en China Is Testing Weapons That Can Reach The US In 14 Minutes <p>A secretive hypersonic wind tunnel, <strong>nicknamed &#39;Hyper Dragon&#39;,</strong> is helping the experts <strong><em>&#39;reveal many facts that Americans have not found out&#39;, </em></strong>one Chinese researcher said in a propaganda documentary...</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="573" id="molvideoplayer" scrolling="no" src="" title="MailOnline Embed Player" width="698"></iframe></p> <p><a href="">South China Morning Post&#39;s Stephen Chen reports </a>that <strong>China is building the world&rsquo;s fastest wind tunnel to simulate hypersonic flight at speeds of up to 12 kilometres per second</strong>.</p> <p class="v2-processed"><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 600px; height: 252px;" /></a></p> <p class="v2-processed"><u><strong>A hypersonic vehicle flying at this speed from China could reach the west coast of the United States in less than 14 minutes.</strong></u></p> <p class="v2-processed">Zhao Wei, a senior scientist working on the project, said researchers aimed to have the facility up and running by around 2020 to meet the pressing demand of China&rsquo;s hypersonic weapon development programme.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p class="v2-processed"><strong>&ldquo;It will boost the engineering application of hypersonic technology, mostly in military sectors, by duplicating the environment of extreme hypersonic flights, so problems can be discovered and solved on the ground,&rdquo; </strong>said Zhao, a deputy director of the State Key Laboratory of High Temperature Gas Dynamics at the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing.</p> </blockquote> <p class="v2-processed">The ground tests will significantly reduce the risk of failure when test flights of hypersonic aircraft start.</p> <p class="v2-processed"><strong>The world&rsquo;s most powerful wind tunnel at present is America&rsquo;s LENX-X facility in Buffalo, New York state, which operates at speeds of up to 10 kilometres per second &ndash; 30 times the speed of sound.</strong></p> <p class="v2-processed">Hypersonic aircraft are defined as vehicles that travel at speeds of Mach 5, five times the speed of sound, or above.</p> <p class="v2-processed">The US military tested HTV-2, a Mach 20 unmanned aircraft in 2011 but the hypersonic flight lasted only a few minutes before the vehicle crashed into the Pacific Ocean.</p> <p class="v2-processed"><strong>In March, China conducted seven successful test flights of its hypersonic glider WU-14, also known as the DF-ZF, at speeds of between Mach 5 and Mach 10.</strong></p> <p class="v2-processed">Other countries including Russia, India and Australia have also tested some early prototypes of the aircraft, which could be used to deliver missiles including nuclear weapons.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p class="v2-processed"><strong>&ldquo;China and the US have started a hypersonic race,&rdquo; </strong>said Wu Dafang, professor at the school of aeronautic science and engineering at Beihang University in Beijing who received a national technology award for the invention of a new heat shield used on hypersonic vehicles in 2013.</p> </blockquote> <p class="v2-processed"><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 600px; height: 359px;" /></a></p> <p class="v2-processed">Wu has worked on the development of hypersonic cruise missiles, a near space vehicle, high-speed drones and other possible weapons for the People&rsquo;s Liberation Army.</p> <p class="v2-processed">He said there were a number of hypersonic wind tunnels in mainland China which had helped ensure the high success rate of its hypersonic weapon tests.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p class="v2-processed"><strong>The new wind tunnel will be &ldquo;one of the most powerful and advanced ground test facilities for hypersonic vehicles in the world&rdquo;, </strong>said Wu, who was not involved in the project.</p> <p class="v2-processed">&nbsp;</p> <p class="v2-processed"><strong>&ldquo;This is definitely good news for us. I look forward to its completion,&rdquo;</strong> he added.</p> </blockquote> <p class="v2-processed">In the new tunnel there will be a test chamber with room for relatively large aircraft models with a wing span of almost three metres.</p> <p class="v2-processed"><strong>To generate an airflow at extremely high speeds, the researchers will detonate several tubes containing a mixture of oxygen, hydrogen and nitrogen gases to create a series of explosions that can discharge one gigawatt of power within a split second, according to Zhao.</strong></p> <p class="v2-processed">This is more than half of the total power generation capacity of the Daya Bay nuclear power plant in Guangdong.</p> <p class="v2-processed"><strong>The shock waves, channelled into the test chamber through a metallic tunnel, will envelope the prototype vehicle and increase the temperature over its body to 8,000 Kelvins, or 7,727 degrees Celsius, Zhao said.</strong></p> <p class="v2-processed">That is nearly 50 per cent hotter than the surface of the Sun.</p> <p class="v2-processed">The hypersonic vehicle therefore must be covered by special materials with extremely efficient cooling systems inside the airframe to dissipate the heat, otherwise it could easily veer off the course or disintegrate during a long-distance flight.</p> <p class="v2-processed"><strong>The new tunnel would also be used to test the scramjet, a new type of jet engine designed specifically for hypersonic flights. Traditional jet engines are not capable of handling air flows at such speeds.</strong></p> <p class="v2-processed image no-float"><span class="image-caption-container image-caption-container-none" style="display: inline-block; width: 660px; float: none; clear: none;"><img class="caption lazyload-processed magic-processed loaded" data-ignore="true" data-original="" data-resolution="2" src="" style="width: 600px; height: 350px;" title="The JF12 facility has been in operation since 2012, testing a variety of hypersonic weapons. Photo: SCMP" /></span></p> <p class="v2-processed"><strong>Zhao said the construction of the new facility would be led by the same team that built JF12, a hypervelocity denotation-driven shock tunnel in Beijing capable of duplicating flight conditions at speeds ranging from Mach 5 to Mach 9 at altitudes between 20 and 50 kilometres.</strong></p> <p class="v2-processed">Jiang Zonglin, lead developer of the JF12, won the annual Ground Test Award issued by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics last year for advancing &ldquo;state-of-the-art large-scale hypersonic test facilities&rdquo;.</p> <p class="v2-processed"><strong>Jiang&rsquo;s JF12 design &ldquo;uses no moving parts and generates a longer test-duration and a higher energy flow than more traditionally designed tunnels&rdquo;, according to the American institute.</strong></p> <p class="v2-processed">According to state media reports, the JF12 tunnel has been operating at full capacity with a new test every two days since its completion in 2012 as the pace of hypersonic weapon development increased significantly in recent years.</p> <p class="v2-processed">In an article published in the domestic journal <em>National Science Review</em> last month, Jiang said the impact of hypersonic flights on society could be &ldquo;revolutionary&rdquo;.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p class="v2-processed"><strong>&ldquo;With practical hypersonic aeroplanes, a two-hour flight to anywhere in the world will be possible&rdquo; </strong>while the cost of space travel could be cut by 99 per cent with reusable spacecraft technology, Jiang wrote.</p> <p class="v2-processed">&nbsp;</p> <p class="v2-processed"><strong>&ldquo;Hypersonic flight is, and in the foreseeable future will be, the driver of national security, and civilian transportation and space access,&rdquo; </strong>he added.</p> </blockquote> <p class="v2-processed">The escape velocity, or the minimum speed needed to leave the Earth, is 11 kilometres per second.</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="915" height="385" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Aerodynamics Aeronautics Aerospace engineering Airspeed American Institute of Aeronautics Australia Aviation Beihang University in Beijing China Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing DARPA Falcon Project Hypersonic aircraft Hypersonic flight Hypersonic speed Hypersonic wind tunnel India Liberation Army national security New York State Nuclear Power South China Spacecraft propulsion spacecraft technology US military West Coast WU-14 Sat, 18 Nov 2017 17:16:32 +0000 Tyler Durden 607509 at Katy Perry, Gigi Hadid Banned From China As Victoria's Secret Fashion Show Unravels <p>As <a href="">we reported yesterday,</a> this year&rsquo;s Victoria&rsquo;s Secret fashion show, which is slated to take place in Shanghai in just two weeks, is unraveling like a cheap lace thong thanks to Chinese authorities&rsquo; refusal to cooperate with its producers, and Communist Party&#39;s decision to deny visas to some of the biggest stars who were slated to participate in the show.</p> <p>The latest update on the deteriorating state of affairs comes via the New York Post, which has reported that US pop sensation Katy Perry &ndash; who was slated to perform at the show &ndash; and supermodel Gigi Hadid, who was supposed to walk in the show, have been indefinitely banned from China.