en Greek Austerity And Economic Religion <p><a href=""><em>Submitted by Raul Ilargi Meijer via The Automatic Earth blog</em></a>,</p> <p><strong>There are many things going on in the Greece vs Institutions+Germany negotiations,</strong> and many more on the fringe of the talks, with opinions being vented left and right, not least of all in the media, often driven more by a particular agenda than by facts or know-how.</p> <p><strong>What most fail to acknowledge is to what extent the position of the creditor institutions is powered by economic religion</strong>, and that is a shame, because it makes it very difficult for the average reader and viewer to understand what happens, and why.</p> <p>Greek FinMin Yanis Varoufakis has often complained that he can&rsquo;t get the finance ministers and others to discuss economics. <a href="" target="new"><span style="font-size: 13px; color: #ff2222; font-weight: bold;">As our mutual friend Steve Keen put it:</span></a></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><em>Steve Keen said the finance minister was frustrated with the progress of Greece&rsquo;s talks with the euro zone, adding Varoufakis had compared the talks to dealing with &ldquo;divorce lawyers&rdquo;. Keen said the finance ministers of Europe refused to discuss certain euro policies, according to Varoufakis. [..] When asked what [Varoufakis and he] mainly discuss at the moment, Keen said, &ldquo;Mainly his frustration, the fact that the one thing that he can&rsquo;t discuss with the finance ministers of Europe is economics..&rdquo;</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em>&ldquo;He goes inside, he is expected to be discussing what the economic impact of the policies of the euro are and how to get a better set of policies, living within the confines of the euro and the entire European Union system, and he said they simply won&rsquo;t discuss it. He said it is like walking into a bunch of divorce lawyers, it is not anything like what you think finance ministers should be talking about..&rdquo;</em></p> </blockquote> <p>They won&rsquo;t discuss these things because they have found religion, in the sense that there is for them only one truth, to the exclusion of all others. They toe the preconceived line, because if they didn&rsquo;t they would lose their positions.</p> <p><strong>They are undoubtedly also very hesitant to discuss economics with Varoufakis because they are aware of his prowess in the field</strong>. They are much less knowledgeable, which makes it tempting to hide behind numbers, behind Germany, and behind their faith that their views are the only right ones. Which is precisely what Varoufakis challenges.</p> <p>You won&rsquo;t see the Pope in a muslim prayer five times daily with his face to Mecca, or an imam celebrating Holy Mass. And that&rsquo;s sort of alright, there&rsquo;s nothing that says everyone should have the same religion. But when it comes to a field such as economics, and certainly when multi-trillion dollar decisions are being taken, and people in the streets are already going broke and hungry, that is definitely not alright.</p> <p>The number one priority under such circumstances absolutely must be to find a solution, find it fast, and alleviate the suffering. Not to push through any particular policy or vision. Now, you can accuse Greece of not doing that, and the institutions and their pundits in the press do that on a 24/7 basis, but that view lacks substance.</p> <p><strong>The institutions demand more austerity measures for Greece, whereas it&rsquo;s plain to see that austerity is what has led to the misery of the people.</strong> In particular, pensions cuts are apparently still a point neither side wants to give in on. But not only have Greek pensions already been cut by 40% or so, they are the last straw for many entire families.</p> <p>Which means the entire pension system would need to be thoroughly reformed, not just pensions cut, or more, and more widespread, misery is in the offing. And there simply is no time to achieve that thorough reform before Greek repayment deadlines set in. Don&rsquo;t forget, the entire Syriza government hasn&rsquo;t been able (allowed) to do anything but negotiate. And is then accused of not doing enough.</p> <p><u><strong>This inflexible insistence on more austerity, and hence more misery, for the Greek people, is a good example of how religion driven the IMF, EU and ECB are. </strong></u>As I&rsquo;ve written many times, it&rsquo;s about power, not about money; it wouldn&rsquo;t cost all that much, but could achieve a lot, to let Greeks off the austerity hook for a bit. All it takes is flexibility when entering the negotiations. But there ain&rsquo;t much of that, if any, on the creditors&rsquo; side.</p> <p>Which is why <a href="" target="new"><span style="font-size: 13px; color: #ff2222; font-weight: bold;">this Bloomberg piece</span></a> on the IMF&rsquo;s &lsquo;enforcer&rsquo; for Greece Poul Thomsen should bring a smile to our faces.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><em>A former IMF colleague of Thomsen&rsquo;s, Ashoka Mody, last month in a Bloomberg View column called for the fund to &ldquo;recognize its responsibility for the country&rsquo;s predicament&rdquo; and forgive much of Greece&rsquo;s debt. There&rsquo;s little sign that the IMF and Thomsen might bend the rules or cross their red lines now. While some issues such as short-term budget targets may be negotiable, the fund&rsquo;s position is that any Greek agreement must bring debt down to sustainable levels and include concrete commitment to reforms, especially cuts to public pensions.</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em><strong>&ldquo;We are open to new ideas and different ways to achieve a country&rsquo;s economic goals. We are a pragmatic institution,&rdquo;</strong> Thomsen said in a statement to Bloomberg News. &ldquo;But we also need to be mindful of economic realities. At the end of the day it needs to add up. And we need to ensure that we treat our member states equally, that we apply our rules uniformly.&rdquo;</em></p> </blockquote> <p>For all we know that&rsquo;s even the way he sees things. But the IMF is neither a flexible nor a beneficial institution. It&rsquo;s a power tool for the wealthy. The philosophy behind the institutions&rsquo; view of the negotiations, and indeed their entire view of economics in general, is constructed to follow the preferences of the wealthy, who have a strong vested interest in centralized control over just about everything, because more centralization makes it easier for them to exert this control.</p> <p>Syriza getting its way on reforms doesn&rsquo;t fit in that picture; before you know more parties want some say in their futures too. Most of all, though, different ideas on economics in general cannot be accepted. Everybody has to follow the IMF line of &lsquo;reforms&rsquo;, asset sales, privatizations, labor protection and austerity. Certainly everyone who owes the Fund money. That&rsquo;s its ultimate power tool.</p> <p>That the EU follows that line merely means it&rsquo;s and immoral and amoral institution, and a union only in name. The ECB follows the IMF line on economics, which means there&rsquo;s no room for aberrant views, no matter how well founded and thought through. There&rsquo;s no place in there for people like Varoufakis, or Steve Keen.</p> <p>It&rsquo;s not about knowledge or brilliance, it&rsquo;s about keeping the faith, because that keeps the power where it&rsquo;s at. Yeah, there&rsquo;s a hint of Galileo in there somewhere. The &lsquo;philosophy&rsquo; is neo-liberal mixed with let&rsquo;s say, Keynes-for-the-rich, aka QE.</p> <p>A nice example of how the IMF operates, and how far its power tentacles reach, came in a Guardian piece on <a href="" target="new"><span style="font-size: 13px; color: #ff2222; font-weight: bold;">Chapter 11 bankruptcy for countries</span></a>, and why Argentina took its case to the UN, not the IMF:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><em>When Argentina tabled a motion calling for the UN to examine the issue of sovereign debt restructuring last autumn, 124 countries voted for it; 11, including the UK and the US, with their powerful financial lobbies, voted against; and there were 41 abstentions. Llorenti, who is chairing the UN &ldquo;ad hoc committee&rdquo; set up as a result of that vote, says <strong>the 11 countries that objected hold 45% of the voting power at the IMF</strong>. He believes they would prefer the matter to be tackled there, where they can shape the arguments: &ldquo;It&rsquo;s a matter of control, really.&rdquo;</em></p> </blockquote> <p>Another thing I&lsquo;ve said before is that the IMF is a prime example of why we should steer away from supra-national organizations. We can&rsquo;t make them run for our own benefit, they invariably end up being run for the benefit of the few, because their inherent lack of transparency and democracy makes them an irresistible target for sociopathic individuals, who seek control, not democracy, and for the elites whose interests they invariably end up representing.</p> <p><strong>There&rsquo;s the World Bank, NATO, the IMF, the EU. The UN is somewhat more democratic, but only somewhat. Behind the veil it&rsquo;s not at all.</strong></p> <p>Amongst the European finance minsters there should still be a few who may have doubts about what&rsquo;s happening to Greece, what&rsquo;s being demanded of it. And who realize that the purely political decision to bail out the banks that had lent to Greece, and shove their debts into the lap of all Europeans, who in turn pushed it right back into Greece&rsquo;s lap, is at best highly questionable.</p> <p>If these Europeans want to save their union, they need to be told that what they&rsquo;re doing right now is the exact wrong way to go about that, 180&ordm; wrong. What happens today is not holding or pulling the member states together, it&rsquo;s driving them apart.