Saturday, September 1, 2018

Monsanto-Bayer: Eliminating The Name Will Not Erase The Criminal History

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Authored by Ruchi Shroff via Common Dreams,

Cancelling out Monsanto’s name and keeping only that of Bayer, does not mean forgetting the wrongdoings of a company which, according to the verdict of the Monsanto Tribunal of The Hague, is stained with crimes of ecocide. With Bayer’s official takeover of Monsanto, the giant multinational also inherits its liabilities.

On the eve of the start of the integration process, Monsanto has been held liable for causing cancer through the use of its glyphosate-based weedkiller Roundup and ordered to pay $289 million of damages to the plaintiff Dewayne Lee Johnson in the first landmark case, settled in California in mid August 2018. The jury also found that Monsanto “acted with malice or oppression.”

According to Reuters, the number of lawsuits brought against Bayer’s newly acquired Monsanto is approximately 8000 in the US alone. UN experts Ms Hilal Elver, Special Rapporteur on the right to food and Mr. Dainius Pūras, Special Rapporteur on the right to physical and mental healthdefined the ruling “a significant recognition of the human rights of victims, and the responsibilities of chemical companies.”

Revelations in reports published last year, most notably the “Monsanto Papers” and the “Poison Papers“, have shed light on strategies of big agrochemical groups to expand their empires: from lobbyinginterference in government agencies’ proceedings, attacks in collusion with institutions on independent science, to mega mergers and acquisitions.

For the first time part of these documents were shown to a jury, which were able, among other things to also see that, “at least starting 20 years ago, Monsanto has known that their product can cause cancer, and has gone out of its way to ignore it and/or fight any science that suggests a link”, as declared to Democracy Now by Brent Wisner, the lead trial counsel for Dewayne Lee Johnson in his lawsuit against Monsanto. Added to this, in the same week, California’s Supreme Court rejected a challenge by Monsanto to the state’s decision to include glyphosate in its Proposition 65 list of carcinogens.

On other fronts, other lawsuits have been filed in the US by farmers’groups, and seed sellers are pushing environmental regulators to bar farmers from spraying dicamba weed killer, key ingredient of the new Monsanto-Bayer and Basf products, which has been causing drift-related crop injuries sweeping across rural America in the last 2 years; in Europe, the special committee on pesticides authorization process reacted to the US court’s decision by calling once again for a ban of glyphosate in the continent; in Sri Lanka, where a fatal chronic kidney disease (CKDu) has been linked to glyphosate use, a group formed by farmers’ organizations, scientists and affected families declared that they are ready to take Bayer/Monsanto and other glyphosate herbicide manufacturers to the Supreme Court.

Vietnam is also demanding compensation for victims of exposure to the Agent Orange, the chemical produced by Monsanto for the US military during the Vietnam War.

A clear signal of the fact that Monsanto’s past is set to haunt Bayer in spite of all efforts to eliminate the brand name, is that the week following the verdict, Bayer’s shares fell sharply, approximately by 10 – 12% ($12.5 Billion).  It is interesting to note that the stock exchange, the very core of today’s globalized economy, seems to be quite unforgiving.

Navdanya, along with civil society organizations around the world, will continue to monitor, report and protest so that the agroecological, transition also recently discussed at the FAO‘s Symposium on Agroecology, becomes a reality and that local, circular and inclusive economies, nutritious and healthy food, become the norm once again After fifty years of an intensive, unhealthy food production model that has devastated our agriculture system by polluting the environment, producing poisonous food and without remotely solving the hunger problem, has instead further undermined people’s food sovereignty. Industrial agriculture in fact can claim only a relatively small portion of the global food production. The majority of the food we consume is, actually, still produced by small and medium farmers, while the vast majority of crops coming from the industrial sector, such as maize and soya, is mainly used as animal feed or to produce biofuels.

Navdanya International has invited leading experts from around the world for the drafting of the Manifesto “Food for Health. Cultivating Biodiversity, Cultivating Health.” The Manifesto, which will be widely disseminated to farmers and citizens, governments and stakeholders, aims at highlighting the inseparable link between food and health, developing comprehensive strategies to overcome the model of industrial agriculture, encouraging the convergence and action of the movement for Agroecology and Public Health movements to reach a common vision of sustainable development, which must be equitable and inclusive, based on biodiversity and poison-free food and farming systems.

The work of Navdanya International, from the creation of the International Commission on the Future of Food and Agriculture, and the publication of four Manifestos, has focused on promoting a new agricultural and economic paradigm, and the belief that solutions to the multiple crises facing humanity today can come from a determined shift away from the present profit and competitive-based paradigm to a model that has at its keystone the protection of the earth and environment and respect of the rights and dignity of people. In biodiverse organic farming, in Seed Freedom for farmers and citizens, in circular economies based on meaningful work, we can find solutions to the environmental, climatesocial and economic crisis. We will continue to reclaim citizens’ rights, as well as those of small and medium producers, who, despite being crushed by the current market mechanisms, are the only ones providing us with healthy and nutritious food.

Furthermore, we will not stop fighting this attempt of multinationals to takeover of our food, health and democracy which, instead of being regulated by our elected representatives, are increasingly able to take on the role of regulators through heavy lobbying actions, thus posing a serious threat to our own democratic system.



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Friday, August 31, 2018

Google Rigging Search Results Is A Fact - Freedom Outpost

https://freedomoutpost.com/google-rigging-search-results-is-a-fact/

Protecting Free Speech in Fearful Times - Censored Notebook

https://projectcensored.org/protecting-free-speech-in-fearful-times/

Never Let Anyone Call You Crazy For Doubting Establishment War Narratives

https://medium.com/@caityjohnstone/never-let-anyone-call-you-crazy-for-doubting-establishment-war-narratives-385aec06ad11

The nuclear accidents we're aware of are only the tip of the radiation disaster iceberg

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The World Nuclear Association says its goal is "to increase global support for nuclear energy" and it repeatedly claims on its website: "There have only been three major accidents across 16,000 cumulative reactor-years of operation in 32 countries." The WNA and other nuclear power supporters acknowledge Three Mile Island in 1979 (US), Chernobyl in 1986 (USSR), and Fukushima in 2011 (Japan) as "major" disasters. But claiming that these radiation gushers were the worst ignores the frightening series of large-scale disasters that have been caused by uranium mining, reactors, nuclear weapons, and radioactive waste. Some of the world's other major accidental radiation releases indicate that the Big Three are just the tip of the iceberg. CHALK RIVER (Ontario), Dec. 2, 1952: The first major commercial reactor disaster occurred at this Canadian reactor on the Ottawa River when it caused a loss-of-coolant, a hydrogen explosion and a meltdown, releasing 100,000 curies of radioactivity to the air. In comparison, the official government position is that Three Mile Island released about 15 curies, although radiation monitors failed or went off-scale.

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Thursday, August 30, 2018

Flu-pocalypse: The shocking failure of the flu vaccine exposed

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Injection-Cry-Fear-Flu-Steroid-Chickenpo (Natural News) Back-to-school season is here. Alongside sales, shopping and students, you may have noticed that something else is back: The flu shot. The push to get vaccinated is in full swing, whether you’re at the grocery store or simply watching the evening news. “It’s never too early to get the flu shot,” vaccine pushers...


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The Economy: Winter Is Coming

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Authored by Christopher Casey via The Mises Institute,

Fans of HBO’s hit series, Game of Thrones, know well the motto of House Stark: “Winter is Coming.” This motto warns of impending doom, whether brought on by the Starks themselves, devastating multi-year, cold weather, or something far more ominous north of the Wall.

At least since Soviet economist Nikolai Kondratieff wrote The Major Economic Cycles in 1925, recessions have been associated with winter weather. Although Kondratieff’s theories contained as much fantasy as Game of Thrones, using seasons as an analogy for the stages of a business cycle is intuitive. If spring represents recovery, and summer the peak of economic growth, then the U.S. economy may well be in autumn. All should be as wary as the subjects of Westeros (the realm of focus in Game of Thrones).

