Saturday, June 11, 2016

UNSEALED: Tran vs Wells Fargo - DOJ Declines to Intervene, Banks Continue to Foreclose with Impunity


Wells Fargo

"Please remember when you come across a situation where we have a lost contract, deed, any type of document, really, but especially when It relates to securing a property, we are not to share that with the customer"
Regards, Wells Fargo, Your Friendly Neighborhood Banker


UNSEALED: Tran vs Wells Fargo Qui Tam - DOJ Declines to Intervene, Banks Continue to Foreclose with Impunity

First, last month, from The Oregonian:

A Damascus man claims he was terminated by Wells Fargo & Co. in 2014 after he discovered the bank was repeatedly collecting on mortgage loans for which it did not have the proper documentation. When Duke Tran, 54, complained about the practice, he claims he was told to lie to customers. When he resisted, the bank fired him in November 2014, Tran said. In a whistleblower lawsuit unsealed a week ago, Tran claims Wells also defrauded the U.S. government. He argues the bank illegally collected hundreds of millions of dollars in federal foreclosure-prevention funding for loans the bank knew lacked proper documentation.

And of course, Wells Fargo denies any wrongdoing...

Tran's wrenching transition from happy 10-year veteran at Wells Fargo to self-proclaimed whistleblower began in December 2013 when he fielded a call from a couple terrified they were going to get foreclosed out of their home. They were overdue on their second mortgage and Wells Fargo was demanding a balloon payment. Tran, who worked at the bank's Beaverton call center, checked and checked again. He claims he could find no trace of the couple's loan in the bank's computer system and he told the couple so.

So what happened when he alerted his superiors?

Tran says his bosses were not happy. Three months later, on April 21, 2014, Tran and the rest of his team received an email from a supervisor telling them that full disclosure was a bad idea. "Please remember when you come across a situation where we have a lost contract, deed, any type of document, really, but especially when It relates to securing a property, we are not to share that with the customer," reads the email, which Tran submitted into the court file.

Tran was troubled. The first-generation Vietnamese-American and volunteer in the US Army Reserve considered it illegal and unethical for the bank to threaten foreclosure when it didn't have the mortgage contract in question. "The company told me to lie about that," he said in an interview. "I don't think that's right, for the customers, for the company or the entire country."

Now, let's take a look at the unsealed complaint for more details ...


Duke Tran was a humble, hardworking family man, who had overcome many obstacles to establish himself in the banking industry. Tran was honest and forthright. He had worked at Wells Fargo for over 10 years as a model employee in its home equity department.

In 2014, Tran began to ask questions after stumbling upon a secret Wells Fargo policy that he felt compromised his personal ethics and violated the laws governing mortgage servicing.

Wells Fargo's internal policy required its employees to unfairly deceive its customers, and the United States, as to the quality of Wells Fargo's loan documents, in violation of American common law, the Dodd-Frank Act, and Oregon's Unfair Trade Practices Act.

When Tran continued to express concerns about its secret policy, Wells Fargo began a campaign designed to discredit Tran and ultimately force him out of the company. Wells Fargo illegally retaliated against Tran throughout 2014 and wrongfully terminated his employment on November 12, 2014.

Now, having no other choice to make things right, Tran files this complaint to recover fair compensation for Wells Fargo's retaliation and wrongful termination. Tran also seeks to take back over $1.4 billion on behalf of the American taxpayers; paid by the United States on account of Wells Fargo's unfair deceptive mortgages practices.

FACTUAL ALLEGATIONS: Wrongful Termination

On or around March 10, 2013, Tran transferred to the position of Home Equity Customer Service Specialist 4 in the home equity department.


Most calls that Tran received involved customers who had received letters from Wells Fargo indicating their mortgage balloon payments were due within 90 days, and that if they did not pay, their accounts would be referred to collections for foreclosure. When Wells Fargo received calls from customers with balloon payments due, its policy was to offer its customers financial products to avoid foreclosure, including HAMP loan modifications.

In or around December of 2013, Tran received the first of what would be many similar phone calls. A husband and wife with an alleged balloon mortgage payment due called Wells Fargo and spoke with Tran. When Tran looked in the Clipper system for their loan contract he realized it was missing or nonexistent, and reported this to them.

Tran promptly reported the issue with the customers to his supervisor and others within Wells Fargo. The next day, Tran received multiple emails from Wells Fargo headquarters that the loan documents were missing and that the company did not have the customers' contract. Despite this, Wells Fargo directed Tran to deceive the customers and treat the loan like a balloon payment was due.


The next day, LeDonne met with Tran and berated Tran for telling the customers the truth about their loan documents. LeDonne told Tran that Tran's job was in jeopardy and that Tran had placed Wells Fargo at risk by providing this information to the customers. LeDonne went on to say that Janice Norris ("Norris") and Vice President Lending Manager, Debbie Clausen ("Clausen") had directed that Tran have no more contact with these customers.

From then on, Tran received many more calls from customers whose loan documents were missing or nonexistent. Tran began to notice many of the loans with missing documents had been acquired by Wells Fargo from First Union or Sun Trust Bank. As he was directed, whenever customers called in and Wells Fargo's loan documents were missing, Tran sent the matter to a supervisor.

On or around March 4, 2014, Tran received a call from a co-worker from Iowa. The coworker asked Tran about the customers Tran told that Wells Fargo had no loan documents for their loan. The customers had called for an update on their loan. Tran reported that he had referred the customers to his supervisors. Tran then asked his team lead, Heather Stone ("Stone"), about the issue. Stone told Tran that she planned to follow-up with the customers but it appeared they had hired an attorney.

Later that same day, Tran was called in to meet with his supervisor, LeDonne. When Iran walked into his office, LeDonne immediately blew up at him. LeDonne told Iran, "See, I told you before that we'll get sued and now they've hired an attorney!" LeDonne threatened Iran that he would be fired if he ever told another customer the truth about missing or nonexistent loan documents.

On or around April 21, 2014, Tran received an email about a Wells Fargo internal policy stating that when Wells Fargo has lost loan documents, especially those securing a home, employees are to not share this information with customers under any circumstance.

"Please remember when you come across a situation where we have a lost contract, deed, any type of document, really, but especially when It relates to securing a property, we are not to share that with the customer."

Tran was immediately uncomfortable with this secret internal policy and went to LeDonne to discuss it. Tran stressed that it was not right or legal to lie to customers. LeDonne cut Iran off and told him that the policy directive came from his boss, Kimberly Thrush ("Thrush"), and senior management.

