Sunday, May 01, 2016

Dear friends, I came across this article last Thursday and the stock market continued its fall on Friday. What's going on? Well the market dropped greatly in January and only recovered in February because the big companies were buying back their own stocks. The only reason I can think of was to convince "mom and pop" that it is safe to invest again, whereupon the big companies could then buy back their stocks during a momentary drop and later sell them at higher prices thanks to "mom and pop's" investments. But the truth of the matter is that the U.S. government has been lying about the prosperity of the country. They claim that there is only 5% unemployment and that all who want jobs have found one. Big lie! Actually there is 23% unemployment. Moreover, about 50% of American "moms and pops" have no money to spare whatsoever. Playing the stock markets is out of the question for them. Ironically, the big corporations have bitten the government's lies hook, line, and sinker. So dear reader, you should bet against the Dow, Standard and Poors, and Nasdaq, or if that scares you, simply buy a few high quality gold and silver stocks, such as AEM, FNV and SLW (Look them up; they're up 50, 34, and 44% since last October and should continue to rise as other components of the stock markets collapse).



This Indicator Is Still Flashing A Bear Market Warning 

The NYSE just released the margin debt numbers for March and, considering the rally in stocks we’ve seen, it wasn’t much of an uptick. In fact, the nominal level of margin debt remains well below its 12-month average.


The 12-month rate of change, which is pretty tightly correlated with stocks’ same rate of change, is also still negative.



Now this sort of a downtrend in margin debt doesn’t always lead to a bear market but let’s put it into some context. Not only is margin debt now in a downtrend, it’s coming off of the highest absolute (top chart) and relative (chart below) highs ever seen.


And if you think if margin debt as a simple indicator of potential supply and demand for stocks (when borrowing is low there is great potential demand and vice versa), this should have you worried about another bear market. And the statistics bear this out.

When margin debt has reached relative extremes it has been a very good indicator of, in the words of Warren Buffett, broad investor, “fear and greed.” To demonstrate, when financial speculation relative to the overall size of the economy has been very low, forward 3-year returns have been very good and vice versa.


What’s important to note today is that margin debt is now in a downtrend and its massive relative size suggests returns over the next 3 years will be very poor. In other words, based solely on this one measure, buying stocks today presents investors with a great deal of risk for very little potential reward.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Here below I have stacked three of Paul Craig Roberts' recent blog posts, all on the theme of how the U.S. is driving Europe do the U.S.'s will at the expence of their freedom, wealth, and safety. I strongly suggest that you click on the link provided in the first one. It's a real eye opener!



Washington Is Forcing Its European Vassals To Accept 2nd Wave of Immigrants

April 23, 2016 | Original Here | If you wish to receive his newsletter via email go to Original and sign up at bottom.

Washington Is Forcing Its European Vassals To Accept 2nd Wave of Immigrants

The Obama Regime forced the EU to accept millions of refugees from Washington’s failed wars in the Middle East and Africa. Now the Obama Regime is forcing the EU to accept millions of refugees from its failed policy in Ukraine. Europe as we once knew it no longer exists. Washington has thrown the European peoples into the trash bin of history.

http://sputniknews.com/europe/20160423/1038492048/ukraine-visa-free-regime-analysis.html


Another Letter from the Netherlands

April 23, 2016  |  Original Here

Another Letter from the Netherlands

Dear Dr Roberts, As another citizen from the Netherlands, I would like to join Steven who wrote the letter that you sent us today. Like Steven, I am appalled at our Government’s and Parliament’s constant, blind submission to Washington. Even the liberal, progressive press very subtly demonizes Russia on a daily basis, and 9/11 truth is absolutely taboo. And although the Dutch people voted against a treaty with Ukraine in a referendum recently, the Government just put the ‘Nee’ aside, since it was only advisory, and Brussels is keen on implementing the treaty. We also very loyally take part in all of NATO’s utterly provocative ‘exercises’ on Russia\’s very borders. And our Parliament does not have the guts to question this or insist on a definitive MH17 report. You have said it correctly again and again: we are nothing but a vassal state to Washington. On top of it all, this week has seen another shameful event: the Dutch Air Force wants to buy 4 American Reaper drones, and arm them, but the Minister of Defense has told the Air Force not to talk about it ‘because there is not enough money to buy them’; see the article from a quality newspaper, which basically says: ‘DoD tells Air Force to shut up about drone programme.’ http://www.volkskrant.nl/binnenland/defensie-snoert-luchtmacht-de-mond-over-nederlands-droneprogramma~a4283380/ I am outraged. If you would like to use my message, please feel free to do so, but anonymously, of course. Thank you for your relentless excellent work, Best regards, Annelies


