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Rise of the Global Citizen: BBC Poll Finds New Way to Polarize Society

Fri, 04/29/2016 - 11:43

Identity 2016: ‘Global citizenship’ rising, poll suggests  … People are increasingly identifying themselves as global rather than national citizens, according to a BBC World Service poll. The trend is particularly marked in emerging economies, where people see themselves as outward looking and internationally minded. However, in Germany fewer people say they feel like global citizens now, compared with 2001. -BBC

Why on earth is the BBC polling people as to whether they feel like “citizens of the world?” The results of this poll are particularly provocative.

More and more think of themselves as world citizens, we learn. This will no doubt open up fertile areas for additional social tension and civil unrest.

We’ll get to that shortly.

It’s no small poll. We learn from the article that an outfit called GlobeScan reached more than 20,000 people in 18 countries. And over half those people reportedly “saw themselves first and foremost as global citizens rather than national citizens.”

Predictably the developing world is more globally oriented.

In Nigeria (73%), China (71%), Peru (70%) and India (67%) the data is particularly marked. By contrast, the trend in the industrialised nations seems to be heading in the opposite direction. In these richer nations, the concept of global citizenship appears to have taken a serious hit after the financial crash of 2008.

Here’s the reason why the poll is newsworthy:

According to Lionel Bellier from GlobeScan, this is the lowest proportion [of those attracted by global citizenship] seen in Germany since the poll began … “It has to be seen in the context of a very charged environment, politically and emotionally, following Angela Merkel’s policy to open the doors to a million refugees last year.”

Thanks, BBC, for working hard to crystallize yet another confrontational trend.

The poll is showing in no uncertain terms that many Europeans emphatically disapprove of “global citizenship.” While at the same time, a majority of individuals in third-world countries enjoy the perception that they can identify with the “world.” (Who can blame them?)

Leaving no aspect of controversy un-mined, the poll also probes “intermarriage” and religious preferences.

So many areas of potential conflict! The BBC identifies them. all.

Why do so? One potential reason …

Recently, there have been reports in the alternative media regarding Her Majesty’s “National Security Strategy and Strategic Defence and Security Review 2015.”

It is a voluminous report that sets out all the ways that Britain intends to combat ISIS and terrorism in general. Prime Minister David Cameron provides the introduction and makes a moral case for enhancing and expanding every aspect of state power.

Almost immediately the BBC itself is featured:

We will further enhance our position as the world’s leading soft power promoting our values and interests globally, with our world-class Diplomatic Service, commitment to overseas development, and institutions such as the BBC World Service and the British Council.  

The BBC is obviously viewed by the British government as a resource to project British “values.” It is an instrument of propaganda.

It can be argued that the creation and coverage of this poll itself is classic propaganda. After all, London’s City is the heart of the modern, globalist enterprise and as such has inordinate clout.

It is no secret that British banking elites are involved in propagating internationalism and employ dialectal tools to do so.

And this poll surely reflects a dialectal argument.

Call it a meme – call it propaganda. The results can be utilized to continually polarize public opinion domestically and abroad. The more that public opinion is polarized by such campaigns, the more the public, ultimately, can be manipulated. Out of chaos … order.

At the end of the article, the BBC seeks to justify both the poll and its reporting. There is, for instance, an admission that “global citizenship” remains an inchoate concept that means different things to different people.

More importantly, the article offers up the idea that those interested in defining themselves as global citizens are doing so because of their concerns over “migration and mobility.”

The final lines of the article suggest that these concerns are being driven by “the biggest movements of people since the World War Two.”

Predictably this extraordinary line is delivered devoid of context. In fact, it is Middle Eastern wars (in which Britain is participating) that are driving the current Muslim migration into Europe.

Europe’s political class has abetted the migrations. It has struggled desperately against populist forces that wish to shut it down.

In other words, the current polarization afflicting European societies has been artificially created and sustained. It is intended to polarize and then to break down resistance to further globalist trends.

This article cleverly codifies the polarization without revealing the manipulation behind it. But the very last line of the article reveals the subterfuge.

This [concern over “migration and mobility”] is not just driven by war and conflict. It is also because the world as a whole is becoming more prosperous and air travel is becoming more affordable to the rising middle classes.

The BBC is thus claiming the poll and the article have been provoked by the world’s “increasing prosperity” and the air travel now “affordable to the rising middle class.”

But last time we looked, Europe’s financial elites were busy impoverishing European middle classes in order to create a “United States of Europe.”

And air travel may have grown more “affordable” but it also has grown increasingly unpleasant due to endless security arrangements.

Let us be blunt: Both the poll and the article are being promoted by the BBC on behalf of those who are always searching for new ways to “divide and conquer.” That’s the real reason to administer it and promote this year’s divisive results.

If this particular meme is further implemented and exploited, “migration and mobility” themselves will become increasingly controversial topics.

Often regulation and government interference evolve out of such media memes. Now migration and mobility are to be exploited in order to expand world government.

Conclusion: Even worse, we can see from the groundwork being laid (and the polarization to come) that the future will likely be less amenable to individual travel than the present. One can also surmise that wealth will enhance one’s mobility in ways that it currently does not. Plan accordingly.

Forget the NY Times. Here’s Obama’s Real Legacy.

Fri, 04/29/2016 - 11:43

One day we’re saving the banks; the next day we’re saving the auto industry; the next day we’re trying to see whether we can have some impact on the housing market. – President Barack Obama

Yesterday’s New York Times devoted 6,000 words and a main feature to nothing short of an all-out defense of Obama’s economic legacy. In the process, they went full Keynesian.

From the opening paragraph that detailed Obama’s singlehanded efforts to rebuild the U.S. economy following the 2008 financial crisis, it was clear that author Andrew Ross Sorkin is more than simply a member of the lapdog media. Like a true believer, Sorkin bowed down at the altar of Obama’s government.

To hell with the real story behind the data. To hell with any logical thought processes. To hell with the notion that free markets, not governments, produce opportunity and prosperity.

As Sorkin tells it, the U.S. is now quite peachy. Because Obama.

Because Obama swooped in and saved Detroit’s bankrupt auto companies. Because Obama implemented the failed Cash for Clunkers program, which destroyed thousands of used – but still working – cars, pushing up the price of existing cars on the used market. Meaning that the very people he pretends to care about the most – America’s working class and poor – are the ones who suffered the most from this policy.

Because Obama is a renowned healthcare economist who saved the U.S. system from those greedy insurance companies. Even though the companies’ lobbyists helped write the bill and we found out just how much corporatism was at play after the bill was passed. Here’s to you, Nancy.

Because associates in Congress like Nancy Pelosi and Obama’s cabinet are do-good fairies. And because of Obama’s magic, he and the fairies can find the gold at the end of the rainbow to fund their programs. Or in other words, the rich, who must be taxed more.

And if only it weren’t for those pesky Republicans and their pushback on accumulating debt, according to Sorkin, maybe Obama could have accomplished more with the stimulus:

Many argue today that Obama’s $800 billion plan, the one that eventually became law, was not enough. With a bigger boost, the economy would have recovered much more quickly and years of needless suffering could have been allayed.

For those of us who understand that savings and ensuing capital investment is the way to grow an economy, here’s what Sorkin’s fallacious Keynesian mind really meant: Imagine if there were more government agents pointing more guns at productive people and then redistributing their money to companies like now-defunct government darling Solyndra. Everything would be great – we’d have $30 trillion in GDP and 0% unemployment!

Not that some of the Republicans held a sound economic philosophy throughout Obama’s term:

Critics of Obama, including the new House speaker, Paul Ryan, credit Ben Bernanke, the former Federal Reserve chairman, and Janet Yellen, the current chairwoman, for whatever recovery we’ve had since the crisis, contending it happened in spite of the president. “I think the Federal Reserve has done more,” Ryan said at a January news conference.

Bernanke and Yellen should join Obama as the last ones in line to receive congratulations for the economic recovery. Between these two Fed chairs, they have further inflated housing and stock market bubbles, put the printing presses in overdrive to fund expanded government, and destroyed the return on savings with zero or near zero interest rates.

Sorkin’s article on Obama’s legacy is not only inaccurate. It’s also incomplete. There’s much more to the 44th President’s economic legacy.

As told through Frederic Bastiat’s broken window fallacy, economics is about the unseen just as much as the seen. The unseen, while never realized, is still no less real. And Obama’s team has done plenty to ensure that businesses’ ideas will never become realized.

On a daily basis, the Federal Register – the synopsis of bureaucratic rule-making – amounts to 300 or more pages. Yes, each and every day. Take that number multiplied by the number of days that Obama has been in office, excluding weekends and holidays, and the results are staggering. Conservatively, Obama’s executive branch has cranked out over 500,000 pages of regulations.

Unfortunately, despite the promises from the 2016 campaign trail, if one believes that anything can be done about the atrocious state of regulations in the U.S., that would place them squarely in the land of pixies and fairy dust alongside Barack and Nancy.

Other economic indicators from Obama’s land of make-believe are the overall growth of the economy and health of the U.S. middle and working classes. It was just reported that U.S. 2016 Q1 GDP grew at an abysmal 0.5%. And, like the discrepancy between Obama’s rhetoric and reality in economic growth, the growth and opportunities of the middle class are fading. Lacking the rich’s cash-flowing assets, many have been left behind in this so-called recovery – and this is before a growing inflation rate eats away at purchasing power.

Conclusion:

There’s more to Obama’s economic legacy than is reported by The New York Times. Mounting regulations, a doubling of official national debt, and the stifling of the middle class are more indicative of the damage done under this president.

This Index is Screaming a U.S. Dollar Decline

Thu, 04/28/2016 - 16:33

The dollar has an opportunity to make history. After three straight years of gains, strategists are forecasting the US currency will be a world beater again in 2016, strengthening against seven of 10 developed world peers by the end of the year.  – Median estimate from Bloomberg Survey

Two data points may establish a trend. Three can confirm the trend – with a margin of error.

But what happens when six data points line up in the same direction?

It’s a full-blown, screaming signal.