A lot more goes on from here, see complaint for much more detail, before Mr Tran is fired for failing to say "hello."

On or around November 12, 2014, Tran had a second interview with another unit within Wells Fargo. The interview was for the same day and LeDonne again refused Tran's request for time off for the interview. Before Tran was able to resolve the issue again LeDonne called Tran in to discuss a customer call. LeDonne told Tran he was being investigated for "misbehavior" in that he did not say "hello" to a customer at the onset of the call. Tran asked to hear the phone call but LeDonne refused. LeDonne told Tran they would meet with the rest of the management team at the end of the day.

Later that day, Tran was called into a meeting with LeDonne, Thrush, and Norris. LeDonne told Tran that based on the misbehavior they discussed earlier, Wells Fargo was terminating his employment. LeDonne then stood up and told Tran he needed to escort him out of the building.

FACTUAL ALLEGATIONS: Defrauding the Government

Wells Fargo's policy of unfair deception negatively affected not only its employees and customers but also the American taxpayers. From 2009 until March 31, 2015, the United States paid out over $1.4 billion in HAMP incentives based on Wells Fargo loan modification applications. As of the date of this complaint, Wells Fargo has completed more than a million mortgage modifications through HAMP. Of the $1.4 billion paid based on Wells Fargo applications, only a relatively small fraction ($246,871,173.00) went to Wells Fargo's customers. The largest portions went directly to corporate investors ($825,776,921.00) and Wells Fargo ($359,151,497.00).

Many of Wells Fargo's HAMP modifications, including some of the loans Tran was involved with, were based on materially false representations made by Wells Fargo about the quality of its mortgage loan documents.

Wells Fargo fraudulently used the HAMP modification process to turn incomplete loan files into enforceable mortgages. Wells Fargo intentionally misled its customers and the United States by failing to disclose known material defects in its loan documents. Specifically, Wells Fargo's secret internal policy involved deceiving customers and the United States when Wells Fargo knew or suspected its loan files were missing documents.

Just another day in the Good Ol' USA.

Full complaint and the DOJ's order declining to intervene below...





Virus in Chicken Could Be Linked to Obesity

Infectobesity Adenovirus 36 and Childhood Obesity

Recently, there has been research examining the connection between poultry consumption and weight gain. One study out of the Netherlands examining about 4,000 people, correlated chicken consumption with weight gain. Another study followed 89,000 people in four other countries and found that animal protein intake was associated with long-term weight gain, and poultry was the worst, with 40 percent more weight gain than red meat or processed meat.

What makes poultry so bad? Yes, chickens are fatty these days because of the way we’ve genetically manipulated them—up to ten times more fat and calories than they used to have—but one bizarre theory postulated that it might be due to an obesity-causing chicken virus. In one study, one in five obese humans tested positive to the chicken virus SMAM-1, with those exposed to the chicken virus averaging 33 pounds heavier than those testing negative.

SMAM-1 was the first chicken virus to be associated with human obesity, but not the last. The original obesity-causing chicken virus SMAM-1 was able to effectively transmit obesity from one chicken to another when caged together, similar to a human adenovirus Ad-36, a human obesity-associated virus first associated with obesity in chickens and mice. Ad-36 spreads quickly from one chicken to another via nasal, oral or fecal excretion and contamination, causing obesity in each chicken. This, of course, raises serious concerns about Ad-36-induced adiposity in humans.

The easiest way to test this hypothesis is to experimentally infect humans with the virus. However, ethical reasons preclude experimental infection of humans, and so, the evidence will have to remain indirect. In the absence of direct experimental data, we must rely on population studies, similar to how researchers nailed smoking and lung cancer. About 15 percent of Americans are already infected with Ad-36; so, we can follow them and see what happens. That’s exactly what a research team out of Taiwan did (highlighted in my video Infectobesity: Adenovirus 36 and Childhood Obesity). They followed 1,400 Hispanic men and women for a decade and found that not only were those exposed to the virus fatter than those who were not, but also over the ten years, those with a history of infection had a greater percentage of body fat over time.

Most studies done to date on adults have found a connection between exposure to Ad-36 and obesity, and all studies done so far on childhood obesity show an increase in prevalence of infection in obese children compared to non-obese children. We’re now up to more than a thousand children studied with similar findings. Obese children who tested positive for the virus weighed 35 pounds more than children who tested negative.

The virus appears to both increase the number of fat cells by mobilizing precursor stem cells and increase the accumulation of fat within the cells. If we take liposuction samples of fat from people, the fat cell precursors turn into fat cells at about five times the rate in people who came to the liposuction clinic already infected. Fat taken from non-infected people that was then exposed to the virus start sucking up fat at a faster rate, potentially inducing obesity without increasing food intake.

Just as Ad-36 can be transmitted horizontally from one infected chicken to another in the same cage, subsequently causing obesity in each chicken, this same virus is also easily transmitted among humans, raising the question as to whether at least some cases of childhood obesity can be considered an infectious disease. Researchers publishing in the International Journal of Pediatric Obesity speculate that this animal adenovirus may have mutated to become a human adenovirus capable of infecting humans and causing obesity.

In health,
Michael Greger, M.D.

PS: If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my free videos here and watch my live year-in-review presentations Uprooting the Leading Causes of DeathMore Than an Apple a DayFrom Table to Able, and Food as Medicine.

Image Credit: Glasseyes view / Flickr


How Nutrition Influences Cancer


By Dr. Mercola

Is it possible that chromosomal damage is simply a marker for cancer and not the actual cause of the disease? Compelling evidence suggests this is the case, and in the featured lecture, orthopedic surgeon Dr. Gary Fettke reviews some of this evidence.

Having battled cancer himself, Fettke came to realize the influence of nutrition on cancer, and the importance of eating a diet high in healthy fats and low in net carbohydrates (total carbs minus fiber, i.e. non-fiber carbs). Fettke is not the only one promoting the metabolic model of cancer.

Earlier this year I interviewed Travis Christofferson, author of a phenomenal book called "Tripping Over the Truth: The Return of the Metabolic Theory of Cancer Illuminates a New and Hopeful Path to a Cure," on this topic.

The Metabolic Model of Cancer

The Cancer Genome Atlas project that began in 2006 set out to sequence the genomes of cancer cells. It was the largest government project ever conceived, involving 10,000 times the amount of genetic sequencing done by the Human Genome Project. Alas, the results didn't conform to their original expectations.

