Wednesday, February 21, 2018

What You Need to Know About Planned Parenthood


What does Planned Parenthood really do? What do they actually stand for? President and founder of Live Action, Lila Rose, lays out everything you need to know about Planned Parenthood.


Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Thirteen Russians ands a Ham Sandwich

By James Howard Kunstler and originally published at kunstler.com
Remember that one from 1996? Funny, that was the American mainstream media bragging, after the fact, about our own meddling in another nation’s election.
WASHINGTON — A team of American political strategists who helped [California] Gov. Pete Wilson with his abortive presidential bid earlier this year said this week that they served as Russian President Boris N. Yeltsin’s secret campaign weapon in his comeback win over a Communist challenge.
—The Los Angeles Times, July 9, 1996
The beauty in Robert Mueller’s indictment of thirteen Russian Facebook trolls is that they’ll never face trial, so Mr. Mueller will never have to prove his case. In the new misrule of law made popular by the #Me Too movement, accusations suffice to convict the target of an investigation. Kind of sounds like going medieval to me, but that’s how we roll now in the Land of the Free.
Readers know, of course, that I’m not a Trump supporter, that I regard him as a national embarrassment, but I’m much more disturbed by the mindless hysteria ginned up Washington’s permanent bureaucracy in collusion with half a dozen major newspapers and cable news networks, who have run a psy-ops campaign to shove the country into a war mentality.
The New York Times published a doozy of a lead story on Saturday, the day after the indictments were announced. The headline said: Trump’s Conspicuous Silence Leaves a Struggle Against Russia Without a Leader. Dean Baquet and his editorial board are apparently seeking an American Napoleon who will mount a white horse and take our legions into Moscow to teach these rascals a lesson — or something like that.
I’m surely not the only one to notice how this hysteria is designed to distract the public attention from the documented misconduct among FBI, CIA, NSA, State Department officials and the leaders of the #Resistance itself: the Democratic National Committee, its nominee in the 2016 election, HRC, and Barack Obama’s White House inner circle. You would think that at least some of this mischief would have come to Robert Mueller’s attention, since the paper trail of evidence is as broad and cluttered as the DC Beltway itself. It actually looks like the greatest act of bureaucratic ass-covering inn US history.
Of course, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein was quick to qualify the announced indictments by saying that Russian trolling on Facebook had no effect on the 2016 election, and that the Trump campaign was not implicated in it. Maybe the indictments were just a table-setter for something more potent to come out of Mueller’s office. But what if it’s not. What if this is all he has to show for a year and a half of the most scrupulous delving into this “narrative?”
Meanwhile, the damage done among America’s former thinking class essentially leaves this polity like the Scarecrow in The Wizard of Oz: without a brain. I doubt they will be satisfied by Mueller’s indictment of the thirteen Russian trolls. Rather, it may tempt them to even more violent hysterics and greater acts of lawlessness. The only thing that will stop this nonsense is Big Trouble in the financial system — which the news media and most of the public are ignoring at their peril. It is coming at us good and hard and it will feel like a two-by-four to nation’s skull when it gets here

Monday, February 19, 2018

4 Complaints About Gun Owners Debunked




By The Daily Bell Staff 
When tragedy strikes it is understandable that people get emotional. But they often forget that the media knows how to pull the heartstrings for nefarious reasons. If a media campaign looks coordinated, it probably is. We should never let the emotions they trigger override our logic, and threaten our safety.
And we shouldn’t let whole groups be punished for the crimes of individuals. Nothing that one person does can justify assaulting or stealing from an entirely different individual. That type of thinking is what leads to violence and prejudice against whole races, religions, and nationalities.
Here are four common knee-jerk reactions gun owners get, and the data to respond.

1. “Nobody Needs a Gun.”

