Are We Becoming a Nation of George Costanzas?

By Barry Brownstein – Re-Blogged From The Foundation for Economic Education

George Costanza, a fictional character in Seinfeld, might be the most miserable, complaining “victim” in television history.

George is a pro at shirking responsibility, making excuses, and blaming other people. He is an amateur at adding value in the workplace. 

It has been almost 25 years since NBC first broadcast an episode of Seinfeld titled “The Revenge.” George rashly tells off his boss and quits his job. Later that day, he sits in Jerry’s apartment lamenting over his future job prospects. Jerry gently probes George about his interests. “I like sports,” George replies, and muses of being a general manager or an announcer. When Jerry points out that he has no qualifications for those jobs, George retorts, “Well, that’s really not fair.”

A Distorted View of Fairness

Starting at the top of any profession isn’t an option, but George doesn’t understand that. He schemes how to get ahead and lacks all initiative to do actual work.

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Climate and Human Civilization Over the Last 18,000 Years

By Andy May – Re-Blogged From http://www.WattsUpWithThat.com

This is an updated timeline of climatic events and human history for the last 18,000 years. The original timeline was posted in 2013. The updated full size (Ansi E size or 34×44 inches) Adobe Reader version 8 PDF can be downloaded here or by clicking on Figure 1. It prints pretty well on 11×17 inch paper and very well on 17×22 inch paper or larger. To see the timeline in full resolution or to print it, you must download it. It is not copyrighted, but please acknowledge the author if you use it.

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Figure 1 -click for a much larger, printable poster (PDF)

References to the images and data are given in this essay as hyperlinks. I’ve done my best to verify the accuracy of the content by checking multiple sources. When references had different dates for the same event, I chose the most commonly cited date or the most prestigious source. All dates (except some in the modern era) are given as “BP” or before the year 2000 for simplicity, using 1950 (the radiocarbon zero) was too cumbersome.

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France imposes Soviet Style Movement Restrictions on Climate Activists

By Eric Worrall – Re-Blogged From http://www.WattsUpWiththat.com

France embracing Soviet Style Abuse of Due Process

France has arbitrarily imposed Soviet style movement restrictions on a number of climate activists. French Authorities claim this measure is necessary, to reduce the risk of public disorder during the COP21 conference.

France embracing Soviet Style Abuse of Due Process

According to the Australian ABC;

French climate change activists have been placed under house arrest ahead of the opening of the UN climate change conference in Paris.

Public demonstrations are banned in France under the state of emergency that was declared after the Paris terrorist attacks two week ago, in which 130 people were killed.

Green groups have described the move as “an abuse of power” but the French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said the activists were suspected of planning violent protests.

“These 24 people have been placed under house arrest because they have been violent during demonstrations in the past and because they have said they would not respect the state of emergency,” he said.

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Welcome To The Currency War, Part 20: Corporate Profits Head South, Stock Prices To Follow?

By John Rubino – Re-Blogged From Dollar Collapse

A too-strong currency is, in theory, supposed to make it harder to sell things to cheap-currency countries, thus crimping corporate profits and by implication pretty much everything else.

The US dollar has been rising against the rest of the world for over a year, so let’s see how we’re doing. From today’s Wall Street Journal:

Falling Corporate Profits Blur U.S. Growth Outlook

Profits at U.S. companies during the third quarter posted their largest annual decline since the recession, underscoring the competitive pressure from a strong dollar and weak global demand that could limit businesses’ ability to support stronger economic growth in the coming months.A comprehensive measure of companies’ profits across the U.S.—earnings adjusted for inventory and depreciation—dropped to $2.1 trillion in the third quarter, down

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Are Teachers Putting Green Indoctrination Ahead of Education?

By Eric Worrall – Re-Blogged From http://www.WattsUpWithThat.com

[US results also were mediocre, compared with other countries, especially Asian countries. -Bob]

There have been a number of stories recently about how Australian schools are doing wonderful things. Sadly, few of these wonderful things seem to involve educating the nation’s children.

According to Australian SBS;

Australian schools going green to combat climate change

A trial program is hoping to shine the spotlight on schools and show them how they can help to combat climate change.

A Perth high school was the first in Australia to be accredited carbon neutral, but the school still wants to do more.

South Fremantle Senior High School in Perth’s south signed up to the Low Carbon Schools Pilot Program to help reduce its carbon footprint.

Fifteen-year-old Taylah Kippo told SBS News the time to act on climate change was now.

She said she was worried about her own generation, but also the ones after.

“You see the effects of climate change every day in our life now at the moment,” she said.

“You see it in many other countries including Australia in areas like farming and many different areas from the changing of the climates.

“It’s not good.”

Fellow Year 10 student Lauren Hunter said her school, which uses photovoltaic cells and has air conditioners on timers, could do more.

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Stock Topping Valuations

By Adam Hamilton – Re-Blogged From http://www.Gold-Eagle.com

The prevailing valuations in the lofty US stock markets are increasingly becoming a bone of contention.  Wall Street calmly asserts stocks are reasonably valued, since it has a huge vested interest in keeping people fully-invested.  But with valuations soaring following a massive rally and weak third-quarter earnings season, they are dangerously high and portend great downside risk.  Stock topping valuations abound.

Since investing is all about buying low then selling high, the price paid for any investment is everything.  Buy good companies at cheap prices, and you’ll multiply your wealth over time.  But buying those very same good companies at expensive prices radically stunts future gains.  While cheap investments have great potential to soar as traders recognize their inherent value, expensive ones have already exhausted their upside.

And it’s valuations, not absolute stock prices, that define cheap and expensive.  Valuations are where stock prices are trading relative to their underlying corporate earnings streams.  The less investors pay in terms of stock price for each dollar of profits, the greater their ultimate returns.  Valuations are most often expressed in price-to-earnings-ratio terms, with stock prices divided by underlying corporate earnings per share.

This concept is so easy to understand, yet the vast majority of investors ignore it.  Imagine purchasing a house for a rental property that has expected annual rental income of $30k.  How much would you be willing to pay for it?  If you can get it for $210k, 7x earnings, it will pay for itself in just 7 years.  That’s a great deal.  But if that same house is priced at $630k, 21x, it will take far too long just to recoup the initial cost.

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The Truth About GDP

By Alasdair Macleod – Re-Blogged From http://www.Gold-Eagle.com

“I can prove anything by statistics except the truth” – George Canning

Canning’s aphorism is as valid today as when he was Britain’s Prime Minister in 1817. Unfortunately, his wisdom is ignored completely by mainstream economists. Nowhere is this error more important than in defining economic activity, where the abuse of statistics is taken to levels that would have even surprised Canning.

Today we describe the economy as being in one of two states, growth or recession. We arrive at a judgment of its condition by taking the sum total of the transactions selected by statisticians and then deflating this total by a rate of inflation devised by them under direct or indirect political direction. Nominal gross domestic product is created and thereby adjusted and termed real GDP.

The errors in the method encourage a bias towards a general increase in the GDP trend by under-recording the rate of price inflation. From here it is a short step to associate rising prices only with an increase in economic activity. It also follows, based on these assumptions, that falling prices are to be avoided at all costs.

Assumptions, assumptions, all are assumptions. They lead to a ridiculous conclusion, that falling prices are evidence of falling demand, recession or even depression. Another of Canning’s aphorisms was that there is nothing so sublime as the truth. There’s no sublimity here. If there was, the improvement in everyone’s standard of living through falling prices for communications, access to data, and the technology in our homes and everyday life could not possibly have happened.