Letter from Europe

April 23, 2016  |  Original Here

Letter from Europe

Dear Sir, Inside of 25 years I’ve observed the shift of the mass-media in Europe from somehow different and somehow independent /original and free as much the official media can be in this “democracy-capitalism” to a “European Media” which is absolutely identical and absolutely uniformity qua content, being different only the name of that media and the country language . Does not matter the language I read (English, Dutch, Romanian, French, Italian…) it is almost the same text, very badly translated from a general source, I suppose. The only “free” journal in the West it is “Le Monde Diplomatique” from France!  Mass media in Europe is an Imperial Orthodoxy of an Orwellian informational terrorism in one absolute monotone monologue of one schizophrenic world. About your Dutch correspondent, he said the truth, but I would like to add that according to my experience a lot of Dutch people don’t agree with the Dutch gov. and Parliament, which are only a machine to repeat what USA/Israel and Bruxelles has to say! The manipulation, brainwashing and the diktat of “political correctness” and “we know better, always” are the perfect picture of our political ruling class. It is sometime worst than some periods of Stalin proletarian cultism or Mao’s so called “cultural revolution. Yes it is a Western democracy “cultural revolution” of His Majesty The LIE!   About anti-Russian propaganda, the insanity has reached the infinite!  Even Shakespeare/Dostoevsky/Kafka and Cervantes are out of words to explain such insanity. To me as a doctor it is crystal clear that all politicians in West are really psycho-sociopaths. No chance left! I can say this because I was living 38 years on the other side of the Iron Curtain, I know perfectly all it was about in all former Communist Socialist systems, but sometime painfully I discovered that the Western democracy (if exists) is worst then that! Therefore I highly appreciate what are you doing. I would like to thank you and to all like you, trying to do something positive for this world.





Monday, April 18, 2016

Paul Craig Roberts is just one year younger than me and we both took 4-year degrees from technical universities, mine from Carnegie Tech, his from Georgia Tech. We both took 6 years to get our PhDs, mine in Physics from Brown University, his in Economics from the University of Virginia ...after spending his last year in Oxford. After being a post doc I became a midlevel government employee at the Naval Research Laboratory and Washington, DC, whereas he began as a member of Congressional Staff (also DC) and rose to Assistant Secretary for Economic Policy under Ronald Reagan. At the time I scoffed at Reagan as being a movie actor rather than what it takes to be President of the USA. However, PCR has made the point that Reagan may be the only American President ever to stop a war, rather than start one. And PCR, being an academic had many university appointments and took part in many high-level think tanks, where he met face-to-face all of the neocons that are today pushing for an all-out war with Russia and China …which if it reaches an exchange of nuclear weapons would likely kill us all. For this reason, dear reader, please read my re-post below of PCR’s latest blog and mention it to your friends, because they will never hear of it from the despicable “mainstream media” (who PCR terms “presstitutes”).


How The American Neoconservatives Destroyed Mankind’s Hopes For Peace — Paul Craig Roberts

April 18, 2016 | Original Here | If you wish to receive his newsletter via email go to Original and sign up at bottom.

How The American Neoconservatives Destroyed Mankind’s Hopes For Peace


Paul Craig Roberts


When Ronald Reagan turned his back on the neoconservatives, fired them, and had some of them prosecuted, his administration was free of their evil influence, and President Reagan negotiated the end of the Cold War with Soviet President Gorbachev. The military/security complex, the CIA, and the neocons were very much against ending the Cold War as their budgets, power, and ideology were threatened by the prospect of peace between the two nuclear superpowers.


I know about this, because I was part of it. I helped Reagan create the economic base for bringing the threat of a new arms race to a failing Soviet economy in order to pressure the Soviets into agreement to end the Cold War, and I was appointed to a secret presidential committee with subpeona power over the CIA. The secret committee was authorized by President Reagan to evaluate the CIA’s claim that the Soviets would prevail in an arms race. The secret committee concluded that this was the CIA’s way of perpetuting the Cold War and the CIA’s importance.


The George H. W. Bush administration and its Secretary of State James Baker kept Reagan’s promises to Gorbachev and achieved the reunification of Germany with promises that NATO would not move one inch to the East.


The corrupt Clintons, for whom the accumulation of riches seems to be their main purpose in life, violated the assurances given by the United States that had ended the Cold War. The two puppet presidents—George W. Bush and Obama—who followed the Clintons lost control of the US government to the neocons, who promptly restarted the Cold War, believing in their hubris and arrogance that History has chosen the US to exercise hegemony over the world.


Thus was mankind’s chance for peace lost along with America’s leadership of the world. Under neocon influence, the United States government threw away its soft power and its ability to lead the world into a harmonious existance over which American influence would have prevailed.


Instead the neocons threatened the world with coercion and violence, attacking eight countries and fomenting “color revolutions” in former Soviet republics.


The consequence of this crazed insanity was to create an economic and military strategic alliance between Russia and China. Without the neocons’ arrogant policy, this alliance would not exist. It was a decade ago that I began writing about the strategic alliance between Russia and China that is a response to the neocon claim of US world hegemony. http://www.rense.com/general77/tus.htm


The strategic alliance between Russia and China is militarily and economically too strong for Washington. China controls the production of the products of many of America’s leading corporations, such as Apple. China has the largest foreign exchange reserves in the world. China can, if the government wishes, cause a massive increase in the American money supply by dumping its trillions of dollars of US financial assets.


To prevent a collapse of US Treasury prices, the Federal Reserve would have to create trillions of new dollars in order to purchase the dumped financial instruments. The rest of the world would see another expansion of dollars without an expansion of real US output and become skepical of the US dollar. If the world abandoned the US dollar, the US government could no longer pay its bills.


Europe is dependent on Russian energy. Russia can cut off this energy. There are no alternatives in the short-run, and perhaps not in the long run. If Russia shuts off the energy, Germany industry shuts down. Europeans freeze to death in the winter. Despite these facts, the neocons have forced Europe to impose economic sanctions on Russia. What if Russia responded in kind?


NATO, as US military authorities admit, has no chance of invading Russia or withstanding a Russian attack on NATO. NATO is a cover for Washington’s war crimes. It can provide no other service.


Thanks to the greed of US corporations that boosted their profits by offshoring their production to China, China is moderinized many decades before the neocons thought possible. China’s military forces are moderized with Russian weapons technology. New Chinese missiles make the vaunted US Navy and its aircraft carriers obsolete.


