Thursday, November 5, 2015

Police: Frito Lay dumpster diver busted for allegedly stealing expired chips

DAYTON — A Dayton man is in jail after reportedly stealing expired Frito Lay chips from the business.
Thomas J. Offinger, 59, of Dayton, is in jail on charges of criminal trespass, theft and obstructing justice.
>> Read more trending stories
A Dayton police officer was assigned to watch Frito Lay, 49 Kelly Ave., specifically the dumpster where they put expired product, as it’s a popular place for theft, according to a police report.
Around 1:30 a.m. Wednesday, the officer observed Offinger inside the fenced area by the dumpster; saw him jump the fence and flee on foot. The officer tried to stop him, but he was later picked up.

Kraft Heinz closing 7 factories, cutting 2,600 jobs

Agricultural land is the best investment. Buy land in Panama to survive the crisis!
(Everett Rosenfeld)   Kraft Heinz announced Wednesday that it would be closing seven factories and cutting about 2,600 jobs.
The closing factories are in Fullerton, California; San Leandro, California; Federalsburg, Maryland; St. Marys, Ontario, Canada; Campbell, New York; Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania; and Madison, Wisconsin, Michael Mullen SVP of corporate and government affairs, said in a statement.
Over the next 12-24 months, he said, production in those locations will shift to other existing factories in North America.
He said the decision to close the factories came after “an extensive review of the Kraft Heinz North American supply chain footprint, capabilities and capacity utilization.”
Calling the move “difficult but necessary,” Mullen said the closures would cut approximately 2,600 positions from the company’s North American factory-based employee population.
The company said it also will close its meat processing plant in Davenport, Iowa, and move production to a new facility that will be built nearby.
Kraft Heinz will invest “hundreds of millions of dollars in improving capacity utilization and modernizing many of our facilities with the installation of state-of-the-art production lines,” Mullen added in his statement.
Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway owns about 26.8 percent of shares outstanding in the company, according to the latest available data.
Kraft Heinz formed from the merger of Kraft and Heinz this year. The new company, co-headquartered in Chicago and Pittsburgh, announced in August that 2,500 non-factory jobs would be cut following the merger.

The Truth About the Fed – the United States has become — at least from a monetary perspective — ruled by a hidden oligarchy. The voters sense that the ship of state is not responding to their commands, but cannot seem to identify the source of the problem.

Yesterday, a Japanese Professor, Kaoru Yamaguchi, came across my information on how the Fed silences an honest evaluation of the debt money system by academics in the U.S.
The way the Fed silences critics is by controlling the American economics journals. How? They fill their editorial boards with former Fed employees, or wanna-be employees. This makes it impossible for a professor with a monetary reform perspective to be published, and professors have to publish to be able to keep their jobs.
According to Professor Yamaguchi:
“Now it has become clear, with high probability, why I was expelled from the academic profession as the professor at the Graduate School of Business, Doshisha University, Kyoto, Japan, a year and half after my US Congressional Briefing, July 20, 2011, (invited by the former Congressman Dennis Kucinich) in which I presented … results that strongly support the Chicago Plan.
I’m afraid the [Bank of Japan] has been exerting similar controls over Japanese economists.”
So, what is at the root of the Fed’s deception and how do we fix it?
The deceptions begin with the way the Fed categorizes itself – as a “quasi-governmental organization”.
They want to be a federal government organization to protect themselves from lawsuits. But they want to be a private organization to protect themselves from effective oversight of the U.S. Congress, claiming the Fed must maintain independence from politicians who would usurp the powers of the Fed for their own political purposes.
Ironically, it is clear that the Fed’s independence from the political class does not — in fact — serve the public interest, but only the interests of the biggest banks.
In 2008, Congress investigated the causes of the 2007-2008 financial meltdown. They discovered that the biggest banks paid little attention to one of the Fed’s primary control “levers”, the reserve requirement ratio. They found out that JP Morgan and Citi, instead of being leveraged 9-to-1, were actually leveraged 52-to-1. In other words, these banks were illegally creating money to benefit their own profit-making interests.
So what this boils down to is whether one believes in true representative governance where the will of the people reigns supreme. In the existing debt money system, the Fed is disguised as the representative of the common good, when demonstrably, it is not.
The Fed is, in reality, merely a metaphorical curtain disguising the real power of Wizard — the plundering of America by the biggest banks by out-of-control counterfeiting of the money supply.
The result: the United States has become — at least from a monetary perspective — ruled by a hidden oligarchy. The voters sense that the ship of state is not responding to their commands, but cannot seem to identify the source of the problem.
The cure for al this is a return to a sovereign money system — as Joseph Huber so correctly points out – a “state money” system. This is a system not run by the banks and for the banks, but run by a Monetary Authority that actually operates independently, and in the public interest.
However, the road to monetary reform is filled with “rabbit trails” and booby traps. The two most popular of these false solutions are a return to gold-backed money, and auditing the Fed.
A return to gold money – even if it wasn’t totally impractical – would only guarantee centralized control of the money supply, as any “scarce-money solution” would do. It would be grand for the gold dealers and gold hoarders, but a disaster for the rest of us.
Auditing the Fed sounds good, but after years of bookkeeping investigations – no matter what was uncovered — would we be one inch closer to the root of the problem? No!
Many years, if not decades could be wasted pursuing either of these false solutions — ultimately to no good effect.
The root of the problem is the bank money system – counterfeiting by the banks. And what insures the continuation of this system better than allowing the banks to lend this counterfeit money out to the government in the form of a national debt? History will look back on this craziness and wonder why we couldn’t have seen it sooner.
To keep myself on track, I look to two guide stars in the otherwise confusing firmament of monetary reform:
1. It’s not what backs the money that is important; it’s who controls its quantity.
Currently the biggest banks are clearly in control of the quantity, because most money is counterfeited – that is, created out of nothing — then lent out as additional debt. However, a return to state money can never be sustained — no matter how arduous the battle to attain it — without step #2.
2. No more national debt! As long as the sovereign is allowed to borrow, we would remain in the bank money system. And eventually the big-banking class will seize effective control over the political class once again – if it ever really gave it up. Why would the state borrow when the state can create?