While strategists at Bloomberg are optimistic about the dollar’s continued strength in the coming years, our analysis of six separate data points tells a very different story.

The six data point signal is the U.S. Dollar Index, an index that measures the performance of the dollar against a basket of six currencies – the Euro, Japanese yen, British pound, Swiss franc, Canadian dollar, and Swedish krona.

Post-U.S. financial crisis of 2008, King dollar had tremendous gains against these six currencies. The lowest gain was against the British pound at 19%, with the rise starting in 2014. Also with the rise dating from 2014, the U.S. dollar gained 24% against the Euro.

In 2011 the USD started its rise against the Canadian dollar, Swedish krona, and Swiss franc. The dollar would go on to post gains of 35%, 32%, and 30%, respectively.

Ever since the so-called U.S. economic “recovery” – no doubt orchestrated by the D.C. economic geniuses – King dollar has had its time in the sun. And many, both in and outside of the D.C. establishment – think the good times will continue.

But the point of this article is not to highlight the dollar’s rise in recent years. Instead, the point is to highlight the dollars’ even more recent fall against these half-dozen currencies.

The past six months have not been kind to the dollar’s value against the currency basket. To be clear, the dollar still remains strong and, in the meantime at least, it will continue to be king. However, chinks in the dollar’s armor have appeared.

The data proves it.

Going back in the data for five years, against five of the six currencies – the yen as the exception – the dollar peaked anywhere from November 2015 through February 2016. The dollar peaked against the yen a bit earlier, in June 2015.

In the past six months, the USD has declined against all six of these currencies. From a low in the range of a 5-7% pullback against the pound, Canadian dollar, Euro, and Swiss franc since the respective highs to a 10% and 12% decline against the yen and krona, respectively, the USD has a trend: down.

Conclusion:

The relative strength that the U.S. dollar has seen in recent years is fading.

And the further acceleration is likely in coming years, only adding fuel to the inevitable inflationary fire. Which means less and less purchasing power for those holding dollars.

Unfortunately, all fiat currencies are in a race to the bottom. But it’s not all gloom and doom. Fortunately, there are alternatives – currencies in other jurisdictions that will better hold your purchasing power.

Certainly, as will be evident in the coming years, U.S. dollars are no longer a place to store your entire life’s savings. Diversification into other currencies is paramount.

What Brexit Supporters Have Wrong About the Origins of the EU

Thu, 04/28/2016 - 16:30

The European Union always was an American project.  It was Washington that drove European integration in the late 1940s, and funded it covertly under the Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon administrations.  – Telegraph

Ambrose Evans-Pritchard is telling the truth again, or at least part of it, in this most recent column of his. But we find ourselves disagreeing with him on some important points.

More on that in a minute.

The initial cause of the column is supposedly Pritchard’s disbelief regarding euro-skeptics who were shocked by Barack Obama’s recent statements (made in England) opposing Brexit.

Obama went so far as to warn those who might be sympathetic to Brexit that the preference of the US was to negotiate with the EU when it came to matters of economy and state.

A country set free by Brexit would be seen by the US as an afterthought, or so he basically implied.

Obama’s statements caused quite a stir. The idea was that the US stood for freedom and individual as opposed to communal rights. Obama made it clear this was a misunderstanding.

Pritchard spends the rest of the column explaining how the US power structure really works and why the US is responsible for the European Union.

He points out that the the Schuman Declaration that gradually led to the initial European Community was “cooked up” by the US Secretary of State Dean Acheson at a meeting in Foggy Bottom.

Pritchard also draws on now-declassified documents from State Department archives “showing that US intelligence funded the European movement secretly for decades, and worked aggressively behind the scenes to push Britain into the project.”

More:

As this newspaper first reported when the treasure became available, one memorandum dated July 26, 1950, reveals a campaign to promote a full-fledged European parliament.

It is signed by Gen William J Donovan, head of the American wartime Office of Strategic Services, precursor of the Central Inteligence Agency.   The key CIA front was the American Committee for a United Europe (ACUE), chaired by Donovan.

Pritchard finds all of this secretive but little of it reprehensible. He believes the US acted “astutely” given the reality of the Cold War of the time.

Interestingly he cites a memo dated June 11, 1965 that “instructs the vice-president of the European Community to pursue monetary union by stealth.”

We’ve pointed out many times that the EU’s monetary union was designed to generate momentum for a deeper political union. But a memo from June 1965 shows the discipline and longevity of the initial strategy.

Pritchard’s argument flows naturally into insights regarding the stance that Brexit supporters ought to be taking regarding an exit.

According to Pritchard, given the time and effort that the US in particular has invested in building the EU, “the awful truth for the Leave campaign is that the governing establishment of the entire Western world views Brexit as strategic vandalism.”

In his view, Brexit supporters should be emphasizing a larger military budget and should seek a powerful partnership with France to create a non-EU security alliance.

Unless Brexit supporters quickly come to understand that leave-taking will involve building a modern state – a kind of mini-EU in some respects – the movement will fail.

“You can quarrel with Europe, or you can quarrel with the US,” Pritchard finishes, “but it is courting fate to quarrel with the whole democratic world at the same time.”

However, Pritchard has left out some powerful players. Chief among them, London’s City and its financiers. This is the group to which we here at DB attribute the EU in its formative years and even today.

He claims that the EU is a US and even CIA invention. But intelligence agencies were initially private and thus were the creation of monied banking interests that wanted real insights from abroad.

Top intelligence operatives “follow the money” when it comes to their reporting lines. And the real money and most powerful influences have resided in London for centuries.

According to Pritchard, the EU was conceived of as a counterweight to the Soviet Union and civilian twin of the military NATO. But at a more fundamental level, the EU experiment is actually just one more advance in creating an evermore connected and inter-dependent world.

Globalist mercantilism is an authoritarian curse that removes choices from people’s lives and substitutes regulation. It is funded and driven by central banking – and by financiers – not by NATO.

Monopoly central banking was basically founded in London and to a large degree London financial “City” remains its seat of power.

We need to understand this power and its processes if we are to counteract it as a society and as individuals. If we do not wish to live under globalist regimes, we need to combat manifestations of faux internationalism in our societies and in our personal lives.

And we need to identify where the trend is coming from. We need to understand who is driving it. It is being driven by powerful financial interests. And those interests have always resided in the City.

Conclusion: What can we learn from the misunderstandings of Brexit supporters? That clarity is necessary when it comes to identifying the foes of freedom. Pritchard’s article, as informative as it is, unfortunately does us few favors in this regard.

 

 

German Electric Car Conundrum: the Campaign to Kill Diesel

Thu, 04/28/2016 - 16:20

Germany to launch 1 billion-euro discount scheme for electric car buyers …Germany is set to launch a new incentive scheme worth about 1 billion euros ($1 billion) to get more consumers buying electric cars as it struggles to meet a target of bringing 1 million of them onto its roads by the end of the decade. The costs of the incentives, similar to those already established in some other European countries, are to be shared equally between the government and automakers with a view to selling an additional 400,000 electric cars, – Reuters

Now it seems the truth begins to emerge about the VW “diesel scandal.” Through happenstance or on purpose, one popular form of transportation is under attack, while another less popular method is being promoted.

It’s electric versus gas and predictably government is promoting electric transportation. Volkswagen’s problems are just as predictably spreading to other car companies. An article in The Wall Street Journal tells us the following:

“Porsche, Audi, Mercedes and GM’s Opel division in Germany are recalling cars for failing emissions tests. In France, Renault and Peugeot have been raided by the police. Japan’s Mitsubishi admitted on Tuesday that it had been fudging mileage data for 25 years, putting the company’s survival in doubt.”

In the US, 48 state-level attorney generals are “investigating” VW, according to a late March article by Eric Peters posted at LewRockwell.com.  A federal probe aims at “milking” $46 billion out of VW and its additional brands, Audi and Porsche.

Here’s more from Peters:

The Justice Department accuses VW of “violating clean air laws,” but the interesting thing about that is the “laws” at issue are actually regulatory edicts issued by EPA …

The automaker is accused of embedding code in the software that controls the operation of its TDI diesel engines (about 580,000 of them) that enabled them to get through Uncle’s Byzantine emissions testing protocols while emitting “up to 40 times” the legally allowable maximum of exhaust emissions in real-world driving. 

Note the weasel words.  Not “40 times.”  “Up to” 40 times.VW graphic 2  You may be familiar with this sort of distinction.  One encounters it all the time in advertising. “Up to” to 40 times could be 40 times but more than likely is 2 or 3 times.  Maybe less. 

VW and other car companies are struggling to cope with invasive investigations and gargantuan fines. Meanwhile, Germany is presumably counting on some of that cash to subsidize its electric car program.

More from Reuters:

Currently Germany, the biggest car market in Europe, has only about 50,000 purely battery-powered vehicles and plug-in hybrids among the 45 million cars using its roads.  . Under the plans … electric car buyers will get a 4,000-euro discount while buyers of plug-in hybrid vehicles will get a discount of 3,000 euros. 

“With this, I believe we will be able to give a boost to quickly move the number of vehicles (sales) to a considerable level,” Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said. 

The German program certainly has its critics who claim that “higher electricity generation to charge battery cars will increase carbon dioxide emissions.”

And Peters has a more general criticism:

I’ve been trying, as an automotive journalist, to get the word out that literally 95-plus percent of any modern car’s exhaust stream is composed primarily of water vapor and carbon dioxide; that the diminishing returns being pursued at cost-no-object are the remaining 3-5 percent of the exhaust stream.

For Peters and other critics of current “clean air” initiatives involving autos, the jobs lost and the costs generated are greater than any apparent benefits.

And yet … for governments, clean air may not be the real reason for the emphasis on electric cars.

We’ve often made the case that electrical cars (now and in the foreseeable future) are fairly limited in range and speed. Additionally, a car that needs to plug into a wall to charge is one that is susceptible to other inputs as well.

The government game seems simple enough: It’s all about control.

Gone are the days when one could stock the car with gasoline and travel cross country without stopping. Tomorrow’s electric car will likely have less range and its drivers less independence.

