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Freedom for the Speech You Hate

LewRockwell.com - 2 hours 1 min ago

“If there is any principle of the Constitution that more imperatively calls for attachment than any other, it is the principle of free thought — not free thought for those who agree with us but freedom for the thought that we hate.”— Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes

There was a time in this country, back when the British were running things, that if you spoke your mind and it ticked off the wrong people, you’d soon find yourself in jail for offending the king.

Reacting to this injustice, when it was time to write the Constitution, America’s founders argued for a Bill of Rights, of which the First Amendment protects the right to free speech. James Madison, the father of the Constitution, was very clear about the fact that he wrote the First Amendment to protect the minority against the majority.

What Madison meant by minority is “offensive speech.”

Unfortunately, we don’t honor that principle as much as we should today. In fact, we seem to be witnessing a politically correct philosophy at play, one shared by both the extreme left and the extreme right, which aims to stifle all expression that doesn’t fit within their parameters of what they consider to be “acceptable” speech.

There are all kinds of labels put on such speech—it’s been called politically incorrect speech, hate speech, offensive speech, and so on—but really, the message being conveyed is that you don’t have a right to express yourself if certain people or groups don’t like or agree with what you are saying.

Hence, we have seen the caging of free speech in recent years, through the use of so-called “free speech zones” on college campuses and at political events, the requirement of speech permits in parks and community gatherings, and the policing of online forums.

Clearly, this elitist, monolithic mindset is at odds with everything America is supposed to stand for.

Indeed, we should be encouraging people to debate issues and air their views. Instead, by muzzling free speech, we are contributing to a growing underclass of Americans—many of whom have been labeled racists, rednecks and religious bigots—who are being told that they can’t take part in American public life unless they “fit in.”

Remember, the First Amendment acts as a steam valve. It allows people to speak their minds, air their grievances and contribute to a larger dialogue that hopefully results in a more just world. When there is no steam valve to release the pressure, frustration builds, anger grows and people become more volatile and desperate to force a conversation.

The attempt to stifle certain forms of speech is where we go wrong.

In fact, the U.S. Supreme Court has held that it is “a bedrock principle underlying the First Amendment…that the government may not prohibit the expression of an idea simply because society finds the idea offensive or disagreeable.” For example, it is not a question of whether the Confederate flag represents racism but whether banning it leads to even greater problems, namely, the loss of freedom in general.

Along with the constitutional right to peacefully (and that means non-violently) assemble, the right to free speech allows us to challenge the government through protests and demonstrations and to attempt to change the world around us—for the better or the worse—through protests and counterprotests.

As always, knowledge is key.

The following Constitutional Q&A, available in more detail at The Rutherford Institute (www.rutherford.org), is a good starting point.

Q:        WHAT LAWS GIVE ME THE RIGHT TO PROTEST?

A:         The First Amendment prohibits the government from “abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.” Protesting is an exercise of these constitutional rights because it involves speaking out, by individual people or those assembled in groups, about matters of public interest and concern.

Q:        WHERE CAN I ENGAGE IN PROTEST ACTIVITY?

A:         The right to protest generally extends to places that are owned and controlled by the government, although not all government-owned property is available for exercising speech and assembly rights. However, beyond public or government property, a person cannot claim a First Amendment right to protest and demonstrate on property that is privately owned by someone else. This also applies to private property that is generally open to the public, such as a shopping mall or shopping center, although these areas sometimes allow demonstrations and other free speech activity with permission from the owner. You are also entitled to engage in protest activities on land you own.  The Supreme Court has ruled that the government may not forbid homeowners from posting signs on their property speaking out on a political or social issue.

Q:        WHAT ARE MY RIGHTS TO PROTEST IN A TRADITIONAL PUBLIC FORUM?

A:         Places historically associated with the free exercise of expressive activities, such as streets, sidewalks and parks, are traditional public forums and the government’s power to limit speech and assembly in those places is very limited. The government may not impose an absolute ban on expression and assembly in traditional public forums except in circumstances where it is essential to serve a compelling government interest.  However, expression and assembly in traditional public forums may be limited by reasonable time, place and manner regulations. Examples of reasonable regulations include restrictions on the volume of sound produced by the activity or a prohibition on impeding vehicle and pedestrian traffic.  To be a valid time, place and manner regulation, the restriction must not have the effect of restricting speech based on its content and it must not be broader than needed to serve the interest of the government.

Q:        CAN I PICKET AND/OR DISTRIBUTE LEAFLETS AND OTHER TYPES OF LITERATURE ON PUBLIC SIDEWALKS?

A:         Yes, a sidewalk is considered a traditional public forum where you can engage in expressive activities, such a passing out literature or speaking out on a matter of public concern. In exercising that right, you must not block pedestrians or the entrances to buildings. You may not physically or maliciously detain someone in order to give them a leaflet, but you may approach them and offer it to them.

Q:        CAN MY FREE SPEECH BE RESTRICTED BECAUSE OF WHAT I SAY, EVEN IF IT IS CONTROVERSIAL?

A:         No, the First Amendment protects speech even if most people would find it offensive, hurtful or hateful. Speech generally cannot be banned based upon its content or viewpoint because it is not up to the government to determine what can and cannot be said. A bedrock principle of the First Amendment is that the government may not prohibit expression of an idea because society finds it offensive or disagreeable. Also, protest speech also cannot be banned because of a fear that others may react violently to the speech.  Demonstrators cannot be punished or forbidden from speaking because they might offend a hostile mob. The Supreme Court has held that a “heckler’s veto” has no place in First Amendment law.

Q:        HOW DO THESE RIGHTS APPLY TO PUBLIC PLACES I TYPICALLY VISIT?

A:         Your rights to speak out and protest in particular public places will depend on the use and purpose of the place involved.  For example, the lobbies and offices of public buildings that are used by the government are generally not open for expressive activities because the purpose of these buildings is to carry out public business. Protesting would interfere with that purpose.  Ironically, the meetings of a governmental body, such as a city council or town board, are not considered public forums open for protest activities because the purpose of the meeting is generally to address public business that is on the agenda.  However, some government councils and boards set aside a time at the meeting when the public can voice their complaints.

The grounds of public colleges and universities are generally considered available for assembly and protest by students and other members of the institution’s community.  However, those who are not students, faculty or staff of the institution may be denied access to the campus for speech and protest activities under rules issued by the school.

Public elementary and secondary school grounds also are not considered places where persons can engage in assembly and protest.  However, students at these schools do not lose their right to free speech when they enter the school. The First Amendment protects the right of students to engage in expressive acts of protest, such as wearing armbands to demonstrate opposition to a war, that are not disruptive to the school environment.

Q:        DO I NEED A PERMIT IN ORDER TO CONDUCT A PROTEST?

A:         As a general rule, no. A person is not required to obtain the consent or permission of the government before engaging in activities that are protected by the First Amendment.  One of the main reasons for that constitutional provision was to forbid any requirement that citizens obtain a license in order to speak out.  The government cannot require that individuals or small groups obtain a permit in order to speak or protest in a public forum.

However, if persons or organizations want to hold larger rallies and demonstrations, they may be required by local laws to obtain a permit.  The Supreme Court has recognized that the government, in order to regulate competing uses of public forums, may impose a permit requirement on those wishing to hold a parade or rally.  Government officials cannot simply prohibit a public assembly according to their discretion, but the government can impose restrictions on the time, place, and manner of peaceful assembly, provided that constitutional safeguards are met. Such time, place and manner restrictions can take the form of requirements to obtain a permit for an assembly.

Whether an assembly or demonstration requires a permit depends on the laws of the locality.  A permit certainly is required for any parade because it would involve the use of the streets and interfere with vehicle traffic. A permit to hold an event in other public places typically is required if the gathering involves more than 50 persons or the use of amplification.

Q:        DO COUNTER-DEMONSTRATORS HAVE FREE SPEECH RIGHTS?

A:         Yes, they do. Just because counter-demonstrators oppose you and the viewpoint of your demonstration does not mean they have any less right to speak out and demonstrate. However, the same rules apply to counter-demonstrators as apply to the original assembly. The group cannot be violent and must assemble and protest in an appropriate place and manner.

Q:        WHAT CAN’T I DO IN EXERCISING MY RIGHTS TO PROTEST?

A:         The Supreme Court of the United States has held that the First Amendment protects the right to conduct a peaceful public assembly. The First Amendment does not provide the right to conduct a gathering at which there is a clear and present danger of riot, disorder, interference with traffic on public streets or other immediate threat to public safety. Laws that prohibit people from assembling and using force or violence to accomplish unlawful purposes are permissible under the First Amendment.

Q:       AM I ALLOWED TO CARRY A WEAPON OR FIREARM AT A DEMONSTRATION OR PROTEST?

A:         Your right to have a weapon with you when you protest largely depends on what is allowed by state law and is unlikely to be protected by the First Amendment’s guarantee to freedom of speech. Not all conduct can be considered “speech” protected by the First Amendment even if the person engaging in the conduct intends to express an idea. Most courts have held that the act of openly carrying a weapon or firearm is not expression protected by the First Amendment.

The right to possess a firearm is protected by the Second Amendment, and all states allow carrying a concealed weapon in public, although most require a permit to do so. Some states allow persons to openly carry firearms in public. However, it is not yet settled whether the Second Amendment guarantees the right to possess a firearm in public. Thus, the right to carry a firearm at a demonstration or protest is a matter that depends on what is allowed under state law. Carrying other weapons, such as stun guns, which are not firearms also is subject to restrictions imposed by state lawPossession of weapons also may be prohibited in certain places where demonstrations might take place, such as a national park.

Even if possession of weapons is allowed, their presence at demonstrations and rallies can be intimidating and provocative and does not help in achieving a civil and peaceful discourse on issues of public interest and concern. Demonstrations often relate to issues raising strong feelings among competing groups, and the presence of counter-demonstrators makes conflict likely.  In these situations, where the purpose of the gathering is to engage in speech activities, firearms and other weapons are threatening, result in the suppression of speech and are contrary to the purpose of the First Amendment to allow all voices to be heard on matters of public importance.

