I’ve had such a wonderful Sunday with you. I will leave everyone for awhile with this lovely video.
I’ve had such a wonderful Sunday with you. I will leave everyone for awhile with this lovely video.
‘Israeli officials have asked the US Congress for an additional $317 million to be added to the proposed budget for the regime’s missile programs.
The funds requested by Israel are in addition to the $158 million the Pentagon proposed for the fiscal year that starts on October 1, the Jerusalem Post reported on Saturday.
According to a report published by Bloomberg on Friday, the funds are for Israeli David’s Sling and Arrow 3 missile systems.
“Israel’s latest lobbying on Capitol Hill, instead of through the White House and Pentagon, comes at a low point in political relations between the US and Israel over Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s planned speech to Congress on March 3,” the report said.’
Denver — Consumers in Colorado bought more than 17 tons of recreational marijuana buds during the first year of the state’s new retail market, but sales of medicinal pot still outstripped that at almost 50 tons, officials said on Friday. In a national first, voters in Colorado and Washington state opted to legalize recreational marijuana use by adults in landmark twin ballots in 2012. The first retail stores opened in Colorado on Jan 1, 2014. States such as Oregon and Alaska that have now also voted to legalize recreational pot, and others where lawmakers face proposals to do so, are watching the Colorado results closely. State tax officials say sales hit nearly $700 million last year, with medical marijuana accounting for $386 million and recreational pot bringing in $313 million. In its first annual report, the Colorado Department of Revenue’s Marijuana Enforcement Division said 109,578 pounds (49.7 tons) of medical marijuana flowers were sold in 2014, while 38,660 pounds (17.5 tons) were sold on the retail market. But recreational sales of pot-infused edible products, such as candies and cookies, outstripped medical sales by about 2.85 million units to 1.96 million, the report said. It said 322 retail stores were licensed at the end of last year, up from about 200 six months earlier, while 833 licenses were issued to retail businesses in general, and 1,416 medical marijuana businesses were approved by the state. It said medical businesses were cultivating around 300,000 marijuana plants on average each month during 2014, while the number of retail plants rose steadily from fewer than 25,000 in January to nearly 217,000 during December. The report noted that more than twice as many Colorado jurisdictions had “completely opted out” of allowing either retail or medicinal pot businesses to operate than had permitted them. Sixty-seven jurisdictions allow medical and retail licensees, 21 permit only medical, and five only retail, while 228 jurisdictions prohibit them both. The state’s marijuana laws have been challenged in federal court by neighboring Nebraska and Oklahoma, which argue weed is smuggled across their borders, as well as by some Colorado residents who say the pot industry has hurt their families, businesses or property values. Supporters say voters have chosen to take the trade out of the hands of criminals, and a Quinnipiac University Poll this week showed that 58 percent of Colorado residents support marijuana legalization, versus 38 percent against it. Reporting by Daniel Wallis; Editing by Doina Chiacu Source: Reuters (Wire) Author: Daniel Wallis Published: February 28, 2015 Copyright: 2015 Thomson Reuters
Most Americans spend their lives working for others, paying off debts to others and performing tasks that others tell them that they “must” do. These days, we don’t like to think of ourselves as “servants” or “slaves”, but that is what the vast majority of us are. It is just that the mechanisms of our enslavement have become much more sophisticated over time. It has been said that the borrower is the servant of the lender, and most of us start going into debt very early into our adult years. In fact, those that go to college to “get an education” are likely to enter the “real world” with a staggering amount of debt. And of course that is just the beginning of the debt accumulation. Today, when you add up all mortgage debt, all credit card debt and all student loan debt, the average American household is carrying a grand total of 203,163 dollars of debt. Overall, American households are more than 11 trillion dollars in debt at this point. And even though most Americans don’t realize this, over the course of our lifetimes the amount of money that we will repay on our debts is far greater than the amount that we originally borrowed. In fact, when it comes to credit card debt you can easily end up repaying several times the amount of money that you originally borrowed. So we work our fingers to the bone to pay off these debts, and the vast majority of us are not even working for ourselves. Instead, our work makes the businesses that other people own more profitable. So if we spend the best years of our lives building businesses for others, servicing debts that we owe to others and making others wealthier, what does that make us?
