26 Nov 2012

Is This Recovery "Self-Sustaining" or Merely a Mind Trick?

go to print editionCharles Hugh Smith: Perhaps the "recovery" is a Mind Trick played on the weak-minded.

Those with vested interests in the Status Quo tout data that supports the claim the "recovery" is now "self-sustaining," meaning that the economy is now expanding fast enough to fuel new growth. In this view, the Federal Reserve's extraordinary policy interventions (zero interest rate policy, $23 trillion in support provided to the global banking system, 3.4% mortgage rates, etc.) and the Federal government's unprecedented fiscal stimulus (borrow and blow $1.3 trillion a year) have done their job; the economy is now "self-sustaining," meaning that it can continue growing as Federal deficits shrink and the Fed trims its quantitative easing policies.

The data favored by the Status Quo interests are GDP (which rises when the government borrows and blows trillions of dollars), housing sales (still low compared to 2006, but better than 2011) and consumer confidence, which is hitting multi-year highs. Consumer confidence is a quasi-quantitative measure of the critical "animal spirits" that Keynesians look for to drive more borrowing and spending: if you feel wealthier for whatever reason, that confidence arouses your "animal spirits" to rush out and buy something, preferably a house and a car.

Those looking at fundamentals such as household income/debt and sales see more of a Mind Trick being played on the weak-minded.

I am Israel

I am Israel - I came to a land without a people for a people without a land. Those people who happened to be here, had no right to be here, and my people showed them they had to leave or die, razing 480 Palestinian villages to the ground, erasing their history.

"The Cash On The Sidelines" Is The Smartest Money...

Tyler Durden's picture GMO, Boston's $104bn asset-management firm, has 'given-up' on the bond market. However, this is not a clarion call for equity bulls, as the FT reports, GMO's head of asset-allocation Ben Inker notes the only time he has held more cash was in late 2007, before the financial crisis. Today's equity valuations, he notably points out, are predicated on today's profit margins being sustainable and he thinks US corporate profits are set to fall - even if growth picks up. Critically, this smart-money cash-hoarder rightly sees the problem as one prominent during the presidential election - that of income inequality. "One of the things that happens as profits grow as a per cent of gross domestic product is income becomes more and more unequal because the ownership of capital is extraordinarily uneven. And there's a natural tension that forms there from a societal perspective." So far, Inker adds, government spending has supported the economy and so profits. But a pick-up in growth requires higher consumption, and the only way to get that is through higher incomes, which must come from profits. So that's where the dry powder is Maria - in the smartest investors' hands.

The New Future Of Energy Policy

By Gregor Macdonald: Flood myths are common to human culture. Swollen rivers, tidal storms, and tsunamis make their appearance frequently in literature. But Hurricane Sandy, which has drawn newly etched high-water marks on the buildings of lower Manhattan (and Brooklyn), has shifted the discussion from storytelling to reality. Volatility in climate has drawn the attention of policy makers for a decade. But as so often is the case, a dramatic event like superstorm Sandy – the largest storm to hit New York since the colonial era – has punctured the psyche of the densely populated East Coast, including the New York-Washington, DC axis where U.S. policy is made.
Not surprisingly, in the weeks since the historical hurricane made landfall, new attention is being paid to the mounting costs that coastal world megacities may face.
Intriguingly, however, this new conversation about climate, energy policy, and America’s reliance on fossil fuels comes after a five-year period in which the U.S. has dramatically lowered its consumption of oil and seen an equally dramatic upturn in the growth of renewable energy. America’s production of CO2 in the first quarter of 2012 fell to twenty-year lows. The country is using less coal, increasing its use of natural gas, and (like the rest of the OECD) is seeing its transportation demand migrate from cars and trucks to rail. While Europe is often cited as being at the forefront of renewable power, the U.S. has also started to produce very strong growth rates for wind and solar power:

Goldman's Global Domination Is Now Complete As Its Mark Carney Takes Over Bank Of England

Tyler Durden's picture Back on July 3, we made an explicit and very simple prediction: "now that the natural succession path at the BOE has been terminally derailed, it brings up those two other gentlemen already brought up previously as potential future heads of the BOE, both of whom just happened to work, or still do, at... Goldman Sachs:  Canada's Mark Carney or Goldman's Jim O'Neil. Granted both have denied press speculation they will replace Mervyn King, but it's not like it would be the first time a banker lied to anyone now, would it (and makes one wonder if this whole affair was not merely orchestrated by the Squid from the get go... but no, that would be a 'conspiracy theory'.)"
A few weeks later, in "On The Path To Global Goldmanation: Former Goldmanite Mark Carney To Head The BOE After All?" we added:
Granted both have denied press speculation they will replace Mervyn King, but it's not like it would be the first time a banker lied to anyone now, would it (and makes one wonder if this whole affair was not merely orchestrated by the Squid from the get go...