Q:        WHAT CAN’T THE POLICE DO IN RESPONDING TO PROTESTERS?

A:         In recent history, challenges to the right to protest have come in many forms. In some cases, police have cracked down on demonstrations by declaring them “unlawful assemblies” or through mass arrests, illegal use of force or curfews. Elsewhere, expression is limited by corralling protesters into so-called “free-speech zones.” New surveillance technologies are increasingly turned on innocent people, collecting information on their activities by virtue of their association with or proximity to a given protest. Even without active obstruction of the right to protest, police-inspired intimidation and fear can chill expressive activity and result in self-censorship. All of these things violate the First Amendment and are things the police cannot do to censor free speech. Unless the assembly is violent or violence is clearly imminent, the police have limited authority under the law to shut down protesters.

Clearly, as evidenced by the recent tensions in Charlottesville, Va., we’re at a crossroads concerning the constitutional right to free speech.

As Benjamin Franklin warned, “Whoever would overthrow the liberty of a nation must begin by subduing the freeness of speech.”

It must be emphasized that it was for the sake of preserving individuality and independence that James Madison, the author of the Bill of Rights, fought for a First Amendment that protected the “minority” against the majority, ensuring that even in the face of overwhelming pressure, a minority of one—even one who espouses distasteful viewpoints—would still have the right to speak freely, pray freely, assemble freely, challenge the government freely, and broadcast his views in the press freely.

This freedom for those in the unpopular minority constitutes the ultimate tolerance in a free society. Conversely, as I make clear in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American Peoplewhen we fail to abide by Madison’s dictates about greater tolerance for all viewpoints, no matter how distasteful, the end result is always the same: an indoctrinated, infantilized citizenry that marches in lockstep with the governmental regime.

Some of this past century’s greatest dystopian literature shows what happens when the populace is transformed into mindless automatons. For instance, in George Orwell’s 1984, Big Brother does away with all undesirable and unnecessary words and meanings, even going so far as to routinely rewrite history and punish “thoughtcrimes.”

Where we stand now is at the juncture of OldSpeak (where words have meanings, and ideas can be dangerous) and Newspeak (where only that which is “safe” and “accepted” by the majority is permitted). The power elite has made their intentions clear: they will pursue and prosecute any and all words, thoughts and expressions that challenge their authority.

This is the final link in the police state chain.

If ever there were a time for us to stand up for the right to speak freely, even if it’s freedom for speech we hate, the time is now.

The post Freedom for the Speech You Hate appeared first on LewRockwell.

The Mystery of Hijacker DB Cooper Lives on

LewRockwell.com - 2 hours 1 min ago

The FBI is looking at an ‘odd bit of buried foam’ as possible evidence in the cold case investigation into criminal mastermind D.B. Cooper, according to private investigators.

The potential evidence was handed over to authorities last week by the team of sleuths who believe the foam made up a part of Cooper’s parachute backpack.

Cooper, one of the 20th century’s most compelling masterminds, hijacked a Boeing 727 at Seattle-Tacoma airport in 1971 and held its crew and passengers hostage with a bomb.

Once his demand of $200,000 cash – the equivalent of $1,213,226 today – was reached and transferred onto the plane, Cooper had the crew take off before he parachuted out over the dense Pacific Northwest woods and disappeared.

The discovery of the foam comes just weeks after the FBI uncovered what is believed to be part of Cooper’s parachute strap, which private investigators claim could lead authorities to his stolen fortune.

In addition, the FBI also received three ‘unknown’ pieces of fabric that were found close to where the alleged parachute strap was located.

The team of private investigators is headed by TV and film executive Thomas Colbert and his wife Dawna. They established the dig site where the alleged items were found after receiving tips from what they claim are credible sources.

Colbert said earlier this month that the strap was found ‘right where a credible source claimed the chute and remaining money are buried.’

He wouldn’t publicly reveal the location to the media but said the potential evidence would be handed to the FBI for analysis.

Colbert said an unnamed couple led him to the site, which was corroborated by reports he had obtained from the FBI.

The amateur investigator sued the FBI for the documents after they announced they would no longer be investigating the case in July 2016.

He has spent several years conducting his own investigation into the mysterious crime, writing a book and producing a documentary series on it in the process.

It’s widely believed that Cooper – whose real identity remains unknown and who was never seen again after the heist – died of exposure in the woods between Oregon and Washington.

Read the Whole Article

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Is Trump’s Agenda Being Eclipsed?

LewRockwell.com - 2 hours 1 min ago

“I have not become the King’s First Minister in order to preside over the liquidation of the British Empire,” said Winston Churchill to cheers at the Lord Mayor’s luncheon in London in November 1942.

True to his word, the great man did not begin the liquidation.

When his countrymen threw him out in July 1945, that role fell to Clement Attlee, who began the liquidation. Churchill, during his second premiership from 1951-1955, would continue the process, as would his successor, Harold Macmillan, until the greatest empire the world had ever seen had vanished.

While its demise was inevitable, the death of the empire was hastened and made more humiliating by the wars into which Churchill had helped to plunge Britain, wars that bled and bankrupted his nation.

At Yalta in 1945, Stalin and FDR treated the old imperialist with something approaching bemused contempt.

War is the health of the state, but the death of empires.

The German, Austro-Hungarian, Russian and Ottoman empires all fell in World War I. World War II ended the Japanese and Italian empires — with the British and French following soon after. The Soviet Empire collapsed in 1989. Afghanistan delivered the coup de grace.

Is it now the turn of the Americans?

Persuaded by his generals — Mattis at Defense, McMasters on the National Security Council, Kelly as chief of staff — President Trump is sending some 4,000 more U.S. troops to Afghanistan to augment the 8,500 already there.

Like Presidents Obama and Bush, he does not intend to preside over a U.S. defeat in its longest war. Nor do his generals. Yet how can we defeat the Taliban with 13,000 troops when we failed to do so with the 100,000 Obama sent?

The new troops are to train the Afghan army to take over the war, to continue eradicating the terrorist elements like ISIS, and to prevent Kabul and other cities from falling to a Taliban now dominant in 40 percent of the country.

Yet what did the great general, whom Trump so admires, Douglas MacArthur, say of such a strategy?

“War’s very object is victory, not prolonged indecision.”

Is not “prolonged indecision” what the Trump strategy promises? Is not “prolonged indecision” what the war policies of Obama and Bush produced in the last 17 years?

Understandably, Americans feel they cannot walk away from this war. For there is the certainty as to what will follow when we leave.

When the British left Delhi in 1947, millions of former subjects died during the partition of the territory into Pakistan and India and the mutual slaughter of Muslims and Hindus.

When the French departed Algeria in 1962, the “Harkis” they left behind paid the price of being loyal to the Mother Country.

When we abandoned our allies in South Vietnam, the result was mass murder in the streets, concentration camps and hundreds of thousands of boat people in the South China Sea, a final resting place for many. In Cambodia, it was a holocaust.

Trump, however, was elected to end America’s involvement in Middle East wars. And if he has been persuaded that he simply cannot liquidate these wars — Libya, Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Afghanistan — he will likely end up sacrificing his presidency, trying to rescue the failures of those who worked hardest to keep him out of the White House.

Consider the wars, active and potential, Trump faces.

Writes Bob Merry in the fall issue of The National interest:

“War between Russia and the West seems nearly inevitable. No self-respecting nation facing inexorable encirclement by an alliance of hostile neighbors can allow such pressures and forces to continue indefinitely. Eventually (Russia) must protect its interests through military action.”

If Pyongyang tests another atom bomb or ICBM, some national security aides to Trump are not ruling out preventive war.

Trump himself seems hell-bent on tearing up the nuclear deal with Iran. This would lead inexorably to a U.S. ultimatum, where Iran would be expected to back down or face a war that would set the Persian Gulf ablaze.

Yet the country did not vote for confrontation or war.

America voted for Trump’s promise to improve ties with Russia, to make Europe shoulder more of the cost of its defense, to annihilate ISIS and extricate us from Mideast wars, to stay out of future wars.

America voted for economic nationalism and an end to the mammoth trade deficits with the NAFTA nations, EU, Japan and China.

America voted to halt the invasion across our Southern border and to reduce legal immigration to ease the downward pressure on American wages and the competition for working-class jobs.

Yet today we hear talk of upping and extending the U.S. troop presence in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria, of confronting Iran, of sending anti-tank and anti-aircraft weapons to Ukraine to battle pro-Russia rebels in the east.

Can the new custodians of Trump’s populist-nationalist and America First agenda, the generals and the Goldman Sachs alumni association, be entrusted to carry it out?

The post Is Trump’s Agenda Being Eclipsed? appeared first on LewRockwell.

10 Emergency Items

LewRockwell.com - 2 hours 1 min ago

ReadyNutrition Readers, this is Part 2 of a 3-part series dealing with immediate actions to be taken in the event of an EMP (Electromagnetic Pulse) attack.  You can read Part 1 here. In the last segment, we covered what you should do if you’re on the road heading to or from work, or traveling.  Now we are going to detail some actions and preparations for your workplace.  Keep in mind: there will be a “blending” of these parts in actual practice, as to move from one locale to another, you will use the information presented in Part 1 when traveling.  All the parts should complement one another.

I also think it would be a good idea to take listed items and burn off an extra copy as a form of a “checklist,” as not many people have perfect memories (myself included), and it could help you out in the time of trouble and eliminate the need for guesswork.  Let’s start off with a scenario.

Let’s start off with a scenario.

You are an office worker in Anytown, a small midwestern city who works in a 7-story building located on the eastern 1/3 of the town.  The direction of your home from work is toward the East.  You are sitting at your desk with a window facing the west, and it’s about 10:00 am.  Suddenly, a flash of light catches your attention in the sky, and then it disappears.  Simultaneously, all the lights in the office go out, as does your desk computer.  No backup lights come on.  You look at your watch, and it’s dead.  You pick up your desk phone, and there is no dial tone.  There are murmurings from coworkers, and people are shuffling into an open area with a conference table.  You have just been hit by an EMP attack, and it appears that you have already punched out early, and probably for good.

