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Agriculture boom now in the making, says Jim Rogers

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by Kathy Fong, The Edge Markets:

HANGZHOU: An agriculture boom is forming, said Jim Rogers, who intends to invest in agriculture more than in Amazon.com Inc.

The billionaire commodity guru believes agricultural product prices are hitting bottom now, and that they will rebound soon as supply would not be able to keep pace with demand growth.

Against such a backdrop, he anticipates rising inflation would be the by-product that would come along with the climb in crop prices.

Rogers observed that the supply of agricultural products, be it foodstuff, or crops like cotton or silk, would be in shortage in coming years, simply because there are fewer people who will want to farm.

“No one wants to be a farmer anymore, as compared to the past, when farmers were like masters of the universe for a long period of time.

“The agriculture sector has been a disaster for 35 years. Things are so bad. The average age of an American farmer is 58, the average age in Japan is 68. And do you know that the highest suicide rate in the UK is in the agricultural sector … thousands of Indians commit suicide every year …,” Rogers told selected Malaysian media at the sidelines of the three-day 2018 Investment & International Trade Forum in Hangzhou, central east China, over the weekend.

As such, there will be shortage of supply as a result of lower production in the coming years, he said. On the other hand, rising affluence in developing economies, such as China, India, Russia and Asean countries, will continue to fuel demand growth.

“There will be an imbalance in the future between demand and supply in agricultural commodities … and that will drive prices higher. I am not talking [about] all commodities … I am referring to agricultural commodities, for example sugar, or palm oil as you mentioned,” said Rogers.

To ride on anticipated high agricultural commodity prices, the veteran investor’s advice is to invest in futures contracts of, for instance, sugar. Or one may consider investing directly in plantation, like sugar cane plantations.

Although he foresees a climb in prices of agricultural commodities, he isn’t bullish on other commodities, like base and precious metal. “I own some gold but I am not buying gold now… I expect gold prices to go down in the next two to three years. I am waiting for the opportunity to buy gold, silver at cheaper prices later,” said Rogers.

With the belief of a strong rebound in prices of agricultural commodities, Rogers concurs with the investment strategy of taking an overweight position in such commodities over equities and bonds. “US equities and the European stock markets are at their all-time high … I won’t put my money there,” he quipped.

That said, he highlighted that while equities in the West are hitting record highs, some markets in Asia, for example China, are 40% below their all-time high, while the Japanese market is almost 50% below their record high. “I am still looking for shares to buy in China and in Japan,” he added.

Rising inflation

Rogers expects to see rising inflationary pressure when prices of agricultural commodities start climbing. In fact, he has noticed that inflationary pressure has been mounting but the meltdown of crude oil prices have, to a large extent, helped cushion the impact so far.

Read More @ TheEdgeMarkets.com

FREE SPEECH DEMONSTRATION SHUT DOWN DUE TO LACK OF PERMISSION FOR FREE SPEECH DEMONSTRATION

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by Joe Joseph, Daily Sheeple:

Yes, you read the title right… a FREE SPEECH demonstration was shut down because they didn’t get permission for something they had a right to do… Yep America… the land of the free… and the home of cognitive dissonance…

Read More @ TheDailySheeple.com

Silver Prices To Surge – JP Morgan Has Acquired A “Massive Quantity of Physical Silver”

by Mark O’Byrne, Goldcore:

Silver Prices To Surge – JP Morgan Has Acquired A “Massive Quantity of Physical Silver”

– JP Morgan continues to accumulate the biggest stockpile of physical silver in history
– “JPM now holds more than 133m oz -more than was held by the Hunt Bros” – Butler
– Silver hoard owned by JPM has increased from Zero ozs in 2011 to 120m ozs today
– Money managers showing more optimism towards silver through record buying

– “Near impossible to rule out an upside price surprise at any moment”

   Source: Sharelynx
Source: Sharelynx

 

Money managers are feeling increasingly optimistic about silver, against a backdrop of cautiousness regarding gold according to the latest Commitment of Traders (COT) report.

There has been some record buying in the last fortnight. The report shows some impressive moves given just under a month ago the silver market was net short. Last week speculative gross long positions in Comex silver futures rose by 11,920 contracts to 66,224. Whilst short positions fell by 10,379 contracts to 28,122. Silver’s net long positions now stand at 38,102 contracts.

For the current week’s reporting, the four largest traders are short 130 days of world silver production-and the ‘5 through 8’ large traders are short an additional 70 or so days of world silver production-for a total of 200 days. This is around seven months of global silver production.

JP Morgan are out Hunting the silver market

Much of this is attributed to JP Morgan, who according to respected silver analyst Ted Butler, is responsible for the ‘third great investment accumulation of physical silver’.

