by Zero Hedge - August 27th, 2016 6:00 pm
Dr. Alyami is a native of Saudi Arabia and a citizen of the US for the past four decades. From an early age he has been advocating for political, economic and social reform in his native homeland. He is the founder and Executive Director of the Center for Democracy & Human Rights in Saudi Arabia, a Washington, a Washington D.C. based non-profit tax exempt organization.
Previously, he was a Senior Fellow at the Saudi Institute in Washington, D.C., Director of an educational peace program for the American Friends Service Committee in San Francisco and a Representative for the Arab Organization for Human Rights (a Cairo based group) in North America. Dr. Alyami has spoken at conferences throughout the US, Egypt, Sudan, Israel, France, Belgium, Spain and the UK, has offered expert testimony before Congress and has advised senior officials at the Pentagon, the National Security Council and the Department of State.
E Tavares: Dr. Alyami, thank you for your being with us today. Last October we spoke about the socio-political situation in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (“KSA”), a hugely important country, and implications for the wider region. It seems very little has changed as far as policies and governance are concerned, other than perhaps the current rulers becoming more entrenched in power. Do you agree?
AA: Thank you for this opportunity and more so for your patriotism and understanding of the unprecedented Islamist ideological threats facing us and the international community, including the majority of Muslims. This is a fact that cannot be denied, ignored or belittled as the action of a few perverted groups.
Since our interview, Saudi Arabia under its current Islamist King, Salman, has been more mired in political and economic turmoil than at any time in the desert kingdom’s history. Domestically, the country is suffering from royal discord and economic hardships, due to the drastic decline in oil prices, which constitute more than 90% of the state’s revenues. Regionally, Saudi Arabia is stuck in a consuming and costly war in Yemen, the continued occupation of Bahrain and dangerous events which the Saudis cannot control or stop, such as the recent superpowers’ rapprochement with
by Zero Hedge - August 27th, 2016 5:30 pm
The recent media frenzy surrounding Clinton and Trump’s health records has accomplished little more than to, once again, expose a “press” that is becoming increasingly partisan with each passing day.
Right-leaning media outlets have spent countless hours reporting on the various health issues experienced by Clinton over the years and pointing to pictures of her falling down on the campaign trail or seemingly zoning out at times as evidence of her frailty. Meanwhile the left-leaning organizations have mostly dismissed the Hillary health concerns as conspiracy theories of right-wing nut jobs.
Like this tweet from a New York Times columnist….
— Farhad Manjoo (@fmanjoo) August 21, 2016
Or this interview by Rachel Maddow where Hillary’s health concerns are repeatedly dismissed as conspiracy theories.
The problem is that Hillary’s potential health issues were easy to dismiss when they were only being covered by some “right-wing” media outlets like Breitbart. But now, as The Hill points out, reputable doctors are starting to come forward to suggest that Hillary’s health might be a serious issues. One such person is Dr. Bob Lahita, Chairman of the Department of Medicine at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center, who offered the following comments on Hillary’s health:
“This is a very unusual story with Hillary,” said Lahita, pointing to the two blood clots she’s been diagnosed with in the past. “The very fact that she’s having these clots and she’s had two bouts of thrombosis is disconcerting to say the least.“
When asked if questions about Clinton’s health are legitimate and not part of a political conspiracy, Lahita said without hesitation, “I don’t think it’s a conspiracy.”
Lahita then pivoted to past presidents who entered office with health problems.
“You go back to the history of our presidents and we’ve had many presidents up until Lyndon Johnson who’ve concealed their health during their campaigns,” explained Lahita.
“It had dire effects for our country, going from Kennedy to Roosevelt, to Woodrow Wilson, whose wife ran the White House for some time,” he continued, “So we have issues here and I think both candidates should be very forthcoming and perhaps have an impartial panel of physicians review
by Zero Hedge - August 27th, 2016 5:00 pm
Geert Wilders, head of the right-wing Dutch Freedom Party (PVV), launched a new manifesto that calls for the “de-Islamization” of the Netherlands” as he leads in the polls to become the next prime minister.
