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Focus Is Increasingly On How Similar Conditions Are To The Lead Up To WW2: Rabobank

Focus Is Increasingly On How Similar Conditions Are To The Lead Up To WW2: Rabobank

Back with a bang

As mentioned on Friday, welcome to both La Grande rentrée and weltschmerz: and combining the two, this week we are ‘back with a bang’. That seems appropriate given yesterday marked 80 years since the start of WW2, which one would have thought would have received far more media coverage than it did: instead, far more focus was on how similar some conditions are to the lead up to WW2.

For just one market example, yesterday saw new US and Chinese tariffs kick in, taking a further step down the trade war path – if that is what one still insists on calling it. I underline that more holistic view of the US-China standoff as the Wall Street Journal reports that “SEC Revives Fight Over Inability to Inspect Chinese Auditors of Alibaba, Baidu”. The SEC could yet “impose more oversight on US-listed companies that rely upon those [Chinese] auditors. The measures could include forcing the firms to disclose more about their business or accounting and restricting their ability to sell new shares.” Given the Chinese firms are unlikely to comply, that is a potential step towards an eventual US delisting; and don’t forget there is also a push in the US Congress to stop US capital flows into China via bill S. 1731, which will get a further bipartisan tailwind when Congress returns on 4 September. In short, this is a whole other new front in the US-China struggle (capital flows, following tech limits and tariffs), not a ‘trade war’.

Markets May Focus on Dissenters in FOMC Minutes: Rabobank’s Foley

Let’s see just how weak CNY fixing, and CNY itself, are today. Indeed, after the Chinese manufacturing PMI stayed well below 50 over the weekend, will we take out the low of 7.1926 on the back of this news-flow? If not today, then soon, surely. And then where?

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

Uncle Sam Wants Your DNA: The FBI’s Diabolical Plan to Create a Nation of Suspects

Uncle Sam Wants Your DNA: The FBI’s Diabolical Plan to Create a Nation of Suspects

“As more and more data flows from your body and brain to the smart machines via the biometric sensors, it will become easy for corporations and government agencies to know you, manipulate you, and make decisions on your behalf. Even more importantly, they could decipher the deep mechanisms of all bodies and brains, and thereby gain the power to engineer life. If we want to prevent a small elite from monopolising such godlike powers, and if we want to prevent humankind from splitting into biological castes, the key question is: who owns the data? Does the data about my DNA, my brain and my life belong to me, to the government, to a corporation, or to the human collective?”―Professor Yuval Noah Harari

Uncle Sam wants you.

Correction: Uncle Sam wants your DNA.

Actually, if the government gets its hands on your DNA, they as good as have you in their clutches.

Get ready, folks, because the government— helped along by Congress (which adopted legislation allowing police to collect and test DNA immediately following arrests), President Trump (who signed the Rapid DNA Act into law), the courts (which have ruled that police can routinely take DNA samples from people who are arrested but not yet convicted of a crime), and local police agencies (which are chomping at the bit to acquire this new crime-fighting gadget)—is embarking on a diabolical campaign to create a nation of suspects predicated on a massive national DNA database.

As the New York Times reports:

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

Shut Down the War Machine!

Shut Down the War Machine!

The time has come to cut the US military down to size.

Last November, the Pentagon admitted what critics have known for years: It cannot pass an audit that would let Congress, the media and taxpayers know what it does with the trillions of dollars that have been lavished on war and preparing for war by this country.

By all accounts, the US accounts for more than a third of all global military spending. The next biggest spender on its military, China, only spends a fifth as much as the US. And remember, as a full-fledged police state and a country whose peripheral provinces have to be kept under tight military control lest they move towards independence from Beijing, much of China’s huge military is actually involved not in threatening other countries or even defending China, but in maintaining government control domestically. Russia’s military spending, which actually declined last year, is actually lower than for tiny Saudi Arabia, which can’t even control tiny neighboring Yemen without vast assistance and military aid from the United States.

