Sunday, December 8, 2013

World's most stunning mountaintop hotels

Photo courtesy of AmanresortsSome of the world’s most breathtaking resorts are located far from sea level. Nestled in mountain ranges and perched on top of desert cliffs, these hotels offer visitors picturesque views and quiet retreats away from the hustle of everyday life. Here are our picks for the world’s most stunning mountaintop hotels.

Where: Jackson Hole, Wyoming

At the edge of Jackson Hole's East Gros Ventre Butte is Amangani, (meaning peaceful home) one of the world’s most stunning mountaintop resorts. The hotel offers unparalleled views of the Grand Teton Mountains and the surrounding meadows and valleys. Guests can enjoy the scenery from the hotel’s outdoor pool, or take in the breathtaking views from one of the resort’s exclusive suites. Learn about the surrounding area with a book on Native American culture from Amangani's (Image above) redwood-decorated library or wander the resort's gallery of regional artwork and buy a piece of local jewelry to remember your mountain stay.

Photo courtesy of Oberoi Hotels & ResortsWildflower Hall
Where: in the Himalayas near Shimla, India

Untouched scenery and antique furnishings make Wildflower Hall one of the world’s premiere mountaintop resorts. The hotel’s colonial-era décor and view of the nearby Himalayas will make you feel like you’ve stepped into a fairytale. Visitors can explore the surrounding forests by foot, or enjoy views of the snowcapped mountains from the resort’s heated outdoor pool. Indulge in holistic treatments at the Oberoi spa's private spa suites that offer exquisite views of mountains and tall cedars. During the winter enjoy skating on the hotel's own ice rink, and during warm summer days enjoy archery or croquet on the resort's lush lawns.

Photo courtesy of Design Hotels Vigilius Mountain Resort
Where: South Tyrol, Italy

Guests looking to escape the hustle and bustle can unwind at Vigilius Mountain Resort in South Tyrol, Italy. The resort is car-free, and the hotel prides itself on its eco-friendly practices. Visitors can explore bubbling springs and pristine forests, and enjoy some of the best mountain views in the area. The resort is also home to a 13th-century church that adds to its romantic ambiance. Experience an elegant dinner at the resort's Restaurant 1500, or enjoy a cozy lunch with regional dishes cooked in the hundred-year-old tiled stove at the Parlour Ida, where homemade cakes are served as well. Then relax at the resort's spa, relishing the treatments that utilize the fresh waters of the Vigiljoch springs—believed to have healing powers.

Photo courtesy of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc.St. Regis Lhasa Resort
Where: Tibet, China

For unparalleled views of the Polata Palace and the Himalayan mountains, visit the St. Regis Lhasa Resort. The hotel’s Golden Energy Pool overlooks the surrounding valley, and its traditional architecture pays homage to Tibetan elegance and simplicity. Have the resort's chauffeur take you on a guided tour of Mount Everest, or the more than 600-year-old Tashilunpo Monastery, or the ancient palace Yunbulakang. Enjoy more Tibetan culture with the St. Regis Sabrage Evening Ritual where the resort's butler team will use sabers to dramatically open a champagne bottle and then pour you a glass.

Photo courtesy of Preferred Hotel GroupSparkling Hill Resort
Where: Vernon, British Columbia

Shimmering Swarovski crystals and sleek architecture make Sparkling Hill Resort one of the world’s premiere mountaintop hotels. The hotel’s elegant décor comes second to the area’s natural beauty, as guests can enjoy views of the Monashee Mountains and Okanagan Lake. For stunning indoor views visit the resort's indoor pool with starry Swarovski crystal sky. The KurSpa's other sparkling amenities include a crystal steam room, aqua meditation room with water dripping into a crystal basin, and the igloo room with glazed, crystal-lacquered floors.

Courtesy of Virgin Limited EditionKasbah Tamadot
Where: High Atlas Mountains, Morocco

British entrepreneur Richard Branson restored Kasbah Tamadot to its original grandeur, as the resort was once the private villa of an Italian artist. The hotel is located at the foothills of the Atlas Mountains and overlooks a scenic river valley. The resort includes two infinity pools, a private collection of fine art and artifacts, and authentic Berber tents with spectacular views. Exciting activities at the resort include mule treks through the mountains, a visit to the nearby craft house run by  the area's young women, and a trip to the neighboring Eco-Museum to learn about the area's natural and cultural resources.

Photo courtesy of Explora Patagonia Salto Chico Lodge
Where: Patagonia, Chile

Located at the banks of the Salto Chico waterfall, Salto Chico Lodge offers unparalleled views of the Torres del Paine National Park and the Paine Massif mountain range. Guests can take advantage of the resort's own 26-horse stable with a horseback ride across acres of sprawling property, or take in the scenery from one of the resort’s coveted suites. Patagonia's rich gaucho culture can be experienced with a trip to the Estancia 2 de Enero to watch gauchos shear sheep, drive livestock, and train horses.

Click here to see more world's most stunning mountaintop hotels

Gaga: I use drugs to forget

Lady Gaga says marijuana makes her "forget" she's famous.
The 27-year-old singer has opened up what makes her use the drug. Speaking to British talk show host Alan Carr, Gaga - real name Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta - revealed what the substance does to her when she smokes it.
"The thing that I fell in love with about it is that I completely forget that I'm famous. I totally forget about it all," she explained.
"I take a puff and I'm me when I was 17 again in my white gogo boots looking for a job and there's something quite creative and liberating about that."
Host Alan quizzed the popstar on whether she gets the giggles or munchies after inhaling the drug, with Gaga admitting she does.
Her outspoken comments come weeks after she confessed to smoking up to 15 "spliffs" a day after having surgery on her hip at the beginning of this year.
Gaga stayed true to her quirky style during her appearance on the show, opting for a dress with a white plastic bodice with a built in iPad.
Later during her interview the eccentric musician also shared her support for British Olympic swimmer Tom Daley, who recently announced he is dating a man.
Although Tom won't be competing in the Russian Winter Olympic Games next year, Gaga referred to him when explaining how wrong she believes it is to hold the event in the country. Earlier this year Russia passed a law banning homosexual “propaganda” meaning it is now illegal to speak in defence of gay rights.
"It made me very sad to see the pain that some of the gay kids are in in Russia, and for the world to send their finest for the Olympics. I can't, it just feels so wrong and sad. I hate saying that, because I'm so excited for those like Tom Daley to go and to win and to rejoice," she admitted.
© Cover Media

