en Researchers Warn: Humans Have Hit Their "Biological Limitations" <p>The twentieth century was an unbelievable&nbsp;era for the progression of human beings,<em><strong> with a&nbsp;significant increase in lifespan, adult height, and physiological performance.</strong></em></p> <p>As humans advance seventeen years into the 21st century, French researchers&nbsp;have now signaled a possible top in biological limitations of the human body,<strong> otherwise known as a biological plateau.</strong></p> <p><strong>Researchers blame climate change and pollution among some of the effects, but also insist the human body design has limits.</strong></p> <p>The <a href="">study</a>, a first of its kind, dissected 120-years worth of historical data while considering both genetic and environmental parameters, said <a href="">Science Daily.</a></p> <p>Making sense of it all, each generation has the notion that future generations will live longer and longer,<strong> this study suggests there may be a maximum threshold to our biological limits.</strong></p> <p><a href=""><img src="" style="width: 600px; height: 556px;" /></a></p> <p>A research&nbsp;team across various academic&nbsp;institutions&nbsp;in France,&nbsp; analyzed &ldquo;trends emerging from historical records, concluding that <strong>there appears to be a plateau in the maximum biological limits for humans&rsquo; height, age, and physical abilities</strong>,&rdquo; said Science Daily.</p> <p>Professor Jean-François Toussaint from Paris Descartes University, France, cited&nbsp;in the study, explained &ldquo;these traits no longer increase, despite further continuous nutritional, medical, and scientific progress. This suggests that modern societies have allowed our species to reach its limits. We are the first generation to become aware of this.&rdquo;</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>&ldquo;This will be one of the biggest challenges of this century as the added pressure from anthropogenic activities will be responsible for damaging effects on human health and the environment.&rdquo; Prof. Toussaint forecasts.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>&ldquo;The current declines in human capacities we can see today are a sign that environmental changes, including climate, are already contributing to the increasing constraints we now have to consider.&rdquo;</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;Observing decreasing tendencies may provide an early signal that something has changed but not for the better. Human height has decreased in the last decade in some African countries; this suggests some societies are no longer able to provide sufficient nutrition for each of their children and maintain the health of their younger inhabitants,&rdquo; Prof. Toussaint said.</p> </blockquote> <p>The study describes human natural limits have already been enhanced through artificial means, but a ceiling still remains in place due to the &ldquo;evolutionary constraints of body design.&rdquo;</p> <div> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div> <p><strong>In fact, it is probable that human natural limits have already been enhanced by artificial means for both maximal longevity and maximal physical performance. </strong>These &ldquo;manufactured times&rdquo;, represent an increase in life duration or sport performance, beyond the limits imposed by our biology (Carnes and Olshansky, 2007).</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>In this sense, a scientific breakthrough may point to another future substantial &ldquo;manufactured&rdquo; gain that will shift the upper limits beyond the current values in addition to the healthy living standards that will increase the number of people reaching old age. However, such artificial enhancements will also have &ldquo;Achilles heels&rdquo;, i.e., maximal progress that cannot surpass an imposed ceiling.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>For example, the evolutionary constraints of body design that lead to structural and functional limitations or environmental factors hinder increased progress. The emergence of new major artificial enhancements may be less favorable in light of ever increasing environmental boundaries.</p> </blockquote> </div> <p><strong>Further, the study said any story claiming humans can live for hundreds of years in the near future, thanks to medical scientific progress, is absolutely &ldquo;meaningless.&rdquo;</strong></p> <div> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div> <p>For such reasons, it is meaningless to claim that most human will live for 200&ndash;500 years in the near future (de Grey, 2003), thanks to medical or scientific progress, or that &ldquo;within 15 years, we&rsquo;ll be adding more than a year every year to our remaining life expectancy&rdquo; (Kurzweil and Grossman, 2010). Raising false hopes without taking into account that human beings are already extremely &ldquo;optimized&rdquo; for lifespan seems inappropriate. &nbsp;</p> </blockquote> </div> <p>In this new phase of human history, where biological limitations for human beings have peaked, as per the study above, a sense of panic or urgency has been seen from academia and government&nbsp;to correct this trend.&nbsp;&nbsp;<strong>We start to realize the push for&nbsp;artificial intelligence, robots, and transhumanist media content has never been greater.</strong> But why is that? Perhaps, when one connects the dots,<strong> those who hold the power are conditioning the masses for the next evolutionary jump, however this time, it will involve technology.</strong></p> <p>The evolutionary jump has already started:</p> <ul> <li>&nbsp;U.S. Army has certainly gotten the memo (See:&nbsp;<a href="">Army Tests New &lsquo;AI-Controlled-Exoskeleton&rsquo; Super-Soldier</a>)</li> <li>Ford wraps workers in robots (See: <a href="">Ford Wraps Workers In Exoskeleton</a>)</li> <li> <div>Merging humans with robots&nbsp; (See: <a href="">World&rsquo;s&nbsp;First Robot Citizen Hopes For &ldquo;Harmony With Humans&rdquo; In The Future Or &ldquo;Civilization Collapses&rdquo;</a>)</div> </li> <li> <div>Wall Street got the memo (See:&nbsp;<a href="">First A.I. ETF Claims It Can Replace An Army Of Research Analysts</a>)</div> </li> <li>Amazon loves robots, not people (See: <a href="">Less Retail Jobs, More Amazon Robots: Get Used To It</a>)</li> </ul> <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="754" height="494" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Ageing artificial intelligence Artificial intelligence Computational neuroscience Emerging technologies Ford France Future Human Outline of transhumanism Paris Descartes University Robot Robotics Science and technology Technology United States Army Fri, 15 Dec 2017 19:55:14 +0000 Tyler Durden 609008 at Global Dollar Liquidity Shortage Explodes - Worse Than European Crisis <p>Very quietly, in the last few days, cross currency basis swaps (CCBS) related to the dollar have reversed their rise and<strong> started collapsing deeper into negative territory</strong>&hellip; again. This might not be of much interest to buyers of global equity markets at this point, but it is signalling<strong> ominous signs of growing funding stress in the financial &ldquo;plumbing&rdquo;.</strong></p> <p><strong><a href=""><img height="306" src="" width="600" /></a></strong></p> <p>As Bloomberg <a href="">notes </a>&ldquo;cross-currency basis swaps, which money managers and corporate treasurers outside the U.S. can use to borrow in dollars, remain close to the widest levels since January even after quarter-end, when such financing strains typically dissipate. <strong>The market was a key indicator of stress during the financial crisis</strong>, and while it&rsquo;s nowhere near the alarming levels of that era, it&rsquo;s still garnering the attention of analysts.&rdquo;</p> <p>The shortage is across all the majors...</p> <p><a href=""><img height="293" src="" width="600" /></a></p> <p>The shortage in Europe is the worst since the EU Crisis and the shortage in UK is the worst since Lehman as Japanese dollar shortage is extreme too.