the way the world works and the way the world ought to work. Yet every newly inaugurated President brings in his senior advisers, most of whom are men recruited by the Council on Foreign Relations, and some have been trained in the Trilateral Commission. This never gets any attention by the media, because the media at the top are run by members of the Council on Foreign Relations and the Trilateral Commission.
What I do believe is that there are factions within the American political establishment, just as there are within any establishment. I think this division has been going on since at least 1948. The big banks and big oil are in cahoots together, because that is where the money is.
There is a constant trade-off between the special interests of the two factions. Each side wants to get its share of the booty after each election. At the margin, one group or the other gets some benefits. One group or the other gets to preside over a giant federal bureaucracy in which virtually all of the employees are protected by Civil Service legislation, so no President has the power firing more than a few hundred of them.
No one is talking about the unfunded liabilities of the United States government, which are now in the range of $222 trillion. Nobody is talking about closing Guantánamo Bay prison, even though Obama promised that he would when he ran back in 2008. Nobody is talking about an immediate withdrawal of troops out of Afghanistan.
So, where is the great debate? It isn't about Medicare, Social Security, Afghanistan, the war on terror, Federal Reserve policy, a Federal Reserve audit, immigration, tax policy, or even the extension of the Bush tax cuts. Where exactly is the great ideological battlefield on which class warfare is being conducted?" - Gary North, PhD, Reality Check, www.GaryNorth.com,
"The West’s ragtag army of foreign hirelings, masquerading as the 'Free Syrian Army' have been badly beaten in their attempts to carve out a foothold of opposition in both Damascus and Aleppo. The Syrian Army, trained by Russian advisors and amply supplied with post-soviet equipment, has proven to be one of the most formidable of Israel’s opponents in the Middle East – that’s why the globalists are pushing to remove Assad and replace him with a Western puppet leader. While I’m no fan of tyranny, I’m even more opposed to Western puppets pretending to represent democracy while fronting for the new globalist tyranny. This week the US moved to create yet another phony threat in Syria in order to justify NATO military intervention and a no-fly zone.
In the first place, this is not a civil war – it’s a foreign intervention. Second, this threat is trap for Syria no matter what they do. One of England’s most venerable international reporters Robert Fisk got in on the ground in Syria and filed this report on the so-called 'Rebel army,' and confirmed 'They're a gang of foreigners.' One Syrian major reported to him that one of the prisoners they captured thought he was fighting the Israelis in Jerusalem, and didn’t know he was in Damascus! the US and NATO are gathering intelligence on Syrian air tactics in preparation for attacking it—as they actively did in Libya under the cover of enforcing a no-fly zone. Ultimately, the attack on Iran is what is driving the move against Syria, whose arsenal of deadly rockets poses a major risk to Israel should Syria help Iran retaliate after a pre-emptive strike by Israel on Iran.
There is a growing hysteria about the necessity of attacking Iran emanating from Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu and his defense minister Ehud Barak. Both are attempting to drum up support for the attack and insist that it be done soon. They and the media which promotes the imminent nuclear threat scenario are clearly attempting to prepare the public in both Israel and America for war - Joel Skousen, World Affairs Brief, 08-24-12
"The pieces come together...
"1) New software, associated with Google, will recognize customers in stores so as to offer them discounts; having your photos uploaded to allow this service will (for now) be voluntary.
"2) A new surveillance system in New York will store footage from cameras in, for example, the subway, so that when an unattended package is discovered, the police can look back in time to see who left it.
"4) The government is moving toward mandating black boxes on cars to record information thought to be useful in ascribing blame in crashes.
"5) Various police departments are beginning to use 'drone' aircraft to monitor the population.
"These are recent pieces of the coming world. They have not yet all been completely deployed and linked. Some are voluntary, for the moment. Others are in development. All are coming.
"Add the now-routine tracking of passports, cameras that read every passing license plate and record the time, NSA’s automated monitoring of email, Google’s and therefore the government’s knowledge of your searches, GPS tracking of cell phones, detailed records of bank transactions, and so on. Not all of these are instantly accessible by the police. They can easily be made accessible, and they move in that direction.
