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This is Going to Push the US into Recession and Crush Stocks

Zerohedge - Wed, 03/04/2015 - 08:53

February was a great month for stocks because of:

 

1)   Rampant stock buybacks by corporations

2)   Performance gaming by investment funds that were in damage control after one of the worst years (only 20% of them beat the market in 2014) and worst months (CRAP) in recent history.

3)   Stocks are propped up by endless Central Bank intervention (we’re now at 20 interest rate cuts and counting).

 

Desperate times call for desperate measures. Despite the clear manipulation generating a 6+% ramp job in stocks in a single month, the US Dollar continues to CRUSH them year to date.

 

 

This is actually par for the course. The US Dollar actually produced the SAME return as stocks last year. You could have avoided all of the volatility of the stock market and seen the same return just sitting in cash.

 

And this is despite the Fed spending over $650 billion that year propping stocks up, not to mention the constant verbal interventions by Fed officials every time stocks began to collapse.

 

 

Interestingly enough, it is the US Dollar that will likely cause the stock market to crash. Stocks today are priced for economic perfection… at the very time that the US Dollar rally has imploded corporate profits and sales.

 

As Albert Edwards from Societe General recently noted, the recent collapse in profits is occurring at a pace usually associated with recessions.

 

 

The culprit? The US Dollar, which has demolished earnings for corporates across the board. The talking heads on bubble vision claim that a strong dollar only hurts energy stocks, but the reality is that earnings per share projections are collapsing across the board (as the above chart shows).

 

The next crisis is coming. And the Fed won’t be able to stop it. Globally the US Dollar carry trade is over $9 trillion. The Fed couldn’t announce a QE equal to even one third of that without losing whatever credibility and political capital it has left.

 

The time to prepare is now, BEFORE the crash hits.

 

If you’ve yet to take action to prepare for the second round of the financial crisis, we offer a FREE investment report Financial Crisis "Round Two" Survival Guide that outlines easy, simple to follow strategies you can use to not only protect your portfolio from a market downturn, but actually produce profits.

 

You can pick up a FREE copy at:

 

http://www.phoenixcapitalmarketing.com/roundtwo.html

 

 

Best Regards

 

Graham Summers

 

Phoenix Capital Research

 

 








Frontrunning: March 4

Zerohedge - Wed, 03/04/2015 - 08:36
  • RBS to cut up to 14,000 jobs in investment banking unit (FT)
  • Doctors, patients scramble ahead of high court Obamacare decision (Reuters)
  • Rajan Cuts India Rates After Modi Agrees to Inflation Target (BBG)
  • Russia’s Putin Makes First Public Comments on Killing of Boris Nemtsov (WSJ)
  • House breaks impasse, passes security funding without provisions (Reuters)
  • How a 25-Year-Old Investor Spurred Lumber Liquidators’ Plunge (BBG)
  • Jeff Immelt’s Overhaul of GE Impeded by Falling Oil Prices (WSJ)
  • Sahara India Defaults on Luxury Hotel Loans From Bank of China (BBG)
  • Denmark Can't Print Money Fast Enough (BBG)
  • Petrobras CEO Lost Job Over a $30 Billion Disagreement (BBG)
  • The Price of Oil Is About to Blow a Hole in Corporate Accounting (BBG)
  • Dozens of miners missing feared dead in rebel east Ukraine (Reuters)
  • Some Texas Republicans Are Worried They Finally Pushed Tax Cuts Too Far (BBG)
  • Some 12,000 Russian soldiers in Ukraine supporting rebels: U.S. commander (Reuters)
  • Democrats split on Benjamin Netanyahu speech to US Congress (FT)

 

 

Fly On The Wall Pre-Market Buzz

WSJ

* Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in a dramatic and highly public showdown with a U.S. president, told a joint session of Congress on Tuesday that an emerging diplomatic agreement with Iran would not only fail to stop Tehran from acquiring nuclear weapons, but virtually ensure it gets them.(http://on.wsj.com/17PsIeS)

* After more than a decade rebuilding General Electric Co to be a simpler industrial machine, Chief Executive Jeff Immelt finds his creation running rough. The oil-price drop is raising a growth impediment and new questions about his legacy.(http://on.wsj.com/17PsV1N)

* Comcast Corp's NBCUniversal is aiming to launch a comedy-focused subscription Web video service later this year, people familiar with the plans say, signaling the company's growing interest in reaching young viewers online as its traditional cable-TV business stagnates.(http://on.wsj.com/17Ptg4q)

* Citigroup Inc confirmed on Tuesday that it would sell its U.S. subprime-lending business, OneMain Financial, to Springleaf Holdings Inc. The move is emblematic of postcrisis regulations forcing banks out of their old mind-set of trying to serve as many customers as possible under one roof.(http://on.wsj.com/17PtA3f)

* Actavis PLC sold the second-biggest corporate-bond offering in history on Tuesday, with a $21 billion deal fueled by investors' desire for returns amid low interest rates.(http://on.wsj.com/17PtHvK)

* J.P. Morgan Chase & Co's treasurer, Craig Delany, is planning to leave the bank but will stay on until a successor is on board, according to a memo reviewed by the Wall Street Journal and people familiar with the matter.(http://on.wsj.com/17PtRmH)

* India's central bank surprised markets with an unscheduled cut to its key lending rate for the second time since the beginning of the year, indicating that it is joining a world-wide trend of monetary easing that is driving global interest rates to multiyear lows.(http://on.wsj.com/17Pu4WU)

 

FT

Actavis PLC sold bonds worth $21 billion on Tuesday to fund its $66 billion acquisition of Botox-maker Allergan . The bond offering was the second-largest in corporate debt offering on record.

European Union member states are proposing rules that will allow Internet providers the option of providing access to Internet services under a "two-speed" plan. In contrast, the United States passed a resolution last week to prevent such practices.

Ontario-based smartphone maker Blackberry has unveiled a touchscreen phone called the 5in Blackberry Leap, to win back customers who have since moved onto Android and iOS-based devices. The 5in Blackberry Leap, which sports the popular QWERTY keypad, is the first in a series of four new launches and will go on sale beginning April for $275.

Two of Britain's largest banks are showing signs of pessimism in the investment banking space. Royal Bank of Scotland is all set to slash as many as 14,000 jobs with its investment banking operations in the U.S. and Asia, whereas Barclays' Chief Executive Antony Jenkins has said that he has little patience to wait for the recovery of Barclays' investment banking unit.

 

NYT

* Solar power generators have proliferated in Japan as part of an effort to promote green energy, but utilities say they can't cope with the expansion. (http://nyti.ms/1KgLDkz)

* Nextdoor, a San Francisco-based social networking start-up, and its investors see opportunities in the company's more than 53,000 microcommunities. Investors think Nextdoor is on to something. The company will announce on Wednesday that it has raised $110 million in venture capital from investors like Redpoint Ventures and Insight Venture Partners. (http://nyti.ms/1M5TtLj)

* Three big private equity firms - the Blackstone Group , Colony Capital and Cerberus Capital Management - are betting that so-called landlord loans to small and midsize investors will become the next big opportunity to profit from the rebound in the United States housing market. (http://nyti.ms/1DSHsoI)

* Seeking to contain the damage from the Brian Williams crisis and put an end to a series of management missteps that has left NBC News in turmoil, NBCUniversal is preparing to shake up the executive ranks of its news division. The company is in advanced discussions with its former news chief, Andrew Lack, about returning to the network. (http://nyti.ms/1Gik0Vo)

* In many ways, Lloyd Blankfein and Stephen Schwarzman are similar. Both are senior statesmen of Wall Street, both at the helms of powerful financial firms. But there is at least one big difference, as recent pay disclosures have made clear. Blankfein, the chief executive of Goldman Sachs Inc, earned roughly $30 million in 2014, including his salary, bonus and dividends. (http://nyti.ms/1BFRbPP)

 

Canada

THE GLOBE AND MAIL

** Prime Minister Stephen Harper is expected to announce changes on Wednesday to Canada's life penalty for convicted killers that would make life truly mean life behind bars or as close as possible to pass constitutional muster. (http://bit.ly/18NQkBL)

** Canadian pension fund manager Caisse de depot et placement du Quebec is buying the British government's stake in high-speed train service Eurostar International Ltd as part of a push to accelerate its infrastructure investments around the world. (http://bit.ly/1DTuuXF)

** Target Canada is now owed C$1.9 billion ($1.52 billion) by a property company it created, making the insolvent chain its own biggest creditor and threatening to significantly dilute the recovery of others. (http://bit.ly/1BGD0dk)

NATIONAL POST

** Canadian investment banks are getting nervous as they are struggling to find buyers for Silver Wheaton Corp's massive $800 million bought deal offering. (http://bit.ly/18NPbtZ)

** The budget is still weeks away, but public-sector workers are already contemplating wildcat strikes as Alberta Premier Jim Prentice begins to seed the ground for spending cuts. (http://bit.ly/1AHh4cM)

** Ontario's top court has quashed a second, $2-million lawsuit filed by the family of a brain-damaged Toronto man, accusing doctors of intimidation, threats and assault as the two sides fought over whether to remove Hassan Rasouli from life support. The first case reached the Supreme Court, which ruled in 2013 that the hospital must get the family's consent before ending life-sustaining treatment. (http://bit.ly/1F8H314)

 

China

SHANGHAI SECURITIES NEWS

- Shanghai's gold exchange will increase its range of products this year and launch more yuan-denominated gold trading products, the exchange's director, general Xu Luode, told reporters in Beijing on Tuesday.

- Hong Kong chief executive C.Y. Leung told reporters on Tuesday that preparatory work for a Hong Kong-Shenzhen stock connect was going "smoothly" and he hoped the scheme would be launched soon.

CHINA SECURITIES JOURNAL

- China will take a more tolerant stance on agriculture-related firms that have bad loans, the China Banking Regulatory Commission said in a recent statement.

SHANGHAI DAILY

- Shanghai will start testing a system next month which will use people's mobilephones to track movements of large crowds. China Mobile Ltd, China Unicom and China Telecom will work with a fourth unnamed firm to develop the system, a senior city official said on Tuesday.

CHINA BUSINESS NEWS

- Profits in China's banking industry could decline 3 to 5 percent this year after the People's Bank of China cut reverse requirement ratios twice and interest rate once since the second half of last year, industry insiders said.

CHINA DAILY

- China will step up activities in the Antarctic, especially in fishing crustacean krill, China National Agricultural Development Group chairman Liu Shenli told reporters on Tuesday. The krill would be used as a source of protein.

