Monday, April 27, 2015

Google Cofounder and CEO who is worth $30 BILLION dollars : “Massive unemployment is coming. The computers will take your job and there is NOTHING you can do about it”

When Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin formed the company in 1998, they sought to package all the information on the internet into an index that’s simple to use.
Today, Google is much more than a search engine. The company appears to be involved in every type of new technology ranging from self-driving cars to contact lenses that can test for disease.
In a recent interview with the Financial Times, CEO Larry Page provided some insight as to why the company has decided to take on so many different tasks.
Part of the reason is because Page believes there’s this inevitable shift coming in which computers will be much better-suited to take on most jobs.
Read more:
Not just low-wage jobs, either…
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — THE machine hums along, quietly scanning the slides, generating Pap smear diagnostics, just the way a college-educated, well-compensated lab technician might.
A robot with emotion-detection software interviews visitors to the United States at the border. In field tests, this eerily named “embodied avatar kiosk” does much better than humans in catching those with invalid documentation. Emotional-processing software has gotten so good that ad companies are looking into “mood-targeted” advertising, and the government of Dubai wants to use it to scan all its closed-circuit TV feeds.
Yes, the machines are getting smarter, and they’re coming for more and more jobs.
Not just low-wage jobs, either.
Today, machines can process regular spoken language and not only recognize human faces, but also read their expressions. They can classify personality types, and have started being able to carry out conversations with appropriate emotional tenor.

TTIP and TPP Signal the Rise of the One World Government

(Jay Johnson)  In his book, Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, John Perkins pulls back the curtain to reveal how exactly the globalization machinery works. The signing of the TTIP and TPP treaties create the framework for a one world government.
Gone are the days of freedom and democracy as the American oligarchy have created the conditions for the rise of worldwide corporatocracy.
According to some academics, the world is in the third stage of globalization. In a lecture presented at Auburn University, the first stage of globalization was the discovery and subsequent colonization of foreign lands, mostly by Europeans in the 1400s and continuing forward. The second stage occurred somewhere after the invention of the steam engine and the railroads. The third stage began after the marriage of cheap computers and public internet, somewhere in the mid 1990s. With this in mind, as globalization has progressed, a similar trend has been occurring simultaneously in the political/business world.
As people slowly changed from recognizing and fighting for local principalities, to the rise of the nation state and now to the supranational state via the creation of monetary unions like the EU or military blocs, such as NATO, the net effect is that borders have been destroyed and once distinct cultures have merged or are merging.
Everything everywhere is slowing becoming homogenized and standardized. Want to watch the new Avengers movie? It’s coming soon to a movie theater to you! (in a language you speak) Thirsty? Have a Coke! (it’s sold in the same standardized units worldwide) Need some military training or weapons? America can provide the best trainers or weapons money can buy.
In his book, Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, John Perkins pulls back the curtain to reveal how exactly the globalization machinery works. The people working behind the scenes do so mostly in secret and work for mostly boring names with lots of acronyms.
In an interview with, John Perkins said:
“They inhabit a stateless global archipelago of privilege — a collection of private schools, tax havens, and gated residential communities with little or no connection to the outside world. They are people to whom nations are as meaningless as they are to the global corporations and to the international aristocracy they serve.”
He went on to say: “The system of contemporary capitalist globalization operates for the exclusive benefit of a global plutocracy that has no national boundaries or loyalties. Oligarchy, (an interesting word that in western media is usually used as a propaganda technique to distinguish the “us vs them” paradigm), has been applied exclusively to the modern-day capitalist barons of Russia, is no less real in the triad of the United States, Japan, and Europe.”
Think of the Rockefeller family in America or the Rothschild family in Europe.
In fact, a Washington Times headline cited a Princeton university study in the headline: “America is an oligarchy, not a democracy or republic.” That article went on to note: “The U.S. government now represents the rich and powerful, not the average citizen.”Leaders_of_TPP_member_states
An interesting thing in that study noted: “When a majority of citizens disagrees with economic elites and/or with organized interests, they generally lose.”
So, here is where the TTIP and the TTP come in. TTIP, which stands for Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, or TTP, Trans-Pacific Partnership, are regional trade and investment treaties. This doesn’t sound too bad, right? Trade and business are, in theory, enough to bring countries together, thus preventing war.
As a quick reminder, here are all of the countries involved so far — TTIP: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom.