Why Winter is Coming

Few mainstream economists currently foresee a recession. They cite “strong” (a new-found, favorite term in Federal Open Market Committee minutes) economic statistics, a “healthy” stock market (despite gains highly concentrated in the so-called “FANG” stocks), and few warning signs among the “leading indicators." But the same exact sentiment existed before the last recession. Most infamously, then-Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke stated in January 2008 – exactly one month after the recession technically began: “the Federal Reserve is not currently forecasting a recession.”

How could Chairman Bernanke have been so wrong then, and why may mainstream economists be likewise wrong today? The answer lies in their erroneous business cycle theories. Without a theory which accurately describes recessions, watching leading indicators or other signs of a slowdown are as effective as reading tea leaves. One can only predict by first understanding causality.

The Austrian school of economics explains business cycles, for it describes their phenomena (e.g., the “cluster of error” exhibited by businesses and economic actors), why they are recurring, and why they first repeatedly appeared in the 19th century (with fractional-reserve banking and/or central banks). In short, when the money supply is artificially increased, interest rates are decreased and distorted. As interest rates are a universal market signal to all businesses and economic actors, investments and purchases which previously appeared unprofitable or untenable now seem economically profitable or reasonable. However, these expenditures are actually “malinvested” relative to the natural level of interest rates. When interest rates revert to their natural level and structure, a recession ensues. Recessions are an inevitable condition which corrects malinvestments by returning capital to rightful purpose.

What causes the artificial boom to end and the winter to begin? Ludwig von Mises offered a succinct explanation:

The boom can last only as long as the credit expansion progresses at an ever-accelerated pace. The boom comes to an end as soon as additional quantities of fiduciary media are no longer thrown upon the loan market.

In the U.S., the growth rate of “additional quantities of fiduciary media” has flatlined (as represented by the red line below). The most relevant monetary metric to analyze is the Austrian definition of the money supply known as “True Money Supply” (“TMS”). Developed by Murray Rothbard and Joseph Salerno (and frequently commented upon by Ryan McMaken of the Mises Institute), TMS more accurately captures Federal Reserve activity than traditional measures such as M2. Since March 2017, it has averaged a mere expansion rate of just over 4%.

Since Austrian business cycle theory describes the impact of monetary expansion and contraction upon interest rates which, in turn, impacts the economy, are interest rates likewise signaling a possible end to the current, artificial economic expansion?

When Winter is Coming

Interest rates have certainly risen. Since breaking below 1.4% just over two years ago, the 10-year Treasury has traded with a yield close to 3.0% for the majority of 2018. But in forecasting a recession, timing and probability are better served by analyzing the structure of interest rates (known as the yield curve) rather than the overall interest rate level.

The yield curve represents a graphical depiction of fixed-interest rate security yields plotted against the amount of time until their maturity. Various methods of measuring the “flatness” of the yield curve exist, but one of the most popular is the yield on a long-dated bond (e.g., the 10-year Treasury) minus the yield on a shorter-term bond (e.g., the 2-year Treasury). Based on this methodology, the yield curve has flattened extensively over the last several years to levels last observed just prior to the Great Recession.

Historically, a yield curve which flattens enough to become inverted; that is, when short-term interest rates are higher than longer-term interest rates, a recession typically follows. An inverted yield curve possesses a unique power of predictability.

As explained by economist Robert Murphy, in foreshadowing every recession since 1950:

Not only has there only been one false positive (which even here was still associated with a slowdown), but every actual recession in this timeframe has had an inverted (or nearly inverted) yield curve precede it. In other words, there are no false negatives either when it comes to the yield curve’s predictive powers in the postwar period.

The acknowledgement of the yield curve’s prognosticative capability extends beyond Austrian school economists such as Dr. Murphy, for numerous studies – many by Federal Reserve economists – cite this phenomenon. The Federal Reserve Bank of New York, in introducing some of this research, recognizes “the empirical regularity that the slope of the yield curve is a reliable predictor of future real economic activity.”

Recognition is different from understanding as mainstream economists are largely unable to offer an explanation. However, yield curve recession signals adhere well to Austrian business cycle theory which demonstrates the importance of banks in creating money and lowering interest rates (which steepens the yield curve as most of their influence resides with shorter maturities). It is the reversal of money creation – and the impact of banks on interest rates – which causes shorter-term interest rates to rise disproportionately (the typical fashion by which the yield curve flattens).

In addition, if the artificial boom ends when interest rates are no longer artificially depressed, then it stands to reason the structure of interest rates will also revert to its natural state. A flatter yield curve comports with the natural structure of interest rates expected in a free market. The Austrian-economist Jesús Huerta de Soto described the underlying reason free markets generate flatter yield curves:

...the market rate of interest tends to be the same throughout the entire time market or productive structure in society, not only intratemporally, i.e., in different areas of the market, but also intertemporally... the entrepreneurial force itself, drive by a desire for profit, will lead people to disinvest in stages in which the interest rate...is lower, relatively speaking, and to invest in stages in which the expected interest rate...is higher.

In short, the predictive power of the yield curve is matched only by the explanatory power of Austrian business cycle theory. If it continues to flatten and invert, a recession will likely follow as the previously created malinvestments are exposed.

But rather than wholeheartedly embrace yield curve analysis, high-ranking Federal Reserve officials consistently waffle at its utilization. Like Westerosi maesters in conclave to determine the advent of winter, they frequently recognize recessions only after their onset.

Conclusion

The similarities between the climate in Game of Thrones and the state of the U.S. economy are eerily similar. Prior to the recent beginning of winter, Westeros experienced an unusually long time since the last winter. Likewise, according to the National Bureau of Economic Research, the current U.S. expansion is the second longest ever at just over nine years (110 months).

Also, just as recessions are not phenomena endogenous to free markets (but rather, as discussed above, caused by an artificial expansion of the money supply typically produced/coordinated by central banks), so too the winters in Westeros appear to be generated from an artificial, exogenous source. As protagonist John Snow explained in describing the supernatural White Walkers: “the true enemy won't wait out the storm. He brings the storm.” The Night King is the Westerosi version of the Chairman of the Federal Reserve (with the primary difference being the Night King purposely brings about winter).

Finally, like the next winter in Westeros, the next U.S. recession may prove unusually severe by historical standards. In Game of Thrones, many characters (at least the peasants) believe this winter will be the worst in 1,000 years. Given the Federal Reserve’s unprecedented monetary machinations since 2008, the next recession may well prove worse than the last one, and potentially as devastating as the Long Night.

Approximately one year ago, speaking as confidently as a Red Priestess of R’hllor, then-Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen believed the next recession-driven financial crisis may be averted for at least a generation or so:

Would I say there will never, ever be another financial crisis? ...Probably that would be going too far. But I do think we're much safer... and I hope that it will not be in our lifetimes, and I don't believe it will be [emphasis added].

You know nothing, Janet Yellen. Winter is coming.



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Is Trump Right About "Flipping"?

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Authored by Jacob Hornberger via The Future of Freedom Foundation,

In the wake of the federal criminal conviction of former Trump official Paul Manafort and the guilty plea in federal court of former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen, the mainstream press is singing the praises of special prosecutor (and former FBI Director) Robert Mueller and the Justice Department.

In the process, Trump’s critics are condemning his denunciation of “flipping,” the process by which federal prosecutors offer a sweet deal to criminal defendants in return for testifying against a “higher-up” who the feds are also prosecuting. The press and the anti-Trumpsters say that such a practice is part of the “rule of law” and essential to the proper administration of justice.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Whatever else might be said about Trump, he is absolutely right on this point. The process of offering sweetheart deals to people in return for their “cooperation” to get someone else convicted has long been one of the most corrupt aspects of the federal criminal-justice system, especially as part of the federal government’s much-vaunted (and much-failed) war on drugs.

Suppose a federal criminal defendant contacts a prospective witness in a case and offers him $50,000 in return for his “cooperation” in his upcoming trial. The money will be paid as soon as the trial is over. The defendant makes it clear that he wants the witness to “tell the truth” but that his “cooperation” when he testifies at trial would be greatly appreciated.

What would happen if federal officials learned about that communication and offer? They would go ballistic. They would immediately secure an indictment for bribery and witness tampering.

What if the defendant says, “Oh, no, I wasn’t tampering with the witness. I specifically told him that I wanted him to tell the truth when he took the witness stand. I was just seeking his friendly ‘cooperation’ with my $50,000 offer to him.”?

