Saturday, July 2, 2016

Federal Lab Refuses To Reveal Who Manipulated Environmental Data For Two Decades

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U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) officials refuse to reveal who, if anyone, has been punished for nearly two decades of “disturbing” data manipulation.

Someone in the inorganic section of a USGS lab in Lakewood, Colorado manipulated data – some of which related to the environment – from 1996 to 2014, with “serious and far ranging” effects, the Department of the Interior (DOI) Inspector General (IG) recently reported.

The Energy Resources Program lab closed March 1, 2016 as a result of the bad data, but now agency officials won’t say who’s been punished or even if anybody has or will be.

“Due to the confidential nature of personnel actions, we cannot disclose any specific actions that have been taken,” USGS spokeswoman Anne-Berry Wade told The Daily Caller News Foundation. She also cited privacy laws and refused to name the officials involved.

The first data manipulation issue began in 1996 – just one year after the USGS program was created – and lasted until 2008.

“Science center officials initiated an investigation, but the employee resigned before the investigation concluded,” a May 2015 IG report said.

A House Natural Resources subcommittee has held two hearings since May scrutinizing DOI employees who escaped punishment for misconduct, or were even promoted. (RELATED: Park Service Execs Commit Ethical Misconduct, Get ‘Punished’ With Promotions)

The second instance began later in 2008 and lasted until 2014, when USGS halted all work at the lab before closing it two years later. The manipulation affected $108 million worth of projects, according to the IG.

“USGS is pursuing disciplinary actions for the responsible staff,” the IG reported in June 2016.

But Wade wouldn’t reveal additional details, including whether any managers that supervised the analyst who manipulated the data would face punishment. She also told TheDCNF to ask the IG whether anyone was referred to the Department of Justice for prosecution.

“We conducted a limited scope inspection and, as a result, we had no material that gave us a reason to consult with a U.S. Attorney’s office,” Assistant IG for Investigations Matthew Elliott told TheDCNF.

Regardless, there’s no guarantee the Department of Justice would have prosecuted anyone, given that the agency declined 17 of 29 referrals from the IG.

The Department of Justice refused to attend the Natural Resources Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee’s hearings on lawbreaking DOI employees and explain why it declines prosecutions so often.

The effects of the data manipulation “are not yet known but, nevertheless, they will be serious and far ranging,” the June IG report said.

The research topics manipulated – including uranium in the environment and U.S. coal resources and reservers – were “disturbing,” Arkansas Republican Rep. Bruce Westerman said at the subcommittee’s June hearing.

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Friday, July 1, 2016

Obama Administration Finally Releases Its Dubious Drone Death Toll

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In a long-anticipated gesture at transparency, the Obama administration on Friday released an internal assessment on the number of civilians killed by drone strikes in nations where the U.S. is not officially at war.

According to the data, U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia and Libya killed between 64 and 116 civilians during the two terms of the Obama administration — a fraction of even the most conservative estimates on drone-related killings cataloged by reporters and researchers over the same period. The government tally also reported 2,372 to 2,581 combatants killed in U.S. airstrikes from January 20, 2009, to December 31, 2015.

Releasing the figures — which appeared on a Friday afternoon, on a holiday weekend, after seven years of selective leaks and official secrecy — along with a executive order prioritizing the protection of civilian life in counterterrorism operations, reflected core American principles, the president asserted.

In addition to mandating an increased emphasis on civilian protection in U.S. tactics and training, the executive order also called on the Office of the Director of National Intelligence to release annual reports on civilian casualties resulting from counterterrorism operations, such as drone strikes, in nations where the U.S. is not at war  — a move that, in effect, signals the further institutionalization of borderless wars for the foreseeable future.

“As a Nation, we are steadfastly committed to complying with our obligations under the law of armed conflict, including those that address the protection of civilians, such as the fundamental principles of necessity, humanity, distinction, and proportionality,” Obama’s order read.

While many within the legal and human rights community applauded the voluntary disclosure of casualty data and the executive order as a step in the right direction, some felt the Friday news dump fell short in key areas.

“It’s hard to credit this death count, which is lower than all independent assessments,” Hina Shamsi, director of the ACLU’s National Security Program, told The Intercept.

Organizations such as the New America Foundation and the Bureau of Investigative Journalism estimate that at least 200 and as many 1,000 civilians have been killed by American drone strikes in nations where the U.S. is not at war since Obama took office. The administration offered no individualized accounts to explain where its numbers came from, or who the civilian casualties were. Without addressing individual cases, disclosing the identities of those killed and providing detailed information on the investigations undergirding its conclusions, Shamsi contended, little could be done with the administration’s disclosures.

“Without key info like this the public can’t be confident,” she said.

The drone program, as it is often referred to in press accounts, is in fact a combination of both independent and overlapping efforts overseen by the military and the CIA — with support from other intelligence community agencies such as the NSA — that vary in intensity and management depending on the country. Under Obama, the unmanned vehicles have become both a tool and a symbol of a new age of modern American warfare, one in which the U.S. government asserts the right to reach out and kill suspected terrorists wherever they may be.

The casualty data, presented in the form of a three-page account, claims to reflect “credible reports of non-combatant deaths drawn from all-source information, including reports from the media and non-governmental organizations.” The report acknowledged that discrepancies exist between the government’s tallies and those compiled by NGOs over the last several years.

NGOs provide accounts that differ not only from official figures, but also vary widely from organization to organization, the report said. “For instance, for the period between January 20, 2009 and December 31, 2015, non-governmental organizations’ estimates range from more than 200 to slightly more than 900 possible non-combatant deaths outside areas of active hostilities.”

The government argued, as it has before, that it has access to information — informants and electronic surveillance, for example — that researchers, journalists and human rights advocates are not privy to.

Yet the government’s means of assessing the efficacy of individual strikes have been called into question in recent years. Informants on the ground for U.S. forces can provide mistaken information, and aerial battle damage assessments — BDAs — a common tool for assessing drone strikes, have at times proved unreliable. “According to one?study in Afghanistan, initial air BDAs failed to identify civilian casualties in 19 out of 21 cases subsequently confirmed by ground force investigations,” noted a report on civilian protection published last month by the Open Society Foundations.

The government’s report also suggested that malign actors can spread misinformation that makes its way into NGO reports, resulting in slain militants being misidentified as civilians, though it offered no specific examples of this taking place.

While the administration’s report was short on details, it did push back on claims that U.S. officials have, over the years, maintained a practice of labeling military-aged males killed in drone strikes as militants unless evidence is produced indicating otherwise. “Males of military age may be non-combatants; it is not the case that all military aged males in the vicinity of a target are deemed to be combatants,” it said.

The government’s insistence that it does not label dead young men as militants by default contradicted years of reporting from multiple news organizations (as recently as this week former military and intelligence officials speaking to the Los Angeles Times confirmed that had been a practice under the Obama administration until recently).

In October The Intercept published the Drone Papers — a series of reports based on classified military documents detailing the inner workings of the Pentagon’s drone operations — in which the source of the documents, a member of the intelligence community who worked on so-called targeted killing missions, described how military-aged males, or MAMs, killed in drone strikes are routinely labeled as enemies killed in action — EKIA — unless there is information indicating otherwise.

“If there is no evidence that proves a person killed in a strike was either not a MAM, or was a MAM but not an unlawful enemy combatant, then there is no question,” the source said. “They label them EKIA.”

While the publication of the drone data is unprecedented, its lasting impact remains to be seen. Shamsi, the ACLU attorney, said Obama’s executive order reflected “a positive step” for what has otherwise been a regime of near-total secrecy in matters of life and death, but it’s an order “sprinkled with caveats.”