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Similarities of Jim Jones and the Cult of Climate Change

By Arkady Bukh, Esq – Re-Blogged From http://www.WattsUpWithThat.com

The apocalypse of an alleged climate change shares many of Jones’ cult-like qualities.

Gore_end_nearer

Jim Jones, the People’s Temple leader, led over 900 persons to commit suicide 32 years ago. Jones was charismatic and knowledgeable of both Scriptures and human behavior.

After the mass murder/suicide and the murder of U.S. Congressman, Leo Ryan, Jones and his followers were on the news every day for weeks. Jones, who built his cult around a “doomsday” scenario — convinced his followers that the world was past due for an apocalyptic ending very soon.

The apocalypse of an alleged climate change shares many of Jones’ cult-like qualities.

There are other similar traits, but here are four:

1. Climate doomsayers believe they possess truths about the past, present and future and their truths cannot be disputed by anyone.

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Happy Thanksgiving!

cropped-bob-shapiro.jpg   By Bob Shapiro

When I was a kid, Thanksgiving meant (among other things) that I would see two favorite movies on TV. One was Miracle on 34th Street – the original – and the other was Laurel Hardy in Babes in Toyland (also called March of the Wooden Soldiers).

Neither story used foul language to get the simple story across, but both were lots of fun. I’ve embedded Babes in Toyland for you below (in case you’ve never seen it). For Miracle on 34th Street, the best I could do is a couple of brief clips. Enjoy them.

Best Wishes for a wonderful Thanksgiving!

SPIEGEL Interview with African Economics Expert: “For God’s Sake, Please Stop the Aid!”

Interview conducted by Thilo Thielke – Translated from the German by Patrick Kessler

Re-Blogged From Spiegel Online

SPIEGEL:

Mr. Shikwati, the G8 summit at Gleneagles is about to beef up the development aid for Africa…

Shikwati: … for God’s sake, please just stop.

SPIEGEL: Stop? The industrialized nations of the West want to eliminate hunger and poverty.

Shikwati: Such intentions have been damaging our continent for the past 40 years. If the industrial nations really want to help the Africans, they should finally terminate this awful aid. The countries that have collected the most development aid are also the ones that are in the worst shape. Despite the billions that have poured in to Africa, the continent remains poor.

SPIEGEL: Do you have an explanation for this paradox?

Shikwati: Huge bureaucracies are financed (with the aid money), corruption and complacency are promoted, Africans are taught to be beggars and not to be independent. In addition, development aid weakens the local markets everywhere and dampens the spirit of entrepreneurship that we so desperately need. As absurd as it may sound: Development aid is one of the reasons for Africa’s problems. If the West were to cancel these payments, normal Africans wouldn’t even notice. Only the functionaries would be hard hit. Which is why they maintain that the world would stop turning without this development aid.

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OMG: Do a Million Americans Really Have no Toilet?

By Ryan McMaken – Re-Blogged From Mises.org

The Drudge Report today features the headline: “BUST: 1.1 million Americans don’t have a toilet…”

Drudge then links to today’s article in The Week where the headline blares “A shocking number of Americans don’t have a toilet.”

I have been accused of being a perma-bear, and I admit I like to click on any link declaring “BUST,” but this is one indicator of our declining standard of living that should be ignored.

Thanks to markets, capitalism, and the massive amounts of wealth that has been generated in the US over the past 200 years, virtually everyone who lives anywhere near a city in the US has easy access to toilets.

Historically, it has not always been so, of course, which is why the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has a measure in its “Better Life Index” called “dwellings without basic facilities.”  Naturally, when it comes to constructing measures of quality of life, having a functioning toilet around is something people figured was worth measuring. So, the OECD measures what percentage of the population has an indoor flushing toilet. (Out houses don’t count.)

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EPA Regulations To Cause Double-Digit Electricity Price Increases In Nearly Every State

By Michael Basatasch – Re-Blogged From http://freedomforce.com

People should enjoy the relatively low electricity prices while they can this Thanksgiving season, because nearly every state could see double-digit increases in electricity rates due to federal regulations forcing coal plants to retire, according to two separate studies.

Two new studies by Energy Ventures Analysis and NERA Economic Consulting claim the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan will raise electricity prices in every state it covers, with nearly all of them seeing prices increase 10 to 25 percent by the 2030s.

Forty-six states will face double digit increases in wholesale electricity cost when the CPP is fully implemented in 2030, with 16 states projected to experience a 25+ percent increase,” according to EVA’s report that was done on behalf of the National Mining Association.

NERA’s study found that “40 states could have average retail electricity price increases of 10% or more” and “17 states could have average retail electricity price increases of 20% or more.” Another “10 states could have average retail electricity price increases of 30% or more,” according to NERA’s study, financed by the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity.

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How 4,000 Roman Coins Found Buried In Swiss Orchard Reinforce Gold Ownership Today

By Michael Kosares – Re-Blogged From http://www.Gold-Eagle.com

“The coins’ excellent condition indicated that the owner systematically stashed them away shortly after they were made, the archaeologists said. For some reason that person had buried them shortly after 294 and never retrieved them. Some of the coins, made mainly of bronze but with a 5% silver content were buried in small leather pouches. The archaeologists said it was impossible to determine the original value of the money due to rampant inflation at the time, but said they would have been worth at least a year or two of wages.” –  The Guardian/11-19-2015

I was initially at a loss to explain why anyone would go to so much trouble to hoard so many coins with such a low silver content – about 5%.  The only rational explanation is that the hoarder had decided that even worse debasement was on its way.  And, a quick review of Roman history tells us that this indeed was the case.

In the next generation of the denarius, issued by Emperor Diocletian, bronze coins were simply dipped in silver and passed into circulation.  By 294AD, the latest date in the hoard, Diocletian abandoned silver coinage entirely and began issuing bronze coins instead. Prior to that, prices had risen over a roughly twenty year period by 1000%.  Value-conscious barbarian troops hired by the emperors demanded to be paid in gold aureus and for good reason as you will discover below. By the end of the third century, the currency was crumbling and along with it the empire.

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Russian Power Assets Attacked – How long will the Trans-Siberian Pipeline last?

By Eric Worrall – Re-Blogged From WattsUpWithThat

Power pylons supplying regions of the Crimean have been blown up, causing significant economic disruption to disputed territory currently occupied by Russian backed Ukrainian rebels.

According to Reuters;

Crimea was left without electricity supplies from Ukraine on Sunday after pylons carrying power lines to the Russia-annexed peninsula were blown up overnight.

It was not immediately clear who had damaged the pylons, but a Russian senator described the move as an “act of terrorism” and implied that Ukrainian nationalists were to blame.

Crimea receives the bulk of its electricity from the Ukrainian mainland and its seizure by Russia last year prompted fury in Kiev and the West, which then imposed economic sanctions on Russian companies and individuals.

Russia’s Energy Ministry said emergency electricity supplies had been turned on for critical needs in Crimea and that mobile gas turbine generators were being used, adding that around 1.6 million people out of a population of roughly 2 million remained without power as of 1000 GMT.

