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Who Pays What in Taxes?

LewRockwell.com - 3 hours 26 min ago

Politicians exploit public ignorance. Few areas of public ignorance provide as many opportunities for political demagoguery as taxation. Today some politicians argue that the rich must pay their fair share and label the proposed changes in tax law as tax cuts for the rich. Let’s look at who pays what, with an eye toward attempting to answer this question: Are the rich paying their fair share?

According to the latest IRS data, the payment of income taxes is as follows. The top 1 percent of income earners, those having an adjusted annual gross income of $480,930 or higher, pay about 39 percent of federal income taxes. That means about 892,000 Americans are stuck with paying 39 percent of all federal taxes. The top 10 percent of income earners, those having an adjusted gross income over $138,031, pay about 70.6 percent of federal income taxes (https://tinyurl.com/yddvee2o). About 1.7 million Americans, less than 1 percent of our population, pay 70.6 percent of federal income taxes. Is that fair, or do you think they should pay more? By the way, earning $500,000 a year doesn’t make one rich. It’s not even yacht money.

But the fairness question goes further. The bottom 50 percent of income earners, those having an adjusted gross income of $39,275 or less, pay 2.83 percent of federal income taxes. Thirty-seven million tax filers have no tax obligation at all. The Tax Policy Center estimates that 45.5 percent of households will not pay federal income tax this year (http://tinyurl.com/h8ks4ge). There’s a severe political problem of so many Americans not having any skin in the game. These Americans become natural constituencies for big-spending politicians. After all, if you don’t pay federal taxes, what do you care about big spending? Also, if you don’t pay federal taxes, why should you be happy about a tax cut? What’s in it for you? In fact, you might see tax cuts as threatening your handout programs.

Our nation has a 38.91 percent tax on corporate earnings, the fourth-highest in the world. The House of Representatives has proposed that it be cut to 20 percent; some members of Congress call for a 15 percent rate. The nation’s political hustlers object, saying corporations should pay their fair share of taxes. The fact of the matter — which even leftist economists understand, though they might not publicly admit it — is corporations do not pay taxes. An important subject area in economics is called tax incidence. It holds that the entity upon whom a tax is levied does not necessarily bear its full burden. Some of it can be shifted to another party. If a tax is levied on a corporation, it will have one of four responses or some combination thereof. It will raise the price of its product, lower dividends, cut salaries or lay off workers. In each case, a flesh-and-blood person bears the tax burden. The important point is that corporations are legal fictions and as such do not pay taxes. Corporations are merely tax collectors for the government.

Politicians love to trick people by suggesting that they will impose taxes not on them but on some other entity instead. We can personalize the trick by talking about property taxes. Imagine that you are a homeowner and a politician tells you he is not going to tax you. Instead, he’s going to tax your property and land. You would easily see the political chicanery. Land and property cannot and do not pay taxes. Again, only people pay taxes. The same principle applies to corporations.

There’s another side to taxes that goes completely unappreciated. According to a 2013 study by the Virginia-based Mercatus Center, Americans spend up to $378 billion annually in tax-related accounting costs, and in 2011, Americans spent more than 6 billion hours complying with the tax code. Those hours are equivalent to the annual hours of a workforce of 3.4 million, or the number of people employed by four of the largest U.S. companies — Wal-Mart, IBM, McDonald’s and Target — combined (http://tinyurl.com/y9dvbzja). Along with tax cuts, tax simplification should be on the agenda.

The post Who Pays What in Taxes? appeared first on LewRockwell.

The American Tradition

LewRockwell.com - 3 hours 26 min ago

Two recent seemingly incongruous events present symptoms of a larger disease in the American polity.

First, North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un has promised to nuke the United States, and according to recent testimony before Congress, a North Korean EMP attack could kill 90% of the American population within one year.

Second, on Monday, October 16, the National Infantry Museum in Columbus, GA dedicated the “Global War on Terrorism” memorial. Highlighted are the over 6,000 American soldiers killed since 2002 in the modern campaign to “make the world safe for….”

The world wasn’t too safe for them or apparently for the almost 300,000,000 people who could be wiped out by a reckless Marxist thug with an itchy trigger finger. They are real and potential casualties—symptoms—of a disease that has consumed American life since the early twentieth century: American sabre rattling.

You see, the anthem protests, our worship of the military industrial complex, and making every event from the local civics meeting to an NFL game a setting for “patriotism” has provided the kindling for a massive military bonfire.

All it takes is a little spark. But it hasn’t always been so.

The modern neo-cons will tell you that Americans have been warlike from the beginning, that almost unanimous support for World War II was the rule rather than the exception. That is a lie.

There is a long-standing anti-war American tradition.

Probably half, perhaps the majority, of the British North American colonists wanted a peaceful solution to the constitutional crisis that became the American War for Independence. “The Penman of the Revolution” John Dickinson’s famous “Olive Branch Petition” was not some shot in the dark. He was a serious man dedicated to exhausting all peaceful avenues to the crisis before taking up arms even after the shots at Lexington and Concord in 1775. He wasn’t alone and loyalty to the cause often fluctuated during the hard years of war.

New England had to be dragged kicking and screaming into the War of 1812, an event they labeled “Mr. Madison’s War.” Americans had justifiable reasons to go to war with Great Britain in 1812, but that did not mean support for the conflict was unanimous.

“Mr. Polk’s War” with Mexico in 1846 faced considerable congressional opposition for various reasons. Abolitionists feared it would add new slave territory to the United States and called it part of a “slave power” conspiracy. This attack should have fallen on deaf ears. The recognized “defender of slavery” in Congress, John C. Calhoun, opposed the war because he feared its impact on executive power. He was right. Polk just wanted California and by getting it greatly expanded executive authority.

The War for Southern Independence saw opposition on both sides of the Mason-Dixon though far more pronounced in the North. Lincoln didn’t call it the “fire in the rear” because it lacked teeth. Thirty-thousand Northern civilians were arrested during the War for their opposition to the Lincoln regime, newspapers were shut down, and congressmen booted from their seats (or sent packing to Canada). In the South, Davis faced constant sniping about his leadership, war plans, and abuse of power from the opposition press. Even before the War began, various civic and political leaders wondered aloud why the North couldn’t just let the States go in peace, among them the abolitionist Lysander Spooner and United States Senator from Delaware James A. Bayard.  Davis insisted in his first inaugural address that the South simply wanted to be left alone. Neither Lincoln nor a potential war were that popular during the “secession winter” of 1860-61.

The Spanish-American War of 1898 led to the birth of the American Anti-Imperialist League. This organization was an eclectic collection of political, religious, civic, and social leaders dedicated in their opposition to American expansion overseas. This “splendid little war” also gave William Graham Sumner the idea to pen his splendid essay “The Conquest of the United States by Spain” which laid bare the problems of American global aspirations.

Woodrow Wilson won in very close 1916 presidential election because he “Kept Us Out of War” in Europe. That was never his goal, and he pivoted shortly after winning the election, but the majority of the American public rightly did not want to send its boys to Europe to die in our first global crusade for democracy. That wasn’t the only outcome of the war. Massive expansion by the general government followed our charge “Over There” and the modern American bureaucratic nightmare in Washington D.C. was born. Throw in a new Sedition Law and over 200,000 political arrests and the Wilson regime did much to shred the United States Constitution.

Even the “unanimous” War with the Axis Powers in 1941 wasn’t so unanimous at the beginning. The American First committee led a considerable effort to keep the United States out of the costliest war in human history. They weren’t anti-Semitic or pro-German. They were simply anti-war and pro-American. Much of the neo-con attack on people like Charles Lindbergh is based on half-truths and outright lies. Of course, the economic impact of the war is always misrepresented as a positive. People had cash in their pockets (no gold because FDR confiscated that years before) because they couldn’t buy anything. Those who voted for Roosevelt to abolish bread lines now had to wait in line to buy sugar and gasoline. That was at least preferable to a grave in Europe or Asia.

Since this last officially declared war in 1941, a large percentage of Americans have been consistently opposed to American adventurism and foreign wars. Korea, Vietnam, the Cold War, and the Global War on Terror have all met opposition, albeit typically for partisan political reasons.

This doesn’t mean Americans should not defend our borders and protect our homes. That is a just war. Most Americans, however, still do not want to engage in a foreign policy that invites war, either. Donald Trump was elected in part because of this message. He seems to have forgotten his earlier positions.

Of course, I can’t let Alexander Hamilton off the hook in ushering in this mess. He provided the blueprint for the modern imperial presidency, the same presidency that can now send American troops into combat without congressional authorization.

But real “conservatives” have long warned against war. This is one reason they split with the neo-cons in the post-World War II era. They rallied against it, denounced it, and insisted that it would produce a host of horrors. And they were right.

Not only does it create economic and social dislocation, it allows the general government to expand its powers exponentially. That alone makes it dangerous. It is no coincidence that American liberty has suffered most during periods of war and why the American anti-war tradition should be studied and promoted.

The post The American Tradition appeared first on LewRockwell.

Iranian Genocide

LewRockwell.com - 3 hours 26 min ago

With his declaration Friday that the Iran nuclear deal is not in the national interest, President Donald Trump may have put us on the road to war with Iran.

Indeed, it is easier to see the collisions that are coming than to see how we get off this road before the shooting starts.