The neocons boast how they have surrounded Russia, but it is America that is surrounded by Russia and China, thanks to the incompetent leadership that the US has had beginning with the Clintons. Judging from Killary’s support in the current presidential primaries, many voters seem determined to perpetuate incompetent leadership.


Despite being surrounded, the neocons are pressing for war with Russia which means also with China. If Killary Clinton makes it to the White House, we could get the neocon’s war.


The neocons have flocked to the support of Killary. She is their person. Watch the feminized women of America put Killary in office. Keep in mind that Congress gave its power to start wars to the president.


The United States does not have a highly intelligent or well informed population. The US owes its 20th century dominance to World War I and World War II which destroyed more capable countries and peoples. America became a superpower because of the self-destruction of other countries.


Despite neocon denials that their hubris has created a powerful alliance against the US, a professor at the US Navy War College stresses the reality of the Russian-Chinese strategic alliance. http://sputniknews.com/world/20160414/1037981155/russia-china-cooperation.html Last August a joint Russian-Chinese sea and air exercise took place in the Sea of Japan, making it clear to America’s Japanese vassal that it was defenseless if Russia and China so decided.


The Russian defense minister Sergey Shoigu said that the joint exercise illustrates the partnership between the two powers and its stabilizing effect on that part of the world.


Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said that Russian-Chinese relations are able to resist any international crises.


The only achievements of the American neoconservatives are to destroy in war crimes millions of peoples in eight countries and to send the remnant populations fleeing into Europe as refugees, thus undermining the American puppet governments there, and to set back the chances of world peace and American leadership by creating a powerful strategic alliance between Russia and China.


This boils down to extraordinary failure. It is time to hold the neoconservatives accountable, not elect another puppet for them to manipulate.




Friday, April 08, 2016

For the last couple of years I have been listening to investment advisor's advice (rarely followed) and what they make of the economy (a few think it OK, but most of those whom I perceive to be the best and brightests forsee a major market crash with grave consequences to both the rich and poor). A few strong indications of this can be found in my previous pair of blog re-posts. Here below I am re-posting an article by Bill Bonner, a very rich and very savvy Republican who nevertheless has genuine sympathy for the working poor. Here he tells us all the best way to save our nesteggs and our cash before our banks crash ...which they certainly will.


Original here: http://bonnerandpartners.com/our-favorite-way-to-own-gold/ 

BALTIMORE – We live in a world of sin and sorrow, infected by a fraudulent democracy, Facebook, and a corrupt money system.

Wheezing, weak, and weary from the exertion of trying to appear “normal,” the economy staggers on.

Last week, we gained some insight into the ailment. Something in the diagnosis has puzzled us for years: How is it possible for the most advanced economy in the history of the world to make such a mess of its most basic bodily functions – getting and spending?

Poison Money

By our calculations – backed by studies, hunches, and deep research – the typical American man (it is less true for women) earns less in real, disposable income per hour today than he did 30 years ago.

He goes to buy a car or a house, and he finds he must work longer to pay the bill than he would have in the last years of the Reagan administration.

How is that possible? What kind of economic quackery do you need to stop capitalism from increasing the value of workers’ time?

What kind of policies and circumstances are required to stiffen its joints… clog up its innards… and rot its brain?

Globalization? Financialization? Bad trade deals? Too much red tape? Too many cronies? Too many zombies?

All of those things played a role. But our answer is simpler: poison money.

The bigger the dose… the sicker it got.

When you say you “have some money,” you usually believe that there is, somewhere, an electronic database in which it is recorded that you are the owner of some amount of currency.

You have $100,000 in your account, right?

Does it mean that there is a little cubbyhole somewhere, with your name on it, in which you will find a stack of 1,000 Ben Franklins?

Nope. Not even close.

No cubbyhole. No stack of money. No nothing.

Does it mean the bank is carefully guarding some 1s and 0s, digital information proving that it at least “stores” your money in its database?

Nope again!

What it means is there is a financial institution of uncertain integrity… with a complex electronic balance sheet of uncertain accuracy… listing alleged financial claims and contracts of uncertain quality…

…and that you are one of the many thousands of entries on the debit side… with a claim to a certain number of dollars… which the institution may or may not have, each of uncertain value.

Today, banks – and this could be said of the entire financial system – no longer have “money.” They have credits and debits. Your deposit is your bank’s liability and your asset.

But look at the balance sheet. You don’t know how many of the claims shown on the left are right… or whether, when the other creditors get finished with it, any of the assets shown on the right are left.

All you know is that the system works. Until it doesn’t.

System Seizure

For many months, we have urged readers to prepare themselves for problems.

One day, the accumulation of contradictions, misinformation, and plain old “trash” in the system will cause a seizure. You will go to the ATM, and it won’t work. That day, your life could take a big turn to the downside… depending on how widespread the problem is… the cause of it… and how you prepared for it.

Of course, we don’t know for sure that that day will ever come. We are always in doubt, especially about our own forecasts.

Still, the potential problem seems likely enough… and grave enough… to justify some minimal precautions. You might cross the street blindfolded without getting run down, but it is still a good idea to look both ways.

Usually, we look to the right… where we see the problems inherent in a credit-based money system.

The feds can create all the credit they want. But real people can’t pay an infinite amount of debt service. Like a junkyard dog reaching the limit of his chain, the credit cycle has a way of jerking people back to reality.

Real Money

But there are other potential problems coming from the left…

An electronic, credit-based money system is fragile.

It can be hacked by thieves. It can be attacked by terrorists. It can be shut down by accident. Even a “bug” could bring it to its knees.