Former Reagan Administration Official Warns That Financial Disaster Is Dead Ahead

By Michael Snyder
Disaster - Public Domain
Why won’t the American people listen to the warnings?  David Stockman was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from 1977 to 1981, and he served as the Director of the Office of Management and Budget under President Ronald Reagan from 1981 to 1985.  These days, he is running a website called “Contra Corner” which I highly recommend that you check out.  Stockman believes that a global “debt super-cycle” that has been building for decades is now bursting, and he is convinced that the consequences for the U.S. and for the rest of the planet will be absolutely catastrophic.  His findings are very consistent with what I have been writing about on The Economic Collapse Blog, and if Stockman is correct the times ahead of us are going to be exceedingly painful.
But right now, most people don’t seem to be in the mood to listen to these types of warnings.  Even though there is a mountain of evidence that the global economy has already plunged into recession, U.S. stocks had a great month in October, and so most Americans seem to think that the crisis has passed.
Of course the truth is that the stock market is not an accurate barometer of the economy and it never has been.  Back in 2008, almost everything else started to go downhill before stocks did, and the same thing is happening once again.  In a recent article, Stockman explained that stocks are surging to absolutely ridiculous levels even though corporate earnings are actually way down
At this point, 75% of S&P 500 companies have reported Q3 results, and earnings are coming in at $93.80 per share on an LTM basis. That happens to be 7.4% below the peak $106 per share reported last September, and means that the market today is valuing these shrinking profits at a spritely 22.49X PE ratio.
And, yes, there is a reason for two-digit precision. It seems that in the 4th quarter of 2007 LTM earnings came in at 22.19X the S&P 500 index price. We know what happened next!
Why do so many refuse to see the parallels?
This crisis is unfolding so similarly to 2008, and yet most of the “experts” are willingly blind.
Much of the stock buying that has been happening in 2015 has been fueled by stock buybacks and by M&A (merger and acquisitions).  Many firms have even been going into debt to buy back their own stocks, but now sources of financing are starting to dry up.  This year we have already seen the most corporate debt downgrades since 2009, and big financial institutions are now becoming much more hesitant to loan giant stacks of cash to these large corporations at super low interest rates.
So it is very, very difficult to see how the equity markets are going to move much higher than they are right now.
Meanwhile, the global economy is starting to unravel right in front of our eyes.  In his recent piece, Stockman discussed some of these data points…
In the last two days we posted the latest data on two crucial markers of global economic direction——-export shipments from Korea and export orders coming into the high performance machinery factories of Germany.
In a word, they were abysmal, and smoking gun evidence that the suzerains of Beijing have not stopped the implosion in China, and that their latest paddy wagon forays—–arresting the head of China’s third largest bank and hand-cuffing several hedge fund managers including the purported “Warren Buffett” of China—-are signs not of stabilization, but sheer desperation.
So it is not surprising that Korea’s October exports—–the first such data from anywhere in the world—were down by a whopping 16% from last year, and have now been down for 10 straight months. Needless to say, China is the number one destination for Korean exports.
Likewise, German export orders plummeted by 18% in September, and this was no one month blip.
For many more recent statistics just like these, please see my previous article entitled “18 Numbers That Scream That A Crippling Global Recession Has Arrived“.
If the global economy really was doing “just fine” as Barack Obama and others suggest, then why is the largest shipping line in the world eliminating jobs and scaling back capacity?…
A.P. Moeller-Maersk A/S is scaling back capacity and cutting jobs in the world’s largest shipping line to adapt to a drop in demand.
The Danish company, which last month lowered its profit forecast for 2015 citing a gloomier outlook for the global shipping market, will shed 4,000 jobs in its Maersk Line unit as part of a program to “simplify the organization,” it said in an e-mailed statement on Wednesday.
And why are some of the biggest banks in the western world laying off tens of thousands of workers?…
Standard Chartered Plc became the third European bank in less than two weeks to announce sweeping job cuts, bringing the total planned reductions to more than 30,000, or almost one in seven positions.
The London-based firm said Tuesday it will eliminate 15,000 jobs, or 17 percent of its workforce, as soaring bad loans in emerging markets hurt earnings. Deutsche Bank AG, based in Frankfurt, last week announced plans for 11,000 job cuts, while Credit Suisse Group AG said it would trim as many as 5,600 employees.
And if things are so great in the United States, why is Target suddenly closing stores?
The truth, of course, is that things are not great.  Global GDP expressed in U.S. dollars is down 3.4 percent so far this year, and total global trade has plummeted8.4 percent.
We have entered a major global economic slowdown, and like usual, equity markets will be the last to get the memo.
But when they finally do react, that is likely going to greatly accelerate our problems.  Just like we saw in 2008, when there is fear and panic in the financial markets that tends to cause the flow of credit to freeze up.  And that is something that we simply cannot afford, because the flow of credit has become the lifeblood of the global economy.
So no, “the crisis” is not “over”.
Rather, the truth is that “the crisis” is just beginning, and it will soon be making front page headlines all over the planet.

Target aggressively closing stores nationwide citing falling profits

Agricultural land is the best investment. Buy land in Panama to survive the crisis!
()  The stores were given years to prove their worth. They failed.
Target TGT -1.07% is closing 13 of its stores because they are proving to be a drain on its financial results despite getting years to prove themselves.
The discount retailer, which typically announces store closings at this time year in anticipation of winding them down right after the holiday season, usually pulls the plug on a store if a given location has seen its profits shrink for several years, a Target spokesperson told Fortune by e-mail. The stores include locations in Minnesota and Wisconsin.
Target operates about 1,800 stores nationwide. The retailer has made it a top priority to improve the appearance of stores and the presentation of merchandise in those locations, something CEO Brian Cornell told his peers at an industry conference last week has proven to be a boon for its sales of home goods and apparel.
In August, the retailer reported a 2.4% increase in comparable sales for the second quarter, besting rivals like Walmart WMT 0.45% and Macy’s [fortune-stocks symbol=”M”], so Cornell is clearly eager to ditch stores that aren’t carrying their weight.
Since taking the reins last year, Cornell has not hesitated to pull the plug on unprofitable parts of the business, most notably Target’s ill-fated, poorly executed expansion into Canada which cost the company $7 billion.
Earlier this year, Target announced a $2 billion, two-yearcost savings plan that included the elimination of several thousand jobs in the Minneapolis area, where it is headquartered. It also announced it would pour $1 billion into its e-commerce as it looks to compete with Walmart and in particular.
Other retailers to have announced store closings this year include Macy’s, which said in September it would close 40 of nearly 800 stores, and J.C. Penney JCP -2.95% .

