Sunday, December 8, 2019

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Why We Freeze When We’re Scared And How To Overcome It

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Joshua Krause, Ready Nutrition

Pretty much everyone is well aware of the flight or fight response. Whenever humans encounter a dangerous situation, their sympathetic nervous system kicks into gear. Adrenaline is dumped into our bloodstreams, our senses are heightened, our reflexes quicken, and we become relatively immune to the sensation of pain. Then we make a decision. Depending on what we’re dealing with, we either fight what is threatening us, or we run from it.

However, there is another aspect of this fear response that isn’t talked about as much. It should really be called the “fight, flight, or freeze” response because there’s a good chance that you’ll freeze under pressure rather than act. It’s not uncommon for people to do absolutely nothing when something or someone is threatening them, and it’s a response that you can’t really control. When it happens, it’s like being paralyzed.

At first glance, it sounds like a cruel joke, courtesy of evolution, and is often seen as a sign of personal weakness. In reality, it is neither of those things, though it is a natural biological response to danger that can be beneficial in certain circumstances. Just as we evolved to have an extreme physical reaction to danger that includes fighting or running away, we have evolved to involuntarily stop moving in certain situations, and there are a few reasons why we do this.

One is that when we freeze under pressure, our senses are just as heightened as they would be if we were running or fighting. We freeze to assess the situation before we act. We also freeze in the presence of predators, which is a kind of defense mechanism. If an animal or person is stalking us, by freezing we aren’t making sounds and we aren’t giving away our position.

And finally, humans freeze in situations where they perceive a threat that appears to be too strong for us to fight or run away from. The brain enters a dissociative state that can’t process the environment when you feel like your situation is absolutely hopeless. In this state, you can’t really hear or see what’s around you, and you can’t feel what’s happening to you. Your brain basically forces you to play dead, so that whatever is trying to hurt you will hopefully give up, and so that your psyche is protected from physical and emotional trauma.

Of course, this response isn’t always helpful. A classic example that is found in nature, is how deer often respond to seeing the headlights of oncoming traffic. They freeze when they obviously should run or retreat. Likewise, your brain isn’t a perfect judge of dangerous situations. Sometimes you can freeze when it would be smarter to run or fight (or if you have anxiety or PTSD, you might freeze under totally harmless circumstances). You can get stuck in that mental state, unable to act on avoidable danger.

As for how to overcome this biological response, it’s not an easy task. You don’t really control when you freeze, and your options for slipping out of this state are pretty limited. The only technique scientists have discovered, is taking deep, controlled breaths.

The new findings from research team at Bristol offer helpful insights for better understanding the root of paralyzing fear coming from deep inside the brain. Fear-evoked freezing is a universal response. Luckily, each of us can flex some cognitive muscle to override these innate neurobiological impulses.

Taking a few deep breaths in any fearful situation will stimulate the vagus nerve and the “rest-and-digest” aspects of the parasympathetic nervous system. This relaxation response unclamps the neurobiological grip of fear and allows us to “unfreeze” and move freely.

And that’s pretty much it. Unfortunately, it’s not clear if that will work in all circumstances. If for instance, you’ve reached the point where your mind is dissociating from the outside world to avoid mental trauma, it doesn’t seem likely that taking deep breaths would help you snap out of it. And even if it could, would you want to be aware of a horrific situation that you have no control over?

There’s only one way to avoid the kind of freezing that is caused by situations that make you feel completely helpless. And that is to not be helpless, by preparing yourself for dangerous encounters before they happen. You have to be thoroughly prepared for a wide variety of situations. You have to learn how to save yourself when faced with predatory animals, and you have to train yourself in many different self-defense techniques. And of course, it helps immensely if you have the right tools and weapons for these encounters.

Read More @ ReadyNutrition.com

Why the Air Is About to Come Out of Americas Bubble Economy

from Peter Schiff

Peter Schiff at Cambridge House IMWC discussing government, corporate, and household consumer debt and how it is affecting US economy. 

US Sanctions on Russia: Dagger At the Heart of Europe

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by James Corbett, The International Forecaster

Despite tough talk from Brussels (and Berlin) about “retaliation” over these new measures, no shots will be fired, no diplomatic relations broken, no dramatic shifts away from Washington and toward Moscow will be taking place.