After “de-certifying” the nuclear agreement, signed by all five permanent members of the Security Council, Trump gave Congress 60 days to reimpose the sanctions that it lifted when Teheran signed.

If Congress does not reimpose those sanctions and kill the deal, Trump threatens to kill it himself.

Why? Did Iran violate the terms of the agreement? Almost no one argues that — not the UN nuclear inspectors, not our NATO allies, not even Trump’s national security team.

Iran shipped all its 20 percent enriched uranium out of the country, shut down most of its centrifuges, and allowed intrusive inspections of all nuclear facilities. Even before the deal, 17 U.S. intelligence agencies said they could find no evidence of an Iranian nuclear bomb program.

Indeed, if Iran wanted a bomb, Iran would have had a bomb.

She remains a non-nuclear-weapons state for a simple reason: Iran’s vital national interests dictate that she remain so.

As the largest Shiite nation with 80 million people, among the most advanced in the Mideast, Iran is predestined to become the preeminent power in the Persian Gulf. But on one condition: She avoid the great war with the United States that Saddam Hussein failed to avoid.

Iran shut down any bomb program it had because it does not want to share Iraq’s fate of being smashed and broken apart into Persians, Azeris, Arabs, Kurds and Baluch, as Iraq was broken apart by the Americans into Sunni, Shiite, Turkmen, Yazidis and Kurds.

Tehran does not want war with us. It is the War Party in Washington and its Middle East allies — Bibi Netanyahu and the Saudi royals — who hunger to have the United States come over and smash Iran.

Thus, the Congressional battle to kill, or not to kill, the Iran nuclear deal shapes up as decisive in the Trump presidency.

Yet, even earlier collisions with Iran may be at hand.

In Syria’s east, U.S.-backed and Kurd-led Syrian Democratic Forces are about to take Raqqa. But as we are annihilating ISIS in its capital, the Syrian army is driving to capture Deir Ezzor, capital of the province that sits astride [the road from Baghdad to Damascus.

Its capture by Bashar Assad’s army would ensure that the road from Baghdad to Damascus to Hezbollah in Lebanon remains open.

If the U.S. intends to use the SDF to seize the border area, we could find ourselves in a battle with the Syrian army, Shiite militia, the Iranians, and perhaps even the Russians.

Are we up for that?

In Iraq, the national army is moving on oil-rich Kirkuk province and its capital city. The Kurds captured Kirkuk after the Iraqi army fled from the ISIS invasion. Why is a U.S.-trained Iraqi army moving against a U.S.-trained Kurdish army?

The Kurdistan Regional Government voted last month to secede. This raised alarms in Turkey and Iran, as well as Baghdad. An independent Kurdistan could serve as a magnet to Kurds in both those countries.

Baghdad’s army is moving on Kirkuk to prevent its amputation from Iraq in any civil war of secession by the Kurds.

Where does Iran stand in all of this?

In the war against ISIS, they were de facto allies. For ISIS, like al-Qaida, is Sunni and hates Shiites as much as it hates Christians. But if the U.S. intends to use the SDF to capture the Iraqi-Syrian border, Syria, Iran, Hezbollah and Russia could all be aligned against us.

Are we ready for such a clash?

We Americans are coming face to face with some new realities.

The people who are going to decide the future of the Middle East are the people who live there. And among these people, the future will be determined by those most willing to fight, bleed and die for years and in considerable numbers to realize that future.

We Americans, however, are not going to send another army to occupy another country, as we did Kuwait in 1991, Afghanistan in 2001, and Iraq in 2003.

Bashar Assad, his army and air force backed by Vladimir Putin’s air power, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps of Iran, and Hezbollah won the Syrian civil war because they were more willing to fight and die to win it. And, truth be told, all had far larger stakes there than did we.

We do not live there. Few Americans are aware of what is going on there. Even fewer care.

Our erstwhile allies in the Middle East naturally want us to fight their 21st-century wars, as the Brits got us to help fight their 20th-century wars.

But Donald Trump was not elected to do that. Or so at least some of us thought.

The post Iranian Genocide appeared first on LewRockwell.

CIA Wants Trump To Keep Hiding 3,000 Documents

LewRockwell.com - 3 hours 26 min ago

More than 3,000 never-before-seen documents from the FBI, CIA, and Justice Department on the assassination of John F. Kennedy are scheduled be released, with many experts fearing that such a large release of secret JFK assassination documents will spur “a new generation of conspiracy theories.”

According to Roger Stone, the CIA is urging President Donald Trump to delay disclosing some of the files for another 25 years.

Roger Stone said in a post on his website…

“They must reflect badly on the CIA even though virtually everyone involved is long dead.”

Newsmax reports:

More than 3,000 never-before-seen documents from the FBI, CIA, and Justice Department are set to be released, along with 30,000 that have only been partially released in the past. The document dump “will simply fuel a new generation of conspiracy theories,” write Philip Shenon and Larry J. Sabato.

Sabato is the director of the University of Virginia Center for Politics and author of “The Kennedy Half-Century” and Shenon is a former reporter for the New York Times and author of, “A Cruel and Shocking Act: The Secret History of the Kennedy Assassination.”

The CIA is urging President Donald Trump to delay disclosing some of the files for another 25 years according to friend and political adviser Roger Stone but the National Archives would not say whether any agencies have appealed the release of the documents.

According to The Gateway Pundit Roger Stone and Gerald Posner, two New York Times bestselling authors who are polar opposites about who killed JFK, have joined together to urge Donald Trump to release all the remaining classified files on Kennedy’s assassination.

About 3,100 files are still sealed in the National Archives. Under the 1992 JFK Records Act, the Archives have until October 26 to decide which of those files to publicly disclose.

Some of the classified documents include a CIA personality study of Oswald, top-secret testimony of former CIA officers to congressional committees, transcripts of interrogations with Soviet defector and Oswald handler Yuri Nosenko, letters about the case from J. Edgar Hoover and Jackie Kennedy, the CIA file on Jack Wasserman, the attorney for New Orleans mob boss Carlos Marcello, and the operational file of E. Howard Hunt, career spy and Watergate burglar.

Roger Stone, in his bestselling 2013 The Man Who Killed Kennedy: The Case Against LBJset forth the case that LBJ was the mastermind of plot that included the CIA, the Mob and Big Texas Oil to kill Kennedy.

Gerald Posner, in his 1993 bestselling finalist for the Pulitzer for History, Case Closed: Lee Harvey Oswald and the Assassination of JFK, concluded that the Warren Commission conclusions are correct and Oswald acting alone had killed Kennedy.

While they might not agree on who killed Kennedy, Stone and Posner are longstanding advocates for the release of all the government files on the assassination.

“These files should have been released long ago,” says Posner. “The government does this all the time, over classified documents and then holds on to them for decades under the guise of ‘national security.’ All the secrecy just feeds people’s suspicions that the government has something to hide and adds fuel to conspiracy theories.” Posner is convinced the case will still be closed when the last document is made public.

”I know CIA Director Pompeo is urging the President to delay release of these records for another 25 years,” said Stone. “They must reflect badly on the CIA even though virtually everyone involved is long dead.” Stone believes the evidence supporting the case in his book is still hidden somewhere in government files.

Both authors called on President Trump – who is empowered to make the final decision should the National Archives or CIA balk on releasing all the files – to opt for transparency.

The post CIA Wants Trump To Keep Hiding 3,000 Documents appeared first on LewRockwell.

‘No Scheduled Maintenance Needed!’

LewRockwell.com - 3 hours 26 min ago

One way that car companies attract business is by advertising that their vehicles are low-maintenance and – sometimes – no maintenance. This sounds too good to be true and – as is usually the case with such things – it is.

Because entropy.

Things always wear out. Nothing lasts forever, certainly not mechanical things. You can increase service intervals and reduce maintenance, but no maintenance is a shuck and jive. What it really means is:

When it inevitably fails, you replace it.

And it will probably fail sooner because it’s not regularly maintained. This is the nature of things, no matter the advertising copy. It is of course very profitable. Instead of – as an example – spending $50 to have a mechanic grease suspension fittings once every year or two you end up spending hundreds to replace worn out suspension parts when they fail. Which will happen sooner than would otherwise have been the case because they weren’t regularly greased (and are designed such that they cannot be regularly greased; there are no fittings to grease).

A small hassle is eliminated – in favor of a much larger expense. The advertising copy never mentions the expense. Which will probably fall into your lap shortly after the warranty expires.

Where are the “consumer advocates” when it comes to things like this?

Here’s another to be wary of: Automatic transmissions that are advertised as never needing to have their fluid or filter changed. This is like saying you never have to brush your teeth – and don’t worry about being toothless a few years down the road.

Hydraulic fluid inevitably becomes contaminated with small particles – the result of friction and wear and tear within the transmission. These small particles can – and will – eventually clog a critical small passage within the fluid circuit, resulting in something that will probably cost you a great deal more than having someone drain the transmission and refill it with fresh fluid sans the particles.

There is also filter, of course. It is there to capture these small particles and take them out of circulation. But its capacity to absorb these small particles is not limitless. This is the reason for changing filters periodically. A car company can tell you that periodic replacement of the filter isn’t required. But that is not the same thing as saying it’s not necessary.

