from Sarah Westall:
by Hunter Lewis, Mises:
George Monbiot, popular Guardian columnist, beacon light of global environmentalism, is also the kind of progressive who insists on seeing the world as he wishes it were and not as it really is. Wearing these kind of blinders will not help us get a better environment or better world.
In his latest column, Monbiot states that: “The forces that threaten to destroy our wellbeing are… the same everywhere: primarily the lobbying power of big business and big money, which perceive the administrative state as an impediment to their immediate interests.”
This is nonsense. Big business and big money, along with other special interests, such as Big labor and Big law and Big education, and all the other “ Bigs” absolutely love the “administrative state” because they have learned how to control it and use it for their own self-interest.
This is the “ progressive paradox” that Monbiot resolutely ignores: the more the state increases its powers over the economy, the more motivated special interests become to take control of the state in order to thwart genuine market competition. The resulting corruption just gets worse and worse.
Has Monbiot ever considered what persuaded enough voters to hold their noses and choose Trump? It was not that the administrative state provided honest government under the prior administration. Nor was the prior administration making any effort to hold back the power of special interests in Washington.
Two examples will suffice. In the “fiscal cliff” bill, President Obama achieved his long sought objective of increasing taxes on the rich. But in the same bill, passed at midnight, he snuck in subsidies for his own corporate supporters. These subsidies added up to more money than the additional taxes on the rich could possibly generate. In total, taxes on the rich did not really go up. It is just that some money was extracted from some rich people and more was given to others. The green energy subsidies in the Stimulus Bill were similar; they went largely to campaign donors.
Monbiot does not trouble himself with any of this. In his worldview, more government is always better and always better for the environment. What he does not consider is that if progressives had delivered honest government for the past few decades of economic and environmental bubble and bust, Trump would never have been elected, and the particular special interests cheering his dismantlement of environmental protections would never have seized control of the Environmental Protection Agency.
Monbiot even manages to work in a condemnation of Brexit in his article. In his view, Britain leaving the EU will make it more difficult to solve its environmental challenges. But, again, this ignores what led to Brexit. It was the dismantlement of European democratic control of government, along with the deep corruption of the bureaucrats in Brussels, who have for years been selling their flood of minute regulations to the highest special interest bidder, which led to a slight majority of the British people throwing up their hands in disgust and passing Brexit.
Progressives as a group cannot fix a problem they refuse to acknowledge. Monbiot is far from alone in his refusal to face facts.
Read More @ Mises.org
by Bill Bonner, International Man:
On a trip to India a few years ago, the financial press was very eager to hear what I had to say.
They invited me on their television shows. They interviewed me for magazines and newspapers. The local paper ran a full-page interview and sent out an artist to do a sketch of me.
I thought they might have had me mixed up with someone else. I’m not used to people taking me so seriously.
“Noted Western Economist Gloomy on World Recovery,” was the headline in the paper.
In all these interviews, I had more or less the same message. I told them that the recovery was largely fake, since it was purchased with fake money and depended on fake interest rates.
Stock prices would fall, I said. The property markets in the U.S. and Britain would sink further. There would be some spectacular bankruptcies – including some bankruptcies by nations.
The one thing that Indian investors seemed most interested in… and I assume you are interested in, too… was my new “Trade of the Decade.”
But I’m not going to give you a typical investment analysis or a target for GDP growth or for the Dow for this. Instead, I’m going to talk to you about history and philosophy.
I hope that’s OK.
I had great luck with my first Trade of the Decade around the turn of the millennium. I recommended selling U.S. stocks and buying gold. It worked out very well on both sides.
[Editor’s Note: Gold went on to become the best-performing asset class of the decade, soaring over 500%. And when the financial crisis hit between 2007-2009, the Dow plummeted 54%.]
So people wanted to know what my trade would be for the next decade. I gave it some thought and came up with something. I thought this one would work out, too…
But first, let me explain how it works. Behind the Trade of the Decade is a simple observation: things that are out of whack tend to get back into whack. Over a 10-year period, you have a fair chance that they’ll return to normal.
This is another way of describing the phenomenon known as reversion to the mean. One of the surest phenomena in the natural world is that things that are extraordinary will eventually become less extraordinary. And over a 10-year period, you have a decent chance that that’s what will happen.
So what’s my Trade of the Decade for 2010-2020?