In a nearly unanimous vote on Tuesday, the House passed a bill that imposes new sanctions on Moscow and forces Trump to seek Congressional approval before easing any restrictions on Russia. The bill is part of a larger sanctions regimen that would also impose new restrictions and punitive measures on Iran and North Korea and it was passed by the Senate in another nearly unanimous vote (98-2) on Thursday.

It is unclear at press time whether Trump will attempt to veto the bill, but even if he does the veto could likely be overridden by popular support from both houses.

The reaction to the bill from Russia is precisely as one would expect:

The sanctions are “equally dreadful from the point of view of international law and international trade relations,” Kremlin press secretary Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Wednesday, warning that “such actions would not be left without a response.”

“This is already having an extremely negative impact on the process of normalising our relations,” Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told the Interfax news agency, warning that the sanctions are taking the US and Russia into “uncharted territory in a political and diplomatic sense.”

“We should look for counter measures that won’t harm our national interests, but will be painful for the Americans,” saidKonstantin Kosachev, the head of the foreign relations committee in Russia’s upper house, stressing that such retaliation “should not be just symbolic.”

And in the wake of the bill’s passage by the Senate, Russia began its retaliation, forcing the US to cut its diplomatic corps in Moscow and suspending America’s use of a storage facility in the Russian capital.

But that is all to be expected.

How about this quote: “In a remarkable moment of candor, the US draft law reveals what this is really about: the sale of American liquefied gas and the displacement of Russian natural gas supplies from the European market. The aim of the sanctions is to secure jobs in the natural gas and oil industry in the USA. Political sanctions should not be associated with economic interests.”

Is this (quite accurate) description of the bill and its contents the work of an angry Russian diplomat? A Russian military officer or businessman?

Nope. It’s part of a joint statement from German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel and Austrian Chancellor Christian Kern. And they’re not alone. A number of high-ranking European officials have sounded off about this bill and recognize that, whatever else might be going on here, the widening rift between Russia and the US is a dagger pointed at the heart of Europe.

Take European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, who said of the new sanctions regime: “The EU is fully committed to the Russia sanctions regime. However, G7 unity on sanctions and close coordination among allies are at the heart of ensuring the full implementation of the Minsk Agreements. This is a core objective that the EU and the US share. The US Bill could have unintended unilateral effects that impact the EU’s energy security interests. This is why the Commission concluded today that if our concerns are not taken into account sufficiently, we stand ready to act appropriately within a matter of days. America first cannot mean that Europe’s interests come last.”

Or the remarks of Austrian Chancellor Christian Kern: “I consider the Russia sanctions imposed by the US absolutely unacceptable. Confusing political interests with economic interests at the expense of European jobs is a no-go. The energy supply of Europe is a matter for Europe!”

So what’s this about? Why is Europe so upset by sanctions on Russia?

Read More @ InternationalForecaster.com

Turkey, Russia and Interesting New Balkan Geopolitics

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by William F. Engdahl, New Eastern Outlook

The geopolitical template of the entire European Union is undergoing one of its most profound changes since the collapse of the Soviet Union more than twenty-five years ago. At the June 30 meeting in Ankara of the Turkish-Hungarian Business Forum Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orbán stated that Hungary “stands by its friends” and it is on Turkey’s side in its current war of words with the European Union. The Hungarian Prime Minister also praised Turkey’s role in preventing a huge further refugee flow into the EU, noting that “Without Turkey Europe would have been flooded with many millions of immigrants,” stating that for this Turkey “deserves respect.” Behind the comments, calculated to enrage the EU and its unelected, faceless bureaucrats, stands far more than the issue of refugees and rights of national sovereignty.

There’s a major tectonic shift underway not only in Hungary but also across the entire Balkans. The shift involves Erdogan’s Turkey and also Putin’s Russia. The outlines of a new Balkans geopolitics are emerging and it’s opening huge fault-lines within the EU between die-hard NATO Atlanticists and pragmatic EU states more keen on economic development and the health and safety of their countries than in defending a bankrupt declining USA Superpower.

