http://www.zerohedge.com/fullrss2.xml en New Highs To Nowhere On Nothing http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-04-26/new-highs-nowhere-nothing <p><a href="http://markstcyr.com/2015/04/26/new-highs-to-nowhere-on-nothing/"><em>Submitted by Mark St.Cyr</em></a>,</p> <div class="entry-content"> <p><strong>It&rsquo;s official:</strong> <em>all the markers of manias both past and present have now been surpassed.</em></p> <p>NASDAQ&trade; new highs? Check. All major Indexes both in actual terms as well as adjusted for inflation? Check. Earnings reports being enthusiastically reported as more &ldquo;beats&rdquo; than misses? Check. How about employment data? Yep. Within statistically accepted range of near full employment. How about all the macro data? Is it supportive of such a move? Absolutely! And getting better with each release. For Bad is now good, and worse is &ndash; excellent!</p> <p><strong>All of the above sounds great to the uninitiated person on the street.</strong> The only problem is as you may now understand the real truth is: that specious (i.e., superficially plausible, but actually wrong) has replaced true/truth &ndash; as fact. And in my opinion not just superficially. It now seems how most, if not all financial matters are reported. At all levels.</p> <p>It is in this context that explains why the average person as well as rudimentary &ldquo;investor&rdquo; in some 401K plan is both confused by what they hear, as well as disinterested. The default position when it comes to topics such as these (i.e., data deciphering) is to not pay any mind and just &ldquo;hope for the best.&rdquo; There&rsquo;s no greater example of this than the unopened 401K statement that arrives in the mailbox.</p> <p>In times of distress, market gyrations, confusion and more. The default thing to do by nearly all &ldquo;passive investors&rdquo; is to &ndash; not open the envelope. Using this frame of reference it should leave no wondering why channels like CNBC&trade; aren&rsquo;t tuning in viewers, but actually turning them off. So let&rsquo;s take some of the opening paragraph and put the implied references against the true meanings of what has been reported thus far.</p> <p>The indexes have all once again hit &ldquo;never before seen in the history of the markets&rdquo; highs. Once would infer that the economy should then be tearing along at a pace relative to such strong &ldquo;market&rdquo; forces. Yeah, not so much.</p> <p>One would think an &ldquo;earnings beat&rdquo; would mean just that: beat because they earned more money than projected. No. You &ldquo;beat&rdquo; because of financial engineering. i.e., GAAP vs Non-GAAP. This is where &ldquo;fake it till you make it&rdquo; takes on a whole new level of meaning in the corporate world.</p> <p>Take Amazon for example. Earnings? You mean as in make money over and beyond operating expenses where net profits are the end all be all measurement of success? I would answer that with: &ldquo;Why start now?&rdquo; Nearly two decades later since becoming a public company, reporting less than expected losses has now morphed into some meme resembling &ldquo;They killed it this quarter! They&rsquo;re raking it in.&rdquo; But (and it&rsquo;s a very big but) the story and narrative doesn&rsquo;t stop there.</p> <p>Again, nearly two decades later the &ldquo;analysts&rdquo; across the financial media are touting why; not only can their stock price go even higher bypassing the Moon, Mars, and any other near galactic measure straight towards Alpha Centauri. It will do this because of the realization the &ldquo;profits in their retailing efforts aren&rsquo;t as profitable as their profits in their web services. And that will mean more focus to the web service side.&rdquo; Wait&hellip;What?</p> <p>First of all one must ask: What profits in retailing? Maybe it&rsquo;s just me, however, I don&rsquo;t recall a profitable earnings release in the way I as a businessman understand profits to be. i.e., sale price &ndash; minus all costs &ndash; resulting in a net profit. All I&rsquo;ve ever known or heard is, &ldquo;They only lost X this quarter instead of Y.&rdquo; And now nearly two decades later the meme is turning to, &ldquo;Yeah, forget about all that &ldquo;retailing&rdquo; stuff. The Cloud is where they&rsquo;re gonna kill it! Just you wait and see!&rdquo;</p> <p>Well, we&rsquo;ve been waiting two decades for retailing, they&rsquo;re already a decade into the web service thing, I guess we&rsquo;ll just have to wait another decade to see. Because if what they reported for &ldquo;retailing&rdquo; is true: It&rsquo;s last twelve months bottom line is now negative $406MM. The worst since 2001. And what did the share price do on all this &ldquo;bad is now good news&rdquo; do? You guessed it. Never before seen in the history of the company as well as markets new high. Alpha Centauri &ndash; here we come!</p> <p>This is not to pick on Amazon. As a customer I have nothing but accolades. However, on a stock price and the financial market reporting of that price and how and why it got there? Please, pass the unicorns and rainbows to the next in line. I seem to be a little full. And they do! Going right along dishing it out as in touting next how Facebook&trade; &ndash; is now &ldquo;killing it!&rdquo;</p> <p>Facebook from what I garnered added more &ldquo;eyeballs&rdquo; this report than last report. What I didn&rsquo;t see was based on GAAP numbers was if they made and kept more &ldquo;net profits&rdquo; this time than last time. And if &ldquo;net Income&rdquo; means anything. Via GAAP Q1-2015 was $512MM. That&rsquo;s down nearly $200MM from the prior. Or, said more succinctly: nearly a quarter of a BILLION dollars less than the previous report. (I use the BILLION reference because in Silicon Valley, millions is for paupers, Billions is what you need to be garner attention.)</p> <p>And not to seem like I&rsquo;m &ldquo;cherry picking&rdquo; numbers, for it is true Facebook&rsquo;s <a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-04-22/peak-facebook" title="link to ZH article">Q4 reports are normally greater than Q1</a> I&rsquo;ll use Q1 of 2014. Surely they must be making more money with more eyeballs 12 months later no? No. Q1 2014 $642MM. via reported GAAP.</p> <p>Wait, that means revenues are over 1/10th of a BILLION dollars less than the prior comp? Yes they are. Unless you want to use Non-GAAP. There you can make $512MM into $1.189 BILLION just by adding some unicorn tears. To me, Silicon Valley&rsquo;s tagline should resemble something along the lines of: &ldquo;Hacking &ndash; it&rsquo;s not just for coding anymore.&rdquo;</p> <p>And the stock price? Well, it&rsquo;s still high, but it seems it may be needing some additional rainbow magic before Wall Street finally realizes or further contemplates: If eyeballs are the resource to sell more ads to advertisers. Then why isn&rsquo;t an increase in eyeballs generating corresponding increases in profits?</p> <p>Unless, those eyeballs are growing from more unemployed users with more time than money to waste on Facebook. Or worse: All those new eyeballs &ndash; are newly employed eyeballs whose job is to &ldquo;click&rdquo;, and &ldquo;follow,&rdquo; and &ldquo;like&rdquo; etc., etc., pages or stories on Facebook. Just something to contemplate. For after all, if &ldquo;eyeballs&rdquo; is the true metric of success: Why is Yahoo&trade; struggling? Or better yet, Alibaba&trade;? Yet, the NASDAQ? Onward towards Titan while singing the line &ldquo;and the band played on&hellip;&rdquo;</p> <p>The S&amp;P 500&trade; and the DJIA&trade;. You guessed it. Here too the phenom of GAAP vs Non-GAAP plays out. One look inside a report or listening to a conference call like that of the bell-weather of global economic health Caterpillar&trade; and one sees nothing to write home about. Unless you&rsquo;re writing letters of caution.</p> <p>However, just like the tech index these are also hitting gravitational release heights. And how is this being accomplished? Again: Easy, bad news is not only considered good. It&rsquo;s now empirically: excellent! The worse the macro data reporting of the economy in both data as well as meme &ndash; the more hardened the notion the Federal Reserve wouldn&rsquo;t dare raise interest rates this coming June.</p> <p>You see, we&rsquo;ve decoupled from anything resembling true economics long ago (which people like myself were and still chastised for even suggesting) and now it&rsquo;s routine for both the financial, as well as main stream media, to allude that the &ldquo;fundamentals&rdquo; for the markets to continue rising has nothing to do with &ldquo;true financial health and measurements&rdquo; it&rsquo;s all about: &ldquo;whether or not the Fed. will or will not raise rates.&rdquo;</p> <p><strong>I guess even they can no longer control themselves from laughing out loud when they have to try to and speak to the meme &ldquo;This market is rising based on fundamentals.&rdquo; (I can&rsquo;t type that myself without snickering)</strong></p> <p><strong>U.S. Macro data as of today is the worst it&rsquo;s been since the preceding days of the market crash bottom in early 2009. The markets of today based on data that&rsquo;s the worst in 6 years &ndash; have now nearly tripled! From 700-ish to now over 2100.</strong></p> <p>Yet, being at this level one would think we&rsquo;re still proceeding on this &ldquo;space shot&rdquo; in a straight line as we&rsquo;ve been over the last half decade since the market bottomed. No, in some respects we seem caught in the gravitation pull of &ldquo;reality&rdquo; that many of the scientists tell us &ldquo;fundamentally speaking&rdquo; is just a theory. However, in truth it&rsquo;s trying to reassert as to prove &ndash; it&rsquo;s the Keynesian mad scientists that are not basing facts within reality.</p> <p>As we edge higher there&rsquo;s no acceleration of momentum, just residual. Volumes are not increasing, they&rsquo;re dwindling. Professional traders and more are leaving the markets. The &ldquo;pits&rdquo; at the exchanges that were once the lifeblood of the markets have more in common with pitiful when it comes to describing activity within them. So much so the CME&trade; closed many in one fell swoop just this year. The S&amp;P large contract pit housed at the CME where everyone references in their mind&rsquo;s eye when thinking about Wall Street and what takes place in those pits now routinely has less than 75% of the participants interacting. All this when the markets are at the highest. Sorry &ndash; something is fundamentally wrong with this picture.</p> <p>Oh wait, maybe this picture shows the new &ldquo;fundamentals&rdquo; of today&rsquo;s markets. Below is a chart of where we are, how we got here, and how we&rsquo;ve been able to stay whenever the market has hiccuped. <em>(chart source Bloomberg&trade; <a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-04-25/just-6-charts" title="Link to ZH article">via screenshot at ZeroHedge&trade;</a>)</em></p> <p><a class="image-anchor" href="https://markstcyr.files.wordpress.com/2015/04/screen-shot-2015-04-26-at-11-21-07-am.png"><img alt="Screen Shot 2015-04-26 at 11.21.07 AM" class="aligncenter size-medium wp-image-16532" src="https://markstcyr.files.wordpress.com/2015/04/screen-shot-2015-04-26-at-11-21-07-am.png?w=300&amp;h=173" style="width: 600px; height: 346px;" /></a></p> <p>Welcome to today&rsquo;s example of &ldquo;one picture is worth a thousand words.&rdquo; Where the new fundamentals are, what we were told, are not. i.e., The only reason why these markets are trading at these levels is based solely on the fundamental fact the Fed. is the one holding it up in its entirety.</p> <p><strong>It doesn&rsquo;t take a rocket scientist to look at the above chart to interpret escape velocity based on macro data was rejected and began falling back to ground speed precisely at the time the realization of QE was indeed not only going to end &ndash; but did. </strong>Only to be saved with the now famous (if not infamous) &ldquo;stick save&rdquo; supplied by St. Louis Federal Reserve President James Bullard when he quipped the Fed. was open to initiating another round of QE if needed.