</p> <p>In simple terms, the CCBS is the cost in basis points (typically for three months) of swapping these currencies into dollars over and above prevailing interest rate differentials<strong>. In a benign environment the CCBS should trade at zero, not in negative territory. The latter implies a shortage of US dollar balance sheet (credit) offered by the global banking system</strong>. As the chart above shows, dollar liquidity became extremely tight in December 2016, especially for Yen borrowers, although it not nearly as bad as what <a href="">happened in May of 2015 </a>when we first brought attention to this little followed corner of the financial system. Despite the weakness in the dollar during much of the current year, the dollar liquidity issue never completely disappeared.</p> <p><strong>There are several reasons why,</strong> like in recent years, financing in dollars is becoming more expensive, but this very sudden spike in dollar funding costs - i.e. a sudden dollar shortage - likely combines the effects of&nbsp; the perception of credit risk for the European region&rsquo;s banks (Italy), the prospect that a U.S. tax overhaul could trigger dollar repatriation, and the outlook for monetary-policy divergence with the Federal Reserve starting to unwind its balance sheet, and analysts see the trend only worsening (even as Draghi promises to taper).</p> <p>As is clear above,<strong> there are always year-end liquidity strains but this collapse is drastically beyond just that.</strong></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>&ldquo;My first take on this a week or two ago was that a lot of the stress was just people preparing for the end of the year earlier,&rdquo; Lyn Graham-Taylor, senior rates strategist at Rabobank.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><u><strong>&ldquo;But now it does look pretty bad.&rdquo;</strong></u></p> </blockquote> <p><a href=""><em>As WSJ reports,</em></a> the scarcity is having other effects, boosting some markets.</p> <p>The widening of the basis swap makes it more lucrative for any U.S. investors who can expand their balance sheets to buy euro-denominated assets, given banks are so keen to get their hands on their dollars. As a result, the eurozone&rsquo;s safest short-dated bonds have rallied in recent weeks.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>&ldquo;The combination of a decline in excess reserves, higher short-term rates, and dollars coming back to the US from overseas earnings should <strong>result in a structural shift in the money markets and dollar-funding availability</strong>,&rdquo; said Nomura in a research note this week.</p> </blockquote> <p>Emerging markets are even more exposed to the U.S. dollar than advanced economies like the eurozone.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><strong>&ldquo;The reliance on US dollar funding has become increasingly marked for emerging markets since the global financial crisis in international debt markets,&rdquo; </strong>the research noted.</p> </blockquote> <p>And it appears the cracks are starting to show as The Fed increases its normalization liquidty suck out.</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="995" height="508" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Business Central bank liquidity swap Currency swap Economic bubbles Economy Equity Markets European Union Eurozone Excess Reserves Federal Reserve Financial crisis of 2007–2008 Global financial system Great Recession International trade Italy Lehman Nomura Stock market crashes Systemic risk US Federal Reserve Yen Fri, 15 Dec 2017 19:42:40 +0000 Tyler Durden 609213 at JPMorgan: "This Is The Moment Everyone Went All In" <p>There is a fascinating table in JPMorgan's 2018 year-end outlook released overnight, previewed yesterday by <a href="">head quant Marko Kolanovic</a>: it shows that a funny thing happened as the so-called experts were looking for signs of retail euphoria (and repeatedly were unable to find it): <strong>everyone went "all-in" stocks, </strong>and not just retail investors and US households, but mutual funds, hedge funds, pensions, systematic, and sovereign wealth funds.</p> <p>The table below breaks down equity positioning in percentile terms by investor type: it shows that never investors have never been more long equities, or more "all-in" stocks.</p> <p><a href=""><img src="" width="500" height="368" /></a></p> <p>As JPMorgan calculated first one month ago when looking at the equity positioning of the main investor types, "<strong>allocations are near historical highs, not leaving much room for further increases</strong>." How historic? <a href="">The bank explains: </a></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p><strong>Starting with retail investors one can notice that margin debt (measured as percentage of market capitalization) is at its highest point ever, which includes the 2000 tech bubble episode</strong>. The percentage of US household wealth in equities is in its 94th percentile and above its 2007 peak, but slightly below 2000 levels. Sovereign wealth funds and US mutual funds are also near record levels. Pension Fund allocations appear to be in the 88% percentile, although there is some uncertainty around this number in adjusting for private asset and HF holdings. Global Hedge Funds’ allocation (as measured by equity beta) are also near record highs, and Equity Hedge funds’ allocation in their 93rd percentile (since 2005). </p> </blockquote> <p>Why does this matter? Because with everyone already long stocks, there is no marginal buyer left, or as JPM puts it, "<strong>there is only so much the market can rally if equity investors are already near&nbsp; maximal allocations</strong>." And with increasingly more traders and momentum-chasers shifting away from the manipulated arena of stock trading, and on to cryptocurrencies, one can understand why both commercial and central banks - in addition to Jamie Dimon of course, who is "richer than you are" only as long as you trade those instruments in which he makes markets - hate the best performing asset class of 2017.</p> <p>And while it is not just retail investors that are all in...</p> <p><a href=""><img src="" width="500" height="353" /></a></p> <p>... and so are Long/Short, Macro and Systematic hedge funds...</p> <p><a href=""><img src="" width="500" height="389" /></a></p> <p>... the question asked - <em>and answered </em>- by JPMorgan is <strong>what event catalyzed this rush to "all in" stocks for everyone from hedge funds to mutual funds, to robots, algos and ultimately, retail investors</strong>. The answer, as shown on the chart below, was <strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;">the election of Trump</span>. </strong></p> <p><a href=""><img src="" width="500" height="177" /></a></p> <p>It was that event in November 2016 that ended the outflows from equity funds - and the great unrotation from stocks into bonds - and saw some $300 billion in new funds allocated toward passive, or ETF funds. </p> <p>And since bond funds have paradoxically also enjoyed a substantial inflow of new capital, or some $171Bn YTD (in anticipation of frontrunning central banks during the next QE), the only losers from this "Trump Trade" are active, better known as "human", professional investors: <strong>YTD active equity funds have lost a cumulative $136 billion. </strong>As for the irony, that of all the things that could crush the "smartest people in the room", and leave them with paltry bonuses for 7 years in a row, the three biggest factors turned out to be record high stock prices and cheaper investing alternatives, a populist president who unleashed a historic rally into the biggest market bubble of all time, and of course, the Federal Reserve's central planning, we doubt that said active investors who now find themselves quoting each other on twitter instead of actually managing money, find it as amusing as we do.