It wouldn’t make a difference. Federal prosecutors would go after him with a vengeance on bribery and witness-tampering charges. And it is a virtual certainty that they would get a conviction.

There is good reason for that. The law recognizes that the money could serve as an inducement for the witness to lie. Even though the defendant tells him to “tell the truth,” the witness knows that the fifty grand is being paid to him to help the defendant get acquitted, especially since it is payable after the trial is over. The temptation to lie, in return for the money, becomes strong, which is why the law prohibits criminal defendants from engaging in this type of practice.

Suppose a federal prosecutor says to a witness,

“You are facing life in prison on the charges we have brought against you. But if you ‘cooperate’ with us to get John Doe, we will adjust the charges so that the most the judge can do is send you to jail for only 5 years at most. If you are really ‘cooperative,’ we will recommend that the judge give you the lowest possible sentence, perhaps even probation. Oh, one more thing, we want to make it clear that we do want you to tell the truth.”

Do you see the problem? The temptation to please the prosecutor with “cooperation” becomes tremendous. If the witness can help secure a conviction of Doe, he stands to get a much lighter sentence for his successful “cooperation.” The inducement to commit perjury oftentimes takes over, notwithstanding the prosecutor’s admonition to the witness to “tell the truth.”

Defenders of this corrupt process say that without it, prosecutors could never get convictions. That’s pure nonsense. For one thing, prosecutors can secure a conviction against the witness and then force him to testify once his case is over. That’s because a person whose case is over is unable to rely on the Fifth Amendment to avoid testifying in the case against John Doe.

Moreover, the prosecutor can give what is called “use immunity” to the witness, which then forces him to testify in the case against Doe. Use immunity is not full immunity from prosecution. It simply means that the prosecutor cannot use the witness’s testimony against Doe to convict the witness at his trial. The prosecutor must convict him with other evidence.

But even if it means that the prosecutor is unable to secure some convictions, the question has to be asked: Do we want prosecutors securing convictions in this way? After all, there is a related question that must be asked: How many innocent people are convicted by perjured testimony from a witness who is doing his best to “cooperate” with the prosecution in the hope of getting a lighter sentence?

Given all the accolades being accorded Mueller, it is a shame that he has chosen to go down the same corrupt road that all other federal prosecutors have traveled. He didn’t have to do that. He could have led the way out of this immoral morass by taking a firm and public stand against this corrupt procedure. The fact that he has chosen instead to participate in it is a shame, to say the least.



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Time-restricted eating can overcome the bad effects of faulty genes and unhealthy diet

ORIGINAL LINK
file-20180828-86132-e5wpie.jpg?ixlib=rb- sukrit3d/Shutterstock.com

Timing our meals can fend off diseases caused by bad genes or bad diet. Everything in our body is programmed to run on a 24-hour or circadian time table that repeats every day. Nearly a dozen different genes work together to produce this 24-hour circadian cycle. These clocks are present in all of our organs, tissues and even in every cell. These internal clocks tell us when to sleep, eat, be physically active and fight diseases. As long as this internal timing system work well and we obey them, we stay healthy.

But what happens when our clocks are broken or begin to malfunction?

Mice that lack critical clock genes are clueless about when to do their daily tasks; they eat randomly during day and night and succumb to obesity, metabolic disease, chronic inflammation and many more diseases.

Even in humans, genetic studies point to several gene mutations that compromise our circadian clocks and make us prone to an array of diseases from obesity to cancer. When these faulty clock genes are combined with an unhealthy diet, the risks and severity of these diseases skyrocket.

My lab studies how circadian clocks work and how they readjust when we fly from one time zone to another or when we switch between day and night shift. We knew that the first meal of the day synchronizes our circadian clock to our daily routine. So, we wanted to learn more about timing of meals and the implications for health.

Time-restricted eating

Eating within an eight- to 12-hour window could diminish the impact of a bad diet and a broken body clock. amornchaijj/Shutterstock.com

A few years ago we made a surprising discovery that when mice are allowed to eat within a consistent eight- to 12-hour period without reducing their daily caloric intake, they remain healthy and do not succumb to diseases even when they are fed unhealthy food rich in sugar or fat.

The benefit surpasses any modern medicine. Such an eating pattern – popularly called time restricted eating – also helps overweight and obese humans reduce body weight and lower their risk for many chronic diseases.

Decades of research had taught us what and how much we eat matters. But the new discovery about when we eat matters raised many questions.

How does simply restricting your eating times alter so many elements of personal health? The timing of eating is like an external time cue that signals the internal circadian clock to keep a balance between nourishment and repair. During the eating period, metabolism was geared toward nourishment. The gut and liver better absorbed nutrients from food, and used some for fueling the body while storing the rest.

During the fasting period, metabolism switched to rejuvenation. Unwanted chemicals were broken down, stored fat was burned and damaged cells were repaired. The next day, after the first bite, the switch flipped from rejuvenation to nourishment. This rhythm continued every day. We thought that timing of eating and fasting was giving cues to the internal clock and the clock was flipping the switch between nourishment and rejuvenation every day. However, it was not clear if a normal circadian clock was necessary to mediate the benefits of time restricted eating or whether just restricted eating times alone could flip the daily switch.

Eating late at night can disrupt circadian rhythms and raise the risk of chronic diseases including obesity. Ulza/Shutterstock.com

What if you have a broken internal clock?

In a new study, we took genetically engineered animals that lacked a functioning circadian clock either in the liver or in every cell of the body.

These mice, with faulty clocks don’t know when to eat and when to stay away from food. So, they eat randomly and develop multiple diseases. The disease severity increases if they are fed an unhealthy diet.

To test if time restricted eating works with a damaged or dysfunctional clock, we simply divided these mutant mice into two different groups – one group got to eat whenever they wanted and the other group was only given access to food during restricted times. Both groups ate the identical number of calories, but the restricted eaters finished their daily ration within nine to 10 hours.

We thought that even though these mice had restricted eating times, having the bad clock gene would doom them to obesity and many metabolic diseases. But to our utter surprise the restricted eating times trumped the bad effects of faulty clock genes. The mice without a functioning clock that were destined to be morbidly sick, were as healthy as normal mice when they consumed food during a certain period.

The results have many implications for human health.

The good news

First of all, it raises a big question: What is the connection between our genetically encoded circadian clock timing system and external time of eating? Do these two different timing systems work together like co-pilots in a plane, so that even if one is incapacitated, the other one can still fly the plane?

As we age, our body clocks become less accurate, and we become more prone to chronic diseases. Keeping regular, restricted eating times can keep us healthy longer. LightField Studios/Shurstock.com

Deep analyses of mice in our experiment revealed that time restricted eating triggers many internal programs that improve our body’s resilience – enabling us to fight off any unhealthy consequences of bad nutrition or any other stress. This boost in internal resilience may be the key to these surprising health benefits.

For human health the message is simple, as I say in my new book “The Circadian Code.” Even if we have faulty circadian genes as in many congenital diseases, such as Prader-Willi syndrome or Smith-Magenis syndrome, or carry a malfunctioning copy of nearly a dozen different clock genes, as long as we have some discipline and restrict eating times, we can still fend off the bad effects of bad genes.

Similarly, other researchers have shown as we get older our circadian clock system weakens. The genes don’t function correctly so our sleep-wake cycles are disrupted – just as if we had a faulty clock. So, lifestyle becomes more important for older people who are at higher risk for many chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, high cholesterol, fatty liver disease and cancer.

As a potential translation to human health, we have created a website where anyone from anywhere in the world can sign up for an academic study and download a free app called MyCircadianClock and start self-monitoring the timing of eating and sleeping.

Research has shown that our daily eating, sleeping and activity patterns can affect health and determine our long-term risk for various diseases. This app is part of a research project that uses smartphones to advance research into biological rhythms in the real world, while also helping you understand your body’s rhythms. http://mycircadianclock.org/#about-study, CC BY-SA

The app provides tips and guidance on how to adopt a time restricted eating lifestyle to improve health and prevent or manage chronic diseases. By collecting data from people with varying risk for disease, we can explore how eating times can help to increase our healthy lifespan.