Additionally, the cars of the future (if we are driving them at all) may be susceptible to any one of a number of inputs.

It’s certainly conceivable at some point that municipalities and law enforcement might create invasive software that could shut down a recharging car because of an unpaid ticket or an after-the-fact driving violation.

Unfortunately, first-world countries seem determined to create and popularize electric vehicles. (First with drivers, but later it seems without. Thanks, Google.) Thus eventually the ability to travel freely that cars once offered will likely be reduced if not eliminated.

Conclusion: In our modern world, “progress” is not always what it seems. Discerning consumers will need to be increasingly careful about the choices we make – with cars and other technology as well. In fact, there may be some advanced technology that we simply don’t want to adopt or utilize. Sometimes we may not have a choice. But when we do, we should exercise it.

Trump’s skepticism of US Military-Industrial Complex Is Hopeful Sign

Wed, 04/27/2016 - 15:29

Trump’s World to watch as Trump outlines his foreign policy … Critics have accused the Republican front-runner of bigotry and posing a danger to U.S. national security.  Many foreign policy and defense advisers say his views are worrying, mingling isolationism and protectionism, with calls to force U.S. allies to pay more for their defense and proposals to impose punitive tariffs on some imported goods. – Reuters

Former Congressman Ron Paul lost the GOP presidential nomination in large part due to his stance on US military foreign involvement. Now the GOP, which is the engine of the US military-industrial complex, faces a similar challenge in the potential presidency of Donald Trump.

Trump’s stance, like Ron Paul’s before him, has been significantly skeptical of US foreign wars. Even the sprawling overseas occupation of the US military has come into question during his campaign.

Under Obama it has been business as usual for the Pentagon. But the military-industrial-intelligence cannot be happy – in aggregate – that the country’s core propaganda has now come under direct challenge in no less than three separate national elections.

It is also direct reason for the odd speculation that Hillary Clinton could attract significant GOP support from monied, insiders.

The spectacle of GOP cross-over to Clinton indicates, almost for the first time, the real fault lines of US politics.

The national priority is a continuation of military and intelligence activity aimed at a variety of internal and external targets, many of them fanciful, or worse yet, actually constructed with Western resources.

There is considerable evidence that both Al Qaeda and now ISIS were Western creations supported and directed by Middle Eastern allies such as Saudi Arabia.

More:

“Part of what I’m saying is we love our country and we love our allies, but our allies can no longer be taking advantage of this country,” Trump told reporters on Tuesday night in a speech preview.

He said he would focus on nuclear weapons as the single biggest threat in the world today. “I’m probably the last on the trigger,” Trump told ABC’s “Good Morning America” on Wednesday, citing his opposition to the Iraq war.

Trump’s remarks are especially timely in light of Barack Obama’s recently revealed plans to build a “missile defense shield” around North Korea.

According to ZeroHedge, “It appears that the US will set up a missile defense system to surround North Korea and shoot down any future flying nuisances.”

In the article, Obama is quoted as saying the following: “One of the things that we have been doing is spending a lot more time positioning our missile defense systems … we’re setting up a shield that can at least block the relatively low-level threats that they’re posing right now,” Obama said.

Obama has indicated that the bottom-line problem regarding Korea is its nuclear program. But as ZeroHedge points out, “[This] is surprising considering North Korea has no chance of ever launching a fully functioning ICBM, let alone one which can reach the US.”

So what is the unsaid impetus for this move? Perhaps it is simply to deploy even more ships and military equipment in the region where recent diplomatic posturing between the US and China over various contested islands in the South China Sea has been the biggest geopolitical threat in recent years.

This ZeroHedge assessment is an accurate one, in our view, though we have taken it a step further in previous articles about North Korea’s nuclear “threat.”

Here’s what we wrote early in March regarding North Korea and nukes:

For instance, North Korea claims to have a new-type “large-caliber multiple launch rocket system.” However … “experts are divided” about the country’s ability to mount warheads on “working missile delivery system.”

North Korea feeds the fear. Now it has released photos of Kim looking at a mock up of miniaturized atomic bomb — “a small, silverish globe with a ballistic missile or a model ballistic missile in the background.”

According to Reuters, South Korea disputed the North’s claim regarding miniaturized warheads. The alternative media weighed in skeptically as well.

The Daily Sheeple posted an article entitled, “Guess It’s Supposed To Be Scary, But Kim Jong-Un Just Looks Stupid Posing With This Supposed Mini Nuke.”

We also wrote, “Some of North Korea’s claims – and the hyper-nuclear claims of other states – are so exaggerated that they are difficult for anyone to believe.”

At some point, the entire 20th century (and now 21st) narrative regarding nuclear weapons is going to start to come apart. The Cold War itself was very much not what it seemed, nor it turns out was the “space race” given that the US generously provided Russia with Germany’s top aviation minds after the war.

At a time when so much in the West seems grim and wasteful, US mainstream political challenges to international security expenditures are a hopeful sign.

Stripped of titanic military and intelligence expenses, the US might even have a chance to recover from its current bankrupt condition.

Conclusion: Whatever else Trump does or doesn’t have in mind, he is doing US citizens a significant service by questioning military-industrial costs and the larger positioning of the US “empire” abroad.

Mercantilism’s Rise: Its Consequences for Your Freedom & Prosperity

Wed, 04/27/2016 - 15:26

It became clear that the best way to stay competitive and protect the business for long-term is to move production from our facility in Indianapolis to Monterey, Mexico. – Carrier Air Conditioning spokesperson

Back in February, workers at a Carrier air conditioner manufacturing plant in Indianapolis filmed a company spokesman informing employees that 1,400 jobs would be moved to Mexico. The speaker could barely finish his speech in front of this irate crowd, full of hisses, loud, sarcastic responses to his remarks, and profane verbal confrontations.

The irate crowd soon was not limited to Indianapolis. Courtesy of YouTube – and certifying the ideas of Gustav Le Bon, the lunacy of the crowd went viral, extending nationwide.

Predictably, within a few days Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump put his own word in, promising that as U.S. President, if Carrier tried to sell their air conditioning units manufactured in Mexico to the U.S., he would “tax the hell out of them.”

Not to be outdone, Bernie Sanders on the Democratic side backed the union for the Indianapolis workers. Failed trade policies, he claimed, must be rewritten so American jobs are not the country’s number one export.

On April 19th, it was Sanders, not Trump, who received the endorsement of the United Steelworkers union that represents the 1,400 workers.

Hillary Clinton as well is on the campaign trail speaking on manufacturing and global trade policies.

The political current extends beyond populism. The dangerous economic theory touted by leading candidates is nothing short of mercantilism.

Yes, mercantilism as in the centuries old idea that in its heyday of the 17th and 18th centuries in Europe involved subsidies and monopolistic privileges to groups favored by the state.

That sounds a lot like the U.S. today. And if the leading candidates have their way, mercantilist policies will be amplified in the coming years.

The way that Clinton, Sanders, and Trump see it, there is no independence from the state. Instead, companies should genuflect to their master.

In an era when technology is beginning to render nation-states irrelevant, politicians clamor for the normalcy of when the nation-state was in charge. Meaning them in charge.

This has dire implications.

Limiting international trade means fewer options for consumers, and inefficient domestic manufacturers propped up by the state and paid for by taxpayers.

Ultimately this means rising costs and a lower standard of living. And this is the best case scenario. At worst, trade wars often lead to economic sanctions, which further empowers the state and harms individuals and companies within the respective states.

Conclusion:

Age-old ideas die hard. Such is the case for mercantilism, an age-old idea in the midst of the latest round of global technological advancement.

This is especially the case when echoed by candidates for the highest office in the land. This fact, coupled with a pliable public with no economic understanding.

The American crowd’s frustration should not be with Carrier. They should take up their case with the U.S. government that has implemented regulation after regulation and tax after tax to provide strong enough disincentives for this company to relocate jobs overseas.

Free markets work to better everyone’s lives. Not to provide jobs.

No Matter How Bad It Gets, Some Will Always Love Monopoly Central Banking

Wed, 04/27/2016 - 14:58

Why the world needs more U.S. government debt … Are government-imposed restrictions holding back the U.S. economy? In a way, yes: The federal government is causing great harm by failing to issue enough debt.  The U.S. generates more income than any other country, and will keep doing so for many years to come. The federal government can generate a lot of revenue by taxing this income — a power that puts it in a unique position to issue the kind of extremely safe bonds that are in great demand among the world’s investors.  How is the U.S. government wielding its power? Not well. -Bloomberg

Hard on the heels of the Federal Reserve’s latest decision to leave rates alone, we discover this Bloomberg opinion article explaining why the US government ought to issue more debt.

Of course, this echoes Alexander Hamilton’s statement that “a national debt, if it is not excessive, will be to us a national blessing.”

However, it certainly runs counter to free-market economics. The Austrian model is one that emphasizes the individual’s “human action” – his or her ability to live without the manifold supports of modern government.

This is one reason Austrian economics is not popular with the public bureaucracy, the Western monetary and industrial elite – and their representatives in academia.

Bloomberg is run by Michael Bloomberg who probably qualifies as a double elite threat: He is a businessman but given his eponymous news network, he is a kind of associate Federal Reserve member. Bloomberg, the network, produces a steady stream of pro-central bank propaganda.

Calling for the issuance of more debt as this editorial does is not quite the same as endorsing the modern program of central banking. But it might as well be.

Central banks buy a good deal of public debt – and it’s not usually corporate debt either. In fact, the modern state is inextricably wedded to monopoly central banking.

And the US is indeed in the fortunate position of being able to print loads of debt because the dollar is yet in demand.

More:

The yield on a 20-year inflation-protected Treasury bond, at just over 0.5 percent, is nearly two full percentage points lower than it was 10 years ago.

This means that the price is near record highs, suggesting that the U.S. government’s supply of such safe investments is falling far short of demand. In other words, we’re starving the world of desperately needed financial safety.

The debt the US government issues should be used to “invest in infrastructure,” and to cut taxes or both, according to the editorial.

That’s an interesting statement given that modern central banking actually allows us to do away with taxes. Modern central banks could certainly fund government operations directly.