No penalty until new rate announced, Putrajaya assures KL owners

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 8 — Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor confirmed today that KL property owners will not be penalised for paying old assessment rates until the quantum of the city’s proposed tax hike is announced by March next year.
The Federal Territories Minister’s announcement today will lay to rest uncertainty over the debacle that has seen city folk up in arms over the government’s sudden decision to raise property taxes.
“The rate, I’ll decide whether I want to charge, as I’ve said, we are going to postpone the rate until we finalise with the panel hearing, the latest is March.
“We have also decided that if you don’t pay us until whatever date I’ve decided, the last day, no penalty will be charged to the rakyat,” he told reporters after the ground-breaking ceremony of Batu Umno division new building here.
With only eight more days until the deadline for protest letters expires on December 17, the minister said KL City Hall (DBKL) has only received feedback from less than 11,000 people so far.
Resident associations such as the one representing the Overseas Union Garden (OUG) township has vowed to send in protest letters by the truckload, the day before the deadline.
The proposed increase on the property valuation led to public outcry since last month, after property owners received notices from DBKL, informing them of hikes between 100 and 250 per cent to their land valuation.
The notice did not state that DBKL is also considering a revision of the assessment rate, which is 6 per cent for residential properties, and 12 per cent for commercial.
The issue was exacerbated by the confusion arising from the conflicting announcements made that has left taxpayers uncertain over how much and when they must fork out for their bi-annual assessment payments.
Today, Tengku Adnan said the DBKL is already evaluating the protest letters, and the panel will also go to certain areas where a large number of protest letters were from, to meet the complainants.
When asked if two weeks is sufficient for DBKL staff to go through every single objection letter, the minister hinted that the City Hall does not have to vet through all the letters before it sends out the final notices on the land valuation on January 1, as they will only be considered for the decision on the assessment rate, which will be made by March.
“If you are the owner of the property, won’t you like it to be at that value? Come on, that one I don’t think there is any dispute.
“The dispute is how much I’m going to charge them. I won’t make it difficult for the rakyat,” he said.
He also pointed out that DBKL’s valuation on the rental yield is lower than the market rate.
“Under the law, every year, DBKL has to issue a notice to the taxpayers, so on the 1st January, I will send out the actual rental valuation.
“Anyway, on the 1st of January, I’ll still issue the actual rental value, after 21 years.
“The rate, I’ll decide because we are still hearing, the panel has been formed, then I’ll decide whether I want to reduce, at what percentage, maybe I want to give a rebate, that’s up to me what I’m going to do later,” the Putrajaya MP said.

Friendship which grew along with Ipoh’s “nasi ganja”

At a time when there are many who are selfish and have a narrow racial outlook, the famous "nasi ganja" stall in an Ipoh kopitiam is showing what friendship and racial harmony is all about.
When the Indian Muslim nasi kandar stall operator was ordered to shut his business over hygiene issues recently, the Chinese owner of the shop from which he operated in followed suit, in a show of solidarity.
The coffee shop owner, Ang Kwang Ngiap, who sold only drinks, did not have to close his business but he pulled down the shutters because of the strong bond he had with the nasi kandar seller, Mohd Nihmatullah Syed Mustafa.
Some may brush this off as a business decision, given that without the nasi kandar, what drinks could the coffee shop owner sell when there were no other food operators there.
But the bond between the two men that was forged more than 50 years ago by their forefathers was palpable when The Malaysian Insider visited them recently.
Halfway through the interview, Mohd Nihmatullah, 49, manager of the famous Nasi Kandar Ayam Merah on Jalan Yong Kalsom, asked if Ang could join in and gestured to his friend who was sitting behind the counter to come over.
Ang, in shorts and T-shirt, walked over and took his seat closest to Mohd Nihmatullah at a table in the centre of the coffee shop.
Ang offered that when his friend was ordered to close, he wanted to support him by closing shop, too.
According to the 63-year old Ang, his father ran the coffee shop during the time of the nasi kandar founder, the late Kassim Mohd. Three generations later, the partnership remained intact.
"We work together. When the Health Department asked them to close, we closed in solidarity, even though the issue was with the fridge in the next building," said Ang.
The famous 'nasi ganja' in Ipoh's Jalan Yang Kalsom. – December 8, 2013.Ang said he never had any doubts over the cleanliness of his friend's nasi kandar operations, and added that his nephew, who is poised to take over from him, will maintain the partnership with Kassim's great grandchildren, who are already working in the business.
Mohd Nihmatullah offered that back when the nasi kandar business started 55 years ago, Kassim, who is his wife's grandfather, would stand in front of the shop and invite people in using the Tamil word "vangey", "vangey", which means "come", "come".
That was in the 1950s, when Kassim had just arrived in Malaysia, bringing with him the nasi kandar recipe from his hometown in Irumeni, Tamil Nadu.
The shop became known as the "vangey vangey" shop then and along the way, it earned another name – nasi ganja – because of its tasty fare.
As such, it came as a rude shock to Mohd Nihmatullah and his family when the Kinta Health Department came calling one evening last month and ordered the operations to cease.
The matter was resolved immediately – three days later they resumed business – but not before it made headlines nationwide.
According to Mohd Nihmatullah, his customers who hail from all over the world were equally shocked.
Concerned regulars from Singapore and relatives and friends from India called him after reading the news, he said.
Things became more heated when a claim surfaced on Facebook that the Health Department had ordered the closure after finding traces of faeces in the food.
The person who made the allegations subsequently apologised.
The episode has left a sour taste in the mouth, with losses over three days and the fact that some regulars have yet to return, but Mohd Nihmatullah said they did not want to dwell on it.
When pressed further over the allegations of faeces in the food, he said: "Why must there be slander? Why is there jealousy? I don't understand," he said calmly.
Mohd Nihmatullah's concern over the loss of income during the closure was not a light matter, as they sell between 800 and 900 plates a day.
"When this business first started, it was one chicken a day. Now we use 90 chickens a day, and we are still the cheapest in town, where you can get a nasi ayam and nasi ikan for RM4.40 and RM4 respectively."
And while 20% of their regulars have yet to return since the controversy broke, Mohd Nihmatullah said they now have a new string of "curious" customers.
"A few days ago, a family of 10 came from Teluk Intan, saying that they never heard of us before, so this sort of makes up for the regular customers we lost.”
They have a wide customer base, from as far as Thailand and Australia.
"On weekdays, we have the Ipoh crowd. On weekends, the Ipoh folk leave town and those from outside come. We have many regulars from Singapore," he added.
With the fame that came with the recent controversy, would he look into opening a branch?
The answer was a vehement "no" and Mohd Nihmatullah stressed that it will always be this one nasi kandar shop in Jalan Yang Kalsom. – December 8, 2013.