The evidence clearly showed that something other than mere gene mutation was at play. The mutations found in cancer cells were simply too random. Some cancers didn't even have any genetic mutations driving them. So what then could the driving factor be?

In a nutshell, the nuclear genetic defects typically thought to be responsible for cancer actually occur further downstream. Mitochondrial damage happens first, which then triggers nuclear genetic mutations that may lead to cancer.

Moreover, scientists are now finding that mitochondrial dysfunction is at the core of virtually ALL diseases, placing mitochondrial function at the very center of just about any wellness or disease prevention program.

As Fettke notes, one of the primary considerations is glucose metabolism within your mitochondria — a theory initially brought forth by Dr. Otto Warburg in the 1920s.

In 1931, Warburg won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his discovery that cancer cells have a fundamentally different energy metabolism compared to healthy cells. As it turns out, cancer cells do not have the same metabolic flexibility as healthy ones.

Cancer Cells Are Metabolically Limited to Feed on Sugar

A cell can produce energy either aerobically, in the mitochondria, or anaerobically, in the cytoplasm. Anaerobic metabolism generates excessive levels of lactic acid, which can be toxic.

Warburg discovered that in the presence of oxygen, cancer cells overproduce lactic acid, and this became known as the Warburg Effect. So what does this tell us about the nutritional origins of cancer? In a nutshell, Warburg's findings tell us that sugar "feeds" cancer while fats "starve" it.

Healthy cells can use either glucose or ketone bodies from fat as an energy source, but cancer is metabolically restricted to using glucose only. Cancer cells for the most part lack metabolic flexibility and simply cannot metabolize ketones, and this is why nutritional ketosis appears to be so effective against cancer.

Cancer could actually be more accurately classified as a mitochondrial metabolic disease. Few people inherit genes that predispose them to cancer. Most inherit genes that prevent cancer. Inherited mutations typically disrupt the function of the mitochondria, and the heightened risk for cancer is a result of that weakness.

The good news is you can optimize your mitochondrial function by addressing certain lifestyle factors such as diet and exercise, and this knowledge opens up a whole new way of looking at and treating cancer.

As explained by Fettke, the metabolic model of cancer is "based around energy and growth; random chromosomal mutations are secondary." Furthermore:

"All cells require an energy source of adenosine triphosphate (ATP). They also require building materials that are either sourced locally or transported in normal cells convert glucose primarily into ATP and a little into maintenance.

Cancer cells do the opposite. There's a diversion of glucose away from ATP production to the building materials required for cell growth ... The other building materials require protein and fatty acids and cancer steals those from its surroundings.

That invasion of surrounding tissue accounts for how cancer spreads and metastasizes ... The driving force behind all of this is oxygen-free radical production.

I believe the free radical production then causes the DNA damage in a random fashion, and account for the chromosomal abnormalities. So, if we can find the source of the oxygen free radicals, we might be onto something."

Processed Food Diet Is a Major Cancer Promoter

What drives free radical production? Inflammation is a major driver, and our modern processed food diet is highly inflammatory.

Key culprits include polyunsaturated fats (PUFAs), trans fats and added sugar in all its forms, especially processed fructose (such as high-fructose corn syrup), as well as refined grains. Artificial ingredients can also promote inflammation.

By reducing the amount of net carbs you eat, you will accomplish four things that will result in lowered inflammation and reduced stimulation of cancer growth. You will:

  1. Lower your serum glucose level
  2. Reduce your mTOR level
  3. Reduce your insulin level
  4. Lower insulin growth factor-1 (IGF-1, a potent hormone that acts on your pituitary gland to induce metabolic and endocrine effects, including cell growth and replication. Elevated IGF-1 levels are associated with breast and other cancers)

Indeed, one of the basic reasons why a high-fat, low-net carb diet (nutritional ketosis) works so well is because it drives your inflammation down to almost nothing. And when inflammation disappears, your body can heal.

What Cancer Requires for Growth

In order to thrive and grow, cancer cells need fuel in the form of glucose, plus building materials in the form of protein, fatty acids, phosphate and acetate. These building materials are not readily available in your bloodstream, so cancer cells "steal" them from surrounding cells.

The process that allows the cancer cells to invade surrounding tissue is known as the Reverse Warburg Effect. This effect is based on hydrogen peroxide generation caused by the interaction between oxygen free radicals and water.

So invasive or metastasizing cancer, in essence, is the result of the Warburg Effect and the Reverse Warburg Effect. I highly recommend viewing the featured video to get a better grasp on these processes, and how they contribute to cancer formation and spread. As noted by Fettke, knowing all of this presents us with a whole new set of cancer prevention and treatment options, including the following:

  • Limit or eliminate sugar and net carbohydrates (non-fiber carbs) to avoid feeding cancer cells
  • Limit or eliminate PUFA oils and trans fats to prevent the formation of harmful free radicals and damaging small, dense LDL particles
  • Limit protein (I recommend using a formula of one-half gram of protein per pound of lean body mass) to avoid stimulating mTOR pathway
  • Increase antioxidant intake (via whole food and/or supplements) to counteract free radical damage
  • Increase healthy fat intake to feed healthy cells while starving cancer cells

The Importance of Diet for Successful Cancer Treatment

Remember, the foundational aspect that must be addressed is the metabolic mitochondrial defect, and this involves radically reducing the non-fiber carbohydrates in your diet and increasing high-quality fats. This does not mean a low total carbohydrate diet. You need to have plenty of fresh, organic and fiber-filled vegetables (low net carbs).

You can actually have several hundred grams of vegetables per day as the fibers will be converted to short-chain fatty acids, which will improve your ability to burn fat for fuel and also nourish your microbiome.

You can replace the non-fiber carbs with up to 70 to 85 percent healthy fats, along with a moderate amount of high-quality protein, as excessive protein can also trigger cancer growth by stimulating mTOR, which accelerates cancer growth. That's really the solution. If you don't do that, other treatments may not work.

According to Fettke, studies have shown that nutritional ketosis, i.e. eating a high-fat, low-net carb diet significantly improves health outcomes in patients undergoing conventional cancer treatment such as chemotherapy.

It's also important to remember that glucose is an inherently "dirty" fuel as it generates far more reactive oxygen species and secondary free radicals than burning fat. But to burn fat, your cells must be healthy and normal. Cancer cells lack the metabolic flexibility to burn fat and this why a healthy high-fat diet appears to be such an effective anti-cancer strategy.