Instead, political forces have imposed artificial constraints on debt — constraints that punish savers, choke off economic growth and could sow the seeds of the next financial crisis.

The author of this editorial is Narayana Kocherlakota, who predictably enough served as president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis from 2009 through 2015.

For people with such backgrounds, every public budget looks like a nail and every debt-based issuance seems a hammer.

How exactly, Kocherlakota arrives at the idea that the US is a place of ultimate investment safety is a mystery to us.

Total US indebtedness probably approaches $200 trillion – yes trillion with a “T.” Unrestrained issuance of credit has virtually bankrupted US citizens.

Wall Street’s involvement with derivatives is surely in excess of $500 trillion and perhaps a $1,000 trillion.

It just came out the other day that close to 50 percent of the general public don’t even have enough savings to fund a $400 trip to the emergency room.

There are upwards of a million who reportedly live on $2 a day, which mimics the worst poverty of third-world countries.

Economies wound round monetary elites inevitably discover that those elites grow wealthy, in aggregate, at the expense of everyone else.

The idea that a public debt, administered by a few on behalf of the many, is a blessing of any sort is yet another faux paradigm. Giving any single group control of value and volume of money is a terrible mistake.

Unfortunately, from earliest times in the US, the country has had proponents of monetary elitism. It is a mistake to think they will ever be vanquished, regardless of the growing debasement and misery that monopoly central banking predictably inflict.

Conclusion: The way to counter the pernicious effects of this cursed system is to minimize your contact with its most egregious effects. Stay out of debt, place a portion of your savings in money metals and try to make a living in a trade not directly exposed to the financial sector. Good luck.

Mercantilism’s Rise: Its Consequences for Your Freedom & Prosperity

Wed, 04/27/2016 - 12:13

It became clear that the best way to stay competitive and protect the business for long-term is to move production from our facility in Indianapolis to Monterey, Mexico. – Carrier Air Conditioning spokesperson

Back in February, workers at a Carrier air conditioner manufacturing plant in Indianapolis filmed a company spokesman informing employees that 1,400 jobs would be moved to Mexico. The speaker could barely finish his speech in front of this irate crowd, full of hisses, loud, sarcastic responses to his remarks, and profane verbal confrontations.

The irate crowd soon was not limited to Indianapolis. Courtesy of YouTube – and certifying the ideas of Gustav Le Bon, the lunacy of the crowd went viral, extending nationwide.

Predictably, within a few days Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump put his own word in, promising that as U.S. President, if Carrier tried to sell their air conditioning units manufactured in Mexico to the U.S., he would “tax the hell out of them.”

Not to be outdone, Bernie Sanders on the Democratic side backed the union for the Indianapolis workers. Failed trade policies, he claimed, must be rewritten so American jobs are not the country’s number one export.

On April 19th, it was Sanders, not Trump, who received the endorsement of the United Steelworkers union that represents the 1,400 workers.

Hillary Clinton as well is on the campaign trail speaking on manufacturing and global trade policies.

It’s telling that the one presidential candidate who stopped short of criticizing Carrier and pointed instead to the U.S. government as the problem has been nearly finished in the race.

The political current extends beyond populism. The dangerous economic theory touted by leading candidates is nothing short of mercantilism.

Yes, mercantilism as in the centuries old idea that in its heyday of the 17th and 18th centuries in Europe involved subsidies and monopolistic privileges to groups favored by the state.

That sounds a lot like the U.S. today. And if the leading candidates have their way, mercantilist policies will be amplified in the coming years.

The way that Clinton, Sanders, and Trump see it, there is no independence from the state. Instead, companies should genuflect to their master.

In an era when technology is beginning to render nation-states irrelevant, politicians clamor for the normalcy of when the nation-state was in charge. Meaning them in charge.

This has dire implications.

Limiting international trade means fewer options for consumers, and inefficient domestic manufacturers propped up by the state and paid for by taxpayers.

Ultimately this means rising costs and a lower standard of living. And this is the best case scenario. At worst, trade wars often lead to economic sanctions, which further empowers the state and harms individuals and companies within the respective states.

Conclusion:

Age-old ideas die hard. Such is the case for mercantilism, an age-old idea in the midst of the latest round of global technological advancement.

This is especially the case when echoed by candidates for the highest office in the land. This fact, coupled with a pliable public with no economic understanding.

The American crowd’s frustration should not be with Carrier. They should take up their case with the U.S. government that has implemented regulation after regulation and tax after tax to provide strong enough disincentives for this company to relocate jobs overseas.

Free markets work to better everyone’s lives. Not to provide jobs.

Trump’s skepticism of US Military-Industrial Complex Is Hopeful Sign

Wed, 04/27/2016 - 11:57

Trump’s World to watch as Trump outlines his foreign policy … Critics have accused the Republican front-runner of bigotry and posing a danger to U.S. national security.  Many foreign policy and defense advisers say his views are worrying, mingling isolationism and protectionism, with calls to force U.S. allies to pay more for their defense and proposals to impose punitive tariffs on some imported goods. – Reuters

Former Congressman Ron Paul lost the GOP presidential nomination in large part due to his stance on US military foreign involvement. Now the GOP, which is the engine of the US military-industrial complex, faces a similar challenge in the potential presidency of Donald Trump.

Trump’s stance, like Ron Paul’s before him, has been significantly skeptical of US foreign wars. Even the sprawling overseas occupation of the US military has come into question during his campaign.

Under Obama it has been business as usual for the Pentagon. But the military-industrial-intelligence cannot be happy – in aggregate – that the country’s core propaganda has now come under direct challenge in no less than three separate national elections.

It is also direct reason for the odd speculation that Hillary Clinton could attract significant GOP support from monied, insiders.

The spectacle of GOP cross-over to Clinton indicates, almost for the first time, the real fault lines of US politics.

The national priority is a continuation of military and intelligence activity aimed at a variety of internal and external targets, many of them fanciful, or worse yet, actually constructed with Western resources.

There is considerable evidence that both Al Qaeda and now ISIS were Western creations supported and directed by Middle Eastern allies such as Saudi Arabia.

More:

“Part of what I’m saying is we love our country and we love our allies, but our allies can no longer be taking advantage of this country,” Trump told reporters on Tuesday night in a speech preview.

He said he would focus on nuclear weapons as the single biggest threat in the world today. “I’m probably the last on the trigger,” Trump told ABC’s “Good Morning America” on Wednesday, citing his opposition to the Iraq war.

Trump’s remarks are especially timely in light of Barack Obama’s recently revealed plans to build a “missile defense shield” around North Korea.

According to ZeroHedge, “It appears that the US will set up a missile defense system to surround North Korea and shoot down any future flying nuisances.”

In the article, Obama is quoted as saying the following: “One of the things that we have been doing is spending a lot more time positioning our missile defense systems … we’re setting up a shield that can at least block the relatively low-level threats that they’re posing right now,” Obama said.

Obama has indicated that the bottom-line problem regarding Korea is its nuclear program. But as ZeroHedge points out, “[This] is surprising considering North Korea has no chance of ever launching a fully functioning ICBM, let alone one which can reach the US.”

So what is the unsaid impetus for this move? Perhaps it is simply to deploy even more ships and military equipment in the region where recent diplomatic posturing between the US and China over various contested islands in the South China Sea has been the biggest geopolitical threat in recent years.

This ZeroHedge assessment is an accurate one, in our view, though we have taken it a step further in previous articles about North Korea’s nuclear “threat.”

Here’s what we wrote early in March regarding North Korea and nukes:

For instance, North Korea claims to have a new-type “large-caliber multiple launch rocket system.” However … “experts are divided” about the country’s ability to mount warheads on “working missile delivery system.”

North Korea feeds the fear. Now it has released photos of Kim looking at a mock up of miniaturized atomic bomb — “a small, silverish globe with a ballistic missile or a model ballistic missile in the background.”

According to Reuters, South Korea disputed the North’s claim regarding miniaturized warheads. The alternative media weighed in skeptically as well.

The Daily Sheeple posted an article entitled, “Guess It’s Supposed To Be Scary, But Kim Jong-Un Just Looks Stupid Posing With This Supposed Mini Nuke.”

We also wrote, “Some of North Korea’s claims – and the hyper-nuclear claims of other states – are so exaggerated that they are difficult for anyone to believe.”

At some point, the entire 20th century (and now 21st) narrative regarding nuclear weapons is going to start to come apart. The Cold War itself was very much not what it seemed, nor it turns out was the “space race” given that the US generously provided Russia with Germany’s top aviation minds after the war.

At a time when so much in the West seems grim and wasteful, US mainstream political challenges to international security expenditures are a hopeful sign.

Stripped of titanic military and intelligence expenses, the US might even have a chance to recover from its current bankrupt condition.

Conclusion: Whatever else Trump does or doesn’t have in mind, he is doing US citizens a significant service by questioning military-industrial costs and the larger positioning of the US “empire” abroad.

Decline of the Anglosphere is the Result of Deliberate Planning

Tue, 04/26/2016 - 13:05

Barack Obama and the end of the Anglosphere … When supporters of the Vote Leave campaign sketch out a future for Britain outside the EU, they often point to the Anglosphere of English-speaking nations — bequeathed by Britain’s imperial past. So Barack Obama’s intervention in Britain’s EU referendum last week was a potentially devastating moment for the Brexit campaign. – Financial Times

This fascinating article openly explores the diminishment of Anglosphere power. It is especially important because it positions the subsiding as an evolutionary trend rather than what it really is: a deliberate policy.

And it does so within the context of Brexit – the upcoming vote in Britain on whether or not to stay in the EU.

But the article’s ramifications go far beyond Brexit. It is as if the topic of Brexit is being used as a launching platform to present a much larger repositioning of the Anglosphere itself.

Much of the article is devoted to the reality that we often document: Economic and financial power is moving away from the West toward the East.

Of course, as it is being presented by the Financial Times, the article only gives us part of the story.  What we see as programmatic and deliberate, the article portrays as coincidental and unorganized.