However, to look at it another way, Wikipedia notes: “The United States and European Union together represent 60% of global GDP, 33% of world trade in goods and 42% of world trade in services. A free trade area between the two would represent potentially the largest regional free-trade agreement in history, covering 46% of world GDP.”
TTP covers- Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States, and Vietnam.
The Washington Post notes: “(Pacific Rim countries) are responsible for 40 percent of the world’s GDP and 26 percent of the world’s trade.  Putting this all together, one can clearly see that by passing these treaties, America becomes the center of the world, so to speak. So, what’s so wrong with that, some might say?
A recent story in the New York Times noted-“(the treaties) are a blatant attack on labor, farmers, food safety, public health and even national sovereignty.” But, how can that be?  Senator Charles E. Schumer of New York, the Senate’s No. 3 Democrat said- “This is really troubling,” It seems to indicate that savvy, deep-pocketed foreign conglomerates could challenge a broad range of laws we pass at every level of government, such as made-in-America laws or anti-tobacco laws.”
The New York Times continued by saying- “the public has no access to its contents, and even members of Congress don’t know much. (On the other hand, “cleared advisers,” mostly corporate lawyers, have full access.” See, that’s how they roll. Doing deals in the dead of the night, behind closed doors.
As further proof of the secrecy surrounding this deal, United States Senator Ron Wyden wrote:
“The majority of Congress is being kept in the dark as to the substance of the TPP negotiations, while representatives of U.S. corporations—like Halliburton, Chevron, PHRMA, Comcast, and the Motion Picture Association of America—are being consulted and made privy to details of the agreement. […] More than two months after receiving the proper security credentials, my staff is still barred from viewing the details of the proposals that USTR is advancing. We hear that the process by which TPP is being negotiated has been a model of transparency. I disagree with that statement.”
Pretty amazing, right? Even a US Senator isn’t allowed to read some of the “finer print”.
We do know a little bit though. For instance, On March 26, 2015 WikiLeaks released the TPP’s Investment Chapter, which noted: “the accord would grant the power to global corporations to sue governments in tribunals organized by the World Bank or the United Nations to obtain taxpayer compensation for loss of expected future profits due to government actions.”
Basically, corporations will be able to force anyone opposing them to do whatever they, in a backroom deal. The New York Times summed this up by writing: “The TPP is little more than enhanced corporation power branded as free trade. It gives corporations the right to challenge government regulations and seek compensation if they think they’ve been treated unfairly by any of the 12 Pacific Rim nations in the deal.”
The New York Times noted: “The agreement would even allow countries to challenge one another’s laws, so that “equivalency” may simply mean that the least powerful regulations become the norm. The United States would have no special standing: If our laws are seen as restraining trade or limiting profits, they could be challenged in special courts, per the TPP’s “investor state” clause. Philip Morris is suing Uruguay over that country’s antismoking laws under just such circumstances”.
Making matters even complicated, a bill was recently introduced that would give the US President Barak Obama “fast-track authority” regarding the TPP. If it passes, Congress could vote only up or down on the deal, not amend it. That means that it can’t be changed, only agreed upon or not. Which probably means that corporate lobbyists are working overtime now, in an attempt to line up the votes. If it was such a good deal for the people, why all of the secrecy? Why all of the need to rush it through Congress without an open debate?
To quote George Orwell’s 1984- “There will be no curiosity, no enjoyment of the process of life. All competing pleasures will be destroyed. But always — do not forget this, Winston — always there will be the intoxication of power, constantly increasing and constantly growing subtler. Always, at every moment, there will be the thrill of victory, the sensation of trampling on an enemy who is helpless. If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face — forever.” And that, dear listeners, is the future if these treaties are passed. Think of it like this- the entire world will be literally changed forever by the stroke of a pen if Obama signs the trade treaties. Corporations will win, and the little guy will lose, forever. With these treaties, the world is  moving towards the final stage of globalization — away from “democracy” to “corporatocracy”.
So, what do you think dear listeners, does the TIPP and TPP signal the rise of the one world government?

After Bee Die-Off, Chinese Apple Farmers Resort to Hand-Pollination

(Stuart Liess)  Bees are dying in droves, with serious consequences for our farmers, which rely on the furry yellow workers to deliver the pollen that allows their food crops to produce fruit. In China, farmers have already experienced what it’s like to farm without bees—and it’s no easy feat.
Studies abound that document the problem of bee decline around the world. For example, the rusty patched bumble bee, an important pollinator of wildflowers, cranberries, blueberries, and apples, was once abundant throughout the United States, but it is now threatened with extinction, according to Xerces, a nonprofit conservation group.
It appears to be getting worse too since the problem first became apparent in the 1980s. Nearly one quarter of the honeybee population in the U.S. died over the winter of 2013/2014 according to a report made by a collaboration between the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Apiary Inspectors of America, and the Bee Informed Partnership. A recent assessment by the International Union for Conservation of Nature recorded that throughout Europe one in ten bee species are facing extinction.
Reasons for the decline, often dubbed “colony collapse disorder,” are many, but look to be largely of our own making. They include new and potentially bee-harming pathogens and parasites, a lack of bee nutrition due to a reduction in available pollen sources, and the harmful effects of toxic pesticides sprayed on crops and ingested by bees, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
While the problem exists worldwide, nowhere is it more poignant than in China’s mountainous Maoxian region, in Sichuan province, where farmers were forced to pollinate their apple orchards by hand after experiencing the loss of their entire wild bee population.

Bee Work

The pollination of apples in Maoxian has to be completed within five days in order for the trees to bear fruit—so every year thousands of villagers arrive for the arduous task of meticulously pollinating every single blossom by hand, according to Dave Goulson, writing for chinadialogue, an independent non-profit with offices in London and Beijing.
Using homemade pollination sticks made from chicken feathers and cigarette filters dipped into plastic bottles filled with pollen, a single person can pollinate five to ten trees in a day. Children also participate by climbing the trees to reach the higher branches.
The population of Maoxian is around 91,200, with a 6,437-hectare growing area approximately three times the size of Manhattan Island, New York.
Apple production in the Maoxian valley began in 1946 with 400 trees. By the 1980s, the region boasted over 200,000 trees and apples were the county’s leading cash crop.
By 1998 Maoxian had reached it’s peak, producing 30,000 tonnes a year with a total value of 40 million yuan (USD $6.4 million).
Along with the valley’s growing commercial success came an increase in the use of pesticides, which steadily took over the more traditional organic methods of fertilization, beginning in the 1970s.
The Maoxian apples, known as “maowen apples,” became famous throughout China and beyond, with their renown reaching as far as Russia and parts of Southeast Asia.
However, by 1990, a 50 percent decline in overall productivity was attributed to the mysterious bee loss phenomena.

End of An Industry

As part of its investigation into the reasons for bee declines globally, the nonprofit BioProfit went to China in 2001 to investigate the loss of bees in Sichuan valley.
While they were unable to confirm the exact cause of the disappearance, researchers attributed it to a combination of several factors.
According to numerous findings, pesticide use has been a major factor in cases throughout the world contributing to the decline in bees. Another major factor in Sichuan region was over-extensive farming contributing to a loss in natural bee habitat.

