Monday, May 2, 2016

One More Casualty Of The 9/11 Farce - The Petrodollar

By Brandon Smith and originally published at alt-market.com
It’s been about 15 years now since passenger airliners struck the World Trade Center towers on 9/11, and we are still suffering the consequences of that day, though perhaps not in the ways many Americans might believe.
The 9/11 attacks were billed by the Bush Administration as a “wake-up call” for the U.S., and neocons called it the new Pearl Harbor. But instead of it being an awaking, the American public was led further into blind ignorance. The event launched wars throughout the Middle East, energized by a strike-first doctrine which was supposed to bring unprecedented “democracy” to the region. Instead, the Middle East has now become as unstable as it was during WWII.
The penchant for Western governments to fund and train terrorist groups is now verifiable mainstream fact rather than being considered “conspiracy theory” as was the common accusation back in 2001. Pentagon papers outlining support for the formation of ISIS are available for anyone to read. The only disconnect that the public still seems to suffer from is that orthodox Republicans fail to recognize that the support for Islamic terrorism has been just as prevalent under Republican presidents (al-Qaeda) as it has been under Barack Obama. And, Democrats refuse to recognize that Barack Obama has been guilty of all the same criminal foreign policies they used to protest under George W. Bush.
There have been substantial economic consequences as well. The Iraq War alone is estimated to have cost around $2 trillion, with billions more in veteran benefits forthcoming. These numbers, of course, stop accounting for costs after 2010, when the war was deemed officially “over.” Costs continue to this day as the U.S. maintains its military presence in the region along with thousands of private contractors we rarely ever hear about.
The U.S. official national debt in 2001 was around $6 trillion. Today, the national debt has grown to more than $19 trillion. This astonishing debt accumulation is only partially due to combat operations in the Middle East; however, one must also consider the amount of interest owed on debts accrued.
There have also been numerous socio-political consequences post-9/11, including an ever expanding police state mentality which is reaching critical mass. The inevitable outcome will be open totalitarianism in the name of security, and rebellion in response.
Clearly, after 15 years of disastrous policy, it is time to admit that the U.S. response to 9/11 has damaged us far more than the actual attacks ever could.
Many of us in the liberty movement have studied the circumstances surrounding 9/11 extensively, including evidence indicating either government complicity in the attacks, or outright participation. Such a discussion is beyond the scope of this particular article, but I highly recommend anyone skeptical of U.S. government involvement in 9/11 look into the scientific data collected by Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth and see if your assumptions are not rattled.
Interestingly, the 9/11 truth movement may be partially vindicated in the near term as debate rages over the release of redacted and classified documents tied to the original government led investigation into 9/11. The problem is, the release of these documents is just as calculated as the original cover-up.
The fact that the involvement of the Saudi Arabian government in the events of 9/11 has suddenly hit the mainstream media this year is probably not a coincidence.
As I outlined in my article “The global economic reset has begun,” the U.S. economy has been protected since the credit crisis of 2008 by three pillars, and each of these pillars is now being systematically demolished.
The first pillar was fiat stimulus and quantitative easing. This pillar was removed through the Federal Reserve’s taper program.
The second pillar was the use of near-zero interest rates to funnel cheap or free money through overnight loans to banks and corporations which they then used in a long cycle of stock buybacks. This pillar is now being removed through interest rate hikes by the Fed, and stock buybacks will be dead before 2016 is over.
The third and final pillar holding up the U.S. economy is the dollar’s world reserve status — the dominance of the dollar around the world as the primary currency used in international trade.
World reserve status allows America to maintain extreme levels of debt creation and protects us partially from fiat hyperinflation. Because so many dollars are needed by overseas governments and corporations for international trade, the Federal Reserve has been able to perpetuate massive stimulus programs without all the money created immediately burying the U.S. system as what happened in Wiemar, Germany. The problem is, if the dollar ever loses world reserve status, the unknown amounts of dollars created by the Fed and held overseas will come flooding back to destroy the illusion of our currency’s value.
The dollar’s world reserve status is highly dependent on the fact that it is the petrocurrency; the vast majority of oil purchases around the planet are made only in dollars. In fact, most oil producing nations will not sell their stock unless dollars are used.
The dollar has enjoyed this awesome advantage primarily because of the relationship between the U.S. government and Saudi Arabia.
For now, Saudi Arabia is still the largest holder of oil production market share in the world. This market share has been declining somewhat recently due to falling global demand and more specifically falling U.S. demand, which has led to more vicious competition from other producing nations, including Russia and Iran.
Falling U.S. demand by itself has perhaps led OPEC nations to question the continued validity of the dollar as the petrocurrency. In November of 2015, the Saudi government hinted at the possibility that they might depeg from the U.S. currency entirely. This act alone would essentially destroy the dollar’s petro-status. The conundrum facing the Saudis was increasingly low and unstable oil prices to which the petrodollar adds a level of uncertainty. Mainstream analysts argued that Saudi Arabia may be forced to choose – either cut production to increase prices, or end the dollar peg and stabilize prices, by switching to a basket of currencies instead (Special Drawing Rights, anyone?!).
Obviously, after the engineered absurdity at the Doha meeting this month, there is absolutely no chance in hell that Saudi Arabia will commit to any substantial cuts in oil production. In fact, the Saudis have just announced that they may expand oil fields in order to increase production to even greater historical levels.
So, oil prices are going to remain low for now, and will probably fall exponentially if a battle for market share between Iran, Russia and Saudi Arabia goes nuclear, as I have predicted. This would suggest that the Saudis will end the peg to the dollar within the next couple of years.
As I wrote in my article “Economic crisis goes mainstream; what happens next?,” an oil price panic could lead to conflict between Saudi Arabia and the U.S. and disrupt the petrodollar. And, this would precipitate the fall of the dollar’s world reserve status; meaning, the globalists would get exactly what they want — the death of dollar dominance and the rise of the SDR system under the IMF as a prelude to global currency and global economic governance. However, another catalyst from left field may be needed. A sort of black swan event… enter the 28-page “secret chapter” of the 9/11 congressional inquiry.
Supposedly, the documents are a bombshell linking the Saudi government directly to the 9/11 hijackers and exposing their aid to said terrorists. Despite Obama’s "peace offerings" to the Saudis, the White House is still said to be poised to release these documents to the public in the near term.
The Saudi’s have responded with extreme anger, and have openly threatened to dump their $750 billion in U.S. treasury holdings if the documents ever see the light of day. This would invariably end the Saudi peg to the dollar and thus end the dollar’s petrostatus, which would then expedite the end of the dollar’s world reserve status. It would be a catastrophe.
The set-up is perfect. The liberty movement gets some vindication that there was indeed a conspiracy surrounding 9/11, but the true scope of that conspiracy remains hidden as the Saudis take the brunt of the blame. The Saudis get an opportunity handed to them on a silver platter to kill the dollar peg, an action they have been planning for quite some time anyway. The U.S. government then becomes partly responsible (in the public eye) for opening the door to the destruction of the dollar, a process which the globalists at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the Federal Reserve have been planning for decades. Then the IMF can swoop in post-crisis with the SDR basket system to replace the dollar’s world reserve structure.
We then have immense global economic change triggered by nothing more than a 28-page document, but predicated on years of careful staging, planning and choreography. Once again, the globalists have conjured a theatrical circus which they may use to end the American economy as we know it.
We will have to wait and see if the 9/11 documents are released, and if the Saudis follow through with their threats. But consider this; who really benefits in the end in the wake of these developments?  Such a move would certainly only serve the interests of international elites in the long run.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Forgiving One Another