Same goes for the fluid. Over time and because of use, it degrades. Chemical changes occur. If they didn’t – if the fluid were just as fresh at the end of the car’s service life – why not just drain it from the car before it’s sent to the crusher and rebottle it and sell it “as new”? Heck, why not drain if from wrecked cars with “only” 50,000 miles on their odometers and re-sell the fluid “as new”?

Such a waste to just throw it away…

Of course no one re-sells used fluid (or filters) “as new” because it’s an affront to the obvious – and an obvious source of criminal fraud.

Read the Whole Article

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Marc Faber Fired by CNBC, Fox, Sprott

LewRockwell.com - 3 hours 26 min ago

“I don’t want to enter into a serious discussion of the tearing down of monuments of historical personalities, but I cannot omit mentioning how the liberal hypocrites condemned the Taliban when they blew up the world’s two largest standing Buddhas (one of them 165 feet high), situated at the foot of the Hindu Kush mountains of central Afghanistan, in 2001. But the very same people are now disturbed by statues of honourable people whose only crime was to defend what all societies had done for more than 5,000 years: keep a part of the population enslaved. And thank God white people populated America, and not the blacks. Otherwise, the US would look like Zimbabwe, which it might look like one day anyway, but at least America enjoyed 200 years in the economic and political sun under a white majority. I am not a racist, but the reality — no matter how politically incorrect — needs to be spelled out as well. (And let’s not forget that the African tribal heads were more than happy to sell their own slaves to white, black, and Arab slave dealers.)”

The post Marc Faber Fired by CNBC, Fox, Sprott appeared first on LewRockwell.

US Policy Against Iran

LewRockwell.com - 3 hours 26 min ago

The State Department and President Trump have been spitting out curses against Hezbollah and Iran – this could lead us to fear a break in the 5+1 agreement. But for Thierry Meyssan, while the worst may still happen, it is far more probable that, once again, Washington is staging a phony quarrel in order to better manipulate its Israëli and Saudi allies.

he US President’s speech on Iran was preceded by a Press conference at the State Department accusing Hezbollah of exporting terrorism all over the world on behalf of Teheran [1]. To show that the US was ready to put its money where its mouth is, a reward was offered for the arrest of two of its commanders. But – surprise! – not a word about Hezbollah’s victories against the jihadists, nor about the 800 million dollars that Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has just offered to the Lebanese Resistance [2].

President Trump then took the floor and wasted no time in loading insults on the inheritance of Imam Ruhollah Khomeini, the Revolutionary Guard, and the Supreme Leader [3].

He proffered all sorts of weary old accusations which have long been disproven and laid the foundations for accusations that they are responsible for the resurgence of Al-Qaïda.

Even before his speech had come to a close, oil was already up by 85 cents per barrel, since the market was betting on the cancellation of Iranian oil investments. In the hours that followed, every one of the Western states and Russia deplored Donald Trump’s aggressivity, while Israël and Saudi Arabia applauded.

However, the only decisions announced by President Trump and the State Department are the reward mentioned above and the pause in the certification of the 5+1 agreement before Congress [4]; the latter decision does not concern international relations, but exclusively the interior politics of the United States. The agreement of 14 July 2015 was adopted by the United Nations Security Council, which alone can repeal it. Of course, all diplomats know that behind this multilateral agreement, the United States and Iran have agreed to a secret bilateral protocol which defines their respective roles in the Greater Middle East. At the time of writing, no-one is able to say whether or not President Trump has called this protocol into question. Consequently, all reactions to the declarations of the State Department and to his speech on 13 October are nothing more than fan dancing.

The ruling classes of the United States and Iran have always obsessed about their respective relations. During the Revolution of 1979, the Carter administration was so deeply divided that the Secretary of State, Cyrus Vance, and the Security Advisor, Zbigniew Brzeziński, confronted one another, and both threatened to resign if the President would not listen to them. It was finally Brzeziński who won out, but not without masking the arrest of spies from the US embassy in Teheran as the sequestration of « hostages », and then covering himself with ridicule by failing to free them [5]. From the time of this incident, the relations between Washington and Teheran have been a succession of media lies having nothing to do with reality.

From the Iranian point of view, the United Kingdom and the United States are lying predators who have colonised and exploited their country, and who continue to crush other states which have so far failed to revolt. This is why Iranians commonly call them by the nicknames of « Little Satan » and « Big Satan ». According to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, every man worth his salt must fight against their perverted ways. But from another point of view, the Anglo-Saxons are not all bad, and there is no reason not to do business with them.

During the Bush Jr. administration, Vice-President Dick Cheney never ceased plotting with London and Tel-Aviv to attack Teheran. He created the very secret « Iran Syria Policy and Operations Group » around his daughter, Liz Cheney, and an old secret operations veteran, Elliott Abrams. He first considered the use of nuclear weapons, then supporting an Israëli attack from airports rented from Georgia. However, what happened was exactly the opposite –Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the US Chief of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen, met in secret on 2 March 2008 in Baghdad. By overthrowing the Afghan Taliban and Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, the United States eliminated the enemies of Iran on his behalf, and favoured his regional influence.

During the Obama administration, the White House attempted to overthrow President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad by organising the colour revolution of 2009. Having drawn the conclusions of its failure, it initiated contact with its opponents, united around ex-President Hachemi Rafsandjani. It so happens that in the period between 1983 and 1986, the US National Security Council organised the Iran-Contra operation. At that time, Colonel Oliver North and the ubiquitous Elliott Abrams relied on a deputy, Cheikh Hassan Rohani, who introduced them to the Hodjatoleslam Rafsandjani. It was with this group that the Obama administration began talks in Oman, in March 2013. By some form of administrative pirouette, Ahmadinejad’s candidate was not authorised to present himself in the Presidential elections, which were won by Cheikh Rohani five months later. As soon as he gained power, Rohani began official negotiations for the 5+1 agreement that he had imagined during the Oman negotiations.

As for Donald Trump, he never failed to maintain a violently anti-Iranian discourse during his election campaign. This was also the position of his first Security Advisor, General Michael Flynn. However, since his arrival in the White House last January, the President has eliminated, one by one, all of his anti-Iranian advisors (with the exception of Mike Pompeo, the current Director of the CIA). On the contrary, his three main advisors are pro-Iranian (the Director of his cabinet, General John Kelly, his Secretary of Defense, General James Mattis, and his Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson).

Incidentally, it is interesting to note that during the nomination of the Secretary of State, the pro-Obama Press announced its certainty that the job would go to Elliott Abrams – yes, him again. The President received Abrams for a long time, asked him about his relations with Cheikh Rohani, then walked him to the door and nominated Tillerson.

It is always possible that President Trump could destroy the US-Iran agreement on an impulse, and even – much more serious – pick a quarrel with the Revolutionary Guards, but it is more probable that he will once again act up in order to soothe his Israëli and Saudi allies. We have to keep in mind that Donald Trump is not a professional politician, but a real estate promoter, and that he acts like one. He gained his professional success by spreading panic with his outrageous statements and observing the reactions he had created amongst his competitors and his partners.

In order to decide between these two hypotheses, we will have to wait for sanctions against the Revolutionary Guard. Then we shall see whether or not they are serious or simply an expression of Donald Trump’s manner and the traditional masquerade of the United States against Iran.

Notes:

[1] “Nathan Sales on US Efforts to Counter Hizballah”, by Nathan Sales; “It’s Time to Mobilize a Global Response to the Terrorist Group Lebanese Hizballah”, by Tom Bossert, Voltaire Network, 10 October 2017.

[2] “QE with a twist? In 2016, the Supreme Leader of the Revolution distributed more than 1 billion dollars around the world”, Translation Anoosha Boralessa, Voltaire Network, 18 September 2017.

[3] “Remarks by Donald Trump on Iran Strategy”, Voltaire Network, 13 October 2017.

[4] “President Donald J. Trump’s New Strategy on Iran” White House Synthesis, Voltaire Network, 13 October 2017.

[5] There never were any hostages at the US embassy in Teheran, but a group of spies arrested red-handed inside the embassy. Indeed, despite all its squealing, Washington has never asked for damages concerning this incident.

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Your ‘Expectation of Privacy’

LewRockwell.com - 3 hours 26 min ago

Last month, researchers at Stanford University announced they had developed software that was able to accurately predict a person’s sexual orientation.

Drawing from photos on a popular dating website, their program was able to correctly distinguish self-identified gay men from heterosexual men 81% of the time. It had a 71% success rate in distinguishing gay women from heterosexual women. When the algorithm was given five images of the same person to examine, the accuracy rose to 91% for men and 83% for women.

Given that the individuals whose photos were analyzed had already self-identified as straight or gay, you might wonder whether the software is a genuine threat to privacy. It could be if the technology is used by police in countries like Saudi Arabia or Russia to investigate suspected homosexuals.

But that’s just the tip of the iceberg in terms of the threat to privacy that face recognition and other biometric technologies pose. And everyone is vulnerable.

In the US, you have no right to privacy with respect to your facial features. No federal law regulates the collection of biometric data. For instance, anyone with a camera can legally take your picture in a public space. And with applications such as FindFace Pro, police can match your photo to a database of millions of photos in a fraction of a second.

It should thus come as no surprise that images of millions of faces recorded by cameras installed in public spaces have made their way into archives compiled by law enforcement. The FBI can now search over 400 million photos from this source as well as driver’s license photos, passport photos, and visa application databases. Not to mention another 650 billion photos on Facebook alone – although police do need a warrant to retrieve photos or other data not posted for the public to view.