At one point, commercial bees were introduced into the area to fill in for the indigenous bees, but due to the overuse of pesticides, they all died, according to BioProfit.
Another factor that plays a role in fruit farming is that of pollinizer trees, which are typically mixed in with the orchard. They produce pollen, which gives the bees a source with which to fertilize the rest of the fruit.
A typical example would be the crabapple. Scientists recommend for a successful apple crop, there should be 25 percent to 33 percent crabapple trees mixed in with the commercial crop.
The Maoxin farmers typically planted less than 10 percent crabapple trees, as they didn’t think it would be commercially viable to have more due to the small land-holding size each farmer owned.
Temperatures and changing weather conditions also likely played a role. The farmers regularly reported fluctuations in the weather, characterized by quick temperature changes, and rain and hail storms during the blossoming periods.
BioProfit returned in 2011 to find that most farmers had replaced their apple groves for more manageable crops that didn’t need bees for pollination, like plums, walnuts, cherries, etc. Thus the great Maowen apple industry came to an end.

Pollution in China

Of large concern throughout China is its huge pollution problem, and over pesticide use is a major contributing factor.
Since the 1970s, the heavy-handed use of chemical pesticides has proven very popular with Chinese farmers as they strive to protect their crops from being eaten by insects.
The standards of use set by the ministry of agriculture tend to be ignored by farmers, and the laws are a lot more lenient in China than in more regulated countries where the distribution of pesticides would be in the hands of companies certified to do so, according a report by Yang Meng of chinadialogue.
The overuse of pesticides in China has become a big part of Chinese agriculture and is becoming a huge environmental and food safety problem, wrote Meng.
“The Ministry of Agriculture has standards for use, but if the standard says to use one bottle cap’s worth of pesticide the farmers will use three, just to make sure,” Xu Ming, director of the Pollution Prevention Office at the Ministry of Agriculture’s Agro-Environmental Protection Institute, told chinadialogue.
Also, when a biological or natural pesticide costs ten times the amount of its chemical counterpart, the money-conscious farmer would tend to pick the latter.

A World Without

Ever since the dawn of agriculture, farmers have relied on pollinators to fertilize new life, and bees make up for a third of this workforce.
The problems faced by farmers in Maoxian offer a haunting insight into what could one day happen on a global scale. Imagine a world without bees … our supermarkets would be dramatically empty.
UN Under-Secretary-General and UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner said in 2011: “Human beings have fabricated the illusion that in the 21st century they have the technological prowess to be independent of nature. Bees underline the reality that we are more, not less, dependent on nature’s services in a world of close to seven billion people.”

For-profit Corinthian Colleges to close all remaining campuses

(CALIFORNIA)  Corinthian Colleges will shut down all of its remaining 28 ground campuses as of Monday, displacing about 16,000 students, less than two weeks after the U.S. Department of Education announced it was fining the for-profit institution $30 million for misrepresentation.
In a statement Sunday, the Santa Ana, California-based company said it was working with other schools to help students continue their education. The closures include Heald College campuses in California, Hawaii and Oregon, as well as Everest and WyoTech schools in California, Arizona and New York.
Corinthian was one of the country’s largest for-profit educational institutions. It collapsed last summer amid a cash shortage and fraud allegations.
For-profit colleges have been under sharp government scrutiny and pressure for several years, with critics accusing them of putting profit ahead of student achievement. Some graduates have found that their degrees don’t win them jobs and that they are left saddled with large student debts. Enrollments in for-profit colleges soared during the recession as job seekers tried to improve their credentials.
Other for-profit institutions such as Apollo Education Group and Strayer Education have struggled to attract students since a 2010 government crackdown revealed low graduation rates and poor employability of graduates.

The Education Department contends that Corinthian failed to comply with requests to address allegations of falsifying job placement data and altering grades and attendance records. It agreed to sell or close its campuses under pressure from the department.
Earlier in April, the department fined subsidiary Heald College, alleging the school had shown a pattern of falsifying post-graduation employment data. In one instance, the company’s Honolulu campus declared a student had found work in her chosen field of accounting, even though administrators knew she was working at Taco Bell, the department said.
Most of the company’s former schools have been sold, and Corinthian attempted to sell Heald as well but was blocked by the refusal of California Attorney General Kamala Harris to provide prospective buyers with a release from liability.
California Attorney General Kamala Harris gestures while standing by a display showing the target demographic of Corinthian Colleges during a news conference Thursday, Oct. 10, 2013, in San Francisco. California's attorney general is suing the college company, alleging it misrepresented job placement rates and school programs to lure low-income state residents. According to the AG's Office, Santa Ana-based Corinthian and its subsidiaries operate Everest, Heald and WyoTech colleges and have 81,000 students. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg) ** Usable by LA and DC Only **
The company said Sunday it had been in “advanced negotiations” with several parties to sell the 150-year-old college and allow outside partners to let Everest and WyoTech students continue their education but was unsuccessful.
A group of current and former Corinthian students are petitioning the Education Department to waive their federal student debt based on the alleged misconduct. According to the company’s filings, the schools generated $1.2 billion government loans its final year.

Signs of Next Phase of Global Economic Collapse

we are entering the next phase….
Author Credit: Michael Snyder, Economic Collapse Blog

Obamacare Premium Payments Can Now Be Made At 7-11

(Soumya Karlamangla)  With Obamacare in its second year, health officials are still working out the kinks in expanding health coverage to millions of Californians.
In the latest fix, members of a health plan for low-income Los Angeles County residents now can pay their premiums with cash at neighborhood stores, a more convenient option for some people without bank accounts.
“It really is a testament to how far we’ve come in terms of the implementation of the ACA that now we’re really addressing these on-the-ground, everyday issues and barriers,” said Amy Adams, senior program officer for California HealthCare Foundation’s Improving Access team.
Roughly 4 million Californians have become insured under the national health law, which required nearly everyone to have health insurance starting in 2014. The state’s uninsured population has dropped by half to 11%.
Consumer advocates have long pushed for easier ways for the working poor to pay their insurance premiums. A report released before the implementation of Obamacare last year found that 27% of Americans and 19% of Californians who were uninsured and eligible for subsidies didn’t have bank accounts.