"In short, the technology exists for a detailed, unblinking, unforgetting watchfulness of the entire population beyond anything imagined, or perhaps imaginable, a few decades ago. Fred Reed
When Republicans are in office, the conservatives go to sleep and we lose our civil liberties like with the 'Patriot Act'. We lose liberties under Democrats as well as they expand and invent new government programs. Americans lose under either major party. The real issue of this election should be about runaway government police power and the loss of civil liberties." - Joel Skousen, World Affairs Brief, 08-17-12
"The United States won’t prosecute Corzine for raiding segregated customer accounts, but will happily convene a Grand Jury in preparation for prosecuting Julian Assange for exposing the truth about war crimes. Nobody knows how much dirt Corzine has on other Wall Street crooks. Not only may Corzine get away with corzining MF Global’s clients’ funds, he may well end up with a whole raft of seed money to play with from those former colleagues and associates who might prefer he remain silent regarding other indiscretions he may be aware of. But the issue at hand is the sense that we have entered a phase of exponential criminality and corruption. A slavering crook like Corzine who stole $200 million of clients’ funds can walk free.
Meanwhile, a man who exposed evidence of serious war crimes is for that act so keenly wanted by US authorities that Britain has threatened to throw hundreds of years of diplomatic protocol and treaties into the trash and raid the embassy of another sovereign state to deliver him to a power that seems intent not only to criminalise him, but perhaps even to summarily execute him. The Obama administration, of course, has made a habit of summary extrajudicial executions of those that it suspects of terrorism, and the detention and prosecution of whistleblowers. And the ooze of large-scale financial corruption, rate-rigging, theft and fraud goes on unpunished." - John, Aziz, azizonomics.com, 08-16-12 ...
"The Status Quo around the globe is trying to manage perceptions to foster the illusion that all the high expectations can be met; but the reassurances are increasingly hollow, and the promises increasingly threadbare. People are waking up, one at a time, to the reality that all the promises and guarantees are fantasy, and their emotional response is deeply negative: they feel betrayed by the Status Quo and its institutions, and they feel a volatile mixture of rage, distrust and resignation.
"Studies have found that people (usually those in the lower social and financial tiers) with low expectations tend to be happier than those with high (and unmet) expectations. The Status Quo bought the support of the masses by raising expectations of permanently rising prosperity and security for all. Now that these near-infinite claims cannot be fulfilled, the Status Quo has no institutional ability to lower expectations to more realistic levels. It only knows how to spin artifice and fantasy, in the vain hope that managing perceptions will substitute for managing reality. This is how credibility is lost.
"Managing perceptions is a dangerous game, as the perceptions are pushed ever-farther from reality, increasing the shockwave when the two snap together: it won't be reality rising to meet lofty perceptions, it will be perceptions and expectations plummeting to meet reality. This is how the Status Quo will collapse: it will lose the faith of its people, and become the target of their wrath." - Charles Hugh Smith, www.OfTwoMinds.com, 08-14-12
“The government that lies to you about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, about Iraq’s al Qaeda connections, about the Taliban in Afghanistan, about Osama bin Laden, about Libya and Gadhafi, about Iranian nukes, about Syria, about Pakistan, about Yemen and Somalia, about Bradley Manning, about Julian Assange and Wikileaks, indeed about everything under the sun, also lies to you about jobs, unemployment, economic recovery, GDP growth, 9/11, the ‘terrorist threat,’ everything.
Try to find anything that the government has said over the past 6 presidential terms that is not a lie. Other than some minor insignificant detail, ‘your’ government has been consistently lying to you about everything of importance. ‘Your’ government lies to you, because ‘your’ government has an agenda that it most certainly will not tell you about, because if you knew what it is, you would revolt. Putting down the revolt would divert the government from its agenda. It would also alert the rest of the world to the fact that the US government has an undeclared agenda of world domination, despite the costs to the American people and every other people. - Dr. Paul Craig Roberts, Former US Asst. Sec. of the Treasury
Our new motto ..... We're here to brighten your day.
If you're in a good mood just go somewhere else.
This is some fairly seriously depressing shit right here.
All of the following excerpts link to the full article, most of the charts link up to stuff as well.