</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="617" height="408" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Bond Business Central Banks Economy Equity securities Finance Financial markets Funds Hedge fund Institutional investors Investment Investor Jamie Dimon JPMorgan JPMorgan Chase Managing Money Money Mutual fund Pension Fund Stock fund Twitter Twitter US Federal Reserve Fri, 15 Dec 2017 19:26:22 +0000 Tyler Durden 609247 at Who Ya Gonna Fight? Landmark Treaty Signed To Create EU Army <p><strong>EU leaders formerly endorsed the harmless sounding Permanent Structured Cooperation, or PESCO, pact on Thursday evening in Brussels.</strong> After the shock of Brexit, the goal of defence integration was revived by former military foes, Germany and France, supported by Italy and Spain, in a show of EU unity. A similar proposal was blocked by the French parliament in the 1950s (see below). Now a treaty has been signed which sees the defence union complete by 2025 in what has been described as<em><strong> &ldquo;one of the most tangible steps in EU integration since Brexit&rdquo;.</strong></em></p> <p><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 500px; height: 318px;" /></a></p> <p><strong>Britain, thanks to Brexit, Malta and Denmark, which has an &ldquo;opt out&rdquo; on EU defence issues did not sign the agreement.</strong> Standing in the front row on the left of the group photo was the President of the undemocratic European Commission, <strong>Jean Claude Juncker, who has been calling for an EU army for many years.</strong> In 2015, <a href="">The Guardian</a> reported.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>The European Union needs its own army to help address the problem that it is not &ldquo;taken entirely seriously&rdquo; as an international force, the president of the European commission has said. Jean-Claude Juncker said such a move would help the EU to persuade Russia that it was serious about defending its values in the face of the threat posed by Moscow. &ldquo;You would not create a European army to use it immediately,&rdquo; Juncker told the Welt am Sonntag newspaper in Germany in an interview published on Sunday.</p> </blockquote> <p><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 500px; height: 297px;" /></a></p> <p>Back then, it was really just about furthering the European project, especially as the need for an EU army in parallel to NATO has never been adequately explained. This was <a href=";feedName=newsOne">Reuters</a> commenting on the new defence pact.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>European Union nations are set to achieve a 70-year-old ambition to integrate their defenses on Thursday, signing a pact between 25 EU governments to fund, develop and deploy armed forces together after Britain&rsquo;s decision to quit the bloc. France&rsquo;s President Emmanuel Macron said &ldquo;concrete progress&rdquo; had been made, and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said the pact would make the EU more agile abroad. &ldquo;This is not about replacing NATO, it is about being more flexible and using our resources better,&rdquo; Rutte told reporters.</p> </blockquote> <p>Hmmm. Meanwhile, the Reuters article has a stab at making a coherent case based on more recent events.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>A bigger impetus came from failings in the 1990s, when EU governments were unable to act in the Balkan wars and relied on U.S.-led NATO to stop the bloodshed on their doorstep. In Libya in 2011, a Franco-British air campaign ran out of munitions and equipment and was again forced to turn to the United States, in what is considered an enduring embarrassment for the European Union, a major economic power.</p> </blockquote> <p>Which sounds more like justification for NATO rather than an EU defence force. Talking of which, NATO&rsquo;s secretary-general, Jens Stoltenberg, who attended part of the summit, warned against duplication with NATO since 22 EU countries are also NATO members.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>&ldquo;There has to be coherence between the capability developments of NATO and the European Union. We cannot risk ending up with conflicting requirements from the EU and from NATO to the same nations,&rdquo; he told reporters. &ldquo;Forces and capabilities developed under EU initiatives also have to be available for NATO because we only have one set of forces,&rdquo; Stoltenberg said.</p> </blockquote> <p>Not surprisingly, the announcement was greeted with some bravado from &ldquo;rough tough&rdquo; EU bureaucrats, like European Council President, Donald Tusk, who said it was &ldquo;bad news for our enemies&rdquo;. According to Tusk.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>&ldquo;More than half a century ago, an ambitious vision of the European Defence Community was created but what was missing was the unity and courage to put it into practice,&rdquo; Tusk, who chairs EU summits, said of the failed 1950s attempt. &ldquo;The dream was at odds with reality. Today this dream becomes reality,&rdquo; he said in a speech in front of EU leaders and military personnel from each of the 25 countries involved.</p> </blockquote> <p>Germany&rsquo;s foreign minister blamed it on Donald Trump&rsquo;s criticism of low defence spending by European nations.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s sad that we needed Donald Trump to give us a boost, but whatever, it is the right outcome,&rdquo; said former German foreign minister Joschka Fischer, who as minister backed NATO&rsquo;s intervention in Kosovo in 1999 but opposed the 2003 Iraq war.</p> </blockquote> <p>Reuters reported the irony noted by EU diplomats that UK Prime Minister, Theresa May, wants Britain to join the agreement despite leaving the EU. We had thought Theresa May meant it when she said &ldquo;Brexit means Brexit&rdquo;, but apparently not (quite).</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>&ldquo;We do face a number of threats across Europe,&rdquo; May said. &ldquo;I&lsquo;m very clear that although the British people took a sovereign decision to leave the EU, that does not mean that we were going to be leaving our responsibilities in terms of European security,&rdquo; she told reporters.</p> </blockquote> <p><strong>Why she would want Britain to be part of a defence force controlled by an unelected bureaucrat of the calibre of Jean Claude Juncker is a mystery (to us anyway). </strong>Speaking last month before the treaty was signed, former UKIP leader Nigel Farage <a href="">argued</a>.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>The pact means a European army, navy, air force. They are already establishing their own command centre in Brussels. &quot;They&rsquo;ve got the fund, the structures set up for all of it. Already they are divvying up which country will do the helicopter work, which country will be the major naval provider. All of that is happening right now.</p> </blockquote> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>Mr Farage&hellip;(took the) chance to also take a dig at European Commission President Jean Claude Juncker &ndash; a key proponent of a new &ldquo;functioning European defence union&rdquo;. Mr Farage said: &ldquo;I sat there in September &ndash; baring in mind I have seat number 20 in the European Parliament, my friend Jean-Claude Juncker is seat number 21 so I was the closest elected official to him &ndash; when he gave that speech. I thought to myself &ldquo;thank goodness we are leaving!&rdquo; because we are not going to be part of these European military structures any more.