‘Cypherpunks’: New Assange book says Internet may enslave us

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has co-authored a book arguing that the world is at a pivotal decision: Whether the Internet will free us, or enslave us. Assange, famous for his ‘hacktivism,’ used a decidedly low-tech medium for his latest polemic. Julian Assange (AFP Photo / Geoff Caddick) Titled ‘Cypherpunks: Freedom and the Future of the Internet,’ the book is partially based on RT’s ‘The World Tomorrow’ television series. In several episodes, Assange interviewed his co-authors, Jacob Applebaum of the US, Jeremie Zimmermann of France and Andy Müller-Maguhn of Germany.
The book describes cypherpunks as advocates of citizens using cryptography to secure their electronic communications from both government and corporate spying. In the book, they discuss how the Internet can be both an instrument of freedom and oppression.
‘Cypherpunks’ examines issues like government and corporate online surveillance, the filesharing phenomenon and attempts to curb it with anti-piracy laws, and how users have become willing collaborators with those who collect their personal data.
The authors claim that the world is witnessing a pivotal conflict over whether “electronic communications will emancipate or enslave us,”

Owen Jones Puts Sheeple Straight On Gaza - BBC Question Time

Owen Jones on BBC question time (November 22nd 2012) commenting on the Gaza / Israel conflict. Source

Jim Sinclair: Gold Will Not Be Confiscated, But Your Guns Will Be!

By The legendary Jim Sinclair, who yesterday advised subscribers that gold will not be confiscated in this bull market as its current function is vastly different in today’s monetary system than its role in the 1930′s, sent another alert to subscribers today clarifying that although he believes gold will not be confiscated by the government during the current bull run, GUNS WILL BE. 
Sinclair states that the Constitutionally protected state right to create and maintain a state defense force is under the cross-hairs of the Obama administration, and that The moment you see these state defense forces under the control of the state governor disbanded, the end has come. The Constitution will no longer exist and the next day I will be writing you from Buckreef in Tanzania.
Sinclair’s full Alert/Warning of the impending gun confiscation by the Obama administration is below:

From Jim Sinclair:
Every governor of every state by law can create and many have created a state defense force. That is not the national guard. As the name implies, it is a state defense force.

It is rumored that these organizations are in the crosshairs of the Administration.

The moment you see these state defense forces under the control of the state governor disbanded, the end has come. The Constitution will no longer exist and the next day I will be writing you from Buckreef in Tanzania.

Fiscal Cliff An Artificial Crisis - Michael Hudson

Fiscal cliff was manufactured to shift more of the burden of the crisis onto ordinary people. Source

TSA Procedures Killing Huge Numbers of People Study Shows

Alex inaugurates TSA "Opt Out Week" by covering ongoing abuses by the federal agency as the holiday season approaches. Alex also talks about Gaza descending into bedlam as the prospect of world war once again arises. On today's worldwide broadcast, Alex talks with constitutional lawyer and the former associate deputy attorney general in the Reagan administration, Bruce Fein, and also retired CIA officer turned activist and journalist Ray McGovern about war in the Middle East and Israel's latest actions in Gaza. Alex talks with Prison Planet.com editor and journalist Paul Joseph Watson about "Opt Out Week." Source

666: Texas high school student withdrawn after RFID protest

By Brent Daggett: Texas sophomore, Andrea Hernandez, has been involuntary withdrawn from John Jay High School due to her refusal to participate in the district’s Smart ID program.

Effective November 26, Hernandez will have to attend William Howard Taft High School unless she complies with her former school’s wishes to wear a RFID badge. See the letter she was sent below:

The Smart ID Program, started in September, requires students attending Jay High School and Jones Middle School to wear a badge containing a photo of themselves, their name and a barcode with an RFID locator chip to determine their location anywhere on campus.

On the school’s website, they state it will help with student safety.

I believe this is an erroneous statement since the real motivation seems to be that the district will gain around 2 million dollars if attendance increases.

One of Andrea and her family’s objections to the technology is that the chip goes against their Christian faith, since it may tie into the Mark of the Beast prophesied in the Revelation.

Revelations 13:16-18 reads, “16 He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads, 17 and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or[a] the name of the beast, or the number of his name. 18 Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man: His number is 666.” (New King James Version)

Reports: Obama administration developing formal drone assassination rulebook

By Madison Ruppert: According to recently published reports, the Obama administration is just now developing a formal set of standards and procedures for carrying out assassinations via unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), better known as drones.

Note: there are increasingly worrisome developments in the realm of fully automated weapons systems, also known as “killer robots,” which are now being identified and criticized. These issues add an entirely new dimension to concerns surrounding unmanned warfare.

This is especially surprising given that the United States’ drone assassination program has been in operation for quite a while now and has already led to at least one lawsuit against the U.S. military and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

It is also interesting that U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder claimed earlier this year that their secret reviews of evidence count as due process, giving the impression that they had some kind of guidelines in place already. This impression was also given over a year ago with the realization of the secret death panels run by the National Security Council (NSC).

Yet apparently there have not been any formal guidelines in place this entire time, according to a report from The New York Times.

This would mean that Americans, including a 16-year-old boy, have been killed along with unknown numbers of civilians in countries like Yemen (where at least 29 people were killed in just 8 days earlier this year) and Pakistan (which has seen over 2,000 deaths since Obama took office) without any actual rules governing such actions.