I have no confidence in paper money of any kind; or the promises of any and all governments and their employees. The relative safety of one kind of paper as against another is of no importance...What worries me most is the incredible prevalence of official lying, delusion, ignorance and dishonesty ... It's a whole gang of crooks in a system that encourages and rewards fraud ... It isn't just the fact that money is nothing but confidence. Edelweiss Journal
"Here in Europe, the Greek government is helping itself to its citizens’ bank accounts; the Italian government is working with banks to freeze customers out of their accounts without warning. Spanish police are embroiled in a bloody struggle against bazooka-wielding workers who are protesting austerity measures. EU leaders in Brussels have announced their intention to impose capital controls as part of a ‘rescue plan’. This is today’s reality. It can happen here, it probably will happen here. And frankly, it’s all unfolding almost exactly as it has so many times before throughout history:
8. Governments implement capital controls, border controls, price and wage controls, and anything else they can do to maintain the status quo. People find out who the police are really there to protect and serve.
"This is nothing new. From the 3rd Dynasty of Ur (2000 BC) to Medieval Venice to the familiar stories of Rome and the Ottoman Empire, the world is full of monuments to the past greatness of failed civilizations. We’re seeing the same pattern unfolding now. And sure, anything’s possible. Maybe the skies open up and the unicorns come out to play and the whole world manages to fix itself without skipping a beat. But let’s live in reality: there are consequences when nations go bankrupt. And nearly every western nation on the planet is insolvent. That is a fact. Simon Black
Red is cities and counties, black is municiple utilities and other government entities.
America's transition into a welfare state continues, as May saw a new all time high number of American households, 22.3 million to be exact, enter technical poverty and collect foodstamps. At the individual level, 46.5 million Americans lived off foodstamps, a 222,157 increase in the month, or nearly three times the number of people who found jobs in June according to the BLS. Next month this too will be a record, as it is currently just 17,367 before the previous all time high set in December of 2011. The good news, and we use the term loosely, is that the average benefit per household rose from all time lows of $275.82 to $276.76. Surely, the bottom is in and just like housing, there is on blue skies ahead.
“If the bond ever starts falling in price, they unwind the carry trade…Then you get a message, ‘Do not pass go.’ Sell your bonds, unwind your overnight debt, your repo positions. And the system then begins to contract – exactly what happened in September and October of 2008. That was a minor trial run for the great unwind that is going to happen when the Treasury market is finally shattered with a lack of confidence because, on the margin, no one owns a Treasury bond: they just rent it on borrowed money. If the price starts falling, they’ll get out of that trade as fast as they got out of toxic CDOs ...
“The Fed has destroyed the money market. It has destroyed the capital markets...And you can’t have capitalism if the capital markets are dead, if the capital markets are simply a branch office – branch casino – of the central bank. That’s essentially what we have today...They are monetary central planners who are attempting to use the crude instrument of interest-rate pegging and yield-curve manipulation and essentially buying debt that no one else would buy, in order to keep this whole system afloat. It’s Ponzi economics...
“There are 25 million households in America who couldn’t move if they wanted to, because their mortgages are under water. They cannot generate a down payment and the 5% or 6% broker fee that you need to move. So we’ve got 25 million households immobilized, paralyzed, and worried every day about when they are going to lose property, because of what the Fed did. It’s a terrible indictment...It’s policy. If we don’t do something about the Fed, if we don’t drive the Bernankes and the Dudleys and the Yellens and the rest of these lunatic money-printers out of the Federal Reserve and get it under the control of people who have at least a modicum of sanity, we are just going to bury everybody deeper...
“As a result of that you have a doomsday machine. As I was saying when the great margin call comes and they start selling the Treasury bond, they’ll take everything else with it. Real estate is priced off Treasuries. Mortgaged-backed securities are priced off Treasuries. Corporates are priced off Treasuries. Junk bonds are priced off Treasuries. Everything. The stock market will go into a panic...
