Posts Tagged ‘U.S.’

Kidnapping, Torture, and Reflections on Alleged “American Values”

Mish is on fire today with excellent posts. Here, Mish reports on the horrifying story of what the CIA did in kidnapping the wrong man, a German citizen Khalid El-Masri, and the CIA’s subsequent torture and abuse of him. Our court system failed too, citing "national security" grounds to throw out Khalid El-Masri’s case against the CIA.  (Sounds like a specious excuse to me as sensitive information wouldn’t have to be made public.) – Ilene 

Kidnapping, Torture, and Reflections on Alleged "American Values"

Courtesy of Mish 

I do not agree with using torture, nor do I believe the end justifies the means. The problem with both is that others can act the same way.

If the US can torture to extract vital information, then why can’t Iran and every other country on the planet?

It is pure hypocrisy to think that the US has a monopoly on "justified torture". Indeed, there is no such thing as "justified torture".

This has been my position forever. I bring it up because of a post Barry Ritholtz made yesterday stipulating “Torture didn’t provide useful, meaningful, trustworthy information”

“Torture [at the Guantanamo Bay detention camp] didn’t provide useful, meaningful, trustworthy information. Everyone [at the CIA] was deeply concerned and most felt it was un-American and did not work.” – Glenn L. Carle, a retired C.I.A. officer who oversaw the interrogation of a high-level detainee in 2002

“The bottom line is this: If we had some kind of smoking-gun intelligence from waterboarding in 2003, we would have taken out Osama bin Laden in 2003. It took years of collection and analysis from many different sources to develop the case that enabled us to identify this compound, and reach a judgment that Bin Laden was likely to be living there.” – Tommy Vietor, spokesman for the National Security Council.

Khalid Shaikh Mohammed was waterboarded 183 times — repeatedly misled interrogators about the courier’s identity. …

Barry Ritholtz went on to say "Thinking that torture is wrong is not a liberal or conservative value — it is an American value."

I sure wish Barry was correct. Sadly he is not, at least right now. Both president Bush and president Obama have condoned torture.

Moreover, President Obama had a campaign pledge to shut Guantanamo Bay. Sadly, I report Guantanamo Bay is still in operation. On March 8, 2011, the Irish Times noted Guantánamo trials freeze lifted

Hina Shamsi,


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20 Shocking New Economic Records That Were Set In 2010

Courtesy of Michael Snyder at Economic Collapse 

2010 was quite a year, wasn’t it?  2010 will be remembered for a lot of things, but for those living in the United States, one of the main things that last year will be remembered for is economic decline.  The number of foreclosure filings set a new record, the number of home repossessions set a new record, the number of bankruptcies went up again, the number of Americans that became so discouraged that they simply quit looking for work reached a new all-time high and the number of Americans on food stamps kept setting a brand new record every single month.  Meanwhile, U.S. government debt reached record highs, state government debt reached record highs and local government debt reached record highs.  What a mess!  In fact, even many of the "good" economic records that were set during 2010 were indications of underlying economic weakness.  For example, the price of gold set an all-time record during 2010, but one of the primary reasons for the increase in the price of gold was that the U.S. dollar was rapidly losing value.  Most Americans had been hoping that 2010 would be the beginning of better times, but unfortunately economic conditions just kept getting worse.

So will things improve in 2011?  That would be nice, but at this point there are not a whole lot of reasons to be optimistic about the economy.  The truth is that we are trapped in a period of long-term economic decline and we are now paying the price for decades of horrible decisions.

Amazingly, many of our politicians and many in the mainstream media have declared that "the recession is over" and that the U.S. economy is steadily improving now.

Well, if anyone tries to tell you that the economy got better in 2010, just show them the statistics below.  That should shut them up for a while.

The following are 20 new economic records that were set during 2010….

#1 An all-time record of 2.87 million U.S. households received a foreclosure filing in 2010.

#2 The number of homes that were actually repossessed reached the 1 million mark for the first time ever during 2010.

#3 The price of gold moved above $1400 an ounce for the first time ever during 2010.

#4 According to the American Bankruptcy Institute, approximately 1.53 million consumer bankruptcy petitions were filed in 2010, which was up 9 percent…
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IS QE2 THE ROAD TO ZIMBABWE-STYLE HYPERINFLATION? NOT LIKELY.

