http://www.zerohedge.com/fullrss2.xml/wp-content/plugins en Least Transparent Ever - The Truth About Obama's Liberal Potemkin Village http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-05-25/least-transparent-ever-truth-about-obamas-liberal-potemkin-village <p class="ap-story-p"><a href="http://libertyblitzkrieg.com/2016/05/25/least-transparent-ever-barack-obama-hasnt-agreed-to-a-washington-post-interview-since-2009/"><em>Submitted by Mike Krieger via Liberty Blitzkrieg blog,</em></a></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p class="ap-story-p"><strong><em>WASHINGTON (AP) &mdash; The Obama administration set a record for the number of times its federal employees told disappointed citizens, journalists and others that despite searching they couldn&rsquo;t find a single page requested under the Freedom of Information Act, according to a new Associated Press analysis of government data.</em></strong></p> <p class="ap-story-p">&nbsp;</p> <p><strong><em>In more than one in six cases, or 129,825 times, government searchers said they came up empty-handed last year.</em><em>Such cases contributed to an alarming measurement:</em><em>&nbsp;People who asked for records under the law received censored files or nothing in 77 percent of requests, also a record. In the first full year after President Barack Obama&rsquo;s election, that figure was only 65 percent of cases.</em></strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&ndash; From the post:&nbsp;<strong><a href="https://libertyblitzkrieg.com/2016/03/18/obama-administration-denied-or-censored-information-in-77-of-foia-requests-during-2015/" rel="bookmark" target="_blank" title="Permanent Link to Obama Administration Denied or Censored Information in 77% of FOIA Requests During 2015">Obama Administration Denied or Censored Information in 77% of FOIA Requests During 2015</a></strong></p> </blockquote> <p><em>New York Times</em> public editor Margaret Sullivan recently had some choice words for the liberal Potemkin Village that is President Barack Obama.</p> <p>What follows are some excerpts from her cutting&nbsp;<a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/obama-promised-transparency-but-his-administration-is-one-of-the-most-secretive/2016/05/24/5a46caba-21c1-11e6-9e7f-57890b612299_story.html?postshare=3121464123569692&amp;tid=ss_tw" target="_blank"><em>Washington Post</em> op-ed</a>, published yesterday.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><strong><em>After early promises to be the most transparent administration in history, this has been one of the most secretive. And in certain ways, one of the most elusive. It&rsquo;s also been one of the most punitive toward whistleblowers and leakers who want to bring light to wrongdoing they have observed from inside powerful institutions&hellip;</em></strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em>On Monday, during a visit to Vietnam, the president spent some quality time with the media &mdash; in the form of Anthony Bourdain, the celebrity chef. A couple of years ago, he did a heavily publicized interview with the comedian Zach Galifianakis on the faux talk show &ldquo;Between Two Ferns,&rdquo; and last year he made a visit to podcaster Marc Maron&rsquo;s garage for a chat about fatherhood and overcoming fear.</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em>But his on-the-record interviews with hard-news, government reporters have been relatively rare &mdash; and, rather than being wide-ranging, often limited to a single subject, such as the economy.</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong><em>Remarkably, Post news reporters haven&rsquo;t been able to interview the president since late 2009. Think about that. The Post is, after all, perhaps the leading news outlet on national government and politics, with no in-depth, on-the-record access to the president of the United States for almost all of his two terms.</em></strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em>I couldn&rsquo;t get anyone in the White House press office to address this, despite repeated attempts by phone and email &mdash; <strong>which possibly proves my point.</strong></em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em><a href="http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2015/08/29/obama_meets_the_press_--_on_his_terms_127907.html" target="_blank">But a thorough study from Martha Joynt Kumar</a>, a retired Towson University professor, describes the administration&rsquo;s strategy. The president does plenty of interviews, she writes &mdash; far more than any other president in recent history. <strong>But these interviews are tightly controlled and targeted toward specific topics, and, it seems to me, often granted to soft questioners</strong>. (All of this is a major shift from a time when news conferences and short question-and-answer sessions allowed reporters to pursue news topics aggressively and in real time.)</em></p> </blockquote> <p>There&rsquo;s a more colloquial word for the above technique: <strong>propaganda</strong>.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><em>More interviews, less accountability. Feet kept safe from the fire.</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em><strong>Meanwhile, on media rights generally, the Obama administration hasn&rsquo;t walked its talk. It has set new records for stonewalling or rejecting Freedom of Information requests. And it has used an obscure federal act to prosecute leakers.</strong> It continued the punishing treatment of a National Security Agency whistleblower,<a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/checkpoint-washington/post/prosecution-of-ex-nsa-official-thomas-drake-was-ill-considered-former-agency-spokesman-acknowledges/2012/03/12/gIQAXE6L7R_blog.html" target="_blank">&nbsp;Thomas Drake&nbsp;</a>(dismaying new details have emerged recently in&nbsp;<a href="http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/may/22/how-pentagon-punished-nsa-whistleblowers" target="_blank">book excerpts by John Crane</a>, a former Pentagon investigator), and threatened to send the New York Times investigative reporter James Risen to jail for his good-faith insistence on protecting his confidential source.</em></p> </blockquote> <div> <p>Incredible how quickly &ldquo;Yes We Can&rdquo; turned into&hellip;</p> </div> <p><img alt="Screen Shot 2016-05-25 at 2.49.42 PM" class="alignnone wp-image-34545" height="83" src="http://libertyblitzkrieg.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/Screen-Shot-2016-05-25-at-2.49.42-PM.jpg" width="263" /></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="319" height="85" alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/220160525_no.png?1464230408" /> </div> </div> </div> http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-05-25/least-transparent-ever-truth-about-obamas-liberal-potemkin-village#comments Barack Obama FOIA Freedom of Information Act national security New York Times Obama Administration White House Thu, 26 May 2016 08:00:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 561889 at http://www.zerohedge.com "Did We Go To War?" Terrified Indiana Residents Woken By Unannounced Military Exercise http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-05-25/did-we-go-war-terrified-indiana-residents-woken-unannounced-military-exercise <p>After <a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-07-16/jade-helm-begins-complete-texas-takeover-guide">last summer&#39;s Jade Helm military drills</a>, and just <a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-04-22/first-time-ever-fema-trains-texas-police-how-deal-riots-conduct-mass-arrests">weeks after FEMA&#39;s mass arrest drills in Texas</a>, it is little wonder that the <strong>residents of Beech Grove, Indiana were terrified upon being awoken last night by the sound of bombs and helicopters, and flooded the emergency 911 call network</strong> with requests for information and reports of explosions. <a href="http://sputniknews.com/us/20160526/1040256447/indiana-midnight-military-drill.html?utm_source=https%3A%2F%2Ft.co%2FEwsTyRE3YH&amp;utm_medium=short_url&amp;utm_content=bubz&amp;utm_campaign=URL_shortening">As Sputnik News reports,</a> police officials quickly confirmed to alarmed residents that it was a<strong> scheduled military training exercise</strong>.</p> <p>While some residents reported being forewarned of the late night drill, many others were taken by surprise. Members of the community reported hearing what sounded like bombs and seeing low-flying helicopters.</p> <p><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2016/05/24/220160525_elk.png"><img height="285" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2016/05/24/220160525_elk.png" width="516" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><a href="http://fox59.com/2016/05/24/military-training-wakes-beech-grove-residents-early-tuesday-morning/"><em>As FOX59 reported,</em></a> Beech Grove residents say they saw helicopters flying low over the area and heard what sounded like several loud explosions.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>According to police officials, this activity was <strong>part of a scheduled military training exercise</strong> near the old St. Francis Hospital.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Police say this was training exercise was scheduled and <strong>there is no threat to anyone in the area.