Thursday, July 2, 2020

The Dumb Money is Helping the Smart Money Exit the Stock Market

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by David Haggith, The Great Recession Blog:

Bloomberg this week ran a story telling us how the smart money gets out of the stock market when it hits its all-time peak and how the dumb money helps the smart money out. Only they didn’t know that was what they were writing. It typically happens this way:

At the end of a deliriously euphoric market rally when the market is preparing to crash, all the Joe Sixpacks, mom and pop and the family dog open trading accounts and try to chase the tail of market action. Many throw in their entire retirement funds, pawn the dog’s collar and take out loans on credit cards to buy in as much as they can. By buying in late, they help provide a smooth exit for the smart money. At least for some of it. It is the little guys, tough from hard labor, whose muscles are employed to push the money bags of the rich to the top of the mountain from which the little guys are allowed to jump off.

That appears to be happening right now. While retail investment (at the mom-and-pop level) in stocks mushroomed last quarter, household debt also mushroomed, jumping at an annual rate of 5.2%, which is the fastest pace since …. 2007. (There is that comparison we keep finding in data everywhere.) Consumer credit rose at an annualized rate of 7.8%. Consumer credit-card debt just topped out at over a trillion dollars, and savings at the same time bottomed out to one of the lowest rates in history.

It’s hard to say with certainty what all that debt all those savings were used for, but the change in both certainly matches the pace of growth in retail stock investments. (The S&P 500 rose 6.1% last quarter, with much of the new money pouring in from retail investors.) With no hard connection in those numbers at my immediate disposal, it would be a fallacy to claim them as proof that people are taking out credit card debt and depleting their savings to buy stocks, but that correlation certainly matches up with anecdotal accounts that many stock brokers are reporting at the street level.

All Trumped up and nowhere to go

Certainly the roar of mom and pop into retail stock investing is happening now …. big time, big league, in a hyuuuge way with the Donald’s supporters being the ones who are rushing headlong in to provide the gold-bricked exit path for the 1%:

As 2017’s roaring bull market gives way to a markedly choppier 2018, the buzz among Wall Street stock touts is that the best of the Trump Trade has passed…. Don’t try to tell that to the true believers in San Angelo, Texas. Or Covington, Louisiana. Or Sioux Falls, South Dakota. They’re sure this rally has just begun, and they’re sure they know why. “I hear it every day,” said Jimmy Freeman, a financial adviser at Edward Jones … east of the booming Permian Basin shale oil fields. “The market’s going up because of Trump….”

Across middle America, in the towns big and small that voted overwhelmingly for Donald Trump, his most ardent, and financially comfortable, backers are opening stock-market accounts or beefing up existing ones, according to interviews with more than a dozen advisers and brokers. They were spurred on by a stream of presidential tweets crowing about, and taking credit for, the gains throughout 2017 and they remain undaunted now as the rally sputters and the tweeting dissipates. (Bloomberg)

Yes, the Trumpettes — by which I mean the little guys who supported the Donald because they were stomped all over by Bush and Obama — are now flooding into the market to provide the essential other side of the trade needed in every market sell-off — buyers. It’s a market maxim that you cannot have a market sell-off without a lot of buyers willing to leap for falling prices.

…From what financial advisers in conservative areas are seeing, there is a Trump-minted rush. Clients … at Concho Investment Advisors in San Angelo “are now more inclined to invest into riskier assets like the stock market” … and many cite the president. Todd Neff, for one, has put $400,000 into stocks since Trump’s election. Before, he wasn’t much of an investor, basically topping out his out his 401(k) and dabbling in shares here and there. A sheep breeder and small-business owner in San Angelo, he said he would have “dropped back big time” if Hillary Clinton had won. Consumers’ confidence in the stock market soared to a record high in January before fading in February…. Among Trump’s fans, though, trust in the firebrand politician as a stock-market bulwark easily endured the selloff

Share buybacks surging

That’s one side of how the smart money gets out at the last minute and winds up richer than ever: they are helped by the good-meaning people who hope to get a last piece of the action — this time from the champion they elected and believe in. The other side is orchestrated by the executive rats who flee their own sinking, stinking corporate stocks by using the company money to buy back their own shares. That’s the bigger action. And that appears to be happening on steroids right now, too.

As the stock market roars toward its triumphant collapse, you hear the big-name analysts talking about how stocks are not overvalued because “earnings are doing great. They’ve never been better.” What they usually mean is earnings per share, and what is really doing better in that fraction is the denominator. The number of shares is shrinking as corporate boards make decisions to drain the company coffers in order to buy back shares … often from themselves … sometimes even in special deals offered only to themselves off the general market (as I’ve reported in the past).

Buybacks have a double edge of cutting power. First, they cut the number of shares over which earnings are divided, making “earnings” look stronger; but secondly, they create their own market demand. Increasing demand = increasing price:

Over the past decade, there has been no corporate instrument of mistruth more powerful than buybacks, an issue we have dissected in these pages for years. U.S. firms have spent roughly $4 trillion on buybacks since 2009, making corporations the biggest single source of demand for U.S. shares…. Buybacks have “accounted for +40% of the total earnings-per-share growth since 2009, and an astounding +72% of the earnings growth since 2012. (13D Research)

What better plan could there be for the smart money, which owns the major shares, to exit the market without crashing the value of their own shares than by creating demand from within the company that the smart money governs? Just vote to use company money to buy shares in numbers equal to or greater than all those the major investors wish to sell (major investors being the ones who sit on the board or hold executive positions).