The insurance plan that rolled out the neighborhood cash payment system this month, L.A. Care Covered, is among those offered to patients who are eligible for government subsidies through the state’s health coverage exchange, Covered California. Members can pay their premiums at 1,953 stores in California, including all 7-Elevens, by scanning a bar code linked to their account.
“We’re very excited,” said Laura Jaramillo, an L.A. Care Covered official. “We feel that that’s going to make it extremely easy and convenient for them to pay their premiums.”
Jaramillo said officials hope a few thousand of the plan’s 17,000 Covered California members will use the new payment option. It’s not clear how many members lack bank accounts, she said, but about 40% mail in a money order, cashiers’ or personal check, instead of paying with a credit card online. An additional number also pay with a prepaid debit card online, she said.
Before the Affordable Care Act took effect last year, Obama administration officials ordered health plans to accommodate people who don’t have bank accounts by accepting paper checks, cashier’s checks, money orders and prepaid debit cards. They opted not to require that they accept cash, saying it would be too complicated. Managers at Covered California also discussed requiring health plans to accept cash payments, but decided against it.
Danny Shader, founder and chief executive officer of PayNearMe, the company partnering with the Los Angeles health plan, said that low-income people without bank accounts haven’t been able to benefit from innovations in online payments. “They’re, in fact, shut out of the digital economy,” he said.
Health plan members without bank accounts have typically had to wait in line and pay a fee to get a money order or a cashier’s check. With the new payment system, members pay no fees when they use cash to make a premium payment at a participating store. Instead, the health plan is charged a fee equivalent to a payment for a credit card transaction.
“It’s as quick as buying a carton of milk,” Shader said.

McDonald’s getting crushed by healthier fast food companies like Chipotle

(PA Watson)  In what can only be chalked up to karma, McDonald’s and its artery-clogging menu are taking a nasty hit in sales, with overall global sales reported to be down 2.6 percent from a year ago for comparable outlets. Sales in the Asia-Pacific and Middle East region fell by 8.3 percent, which played a significant role in the overall decrease.
Total revenue sank 11 percent to reach $5.96 billion in the quarter to March 31, and net income plunged 32.6 percent to $812 million. With 36,000 outlets in more than 100 countries, McDonald’s has been feeling the pressure from its decreasing customer traffic. They attribute the drop to a range of difficulties including changing consumer tastes and flexible rivals with healthier menus.
President and CEO Steve Easterbrook said the company is working to resolve the challenges, including closing underperforming restaurants and simplifying menus.
“McDonald’s management team is keenly focused on acting more quickly to better address today’s consumer needs, expectations and the competitive marketplace,” he said in a statement. “We are developing a turnaround plan to improve our performance and deliver enduring profitable growth. We look forward to sharing the initial details of this plan on May 4, 2015.”
As part of their follow-the-leader approach, Easterbrook has announced that with the chain now selling more chicken than burgers, it will stop serving chicken raised on antibiotics that are important to human health as worries grow over resistance to crucial drugs. They also announced they would increase wages for 90,000 employees in company-owned restaurants in the U.S. and offer them paid time off.
Once could view both of these changes as a marketing ploy rather than genuine concern for customers’ and employees’ well-being given the fact that these issues are being addressed in the aftermath of plummeting sales dating back to October 2014. It seems that the company’s corporate responsibility is directly tied to their pocketbook rather than their leadership and concern for those who fuel their empire.

McDonald’s losing ground to Chipotle

The irony in this latest development is that McDonald’s is falling behind its competitors, including one that they previously had a stake in. Chipotle, which McDonald’s had up to 90 percent ownership of in 2005 and then divested in 2006, is on fire. While McDonald’s was announcing a 30 percent plunge in third-quarter income and declining revenue in 2014, Chipotle reported a 31 percent increase in revenue and a 57 percent rise in net income in the same period.
Chairman, Founder, and co-CEO of Chipotle, Steve Ells, cited “the way we source, prepare, and serve our food” as a major contributor to their increasing popularity. In 2003, they made a statement that they were taking tangible steps to become GMO-free and were moving towards serving 100 percent grass-fed beef worldwide, which certainly puts some teeth behind that statement. Although supply shortages of this type of beef in the U.S. could put a crimp in the sustainability of their offerings, it does represent a move in the right direction.

Meanwhile, McDonald’s intends to officially announce antibiotic-free chicken in the future and is using Canada to introduce its verified sustainable beef venture some time in 2015. This means that they plan to blend the conventional stuff into the sustainably-sourced beef and gradually increase the percentage over time. As it continues to slowly introduce offerings that are being gobbled up by healthier fast food chains like Chipotle, McDonald’s might continue to be a victim of decreasing sales as the behemoth struggles to keep pace and stay relevant.
Only time will tell how well McDonald’s handles the current situation, but as they continue to slowly figure it out, expect other fast food chains to smell blood (grass-fed, of course) and move quickly in order to put a choke hold on the champ.

Just US – Its a Business Exploiting Others for Personal Gain

Project Innocence has been operating as a counter-balance against a justice system the is complete insane. In the federal prison, only about 4% of the people are even there for violence. The Ohio Project Innocence has won a victory where men have finally been released holding the record for the longest wrongfully held – 39 years.
It was 1975, Ricky Jackson and two other young black men were charged and convicted of the murder of a white businessman in Cleveland. The sole evidence against Ricky was testimony provided by an alleged eyewitness, who was 12 at the time. Ricky has met that child who is a man today. He has bluntly stated that he feels no anger. He understands the system and that the witness is typically rehearsed and coerced and becomes a victim of the system themselves.

America’s unintended strong-dollar policy worries top Fed officials, and may delay rate hikes

The strong U.S. dollar and an unsteady global economy are emerging as primary concerns for Federal Reserve officials as they prepare for a policy meeting next week to consider the timing of the first interest-rate increase since before the financial crisis.
The Fed already has said it is unlikely to raise rates next week and officials in recent interviews and public comments have signaled a rate increase in June has become less likely because the economy slowed in the first quarter.
As they discuss the outlook beyond midyear, officials are increasingly weighing how much the strong dollar might have hurt the prospects of achieving their economic forecast of annual growth of around 2.5%, gradual increases in inflation and continued declines in unemployment.
Fed officials have said they won’t raise rates until they’re confident inflation is on track to rise toward their 2% target, and they want to see the job market keep improving. A stronger currency tends to undermine exports because it makes them more expensive. That slows growth and potentially hiring. Meantime, the strong currency holds down the prices of imports and broader inflation.