Tidak salah Cina undi pembangkang semasa PRU13 tetapi mereka menipu, kata Idris Haron

Ketua Menteri Melaka Datuk Seri Idris Haron (gambar) mengulangi kenyataan pemimpin-pemimpin Umno menyalahkan kaum Cina dengan mengatakan tidak salah mereka mengundi Pakatan Rakyat (PR) dalam Pilihan Raya 2013 (PRU13) akan tetapi beliau kecewa dengan pembohongan dilakukan kaum itu di Melaka kerana tidak mengundi Barisan Nasional (BN) seperti dijanjikan.
Beliau berkata perbuatan itu bukan sahaja memperlihatkan sikap khianat masyarakat Cina akan tetapi pada masa sama menjejaskan kepercayaan pihak tertentu.
“Kita kecewa sebab sebelum pilihan raya mereka berjanji menyokong calon BN tetapi terbukti mereka tipu kita selepas diberikan segalanya,” kata Idris merujuk kepada kaum Cina dalam akhbar Utusan Malaysia edisi Ahad, Mingguan Malaysia hari ini.
"Bila mereka tanya saya mengapa orang Cina kena minta maaf, itu sangat pelik. Seolah-olah mereka tidak bersalah menipu dan mengkhianati kepercayaan kita," katanya.
Idris yang juga Pengerusi Perhubungan Umno Melaka berkata, beliau  tidak pernah sesekali menyalahkan pengundi Cina yang mengundi pakatan pembangkang dalam PRU13 lalu.
"Saya tidak pernah marah kepada mereka kerana mengundi siapa pun termasuk pembangkang,” katanya.
Ketua Menteri Melaka itu berkata pada Jumaat, beliau bersedia memaafkan masyarakat Cina dan mengajak mereka kembali kepada BN setelah dilihat seolah-olah terhukum akibat “insiden” keputusan PRU13.
Katanya, sokongan pengundi Cina Melaka kepada BN tidak sampai 15% pada PRU13 termasuk mengakibatkan bekas ketua menterinya Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam kalah merebut kerusi Parlimen Bukit Katil kepada Ketua Pemuda PKR, Shamsul Iskandar Mohd Akin
Mohd Ali setelah tewas dalam PRU13 lalu menyifatkan sentimen perkauman masyarakat Cina begitu tebal di kawasan itu yang menjadi antara punca utama kekalahannya kepada Shamsul Iskandar.
Beliau kesal dengan sikap masyarakat Cina di kawasan berkenaan yang langsung tidak mengenang budi yang telah dicurahkannya sepanjang berkhidmat sebagai Ketua Menteri selama 13 tahun.
"Saya tidak percaya orang Cina di Parlimen Bukit Katil boleh menolak saya dan kerana undi merekalah saya tewas dalam pilihan raya kali ini.
"Apa jasa Shamsul Iskandar terhadap orang Cina, kalau hendak dibandingkan dengan apa yang telah saya berikan selama ini.
"Mereka (orang Cina) apabila saya dah tolong dalam bidang perniagaan hingga mereka berjaya dan menjadi kaya, mereka ini lupa jasa yang telah saya buat,'' katanya.
Perdana Menteri Datuk Seri Najib Razak dalam reaksi awalnya selepas keputusan PRU13 diumumkan mengatakan BN bersyukur kerana berjaya memenangi pilihan raya itu akan tetapi terkejut dengan “Tsunami Cina” yang berlaku. – 8 Disember, 2013.


Consumer Credit in U.S. Rose in October by Most in Five Months

By Michelle Jamrisko

Consumer borrowing rose in October by the most in five months as credit-card use picked up and Americans took out more loans for car purchases and education.
The $18.2 billion increase in credit followed a revised $16.3 billion gain in September that was more than initially reported, the Federal Reserve said today in Washington. The median forecast in a Bloomberg survey of economists called for a $14.5 billion advance.
Credit-card borrowing rose by the most since May as job gains, income growth and rising household wealth gave Americans the confidence to borrow. Consumers also took out more non-revolving loans for big-ticket purchases such as cars, which are on pace for their best sales year since 2007.
“Non-revolving credit has been the driving force behind consumer credit growth basically since the recession,” said Dana Saporta, director of U.S. economics research at Credit Suisse in New York. “As incomes start to pick up and those that have jobs have more confidence that they’ll see some income growth, we could see this revolving component post more consistent gains.”
Estimates of the 34 economists surveyed ranged from increases of $10 billion to $17 billion after a previously reported $13.7 billion advance in September. The report doesn’t track debt secured by real estate, such as mortgages and home-equity lines of credit.
Faster job growth may make Americans feel confident about taking on more debt. Employers added 203,000 workers in November after 200,000 a month earlier, a report today from the Labor Department showed. The unemployment rate dropped to a five-year low of 7 percent.

Credit Cards

Revolving debt, which includes credit-card spending, increased by $4.3 billion in October after declining $218 million in the previous month, today’s figures showed.
Non-revolving credit rose $13.9 billion in October after rising $16.5 billion a month earlier.
That type of lending has reflected the strength in auto sales. Cars and light trucks sold in November at a 16.3 million annualized rate, the strongest since 2007, according to Ward’s Automotive Group data.
General Motors Co. and Chrysler Group LLC led November U.S. sales gains that met or exceeded analysts’ estimates as dealers stepped up promotion of year-end offers to try to restrain rising vehicle inventory.

Auto Sales

Deliveries of cars and light trucks rose 14 percent for GM, 16 percent for Chrysler and 7.1 percent for Ford Motor Co., according to company statements. The automakers beat or matched analysts’ average estimates for increases of 14 percent for GM, 11 percent for Chrysler and 5.6 percent for Ford in a Bloomberg survey. Toyota Motor Corp. and Nissan Motor Co. also topped estimates with gains of at least 10 percent.
The rise has supported companies such as Fort Lauderdale, Florida-based AutoNation Inc., the largest U.S. retailer of cars and trucks.
“The auto-credit environment remains strong,” Chief Executive Officer Michael J. Jackson said on an Oct. 24 earnings call. Further sales gains are “dependent upon the fundamental strength of the economic recovery in the U.S. and whether the employment picture has significantly improved from what it is today.”
Consumer loans made by the federal government, mostly for school tuitions, increased by $5.2 billion before seasonal adjustment after rising $12.8 billion in September, today’s report showed.
The interest rate on undergraduate Stafford loans dropped to 3.86 percent in August, retroactive to July 1, the day the rate doubled to 6.8 percent. The law links financing to 10-year Treasury yields, which had the immediate effect of reducing the borrowing cost for Stafford loans.
Rising home and stock values have been cushioning consumers, supporting the household purchases that account for about 70 percent of the economy.

Real Unemployment Rate Over 17%

Amazing. The MSM is gushing over the Unemployment rate dropping to 7.0% as if happy days and blue skies are here again, and everything is just Jim Dandy.
The MSM makes no mention of the fact that 41% of the new jobs created were government jobs.
Gallup has the "Underemployment Rate" aka, the true Unemployment Rate at 17.4%
What the MSM is doing is criminal. Most Americans are busy with work, working two jobs, trying to find work, scraping to get by, taking care of their kids, elderly parents, learn the truth.
The MSM tells them the economy has turned around and things are fine. No wonder we have a majority of LoFo voters. Some are intellectually lazy. Others grew up believing the media, academia and our politicians were honest.
Yet when GWB was nearing the end of his 2nd term, the sky was falling, the US was on the brink of economic collapse, we were in the worst economy since the Great Depression and on and on and on.
Meanwhile under Obama, the Unemployment rate has remained high and stagnant and goes unreported.
When his job approval ratings fall to 38, 39% the MSM doesn't utter a word yet when GWB's job approval rating would fall a single percentage point it would be the lead story on every network.
I could give examples all night. I'm sure everyone here can as well.
The way the MSM gushes over this con artist and this clueless glorified community organizer is appalling.
The ACA website is still having major problems and wasn't fixed as promised by the December 1st deadline and again, nary a word by the MSM who would crucify a Republican administration for 1/20th of the disasters by this administration.
Bizzaro world. Up is Down. True is False. Choose any analogy you like. Pravda and TASS are amateurs compared to the MSM