</p> <p>Sources told the Post&rsquo;s infamous Page Six gossip section that the &ldquo;Roar&rdquo; singer had tried applying for a visa to enter the Communist nation, but was denied by Chinese officials.</p> <p>And while she was initially informed that she&rsquo;d be able to gain access, the decision was apparently reversed after the government caught wind of a controversial incident from 2015, in which Perry donned a bright, glittery dress with sunflowers on it during a performance in Taipei, the capital of Taiwan.</p> <p><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 500px; height: 236px;" /></a></p> <p><em>Gigi Hadid</em></p> <p>The innocent gesture wound up causing widespread outrage in China because the sunflower had been adopted the year before by anti-China protesters.</p> <p>However, Perry also waved a Taiwanese flag during the concert in show of support for the country, which has been clashing with the mainland for years over its autonomy.</p> <p>&ldquo;She was initially granted a visa to perform at the VS show in Shanghai, then Chinese officials changed their minds and yanked her visa,&rdquo; a source explained. &ldquo;For every artist who wants to perform in China, officials comb through their social-media and press reports to see if they have done anything deemed to be offensive to the country. Maroon 5 was banned a few years ago because one band member wished the Dalai Lama happy birthday on Twitter.</p> <p>Meanwhile, Hadid and a handful of other models were banned because of social media posts that apparently offended Chinese government officials.</p> <p>Hadid, who was booked for the show back in August, was banned because of a February Instagram video &mdash; in which she held up a biscuit shaped like a Buddha and imitated the religious figure by squinting her eyes.</p> <p>The clip was posted by the model&rsquo;s sister, Bella Hadid, in February. It was later deleted following a storm of criticism as Chinese social-media users warned her not to come to Shanghai, calling her racist.</p> <p>Apparently, Victoria&rsquo;s Secret has decided that the show will go on, with or without Hadid:</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p dir="ltr" lang="en">I&rsquo;m so bummed I won&rsquo;t be able to make it to China this year. Love my VS family, and will be with all my girls in spirit!! Can&#39;t wait to tune in with everyone to see the beautiful show I know it will be, and already can&#39;t wait for next year! :) x</p> <p>&mdash; Gigi Hadid (@GiGiHadid) <a href="">November 16, 2017</a></p></blockquote> <script async src="" charset="utf-8"></script><p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Some of Victoria&rsquo;s Secret&rsquo;s biggest names have been denied entry to China, in addition to lesser-known models, such as Julia Belyakova, Kate Grigorieva and Irina Sharipova.</p> <p>Model Adriana Lima&rsquo;s visa has been held up due to an ongoing &ldquo;diplomatic problem.&quot;</p> <p>Harry Styles will reportedly replace Perry as the show&rsquo;s performing artist.<br />&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="562" height="265" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> American Muslims Bella Hadid China Chinese government Communist Party English people Geography of China Gigi Hadid New York Post Shanghai Subdivisions of China Travel visa Twitter Twitter Victoria's Secret Zayn Malik Sat, 18 Nov 2017 16:41:57 +0000 Tyler Durden 607507 at The Great Retirement Con <p><a href=""><em>Authored by Adam Taggart via,</em></a></p> <p>Frankly put: <em><strong>retirement is now a myth for the majority...</strong></em></p> <p><img alt="" src="" style="width: 500px; height: 330px;" /></p> <p><em>&nbsp;</em></p> <div class="content clearfix"> <h2>The Origins Of The Retirement Plan</h2> <p>Back during the Revolutionary War, the Continental Congress promised a monthly lifetime income to soldiers who fought and survived the conflict. This guaranteed income stream, called a &quot;pension&quot;, was again offered to soldiers in the Civil War and every American war since.</p> <p>Since then, similar pension promises funded from public coffers expanded to cover retirees from other branches of government. States and cities followed suit -- extending pensions to all sorts of municipal workers ranging from policemen to politicians, teachers to trash collectors.</p> <p>A pension is what&#39;s referred to as a <strong>defined benefit plan</strong>. The payout promised a worker upon retirement is guaranteed up front according to a formula, typically dependent on salary size and years of employment.</p> <p>Understandably, workers appreciated the security and dependability offered by pensions. So, as a means to attract skilled talent, the private sector started offering them, too.&nbsp;</p> <p>The first corporate pension was offered by the American Express Company in 1875. By the 1960s, half of all employees in the private sector were covered by a pension plan.</p> <h2>Off-loading Of Retirement Risk By Corporations</h2> <p>Once pensions had become commonplace, they were much less effective as an incentive to lure top talent. They started to feel like burdensome cost centers to companies.</p> <p>As America&#39;s corporations grew and their veteran employees started hitting retirement age, the amount of funding required to meet current and future pension funding obligations became huge. And it kept growing. Remember, the Baby Boomer generation, the largest ever by far in US history, was just entering the workforce by the 1960s.</p> <p>Companies were eager to get this expanding liability off of their backs. And the more poorly-capitalized firms started defaulting on their pensions, stiffing those who had loyally worked for them.</p> <p>So, it&#39;s little surprise that the 1970s and &#39;80s saw the introduction of personal retirement savings plans. The Individual Retirement Arrangement (IRA) was formed by the&nbsp;Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) in 1974. And the first&nbsp;401k&nbsp;plan was created in 1980.</p> <p>These savings vehicles are&nbsp;<strong>defined contribution plans</strong>. The future payout of the plan is variable (i.e., unknown today), and will be largely a function of how much of their income the worker directs into the fund over their career, as well as the market return on the fund&#39;s investments.</p> <p>Touted as a revolutionary improvement for the worker, these plans promised to give the individual power over his/her own financial destiny. No longer would it be dictated by their employer.</p> <p><em>Your company doesn&#39;t offer a pension?</em> No worries: open an IRA and create your own personal pension fund.</p> <p><em>Afraid your employer might mismanage your pension fund?</em> A 401k&nbsp;removes that risk. You decide how your retirement money is invested.</p> <p><em>Want to retire sooner?</em> Just increase the percent of your annual income contributions.</p> <p>All this sounded pretty good to workers. But it sounded GREAT to their employers.</p> <p>Why? Because it transferred the burden of retirement funding away from the company and onto its employees. It allowed for the removal of a massive and fast-growing liability off of the corporate balance sheet, and materially improved the outlook for future earnings and cash flow.</p> <p>As you would expect given this, corporate America moved swiftly over the next several decades to cap pension participation and transition to defined contribution plans.</p> <p>The table below shows how vigorously pensions (green) have disappeared since the introduction of IRAs and&nbsp;401ks (red):</p> <p><img src="" style="height: 417px; width: 500px;" /></p> <p><em>(<a href="" target="_blank">Source</a>)</em></p> <p>So, to recap: 40 years ago, a grand experiment was embarked upon. One that promised US workers: <em>Using these new defined contribution vehicles, you&#39;ll be better off when you reach retirement age.</em></p> <p>Which raises a simple but very important question: <em>How have things worked out?</em></p> <h2><u>The Ugly Aftermath</u></h2> <h3>America The Broke</h3> <p>Well, things haven&#39;t worked out too well.</p> <p>Three decades later, what we&#39;re realizing is that this shift from dedicated-contribution pension plans to voluntary private savings was a grand experiment with no assurances. Corporations definitely benefited, as they could redeploy capital to expansion or bottom line profits. But employees? The data certainly seems to show that the experiment did not take human nature into account enough&nbsp;<em>&ndash;&nbsp;</em>specifically, the fact that just because people have the option to save money for later use doesn&#39;t mean that they actually will.</p> <p>First off, not every American worker (by far) is offered a 401k or similar retirement plan through work. But of those that are, 21% choose not to participate (<a href="" target="_blank">source</a>).</p> <p>As a result, 1 in 4 of those aged 45-64 and 22% of those 65+ have $0 in retirement savings (<a href="" target="_blank">source</a>). <a href="" target="_blank">Forty-nine percent</a> of American adults of all ages aren&#39;t saving anything for retirement.