“The only thing I think you can conclude is preservation is the only thing you are about as an investor. Forget about yield. Forget about return. Just keep yourself liquid and preserve your capital, because you can’t predict the day when, as I say, the great margin call in the sky comes down.“ – David Stockman, Former Director OMB under Reagan
"The state is a thug. Basically, it relies upon two things to elicit cooperation from people in order to ‘convince' them to surrender their rights and wealth. The first is the myth of legitimacy; this is the notion that an electoral process or a hereditary line-of-succession or 'fill in the blank' establishes an elite group who consist of politicians and those with political pull. These elite individuals somehow have the ‘right' to tell other individuals what to say and what to do with their own body. They live by a double standard. Theft is wrong except if done by them in the form of taxation. Killing innocent people is wrong except if done by them in the war against terrorism.
Today the myth of legitimacy is being widely seen for what it is: a myth. Every day, fewer and fewer people believe in the legitimacy of the elites. And without that myth, their actions are being seen for what they are: a vicious double standard that excuses theft and murder. This means the state has to increasingly use the second method by which it elicits your cooperation: raw force or the threat thereof. And a sure sign that the elites have lost legitimacy and know it is the fact that they are becoming more violent toward their own citizenry by the hour...
My purpose is the business of living ... by privatizing your own life, you make the state increasingly irrelevant, which is what politicians fear most. They are desperate to be part of our lives, to teach our children, to regulate our work, to read our messages and hear our phone calls, to dictate our medical choices ... And the most effective personal response when the State knocks at your door may well be to not answer even by the act of raising your fist." - Wendy McElroy, Whiskey & Gunpowder,
"The false premise which guides their decisions is that we can all grow wealthy by borrowing and consuming, instead of by producing and saving. People have been sold this lie for more than a generation. It is embedded in social DNA. In the current western economic system, you are rewarded for going into debt with all sorts of tax deductions. Save money, on the other hand, and you are punished through taxation and inflation. The incentives are all wrong; [unless the diabolical purpose is to enslave the masses] it’s no wonder that people have over-borrowed and overspent given that the system is so blatantly slanted to promote such behavior.
"Housing is one of the most interesting examples of bad incentives: tax policy in many countries encourages people to take out debilitating mortgages, and governments end up with a moral imperative to ensure home prices continue rising. This strikes me as truly bizarre. You’d think people would want housing costs to stay low and affordable, not rise. Nobody cheers when the price of healthcare goes up, even though they could just as easily profit by investing in any number of insurance companies. I don’t click my heels when the price of food goes up in the grocery store, even though we’ve been paid handsome sums from the bountiful harvests of our farm in central Chile. And let’s not forget how much turmoil ensues when gasoline prices get too high. Why should housing be any different? For the vast majority of people, a house isn’t wealth. It’s an expense. And wishing for this expense to increase is both foolish and destructive. Yet most politicians and central banksters in the west are frantically fanning the flames of broken housing markets, desperately trying to re-inflate prices.
"Here in Portugal, for example, housing prices have fallen dramatically. Housing has become affordable. Cheap, even. This is a good thing. Yet the bureaucrats keep trying to figure out ways to ‘prop up the housing market’ and distort prices, often through policy that is very unfriendly to homeowners. In the United States, the Federal Reserve keeps ratcheting down long-term interest rates and scooping up mortgage bonds in an attempt to re-inflate home prices.
