Monday, May 25, 2020

Unprecedented Housing Bailout Revealed, As China Property Sales Drop For First Time In 30 Months


from ZeroHedge:

Back in March, we explained why the “fate of the world economy is in the hands of China’s housing bubble.” The answer was simple: for the Chinese population, and growing middle class, to keep spending vibrant and borrowing elevated, it had to feel comfortable and confident that its wealth will keep rising. However, unlike the US where the stock market is the ultimate barometer of the confidence boosting “wealth effect”, in China it has always been about housing: three quarters of Chinese household assets are parked in real estate, compared to only 28{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528} in the US with the remainder invested financial assets.

Beijing knows this, of course, which is why China periodically and consistently reflates its housing bubble, hoping that the popping of the bubble, which happened in late 2011 and again in 2014, will be a controlled, “smooth landing” process. 

The other reason why China is so eager to keep its housing sector inflated – and risk bursting bubbles – is that as shown in the chart below, in 2016 the rise of property prices boosted household wealth in 37 tier 1 and tier 2 cities by RMB24 trillion, almost twice the total local disposable income of RMB12.9 trillion. For any Fed readers out there, that’s how you create a wealth effect, fake as it may be. 

Unfortunately for China, whose record credit creation in 2017, and certainly in the months leading up to the 19th Chinese Communist Party Congress which started last week, has been the primary catalyst for the “global coordinated growth”, the good times are now again over, and according to the latest real estate data released last week, property sales in China dropped for the first time since March 2015, or more than two-and-half years, in September and housing starts slowed sharply reinforcing concerns that robust growth in the world’s second-largest economy is starting to cool.

Property sales by floor area fell 1.5{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528} in September from a year earlier, compared with a 4.3{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528} increase in August and a 34{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528} jump in September 2016, according to Reuters calculations based on official data released on Thursday. That marked the first annual decline since the start of 2015. Separately, new construction starts by floor area, a volatile but telling indicator of developers’ confidence, rose just 1.4{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528} in September on-year, slowing from a 5.3{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528} increase in August, according to Reuters calculations.

“The negative September sale number shows that, unequivocally, the property boom has peaked,” Rosealea Yao, a property analyst at Gavekal Dragonomics told Reuters. “We have seen some big rebounds at the end of the first and second quarter, but given how fast the sale numbers are declining, we expect no big rebound this time.”

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Woodcutting When the SHTF: What You Need to Know To Hastily Acquire a Wood Supply


by Jeremiah Johnson, Ready Nutrition:

ReadyNutrition Readers, this piece is designed to help you plan out your woodcutting when the SHTF…because you’ll have to do it on the Q-T and keep your noise signature at a minimum.  Seems easy, right?  Well, it’s not complicated, but there are some finer points to it.  Right now (with half of my state of residence burning) we are not allowed to use chainsaws to cut wood.  Yep, I’ve been hitting it with the bowsaw and the axe…on “low” smoke days.

Bringing me to the next point.  You will need certain tools, to keep the noise down and also to conserve fuel.  Here they are:

  1. Bowsaw, 39-40 inch blade
  2. Bowsaw, 18-24 inch blade
  3. Axe, single-edged (I like anything made by Kobalt)
  4. Hatchet – make sure it is one solid, continuous piece…Estwing makes some good ones
  5. Maul: Preferably 8-lbs or more
  6. Splitting Wedges – assorted sizes
  7. Good Sharpening tool, and assorted sharpening stones

Your ax is going to be used to fell dead standing timber and also to segment large-diameter trees that would take forever with a bowsaw.  None of the methods are totally silent, however, in comparison to the chainsaw, they are.  This is a reason that I place so much emphasis on cutting wood in the “off” season: that is to say, don’t wait until the fall.  Cut wood throughout the summer.

Heating is one thing, but cooking is another.  If you need to prepare food, you’ll need that fireplace or woodstove to be well-fueled.  When you’re trimming branches, if they’re about four inches in diameter or less, use the short-bladed bowsaw.  The longer blade is used on your larger pieces, up to about a foot max.  Then it is up to you to quarter them with your ax, your maul, and your splitting wedges.

If you have a fireplace or a woodstove, you need to measure the diagonal inside length, knock it down a couple of inches, and form a template for yourself.  I use an old 1” x 4” piece for myself.  This way you can use that piece of board to set against the edge of your log and scribe to make a cut for the piece to fit in your fireplace or woodstove.  This will save you a lot of time measuring, and you can keep the template for a long time…just make sure it doesn’t become mixed up in your wood supply.