Let’s be honest: The United States faces no significant threat from any nation in the world.

Sure I know: Russia and even China have nuclear weapons that, if launched en masse at the US could destroy this country. But everyone knows such an action would be to commit national suicide. With its vast nuclear arsenal stowed in patrolling submarines, in protected silos ready to be fired off in minutes, and in bases around the world, including some quite close to China’s and Russia’s borders, the US not only could destroy both countries many times over in response, but is actually able and prepared to attack either country or both countries first, perhaps even preventing them from retaliating successfully (See Michio Kaku’s and Daniel Axelrod’s excellent and terrifying book…

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

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The National Security Agency Is A Criminal Organization

The National Security Agency Is A Criminal Organization

Years before Edward Snowden provided documented proof that the National Security Agency was really a national insecurity agency as it was violating law and the US Constitution and spying indiscriminately on American citizens, William Binney, who designed and developed the NSA spy program revealed the illegal and unconstitutional spying. Binney turned whistleblower, because NSA was using the program to spy on Americans. As Binney was well known to the US Congress, he did not think he needed any NSA document to make his case. But what he found out was “Congress would never hear me because then they’d lose plausible deniability. That was really their key. They needed to have plausible deniability so they can continue this massive spying program because it gave them power over everybody in the world. Even the members of Congress had power against others [in Congress]; they had power on judges on the Supreme Court, the federal judges, all of them. That’s why they’re so afraid. Everybody’s afraid because all this data that’s about them, the central agencies — the intelligence agencies — they have it. And that’s why Senator Schumer warned President Trump earlier, a few months ago, that he shouldn’t attack the intelligence community because they’ve got six ways to Sunday to come at you. That’s because it’s like J. Edgar Hoover on super steroids. . . . it’s leverage against every member of parliament and every government in the world.”

To prevent whistle-blowing, NSA has “a program now called ‘see something, say something’ about your fellow workers. That’s what the Stasi did. That’s why I call [NSA] the new New Stasi Agency. They’re picking up all the techniques from the Stasi and the KGB and the Gestapo and the SS. They just aren’t getting violent yet that we know of — internally in the US, outside is another story.”

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

14 New Massachusetts State Reps Support 100% Renewable Energy by 2050

14 New Massachusetts State Reps Support 100% Renewable Energy by 2050

Kids holding pro-renewables signs at a Gulf of Mexico drilling lease protest in New Orleans in 2016

With the swearing in of new members last week, the Massachusetts legislature, not unlike the U.S. Congress, is receiving an infusion of brand-new state representatives who already are pushing an aggressive agenda focused on addressing climate change and transitioning to 100 percent renewable electricity by 2050.

So far, 14, or over half of the 24 new recruits, have formed an informal but unified group known as GreenTeamMA. Their initiatives are straightforward. They’ve agreed to refuse campaign contributions from fossil fuel PACs, they support carbon pricing, and they’ll be working with constituents to drive higher demand for wind, solar, and hydropower in the Bay State, where today almost one-sixth of electricity comes from renewable sources.

It’s a bottom-up approach that may well work,” said newly elected State Rep. Patrick Kearney of the South Shore’s 4thPlymouth District. “It’s a bipartisan effort we’re undertaking because the climate affects the health and well-being of every community.”

Graduation Day at New Legislators Academy for newly elected Massachusetts State Representatives,  sworn into office on January 2, 2019.
Graduation Day at New Legislators Academy for newly elected Massachusetts State Representatives, sworn into office on January 2, 2019. Credit: Patrick Kearney

Building Grassroots Support for Climate Action

GreenTeamMA members view climate change as a clear and present danger that requires an energy recalculation.

With one of the richest offshore wind reserves in the world and the capacity to build onshore wind and solar power plants to meet the growing energy needs of Massachusetts, the commonwealth is “poised to embrace a clean energy economy,” says State Rep. Tommy Vitolo of Brookline’s 15th Norfolk District.