Titled, “The Netherlands is ours again,” Wilders published the one page, 11 point screed on Thursday, highlighting the party’s hard-line positions on Islam…
NEDERLAND WEER VAN ONS! pic.twitter.com/iOHCiUYJUL
— Geert Wilders (@geertwilderspvv) August 25, 2016
The document, published ahead of a general election in March, calls for the closure of all mosques and Islamic schools, a ban on the Koran, and “no more immigrants from Islamic countries.” A ban on “Islamic headscarves” in public is also proposed, as well as the prohibition of all “Islamic expressions which violate public order.” All these measures will, Wilders argues, save the country €7.2 bn (US$8bn).
An English translation can be found here…
THE NETHERLANDS BELONGS TO US!
Millions of Dutch have had enough of the Islamization of our country. Enough of the mass immigration, asylum, terror, violence and lack of safety. Here is our plan: instead of financing the entire world and the people we do not want here, we give our money back to the common Dutch person.
This is what the PVV will do:
1) de-islamize the Netherlands
- Zero asylum seekers and no more immigrants from Muslim countries: we are closing our borders.
- Withdrawal of all residence permits already granted to asylum seekers; asylum seeker centers closed down.
- No more Muslim veils in public functions
- Ban of overall Muslim expressions that are against the public order
- Preventive incarceration of radical Muslims
- Criminals with double nationality stripped of their Dutch citizenship and deported
- Syrian fighters not allowed back in The Netherlands
- All Mosques and Muslim schools are to be closed and the Koran banned.
2) The Netherlands will reclaim its independence. Therefore, we leave the EU.
3) Direct democracy: binding referendums, citizens have the power.
4) Deductible/excess in healthcare insurance is eliminated
5) Rents to be lowered
6) Age of retirement back to 65 years old. Pensions for everyone.
7) No more money for foreign aid, windmills, art, innovation, public broadcasters, etc.
8) Past budget cuts involving care will be reversed.
9) Plenty extra funds for defense and police
by Zero Hedge - August 27th, 2016 4:30 pm
As Conservative Review’s Jen Kuznicki explains, in 1993, the president of Wellesley College approved a new rule upon being contacted by Bill Clinton’s White House. The rule stated that all senior theses written by a president or first lady of the United States would be kept under lock and key. The rule was meant to keep the public ignorant about the radical ties of the first lady, Hillary Rodham Clinton, to the radical Marxist organizer, Saul Alinsky. The 92-page thesis was titled, “There is only the fight…: An Analysis of the Alinsky Model.” The thesis became unlocked after the Clintons left the White House and is now posted online.
After being ruled by Barack Obama, another Alinskyite, for 8 years, perhaps one might think the fact that the modern Democratic Party is completely taken over by Alinskyites is old news, but the connection between Alinsky and Hillary is special.
Hillary describes Alinsky as a “neo-Hobbesian who objects to the consensual mystique surrounding political processes; for him, conflict is the route to power.” Alinsky’s central focus, she notes, is that the community organizer must understand that conflict will arise and to redirect it and, as she quoted him in her thesis, be “…dedicated to changing the character of life of a particular community [and] has an initial function of serving as an abrasive agent to rub raw the resentments of the people of the community; to fan latent hostilities of many of the people to the point of overt expressions… to provide a channel into which they can pour their frustration of the past; to create a mechanism which can drain off underlying guilt for having accepted the previous situation for so long a time. When those who represent the status quo label you [i.e. the community organizer] as an ‘agitator’ they are completely correct, for that is, in one word, your function--to agitate to the point of conflict.”