</p> <p>Since then we&rsquo;ve regained the &ldquo;umph&rdquo; needed to overcome stall speed and subsequently every time the rocket boosters seemed to be failing another Fed. official has come out in a press conference, interview, op-ed, ___________(fill in the blank) to state in one form or another &ldquo;don&rsquo;t worry, be happy.&rdquo; And the markets have shrugged off all other implications for bad data and now the interpretation is: Bad is good, and worse is Excellent!</p> <p>Although, if one is to take a second gander at that chart another funny thing is also revealing itself. For all the talk and now open speculation that we could see a NASDAQ 10K in the not so distant future. Over the last 7 months since that Sept. 2014 peak &ndash; we really haven&rsquo;t gone that much further.</p> <p>I mean, all these gyrations and we&rsquo;ve only traveled a mere 100 S&amp;P handles in over 7 months? We used to travel that distance in month! What changed? Did something &ldquo;fundamentally&rdquo; shift in the markets to cause such a slowing? Yes it did.</p> <p><strong>Welcome to the first Qtr. without QE. And so far, it&rsquo;s been nothing more than questionably pathetic if not out rightly so. </strong>And this market bubble has shown the only way its going to remain at these heights for much longer is another infusion of &ldquo;hot air&rdquo; from the Fed.</p> <p><strong><em>The market just better hope the Fed. doesn&rsquo;t believe all the financial media hype. Because if they do: a raising of interest rates of just 1/4 of 1% has the implications of taking this hopium filled market &ndash; and turning it into a lead balloon filled with cement faster than a HFT can spoof a buy or sell order.</em></strong></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="532" height="416" alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/20150426_nowhere.jpg?1430087584" /> </div> </div> </div> http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-04-26/new-highs-nowhere-nothing#comments default ETC Federal Reserve GAAP HFT Market Crash Mars NASDAQ Reality Mon, 27 Apr 2015 00:25:40 +0000 Tyler Durden 505549 at http://www.zerohedge.com How The Fed "Engineered A Massive Squeeze In The Markets"? With The Help Of 683x Leverage http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-04-26/how-fed-engineered-massive-squeeze-markets-help-683x-leverage <p>Citi's Matt King once again hits it out of the ballpark. </p> <p>After laying out the fundamental problems caused by central planning, namely a historic plunge in yields, and a collapse in global growth...</p> <p><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user5/imageroot/2015/04/King%20LT%20rates.jpg"><img src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user5/imageroot/2015/04/King%20LT%20rates_0.jpg" width="530" height="335" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>... a decline in consumer spending and a collapse in investment, offset by a surge in buybacks and new debt issuance.</p> <p><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user5/imageroot/2015/04/King%20consumers.jpg"><img src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user5/imageroot/2015/04/King%20consumers_0.jpg" width="530" height="330" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Matt King presents the only response the central banks have: leave investors with nothing to buy.</p> <p><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user5/imageroot/2015/04/King%20nothing%20to%20buy.jpg"><img src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user5/imageroot/2015/04/King%20nothing%20to%20buy_0.jpg" width="530" height="546" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Which he summarizes in 6 short words.</p> <p><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user5/imageroot/2015/04/squeeze%20start.jpg"><img src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user5/imageroot/2015/04/squeeze%20start_0.jpg" width="537" height="88" /></a></p> <p>But how does buying a couple billion in sovereign bonds every month whether in the US, or Japan or Europe translate into record stock prices even as the global economy has not been this bad since the first Great Depression?After all, there are tens of trillions in securities across the globe (not counting the hundreds of trillions in derivatives).</p> <p>Simple: when you manage a <strong>693x leverage between a sovereign bond <em><span style="text-decoration: underline;">entry</span></em> and a CCC bond <span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>exit</em></span>, </strong>it is perhaps far more surprising that the S&amp;P isn't artificial orders of magnitude higher.</p> <p><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user5/imageroot/2015/04/squeeze.jpg"><img src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user5/imageroot/2015/04/squeeze.jpg" width="530" height="562" /></a></p> http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-04-26/how-fed-engineered-massive-squeeze-markets-help-683x-leverage#comments Bond Central Banks Global Economy Great Depression Japan New Debt Issuance Sun, 26 Apr 2015 23:50:21 +0000 Tyler Durden 505542 at http://www.zerohedge.com Rising Police Aggression A Telling Indicator Of Our Societal Decline http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-04-26/rising-police-aggression-telling-indicator-our-societal-decline <p><a href="http://www.peakprosperity.com/blog/92427/rising-police-aggression-telling-indicator-our-societal-decline"><em>Submitted by Chris Martenson via PeakProsperity.com</em></a>,</p> <p>My first Uber lift was in South Carolina. &nbsp;My driver was from Sudan originally, but had emigrated to the US 20 years ago. &nbsp;Being the&nbsp;curious sort, I asked him about his life in Sudan and why he moved. &nbsp;He said that he left when his country had crumbled too far, past the point where a reasonable person could have a reasonable expectation of personal safety, when all institutions had become corrupted making business increasingly difficult. &nbsp;So he left. &nbsp;</p> <p>Detecting a hitch in his delivery when he spoke of coming to the US, I asked him how he felt about the US now, 20 years later. &nbsp;&quot;To be honest,&quot; he said, &quot;the same things I saw in Sudan that led me to leave are happening here now. That saddens me greatly, because where else is there to go?&quot;</p> <p>It&rsquo;s time to face some uncomfortable ideas about the state of civilization in the United States. This country is no longer the beacon of freedom illuminating a better way for the world. Why not? Because it has ceased to be civilized.</p> <p>The recent spate of police brutality videos and the complete lack of a useful or even sane response by the police unions is shaping my writing here. But it goes well beyond those incidents and extends into all corners of the lives of US citizens now, as police abuse is only one symptom of a much deeper problem.</p> <p>What do we mean by &quot;civilized?&quot; &nbsp;Well, take a look at its official definition and see if you note any descriptors that are lacking in present day US culture:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><h2>Civilized <em>adjective</em></h2> <p><strong>1.</strong>&nbsp;<strong>Cultured</strong>,&nbsp;<strong>educated</strong>,&nbsp;<strong>sophisticated</strong>,&nbsp;<strong>enlightened</strong>,&nbsp;<strong>humane</strong> <em>All</em> <em>truly</em> <em>civilized countries must</em> <em>deplore</em> <em>torture.</em></p> <p><strong>2.</strong>&nbsp;<strong>Polite</strong>,&nbsp;<strong>mannerly</strong>,&nbsp;<strong>tolerant</strong>,&nbsp;<strong>gracious</strong>,&nbsp;<strong>courteous</strong>,&nbsp;<strong>affable</strong>,&nbsp;<strong>well-behaved</strong>,&nbsp;<strong>well-mannered</strong></p> <p>(<a href="http://www.thefreedictionary.com/civilized" target="_blank">Source</a>)</p> </blockquote> <p>A civilized society, then, is one that is humane at its core, that knows right from wrong, and which does not need to conduct lengthy &lsquo;internal reviews&rsquo; to discover if videotaped brutality is indeed showing illegal abuse.</p> <p>Let&rsquo;s begin by examining a few recent cases of brutality, so many of which now exist that I have to narrow the field substantially in the interest of brevity. &nbsp;I&#39;m going to skip over the one where an unarmed black man was shot five times in the back and coldly murdered by the officer in South Carolina, because that has already (and rightly) received a lot of media attention.</p> <p>So, the first case I&#39;d like to discuss comes to us from San Bernardino CA where a man being served with a warrant for suspicion of identity theft started to flee.&nbsp; Much to the dismay of the police, the last leg of his otherwise humorous escape plan involved a horse, forcing the cops to huff across the hot, dry desert on foot.</p> <p>The video eventually shows the fugitive falling off his horse, throwing himself flat on the ground in total submission, and then putting his own hands behind his back. Two officers then approach and, in full view of the news chopper camera circling overhead, proceed to violently kick him in the face and groin, pistol whip him with a taser, pile-drive him with their elbows, and then move aside to make room for the other nine officers that also join in the violent 2 minute long beating:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>Aerial footage showed the man falling off the horse he was suspected of stealing during the pursuit in San Bernardino County Thursday afternoon.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>He then appeared to be stunned with a Taser by a sheriff&#39;s deputy and <strong>fall to the ground with his arms outstretched.</strong> <strong>Two deputies immediately descended on him and appeared to punch him in the head and knee him in the groin,</strong> according to the footage, reviewed several times by NBC4.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The group surrounding the man grew to 11 sheriff&#39;s deputies.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>In the two minutes after the man was stunned with a Taser, it appeared <strong>deputies kicked him 17 times, punched him 37 times and struck him with batons four times. Thirteen blows appeared to be to the head. </strong>The horse stood idly nearby.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>The man did not appear to move from his position lying on the ground for more than 45 minutes. He did not appear to receive medical attention while deputies stood around him during that time.</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>San Bernardino County Sheriff John McMahon told NBC4 he was launching an internal investigation into the actions of the deputies.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>&quot;I&#39;m not sure if there was a struggle with the suspect,&quot; McMahon said. &quot;It appears there was in the early parts of the video. What happens afterwards, I&#39;m not sure of, but we will investigate it thoroughly.&quot;</strong></p> <p>(<a href="http://www.nbclosangeles.com/news/local/Man-on-Stolen-Horse-Stunned-by-Sheriffs-Deputies-in-IE-299250951.html" target="_blank">Source</a>)</p> </blockquote> <p>Note the lack of civilized responses there from beginning to the end.&nbsp; A yielding, non-resisting suspect was repeatedly pounded by 11 officers using means that would land you or me in hot water (justifiably) on &ldquo;assault with a dangerous weapon&rdquo; charges if we did the same.</p> <p>Then the beaten man was left on the ground afterwards without any medical attention for 45 minutes. The physical abuse nor the later disdain for the suspect&#39;s condition aren&#39;t behaviors you find in a civilized society. Successfully apprehending a &#39;suspected criminal&#39; does not give you free license to mete out a brutal beat-down, at least not if your humanity is intact. But with these officers, that appears to be precisely what happened. The fact that it did is indicative of a culture in distress.