We understand everyone’s lifestyle around home, work and other responsibilities is unique and one size may not fit all. So, we hope people can use the app and some tips to build their personalized circadian routine. By selecting their own time window of eight to 12 hours for eating that best fits their lifestyle, they may reap many health benefits.

The Conversation

Satchin Panda receives funding from National Institute of Health, Department of Defense, Department of Homeland Security, American Federation of Aging Research, the Glenn Center for Aging; the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust. He is affiliated with the Center for Circadian Biology at the University of California, San Diego.



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Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Reading Teens Become "Dying Breed": A Third Of Teenagers Haven't Read A Single Book In The Past Year

ORIGINAL LINK

Submitted by PlanetFreeWill

A new study has found that a third of teenagers haven’t read a single book in the past year as internet aged activities dominate their lives.

The research also shows that a minute portion of sophomore aged teens are picking up newspapers to read up on the real world.

Researchers from San Diego State University analyzed four decades’ worth of data from an ongoing, nationally-based lifestyle survey studying teens, finding that twelfth-graders reported reading two fewer books each year in 2016 compared with 1976.

Approximately one-third of these teens did not read a book for pleasure in the year prior to the 2016 survey, nearly triple the number reported in the 1970s, the study finds.

Bookworm teens have always been few and far between, but now they seem like a dying breed,” Daniel Steingold of Study Finds writes.

The meteoric rise of internet-based activities cannot be understated: between social media, texting, gaming, and surfing the web, the average high school senior spent six hours a day online in 2016 — double the time from a decade earlier. Eighth graders (4 hours a day) and tenth graders (5 hours a day) didn’t lag far behind.

Naturally, many of these hours have come at the expense of traditional media, including books, newspapers, and magazines. In the early 90s, a third of tenth graders reported reading the daily paper — this figure dropped to an astonishing two percent by 2016. During the late 70s, 60 percent of 12th graders read a book or magazine almost daily, but only 16 percent did by 2016.

According to Jean M. Twenge, the study’s lead author, the ability teens now have to jump between digital media, such as texting, web surfing and gaming potentially creates a burden on their ability to dive into long reads such as textbooks.

“Think about how difficult it must be to read even five pages of an 800-page college textbook when you’ve been used to spending most of your time switching between one digital activity and another in a matter of seconds,” Twenge said. “It really highlights the challenges students and faculty both face in the current era.”

The researchers also revealed that new aged digital media is also taking its toll on the amount of time teens are using television and watching movies.

Thirteen percent of eighth graders said they watched five or more hours of television per day in 2016, compared to 22% in the 1990s.



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"It Was All A Set-Up" - Pentagon Whistleblower Exposes Russia Probe Reality

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Via SaraCarter.com,

Adam Lovinger, a former Defense Department analyst, never expected that what he stumbled on during his final months at the Pentagon would expose an integral player in the FBI’s handling of President Donald Trump’s campaign and alleged Russia collusion.

Lovinger, a whistleblower, is now battling to save his career. The Pentagon suspended his top-secret security clearance May 1, 2017, when he exposed through an internal review that Stefan Halper, who was then an emeritus Cambridge professor, had received roughly $1 million in tax-payer funded money to write Defense Department foreign policy reports, his attorney Sean Bigley said. Before Lovinger’s clearance was suspended he had taken a detail to the National Security Council as senior director for strategy. He was only there for five months before he was recalled to the Pentagon, stripped of his prestigious White House detail, and ordered to perform bureaucratic make-work in a Pentagon annex Bigley calls “the land of misfit toys.” His security clearance was eventually revoked in March 2018, despite the Pentagon “refusing to turn over a single page of its purported evidence of Lovinger’s wrongdoing,” Bigley stated. Conservative watchdog group, Judicial Watch, recently filed a federal lawsuit against the Defense Department to obtain the withheld records.

Lovinger also raised concerns about Halper’s role in conducting what appeared to be diplomatic meetings with foreigners on behalf of the U.S. government because his role as contractor forbids him from doing so, according to U.S. federal law.

An investigation by SaraACarter.com reveals that the documents and information Lovinger stumbled on and other documents obtained by this news site, raise troubling questions about Halper, who was believed to have worked with the CIA and part of the matrix of players in the bureau’s ‘CrossFire Hurricane’ investigation into Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign. Halper, who assisted the FBI in the Russia investigation, appears to also have significant ties to the Russian government, as well as sources connected directly to President Vladimir Putin.

Halper did not respond to requests for comment.

“When Mr. Lovinger raised concerns about DoD’s misuse of Stefan Halper in 2016, he did so without any political designs or knowledge of Mr. Halper’s spying activities,” Bigley told SaraACarter.com.

“Instead, Mr. Lovinger simply did what all Americans should expect of our civil servants: he reported violations of law and a gross waste of public funds to his superiors.”

And for that, Bigley said, Lovinger has paid the ultimate price in his 12-year career as a strategist in the Pentagon’s Office of Net Assessment. According to Bigley, shortly after Lovinger began reporting and asking questions about suspicious contracts given to Halper and others, including one person closely associated Chelsea Clinton, his security clearance was suspended. Later, on April 3, 2018, the DoD’s Washington Headquarters Services Director Barbara Westgate sent a letter to Lovinger indefinitely suspending him from duty and pay status after his clearance was removed in March. The letter stated, “The purpose of this memorandum is to notify you that I am proposing to indefinitely suspend you from duty and pay status in your position as a Foreign Affairs Specialist.”

Lovinger, who is married with three children and is the family’s primary breadwinner, has been living off the generosity of family members since his pay was removed.

The retaliation for whistleblowing was something Bigley expected. “So, we weren’t surprised when DoD bureaucrats moved shortly thereafter to strip Mr. Lovinger of both his security clearance and his detail to the National Security Council, where he had been Senior Director for Strategy as a by-name request of the incoming Trump Administration,” said the attorney.

“Yet, we were puzzled by the unprecedented ferocity of efforts to discredit Mr. Lovinger, including leaks from DoD of false and defamatory information to the press,” he said. “Our assumption was that the other contractor about whom Mr. Lovinger explicitly raised concerns – a close confidante of Hillary Clinton – was the reason for the sustained assault on Mr. Lovinger, and that certainly may have played a role.”

Bigley suspects it was more than the Clinton-connected contracts adding, “Mr. Lovinger unwittingly shined a spotlight on the deep state’s secret weapon – Stefan Halper – and threatened to expose the truth about the Trump-Russia collusion narrative than being plotted: that it was all a set-up.”

Halper’s Ties to Russian Officials Raise Serious Questions

Halper has had a long career and worked in government with several GOP administrations. At 73, the elusive professor spent a career developing top-level government connections–not just through academia but also through his work with members of the intelligence apparatus.

Those contacts and the information Halper collected along the way would eventually, through apparent circumstance, become utilized by the FBI against the Trump campaign. But, it was during his time hosting the Cambridge Intelligence Seminar at the University of Cambridge where Halper shifted from a professor and former government consultant to FBI informant on the Trump campaign.

In 2016, Halper was an integral part of the FBI’s investigation into short-term Trump campaign volunteer, Carter Page. Halper first made contact with Page at his seminar in July 2016. Page, who was already on the FBI’s radar, was accused of being sympathetic to Russia and sought better relations between the U.S. and Russian officials. Halper stayed in contact with Page until September 2017.

During that time, the FBI sought and obtained a warrant from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) to spy on Page and used Halper to collect information on him, according to sources. The House Intelligence Committee Russia report and documents obtained by this outlet revealed that the bulk of the warrant against Page relied heavily on an unverified dossier compiled by Former British Spy Christopher Steele and the matter is still under congressional investigation. Steele, who was a former MI6 agent, also had ties to many of the same people, like former MI6 chief Sir Richard Dearlove, who were part of the seminar.

Stefan Halper

Halper, along with Dearlove, left the Cambridge Intelligence Seminar in December 2016, saying they were concerned about Russian influence. Halper had told reporters at the time that it was due to “unacceptable Russian influence.”

Ironically, documents obtained by SaraACarter.com suggest that Halper also had invited senior Russian intelligence officials to co-teach his course on several occasions and, according to news reports, also accepted money to finance the course from a top Russian oligarch with ties to Putin.