“It’s important to remember that the next president, whoever that president may be, can revoke this order with a pen stroke,” she said.

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The post Obama Administration Finally Releases Its Dubious Drone Death Toll appeared first on The Intercept.



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Clinton and Lynch—Corruption, Not 'Optics'

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Attorney General Loretta Lynch tells us that her meeting with Bill Clinton aboard a private jet on the Phoenix airport tarmac was "primarily social"—you know, just two Democrats swapping stories about their grandkids and whatnot.

The nation's top law enforcement official and the former president and husband of the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee—who is under federal investigation—had a talk. Rather than conceding that such a private encounter is at the very least a conflict of interest, Democrats preemptively complained about the "optics." Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del), for instance, told CNN that Lynch "should have steered clear" and that the meeting "sends the wrong signal."5

What signal is that? Do Coons and every other politician "groaning" about the optics of the meeting understand that they're arguing for Lynch to recuse herself from the Clinton investigation? As Sen. John Cornyn (R-Tex.)—who's been pushing for a special counsel for a while—pointed out, there is a clear ethical duty for attorneys general to recuse themselves at the mere appearance of impartiality—a standard that this little meeting clearly meets.

As stated in the U.S. Attorneys' Manual, "The requirement of recusal does not arise in every instance, but only where a conflict of interest exists or there is an appearance of a conflict of interest or loss of impartiality."

Acknowledging that the meeting was bad "optics" is a way for Democrats to intimate that while some rubes might get the wrong idea, there's really nothing unethical about it. But they can't know that's true, can they? One of the parties involved is Bill Clinton, who has already been impeached for lying under oath and obstructing justice. The other is Lynch, who has politicized virtually every major case under her watch.

David Axelrod, Obama's chief political advisor, tweeted: "I take (Loretta Lynch) & (Bill Clinton) at their word that their convo in Phoenix didn't touch on probe. But foolish to create such optics." And it's Axelrod's prerogative to take the two at their word. "All I can say is Loretta Lynch is one of the most outstanding human beings I've ever known," Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) told reporters. "Her ethics are above reproach. No one could ever question her strong feelings about the rule of law, and her ethics are the best." Sen. Chuck Schumer added: "So, you have two choices, to say this didn't matter, or she is lying. I think it didn't matter."

Lynch might be Mother Teresa for all we know, but we still have ethical codes for a reason. Any truly impartial attorney general would have said to the former president, "Why don't we table this meeting until after the high-profile, politically charged criminal investigation of your wife is over." Would that really have been so difficult?

Moreover, it's not like these two randomly bumped into each other shopping at the grocery store or picking up dry cleaning. People don't have a lot of "impromptu meetings" in private jets sitting on airport tarmacs. As ABC15 Arizona reported, Clinton arrived to the airport to depart, heard Lynch was en route to that airport and then waited for her arrival. Maybe it was just dumb luck that this happened only a day before the Benghazi report was released by Congress, and a few days after the Associated Press published another 165 pages of emails then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton sent via her unsanctioned and unsecure private email server and did not want anyone to see. Or perhaps, as his wife's stories are becoming increasingly impossible to believe, Bill Clinton felt the need to say a few words to the attorney general overseeing the criminal investigations? Whatever the case, the appearance of a conflict of interest or loss of impartiality is clearly present.

But given the way this administration treats the law, we can safely assume Lynch will never recuse herself. And that refusal to recuse will give millions of Americans who already assume the Department of Justice will let Hillary slide no matter where the evidence leads quite a bit of evidence of corruption in the Obama DOJ. And if you're Hillary Clinton—and you are truly innocent—Bill's little get-together creates even more questions about your shady conduct. Mostly, though, if you want to know why Americans don't trust their government, this meeting is a pristine example.

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Thursday, June 30, 2016

The Silent Puerto Rican Debt Default

ORIGINAL LINK

 

 

 

 

 

The Silent Puerto Rican Debt Default


Written by Nathan McDonald (CLICK FOR ORIGINAL)
 

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Where's all the news - where are all the headlines? A major event has taken place yesterday and another event is about to unfold tomorrow. Puerto Rico is going to default on its debt and the US government is A-OK with it.

 

Once again, the American taxpayers have been on the short end of the stick. This story is receiving little to no press, and it is truly baffling given the ramifications and meaning behind it. Perhaps this is exactly why it is receiving so little attention.

 

The story of the Puerto Rican default is just another example of the crumpling system of the elites. The establishment is desperately trying to keep this broken fiat system together for as long as they possibly can, sucking maximum profits from it before it implodes.

 

The U.S. Senate has done its part in this farce, as they passed the bailout bill with overwhelming support yesterday, ensuring that Puerto Rico, like Greece, can put off its consequences of overspending for the time being and continue to stagnate. It's another stellar example of extend and pretend by the elites.

 

Tomorrow, the government of Puerto Rico was supposed to be paying back $2 billion in debt repayments - no small sum of money, but a drop in the bucket when you look at the massive $70 billion that they owe in debt payments.

 

Fortunately and unfortunately for them, they are being given a "free" pass by the U.S. government this time. I say unfortunately, because the trade-off for them is their freedom and liberty. As part of the bailout deal, the elites will install overseers that will monitor the Puerto Rican government. Essentially, they are giving up their free will.

 

Despite this being a major story, don't expect to hear much about it. The elites don't want to embolden other states or countries to default on their debt as well. The illusion of debt and fiat money must be maintained at all cost, or they risk completely losing the crumbling empire they have built around them.

 

Fortunately for us in the precious metals community, we are not asleep and we are taking our destiny into our own hands, protecting ourselves with the one true, honest form of money: gold and silver.

 

 

Please email with any questions about this article or precious metals HERE

 

 

 

 

The Silent Puerto Rican Debt Default


Written by Nathan McDonald (CLICK FOR ORIGINAL)



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Wednesday, June 29, 2016

"Deutsche Bank Poses The Greatest Risk To The Global Financial System": IMF

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Over three years ago we wrote "At $72.8 Trillion, Presenting The Bank With The Biggest Derivative Exposure In The World" in which we introduced a bank few until then had imagined was the riskiest in the world.

As we explained then "the bank with the single largest derivative exposure is not located in the US at all, but in the heart of Europe, and its name, as some may have guessed by now, is Deutsche Bank. The amount in question? €55,605,039,000,000. Which, converted into USD at the current EURUSD exchange rate amounts to $72,842,601,090,000....  Or roughly $2 trillion more than JPMorgan's."

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So here we are three years later, when not only did Deutsche Bank just flunk the Fed's stress test for the second year in a row, but moments ago in a far more damning analysis, none other than the IMF disclosed that Deutsche Bank poses the greatest systemic risk to the global financial system, explicitly stating that the German bank "appears to be the most important net contributor to systemic risks."

Yes, the same bank whose stock price hit a record low just two days ago.

Here is the key section in the report:

Domestically, the largest German banks and insurance companies are highly interconnected. The highest degree of interconnectedness can be found between Allianz, Munich Re, Hannover Re, Deutsche Bank, Commerzbank and Aareal bank, with Allianz being the largest contributor to systemic risks among the publicly-traded German financials. Both Deutsche Bank and Commerzbank are the source of outward spillovers to most other publicly-listed banks and insurers. Given the likelihood of distress spillovers between banks and life insurers, close monitoring and continued systemic risk analysis by authorities is warranted.