By John MacArthur and originally published at gty.org 
For a Christian to be willfully unforgiving is unthinkable. We who have been forgiven by God Himself have no right to withhold forgiveness from our fellow sinners. In fact, Scripture plainly commands us to forgive in the same manner as we have received forgiveness: “Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you” (Ephesians 4:32).
God commands us to forgive others—it reflects His character. Unforgivingness is therefore ungodly. That means unforgivingness is no less an offense to God than fornication or drunkenness, even though we don’t often think of those sins as equally onerous. Certainly unforgivingness is more frequently found in the open among the people of God than the sins we typically regard as heinous. But Scripture is clear that God despises an unforgiving spirit (Matthew 18:21­–35).
As God’s children, we are to mirror His character. At salvation we are given a new nature that bears God’s spiritual likeness (Ephesians 4:24). So forgiveness is an integral part of the Christian’s new nature. An unforgiving Christian is a contradiction in terms. When you see a professing Christian who stubbornly refuses to relinquish a grudge, there’s good reason to question the genuineness of that person’s faith.
Unnatural Forgiveness
Yet to face the issue squarely, we must all admit that forgiveness does not come easily, even as Christians. Often we do not forgive as speedily or as graciously as we should. We’re all too prone to nurse offenses and withhold forgiveness.
Forgiveness is costly. It requires us to set aside our selfishness, accept with grace the wrongs others have committed against us, and not demand what we think is our due. All of that runs counter to our natural, sinful inclinations. Even as new creatures, we retain a remainder of sin in our flesh. Sinful habits and desires continue to plague us. That is why Scripture commands us to put off the old man and clothe ourselves with the new (Ephesians 4:22–24Colossians 3:9–10). And the new man is characterized by forgiveness—it is an essential garment for “the new self” (Ephesians 4:32Colossians 3:13).
Essential Forgiveness
Forgiveness is so important to the Christian’s walk that it was never far from the focus of what Christ taught. At the heart of the Lord’s Prayer is this petition: “Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors” (Matthew 6:12). Both the context and the cross-reference in Luke 11:4indicate that the “debts” referred to here are spiritual debts; “debtors” are those who have committed transgressions against us.
It is significant that of all the phrases in the Lord’s Prayer, it was this phrase that Christ saw fit to explain in the most detail. Immediately after the prayer’s amen, He turned to the disciples and said,
For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions (Matthew 6:14–15).
That has always been a difficult passage for expositors. At first glance it seems to make God’s forgiveness revocable. Some have cited this verse to argue that if we refuse forgiveness to those who offend us, God will withdraw His forgiveness from us, implying that a Christian who does not forgive can lose his or her salvation.
But the forgiveness spoken of here is not the judicial forgiveness of justification. It is the daily, parental forgiveness we are to seek when our sin has grieved our heavenly Father. One interpretive key is the prayer’s address: “Our Father.” This is a prayer for parental, not judicial, forgiveness. What Jesus is actually saying here is tantamount to: “If you refuse to forgive, your heavenly Father will discipline you severely for your sin of unforgivingness.”
Pharisaical Forgiveness
But that divine priority concerning forgiveness wasn’t shared by the Pharisees. Most of the influential religious teachers of Jesus’ day portrayed forgiveness as optional. The rabbis did acknowledge that the Old Testament permitted and even encouraged forgiveness in some cases. However, they strictly limited to three the number of times any person could be forgiven for the same offense.
They believed they had biblical authority for that view. They drew support for it from the book of Amos, where God pronounced doom on the enemies of Israel with these words: “For three transgressions of Damascus and for four I will not revoke its punishment” (Amos 1:3). In that same chapter God pronounced similar judgments against Gaza, Tyre, Edom, and Ammon, always with the words, “For three transgressions . . . and for four” (cf. Amos 1:691113). In other words, each of those hostile nations was permitted three offenses that God overlooked, and He judged them for the fourth offense.
The rabbinical scholars reasoned that if God forgives men only three times, it would be presumptuous and even wrong for mere creatures to forgive their fellow creatures any more than that. So they set a limit on the number of times forgiveness could be extended.
No doubt because of the stress on grace and forgiveness throughout Christ’s teachings, the apostles knew that He was calling them to a higher standard. Since Christ Himself had never quantified the number of times forgiveness is to be granted, Peter wanted to get some clarification.Matthew 18:21 says, “Then Peter came and said to Him, ‘Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times?’ ”
Peter no doubt thought he was being magnanimous. He doubled the rabbinical prescription, then rounded the number up to a perfect 7, possibly thinking the Lord might commend him for his generosity. Jesus’ reply undoubtedly stunned Peter and all the other disciples.
Unlimited Forgiveness
Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven” (Matthew 18:22). The fleshly mind immediately protests what seems an unreasonable standard. Doesn’t forgiveness have a limit? Common sense would seem to suggest that repeat offenders should not be granted pardon indefinitely. At what point does grace become gullibility? Seventy times seven is 490! No one can possibly even keep count of such a high number of offenses!
But that is precisely the point! Keeping count has nothing to do with true forgiveness. If an offense is sincerely forgiven, it cannot be held against the offender. The rabbinical system in effect required the offended party to remember and record supposedly forgiven offenses and stop forgiving after the third time. Jesus’ teaching eliminated any limit on forgiveness whatsoever. “Seventy times seven” set the standard so high that it would be pointless to keep an account of the injuries we have borne. But that is fitting, because the sort of love Christians are called to exemplify “does not take into account a wrong suffered” (1 Corinthians 13:5).
Since God’s forgiveness sets the criterion by which we are to forgive, the standard is set blessedly high. What may seem at first like an impossibly unfair and unattainable standard is in fact wonderful news for anyone who has ever needed to seek the forgiveness of God for repeat offenses. Jesus is teaching here that the forgiveness we extend to others should be as boundless as the mercy of God we desire for ourselves. That shatters all the limits anyone would try to place on human forgiveness.
Genuine forgiveness is not feigned or grudging, but is given as freely as we ourselves desire to be forgiven. It involves a deliberate refusal to hold the guilt over the head of the offender. It means ending the bitterness, laying aside anger, and refusing to dwell on the offense that has been forgiven. It is a complete letting go of any thought of retaliation or reprisal. It is, as nearly as possible, the human equivalent of what God promises—to remember the sin no more (cf.Jeremiah 31:34). 
Such forgiveness does not come easy, particularly when it deals with the kinds of sins that destroy lives and relationships. When we’re talking about a personal slight or an unkind word, it’s relatively easy to forgive. But what if the offense is more serious? Where do people find the strength to forgive when they discover a spouse has cheated, or when a drunk driver causes the death of a loved one? Is it humanly possible to forgive such offenses?
It may not seem humanly possible, and it certainly does not lie within the power of fallen human nature alone to forgive such things from the heart. But it certainly is possible for redeemed people, under the influence of the Holy Spirit’s power, to forgive even the most serious offenses.
(Adapted from The Freedom and Power of Forgiveness.)

