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Extreme Couponing: Desperate Economic Times Call For Desperate Measures

The Economic Collapse
May 31, 2011

Even in the midst of a horrific economic decline, there are tools that all of us can use to make the most of our limited resources.  This includes doing some things that many of us never imagined that we would do.  A couple of months ago I never would have imagined that I would be doing an article on coupons.  But in these desperate economic times you have to look for any economic edge that you can get.  Did you know that it is possible to get $500 worth of groceries for less than 10 dollars?  I didn’t know that either until I started watching a show called “Extreme Couponing” on cable television.  I was amazed as I watched person after person get over 95 percent off on their groceries.  Personally, I have always thought that clipping coupons was a waste of time.  Sure, you might save a few bucks, but I really didn’t think it was worth the time or the effort.  Well, my opinion has changed.  There are a growing number of people out there that are using coupons to provide all of the groceries that their families need almost for free.  In an economic environment where incomes are going down but food prices continue to go up, “extreme couponing” is a financial weapon that virtually anyone can use.

Yes, not everyone can take it to the extent that many of these “extreme couponers” do.  There are some women that spend 40, 50 or even 60 hours a week on their couponing.  Most people cannot afford to do that.

But even if you just spend a couple of hours a week you can still save significant money.  At a time when many family budgets are tighter than ever, saving 50 or 100 bucks at the grocery store can mean a world of difference.

Not only that, but “extreme couponing” is a great way to build up your stockpile of emergency food.  Everyone should have enough food in their homes to feed their families for at least a year.  Unfortunately, many people don’t have that kind of money.  That is where “extreme couponing” comes in.

If you are willing to put a little hard work in, you can build a stockpile of emergency food for pennies on the dollar.

Extreme couponing is not complicated and thanks to the new TLC show it is becoming extremely popular.  The following is how a recent article on MSNBC describes these “extreme couponers”….

Hard-core couponers are in it to win it — for free, if at all humanly possible. They plot their grocery-store trips with the precision of military commanders. They load up three or four shopping carts at a time. They test the mettle — and the congeniality — of cashiers by having them tally dozens of discounts on their behalf.

And what do they get in exchange? Hundreds of dollars’ worth of merchandise for as little as $5 to $10, the applause of onlookers — and a surge of adrenaline that can be downright addicting.

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Offshoring has Destroyed the US Economy

These are discouraging times, but once in a blue moon a bit of hope appears. I am pleased to report on the bit of hope delivered in March of 2011 by Michael Spence, a Nobel prize-winning economist, assisted by Sandile Hlatshwayo, a researcher at New York University. The two economists have taken a careful empirical look at jobs offshoring and concluded that it has ruined the income and employment prospects for most Americans.

To add to the amazement, their research report, “The Evolving Structure of the American Economy and the Employment Challenge,” was published by the very establishment Council on Foreign Relations.

For a decade I have warned that US corporations, pressed by Wall Street and large retailers such as Wal-Mart, to move offshore their production for US consumer markets, were simultaneously moving offshore US GDP, US tax base, US consumer income, and irreplaceable career opportunities for American citizens.

Among the serious consequences of offshoring are the dismantling of the ladders of upward mobility that made the US an “opportunity society,” an extraordinary worsening of the income distribution, and large trade and federal budget deficits that cannot be closed by normal means. These deficits now threaten the US dollar’s role as world reserve currency.

I was not alone in making these warnings. Dr. Herman Daly, a former World Bank economist and professor at the University of Maryland, Dr. Charles McMillion, a Washington, DC, economic consultant, and Dr. Ralph Gomory, a distinguished mathematician and the world’s best trade theorist, understand that it is strictly impossible for an economy to be moved offshore and for the country with the offshored economy to remain prosperous.

Even before this handful of economists capable of independent thought saw the ruinous implications of offshoring, two billionaires first recognized the danger and issued warnings, to no avail. One of the billionaires was Roger Milliken, the late South Carolina textile magnate, who spent his time on Capital Hill, not on yachts with Playboy centerfolds, trying to make our representatives aware that we were losing our economy. The other billionaire was the late Sir James Goldsmith, who made his fortune by correcting the mistakes of America’s incompetent corporate CEOs by taking over their companies and putting them to better use. Sir James spent his last years warning of the perils both of globalism and of merging the sovereignties of European countries and the UK into the EU.

Sir James book, The Trap, was published as long ago as 1993. His book, The Response, in which he replied to the “free trade” ideologues in the financial press and academia who denigrated his warning, was published in 1995. (For readers who wish to hear a speech given by Sir James to the US Senate in 1994 warning of the perils of globalism, go here. Also here.)

Sir James called it correct, as did Roger Milliken. They predicted that the working and middle classes in the US and Europe would be ruined by the greed of Wall Street and corporations, who would boost corporate earnings by replacing their domestic work forces with foreign labor, which could be paid a fraction of labor’s productivity as a result of the foreign country’s low living standard and large excess supply of labor. Anytime there is an excess supply of labor, or the ability of corporations to pay labor less than its productivity, the corporations bank the difference, Share prices rise, and Wall Street and shareholders are happy.