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Weekly Climate and Energy News Roundup

The Week That Was: Nov 21, 2015 – Brought to You by www.sepp.org

***

Quote of the Week:
“It must be remembered that there is nothing more difficult to plan, more doubtful of success, nor more dangerous to manage than a new system. For the initiator has the enmity of all who would profit by the preservation of the old institution and merely lukewarm defenders in those who gain by the new ones.” – Niccolò Machiavelli


Number of the Week: $16.5 Trillion


By Ken Haapala, President, Science and Environmental Policy Project
Attribution: With each successive report the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) becomes more certain in attributing recent climate change to human influence. That is, that human influence, particularly carbon dioxide emissions (CO2), is the specific cause of climate change. This intensification of certainty is particularly noticeable in a trend from Third Assessment Report (AR3, 2001), to the Fourth Assessment Report (AR4, 2007) to the Fifth Assessment Report (AR5, 2013 & 2014). Specifically, AR5 states:
“It is extremely likely that more than half of the observed increase in global average surface temperature from 1951 to 2010 was caused by the anthropogenic increase in greenhouse gas concentrations and other anthropogenic forcings together. The best estimate of the human induced contribution to warming is similar to the observed warming over this period.”
“Extremely likely” is defined as 95% to 100% probability. According to an assertion in AR3, “The most we can expect to achieve is the prediction of the probability distribution of the system’s future possible states by the generation of ensembles of model solutions.” (Section 14.2.2.2, discussed in last week’s TWTW).

There is no established probability distribution presented. Thus, the term “extremely likely” is more based on the opinion of the political actors writing the SPM, than on any objective probability distribution.

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Dr Copper, The Economy And The Stock Market No Longer In Sync

By Sol Palha – Re-Blogged From http://www.Silver-Phoenix500.com

Doctor copper, can no longer be viewed as a leading indicator, in fact, a name change might be in order. A change of name from Dr Copper to deadbeat copper might in order, given its dismal record over the years.  After the financial crisis of 2008-2009, the economy, the stock markets and copper parted ways; while the markets and the economy trended higher, copper plunged into an abyss, and it is still trying to find its footing.

All Jokes aside, the reason copper is diverging from the markets is because the Feds destroyed the concept of a free market system long ago.  Copper is indicating that this economic recovery is nothing but an illusion.   However, several rounds of QE, plus interest rates being held down for a record-breaking period, have altered reality.  The markets are moving higher because of hot money, and the economic miracle would end without the low-interest rate band aid.  Against such a backdrop, copper ceased to work. In this environment,  fundamentals and basic technical analysis can lead you astray; in such an environment Mass psychology works the best.  The masses have accepted that Fed intervention is the new norm and that the Fed is the saviour. Hence, this is what investors need to pay attention too, as the psychology of the masses is what drives the markets.  Given the old historical pattern between, copper and the markets, the stock market should have followed copper into the abyss, but instead we find that several indices are dangerously close from putting in new highs.

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Volkswagen: Crass Crony Corporate Capitalistic Capitulation

By Dr Tim Ball – Re-Blogged From http://www.WattsUpWithThat.com

Winston Churchill famously defined an appeaser as someone who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last. In the debate about global warming, business, especially large corporations, is the largest sector of appeasers and some, like Volkswagen, are now, rightfully, paying the price.

Churchill was talking about Neville Chamberlain’s appeasement with Adolf Hitler. In a classic example of the claim that fact is stranger than fiction, it was Adolf Hitler who sketched the design for the first Volkswagen (Figure1).

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Figure 1

Volkswagen was caught programming their performance monitoring computers to give lower readings on exhaust emissions when subjected to government testing. The rest of the time the program was set to provide optimum fuel performance for the driver. They deserve every admonition, fines, and loss of sales, for a totally self-inflicted wound. It’s what happens when you try to serve two masters. A few heads will roll, but the German government has already essentially determined that Volkswagen is too big to fail and is using the public purse to bail the fail. In a further addition of insult to injury and with a clear demonstration that they don’t know what they are doing, Chancellor Angela Merkel is providing assistance with incentives to produce electric cars.

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Natural Climate Variability

By Andres Valencia – Re-Blogged From http://www.WattsUpWithThat.com

[A comment to http://wattsupwiththat.com/2015/11/21/keeping-up-the-heat-on-the-uk-supreme-court/ ]

Temperature fluctuations over the past 17,000 years showing the abrupt cooling during the Younger Dryas.
The late Pleistocene cold glacial climate that built immense ice sheets terminated suddenly about 14,500 years ago [12,500 BC], causing glaciers to melt dramatically.
About 12,800 years ago [10,800 BC], after about 2,000 years of fluctuating climate, temperatures plunged suddenly and remained cool for 1,300 years.
About 11,500 years ago [9,500 BC], the climate again warmed suddenly and the Younger Dryas ended.
Also showing the Holocene Warm Period, the Roman Warm Period and the Medieval Warm Period compared to today’s small rise in average temperature. Graphic by Don J. Easterbrook.
See See Geologic Evidence of Recurring Climate Cycles and Their Implications for the Cause of Global Climate Changes Don J. Easterbrook (2011). Department of Geology, Western Washington University, .pdf, at http://myweb.wwu.edu/dbunny/pdfs/easterbrook_geologic-evidence-of-recurring-climatic-cycles.pdf
See also The Intriguing Problem Of The Younger Dryas – What Does It Mean And What Caused It (Guest post by Don J. Easterbrook
Dept. of Geology, Western Washington University) – Watts Up With That? (June 19, 2012), at http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/06/19/the-intriguing-problem-of-the-younger-dryaswhat-does-it-mean-and-what-caused-it/

Hang Onto Your Wallets

By Ellen Brown – Re-Blogged From http://www.Silver-Phoenix500.com

In uncertain times, “cash is king,” but central bankers are systematically moving to eliminate that option. Is it really about stimulating the economy? Or is there some deeper, darker threat afoot?

Remember those old ads showing a senior couple lounging on a warm beach, captioned “Let your money work for you”? Or the scene in Mary Poppins where young Michael is being advised to put his tuppence in the bank, so that it can compound into “all manner of private enterprise,” including “bonds, chattels, dividends, shares, shipyards, amalgamations . . . ”?

That may still work if you’re a Wall Street banker, but if you’re an ordinary saver with your money in the bank, you may soon be paying the bank to hold your funds rather than the reverse.

Four European central banks – the European Central Bank, the Swiss National Bank, Sweden’s Riksbank, and Denmark’s Nationalbank – have now imposed negative interest rates on the reserves they hold for commercial banks; and discussion has turned to whether it’s time to pass those costs on to consumers. The Bank of Japan and the Federal Reserve are still at ZIRP (Zero Interest Rate Policy), but several Fed officials have also begun calling for NIRP (negative rates).

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The Coming Corporate “Crime Wave”

By William L. Anderson – Re-Blogged From http://www.goldstandardinstitute.net

In a recent appearance before Congress, Deputy Attorney General Sally Quillian Yates declared that the US Department of Justice is going to ratchet up its prosecution of individuals employed in corporations as part of a larger push against “white collar crime.” There is no doubt that such prosecutions will be very popular to a large section of voters, given that presidential candidates like Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton, and Martin O’Malley, along with Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren pretty much have declared that nearly all American businesses are part of a massive criminal conspiracy that must be brought down by federal authorities.

Within the next year, we should expect to see mid-level business and finance executives doing “perp walks” in front of the news media, as federal prosecutors will charge them with various “economic crimes” in hopes that they will implicate their superiors. All of us by now know the drill and in a time of anemic economic growth complete with business failures, it won’t be hard to find scapegoats.

Everyone Is “Guilty”

When famed civil liberties attorney Harvey Silverglate published his now-famous book, Three Felonies a Day, it caused quite a stir. Going through a number of very disturbing cases, Silverglate made clear that if federal prosecutors want to target an individual, it is very easy to fashion criminal charges against them.