Thanks to Trump’s new tax law encouraging repatriation of cash that has been stored overseas, companies are doing exactly what I and many others warned they would do with their one-time tax savings on this mother load. No, they are not using it to invest in their own companies as proponents of the plan promised, and as I predicted they would NOT do. They are using their overseas cash stockpiles to buy back stocks.

Buybacks are already on record pace — $171 billion worth have been announced so far in 2018, more than double the amount disclosed by mid-February 2017. If a tax-bill-fueled buyback bonanza can effectively “buy the dips”, market tranquility can be protected, preventing a large-scale unwinding.

In fact, the first six weeks of announced buybacks this year already were higher than the entirety of 2009. JP Morgan projects that, at this rate, S&P 500 companies will by back a record $800 billion in stocks in 2018. JP noted that large accelerations in buybacks like this tend to happen during market selloffs and for that reason says that buybacks could go higher than $800 billion this year if they rise to the level seen right at the end of the last business cycle where companies returned more than 100% of profits to shareholders.

Read More @ TheGreatRecessionBlog.info

Shocking Experiment Shows People Will Murder Others Just to Conform to Society

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by Dylan Charles, The Free Thought Project:

A shocking experiment shows the level to which people will go just to comply with social norms and pressure—up to and including committing murder.

In his 1974 book, Obedience to Authority: An Experimental View, Yale University psychologist Stanley Milgram discusses in detail the findings of his now famous experiment. Milgram demonstrated just how easy it is to convince an ordinary person to commit torture and murder under the instruction of an authority figure.

Intrigued by the role of Nazi military personnel in concentration camps during WWII, Milgram wanted to know how much coercion people needed in order to willingly inflict harm on another person.

He asked volunteers to deliver an electric shock to a stranger. Unbeknownst to the volunteers, there was no shock—and the people they were shocking were actors pretending to be terribly hurt, even feigning heart attacks. Milgram found that most people would keep delivering the shocks when ordered by a person in a lab coat, even when they believed that person was gravely injured. Only a tiny percentage of people refused. [Source]

The suggested conclusion is that people are inherently unable to think for themselves when given a subordinate role in some authoritarian hierarchy, such as the role of the ordinary citizen in a State-controlled world. A documentary of this experiment can be seen here.

The Milgram study was controversial in that some felt the results were skewed in favor of a predetermined bias. In the fifty-plus years since the experiment, there have been no other major research studies to confirm Milgram’s findings. Nevertheless, the presumption that normal people will go as far as to commit murder if they are relieved of responsibility by an authority figure feels inherently truthful in a world of so many organized atrocities.

The question is:

Can we be manipulated through social pressure to commit murder? ~Derren Brown

It’s an important question at a time when the converging technologies of AI and social media are affecting individual and group psychology is not yet understood ways. British illusionist Derren Brown recently conducted a similar experiment, this time in a feature documentary for Netflix entitled, The Push.

“This show is about how readily we hand over authorship of our lives, every day, and the dangers of losing that control,” says Brown, who organized the reality TV-like experiment in which ordinary people were duped into doing things most of us would never even consider.

At the heart of the experiment lies the powerful effects of social pressure and social compliance, along with the individual’s inherent need to belong and fit into society. It also questions the nature of individuality, while demonstrating that many of us simply don’t have the courage to assert our own moral courage when faced with even a slight amount of authoritarian pressure.

The Push begins with a phony police officer calling a cafe worker on the phone and in a quick minute, without even a face-to-face interaction, convinces this person to steal a woman’s baby. Interestingly, the worker carries out the abduction even while expressing significant hesitance.

The main experiment picks up from there, involving unwitting subjects who are gradually convinced of the need to push another person off of a high-rise building. It’s an elaborate setup, which builds upon one small act of compliance after another until the subject is put into a situation where they are encouraged to kill a man they just met.

It’s a rather theatrical and unscientific presentation, but the results are noteworthy as three out of four participants actually shove an actor off of a building, believing they are committing murder, after being pressured into it by a small group of others. It’s a shocking act of compliance and subservience to the pressures of a peer group and a persistent authority figure.

What we don’t know about society today, though, is just how many people are this extremely socially compliant, capable of doing anything to appease the directives of others. As Brown notes, “the more socially compliant a person is, the more likely they are to look to others for signs on how to behave. And the more people, the greater the pressure to join in.”

This says a great deal about humans. Are we somehow wired to abandon our own morals and sense of self-integrity for the false belief that fitting into a group is necessary for survival?

A trailer for this show is seen below.