All of this was over the heads of “free trade” ideologues, who threw accusations such as “protectionist” at Sir James, Roger Milliken, Herman Daly, Ralph Gomory, Charles McMillion, and myself. These “free trade” ideologues are economically incompetent. They do not know that the justification for free trade is based on the principle of comparative advantage, which means that a country specializes in those economic activities in which it performs best and trades for those goods that other countries do best. Instead, the ideologues think that free trade means the freedom of capital to seek absolute advantage abroad in lowest factor cost. In other words, the free trade incompetents have never read David Ricardo, who formalized the case for free trade.

Other economists, especially those high profile ones in high profile academic institutions, were bought and paid for. http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article28189.htm In exchange for grants from offshoring corporations these hirelings invented “the New Economy,” in which everyone would prosper as a result of getting rid of “dirty fingernail jobs.” The New Economy wouldn’t make anything, but it would lead the world in innovation and in financing what others did make. The “new economists” were not sufficiently bright to realize that if a country didn’t make anything, it couldn’t innovate.

Let’s go now to Michael Spence and Sandile Hlatshwayo, who have provided an honest report for which we should give thanks. Professor Spence could have made many millions using the prestige of his Nobel Prize to lie for the Establishment, but he chose to tell the truth.

Here is what Spence and Hlatshwayo report:

“This paper examines the evolving structure of the American economy, specifically, the trends in employment, value added, and value added per employee from 1990 to 2008. These trends are closely connected with complementary trends in the size and structure of the global economy, particularly in the major emerging economies. Employing historical time series data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Bureau of Economic Analysis, U.S. industries are separated into internationally tradable and non-tradable components, allowing for employment and value-added trends at both the industry and the aggregate level to be examined. Value added grew across the economy, but almost all of the incremental employment increase of 27.3 million jobs was on the non-tradable side. On the non-tradable side, government and health care are the largest employers and provided the largest increments (an additional 10.4 million jobs) over the past two decades. There are obvious questions about whether those trends can continue; without fast job creation in the non-tradable sector, the United States would already have faced a major employment challenge.

“The trends in value added per employee are consistent with the adverse movements in the distri- bution of U.S. income over the past twenty years, particularly the subdued income growth in the middle of the income range. The tradable side of the economy is shifting up the value-added chain with lower and middle components of these chains moving abroad, especially to the rapidly growing emerging markets. The latter themselves are moving rapidly up the value-added chains, and higher-paying jobs may therefore leave the United States, following the migration pattern of lower-paying ones. The evolution of the U.S. economy supports the notion of there being a long-term structural challenge with respect to the quantity and quality of employment opportunities in the United States. A related set of challenges concerns the income distribution; almost all incremental employment has occurred in the non-tradable sector, which has experienced much slower growth in value added per employee. Because that number is highly correlated with income, it goes a long way to explain the stagnation of wages across large segments of the workforce.”


 

What is Spence telling us? Spence is careful not to say that globalism is the intentional result of enhancing capital’s profits at the expense of labor’s wages, but he does acknowledge that that is its effect and that globalism or jobs offshoring has the costs that Daly, Gomory, McMillion, Milliken, Goldsmith, and I have pointed out. Spence uses the same data that we have provided that proves that during the era of globalism the US economy has created new jobs only in nontradable services that cannot be offshored or be produced in locations distant from their market. For example, the services of barbers, waitresses, bar tenders, and hospital workers, unlike those of software engineers, cannot be exported. They can only be sold locally in the location where they are provided.

Tradeable jobs are jobs that produce goods and services that can be exported and thus can be produced in locations distant from their market. Tradeable jobs result in higher value-added and, thereby, higher pay than most non-tradable jobs.

When a country’s tradeable goods and services are converted by offshoring into its imports, it is thrown back on low productivity domestic service jobs for its employment. These domestic service jobs, except for dentists, lawyers, teachers, and medical doctors, do not require a university education. Yet, America has thousands of universities and colleges, and the government endlessly repeats the mantra that “education is the answer.”

But with engineering, design, and research jobs offshored, and with many of the jobs that remain within the US filled by foreigners on HB-1 and L-1 visas, we now have the phenomenon of American university and college graduates, heavily indebted with student loans, jobless, and living with their parents, who support them.

Spence also acknowledges that the change in the structure of American employment from higher productivity to lower productivity jobs is the reason both for the stagnation in US consumer income and for the rising inequality of income. Sending middle class jobs abroad raised the earnings of capital. Spence understands that the lack of growth in consumer income has resulted in a shortfall in domestic demand, resulting in high unemployment. He could have added that jobs offshoring also gave us the Federal Reserve’s policy of pumping up consumer debt as a substitute for the missing growth in consumer income. There is an obvious limit to the ability to maintain the growth of consumer demand via the growth of indebtedness.

The offshored economy is the “New Economy,” which the “free trade” hirelings of Wall Street and the global corporations invented in order to pay, with grants from the offshoring corporations, for their summer homes in the Hamptons.

As a graduate student in economics, I was fortunate to study with a number of professors who had or were subsequently awarded Nobel Prizes. Among these creative people there are two economists whom I did not study under, but whose work I have read, and whose work is of great importance to our economic prospects. The two most important economists of our time, who, without any doubt, deserve the Nobel Prize are Ralph Gomory and Herman Daly.