The scenario will be played out throughout the United States.  Now is the time to act. Those who are preparedness minded must keep this in mind: Definitive action taken at the critical point is critical to your survival.

10 Emergency Items to Have in Your Workplace

I have written articles similar in nature to this subject that you may wish to peruse.  What is on your person?  In your desk?  In a locker (if you have one) on the premises?  Let us examine some of the items it would be beneficial to have on your person at all times:

  1. Flashlight (with extra batteries)
  2. Watch (that will not be affected by an EMP or need batteries)
  3. Leatherman/Gerber multi-tool
  4. A good folding knife with a locking blade
  5. Matches and/or a lighter
  6. Some type of firearm for your defense with ammunition for it… (Note: this is, to paraphrase Alice in Chains, Your Decision…you will have to weigh your options)
  7. Pen and writing paper/note cards
  8. Transistor radio that works with a battery and an earphone-attachment
  9. Having an NBC gas mask and anti-radiation pills in your workplace could be a lifesaver if an EMP may be followed by radiological and nuclear consequences.

Read the Whole Article

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The World Is in a Conspiracy Against Me

LewRockwell.com - 2 hours 1 min ago

My best books are the ones I haven’t written. They are not yet even in the larval stage, but I know them to be profound and original in content and perfect in form. I am very proud of them, and the mere thought of them gives a spring to my step. They are a justification for my having lived. It is really a pity (for the world, that is) that I shall not live long enough to write them. As Nero put it, what an artist dies in me.

Many of us go to our graves thinking that if only we had had enough time we should have triumphed in some way or another. A few of my patients claimed that, had it not been for some trifling injury to them that was somebody else’s fault, their career would have taken off, as in fact it was just about to do before the injury was done them. This was absurd, for—objectively considered—there was no indication that they would ever have amounted to very much. On the whole, overweight 38-year-olds do not become world-famous athletes, nor do people become concert pianists who take up the piano at the age of 50. But my patients would claim compensation as if their new careers were established fact rather than mere fantasy.

Did they really believe what they were claiming? The human mind, as I am sure many people will by now have observed, is a complex instrument, and works at several levels at the same time. Hence one can be sincere and fraudulent at the same time. It isn’t necessary to be a psychoanalyst to believe in the reality and prevalence of self-deception; indeed, it is necessary to be a kind of Candide not to believe in them, and to be utterly impervious to self-examination into the bargain.

The camera, it is said, does not lie, but when it comes to me it not only lies but is a pathological liar, incapable of telling the truth. Who is that creature it takes when pointed at me? Certainly not I: Every camera in the world, it seems, has been programmed to make me balder, whiter-haired, more wrinkled than I am. Who has done this, or why, I cannot say, but the evidence is plain for me, if not for anyone else, to see.

Read the Whole Article

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Charlottesville Requiem

LewRockwell.com - 2 hours 2 min ago

The hysteria unfolding regarding events in Charlottesville reminds me of the anti-Russia madness that has made front page news ever since Hillary Clinton discovered that she had lost the presidential election to Vladimir Putin. The media train is again rushing headlong into a terra incognita with its only goal being to bring down President Donald Trump by riding a wave of anti-right wing extremist revulsion. The establishment press is essentially enforcing its own code of ethics, insisting that just because what the mainstream characterizes as morally repugnant “Nazi-scum” and white nationalists exist they are ultimately fully responsible for any violence that is required to defeat them and disrupt their activities. For the ubiquitous talking heads like Wolf Blitzer and Rachel Maddow to believe otherwise is to posit moral equivalency between the good guys and bad guys, something that cannot be tolerated.

As far as I can determine, almost no one knows much about the specific agendas of the various parties that were involved in last week’s fracas in Charlottesville. My own viewpoint extends only as far as a strong belief that the deconstruction of this nation through the elimination of select historical monuments is wrong, particularly when said monuments commemorate people who fought and died for their country. As I am a Vietnam-era army veteran I would concede that my judgment in that regard is somewhat skewed.

That aside, there are several other issues that should be of general interest that have been largely obscured by the violence that erupted and the media interpretation of the event to fit in with its own preferred narrative.

First and foremost is the free speech issue which is being conveniently ignored by a media and political class intent on punishing the white nationalist protesters no matter what rights have to be trampled along the way. As far as I can determine, the primary objective of the Unite-the-Right gathering was to protest against removing a statue, so one has to at least assume that some demonstrators were there in good faith based on that issue. And surely many of the counter-demonstrators were there to protest peacefully against some of the admittedly extremist groups marching under the Unite umbrella.

If President Donald Trump chooses to describe those individuals as good people, that is up to him to make that assessment based on what he was witnessing and hearing, but that is not what is really important. As far as I am concerned it matters not a whit whether some of the Unite marchers call themselves neo-Nazis or alt-Right because they had a permit to march and had a perfect right to gather, speak out and demonstrate. No one has a right to attack someone else or silence them because you disapprove of them. That is what the First Amendment is all about, the protection of every individual’s right to speak his or her own mind, particularly important if one is expressing unpopular or unorthodox views. It matters not at all if the speaker is a Communist, Fascist, a Green or a Libertarian, he or she has the same right. If that speaking-out morphs into threats of violence or degenerates into actual violence there are laws to deal with that, so free speech is not and should not be construed as a license to run amok.

Likewise, the so-called Antifa protesters had a right to demonstrate and deliver their message, though it is somewhat troubling that they appear not to have had a permit to gather and the police allowed them to effectively take control of the streets. One might also note that it is the political left, so called progressives, that have been in the forefront of using violence, particularly on college campuses, to shut down debate on issues they object to. They have successfully denied access to speakers who are routinely vilified as “racists” or “Nazi-scum,” including Ann Coulter, Milo Yiannopoulos, Charles Murray and Ben Shapiro, and have “shut down” pro-Donald Trump rallies. They push their agenda while simultaneously ignoring the racism and domestic terror agenda of groups that they approve of like Black Lives Matter. This counter-demonstration in Charlottesville might easily be seen as the latest manifestation of that particular form of left-wing self-righteous bigotry, to shut down by violence a group that hard core leftists are not willing to tolerate.

It is important to bear in mind that there is great danger in selectively endorsing politically correct Free Speech. If either the left or right is successful and we lose our First Amendment rights through “hate speech” legislation or other forms of state censorship such as have been introduced in Europe it is safe to say that we will have lost our republic.

A second major issue is the role of local, state and federal government in what both did and did not happen. I have looked at a lot of footage of the rioting and have also spoken to several people who were there as observers. I wanted to know just how big the alleged Nazi and Klan contingents were, – 100, 500, a 1,000? – which would seem to me to be essential to understanding what took place. When I sought to discover more about the size of the groups that demonstrated and counter-demonstrated I learned that there was nothing definitive in the media on the issue.

I had been told by one of the witnesses that the so-called white nationalists were greatly outnumbered and had not initiated the violence, which would certainly alter the narrative, so I picked up the phone and eventually got through to the Charlottesville police department only to be told that there had been no public declaration of the numbers involved or sequence of events but someone would call me back. No one has returned the call and I find it very odd that those in authority have not even bothered to describe the event and how it developed from an official point of view, if only for “lessons learned” to correct the procedures in place that led to the violence.

There was in fact a considerable police presence in the area, even accounting for bathroom breaks and donut runs, but it was invisible where it needed to be, i.e. keeping the two groups separated, which it had apparently agreed to do after meeting with the organizers of Unite-the-Right. Both right-wing and left-wing participants in the protests have described how the police closed the park with the Lee statue before standing around and only “looking on” when the fighting started. It is difficult to describe this failure to separate the groups and clear the streets as an oversight, so it must have been deliberate.

Charlottesville has a liberal Democratic mayor named Mike Signer who quickly climbed on the bandwagon to condemn the Unite-the-Right protesters before, during and after the events of Friday night and Saturday. He appeared on national television in an interview with Jake Tapper on the morning after the Saturday riot to lay the blame for the unrest on Donald Trump. One wonders what orders the Charlottesville police had received, not to mention the numerous state troopers present who were under the control of Governor Terry McAuliffe, another liberal Democratic stalwart. Who attacked whom? Why did no one intervene until the fighting was well under way? Was the official indifference just dumb or deliberate?

And finally, there is the possible role of the federal government in what developed. One media source has identified some of the allegedly radical groups that came together to demonstrate on both sides. Among the so-called supremacist groups one finds the Alt Knights, Klu Klux Klan, Identity Evropa, Traditionalist Youth Network, League of the South and the so-called “3% Risen.”

On the left, there was Antifa and Redneck Revolt. Interestingly, though the media has made much of the fact that some of the right-wing activists were armed, it has chosen to overlook the fact the some of the left, most particularly Redneck Revolt, also brought their guns along while many more counter-protesters were prepared for action, carrying baseball bats and wearing helmets and balaclavas to hide their faces. In any event, neither side resorted to the use of firearms.

In reviewing the list of the various groups involved in the protests, I was reminded of the old quip that the American Communist Party only survived financially speaking in the post Second World War environment because it had been heavily infiltrated by dues paying members planted by the FBI. Placing one’s informants in the middle of a radical group is a time-honored practice that has exploded in the U.S. since 9/11. Hardly any arrests in so-called terrorism cases are made without an FBI informant being somewhere on the scene. Of course, the informant is not supposed to encourage or participate in any illegal action, but lacking a fly on the wall when something goes down who is to know? FBI officers get promoted on the basis of arrests made and both domestic and international terrorism constitute high priority targets. I would assume that there FBI informants among the Klu Kluxers, the neo-Nazis and also within Richard Spencer’s National Policy Institute. On the left, I would bet there were some inside sources working the Redneck Revolt and Antifa.