 

Britain

The Times

'LETHAL MIX' OF NHS DENIAL AND FAILURE SAW 11 BABIES DIE NEEDLESSLY

A "lethal mix" of denial and failure at almost every level of the NHS led to the needless deaths of 11 babies and one mother at a dysfunctional hospital, a "damning" review has found. (http://thetim.es/1F6N66h)

CARNEY REVEALS WHY BANK OF ENGLAND FOREX CHIEF WAS SACKED

The Bank of England missed as many as 50 instances of suspected market abuse that have since been handed over to financial regulators, its governor has admitted. (http://thetim.es/1BEUas2)

The Guardian

UK SHOULD BEGIN DECRIMINALISING DRUGS, SAY RICHARD BRANSON AND NICK CLEGG

Virgin founder Sir Richard Branson and deputy prime minister Nick Clegg are urging the UK to begin decriminalising the use and possession of almost all drugs, following the example of Portugal. (http://bit.ly/1aKv8gD)

HSBC FILES: MPS CALL IN TOP EXECUTIVES OVER SWISS REVELATIONS

Two senior HSBC executives and non-executive Rona Fairhead, the BBC Trust chair, have been ordered to appear before MPs for a fresh hearing on the bank's Swiss operation. (http://bit.ly/18iTBIc)

The Telegraph

UKIP WILL NOT SET 'ARBITRARY' IMMIGRATION TARGETS, SAYS NIGEL FARAGE

The UK Independence Party would not set an "arbitrary immigration target" if it helps form the next Government, Nigel Farage has said in an article for The Telegraph. (http://bit.ly/1EeuLXP)

BARCLAYS BOSS SAYS HE WILL NOT BE 'PATIENT' WITH POOR RETURNS AS IT SETS ASIDE £750M FOR FX FINES

The chief executive of Barclays has said he will not be "patient" with underperforming parts of the company, potentially raising the prospect of further cuts at its struggling investment bank. (http://bit.ly/17NfAa6)

Sky News

ANGLO-CANADIAN DUO SWOOPS FOR EUROSTAR STAKE

Caisse de Depot et Placement du Quebec (CDPQ) and an infrastructure arm of Hermes, a major UK institutional investor, are close to a deal to buy the government's 40 percent shareholding. (http://bit.ly/1BEXEuC)

TAXPAYERS TO MEET 30 MLN STG BILL FOR UK COAL STAFF

Taxpayers are poised to fund a multimillion pound bill to help workers at two of the UK's remaining deep coal mines as part of preparations for their closure, ministers are expected to disclose this week. (http://bit.ly/1wHoPo4)

The Independent

FORMER UK MARINE BECOMES FIRST BRITON TO BE 'KILLED FIGHTING ISIS IN SYRIA'

A former British soldier is thought to have become the first UK national to be killed fighting against Isis in Syria. (http://ind.pn/1wHoUZ1)

Fly On The Wall Pre-Market Buzz

ECONOMIC REPORTS

Major domestic economic reports scheduled for today include:
ADP employment change report for February at 8:15--consensus 220K
Markit services PMI for February at 9:45--consensus 57.0
ISM non-manufacturing composite for February at 10:00--consensus 56.5
DOE petroleum inventory reports for week of Feb. 27 at 10:30
Beige Book to be released at 14:00

ANALYST RESEARCH

Upgrades

AutoZone (AZO) upgraded to Neutral from Underperform at Sterne Agee
CVR Refining (CVRR) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Citigroup
Essent Group (ESNT) upgraded to Outperform from Market Perform at Keefe Bruyette
McDonald's (MCD) upgraded to Outperform from Sector Perform at RBC Capital

Downgrades

Alcoa (AA) downgraded to Neutral from Buy at BofA/Merrill
Aruba Networks (ARUN) downgraded to In-Line from Outperform at Imperial Capital
Bob Evans (BOBE) downgraded to Hold from Buy at Miller Tabak
Bob Evans (BOBE) downgraded to Neutral from Buy at Janney Capital
Century Aluminum (CENX) downgraded to Neutral from Buy at BofA/Merrill
Dick's Sporting (DKS) downgraded to Hold from Buy at Needham
L.B. Foster (FSTR) downgraded to Hold from Buy at Stifel
Mavenir Systems (MVNR) downgraded to In-Line from Outperform at Imperial Capital
Polypore (PPO) downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform at Cowen
Springleaf (LEAF) downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform at Keefe Bruyette

Initiations

Achillion (ACHN) initiated with an Underweight at Barclays
Allegion (ALLE) initiated with an Outperform at RW Baird
Alnylam (ALNY) initiated with an Overweight at Barclays
American Realty (ARCP) coverage resumed with a Neutral at BofA/Merrill
Chimerix (CMRX) initiated with an Overweight at Barclays
Churchill Downs (CHDN) initiated with a Buy at Janney Capital
Easterly Government Properties (DEA) initiated with a Neutral at Citigroup
Education Realty (EDR) initiated with an Outperform at RBC Capital
Enanta (ENTA) initiated with an Equal Weight at Barclays
Essent Group (ESNT) initiated with a Neutral at MKM Partners
F5 Networks (FFIV) initiated with an Outperform at Wedbush
Flotek (FTK) initiated with an Underperform at Oppenheimer
Hain Celestial (HAIN) initiated with an Outperform at Wedbush
Ironwood (IRWD) initiated with an Equal Weight at Barclays
MGIC Investment (MTG) initiated with a Buy at MKM Partners
Neurocrine (NBIX) initiated with an Overweight at Barclays
PTC Therapeutics (PTCT) initiated with an Overweight at Barclays
Phillips 66 Partners (PSXP) initiated with a Buy at Evercore ISI
RPC, Inc. (RES) initiated with a Perform at Oppenheimer
Radian Group (RDN) initiated with a Buy at MKM Partners
Superior Energy (SPN) initiated with a Perform at Oppenheimer
WhiteWave Foods (WWAV) initiated with an Outperform at Wedbush

COMPANY NEWS

Target (TGT) to cut several thousand jobs as part of $2B cost saving plan. The company sees 10% annual EPS growth for 2016 and beyond
Gartner: Apple (AAPL) sold more smartphones than Samsung (SSNLF) in Q4
Sony (SNE) said PS4 sales surpassed 20.2M units worldwide
Bob Evans (BOBE) said it will not pursue a sale of spin-off of BFF Foods, said evaluating strategic alternatives for real estate
TiVo (TIVO) said total subscriptions were up 30% in Q4 y/y

EARNINGS

Companies that beat consensus earnings expectations last night and today include:
Sucampo (SCMP), Hydrogenics (HYGS), VWR (VWR), Xerium Technologies (XRM), SQM (SQM), LRR Energy (LRE), ABM Industries (ABM), Hannon Armstrong (HASI), SpartanNash (SPTN), AeroVironment (AVAV), Codexis (CDXS), Bazaarvoice (BV), Ambarella (AMBA), Smith & Wesson (SWHC), Renewable Energy (REGI), ZELTIQ (ZLTQ), NeoPhotonics (NPTN), Amarin (AMRN), TiVo (TIVO)

Companies that missed consensus earnings expectations include:
Materialise (MTLS), Tuniu (TOUR), Middleby (MIDD), Engility Holdings (EGL), MacroGenics (MGNX), Career Education (CECO), Ascena Retail (ASNA), Bob Evans (BOBE), TriVascular (TRIV), Receptos (RCPT)

Companies that matched consensus earnings expectations include:
Trina Solar  (TSL), Bona Film (BONA), PDI, Inc. (PDII), Veeva (VEEV)

NEWSPAPERS/WEBSITES

Apple Pay (AAPL) seeing high fraud rates, WSJ reports
NBCU (CMCSA) plans to launch internet TV subcription service this year, WSJ reports
Deutsche Bank (DB) reviews stake in Hua Xia, Financial Times reports
Sony (SNE) expected to launch PS4 virtual reality headset in 1H16, Engadget reports
HP (HPQ), IBM (IBM), others could be interested in Novetta, Reuters reports (RTN, GD, LMT)

SYNDICATE

Amicus (FOLD) files to sell 1M shares of common stock for holders
Artisan Partners (APAM) offers 3.83M shares of common stock
BioCryst (BCRX) files $150M mixed securities shelf
Catalent (CTLT) 23.7M share Secondary priced at $29.50
Cyclacel Pharmaceuticals (CYCC) 10M share Secondary priced at $1.00
InspireMD (NSPR) files to sell common stock and warrants, no amount given
Meritage Homes (MTH) files automatic mixed securities shelf
Oasis Petroleum (OAS) files to sell 25M shares of common stock
Prudential (PRU) files automatic mixed securities shelf
SBA Communications (SBAC) files automatic mixed securities shelf
Voya Financial (VOYA) files to sell 45.6M shares of common stock for holders
Xplore Technologies (XPLR) files to sell common stock, no amount given








Market Wrap: Futures Slide Despite Latest Central Bank Easing Blitz

Zerohedge - Wed, 03/04/2015 - 07:58

Just like yesterday, it has - so far - been mostly about Asia in the overnight session, where as reported previously, we got the latest central bank engaging in an "unexpected" rate cut, after Reserve Bank of India Governor Rajan cut rates in an unscheduled move days after the government agreed for the first time to give the central bank a legal mandate to target inflation. This was India's second rate cut in 2 months, and yet despite the Sensex surging to a all time high over 30,000, it subsequently ended up closing red on the day, down -0.7%, despite the Indian currency sliding 0.4% to 62.1463 to a dollar. Is the half-life of thany incremental rate cut in an unprecedented barage of global central bank easing now less than a day?

It wasn't only India: next door in China, the PBOC increased the maximum amount of overnight and 7-day loans that its local branches can provide to financial institutions by 220 billion yuan.  Cumulative amount PBOC’s local branches can provide in overnight and 7-day loans is now 340b yuan, according to Bloomberg. Banks that meet “prudent” lending criteria set by the PBOC may obtain overnight loans at 4.5% and 7-day loans at 5.5%, in yet another gentle attempt to ease the monetary situatin and slow down the bursting of the domestic housing bubble.

Completely the Asia roundup, as Bloomberg’s Richard Breslow writes, the "news overnight from Asia adds more fuel to the question whether Asia is stalling, with Taiwanese IP weak and Australia’s slowing q/q growth putting a rate cut back on table." We would add how much longer can the dreaded global "D" word be avoided when it is clear that everyone but the Fed is now desperate to avoid deflation.

Shifting west, after opening in the green, European equities have swung between gains and losses, this follows on from negative closes out of the US and Asia with Services PMIs from around Europe and the UK coming out below expectation (Eurozone Service PMI 53.7 vs. Exp. 53.9, Prev. 53.9 & UK Services PMI 56.7 vs Exp. 57.5, Prev. 57.2). On a sector specific basis, material names are underperforming in Europe after Fresnillio (-5.0%) reported negative earnings pre market. Weakness in equities has seen Bunds and USTs recover from earlier position squaring ahead of upcoming key risk events, namely ADP today, ECB rate decision on Thursday and NFP on Friday.

In FX markets, the USD index printed fresh 11 year highs after breaking out of its tight overnight range and through 95.5 to the upside, while resistance could come in the form of the 50% retracement from the 2001 high to the 2008 low at 95.859. The strength seen in the greenback weighed on both EUR/USD and GBP/USD, with the EUR reaching an 11 year low, while both EUR and GBP have seen weakness after the aforementioned Services PMI readings.

Elsewhere, NZD/USD trades at session highs amid no fundamental news after breaking through its 50DMA of 0.7572 to the upside and above yesterday’s highs. Meanwhile, ahead of today’s BoC rate decisions, CAD has weakened, with the move attributed to USD strength as the central bank are expected by most surveyed analysts to keep rates on hold. During Asia hours, RBI unexpectedly cut its Repo and Reverse Repo rates by 25bps to 7.5% and 6.5% respectively, with Goldman Sachs bringing forward expectations of possible rate cut by the Indian central bank from April by a month.