To catapult that economy, GreenTeamMA members plan to target Massachusetts voters who rank health and climate change as key issues and call on them to make a consumer switch to renewable electricity.

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

Rough Times Ahead, But Liberty Can Still Win

Rough Times Ahead, But Liberty Can Still Win

While Congress and the president fight over funding a border wall, they continue to ignore the coming economic tsunami caused by the approximately 22 trillion dollars (and rapidly increasing) federal debt. President Trump may not be troubled by the debt’s effect on the economy because he believes he will be out of office before it becomes a major problem. However, the crisis may come sooner than he, or most people in DC, expects.

The constituency for limited government, while growing, is still far outnumbered by those wanting government to provide economic and personal security. From lower-income Americans who rely on food stamps, public housing, and other government programs, to middle-class Americans who live in homes they could not afford without assistance from federal agencies like Fannies Mae and Freddie Mac, to college students reliant on government-subsidized student loans, to senior citizens reliant on Social Security and Medicare, to billionaire CEOs whose companies rely on bailouts, subsidies, laws and regulations written to benefit politically-powerful businesses, and government contracts, most Americans are reliant on at least one federal program. Many programs are designed to force individuals to accept government aid. For example, it is almost impossible for a senior citizen to obtain health insurance outside of Medicare.

The welfare state is fueled by the Federal Reserve’s easy money policies, which are also responsible for the boom-and-bust cycle that plagues our economy. The Federal Reserve’s policies do not just distort our economy, they also distort our values, as the Fed’s dollar depreciation causes individuals to forgo savings and hard work in favor of immediate gratification. This has helped create an explosion of business and individual debt. There has been a proliferation of bubbles, including in credit card debt, auto loans, and student loans. There is even a new housing bubble.

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

Endless War Has Been Normalized And Everyone Is Crazy

Endless War Has Been Normalized And Everyone Is Crazy

Since I last wrote about the bipartisan shrieking, hysterical reaction to Trump’s planned military withdrawal from Syria the other day, it hasn’t gotten better, it’s gotten worse. I’m having a hard time even picking out individual bits of the collective freakout from the political/media class to point at, because doing so would diminish the frenetic white noise of the paranoid, conspiratorial, fearmongering establishment reaction to the possibility of a few thousands troops being pulled back from a territory they were illegally occupying.

Endless war and military expansionism has become so normalized in establishment thought that even a slight scale-down is treated as something abnormal and shocking. The talking heads of the corporate state media had been almost entirely ignoring the buildup of US troops in Syria and the operations they’ve been carrying out there, but as soon as the possibility of those troops leaving emerged, all the alarm bells started ringing. Endless war was considered so normal that nobody ever talked about it, then Trump tweeted he’s bringing the troops home, and now every armchair liberal in America who had no idea what a Kurd was until five minutes ago is suddenly an expert on Erdoğan and the YPG. Lindsey Graham, who has never met an unaccountable US military occupation he didn’t like, is now suddenly cheerleading for congressional oversight: not for sending troops into wars, but for pulling them out.

“I would urge my colleagues in the Senate and the House, call people from the administration and explain this policy,” Graham recently told reporters on Capitol Hill. “This is the role of the Congress, to make administrations explain their policy, not in a tweet, but before Congress answering questions.”

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

The Pentagon Fails Audit – $21 Trillion in Transactions Could Not Be Traced, Documented, or Explained

The Pentagon Fails Audit – $21 Trillion in Transactions Could Not Be Traced, Documented, or Explained

WAR is a racket. It always has been.
It is possibly the oldest, easily the most profitable, surely the most vicious. It is the only one international in scope. It is the only one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives.
A racket is best described, I believe, as something that is not what it seems to the majority of the people. Only a small “inside” group knows what it is about. It is conducted for the benefit of the very few, at the expense of the very many. Out of war a few people make huge fortunes.
– From Major General Smedley Butler’s War is a Racket

The following story’s been on my radar for a while, but it wasn’t until I read the fictional-sounding article published in The Nation yesterday that I finally turned my focus on the issue.