Ellen Brown asks and answers, IS QE2 THE ROAD TO ZIMBABWE-STYLE HYPERINFLATION? NOT LIKELY. Her views of the Fed’s activities, debt and the risk of hyperinflation are different than many we’ve been presenting here. Further discussion is welcome. – Ilene 

money printingCourtesy of Ellen Brown at Web of Debt 

Unlike Zimbabwe, the U.S. can easily get the currency it needs without being beholden to anyone. But wouldn’t that dilute the value of the currency? No.

A month ago, the bond vigilantes were screaming that the Fed’s QE2 would be the first step on the road to Zimbabwe-style hundred trillion dollar notes.  Zimbabwe (the former Rhodesia) is the poster example of what can go wrong when a government pays its bills by printing money.  Zimbabwe’s economy collapsed in 2008, when its currency hyperinflated to the point that it was trading with the U.S. dollar at an exchange rate of 10 trillion to 1.  On November 29, Cullen Roche wrote in the Pragmatic Capitalist:

Back in October the economic buzzwords had become “money printing” and “debt monetization”. . . . [T]he Fed was initiating their policy of QE2 and you’d have been hard pressed to find someone in this country (and around the world for that matter) who wasn’t entirely convinced that the USA was about to send the dollar into some sort of death spiral.  QE2 was about to set off a round of inflation that would make Zimbabwe look like a cakewalk.  And then something odd happened – the dollar rallied as QE2 set sail and hasn’t looked back since.

What really happened in Zimbabwe?  And why does QE2 seem to be making the dollar stronger rather than weaker, as the inflationistas predicted? 

Anatomy of a Hyperinflation

Professor Michael Hudson has studied hyperinflation extensively.  He maintains that “every hyperinflation in history stems from the foreign exchange markets.  It stems from governments trying to throw enough of their currency on the market to pay their foreign debts.” 

It is in the foreign exchange markets that a national currency becomes vulnerable to manipulation by speculators. 

The Zimbabwe economic crisis dated back to 2001, when the government defaulted on its loans and the IMF refused to make the usual accommodations, including refinancing and loan forgiveness. Zimbabwe’s credit was ruined and it could not get loans elsewhere, so the government resorted to issuing its


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Kimble Charting Solutions

Is Gold/US Dollar Ratio Sending Bearish Signal To Precious Metals?

Courtesy of Chris Kimble

Last month, I featured this Gold / US Dollar ratio chart in an article warning of the potential for a trend reversal.

While the broader bullish trend is still intact (higher lows since 2015), it could be time for Gold to take a breather.

Looking at today’s “updated” chart, we can see that the ratio formed a “doji star” candle last month with momentum running at peak levels (concerning). And this month we are seeing follow through to the downside (in the form of a red candle).

As well, this bearish reversal pa...



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Zero Hedge

$138 Billion Bridgewater Set Up 50 "Tent Offices" In The Woods Outside Of Its HQ For Its Traders

Courtesy of ZeroHedge View original post here.

In keeping with a bizarre string of decisions (or lack of decisionmaking, as we pointed out) that could be at the heart of Bridgewater's awful -18.6% YTD performance so far this year, would it surprise you if we told you the fund manager was setting up office tents in the middle of the woods for its employees?

Well, apparently, that's exactly what the company did. ...



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Phil's Favorites

CIVVL SERVANT

 

CIVVL SERVANT

Courtesy of Almost Daily Grant's

The thrills of modern technology.  A new tech start-up will soon offer job-seekers entry into the exciting field of evicting delinquent homeowners and renters laid low by 2020, Vice’s Motherboard reported yesterday.  Upstart app Civvl recently launched a national advertising campaign soliciting job seekers to “be hired as an eviction crew.”  

The Civvl website explains further: “Literally thousands of process servers are needed in the coming months due courts being backed up in judgements that needs to be served to defendants." That’s despite the Center for Disease Control ordering a moratorium on evictions through year-end thanks to the coronavirus.&...



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Politics

'Colossal Backdoor Bailout': Outrage as Pentagon Funnels Hundreds of Millions Meant for Covid Supplies to Private Defense Contractors

 

'Colossal Backdoor Bailout': Outrage as Pentagon Funnels Hundreds of Millions Meant for Covid Supplies to Private Defense Contractors

"If you can't get a Covid test or find an N95, it’s because these contractors stole from the American people to make faster jets and fancy uniforms."

By Jake Johnson

Secretary of Defense Mark Esper and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Army Gen. Mark Milley hold an end of year press conference at the Pentagon on December 20, 2019 in Arlington, Virginia. (Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Instead of adhering to congressional inten...