 

Among the G-SIBs, Deutsche Bank appears to be the most important net contributor to systemic risks, followed by HSBC and Credit Suisse. In turn, Commerzbank, while an important player in Germany, does not appear to be a contributor to systemic risks globally. In general, Commerzbank tends to be the recipient of inward spillover from U.S. and European G-SIBs. The relative importance of Deutsche Bank underscores the importance of risk management, intense supervision of G-SIBs and the close monitoring of their cross-border exposures, as well as rapidly completing capacity to implement the new resolution regime.

The IMF also said the German banking system poses a higher degree of possible outward contagion compared with the risks it poses internally. This means that in the global interconnected game of counterparty dominoes, if Deutsche Bank falls, everyone else will follow.

Notwithstanding moderate cross-border exposures on aggregate, the banking sector is a potential source of outward spillovers. Network analysis suggests a higher degree of outward spillovers from the German banking sector than inward spillovers. In particular, Germany, France, the U.K. and the U.S. have the highest degree of outward spillovers as measured by the average percentage of capital loss of other banking systems due to banking sector shock in the source country

The IMF concluded that Germany needs to urgently examine whether its bank resolution, i.e., liquidation, plans are operable, including a timely valuation of assets to be transferred, continued access to financial market infrastructures, and whether authorities can ensure control over a bank if resolution actions take a few days, if needed, by imposing a moratorium:

Operationalization of resolution plans and ensuring funding of a bank in resolution is a high priority. The authorities have identified operational challenges (e.g., the timely valuation of assets to be transferred, continued access to financial market infrastructures) and are working to surmount them. In some cases, actions to effect resolution may require a number of days to implement, and the authorities should ensure they can maintain control over the bank during this period, including by using their powers to impose a more general moratorium for a specific bank.

Here is the IMF's chart showing the key linkages of the world's riskiest bank:

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And while DB is number 1, here are the other banks whose collapse would likewise lead to global contagion.

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Considering two of the three most "globally systemically important", i.e., riskiest, banks just saw their stock price scrape all time lows earlier this week, we wonder just how nervous behind their calm facades are the executives at the ECB, the IMF, and the rest of the handful of people who realize just close to the edge of collapse this world's most riskiest bank (whose market cap is less than the valuation of AirBnB) finds itself right now.

Source



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7 Out of 10 Americans Actually Agree On Something – There’s Just One Problem

ORIGINAL LINK
Americans

(COMMONDREAMSA new Marketplace-Edison Research poll published Tuesday found that a full 71 percent of respondents agree that the economy is rigged, affirming the popular rhetoric of the current presidential campaign season.

The majority opinion held firm across ethnicity, class, age, and gender differences. A whopping 83 percent of African Americans polled agreed that the economy is rigged, and 80 percent of people ages 18-24 also held that opinion.

The poll, which has been tracking rising economic anxiety, discovered that most Americans agree that the economy was better for their parents’ generation, and believe that the economy will be worse for the next generation.

Perhaps the perception of a rigged economy is because people are working harder for increasingly less financial security.

The poll found that nearly one-quarter of respondents hadn’t taken a single vacation for over five years, while nearly 50 percent also confirmed fearing that they might lose their job within the next 12 months.

Moreover, 71 percent said they were afraid of an unexpected medical bill and 53 percent feared being unable to make a mortgage payment. Of renters, 60 percent fear being unable to pay rent.

Nearly one-third told the pollsters that they are losing sleep over their financial situation.

Meanwhile, the poll fond that Wall Street and banks are viewed in an unfavorable light: nearly 60 percent agreed that Wall Street does more to hurt than help the majority of Americans, and 56 percent agreed that the U.S. government should break up banks deemed “too big to fail.”

A majority of 54 percent also felt that the decline in U.S. manufacturing jobs was a result of so-called “free trade” deals, rather than “natural changes in the economy,” as the poll put it.

The poll’s questions were familiar to many of those following this year’s presidential election, as presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders made the phrase “rigged economy” and his critique of trade deals into touchstones of his campaign:

The truth is, we have a rigged economy. It is unsustainable. It is not moral. And it’s not the economy we need to be a great nation.

— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) April 25, 2016

The fact of the matter is trade agreements pushed by corporate America are very good for CEOs, but disastrous for American workers.

— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) May 25, 2016

Following the shocking success of Sanders’ outsider campaign, current front-runners Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton have both co-opted Sanders’ language in an attempt to woo his supporters.

“It’s not just the political system that’s rigged, it’s the whole economy,” Trump said during a speech last week, while Clinton on Monday told a crowd, “To build an economy that works for everyone, not just those at the top, we have got to go big and we have got to go bold,” as Common Dreams reported.

Yet their efforts may be falling flat: the Marketplace-Edison Research poll found a plurality of the respondents are also “not satisfied at all” with the two top presidential contenders.

Pundits have drawn connections between “a deep frustration on the part of working-class voters with economic globalization schemes,” as John Nichols put it, and the recent Brexit vote—provoking some to wonder if a similar shock may eventually strike the U.S. establishment, if today’s economic woes go unheeded.


This article (7 Out of 10 Americans Actually Agree On Something – There’s Just One Problem) by Nika Knight originally appeared on CommonDreams.org and is licensed Creative Commons 3.0. The Anti-Media radio show airs Monday through Friday @ 11pm Eastern/8pm Pacific. Help us fix our typos: edits@theantimedia.org



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107 Nobel Laureates Demand Greenpeace Stop Opposing GMOs... Because "We're Scientists"

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Forget Brexit, one of the most contriversial debates has surfaced once again, and this time with a vengeance. More than 100 Nobel laureates have signed a letter urging Greenpeace to end its opposition to genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

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The letter asks Greenpeace to cease its efforts to block introduction of a genetically engineered strain of rice that supporters say could reduce Vitamin-A deficiencies causing blindness and death in children in the developing world.

"We urge Greenpeace and its supporters to re-examine the experience of farmers and consumers worldwide with crops and foods improved through biotechnology, recognize the findings of authoritative scientific bodies and regulatory agencies, and abandon their campaign against 'GMOs' in general and Golden Rice in particular," the letter states according to The Washington Post.

The reasoning is simple according to those who signed the letter: "We're scientists" - so there!

From WaPo

The letter campaign was organized by Richard Roberts, chief scientific officer of New England Biolabs and, with Phillip Sharp, the winner of the 1993 Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine for the discovery of genetic sequences known as introns. The campaign has a website, supportprecisionagriculture.org, that includes a running list of the signatories, and the group plans to hold a news conference Thursday morning at the National Press Club in Washington.

 

We’re scientists. We understand the logic of science. It's easy to see what Greenpeace is doing is damaging and is anti-science," Roberts told The Washington Post. “Greenpeace initially, and then some of their allies, deliberately went out of their way to scare people. It was a way for them to raise money for their cause."

 

Roberts said he endorses many other activities of Greenpeace, and said he hopes the group, after reading the letter, would "admit that this is an issue that they got wrong and focus on the stuff that they do well."

 

Greenpeace has not yet responded to requests for comment on the letter. It is hardly the only group that opposes GMOs, but it has a robust global presence, and the laureates in their letter contend that Greenpeace has led the effort to block Golden Rice.

 

The list of signatories had risen to 107 names by Wednesday morning. Roberts said that, by his count, there are 296 living laureates.

"I find it surprising that groups that are very supportive of science when it comes to global climate change, or even, for the most part, in the appreciation of the value of vaccination in preventing human disease, yet can be so dismissive of the general views of scientists when it comes to something as important as the world’s agricultural future." Nobel laureate Randy Schekman, a cell biologist at the University of California at Berkeley told WaPo.

