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MIT Report & Analysis: Obama Used Fake Intel to Push Syrian War

“A new report and analysis on the deadly chemical-weapon attack in Syria last August — blamed on the Assad regime by warmongering Western governments and Sunni Arab dictators — offers further evidence that the Obama administration almost certainly used deception in its failed bid to more deeply embroil the United States and its military in Syria’s ongoing war. Congress and a public uproar eventually slammed the brakes on overt intervention in Syria by U.S. armed forces, but the experts behind the latest study say the implications surrounding the use of bogus “intelligence” to start wars are massive.

Based on the latest findings of two prominent experts, which appear to confirm other reports and investigations, it would have been impossible for the Assad dictatorship to have perpetrated the chemical attack outside Damascus as outlined by Obama and other Western officials. Instead, it seems that the more likely culprits of the attack were foreign-backed “rebel” groups hoping to overthrow the relatively secular regime and install an Islamist dictatorship based on sharia law. Estimates suggest almost 1,500 people died in the attack, including more than 400 children.

The new report, entitled “Possible Implications of Faulty U.S. Technical Intelligence,” was published by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Science, Technology, and Global Security Working Group. It was written by former United Nations weapons inspector Richard Lloyd and MIT Science, Technology, and National Security Policy Professor Theodore Postol. Among other major concerns, the two experts in the field found that despite official claims and “intelligence,” the August 21 nerve-agent attack in East Ghouta “could not possibly” have come from the center or even the Eastern edge of regime-controlled territory.

Indeed, the crude rockets with chemical agents on them only had a range of about two kilometers — a far cry from the five to ten kilometers required for them to have been fired from the heart of Damascus. Those findings concur with the conclusions of other investigators, including those of the UN independent assessment of the range of the chemical munitions. “We don’t know the weight, or a few other factors, but two kilometers is a good estimate,” UN weapons inspector Åke Sellström told reporters. Military experts quoted in German media reports agreed with the findings as well.

Other primary policy issues raised in the report include the fact that the “mistaken intelligence” could have led to an “unjustified U.S. military action based on false intelligence.” According to the authors, “a proper vetting of the fact that the munition was of such short range would have led to a completely different assessment of the situation for the gathered data.” Regardless of the reasons for what the authors called the “egregious errors in the intelligence,” the source of the errors needs to be explained, they said.

“If the source of these errors is not identified, the procedures that led to this intelligence failure will go uncorrected, and the chances of a future policy disaster will grow with certainty,” the report concluded. In other words, if the obvious problems in the so-called “intelligence” juggernaut are not fixed, the prospect of even more wars based on lies — or “faulty intelligence,” as some apologists for never-ending U.S. government interventionism refer to it — will continue to escalate.

Citing alleged “intelligence,” Obama and multiple top administration officials claimed repeatedly that the Assad regime had perpetrated the attack. In response to crossing the “red line,” the administration argued, the U.S. government must start raining missiles down on Syria. The dictatorship denied having deployed chemical weapons in the war, and as The New Americandocumented extensively, vast amounts of evidence emerged in the days and weeks after the attack suggesting that it had actually been perpetrated by rebel forces. Such attacks are often referred to as “false flags.”

While the report is not conclusive evidence that the regime was not in fact responsible for the attack, it does demolish multiple claims made by the Obama administration. Indeed, according to the MIT study, based on the estimated range of the rockets involved and their landing spots, all possible launch points for the primary weapons would have been inside rebel-held territory. Maps of the area provided by the White House showing what areas were under whose control were used to illustrate the conclusions in the report. The authors also noted that U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s claim that “satellite images” had shown the location of impacts were probably not true.

“My view when I started this process was that it couldn’t be anything but the Syrian government behind the attack,” MIT Professor Postol was quoted as saying by the McClatchy news service after an interview about the findings. “But now I’m not sure of anything. The administration narrative was not even close to reality. Our intelligence cannot possibly be correct.” He also pointed out that the “Syrian rebels most definitely have the ability to make these weapons.” In fact, he added, “I think they might have more ability than the Syrian government.” Based on its disclosures, the Syrian regime does not even possess such weapons. “What, exactly, are we spending all this money on intelligence for?” Postol asked.