At the time I started my second trade, the U.S. Treasury market was out of whack. It had been going up since 1983. Investors were lending money to the world’s biggest debtor at what were historically ultra-low interest rates. And they did this at a time when that debtor was engaged in the biggest borrowing and spending spree in history.
This was not normal. It was downright weird.
I figured that, sometime before 2020, the Treasury market would get whacked hard. So on one side of the trade… I’m short U.S. Treasurys.
On the other side of the trade, I had more trouble. Because I was looking for something to buy. And nothing was cheap.
Even gold… which I expected to go up much higher… was not cheap. As near as I could tell, an ounce of gold bought about as much – in terms of consumer products – as it did 700 years ago… and maybe even as much as it bought 2,000 years ago.
Gold had already reverted to the mean, after being seriously undervalued in 1999. Now, most likely, I figured it would become overvalued when the current monetary system began to break up.
But that’s a different phenomenon. It’s not reversion to the mean, at least, not for gold. It’s a reversion to the mean of the monetary system… I’ll get to that in a moment.
What I needed for the buy side of the trade was something that was historically undervalued. Which led me to Japanese small-cap stocks, which had been going down since 1989.
So that was the new Trade of the Decade. Sell U.S. Treasurys. Buy Japanese small caps.
But I’m going to give you an even better Trade of the Decade. The problem for non-Japanese investors is that the small caps may go up… but if the yen goes down, you might lose your gains…
So how about this?
Read More @ InternationalMan.com
by James Holbrooks, Activist Post:
During his first State of the Union address on Tuesday, Donald Trump pledged the United States would continue its “campaign of maximum pressure” against North Korea. Meanwhile, the Washington Post ran an opinion piece written by the man who was, until recently, set to become the U.S. ambassador to South Korea.
Victor Cha, a professor at Georgetown University and senior adviser at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, had reportedly passed all U.S. security checks, and South Korea had signed off on him.
It was expected — and for the government in Seoul, hoped — that Trump would soon formally nominate Cha for Senate approval. But over the weekend, it was reported that the White house informed Cha he was no longer being considered for the post.
Sources say the move was motivated by Cha’s disagreement with the Trump administration’s policy on North Korea. In particular, these sources say, the would-be ambassador took issue with the White House considering a preemptive strike against the Hermit Kingdom.
Writing for the Washington Post on Tuesday, Cha stated that the answer to the North Korean question “is not, as some Trump administration officials have suggested, a preventive military strike.”
Rather, Cha wrote, there are options available to address the threat “without escalating into a war that would likely kill tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of Americans.”
Cha, who previously served in the administration of George W. Bush, wrote that he expressed his concerns over North Korea policy while he was being considered for the Seoul ambassadorship.
The Georgetown professor went on to question the logic of the “bloody nose” strategy, meant to shock leader Kim Jong-un and make him think twice about his nuclear ambitions:
If we believe that Kim is undeterrable without such a strike, how can we also believe that a strike will deter him from responding in kind? And if Kim is unpredictable, impulsive and bordering on irrational, how can we control the escalation ladder, which is premised on an adversary’s rational understanding of signals and deterrence?
Cha noted that on any given day, there are around 230,000 Americans in South Korea and another 90,000 in neighboring Japan. He pointed out that if North Korea were to retaliate against a preemptive strike, those citizens “would most likely have to hunker down until the war was over.”
He also noted that unlike Japan, South Korea lacks sufficient missile defense systems to counter a barrage of artillery from the North, meaning Americans there, as well as millions of South Koreans, would be vulnerable:
To be clear: The president would be putting at risk an American population the size of a medium-size U.S. city — Pittsburgh, say, or Cincinnati — on the assumption that a crazy and undeterrable dictator will be rationally cowed by a demonstration of U.S. kinetic power.
Regardless of such warnings, Trump remained adamant that the Kim regime poses a substantial threat to the U.S. while speaking before Congress on Tuesday. After claiming his administration has been tough on authoritarian nations, Trump zeroed in on North Korea in his State of the Union Address:
But no regime has oppressed its own citizens more totally or brutally than the cruel dictatorship in North Korea. North Korea’s reckless pursuit of nuclear missiles could very soon threaten our homeland. We are waging a campaign of maximum pressure to prevent that from ever happening.
Continuing, the president suggested the U.S. “need only look at the depraved character of the North Korean regime to understand the nature of the nuclear threat it could pose to America and to our allies.”
This aspect of the president’s State of the Union Address — Trump’s focus on the character of North Korea as opposed to the country’s nuclear weapons program — already has some speculating that the White House may be preparing for actual war.