</p> <p>Perhaps it is indeed ultimately a choice between the banks and the people. And perhaps it scares them stiff not to choose the banks. With their limited knowledge of how economies function, they must believe the story of how everything will fall to pieces if the banks fail. Besides, if they question it, they&rsquo;re out.</p> <p><u><strong>But economics cannot be a religion, it cannot have this inflexibility and resistance to change. </strong></u>And neither can politics, not if we want our unions, our countries and our societies to survive, if we want to survive, and our children. Economics is not a science, though it very much longs for that status. It shouldn&rsquo;t be a religion either, however.</p> <p>There is nothing that says, or proves, that bailing out banks and forcing austerity on people (note the combination) is the best, or only, way to rescue an economy in trouble. That austerity is the way to rebuild an economy. These are mere ideas, conceived by people who studied textbooks.</p> <p>What Greece is asking for is a simple bottom beneath its society, lest it completely falls to bits, lest all it&rsquo;s left with is some right wing movement or another. But instead, the institutions&rsquo; approach to economics, to democracy and to power look to make a true solution for the Greek problem impossible.</p> <p><u><strong>That in turn would seem to make a Grexit, in some shape or another, the only way left to go. </strong></u>Why would anyone want to live in a world dominated by religious fanatics and their henchmen?</p> <p>Finally, as for what the euro, and hence the eurozone, were intended to do, here&rsquo;s Greg Palast from 2012, talking about father of the euro, Robert Mundell:</p> <p style="margin-left: 20px;"><a href="" target="new"><span style="font-size: 13px; color: #ff2222; font-weight: bold;">Robert Mundell, Evil Genius Of The Euro </span></a></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><em>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s very hard to fire workers in Europe,&rdquo; he complained. His answer: the euro. <strong>The euro would really do its work when crises hit</strong>, Mundell explained. Removing a government&rsquo;s control over currency would prevent nasty little elected officials from using Keynesian monetary and fiscal juice to pull a nation out of recession.</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em><strong>&ldquo;It puts monetary policy out of the reach of politicians,&rdquo;</strong> he said. &ldquo;[And] without fiscal policy, the only way nations can keep jobs is by the competitive reduction of rules on business.&rdquo; He cited labor laws, environmental regulations and, of course, taxes. All would be flushed away by the euro. Democracy would not be allowed to interfere with the marketplace &ndash; or the plumbing. [..] </em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em>The supply-side economics pioneered by Mundell became the theoretical template for Reaganomics &ndash; or as George Bush the Elder called it, &ldquo;voodoo economics&rdquo;: the magical belief in free-market nostrums that also inspired the policies of Mrs Thatcher. </em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em>Mundell explained to me that, in fact, the euro is of a piece with Reaganomics: &ldquo;Monetary discipline forces fiscal discipline on the politicians as well.&rdquo; And when crises arise, economically disarmed nations have little to do but wipe away government regulations wholesale, privatize state industries en masse, slash taxes and <strong>send the European welfare state down the drain</strong>.</em></p> </blockquote> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="253" height="180" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Bloomberg News Creditors European Union Eurozone Fail Germany Greece Monetary Policy Recession Sovereign Debt Transparency World Bank Fri, 29 May 2015 06:00:07 +0000 Tyler Durden 507214 at Japan Issues Highest Alert, Evacuation Warnings After Volcano "Explosively" Erupts - No Injuries Reported <p>First, earthquakes; then tsunamis; then household spending collapses for the 13th month in a row... and now Japan is dealing with a volcano. NHK reports that<strong> Kuchinoerabu-jima, a volcano on Kuchinerabu Islands (off the southern-most tip of Japan) has erupted &quot;explosively.&quot;</strong> Officials have asked local inhabitants to <strong>evacuate the area</strong>. As yet there are no reported injuries.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 600px; height: 225px;" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <ul> <li><strong>*JAPAN PRIME MINISTER&#39;S OFFICE SETS UP CRISIS CENTER ON VOLCANO</strong></li> </ul> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="" width="560"></iframe></p> <p><a href=""><img height="332" src="" width="600" /></a></p> <p><a href=""><img height="453" src="" width="600" /></a></p> <p><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 600px; height: 400px;" /></a></p> <p><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 600px; height: 329px;" /></a></p> <p>The volcano is at the southerm-most tip of Japan...</p> <p><a href=""><img height="584" src="" width="600" /></a></p> <p>JMA Warning:</p> <p><a href=""><img height="866" src="" width="600" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Bloomberg reports,</p> <ul> <li>Japan Meteorological Agency raises warning level on volcano on island of Kuchinoerabujima, off southern coast of Japan&rsquo;s Kagoshima, to highest level of 5 after &ldquo;explosive&rdquo; eruption.</li> <li>Level 5 warning calls for evacuations</li> <li>Pyroclastic flow after volcano has reached coast</li> </ul> <p><a href=""><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em><strong>Offcial JMA Statement:</strong></em></span></a></p> <p><strong>Volcano name Kuchinoerabujima eruption alarm (residential areas)</strong><br />Heisei 07 minutes at 27 May 29 June 10 Fukuoka District Meteorological Observatory Kagoshima Local Meteorological Observatory</p> <p>** (Heading) **</p> <p>&lt;Eruption warning to Kuchinoerabujima (eruption alert level 5, evacuation) Announces&gt;<br />?Please refer to the strict vigilance (correspondence of evacuation, etc.) in a residential area of ??interest.<br /><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>&lt;Pull the eruption alert level from 3 (Iriyama regulation) to 5 (evacuation)&gt;</strong></span></p> <p>** (This statement) **<br />1. Situation and forecast alarm matters of volcanic activity<br />?The new Takeshi, explosive eruption occurred in 59 minutes at 09 today (the 29th). This<br />With the eruption, pyroclastic flow occurs, it has reached to the coast.<br />?Strict vigilance in Yakushima-cho Kuchierabujima residential areas the arrival of pyroclastic flow is expected (<br />Please refer to the correspondence) of the evacuation, and the like.</p> <p>2. Target municipalities, etc.<br />?In the following municipalities, please strict vigilance, such as evacuation in the residential areas<br />.<br />&nbsp; Kagoshima Prefecture: Yakushima-cho</p> <p>3. Such as disaster prevention on vigilance matters<br />?In the residential areas that stream of pyroclastic flow is imminent, strict vigilance (corresponding evacuation, etc.)<br />Please refer to the.<br />?Please follow the instructions of evacuation, etc. of Yakushima-cho.?</p> <p>&lt;Pull the eruption alert level from 3 (Iriyama regulation) to 5 (evacuation)&gt;</p> <p><em>** (Note: The description of the eruption alert level) **</em><br /><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong><em>[Level 5 (evacuation)]: required evacuation and the like from the dangerous residential areas.</em></strong></span><br /><em>[Level 4 (evacuation preparation)]: Prepare for evacuation in the necessary residential areas warning, disaster</em><br /><em>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Required evacuation, etc. requiring assistance person.??????</em><br /><em>[Level 3 (Iriyama regulation)]: climbing ban and Iriyama - site regulations to regulations dangerous areas</em><br /><em>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Etc.. Evacuation preparation, etc. of a disaster requiring assistance person depending on the situation.</em><br /><em>[Level 2 (crater peripheral regulation)]: - site regulations of the crater around.</em><br /><em>[Level 1 (normal)]: - site regulations into the crater depending on the situation.</em><br /><em>(Note: The target area of ??evacuation and regulations, differ depending on local conditions and volcanic activity)</em></p> <p>*&nbsp; *&nbsp; *</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p dir="ltr" lang="ja">?????????????? <a href="">#volcano</a> <a href="">#??</a> <a href="">#JAPAN</a> <a href=""></a></p> <p>&mdash; ????? (I am not Abe) (@denki_minto) <a href="">May 29, 2015</a></p></blockquote> <script src="//"></script><blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p dir="ltr" lang="de">Volcano erupts in southern Japan, on Kuchinoerabu Island off Kagoshima. (NHK footage) <a href=""></a></p> <p>&mdash; Jacob Schlesinger (@JMSchles) <a href="">May 29, 2015</a></p></blockquote> <script src="//"></script><blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p dir="ltr" lang="en">A volcano has erupted in southern <a href="">#Japan</a>. Lava has hit the coast. Small evacuation ordered <a href="">@CBCAlerts</a> <a href="">#cbc</a> <a href="">#nhkworld</a> <a href=""></a></p> <p>&mdash; Michael Dick (@CBC_Michael) <a href="">May 29, 2015</a></p></blockquote> <script src="//"></script><p>* * *</p> <p><a href=""><em>As Michael Snyder of The Economic Collapse blog</em></a>, <strong>you may not have noticed, but our planet is becoming increasingly unstable.