Guns are used for self-defense often and effectively. “Almost all national survey estimates indicate that defensive gun uses by victims are at least as common as offensive uses by criminals, with estimates of annual uses ranging from about 500,000 to more than 3 million per year … in the context of about 300,000 violent crimes involving firearms in 2008,” says the report…
Studies that directly assessed the effect of actual defensive uses of guns… found consistently lower injury rates among gun-using crime victims compared with victims who used other self-protective strategies.
The best part is that would-be victims usually don’t even have to fire their gun for it to be effective in thwarting a crime. This also means self-defense incidents sometimes go unreported.
So these people are really saying no one needs to protect themselves. This is silly. Crime occurs every day. Owning a gun for self-defense makes you no more likely to suddenly go on a killing spree. But it makes you much more likely to prevent yourself from becoming the victim of a crime.
Otherwise, natural disadvantages prevent some people from being able to defend themselves as effectively. For instance, a 5-foot tall male with no muscle mass weighing 120 pounds cannot effectively defend himself against a 6-foot muscled attacker weighing 230 pounds. Saying the small man doesn’t need a gun is assigning him the role of victim. That is a cave man mindset.
There are a lot of things people don’t “need.” But in a free society, others don’t get to decide what an individual needs.
China once decided people didn’t need more than one child. The Soviet Union used to decide how much food people needed. Both of those countries also murdered tens of millions of their citizens.

2. “We Should just take people’s guns away.”

Who would take those guns away? As with most laws, the police would enforce them. How do the police enforce laws? With their guns.
So they aren’t really saying no one should have guns. You still need police to have guns, otherwise, how do you take away the citizens’ guns?
In 2015, 737,000 police officers killed just over 1,000 people. That is about one civilian death for every 737 police officers.
Somewhere between 70 and 99 million Americans own guns. 13,000 people died in 2015 from gun homicides. That means there was one gun homicide for every 5,385 to 7,600 gun owners.
Police are seven to ten times as likely to kill someone compared to a gun owner. And yet they would be tasked with taking guns away.
If people truly cared about reducing violence, they would never advocate taking guns away. The process would be a bloodbath for innocent Americans and police. And the data suggests the aftermath would be no less violent.

3. “Everyone who owns a gun/ that many guns is crazy!”

There is some debate about what constitutes a “mass shooting.” But if we are talking about the big headline shootings with the gun-obsessed social loner perpetrator, we are talking about a handful a year, if that.
But even if 50 of these “gun nuts” went crazy every year and went on a shooting spree, that accounts for .00065% of all “super owners” who own an average of 17 guns.
You would have to come across 154,000 gun nuts before you met one who was even remotely likely to carry out a mass shooting. You probably won’t even meet half that many people–let alone gun ownersin your lifetime.
But many “mass shootings”–including gang wars–are carried out by people who are not licensed to buy a firearm. This means the current restrictive laws were not sufficient to keep guns out of their hands.
So how law-abiding are police? With about 685,464 full-time police officers in the U.S. from 2005 to 2007, we find that there were about 103 crimes per hundred thousand officers. For the U.S. population as a whole, the crime rate was 37 times higher — 3,813 per hundred thousand people.
…we find that permit holders are convicted of misdemeanors and felonies at less than a sixth the rate for police officers.
Among police, firearms violations occur at a rate of 16.5 per 100,000 officers. Among permit holders in Florida and Texas, the rate is only 2.4 per 100,000. That is just 1/7th of the rate for police officers. But there’s no need to focus on Texas and Florida — the data are similar in other states.
So the general population is 37 times more likely to commit a crime compared to a cop, and a cop is 7 times more likely to commit a crime compared to someone with a firearm permit.
People should be thrilled to learn their friends, neighbors, and coworkers are gun permit holders. It means they are in the presence of some of the least likely people in society to commit a crime.
And as more of these “crazies” run out and get their gun licenses, somehow the murder and violent crime rates are dropping.
Between 2007 and 2015, murder rates fell from 5.6 to 4.7 (preliminary estimate) per 100,000. This represents a 16% drop. Overall violent crime fell by 18 percent. Meanwhile, the percentage of adults with permits has soared by 190%.

4. “America has a gun violence problem.”