When you switch from burning glucose as your primary fuel to burning fat for fuel, cancer cells really have to struggle to stay alive, as most of their mitochondria are dysfunctional and can't use oxygen effectively to burn fuel. At the same time, healthy cells are given an ideal and preferred fuel, which lowers oxidative damage and optimizes mitochondrial function. The sum effect is that healthy cells begin to thrive while cancer cells are starved.  

General Nutrient Ratio Guidelines for Mitochondrial Health and Cancer Prevention

For optimal health, you need sufficient amounts of carbohydrates, fats, and protein. However, ever since the advent of processed foods and industrial farming, it's become increasingly important to be specific when discussing these nutrients. There are healthy fats and unhealthy ones. Ditto for carbohydrates and protein. Much of the benefits or risks are related to how the food was grown, raised, and/or processed.

To achieve nutritional ketosis, it is important to keep track of your net carbs and total protein intake. Net carbs are calculated by taking the total number of carbohydrates in grams and subtracting the amount of fiber contained in the food. The resulting number is your net carbs. For optimal health and disease prevention, I recommend keeping your net carbs below 40 or 50 grams per day.

Translating Ideal Protein Requirements Into Foods

Substantial amounts of protein can be found in meat, fish, eggs, dairy products, legumes, nuts, and seeds. Some vegetables also contain generous amounts of protein — for example, broccoli. To determine whether or not you're getting too much protein, simply calculate your body's requirement based on your lean body mass by subtracting your percentage of body fat from 100, and write down everything you eat for a few days. 

Then, calculate the amount of daily protein you've consumed from all sources. Again, you're aiming for one-half gram of protein per pound of lean body mass. If you're currently averaging a lot more than what is optimal, adjust downward accordingly. You could use the chart below or simply Google the food you want to know and you will quickly find the grams of protein in that food.

Red meat, pork, poultry, and seafood average 6 to 9 grams of protein per ounce.

An ideal amount for most people would be a 3-ounce serving of meat or seafood (not 9- or 12-ounce steaks!), which will provide about 18 to 27 grams of protein

Eggs contain about 6 to 8 grams of protein per egg. So an omelet made from two eggs would give you about 12 to 16 grams of protein

If you add cheese, you need to calculate that protein in as well (check the label of your cheese)

Seeds and nuts contain on average 4 to 8 grams of protein per quarter cup

Cooked beans average about 7 to 8 grams per half cup

Cooked grains average 5 to 7 grams per cup

Most vegetables contain about 1 to 2 grams of protein per ounce

Beware of Unhealthy Fats

When it comes to fat, it's really crucial to distinguish healthy from the unhealthy ones. The vast majority of fats people eat are actually very unhealthy. As a general rule, avoid all processed and bottled vegetable oils, which are typically high in damaged omega-6 fats. (Also be careful with olive oil. While healthy, up to 80 percent of commercial olive oils are actually adulterated with oxidized omega-6 vegetable oils, so make sure it's third party-certified as genuine.)  

Another general rule: do not be afraid of naturally saturated fats! They're among the healthy ones. Sources of healthy fats you want to include more of in your diet include:

Olives and olive oil (third party-certified authentic)

Coconuts and coconut oil

Butter made from raw grass-fed organic milk, and cacao butter

Raw nuts, such as, macadamia and pecans, and seeds like black sesame, cumin, pumpkin, and hemp seeds

Organic-pastured egg yolks


Grass-fed meats

Lard, tallow and ghee

Animal-based omega-3 fat such as krill oil

Nutritional Ketosis Can Offer Hope and Health

Fettke finishes his lecture listing a number of known benefits of nutritional ketosis in the treatment of cancer, including the following:

It's safe

It's well-tolerated

It can be used with other cancer treatments (and may actually improve the effectiveness of conventional cancer treatments)

Ketones are protective to surrounding cells, reducing the power of the cancer to spread

It gives patients a sense of control, which has been shown to improve survival rates

If useful as a treatment, it should certainly be considered for prevention

It gives patients hope, which also improves survival

It's the least expensive cancer treatment available

A Radical Experiment in Nutritional Ketosis

To give you an idea of how nutritional ketosis can benefit your health beyond cancer prevention, consider the case of Dr. Peter Attia. His experiment is a very clear example of the effects diet can have on overall health markers. Attia is a Stanford University-trained physician with a passion for metabolic science, who decided to use himself as a lab rat — with incredible results. He describes his experiment in the video below.

Although he's always been active and fit, he did not have genetics on his side. His natural tendency was toward metabolic syndrome, in spite of being very diligent about his diet and exercise. So he decided to experiment with nutritional ketosis to see if he could improve his overall health status. 

For a period of 10 years, he consumed 80 percent of his calories from healthy fat and continuously monitored his metabolic markers, such as blood sugar levels, body fat percentage, blood pressure, lipid levels and others. 

He experienced improvement in every measure of health, as you can see in the table below. An MRI confirmed that he had lost not only subcutaneous fat but also visceral fat, which is the most detrimental type. His experiment demonstrates how diet can produce major changes in your body, even if you are starting out relatively fit. And if you're starting out with a low level of fitness, then the changes you experience may be even more pronounced.

Fasting blood sugar 100 75 to 95
Percentage body fat 25 10
Waist circumference in inches 40 31
Blood pressure 130/85 110/70
LDL 113 88
HDL 31 67
Triglycerides 152 22
Insulin sensitivity Increased by more than 400 percent Increased by more than 400 percent

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Friday, June 10, 2016

Baby Bust: US Fertility Rate Unexpectedly Drops To Lowest On Record


Submitted by Michael Shedlock via,

Economists figured the recovery would bring about increased confidence and a rise in the birth rate.

Instead, the rate dropped into a tie with the lowest birth rate on record.

This is yet another surprise for economists to ponder.

Please consider the Wall Street Journal report Behind the Ongoing U.S. Baby Bust.

The newest official tally  from the National Center for Health Statistics showed an unexpected drop in the number of babies born in the U.S. in 2015. The report was a surprise: Demographers had generally expected the number of births to rise in 2015, as it had in 2014. Instead, the U.S. appears to still be stuck in something of an ongoing “baby bust” that started with the recession and housing collapse and has yet to reverse.

Baby Bust

Fertility Rate

Baby Bust by Race

Fertility Rate 2

Baby Bust by Age

Fertility Rate 3

The Wall Street Journal concludes “There’s still good reason to believe the birth rate will pick up in coming years. After slumping for nearly a decade into the 1970s, births picked up in the 1980s and 1990s (giving us the generation known as millennials.) The most common age in America is 24 or 25, meaning there’s a very large cohort of these millennials who are about to hit the years that people are most likely to become parents.”