</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Many viewers were upset about the drills, saying they didn&#39;t have any advance warning and were alarmed by the loud noises. </strong>Some people said they received a knock on the door letting them know what was going on.</p> </blockquote> <p>Local news covered the event...</p> <p><script height="433px" width="770px" src="http://player.ooyala.com/iframe.js#ec=FsdnhvMzE6GvID15MGQiJLv9cN9Ca-fs&pbid=eb6ba12b8e8a4e72b590a076c86d82fe"></script></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Several residents took to social media to write about the training exercises and what they saw...</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p dir="ltr" lang="en">Anyone know what&#39;s going on in the sky above Beech Grove right now? Did we go to war and no one mention it?</p> <p>&mdash; Mary @ Trusty Chucks (@themarygraham) <a href="https://twitter.com/themarygraham/status/734959163202142208">May 24, 2016</a></p></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script><blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p dir="ltr" lang="en">it sounds like bombs are going off in beech grove...</p> <p>&mdash; miranda cochran (@mirandaxcochran) <a href="https://twitter.com/mirandaxcochran/status/734958161237417985">May 24, 2016</a></p></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script><blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p dir="ltr" lang="en">anybody else see about half a dozen black choppers flying super low over the beech grove area? Also sounded like shots or explosions?</p> <p>&mdash; Brian Forrester (@BrianForrester1) <a href="https://twitter.com/BrianForrester1/status/734961123875643393">May 24, 2016</a></p></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script><blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p dir="ltr" lang="en">Beech Grove was just <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/underfreakingattack?src=hash">#underfreakingattack</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/wtf?src=hash">#wtf</a></p> <p>&mdash; Rick Frank (@rfrank911) <a href="https://twitter.com/rfrank911/status/734966394463227904">May 24, 2016</a></p></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script><p> </p><p><em><strong>&ldquo;We&rsquo;re sorry people were startled,&rdquo; </strong></em>Beech Grove Police Capt. Robert Mercuri told the Indianapolis Star.<em><strong> &ldquo;We hope they understand that the city of Beech Grove was trying to help the people who protect us everyday.&rdquo;</strong></em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Are these increasingly regular training sessions a harbinger of things to come?With Anti-Trump protesters being arrested en masse just today, one wonders.</p> <p>For now it is unclear, however as Paul Joseph Watson <a href="http://www.infowars.com/report-authorities-buying-more-riot-control-gear-over-fear-of-riots-sweeping-america/">notes</a>, &quot;<strong>police departments across the country are buying riot gear in expectation of more Ferguson-style civil unrest sweeping the country.</strong>&quot;&nbsp; Maybe they know something.</p> <p><em><strong>&nbsp;</strong></em></p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="516" height="285" alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/220160525_elk.png?1464225562" /> </div> </div> </div> http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-05-25/did-we-go-war-terrified-indiana-residents-woken-unannounced-military-exercise#comments Indiana Thu, 26 May 2016 07:00:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 561884 at http://www.zerohedge.com Imminent Intervention? Greece, Italy, & Malta Close Airspace For Aircraft From Libya http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-05-25/imminent-intervention-greece-italy-malta-close-airspace-aircraft-libya <p><a href="http://www.keeptalkinggreece.com/2016/05/25/imminent-intervention-greece-italy-malta-close-their-airspace-for-aircraft-departing-from-libya/"><em>Via KeepTalkingGreece.com,</em></a></p> <p><span id="result_box" lang="en"><span title="????????????? ??? ?? ?? ????????? ???? ?? ????? ??? ???????? ????? ?? ???????? ???????????? ??? ???????, ??? ??????? ??? ??? ??????, ?? ?????? ????? ??????? ???? ????????? ?????? ???? ??? ????????? ??? ??????????? ??? ??? ?????. "><strong>Weird things are happening in the Mediterranean Sea. </strong>Almost simultaneously three countries in the Mediterranean have closed their airspace and territories for aircraft departing from Libya. The exceptions are very few and involve the transport of military and evacuees. <strong><em>At the same time, three NATO exercises are taking place but the airspace closure and directly little to do with that.</em></strong></span></span></p> <p><span id="result_box" lang="en"><span title="????????????? ??? ?? ?? ????????? ???? ?? ????? ??? ???????? ????? ?? ???????? ???????????? ??? ???????, ??? ??????? ??? ??? ??????, ?? ?????? ????? ??????? ???? ????????? ?????? ???? ??? ????????? ??? ??????????? ??? ??? ?????. ">The first country to close its airspace for aircraft departing from Libya&rdquo; was Italy, followed by Malta. Today it was Greece&rsquo;s turn. All three countries issued relevant NOTAMs:</span></span></p> <p><span id="result_box" lang="en"><span title="????????????? ??? ?? ?? ????????? ???? ?? ????? ??? ???????? ????? ?? ???????? ???????????? ??? ???????, ??? ??????? ??? ??? ??????, ?? ?????? ????? ??????? ???? ????????? ?????? ???? ??? ????????? ??? ??????????? ??? ??? ?????. ">Italy on May 11 and closes the airspace May 11 &ndash; August 8 2016, consequently at the same period Malta that issued the NOTAM on May 12.</span></span></p> <p><img height="107" src="http://www.onalert.gr/files/Image/aphotos/LIBYA/libya%20italy%20notam.JPG" width="640" /></p> <p><span id="result_box" lang="en"><span title="????????????? ??? ?? ?? ????????? ???? ?? ????? ??? ???????? ????? ?? ???????? ???????????? ??? ???????, ??? ??????? ??? ??? ??????, ?? ?????? ????? ??????? ???? ????????? ?????? ???? ??? ????????? ??? ??????????? ??? ??? ?????. "><img height="78" src="http://www.onalert.gr/files/Image/aphotos/LIBYA/libya%20malta%20notam.JPG" width="640" /></span></span></p> <p>Greece&rsquo;s NOTAM was issued today, May 25th and the period for banning aircraft departed from Libya to overflight and land&nbsp; is given as May 25th &ndash; September 8, 2016.</p> <p><span id="result_box" lang="en"><span title="????????????? ??? ?? ?? ????????? ???? ?? ????? ??? ???????? ????? ?? ???????? ???????????? ??? ???????, ??? ??????? ??? ??? ??????, ?? ?????? ????? ??????? ???? ????????? ?????? ???? ??? ????????? ??? ??????????? ??? ??? ?????. "><img height="101" src="http://www.onalert.gr/files/Image/aphotos/LIBYA/libya%20notam%202.JPG" width="640" /></span></span></p> <p>The overlapping FIR closure period by the three countries is actually <strong>May 25 &ndash; August 8 2016.</strong></p> <p><strong>What is interesting in the Greek NOTAM are aircraft like &ldquo;military aircraft of other nations, state flights or other VIP flights, ambulance flights&rdquo; are not affected by the ban.</strong> Italy records also some exceptions but not of &ldquo;ambulance aircraft.&rdquo;</p> <p>Why do Greece, Italy and Malta need to close their airspace and territories to aircraft departing from Libya? Is there something the NATO allies have on their mind? Or the NATO itself? Something like an imminent intervention against Libya? It was beginning of April when US President Barack Obama and Secretary General Jens Stoltenrbg had declared that they could help Libya to face the Islamic Caliphate.</p> <p>Defense news website <a href="http://www.onalert.gr/stories/libyh-pote-tha-ginei-h-epembash-poia-h-emploki-ths-elladas/49905" target="_blank">OnAlert.gr </a>that brought up this exclusive story, notes that there is already since May 17th the NATO exercise &ldquo;<span id="result_box" lang="en"><span title="?????????, ? ?????????? ?????? ??? ???? &quot;Phoenix Express 2016&quot; (???????? 2016) ??? ????????? ??? ?? ??????? ??? ??? 17 ?????, ???????????? ??? ?? ???????? ????? ??? ???? ??? ??????. "><em><strong>Phoenix Express 2016</strong></em>&rdquo; (Phoenix 2016)</span></span> taking part off the island of Crete.</p> <p><span id="result_box" lang="en"><span title="?? ??????? ??? ??????? ??????????????? ?????????? ???? ?????? ?????? ??? ??????????? ???????? ??? ??? ???????, ??? ???????, ??? ??????, ??? ??????, ?? ?????, ?? ??????????, ?? ??????, ??? ???????, ??? ???????, ??? ??????? ??? ??? ???????? ?????????. ">The exercise scenarios focus geographically in North Africa, The forces that participate in Phoenix 2016 are: Algeria, Egypt, Greece, Italy, Malta, Mauritania, Morocco, Spain, Tunisia, Turkey and the United States.</span></span></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>&ldquo;The at-sea portion of the exercise will test North African, European, and U.S. forces&rsquo; abilities to combat illegal migration, illicit trafficking, and movement of materials for weapons of mass destruction. Additionally, participating forces will work together to practice procedures of search-and-rescue in cases where vessels are in distress. Participating Maritime Operations Centers (MOCs) will exercise information sharing practices.