Read More @ TheFreeThoughtProject.com

‘Emotionally Unhinged’: Internet Roundup As Those With Trump Derangement Syndrome Hit New Levels Of Crazy

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by Susan Duclos, All News Pipeline:

Bob Woodward, Washington Post journalist since 1971, his current position as associate editor had some advice and analysis to offer in a Newsweek interview. Woodward, in conjunction with Carl Bernstein earned their stripes doing the majority of the original reporting during the Watergate scandal. Quotes offered by Woodward in the Newsweek interview are quite enlightening, including his advice to journalists to “Shut up…and just listen,” and “It’s important to get your personal politics out,” stating “The emotion should be directed at doing more work.”

Some of his assertions make those of us that have been documenting the failures of the MSM over the last couple of years, shake our heads in amazement, wondering if he has been reading the same “news” as we have been seeing throughout the Trump presidency, and in other areas his “advice” that he teaches in classes, seems spot on.
 

You’ve described the Trump presidency as being a “test” for the news media. Do you think the media is failing the test? 

First of all, journalists can always do better. Myself at the top of the list. I don’t think journalism is failing at all in the Trump era. But we have a lot of work to do. A number of reporters have at times become emotionally unhinged about it all, one way or the other. Look at MSNBC or Fox News, and you will see those continually either denigrating Trump or praising him. I think the answer is in the middle, and in this class I talk about how it’s important to get your personal politics out. It’s destructive to become too politicized. The emotion should be directed at doing more work, not some feeling or personal conclusion.

Personally I would vehemently disagree with Woodward’s assertion that journalism isn’t failing in the Trump era, but wholeheartedly agree that a number of reporters have become emotionally unhinged.

Throughout the interview one can see such a vast difference between his ability to admit the “evidence” simply isn’t there to claim the Russia/Trump collusion story amounts to a Watergate-type scandal, and other Wapo reporters that have been spent a year harping on that very point, but the entire interview is worth reading.

EMOTIONALLY UNHINGED INTERNET ROUNDUP

I have spent the past week watching chat forums, social media and comment sections and have noted it is not just “journalists” that have become “emotionally unhinged,” but rather whole segments of society, where NRA spokeswoman Dana Loesch is being attacked relentlessly by gun control proponents, some of the names she is called are so vile I wouldn’t even type them here, but worse than that, they are openly calling for her children to be slaughtered, for no other reason than she speaks out about the constitutional right to bear arms. 

Believe it or not, that screen shot is from one of the less offensive attacks Loesch receives on a constant basis, many of which end up either deleted or Twitter suspends/deletes their accounts for actual threats and harassment, but others phrase it in a way where they make their point without violating terms of service.

Going through almost any one of Dana’s comment threads we find accusations calling her a child killer (Dana Loesch has never killed anyone), blaming her and NRA for every death by firearm, without any mention of the person that , you know, actually pulled the trigger, calling NRA a “terrorist organization,” etc etc… you get the point. It isn’t just random internet users, but also blue-checked verified Hollywood types that attack Loesch, some bravely from behind a block (They block Loesch, then bad-mouth her on their threads where she cannot see it), like Rosie O’Donnell.

Gun grabbers and NRA aside, we see other areas where those with Trump Derangement Syndrome, aka “emotionally unhinged”  people are literally set off by any thought or statement that doesn’t fit in with their own beliefs, completely unable to help themselves from going completely off topic, just so they can attack.

For example any journalist that is usually a favorite of the liberal crowd, such as CNN’s Erin Burnett, causing a liberal meltdown if they dare to stray from the official “Everything Trump does is BAD” narrative,. She stated that if President Trump solves the North Korea problem he “would be going down as a great president, and there’s no way around that.”

You would think Burnett committed a crime by the way liberals reacted, telling her to get her head out of her…..errrr…. butt, saying her comment was “stupid,” teller her to get a grip on herself, and more.

Read More @ AllNewsPipeline.com

More Problems, More Money: F-35 Costs Soar Faster Than the Planes Do

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from Sputnik News:

Twenty-one years after the first F-35 contract was awarded to Lockheed Martin, only about half of the stealthy planes in the US fleet can fly. The largest global defense contractors, however, are poised to rake in another $16 billion in revenue for “modernizing” the plane.

Representative Nikki Tsongas (D-MA), the highest-ranking member of the House Armed Services Committee’s Tactical Air and Land Forces Subcommittee, stated Wednesday that the modernization program cost was “an astonishingly high amount,” which, “as far as I’m aware, greatly exceeds any cost figures previously provided to Congress.”

Some US taxpayers might wonder how putting a US astronaut on the moon could accelerate from dream to reality in fewer than 10 years, yet the Pentagon, Lockheed Martin and the F-35’s many subcontractors are 21 years into a single fighter jet program that still suffers from occasional surface corrosion, engine firesoxygenation system malfunctioning and janky ejection seats.

The controversial F-35 Lightning II program is already over budget and years behind schedule. The supply chain to simply send parts to bases for fixing the planes is six years behind schedule, as the Government Accountability Office has reported.

The Pentagon’s F-35 program director believes software “modernization” R&D will cost at least $10 billion over the next seven years. The US share of the development costs is 70 percent, or about $7 billion.

Speaking with Defense News on Wednesday, F-35 program chief Mat Winter explained, “It’s predominantly software” that needs iterative upgrades. “I realize that this is not traditional,” Winter said. Indeed, the F-35 program is the most expensive weapons program in United States history.