</p> <p>In the next part of this sad drama, the county sheriff had the audacity to say (in an obvious attempt at damage control) that he was &lsquo;not sure&rsquo; if a struggle had happened with the suspect, but that it appeared that there had been one. &nbsp;Apparently, the sheriff needs some training in evidence review (or a new pair of glasses) because there&rsquo;s no struggle there at all, which is plainly obvious in the video:</p> <script type="text/javascript" charset="UTF-8" src="http://www.nbclosangeles.com/portableplayer/?cmsID=299348461&videoID=2DhfiIWjJMYR&origin=nbclosangeles.com&sec=news&subsec=local&width=600&height=360"></script><p>Then the sheriff concludes with <em>&ldquo;what happens afterward, I&rsquo;m not sure of,&hellip;&rdquo; </em>Again, anybody who viewed the video is&nbsp;<em>very </em>certain of what happened afterwards because it&rsquo;s completely obvious: the deputies kicked the crap out of a non-resisting suspect.</p> <p>So obvious that less than 2 weeks after the beating, San Bernadino county hastily <a href="http://www.nbclosangeles.com/news/local/Man-Assaulted-by-Deputies-Settles-for-650000-300815531.html" target="_blank">agreed to a $650,000 settlement</a> in attempt to very rapidly put the whole thing behind them.</p> <p>The only legitimate response from the sheriff, to show that the rule of law applies and that he and his deputies have morals and are part of a civilized society, would have been to say something along the lines of, <em>&ldquo;Assaulting a compliant and non-resisting suspect is never OK, and it is against our internal policies and training as well as the law.&nbsp; In the interest of complete transparency and fairness, both real and perceived, we&rsquo;ve asked for an external review which will include citizen participation.&nbsp; Whether laws are broken by citizens of the police, our department believes 100% in equal application of the law because anything else erodes the basic perception of fairness upon which a civilized society rests.&rdquo;</em></p> <p>Of course, nothing of the sort was said here. Nor is it ever said in other brutality cases, where instead we see the ranks close around the accused cop(s), which unfortunately communicates the impression that one of the perks of being a law enforcement officer is being able to dodge the consequences of the same laws they administer daily.</p> <p>Here are a few more cases, all demonstrating the same unequal application of the laws:</p> <p>In this next case, an unarmed, fleeing black male suspect was tackled and pinned on the ground by at least two officers. He then was shot in the back by a 73 year-old reserve deputy who apparently couldn&#39;t tell the difference between a revolver and a taser. A 73 year-old whose main qualification for being on the scene seems to have been his prior generous donations to the police department. &nbsp;</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><strong>xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxTulsa Police Chase And Shoot Eric Courtney Harris</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/FEhhcgFf5RQ" width="560"></iframe></p></blockquote> <p>The above video is disturbing for many reasons, but especially because while Eric Harris is dying he says &ldquo;Oh man, I can&rsquo;t breathe&rdquo; to which one of the officer who happens to have his knee firmly on Eris&rsquo;s head says &ldquo;Fuck your breath!&rdquo;</p> <p>Recall that one of the words used to describe civilized is &quot;humane&quot;. Think about how far out of touch with your own humanity you have to be to say that to a dying person. Even if the officer didn&#39;t know Harris was dying at the time, he at least knew that he had been shot. &nbsp;</p> <p>In another case, a man approaches a car blocking the street and asks for it to be moved.&nbsp; The violent manner of the officer&#39;s response would be a case of road rage if it involved another civilian and be prosecuted as a serious crime with multiple charges.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><strong>Man Asks Cop Nicely to Stop Blocking Traffic, So the Cop Beat Him and Stomped his Head</strong></p> <p>Sept 11, 2014</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Sacramento, CA &mdash; <strong>A Sacramento County Sheriff&rsquo;s deputy is on paid vacation after a video surfaced showing him stomping on a man&rsquo;s face and hitting him with his flashlight after tasering him.</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Undersheriff Jaime Lewis says that they are investigating themselves after viewing the video.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em>&ldquo;There are portions of that video that clearly have caused me concern,&rdquo;&nbsp;</em>Lewis said<em>. &ldquo;And that is exactly what has caused the department to initiate an investigation, so we can get to the bottom of it.&rdquo;</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The man being beaten in the video is 51-year-old John Madison Reyes, who said the incident started when he asked the deputy, whose car was blocking the road, to move.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong><em>&ldquo;I asked him kindly to move the car,&rdquo;</em></strong><strong>&nbsp;Reyes said.&nbsp;<em>&ldquo;He glared at me and stared at me. And then, I said an expletive, &lsquo;You need to move the car because I can&rsquo;t get through.&rsquo;&rdquo;</em></strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&quot;Let&#39;s face it, had the subject complied with the officer&#39;s directives from the initial contact and beyond, we wouldn&#39;t be sitting here talking about this today,&quot; Lewis said.</p> <p>(<a href="http://thefreethoughtproject.com/man-asks-cop-nicely-stop-blocking-traffic-cop-stomps-head-beats/" target="_blank">Source</a>)</p> </blockquote> <p>What seems to have happened in the above story is simply that the cop didn&#39;t like his authority being challenged, even in a very minor way, and he over-reacted.</p> <p>The recipient of the beating, Mr. Reyes, was charged with resisting arrest.&nbsp; How is that even possible?&nbsp; It seems like there needs to be something you are being arrested for to resist in the first place. &nbsp;Something for which the officer has probable cause in the first place which you <em>then </em>resist?&nbsp; How can the <em>only </em>charge be &lsquo;resisting arrest&rsquo;?</p> <p>Sadly, many times after a confrontation has become physically violent the one and only charge applied is &lsquo;resisting arrest.&rsquo;&nbsp;</p> <p>Of course, that&rsquo;s a mighty convenient charge for some police who escalate a situation first, and then resort to using the charge of <em>resisting arrest </em>because, in the end, that&rsquo;s the only charge they have. And while it&rsquo;s not wise to resist arrest, there are hundreds of cases where people claim they weren&rsquo;t resisting at all, merely trying to protect their heads and faces from heavy blows, while the police were beating them yelling &ldquo;Stop resisting arrest!&rdquo; like it was a magic incantation.</p> <p>As in this case:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><strong>Brutal LAPD arrest caught on video; Department investigating cops seen bodyslamming nurse twice during cell phone traffic stop</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The Los Angeles Police Department is investigating two officers who were allegedly caught on surveillance camera<strong> slamming a nurse on the ground twice &mdash; and then fist bumping afterward &mdash; during a recent traffic stop.</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The two officers pulled over Michelle Jordan, 34, of Sunland, Aug. 21, <strong>for allegedly talking on her cell phone</strong> while driving in Tujunga, in northeast Los Angeles, the department said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Jordan pulled into the parking lot of a Del Taco restaurant and got out of her car to confront the officers, cops said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The taco joint&#39;s surveillance video appears to<strong> show the officers, both men, yanking the 5-foot-4 inch registered nurse from the open driver&#39;s seat and then slamming her on the ground to cuff her.</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The duo then yank Jordan to her feet and bring her to the patrol car, where they pat her down.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Moments later, one of the cops slams the married mom to the ground a second time.</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>After placing her in the cruiser&#39;s backseat, the two appear to share a celebratory fist-pound.</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Jordan was booked for resisting arrest and later released.</strong></p> <p>(<a href="http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/brutal-lapd-arrest-caught-video-department-investigating-cops-bodyslamming-nurse-cell-phone-traffic-stop-article-1.1146962" target="_blank">Source</a>)</p> </blockquote> <p>The pictures of the damage to this woman&#39;s face are disturbing. &nbsp;Think about what it would be like to be pulled over for a minor infraction, be yanked from your car, thrown to the ground, handcuffed, stood up, and then violently body slammed a second time. &nbsp;While she may have been using words that these officers found to be less than respectful of their authority, in a civilized society grown men do not violently assault the unarmed -- especially handcuffed&nbsp;women. &nbsp;That&#39;s just sadistic and has no place in a decent society.</p> <p>In another case from Baltimore police broke the leg of a man they were arresting, Freddie Gray, cuffed him, and instead of getting him medical help dragged him to a van obviously alive and screaming in pain from the broken leg. By the time that van ride was over, the man was delivered to a local hospital <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2015/04/20/baltimore-police-freddie-gray-arrested-without-force-or-incident-before-fatal-injury/">with a broken neck, his spine 80% severed</a>, and he died a short while later. His &ldquo;crime?&rdquo; He allegedly &ldquo;fled unprovoked upon noticing police presence,&quot; which, by the way, is not actually a crime, something the Baltimore police were forced to acknowledge in the aftermath of the incident. &nbsp;The police spokesman, Deputy Commissioner Jerry Rodriguez initially stated that there was &ldquo;no evidence&rdquo; of any use of excessive force.&nbsp; I would counter that any time you shatter a person&rsquo;s neck after they are cuffed <em>during </em>a van ride, that&rsquo;s &quot;excessive<em>&quot;</em>, by definition. &nbsp;</p> <p>Again, the initial response by the police, which began as silence followed by the filing of an initial report that said Mr. Gray was &quot;arrested without incident or force&quot; reveals just how broken our enforcement system and culture really are.</p> <p>In another recent case a mentally ill woman in Idaho was <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/apr/03/idaho-police-shootings-jeanetta-riley-justice-for-arfee">shot dead by police within 15 seconds of their arrival</a>.&nbsp; She had a knife, the police got out of their vehicle, walked straight towards her and when she did not immediately comply with their commands, they opened fire.</p> <h2><u>Something Is Very Wrong</u></h2> <p><em>[note: an incomplete statistic was used here and has been removed and replaced with the following]</em></p> <p>In the past ten years police in the UK have been involved in <a href="https://www.ipcc.gov.uk/page/deaths-during-or-following-police-contact">23 total police shooting fatalities</a>. &nbsp;In the US in 2013 alone there were <a href="http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2014/dec/03/marc-morial/are-deaths-police-shootings-highest-20-years/">a minimum of 458 &#39;justifiable homicides&#39;</a> by firearm committed by US police. &nbsp;I say &#39;a minimum&#39; because the FBI statistics are woefully&nbsp;incomplete because there is no mandate that police forces report their killings to the FBI so the database is certainly inaccurate on the low side. &nbsp;But taking that at face value, there is a vast gap between the number of people shot in the UK as compared to the US. &nbsp;Adjusting for population, US police officers are killing citizens at roughly 40 times the rate of UK police. &nbsp;40 times!</p> <p>How can this be? In the UK they&rsquo;ve got hooligans and yobs, immigrants and poor people. They&rsquo;ve got drunks and mentally unbalanced people too. And yet they somehow don&rsquo;t kill people in the fulfillment of their duties as public safety officers.