To prove his point, he noted how the federal prosecutors in New York when Rudy Giuliani was US Attorney for the Southern District of New York regularly played a game in which they would see if various celebrities and others, including Mother Theresa, had broken federal criminal law. The result, unfortunately, was that for each person no matter how good his or her public character, a federal statue existed that would place them in prison.

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Cyber Attacks on U.S. Companies Since November 2014

By Riley Walters – Re-Blogged From The Heritage Foundation

Researchers are concerned over the strength and comprehensiveness of cybersecurity in the U.S., as companies across the country are being targeted in cyber attacks at an increasing rate of both occurrence and cost. Concerns continue to grow as both the number of attacks on companies’ networks and the cost to companies are increasing. The quantity and quality of information being hacked, stolen, destroyed, or leaked is becoming more of a problem for consumers and businesses alike.

The Ponemon Institute recently released its 2015 Cost of Cyber Crime, which analyzes the cost of all cyber crime for a variety of 58 U.S. organizations both public and private.[1] The U.S., in comparison with other nations in the Ponemon study, continues to rank highest in its cost of cyber crime at an annual average of $15.4 million per company.

Ponemon surveyed companies in the areas of finance, energy and utilities, and defense and aerospace—three of the most affected sectors—as well as communication, retail, and health care. The annual cost of cybercrime for these companies has more than doubled since 2010, which then averaged $6.5 million. Of the companies surveyed, the minimum cost to a company was $1.9 million while the maximum cost was as much as $65 million in 2015.

This year, companies saw an average of 160 successful cyber attacks per week, more than three times the 2010 average of 50 per week.

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Cold Winter Refugee Crisis

By Paul Driessen and Joe D’Aleo – Re-Blogged From http://www.WattsUpWithThat.com

A brutal cold spell could kill refugees. Paris COP21 delegates need to discuss this climate issue.

Even after the latest Paris massacres – and previous radical Islamist atrocities in the USA, France, Britain, Canada, Spain, India, Iraq, Syria, Nigeria and elsewhere – politicians absurdly say hypothetical manmade global warming is the greatest threat facing humanity. In reality, fossil fuel contributions to climate change pose few dangers to people or planet, and winters kill 20 times more people than hot weather.

After being assured snowy winters would soon be something only read about in history books, Europe was shaken by five brutally cold winters this past decade. Thousands died, because they were homeless, lived in drafty homes with poor heating systems, or could not afford adequate fuel.

syrian-refugees-cold

A youngster braces against the cold at a camp for Syrian refugees in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley after the first winter snows fell in 2013. photo: Reuters

It could happen again, with even worse consequences. “Millions of desperate people are on the march,” Walter Russell Mead recently wrote in the Wall Street Journal. “Sunni refugees driven out by the barbarity of the Assad regime in Syria, Christians and Yazidis fleeing the pornographic violence of Islamic State, millions more of all faiths and no faith fleeing poverty and oppression without end.”

Where are they heading? Mostly not into neighboring Arab countries, most of which have yanked their welcome mats. Instead, if they’re not staying in Turkey, they’re going north to Europe – into the path the extremely cold “Siberian Express” has increasingly taken. Germany alone could face the challenge of feeding and sheltering 800,000 to 1,000,000 freezing refugees this winter.

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Gold Miners’ Strong Q3 Results

By Adam Hamilton – Re-Blogged From http://www.Gold-Eagle.com

The beleaguered gold-mining sector continues to be plagued by monumental universal bearishness.  Nearly everyone assumes the gold miners are doomed, that they can’t survive for long in a sub-$1200-gold environment.  But this belief is totally wrong, a consequence of extreme fear’s fog of war.  The gold miners’ underlying earnings fundamentals remain very strong, as evidenced by their recent Q3 results.

In all the stock markets, corporate profits ultimately drive stock prices.  Because a stock simply represents a fractional stake in its underlying company’s future earnings stream, all stock prices eventually revert to some reasonable multiple of those profits.  These earnings are truly the only fundamental driver of stock prices.  All deviations from righteous valuations based on profits are just the temporary products of herd sentiment.

The gold stocks are suffering such an extreme psychological anomaly today, drowning in mind-boggling depths of popular fear and despair.  The leading HUI gold-stock index just slumped to a brutal new 13.3-year secular low this week!  The apathy and hate for this sector is nothing short of astounding.  Anyone masochistic enough to make a bullish contrarian case on gold stocks will be peppered with scathing ridicule.

But in the midst of any universal sentiment extreme, prudent investors and speculators must disconnect from the herd emotions to take a rational look at the underlying profits fundamentals.  And there is zero doubt today that prevailing gold-stock prices are truly fundamentally absurd.  The last time gold stocks were priced at these levels per the HUI ages ago in July 2002, the gold price was merely trading around $305.

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Why Isn’t This Incredibly Bearish Development Making The News?

By E B Tucker – Re-Blogged From http://www.Gold-Eagle.com

There’s a very important warning signal flashing in the financial market right now.

Despite the importance of this signal, few people know about it…even fewer are talking about it.

Don’t be one of the people who don’t understand the vital importance of the bond market and what it’s telling you right now.

This knowledge could help you avoid a huge hit to your net worth over the next 12-24 months. Here’s why…

Most investors focus on just one area of the investment market: Stocks. After all, stocks have a long track record of generating solid, long-term returns. Plus, the idea of owning shares in a small business that grows large – and making 500% along the way – can capture almost anyone’s attention.

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Advice to the Prime Minister/President

By Alasdair Macleod – Re-Blogged From http://www.GoldMoney.com

Your country faces a stagnating economy. Let us assume your Prime Minister (or President if that is who holds the executive power) seeks advice from two imaginary economists.

PM: You two economists have different views on what our economic policy should be. What is your advice?

FIRST ECONOMIST (Austrian school): Prime Minister, the reason we face a stagnant economy is your central bank perpetuated the credit cycle by suppressing interest rates when the economy turned down after the banking crisis and lending risk escalated. That has left us with a legacy of under-performing businesses, which should have been left to go bankrupt. Instead they are struggling under a burden of unrepayable debt. Capital is not being reallocated to the new enterprises of the future. The dynamism of free markets has been throttled.

The extra money and credit created by the banking system has not been applied to the real economy. Instead they are fuelling a financial boom in asset prices, which have become dangerously separated from production values.

Eventually, current monetary policy will lead to a fall in the purchasing power of the currency, and the central bank will be forced to raise interest rates to a level that will precipitate the next financial crisis, if the crisis has not already occurred by then. Overvalued assets become exposed to debt liquidation. It happens every time, and if you think the last crisis, which led to the Lehman collapse was bad, on current monetary policies the next one will be much worse, just as Lehman was much worse than the aftermath of the dot-com boom.

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The Economic Pie Is Shrinking!

By Bill Holter – Re-Blogged From http://www.Gold-Eagle.com

No matter how you look at it, the global economic pie is shrinking.  One might be able to argue this is not so based on individual statistical reports issued by various nations.  The problem though is this, many reports do not line up with real world reports.  For instance, how can “retail sales” in the U.S. grow when retailer after retailer reports worse than expected and contracting sales?  The answer is what your own eyes, common sense and of course “individual companies” added together tell you.

On a broader scale, we are told the world is in recovery.  Never mind contraction in Europe or bogus reporting in the U.S., China and elsewhere, “we are in recovery dammit!”.  The best way to look at this fallacy for yourself to divine the truth is to look at trade.  Or better, “trade rates”.  I have mentioned this before, the Baltic dry index has been crashing and now is very close to where it was back in the late 1980’s.