After the SHTF, you can also bring pieces into your basement to saw and chop away at to reduce the noise.  You want to cut wood at times when there are other noises around to cover your activities.  Early morning before the sunrise or at night is not convenient times, as these are periods of the day when the surrounding noise is subdued.  Your hatchet you want to use to trim smaller branches off of pieces and also to cut small pieces of kindling and tinder.  Make sure you have a tinderbox and a kindling box to use for each of these fire-starting sizes of wood.

Cutting wood in this manner is a heck of a workout.  Please review my past articles on woodcutting.  You want to cut in the early morning hours, and in the evening hours to break up the physical exertion.  You’ll need to stay ahead of the game, as that wood supply will burn up fast.  After the SHTF, you will need someone pulling security, and preferably someone who can rotate into the woodcutting operation.

Ex: John cuts wood for one hour, and Al pulls security.  Then vice-versa

It’s a little different if you’re out in the forest cutting larger pieces to take back home.  Much depends on the weather and how far you have to transport your wood.  Also, the method of transport makes a difference.  When you have 2 to 3 feet of snow on the ground, you’ll want one of those plastic toboggans to drag the pieces back with.  A snowmobile is good for a fast dash, but the engine is a dead giveaway.  You’re also limited as to the size of the pieces that you can drag back.

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False Flagging Sonic Attacks in Havana: a CIA Specialty

by Wayne Madsen, Stategic Culture:

The Central Intelligence Agency, now under the direction of an extreme right-wing Republican, former Kansas Republication congressman Mike Pompeo, is insisting behind-the-scenes that the Cuban government is responsible for alleged sonic weaponry attacks on American diplomats in Havana. The CIA, which wrote the book on false flag attacks in Europe and around the world during the Cold War and the “age of terrorism, had no trouble convincing the Trump administration to downgrade diplomatic relations with Cuba. The United States withdrew over half of its diplomatic staff in Cuba and expelled 15 Cuban diplomats in Washington. The break in relations with Cuba is in line with other Trump actions intended to reverse every action implemented during the 8-year term of Barack Obama, including the normalization of relations with Cuba. Trump called the normalization of ties with Havana “a completely one-sided deal.” Ironically, it is known that Trump’s businesses had previously violated US sanctions on Cuba to advance potential Trump-owned hotels and resorts on the island.

The Trump administration has stated that it does not know what is causing the high-pitched cricket-chirping sound claimed to have damaged the health and caused deafness of not only American but also some Canadian diplomats in Havana. The Cuban government even invited the FBI to come to Cuba to join in its investigation of the sonic attacks. The Trump administration refused the Cubans’ invitation. Nevertheless, without a shred of evidence, Trump’s spokespeople blame the Cuban government for the sonic interference. Trump directly blamed the Cuban government for the sonic attacks in an October 16 White House press conference. The State Department was forced to immediately contradict Trump’s flippant remarks in a cable to all US diplomatic posts that stated the department “does not assigned blame to the Government of Cuba” for the attacks. The variance between the White House and State Department on who is behind the sonic attacks is both stark and troubling.

The corporate media is ignoring the one possible source for the sonic attacks that stands responsible for the only known sonic attack on a diplomatic mission in recent history — the CIA. Not only is the CIA led by a Trump sycophant with no previous intelligence background, but the CIA is being directed to blame other countries for operations carried out by its own agents and assets. In the case of Cuba, the CIA can rely upon a network of Florida-based Cuban-American and other Latin American agents who have been integrated into Cuban government and business institutions after traveling to the island from third countries like Mexico, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, and Venezuela.

The Trump administration is also cautioning American tourists to avoid Cuba, claiming that sonic weapons could be aimed at their hotels. There is no plausible reason why Cuba would do anything to harm its financially beneficial tourist industry, however, there are several reasons why the Pompeo-led CIA, in collusion with Florida Senator Marco Rubio’s right-wing Cuban network in Miami, would suggest that Cuban hotels are targets of sonic weaponry. The entire “sonic weapon” attack operation appears to be a major false flag attack designed to hurt the Cuban economy and freeze relations between Washington and Havana. The reported sonic attacks on Canadian diplomats are obviously targeted at the government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. The Trudeau family, including the late Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, the present prime minister’s father, remained close friends of Cuban President Raul Castro and his late brother and president, Fidel Castro. Anything that could be used to sour close Canadian-Cuban ties would be implemented by the CIA under the direction of Pompeo, a fundamentalist Christian “creationist,” who rejects most conclusions of modern science, including evolution and the age of the Earth.