</p> <p>In this video you&rsquo;ll see <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OFddlI9QHJk">a mentally deranged man</a> outside of Buckingham palace threatening people while wielding knives. He was successfully apprehended alive by a patient and methodical UK police force that did not aggravate, but instead waited for an opening to make their move, which they did quite successfully using a taser&nbsp;instead of guns.</p> <p>The problem, it seems, is that the US police have been trained to be highly confrontational and to escalate, rather than defuse, any situation.&nbsp;</p> <p>Police in the US have shot an individual&rsquo;s <a href="https://news.vice.com/article/san-diego-police-shoot-mans-service-dog-dead-after-responding-to-domestic-violence-call">highly trained service dog after showing up at the wrong address</a>, and even a family&rsquo;s <a href="http://www.cbsnews.com/news/state-official-kills-familys-pet-potbelly-pig/">pet pot-bellied pig</a> simply because they &lsquo;felt threatened.&rsquo;</p> <p>So the one-two punch here is that cops are trained to be highly confrontational and then to react with force -- oftentimes deadly force -- when they &lsquo;feel threatened.&rsquo;&nbsp; See the problem here? It&rsquo;s pretty easy to end up feeling threatened when you are creating threatening situations.</p> <p>That&rsquo;s a recipe for exactly the sort of over-reactive uses of force that are giving us the problems we see today.</p> <h2><u>An Occupying Force</u></h2> <p>If you saw the images coming out of Ferguson recently, you may have noticed that the law-enforcement presence did not so much look like police, but an occupying military.&nbsp; Snipers perched on roofs viewing the crowds through their scopes, tear gas and rubber bullets constantly in use, Humvees, the latest acoustic anti-personnel devices, and officers outfitted with &lsquo;battle rattle&rsquo; that even made <a href="http://www.theburningplatform.com/2014/08/18/vets-views-on-leos-playing-soldier-in-ferguson/">one Afghanistan vet jealous for its magnificent excess</a> compared to what soldiers were issued in one of the most dangerous regions of the world.&nbsp;</p> <p>How is it that a small mid-western city arrayed more hardware against its own citizens than you might find in an active Middle East war zone? &nbsp;Who really thought that necessary and why? &nbsp;</p> <p>Exactly how and when did policing and crowd control in the US slip into a set of methods that match those used by occupying forces -- like those of Isreal -- who subjugate whole populations?</p> <p>It turns out, by going to Israel and learning Israeli methods of crowd &#39;control.&#39;</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><strong>Israel-trained police &ldquo;occupy&rdquo; Missouri after killing of black youth</strong></p> <p>Feb 8, 2015</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Since the killing of eighteen-year-old Michael Brown by Ferguson police in Missouri last weekend, the people of Ferguson have been subjected to a military-style crackdown by a squadron of local police departments dressed like combat soldiers. <strong>This has prompted residents to liken the conditions on the ground in Ferguson to the Israeli military occupation of Palestine. </strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>And who can blame them?</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>The dystopian scenes of paramilitary units in camouflage rampaging through the streets of Ferguson, pointing assault rifles at unarmed residents and launching tear gas into people&rsquo;s front yards from behind armored personnel carriers (APCs), could easily be mistaken for a Tuesday afternoon in the occupied West Bank. </strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>And it&rsquo;s no coincidence.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>At least two of the&nbsp;</strong><strong>four law enforcement agencies</strong>&nbsp;<strong>that were deployed in Ferguson up until Thursday evening</strong> &mdash; the St. Louis County Police Department and the St. Louis Metropolitan&nbsp;Police Department &mdash; <strong>received training from Israeli security forces in recent years.&nbsp;</strong></p> <p>(<a href="http://electronicintifada.net/blogs/rania-khalek/israel-trained-police-occupy-missouri-after-killing-black-youth" target="_blank">Source</a>)</p> </blockquote> <p>If the tactics and gear of the police in Ferguson looked military that&rsquo;s because they were. The purpose of APC&rsquo;s and m4 assault rifles is to go into dangerous battles and kill the other side first so you can survive.</p> <p>I believe that one&rsquo;s training and mindset are critical determinants of what happens next.&nbsp; It should really not surprise anyone that a militarized mindset accompanied by specialized training and hardware has led to scenes like the one we saw in Ferguson, among many other places over the past several years.</p> <p>I wanted to find out if the assertion of the above article was true. Had US police agencies really trained with the Israelis?</p> <p>The answer is yes, beginning over a decade ago. Note that US police have been training for a domestic terrorist threat that has been almost completely non-existent, well below the statistical threshold that would seem to justify such advanced training and tactics:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><strong>U.S.-Israel Strategic Cooperation: Joint Police &amp; Law Enforcement Training</strong></p> <p>Sept 2013</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>In 2002,&nbsp;Los Angeles&nbsp;Police Department detective Ralph Morten visited&nbsp;Israel&nbsp;to receive training and advice on preparing security arrangements for large public gatherings.</strong>&nbsp; From lessons learned on his trip, Det. Morten prepared a new Homicide Bomber Prevention Protocol and was better able to secure the Academy Awards presentation.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>In January 2003, thirty-three senior U.S. law enforcement officials - from&nbsp;Washington,&nbsp;Chicago,&nbsp;Kansas City,&nbsp;Boston&nbsp;and Philadelphia&nbsp;</strong>- traveled to Israel to attend a meeting on &quot;Law Enforcement in the Era of Global Terror.&quot;&nbsp; The workshops helped build skills in identifying terrorist cells, enlisting public support for the fight against terrorism and coping with the aftermath of a terrorist attack.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;We went to the country that&#39;s been dealing with the issue for 30 years,&rdquo;&nbsp;Boston&nbsp;Police Commissioner Paul F. Evans said. <strong>&ldquo;The police are the front line in the battle against terrorism. We were there to learn from them - their response, their efforts to deter it. They touched all the bases.&rdquo;</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>&ldquo;I think it&#39;s invaluable,&rdquo; said&nbsp;Washington, DC&nbsp;Police Chief Charles Ramsey about the instruction he received in&nbsp;Israel. &ldquo;They have so much more experience in dealing with this than we do in the United States.&rdquo;</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Also, in 2003, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security established a special Office of International Affairs to institutionalize the relationship between Israeli and American security officials.</strong> &ldquo;I think we can learn a lot from other countries, particularly Israel, which unfortunately has a long history of preparing for and responding to terrorist attacks,&rdquo; said Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) about the special office.</p> <p>(<a href="http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/US-Israel/homeland.html" target="_blank">Source</a>)</p> </blockquote> <p>Here&rsquo;s the thing: your chances of dying of &lsquo;terrorism&rsquo; on US soil are dwarfed by the chances of dying from practically every other cause of death in the US.&nbsp; Terrorism simply is not a gigantic and imminent existential threat that requires special hardware and training relationships with nations that practice the tactics and strategies of occupation.</p> <p>Terrorism is not such a common thing that we need to define our entire crowd control methods around it, but a rare thing, and is really what&rsquo;s left over after a few individuals feel like every other option of redress has been stripped away.&nbsp; Which is why it&rsquo;s practically unheard of in the US, and most other civilized countries.</p> <p>But domestic US law enforcement agencies have been training and outfitting themselves as if it&rsquo;s a top threat.&nbsp; Why is that?</p> <p>There are not very many reassuring answers to that question.&nbsp; One is that our law enforcement agencies lack the ability to discern actual threats from imaginary ones.&nbsp; Another is that they envision a time when some portion of the civilian population feels as if it has lost all hope and options for a better future, and starts resorting to terrorist acts.</p> <p>Either way, very poor answers.</p> <h2><u>A Dangerous Job?</u></h2> <p>One mitigating factor is to note that police have a stressful, dangerous and low paying job.&nbsp; Erring on the side of personal safety makes sense when looked at this way.</p> <p>In terms of dangerousness, however, law enforcement doesn&#39;t even crack the top-ten list of most dangerous professions:</p> <p class="rtecenter"><img alt="" src="http://media.PeakProsperity.com/images/Work-related-death-rates.jpg" /></p> <p>(<a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_causes_of_death_by_rate#/media/File:Selected_occupations_with_high_fatality_rate.png" target="_blank">Source</a>)</p> <p>The death rate for sworn officers is 11.1 per 100,000 (2013 data) for job-related injuries. Fishing is ten times more dangerous. And even the 11.1 rate includes some deaths which were not the result of violent actions committed during an arrest, but things that tend to happen among a force more than a million strong (green circles).</p> <p class="rtecenter"><img alt="" src="http://media.PeakProsperity.com/images/Police-line-duty-deaths-2014-2.jpg" /></p> <p class="rtecenter">(<a href="http://www.odmp.org/search/year?year=2014" target="_blank">Source</a>)</p> <p>Even if we assumed that half of the reported job-related deaths were homicides, that would make policing about as dangerous as living in an average city (5.5 per 100,000) but seven-fold less dangerous than simply living in Baltimore (35 per 100,000).</p> <p>So a stressful job yes. An important job, definitely. But not as dangerous as many other occupations, which is relevant context to this story.</p> <h2><u>Good Policing</u></h2> <p>I would be remiss to not also point out other examples of great police work.&nbsp; We need to illuminate both what&rsquo;s wrong and what&rsquo;s right.</p> <p>One of my favorite examples shows Norwegian police handling a belligerent drunk:</p> <p class="rtecenter"><a href="http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=66d_1394803929">http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=66d_1394803929</a></p> <p>Be sure to watch at least the first full minute, and note that this drunk is yelling, cursing, kicking, and generally &lsquo;resisting&rsquo; and yet the police involved never rise to the bait, handle him with good manners and like he&rsquo;s a human being the entire time.&nbsp; Well done!</p> <p>This next clip shows a policeman in Ohio refusing to shoot a man wanted on a double murder charge even though he really probably should have and would have been completely justified in doing so:</p> <p class="rtecenter">&nbsp;</p> <div class="eminline-wrapper"><a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dhJKyK6VqDI"> </a><br /> <div class="emvideo emvideo-video emvideo-youtube"><a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dhJKyK6VqDI"><iframe allowfullscreen="" class="media-youtube-html5" frameborder="0" height="295" id="media-youtube-html5-2" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/dhJKyK6VqDI?version=3&amp;autohide=1&amp;fs=1&amp;modestbranding=1&amp;rel=0&amp;wmode=transparent&amp;showinfo=1" title="YouTube video player" type="text/html" width="480"></iframe></a></div> </div> <p><a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dhJKyK6VqDI"> </a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The man wanted to be shot and killed by the officer who, despite being rushed, and having the man put his hands in his pockets after being warned not to, and even being knocked to the ground at one point, refused to shoot.