</strong>&nbsp; According to <a href="" target="_blank" title="Volcano Discovery">Volcano Discovery</a>, 40 volcanoes around the globe are erupting right now, and only 6 of them are not along the Ring of Fire.&nbsp; If that sounds like a very high number to you, that is because it is a very high number.&nbsp; As I have <a href="" target="_blank" title="written about previously">written about previously</a>, there were a total of <a href="" target="_blank" title="3,542 volcanic eruptions globally">3,542 volcanic eruptions</a> during the entire 20th century.&nbsp; When you divide that number by 100, that gives you an average of about 35 volcanic eruptions per year.&nbsp; So the number of volcanoes that are erupting right now is well above the 20th century&rsquo;s average <strong>for an entire calendar year</strong>.&nbsp; And of course we are witnessing a tremendous amount of earthquake activity as well.&nbsp; Nepal was just hit by the worst earthquake that it had seen <a href="" target="_blank" title="in 80 years">in 80 years</a>, and scientists are telling us that the Himalayas actually dropped <a href="" target="_blank" title="by an astounding 3 feet">by an astounding 3 feet</a> as a result of that one earthquake.&nbsp; How much more does our planet have to shake before people start paying attention?</p> <p>Of course the things that we have been seeing lately are part of a much larger long-term trend.&nbsp; Seismic activity appears to have been getting stronger over the past few decades, and now things really seem to be accelerating.&nbsp; The following is how&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank" title="one news source">one news source</a> recently summarized what we have been witnessing&hellip;</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>If it seems like earthquakes and erupting volcanoes are happening more frequently, <strong>that&rsquo;s because they are</strong>. Looking at global magnitude six (M6) or greater from 1980 to 1989 there was an average of 108.5 earthquakes per year, from 2000 to 2009 the planet averaged 160.9 earthquakes per year: that is a 38.9% increase of M6+ earthquakes in recent years. Unrest also seems to be growing among the world&rsquo;s super-volcanoes. Iceland (which is home to some of the most dangerous volcanoes on the planet), Santorini in Greece, Uturuncu in Bolivia, the Yellowstone and Long Valley calderas in the U.S., Laguna del Maule in Chile, Italy&rsquo;s Campi Flegrei &ndash; almost all of the world&rsquo;s active super-volcanic systems are now exhibiting some signs of inflation, an early indication that pressure is building in these volcanic systems.</p> </blockquote> <p>But of course most Americans are never going to care about any of this until it starts affecting them personally.</p> <p>Well, perhaps they should start paying attention to the warning signs.&nbsp; In recent weeks we have seen significant earthquakes <a href="" target="_blank" title="in Michigan, Texas, Mississippi, California, Idaho And Washington">in Michigan, Texas, Mississippi, California, Idaho And Washington</a>.&nbsp; In addition, it is being reported that pressure is building in dormant volcanoes in <a href="" target="_blank" title="Arizona">Arizona</a> and <a href="" target="_blank" title="California">California</a>.&nbsp; Just because we have not had a killer earthquake or a large volcanic eruption in the U.S. in recent years does not mean that it will always be that way.&nbsp; Right now the entire planet appears to be waking up, and this especially seems to be true of the Ring of Fire.</p> <p>If you are not familiar with the Ring of Fire, just imagine a giant ring that runs around the outer perimeter of the Pacific Ocean.&nbsp; Approximately 90 percent of all earthquakes and approximately 75 percent of all volcanic eruptions occur within this area, and the entire west coast of North America is considered to be part of the Ring of Fire.</p> <p>For so long, the west coast has been incredibly blessed not to have experienced a major seismic event.&nbsp; But scientists tell us that it is only a matter of time.</p> <p>And right now, just about every other part of the Ring of Fire is shaking violently.</p> <p>For example, a magnitude 6.8 earthquake just hit Japan&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank" title="on Wednesday">on Wednesday</a>&hellip;</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>A magnitude-6.8 earthquake that shook northeast Japan on Wednesday was an aftershock of the devastating 2011 quake that triggered a massive tsunami and nuclear power plant meltdown.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;We consider this morning&rsquo;s earthquake to be an aftershock of the 2011 Northeastern Pacific Earthquake,&rdquo; said Yohei Hasegawa, an official at the Japanese meteorological agency.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The temblor, which struck just after 6 a.m. local time (5 p.m. ET Tuesday), was sparked by the Pacific tectonic plate &ldquo;subducting,&rdquo; or moving under, the main land plate, he added.</p> <p>Hasegawa warned that more tremors may be on the way.</p> </blockquote> <p>One Japanese expert is warning that Japan &ldquo;<a href="" target="_blank" title="might have entered an era of great earthquakes and volcanic eruptions">might have entered an era of great earthquakes and volcanic eruptions</a>&ldquo;, and considering the immense devastation that the great earthquake and tsunami of 2011 caused, that is a very sobering assessment.</p> <p>Meanwhile, a series of very strong earthquakes have struck Papua New Guinea recently as well.&nbsp; The following comes from&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank" title="the Washington Post">the Washington Post</a>&hellip;</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>A powerful earthquake rattled Papua New Guinea on Thursday, the fourth strong quake to hit the South Pacific island nation in a week. The temblor prompted officials to issue a local tsunami warning, but it was lifted shortly afterward with no reports of damage.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The 7.1-magnitude quake struck about 150 kilometers (94 miles) southwest of the town of Panguna on Bougainville Island at a depth of 23 kilometers (14 miles), the U.S. Geological Survey reported.</p> </blockquote> <p>Once again, just because things have always been a certain way does not mean that they will always be that way.</p> <p>As Americans, we are not accustomed to being concerned about major earthquakes and massive volcanic eruptions, but that could soon change in a big way.</p> <p>The truth is that our planet and our sun are changing in ways that are unpredictable and that our scientists don&rsquo;t completely understand.</p> <p>For example, a recent&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank" title="LiveScience article">LiveScience article</a> discussed the fact that scientists are deeply puzzled by the fact that the magnetic field of our planet is getting weaker <strong>10 times faster</strong> than previously believed&hellip;</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>Scientists already know that <a href="" target="_blank" title="magnetic north shifts">magnetic north shifts</a>. Once every few hundred thousand years the magnetic poles flip so that a compass would point south instead of north. While changes in magnetic field strength are part of this normal flipping cycle, data from Swarm have shown the field is starting to weaken faster than in the past. Previously, researchers estimated the field was weakening about 5 percent per century, <strong>but the new data revealed the field is actually weakening at 5 percent per decade, or 10 times faster than thought</strong>. As such, rather than the full flip occurring in about 2,000 years, as was predicted, the new data suggest it could happen sooner.</p> </blockquote> <p>And <a href="" target="_blank" title="in a previous article">in a previous article</a>, I discussed how one scientist has discovered that activity on the sun is declining at a faster pace &ldquo;than at any time in the last 9300 years&rdquo; right now.</p> <p><strong>I don&rsquo;t pretend to have all the answers for why these things are happening, but clearly some very unusual things are taking place.</strong></p> ETC Greece Iceland Italy Japan Meltdown Michigan Nuclear Power Twitter Twitter Fri, 29 May 2015 03:33:05 +0000 Tyler Durden 507205 at Guest Post: America Has No Enemy More Lethal Than The Neocon <p><a href=""><em>Submitted by Michael Scheuer via</em></a>,</p> <p><strong>Those men who wrote our Constitution made it perfectly intelligible to anyone who cared to read it. They also left some flexibility in its articles to ensure that as time passed and circumstances changed the document would remain viable as the indispensable protector of the republic they created and of the liberty of citizens who delegated a limited amount of their sovereign power to the national government through its provisions. </strong>And after a long and often&nbsp; angry ratification debate, the first congress added a bill of rights to the Constitution as that document&rsquo;s first ten amendments. These amendments were fully as clear as the text &mdash; perhaps more so &mdash; but less flexible than the body of the document because they dealt with the tenets of republican liberty which, if regularly and deliberately violated by the national government, would require that Americans, to paraphrase Jefferson, demolish the existing government and erect a new one that would better safeguard their liberties and their republic&rsquo;s security.