America is a big place with over 320 million inhabitants. The spread of gun violence is far from even.
More than 25% of America’s gun homicides in 2015 happened across census blocks that contain just 1.5% of the country’s total population.
ChartSixCities
 Photograph: Guardian US Interactive Team
While gun control advocates often say it is unacceptable that Americans overall are “25 times more likely to be murdered with a gun than people in other developed countries”, people who live in these neighborhood areas face an average gun homicide rate about 400 times higher than the rate across those high-income countries.
More than half of America’s gun homicides were clustered in just 127 cities and towns, which together have less than a quarter of the nation’s population.
Small social networks also account for the majority of gun crime.
In Oakland, California, analysts found that networks of just 1,000 to 1,200 high-risk people, about 0.3% of Oakland’s population, were involved in about 60% of the city’s murders.
In New Orleans, just 600 to 700 people, less than 1% of the city’s population, were involved in more than 50% of fatal incidents.
In Chicago, analysts working with police department data found that, over a six-year period, 70% of non-fatal shootings and 46% of gun homicides happened within a sprawling social network that included just 6% of Chicago’s total population.
The point is not that gun murder doesn’t matter because they are confined to a few places and people. The point is that this is not an “America” problem as much as it is an “American city” problem.
And yet rural and suburban Americans and are often the target of new gun laws.
Why don’t these cities clean up their acts? They are giving America a bad name.
And if they are smart, they won’t follow the lead of Chicago and DC, which despite having the strictest gun laws in the country, also have some of the highest rates of gun violence.
Where does this culture of violence come from?
The United States government. It is an extremely violent government. The police are more violent than other developed countries. And the military is involved in constant war. Killing is justified if it is for a good reason.
Many mass shooters are obsessed with the military or express interest in law enforcement. Many shootings happen in especially coercive environments like schools and on military bases. Most shooters have some kind of mental illness and are on prescription drugs. These mental conditions can be attributed to social isolation caused by coercive authorities such as parents, employers, and especially government officials/ policies.
It is the violent coercive political structure which underwrites the fabric of our society that is to blame for mass shootings. Until we base our society on consent, there will be so significant relief.
You don’t have to play by the rules of the corrupt politicians, manipulative media, and brainwashed peers.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

The Journey of Dust

By Jill Carattini and originally published at rzim.org
The sun bore down on my neck as I walked through neatly laid stones, each row like another line in a massive book. My eyes strained to take in all of the information—name, age, rank, country—and perhaps also death itself, the fragility of life, the harsh reality of war. In that field of graves, a war memorial for men lost as prisoners of war, slaves laboring to construct the Burma-Siam railway, I felt as the psalmist: “laid low in the dust.” Or like Job, sitting among the dust and ashes of a great tragedy. Then one stone stopped my wandering and said what I could not. On an epitaph in the middle of the cemetery was written: “There shall be in that great earth, a richer dust concealed.”(1)