Several course syllabi from 2012 and 2015 obtained by this outlet reveal Hapler had invited and co-taught his course on intelligence with the former Director of Russian Intelligence Gen. Vladimir I. Trubnikov.

On May 4, 2012, the course syllabus states, “Ambassador Vladimir I. Trubnikov will comment on the challenges faced while directing the Foreign Intelligence Service, his tenure as Ambassador to India, President Putin and the likely course of Russia’s relations with Britain and the U.S.”

In May 2015, Trubnikov returned to teach with Halper at his seminar in Cambridge on “current relations between the Russian Federation and the West.” Other notable intelligence experts attended the event in 2015, including Major Gen.Peter Williams, a former British commander of the mission to the Soviet Forces in Germany.

Halper’s partner in the seminar, Cambridge Professor Neil Kent has also espoused better relations with Russia and Putin in his writings and told Russia Today in a 2014 interview that “everyone is attacking and demonizing Russia.” According to Kent’s biography, he was a professor from 2002 to 2012 at Russia’s St. Petersburg State Academic Institute.

Even more interesting are reports from the British Media outlet, The Financial Times, that state Halper received funds for the Cambridge seminar from Russian billionaire Andrey Cheglakov, who has close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin. Cheglakov also funded Veruscript in 2016, which raised the suspicion of Dearlove and those connected to the seminar. Veruscript, a publisher for a Russian academic journal, was suspected by MI6 of being a front for Russian intelligence. Kent also happened to be the editor and chief of the journal. He published the inaugural article in the journal “The Journal of Intelligence and Terrorism”  blaming the West for the Russian invasion into Crimea but the journal closed down due to their suspicions.

Dearlove was also concerned “that Russia may be seeking to use the seminar as an impeccably credentialed platform to covertly steer debate and opinion on high-level sensitive defense and security topics,” according to the Financial Times sources.

A former senior intelligence official told this news outlet, “It’s all smoke and mirrors. Halper was well aware when he was bringing in Trubnikov in 2012 that the Russian’s were already there at his invitation. The FBI uses Halper to get more information on Trump aides but it’s Halper who has the real connection to Russia.”

Lovinger raised concerns with top officials at the Pentagon in 2016 and noted that Halper went far beyond his work as a contractor after he discovered that the amount of money the professor was being paid for his research did not make sense. Lovinger stressed his concern that Halper was not just being utilized as a contractor, but that he was also conducting diplomatic work for the Pentagon “in violation of federal law,” according to Bigley.

In one email from Stephan Halper to Andrew May, the second highest ranking official in Lovinger’s office, Halper writes about a planned trip to conduct meetings in India.

“I am in Cambridge en route to India – arriving Saturday. So far 14 meetings have been scheduled with various parts of the political-military community. On Monday, a meeting is planned with the Delhi Policy Group where I will meet with Brigadier Seghal who is, apparently working with ONA (Office of Net Assessment) Can you tell me anything about him,” according to the document obtained by SaraACarter.com.

Halper and George Papadopoulos

Halper was not only spying on Page for the FBI in 2016, but he had also made contact in September 2016 with another Trump campaign volunteer, George Papadopoulos. He invited Papadopoulos to London that September, luring him with a  $3,000 paycheck to work on a research paper under contract.  By this time the young Trump campaign volunteer had already been in contact London-based professor, Josef Mifsud, who had basically informed him that the Russians had damaging material about Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. Misfud’s role has also come into question by Congress.

Eventually, Papadopoulos was swept into Robert Mueller’s Special Counsel investigation and pled guilty to one count of lying to the FBI. His wife, Simona Papadopoulos, who’s been a vocal advocate for her husband, told SaraACarter.com that essentially he was forced to plead guilty because of threats from Mueller’s team and lack of financial resources.

After testifying behind closed doors last month to the House Intelligence Committee, Simona told this outlet that she testified to Congress “as far as George is concerned, he met with individuals following the same pattern of behavior….and all of a sudden (Halper) was asking if he was doing anything with Russians…. This is the case with Halper, who is now proven to be a spy, possibly with (Australian Ambassador) Alexander Downer” who her husband met with in London.

Halper and Michael Flynn 

Before Page and Papadopolous, there was the former head of the Defense Intelligence Agency Army Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn. Flynn had been invited to Cambridge in February, 2014 for a a dinner hosted by both Dearlove and Halper.

But during that time, Flynn was already walking a fine line with the Obama Administration and battling President Obama and the CIA over his deep disagreement with the administration’s narrative that al-Qaeda and extremists groups, had been defeated or were on the run. Several months later Flynn was forced to resign early and ended his tenure as the director of the DIA.

Stefan Halper

“Flynn was pushed out by Obama and then became a thorn in the side of Obama and the Clintons when he joined the Trump campaign,” said a former senior intelligence source with knowledge of what happened. “The investigation into Trump didn’t start with Carter Page or George Papadapolous, but with Flynn. Flynn was already on the CIA and Clinton target list. Those same people sure as hell didn’t want him in the White House and they sure as hell didn’t want Trump to win.”

Flynn’s career with Trump ended as quickly as it came. He was forced to resign as Trump’s National Security Advisor 27 days after taking the job. The highly classified conversation between Flynn and former Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak was leaked to the Washington Post in January 2017 and he was later questioned by the FBI on that conversation. According to former FBI Director James Comey, the agents who interviewed Flynn did not believe he was lying, but in the end, Flynn pled guilty to one count of lying to Special Counsel Robert Mueller. He had already spent more than $1 million in lawyers fees and sold his home to help with the debt. According to sources, Flynn’s family was being threatened by the Mueller team.

Halper’s involvement in the bureau’s investigation started much earlier than the FBI’s opening of its Crossfire investigation into the Trump campaign on July 31, 2016. He was already providing information on Page, Papadopolous, and Flynn earlier that year.

And it was in 2016 when Halper had told the FBI that he witnessed concerning interactions between Russian academic, Svetlana Lokhova, and Flynn at the February 2014 seminar dinner. This suspicion – without any proof – was then leaked to papers in London and eventually discussed in the U.S. media.  Lokhova told the BBC in May 2017 that when she first saw the allegations raised in the media she thought it was a joke.

Numerous sources with knowledge of the allegations Halper made about Flynn, said that they were “absolutely” false and that Flynn and Lokhova only spoke for a short time at the dinner. Several email exchanges between Lokhova, Flynn and his assistant that took place after the dinner were generic in nature, as Flynn had asked her for a copy of a historical 1930s postcard she had brought to the seminar.

“But it didn’t matter that it wasn’t the truth,” said the former senior intelligence official.

“It was already out there because of Halper’s allegations and the constant leaking and lying of false stories of those to the media.”



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Mapping The Countries Shutting Down The Internet The Most

ORIGINAL LINK

With President Trump raising the threat rhetoric over conservative bias among the giant US megatech firms, it is worth remembering that when it comes to curbing dissent and freedom of expression, some governments take the drastic step of shutting down the internet.

Across the world, as Statista's Niall McCarthy notes, internet shutdowns and deliberate slowdowns are becoming more common and they generally occur when someone (usually a government) intentionally disrupts the internet or mobile apps to control what people do or say.

According to Access Now data reported by Vice News, India has the most shutdowns of any country by a huge distance - 154 between January 2016 and May 2018. By comparison, second-placed Pakistan only had 19 shutdowns during the same period.

Infographic: The Countries Shutting Down The Internet The Most | Statista

You will find more infographics at Statista

In many countries, flicking the off switch on the internet is a preemptive or reactive measure in response to mass or potential unrest.

Egypt's 2011 revolution and the failed Turkish military coup of 2016 are prime examples.

This is also true in India to a certain extent where internet access is cut off due to political turmoil, protests and military operations.

Shutdowns are even known to occur in certain regions to prevent cheating during examinations. Recent cases include a 45-day internet shutdown in Darjeeling in West Bengal due to political demonstrations and protests from activists seeking a separate state while Nawada in Bihar experienced a 40-day shutdown due to communal clashes.

Given how important the internet has become, limiting access to it can have financial consequences. In India, the huge number of shutdowns and their length, are getting very expensive. A report by The Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations (ICRIER), found that 16,315 hours of intentional internet downtime between 2012 and 2017 has cost the Indian economy $3.04 billion.



