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US Household Debt Hits Record $13.3 Trillion

Total household debt hit a new record high, rising by $82 billion to $13.29 trillion in Q2 of 2018, 3.5% higher than a year earlier according to the NY Fed’s latest household debt report. It was the 16th consecutive quarter with an increase in household debt, and the total is now $618 billion higher than the previous peak of $12.68 trillion, from the third quarter of 2008.  Overall household debt is now 19.2% above the post-financial-crisis trough reached during the second quarter of 2013.

Mortgage balances—the largest component of household debt—rose by $60 billion during the second quarter, to $9.00 trillion. Credit card debt rose by $14 billion to $829 billion; auto loan debt increased by $9 billion in the quarter to $1.24 trillion and student loan debt hit a record high of $1.41 trillion, an increase of $2 billion in Q2.

Balances on home equity lines of credit (HELOC) continued their downward trend, declining by $4 billion, to $432 billion. The median credit score of newly originating mortgage borrowers was roughly unchanged, at 760.

Mortgage originations edged up to $437 billion in the second quarter, from $428 billion in the first quarter. Meanwhile, mortgage delinquencies continued to improve, with 1.1% of mortgage balances 90 or more days delinquent in the second quarter, versus 1.2% in the first quarter.

Most newly originated mortgages continued went to borrowers with the highest credit scores, with 58% of new mortgages borrowed by consumers with a 760 credit score or higher.

Outstanding student loan debt was mostly unchanged in the second quarter and stood at a record $1.41 trillion as of June 30. Auto loan balances also hit an all time high, as they continued their six-year upward trend, increasing by $9 billion in the quarter, to $1.24 trillion. Meanwhile, credit card balances rose by $14 billion, or 1.7%, after a seasonal decline in the first quarter, to $829 billion.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Internet Just Crowdfunded the Release of 4,358 CIA Mind Control Documents

(ANTIMEDIA) — A crowdfunding campaign has succeeded in raising the funds necessary to pay a Freedom of Information Act request fee for documents related to the CIA’s controversial MKUltra program.

John Greenewald of Black Vault, a website that publishes government documents, appealed to the internet for help after the agency refused to waive the $425 fee it was demanding to release the documents. Greenewald, who has been filing FOIA requests for two decades, had previously published files on MKUltra, a program best known for dosing individuals with drugs like LSD to research mind control. The program was shut down, and the documents were reportedly destroyed in 1973 at the order of then-director Richard Helms, but some were eventually released.

Greenewald filed his first request for the documents in the late ‘90s and says he didn’t hear back for years. In 2004, the CIA released some relevant documents to him via CD-Rom, which he published, but years later, he discovered thousands of pages were missing.

So, even though I paid for the CDs already, and they gave me an index originally stating that 100% of those records were on the CD-ROMs, they in fact, were not,” he said in his GoFundMe appeal. He filed a new request but the CIA is charging him $425 to print 4,358 pages of previously withheld material. He easily met his goal of $500 (to cover any additional costs and GoFundMe fees) with the help of just 16 donors.

MKUltra has been extensively verified — in one case, the CIA kept seven prisoners at a Kentucky penitentiary high on acid for 77 days — but many of the documents are not available to the public.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

These people lost one-third of their savings in a single week (not in crypto)

These people lost one-third of their savings in a single week (not in crypto)

It happens every year around this time when I hold the annual Liberty and Entrepreneurship Camp that I’ve been sponsoring for the past nine years.

The event is incredible: I bring in top entrepreneurs and business executives, plus students from all over the world– places like Ivory Coast, Brazil, Singapore, Russia and the United States.

It’s five days of mentorship that seemingly goes round-the-clock. It’s exhilarating… but exhausting.  And the Notes from the Field schedule always suffers as a result.

Did you know? You can receive all our actionable articles straight to your email inbox… Click here to signup for our Notes from the Field newsletter.

I’ll tell you more about the event later this week.  But in the meantime, I thought it was more pressing to talk about the unbelievable situation currently unfolding in Turkey… because it’s pretty extraordinary what’s happening right now.

As you may know, Turkey has imprisoned a US pastor named Andrew Brunson for alleged terrorism and espionage.

Obviously the US government wants him back. So Uncle Sam has slammed Turkey with economic sanctions.

Turkey’s economy was already wobbly before the sanctions. The country is suffering the effects of debilitating debt and persistent recession.

Now the economy is getting absolutely destroyed.

Turkey’s currency, the lira, is down some 45% this year. Just yesterday the lira was down a whopping 7%.