And then what? How will you get money? How will you spend it? How will you buy gasoline or food?

Our advice: Keep some cash on hand. Make sure you own some gold, too – real gold, coins that you can hold in your hand and you can flip to your grandchildren.

“Hey kid,” you say with a knowing and superior air, “take a look at this. This is real money. You don’t have to plug it in.”

By the way… Gold just had its best quarter in 30 years.

Do buyers know something?

Maybe.

Regards,




Bill

Further Reading: If you haven’t heard Bill’s warning about an ATM shutdown yet, you’re leaving yourself dangerously exposed…

There’s a massive crisis looming in the global financial system. And it when it finally hits, every service you've come to depend on – from your bank to your grocery store to our federal government – will shut down.

But Bill’s warning is more than just doom and gloom, he also has some easy-to-follow advice for protecting yourself. Find full details here
 _________________

Bill Bonner is Chairman of Bonner & Partners and found of the Agora. In his daily newsletter, Bill Bonner’s Diary, Bill shares his decades of accrued knowledge about history, politics, society, finance, and economics.

Monday, April 04, 2016

What a perfect story to have followed the one below! I have listened to many experts on investing who, once they get you hooked, announce that there is a price for their advice. However, in all of the many months that I have come across articles by Mike Larson, he has been giving away the knowledge I've wanted for free. For example, we are now made aware of the fact that car sales are tanking. What more do we need to realize that the U.S. economy is an the verge of a crash that might well exceed that of 1929. I believe that buying gold or silver now while its cheep is your best way to protect your wealth.



Right on Cue, Auto Sales Tank; Here’s What to Watch for Next …

Mike Larson | Monday, April 4, 2016 at 4:20 pm

The market’s focus on Friday was squarely on jobs. Investors apparently decided the employment situation was good enough that stocks should be bought, and the Dow edged ever closer to 18,000.

But is there something ELSE investors like you should be paying attention to? I think so. I’m talking about fading auto sales!

Frankly, the March numbers stunk up the joint. The seasonally adjusted annual rate of sales ended up coming in at 16.6 million. That missed the average forecast of 17.3 million by a country mile. It also represented a 3.1% drop from March and a drop of almost 1 million vehicles from February.

March auto sales were the weakest since
February 2015.
As a matter of fact, sales were the weakest since February 2015. They would have been even weaker if automakers hadn’t boosted incentive spending by 10% from a year earlier to $3,005 per vehicle, according to TrueCar. To top it all off, this March had two more selling days than last March. That means the headline results are even more disappointing once you look under the hood.

I’ve been focusing so closely on autos for the past several months because what’s going on in that industry has major implications for the economy. Just like with the broader credit cycle, the boom/bubble cycle in auto lending and leasing also appears to be taking a turn for the worse.

Specifically, auto-loan delinquencies and defaults are rising fast. That’s forcing lenders to begin tightening standards.

That, in turn, will put downward pressure on vehicle sales and upward pressure on already-bloated auto inventories. Companies like General Motors (GM), Ford (F), and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCAU) will have to respond by cutting back on production and laying off workers, hurting U.S. GDP growth.

My advice? Stay away from auto stocks, many of which are vastly under performing the broader market. Several got hit hard Friday and today, even as the overall market rallied or remained relatively stable – and they look vulnerable to even sharper declines in the coming weeks and months if the auto-lending bubble continues to burst.

Here Paul Craig Roberts is again focusing on the fake U.S. job results. So as a preamble, I am including below "The ShadowStats Alternate Unemployment Rate for March 2016 is 22.9%" ...as permited by ShadowStats.com at http://www.shadowstats.com/alternate_data/unemployment-charts. Note that all officially discouraged workers "were defined out of official existence in 1994". So adding those "out of official existance" to the "U-6 unemployment" rate now proves that about 23% of all Americans are out of work or working only part time. Nevertheless, the Fed and the Stock Markets(!) are running on the (incorrect) assumption that about 95% of all Americans are employed and thus boosting the economy by consuming. What do you think will happen when they find out the truth?

 
























Jobs Report Blues — Paul Craig Roberts

April 2, 2016 | Original Here | Use original and sign up at the bottom if you wish to receive his newsletter via email

Jobs Report Blues

Paul Craig Roberts

On Friday the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that there were 215,000 new jobs in March.

John Williams of ShadowStats.com reports that these “new jobs” result from the the Birth-Death model that “artificially inflates headline month-to-month payroll gains with add-factors that currently average well in excess of 200,000 jobs per month.”

In other words, the jobs are the product of a model’s assumption that unreported new start-ups created 200,000 more jobs than unreported business failures lost.

To look at the jobs report in a different way, assume March did bring 215,000 new jobs and ask, “which sectors had jobs gains?” The answer is the same as has been the case since I began years ago reporting on the payroll jobs report:

Retail trade accounts for 47,700 of the jobs.

Health care and social assistance account for 44,000 of the jobs.

Waitresses and bartenders account for 24,800 of the jobs.

Manufacturing lost 29,000 jobs.

Part-time jobs without benefits comprise a rising percentage of US employment.

In the 21st century the main source of corporate profits has been lower labor costs achieved by offshoring US jobs and by bringing in lower-paid foreigners on work visas. This practice stopped the growth of US real median family income. Federal Reserve policy kept consumer demand alive by expanding consumer credit, which substituted a rise in consumer indebtedness for the missing growth in consumer income. Today the growth of consumer credit is limited by the absence of income growth to service the debt.

In short, corporations maximized short-run profits by ruining their domestic consumer market along with the personal income and sales tax base for government. It is unclear that this extraordinary mistake can be unwound.