The likelihood that there were paid FBI informants on both sides of the conflict leads me to believe that the federal government knows exactly what took place on August 12th in Charlottesville, but perhaps no one has either the guts or requisite integrity to be honest about it as it might be embarrassing all around. What if it turns out that the politically more acceptable counter-demonstrators deliberately provoked the violence and were allowed to get away with it?

Even as I write this the tsunami “orgy of self-righteousness,” as George Neumayr describes it, connected to Charlottesville continues to grow. Steven Sailer has asked how long it will be before an alleged neo-Nazi is publicly lynched with the media blaming the victim for his own demise? And with all those apparent storm troopers marching around, it hasn’t taken long for Jewish groups to raise the specter of a tide of anti-Semitism in America all due to Trump, which inevitably means that the accommodating media and pandering politicians will get their talons into this story for a long time to come on that basis alone. Al Sharpton meanwhile wants to defund the Jefferson Memorial and there are moves afoot to remove all the statues of former slaveholders from the Capitol building. Can James Madison, James Monroe and even George Washington himself be next? Will Washington the city be renamed Tubman? Stay tuned.

Reprinted with permission from The Unz Review.

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Google Is Secretly Recording You

LewRockwell.com - 2 hours 2 min ago

DID you know that Google has been recording you without your knowledge?

The technology giant has effectively turned millions of its users’ smartphones into listening devices that can capture intimate conversations – even when they aren’t in the room.

If you own an Android phone, it’s likely that you’ve used Google’s Assistant, which is similar to Apple’s Siri.

Google says it only turns on and begins recording when you utter the words “OK Google”.

But a Sun investigation has found that the virtual assistant is a little hard of hearing.

In some cases, just saying “OK” in conversation prompted it to switch on your phone and record around 20 seconds of audio.

It regularly switches on the microphone as you go about your day-to-day activities, none the wiser.

Once Google is done recording, it uploads the audio files to its computer servers – often dubbed “the cloud”.

These files are accessible from absolutely anywhere in the world – as long as you have an internet connection.

That means any device that is signed into your personal Gmail or Google account can access the library of your deepest, darkest secrets.

So if you’re on a laptop right now and signed into Gmail – you could have a listen.

Read the Whole Article

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The Goldman Sachs Regency

LewRockwell.com - 2 hours 2 min ago

We aren’t shedding many tears over Steve Bannon’s departure. His ethno-nationalist and protectionist worldview are anathema to true notions of liberty, free markets and a minimalist state.

While Bannonism presented itself as a coherent alternative ideology to mainstream Big Government and globalism, it actually boiled down to a superficial and incoherent potpourri of cultural resentments and prejudices, economic shibboleths and amateur historical theorizing. Indeed, it appealed to the lumpen-intelligentsia of the alt-Right precisely because it proposed to replace the oppressive statism of the liberal status quo with a more virulent right-wing statism rooted in protectionism and nativism.

Notwithstanding the rotten essence of Bannonism, however, the firebrand self-promoter who was Donald’s chief strategist got it right in his parting shots at his internal White House enemies. In so many words, he correctly asserted that the nation will now be ruled by a Goldman Sachs Regency and a team of three generals—Kelly, McMasters and Mattis—–who embody the essence of Albert Einstein’s famous definition of insanity: Doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.

“The Trump presidency that we fought for, and won, is over,” Bannon told the conservative Weekly Standard on Friday after his White House departure. “We will make something of this Trump presidency. But that presidency is over.”

So in the interim, the Donald will function, as Robert Wenzel aptly described it, as “something of a tweet master frontman” with the Vampire Squid seemingly riding higher than ever before—-even higher than in September 2008 when the clueless George W. Bush handed a blank check to the Wall Street bailout brigade at the Treasury led by former Goldman CEO (and Big Government liberal), Hank Paulson.

But that’s actually an illusion: Goldman’s plenipotentiaries in the current White House—Gary Cohn, Steve Mnuchin, Dina Powell (#2 at the NSC) and Jared Kushner—-are likely to bring about the final destruction of the Trump presidency, thereby triggering a thundering collapse in the financial markets which will finally crush Goldman Sachs and its posse of gamblers and crony capitalist racketeers.

What we mean is that during the upcoming battles over the crucial economic issues of the debt ceiling increase, tax reform and the ObamaCare coverage/premium crisis, Trump will be getting the worst advice imaginable. That is, these lifelong Democrats will push the Donald into attempting to make “bipartisan” deals with the Chuckles Schumer and Nancy Pelosi that will blow the tenuous GOP majorities to smitherns, and do so in the name of status quo statism.

Right out of the Box after Labor Day the destructive game plan of the Goldman Regency will show up in thundering battles over a “clean” debt ceiling. The mainstream pundits make this sound easy-pezee with the notion that Ryan and McConnell need only line up a modest number of Democrats to supplement their own rank and file GOP votes to enact a debt ceiling increase. Such purported fiscal virtue would permit Uncle Sam to borrow all the money he needs to pay his bills and protect the sacred credit rating of the US Treasury.

Except it doesn’t work that way. If the Dems cooperate at all, it will be only on the basis of an onerous quid pro quo that requires Trump to give up the Mexican Wall, tax cuts for the wealthy, his proposed deep domestic spending cuts and also to fund the insurance company bailouts that are needed to forestall drastic premium increases and coverage cancellations during the 2018 insurance (and election) year.

To be sure, the Democrats are clever enough to demand this kind of quid pro quo as a side deal rather than as an explicit rider to the debt ceiling bill, but it would have the same effect if attempted. Namely, the Freedom Caucus and the vast majority of conservative leaning congressional Republicans would jump ship, thereby setting up a replay of the Boehner Betrayal: To wit, passage of a debt ceiling bill with an overwhelming Dem majority and only a corporal’s guard of Republicans.

As we have said repeatedly, we do not think Ryan is ready for early retirement; nor after essentially a 54-year lifetime in the Imperial City is McConnell looking to be drummed out of the Majority Leader’s job—especially given his humiliating failure on ObamaCare repeal and replace. So Washington is heading for weeks of fraught indecision, backroom maneuver and contentious political in-fighting that will scare the bejesus out of a casino that it is nearly catatonic with complacency.

That, and the fact that the market is breaking down beneath the shrinking number of Big Cap stocks and momo names that are levitating the averages, amounts to a set-up for a severe downside shock within the coming weeks.

As to the market’s rapidly weakening internals, consider that there are 2,800 stocks on the New York Stock Exchange. Back in early 2013 when the bull market was still being super-charged with massive QE purchases by the Fed, 85% or 2,380 of them were above their 200-DMA. By contrast, currently only 1,050 of them (37.5%) are above that level, meaning that the bull is getting very tired.

That vulnerability is also evident in other cyclically sensitive indices, but especially the Russell 2000 (RUT). Again, the index is a huge cross section of primarily domestic companies with an average market cap of just $2 billion. But the RUT is now 6.5% below its July 25 high of 1450, and, more importantly, has now plunged below its 200-DMA after the huge phony bounce from that level during the Trump Reflation euphoria.

Nevertheless, the RUT is still trading at an absurd 88X the reported net income of its constituent companies. This means that there is a veritable air pocket below in the event that the frail reed of the Trump Reflation story which underpins the RUT is decisively demolished. For instance, when the market plunged into its mini-swoon of January-February 2016, the RUT dropped more than 200 points or 21% below its 200-DMA. That would be 1090 today—–with much lower levels beckoning once the selling momentum accelerates.

And it will do just that because the RUT is being fueled by huge inflows from several ETFs (iShares, Vanguard and SPDR all have a tracking ETF) and various other forms of passive indexing. Stated differently, the robo-machines and day-traders have not simply been voting for Trump and an incipient economic and profits boom; what they have mainly been doing is chasing the index up the nearly 30% incline between early November 2016 and the July 25th peak shown in the chart below. Consequently, they are now stranded in the nosebleed section of the outfield bleachers.

The same pattern is evident in the Dow Transports, as well. After peaking at 9,742 on July 14th, the index is down by 6.4% and also has dropped well below its 200-DMA. Moreover, there is no reason it should be even remotely at current levels based on real activity in the main street economy.

For instance, rail car loadings are still 12% below their December 2014 levels; and trucking tonnage has been essentially flat for the past year.

Moreover, nearly all measures of domestic activity are flat-lining and threatening to roll-over. That is clearly the case with car sales, bricks and mortar retail, housing starts, restaurant traffic ( July was down 4.5%) and much more.

So the idea that corporate profits are about to rebound sharply is getting steadily debunked by the so-called “in-coming data”. At $104 per share, the June LTM earnings of the S&P 500 were still 2% below their September 2014 level. Likewise, current earnings of the Russell 2000 at $15.50 per share are actually 7.2% below their July 2105 level of $16.70.

It is only a matter of time, therefore, before the casino gamblers discover they are home alone on the earnings front—–even as the Gong Show in Washington intensifies suddenly and dramatically. Indeed, as of last Thursday, the Treasury’s cash balance was down to $82 billion, and at its current $2 billion burn rate per calendar day it will be gone by the end of September.

Not surprisingly, the Goldman Regency’s spokesman on this matter, Treasury Secy Mnuchin, was out this morning once again insisting on a “clean” debt ceiling bill.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, speaking at an event in Louisville, said that “we need to raise the debt limit and it’s my strong preference is that there’s a clean raise of the debt limit.”

While Mnuchin conceded that he is “all for spending controls” and Congress has the “absolute right and the absolute obligation” to oversee spending, the Treasury secretary issued another stark warning that “he’ll run out of authority by end-Sept. to stay under the debt ceiling.”

Stated differently, Congress will have just days to reach a compromise on the debt ceiling when it returns from recess. But this will not be the cowered Congress of September 2008 that rolled-over to pass the TARP bill at the insistence of Secretary Paulson. This time Goldman’s bag-man will be told “no dice”.

