by Zero Hedge - June 28th, 2016 10:50 pm
“Our carceral state banishes American citizens to a gray wasteland far beyond the promises and protections the government grants its other citizens… When the doors finally close and one finds oneself facing banishment to the carceral state—the years, the walls, the rules, the guards, the inmates…the incarcerated begins to adjust to the fact that he or she is, indeed, a prisoner. New social ties are cultivated. New rules must be understood.”
- Ta-Nehisi Coates, The Atlantic
In a carceral state – a.k.a. a prison state or a police state – there is no Fourth Amendment to protect you from the overreaches, abuses, searches and probing eyes of government overlords.
In a carceral state, there is no difference between the treatment meted out to a law-abiding citizen and a convicted felon: both are equally suspect and treated as criminals, without any of the special rights and privileges reserved for the governing elite.
In a carceral state, there are only two kinds of people: the prisoners and the prison guards.
With every new law enacted by federal and state legislatures, every new ruling handed down by government courts, and every new military weapon, invasive tactic and egregious protocol employed by government agents, “we the people”—the prisoners of the American police state—are being pushed that much further into a corner, our backs against the prison wall.
This concept of a carceral state in which we possess no rights except for that which the government grants on an as-needed basis is the only way I can begin to comprehend, let alone articulate, the irrational, surreal, topsy-turvy, through-the-looking-glass state of affairs that is being imposed upon us in America today.
As I point out in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, we who pretend we are free are no different from those who spend their lives behind bars.
Indeed, we are experiencing much the same phenomenon that journalist Ta-Nehisi Coates ascribes to those who are banished to a “gray wasteland far beyond the promises and protections the government grants its other citizens” : a sickening feeling, a desire to sleep, hopelessness, shame, rage, disbelief, clinginess to the past and that which is familiar, and then eventually resignation
by Zero Hedge - June 28th, 2016 10:20 pm
Back in April President Obama took a trip over to the UK in order to lecture another country on how to vote – Obama of course was staunchly in the Remain camp. Obama even penned an op-ed titled: “As your friend, let me say that the EU makes Britain even greater.”
Of course, we all know the historic outcome of the Brexit vote, and we have even asked if it was Barack Obama who actually was the deciding factor:
UKIP leader Nigel Farage has never been shy of course, but lately has been making sure to remember all of those who tried to downplay or influence the vote. For example, in his first appearance in the European Parliament since the Brexit vote, Farage took the time to make sure the audience knew he hadn’t forgotten that everyone laughed when Farage said that he was going to lead a campaign to get Britain to leave the EU, saying “You’re not laughing now are you.”
Farage hadn’t forgotten Obama’s attempt to influence the vote either. In a recent interview with Fox News, Farage was asked what can be done about Putin if the UK isn’t in the EU, to which Farage raged that Obama had behaved disgracefully when compared to Putin.
“Well ultimately let me say this, Vladimir Putin behaved in a more statesmanlike manner than President Obama did in this referendum campaign. Obama came to Britain and I think behaved disgracefully, telling us we’d be at the back of the queue. Treating us, America’s strongest, oldest ally, in this extraordinary way. Vladimir Putin maintained his silence throughout the whole campaign.”
* * *
Oh that does it, Obama won’t be inviting Farage on any of the remaining 36-hold golf outings!
by Zero Hedge - June 28th, 2016 9:50 pm
Tell a person that it’s a big beautiful world, full of fresh opportunities and a sense of freedom that is just not available by staying put and you will inevitably be treated to a litany of reasons why expanding your life into more than one country just isn’t practical.
Let’s consider some of those commonly stated reasons, and why they might be unjustified. While largely directed at Americans, these are also applicable to pretty much anyone from any country (for example, Britain… or Germany).
“America is the best country in the world. I’d be a fool to leave.”
That was absolutely true, not so very long ago. America certainly was the best – and it was unique. But it no longer exists, except as an ideal. The geography it occupied has been co-opted by the United States, which today is just another nation-state. And, most unfortunately, one that’s become especially predatory toward its citizens.