No Mystery

I fail to see why any economist should be surprised by this. A record number of millennials are living at home.

millennials living at home3

millennials living at home4

This is simply too obvious. So I have two questions:

  1. Do economists read anything or do they just believe in their models?
  2. If they do read, how come they cannot grasp simple, easy to understand ideas?

Economists who could not figure any of this out now place their faith in the fact “a very large cohort of these millennials who are about to hit the years that people are most likely to become parents.

Mish’s Alternate View

Unless the millennials...

  1. Shed student debt
  2. Move out on their own
  3. Get a job that supports raising a family
  4. No longer have to take care of their aging parents
  5. Have a significant change in attitudes about homes, families, debt, and mobility ….

...economists will still be wondering “what happened” years from now.


Stunning Emails Reveal How Clinton Foundation Donor Bought Seat As Hillary's Nuclear Weapons Advisor


Forget Hillary's personal email server: this is what true cronyism and criminal corruption looks like, and this is the biggest threat from a Hillary presidency.

It has been widely speculated, if not proven, that donors to the Clinton Foundation who over the years have transferred hundreds of millions of dollars to the "charitable organization", bought political favors with the Clintons in exchange for their generosity. That has now been confirmed thanks to a stunning ABC report which reveals how a major foundation donor - one who previously had practically no experience on intellgience matters - mysteriously ended up as a nuclear weapons advisor to Hillary during her tenure as Secretary of State.

Worse, the person in question Rajiv K. Fernando, had been the head of a high frequency trading company, Chopper Trading (recently acquired by HFT powerhouse DRW), which may explain the unprecedented pull of the HFT lobby throughout all ranks of the US political apparatus. In other words, Fernando bought a seat to not only have advance knowledge of all US foreign policy, but to directly shape it, something he could then parlay in the forms of massive policy frontrunning profits thanks to his trading company.

In other words, the appointment qualified Fernando, a trader in the public markets, for one of the highest levels of top secret access.

Just as shocking was the aggressive retaliation with which the State Department tried to cover up the cronyism that literally "bought" Fernando's seat as one of Hillary's closest political advisors, and how - as a result of ongoing media pressure - Fernando just as mysteriously resigned only days after his appointment was announced when the State Department was unable to come up with a legitimate reason for him to stay on.

The full shocking story follows, courtesy of ABC.

Newly released State Department emails help reveal how a major Clinton Foundation donor was placed on a sensitive government intelligence advisory board even though he had no obvious experience in the field, a decision that appeared to baffle the department’s professional staff.

The emails further reveal how, after inquiries from ABC News, the Clinton staff sought to “protect the name” of the Secretary, “stall” the ABC News reporter and ultimately accept the resignation of the donor just two days later.

Copies of dozens of internal emails were provided to ABC News by the conservative political group Citizens United, which obtained them under the Freedom of Information Act after more the two years of litigation with the government.

A prolific fundraiser for Democratic candidates and contributor to the Clinton Foundation, who later traveled with Bill Clinton on a trip to Africa, Rajiv K. Fernando’s only known qualification for a seat on the International Security Advisory Board (ISAB) was his technological know-how. The Chicago securities trader, who specialized in electronic investing, sat alongside an august collection of nuclear scientists, former cabinet secretaries and members of Congress to advise Hillary Clinton on the use of tactical nuclear weapons and on other crucial arms control issues.

“We had no idea who he was,” one board member told ABC News.

PHOTO: A State Department photograph shows the 2011 International Security Advisory Board. Rajiv Fernando is seated on the far left of the image.

A State Department photograph shows the 2011 International Security Advisory
Board. Rajiv Fernando is seated on the far left of the image

Fernando’s lack of any known background in nuclear security caught the attention of several board members, and when ABC News first contacted the State Department in August 2011 seeking a copy of his resume, the emails show that confusion ensued among the career government officials who work with the advisory panel.

“I have spoken to [State Department official and ISAB Executive Director Richard Hartman] privately, and it appears there is much more to this story that we’re unaware of,” wrote Jamie Mannina, the press aide who fielded the ABC News request. “We must protect the Secretary’s and Under Secretary’s name, as well as the integrity of the Board. I think it’s important to get down to the bottom of this before there’s any response.

“As you can see from the attached, it’s natural to ask how he got onto the board when compared to the rest of the esteemed list of members,” Mannina wrote, referring to an attachment that was not included in the recent document release.


Fernando himself would not answer questions from ABC News in 2011 about what qualified him for a seat on the board or led to his appointment. When ABC News finally caught up with Fernando at the 2012 Democratic convention, he became upset and said he was "not at liberty" to speak about it. Security threatened to have the ABC News reporter arrested.

PHOTO: At the 2012 Democratic National Convention, ABC News Brian Ross asks Rajiv Fernando about his 2011 appointment to the State Departments International Security Advisory Board.

At the 2012 Democratic Convention, ABC News' Brian Ross asks Rajiv Fernando
about his 2011 appointment to the State Department's International Security Advisory Board.

Fernando's expertise appeared to be in the arena of high-frequency trading -- a form of computer-generated stock trading. At the time of his appointment, he headed a firm, Chopper Trading, that was a leader in that field.

Fernando's history of campaign giving dated back at least to 2003 and was prolific -- and almost exclusively to Democrats. He was an early supporter of Hillary Clinton's 2008 bid for president, giving maximum contributions to her campaign, and to HillPAC, in 2007 and 2008. He also served as a fundraising bundler for Clinton, gathering more than $100,000 from others for her White House bid. After Barack Obama bested Clinton for the 2008 nomination, Fernando became a major fundraiser for the Obama campaign. Prior to his State Department appointment, Fernando had given between $100,000 and $250,000 to the William J. Clinton Foundation, and another $30,000 to a political advocacy group, WomenCount, that indirectly helped Hillary Clinton retire her lingering 2008 campaign debts by renting her campaign email list.

The appointment qualified Fernando for one of the highest levels of top secret access, the emails show. Among those with whom Fernando served on the International Security Advisory Board was David A. Kay, the former head of the Iraq Survey Group and United Nations Chief Weapons Inspector; Lt. Gen. Brent Scowcroft, a former National Security Advisor to two presidents; two former congressmen; and former Sen. Chuck Robb. William Perry, the former Secretary of Defense, chaired the panel.