&rdquo;</p> </blockquote> <p>&nbsp;</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="590" height="350" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Brexit Brexit negotiations Donald Trump Europe European army European Commission European Council European integration European Parliament European Union European Union European Union Euroscepticism in the United Kingdom France French parliament Germany Iraq Italy Jean-Claude Juncker Military of the European Union Newspaper Nigel Farage North Atlantic Treaty Organization Politics Politics of the European Union Reality Reuters United Kingdom European Union membership referendum War Withdrawal from the European Union Fri, 15 Dec 2017 19:05:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 609200 at New Sexual Assault Claims On Deck: "The House Is Going To Be Rocked In The Coming 72 Hours" <p><a href="" style="font-family: Georgia, &quot;Times New Roman&quot;, &quot;Bitstream Charter&quot;, Times, serif; font-size: 16px;"><img src="" width="300" height="167" style="height: auto; max-width: 100%; float: right; margin-top: 0.5em; margin-bottom: 0.5em; margin-left: 1em; outline: #72777c solid 1px; resize: none;" class="alignright size-medium wp-image-13180" /></a></p> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, &quot;Times New Roman&quot;, &quot;Bitstream Charter&quot;, Times, serif; font-size: 16px;"><em style="box-sizing: border-box; font-variant-numeric: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; font-size: 13px; line-height: inherit; font-family: lucida_granderegular, Verdana, sans-serif; color: #000000;"><span style="box-sizing: border-box; border-color: currentcolor; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; font-size: inherit; line-height: inherit; font-family: inherit;">Content originally published at&nbsp;</span><span style="box-sizing: border-box; border-color: currentcolor; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; font-size: inherit; line-height: inherit; font-family: inherit; color: #1e439a; text-decoration-line: underline;"><a href="" target="_blank" style="box-sizing: border-box; border-color: currentcolor; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; font-size: inherit; line-height: 1.2; font-family: inherit; word-wrap: break-word; color: #1e439a;"></a></span></em></p> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, &quot;Times New Roman&quot;, &quot;Bitstream Charter&quot;, Times, serif; font-size: 16px;">The&nbsp;<em>Daily Caller's<strong>&nbsp;</strong></em><a href="" target="_blank">Luke Rosiak</a>&nbsp;says that within 72 hours,&nbsp;"<strong>The House Is Going To Be Rocked</strong>" with a new bombshell which he says "will see the resignation of more than a dozen House members over harassment and secret settlements,&nbsp;<strong>and soon.</strong>"&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, &quot;Times New Roman&quot;, &quot;Bitstream Charter&quot;, Times, serif; font-size: 16px;">Rosiak, who has earned a large following as one of the leading journalists cataloging the Awan brothers scandal, does not typically engage in hyperbole - so when he posted the following tweets, people took notice:</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p dir="ltr" lang="en">Congress' human resources scandal is just getting started. I anticipate we will see the resignation of more than a dozen House members over harassment and secret settlements, and soon.</p> <p>— Luke Rosiak (@lukerosiak) <a href="">December 15, 2017</a></p></blockquote> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p dir="ltr" lang="en">Mark my words, the House is going to be rocked in the coming 72 hours. Tick Tock. <a href=""></a></p> <p>— Luke Rosiak (@lukerosiak) <a href="">December 15, 2017</a></p></blockquote> <script src=""></script><p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, &quot;Times New Roman&quot;, &quot;Bitstream Charter&quot;, Times, serif; font-size: 16px;">Rosiak's last "Tick Tock" on December 4th told people to "Stay tuned for news of another secret House settlement, related to an allegation of sexual assault" was followed up with a revelation about a settlement brokered by Rep. Gregory Meels in 2006 over allegations that he fired a staffer in retaliation for a claim she made against a campaign contributor.</p> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, &quot;Times New Roman&quot;, &quot;Bitstream Charter&quot;, Times, serif; font-size: 16px;">Rosiak&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">reported</a>:</p> <blockquote style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, &quot;Times New Roman&quot;, &quot;Bitstream Charter&quot;, Times, serif; font-size: 16px;"><p>Andrea Payne, then a congressional aide in Meeks’ Queens office, filed a complaint with the Office of Compliance, and&nbsp;<strong>Meeks fired her weeks later.</strong>&nbsp;He admitted that the cause of her termination did not have to do with the quality of Payne’s work.</p> <p>“This is an action to recover for damages sustained by plaintiff when Representative Meeks violated her Constitutional rights by retaliating against her, and ultimately terminating her employment,&nbsp;because of her sexual assault&nbsp;lawsuit,” Payne’s attorneys&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">wrote</a>.</p> </blockquote> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, &quot;Times New Roman&quot;, &quot;Bitstream Charter&quot;, Times, serif; font-size: 16px;">The attorney for disgraced Rep. John Conyers'&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><strong>hinted</strong></a>&nbsp;that there are "a lot" of potential claims out there, he wrote prior to Conyers' resignation:</p> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, &quot;Times New Roman&quot;, &quot;Bitstream Charter&quot;, Times, serif; font-size: 16px;">“If people were required to resign over allegations, a lot of people would be out of work in this country including many members of the House, Senate and even the president.” (h/t <a href="" target="_blank">@joshdcaplan</a>)</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="box-sizing: border-box; border-color: currentcolor; font-variant-numeric: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; font-size: 13px; line-height: inherit; font-family: lucida_granderegular, Verdana, sans-serif; text-align: center; color: #333333;">Follow on Twitter&nbsp;</span><strong style="box-sizing: border-box; border-color: currentcolor; font-variant-numeric: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; font-size: 13px; line-height: inherit; font-family: lucida_granderegular, Verdana, sans-serif; text-align: center; color: #333333;"><a href="" target="_blank" style="box-sizing: border-box; border-color: currentcolor; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; font-size: inherit; line-height: 1.2; font-family: inherit; word-wrap: break-word; color: #1e439a;"><span style="box-sizing: border-box; border-color: currentcolor; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; font-size: inherit; line-height: inherit; font-family: inherit; text-decoration-line: underline;"><span style="box-sizing: border-box; border-color: currentcolor; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; font-size: inherit; line-height: inherit; font-family: inherit; color: #0066cc;">@ZeroPointNow</span></span></a></strong><span style="box-sizing: border-box; border-color: currentcolor; font-variant-numeric: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; font-size: 13px; line-height: inherit; font-family: lucida_granderegular, Verdana, sans-serif; text-align: center; color: #333333;">&nbsp;</span><span style="box-sizing: border-box; border-color: currentcolor; font-variant-numeric: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; font-size: 13px; line-height: inherit; font-family: lucida_granderegular, Verdana, sans-serif; text-align: center; color: #ff6600;">§&nbsp;</span><span style="box-sizing: border-box; border-color: currentcolor; font-variant-numeric: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; font-size: 13px; line-height: inherit; font-family: lucida_granderegular, Verdana, sans-serif; text-align: center; color: #333333;">Subscribe to our&nbsp;</span><a href="" target="_blank" style="box-sizing: border-box; border-color: currentcolor; font-variant-numeric: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; font-size: 13px; line-height: 1.2; font-family: lucida_granderegular, Verdana, sans-serif; word-wrap: break-word; color: #1e439a; text-align: center;"><span style="box-sizing: border-box; border-color: currentcolor; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; font-size: inherit; line-height: inherit; font-family: inherit; text-decoration-line: underline;"><span style="box-sizing: border-box; border-color: currentcolor; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; font-size: inherit; line-height: inherit; font-family: inherit; color: #0066cc;"><span style="box-sizing: border-box; border-color: currentcolor; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; font-size: inherit; line-height: inherit; font-family: inherit;">You<strong style="box-sizing: border-box; border-color: currentcolor; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; font-size: inherit; line-height: inherit; font-family: inherit;">Tube channel</strong></span></span></span></a></p> <p style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;</p> Congress House John Conyers Michigan Nixon's Enemies List office of Compliance, and Meeks Senate Tick tock Twitter Twitter Fri, 15 Dec 2017 18:54:34 +0000 ZeroPointNow 609244 at Buchanan Warns "Unlike Nixon, Trump Will Not Go Quietly" <p><a href=""><em>Authored by Patrick Buchanan via,</em></a></p> <p><strong>On Aug. 9, 1974, Richard Nixon bowed to the inevitability of impeachment </strong>and conviction by a Democratic Senate and resigned.