</p> <p><strong>In recent decades, however, Americans have been treated to an endless stream of politicians, academics, lawyers, and pundits who describe the opaqueness of the Founder&rsquo;s Constitution and the need for &ldquo;experts&rdquo; to decipher or infer what the document means. </strong>As a result, we now have presidents who take the country to war on their whim; politicians who are legally bribed by &ldquo;campaign contributions&rdquo; from rich individuals, corporations, labor unions, and foreign lobbies and governments based on an absurd reading of the Constitution; a public that is increasingly endangered by flamboyant blasphemers who seek violence and war under the protection of the First Amendment; and the routine criminality of executive branch officials who refuse to obey their oath of office to execute the laws. We also have the overwhelming majority of both political parties willing to destroy the Fourth Amendment in the name of providing for national security against an enemy they have resolutely refused to either stop motivating or militarily annihilate. <strong>Together these realities amount to a more-than-full justification for Americans to recall that, as Jefferson wrote, &ldquo;it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.&rdquo;</strong></p> <p>In the midst of America&rsquo;s third consecutive despotic presidency &mdash; each more despotic than its predecessor, and all more than Nixon &mdash; the citizenry now sees two singularly courageous individuals standing up and saying the destruction of the Fourth Amendment must stop. The junior senator from Kentucky, Mr. Paul, and FOX&rsquo;s senior judicial analyst, Judge Andrew Napolitano, have been and are saying that it is unconstitutional for any congress and/or president to order NSA to collect the electronic communications of all Americans. <em>(<strong>NB: </strong>Note to Congressman Gowdy: Can&rsquo;t you get Hillary Clinton&rsquo;s e-mail from NSA? Or is the unconstitutional collection system rigged so the corrupt elite are exempt?)</em> If the U.S. educational system was not run by people who yearn and work for despotism, and if that system taught civics and history instead of political indoctrination, the senator and the judge would not be so alone in their opposition to tyranny. <em>(<strong>NB:</strong> Perhaps the sheep-like silence and passivity of much of the public toward this deliberate and cynical violation of their constitutionally protected rights is the best reason for destroying the federal Department of Education at the first opportunity.)</em></p> <p><strong>Those who support the destruction of the 4th Amendment, of course, do so because they have knowingly failed to provide for the security of the United States since Osama bin Laden declared war on the nation in August, 1996.</strong> The threat from al-Qaeda, and now from its progeny, the Islamic State, exists and is still growing because we have had three presidents who refused to either stop motivating the Islamists to attack us or to annihilate them, their supporters, and their infrastructure with U.S. military power. Instead, they have made Americans pay with the currency of their soldier-children&rsquo;s lives and limbs and their liberty for the government&rsquo;s deliberate failure to protect the republic against enemies foreign and domestic. Indeed, the last three presidents and their lieutenants have provided the bulk of America&rsquo;s domestic enemies, and their transparently unconstitutional and enemy-protecting behavior is ample, accumulated justification for&nbsp;Americans to begin to look for ways to devise&nbsp;&rdquo;Guards for their future security.&rdquo;</p> <p>Last Thursday evening (21 May 2015) on Bret Baier&rsquo;s excellent &ldquo;Special Report&rdquo;, Judge Napolitano concisely and clearly explained the intention of the White House and Congress to continue their illegal evisceration &mdash; it began with the Mr. Bush&rsquo;s Patriot Act &mdash; of the Constitution&rsquo;s 4th Amendment. Napolitano convincingly made his point and then another panelist &mdash; the Neoconservative Charles Krauthammer&ndash; replied that he was &ldquo;dead wrong.&rdquo; Krauthammer and his Neocon brothers, who labored mightily for the 2003 invasion of Iraq (lost war 1), the 2014 re-intervention (lost war 2), and now for the return ground troops to Iraq to lose again &mdash; pray God, three strikes and they are exiled to Israel &mdash; have been accurately described by the erudite political scientist Claes G. Ryn as the &ldquo;New Jacobins&rdquo;.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>The new Jacobin does not want competition in prescribing the right model [of government]. &hellip; The new Jacobin is convinced that he knows what is best for all mankind, and if much of mankind shows reluctance to follow his lead, it is to him a sign that injustice, superstition, and general backwardness or a misconceived modernistic radicalism is standing in the way of progress. The new Jacobin is not content with voicing his own ideas and letting the peoples of the world make their own decisions. They must recognize the superiority of his principles. Governments that do not do so appear to him perverse. &hellip; The world must be rid of unenlightened, undemocratic societies. If persuasion and diplomatic pressure fail, the forces of democracy should be willing to resort to military means, especially against powers that have the temerity of openly defying the United States. The new Jacobin desires strong, activist government that can enact what he considers virtuous purposes.</em></span></p> </blockquote> <p>Intolerably,<strong> individuals fitting Professor Ryn&rsquo;s description dominate both American political parties and for decades have made foreign policy for the United States</strong>. Since the early 1990s they have brought America constant war and its reliable companion, the steadily broadening erosion of constitutional liberty. The names of these people are well known. Beyond Krauthammer, the following are, to name just a few, members of the Jacobin/Neocon fold: Hillary Clinton, Marco Rubio, Madeline Albright, Lindsey Graham, Jeb Bush, Joseph Lieberman, Ted Cruz, Mike Huckabee, Barack Obama John Boehner, Joe Biden, Bill Kristol, John Bolton, and the 90-plus Senators who did not join Kentucky&rsquo;s junior senator in defending the 4th Amendment.<strong> All of them, to judge by their words, believe it is the absolute right of the United States to intervene politically and militarily abroad wherever and whenever it chooses, and to impose by force what they define as &ldquo;universal values&rdquo;.</strong></p> <p>But their words are lies, there are no such things as universal values. <strong>There is only one value common to all men in all times and that is the universal lust for gaining and exercising arbitrary power, and that power is exactly what the Jacobin/Neocon crowd is after. </strong>They want power abroad and they want power over the American citizenry at home. They have proven they cannot attain power abroad &mdash; having lost every war they started &mdash; and they cannot get power at home unless Americans permit them to continue to systematically hollow out the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.</p> <p><strong>On that score, however, they are incrementally succeeding, and this success is the reason that Americans must begin thinking about what &ldquo;new Guards for their future security&rdquo; might be appropriate.</strong> And to ensure U.S. citizens can realistically discuss all options for preventing or destroying tyrannical government at home, the Founders left them the Second Amendment.<em><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong> After all, as Jefferson asked in 1787, &ldquo;And what country can preserve its liberties, if the rulers are not warned from time to time, that this people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms.&rdquo;</strong></span></em></p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="288" height="183" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Barack Obama Fail First Amendment Guest Post Iraq Israel Joe Biden national security White House Fri, 29 May 2015 03:15:58 +0000 Tyler Durden 507193 at Chinese Stocks Are Crashing <p>The Shanghai Composite has extended yesterday's losses and is now <strong>officially in "correction" - down over 11% from its highs yesterday</strong>.</p> <p><strong>This is the biggest 2-day drop since August 2009</strong></p> <p><a href=""><img src="" width="600" height="314" /></a></p> <p>The much-heralded Shenzhen Composite is also down over 11% from yesterday's highs...</p> <p><a href=""><img src="" width="600" height="302" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Intraday, a small opening ramp has been demolsihed in Shenzhen, CHINEXT, and CSI-300...</p> <p><a href=""><img src="" width="600" height="317" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>*&nbsp; *&nbsp; *</p> <p><a href="">This has all happened since Hanergy's CEO exposed the endgame of the biggest Ponzi market ever</a></p> <p><img src="" width="600" height="376" /></p> <p><em>Charts: Bloomberg</em></p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="951" height="503" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Shenzhen Fri, 29 May 2015 02:35:24 +0000 Tyler Durden 507213 at Elizabeth Warren Needs You To Help Her "Blow Debt Free College Wide Open" <p>In “<a href="">Cancel All Student Debt — The Petitions Begin</a>,” we outlined The White House’s plan to explore “new bankruptcy options” for former students who, by virtue of an anemic US economic “recovery” or by virtue of their having majored in a subject that was exceedingly unlikely to land them a good job in <em>any</em> economy, find themselves in dire financial straits. On the heels of that, the calls began for the government to simply “cancel” the country’s $1.3 trillion student debt pile. Here, in what is a classic passage, is how we assessed the situation:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p><em>Sure, why not: leaving aside the very touchy topic of personal responsibility and accountability, in a world in which record debt is merely "replaced" by even more debt, and in which profits are privatized but losses are always socialized with taxpayers and future generations bearing the brunt in the form of a record $18.2 trillion in public debt (and some $7 trillion more if one adds the government-backed GSEs which one should), why not go ahead and "cancel" the debt. And don't bother trying to explain the simple math that debt is never cancelled, as every liability is someone's asset, and that asset holder will demand to be made whole in the form of more debt elsewhere or else, like Hank Paulson in 2008, it will scream mutual assured destruction and threaten to blow up the world unless bailed out.