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Economy Rotten-Like Apple Sales, Russia US Moving Towards Conflict, MSM Unfair to Trump


1aBy Greg Hunter’s USAWatchdog.com 
The economy is rotten just like Apple iPhone sales numbers. For the first time in 10 years, Apple reported its first quarterly sales drop for their popular iPhone. No, it’s not the end of the world, but it’s a sign there is trouble in the economy.  Sure, Facebook beat its earnings projections, but they don’t make anything.  Other bad news includes new home sales are down.  Manufacturing numbers from the Dallas Fed are down.  Consumer sentiment numbers from the University of Michigan are down.  Spending is down.  Retail sales are down.  GDP in the first quarter came in at a paltry .5%.  Economist John Williams says that number will be revised down and will probably turn negative.  Williams says we are already in a recession or soon will be.  Both Bo Polny and Greg Mannarino say the same thing: we are getting to a point where they can no longer hide the bad economy, and there really is no recovery after all.
What does this mean for the run up in the stock market we have seen in the last few months? Mannarino and Polny also come to the same conclusion, and that is the markets are rolling over and we are headed down.  Maybe that’s why insiders have sold stocks for the last 13 weeks in a row—a record.  Add this to the news of Saudi Arabia cutting oil deals with China, and Russia, as of this week, is no longer pricing its oil in dollars.  Looks like we have a perfect storm of deep trouble for the U.S. and the world for that matter.
President Obama asked Europe for support for a possible war with Russia. While the President was in Germany recently, he asked that all members of NATO back the U.S. in Eastern Europe if war breaks out.  There are all sorts of signs that things between the U.S. and Russia are not good.  Russian fighters have recently buzzed U.S. Navy ships and surveillance aircraft.  The U.S. has sent two F-22 Raptors to Romania to deter what the U.S. says is “Russian aggression.”  Threats continue to be made on both sides.  Meanwhile, in the Middle East, the U.S. sent another 250 troops to fight against ISIS while Iran’s Supreme Leader is complaining about how the U.S. is slow to remove sanctions and has done so only “on paper.”  I say, that’s the deal you get when nobody signs a deal.   The Iran/U.S. deal to curtail its nuclear program is a no deal-deal because you don’t have a deal if nobody signs it.
The mainstream media (MSM) continues to trash Trump. To me, it is painfully obvious that the MSM are afraid of a Trump presidency and, deep down, know Democrats are going to vote for Trump.   According to a legit poll out at the first of the year, 20% of Democrats say they will vote for Trump.
Join Greg Hunter as he talks about these stories and more in the Weekly News Wrap-Up.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Why Is the Progressive Left Helping the Elite Elect Hillary?



By Paul Craig Roberts and originally published at paulcraigroberts.org 
Have you noticed that it is not only the presstitute media and the two establishment political parties that are beating up on Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump but also the progressive left? Sometimes the messages overlap so much that the progressive left sounds like the One Percent. But mainly the progressive left is down on Sanders because he is “not pure,” and they don’t like Trump because he hurts people’s feelings and doesn’t apologize.
This is astounding. Here we are faced with the corrupt media and the corrupt party establishments determined to put in the Oval Office a tried and proven agent of the One Percent, and the progressive left is beating up on the only two alternatives!
I doubt that Sanders or Trump would be able to achieve much for the American people except to reduce the flow of official lies that the presstitutes turn into truths by constant repetition. The Oligarchy is too strong. It was more than a half century ago that President Eisenhower warned us of the threat to American democracy from the military-security complex. That complex is much stronger today, and, in addition, we have Wall Street and the mega-banks that control the US Treasury and Federal Reserve, the Israel Lobby that has the US Congress wrapped around its little finger, the extractive industries (energy, mining, timber) that prevails over the environment and preservation, and agribusiness that poisons our food, exterminates honey bees and butterflies and produces chemical fertilizer runoff into waters that result in massive fish kills from algea. None of these powerful interests will permit the welfare of the American people to get in the way of their agendas and profits.
Nevertheless, the election of Sanders or Trump is important, because it demonstrates that American citizens are emerging from The Matrix and have no confidence in the two corrupt political parties that betrayed them. The message would go out to the world as well that the American people have no confidence in the Washington Establishment. These messages are very important and can only have beneficial effects.
So why is the progressive left helping the One Percent keep the lid on the rest of us? Has the progressive left sold out or is the progressive left putting its emotional needs above the general welfare?

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Censored, Surveilled, Watch Listed and Jailed: The Absurdity of Being a Citizen in the American Police State