Bill Holter: China Could Reprice Gold To $100,000 per Ounce

Greg Hunter:  Financial writer and gold expert Bill Holter contends China has enormous debt problems, but a very good plan B.
Holter explains, “China used fiat debt to build real infrastructure, and when the system blows up, the fiat debt blows away and they are left with infrastructure. Do they have 20% bad loans? They very well could and probably do.”
“If it is true that they are going to have a debt blow up, don’t forget China has been importing big tonnage of gold for years now. Over the last five years, they have imported 9,000 tons of gold. Their way out is the old way out.”

“The old way out was to revalue gold higher. They could revalue gold and step up and say they will pay $50,000 or $100,000 per ounce for any and all ounces for sale.”
“You can’t say there is not enough gold. What you can say is that it’s not priced correctly to support the system.”
“If they have an implosion of debt which leaves their balance sheets impaired, the way to recapitalize the balance sheets is to revalue the price of gold higher. It creates capital, in other words.”
How about the U.S. debt problem?
Holter says, “That does not and cannot work for the U.S. because we have offloaded our gold. Simple math tells you the gold that China received has to come from somewhere, and that only somewhere in the world is Western U.S. vaults.”
Could the U.S. still have its more than 8,000 tons of gold? Holter says, “That’s pure ‘hopium’ that the U.S. still has their gold. Common sense and logic tells you that the gold is gone.”
So, has the U.S. budget and debt ceiling deal fixed anything?
Holter says, “If they didn’t raise the debt ceiling, there would have been an immediate implosion. You have to understand, Americans are the only people on earth that aren’t laughing at the debt ceiling.”
“Foreigners are laughing at it. You are talking about $20 trillion. It can’t be paid. We are at 110% of GDP already, and we’re the reserve currency.”
Holter goes on to say, “It’s another bubble. It’s going to burst, and the banks are in worse condition now from a debt to equity standpoint. Nothing has changed–it’s just bigger.”
Holter worries about possible deals between Saudi Arabia and Russia that could impair the petro-dollar.
Holter says, “The (dollar) dam is leaking, at this point, because there is less and less use of the dollars around the world.”
“If Saudi Arabia were to say we’ll accept euros, yuan or rubles for oil or if they said we won’t accept dollars anymore, that’s like pulling a center piece out of a dam.”
“It will break, and it’s over for the dollar. They could do that, and they could get bombed back to the stone-age, but I am sure it’s been talked about.”
Holter says there is “no rule of law,” and criminal activity has suppressed the price of physical gold.
Holter says, “We have been through a four year period of time where paper gold has been pounding the price of physical gold.”
“You have people who were strong legged, hard money guys who are weak in the knees now, and they shouldn’t be.”

Pages: Next

Brutal poverty in the US South is caused by globalization – author

Celebrated writer Paul Theroux has experienced a wide variety of the best and worst around the world, but his eye opening experience in America’s Deep South has garnered a lot of criticism, as he compares the region to Third World countries in South America and Africa. He explains his latest work and what has caused the economic decline to Alexey Yaroshevsky.

Obama rejects request to suspend Keystone pipeline review

President Barack Obama arrives at the TransCanada Stillwater Pipe Yard in Cushing, Okla., on March 22, 2012. (Associated Press)
President Barack Obama arrives at the TransCanada Stillwater Pipe Yard in Cushing, Okla., on March 22, 2012. (Associated Press) more >
- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 4, 2015
President Obama on Wednesday retained his authority to make the final call on the Keystone XL oil pipeline, rejecting pleas to delay the State Department’s review of the project and sparking a backlash among critics who say the administration’s decision-making process has been corrupted by politics.
State Department officials said late Wednesday afternoon they’ll ignore calls from the company proposing the project, energy giant TransCanada, because the review process has come too far to be stopped now. The decision all but guarantees Mr. Obama, who has sounded skeptical of Keystone’s merit and reportedly is leaning toward killing the pipeline, will be the one to decide whether the project moves ahead or is scrapped.

Environmentalists quickly praised the move, which seems to eliminate the possibility a potential Republican president — who surely would be more favorable to new domestic oil-and-gas projects than Mr. Obama — would be the one to decide Keystone’s fate.
“The process is fairly mature, and the secretary believes that, out of respect for that process and all the input that has gone into it, that it is the most appropriate thing to keep that process in place, to continue the review,” State Department spokesman John Kirby said, referring to Secretary of State John F. Kerry.
Earlier this week, TransCanada — which said Wednesday it respects the State Department’s decision but believes the project ultimately must be approved — asked the administration to halt its study until legal questions about the pipeline’s proposed route through Nebraska are answered.
In making its request, TransCanada pointed to past precedent set by Mr. Obama.
Last year the State Department temporarily stopped its Keystone review while lawsuits challenging the project’s path through Nebraska worked their way through the courts.
At the time the administration said it simply couldn’t conduct a thorough review with so many outstanding questions.
This time, however, the State Department appears content to continue its work despite a multitude of uncertainties and a Nebraska regulatory review process that’s just beginning and could take up to a year to complete.
The seeming double standard has led critics to charge that Mr. Obama is looking for reasons to reject Keystone.
“President Obama has made clear that he has no intention of approving the Keystone XL pipeline,” said Sen. Steve Daines, Montana Republican. “The State Department’s rejection of TransCanada’s request to suspend the Keystone application’s review is just another political move in the Obama administration’s long-standing war on American energy. Once again President Obama is working directly against American energy independence, American jobs and the will of the American people.”
The project, which has been under review since the day Mr. Obama came to office, would connect to existing pipeline infrastructure in the U.S. and transport more than 800,000 barrels of Canadian oil each day to refineries on the Gulf Coast. The pipeline requires presidential approval because it would cross an international boundary.
Keystone has divided key parts of Mr. Obama’s political base, with environmental activists mounting an unprecedented campaign to demonize and ultimately stop the project, while powerful labor unions strongly back the pipeline and say it will create jobs, promote North American energy independence and fuel economic growth.
Wednesday’s decision delighted environmentalists who view it as a strong hint that Mr. Obama will stop Keystone once and for all before he leaves office.
“That has to hurt. The State Department recognized TransCanada’s request for what is: a brazen political attempt to pause a process that long ago should have reached the inevitable conclusion that Keystone XL is a climate disaster and cannot be approved,” said Jamie Henn, communications director with the climate change activist group “Now that he’s called TransCanada for delay of game, it’s time for President Obama to blow the whistle and end this pipeline once and for all.”
Earlier this week White House officials said the president intends to make a decision before he leaves office in January 2017.
Story Continues →

Why Teachers Can’t Afford To Be Teachers Anymore

The housing crisis in San Francisco is pushing teachers out. The city lost 11 percent of its teachers in 2015. So AJ+ spoke with those trying to stick it out.