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-11-17/baltic-dry-index-crashes-near-record-low

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Putin on ISIS & Syria

cropped-bob-shapiro.jpg   By Bob Shapiro

Russian leader Putin says that US policy , especially regarding the US background support for ISIS, is incorrect. I would have to agree.

He also says (see video below) that a good number (most?) of the fighters/rebels in Syria are hired mercenaries. The US “hired,” trained, and paid them to topple Syrian leader Assad. Now, I’m not saying that Assad is a good guy. But, if Putin’s statements have any truth in them, then the US has (once again) engaged in stupid policy.

Several years ago, ISIS captured the local oil fields and have been generating about a half Billion Dollars a year in revenue. A portion of this money is going to pay a larger amount than the US for the mercenaries, who now no longer support democracy in Syria and Iraq.

A Half Billion in Oil revenues! It seems to me that, with the price of oil very low compared to recent year’s levels, it would be to the advantage of several oil producers to bomb the ISIS oil fields. I expect that there’s a good chance that Russia will do just that. Even though the Obama administration is not on the best terms with Russia right now, I think the oil field bombing makes a lot of sense.

The World’s First Cashless Society Is Here – A Totalitarian’s Dream Come True

By Nick Giambruno – Re-Blogged From http://www.Gold-Eagle.com

Central planners around the world are waging a War on Cash. In just the last few years:

  • Italy made cash transactions over €1,000 illegal;
  • Switzerland proposed banning cash payments in excess of 100,000 francs;
  • Russia banned cash transactions over $10,000;
  • Spain banned cash transactions over €2,500;
  • Mexico made cash payments of more than 200,000 pesos illegal;
  • Uruguay banned cash transactions over $5,000; and
  • France made cash transactions over €1,000 illegal, down from the previous limit of €3,000.

The War on Cash is a favorite pet project of the economic central planners. They want to eliminate hand-to-hand currency so that governments can document, control, and tax everything.

This is why they’re lowering the threshold for mandatory reporting of cash transactions and, in some instances, simply making it illegal to pay cash.

In the U.S., central planners ratchet up the War on Cash every time the government declares a made-up war on something else…a war on crime, a war on drugs, a war on poverty, a war on terror…

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Memo to Paris: Don’t Base Policy on Overblown Prediction

Halfway to 2°C – halfway to hell on Earth or just a number?

By Christopher Monckton of Brenchley – Re-Blogged From WattsUpWithThat

The Met Office is at it again. Just in time for Paris, in a stunt co-ordinated with the unspeakable BBC, it issued a characteristically mendacious press release saying that global mean surface temperature was about to exceed 1 C° above the mean for the reference period 1850-1900 for the first time.

And this, said the excitable David Shukman, the BBC’s pseudoscience editor on the ten o’clock news, was the halfway milestone to 2 C°, which, he said, was generally accepted to be the threshold of dangerous global warming.

Here, in pictures, is the answer to the Met Office’s hysterical press release.

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How the Great Depression 2.0 Will Soon Unfold

By Michael Pento – Re-Blogged From http://www.PentoPort.com

Those who place their faith in a sustainable economic recovery emanating through government fiat will soon be shocked. Colossal central bank counterfeiting and gargantuan government deficit spending has caused the major averages to climb back towards unchanged on the year. Zero interest rate and negative interest rate policies, along with unprecedented interest rate manipulations, have levitated global stock markets. But still, sustainable and robust GDP growth has been remarkably absent for the past 8 years.

Equity prices have now become massively disconnected from underlying economic activity, and the recession in corporate revenue and earnings growth is exacerbating this overvalued condition. Throw in the fact that earnings have been manipulated higher by Wall Street’s recent prowess in the art of financial engineering, and you get an extremely combustible cocktail.

I have been on record saying this will end in chaos and here is how I think it will unfold: Continue reading

How Do People Destroy Their Capital?

By Keith Weiner – Re-Blogged From http://www.Silver-Phoenix500.com

I have written previously about the interest rate, which is falling under the planning of the Federal Reserve. The flip side of falling interest rates is the rising price of bonds. Bonds are in an endless, ferocious bull market. Why do I call it ferocious? Perhaps voracious is a better word, as it is gobbling up capital like the Cookie Monster jamming tollhouses into his maw. There are several mechanisms by which this occurs, let’s look at one here.

Artificially low interest makes it necessary to seek other ways to make money. Deprived of a decent yield, people are encouraged (pushed, really) to go speculating. And so the juice in bonds spills over into other markets. When rates fall, people find other assets more attractive. As they adjust their portfolios and go questing for yield, they buy equities and real estate.

Dirt cheap credit is also the fuel for rising asset prices. People can use leverage to buy assets, and further enhance their gains.

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Weekly Climate and Energy News Roundup #205

The Week That Was: November 14, 2015  – Brought to You by www.SEPP.org

By Ken Haapala, President, Science and Environmental Policy Project

Un-Validated Models: The November 7 TWTW emphasized the findings of The Right Climate Stuff research team. The projections of un-validated climate models should not be used for establishing government policy. This is particularly true when long-range policy, enshrined by international agreements, is based on long-range projections by un-validated climate models. As Roy Spencer has calculated, of the 90 CMIP5 Climate Models tested, over 95% overestimate global average temperature trends from 1979 to 2013 – 97.8% overestimate lower troposphere warming as calculated by UAH (University of Alabama, Huntsville) and 95.6% overestimate surface warming based on HadCRUT4 (Hadley Center – Climatic Research Unit Temperature calculations). One can speculate that the overestimates motivated Tom Karl of NOAA to modify the existing surface-records, thereby eliminating the pause or hiatus in warming. It appears that NOAA is not able to manipulate satellite and weather balloon records as readily.

The CMIP5 models are considered state-of-the-art by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in its Fifth Assessment Report (AR-5, 2013). In the politically negotiated Summary for Policymakers the IPCC declared that most of the recent global warming/climate change is caused by humans. The projections from the models and the IPCC’s questionable finding provide the justification for an international agreement to drastically reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions at the 21st Conference of Parties (COP-21) of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), scheduled between November 30 and December 11. If there is little or no warming, why have an international agreement to reduce CO2 emissions that will be economically destructive?

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Presidential Candidate Bernie Sanders: Climate Change is STILL the Number One Security Threat

By Eric Worrall – Re-Blogged From http://www.WattsUpWithThat.com

In the aftermath of the horrific events in Paris, you would think some politicians might have been jolted into reconnecting with reality, regarding the relative dangers posed by climate change vs terrorism. But a few politicians seem to be clinging to the ridiculous view, that climate change is somehow more of a threat, than well organised homicidal maniacs.

According to Slate;

At Saturday night’s second Democratic presidential debate, just a day after ISIS launched horrific coordinated terrorist attacks in Paris, moderator and Slate political columnist John Dickerson asked Bernie Sanders a straightforward question: “Sen. Sanders, you said you want to rid the planet of ISIS. In the previous debate you said the greatest threat to national security was climate change. Do you still believe that?”

Sanders didn’t hesitate: “Absolutely.”

Read more: http://www.slate.com/blogs/the_slatest/2015/11/14/bernie_sanders_was_right_on_climate_change_and_terrorism_at_the_debate.html

Guns and bombs are horrible enough, but they might only be a taste of what the near future holds. For example, lets consider the issue of nuclear terrorism.

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Islam and the US Economy

By Bob Shapiro

I came across the following video which I’d like to share with you. It’s one view of the spread of Islam throughout the world through the many centuries since it started.