That reminds us of a pertinent rebuttal to that comment written last year by Mark Spitznagel and Nassim Nicholas Taleb (the full piece can be found here):

First, there has been a tendency to label anyone who dislikes G.M.O.s as anti-science — and put them in the anti-antibiotics, antivaccine, even Luddite category. There is, of course, nothing scientific about the comparison. Nor is the scholastic invocation of a “consensus” a valid scientific argument.

 

Interestingly, there are similarities between arguments that are pro-G.M.O. and snake oil, the latter having relied on a cosmetic definition of science. The charge of “therapeutic nihilism” was leveled at people who contested snake oil medicine at the turn of the 20th century. (At that time, anything with the appearance of sophistication was considered “progress.”)

The article states:

Scientific and regulatory agencies around the world have repeatedly and consistently found crops and foods improved through biotechnology to be as safe as, if not safer than those derived from any other method of production. There has never been a single confirmed case of a negative health outcome for humans or animals from their consumption. Their environmental impacts have been shown repeatedly to be less damaging to the environment, and a boon to global biodiversity.

 

Greenpeace has spearheaded opposition to Golden Rice, which has the potential to reduce or eliminate much of the death and disease caused by a vitamin A deficiency (VAD), which has the greatest impact on the poorest people in Africa and Southeast Asia.

 

The World Health Organization estimates that 250 million people, suffer from VAD, including 40 percent of the children under five in the developing world.  Based on UNICEF statistics, a total of one to two million preventable deaths occur annually as a result of VAD, because it compromises the immune system, putting babies and children at great risk.  VAD itself is the leading cause of childhood blindness globally affecting 250,000 - 500,000 children each year. Half die within 12 months of losing their eyesight.

* * *

In summary, everyone should listen to the elites, no matter what one's personal conviction is. This letter is not a surprise, as there was recently a call for elites to rise up against the ignorant masses - this group wasted no time in that effort.



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Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Anti-Intellectualism remains in the eye of the beholder

ORIGINAL LINK

Alex Berezow of the American Council on Science and Health (ACSH) is raising a serious concern about American society and the future of the republic. It’s not ISIS or poverty or fiscal collapse that Alex is losing sleep over, but rather what he views as a cultural phenomenon he describes as anti-Intellectualism. You’ve heard this complaint before, though perhaps described in other terms, generally from people who don’t like the answers you’ve arrived at through your own research or consideration, particularly if they conflict with the speaker’s interpretation of conventional wisdom. But rather than describing it that way, it’s probably easier to ask why people enjoy being stupid. (ACSH)

As a society, we never grew up beyond high school. Not being smart continues to be cool. Rejecting the collective wisdom of scientists, economists, academics, and journalists is applauded. Spurning the “establishment” (defined, it seems, as anybody with expertise on any subject) has become the new national pastime.

This trend has lethal consequences. Every single year, public health experts beg and plead for people to receive influenza vaccinations, but most Americans ignore them. Despite the fact that the seasonal flu vaccine is imperfect (due to the unpredictable nature of the virus), thousands of Americans have died unnecessarily because they choose to reject their doctor’s advice.

Less dramatically, the thoughtless dismissal of expertise ultimately underlies all of the anti-science movements in America, from denial of evolution to rejection of biotechnology. Regulation and litigation have replaced scientific investigation.

Alex blames this trend on three things. Beyond the politicization of anything and everything (fair enough) and a tendency to shoot the messenger if we don’t like what they’re saying (regrettable, but frequently valid), he focuses on what he calls the “democratization of information.” By this he means the internet and its ability to turn everyone into an “instant expert” on any subject in a matter of minutes.

Overall, what Berezow seems to dread might be more simply described as the twilight of the elites. It’s some dangerous territory we’ve entered over the past couple of decades, but then again, all change is painful I suppose. To be clear, the Alexander Pope warning regarding a little knowledge being a dangerous thing is as valid as ever, so what you get from researching any given subject matter on your own depends entirely on your underlying motives and how much effort you’re willing to put into it. If you’ve dealt with trolls on the web for any period of time that requires no further explanation.

But the fact remains that the general sharing and availability of knowledge is a net positive, and not all who set out to deceive you are chat room bomb throwers. Sometimes they come in much more sophisticated attire. Examples are legion, but consider the fact that the climate change discussion is still going on, not because some heathens refuse to believe a unanimous consensus among the scientific community, but precisely because there are members of that community who disagree that the science is settled and others who have been caught fudging the data in their favor. If you relied on one or two “highly scientific sources” to figure out the dangers of fracking (as told by Josh Fox) you would think that we definitively know that the process of hydraulic fracturing is about to empty the planet of human life. But by reading a bit further you’d find that even the EPA has recognized that it’s safe and the claims of people showing you exploding sink faucets were faked.

The list goes on, but Berezow’s essay, in a counterintuitive fashion, points out precisely why you should continue to think independently and seek multiple sources before being satisfied with any answer you are handed. The “expert” in the room may indeed turn out to be correct, but particularly when the answer seems particularly convenient to some political cause de jour, always express doubt and seek out additional sources.

In all matters, turn back to one of the greater “experts” of the past age, Albert Einstein: Question Everything.

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Benghazi Report Reveals Folly of Interventionism

ORIGINAL LINK

The House Benghazi select committee released its five-part 800-page report on the September 11, 2012 attacks on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, with an "additional views" addendum from Reps. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) and Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.) that blamed President Obama and Hillary Clinton, who was secretary of state at the time, more directly for the various intelligence, security, and communications failures that led to the attack and misinformation in the aftermath about the existence of protests against a YouTube video that sparked the violence.

Democrats, who accused Republicans of "wasting taxpayers money" on an issue that's been investigated by the executive branch, and Congress, multiple times, released their own report. Democrats insist the select committee was a political ploy to sully Clinton, the presumptive Democratic nominee, ahead of the November elections. "There seems to be only one remaining question," White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said today. "It's simply this. Is the RNC going to disclose the in-kind contribution they received from House Republicans today?" They're probably even after the Democrats' kabuki sit-in against civil rights, off which they raised money directly.

The partisan argument about Clinton's culpability in an attack that led to the killing of four Americans by Libyan militants misses the broader argument about aimless interventionism. A spokesperson for the State Department responded to the report by saying the department's "priority continues to be carrying out our national security mission while mitigating the risks to our employees." Democrats insist the State Department has boosted security, so the problem is solved. Republicans argue the White House didn't do enough militarily (in one part of the report referring to Obama's "no boots on the ground" policy as having informed the immediate response to the Benghazi attack), and often believe the answer is more military spending and "boots on the ground."

The reality is the U.S. should not have participated in the Libyan civil war in the first place, and certainly the Obama administration should not have committed forces before getting approval from Congress. None of the investigative reports I've seen tackled that question. The select committee reports that Ambassador Chris Stevens, among the four killed in Benghazi, had been charged with preparing the mission there to be converted to a permanent consulate, so as to offer a "deliverable" for Clinton's planned October 2012 visit to Libya. Today Clinton insists the fault with the Libyan intervention lies in the Libyan government, for not permitting foreign security to operate in Libya, on the political fallout from the Benghazi attack itself. President Obama has expressed regret at the aftermath of the Libyan intervention multiple times, calling it the "worst mistake" of his presidency. Clinton insists it's still an opportunity for more U.S. involvement in affairs around the world.