Throw in the costs to procure the software — after paying the contractors to develop it — and the “modernization” effort leaves taxpayers footing a cool $16 billion tab. Winter offered a glimmer of hope that the “estimate will most like come down, most likely… but I don’t guarantee anything.”

Not all lawmakers are buying what Winter is selling. Ohio Republican Mike Turner worried that the DoD modernization cost estimate provided in the form of a written report was so lacking in real insight that it “reduces our overall confidence the Department of Defense actually knows the answer to the question,” Defense News notes.

Modernization is intended to shore up some of the plane’s software bugs and glitches, providing about 53 new capabilities, the news outlet said. According to a January audit by Defense Department Director of Testing & Evaluation, the F-35’s software platforms have around 1,000 existing “unresolved deficiencies.”

Read More @ SputnikNews.com

FACEBOOK SEES 24% DROP IN AVERAGE TIME SPENT ON SITE

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from The Daily Sheeple:

While Facebook grapples with an explosion in overheadexpensive regulations in Europe (and possibly soon in the U.S.), a staggering decline in traffic, backlash over conservative purging and pedo questionnaires, and a former executive who went public in December with his “tremendous guilt” over helping to hook people on the “internet crack” that is social media – the Silicon Valley behemoth is facing a new challenge; a 24% drop in the average time spent on the site. 

Now new numbers have been released that go through December, and the problem only seems to be getting worse. The updated data shows that Facebook’s core platform lost 18% in time spent, which is a huge change from the month before. This, says Pivotal, reflects a 24% decline in time spent per person.” Instagram, too, saw some poor engagement numbers. Though aggregated consumption went up, the user base went up at a higher clip, meaning that time per person went down 9%. –Fast Company

Recent changes to Facebook’s algorithms which prioritize posts from friends and family over promotions have been blamed for lower engagement – as Zuckerberg warned shareholders about in January.

Perhaps that’s why CEO Mark Zuckerberg and other insiders are dumping shares?

Zuckerberg isn’t the only insider to sell Facebook stock during February, however. SEC filings reveal a long list of other insiders who also sold FB stock. VP David Fischer converted some restricted stock units this month and sold thousands of shares, including about 18,000 shares this week as part of his prearranged trading plan.

Other insiders who have converted and/ or otherwise moved around some FB stock this month include Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg, Chief Financial Officer David Wehner, director Kenneth Chenault, Chief Technology Officer Michael Schroepfer, General Counsel Colin Stretch, Chief Product Officer Christopher Cox, and director Jan Koum. That’s quite a list, as usually insider sales of Facebook stock occur on a much smaller scale, based on the regulatory filings of insider transactions. Yahoo! Finance

Former Blackrock manager Ed Dowd of OceanSquare Asset Management – currently short the stock, thinks the “drumbeat of regulations” will put a dent in Facebook shares.

“Facebook has hired 14,000 people working on “community safety” to prevent “Fake News”, notes Dowd. “They will be at 20,000 people by end of 2018. That is an absurd amount of overhead. FB opex/capex combined was +37% in 2017. They are guiding it to +45-60% in 2018!”

Perhaps users took former Facebook exec Chamath Palihapitiya’s advice from December to heart. Palihapitiya – Facebook’s VP for User Growth who left after a decade with the company, told a group of students at the Stanford Graduate School of Business that he feels “tremendous guilt” for his role in building the social media giant and warned  that “if you feed the beast, that beast will destroy you…” (you can view the relevant portion of the interview here).

Palihapitiya went on to criticize not only Facebook, but Silicon Valley’s entire system of venture capital funding saying that investors pump money into “s**tty, useless, idiotic companies,” rather than addressing real problems. Palihapitiya currently runs his own VC firm, Social Capital, which focuses on funding companies in sectors like healthcare and education.

Read More @ TheDailySheeple.com

YouTube Purge: The End Of Freedom Of Expression Or The Great Awakening For Alternatives?

by Aaron Kesel, Activist Post:

The censorship is ramping up as YouTube has begun deleting channels at a rapid rate including more recently a friend of Activist Post, Health Ranger Mike Adams of Natural News. I spoke to YouTube alternative BitChute for their opinion on the recent purge against independent thoughts and how we are literally walking into George Orwell’s 1984, where YouTube, Google, Twitter, Facebook and other companies are playing the purveyors of truth.

But first, here is a rundown of a list of accounts that have been suspended by YouTube in the past few weeks, many of whom this author is friends with – Health RangerAnti-SchoolBombard’s Body LanguageCharltonCharles WaltonDefangoDustin NemosDavid SeamanDestroying The IllusionRon JohnsonRichie AllenTitus Frost and of course Activist Post’s own YouTube channel which was suspended months ago was one of the first to go.