Read More @ ActivistPost.com
by Karl Denninger, Market Ticker:
Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 200,000 in January, and the unemployment rate was unchanged at 4.1 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Employment continued to trend up in construction, food services and drinking places, health care, and manufacturing.
Well, that doesn’t sound so bad. What’s the inside look like?
As expected, January was a firing month; the non-adjusted figures show a drop in employment of 754,000. This is normal, I remind you, since January is when all the seasonal workers from this holiday called “Christmas” are let go, and of course instead of reporting actual numbers the Bureau of Lies and Scams applies their “seasonal adjustments” so as to make it all sound better. Over the last year, however, the unadjusted numbers show 2.3 million jobs added, which doesn’t sound too bad at all, until you realize that 600,000 of them, more or less, were split between extraction in the “health care” ripoff and places to get drunk. At least the latter, when you hand over your money, is both voluntary and pleasurable.
Of note 513,000 people gave up last month, adding to the not in labor force figure. On a 12-month basis that’s added 1.3 million parasites to the economy, many of whom are collecting “disability” checks while running marathons.
I used to print this chart every month but stopped because nobody cared. It’s the truth, however, when adjusted for population and yet those cheerleading for various “job gains” on both sides of the political aisle have never, in my roughly 10- year history of publishing this series every month, held any elected official to account for it. You can see that in the 2017 year Trump did enjoy a few months of positive rate-of-change figures on this basis, remembering that it’s a 12-month rolling figure, and thus has zerosensitivity to so-called “seasonal adjustments” (in other words, the BLS can’t lie their way out of this one for political purposes and neither can a candidate or office-holder.) However, what is also clear is that there were massive and perhaps intentional distortions in the data over the last 12 months because with the annual adjustments we now know the run rate is in fact negative — that is, THERE HAS BEEN AN ACTUAL RATE OF JOB LOSS OVER THE LAST 12 MONTHS WHEN POPULATION EXPANSION IS CONSIDERED.
Read More @ Market-Ticker.org
by Phil Butler, New Eastern Outlook:
I’ll admit it, I have come to enjoy defending Russian President Vladimir Putin to readers. It’s the easiest job in the world, you know? One thing that makes deriding Putin opponents so easy is the fact that after four years of constant mudslinging, the ultimate villain remains unscathed. Yes, Putin makes political analysis of the current geo-political mess easy work. It’s too bad more people in the west don’t pay attention. Here’s the latest light work from my desktop.
The New York Times headline read, “Russians Brave Icy Temperatures to Protest Putin and Election.” And I thought out loud, “Hell, Russians brave icy temperatures to walk their dogs every morning. What’s so brave about that?” But the headline is catchy, I’ll hand it to the Putin hating dynamic duo of Neil MacFarquhar and Ivan Nechepurenko. Once again, the sellout western press refuses to surrender its stupendous assault on logic and our senses. And the criminal and blogger, who shall henceforth go unnamed by me, called on his throng of disciples (blog readers and Pussy Riot fans) to rise up like the Bolsheviks, to take back Russia for the Rothschilds. Like I said, my job gets easier and easier. According to the mighty NYTs, the blogger who would be Russia’s salvation recorded a message for his heroic horde of dissenters. It went something like this:
“Every additional year of Putin staying in power is one more year of decay.”
Really? As if every Russian on Earth does not realize where their country’s economic problems emanated from! Russians with Putin are 1,000 times better off than if they were just another Eastern European “democracy” feeding fat Germans and Hollanders. Like bad pennies, MacFarquhar and Nechepurenko keep turning up like an uninvited gay couple at a heterosexual wedding. If I did not know better I’d say they both possess a double dose of Putin envy, this based on their continual missed steps in reporting on what the world’s most famous Russian is up to. But I am not here to discuss MacFarquhar playing the man-part, or his colleague riding a big-green toy choo-choo train in his Twitter pic. It seems to me though, that a disproportionate number of anti-Putin people are gay, aren’t they? The blogger in question, Putin’s toughest foe according to everybody from Bloomberg to the Wall Street Journal, he’s got some real winners on his side. But let’s move on to other headlines, just to reveal how my job of debunking idiots has become child’s play.