More Welfare for Wall Street: One in Three Bank Tellers Need Public Assistance

Big banks eating up taxpayer subsidies isn’t a new story. We heard a lot about the hundreds of billions of dollars doled out to Wall Street in the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP). And a May analysis by Bloomberg News estimated that the six largest banks alone had scooped up over $100 billion more in subsidies since 2009.
But a new study finds that we’re also subsidizing their profits by keeping their low-wage workforce out of poverty. Danielle Douglas reports for The Washington Post:
Almost a third of the country’s half-million bank tellers rely on some form of public assistance to get by, according to a report due out Wednesday.
Researchers say taxpayers are doling out nearly $900 million a year to supplement the wages of bank tellers, which amounts to a public subsidy for multibillion-dollar banks. The workers collect $105 million in food stamps, $250 million through the earned income tax credit and $534 million by way of Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program, according to the University of California at Berkeley’s Labor Center.
The center provided the data to the Committee for Better Banks, a coalition of labor advocacy groups that published the broader study, to be released Wednesday, on the conditions of bank workers in the heart of the financial industry, New York. In the that state alone, 39 percent of tellers and their family members are enrolled in some form of public assistance program, the data show.
“This is the wealthiest and most powerful industry in the world, and it’s substantially subsidized by our tax dollars, money that we could be spending on child care or pre-K,” said Deborah Axt, co-executive director at Make the Road New York, one of four coalition members.
Profits at the nation’s banks topped $141.3 billion last year, with the median chief executive pay hovering around $552,000, according to SNL Financial. In contrast, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics pegs the median annual income of a bank teller at $24,100, or $11.59 an hour.
The report comes amid growing awareness of the high costs tax-payers pay for low-wage jobs in the fast food and retail industries. On Thursday, fast food workers in 100 cities will participate in one-day strikes demanding a living wage and an end to workplace abuses.
Those actions follow dozens of Black Friday protests at retailers across the country. Meanwhile, a growing movement is achieving victories in living wage campaigns across the country.

WTO to India: Starve your poor as we demand

WTO: Just another elite organization that should be kicked to the curb.
Globalization is a fail. It serves the powers that shouldn’t be. It does not serve the people. In any nation. Anywhere on the globe.

 India on Thursday shrugged off mounting pressure to compromise in a global impasse over food security that has cast the future of the World Trade Organization into doubt.

New Delhi's insistence that it be allowed to stockpile and subsidise grain for its millions of hungry poor has emerged as a major stumbling block at a WTO conference of trade ministers in Bali.

The WTO has warned that failure to reach a compromise on that and other issues could be a death blow to the body's 12-year-old effort to remove trade barriers, which is at a stalemate.

"This is a fundamental issue. We will never compromise," Indian Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma told reporters at the conference venue on the Indonesian resort island.

Washington and some other trading nations are said to feel the Indian position violates WTO limits on subsidies and fear stockpiled grain could end up on global markets, skewing prices.
 Skewing prices? The WTO  does exactly that! Skews prices. Which is why the WTO is demanding that India restrict grain for the poor. The poor in India can’t pay for basic grains? The WTO says to bad, you should all just starve and die.  
Trade ministers have issued stark warnings that a failure to close gaps in Bali would fatally wound the WTO's waning world influence.

Good riddance to the WTO. Good riddance to the global tyranny.

Gold And Silver – Your Economical Survival Depends On Them.