Wednesday, March 30, 2016

"The Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave"? The later is surely true, but nothing is being done to care for our troops when the survivers return physically or mentally damaged. And if you believe the former is true, read below to learn about how our Constitution has now been virtually destroyed.


Does The United States Still Exist? — Paul Craig Roberts

March 26, 2016 | Original Here | Use original if you wish to receive his newsletter via email

Does The United States Still Exist?
An address delivered to the Libertarian Party of Florida on March 23, 2016 in Destin, Florida

Paul Craig Roberts

To answer the question that is the title, we have to know of what the US consists. Is it an ethnic group, a collection of buildings and resources, a land mass with boundaries, or is it the Constitution. Clearly what differentiates the US from other countries is the US Constitution. The Constitution defines us as a people. Without the Constitution we would be a different country. Therefore, to lose the Constitution is to lose the country.

Does the Constitution still exist? Let us examine the document and come to a conclusion.

The Constitution consists of a description of a republic with three independent branches, legislative, executive, and judicial, each with its own powers, and the Bill of Rights incorporated as constitutional amendments. The Bill of Rights describes the civil liberties of citizens that cannot be violated by the government.

Article I of the Constitution describes legislative powers. Article II describes executive powers, and Article III describes the power of the judiciary. For example, Article I, Section 1 gives all legislative powers to Congress. Article I, Section 8 gives Congress the power to declare war.

The Bill of Rights protects citizens from the government by making law a shield of the people rather than a weapon in the hands of the government.

The First Amendment protects the freedom of speech, the press, and assembly or public protest.

The Second Amendment gives the people the right “to keep and bear arms.”

The Third Amendment has to do with quartering of soldiers on civilians, a large complaint against King George III, but not a practice of present-day armies.


The Fourth Amendment grants “the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures” and prevents the issue of warrants except “upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.” The Fourth Amendment prevents police and prosecutors from going on “fishing expeditions” in an effort to find some offense with which to charge a targeted individual.

The Fifth Amendment prohibits double jeopardy, self-incrimination, the taking of life, liberty, or property without due process and the prohibition of seizing property without just compensation.

The Sixth Amendment guarantees speedy and public trial, requires that a defendent be informed of the charge against him and to be confronted with the witnesses, to present witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of an attorney.

The Seventh Amendment gives the right of trial by jury to civil suits.

The Eighth Amendment prevents excessive bail and cruel and unusual punishments.

The Ninth Amendment says that the enumeration of certain rights in the Constitution does not deny or disparage others retained by the people. In other words, people have rights in addition to the those listed in the proscriptions against the government’s use of abusive power.

The Tenth Amendment reserves the rights not delegated to the federal government to the states.

The Tenth Amendment is a dead letter amendment. The Third Amendment protects against an abandoned abusive practice of government. The Seventh Amendment is still relevant as it allows damages in civil suits to be determined by a jury, once a protection against unfairness and today not always the case.

The other seven amendments comprise the major protections of civil liberty. I will examine them in turn, but first let’s look at Section 1 and Section 8 of Article I. These two articles describe the major powers of Congress, and both articles have been breached. The Constitution’s grant of “all legislative powers” to Congress has been overturned by executive orders and signing statements. The president can use executive orders to legislate, and he can use signing statements to render sections of laws passed by Congress and signed by the president into non-enforced status. Legislative authority has also been lost by delegating to executive branch officials the power to write the regulations that implement the laws that are passed. The right that Section 8 gives to Congress to declare war has been usurped by the executive branch. Thus, major powers given to Congress have been lost to the executive branch.

The First Amendment has been compromised by executive branch claims of “national security” and by extensive classification. Whistleblowers are relentlessly prosecuted despite federal laws protecting them. The right of assembly and public protest are overturned by arrests, tear gas, clubs, rubber bullets, water cannons, and jail terms. Free speech is also limited by political correctness and taboo topics. Dissent shows signs of gradually becoming criminalized.

The Fourth Amendment is a dead letter amendment. In its place we have warrantless searches, SWAT team home invasions, strip and cavity searches, warrantless seizures of computers and cell phones, and the loss of all privacy to warrantless universal spying.

The Fifth Amendment is a dead letter amendment. The criminal justice system relies on self-incrimination as plea bargains are self-incrimination produced by psychological torture, and plea bargains are the basis of conviction in 97% of all felony cases. Moreover, physical torture is a feature of the “war on terror” despite its illegality under both US statute and international law and is also experienced by inmates in the US prison system.

The Fifth Amendment’s protection against deprivation of life, liberty, and property without due process of law has been lost to indefinite detention, executive assassination, and property takings without compensation. The Racketer Influenced Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) passed in 1970. The act permits asset freezes, which are takings. The Comprehensive Forfeiture Act passed in 1984 and permits police to confiscate property on “probable cause,” which often means merely the presence of cash.

The Sixth Amendment is a dead letter amendment. Prosecutors routinely withhold exculpatory evidence, and judges at prosecutors’ requests have limited attorneys’ ability to defend clients.The “war on terror” has introduced secret evidence and secret witnesses, making it impossible for a defendant and his attorney to defend against the evidence.

The Eighth Amendment’s prohibition of excessive bail and torture are routinely violated. It is another dead letter amendment.

It is paradoxical that every civil liberty in the Bill of Rights has been lost to a police state except for the Second Amendment, the gun rights of citizens. An armed citizenry is inconsistent with a police state, which the US now is.