Of course, the implosion of the Obama administration’s apparently bogus narrative on Syria follows a long pattern of deceptive so-called “intelligence” being cited by U.S. presidents to wage unconstitutional and unwise wars. The most obvious example is Iraq, where the Bush administration continually cited claims and “intelligence” about “Weapons of Mass Destruction” that were never found. Former President Bush later joked about the non-existent WMDs, although few others found humor in the loss of life and treasure that followed the war based on “flawed intelligence.” In Libya, Obama also cited erroneous “intelligence” to justify an unconstitutional war without so much as approval from Congress.

Perhaps weary of bogus information being used to spark more wars, Americans were outraged, with a deafening public outcry and congressional opposition following Obama’s demand for war in Syria — likely putting an end to the plot to overtly inject the U.S. military into Syria’s civil war. However, from the start, the Obama administration and other foreign powers have been crucial to the jihadist rebels’ cause — supplying weapons, funding, training, and international cover in the establishment’s bid to secure “regime change” in Damascus. The fruits of those machinations are now clear to see: Over 100,000 dead, minorities being targeted for extermination, millions displaced, and more. ….”

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iMinority Report

[youtube://http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xRdmrAj9YGs#t=46 450 300]


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Alive and Well: Political Bribery

“Despite a number of laws forbidding them from accepting gifts from lobbyists, congressional leaders regularly exploit legal loopholes to jet-set throughout the country on lobbyists’ expense, according to a new report.

Members of Congress have taken trips to California’s Napa Wine Valley, Colorado ski country, and other hotspots around the US and Puerto Rico – all paid for by companies and corporate representatives hoping to cozy up and hopefully influence politicians.

A law was signed in 2007 aiming to curb such abuse after lawmakers were busted taking paid golf trips to Europe, but some creative scheming has made it possible for politicians to enjoy their weekends outside of Washington.

The New York Times has revealed that political action committee (PACs) and political campaigns controlled by politicians on both sides of the aisle collect money from wealthy donors and corporate executives, and then use that money to fund catering and lodging expenses at swanky resort locations. There, at five star hotels in Las Vegas, Florida, and Bermuda, Democrats and Republicans mingle with executives from an array of businesses.

It has become kind of the norm,” Vic Fazio, a California congressman-turned-lobbyist, told the Times. “To the average citizen, it might seem like there is a disconnect between the reality of life in America and these getaways.”

Between 50 and 100 lobbyists make generally accompany lawmakers on the trips, donating anywhere from $1,000 to $5,000 to the lawmaker’s PAC for the privilege. Such activity is perfectly legal under current campaign law, a contentious topic that legislators have sought to eliminate, amend, and completely overhaul in recent years…..”

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China’s Mega Default in T Minus 10 Days

“On Friday, Chinese state media reported that China Credit Trust Co. warned investors that they may not be repaid when one of its wealth management products matures on January 31, the first day of the Year of the Horse.

The industrial and Commercial Bank of China sold the China Credit Trust to its customers in inland Shanxi Province. This bank, the world’s largest by assets, on Thursday suggested they would not compensate investors, stating in a phone interview with Reuters that ” a situation does not completely exist in which ICBC will assume the main responsibility.”

There should be no mystery why this investment known as ” 2010 China Credit-Equals Gold #1 Collective Trust Product” is on the verge of default….”

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Hulbert: Six Warning Signs That Equity Markets May Fall

“The stock market is more overvalued than at most of its other tops since 1900, as measured by six prominent valuation measures, says Mark Hulbert, publisher of Hulbert Financial Digest.

“That doesn’t mean the bull market is coming to an end, of course, since some past bull markets were even more overvalued when they topped out,” he writes in The Wall Street Journal.

“Nevertheless, the evidence suggests that risks are high. You may want to consider selling some of your stock holdings and building up cash.”