by Edge Trader Plus

Saturday  7 December 2013
We had planned on writing about China’s emergence as the world’s new superpower,
while the United States keeps sliding into  Third World status, but we cannot escape
the more cogent political implications/ramifications of the diverging paths between
the two countries.  Actually, the United States has turned direction from a positive
influence to a negative one with almost all other countries in the world.There is no other country aggressively pursuing war and human rights violations more
than the United States is, today.   The US has engaged in perpetual warfare with one
country after another in the Middle East:  Iraq, on totally false pretenses, [Weapons
of Mass Destruction]; Afghanistan, [seeking control of the drug trade]; Syria, a huge
embarrassment to aggressor Obama, who claimed the use of chemicals in war, and to
the extent of any truth, the supplies came from Saudi Arabia via Great Britain, both
US allies.   It took the intervention of Russian President Vladimir Putin to stop the
Obama lies and deception to prevent another Iraqi-style deceit as excuse for another
“invasion.”Of course, it could not have had anything to do with the fact that Syria is critical as
an access point for Russia supplying natural gas to Europe, and diminishing reliance
upon Saudi oil and the oil backing the US “dollar.”  Then there is the ongoing Iran
situation, “potentially building nuclear weapons” as an excuse.  The fact that Iran has
been selling oil for gold, bypassing the use of the US “dollar,” rendering the fiat less and
less important on the world economic stage, was never a consideration for US opposition
to that country.Trying to get something started with Iran is the way elites “pay back” any country
substituting the use of  the fiat “dollar” in trade.  Look at how the reaction has been in
the Ukraine for refusing to align with the EU.  Leave it to the elites to foment disorder
with the intent of disrupting the Kiev government as another form of pay back.The United States is crumbling from within, engaging in self-destruction.  It has been
helped, actually intentionally directed by what we call the New World Order, those
elitists who control the entire Western banking system.  It has been the purpose of the
moneychangers to overtake and destroy from within the capitalistic United States.  That
plan has succeeded.  The New World Order has been in direct charge of the United States
since 1933, when the US went bankrupt, shutting down the entire banking system and
reopening it with the privately owned, [by the elites], Federal Reserve in charge.This is not a simple explanation to connect the dots from the Rothschilds in Europe and
the Rockefellers in the United States to see how the United States has been stealthily
destroyed by the Rothschild formula:  “Give me control of a nation’s money supply, and
I care not who makes the rules,”
 Meyer Amschel Rothschild.  He was very serious about
what he said, and he spoke from experience.  It has taken about 150 years, by design, but
the United States has finally succumbed.The Rothschild formula is accomplished through money control, and what has been more
controlling than central banks?  For anyone who wonders why no banker has ever gone to
jail in the last 8 years for the theft of millions of illegally foreclosed homes, for which the
banks were often paid several times over for each property, why no Wall St banker has
ever been indicted, why the inept US Attorney General of the united States cannot find
any crimes in the banker’s world, it is because they are all protected for their roles as
bankers in promoting the financial theft and control of the country’s assets.The one asset no banker can control or diminish in value is gold and silver.  Both metals
are the wooden stake in the heart of all fiat.  The answer, at least for us, as to why there
has been such a disparity between ever-increasing world demand for gold and silver, and
ever decreasing price levels for the past few years, is the control which the financial elites
exert over all Western governments.The natural law of supply and demand continues to be subject to the stranglehold of the
elites over money, over governments, over news media, and over people who remain so
unaware, for the most part, that the biggest Ponzi scheme ever has been conducted by the
biggest financial mafia ever, the moneychangers.China is a huge game changer.  Russia and the other BRICS nations are gaining more and
more independence from the soon-to-fall-world-reserve-currency, the totally fiat Federal
Reserve “dollar.”  The Chinese government has been buying as much gold as it possibly
can because it knows the “dollar” is done, as far as they and the BRICS, are concerned.
More and more business is being conducted outside of fiat “dollars,” because fewer and
fewer countries are willing to deal with that toxic “currency.”The elites will not give up control without a fight, allowing the destruction of all fiat
currencies, in the process.  No one knows how this will play out.  China has no issue with
central banks being used to suppress the price for gold and silver, for it is to advantage
for China and the other BRICS countries to be able to buy PMs at such ridiculously low
prices.It is also likely that the central bankers, who know this better than anyone that they are
losing control, are being accommodative to China to keep prices low as a form of
compensation for the worthless US Bonds China holds.  The last thing the money elites
want is to have China dump their bond holdings all at once and overwhelm the over-
extended Western banking system, where not one bank in the Western world is solvent.
The financial fraud must be perpetrated for as long as possible.Those who are buying, accumulating, and personally holding physical gold and silver
stand the best chance for economic survival when and as the US  “dollar” is devalued
and the financial system collapses, or undergoes dramatic change.  Holding any form
of paper gold and/or silver will not work.  Paper claims will never be given delivery of
physical metal.  Any form of paper asset is at risk of being devalued to the “worth” of
fiat “dollars.”The United States is at the end game in its survival.  It will not survive, certainly not in
the way people unwittingly [falsely]believe it can.  The moneychangers have won with
only a few shots fired, and two out of then three most successful were at Lincoln and
Kennedy.  The effort against Reagan failed.The Chinese are experts at warfare, employing tactics espoused by Sun Tzu in The Art
of War.
  The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.  The West is
playing right into China’s hands.  In contrast, the Western financial elites have employed
only one tactic, All warfare is based on deception, for everything about the
moneychangers is predicated on issuing worthless fiat and getting back tangible assets.The elites created the current situation, and no one can escape the ravages of a fiat
collapse.  Remember, the Federal Reserve is modeled after the Weimar banking system,
if that is any help in getting people to realize a replay of some degree is going to occur
in this country.There is a reason why the government has put the NSA in place, [started over 60 years
ago], why the Patriot Act was passed by Bush, the National Defense Authorization Act
by Obama, why FEMA was formed, [federal control over the population, as in detention
camps], the TSA, subduing and controlling movement by citizens.  They are coming
after the guns, next.   We are living Orwell’s “1984.”Take a page from the Chinese, who know very well what they are doing in assuring the
downfall of the US “dollar,” and the country itself.  Keep buying the physical metals.We do not know what the tipping point will be for the turnaround in prices, but it will
certainly show up in the charts, eventually.  For now, there is still no ending action
to the current decline.  All we can do is read developing market activity and look for
tell-tale signs when they do show.The decline is holding near the last swing low.  Will the June low hold?  The odds are
greater for the low not holding, based on the trend, but there is no way to determine
the probability of the June low giving way, for it is possible it will not. For now, the 9
week rally from that low is undergoing a correction, currently in its 14th week.  From
that, we can infer the decline has not been as strong as the rally.As is pointed out, the ranges of the last 6 weeks down are smaller.  There is not as
much EDM, [Ease of Downward Movement], which says sellers are not as strong;
buyers are meeting the effort of sellers, more so than in the past since the highs; or
a combination of the two.  The mid-range close from last week shows evidence of
buyers successfully defending the low, and that requires a closer look at the daily
chart to see if more can be read into that observation.GC W 7 Dec 13What is known about bars that overlap is they reflect a balanced struggle between buyers
and sellers.  On the weekly chart, price is well away from the upper channel line.  On the
daily, the upper channel line is being retested.  The upper line represents supply, [selling]
and the lower channel line represents demand, [buying].Because price is bumping up against a known supply area, it illustrates why the bars are
overlapping, showing the balanced struggle between buyers and sellers as just explained.
All that can be said is that control by sellers appears to be weakening.   That happens in all
declining markets, but a weakening of the trend does not mean that it has ended.Wednesday’s large, high volume rally bar needs to be watched to see how it is retested.
The how of any price reaction often provides important clues.  If price narrows and the
volume declines on a retest, it lets us know sellers are weak, and buyers can more easily
take control.  If price declines in a wide range bar and closes poorly, we know sellers are
still in control.  Next week should give some kind of answer.GC D2 7 Dec 13No question that the trend remains down, and there is no sign of a turnaround.  Of late,
silver has been relatively weaker than gold.SI W 7 Dec 13The thin line connecting the recent swing highs and lows shows a time frame of 23 weeks
in the August high October low decline, and the current low is the 24th week since the late
October swing high.  Sometimes, markets rhyme in time.  What matters the most is how
price behaves.  The swing low timing gives greater reason to watch how price responds at
the current lows for a possible rally turnaround.Note how the last three closes were in the upper range of each bar.  That tells us buyers
won the battle on each of those days. Many more battles will have to be won before the
tide of the “trend war” changes.SI D 7 Dec 13