It is helpful, I think, to be reminded that we are dust. We are material; when we die, we  remain material. It is a reminder to hold as we move through life—through successes, disappointments, questions, and  answers. For the Christian, it is also a truth to help us approach the vast and terrible circumstances leading up to the crucifixion of the human son of God. Beginning with the ashes of Ash Wednesday, the journey through Lent into the light and darkness of Holy Week is for those made in dust who will return to dust, those willing to trace the breath that began all of life to the place where Christ breathed his last. It is a journey that expends everything within us.
There is a Latin word that was once used to denote the provisions necessary for a person going on a long journey—the clothes, food, and money the traveler would need along the way. “Viaticum” was a word often used by Roman magistrates. It was the payment or goods given to those who were sent into the provinces to exercise an office or perform a service. The viaticum was vital provision for an uncertain journey. Fittingly, the early church employed this image to speak of the Eucharist when it was administered to a dying person. The viaticum, the bread of Communion, was seen as sustenance for Christians on their way from this world into another. Sometime later, the word was used not only to describe a last Communion, but as the Sacrament of Communion for all people. It is as if to say: our communion with Christ is provision for the way home. The viaticum is God’s answer to Jacob’s vow, “If God will be with me and will watch over me on this journey I am taking and will give me food to eat and clothes to wear so that I return safely to my father’s house, then the LORD will be my God” (Genesis 28:20-22). It is what Christ offered when he said, “Take and eat. This is my body.” The journey from dust to dust and back to the Father’s house would be far too great without it.
Our humanity is leveled by the bright sadness of Holy Week. From the invitation to consume body and blood in the Last Supper to the desolation of that body on the Cross, we are undone by events that began before us and will continue to be remembered long after we are gone. The season of Lent is a stark reminder that we are, in the words of Isaiah or the sentiments of the psalmist, like grass that withers, flowers that blow away like dust. But so we are, in this great earth, a richer dust concealed. Walking in cemeteries we realize this; communing with Christ we encounter it. Walking through Lent as dust and ashes invites us to see our need for God’s unchanging provision: God offers us the Cross, communion and forgiveness, the body of one broken, hope in one raised, and the life everlasting.


Jill Carattini is managing editor of A Slice of Infinity at Ravi Zacharias International Ministries in Atlanta, Georgia.

(1) This is a line from a poem of Rupert Brookes entitled “1914.”

Saturday, February 17, 2018

FBI Misses Another Mass Shooter, Middle East Heating Up, Banks Melting down Again


By Greg Hunter’s USAWatchdog.com 
Looks like the FBI was told about the mass murderer before he went on a rampage that left 17 dead in a Florida high school this week. This isn’t the first time the FBI was tipped off about a mass murder plot and did not stop it.  The shooter that killed 9 in a South Carolina church was allowed by the FBI to buy a gun.  The FBI were tipped off about the Boston Bombers, the Fort Hood Shooter and the Pulse Nightclub mass murderer all well ahead of time.  Is this incompetence or “too stupid to be stupid”??  Should someone be fired?
Looks like the Middle East is heating up again. An Israeli F-16 was shot down, and Israel warned Iran about intruding into its airspace with a drone.  The Iranian drone was also recently shot down.  New threats are coming from both sides.
Are the markets on the mend after the latest sell-off, or are we setting up for an even bigger plunge? Why are 10-Year Treasury rates headed higher?  Are we headed for another credit crisis?  These are all questions Wall Street money managers are contemplating before the next big market moves.
Join Greg Hunter as he talks about these stories and more in the Weekly News Wrap-Up.
(To Donate to USAWatchdog.com Click Here)

Friday, February 16, 2018

American Think Tanks Are Hired Purveyors of Fake News


By Paul Craig Roberts and originally published at paulcraigroberts.org
A couple of decades or more ago when I was still in Washington, otherwise known as the snake pit, I was contacted by a well-financed group that offered me, a Business Week and Scripps Howard News Service columnist with access as a former editor also to the Wall Street Journal, substantial payments to promote agendas that the lobbyists paying the bills wanted promoted. 
To the detriment of my net worth, but to the preservation of my reputation, I declined. Shortly thereafter a conservative columnist, a black man if memory serves, was outed for writing newspaper columns for pay for a lobby group.
I often wondered if he was set up in order to get rid of him and whether the enticement I received was intended to shut me down, or whether journalists had become “have pen will travel”? (Have Gun—Will Travel was a highly successful TV Series 1957-1963).
Having read Bryan MacDonald’s article on Information Clearing House, “Anti-Russia Think Tanks in US: Who Funds them?,” I see that think tanks are essentially lobby groups for their donors. The policy analyses and reform schemes that they produce are tailored to support the material interests of donors. None of the studies are reliable as objective evidence. They are special pleading. 
Think tanks, such as the American Enterprise Institute, Brookings Institution, and the Atlantic Council, speak for those who fund them. Increasingly, they speak for the military/security complex, American hegemony, corporate interests, and Israel.
Bryan MacDonald lists those who support the anti-Russian think tanks such as the Atlantic Council, the Center for European Policy Analysis, German Marshall Fund of the US, and Institute for Study of War. The “experts” are mouthpieces funded by the US military security complex. http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/48755.htm US government agencies use taxpayer dollars to deceive taxpayers. 
In other words insouciant Americans pay taxes in order to be brainwashed. And they tolerate this.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Central Banks Will Let The Next Crash Happen