The thesis in and of itself is limited to whether or not “social justice” can be attained through the tactics described by Alinsky in “Reveille For Radicals,” and the numerous speeches he gave on hundreds of college campuses in the 1950s and 1960s. What had become clear was that Alinsky’s previous organizing had fallen apart and almost all attempts
It Begins: Barney Frank Tells Yellen Not To Hike Before The Election, “It Risks Destabilizing Markets”
by Zero Hedge - August 27th, 2016 3:58 pm
Even as speculation had built up that the “apolitical” Fed would not dare to hike rates ahead of the election to avoid a market swoon, one which would significantly boost Trump’s presidential odds, so far nobody – either on the left or the right – had suggested to Yellen not to hike rates before November 8, for one simple reason: it would immediately crush the scripted narrative of an independent Fed (something which Fed governor Lael Brainard apparently was unaware of when she donated repeatedly to the Hillary Clinton campaign), a narrative which benefits both republicans and democrats who can pretend they are busy in Congress simply by pointing at the all time high in the S&P500, which alas is simply a function of global asset bubbles.
However, that changed earlier today when, just one day after Janet Yellen’s closely watched Jackson Hole speech which may or may not have opened the door to a September rate hike, Barney Frank – one of the architects of the 2010 Dodd-Frank “Wall Street Reform” act – and a staunch supporter of Hillary Clinton, told The Hill it would be a mistake for the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates before the election.
Frank advised the Fed board not to risk destabilizing markets and perhaps the broader economy a few weeks before Election Day.“I think it would be a mistake to do it this close to the election,” Frank told The Hill. “It will be interpreted, over interpreted.”
What he really meant is that a crash taking place within 3 months of the election would boost Trump’s victory chances to 86%. As we reported in January, the market performance in the three months leading up to a Presidential election has displayed an uncanny ability to forecast who will win the White House… the incumbent party or the challenger. Since 1928, there have been 22 Presidential Elections. In 14 of them, the S&P 500 climbed during the three months preceding election day. The incumbent President or party won in 12 of those 14 instances. However, in 7 of the 8 elections where the S&P 500 fell over that three month period, the incumbent party lost. There are only three exceptions to this correlation: 1956, 1968, and 1980. Statistically, the market has an 86.4% success rate
by Zero Hedge - August 27th, 2016 3:30 pm
Hillary Clinton has been taking heat for her relationship with the Clinton Foundation. Did individuals and firms making large donations to the Foundation, or paying large speaking or consulting fees to Bill Clinton, get preferred access to Ms. Clinton as Secretary of State? Is there a revolving door between the Clinton campaign and the Foundation’s fundraising staff? Are these relationships the subject of the emails she deleted from her private server?
These questions point to a more basic issue about the role of money in politics. What, exactly, do large corporations get in exchange for their payments to candidates and current and former government officials? Ms. Clinton gave 92 speeches between 2013 and 2015 that netted her $21.6 million, including $1.8 million for just 8 speeches to large banks. (CNN provides eye-opening details about her speaking requirements — the $225,000 fee is just the tip of the iceberg.) Ms. Clinton is hardly known for her business acumen; her infamous cattle-futures trades are widely recognized as a political payoff, and her views on corporate governance have been ridiculed by experts. Her opinions on world politics are already in the public domain, so I doubt Goldman Sachs was getting $200K worth of unique insight into global affairs. Bill Clinton, with zero experience in higher-education administration, bagged $17 million to be honorary chancellor of an obscure for-profit university. Why are these companies throwing their money away?
Most people assume that campaign contributions, speaking and consulting fees and lucrative board positions for former and future politicians, and similar payments are pure graft, the kinds of pay-to-play arrangements common under crony capitalism. And some of these transfers surely do buy access and even specific policy outcomes. There are several problems with the common assumption, however. First, research on campaign contributions finds that the expected rate of return on these payments is quite high and yet, given the potential gains, the contribution amounts are remarkably small. Second, there is little systematic evidence that policies are, on average, greatly influenced by such contributions, leading some to suggest that this form of payment to politicians and political parties is mainly consumption, not investment.