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ValueWalk

Environmental NGOs Announce Forest Positive Coalition Against Major Consumer Firms

By Jacob Wolinsky. Originally published at ValueWalk.

Environmental NGOs Call Out Consumer Goods Forum and So-Called ‘Forest Positive’ Companies for Failing to Meet Commitments by 2020

Q2 2020 hedge fund letters, conferences and more

NGOs And CGF Companies Announce A Forest Positive Coalition

New York, NY - Environmental NGOs Rainforest Action Network, SumofUs, Friends of the Earth U.S., and Amazon Watch call out the 400-plus companies in the Consumer Goods Forum (CGF) and their just-announced 'Forest Positive Coalition' for failing to cut deforestation from their supply chains in 2020 and...



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Biotech/COVID-19

How and when will we know that a COVID-19 vaccine is safe and effective?

 

How and when will we know that a COVID-19 vaccine is safe and effective?

How much longer must society wait for a vaccine? ANDRZEJ WOJCICKI/Getty Images

By William Petri, University of Virginia

With COVID-19 vaccines currently in the final phase of study, you’ve probably been wondering how the FDA will decide if a vaccine is safe and effective.

Based on the status of the Phase 3 trials currently underway, it i...



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Chart School

Stocks are not done yet - Update

Courtesy of Read the Ticker

There are a few times in history when a third party said this US paper (stocks, funds or bonds) is worthless.

Here is two.

1) 1965 Nixon Shock - The French said to US we do not want your paper dollars please pay us in gold. This of course led to the US going off the gold standard.

2) 2007 Bear Stern Fund Collapse - Investors said their funds collateral was worth much less than stated. This of course was the beginning of the great america housing bust of 2008.


In both cases it was stated .."look the Emperor is naked!"... (The Empe...

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Digital Currencies

Cryptocurrencies Rarely Used To Launder Money, Fiat Preferred

Courtesy of ZeroHedge View original post here.

Authored by Shaurya Malwa via Decrypt.io,

Traditional channels continue to dominate the estimated $2 trillion global money laundering racket instead of cryptocurrencies, a report says.

In brief
  • Money laundering via cryptocurrencies is not a preferred tool for criminals, a report said...



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The Technical Traders

Adaptive Fibonacci Price Modeling System Suggests Market Peak May Be Near

Courtesy of Technical Traders

Our Adaptive Fibonacci Price Modeling system is suggesting a moderate price peak may be already setting up in the NASDAQ while the Dow Jones, S&P500, and Transportation Index continue to rally beyond the projected Fibonacci Price Expansion Levels.  This indicates that capital may be shifting away from the already lofty Technology sector and into Basic Materials, Financials, Energy, Consumer Staples, Utilities, as well as other sectors.

This type of a structural market shift indicates a move away from speculation and towards Blue Chip returns. It suggests traders and investors are expecting the US consumer to come back strong (or at least hold up the market at...



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Lee's Free Thinking

Texas, Florida, Arizona, Georgia - The Branch COVIDIANS Are Still Burning Down the House

 

Texas, Florida, Arizona, Georgia – The Branch COVIDIANS Are Still Burning Down the House

Courtesy of Lee Adler, WallStreetExaminer 

The numbers of new cases in some of the hardest hit COVID19 states have started to plateau, or even decline, over the past few days. A few pundits have noted it and concluded that it was a hopeful sign. 

Is it real or is something else going on? Like a restriction in the numbers of tests, or simply the inability to test enough, or are some people simply giving up on getting tested? Because as we all know from our dear leader, the less testing, the less...



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Insider Scoop

Economic Data Scheduled For Friday

Courtesy of Benzinga

  • Data on nonfarm payrolls and unemployment rate for March will be released at 8:30 a.m. ET.
  • US Services Purchasing Managers' Index for March is scheduled for release at 9:45 a.m. ET.
  • The ISM's non-manufacturing index for March will be released at 10:00 a.m. ET.
  • The Baker Hughes North American rig count report for the latest week is scheduled for release at 1:00 p.m. ET.
...

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Promotions

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Mapping The Market

How IPOs Are Priced

Via Jean Luc 

Funny but probably true:

...

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Philip R. Davis is a founder Phil's Stock World, a stock and options trading site that teaches the art of options trading to newcomers and devises advanced strategies for expert traders...

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