</p> <p>That restraint was quite remarkable and showed someone willing to place his own life in danger before committing to take another&rsquo;s.&nbsp; He said afterwards that<em>&nbsp;</em>he <em>&ldquo;wanted to be absolutely sure&rdquo; </em>before pulling the trigger that it was absolutely necessary.</p> <p>I do wonder if the two tours the former marine took before becoming an officer had anything to do with his unwillingness to take another life?</p> <h2><u>How To Fix This</u></h2> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>Well I think I&rsquo;ve been in the top 5% of my age cohort all my life in understanding the power of incentives, and all my life I&rsquo;ve underestimated it.</p> <p>~<a href="http://www.rbcpa.com/mungerspeech_june_95.pdf"> Charlie Munger</a></p> </blockquote> <p>I think the solution to reducing episodes of police assaults on citizens is contained within the Charlie Munger quote above.&nbsp; The incentives have to be aligned.</p> <p>My solution is simply this: every time a police department loses an excessive force or wrongful death case and has to pay out money, that money should come from their local police union&rsquo;s pension fund.&nbsp; And by law, these losses cannot be refilled with taxpayer funds.</p> <p>Every single time a judgment is made against that department and the union pension is reduced, the retired and currently-serving officers will have to decide for themselves if they should keep the indicted officer or officers on the force who lost the pension all that money. Or decide if training and policies need to be adjusted.</p> <p>I guarantee you that with the incentive to train and behave properly and lawfully now resting with the police itself, rapid behavior and training modification would result.</p> <p>Moreover, I see no reason why the citizens of any given municipality should be on the hook for repeated violations by any public servant or office.</p> <p>For some of the most abusive departments, the amounts are far from trivial.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><strong>U.S. cities pay out millions to settle police lawsuits</strong></p> <p>Oct 1, 2014</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The <strong>Chicago</strong> Sun-Times reported earlier this year&nbsp;that the city has paid out nearly <strong>half a&nbsp;<em>billion</em>&nbsp;dollars in settlements over the past decade</strong>, and spent $84.6 million in fees, settlements, and awards last year.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Bloomberg News&nbsp;reported&nbsp;that <strong>in 2011</strong>, <strong>Los Angeles paid out $54 million, while New&nbsp;York paid out a whopping $735 million</strong>, although&nbsp;those figures include&nbsp;negligence and other claims unrelated to&nbsp;police abuse.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Oakland</strong> Police Beat&nbsp;reported in April that the city had <strong>paid out $74 million to settle 417 lawsuits since 1990. </strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>And last month,&nbsp;<strong>Minneapolis</strong> Public Radio&nbsp;put that city&rsquo;s payout at <strong>$21 million since 2003.</strong></p> <p>(<a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-watch/wp/2014/10/01/u-s-cities-pay-out-millions-to-settle-police-lawsuits/">Source</a>)</p> </blockquote> <p>Just align the incentives and watch what happens next.&nbsp; The problem is, the incentives are just completely wrong right now, and taxpayers are footing the bill for repeated and expensive police behaviors.&nbsp;</p> <p>That needs to stop if we want to see real change.</p> <h2><u>Conclusion</u></h2> <p>The <strong>police serve a very important role in society</strong> and I want them to be as effective as possible.&nbsp; They are there to uphold the law and protect the peace, which are extremely important functions.&nbsp; Unfortunately there are far too many cases where the police have acted as judge, jury and executioner to suggest that there are just a few bad apples.</p> <p>Instead there&rsquo;s a pervasive atmosphere of hostility and force escalation <strong>better suited to war zones than maintaining civilian order</strong>.&nbsp; The lines have been drawn in many police departments: it&rsquo;s <strong>us vs. them</strong>.</p> <p>Trust in many departments has been utterly shattered within some communities because the police hold themselves to a different standard than they do the populace.&nbsp; Police commit brazen acts of brutality and get away with it, largely because they self-investigate and/or because the local District Attorney office is unwilling to press charges.</p> <p><strong>But the recent cases of police brutality are simply a symptom of a much larger problem. Society in the US is breaking down, civility has been lost, and the country is rapidly becoming uncivilized.</strong></p> <p><strong>This extends within and across all of the most important institutions. </strong>Congress is known to work for corporations first and foremost. Democracy itself is bought and sold by the highest bidders. The Federal Reserve protects big banks from the costs of their misdeeds and enriches the already stupidly rich as a side benefit.</p> <p>DEA agents are caught in Columbia <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/03/26/dea-sex-parties_n_6947132.html">having sex parties with underage girls</a> and drugs, and the worst punishment handed out is a 10 day suspension without pay.&nbsp; Nobody is even fired, let alone jailed. &nbsp;</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>&quot;Crime, once exposed, has no refuge but in audacity&quot;.</p> <p>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; ~ Tacitus, Annals, Book XI Ch. 26</p> </blockquote> <p>The FBI has just admitted that they had been consistently (and certainly knowingly) <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/crime/fbi-overstated-forensic-hair-matches-in-nearly-all-criminal-trials-for-decades/2015/04/18/39c8d8c6-e515-11e4-b510-962fcfabc310_story.html">overstating forensic lab analysis</a> in ways that favored prosecutors in more than 95% of cases over a period of several decades.&nbsp; The cases included 32 that resulted in death sentences.&nbsp; Many people were wrongly convicted, but nobody from the FBI will face any charges and many of the states involved have (so far) decided they won&rsquo;t be looking into any of the cases to right the wrongs. &nbsp;The wrongful convictions will stand, an injustice that is incompatible with the concept of being civilized.</p> <p>The Department of Justice has utterly <a href="http://www.forbes.com/sites/tedkaufman/2013/07/29/why-doj-deemed-bank-execs-too-big-to-jail/">failed to hold any banks or bankers criminally responsible</a> for any acts despite levying a few billions in fines for crimes that probably netted the banks <em>tens</em> of billions in profits.&nbsp; For some, crime does pay.</p> <p>I could go on, but why bother? The pattern is easy enough to see.</p> <p>The US has lost its way. Fairness, justice, and knowing right from wrong seem to all be lost concepts and the trend has only gotten worse over the past several years.&nbsp; Without moral bearings, what&rsquo;s left?</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p class="rtecenter">&ldquo;The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.&rdquo;</p> <p class="rtecenter"><a href="http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/e/edmund_burke.html">Edmund Burke</a></p> </blockquote> <p>Either the people of the US stand up and resist these accumulating injustices or they will get exactly the sort of government, and law enforcement, they deserve.</p> <p>In the meantime, the challenge for each afflicted institution is to begin to recognize right from wrong, and in the case of law enforcement agencies, stop pretending like every single one of your million+ officers is a good egg.&nbsp; We all know hiring is imperfect and mistakes get made.&nbsp; Own up to them and let those who make serious mistakes experience the consequences. &nbsp;Rebuild our trust in your necessary and important institution by clearly demonstrating that you know right from wrong wherever it occurs and whoever commits the deed.</p> <p><strong>If we don&#39;t do this, if we allow the current trajectory to build more momentum, the loss of civilized behavior will reach a tipping point from which it will be very hard to return without much hardship, and likely, bloodshed.</strong></p> <p><em>In <a href="http://www.peakprosperity.com/insider/92428/preparing-coming-breakdown" target="_blank">Part 2: Preparing For The Coming Breakdown</a>, we analyze how the boom in prosperity seen over the much of the 20th century is evaporating, and as the pie begins to shrink, the means by which the players compete for their slices becomes increasingly brutish and violent. &nbsp;</em></p> <p><em>Ask yourself this:&nbsp;If tensions are this bad now, while relatively abundant resources exist, how bad do you think they&rsquo;ll get during the next economic downturn or financial crisis?</em></p> <p><em><a href="http://www.peakprosperity.com/insider/92428/preparing-coming-breakdown" target="_blank">Click here to read Part 2</a> of this report (free executive summary, <a href="http://www.peakprosperity.com/enroll" target="_blank">enrollment</a> required for full access)</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="291" height="206" alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/20150426_social.jpg?1430077790" /> </div> </div> </div> http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-04-26/rising-police-aggression-telling-indicator-our-societal-decline#comments Afghanistan Bloomberg News Charlie Munger Chris Martenson CRAP Department of Justice FBI Federal Reserve Israel Middle East Ohio South Carolina Transparency Sun, 26 Apr 2015 23:15:10 +0000 Tyler Durden 505543 at http://www.zerohedge.com Chart Of The Day: Who Is Buying? http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-04-26/chart-day-who-buying <p>At the end of last month <a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-03-24/biggest-threat-sp-500-next-month-biggest-buyer-stocks-2015-enters-blackout-period">we noted</a> that stocks were entering a dangerous period: the "buyback blackout" that surrounds earnings. As we've documented exhaustively, stocks have benefited handsomely from the corporate share repurchase bid and so in the absence of demand from cost-insensitive corporate management teams, and with households and institutions both selling as outlined <a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-02-28/here-reason-why-stocks-just-had-their-best-month-october-2011">here</a>, the following chart, which shows that equity flows are aggresively negative, comes as no surprise. <strong>Having said that, stocks are at record highs begging the question: "who is buying?"</strong></p> <p>From BofAML:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p><em style="line-height: 20.7999992370605px;">Big decoupling in recent weeks between US equity flows and prices (new highs today –...<strong>correction risks will grow in absence of fresh inflows in coming weeks.</strong></em></p> </blockquote> <p><span style="font-size: 1em; line-height: 1.3em;"><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user92183/imageroot/2015/04/InflowsVersusPrice.jpg"><img src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user92183/imageroot/2015/04/InflowsVersusPrice.jpg" width="543" height="313" /></a>&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 1em; line-height: 1.3em;">We might ask the following: <strong>is there someone (or some central planning agency) out there <a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-08-30/its-settled-central-banks-trade-sp500-futures">buying ES</a> or spoofing to push the market higher without ever actually buying anything?