America's unintended strong-dollar policy worries top Fed officials, and may delay rate hikes 

Mobile Payments “To Increase By 1000 Percent” In 2015

(Tech Week)  2015 could be the year in which mobile payments really explode into the mainstream, according to a new report.
Research by Deloitte, published in its annual Technology, Media & Telecommunications (TMT) Predictions report, predicts that in-store mobile payments will increase by more than 1,000 percent worldwide this year.
This year, about 10 percent of the base of smartphones worldwide will be used to make an in-store payment at least once a month, compared to less than half a percent (led by early adopters in Japan) of about 450 million smartphones in mid-2014.
2015 will be the first year in which the multiple prerequisites for mainstream adoption – satisfying financial institutions, merchants, consumers and device vendors – have been sufficiently addressed, the report says.
The huge rise in the number of NFC-enabled smartphones will also be a crucial factor, particularly in mobile payment technology being spread across developing markets, Deloitte says.
As more and more consumers become familiar with the process and more merchants in more markets begin accepting such methods of payments, both the volume of NFC smartphone transactions and the range of spend value will increase steadily over time, the report adds.

Cash Bans Grow as Central Bankers Plan Centralized Future: Bitcoin to the Rescue?

(Evander Smart)  Paper currency, or cash, is a fairly recent man-made, really a bank made, concept. As I’ve covered previously, paper money is a convenience of a modern society, but many things have acted as money throughout history. Throughout most of history, outright bartering of goods and services was the way of the world. We’ve used feathers, gold, beads, “tally sticks”, coins, and now paper currency to transmit value from one person to another. And much like the newspaper has been replaced by the Internet version of your newspaper, paper money is getting sent to Evolution’s Scrap Yard, courtesy of your central banking system’s design on capital controls.

Looks like the cash concept is getting put on a blacklist

It is oh so easy to think of the eventual loss of physical currency as a sign of technological progress. Just a sign of the times and out advancement past this vestige of the past. This is true to some extent. Yet, I would argue cash has an almost intrinsic value that is actually necessary for modern society, now more than ever. How so? Well, you need to look at the bigger geopolitical world view to get an idea of what losing cash as an option means.
Before I do that, let me cover why the article needs to be written about cash and its impending demise in the first place. What is going on with cash? First, you need to have recognized a little thing called inflation, the increase of currency into circulation. If you are American, for example, your government loves to tell you that inflation is a mere 2% per year and often less than that. Doesn’t that sound lovely? They have this economy thing all under control, right? Perianne Boring wrote an excellent article for Forbes regarding what the real rate of inflation is versus the company line your government feeds you. More like 5%, and rising, is where it’s at, and that was a couple of years ago. If you have shopped for beef, or cars, or anything else the government takes out of their CPI measures, you know what I’m talking about. “Quantitative Easing” is another measure used by a government that has the net effect of increasing inflation, the actual money supply in an economy. The European Union has learned this trick from the United States, and they are in the process of debasing their currency with it as we speak. A lot of the inflation increase is due to economic pyramid schemes like Quantitative Easing. This has been going on for many years now, and taxpayers pay the bill while central bankers reap the rewards. It’s a good system, as long as you are a banker or in government, and aren’t a peasant.
Now, with an estimated 5% inflation per year and as your economic foundation, destroying the currency’s value on a daily basis, what if you wanted to phase out cash altogether? Many people do not know that in almost all modern civilizations, over 90% of all economic transfers are done digitally, not in common “cash” currency. You may spend $10-20 USD in cash on occasion, but your bank or your military sends one hundred million as a wire transfer. You are using debit cards, credit cards, Paypal, and new tools like Bitcoin and Apple Pay for the vast majority of your bill paying and daily purchases. So is cash just an outdated option, like the newspaper is for your search for news? Maybe it is time to retire cash?
One party that loves the idea, which should be a huge red flag, is your central banker. All of the sudden, besides the inflation and “Quantitative easing” killing dollar value from the inside, banks are working with regulators to make cashl less convenient to use. Creating an atmosphere where it will be phased out, banned by regulation. There are three recent attacks on cash that should tell you something is up.

Now that the Keynesian economists have tried and failed at stimulating the economy with 0% central banking interest rates, the European Union is phasing in negative interests rates. You may have noticed over the past several years you have received almost no interest on your money in the bank. Now, you can look forward to paying to keep your cash in a bank account, on top of monthly fees, transaction fees, ATM fees and other banking hustles you already endure.
Citigroup’s economic czar Willem Buiter has a plan that should help the situation, at least if you are a bank. If you are smart enough to hold onto your cash, and not fall prey to the bank’s games of charging you for bank deposits, this is bad for central banking. You may learn that you do not need them or are not beholden to them to live a full life. This realization may destabilize the economy as a whole, or at least their part in it. To prevent this, you can be punished in three new and exciting ways.
  • Tax Currency
  • Abolish Currency
  • Remove the fixed exchange rate between currency and central bank reserves
The details would only serve to confuse the issue, but the point is central banking cartels have an idea on how to begin to get cash banned or taxed. Saying central bankers have influence over economic policy and regulation is like saying the Block Chain has influence over the Bitcoin ecosystem. If the banking elite is beginning to throw around words like “abolish” or “ban” currency, you might want to start listening up. Economic regulations can make you either unable to get it or not want to deal with it due to regulation, inflation and taxation within a matter of months. The benefits of this, we’ll cover in a moment.

Cash is used by terrorists, so…..