“My parents and grandparents were born here; I have roots in this country.”
An understandable emotion; everyone has an atavistic affinity for his place of birth, including your most distant relatives born long, long ago, and far, far away. I suppose if Lucy, apparently the first more-or-less human we know of, had been able to speak, she might have pled roots if you’d asked her to leave her valley in East Africa. If you buy this argument, then it’s clear your forefathers, who came from Europe, Asia, or Africa, were made of sterner stuff than you are.
“I’m not going to be unpatriotic.”
Patriotism is one of those things very few even question and even fewer examine closely. I’m a patriot, you’re a nationalist, he’s a jingoist. But let’s put such a tendentious and emotion-laden subject aside. Today a true patriot – an effective patriot – would be accumulating capital elsewhere, to have assets he can repatriate and use for rebuilding when the time is right. And a real patriot understands that America is not a place; it’s an idea. It deserves to be spread.
“I can’t leave my aging mother behind.”
Not to sound callous, but your aging parent will soon leave you behind. Why not offer her the chance to come along, though? She might enjoy a good live-in maid in your own house (which
by Zero Hedge - June 28th, 2016 9:20 pm
Surprise, surprise. Workers in Britain, many of whom have seen a decline in their standard of living while the very rich in their country have become much richer, have turned their backs on the European Union and a globalized economy that is failing them and their children.
And it’s not just the British who are suffering. That increasingly globalized economy, established and maintained by the world’s economic elite, is failing people everywhere. Incredibly, the wealthiest 62 people on this planet own as much wealth as the bottom half of the world’s population — around 3.6 billion people. The top 1 percent now owns more wealth than the whole of the bottom 99 percent. The very, very rich enjoy unimaginable luxury while billions of people endure abject poverty, unemployment, and inadequate health care, education, housing and drinking water.
Could this rejection of the current form of the global economy happen in the United States? You bet it could.
During my campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination, I’ve visited 46 states. What I saw and heard on too many occasions were painful realities that the political and media establishment fail even to recognize.
In the last 15 years, nearly 60,000 factories in this country have closed, and more than 4.8 million well-paid manufacturing jobs have disappeared. Much of this is related to disastrous trade agreements that encourage corporations to move to low-wage countries.
Despite major increases in productivity, the median male worker in America today is making $726 dollars less than he did in 1973, while the median female worker is making $1,154 less than she did in 2007, after adjusting for inflation.
Nearly 47 million Americans live in poverty. An estimated 28 million have no health insurance, while many others are underinsured. Millions of people are struggling with outrageous levels of student debt. For perhaps the first time in modern history, our younger generation will probably have a lower standard of living than their parents. Frighteningly, millions of poorly educated Americans will have a shorter life span than the previous generation as they succumb to despair, drugs and alcohol.
Meanwhile, in our country the top one-tenth of 1 percent now owns almost as much wealth as the bottom 90 percent.
by Zero Hedge - June 28th, 2016 8:50 pm
The 10th Anniversary Edition of the “In Gold We Trust” Report
As every year at the end of June, our good friends Ronald Stoeferle and Mark Valek, the managers of the Incrementum funds, have released the In Gold We Trust report, one of the most comprehensive and most widely read gold reports in the world. The report can be downloaded further below.
Gold, daily, over the past year – click to enlarge.
The report celebrates its 10th anniversary this year. As always, a wide variety of gold-related topics is discussed, providing readers with a wealth of valuable and intellectually stimulating information. This year’s report inter alia includes a detailed discussion of gold’s properties in terms of Nicholas Nassim Taleb’s “fragility/ robustness/ anti-fragility” matrix, as well as close look at the last resort of mad-cap central planners that goes by the moniker “helicopter money”.
