Watching all aspects of the US economy from outside of the propaganda zone sometimes feels like you are watching The Truman Show.
The Truman Show, for those who haven’t seen the 1998 Jim Carrey film, centered around a completely false town. In the movie everything about the town was fake except for one person, Truman Burbank, who wasn’t in on the plot. In a sense your average person in the US, particularly when it comes to the economy, is akin to Truman. They have grown up inside this completely false environment and don’t even know it is all fake.
Virtually everything in The Truman Show-esque US economy is misinformation and completely skewed in which the creators, the US government, the Federal Reserve and the mainstream media constantly propagate blatantly false and wrong information and the American public, like Truman, have no idea that anything is even amiss.
The latest hilarious plot twist, at least for those of us watching it as observers and not intimately tied into the story, were the latest GDP numbers released showing a -1% annualized rate in the first quarter of this year. Continue reading »
The European Central Bank and Bank of England on Friday outlined options to reinvigorate the market for bundled bank loans, which was “tarnished” by the global financial crisis, saying a better-functioning market for asset-backed securities can help boost lending to the private sector, particularly small businesses.
Yes, the ECB is now energetically trying to revive the a market for asset-backed commercial paper (ABCP) – the very kind of “toxic-waste” that allegedly nearly took down the financial system during the panic of September 2008. The ECB would have you believe that getting more “liquidity” into the bank loan market for such things as credit card advances, auto paper and small business loans will somehow cause Europe’s debt-besotted businesses and consumers to start borrowing again thereby reversing the mild (and constructive) trend toward debt reduction that has caused euro area bank loans to decline by about 3% over the past year.
What they are really up to, however, is money-printing and snookering the German sound money camp. That is, the ECB is getting set to launch QE in financial drag by purchasing or discounting ABCP while loudly proclaiming that it’s not “monetizing” any stinking sovereign debt! Continue reading »
With real incomes stagnant and the cost of everything from food, school tuition and healthcare premiums skyrocketing for millions of Americans, it appears that borrowing against one’s home is once again a key source for consumption, if not survival, for the nearly extinct socio-economic demographicknown as the middle-class.
The Wall Street Journal reported yesterday that home-equity lines of credit (Helocs) had increased at a 8% rate year-over-year in 1Q14. Some banks are more aggressive than others, and perhaps we shouldn’t besurprised to see TBTF government welfare baby Bank of America leading the charge, with $1.98 billion in Helocs in the first quarter, up 77% versus 1Q13. Continue reading »
With tear-gas flying in the streets of Turkey, Ukraine’s civil-war raging in the south and east, US drones based in Japan to oversee the South China Sea, and Europe’s extremist parties gaining significant traction, today we get one more piece of considerably worrisome geopolitical news that global stock markets must ignore. The Sunday Times reports that Israel is to deploy three submarines equipped with nuclear cruise missiles in the Persian Gulf that are meant to act as a deterrent, gather intelligence and potentially to land Mossad agents. Iran is not happy, warning that “anyone who wishes to do an evil act in the Persian Gulf will receive a forceful response from us.”
Republicans believe that President Barack Obama’s administration hushed up details of the Benghazi tragedy to protect his re-election campaign. Democrats accuse the Republicans of spinning the investigation to score political points ahead of the November mid-term elections.
The game of partisan politics, meanwhile, continues as the Republicans accuse the Democrats of stonewalling a proper investigation into the events of the attack, which include the release of communications and other documents related to the event.
“In attempting to cover up documents like the September-14 email from Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes, President Obama, Secretary Kerry, and other officials have no one but themselves to blame for the increased scrutiny they should soon expect,” Issa said. Continue reading »
Tens of thousands of Palestinian residents in East Jerusalem have spent three months without running water, despite petitions and calls from human rights bodies after an Israeli water utility company stopped supplies in March.
Hagihon, Jerusalem’s water utility company, stopped regular supplies of running water to several neighborhoods in occupied East Jerusalem, such as Shu’fat Refugee Camp, Ras Khamis, Ras Sh’hadeh and Dahiyat a-Salam, said a statement from the website of B’Tselem, the Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories. Continue reading »
The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Securities and Exchange Commission are investigating possible insider trading involving billionaire investor Carl Icahn, golfer Phil Mickelson and Las Vegas gambler William Walters, a source familiar with the matter said.