"With so many Nobel Prize-winning economists backing these kinds of policies, it’s clear that the people in charge haven’t even begun to acknowledge the flaws in their intellectual framework. And if you can’t even admit that you have a problem, then you are light years away from solving it." - Simon Black,
"Just as the 'terrorist threat was used to destroy the laws that protect US civil liberty, the financial crisis has resulted in the Federal Reserve moving far outside its charter and normal operating behavior. To sum up, what has happened is that irresponsible and thoughtless--in fact, ideological--deregulation of the financial sector has caused a financial crisis that can only be managed by fraud. Civil damages might be paid, but to halt the fraud itself would mean the collapse of the financial system. Those in charge of the system would prefer the collapse to come from outside, such as from a collapse in the value of the dollar that could be blamed on foreigners, because an outside cause gives them something to blame other than themselves." - Paul Craig Roberts
"Contrast the anti-war sentiment during the Vietnam era with how the government/media is now pulling out all the stops to create an ultra-patriotic, 'support our troops' mentality as they drive the nation to war in Iraq, Afghanistan and beyond for their own globalist conflict-creation purposes. I assure you it isn’t that these politicians have had a change of heart or repented of their betrayals. They purposely used the discouraging no-win restrictions and the resulting combat deaths of Vietnam to destroy in the minds of Americans the long-held inclination to combat communist aggression. Decades later they would rally the former anti-war media into shills for government and turn Americans into knee-jerk unthinking patriots ignorantly lending support to a totally different kind of war for empire and domination. This recent effort was started by our government’s created terror incidents and by exaggerating the war on terror in order to justify continual intervention in other nations. They poured money into millions of yellow ribbons and 'Support our Troops' bumper stickers in order to make support for troops synonymous with the rightness of wars—which was no longer true. Media lackeys constantly put forth the government line that all this money and sacrifice was for the purpose of establishing democracy in the Middle East—which wasn’t their true purpose at all. We are still fed this line today and thousands of soldiers will yet die in the falsified war(s) on terror." - Joel Skousen, World Affairs Brief, 07-20-12
"For every wealthy entrepreneur, there are countless hundreds to thousands of individuals that tried out a new idea and failed. They risked their own capital savings and lost it. Does society owe them for their losses? Why does society get the proceeds from the successful risk takers but doesn't owe a thing to the failed risk takers? Entrepreneurial profits are a kind of risk premium. 'Society' isn't taking that risk; the individual is. So, it is the individual that should receive the reward for the risk he or she alone took." - Marc Porlier, 07-20-12
"A six-figure income used to be a hard-earned sign of success, but due to skyrocketing costs and inflation, $100,000 doesn't have the cachet it once had. Crunching the numbers for standard inflation, it would take $172,000 in 2011 dollars to match a $100,000 salary in 1990. 'What would have cost you $100,000 in 1976 would cost you $381,000 today,' Mari Adam of Adam Financial Associates to Bankrate. '
"Washington has been at war since October, 2001, when President George W. Bush concocted an excuse to order the US invasion of Afghanistan. This war took a back seat when Bush concocted another excuse to order the invasion of Iraq in 2003, a war that went on without significant success for 8 years and has left Iraq in chaos with dozens more killed and wounded every day, a new strong man in place of the illegally executed former strongman, and the likelihood of the ongoing violence becoming civil war. Upon his election, President Obama foolishly sent more troops to Afghanistan and renewed the intensity of that war, now in its eleventh year, to no successful effect.
"These two wars have been expensive. According to estimates by Joseph Stiglitz and Linda Bilmes, when all costs are counted the Iraq invasion cost US taxpayers $3 trillion dollars. Ditto for the Afghan war. In other words, the two gratuitous wars doubled the US public debt. This is the reason there is no money for Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, food stamps, the environment, and the social safety net. Americans got nothing out of the wars, but as the war debt will never be paid off, US citizens and their descendants will have to pay interest on $6,000 billion of war debt in perpetuity.
"Not content with these wars, the Bush/Obama regime is conducting military operations in violation of international law in Pakistan, Yemen, and Africa, organized the overthrow by armed conflict of the government in Libya, is currently working to overthrow the Syrian government, and continues to marshal military forces against Iran.
"Finding the Muslim adversaries Washington created insufficient for its energies and budget, Washington has encircled Russia with military bases and has begun the encirclement of China. Washington has announced that the bulk of its naval forces will be shifted to the Pacific over the next few years, and Washington is working to re-establish its naval base in the Philippines, construct a new one on a South Korean island, acquire a naval base in Viet Nam, and air and troop bases elsewhere in Asia. In Thailand Washington is attempting to purchase with the usual bribes an air base used in the Vietnam war. There is opposition as the country does not wish to be drawn into Washington’s orchestrated conflict with China. Downplaying the real reason for the airbase, Washington, according to Thai newspapers, told the Thai government that the base was needed for 'humanitarian missions.' This didn’t fly, so Washington had NASA ask for the air base in order to conduct 'weather experiments.' Whether this ruse is sufficient cover remains to be seen. US Marines have been sent to Australia and elsewhere in Asia.