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What You Really Pay For In College: Credentials, Not Education

ORIGINAL LINK

Authored by Doug French via The Mises Institute,

In Episode 4, Season 3 of “Last Chance U,” Coach Jason Brown told his players, “Ignorance is life threatening, man.” The Independence Juco coach said, “Eighty-nine percent of NFL and NBA players are bankrupt three years after retirement.”

“I know you guys can’t comprehend half that shit,” the coach yells, referring to what is being taught in class. It doesn’t matter. He tells his players to go to class, sit in the front row, stay off their phones and, “you’ll get a C.”

He then admits on camera for Netflix and his players, “I didn’t learn one thing in high school or college.” After giving his players a few examples of things he doesn’t know, he said, “But, I’m a cold hustler.”

His message: “It’s a game.” Play football to get an education and a degree. Will you learn anything? Probably not. Crazy as it sounds, Dr. Bryan Caplan is on the same page as Coach Brown. What makes college worth it — signaling.

Caplan explains, “Graduation tells employers, ‘I take social norms seriously - and have the brains and work ethic to comply’. Quitting tells employers, ‘I scorn social norms - or lack the brains and work ethic to comply.’”

In his outstanding book The Case Against Education: Why the Education System Is a Waste of Time and MoneyProfessor Caplan rejects the idea that all education teaches useful job skills and those job skills pay off in the labor market. Instead, we learn our job skills on the job. A degree signals that students have the discipline to suffer through the boredom to conform to what society expects and what employers want.

You don’t use history or math on the job, unless you are a math or history teacher. “First and foremost: from kindergarten on, students spend thousands of hours studying subjects irrelevant to the modern labor market,” writes Caplan.

Caplan teaches economics at George Mason. He says he has a dream job. “I go to class and talk to students about my exotic interests: everything from the market for marriage, to the economics of the Mafia, to the self-interested voter hypothesis.”

He can train Ph.D. students to be economics instructors, but the rest? “I can’t teach what I don’t know.” Most of Caplan’s students will go on to have careers far away from economics.

Getting an A in European Literature doesn’t matter to an employer. What matters is degree holders’ “grasp of and submission to social expectations.” That degree from Wherever University shows you’re a team player, you’re deferential to superiors, you dress the part, you act the part, you’re not a racist or sexist, and your employer won’t “have to tell a modern model worker what’s socially acceptable case by case.”

Caplan gives it to the reader straight:

“Hiring decisions, like all business decisions, are about prudence, not proof. People at the top of their class usually have the trifecta: intelligent, conscientious, and conformist.”

M.I.T. has been giving away classes online for years. The degree you have to pay for. Caplan makes a compelling case that the reported demise of traditional brick-and-mortar universities is unlikely. Sure, online courses are cheaper. However, for a student to prove his or her conformist chops, attending in person gives a stronger signal than completing online classes in your mom’s basement. Caplan makes the point that “life isn’t a game of solitaire. Schools build discipline by making students show up on time, sit still, keep their mouths shut, follow orders, and stay awake.”

Think about what the average employee does? School prepares the student for “doing boring work in a hierarchical organization.”

Students don’t want skills, they want credentials. “Employers could have substituted standardized tests for traditional diplomas a century ago. They didn’t,” Caplan writes.

Caplan spends much of the book debunking the human capital theory of education. Students never complain when an instructor cancels class, but if instructors were truly building student’s human capital, students would demand a refund for every cancelled class and the knowledge capital they should have received during that class period.

“Do we really transform waiters into economic consultants — or merely evaluate whether waiters have the right stuff to be economic consultants?” Caplan wonders.

So, are high school and college grads literate?

Over half of high school graduates and nearly 20 percent of college grads are not at an intermediate level of literacy and numeracy. No wonder “high culture requires extra mental effort to appreciate — and most humans resent mental effort.” Americans spend only about $100 a year on reading materials, and “despite years of study, most adults are historically illiterate.”

There is a lack of skilled labor in America and Kaplan’s Chapter 8 is entitled “We Need More Vocational Education.” There are hundreds of thousands of jobs available for plumbers, carpenters and auto mechanics, while only a few writers and historians are needed. A generation of skilled tradesmen are unemployed or malemployed with business degrees. Parents need to realize that if their child is an average or poor student, they will likely not graduate from college and should pursue vocational school.

As for politics Kaplan explains, “in politics, critical thinking is an act of charity.” Falsehoods become popular because humans gravitate toward ideas that sound good. It’s called Social Desirability Bias because it's easier to tell people what they want to hear. Politicians appeal to voters’ wishful thinking.

This election season, every politician says more money is needed for education. Kaplan’s point is less should be spent, especially on poor students. The United States is over-educated, providing a low social return. Politicians are too dumb to realize it.



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PCR: According To The New York Times, Putin Rules America

ORIGINAL LINK

Authored by Paul Craig Roberts,

When I first read this, I thought it was a caricature of fake news. Then I realized it was a New York Times article, and being fairly certain that the arrogant presstitute organization was not taking the piss out of itself, as it is one of the main purveyors of fake news, I found the conclusion unavoidable that Julian E. Barnes and Matthew Rosenberg were so tightly bound inside The Matrix that they might actually believe the nonsense that they wrote.

Here is an overview of the fantasy that the two presstitutes have penned in the New York Times:

US intelligence (sic) had “informants close to President Vladimir V. Putin and in the Kremlin” who provided “urgent and explicit warnings about Russia’s intentions to try to tip the [2016] American presidential election.”

The NYT presstitutes do not say why nothing was done by US intelligence which had inside information from the Kremlin itself that Putin was about to steal for Trump the US election. Certainly CIA Director Brennan and FBI Director Comey, both of whom are Hillary’s allies, would not have approved of Putin stealing the election for Trump.

But there is no criticism from the NY Times’ presstitutes for this massive intelligence failure to act to prevent Putin from stealing the election from Hillary. Brennan and Comey sat on their hands and permitted Putin to steal the election for Trump. So, who is really guilty of “Russiagate?”

Obviously, this NY Times article is a hoax written by imbeciles. The claim that the Putin/Trump conspiracy was leaked to US intelligence from inside the Kremlin is an invention to help to provide a background history in an effort to boost the credibility of the Russiagate orchestation that is directed against President Trump. The presstitutes in their effort to boost Russiagate’s credibility inadvertently portrayed US intelligence as negligent in its duty.

Barnes and Rosenberg say that Putin is continuing with his dirty tricks, but the Russian traitors inside the Kremlin within Putin’s close circles “have gone silent,” depriving us of information about how the Russians are going to steal the midterm elections. The presstitutes suggest that Washington’s informers inside Putin’s government have “gone to ground” to avoid being murdered “like the poisoning in March in Britain of a former Russian intelligence officer that utilized a rare Russian-made nerve agent.”

It is difficult to know what to make of presstitutes like Barnes and Rosenberg and the NYTimes who refuse to acknowledge the fact that there has been zero evidence produced that supports the alleged attack on the Skirpals, both of whom suvived a “deadly nerve agent.” There is no evidence whatsoever that the alleged deadly nerve agent was made in Russia, and there is no explanation why the deadly nerve agent was not deadly. The only possible conclusion from the total absence of any evidence is that no such attack occurred. It is just another propaganda hoax against Russia.

More proof that there was no such attack is provided by the refusal of the British government to share its investigation, if there actually was an investigation, with anyone, not even with the accused Russians. Accusations without a shred of evidence are not a good basis for a trusting relationship with a nuclear power.

Barnes and Rosenberg suggest that the House Intelligence Committee, encouraged by President Trump, chilled intelligence collection by “outing an FBI informant,” leaving Washington in the dark about Putin’s precise intentions.

No, this is not a conspiracy story from the National Inquirer, now a more reliable newspaper than the New York Times. This utter nonsense is published in the New York Times, “the newspaper of record.” What a false record historians are going to have.

What are the NYTimes’ sources for this fantasy? The presstitute organization cannot tell us.

“American intelligence agencies have not been able to say precisely what are Mr. Putin’s intentions: He could be trying to tilt the midterm elections, simply sow chaos or generally undermine trust in the democratic process.”

But the NYTimes knows that Putin is up to something, because “senior intelligence officials, including Dan Coats, the director of national intelligence, have warned that Russians are intent on subverting American democratic institutions.”

So here we have Trump’s own appointment, Dan Coats, undermining Trump’s effort to normalize relations with Russia. Who among Trump’s advisors advised him to appoint a Russiaphobic moron like Dan Coats? If Trump had any sense, he would fire both of them.

Washington routinely subverts democratic institutions in other countries, such as Honduras, Nicaragua, Venezuela, Iran, Ukraine, Indonesia. Read Stephen Kinser’s The Brothers for a number of examples.

Washington finances opposition candidates who are bought and paid for by Washington and uses various non-governmental organizations (NGOs) financed by the National Endowment for Democracy, George Soros, the International Republican Institute, and many other front groups for subversion of countries “uncooperative with Washington” in order to install a Washington puppet. Washington even has NGOs operating in Russia where they are even permitted by the Russian government to own newspapers. All anti-Putin protests are organized by Washington using the NGOs that Washington funds.

Russia, however, has no NGOs operating in the US, and, unlike Israel, does not own the US Congress and White House. So how exactly, Director of National Intelligence (sic) Dan Coats, are the Russians going to subvert “American democratic institutions?”

Don’t expect an answer.

Try to understand the insults to Trump voters of the charge that they are puppets at the end of Putin’s string: Trump voters are portrayed as morons who are not capable of thinking for themselves. If they were, they would have voted for Hillary so that America could demonstrate its escape from misogyny and male domination by electing its First Woman President on the heels of the First Half-Black President. Instead the minds of American voters were warped by Putin. The $100,000 dollars spent by a Russian Internet company trying to attract advertisers prevailed over the multi-billion dollars spent by the Democrats and Republicans and by American economic interests focused on capturing the government for their agendas. The Russian plot is so powerful that a dollar spent by Russia is thousands of times more powerful than a dollar spent by Wall Street, the military/security compex, George Soros, Sheldon Adelson, etc., and so on.

In the official story, no American voted for Trump because his/her job was sent to Asia or Mexico by global US corporations pursuing high monetary rewards for executives and shareholders at the expense of the American work force. The “Trump Deplorables” voted for Trump because they were brainwashed by a few Russian Internet ads directed at maximizing clicks in order to attract advertisers.

No one voted for Trump because their son and daughter, on whose education the family used up its savings, acquired student loan debts and possibly a second mortgage, can only find a job as a waitress and bartender because the jobs for which they prepared at great expense are handed over to lowly paid foreigners in order that shareholders can receive large capital gains and a handful of corporate executives can receive multimillion dollar bonuses for raising profits by closing down America’s vaunted “opportunity society. Today Americans have debts and no opportunities.

Assuming you have some sense and some ability to think independently of the lies that are fed to you daily, can you possibly believe that Americans voted for Trump because Putin tricked them with Internet ads that are unlikely to have been seen by as many as one percent of voters?

Can you possibly believe that the loss of Trump voters’ jobs, their prospects, their children’s prospects, their home, their declining living standards, the insults heaped upon Americans by Hillary’s Democratic Party - “Trump deplorables,” “white male oppressors,” “Russia’s Fifth Column,” “misogynists,” “racists,” “homophobic,” “gun nuts” - had no impact on why Americans voted for Trump? How could any sentient American believe that Putin is the source of their problems?

The NY Times pressitutes report without any evidence alleged efforts of Russia to create chaos in America. I could not stop laughing. There is no Russian National Endowment for Democracy operating in the US. There is no Russian funded George Soros operating in America. There are no Russian funded Non-Governmental Organizations operating in America. Yet Russis is full of Washington-funded organizations doing everything in their power to sow chaos in Russia.

Why isn’t this most obvious of all truths reported in the NY Times?

The answer is that no truth whatsoever, not even a tiny morsel, fits the fabricated explanations in which the insouciant Western peoples live. Everywhere in the Western World people are shielded from reality by controlled explanations handed down to them by the New York Times, Washington Post, CNN, MSNBC, NPR, BBC, et. al, and the UK, EU, Canadian, and Australian newspapers, every one of which is a propagandist for American hegemony.

A few years ago a famous philosopher concluded that the world lives in a constructed virtual reality. At the time I thought he was crazy, but I have learned that he is correct. The entire world—even the Russians and the Chinese and the Iranians—live in a world shaped by American propaganda. The truth is that a country, the USA, which endorses freedom of determination, is in fact determined to control the world and smother all self-determination. Every country, whether Russia, China, Syria, Iran, India, Turkey, North Korea, Venezuela, that resists Washington’s hegemony is declared by Washington to be “a threat to the international order.”

The “international order” is Washington’s order. The “International Order” is Washinton’s hegemony over the word. Russia, China, Iran, Syria, North Korea, Venezuela, and now Turkey and India are threats to “international order” because they do not accept Washington’s hegemony.

Barnes and Rosenberg report that Coats is concerned about Russia’s effort to “weaken and divide the United States.” There is no sign of Russia doing any such thing, and there is no explanation of how Putin conducts “a broad chaos campaign to undermine faith in American democracy.” If the Director of National Intelligence is concerned about the forces of division in America, he should turn his attention to the divisive consequences of the Democratic Party’s Identity Politics, to ANTIFA, to the divisive consequences of the fabricated attack on President Trump by the military/security complex and presstitute media. Indeed, the constant drumbeat of lies from the New York Times alone has caused far move divisiveness than anything Russia is alleged to have done.

Divisiveness is what happens when the military/security complex and its media pimps turn on a President for threatening their budget by proposing peace with the enemy that they have constructed in order to justify their power and profit. It is this divisiveness that the United States is experiencing.



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Stockman Slams The Greatest Fake Bull Ever

ORIGINAL LINK

Submitted by David Stockman via Contra Corner blog,

Now that the raging robo-traders have tagged a double top at 2897 on the S&P 500 it is worth remembering that the booming stock market is the greatest Fake Bull in history. It is entirely a function of massive central bank liquidity injections into the financial system that have transformed Wall Street and other global trading venues into virtual gambling casinos.

Indeed, in today's fraught environment it can be well and truly said that the chartmonkeys have become deaf, dumb and blind to everything happening on Planet Earth external to the gaming tables where they slosh around in their cups. After all, to use the latest evidence, what could be more indicative of a political system fixing to implode than this weekend's utterly phony and disgustingly undeserved deification of the late Senator John McCain?

Folks, peek under the surface of the media hagiography. This isn't about the man's alleged heroism, virtues and service to America----because there were none of the above, as we will elbaorate tomorrow.

John S. McCain III came from the loin of Leviathan (two generations of Warfare State admirals) and spent every single day of his adult life as an Imperial City payroller, peddling more war, war always and war everywhere. His stock-in-trade was regime change, boots-on-the-ground, spy-state supression of domestic liberty and hegemonic demonization of any nation (Russia, Iran, Syria, Iraq, etc) that did not bend to Washington's dictates.

He was also the ultimate enabler of the Bailout State and rogue central bank money printing spree that incepted in September 2008 when McCain suspended his presidential campaign to return to Washington to address the so-called financial crisis.

But rather than standing tall for free markets and fiscal rectitude per the legacy of his illustrious precedessor, Barry Goldwater, he abjectly capitulated to expediency and embraced lock, stock and barrel the odious TARP legislation and the Fed's servile
bailout of  AIG, Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs and the lesser Wall Street gambling houses.

So let's call a spade a spade. When Dem Congressman John Lewis, who was Martin Luther King's once-upon-a-time top lieutenant in the struggle against Jim Crow and the Vietnam War in the 1960's, tweets that McCain was a "warrior for peace" the wish to barf is understandable but not the right response.

What it really tells you is that the hideously overwrought praise for McCain is just Washington code-speak; it's a respectable way to vent the rabid hatred of Trump that suffuses the length and breadth of the mainstream media and the inner circumference of the Washington beltway---save for a few GOP cowboys sent to Congress on the Donald's red state coat-tails.

Given that truth, why in the world would you embrace a financial bubble that is utterly dependent upon politics and the dispensations of the fiscal and central banking branches of the state?

After all, there is no economic basis whatsoever for the Dow at 26,000, NASDAQ at 8,000 and the S&P 500 grasping for 2900. Those are just round numbers on the casino charts, being held aloft only by the fatuous presumption that Washington will never let the bubble burst.

That is to say, unlike April 2000 or September 2008 we are putatively at the end of cycles and therefore financial history because, why?

Apparently, because Donald Trump, Mitch McConnell, Nancy Pelosi, Chuckles Schumer and Jay Powell have your back!

And that is not hyperbole. Not when every vestige of sound money, honest price discovery and financial discipline has been eviscerated. What's left is nothing more than the will of Washington politicians to deliver free lunch windfalls to Wall Street speculators and the 1% and 10% who own 45% and 85% of the stock market, respectively.

We'll take the unders on that proposition, however, because here's the news flash that Wall Street is insouciantly ignoring. To wit, Washington is on the brink of an extraconstitutional coup aimed to forcibly remove from the Oval Office a vicious street figher and unstable megalomaniac, who is viewed by virtually one and all among the Washington political class as an illegitimate and detestable interloper.

And believe us, now that the rogue gendarme of Mueller and the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York have the Donald's inner trio of scumbags by the shorthairs---Michael Cohen, David Pecker and Allen Weisselberg---there is no stopping their final push for the kill.

But Donald J. Trump will not go down without bringing the house down.

And by that we mean he will prosecute his Trade War on the world until the global economy buckles. He will also add fuel to the fire with his Sanctions War against any malefactors (such as Russia, Iran and any nation which trades with them) who give lip to Imperial Washington.

And most destructively of all, he will cluelessly push his Deficit Finance War against America's born and unborn taxpayers until the bond pits fracture from the inflow of $2 trillion per year of government debt that either the Fed is dumping or Uncle Sam is issuing.

Moreover, the Wall Street's canard that all of this Trumpian strum-und-drang is just the art-of-the-deal at work could not be more pitifully mistaken. The Donald understands virtually nothing about the $17 trillion global trading system or the nation's baked-inthe-cake $20 trillion of new debt over the next decade on top of the $21 trillion we already have.

So he will push things to the breaking points, and become ever more desperate, reckless and impulsive as the Deep State, the Dems and most of the GOP's vast legion of Congressional time-servers close in on his remaining toehold on power.

Just consider today's PR stunt of a "deal" with Mexico on the NAFTA trade arrangement, which no longer bears the name.

As we told Neil Cavuto on Fox Business, the auto workers of Mexico will be thanking the Donald for the big raise to $16 per hour; and the Trade Nanny in Washington, and her flock of lawyers and consultants, will be more than happy to get down on their hands and knees with a magnifying glass to enforce the "deal".

That is, to examine every make and model of auto coming from Mexico to insure that among its 5000 pounds of metal, glass, rubber, plastics, fibers, copper and silicon and 30,000 part numbers that exactly 45% was made with labor at $16 per hour or more, and 75% of the content by dollar amount originated in the USA or Mexico.

Yes, that's a boon for the beltway trade policy apparatchiks and racketeers and for Mexican labor, but has absolutely nothing to due with MAGA. American labor embodied in auto parts and assembly ranges from $25/hour to $60/hour on a fullyloaded basis (including benefits and payroll taxes). On the margin, it still can't remotely compete with Mexico---even under the Donald's new country-of-origin and labor cost strictures.

That's because, as we must keep reminding, the Fed has inflated domestic costs, prices and wages to a fare-the-well during the past 30 years when an honest monetary system would have caused their persistent deflation.

Indeed, the Mexican negotiators were literally begging---"don't throw us in that briar patch, Brer Donald"!

And all to solve a NAFTA problem that had nothing to do with the terms of the 1993 agreement, and everything to do with a central bank financial repression that the Donald wants to make dramatically worse.

Yet when the politicians fall on each other with malice aforethought during the next two years, what kind of Economy lingers beneath the greatest ever bubble on Wall Street?

The truth is, it is a beleaguered one---only thinly obfuscated by a veneer of Wall Street spin and Trumpian braggadocio.

At today's S&P 500 close of 2897, the index is up 85% from the pre-crisis peak of 1562 in October 2007. Even when you strain the inflation out of the index (and ignore the benefit of @2% annual dividend payouts, too) the gain since the last peak nearly 11 years ago is 55%.

Now then, what do we see on main street relative to the 55% inflation-adjusted gain in the S&P index?

As we told Cavuto, what you see above all else is a 1.2% gain in the real median household income. Over 11 years!

That's right, notwithstanding the alleged near-death experience of Wall Street between September 2008 and March 2009, the real value of the stock market has risen approximately 45X more than real median incomes since the pre-crisis peak.

In fact, as dramatically conveyed in the blue line in the chart below, real median household income has gone exactly nowhere since the turn of the century.

And there is a lot more of the same. For instance, if there are two fundamental ingredients of the main street economy, they are industrial production and labor hours deployed.

The latter number strains out the flakey measurements of the U-3 unemployment rate, which ignores the 96 million adults the BLS in its wisdom deems to be not in the labor force; and the former captures the heart of GDP without all the Commerce Department's dubious imputations ($1.7 trillion of "imputed" homeowners rent on their own homes) and the bloated "output" of the health, education and social service sectors, which essentially are parasites on taxpayers and Uncle Sam's credit card, anyway.

That is, these are core physical measures and are thus comparable to inflation-adjusted stock prices and household incomes. Yet industrial production(orange line) is up just 3.3% during the entire last 11 years, and total labor hours deployed from A to Z in the US business economy have expanded by merely 5.4%.

Indeed, consider that at the June 2007 pre-crisis economic peak about 237 billion US labor hours were consumed at an annualized rate. Yet in Q2 2018 that number had only crept up to only 254 billion.

So how do you get a 55% gain in the inflation-adjusted stock market index on just 5.4% more labor input?

You don't, unless there has been a spectacular explosion of productivity, which there has most surely not been.

What we are saying, of course, is that the Wall Street stock indices have vastly out-run the meager gains in the main street economy since the pre-crisis peak; and that at this late stage of the business cycle---merely 10 months from the prior record---there is absolutely no plausible risk/reward equation left.

That's because earnings will plummet in the next recession---by 40% or more if history is any guide. And that's likely to be conservative in view of the elephant in the casino that Wall Street stubbornly refuses to acknowledge.

To wit, back in June 2007, the S&P 500 earnings peaked at $85 per share, but that reflected fully $55 per share of after-tax interest expense. Fast forward to the LTM period ending in December 2017 when earnings per share posted at $110 per share, but reflected only $19 per share of after-tax interest expense.

In other words, more than 100% of the gain over the past 11 years was due to the drastic financial repression of the central banks and its impact on corporate interest expense.

Yet the central banks of the world---led belatedly by the Fed---have made an epochal pivot to QT (quantitative tightening) and interest rate normalization, even as the value of the interest expense deduction has been reduced to chump change owing to the new effective tax rate of about 15%.

So interest expense is marching back up the hill, and it's not remotely priced-in---not any more than the next recession or the generational fiscal catastrophe that looms in the 2020s as 80 million baby-boomers pile onto the social security/medicare wagon.

Still, consider the fact that in the June 2007 quarter, the inflation-adjusted aggregate net income of the S&P 500 companies was $240 billion, and during Q2 2018 it was $280 billion on an apples-to-apples basis (i.e., gross of the lower tax rate ).

That's a 15% gain in real profits over nearly 11 years---a figure that self-evidently does not remotely warrant a 55% gain in the S&P 500 index.

Stated differently, even with the new tax rate---which represents only a one-time stepchange in profits, not a permanent growth factor---aggregate net income (not per share) came in at $295 billion for the quarter ending in June. At the same time, those earnings reflected collective corporate balance sheets sporting some $7 trillion of stated debt and related liabilities.

That is to say, even a 150 basis point rise in the corporate interest expense from here will cost the S&P 500 about $105 billion pre-tax, and about $90 billion after-tax per quarter!

We don't think that takes a lot of figurin'. Today the S&P 500 sported a market cap of more than $24 trillion. If  interest-normalized net income annualizes to $800 billion, that means the market is trading at 30X earnings---before any recession impact!

As we said, there has never been a greater Fake Bull in recorded history.

And there is not a snowball's chance in the hot place that Washington's impending political bloodbath can keep Wall Street's fantastic bubble aloft much longer.



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