</strong> One never knows — perhaps Kuroda's <a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-03-11/how-boj-stepped-143-times-send-japanese-stocks-soaring">plunge protection</a> is now operating outside of Tokyo.</span></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="543" height="313" alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user92183/imageroot/InflowsVersusPrice.jpg?1430087209" /> </div> </div> </div> http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-04-26/chart-day-who-buying#comments Sun, 26 Apr 2015 22:30:59 +0000 Tyler Durden 505547 at http://www.zerohedge.com The Clinton Global 'Graft' Initiative (Summarized In 1 Chart) http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-04-26/clinton-global-graft-initiative-summarized-1-chart <p><a href="http://directorblue.blogspot.com/2015/04/chart-o-day-how-clinton-global.html"><em>Via Doug Ross at DirectorBlue blog</em></a>,</p> <p>In 2010, when Barack Obama said, &quot;<a href="http://hotair.com/archives/2010/04/29/obama-i-do-think-at-a-certain-point-youve-made-enough-money/"><b>I do think at a certain point you&rsquo;ve made enough money</b></a>,&quot; he definitely wasn&#39;t referring to the Clintons.</p> <p>Because it wasn&#39;t enough for Bill Clinton to <a href="http://directorblue.blogspot.com/2010/12/walking-back-wildcat.html"><b>sell sensitive missile technology to the Red Chinese for campaign donations</b></a>. It wasn&#39;t enough for Hillary Clinton to <a href="http://www.breitbart.com/video/2015/04/25/brooks-clinton-uranium-story-way-more-egregious-than-i-expected/"><b>sell America&#39;s most valuable nuclear technologies to the Russians</b></a> for &quot;contributions&quot; to her family&#39;s personal piggy bank.</p> <p>That piggy bank, otherwise known as &quot;The Clinton Global <s>Graft</s> Initiative&quot;, had an interesting way of doling out the &quot;contributions&quot; it received.<br />&nbsp;</p> <div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-9PwPCWGbKrs/VTwh0irifNI/AAAAAAABcdc/-VYusn6NNco/s1600/150425-clinton-global-graft-initiative.png" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-9PwPCWGbKrs/VTwh0irifNI/AAAAAAABcdc/-VYusn6NNco/s480/150425-clinton-global-graft-initiative.png" style="border:none;" /></a></div> <p>The Clintons are a malignant tumor on the body politic. They have a history of <a href="http://hotair.com/archives/2015/04/24/romney-every-appearance-that-hillary-clinton-was-bribed-on-uranium-deal/"><b>doing anything for money</b></a> -- including selling out their own country -- and when it comes to their personal bank accounts, there&#39;s apparently never enough zeroes.</p> <p><i><b>Hat tip</b>: <a href="https://twitter.com/amr033/status/590366773540757504?s=03"><b>@amr033</b></a>.</i></p> http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-04-26/clinton-global-graft-initiative-summarized-1-chart#comments Barack Obama Sun, 26 Apr 2015 21:45:47 +0000 Tyler Durden 505538 at http://www.zerohedge.com Un-Pax Americana: Where One Can Find US Special Ops Around The Globe http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-04-26/un-pax-americana-where-one-can-find-us-special-ops-around-globe <p>Over the past year, special-operations forces have landed in <strong>81 countries</strong>.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2015/04-overflow/20150426_SpecOps.jpg"><img src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2015/04-overflow/20150426_SpecOps_0.jpg" width="600" height="296" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>These days, the sun never sets on America’s special-operations forces.</strong> Over the past year, they have landed in 81 countries, most of them training local commandos to fight so American troops don’t have to. From Honduras to Mongolia, Estonia to Djibouti, U.S. special operators teach local soldiers diplomatic skills to shield their countries against extremist ideologies, as well as combat skills to fight militants who break through.</p> <p>President Barack Obama, as part of his plan to shrink U.S. reliance on traditional warfare, has promised to piece together a web of such alliances from South Asia to the Sahel. Faced with mobile enemies working independently of foreign governments, the <strong>U.S. military has scattered small, nimble teams in many places, rather than just maintaining large forces in a few.</strong></p> <p><strong>The budget for Special Operations Command in Tampa, Fla., which dispatches elite troops around the world, jumped to $10 billion in the fiscal year that ended on Sept. 30, from $2.2 billion in 2001.</strong> Congress has doubled the command to nearly 70,000 people this year, from 33,000 in fiscal 2001. The Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force provide further funding.</p> <p><em>Navy SEALs and Army Green Berets, for example, are stationed in the Baltics, training elite troops from Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia for the type of proxy warfare Russia has conducted in the Crimea and eastern Ukraine.</em></p> <p><strong>But the vast majority of special-operations missions involve coaxing and coaching foreign forces to combat extremists the U.S. considers threats.</strong></p> <p>U.S. special operators are encouraged to learn local culture, language and politics as they report on a country’s vulnerability to extremists.<span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong> “This isn’t spying—this is armed anthropology,”</strong></span> said David Maxwell, a former Special Forces colonel now at Georgetown University.</p> <p><a href="http://www.wsj.com/article_email/sun-never-sets-on-u-s-commandos-1429887473-lMyQjAxMTE1MDIyNDMyODQ1Wj"><em>Source: The Wall Street Journal</em></a></p> http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-04-26/un-pax-americana-where-one-can-find-us-special-ops-around-globe#comments Barack Obama Estonia Latvia Lithuania Ukraine Wall Street Journal Sun, 26 Apr 2015 21:00:08 +0000 Tyler Durden 505537 at http://www.zerohedge.com Apologies To A Grandson: "It's Not The Country I Imagined For You" http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-04-26/apologies-grandson-its-not-country-i-imagined-you <p><a href="http://www.tomdispatch.com/post/175986/tomgram%3A_engelhardt%2C_the_future_foreseen_%28and_not%29/"><em>Submitted by Tom Engelhardt via TomDispatch.com</em></a>,</p> <p><em>Dear Grandson,</em></p> <p><em>Consider my address book -- and yes, the simple fact that I have one already tells you a good deal about me. All the names, street addresses, email addresses, and phone numbers that matter to me are still on paper, not in a computer or on an iPhone, and it&rsquo;s not complicated to know what that means: I&rsquo;m an old guy getting older. Going on 71, though I can hardly believe it. And that little book shows all the signs of where I&rsquo;m headed. It wasn&rsquo;t true a few years ago, but if I start flipping through the pages now, I can&rsquo;t help but notice that the dead, with their addresses and phone numbers still beside them, are creeping up on the living, and that my little address book looks increasingly like a mausoleum.</em></p> <p>Age has been on my mind of late, especially when I spend time with you.&nbsp; This year, my father, your great-grandfather, who died in 1983, would have been 109 years old.&nbsp; And somehow, I find that moving. I feel him a part of me in ways I wouldn&rsquo;t have allowed myself to admit in my youth, and so think of myself as more than a century old.&nbsp; Strangely, this leaves me with a modest, very personal sense of hope. Through my children (and perhaps you, too), someday long after I&rsquo;m gone, I can imagine myself older still.&nbsp; Don&rsquo;t misunderstand me: I haven&rsquo;t a spiritual bone in my body, but I do think that, in some fashion, we continue to live inside each other and so carry each other onward.</p> <p>As happens with someone of my age, the future seems to be foreshortening and yet it remains the remarkable mystery it&rsquo;s always been.&nbsp; We can&rsquo;t help ourselves: we dream about, wonder about, and predict what the future might hold in store for us.&nbsp; It&#39;s an urge that, I suspect, is hardwired into us.&nbsp; Yet, curiously enough, we&rsquo;re regularly wrong in the futures we dream up. Every now and then, though, you peer ahead and see something that proves -- thanks to your perceptiveness or pure dumb luck (there&rsquo;s no way to know which) -- eerily on target.</p> <p><u><strong>The Future Foreseen</strong></u></p> <p>Back in 2001, before I even imagined a grandson in my life, I had one of those moments (and wish I hadn&rsquo;t).&nbsp; It was sometime just after the 9/11 attacks when, nationwide, Americans were still engaged in endless rites in which we repeatedly elevated ourselves to the status of the foremost victims on the planet, the only ones that mattered.&nbsp; In those months, you might say, we made ourselves into Earth&rsquo;s indispensible or exceptional victims.</p> <p>In that extended moment of national mourning (combined with fear bordering on hysteria), the Bush administration geared up to launch its revenge-fueled global wars, while money started pouring into the national security state in a historically unprecedented way.&nbsp; <strong>It was a time when the previously un-American word &ldquo;homeland&rdquo; was being attached to what would become a second defense department, secrecy was descending like a blanket on the government, torture was morphing into the enhancement of the week in the White House, assassination was about to become a focus (later an obsession) of the executive branch -- and surveillance?&nbsp; Don&rsquo;t even get me started on the massively redundant domestic and global surveillance state that would soon be built on outright illegalities and rubber-stamp legalities of every sort.</strong></p> <p>In October 2001, I had no way of grasping most of that, but it didn&#39;t matter.&nbsp; I peered into the future and just knew -- and what I knew chilled me to the bone.&nbsp; I had mobilized decades earlier as part of the antiwar movement of the Vietnam era, which was in its own way a terrible time, but when I looked at where our country seemed to be heading, as the president promised to kick some ass globally and American bombs began to fall on Afghanistan, I had no doubt that this was going to be the worst era of my life.</p> <p>I wasn&rsquo;t, of course, thinking about you that October and November.&nbsp; You were then minus 11 years old, so to speak.&nbsp; I was, however, thinking about your mother and your uncle, my children.&nbsp; I was thinking about the world that I and my cohorts and George W. Bush and Dick Cheney and George Tenet and Donald Rumsfeld and the rest of that crew were going to leave them.</p> <p>In a quiet way I had done good work -- so I felt -- since demobilizing (like so many Americans) from the Vietnam era.&nbsp; In my spare time as a non-academic, I had written a very personal history of the Cold War of which I was proud.&nbsp; I had been a book editor for two publishing houses, specializing in bringing into the world works by what I used to call &ldquo;voices from elsewhere&rdquo; (even when they came from here), including, to name just two, Chalmers Johnson&rsquo;s Blowback and Eduardo Galeano&rsquo;s Memory of Fire trilogy.</p> <p><strong>But when I somehow stumbled into the future in all its grim horror, more of that work didn&rsquo;t seem like an adequate response to what was coming.</strong>&nbsp; I had no sense that I could do much, but I felt an urge that seemed uncomplicated: not to hand your mother and uncle such a degraded country, planet, new century without lifting a finger in opposition, without at least trying.&nbsp; I felt the need to mobilize myself in a new way for the future I&rsquo;d seen.</p> <p>At that point, however, my knack, such as it was, for previewing the years to come failed me and I had no sense of what to do until TomDispatch more or less smacked me in the face.&nbsp; (But that&rsquo;s a story for another day.)&nbsp; This April, more than 13 years after I first began sending missives to the no-name listserv that turned into TomDispatch, it&rsquo;s clear that, in my own idiosyncratic way, I did manage to mobilize myself to do what I was capable of.