After all, the Dems now have a President to hound from office and the Freedom Caucus will not again be intimidated by Wall Street into obeisance; it’s at full throated war with the Washington/Wall Street/media establishment that is attempting to overturn the 2016 election.

Indeed, Bannon on the outside will likely prove to be the Goldman Regency’s worst nightmare. There is not a chance that the bomb-thrower re-ensconced at Breitbart will tolerate a “capitulation to the left” deal with Chuckles Schumer and Nancy Pelosi for even a New York minute.

And as to the betrayal of the three generals, we will get to their nefarious doings tomorrow. But it is worth recalling that a principal architect of tonight’s giant Trumpian error of doubling down in Afghanistan is none other than General H.R. McMasters—-the one and same who wrote an entire book saying LBJ would have won the Vietnam War if he had only listened to his generals!

Reprinted with permission from David Stockman’s Contra Corner.

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Charlottesville Donnybrook

LewRockwell.com - 2 hours 2 min ago

Charlottesville, Virginia, a city named after Britain’s first black queen, was the scene of a bloody riot Saturday, Aug. 12. The fray resulted in the death of one woman, who was mowed down by a car; plus, there were many other people injured. Have politicians and the news media told the correct and complete story about what happened, or have Americans been deliberately misled? Let’s look at it.

One does not have to accept the racist and nationalist vision of the Unite the Right organization to recognize and respect its First Amendment rights. Moreover, the group obtained a city permit to hold a peaceful rally to protest the lawful removal of the statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee from Emancipation Park, formerly known as Lee Park. It was the leftist protesters who did not have a city permit to assemble for a rally on that day. Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe said: “There has got to be a movement in this country to bring people together. The hatred and rhetoric that has gone on and has intensified over the last couple months is dividing this great nation.” He denounced “the white supremacists and the Nazis.” However, when asked a question about whether he would include the left-wing, pro-violence antifa in his condemnation, he ignored the question and walked out of the room.

Here’s a question for you: Did the authorities of the city of Charlottesville have a duty to protect Unite the Right rally attendees? The American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia said they had a right to rally, saying, “The First Amendment is a critical part of our democracy, and it protects vile, hateful, and ignorant speech.” Thus, the ACLU of Virginia defended the white supremacists’ and neo-Nazis’ right to march and rally against the removal of the statue of Lee. Both the Unite the Right organizers and the leftist counter-protesters charged that the Charlottesville police did not do their job. They just stood back and watched the melee.

This was documented in several reports. The Daily Caller article titled “Why Were The Police Held Back In Charlottesville?” reports: “Law enforcement was on hand at the dueling demonstrations on Saturday, decked out in riot gear and looking prepared for the worst. Except they weren’t allowed to do their job.” According to the ACLU of Virginia, police on the scene were reported to have been ordered to “not intervene until given command to do so.” That kept them from suppressing the numerous scuffles that broke out (http://tinyurl.com/ycpnrzv7). I’d like to ask any policeman, Since when did the police need a command to intervene when they are witnessing people assaulting one another? In a ProPublica article titled “Police Stood By As Mayhem Mounted in Charlottesville,” the authors reported that “state police and National Guardsmen watched passively for hours as self-proclaimed Nazis engaged in street battles with counter-protesters.” ProPublica reporter A.C. Thompson, who was!on the scene, reported that “the authorities turned the streets of the city over to groups of militiamen armed with assault rifles” (http://tinyurl.com/yc9al2lk). Instead of owning up to his dereliction of duty — by not having ordered his police force to protect life and limb — Charlottesville Mayor Mike Signer chose to demagogue the situation by blaming the rise of white nationalists on President Donald Trump.

Many politicians, racists, hustlers and tyrants have an agenda that consists mostly of making the U.S. Constitution meaningless and giving government greater control over our lives, thereby destroying personal liberty. The alt-right and white supremacists seek to achieve their goals through racist propaganda. The leftists seek to achieve their goals by tricking Americans into believing that all they want are brotherhood and multiculturalism. If either group achieves its goals, we Americans will lose not only our liberty but also our civility. Few Americans recognize and respect the fact that multiracial societies are inherently unstable. What we’ve been doing for decades, through various government policies, is stacking up combustible racial kindling awaiting a racial arsonist to set it ablaze. There are too many historical examples of what happens to a nation when race hustlers are allowed to take over.

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Are You Prepared to Fight at Night?

LewRockwell.com - 2 hours 2 min ago

Nighttime is scary. Oh, most of us tend to pretend we’re big and bad and not bothered by the dark, but most of us are. There’s nothing to be ashamed of, either. It’s a primal fear that goes way back in our evolution. After all, predators lurked in the dark.

Unfortunately, they still do, only most of the predators we need to worry about prowl around on two legs instead of four.

Trying to prepare for the potential eventualities that we may encounter, having to fight at night is a recurring concern of many in the firearms community. As a result, the blessed free market has provided us with numerous goodies to keep away the night.

However, as Tamara Keel notes at Shooting Illustrated, some of us regular CCW holders may be looking at all of this wrong.

Night is a commonplace setting for needing a concealed-carry gun, but true-dark darkness really isn’t. In this modern world, the places where crime occurs can be dim, sure, but rarely is it truly dark. (Note that I’m distinguishing concealed carry from home defense, here.) Basically, the bad guy needs to see you in order to know you’re there to target you in the first place. As trainer Chuck Haggard has phrased it, “It’s really tough for bad guys to rob you, or even find you, when everyone is in the pitch-black ninja closet.

Tom Givens, head honcho at Rangemaster, taught out of his facility in Memphis for years and, as a result, has a large database of students who were involved in armed self-defense situations. At the time of this writing, his students were involved in more than 60 shootings. Not one of them required a light to see or hit the bad guy.

I recommend you head over and read the whole thing, because Keel makes some fantastic points. I don’t necessarily agree with all of them, but I’m not sure I disagree with any of them either, if that makes any sense.

Read the Whole Article

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Ron Paul on 16 Years of Infamy

LewRockwell.com - 2 hours 2 min ago

Roughly around the time Trump started his Afghanistan speech, Ron Paul tweeted out a cautiously optimistic note: “Hoping for the best in tonight’s @realDonaldTrump speech but fearful that foreign intervention is only going to get worse.  #Afghanistan.” Alas it was not meant to be, and over 20 tweets later in what proved to be the angriest tweetstorm of the night, Ron Paul had come to a conclusion: Trump is now nothing more than the latest neocon, one whom even Lindsey Graham applauded.

Below is a chronological rundown of Ron Paul’s progressively angier tweets, as he was live commenting on Trump’s speech:

  • Hoping for the best in tonight’s @realDonaldTrump speech but fearful that foreign intervention is only going to get worse.  #Afghanistan
  • Steve Bannon brakes removed. Neocons feeling their oats.
  • The military personnel are the victims of bad foreign policy.
  • Sad that these wars the politicians argue for are unconstitutional yet we are told we are over there defending the Constitution.
  • Mr. President it’s too bad you do not follow your instincts.
  • Planned in Afghanistan? What about Saudi Arabia??
  • What’s wrong with rapid exit? We just marched in we can just march out.
  • So far very discouraging. Sounds like pure neocon foreign policy.
  • The promoters of war win. The American people lose. #Afghanistan
  • Remember: there was no al-Qaeda until our foolish invasion of Iraq based on neocon lies.
  • The American people deserve to know when we are going to war and MUST give you permission through their representatives in Congress!
  • Emphasis on Pakistan just means the war going to be expanded!
  • Emphasis on military alliance with India may well lead to more vicious war between nuclear states Pakistan and India. Smart?
  • Terrorism is one thing, but what about massive collateral damage? Killing civilians creates more terrorism. Round and round we go.
  • Shorter Trump: “Afghanistan: give us your minerals!”
  • Nothing new. More of the same. Obama was wrong. This is NOT the good war. Sooner we get out the better.
  • More killing is not the road to peace.
  • The emphasis on the “grave danger” of terrorism is greatly exaggerated. But more intervention surely creates more terrorism.
  • How many Americans are really sitting around worrying about an Afghan terrorist coming over and killing them?
  • So many of our problems are self-inflicted by a deeply flawed foreign policy. US troops – and the family members – suffer the consequences.
  • Big issue of the night: US expanding the war into Pakistan. Could precipitate more conflict between nuclear India and Pakistan.
  • If Americans are tired of 16 year war, how will they feel about another decade or two? When will they wake up?
  • Our ultimately “hasty” departure from Vietnam finally ended a lot of grief. Even if it came way too late.
  • Beware! @LindseyGrahamSC loves Trump’s speech! Why are arch-neocons celebrating so much? Very telling!
  • There’s nothing hasty about ending America’s longest war. @POTUS bowed to military-industrial establishment; doubled down on perpetual war.

Based on Trump’s speech, Ron Paul’s concerns are well founded. Then again, as we await Breitbart’s response to Trump’s adress one thing is certain: Steve Bannon will not be happy with what “neocon” Trump said tonight, even if the WaPo and NYT are now on “mute” mode when it comes to NSA-sourced, anti-Trump scoops.

And while there is a distinct possibility that tomorrow night, when addressing his increasingly shaky core support base, Trump will change his mind, with two generals whispering in his ear constantly to determine US foreign policy even as two ex-Goldmanites now write domestic US policy, it is quite likely that the Trump who was unveiled tonight, is the Trump that will stay with the US population for the indefinite future. And if for some reason the “new and improved” Trump slips and fades away again… well there’s always the Mueller “Russia collusion” probe in the background keeping the president on his toes.

Update: Here’s Breitbart’s take, as expected.

Reprinted with permission from Zero Hedge.

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A Return to Cabot Cove?