Hungarian Prime Minister Orbán was in Turkey for no casual photo op. He was there to talk business, economic business. He brought with him half of his cabinet and around 70 business leaders to discuss areas of increased bilateral economic cooperation. Orbán also met privately with Turkish President Erdogan and Prime Minister Binali Yildirim.

Energy Hub for Southeast Europe

Though it was played down in media releases, a central issue discussed in Ankara was the prospect of Russian natural gas imports via Turkey’s Turkish Stream gas pipeline.

With the legally dubious new US sanctions bill targeting European companies investing in the Russian-German Nord Stream II gas pipeline, which would bypass Ukraine, Russia is accelerating its priority to complete construction of its Turkish Stream gas pipeline from the already-built gas pumping station near Anapa in Southern Russia, going beneath the Black Sea, that will pass through Turkey to the Bulgarian and perhaps Greek borders.

The latest incredibly foolish US Congressional sanctions, aiming as well at Iran and North Korea, punish German and Austrian companies investing in the northern EU Nord Stream II pipeline from near St Petersburg, claiming it’s illegal under international law for a US President to sanction companies outside their territorial jurisdiction, legally termed extra-territoriality.

The announcement of new sanctions aimed at Nord Stream II has led Russia to accelerate laying of its Black Sea Turkish Stream line, currently running ahead of plan. Gazprom contractor Swiss Allseas has laid about 15 miles of the pipeline under the Black Sea since May. The first of two parallel pipelines is due to open in March 2018, the second in 1919. The annual capacity of each leg is estimated to reach 15.75 billion cubic meters of natural gas or a total of almost 32 bcm for both.

Here is where things get interesting.

Balkans Joining Turkish Stream

In early July newly elected Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov announced that he intended to sign an agreement on transit of gas from the Russian-Turkish Turkish Stream pipeline. He also signed an agreement with neighbor Serbia, not an EU member– and not likely ever to become one because of her strong ties with Russia among other things. Under the new agreement, Serbia will ultimately receive 10 billion cubic meters of Gazprom Turkish gas.

On June 29 as Prime Minister Aleksandar Vučić took the office of Serbian President, Ana Brnabic became Prime Minister. She told Parliament that she would seek a “balanced foreign policy” and her government would especially seek good relations with Russia and China. Serbia’s new Defense Minister, Alexandar Vulin, was bitterly opposed by Washington among other things for his known pro-Russian orientation. Aleksandar Vučić himself met with Vladimir Putin the week before his election as President and reaffirmed the close relations between Russia and Serbia.

On July 5, Hungary’s government also signed an agreement to receive gas from Turkish stream. Earlier this year Russia’s President went to Budapest where he and Prime Minister Orbán discussed Hungarian participation in Turkish Stream as well as Russian construction of nuclear plants in Hungary.

At the World Oil Congress on July 9-11 in Istanbul Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan made clear that Turkey aims to become an energy hub between east and west, north and south. In short all the elements of a major new realignment are coming together between Balkan states, Russia and Turkey.

Turkish Stream

In December 2014 after the Brussels EU Commission, backed by Washington, pressured the Bulgarian government to cancel the agreement to land Gazprom gas via the South Stream pipeline to the Bulgarian port of Burgas, Russian President Putin announced that South Stream was dead. At the same time Russia began negotiations with Turkey on the Turkish Stream alternative.

To avoid punitive EU laws, Gazprom’s Turkish Stream pipeline passing through Turkey will end at the Turkish-Bulgarian border, with the second possibly ending at Lüleburgaz in the Marmara region of Turkey, close to Turkey’s border with Greece. From there it would be up to the purchasing countries to contract their own pipelines and construct them for the use of the Turkish Stream. EU law forbids Gazprom from building and operating its own gas pipelines inside the EU.

The Baltic Shift

In recent months as Brussels EU policies become more and more onerous, the countries of eastern Europe, especially Hungary, Czech Republic and Bulgaria have turned their sights eastward to Eurasia and especially Russia and China and their growing infrastructure investments in OBOR and other Eurasian infrastructure networks.

In February 2017 during a visit of Russian President Putin to Budapest, Hungary signed a $17 billion contract with the Rosatom Group, Russia’s state nuclear power company for construction of two reactors at Paks Nuclear Power Station, the only nuclear plant in the country. Russia also has 51{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528} stake in a Czech project company, Nuclear Power Alliance, together with Czech Skoda JS that will bid for several planned Czech nuclear plants. The latest Czech national energy plan views nuclear electricity as a safe way to meet EU CO2 emission reduction targets as does Hungary.