</p> <p>In 2016, the Economic Policy Institute published an excellent chartbook titled <a href="" target="_blank">The State Of American Retirement</a> (for those inclined to review the full set of charts on their website, it&#39;s well worth the time). The EPI&#39;s main conclusion from their analysis is that the switchover of the US workforce from defined-benefit pension plans to self-directed retirement savings vehicles (e..g,&nbsp;401Ks and IRAs) has resulted in a sizeable drop in retirement preparedness. Retirement wealth has not grown fast enough to keep pace with our aging population.</p> <p>The stats illustrated by the EPI&#39;s charts are frightening on a mean, or average, level. For instance, for all workers 32-61, the average amount saved for retirement is less than $100,000. That&#39;s not much to live on in the last decades of your twilight years. And that average savings is actually lower than it was back in 2007, showing that households have still yet to fully recover the wealth lost during the Great Recession.</p> <p>But mean numbers are skewed by the outliers. In this case, the multi-$million households are bringing up the average pretty dramatically, making things look better than they really are. It&#39;s when we look at the median figures that things get truly scary:</p> <p><img src="" style="height: 529px; width: 500px;" /></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>Nearly half of families have no retirement account savings at all. That makes median (50th&nbsp;percentile) values low for all age groups, ranging from $480 for families in their&nbsp;mid-30s&nbsp;to $17,000 for families approaching retirement in 2013. For most age groups, median account balances in 2013 were less than half their pre-recession peak and lower than at the start of the new millennium.</p> <p>(<a href="" target="_blank">Source</a>)</p> </blockquote> <p>The 50th percentile household aged 56-61 has only $17,000 to retire on. That&#39;s dangerously close to the Federal poverty level income for a family of two for just a single year.</p> <p>Most planners advise saving enough before retirement to maintain annual living expenses at about 70-80% of what they were during one&#39;s income-earning years. Medicare out-of-pocket costs alone are expected to be&nbsp;<a href="">between $240,000 and $430,000</a>&nbsp;over retirement for a 65-year-old couple retiring today.</p> <p>The gap between retirement savings and living costs in one&#39;s later years is pretty staggering:</p> <ul> <li>Nearly 83% of retired households have less saved than Medicare costs alone will consume.</li> <li>One-third of retired households are entirely dependent on Social Security. On average, that&#39;s only $1,230 per month <em>&ndash; </em>a hard income to live on. (<a href="" target="_blank">source</a>)</li> <li>34 percent of older Americans depend on credit cards to pay for basic living expenses such as mortgage payments, groceries, and utilities. (<a href="" target="_blank">source</a>)&nbsp;</li> </ul> <p>As for Medicare, the out-of-pocket costs could easily soar over retirement. <a href="" target="_blank"><em>The Wall Street Journal </em>reports</a> that the current estimate of Medicare&#39;s unfunded liability now tops $42 Trillion. Such a mind-boggling gap makes it highly likely that current retirees will not receive all of the entitlements they are being promised.</p> <p>And the denial being shown by baby boomers entering retirement is frightening. Many simply <a href="" target="_blank">plan to work longer</a> before retiring, with a growing percentage saying they plan to work &quot;forever&quot;.&nbsp;</p> <p>But the data shows that declining health gives older Americans no choice but to leave the work force eventually, whether they want to or not. Years of surveys by the Employment Benefit Research Institute show that fully&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">half of current retirees had to leave the work force sooner than desired </a>due to health problems, disability, or layoffs.</p> <p>Add to this the nefarious impact of the Federal Reserve&#39;s prolonged 0% interest rate policy, which has made it extremely hard for retirees with fixed-income investments to generate a meaningful income from them.</p> <p>The number of Americans aged 65 years and older is projected to more than double in the next 40 years:</p> <p><a href="" target="_blank"><img src="" style="height: 368px; width: 501px;" /></a></p> <p>Will the remaining body of active workers be able to support this tsunami of underfunded seniors? Don&#39;t bet on it.</p> <p>Especially since their retirement savings prospects are even more dim. With long-stagnant real wages and punishing price inflation in the cost of living, Generation X and Millennials are hard-pressed to put money away for their twilight years:</p> <p><a href="" target="_blank"><img src="" style="height: 313px; width: 500px;" /></a></p> <p><em>(<a href="" target="_blank">Source)</a></em></p> <h3>Public Pensions: Broken Promises</h3> <p>And for those &quot;lucky&quot; folks expecting to enjoy a public pension, there&#39;s a lot of uncertainty as to whether they&#39;re going to receive all they&#39;ve been promised.</p> <p>Due to underfunded contributions, years of portfolio under-performance due to the Federal Reserve&#39;s 0% interest rate policy, poor fund management, and other reasons, many of the federal and state pensions are woefully under-captialized. The below chart from former Dallas Fed advisor Danielle DiMartino-Booth shows how the total sum of unfunded public pension obligations exploded from $292 billion in 2007 to $1.9 trillion by the end of 2016:</p> <p><img src="" style="height: 281px; width: 500px;" /></p> <p><em>(<a href="" target="_blank">Source</a>)</em></p> <p>And the daily headlines of failing state and local pension funds (<a href="" target="_blank">Illinois</a>, <a href="" target="_blank">Kentucky</a>, <a href="" target="_blank">New Jersey</a>,&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">Dallas</a>, <a href="" target="_blank">Providence</a> -- to name but a few) show that the problem is metastasizing across the nation at an accelerating rate.</p> <h2>Affording Your Future</h2> <p>The bottom line when it comes to retirement is that <strong>you&#39;re on your own</strong>. The vehicles and the promises you&#39;ve been given are proving woefully insufficient to fund the &quot;retirement&quot; dream you&#39;ve been sold your whole life.</p> <p>That&#39;s the bad news.</p> <p><strong>But the <em>good </em>news is that the dream is still attainable. There are strategies and behaviors&nbsp;that, if adopted now, will make it much more likely for you to be able to afford to retire -- and in a way you can enjoy.</strong></p> <p><em>In <a href="" target="_blank">Part 2: Success Strategies For Retirement,</a> we detail out these best practices for a solvent retirement, including providing 14 specific action steps you can start taking right now in your life that will materially improve your odds of enjoying your later years with grace. For far too many Americans, &quot;retirement&quot; will remain a perpetual myth. Don&#39;t let that happen to you. <a href="" target="_blank">Click here to read Part 2</a>&nbsp;of this report&nbsp;(free executive summary,<a href="" target="_blank">&nbsp;enrollment&nbsp;</a>required for full access)</em></p> </div> <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="359" height="237" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> American Express Business Congress Corporate America Dallas Fed Dallas Fed Defined benefit pension plan Defined contribution plan Economic Policy Institute Economy Employee Retirement Income Security Act Employment Benefit Research Institute Federal Reserve Finance headlines Illinois Individual Retirement Accounts Investment Labor Medicare Medicare Money Pensions Personal finance Recession Retirement Social Issues Social Security Taxation in the United States US Federal Reserve Wall Street Journal Sat, 18 Nov 2017 16:06:52 +0000 Tyler Durden 607508 at The Economist Magazine Remains Confused On Zimbabwe Inflation <p class="p1"><strong 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;">Authored by Steve H. Hanke of the Johns Hopkins University. Follow him on Twitter @Steve_Hanke.</strong></p> <p class="p1"><em>The Economist</em> magazine remains confused. The November 4th issue of&nbsp;<em>The Economist</em>&nbsp;carried reportage on the ever-more acute economic disaster that grips Zimbabwe: “<a href=""><span class="s1">Surviving under Mugabe: Zimbabwe’s Deepening Crisis</span></a>.” While the broad outlines of this reportage are correct, one reported “fact” in particular is simply wrong -- a real howler that any good fact checker should have flagged as an error to be corrected.&nbsp;<em>The</em>&nbsp;<em>Economist</em>&nbsp;writes: “…hyperinflation that peaked at 500,000,000,000%.” Well, that’s a big number. But, it is way off – way too low. The actual peak of Zimbabwe’s hyperinflation episode generated an annual rate of inflation of 89,700,000,000,000,000,000,000%— a figure I and my team at Johns Hopkins <span class="s2">estimated</span>, and one that is widely recognized in the scholarly literature on&nbsp;<a href=""><span class="s1">hyperinflation</span></a>. <em>The</em>&nbsp;<em>Economist</em>&nbsp;error, which they have repeated again and again, is huge: 89.7 sextillion percent is 179 billion times greater than the figure presented as a “fact” by&nbsp;<em>The</em>&nbsp;<em>Economist</em>.