The point which I found especially interesting – and relevant to the mission of this web site – is that before an area was conquered, there was a concerted, relentless effort to ruin the Economy of that area. Commerce was attacked. The ability to build wealth was attacked. It could take decades or generations, but, once the area lost economic vitality, the soldiers of Islam were able to take over and to subjugate the area.

The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan cost the US over a Trillion Dollars and many thousands of dead and wounded men and women who were in the prime of their lives. The stupidity of the regulations coming out of the Wars on Fossil Fuels by he governments of all the western countries – not least the US (EPA Endangerment Finding anyone?), have sapped the west of most of its economic vitality. A US President who is openly fanning the flames of racial and ethnic hatreds in the US, and who gives rewards to his cronies while persecuting his enemies, while he flouts the US Constitution, is making the US Economy and social cohesiveness weaker.

Policies in the west have allowed tens of thousands of Islamic refugees to pour into the west. In the US, these people are only a tiny percentage of the open border aliens flooding in. We’ve seen the Islamic influence in country after country turn to violence, as it did with the coordinated terror attacks in Paris a few days ago. I have to give a significant probability of upcoming Islamic terror attacks – again! – in the US.

You may not agree with everything in the video (I didn’t), but I expect that you’ll find it interesting and informative. It’s 45 minutes long and may start in the middle in your browser, so you may have to move the time slider back to the left.

The Shadow Rate Casts Gloom

By Peter Schiff – Re-Blogged From EuroPacifi Capital

Nearly 92% of economists surveyed this week by the Wall Street Journal expect that our eight-year experiment with unprecedented monetary easing from the Federal Reserve will come to an end at the next Fed meeting in December. Since we have had the monetary wind at our back for so many years, at least a few have begun to question our ability to make economic and financial gains against actual headwinds. But in reality, the tightening cycle that the forecasters are waiting for actually started last year. Sadly, the markets and the economy are already showing an inability to handle it.

While it’s true that we have yet to achieve “lift-off” from zero percent interest rates, rates have not been the only means by which the Fed has provided stimulus. We also have to account for the effects of Quantitative Easing (QE) and forward guidance of the Fed. Changes in those inputs over the past year have already created conditions of monetary tightening.

QE has been the process by which the central bank expands its balance sheet (otherwise known as printing money) to buy government and asset-backed bonds on the longer end of the duration spectrum. In so doing, it is able to help hold down long-term interest rates, a result that it would be difficult to achieve by changes in the federal funds rate. Zero percent interest rates represent a loose monetary policy, but once at the zero lower bound, QE is the way the bank eases even further.

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The “Bloodbath” In Canada Is Far From Over

By Justin Spittler – Re-Blogged From http://www.Silver-Phoenix500.com

The oil price crash continues to claim victims…and many of them are in Canada.

The price of oil hovered around $100 for most of last summer. Today, it’s trading for less than $45.

Weak oil prices have pummeled huge oil companies. The SPDR S&P Oil & Gas Exploration & Production ETF (XOP), which tracks the performance of major U.S. oil producers, has declined 36% over the past year. The Market Vectors Oil Services ETF (OIH), which tracks U.S. oil services companies, has declined 30% since last November.

Weak oil prices have even pushed entire countries to the brink. Saudi Arabia, which produces more oil than any country in the world, is on track to post its first budget deficit since 2009 this year. If oil prices stay low, the country could burn through its massive $650 million pile of foreign reserves within five years.

•  Oil’s collapse is also creating big problems for Canada’s economy…

Canada is the world’s sixth largest oil producer. Oil makes up 25% of its exports.

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The Height Of Temperature Folly

By Willis Eschenbach – Re-Blogged From http://www.WattsUpWithThat.com

In her always interesting blog, Dr. Judith Curry [and Anthony at WUWTpoints to a very well-researched article by Bjorn Lomborg, peer-reviewed, entitled “Impact of Current Climate Proposals” (full text).

He has repeated the work that Tom Wigley did for the previous IPCC report. There is a simplified climate model called “MAGICC” which is used extensively by the IPCC. It can be set up to emulate the results of any of the climate models used by the IPCC, including their average results, by merely changing the MAGICC settings. This lets us figure out how much cooling we can expect from a variety of programs that promise to reduce CO2.

The abstract of the paper says (emphasis and formatting mine):

This article investigates the temperature reduction impact of major climate policy proposals implemented by 2030, using the standard MAGICC climate model. Even optimistically assuming that promised emission cuts are maintained throughout the century, the impacts are generally small.

  • The impact of the US Clean Power Plan (USCPP) is a reduction in temperature rise by 0.013°C by 2100.
  • The full US promise for the COP21 climate conference in Paris, its so-called Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) will reduce temperature rise by 0.031°C.
  • The EU 20-20 policy has an impact of 0.026°C, the EU INDC 0.053°C, and China INDC 0.048°C.
  • All climate policies by the US, China, the EU and the rest of the world, implemented from the early 2000s to 2030 and sustained through the century will likely reduce global temperature rise about 0.17°C in 2100.

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The Declining Interest Rate Cap

By Alasdair Macleod – Re-Blogged From http://www.Silver-Phoenix500.com

Believe it or not, one of the topics in economics that confuses macroeconomists is the actual role of interest rates. For the most part they just assume that an interest rate is the cost of money, the price of money, or even the transfer of the fruits of production from producers to idle capitalists. This last assumption appears to have been Keynes’s motivation for his dislike of savers, or rentiers as he disparagingly labelled them. The thought that workers slave for a master who then pays interest to capitalists energises Marxism as well.

In a free market, consumption comes in two basic forms: that which is consumed today, and that which is postponed into the future. Deferred consumption is saving, and Keynes’s target was the saver, even “looking forward to the rentier’s euthanasia” as he put it in his General Theory.

Denying Say’s Law or the law of the markets allowed Keynes, in his own mind anyway, to replace the saver with the state as the principal source of funding for industrial investment. That he came to this conclusion can only be the result of moral principles unsupported by reasoned theory. But once you launch yourself down what amounts to the slipway of prejudice, there is no knowing where it will all end. In Keynes’s case, it produced a following which has become the mainspring of today’s macroeconomic mainstream. We play this down, commonly saying that the reason for discouraging saving is to encourage current consumption. This is an error, and everyone who utters this knows or should know it. All Keynes’s work, from his Tract on Monetary Reform onwards hints at his true desire, to eliminate idle savers as an economic factor.

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Weekly Climate and Energy News Roundup #204

The Week That Was: (November 7, 2015) – Brought to You by www.SEPP.org

By Ken Haapala, President, Science and Environmental Policy Project

Un-Validated Models: “The basic problem with the IPCC’s [UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change] extensive analysis of peer-reviewed, published research, from which it draws its conclusions regarding climate sensitivity to CO2 [carbon dioxide] and other GHG [greenhouse gases], is that it makes the critical mistake of giving any credence whatsoever to projections of future climate changes, and attribution of those changes, from output of un-validated climate simulation models. Moreover, in our opinion, the results of computer model studies should only be published in scientific journals if they are accompanied by supportive empirical observations. This conclusion is based on over a half-century of experience from many of our research team members, using models for critical decision-making in design and operation of spacecraft, where human safety was involved.