</em></p> </blockquote> <p>Since then we’ve gone on to elaborate on the math behind underreported delinquency rates and taken an in-depth look at IBR, the “<a href="">dirty little secret</a>” that could end up costing taxpayers billions over time.&nbsp;</p> <p><span style="font-size: 1em; line-height: 1.3em;">Finally, we highlighted a plan by Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders which <a href="">would tax stock trades</a> in order to make college free for everyone.</span></p> <p>In the (perhaps misguided) spirit of free college for all we bring you the following from Senator Elizabeth Warren who wants you to “stand with her” to make “debt-free college” a reality.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p><em>Stand with Elizabeth Warren: Support debt-free college</em></p> <p><em><br /></em></p> <p><em>Join Campaign For America's Future and support Brian Schatz, Elizabeth Warren, Raul Grijalva, Keith Ellison, and other progressive leaders in Congress to get the debt out of college. These progressive champions are launching a new resolution to build support for debt-free college:</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong><em>"Resolved, that Congress supports efforts to ensure that, through a combination of efforts, all students have access to debt-free higher education, defined to mean having no debt upon graduation from all public institutions of higher education."</em></strong></span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em>Our goal is simple: Get Congress on record in support of debt-free college and spark a movement to make it a reality. This resolution can be the start of something big -- but <strong>we need your support to blow it wide open. Are you with us?</strong></em></p> </blockquote> <div> <div><em><a href=""><img src="" width="600" height="350" /></a></em></div> <div><em>* &nbsp;* &nbsp;*</em></div> <div>Anyone who has ever dreamed of "blowing something wide open" with Elizabeth Warren can do so by clicking <a href=";utm_medium=email&amp;utm_campaign=yourcampaign">here</a>.</div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="255" height="141" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Bernie Sanders Elizabeth Warren Hank Paulson Hank Paulson Mutual Assured Destruction Reality Fri, 29 May 2015 02:30:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 507195 at The Clinton Foundation Paid Sidney Blumenthal $10K/Month As He Gave Horrible Libya Advice To State Dept <p class="story-body-text story-content" id="story-continues-2">Submitted by Mike Krieger via Liberty Blitzkrieg blog,</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><strong><em>Mr. Gowdy&rsquo;s chief interest, according to people briefed on the inquiry, is a series of memos that </em></strong><strong><em>Mr. Blumenthal &mdash; who was not an employee of the State Department &mdash; wrote to Mrs. Clinton about events unfolding in Libya before and after the death of Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi. According to emails obtained by The New York Times, Mrs. Clinton, who was secretary of state at the time, took Mr. Blumenthal&rsquo;s advice seriously, forwarding his memos to senior diplomatic officials in Libya and Washington and at times asking them to respond. Mrs. Clinton continued to pass around his memos even after other senior diplomats concluded that Mr. Blumenthal&rsquo;s assessments were often unreliable.</em></strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong><em>But an examination by The Times suggests that Mr. Blumenthal&rsquo;s involvement was more wide-ranging and more complicated than previously known, embodying the blurry lines between business, politics and philanthropy that have enriched and vexed the Clintons and their inner circle for years.</em></strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p class="story-body-text story-content"><strong><em>While advising Mrs. Clinton on Libya, Mr. Blumenthal, who had been barred from a State Department job by aides to President Obama, was also employed by her family&rsquo;s philanthropy, the Clinton Foundation, to help with research, &ldquo;message guidance&rdquo; and the planning of commemorative events, according to foundation officials. </em></strong></p> <p class="story-body-text story-content">&nbsp;</p> <p class="story-body-text story-content"><strong><em>Much of the Libya intelligence that Mr. Blumenthal passed on to Mrs. Clinton appears to have come from a group of business associates he was advising as they sought to win contracts from the Libyan transitional government. The venture, which was ultimately unsuccessful, involved other Clinton friends, a private military contractor and one former C.I.A. spy seeking to get in on the ground floor of the new Libyan economy.</em></strong></p> <p class="story-body-text story-content">&nbsp;</p> <p class="story-body-text story-content">&ndash; From the <em>New York Times</em> article:&nbsp;<a href="">Clinton Friend&rsquo;s Memos on Libya Draw Scrutiny to Politics and Business</a></p> </blockquote> <p class="story-body-text story-content">Keeping tabs on the shadiness, cronyism and ineptitude of Hillary Clinton while she was Secretary of State alone is a full time job. I&rsquo;m not even kidding, it feels like every day I wake up to another story that in itself should be enough to disqualify her as a Presidential candidate. Yet she remains the front runner to win in 2016, which proves without a shadow of a doubt that America is not a functioning democracy, but a clownish <strong><a href="">oligarch-owned Banana Republic</a></strong>.</p> <p class="story-body-text story-content">Before I get into the many disturbing and dangerous angles to&nbsp;the Sidney Blumenthal story, it&rsquo;s important to highlight what a complete and total disaster U.S. foreign policy in Libya has been during the Obama Administration. Rather than helping the situation, NATO destroyed the nation and left it far worse than it ever was under<em>&nbsp;</em>Qaddafi. I highlighted this fact in detail earlier this year in the post,&nbsp;<strong><a href="" rel="bookmark" title="Permanent Link to The Forgotten War – Understanding the Incredible Debacle Left Behind by NATO in Libya">The Forgotten War &ndash; Understanding the Incredible Debacle Left Behind by NATO in Libya</a></strong>. Here&rsquo;s an excerpt:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><strong><em>In retrospect, Obama&rsquo;s intervention in Libya was an abject failure, judged even by its own standards. Libya has not only failed to evolve into a democracy; it has devolved into a failed state. Violent deaths and other human rights abuses have increased severalfold. Rather than helping the United States combat terrorism, as Qaddafi did during his last decade in power, Libya now serves as a safe haven for militias affiliated with both al Qaeda and the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS). The Libya intervention has harmed other U.S. interests as well: undermining nuclear nonproliferation, chilling Russian cooperation at the UN, and fueling Syria&rsquo;s civil war.?</em></strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong><em>As bad as Libya&rsquo;s human rights situation was under Qaddafi, it has gotten worse since NATO ousted him. Immediately after taking power, the rebels perpetrated scores of reprisal killings, in addition to torturing, beating, and arbitrarily detaining thousands of suspected Qaddafi supporters. The rebels also expelled 30,000 mostly black residents from the town of Tawergha and burned or looted their homes and shops, on the grounds that some of them supposedly had been mercenaries. Six months after the war, Human Rights Watch declared that the abuses &ldquo;appear to be so widespread and systematic that they may amount to crimes against humanity.&rdquo;?</em></strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong><em>As a consequence of such pervasive violence, the UN estimates that roughly 400,000 Libyans have fled their homes, a quarter of whom have left the country altogether. ?</em></strong></p> </blockquote> <p>You wonder how American &ldquo;leaders&rdquo; can be so inept, and then you realize that they have no idea what they are doing. Rather than making informed policy decisions, U.S. leaders and their &ldquo;advisors&rdquo; are mainly thinking about how they can make millions in&nbsp;the wake of death and destruction they created. Don&rsquo;t believe me? Read the following excerpts <a href="">from the <em>New York Times</em></a>:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p class="story-body-text story-content"><em>Mr. Gowdy&rsquo;s chief interest, according to people briefed on the inquiry, is a series of memos that Mr. Blumenthal &mdash; who was not an employee of the State Department &mdash; wrote to Mrs. Clinton about events unfolding in Libya before and after the death of Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi. According to emails obtained by The New York Times, Mrs. Clinton, who was secretary of state at the time, took Mr. Blumenthal&rsquo;s advice seriously, forwarding his memos to senior diplomatic officials in Libya and Washington and at times asking them to respond. Mrs. Clinton continued to pass around his memos even after other senior diplomats concluded that Mr. Blumenthal&rsquo;s assessments were often unreliable.