The report also focused on the misinformation surrounding the role of a trailer for a Mohammed movie on YouTube in sparking protests that terrorists may have taken advantage of. There appear to have been no protests in Benghazi prior to the attack and at least one report was based on an article about planned protests that was published a week before the protests happened. Some officials are quoted as being in shock about national security advisor Susan Rice's infamous Sunday morning appearances about Benghazi. But the administration's lies were as plain as day to anyone bothering to follow the news during and after Benghazi. The story started unravelling pretty quickly. There was a clear campaign to deflect what happened in Benghazi as a failure of U.S. policy onto a YouTube video and the practice of free speech. There were protests around the Muslim world on September 11, 2012, some focused on the perceived slight to Mohammed, others on U.S interventionism. The ease with which Clinton appears to be able to avoid substantive criticism of unchecked interventionism ("what difference, at this point, does it make?") is as frustrating as the failure by many to see her as the foe of free speech that she has reliably been as well.



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"Welcome To Hell" - Angry Unpaid First Responders Warn "Whoever Comes To Rio Will Not Be Safe"

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In May, Brazilian soccer great Rivaldo told tourists to stay away from the Olympics in Rio because of the violence, saying "You'll be putting your life at risk here." After that dire warning, the Rio state government declared a state of "public calamity" because it had gone completely broke. The government warned of total total collapse in public security, health, and transport.

As a result of the declared state of calamity, the federal government was supposed to transfer $860 million to the state but the AP reports that as of yesterday the money hadn't been received. Rio's acting governor Francisco Dornelles said that there is a concern that the Olympics will be a big failure if things don't get back on track quickly. "I'm optimistic about the games, but I have to show reality. We can have a great Olympics, but if some steps aren't taken, it can be a big failure" Dornelles said.

"How are people going to feel protected in a city without security" Dornelles added. Which is an excellent question, because the Rio police force rallied against the non-payment of wages and even the lack of basic supplies on Monday.

At the city's airport a group of protesters spread banners that read "Welcome to hell. Police and firefighters don't get paid, whoever comes to Rio De Janeiro will not be safe" - probably not the message the world wants to be seeing just over a month away from the Olympics.

20160626_riopoliceairport1_0.JPG

Around 300 officers took to the streets to demand their salaries be paid by the government in full, and to express their anger over lack of basic supplies such as water, ink, and even toilet paper. According to RT, one officer said that he had only received half of his pay last month, and hasn't been paid for overtime in the last five months either.

"At the stations we don't have paper or ink for the printers, there's no one to come in to clean and some stations don't have a water supply anymore so the toilets are not functioning" said a member of an elite police unit entrusted with providing security at the upcoming olympics.

Seen at the airport in Rio today: First responders welcome toutists. A sign of what's to come during the Olympics? pic.twitter.com/mCOYB3deuo

— Michael Smith (@SmithMarkets) June 27, 2016

If the banners and protesting police weren't enough to scare those who arrived in Rio, someone even put up a warning on the way out of the airport that there are no hospitals either:

Welcome, we don't have hospitals! - “Aviso” na estrada do Galeão. (Foto: Tiago Bla) pic.twitter.com/NfnrEukkuT

— Cecília Olliveira (@Cecillia) June 26, 2016

* * *

We don't want to scare everyone completely with the realities of how poor the Brazilian economy is doing, and the fact that Rivaldo was probably correct with the warning, so as we reminded everyone last time, the silver lining is that Brazil will always remain rich in natural resources.

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Monday, June 27, 2016

The shadow bailout of Puerto Rico is underway

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You may recall that the initiative in Congress to bail out Puerto Rico by allowing them to enter into bankruptcy pretty much fell flat. Of course, there wasn’t much enthusiasm for seeing the Island of 3.5 million people completely collapse into a failed territory, either. On Friday they’re going to miss another multi-billion dollar payment date so we should have known that there would be some sort of “compromise” afoot on the Hill to avoid both situations, but what would that look like? John Fund at National Review takes a peek at what’s in the works and it looks like the sort of “third way” which Washington is famous for, causing problems in the capitalist market while really pleasing nobody.

But the U.S. Senate may vote to make things worse this week by passing a rescue package that suspends the constitutional rights of bondholders in the island to collect on their debts. Debt holders will essentially have no legal means to secure repayment.

The Senate is acting on its version of a House bill that passed last month that sets up an oversight board to monitor Puerto Rican finances and the power to override some destructive laws. That’s all well and good, but the bill comes with a poison pill by allowing write-downs of bonds in which payment is guaranteed by Puerto Rico’s constitution.

As Fund notes, this is a direct violation of Puerto Rico’s constitution, which assures that bonds shall be repaid. It’s precisely that iron clad guarantee which convinced so many investors to dump significant investment capital into the territory for many years. That’s something of a double edged sword, of course, because it allows unfettered capitalism to thrive, but doesn’t allow much wiggle room if the beneficiaries of the investments can’t cover their payments such as in the situation we’re seeing now.

Why would the GOP go for this? Because it’s not technically a “bailout” as such. We’re not sending federal tax dollars to Puerto Rico to cover their markers and we’re not letting them go into bankruptcy. What we are doing is giving a legislative nod to the idea that they can violate their own constitution and stick it to the investors. The island’s formerly pristine credit rating should be well and truly in the dumpster by the time this exercise is complete and it still doesn’t provide any assurance that they’ll regain any semblance of fiscal stability even with this maneuver.

What will the bondholders do in response? Fund predicts that we (as in “we the taxpayers”) may wind up holding the bag anyway.

The irony is that if Washington passes a short-sighted Puerto Rican debt-relief bill, it may still wind up handing taxpayers the tab. There is no doubt a “takings” lawsuit will be led by bondholders claiming that Congress confiscated the value of their property by allowing Puerto Rico to shortchange tham on payment. If that lawsuit wins in the courts, you can bet Congress – meaning U.S. taxpayers – will be required to pay the bondholders whatever amount Puerto Rico didn’t pay. That would simply be a bailout by another name.

Ideally, Puerto Rico should have been able to go into some severe conservative mode of operation, cutting costs in every corner until they got back up to speed on their bond payments. Unfortunately, the time for that would most likely have been years ago and such “regressive” moves would have been highly unpopular with the locals. At this point I’m not seeing anyone with a viable solution on the table, so Puerto Rico may wind up looking much like Detroit, only with nicer weather and beaches.

PuertoRico



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The United States Of Europe: Germany And France Hatch A Plan To Create An EU Superstate

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Europe Connections - Public DomainIf you believe that the Brexit vote is going to kill the idea of a “United States of Europe”, you might want to think again.  In fact, it appears that the decision by the British people to leave the European Union is only going to accelerate the process of creating an EU superstate.  As you will see below, one of the largest newspapers in the UK is reporting that the foreign ministers of France and Germany have drafted “a blueprint to effectively do away with individual member states”.  So even though men like George Soros are warning that the eventual dissolution of the European Union is “practically irreversible” after the Brexit vote, the truth is that the globalists are not about to give up so easily.

For a very long time, advocates of increased European integration have dreamed of going all the way and creating a true “United States of Europe”, but Britain was always one of the stumbling blocks that stood in the way.

But now that Britain is out and there is great fear that the entire European project may be in jeopardy, there seems to be a rush to go for broke and try to complete the job of European integration.  The Express is one of the biggest news organizations in the UK, and they are reporting that the foreign ministers of France and Germany already have a blueprint “to effectively do away with individual member states”

The foreign ministers of France and Germany are due to reveal a blueprint to effectively do away with individual member states in what is being described as an “ultimatum”.

Under the radical proposals EU countries will lose the right to have their own army, criminal law, taxation system or central bank, with all those powers being transferred to Brussels.

Controversially member states would also lose what few controls they have left over their own borders, including the procedure for admitting and relocating refugees.

When I read that earlier today I was absolutely stunned.

Did they come up with this blueprint before the Brexit vote or after?

And do they plan to allow the citizens of individual nations to vote on any of this?