Ralph Gomory’s book, “Global Trade and Conflicting National Interests,” coauthored with William J. Baumol, a past president of the American Economics Association, is the most important work in trade theory ever produced. This book, and subsequent papers by Gomory, prove beyond all doubt that the free trade theory set out by David Ricardo at the beginning of the 19th century is merely a special case, not a general theory.

Economists learn in their graduate courses that free trade is an unchallengeable doctrine and that only ignorant protectionists dispute the theory. This mindset was sufficient for Gomory’s book to be largely ignored, even though Paul Samuelson, the dean of American economics, acknowledged the critical point that there are situations in which free trade is not mutually beneficial.

The other deserving recipient of the Nobel prize is Herman Daly. On the trade issue, Daly’s point is different from and less revolutionary than Gomory’s. Daly makes the same point that I make, which is that the classic theory of free trade is based on comparative advantage, not on absolute advantage, and that offshoring is based on absolute advantage. Thus, offshoring is not free trade.

Daly’s revolutionary contribution to economics comes from his realization that the production function that is the basis of economic science is wrong.

This production function is known as the Solow-Stiglitz production function. This production function assumes that man-made capital is a substitute for nature’s capital. It follows from this assumption that whatever humans do to use up and destroy the natural environment can be overcome by the resourcefulness of science and technology.

Daly shows that this reasoning is incorrect. If the Gulf of Mexico is destroyed by fertilizer run-offs from agri-business and by oil spills, only nature can correct the problem after many years measured in decades or centuries. In the meantime, humans are without the resource.

Daly’s argument is brilliant in its simplicity. In former times, nature’s capital was enormous, and man’s reproducible capital was small. For example, fish in the oceans were plentiful, but fishing boats were not. Today fishing boats are in excess supply, but ocean fishing stocks are depleted. Thus, the limiting factor is not man-made capital, but nature’s capital. Daly stresses that by leaving ecological and social costs out of the computation of GDP, economists do not have a reliable measure of the effect of economic activity on human welfare.

All of economics is predicated on the notion that resources are inexhaustible, and that the only challenge is to use them most efficiently. But if resources are not inexhaustible and cannot be replicated by human capital, the world economy is being ruthlessly exploited to its detriment and to the detriment of life on earth.

Thanks to Bush/Cheney/Obama and the wars for military/security profits, we might not last long enough to test Daly’s hypothesis. As American hegemony confronts both China and Russia, hubris can rid the planet of humans before nature does.

To find a Nobel prize-winner documenting the high cost of globalism to developed economies is extraordinary. For the Council on Foreign Relations to publish it suggests that the Establishment, or some part of it, suspects that its hubris has run away with its fortunes, and that different thinking is needed to restore the US economy.

We must hope that Spence’s paper will encourage thought. On the other hand, the bought-and-paid-for-economists will confront Spence with their fantasies that the US would be enjoying full employment if only government did not discourage employment with unemployment compensation, food stamps, income support programs, unions, minimum wages, and regulation.

Recently, yet another high-level warning came from the International Monetary Fund. The IMF report said that the US economy has been seriously eroded and that the age of America is over.

Will the US business and economic establishments heed these warnings, or will the US become a third world country as I predicted at the beginning of this century?

How Governments Distort the Value of Money With or Without a Gold Standard


Joel Bowman

Speculation is not the same as gambling. As our good friend Doug Casey, a perennial favorite at the Agora Financial Investment Symposium, likes to say, speculation is the act (some might say “art”) of “capitalizing on politically caused distortions in the marketplace.”

Consider, for example, the recent housing bubble…and its subsequent bust. We touched on this in Wednesday’s issue, “Debunking the Myth of a Free Market Run Wild“.

Superficially, the mortgage meltdown looked like, and was so labeled, a “crisis of confidence,” leading to a convenient excuse for greater intervention by the Feds. Of course, and as usual, the exact opposite was true: the bubble was in fact a crisis of overconfidence, nurtured by the very same pinheads who pumped, via the Federal Reserve, more credit into the system during the 1990s and early ’00s than the free market would ever have reasonably tolerated.

As far as the perpetrators of the whole mess were concerned, the state-sponsored manipulation of the mortgage market, “worked”…which is to say, home prices went up…and up and up and up. But that was only half of the equation. The other half – the down and down and down part – is at present working its way through the bowels of the market. At last count, home prices – already 33% off their peak – were falling at a rate of about 1% per month. Ouch!

Needless to say, such a grotesque distortion had both its winners and losers. The winners, for their part, were to be found closely huddled around the DC-to-Wall Street profit pipeline, suckling on bailout funds and pulling ripcords on their golden parachutes. Losers, meanwhile, tended to resemble ordinary folks who were left to foot the bill, ordinary folks without the means to employ the gun-for-hire that is the state along with its various and multitudinous law “makers” and inner-beltway lobbyists.

Similar market distortions – from the tech bust in 2000-01 all the way back to Tulipmania during the Dutch Golden Age of the early 1600s – all find their origin in monetary meddling of one form or another. The asset class affected may vary, in other words, but the culprit – namely, governments who manipulate the money supply – is always the same.

The biggest distortion of the modern era, therefore, is not flower bulbs or dot-coms or even housing prices. These are effects, not causes. There is a much greater distortion underway, one that underlies all of these booms and busts, peaks and troughs. It’s the distortion of the value of money itself.