CBS Sports has even been called up by the western oligarchs, to do their political duty and hammer on Putin. Yes, you guessed it, “Remembering the time Vladimir Putin stole Robert Kraft’s Super Bowl ring,” it recollects the claims the Russian president took the Patriots owner’s 2005 Super Bowl ring. The story tells of the NFL New England Patriots very own oligarch, Robert Kraft whining about Putin “stealing” his ring, when in reality he gave it to the Russian president then went “Indian giver” on account of the new Russophobia. I recall Kraft standing with Vladimir Putin and the world’s crookedest media mogul, Rupert Murdoch. Oh, and how can believe a man whose team cheated in the Super Bowl, anyhow. The image is here, see for yourself. And just to show how stupid Kraft is, his retailing of the story reflects Russia as still being the Soviet Union. One has to wonder how such nincompoops become billionaires. Again, proving author Pete Blackburn should stick to reporting touchdown dances in the end zone instead of trying to drive traffic to his column using Putin – it’s easy pickings for me.
Last, but not least, every bit of storyline you read about Russia’s famous president bears the stench of vested interest, one way or another. Take this Houston Chronicle story about a Russian natural gas shipment arriving in Boston last week. Why would a Houston newspaper be interested in an LNG shipment to Boston? First, the Houston Chronicle needs more Texas pipeline and ports authority readers and fans. Secondly, the newspaper is owned by Hearst Corporation, which makes most of its money, not from the sale of newspapers, movies, or TV shows, but from business information systems like; First Databank, Homecare Homebase, MOTOR Information Systems, and Fitch Ratings. “How?” you ask, does a Houston Chronicle story affect profits for Hearst Corporation endeavors in financial information business? I’ll leave you to figure out how such levers are pulled. Suffice it to say there’s money in bashing Putin at every turn. Here’s a Fitch Ratings report on sanctions and Russian LNG from December, just to get your started.
Read More @ Journal-NEO.org
by Shepard Ambellas, Intellihub:
LAS VEGAS (INTELLIHUB) — The Coroner finally released the autopsy for the 58 victims but not for the alleged shooter Stephen Paddock after a judge ruled that the coroner release all the documents and pay $32,000 in legal fees.
Not only did the coroner drag his feet and release the autopsy reports late Wednesday but all of the names are redacted in the reports and there is no mention of ballistic data, bullet caliber, or trajectories. Although, the report does state that recovered bullet fragments were turned over to the police.
Moreover, against public law, the coroner has still not released the autopsy report for “Stephen Paddock” after an Intellihub article definitively proved the body recovered in Mandalay Bay room 32-135 was not Paddock’s. In fact, the coroner claims that he still has to “finalize” the report despite the fact the autopsy was conducted.
Read More @ Intellihub.com
by Nick Turse, The Intercept:
OUT IN THE cocoa-colored wastes of north-central Niger, people have been running around in circles. Exactly who has been jogging or walking around this compound outside the town of Arlit is unclear. But there’s a good chance it has something to do with U.S. Africa Command’s “Analysis Office” there, the existence of which was disclosed in 2016 contracting documents.
Not far away, people have been running round and round in a compound near the airfield in Agadez, Niger, where the U.S. military is building a $100 million drone base. There has also been a significant amount of movement going on around the airport in Gao, Mali, where the U.S. military established an outpost in the early 2010s. And Garoua, Cameroon, the site of a U.S. drone base, is also aglow with the digital evidence of many past runs, according to an online interactive map that shows the routes of people who use fitness devices, such as Fitbit.
To the east, the airport in Faya-Largeau, Chad, turns out to be a fitness hotspot. The digital signatures might have been generated by French forces who have operated there, but it also might have something to do with the fact that, according to formerly secret 2014 AFRICOM documents, the U.S. military has a “contingency location” at the facility. Running routes are even more radiant at the airport in Chad’s capital, N’Djamena. People have also been racing around the airfield in Baledogle, Somalia, the very same site previously identified as a U.S. outpost. And that isn’t the only site in Somalia outlined by the neon glow of workouts past, as evidenced by the dazzling effect around airports in Mogadishu and Baidoa.
The outline of Camp Lemonnier, a large U.S. base in the sun-bleached nation of Djibouti, burns brighter than Las Vegas at midnight. A more remote site, about 10 kilometers away, is another popular locale for running … and drone flights. Chabelley Airfield is aglow with the digital signature of military personnel, with the most popular route circling the airstrip.