WTI crude futures resides in positive territory to outperform Brent heading into the NYMEX pit open after yesterday’s API inventory showed a build of 2900k, substantially less than last week’s 8900k build. This comes ahead of DoE inventories today, expected at 3950k (Prev. 8427k), while comments from Saudi oil minister Al-Naimi had no effect on markets, failing to add any new rhetoric. NatGas outperforms in the energy complex as a consequence of cold weather in the US. Finally in terms of the metals complex, gold has traded mildly higher overnight, coming off its best levels heading into the North American cross over, with the safe-haven supported amid a bout of weakness seen across global equity markets.

In Summary: European shares stay lower, close to intraday lows, with the basic resources and chemicals sectors underperforming and autos, telco outperforming. Euro-area composite PMI, U.K. services PMI below estimates.  U.K. wins court ruling on ECB policy on Euro clearinghouses. India cuts interest rate in surprise move. Obama extends sanctions against Russian officials over Ukraine. The Swedish and Spanish markets are the worst-performing larger bourses, the Swiss the best. The euro is weaker against the dollar. Japanese 10yr bond yields rise; German yields increase. Commodities decline, with wheat, soybeans underperforming and natural gas outperforming. U.S. ISM non-manufacturing, mortgage applications, ADP employment change, Markit U.S. composite PMI, Markit U.S. services PMI,  due later.

Market Wrap

  • S&P 500 futures down 0.3% to 2097.5
  • Stoxx 600 down 0.2% to 387.1
  • US 10Yr yield up 1bps to 2.13%
  • German 10Yr yield up 1bps to 0.37%
  • MSCI Asia Pacific down 0.6% to 145.6
  • Gold spot up 0% to $1204.4/oz
  • Eurostoxx 50 -0.2%, FTSE 100 -0.4%, CAC 40 -0%, DAX -0.4%, IBEX -0.7%, FTSEMIB -0.3%, SMI +0.3%
  • Asian stocks fall with the Shanghai Composite outperforming and the Hang Seng underperforming.
  • MSCI Asia Pacific down 0.6% to 145.6
  • Nikkei 225 down 0.6%, Hang Seng down 1%, Kospi down 0.2%, Shanghai Composite up 0.5%, ASX down 0.5%, Sensex down 0.7%
  • Euro down 0.47% to $1.1124
  • Dollar Index up 0.34% to 95.71
  • Italian 10Yr yield down 2bps to 1.38%
  • Spanish 10Yr yield down 2bps to 1.37%
  • French 10Yr yield up 0bps to 0.67%
  • S&P GSCI Index down 0.1% to 416.7
  • Brent Futures down 0.5% to $60.7/bbl, WTI Futures up 0.5% to $50.8/bbl
  • LME 3m Copper down 0.1% to $5816/MT
  • LME 3m Nickel down 0% to $13670/MT
  • Wheat futures down 0.9% to 501.3 USd/bu

Bulletin Headline Summary from RanSquawk and Bloomberg

  • European equities have swung between gains and losses with Services PMIs from around Europe and the UK coming out below expectation
  • The USD index printed fresh 11 year highs to weigh on both EUR/USD and GBP/USD, with EUR reaching 11 year lows
  • Looking ahead, this afternoon sees US ADP Employment Change, Services PMI, ISM Non-Manf. Composite and DoE Crude oil Inventories, as well as the BoC rate decision and a host of Fed speakers
  • Treasuries steady before ADP Employment, est. +219 vs +213 in Jan.; U.S./Germany 10Y spread near widest since May 1989 before Draghi’s expected release of QE details at tomorrow’s ECB meeting.
  • Reserve Bank of India Governor Rajan cut rates in an unscheduled move days after the government agreed for the first time to give the central bank a legal mandate to target inflation
  • Britain scored a rare victory in its bid to challenge EU powers over the City of London as EU judges sided with the U.K. in a clash with the European Central Bank on clearinghouses
  • Investors are paying to hold covered bonds as ECB stimulus pushes yields on EU21.3b ($24 billion) of the highly rated debt below zero
  • Yellen, countering criticism from members of Congress, said the Fed is trying to avoid being too cozy with the Wall Street firms it supervises and wants to ensure that regulators aren’t afraid to confront the financial industry
  • RBS may cut more than 2/3 of its investment-bank jobs as part of a plan to shrink the securities unit and focus on the U.K. consumer market, a person with knowledge of the matter said
  • U.K. Conservatives led in a third straight poll of voting intentions as their coalition partners, the Liberal Democrats, sank to a 25-year low with just over two months to go until the general election
  • Sovereign 10Y yields higher. Asian, European stocks stocks fall; U.S. equity-index futures decline. Crude, gold and copper steady

US Event Calendar

  • 7:00am: MBA Mortgage Applications, Feb. 27 (prior -3.5%)
  • 8:15am: ADP Employment Change, Feb., est. 219k (prior 213k)
  • 9:45am: Markit US Composite PMI, Feb. final (prior 56.8); Markit US Services PMI, Feb. final, est. 57 (prior 57)
  • 10:00am: ISM Non-Mfg Composite, Feb., est. 56.5 (prior 56.7)

DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight recap

This week hasn't really got going yet but it’s set to liven up today and as we move towards the weekend. ADP employment data and the Greek T-bill auction are the main events before we see the China National People’s Congress meeting tomorrow along with the ECB meeting and then payrolls on Friday. As we write this the Indian central bank has added to the list of surprise rate cuts this year with only 3 out of 15 polled on Bloomberg expecting the move. More on this later.

As mentioned the Greek T-Bill auction will be worth keeping an eye on today. The nation has a €1.4bn maturity due on Friday along with a €300m repayment due to the IMF. DB’s George Saravelos noted that the portion of the bill held by foreigners (c. €800m) may be unwilling to roll over and so potentially raise the risk that the auction does not generate the necessary amount to cover Friday’s maturity. This, combined with reluctance by the ECB to raise the cap on T-Bill issuance, will likely place the government under considerable near term pressure. It’s likely that we hear the first request from the Greek government to the ECB to increase the T-Bill issuance cap at the Eurogroup meeting next Monday. However it remains to been seen whether or not the ECB is willing to comply and instead we heard earlier suggestions from the EC’s Dijsselbloem that Europe may be willing to allow for an early disbursement of the final tranche should conditions be agreed upon. On this, Greek press Ekathimerini reported yesterday that finance minister Varoufakis is due to present a collection of six reform proposals to Eurogroup ministers on Monday. The report also claims that Varoufakis is likely to be prepared to discuss what privatizations the government is willing to carry out with suggestions that he is in favour of further private investment at the Piraeus Port and in the Greek railway. This appears to conflict with comments from other Greek government officials however with the state minister in particular saying that the coalition would not consider selling Greece’s water or electricity assets.

Recapping the market moves yesterday, it was a relatively subdued day on the whole culminating in equity markets in the US retreating from recent highs. The S&P 500 finished -0.45% at the close. Aside from a better day for energy stocks (+0.23%) following gains for WTI (+1.88%) and Brent (+2.49%) - which in turn appeared to rise on geopolitical concerns in Libya – losses were generally broad based across sectors. In terms of data, readings on the whole were largely mixed. The IBD/TIPP Economic Optimism index for March rose 1.6pts to 49.1 (vs. 47.8 expected) and the lesser-followed ISM NY firmed over 18pts to 63.1. Vehicle sales disappointed however. The 16.16m saar for February was down versus both consensus (16.7m) and also from the January reading (16.56m). Treasury yields rose for the second consecutive day meanwhile. Both 10y (+3.7bps) and 2y (+1.6bps) yields climbed to 2.119% and 0.678% respectively. The latter is in fact now at its highs in yield for the year. Elsewhere, the Dollar was largely unchanged.

It was a day of rising bond yields in Europe also yesterday. Indeed, 10y benchmark yields in Germany (+0.7bps) and France (+3.0bps) both rose whilst peripherals fared little better with yields 4-6bps wider generally. With newsflow relatively light yesterday, the market appears to be in something of a wait and see mode ahead of the ECB this Thursday. Macro data was also relatively light, however retail sales out of Germany provided something for the market to digest. The +5.3% print was in fact up half a percent from the December print and also came in well ahead of expectations of +3.0%. The reading was also the highest since June 2010 and marked a fourth consecutive monthly increase which has only happened four times since 1994. Despite a modest rise in Bund yields yesterday, the yield curve is still trading in negative territory up until the 6-year bucket which is in stark contrast to the relatively solid macro data releases we’ve seen out of the nation of late. Elsewhere, PPI for the Euro-area continues to be subdued with the -3.4% yoy reading below market (-3.0% yoy).

Yesterday’s data did little to help equity markets in Europe with the Stoxx 600 in particular extending its weaker start to March closing -0.92% and led by Banks (-1.55%) and Autos (-2.08%) in particular. Credit markets on the other hand closed a touch firmer with Xover tightening 2bps. In fact primary markets appeared to be the one area of decent appetite yesterday. Interestingly, in Europe the Icelandic Bank Arion issued the first bond by an Icelandic bank in Euro’s since the collapse of its domestic banking sector. The 3-year senior bonds were priced at a yield of 3.24%. In fact glancing across peripheral bank debt, similar maturity senior Bank of Ireland bonds are trading at 1.1% and Monte dei Paschi bonds are 2.2%, which is of course in stark contrast to their counterparts in Greece where 2-year senior Piraeus Bank debt is trading north of 15%. Elsewhere, the other headline in credit markets yesterday centered around the record bond sale by US drug-maker Actavis (BBB- rated). The $21bn of bonds sold by the corporate yesterday as part of its M&A financing was in fact the second largest corporate debt raising ever. Clearly there was little issue around appetite for the deal with Bloomberg reporting that there was around $90bn of orders across the structure.

Just wrapping up yesterday’s news, Ukraine was of some attention yesterday following the news that the nation’s Central Bank raised its main benchmark rate by 10.5% to 30% - the highest benchmark rate globally. The rate is in fact up from 14% just a month ago and 6.5% this time last year. Governor Gontareva was reported on Bloomberg saying that the move was to ‘stabilize the situation on the money and lending markets’ with the nation suffering from rising inflationary issues (+28.5% yoy as of January) and a depreciating currency. The move appeared to provide some support to the Ukrainian Hryvnia, with the currency bouncing 8.5% versus the Dollar

Taking a look at the early morning trading in Asia, bourses are generally following the US lead and trading lower as we type. The Nikkei (-0.64%), Shanghai Comp (-0.17%) and Hang Seng (-0.31%) in particular are weaker. The exception is in India where the Nifty (+0.83%) and Sensex (+0.99%) are sharply higher after the surprise rate cut by the Reserve Bank of India. The Central Bank has cut the benchmark repurchase rate by 25bps cut 7.5%, marking the second easing this year.

In terms of today’s calendar, as mentioned focus this morning in Europe will be on the Greek t-bill auction whilst away from that attention will be on the PMI readings where we get the final February services and composite prints for the Euro-area, Germany and France as well as the first readings for Italy, Spain and the UK. Also due up this morning are retail sales for the Euro-area. This afternoon in the US, as well as well the ADP employment reading we get the final services and composite PMI readings as well as the ISM non-manufacturing reading and the release of the Fed Beige Book. So it does feel the week will heat up a little after a dullish start.