"To corral China and Russia (and Iran) is a massive undertaking for a country that is financially busted. With wars and bankster bailouts, Bush and Obama have doubled the US national debt while failing to address the disintegration of the US economy and rising hardships of US citizens. Paul Craig Roberts
"If we look at the global economy with unclouded eyes, we reach this conclusion: 'This whole thing is about leverage.' If leverage doesn't increase, the system implodes. But since collateral is disappearing from the global economy like sand castles in a rising tide, and disposable income has stagnated, there is no foundation for more leverage.
"As a result, the State/finance cartel has only one choice: increase leverage by whatever means are left. There are only two:
1. Allow banks to claim phantom assets as capital/reserves
2. Lower interest rates so stagnant income can leverage ever greater quantities of debt.
"The State/finance Empire and its army of academic toadies (economists) must cloak this reliance on leverage from the citizenry, lest they grasp the precariousness of the entire financial system...
"The easiest way to 'grow' is to increase leverage so more money/debt can be created. If a bank was constrained to only loaning the cash it held in deposits, that would severely limit the amount of money available in the system for purchasing villas in Spain, BMW autos manufactured in Germany, etc. If we magically enable 25-to-1 leverage, then every euro supports 25 euros in debt (mortgages, auto loans, etc.) The danger is obvious: if 1 of the 25 euros of debt goes bad, the lender has zero reserve. If 2 euros of debt go bad, the lender is insolvent.
"The only way to 'save' an over-leveraged system is to increase leverage and lower interest rates. If we claim phantom assets as real and increase leverage from 25-to-1 to 50-to-1, we have enabled a doubling of loans. All that wonderful new money will flow into the economy as spending, fueling 'growth.' This explains why the State/finance Empire in Europe keeps lowering reserve requirements for its insolvent banks. If the reserve requirement is 10%, then you need 100 million euros on deposit in cash to support 1 billion euros in loans. If you lower the reserve requirement to 1 euro, then the contents of a child's piggy bank supports 1 billion euros in debt. The other game is to claim phantom assets have market values that justify their substitution of cash...
"Any loan is fundamentally a claim on future income. Interest and principal will be paid out of future income.
"The key to keeping the leverage-based system afloat is to lower interest rates...once rates fall to near-zero, the leverage-income-into-more-debt machine runs off the cliff...
"...the bottom 90% leveraged their stagnant incomes into mountains of debt to compensate for their declining purchasing power. The Federal Reserve (a key player in the global State/finance Empire) has been publicly fretting over the dreaded 'debt divide,' which is Orwellian econo-speak for the bottom 90% running out of leverage. Like Wiley E. Coyote, the bottom 90% has run off the cliff and is now in looking down at the air beneath them...
"The same reliance on leverage has occurred in China, Japan, Europe and the U.S. The entire global economy's 'growth' was based on increasing leverage. That machine has soared off the cliff, and now the Empire's global army of toadies is desperately attempting to mask this reality by substituting phantom assets for actual capital. They can't do anything about lowering interest rates, though; that mechanism has already been maxed out as rates approach zero." - Charles Hugh Smith, www.OfTwoMinds.com
" Western democracy is an intellectually bankrupt concept in its current state. What we have today is regulatory democracy, an environment in which money power's corporate interests feed off the State and thus a mercantilist economy engulfs us all. Politicians are nothing more than talking mouthpieces for the elite, they are there to protect money power's interests – using force if necessary...Barack Obama said he would introduce real change when he was campaigning for the presidency. He said he would improve America's relations around the world and steward a foreign policy that would usher in peace. America would be a beacon once again to all...Obama has done nothing he said he would do to improve America's relations around the world – not that we ever actually believed he could anyway, he is just an actor..." Anthony Wilie, www.TheDailyBell.com
"Civilized people save and plan so as to take care of themselves and their families in the present and future. Fiscal conservatism and prudence is valued in a nondemocratic society, as are sound ethics. Democracy undoes the tendency for people to act cooperatively and responsibly. Politicians constantly look to appease voters with more benefits to care for them from cradle to grave, so as to win the next election. At the same time, the bureaucracy that hands out the benefits grows larger and larger and is unaccountable to anyone — especially voters...In order to distribute these benefits, the government must violate property rights. Government produces nothing; it must take from one group in order to give to another... Douglas French, The Daily Reckoning, 07-11-12 .