The fingerprints of the CIA have been found on at least one sonic attack against a foreign mission in Latin America. In 1990, after Panamanian leader Manuel Noriega sought refuge from invading American troops in the Vatican Apostolic Nuncio in Panama City, US forces, using CIA psychological warfare methods crafted by the CIA, aimed ear-splitting heavy metal music at the Vatican mission from large speakers on the street. The use of the sonic weapon, a component of Operation Nifty Package, was designed to force Noriega out from the legation. It was not only a violation of the Vatican mission’s diplomatic extraterritoriality but also the sanctuary policy of the Roman Catholic Church. Noriega eventually surrendered to the American forces. Such attacks on embassies are a violation of the Vienna Convention, of which the United States is a signatory.

After Honduran President Manuel Zelaya was ousted in a 2009 coup instigated by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the CIA, the Honduran leader, who had been exiled from the country at gunpoint, sneaked back into the country and took up residence inside the Brazilian embassy in Tegucigalpa, the Honduran capital. After the CIA-supported Honduran military junta cut off electricity, water, and food supplies to the embassy, they began using sonic-type weapons that were much-improved from those used against the Vatican mission in Panama City almost twenty years earlier.

Zelaya claimed that Israeli mercenaries working under the direction of the junta and CIA aimed high-frequency weapons at the Brazilian embassy. Apparently, the Israelis used a cell phone jamming system to cause discomfort for Zelaya and others inside the embassy. Found on the roof of the building next to the Brazilian embassy was a C-Guard cell phone jammer manufactured by NetLine of Tel Aviv. There was evidence in Tegucigalpa that Long-Range Acoustic Devices (LRADs) manufactured by the American Technology Corporation, were used against the Brazilian embassy.

Eyewitnesses outside the Brazilian embassy claimed that the junta’s personnel used a “high-pitched sonic device” on the embassy. A human rights report later concluded that the embassy was subjected to the “use of sophisticated sound and electromagnetic equipment that have produced severe diarrhea, vomiting, nasal hemorrhages and gastrointestinal problems in both the Embassy and surrounding areas.” Such sonic weapons had recently been used by police and military forces against protesters at the 2009 G-20 summit in Pittsburgh. More recently, acoustic weapons were used against anti-Dakota Access Pipeline protesters in North Dakota.

CIA archives show the agency has been interested in ultrasonic devices, including “acoustic artillery” and “static sirens,” going as far back as 1952. In 1999, NATO introduced high-decibel sonic weaponry into its military inventory. The US Navy currently employs LRADs on the “USS Blue Ridge” and it is believed they are also deployed on other Navy ships.

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Keiser Report: ‘Luxury-priced’ Obamacare policy (E1139)

from RT:

In the second half, Max interviews independent journalist, Andrew Coffey (@coffeygrinds) about the latest in the alt-media market as demonetisations sweep the sector.

On the Marc Faber Controversy


by Pater Tenebrarum, Acting Man:

Il n’y a rien à défendre – There is nothing to defend

Personne n’a lu ce qui a été écrit. – Nobody read what was written.

Personne n’a pensé avant d’agir, comme la plupart des gens de nos jours. – No one thought before acting, like most people nowadays.

L’homme que tu pends est l’homme que tu as fait, pas l’homme que tu tiens. – The man you hang is the man you made, not the man you hang.

Pour ceux qui n’ont pas entièrement lu la lettre de Faber, Nous vous confrontons, Vous qui suspendez quelqu’un sans jugement, sans contexte, et parce que vous êtes égoïste et paresseux, vous, une auto-émeute.

–  To those who have not fully read the Faber letter, We confront you, you who hang someone without judgment, without context, and because you are selfish and lazy, you, a self made irrational mob.

By this time anyone reading this particular article on Acting Man will know about the controversy surrounding Marc Faber these last days, when a single paragraph of many from his October 2017 newsletter was published out of context. Of the now many many comments that have been written or spoken by various people in a wide variety of media, we have found none who have actually read the entire report out of which a single paragraph was published beyond the original sent to subscribers of the Gloom Doom Boom Report.

However, what was not published, was the entire letter.  We offer it here, in its entirety,  which you may download now from the link further below. We urge you to read it from beginning to end.

History is factually replete with the rise and decline of lucky nations. That thefavored nations of our time are now threatened by their own bad choices does not change the past, nor does it change the repeating of that past.  Saying it is not so is not factual, but is wishful thinking. It is clearly debatable what of history should be remembered and serve as a useful lesson.

The October issue of the Gloom Boom Doom report was an in depth look at some of the more important economic and social questions of our day, placed in the broader framework of history. We suggest strongly that you read the full Gloom Doom Boom letter which we provide here and then decide for yourself what was really said by Marc Faber.

Equal Opportunity Offenders– What Is One “Allowed” To Say? By PT 

Is Dr. Faber a racist? Perhaps one should ask his Thai wife if she thinks he hates her or considers her inferior. Or maybe one should ask his mixed-race daughter what she thinks about it. We actually happen to know her personally and although we only met her on one occasion, our educated guess is that her reaction to anyone posing such an absurd question would be to laugh them out of the room.

 Dr. Marc Faber and his wife
Dr. Marc Faber and his wife

As Vidoq mentions above, we are hereby leaking the latest Gloom, Boom and Doom Report so that people who have followed the recent controversy can see the remark that has invited so much criticism in its full context. Thinking about it, if we had made an off-hand remark along similar lines in an article, we would probably have phrased it differently, tying it more explicitly to culture rather than race.

But anyone who has spent considerable time in Africa and isn’t overly fixated on political correctness would likely just shrug and think “what else is new”, regardless of the phrasing. We are not mind-readers, but we strongly suspect that many of those who professed their disapproval of Marc Faber’s remark initially had exactly the same reaction and probably still do, even if they don’t dare to admit it publicly.

If one considers the highly hypothetical scenario of black African tribes discovering and settling the US in the 17thcentury in a historical-cultural ceteris paribus context (it is highly hypothetical because building ocean-worthy ships and going on risky exploration journeys wasn’t their thing), it seems obvious that they would not have brought the ideas and institutions of the European Enlightenment with them, but rather their tribal cultures. It is hardly possible to assert that this wouldn’t have made a difference. The reasons are obviously debatable and race does not necessarily have anything to do with it, hence a different phrasing may have been better.

At the time Europeans began to settle in America, Europe was still ruled by monarchs and despite their opposition to such authoritarian rule, the colonists certainly left a lot to be desired from today’s perspective. Nevertheless, the ideas and institutions characterizing the US over the coming centuries – the rule of law, respect for individual liberty and all the rights connected with it, such as freedom of expression, religious and political freedom, property rights, free markets and so forth, were already fully developed and implemented by them.

It is impossible to prove a negative, but it is definitely legitimate to doubt that anything remotely similar would have happened if African tribal chiefs had determined the fate of the US. Imagine a different hypothetical scenario for a moment: let us say that 300 years before Columbus, Arab traders had discovered America and decided to expand the Caliphate into this new world. This was just after Islam had come under the intellectual sway of Salafist theologians, which is to say, the economic, scientific and military prowess of the Muslim world was at the time still close to its peak in relative terms.

We imagine Arab forces would have made even shorter shrift of the native American population than the Europeans eventually did (which incidentally remains a big stain on the reputation of the latter) and would have found it quite easy to expand across this vast new continent. Having almost five centuries of practice under their belt, they were well-versed in conquering large territories. Thus the country would not be known as the USA today, but something like the UIE, or the UIC (United Islamic Emirates/ United Islamic Caliphate).

Conceivably the features characterizing this somewhat different America would include frequent beheading of people in the public square for a wide variety of crimes (inter alia “witchcraft and sorcery”). Road safety would be enhanced by a distinct lack of women drivers. There would be zero gay pride marches and acronyms such as “LBGTQ” and its offshoots would never have come into being. Presumably non-Islamic religious activity would not be tolerated either (perhaps a few dhimmis would be allowed to exist though, so this point is debatable).

And there would certainly be no free press, or freedom of expression generally (provided the internet had been invented, uppity bloggers would have to expect to be jailed and whipped). Think about mainstream press reports on president Trump for a moment – it is a good bet that reports on the hypothetical Caliph would look quite different.

Many detest the leftist bias of the mainstream media, but as far as we can tell, the opposition makes use of its own freedom of expression rather than the whip. Since the Left has no sense of humor and is utterly incapable of creating noteworthy memes, it is easy pickings in many ways, and its control of the mainstream narrative is trumped (no pun intended) by the grip its opponents have on the so-called “alternative media” living on the internet.

Political correctness would of course be strictly enforced in the Caliphate, that is an apodictic certainty. But it wouldn’t be the kind of political correctness that is propagated by the establishment in the West nowadays. We can hereby guarantee to all Western proponents of political correctness that they wouldn’t like the Caliphate version one bit.

How many Americans would consider the hypothetical scenario described above desirable? Does political correctness allow anyone to make statements along the lines of “thank God that didn’t happen”? We are not entirely up to speed what is and what isn’t currently “allowed” under PC rules – it is entirely possible that mentioning this hypothetical scenario is considered too Islamophobic for polite society. And yet, every single feature of our imaginary United Islamic Caliphate is a reality in modern-day Saudi Arabia.

Q & A with Dr. Marc Faber

[Ed. note: This is a response by Dr. Faber to emailed questions which to our knowledge was originally published at The Globe and Mail]

Q: I understand the context of what you wrote, but regardless people are interpreting it as racist as you are clearly stating the superiority of the whites in comparison to blacks.

MF: From the perspective of economic progress and development clearly. Is the world a better place after 200 years of Western economic and political as well as military superiority? No, we whites have been extremely cruel, but I sometime wonder if other ethnic groups would have been any better??

Q: Do you have any regrets about that or do you stand by your comments?

MF: Why should I regret stating historic facts?

Q: Is there anything you would take back if you had to do it again?

MF: No

Q: Would you still write what you wrote knowing what has transpired? Namely,  big backlash in the public, and being sacked from the 3 boards in Canada.

MF: If saying what I said leads to these consequences I prefer not to be on these boards.

Q: Does the backlash bother you, or are you immune to this?

MF: It bothers me greatly that I had to hear all the time I was at school and at University about enlightenment, freedom of speech and of expression and that the media nowadays did not find anything better to do than to label me as racist. To call someone a racist is a form of low blow insult. Insult is the response of the weak to strength of character.

Q: Will the financial impact from losing income from those lost board seats impact you in a big way, or does it not really matter?

MF: It will be a huge loss. I shall go back to being a waiter.

Q: Have you had a significant amount of subscribers cancel their subscriptions to your newsletter as a result of the controversy?

MF: No, I think most people actually agree with me and certainly defend freedom of expression even if it does no coincide with their views.

Q: Does it bother you that the U.S. business channels say you will no longer be welcome as a guest?

MF: It bothers me greatly that the media has become this biased against people with a different view.

Q: Do you think the actions of the three companies (Ivanhoe, Sprott & Novagold) to ask you to resign was appropriate, or do you think you should be allowed to keep those board seats?

MF: I think the corporate world is now run by compliance people. In this context I understand their firing me. In the meantime another two companies asked me to resign – so 5 in one day.

Q: Do you see any hypocrisy at all from the three companies in asking for your resignation?

MF: Unfortunately, Western societies have become extremely hypocritical. Their so called moral superiority will take them down.

Q: Are these companies as moral and upstanding as they profess to be? Below is what the three companies released yesterday. As you can see Sprott and Ivanhoe clearly state they have certain values that they uphold rigorously.  Do you think they actually adhere to these values or is this lip service designed to protect themselves?

MF: Morals in the corporate world? “When it comes to money, everybody is of the same religion” = Voltaire. I am not God. I am not here to judge other people. One CEO stated that I must have been on some drugs when I wrote my Gloom Boom & Doom report. Since I have only taken Cocaine three times and marijuana about ten times in seventy years, I did not think these were appropriate comments.

Q: Have any of the companies privately told you something different than what is in the statements below?

MF: Numerous board members have expressed their regrets that I am leaving their board and actually invited me to stay at their homes.

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Platinum, Rhodium and Gold


by Clint Siegner, via Deviant investor:

Platinum was once the most precious of metals. For decades, it traded at a premium to gold. The other platinum group metals – palladium and rhodium – barely registered on investors’ radar screens.

Platinum lost its crown to gold in 2015. It was overtaken by the other Platinum Group metals (PGM) metals in recent weeks.

Given that platinum, palladium, and rhodium demand is largely driven by automobile manufacturing and the production of catalytic converters, one of these things is likely true; platinum is currently undervalued, or the other two have gotten ahead of themselves.

 Which one is the correct assessment will depend on whether the current optimism for economic growth in both developed economies and emerging markets has been well placed. Either way, investors inclined to speculate on the PGM metals have some interesting market action upon which to trade.

1 oz rhodium bars run about $1,455 each.

Platinum does look remarkably under-appreciated. It is hard to imagine it trading at a significant discount for long.


Auto makers should bid for whichever metal offers the lowest cost as all three are somewhat interchangeable.

Platinum offers the largest and most liquid market of the group. It is widely available in a variety of coins and bars. For investors, platinum’s liquidity is a consideration.

However, momentum traders may want to take a look at rhodium. It is traded in relatively tiny quantities and has a history of making big moves. Rhodium saw a top near $4,000 in the early 1990s and it made a run north of $2,000 about 10 years later. It peaked at $10,000 per ounce in 2008.

Although rhodium has doubled in the past year, it currently trades just over $1,300.

The metal’s pattern of having a sharp spike roughly once every 10 years is interesting. It is possible we are in the middle of another of those massive moves now.

Rhodium is available primarily in 1 ounce bars. While the quantity of rhodium traded is by far the lowest among precious metals, market liquidity for that metal has seen a boost since 2008. There are now a couple of ETFs focused on the metal. Those ETFs may in fact be driving a good portion of the recent demand.

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The First Amendment is Under Serious Assault in Order to Stifle Anti-Israel Boycotts


by Michael Krieger, Liberty Blitzkrieg:

Assaults on freedom speech can be found in many aspects of American life these days, but one specific area that isn’t getting the attention it deserves relates to boycotts against Israel. Increasingly, we’re seeing various regional governments requiring citizens to agree to what essentially amounts to a loyalty pledge to a foreign government in order to participate in or receive government services.

I’m going to highlight two troubling examples of this, both covered by Israeli paper Haaretz. The first relates to Kansas.

From the article, In America, the Right to Boycott Israel Is Under Threat:

The First Amendment squarely protects the right to boycott. Lately, though, a legislative assault on that right has been spreading through the United States –  designed to stamp out constitutionally protected boycotts of Israel…


Over the past several years, state and federal legislatures have considered dozens of bills, and in some cases passed laws, in direct violation of this important ruling. These bills and laws vary in numerous respects, but they share a common goal of scaring people away people from participating in boycotts meant to protest Israeli government policies, including what are known as Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaigns.

Today, the ACLU filed a lawsuit challenging one of those laws — a Kansas statute requiring state contractors to sign a statement certifying that they do not boycott Israel, including boycotts of companies profiting off settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories.

We are representing a veteran math teacher and trainer from Kansas who was told she would need to sign the certification statement in order to participate in a state program training other math teachers. Our client is a member of the Mennonite Church USA. In response to calls for boycott by the church and members of her congregation, she has decided not to buy consumer goods and services offered by Israeli companies and international companies operating in Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories. Our client is boycotting to protest the Israeli government’s treatment of Palestinians and to pressure the government to change its policies.

Earlier this year, our client was selected to participate as a contractor in a statewide training program run by the Kansas Department of Education. She was excited to use her skills to help train math teachers throughout the state, but when she was presented with a form requiring her to certify that she “is not currently engaged in a boycott of Israel,” she told the state that she could not sign the form in good conscience. As a result, the state refuses to let her participate in the program.

Kansas’s law, and others like it, violates the Constitution. The First Amendment prohibits the government from suppressing one side of a public debate. That means it cannot impose ideological litmus tests or loyalty oaths as a condition on hiring or contracting.

If this was the only example of such behavior, I suppose we could dismiss it as a one-off, misguided directive. Unfortunately, this sort of thing is far more common than any of us would like to admit.

Here’s another recent example, from the article, Houston Suburb Won’t Give Hurricane Relief to Anyone Who Boycotts Israel:

A Houston suburb will not approve grants to repair homes or businesses damaged in Hurricane Harvey if the applicant supports boycotting Israel.

The city of Dickinson’s application form for storm damage repair funding includes a clause stating that “By executing this Agreement below, the Applicant verifies that the Applicant: (1) does not boycott Israel; and (2) will not boycott Israel during the term of this Agreement.”

No other clauses about political affiliations or beliefs are included in the form.

The state of Texas passed a law in May banning state entities from contracting with businesses that boycott Israel. The law, one of 21 passed in states around the country in the past few years, has been criticized by the American Civil Liberties Union as unconstitutional.

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Daphne Caruana Galizia: Remotely detonated bomb killed Maltese journalist, government says


from ABC News:

Police believe a bomb that killed a prominent journalist in Malta was attached beneath her car and triggered remotely, a government spokeswoman has said, giving first details of the investigation.

Daphne Caruana Galizia, a renowned blogger and fierce critic of the Government, died on Monday in a blast that wrecked her car as she was leaving her house, throwing debris and body parts into a nearby field.

The murder shocked the Mediterranean island, the smallest nation in the European Union, and Prime Minister Joseph Muscat on Wednesday promised a reward to anyone who came forward with information about the killing.

However, Caruana Galizia’s three grown-up sons dismissed the offer, and called instead for Mr Muscat to resign, saying he should take political responsibility for the first such murder of a journalist in Malta since the island won independence in 1964.

Mr Muscat has ruled out quitting and flew to Brussels on Thursday for an EU summit.

His spokeswoman told reporters that British police had joined Dutch forensic experts and a team from the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to help with the case.

“Emerging evidences make us think that the bomb was placed under the car and was set off with a remote trigger,” the spokeswoman said.

She said foreign experts should be able to help identify the mobile phone which was used to detonate the bomb.

A local police source said investigators believed powerful Semtex explosives might have been used in the killing, adding that if proven, it would be a first for Malta.

Caruana Galizia critical of PM before death

The island has seen a number of small bomb attacks in recent years tied to gangland criminals, but the explosives used were relatively rudimentary and did not have the same power as the device that targeted Caruana Galizia.

The 53-year-old journalist used her widely-read blog to lambast Mr Muscat, his wife and some of his closest advisers, accusing them of setting up off-shore accounts to hide ill-gotten gain.

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What I Learned Living Through Harvey, by M.S.


from Survival Blog:

I’ve lived through several disasters and learned some thing. The worst events, in my experience, were the World Trade Center attack, Hurricane Sandy in New York City, and then most recently Hurricane Harvey in Beaumont, Texas. South East Texas was hit with life threatening, devastating rain fall, which put entire cities under water, turned towns into islands, and crippled the municipal water system of Beaumont. The following is a list of lessons I learned during this experience.

1. I’m not overly paranoid.

I’ve been freedom oriented and interested in prepping for a while, and many of my family and friends think I’m just being overly paranoid. I was hoping this was the case, but unfortunately it’s not.

2. Every disaster, natural or otherwise, presents its own challenges and obstacles.

One common issue is self defense as well as defense of one’s family and belongings. This was a continual struggle while I lived in NYC, since although I managed to obtain a pistol license (which was an incredible challenge), my NYC Pistol License did not allow for carry outside of my residence. Once I moved to Texas, I immediately obtained my concealed carry license. Although I’m guilty of not carrying 24/7, it was certainly comforting knowing I have the ability to carry a gun for defense in instances such as a disaster or crisis. Everyone in Beaumont couldn’t have been nicer, perhaps because no one got to the point of desperation. However, I still carried, and I’m glad I did, just in case it got worse.


My petite, disabled wife is a strong believer in carrying concealed. If you ask her why, she’d tell you because there’s no other way she could fend off a 200lb man. I understand there are many people who don’t like guns. My response is to ask them if they dislike guns so much they’d refuse the ability to protect their family.

3. Keeping between one and three month’s worth of shelf stable food in your house is not ridiculous.

Beaumont was only cutoff from deliveries for a few days. Some of the outlying smaller towns were cut off for longer and didn’t benefit from all the MREs being distributed around Beaumont. Having enough food to stay home and not having to venture out into the chaos was priceless.

4. Minimizing injuries became an obvious priority, once the hospitals evacuated and shut down.

Being self-sufficient at home to not only protect my family and dwelling but to reduce the possibility of a car wreck or other accident became a priority.

5. Keep a water storage device on hand and fill it before a storm.

On day three of the hurricane, I finally decided to open my bathtub water bladder. I almost felt stupid filling it up but figured if now wasn’t the time, then when? And, of course, in the back of my mind I figured I was again being overly paranoid. My wife even made a joke while I was filing it. I texted my friends that lived in the area, reminding them to fill their tubs with water in case the water shut off. Only one of my friends actually did it, and ironically she was one of the few that didn’t lose running water. We lost city water the day after the hurricane.

Many people figured the worst was passed and started to relax. I usually keep enough bottled water to last a month, but having that extra amount in the tub that I could use to drink or wash my hands or face with, was priceless. Again, it kept me from having to go to water distribution sites or under-stocked stores.

6. A somewhat eye opener was that I didn’t have enough buckets of water for flushing toilets.

Five-gallon buckets are inexpensive and take up very little room in a shed or garage. In hind sight, if I had had a few, I could have filled them and left them outside. Instead, I had to make alternate arrangements, which was harder than I had anticipated, being that I live in a suburban neighborhood. (I, of course, wasn’t going to waste any of my precious drinking water.) One of the first things I bought after the storm were more buckets and a camp potty. I won’t be caught in that situation again. Many people took buckets or whatever vessels they had and filled them in the river or drainage canals to flush with. This just seemed like an unnecessarily dangerous task for multiple reasons.

7. If you have unscented regular bleach, it can be used for water purification in a pinch.

Luckily, it didn’t get to the point in my situation I needed bleach, but I was ready in case the water in the tub got stale, or I had to improvise water from another source. As a rule, I don’t buy scented or any other type of bleach other than ***regular*** for that reason.

8. Fill the freezer with ice, just in case.

I miraculously didn’t lose power through the whole ordeal but plenty of others did and were without functioning freezers, for days if not weeks. It was nice and important, as with the water and food, to have enough to be able to share with those less prepared or less fortunate.

9. Fill up your gas cans.

I usually keep five gallons of ethanol-free gas. This is enough for my tools and to keep in the truck during a road trip, but it definitely wouldn’t have been enough to evacuate. In Beaumont, the roads opened up quick enough to get deliveries of gas, but some of the smaller, more isolated towns were running out and couldn’t get deliveries. I recently bought a 14-gallon container just to have. I don’t plan on keeping gas in it all the time, but if the time comes to evacuate, with that additional container, I’ve almost doubled the fuel capacity in my truck.

Not having to stop as frequently to gas up during an evacuation is safer and provides more of a possibility that I actually will make it out. During Hurricane Irma, Florida had a gas shortage with bumper to bumper traffic throughout the state. Having enough gas to get out of the danger zone could mean the difference of getting out or getting stranded.

10. Having a generator can make riding out the storm much more pleasant.

I was holding off on getting a generator installed, because of cost. I just called an electrician, and he is coming next month (since there is such a backlog). Suck it up and spend the money, especially if you have babies or children in your household. Just the comfort of being able to turn the lights on or run an A/C does wonders for morale, even when everything else outside is a mess.

11. Try not to accumulate dirty laundry.

I learned about dirty laundry the hard way. We had way too many dirty clothes and no way of washing them, because there was no running water. Luckily we didn’t run out of clean clothes, but it was getting close.

12. Have a garbage bag full of clothes and supplies ready to give out or donate when a storm hits.

We had donated clothes a week before the storm and hadn’t gone through our wardrobes since. During the storm we just went into our drawers and gave away clothes we would have otherwise still worn just to be able to offer something to those who lost everything and were displaced in the shelters. It would have been nice to have been more organized in that respect.

13. You can never have enough garbage bags and zip lock bags.

Garbage bags and zip lock bags were needed at evacuation and shelter sites. That’s something I usually have lots of, and I keep a whole roll of garbage bags in my bug-out bag.

14. Be ready to bug out when the time comes.

Have your vehicle packed with bags, food, water, gas, et cetera and ready to leave at a moment’s notice. Also, when things get bad, be dressed with everything you need to evacuate on you. In other words, 100{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528} essentials must be on your person, such as important documents and medication. You can’t rely on your bag making it. Some shelters were requiring ID to get in. Some shelters also weren’t allowing firearms. Have all that information written down or memorized so you have a plan of where you will go if you have to.

Have a list of people’s phone numbers/addresses, in case you don’t have your phone or it’s not working. Those in shelters that couldn’t get picked up by friends or family had to be flown by military cargo plane to San Antonio and Dallas. The bizarre thing is there have been no reports on the news or otherwise as to where these people are or if and when they’re coming back. It wouldn’t take much to be one of those people.

15. Email all important documents to yourself so that you can access it from any computer.

16. Keep $1,000 cash.

We were late doing a lot of these things, and in a bigger city, such as NYC, such resources would have been unavailable. Monday (during the storm) we were able to get more supplies, gas, and money.

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Geoengineering Watch Global Alert News, October 21, 2017


by Dane Wigington, GeoEnginerring:

Resource wars continue to be waged all over the planet. Which countries military do we find at the front line of the conflicts in nearly every case? The USA. With a military machine that is as large as the next 10 largest militaries combined, the USA is also leading the charge on the global climate engineering / weather warfare assault. Extreme weather whiplash scenarios are worsening at blinding speed. Radical swings in temperatures and conditions have now become the norm as the geoengineers continue to completely derail what is yet left of Earth’s climate and life support systems. Is Ireland going to bear the brunt of yet another unprecedented extratropical cyclone? The CIA continues with its efforts to take down any leader in any country that is reluctant to subordinate it’s own interests to the US empire’s dictates. The latest installment of Global Alert News is below.

Public apathy and planetary onmicide are moving forward in lockstep. Will it take the emptying out of market shelves before first world populations are forced to wake? The rapid acceleration of “natural” disasters is finally causing even the most ardent deniers of reality to take pause. It is up to all of us to share credible data from a credible source so that we can fast forward the awakening process of those who have not yet opened their eyes. Don’t sit the bench, get on the field and join the battle for the greater good

The next outreach booth will be at the Lane County Events Center, Eugene, Oregon, November 3rd to the 5th. My most sincere and continuing gratitude to the Gem Faire exhibition organizers for facilitating and setting up this very effective booth in every week’s Gem Faire location. The schedule for upcoming Gem Faire events is HERE. A booth will be at all events, thanks to the steadfast support of Gem Faire. Unfortunately, the Santa Rosa GEM FAIRE event, that was scheduled for this weekend, was cancelled due to the firestorm catastrophe in Santa Rosa. 

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