</em></p> <p class="story-body-text story-content">&nbsp;</p> <p class="story-body-text story-content"><em>But an examination by The Times suggests that Mr. Blumenthal&rsquo;s involvement was more wide-ranging and more complicated than previously known, embodying the blurry lines between business, politics and philanthropy that have enriched and vexed the Clintons and their inner circle for years.</em></p> <p class="story-body-text story-content">&nbsp;</p> <p class="story-body-text story-content"><em>While advising Mrs. Clinton on Libya, Mr. Blumenthal, who had been barred from a State Department job by aides to President Obama, was also employed by her family&rsquo;s philanthropy, the Clinton Foundation, to help with research, &ldquo;message guidance&rdquo; and the planning of commemorative events, according to foundation officials. </em></p> <p class="story-body-text story-content">&nbsp;</p> <p class="story-body-text story-content"><em><strong>Much of the Libya intelligence that Mr. Blumenthal passed on to Mrs. Clinton appears to have come from a group of business associates he was advising as they sought to win contracts from the Libyan transitional government.</strong> The venture, which was ultimately unsuccessful, involved other Clinton friends, a private military contractor and one former C.I.A. spy seeking to get in on the ground floor of the new Libyan economy.</em></p> </blockquote> <p class="story-body-text story-content">A free market economy this is not.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p class="story-body-text story-content"><em>The projects &mdash; creating floating hospitals to treat Libya&rsquo;s war wounded and temporary housing for displaced people, and building schools &mdash; would have required State Department permits, but foundered before the business partners could seek official approval.</em></p> </blockquote> <p class="story-body-text story-content">Quite the business model. Bomb countries into oblivion, then make money building hospitals and temporary housing for displaced people. You can&rsquo;t make this up.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p class="story-body-text story-content"><em>It is not clear whether Mrs. Clinton or the State Department knew of Mr. Blumenthal&rsquo;s interest in pursuing business in Libya; a State Department spokesman declined to say. Many aspects of Mr. Blumenthal&rsquo;s involvement in the planned Libyan venture remain unclear. <strong>He declined repeated requests to discuss it.</strong></em></p> </blockquote> <p class="story-body-text story-content">Of course he did.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p class="story-body-text story-content"><em><strong>&ldquo;We were thinking, &lsquo;O.K., Qaddafi is dead, or about to be, and there&rsquo;s opportunities,&rsquo;</strong>&nbsp;&rdquo; Mr. White said in a brief telephone interview. He added, &ldquo;We thought, &lsquo;Let&rsquo;s try to see who we know there.&rsquo;&nbsp;&rdquo;</em></p> <p class="story-body-text story-content"><em>Mr. White declined to answer follow-up questions about what role Mr. Blumenthal was playing in the business venture. But Mr. Grange described Mr. Blumenthal as an adviser to Mr. White&rsquo;s company, along with two other associates: Tyler Drumheller, a colorful former Central Intelligence Agency official, and Cody Shearer, a longtime Clinton friend.</em></p> <p class="story-body-text story-content">&nbsp;</p> <p class="story-body-text story-content"><em>Even as their plans sputtered, Mr. Blumenthal continued to draw on the business associates for information about Libya as he shaped his memos to Mrs. Clinton. Sometimes the two realms became blurred.</em></p> <p class="story-body-text story-content">&nbsp;</p> <p class="story-body-text story-content"><strong><em>In January 2012, for example, Mr. Blumenthal sent Mrs. Clinton a memo describing efforts by the new Libyan prime minister to stabilize his fragile government by bringing in advisers with experience dealing with Western companies and governments.</em></strong></p> <p class="story-body-text story-content">&nbsp;</p> <p class="story-body-text story-content"><em>Among &ldquo;the most influential of this group,&rdquo; Mr. Blumenthal wrote, was a man named Najib Obeida, who worked at the fledgling Libyan stock exchange. Mrs. Clinton had the memo forwarded to her senior State Department staff.</em></p> <p class="story-body-text story-content">&nbsp;</p> <p class="story-body-text story-content"><em><strong>What Mr. Blumenthal did not mention was that Mr. Obeida was one of the Libyan officials Mr. Grange and his partners hoped would finance the humanitarian projects.</strong> The day before Mr. Blumenthal emailed Mrs. Clinton, Mr. Grange wrote to a senior Clinton aide at the State Department to introduce the venture with Mr. Obeida in Libya and seek an audience with the United States ambassador there. Mr. Grange said he had not received a reply.</em></p> </blockquote> <p class="story-body-text story-content">Can you believe this? This clown Blumenthal was pretending to be passing on real intelligence to Hillary (and she repeatedly passed on his nonsense), all the while working to further business interests.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p class="story-body-text story-content" id="story-continues-8"><em>Mr. Blumenthal sent Mrs. Clinton at least 25 memos about Libya in 2011 and 2012, many describing elaborate intrigues among various foreign governments and rebel factions.</em></p> <p class="story-body-text story-content">&nbsp;</p> <p class="story-body-text story-content"><em><strong>Mrs. Clinton circulated them, frequently forwarding them to Jake Sullivan, her well-regarded deputy chief of staff, and requesting that he distribute them to other State Department officials.</strong> Mr. Sullivan often sent the memos to senior officials in Libya, including the ambassador, J. Christopher Stevens, who was killed in the 2012 attacks in Benghazi.</em></p> <p class="story-body-text story-content">&nbsp;</p> <p class="story-body-text story-content"><strong><em>In many cases, Mr. Sullivan would paste the text from the memos into an email and tell the other State Department officials that they had come from an anonymous &ldquo;contact&rdquo; of Mrs. Clinton.</em></strong></p> </blockquote> <p class="story-body-text story-content">He didn&rsquo;t even have the decency&nbsp;to admit where the information was coming from, since Mr.&nbsp;Blumenthal was specifically banned by the Obama Administration from serving under Hillary in an official capacity. And&nbsp;you wonder why the American political system is circling&nbsp;the toilet bowl.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p class="story-body-text story-content"><strong><em>But the skepticism did not seem to sour Mrs. Clinton on Mr. Blumenthal. She continued to forward Mr. Blumenthal&rsquo;s memos, often appending a note: &ldquo;Useful insight&rdquo; or &ldquo;We should get this around asap.&rdquo;</em></strong></p> <p class="story-body-text story-content"><em>The emails suggest that Mr. Blumenthal&rsquo;s direct line to Mrs. Clinton circumvented the elaborate procedures established by the federal government to ensure that high-level officials are provided with vetted assessments of available intelligence.</em></p> </blockquote> <p>The above certainly explains why American foreign policy is such a dangerous joke, but it gets even worse. It appears the&nbsp;entire time Blumenthal was providing the State Department with inaccurate, crony and clownish &ldquo;intelligence&rdquo; on Libya, he was earning $10,000 per month from the Clinton Foundation. We learn <a href="">from <em>Politico</em></a> that:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><em><em>Sidney Blumenthal, a longtime confidant of Bill and Hillary Clinton, earned about $10,000 a month as a full-time employee of the Clinton Foundation while he was providing unsolicited intelligence on Libya to then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, according to multiple sources familiar with the arrangement.</em></em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em>Blumenthal was added to the payroll of the Clintons&rsquo; global philanthropy in 2009 &mdash; not long after advising Hillary Clinton&rsquo;s presidential campaign &mdash; at the behest of former president Bill Clinton, for whom he had worked in the White House, say the sources.</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em>Blumenthal&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">has been subpoenaed</a>&nbsp;by the U.S. House committee investigating the 2012 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, and Clinton&rsquo;s handling of it. He is expected to testify next week about a series of memos containing sometimes specious intelligence on the situation in Libya, which he sent to Hillary Clinton&rsquo;s personal email account.</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em>Clinton, whose efforts to hire Blumenthal as an adviser at the State Department were rebuffed by top aides to President Barack Obama, last week&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">defended her relationship</a>&nbsp;with her old ally but also minimized his influence.