Explain Morris and Linda Tannehill in their book, The Market for Liberty:

Governments commonly sap the strength of their currencies by engaging in inflationary practices. (They do this because inflation is a sort of sneaky tax which allows the government to spend more money than it takes in, by putting extra currency into the economy, thus stealing a little of the real or supposed value of every unit of currency already there.) As tax burdens become more oppressive, few governments can resist the temptation to circumvent citizen protest by resorting to inflation. They then protect their shaky currencies from devaluation, as long as possible, by international agreements which fix the relative value of currencies and obligate nations to come to each other’s aid in financial crises. In a sense, the main protection which an inflated currency has is the fact that all the other major currencies of the world are inflated, too.

The history of centrally controlled monies is a history of theft, inflation and, eventually and invariably, defaults. From coin clippings during the Roman Empire through to debasement of German marks under the Weimar Republic…to hyperinflationary corruption of, in no particular order, Hungarian pengÅ‘s…Zimbabwean dollars…Greek drachmai…Brazilian cruzeiros…Polish zlotych…Chinese yuan…Nicaraguan córdobas…US continentals…Peruvian soles…Angolan kwanzas…Russian rubles…Argentine pesos…

and the list goes on (and on…and on…).

And it’s happening today, sometimes covertly, other times right out in the open. Belarus, for example, this week devalued its ruble by 36%…overnight!

For some, the solution lies in returning to a “gold standard,” to be maintained and safeguarded under the vigilant eye of the benevolent, “night watchmen” state. Fringy politicians and newsletter writers often advocate some form of metal-backed currency, whereby the state would be able to mint coins and print notes only so far as it had gold and/or silver in reserve to “back it up.”

This line of thinking seems, to us at least, to miss the point entirely. Have governments not gone out of their way to demonstrate their utter incapability of keeping a promise? The United States HAD a gold standard…more than once. (It also had a constitution. Remember that?) And what good did it do? Nixon may have severed the last thread of the dollar/gold peg back in 1971, but he was certainly not the first to devalue the greenback against the Midas metal. Remember, before FDR confiscated all the gold in the land back in 1933, an ounce of gold was only “worth” $20. (More correctly, a dollar was worth 1/20th an ounce of gold.) Then, in one fell swoop, the original New Dealer “revalued” the metal to $35 an ounce, thereby devaluing the dollar to 1/35th an ounce of gold. Some “standard.”

Men and women, kings and tyrants, prime ministers and presidents, both black and white and from the east and the west, have made a career out of cheating the citizens they affect to serve out of the value of their currency. Why give them another chance?

No. The solution is not vesting more trust in the state and the do-good meddlers who infest it. The solution is not tying them to a gold standard (again) only to watch them wriggle out from under it (again). The counterfeiters-in-chief of the world’s central banks have done enough already to prove they can’t be trusted, with or without a gold standard.

The solution, rather, is competing, free market currencies operating outside the reach of the easily, demonstrably corruptible influence of those in positions of power who would seek, as they always and forever do, to devalue it for their own ends.

Mired, as we are, in the archaic realms of state-backed currency monopolies, it is sometimes hard for us to imagine just what a truly free market currency might look like. Would it be backed by gold? Silver? Both? Or would the market, driven by the competitive need to provide a safer, more reliable store of value, create an alternative, superior guarantee of trust?

Advocates of a small but fast-growing digital currency network called bitcoin think they’ve found the answer (or, at the very least, an answer). If it is successful, claim its adherents, this totally-decentralized, peer-to-peer (P2P) currency could supplant the world’s central bank-issued fiat money, potentially providing savvy speculators with an opportunity to cash in on the greatest politically motivated market distortion of our time. But even if this particular currency does not fulfill the hopes and aspirations of its enthusiasts and participants, it has at the very least shown that the free market is ready for the challenge.

The Government Is Actually Destroying Jobs


Whisky & Gunpowder

The last few years as an executive in a manufacturing company gave me a frighteningly close look at the inner workings of regulators in our government. Maybe I’m just naïve, but what I discovered was shocking.

In the past, I realized our leaders were disingenuous when they spoke about “creating jobs” and “improving the economy.” Now, I have a slightly different take. After my experiences this year, and after giving this a lot of thought, I am adamant that our leaders have no business in the first place “creating jobs,” or “improving the economy,” or even claiming they have the ability to do so.

In fact, I have witnessed the loss of jobs as a direct result of regulations by unnamed and unelected bureaucrats, who are backed up by threats of prosecution from the government. Our government is stifling job creation.

Although I am not a conspiracy theorist, I am certain that if I wrote about my experience with specifics, the company for which I work would suffer retribution by our government. I do not have the right to put them in jeopardy. And if the legal department of my employer knew I was writing this, they would “lose it.” For these reasons, I feel it necessary to write anonymously and with some imprecision.

This fear of retribution, in and of itself, is a powerful statement about the sad conditions in which we live and do business in the United States.

So, here is the sanitized version of my story…

My employer makes very expensive pieces of equipment for use in an industry that has itself sustained undeserved attacks by our government and by unscrupulous so-called environmentalists.

In any case, our pieces of equipment (let’s call them “tractors”) use expensive components (let’s call them “engines”) made and sold by Americans. The engines are used by American workers in multiple states and they make more energy available for Americans. That fact alone attracts the ire of some. But the fact that our service is very valuable and produces large profits makes the industry and the service an irresistible target.