Hulbert looked at 35 bull market tops since 1900, as defined by Ned Davis Research.

When it comes to the price-earnings (P/E) ratio, based on the previous year’s earnings, the Standard & Poor’s ratio is now 18.6, exceeding 24 of the 35 prior tops.

Moreover, Robert Shiller’s cyclically adjusted P/E ratio, which uses 10 years of earnings, sits at 25.6, beating 29 of the 35 previous tops.

Meanwhile, the S&P 500’s dividend yield stands at 2 percent, lower than 30 of the 35 prior tops. A lower yield can mean higher stock prices.

The other three indicators are…”

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Black Gold Production in the U.S. Exceeds Even the Most Bullish Estimates

“The United States continued its “relentless rise” in crude oil production in 2013, exceeding even the most bullish of expectations, the International Energy Agency (IEA) reported on Tuesday.

Mandel Ngan | AFP | Getty Images

As the U.S. looks toward a future of energy independence, the IEA noted that U.S. crude output for 2013 outstripped its projections from a year ago by around 455 kb/d, and noted that “U.S. crude oil supply in 2013 registered the fastest absolute annual supply growth of any country in the last two decades, rising 15 percent in 2013.”

(Read more: Exporting oil a good idea? Not everyone thinks so)

This helped blunt the impact of supply declines elsewhere, notably Libya and Iran,

The findings from the IEA mirror those of the Energy Information Administration (EIA) in December, when the organization said that the U.S. will continue to produce copious amounts of oil and natural gas through at least 2016, with natural gas production likely to spike for the next two decades at a minimum.

Many experts now forecast the U.S. becoming completely energy independent by 2020…”

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The IMF Upgrades World Growth for 2014 to 3.7%

The world economy will grow by more than previously expected this year, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) forecast on Tuesday.

In an update to its “World Economic Outlook”, the IMF predicted global economic growth of 3.7 percent in 2014, an upgrade on the 3.6 percent growth it forecast last October.

“The IMF — which monitors the global economy and lends to its 188 member countries if they are in financial difficulty — attributed the raise to improving conditions in advanced economies.

(CNBC Explains: IMF)

“Financial conditions in advanced economies have eased since the release of the October 2013 WEO (World Economic Outlook) — with little change since the announcement by the U.S. Federal Reserve on December 18 that it will begintapering its quantitative easing measures this month. This includes further declines in risk premiums on government debt of crisis-hit euro area economies,” the IMF said on Tuesday.

Yoshikazu Tsuno | AFP | Getty Images
Shipping containers are unloaded from an international freighter while another cargo ship (R) arrives at the international cargo terminal in Tokyo on October 21, 2013.

Japan and Spain saw their outlooks upgraded by the IMF on Tuesday, and are now seen growing by 0.6 percent and 1.7 percent respectively in 2014.

The U.K.‘s growth forecast was also increased, a move widely anticipated by the country’s media.

“Activity in the United Kingdom has been buoyed by easier credit conditions and increased confidence. Growth is expected to average 2.25 percent in 2014–15, but economic slack will remain high,” the IMF said….”

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Comedy Files: Beware of “Tall Whites”

“Maybe conspiracy theorist Jim Garrow was right about the impending revelation of alien contact.

A semi-official Iranian news agency reported Sunday that former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden had revealed documents proving that extraterrestrial beings had secretly controlled U.S. domestic and international policy since at least 1945.

The FARS news agency reported that nearly 2 million “top-secret documents” revealed by Snowden to Russia’s Federal Security Services (FSB) “confirmed” that an alien race known as “tall whites” was behind American efforts to create a global electronic surveillance system to hide their presence and eventually control the planet….”

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Documentary: Home

Click here for documentary

“When the Last Tree Is Cut Down, the Last Fish Eaten, and the Last Stream

Poisoned, You Will Realize That You Cannot Eat Money”

~Cree Indian Prophecy

[youtube://http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o9gK2fOq4MY 450 300]

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State of the Union: Feeling Not So Good This Past Year

“The last year apparently hasn’t been kind to Americans’ finances, according to a Gallup poll of 1,018 adults conducted Jan. 5 through Jan. 8.