Amend the Federal Reserve: We Need a Central Bank that Serves Main Street

December 23rd marks the 100th anniversary of the Federal Reserve. Dissatisfaction with its track record has prompted calls to audit the Fed and end the Fed. At the least, Congress needs to amend the Fed, modifying the Federal Reserve Act to give the central bank the tools necessary to carry out its mandates.
The Federal Reserve is the only central bank with a dual mandate. It is charged not only with maintaining low, stable inflation but with promoting maximum sustainable employment. Yet unemployment remains stubbornly high, despite four years of radical tinkering with interest rates and quantitative easing (creating money on the Fed’s books). After pushing interest rates as low as they can go, the Fed has admitted that it has run out of tools.
At an IMF conference on November 8, 2013, former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers suggested that since near-zero interest rates were not adequately promoting people to borrow and spend, it might now be necessary to set interest at below zero. This idea was lauded and expanded upon by other ivory-tower inside-the-box thinkers, including Paul Krugman.
Negative interest would mean that banks would charge the depositor for holding his deposits rather than paying interest on them. Runs on the banks would no doubt follow, but the pundits have a solution for that: move to a cashless society, in which all money would be electronic. “This would make it impossible to hoard cash outside the bank,” wrote Danny Vinik in Business Insider, “allowing the Fed to cut interest rates to below zero, spurring people to spend more.” He concluded:
. . . Summers’ speech is a reminder to all liberals that he is a brilliant economist who grasps the long-term issues of monetary policy and would likely have made an exemplary Fed chair.
Maybe; but to ordinary mortals living in the less rarefied atmosphere of the real world, the proposal to impose negative interest rates looks either inane or like the next giant step toward the totalitarian New World Order. Business Week quotes Douglas Holtz-Eakin, a former director of the Congressional Budget Office: “We’ve had four years of extraordinarily loose monetary policy without satisfactory results, and the only thing they come up with is we need more?”
Paul Craig Roberts, former Assistant Secretary of the Treasury, calls the idea “harebrained.” He is equally skeptical of quantitative easing, the Fed’s other tool for stimulating the economy. Roberts points to Andrew Huszar’s explosive November 11th Wall Street Journal article titled “Confessions of a Quantitative Easer,” in which Huszar says that QE was always intended to serve Wall Street, not Main Street. Huszar’s assignment at the Fed was to manage the purchase of $1.25 trillion in mortgages with dollars created on a computer screen. He says he resigned when he realized that the real purpose of the policy was to drive up the prices of the banks’ holdings of debt instruments, to provide the banks with trillions of dollars at zero cost with which to lend and speculate, and to provide the banks with “fat commissions from brokering most of the Fed’s QE transactions.”
A Helicopter Drop That Missed Its Target
All this is far from the helicopter drop proposed by Ben Bernanke in 2002 as a quick fix for deflation. He told the Japanese, “The U.S. government has a technology, called a printing press (or, today, its electronic equivalent), that allows it to produce as many U.S. dollars as it wishes at essentially no cost.” Later in the speech he discussed “a money-financed tax cut,” which he said was “essentially equivalent to Milton Friedman’s famous ‘helicopter drop’ of money.” Deflation could be cured, said Professor Friedman, simply by dropping money from helicopters.
But there has been no cloudburst of money raining down on the people. The money has gotten only into the reserve accounts of banks. John Lounsbury, writing in Econintersect, observes that Friedman’s idea of a helicopter drop involved debt-free money printed by the government and landing in people’s bank accounts. “He foresaw the money entering the economy through bank deposits, not through bank reserves which was the pathway available to Bernanke. . . . [W]hen Ben Bernanke fired up his helicopter engines he took the only path available to him.”
Bernanke created debt-free money and bought government debt with it, returning the interest to the Treasury. The result was interest-free credit, a good deal for the government. But the problem, says Lounsbury, is that:
The helicopters dropped all the money into a hole in the ground (excess reserve accounts) and very little made its way into the economy. It was essentially a rearrangement of the balance sheets of the creditor nation with little impact on the debtor nation.
. . . The fatal flaw of QE is that it delivers money to the accounts of the creditors and does nothing for the accounts of the debtors. Bad debts remain unserviced and the debt crisis continues.
Thinking Outside the Box
Bernanke delivered the money to the creditors because that was all the Federal Reserve Act allowed. If the Fed is to fulfill its mandate, it clearly needs more tools; and that means amending the Act. Harvard professor Ken Rogoff, who spoke at the November 2013 IMF conference before Larry Summers, suggested several possibilities; and one was to broaden access to the central bank, allowing anyone to have an ATM at the Fed.
Rajiv Sethi, Barnard/Columbia Professor of Economics, expanded on this idea in a blog titled “The Payments System and Monetary Transmission.” He suggested making the Federal Reserve the repository for all deposit banking. This would make deposit insurance unnecessary; it would eliminate the need to impose higher capital requirements; and it would allow the Fed to implement monetary policy by targeting debtor rather than creditor balance sheets. Instead of returning its profits to the Treasury, the Fed could do a helicopter drop directly into consumer bank accounts, stimulating demand in the consumer economy.
John Lounsbury expanded further on these ideas. He wrote in Econintersect that they would open a pathway for investment banking and depository banking to be separated from each other, analogous to that under Glass-Steagall. Banks would no longer be too big to fail, since they could fail without destroying the general payment system of the economy. Lounsbury said the central bank could operate as a true public bank and repository for all federal banking transactions, and it could operate in the mode of a postal savings system for the general populace.
Earlier Central Bank Ventures into Commercial Lending
That sounds like a radical departure today, but the Fed has ventured into commercial banking before. In 1934, Section 13(b) was added to the Federal Reserve Act, authorizing the Fed to “make credit available for the purpose of supplying working capital to established industrial and commercial businesses.” This long-forgotten section was implemented and remained in effect for 24 years. In a 2002 article on the Minneapolis Fed’s website called “Lender of More Than Last Resort,” David Fettig noted that 13(b) allowed Federal Reserve banks to make loans directly to any established businesses in their districts, and to share in loans with private lending institutions if the latter assumed 20 percent of the risk. No limitation was placed on the amount of a single loan.
Fettig wrote that “the Fed was still less than 20 years old and many likely remembered the arguments put forth during the System’s founding, when some advocated that the discount window should be open to all comers, not just member banks.” In Australia and other countries, the central bank was then assuming commercial as well as central bank functions.
Section 13(b) was eventually repealed, but the Federal Reserve Act retained enough vestiges of it in 2008 to allow the Fed to intervene to save a variety of non-bank entities from bankruptcy. The problem was that the tool was applied selectively. The recipients were major corporate players, not local businesses or local governments. Fettig wrote:
Section 13(b) may be a memory, . . . but Section 13 paragraph 3 . . . is alive and well in the Federal Reserve Act. . . . [T]his amendment allows, “in unusual and exigent circumstances,” a Reserve bank to advance credit to individuals, partnerships and corporations that are not depository institutions.
In 2008, the Fed bailed out investment company Bear Stearns and insurer AIG, neither of which was a bank. Bear Stearns got almost $1 trillion in short-term loans, with interest rates as low as 0.5%. The Fed also made loans to other corporations, including GE, McDonald’s, and Verizon.
In 2010, Section 13(3) was modified by the Dodd-Frank bill, which replaced the phrase “individuals, partnerships and corporations” with the vaguer phrase “any program or facility with broad-based eligibility.” As explained in the notes to the bill:
Only Broad-Based Facilities Permitted. Section 13(3) is modified to remove the authority to extend credit to specific individuals, partnerships and corporations. Instead, the Board may authorize credit under section 13(3) only under a program or facility with “broad-based eligibility.”
What programs have “broad-based eligibility” is not clear from a reading of the Section, but it isn’t individuals or local businesses. It also isn’t state and local governments.
No Others Need Apply
In 2009, President Obama proposed that the Fed extend its largess to the cash-strapped cities and states battered by the banking crisis. “Small businesses and state and local governments are having serious difficulty obtaining necessary financing from debt markets,” Obama said. He proposed that the Fed buy municipal bonds to cut their rising borrowing costs.
The proposed municipal bond facility would have been based on the Fed program to buy commercial paper, which had almost single-handedly propped up the market for short-term corporate borrowing. Investors welcomed the muni bond proposal as a first step toward supporting the market.
But Bernanke rejected the proposal. Why? It could hardly be argued that the Fed didn’t have the money. The collective budget deficit of the states for 2011 was projected at $140 billion, a drop in the bucket compared to the sums the Fed had managed to come up with to bail out the banks. According to data released in 2011, the central bank had provided roughly $3.3 trillion in liquidity and $9 trillion in short-term loans and other financial arrangements to banks, multinational corporations, and foreign financial institutions following the credit crisis of 2008. Later revelations pushed the sum up to $16 trillion or more.
Bernanke’s reasoning in saying no to the muni bond facility was that he lacked the statutory tools.. The Fed is limited by statute to buying municipal government debt with maturities of six months or less that is directly backed by tax or other assured revenue, a form of debt that makes up less than 2% of the overall muni market.
The Federal Reserve Act was drafted by bankers to create a banker’s bank that would serve their interests. It is their own private club, and its legal structure keeps all non-members out. A century after the Fed’s creation, a sober look at its history leads to the conclusion that it is a privately controlled institution whose corporate owners use it to direct our entire economy for their own ends, without democratic influence or accountability. Substantial changes are needed to transform the Fed, and these will only come with massive public pressure.
Congress has the power to amend the Fed – just as it did in 1934, 1958 and 2010. For the central bank to satisfy its mandate to promote full employment and to become an institution that serves all the people, not just the 1%, the Fed needs fundamental reform.
Ellen Brown is an attorney, president of the Public Banking Institute, and author of twelve books, including the best-selling Web of Debt. In The Public Bank Solution, her latest book, she explores successful public banking models historically and globally. Her blog articles are at