By John W. Whitehead and originally published at rutherford.org
In the American police state, the price to be paid for speaking truth to power (also increasingly viewed as an act of treason) is surveillance, censorship, jail and ultimately death.
However, where many Americans go wrong is in assuming that you have to be doing something illegal or challenging the government’s authority in order to be flagged as a suspicious character, labeled an enemy of the state and locked up like a dangerous criminal.
In fact, as I point out in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, all you really need to do is use certain trigger words, surf the internet, communicate using a cell phone, drive a car, stay at a hotel, purchase materials at a hardware store, take flying or boating lessons, appear suspicious, question government authority, or generally live in the United States.
With the help of automated eyes and ears, a growing arsenal of high-tech software, hardware and techniques, government propaganda urging Americans to turn into spies and snitches, as well as social media and behavior sensing software, government agents are spinning a sticky spider-web of threat assessments, flagged “words,” and “suspicious” activity reports aimed at snaring potential enemies of the state.
It’s the American police state’s take on the dystopian terrors foreshadowed by George Orwell, Aldous Huxley and Phillip K. Dick all rolled up into one oppressive pre-crime and pre-thought crime package.
What’s more, the technocrats who run the surveillance state don’t even have to break a sweat while monitoring what you say, what you read, what you write, where you go, how much you spend, whom you support, and with whom you communicate. Computers now do the tedious work of trolling social media, the internet, text messages and phone calls for potentially anti-government remarks—all of which is carefully recorded, documented, and stored to be used against you someday at a time and place of the government’s choosing.
While this may sound like a riff on a bad joke, it’s a bad joke with “we the people” as the punchline.
The following activities are guaranteed to get you censored, surveilled, eventually placed on a government watch list, possibly detained and potentially killed.
Laugh at your own peril.
Use harmless trigger words like cloud, pork and pirates: The Department of Homeland Security has an expansive list of keywords and phrases it uses to monitor social networking sites and online media for signs of terrorist or other threats such as SWAT, lockdown, police, cloud, food poisoning, pork, flu, Subway, smart, delays, cancelled, la familia,pirates, hurricane, forest fire, storm, flood, help, ice, snow, worm, warning or social media.
Use a cell phone: Simply by using a cell phone, you make yourself an easy target for government agents—working closely with corporations—who can listen in on your phone calls, read your text messages and emails, and track your movements based on the data transferred from, received by, and stored in your cell phone. Mention any of the so-called “trigger” words in a conversation or text message, and you’ll get flagged for sure.
Drive a car: Unless you’ve got an old junkyard heap without any of the gadgets and gizmos that are so attractive to today’s car buyers (GPS, satellite radio, electrical everything, smart systems, etc.), driving a car today is like wearing a homing device: you’ll be tracked from the moment you open that car door thanks to black box recorders and vehicle-to-vehicle communications systems that can monitor your speed, direction, location, the number of miles traveled, and even your seatbelt use. Once you add satellites, GPS devices, license plate readers, and real-time traffic cameras to the mix, there’s nowhere you can go on our nation’s highways and byways that you can’t be followed.
Attend a political rally: Enacted in the wake of 9/11, the Patriot Act redefined terrorism so broadly that many non-terrorist political activities such as protest marches, demonstrations and civil disobedience were considered potential terrorist acts, thereby rendering anyone desiring to engage in protected First Amendment expressive activities as suspects of the surveillance state.
Express yourself on social media: The FBI, CIA, NSA and other government agencies are investing in and relying oncorporate surveillance technologies that can mine constitutionally protected speech on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram in order to identify potential extremists and predict who might engage in future acts of anti-government behavior.
Serve in the militaryOperation Vigilant Eagle, the brainchild of the Dept. of Homeland Security, calls for surveillance of military veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, characterizing them as extremists and potential domestic terrorist threats because they may be “disgruntled, disillusioned or suffering from the psychological effects of war.”