Creepy Tracking Tech Gone Too Far: “Police Surveillance Now Fully Automated and Integrated Into Wireless Networks”

SHTF Plan - Wed, 03/04/2015 - 04:46

Welcome to 2015. We’re certainly not in Kansas anymore.

Not only is the police state here, but it is upgrading all the time.

While people are busy fighting an uphill battle with apparently rampant cases of abuse, excessive force and a misguided and failed War on Drugs, many are too far behind the times to keep up with these technologies – now being tested or used in police departments across the country.

While the use of technology in policing is nothing new, it might surprise you have far things have gone – with much of police surveillance now fully automated and integrated into wireless networks, and monitored by Homeland Security-funded fusion centers.

Reason.tv rounded up these examples of creepy, robot, privacy destroying police tactics (and it’s only just beginning):

• Smart street lights created a stir in the alternative media a few years ago, with news that Homeland Security grants were putting big brother funding on the streets quite literally. Now, they are being tested in Las Vegas. The intelligent street lights are equipped with two-way communication and monitoring devices, and may be used to record conversations on the streets, or to broadcast official messages from the authorities during an emergency, or in the midst of a crime. Apparently, they can also broadcast music. Maybe that will give them enough street cred to keep the creepy level off the radar. Paul Joseph Watson wrote:

The Intellistreets system comprises of a wireless digital infrastructure that allows street lights to be controlled remotely by means of a ubiquitous wi-fi link and a miniature computer housed inside each street light, allowing for “security, energy management, data harvesting and digital media,” according to the Illuminating Concepts website.

In terms of Homeland Security applications, each of the light poles contains a speaker system that can be used to broadcast emergency alerts, as well as a display that transmits “security levels” (presumably a similar system to the DHS’ much maligned color-coded terror alert designation), in addition to showing instructions by way of its LED video screen.

The lights also include proximity sensors that can record both pedestrian and road traffic. The video display and speaker system will also be used to transmit Minority Report-style advertising, as well as Amber Alerts and other “civic announcements”.

• Location tracking Wi-Fi is now being tested in Seattle and other locations as part of a wireless mesh network. Of course, most already know that their cell phones and computers share data with their providers, the NSA and a host of other data hungry watchers, but now the police are using boxes set up at numerous street intersections to ping and track cell phones in the area, logging location data for thousands of drivers, passengers and pedestrians that could be used to establish the whereabouts of a suspect, pursue criminals, as evidence in traffic disputes or perhaps for crowd control.

The Wi-Fi tracking devices appear as white boxes mounted on poles or street lights. The data interconnects through a wireless mesh network with existing traffic cameras, police squad vehicles, networks of cameras and other interfaces on the emerging fiber network, and a host of authorities in the region, including police, the Sheriff’s Department and the regional fusion center. Officially, the mesh network aides communication during emergency scenarios, but also functions as a roaming live-time surveillance network.

Reason.tv reports that Seattle residents been reporting wi-fi networks popping up on their cell service with the names of intersections (such as 3rd & Union) since 2013.

• Sting Ray cell phone interceptor / cell phone tower impersonator devices are now being secretly used by the FBI, local police departments and… probably other spy agencies, foreign and domestic, as well. The use of this technology remains less known than other techniques, in part because the Justice Department has pressured local law enforcement to keep hush hush about the use of this tool, even in the face of court testimony.

The best part, from a policing point of view, is the kid-in-a-candy store, fish-in-a-barrel opportunity for revealing data on everyone from suspects to innocent bystanders who may have data wanted by the authorities… now or later. No warrants need apply.

Melissa Melton writes:

According to the Associated Press, the Obama Administration has been actively advising police departments to refuse disclosure about certain cell phone surveillance technologies, including the widely used “StingRay” device, even in routine state records requests.

Evidently, the StingRay technology allows law enforcement to “trick” cell devices into sharing identifying personal and location data with them that would ordinary be sent to communications companies and require request procedures.

Instead, police are bypassing company assistance and collecting unique information on suspects, persons of interests, and – as the AP reports – they can even “sweep up basic cellphone data from entire neighborhoods,” all without any court orders or oversight.

• See-through-radar, as used in such on the market technologies as the Range-R, allows police to see the location of all the people inside a building through the walls, again, without a warrant.

USA Today reports:

At least 50 U.S. law enforcement agencies have secretly equipped their officers with radar devices that allow them to effectively peer through the walls of houses to see whether anyone is inside, a practice raising new concerns about the extent of government surveillance.

Those agencies, including the FBI and the U.S. Marshals Service, began deploying the radar systems more than two years ago with little notice to the courts and no public disclosure of when or how they would be used. The technology raises legal and privacy issues because the U.S. Supreme Court has said officers generally cannot use high-tech sensors to tell them about the inside of a person’s house without first obtaining a search warrant.

Knightscope Photography Team, Creative Commons

• PoliceBots – Right now, the Knightscope K5 looks like an inept R2D2 unit, but soon people will see it as the early deployment prototype of the dangerous Robocop type units that science fiction has long warned us about.

They are scheduled to begin actual patrols in the Silicon Valley area sometime this year, and will principally be used to detect criminal activity and alert human officers… for now, of course. Later, they are supposed to be capable of crime prediction as well as prevention, but we already know that Minority Report is no-knocking at the door.

According to the Daily Mail, these bot-officers carry a number of advanced and perhaps troubling capabilities, including rapid license plate scanning and something referred to as ‘odor detection’:

The five foot tall robots have a combination of laser scanning, wheel encoders, inertial measurements, and GPS that allows fully autonomous operation and charging.

It also has odour detectors, and can even monitor air pollution as it travels around.

Using cameras they can also read up to 300 car number plates a minute, allowing them to monitor traffic.

• Drones – The use of drones is, unsurprisingly, also expanding, but the devices are become so cheap at the same time that their use is becoming accepted. Hence, police departments and law enforcement are snatching them up and making purchases that often fly under the radar of public controversy. Infinitely cheaper than helicopters and other aerial devices, drones are poised to be anywhere and everywhere that law enforcement wants eyes.

• “Eye in the Sky” – Reason.tv also included an “Eye in the Sky” HD camera mounted inside a Cessna-style aircraft that flies over a city locale for up to six hours, recording everything that takes place in the community – with options to zoom in on areas of interest in live-time and play back to review what officers weren’t focusing on.

The Atlantic reported on how the device was used secretly in Compton, California, and only revealed to the public years afterwards – kept hush hush by law enforcement to quell privacy concerns:

In a secret test of mass surveillance technology, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department sent a civilian aircraft* over Compton, California, capturing high-resolution video of everything that happened inside that 10-square-mile municipality.

Compton residents weren’t told about the spying, which happened in 2012. “We literally watched all of Compton during the times that we were flying, so we could zoom in anywhere within the city of Compton and follow cars and see people,” Ross McNutt of Persistence Surveillance Systems told the Center for Investigative Reporting, which unearthed and did the first reporting on this important story. The technology he’s trying to sell to police departments all over America can stay aloft for up to six hours. Like Google Earth, it enables police to zoom in on certain areas. And like TiVo, it permits them to rewind, so that they can look back and see what happened anywhere they weren’t watching in real time.

The question is, where does it all end?

Are there any limits to how far police or government authorities will go or can go?

The Fourth Amendment seems clear enough in its intent to protect people from unwarranted searches and seizure, but it has been all but trashed and scrapped in the wake of the paranoid War on Terrorism and unparalleled mass surveillance technologies.

The problem is that there may simply be no turning back. Expectation of privacy are now as low as a fat, bald, unemployed dude hoping for a date with a supermodel. Basically, freedom is dormant and privacy is, for the time being, now all but nonexistent.

Further Reading: 2014 Year in Review: 7 Examples of Police State Technology Making Our Rights Obsolete

What color that Dress

International Forecaster - Wed, 03/04/2015 - 04:00

In the course of just 10 days, the things that we’ve seen transpire would have taken one’s breath away in virtually any other time in history. But in 2015? Nah, not so much.

Why Logic Doesnt Follow Markets Anymore

Daily Bell - Wed, 03/04/2015 - 02:06
This is one of those articles that focuses on a rational approach to an irrational market. And the market IS irrational, in our view. Or at least it is responding to stimuli much different than what is often reported. This market is the product of a great deal of money printing. The money printing started when the Great Recession began and it has only picked up speed since then. Now nations are coordinating around the world to offer various kinds of quantitative easing, which is merely the ...

Vaccine Denial A Modest Proposal to Reduce the Controversy

Daily Bell - Wed, 03/04/2015 - 02:04
These days we are noticing a number of articles in defense of vaccines. That can only mean one thing: The vaccine rate in the West and particularly in the US is likely continuing to fall. Blame it on the Internet. This digital Gutenberg Press has revealed other perspectives on a variety of social promotions, from the efficacy of public schooling to the necessity for central banking to the fallacious core conclusions of global warming. But it seems that the anti-vaccine movement is the one that ...

Private Police Mercenaries for the American Police State

Daily Bell - Wed, 03/04/2015 - 02:02
It's one thing to know and exercise your rights when a police officer pulls you over, but what rights do you have when a private cop—entrusted with all of the powers of a government cop but not held to the same legal standards—pulls you over and subjects you to a stop-and-frisk or, worse, causes you to "disappear" into a Gitmo-esque detention center not unlike the one employed by Chicago police at Homan Square? For that matter, how do you even begin to know who you're dealing with, given that ...

Big Pharma’s Mass Vaccination Agenda

LewRockwell.com - Wed, 03/04/2015 - 02:01

Major US news media have presented a grossly distorted and misleading interpretation of vaccines and their relationship to public health since early January. These journalistic organs have suggested the recent measles outbreak in the Western US has been a crisis of monumental proportions.

This flagrant and cynical sensationalism has become a foundation for intense advocacy on behalf of the pharmaceutical corporate and regulatory cartel targeting patient informed consent—a founding principal of modern medical practice and personal freedom. Keeping in mind the close to 300 vaccine products now in the pharmaceutical industry’s pipeline,[1] closer analysis of “measles outbreak” press coverage suggests a conscious effort by corporate news media to virtually banish such notions and practices from the public mind. A news media dependent on over $1 billion in advertising dollars from big pharma must almost by necessity indulge their clients’ broader agenda. 

An impartial journalistic approach to the question of vaccination and personal choice would provide equal and unprejudiced airing of “both sides,” in addition to the varied grey areas in the debate, from the corporate and statist entities flying the banner of mandatory vaccination to cautious segments of the citizenry voicing reservations toward such technology alongside the foremost prerogative of personal choice.

A LexisNexis search of US newspaper and wire service articles from December 28, 2015—the official start date of the California measles outbreak—to February 8, 2015 [2] using the search terms “measles” and “vaccination” yields 799 press releases or wire stories and 746 newspaper articles and opinion pieces. Much of this coverage predictably emphasizes the array of vaccine-friendly assumptions and pronouncements from entities abetting the pharmaceutical industry’s long-term profit-specific objectives.

For example, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is, alongside the Food and Drug Administration, the most powerful bureaucratic arm utilized by the global pharmaceutical cartel to elicit compliance with the federal vaccine schedule for children from the medical profession and broader population. Of the article sample referenced above, close to one-third (517) reference the “Centers for Disease Control” or “CDC” in their text, suggesting citation of the agency and its policies to persuasively instruct readers on vaccine efficacy and safety.