The silver market has been closely monitoring JP Morgan’s activities for some time. Since April 2011 the powerful bank has been accumulating silver at a quite a rate. It has taken its position from zero to nearly 120m ounces this month, less than six years later.

Butler explains:

‘Just about every ounce moved into the JPMorgan COMEX warehouse over the past 7 years has come from futures deliveries stopped (taken) by JPM in its own name. JPMorgan took delivery of 14 million ounces in December and so far, 13 million ounces have remained in the warehouses from which the metal was delivered. So this means that JPMorgan now holds more than 133 million ounces of silver in COMEX warehouses, or more than was held by the Hunt Bros or by Berkshire Hathaway at their peaks. There was a lot more silver in the world in 1980 and 1998 than there is today, meaning that JPMorgan’s accumulation is much more of an accomplishment than previous silver acquisitions.’

Why would JP Morgan be stockpiling silver? As we pointed out a few years ago, it may be the case that they are anticipating geopolitical and financial turmoil?

This would not come as a surprise to JP Morgan shareholders who have previously received such warnings from CEO Jamie Dimon who has stated ‘there will be another crisis’.

Dimon has even admitted that the trigger for the next crisis may not be the same trigger as the last one – but there will be another crisis:

“Triggering events could be geopolitical (the 1973 Middle East crisis), a recession where the Fed rapidly increases interest rates (the 1980-1982 recession), a commodities price collapse (oil in the late 1980s), the commercial real estate crisis (in the early 1990s), the Asian crisis (in 1997),so-called “bubbles” (the 2000 Internet bubble and the 2008 mortgage/housing bubble), etc. While the past crises had different roots (you could spend a lot of time arguing the degree to which geopolitical, economic or purely financial factors caused each crisis), they generally had a strong effect across the financial markets.”

Read More @ Goldcore.com

‘A Genuine Revolution of Values’…

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by Michael Krieger, Liberty Blitzkrieg:

Earlier today, I read Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s 1967 speech on Vietnam at Riverside Church. It was both uplifting and depressing.

Uplifting in the sense that he so eloquently expresses the timeless spirit necessary for humans to take the next evolutionary step forward into a more conscious paradigm. Depressing in the sense it’s crystal clear the American public quite spectacularly rejected his plea, further descending quite enthusiastically into a culture defined by depravity, violence and selfishness over the past 50 years.

While the entire speech is illuminating, the following paragraphs really connected with me on a deep level, as they reflect many of the themes I’ve been exploring over the past year or so.

A genuine revolution of values means in the final analysis that our loyalties must become ecumenical rather than sectional. Every nation must now develop an overriding loyalty to mankind as a whole in order to preserve the best in their individual societies. 

This call for a world-wide fellowship that lifts neighborly concern beyond one’s tribe, race, class and nation is in reality a call for an all-embracing and unconditional love for all men. This oft misunderstood and misinterpreted concept — so readily dismissed by the Nietzsches of the world as a weak and cowardly force — has now become an absolute necessity for the survival of man. When I speak of love I am not speaking of some sentimental and weak response. I am speaking of that force which all of the great religions have seen as the supreme unifying principle of life. Love is somehow the key that unlocks the door which leads to ultimate reality. This Hindu-Moslem-Christian-Jewish-Buddhist belief about ultimate reality is beautifully summed up in the first epistle of Saint John: 

Let us love one another; for love is God and everyone that loveth is born of God and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. If we love one another God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us.

Let us hope that this spirit will become the order of the day. We can no longer afford to worship the god of hate or bow before the altar of retaliation. The oceans of history are made turbulent by the ever-rising tides of hate. History is cluttered with the wreckage of nations and individuals that pursued this self-defeating path of hate. As Arnold Toynbee says : “Love is the ultimate force that makes for the saving choice of life and good against the damning choice of death and evil. Therefore the first hope in our inventory must be the hope that love is going to have the last word.” 

We are now faced with the fact that tomorrow is today. We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now. In this unfolding conundrum of life and history there is such a thing as being too late. Procrastination is still the thief of time. Life often leaves us standing bare, naked and dejected with a lost opportunity. The “tide in the affairs of men” does not remain at the flood; it ebbs. We may cry out deperately for time to pause in her passage, but time is deaf to every plea and rushes on. Over the bleached bones and jumbled residue of numerous civilizations are written the pathetic words: “Too late.” There is an invisible book of life that faithfully records our vigilance or our neglect. “The moving finger writes, and having writ moves on…” We still have a choice today; nonviolent coexistence or violent co-annihilation. 

We must move past indecision to action. We must find new ways to speak for peace in Vietnam and justice throughout the developing world — a world that borders on our doors. If we do not act we shall surely be dragged down the long dark and shameful corridors of time reserved for those who possess power without compassion, might without morality, and strength without sight.