&nbsp;</p> <p class="p1">I pointed this out most recently in my <a href=""><span class="s1">Forbes Column</span></a> of November 14th. In “response,” <em>The Economist</em> had <a href=""><span class="s1">this to say</span></a> about Zimbabwe’s hyperinflation: “Inflation reached 500 billion percent, according to the IMF, or 89.7 sextillion percent, according to Steve Hanke of Johns Hopkins University. (Measuring hyperinflation is hard.)”</p> <p class="p1"><em>The Economist</em> should receive an “E” for effort, but remains confused and in error; the magazine is comparing apples to oranges. The 500 billion percent figure from the IMF is for the end of September. My 89.7 sextillion percent figure is for the peak, which occurred on November 14th. This November date is a month-and-a-half later than the September date, on which the IMF made its estimate.<span>&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="p1"><em>The Economist</em> claims that the IMF estimate and mine are comparable numbers. What nonsense — a simple oranges vs. apples problem. Moreover, <em>The Economist</em>’s claim that “measuring hyperinflation is hard,” is unfounded. After suitable study and preparation, measuring hyperinflation accurately is actually rather straightforward. At present, my team at Johns Hopkins calculates Venezuela’s and Zimbabwe’s annual inflation rates each morning.&nbsp;</p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-blog"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_blog" width="600" height="600" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Business Economic collapse Economy Hyperinflation Hyperinflation Inflation International Monetary Fund International Monetary Fund Johns Hopkins University Macroeconomics Steve Hanke Structure The Economist the Johns Hopkins University Twitter Twitter Sat, 18 Nov 2017 15:08:29 +0000 Steve H. Hanke 607506 at FBI Informant Has Video Of Russian Agents With Briefcases Of Bribe Money In Clinton-Uranium Scandal <p><em>Submitted by <a href="" target="_blank"></a></em></p> <p><a href=""><img src="" style="float: right; margin-left: 10px; margin-right: 10px;" /></a>An undercover FBI informant in the Russian nuclear industry who was made to sign an &ldquo;illegal NDA&rdquo; by former AG Loretta Lynch, <strong>claims to have video&nbsp;evidence showing Russian agents with&nbsp;briefcases full of bribe money related to the controversial Uranium One deal </strong>&ndash; according to&nbsp;The Hill&nbsp;investigative journalist John Solomon and&nbsp;Circa&lsquo;s Sara Carter.</p> <p>The informant, whose identity was revealed by Reuters as William D. Campbell, will testify before congress next week after the NDA which carried the threat of prison time&nbsp;<a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">was lifted</a>. Campbell, originally misidentifed by Reuters as a lobbyist is actually a nuclear industry consultant who is currently battling cancer.&nbsp;</p> <p>As previously reported,&nbsp;Campbell&nbsp;was deeply embedded in the Russian nuclear industry where he gathered extensive evidence of&nbsp;a racketeering scheme involving bribes and kickbacks.</p> <p>&ldquo;<strong>The Russians were compromising American contractors in the nuclear industry with kickbacks and extortion threats, all of which raised legitimate national security concerns. And&nbsp;none of that evidence got aired before the Obama administration made those decisions</strong>,&rdquo; a person who worked on the case told The Hill, speaking on condition of anonymity for fear of retribution by U.S. or Russian officials. &ndash;<a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">The Hill</a></p> <p>Campbell&rsquo;s attorney,&nbsp;<strong>former Regan Justice Department official&nbsp;Victoria Toensing</strong>, previously&nbsp;<a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">told&nbsp;Fox Business&nbsp;host&nbsp;Lou Dobbs</a>&nbsp;<strong>&ldquo;He can tell what all the Russians were talking about during the time that all these bribery payments were made.&rdquo;</strong></p> <p>Sara Carter and John Solomon sat down with&nbsp;Fox News&nbsp;host Sean Hannity to discuss:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><strong>Sarah Carter:&nbsp;</strong>He&rsquo;s very sick and he&rsquo;s been battling cancer and going chemo. He is in a battle for not only his life, but in a battle against what he perceives as people within the US government that don&rsquo;t want this story to come out.&nbsp; But there&rsquo;s so much information that he is willing to share with the public to set the record straight, and believe me we&rsquo;re gonna get it out there. He is going to have his say. His voice will be heard.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Hannity:&nbsp;</strong>He knew about the bribery, kickbacks, extortion of Putin&rsquo;s agents in the US?&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Sara Carter:&nbsp;</strong>Yes, and he will be able to lay that all out for everyone, and he will do that for Congress. John and I have been working on this for months and months and months.&nbsp;He came to the&nbsp;[Obama]&nbsp;DOJ with this information.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>John Solomon:&nbsp;</strong>He is going to be an extraordinary fact witness because he gathered so much information.&nbsp;There are videotapes where the Russians are opening up briefcases full of cash. These are the people we then gave uranium to, that we then gave nuclear fuel contracts to.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Hannity:&nbsp;</strong>This is happening before they sign off on Uranium One?&nbsp;They knew about bribery extortion kickbacks money laundering before? They knew this was Putin and they did it anyway!</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>John Solomon:&nbsp;</strong>Yes.&nbsp;The Russians really thought they had played America on this one.&nbsp;</p> </blockquote> <p><strong>Watch:</strong></p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="" width="560"></iframe></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="640" height="360" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Bribery Carter Congress Crime Department of Justice DOJ FBI Federal Bureau of Investigation Fox Business Fox News Kickback Law national security None Obama Administration Obama administration Politics Prison Time Racketeering Reuters Sean Hannity Uranium US government Victoria Toensing Sat, 18 Nov 2017 15:07:20 +0000 Tyler Durden 607505 at Kushner "Forgot" To Disclose Contact With Putin Ally <p>After being accused in a letter earlier this week sent by the leaders of the Senate Judiciary Committee of failing to turn over emails from September 2016 pertaining to a range of topics including Wikileaks, it appears Kushner is being punished for his obstinance with a series of embarrassing leaks presumably from the same committee that publicly chastised him only days before (bonus points for subtlety). <strong>The new allegations are likely to provoke more spurious speculation that Kushner and other members of the Trump camp (Sessions etc.) perjured themselves during Congressional testimony.</strong></p> <p>According to the leaks, <strong>Kushner neglected to disclose that Aleksander Torshin, a powerful Russian central banker and former senator with ties to both President Vladimir Putin and Russian organized crime, had reached out to the campaign with a &quot;dinner invite&quot; and an offer to connect Trump with Putin. Kushner, who was on the email chain, reportedly instructed junior campaign aides to rebuff the meeting.</strong></p> <p><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 500px; height: 221px;" /></a></p> <p><em>Aleksander Torshin</em></p> <p>Also, when asked if he was aware of any contact between Wikileaks and the campaign, <strong>Kushner reportedly said he didn&rsquo;t recall any contact, even though Donald Trump Jr. informed Kushner, and several other senior campaign staff, that Wikileaks had made contact. Kushner reportedly even forwarded Trump Jr.&rsquo;s Wikileaks email to another campaign staffer, Hope Hicks.</strong></p> <p>Here&rsquo;s <a href="">NBC</a>, which was first to report on the Torshin emails:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>President Trump&#39;s son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner, failed to disclose what lawmakers called a &quot;Russian backdoor overture and dinner invite&quot; involving a banker who has been accused of links to Russian organized crime, three sources familiar with the matter told NBC News.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>An email chain described Aleksander Torshin, a former senator and deputy head of Russia&#39;s central bank who is close to Russian President Vladimir Putin, as wanting Trump to attend an event on the sidelines of a National Rifle Association convention in Louisville, Kentucky, in May 2016, the sources said. The email also suggests Torshin was seeking to meet with a high-level Trump campaign official during the convention, and that he may have had a message for Trump from Putin, the sources said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Kushner rebuffed the request after receiving a lengthy email exchange about it between a West Virginia man and Trump campaign aide Rick Dearborn, the sources said.</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Kushner responded to the email by telling Dearborn and the handful of other Trump campaign officials on the email that they should not accept requests from people who pretend to have contacts with foreign officials to aggrandize themselves, according Kushner&#39;s lawyer, Abbe Lowell. Dearborn currently serves as a deputy chief of staff in the White House.