Disagree with a law enforcement official: A growing number of government programs are aimed at identifying, monitoring and locking up anyone considered potentially “dangerous” or mentally ill (according to government standards, of course). For instance, a homeless man in New York City who reportedly had a history of violence but no signs of mental illness was forcibly detained in a psych ward for a week after arguing with shelter police.
Call in sick to work: In Virginia, a so-called police “welfare check” instigated by a 58-year-old man’s employer after he called in sick resulted in a two-hour, SWAT team-style raid on the man’s truck and a 72-hour mental health hold. All of this was done despite the fact that police acknowledged they had no legal basis nor probable cause for detaining the man, given that he had not threatened to harm anyone and was not mentally ill.
Limp or stutter: As a result of a nationwide push to certify a broad spectrum of government officials in mental health first-aid training (a 12-hour course comprised of PowerPoint presentations, videos, discussions, role playing and other interactive activities), more Americans are going to run the risk of being reported for having mental health issues by non-medical personnel. For instance, one 37-year-old disabled man was arrested, diagnosed by police and an unlicensed mental health screener as having “mental health issues,” apparently because of his slurred speech and unsteady gait.
Appear confused or nervous, fidget, whistle or smell bad: According to the Transportation Security Administration’s 92-point secret behavior watch list for spotting terrorists, these are among some of the telling signs of suspicious behavior: fidgeting, whistling, bad body odor, yawning, clearing your throat, having a pale face from recently shaving your beard, covering your mouth with your hand when speaking and blinking your eyes fast.
Allow yourself to be seen in public waving a toy gun or anything remotely resembling a gun, such as a water nozzle or a remote control or a walking cane, for instance: No longer is it unusual to hear about incidents in which police shoot unarmed individuals first and ask questions later. John Crawford was shot by police in an Ohio Wal-Mart for holding an air rifle sold in the store that he may have intended to buy. Thirteen-year-old Andy Lopez Cruz was shot 7 times in 10 seconds by a California police officer who mistook the boy’s toy gun for an assault rifle. Christopher Roupe, 17, was shot and killed after opening the door to a police officer. The officer, mistaking the Wii remote control in Roupe’s hand for a gun, shot him in the chest. Another police officer repeatedly shot 70-year-old Bobby Canipe during a traffic stop. The cop saw the man reaching for his cane and, believing the cane to be a rifle, opened fire.
Appear to be pro-gun, pro-freedom or anti-government: You might be a domestic terrorist in the eyes of the FBI (and its network of snitches) if you: express libertarian philosophies; exhibit Second Amendment-oriented views; read survivalist literature, including apocalyptic fictional books; show signs of self-sufficiency (stockpiling food, ammo, hand tools, medical supplies); fear an economic collapse; buy gold and barter items; voice fears about Big Brother or big government; or expound about constitutional rights and civil liberties.
Attend a public school: Microcosms of the police state, America’s public schools contain almost every aspect of the militarized, intolerant, senseless, overcriminalized, legalistic, surveillance-riddled, totalitarian landscape that plagues those of us on the “outside.” Additionally, as part of the government’s so-called ongoing war on terror, the FBI—the nation’s de facto secret police force—is now recruiting students and teachers to spy on each other and report anyone who appears to have the potential to be “anti-government” or “extremist” as part of its “Don’t Be a Puppet” campaign.
Speak truth to power: Long before Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden were being castigated for blowing the whistle on the government’s war crimes and the National Security Agency’s abuse of its surveillance powers, it was activists such as Martin Luther King Jr. and John Lennon who were being singled out for daring to speak truth to power. These men and others like them had their phone calls monitored and data files collected on their activities and associations. For a little while, at least, they became enemy number one in the eyes of the U.S. government.
There’s always a price to pay for standing up to the powers-that-be.
Yet as this list shows, you don’t even have to be a dissident to get flagged by the government for surveillance, censorship and detention.
All you really need to be is a citizen of the American police state.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