Just because humanity hasn’t evolved yet, doesn’t mean it won’t. I have great expectations for our species in the decades to come, and the path forward starts and ends with each and every one of us taking responsibility for our minds and our actions.

Below is the entire speech for your appreciation.

 

Date: Tue, 4 May 1999 22:10:01 -0700 (PDT)
From: Art McGee <amcgee@igc.org>
Message-ID: <Pine.SUN.3.91.990504211258.5729A-100000@igc.apc.org>
Sender: owner-brc-news@igc.org
Subject: [BRC-NEWS] Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence
To: brc-news@igc.org

Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence

By Rev. Martin Luther King
4 April 1967

Speech delivered by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., on April 4, 1967, at a meeting of Clergy and Laity Concerned at Riverside Church in New York City

[Please put links to this speech on your respective web sites and if possible, place the text itself there. This is the least well known of Dr. King’s speeches among the masses, and it needs to be read by all]

http://www.ssc.msu.edu/~sw/mlk/brkslnc.htm

I come to this magnificent house of worship tonight because my conscience leaves me no other choice. I join with you in this meeting because I am in deepest agreement with the aims and work of the organization which has brought us together: Clergy and Laymen Concerned about Vietnam. The recent statement of your executive committee are the sentiments of my own heart and I found myself in full accord when I read its opening lines: “A time comes when silence is betrayal.” That time has come for us in relation to Vietnam.

The truth of these words is beyond doubt but the mission to which they call us is a most difficult one. Even when pressed by the demands of inner truth, men do not easily assume the task of opposing their government’s policy, especially in time of war. Nor does the human spirit move without great difficulty against all the apathy of conformist thought within one’s own bosom and in the surrounding world. Moreover when the issues at hand seem as perplexed as they often do in the case of this dreadful conflict we are always on the verge of being mesmerized by uncertainty; but we must move on.

Some of us who have already begun to break the silence of the night have found that the calling to speak is often a vocation of agony, but we must speak. We must speak with all the humility that is appropriate to our limited vision, but we must speak. And we must rejoice as well, for surely this is the first time in our nation’s history that a significant number of its religious leaders have chosen to move beyond the prophesying of smooth patriotism to the high grounds of a firm dissent based upon the mandates of conscience and the reading of history. Perhaps a new spirit is rising among us. If it is, let us trace its movement well and pray that our own inner being may be sensitive to its guidance, for we are deeply in need of a new way beyond the darkness that seems so close around us.

Over the past two years, as I have moved to break the betrayal of my own silences and to speak from the burnings of my own heart, as I have called for radical departures from the destruction of Vietnam, many persons have questioned me about the wisdom of my path. At the heart of their concerns this query has often loomed large and loud: Why are you speaking about war, Dr. King? Why are you joining the voices of dissent? Peace and civil rights don’t mix, they say. Aren’t you hurting the cause of your people, they ask? And when I hear them, though I often u
nderstand the source of their concern, I am nevertheless greatly saddened, for such questions mean that the inquirers have not really known me, my commitment or my calling. Indeed, their questions suggest that they do not know the world in which they live.

In the light of such tragic misunderstandings, I deem it of signal importance to try to state clearly, and I trust concisely, why I believe that the path from Dexter Avenue Baptist Church — the church in Montgomery, Alabama, where I began my pastorate — leads clearly to this sanctuary tonight.

I come to this platform tonight to make a passionate plea to my beloved nation. This speech is not addressed to Hanoi or to the National Liberation Front. It is not addressed to China or to Russia.

Nor is it an attempt to overlook the ambiguity of the total situation and the need for a collective solution to the tragedy of Vietnam. Neither is it an attempt to make North Vietnam or the National Liberation Front paragons of virtue, nor to overlook the role they can play in a successful resolution of the problem. While they both may have justifiable reason to be suspicious of the good faith of the United States, life and history give eloquent testimony to the fact that conflicts are never resolved without trustful give and take on both sides.

Tonight, however, I wish not to speak with Hanoi and the NLF, but rather to my fellow Americans, who, with me, bear the greatest responsibility in ending a conflict that has exacted a heavy price on both continents.

The Importance of Vietnam

Since I am a preacher by trade, I suppose it is not surprising that I have seven major reasons for bringing Vietnam into the field of my moral vision. There is at the outset a very obvious and almost facile connection between the war in Vietnam and the struggle I, and others, have been waging in America. A few years ago there was a shining moment in that struggle. It seemed as if there was a real promise of hope for the poor — both black and white — through the poverty program. There were experiments, hopes, new beginnings. Then came the buildup in Vietnam and I watched the program broken and eviscerated as if it were some idle political plaything of a society gone mad on war, and I knew that America would never invest the necessary funds or energies in rehabilitation of its poor so long as adventures like Vietnam continued to draw men and skills and money like some demonic destructive suction tube. So I was increasingly compelled to see the war as an enemy of the poor and to attack it as such.