A full list according to this writer’s knowledge is available at toolsforfreedom.com:

  1. According to Joe
  2. Adamic Amethyst
  3. AmericanEveryman
  4. animal farm
  5. Anti-School
  6. aplaintruth
  7. Arthur Koestler
  8. ashtonbirdie
  9. Back to the Constitution
  10. Barry Soetoro
  11. Blackstone
  12. Bombard’s Body Language *
  13. Brave New World
  14. Charles Walton
  15. Charlton
  16. Colin Flaherty
  17. Crow777 *
  18. Darkness at Noon
  19. David Seaman
  20. Defango *
  21. Destroying the Illusion
  22. Dr. Jerome Corsi
  23. Dr. of Common Sense
  24. Dustin Nemos
  25. Edgy Sphinx
  26. Elliott Marxx
  27. Eric Dubay
  28. Factions of Freedom
  29. FAKE NEWS REPORT
  30. Free Radio Revolution Revived
  31. FromDeath2Life
  32. Gematrianator
  33. HowISeeTheWorld
  34. InTruthbyGrace
  35. Jake Morphonios
  36. Jay Myers
  37. Jim Marrs
  38. Joanne Steen
  39. Johnny Supertramp
  40. JYW420
  41. Kalika from “For the People”
  42. Kearn Kearsy
  43. Kevin K Johnston
  44. Kinningan
  45. Lawarewolf
  46. Liberty Columnist
  47. Mag Bitter Truth
  48. Matrix Breakout
  49. Max Malone
  50. McFly
  51. McSimonius
  52. mgtow is freedom
  53. Mlordandgod
  54. Murdoch Murdoch
  55. Operation Hal
  56. Peekay
  57. Peekay Boston
  58. Psyched Substance
  59. Redd Dog Truth
  60. Richie Allen Show
  61. RichieFromBoston*
  62. Ron Johnson
  63. Russian Vids
  64. Sargon of Akkad *
  65. The Black Child
  66. The Kepler Telescope Channel
  67. The Ochelli Effect
  68. The Paulstaul Service
  69. Titus Frost
  70. TruthmediaRevolution
  71. Urban Moving
  72. Victurus Libertas VL
  73. WAP tech
  74. Willy Myco

Of course, this all comes after Google hired 10,000 people to clean up its subsidiary company YouTube and has been blamed as a mistake by new employees banning the “alt-right,” Bloomberg reported.

“The Southern Poverty Law Center is assisting YouTube in policing content on their platform,” The Daily Caller reported. “The left-wing nonprofit — which has more recently come under fire for labeling legitimate conservative organizations as “hate groups” — is one of the more than 100 non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and government agencies in YouTube’s ‘Trusted Flaggers’ program, a source with knowledge of the arrangement told TheDC.”

However, it is interesting to note that this purge comes after mainstream media stated that “YouTube’s conspiracy video problem is just getting worse researcher says,” and after several questions were asked regarding the latest shooting spree in Parkland, Florida. Some of those questions Activist Post proposed in an article entitled: “5 Reasons To Question The Official Narrative Of The Florida School Shooting.”

 

Asking logical questions is critical thinking and as Carl Sagan once said:

There are naive questions, tedious questions, ill-phrased questions, questions put after inadequate self-criticism. But every question is a cry to understand the world. There is no such thing as a dumb question.

Everyone should be free to express their thoughts, especially those who take on the responsibility of independent journalists; people should be free to make up their own minds or else we walk into an Orwellian society where we are told what to watch read and believe. Without that right of freedom of expression, tyranny becomes prevalent; everyone has an opinion, even though it is important to source and back up your reasoning. Can 10,000 people at YouTube and others elsewhere really be put in charge of determining what information should and shouldn’t be decimated by the public?

Ironically, Activist Post reported months ago that since Google was heading towards targeting critical thinkers demonized as “Conspiracy Theorists” who ask the difficult questions in its rating guidelines, YouTube wouldn’t be too long to follow behind those actions.

Considering that the origination of the word “Conspiracy Theorist” comes from the CIA, I would say using a derogatory word to discuss those who think is dangerous. More modernized, in fact, it is also straight out of the JTIRG playbook that NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden revealed.

Misinformation is plaguing the Internet, but who is to decide what is and isn’t misinformation?  The readers themselves need to, because policing thought and opinion opens a door to the avenue of a Truth Council and information oversight where admins (the purveyors of truth) decide what is and isn’t fact. What happens when one of these people doesn’t dig deep enough and just dismisses something without looking at the evidence, due to lack of information or understanding? Censorship of not only ideas, but also people as a whole who are effectively removed from the discussion.

Questioning is healthy; and as writer Naomi Wolf exposed, you should think before it’s illegal to do so. “It’s no longer crazy to assess news events to see if they are real or not real,” she stated in the video below. As history has shown through declassified documents (overthrow of Mossadegh), leaked diplomatic cables by WikiLeaks, and reporting by murdered journalist Michael Hastings who exposed propaganda used against the Senate and Congress, “all over the world, it’s well-established, the State Department intelligence agencies engage in theatre, and it’s what they do, it’s spycraft, to create spectacles and events that people may not realize are spectacles and events…”

Hastings exposed the use of propaganda to get into Afghanistan in his report entitled: “The Afghanistan Report the Pentagon Doesn’t Want You to Read.” The article was surrounding a leaked unclassified Pentagon report.  The report took the shroud off the U.S. military’s psyops operation command revealing several techniques the group uses in psychological warfare to manipulate the public, including but not limited to fake intelligence information, lack of information and social media manipulation, according to Lt. Colonel Daniel Davis. The kicker is that not only were those tactics used against the American people but the tactics were used against senators.