“Although computer models based on first principles are used extensively for design of commercial airplanes, bridges and buildings, engineers never base design decisions on output of un-validated computer models, and for good reasons supported by a grateful public. For what possible reason would it be appropriate to base public policy decisions regarding climate, with potentially severe unintended consequences, on un-validated climate simulation models, as the IPCC advocates and as adopted by the IWG [US Interagency Working Group] for SCC {Social Cost of Carbon] calculation?” (p.22)

“The Right Climate Stuff (TRCS) research team is a volunteer group composed primarily of more than 25 retired NASA Apollo Program veterans, who joined together in February 2012 to perform an objective, independent study of scientific claims of significant global warming caused by human activity, known as Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW).” (p.11)

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Thirty-Eight Years Of Subsidies

By Willis Eschenbach – Re-Blogged From http://www.WattsUpWiththat.com

On April 18, 1977, President Jimmy Carter announced his new energy policy. His speech included the following predictions of a dire future unless we repented of our evil ways:

I know that some of you may doubt that we face real energy shortages. The 1973 gasoline lines are gone, and our homes are warm again. But our energy problem is worse tonight than it was in 1973 or a few weeks ago in the dead of winter. It is worse because more waste has occurred, and more time has passed by without our planning for the future. And it will get worse every day until we act.

The oil and natural gas we rely on for 75 percent of our energy are running out. In spite of increased effort, domestic production has been dropping steadily at about six percent a year. Imports have doubled in the last five years. Our nation’s independence of economic and political action is becoming increasingly constrained. Unless profound changes are made to lower oil consumption, we now believe that early in the 1980s the world will be demanding more oil that it can produce.

The world now uses about 60 million barrels of oil a day and demand increases each year about five percent. This means that just to stay even we need the production of a new Texas every year, an Alaskan North Slope every nine months, or a new Saudi Arabia every three years. Obviously, this cannot continue.

Now we have a choice. But if we wait, we will live in fear of embargoes. We could endanger our freedom as a sovereign nation to act in foreign affairs. Within ten years we would not be able to import enough oil — from any country, at any acceptable price.

If we wait, and do not act, then our factories will not be able to keep our people on the job with reduced supplies of fuel. Too few of our utilities will have switched to coal, our most abundant energy source.

Inflation will soar, production will go down, people will lose their jobs. Intense competition will build up among nations and among the different regions within our own country.

If we fail to act soon, we will face an economic, social and political crisis that will threaten our free institutions.

SOURCE Carter’s Speech

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What’s Different About Monetary Policy?

By Keith Weiner – Re-Blogged From http://www.Gold-Eagle.com

Many people agree that it’s important to move to a free market in money (i.e. the gold standard). They also say that it’s just as important to fight bad taxes and regulation. In their view, government interference in the economy is like friction in a car. The more friction you add, the slower the car goes. One source of friction is much the same as any other.

Let me explain why it doesn’t quite work that way, using a few examples.

Suppose the government imposes an expensive tax on employers based on the number of full-time employees. Full time is defined as working at least 30 hours per week. Employers respond to this tax by reducing the hours of as many employees as possible below the threshold. The law still harms employers, but less than intended. If the law were a bullet aimed at the chest of the employer, it ends up causing a flesh wound.

Another example is a law that makes it illegal for startup companies to pitch their deals to non-accredited investors. Accredited investors form organized groups that entrepreneurs can safely go to and raise capital. It’s cumbersome, and it leaves some entrepreneurs out in the cold, but as with the employer tax, everyone works to minimize the damage.

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Let’s Control Our Government

cropped-bob-shapiro.jpg   By Bob Shapiro

In recent days, Congress has raised the National Debt Ceiling once again. The new ceiling of $20+ Trillion probably will not be hit until 2017, after the next election. No surprise there, as Members of Congress have proven to be cowards yet again.

A rising National Debt implies a continuing Budget Deficit. The size of the Ceiling rise implies an acceleration in the Deficit, as pork barrel spending will be used to help current Members get reelected. When I was a kid, this was called corruption. I’m not sure why it is not called corruption today.

So, what’s so bad about running a Deficit?

Plenty!

  • The US Economy is made up of two sides: the Government side and the Private, Productive Sector side. The Government side, almost by definition, involves spending which the Private, Productive Sector would not do. The Government side takes money from those individuals and businesses which have earned it, to give to those individuals and businesses which haven’t earned it.

      By its very nature, Government spending is less productive – less valuable – to the whole Economy than spending by the Private, Productive Sector, even though official GDP numbers give them the same weight.

     Since Government spending is less valuable, and directly reduces the Private, Productive Sector, every Dollar spent by our Government reduces the US Economy – increased Government spending makes every American, rich, poor, and in between, less well off. Government spending makes us all poorer.

Debt Burden

  • Government spending, since it takes money away from the Private, Productive Sector, this side of the Economy is less able to grow. Real GDP growth during the Obama regime has been dead flat according to the official fairy tale numbers. GDP growth has averaged only about 2% during the last generation or two, compared to growth of around 3.5% before 50 years ago. An Economy growing at 2% a year will double in size in 36 years. In 36 years, an Economy growing at 3.5% will grow to be almost 3½ times as big. Out-of-control Government spending (and Over-Regulation) has robbed all Americans of that extra 1½ times of GDP growth. All Americans would have been 75% more well off (3.5 times vs only a double) with previous relatively low spending levels than we are with the “drunken sailors” in Congress, in just the last 36 years.
  • Continuing Deficits and a growing National Debt need to be financed, which takes even more resources away from the Private, Productive Sector. They encourage the Government to print more Paper Dollars, which reduces the value of all the Dollars which you and I have saved. Deficits and a rising Debt level are embarrassing, so there is a government urgency to screw with the official numbers, making them look not quite so bad. The Private, Productive Sector works best when the data it uses is accurate. It works best when the money supply is not being inflated. It works best when the Government leaves it alone to do its thing. Bigger, more expensive Government make all Americans poorer.

GDP Shadow Stats 0115

  • If GDP is dead flat, as it has been during the Obama years, and the US Population grows, then each American alive today has a claim to a smaller portion of that GDP. The per-capita GDP has gone down. Even by the Government’s manipulated figures, All Americans are poorer because of our Government’s activities.

In past essays, I have proposed several “Action Items” to help reduce Government Spending. I’d like to recount some those here.

  • No Bill shall be introduced, voted on, or passed which is over 50 pages in length. If the Sponsor can’t say what he wants within 50 pages, then he doesn’t know what he wants. This also means no more last minute “Ear Marks” to buy a Congressman’s YES vote.
  • No Member of Congress may vote YES on a Bill unless he can attest that he has read the Bill. He may vote NO or may ABSTAIN. ObamaCare was just one example of a Bill passed without giving Members of Congress time to understand what they were voting on.
  • Both Houses of Congress must send every Bill (and every amendment to that Bill) to a Constitution Committee, whose job is to show – specifically – where in the US Constitution every provision of the Bill is authorized. Both Houses shall hear/read public comments and must respond to each one of them in their report to their respective Houses.
  • A Constitutional Amendment shall be passed to Balance the Budget. It could include salary sanctions for the top brass of all three branches of our Government if the Budget is not Balanced during any year. The Limit shall apply to both Annual Spending and to Un-Funded Liabilities.
  • A Constitutional Amendment shall be passed to Pay Off the National Debt over a set number of years (perhaps 20), with a specific timetable.
  • A Constitutional Amendment shall be passed to place a Dollar Limit on Government spending, perhaps 10% above Government spending during the year it’s ratified. This will be an effective way to prevent further debasement of the Dollar. (A constant Dollar allows for more Government spending than a depreciated Dollar.)
  • A Constitutional Amendment shall be passed to require the Federal Budget to meet GAAP accounting rules, including Un-Funded Liabilities.

Our Government is supposed to work to increase the well-being of all Americans, not to make all Americans poorer.

Payrolls +271,000; Is the Game Changing?