The Status Quo Has Failed and Is Beyond Reform

The truth is; the usual menu of reforms can’t stop this failure, so we have to prepare ourselves for the radical transformations ahead
By Charles Hugh Smith and originally published at charleshughsmith.blogspot.com
That the status quo--the current pyramid of wealth and power dominated by the few at the top--has failed is self-evident, but we can't bear to talk about it.This is not just the result of a corporate media that serves up a steady spew of pro-status quo propaganda--it is also the result of self-censorship and denial.
Why do we avoid talking about the failure of the status quo? We know it is beyond reform, and we're afraid: afraid that the promises of financial security cannot be kept, afraid of our own precariousness and fragility, and afraid of what will replace the status quo, for we all know Nature abhors a vacuum, and when the status quo crumbles, something else will take its place.
We all prefer the comforting promises of vast central states. No wonder so many Russians pine for the glory days of the Soviet Union, warts and all.
But the central bank/state model has failed, and history can't be reversed. The failure is not rooted in superficial issues such as which political party is in power, or which regulations are enforced; the failure is structural. The very foundation of the status quo has rotted away, and brushing on another coat of reformist paint will not save our societal house from collapse.
Yet those who benefit from our status quo (or hope to benefit from it upon retirement) naturally deny it has failed, for the reason that it has yet to fail them personally.
So we pretend to not understand that all unsustainable systems eventually collapse, and hope that the next central bank policy--negative interest rates, or bank bail-ins or helicopter money--will postpone it.
But the writing is already on the wall for us to read: these are the tell-tale signs of systemic failure leading to systemic collapse:

  • We keep doing more of what has failed spectacularly.
  • What began as emergency measures are now permanent policies.
  • The returns on status quo solutions are diminishing to less than zero.
  • Social mobility has eroded.
  • We have lost social cohesion and shared purpose.

  • But the failure runs even deeper: Our status quo is not only failing to solve humanity’s six core problems-- it has become the problem.
    To explain why this is so, I wrote Why Our Status Quo Failed and Is Beyond Reform, a new book that's focused (90 pages) and affordable, i.e. the cost of a latte ($3.95 Kindle ebook, $8.95 print edition).
    Why can’t our status quo be reformed? There are two primary reasons:
    1) Those benefiting from the current arrangement will resist any reforms that threaten their share of the pie--and meaningful reforms will necessarily threaten everyone’s slice of the pie.
    2) Reforms that actually address the structural flaws will bring the system down, as the status quo can only continue if its engine (permanent expansion of debt and consumption) is running at full speed. Once the engine stalls or even slows, the system collapses.
    This is unwelcome news not just to privileged insiders--and the harsh reality is that our status quo exists to protect the privileges of the few at the expense of the many--but to everyone who hopes to benefit in some way from our status quo's cornucopia of promises.
    So we cling to the dangerous hope that all the promises can be met by some future magic, and cocoon ourselves in an equally dangerous denial that collapse is inevitable. We don't just want to avoid the decay and collapse of all the happy promises--we want to avoid the responsibility of taking part in shaping the replacement system.
    We all want to wallow in the false security of one form of the old Soviet Union or another. Call it Japan, or the Eurozone, or the U.S.A., or Russia, or the People's Republic of China--they're all versions of the doomed Soviet model of central planning, propaganda and suppression of anything that isn't supportive of the status quo, i.e. dissent.
    The truth is the usual menu of reforms can’t stop this failure, so we have to prepare ourselves for the radical transformations ahead. The decay and collapse of our status quo is not the disaster we assume; rather, it is good news for the planet and everyone who isn't in the privileged elites, as the collapse will clear the way for a much more sustainable decentralized system that is already visible to those who know where to look (crypto-currencies, local community economies, etc.).
    The decay phase of the status quo (i.e. the present) offers us a magnificent opportunity to fashion alternative systems that operate in the shadow of the status quo, making use of technologies such as the Internet. Alternative systems can arise without challenging the status quo; indeed, sustainable, decentralized systems offer open-minded elements of the status quo new models and new partners.
    My own proposal for a replacement system is called CLIME--the Community Labor Integrated Money System. Whether you agree with my proposal or not, the point is that we have to wake up from our propaganda-induced slumber and take responsibility for being part of the solution rather than passively clinging to the problem, i.e. our status quo.