By Brandon Smith and originally published at alt-market.com
If you have been following the public commentary from central banks around the world the past few months, you know that there has been a considerable change in tone compared to the last several years.
For example, officials at the European Central Bank are hinting at a taper of stimulus measures by September of this year and some EU economists are expecting a rate hike by December. The Bank of England has already started its own rate hike program and has warned of more hikes to come in the near term. The Bank of Canada is continuing with interest rate hikes and signaled more to come over the course of this year. The Bank of Japan has been cutting bond purchases, launching rumors that governor Haruhiko Kuroda will oversee the long overdue taper of Japan’s seemingly endless stimulus measures, which have now amounted to an official balance sheet of around $5 trillion.
This global trend of “fiscal tightening” is yet another piece of evidence indicating that central banks are NOT governed independently from one another, but that they act in concert with each other based on the same marching orders. That said, none of the trend reversals in other central banks compares to the vast shift in policy direction shown by the Federal Reserve.
First came the taper of QE, which almost no one thought would happen. Then came the interest rate hikes, which most analysts both mainstream and alternative said were impossible, and now the Fed is also unwinding its balance sheet of around $4 trillion, and it is unwinding faster than anyone expected.
Now, mainstream economists will say a number of things on this issue — they will point out that many investors simply do not believe the Fed will follow through with this tightening program. They will also say that even if the Fed does continue cutting off the easy money to banks and corporations, there is no doubt that the central bank will intervene in markets once again if the effects are negative.  I would say that this is rather delusional thinking based on a dangerous assumption; the assumption that the Fed wants to save markets.
When mainstream economists argue that the Federal Reserve could conceivably keep low interest rates and stimulus going for decades if necessary, they often use the example of the Bank of Japan as some kind of qualifier. Of course, what they fail to mention is that yes, the BOJ has spent decades increasing its balance sheet which now sits at around $4.7 trillion (U.S.), but the Fed exploded its balance sheet to around $4.5 trillion in only eight years. That is to say, the Fed inflated a bubble as large if not larger than the Bank of Japan in less than half the time.
Frankly, the comparison is idiotic. And clearly according to their own admissions, the Fed is not going to be continuing stimulus measures anyway. People cling to this fantasy because they WANT to believe that the easy money party will never end.  They are sorely mistaken.
I have been battling this delusion for quite some time.  When I predicted that the Fed would taper QE, I received a predominantly negative reaction. The same thing occurred when I predicted the Fed would begin hiking interest rates. Now, I’m finding it rather difficult to break through the narrative that the Fed will intervene before the next crash takes place.
There is something so intoxicating about the notion that central banks will stop at nothing to prop up stock markets and bond markets. It generates an almost crazed cult-like fervor in the investment world; a psychedelic high that makes financial participants think they can fly. Of course, what has really happened is that these people have jumped off the roof of their overpriced condo; they think they are flying but they are really falling like a brick weighted down with stupidity.
Former Fed chairman Janet Yellen upon exiting her position stated:
“If stock prices or asset prices more generally were to fall, what would that mean for the economy as a whole?”
“I think our overall judgment is that, if there were to be a decline in asset valuations, it would not damage unduly the core of our financial system.”
Yellen also said when asked about high stock prices:
“Well, I don’t want to say too high. But I do want to say high. Price/earnings ratios are near the high end of their historical ranges…”
“Now, is that a bubble or is too high? And there it’s very hard to tell. But it is a source of some concern that asset valuations are so high.”
Since the middle of last year, the Fed has been calling the stock market overpriced and “vulnerable.” This rhetoric has only become bolder over the past several months. Dallas Fed president Robert Kaplan dismissed concerns over the affect rate hikes might have on markets and hinted at the potential for MORE than the three hikes planned for 2018. The Dow fell 666 points that same day.