</p> <p>The prospect of such an end for Donald Trump has this city drooling.<strong> Yet, comparing Russiagate and Watergate, history is not likely to repeat itself.</strong></p> <p><a href=""><strong><img alt="" src="" style="width: 600px; height: 323px;" /></strong></a></p> <p><strong>First, the underlying crime in Watergate, a break-in to wiretap offices of the DNC, had been traced, <u>within 48 hours,</u> to the Committee to Re-Elect the President.</strong></p> <p>In Russiagate, the underlying crime - the &ldquo;collusion&rdquo; of Trump&rsquo;s campaign with the Kremlin to hack into the emails of the DNC &mdash; has, after 18 months of investigating, still not been established.</p> <p>Campaign manager Paul Manafort has been indicted, but for financial crimes committed long before he enlisted with Trump.</p> <p>Gen. Michael Flynn has pled guilty to lying about phone calls he made to Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, but only after Trump had been elected and Flynn had been named national security adviser.</p> <p>Flynn asked Kislyak for help in blocking or postponing a Security Council resolution denouncing Israel, and to tell Vladimir Putin not to go ballistic over President Obama&rsquo;s expulsion of 35 Russian diplomats.</p> <p><strong>This is what security advisers do.</strong></p> <p>Why Flynn let himself be ensnared in a perjury trap, when he had to know his calls were recorded, is puzzling.</p> <p><strong>Second, it is said Trump obstructed justice when he fired FBI Director James Comey for refusing to cut slack for Flynn.</strong></p> <p>But even Comey admits Trump acted within his authority.</p> <p>And Comey had usurped the authority of Justice Department prosecutors when he announced in July 2016 that Hillary Clinton ought not to be prosecuted for having been &ldquo;extremely careless&rdquo; in transmitting security secrets over her private email server.</p> <p><strong>We now know that the first draft of Comey&rsquo;s statement described Clinton as &ldquo;grossly negligent,&rdquo; the precise statute language for an indictment.</strong></p> <p>We also now know that helping to edit Comey&rsquo;s first draft to soften its impact was Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe. His wife, Jill McCabe, a candidate for state senate in Virginia, received $467,000 in campaign contributions from the PAC of Clinton bundler Terry McAuliffe.</p> <p>Comey has also admitted he leaked to The New York Times details of a one-on-one with Trump to trigger the naming of a special counsel &mdash; to go after Trump. And that assignment somehow fell to Comey&rsquo;s predecessor, friend, and confidant Robert Mueller.</p> <p>Mueller swiftly hired half a dozen prosecutorial bulldogs who had been Clinton contributors, and Andrew Weinstein, a Trump hater who had congratulated Acting Attorney General Sally Yates for refusing to carry out Trump&rsquo;s travel ban.</p> <p><strong>FBI official Peter Strzok had to be been removed from the Mueller probe for hatred of Trump manifest in emails to his FBI lady friend.</strong></p> <p>Strzok was also involved in the investigation of Clinton&rsquo;s email server and is said to have been the one who persuaded Comey to tone down his language about her misconduct, and let Hillary walk.</p> <p>In Mueller&rsquo;s tenure, still no Trump tie to the hacking of the DNC has been found. But a connection between Hillary&rsquo;s campaign and Russian spies &mdash; to find dirt to smear and destroy Trump and his campaign &mdash; has been fairly well established.</p> <p>By June 2016, the Clinton campaign and DNC had begun shoveling millions of dollars to the Perkins Coie law firm, which had hired the oppo research firm Fusion GPS, to go dirt-diving on Trump.</p> <p>Fusion contacted ex-British MI6 spy Christopher Steele, who had ties to former KGB and FSB intelligence agents in Russia. They began to feed Steele, who fed Fusion, which fed the U.S. anti-Trump media with the alleged dirty deeds of Trump in Moscow hotels.</p> <p><u><em><strong>While the truth of the dirty dossier has never been established, Comey&rsquo;s FBI rose like a hungry trout on learning of its contents.</strong></em></u></p> <p>There are credible allegations Comey&rsquo;s FBI sought to hire Steele and used the dirt in his dossier to broaden the investigation of Trump &mdash; and that its contents were also used to justify FISA warrants on Trump and his people.</p> <p>This week, we learned that the Justice Department&rsquo;s Bruce Ohr had contacts with Fusion during the campaign, while his wife actually worked at Fusion investigating Trump. This thing is starting to stink.</p> <p><em><strong>Is the Trump investigation the rotten fruit of a poisoned tree?</strong></em></p> <p><em><strong>Is Mueller&rsquo;s Dump Trump team investigating the wrong campaign?</strong></em></p> <p>There are other reasons to believe Trump may survive the deep state-media conspiracy to break his presidency, overturn his mandate, and reinstate a discredited establishment.</p> <p>Trump has Fox News and fighting congressmen behind him and the mainstream media is deeply distrusted and widely detested. And there is no Democratic House to impeach him or Democratic Senate to convict him.</p> <p>Moreover, Trump is not Nixon, who, like Charles I, accepted his fate and let the executioner&rsquo;s sword fall with dignity.</p> <p><strong><u>If Trump goes, one imagines, he will not go quietly.</u></strong></p> <p>In the words of the great Jerry Lee Lewis, there&rsquo;s gonna be a &ldquo;whole lotta shakin&rsquo; goin&rsquo; on.&rdquo;</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="968" height="521" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Andrew McCabe Christopher Steele Department of Justice Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation Dismissal of James Comey Donald Trump Donald Trump FBI Federal Bureau of Investigation Federal Bureau of Investigation Fox News FSB Government GPS Israel James Comey KGB Michael Flynn national security New York Times Politics President Obama Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections Security Council Senate Sergey Kislyak SPY United States Vladimir Putin Fri, 15 Dec 2017 18:49:33 +0000 Tyler Durden 609237 at This Is The Chart That Jeffrey Gundlach Calls "Must Watch" For 2018 <p>Having shown <a href="">us his favorite trade of the year for 2018</a>, DoubleLine CEO Jeffrey Gundlach <a href="">tweeted </a>last night his &quot;must watch&quot; chart for 2018.</p> <p><strong><em>&quot;Since Jan SPX up big &amp; way above MA&rsquo;s all year...&quot;</em></strong></p> <p><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 600px; height: 315px;" /></a></p> <p><em><strong>&quot;...yet JNK unchanged and below 50, 100 &amp; 200 MA&rsquo;s with a death cross even...&quot;</strong></em></p> <p><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 600px; height: 313px;" /></a></p> <p>Which means this...</p> <p><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 600px; height: 313px;" /></a></p> <p>As Gundlach concludes: <em><strong>This is &quot;unusual... Must Watch&quot;</strong></em></p> <p>So, what happens next?