Federal investigators are looking into whether Mickelson and Walters may have traded illegally on private information provided by Icahn about his investments in public corporations, the source told Reuters, confirming reports on Friday. Continue reading »
For a city infamous for circling police helicopters, Los Angeles Police were surprisingly late to the drone game. All that has changed, however, as the department quietly added two unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) to its arsenal.
The Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) announced they had acquired two Draganflyer X6 aircraft as “gifts” from the Seattle Police, the department said on Friday.
“These vehicles were purchased by the Seattle Police Department using federal grants. There was no cost to the city of Los Angeles,” CBS Los Angeles cites police as saying.
The 3.5-lbs. UAV, which looks like a small helicopter, is about three-feet-wide and boasts a camera, video recorder and infrared night-vision capabilities. Continue reading »
In this video Luke Rudkowski, Dan Dicks and Line Sejr go to the Copenhagen Airport to give a friendly greeting to the international 2014 Bilderberg Attendees. As you can see for some strange reason the bilderberg group was very timid and scared of people trying to talk to them for some reason. They sicked their naive marshmallow head security guards on Luke and Dan. After getting temporarily distracted by the security guards the bilderberg organizers moved to a remote non public location far away from anyone because they are afraid of their shadows.
1st Bilderberger confronted was Jason Kenney. He is the Canadian Minister of Employment and Social Development
The US Department of Energy will not be able to meet a June-30 deadline for removing thousands of drums of nuclear waste from Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, where atomic bombs have been built for decades.
In a statement released on Friday, the department said it had notified the New Mexico Environment Department that the waste cannot be transported until officials are certain it poses no threat to public health.
“As we work to assess the conditions of the transuranic waste program at the (Los Alamos) lab, we have decided to halt further shipments until we can reassure the public that it is safe to do so,” Reuters cites David Klaus, an Energy Department secretary for management and performance, as saying in a statement. Continue reading »
Even the soothsayers and Abenomics spin doctors expected a downdraft after Japan’s consumption tax was jacked up to 8% from 5%, effective April 1. But not this.
The tax hike had been pushed through parliament by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s predecessor. It was supposed to save Japan. But no one wants to pay for government spending. The tax proved to be so unpopular that Prime Minister Noda and his government were unceremoniously ousted at the end of 2012.
Japan is in terrible fiscal trouble. Half of every yen the government spends is borrowed, now printed by the Bank of Japan. Expenditures can’t be cut, apparently, and government handouts to Japan Inc. had to be increased. Yet something had to be done to keep the gargantuan deficit from blowing up the machinery altogether, and it was done to those who spend money. Continue reading »
In this episode of the Keiser Report, Max Keiser and Stacy Herbert discuss driving GDP high on cocaine, banking fraud and new-fangled derivatives products. In the second half, Max interviews Satyajit Das about China’s debt problems and central banks’ printing presses.
Regular readers are familiar with my narratives on the U.S. Greater Depression, and (in particular) some of the government’s own charts which depict this economic meltdown most vividly. The collapse in the “civilian participation rate” (the number of people working in the economy) and the “velocity of money” (the heartbeat of the economy) indicate an economy which is not merely in decline, but rather is being sucked downward in a terminal (and accelerating) death-spiral.
However, even that previously published data, and the grim analyses which accompanied it could not prepare me for the horror story contained in data passed along by an alert reader. U.S. “gasoline consumption” – as measured by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) itself – has plummeted by nearly 75%, from its all-time peak in July of 1998. A near-75% collapse in U.S. gasoline consumption has occurred in little more than 15 years.
Before getting into an analysis of the repercussions of this data, however, it’s necessary to properly qualify the data. Obviously, even in the most-nightmarish economic Armageddon, a (relatively short-term) 75% collapse in gasoline consumption is simply not possible. Unless we were dealing with a nation whose economy had been suddenly ripped apart by civil war, or some small nation devastated by a massive earthquake or tsunami; it’s simply not possible for any economy to just disintegrate that rapidly, without there being some ultra-powerful exogenous force also at work.