In contrast, the same body of over 1,500 press releases, news stories and editorials reference “informed consent” only three times—and when the term is used it is done so either in passing or to disparage the practice itself. For example, Arthur Caplan, a professor of medicine at New York University, warns against doctors even considering the practice of informed consent in regard to vaccines. “The science is unimpeachable,” Caplan proclaims. ” Vaccines do not cause autism; measles is dangerous and contagious; inoculating against the disease is neither pointless nor riskier than abstention.” The physician then amazingly suggests that genuine informed consent–explaining how a vaccine such as Measles, Mumps, Rubella, which can severely injure, incapacitate, or kill the child patient–must be categorically replaced by the dissemination of pharmaceutical industry propaganda and half-truths. “Those doctors who counsel otherwise – who distort what patients need to know to preserve their health or that of their children – have crossed a bright red line. They have violated a patient’s right to informed consent, which depends on accurate information.”[3]

The foremost US organization advocating the fundamental doctrine of informed consent, the National Vaccine Information Center, is referenced a paltry 22 times in the sizable article sample. And while the NVIC routinely emphasizes that it is not “anti-vaccine” and merely advocates that patients or their parents fully understand the risks associated with the industrialized, “one size fits all” immunization process, it is nevertheless framed as the official voice of “anti-vaccination.” A recent New York Times article from the data set is exemplary of this practice. “Members of the anti-vaccine movement said the public backlash had terrified many parents. ’People are now afraid they’re going to be jailed,’ said Barbara Loe Fisher, the president of the National Vaccine Information Center, a clearinghouse for resisters.”[4]

Of the 746 articles published in newspapers, 143 are editorial and opinion pieces. Almost without exception each vigorously supports wide-scale vaccination, even proposing punitive measures for those clinging to informed consent and personal choice. Such uniform opinion among newsroom management provides a clear indication of exactly how warped the overall news coverage of the “measles outbreak” has been.

“If we’re not willing to permanently exile anti-vaxxers from the public square,” one opinion in thePhiladelphia Daily News remarks, “we should at least make emergency provisions to do so. Anti-vaxxers should be made to understand that when there is a public-health emergency – such as a measles outbreak – they’ll be quarantined for the duration.”[5] “Those who refuse to vaccinate are wrong,” the Salt Lake Tribune argues. “They endanger themselves and those around them.”[6] “The growing anti-vaccination movement is one of the most frustrating developments of this decade,” the San Jose Mercury News similarly contends. “Some of the parents who mistrust vaccine are uneducated and have no access to pediatric counsel, but there’s no excuse for the irresponsible parents who have access to the latest science yet irrationally fear that vaccines are not safe for their children.”[7]

In an effort to console parents concerned about the very real possibility of vaccines causing autism, US government press releases and US news outlets alike reference a 1998 study authored by British physician and medical scientist Andrew Wakefield linking vaccination to Crohn’s disease and autism. “Public health officials blame a decline in parents having their kids vaccinated that began after a now-thoroughly discredited 1998 British report alleged that common early childhood vaccinations triggered autism,” the San Diego Union Tribune grouses. “Unfortunately, that discredited report continues to be cited by know-nothing celebrities and vapid New Age authors who broadly reject modern medicine. They do so even as life expectancy hits all-time highs and medical researchers make steady progress on many fronts.”[8]

The US government’s own public relations service—US Official News—likewise chimes in on Wakefield’s alleged deceit. “A 1998 article in the medical journal The Lancet caused a firestorm of controversy when it was published and helped create the anti-vaccine movement that continues today,” one US government press release reads. “There’s only one problem–the article was later retracted by the publisher for being ‘utterly false,’ and the author, Andrew Wakefield, was found to have been paid big bucks by plaintiffs’ lawyers.”[9]

The fact that Wakefield’s 1998 findings have been upheld in 19 peer-reviewed papers he has contributed to the literature between 1998 and 2010, in addition to 28 studies from other scientists around the world [10] has been consciously overlooked by US newspaper editors and other drug industry propagandists. That this key piece of disinformation–soundly rebutted in the published research–continues to be repeated by journalists and government publicists alike suggests the hardcore disinformation tactics deployed to perpetuate the misunderstanding and unwarranted faith the majority of US families continue to place in big pharma’s immensely profitable vaccine agenda.

As direct result of this well-coordinated publicity campaign and resulting hysteria the legal right by which families may exercise informed consent is now under intense legal assault across the US. “Hearings to remove philosophical/conscientious exemptions to vaccine mandates have already taken place in Washington and Oregon,” NVIC reports.

California, Maine, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Vermont all have bills already filed or press announcements of bills about to be filed to remove philosophical/conscientious exemptions. Maine, Minnesota and Texas have bills to substantially restrict philosophical/conscientious exemptions. Religious exemptions are also under attack. Maryland, New Jersey, Texas and Vermont have bills filed or announced to eliminate religious exemptions, and Illinois, New Mexico and Texas have bills filed or announced to unconstitutionally restrict religious exemptions.

In addition, Connecticut, Florida, Indiana, Maine, Maryland, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New York, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, and West Virginia all have legislation underway to expand vaccine mandates.[11]

In light of the above one should be unsurprised at the mob-like antipathy toward “anti-vaxxers,” and how the notions of personal liberty and informed consent have been made to appear increasingly bizarre by being effectively stricken from public discourse. The population has been expertly propagandized on the issue by medical practitioners, their professional associations, and regulatory agencies tethered to the pharmaceutical industry’s agenda vis-a-vis a news media reliant on drug advertising revenue. With these observations in mind one must seriously ask themselves, In what meaningful way would a wholly scientific authoritarianism differ from what is witnessed in America today?

Notes

[1] Medicines in Development: A Report on the Prevention and Treatment of Disease Through Vaccines, Pharmaceutical Researchers and Manufacturers of America, 2013.

[2] Jennifer Zipprich, Kathleen Winter, et al, “Measles Outbreak – California, December 2014-February 2015,” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, February 20, 2015.

[3] Arthur Caplan, “Quacks Against Vaccines? Revoke Their Licenses,” Washington Post, February 8, 2015.

[4] Jack Healy and Michael Paulson, “Vaccine Critics Turn Defensive Over Measles,” New York Times, January 31, 2015.

[5] Joel Mathis and Ben Boychuck, “The Vaccination Debate Continues,” philly.com, February 9, 2015.

[6] “Washington Post: Measles in America,” Salt Lake Tribune, February 3, 2015.

[7] “Disneyland’s Measles is a Hard Lesson in How Vaccines Work,” San Jose Mercury News, January 29, 2015.

[8] “Anti-Vaccination Charlatans Take Toll on Public Health,” San Diego Times Union, January 19, 2015.

[9] “Flashback: The Anti-Vaccine Movement and a Trial Lawyer-Funded Climate of Fear,” Plus Media Solutions/US Official News, February 17, 2015.

[10] Joseph Mercola, “Why Medical Authorities Went to Such Extremes to Silence Dr. Andrew Wakefield,”Mercola.com, April 10, 2010, http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2010/04/10/wakefield-interview.aspx

[11] “You Need to Act Now: Vaccine Exemptions and Mandates Threatened in Even More States,” National Vaccine Information Center, February 23, 2015.

Reprinted with permission from GlobalResearch.ca.

Disappointing Diesels

LewRockwell.com - Wed, 03/04/2015 - 02:01

There’s something weird and cruel about the fact that diesel engines are – for the most part – for the  affluent-only. You’d think it’d be the reverse.

And it is … in Europe.

Over there, more than half the passenger vehicles on the road have diesels under the hood and most models (cars, crossovers, SUVs) offer the option. This is not surprising, given that gas costs about the same per gallon as a decent quality whiskey costs per liter here.

But why aren’t diesel engines more commonly available here? Or rather, why are they almost exclusively offered in high-end models like the BMW 7 Series I reviewed recently (here) or the Audi Q5 I just posted a review of? Indeed, with the exception of a few Volkswagens (Golf, Beetle and Jetta) and one Chevrolet (Cruze) there are no diesel-powered passenger cars that aren’t also high-end/luxury-branded cars (i.e., BMWs, Audis, and Mercedes-Benzes).

This seems counterintuitive at first. Diesel engines, after all, are fundamentally economy (and durability) engines. Their performance attributes are secondary. People buy them because they go farther on a gallon of fuel and (historically) cost less to maintain and tend to last almost forever with decent care.

So, what’s up? How come there are so few economy-minded (and modestly priced) diesel-powered passenger cars available for sale in the United States – while the same kinds of cars are so readily available in Europe?

Form a picture in your mind of a belligerent-looking old man with a goatee wearing a red, white and blue costume… .

Uncle has made it very costly to sell – and drive – a diesel powered vehicle in the United States. Severe (and severely stupid; give me a minute) emissions regs that are also different from the regs in Europe mean that before a manufacturer (ack, jargon alert; this is what car journalists say in lieu of “car company”) can legally offer a diesel-powered car in the United States, it must meet emissions regs at both the federal and state level. There are 50 different states and several of them (individually and in regional blocks) have different (or additional) regs in force. Plus the feds. It can be a big hassle – and a really big expense – to alter/adjust a given model that’s ok to sell in Europe so that it’s legal to sell in every U.S. state.

This makes it really problematic to sell a diesel-powered economy car. Or even a diesel-powered mid-priced car. The margins are already tight for cars in those classes. An additional 5 percent in “up front” costs tends to focus the consumer’s gaze in a more affordable direction.

Read the Whole Article

The Path to Global Economic Disaster?

LewRockwell.com - Wed, 03/04/2015 - 02:01

One of the assumptions of the eurozone – those 19 countries in Europe that use the euro as their national currencies – is that if any country left the zone, economic disaster would follow in its wake.

Only a few days ago, it appeared that heavily indebted Greece might be forced to drop the euro and return to the drachma, the currency it used before the euro.

During the 1990s and early 2000s, Greece was spending money like a sailor on shore leave with a limitless credit card. The government ran up debts amounting to hundreds of billions of dollars to prepare for the 2004 Olympics, among many other infrastructure projects. It also promised retired Greek citizens some of the cushiest pensions in the EU.

In 2002, Greece was among the first EU members to adopt the euro. Entrance into the eurozone was contingent on Greece’s accomplishing certain reforms and demonstrating a threshold level of economic prudence. Among the requirements was to maintain a budget deficit of less than 3% and a total government debt under 60% of GDP.

Greece never even came close to meeting these targets. To make it look as if it were, Greek politicians engaged in such sleights of hand as not counting military spending as a government expenditure. But if it wanted to join the euro, Greece needed to do more. And Greek politicians weren’t about to ask voters permission to dismantle the cradle-to-grave welfare state financed by borrowed money.

To solve the problem, the government hired Goldman Sachs to help tidy up its balance sheet. Goldman created a series of currency swap arrangements using fictional exchange rates. The swaps took billions of dollars of debt off Greece’s balance sheet and allowed the country to issue far more debt than what was actually showing up in its account ledgers. Goldman used similar financial engineering to help prop up ill-fated energy trader Enron Corp., and we all know how well that experiment turned out.