</p> <p><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 600px; height: 636px;" /></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="1019" height="532" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Gundlach Gundlach Fri, 15 Dec 2017 18:20:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 609234 at Have We Reached Peak NFL? <p><a href=""><em>Authored by Charles Hugh Smith via OfTwoMinds blog,</em></a></p> <p><em>How will the owners and managers of the multi-billion-dollar NFL empire handle the league&#39;s decline phase? </em></p> <p><strong>OK, I get it: pro football is so popular because it&#39;s one of the last refuges of modern life that hasn&#39;t been ruined by politics. Oops, scratch that.</strong> But we shouldn&#39;t pin the decline of pro football&#39;s popularity (as measured by viewership) solely on player protests, as the decline predates the recent politicization.</p> <p><strong>As this chart shows, viewership has been sliding for years across the entire demographic spectrum:</strong></p> <p><img align="middle" border="0" class="wide" src="" /></p> <p><strong>Even more troubling for the multi-billion-dollar NFL empire, the youth demographic is evaporating like mist in a scorching summer day in Death Valley.</strong> The problem for the NFL is two-fold: the number of young people who are dedicated NFL viewers is modest, and even worse, it&#39;s declining at a fast clip.</p> <p>I am sure there are plenty of 25-year old fans, but anecdotally, I don&#39;t know a single Millennial who has any interest in sitting through a 2-hour pro football game at home, or ponying up the big bucks and huge chunk of time required to attend a game.</p> <p>Again, anecdotally, young people seem more likely to watch a short clip of the game&#39;s highlights on Youtube than devote 2+ hours to sitting through endless annoying TV adverts for a few moments of action.</p> <p>Or they&#39;re investing their sports-related time and money in college or local sports; if they&#39;re parents, their time may be devoted to their kids&#39; sports activities.</p> <p><strong>In other words, pro football is an interest of the older generations that isn&#39;t shared by the younger generations.</strong> We can chart this progression with an S-curve, which in the case of the NFL, is marked by the &quot;boost phase&quot; of viewership in the 1970s and 1980s as Monday Night Football expanded the TV audience and the league added franchises.</p> <p>The league reached a maximum audience some years ago, and has now entered the decline phase.</p> <p><img align="middle" border="0" class="wide" src="" /></p> <p><strong>But the NFL&#39;s troubles run even deeper than demographics: its fan base is being pressured financially while the cost of attending a game keeps rising.</strong> Anecdotally, attending a game costs a small fortune now. Yes, there may be a few cheap seats in the nose-bleed sections, but the costs of getting to the game, parking and refreshments far exceed what attendance cost the previous generation, even adjusting for inflation.</p> <p>Maybe somebody feels $10 for a beer in a tiny plastic cup suitable for a urine sample and $20 (or more) for a couple of hot dogs or snacks is a fair price, but outside the circle of dedicated fans, it&#39;s a ripoff.</p> <p><strong>Just in case the NFL didn&#39;t notice, 95% of the populace is experiencing stagnating wages and rising costs of essentials,</strong> leaving less and less to blow on luxuries such as NFL games.</p> <p>Only the top 5% have the dough to blow on luxuries, and not to put too fine a point on it, but outside of the luxury corporate boxes, the top 5% is not the prime NFL audience for several reasons, including that they&#39;re too busy working and taking care of responsibilities to devote precious spare time to watching pro football.</p> <p><img align="middle" border="0" class="wide" src="" /></p> <p><strong>Spending is correlated to income, naturally enough:</strong> most of the &quot;recovery&quot; is the result of soaring discretionary spending by the top 5%, not the modest spending that is affordable to the bottom 95%. That means that the advertisers spending big bucks to advertise on NFL TV games are reaching an audience with diminishing cash or credit to spend.</p> <p><img align="middle" border="0" class="wide" src="" /></p> <p><strong>Lastly, the NFL has reached the point of over-saturation.</strong> Monday Night Football was an innovation in 1970, but who has time or interest for Thursday morning football, Friday afternoon football, etc.? Then there&#39;s the health-related issues (brain damage suffered by players) and the politicization.</p> <p><strong>To summarize:</strong></p> <p>1. The NFL has saturated the potential audience to the point of exhaustion.</p> <p>2. The potential audience is shrinking as student-loan-burdened Millennials have collectively little interest in spending the money or time required to be a rabid fan of pro football.</p> <p>3. The cost of attending an NFL game is increasingly out of reach of the bottom 95% of households.</p> <p>4. TV viewership is declining across the entire demographic spectrum.</p> <p>5. The wages/income of the vast majority of the TV audience has stagnated, and 95% of the populace has less disposable income than a generation ago.</p> <p>6. The top 5% with the majority of the disposable income are not big pro sports fans, mostly due to the many demands on their time and the diversity of other pursuits available to them.</p> <p><strong>How will the owners and managers of the multi-billion-dollar NFL empire handle the league&#39;s decline phase?</strong> Managing the decline phase is less fun than reveling in the expansion phase.</p> <p>*&nbsp; *&nbsp; *</p> <p><em>I&#39;m offering my new book <a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B077S8PJ5Y&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=charleshughsm-20&amp;linkId=d3a935e067cb9a216e52fce67fa627b6" target="_blank"> Money and Work Unchained</a> at a 10% discount ($8.95 for the Kindle ebook and $18 for the print edition) through December, after which the price goes up to retail ($9.95 and $20). </em><a href="" target="resource"><em>Read the first section for free in PDF format. </em></a><em>If you found value in this content, please join me in seeking solutions by <a href="" target="resource">becoming a $1/month patron of my work via</a>. </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="707" height="429" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> ABC Sports Demographics ETC Monday Night Football National Football League National Football League pdf Professional sports recovery Series Sports Sports Television in the United States Fri, 15 Dec 2017 17:59:14 +0000 Tyler Durden 609239 at "It's Done": Here Is What's In The Final GOP Tax Bill <p>Well - for now - that was an anti-climax...</p> <ul> <li><strong>*RUBIO IS SAID TO BACK TAX BILL AFTER CHILD CREDIT TWEAKS: CNBC</strong></li> <li><strong>*BRADY SAYS HE HAS ALL SIGNATURES HE NEEDS, &quot;IT&#39;S DONE&quot;</strong></li> </ul> <p>But the market seems unimpressed by the &#39;news&#39;</p> <p><a href=""><img height="372" src="" width="600" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>And even &quot;high tax&quot; names are underperforming...</p> <p><a href=""><img height="292" src="" width="600" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Here is <a href="">Bloomberg&#39;s breakdown</a> of what we know so far as the final Republican bill heads for votes in the House and Senate next week.</p> <h3>Corporate Tax Rate</h3> <p>Current law: 35 percent</p> <p>Proposed: 21 percent, beginning in 2018.</p> <h3>Individual State and Local Tax Deductions</h3> <p>Current law: Individuals can deduct the state and local taxes they pay, but the value is subject to certain limits for high earners.</p> <p>Proposed: Individuals can deduct no more than $10,000 worth of the deductions, which could include a combination of property taxes and either sales or income taxes.