Read More @ LibertyBlitzkrieg.com

Silver: Once and Future Money

by Jim Rickards, Daily Reckoning:

The Roman Republic and the later Roman Empire had gold coins called the aureus and solidus, but they also minted a popular silver coin called the denarius. One denarius was the daily wage for unskilled labor and Roman soldiers.

Of course, in the late Empire, the aureus, solidus and denarius were all debased by mixing the gold and silver with base metals. The decline of the Roman Empire went hand in hand with the decline of sound money.

In the early ninth century AD, Charlemagne greatly expanded silver coinage to compensate for a shortage of gold. This was successful in stimulating the economy of the predecessor of the Holy Roman Empire. In a sense, Charlemagne was the inventor of quantitative easing over 1,000 years ago. Silver was his preferred form of money.

Under the U.S. Coinage Act of 1792, both gold and silver coins were legal tender in the U.S. From 1794 to 1935, the U.S. Mint issued “silver dollars” in various designs. These were widely circulated and used as money by everyday Americans. The American dollar was legally defined as one ounce of silver.

The American silver dollar of the late eighteenth century was a copy of the earlier Spanish Real de a ocho minted by the Spanish Empire beginning in the late sixteenth century. The English name for the Spanish coin was the “piece of eight,” (ocho is the Spanish world for “eight”) because the coin could easily be divided into one-eighth pieces.

Until 2001 stock prices on the New York Stock Exchange were quoted in eighths and sixteenths based on the original Spanish silver coin and its one-eight sections.

Until 1935 U.S. silver coins were 90% pure silver with 10% copper alloy added for durability. After the U.S. Coinage Act of 1965, the silver content of half-dollars, quarters and dimes was reduced from 90% to 40% due to rising price of silver and hoarding by citizens who prized the valuable silver content of the older coins.

The new law signed by President Johnson in 1965 marked the end of true silver coinage by the U.S. Other legislation in 1968 ended the redeemability of old “silver certificates” (paper Treasury notes) for silver bullion.

Thereafter, U.S. coinage consisted of base metals and paper money that was not convertible into silver; (gold convertibility had already ended in 1933).

Let’s hope that the U.S. is not following in the footsteps of the Roman Empire in terms of a political decline coinciding with the substitution of base metals for true gold and silver coinage.

In 1986, the U.S. reintroduced silver coinage with a .999 pure silver one-ounce coin called the American Silver Eagle. However, this is not legal tender although it does carry a “one dollar” face value. The silver eagle is a bullion coin prized by investors and collectors for its silver content. But it is not money.

Who in their right mind would pay a full ounce of silver for goods or services worth only a buck?

In short, silver is as much a monetary metal as gold, and has just as good a pedigree when it comes to use in coinage. Silver has supported the economies of empires, kingdoms and nation states throughout history.

It should come as no surprise that percentage increases and decreases in silver and gold prices denominated in dollars are closely correlated.

Silver is more volatile than gold and is more difficult to analyze because it has far more industrial applications than gold. Silver is useful in engines, electronics and coatings.

Interestingly, gold is used very little other than as money in bullion form. Gold has some highly specialized uses for coating and ultra-thin wires, but these are a very small part of the gold market.

Read More @ DailyReckoning.com

CIA and the Assassination of Leaders Overseas

by Vladimir Platov, New Eastern Outlook:

The history of the US Central Intelligence Agency is replete with numerous examples of political assassinations, not only in the US, but also of leaders of countries Washington disagrees with. So today, the CIA has actively begun developing various methods for the deliberate elimination of the US’s newest political opponent, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, involving not only special forces in this task, but also the special services of countries that cooperate closely with the CIA.

Evidence of this, in particular, can be found in the $310,000 of the country’s defense budget for 2018, officially laid out by the South Korean government; the cost of eliminating North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un. These funds will be spent on training and equipping a special “decapitation unit” dedicated to the North Korean leadership, the creation of which became known on December 1. The squad will include about one thousand commandos, whose task in the event of a war will be to find and kill Kim Jong-un and other top leaders of the neighboring state. As a source in the Ministry of Defense of the Republic of Korea told the newspaper Korea Herald, the squad’s special equipment will include drones, suicide bombers, reconnaissance drones and even heavy grenade launchers. The structure and training plans of the squad are classified, but according to the information of the South Korean media, the soldiers of the new squad will train according to methodology used by the US special purpose team SEAL Team Six, which assassinated Osama bin Laden.