</em></p> </blockquote> <p>To summarize, I think Ben Mathis-Lilley <a href="">at <em>Slate </em></a>put&nbsp;it best<em>:</em></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><strong><em>To recap&nbsp;the&nbsp;<a href="">whole situation</a>: In 2011 and 2012, Hillary Clinton, as secretary of state, used an&nbsp;<a href="">off-books email account</a>&nbsp;to discuss national policy with a private citizen who&nbsp;<a href="">might have been violating the law</a>&nbsp;by participating in the conversation, who had a related business interest (though not a &ldquo;financial interest&rdquo;?) in the subject of his advice that he may or may not have disclosed to the government, and who was simultaneously employed in a questionable &ldquo;full-time&rdquo; capacity at significant expense to a nonprofit that has been accused of acting as the bag man for a Clintonian influence-peddling operation.</em></strong></p> </blockquote> <p>Must be nice.</p> <p><img alt="Screen Shot 2015-05-28 at 11.23.35 AM" class="alignnone wp-image-24428" height="228" src="" width="302" /></p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="233" height="215" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Barack Obama Cronyism Iraq New York Times Obama Administration President Obama SPY White House Fri, 29 May 2015 02:15:32 +0000 Tyler Durden 507191 at Super-Tanker Surge Signals More Crude Carnage To Come <p><strong>&quot;The supply of oil continues to build,&quot;</strong> warns the CEO of one super-tanker fleet, and &quot;all of this oil needs to go somewhere,&quot; which is why the surge in super-tankers to a seven year high strong suggests all is not well in the world&#39;s hopeful &#39;demand&#39; picture. With <strong>charter rates up a stunning 57% in the last few weeks</strong> with millions of barrels being stored on ships is<strong> another indication that the oil glut is yet to dissipate </strong><em>(and in fact, <a href="">as Bloomberg reports</a>, is getting worse - with almost half a billion barrels of oil in transit to buyers at the start of June, the most this year)</em>. With OPEC&#39;s meeting around the corner, a sudden realization of this rising glut may send prices plummeting once again.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><a href=""><img height="366" src="" width="600" /></a></p> <p>Four months into oil&rsquo;s rebound from a six-year low,<strong> the tanker market is sending a clear signal that the rally is under threat.</strong> <a href="">As Bloomberg reports, </a></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>A sudden surge in demand for supertankers drove benchmark charter rates 57 percent higher in the two weeks through May 20. OPEC will have almost half a billion barrels of oil in transit to buyers at the start of June, the most this year, while analysts say about 20 million barrels is being stored on ships in another indication <span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>the glut has yet to dissipate</strong></span>.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries is pumping the most oil in more than two years, determined to defend market share rather than prices. </strong>A record cut to the number of active U.S. drilling rigs and billions of dollars of spending reductions by companies since last year&rsquo;s price plunge has yet to translate into a slump in barrels produced. The world is pumping about 1.9 million barrels a day more crude than it needs, according to Goldman Sachs Group Inc.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>&ldquo;Supply of oil continues to build,&rdquo;</strong> said Paddy Rodgers, the chief executive officer of Antwerp, Belgium-based Euronav NV, whose supertanker fleet can haul 56 million barrels of crude. &ldquo;All of this oil needs to go somewhere,&rdquo; he wrote in an e-mail May 19.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Daily rates for supertankers on the industry&rsquo;s benchmark route reached $83,412 on May 20, from $52,987 on May 6, </strong>according to the Baltic Exchange in London. While rates since retreated to $65,784, they&rsquo;re still the highest for this time of year since at least 2008.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>...</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Spare tanker capacity in the Middle East has seldom been tighter.</strong> The combined excess of ships competing for the region&rsquo;s exports stood at 6 percent last week, the lowest for the time of year in Bloomberg surveys of shipbrokers that started in 2009.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>...</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>&ldquo;The summer is not usually the time when rates really should go high,&rdquo;</strong> Odysseus Valatsas, chartering manager at Dynacom Tankers Management in Glyfada, Greece, said by phone May 21.</p> </blockquote> <p>*&nbsp; *&nbsp; *</p> <p>Last night&#39;s API inventory build also throws the &quot;peak production&quot; hopers meme under the bus.</p> <p>Of course, for those looking for a silver lining here, there is always the kiss of death to super-tanker fleet operators...</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p dir="ltr" lang="en">Gartman: &quot;Long of Seven Units of Oil Tanker Equities; Short of the S&amp;P futures&quot;</p> <p>&mdash; zerohedge (@zerohedge) <a href="">May 26, 2015</a></p></blockquote> <script async src="//" charset="utf-8"></script> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="1128" height="688" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Crude Goldman Sachs goldman sachs Greece Market Share Middle East OPEC Fri, 29 May 2015 01:30:36 +0000 Tyler Durden 507183 at US Oil Production Sets New Modern Record Last Week <p>By <a href=""><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><span style="color: #0066cc;">EconMatters</span></span></a></p> <p style="text-align: center; clear: both;" class="separator">&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center; clear: both;" class="separator"><a href="" style="margin-right: 1em; margin-left: 1em;"><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><span style="color: #0066cc;"><img height="212" width="320" src="" border="0" /></span></span></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <div class="MsoNormal"> <p><strong><span style="line-height: 107%; font-size: 12pt;">EIA Report</span></strong></p> </div> <div class="MsoNormal"> <p><strong><span style="line-height: 107%; font-size: 12pt;"><br /></span></strong></p> </div> <div class="MsoNormal"> <p>I looked over the weekly Petroleum Inventory Report put out by the EIA today, and the biggest takeaway by far was that US Oil Production set a new modern era high at 9.566 Million Barrels per day. The last high in US Production occurred in March, and it appeared that the US Production numbers were getting slightly weaker, and maybe the top in US Production was in. But this past week Production really ramped back up with a blowout number, and if it wasn`t for a week in which imports were unusually low for the week, there would have been another huge build in Oil Inventories for the week. </p> </div> <div class="MsoNormal"> <p>&nbsp;</p> </div> <div class="MsoNormal"> <p><strong><span style="line-height: 107%; font-size: 12pt;">Energy Storage Hubs</span></strong></p> </div> <div class="MsoNormal"> <p><strong><span style="line-height: 107%; font-size: 12pt;"><br /></span></strong></p> </div> <p style="text-align: center; clear: both;" class="separator"><a href="" style="margin-right: 1em; margin-left: 1em;"><img height="426" width="640" src="" border="0" /></a></p> <div class="MsoNormal"> <p><strong><span style="line-height: 107%; font-size: 12pt;"><br /></span></strong></p> </div> <div class="MsoNormal"> <p>Refineries were operating near full capacity on the week cranking out a utilization rate just shy of 94%, which also helped avoid another weekly inventory build in oil supplies. However, Cushing Oklahoma and the Gulf Coast Region barely budged in reducing the oil inventory surplus at those two crucial storage hubs. Cushing Oklahoma still has 60 Million Barrels stuck in storage facilities, while the Gulf Coast has 242 Million Barrels awaiting refinery for end use.</p> </div> <div class="MsoNormal"> <p>&nbsp;</p> </div> <p style="text-align: center; clear: both;" class="separator"><a href="" style="margin-right: 1em; margin-left: 1em;"><img height="342" width="640" src="" border="0" /></a></p> <div class="MsoNormal"> <p>&nbsp;</p> </div> <div class="MsoNormal"> <p><strong><span style="line-height: 107%; font-size: 12pt;">Shale Industry</span></strong></p> </div> <div class="MsoNormal"> <p><strong><span style="line-height: 107%; font-size: 12pt;"><br /></span></strong></p> </div> <div class="MsoNormal"> <p>However, the noteworthy takeaway is that despite a large reduction in drilling rigs, and the lower prices of the last year US Oil Production is still going up, and not tapering off at all! So much for the Saudi and OPEC strategy of putting a dent in US Oil Production by not cutting production and hoping to gain market share for their oil by putting the Shale Industry out of business. </p> </div> <div class="MsoNormal"> <p>&nbsp;</p> </div> <p style="text-align: center; clear: both;" class="separator"><a href="" style="margin-right: 1em; margin-left: 1em;"><img height="426" width="640" src="" border="0" /></a></p> <div class="MsoNormal"> <p>&nbsp;</p> </div> <div class="MsoNormal"> <p><strong><span style="line-height: 107%; font-size: 12pt;">Annual Comparison</span></strong></p> </div> <div class="MsoNormal"> <p><strong><span style="line-height: 107%; font-size: 12pt;"><br /></span></strong></p> </div> <p style="text-align: center; clear: both;" class="separator"><a href="" style="margin-right: 1em; margin-left: 1em;"><img height="426" width="640" src="" border="0" /></a></p> <div class="MsoNormal"> <p><strong><span style="line-height: 107%; font-size: 12pt;"><br /></span></strong></p> </div> <div class="MsoNormal"> <p>For example, a year ago US Oil Production was 8.472 Million Barrels per day, and now after a market share price war between OPEC and the US Producers, the US is producing a record level of Production, a new modern era record since the EIA began tracking this data