&rdquo;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Exercise Phoenix Express is one of three U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa/U.S. 6th Fleet facilitated regional exercises.</p> <p>(announcement by <a href="http://www.navy.mil/submit/display.asp?story_id=94805" target="_blank">USA Navy</a>)</p> </blockquote> <p>Phoenix 2016 will conclude on May 27th.</p> <p>Right after that date, <strong>two NATO Refueling Exercises</strong> will take place, south and west of the island of Crete (May 30-21/2016) and south and west of the island of Karpathos (May 31-June 1/2016)</p> <p><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2016/05/24/220160525_libya.png"><img alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2016/05/24/220160525_libya.png" style="width: 625px; height: 413px;" /></a></p> <p>According to <a href="http://www.onalert.gr/stories/libyh-pote-tha-ginei-h-epembash-poia-h-emploki-ths-elladas/49905" target="_blank">Greek NOTAMs</a> refering to NATO Refueling exercises.</p> <p>According to <strong><em>OnAlert,gr</em> </strong>there has been increase of NATO exercises in the area recently.</p> <p>So it looks as if Greece will play a significant role in a possible intervention against Libya and even be able to receive aircraft that have departed from Libya carrying evacuees, VIP and other&hellip;</p> <p>Such in case that the scenario comes true and thus before summer is over.</p> <p><strong>It is not clear whether also Libya&rsquo;s neighbors Egypt, Algeria and Tunesia have issued similar NOTAMs.</strong></p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="625" height="413" alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/220160525_libya.png?1464230040" /> </div> </div> </div> http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-05-25/imminent-intervention-greece-italy-malta-close-airspace-aircraft-libya#comments Barack Obama Greece Italy Turkey Thu, 26 May 2016 06:00:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 561888 at http://www.zerohedge.com Rising prices of raisins - The real effect of rampant inflation and FX http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-05-25/rising-prices-raisins-real-effect-rampant-inflation-and-fx <p>Inflation is out of control. &nbsp;Now, we mostly agree that the Fed's official inflation numbers are just - ridiculous. &nbsp;But the real inflation, is even harder to quantify, and more subtle - as we explain in <a href="http://www.splittingpennies.com" target="_blank">Splitting Pennies - Understanding Forex.</a>&nbsp; What drives inflation is NOT Adam Smith's "Supply and Demand" - an interesting idea but completely static, and completely irrelevant for practical applications - and certainly not useful for business, or economic forcasting. &nbsp;Inflation is a simple function of monetary policy, multiplied by FX. &nbsp;That means, in today's world, inflation must be counted including the FX markets because - no matter how much USD the Fed prints, it's constantly being exchanged for Euros and Yen on the open FX markets. &nbsp;FX is a limited, finite system. &nbsp;But the USD itself - is not. &nbsp;It's defined by other currencies, and the market value of the USD vs. others.</p> <p>Other less quantitative signs of inflation:</p> <ul> <li>Reduction of quality</li> <li>Less quantity, but for the same price (less chips in the bag, every year)</li> <li>Intentional, engineered 'appearance' of more (there are less chips, and bag is bigger too)</li> <li>Accompanying marketing 'feel good' slogans&nbsp;</li> </ul> <p>The best signs of real inflation, not the academic mumbo jumbo Fedspeak produced by The Fed and Federal Economic Departments (like <a href="http://www.bea.gov/">BEA</a>), is FX - and consumer goods. &nbsp;Because we need energy, we need food. &nbsp;Without food and energy, society can't function. &nbsp;We can live without iphones, we can live without Tesla, we can live without many 'industries' - but we can't live without food, at least based on our modern consumption system used by most human beings on this small planet Earth. &nbsp;And speaking of iphones, they all rely on energy - Apple (AAPL) investors should hedge their bets with energy stocks. &nbsp;We can expect that high-tech products have inflation, but take a look at the real inflation, the rising prices of raisins:</p> <p><img src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user157767/imageroot/2016/05/26/raisins1.jpg" width="600" height="504" /></p> <p>You wouldn't think this is unusual, based on data from the raisin growers:</p> <p><img src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user157767/imageroot/2016/05/26/raisinprices535.jpg" width="535" height="297" /></p> <p>So what gives? &nbsp;Here's the deal. &nbsp;Recently I learned my wife is pregnant and so we've changed our diet (in addition to our whole lives - that's another topic). &nbsp;Having a dash of chemicals here and there for an adult is one thing, but for a developing newborn and pregnant mother, it's out of the question. &nbsp;We have in the south Earthfare, which is notably much more picky and choosy than WholeFoods, their customers more fussy and thus everything is much more expensive. &nbsp;But the point here is that these raisins, are like the raisins we used to get really cheaply, 20 or 30 years ago. &nbsp;Now you have to go to a place like Earthfare to get real food, by real I mean not artificial, loaded with chemicals, fillers, and other things that make for a good science experiment. &nbsp;Health is another topic, but economically speaking - this is an excellent example of what inflation is. &nbsp;Inflation isn't necessarily when prices go up, although $6.99 a pound for raisins is alot. &nbsp;It's about deteriorating quality. &nbsp;When the Fed picks a basket of goods to calculate CPI, what 'goods' do they choose? &nbsp;Certainly, NOT products from Earthfare or Wholefoods. &nbsp;Quality is qualitative, so it's hard to overlay a deterioration of quality line against the CPI or do statistical analysis. &nbsp;There are methods though, to evaluate quality and its deterioration. &nbsp;</p> <p>The problem is that - in order to prove the status quo establishment method - &nbsp;quality is deteriorating, by using methods by establishment institutions, and from data by establishment institutions, is a paradox. &nbsp;In other words, we have to think outside of the box, and use our intuition. &nbsp;For example if we look to the CDC for a correlation, we'll get nothing:</p> <p><img src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user157767/imageroot/2016/05/26/figures-s6202a1f21.gif" width="629" height="303" /></p> <p>Checkout the full report, <a href="http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/ss6202a1.htm">Surveillance for Foodborne Disease Outbreaks — United States, 1998–2008.</a></p> <p>But, this is the same CDC that tells us to wash our hands to fight disease, <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/25/health/cdc-ebola-error-in-lab-may-have-exposed-technician-to-virus.html">the same CDC that exposed its own worker to Ebola.</a></p> <p>You must see for yourself. &nbsp;The raisins you eat - are they like when you were a child? &nbsp;How do you remember, the taste of tomato, apple, grape, melon, and veggies? &nbsp;The organic movement itself is riddled with misleading information and corruption. &nbsp;But at the end of the day, if a consumer wants a 'real' raisin, not frankenfoods sold by major grocers, you have to pay the price, and buy Organic, or grow your own.</p> <p>How does FX enter the raisin market? &nbsp;If the Currency markets were fixed, something could be said about supply and demand. &nbsp;Raisin growers now compete with farms from around the world. &nbsp;The world's flat, and payment is instantaneous. &nbsp;Farmers don't only compete domestically, they compete internationally. &nbsp;Farmers outside the USD world maybe aren't subsidized like those in the US, but they sure are subsidized (indirectly) by their central banks, who like to make their currencies worthless, thus making the prices of these inferior raisins much cheaper, and more attractive. &nbsp;Farmers at least can hedge this risk by <a href="http://openforexaccount.com">opening a forex account and trading</a>, but the end result of the current capitalistic system we have in the world is one thing: &nbsp;garbage. &nbsp;Our brains are deteriorating, health, quality of life, society, relationships, all the way down the maslow pyramid to what Americans used to love: food. &nbsp;In major chains there's not much difference between pork and beef. &nbsp;Not that many could notice the difference.</p> <p>At least, there are methods to fight this disease we call inflation, as we explain in our book - <a href="http://www.splittingpennies.com">Splitting Pennies.</a>&nbsp; <a href="http://eliteeservices.blogspot.com/2016/05/ees-splitting-pennies-now-in-us-trade.html">We've released a slightly longer paperback edition which is really popular</a> - <a href="https://www.createspace.com/6284816">get a copy for only $14.98</a>. &nbsp;The book is only the beginning. &nbsp;It's only a key - you must use it to unlock the door to your new life.