Sen. Rand Paul pushes ‘Economic Freedom Zones’ for Detroit

Source: Washington Times

Rand Paul (5584558924) Sen. Rand Paul vowed Friday to push a proposal to create “economic freedom zones” in Detroit that would slash taxes and regulatory red tape in an attempt to revive the city’s economy.
Speaking at the Detroit Economic Club, Mr. Paul, a potential 2016 GOP presidential candidate, said that the model could be used in cities and counties across the nation and said that it would allow Detroit to hang onto $1.3 billion in tax revenue that otherwise would have been sent to the federal government.
“What Detroit needs to thrive is not Washington’s domineering hand, but freedom from big government’s mastery,” the Kentucky Republican said. “The answer to poverty and unemployment is not another government stimulus. It is simply leaving more money in the hands of those who earn it.”
Detroit recently became the largest municipality in the history of the nation to enter Chapter 9 bankruptcy. The city faces an $18 billion in debt and long-term liabilities.

Let us put an end to the banks' monopoly!

Bitcoin, Quark & Co. What exactly lies behind the system of bitcoin? Which chances and disadvantages does it entail? And are there yet noteworthy successive projects?

text by Florian Hauschild, translation by NUFCrichard, photo by Targaryen
Since the middle of 2013, the mainstream media hasn’t been able to spin Bitcoin as just an underground hacker‘s obsession anymore.  With the closure of the online drug marketplace “Silk Road”, that only accepted Bitcoin as payment, the image of the Cryptocurrency has been improved. Even eBay suggesting that it may accept Bitcoin in the future.

But what is the deal with this pioneering alternative currency? What are the biggest problems and which follow-up projects deserve to be looked at more closely? Take a step into the Crypto scene and you’ll find an intelligence network of developers and followers. The original idea behind the Crypto scene was in direct opposition to the current money system. All new projects (called Altcoins) are openly discussed during development, then published and analysed by the community, allowing newbies to quickly discover what is going on and who is responsible for each project.

Speculation, conjecture and analysis are standard practice.  The pessimists see such practices as a negative, whereas the optimist knows that it is better to have everything out in the open so they can be freely discussed. This way of thinking and organisational structure offer the perfect platform for innovation to take place.

The cryptocurrency review presented by the mainstream media makes the crypto scene look like something out of the far future.  They question whether Bitcoin can establish itself or if it’s just a speculative bubble, ready to pop.  But in specialised internet forums, unseen by the masses, quantum leaps in the fields of computer science and theoretical mathematics are being made, these theories are quickly accepted, rejected or disputed, but everything is open for further scrutiny and development by the community.

Here the question isn’t so much whether Bitcoin will survive, rather which parts of it are going to be most useful and allow crytocurrencies to be used as the actual payment method of the future.

The crypto scene is on track to break through the oligopoly of the bank cartels, ending their 100 year reign of terror over the monetary system.

These banks have authority not just over the people, but also more recently over whole countries that they have brought to ruin.  They left their debts for the working classes and the small businesses to repay.  It’s hardly a surprise that cryptocurrencies, when the banks that be run the whole monetary system like a Ponzi scheme, without the knowledge of the general public.

As the public have little knowledge of the current monetary system, they can hardly be expected to understand the need for a new decentralised monetary system.  Empowered with this knowledge of the tools the authorities use against the public, more can be expected.

How does Cryptocurrency work?

The basics of Bitcoin are readily available in the internet for all to see, and do not need to be elaborated upon here.  However, what is not so clear, and is often misunderstood, is the process of mining, the method by which Cryptocurrencies are generated.

In oppose to what is often written about it, mining is only a small part of the process in alternative payment systems.  Miners use the computing power they have available to mint new digital coins.  These coins can then be bought or sold using Dollars or Euros, or spent in transactions, moving the newly minted coins into circulation. The monetary gain of the miner is like a reimbursement for their work.  The minting of the new coins is only the birth of a coin that can then be used in transactions, just like any other coin.
In the case of Bitcoin, the algorithm behind it is very complex and mining therefore very resource intensive. The acquisition of ever more expensive mining rigs is necessary to stay involved in the mining process. This, in turn, makes the coins more expensive to bring into circulation.

The resulting problem is that the distribution of Bitcoin is very uneven.    This is mainly due to the “Early Adopters” who were able to mine very easily and were able to acquire large numbers of bitoins.  To many new Bitcoin users, this situation seems very unfair.

Philosophically speaking, you could say the opposite is true, that the “Early Adopters” were the pioneers that build up the entire system.  It is also true that there is much more to the coin than just mining.  The community, the press, education process and the development work are also required to build a successful coin. These tasks are undertaken by small groups of supporters of the currency.

Everyone should be aware: the establishment and implementation of a new alternative monetary system is no small task. Years of dedication is required to drive forward the acceptance of the payment method for trade, this is the point Bitcoin finds itself at now, at the end of this journey, not the beginning.  On this journey expect frequent smear campaigns with misrepresentation of facts, denouncements and derogatory campaigns. The successful endpoint will be the breaking of the current banking monopoly.  Those that adopt cryptocurrencies are sure not to make many friends in the system.  However, ultimately, the advantages will outweigh the disadvantages.

Economically speaking, the uneven distribution of Bitcoin is a problem.  The price is unstable and volatile because a high number of coins are not actually available on the market, along with market manipulation by the major Bitcoin holders.  Overall the demand is greater than the supply, resulting in the high price of Bitcoin, leading to most Bitcoin payments being a slightly awkward to work out decimal, such as 0.0013202 BTC.

What comes next? What can we actually use it for?

Other than the well-known Bitcoin alternatives, like Litecoin and Peercoin, (a full list of projects can be found here Coinmarketcap) there is a new up and coming coin on the scene.  It is called Quark.  The name Quark comes from a subatomic particle in quantum physics, it means nothing more than “Elementary”, which also is a good explanation of the project, Quark should be distributed widely so that is a truly usable cryptocurrency.

