8 Jan 2013

One Inch Below The Surface (America, You're Being Punked)

Raul Ilargi Meijer: We've sort of run out of ways to describe the skewed perceptions and/or skewed realities of the politico-financial world we inhabit. Metaphors like Bizarro World, Kabuki theater and Theater of the Absurd have come and long gone and are now used only by those who missed out first time around.
But that doesn't mean it's all become less weird; if anything, one gets the feeling the media in general are becoming more complacent if not complicit painting a picture for the general public that's at best make believe and in all other cases border on Orwell. There's a veneer an inch thick (and getting thicker fast) that makes things look sort of normal, just check the economy, and below that there's an increasingly nasty brew boiling and a-festering.
Depending on where one would like to start counting, we were entertained for 6 to 12 months by a B-movie posing as a US presidential election. The outcome of which was clear months in advance, since one of the candidates never was one. Still, you wouldn't have known it from the news you were fed. Poll after poll after poll provided a picture of a terribly tight race, so you would keep being glued to the tube, providing legitimacy to the system and advertising dollars to the major networks and leading papers.
Not even the fact that one of those papers consistently published a poll that diverged from all others so much that no-one quite believed it, could break the spell. Say what you will, but they all stuck to the script in admirable fashion, so much so that the poll in question, Nate Silver in the New York Times, didn't even tempt anyone to blink.

Deadly Deflation, 'untouchable' Pentagon budget, FMDs, AfriCon. - Max Keiser with Dan Collins

Max Keiser and Stacy Herbert discuss the butch welfare Queens in Virginia, Maryland and DC who rely on the 'untouchable' Pentagon budget. They also discuss the US deploying both its FMDs -- "financial extortion", "monetisation" and "devaluation" -- to finance its debt and deficit requirements and its troops to 35 African nations. In the second half of the show, Max Keiser talks to Dan Collins of TheChinaMoneyReport.com about the petro-yuan, China's gold and the problem with the fact that nobody in Africa wants to buy America's opium - credit default swaps.  Source

Out of the frying pan, into the frying pan - Sovereign Man

FryingPanBy : Talca, Chile - There are few original thinkers in professional finance. It’s much easier for an individual to step back and say, “Holy Meltdown, Batman, this system is deeply, woefully, fundamentally flawed…”
I can see it, you can see it. But somehow, as soon as they put someone in charge of managing hundreds of millions of dollars, professional money managers lose their instincts to see the obvious.
The groupthink in the world of finance is some of the worst on the planet. It’s incredible how such an educated, experienced group can willfully ignore reality, stick their heads in the sand, and repeat the same mantras over and over again until they become axiomatic.
Home prices never fall. The economy is recovering. Governments in the developed world won’t default. Conjuring money out of thin air, infinitely, has no consequences. Etc.
The desire to be accepted by one’s peers is part of human nature. And when it’s one’s peers who are rigging the financial system, the pressure to adopt industrial groupthink is enormous.
So like I said, there are few original thinkers. And one of the few is my friend Tim Price in London for whose wit, intellect, and professional acumen I have the deepest respect.
Tim recently sent along a letter which I’d like to excerpt below because he highlights a critical lesson: despite the steady aural drubbing from financial media that we should all go buy stocks with wanton abandon, this is one of the most difficult times in recent history to invest. And investors may need to realign their goals from capital appreciation to capital preservation.

Tax Fraud Investigation Opened Into French Minister Tasked With Battling Tax Fraud

Tyler Durden's picture It is one thing for Pineapple republics like Greece (because only the US has full faith and credit in the "Banana" adjective) to have their former Prime Minister's mom be uncovered with $700 millions in Swiss accounts, or its former finance minister get caught literally whiting out his relatives (and perhaps himself?) from a list exposing tax evaders and offshore bank holders, but when the rulers of that bastion of neo-socialism, where everyone is equal, are shown as having done the same, and ostensibly "laundering tax fraud" and hiding unpaid taxes in some bank vault deep under the Swiss alps, implicitly having been part of that group of much hated "rich people" that the same regime is doing all it can to expel to progressive places such as Russia and Belgium, one can't help but wonder, are some more equal than others?
From Reuters:
The Paris Prosecutor's office said on Tuesday that it was opening a preliminary investigation into French Budget Minister Jerome Cahuzac over allegations that he had an undisclosed bank account in Switzerland.