The Turkish government has also chosen Russia’s Rosatom to build its first nuclear power plant, the Akkuyu NPP, with four reactors near the Mediterranean in southern Turkey across from Cyprus. The first unit costing $20 billion is being built by a Russian-Turkish consortium together with the Turkish construction group, Cengiz-Kalyon-Kolin (CKK). It will be operational in 2023.

Read More @ NEO.org

The Race Against Time

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by Jeff Thomas, International Man

For decades, in discussing the ever-increasing hegemony of the world’s principal governments (US, EU, et al.), I’ve been asked repeatedly, “When will the governments understand that this obsession they have to become all-powerful is not in the interests of the people?”

The answer to this question has also remained the same for decades: never.

Although most all thinking people will readily admit that they regard their government (and governments in general) to be both overreaching and corrupt, they somehow attribute political leaders with a desire to serve the people. This is almost never true.

In my own experience in working with (and against) political leaders in multiple jurisdictions, I’ve found them to be remarkably similar to each other in their tendency to be shortsighted, self-aggrandising, and almost totally indifferent to the well-being of their constituents. Indeed, it’s a real rarity to encounter a political leader who does not fit this description.

Therefore, we should take as a given that all political leaders will continue to pursue their own power and wealth, at the expense of their citizenries.

This, then, begs the question: “If they won’t stop themselves in this progression, is there no other outcome than eventual total slavery to the government?”

Well, here, history informs us that this is not the case. All governments will tax the people as much as they can, regulate them as much as they can, socially dominate them as much as they can, and remove as many rights as they can. However, they rarely totally succeed and, even when they do, the clock is ticking against them.

In 1999, I began to warn that the US military would steadily increase its warfare against other nations and would only cease their military expansion if and when economic collapse made it impossible to continue the expansion.

In 2008, I began to warn that the US, EU, and other jurisdictions would eventually attempt to eliminate the use of paper currency, or “cash,” and force all people to rely almost totally on electronic transfers of money. (I had pictured plastic credit cards being used—I hadn’t imagined at that time that smartphones would make such transactions even easier.)

In addition to the above abuses, I projected that these jurisdictions would become more collectivist, would increase legislation to dominate their citizens socially, and would eventually come to resemble police states.

But, at the same time, I projected that, although I believed that all these developments would increase steadily, both in magnitude and frequency, they would reach a peak point, then begin to unravel—and would do so more quickly than they had been implemented.

This would happen for two reasons, and neither of these reasons come from some crystal ball. They come from history.

As has always occurred, for millennia, such rapidly expanding excesses cannot be created by governments without creating debt. The more rapid the level of change, the greater the debt necessary.

Today, we’re witnessing the greatest level of debt the world has ever seen. As always in history, this is a ticking time bomb.

Read More @ InternationalMan.com

Hackers Took Over Electronic Voting Machines In Two Hours At DEF CON

by Aaron Kesel, Activist Post

Hackers at the Las Vegas’ annual DEF CON event took over electronic voting machines in a display of a simulation run for the White House proving that rigging an election is indeed possible, something that many researchers have warned about for several years.

It took under 90 minutes for hackers to physically break down the 30 voting machines and discover weaknesses in their defenses, The Register UK reported.

Of the 30 voting booths, the hardware and software were manufactured by Diebold, Sequoia and Winvote.

Hackers proved the low level of security that voting machines have had which has been known for years; even a former Diebold contractor whistleblower, Chris Hood, told of the weakness of security and how easily voting machines can be exploited.

One of the voting booths was wirelessly hacked by a hacker proving that you only need to be near it and in range, not physically next to it, to exploit the system’s software like how Princeton University demonstrated 10 years ago.

“Without question, our voting systems are weak and susceptible. Thanks to the contributions of the hacker community today, we’ve uncovered even more about exactly how,” Jake Braun, a hacker said.

The scary thing is we also know that our foreign adversaries — including Russia, North Korea, Iran — possess the capabilities to hack them too, in the process undermining the principles of democracy and threatening our national security.