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>&quot;Pass on this,&quot; Kushner responded, according to a letter Lowell sent to the Senate Judiciary Committee Friday evening. &quot;A lot of people come claiming to carry messages. Very few we are able to verify. For now I think we decline such meetings.&quot;</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>And here&rsquo;s <a href="">CNN </a>on Wikileaks...</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>White House senior adviser Jared Kushner told congressional Russia investigators that he did not communicate with WikiLeaks and did not recall anyone on the Trump campaign who had, a source with knowledge of his testimony told CNN.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>But Kushner did receive and forward an email from Donald Trump Jr. about contact Trump Jr. had with WikiLeaks, according to a new report this week and a letter from the Senate Judiciary Committee.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Kushner, President Donald Trump&#39;s son-in-law, was asked in July during his closed-door congressional testimony if he had any contacts with WikiLeaks or its founder Julian Assange and he responded that he had not, according to the source. He also told Congress he did not know of anyone on the campaign who had contacted WikiLeaks.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>A separate source familiar with Kushner&#39;s interview with congressional investigators said he accurately answered questions about his contact and didn&#39;t recall anyone else in the campaign who had contact.</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>Of course, Kushner isn&rsquo;t the only person in Trump&rsquo;s orbit to deny the Wikileaks&rsquo; contacts. When asked in October 2016 if the Trump campaign was &ldquo;in cahoots&rdquo; with Wikileaks, Mike Pence claimed &ldquo;nothing could be further from the truth. But that&rsquo;s beside the point. As Kushner&rsquo;s lawyer Abbe Lowell is pushing back against the Judiciary committee, claiming there were no &quot;missing documents,&quot; as the committee has alleged, while criticizing the panel&#39;s leaders for going to the media on Thursday with their accusations.</p> <p>&quot;I would have assumed that, if there were any questions about our productions or exchanges, that would have been communicated to me directly before you made this a media event,&quot; Lowell wrote.</p> <p>Lowell (who has, we imagine, racked up his fair share of billable hours this week) defended Kushner&rsquo;s responses by pointing out that Kushner said he did not recall contact with Russian entities and Wikileaks, not that they didn&rsquo;t happen. Kushner&rsquo;s busy schedule ( he is, after all, in charge of a range of White House initiatives from streamlining the federal government to bringing peace to the Middle East) now, and during the campaign, when he was a senior political adviser, has made it impossible for him to remember many of these details, his lawyers have argued.</p> <p><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 500px; height: 235px;" /></a></p> <p>And while many on the left have been quick to cry perjury, proving that somebody deliberately lied when testifying about their recollections is notoriously tricky.</p> <p>Lowell also pointed out in his rebuttal to the allegations that his client voluntarily testified before the House and Senate committees that are investigating Russian interference (or other malfeasance) related to the 2016 election.</p> <p>Furthermore, Kushner endured grueling six-hour sessions, and answered every question he was asked.</p> <p>&quot;Mr. Kushner was asked if he had contacts with Wikileaks, Guccifer or DC Leaks and said no. He also said he did not know of such contacts by the campaign. From all I have now seen, his statement was accurate then as it is now. In over 6 hours of voluntary testimony, Mr Kushner answered all questions put to him and demonstrated that there had been no collusion between the campaign and Russia.&quot;</p> <p><strong>Kushner famously neglected to include meetings with Russian officials, including former ambassador Kislyak, during his security-clearance application, something his office confirmed was the result of a clerical error. </strong></p> <p>Unsurprisingly, Democrats have already capitalized on these embarrassing leaks to insist that Kushner return for more testimony &ndash; possibly in a public forum, which hints at the real reason these documents were leaked.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-partner="tweetdeck"><p dir="ltr" lang="en">Full Kushner lawyer response to Senate Judiciary Committee letter calling Kushner&rsquo;s document production &ldquo;incomplete&rdquo; <a href=""></a></p> <p>&mdash; Rebecca Ballhaus (@rebeccaballhaus) <a href="">November 18, 2017</a></p></blockquote> <script async src="" charset="utf-8"></script><p><strong><span id="cke_bm_119S" style="display: none;">&nbsp;</span><span id="cke_bm_120S" style="display: none;"> </span></strong>Since the investigations began, Congress have been trying, unsuccessfully, to push Kushner to testify in a public hearing &ndash; an event that would inevitably create a media circus and allow Democrats on the committee a tantalizing opportunity for grandstanding. We imagine those calls will only grow louder as the coming holiday-shortened week begins.</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="497" height="234" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> American people of German descent Business Congress Donald Trump Donald Trump Economy of the United States ETC federal government Jared Kushner Judiciary Committee Julian Assange Kushner Links between Trump associates and Russian officials Middle East Middle East National Rifle Association NBC Politics Politics Russia's central bank Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections Senate Testimony Trump family Twitter Twitter Vladimir Putin West Virginia White House White House WikiLeaks Sat, 18 Nov 2017 14:18:04 +0000 Tyler Durden 607503 at "Helpless, Raging" Charlottesville Families Shocked By These 2018 Obamacare Premiums..."It's Horrific" <p>Over the past several months, Democrats have jumped on every opportunity possible to blame the Trump administration for yet another year of staggering Obamacare premium increases.&nbsp; Ironically, despite arguments from the Left that <a href="">Trump's defunding of Obamacare's marketing budget</a> would cause 2018 signups to plunge, as <a href="">Politico </a>recently noted, they're actually up in 2018...which begs the question:<strong> was the Obama administration just wasting $100 million a year in taxpayer money for nothing?</strong>&nbsp; Shocking thought, we know.</p> <p>Meanwhile a fresh barrage of outcries from Democrats, most notably Ms. Nancy Pelosi, came after Trump's decision to cut federal subsidies, an action which the <a href="">CBO insisted could result in devastating premium increases of up to 20%</a>. </p> <p><strong>Of course, if Trump is responsible for 20% of Obamacare's premium hikes in 2018, then perhaps Nancy Pelosi should explain to the Dixon family in Charlottesville, VA precisely who is responsible for the other portion of the 235% premium hike they just received.</strong>&nbsp; </p> <p>As the <a href="">Washington Post</a> points out this morning, the Dixons, a family of 4 in Virginia, were shocked earlier this month to find that their Obamacare premiums were going to surge from roughly $900 per month in 2017 to over $3,000 per month in 2018.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>Ian Dixon, who left his full-time job in 2016 to pursue an app-development business, did so because the ACA guaranteed that he could still have quality coverage for his young family, he said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>But when the 38-year-old Charlottesville husband and father of a 3- and a 1-year-old went to re-enroll this month,<strong> his only choice for coverage would cost him more than $3,000 a month for his family of four, which amounted to an increase of more than 300 percent over the $900 he paid the year before. </strong>And this is for the second-cheapest option, with a deductible of $9,200.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>“Helpless is definitely a good word for it,” Dixon said. “Rage is also a good word for it.”</strong></p> </blockquote> <p><img src="" alt="Obamacare" width="500" height="299" /></p> <p>Of course, <a href="">Democrats and the MSM also applauded Obamacare's 'great success'</a> earlier this year when several counties that were previously feared to be left with no coverage options in 2018, suddenly picked up a carrier.&nbsp; That said, perhaps <a href="">Bloomberg</a>, <a href="">Reuters</a>, <a href="">NBC</a>, etc. should reconsider just how meaningful these Obamacare monopolies are if the premiums charged are so high that no one can afford them anyway...</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p><strong>Earlier this year, Aetna and Anthem pulled out of the Albemarle market, citing too much unpredictability and risk. A smaller carrier, Optima, came in to fill the void. Consumers in the area went from having 19 plans offered in the options from Aetna and Anthem to only five coverage options with Optima.