Jeff Sessions: H-1B Visas ‘Tremendous Threat’ to American Professionals

(Adelle Nazarian)  The H-1B program is a “tremendous threat” to American professionals,
Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) told Steve Bannon, Breitbart News’ executive chairman, on the Breitbart News Daily radio show.
“It represents the obliviousness of Congress and some of these economic forces to the reality of what’s happening: Half of STEM [science, technology, engineering and math] graduates are not finding jobs in STEM fields,” Sessions said on Sirius XM Patriot Channel 125.
“Wages for STEM and IT [information technology] workers have not gone up since 2000,” he continued. “We have thousands of kids that have borrowed money, and their parents have borrowed money to get them engineering degrees and they don’t have jobs. Give me a break.”
America is graduating more students in these fields than there are jobs available to fill them, Sessions said, despite many claims that America is suffering from a shortage of skilled graduates.
“We don’t have a shortage,” Sessions said. The claim “is as bogus as a $3 dollar bill.”
Currently, more than 800,000 foreign graduates are working as temporary ‘guest-workers’ in the United States, mostly via the H-1B program. They’re in a wide variety of jobs — doctors, architects, accountants, designers, teachers, engineers and software experts.
The 800,000 number is roughly equivalent to the total annual output of skilled American graduates, but the guest-workers accept much lower pay than needed by experienced, middle-aged, child-rearing American professionals, including pharmacists, industrial designers, and software developers.
The guest-workers’ lower wages help spike stock values on Wall Street. For example, company founder Mark Zuckerberg’s stock-value in Facebook is worth roughly $45 billion.
Sessions named companies including Microsoft, Hewlett Packard, and Intel as corporations that are laying off thousands of American professionals in favor of their H1-B visa-holding foreign replacements.
Bannon noted that this scenario is likely to intensity because of automation which will “eviscerate” jobs by at least 20 percent and will eliminate many unskilled jobs and lower-skilled white-collar jobs.
That trend, in combination with the H-1B outsourcing visas, will exacerbate wage inequality, Sessions said.  “There will be more widgets made with fewer people in the decades to come.”
2016 GOP frontrunner billionaire Donald Trump is in favor of significantly reducing H1-B visa numbers so American immigration and guest worker policies better help American workers. In contrast,
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) favors significantly increasing the numbers of foreigners allowed to take jobs from Americans on H1-B visas. That goal is backed by many of the special interests and donors backing his campaign.

The Treasury Secretary is saying it. Congress is saying it. The numbers are screaming it: Social Security is going to fail.

By Simon Black

 On August 14, 1935, President Franklin Roosevelt arrived at his desk to sign the Social Security Act into law.

It had been a contentious legislative process, something like the Obamacare of its day.

Fiscally conservative politicians derided the program for its obvious long-term costs, the massive bureaucracy that it would create, and the huge tax increase that it represented on workers.

But Roosevelt was able to find support, and the law was passed.

And just before signing it, he proudly proclaimed that the law would go down in history “as a protection to future administrations of the Government against the necessity of going deeply into debt to furnish relief to the needy.”

Needless to say, that didn’t happen. Quite the opposite, actually.

Just like most western governments, the US government has gone deeply into debt to fund its social insurance programs.

Officially, the US government is now $18.5 trillion in debt, and Social Security is the biggest financial sinkhole in America.

Social Security’s various trust funds currently hold about $2.7 trillion in total assets  [And even these "assets" from the US Treasury are IOUs based on money the government doesn't have--RW] yet the government itself estimates the program’s liabilities to exceed $40 trillion.

And Social Security’s second biggest trust fund, the Disability Insurance fund, will be fully depleted in a matter of weeks.

The trustees who manage these massive funds on behalf of the current and future retirees of America are clearly concerned.

In the 2015 report of the Social Security and Medicare Board of Trustees they state very plainly:

“Social Security as a whole as well as Medicare cannot sustain projected long-run program costs...”, and that the government should be “giving the public adequate time to prepare.”


Now, we always hear politicians say that ‘Social Security is going to be just fine’. So this Board of Trustees must be a bunch of wackos. Who are these guys anyhow?

The Treasury Secretary of the United States of America, as it turns out. Along with the Secretary of Health and Human Services. The Secretary of Labor. Etc.

These are the folks who sign their name to the report saying that Social Security is going bust, and that Congress needs to give people time to prepare.

And prepare they should.

The US Government Accountability Office recently released a report showing that tens of millions of Americans haven’t saved a penny for retirement; and roughly half of Baby Boomers have zero retirement savings.

This means that there’s an overwhelming number of Americans pinning all of their retirement hopes on Social Security.

Bad idea. In a recently proposed resolution, H. Res 488, Congress states point blank that Social Security “was never intended by Congress to be the sole source of retirement income for families.”

Apparently they got the message from the Social Security Trustees and they want to start preparing people for the inevitable truth.

This is no longer some wild conspiracy theory.

The Treasury Secretary is saying it. Congress is saying it. The numbers are screaming it: Social Security is going to fail.

Ultimately this is a just another chapter in the same story-- that government cannot be relied on to provide or produce, only to squander and fail.

Sure, their intentions may be noble. But this level of serial incompetence can no longer be trusted, nor should we be foolish enough to believe that some new candidate can fix it.

If you’re in your fifties and beyond, you’re probably going to be OK and at least get 10-15 years of benefits.

If you’re in your 40s and below, you have to be 100% prepared to fend for yourself.

Fortunately you have time to recover. Time to build. And time to learn.

Financial literacy is absolutely critical here, which includes the ability to both generate income and manage money, two things that aren’t taught in the government controlled education system.