In other words, Greece never, ever should have been allowed to join the eurozone. But now that it’s part of it, there seems to be no end to the willingness of EU politicians to throw money at Greece to keep it from leaving.

The Greek euro-farce escalated in 2010, when what has become known as the “troika” – the European Commission (the executive body of the EU), the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the European Central Bank (ECB) – agreed to a €110 billion bailout after Greece agreed to draconian austerity measures. Then, in 2011, the EU agreed to second bailout, this time to the tune of €130 billion.

And Greece did deliver some of the promised reforms. Taxes were raised, pension payments were cut, and the cradle-to-grave welfare state was partially dismantled. Government salaries were frozen. Annual government spending fell nearly 25% from 2011 to 2015.

But austerity alone wasn’t enough, as the Greek economy also shrank 25% during this period. More than one in four Greeks of working age are unemployed. As matters now stand, while Greece’s budgetary position is much improved, with a 2014 deficit of only 2.5% of GDP, its debt-to-GDP ratio is much worse than it was in 2010: 175% vs. 130%.

In a sane world, the EU never would have allowed Greece to become part of the eurozone. And as soon as the EU understood the extent of the Goldman-inspired subterfuge to allow Greece into the eurozone, it would have forced Greece out of it.

You could also be excused for thinking that the election last month of former communist youth activist Alexis Tsipras as prime minister of Greece might have been the end of the charade. Tsipras, whom I wrote about in this essay examining the political impact of austerity measures, campaigned on a promise to end them. (Yes, I “called it”!)

Among other goodies, Tsipras promised free electricity and food stamps for the poor, and boosts in pension payments. He also promised an end to privatizations of government-owned shipping facilities, airports, and energy companies.

The election of Tsipras sparked a fresh euro crisis. But all is now smoothed over. Tsipras has promised the EU to resume the process of reform, even at the risk of setting off a revolt from his leftist backers. In return, the EU has given him four months to start implementing the promised reforms. My guess is that Tsipras will be back in Brussels in four months, asking for more money. And the troika, spineless as an amoeba, will comply with the request.

Of course, Greece is only the most recent and most visible example of this “kick the problem down the road” farce. Central banks worldwide are engaged in desperate and increasingly futile efforts to rejuvenate growth and price inflation through quantitative easing and other stimulus measures.

The wholesale failure of these policies worldwide places central banks in a real bind. You can be sure that Alexis Tsipras won’t be the only politician from a small, heavily indebted EU country to ask for further handouts, at the same time resisting the demanded reforms.

Even in the US, the one country where some sluggish real economic growth has resumed, the Federal Reserve is under attack. The “audit the Fed” movement has, for the first time, real bipartisan support. No less an authority than Fed Chairwoman Janet Yellen warned last week of the dire consequences of auditing a central bank.

What is it that the central bankers fear most? Here it is: The policies they have put in place to encourage one asset bubble after another can no longer be sustained. Having inflated the biggest financial bubble in history, they are terrified that it will pop, with devastating economic consequences, leading to a global deflationary depression that will make the recession of 2008-2009 look mild by comparison.

The beneficiaries of central banks’ largesse – governments, money center banks, and stock market investors worldwide – are equally terrified. And if they’re not, they should be.

I don’t know when it will happen, but there will be, as my former boss Bill Bonner says, a “day of reckoning.” Only this debacle will not be sorted out in a day. Ordinary citizens who realize that central banks are powerless to stop the unraveling of the bubbles created by quantitative easing and similar measures won’t be happy. They will elect men like Alexis Tsipras who promise an end to austerity. But without a greater fool – central banks creating money out of thin air – they won’t be able to deliver on their promises.

Things could get really ugly for a while, as all the fiat money-created bubbles in real estate, stocks, and commodities collapse. Political and social unrest will become part of daily life in many countries, as it already is in Greece.

How do you protect yourself? For starters, don’t believe the establishment claptrap trumpeted by the mainstream media. Central banks can’t solve the problems they’ve created with their easy-money policies. And since the bubbles will collapse, make sure you’re out of real estate and other inflated assets before they do (other than possibly your own home and property you own debt free). Keep your liquid assets in physical currency or in strong, highly capitalized banks. Gold is fine, too, but since it’s a commodity, don’t be surprised if it falls in value along with everything else when serious deflation begins.

Reprinted with permission from Nestmann.com.

Slouching Toward Extinction

LewRockwell.com - Wed, 03/04/2015 - 02:01

With all the Cheers and Jeers of C-PAC 2015 fading into Yesterday’s News, let us carpe the diem to add to the growing list of oxymoronic fantasies in desperate need of extinction, a term heard early and often whenever conservatives and libertarians congregate: “Limited Government”. Like “settled science”, the Tooth Fairy and Honest Politicians, not only is there no such thing, there never has been.

The utter nonsense that a piece of parchment, even inscribed with swell ideas, can successfully “limit” the Leviathan, i.e. Big Government has been proven ludicrous for 226 years; considerably longer if we include all recorded human history. Like Shelley’s Dr. Frankenstein, the Bush and Obama administrations brought to life Government as “a dangerous servant and a fearful master.” Constitutional “protection” of our natural rights from Government trampling has morphed from an American ideal fortified by the Rule of Law into a Bad Joke inflicted by the increasing immorality inherent in the leaders of a crumbling empire; a tragedy being acted out in the daily news to an audience that only craves bread and circuses. And cute Budweiser commercials.

“[The] conservative keeps repeating the litany that the central government should be severely limited by a constitution. Yet, at the same time that he rails against the corruption of the original Constitution and the widening of federal power since 1789, the conservative fails to draw the proper lesson from that degeneration. The idea of a strictly limited constitutional State was a noble experiment that failed, even under the most favorable and propitious circumstances. If it failed then, why should a similar experiment fare any better now?” - For A New LibertyMurray Rothbard

While I didn’t see a C-PAC Meet-Up to discuss this, it is precisely the question conservatives, Republicans and not a few Libertarians need to reconcile. While any measurable reduction in Rights Violations and Property Confiscation would be welcome from the all-consuming monstrosity languishing inside the Logic Free Zone, with spawn festering in State pustules across the fetid plane, there isn’t enough ganja in the hills of Jamaica to successfully delude one into believing “limited government” could actually happen or be sustained. Individually and collectively, the “governing” gangs of flaming sociopaths are too broke, too desperate to feed their addiction to power and control to ever – ever – entertain the notion of Limited Anything except the Limited Liberty of its constituents servants slaves.

As my friend Walter E. Williams often observes, “There has never been a tyrant who woke one morning and said, ‘Oh, OK – then…let’s try Freedom!”. As proof, “America’s Mayor”, Rudy Giuliani, sporting an “I Heart Winston Smith” button, said in a public speech, sans sarcasm or his notorious knee-slapping humor:

 “Freedom is about authority. Freedom is about the willingness of every single human being to cede to lawful authority a great deal of discretion about what you do.

Let’s also refresh our mental screens to the simple truths: Government is Force. Force is immoral. Force is anathema to Freedom. To push the belief that “Limited Government” inoculates us, canceling the eventual onslaught of Corrupt Government is to reveal a flaccid grasp of Logic and the English language as well as tacitly agreeing “limited rape” is OK; just poor “technique”.

In the chapter “Why Not Limited Government”, Against the State, Lew Rockwell succinctly points out, “The Constitution creates a government that is the judge of its own powers.” This coincides with a comment often attributed to SCOTUS Justice Scalia “We all get our paychecks from the same place.” Whether the Justice actually made the statement or it’s another Internet myth, the sentiment is noteworthy when using the light of Rockwell’s observation to cast a jaundiced eye toward the tortured reasoning of certain SCOTUS decisions, Legislative skullduggery and blatant Executive scandals that uniquely fortify the interests of Leviathan, loosening  Constitutional restraints and eroding the preservation of natural rights. Once in Rouge Mode, every branch of any size Government will turn its monopoly on Force on those it was charged to serve and protect, compelling them to support and preserve its power over their rights.

As Rockwell states “Each person properly has the right to rule over himself, a right no majority can override.” And Rothbard “…the society of absolute self-ownership for all rests on the primordial fact of natural self-ownership by every man…as he exercises his natural freedom of choice…”. While this may have been the essence of what the Founding Dads had conceived with their version of “Limited Government”, when charged with “securing these rights”, it wasn’t long before the sainted Founders fell victim to Lord Acton’s siren song, nudging the fledgling Republic over the edge to begin is slow decent into unavoidable implosion.

If “Limited Government” could actually be achieved, it would necessarily have to come with “Limited Freedom”, “Limited Liberty” and, most importantly, “Limited Success”. As Government is Force and Force is Power, the veracity of Acton’s observation “Power corrupts…” is unassailable and incurable. “Limited Government” would only have Limited Time to achieve Limited Success before beginning its decent into Unlimited Corruption and tyranny.

The unique and pragmatic advantages of Anarcho-Capitalism over such quaint notions as “Limited Government” are revealed and discussed enthusiastically in Lew Rockwell’s “Against The State”  which can be read in far less time than it took to endure C-PAC 2015. And way more productive.

There is no government like no government.

No Government; know Peace.

A Libertarian Nightmare

LewRockwell.com - Wed, 03/04/2015 - 02:01

Over at Salon, Edwin Lyngar tells us that he has given up on libertarianism because of a recent vacation he took to the Honduras. He classified the trip as a nightmare: My libertarian vacation nightmare: How Ayn Rand, Ron Paul & their groupies were all debunked

I am really not sure how he reached the conclusion that the Honduras is a libertarian country, but he did:

 Eliminate all taxes, privatize everything, load a country up with guns and oppose all public expenditures, you end up with Honduras.

Privatize everything?

Empresa Nacional de Energía Eléctrica is Honduras’s government owned and operated electrical power company. ENEE supplies 84.8% of Honduras’ electricity.

Hondutel is Honduras’ government owned telecommunications company. It has a monopoly on international calls.

Neither of these government owned companies would be something you would find in a libertarian country.

But Lyngar goes on:

 The country has a handful of really rich people, a small group of middle-class, some security guards who seem to be getting by and a massive group of people who are starving to death and living in slums.

This tipped me off right away. There is no way you are going to see such slums in a country, unless there are high minimum wage laws and regulations which make it difficult to start a business. So I did some digging.

Honduras has the most complex minimum wage laws I have ever seen. Take a look for yourself.

As far as starting a business, the World Bank lists it as extremely difficult to do so in Honduras, with a rank of 138 out of 189 countries. Which is to say nothing about its ranking for Enforcing Contracts  (166).

I only took a few minutes to do research on the obvious, minimum wage laws and start up difficulties, but any country which is so oppressive in these two sectors is likely to be a  regulation nightmare across the board. That’s why you have extensive slums in the country—and it has nothing to do with the philosophy of Ron Paul or Ayn Rand.

Reprinted with permission from Target Liberty.

The White City of the Monkey God

LewRockwell.com - Wed, 03/04/2015 - 02:01

A team hunting for the legendary ‘lost city’ of Ciudad Blanca in Honduras has made a dramatic discovery of untouched ruins deep in the jungle that are thought to be thousands of years old, according to National Geographic.

Researchers believe the complex of plazas, mounds, a pyramid and dozens of artefacts belong to a civilization which was blooming thousands of years ago and then vanished without a trace.