Similarly, the Supreme Court has ruled that you have no legal expectation of privacy with regard to your “personal characteristics.” That means police don’t need a warrant to collect your fingerprints, although they do to conduct an invasive procedure such as a blood test. Therefore, if you can unlock your smartphone with your fingerprint, the police in many parts of the US can force you to do so.

And anyone who retrieves an image of your fingerprints can probably unlock your phone as well. Think of the 5.6 million sets of fingerprints that were stolen in 2015 from the US Office of Personnel Management, which was widely believed to be the work of hackers employed by the Chinese government.

Nor is it just high-tech means that can be used to steal your fingerprints. In 2015, researchers at Vkansee, a firm specializing in security for mobile devices, demonstrated they could collect fingerprints using Play-Doh and use the resulting images to unlock an iPhone.

Law enforcement and intelligence agencies are also investigating biometric markers other than faces and fingerprints to identify suspected terrorists. Research dating back to 2010 demonstrates the effectiveness of “brain fingerprinting.” This involves using an electroencephalograph (EEG) to determine if a piece of information is stored in a person’s brain. The EEG pinpoints an involuntary reaction called a “P300 response.” The P300 response is a spike in brain activity a fraction of a second after a test subject is shown a familiar image or other stimuli.

For instance, an individual suspected of being a member of a terrorist cell that plans to bomb a train station could be shown photos of different train stations. The image that elicits the largest P300 response will be the most likely target.

I’m not aware of any court addressing the question of whether an individual can be forced to submit to P300 analysis. But an EEG is a painless procedure that merely involves placing electrodes on a test subject’s head. It’s possible US courts will conclude that no warrant is required for the test, since no expectation of privacy extends to your personal characteristics.

Of course, brain fingerprinting need not be restricted to terror investigations, especially in countries with poor reputations for civil liberties. For instance, let’s say a totalitarian government decides to arrest everyone acquainted with an individual identified as an enemy of the state. Investigators merely need to perform P300 analysis on that person’s suspected friends and associates to identify who will be arrested.

Keep in mind that as technology progresses, the biometric tools used to identify, classify, investigate, and punish us will only become more sophisticated. Short of becoming a hermit for life and never emerging from your cave, there’s little you can do to completely avoid biometric surveillance. But you can minimize it.

  • Don’t renew your driver’s license until it expires. Driver’s license photos taken more than a decade or so ago aren’t necessarily in digital form and are harder to match. The photo on my driver’s license was taken in 1996 and won’t expire until 2020.
  • Unsubscribe from Facebook and other social networks. Or if you use these networks, don’t post photos of yourself. Also, ask your friends not to post photos with you in them on social media and especially not to tag photos of you. If they do tag you, you can remove the tag from a photo or post. Here’s the procedure for Facebook. You can even have a bit of fun by asking your friends to tag pets, vehicles, or other objects with your name, thus confusing face recognition algorithms.
  • Wear head coverings. A hat will prevent a camera from capturing a clear image of your face unless you look at it directly. If you’re a Muslim woman or don’t mind dressing as one, a burqa will obscure your entire face.
  • If you’re a man, grow a beard. Like hats or other head coverings, a beard – at least a full one – hides enough of your face to make face recognition difficult.
  • Disable fingerprint or other biometric unlocking of your smartphone or any other electronic device. Instead, use a hard-to-guess passphrase. While there is no expectation of privacy with respect to your physical characteristics such as your fingerprints, US courts have generally ruled you can’t be forced to divulge a passphrase without a court order.
  • Don’t submit to any type of voluntary search. That includes your phone, your vehicle, or for that matter, an EEG. If the police force you to submit to a search, never consent to it. Say, “Officer, I will not try to prevent you from conducting this search, but I do not consent to it.” This precaution won’t prevent the search, but will make it less likely that any incriminating items or information found can’t be used against you.

None of these steps are 100% effective at avoiding biometric surveillance. Only redefining our expectation of privacy will do that. And I’m not holding my breath for that to happen.

Reprinted with permission from Nestmann.com.

The post Your ‘Expectation of Privacy’ appeared first on LewRockwell.

Indian Chiefs

LewRockwell.com - 3 hours 26 min ago

If you live in the United States (and even if you don’t) you’ve probably heard about a number of the country’s prominent historical figures. But what about the history of those who were there before? Even many Americans know very little of Native American history.

One of many overlooked aspects of Native American history is the long list of exceptional men who led various tribes as chiefs or war leaders. Just as noble and brave as anyone on the Mexican, British, or American sides, many of them have been swept into the dustbin of history. Here are ten of the greatest Native American chiefs and leaders.

10 Victorio

A member of the Apache tribe, Victorio was also the chief of his particular band, the Chiricahua. He was born in what is now New Mexico in 1809, when the land was still under Mexican control.[1] For decades, the United States had been taking Native American lands, and Victorio grew up in turbulent times for his people. Because of that experience, he became a fearsome warrior and leader, commanding a relatively small band of fighters on innumerable raids.

For more than ten years, Victorio and his men managed to evade the pursuing US forces before he finally surrendered in 1869. Unfortunately, the land he accepted as the spot for their reservation was basically inhospitable and unsuitable for farming. (It’s known as Hell’s Forty Acres.) He quickly decided to move his people and became an outlaw once again. In 1880, in the Tres Castillos Mountains of Mexico, Victorio was finally surrounded and killed by Mexican troops. (Some sources, especially Apache sources, say he actually took his own life.)

Perhaps more interesting than Victorio was his younger sister, Lozen. She was said to have participated in a special Apache puberty rite which was purported to have given her the ability to sense her enemies. Her hands would tingle when she was facing the direction of her foes, with the strength of the feeling telling how close they were.

9 Chief Cornstalk

More popularly known by the English translation of his Shawnee name Hokolesqua, Chief Cornstalk was born sometime around 1720, probably in Pennsylvania.[2] Like much of the Shawnee people, he resettled to Ohio in the 1730s as a result of continuous conflict with invading white settlers (especially over the alcohol they brought with them). Tradition holds that Cornstalk got his first taste of battle during the French and Indian War, in which his tribe sided with the French.

A lesser-known conflict called Lord Dunmore’s War took place in 1774, and Cornstalk was thrust into fighting once again. However, the colonists quickly routed the Shawnee and their allies, compelling the Native Americans to sign a treaty, ceding all land east and south of the Ohio River. Though Cornstalk would abide by the agreement until his death, many other Shawnee bristled at the idea of losing their territory and plotted to attack once again. In 1777, Cornstalk went to an American fort to warn them of an impending siege. However, he was taken prisoner and later murdered by vengeance-seeking colonists.

Cornstalk’s longest-lasting legacy has nothing to do with his actions in life. After his death, when reports of a flying creature later dubbed the “Mothman” began to surface in West Virginia, its appearance was purported to have come about because of a supposed curse which Cornstalk had laid on the land after the treachery that resulted in his death.

8 Black Hawk

A member and eventual war leader of the Sauk tribe, Black Hawk was born in Virginia in 1767. Relatively little is known about him until he joined the British side during the War of 1812, leading to some to refer to Black Hawk and his followers as the “British Band.” (He was also a subordinate of Tecumseh, another Native American leader on this list.) A rival Sauk leader signed a treaty with the United States, perhaps because he was tricked, which ceded much of their land, and Black Hawk refused to honor the document, leading to decades of conflict between the two parties.

In 1832, after having been forcibly resettled two years earlier, Black Hawk led between 1,000 and 1,500 Native Americans back to a disputed area in Illinois.[3]That move instigated the Black Hawk War, which only lasted 15 weeks, after which around two-thirds of the Sauk who came to Illinois had perished. Black Hawk himself avoided capture until 1833, though he was released in a relatively short amount of time. Disgraced among his people, he lived out the last five years of his life in Iowa. A few years before his death, he dictated his autobiography to an interpreter and became somewhat of a celebrity to the US public.

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Hilary’s Latest Whopper?

LewRockwell.com - 3 hours 26 min ago

Hillary Clinton hobbled away from filming a British TV show interview on crutches Monday after breaking her toe falling down some stairs.

The former presidential candidate arrived wearing a surgical boot to the BBC program The Graham Norton Show, as she revealed she took a tumble in high heels while holding a cup of coffee.

The embarrassing fall forced her to pull out of a series of scheduled TV and radio appearances earlier today including ITV’s This Morning and Woman’s Hour on Radio 4.

Recalling her tumble, she said: ‘I was running down the stairs in heels with a cup of coffee in hand, I was talking over my shoulder and my heel caught and I fell backwards.

‘I tried to get up and it really hurt. I’ve broken my toe.’

She added: ‘I’ve received excellent care from your excellent health service.’

Clinton, 69, has been in the UK promoting her memoirs, What Happened, which documents her shock defeat in the 2016 presidential election.

This Morning host Philip Schofield said on Snapchat: ‘Supposed to be interviewing Hillary Clinton… but she’s fallen over and hurt her foot!! Gutted.’

Host Jane Garvey, on Women’s Hour today, told listeners initially that her star guest was delayed, but then posted on Twitter: ‘I’d read the book and everything. Apologies.’

Clinton underwent an x-ray this afternoon before deciding to appear on Norton’s chat show.