This year, I learned that one agency of the federal government has created and is enforcing rules that strictly limit the types and numbers of engines we can buy to make our tractors. They limit how many of each type of engine we can buy in a year, and they limit the grand total we can buy. This is offensive for many reasons – not the least of which is that we would hire more people if we were allowed to make more tractors.

I could make an endless list of the unseen and damaging effects of their nonsense. But here is a short list:

1. Without these rules, we would hire more welders, assemblers, and accountants. This would result in the improvement of our local economy, because the new employees and their families would all need food, clothing, housing, entertainment, etc.

2. To keep up with our increased demand for the tractor engines we need, the engine manufacturers, their employees, and their families would benefit.

3. The companies to which we sell tractors would hire more operators. Their families and the places they shop at would benefit.

4. The companies who request our product would become more profitable, resulting in expansions, bonuses, etc.

5. And, last (and totally forgotten) are the American citizens. Each and every citizen would benefit from the larger supply of energy and the resultant lower prices.

Some people might say that it is good to limit the numbers of these engines in order to protect the environment. But that argument only holds water long enough for a ten-second sound bite. The reality is that this destructive government agency also has rules that permit smaller versions of the same engines. What that means is that we would be permitted to create 50 tractors using the (approved) smaller engines instead of 20 using the larger ones. It is true that the larger engine pollutes more than the smaller one. But using the smaller engines would require more tractors to be built and more fuel to bring them to the job sites. In other words, using fewer tractors with the larger (evil) engines produces fewer net emissions than more tractors with the smaller (approved) engines would.

So, who is causing all this, and why are they doing it?

You can answer that question for yourself by discovering who benefits from the regulations. The list includes the politicians who use these issues to their advantage regardless of the truth. It includes the government bureaucrats who want more power to justify their own salaries and positions. It also includes reporters who can’t wait for the next “breaking news” about an “environmental threat,” or “dire emergency.” And it includes university professors and other academic elites who come in to petition for huge government grants and to get paid to speak as “experts.” The dark irony is that all these supposed protectors are really engaging in a self-serving round robin of deceit.

The truth is they are horrifically destructive to the prosperity and well-being of all Americans. But because their public faces hide the despicable truth, they have been able to get away with it.

Our only hope is to get these people out of business – literally and figuratively. I’ve got to be honest, though. It won’t be easy. They are fighting for their livelihoods, too.

Turning Points of Empire’s End?


Anthony Wile

It was all over the news yesterday that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff had paid an unannounced visit to top Pakistani leaders. As the DB reported in an editor’s note, Clinton made a fairly startling statement once she was there. “There is no evidence senior people in Pakistan knew that Osama bin Laden lived so close to Islamabad,” she said.

This caught my attention. We try to look for moments when the dominant social themes of the elite reach critical points. We identified one as regards the Federal Reserve well over a year ago. We announced the Fed was in deep trouble politically and from a public relations standpoint and we were right.

In this case, I don’t even have to make a statement. Hillary did it for me. She was quoted at saying that Pakistan-US relations had reached a “turning point.” She said it several times. In this editorial I want to examine that turning point – because it really is historical – and try to explain what Hillary meant by it.

There are actually at least two “turning points” involved. Ms. Clinton won’t explain it of course. She’ll leave it up to others to explain. And the mainstream media has immediately plunged in to explain that one (obvious) “turning point” has to do with the amount of cooperation that Pakistan’s leaders are going to show American ones. Nothing of course could be further from the truth. If the mainstream media is analyzing it, you can be sure of a misdiagnosis.

So what is the reality? Well the smaller reality as we have written many times is that the Anglosphere elite has been losing the Afghan war for a number of years and that is gradually percolating through to the larger Western public. This is terribly distressing to power elite, which is having horrible trouble controlling its sub dominant social themes. In this case, Hillary desperately needs the Pakistani leaders to continue to help with the overall cover up regarding the war and bin Laden’s probably phony death.

In fact, it is all growing more and more complicated. You see, bin Laden probably didn’t die on May 1, 2011. He may have been dead for a decade now. Ten years ago his kidneys had apparently failed. He had Marfan’s disease, which ruins internal organs. Pakistan’s Benazir Bhutto said bin Laden was murdered in 2003 – she told that to David Frost before she was assassinated. Others have said bin Laden died peacefully in a French hospital early in the 2000s and that his remains had been put “on ice” for several years.

The whole story of bin Laden’s final decade “on the run” doesn’t even begin to make sense. After his “death,” his body is dumped into the sea. Photos are not released. The SEALS are not identified. Instead, we get first hand reports from Pakistan that contradict the entire narrative constructed by the US (not that it was a coherent one to begin with).

What about Occam’s Razor? The simplest explanation is the easiest. (“One should not increase, beyond what is necessary, the number of entities required to explain anything.” ~ Principia Cybernetica) But this is not the explanation we are treated to. Clinton travels to Pakistan and announces that “conspiracy theories” are not helpful in furthering the relationships of Pakistan and the US at a critical juncture. Here is the nub of it: If Pakistan’s leaders DO NOT ask the questions we have asked (and they have not, certainly not publicly) then they would seem to be complicit in a vast coverup. No wonder they are resentful.