The prosecutor's office said that given the sensitivity of the allegations, which Cahuzac denies, and the time it would take to investigate them, it had no option but to open an inquiry immediately.

"The Paris prosecutor has as a result decided to open a preliminary investigation for tax fraud," it said in a statement.

Japan May Or May Not Mint Quadrillion Yen Coins, But It Will Monetize European Debt

Tyler Durden's picture Just when we thought America would be alone in crossing into the montary twilight zone where so many Keynesian lunatics have gone before, and where trillion dollar platinum coins fall from the sky right onto the heads of all those who have not even the faintest understanding of money creation, here comes Japan:
For those who have forgotten, the E in ESM stands for European (the S for Stability), not Japanese (Stability). Otherwise it would be, er... well, JSM. Keynesian at that. But yes - Japan will now proceed to "stabilize" itself by monetizing European debt. Because its own JPY 1 quadrillion in debt was not enough.

Sen. Rand Paul calls for reduction in US foreign aid to Israel

U.S. Sen. Rand Paul. (AFP Photo / Mark Wilson)RT: During his first trip to Israel, US Senator Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) called for a reduction in foreign aid for Jerusalem, admitting that he was expressing a minority opinion but making a statement with high shock value nevertheless.
Receiving $3 billion for its military each year, Israel is one of America’s top foreign aid recipients and the largest cumulative recipient since World War II. The country receives about one-fifth of the US foreign aid budget. To date, the US has given Israel $115 billion in bilateral assistance, most of which went to the country’s military.
While Sen. Paul believes Congress is unlikely to cut foreign aid from Israel, he told the Jerusalem Institute for Market Studies that the US is only hurting itself by doing so. By borrowing from one country to give to another,” the Kentucky senator expects the US will only face dire economic consequences down the line and burden itself with greater debt.
“It will be harder to be a friend of Israel if we are out of money. It will be harder to defend Israel if we destroy our country in the process,” Paul told the think-tank. “I think there will be significant repercussions of running massive deficits . . . you destroy your currency by spending money you don’t have.”

Sterling crisis looms as UK current account deficit balloons

Jeremy Warner By It’s the sort of problem you might have thought disappeared with the 1970s, but as the Coalition renews its wedding vows, that’s the unsettling possibility raised by economists at both HSBC and Royal Bank of Scotland. With fears of a eurozone break-up, a calamitous fiscal contraction in the US, and a hard landing in China now fast receding, it is possible financial markets will refocus their attentions on more conventional concerns. The failings of the UK economy might be prime among them.
Some of the reasons for this need little explanation. Low growth has undermined attempts to reduce the fiscal deficit, which remains one of the highest in the OECD. This in turn is likely to lead to the loss of Britain’s prized triple A credit rating this year, making the UK comparatively less attractive to overseas investors. What’s more, capital flows from the eurozone to perceived “safe havens” such as the UK are slowing as the crisis eases. There is also evidence of elevated concern among investors about Bank of England money printing.
But some of the other reasons are less well appreciated, possibly because we’ve become so accustomed to them. Almost unbelievably, Britain has not enjoyed a trade surplus in goods since 1981, or more than 30 years ago.

Piers Morgan Vs Alex Jones - The "Gun Fight" At The CNN Corral + The Psychiatric Police State

With the Notre Dame vs Alabama game a complete one-sided demolition, the night was in desperate need of some entertainment... until Piers Morgan and Alex Jones stepped in. While the headline topic was "guns", it was 13 minutes of unbridled spitting, stuttering, and screaming, which achieves nothing in converting anyone on the fence on either side of the "gun control" argument, but certainly helps with CNN's sagging Nielsen ratings, which after having become disinformation central following the Obamacare "rejection" and the NYSE floor "flooding", is now slowly but surely converting itself into the Jerry Springer show for Gen Y. If nothing else, this is far more fun than watching the all too controlled Notre Dame implosion.