“It is certainly a serious, knowledgeable and experienced group of experts,” said Bruce Blair, a Princeton professor whose principal research covers the technical and policy steps on the path toward the verifiable elimination of nuclear weapons. “Much of the focus has been on questions of nuclear stability and the risks of nuclear weapons use by Russia and Pakistan.”

The newly released emails reveal that after ABC News started asking questions in August 2011, a State Department official who worked with the advisory board couldn’t immediately come up with a justification for Fernando serving on the panel. His and other emails make repeated references to “S”; ABC News has been told this is a common way to refer to the Secretary of State.

“The true answer is simply that S staff (Cheryl Mills) added him,” wrote Wade Boese, who was Chief of Staff for the Office of the Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security, in an email to Mannina, the press aide. “Raj was not on the list sent to S; he was added at their insistence.”


 Mills, a former deputy White House counsel, was serving as Clinton’s chief of staff at the time, and has been a longtime legal and political advisor.

Four minutes later, Boese wrote to his boss, Richard Hartman, to alert him that Ellen Tauscher, who was then the Undersecretary for State for Arms Control and International Security Affairs, would be meeting with Mills to devise a response to the ABC News request.

“Sorry this has become a headache,” he wrote.

Hartman wrote the next morning to say he would “come up and brief you... about where Raj Fernando stands and the ABC News investigative journalist inquiries. You do need to hear about it.” Separately, in an email to another official, Hartman noted that it was "Cheryl Mills, who added Mr. Fernando’s name to the list of ISAB nominees."

When ABC News sent a follow-up inquiry about the qualifications of another board appointee, Massachusetts state Rep. Harold P. Naughton, Jr., Boese wrote to Hartman to say the department would have a far easier time explaining Naughton’s credentials. “The case for Rep. Naughton is an easy one. We are on solid ground,” he said.


By this point, Fernando himself had been looped into the discussion. He and Hartman exchanged emails, but the entire text of Fernando’s letter was redacted by the State Department prior to its release.

Twice, Mannina was instructed to stall with ABC News, before Mills sent a public statement. It announced Fernando’s abrupt decision to step down.


“Mr. Fernando chose to resign from the Board earlier this month citing additional time needed to devote to his business,” it reads, noting that membership on the board was required to be “fairly balanced in terms of the points of view represented and the functions to be performed by the advisory committee.”

“As President and CEO of Chopper Trading, Mr. Fernando brought a unique perspective to ISAB. He has years of experience in the private sector in implementing sophisticated risk management tools, information technology and international finance,” the statement says.

The statement was emailed to ABC News two days after Fernando’s resignation and four days after the initial ABC News inquiry.

Fernando’s letter of resignation to Clinton says he “intended to devote a substantial amount of time to the work of ISAB in furtherance of its objectives. However, the unique, unexpected, and excessive volatility in the international markets these last few weeks and months require[d him] to focus [his] energy on the operations of [his] company.”

Additional emails collected from Hillary Clinton’s personal server only hint at her possible involvement in Fernando’s selection to the board. The records request for documents about Fernando’s appointment produced a chain of correspondence from 2010 with the subject line “ISAB” -- or International Security Advisory Board. In those, Mills writes, “The secretary had two other names she wanted looked at.” The names are redacted. Mills then forwarded the response to “H,” which is the designation for Clinton’s personal account. Three minutes later Clinton forwards the email chain to another State official and says simply, “Pls print.”

The Clinton campaign declined requests from ABC News to make Mills available for an interview. Campaign spokesman Nick Merrill deferred to the U.S. State Department, which issued a statement saying the board’s charter specifically calls for a membership that reflects “a balance of backgrounds and points of view. Furthermore, it is not unusual for the State Department Chief of Staff to be involved in personnel matters.”

Cheryl Mills, former State Department chief of staff under former Secretary of State
Hillary Clinton, attends a House Select Committee on Benghazi hearing in Washington, Oct. 22, 2015

Fernando did not respond to messages left by ABC News at home and mobile numbers listed for Fernando, nor to a letter left at the office of his current business.

As is customary with a new administration, the make-up of the board changed substantially when Clinton took over the State Department, according to Amb. James Woolsey, who served on the panel from 2006 to 2009. But the seriousness of its mission remained the same.

He said the board’s primary purpose was to gather an array of experts on nuclear weapons and arms control to constantly assess and update the nation’s nuclear strategy.

Most things that involve nuclear weapons and nuclear strategy are dealt with at a pretty sensitive basis -- top secret,” he said, noting that participants meet in a secure facility and are restricted in what materials they can discuss.

That is not typically the realm of political donors, Woolsey said. Though, he added, it would not be impossible for someone lacking a security background to make a contribution to the panel. “It would depend on how smart and dedicated this person was... I would think you would have to devote some real time to getting up to speed,” he said.

Fernando is now a board member of a private group called the American Security Project, which describes itself as “a nonpartisan organization created to educate the American public and the world about the changing nature of national security in the 21st Century.” He also identifies himself online as a member of the Chicago Council on Global Affairs and says he's involved with a Washington think tank.

And he continued to donate to Democrats, and to Clinton. He emerged as one of the first “bundlers” to raise money for Clinton’s 2016 bid. And in July 2015, he hosted a fundraiser for Clinton at his Chicago home. Fernando has also continued to donate to the Clinton Foundation. He now is listed on the charity’s website as having given between $1 million and $5 million.

About six months after Fernando resigned from the State Department advisory board, he was invited to attend a White House State Dinner, honoring the British Prime Minister. And this summer Fernando will serve as a super delegate at the Democratic National Convention. According to Chicago media reports, he has committed to supporting Clinton.

* * *

And that, for a mere $1-$5 million sunk cost, one can buy influence, and inside information, which - in this specific case - can then be traded and generate hundreds of millions in profits, an IRR that is too big for Excel to calculate.

The punchline: with thousands of generous Clinton Foundation donating "Fernandos" waiting in the wings, it is only a matter of time before President Clinton's entire staff is comprised of people who did their math and realized that the US government is merely a means to an end: the end, of course, being to get very, very rich at the expense of the American people whom they - and Hillary - should be serving.

* * *

The following emails were obtained by the conservative political group Citizens United, which obtained them under the Freedom of Information Act, and were provided to ABC News. ABC News has arranged the emails in chronological order. Scroll through the emails below or CLICK HERE to open them in a new window.


"Scientific" Paper Finds Liberals "Uncooperative, Hostile, Troublesome, Socially Withdrawn, Manipulative"


Submitted by Elizabeth Harrington via,

Researchers who corrected a scientific paper claiming social conservatives are associated with psychoticism - when it was in fact liberals - are calling the correction “quite minor.”