The other main issue isn’t physical voting but rather allowing voters to vote online. It’s convenience vs. security. A whopping 30 states offered voters the option of online voting despite the fact that it was known by security researchers to be vulnerable during the 2016 election last year. That’s enough states to flip the vote and nullify democracy.

Online voting is not secure and can be heavily tampered with finding various vulnerabilities in outdated software and hardware alike.

Read More @ ActivistPost.com

SILVER INVESTMENT: Outperformed Gold In This Major Sector

by Steve St. Angelo, SRSrocco

Precious metals investors may not be aware, but silver investment has seriously outperformed gold in this major market sector.  Even though precious metals sentiment and sales are currently lower than they were over the past several years, this is only temporary pause before the market surges as the highly inflated stock market finally cracks and plunges lower.

When we start to witness a huge correction or crash in the broader stock markets, there only be a few physical assets worth owning to protect wealth.  Investors moving into the precious metals at this time, will see their asset values increase significantly.  However, silver will likely out perform gold as investors and speculators move into the more undervalued precious metal.

Actually, we have already witnessed this as physical silver investment versus jewelry demand has outperformed gold in the same market.  Let me explain.  While industrial demand is the largest consumer of silver in the market, silver jewelry demand has ranked second for quite some time.  But, this all changed after the 2008 U.S. Banking Industry and Housing Market collapse.

For example, global silver jewelry demand in 2007 was 182 million oz (Moz) versus 62 Moz in silver bar and coin demand.  Thus, physical silver bar and coin demand was only 34{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528} of world silver jewelry demand:

However, during the U.S. market meltdown in 2008, physical silver bar and coin investment surged more than three times to 197 Moz, while silver jewelry demand stayed flat at 178 Moz.  In just one year (2007 to 2008), physical silver investment accounted for 110{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528} of global silver jewelry demand.

While silver investment demand fluctuated over the next seven years, it hit a record high of 291 Moz in 2015 as investors took advantage of low prices not seen since 2009.  As physical silver bar and coin demand reached a new record in 2015, accounting for 128{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528} of global jewelry demand that year.

Even though physical silver demand declined in 2016, it was still neck and neck with jewelry demand of 207 Moz each.  Now, if we compare physical silver investment to jewelry demand versus gold, we can plainly see how silver has outperformed gold in this market.

Before the 2008 market meltdown, global gold physical investment of 14.4 Moz accounted for 18{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528} of world gold jewelry demand of 79.5 Moz:

Read More @ SRSrocco.com

Bitcoin: Fake Asset or Security?

by Chris Whalen, The Daily Reckoning

“I came of age on Wall Street when the Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board—he was William McChesney Martin — condemned even trace amounts of inflation as an economic and moral evil.  In the interval of 1960-65, there was not one year in which the CPI registered a year over year rise of as much as 2{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528}.”
—Grant’s Interest Rate Observer

Below is my latest commentary on housing finance reform in American Banker, “Fannie, Freddie are irrelevant to a government-backed mortgage system.” I’ll be participating at the CoreLogic Risk Summit next week in Dana Point, California. Come say hello!

We’ve all heard of fake news, but consider the growing possibility of fake or at least virtual assets.  Investors face a deliberately orchestrated shortage of real investments c/o global central banks in markets such as stocks and real estate.

Is there any wonder that the financial engineers of Wall Street have again begun to manufacture new derivatives leveraging the real world?

Case in point, bitcoin.  The most recognized “digital currency,” bitcoin is a form of high-tech gaming instrument that fulfills just one of the traditional roles of money, but is among the world’s fastest appreciating – and most volatile– “asset” classes.

Adherents call the limited supply of bitcoin the ultimate expression of Milton Friedman style monetarist discipline.  They view the digital medium as a rational response to the fiscal and monetary chaos visible in most of the industrial nations.

But despite the huge gains seen in bitcoin vs conventional currencies, Jim Rickards says he’s sticking with his preferred investments: gold, cash and silver.  “I don’t own any bitcoin, but for those who have a preference for bitcoin, good luck,” he told Kitco News.

Bitcoin has been blessed by a federal regulatory agency in Washington.  “On Monday, a bitcoin options exchange called LedgerX won approval from the U.S Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) to clear bitcoin options, making it the first U.S. federally regulated platform of its kind,” reports The Wall Street Journal.