Nature, May 28, 2014: Nuclear-waste facility on high alert over risk of new explosions — US repository scrambles to seal off barrels […] Time bombs may be ticking at the United States’ only deep geological repository for nuclear waste. US authorities concluded last week that at least 368 drums of waste at the site could be susceptible to the chemical reaction suspected to have caused a drum to rupture there in February. That accident caused radioactive material to spill into the repository and leak into the environment above ground. […] To mitigate the threat of further exploding drums, the New Mexico Environment Department (NMED) in Santa Fe issued an order on 20 May giving the US Department of Energy […] until 30 May to come up with a plan to “expedite” the sealing of panel 6 and part of panel 7. [A reaction] blew the lid off of the container [an official cautioned,] “It is not yet known how, or if, the reaction created the rupture in the drum(s)” […] The DOE added that current assumptions and precautions about the hazards of operating the WIPP are being “evaluated and revised”. Continue reading »
Vladimir Putin has moThe President met his counterparts from Kazakhstan and Belarus in the Kazakh capital, Astana, to initiate the formation of the Eurasian Economic Union. He has long sought to form the bloc in hopes that it would provide an eastern counterweight to economic and political powerhouses such as the EU and the US.
The codes of the union, set for launch on 1 January 2015, will give the citizens of member states equal employment and education opportunities across all three nations. The three presidents also said that the deal would involve collaborative policies on energy, technology, industry, agriculture and transportation. Continue reading »
A bus carrying women and children from Slavyansk, including toddlers, was stopped at a border checkpoint by Ukrainian guards. The refugees managed to cross into Russia on foot and find new transport.
The incident happened on Friday night at a border crossing between Ukraine’s Donetsk region and Russia’s Rostov region. The bus was carrying people from Slavyansk, the city that has become the scene of constant battles between local militia and troops loyal to Kiev.
There were 38 refugees on board, including 21 children aged between 2 months and 12 years, and 17 women, Rostov region spokesman Aleksandr Titov told Itar-Tass. As the vehicle was seized, they went across the border on foot with the help of Russian border guards. Continue reading »
The war on privacy continues unabated, as the U.S. government continues to prove time and time again that it views the citizenry as a bunch of cattle to be branded, herded and dealt with at will. It doesn’t seem to bother anyone in the establishment that the public has lost all faith in institutions and so-called “authority” (a concept which I do not believe in to begin with). The evidence of a growing number of Orwellian databases being created has been available for quite some time. Most recently, I covered this topic in the following articles:
Moving along, the public faces another sinister and unacceptable invasion to our privacy. A national financial database is being planned, which would contain the most intimate details of our entire financial lives. It may apply to as many as 227 million Americans.
Vice on HBO, Season 2 Episode 10, May 24, 2014 (at 5:30 in):
Dr. Joji Otaki, lead researcher, University of Ryukyus: We collected houseplant leaves from Fukushima, and those leaves are given to [butterfly] larvae collected from Okinawa… Those larvae aresupposed to be healthy. But they ate contaminated food from Fukushima. Then we see what happens.
“I believe in American exceptionalism with every fiber of my being.” So there it is, straight from the lion’s mouth, as in US President Barack Obama.
The rest are details: deadly details, as in the US military remaining “at the core” of the exceptional worldview; the Pentagon reserving for itself “the power to launch unilateral attacks when America’s interests are directly threatened”; eight or nine proxy wars deployed in the immediate future with no end in sight; and the most startling admission – that the “fulcrum” of US foreign policy from now on will be to curb “aggression” by Russia and China. Continue reading »
Kiev government has launched a massive military offensive in the east of Ukraine which claimed dozens of lives, both among the militias and local civilians. Schools, kindergarten and hospitals in several cities came under fire. Continue reading »
A toddler is in a medically induced coma after a SWAT team raided the family’s home and threw a flashbang grenade into his crib, the boy’s mother said. With a 50 percent chance of survival, it could be weeks before it’s known if he will even live.
Bounkham “Bou Bou” Phonesavanhs, a 19-month-old, was asleep in his portable crib in the same room as his parents and three older sisters, when police opened the door to the converted garage and threw the stun grenade in. It landed in the crib with Bou Bou.