Other aspects of our legal protections have been overturned, such as the long standing rule that crime requires intent. William Blackstone wrote: “An unwarrantable act without a vicious will is no crime at all.” But today we have crimes without intent. You can commit a crime and not even know it. See for example, Harvey Silverglate, Three Felonies A Day: How the Feds Target the Innocent.

Attorney-client privilege has been lost. The indictment, prosecution, and imprisonment of defense attorney Lynne Stewart is a good example. The DOJ prevailed on her to defend a blind Muslim regarded by the DOJ as a “terrorist.” She was informed that “special administrative measures” had been applied to her client. She received a letter from the federal prosecutor informing her that she and her client would not be permitted attorney-client privilege, and that she was required to permit the government to listen to her conversations with her client. She was told that she could not carry any communications from her client to the outside world. She regarded all this as illegal nonsense and proceeded to defend her client in accordance with attorney-client privilege. Lynne Stewart was convicted of violating a letter written by a prosecutor as if the prosecutor’s letter were a law passed by Congress and present in the US code. Based on a prosecutor’s letter, Lynne Stewart was sentenced to prison. No law exists that upholds her imprisonment.

Our civil liberties are often said to be “natural rights” to which we are entitled. However, in historical fact civil liberty is a human achievement that required centuries of struggle. The long struggle for accountable law that culminated in the Glorious Revolution in England in the late 17th century can be traced back to Alfred the Great’s codification of English common law in the 9th century and to the Magna Carta in the early 13th century. Instead of issuing kingly edicts, Alfred based law on the traditional customs and behavior of the people. The Glorious Revolution established the supremacy of the people over the law and held the king and government accountable to law. The United States and other former British colonies inherited this accomplishment, an accomplishment that makes law a shield of the people and not a weapon in the hands of the state.

Today law as a shield of the people has been lost. The loss was gradual over time and culminated in the George W. Bush and Obama regime assaults on habeas corpus and due process. Lawrence Stratton and I explain how the law was lost in our book, The Tyranny of Good Intentions. Beginning with Jeremy Bentham in the late 18th century, liberals saw the protective shield of law as a constraint on the government’s ability to do good. Bentham redefined liberty as the freedom of government from restraint, not the freedom of people from government. Bentham’s influence grew over time until in our own day, to use the words of Sir Thomas More in A man for All Seasons, the law was cut down so as to better chase after devils.

We cut down the law so that we could better chase after the Mafia.
We cut down the law so that we could better chase after drug users.
We cut down the law so that we could better chase after child abusers.
We cut down the law so that we could better chase after “terrorists.”
We cut down the law so that we could better chase after whistleblowers.
We cut down the law so that we could better cover up the government’s crimes.


Today the law is cut down. Any one of us can be arrested on bogus charges and be helpless to do anything about it.

There is very little concern in legal circles about this. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) does attempt to defend civil liberty. However, just as often the ACLU is not defending the civil liberties in the Bill of Rights that protect us from the abuse of government power, but newly invented “civil rights” that are not in the Constitution, such as “abortion rights,” the right to homosexual marriage, and rights to preferential treatment for preferred minorities.

An attack on abortion rights, for example, produces a far greater outcry and resistance than the successful attack on habeas corpus and due process. President Obama was able to declare his power to execute citizens by executive branch decision alone without due process and conviction in court, and it produced barely audible protest.

Historically, a government that can, without due process, throw a citizen into a dungeon or summarily execute him is considered to be a tyranny, not a democracy. By any historical definition, the United States today is a tyranny. 



Sunday, March 20, 2016

Are you left wondering what is now going on in Syria, Turkey, and the rest of the middle east? What Russia is doing now that it has stopped bombing ISIS/ISIL/Daesh jihadis? Well, Russia is now "calling the shots", not with bombs, but with diplomacy. In any event, the intrepid West Asia correspondent Pepe Escobar reports that: "It's spy thriller stuff; no one is talking. But there are indications Russia would not announce a partial withdrawal from Syria right before the Geneva negotiations ramp up unless a grand bargain with Washington had been struck. Some sort of bargain is in play, of which we still don't know the details; that's what the CIA itself is basically saying through their multiple US Think Tankland mouthpieces. And that's the real meaning hidden under a carefully timed Barack Obama interview that, although inviting suspension of disbelief, reads like a major policy change document."


OpEdNews Op Eds

Is There a US-Russia Grand Bargain in Syria?


     
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opednews.com            reprinted from Sputnik              Headlined to H3 3/19/16             Original Here


U.S and Russia Ceasefire in Syria
(image by WeAreChange, Channel: WeAreChange)
It's spy thriller stuff; no one is talking. But there are indications Russia would not announce a partial withdrawal from Syria right before the Geneva negotiations ramp up unless a grand bargain with Washington had been struck. 

Some sort of bargain is in play, of which we still don't know the details; that's what the CIA itself is basically saying through their multiple US Think Tankland mouthpieces. And that's the real meaning hidden under a carefully timed Barack Obama interview that, although inviting suspension of disbelief, reads like a major policy change document.

Obama invests in proverbial whitewashing, now admitting US intel did not specifically identify the Bashar al-Assad government as responsible for the Ghouta chemical attack. And then there are nuggets, such as Ukraine seen as not a vital interest of the US -- something that clashes head on with the Brzezinski doctrine. Or Saudi Arabia as freeloaders of US foreign policy -- something that provoked a fierce response from former Osama bin Laden pal and Saudi intel supremo Prince Turki.

Tradeoffs seem to be imminent. And that would imply a power shift has taken place above Obama -- who is essentially a messenger, a paperboy. Still that does not mean that the bellicose agendas of both the Pentagon and the CIA are now contained.