New York Fed’s Bill Dudley shrugged off concerns over recent volatility, saying that an equity rout like the one that occurred in recent days “has virtually no consequence for the economic outlook.”
Jerome Powell, the new Fed chairman, has said while taking the chair position that he will continue with the current Fed policy of rate hikes and balance sheet reductions,  and reiterated his support for more rate hikes this past week (while the mainstream media hyperfocused on his lip service promise to watch stock behavior closely).  This indicates once again that it does not matter who is at the wheel of the Fed, its course has already been set, and the Chairman is simply there to act as the ship’s parrot mascot. The Fed is expected to raise interest rates yet again in March.
Now, all the evidence including the Fed’s surprise balance sheet reduction of $18 billion in January shows that at least for now, the central bank no longer cares about stocks and bonds.
In the meantime, 10 year Treasury Yields are spiking to the ever present danger level of 3% after a hotter than expected inflation report, and the dollar index is plunging.  Showing us perhaps the first signs of a potential stagflationary crisis.  Bottom line - markets are not long for this world if yields pass 3% and the falling dollar provides yet another excuse for faster interest rate hikes.  More rate hikes means eventually cheap loans will become expensive loans.
My question is, if the Fed is not going to feed cheap fiat into banks and corporations to fuel stock buybacks, then WHO is going to buy equities now?
What about corporations? Nope, not going to happen. With corporate debt skyrocketing to levelsfar beyond that seen just before the 2008 crash, there is no chance that they will be able to sustain stock buybacks without aid from the Fed.
What about retail investors? I doubt it.  Retail investors are the primary pillar boosting stocks at this stage in the game, but as we saw during the panic last week, it is unlikely that retail investors will maintain hands strong enough to refrain from selling at the first sign of trouble. They do tend to hastily jump back into markets to buy every dip because for many years this simplistic strategy has worked, but if the Fed continues to back away from stimulus and we seen a few more incidences like the 1,000+ point drops of recent days, investor conditioning will be broken, and blind faith will be replaced by doubt.
What about the American consumer?  Will consumer profits boost companies and give them and they stock shares a solid foundation? I can barely write that question without laughing out loud. There was a time (it seems like so long ago) when company innovation and solid business strategies actually meant something when it comes to equities. Those days are over. Now, everything is based on the assumption of central bank intervention, and as I already noted, central banks are pulling the plug on life support.
Beyond that, U.S. consumers are now buried in historic levels of personal debt.
What about the Trump administration’s latest $1.5 trillion infrastructure plan? Will this act as a kind of indirect stimulus program picking up where the Fed left off? Unlikely.
Perhaps if such a plan had been implemented eight years ago in place of the useless bank bailouts and TARP, it might have made a difference. Though, a similar strategy did not work out very well for Herbert Hoover. In fact, many of the Hoover-era infrastructure projects were not paid off for decades after initial construction. Hoover was also a one term Republican president that oversaw the beginning of the Great Depression.
The system is too far into debt and too far gone for infrastructure spending to make any difference in the economic outcome. Add to that the fact that Treasury yields are liable to continue their upward trajectory due to the increased deficit spending, putting more pressure on stocks.
Interestingly, Trump’s budget director has even admitted that the plan will lead to even faster increases in interest rates, and Fed officials have been using this as a partial rationale for why they plan to continue cutting off stimulus measures.
I think anyone with any sense can see the narrative that is building here. The Federal Reserve is going to let markets crumble in 2018. They are going to continue raising interest rates and reducing their balance sheet faster than originally expected. They will not step in when equities crash. And, they don’t really need to. Trump continues to set himself up as the perfect scapegoat for a bubble implosion that had to happen eventually anyway. Now, the central banks can sufficiently avoid any blame.