A total of 42 percent say they are in worse financial shape than a year ago, compared with 35 percent who say they’re in better shape.

In late 2012, 38 percent said they were better off than the previous year, and 34 percent said they were worse off.

The 42 percent of people saying their finances are worse off now is 8 percentage points above the 1976-2014 average, while the 35 percent total for people who say they’re in better financial shape, compares with a 38 percent average for that period….”

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Really? German Regulator States Precious Metals Manipulation is Worse Than The Libor Scandal

“Remember when banks were exposed manipulating virtually everything except precious metals, because obviously nobody ever manipulates the price of gold and silver? After all, the biggest “conspiracy theory” of all is that crazy gold bugs blame every move against them on some vile manipulator. It may be time to shift yet another conspiracy “theory” into the “fact” bin, thanks to Elke Koenig, the president of Germany’s top financial regulator, Bafin, which apparently is not as corrupt, complicit and clueless as its US equivalent, and who said that in addition to currency rates, manipulation of precious metals “is worse than the Libor-rigging scandal.” Hear that Bart Chilton and friends from the CFTC?

More on what Eike said from Bloomberg:

The allegations about the currency and precious metals markets are “particularly serious, because such reference values are based — unlike Libor and Euribor — typically on transactions in liquid markets and not on estimates of the banks,” Elke Koenig, the president of Bafin, said in a speech in Frankfurt today…..”

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China Scarfs Up a Record Amount of U.S. Paper

“China boosted its holdings of US Treasury debt by $12.2 billion in November, enough to pass record levels set back in 2011.

As noted by the Associated Press, China now holds nearly $1.32 trillion in US Treasury debt, marking a 0.9 percent increase over the previous month for the United States’ largest foreign lender.

“Large interest-rate differential and steady appreciation of the renminbi contributed to large arbitrage inflows into China, a situation made all the more easy with China’s increasing financial integration and renminbi internationalization,” wrote UBS AG Hong Kong-based economist Wang Tao in a report on China’s data, according to Bloomberg News.

Meanwhile, Japan also purchased roughly $12 billion in Treasury holdings, a one percent increase, boosting its second-place share to almost $1.19 trillion.

Overall foreign holdings increased 1.1 percent to $5.72 trillion, marking the fourth straight month in which foreign purchases of US Treasury debt has risen.

Despite China’s record level of US holdings, Wang expects the country’s purchases to slow down over the course of 2014, largely due to the Federal Reserve’s decision to unwind its $75 billion bond-buying program….”

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CPI Makes its Biggest Leap in Six Months

“U.S. consumer prices rose last month by the most since June, driven up by higher gas prices, but excluding energy, inflation was tame.

The Labor Department said Thursday that the consumer price index rose a seasonally adjusted 0.3 percent in December, after a flat reading the previous month.

Prices increased 1.5 percent in 2013, down from 1.7 percent in 2012. That’s below the Federal Reserve’s target of 2 percent.

Gas prices jumped 3.1 percent in December, the biggest gain since June. Food prices ticked up 0.1 percent, pushed up by higher restaurant costs. Grocery prices were flat, held down by the biggest drop in fruit and vegetable prices in five years.

Excluding the volatile food and energy categories, core prices increased just 0.1 percent in December. Car prices were flat and airline fares plummeted 4.7 percent, the most in 14 years. Those declines were offset by a big increase in clothing costs, which followed three months of decreases, and rents also rose.

Core prices increased 1.7 percent in 2013, down from a 1.9 percent increase in 2012.

Inflation has been held back in recent years by sluggish growth and high unemployment, which makes it harder for retailers and other businesses to raise prices.

Persistently low inflation has allowed the Federal Reserve to pursue its extraordinary stimulus program…..”