LedgerX’s chief executive Paul Chou is on the CFTC’s Technology Advisory Committee.  Not surprisingly, a CFTC spokeswoman said “no committee, including the Technology Advisory Committee, plays any role in any registration decision.”  OK.

Regardless of whether you view bitcoin as an investment or the electronic version of tulip bulbs, the fact of a traded options contract is intriguing.  It allows speculators to take a flutter on bitcoin without actually touching the ersatz currency or the varied folk who are said to traffic in this ethereal world.

To be fair, drug dealers, terrorists and members of organized crime organizations in nations like China, Russia and North Korea are not ideal counterparties for a US bank or fund.  But a US traded option contract may allow you to play the bitcoin game, pay your taxes, and sleep at night.  A lot of managers may find that degree of separation attractive.

Of note, less than 24 hours after the CFTC announcement, the Securities and Exchange Commission has declared that “tokens” such as bitcoin can be considered securities, and therefore, may be need to be registered unless a valid exemption applies,” Reuters reports.

“The innovative technology behind these virtual transactions does not exempt securities offerings and trading platforms from the regulatory framework designed to protect investors and the integrity of the markets,” said Stephanie Avakian, the co-director of the SEC’s enforcement division.

Part of the “problem” with bitcoin is that it is not easy for an individual to move in and out of the stateless, “offshore” market.  It will be interesting to see which financial institutions are willing to provide the infrastructure to allow a bitcoin options contract to settle in dollars and in size large enough to satiate institutional players.

But the more interesting question is how investors will deploy capital in this volatile and entirely opaque market.

The idea of an option on bitcoin certainly seems to have some utility.  Bitcoin may not be a store of value or a unit of account, but it serves that same purpose as the dollar in terms of acting as a means of exchange.  Like the dollar, bitcoin promises to pay, well, nothing, so the two moneys have rough equivalence in that regard.

Read More @ DailyReckoning

Open the Books Reports – 63,000 Illinois Public Employees Earn Over $100,000 Per Year

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by Michael Krieger, Liberty Blitzkrieg

Adam Andrzejewski, CEO of OpenTheBooks.com, has written an interesting piece over at Forbes detailing some of the enormous salaries being paid by taxpayers to Illinois public sector employees.

Here are a few excerpts from the piece, Why Illinois Is In Trouble – 63,000 Public Employees With $100,000+ Salaries Cost Taxpayers $10B:

Illinois is broke and continues to flirt with junk bond status. But the state’s financial woes aren’t stopping 63,000 government employees from bringing home six-figure salaries and higher.

Whenever we open the books, Illinois is consistently one of the worst offenders. Recently, we found auto pound supervisors in Chicago making $144,453; nurses at state corrections earning up to $254,781; junior college presidents making $465,420; university doctors earning $1.6 million; and 84 small-town “managers” out-earning every U.S. governor.

Using our interactive mapping tool, quickly review (by ZIP code) the 63,000 Illinois public employees who earn more than $100,000 and cost taxpayers $10 billion. Just click a pin and scroll down to see the results rendered in the chart beneath the map.

Here are a few examples of what you’ll uncover:

20,295 teachers and school administrators – including superintendents Joyce Carmine ($398,229) at Park Forest School District 63, Troy Paraday ($384,138) at Calumet City School District 155, and Jon Nebor ($377,409) at Indian Springs School District 109. Four of the top five salaries are in the south suburbs – not the affluent north shore.

9,567 college and university employees – including the southern Illinois junior college power couple Dale Chapman ($465,420) and Linda Terrill Chapman ($217,290). The pair combined for a $682,000 income at Lewis and Clark Community College. Fady Toufic Charbel ($1.58 million) and Konstantin Slavin ($1.04 million) are million-dollar doctors at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Some of Illinois’ K-12 schools are spiking salaries and padding pensions. Data reveals nearly 30,000 teachers and administrators earned $100,000+ incomes. However, just 20,295 of those educators are currently employed; the other 9,305 are retired, resting on six-figure pensions.

Here’s how it breaks down in two of 900 school districts. Just 1,236 of the 2,147 educators with $100,000+ incomes are currently working.