You might also consider some lifestyle adjustments, which may include moving abroad where your money can go much, much further.

Ultimately, learning to rely on yourself is no easy task, but it is an incredible opportunity to become more free.

And in doing so, one day you will no longer panic about the decisions being made by incompetent bureaucrats, because you will be the one in control of your own fate.

Simon Black is Founder of

The Nightmare Of Collectivism: “A Society Built On The Lowest Common Denominator Is A Society Destined For Collapse”

Brandon Smith
November 4th, 2015
Alt Market
The Tools Collectivists Use To Gain Power
By Brandon Smith
While many divisions within our society are arbitrary or engineered, there is one division that represents perhaps the most pervasive and important conflict of our time; the division between collectivists and individualists.
Now, people who do not understand the nature of collectivism will often argue that individualism and collectivism are not mutually exclusive because individuals require groups in order to survive and thrive. However, a “group” is not necessarily a collective.
For some reason the core fundamental of collectivism – the use of psychological coercion or physical force to compel participation – goes right over the heads of many skeptics. A group does not have to be collectivist. Any group can and should be voluntary. Collectivism is NOT voluntary. Therefore, collectivism and individualism are indeed mutually exclusive. Collectivists and individualists cannot exist in the same space at the same time without eventually coming into conflict. There is simply no way around it.
From the position of the liberty minded (or the average Libertarian), collectivism is by far the inferior of the two philosophies. Collectivists often boast of the social and economic “harmonization” collectivism creates, as well as the mobilization of labor to “streamline progress.” The reality is that artificially rigged harmony is no harmony at all. If people are forced to homogenize and get along through fear, then peace has not truly been accomplished.
Human beings must come to their own conclusions on cooperation and tolerance in their own time. They cannot be manipulated and shoehorned into a “utopian” framework. Problems will result, like genocide, which tends to erupt during almost every attempt at collectivist utopianism.
Economic harmonization is even less practical, with government force inevitably used to confiscate resources from one group to give to another group, essentially punishing success or frugality. This creates an environment in which achievement becomes less desirable. When people do not have individual incentive to pursue achievement, they see personal effort as wasted. Innovation and entrepreneurship fall by the wayside, and society as a whole begins to diminish in prosperity. Without individual accomplishments and ingenuity, the group is nothing but a hollow mindless ant hill.
Another argument which usually arises is that individualism leads to “selfishness” and the dominance of wealth devouring machines like corporations. I would remind collectivists that corporations exist only through the legal framework and protections of corporate personhood created by governments, and without government protections and favor, corporations could not exist. It is by collectivism, not individualism, that corporatocracy thrives.
At the same time, collectivists consistently blame individualist “free markets” for the numerous ailments of nations.  Yet another misrepresentation considering America has not had true free markets in well over a century, and most other nations have never had true free markets in their history.  Feudalism and its child Socialism have always been present to plague mankind.
There are no merits to collectivism that are not accomplished with greater success by individualism and voluntary community. In fact, collectivism only serves to enrich and empower a select few elites while destroying the future potential of all other individuals.
Given the disturbing nature of collectivism, one would think that attempts at collectivist societies would be a rarity, shunned by most people as akin to inviting cancer into the body. Unfortunately, cultures based on individualism are the minority in history.
The average collectivist is not usually much of a beneficiary of collectivism. We call these people “useful idiots” or “sheeple” who unknowingly serve the darker machinations of elitists while under the delusion that they are changing society for the better. The reason useful idiots participate in collectivism are many, but I have found that across the spectrum these people tend to be weak willed, weak minded, and by extension, possess a rabid desire for control over others.
It is perhaps no coincidence that “intellectuals” (self proclaimed) tend to end up at the forefront of modern efforts for collectivism. While the poor and destitute are often exploited by collectivism as a mob to be wielded like a battering ram, it is the soft noodle-bodied and fearful academia that acts as middle management in the collectivist franchise. It is they that desire the power to impose their “superior” ideologies on others, and since they are too weak to accomplish anything on their own, they require the cover and momentum of collectivist movements to give them the totalitarian fix they so crave. In other words, they believe in humanitarianism by totalitarianism.
Individualism is under constant and imminent threat as the collectivist obsession with control grows. The ultimate end game of collectivists is to derive submission from individuals, to corner people into handing over their individualism willingly.  It is not enough for them to merely apply force, the greatest power is in the power of consent.  Here are the most common tools used by collectivists to obtain power and manufacture consent from the masses.
The Illusion Of Consensus
Collectivists rely greatly on the force of a well-aimed mob to convince the general public they have the consensus position; that they are in the majority. Appearing to be in the majority is the single most important goal of a collectivist movement, even if they are in reality a small minority. The anonymity of web activism gives the force of the mob a new potency. No more than a dozen collectivists working in tandem can wreak havoc in multiple web forums or harass numerous individualist publications while giving casual readers the impression that their ideology is “everywhere.”
The key here is that collectivists understand that the average person does not want to be seen as too contrary to the majority. They understand that the majority view matters to the public, even if the majority view is utterly wrong. If collectivists can convince enough people that their ideology is the majority view, they know that many people will blindly adopt that ideology as their own in order to fit in. The lie of consensus then becomes a self perpetuating prophecy. This problem will remain forever a danger as long as people continue to care at all about the majority view.