Clinton, whose campaign to defeat Donald Trump last year saw her stumble and needing help from aides, had spent the weekend undergoing several publicity dates as well as receiving an honorary degree from Swansea University.

Trump alluded to her alleged issues with stamina at several points during the campaign.

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How To Heal Your Leaky Gut

LewRockwell.com - 3 hours 26 min ago

I am pleased to announce my newest book, Heal Your Leaky Gut:  The Hidden Cause of Many Chronic Diseases.  This is my fifteenth book.  I wrote this book to offer hope and a plan to those who suffer from poor health.

In my daily practice of medicine, I see so many people suffering from a myriad of illnesses.  One of the first things I do with my patients is educate them about the importance of eating a healthy diet.  You see, eating the standard American diet (SAD) leads to gut and immune system problems.   The largest concentration of immune system cells is found in the gut.  In fact, most illnesses start in the gut including many you would not think of including:

  • Allergies
  • Arthritis
  • Autoimmune diseases such as Lupus, multiple sclerosis, and type 1 diabetes
  • Digestive illnesses such as acid reflux, irritable bowel syndrome, and Crohn’s disease’
  • Fatigue states including chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia
  • Neurological disorders such as headaches, depression, anxiety and ADHD
  • Skin disorders including eczema, rashes, acne, rosacea, and psoriasis

Read the Whole Articles

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How to Remove Rust From Your Firearms

LewRockwell.com - 3 hours 26 min ago

Few things in life are more infuriating than realizing that a firearm you spent a fortune on is beginning to rust. What makes it so painful, is that you know it’s probably your fault. You can spend many hours over the course of many years keeping your firearms in immaculate condition. You can thoroughly clean them after every use. But if you slip up once after a hunting trip or a long day at the range, there’s a good chance that you’ll see some rust emerge the next time you use your firearm.

But fortunately, not all is lost. Don’t start pulling your hair out if you see a little surface rust on your firearm because as this video shows, it’s pretty easy to clean up.

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CIA Urges Trump To Delay Release Of 3,000 Never-Before-Seen Documents On JFK Assassination

Zerohedge - Tue, 10/17/2017 - 22:25

Authored by Alex Christoforou via TheDuran.com,

More than 3,000 never-before-seen documents from the FBI, CIA, and Justice Department on the assassination of John F. Kennedy are scheduled be released, with many experts fearing that such a large release of secret JFK assassination documents will spur “a new generation of conspiracy theories.”

According to Roger Stone, the CIA is urging President Donald Trump to delay disclosing some of the files for another 25 years.

Roger Stone said in a post on his website…

“They must reflect badly on the CIA even though virtually everyone involved is long dead.”

Newsmax reports:

More than 3,000 never-before-seen documents from the FBI, CIA, and Justice Department are set to be released, along with 30,000 that have only been partially released in the past. The document dump “will simply fuel a new generation of conspiracy theories,” write Philip Shenon and Larry J. Sabato.

 

Sabato is the director of the University of Virginia Center for Politics and author of “The Kennedy Half-Century” and Shenon is a former reporter for the New York Times and author of, “A Cruel and Shocking Act: The Secret History of the Kennedy Assassination.”

 

The CIA is urging President Donald Trump to delay disclosing some of the files for another 25 years according to friend and political adviser Roger Stone but the National Archives would not say whether any agencies have appealed the release of the documents.

According to The Gateway Pundit Roger Stone and Gerald Posner, two New York Times bestselling authors who are polar opposites about who killed JFK, have joined together to urge Donald Trump to release all the remaining classified files on Kennedy’s assassination.

About 3,100 files are still sealed in the National Archives. Under the 1992 JFK Records Act, the Archives have until October 26 to decide which of those files to publicly disclose.

 

Some of the classified documents include a CIA personality study of Oswald, top-secret testimony of former CIA officers to congressional committees, transcripts of interrogations with Soviet defector and Oswald handler Yuri Nosenko, letters about the case from J. Edgar Hoover and Jackie Kennedy, the CIA file on Jack Wasserman, the attorney for New Orleans mob boss Carlos Marcello, and the operational file of E. Howard Hunt, career spy and Watergate burglar.

 

Roger Stone, in his bestselling 2013 The Man Who Killed Kennedy: The Case Against LBJ, set forth the case that LBJ was the mastermind of plot that included the CIA, the Mob and Big Texas Oil to kill Kennedy.

 

Gerald Posner, in his 1993 bestselling finalist for the Pulitzer for History, Case Closed: Lee Harvey Oswald and the Assassination of JFK, concluded that the Warren Commission conclusions are correct and Oswald acting alone had killed Kennedy.

 

While they might not agree on who killed Kennedy, Stone and Posner are longstanding advocates for the release of all the government files on the assassination.

 

“These files should have been released long ago,” says Posner. “The government does this all the time, over classified documents and then holds on to them for decades under the guise of ‘national security.’ All the secrecy just feeds people’s suspicions that the government has something to hide and adds fuel to conspiracy theories.” Posner is convinced the case will still be closed when the last document is made public.

 

”I know CIA Director Pompeo is urging the President to delay release of these records for another 25 years,” said Stone. “They must reflect badly on the CIA even though virtually everyone involved is long dead.” Stone believes the evidence supporting the case in his book is still hidden somewhere in government files.

 

Both authors called on President Trump – who is empowered to make the final decision should the National Archives or CIA balk on releasing all the files – to opt for transparency.

Amazon Strikes Deal With Landlords To Install Lockers In Apartment Buildings

Zerohedge - Tue, 10/17/2017 - 22:10

Since the dawn of the e-commerce era, the largest US landlords have loudly complained about the crush of packages flooding mailrooms at apartment properties across the country.

One apartment owner went so far as to stop accepting packages altogether, while others have experimented with increasingly novel ways to process residents’ mail.

Now, Amazon is stepping in with a solution to a problem that it’s largely responsible for creating. WSJ is reporting that the e-commerce giant is partnering with some of the country’s largest landlords to install electronic lockers where delivery people can leave packages for residents, sparing building staff the tedious work of receiving, recording and distributing packages to residents – work that one landowner said was costing it $3.3 million a year in lost wages.

Amazon has signed contracts with apartment owners and managers representing more than 850,000 units across the U.S. to begin installing Amazon locker systems in their buildings, according to the landlords. Amazon has commitments to install the lockers in thousands of properties, many before the peak holiday shopping season, according to a person familiar with the matter.

 

Several of the nation’s largest operators, AvalonBay Communities Inc., Equity Residential, Greystar and Bozzuto Group, have signed up so far, company executives said.

Most of the Amazon’s partners plan to offer the lockers as free amenities for residents. They’re able to do this because the lockers will ultimately save building owners money. Amazon is charging a one-time fee of between $10,000 and $20,000 for the lockers.

Amazon is taking over the package rooms of some of the country’s largest apartment landlords, in a move that could help consolidate its control over how goods make it from the warehouse floor to the front door.

Amazon’s move, if successful, is likely to shift how the biggest apartment operators deal with packages toward a fully automated system that residents will be able to access 24 hours a day.

 

The locker program, dubbed Amazon Hub, will accept packages from all carriers and not just for purchases made on Amazon. They will be open only to residents, not the wider community. Residents will receive a notification when they have a package and a code allowing them to open one of the slots.

 

Apartment owners pay about $10,000 to $20,000 to purchase the lockers initially and don’t pay a monthly fee. Most landlords said they don’t plan to charge residents but to offer it as an amenity. They could also make back some of that cost in savings on staff labor.

While Amazon still harbors dreams of supplanting UPS and FedEx with a fleet of package-delivering drones, Amazon Hub represents the company’s attempt to solve one of the most vexing problems associated with e-commerce: The so-called ‘last mile’ – moving the package from a distribution hub to the customer’s doorstep.

The more stops a driver needs to make, the more expensive deliveries become. By allowing a driver to leave many packages in one place, Amazon can substantially reduce the cost of deliveries.

The most expensive leg of any delivery is the so-called last mile: getting a package to the doorstep. Amazon already has added lockers throughout the U.S., including announcing it is rolling them out at its newly acquired Whole Foods stores.

 

For Amazon—or any package carrier—it is all about density. The more places a driver has to stop and drop of a package, the more expensive the process. It also increases the likelihood of a stolen order if it is dropped off unsupervised.

 

So dropping off a load of packages in one spot, like a locker or apartment office, is a huge cost saver. And as apartment managers grow increasingly frustrated with more deliveries to take care of, lockers become more attractive.

While several of the world’s largest landowners have already started the process of installing Amazon Hub at their properties, there are still some problems that Amazon hasn’t accounted for, according to WSJ.

For example, building staff will still need to find alternative accommodations for large packages that don’t fit in lockers. Also, as e-commerce becomes increasingly popular, individual apartments may require larger lockers.

Amazon has designed lockers that can be placed both indoors and outdoors, which should make it easier for landlords to add more storage capacity, if needed. 

One issue for landlords has been that it is challenging to update lockers as demand grows and technology changes. Amazon will make lockers that can be placed both indoors and outdoors, making it easier for landlords to add lockers if the volume of packages that residents order exceeds the space they have in their mailrooms. The lockers will also have cellular connectivity so apartment owners don’t have to worry about running an Ethernet cable to them outdoors.