But this is what happens when the state’s lies get bigger. The truth about 9/11 – whatever it is – still has not been told. The FBI still has not investigated. The Pentagon and CIA still have not explained numerous anomalous issues. And the result, ten years later, is not only more problems with the “official” story, but also an evident and obvious whopper about bin Laden. That no one asks the obvious questions does not mean that the official story is believable; it just means that everyone is very afraid to question it. Imagine the fear at the top levels of Western government.

Bin Laden’s supposed death is tied into the unfortunate reality that the US (and NATO) is losing the Afghan war. The Afghan war is a critical power elite meme. The US needs Pakistan to attack the Pashtun/Taliban. If they do not, the war is likely lost. Enter bin Laden and his “death.” Whatever else it may be, it was likely supposed to shove Pakistan into an aggressive posture against the Pashtun/Taliban.

With bin Laden’s “death” there were few rhetorical alternatives. Either Pakistan’s leaders had been terribly incompetent in letting the terror master live in Pakistan for years or the military had been horribly incompetent – or perhaps both. Either way, the Pakistanis had much to apologize for. And the biggest way for Pakistan to atone was to attack, the Taliban. For a while, it must have seemed like a stroke of genius.

And yet … something went horribly WRONG. The result in this increasingly multi-polar world was only to push the Pakistanis into the waiting embrace of China. That’s right. The Pakistanis began to talk to China right away, and Chinese officials began to make soothing noises about stepping into the power vacuum that the US was deliberately creating.

It soon became apparent to those at Foggy Bottom that maybe a mistake had been made. First top Senator John Kerry was dispatched to Pakistan to explain that US diplomats didn’t really mean all those nasty things. Did that work? Well … not if Hillary had to fly all the way across the Atlantic for a two-hour meeting and photo session!

As long as I am mentioning it, let me again point out that the behavior of the world’s leaders at this point is no different than that of say … the Mafia’s. Phones and the Internet are so distrusted at this point that they have to get together at different venues – on a biweekly basis it seems – to plot their mischief. These get-togethers are called “summits.” But they are merely ways of avoiding the wiretaps that the world’s Big 8 dish out so generously to others. Proof? Ms. Clinton had something important to say the Pakistan leaders and she and her entourage traveled all the Islamabad to deliver it.

It is said that Ms. Clinton looked “grim” in Pakistan as she explained that Pakistan’s leaders obviously did NOT know about bin Laden. We’re not surprised; it is yet another defeat among many. With its themes crumbling about it, Money Power has turned to a last failing defense … organized violence. And Clinton’s climb-down has to do with a second and larger turning point.

The City of London (where this mischief seems to begin) has a big problem. Once you have fallen back on the immoveable rigor of brute force you have to make sure that people understand that you will not back down. Not now. Not ever. If people cannot be frightened into supporting one-world-government (the point of it all) by fear-based memes, then they must be panicked into supporting it via military power. They must be made to feel that they have no other choice.

But what if the biggest war, the hinge war – the most important war of the past 100 years – is also the war that you are evidently and obviously LOSING? What then? Well, if you are the top honcho of the Pentagon or Hillary Clinton, you will do ANYTHING to make sure your pending defeat does not become common knowledge and tabloid fodder.

No, you cannot admit it! No how, no way! It will lead to a chain reaction, or so you fear. If people begin to understand that the entire Western world HAS LOST ITS MOST IMPORTANT WAR TO A BUNCH OF GOAT-HERDERS AND POPPY GROWERS … what then?

What about the 60 percent tax rates? What about the central banks and their inflationary depressions? What about the endlessly spew of regulations that need to be enforced. What about the useless, murderous war on the drugs? What about the constantly climbing ratio of criminals to “good guys” (those too intimidated to object). What about the CIA and FBI offices around the world? What about rapid reaction strike forces that are supposed to be invincible. Get the picture?

Money Power depends on the myth of infallibility buttressed by an overwhelming sense of fear. In the 20th century, this worked well. The entire mechanism of global government was put in place and people didn’t object. In fact, many welcomed it. But today is another story. With the failure of its many memes (thanks in part to the Internet Reformation in my view), the power elite turned to increasingly to violence – as they always do. But what if violence doesn’t work either? What then?

This is the LARGER “turning point” that Hillary is talking about. THE END OF EMPIRE. If the five or so top Punjabi families do not rout out the Pashtun/Taliban, the Afghan war is indeed lost. And if the war is lost, then 10-20 percent of the world’s population once again (as the Brits tried this 150 years ago) escapes the trap of the New World Order. Afghan is that critical. (In fact, I’ve have been told that the Koran mentions the Pashtuns are the “hinge” of the world and that the world – and its end – depends on them.)

Or course, this is not an analysis you’re going to read about in any mainstream publication. It is funny in a sad way. “For reconciliation to succeed, Pakistan must be part of [the larger] process,” Ms. Clinton said. But Pakistan will NOT be part of the larger process. It cannot be for reasons we have already explained in various DB articles. The wealthy Punjabi families need an independent Afghanistan if they are to retain their leverage in the area. It is a measure of the bankruptcy of US policy in the area, that the Western elites continue to demand of Pakistani leaders something they obviously cannot provide.