</p> <p><img src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user157767/imageroot/2016/05/26/raisins2.jpg" width="800" height="558" /></p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-blog"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_blog" width="595" height="335" alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user157767/imageroot/raisins-sjv.jpg?1464232921" /> </div> </div> </div> http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-05-25/rising-prices-raisins-real-effect-rampant-inflation-and-fx#comments Apple Central Banks Corruption CPI fixed Monetary Policy Yen Thu, 26 May 2016 03:24:06 +0000 globalintelhub 561892 at http://www.zerohedge.com The Truth Behind The Surge In Conservative "Extremism" http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-05-25/truth-behind-surge-conservative-extremism <p><a href="http://www.alt-market.com/articles/2903-the-truth-behind-the-surge-in-conservative-qextremismq"><em>Submitted by Brandon Smith via Alt-Market.com,</em></a></p> <p><strong>The definition of &ldquo;extremist&rdquo; is a rather ambiguous issue primarily dependent on opinion rather than fact.</strong>&nbsp;That is to say, it is generally the people in power and their propaganda mouthpieces that determine who is an extremist and who is not. There is no set or fair standard.</p> <p><em><strong>If you are a quiet and passive sort of citizen with no political deviations and no thoughts outside of what is considered &ldquo;mainstream,&rdquo; then you are probably considered a non-threat to the establishment.</strong>&nbsp;If, however, you promote an ideal that is opposed to the establishment agenda and display a potential to actually ACT to fight for that ideal, then you will eventually be labeled an extremist.</em></p> <p><strong>So who sets the standard for extremism in America today?</strong>&nbsp;The responsibility of enforcement has been undertaken by the Department of Homeland Security.&nbsp;But, the initial profiling of extremism and the engineering behind the farcical talking points that the DHS often uses and spreads to local law enforcement agencies is the work of the Southern Poverty Law Center.</p> <p>The SPLC&rsquo;s profiling guidelines on extremism and terrorism tend to end up in DHS and fusion center reports that are usually not meant for the eyes of the public.&nbsp;A more well-known example would be the exposure of the <a href="https://www.splcenter.org/news/2011/06/07/splc-urges-dhs-reassess-resources-after-key-analyst-reveals-unit-domestic-terror-was-scaled" target="_blank">Missouri Information Analysis Center (MIAC) Report</a> back in 2009 which listed Ron Paul supporters as being potential terrorists. The SPLC complained widely that the MIAC report should not have been abandoned after the uproar from conservatives, but instead, should have been pursued.</p> <p>The SPLC lists &ldquo;<a href="https://www.splcenter.org/active-antigovernment-groups-united-states" target="_blank">active anti-government groups</a>&rdquo; on their website with a nicely made but meaningless graph which would have you believe that such groups have exploded in number since 2008.<strong>&nbsp;How the SPLC designates groups as &ldquo;anti-government&rdquo; is entirely dependent on their own baseless opinions rather than any discernible or practical method.&nbsp;</strong>They could easily make their graph say anything they want it to say and pretend there is some kind of science to it.</p> <p>Hilariously, the SPLC lists my own website, Alt-Market, as an &ldquo;anti-government group&rdquo; under Pennsylvania, the state I lived in when Alt-Market was first established.&nbsp;Apparently, they consider a website a &ldquo;group,&rdquo; and I suppose I should be flattered that my individual efforts have been effective enough to constitute a group-sized threat in their minds.</p> <p><strong>I am also not &ldquo;anti-government.&rdquo;&nbsp;I am anti-<em>corrupt</em> government, </strong>but the SPLC does not seem to care at all about this kind of distinction.</p> <p>I can say that Alt-Market is certainly not a group. While I do promote the formation of private barter groups as well as mutual aid and community security groups, these groups are in no way under the control of Alt-Market.&nbsp;If the SPLC considers me, all by my lonesome, as an anti-government group, then I question the validity of their list.&nbsp;If they had some confusion as to what Alt-Market was, all they had to do was ask me, but they never have.</p> <p>I addressed the SPLC directly and outlined the corruption inherent in their institution years ago in my article&nbsp;&lsquo;<a href="http://www.alt-market.com/articles/345-a-message-to-the-splc-from-a-montana-extremist" target="_blank">A Message To The SPLC From A Montana &ldquo;Extremist.</a>&rdquo;&rsquo;&nbsp;To summarize, the SPLC&rsquo;s goal is to promote Cultural Marxism while incessantly demonizing the opposing belief system &mdash; true conservatism.&nbsp;They do this through the use of an old propaganda ploy called &lsquo;false association.&rsquo;</p> <p>If you examine the SPLC&rsquo;s list of people they consider prominent extremists in the U.S., you will find a mixture of liberty movement proponents with their photos pasted right next to white supremacists and Klu Klux Klan members.&nbsp;This is not an accident.&nbsp;The strategy is to associate liberty activists with racists in the minds of the SPLC&rsquo;s gullible readership without risking lawsuit by defamation.</p> <p>For example, the SPLC has never (as far as I know) directly labeled liberty voices like Stewart Rhodes or Chuck Baldwin as &ldquo;racists&rdquo; or supremacists.&nbsp;However, they will work very hard in various media including their magazine &lsquo;Intelligence Report&rsquo; (equating &ldquo;intelligence&rdquo; with the SPLC is a laughable premise) to influence the public to attach ideas of liberty to racial supremacy as if they are part of the same ideological movement.</p> <p>Now frankly, I do not care if an individual or group &ldquo;hates&rdquo; another individual or group.&nbsp;As long as they do not harm anyone, invade their privacy or impede their constitutional rights, then it is none of my business.&nbsp;This does not mean I agree with them, but they have a right to believe whatever they want to believe.</p> <p>The SPLC, along with the &ldquo;extreme left,&rdquo; though, does not think that people have a right to believe what they want to believe, and this is where problems start to emerge.&nbsp;<strong>The movement to criminalize &ldquo;hate speech&rdquo; may be a paper tiger, it may not.&nbsp;According to some polls, 41 percent of Americans and over half of Democrats support the <a href="https://today.yougov.com/news/2015/05/20/hate-speech/" target="_blank">criminalization of hate speech</a>.</strong></p> <p>Again, if such speech is criminalized, then who gets to determine the definition of what hate speech is?&nbsp;Yes, most likely it will be social justice think-tanks like the SPLC.</p> <p><strong>That which constitutes &ldquo;hate speech&rdquo; and that which constitutes &ldquo;extremism&rdquo; is invariably conservative in nature&hellip; according to the SPLC and the DHS.&nbsp;Though you will see far more race-hate related speech from groups like Black Lives Matter, you will probably never see them listed on the SPLC&rsquo;s website.</strong></p> <p>Conservative opposition to illegal immigration, to the medieval tyranny of Islamic sharia law, to government enforcement of transgender ideology on private property, along with conservative support of 2<sup>nd</sup> Amendment rights of firearms ownership and 1<sup>st</sup> Amendments rights in the face of &ldquo;hate speech&rdquo; legislation have all been categorized as extremism or racism by the SPLC.&nbsp;This is not simply a battle of ideas with no tangible consequences outside of the academic.&nbsp;The poison of cultural Marxism championed by the SPLC is leaching into everyday life.</p> <p>I was sent this example recently; a story out of Washington D.C. in which a man in a wig entered the women&rsquo;s bathroom at a Giant supermarket (private property). A female security guard at the establishment forced &ldquo;Ebony Belcher&rdquo; (see photo below) to leave the bathroom according to store policy after the man refused to heed verbal warnings.&nbsp; The security guard cited that there was no law allowing transgenders to violate the store&#39;s bathroom policy.</p> <p>Belcher then proceeded to file a complaint with D.C. police.&nbsp;Instead of shrugging off the incident as a matter of private property as they should have, <a href="http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2016/may/19/dc-security-guard-arrested-for-hate-crime-after-co/" target="_blank">police arrested the guard pursuant of &ldquo;hate crime&rdquo; charges</a>.</p> <p><img border="0" src="http://www.alt-market.com/images/stories/ebony_belcher.jpg" /></p> <p><strong>This is merely one incident, yes, but it is now one of MANY examples of government force backing cultural Marxists, and is representative of where the entire nation is headed if the SPLC and the federal government get their way.</strong></p> <p>The position that private property owners have the right to restrict a person who has the genetics and biology of a man to male bathroom facilities in order to protect the privacy and safety of their female customers is now being called a hate crime. That which is entirely practical and sane today will be labeled dangerous &ldquo;extremism&rdquo; tomorrow.</p> <p><u><strong>Therefore, I would submit to you that there is no &ldquo;surge&rdquo; in conservative extremism.