 

One problem Amazon hasn’t solved: oversize packages. Ms. Hollinger said Avalon has had to contend with deliveries including furniture to outfit an entire two-bedroom apartment, kayaks and even hub caps. No locker system can reasonably solve that problem.

 

“The package lockers are quite helpful, but the volume will be hard to sustain in the long term,” she said.

AvalonBay Communities, Greystar and Bozzuto Group – three of the largest apartment rental companies in the US – have signed up for Amazon Hub, and Bozzuto Group has already started the installation process. Amazon says it’s already planning to install lockers for 850,000 apartments. The company is in talks with other landlords, and expects to substantially expand the program next year.

Bob Weinstein Also Accused Of Harassment - "Was An Abusive Boss"

Zerohedge - Tue, 10/17/2017 - 22:08

In a shocking development that discredits claims by top Weinstein Company executives that the company was unaware of disgraced co-founder Harvey Weinstein’s lecherous behavior, a former Hollywood show runner has come forward to accuse Bob Weinstein, who co-founded the eponymous film studio with his brother in 2005, of harassment during production of a Spike TV film series, Variety reports.

Amanda Segel, an executive producer of “Mist,” said Weinstein repeatedly made romantic overtures to her and asked her to join him for private dinners. The harassment began in the summer of 2016 and continued on and off for about three months until Segel’s lawyer, David Fox of Myman Greenspan, informed TWC executives — including COO David Glasser — that she would leave the show if Bob Weinstein did not stop contacting her on personal matters.

“'No’ should be enough,” Segel told Variety. “After ‘no,’ anybody who has asked you out should just move on. Bob kept referring to me that he wanted to have a friendship. He didn’t want a friendship. He wanted more than that. My hope is that ‘no’ is enough from now on.”

 

A representative for Bob Weinstein denied that he engaged in any inappropriate behavior in a statement to Variety.

“Bob Weinstein had dinner with Ms. Segel in LA in June 2016. He denies any claims that he behaved inappropriately at or after the dinner. It is most unfortunate that any such claim has been made,” the statement said.
A rep for Weinstein Co. also denied that Glasser was contacted by Segel’s lawyer.

The revelation will only accelerate the process of industry figures distancing themselves from the Weinstein Co. The company has reportedly been sent into a tailspin after more than 30 women came forward to accuse Bob’s brother Harvey of being a serial sexual predator. Harvey, who is currently in rehab in Arizona, is facing criminal investigations in both the US and the UK.

Yesterday, Weinstein Co. revealed that it had received an emergency infusion of cash from Colony Investments, a firm run by Trump friend and adviser Thomas Barrick. The investment firm is reportedly in talks to purchase most of Weinstein’s major assets.

In the days after the scandal, Bob Weinstein publicly condemned his brother’s actions and claimed that he was unaware of his brother’s history of sexual assault and harassment. He said in a recent interview that his brother has not expressed “one shred of remorse” for his actions, and is solely fixated on how he can rehabilitate his image and regain his position of power within the industry. Segel said her experiences with Weinstein left her shaken and angry. Segel told Variety that Weinstein’s untoward advances began after she accepted a dinner invitation during 2016 in the hopes of establishing a professional relationship with the producer of a show called “the Mist” that had a 10 episode run that wrapped in August. 

Segel’s discomfort with Bob Weinstein began in June 2016 when he invited her out to dinner in Los Angeles, at Dan Tana’s restaurant. Segel had been told by coworkers that Bob Weinstein had inquired with them whether she was single. She agreed to go to dinner with him in an effort to establish a professional relationship with the head of the company behind “The Mist.”

 

During the dinner, Weinstein asked Segel highly intimate questions and made romantic overtures to her, according to Segel. He wanted to know her age because he told her he didn’t want to date anyone younger than his daughter. He told Segel that he was staying at the Beverly Hills Hotel because his daughter was staying at his home in Los Angeles.

 

About halfway through the dinner, Weinstein asked Segel if she would drive him back to the hotel so that he could let his driver go for the night. Segel agreed. When she took him to the Sunset Boulevard hotel, he asked her to come up to his room. She declined.

Weinstein’s advances continued. He would send Segel creepy emails and even once invited her to a “party” at his place that she avoided because she suspected it was a ruse to get her alone.

Eventually Weinstein gave up, but he soon started unfairly targeting Segel for criticism, leading to a breakdown in their working relationship. Segel told her lawyer about the harassment, and eventually reached an agreement with the Weinstein Company that she would never be in the presence of Weinstein, or on calls with Weinstein, during production of “the Mist”. The studio said it would release her from her contract if the show was picked up for a second season. 

After that night, Weinstein began sending emails to Segel with questions that were outside the scope of work on “The Mist.” He said he wanted them to be friends. She said that was possible but in a non romantic way, and reiterated that she was not open to dating.

 

In a scenario that echoes some of the allegations against Harvey Weinstein, Segel asserts that during this period Bob Weinstein invited her to a house he’d rented in Malibu for a party. When he called Segel to tell her the address of the house, she gathered that it was not a party but an invitation for the two of them to be alone. She did not attend.

 

Bob Weinstein continued to ask Segel out to dinner between June and August of 2016 joking at times that he was her boss and could fire her if she didn’t agree. Segel agreed to another dinner with him in which she was accompanied by “Mist” executive producer and writer Christian Torpe. Weinstein was clearly unhappy with Torpe’s presence at the dinner, according to Segel.

 

Eventually, Weinstein stopped the unwanted attention toward Segel. During a notes conference call with network executives about the show, Segel says Weinstein became angry and screamed at Segel over a production issue that she says was out of her control. When questioned about the outburst by others on the call, Segel expressed her view that she had been sexually harassed by Weinstein for three months. After that incident, Segel had her lawyer contact TWC executives with the ultimatum that she would leave the show if Weinstein did not stay away from her.

 

After much back and forth between Segel, her lawyer and TWC executives, an agreement was reached that Segel would continue her work on the show but arrangements were made that she was never to be in the same room as Weinstein or on telephone calls with him, an agreement that was honored by Weinstein. It was also agreed that TWC would let Segel out of its option to keep her on the show if it was picked up for a second season.

Segel is presently working on a new series, in a work environment she described as pleasantly low-key. She’s also focused on developing her own projects.

Unfortunately, as is the case with Bob’s brother and many other serial abusers in Hollywood, this type of behavior is rarely an isolated incident. Now, we wait and see if more accusers come forward implicating the brother, in a scandal that has changed the discourse and exposed a culture of sexual exploitation at the highest levels of the entertainment industry.

* * *

In a separate report published Tuesday evening, the Wall Street Journal - who were first to report that the Weinstein Company's board was in talks to sell - published a lengthy feature about Bob's workplace behavior. Former employees and colleagues - most of whom were anonymous but a handful of whom were named - recounted Bob Weinstein's history of aggressive, bullying workplace behavior and his tendency to abuse employees and mistreat or insult business partners.

While not as aggressive and mean-spirited as his brother Harvey, Bob reportedly compensated for being shy and socially awkward by acting like a bully after coming to prominence with Miramax in the early 1990s.

Once, when a marketing executive showed him a potential trailer for the film “I Got the Hookup” and asked, “What do you think?” Bob Weinstein responded, “I think it f—ing sucks,” and threw the videotape over an employee’s head after which it smashed against a wall, according to a person who witnessed the incident. Mr. Weinstein denied the incident occurred.

At the 2000 premiere of “Scary Movie,” a Dimension executive attempted to introduce his wife to his boss. Bob Weinstein stuck out his arm and shoved the woman back, the former executive recalled, as he made a beeline for stars Marlon and Shawn Wayans and director Keenen Ivory Wayans, with whom he hoped to sign a deal to make more movies. Mr. Weinstein denied that that occurred.

The story included details about the incident that led to a rift between the two families (as Bob has repeatedly said, he hasn't spoken to his brother much over the past five years). WSJ noted that their families hadn't spent holidays together, or any time, really, outside of work. It's also been rumored that Bob was the one who initially pushed the Times to pursue its expose.

In about 2011, after an argument over how to allocate the studio’s resources between their respective movies, Harvey Weinstein punched his brother in the face in front of about a dozen other Weinstein Co. executives, knocking him to the ground, said people who were present. “I’ve been assaulted!” Bob yelled, according to those people. Bob, who was bloodied, wanted to press charges, but was talked out of it, according to a person familiar with the incident.

WSJ seems to think that Bob Weinstein's track record producing smash hit horror films might be savable, and that when Weinstein Compant sells its assets, Bob might be left to run his Dimension films label as an independent company. But the question now is: Will Bob's reputation be forever sullied thanks to his association with his brother?

How The Elite Dominate The World – Part 2: 99.9% Of The World Live In A Country With A Central Bank

Zerohedge - Tue, 10/17/2017 - 21:55

Authored by Michael Snyder via The Economic Collapse blog,

Even though the nations of the world are very deeply divided on almost everything else, somehow virtually all of them have been convinced that central banking is the way to go. 

Today, less than 0.1% of the population of the world lives in a country that does not have a central bank.  Do you think that there is any possible way that this is a coincidence?  And it is also not a coincidence that we are now facing the greatest debt bubble in the history of the world. 

In Part I of this series, I discussed the fact that total global debt has reached 217 trillion dollars.  Once you understand that central banks are designed to create endless debt, and once you understand that 99.9% of the global population lives in a country that has a central bank, then it finally makes sense why we have accumulated so much debt.  The elite of the world use debt as a tool of enslavement, and central banking has allowed them to literally enslave the entire planet.