Governments hide behind the word “terrorism” more than bitcoin exchanges hide behind the word “hacked“. If a government wants to do anything to their citizens, just say the word “terrorism”, and they can do anything, starting with taking away your freedoms. It’s a playbook well-used and highly effective, if highly deceptive, at a minimum.
French Finance Minister Michel Sapin looks to beta-test a ban on cash to fight terrorism. How brave of him! This is in response to the Charlie Hebdo office attack that killed 17 people in January, allegedly by Islam extremists, partially funded by cash. Still, many critics say “a false flag” to create policy, like 9/11 and Sandy Hook. The alleged attackers used cars, watches and shoes as well, but no ban was announced on their future use in France.
“It’s a terrorism that is low cost to carry out but has a major impact,” Sapin told a news conference. “This low-cost terrorism feeds on fraud, money laundering and petty trafficking,” said Michel Sapin at a recent press conference.
So in response, France will begin to over-regulate cash with the following measures, to stop “terrorism”:

Women’s crisis: Women retire with 2/3 the savings of men, live six to eight years longer and have higher medical costs. 90% of women are single in their final years.

Here is what we know: The retirement savings crisis is enormous. By some estimates, Americans are under-saved by up to $14 trillion. This number may in fact be understated, because it assumes Social Security and Medicare solvency – a big if. And the solutions to this problem are generally assumed to be a real negative for the economy.
But here’s the dot that few have connected: The retirement savings crisis is also a women’s crisis.
That’s because women retire with two-thirds the savings of men, live six to eight years longer and have higher medical costs. Plus, 80 percent of women are single in their final years.
And it may be getting worse: Women’s labor-force participation is dropping, which suggests we’re moving in the wrong direction, considering that retirement savings tend to be driven by lifetime wages.
By looking at this issue through the gender lens, the solutions take on a decidedly different character. They become less about an inevitable, looming wealth transfer and more about increasing the economic engagement of women. And thus the focus of the national discussions about advancing women in the workplace, the focus moves from we-should-do-this-because-it’s-the-fair-thing-to-do to we-should-do-this-because-it-helps-solve-a-ridiculously-large-problem.

Taking money from hard working Americans to redistribute to others has ALWAYS failed & results in distributing misery

Taking money from hard working Americans to redistribute to others has ALWAYS failed & results in distributing misery

A historical documentary film that discusses the concepts of money, debt, taxes, and describes their development from biblical times onward.

Uploaded on Feb 15, 2012
The Money Masters is a 1996 three and a half hour non-fiction, historical documentary film that discusses the concepts of money, debt, taxes, and describes their development from biblical times onward. It also covers the history of fractional-reserve banking, central banking, monetary policy, the bond market, and the Federal Reserve System in the United States.

Bill Bonner: This global debt “binge” is far worse than you imagined

From Bill Bonner, Chairman, Bonner & Partners:
Today, we plunge into the sublime.
That’s right: We are leaving the ridiculous behind. Instead, it’s headfirst into the dark pool of things we will never understand and probably never should try to.
First, we pause to take note of the latest debt binge. Reports Bloomberg:
Just when debt-addicted American companies were starting to worry that Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen was going to take their proverbial punch bowl away, along came Mario Draghi.
The European Central Bank president has made borrowing so cheap in the region that foreign corporations are selling record amounts of debt. Forget the deeper, bigger US corporate-bond market. Borrowing in euro is all the rage these days because it’s about 2 percentage points less expensive to do so.
About 65% of the record 60 billion euro of investment-grade bonds sold in March came from overseas companies, according to a March 27 Bank of America report. And a lot of those sellers are based in the U.S. […]
The trend comes down to basic math. 
Yields on investment-grade bonds in Europe have fallen to 0.99%, compared with 2.9% on those in the U.S., according to Bank of America Merrill Lynch index data.
Like all borrowing binges, this one is likely to end badly…
Poor Bankruptcy Lawyers!
Last week, we looked at the glass half-empty – at the fall off in new start-up businesses in America.
Today, we look at the glass bone dry!
Yes, for every business
not started in America, there is at least one that also doesn’t go broke. In 2014, the number of U.S. corporate bankruptcies dropped to less than half the number in 2009.
The poor bankruptcy lawyers!
Imagine them sitting in their offices, with spiders spinning cobwebs in their doorways. Lonely, bored… on edge of desperation.
But whence comes this big drop in bankruptcy rates? Why can’t businesses go broke like they used to? And how come there are so few new business
start-ups? Look no further than Yellen, Draghi, et al. Thanks to them, borrowers can score money at less than 1% interest from apparently compos mentis lenders.
Or even more into the realm of the sublime, imagine you are borrowing at negative interest rates. JP Morgan says there is as much as $3.7 trillion worth of debt outstanding for which the lender gets no more than a poke in the eye.
Dead Wood
We pose the question not as a financial matter, but as a philosophical one.
The world works (the financial world certainly and maybe the rest of the world, too) by rewarding effort, self-discipline, and forbearance… while punishing error, sloth, and impatience.
These verities are written down somewhere:
The person who works steals a march on the layabout.
The person who takes the time to study and learn is able to do what the ignoramus cannot.
The person who saves his money can lend it out, thus earning more money.
But what if the saver is punished… what if, for his trouble, he earns a negative yield?
Or look at the other side… look at the borrower.
Imagine a restaurateur whose cuisine is so repulsive and whose kitchen is so dirty that diners regularly need to be rushed to the hospital
to have their stomachs pumped. He might borrow money to set up his restaurant, but in a normal world he would soon be unable to pay the interest on his loan. He would default and be out of business. Diners would be spared.
But imagine if he could borrow below the rate of inflation?
The worse his business did the more he’d need to borrow. And the more he borrowed, the more money he’d make!
When would he default on his loan? When would he be forced out of business?
Hell would close for business before he does.
In what universe does this work?
“Creative destruction” was the term used by Austrian-American economist Joseph Schumpeter to describe how a healthy
capitalist system works. It clears out the deadwood from time to time by destroying businesses
that can’t make a profit. Now, thanks to Mario Draghi, the wood just gets deader.

NACM’s Chief Economist: Plunge in Business Loans Shows U.S. at Inflection Point

Apr 21 – Cris Sheridan welcomes Chris Kuehl PhD, Chief Economist for the National Association for Credit Management. If you visit Zerohedge or other popular financial news sites, you’ve probably seen headlines warning of a U.S. recession based on…

There will be a MAD RUSH out of paper assets and into physical to protect wealth. When this occurs, silver will probably outperform gold due to it being more rare and more affordable.