</strong></u> Instead, normal longstanding conservative principles, along with conservative groups and individuals are being increasingly and arbitrarily labeled as &ldquo;extremists.&rdquo;&nbsp;We are not necessarily becoming more dangerous than we were before, more of us are just being targeted as dangerous by well-placed political minorities in a war of cultural dominance.</p> <p>That said, conservative individuals and groups that are targeted will of course move to defend themselves.&nbsp;The orchestrated demonization and sublimation of conservatives on the part of cultural Marxists is the very definition of true extremism, and when one group decides to implement an extremist methodology in order to attain power over others, it is inevitable that they will invite an equal or greater opposing reaction.</p> <p><strong>The Washington Post recently warned of this reaction in an <span class="st">exposé</span> titled <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/sf/national/2016/05/21/armed-with-guns-and-constitutions-the-patriot-movement-sees-america-under-threat/" target="_blank">Primed To Fight The Government.</a></strong></p> <p>The article begins in typical establishment propaganda fashion by immediately working to inoculate readers against conservative or liberty movement viewpoints.&nbsp;The SPLC is, of course, brought in to repeat their standard list of lies and half-truths while noting that their list of extremist groups has skyrocketed ever since 2008 &mdash; when America&rsquo;s first black president was elected.&nbsp;This is surely intended once again to associate liberty activists with racism.</p> <p>There is no mention of the numerous groups and individuals on their list (myself included) who started their work long before 2008 and have been <strong>as consistently critical of white republicans as they have been of Barack Obama.</strong></p> <p>The Post then finally allows the primary subjects of the article, B.J. Soper and his Central Oregon Constitutional Guard, to give their voice on the matter.&nbsp;Soper comes off as even handed and solidly grounded, with views easily supported by verifiable evidence; he did not appear as &ldquo;extreme&rdquo; as the SPLC might prefer.</p> <p>If The Washington Post and the SPLC are truly curious as to the source of the supposed surge in conservatives &ldquo;ready to go to war&rdquo; with the government, I would challenge them to set aside their bias (or ignore their corporate handlers) and look more closely at the behavior of the government today as well as the extremists on the &ldquo;Left&rdquo; side of the political spectrum.</p> <p><em><strong>Perhaps they should take a more mathematical approach to their views on the socialization of America and its clear negative effects on our economic future.</strong></em></p> <p><em>Perhaps they should take a closer look at the UN&rsquo;s &ldquo;<a href="https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/launch-strong-cities-network-strengthen-community-resilience-against-violent-extremism" target="_blank">Strong Cities Network,</a>&rdquo; which is a program in collaboration with governments around the world including the U.S. to weaponize local communities against any behavior considered &quot;extremist&quot;; promoting a world of self-policing and self censoring towns and cities while instituting anti-extremist (mostly anti-conservative) policies on an Orwellian scale.</em></p> <p><em>Perhaps they should examine how <strong>free speech is being progressively eroded with legal &ldquo;exceptions&rdquo;</strong> in the name of protecting people&rsquo;s tender feelings or protecting the public from &ldquo;dangerous ideas.&rdquo; True conservatives understand that NO ONE has the right to limit the speech of everyone in the name of personal comfort for an overly-sensitive few, and for some reason this makes us extremists.</em></p> <p><em><strong>Perhaps they should re-think their accusations of &ldquo;racism&rdquo; against the tens of millions of Americans of all ethnicities who stand against illegal immigration.</strong>&nbsp;Perhaps by ignoring the fact that the vast majority of people who oppose illegal immigration do so based on realistic economic and social dangers is pressuring conservatives to see armed preparedness as the only avenue left to them.</em></p> <p><em>Or perhaps the establishment should acknowledge that they have been militarizing local police forces and indoctrinating them with assertions that conservatives are a menace, a racist, fascist ticking time bomb ready to explode and that must be contained or re-educated.&nbsp;Conservatives are not going to simply stand by idly forever while this kind of fourth generation warfare continues unchallenged.&nbsp;Obviously we are preparing for a fight.&nbsp;When one is attacked, defense is natural.</em></p> <p>As I point out in my article <a href="http://www.alt-market.com/articles/2858-the-weirdest-possible-outcomes-for-the-strangest-election-in-us-history">The Weirdest Possible Outcomes For The Strangest Election In History</a>,<u><em><strong> the potential for violent divisions within the U.S. over the course of this election year is very high. In fact, the stage is pretty well set for conflict regardless of who becomes president.</strong></em></u></p> <p><strong>The mob actions and growing madness of the extreme left, instigated and in some cases funded (Ferguson, Missouri) by elitists like George Soros is going to force conservatives into a position of armed reaction.</strong>&nbsp;It is only a matter of time.&nbsp;And perhaps this is what the elites prefer &mdash; Americans fighting and killing other Americans while they sit back and enjoy the show.&nbsp;<strong>After all, the failure of America is a perfect justification for the greater influence of globalism to stem the tide of &ldquo;nationalist fervor.&rdquo; And in a totally globalized and collectivized world, conservatism has no place.</strong></p> <p><u><strong>Conservatives are called &ldquo;extremists&rdquo; because the establishment needs an excuse to get rid of us</strong></u>.&nbsp; We are threat, yes, but only to power mongers and their collectivist hordes. More and more of us grow awake and aware of the program each day.&nbsp;As a result of this awakening, we end up becoming more extreme by mainstream definition in order to protect ourselves and our values.&nbsp;<strong><em>Ultimately, to be an extremist conservative is not a crime against humanity as some would have us believe.&nbsp;To be an extremist conservative in the face of open conflagration against the principles of freedom is to be on the right side of history.</em></strong></p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="500" height="329" alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/20160525_takeit.jpg?1464223759" /> </div> </div> </div> http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-05-25/truth-behind-surge-conservative-extremism#comments B+ Barack Obama Corruption George Soros None Ron Paul Washington D.C. Thu, 26 May 2016 03:00:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 561883 at http://www.zerohedge.com An Inside Look at the World's Biggest Paper Gold Market http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-05-24/inside-look-worlds-biggest-paper-gold-market <p><strong>Every day, there are a whopping 5,500 tonnes ($212 billion) of gold traded in London, </strong>making it the largest wholesale and over-the-counter (OTC) market for gold in the world.</p> <p>To put that in perspective, <a href="http://www.visualcapitalist.com/inside-look-worlds-biggest-paper-gold-market/">Visual Capitalist&#39;s Jeff Desjardins notes</a> that&nbsp; <strong>more gold is traded in London each day than what is stored at Fort Knox (4,176 tonnes). </strong>On a higher volume day, amounts closer to total U.S. gold reserves (8,133.5 tonnes) can change hands.</p> <p><strong><em>How is this possible?</em></strong></p> <p>The infographic below tells the story about gold&rsquo;s foremost trading hub, as well as the paper gold market in London, England:</p> <div style="clear:both"><em><a href="http://www.visualcapitalist.com/inside-look-worlds-biggest-paper-gold-market/"><img src="http://2oqz471sa19h3vbwa53m33yj.wpengine.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/infographic-london-gold-market.jpg" style="border-width: 0px; border-style: solid; height: 5308px; width: 600px;" /></a></em></div> <div><em>Courtesy of: <a href="http://www.visualcapitalist.com">Visual Capitalist</a></em></div> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>London is dominant in global price discovery for gold.</strong></p> <p>In 2015, it accounted for roughly 88% of gold trade &ndash; most of which occurs between banks on behalf of their clients. Further, 90% of London trade is spot trading, which further emphasizes London&rsquo;s importance in price discovery for gold markets.</p> <p>While the high-level details of the market are visible,<strong> <u>the individual mechanisms behind the London gold trade are less clear.</u></strong> <em>There is very little detailed information provided on physical shipments, outstanding gold deposits or loans, allocated or unallocated gold, or clientele types. Trade reporting also breaks down at a more granular level, and datasets on the GOFO (Gold Forward Offered Rate) were also&nbsp;<a href="http://www.lbma.org.uk/_blog/lbma_media_centre/post/discontinuation-of-GOFO/">discontinued</a>&nbsp;in January, 2015.