The correction came three years after the paper claimed social liberals were linked with “Social Desirability,” and conservatives with authoritarianism.

The paper “Correlation not Causation: The Relationship Between Personality Traits and Political Ideologies” was released in October 2013. The researchers admitted the results were “exactly reversed,” in a correction in January, which was first reported by Power Line Blog.

The researchers had expected conservatives to be more likely to exhibit traits of “psychoticism,” which they defined as “uncooperative, hostile, troublesome, and socially withdrawn,” as well as “manipulative.”

Their initial findings reported just that.

“In line with our expectations, [psychoticism] P (positively related to tough-mindedness and authoritarianism) is associated with social conservatism and conservative military attitudes,” the original paper stated. “Intriguingly, the strength of the relationship between P and political ideology differs across sexes. P’s link with social conservatism is stronger for females while its link with military attitudes is stronger for males.”

“We also find individuals higher in Neuroticism are more likely to be economically liberal,” the paper said. “Furthermore, Neuroticism is completely unrelated to social ideology, which has been the focus of many in the field. Finally, those higher in Social Desirability are also more likely to express socially liberal attitudes.”

However, the authors of the paper, Virginia Commonwealth University researchers Brad Verhulst and Lindon Eaves and Pennsylvania State University researcher Peter Hatemi, had to issue a correction after learning the findings were exactly the opposite.

“The authors regret that there is an error in the published version of ‘Correlation not Causation: The Relationship between Personality Traits and Political Ideologies,’” the correction reads. “The interpretation of the coding of the political attitude items in the descriptive and preliminary analyses portion of the manuscript was exactly reversed.”


“Thus, where we indicated that higher scores in Table 1 (page 40) reflect a more conservative response, they actually reflect a more liberal response,” the researchers said. “Specifically, in the original manuscript, the descriptive analyses report that those higher in Eysenck’s psychoticism are more conservative, but they are actually more liberal; and where the original manuscript reports those higher in neuroticism and social desirability are more liberal, they are, in fact, more conservative.”

In other words, the study actually found that liberals were more associated with being “more uncooperative, hostile, troublesome, socially withdrawn” and “manipulative.” They noted having a “high Psychoticism score is not a diagnosis of being clinically psychotic or psychopathic.”

When contacted by the Washington Free Beacon, Verhulst said the error was “quite minor.”

“The correction to the original manuscript was quite minor, and consisted of an error in the descriptives,” Verhulst said. “None of the primary conclusions were affected by the error.”

Verhulst said the paper was not about conservatives being more authoritarian, but about the relationship between personality traits and political beliefs.

“The reason that the correction is quite minor is because we were looking at whether personality traits caused people to develop political attitudes,” he said. “We found that personality traits and political attitudes were correlated, but that there was no evidence that there was a causal relationship.”


“Accordingly, this is a minor error because the fact that the correlation is ‘exactly reversed” does not change the fact that personality traits do not cause political attitudes,” Verhulst added. “Thus, while the descriptive statistics were incorrect, the conclusions based on the analyses do not change.”

Verhulst said researchers from Denmark first alerted his colleague Dr. Hatemi to the error. His team re-analyzed the data but did not find any mistakes.

“To be extra sure that there was no error, we then contacted the data managers from whom we obtained the data,” he said. “It was at this point that we found the inconsistency between the code book that we were using and the original code book. As soon as we found the error (which was 3 years after the publication of the original manuscript), we issued the relevant corrections.”

Verhulst added that the study was not taxpayer-funded, but relied on data collected from previously funded research by the National Institutes of Health.


Thursday, June 9, 2016

Why Nothing Progresses (Except Dissatisfaction): Institutionalized Powerlessness

The institution offers facsimiles of recognition, but the individual remains powerless and interchangeable.
Most people working within dysfunctional institutions do their best to keep the institution operating, and they naturally resent their institution being labeled dysfunctional, as it calls into question the value of their work. Their role in the institution is the wellspring of their identity and self-worth, and attacks on the institution are easily personalized into attacks on their self-worth.
This is understandable, as the need to affirm the value of one’s work is core to being human.
Several factors work against the affirmation of an individual’s value in centralized institutions. While some institutions are better run than others, hierarchical institutions are ontologically in conflict with the human need for affirmation of one’s value, purpose and meaning.
While each individual seeks to be recognized as a valuable member of a productive community, the institution is designed to enforce obedience to the hierarchy and compliance with the many rules governing the institutional machinery.
To soften the enforcement of obedience, institutions offer various blandishments of recognition: employee of the month, etc. Hierarchical organizations that must compete for workers, such as technology firms, will actively court their employees with Friday parties and various bonding events to generate a sense of purpose and community.
But stripped of public-relations cheerleading, these ploys are deeply inauthentic. They aren’t designed to create a real community, but to simply soften the enforcement of obedience with superficial recognition of the human need for recognition and belonging. Their real purpose is to mask the employees’ powerlessness.
Why do individuals accept powerlessness? The institution offers them what is scarce: financial security and a position that offers an identity and sense of belonging.
But there is an intrinsic conflict between the institution’s need for obedience a nd the individual’s need for authentic community, purpose and identity.
Within small work groups, camaraderie between the employees nurtures authentic community. But this is not the result of the institution; rather, the bonding occurs despite the institution.
This conflict is deepened by the dysfunction that arises from the structure of all centralized hierarchies. In effect, institutions bribe individuals with the security of a wage and a position, but the individual can never be fulfilled by a bribe or a position that is intrinsically powerless.
Even those in positions of leadership are powerless to change the dysfunctions that arise from its structure. The ontology of hierarchical institutions is to restrict the power of any individual, as individual initiative poses a threat to the institution’s core dynamic, which is the commodification of all human labor within it.
People must be interchangeable within the institution for the hierarchy and rules to function. Every teacher can be replaced with another teacher, every administrator can be replaced with another administrator, and so on.
This ontological conflict between the individual and the institution is complex.The institution offers various facsimiles of recognition, but the individual remains powerless and interchangeable. The institution claims to be improving, but it remains dysfunctional and incapable of reforming itself.
The impossibility of meeting individuals’ needs for autonomy manifest in a number of ways; here are five examples.
The first is the individual’s powerlessness to change anything of consequence within the institution. Everyone knows it is dysfunctional, but even those in positions of nominal power are unable to effect any real change.
The second is the difficulty of feeling positive about one’s role in an institution that has clearly lost its way and squanders talent and capital as its default setting.
The third is the internal costs of complying with perverse incentives that strip away integrity, idealism and faith in the value of the institution’s output.
The fourth is the way in which rising costs and burdensome rules of compliance narrow the room to maneuver within the institution. There is little room for innovation or meaningful reform because the budget is devoted to maintaining the status quo, and compliance soaks up time, talent and capital.
The fifth is keeping up with the ever-shifting sands of political compliance, as metrics of productivity change with each administration. What was adequate before may no longer be good enough.
The institution is designed to enforce compliance of its employees as a means to fulfill its core purpose. But there are few effective mechanisms for transformation within centralized institutions; each additional rule of compliance is added to a pile that is rarely reduced. As the costs of compliance and legacy structures increase, innovation is crowded out.
Even worse, innovation inevitably threatens someone’s share of the budget and power pie, so any innovation immediately arouses powerful enemies within the institution.lifecycle-bureaucracy.png
As a result, the institution becomes increasingly sclerotic and self-protective, and the narrowing room to maneuver frustrates the most idealistic and talented, who either quit or are forced out as threats.
Those who choose to remain resign themselves to cynical conformity or they simply stop caring. Neither is conducive to valuing one’s work.
In other words, institutions self-select for those most adept at maintaining the illusions of productivity, empowerment, etc., while maintaining the structure that guarantees dysfunction and artifice.
I call this conflict between centralized, hierarchical institutions and human needs the crisis of the individual because the institution is unaffected by its failure to meet the human need for affirmation, autonomy and community; the only crisis that afflicts the institution is the loss of its funding.
The crisis of the individual is not limited to institutions. Indeed, it can even more acute outside institutions. Affirming one’s value and identity are difficult in an institutional setting, but they become nearly impossible for those who have no paid position in the workforce.
Like institutional dysfunction, the crisis of the individual is as unrecognized as the air we breathe. It is assumed to be not just the way the world works, but the only way it could possibly work.
But these pathologies are not gravity; they result from a specific arrangement of markets, central states/banks and the neoliberal imperative that maximizing private gain is the highest good.
This essay was drawn from my new book Why Our Status Quo Failed and Is Beyond Reform.