Some of you may not be familiar with how a “central bank” differs from a normal bank.  The following definition of a “central bank” comes from Wikipedia

A central bank, reserve bank, or monetary authority is an institution that manages a state’s currency, money supply, and interest rates. Central banks also usually oversee the commercial banking system of their respective countries. In contrast to a commercial bank, a central bank possesses a monopoly on increasing the monetary base in the state, and usually also prints the national currency,[1] which usually serves as the state’s legal tender.

Over the past 100 years or so, we have seen central banks steadily be established all over the planet.  At this point, there are just 8 very small nations that still do not have a central bank…

  • -Andorra
  • -Monaco
  • -Nauru
  • -Kiribati
  • -Tuvalu
  • -Palau
  • -Marshall Islands
  • -Federated States of Micronesia

When you add the populations of those 8 nations together, it comes to much less than 0.1% of the global population.

But even though central banking is nearly universal, only a very small fraction of the global population can tell you how money is created.

Do you know where money comes from?

Here in the United States, most people just assume that the federal government creates money.  But that is not true at all.

Many are absolutely shocked when they discover that U.S. currency is actually borrowed into existence.  The federal government gives U.S. Treasury bonds (debt) to the Federal Reserve in exchange for money that the Federal Reserve creates out of thin air.  The Federal Reserve then auctions off those bonds to the highest bidder.

Since the federal government must pay interest on those bonds, the amount of debt that is created in these transactions is actually greater than the amount of money that is created.  But we are told that if we can just circulate the money throughout our economy fast enough and tax it at a high enough rate, then we can eventually pay off the debt.  Of course that never actually happens, and so the federal government always has to go back and borrow even more money.  This is called a debt spiral, and at this point we will never be able to escape it until we do away with this horrible system.

But why does our government (or any government for that matter) have to borrow money that is created by a central bank in the first place?

Why can’t governments just create money themselves?

Oops.  That is the big secret that nobody is supposed to talk about.

Theoretically, the U.S. government doesn’t actually have to borrow a single penny. Instead of borrowing money the Federal Reserve creates out of thin air, the federal government could just create money directly and spend it into circulation.

Yes, this could actually happen.  Back in 1963, President John F. Kennedy signed Executive Order 11110 which authorized the U.S. Treasury to issue debt-free “United States Notes” which were not created by the Federal Reserve.  These debt-free notes began to be issued, and you can still find them for sale on eBay today.  Unfortunately, President Kennedy was assassinated shortly after this executive order was issued, and the notes were not in production for long.

If we had ultimately fully adopted “United States Notes” and had phased out Federal Reserve notes, we would not be 20 trillion dollars in debt today.

The elite of the world love to get national governments deep into debt, because it enables them to enslave entire populations while making an obscene amount of money in the process.

Back in 1913, an insidious plan was rushed through Congress just before Christmas that was based on a blueprint that had been developed by very powerful Wall Street interests.  Author G. Edward Griffin did an extraordinary job of documenting how all of this happened in his book entitled “The Creature from Jekyll Island: A Second Look at the Federal Reserve”.  A central bank was established, and it was purposely designed to create a government debt spiral, and that is precisely what happened.

Since 1913, the size of the national debt has gotten more than 6,000 times larger, and the value of our dollar has declined by more than 98 percent.  Many conservatives are still under the illusion that we could get out of debt someday if we just grow the economy fast enough, but I have shown in another article that we have gotten to the point where this is mathematically impossible.

And most people are also operating under the false assumption that the Federal Reserve is part of the federal government.  But that is not accurate either.  The following comes from one of my previous articles

There is often a lot of confusion about the Federal Reserve, because a lot of people think that it is simply an agency of the federal government. But of course that is not true at all. In fact, as Ron Paul likes to say, the Federal Reserve is about as “federal” as Federal Express is.

 

The Fed is an independent central bank that has even argued in court that it is not an agency of the federal government. Yes, the president appoints the leadership of the Fed, but the Fed and other central banks around the world have always fiercely guarded their “independence”. On the official Fed website, it is admitted that the 12 regional Federal Reserve banks are organized “much like private corporations”, and they very much operate like private entities. They even issue shares of stock to the private banks that own them.

 

In case you were wondering, the federal government has zero shares.

According to the U.S. Constitution, a private central banking cartel should not be issuing our currency.  In Article I, Section 8 of our Constitution, Congress is solely given the authority to “coin Money, regulate the Value thereof, and of foreign Coin, and fix the Standard of Weights and Measures”.

So why in the world has this authority been given to a central bank?

The truth is that we do not need a central bank.

From 1872 to 1913, there was no central bank and no income tax, and it turned out to be the greatest period of economic growth in all of U.S. history.

But since the Fed was established, there have been 18 different recessions or depressions: 1918, 1920, 1923, 1926, 1929, 1937, 1945, 1949, 1953, 1958, 1960, 1969, 1973, 1980, 1981, 1990, 2001, 2008.

Abolishing the Federal Reserve is one of the core issues of my platform, and I have been writing about these things for the last seven years.

As I discussed yesterday, the elite use debt to enslave all of the rest of us, and central banking allows them to literally dominate the entire planet.

Until we abolish this debt-based system and go to a currency that is debt-free, we are never going to permanently solve our very deep long-term economic and financial problems.

But because they are so immensely wealthy, the elite are able to wield extraordinary influence in our society.  They control the mainstream media, our politicians and even global institutions such as the United Nations.  Anyone that would dare to question the validity of the current system is marginalized, and for a long time very few politicians around the world were even willing to speak out against central banking.

However, that is starting to change.  A new generation of leaders is rising up, and they are absolutely determined to break the stranglehold that the elite have on our society.  It won’t be easy, but if we are able to wake enough people up, I believe that we will eventually be able to free ourselves from this insidious system.

Airbus Takes On Boeing By Striking Deal For Bombardier Ownership Stake

Zerohedge - Tue, 10/17/2017 - 21:40

Boeing's battle to crush Bombardier has encountered an unexpected obstacle.

Bloomberg reports that Airbus SE has agreed to acquire a majority stake in Bombardier Inc.’s C Series program, which the Commerce Department slapped with a 300% tariff it ruled in Boeing’s favor in a complaint alleging Bombardier had benefited from anti-competitive government subsidies.

Under the terms of the deal, Airbus won’t pay a dime up front for the C-Series, but will begin assembling the technologically advanced by poor-selling jetliner in the US in what Bloomberg said could be an effort to circumvent the tariffs.  Airbus is adding another final assembly line for the C-Series at its factory in Mobile, Alabama, which will serve US customers and complement production in Canada, according to a company statement late Monday. However, Bloomberg says it’s unclear if the deal will allow the C-Series to avoid the tariffs.

It’s too soon to say if the new Alabama production line would enable the C Series to avoid U.S. tariffs. The duties were applied to C Series planes “regardless of whether they enter the United States fully or partially assembled,” according to a U.S. government fact sheet on the matter. Boeing said Airbus and Bombardier were just trying to get around the restrictions.

As part of the deal, Airbus will assume just over half of the interest in a partnership controlling the C-Series. Bloomberg says the European planemaker’s marketing muscle and production expertise boosts the viability of the all-new aircraft after more than $6 billion in development costs forced Bombardier to rely on government assistance.

The deal also thrusts Airbus into the middle of a trade spat between the two North American aerospace firms. In response to the Commerce Department’s ruling, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau canceled military equipment orders with Boeing, adding that they wouldn’t be reinstated until Boeing drops its complaint against Bombardier.

Boeing filed its complaint in April after Delta Air Lines agreed to buy 75 of the C-Series in a deal worth some $5 billion. Boeing alleged that the planes had been sold for “absurdly low prices.”

The dispute had crossed the Atlantic even before Airbus's involvement. UK Prime Minister Theresa May said she personally lobbied President Trump to cancel the tariffs. Bombardier has a large factory in Belfast, a constituency that’s important to the conservatives, which employs 4,000 locals.

The Airbus deal is an embarrassing setback for Boeing, one analyst said.

“This is a program that has been waiting for a deus ex machina, and wow, it really got one,” Richard Aboulafia, an aerospace analyst at Teal Group, said in an interview. The deal casts Airbus as a global player while Boeing comes off as “a bit shortsighted and protectionist. It makes Boeing look like they’ve been playing tic tac toe against a chess master.”

Bombardier shares traded in Toronto climbed 15.7% on Tuesday after the deal was announced.

Trump and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau discussed the deal Monday evening in a phone call, according to a statement from Trudeau’s office that provided no details of the conversation.

Canadian Innovation Minister Navdeep Bains said the deal will face a review under the Investment Canada Act. But one unnamed government source told Bloomberg that it’s likely to be approved.

Assuming it is approved, the transaction would be expected to close in the second half of next year, at which point Airbus will own 50.01% of the C Series partnership. Bombardier will hold about 31% and the province of Quebec, which controversially invested $1 billion in the C Series after the cost overruns and delays, will own approximately 19%. Quebec will remain an investor in the C Series until at least 2023, said the province’s economy minister, Dominique Anglade.