in 1983 at 9.566 Million Barrels per day. This is an increase of over 1 Million Barrels per day in US Oil Production in a year`s time, and considering the decline in drilling rigs, this speaks volumes about the increased efficiencies taking place in a lower price and cost environment. </p> </div> <div class="MsoNormal"> <p>&nbsp;</p> </div> <p style="text-align: center; clear: both;" class="separator"><a href="" style="margin-right: 1em; margin-left: 1em;"><img height="426" width="640" src="" border="0" /></a></p> <div class="MsoNormal"> <p>&nbsp;</p> </div> <div class="MsoNormal"> <p><strong><span style="line-height: 107%; font-size: 12pt;">Market Reaction</span></strong></p> </div> <div class="MsoNormal"> <p><strong><span style="line-height: 107%; font-size: 12pt;"><br /></span></strong></p> </div> <p style="text-align: center; clear: both;" class="separator"><a href="" style="margin-right: 1em; margin-left: 1em;"><img height="426" width="640" src="" border="0" /></a></p> <div class="MsoNormal"> <p><strong><span style="line-height: 107%; font-size: 12pt;"><br /></span></strong></p> </div> <p>&nbsp;</p> <div class="MsoNormal"> <p>The oil keeps coming out of the ground at record levels, and throw in OPEC`s record output, and it doesn`t bode well for oil prices the second half of the year once the summer driving season ends and we start the building season all over again in oil inventories! We really are at risk of both the Cushing and Gulf Coast storage hubs reaching their storage limits over the next year, and it will be interesting how the oil market deals with this reality.&nbsp;</p> </div> <p>&nbsp;</p> <div style="text-align: center;"> <!--data-blogger-escaped-&lt;script&gt; (adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({}); &lt;/script&gt;--><!--data-blogger-escaped-&lt;script&gt; (adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({}); &lt;/script&gt;--> </div> <p>© <a href=""><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><span style="color: #0066cc;">EconMatters</span></span></a> All Rights Reserved | <a href=""><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><span style="color: #0066cc;">Facebook</span></span></a> | <a href="!/EconMatters"><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><span style="color: #0066cc;">Twitter</span></span></a> | <a href=""><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><span style="color: #0066cc;">Free Email</span></span></a> | <a href=";node=80"><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><span style="color: #0066cc;">Kindle</span></span></a></p> Market Share Oklahoma OPEC Reality Twitter Twitter Fri, 29 May 2015 01:19:43 +0000 EconMatters 507204 at Paul Craig Roberts Rages "Free Financial Markets Are A Hoax" <p><a href=""><em>Via Paul Craig Roberts</em></a>,</p> <p><strong>There are no free financial markets in America, or for that matter anywhere in the Western word, and few, if any, free markets of any other kind.</strong> The financial markets are rigged by the big banks, the Federal Reserve, and the Treasury in the interests of the profits of the few big banks and the dollar&rsquo;s exchange value, which is the basis of US power.</p> <p>There is a contradiction between a strong currency on one hand and on the other hand massive money creation in order to sustain zero and negative interest rates on the massive debt levels. <strong>This inconsistency is revealed by rising gold and silver prices.</strong></p> <p><u><strong>When gold hit $1,900 an ounce in 2011 the Federal Reserve realized that the precious metal market was going to limit its ability to provide enough liquidity to keep the thoughtlessly deregulated financial system afloat.</strong></u> The rapid deterioration of the dollar in terms of gold and silver would sooner or later spill over into the exchange value of the dollar in currency markets. Something had to be done to drive down and to cap the gold price.</p> <p><strong>The Fed&rsquo;s solution was to take advantage of the fact that the prices of gold and silver are determined in the futures market where paper contracts representing gold and silver are traded, and not in markets where the physical metal is actually purchased by people who take possession of it.</strong> The Fed realized that uncovered short sales provided enormous leverage over the prices of the metals and that it would be profitable for the bullion banks, such as JPMorgan, Scotia, and HSBC, to short the market heavily and then cover their shorts at lower prices produced by selling as a result of triggering stop-loss orders and margin calls.</p> <p>Dave Kranzler and I have shown on numerous occasions that the bullion banks and the Federal Reserve make profits and protect the dollar by suppressing the prices of gold and silver. They do this by illegally selling huge numbers of uncovered shorts in the futures market. This illegal operation is supported by the so-called &ldquo;regulatory authorities&rdquo; who steadfastly refuse to intervene.</p> <p>It has just happened again. <a href="">Dave Kranzler describes it in detail here</a>.</p> <p>If memory serves, Matt Taibbi explained a few years ago how Goldman Sachs got position limits removed from speculators, so that now speculators can dominate market forces.</p> <p><strong>Neoliberal economists in service to the financial sector have created a rationale for why interest rates can be negative in the face of massive debt and money creation and a slew of troubled financial instruments from corporate junk bonds to sovereign debt.</strong> The rational is that there is too much saving: The excess of savings over investment forces down interest rates. The negative interest rates will discourage people from saving and encourage them to spend, because the price of consumption in terms of foregone future income from saving is zero. It even pays to consume, because saving costs more than it earns.</p> <p><u><strong>Economists argue this even though the Federal Reserve reported that a majority of Americans are so low on savings that they cannot raise $400 without selling personal possessions.</strong></u></p> <p>That economists would concoct such an absurd explanation for negative interest rates, an explanation obviously contradicted by empirical evidence, shows that economists are now prostitutes just like the media. The economists are lying in support of a Federal Reserve policy that benefits a handful of mega-banks at the expense of the rest of the world.</p> <p><strong>The absence of integrity in Western institutions and politicized professions is proof that Western civilization has declined into total decadence just as Jacques Barzun said.</strong></p> <p>It is amazing that there still are some Russians and some Chinese who want to be part of the sordid decadence that is the Western world.</p> <p><u><em><strong>It is just as amazing that Americans and Europeans are so trapped in The Matrix that they have no inkling that their future has been destroyed.</strong></em></u></p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="200" height="147" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Federal Reserve Futures market Goldman Sachs goldman sachs Matt Taibbi Sovereign Debt The Matrix Fri, 29 May 2015 00:30:58 +0000 Tyler Durden 507189 at The Leading And Most "Distinctive" Causes Of Death In Your State <p>In a nation in which every third citizen is obese, it should come as no surprise that the leading cause of death in virtually all states (except the "healthier" ones) is heart disease. Which the map below, of most common sources of death in any state using CDC data, confirms is precisely the case.</p> <p><strong>Fig 1: Leading Cause Of Death By State</strong></p> <p><a href=""><img src="" width="600" height="373" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>No surprises there. </p> <p>However, that doesn't mean that every "average" American is doomed to die from a heart attack.</p> <p>According to a <a href="">recent study </a>by the CDC looking at the most distinctive deaths by state, by which they mean which type of death is abnormally represented relative to the national mean, Americans have a veritable cornucopia of ways in which they "pass" depending on which state they call home. </p> <p>As the CDC observes, the resulting map depicts a variety of distinctive causes of death based on a wide range of number of deaths, from 15,000 deaths from HIV in Florida to 679 deaths from tuberculosis in Texas to 22 deaths from syphilis in Louisiana. The largest number of deaths mapped were the 37,292 deaths in Michigan from “atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease, so described”; the fewest, the 11 deaths in Montana from “acute and rapidly progressive nephritic and nephrotic syndrome.” The state-specific percentage of total deaths mapped ranged from 1.8% (Delaware; atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease, so described) to 0.0005% (Illinois, other disorders of kidney). </p> <p>For the Illinois fans: the reason "gunshot wounds" is not shown is because it is not a part of <em>the <strong>International Classification of Diseases, 10th Revision</strong>, </em>which is where the CDC pulled its disease sample from. </p> <p>So without further ado, here is the color-coded map of "most distinctive causes of death by state, 2001-2010." Twenty-three different causes of death were identified. The most common was “other and unspecified acute lower respiratory infections,” seen in 6 states (Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Nebraska, Ohio, and Wisconsin).</p> <p><a href=""><img src="" width="600" height="697" /></a></p> <p><em>Source: <a href="">CDC</a></em><a href=""></a></p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="1174" height="773" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Florida Illinois Michigan Ohio Fri, 29 May 2015 00:30:01 +0000 Tyler Durden 507185 at