To give you a sense of what’s going on when it comes to the unimaginable levels of waste, secrecy and probable fraud occurring at the U.S. Department of Defense, check out the first couple of paragraphs from this must read article:

On November 15, Ernst & Young and other private firms that were hired to audit the Pentagon announced that they could not complete the job. Congress had ordered an independent audit of the Department of Defense, the government’s largest single cost center—the Pentagon receives two of every three federal tax dollars collected—after the Pentagon failed for decades to audit itself. The firms concluded, however, that the DoD’s financial records were riddled with so many bookkeeping deficiencies, irregularities, and errors that a reliable audit was simply impossible.

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

Sacrificing Children: Pesticides in the Time of Oligarchy

Sacrificing Children: Pesticides in the Time of Oligarchy

Photo Source Andy Powell | CC BY 2.0

Oligarchy is bad for children’s health

All past civilizations protected children. It was self-evident that healthy children assured continuity, security and happiness.

However, machine-powered civilizations give the illusion corporations, oligarchies, and the government control everything. Children fade in this confused vision. The disproportional power of the few dehumanizes everything, including children.

Oligarchs control medicine, drugs, chemicals, farming and politics. If their products harm children, their lobbyists, scientists and politicians cover up the truth.

Delaney Clause 

In the United States, this oligarchic control has flooded the country with thousands of chemicals, most of them untested and potentially harmful to life. This fact angered Democratic Congressman James Delaney from New York. He found it intolerable that America in the 1950s was bathed in around 50,000 chemicals.

He convinced Congress to eliminate cancer-causing chemicals in food. He authored the 1958 Food Additives Amendment to the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act — the Delaney Clause.

Suddenly, agribusiness, chemical, and drug industries faced a law that challenged their monopolies to do whatever pleased them with food. They set up roadblocks to the enforcement of the law. They purchased scientists to denounce the controversial law.

The General Accountability Office, the least partisan organization in the federal government, took up the Delaney Clause. The December 11, 1981 GAO report put the controversy in this light:

“The heart of the issue centers on Delaney’s “zero-risk” concept that no substance, in any amount, may be intentionally added to food if it has been shown to cause cancer.”

Science lipstick

The Reagan administration of the 1980s did not enforce the law. And the Clinton administration of the 1990s killed it. But Bill Clinton marshalled the power of science to cover up his shameful policy. He paid the National Academy of Science to prepare the ground.

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

CIA secretly intercepted Congressional communications about whistleblowers

Screen Shot 2018-11-02 at 12.52.51 AM
  • CIA intercepted Congressional emails about whistleblowers in 2014
  • The Inspector General expressed concern about “potential compromise to whistleblower confidentiality” and “chilling effect”

Newly-declassified documents show the CIA intercepted sensitive Congressional communications about intelligence community whistleblowers.

The intercepts occurred under CIA Director John Brennan and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper. The new disclosures are contained in two letters of “Congressional notification” originally written to key members of Congress in March 2014, but kept secret until now.

In the letters, then-Intelligence Community Inspector General Charles McCullough tells four key members of Congress that during “routine counterintelligence monitoring of Government computer systems,” the CIA collected emails between Congressional staff and the CIA’s head of whistleblowing and source protection. McCullough states that he’s concerned “about the potential compromise to whistleblower confidentiality and the consequent ‘chilling effect’ that the present [counterintelligence] monitoring system might have on Intelligence Community whistleblowing.”

The idea that the CIA would monitor communications of U.S. government officials, including those in the legislative branch, is itself controversial. But in this case, the CIA picked up some of the most sensitive emails between Congress and intelligence agency workers blowing the whistle on alleged wrongdoing.