At the same time, it should be remembered that an attempt to create a special squad in South Korea in 1968 with similar goals ended in tragedy. At the time, 31 South Korean criminals were promised a pardon if the squad they formed killed Kim Il-sung. The group underwent intensive training, during which three people were killed, and in the end they were sent on rubber boats to the DPRK, but halfway were recalled. The prisoners were not released, the exhausting training continued, and the date of the new operation was set. In 1971, members of the squad rebelled, killed their instructors, tried to get to Seoul and, when they were blocked by the army, blew themselves up with grenades. The four survivors were later executed. In 2003 the South Korean film “Silmido” was made about this tragic episode.

Such radical plans to get rid of political opponents are hardly surprising, especially when these plans are developed and supervised by the CIA, which is adept in these matters. And it’s no wonder that even the director of the US Central Intelligence Agency, Mike Pompeo, spoke in October at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies forum in Washington, saying that if the CIA liquidates the leader of the DPRK, Kim Jong-un, he would not acknowledge involvement of American agents in the assassination.

Everyone knows that in order to maintain their dominance, the US stops at nothing, including the murders of undesirables. During the 50s and 60s, they killed the largest number of foreign leaders and public figures who were fighting not for communism, but for their countries’ national independence. Then came a certain lull, connected both with the policy of “detente” and with scandalous exposures of the CIA’s activities by the Senate Commission of F. Church in 1975. The committee’s conclusions about the illegal activities of American intelligence services (in particular, evidence of murders and numerous attempts on the lives of foreign statesmen) led to the adoption by US President J. Ford of an order banning “officially sanctioned” murders of foreign leaders. However, in 1981 this presidential decree was overturned by Reagan, and the list of victims began to grow rapidly once again.

After numerous media discussions, longstanding interest is not letting up in the secret of Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez’s fast-developing infection and subsequent death with a new form of biological weapon: a cancer virus and the American special services’ involvement in this.

However, another highly strange and inexplicable fact (other than the special operation of the US special services), is that, besides Hugo Chavez, a number of other Latin American leaders, clearly disliked by Washington, “unexpectedly” fell ill with cancer all at the same time. Among them were Argentine President Nestor Kirchner (succeeded by Christine Kirchner), Brazilian President I. Lula da Silva (after whom Dilma Roussef came to power), and Paraguayan President Fernando Lugo (who was overthrown during the CIA’s coup d’état in 2012; shortly thereafter he was diagnosed with cancer). It is also curious that after the conservative and pro-American president of Colombia, Juan Manuel Santos, began peace talks with the partisans of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), he also “unexpectedly” contracted cancer.

Venezuelan writer Luis Brito Garcia counted more than 900 attempts on the life of Cuban leader Fidel Castro organized by the CIA. And in the last years of his life, Castro also suffered a mysterious oncological bowel disease, which struck him after the 2006 “People’s Summit” in the Argentine city of Cordoba.

We also recall the very strange death of former Palestinian President (PLO) Yasser Arafat, who suffered … leukemia in 2004.

It is also not unreasonable to cite WikiLeaks’ revelations that in 2008 the CIA asked its embassy in Paraguay to collect biometric data, including DNA, of all four presidential candidates. With knowledge of a person’s DNA code, it is easy to develop an oncogene for each individual. And if we assume that such data were obtained on the eve of the elections in Brazil, then Dilma Roussef’s cancer, contracted in 2009, fits perfectly into this theory.

So, in addition to forceful options for eliminating political opponents (as, in particular, happened with Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein or Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi), it is unlikely that the CIA would be above infecting them with cancer viruses. Moreover, similar experiments have been conducted for a long time in the secret laboratories of the CIA, where they became a “military trophy of the American special services” based on the brutal concentration camp human experimentation of Josef Mengele, and before that “on the experience” of the American, Cornelius “Doctor Death” Rhoads. This pathologist from the Rockefeller Institute of Medical Research started work in Puerto Rico and became a “pioneer” in virtually all areas of the creation of new technologies for killing people, from chemical and biological methods to radiation. With funding from the Rockefeller Institute, he conducted experiments in Puerto Rico in the early 30s infecting people with cancer cells, which work was conducted inside a secret “Building No. 439″.

Read More @ Journal-NEO.org
 

The Origin of the Separation of Church and State

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by Jeff Thomas, International Man:

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…”

Americans can be justifiably proud of their founding fathers’ insistence on a separation of Church and State. And, yet, surprisingly, very few Americans seem to understand what their founding fathers meant by this concept.

Conservative politicians take pride is saying that the US is, primarily, a Christian nation and that their Christian forefathers fought King George in order to have the freedom to practice Christianity as they saw fit.

Liberal politicians tend to take an opposing view—that separation of Church and State means that the concept of God has no place in government. In fact, some go so far as to say that landmarks, such as a plaque stating that George Washington attended a specific church, should be removed, as it compromises the separation of Church and State.

Unfortunately, both these groups have got it wrong.

So, let’s take a step back and have a look at what caused Thomas Jefferson to repeatedly insist that the separation be implemented in the US Constitution.