A Radically Beneficial World: Automation, Technology and Creating Jobs for All is now available as an Audible audio book.
My new book is #5 on Kindle short reads -> politics and social science: Why Our Status Quo Failed and Is Beyond Reform ($3.95 Kindle ebook, $8.95 print edition)For more, please visit the book's website.

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On Death And Taxes: "The Greed Of The Government Can Never Be Overstated"


Submitted by Jeremiah Johnson (nom de plume of retired Green Beret of the United States Army Special Forces) via,

Readers, you’re awake to the horrors of the Federal Government, our rapidly-declining GDP and ever-increasing debts.  Trillions of dollars have been stolen, in the form of appropriations and programs that funnel directly from the tax-base: the fat “cash-cow” that the government suckles from.  The taxes are life-sustaining to the government juggernaut, managed by the ever self-serving “representatives” of Congress who approve pay raises for themselves, immunity from prosecution from (what was formerly) insider trading, and exonerate themselves from any and all ethics violations.

Taxes keep the government going, keep the system emplaced and you the citizen in your place, from birth to death.  The website reports the breakdown for the federal government’s feedings:

Personal income taxes               47.4%

Corporate income taxes             34.1%

Social insurance taxes                9.9%

Tariffs/gas taxes/fees                 8.5%

Ben Franklin summarized the position of the average citizen two centuries ago:

“In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.”

Franklin was correct; however, he should have reversed the order, because taxes can both bring on death and still haunt the deceased after their passing.  The best example of this is the death tax, where a person’s estate is assessed after their death.  Their heirs better pay the tax man!  Yes, how exactly does all of that work?  The deceased individual worked all of their lives, paying income taxes both federal and state, paying off their house and mortgage, paying their property tax.

If they paid for their house in full, and all related property taxes, then why is it assessed for a death tax?

The death tax is labeled conveniently as an “inheritance tax,” much in the manner that conquest and possession of more property is done by a municipality.  Labeled aseptically as “annexation,” it is where the nabobs of the “grand council” of the municipality vote to take for themselves (sorry, the municipality) more land/territory.  It’s all within their laws, and everyone smiles and pays the additional taxes happily ever after.

This year more than $3.4 trillion in federal taxes are estimated to be taken in by the federal government.  Add to this the $1.5 trillion in local and state taxes, and this figure amounts to more than 31% of the nation’s income.  Meanwhile look at the tax dodges that the Clinton’s perform, such as the multiple-listed addresses for corporations in the state of Delaware, and the undeclared revenues for their books and speaking engagements.

On December 16, 1773, American colonists disguised as Indians destroyed 342 cases of tea stored on board 3 cargo ships of the British navy.  The price of tea included a tax of 30 pence per pound in England.  In the American colonies, that tax was only 3 pence per pound, and yet the colonists wouldn’t take it: they acted.  A far cry from today, where the citizens just accept all of it complacently and without more than an anguished bleat.

“The only difference between death and taxes is that death doesn’t get worse every time Congress meets.”

-Will Rogers

For the most part that is true, with the exception of the inheritance taxes, in which the dead person’s estate is divided up: the heirs either pay or lose the property that has already been paid for and property taxes paid year after year!  If you have a million dollars in the bank saved over 20 years, and you suddenly die, if the taxes have already been paid year after year on your income, then why do they double-dip and tax you after your death?

It is all about control and dominion.  Government produces nothing, takes everything it can, and consumes all of it with wanton, avaricious gluttony.  The greed of government can never be overstated.  There are only politicians, no leaders, and those who misrepresent themselves and the Constitution in order to manipulate us and claim to represent us. They only represent themselves.  The fiat currency and the Petrodollar are already leveraged to the hilt with a negative balance after the phony, inflated, CBO-doctored GDP.

We have no leaders, only rulers.  The communist truism is correct: all authority comes from the barrel of a gun.  Taxes are a means with which to destroy wealth and property passed from one generation to the next, and control the masses, subjugating them and dominating them via the color of law that make them always answerable to a superficially-benevolent but in reality malevolent government.  All governments are vampires, and the blood they drain from the people is the blood of their taxes.  We have taxation with misrepresentation, while these miscreants continue to wine, dine, and fete themselves on their trips to Martha’s Vineyard and Cozumel.  On death and taxes, only the former allows you to escape the latter, and not even then.