In 2015, the words “servant” and “slave” have very negative connotations, and we typically don’t use them very much.
Instead, we use words like “employee” because they make us feel so much better.
But is there really that much of a difference?
This is how Google defines “servant”…
Oil. The commodity. We know what it’s worth – at least we thought we did – but what does a barrel of the black stuff get you in real life? Before we get theoretical, let’s first consider how much oil you use.
If you’re in the United States, that figure is approximately 2.5 gallons of crude oil per day; roughly one barrel every seventeen days; or nearly 22 barrels per year. That’s just your share of US total consumption of course; the true number is harder to discern – minus industrial and non-residential uses, daily consumption drops to about 1.5 gallons per person per day. Subtract the percentage of the population aged 14 and below and the daily consumption climbs back above 2 gallons. This is big picture, and it’s quite variable, so let’s go further.
The fat cats in Washington D.C. are living the high life, and they are doing it at your expense. Over the past decade, there has been one area of the country which has experienced a massive economic boom. Thanks to wildly out of control government spending, the Washington D.C. region is absolutely swimming in cash. In fact, at this point the state of Maryland has the most millionaires per capita in the entire nation and it isn’t even close. If you have never lived there, it is hard to describe what the D.C. area is like.
Every weekday morning, hordes of lawyers, lobbyists and government bureaucrats descend upon D.C. from the surrounding suburbs. And at the end of the day, the process goes in reverse. Everyone is just trying to get their piece of the pie, and it is a pie that just keeps on growing as government salaries, government contracts and government giveaways just get larger and larger. Of course our founders never intended for this to happen. They wanted a very small and simple federal government. Sadly, today we have the most bloated central government in the history of the planet and it gets worse with each passing year.
If you were to ask most Americans, they would tell you that the wealthiest Americans probably live in cities such as New York or San Francisco. But thanks to the Obama administration (and before that the Bush and Clinton administrations), the state of Maryland is packed with millionaires. In particular, the Maryland suburbs immediately surrounding D.C. are absolutely overflowing with government fat cats that make a living at our expense. Every weekday morning, huge numbers of them leave their mini-mansions in places such as Potomac and Rockville and drive their luxury vehicles to work in the city. As the Washington Post has detailed, at this point approximately 8 percent of all households in the entire state of Maryland contain millionaires, and the rest of the area is not doing too shabby either…
In Maryland, nearly 8 out of every 100 households in 2014 had assets topping $1 million, giving the state more millionaires per capita than any other in the country, according to a new report from Phoenix Marketing International.
The rest of the Beltway isn’t lacking in millionaires either: The District and Virginia ranked in the top 10 among those with the highest number of millionaire households per capita in 2014. In Virginia, which was No. 6 on the list, 6.76 percent of the state’s 3.17 million households are millionaires. And in the District, which rounds out the top 10, 6.25 percent of its more than 292,000 households are millionaires.
And while not too many of them are millionaires, your average federal workers that toil in D.C. are doing quite well too.
Once upon a time, it was considered to be a “sacrifice” to go into “government service”.
If you can believe it, approximately 17,000 federal employees made more than $200,000 last year.
Overall, compensation for federal employees comes to a grand total of close to half a trillion dollars every 12 months.
In fact, there are tens of thousands of federal employees that make more than the governors of their own states do.
Does that seem right to you?
If you want to live “the American Dream” these days, the Washington area is the place to go. Just check out the following description of the region from the Washington Post…
Washingtonians now enjoy the highest median household income of any metropolitan area in the country, and five of the top 10 jurisdictions in America — Loudoun, Howard and Fairfax counties, and Falls Church and Fairfax City — are here, census data shows.
The signs of that wealth are on display all over, from the string of luxury boutiques such as Gucci and Tory Burch opening at Tysons Galleria to the $15 cocktails served over artisanal ice at the W Hotel in the District to the ever-larger houses rising off River Road in Potomac.
And of course let us not forget the fat cats in Congress.
According to CNN, our Congress critters are now wealthier than every before…
The typical American family is still struggling to recover from the Great Recession, but Congress is getting wealthier every year.
The median net worth of lawmakers was just over $1 million in 2013, or 18 times the wealth of the typical American household, according to new research released Monday by the Center for Responsive Politics.
And while Americans’ median wealth is down 43% since 2007, Congress members’ net worth has jumped 28%.