&nbsp; <strong>Unfortunately, I&rsquo;d have to add that, all this time later, our world is a far more screwed up, degraded place.</strong></p> <p><strong><u>A Fragmenting Reality</u></strong></p> <p><strong>Stretch anything far enough and it&rsquo;ll begin to tear, fragment, break apart.&nbsp; That, I suspect, may be a reasonable summary of what&rsquo;s been happening in our twenty-first-century world.&nbsp; Under stress, things are beginning to crack open.&nbsp;</strong> Here in the U.S., people sometimes speak about being in a Second Gilded Age, a new era of plutocracy, while our politics, increasingly the arena of billionaires, seem to second that possibility.&nbsp; Looked at another way, however, &ldquo;our&rdquo; Second Gilded Age is really a global phenomenon in the sense that ever fewer people own ever more.&nbsp; By 2016, it is estimated that 1% of the people on this planet will control more than 50% of global wealth and own more than the other 99% combined.&nbsp; <strong>In 2013, the 85 richest people had as much wealth as the poorest 3.5 billion, while in certain regions inequality seems to be on the rise. (Whether China and India are major exceptions to this is an open question.)&nbsp; Dark money is rampant not just here, but globally.</strong></p> <p><strong>Though you don&rsquo;t know it yet, you&rsquo;re already living in an increasingly lopsided world whose stresses only seem to be multiplying.&nbsp; </strong>Among other things, there is the literal fragmentation going on -- the collapse of social order, of long established national units, even potentially of whole groupings of states.&nbsp; Astonishingly enough, from Ukraine to Greece, Spain to France, that mood of fragmentation even seems to be reaching into Europe.&nbsp; Across much of the Greater Middle East and parts of Africa, fragmentation has, of course, been the story of our moment, with nations collapsing, wars endemic, extremism of every sort on the rise, and whole populations uprooted, in exile, under almost inconceivable pressures -- and for much of this, I&rsquo;m sad to say, our country bears a painful responsibility.</p> <p>In these years, I wrote repeatedly (not to say repetitiously) on the subject; about, that is,<strong> a group of mad American visionaries who had dreams of establishing a Pax Americana in the Greater Middle East by force of arms and then lording it over the world for generations to come.&nbsp; In the name of freedom and democracy and with a fundamentalist belief in the transformational power of the U.S. military, they blithely invaded Iraq and blew a hole in the heart of the Middle East, from which the fallout is now horrifically apparent in the Islamic State and its &ldquo;caliphate.&rdquo;</strong></p> <p>And then, of course, there was our country&rsquo;s endless string of failed wars, interventions, raids, assassination campaigns, and the like; there was, in short, the &ldquo;global war on terror&rdquo; that George W. Bush launched to scourge the planet of &ldquo;terrorists,&rdquo; to (as they then liked to say) &ldquo;drain the swamp&rdquo; in 80 countries.&nbsp; It was a &ldquo;war&rdquo; that, with all its excesses, quickly morphed into a recruiting poster for the spread of extremist outfits.&nbsp; By now, it has become so institutionalized that it wouldn&rsquo;t surprise me if, in your adulthood, Washington were still pursuing it no less relentlessly or unsuccessfully.</p> <p><strong>In the process, the president became first a torturer-in-chief and then an assassin-in-chief and, I&rsquo;m sorry to tell you, few here even blinked.&nbsp; It&rsquo;s been a nightmare of -- to haul out some words you&rsquo;re not likely to learn for a while -- hubris and madness, profits and horrors, inflated dreams of glory and the return, as if from an earlier century, of the warrior corporation and for-profit warfare on a staggering scale.</strong></p> <p><strong>All of this happened in a country that still bills itself as the wealthiest and most powerful on the planet</strong> (though that power and wealth have proven ever harder to apply effectively) and all of it happened, despite obvious and honorable exceptions, without much opposition.&nbsp; If this is a Second Gilded Age -- .01% of Americans, 16,000 families, control 11% of all wealth (as they last did in 1916) and 22% of all household wealth (up from 7% three decades ago) -- it is also, in the words of historian Steve Fraser, an &ldquo;age of acquiescence.&rdquo;</p> <p><strong>This has been true for the return of plutocracy</strong>, as well as for the growth of a national security state that has, like those billionaire plutocrats, gained power as the American people lost it.&nbsp; If that state within a state has a motto, it might be this singularly undemocratic one: Americans are safest and most secure when they are most ignorant of what their government is doing.&nbsp; In other words,<strong> in twenty-first-century America, &ldquo;we the people&rdquo; (a phrase that I hope lasts into your time) are only to know what their government does in their name to the degree that the government cares to reveal it.</strong></p> <p><strong>That shadow government could never have gained such power if it hadn&rsquo;t been for the trauma of 9/11</strong>, the shock of experiencing for one day a kind of violence and destruction that was common enough elsewhere on the planet, and the threat posed by a single phenomenon we call &ldquo;terrorism.&rdquo;&nbsp; The Islamic extremist groups that come under that rubric do indeed represent a threat to actual human beings from Syria to Pakistan, Somalia to Libya, but they represent next to no threat to what&rsquo;s now called the American &ldquo;homeland.&rdquo;</p> <p>Of course, some whacked-out guy could always pick up a gun and, inspired by a bizarre propaganda video, in the name of one extreme organization or another, kill some people here.&nbsp; <strong>But mass killings by those with no ideological animus are already, like death-by-toddler, commonplace in this country, and no one thinks to organize trillion dollar &ldquo;security&rdquo; systems to prevent them.</strong></p> <p><strong>That the fear of this one modest danger transformed the national security state into a remarkable center of power, profits, and impunity with hardly a peep from &quot;we the people&quot; has been a kind of bleak miracle of our times.</strong>&nbsp; What were we thinking when we let them spend something like a trillion dollars a year on what was called &ldquo;national security&rdquo; in order to leave us in a world that may have little security at all?&nbsp; What did we have in mind when we let them fund their blue-skies thinking on the weaponry of 2047, instead of on the schools, energy sources, or infrastructure of that same year? I could pile up such questions endlessly, but if what we ceded to them is still of interest to you 20 or 30 or 40 years from now, and you have the luxury of looking back on our times, on the origins of your troubles, I&rsquo;m sure you&rsquo;ll find a clearer view of all this in the histories of your moment.</p> <p>I have no way of imagining what the United States will be like in your adulthood and yet I can sense that this country is changing in unsettling ways.&nbsp; It&rsquo;s being transformed into something that your great-grandfather would have found unrecognizably un-American.&nbsp; If we can&rsquo;t yet speak of &ldquo;fragmentation&rdquo; here, phrases like &ldquo;political polarization&rdquo; and &ldquo;gridlock&rdquo; are already part and parcel of our new billionaire way of life.&nbsp; What exactly all this is leading to, I&rsquo;m not sure, but it doesn&rsquo;t look either familiar or good to me.&nbsp; <strong>It certainly doesn&rsquo;t look like the American world I&rsquo;d want to turn over to you.</strong></p> <p><u><strong>America on the Couch</strong></u></p> <p>You haven&rsquo;t set foot in school, barely know how to use one of those ubiquitous silver scooters, and can still embrace the magical thinking of childhood -- of announcing, for instance, that you&rsquo;re &ldquo;hiding,&rdquo; even in plain sight, and then assuming that you can&rsquo;t be seen.&nbsp; So I know that it&rsquo;s a little early to bring up the seemingly unhinged nature of the affairs of grown-ups.</p> <p><strong>Still, if this country of mine, and someday yours, could be put on the couch, I suspect it would, in layman&rsquo;s terms, be diagnosed as &ldquo;disturbed&rdquo; (on an increasingly disturbed planet)</strong>.&nbsp; Worst of all, we can evidently no longer see what actually threatens us most, which isn&rsquo;t a bunch of jihadis, but what we are doing to our ourselves and our world.</p> <p><strong>Put another way, if we&rsquo;re not significantly threatened by what we&rsquo;ve dumped all our money and energy into, that hardly means there are no threats to American life.</strong>&nbsp; In fact, I haven&rsquo;t even mentioned what worries me most when I think about your future: the increasing stress under which life here and elsewhere is being placed by the exploitation and burning of fossil fuels.</p> <p>In any case, I had the urge to put all this &ldquo;on the record,&rdquo; though I have no way of knowing whether that record has any permanence, whether in the world of 2047 you&rsquo;ll even be able to access what I&rsquo;ve written.&nbsp; In other words, I have no idea whether you&rsquo;ll ever read this.&nbsp; I do fear, however, that if you do, it will be from a more fragmented, unhinged, stressed-out version of the planet we&rsquo;re both on today, and I&rsquo;m aware that our responsibility was to provide you and all other children with what you minimally deserve -- a decent place to grow up.</p> <p><strong>For that record, then, I want to say that, despite my own best (if modest) efforts, I feel I owe you an apology.&nbsp; In ways I find hard to express, I&rsquo;m sorry for what is and what may be.&nbsp; It&rsquo;s not the country I imagined for you.&nbsp; It&rsquo;s not the world I wanted to leave you.&nbsp; It&rsquo;s not what you deserve.</strong></p> <p>Nonetheless, I still have hopes for you and your moment.&nbsp; As a wonderful writer of my time once pointed out, the darkness of the future is a kind of blessing.&nbsp; It always leaves open the possibility that, against the madness of the moment, the genuine decency, the lovability I see in you, that anyone can see in just about any child, has a shot-in-the-dark chance of making a difference on our planet.</p> <p>And more specifically, however much this may be an &ldquo;age of acquiescence&rdquo; when it comes to wealth and war, it hasn&rsquo;t proved so on the subject that matters most: climate change.&nbsp; Against the forces of genuine criminality and wealth, despite a tenacious denial of reality funded by companies that have profited in historic ways from fossil fuels, a movement has been forming in this country and globally to save humanity from scouring itself off the planet.&nbsp; From pipelines to divestment, its strength has been rising at the very moment when the price of alternative energy systems is falling rapidly.&nbsp; It&rsquo;s a combination that offers at least a modicum of hope against the worst pressures to fragment and, in the end, simply destroy this planet as a welcoming place for you and your children and their children.</p> <p>So let me just end this way: <strong>someday in the distant future, I hope you&rsquo;ll read this letter and that, given the ingenuity of our species, given the grit to resist madness, given whatever surprises the future holds, you&rsquo;ll smile indulgently at my worst fears.</strong>&nbsp; You&rsquo;ll assure me -- or at least whatever trace of me is left in you -- that I had a typically human inability to imagine the unpredictable future, and that in the end things never measured up to my worst fears.&nbsp; <strong>I hope, despite what we didn&rsquo;t do, that you have the opportunity for a life of wonders, the kind that everyone on this planet deserves.