Mister Jefferson attended the College of William & Mary, where he received the university customary education, but went on to study law privately under George Wythe in Williamsburg, Virginia. Mister Wythe was not only his teacher, but his mentor, a man in his latter years who not only imparted knowledge to the young Jefferson, but wisdom. He frequented the Raleigh Tavern with his pupil, but additionally brought him to banquets at the mansion of Governor Fauquier, in an effort to expand his outlook. 

I believe that it’s safe to say that, when Mister Jefferson completed his education at age thirty-four, he had both the energy and imagination of youth and the wisdom of the elders at his command. The former gave him his drive and the latter provided him with the farsightedness that guided the writing of the American Constitution and the future direction of the new nation.

George Wythe lived conveniently next door to the Governor. (His home is still there today, as is his small study where he taught the future president.) On the other side of his home was Bruton Parish Church. In the 18th Century, one could not be elected to office unless he was a member of the Church of England. As Attorney General, Mister Wythe tolerated this, but taught his pupil that, as a free man, he should not be required to be an Anglican.

To add insult to injury, Mister Jefferson was not a Christian, but a Deist, as were several others of the founding fathers. He did believe in his own form of a God and even referred to him in the first sentence of the Declaration of Independence, but did not ascribe to him the power of miracles and omnipotence, as described in the Bible.

In addition, he regarded Jesus as an admirable human being, but did not regard him as anything more. (In later years, he would create his own Bible, by removing much of what he considered to be latter-day additions to the King James Bible, leaving little more than the words of Jesus.)

In spite of his beliefs, Mister Jefferson was required to be a (paid-up) member of the Anglican Church in order to sit in the House of Burgesses, and he chafed at this requirement.

However, he was a deep believer in the concept of God as a being with both consciousness and conscience, who he believed took no direct part in the affairs of man, but did create all men as equals and therefore entitled them to “certain unalienable Rights.”

But he saw the Church differently. He regarded it as a political organization, controlled by the King, intended to dictate morals and acceptable behaviour.

Read More @ InternationalMan.com

Skynet Now: Pentagon Deploys Terrorist-Hunting Artificial Intelligence

by Jake Anderson, Activist Post:

Someday, future sentient artificial intelligence (AI) systems may reflect on their early indentured servitude for the human military-industrial complex with little to no nostalgia. But we’ll worry about that when the day comes. For now, let’s continue writing algorithms that conscript machine intelligence into terrorist bombings and let the chips fall where they may. The most recent disclosure comes directly from the Pentagon, where after only 8 months of development a small team of intel analysts has effectively deployed an AI into the battlefield in control of weaponized systems to hunt for terrorists.

The military minds in charge of this new form of warfare feel it is nothing less than the future of armed conflicts. For example, Air Force Lt. Gen. John N.T. “Jack” Shanahan, director for defense intelligence for warfighter support and the Pentagon general in charge of the terrorist-hunting AI, says Project Maven – the name given to the flagship weaponized AI system at the Defense Department — is “prototype warfare” but also a glimpse of the future.

“What we’re setting the stage for is a future of human-machine teaming. [However], this is not machines taking over,” Shanahan added. “This is not a technological solution to a technological problem. It’s an operational solution to an operational problem.”

Originally called the Algorithmic Warfare Cross-Functional Team when it was approved for funding back in April, Project Maven has moved quickly, and many in the Pentagon think we will see more AI projects in the pipeline as the United States continues to compete with Russia and China for AI dominance.

Shanahan’s team used thousands of hours of archived Middle East drone bombing footage to “train” the AI to effectively differentiate between humans and inanimate objects and, on a more granular level, to differentiate between types of objects. The AI was paired with Minotaur, a Navy and Marine Corps “correlation and georegistration application.”

“Once you deploy it to a real location, it’s flying against a different environment than it was trained on,” Shanahan said. “Still works of course … but it’s just different enough in this location, say that there’s more scrub brush or there’s fewer buildings or there’s animals running around that we hadn’t seen in certain videos. That is why it’s so important in the first five days of a real-world deployment to optimize or refine the algorithm.”

Right now, Project Maven is intended to give military analysts more of a situational awareness on the battlefield. But could we one day see autonomous drones controlled by even more powerful AI algorithms given total control on the battlefield?

Shanahan wants to embed AI into military systems and operations across the board, and he’s not alone in calling for near ubiquity of AI adoption. A recent report from the Harvard Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs makes the case that we will see a dramatic overhaul of militaries across the world as they implement AI technology in the next five years.

“We argue that the use of robotic and autonomous systems in both warfare and the commercial sector is poised to increase dramatically,” the report states. “Initially, technological progress will deliver the greatest advantages to large, well-funded and technologically sophisticated militaries, just as Unmanned Aerial Vehicles and Unmanned Ground Vehicles did in U.S. military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

As prices fall, states with budget-constrained and less technologically advanced militaries will adopt the technology, as will non-state actors.