More:

In reality, no special explanation is needed for Mr Obama’s remarks. It has long been US policy to support British membership of the EU. Yet the Brexiters are on to something in a broader sense.

For all the ritualistic tributes to the enduring nature of the special relationship, something has changed during the Obama years. That shift is a growing awareness in both Washington and London of the rise of Asia, which has made both the US and the UK reconsider their approaches to the world — and each other.

You see? Once again the world’s trends are presented as unplanned and evolutionary.

Here at DB, for nearly a decade-and-a-half, we’ve made the argument that the world’s economic and sociopolitical evolution is anything but unplanned.

It has long been clear to us that the world is organized by the same forces that have placed monopoly central banks in almost every country.

We call this organization and its outcomes “directed history.”

Events occur and then are acted upon. But neither the events themselves, nor the subsequent actions are unplanned.

The animating goal of these events is ever-increasing internationalism.

Those organizing the increased internationalism put a great deal of time and energy into making the evolution seem unintentional. It is constantly portrayed as a trend rather than a strategy.

This Financial Times article is perfect example of how this occurs.

More:

The signature foreign policy initiative of the Obama years has been America’s “pivot to Asia”. Amid all the turmoil in the Middle East and Ukraine, the US president has remained grimly, stubbornly, determined to devote more of his country’s diplomatic, military and economic resources to Asia…

The article goes on to say that America’s “biggest trade priority” is Asia. It mentions the importance of the Trans-Pacific Partnership deal between the US and Asia that “now awaits ratification.”

We also learn that “the Cameron government has been conducting its own pivot to Asia.” This is being done “even at the expense of ties to the US.”

Again, the emphasis on Asia is portrayed as ineluctable. It is an evolution of necessity. Nothing  that could have been foreseen.

Yet if one examines the history of Asia, it becomes clear that those countries that make up Asia, including China, are products of Western influences and systems.

That’s not the impression being given by this article.

The text even mentions that “elite educational ties” shall strengthen with Asia, perhaps at the expense of Anglosphere relationships. And we learn that the “rise of Asia” is also having an impact on countries such as Canada and Australia.

The article concludes as follows:

Still, any Brits who feel nostalgic for the Anglosphere … might reflect how much they still benefit from the cultural power of the US. The traditional Anglosphere may be in disrepair. But a different sort of Anglosphere has emerged in Brussels, with English now the common language of the EU institutions.

So the circle is closed! Those who are pro-Brexit should look to the EU to salvage and enhance Britain’s role in the world. As Anglosphere power diminishes, European clout must inevitably take its place.

Conclusion: Thus the argument for globalism is constructed. There is a great deal of difference between an evolutionary trend and what we call “directed history.” Plan accordingly.

 

Dollar Destabilization Helped By Pointing Fingers at Saudi Arabia

Tue, 04/26/2016 - 12:26

White House poised to release secret pages from 9/11 inquiry … The Obama administration will likely soon release at least part of a 28-page secret chapter from a congressional inquiry into 9/11 that may shed light on possible Saudi connections to the attackers.  -AP

We’ve run a number of stories on the disintegration of Saudi Arabia but Western attacks against the House of Saud keep on coming.

In this article we’ll briefly examine the latest weapons aimed against Riyadh. Then we’ll take a look at what the sheiks have in mind to salvage their House and keep the country together.

As we see it, the undermining of the House of Saud is part of a larger propaganda campaign, an elite dominant social theme aimed at destroying Saudi Arabia as it currently exists.

Saudi Arabia is surely being undermined as a country and a culture. The undermining takes advantage of the ruling family’s authoritarian dysfunction. But, regardless, it is ongoing.

In fact, it is an Anglosphere project. One, in our view, that includes the intention to further destabilize the dollar.

Increasingly, the larger project neither hypothetical nor theoretical. If your economy has significant dollar linkages, you need to follow what’s occurring.

A weakened dollar retards the ability of the US to provide consumer goods for its citizens and military support abroad.

Why would the West want to destabilize the dollar? In fact, there are many forces that do not want dollar destabilization.

But the global economy is an obsession with international financiers. You can’t create a global financial system when only one country or one region is powerful beyond others.

As international financial forces look to increase globalism the dollar must die, or at least become less important. Gradually, the yuan is elevated. And non Western economies are elevated as well.

The term BRICS was developed and popularized by Goldman Sachs. Four of the countries referred to in the BRICs underwent significant economic advances in the past decade or so.

The BRICs have developed their own version of the International Monetary Fund. And China has just begun to fix the price of gold in yuan. The fix is not directly convertible to dollars.

Meanwhile, Europe and the US have suffered considerable, ongoing financial difficulties. The dollar has come under attack (from the BRICs in particular) and Saudi Arabia, as the most important supporter of the petrodollar, is also being undermined.

Riyadh has received terrible Western public relations of late – especially as regards its ongoing program of executions. It is now involved in numerous military conflicts, many encouraged by its supposed allies.

Finally, in the past weeks, Saudi Arabia has been increasingly tied to the 9/11 attacks. More from the (above) AP article:

The documents, kept in a secure room in the basement of the Capitol, contain information from the joint congressional inquiry into “specific sources of foreign support for some of the Sept 11 hijackers while they were in the United States.”

Bob Graham, who was co-chairman of that bipartisan panel, and others say the documents point suspicion at the Saudis.

For many observers who do not believe the current official narrative, Saudi linkages are tangential at best (or at least of secondary importance). But the current agitation in the mainstream media is reinforcing these linkages.

The Saudis, for their part, have threatened to sell off some US$750 billion in dollar assets if the administration releases information that seems to link the House of Saud to 9/11. This would certainly increase damage the dollar.

Riyadh is scrambling to take additional actions to counteract trends undermining the country economically and socio-politically. Reuters, for instance, reports that Saudi Arabia “just announced its plan to diversify away from oil.”

Saudi Arabia’s cabinet has agreed to implement a broad reform plan known as Vision 2030, which is expected to involve sweeping change to diversify the country’s economy beyond dependence on oil exports, state media reported on Monday.

“We hope citizens will work together to achieve Saudi Vision 2030,” King Salman said in a brief statement carried by state television.  Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Mostahammed bin Salman announced plans to transform the kingdom into a global investment power and wean the world’s top oil exporter off crude by 2020.

Perhaps Riyadh will be able to “transform” this time. But if history is any guide, such an outcome will be difficult to realize. And top Saudis still seem incapable of fully grasping how international relationships are evolving beyond them.

Once the country’s backing of US currency was of the utmost importance. But in an environment where the dollar itself is being downgraded by those who manage it,  Saudi support for the petrodollar is increasingly unnecessary and even unwanted.

Conclusion: If we are correct in our analysis, the currency ramifications will be significant and long-lasting. The destabilization of Riyadh, like that of the dollar itself, is planned. As difficult as it is to believe, the destruction is being carried out by the same Western forces that created the petrodollar in the first place – and created modern Saudi Arabia as well.

The Committee That Controls the World Meets Today

Tue, 04/26/2016 - 10:58

For the next two days, the Committee that controls the world will be huddled in the ivory tower known as the Eccles Building in D.C. There, ten people will tediously examine the data, look at the forecasts, and weigh options for an economy with a GDP of $17 trillion, a population approaching 320 million, and an official national debt of over $19 trillion.

This committee with unlimited, unquestioned authority will arbitrarily decide the course of the most important piece that ties the economy together: the U.S. dollar.

And as the U.S. dollar is the world’s reserve currency, by fixing interest rates they are effectively determining global monetary policy.

This group is the 10-person Federal Open Markets Committee (FOMC). Comprised of unelected bureaucrats, the April 26-27 meeting is the third get-together out of the eight scheduled for 2016.

Forget the ongoing NHL and NBA playoffs. The real show is there in D.C. at the intersection of Constitution Avenue and 20th Street, the Fed’s headquarters. There are sure to be some gamesmanship and fireworks – at least for the policy wonks among us.

Last week New York Fed President William Dudley, a permanent member of the FOMC and unmistakably the third most powerful Fed member behind chair Janet Yellen and vice-chair Stanley Fischer, made the case for a cautious approach to raising interest rates in this April meeting.

Caution in an interest rate rise is just the word used by Yellen last month following the FOMC’s second yearly meeting of 2016. But at April’s meeting within the Fed’s ranks there may be dissension at approaching hikes with caution. Minutes from the March meeting showed that vice-chair Fischer sees inflation as firming up – a case for an interest rate hike.

Also in Fischer’s corner, another case for raising rates is the recent performance of both the Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500. Since the last FOMC meeting in mid-March, the markets are up 3.6% and 2.9%, respectively.

That said, stock markets are just one piece of the data-dependent FOMC. The U.S.’s rate of inflation, unemployment, including Yellen’s favorite, the Job Openings and Labor Turnovers Survey (JOLTS), and the potential for economic growth in the face of “headwinds”, another favorite reference – these are all on the table for debate.

While there may be a disagreement on the data, there will not be any disagreement on the methodology for understanding the data and thereby the economy. Because, despite what the committee members believe, they’re not economists. They’re statisticians.

Keynesian central planning will be at work. Like a mechanical engineer plugs data into an equation to better understand forces and stresses or a chemist uses a formula’s constants for testing of independent variables, the FOMC will take a supposedly scientific approach. They’ll reduce human action to numbers and plug this into a model. As if the subjective valuations and sometimes illogical decisions of humans can be perfectly captured in an aggregate model.

Unfortunately, while the discovery process will be a farce, the implications of the flawed Keynesian modeling will be very real. Regardless of the FOMC’s decision to retain the Fed Funds target rate at 0.25-0.50% or bump it up by another ¼ of a percent, money supply growth will continue. This translates into even greater misallocations of capital as this larger money pool translates into lower interest rates at both the producer and consumer levels.

Two things are likely. One, capital misallocation will continue. And two, it’s doubtful that the FOMC will hike rates in this April meeting. The Fed members are just too data-dependent, not fully convinced of the so-called U.S. “recovery.”

Many economists are pointing to June as the first rate hike. But that’s also not a lock, as the U.S. Presidential race heats up and the ever so politicized Fed will do their master’s bidding to not upset markets.