Losing the Afghan war as they are, I believe the elites are expanding hostilities elsewhere to cause maximum chaos as they try to keep up momentum for world government. But Afghanistan is the critical hinge. And it is at a “turning point.” You can read more on this issue here: Bin Laden Episode End of Empire?

79 Senators vote to trash the Constitution: The “War of Terror” on the US grows

If you haven’t received the memo yet, let me update you on your status as it pertains to the Constitution and your civil liberties; you have neither.  79 Senators who snickered as they swore an oath to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States, voted to render you guilty in advance, with no chance of proving your innocence.  The unlawful data mining and collection, the compilation of dossiers on virtually every person in the US, the unwarranted wire-tapping, the rifling through personal records of all kinds for no other reason than to collect information to be used at a later date if the government decides to prosecute you for whatever reasons, was extended.

The Patriot Acts were sold to the public as part of the war of terror perpetrated by the Bush administration after the false flag attacks of 9/11.  A “War of Terror” is being perpetrated by our own government against its own people and is blessed by both Democrat and Republican alike.  “We the people” are the terrorists the government fears. The Constitution be damned.

Nothing in the Patriot acts is remotely connected to fighting terrorism from foreign invaders.  It is a precisely targeted bill which amounted to a massive assault on liberty and freedom right here at home.

We had more than 1500 laws already on the books (never invoked) to fight terrorism prior to this Act, and even these could not stop an attack; what makes anyone think or believe the Patriot Acts could perform such a feat?  If you think this Act could prevent terrorism, try waving a copy at a TSA agent and see if he (or, she) runs away in fear.


 

Had the intent of the Patriot Act actually been to fight terrorism, the federal government would have had to turn its efforts inward and waged “war” on itself.

The Patriot Acts are the systematic criminalization of American citizens. Terrorists, and terrorism are only mentioned when the assaults on Constitutional rights and civil liberties were so egregious, so blatantly obvious that the veiled threat of another attack, if we objected, was ever present.

No true terrorist gives a rat’s behind what laws we pass; if they did, they wouldn’t be terrorists.  Nothing in the Patriot Acts will stop terrorism especially when it emanates from within.

These Acts will however:

  • Stop YOU from traveling unmolested by government agents.
  • Will also violate your right to privacy and to be,
  • Secure from illegal search and seizure
  • Makes legal (not lawful) warrantless searches
  • Allows unwarranted data mining of any and all information on you, including:
  • Any comments, beliefs, political opinions, social positions, religious beliefs, political party affiliation, and any other belief system or political view not approved by government.
  • These Acts are the foundation of the police state being systematically assembled and implemented by Homeland Security

The hunting of the American people
They aren’t looking for terrorists…..they are looking for you.

There is far more to this police state Act than we can go into here.  We all know this Act for what it is: The end of our Constitutional Republic and the rise of the police state. And 79 of our Senators took it upon themselves to vote away our liberty and to allow this monster to grow.

Too many of us dutifully comply with the sexual assaults perpetrated by TSA agents across the country.  As passengers mewl and whine about how they “are just trying to keep us safe” I have to wonder just how egregious the invasion of our property and most especially the invasion of our persons has to become before we admit that what TSA is doing has nothing to do with your safety.  It has everything to do with conditioning and training you to submit and comply, and god knows there are plenty of perverts more than willing to spend their days fondling the genitals of compliant passengers or watching the naked body scanner images.  The sexual assaults perpetrated on the public have produced not ONE terrorist unless of course you count the TSA agents.

TSA is now planned for public buildings, malls, train stations and stadiums.  And bunches of you sheeple will whine about how they are just trying to keep you safe!  And to add insult to injury, the 2002 homeland Security Act has been amended to include a snitching-for-dollars program which we like to call “The Stool Pigeon Protection Act”.

Fusion Centers are proliferating across the country.  These centers do nothing but data mine, snoop, and collect any and all data they can, indiscriminately and without regard to your liberty or civil protections.  These are manned by your friends, neighbors and family members who lack morality and any sense of patriotism; people who quickly forgot who they are and where they come from.

Obama and several state senators and governors are contemplating a “per mile” surveillance tax system to be paid for by taxpayers.  This new system would require surveillance equipment to be installed on your vehicle, not so much to generate revenue, but more to track your movements so that information could be added to your CIA/FBI/NSA dossier.  Once identified in this new system, your ability to purchase gas could be shut off instantly simply by deactivating your vehicle ID number.  It could shut off access for one vehicle . . . or all vehicles.

Our police and sheriff departments have been militarized under Homeland Security.  Our police and sheriff department vehicles no longer have the words “To protect and Serve” emblazoned on the sides.  This, thanks to a SCOTUS ruling that said law enforcement was under no obligation to protect us unless they arrest us, and then only in a limited fashion . . . and besides . . . they are essentially military units now.

They are hunting you and me…..do you get it yet?
SCOTUS has become a threat to the country at large, ruling time and again against the Constitution and your liberty and protected rights, and in favor of corporate interests many of whom now openly run various agencies of government.  When Citizens v United came down, this court should have been immediately disbanded.  This decision vested incorporeal, fictional entities with human rights.

We have major cities across the country now purchasing military equipment for use against their communities.  A 911 call will elicit a SWAT team response, replete with star wars gear and uniforms, worn by badge heavy, testosterone pulsing storm troopers who don’t care if you have committed a crime or not.  They have guns and other weapons and carte blanche to break any and all laws (that apply to civilians) in defense of “government”.  These law enforcement officers, once the hero’s of children and many adults are now a menace to their communities and present a greater threat than your run of the mill criminal.