Since falling to a new multi-year low amid growing despondency and a crescendo of bearishness late last year, gold has celebrated a rather noteworthy comeback. As our regular readers know, we pointed to many subtle signs that indicated to us that a trend change might soon be afoot as the low approached (particularly in gold stocks, see e.g. “Gold and Gold Stocks, it Gets Even More Interesting” or “The Canary in the Gold Mine” for some color on this).
Ronald and Mark are inter alia looking into the question whether gold’s recent comeback marks the resumption of the secular bull market, and which factors are likely to drive precious metals in coming years. As they correctly argue, the increasing desperation of central bankers and their willingness to boost inflation at all cost is going to lead to a plethora of unintended consequences, all of which are likely to boost the gold price.
They also shed light on one issue that – apart from a handful of exceptions – is clearly not on anyone’s radar screen at the moment: namely the possibility that central banks might finally “succeed”. In other words, the possibility that gold’s recent rise is actually the harbinger of another event widely regarded as “impossible” – the return of price inflation.
In this context, we want to reproduce a chart from the report, which shows the proprietary
by Zero Hedge - June 28th, 2016 8:20 pm
Things have not been going according to plan for Kuroda-san and his policy-making ‘Peter-Pan’s in Japan. Since The Bank of Japan unleashed NIRP on its ‘saving’ community – which, according to the textbooks would force money to reach for riskier investments, pumping stocks up, or flush cash into inflationary consumption – stock prices have collapsed and bond prices have exploded… In fact, in six months, bonds are outperforming stocks by a central-bank-credibility-crushing 70%!!!
Rate cuts…not working
And it’s not just The BoJ that is struggling – since The Fed hiked rates, The S&P is down 3.5% and Treasuries are up 16%!!
2016 – The year when the central-planners were finally exposed!!
by Zero Hedge - June 28th, 2016 7:50 pm
If Bernie Sanders and his supporters are still waiting to see whether or not Hillary Clinton is willing to move far enough left on some issues, the release of Clinton’s Tech & Innovation Agenda yesterday should make everyone a little bit less concerned.
According to the Clinton campaign website, Hillary’s Tech & Innovation Agenda has five key parts, much of which Clinton has touched on in the past. However as Wired reports, there are a few new proposals as well, including deferring student loans interest free and loan forgiveness in general.
The presumptive Democratic nominee has touched on tech issues in an ad hoc way before, urging Silicon Valley to help fight radicalization online and calling for greater protection for on-demand workers. This is the first time, however, that Clinton—or any presidential candidate for that matter—is synthesizing these ideas into a comprehensive platform.
Though many pieces of the agenda are policy prescriptions Clinton has announced in the past, including a plan to bring broadband access to every American home by 2020, the tech platform includes newer proposals as well. Her plan would, for instance, allow would-be entrepreneurs to defer their student loans interest free for up to three years as they launch their businesses. Business owners who locate in “distressed communities” or start a social enterprise also could ask the government to forgive as much as $17,500 in loans after five years in business.
The goal of this part of the plan is to encourage millennials to start businesses. Entrepreneurship among young Americans has fallen drastically, and student debt is often cited as one of the greatest obstacles to starting up.
The tech agenda also affirms Clinton’s commitment to net neutrality; her desire to make the United States Digital Service, a tech team that modernizes government processes, a permanent part of the executive branch; her plan to train 50,000 computer science teachers over the next decade; and her interest in ensuring tech companies can recruit top talent from anywhere in the world. According to the platform, Clinton “would ‘staple’ a green card to STEM masters and PhDs from accredited institutions.”
Silicon Valley will probably be most interested, however, in Clinton’s policies regarding privacy and encryption, both topics that
by Zero Hedge - June 28th, 2016 7:40 pm
The Brexit vote is history, and so is David Cameron’s reign as Britain’s prime minister whose gamble to allow an EU referendum backfired spectacularly. And today, in what Bloomberg earlier dubbed his “last summer” Cameron had the unpleasant task of telling his Eurocrat peers during what is hist last Brussels summit why he failed. Only he didn’t and instead, as the FT writes, Cameron flipped the tables and told European leaders he lost the EU referendum because they failed to address public concerns over immigration, as tensions rose ahead of looming Brexit negotiations.