Illinois, like many states, is in serious trouble. Policymakers are exploring desperate measures. Two weeks ago, ten Republicans voted with Democrats to override Governor Bruce Rauner’s veto of a permanent 32-percent income tax hike. Without reforms the tax hike will only feed a culture of waste and abuse.

Read More @ LibertyBlitzkrieg.com

Secession Movement Ready to Take Hold

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from BATR

All the buzz in the aftermath of the last election is that secession is in the air. Despite the improbable prospects that the globalists, that control the federal government, would allow the upstart masses to leave the dominion of Disunion States, it is promising that the country builds critical mass for dissolution. Secession in this day is not your call to arms in the defense of home. “Honest Abe’s” version of despotism caused many politicians to “Wave the bloody shirt”, but today’s crop of brave leaders just asks you to sign a petition to beg for a cordial severance. Just imagine the response from the unprincipled governmental career class. The re-education FEMA facilities are ready to become today’s “Camp Douglas” detention centers.

The League of the South list Ten Reasons For Secession and offers this assessment. “What is behind this increasing support for secession and independence? Perhaps the answer is this: hard reality has finally trumped the myth of a sacred, indivisible union. In other words, many citizens are beginning to see the hand writing on the wall, and the message is alarming.”

Notwithstanding, the sentiments of the Old South, the contemporary motivation to reject the arrogant and oppressive dictates of the central government is taking hold for a myriad of reasons. One of the stronger reasons appears in the article, Pluralism Leaves No Other Option – LIBERTY Demands Secession.

“It is absolutely crucial to view the concept of America not as a country, and certainly not as a government. The uniqueness in the notion of the 1776 revolution lies within the shot heard round the world. Equity – adjudication of the inadequate common law, supplant natural law with chancery courts. “Equity follows the law” is the claim, but the practice is that the law becomes arbitrary, that which men desire.

Secession is the moral course. Yes, you will reply that the government will never allow such a wild proposal. Surely, you would be correct, the nature of the federal system is to control people, and would not give up the power to dominate citizens. But, that evaluation does not dispel the validity of the ethical case. So much for the prospect of Liberty in a free society.”

Set aside the fear of federal retribution and coercive retaliation. Is it justified to seek dissolution of the failed empire that has long ago buried the essence of a constitutional republic? The great departed Joseph Sobran in Secession, Anyone?, urges you to search your conscience and be true to your immortal soul.

“A few readers think I’m writing with tongue in cheek when I propose secession. Well, though I see the humor of it, I’m not exactly joking. I know it’s unlikely to happen, for the time being, but the idea has value as a thought-experiment. It can help free our minds of the illusion that the present political status quo was, and is, “inevitable.”

How would such a movement proceed? The essay, Representation, Secession and Taxation, illustrates unbearable circumstances and practical steps to ratchet up populace pressure. “As discontent rises and practical solutions evaporate, that dirty historic sentiment begins to bubble to the surface, SECESSION. Russell D. Longcore provides a standard, when secession is a vital and justified option that many would accept.

“Secession should be solemnly deliberated by the elected representatives and the state citizens. Secession should be initiated at the moment that any state reaches the point at which it will no longer accept the despotic tyranny and laws coming from the US Federal Government in Washington, DC. Or, secession should be initiated upon a collapse of the Dollar, or the imposition by Washington DC of martial law in the event of social upheaval.”

The initiative, Petitions to secede are filed for 23 states since election, as previously reported by the Washington Times explains the procedure.

“The White House may have to take the requests seriously. According to the website, any petition receiving 25,000 online “signatures” on the “We the People” page within 30 days of posting will receive a review by the appropriate executive department and a response from a White House staffer.

As of Monday, the Texas petition had already exceeded the 25,000-signature threshold, and the Louisiana petition was fast approaching the cutoff with more than 18,000 signatures. Most of the petitions were posted online Nov. 10, which means they have until Dec. 10 to qualify for a response.”

A further update appears on U.S. Citizens In Over 40 States File Petitions For Secession, which also lists the states and the proposed response. “The Obama administration explains on the website, “If a petition meets the signature goal within the designated period, the White House will respond to that petition in a timely fashion.”

Read More @ BATR