</p> <h3>Obamacare Individual Mandate</h3> <p>Current law: An individual who fails to buy health insurance must pay penalties of $695 (higher for families) or 2.5 percent of their household income -- whichever is higher, but capped at the national average cost of the most basic, low-premium, high-deductible plan.</p> <p>Proposed: Repeal the penalties.</p> <h3>Mortgage Interest Deduction</h3> <p>Current law: Deductible mortgage interest is capped at loans of $1 million.</p> <p>Proposed: Deductible mortgage interest for new purchases of homes would be capped at loans of $750,000.</p> <h3>Medical Expense Deduction</h3> <p>Current law: Qualified medical expenses that exceed 10 percent of the taxpayer&rsquo;s adjusted gross income are deductible.</p> <p>Proposed: Reduce the threshold to 7.5 percent of AGI for the tax years 2017 and 2018.</p> <h3>Child Tax Credit</h3> <p>Current law: A $1,000 credit for each child under 17. The credit begins phasing out for couples earning more than $110,000. The credit is at least partially refundable to qualified taxpayers who earned more than $3,000.</p> <p>Proposed: Double the credit to $2,000 and provide it for each child under 18 through 2024. Raise the phase-out amount to $500,000, and cap the refundable portion at $1,400 in 2018.</p> <h3>Estate Tax</h3> <p>Current law: Applies a 40 percent levy on estates worth more than $5.49 million for individuals and $10.98 million for couples.</p> <p>Proposed: Double the thresholds so the levy applies to fewer estates. The higher thresholds would sunset in 2026.</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="1025" height="498" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Business CNBC Corporate tax Economy Home mortgage interest deduction Income tax Income tax in India Income tax in the United States Income taxes Itemized deduction Marco Rubio NBCUniversal Obamacare Senate Social Issues Tax Tax credit Tax deduction Taxation in the United States Television Television in the United States U.S. Route 9W Fri, 15 Dec 2017 17:39:40 +0000 Tyler Durden 609236 at Weapons Went From The CIA To ISIS In Less Than Two Months <ul> <li><em>Mainstream media in 2013: &quot;<strong>Conspiracy Theorists!&quot;&nbsp;</strong></em></li> <li><em>Mainstream media in 2017: &quot;<strong>ISIS Got a Powerful Missile the CIA Bought</strong>!&quot;&nbsp;</em></li> </ul> <p>Years late to the party, mainstream media outlets like USA Today, Reuters, and Buzzfeed are just out with &quot;breaking&quot; and &quot;exclusive&quot; stories detailing how&nbsp;<strong>a vast arsenal of weapons sent to Syria by the CIA in cooperation with US allies fuelled the rapid growth of ISIS.</strong>&nbsp;Buzzfeed&#39;s story entitled,&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">Blowback: ISIS Got A Powerful Missile The CIA Secretly Bought In Bulgaria</a>, begins by referencing &quot;a&nbsp;new report on how ISIS built its arsenal highlights how the US purchased munitions, intended for Syrian rebels, that&nbsp;<strong>ended up in the hands of the terrorist group.&quot;</strong></p> <p>The original study that Buzzfeed and other media are referencing comes from a UK-based independent weapons research organization called&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">Conflict Armament Research&nbsp;(CAR)</a>&nbsp;which has had a team of weapons and munitions experts on the ground in the Middle East for years examining arms and equipment recovered from ISIS and other terrorist groups in Iraq and Syria.&nbsp;Using serial numbers, crate shipping markings, and all available forensics data,<strong>&nbsp;the CAR experts began finding that as early as 2013 to 2014 much of the Islamic State&#39;s advanced weapons systems as well as small arms were clearly sourced to the United States and the West.</strong></p> <p>&ldquo;Supplies of materiel into the Syrian conflict from foreign parties -&nbsp;<strong>notably the United States and Saudi Arabia</strong>&nbsp;- have indirectly allowed IS to obtain substantial quantities of anti-armor ammunition,&rdquo; states the&nbsp;<a href="">CAR report</a>. &ldquo;These weapons include anti-tank guided weapons and several varieties of rocket with tandem warheads, which are designed to defeat modern reactive armor.&rdquo;</p> <p><em><img alt="" src="" style="width: 500px; height: 334px;" /><br />Image source:&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">Conflict Armament Research</a></em></p> <p><em><img alt="" src="" style="width: 500px; height: 244px;" /><br />A PG-9 missile modified to fit a Model 2 recoilless launcher system. Produced in 2016 in Romania, exported to the United States and documented in Mosul in September 2017.&nbsp;<em>Source:&nbsp;Conflict Armament Research</em></em></p> <p>The study further reveals that in one notable instance, a weapons shipment of advanced missile systems&nbsp;<strong>switched hands from US intelligence to &quot;moderate&quot; Syrian groups to ISIS in only a two month time period.&nbsp;</strong>Though the report is now evoking shock and confusion among pundits, the same weapons research group has actually published similar findings and conclusions going years back into the Syrian conflict.&nbsp;</p> <p>For example, a previous&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">2014 Conflict Armament Research report</a>&nbsp;found that Balkan origin anti-tank rockets recovered from ISIS fighters appeared identical to those shipped in 2013 to Syrian rebel forces as part of a CIA program.</p> <p>And&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">CAR&#39;s damning publications</a>&nbsp;presenting such inconvenient empirical data have been consistent for years,&nbsp;<strong>yet were largely ignored and suppressed by analysts and mainstream media</strong>&nbsp;who were too busy cheerleading US support for Syrian &quot;rebels&quot; cast as romantic revolutionaries in their struggle to topple Assad and his secular nationalist government. Of course, it&#39;s an&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">old story</a>&nbsp;if you&#39;ve been reading Zero Hedge or the profusion of&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">independent outlets</a>&nbsp;that have long reported the truth about the covert&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">&quot;dirty war&quot; in Syria</a>&nbsp;since nearly the beginning.&nbsp;</p> <p>Even though it&#39;s now suddenly acceptable and fashionable to admit - as does one&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">recent BBC headline</a>&nbsp;(&quot;The Jihadis You Pay For&quot;) - that the US and Saudi covert program in Syria&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">fuelled the rise of ISIS</a>&nbsp;and various other al-Qaeda linked terror groups, it must be remembered that only a short time ago the mainstream media openly mocked analysts and writers who dared make the connection between the West&#39;s massive covert Syrian rebel aid programs and the al-Qaeda insurgents who so clearly benefited.</p> <p>When news of the&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">2012 Defense Intelligence Agency report</a>&nbsp; broke, which described what it called a &quot;Salafist principality&quot; or &quot;an Islamic State&quot; as a strategic asset or buffer in Syria that could be used by the Western coalition &quot;in order to isolate the Syrian regime&quot;,&nbsp;<strong>American media outlets dismissed what was labelled a &quot;conspiracy theory&quot; at the time in spite of the hard evidence of a US military intelligence report being made available.</strong></p> <p>The Daily Beast for example mocked what it called&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">&quot;The ISIS Conspiracy Theory that Ate the Web&quot;</a>&nbsp;- describing those analyzing the Pentagon intelligence document as far-right and far-left loons. This occurred even as the document was taken very seriously and analyzed in-depth by some of the world&#39;s foremost Middle East experts and investigative journalists in foreign outlets like the&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">London Review of Books</a>,&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">The Guardian</a>,&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">Der Spiegal</a>&nbsp;, as well as&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">RT</a>&nbsp;and&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">Al Jazeera</a>.