Russian intel cannot possibly trust a US administration infested with warmongering neocon cells. Moreover, the Brzezinski doctrine has failed -- but it's not dead. Part of the Brzezinski plan was to flood oil markets with shut-in capacity in OPEC to destroy Russia.That caused damage, but the second part, which was to lure Russia into an war in Ukraine for which Ukrainians were to be the cannon fodder in the name of "democracy," failed miserably. Then there was the wishful thinking that Syria would suck Russia into a quagmire of Dubya in Iraq proportions -- but that also failed miserably with the current Russian time out.

The Kurdish factor

Convincing explanations for the (partial) Russian withdrawal from Syria are readily available. What matters is that the Khmeimim air base and the naval base in Tartus remain untouched. Key Russian military advisers/trainers remain in place. Air raids, ballistic missile launches from the Caspian or the Mediterranean -- everything remains operational. Russian air power continues to protect the forces deployed by Damascus and Tehran.

As much as Russia may be downsizing, Iran (and Hezbollah) are not. Tehran has trained and weaponized key paramilitary forces -- thousands of soldiers from Iraq and Afghanistan fighting side by side with Hezbollah and the Syrian Arab Army (SAA). The SAA will keep advancing and establishing facts on the ground.

As the Geneva negotiations pick up, those facts are now relatively frozen. Which brings us to the key sticking point in Geneva -- which has got to be included in the possible grand bargain.

The grand bargain is based on the current ceasefire (or "cessation of hostilities") holding, which is far from a given. Assuming all these positions hold, a federal Syria could emerge, what could be dubbed Break Up Light.

Essentially, we would have three major provinces: a Sunnistan, a Kurdistan and a Cosmopolistan.

Sunnistan would include Deir ez-Zor and Raqqa, assuming the whole province may be extensively purged of ISIS/ISIL/Daesh.

Kurdistan would be in place all along the Turkish border -- something that would freak out Sultan Erdogan to Kingdom Come.

And Cosmopolistan would unite the Alawi/Christian/Druze/secular Sunni heart of Syria, or the Syria that works, from Damascus up to Latakia and Aleppo.

Syrian Kurds are already busy spinning that a federal Syria would be based on community spirit, not geographical confines.

Ankara's response, predictably, has been harsh; any Kurdish federal system in northern Syria represents not only a red line but an "existential threat" to Turkey. Ankara may be falling under the illusion that Moscow, with its partial demobilizing, would look the other way if Erdogan orders a military invasion of northern Syria, as long as it does not touch Latakia province.

And yet, in the shadows, lurks the possibility that Russian intel may be ready to strike a deal with the Turkish military -- with the corollary that a possible removal of Sultan Erdogan would pave the way for the reestablishment of the Russia-Turkey friendship, essential for Eurasia integration.

What the Syrian Kurds are planning has nothing to do with separatism. Syrian Kurds are 2.2 million out of a remaining Syrian population of roughly 18 million. Their cantons across the Syria-Turkey border -- Jazeera, Kobani and Afrin -- have been established since 2013. The YPG has already linked Jazeera to Kobani, and is on their way to link them to Afrin. This, in a nutshell, is Rojava province.

The Kurds across Rojava -- heavily influenced by concepts developed by imprisoned PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan -- are deep into consultations with Arabs and Christians on how to implement federalism, privileging a horizontal self-ruled model, a sort of anarchist-style confederation. It's a fascinating political vision that would even include the Kurdish communities in Damascus and Aleppo.

Moscow -- and that is absolutely key -- supports the Kurds. So they must be part of the Geneva negotiations. The Russian long game is complex; not be strictly aligned either with Damascus or with the discredited "opposition" supported and weaponized by Turkey and the GCC. Team Obama, as usual, is on the fence. There's the "NATO ally" angle -- but even Washington is losing patience with Erdogan.

The geopolitical winners and losers

Only the proverbially clueless Western corporate media was caught off-guard by Russia's latest diplomatic coup in Syria. Consistency has been the norm.

Russia has been consistently upgrading the Russia-China strategic partnership. This has run in parallel to the hybrid warfare in Ukraine (asymmetric operations mixed with economic, political, military and technological support to the Donetsk and Lugansk republics); even NATO officials with a decent IQ had to admit that without Russian diplomacy there's no solution to the war in Donbass.

In Syria, Moscow accomplished the outstanding feat of making Team Obama see the light beyond the fog of neo-con-instilled war, leading to a solution involving Syria's chemical arsenal after Obama ensnared himself in his own red line. Obama owes it to Putin and Lavrov, who literally saved him not only from tremendous embarrassment but from yet another massive Middle East quagmire.

The Russian objectives in Syria already laid out in September 2015 have been fulfilled. Jihadists of all strands are on the run -- including, crucially, the over 2,000 born in southern Caucasus republics. Damascus has been spared from regime change a la Saddam or Gaddafi. Russia's presence in the Mediterranean is secure.

Russia will be closely monitoring the current "cessation of hostilities"; and if the War Party decides to ramp up "support" for ISIS/ISIL/Daesh or the "moderate rebel" front via any shadow war move, Russia will be back in a flash. As for Sultan Erdogan, he can brag what he wants about his "no-fly zone" pipe dream; but the fact is the northwestern Syria-Turkish border is now fully protected by the S-400 air defense system.

