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NSA Whistleblower Speaks: "The Ultimate Goal is Total Population Control"

Meet Bill Binney, one of the earliest NSA whistleblowers (well before anyone had ever heard of Edward Snowden). He worked for the NSA for 30 years before resigning because of concerns he had regarding illegal spying on U.S. citizens in 2001. Mr. Binney thankfully has never stopped fighting for The Constitution that he swore to defend, unlike most other government officials who happily stomp all over the basic civil liberties enshrined in our founding document. He had some very choice words recently and it would be wise for all of us on planet earth to pay very close attention - Binney recently told the German NSA inquiry committee that his former employer had a “totalitarian mentality” that was the “greatest threat” to US society since that country’s US Civil War in the 19th century.



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WTF Headline Of The Day: Blythe Masters' Ex-Husband Launches Offshored Bitcoin Hedge Fund

Blythe Masters is perhaps the most maligned human being on earth by silver investors due to suspicions of JP Morgan’s manipulation in the silver market (and rightly so). Well she’s back in the news, but it has nothing to do with silver. Rather, the news relates to the fact that her ex-husband and commodities traders, Daniel Masters, has just launched a Bitcoin hedge fund from the island of Jersey, a British Crown dependency.



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Israel Launches Ground Operation In Gaza: Special Forces Raid Alleged Rocket Compound



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Merkel Slams Obama's "Cold War" Espionage "Doesn't Belong In 21st Century"

On the heels of John Kerry's accusation that Russia's behavior does not belong in the 21st century, Germany's Angela Merkel has come out swining against the escalating spying scandal with the US (which saw allegations that the US had recruited two Germans to sell secrets this week). During an interview with ZDF, the German leader blasted “that we have different perceptions on the work of intelligence services," adding that "we don’t live in the Cold War anymore." The White House's response, so far, a shrug of 'business-as-usual' from Josh Earnest; which fits with Merkel's conclusion: "I think it's not that easy to convince the Americans ... to completely change the way their intelligence services work."



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China Fears iPhone Is "Threat To National Security"

With threats and promises over cyber-crimes fleeting back and forth between the US and China, it appears - through the 'back-channel' of the nation's state broadcaster CCTV - China has stepped it up once again. As AFP reports, China has accused US technology giant Apple of threatening national security through its iPhone's ability to track and time-stamp a user's location. While not exactly a 'new feature' of the phones, the timing of China's public lambasting reflects the escalating mutual distrust between the US and China over the extent of cyber-espionage.



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Guest Post: Are The 12 Regional Banks Of The Fed Private Entities?

Well, if you take the US Supreme Court and representatives of the Federal Reserve System at their own words, the case is pretty clear: the member banks of the Federal Reserve System are private corporations / banks.



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JPMorgan Blows Up The Fed's "We Can 'Control' The Crash With Reverse Repo" Plan

This is a big deal. On the heels of our pointing out the surge in Treasury fails (following extensive detailing of the market's massive collateral shortage at the hands of the unmerciful Fed's buying programs), various 'strategists' wrote thinly-veiled attempts to calm market concerns that the repo market (the glue that holds risk assets together) was FUBAR. Even the Fed itself sent missives opining that their cunning Reverse-Repo facility would solve the problems and everyone should go back to the important business of BTFATHing... They are wrong - all of them - as yet again the Fed shows its ignorance of how the world works (just as it did in 2007/8 with the same shadow markets). As JPMorgan warns (not some tin-foil-hat-wearing blogger with an ax to grind) "the Fed’s reverse repo facility does little to alleviate the UST scarcity induced by the Federal Reserves’ QE programs coupled with a declining government deficit." The end result, they note, is "higher susceptibility of the repo market to collateral shortages" and thus dramatically higher financial fragility - the opposite of what the Fed 'hopes' for.



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Caught On Tape: Reporter Hit By Shell In Gaza

We earlier showed the close-up-and-personal images from the bombing raids between Hamas/ISIS/Al-Qaeda and Israel; but the following clip (which we still have not heard the final conclusion of) shows just how much of a 'surprise' these shellings can be... as a reporter is hit by a shell live on air.