It prompts the tantalizing possibility that they have found the lost civilization known as the White City, which as been the subject of local rumors among tribes people and Spanish explorers around the la Mosquita area of jungle in Honduras for hundreds of years.

Some people call it the White City Of Gold, after ancient texts described ivory temples filled with treasure – and western explorers first made reference to it from conquistador Hernando Cortes to King Charles V of Spain in 1526.

Since then countless adventurers have scoured the jungle for the ancient civilization, rumored to have enjoyed treasures beyond the wildest dreams of many budding Indiana Jones’.

One such adventurer even suggested that the city was in fact known as the White City of the Monkey God, and saw an ancient civilization worship a giant simian deity, symbolized by a large statue.

Theodore Morde, writing of his adventures in US magazine The American Weekly, said that local tribes people told him of the monkey worshiping civilization and went on with even more outlandish suggestions that a monkey from the city. Locals even told him that one ‘monkey god’ from the city kidnapped a local woman and bred half-human, half-chimp children. The children were then hunted for revenge.

Local tribes people also reportedly related the same story to an anthropologist, according to a Honduran media report.

Morde said that local people told him of a huge monkey temple inhabited by a civilization known as the Chorotegas, and claimed to have fond evidence of such a place on his expedition in 1939-40. But Morde never revealed the location of his alleged find and killed himself in 1954.

However, despite archaeologists’ following attempts to detect man-made structures – whether they be from Ciudad Blanca, The White City of the Monkey God or elsewhere –  have been unsuccessful. Until now.

Traveling into uncharted territory last month, a National Geographic team found the mounds of white rubble in the shape of a monkey’s skull that experts believe to be thousands of years old.

The National Geographic’s Douglas Preston wrote: ‘The tops of 52 artifacts were peeking from the earth. Many more evidently lie below ground, with possible burials.

Read the Whole Article

The Consummate Fallen Angel

LewRockwell.com - Wed, 03/04/2015 - 02:01
The devil is agile and quick on his feet He fought at Gettyburg From beginning to end And never got a single scratch . At Verdun and the Somme back in ‘16 He displayed his great flair For adding large numbers Of young souls wickedly squandered . Dulce et decorum est, he shrieked, As the Brits and the Yanks Stoked the fires of hell at Hamburg In Operation Gomorrah . A master linguist, he spoke fluently in Vietnamese, French, and English Amid fetid fields and burnt villages Fouled by napalm and rotting flesh . He never tires and needs no maps Finding his way through the world with ease As if he has visited each place Many times before, since the dawn of time .

Reprinted from The Beacon Blog.

Don’t Put Your Fingers in Them!

LewRockwell.com - Wed, 03/04/2015 - 02:01

Our eyes put up with a lot: Hours in front of the TV or computer, low mood lighting in a restaurant, squinting into the sun while driving (even with sunglasses). There’s a long list. Despite how important our eyesight is, we tend to take it for granted.

There are certain habits, in particular, that we continue to put our eyes through that are actually quite damaging. If any of the following sound familiar, now’s the time to stop. You’ve only got the one pair, after all…

Rubbing or touching your eyes

Whether they’re dry, itchy, or maybe an eyelash got in, touching or rubbing your eyes with your fingers and hands is not advised.

Right off the bat, picture all the things you touch and handle throughout the day and really think about how often you’ve washed your hands. Probably not a whole lot. When you start rubbing and touching your eyes, all the things you touched that day can now become transferred to your eye. That includes germs, bacteria, and anything else that can make us sick or cause infection.

Worse yet, the more you rub your eyes, the more minor tears in the tissue can occur. They can break and damage capillaries, and you might end up with visible veins which can make you look older – or end up with dark spots around the eye.

When your eye is feeling itchy, keep your eyelid closed to avoid any germs from entering your eye, and be gentle with rubbing. It can damage blood vessels and cause inflammation. Overall, keep your hands away from your line of vision, and wash them before rubbing or touching your sensitive eyes.

Skipping an eye exam

You may think that as long as you can see your surroundings, you have no problems with your vision. If it’s not broken, don’t fix it! So you continue to put off that eye exam appointment because you feel your eyes are fine. Not good!

Just because you can see alright, doesn’t mean there aren’t underlining issues developing. Whereas most of the rest of your body will create pain when something is wrong, your eyes do not have pain receptors and therefore symptoms reveal themselves in different ways.

An eye doctor, or ophthalmologist, has the expertise and the equipment to give you an accurate diagnosis and the best advice for your eye health. They can spot any issues, minor or major, and help to resolve or prevent anything they may put your vision at risk.

Don’t wait until you notice a difference in your vision to see an eye doctor. By that time, it may be too late. Regular visits are a must, especially as you get older.

Using expired eye health products

Do you have a habit of just holding onto medications, eye drops or solutions? Well, if you’ve been looking at the same bottle for quite some time, it’s probably past its expiry date and should be thrown away. Just because drops and solutions aren’t something you ingest through your mouth, they are still being absorbed in your body and can be dangerous once they expire.

If you wear contact lenses, expired solution is a no-no. The cleaning properties in the solution are meant to kill bacteria, so the contacts are safe to put in your eyes. Over time, these ingredients lose their potency and if they aren’t killing the bacteria, that means the bacteria is entering your eyes. The same goes for over-the-counter or prescribed drops; they, too, will become less effective post-expiry date.

You may want to do a clean sweep of your medicine cabinet and ensure your products are still safe to use. It’s not worth risking your vision over a few droplets.

Eating poorly and missing out on key nutrients

Your diet has a lot to do with your vision! Like the rest of your body, your eyes need proper nourishment, and many of those nutrients come from the foods you eat.

An eye-friendly diet consists of leafy greens, fruits and vegetables, and omega-3s – the healthy fatty acids which you can get from most fish. Two main nutrients your eyes require are lutein and zeaxanthin, which are commonly found in vegetables. These nutrients act as important disease-fighting antioxidants for the eyes and the body as a whole.

If you’re always picking up a meal on the go, it’s time to switch up your diet. What you eat can also affect how you see, so a diet filled with fresh, colorful produce, lean proteins and whole grains is your best bet for your eye health.

Your vision doesn’t need to get worse just because you’re getting older. You can take these important steps as good insurance for your eye health. By swapping out a few of these bad habits, you can keep enjoying those day-to-day activities, like going for a drive, reading the newspaper, and watching your favorite TV program, for years to come.

Reprinted with permission from Bel Marra Health.

High Fiber = Lower Weight

LewRockwell.com - Wed, 03/04/2015 - 02:01

By Dr. Mercola

In today’s world it’s harder than ever to keep your weight under control, as evidenced by the fact that two-thirds of American adults and one-third of children and teens are either overweight or obese.1

Weight management is a concern for most people, and many struggle to determine what they’re doing wrong. Even exercising regularly can fail to make a dent for some people.

It is important to understand that while exercise is certainly part of the formula for success, the foods you choose to eat are three times more important for controlling your weight than your exercise.

It’s very easy to sabotage yourself with processed foods and sweetened beverages. Many also do not get enough fiber, which research suggests may be another key component for effective weight loss.

Simply upping your fiber intake may actually help you achieve results rivaling more complicated diets. Previous research has demonstrated that fiber has appetite-suppressant qualities that helps you feel more satiated2,3,4,5 thereby preventing unhealthy snacking.

It’s also been shown to improve metabolic markers such as blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and blood sugar. Fiber also helps protect your heart6 and cardiovascular7 health, and appears to reduce mortality from all causes.8,9,10,11

High-Fiber Diet Rivals Calorie Restriction for Weight Loss

In the most recent study on fiber, the researchers12,13,14, enrolled 240 people with signs of prediabetes, randomly assigning them to one of two eating plans:

  • The American Heart Association15 (AHA) diet, which involves reducing daily calorie intake and limiting saturated fat
  • A plan that simply called for adding a minimum of 30 grams of fiber per day from fruits, vegetables, and whole grains

No exercise recommendations were provided. After one year, both groups lost about the same amount of weight. The mean weight loss for those on the AHA diet was 2.7 kilos, compared to 2.1 kilos for the high-fiber group.

Like those on the AHA diet, the high-fiber group also improved their cholesterol, blood pressure, blood sugar, and inflammation markers, although far more people proceeded to develop diabetes in the high-fiber group compared to the AHA diet—a total of seven, compared to just one in the AHA group.

Still, the researchers are encouraged by the results, which suggest that adding more fiber to your diet is a simple measure that can significantly improve your diet and health status. As noted by Time Magazine:16

“[Study author Dr. Yunsheng] Ma notes that while dietary guidelines to lower the risk of various diseases have been around for decades, obesity, heart problems and diabetes remain the most common conditions affecting Americans.

“Very few people reach the goals that are recommended,” he says. Asking them to focus on eating more of a certain food—rather than telling them what not to eat—may help people to think more positively about changes in their diet, and make the goals more achievable.

From there, it might be easier to make the other changes, such as those included in the AHA diet. ‘[Adding fiber] might be one new idea for how to get people to adhere to a diet,’ he says. That’s the first step, and perhaps most important, to eating healthier.”

Are You Getting Enough High-Quality Fiber?

Dietary guidelines call for 20-30 grams of fiber per day. I believe an ideal amount for most adults is around 32 grams daily. Most people, however, get only half that, or less—despite the fact that most eat a diet high in grains.

What many fail to realize is that grain-based fiber is far from ideal as the grains that accompany it can actually promote insulin and leptin resistance. Processed foods are also a poor source of beneficial fiber.  So what is fiber and where do you find the good stuff? There are basically two types:

  • Soluble fiber, found in cucumbers, blueberries, beans, and nuts. Soluble fiber dissolves into a gel-like texture, helping to slow down your digestion. This helps you to feel full longer, which can help with weight control
  • Insoluble fiber, found in foods like dark green leafy vegetables, green beans, celery, and carrots, does not dissolve and helps add bulk to your stool. This helps food to move through your digestive tract more quickly for healthy elimination

Many whole foods, especially fruits and vegetables, naturally contain bothsoluble and insoluble fiber. This is ideal, as both help feed the microorganisms living in your gut. These beneficial bacteria in turn assist with digestion and absorption of your food, and play a significant role in your immune function.

The same cannot be said for grains (including whole grains) and processed foods, as the carbohydrates found in both can serve as fodder for microorganisms that tend to be detrimental to health. Gliadin and lectins in grains may also increase intestinal permeability or leaky gut syndrome.

Leaky gut can cause digestive symptoms such as bloating, gas, and abdominal cramps, as well as cause or contribute to many others symptoms such as fatigue, skin rashes, joint pain, allergies, psychological symptoms, and more.

So, to maximize your health benefits, focus on eating more vegetables, nuts, and seeds. Following is a small sampling of foods that contain high levels of soluble and insoluble fiber.

A simple tip to increase the amount of fiber and biodense nutrients in your diet would be to add sunflower sprouts to your meal. They work great in salads but can also be added to virtually any dish to radically improve its nutrition.

Organic whole husk psyllium is another effective option. Taking it three times a day could add as much as 18 grams of dietary fiber (soluble and insoluble) to your diet. Opting for an organic version of psyllium will prevent exposure to pesticides, herbicides and chemical fertilizers, as conventional psyllium is a very heavily sprayed crop. I also recommend choosing one that does not contain additives or sweeteners, as these tend to have a detrimental effect on your microbiome.