[Recent “Non-Farm” Payrolls were up nicely last month. However, much more than half the rise came from the Business Birth/Death Model, which guesses an adjustment based on a guess of how many new businesses were started as opposed to how many shut their doors. These out-sized make-believe adjustments are one reason that government provided statistics must be taken with a grain (or more) of salt.  -Bob]

By Gary Tanashian – Re-Blogged From http://www.Silver-Phoenix500.com

Given the October Payrolls data, its effect on interest rates and the US dollar we seem to be back to a point similar to where we were 1 year ago when we used a strong USD (and corresponding weak Yen and Euro) to plot bullish trade possibilities in Japan and Europe, and a bearish environment for US exporters.

But first, with the help of the highly recommended Floatingpath.com let’s continue to break down the particulars of the Payrolls report (we reviewed monthly ‘jobs’ growth by industry in a post at nftrh.com): Inside Jobs.

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On Global Warming and the Illusion of Control

This is a FREE E-Book, which can be downloaded at https://bobtisdale.files.wordpress.com/2015/11/tisdale-on-global-warming-and-the-illusion-of-control-part-1.pdf.  This E-Book is written largely in laymen’s terms, as a comprehensive introduction to the Theory of Human Caused Global Warming. – [Bob]

By Bob Tisdale

On Global Warming and the Illusion of Control –Part 1

PREFACE

The title of this ebook On Global Warming and the Illusion of Control is based in part on the theory that was first presented by Dr. Ellen Langer, professor of psychology at Harvard University. Her 1975 paper The Illusion of Control was published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. In the abstract of that paper, Langer defined the “ illusion of control” as: … an expectancy of a personal success probability inappropriately higher than the objective probability would warrant.
Let’s put that in easier-to-understand terms.
The ScienceDaily webpage about illusion of control begins: Illusion of control is the tendency for human beings to believe they can control or at least influence outcomes that they demonstrably have no influence over. Illusion of control is appropriate for the current groupthink (more commonly refer red to as a consensus) that mankind can control future global temperatures and sea levels and that we can also control climate — control how often weather events occur, how strong they are and how long those events last — simply by limiting carbon dioxide emissions. In other words, the ever-increasing, whimsically optimistic fantasies about modifying and controlling climate through cuts in greenhouse – gas
emissions are clear – cut examples of illusion of control.

World’s Largest Debtor Ever Raises US ‘Debt Ceiling’…Again

By Mark O’Byrne – Re=Blogged From http://www.Gold-Eagle.com

The US government has once again agreed to increase its so-called debt “ceiling” – this time from $18.5 trillion to $20 trillion.  The so-called debt ceiling is recognized industry-wide as a complete misnomer.


Source: Sharelynx.com

“The phrase “debt ceiling” sounds austere and restrictive, as if intended to keep a lid on government spending. Actually, the U.S. national debt limit was conceived almost a century ago to do the opposite: to make it easier for Washington to borrow money” (see: Bloomberg Quicktake)

Investment advisers Casey Research yesterday called the debt ceiling ‘a farce’. “Last week, Forbes reported the U.S. government has raised the debt ceiling 74 times since March 1962. The latest increase – number 75 – should help fund the government until March 2017 or so.”

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December FED Rate Hike?

cropped-bob-shapiro.jpg   By Bob Shapiro

It looked as if the FED had decided to go all in with money printing. And, it looked like the FED officials were lying through their teeth with all the jawboning since Janet Yellen became FED Chief. Not only was the FED continuing with ZIRP and QE money expansion, but also Negative Interest Rates. But something may have changed the last couple of weeks.

Since a month ago, interest rates have gone up. It’s not enough to call it a spike, but up nonetheless.

US Treasury Yields 110815

Short rates – on 3 month T-Bills – went from a low of -0.04% to a recent high of 0.06%, although they have settled back a little to 0.04%. However, over the rest of the yield curve, from 6 mo and 2 year up to the 10 and 30 year maturities, yields are up by a quarter percent or more.

The odds of the FED actually raising rates “officially” at their December meeting, are starting to look good.

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Another Dud Highway Bill from the House

By Michael Sargent – Re-Blogged From http://www.heritage.org/

Today the House Transportation and Infrastructure committee will mark-up their “long-term” highway bill, the Surface Transportation Reauthorization and Reform (STRR) Act, with only a week left before the deadline.

Spanning six years, STRR is the House’s response to the big-spending DRIVE Act that passed in the Senate at the end of July, just before Congress decided on a short-term, $8 billion patch instead.

Those who expected the “reform” part of STRR to be the emphasis will not find much to like in the legislation. STRR is another status-quo bailout that perpetuates the chronic overspending and misallocation of resources spent out of the Highway Trust Fund. The bill, which totals $325 billion in spending, keeps current funding levels in place (adjusted for inflation) while completely disregarding the annual deficit of about $15 billion expected over the next six years.

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ARCHDUKE FRANZ FERDINAND AND THE REAL CAUSE OF WORLD WAR ONE

[War (usually) is STUPID! Even if you’re the big, rich, powerful country, the unintended consequences can strip you of your wealth – or even destroy your country. Here’s a brief account of Austria’s downfall as it caused World War I. -Bob ]

By Samantha James – Re-Blogged From The Historical Diaries

The Assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand and the start of World War One

The most common knowledge of what caused World War One is the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria- Hungary and his pregnant wife Sophie. The Archduke was heir presumptive to the Austrian throne. The couple ended up being shot to death June 28, 1914 while visiting Sarajevo by Gavrilo Princip. This definitely angered the Austrian government but it is debated about how much. The country took three weeks to react to the death of their heir and had plenty of other motives to want to bring about a war. This reason is territory in what is known as The Balkans. It was literally un-owned due to the fall of The Ottoman Empire. Austria was looking to bring about a preventive war against Serbia for the land. It had originally been lost during The Balkan War.

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Catalonia and the Move Against Empires

By Jeff Thomas – Re-Blogged From http://www.internationalman.com

Recently, the people of Catalonia voted in favour of seceding from Spain.

In the recent election, secessionist parties secured 72 out of the 135 seats, confirming that the majority of voters want secession. Artur Mas, region president of Catalonia and the leader of the Junts pel Sí movement, is seeking independence from Spain in 18 months.

This is great news for libertarians the world over, as, to our minds, this is a clear step forward for the Catalan people and for those who seek greater freedom from governments worldwide. And, of course, any blow against the present trend toward empires is a step in the right direction.

Catalonia and the Move Against Empires

But, this is not the whole picture and, if we’re going to look at the greater truth instead of the truth that we’d like to see, things get a bit more complicated.

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Global Fiscal And Monetary Madness

By Michael Pento – Re-Blogged From http://www.Silver-Phoenix500.com

Last week China’s central bank (the PBOC) cut borrowing costs for the sixth time in a year and eased the reserve requirement ratio (RRR) for the third time this year, in a desperate attempt to achieve the prescribed growth target of 7% off the back of ever-increasing credit issuance. The PBOC lowered the one-year benchmark bank lending rate by 25 basis points to 4.35%, the one-year benchmark deposit rate was also lowered by 25 basis points to 1.5%.

In addition to this, the RRR was cut by 50 basis points for all banks, bringing the ratio to 17.5% for the biggest lenders, while banks that lend to small companies and agricultural firms received an additional 50-basis-point reduction to their RRR.

This latest round of easing followed a report showing that despite a surprise devaluation of the yuan in August, economic growth in the third quarter was the slowest in six years. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. estimates the easing will release 600 to 700 billion yuan ($94 billion to $110 billion) into the financial system, keeping borrowing costs at the regime’s all-time low.

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