Lobbying as a Defensive Strategy
A more intriguing finding, however, is that
by Zero Hedge - August 27th, 2016 3:00 pm
Ever wonder how politicians and bureaucrats can go out and deliver the same misleading propaganda to various media outlets each day and keep a straight face while doing it? Are these folks so detached from the real world that they go back to the “safe space” of their offices in Washington D.C. and pat themselves on the back thinking they’ve actually duped the American people into believing some alternate set of facts that have no basis in reality? Or, are they so immersed in the false narratives day in and day out that they actually start to believe their own rhetoric?
No matter the reason, one narrative we’ve found particularly misleading this week comes to us courtesy of Marjorie Connolly, of the Department of Health and Human Services, who has the brutally difficult job of defending the “success” of Obamacare as it literally on the verge of collapse from soaring premiums and declining insurer participation. While we certainly don’t envy the position of Connolly, we do find some of her comments to the press “slightly” misinformed.
Just to provide an illustrative sample:
Reuters (8/2/16) – “Consumers coming back to shop for 2017 will continue to have a robust set of choices.“
New York Times (8/19/16) – “A number of steps remain before the full picture of marketplace competition and prices are known. Regardless, we remain confident that the majority of marketplace consumers will have multiple choices and will be able to select a plan for less than $75 per month when Open Enrollment begins Nov. 1.”
The Tennessean (8/25/16) – “Consumers in Tennessee will continue to have affordable coverage options in 2017. Last year, the average monthly premium for people with Marketplace coverage getting tax credits increased just $2, from $102 to $104 per month, despite headlines suggesting double digit increases.”
As you can see, the chosen narrative of Connolly is to focus on the premiums paid by the overwhelming minority of healthcare consumers that actually receive subsidized rates under Obamacare. While this may be the only “convenient” fact that Connolly could find to peddle, it ignores the skyrocketing rates that the other 95% of people, mostly middle-class Americans, have to pay.
So, here’s the real math. There are roughly 320mm people in the United States. 120mm people are
by Zero Hedge - August 27th, 2016 2:30 pm
In one generation, Europe will be unrecognizable.
Eastern Europe now has “the largest population loss in modern history”, while Germany overtook Japan by having the world’s lowest birth rate.
Europe, as it is aging, no longer renews its generations, and instead welcomes massive numbers of migrants from the Middle East, Africa and Asia, who are going to replace the native Europeans, and who are bringing cultures with radically different values about sex, science, political power, culture, economy and the relation between God and man.
Deaths that exceed births might sound like science fiction, but they are now Europe’s reality. It just happened. During 2015, 5.1 million babies were born in the EU, while 5.2 million persons died, meaning that the EU for the first time in modern history recorded a negative natural change in its population. The numbers come from Eurostat (the statistical office of the European Union), which since 1961 has been counting Europe’s population. It is official.
There is, however, another surprising number: the European population increased overall from 508.3 million to 510.1 million. Have you guessed why? The immigrant population increased, by about two million in one year, while the native European population was shrinking. It is the substitution of a population. Europe has lost the will to maintain or grow its population. The situation is as demographically as seismic as during the Great Plague of the 14th Century.
This shift is what the British demographer David Coleman described in his study, “Immigration and Ethnic Change in Low-Fertility Countries: A Third Demographic Transition.” Europe’s suicidal birth rate, coupled with migrants who multiply faster, will transform European culture. The declining fertility rate of native Europeans coincides, in fact, with the institutionalization of Islam in Europe and the “re-Islamization” of its Muslims.