LewRockwell.com - 2 hours 2 min ago

For 12 seasons and 264 episodes, the small coastal town of Cabot Cove, Maine, was the scene of a murder. And wherever there was a body, Jessica Fletcher wasn’t far behind. The fictional mystery author and amateur sleuth at the heart of the CBS drama Murder, She Wrote was given life by actress Angela Lansbury, who made a name for herself in the theater world and in movies like 1944’s Gaslight and 1962’s The Manchurian Candidate. Though the show was supposed to skew toward an older audience, the series is still very much alive and being discovered by new generations of audiences every year. Unravel the mystery with these facts about Murder, She Wrote.

1. ANGELA LANSBURY WAS “PISSED OFF” AT THE TV ROLES BEING OFFERED TO HER BEFORE MURDER.

After years of high-profile parts and critical acclaim in the theater, Angela Lansbury was in her late fifties and ready to tackle a steady television role. Unfortunately, instead of being flooded with interesting lead roles on big series, she said she was constantly looked at to play “the maid or the housekeeper in some ensemble piece,” leaving her to get—in the Dame’s own words—“really pissed off.”

After voicing her displeasure, she was soon approached with two potential solo series, one being Murder, She Wrote, which grabbed her attention because of its focus on a normal country woman becoming an amateur detective. After meeting with the producers and writers, it was only a matter of time before Lansbury agreed to the role and began the 12-season run.

2. THE SHOW TOOK A SHOT AT FRIENDS IN ITS FINAL SEASON.

In 1995, CBS made a bold move: After airing on Sundays since 1984, Murder, She Wrote moved to Thursdays at 8:00 p.m. for its twelfth and final season, going head-to-head against Mad About You and Friends over at NBC. On a night dominated by younger viewers, Lansbury was at a loss.

“I’m shattered,” she told the Los Angeles Times. “What can I say? I really feel very emotional about it. I just felt so disappointed that after all the years we had Sunday night at 8, suddenly it didn’t mean anything. It was like gone with the wind.”

Maybe not so coincidentally, during that last season of the series there was an episode titled “Murder Among Friends,” where a TV producer is killed in her office after planning to get rid of a member of the cast of a fictional television show called Buds. Complete with its coffee shop setting and snarky repartee, Buds was a not-so-subtle stab at Friends, coming at a time when Murder, She Wrote was placed right against the hip ratings juggernaut.

Putting the murder mystery aside for a moment, Fletcher takes plenty of jabs at Buds throughout, literally rolling her eyes at the thought of six twentysomethings becoming a hit because they sat around talking about their sexuality in every episode. The writing was on the wall as Murder, She Wrote was being phased out by CBS by the end of 1996, but Lansbury made sure to go down swinging.

3. JESSICA FLETCHER HOLDS A GUINNESS WORLD RECORD.

Here’s one for any self-respecting trivia junkie: Jessica Fletcher holds a Guinness World Record for Most Prolific Amateur Sleuth. Though Guinness recognizes that Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple has been on and off screen longer—since 1956—Fletcher has actually gotten to the bottom of more cases with 264 episodes and four TV movies under her belt.

4. THE SHOW’S FICTIONAL TOWN WOULD HAVE BEEN THE MURDER CAPITAL OF THE PLANET.

Quiet, upper-class New England coastal towns aren’t usually known for their murder count, but Cabot Cove, Maine, is a grisly destination indeed. In fact, if you look at the amount of murders per the population, it would have the highest rate on the planet, according to BBC Radio 4.

With 3560 people living in the town, and 5.3 murders occurring every year, that comes out to 1490 murders per million, which is 60 percent higher than that of Honduras, which only recently lost its title as the murder capital of the world. It’s also estimated that in total, about two percent of the folks in Cabot Cove end up murdered.

Read the Whole Article

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Jim’s Mailbox

JS Mineset - Tue, 08/22/2017 - 23:44

The future of money is taking form, and it isn’t $100 bills. It is bits, but not Bitcoin. Think about those hoards of drug and financial criminal’s money. Gone in 30 seconds! Federal Reserve Task Force: Ripple Improves Speed and Transparency of Global PaymentsJul 21, 2017 Today, after two years of work, the Federal Reserve... Read more »

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Jackson Hole Preview: Market Reactions, And Why UBS Says It's "Nothing To Skip Lunch Over"

Zerohedge - Tue, 08/22/2017 - 21:44

Historically the annual Jackson Hole symposium has been a major market-moving event as it has traditionally been the venue where central banks make critical announcements such as Bernanke's preview and hints of QE2 and QE3 in 2012, as well as Draghi's suggestion of the ECB's QE in 2014. As shown in the chart below, market moves preceding and following these events have been material.

This year, however, while there was a sharp build-up in expectations after several media trial balloons suggested that Draghi would unveil the ECB's taper, the fact that the market sent the EUR just shy of 1.20 in frontrunning of this announcement, prompted the ECB head to abort the entire affair, "leaking" that no material announcement would be made this week in Wyoming after all. Which is why, in previewing potential market moves, Barclays says that "the risk for the EUR around the event is biased to the downside, and that EUR bulls might be disappointed by a lack of meaningful hints on ECB monetary policy normalisation."

ING is quick to take the fun out of this week's annual meeting: "this year's major speakers, Fed Chair Janet Yellen and the ECB President Mario Draghi, are likely to keep their cards close to their chest. Both speeches are likely to be fairly "high level" and lack any major hints about future policy."

As Deutsche Bank's Jim Reid echoes, "there might be a few less nerves about the next few days in markets than many felt a few weeks ago. Back then, Thursday's commencement of the annual Jackson Hole Symposium seemed to be a natural place for Mr Draghi to signal that exit from QE was soon to be accelerated. However a combination of still soft global inflation data and the Euro's recent ascent has made it unlikely that the event will be a watershed moment. Expect him to be upbeat on the economy but the hawkish/dovishness indicator might be swayed one way or the other on how much attention the Euro gets in his remarks."

What about the Fed side of things? Here, according to UBS there will be nothing of market-moving either, and as the bank's economist Seth Carpenter writes "Don't expect news at Jackson Hole. Chair Yellen has told us what she wants to about normalization, for now. Financial stability matters, but it isn't new" and as such it will be "nothing to skip lunch over."  Carpenter elaborates that "the annual Jackson Hole Symposium features Chair Yellen on Friday speaking on "Financial Stability." The conference has in recent years been a venue for big news in monetary policy, but this time around it is likely to be undramatic. We expect the Chair's speech to keep to well-trod financial stability topics—some excesses may exist, but the system is safe—and eschew discussion of potential near-term policy actions."

Deutsche Bank is a little less sanguine:

Our Fixed Income Strategists now actually think that the Fed could be more important at Jackson Hole. The running theme of this year’s symposium is “Fostering a Dynamic Global Economy” and the full line up of speakers and presentations will be released at 4PM EST on Thursday. Mrs Yellen will be speaking Friday morning at 10AM EST on financial stability. Our strategists noted that in the US there is a tension between softer inflation and easy financial conditions and given the topic of Yellen's speech is 'financial stability' she may lean towards prioritising one side or the other. Overall the market will probably be most sensitive as to whether a December hike is more or less likely after her comments. The imminent halting of reinvestment seems to be considered a fine deal."

But why is UBS convinced that Friday's events (a full logisitcal breakdown is below) will be a snooze fest? Here is the explanation"

The FOMC has told us what they want us to know on monetary policy

 

The FOMC has increased its communication and transparency about the normalization of its balance sheet. The big news is out. The outlook for rate hikes, Chair Yellen and the FOMC have told us, depends on the realized and expected path of inflation. Some technical details about implementation remain to be disclosed, but Jackson Hole would not be the venue. The FOMC has also been clear that they will put off decisions on the terminal size of the balance sheet until after implementation has begun.

 

"Financial stability" matters, but isn't new

 

As we noted, the Minutes of the June and the July meetings both discussed financial stability issues. In July, "a number" of participants noted that very low long-term yields could snap back abruptly or induce excessive risk taking. Moreover, the FOMC discussed equity valuation as a possible source of financial instability along with commercial real estate. On net, however, the FOMC seems comfortable with current financial stability risks, even though they will continue to monitor developments.

 

So what will she say about financial stability?

 

We suspect that Chair Yellen will take this opportunity to discuss the distinction between financial stability considerations and financial conditions more broadly. She will take stock of the signal from historically low interest rates and the forces that determine those rates. These factors include slower potential GDP growth than historically was the case, global savings demand for very safe assets, and the Fed's balance sheet that continues to put some downward pressure on rates. She will note that equity valuations are high by some metrics, but by others may be justified. She will spend time on tight credit spreads, especially in the context of the Fed's monetary policy, the ongoing expansion, and generalized risk taking. Finally, she will acknowledge that parts of the Committee see commercial real estate as potentially pointing to excessive risk taking.

 

Well, what about financial conditions?

 

The Chair will take some time to differentiate financial conditions from financial stability concerns. The high level of equity prices, tight credit spreads, and low longer-term Treasury yields are much in discussion. She will note that the easy financial conditions are not, in and of themselves, a problem for monetary policy. Rather, they are one factor among many that inform her outlook for the economy. Easier financial conditions should, all else equal, support aggregate demand. In fact, as noted in Fedspeak, the Committee's outlook for ongoing gains and higher inflation over time is supported by these conditions, not hampered by them.

 

What should we take away?

 

Very little. Overall, Chair Yellen's speech will articulate more clearly how the FOMC thinks about financial stability issues, there should be very little that informs us on the near-term outlook for monetary policy. She will likely reiterate that the post-Crisis regulation has made the system safer. She will embrace the idea that there is room for some adjustment to the existing regulation, but she will push back against the idea of wholesale financial deregulation.

Of course, if UBS is right, any hopes of a spike in cross-asset volatility at the end of the week can be postponed yet again. Market outcomes aside, what is the agenda and logistics? Here, courtesy of Goldman, is a full breakdown:

Starting with the basics, the conference runs from the night of Thursday, August 24 through Saturday afternoon. Each year, the conference centers around one broad theme (this year it is “Fostering a Dynamic Global Economy”) and all of the presentations should be a mix of current policy discussions and the conference theme.