    Tuesday, April 26, 2016

    Oil Market Hype And Crisis Signal Greater Troubles Ahead



    By Brandon Smith and originally published at alt-market.com
    Most people are not avid followers of economic news, and I don’t blame them. Financial analysis is for the most part boring and tedious and you would have to be some kind of crazy to commit a large slice of your life to it.
    However, those of us who are that crazy do what we do (and do it independently) because underneath all the data and the charts and the overnight news feeds we see keys to future events. And if we are observant enough, we might even be able to warn people who don’t have the same proclivities but still deserve to know the reality of the world around them.
    Most Americans and much of the rest of the planet probably were not aware of the recent oil producer’s meeting in Doha, Qatar this past Sunday, nor would they have cared. A bunch of rich guys in white dresses talking about oil production levels does not exactly spark the imagination. What the masses missed, though, was an event that could affect them deeply and economically for many months to come.
    A little background highly summarized…
    After the derivatives and credit crisis launched in 2007/2008 the Federal Reserve responded to disastrous levels of deflation with a fiat money printing bonanza. Everyone knows this. The problem was the central bankers never had any intention of actually using all that “cash” to support Main Street or the fundamentals of the economy.
    Instead, they used their printing press and digital loan transfers to artificially re-inflate the coffers of banks and major corporations. It was a blood transfusion for vampires, if you will.
    Through the use of TARP (Troubled Asset Relief Program), quantitative easing, artificially low interest rates, and probably a host of secret actions we’ll never hear about, a steady stream of capital (or debt, to be more precise) was pumped through corporate conduits. The goal? To keep the U.S. from immediate bankruptcy through treasury bond purchases, to boost bank credit, and to allow companies to institute an unprecedented program of stock buybacks (a method by which a corporation buys back its own shares to reduce the amount on the market, thereby manipulating the value of the remaining shares to higher prices).
    As the former head of the Federal Reserve Dallas branch, Richard Fisher admitted in aninterview with CNBC:
    “What the Fed did — and I was part of that group — is we front-loaded a tremendous market rally, starting in 2009.
    It’s sort of what I call the “reverse Whimpy factor” — give me two hamburgers today for one tomorrow."
    Why would the Fed want to engineer a hollow rally in stocks? As I have said in the past, they did this because they know that the average American watches about 15 minutes of television news a day and gauges the health of the economy only on whether the Dow is green or red. From 2009 to 2015, the Fed felt it needed to support markets through fiat and keep the public placated and apathetic.
    Stocks and bonds were not the only assets being propped up by the Fed, though. In tandem, oil markets were artificially inflated.
    Oil suffered a historic spike in 2008, then collapsed to near $40 (WTI). Starting in 2009 and the initiation of major stimulus measures by the Fed, oil prices came back with a vengeance; almost as if the spike in 2008 was merely a measure to psychologically prepare the public for what was to come. In 2010 prices climbed near the $90 mark, then in 2011 they peaked at around $115 a barrel.
    Then, something magical happened — in December, 2013, the Fed announced the Taper of QE3, something very few people predicted would actually happen (you can read this articlebreaking down why I predicted it would happen).
    The taper involved slowly cycling out Fed purchases a month at a time. By mid-2014 the taper was nearing completion. Suddenly, oil markets began to tank. By October, 2014 the Fed finished the taper and oil collapsed, from $95 a barrel to a low of under $30 a barrel at the beginning of 2016. The correlation between the Fed taper and the overwhelming drop in oil prices is undeniable. Clearly, high oil prices were primarily dependent on Fed QE.
    While equities fluctuated heavily after the end of QE3, they were still supported by the Fed’s other pillar – near zero interest rates. NIRP allowed the Fed to continue funneling cheap or free money to banks and corporations so they could keep stock buybacks rolling, but oil was done for.
    Now, until recently, oil markets have NOT reflected the true state of the global economy. All other fundamental indicators have been in decline since the crash of 2008, including global exports, imports, the Baltic Dry Index, manufacturing, wages, real employment numbers, etc. Oil consumption in the U.S., according to the World Economic Forum, has sunk to lows not seen since 1997. Current levels of oil consumption are FAR below projections made in 2003 by the Energy Information Administration. By most tangible measurements, we never left the crisis of 2008.
    Oil demand continued to fall but prices remained high because of Fed intervention. My theory: As with stocks, the Fed at that time needed to pump up the only other indicator the mainstream might notice as a sign of dangerous deflation – energy prices.  Dwindling demand is the real problem being hidden in chaos surrounding arguments over production.  The establishment prefers we focus completely on supply while ignoring the warnings of falling demand.
    QE was the first pillar to be pulled from the false recovery, and oil markets plunged. At the end of 2015, the Fed removed the second pillar of NIRP and raised interest rates. OPEC members met to discuss a possible production freeze agreement but the conference failed to produce anything legitimate. This resulted in stocks crashing in extreme volatility to meet up with oil.
    Then something magical happened once again. In mid-February, OPEC members and non-members arranged yet another meeting, this time with much fanfare and steady rumors hinting at a guaranteed production freeze deal. Oil began to climb back from the brink, and stocks rallied over the course of six more weeks.  All eyes were on Doha, Qatar and the oil agreement that would "save markets".
    I bring up the recent history of oil markets because I want to give some perspective to those people who suffer from a disease I call "ticker tracking".  This disease causes extreme short attention span issues and loss of long term memory.  The dopamine addiction of ticker tracking makes people forget about long term trends and their relation to the events of today, to the point that they ignore all fundamentals in the name of watching little red and green lines day in and day out.
    For example, the fact that the Doha meeting failed but did not result in an immediate and massive slide in oil and stocks sent ticker trackers crowing that the market "will never be allowed to fall".  Their affliction keeps them from realizing that the effects of Doha, like any other major financial event in the past, take TIME to set in.  Not to mention, they seem oblivious to the implications of oil struggling to move comfortably beyond $40 a barrel.