Not only that, there are nearly 200 members of Congress that are actually multimillionaires…
Nearly 200 are multimillionaires. One hundred are worth more than $5 million; the top-10 deal in nine digits. The annual congressional salary alone—$174,000 a year—qualifies every member as the top 6 percent of earners. None of them are close to experiencing the poverty-reduction programs—affordable housing, food assistance, Medicaid—that they help control. Though some came from poverty, a recent analysis by Nicholas Carnes, in his book White Collar Government: The Hidden Role of Class in Economic Policymaking, found that only 13 out of 783 members of Congress from 1999 to 2008 came from a “blue-collar” upbringing.
But even though almost all of them are quite wealthy, they don’t hesitate to spend massive amounts of taxpayer money on their own personal needs.
For example, according to the Weekly Standard, more than five million dollars was spent on the hair care needs of U.S. Senators alone over one recent 15 year period…
Senate Hair Care Services has cost taxpayers about $5.25 million over 15 years. They foot the bill of more than $40,000 for the shoeshine attendant last fiscal year. Six barbers took in more than $40,000 each, including nearly $80,000 for the head barber.
And in one recent year, an average of $4,005,900 was spent on “personal” and “office” expenses per U.S. Senator.
So the grand total would have been over 400 million dollars for a single year.
That seems excessive, doesn’t it?
And even when they end up leaving Washington, our Congress critters have ensured that they will continue to collect money from U.S. taxpayers for the rest of their lives…
In 2011, 280 former lawmakers who retired under a former government pension system received average annual pensions of $70,620, according to a Congressional Research Service report. They averaged around 20 years of service. At the same time, another 215 retirees (elected in 1984 or later with an average of 15 years of service) received average annual checks of roughly $40,000 a year.
If you can believe it, there are quite a few former lawmakers that are collecting federal pensions for life worth at least $100,000 annually. The list includes Newt Gingrich, Bob Dole, Trent Lott, Dick Gephardt and Dick Cheney.
Of course the biggest windfalls of all are for our ex-presidents. Most Americans would be shocked to learn that the U.S. government is spending approximately 3.6 million dollars a year to support the lavish lifestyles of former presidents such as George W. Bush and Bill Clinton.
So does this make you angry?
Or are you okay with these fat cats living the high life at our expense?
Posted in economics, foreign policy, government, history, tagged Barikad Crew, Carnaval, Darius, Haiti, Minister Evans Paul, Port-au-Prince, President Michel Martelly on February 27, 2015 | Leave a Comment »
‘This past week, Haitians in Port-au-Prince were already grieving after at least 18 people died in a Carnaval stampede at around 2 a.m. on Feb. 17.
Daniel “Fantom” Darius, the lead singer Barikad Crew, was standing atop a towering Carnaval float when his head struck a high-voltage wire strung across the street, producing an electrical explosion that panicked the tightly packed crowd below. (Ironically, Darius survived.) Some 76 other people were hospitalized with serious injuries, bringing this year’s toll of Carnaval wounded to 123, even though the final day’s celebration was cancelled and replaced with an official memorial ceremony where the tragedy struck.
Many blame the government of President Michel Martelly and Prime Minister Evans Paul, already beleaguered by massive demonstrations demanding their resignations, for the accident, citing “criminal negligence.”’
The biggest scandal in today’s release of Hewlett Packard Q1 earnings was not that, just as the Nasdaq is knocking on 5000’s door, it reported revenues of $26.8 billion missing consensus expectations of $27.3 billion, while beating non-GAAP EPS by 1 cent to $0.92 (up from $0.90 a year ago) entirely due to a massive reduction in outstanding stock and some truly gargantuan non-GAAP addbacks (GAAP EPS declined from $0.74 a year ago to $0.73) pushing the stock down 7% after hours.
The biggest scandal was the company announced that having cut 44,000 workers so far, it will cut 58,000 jobs by the end of 2015. From Bloomberg:
Incidentally, just 10 years ago Hewlett Packard employed a total of 58,000 people in the entire US.
So why is the company axing 58 thousand workers? Simple: so it can cut enough costs on top and continue to fund its now exponential surge in stock buybacks, which in the just concluded quarter was a record $1.6 billion, an increase of 178% from a year ago, and 66% more than the company spent on CapEx, in the process making its shareholders even richer while its management team get massive equity-linked bonuses.