It is being reported that the following paragraph comes from the preamble to the document

“Our countries share a common destiny and a common set of values that give rise to an even closer union between our citizens. We will therefore strive for a political union in Europe and invite the next Europeans to participate in this venture.”

Of course it would have been totally unrealistic to expect backers of European integration to go down without a fight.  After all, what did we expect them to do – throw up their hands and admit that the British people are right and that the European Union is a failure?

No, that was never going to happen.

As I mentioned in the other article that I published today, the elite are going to make the British people pay for what they have done.  The British pound has already been smashed, British stocks are getting pounded, and the UK economy is going to suffer greatly.  In addition, the British people are being inundated by mainstream news stories telling them what a horrible mistake they made.

And as the crisis in Europe gets progressively worse, the “solution” that will be heralded by mainstream news organizations will be increased European integration.  In fact, this is something that CNN is already promoting

The elite are desperate to rescue a European project that is considered to be “dying” in the eyes of many.  For example, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman just compared what is happening in Europe right now to the collapse of the Soviet Union

The upheaval in the U.K. after its Brexit referendum in favor of leaving the European Union has similarities to the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union, according to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman.

While it’s “unreasonable to draw direct parallels,” it’s obvious that the U.K. is going through a “turbulent, confusing and unpredictable period,” Dmitry Peskov told reporters on a conference call Monday. Russia “has gone through the collapse of the Soviet Union and many generations clearly remember the period of the Soviet collapse, that period of uncertainty.”

So those that are in favor of European integration are in full damage control mode at this point.  Just today, there was a report in the Daily Mail about how German Chancellor Angela Merkel is telling people that it is vital to keep any other members of the European Union from leaving…

Mrs Merkel said the EU needs to stop other countries following Britain out of the door amid market fears that the bloc is ‘no longer governable’ after Brexit.

The German Chancellor told her conservative party board in a conference call that it was necessary to prevent other European Union members going down the same path as Britain.

Merkel is also said to have revealed that international financial markets are concerned the EU is ‘no longer governable’ in the wake of Britain’s exit vote.

The elitists that run the EU don’t really care about the will of the people, and they will work very hard to prevent more referendums from being held.  In an age of “democracy”, the EU is one of the most undemocratic political institutions in the entire western world.  I know, because I studied EU law when I was in law school.

If you have any doubt about this, just check out this recent quote from European Parliament President Martin Schultz…

“The British have violated the rules. It is not the EU philosophy that the crowd can decide its fate“.

Say what?

In the short-term, it is entirely possible that we could see more nations leave the EU.  I would watch Greece in particular.

But in the long-term, we will see a major push for more European integration.  Germany and France will be at the core of this movement, and other European nations will join them.

The British people may not participate any time soon, but the dream of a United States of Europe is far from dead.

And if the advocates of increased European integration have their way, we will be seeing their dream become a reality sooner rather than later.



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After Brexit, Ron Paul Asks "Can We Exit A Few Things Too?"

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Submitted by Ron Paul via The Ron Paul Institute for Peace & Prosperity,

Last week’s UK vote to leave the EU may have come as a shock to many, but the sentiment that led British voters to reject rule from Brussels is nothing unique. In fact it is growing sentiment worldwide. Frustration with politics as usual, with political parties that really do not differ in philosophy, with an economy that serves the one percent at the expense of the rest of society is a growing phenomenon throughout Europe and in the United States as well. The Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump phenomena are but one example of a frustrated public sensing something is very wrong with society and looking for a way out.

What is happening in the UK, in Europe, and in the US, is nothing less than a breakdown of the entire system. The EU was meant to be a customs union where post-World War II Western Europe could rebuild itself through free trade and a reduction in bureaucracy. Through corruption and political ambition it became an unelected bully government in Brussels, where the well-connected were well compensated and insulated from the votes of mere citizens.

Whatever happens in the near future – and it is certainly not assured that the vote to “Brexit” will actually end in the UK’s departure from the EU – a line has been crossed that supporters of more personal liberty should celebrate. Rule from London is preferable to liberty-minded Britons than rule from Brussels. Just as Texans should prefer rule from Austin to rule from Washington. That doesn’t make either option perfect, just more likely to produce more freedom.

Is Brexit the first victory in a larger freedom movement? Can we get out of a system that creates money out of thin air to benefit the ruling class while impoverishing the middle class? Can we get out of a central bank that finances the wars that make us less safe? Can we exit Executive Orders? Can we exit the surveillance state? The PATRIOT Act? Can we exit NDAA and indefinite detention? Can we exit the US worldwide drone program, that kills innocents overseas and makes us ever-more hated?

Getting out of NATO would be a good first move. This Cold War relic survives only by stirring up conflict and then selling itself as the only option to confront the conflict it churned up. Wouldn’t it be better to not go looking for a fight in the first place? Do we really need still another NATO military exercise on the Russian border? It should be no surprise that NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg was fear-mongering on the eve of the Brexit vote, warning UK citizens that if they vote to leave they could face increased terrorism.

Likewise, the US would do well to exit the various phony “free trade” agreements that provide advantage to the well-connected elites while harming the rest of us.

The act of exit is liberating. We should make a longer list of those things we would like to get out of. I am only getting started.



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Wake-Up Call America: Iceland’s New President Has Never Been in a Political Party

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iceland

(WAKINGTIMESWith admiration, many have been observing Iceland’s handling of the banking crisis that jolted the entire world in recent years. Now experiencing a unique economic recovery, the Icelandic public became aware in 2008 that the nation’s private banks had borrowed some $120 billion dollars, ten times the size of Iceland’s economy, creating an economic bubble which forced housing prices to double, and saddled the nation’s people with debt.

While other Western nations initiated bank bailouts in 2008, a popular uprising in Iceland led to a peaceful revolution against corrupt government and banks, and has since become the example for the global movement for liberation from central banking and unaccountable government.

“In the duration of five months, the main bank of Iceland was nationalized, government officials were forced to resign, the old government was liquidated, and a new government was put in its place.” [Source]

The resolve of Iceland’s people to correct the systemic problems in their government and economy was again demonstrated in 2015 when dozens of high-level financial executives were jailed for their involvement in manipulating Iceland’s financial markets after financial deregulation in 2001.

“After Iceland suffered a heavy hit in the 2008-2009 financial crisis, which famously resulted in convictions and jail terms for a number of top banking executives, the IMF now says the country has managed to achieve economic recovery—“without compromising its welfare model,” which includes universal healthcare and education. In fact, Iceland is on track to become the first European country that suffered in the financial meltdown to “surpass its pre-crisis peak of economic output”—essentially proving to the U.S. that bailing out “too big to fail” banks wasn’t the way to go.” – Claire Bernish

Following the resignation of Icleand’s former prime minister, Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson, who quit after being implicated in fraud by the release of the Panama Papers in April of 2016, the public has again grown impatient with the political class. While another US presidential election enters the severe mud-slinging phase, this time between a career politician with an alleged lengthy criminal past, and an arrogant celebrity businessman, Iceland has just demonstrated that a true political outsider and common person can be elected to the office of president.

Guðni Jóhannesson, a professor of history, has just been elected president of Iceland, ousting the 20 year incumbent, Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson, with 39% of the popular vote. The political newcomer also beat chief opponent, businesswoman Halla Tómasdóttir, meaning that the office of president will not be held by a career politician or businessperson.

READ: When Will America Jail Their Banksters Like Iceland is Doing?

President elect Jóhannesson, a scholastic expert on political history, diplomacy and the Iceland constitution, has never been a member of a political party, is a husband and father, and reportedly chose to run for president after the release of the Panama Papers,

The global struggle for honest money will only heat up in the coming years when the next financial bubble bursts. Sovereign, anti-globalist movements to correct systemic issues will be more common, such as we have just seen with Brexit. Recently, Switzerland also made overtures against the current banking model by seeking a referendum to ban commercial banks from printing money.