There are 105 trillion reasons to own silver.  Very few investors in the world realize this, which makes it one of most undervalued assets in the world.  While the paper price of silver could go a bit lower, it’s forming a bottom while the major stock indexes are developing the BIGGEST TOPS in history.
You see, investors no longer understand what a “Store of Value” is anymore.  Back in the day, if a person wanted to save something for retirement, they would put away gold and silver coins.  So when they retired, they would cash in these gold or silver coins for goods and services.
Today, the overwhelming majority of individuals have their funds invested in DIGITS or PAPER ASSETS in one form or another.  Just how large is the total Global Conventional Paper Assets under management??  Look at the chart below:
Total Global Conventional Paper Assets 2014
According to the CityUK 2014 Fund Management Report, total global conventional assets under management increased from $97.2 trillion in 2013 to an estimated $105.1 trillion in 2014.  That’s a lot of paper and digits.
Investors have switched their faith from owning physical stores of value such as gold and silver to a more sophisticated highly leveraged system based on paper a digits.  The institutions that create, package and sell these supposed financial products (garbage) label them as ASSETS. Unfortunately for the naive masses, these are not assets, but rather future IOU’s.
On the other hand, a real asset is a silver coin.  Here’s why.

The Two Ways To Value Silver

I’ve explained the two ways to value silver in several of my past interviews.  Unfortunately, most precious metal investors today do not want to listen to long interviews as they don’t have the patience for it.  I know this is true due to the views I receive on my articles compared to my interviews.
Furthermore, when I put out a tweet for one of my top articles, I might receive 1,500 tweet views.  Guess how many folks who view that tweet actually hit the twitter link to read the article?  Oh, about 30-50 on a good day… LOL.  Individuals today don’t even have the time to read more than few sentences, much less an article… forget about a 30 minute interview.
Regardless, there are two ways to value silver:
1) It’s Just-In-Time supply chain price mechanism based on supply-demand-cost
2) It’s true Store of Value
Currently, the price of silver is valued based upon the present supply demand fundamentals including its production cost.  If the cost to produce silver from primary silver mines was $50, the price would be closer to that figure.  As I stated in my recent article, 2014 FULL YEAR RESULTS: Top Primary Silver Miners Lost $1.9 Billion the average estimated breakeven for the group was $19 in 2014.  I would imagine with the cost of oil down significantly, the breakeven should fall a little further in 2015.
So, the market calculates silver consumption and investment demand versus the supply.  While this market pricing mechanism is manipulated, that’s basically how it’s done.  It’s based on the degree of CONSUMPTION, not VALUE.
The second more important way to value silver is its STORE OF VALUE.  Gold and silver have been the best stores of value and money over the past 2,000 years except for the nearly 45 years worth of fiat monetary insanity ever since Nixon cancelled the convertibility of the U.S. Dollar to gold in 1971.
Investors have been brainwashed to believe their monthly flow of funds into their retirement or IRA accounts are a store of value.  Little do they know, the financial institutions take these INFLOWS to guarantee the OUTFLOWS to individuals who have retired or are cashing in on their paper investments.
It’s basically the BIGGEST PONZI SCHEME in history.  Why is that so?  Because if everyone asked to cash in on their paper assets (even with penalties), there isn’t the available capital or funds to do so.  We must remember energy has to be burned and economic activity generated to create the surplus capital to pay the retiree or individual cashing out.
Folks, we just can’t BURN ENOUGH ENERGY in a given time or year to pay back all these digit based paper assets.  However, if you own physical silver, you already have stored ECONOMIC ENERGY in that one ounce silver coin.  The energy and labor were already burned to create that coin.
The SILVER COIN is the highest form of value because it already contains stored economic energy while the $105 trillion in global conventional assets under management are ENERGY IOU’S.  This would be fine if the world planned on expanding its oil supply.  However, the opposite will occur in the future.
Very few realize if the United States expensive tight oil production was removed from the global supply, world oil production has declined since 2011.  Individuals who believe Shale oil will make the U.S. energy independent, will be in for a rude awakening when we start to see production dropping like a rock by midyear.
World Oil production minus USA Whether or not the precious metal investor wants to hear it, ENERGY DRIVES THE MARKETS.  Gold and silver would be nothing without labor or energy.  The 1.2 grams per ton of gold which is the average yield of the top five gold mining companies would stay in the ground if it wasn’t for ENERGY… in all forms and in all stages.
When the world finally realizes that the peak of unconventional oil production is here (conventional peaked in 2005), the NET PRESENT VALUE of most paper assets will head south down the toilet and into the cesspool.  This is when the second and more important way to value silver will occur.
There will be a MAD RUSH out of paper assets and into physical to protect wealth.  When this occurs, silver will probably outperform gold due to it being more rare and more affordable.
I will explain this in more detail in my first two PAID REPORTS on the Silver Market and Industry.  I will be publishing the first one next month.

The Death of Cash: Could negative interest rates create an existential crisis for money itself?