It is an extremely worrying fact that the Military Industrial Complex would manipulate elected officials with fake news, especially considering that propaganda wasn’t legalized in America again until 2012. Previous legislation had been passed to protect citizens during the Church Committee hearings as part of a series of investigations into intelligence abuses during the mid-1970s, amended by the Smith-Mundt Act. Smith-Mundt was repealed in 2012 under Obama, as Business Insider reported, “The NDAA Legalizes The Use Of Propaganda On The US Public.”

Read More @ ActivistPost.com

Most Limits Exist Only In Our Minds

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by Adam Taggart, Peak Prosperity:

Learn how to break beyond them

Roger Bannister died last week.

Even if you don’t recognize his name, you’re aware of his legacy: he was the first human to run a mile in under 4 minutes.

It was a mind-blowing feat. Ever since the Ancient Greeks set their sights on attaining this “perfect” goal 3,000 years ago, no runner on the planet had been able to run that fast for that long.

For millennia of sport, breaking the 4-minute barrier was widely regarded as physically impossible.

But Bannister, a busy medical student at the time with often only 30 minutes available to train per day, had an unorthodox view — one rooted in skepticism of the conventional training techniques and mindset.

He began with the assumption that the 4-minute mile was possible, and then challenged himself to develop a science-based regimen for attaining it.

During a brief lull on the otherwise blustery day of May 6, 1954, Roger Bannister made history by completing the mile-run in 3 minutes 59.4 seconds. The impossible had been achieved.

 (Bannister crossing the finish line at the  Iffley Road track , Oxford)
(Bannister crossing the finish line at the Iffley Road track , Oxford)

But what ensued next was equally momentous.

Just a month after Bannister first broke the 4-minute barrier, both he and another runner (John Landry) broke it again. The next year, 3 more runners (all in the same race) followed suit.

By the end of 1957, a total of 16 runners had achieved sub-4-minute mile times.

How could so many people suddenly overcome a challenge that had thwarted the best runners in the world for three millennia? The transition was so immediate and abrupt that it can’t be attributed to advancements in technology, training or diet. Yet something changed that enabled this new era for speed.

What changed was Belief.

Prior to Bannister’s shocking feat, elite runners just didn’t believe it was possible to run that fast.

But once freed from that limiting mindset, those very same athletes found that not only could they match Bannister’s record, they could beat it.

Today, 60 years later, over 1,300 people have run the mile in under 4 minutes. The fastest of them completed it in 3 minutes 43.13 seconds (Hicham El Guerrouj, July 7, 1999)

More than simply breaking a record, Roger Bannister’s greater legacy was proving to the world that limits are largely set by the mind. When we fail (or more accurately put, fail to try hard enough), it’s often because we believe we can’t succeed.

Bannister’s example showed us that by changing our mindset — by being open-minded to success — we can change our universe of potential outcomes. The ‘impossible’ becomes possible.

Others, before and after Bannister, have validated this to us time and again. Here are but a few of them:

  • Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay summiting Mount Everest, the world’s tallest mountain, in 1953
  • Billie Jean King defeating Bobby Riggs in The Battle of the Sexes in 1973, proving women can perform at the same level as men
  • Alan Turing cracking the “unbreakable” Nazi Enigma code during WW2 (and developing the first modern computer in the process)
  • Inexperienced novelist and near-penniless single parent J. K. Rowling in the early 1990s, writing a manuscript in various Scottish coffee shops that would become Harry Potter and ultimately make her a billionaire

Each refused to accept conventionally-defined limits as true. Each started with the belief that success was possible, and that they just needed to find the right path to unlock it.

A Mindset Needed More Today Than Ever

Today’s world bombards us with dire headlines and intractable issues that can easily make us feel defeated and powerless. Rather than being retired by the march of progress, in many ways it feels like the limits on our future are multiplying.

Declining opportunity for the 99%, cartel-style rackets controlling much of industry, and an accelerating wealth gap between the elites and the rest of society define our economic situation.

Our political system prioritizes fear, divisiveness and war mongering — getting precious little accomplished save a continued chipping away at our civil liberties. Social discord is growing in response.

Meanwhile, we’re despoiling the natural systems we depend on. The past few decades have seen more mass species die-offs, pollution, climatic shifts, and chronic health epidemics than ever before. Our insatiable exploitation of resources and prioritization of quick profits have become existential threats.

Given the above, it’s understandable to feel hopeless; that we’re all simply screwed. 

But as Bannister, Hilary, Turing et al have showed us, we have much more control over our destiny than we realize. Even in the face of nation-wide, even planetary, issues like those listed above, we have agency to change our situation for the better.