</strong></p> <p><em>Your loving grandpa,</em></p> <p>Tom</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="492" height="380" alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/20150426_grabnd.jpg?1430065931" /> </div> </div> </div> http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-04-26/apologies-grandson-its-not-country-i-imagined-you#comments Afghanistan China France Greece India Iraq Middle East national security New Century Reality Somalia Ukraine White House Sun, 26 Apr 2015 20:15:19 +0000 Tyler Durden 505536 at http://www.zerohedge.com EVeRY MaN'S NiGHTMaRe... http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-04-26/every-mans-nightmare <p style="text-align: center;"><iframe src="https://www.flickr.com/photos/expd/17085044430/player/" width="1024" height="874" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-04-26/every-mans-nightmare#comments Sun, 26 Apr 2015 20:15:09 +0000 williambanzai7 505544 at http://www.zerohedge.com Caught On Tape: Dramatic Video & Images From The Mount Everest Avalanche http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-04-26/dramatic-images-mount-everest-avalanche <p>In the immediate aftermath of yesterday&#39;s destructive Nepal earthquake, which has led to hundreds of aftershocks and a constantly rising death toll, <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/world/live/2015/apr/26/nepal-earthquake-death-toll-exceeds-1500-rolling-report">currently exceeding 2000</a>, the most visually stunning, if quite deadly, phenomenon was a massive avalanche on Mt. Everest and leading to at least 17 casualties, including a Google executive, and 61 injured.</p> <p>According to <a href="http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2015-04/26/c_134185379.htm">Xinhua</a>, the avalanche began Saturday on Mount Kumori, a 7,000-meter-high mountain just a few miles from Mount Qomolangma, also known as Mount Everest, gathering strength as it headed toward the base camp where climbing expeditions have been preparing to make their summit attempts in the coming weeks, he said. Numerous climbers may now be cut off on routes leading to the top of the world&#39;s highest peak.</p> <p>The avalanche plowed into a part of base camp, a sprawling seasonal village of climbers, guides and porters, flattening at least 30 tents, Tshering said. All of the dead and injured were at base camp.</p> <p><u><strong>Terrifiyingvideo from a skier at base-camp</strong></u> -<em> warning - expletive-strewn...</em></p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/_JC_wIWUC2U" width="560"></iframe></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>For a sense of the base camp&#39;s location relative to the rest of the world&#39;s tallest mountain refer to the image below, taken from a <a href="http://www.wsj.com/articles/sherpas-fate-and-the-dangerous-business-of-everest-1400780100?mod=e2tw">May 2014 WSJ story discussing the &quot;dangerous business&quot; of Everest,</a> when 16 sherpas died in what was previously the deadliest disaster in the mountain&#39;s history.</p> <p><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user5/imageroot/2015/04/avalanche%20sherpas.jpg"><img height="407" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user5/imageroot/2015/04/avalanche%20sherpas_0.jpg" width="500" /></a></p> <p>Survivors reached over Internet messaging services described a scene of terror as the snow and ice roared through the nearby Khumbu Icefall and into the camp.</p> <p>The nationalities of base camp victims were unclear as climbers described chaotic attempts to treat the injured amid fears of more landslides and aftershocks that continue to rattle the region. Chinese media &quot;West China City Daily&quot; reported that a Chinese climber and two Sherpa guides were among the dead.</p> <p>Dan Fredinburg, a Google executive who described himself as an adventurer, was among the dead, Google confirmed. Lawrence You, the company&#39;s director of privacy, posted online that Fredinburg was with three other Google employees hiking Mount Qomolangma. Fredinburg served as product manager and the head of privacy at Google X.</p> <p><a href="http://www.weather.com/news/news/nepal-earthquake-mount-everest-avalanche">Weather.com </a>has further details:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>The avalanche &mdash; or perhaps a series of avalanches hidden in a massive white cloud &mdash; plowed into a part of base camp, a sprawling seasonal village of climbers, guides and porters, flattening at least 30 tents, Tshering said. All of the dead and injured were at base camp.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Survivors reached over Internet messaging services described a scene of terror as the snow and ice roared through the nearby Khumbu Icefall and into the camp.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Azim Afif, the 27-year-old leader of a climbing team from University of Technology Malaysia, said in an interview on the service WhatsApp that his group was in a meal tent waiting for lunch when suddenly the table and everything around them began shaking.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>When they ran outside, they saw <strong>&quot;a wall of ice coming towards us,&quot; and heard the cries of Sherpa guides shouting for people to run for their lives, he wrote. &quot;We just think to find a place to hide and save our life.&quot; </strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The small team planned to sleep together Saturday night in one large tent &quot;to make sure if anything happen, we are together,&quot; Afif said. Quickly, though, climbing teams scattered across the camp and began to work together to search for survivors.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Gordon Janow, the director of programs for the Washington-based guiding outfit Alpine Ascents International, said from Seattle that his team had come through the avalanche unscathed. Their first goal was to deal with the devastation at base camp, he said, and they would then try to create new routes to help climbers stuck above the treacherous Khumbu Icefall. The icefall, which is just above base camp, is a key route up the lower part of Everest.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&quot;Everybody&#39;s pretty much in rescue mode, but this is different from some independent climbing accident where people can be rescued and taken somewhere else,&quot; Janow said. &quot;I don&#39;t know where somewhere else is.&quot;</p> </blockquote> <p>Follow some truly epic photos as the avalanche was headed toward base camp...</p> <p><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user5/imageroot/2015/04/avalanche%200.jpg"><img height="315" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user5/imageroot/2015/04/avalanche%200_0.jpg" width="500" /></a></p> <p><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user5/imageroot/2015/04/everest%201.jpg"><img height="289" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user5/imageroot/2015/04/everest%201_0.jpg" width="500" /></a></p> <p><img height="502" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user5/imageroot/2015/04/quake%201_0.jpg" width="500" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>... as well as a whole series of photos taken by AFP&#39;s Roberto Schmidt who was at base camp on Everest when the avalanche hit, <a href="http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/mounteverest/11563941/Everest-avalanche-Dramatic-photographs-by-AFPs-Roberto-Schmidt.html?frame=3281300">courtesy of Telegraph</a>:</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user5/imageroot/2015/04/avalanche%201.jpg"><img height="312" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user5/imageroot/2015/04/avalanche%201_0.jpg" width="500" /></a></em></p> <p><em>Pictures taken by AFP&#39;s South Asia photo chief Roberto Schmidt show an enormous cloud of snow and debris cascading down the mountain as survivors recalled the horrifying moment that disaster struck on Saturday.</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em><img height="312" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user5/imageroot/2015/04/avalanche%202_0.jpg" width="500" /></em></p> <p><em>&quot;I ran and it just flattened me. I tried to get up and it flattened me again,&quot; Singapore-based marine biologist George Foulsham told AFP at base camp. &quot;I couldn&#39;t breathe, I thought I was dead. When I finally stood up, I couldn&#39;t believe it passed me over and I was almost untouched.&quot;</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user5/imageroot/2015/04/avalanche%203.jpg"><img height="313" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user5/imageroot/2015/04/avalanche%203_0_0.jpg" width="500" /></a></em></p> <p><em>A spokesman for Nepal&#39;s tourism department, which issues the permits to climb the world&#39;s tallest mountain, said the death toll had risen to 17 and could increase further. &quot;Seventeen have been reported dead so far and 61 are injured,&quot; said Tulsi Gautam. &quot;Those who are able are walking down. Others are being airlifted to Pheriche.&quot; Here, rescuers use a makeshift stretcher to carry an injured person after an avalanche triggered by an earthquake flattened parts of Everest Base Camp.</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user5/imageroot/2015/04/avalanche%204.jpg"><img height="313" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user5/imageroot/2015/04/avalanche%204_0_0.jpg" width="500" /></a></em></p> <p><em>Expedition guide Pasang Sherpa searches through flattened tents in search of survivors</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user5/imageroot/2015/04/avalanche%205.jpg"><img height="313" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user5/imageroot/2015/04/avalanche%205_0_0.jpg" width="500" /></a></em></p> <p><em>An injured porter is transfered onto a makeshift stretcher</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user5/imageroot/2015/04/avalanche%206.jpg"><img height="313" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user5/imageroot/2015/04/avalanche%206_0_0.jpg" width="500" /></a></em></p> <p><em>Rescuers tend to a sherpa injured in the avalanche</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user5/imageroot/2015/04/avalanche%207.jpg"><img height="313" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user5/imageroot/2015/04/avalanche%207_0_0.jpg" width="500" /></a></em></p> <p><em>Many had traveled to Nepal for the start of the annual climbing season, which was cancelled last year after 16 sherpa guides were killed in what was previously the deadliest disaster in the mountain&#39;s history</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user5/imageroot/2015/04/avalanche%208.jpg"><img height="309" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user5/imageroot/2015/04/avalanche%208_0_0.jpg" width="500" /></a></em></p> <p><em>People look on at the devastation </em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user5/imageroot/2015/04/avalanche%209.jpg"><img height="313" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user5/imageroot/2015/04/avalanche%209_0_0.jpg" width="500" /></a></em></p> <p><em>Another makeshift stretcher for another casualty</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user5/imageroot/2015/04/avalanche%2010.jpg"><img height="313" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user5/imageroot/2015/04/avalanche%2010_0_0.jpg" width="500" /></a></em></p> <p><em>Nepalese Sherpas look up towards an area from where an avalanche descended</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="900" height="521" alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user5/imageroot/everest%201.jpg?1430051337" /> </div> </div> </div> http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-04-26/dramatic-images-mount-everest-avalanche#comments China Google Sun, 26 Apr 2015 20:10:05 +0000 Tyler Durden 505526 at http://www.zerohedge.com Hillary's Banned Words http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-04-26/hillarys-banned-words <p><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2015/04-overflow/20150426_Hill2.jpg"><img src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2015/04-overflow/20150426_Hill2_0.jpg" width="600" height="447" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em>Source: Townhall</em></p> http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-04-26/hillarys-banned-words#comments Sun, 26 Apr 2015 19:30:10 +0000 Tyler Durden 505535 at http://www.zerohedge.com