JPMorgan Chase recently sent a letter to some of its large depositors telling them it didn’t want their stinking money anymore. Well, not in those words. The bank coined a euphemism: Beginning on May 1, it said, it will charge certain customers a “balance sheet utilization fee” of 1 percent a year on deposits in excess of the money they need for their operations. That amounts to a negative interest rate on deposits. The targeted customers—mostly other financial institutions—are already snatching their money out of the bank. Which is exactly what Chief Executive Officer
Jamie Dimon wants. The goal is to shed $100 billion in deposits, and he’s about 20 percent of the way there so far.
Pause for a second and marvel at how strange this is. Banks have always paid interest to depositors. We’ve entered a new era of surplus in which banks—some, anyway—are deigning to accept money only if customers are willing to pay for the privilege. Nick Bunker, a policy analyst at the Washington Center for Equitable Growth, was so dazzled by interest rates’ falling into negative territory that he headlined his analysis after a Doors song, Break on Through (to the Other Side).
In recent months, negative rates have become widespread in Europe’s financial capitals. The European Central Bank, struggling to ignite growth, has a deposit rate of –0.2 percent. The Swiss National Bank, which worries that a rise of the Swiss franc will hurt trade, has a deposit rate of –0.75 percent. On April 21 the cost for banks to borrow from each other in euros (the euro interbank offered rate, or Euribor) tipped negative for the first time. And as of April 17, bonds comprising 31 percent of the value
of the Bloomberg Eurozone Sovereign Bond Index—€1.8 trillion ($1.93 trillion) worth—were trading with negative yields. (Although dollar interest rates are higher, JPMorgan Chase’s balance sheet utilization fee fits the pattern: In today’s low-rate world, the only way it can shed deposits in response to new regulations is to go all the way to less than zero.) It’s not unusual for interest rates to be negative in the sense of being lower than the rate of inflation. If the Federal Reserve pushes interest rates below inflation to stimulate growth, it becomes cheaper to borrow and buy something now than to wait to make the purchase. If you wait, inflation could make prices go up by more than what you owe on the loan. You can also think of it as inflation reducing the effective
amount you owe.

Eric Sprott gives his latest analysis of precious metals & the economy

Why the Fed CAN’T Raise Interest Rates Without COLLAPSING the Global Economy!

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Hog and Cattle at critical price points, impact S&P 500 again?

by kimblechartingsolutions
hogcattlesupporttestsapr21CLICK ON CHART TO ENLARGE
HOG (Harley Davidson) has remained inside of steep rising channel the past 4 years. At this time it is testing rising support of this channel.
Live Cattle futures pattern looks very much like Hog’s pattern, as steep rising support is being tested at this time.
In the 2008-2009 time period, HOG and Cattle both fell over 30% in price as the S&P was falling hard as well.
The chart below looks a potential bullish pattern in the S&P 500.
spxbullishascendingtriangleatfibresistanceapr21CLICK ON CHART TO ENLARGE
The S&P 500 has been like a rocking chair this year, keeping people busy, going nowhere! A potential bullish ascending triangle pattern could be forming with the top of the pattern being Fibonacci 161% Extension level resistance. A push above resistance would be a positive price message for the S&P 500.
Should the S&P 500 break support, sellers might step forward in S&P 500, Hog and Cattle at the same time.  Keep a close eye on this trio, it could be important for where each will be a few months from now!

Monday, April 13, 2015

The Federal Debt Is Worse Than You Think: $210 trillion and climbing

(Ron Haskins)  Of all the failures of recent Congresses and Presidents, none is more important than their failure to deal with the nation’s long-term debt. Although Congress tied itself in knots trying to address the problem, the growth of debt remains, in the words of the Congressional Budget Office, “unsustainable.”
Debt figures tell part of the story. When the Great Recession hit, the federal debt was equal to about 40 percent of GDP. But to fight the recession, Congress enacted an $800 billion dollar stimulus bill. Stimulus spending, combined with already enacted spending and tax policy, resulted in four years of trillion dollar deficits. As a result, the debt ballooned to 78 percent of GDP in 2013, almost twice the pre-recession level. The annual deficit is now declining at a stately pace, but by 2016 it will begin increasing again, and by 2020 under CBO’s alternative fiscal scenario, we will once again return to annual deficits above a trillion dollars, thereby once again greatly increasing the national debt.
The accumulation of debt should prevent federal policymakers from feeling any sense of accomplishment. In fact, CBO estimates that the debt will be well over 100 percent of GDP by 2039 under conservative assumptions about spending and revenue. When CBO incorporates its estimates of the impact of the continuing large federal deficits on the nation’s economy, it estimates that the accumulated debt held by the public will reach an astounding 180 percent of GDP by 2039. One wonders if members of Congress or the President read these CBO reports.
What’s the word for our fiscal situation? Stunning? Shocking? Desperate? In recent testimony before the Senate Budget Committee, Boston University Economics Professor Laurence Kotlikoff, in effect, told the Committee that all of these terms are pathetically inadequate to describe our true fiscal situation. In compelling testimony, Kotlikoff argues that the federal fiscal situation is much worse than the CBO estimates let on. The reason is that CBO’s debt estimates do not take into account the full financial obligations the government is committed to honor, especially for future payments of Social Security, Medicare, and interest on the debt. He asserts that the federal government should help the public understand the nation’s true fiscal situation by using what economists call “the infinite-horizon fiscal gap,” defined as the value of all projected future expenditures minus the value of all projected future receipts using a reasonable discount rate.
What difference does the fiscal gap approach make in our understanding of the true federal debt? CBO tells us that the national debt was a little less than $13 trillion in 2014. But the fiscal gap in that year as calculated by Kotlikoff was $210 trillion, more than 16 times larger than the debt estimated by CBO and already judged, by CBO and many others, to be unsustainable. If a $13 billion gap is unsustainable, what term should we apply to a $210 trillion gap? Kotlikoff also calculates that the fiscal gap is equal to about 58 percent of the combined value of all future revenue. Thus, we would need to reduce spending or increase taxes by enough to fill that 58 percent gap if we wanted to put the federal budget on a path to solvency that balances the interests of those now receiving benefits and those who hope to receive benefits in the future.
Kotlikoff goes on to illustrate that the fiscal gap is increasing at an alarming rate and that delay makes our problem much worse. In 2003, just a little more than a decade ago, the fiscal gap was $60 trillion. But by last year it had catapulted to $210 trillion. The fiscal gap may not continue increasing as rapidly as it has over the past decade, but with each passing year – as Congress and the President do their best to avoid action – our hole grows deeper by substantial amounts.
Under the CBO estimates used by Congress, we have a huge debt hole. Under the more comprehensive fiscal gap measurement, we have a chasm. But little if any Congressional action is planned to deal with the notorious level of debt. We’re headed toward a fiscal black hole.