</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Several factors led to Optima’s offering such high-priced plans, said Michael Dudley, the president of Optima.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>First, small communities like Charlottesville tend to be pricier to cover because there is a small patient pool to balance out risks. So Optima took a cue from the carriers who had already ditched the market when actuaries predicted it was a place where the insurance companies might be paying out more to cover claims than it receives in premiums.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>It is also a more expensive coverage area because the primary provider is University of Virginia Health System, an academic medical center that charges higher rates for its care than a community hospital. Optima will include UVA Health System in-network, unlike many carriers who have dropped the big medical centers as a cost-saving measure.</p> </blockquote> <p>...perhaps local business owner Shawn Cossette can provide the Obamacare cheerleaders within the media some helpful insights...</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>Among them was Shawn Marie Cossette, 55, who runs her own event and floral design business in Charlottesville. Last year, she purchased an Anthem silver plan for $550 a month for herself. This year, under Optima, a silver plan would cost her $1,859 monthly.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“It’s a huge percentage of my income,” she said. <strong>“I really believed in the ACA. I really feel everyone deserves the right to health insurance, but who can afford those prices if you don’t qualify for subsidies?”</strong></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="726" height="384" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> 111th United States Congress Aetna ETC Insurance Companies Internal Revenue Code Internal Revenue Service Nancy Pelosi NBC Obama Administration Obama administration Obamacare Omnibus legislation Optima Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act Presidency of Barack Obama Presidency of Donald Trump Reuters Statutory law Trump Administration United States University of Virginia Health System Sat, 18 Nov 2017 04:55:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 607480 at The 11 Nations Of The United States <p><a href=""><em>Via Jim Quinn&#39;s Burning Platform blog,</em></a></p> <p>In his fourth book, &ldquo;<a href="" rel="noopener" target="_blank">American Nations: A History of the Eleven Rival Regional Cultures in North America</a>,&rdquo; award-winning author <a href="" rel="noopener" target="_blank">Colin Woodard</a>&nbsp;identifies 11 distinct cultures&nbsp;that have historically divided the US.</p> <p><img alt="Image result for 11 nations of the united states" class="irc_mi" src="" style="width: 600px; height: 409px;" /></p> <h2><u><strong>Yankeedom</strong></u></h2> <p>Encompassing the entire Northeast north of New York City and spreading through&nbsp;Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota, Yankeedom&nbsp;values education, intellectual achievement, communal empowerment, and citizen participation in government as a shield against tyranny. Yankees are&nbsp;comfortable with government regulation. Woodard notes that Yankees have a &ldquo;Utopian streak.&rdquo; The area was settled by radical Calvinists.</p> <p><img alt="Related image" class="irc_mi" src="" style="width: 600px; height: 450px;" /></p> <h2><u><strong>New Netherland</strong></u></h2> <p>A highly&nbsp;commercial culture, New Netherland is &ldquo;materialistic, with a profound tolerance for ethnic and religious diversity and an unflinching commitment to the freedom of inquiry and conscience,&rdquo; according to Woodard. It is a natural ally with Yankeedom and encompasses New York City and northern New Jersey. The area was settled by the Dutch.</p> <p><span class="KonaFilter image-container display-table"><span class="image on-image"><img alt="new york city" src="" style="height: 400px; width: 600px;" /></span></span></p> <p><span class="KonaFilter image-container display-table"><span class="image on-image"><span class="caption-source"><span class="caption">New York City is located in Woodward&rsquo;s New Netherland.</span><span class="source"><a href="">Flickr / Andrés Nieto Porras</a></span></span></span></span></p> <h2><u><strong>The Midlands</strong></u></h2> <p>Settled by English Quakers, The Midlands are a welcoming middle-class society that&nbsp;spawned the culture of the &ldquo;American Heartland.&rdquo; Political opinion is moderate, and government regulation is frowned upon. Woodard calls the ethnically diverse Midlands &ldquo;America&rsquo;s great swing region.&rdquo; Within the Midlands are parts of New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Iowa, Kansas, and Nebraska.</p> <p><img alt="Image result for american heartland" class="irc_mi" src="" style="width: 601px; height: 401px;" /></p> <h2><u><strong>Tidewater</strong></u></h2> <p>Tidewater was built by the young English gentry in the area around the Chesapeake Bay and North Carolina. Starting as a feudal society that embraced slavery, the region places a high value on respect for authority and tradition. Woodard notes that Tidewater is in decline, partly because&nbsp;&ldquo;it has been eaten away by the expanding federal halos around D.C. and Norfolk.&rdquo;</p> <h2><u><strong>Greater Appalachia</strong></u></h2> <p>Colonized by settlers from the war-ravaged&nbsp;borderlands of Northern Ireland, northern England, and the Scottish lowlands, Greater Appalachia is stereotyped as the land of hillbillies and rednecks. Woodard says Appalachia values personal sovereignty and individual liberty and is &ldquo;intensely suspicious of lowland aristocrats and Yankee social engineers alike.&rdquo; It sides with the Deep South to counter the influence of federal government. Within Greater Appalachia are parts of Kentucky, Tennessee, West Virginia, Arkansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, Indiana, Illinois, and Texas.</p> <p><span class="KonaFilter image-container display-table"><span class="image on-image"><img alt="Louisville" src="" style="height: 400px; width: 601px;" /></span></span></p> <p><span class="KonaFilter image-container display-table"><span class="image on-image"><span class="caption-source"><span class="caption">Louisville, Kentucky, is located in Woodward&rsquo;s Greater Appalachia.</span><span class="source"><a href="">Flickr / Peter Dedina</a></span></span></span></span></p> <h2><u><strong>Deep South</strong></u></h2> <p>The Deep South was established by English slave lords from Barbados and was styled as a West Indies-style slave society, Woodard notes. It has a very rigid social structure and fights against government regulation that threatens individual liberty. Alabama, Florida, Mississippi, Texas, Georgia, and South Carolina are all part of the Deep South.</p> <p><img alt="Image result for deep south" class="irc_mi" src="" style="width: 601px; height: 422px;" /></p> <h2><u><strong>El Norte</strong></u></h2> <p>Composed of the borderlands of the Spanish-American empire, El Norte is &ldquo;a place apart&rdquo; from the rest of America, according to Woodard. Hispanic culture dominates in the area, and the region values independence, self-sufficiency, and hard work above all else. Parts of Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, and California are in El Norte.</p> <p>One of our most beloved OPs, El Whatever, owns this joint.</p> <p><img alt="Related image" class="irc_mi" src="" style="width: 600px; height: 416px;" /></p> <h2><u><strong>The Left Coast</strong></u></h2> <p>Colonized by New Englanders and Appalachian Midwesterners, the Left Coast is a hybrid of &ldquo;Yankee utopianism and Appalachian self-expression and exploration,&rdquo; Woodard says, adding that it is the staunchest ally of Yankeedom. Coastal California, Oregon, and Washington are in the Left Coast.</p> <p><span class="KonaFilter image-container display-table"><span class="image on-image"><img alt="San Francisco City and Homes" src="" style="height: 400px; width: 600px;" /></span></span></p> <p><span class="KonaFilter image-container display-table"><span class="image on-image"><span class="caption-source"><span class="caption">San Francisco is a natural fit for Woodward&rsquo;s Left Coast.</span><span class="source"><a href="">Shutterstock / prochasson frederic</a></span></span></span></span></p> <h2><u><strong>The Far West</strong></u></h2> <p>The conservative west. Developed through large investment in industry, yet where inhabitants continue to &ldquo;resent&rdquo; the Eastern interests that initially controlled that investment. Among Far West states are Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Utah, Washington, Oregon, North Dakota, South Dakota, Colorado, Nevada, Utah, Nebraska, Kansas, Arizona, New Mexico, and California.&nbsp;</p> <p><img alt="Related image" class="irc_mi" src=";d=20160707&amp;t=2&amp;i=1144467937&amp;w=780&amp;fh=&amp;fw=&amp;ll=&amp;pl=&amp;sq=&amp;r=2016-07-07T142541Z_23504_D1BETOEPYMAB_RTRMADP_0_HUNGARY-CULTURE" style="width: 600px; height: 372px;" /></p> <h2><u><strong>New France</strong></u></h2> <p>A pocket of liberalism nestled in the Deep South, its people are consensus driven, tolerant, and comfortable with government involvement in the economy. Woodard says New France is among the most liberal places in North America. New France is focused around New Orleans in Louisiana as well as the Canadian province of Quebec.