For those law enforcement personnel who swear to uphold the law and your rights and to refuse orders to violate your rights, the Southern Poverty Law Center will quickly add their names and organizations to their lists; lists which are then sold for millions of dollars to the federal government indicating which groups and individuals are to be targeted.  These men and women are now “unique terrorists”, suspected terrorists; to be viewed with suspicion and arrested whenever possible.  And why?  For refusing to violate your rights and for refusing to participate in the growing police state. Anyone who expresses patriotism is considered a “nativist extremist” by SPLC.  Think about that the next time you say the pledge of allegiance; maybe it will keep you from thinking about the McCarthy-esque nerds populating the SPLC.

Homeland Security has ordered 500 roving vans complete with x-ray scanners to be used across the country.  You can be scanned walking down the street, in public places or even in your own yard.  Why? You might be a terrorist.  With our economy in shambles, and the national debt posing a real threat, the best they could come up with is to spend another estimated ½ billion dollars on vans to cruise our streets and surreptitiously x-ray to see if we have weapons on us?  Really?

There is far more to this than the few items listed here.  A repeal of the Patriot Act 1 and the misnamed “Security Enhancement Act of 2003”…an expansion of the first Act, would go along way in restoring the integrity of government and our freedom.  But today, 79 Senators decided you were not worth it.  79 Senators committed an act of treason against the people they are supposed to represent and sold off their freedom, liberty and rights.

79 Senators…that’s all it took to lay waste to the Constitution.  Not to worry!  Several of them will be on various cable news shows talking about “keeping America safe”, “national security”, “the war of terror”, and trying to convince us that the only way we can be safe is if we forfeit our rights, freedom and our Constitution.

79 Senators…and not one of them will admit that the terrorists you need to fear, the people you need to be protected from…..is them.
______________________
Fusion Centers
http://epic.org/privacy/fusion/
SPLC paranoia
http://www.splcenter.org/get-informed/intelligence-report/browse-all-issues/2011/spring/the-year-in-nativism/nativist-extremists
Stool Pigeon Protection Act
http://ppjg.wordpress.com/2011/03/10/stool-pigeon-protection-act/
Homegrown terrorism..The threat of Homeland Security
http://ppjg.wordpress.com/2011/03/10/homegrown-terrorism-the-threat-of-homeland-security-and-spy-agencies/
Drones inAmerica: The ultimate no-knock warrant
http://ppjg.wordpress.com/2011/03/09/drones-in-america-the-ultimate-no-knock-warrant/

The Great Entitlement Abyss and the Debt Ceiling


Dr. Michael A. Berry

So why are we where we are?

Well it’s really very simple. Over the years since the tremendous pain of the Great Depression this country has become an entitlement country. It all began with FDR’s “safety net” in the 1930s. This sense of American entitlement is entirely inappropriate in the global context. But it is the reason why we borrow and why we have the world’s reserve currency which, according to reserve currency curse advocate Lew Lehrman, is the curse that has brought about our current debt problems. Mises followers called it the “Curse of Paper Money.”

Today there are 185 Federal entitlement programs in the US. These consume 50% of the Federal Government’s budget. They total $1.97 trillion (and they are growing) out of a total Federal Budget of $3.7 trillion (and growing).

It turns out of course that fiat, paper and false philanthropy monies are false guarantees. You cannot fight wars on the gold standard. Both the US and England are proof of this. Fact is post WW II we have never really reduced our debt but kept the debt to GDP ratio in check through drastic productivity gains. These privileges were defaulted to us by the state of the rest of the recovering world following WW II.

Nobody is automatically “entitled” by citizenship, except perhaps those who have served, given of themselves and earned their entitlement status. But entitlements must be sensible, sustainable and further not given as political favors. That’s where our leaders have gone astray.

I spoke on this topic for 3 ½ hours at the Federal Reserve in Arlington, Virginia (see my presentation on the web site). On the elevator with Kate following my lecture one of the participants complimented me on my presentation. Turns out this fellow was a senior bank examiner from the FDIC.

He said, and I quote,

“I really liked your presentation but you were much too optimistic.”

I was puzzled as any of you who have heard my increasing concern about our entitlement culture over the past decade of publishing Morning Notes will understand.

I said,

“Well I thought I was quite concerned and pessimistic.”

He replied,

“No I am a bank examiner and I am much more pessimistic than you.”

We carried on the conversation for a while but the impact on me was instantaneous. It was like listening to a shoe shine boy proffer silver investment tips or the taxi driver talking about the great Canadian migration to Saskatoon. In an instant the realization came to me. Everybody knows that the King (Treasury) has no clothes (borrowing ability) and that the banking system is still mired in the muck (balance sheets leveraged). But it struck me that perhaps I have been far too easy on the Fed participants and perhaps my readers even though I have consistently posited these sustainability concerns.

Has our money gone bad under the assault of relentless fiat money creation and entitlement hubris? Is that the real problem? Has the reserve currency status of the dollar bequeathed a death knell sentence on the paper dollar and therefore the power and leadership of the United States?

The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind, the answer is blowin’ in the wind.