John Brennan, former Obama CIA Director and Homeland Security Adviser

“Most of these emails concerned pending and developing whistleblower complaints,” McCullough states in his letters to lead Democrats and Republicans on the House and Senate Intelligence Committees at the time: Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-California) and Saxby Chambliss (R-Georgia); and Representatives Michael Rogers (R-Michigan) and Dutch Ruppersberger (D-Maryland). McCullough adds that the type of monitoring that occurred was “lawful and justified for [counterintelligence] purposes” but

“I am not confident that Congressional staff fully understood that their whistleblower-related communications with my Executive Director of whistleblowing might be reviewed as a result of routine [CIA counterintelligence] monitoring.”–Intelligence Community Inspector General 2014

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

Jamal Khashoggi’s Murder Could Drive Congress to Finally End Support For Brutal Saudi War in Yemen

WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 20: President Donald Trump meets Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in the Oval Office at the White House on March 20, 2018 in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Kevin Dietsch-Pool/Getty Images)

THE SUSPECTED MURDER of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi by Saudi Arabia is pushing the U.S. government toward a major internal confrontation over its role in the war in Yemen, one that could have significant consequences for a Saudi-led, U.S.-backed intervention that has exacerbated the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.

On Monday, 55 members of Congress, led by Reps. Mark Pocan, D-Wis., and Ro Khanna, D-Calif., wrote to the director of national intelligence, Dan Coats, asking whether the intelligence community knew about a plot to apprehend Khashoggi ahead of time, and whether the U.S. government fulfilled its “duty to warn” him.

The letter — the text of which was already made public by Khanna and Pocan — states that the DNI’s answers will inform coming votes on the Yemen war. “We look forward to your timely response to our inquiry as both the House of Representatives and the Senate consider privileged resolutions this fall … which invoke Congress’s sole constitutional authority over the offensive use of force to end illegal U.S. military participation with Saudi Arabia in Yemen,” the letter reads. It also promises to “use the full force of Congressional oversight and investigatory powers” if the Trump administration does not respond.

The Post reported earlier this month that U.S. intelligence had intercepts of Saudi government officials, which showed “that the crown prince ordered an operation to lure … Khashoggi back to Saudi Arabia from his home in Virginia.” But it is not known whether U.S. officials knew of the threats to harm him, and if they did, whether they took any action to make Khashoggi aware of them as required by a 2015 intelligence community directive.

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

Google vs. Trump: “The Good Censor” On Collision Course With The Patriot President

What are Trump’s options? He’s certainly thinking about the issue.

The Washington Post reported recently that the White House was backing off a proposed executive order that would have required federal agencies to “investigate and/or prosecute” tech giants for bias. Administration officials told WaPo: “Although the White House is concerned about the conduct of online platforms and their impact on society, this document is not the result of an official White House policymaking process.” [White House distances itself from reports that Trump could target Facebook, Google and Twitter with a new executive order, by Tony Romm and Josh Dawsey, September 22, 2018]

WaPo reported Trump has demanded an executive order on this matter for some time, but all of the drafts have been deemed “unworkable.” Sources tell the Watcher that the fallout from the leak deterred the President but he still considers the issue a top priority for his base and he wants it addressed.

And Trump is right–it’s urgent. Alarmingly, the Tech Totalitarians seem to be developing a blitzing technique, whereby they all suddenly jump a Politically Incorrect site and do everything possible to destroy its business–for example, Alex Jones and, most recently, the manosphere site Return Of Kings.

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

4 Pillars of Debt in Danger of Collapse

Last month I was in a series of high-level meetings with members of Congress and the Senate in Washington.

While there’s been major news about the Supreme Court, my discussions were on something that both sides of the aisle are coming to consensus over.

You see, issues that impact your own bottom line are way more about economics than they are about politics. On Capitol Hill, leaders know that. They also know that voters react to what impacts their money. That’s why, behind the scenes, I’ve been discussing issues focused on protecting the economy.

Behind closed doors, we’ve been working on how to shield the economy from Too Big to Fail banks and how the U.S. can better fund infrastructure projects. These are initiatives that all politicians should care about.