</p> <p><img alt="Related image" class="irc_mi" src="" style="width: 600px; height: 450px;" /></p> <h2><u><strong>First Nation</strong></u></h2> <p>Made up&nbsp;of Native Americans, the First Nation&rsquo;s members enjoy <a href="">tribal sovereignty</a> in the US.&nbsp;Woodard says the territory of the First Nations is huge, but its population is under&nbsp;300,000, most of whose people live in the northern reaches of Canada.</p> <p><img alt="Related image" class="irc_mi" src="" style="width: 600px; height: 1065px;" /></p> <p><a href=""><em>Source</em></a></p> <p>*&nbsp; *&nbsp; *</p> <p>Woodard says that among these 11 nations, <strong>Yankeedom and the Deep South exert the most influence</strong> and are constantly competing with each other for the hearts and minds of the other nations.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>&ldquo;We are trapped in brinkmanship because there is not a lot of wiggle room between Yankee and Southern Culture,&rdquo; Woodard says.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>&ldquo;Those two nations would never see eye to eye on anything besides an external threat.&rdquo;</strong></p> </blockquote> <p><span class="KonaFilter image-container display-table"><span class="image on-image"><span class="caption-source"><span class="source"><img alt="Related image" class="irc_mi" src="" style="width: 600px; height: 380px;" /></span></span></span></span></p> <p>Woodard also believes the nation is likely to<strong> become more polarized, even though America is becoming a more diverse</strong> place every day.</p> <p>He says this is because people are &ldquo;self-sorting.&rdquo;</p> <p><em><strong>&ldquo;People choose to move to places where they identify with &nbsp;the values,&rdquo; &nbsp;</strong></em>Woodard says. <em><strong>&ldquo;Red minorities go south and blue minorities go north to be in the majority.&nbsp;This is why blue states are getting bluer and red states are getting redder and the middle is getting smaller.&rdquo;</strong></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="1726" height="765" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Americas Appalachia Colin Woodard Florida France Illinois Indiana Ireland Mexico Michigan New Netherland New Orleans New York City northern England northern New Jersey Ohio Oklahoma Quakers South Carolina Southern United States The Left United States West Indies-style West Virginia Woodard Woodard Yankee Sat, 18 Nov 2017 04:45:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 607492 at America's Righteous Russia-gate Censorship <p><a href=""><em>Authored by Robert Parry via,</em></a></p> <p><strong><em>Arriving behind the anti-Trump &ldquo;resistance&rdquo; and the Russia-gate &ldquo;scandal&rdquo; is a troubling readiness to silence dissent in the U.S., shutting down information that challenges Official Narratives...</em></strong></p> <p><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 400px; height: 360px;" /></a></p> <p>A stark difference between today&rsquo;s Washington and when I was here as a young Associated Press correspondent in the late 1970s and the early 1980s is that then &ndash; even as the old Cold War was heating up around the election of Ronald Reagan &ndash; <strong>there were prominent mainstream journalists who looked askance at the excessive demonization of the Soviet Union and doubted wild claims about the dire threats to U.S. national security from Nicaragua and Grenada.</strong></p> <div id="attachment_24691"> <p><a href=""><img src="" style="height: 300px; width: 400px;" /></a></p> <p><em>Tomb of the Unknown Soldier outside the Kremlin wall, Dec. 6, 2016. (Photo by Robert Parry)</em></p> </div> <p>Perhaps the Vietnam War was still fresh enough in people&rsquo;s minds that senior editors and national reporters understood the dangers of mindless groupthink inside Official Washington, as well as the importance of healthy skepticism toward official pronouncements from the U.S. intelligence community.</p> <p>Today, however, I cannot think of a single prominent figure in the mainstream news media who questions any claim &ndash; no matter how unlikely or absurd &ndash; that vilifies Russian President Vladimir Putin and his country. It is all Russia-bashing all the time.</p> <p>And, behind this disturbing anti-Russian uniformity are increasing assaults against independent and dissident journalists and news outlets outside the mainstream. <u><em><strong>We&rsquo;re not just entering a New Cold War and a New McCarthyism; we&rsquo;re also getting a heavy dose of old-style Orwellianism.</strong></em></u></p> <p>Sometimes you see this in individual acts like HuffingtonPost taking down a well-reported story by journalist Joe Lauria because he dared to point out that Democratic money financed the two initial elements of what&rsquo;s now known as Russia-gate: the forensic examination of computers at the Democratic National Committee and the opposition research on Donald Trump conducted by ex-British spy Christopher Steele.</p> <p>HuffingtonPost never contacted Lauria before or after its decision to retract the story, despite a request from him for the reasons why. HuffPost editors told a BuzzFeed reporter that they were responding to reader complaints that the article was filled with factual errors but none have ever been spelled out, leaving little doubt that Lauria&rsquo;s real &ldquo;error&rdquo; was in defying the Russia-gate groupthink of the anti-Trump Resistance. [A <a href="">version of Lauria&rsquo;s story</a> appeared at before Lauria posted it at HuffPost. If you want to sign a petition calling on HuffPost to restore Lauria&rsquo;s article, <a href="">click here.</a>]</p> <h3><u><strong>Muzzling RT</strong></u></h3> <p>Other times, the expanding American censorship is driven by U.S. government agencies, such as the Justice Department&rsquo;s demand that the Russian news outlet, RT, register under the restrictive Foreign Agent Registration Act, which requires such prompt, frequent and detailed disclosures of supposed &ldquo;propaganda&rdquo; that it could make it impossible for RT to continue to function in the United States.</p> <div id="attachment_16005"> <p><a href=""><img src="" style="height: 267px; width: 401px;" /></a></p> <p><em>Russian President Vladimir Putin, following his address to the UN General Assembly on Sept. 28, 2015. (UN Photo)</em></p> </div> <p><strong>This attack on RT was rationalized by <a href="">the Jan. 6 &ldquo;Intelligence Community Assessment&rdquo;</a> that was, in reality, prepared by a handful of &ldquo;hand-picked&rdquo; analysts from the CIA, FBI and National Security Agency. Their report included a seven-page addendum from 2012 accusing RT of spreading Russian propaganda &ndash; and apparently this Jan. 6 report must now be accepted as gospel truth, no questions permitted.</strong></p> <p>However, if any real journalist actually read the Jan. 6 report, he or she would have discovered that RT&rsquo;s sinister assault on American democracy included such offenses as holding a debate among third-party candidates who were excluded from the Republican-Democratic debates in 2012. Yes, allowing Libertarians and Greens to express their points of view is a grave danger to American democracy.</p> <p>Other RT &ldquo;propaganda&rdquo; included reporting on the Occupy Wall Street protests and examining the environmental dangers from &ldquo;fracking,&rdquo; issues that also have been widely covered by the domestic American media. Apparently, whenever RT covers a newsworthy event &ndash; even if others have too &ndash; that constitutes &ldquo;propaganda,&rdquo; which must be throttled to protect the American people from the danger of seeing it.</p> <p>If you bother to study the Jan. 6 report&rsquo;s addendum, it is hard not to conclude that these &ldquo;hand-picked&rdquo; analysts were either stark-raving mad or madly anti-Russian. Yet, this &ldquo;Intelligence Community Assessment&rdquo; is now beyond questioning unless you want to be labeled a &ldquo;Kremlin stooge&rdquo; or &ldquo;Putin&rsquo;s useful idiot.&rdquo; [An earlier <a href="">State Department attack on RT</a> was equally ridiculous or demonstrably false.]</p> <p>And, by the way, it was President Obama&rsquo;s Director of National Intelligence James Clapper who testified under oath that the analysts from the three agencies were <a href="">&ldquo;hand-picked.&rdquo;</a> That means that they were analysts personally selected by Obama&rsquo;s intelligence chiefs from three agencies &ndash; not &ldquo;all 17&rdquo; as the American public was told over and over again &ndash; and thus were not even a full representation of analysts from those three agencies. Yet, this subset of a subset is routinely described as &ldquo;the U.S. intelligence community,&rdquo; even after major news outlets finally had to <a href="">retract their &ldquo;all 17&rdquo; canard</a>.</p> <p>So, the myth of the intelligence community&rsquo;s consensus lives on. For instance, in an upbeat article on Tuesday about the U.S. government&rsquo;s coercing RT into registering as a foreign agent, Washington Post reporters Devlin Barrett and David Filipov <a href="">wrote</a>, &ldquo;U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded that the network and website push relentlessly anti-American propaganda at the behest of the Russian government.