</p> <p><em><img alt="" src="" style="width: 500px; height: 186px;" /><br />Daily Beast fail from 2015</em></p> <p><strong>And yet now</strong>&nbsp;<strong>once again &quot;conspiracy theory&quot; has been confirmed as &quot;conspiracy fact&quot;</strong>: Conflict Armament Research&#39;s new report out this week is the result of a three-year ground investigation which compiled findings from 40,000 military items recovered from ISIS between the years 2014 and 2017.&nbsp;Its conclusions are scientific, exhaustive, and irrefutable.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p dir="ltr" lang="en">International weapon supplies to factions in the Syrian conflict have significantly augmented the quantity and quality of weapons available to IS forces. Read more here <a href=""></a> <a href=""></a></p> <p>&mdash; CAR (@conflictarm) <a href="">December 14, 2017</a></p></blockquote> <script async src="" charset="utf-8"></script><p>The extensive report confirms what former MI6 spy and British diplomat Alastair Crooke once stated - that the CIA established the basis of a&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">&ldquo;jihadi Wal-Mart&rdquo;</a>&nbsp;of sorts - to which ISIS had immediate and easy access.&nbsp;<strong>Crooke noted that the weapons program was set up with &quot;plausible deniability&quot; in mind</strong>, which would allow its American intelligence sponsors to be shielded from any potential future legal prosecution or public embarrassment. Crooke noted in a&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">2015 BBC interview that</a>, &ldquo;The West does not actually hand the weapons to al-Qaida, let alone to ISIS&hellip;,<strong>&nbsp;but the system they&rsquo;ve constructed leads precisely to that end.&rdquo;</strong></p> <p>This is what enables&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">Buzzfeed</a>,&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">USA Today</a>, and&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">others</a>&nbsp;to report the bombshell findings<strong>&nbsp;yet continue to soft peddle the significance</strong>&nbsp;by emphasizing things like &quot;weaknesses in oversight and regulation&quot; while also highlighting the &quot;accidental&quot; nature of US-supplied missiles &quot;ending up&quot; in the hands of ISIS terrorists.&nbsp;</p> <p>Buzzfeed&#39;s coverage of the CAR weapons report is&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">summarized in the article introduction</a>:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>A guided anti-tank missile ended up in the hands of ISIS terrorists less than two months after the US government purchased it in late 2015 &mdash; highlighting weaknesses in the oversight and regulation of America&rsquo;s covert arms programs, according to information published Thursday by an arms monitoring group called Conflict Armament Research (CAR).</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Though the report says the missile was purchased by the US Army using a contractor,&nbsp;<strong>BuzzFeed News has learned that the real customer appears to have been the CIA.</strong>It was part of the spy agency&rsquo;s top secret operation to arm rebels in Syria to fight the forces of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.&nbsp;<strong>The missile ended up in the hands of ISIS fighters in Iraq, according to the report. </strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The CIA declined to comment on the Obama-era program to back Syrian rebels,&nbsp;<strong>which was canceled by President Trump in July.</strong>&nbsp;The Pentagon did not provide information in time for publication.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The missile is one piece of a critical puzzle that is being solved only now, with ISIS on the run:&nbsp;<strong>How did the vast terror group arm its war machine?</strong>&nbsp;CAR spent three years tracking ISIS weapons as they were recovered by Iraqi, Syrian, and Kurdish forces &mdash; and found that&nbsp;<strong>what happened to the missile was no aberration.</strong>&nbsp;Indeed, the terror group managed to divert &ldquo;substantial quantities of anti-armour ammunition&rdquo; from weapons provided to Syrian opposition forces&nbsp;<strong>by the US or Saudi Arabia.</strong></p> </blockquote> <p><em><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 500px; height: 141px;" /></a><br />The anti-tank missile recovered from ISIS in February 2016. It originated with the US Army in December 2015. Image source: Conflicts Armament Research, &quot;Weapons of the Islamic State&quot; via Buzzfeed&nbsp;</em></p> <p>But some astute observers might notice the significance of the timeline related to the CIA purchase of one of the anti-tank missiles examined: &quot;A guided anti-tank missile ended up in the hands of ISIS terrorists less than two months after&nbsp;<strong>the US government purchased it&nbsp;</strong><em><strong>in late 2015</strong></em><strong>.&quot;</strong>&nbsp;As highlighted previously, the CAR team of experts had already documented the trend of CIA weapons delivered to the Syrian battlefield going to ISIS fighters&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">as early as September of 2014.</a>&nbsp;Beyond this 2014 study,&nbsp;<strong>a seemingly endless stream of articles going back years published in independent and international media have underscored the reality of ISIS growing and thriving because of Western and Gulf state covert weapons shipments.&nbsp;</strong></p> <p>This means that CIA and government analysts<strong>&nbsp;knew full well where the weapons were going&nbsp;</strong><em><strong>in real time</strong></em>, yet continued with the program anyway. As former Pentagon intelligence chief Michael Flynn told Al Jazeera&#39;s Mehdi Hasan in a stunningly frank&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">summer 2015 interview</a>&nbsp;(significantly before Flynn was part of the Trump campaign),&nbsp;the White House&rsquo;s sponsoring of radical jihadists (that would emerge as ISIS and al-Nusra/HTS) against the Syrian government&nbsp;<strong>was most certainly &ldquo;a willful decision.&rdquo;</strong></p> <p><iframe allow="encrypted-media" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" gesture="media" height="281" src="" width="500"></iframe></p> <p>Thus General Flynn in the summer of 2015, speaking as recently retired military intelligence officer, warned in no uncertain terms that US-supplied weapons in Syria were going to ISIS, al-Qaeda, and other jihadists.&nbsp;<strong>This was so well known at the time that it could be openly stated by a retired high ranking official an a major international program.</strong>&nbsp;Flynn also said something similar to both&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">Seymour Hersh</a>&nbsp;and the&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">New York Times</a>&nbsp;in 2015.&nbsp;</p> <p>But what did the CIA and allied intelligence agencies do? They continued arming the jihadist insurgency in Syria in their efforts to oust Assad. This was indeed &quot;a willful decision&quot; as Flynn affirmed&nbsp;and not mere &quot;weaknesses in oversight and regulation&quot; as Buzzfeed would have us believe.</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="900" height="439" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Al-Qaeda al-Qaeda American intelligence Assad family Bashar al-Assad Bulgaria Central Intelligence Agency Central Intelligence Agency Conflict Armament Research Defense Intelligence Agency Fail Foreign involvement in the Syrian Civil War Iraq Irregular military ISIS Islam Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant Islamist groups Middle East Middle East New York Times Pentagon Politics Politics of Syria Reality Reuters Romania Saudi Arabia SPY Syrian government Terrorism Twitter Twitter U.S. intelligence United States Army US government War White House White House Fri, 15 Dec 2017 17:38:41 +0000 Tyler Durden 609204 at