Boost Your Health and Weight Loss Efforts by Eating More Fiber

There’s little doubt that fiber is an important part of a healthy diet. According to a report17 by the Council for Responsible Nutrition Foundation (CRNF), if American adults over the age of 55 with heart disease took psyllium dietary fiber daily, it could reduce health care costs by nearly $4.4 billion a year. These savings would primarily be related to reductions in heart disease-related medical events. The report estimated that it costs a mere 30 cents per day to take psyllium fiber at “preventive intake levels,” noting that it also helps support healthy cholesterol levels by inhibiting its absorption in your intestine.

Just keep in mind that all sources of fiber are not created equal. Fresh whole vegetables are among the best. And while many recommend whole grains, I caution against whole grains if you’re already struggling with insulin and leptin resistance—and half of all Americans are—as whole grains will raise your insulin and leptin levels, thereby exacerbating your condition.

Moreover, processed grains and processed foods boasting added fiber are more or less worthless, and will not provide you with the health benefits you’re looking for. If you still fall short of the recommended 30-32 grams per day (20 grams being a bare minimum), consider adding organic psyllium husk and/or sprouted sunflower seeds to your diet, both of which can help bring you closer to this ideal amount, along with plenty of high-fiber vegetables such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and cauliflower. To learn even more about how you can optimize your health through diet, please refer to my free online nutrition plan.

Effortless Healing – One Step at a Time – NOW AVAILABLE!

My newest book, Effortless Healing is now available! I’ve organized this book into a guide that will help you avoid the many pitfalls of the conventional approach to health. Rather than relying on expensive and potentially dangerous drugs, I will help you effortlessly make small shifts in what you eat and how you live to achieve your health goals. I promise, Effortless Healing isn’t a book that will overwhelm you. On top of that, ordering the book today entitles you to 3 exclusive bonuses:

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That’s right. When you order a copy of my new book Effortless Healing, you’ll be making a much-deserved donation to the key organizations that work quietly and efficiently behind the scenes to make the world a healthier place for you, your family, and your community.

Among them, you’ll be benefiting and supporting the actions of:

  • National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC) – A non-profit organization that seeks to prevent vaccine injuries and deaths through public education and defending your right of informed choice.
  • Organic Consumers Association (OCA) – A grassroots public interest organization campaigning for health, justice, and sustainability, and addressing food safety, GMOs, the industrial agricultural complex, children’s health, and more. The ONLY U.S. organization focused exclusively on the interests that you and I share!
  • Consumers for Dental Choice – Children, the unborn, and employees in the dental field are particularly vulnerable to mercury. But so is everyone with a mouthful of amalgam fillings (which are 50% mercury) at risk. Consumers for Dental Choice is working to phase out amalgam use and to promote access to mercury-free alternatives.
  • Fluoride Action Network (FAN) – An international coalition aimed at ending water fluoridation and alerting you to fluoride’s environmental and health risks. FAN keeps you informed about fluoride toxicity, and monitors government actions that may expose you to fluoride.

Are you ready to get started? The timing has never been better. Order your copy of Effortless Healing today, collect your free gifts, and let your journey begin!

Sources and References

The Swaggering Goofiness of the US Empire

LewRockwell.com - Wed, 03/04/2015 - 02:01

The United States and Russia still maintain vast nuclear arsenals of mutual assured destruction, putting the future of humanity in jeopardy every instant. But an unnerving nonchalance has settled over the American side which has become so casual about the risk of cataclysmic war that the West’s propaganda and passions now ignore Russian fears and sensitivities.

A swaggering goofiness has come to dominate how the United States reacts to Russia, with American politicians and journalists dashing off tweets and op-eds, rushing to judgment about the perfidy of Moscow’s leaders, blaming them for almost anything and everything.

A nuclear test detonation carried out in Nevada on April 18, 1953.

These days, playing with nuclear fire is seen as a sign of seriousness and courage. Anyone who urges caution and suggests there might be two sides to the U.S.-Russia story is dismissed as a wimp or a stooge. A what-me-worry “group think” has taken hold across the U.S. ideological spectrum. Fretting about nuclear annihilation is so 1960s.

So, immediately after last Friday night’s murder of Russian opposition figure Boris Nemtsov, the West’s media began insinuating that Russian President Vladimir Putin was somehow responsible even though there was no evidence or logic connecting him to the shooting, just 100 meters from the Kremlin, probably the last place Russian authorities would pick for a hit.

But that didn’t stop the mainstream U.S. news media from casting blame on Putin. For instance, the New York Times published an op-ed by anti-Putin author Martha Gessen saying: “The scariest thing about the murder of Boris Nemtsov is that he himself did not scare anyone,” suggesting that his very irrelevance was part of a sinister political message.

Though no one outside the actual killers seems to know yet why Nemtsov was gunned down, Gessen took the case several steps further explaining how – while Putin probably didn’t finger Nemtsov for death – the Russian president was somehow still responsible. She wrote:

“In all likelihood no one in the Kremlin actually ordered the killing — and this is part of the reason Mr. Nemtsov’s murder marks the beginning of yet another new and frightening period in Russian history. The Kremlin has recently created a loose army of avengers who believe they are acting in the country’s best interests, without receiving any explicit instructions. Despite his lack of political clout, Mr. Nemtsov was a logical first target for this menacing force.”

So, rather than wait for actual evidence to emerge, the Times published Gessen’s conclusions and then let her spin off some even more speculative interpretations. Yet, basing speculation upon speculation is almost always a bad idea, assuming you care about fairness and accuracy.

Remember how after the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995, some terrorism “experts” not only jumped to the false conclusion that the attack was a case of Islamic terrorism but that Oklahoma was chosen to send a message to Americans that no part of the country was safe. But the terrorist turned out to be a white right-wing extremist lashing out at the federal government.

While surely hard-line Russian nationalists, who resented Nemtsov’s support for the U.S.-backed Ukrainian regime in Kiev, should be included on a list of early suspects, there are a number of other possibilities that investigators must also consider, including business enemies, jealous rivals and even adversaries within Russia’s splintered opposition – though that last one has become a target of particular ridicule in the West.

Yet, during my years at the Associated Press, one of my articles was about a CIA “psychological operations” manual which an agency contractor prepared for the Nicaraguan Contra rebels noting the value of assassinating someone on your own side to create a “martyr” for the cause. I’m in no way suggesting that such a motive was in play regarding Nemtsov’s slaying but it’s not as if this idea is entirely preposterous either.

My point is that even in this age of Twitter when everyone wants to broadcast his or her personal speculation about whodunit to every mystery, it would be wise for news organization to resist the temptation. Surely, if parallel circumstances occurred inside the United States, such guess work would be rightly dismissed as “conspiracy theory.”

Read the Whole Article

FBI’s ‘Smoking Gun’ Video of the Boston Bombing

LewRockwell.com - Wed, 03/04/2015 - 02:01

What do former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, an appeals court justice, several potential members of the Boston Marathon bombing jury and thousands of regular Americans have in common?

They all believe that they’ve seen a video of accused bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev dropping a deadly backpack behind victims at the marathon on April 15, 2013—a video his defense said “does NOT actually exist.”

In a pre-trial hearing yesterday, Tsarnaev defense attorney David Bruck argued that the April 18, 2013, press conference in which former Boston FBI Special Agent in Charge Richard DesLauriers identified the brothers should be excluded from evidence. That, he argued, is because the FBI agent described the video footage that doesn’t really exist, which subsequently was used to convict Tsarnaev in the media.

U.S. District Judge George A. O’Toole ordered the defense and prosecution to edit the recording of DesLauriers’ press conference in a manner satisfactory to both sides. He reserved the right to rule on the defense’s motion to suppress the entire recording if the two sides can’t agree.

Read the Whole Article

Dump Biotech, Short Central Banks

LewRockwell.com - Wed, 03/04/2015 - 02:01

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate. I … January is marked with for consumers and the financial markets … get lots of optimistic views of white there to kill investments are gonna go up … sometimes we like to divert from that point of view … and Jack Otter Editor Barron’s the common for the opposite point of view I’ve gotten Mark Palmer who is editor of the boom boom and doom report … I got the drawn to … the gloom doom and gloom reports … on mark to give us your outlook for the global economy in twenty fifty … well I think it would OPEC different parts of the world to America as we selected American Norse America Canada Mexico … and in Europe and binned the emerging market calm breaks was known to be Asia … and Africa and Central Asia the Middle East … then have to say that Europe is unlikely to grow … maybe grows by one percent to eighty contracts by one percent to be … statistical other nations … I don’t think that the U S economy speaking uprising slowing down … and in emerging economies we have no gross at the present I … in some countries they may be growing a one two percent than in others they Harry’s of contraction the new dos new production … the Chinese economy which is … the dominant emerging economy in the world … he said that the slowing down … being the only other hand has probably at the present time around five six percent growth … rate in general … you tobacco aches for staff cannot … even go back to the global reserve accumulation that they’re not … so I think that who face a disappointing two thousand and fifteen in terms of … economic growth … India sounds like you’re only bright spot there … whoa in terms of gross yes but don’t forget last year in dollar terms the stock market was up thirty five percent … and the chairman of the new capital from the Fed to from the was up close to fifty percent last year … twenty outperformed the in the seas … I don’t think that these will be repeated maybe will go up another fifteen percent or so … but in general I think a lot of my kids … are that not terribly explains the Renault … bargains any good news sounds like a soaring price twelve × topped the Barron’s full conference I think it was in October … I think the Chinese economy slowing down but the stock of the two will go up to the markets … and the economy can move in different directions … and said that there is a lot of central bank interventions that … expectations buying basis while … the central bank will do what makes … and so in basis ironing the stops in the expectation that the … Bank of China was thinking he’s … so into this sign environment where do you invest where were one of their money … well I mean I think they are there for the first time in a long time since two thousand and seven teams thousand and eight … actually some shorting opportunities … some coconut shorting some … sectors I thing is quite dangerous to short EU stops … this um it may come and take him over … the country line with the exit so … that I would say that BdB you know some CDC’s like the biotechnology index the Psalm and the very Heidi and … social media … ETA these are relatively high tea in my opinion … Bibi other people at the frontier was … or that the stops in that same icon Doctor … I stopped eating dates is on the high side … reading these are shorting opportunities I think … you say in the least probably stayed a short … although it’s a very oversold and send them is a negative second rebound like the euro … the police concerns about the U S dollar is enormous … so we may have a setback in the rebound the euro’s … I think it at my bake … he’s the I cord short … central banks I would short central banks into was out on and defeat in that is I think … investors … will suddenly realize … what the scam central banking fees … and then Daewoo was competence … and based only one way to short central banks idea and I went to to buy gold … ah so … are you long gold are you three as on long gold up in great Moallem gold things that … need nineteen nineties … and dare I polls recently became more … and I think if someone really wanted to make a lot of money in gold … he’s the higher your risk proposition Venetian by … the small mining stocks like the TT exchange their junior year I guess that the ice data that tends to do with … better than the old one it does well and were so a lesson that absolutely … last year when gold went up by fifteen percent … in the first few months … of two was thousand and fourteen … the GDX stayed with the forty percent so … it’s more much more what

Reprinted from MarcFaberNews.com.

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