The Global Heat Map, released in November 2017 by fitness tracking company Strava, provides more than 3 trillion individual global GPS data points uploaded over the last two years via fitness devices, such as Fitbit, Jawbone, and Vivofit, as well as by people who directly subscribe to its mobile app, according to the company. In many parts of the United States and Europe, where millions of people use fitness trackers, the map is ablaze with light. In more austere locations, like the war zones of Yemen, Syria, and Afghanistan, as well as remote areas of Africa, fitness hot spots – in the form of neon paths along the perimeters of fenced-in compounds or secure roads – are far more likely to denote the presence of Western personnel working for the United Nations, humanitarian organizations, or foreign militaries like the U.S. armed forces.
In the past, the U.S. Defense Department has encouraged the use of Fitbits, distributing 2,500 to military personnel in 2013. Two years later, the Navy announced “plans to run a pilot program in the Pacific Fleet and Navy Reserve using wearable fitness trackers like Fitbits.” In 2016, Marines were, with a few important caveats, authorized to wear fitness tracking devices, including Fitbits, “in all Marine Corps spaces where collateral classified information and controlled unclassified information is processed, stored, or discussed” anywhere on earth. And last year, the Army announced plans to issue fitness bracelets “that will allow Army leaders to track their Soldiers’ fitness in real time.”
While Strava’s Global Heat Map was posted online last year, it only attained widespread notoriety over the weekend, when it was publicized on Twitter by Nathan Ruser, a 20-year-old Australian student studying international security. This has led to disclosures of the supposed locations of numerous low-profile U.S. military outposts, forward operating sites, and bases. It has raised fears about how such information might be linked to individual troops and imperil U.S. forces, while shining a light on the poor operational security habits of many U.S. military personnel based overseas.
Read More @ TheIntercept.com
by Paul Joseph Watson, Infowars:
Glitch or deliberate censorship?
CNN cut the live stream of President Trump’s speech to the Republican National Committee last night after a voice in the background was heard to say, “shut it down”.
Footage shows Trump beginning his speech before a few minutes later the camera zooms out as Trump starts to talk about “America first”. A voice is then heard saying “shut it down, shut it down.”
The screen fades to black before a test bar appears with an audible tone along with “CNN DC4 Ka/KulP”. The screen then shows a Washington Post watermark and the feed never returns.
— Paul Joseph Watson (@PrisonPlanet) 2 February 2018
“Donald Trump was giving a speech at the RNC and the live feed was shut down! Shut it down shut it down Was Heard!” complained one viewer.
“Ok, WTF….They say “Shut it down, shut it down, shut it down” Right before they cut the live feed EVERYWHERE,” added another.
“Not even hiding it,” asserted another.
This is not the first time a major news network has been accused of cutting a live feed of Donald Trump.
Back in September 2016, Trump was on stage receiving praise from Bishop Wayne T. Jackson in Detroit. The incident occurred as Jackson presented Trump with a shawl, a bible, and offered his prayers as the black audience cheered and clapped.
The cameraman then said, “I’m shooting this, I don’t care what they say….I’ll take a demotion for this…. you?”
“Shut it down,” insists the director, “followed by another voice asking, “Shut this down?”
“Yes Michael, do it,” orders the director.
Reuters later blamed a “third party” for the shut down.
Read More @ Infowars.com
by Cristina Laila, The Gateway Pundit:
In a last ditch effort, the FBI is pulling out all the stops to either delay the release, delegitimize the memo or redact names from the document.
On Thursday, GOP Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-SC) said after reading the FISA memo, it is clear the FBI will be shaken to the core. Duncan also said the memo will reveal the FBI was weaponized by Obama officials, the DNC and Hillary Clinton to target political adversaries.
GOP Rep Jeff Duncan said, “Having read “The Memo,” the FBI is right to have “grave concerns” – as it will shake the organization down to its core – showing Americans just how the agency was weaponized by the Obama officials/DNC/HRC to target political adversaries.” #ReleaseTheMemo
Having read “The Memo,” the FBI is right to have “grave concerns” – as it will shake the organization down to its core – showing Americans just how the agency was weaponized by the Obama officials/DNC/HRC to target political adversaries. #ReleaseTheMemo
— Rep. Jeff Duncan (@RepJeffDuncan) February 1, 2018
The FISA memo will be sent to the House Intel Committee Friday with redactions from the White House. The Committee will then release the memo on its timetable, reports CBS’s Major Garrett.
Fox News contributor Sara A. Carter reported Thursday FBI Director Christopher Wray, along with the Justice Department, are pressuring the White House to redact all names in the FISA abuse memo prior to its release.
Read More @ TheGatewayPundit: