The first step toward liberty is to see through the masking fog the state engulfs itself in to carry out its deeds of conquest. Using reason to discover absolute truths is an essential part of determining how one should live their life in accordance with sound ethics. Relativism denies this. It can deny that evil is committed by the state and that reprehensible acts are perfectly okay when done by individuals with guns and badges. All it takes to reverse such destructive thinking is the realization that state authority deserves no pass in moral scrutiny. Withdrawing consent comes next on the path to a free society.
Over the past month America's ever vigilant law enforcers have taken to task not one but two foreign (domestic bank lobbies are sufficiently large to make Congress muppets perfectly eager to look the other way as noted previously) banks: HSBC and now Standard Chartered, for money laundering. Yet, when it comes to the true elephant in the room, which is not foreign and is fully domestic, they continue to ignore events such as this one just described by the Wall Street Journal: "A Florida home that originally listed for $60 million has sold for $47 million, a record for a single-family house in Miami-Dade County. The home, in Indian Creek Village, had been on the market since early 2011, when construction was still being completed. The asking price was reduced to $52 million this year." And the punchline: "The identity of the buyer, a foreigner who purchased the home in the name of a U.S.-based limited-liability company, couldn't be learned." In other words a foreigner who may or may not have engaged in massive criminal activity and/or dealt with Iran, Afghanistan, or any other bogeyman du jour at some point in their past, and is using US real estate merely as a money-laundering front perhaps? Sadly, we will never know. Why? As explained before, it is all thanks to the National Association of Realtors - those wonderful people who bring you the existing home sales update every month (with a documented upward bias every single time) - which just so happens is the only organization that actively lobbied for and received an exemption from AML regulation compliance. In other words, unlike HSBC, the NAR is untouchable, even if it were to sell a triplex to Ahmedinejad on West 57th street.
American Officials Admit that the U.S. Is a Huge Sponsor of Terrorism
What You Should Know about this “Unthinkable” Development…
“Humanitarian” War Contradicts 200 Years of Liberal Thought
The three "de's:" deregulation, desupervision, and de facto decriminalization.
The latest development in yesterday's Bulgarian bus bomb explosion, is the identification of the alleged bomber. According to Times of Israel he is Mehdi Ghezali, "reportedly a Swedish citizen, with Algerian and Finnish origins. He had been held at the US’s Guantanamo Bay detainment camp on Cuba from 2002 to 2004, having previously studied at a Muslim religious school and mosque in Britain, and traveled to Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. He was also reportedly among 12 foreigners captured trying to cross into Afghanistan in 2009."
A week ago we reported news that Middle East veteran aircraft carrier CVN-74 Stennis was ending its brief sabbatical prematurely, and far earlier than previously expected, and heading right back into the field, er sea, of action. As Kitsapsun reported, "Bremerton-based aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis is returning to the Middle East much sooner than expected. The Navy hasn't officially announced the new deployment plan for the Stennis, said spokesman Lt. Cmdr. Zach Harrell." The ship came home to Naval Base Kitsap on March 2 after seven months of launching planes into Iraq and Afghanistan. Generally, it wouldn't go back to the Fifth Fleet area of responsibility for four to five years, after a deployment to the Western Pacific and a maintenance period. But with Iran making threats, crew members learned Saturday they'll be leaving again in late August for eight months." We concluded that shortly, Stennis will be the third carrier accompanying Lincoln and Enterprise. As it turns out, a third carrier was already en route, and as of today, CVN 69 Eisenhower is either at the opening of the Straits of Hormuz, or just past it. That makes 3 aircraft carriers in the middle east, 2 in the Gulf and the Arabian Sea and one just off the coast of Syria. And technically, the LHD 7 Iwo Jima Big Deck Amphibious ship, which is also just off the coast of Iran region, makes three and a half. Which means that a 5th one (rounded up) - Stennis - is coming in 1-2 months. Good luck Iran.
The last time the US navy sent three aircraft carriers into the Arabian Sea/Persian Gulf was just a few short weeks before WTI broke above $110, and aggressive military tensions, coupled with concerns of an imminent invasion of Iran by Israel and/or 'others', were running high. Then summer arrived, as did the need to lower the price of gas and crude ahead of a veritable cornucopia of central banks easing into June and July, not to mention the need to keep gas as low as possible into the July 4th holiday. Now that the peak summer months are behind us this is all changing, and 4 months ahead of the presidential election, the need to have the "Wag the Dog" put option to round up the troops, not to mention votes, has arrived, as has the need to return to an outright aggressive military stance where Iran is concerned. Which is why we were not very surprised to learn that that Middle East veteran aircraft carrier, the CVN-74 Stennis, is going right back into Mordor, a few short months after it came back from its long stint in the Fifth Fleet, and will shortly complete the trio of aircraft carriers stationed within miles of Iran.
- Euro zone fragmenting faster than EU can act (Reuters)
- Wall Streeters Lose $2 Billion in 401(k) Bet on Own Firms (Bloomberg)
- Eurozone crisis will last for 20 years (FT)
- Chuckie Evans: "Please suh, can I have some moah" (Reuters)
- Quote stuffing and book sales: Amazon ‘robo-pricing’ sparks fears (FT)
- Situation in Egypt getting worse by the minute: Egypt parliament set to meet, defying army (Reuters)
- Chinese goalseek-o-tron speaks: China’s inflation eased to a 29-month low (Bloomberg)
- A contrarian view: "Barclays and the BoE have probably saved the financial system" (FT)
- Flawed analysis: Dealers Declining Bernanke Twist Invitation (BBG) - Actually as shown here, ST Bond holdings have soared as dealers buy what Fed sells: more here
- Obama team targets Romney over taxes, Republicans cry foul (Reuters)
- And all shall be well: Brussels to act over Libor scandal (FT)
- Bank of England's Tucker to testify on rate rigging row (Reuters)
Journalism is about asking questions that corporations, governments and establishments don’t want to answer. It’s about reporting the full-story, no matter how many toes you step on. It’s about opening up power to real scrutiny. And that is something that the propagandists in big media are often incapable of — which of course is why big media is slowly dying. We need to know the depth and width of Fast and Furious and the programs which preceded it: how was it authorised, how was it designed, how did it go wrong, who was to blame for it going wrong. We need to know whether or not the widely-spread allegation that the Obama administration has sold guns directly to Los Zetas is true. We need to know whether or not El Chapo and the Sinaloa Cartel are working with the DEA and the Mexican government. (Both of these allegations are widely accepted as fact in Mexico). We need to know why Obama has chosen to continue the failed drug war, even in spite of overwhelming evidence that the illegality of drugs is the very thing that empowers the criminal cartels, and in spite of the fact that Obama is a former drug user.
Forty five years after the War on Poverty began, there are 49 million Americans living in poverty. That’s a solid good return on the $16 trillion spent so far. It’s on par with the 16 year zero percent real return in the stock market. We have produced a vast underclass of ignorant, uneducated, illiterate, dependent people who have become a huge voting block for the Democratic Party. Politicians, on the left, promise more entitlements to these people in order to get elected. Politicians on the right will not cut the entitlements for fear of being branded as uncaring. The Republicans agree to keep the welfare state growing and the Democrats agree to keep the warfare state growing -bipartisanship in all its glory. And the middle class has been caught in a pincer movement between the free shit entitlement army and the free shit corporate army. The oligarchs have been incredibly effective at using their control of the media, academia and ideological think tanks to keep the middle class ire focused upon the lower classes. While the middle class is fixated on people making $13,400 per year, the ultra-wealthy are bribing politicians to pass laws and create tax loopholes, netting them billions of ill-gotten loot. These specialists at Edward Bernays propaganda techniques were actually able to gain overwhelming support from the middle class for the repeal of estate taxes by rebranding them “death taxes”, even though the estate tax only impacts 15,000 households out of 117 million households in the U.S. The .01% won again.
Despite already being engaged in drone wars in Pakistan, Somalia, Yemen, and still occupying Afghanistan, the U.S. is being duped into yet another war based on shaky evidence and at the behest of deep-pocketed special interests. This is coming even while a secretive cyber war already being waged to damage Iran’s nuclear capability. According to the Pentagon, “computer sabotage coming from another country can constitute an act of war.” Not only that, but the draconian sanctions thus far placed on Iran are doing enormous harm to the citizens who hardly have a say in what their government does. The Belgium-based SWIFT payment system that facilitates most international payments has already denied service to many Iranian banks. With the imposing of an oil embargo from the European Union just around the corner (July 1st) that will all but make it impossible for oil tankers to be insured by Lloyd’s of London, an actual naval blockade is being floated by U.S. lawmakers. Much like the Antebellum South and Japan, Iran too is being pushed into a corner.... Then and now, wealthy special interests are a driving force behind American imperialism. Lies will be spun till they are seen as facts. When the truth comes out, the irreparable damage will already be done. Like anything the state lays its filthy hands on, war is a racket. The beneficiaries of the ruling class’s gleeful foray into mass murder are few in number. The masses, still brainwashed into feverish nationalism, end up paying the costs with their pilfered income, eroded liberty, and, ultimately, their own lives.
America is spending more today drone-striking American citizens in Yemen, drone-surveilling Mexican drug lords and “turning our attention to the vast potential of the Asia-Pacific region“ than she was during the cold war when a hostile superpower had thousands of nukes pointing at her. Military contractors have nothing to fear. Whether it is the Pacific buildup to contain Chinese ambition, or drone strikes in the horn of Africa or Pakistan, or the completely-failed drug war, or using the ghost of Kony to establish a toehold in Africa to compete with China for African minerals, or an attempted deposition of Bashar Assad or Egypt’s new Islamist regime, or bombing Iran’s uranium-enrichment facilities, or a conflict over mineral rights in the Arctic, or (as Paul Krugman desires — and what the heck, it’s 2012, why not?) an alien invasion, or a new global conflict arising out of a global economic reset, it’s springtime for the military contractors. It’s everyone else who should be worried.
Coming into the weekend, most were focusing on key events coming out of Greece and France, possibly Egypt, but nobody expected that Saudi Arabia would be thrown into the fray. That just happened, however, following news that Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Nayef bin Abdulaziz al-Saud has died in Geneva, according to Saudi state television, citing a royal court statement. The news has sent Saudi shares sliding, because now 89-year-old King Abdullah must nominate a new heir for the second time in nine months. And the last thing the middle-east region needs, not to mention the world's biggest oil producer, needs is more geopolitical uncertainty.