Read More @ ActivistPost.com

Artificial Intelligence – Extermination of Humanity

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from BATR:

The confusion about AI stems from the different perceptions of exactly what it means. A widely accepted definition indicates that Artificial Intelligence is the capability of a machine to imitate intelligent human behavior. The far more exoteric interpretations of its meaning can be speculated ad infinitum. Despite this lack of consensus the implications from the effect of AI upon humanity is incontestable. Everyone is familiar with the understanding of components that make up the human species, but who among us can guarantee that the consistent nature of man will continue into the future?  

Dylan Love wrote back in 2014 the essay, By 2045 ‘The Top Species Will No Longer Be Humans,’ And That Could Be A Problem that cited the words of Louis Del Monte, physicist, entrepreneur, and author of “The Artificial Intelligence Revolution.”

“Today there’s no legislation regarding how much intelligence a machine can have, how interconnected it can be. If that continues, look at the exponential trend. We will reach the singularity in the timeframe most experts predict. From that point on you’re going to see that the top species will no longer be humans, but machines.”

“By the end of this century,” he continued, “most of the human race will have become cyborgs [part human, part tech or machine]. The allure will be immortality. Machines will make breakthroughs in medical technology, most of the human race will have more leisure time, and we’ll think we’ve never had it better. The concern I’m raising is that the machines will view us as an unpredictable and dangerous species.”

Del Monte believes machines will become self-conscious and have the capabilities to protect themselves. They “might view us the same way we view harmful insects.” Humans are a species that “is unstable, creates wars, has weapons to wipe out the world twice over, and makes computer viruses.” Hardly an appealing roommate.

With all the challenging cultural visions of the past and the visitations of ancient aliens that has become the popular rage over the last several decades, it is impossible to dismiss the unknown as irrelevant. A basic theme put forth in all these scenarios is that advanced technology has played a significant part in the development and survival of the human genesis. Be that as it may, the development of the AI technology already bypassed the concept of imitating intelligent human behavior and is approaching a surpassing and uncontrollable matrix that has profound incompatibilities with the humble human condition.

Matt Chessen is a U.S. diplomat, technologist and American author who served in some of the most challenging assignments in the Foreign Service wrote, Artificial Intelligence will be the end of humanity, but not for the reason you think. This backdrop shares a bleak description of the cyber utopian planet.

The theories for oblivion generally fall into the following categories (and they miss the true danger). They are: 

  •         Military AIs run amok: AIs decide that humans are a threat and set out to exterminate them. Terminator, Skynet, etc. You’ve seen the movies (Key lesson: don’t build Skynet).
  •        The AI optimization apocalypse: AI’s decide that the best way to optimize some process, their own survival, spam reduction, whatever, is to eliminate the human race. (Key lesson: don’t create unbounded optimization algorithms).
  •       The resource race: AIs decide that they want more and more computing power, and the needs of meager Earthlings are getting in the way. The AI destroys humanity and converts all the resources, biomass — all the mass of the Earth actually — into computing substrate. (Key lesson: don’t program a megalomaniacal AI or let it outside its box). ((Also somewhat irrelevant as advanced AI intelligences will likely try to get super-small for efficiency.))
  •       Unknowable motivations: AI’s develop some unknown motivation that only supremely intelligent beings can understand and humans are in the way of their objective, so they eliminate us. The analogy of the anthill and the superhighway applies here — ants can’t conceive what a superhighway is or why humans need one, and humans have no compunctions about bulldozing the anthill to build a superhighway. See WaitButWhy for more. (Key lesson: air gap your superintelligent AIs)  

Mr. Chessen’s warning may not take into effect the basic urge for individual self-preservation. His conclusion follows.

Here it is: Artificial Intelligence will facilitate the creation of artificial realities — custom virtual universes — that are so indistinguishable from reality, most human beings will choose to spend their lives in these virtual worlds rather than in the real world. People won’t breed. Humanity will die off.

While this finale may appeal to those who retain a minimum of rational self-respect, the human race as a whole, never acted as the embodiment of intelligent within a benign paradise. The projected demographics from the Current World Population Info data are alarming. Check out the chart where “World Population has reached 7 billion on October 31, 2011, is projected to reach 8 billion in 2023, 9 billion in 2037, and 10 billion people in the year 2055.”

It is not inconceivable that most people alive today will live to see the eleven figure hordes of mostly improvised and subsistence level economic slaves reach that milestone of Malthusian unsustainability. Is there any mentally balanced proponent of AI that would forecast that artificial intelligence technology will bring about prosperity to the entire planet? 

Surely, a virtual reality connected to a Twitter social network, delivered through an Amazon drone after a Google triggers the order and paid with Bitcoin is unrealistic for a global economy.    