The greatest danger will be that the Fed waits. And then waits. And then inflation well above their 2% target kicks in, forcing their hand to raise rates.

If this is the case, the great market winners of 2016 will be gold and silver. Already we’re seeing this, as gold ticked up $5.00 and silver traded sideways in advance of the FOMC meeting on April 25th.

This will not be the case later in 2016. More money chasing the same amount of metal means, naturally, higher prices. We’d encourage readers to get into these metals now before the wise overlords at the FOMC cause them to skyrocket.

After all, the committee that controls the world is unable to control what matters to us all the most: individual action.

Government-Sponsored Corporatism Leading to Rise of Populism

Mon, 04/25/2016 - 16:09

2016 Campaign’s Populist Tone Rankles America’s CEOs …  Chief executives at big American companies are increasingly frustrated by the populist tone of the presidential campaign, and concerns are mounting in boardrooms and corner offices that anti-business rhetoric may solidify even after the November election. – Wall Street Journal

This Wall Street Journal article makes the point that Trump has positioned himself at the head of an increasingly anti-business GOP.

More:

The GOP “has been captured by a large number of people who basically do not like big,” said Judd Gregg, a Republican former U.S. senator and governor of New Hampshire, who sits on the board of Honeywell International Inc.

By default, there’s nothing wrong with “big.” Theoretically, big business can mean economies of scale and economic efficiency. The oversized corporations of the US, however, are not natural products of the market. Instead, they are the artificial results of government policy.

As we’ve often pointed out, there are three areas where judicial force has been applied, swelling corporations to titanic sizes.

The first is intellectual property rights.

If corporations had to protect their own trade secrets rather than relying on government to do it for them, it is very probable that many corporations would be a good deal smaller.

The second is corporate personhood.

Corporate personhood makes it a good deal easier for individuals to avoid culpability for corporate acts.

Those lodged within a corporation can often avoid penalties that would otherwise expose them to significant personal jeopardy. Because they stay in charge, continuity isn’t disrupted and exceptionally aggressive corporate strategies can be maintained.

The third area is monopoly central banking.

Monopoly fiat money benefits the world’s largest corporations inordinately. The money coming out of central banks, especially Western central banks, often finds its way to the largest multinationals first, providing significant liquidity to these massive entities.

There are other ways that “big business” is artificially supported and propped up in the West, but these seem to be the most significant.

To claim that the current US “populist” environment is anti-big business is to radically misconstrue the reality of American capitalism.

American capitalism has very little about it that is laissez-faire.

US judicial decisions have created an environment in which gigantic corporations can flourish.

Thomas Jefferson and other founders were so worried about corporate bigness that corporate creation was lodged at the state rather than the federal level.

It was only after the Civil War that judicial decisions began to lay the groundwork for the modern corporate state.

The modern corporate state is almost antithetical to the agrarian republicanism that Jefferson and others had envisioned – a free-market republicanism that was responsible for initial US growth.

This Wall Street Journal radically misrepresents the reality of business in the US and throughout the West.

Rhetoric from Republican candidates has grown more populist and less friendly to big business than at any time in decades, while the Democratic race is being influenced by the rise of liberal Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.

Some of these instincts gave rise to the tea-party movement in 2009 and sent dozens of more conservative lawmakers to Washington the following year, fueling gridlock on Capitol Hill.

In the past, The Daily Bell has very clearly identified Tea Party sentiments with an underlying free-market instinct present in the US since its founding.

In fact, this sentiment was present in the US long before the Constitution.

Instinctively, people know that “big business” does not present a competitive, free-market profile.

The US and the West generally have developed a system more aptly characterized as “corporatism.”

Entrepreneurialism continues to diminish in the US. Regulations, taxes and the underlying judicial support for larger corporations are making it increasingly difficult for people to make even a modest living.

A recent article over at Infowars, entitled, “Authorities Fear Civil Unrest, Buy Up Gear To Arrest, Disperse, Control Riots,” reported on the growing popular frustration with the direction of US society.

Riot control systems are expected to “generate revenues of over USD 3.5 billion by the end of 2020,” with North America being one of the primary growth areas for upgraded weapons due to “militarization of the police department and other law enforcement agencies.”

The article also mentioned recent comments bytop insurer Lloyds in a report warning of a “pandemic of global civil unrest that could go viral, threatening international stability.”

Market-based economies generate entrepreneurial republicanism – a system that encourages both freedom and prosperity.

The US’s “Fortune 500” approach to “big business,” encourages the mingling of government power with titanic private interests. Over time, this trend creates corporatism, which can also be described as fascism.

The inter-locking, anti-freedom environment of modern Western society is generating increasing push-back for a number of reasons. It’s not a trend that will likely diminish.

Conclusion:  As always, we encourage independence – a “prepper” mentality – focused on personal preparedness. What happens to the larger society is beyond your control, but you can have an impact on your own personal environment. And you should.

Washington Versus Brazil: The New Cold War is Escalating

Mon, 04/25/2016 - 15:34

Washington Launches Its Attack Against BRICS  … Washington is now disposing of the reformist President of Brazil, Dilma Rousseff … In Brazil, Washington has used corruption insinuations to get President Rousseff impeached by the lower house. Evidence is not necessary, just allegations. It is no different from “Iranian nukes,” Saddam Hussein’s “weapons of mass destruction,” Assad’s “use of chemical weapons,” or in Rousseff’s case merely insinuations. -Paul Craig Roberts

In several articles in March, we focused generally on the new Cold War between Washington DC, Brazil and the BRICS. Paul Craig Roberts has now written an article that expands on the Washington attacks and puts it into a more broad-based Latin American context.

Here is one of our articles, “West vs. BRICS: The New Cold War.” We wrote another one as well, hypothesizing that DC was undermining Brazil’s Olympics to put pressure on the regime. You can see that article here.

Roberts focuses not just on Brazil, but also Argentina, Ecuador and other countries in the Americas. In Argentina, he believes DC used that country’s indebtedness to undermine the leadership of Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner.

In Ecuador, he believes DC is pressuring Britain not to release Julian Assange. Washington, he claims, is working on regime change and a new regime might remove Assange from Ecuador’s embassy, where he has stayed for the past years.

More from Roberts:

The Secretary General of the Organization of American States, Luis Almagro, notes that Rousseff “hasn’t been accused of anything.” The American-backed elites are simply using impeachment to remove a president who they cannot defeat electorally.

In short, this is Washington’s move against the BRICS. Washington is moving to put into political power a rightwing party that Washington controls in order to terminate Brazil’s growing relationships with China and Russia.

This is correct. It’s a new kind of  Cold War. China, Russia and now Brazil are all engaged in overt or covert hostilities with Washington in one way or another.

In Russia, there are obvious military hostilities, though DC and Russian troops have not collided. That may happen next.

Chinese hostilities tend to be of a more economic nature. China just created its own gold fix based on the yuan rather than the dollar. It’s not convertible into dollars either.

Russia, China and Brazil have all participated in creating an alternative to the International Monetary Fund that will provide funding to developing countries on more lenient terms.

When it comes to Brazil, Roberts is clear that what comes next will be more of the same, but DC will exercise control that it does not have now.

The great irony is that the impeachment bill was presided over by the corrupt lower house speaker, Eduardo Cunha, who was recently discovered to have stashed millions of dollars in secret Swiss bank accounts (perhaps his pay-off from Washington) and who lied under oath when he denied having foreign bank accounts.

Roberts conclusion is that DC simply won’t tolerate South American governments that are independent of Washington. It’s not a matter political or economic policy so much as it is a matter of power. DC wants subservience.

Roberts sees this mostly as a South American issue. We see DC’s attacks on Brazil in the context of a larger strategy having to do with a larger dialectical strategy.

Please note, what we pointed out in March:

  • Russia, China and Brazil use Western-style central banking economies. Western elites were instrumental in installing these systems in all three countries.
  • The global strategies these countries use to oppose Western power and influence – such as the creation of a BRIC-IMF – are also Western in design and intent.
  • Finally, even the name “BRICS” was developed in the West by a Goldman Sachs banker.

The larger war – DC versus the BRICS – is unfortunately part of a larger, deliberate dialectic. Having created the BRICS as a counterweight to Western economic superiority, Western elites have now engaged the BRICS in hostilities.

The outcome will be a kind of evening-out that advances internationalization. Without a fundamental clash, no compromises can be made. Further globalism languishes.

Conclusion: Our conclusion, at the time: We suggested that you not “pay attention to the noise” or appeals to  patriotism. This upcoming globalist enterprise masquerading as a Cold War with the BRICS is nothing more than part of a pre-planned struggle. It is one that will subside into a compromise that will advance internationalism. It happened with the USSR and China as well in previous decades, from what we can tell.

Panama Papers, the Movie: Anti-Privacy Propaganda Grinds On

Fri, 04/22/2016 - 13:40

The Panama Papers are going to be made into a movie as Western anti-privacy propaganda grinds on.

The Panama Papers comprise 11.5 million emails hacked from the computers of Mossack Fonseca, a provider of corporations, trusts, shell companies and other legal structures that enhance privacy and anonymity.

While those whose names appear in the 11.5 million emails have come under suspicion of criminality, there is nothing criminal of itself in seeking to keep one’s financial affairs private.

People do have the right to privacy. They have a right to organize their affairs as they wish, so long as they do it in a non-criminal way.

But that’s not stopping governments from using them sensationally to give the impression that users of offshore tax havens are guilty until proven innocent. And that users should be impugned simply for trying to keep their names and affairs secret.

Unfortunately, these anti-privacy attacks are continuing and will become more emphatic and corrosive.

People who want to organize their affairs privately in the 21st century should take note of what’s occurring. It might be advisable to move quickly to reorganize affairs in ways that recognize and anticipate the latest official attacks.

Seen from the widest perspective, this Panama Papers provide us with a textbook example of how certain elite Western forces continually grind down freedom, one step at a time.

Inevitably, these episodes result in more globalist governance – or least celebrate the apparatus of globalized law enforcement.

Movies are part of the international propaganda machinery of government globalization.