On the individual level, we work hard here at PeakProsperity.com to surface and showcase models we deem worthy of your consideration. Here are several that have helped many of our readers improve their quality of life today, while simultaneously improving their resilience against any challenges tomorrow may bring:

  • Looking to improve your health and longevity? Learn how nutrition, functional exercise, sleep hygene and stress management are key success ingredients.
  • How can humans grow (more) food by regenerating rather than depleting our soils? No-till farming practices are enabling just that.
  • How can you become better valued and more supported by those around you? Here are a number of community-building steps that work.
  • Want to protect and grow your money? Read this.
  • How can you remain positive, and even thrive, in the face of adversity? By using these psychological strategies.

These are but a few examples of the very real pathways available to each of us to build better futures for ourselves. But to benefit from them, we need to first start with the belief that a better future is indeed possible for us.

If we do, then it becomes simply a math formula. With enough courage, discipline, and hard work, almost any goal is attainable within time.

And make no mistake, the world is in dire need of self-directed saviors. Too much of the population is mindlessly marching along to the status quo, blind to its dangers and unsustainability.

Chris Martenson’s “giant canoe” parable captures our predicament well:

Our Giant Canoe

Think of our situation as if humanity were all together in a giant canoe and nearly everybody is paddling as hard as they can.  After all, we’re trying to get somewhere: to improve ourselves, to grow our economy and increase our prosperity. There are goals to be met!

Along the way we’ve convinced ourselves that this canoe is the best one ever built and it cannot fail us. It is the very pinnacle of achievement.  It looks great, and there are creature comforts and pleasant distractions galore.   Food has never been more abundant or easier to obtain, new gadgets keep showing up, and (in theory, at least) you can determine for yourself where you want to sit in the canoe.

The people in the front love being there, as they feel powerful and in control. Ironically, though, it’s the few people in the stern who are actually secretly and rather effortlessly steering, but nobody in the rest of the canoe seems to notice or care.

There’s only one thing wrong with this canoe. It’s headed for a gigantic waterfall, and if it tips over the lip, very few will survive. It will be like going over Niagara Falls without a barrel.

A few in the canoe have woken up and noticed this. But their protests are limited to either pulling their paddles out of the water and refusing to propel the canoe any faster, or even trying to futilely paddle backwards against the rest of humanity’s combined efforts.

Neither approach is a solution, mind you. But at least for these ‘awake’ souls, it feels better than paddling mindlessly towards the roaring falls. 

As it stand today, humanity’s canoe is destined to speed right over the edge. Unless we consciously do something about it. Which we could, if we really wanted to.

As there’s nothing preventing us from steering the canoe safely to land, I find this one of the most interesting and fascinating times to be alive. We are currently playing the role of our own destroyer, but the savior role is still there for the choosing.

But what stops us?  What keeps us paddling furiously ahead even as the sound of the roaring falls gets louder and louder?  The answer is at once both very simple and devilishly hard. 

It’s our egos.

To save ourselves from ourselves, we have to begin doing things very, very differently.  Truthfully, the only way we can save ourselves is to shift our consciousness.  

Read More @ PeakProsperity.com

Why the West Cannot Stomach Russians

by Andre Vltchek, New Eastern Outlook:

When it comes to Russia or the Soviet Union, reports and historical accounts do get blurry; in the West they do, and consequently in all of its ‘client states’.

Fairytales get intermingled with reality, while fabrications are masterfully injected into sub consciousness of billions of people worldwide. Russia is an enormous country, in fact the largest country on Earth in terms of territory. It is scarcely inhabited. It is deep, and as a classic once wrote: “It is impossible to understand Russia with one’s brain. One could only believe in it.”

The Western mind generally doesn’t like things unknown, spiritual and complex. Since the ‘old days’, especially since the crusades and monstrous colonialist expeditions to all corners of the world, the Westerners were told fables about their own “noble deeds” performed in the plundered lands. Everything had to be clear and simple: “Virtuous Europeans were civilizing savages and spreading Christianity, therefore, in fact, saving those dark poor primitive souls.”

Of course, tens of millions were dying in the process, while further tens of millions were shackled and brought to the “New Worlds” as slaves. Gold, silver, and other loot, as well as slave labor had been (and still are) paying for all those European palaces, railroads, universities and theatres, but that did not matter, as the bloodshed was most of the time something abstract and far away from those over-sensitive eyes of the Western public.

Westerners like simplicity, particularly when it comes to moral definitions of “good and evil”. It matters nothing if the truth gets systematically ‘massaged’, or even if the reality is fully fabricated. What matters is that there is no deep guilt and no soul-searching. Western rulers and their opinion makers know their people – their ‘subjects’ – perfectly well, and most of the time, they give them what they are asking for. The rulers and the reigned are generally living in symbiosis. They keep bitching about each other, but mostly they have similar goals: to live well, to live extremely well, as long as the others are forced to pay for it; with their riches, with their labor and often with their blood.

Culturally, most of the citizens of Europe and North America hate to pay the bill for their highlife; they even detest to admit that their life is extremely ‘high’. They like to feel like victims. They like to feel that they are ‘used’. They like to imagine that they are sacrificing themselves for the rest of the world.

And above all, they hate real victims: those they have been murdering, raping, plundering and insulting, for decades and centuries.

Recent ‘refugee crises’ showed the spite Europeans feel for their prey. People who made them rich and who lost everything in the process are humiliated, despised and insulted. Be they Afghans or Africans, the Middle Easterners or South Asians. Or Russians, although Russians are falling to its own, unique category.