If you don’t speculate in currencies very much, a 7% move in a single day is basically unprecedented. It almost never happens. So this is a pretty big deal.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Worried About Election Interference? 5 Clear Times the US Meddled in Elections Abroad

This assumption, however, is fundamentally wrong. In the past 15 years alone, there are many cases of the U.S. interfering in the Democratic process of foreign nations. Below are some of the worst examples of this election interference.

Nazis and Hand-Picked Leaders in Ukraine, 2014

While the mainstream media blames Russia for the civil war in Ukraine, the truth is that the West started the conflict. The crisis began in 2013 when Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych rejected an EU offer of closer economic cooperation and instead chose to pursue closer economic ties with Russia

The U.S. then decided it was time for a new government in Kiev. In an entirely illegal process, pro-western politicians seized power from the democratically elected Yanukovych. It was later revealed in a leaked phone call that the U.S. handpicked leaders of this new illegal government. The U.S. even supported Ukrainian neo-nazis and other far-right fascist organizations that supported the Western coup. When Ukrainian rebels in the east took up arms against the new Western-backed government, the country plunged into a civil war that continues to this day.

maduro venezuela releases evidence assassination
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro
Image: Twitter – Prensa Presidencial

Election Interference in Venezuela, 2018

Washington’s main attacks against Venezuela have generally occurred through sanctions and economic warfare, but the U.S. has also meddled in Caracas’s elections.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

 

What If There Were No Official Narratives?

What If There Were No Official Narratives?

One of the weirdest things about the post-Iraq invasion world is how the mass media has actually gotten less accountable instead of more accountable for its reporting since that time.

Right now in the UK there’s an amazingly viral smear campaign against Jeremy Corbyn running across all mainstream outlets, which, from what I can tell, consists entirely of narrative spin and no actual evidence. The powerful elites who control British mass media have an obvious vested interest in keeping the UK government from moving to the left, so they advance the absolutely insane narrative that Corbyn is a secret Nazi. They just keep saying it and saying it like it’s true until people start believing it without feeling any pressure at all to substantiate their narrative with facts. It’s been jaw-dropping to watch.

More and more we are seeing narratives about cyber-threats being used to advance reports of “attacks” and “acts of war” being perpetrated which, as far as the public is concerned, consist of nothing other than the authoritative assertions of confident-sounding media pundits. There was a recent NBC exclusive which was co-authored by Ken Dilanian, who is an actual, literal CIA asset, about the threat of hackers working for the Iranian government. The alleged Russian interference in the 2016 US elections is now routinely compared to Pearl Harbor and 9/11, despite no hard, verifiable evidence that that interference even took place ever being presented to the public.



…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

America’s Lengthening Enemies List

America’s Lengthening Enemies List

America’s Lengthening Enemies List

Friday, deep into the 17th year of America’s longest war, Taliban forces overran Ghazni, a provincial capital that sits on the highway from Kabul to Kandahar.

The ferocity of the Taliban offensive brought U.S. advisers along with U.S. air power, including a B-1 bomber, into the battle.

“As the casualty toll in Ghazni appeared to soar on Sunday,” The Wall Street Journal reported, “hospitals were spilling over with dead bodies, corpses lay in Ghazni’s streets, and gunfire and shelling were preventing relatives from reaching cemeteries to bury their dead.”

In Yemen Monday, a funeral was held in the town square of Saada for 40 children massacred in an air strike on a school bus by Saudis or the UAE, using U.S.-provided planes and bombs.

“A crime by America and its allies against the children of Yemen,” said a Houthi rebel leader.

Yemen is among the worst humanitarian situations in the world, and in creating that human-rights tragedy, America has played an indispensable role.

The U.S. also has 2,000 troops in Syria. Our control, with our Kurd allies, of that quadrant of Syria east of the Euphrates is almost certain to bring us into eventual conflict with a regime and army insisting that we get out of their country.

As for our relations with Turkey, they have never been worse.

President Erdogan regards our Kurd allies in Syria as collaborators of his own Kurdish-terrorist PKK. He sees us as providing sanctuary for exile cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom Erdogan says was behind the attempted coup in 2016 in which he and his family were targeted for assassination.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

What Are You Prepared To Live Without?

What Are You Prepared To Live Without?

One of the things about prepping is that we tend to accumulate a lot of stuff. Granted, we all believe in food storage and having things on hand to survive a disaster or a power outage. However, I think sometimes the emphasis on accumulating things gets out of hand. We focus on stuff instead of skills. We don’t think about the idea that we could be living without a lot of things.

If you are preparing for a long-term event, you can only accumulate and use things until you run out of them or have a plan to replace them eventually. You can keep a lot of food on hand, but you need a way to replenish the food. Most people will garden or raise livestock. You can only keep so much potable water on hand before you have to come up with a way to replenish that water. The list goes on, but eventually, we will have to find ways to replenish what we have or live without them. Our priorities will shift in a hurry to important things like food, water, and shelter.

As Americans, we like to accumulate a lot of stuff that doesn’t really have a meaning to us. We think we need a lot of things that we really don’t need. We are subject to a culture that wants us to buy more and more without consequence. We are encouraged to buy new whenever possible and throw away the old. We are bombarded with processed food and gadgets to make life much easier.

The problem is that in terms of a cataclysmic event, we would probably not have those things available to us at all or would run out shortly. In a short-term disaster or power outage, we would probably not have those things to rely on.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Top U.S. Shale Producers Soaring Debt Service Guts Profits

Top U.S. Shale Producers Soaring Debt Service Guts Profits

The massive debt accumulated by the U.S. Shale Industry is now decimating company profits.  As company debts and interest rates rise, these shale producers interest expense also continues to increase.  Debt service is not only cutting into company profits, but it also takes a great deal of oil and gas production to cover this expense.

For example, 16 of the top U.S. shale energy companies racked up a hefty $5 billion interest payment.  The company with the highest annual interest expense is Anadarko Energy at a stunning $932 million in 2017:

Devon Energy came in a distant second at $514 million while Chesapeake took the third spot at $425 million.  The 16 shale energy companies shown on the right-hand side of the chart are listed from highest to lowest annual interest expense for 2017.  And, it is a simple rule-of-thumb that the higher the annual interest expense, the higher overall debt on the company’s balance sheet.

Anadarko has such a high annual interest expense ($932 million) because it holds over $15 billion in debt.  Devon Energy had the second highest interest expense in 2017 due to its $10+ billion in debt.  However, Devon has recently sold assets and paid down its debt and lowered its interest expense considerably.  Furthermore, Chesapeake is paying $425 million a year to service its $9+ billion in debt.

It is quite remarkable that these 16 shale energy companies forked out $5 billion to service their debt last year.  The debt service is an expense that impacts the company’s net income profits.

For example, Anadarko posted a loss of $456 million in 2017.  However, they paid $932 million in interest expense last year.  If Anadarko didn’t have an interest expense, their $456 million loss would have been a $479 million net income profit.  So, these 16 companies lost $5 billion in potential profits because they have to service their skyrocketing debts.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Why is it so Easy to Deceive People? The Strange Case of the Cooling Trend of the United States

Why is it so Easy to Deceive People? The Strange Case of the Cooling Trend of the United States

The figure above, showing a cooling trend in the United States, was posted by Steven Goddard (aka Tony Heller) on his blog with the remarkable title of “The Deplorable Climate Science Blog” (actually there is a slightly different one on the blog, right now, but it is simply a difference in the smoothing procedure).

The world is becoming more and more complicated. And the more complicated it is, the more difficult to understand it becomes. And there appear more and more opportunities to deceive people: we are all swamped by the news and have neither the competence nor the time to verify what the media serve to us.

So, this August, Mr. Tony Heller, writing under the pen name of Steven Goddard, published on his blog the graph you see above, showing a clear cooling trend in the United States. Make no mistake, these are real data, or so they are said to be. And they do show that summers have been cooling. But what about heat waves we are experiencing nowadays? Just an impression, apparently, because the data say otherwise. Then, what about global warming? An illusion, probably a fraud.

The graph is having a certain diffusion in the social media. An earlier version was even picked up by James Delingpole in his Breitbart news site. It quickly became a growing meme, scoffed or cheered depending on the attitude of the people commenting on it. As usual, the debate on climate on the social media is little more than a shouting match. It took some work by an expert, Tamino, on his “Open Mind” blog to dissect the story of this graph and show the tricks behind it. Tamino’s whole post is reproduced below.
…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

In Private Meeting, Facebook Exec Warns News Outlets to Cooperate or End Up Dying in ‘Hospice’

In Private Meeting, Facebook Exec Warns News Outlets to Cooperate or End Up Dying in ‘Hospice’

“Anyone who does care about news needs to understand Facebook as a fundamental threat.”

Facebook admitted Wednesday that “most” of its 2 million users likely had their personal information collected by “malicious actors.” (Photo: Legal Loop)

During a closed-door and off-the-record meeting last week, top Facebook executive Campbell Brown reportedly warned news publishers that refusal to cooperate with the tech behemoth’s efforts to “revitalize journalism” will leave media outlets dying “like in a hospice.”

“We desperately need to develop alternative delivery mechanisms to Facebook.”
—Judd Legum, ThinkProgress

Reported first by The Australian under a headline which read “Work With Facebook or Die: Zuckerberg,” the social media giant has insisted the comments were taken out of context, even as five individuals who attended the four-hour meeting corroborated what Brown had stated.

“Mark doesn’t care about publishers but is giving me a lot of leeway and concessions to make these changes,” Brown reportedly said, referring to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. “We will help you revitalize journalism… in a few years the reverse looks like I’ll be holding hands with your dying business like in a hospice.”

As The Guardian reported on Monday, Facebook is “vehemently” denying the veracity of the comments as reported by The Australian, referring to its own transcript of the meeting. However, Facebook is refusing to release its transcript and tape of the gathering.


Facebook is saying these comments didn’t happen but The Australian has an explosive story on the company’s position with publishers. Five people at the meeting confirmed these comments and the company has tape of the conversation that it will not release.


…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

When Clean Water Isn’t Available, Make it So – With a Sawyer

When Clean Water Isn’t Available, Make it So – With a Sawyer

As you well know, many surface water sources must be treated before drinking because they are repositories for bacteria, viruses, and a slew of parasites both microscopic and/or larger.

I have written several articles for Ready Nutrition about water purification methods, as well as methods for water storage. What we’re doing here is “cutting to the chase” to let you know about a product that will do more than just do in a pinch: it will suffice for a long, long time and work quickly and almost effortlessly.

The Sawyer Mini Water Filtration System is a compact, portable, three-part “system” that you can stick into a cargo pocket of your pants or shorts with ease. It can be put together and placed over a drinking vessel such as a water bottle, or you can hook up the straw that comes with it and drink directly through the filter itself. It can also be hooked up to a Camelbak water pouch. It comes with a pouch of its own that you can fill up with water and then squeeze through the filter into a bottle or other drinking vessel.

The Sawyer was invented a few years back through experimentation with kidney dialysis equipment, and they came up with a filter that uses a 0.1-micron filter that circulates the water to be filtered through fibrous micro-tubes, for a central collection of filtered water.  It works on protozoans such as giardia, bacteria such as E.coli, cholera, and salmonella, and also on more “difficult” organisms such as Cryptosporidium. Want the “kicker” for this thing?

It filters up to 100,000 gallons

If you drank 2 gallons a day, in 100 years, you would drink about 74,000 gallons. Pretty good, huh? The whole thing weighs less than 2 ounces. Now, JJ’s tips here are simple when you use this thing.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Water Harvesting Earthworkds “Design to Reality”. Part 1.

WATER HARVESTING EARTHWORKS “DESIGN TO REALITY”. PART 1

So, you have been contacted by a client and you’ve discussed the client’s brief. You’ve started to look at the contour map, aerial images, whatever data you can find on the site. And with the client brief in mind, always remembering WATER IS LIFE, you set to the task of patterning the landscape using functional forms.

You start to look at what’s the most economical way to hold water in the landscape, move water around the landscape passively and make it perform as many duties as possible before it leaves the site.

Next is to develop the mainframe design theme. A big part of this is looking for high water storage sites. So we take the approach of looking at the contour map to take into account where the highest possible spot is, where water can safely be stored on the site in dams, (always considering how much catchment area is above the potential dam site or if there are any hard-surface run-off areas above the dam site).

Reader’s will understand catchment area, but hard surface run-off areas aren’t so well utilised and it’s just a bit of pattern recognition to identify when you look at a new site.

Identifying hard surface run off areas

Hard surface run-off areas with a bit of design thinking, can brought into our water harvesting systems. At times it doesrequire good observation skills to identify them, but there are generally clues for the observer.

There are many examples of hard surface run-off areas, sometimes called ‘hard-ware’. Your roof, a road, any compacted surface or a rock outcrop are all examples of ‘hard-ware’.

Gravel roads run off 85% of the water that hits the surface. Concrete areas 100% minus whatever evaporates, and your roof 100%.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Talk Cold Turkey

Henri Matisse View of Nôtre Dame 1914

Recep Tayyip Erdogan became Prime Minister of Turkey in 2003. His AKP party had won a major election victory in 2002, but Erdogan was banned from political office until his predecessor Gül annulled the ban. Which he had gotten in 1997 for reciting an old poem to which he had added the lines “The mosques are our barracks, the domes our helmets, the minarets our bayonets and the faithful our soldiers….”

The Turkish courts of the time saw this as “an incitement to violence and religious or racial hatred..” and sentenced him to ten months in prison (of which he served four in 1999). The courts saw Erdogan as a threat to the secular Turkish state as defined by Kemal Ataturk, the founder of modern Turkey in the 1920’s. Erdogan is trying to both turn the nation towards Islam and at the same time not appearing to insult Ataturk.

The reality is that many Turks today lean towards a religion-based society, and no longer understand why Ataturk insisted on a secular(ist) state. Which he did after many years of wars and conflicts as a result of religious -and other- struggles. Seeing how Turkey lies in the middle between Christian Europe and the Muslim world, it is not difficult to fathom why the ‘father’ of the country saw secularism as the best if not only option. But that was 90 years ago.

And it doesn’t serve Erdogan’s purposes. If he can appeal to the ‘silent’ religious crowd and gather their support, he has the power. To wit. In 2003, one of his first acts as prime minister was to have Turkey enter George W.’s coalition of the willing to invade Saddam Hussein’s Iraq. As a reward for that, negotiations for Turkey to join the EU started. These are officially still happening, but unofficially they’re dead.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Peak oil in China and the Asia Pacific (part 2)

Peak oil in China and the Asia Pacific (part 2)

South China Sea: ‘Leave immediately and keep far off’

US-Poseidon-over-Zhubi-Reef_Aug2018

Fig 1: U.S. Navy P-8A Poseidon reconnaissance plane overflying disputed Spratly islands

11/8/2018
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dodbqgKn8js
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/world-asia-45152525/south-china-sea-leave-immediately-and-keep-far-off

Spratly-islands

Fig 2: Subi reef location in the South China Sea

Subi_12_07_17_STITCHED_wm

Fig 3: CSIS image of Subi reef low tide elevation (976 acres reclaimed). https://amti.csis.org/subi-reef/

Estimated_undiscovered_resources_South_China_Sea_USGS

Fig 4: USGS 2010 assessment of undiscovered oil resources
https://pubs.usgs.gov/fs/2010/3015/pdf/FS10-3015.pdf

According the USGS there is not much oil in the South China Sea. China is securing its oil supply routes as future oil imports are going to increase after production peaked 2010-2015.

China_oil_production_vs_consumption_1965-2017

On average, Chinese oil consumption grew exponentially (!) between 1982 and around 2010 at 6.5% pa. In some years, there were huge variations around this trend. For example in 2004 oil consumption increased by almost 1 million barrels/day, 500 kb/d above the long term trend. This spike was caused by additional fuel oil needed for back-up power generators as there were wide spread power shortages. In the following (Katrina) year 2005 consumption growth dropped to just 150 kb/d as fuel shortages started.

China_Petrol_Shortages_August2005

Smoke and Mirrors in China’s Oil Statistics
June 2008
In recent years, oil product shortages in China have frequently caught the attention of the world. In August 2005, China’s southern manufacturing heartland of Guandong was plagued by closed service stations, fuel rationing and hours-long gas queues, and authorities were forced to send thousands of police to petrol stations in Guangzhou to prevent massive social unrest as drivers scrambled to fill their tanks (Wall Street Journal, August 19, 2005). In May 2006, a diesel shortage hit Guangdong again and lasted for half a month until a 270,000 ton emergency stock of gasoline and diesel fuel were allocated to the local market by China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) and China Petroleum and Chemical Corporation (Sinopec) (Xinhua News Agency, May 23, 2006). 

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

 

 

Those Who Don’t Take Heed Die of Ingratitude

Those Who Don’t Take Heed Die of Ingratitude

One evening, while in college, I attended an extracurricular lecture held by my college adviser on nuclear proliferation. It was a concern that was close to his heart and I admired his “doing something about it” at the time.

During his talk, he shared the parable of “the frog in boiling water” and it was the first time I had heard it told.

Essentially, it boiled (pun intended) down to this:

If you throw a frog into a pot of boiling water, it will immediately jump out to save its life. However, if you place the frog into a pot of room temperature water and slowly heat it to a boil, the frog will gradually boil to death.

The lesson from the story?

For me, it was this:

Inattention and complacency kills; gradually by degree at first, and then all once.

I believe this applies to people on a personal basis as well as on a grander scale. Consider how much we have progressed since Y2K.  After 911, I became that frog in the water before I jumped out and went Galt ten years later, in 2011.  It was around the time the tsunamis struck Japan and a few months before Ann Barnhardt jumped ship. I couldn’t stop the boiling all around me, so I got out.

For the next several years though, a sort of paralysis set in that was brought about by my anger and fear.  In a sense, I was boiling still, but in a different way; from the inside out, as it were, as I’ve seen others do also.  Earlier this year, I wrote about some of that in another essay, regarding the importance of honesty and how I leaped from that latest boiling pot:

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Olduvai II: Exodus
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Olduvai
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Olduvai II: Exodus
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Olduvai III: Cataclysm
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