The full program will be released here on Thursday night at 8pm NY time. In addition to timing, this schedule will include speaker names and the title of papers they will be discussing (if applicable). It is probably worth mentioning that because the conference is in Wyoming, all times are listed in Mountain Time. That is two hours behind the US East Coast and seven hours behind London.

None of the conference is broadcast. For all of the published speeches and papers, text will be released at the scheduled time for the panel or speech and there is no televised Q+A. However, there are usually a series of sideline TV interviews across major business networks. These are conducted throughout the day with a number of Federal Reserve officials (usually around five), international central bankers and academics. Because the speeches often have more of an academic slant, these interviews can  often be the most relevant short-term news events of the day. The last couple years, Vice Chair Fischer has done an interview on CNBC during the first coffee break around 11:30 NY time.

The main events start Friday morning at 10am with the keynote speech, which we now know will be delivered by Fed Chair Yellen. So far, the Fed has only said that her speech will be on the subject of “Financial Stability.” It is obviously hard to forecast a freeform speech, so we will just make a few logistical points.

  • First, since it is the keynote speech for the conference, the content of the speech should be closely tied to the conference theme of Fostering a Dynamic Global Economy.
  • Second, the subject of the speech alone is not a sufficient indicator for whether or not she will comment on current policy. Last year, the subject of Yellen’s speech was listed as “The Federal Reserve’s Monetary Policy Toolkit” but she decided to include an opening section on the “Current Economic Situation and Outlook” that could just as well have been omitted.
  • Third, keep in mind that this is an academic setting above all else. Although Yellen certainly knows the weight that her words carry, the Jackson Hole keynote tends to be 10-15 pages long and can include multiple pages of academic references and footnotes; this is not the kind of thing that is easily distilled into a few news headlines. Last year’s speech, with its explicit section on current policy, was probably an exception to that rule.

The keynote speech is just one aspect – albeit an important one – of a busy conference.

So far, we also know that ECB President Draghi will deliver the luncheon address on Friday at 3pm NY time. The text of his speech should be released at that time. While this could certainly change, the rest of the speaking slots on Friday are usually reserved for academics. In past years, there has also been a closing panel on Saturday around 12:25 NY time that features speeches from two or three G10 central bankers and  one from EM.

On the other end of the spectrum, the academic papers (and the topic of the conference itself) could potentially have the longest-lasting impact on the policy discussion. However, these will also be the hardest to immediately interpret. As with the speeches, the text of the academic papers will not be released until the time of the relevant panel. The title and author names will be on the program released on Thursday night.

As Goldman further adds, given the number of Federal Reserve comments likely to come out of Jackson Hole on Friday, the bank is providing its usual table of recent Fed comments with a bit of a longer history as a quick reference point. For example, Dallas Fed President Kaplan’s comment last week that he is going to be “patient” on future rate hikes was a repeat of comments he made in July.

* * *

Finally, for those who are not convinced that Draghi, who is scheduled to speak on Friday just before the market close, won't steal the spotlight after all, Deutsche Bank reminds us that the ECB head is warming up for the trip by speaking at the Lindau economics symposium in Germany tomorrow, August 23 "and as such he could front run himself." In other words, tomorrow's conference could be more market-moving than what happens on Friday.

The Chinese Economy's Fatal Flaws

Zerohedge - Tue, 08/22/2017 - 21:10

Authored by William Hongsong Wang via The Mises Institute,

Dr. Per Bylund’s recently published article poignantly states one of the core problems in the Chinese economy and its the state-manipulated Keynesian foundation. I do agree with his opinion. And if we dig deeper into the exact situation of Chinese economy, we will find that it’s a typical failing of the Keynesian, cronyist system.

By using the perspective of Austrian business cycle theory, lets take a look at China’s real estate industry, which is suffering more and more painfully from artificial credit issued by China’s central bank, the People’s Bank of China (PBC).

During the 2008 global economic crisis, China’s central government issued the famous RMB 4 Trillion Stimulus Package Plan (equaling to $586 billion).

Since 2009, the Chinese real estate economy has already suffered from three small economic cycles. As it is becoming more difficult for real estate companies to live on artificial prosperity, the duration of every business cycle has become shorter than the previous one. We also see more and more ghost cities because of the economic boom in every sub-economic cycle. There were at least 12 ghost cities founded in 2013, and the number of them jumped to at least 50 in 2017! Bankruptcy is happening more frequently among Chinese real estate enterprises. Since 2016, at least three real estate companies — with a combined debt of at least RMB 763 million — have gone bankrupt. The story of bankruptcy is continuing, with one of the biggest real-estate-driven enterprises, Wanda Group, facing financing problems. If Wanda no longer has access to cheap debt, it might not be able to refinance or roll over all its debt again. If Wanda has to face bankruptcy, it could possibly accelerate an end of the the current Chinese boom. 

The data from the Chinese local governments is also not optimistic; their debt levels have reached almost RMB 25 trillion (US$ 4 trillion) at the end of 2014. In 2015, even the PBC admitted in one of its annual reports saying that China’s financial system is facing higher instability and uncertainty.

The above evidence is not a surprise. All these are the consequence of artificial bank credit created by central banking and central planning.

In China, the loans are easy to get from the State Owned Enterprises (SOEs) or the businessmen who are the friends of the politicians in the Communist Party. China’s real estate industry is also the ally of the state and only the people who are friends of those in authority can participate in housing programs. 

Besides the SOE economic system, what we should worry more about is how the Keynesian and crony system hurts small and private businesses in China, who are driving the economy of this country. Compared with the SOEs, and the businessmen who are the close allies of some influential politicians, it is harder for ordinary entrepreneurs who are running small businesses to get loans. Moreover, the recent market squeeze makes it harder for Chinese small business to survive. These entrepreneurs are not only facing an unfriendly bank credit situation, but also the threat of having to bribe the government to circumvent the massive scale of governmental economic regulations.

Consider the story of a small business boss Li Lang, who is a typical Kirznerian alert businessman in China. Several years ago, he observed a shortage of moving companies in the Southwest Chinese town of Chengdu. He started his business to serve the local people. The business is not easy, not only because it requires hard work, but Li also must bribe and maintain good relations with the local politicians to let them “protect” his business and help him introduce some business opportunities. According to Li, if the local bigwigs in the crony system had already discovered the opportunity of earning a fortune by managing a moving company, it wouldn’t have been possible for him to enter the business. Though now that he has earned a lot of money, he still has to carefully maintain the relationship with the politicians to "protect" his business. His is not an isolated case. In China, the less connections you have with the cronyist system, the less business opportunity you have. And even if you become successful in your business, be careful, the state has eyes on your wealth.

Though we know that the private sector is driving the Chinese economy and has improved the living standard of many Chinese individuals despite state economic manipulation, we still have to emphasize that the nature of the Chinese economic model is dominated by Keynesianism and cronyism.

Otherwise, the false prosperity would make us misread what is happening in China.

*  *  *

In other words - don't start believing.

In The News Today

JS Mineset - Tue, 08/22/2017 - 20:56

Bill Holter’s Commentary …Don’t EVER pick your nose in a Tesla Model 3!!! Tesla’s Model 3 Cars Have Secret Cameras Installed In The Rear View Mirror To Watch Drivers (But The Firm Insists They Aren’t Activated)August 3, 2017 The Tesla Model 3 has the potential to spy on you as you drive, with the automaker... Read more »

The post In The News Today appeared first on Jim Sinclair's Mineset.

Neocons Love Trump's New Afghanistan Plan, Blackwater Calls It "Obama-Lite"

Zerohedge - Tue, 08/22/2017 - 20:43

In an extended tweetstorm conccurrent with Trump's Monday night Afghanistan address, Ron Paul lashed out at the president, saying that at long last, Trump's neo-con nature had emerged. "Steve Bannon brakes removed. Neocons feeling their oats" and urging the public to "Beware! @LindseyGrahamSC loves Trump's speech! Why are arch-neocons celebrating so much? Very telling!." It appears that Paul's assessment of Trump's new strategy was not far off, because as the Hill reports today, the neoconservative wing of the Republican Party applauded President Trump’s troop surge in Afghanistan, even as members of the president’s base accused him of capitulating to the national security establishment.

Some of the loudest accolades came from foreign policy hawks in the Senate, including two of Trump’s fiercest GOP critics, Lindsey Graham and John McCain, who praised Trump for going against his “instinct” and delegating the decision to his generals, who convinced him that victory could be had in the 16-year war that has spanned three administrations.

“I’m proud. I’m relieved,” Graham said on Fox News after Trump’s Monday night address. “I’m proud of the fact that President Trump made a national security decision, not a political decision. I’m proud of the fact that he listened to the generals, and I’m most proud of the fact that he showed the will to stand up to radical Islam. I’m relieved he did not take the advice to withdraw, which would have been disastrous, or create a mercenary army, so I’m very pleased. Very thoughtful, very inspiring speech, and I can assure you a lot of people in Congress will be behind the president.”

McCain echoed Graham, saying Trump was moving beyond former President Obama’s “failed strategy of merely postponing defeat,” although it was not exactly clear how since Trump was doing precisely what Obama (and Hillary Clinton did and would have one), adding that it was “especially important” that Trump did not commit to a timeline for withdrawal.

Marco Rubio, another proponent of foreign US intervention and a "muscular" foreign policy, called Trump’s strategy “the right approach.”

New #AfghanStrategy based on the conditions on ground not on arbitrary numbers and timelines is the right approach

— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) August 22, 2017

Support also came from prominent neoconservative writers and thinkers who had long been worried that Trump, who ran on an “America First” platform, would take a more isolationist approach to foreign policy. John Podhoretz, a former speechwriter for President George W. Bush and the editor of the conservative magazine Commentary, reacted to the speech by saying it’s almost as if Bush’s former deputy secretary of Defense, Paul Wolfowitz, has been put in charge.