Posted in economics, government, history, media, politics, tagged conspiracy theories, Conspiracy theorist, Conspiracy Theorists, Declaration of Independence, free market capitalism on February 24, 2015 | Leave a Comment »
Democracy and free market capitalism were founded on conspiracy theories.
The Magna Carta, the Constitution and Declaration of Independence and other founding Western documents were based on conspiracy theories. Greek democracy and free market capitalism were also based on conspiracy theories.
But those were the bad old days …Things have now changed.
That all changed in the 1960s.
Specifically, in April 1967, the CIA wrote a dispatch which coined the term “conspiracy theories” … and recommended methods for discrediting such theories. The dispatch was marked “psych” – short for “psychological operations” or disinformation – and “CS” for the CIA’s “Clandestine Services” unit.
The dispatch was produced in responses to a Freedom of Information Act request by the New York Times in 1976.
The dispatch states: http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2015/02/con.html
‘The United States is set to arm Israel with more fighter jets in a three-billion-dollar agreement signed between Washington and Tel Aviv over the weekend.
The deal includes 14 F-35 stealth fighters made by the US company, Lockheed Martin, at a cost of about $110 million each, Israeli officials announced on Sunday.
Other technological and training elements were also included in the military package.
Israel is expected to receive the fighter jets by the end of next year.’
Posted in criminal justice system, economics, law, tagged banks, Chief economist, Danish Bankers Association, deposits, loans, Niels Storm Stenbaek, to big to fail on February 23, 2015 | Leave a Comment »
‘Bloomberg reported last month:
“Banks don’t have a need for deposits, and the demand for loans by households and firms is weak,” Niels Storm Stenbaek, chief economist at the Danish Bankers Association, said in a phone interview.
Wait … what?
Banks don’t need deposits? They’re not giving many loans? Isn’t that what banks do?
If they’re not collecting deposits and making loans, what are they doing?
In reality, big banks aren’t really acting like banks anymore. Big banks do very little traditional banking, since most of their business is from financial speculation. For example, we noted in 2010 that less than 10% of Bank of America’s assets come from traditional banking deposits.’
On the heels of the Federal Reserve revealing China dumped $76.9 billion of U.S. Treasuries, today one of the top economists in the world sent King World News an incredibly powerful piece warning that Western central planners are about to unleash economic hell on Earth. Below is the fantastic piece from Michael Pento.
February 20 (King World News) – We are fast approaching the time when it will become obvious that mortally-wounded economies cannot be resuscitated by a massive increase in credit from central banks. Nations that suffer from tremendous capital imbalances, debt capacities, and asset bubbles cannot be healed by printing money.
Quantitative easing and zero interest rates provide GDP growth that is merely illusory. They can temporarily levitate equity, real estate, and bond prices, which causes an artificial boom in employment and consumption. But making money free has its limits, and it also comes with dire consequences.
Further, hope in economic growth generated from central banks is quickly fading because the transmission mechanism is broken. Central banks can print money, but if new assets aren’t purchased by private banks, there is less of an increase in broader money supply growth. Now that most central banks have put borrowing costs at rock-bottom levels there isn’t much room to go lower. It is becoming clear that governments are really good at creating asset bubbles but woefully inadequate at creating sustainable growth.
China Slowing Down
For example, the Bank of Japan was fairly successful at creating inflation (YOY CPI up 2.4%), but after more than two years of Abenomics and its attack on the yen, GDP is lower today than in 2012. The growth dynamic isn’t much different in China, where GDP growth in 2010 was 5% higher than it is today, according to official government numbers, as the People’s Bank of China tries to slowly let the air out of an overwhelming fixed asset bubble.
Super Mario Draghi To The Rescue?
But now all hopes for central banks to save the world rests on Mario Draghi and the European Central Bank. Two years after promising to do “whatever it takes” to bring down skyrocketing bond yields, the ECB will officially start buying bonds in March. The problem is that Draghi’s well-telegraphed move has served only to allow private banks to front-run his bid. So sovereign bond yields are already near zero and any artificial benefit derived from lower borrowing costs has already been accounted for.