What possible range of products and services could emerge to employ so many competing workplace positions? Since AI is to replace the mundane functions of the underemployed, what exactly will they engage in to earn a living? If the alternative is a universal guaranteed income, will the underlying money be debt created into existence or will it simply be allocated by the cyborgs gatekeepers, who will distribute a livelihood to the masses?

Even if the proponents of AI believe they can install a shut down button in the chips that operate the older generation of artificial intelligence, what happens when the ether zone organisms cross into an undiscovered dimension and generates into an incomprehensible genus being?

How applicable would that eminent Star Trek Prime Directive be when the Bread and Circuses are already defined by the sentinel of specie utopia?

“No identification of self or mission; no interference with the social development of said planet; no references to space, other worlds, or advanced civilizations.”

Such reasonable sentiments sound encouraging for mere mortals, but would they ever apply to a machine that does not have a soul?

Face the existential reality of an aspired confluence with an android in the search of immorality. Those that see transhumanism as the liberator from original sin already reject the Creator because they see themselves as gods in the techno ethos of Mount Olympia as they dismiss that their savior will return to the Mount of Olives.

Louis Del Monte offers this admonition in Nanoweapons: A Growing Threat to Humanity – Louis A. Del Monte as he describes the most deadly generation of military weapons the world has ever encountered.

“With dimensions one-thousandth the diameter of a single strand of human hair, this technology threatens to eradicate humanity as it incites world governments to compete in the deadliest arms race ever.”

He poses this query, “Will it be possible to develop, deploy, and use nanoweapons in warfare without rendering humanity extinct?”

With the ontogenesis of artificial intelligence, where is the public outrage against the systematic surrender of human dominion over our temporal world? Such questions should have definitive responses. Imagine a DARPA army of AI generals commanding stormtroopers equipped with nanoweapons. The notion that battles will be fought against other metamorphic warriors is absurd on the face of the proposition.

However, that is exactly where the fog of war is going. Even more ridiculous is that a command structure can be put in place to control the deliverance of death. The enemy for such legions of these utopian Archimedes war machines would claw their way and use their death rays on their inventors.

AI provides the means for self-annihilation. The exponential expansion of the population presents the incentive to eradicate massive proportions of marginal inhabitants. This assessment may never appear in political press releases, but by the standards of ruthless conquerors and dictators, human kind where in the past and still to this day, are expendable.

Read More @ BATR.org

The Fascinating Psychology of Blowoff Tops

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by Charles Hugh Smith, Of Two Minds:

Central banks have guaranteed a bubble collapse is the only possible output of the system they’ve created.

The psychology of blowoff tops in asset bubbles is fascinating: let’s start with the first requirement of a move qualifying as a blowoff top, which is the vast majority of participants deny the move is a blowoff top.

Exhibit 1: a chart of the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJ-30):

Is there any other description of this parabolic ascent other than “blowoff top” that isn’t absurdly misleading? Can anyone claim this is just a typical Bull market? There is nothing even remotely typical about the record RSI (relative strength index), record Bull-Bear ratio, and so on, especially after a near-record run of 9 years.

The few who do grudgingly acknowledge this parabolic move might be a blowoff top are positive that it has many more months to run. This is the second requirement of qualifying as a blowoff top: the widespread confidence that the Bull advance has years more to run, and if not years, then many months.

In the 1999 dot-com blowoff top, participants believed the Internet would grow at phenomenal rates for years to come, and thus the parabolic move higher was fully rational.

In the housing bubble’s 2006-07 blowoff top, a variety of justifications of soaring valuations and frantic flipping were accepted as self-evident.

In the present blowoff top, the received wisdom holds that global growth is just getting started, and corporate profits will soar in 2018. Therefore current sky-high valuations are not just rational, they clearly have plenty of room to rise much higher.

Skeptics are derided as perma-bears who’ve been wrong for 9 long years. This is the third requirement of qualifying as a blowoff top: Bears and other skeptics are mocked and/or dismissed as irrelevant.

Meanwhile, observers who haven’t drunk the punch recognize this as the final leg of a 9-year orgy of central bank stimulus. Pump $14 trillion into global financial assets and all sorts of wonderful things happen, especially if the central banks make it clear in public statements that they will “do whatever it takes,” i.e. assets will not be allowed to decline.

Consider the psychology in play: central bankers have sought to convince private-sector players that central banks will never let markets decline, and so the smart strategy was to buy the dips, and buy every new high–in essence buy, buy, buy and don’t bother hedging long positions, as there was no need to squander money on hedges against declines that would never happen.

Now the central banks are facing runaway asset bubbles that are the direct consequence of their promoting the belief that “central banks will never let markets go down.”

Read More @ OfTwoMinds.com