A high-profile example of how movies are used for these purposes involves the film Zero Dark Thirty.

The film purported to be a narrative of how the CIA tracked down and killed Osama bin Laden.

But after the fact it became apparent that the CIA had not only supported the film but had input into its creation and editing.

Gawker and other online media sites reported that the CIA successfully pressured those making the film to remove parts of the script that portrayed the CIA negatively.

The final result of the script and the movie presented acts of torture as  providing the CIA and military officials with valuable information about bin Laden.

This was a lie.  Torture did not reveal what the movie claimed.

Additionally, there are more fundamental questions. Bin Laden was already reportedly sick in 2001. There are reports that he died in the early 2000s, perhaps as a result of Marfan Syndrome, which attacks the kidneys.

Nonetheless, the film suffered no legal or financial consequences. No doubt it was protected by the same forces that manipulated it initially.

This is simply a fact: High profile movies are part of an arsenal of propaganda that create the narrative that globalist government wishes to provide.

For most people, the reality doesn’t matter as they are not likely to take the time to do even minimal research. Instead, they will accept cinematic fiction as fact.

Not all movies promote globalization or fraudulently celebrate law enforcement. But a percentage do.

Hollywood is a prime disseminator of movies that are watched around the world. And American intel very obviously has connections to studios at the highest levels.

Certain movies lend themselves to elements of mass psychological manipulation. These are the ones, evidently, with which American and British intelligence are most involved.

No doubt the propaganda swirling around the Panama Papers will continue and even increase until anti-privacy goals are achieved.

A few decades ago, it would have been shocking to contemplate an international, public register of offshore corporations in which the names of beneficial owners were revealed. But that is what’s being planned now.

The book and movie will play a big role in sustaining media pressure on legislators and other officials for anti-privacy legislation and enforcement.

Reportedly, the movie will be adapted from a book entitled  Secrecy World by Pulitzer prize-winning journalist Jake Bernstein. The book is set to be published in the latter half of 2017.

Probably producers of the movie will start even before the book is finished. Studios are said to be queuing to bid for the property, which will tell the story of how the documents came to be leaked and whom they unmasked.

The Panama Papers are very likely a mass-market intelligence operation. The papers received terrific mainstream media coverage that was, almost all of it, directed at impugning those who used the offshore privacy apparatus as criminals.

Conclusion: As stated above, those surveying what’s taking place and what is to come, would do well to prudently reorganize their affairs. No doubt strategies will remain or emerge that will enhance privacy and anonymity despite the current attacks. These should be prudently utilized as they become available.

 

China Challenges the West… Using Their Own Tools Against Them

Thu, 04/21/2016 - 14:53

China’s Economic Recovery Masking Financial Risks, Fitch Says  …  Are We Heading Back Into China Markets Turmoil? … -Bloomberg

China is run by a communist party but its policies are increasingly mercantilist and reminiscent of European and US strategies.

Whether the world is run out of Washington or Beijing, the economic, political and military approach is increasingly similar.

China is in better shape financially than the West because of its central bank’s emphasis on buying and retaining gold. China probably has at least several thousand tons of gold stored on the mainland, though officials will only admit to around 1,000 tons.

In fact, China just announced that it would create its own price fix for gold to compete with prices set in London. Additionally, the price fix will not be convertible to dollars.

But China’s debt driven economic policies at the federal level are just as reckless as US policies, or European ones, as we can see from this latest article posted at Bloomberg.

More:

Andrew Colquhoun … the head of Asia Pacific sovereigns at Fitch Ratings, sees the growth spurt, fueled by a resurgence in borrowing, threatening to wreak havoc on the financial system.

“Whether we call it stabilization or not, I am not sure,” Colquhoun said in an interview in New York. “From a credit perspective, we’d be more comfortable with China slowing more than it is. We are getting less confident in the government’s commitment to structural reforms.”

Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s Investors Service both chopped China’s long-term credit rating outlook to negative last month. Expanding sovereign debt and a lack of market reforms prompted the downgrade.

China’s new credit increased a whopping 4.6 trillion yuan ($712 billion) in the first quarter alone. This was more than the money printing that took place in 2009 when Chinese officials were desperately trying to restart China’s economic motor.

China is said to be on course for growth of 6.5 percent this year, though that number is probably as bogus as previous “growth” numbers. It does imply that China will print as much money as necessary to keep the economy revving.

George Soros, among other China watchers, believes that China really doesn’t have an industrial growth strategy – just the same solution as Western countries in similar positions.

The remedy is simply more and more money printing. Lower rates fuel enormous amounts of credit expansion. That’s the extent of China’s manufacturing remedy.

Bloomberg quoted Soros as saying that what’s going on in China “eerily resembles what happened during the financial crisis in the U.S. in 2007-08, which was similarly fueled by credit growth.”

Soros made his China views clear at the World Forum in Davos and has repeated them since then. He believes that China is in for a very “hard landing” because Chinese officials have cut neither spending nor debt issuance.

While Chinese state-run media rebut Soros’s views, there is much to confirm it. Housing values are climbing to new height, with new-home prices in some places soaring a whopping 62 percent in a single year.

Understandably, Chinese politicians might want to change the subject – and in this case have done so by announcing ambitious plans for space exploration.

The UK Daily Mail recently posted an article entitled. “China wants to land on Mars by 2021.”

Top official at the country’s space agency reveals plans for mission to the red planet … Mission chief spoke … about plans for Mars and moon missions … The agency is planning to launch a mission to reach Mars by 2021 It also plans to establish a lunar research base and explore the moon.

An significant agenda and one that is reminiscent of NASA ambitions. In fact, while  NASA is banned from Chinese space cooperation, Chinese officials are voicing enthusiasm about working with the US agency at some point.

While the Chinese focus on ambitious space goals (that may or may not be practical), President Xi Jinping is achieving additional goals of his own. Early in April, Xi revealed his new military title as “commander-in-chief of the PLA’s Joint Battle Command” and celebrated with a new  camouflage uniform.

Analysts have now compared Xi’s military status with that of Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping, saying his military control was unparalleled in recent memory.

Here, from the Daily Mail:

Observers said the post and uniform were aimed at sending a message to the world that he was not only the top administrative leader of the world’s biggest army, but also the chief commander of the fighting force.

Xi is also purging the Chinese military, according to a post at The National Interest. He just signed off on an a major structural reform of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) that will be pursued through 2020.

Here:

While understanding the details of Xi’s reforms is critical to assessing the direction of PLA modernization going forward, it is also necessary to consider the broader implications of Xi’s apparent relationship with the military.

Many observers have stated the obvious: Xi is as “large and in charge” in military circles as he is in Chinese politics generally.

When it comes to economics, space exploration, leadership or military control, the Chinese approach seems similar to that of large Western countries and especially the US.

As we’ve pointed out before the Chinese economic system and the behavior of its tops economists align with Western Keynesian orthodoxy. Its space program and military strategies resemble Western ones as well in that they are quite significant in terms of size and cost but still operate under civilian control.

Parallels between Chinese sociopolitical and economic structures and the West’s are increasingly evident. In some ways, China resembles an authoritarian version of the United States, though in some ways, parts of the Chinese economy may actually be freer than the US’s.

But given the way that China is evolving – all of Asia, really – one cannot expect that the system will present significant variances from Western ones. The world is growing smaller but it is also growing more homogenized.

Conclusion: Increasingly, the world’s power centers offer the same solutions, the same structures, the same overwhelming sovereign and consumer debt and societal manipulations. If you want to create a life that is not increasingly controlled by mercantilist strategies, you’ll have to do it on your own.

Juncker Admits EU Interferes Too Much, Provides No Plan For Change

Wed, 04/20/2016 - 14:54

EU Has Meddled Too Much, Admits Boss Juncker …  More The European Union meddles too much in people’s lives, according to its most senior official.  In a significant admission, Jean-Claude Juncker said a lot of the laws made in Brussels should have been left to national governments.  As a result the EU has lost popularity with ordinary people because they feel it over-regulates, the European Commission President said.  – Sky News

Jean-Claude Juncker’s statement that the EU has meddled too much has reverberated around the world. It’s received a lot of coverage in Britain, where the Brexit debate – over whether Britain leaves the EU or stays – is ongoing.

Juncker’s statement came at a Council of Europe meeting in Strasbourg. He made it in response to a question from Tory MP Nigel Evans who asked whether top EU officials understood that the Brexit was just part of a much larger wave of anti-EU sentiment.

The EU has recently been rocked by a Dutch Referendum that voted down a comprehensive EU trade treaty negotiated with Ukraine. A recently passed law that came into effect on July 1st, 2015 allows EU countries to call for a plebiscite on newly adopted acts and treaties.

If the legislation is voted down (30 percent must vote), then the EU as a whole must reconsider what has been decided upon for the larger union. It’s not clear what the EU will do regarding Ukraine since it has already negotiated the treaty, but based on the new law, the EU will have to take some sort of additional action.

Juncker’s statement is further evidence that even at the very top of the EU, understanding exists that the entire experiment is in jeopardy. Nonetheless, we also learn that Juncker, “refused to answer what Brussels was doing to slash costs and tackle the Commission’s eye-watering Budget.”

Juncker’s refusal to respond with specifics regarding EU cost-cutting is one reason why his larger admission is probably more rhetorical than real.

The hallmarks of the EU are dissembling and arrogance. From the very beginning of the EU project, it has been marked by planning that doesn’t misleads those who must live under its regime.

The most prominent disassembling has to do with the determination to initiate a euro currency before creating a stronger political union.

This actually was done on purpose, as we’ve pointed out in previous articles, to create the very kind of financial crisis that now infects the EU. The idea was that only a powerful crisis would create the kind of impetus necessary to turn the EU from a trading pact into a “United States of Europe.”

Such mass manipulation was a regular part of 20th century politics. In the 21st century – in part because of the Internet – it has become more difficult to to implement critical strategies without the acquiescence of those affected.

This does not mean that EU leaders will actually attempt to recreate the way they do business. For leadership to act differently in Europe or in the US for that matter, there would have to be an acknowledgement that the financial system itself needs changing. It is unlikely that will happen.