And now these banks, which are saturated with EU debt, are now just waiting until March to say to Mr. Draghi, “Sold to you.” But these same banks won’t be in any rush to make new loans with the ECB’s credit or buy additional sovereign debt because the assets in question offer little profit potential.
The United States has been basking in the afterglow of the Fed’s ability to temporarily re-inflate home prices and the pockets of Wall Street bankers. But sorry to say, once again growth on Main Street appears to be chronically illusive. U.S. Q4 2014 GDP growth was less than half of what it was in the prior quarter. And so much for all the drivel about finally achieving “escape velocity” last year. The 2.4% GDP growth for all of 2014 was still less than the 2.5% growth seen during 2010 — the first year out of the Great Recession.
Once Free Markets Have Been Destroyed
Central banks have destroyed any vestiges of the free market with the primary goal of creating inflation. But with the growth benefits derived from free money (if any) now in the rear-view mirror, what do we have to look forward to? Investors have the pleasure of witnessing the massive reversal of bond yields, as the failure of central banks and governments to create real GDP growth is realized. For instance, the Japanese 10-year note yield has rallied to 0.46%, from the low of just 0.2% on January 19 this year. And yields have begun to rise in Europe and the U.S. as well.
Global Debt Has Skyrocketed $60 Trillion
The turnaround in global sovereign bond yields is not due to a rise in inflation, nor is it because of an increase in growth. Rather, it is because QE’s efficacy has run its course. Therefore, we are left with sovereign yields that must now discount the inflation risk represented by the tremendous increase of central bank balance sheets, along with the massive increase in IOUs piled up since the Great Recession ended.
Most importantly, without the manifestation of this growth promised by central bank money printing, there just isn’t any way for nations to maintain the illusion of solvency. Indeed, since the start of the financial crisis at the end of 2007, total global debt has risen by nearly $60 trillion, which is 286% of GDP, up from 269% seven years ago.
Another 2008-Style Global Collapse?
As confidence in central banks to save the world fades, interest rates have started to rise. Rising interest rates is Quantitative Easing in reverse. The increasing debt service payments combined with crumbling asset bubbles will cause spurious global GDP to collapse.
On top of this, the Federal Reserve is threatening to raise interest rates into an environment of slowing GDP growth around the world. With the total market cap of U.S. stocks at an incredible 124% of GDP and a worldwide historic bubble in government debt, investors need to get ready to relive the Great Recession all over again. ***ALSO JUST RELEASED: Mainstream Media Lying To The Public As The World Faces Most Dangerous Crisis In History CLICK HERE.
To learn more about Michael Pento’s financial management services CLICK HERE. You can also sign up for Michael Pento’s weekly podcast at his website.
‘Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been left red-faced after a video shot by a celebrity home designer depicting his modest lifestyle was revealed to be recorded in his servants’ quarters.
The 15-minute film by Moshik Galamin showed Mr Netanyahu’s wife Sara guiding the viewer around the couple’s home, where run down parts of the property such as creaking doors and frayed carpets, are detailed.
But it has now emerged Galamin was not granted access to the couple’s upstairs living quarters, and Israel’s Channel 10 TV claimed the kitchen in question was not even the one the Netanyahus use, but rather a secondary administrative kitchen.’
Has the world’s economy officially tanked? One radio talk show host thinks so, and he has some data to back it up.
‘In a blog post on his website, Dave Hodges — host of The Common Sense Show — notes that economic indices are bottoming out and that’s in large part due to a proposed agreement called the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which the Electronic Freedom Foundation describes as “a secretive, multinational trade agreement that threatens to extend restrictive intellectual property (IP) laws across the globe and rewrite international rules on its enforcement.”
The forces behind the agreement, notes Hodges, have used their influence to stall delivery of critically important commodities until it is fully implemented among member nations.’
| 17 Feb 2015 | A band of snow and ice sliced across the South on Monday from Oklahoma to the Carolinas, cutting off power for almost a quarter of a million customers and threatening to paralyze major cities on its way to the Northeast. For once, Boston wasn’t the center of the winter weather. Instead, New England-like snow fell on parts of Kentucky, Virginia and West Virginia: 17 inches near Coleman, Kentucky; 15 inches in Logan, West Virginia; 14½ inches near Oceana, West Virginia; and 12 inches in Dickenson County, Virginia.