The British prime minister said at his final summit in Brussels on Tuesday that fears of mass immigration were “a driving factor” behind the vote and free movement would have to be addressed in Brexit talks. While he did not call her out by name, Cameron was effectively blaming Angela Merkel, whose overly accepting immigration policy in 2015 unleashed a historic refugee wave which ultimately ended up being the deciding factor behind the referendum outcome.
As the FT writes, Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, and other leaders “blocked British demands before the referendum for an “emergency brake” on migrant numbers and the idea remains anathema to many member states. Cameron, who announced his resignation after last week’s referendum, said that he wanted Britain and the EU to retain “as close an economic relationship as possible”. But, at an emotional dinner, he warned that the UK could not continue to accept large numbers of EU migrants, even if that meant losing access to the single market.”
His remarks underscored the hard task facing both sides in reaching a new accord. Addressing the German Bundestag before the Brussels summit, Ms Merkel warned the UK that there would be no “cherry picking” in its Brexit negotiations. European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker underscored this when he said that he wants the article 50 “letter to be sent as soon as possible.” Giving the UK instructions on how to proceed, Juncker said during a press conference that “if someone from the Remain camp will become British prime minister, this has to be done in two weeks after his appointment. If the next British PM is coming from the Leave campaign, it should be done the day after his appointment.”
Juncker urged the UK “swiftly”
by Zero Hedge - June 28th, 2016 7:25 pm
’55-->’80…core population rose by 19 million and 22 million 25-54yr/olds found net new employment…or 1.16 jobs per the every new 25-54yr/old…obviously, immigration made some sense.
’80-->’00 population rose by 37m and 35m new jobs among them…or 95% of the new adults had jobs available.
’00-->’16 core population rose by 5m and a decline of 600k jobs…plus a decline in full time jobs of 500k.
’48-->’80 18 million more 55+yr/olds vs 5 million more jobs among them (27% of new elderly found net new jobs).
’80-->’00 11 million more elderly vs. 3 million new jobs among them (27%).
’00-->’16 33 million more elderly
by Zero Hedge - June 28th, 2016 7:00 pm
As the Democrats hurried to get ahead of the news cycle by releasing a report of their own in advance of the official House Select Committee’s report on Benghazi, they also unveiled how a longtime Clinton friend and adviser is benefiting monetarily from their friendship.
Part of what the Democrats released contained a redacted transcript of Clinton confidant Sidney Blumenthal answering committee’s questions during the investigation. The redaction marks were easily lifted and as the LA Times reports, the transcript reveals negative things for both Republicans and Democrats. For Republicans, the transcript showed that the investigation was used in part to dig into Blumenthal’s financial contracts with David Brock, the founder of liberal website Media Matters. On the other hand, the transcript revealed how lucrative it can be to be a close Clinton friend – not that readers of this site are shocked at that statement. As a reminder of the most recent finding, a Clinton Foundation donor and high frequency trader – with absolutely no experience in the field - found himself magically placed as a nuclear weapons advisor to Hillary during her tenure as Secretary of State.
We know that being a Clinton can be lucrative, even if you have to explain why all of your in-laws rich friends lost all of their investment with you sometimes. But it turns out that being a close friend of the Clinton’s can be almost as financially rewarding.
As the LA Times reports, here is the transcript in question that shows Sidney Blumenthal admitting that due to his friendship with the Clinton’s and by extension Clinton ally David Brock, he makes around $200,000 a year giving consulting advice to Brock’s businesses.
Q: Okay. And what was your relationship with Media Matters at that time period?
A: I was a consultant to Media Matters. I’m sorry I—
Q: That’s okay.
A: I overlooked that.
Q: When did you become a consultant for Media Matters?
A: I would say the very end of 2012.
Q: Okay. And how did that come about, that you became a consultant for Media Matters?
A: I have had a very long friendship with the chairman of Media Matters, whose name is David Brock, from before