Moreover, the close collaboration of the "4+1" coalition -- Russia, Syria, Iran, Iraq, plus Hezbollah -- has broken more ground than a mere Russia-Shi'te alignment. It prefigures a major geopolitical shift, where NATO is not the only game in town anymore, dictating humanitarian imperialism; this "other" coalition could be seen as a prefiguration of a future, key, global role for the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.

As we stand, it may seem futile to talk about winners and losers in the five-year-long Syrian tragedy -- especially with Syria destroyed by a vicious, imposed proxy war. But facts on the ground point, geopolitically, to a major victory for Russia, Iran and Syrian Kurds, and a major loss for Turkey and the GCC petrodollar gang, especially considering the huge geo-energy interests in play.

It's always crucial to stress that Syria is an energy war -- with the "prize" being who will be better positioned to supply Europe with natural gas; the proposed Iran-Iraq-Syria pipeline, or the rival Qatar pipeline to Turkey that would imply a pliable Damascus.

Other serious geopolitical losers include the self-proclaimed humanitarianism of the UN and the EU. And most of all the Pentagon and the CIA and their gaggle of weaponized "moderate rebels." It ain't over till the last jihadi sings his Paradise song. Meanwhile, "time out" Russia is watching.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

This article was called to my attention by a Paul Craig Roberts' post, wherein he provided the following prolog to this article: "TPP Is Not A Trade Agreement. The sole purpose of TTP is to give global corporations immunity to the laws of the countries in which they do business. Indeed, TPP allows a private corporation to repeal soverign laws of sovereign countries, which no longer would be sovereign. All a corporation has to do is to sue the country for 'restraint of trade' if the corporations’ profits are harmed by the country’s laws. For example, Monsanto could sue France and force the French government to repeal its laws against GMOs. As Mike Masnick writes, we were promised a debate about TPP, but did not get one. The corporations have greased all the palms with big bucks. Every government that signs on to TPP flushes its sovereignty down the toilet. Corporations are transformed into Global Emperors against whom mere citizens have no recourse."

PCR's prolog here: http://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2016/03/15/tpp-is-not-a-trade-agreement/ 

Find original tech dirt article here.

Countries Sign The TPP... Whatever Happened To The 'Debate' We Were Promised Before Signing?


from the now-the-ratification-fight dept


About an hour ago, representatives from 12 different nations officially signed the Trans Pacific Partnership (TTP) agreement in Auckland, New Zealand. The date, February 4th (New Zealand time) is noteworthy, because it's 90 days after the official text was released. There was a 90 day clock that was required between releasing the text and before the US could actually sign onto the agreement. The stated purpose of this 90 day clock was in order to allow "debate" about the agreement. Remember, the entire agreement was negotiated in secret, with US officials treating the text of the document as if it were a national security secret (unless you were an industry lobbyist, of course). So as a nod to pretend "transparency" there was a promise that nothing would be signed for 90 days after the text was actually released.

So... uh... what happened to that "debate"? It didn't happen at all. The TPP was barely mentioned at all by the administration in the last 90 days. Even during the State of the Union, Obama breezed past the TPP with a quick comment, even though it's supposedly a defining part of his "legacy." But there's been no debate. Because there was never any intent for an actual debate. The 90 day clock was just something that was put into the process so that the USTR and the White House could pretend that there was more "transparency" and that they wouldn't sign the agreement until after it had been looked at and understood by the public.

Of course, the signing is a totally meaningless bit of theater. The real fight is over ratification. The various countries need to ratify the TPP for the agreement to go into effect. Technically, the TPP will enter into force 60 days after all signers ratify it... or, if that doesn't happen, within two years if at least six of the 12 participant countries ratify it and those six countries account for 85% of the combined gross domestic product of the 12 countries. Got that? In short, this means that if the US doesn't ratify it, the TPP is effectively dead. The US needs a majority of both houses of Congress to approve it, similar to a typical bill. And that's no sure thing right now. Unfortunately, that's mainly because a group of our elected officials are upset that the TPP doesn't go far enough in helping big businesses block competition, but it's still worth following.

Inevitably, there will be some debate during the ratification process, though there are enough rumors suggesting that no one really wants to do it until after the Presidential election, because people running for President don't want to reveal that they're happy to sell out the public's interest to support a legacy business lobbyist agenda. But, even that debate will likely be fairly limited and almost certainly will avoid the real issues, and real problems, with the TPP.

Either way, today's symbolic signing should really be an exclamation point on the near total lack of transparency and debate in this process. The 90 day window was a perfect opportunity to have an actual discussion about what's in the TPP and why there are problems with it, but the administration showed absolutely no interest in doing so. And why should it? It already got the deal it wanted behind closed doors. But, at least it can pretend it used these 90 days to be "transparent."

Do you know that Janet Yellen has been guiding the Fed based on these faked data? It's like the enginer of a train being told the track ahead is clear when actually another train coming the other way. Moreover, many people who make their money on the stock market believe that the latest drops in the major markets are just minor glichs, whereas in truth the market is doomed to crash for the reasons Paul Craig Roberts explains below. So if you have positions in the stock markets, you should take your money out now and/or buy into quality gold and silver shares.


Another Phony Jobs Report

March 6, 2016 | Original Here | Use original if you wish to receive his newsletter via email

Another Phony Jobs Report  

And if true it is damning


The monthly payroll jobs reports have become a bad joke.
No growth in real retail sales, but 55,000 retail trade new jobs in February.
No growth in real consumer income, but 40,000 more waitresses and bartenders.
86,000 new jobs in Education, health services, and social assistance. February is a strange month to be hiring new teachers. If February brought a quarter million new jobs, how come a big hike in social assistance jobs?
Manufacturing lost 16,000 jobs.