&rdquo;</p> <p>In the old days, even during the old Cold War and President Reagan&rsquo;s ranting about &ldquo;the Evil Empire,&rdquo; some of us would have actually examined the Jan. 6 report&rsquo;s case against RT and noted the absurdity of these claims about &ldquo;relentlessly anti-American propaganda.&rdquo; Whether you want to hear the views of the Greens and Libertarians or not &ndash; or whether you like &ldquo;fracking&rdquo; and hate Occupy Wall Street &ndash; the opportunity to hear this information doesn&rsquo;t constitute &ldquo;relentlessly anti-American propaganda.&rdquo;</p> <p><strong>The U.S. government&rsquo;s real beef with RT seems to be that it allows on air some Americans who have been blacklisted from the mainstream media &ndash; including <a href="">highly credentialed former U.S. intelligence analysts</a> and well-informed American journalists &ndash; because they have challenged various Official Narratives.</strong></p> <p>In other words, Americans are not supposed to hear the other side of the story on important international conflicts, such as the proxy war in Syria or the civil war in Ukraine or Israel&rsquo;s mistreatment of Palestinians. Only the State Department&rsquo;s versions of those events are permitted even when those versions are themselves propagandistic if not outright false.</p> <p>For example, you&rsquo;re not supposed to hear about the <a href="">huge holes in the Syria-sarin cases</a>, nor about <a href="">Ukraine&rsquo;s post-coup regime arming neo-Nazis to kill ethnic-Russian Ukrainians</a>, nor about <a href="">Israel&rsquo;s evolution into an apartheid state</a>. All right-thinking Americans are to get only a steady diet of how righteous the U.S. government and its allies always are. Anything else is &ldquo;propaganda.&rdquo;</p> <p>Also off limits is any thoughtful critique of that Jan. 6 report &ndash; or apparently even Clapper&rsquo;s characterization of it as a product of &ldquo;hand-picked&rdquo; analysts from only three agencies. You&rsquo;re not supposed to ask why other U.S. intelligence agencies with deep knowledge about Russia were excluded and why even other analysts from the three involved agencies were shut out.</p> <p>No, you must always think of the Jan. 6 report as the &ldquo;consensus&rdquo; assessment from the entire &ldquo;U.S. intelligence community.&rdquo; And you must accept it as flat fact &ndash; as it now is treated by The New York Times, The Washington Post, CNN and other mainstream news outlets. You shouldn&rsquo;t even notice that the Jan. 6 report itself doesn&rsquo;t claim that Russian election meddling was a fact. The report explains, that &ldquo;Judgments are not intended to imply that we have proof that shows something to be a fact.&rdquo;</p> <p>But even quoting from the Jan. 6 report might make an American reporter some kind of traitorous &ldquo;Russian mole&rdquo; whose journalism must be purged from &ldquo;responsible&rdquo; media and who should be forced to wear the journalistic equivalent of a yellow star.</p> <h3><u><strong>The Anti-Trump/Russia Hysteria</strong></u></h3> <p>Of course, much of this anti-Russian hysteria comes from the year-long fury about the shocking election of Donald Trump. From the first moments of stunned disbelief over Hillary Clinton&rsquo;s defeat, the narrative was put in motion to blame Trump&rsquo;s victory not on Clinton and her wretched campaign but on Russia. That also was viewed as a possible way of reversing the election&rsquo;s outcome and removing Trump from office.</p> <div id="attachment_20482"> <p><a href=""><img src="" style="height: 267px; width: 401px;" /></a></p> <p><em>Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaking with supporters at a campaign rally in Phoenix, Arizona, March 21, 2016. (Photo by Gage Skidmore)</em></p> </div> <p><strong>The major U.S. news media quite openly moved to the forefront of the Resistance.</strong> The Washington Post adopted the melodramatic and hypocritical slogan, &ldquo;Democracy Dies in Darkness,&rdquo; as it unleashed its journalists to trumpet the narrative of some disloyal Americans spreading Russian propaganda. Darkness presumably was a fine place to stick people who questioned the Resistance&rsquo;s Russia-gate narrative.</p> <p>An early shot in this war against dissenting information was fired last Thanksgiving Day when the Post published a front-page article citing <a href="">an anonymous group called PropOrNot smearing 200 Internet news sites</a> for allegedly disseminating Russian propaganda. The list included some of the most important sources of independent journalism, including, apparently for the crime of questioning some of the State Department&rsquo;s narratives on international conflicts, particularly Syria and Ukraine.</p> <p><strong>Then, with the anti-Russia hysteria building and the censorship ball rolling, Congress last December approved $160 million for think tanks and other non-governmental organizations to combat Russian propaganda. Soon, <a href="">reports and studies were flying off the shelves</a> detecting a Russian behind every article, tweet and posting that didn&rsquo;t toe the State Department&rsquo;s line.</strong></p> <p>The New York Times and other leading news organizations have even <a href="">cheered plans</a> for Google, Facebook and other technology companies to deploy algorithms that can hunt down, marginalize or eliminate information that establishment media deems &ldquo;fake&rdquo; or &ldquo;propaganda.&rdquo; Already Google has put together a First Draft coalition, consisting of mainstream media and establishment-approved Web sites to decide what information makes the cut and what doesn&rsquo;t.</p> <p>Among these arbiters of truth is the fact-check organization PolitiFact, which judged the falsehood about &ldquo;all 17 intelligence agencies&rdquo; signing off on the Russian &ldquo;hacking&rdquo; claim to be &ldquo;true.&rdquo; Even though the claim was never true and is now clearly established as false, PolitiFact continues to assert that <a href="">this lie is the truth</a>, apparently filled with the hubris that comes with its power over determining what is true and what is false.</p> <p>But what is perhaps most troubling to me about these developments is the silence of many civil liberties advocates, liberal politicians and defenders of press freedom who might have been counted on in earlier days to object to this censorship and blackballing.</p> <p><strong>It appears that the ends of taking down Donald Trump and demonizing Vladimir Putin justify whatever means, no matter the existential danger of nuclear war with Russia or the McCarthyistic (even Orwellian) threats to freedom of speech, press and thought.</strong></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="573" height="347" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Alternative media AOL BuzzFeed Central Intelligence Agency Congress Democratic National Committee Department of Justice Department of State Donald Trump Donald Trump presidential campaign FBI Federal Bureau of Investigation Google Groupthink HuffPost Israel Mass media national intelligence national security National Security Agency New York Times None Politics Politics of the United States PolitiFact Presidency of Donald Trump President Obama Protests against Donald Trump Reality Russian government Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections SPY U.S. intelligence Ukraine UN General Assembly United Nations US government Vladimir Putin World Wide Web Sat, 18 Nov 2017 03:45:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 607500 at WTF Chart Of The Day: America's Youngest Child Brides & Grooms <p><strong>Between 2000 and 2015, at least 207,468 minors were married in the United States. </strong></p> <p><a href=""><em>As Statista&#39;s Martin Armstrong notes, </em></a>despite an overall fall in child&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">marriage&nbsp;</a>since 2000 (25,583 to 9,247), there are still a <strong>shocking number of young children legally married in the country</strong>. Only 14 percent married other minors, meaning <strong>86 percent wedded an adult.</strong></p> <p>As the infographic below shows,<strong><em> the youngest to marry since 2000 were three ten year olds</em></strong>.</p> <p><a href="" title="Infographic: America's Youngest Child Brides &amp; Grooms | Statista"><img alt="Infographic: America's Youngest Child Brides &amp; Grooms | Statista" src="" style="height: 428px; width: 601px;" /></a></p> <p><em>You will find more statistics at <a href="">Statista</a></em></p> <p>According to&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">Frontline</a>, <strong>the three girls married men aged 24, 25 and 31 in Tennessee in 2001</strong>.</p> <p>While certain conditions have to be met before a minor can marry, and consent from a parent or judge is usually required, <strong>every state in the U.S. allows children to marry to some extent</strong>.</p> <p>In Oregon and Nebraska, for example, the lower limit is set at 17.</p> <p><strong>In 26 states, there is no minimum age for marriage.</strong></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="738" height="371" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Age of majority Anthropology Arranged marriage Child marriage Childhood Conflict of marriage laws Family law Human behavior Human development Human Interest Marriage Martin Armstrong Social Issues Types of marriage Sat, 18 Nov 2017 03:25:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 607499 at