</em></p> <p><strong>Almost all gold (95%) traded in London is unallocated and without legal title.</strong> This makes it easier to trade, but it also raises concerns about a market that is opaque to begin with. There are 5,500 tonnes of paper gold exchanging hands on paper each day, but there are only 300 tonnes of gold vaulted in London outside of the reserves for ETFs or the Bank of England.</p> <p><strong><em>What would happen if there was ever even a small rush to get the physical asset behind the paper? Is there a system in place for such an event, and how does it work?</em></strong></p> <p><em>Original graphic by:&nbsp;<a href="https://www.bullionstar.com/" target="_blank">BullionStar</a></em></p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="554" height="222" alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/220160524_gold_0.png?1464134966" /> </div> </div> </div> http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-05-24/inside-look-worlds-biggest-paper-gold-market#comments Bank of England OTC Thu, 26 May 2016 02:30:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 561746 at http://www.zerohedge.com Quantitative Easing And The Corruption Of Corporate America http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-05-25/quantitative-easing-and-corruption-corporate-america <p><a href="http://dimartinobooth.com/quantitative-easing-corruption-corporate-america/?utm_campaign=shareaholic&amp;utm_medium=twitter&amp;utm_source=socialnetwork"><em>Submitted by Danielle DiMartino Booth via DiMartinoBooth.com,</em></a></p> <p><strong>The art of brevity was not lost on Abraham Lincoln.</strong> It is that brevity in all its glory that shines through in what endures as one of the most beautiful testaments to the art of oration: The Gettysburg Address rounds out at 272 resounding words. The nation&rsquo;s 16<sup>th</sup> President humbly predicted that the world would quickly forget his words of that November day in 1863. Rather, he said, history would solely evoke the valiant acts of men such as those whose blood still soaked the consecrated battleground on which they stood. Of course, Lincoln was both right and wrong. Neither the men who sacrificed their lives nor his words would be forgotten. We remember and know that a terrible and ever mounting price would ultimately be paid, some 623,026 American lives, the steepest in man&rsquo;s bloody history.</p> <p>In what can only be described as the pinnacle of prescience, a 28-year old Lincoln foretold of the coming Civil War, which he presaged would come to pass if the scourge of slavery remained unchecked. In an address to the Young Men&rsquo;s Lyceum of Springfield, Illinois in January 1838, Lincoln spoke these haunting words: <em><strong>&ldquo;If destruction be our lot, we must ourselves be its author and finisher.&rdquo; The enemy within.</strong></em></p> <p>Since that devastating brother against brother Civil War, so prophetically foreseen by Lincoln, more than 626,000 American soldiers have lost their lives defending the ideals and freedom of our Union. <strong>Today that Union stands, but it must now face the threat of an enemy rising within its borders to wage a different kind of war against our hard fought freedom.</strong></p> <p><u><strong>To be precise, today&rsquo;s dangers emanate from our nation&rsquo;s boardrooms, where officers and executives have authorized an era of reckless abandon in the form of share buybacks.</strong></u> In the event the word &lsquo;hyperbolic&rsquo; just came to mind, the ramifications of a lost generation of investment in Corporate America should not be lightly dismissed. This trend, above all others, has weakened the foundation of U.S. long term economic growth.</p> <p><u><strong>The real question is whether those who have facilitated the malfeasance will be held accountable.</strong></u> Before the launch of the second iteration of quantitative easing (QE2) that the Fed voted to implement on November 3, 2010, Richard Fisher, to whom yours truly once answered, raised serious concerns. An October 7, 2010 speech before the Economic Club of Minneapolis was the venue.</p> <p>The contextual backdrop is key: Just weeks before at Jackson Hole, Ben Bernanke had unleashed the mother of all stock market rallies by hinting that QE2 was indeed coming down the FOMC pipeline. The hawks were understandably hopping mad as the debate on the inside was anything but settled. Fisher indicated as much, albeit with notoriously diplomatic panache:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>&ldquo;In my darkest moments I have begun to wonder if the monetary accommodation we have already engineered might even be working in the wrong places. Far too many of the large corporations I survey that are committing to fixed investment report that the most effective way to deploy cheap money raised in the current bond markets or in the form of loans from banks, beyond buying in stock or expanding dividends, is to invest it abroad where taxes are lower and governments are more eager to please.&rdquo;</p> </blockquote> <p><strong>Six years on, corporate leverage is hovering near a 12-year high and domestic capital expenditures have plunged. </strong>In the interim, reams of commentary have been devoted to share buybacks and with good reason. Companies reducing their share count have, at least in recent years, been where the hottest action is, courtyard-seat level action.</p> <p><strong>But now, it looks as if the trend is finally cresting. A fresh report by TrimTabs Investment Research found that companies have announced 35 percent less in buybacks through May 19th compared with the same period last year.</strong> And while $261.5 billion is still respectable (for the purpose of placating shareholders), it is nevertheless a steep decline from 2015&rsquo;s $399.4 billion. Even this tempered number is deceiving &ndash; only half the number of firms have announced buybacks vs last year.</p> <p><u><strong>Have U.S. executives and their Boards of Directors finally found religion?</strong></u></p> <p><strong><em>We can only hope. The devastation wrought by the multi-trillion-dollar buyback frenzy is what many of us learned in Econ 101 as the &lsquo;opportunity cost,&rsquo; or the value of what&rsquo;s been foregone. As yet, the value of lost investment opportunities remains a huge unknown.</em></strong></p> <p>In the event doing right by future generations does not suffice, executives might be motivated to renounce their errant ways because shareholders appear to have stopped rewarding buybacks. According to Marketwatch, an exchange traded fund that affords investors access to the most aggressive companies in the buyback arena is off 0.8 percent for the year and down 9.8 percent over the last 12 months.</p> <p>The hope is that Corporate America is at the precipice of an investment binge that sparks economic activity that richly rewards those with patience over those with the burning need for instant gratification. The risk? That central bankers whisper sweet nothings the likes of which no Board or CFO can resist. Mario Draghi may already have done so.</p> <p>In announcing its latest iteration of QE, the European Central Bank (ECB) added investment grade corporate bonds to the list of eligible securities that can satisfy its purchase commitment. Critically, U.S. multinationals with European operations are included among qualifying issuers. As Evergreen Gavekal&rsquo;s David Hay recently pointed out, McDonald&rsquo;s has jumped right into the pool, issuing five-year Euro-denominated paper at an interest rate of a barely discernible 0.45 percent.</p> <p>Hay ventures further that the ECB&rsquo;s program will have the welcome effect of mitigating the widening of the yield differential, or spread, between Treasurys and similar maturity U.S. corporate bonds the next time markets seize up. The firm&rsquo;s chief investment officer takes one last step over the intellectual Rubicon with the following hypothesis, &ldquo;The Fed might want to imitate the ECB but may be restricted from doing so by its charter,&rdquo; Hay posits, adding that, &ldquo;We wouldn&rsquo;t discount the possibility it will try to amend, or get around, any prohibitions, however.&rdquo;</p> <p><strong>Talk about sweet nothings on steroids. But could it really happen in a theoretical launch of (God forbid) QE4?</strong></p> <p>For the record, Hay is right. <strong>There is no explicit permission in the Federal Reserve Act that authorizes open market corporate bond purchases.</strong> Hay is also correct, however, that there could be legal wiggle room. This possibility was corroborated by Cumberland Advisors&rsquo; in-house central banking guru Bob Eisenbeis, who noted that the Fed&rsquo;s emergency powers provision, when invoked, allows for purchases of almost any security, especially those that are not expressly disallowed in the Act&rsquo;s language.</p> <p><em><strong>As for the prospect that politicians would put their foot down and insist that the Fed stand pat and not cross the line? What are the odds of that happening if the economic backdrop is dire enough for the subject of QE4 and open market corporate bond purchases to be matters of public debate?