The Destruction Of Core Institutions
Those institutions people consider “core institutions” are sometimes vital, and sometimes not. That said, it is the openly admitted objective of collectivists through socialist-style movements to destroy core institutions so that there is no competition to their new system. A collectivist society cannot allow citizens to have any loyalties beyond their loyalty to the group or the state.
So, individual liberties must be degraded or removed, as per the constant reinterpretation of the Constitution as a “living document.”  Religious institutions must be painted as shameful affairs for stupid barbaric cave-people. And, the family unit must be broken apart. This is done through economic depravity so pronounced that families never see each other, through state influence over children through public schooling, and through identity politics and propaganda which create sexual and racial conflicts out of thin air.
Dominating Discussion
This coincides with the idea of artificial consensus, but it goes beyond the use of the mob. In our daily lives we are now bombarded with collectivist messages — in mainstream news, in television shows, in movies, through web media and print media. The money behind these outlets belongs to a very small and select group of people, but through them the collectivist worldview is injected into every corner of our society. I would call this propaganda by attrition; an indirect but steady insertion of collectivism creating an atmosphere in which the ideology becomes commonplace even though it is being promoted by a limited number of people.
Exploiting The Youth
When we are young, most of us spend a great deal of time and energy working to be taken seriously. The question is, should we be taken seriously?
In my view and the view of the liberty minded, it really depends on the person’s actions, experience, efforts and accomplishments. Most younger people have little to no experience in life and haven’t had the time to accomplish much. They are still learning how to function in the world, and what kind of goals they want to pursue (if they ever pursue any goals). Because of this, it is hard for those of us who have gone through considerable struggles in life and reached a certain level of achievement to take them seriously when they decide to stroll into a room and pontificate on their moral and philosophical superiority. It makes me want to ask; what the hell have you ever accomplished?
This is not to say that there are not ingenious young people out there, or ignorant and lazy older folks. There are. But collectivist movements seek to exploit younger generations exactly because of their general lack of experience and naivety, as well as their feelings of entitlement when it comes to respect.
Collectivism almost always utilizes a theory called “futurism” in order to appeal to the young. The theory, which was a leading philosophy behind the rise of fascism, proclaims that all new ideas are superior in their social usefulness and all old ideas and beliefs should be abandoned like so much dead skin. According to futurism, those who cling to old ideas and principles are an obstacle to the progress of society as a whole.
The funny thing is, the ideas usually expounded by collectivists are as old as time — elitism, feudalism, totalitarianism, etc. None of these methodologies are “new” by any stretch of the imagination, but collectivists repackage them as if they are some grand new secret to Shangri-La. Younger adherents of collectivism latch onto futurism almost immediately. For, if all new ideas are superior, and all old ideas are barbaric, and younger people are the purveyors and consumers of everything new, then this means that it is the youngest generations that are the wisest, and the village elders that are naïve. By default, the young become the village elders without them ever having to struggle, make sacrifices, learn hard lessons, suffer loss, rise to challenges, or accomplish anything.
The enticing nature of this sudden groundswell of cultural respect is simply far too much for the average person college age or younger to ignore. Collectivism gives the young what they think they want, then uses them as tools for greater conquests.
Forcing Society To Accept The Lowest Common Denominator
Collectivism requires the homogenization of society, to the point that individualism is frowned upon and success is treated as negligible. Whether it is public schools lowering standards to the point that students with little or no reading comprehension graduate, or businesses being forced to lower standards in the name of “diversity” while rejecting employees with superior skill sets because they do not belong to a designated victim group, or government institutions like the military lowering physical standards to accommodate far weaker candidates in the name of “gender parity” while putting every soldier’s life at risk in the process, we are constantly being asked to accommodate the lowest common denominator instead of reaching for the highest level of excellence.
This makes the concept of success a bit of a joke. For “success” within such a system is easy as long as one follows the rules; excelling as an individual is not a factor. And by success I mean being allowed to survive, because that is the best you are going to get in a collectivist structure. The only way to fail is to not follow the rules, rules which may be arbitrary or idiotic at their core. Individualists are immediately punished for thinking or acting outside the box, when this is exactly the kind of behavior that should be encouraged. A society built on the lowest common denominator is a society destined for collapse. Individuals are systematically weeded out in the name of homogenization and all of their potential achievements and innovations disappear with them.
The nightmare of collectivism is the defining battle of our age. It is in this era that we will decide whether or not individual liberty and freedom of thought are more important than the illusory security and “harmony” of the collective.
I, for one, long to see a future in which individual enterprise is allowed to thrive and voluntary participation is the root principle on which our culture functions; a future in which state power is reduced to zero, or near zero, and government force is no longer an acceptable means by which one group can seek to control another group. I may not see this world in my lifetime, but the liberty-minded can make it possible for newer generations by avidly defending ourselves against collectivism today. As pointed out in the beginning, collectivism and individualism cannot coexist; confrontation is inevitable. Recognizing this, and preparing for it, is our duty as free human beings.
If you would like to support the publishing of articles like the one you have just read, visit our donations page here.  We greatly appreciate your patronage.
You can contact Brandon Smith at:

FULL: Donald Trump Gives Rousing Speech in Hampton, NH (8-14-15)

Paper Gold ratio to Real Gold hits 231:1 in October!

Druckenmiller and his “modest” $300 million dollar gold purchase
Italian Bonds pay negative interest rates – Who’da thought?
Paper Gold ratio to Real Gold hits 231:1 in October!

The Economy Just Hit Rock Bottom, The US Recovery Is An Illusion. The Middle Class Will Not Be Able To Support The Holiday Season.

Submitted by IWB, on November 3rd, 2015

 The middle class is broke, the middle class will not be able to support the holiday season. Factories decline as the economy hits rock bottom. The global recession has arrived and the private western central bank countries are collapsing. Illegals are roaming the streets and 180,000 of them are criminals. According to a new poll American’s do not believe the global warming hoax. The stingray device is much worse than everyone expected.

Is San Francisco Housing Suddenly Going on Sale?

Wolf Richter,

During the worst time of the year?

This is anecdotal evidence – a personal observation, numbers I counted myself. So it’s reliable, and you know the source. But it is not statistical data. It doesn’t cover the entire city, just a small part of it. Yet it’s so unusual, so striking, that I decided to share it.
I advise caution using this observation. It needs to be confirmed by data. But if it is confirmed, San Francisco’s crazy Housing Bubble 2, which is so much crazier than the prior housing bubble that blew up in 2007 with such spectacular results, is going to have a problem.
Today I walked to the Kaiser medical facility, 8 miles round-trip, from where we live near the bottom of Russian Hill facing Fisherman’s Wharf to Geary and Divisadero. I chose a loop to avoid walking the same way twice. On the way back, I crossed Pacific Heights near the highest point because it’s a gorgeous area, with splendid views, and some of the most expensive housing in the city.
Minus the two stretches of the route at the beginning and at the end that I walked out-and-back, I pounded 7 miles of different sidewalks. There were also some commercial strips with few or no residences, and two schools. So that’s the route: about 6 miles through different residential areas.
The first realtor sign was on our block. When I saw the second realtor sign a few minutes later, I started counting. I walk everywhere in San Francisco. I see realtor signs from time to time but I might go weeks without seeing any. Sometimes I see two or three on the same walk.
I walked this route many times, for years. I know it inside-out and notice things that are different. And today it was different.
By the time I got back, I’d seen 14 realtor signs, advertising 15 units. San Francisco is on sale.
Last time I’d seen that many units for sale in such a short time span was during the Great San Francisco Housing Bust in 2008-2011. And even then, it wasn’t often that I’d seen that many in such a short span.
At the top end today was a property at 2505 Divisadero, at the top of Pacific Heights, with an asking price of $11.85 million.
These were just the units with realtor signs in front. Not all units are sold via realtors. And not all units sold via realtors have signs in front of them. So these 15 units are just the visible part of what is for sale on that stretch of sidewalk.
Today’s route went through older neighborhoods. They’ve been untouched by the phenomenal construction boom that is currently snarling traffic in other areas of the city where condo and apartment high-rises and medium-rises pop out of the ground like mushrooms. Those units are new supply. They’ve been hitting the market this year. Many more will hit next year. And even more in 2017.
On the leasing side, we’re suddenly seeing – once again – promos with giveaways to entice people to grab one of these units. Here’s a screenshot I took of an ad that ran right here on WOLF STREET on October 25, offering a “limited time leasing special,” namely “up to 12 months free parking or $3,600 off your 2nd month’s rent”:
This is a sea change.
But November isn’t a great time to sell. The housing market usually peaks in late spring or early summer, and then declines, with prices coming down often sharply in the fall and winter. This year, the median sale price of all types of homes peaked in May at $1,255,000, based on San Francisco MLS. By September, the median price was down to $1,150,000, an 8% decline. January is often the low point.
So why are they suddenly trying to dump all these homes on the market, during the worst time of the year?
Perhaps they’re seeing the writing on the wall. Layoff announcements have started to burst into the headlines. San Francisco’s darling, Twitter, which even extorted a payroll tax exemption from the city by threatening to leave when it was looking for larger digs, has started to axe people. Others are moving to Oakland and elsewhere because office space and housing are getting too expensive in the city. And suddenly, all this new supply of housing is coming on the scene – and for years to come.
Clearly, from what I’ve seen today, some folks who’ve been through this before want to get out of their properties at peak bubble prices while they still can.
It’s time for people who can’t afford to live here to make room for those who can, says the “real estate rock star” who is prominently and hilariously featured in this haunting video about Housing Bubble 2, and what it does to the people caught up in it… “Million Dollar Shack” In Silicon Valley (Video)

Alaska's already high health insurance rates set to get even higher in 2016

Polly Hess got a letter last month from her health insurance company saying that the premium for her and her husband’s health insurance plan would increase next year by more than 30 percent -- from $1,648 to about $2,500 a month.
Their deductibles would also increase by about $600 -- to $6,850 each, she said.

The letter from Moda Health went on to tell Hess that if she was OK with the hike, she didn't have to do anything else, recalled Hess, who lives in Homer and owns a small business with her husband.
“It was almost comical, really,” she said, “because the first thing I thought is, ‘I don’t care what I have to do but I’m not paying this.’”
Hess, 60, and her husband own Puffin Electric, an electrical contracting company. They earn more than $79,600 a year -- the cutoff for a family of two to get a federal subsidy toward a monthly premium on the online health insurance marketplace set up by President Barack Obama’s signature health care law.
The Hess couple falls into a group of several thousand Alaskans who buy insurance on the individual market and who will see their premiums increase in 2016 at one of the highest rates in the country, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. Alaska already had the country's most expensive premium costs this year, Kaiser reported.

Most Alaskans get subsidy but those who don't pay big

Open enrollment in the federal health insurance marketplace started Sunday and runs through Jan. 31.
Most Alaskans enrolling in plans on the individual market won’t pay the high premiums. That’s because those who make between one and four times the federal poverty level can get subsidies, which have kept pace with premium increases.
But others, like Hess, who earn too much for a subsidy have seen their premiums go up year after year without sign of reprieve.
Insurers blame the increases on factors that include high medical costs in Alaska paired with a relatively small market and a small group of people in that market with very high medical bills. Only two insurance companies -- Premera Blue Cross Blue Shield and Moda Health -- offer insurance on the online marketplace in Alaska.
Melanie Coon, a Premera spokeswoman, said insurers saw many members of the state's high-risk pool enroll in insurance through the online marketplace once it opened. There, they could get a subsidy toward their premiums. Premiums had been high outside the marketplace, she said.
Obama’s health care law barred insurers from turning people away because of pre-existing conditions.
Between the start of January and the end of September of this year, Coon said, 37 Premera members enrolled in individual health insurance plans generated $17.5 million in medical bills. In total, Premera had about 7,400 members during that time in the individual market with $68.3 million in claims.
“You have less than 1 percent of the pool generating a quarter of medical claims,” Coon said. She described the marketplace in Alaska as “unsustainable.” Coon said Premera lost millions of dollars last year in Alaska.
In August, the state Division of Insurance approved average rate increases for next year of nearly 40 percent for Premera and Moda. That came on top of double-digit increases this year.
“Since the beginning of the metallic plans in 2014, rates have increased by 91 percent,” Coon said. “That’s why we can’t keep going on at this point.”
On average in the United States, premiums for the second-lowest Silver plan (also called the benchmark plan) will increase by 7.5 percent in 2016 compared to this year. In Alaska, that plan will go up by 31.5 percent, Kaiser reported.
Hess said that while she supports Obama’s health care law and getting more people insured, she could only hang on to her health insurance plan for so long.
“You can only take one for the team to a certain extent and then you have to look at your own personal situation and say, ‘This is crazy. I can’t do this,’” she said.
She said she considered trying to become a resident of Washington state to get into that state’s health insurance pool. In Seattle, the second lowest-cost Silver plan for a 40-year old cost $227 a month compared to $719 a month in Anchorage, according to a Kaiser analysis.
Hess said she eventually decided to join an Ohio-based health care sharing ministry, which a group of healthy people pay into across the country and essentially share one another's medical bills.
For now, Hess and her husband no longer participate in Alaska’s health insurance market.