Iceland again sets a unique example of leadership for populist movements around the world who are eager for an end to corrupt politics, central reserve-banking tyranny and the takeover of government by corporate interests.

“Reserve banking is the policy that guarantees insurmountable debt as the outcome of all financial transactions.” [Source]


This article (Wake-Up Call America: Iceland’s New President Has Never Been in a Political Party) was originally created and published by Waking Times and is published here under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Alex Pietrowski and WakingTimes.com. It may be re-posted freely with proper attribution, author bio, and this copyright statement. Please contact WakingTimes@gmail.com for more info.

Alex Pietrowski is an artist and writer concerned with preserving good health and the basic freedom to enjoy a healthy lifestyle. He is a staff writer for WakingTimes.com and Offgrid Outpost, a provider of storable food and emergency kits. Alex is an avid student of Yoga and life.



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The End Game Of Bubble Finance - Political Revolt

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Submitted by David Stockman via Contra Corner blog,

During Friday’s bloodbath I heard a CNBC anchor lady assuring her (scant) remaining audience that Brexit wasn’t a big sweat. That’s because it is purportedly a political crisis, not a financial one.

Presumably in the rarified canyons of Wall Street, politics doesn’t matter much. After all, when things get desperate enough, Washington caves and does “whatever it takes” to get the stock averages moving upward again.

Here’s a news flash. That’s all about to change.

The era of Bubble Finance was enabled by a political abdication nearly 50 years ago. But as Donald Trump rightly observed in the wake of Brexit, the voters are about to take back their governments, meaning that the financial elites of the world are in for a rude awakening.

To be sure, the apparent lesson of the first TARP vote when the bailout was rejected by the House in September 2008 was that politics didn’t matter so much.

Wall Street’s 800 point hissy fit was all it took to prostrate the politicians. Indeed, the presumptive free market party then domiciled in the White House quickly shed its Adam Smith neckties and forced the congressional rubes from the red states to walk the plank a second time in order to reverse the decision.

There was a crucial predicate for this classic crony capitalist capture of the authority and purse of the state, however, that should not be overlooked. Namely, that in the mid-cycle period of the world’s 20-year experiment in central bank driven Bubble Finance the rubes had not yet come to fully appreciate that they were getting the short end of the stick.

Indeed, the earlier phases of the bubble era witnessed an enormous inflation of residential housing prices. For instance, between Greenspan’s arrival at the Fed in August 1987 and the housing bubble peak in 2007, the value of residential housing rose from $5.5 trillion to $22.5 trillion or by 4X. 

The greatest extent of the housing bubble occurred in the bicoastal precincts, of course. But it did lift handsomely the value of 50 million owner occupied homes in the flyover zone, as well.

Accordingly, the latter did not yet see that the new regime was stacked in favor of the top 10% of the economic and wealth ladder, which owns 85% of the non-housing financial assets. Nor was it yet evident as to the degree to which massive money printing under conditions of Peak Debt almost exclusively stimulates Wall Street speculation, not main street production, jobs, incomes and spending.

In any event, by the eve of the great financial crisis, the GOP was actually controlled by the racketeers of the Beltway and the Wall Street gamblers, not the red state voters who had elected it.

In fact, Goldman’s Sach’s plenipotentiary to Washington, Hank Paulson, was in complete command of the elected side of government. At the same time, the Bush White House had populated the central banking branch of the state with proponents of monetary activism, who were more than ready to authorize “heroic” measures to reflate the bubble.

Needless to say, the leader of the pack, Ben Bernanke, had been groomed for the role of chief bailster by none other than Milton Freidman. The latter, in turn, had led Nixon astray at Camp David 37 year earlier when he persuaded Tricky Dick to default on the dollar’s link to gold, thereby opening the door to fiat money, massive credit expansion and the modern era of Bubble Finance.

There is a straight line of linkage from that great historical inflection point to Friday’s Brexit uprising. Namely, Nixon’s abandonment of the Bretton Woods gold exchange standard, as deficient as it had been, was also a profoundly political act.

It resulted in the abdication of economic and financial policy to an unelected elite and their eventual capture by Wall Street and the forces of speculation and financialization unleashed by unanchored central bank money and credit.

Nixon’s destruction of Bretton Woods was the enabling event. It turned central bankers and financial officialdom loose to operate a dictatorship of bailouts, bubbles and financialization of economic life. And to spread this baleful regime to Europe, Japan and the rest of the world, too.

To be sure, it took more than two decades to fully materialize. There were deeply embedded institutional cultures and ideologies among policy-makers that restrained opened-ended resort to the printing press and financial bailouts.

The Paul Volcker interlude in the US and the determined sound money regime of the Bundesbank are cases in point.

But eventually the old regime gave way. There emerged Greenspan’s dotcom and housing bubbles, the rise of the ECB and the financial rulers of Brussels, the massive bailouts triggered by the global crisis of 2008-2009, the hideous expansion of central bank balance sheets during the era of QE and ZIRP, the emergence of the destructive “whatever it takes” regime of Draghi and the current financial lunacy of subzero interest rates across much of the planet.

But here’s the thing. The rubes are on to the rig.

Twenty-years of Bubble Finance have made the City of London an oasis of splendor and prosperity, for example, but it has left the hinterlands of Britain hollowed-out industrially, resentful of the unearned prosperity of the elites and fearful of the open-ended flow if immigrants and imports enabled by the superstate in Brussels. As on observer put it, the geography of the vote said it all:

Look at the map of those results, and that huge island of “in” voting in London and the south-east; or those jaw-dropping vote-shares for remain in the centre of the capital: 69% in Tory Kensington and Chelsea; 75% in Camden; 78% in Hackney, contrasted with comparable shares for leave in such places as Great Yarmouth (71%), Castle Point in Essex (73%), and Redcar and Cleveland (66%). Here is a country so imbalanced it has effectively fallen over.

The rise of Trumpism in the US reflects the same social and economic fracture. To wit, Bubble Finance has also drastically unbalanced the US as between the bicoastal zones of prosperity it has enabled and the fly-over zones its has effectively left behind.

It goes without saying that massive debt monetization and 90 months of zero interest rates has been a boon for the Imperial City. With almost no restraints on its ability to borrow and spend, the military/industry/security/surveillance complex has prospered like never before, as has the medical care cartel, the education syndicate and the lesser beltway rackets such as green energy and the farm subsidy/food stamp/ethanol alliance.

Likewise, asset gatherers, financial intermediaries, brokers, punters, financial engineers and corporate strip-miners have prospered enormously because the market has been rigged every since Black Monday in October 1987. That is, the cost of debt and carry trades have been falsified, downside hedging insurance in the casino has become dirt cheap and time after time the Fed’s put has bailed-out speculations gone bust.

Even what passes for entrepreneurial  breakouts in the world of social media and new tech isn’t really. It’s just another variant of the dotcom bubble in which a few good innovations are being drastically over-valued (e.g. Uber) while a tsunami of worthless and pointless start-ups have become giant cash burning machines (e.g. Tesla).

Taken altogether, they are funding a ephemeral complex of pseudo businesses, pseudo jobs and pseudo start-up networks that are attracting tens of billions in venture capital that amount to malinvestment.

Meanwhile, the main street economy has atrophied. The first round of Bubble Finance buried the middle class in debt, while the post-crisis intensification has turned the C-suites of America into a giant stock trading and financial engineering arena.