In 2015, Portugal recorded the second-lowest birth rate in the European Union (8.3 per 1,000 inhabitants) and negative natural growth of -2.2 per 1,000 inhabitants. Which EU country had the lowest birth rate? Italy. Since the “baby boom” of the 1960s, in the country famous for its large families, the birth rate has more halved. In 2015, the number of births fell to 485,000, fewer than in any
by Zero Hedge - August 27th, 2016 2:00 pm
Six months since Larry Summers first suggested “it;’s time to kill the $100 bill,” and three months after The ECB actually killed the €500 Note, another Harvard ‘scholar’ is reinvigorating the war on cash. Amid claims that paper money fuels corruption, terrorism, tax evasion, and illegal immigration, Ken Rogoff (ironically of “It’s Different This Time” infamy) says the US should get rid of the $100 bill (and $50s and $20s) proposing, in his words, “a ‘less-cash’ society, not a cashless one, at least for the foreseeable future.”
According to the esteemed ivory tower academic, paper currency lies at the heart of some of today’s most intractable public-finance and monetary problems. As Rogoff explains in The Wall Street Journal, getting rid of most of it – that is, moving to a society where cash is used less frequently and mainly for small transactions – could be a big help.
Rogoff’s begins by stating factoids as facts…
There is little debate among law-enforcement agencies that paper currency, especially large notes such as the U.S. $100 bill, facilitates crime: racketeering, extortion, money laundering, drug and human trafficking, the corruption of public officials, not to mention terrorism. There are substitutes for cash—cryptocurrencies, uncut diamonds, gold coins, prepaid cards—but for many kinds of criminal transactions, cash is still king. It delivers absolute anonymity, portability, liquidity and near-universal acceptance. It is no accident that whenever there is a big-time drug bust, the authorities typically find wads of cash.
Cash is also deeply implicated in tax evasion, which costs the federal government some $500 billion a year in revenue. According to the Internal Revenue Service, a lot of the action is concentrated in small cash-intensive businesses, where it is difficult to verify sales and the self-reporting of income. By contrast, businesses that take payments mostly by check, bank card or electronic transfer know that it is much easier for tax authorities to catch them dissembling. Though the data are much thinner for state and local governments, they too surely lose big-time from tax evasion, perhaps as much as $200 billion a year.
Cash also lies at the core of the illegal immigration problem in the U.S. If American employers couldn’t so easily pay illegal workers off the books in cash, the lure
by Zero Hedge - August 27th, 2016 1:30 pm
Another canary in the coal mine has just dropped to the bottom of its cage.
A few weeks back, I wrote about evidence that the bubble-ized new car business – “sales” inflated by the same kinds of financial flim-flam that gave us the housing bubble just about ten years ago – is on the verge of popping.
And may have already popped.
Now comes another indicator.
Sales of Chevy’s Camaro muscle car and its two rivals, the Ford Mustang and the Dodge Challenger, have stalled.
As if they just ran out of gas – all three of them – all at once.
This after several years of double digit increases.
Now, the reverse is happening.
Camaro is down an ominous 15.4 percent for the year to date (January to July) despite the current model benefitting from an update that few, if any people could find fault with. The car looks virtually the same as the previous version – which was hugely popular – but is now several hundred pounds lighter and so it’s both quicker and more fuel efficient than it was before. That kind of thing usually increases sales of a muscle car.
Same thing over at Ford and Dodge. Both of their muscle cars have been improved recently and neither has lost any of the attributes that made them successful… until now.
So what’s up?
The better question is, what’s down?
How about the financial ability of the middle class buyer (this is the demographic that buys cars like these) to afford them?
Or – perhaps more to the point – their willingness to buy them?
Interest rates are still low; gas is still cheap.
But such things don’t matter when you can’t afford the car itself. Or begin to fear not being able to afford other, more important things – like the monthly mortgage. Or (more coming) your Obamacare premium.
These are not practical cars. They are muscle cars. Largely useless for anything except having fun.
For two people.
While they have back seats, these are technicalities. A Camaro is nearly as unfit to carry passengers in its backseats as a Corvette (which has no back seats at all). The same is true of Mustang and Challenger, though to a