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$GS: Have No Fear, There Are No Bubbles Here

“Hold on to your stocks and don’t be rattled by fear of bubbles, advise Goldman Sachs researchers.

“Our key takeaway is that both the odds and the penalty of being wrong when underweighting U.S. equities are very high,” Goldman Sachs researchers emphasize in a recent report.

Although U.S. equities are expensive compared with their historical standards and other developed and emerging markets, high valuations are not a good reason to underweight stocks, state Goldman’s Investment Strategy Group’s Chief Investment Officer Sharmin Mossavar-Rahmani and Managing Director Brett Nelson.

They cite four reasons why they see no bubble troubles in equities.

First, they note, “Credit growth, a key feature of financial asset bubbles, is not excessive.” The latest year-over-year credit growth was 4.4 percent, well below the average of 7.3 percent since 1947 and near the lowest in more than 60 years.

Second, investor flows into U.S. equities, which turned positive in early 2013 after five years of outflows, have also been subdued.

Third, sentiment toward the United States still has more room to improve due to the nation’s many strengths.

And finally, higher valuations do not foreshadow a market “implosion” or even negative returns. In fact, the Goldman team predicts earnings-per-share growth of about 6 percent for 2014….”

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The Bearded Clam: “we don’t think that financial stability concerns should at this point detract from the need for monetary policy accommodation”

“The Federal Reserve should give the economy the stimulus it needs despite “credible” worries that its massive bond-buying program could destabilize the financial system, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke said on Thursday.

In his last planned public remarks as head of the central bank, Bernanke said concern about the potential harm to financial stability is the only risk from unconventional monetary policies “that I find personally credible.”

But, he added “at this point we don’t think that, and I think I can speak for my colleagues on this, we don’t think that financial stability concerns should at this point detract from the need for monetary policy accommodation, which we are continuing to provide,” Bernanke said.

Editor’s Note: Retire 10 Years Earlier With These 4 Stocks 

During his tenure, Bernanke pushed the Fed far into unconventional territory, not only slashing short-term interest rates to zero and keeping them there since December 2008, but providing long-term “forward guidance” assuring investors the Fed would keep interest rates low for a long time to come.

In a second unprecedented move, he quadrupled the Fed’s balance sheet to $4 trillion through three rounds of bond-buying aimed at lowering long-term rates and spurring hiring.

“I do think by the way that they both have been helpful,” Bernanke said at a Brookings Institution event. And neither, he said, have delivered the potential costs that many warned they would, including unbridled inflation.

Inflation, by the Fed’s preferred gauge, has risen just 1.1 percent in the past 12 months, well below the Fed’s 2-percent target….”

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America’s Economic Freedom Falls for Seventh Consecutive Year

“The latest Index of Economic Freedom released by the Heritage Foundation and the Wall Street Journal shows just how successful the Bush and Obama administrations have been in their seeming attempts to turn the United States into a Third World economy. The index shows America’s economic freedom declining for the seventh year in a row, pushing it out of the top 10 freest economies in the world, just behind Estonia and just ahead of Bahrain.

Said Nathaniel Ward, writing at My Heritage:

The United States, with an economic score of 75.5, is [now] the 12th freest economy.… Its score is half a point lower than last year, primarily due to deteriorations in property rights, fiscal freedom, and business freedom….

Substantial expansion in the size and scope of government, including through new and costly regulations in areas like finance and health care, has contributed significantly to the erosion of U.S. economic freedom.

The growth of government has been accompanied by increasing cronyism that has undermined the rule of law and perceptions of fairness.

The index measures performance in 10 categories, including fiscal freedom (a measure of the tax burden imposed by the government on its citizens) and government spending (which measures spending compared to the country’s economic output). In both of those, the United States’ score has fallen precipitously, to 65.8 in fiscal freedom (compared to the world average of 77.3), and to 48.1 in government spending (compared to the world’s 62.7). By way of comparison, Hong Kong, which has been rated first in the index for 20 years, scored 90.1 overall, and had a 93.0 on fiscal freedom and 89.7 on government spending….”

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