Contrary to the bubblevision patter, in fact, there has been no business deleveraging at all. On the eve of the crisis in Q4 2007, total non-financial business debt outstanding was $11 trillion, and it is now $13.5 trillion.

But on the margin, ever dime of that massive swelling of the business debt burden represents real economic resources cycled out of the flyover zones and pumped back into the financial casino’s and the bicoastal elites which fatten on them.

The recent studies of the Census Bureau data which show that just 20 counties have generated half of all start-ups since the financial crisis provides another take on the underlying fissure:

Americans in small towns and rural communities are dramatically less likely to start new businesses than they have been in the past, an unprecedented trend that jeopardizes the economic future of vast swaths of the country.

 

The recovery from the Great Recession has seen a nationwide slowdown in the creation of new businesses, or start-ups. What growth has occurred has been largely confined to a handful of large and innovative areas, including Silicon Valley in California, New York City and parts of Texas, according to a new analysis of Census Bureau data by the Economic Innovation Group, a bipartisan research and advocacy organization that was founded by the Silicon Valley entrepreneur Sean Parker and small group of investors.

 

That concentration of start-up activity is unusual, economists say. In the early 1990s recovery, 125 counties combined to generate half the total new business establishments in the country. In this recovery, just 20 counties have generated half the growth.

 

The data suggest highly populated areas are not adding start-ups faster now than they did in the past; they appear simply to be treading water. But rural areas have seen their business formation fall off a cliff.

 

Economists say the divergence appears to reflect a combination of trends, all of which have harmed small businesses in rural America. Those include the rise of big-box retailers such as Walmart, the loss of millions of manufacturing and construction jobs across the country and a pullback in business lending that appears to have stung small-town and rural borrowers particularly hard.

The changes also reflect a fundamental shift over the past two decades in which workers and industries power the country’s economic growth. That shift advantages highly educated urbanites at the expense of everyone else. Polling suggests it is one of the driving forces in the political unrest among working-class Americans — particularly rural white men — who have flocked to Republican Donald Trump’s presidential campaign this year.

In short, Bubble Finance is a giant engine of reverse Robin Hood redistribution. It embodies a sweeping fiscal intervention in the natural flows of the free market that punishes savers, laborers, self-funded main street entrepreneurs and the retired populations in favor of speculators and the holders of existing financial assets.

Bubble Finance is an affront to both democratic governance and true prosperity. The Trump voters, the Brexit voters, the masses rallying to the populist banners throughout Europe above all else represent a reactivation of the political machinery in a last ditch campaign to stop the financial elite and their regime of Bubble Finance.

Yes, this time is different, and this time there will be no reflation of the financial bubble like there was after Black Monday, the S&L bust, the dotcom crash and the great financial crisis of 2008-2009.

Needless to say, the Wall Street dip-buyers and perma-bulls who take their cues from the modern day financial ruling class are in for a shock. And today’s statement by Martin Schulz, the President of the EU parliament good not more aptly explain why.

Said Schulz,

The British have violated the rules. It is not the EU philosophy that the crowd can decide its fate“.

We think not.



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QUOTE OF THE DAY

Why You Shouldn’t Be Sharing These Fake ‘Chemtrail’ Photos Online

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Are these photos really from inside ‘chemtrail’ planes? Maybe they are, and maybe they’re not, but that’s not the point here. The point is to encourage people to become aware of and start thinking about the ‘chemtrail’ phenomenon, and what’s commonly known as geo-engineering, which is indeed very real.

There is a big problem in the alternative media world right now, and that’s creating awareness about real events that are often grouped in the ‘fringe’ or ‘conspiracy’ category, without providing any sort of credible evidence to back it up. These articles that are floating around the web in abundance, do more harm than good, and completely discredit the movement by subjecting it to more ridicule. Simply writing an article and placing these pictures inside of them, with no credible source for their origin, is a great example of why so many people instantly discredit  geoengineering, among other topics.

If you want to create awareness, it’s best to do so with credible sources, evidence, and critical questioning. Chemtrails are very real, and the last thing that’s needed is an article with pictures (that provide no sources) without any real information on the phenomenon itself.

So, if you’d like to learn more, you can access the articles linked below. We’ve written several articles on the subject that can provide you with more information if interested.

“Chemtrails,” a popular name used to identify trails that have been seen by hundreds of thousands, if not millions of people around the world. These are no ordinary ‘contrails,’ they don’t disappear, but rather, stay in the sky and stretch out throughout the day, creating a blanket that, on some days, completely blocks the sun.

This is an important issue, especially if you’re concerned about global climate change. Many organizations and people with a voice have been trying to create awareness, from Collective-Evolution to various politicians, climate activists, scientists, and professors. Not long ago, HRH Princess Basmah Bint Saud, humanitarian and daughter of King Saud, compared geoengineering science and programs to weapons of mass destruction, arguing that their implementation is like setting off a bomb without the nuclear explosion.

“Chemtrails” are slowly but surely leaving the ‘conspiracy theory’ realm. For those of you who don’t know, the term used today is “geoengineering,” and skeptics seem to be quite hesitant to accept the idea that geoengineering is actually operational.

The idea of geoengineering has been around for a while. It was even used in the 2008 Olympic games in Beijing. Hughes Aircraft Company even has a patent dating back more than twenty years ago, to 1990. You can take a look at it here. It contains 18 ways to reduce global warming through stratospheric seeding with aluminum oxide, thorium oxide, and refractory Welsbach material.

If we look at SPICE, a United Kingdom government funded geoengineering research project that collaborates with the Universities of Oxford, Cambridge, Edinburgh, and Bristol, some of the proposed particles to spray in the air include sulphate, sulphuric acid, sulphur dioxide, titania, silicon carbide, alumina, zinc oxide, and more.

A 1996 report conducted by top military personnel in the U.S., titled “Weather as a Force Multiplier: Owning the Weather in 2025,” reveals the supposed urgency to implement these programs:

Current demographic, economic, and environmental trends will create global stresses that provide the impetus necessary for many countries or groups to turn this weather-modification ability into a capability.

In the United States, weather-modification will likely become a part of national security policy with both domestic and international applications. Our government will pursue such a policy, depending on its interests, at various levels.

As you can see, this is a national security issue, so if these programs are indeed operational, they would remain classified given the fact that they are in the hands of the department of defence.

A Wealth Of Evidence Exists To Suggest These Programs Are Already Operational; Some Well-Sourced Articles Below:

A wealth of evidence exists to suggest that these programs are already operational, and we’ve written a number of well-sourced articles that show why so many people believe this to be true, apart from basic observation of our skies for a day. Below are a list of articles that go into much more detail about chemtrails and geoengineering for those of you who are looking to further your knowledge, or to simply see why so many people are concerned about this topic:

If You Think These Are Just “Contrails” Think Again – Here’s What They Really Are

Top Climate Scientist Warns Against Injecting Stratospheric Particles Into The Atmosphere

Nuclear Chemist Publishes Groundbreaking Paper With Details About: Aluminum Poisoning Of Humanity VIA Geoengineering

Chemtrails Discussed At United Nations Hearing On Global Warming

Saudi Princess Compares Geoengineering To A “Weapon Of Mass Destruction.”

Pilots, Doctors & Scientists Tell The Truth About Chemtrails/Geo-Engineering

Neurosurgeon Voices Health Concerns Over Geoengineering & Chemtrails

25 Photos From Inside “Chemtrail” Planes

***Please keep in mind that these photos are not from verified sources. You can find many of them floating around on the internet, and that doesn’t mean they are real or not real. We chose to write this article and use these pictures/title to bring more awareness and attention to to the geoengineering issue.

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