“Everyone’s sleeping. There’s a loud bang and a bright light,” the boy’s mother, Alecia Phonesavanh, told WSB-TV. “The cops threw that grenade in the door without looking first, and it landed right in the playpen and exploded on his pillow right in his face.” Continue reading »
Global GMO Free Coalition Media Comment: 28/05/2014
Western Australian farmer Steve Marsh (#IamSteveMarsh) has lost a landmark case which could have protected his organic status, after his property was contaminated by GM canola from a neighbouring farm.
Marsh, an organic farmer from Kojonup, south of Perth, Western Australia, lost organic certification for most of his farm when GM canola contaminated his crop. He took action by suing his neighbour Michael Baxter in the Supreme Court of WA, in a landmark world’s first trial which started earlier this year. Continue reading »
It is a well known historical trend that as discontent and dissent spread within a society, the power structure will look to demonize unpopular or weak minorities in order to deflect frustrations away from the true culprit, the power structure itself. Many feared in the immediate aftermath of 9/11 that Muslims would serve as such a scapegoat, and indeed in many ways this occurred, although not to the extent that many feared. In my opinion, it is homeless people that are being increasingly demonized and treated as subhuman. I think that if we want to see how the state and crony corporate status quo will treat everyone in the future, all you have to do is look at the current “war on the homeless.” Continue reading »
With yields at record lows and stocks soaring, is it any wonder that the politicians of Europe’s periphery are proclaiming victory over the crisis (and yet oddly imploring Draghi to do moar?). Perhaps, just perhaps, they are keeping one eye on the ‘real’ economic progress that is being made (or un-made) in their nations… such as Spain, where there are now 1.26 million people who have been jobless since 2010 and the long-term unemployment rate has risen by more than 500% since 2007.
Bush’s top counter-terrorism official for his first year as president – Richard Clarke – tells Democracy Now that Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld committed war crimes in Iraq … and that they can be tried at the Hague:
(Clarke retired in protest at the start of the Iraq war.)
Only around a quarter of the recent NBC News interview with former intelligence contractor Edward Snowden made it to broadcast, but unaired excerpts now online show that the network neglected to air critical statements about the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
When the four-hour sit-down between journalist Brian Williams and Snowden made it to air on Wednesday night, NBC condensed roughly four hours of conversation into a 60-minute time slot. During an analysis of the full interview afterwards, however, the network showed portions of the interview that didn’t make it into the primetime broadcast, including remarks from the former National Security Agency contractor in which he questioned the American intelligence community’s inability to stop the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. Continue reading »
In the middle of the last great financial crisis, the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) proclaimed that Q1 2008 was the US economy grow at a modest 0.6%. This was met with hockey-stick prognosticators looking to the heavens for the next few quarters and bleeting about transitory factors affecting the economy. However, as the following chart shows, five years later (and after numerous adjustments) the +0.6% growth for Q1 2008 had somehow morphed into a clench-worthy 2.7% collapse in the economy…
Francois Hollande is not having a good week – disastrous elections over the weekend, followed by record high numbers of jobseekers (destroying his promise to deliver jobs), and now his banking system is under attack; as the WSJ reports:
A final resolution (and a guilty plea) of the years long investigation of the French bank is likely weeks away, WSJ notes but it does remain ironic that in flexing his enforcement muscles, DoJ’s Eric Holder is about to crucify yet another non-US bank.
The U.S. Justice Department is pushing BNP Paribas SA to pay more than $10 billion to resolve a criminal probe into allegations it evaded U.S. sanctions against Iran and other countries for years, which would represent one of the largest penalties ever imposed on a bank, according to people familiar with the negotiations. Continue reading »
The U.S. economy contracted at an annual rate of 1 percent in the first three months of 2014, official data showed on Thursday. The last time the world’s largest economy shrank was the first quarter of 2011, but economists said they still expect a rebound from the latest figure. Continue reading »
While the “use of armed [unmanned aircraft systems] is not authorized,” The Washington Times uncovering of a 2010 Pentagon directive on military support to civilian authorities details what critics say is a troubling policy that envisions the Obama administration’s potential use of military force against Americans. As one defense official proclaimed, “this appears to be the latest step in the administration’s decision to use force within the United States against its citizens.” Meet Directive 3025.18 and all its “quelling civil disturbances” totalitarianism…