Quark does things a little differently than most of Bitcoins followers, the so called Clone coins, with only a few lines of code changed from the original.

The architecture is made of a complicated multilevel algorithm, which not only increases security, but also makes ASIC (Application Specific Integrated Circuit) mining near impossible.  This means that minable can be done by the masses, not just the few.  Mining takes place using the CPU of any standard home PC.  The so called “block interval” is only 30 seconds (in opposed to 10 minutes with Bitcoin) meaning transactions occur far faster with Quark.

In the first 6 months of Quarks existence, almost all of the coins that will be mined, were mined, a total of 247 million (10 times more than the final number of Bitcoins).  In the future only 1 million Quarks will be mined every year, giving a stable inflation rate of 0.5%, so that Quark is a true currency for trading, not just something to speculate on or to hoard away.

Over 100 miners are now working on minting new Quarks in order to distribute the coins.  These are then traded on marketplaces like Cryptsy, the current “number one” marketplace for trading altcoins.

The large number of early adopters in comparison with Bitcoin means that the coins have been more fairly distributed from the start.  Investors can buy in, safe in the knowledge that the concept is self-supporting.  Many sceptical sellers are selling out at current prices.  The current daily volume of traded Quarks is about 1000 Bitcoins, or 1 million dollars.  This results in a price that is only 10 euro cents per Quark.  Up until recently, when Quark was relatively unknown, the value of a Quark was only around about 0.02 euro cents.  The community is ecstatic with the recent prices move, moving the price to a fairer level.

A lot has been said about how good a coin can be that has been almost completely mined and distributed before most people even knew what it was.  On the other hand, in many other projects the production of the currency is not possible for the normal end user.  It has also resulted in the distribution of Quark being a low resource and low power affair, in comparison with other more energy hungry projects.

Whether or not Quark is successful in becoming an everyday payment method, or if this project is just another step on the way to a truly useful alternative payment system, is not yet clear, but what is clear that the established institutions that control money as we know it, already know that they have competition on their hands.

There are certainly interesting times ahead!

Federal Debt, Detroit, and Greece


If ever-growing federal debt is a good thing, they pray tell: Why is the Detroit city government in bankruptcy? They’ve been incurring lots of debt.
Is there really some kind of special difference between a national government and a local government? Of course not. Government is government, whether at a local, state, or national level. No government is exempt from economic and financial principles.
In fact, Detroit is also no different in principle from the Greek government. Both governments were spending more than what they were bringing in with taxes. They borrowed the difference. They kept doing that, year after year, adding new debt to an ever-growing mountain of debt. It finally got to the point where the Detroit government, like the Greek government, lacked the tax revenues to continue paying its bills and its debt payments. It was busted, just like the Greek government. That’s why it went to federal bankruptcy court, just like private people sometimes do when their personal debt has become so large as to become unmanageable.
It’s no different with the federal government. Ever-growing debt is a bad thing. It can get so large that even the federal government lacks the tax revenues to pay its bills and its debt payments.
In fact, that’s what the debt ceiling is all about. The ceiling prohibits the federal government from incurring any debt in excess of the ceiling. If the ceiling is reached, that means no more new debt. At that point, federal spending must be limited to what is being collected with taxes.
Why is there a debt ceiling? Why place a limit on the total amount of debt that the federal government is permitted to incur?
The reason is because too much government debt is a bad thing. The ceiling is an acknowledgement of that principle. If ever-growing debt was a good thing, there wouldn’t be a ceiling. The sky would be the limit. And that would lead to bankruptcy, as Detroit and Greece have learned.
The problem, of course, is that each time the debt ceiling is reached, Congress votes to lift it, thereby enabling the federal government to add new debt to its already existing mountain of debt. Given that the debt ceiling is lifted each time it’s reached, for all practical purposes there is no debt ceiling, which means that each time new debt is added onto the currently existing debt, the day of reckoning grows nearer.
There is another factor to consider here—unfunded welfare obligations, especially Social Security and Medicare. Since these are welfare programs, there is no legally binding contract for payment, as there is with government bonds. Nonetheless, we all know what would happen if the federal government tried to suspend Social Security and Medicare if it got into a financial pinch. Seniors would go ballistic and demand that the federal government continue funding these programs regardless of the financial and economic consequences, and public officials would not be able to say no. So, we have to add the ever-growing costs of the welfare state to that mountain of already existing debt.
And let’s not forget the warfare state. There is no possibility that the Pentagon, the CIA, and the NSA will agree to anything but minor reductions in the rate of increase for warfare-state spending. Thus, warfare-state expenditures, like welfare-state expenditures, just keep going up.
Of course, statists say that the federal government is different from Detroit and Greece because it has the Federal Reserve. They say the Fed can simply print the money to pay off the debt, much as it has done ever since its inception in 1913. But that only means a debasement in the value of people’s money—i.e., inflation. We all know the chaos the financial, economic, and moral chaos that monetary debauchery brings a society.
Moreover, doesn’t inflation constitute a default or a bankruptcy? When the government is paying off its debt in cheapened, debased dollars that are worth less than the dollars it borrowed, how is that different from simply declaring that creditors are only going to be paid a certain percentage of what is owed to them rather than the entire amount?
Of course, from a libertarian standpoint simply slashing federal spending isn’t an ideal solution because it leaves the government engaged in too many illegitimate functions, such as the drug war, invasions and occupations, welfare, and so forth. Ideally, Americans would be asking: What is the role of government in a free society? And then they’d simply abolish or repeal all that is illegitimate. By dismantling, not reforming, all welfare-state functions, regulatory functions (e.g, the drug war), and warfare-state functions, federal spending would obviously be slashed, even to the point that Americans could live without a federal income tax and IRS, as our American ancestors did for some 150 years.

Why the Economy Will Implode (In 20 Seconds) – Mike Maloney


California Cold Snap Kills 4

california cold
WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 13: (R) Hector Cazares was given an extra blanket by homeless advocates who made the rounds earlier at McPherson Square where several homeless folks sleep each night. He used newspapers under his feet to separate them from the cold sidewalk. As temperatures reached the low 30's overnight, many homeless folks needed extra blankets to protect them against the near freezing weather.(Photo by Michael S. Williamson/The Washington Post via Getty Images) | The Washington Post via Getty Images

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) — Four people have died of hypothermia in the San Francisco Bay Area while the region is gripped by freezing temperatures.
Rosie Dominguez, a spokeswoman for the Santa Clara County coroner's office, confirmed the deaths and their cause but provided no further information. Dominguez referred questions to a county spokeswoman, who did not immediately return a phone call Friday afternoon.
The San Jose Mercury News reports ( ) that three of the victims died in homeless encampments while a fourth person died in a garage in the county on the south end of San Francisco Bay.
Temperatures dropped as low as 30 degrees at San Jose International Airport early Friday.
Information from: San Jose (Calif.) Mercury News,