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Goldman Admits Market 40% Overvalued, Economy Slowing, So... Time To Boost The S&P Target To 2050 From 1900

Recall that it was Goldman's David Kostin who in January admitted that "The S&P500 Is Now Overvalued By Almost Any Measure." It was then when the Goldman chief strategist admitted there was only 3% upside to the bank's year end target of 1900.  Well, that hasn't changed. In his latest note Kostin says that "S&P 500 now trades at 16.1x forward 12-month consensus EPS and 16.5x our top-down forecast... the only time S&P 500 traded at a higher multiple than today was during the 1997-2000 Tech bubble when margins were 25% (250 bp) lower than today. S&P 500 also trades at high EV/sales and EV/EBITDA multiples relative to history. The cyclically-adjusted P/E ratio suggests S&P 500 is now 30%-45% overvalued compared with the average since 1928." And this is where Goldman just goes apeshit full retard: "we lift our year-end 2014 S&P 500 price target to 2050 (from 1900) and 12-month target to 2075, reflecting prospective returns of 4% and 6%, respectively."

Wait, what???



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Forget Puerto Rico, German Munis Are In Trouble

Martin Armstrong warns that 50% of the municipal governments in Germany are on the verge of bankruptcy. This is part of the reason they are looking for bail-ins and even Merkel has determined they cannot allow any referendums fearing the people will vote against the EU. The Bremen state government has now imposed a spending freeze today. The reason has been the unexpected expenditure and revenue shortfalls in the total amount of 60 million euros. Politicians cannot see that this system is doomed. They keep looking for everything possible to raise more and more taxes. It is just amazing who disconnected government are from the reality of the economy. Everything is geared to move toward the confiscation of wealth not reforming the system.



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Obama, The 'Fiddling' Optimist

Having dictated to the citizenry - "Do not get cynical. Hope is the better choice," this week, we thought the following cartoon was particularly appropriate...



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Ignoring Occam's Razor (Or Why It's Not Different This Time)

Occam’s razor is a principle that states that among various hypotheses that might be used to explain a set of observations, the hypothesis – consistent with the evidence – that relies on the smallest number of assumptions is generally preferred. Essentially, the razor shaves away what is unnecessary and retains the most compact explanation that is consistent with the data. When we observe the increasingly tortured arguments that “this time is different,” we see investors discarding straightforward explanations that are fully consistent with the evidence and opting instead for the aliens-from-Xenon theory. nothing even in recent market cycles provides any support to the assumption of permanently elevated valuations. The only support for it is the desire of investors to avoid contemplating outcomes the same as the market suffered the last two times around. “This time is different” requires a lot of counterfactual assumptions. Occam’s razor would suggest a nice shave.



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Bundesbank Warns Draghi: "Monetary Policy... Is Too Loose"

With EURUSD hardly budging, constantly disappointing economic data (from periphery to the core now), and central bank transmission mechanisms that are entirely clogged and useless for anything but stuffing the pockets of bloated bank balance-sheets with domestic sovereign debt, it is no wonder Germany's Bundesbank has said 'enough'. "If we pursued our own monetary policy... it would look different," explained Bundesbank chief Jens Weidmann. As Reuters reports, Weidmann noted that many savers in Germany were irritated by low interest rates and property prices were overvalued in some big city areas in Germany; implicitly threatening the ECB's chatter-box that "this phase of low interest rates, this phase of expansive monetary policy, should not last longer than is absolutely necessary."



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Israel Releases Videos Of Bombing Raids As Gaza Casualties Top 100

Israel's bombing campaign of Gaza shows no signs of abating: as WaPo reports "Israel widened its air assault against the Gaza Strip’s Hamas rulers on Saturday, hitting a mosque it said was hiding rockets" as well as a school which it said was used by Hamas as a cover, "as Palestinians said their death toll from the five-day offensive rose to over 125." The military said it has struck more than 1,100 targets, including Hamas rocket launchers, command centers and weapon manufacturing and storage facilities, in a bid to stop relentless rocket fire coming Gaza. Officials in the territory said that besides the mosque, the strikes also hit Hamas-affiliated charities and banks, as well as a home for the disabled, killing two women.



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When Perfect "There Can't Be A Recession" Indicators Fail

This is it! The holy grail of forecasting, Jeffrey Kleintop has discovered it. You'll never have to worry about actual earnings reports, a massive bubble in junk debt, the sluggishness of the economy, new record levels in sentiment measures and margin debt, record low mutual fund cash reserves, the pace of money supply growth, or anything else again. Just watch the yield curve! Unfortunately, as we showed here in the US, this advice could turn out to be extremely dangerous for one's financial health - and has been across many nations throughout time.  People remain desperate for excuses as to why the latest bit of asset boom insanity will never end



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