*

Many Russians look white. Most of them eat with knife and fork, they drink alcohol, excel at Western classical music, poetry, literature, science and philosophy.

To Western eyes they look ‘normal’, but actually, they are not.

Russians always want ‘something else’; they refuse to play by Western rules.

They are stubbornly demanding to remain different, and to be left alone.

When confronted, when attacked, they fight.

They rarely strike first, almost never invade.

But when threatened, when assaulted, they fight with tremendous determination and force, and they never lose. Villages and cities get converted into invader’s graves. Millions die while defending their Motherland, but the country survives. And it happens again and again and again, as the Western hordes have been, for centuries, assaulting and burning Russian lands, never learning the lesson and never giving up on their sinister dream of conquering and controlling that proud and determined colossus.

In the West, they don’t like those who defend themselves, who fight against them, and especially those who win.

*

It gets much worse than that.

Russia has this terrible habit… not only it defends itself and its people, but it also fights for the others, protecting colonized and pillaged nations, as well as those that are unjustly assaulted.

It saved the world from Nazism. It did it at a horrific price of 25 million men, women and children, but it did it; courageously, proudly and altruistically. The West never forgave the Soviet Union for this epic victory either, because all that is unselfish and self-sacrificing, is always in direct conflict with its own principles, and therefore ‘extremely dangerous’.

The Russian people had risen; had fought and won in the 1917 Revolution; an event which terrified the West more than anything else in history, as it had attempted to create a fully egalitarian, classless and racially color-blind society. It also gave birth to Internationalism, an occurrence that I recently described in my book The Great October Socialist Revolution: Impact on the World and the Birth of Internationalism.

Soviet Internationalism, right after the victory in WWII, helped greatly, directly and indirectly, dozens of countries on all continents, to stand up and to confront the European colonialism and the North American imperialism. The West and especially Europe never forgave the Soviet people in general and Russians in particular, for helping to liberate its slaves.

That is when the greatest wave of propaganda in human history really began to roll. From London to New York, from Paris to Toronto, an elaborate web of anti-Soviet and covertly anti-Russian hysteria was unleashed with monstrously destructive force. Tens of thousands of ‘journalists’, intelligence officers, psychologists, historians, as well as academics, were employed. Nothing Soviet, nothing Russian (except those glorified and often ‘manufactured’ Russian dissidents) was spared.

The excesses of the Great October Socialist Revolution and the pre-WWII era were systematically fabricated, exaggerated, and then engraved into the Western history textbooks and mass media narrative. In those tales, there was nothing about the vicious invasions and attacks coming from the West, aimed at destroying young Bolshevik state. Naturally, there was no space for mentioning the British, French, U.S., Czech, Polish, Japanese, German and other’s monstrous cruelties.

Soviet and Russian views were hardly ever allowed to penetrate the monolithic and one-sided Western propaganda narrative.

Like obedient sheep, the Western public accepted the disinformation it was fed with. Eventually, many people living in the Western colonies and ‘client states’, did the same. A great number of colonized people were taught how to blame themselves for their misery.

The most absurd but somehow logical occurrence then took place: many men, women and even children living in the USSR, succumbed to Western propaganda. Instead of trying to reform their imperfect but still greatly progressive country, they gave up, became cynical, aggressively ‘disillusioned’, corrupt and naively but staunchly pro-Western.

*

It was the first and most likely the last time in the history, Russia got defeated by the West. It happened through deceit, through shameless lies, through Western propaganda.

What followed could be easily described as genocide.

Read More @ Journal-NEO.org
 

Congressman Thomas Massie Warns How Both Parties Are Looking To Take Your Guns

by Tim Brown, Freedom Outpost:

They know it will not do one thing to stop mass shootings but they are using it to wrap a more devious gun confiscation scheme in it.  You’ve been warned, and no doubt, President Donald Trump will back it all the way to his desk.  He’s already shown his true colors on the Second Amendment, as if many of us didn’t expect it in the first place.

Kentucky Representative Thomas Massie (R) has consistently warned the American people about what those in Washington, DC are attempting to do to infringe on their rights which are protected under the Second Amendment, and he’s doing it again.  This time it concerns the STOP School Violence Act.

In a video he shared on social media, Massie encouraged citizens to stand up for their rights by being informed on what is taking place and that there is a small window of opportunity to act.

“We’ve got about a week to act,” Massie said. “I want to let you know what’s going on in Congress as far as gun control goes. You’ve heard a lot of ideas floating in the news—raising the legal age to buy a long gun, for instance—or a new assault weapons ban. Any number of bad things have been mentioned. But I wanted to boil it down for you.”

Massie then broke it down.

“What’s actually going to happen, the gun control play they’re going to run here in Congress is the one that, unfortunately, I predicted back in December,” Massie said.

In December,  H.R. 38, the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act, stated that its purpose was to amend “the federal criminal code to allow a qualified individual to carry a concealed handgun into or possess a concealed handgun in another state that allows individuals to carry concealed firearms.”

Read More @ FreedomOutpost.com