Underneath the surface of the economy is a financial system that is heavily influenced by the Federal Reserve. That’s why political figures and the media alike have all tried to understand what direction the system is headed.

Also last week I joined Fox Business at their headquarters to discuss the economy, the Fed and what they all mean for the markets. On camera, we discussed this week’s Federal Reserve meeting and the likely outcomes.

Off camera, we jumped into a similar discussion that those in DC have pressed me on. Charles Payne, the Fox host, asked me what I thought of new Fed chairman, Jerome Powell, in general. Payne knew that I view the entire central bank system as a massive artificial bank and market stimulant.

What I told him is that Powell actually has a good sense of balance in terms of what he does with rates, and the size of the Fed’s book. He understands the repercussion that moving rates too much, too quickly, or selling off the assets, could have on the global economy and the markets.

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

Marketing War: the Incessant Drumbeat of Mortal Danger

Marketing War: the Incessant Drumbeat of Mortal Danger

Photo Source The National Guard | CC BY 2.0

The claim that the national security of the United States requires that more than half the nation’s discretionary budget must be devoted to the maintenance of armies, global strategic bases and massive armaments is false. Until we can convince the majority of the public of this fiction, and surmount the wall of disinformation, nothing will change and we will continue down the road to a hellish future.

This statement of course contradicts the incessant indoctrination emanating from Washington and the corporate media that U.S. foreign policy is devoted to the maintenance of global peace and a “liberal” and just world order in the face of enemies who wish to destroy that order. The facts controvert such declarations yet to emphasize them is to be accused of disloyalty, a lack of patriotism, and conspiracy mongering.

The U.S. propaganda system relentlessly broadcasts the malevolent machinations of Russia, Iran or North Korea or Syria and China as well as of armed gangs like ISIS, al Qaeda and the Taliban. The drumbeat that mortal danger is on our doorstep is so ceaseless and all-encompassing that the public either accepts the claims as true or remains blind to very real dangers posed by our government’s own militarized policies that call forth various forms of opposition to those policies.

The reality is that all of the wars, assassinations, and coups carried out by Washington of the last half century have been matters of choice based not on genuine threats to our national security but on jeopardy to the profits of giant arms manufacturers and their allies- the so-called military industrial complex that extends its tentacles into every major institution in American life–Congress, the CIA, the media and universities. The complex requires at the very least the implied threat of war to ensure its existence.

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

Debts & Deficits: A Slow Motion Train Wreck

Debts & Deficits: A Slow Motion Train Wreck

Last Friday, I discussed that without much fanfare or public discussion, Congress decided to push the U.S. into deeper fiscal irresponsibility with the passage of another Continuing Resolution (CR). To wit:

“The House on Wednesday passed an $854 billion spending bill to avert an October shutdown, funding large swaths of the government while pushing the funding deadline for others until Dec. 7.

The bill passed by 361-61, a week after the Senate passed an identical measure by a vote of 93-7.”

Without the passage of the C.R. the government was facing a “shut-down” just prior to the mid-term elections. So, rather than doing what is fiscally responsible for the long-term solvency and financial health of the country, not to mention the generations to come, they decided it was far more important to get re-elected into office.

As I noted last week:

“For almost a decade, Congress has failed to pass, and operate, underneath a budget. Of course, without any repercussions from voters in demanding that Congress ‘does their job,’ the path to fiscal insolvency continues to grow.

The Committee For A Responsible Federal Budget made the following statement:

“We’re pleased policymakers have likely avoided a shutdown and actually appropriated most of this year’s discretionary budget on time. But let’s not forget that Congress did so without a budget and had to grease the wheels with $153 billion to pass these bills. That isn’t function; it’s a fiscal free-for-all.”

Of course, with trillion-dollar deficits just around the corner, the negative impact from unbridled spending and debt increases will begin to reverse the positive effects from deregulation and tax reform.”

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

Olduvai IV: Courage
In progress...

Olduvai II: Exodus
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