    Remember, oil was around $60 (WTI) six months ago, and had held over $100 (WTI) for years before then.  The crash in oil markets has ALREADY happened, folks.  What we are witnessing today is the last vestiges of that crash playing out in extreme volatility.  Now we wait for equities to fall and meet oil, as they did at the beginning of 2016, and as they eventually will again.
    Are stocks tracking oil prices? It may not be an absolute correlation, and they do tend to decouple at times, but the overall trend has been consistent; when oil falls, stocks loosely follow.
    The Doha meeting was always a farce; that much was obvious before it even took place. Bloomberg along with other media outlets were planting rumors of backroom deals between Russia and Saudi Arabia before the Doha event which would solidify a production freeze. Numerous mainstream “experts” claimed an agreement was essentially a sure thing. Even some skeptics within the liberty movement were doubtless that a deal was certain because “the internationalists would never allow oil prices to continue to drag on the public perception of the economy.”
    First, I am not a believer in the idea that global economic decisions are really made at these meetings. Any nation that has a central bank that is tied to the Bank of International Settlements and the International Monetary Fund is a CONTROLLED nation. Period. Economic arrangements are handed down from on high, not debated spontaneously in open forums. Read Harper’s 1983 article on the BIS titled “Ruling The World Of Money” for more information on how globalists control the economic policies of nations.
    Second, even if a person believes that such vital economic decisions as a global oil production freeze are decided in closed meetings while the press waits just outside, why would anyone buy into the Doha event?
    I am not quite sure why some people were gullible enough to think that after 15 YEARS of oil producers refusing to come together on any form of meaningful agreement they would suddenly shake hands this year. The only hope markets had was the possibility that the Doha meeting would result in an empty deal that they could spin in the mainstream news as a legitimate “production freeze.” Apparently they won’t even be getting that.
    The Doha talks ended in failure. All the signs said this would happen. As I wrote in my article “Lost Faith In Central Banks And The Economic End Game”:
    For anyone who was betting on oil markets to continue their rally past the $40 per barrel mark, there was a lot of bad news. Saudi Arabia crushed optimism by announcing that it would not be entertaining a “production freeze” proposal unless ALL other oil producing nations, including Iran, also agreed to it.
    Iran then doubly crushed optimism by announcing an increase in production rather than committing to a freeze.
    Russia then administered the final blow by releasing data showing that their oil output had risen to historic levels, indicating that they will not be entering into any agreement on a production freeze.
    Besides a recent overly optimistic (and rather suspicious inventory draw) which has caused a short term rebound, all indicators show that oil will be headed back to the lows seen at the beginning of this year.
    The effects of the Doha failure were delayed by a convenient labor strike in Kuwait, which caused algo trading computers to buy en masse despite the negative news.  As I pointed out on Monday, though, the Kuwait situation would be very short lived.  Now, it is time to watch and wait for Saudi Arabia and Iran to begin battling over market share and increasing production even more.  These things take a little time to develop.
    Currently oil has dropped back below $40(WTI) and markets are extremely volatile. I do not believe the failure of the Doha meeting alone will translate to a fantastic drop in stocks. But, I do believe that it is a very heavy straw added to the camel's back, and there is a negative trend developing before our very eyes that will become apparent in the next couple of months.
    As I have said in the past, a market entirely supported by rumors and hearsay can rally quickly, but also lose all gains at the drop of a hat. What the Doha debacle represents is a signal that the establishment is incrementally abandoning support for market systems.  This is translating to a loss of faith in central banks and major financial institutions.
    On top of this, look at the incredible amount of misinformation and misdirection that went into Doha, now completely exposed. The truth is crystal; the MSM lied and obfuscated helping the establishment to drive up oil prices and stocks, all for a mere six to eight weeks of market security.  As soon as these lies were revealed, volatility began to return.
    If the oil market bubble can implode (as it already has) in such a way due to the striking of fundamentals, then stocks can also be destabilized as well. It will happen, and I believe 2016 is the year it will happen.
    There are those out there that miscalled how the Doha meeting would end because they were blinded by a particularly dangerous bias; they have assumed that central banks and internationalists want or need to continue propping up markets indefinitely. This is not necessarily true. In fact, I have outlined time and again evidence showing that they are planning the opposite. That is to say, they are planning to deliberately bring down markets in a controlled manner.
    Oil was the most recent system to be undermined, and stocks will likely follow before the year is out. The fall in oil and the circus at Doha signals a change in strategy by the globalists. It signals a shift towards the controlled demolition of our economy and the centralization of fiscal power into a single global administrative entity. Order out of chaos.
    There is a steady stream of events in the next few months that can be used as a steam valve for sinking global markets. Watch the April Fed meeting carefully. The Fed recently held two “emergency meetings” along with a third surprise meeting between President Barack Obama and Fed Chair Janet Yellen. The last time such a meeting occurred the Fed hiked rates less than a month later. I expect that the Fed will raise rates once again either this month or in June.
    Also, watch for the Brexit (the British exit from the EU) referendum in June. Such a development would greatly shock an already unsteady Europe as well as the rest of the West.
    And, of course, watch for trends in oil and stocks, but do not get caught up in the day-to-day mindlessness of ticker tracking. It is pointless and will not help you to understand what is happening economically. In any economic crisis, stocks are the LAST indicator to turn negative and daily analysis by itself is in no way a crystal ball.
    The next couple of months should be very interesting. Stay vigilant.