The basic problem in the West – and around the world for that matter – has to do with central banking.

So long as small groups of individuals coordinated out of Switzerland by the Bank for International Settlement create the price and volume of “money”, it is difficult to see how society will change in fundamental ways.

The EU itself is part of a larger elite determination to expand the clout of control of the current monetary system. Once the euro came into existence, the European Central Bank became its arbiter.

The movement of the West and the world is toward ever larger facilities of monetary, political and social manipulation.

Juncker can certainly admit the obvious: That the growing sentiment against the EU is based on federalism itself, the idea that Brussels knows best for 300 million people when it does not.

But if Juncker and the others really act on this insight then eventually they will end up grappling with the proverbial elephant in the room: The European Central Bank.

And that is why fundamental EU reform is probably impossible. Sooner or later it will collide with the problem of monetary centralization. And at that point, cooperation – if it were to be legitimate to being with – will cease.

The EU, in fact, was not set up to benefit Europeans though it was marketed as a treaty that would ease trade restrictions around Europe. In actuality, the EU was set up by the same monetary powers that have developed the central banking system around the world.

Because the EU was actually set up to further the ambitions of a globalist clique, it is hard to see any negotiations taking place in good faith.

Recently, Lloyds of London’s Risk Advisory Group warned that civil unrest could spread worldwide. The report included the statement that, “Instances of political violence contagion are becoming more frequent and the contagion effect ever more rapid and powerful.”

Trevor Maynard, head of exposure management and reinsurance,  warned that global outbreaks of violence are increasingly likely to develop into “pandemics” of civil unrest.

And he added, this might lead to “widespread disruption yet prove extremely difficult to anticipate.”

The reason for this “disruption” is because globalism is the determined strategy of those who control central banking and have the ability to print almost unlimited amounts of money to enforce their goals.

Even worse, central banking has been set up in such a way that it creates collapses that mandate further centralization.

Juncker and others involved with the system at high levels may state their concerns and offer rhetorical empathy but fundamental change doesn’t seem feasible.

Conclusion: For this reason among others, Lloyd’s expects civil unrest. Those who expect an amicable outcome when it comes to a basic, systemic realignment are likely to be disappointed. Please note.

Gordon Brown Proposes an Int. Children’s Court – How About Shutting Down British Wars First?

Wed, 04/20/2016 - 09:56

Proposed world children’s court would punish abuses, slavery … An international court should be set up to punish those responsible for child labor and other forms of abuse against children, former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown told the United Nations on Monday. – Thomson Reuters Foundation

Globalism proceeds apace. Last week Western leaders took aim at financial privacy and suggested an international register that would list the beneficial owners of every private corporation worldwide.

This week, yet another international judiciary is in the news. This one is a planned world court for children.

Former Prime Minister Gordon Brown who is perhaps most famous for selling much of Britain’s gold at historical lows, attended a meeting with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and submitted a voluminous report.

Brown was there as head of something called the Global Citizenship Commission and had brought with him “political leaders and academics focused on human rights.”

The idea is that a court would acquire the power to “oversee cases requested by children” and then issue “legally binding rulings.”

“We need, in a sense, a civil rights struggle by and on behalf of children because their rights have been neglected in the international community,” Brown was quoted as saying.

Up to one in ten children globally may be “child laborers.” And according to Reuters, the need for such a court is especially acute because of increased migration from the Middle East to Europe means millions of families and their children are exposed to exploitation and abuse.

The children’s court would supposedly operate in a manner similar to the International Criminal Court (ICC) in the Netherlands.

This is fairly dispiriting notion, however. The ICC has mostly made a name for itself harassing African political leaders – and incompetently at that.

There are questions about its funding as well given that the ICC is reportedly bankrolled by billionaire-leftist George Soros along with European Union apparatus partially controlled by Soros.

The third funding source is said to be the United Kingdom’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Presumably, the an “International Children’s Court” would be similarly funded.

In an article posted at Huffington Post in 2014, Gordon Brown wrote the following when describing how the court might work:

We propose not only a Children’s Court but also that children and their representatives should have the right to petition the court directly. The court should receive and investigate individual petitions, independently monitor performance in member states, and further review areas of concern, including child labor, child marriage and child slavery.

Such a system would also allow us to report on how inequalities in health and education harm the most marginalized children and how compulsory universal education is the best way of combating child labor, forced marriage and discrimination against girls.

One can only imagine the propaganda benefits of a such a court as children will obviously not appear alone but are to be accompanied by “representatives.”

Additionally, Mr. Brown makes the point in his article that “compulsory universal education is the best way of combating child labor.”

Presumably then, a world court for children might soon involve a campaign to set up a global public education program, perhaps also administered by the United Nation. In a Boston Globe editorial a few days ago, Brown went even further:

Silent in 1948, not to be seen or heard, children are rising to demand their rights. We need to empower them. Every nation must be held accountable by a youth parliament, by a children’s commissioner acting as their first line of defense, and by a dedicated budget that focuses on what improves young lives.

Mr. Brown is sure that organizing children via politics and public education on a massive scale will wipe out youthful suffering. Unfortunately, globalist solutions rarely if ever solve the problems they are supposed to confront.

Privately funded groups and committed individuals remain a preferable way of combating abuses and exploitation of all sorts.

But much of the dysfunction leading to such difficulties comes from poverty and the breakdown of society. A healthy, vigorous, market-based society is the best answer to social abuse, political chaos and familial disruption.

Such general breakdowns are often exacerbated by war. Ironically, the US and Britain are among the chief purveyors of war among developing nations.

If Gordon Brown really wants to protect children he might do more than try to establish a children’s court. He might confront his own political process in Britain in order to shut down that country’s endless, senseless, overseas conflicts that over time murder millions and leave children homeless and parent-less.

Conclusion: A cessation to such pointless wars would probably do a great deal more from a practical point to benefit the world’s children than the court he is proposing.

Beware the Bull: Equity Boom Has No Basis in Economic Fundamentals

Tue, 04/19/2016 - 13:21

For bull, no death throes … On Feb. 11, the day that the S&P 500 hit its correction low point, the financial press was filled with commentary from Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen backing away from the possibility of four rate hikes in 2016 . The stock market has recovered nicely from the paroxysm of selling that occurred earlier this year, and in 10 days this will become the second longest-running bull market in U.S. history. –Dallas News

A little more than a week ago, we asked, “Could the stock market move up hard in these upcoming months?

Well, we seem to have part of our answer, as seen by this mainstream editorial in the Dallas News (see above). Here’s more:

So what bolstered investor psychology and brought the market back from the dead? It was mostly the jawboning coming from the Federal Reserve about interest rates, according to James Stack of InvesTech Research.

“The reason investor psychology turned around so quickly were new comments from the Federal Reserve that it would scale back projections from four rate hikes in 2016 to maybe two or maybe none at all,” Stack said.

Like Stack, we don’t believe this seven-year old bull market is the product of marketplace fundamentals. We believe that absent the printing of literally hundreds of trillions by central banks around the world since 2008, the current investment environment would not exist.

And this brings us to the larger question of economic manipulation generally.

Shouldn’t equity markets be value-driven? Isn’t the idea of investing to find an asset that might appreciate faster than others (or at least not decline) and hold onto it in order to make a profit?

If we can understand these factors and how they interact, then we can make better choices about the market and investing in general.

First, central banking. One can make an argument that US markets have been driven by monopoly monetization since 1913, when the Fed was first created, and even longer-ago than that.

Ideally, market forces would determine the price and value of money. When bankers make monetary decisions, they are inevitably engaged in what is called price-fixing. And price-fixing in the long term creates terrible and impoverishing monetary distortions.

Central banks usually ensure that currency loses value by printing too much of it. It is this price-inflation that often drives people to try to leverage their funds in order not to lose money on a regular basis. To some degree, central banks make “investing” a necessary part of modern existence.

Let’s examine the second pillar of the modern society, which is the corporation. Like central banks, corporations are not the outcome of marketplace competition. Instead, they are the result of a series of judicial decisions enforced by the state.

Without the judiciary and government enforcement, intellectual property rights and corporate personhood, corporations would not be nearly the size they are today.

Bluntly, the West’s industrial sector is partially the product of judicial force not market evolution. Judicial decisions created modern corporate “industry,”

Corporations are driven to invent items that support “consumer” whether they are necessary or not. Individuals “invest” in modern corporations because they may seem to offer the best opportunity for capital appreciation.

A third dominant aspect of modern society is government. Government and those who stand behind government use regulatory and legal force to create and sustain the structure of society.

Presumably, government could impel people to adopt a broad panorama of social structures. The one that people operate under today presumably benefits most those who have created it. In other words it is the product of authoritarian choices rather than competition.

Monetization, corporatism and bureaucratic governance – these are three basic elements of modern society and their interaction creates our livelihood and lifestyles. But we can see that free-market forces do not operate freely within by any means.

Using the three levers of the modern economy – central banks, corporations and government – those guiding the system have created intractable problems.

In fact, sovereign, corporate and consumer debt are all said to be entirely unmanageable. And markets like the thousand trillion dollar notional derivatives markets are basically unsalvageable.

Professional investors and consumers alike are loath to make investments because it’s not clear which corporations were solvent and which are not.

Because of lack of demand, money is not circulating aggressively. Price inflation is being generated but not so powerfully as it might. Inevitably, this gives rise to stagflation, rising prices without additional employment.

The current economic environment is an increasingly artificial one that long ago departed from a free-market reality. Like other such systems, it is breaking down. Command-and-control systems are always effective to begin with but then, eventually, they self destruct.

If markets continue to rise, there will be a good deal of mainstream commentary about the resilience of capitalism and the miracle of modern economic performance. But don’t be fooled. The combination of monopoly central banking, corporatism and authoritarian governance is a toxic and increasingly dysfunctional combination.

Conclusion: Exercise caution. Diversify as feasible. Pursue independence. The current system is not the produce of market competition or even communal decision-making. It is an increasingly fragile and authoritarian system that will continue to become more unresponsive until broad elements of it collapse altogether.

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