Health officials work on legal fix

Lori Wing-Heier, director of the state’s Division of Insurance, said in an email that several groups, including the state, the Alaska Primary Care Association, the University of Alaska and AARP, among others, are working on health reform in the state.
“The goal is healthier Alaskans with reduced cost for health care and, consequently, insurance,” she said.
Coon said Premera is working with Moda and other stakeholders to craft legislation for the upcoming legislative session. The bill in the works would spread the costs of high medical bills across the state’s entire insurance population instead of only across those enrolled in the individual marketplace, she said.
“By spreading the high-cost claims among a larger pool, individual market rates are expected to stabilize without significant swings year over year,” she said. “Employer groups would experience an increase in their premiums, through the high-risk pool assessment, but how much depends on how the program is implemented.”
She said the goal is to strike a balance that gives those in the individual market some relief.
Wing-Heier said the division cannot comment on if it would support the bill until it sees a draft.

Fed’s Yellen: December is ‘live possibility’ for first interest-rate increase

by BenLeubsdorf

Federal Reserve Board Chairwoman Janet Yellen testifies before the House Financial Services Committee on the "Federal Reserve's Supervision and Regulation of the Financial System."
WASHINGTON--Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen said the U.S. central bank may raise short-term interest rates at its mid-December meeting, but emphasized no decision has yet been made.
The Fed expects “the economy will continue to grow at a pace that’s sufficient to generate further improvements in the labor market and to return inflation to our 2% target over the medium term, and if the incoming information supports that expectation, then our statement indicates that December would be a live possibility,” Yellen said Wednesday while testifying before the House Financial Services Committee. “But importantly, we’ve made no decision about it.”
See MarketWatch’s live blog of Yellen hearing
The Fed has kept its benchmark short-term interest rate, the federal-funds rate, pinned near zero since December 2008. Yellen said in late September that she and most other policy makers “anticipate that it will likely be appropriate to raise the target range for the federal-funds rate sometime later this year and to continue boosting short-term rates at a gradual pace thereafter as the labor market improves further and inflation moves back to our 2% objective.”
Yellen said Wednesday that “moving in a timely fashion, if the data and the outlook justify such a move, is a prudent thing to do because we will be able to move at a more gradual and measured pace. We fully expect that the economy will evolve in such a way that we can move at a very gradual pace, and of course, after we do so, we will be watching very carefully whether our expectations are realized.”
An expanded version of this story is available at

IS TESLA DOOMED? “Tesla’s showing all the signs of a company in trouble: bleeding cash, securitized assets, and mounting inventory…

Tesla’s showing all the signs of a company in trouble: bleeding cash, securitized assets, and mounting inventory. It’s the trifecta of doom for any automaker, and anyone paying attention probably saw this coming a mile away. Like most big puzzles, the company’s woes don’t have just one source.
It’s true that the world may be running light on buyers who will spring for a big-dollar electric vehicle that can’t make the hike from Detroit to Chicago without stopping for a long charge. And cheap gasoline isn’t helping Tesla’s case. Right now, prices around the country are hovering close to $2 a gallon. If that’s bad news for the Prius and the Volt, it’s worse for the Model S.
In addition, there’s never been any secret sauce to the company’s battery technology. The automakers that bought into Tesla’s tech early did so to avoid having to pony up development dollars on first-generation battery packs of their own. Now that Audi has announced it’s getting into the EV game, Tesla should be even more concerned. If you’re a luxury buyer, which car would you rather have?
Moments ago, the most hyped stock in the market announced Q3 results… and missed while burning a record amount of cash; however Musk’s contagious optimism once again dominated the outlook and as a result the stock is up by 7% after hours.
The quarter highlights:
  • Telsa delivered 11,603 vehicles in Q3
  • Q3 non-GAAP gross margin 25.1%, dropping from 29.4% a year ago; adding “we expect non-GAAP Automotive gross margin to decline slightly from Q3″
  • The company trimmed its own guidance for full year deliveries from 50,000-55,000 to 50,000-52,000
  • Non-GAAP Revenues of $1.24 billion came in line with estimates, although something strange emerged: while non-GAAP revenue rose from Q3 by about $50MM, its GAAP revenue actually declined by $18 million to $937MM. The difference: a surge in “revenue deferred due to lease accounting” which soared from $242MM in Q2 to $307MM in Q3.
  • Non-GAAP EPS of $(0.58) missed expectations of a ($0.56) print. GAAP EPS was a disastrous (1.78)
  • But most troubling, as usual, was the ongoing cash burn from a company which appears allergic to generating any positive cash flow. At ($595) million in free cash flow, this was the worst cash burning quarter in Tesla history, which supposedly was to be expected with the rollout of the Model X.
The results in charts:
Revenue: both GAAP and non-GAAP:

Volkswagen 5y default probability rises as Diesel scandal widens.

5y default probability rises as Diesel scandal widens.

FHFA Head Warns Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac May Need a Capital Injection from the U.S. Treasury

Source: Michael Krieger, Liberty Blitzkrieg

Earlier today, we learned that Fannie Mae recently rolled out a new program known as “Home Ready,” which would allow borrowers to obtain a 3% downpayment mortgage with no minimum cash contribution.
Now we learn this.
From MarketWatch:
WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) — Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are at risk of needing an injection of Treasury capital after the latter reported its first quarterly loss in four years, the director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency said Tuesday.

FHFA Director Mel Watt issued a statement following mortgage-finance company Freddie Mac’s $475 million third-quarter loss, its first quarterly loss in four years.
“Volatility in interest rates coupled with a capital buffer that will decline to zero in 2018 under the terms of the senior preferred stock purchase agreements with Treasury will likely make both Enterprises increasingly susceptible to the possibility of quarterly losses that could result in draws going forward,” Watt said.
Freddie Mac said its loss was driven by interest rate changes that soured the value of derivatives it holds.
You really can’t make this stuff up.
That said, this should come as no surprise to Liberty Blitzkrieg readers…
Government Watchdog Warns – Fannie, Freddie Could Need Another Bailout
Mel Watt, Federal Housing Finance Agency Head, is Pushing Banks to Make Extremely Risky Home Loans
Leverage in PE Deals Soars Despite Fed Warnings; Amidst Insatiable Demand for Risky Fannie Mae Debt

Share This Article...

Stockman On Fox–Get The Fed Out Of Wall Street

By Fox Business
Former Reagan Budget Director David Stockman argues we need to get the Fed out of Wall Street and replace it with the free market.
Click here to watch.
 Source: Replace the Fed with the Free Market – Fox Business