Washington’s Hegemonic Ambitions Are Not in Sync With Its Faltering Economy — Paul Craig Roberts

In November the largest chunk of new jobs came from retail and wholesale trade. Businesses gearing up for Christmas sales added 65,700 jobs or 45% of November’s 146,000 jobs gain. With December sales a disappointment, these jobs are likely to reverse when the January payroll jobs report comes out in February. Family Dollar Stores CEO Howard Levine told analysts that his company’s customers were unable to afford toys this holiday season and focused instead on basic needs such as food. Levine said that his customers clearly don’t have as much for discretionary purchases as they once did.”

For December’s new jobs we return to the old standbys: health care and social assistance and waitresses and bartenders. These four classifications accounted for 93,000 of December’s new jobs, 60% of the 155,000 jobs.
Obviously, the economy is not going anywhere except down. It takes approximately 150,000 new jobs each month to stay even with population growth and new entrants into the work force. Few of the jobs that are being created pay well, and the constant, consistent demand for more poorly paid waitresses, bartenders and hospital orderlies is difficult to believe. If Americans cannot afford toys for their kid’s Christmas, how can they afford to eat and drink out?
Media spin seeks to create a recovery out of thin air, but these graphs from John Williams (shadowstats.com) show the reality:

Israeli death squadron keeps drones in the air 24/7, for surveillance, remote electronic murder and more

By Madison Ruppert: While the use of drones in the United States gets a great deal of focus here on End the Lie, America is far from the only country with a massive drone program.
Indeed, the U.S. program is likely the largest in the world with cutting edge research and development including laser technology allowing perpetual flight, unbelievably powerful camera systems, drones capable of long-distance travel thanks to solar technology, systems capable of automatically targeting and tracking individuals, drone-based facial recognition systems, 110 publicly announced potential drone bases in the United States alone and much, much more.
Yet the Israeli Air Force (IAF) doesn’t seem too far behind, given that they are now operating drones like the Heron-1, or Shoval, by Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) 24 hours a day, 7 days a week according to Israel Defense.
The number of users constantly increases,” said the first deputy to the IAF’s drone squadron identified only as “Major S.” by Israel Defense. “Every day, additional IDF commanders discover the capabilities of the UAVs [Unmanned Aerial Vehicles], and ask for the squadron’s services.”
“The ‘permanent’ UAVs are often not enough, so another UAV is diverted from a training mission to assist and satisfy the hunger of the various units for real-time information,” said Major S.
Surprisingly, the IAF has used drones for over 40 years in a wide variety of missions with technology continuing to develop rapidly.

Nuclear News - Women of Fukushima (Parts 1 & 2)

Women of Fukushima: Over a year since three reactors went into meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, a broad, disparate anti-nuclear movement is growing in Japan. Nowhere is that more apparent, perhaps, than in Fukushima prefecture, where a group of local women boldly protest the deafening silence of the Japanese government over the worst nuclear accident of this century.

Largely ignored by their own media, these brave women brush aside their cultural shyness and share their brutally honest views on the state of the cleanup, the cover-ups, the untruths and the stagnant political climate in today’s Japan.
Supported with rare footage from inside the exclusion zone, as well as from abandoned neighboring towns, the Women of Fukushima (“Fukushima no Onnatachi”) offers startlingly candid insights, in the women’s own voices, about what has become of their lives, homes, and families in the aftermath of 3/11.

Alex Jones Threatened with Arrest by TSA

HR: Radio talk show host and ardent Homeland Security critic Alex Jones was detained by the TSA at Austin-Bergstrom airport earlier today and threatened with arrest for refusing to take his shoes off at a security checkpoint. Source