</strong></em></p> <p>Given markets&rsquo; maniacal machinations of late, the degree to which the economic data remain mixed, and the growing vocal consensus among Fed officials that June is a &lsquo;go&rsquo; for a rate hike, it&rsquo;s a safe bet that the details of QE4 will not be a focal point of the upcoming FOMC meeting.</p> <p>When the time does come, and it&rsquo;s sure to come before rates are normalized, Corporate America will hopefully be capable of resisting the temptation to play along. To bolster their resolve: Required reading on all CEO, CFO and Board officer bedside tables should be last November&rsquo;s missive by Bank of America Merrill Lynch&rsquo;s Michael Hartnett.</p> <p>In it, the firm&rsquo;s Chief Investment Strategist paraphrases Winston Churchill and how the great statesman would have described the risk of what Hartnett cleverly warns could be, &lsquo;Quantitative Failure,&rsquo;:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><em><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>&ldquo;Never in the field of monetary policy was so much gained by so few at the expense of so many.&rdquo;</strong></span></em></p> </blockquote> <p>May those words be ones Janet Yellen lives by.</p> <p>Hartnett then goes on to encapsulate the one statistic that should haunt the current generation of central bankers more than any other: <em><u><strong>For every one job created in the United States in the last decade, $296,000 has been spent on share buybacks.</strong></u></em></p> <p>Recall that the fair Chair is a labor market economist above any other field. Surely she will be able to see the damage past QE has wrought and forgo the facilitation of further bad behavior. <strong>Should she ignore the potential for further QE-financed share buybacks to exact more untold economic damage, it would be akin to intentionally corrupting Corporate America.</strong></p> <p>In the words that have mistakenly been attributed to Abraham Lincoln, arguably with sound reasoning: <em><strong>&ldquo;Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man&rsquo;s character, give him power.&rdquo;</strong></em></p> <p>Since the turn of this century, debt-financed share buybacks have severely tested the character of those charged with growing publically-traded U.S. firms.<strong> The time, though, has come for these wayward companies&rsquo; banker and enabler, the Fed, to hold the line, no matter how difficult the next inevitable test of <em>their</em> character may prove to be.</strong> It&rsquo;s time for the Fed to defend the entire Union and end a civil war that pits a chosen few against the economic freedom of the many.</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="231" height="153" alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/220160525_corp.png?1464208204" /> </div> </div> </div> http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-05-25/quantitative-easing-and-corruption-corporate-america#comments Bank of America Bank of America Ben Bernanke Ben Bernanke Bond Capital Expenditures Corporate America Corporate Leverage Corruption European Central Bank Exchange Traded Fund Federal Reserve Fisher fixed Illinois Investment Grade Janet Yellen Merrill Merrill Lynch Monetary Policy Quantitative Easing Richard Fisher TrimTabs Thu, 26 May 2016 02:00:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 561866 at http://www.zerohedge.com Hillary Accuses State Department Report Of Having An "Anti-Clinton Bias" http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-05-25/hillary-accuses-state-department-report-having-anti-clinton-bias <p>Today's long <a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-05-25/hillary-trouble-state-department-says-clinton-did-not-comply-federal-record-policies">awaited blockbuster report released by the State Department Inspector Genera</a>l, which found that Hillary Clinton broke government rules by using a private email server without approval, and that among many other things Clinton would <em>not have been allowed </em>to use the server in her home had she asked the department officials in charge of information security, made the day of all of Hillary's critics as it confirmed most of their accusations, while at the same time justified Hillary's worst fears: apparently epic sloppiness "did make a difference after all" especially since it confirmed she had lied, again. </p> <p>The report explicitly contradicted Clinton's repeated assertion <strong>that her server was allowed and that no permission was needed.</strong></p> <p>"<strong>OIG found no evidence that the Secretary requested or obtained guidance or approval to conduct official business via a personal email account on her private server</strong>," the report said, adding that Clinton should have discussed the arrangement with the department's security and technology officials. Officials told investigators that they "did not - and would not - approve her exclusive reliance on a personal email account to conduct Department business." <strong>The reason, those officials said, is because it breached department rules and presented "security risks."</strong></p> <p>The palpable lack of coherent response to this sudden revelation confirmed just how jarred by today's events the presumptive Democratic presidential candidate was. </p> <p>As we first reported earlier today, the Clinton camp's initial reaction was to use a kindergarten excuse: former secretaries of state were also doing it, or in the <a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-05-25/hillary-responds-damaging-state-department-report">words of Hillary's press secretary Brian Fallon</a>, "the Inspector General documents just how consistent her email practices were with those of other Secretaries and senior officials at the State Department who also used personal email." </p> <p>In other words, Hillary was abusing Federal regulations and failed to maintain proper record-keeping practices, but others were doing it, so please look the other say. Which incidentally, was also a lie: Fallon did not address the report's criticism of Clinton's use of a private server, something no other secretary of state has done.</p> <p>This "explanation" only made the hole Hillary now finds herself in even deeper. </p> <p>So what did Hillary do next? </p> <p>Just a few hours later, Brian Fallon appeared on CNN's "The Situation Room" and <strong>called into question the timing of the State Department investigation into Clinton's use of a private email server.&nbsp; </strong>Fallon referred to the "<strong>appropriateness</strong>" of the investigation, parallel to the Justice Department's investigation into the same issue, as "an open question" even if both Fallon and Hillary were aware of the two investigations for over a year. </p> <p>In other words, another conspiracy theory... the same kind of conspiracy theory that CNN want postal on Donald Trump for just 24 hours earlier when he dared to hint that something was "fishy" about the Vince Foster death. Oddly, there were no comparable accusations this time. </p> <p>Where thing got really unhinged, however, is when Fallon <a href="http://thehill.com/blogs/ballot-box/presidential-races/281290-clinton-aide-questions-timing-of-email-investigation">tried to defend Clinton's decision </a><strong>not to meet with the inspector<br /> general </strong>for the investigation by arguing that Clinton and her staff<br /> decided to "prioritize the Justice Department review." </p> <p>When repeatedly asked by CNN's Wolf Blitzer why Clinton didn't have time to do both, Fallon noted both the handful of inquiries Clinton has responded to. But the punchline was that this too was another vast conspiracy - <strong>he stated "reports" from inside the office claiming that the investigation had an "anti-Clinton bias." </strong></p> <p>All Bush's fault? </p> <p>Blitzer responded by asking Fallon, a former Justice Department spokesman, if he was leveling those accusations at State, but he said that he was not... even though quite clearly he did, in effect redoing what Trump did yesterday by mentioning the "Vince Foster story" and saying he would not talk about, when he too clearly did. This too was something that CNN's Jonathan Tapper took umbrage with just 24 hours earlier. </p> <p>None such treatment for Mr. Fallon or Ms. Clinton. </p> <p>But what would lend at least some credibility to Hillary's own <em>de novo</em> conspiracy theory is if the Inspector General was some hardened republican clearly out to get here. Here's the problem: current Secretary of State Kerry asked Steve Linick, the State Department inspector general, to investigate after Clinton's email arrangement came to light last year. <strong>President Barack Obama appointed Linick to the role in 2013</strong>.</p> <p>In other words, it was all... Obama's fault. </p> <p>Then again maybe Hillary is right, and it is yet another vast conspiracy, <strong>a vast left-wing conspiracy </strong>that is. Because if Hillary is indeed right, that would mean that none other than... <em>Obama wants to take her down?