In the end we are all neocons pic.twitter.com/gJBqc7TJVE

— John Podhoretz (@jpodhoretz) August 22, 2017

"President Trump’s decision to recommit to Afghanistan was right and important,” wrote American Enterprise Institute scholar Fred Kagan, another proponent of neoconservatism.

The Weekly Standard’s Bill Kristol, a key voice behind every single recent US war and intervention, a “Never Trump” Republican and another "uber" neocon, reveled in the fact that Trump’s generals appeared to have won the power struggle over his nationalist advisers, like former chief strategist Stephen Bannon.

Out: Flynn, Priebus, Bannon.
In: McMaster and Kelly.
There are limits to the difference advisors can make, but that is a massive upgrade.

— Bill Kristol (@BillKristol) August 22, 2017

Meanwhile Breitbart, where former Trump advisor Steve Bannon return to after last week's latest White House staff fireworks, ran a story on Tuesday saying that “Trump’s 'America First' base” is unhappy with the president’s “flip-flop Afghanistan speech,” along with a host of stories highlighting GOP establishment support for Trump’s new strategy.

“President Trump’s ‘America First’ base was the biggest loser of Trump’s speech on Afghanistan Monday night, and many quickly expressed their disappointment at the business-as-usual address from the president who had once promised to limit American intervention abroad and focus on nation-building at home,” Breitbart reporter Adam Shaw wrote.

Predictably Ron Paul's son, senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.), a prominent non-interventionist whose views on foreign policy are derided by the conservative foreign policy establishment, bemoaned the costs to the military and taxpayers for the continuing war: “I strongly disagree with the president’s actions here. If the president and my colleagues want to continue the war in Afghanistan, then at the very least Congress should vote on it. I’ll insist they do it this fall, and I’ll be leading the charge for 'no.' "

Finally, Laura Ingraham, a pro-Trump, anti-establishment conservative radio personality, tweeted:

I thought we were going to drain the swamp in Washington, not clear the desert in Afghanistan. https://t.co/gQFnQjoj0n

— Laura Ingraham (@IngrahamAngle) August 22, 2017

Not surprisingly, the harshest criticism for Trump's new foreign policy came from the founder of private military company Blackwater, who ripped Trump’s new Afghanistan war plan as an “Obama-lite policy.”

Erik Prince who for obvious reason has encouraged administration officials to use contractors instead of U.S. military forces in Afghanistan, called Trump’s plan “a continuation of the same limited or failed strategy of the last 16 years.... This is a kind of Obama-lite policy,” Prince told The Hill, referring to President Obama’s 30,000 troop surge in 2009 in Afghanistan. The increase brought the total number of troops in the country to more than 100,000 in 2011 before a rapid drawdown.

“This is a lighter but almost as expensive version. Remember, the Pentagon now is spending as much as when they had five times as many troops in the country. It’s horrendous how they’ve lost control of the spending. That’s what makes this so unsustainable,” Prince added.

“He said it’s not a blank check, but the Pentagon continues to stand and plan and operationalize as if it is a blank check,” Prince said. “That’s the fundamental problem the plan now doesn’t address: How does this end. The Pentagon wants to position this like a forever occupation like South Korea. And I think that’s a horrendous and untenable position.

Surprisingly, Prince was doubtful that the president and Defense Secretary James Mattis are fully behind the strategy: “I don’t think the president loves this plan, I don’t think Secretary Mattis does either. He’s not even on the same continent,” Prince said, referring to Mattis’s current trip to the Middle East and Europe.

So if neither Trump, nor his chief military advisor "loved" the plan - and yet every prominent neo-con did - one wonders, just where did this plan come from?

Scott Cahill: Collapse Risk At The Oroville Dam Is Still Unacceptably High

Zerohedge - Tue, 08/22/2017 - 20:20

Authored by Adam Taggart via PeakProsperity.com,

Remember the crisis earlier this year at the Oroville Dam?

The overflow from California's winter of heavy rain threatened to overpower our country's tallest dam. A cascading failure of the dam's main gates, its primarily spillway AND its emergency spillway had the world watching hour by hour to see if a catastrophic breach was going to occur.

Fortunately, the rains stopped long enough for the situation to be brought under control. The dam remains in place and repair crews have been working all spring and summer.

But should we breathe easy at this point? Not at all, says dam safety expert Scott Cahill. Our readers will remember Scott from the excellent technical assessment he provided in the thick of the crisis earlier this year. In our earlier podcast with him, he explained how the real tragedy at Oroville was that for many years, small and affordable maintenance projects that easily could have prevented the crisis were diverted (in his estimation, the cost of making the needed repairs was quite small -- around $6 million. But for short-sighted reasons, the repairs were not funded; and now the bill to fix the resultant damage will likely be on the order of magnitude of over $200 million. Which does not factor in the environmental carnage caused by flooding downstream ecosystems with high-sediment water or the costs involved with evacuating the 200,000 residents living nearby the dam).

And the pattern appears to be continuing. In this week's podcast, Scott details a number of concerning structural risks visible at Oroville that are again being de-prioritized, or ignored all-together. And as before, straightforward and inexpensive projects that have high potential to prevent a catastrophic failure of the dam are not being pursued:

They've begun the repairs on the bottom half of the spillway, but the tragedy and loss from the bottom half of the spillway failing has already been realized. No one is worried about the bottom half of the spillway. On the other hand, they've done nothing yet with the upper half of the spillway -- which is what would cause a catastrophic failure of the dam. It's amazing how much money they've already spent, and yet their priorities are such that they haven't abated the liability at all.

 

So yes, we've made the bottom of the principal spillway, the concrete slues, more sound. But it's not the bottom of the dam that will fail, of course, it's the crest -- the top of it -- where the gates are. That's still highly suspect.

 

There are additional issues involving the unwanted moving of water through the dam -- the so-called "green spots". These are areas where water is migrating through the dam, probably through the indigenous soils adjacent to it. I've walked on these [at Oroville] and you can stick your foot down, and like your backyard after a torrential rain, water actually comes up into the footprint after you remove your foot. This is not a good situation. I believe there is a lot of movement of water through that dam, including at the structure itself that houses the gates that control the flow down the principal spillway.

 

There's nothing wrong with embankment dams in general, they're wonderful dams. But they rely on the mass of the earthen embankment itself to offset the forces that try to slide or rotate it into failure. When we see water migrating through a dam, it can potentially cause failure of the dam because it offsets the mass all that earth. Plus, there's a lot of river rock and sand in this embankment. River rock, as we all know, is round. Anyone can understand how a pile of round rocks, if the fines have been washed out from between them by water and the rocks then vibrated, for instance, by seismic activity, weakens the system. These concerns are very, very serious. I believe that this situation is occurring in multiple places across the Oroville dam -- and yet this is simply not being discussed.

Click the play button below to listen to Chris' interview with Scott Cahill (41m:06s).

Extremely Important Update On Gold & The Mining Shares

King World News - Tue, 08/22/2017 - 19:57

With the price of gold still unable to decisively clear the key $1,300 level, a key question people are asking is should I be buying gold or the miners? Here is the answer.

The post Extremely Important Update On Gold & The Mining Shares appeared first on King World News.

Al Sharpton Is Shocked At The "Poisonous Atmosphere" In America "Being Stoked By The President"

Zerohedge - Tue, 08/22/2017 - 19:55

Al Sharpton, who’s built his career on stoking racial tensions for personal and financial gain, accused President Donald Trump of inciting a “poisonous atmosphere” in the US.

“We’re in a poisonous atmosphere that is being increased by the president of the United States. It’s like turning on the gas in a room.”   

 

“Any match could lead to an explosion, and we’re getting that kind of atmosphere from this president.”

As anyone familiar with Sharpton’s history is probably aware, the hypocrisy inherent in his statement is staggering. Even within the black community, Sharpton has become associated with transforming tragedies into media circuses for personal and financial gain. In 1987, the Reverend famously accused a prosecutor in upstate New York of taking part in the rape of a black teenager. Her story was soon found to be fabricated. One family member of Akai Gurley, a young black man who was shot and killed by police in Brooklyn in 2014, complained that Sharpton swooped in and “put his name on” the situation before discussing it with the family.

Sharpton, who made the remarks during an appearance on Politico’s “Off the Record” podcast, used the opportunity to raise awareness for his annual march from the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial on Aug. 28. Sharpton and Trump have a history of feuding dating back to 1989, when Trump published advertisements in local newspapers demanding the death penalty for the Central Park Five, who were later exonerated.

Their most recent dustup occurred in 2012, when Trump was embroiled in the “birther” controversy, Politico reported.

In 2012, Sharpton accused Trump of peddling racism throughout his birther phase. They met in Trump Tower that November—“to apologize for calling me a racist—very nice, apology accepted!” was the @realDonaldTrump tweet, though the reverend himself said then and says now both that he didn’t call Trump himself a racist, and that he didn’t apologize.”

Sharpton clarified that he isn’t calling Trump a racist this time, either.

“Sharpton still deliberately isn’t calling Trump a racist, or an anti-Semite. “I don’t want to reduce this to that. His policies are there. That speaks for itself. If we make it personal, he wins,” Sharpton said. “I used to call people names. Don’t give people the easy way out.” But, Sharpton added: “I think he has empowered anti-Semites and racists. I think he has brought them from the shadows into the mainstream and I think he’s emboldened them, and I think that’s a dangerous course for the country.”

Like Trump, Sharpton has also been accused of antisemitism, Politico noted.

“Sharpton has his own checkered history full of accusations of anti-Semitism. He bristles when those are brought up, saying that it’s usually willful misinterpretation by others seeking division, though some is reflective of his own learning curve.”

Of course, Sharpton was quick to brush these allegations aside.

“To him, the imperative now is for people who are offended to stand united against Trump, but to refuse to play into the violence or debates like the one over the Confederate monuments because he says that’s what Trump wants.”

Despite their acrimonious history, Trump and Sharpton – two outsize New York City characters - have more in common than perhaps either would like to admit.

Listen to the full podcast here:

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