Bombardier has rejected Boeing’s complaint, saying Boeing doesn’t have grounds to accuse Bombardier of unfair trade practices because Boeing doesn’t make a mid-sized jet comparable to the C-Series.

Unsurprisingly, Boeing criticized the deal, hinting that it could try to expand its complaint to include Airbus if the company tries to avoid the C-Series sanctions.

“This looks like a questionable deal between two heavily state-subsidized competitors to skirt the recent findings of the U.S. government,” Boeing, the world’s largest aerospace company, said in an emailed statement. “Our position remains that everyone should play by the same rules for free and fair trade to work.”

Of course, Airbus and Boeing are each other's primary rival. By acquiring the ownership stake in the C-Series, Airbus is killing two birds with one stone. Embarassing and threatening Boeing, while acquiring new technology for cheap that could allow it to cater to a new kind of customer: Chinese airlines looking for more fuel-efficient planes.

George Soros Donates $18 Billion To His 'Open Society' Foundation

Zerohedge - Tue, 10/17/2017 - 21:25

Hungarian-born billionaire investor George Soros is pledging $18 billion - the bulk of his $26 billion fortune – to his Open Society Foundation, completing the integration of his family office, Soros Fund Management, and the charitable organization that serves as a front for Soros’s globalist agenda.

WSJ reports that the gift has vaulted Open Society to the top ranks of philanthropic organizations. It now appears to be the second largest such organization in the US by assets after the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, based on 2014 figures from the National Philanthropic Trust. Soros, who is 87, shares influence over the investment firm’s strategy with Open Society’s investment committee. Soros serves as the committee’s chairman, but the committee was set up to survive him, he said.

“It’s an ongoing process of migration from a hedge fund toward a pool of capital deployed to support a foundation over the long term,” said Bill Ford, a committee member and the chief executive of General Atlantic LLC, a firm that invests in growth-stage companies.

However, Bloomberg reported that the transfer of funds was authorized to help minimize a tax bill hedge fund managers are facing this year. Money managers have until the end of the year to pay taxes on fees they earned from assets in offshore funds, but had earlier deferred payment on. Many are now turning to charitable donations, including to their own foundations, to help offset the tax burden.

Tax experts have estimated that collectively managers have at least $100 billion offshore, based on tax-advisers’ conversations with clients, brokers and fund-service providers. A New York-based money manager such as Soros could be subject to a top federal income tax rate of 39.6%, not including state and local taxes. When Congress eliminated the tax break in 2008 during the aftermath of the financial crisis, it gave hedge fund managers until Dec. 31, 2017 to bring the cash home and pay the accumulated taxes.

It's believed that most of Soro's wealth is tied up with his family office. At the end of 2013, Soros had amassed $13.3 billion in his Soros Fund Management through the use of deferrals, according to Irish regulatory filings. Since it's unclear how much the fund's assets have grown since then, it's difficult to tell what percentage of the fund's assets the donation represents.
 

Soros founded Open Society in 1993 and has used it to support pro-Clinton groups and Super PACs, as well as leftist groups like Black Lives Matter, and other leftist groups that purportedly have links to local Antifa organizations.

Soros has also given more than $33 million to the Black Lives Matter groups involved in the social unrest in Ferguson and Baltimore.

Sources close to Soros told WSJ that he doesn’t plan to trade the billions that now belong to Open Society. After stepping back from active management in 2000, Soros came out of retirement in 2007 to bet against the housing market, and has had several notable trading successes in recent years – including a profitable bet on S&P 500 puts ahead of the June 2016 Brexit vote. His most recent trade was a bet that stocks would slump following Trump’s election.

Instead, the Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed above 23,000 for the first time on Tuesday.

Several states have accused Soros of inappropriately meddling in local affairs. Israel accused the philanthropist billionaire of "continuously undermining Israel's democratically elected governments.” Meanwhile, Soros’s support for refugees brought him into conflict with Hungarian President Viktor Orban, formerly a friend of the billionaire. Orban has accused Soros of being a political puppet master, and officials in his government have described Soros’s Open Society charities as “political activism disguised as NGO work.":

Soros, who has lived under both communism and Nazi occupation in Hungary, hoped to foster “open societies” in places where authoritarian governments held power. He named his foundation after a book by the philosopher Karl Popper, one of his teachers at the London School of Economics, who was a notable defender of liberal democracies.

As WSJ explains, Open Society operates through a network of more than 40 foundations and offices in countries from Afghanistan to South Africa and has a broad mandate to act on its founder’s values. OS organizations have funded refugee relief, public-health efforts and programs including a mobile court for gender crimes in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The philanthropy also advocates for rights of the Roma, one of Europe’s largest ethnic minorities.

Responding to rumors that the firm is becoming more risk averse, one of Soros’s portfolio managers told WSJ that the firm would still look for opportunities for profitable macro trades, but that those opportunities would be smaller and more fleeting.

Though Soros has been a vocal opponent of President Donald Trump’s agenda, he once hired Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to run a credit business at Soros.

It’s long been known that most of Soros’s fortune would eventually go to Open Society, though Soros previously funded it with annual donations. He plans to give it most of the rest of his wealth in his lifetime or upon his death, said people familiar with the matter, pushing its assets above $20 billion.

Soros Fund Management’s annual returns have averaged around 11% in the past 10 years, according to a person familiar with the figures, well below the 30% of its early decades.

Soros has about $6 billion in private-equity and related investments, including African cellphone towers and a stake in a restaurant chain called Dinosaur Bar-B-Que. The overseers of this chunk of money report to Open Society’s investment committee.

Soros is best known for building one of the world’s largest fortunes through a series of super-profitable trades. In September 1992, the Bank of England left the European Exchange Rate Mechanism under pressure from speculators, including Soros, who had been aggressively shorting the pound.

The trade netted Soros a profit of $1 billion and earned him a reputation as the man who broke the Bank of England. 

"No Devilishly Effective Plot" - Clinton Chief Strategist Admits "You Can't Buy The Presidency For $100,000"

Zerohedge - Tue, 10/17/2017 - 21:10

Authored by Mark Penn, former chief strategist on Bill Clinton’s 1996 presidential campaign, Hillary Clinton’s 2000 Senate campaign, and Mrs. Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign; via The Wall Street Journal,

Russia didn’t win Trump the White House any more than China re-elected Bill Clinton in 1996.

The fake news about fake news is practically endless. Americans worried about Russia’s influence in the 2016 election have seized on a handful of Facebook ads—as though there weren’t also three 90-minute debates, two televised party conventions, and $2.4 billion spent on last year’s campaign. The danger is that bending facts to fit the Russia story line may nudge Washington into needlessly and recklessly regulating the internet and curtailing basic freedoms.

After an extensive review, Facebook has identified $100,000 of ads that came from accounts associated with Russia. Assume for the sake of argument that Vladimir Putin personally authorized this expenditure. Given its divisive nature, the campaign could be dubbed “From Russia, With Hate”—except it would make for a disappointing James Bond movie.

Analyzing the pattern of expenditures, and doing some back-of-the-envelope math, it’s clear this was no devilishly effective plot. Facebook says 56% of the ads ran after the election, reducing the tally that could have influenced the result to about $44,000. It also turns out the ads were not confined to swing states but also shown in places like New York, California and Texas. Supposing half the ads went to swing states brings the total down to $22,000.

Facebook also counted ads as early as June 2015. Assuming they were evenly spread and we want only those that ran the year of the election, that knocks it down to $13,000. Most of the ads did not solicit support for a candidate and carried messages on issues like racism, immigration and guns. The actual electioneering then amounts to about $6,500.

Now look at the bigger picture.

Every day, Americans see hundreds of ads on TV and radio, in newspapers and magazines, on billboards and smartphones. North Americans post to Facebook something like a billion times a day, and during the election many of those messages were about politics. Facebook typically runs about $40 million worth of advertising a day in North America.

Then consider the scale of American presidential elections.

Hillary Clinton’s total campaign budget, including associated committees, was $1.4 billion. Mr. Trump and his allies had about $1 billion. Even a full $100,000 of Russian ads would have erased just 0.025% of Hillary’s financial advantage. In the last week of the campaign alone, Mrs. Clinton’s super PAC dumped $6 million in ads into Florida, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

I have 40 years of experience in politics, and this Russian ad buy, mostly after the election anyway, simply does not add up to a carefully targeted campaign to move voters. It takes tens of millions of dollars to deliver meaningful messages to the contested portion of the electorate. Converting someone who voted for the other party last time is an enormously difficult task. Swing voters in states like Ohio or Florida are typically barraged with 50% or more of a campaign’s budget. Try watching TV in those states the week before an election and you will see how jammed the airwaves are.

No one wants foreign governments meddling in American elections.

In 1996, the Chinese government had the “China plan” and pumped hundreds of thousands of dollars into Bill Clinton’s re-election campaign. There were congressional investigations, and several fundraisers were prosecuted, but Attorney General Janet Reno rejected calls for an independent counsel. Campaigns tightened up their donor-validation procedures, and life moved on. The same is called for here. Internet companies should improve their screening of electioneering ads, impose clearer standards on all ads, and do a better job weeding out phony accounts.

Millions of taxpayer dollars have probably been spent already poring over that $100,000 of Facebook ads.

Better to keep it all in perspective, as everyone did in 1996.

The only way Russia will get its money’s worth is if Washington overreacts and narrows the very freedoms that make America different in the first place.

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