</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="620" height="359" alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user5/imageroot/hillary%20blackberry.jpg?1464226800" /> </div> </div> </div> http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-05-25/hillary-accuses-state-department-report-having-anti-clinton-bias#comments Barack Obama Donald Trump None Thu, 26 May 2016 01:40:25 +0000 Tyler Durden 561885 at http://www.zerohedge.com Former McDonalds CEO Crushes The Minimum Wage Lie: "It's Cheaper To Buy A Robot Than Hire At $15/Hour" http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-05-25/former-mcdonalds-ceo-crushes-minimum-wage-lie-its-cheaper-buy-robot-hire-15hour <p>While this should come as no surprise to any rational non-establishment-teet-suckling economist (and <a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-04-06/mcdonalds-responds-minimum-wage-hikes-launches-mccafe-coffee-kiosk">certainly </a>not to our <a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-09-07/happy-15-minimum-wage-labor-day-mcdonalds">readers</a>), former McDonalds' CEO Ed Rensi continued his crusade against the naive "solution" to poor living standards that has been peddled by a clueless administration in the form of a higher federal minimum wage, and after he <a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-04-29/former-mcdonalds-ceo-warns-minimum-wage-will-wipe-out-1000s-jobs">patiently explained one month ago </a>that "the $15 minimum wage demand, which translates to $30,000 a year for a full-time employee, is built upon a fundamental misunderstanding of a restaurant business <em>just do the mat</em>h" Rensi found that nobody has still done the math. </p> <p>Which is perhaps why the ex-CEO reappeared on Fox Business yesterday to explain to Maria Bartiromo that as fast-food workers across the country vie for $15 per hour wages, many business owners have already begun to take humans out of the picture, McDonalds most certainly included. </p> <p><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user5/imageroot/2016/05/13/MCD%20robots.jpg"><img src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user5/imageroot/2016/05/13/MCD%20robots_0.jpg" width="560" height="313" /></a></p> <p>As Rensi admitted, "I was at the National Restaurant Show yesterday and if you look at the robotic devices that are coming into the restaurant industry - <strong>it’s cheaper to buy a $35,000 robotic arm than it is to hire an employee who’s inefficient making $15 an hour bagging French fries </strong>- it’s nonsense and it’s very destructive and it’s inflationary and <strong>it’s going to cause a job loss across this country like you’re not going to believe."</strong></p> <p><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2016/04/28/20160429_mcd.jpg"><img src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2016/04/28/20160429_mcd.jpg" width="567" height="381" /></a></p> <p>“It’s not just going to be in the fast food business. Franchising is the best business model in the United States. It’s dependent on people that have low job skills that have to grow. <strong>Well if you can’t get people a reasonable wage, you’re going to get machines to do the work</strong>. It’s just common sense. It’s going to happen whether you like it or not. And the more you push this it’s going to happen faster,” the former McDonalds Chief Executive added.</p> <p>Rensi also said that we should do away with the federal minimum wage and <strong>leave it up to the states</strong>, which is quite logical. It's also why it will never happen. </p> <p>"I think we ought to have a multi-faceted wage program in this country. If you’re a high school kid, you ought to have a student wage. If you’re an entry level worker you ought to have a separate wage. <strong>The states ought to manage this because they know more [about] what’s going on the ground than anybody in Washington D.C</strong>." Spot on.</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/Noh4_foXOXU" width="560" height="315" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <p>As a reminder, this is how Rensi concluded his tirade against the minimum wage last month: "I suspect that the labor organizers behind this campaign for a $15 minimum wage are less interested in helping employees, and more interested in helping themselves to dues money from their paycheck. <strong>They’re unlikely to succeed in their goal of organizing the employees of McDonald’s franchisees, but they may well succeed in passing $15 into law in other sympathetic locales.</strong>"</p> <p>And that's the whole truth. You’ll see their legacy every time you visit the Golden Arches, where "would you like fries with that" will soon be an ubiquitous button on a computer screen telling a robotic arm in the kitchen what to prepare, all at a wage of $0.00/hour. </p> <script src="http://video.foxbusiness.com/v/embed.js?id=4909432413001&amp;w=560&amp;h=316" type="text/javascript"></script><p><noscript>Watch the latest video at <a href="http://video.foxbusiness.com">video.foxbusiness.com</a></noscript></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="480" height="268" alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user5/imageroot/MCD%20robots.jpg?1464223271" /> </div> </div> </div> http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-05-25/former-mcdonalds-ceo-crushes-minimum-wage-lie-its-cheaper-buy-robot-hire-15hour#comments Fox Business McDonalds Washington D.C. Thu, 26 May 2016 00:58:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 561881 at http://www.zerohedge.com "Someday We'll Be Microchipping All Of Our Children" http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-05-25/someday-well-be-microchipping-all-our-children <p><a href="http://theeconomiccollapseblog.com/archives/a-shocking-nbc-news-report-says-that-someday-we-will-be-microchipping-all-of-our-children"><em>Submitted by Michael Snyder via The Economic Collapse blog,</em></a></p> <p><em><strong>Would you allow microchips to be surgically implanted in your children if that would keep them safer?&nbsp;</strong></em> This is already being done to pets on a widespread basis, and a shocking local NBC News report is promoting the idea that if it is good for our pets, then we should be doing it to our children as well.&nbsp; <strong>As you will see below, the report even puts a guilt trip on parents by asking them this question: &ldquo;How far would you go to keep your children secure?&rdquo;&nbsp;</strong></p> <p>Of course most parents very much want to keep their children safe, and a microchip would enable authorities to track them down if they were lost or stolen.&nbsp; <strong>But is this really a good idea?&nbsp; And where is all of this technology eventually leading?</strong>&nbsp; If you have not seen this very disturbing local NBC News report yet, <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ObPn_mVG5A0" target="_blank" title="you can view it right here">you can view it right here</a>&hellip;</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/ObPn_mVG5A0" width="560"></iframe></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>In the video, the reporter says that our children could be implanted with microchips &ldquo;the size of a grain of rice&rdquo; and that there would be &ldquo;little to no health risks&rdquo; involved.</p> <p>And near the end of the report,<strong> she insists that &ldquo;we could see those microchips in everyone&rdquo; eventually.</strong></p> <p>Wow.</p> <p>I am speechless.</p> <p>The report also quoted an electronics expert who claimed tha<strong>t testing of these microchips&nbsp;<a href="http://www.infowars.com/293622-2/" target="_blank" title="“is being done right now”">&ldquo;is being done right now&rdquo;</a>&hellip;</strong></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>The piece flips back to pushing the idea when it quotes electronics expert Stuart Lipoff, who asserts that microchipping children is safe and inevitable.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>&ldquo;People should be aware that testing is being done right now. The military is not only testing this out, but already utilizes its properties. It&rsquo;s not a matter of if it will happen, but when,&rdquo;</strong> states Lipoff.</p> </blockquote> <p>Of course if widespread microchipping of the population does start happening,<strong> at first it will likely be purely voluntary</strong>.&nbsp; But once enough of the population starts adopting the idea, it will be really easy for the government to make it mandatory.</p> <p><u><strong>Just imagine a world where physical cash was a thing of the past and you could not buy, sell, get a job or open a bank account without your government-issued microchip identification.</strong></u></p> <p><em><strong>Will you allow yourself and your family to be chipped when that day arrives?</strong></em></p> <p><em>If not, how will you eat?</em></p> <p><em>How will you survive?</em></p> <p><em>What will you do when your children come crying to you for food?</em></p> <p>I am certainly not saying that you should allow yourself to be chipped.&nbsp; I know that nobody is ever chipping me.&nbsp; <strong><em>But what I am saying is that people are going to be faced with some absolutely heart-breaking choices.</em></strong></p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="460" height="322" alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/20160525_chip1.jpg?1464197197" /> </div> </div> </div> http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-05-25/someday-well-be-microchipping-all-our-children#comments NBC Thu, 26 May 2016 00:30:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 561835 at http://www.zerohedge.com