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1

      

By Mac Slavo


Even though the signs of problems are visible in the economy, consumer spending surged in the month of August.  Americans upped their spending by 0.4% by buying cars and making purchases online.


According to Breitbart News, this uptick was more than economists had expected. Economists had forecast a more modest 0.2 percent gain. The previous month’s gain, boosted in part by Amazon’s Prime Day sales, was revised up to 0.8 percent from 0.7 percent.


Online sales, were expected to drop off steeply in a kind of post-Prime Day hangover, were surprisingly strong, rising 1.6 percent. Sales at home and garden centers were also robust. Auto sales jumped 1.8 percent. These can be volatile month-to-month. But purchases of big-ticket items like cars are generally a sign of consumer confidence and typically fall early in a slumping economy.


         



      

But it looks like this surge in consumerism was paid for with debt. Americans piled up $35.6 billion in credit card debt last quarter, an all-time record, according to the Kiowa County Press. “Americans began 2019 owing more than $1 trillion in credit card debt,” Alina Comoreanu, Wallethub senior researcher, said. “Although the forecast initially appeared brighter, thanks to consumers repaying $38.2 billion in credit card debt during Q1 2019, poor second-quarter results nearly erased that effort.”


“Credit card debt statistics speak to the financial health of American households,” Comoreanu added. “They can also foreshadow over-borrowing bubbles, changes to lending standards, and other trends with the potential to impact our wallets.”


The average household currently owes $8,602 in credit card debt, according to an analysis by Wallethub. Based on these numbers, we can deduce that much of the increase in spending is not coming from an increase in income, rather a desire to buy now and pay later. “Our overleveraging problem has been trending in the wrong direction for some time now, and the latest data indicate we’re truly entering dangerous territory,” WalletHub CEO Odysseas Papadimitriou said in response to the findings.



This article was sourced from SHTFPlan.com


Image credit: Pixabay


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2

      

By Tyler Durden


A sudden explosion at a Siberian virus research center on Monday reportedly left the facility engulfed in flames, according to several Russian news outlets.



Firefighters and other emergency personnel were dispatched to the “Vector Institute” located several miles from Novosibirsk – an emergency which was upgraded “from an ordinary emergency to a major incident,” according to RT, due to the research center for virology and biotechnology housed in the facility; however, the mayor of Koltsovo said there were no biologically dangerous substances in the area where the explosion occurred, and that the Vector laboratory was not in use at the time.


         



      

The State Research Center of Virology and Biotechnology Vector, also known as the Vector Institute, is a biological research center in Koltsovo, Novosibirsk Oblast, Russia. It is analogous to both the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the US Army Chemical and Biological Defense Command. It has research facilities and capabilities for all levels of Biological Hazard, CDC Levels 1-4.


Of note, Vector is reportedly one of two places worldwide where smallpox is stored.




The laboratory is known for having developed vaccines for Ebola and hepatitis, as well as for studying epidemics and genera issues surrounding immunology. During the Cold War, it was thought to be part of now-defunct Soviet biological weapons program, meaning that some of the most dangerous strains – including that of smallpox, Ebola, anthrax and certain plagues – are still being kept inside the Institute’s building.


With that in mind, a local branch of the Emergencies Ministry swiftly responded to the call, sending in 13 fire engines and 38 firefighters, who entered the six-story building minutes after arrival. –RT




According to Ukrinform.ua, a gas cylinder exploded on the fifth floor of the six-story building while construction crews were working at the time, after which a fire broke out in an area approximately 100 square feet. One worker suffered second- and third-degree burns and was taken to a local hospital.



This article was sourced from ZeroHedge.com


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3

      

By Elias Marat


It’s long been an image restricted to popular culture: unstoppable robot killers firing their high-powered rifles at clusters of helpless human soldiers with no choice but to flee the battlefield or risk sustaining tremendous losses.


The scenario of military robots and the artificial intelligence (AI) network “Skynet” spinning free from human control forms the basis of The Terminator series starring Arnold Schwarzenegger that has captivated moviegoers around the world. But now, according to a U.S. Navy official, the science fiction nightmare of wars entrusted to machines that “can’t be reasoned with [and] doesn’t feel pity, or remorse, or fear,”—as one character in the original film says—could become a reality.



The comments come as the Navy continues to upgrade its autonomous capabilities and bulk up its ranks with more advanced robotic systems.


         



      

However, this has been accompanied by work meant to prevent the service from putting too much trust into a system that could, some fear, one day have a mind of its own.


Steve Olsen, deputy branch head of the Navy’s mine warfare office, told Defense News:



Trust is something that is difficult to come by with a computer, especially as we start working with our test and evaluation community.


I’ve worked with our test and evaluation director, and a lot of times it’s: ‘Hey, what’s that thing going to do?’ And I say: ‘I don’t know, it’s going to pick the best path.’



Comparing the pitfalls of autonomous warfighting systems to the car crashes involving semi-autonomous private automobiles, Olsen continued:



And they don’t like that at all because autonomy makes a lot of people nervous. But the flip side of this is that there is one thing that we have to be very careful of, and that’s that we don’t over-trust. Everybody has seen on the news [when people] over-trusted their Tesla car. That is something that we can’t do when we talk about weapons’ system.


The last thing we want to see is the whole ‘Terminator going crazy’ [scenario], so we’re working very hard to take the salient steps to protect ourselves and others.



The Navy is already experimenting with a 135-ton autonomous unmanned surface vehicle (USV) named the Sea Hunter, which is meant to provide an autonomous platform for anti-submarine and electronic warfare as well as provide a decoy in any live-fire clash involving human forces.


Earlier this year, the Sea Hunter was the first ship of any kind to ever sail without a crew from San Diego, California, to Pearl Harbor, Hawaii and back.



And according to Defense One, the Air Force will begin work on flying cars this fall in a program called Agility Prime. Will Roper, Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics had this to say of the program:


The task I gave the team was to prepare a series of challenges from things that would involve smaller vehicles, maybe moving a couple of special aviators around, to things involving smaller logistics sets, ammo, meals that kind of thing out of harm’s way, up to moving heavy logistics, like weapons to reload on an aircraft, all the way to a bigger system.


In 2017, AI technology experts including Tesla founder Elon Musk wrote an open letter to the United Nations warning of the potential dangers of weapons systems equipped with integrated autonomous capabilities.


The letter noted:


Lethal autonomous weapons threaten to become the third revolution in warfare. Once developed, they will permit armed conflict to be fought at a scale greater than ever, and at timescales faster than humans can comprehend. These can be weapons of terror, weapons that despots and terrorists use against innocent populations, and weapons hacked to behave in undesirable ways. We do not have long to act. Once this Pandora’s box is opened, it will be hard to close.






The Campaign to Stop Killer Robots has also worked to fully ban autonomous weapons from the battlefield, noting that fully autonomous weapon systems “would decide who lives and dies, without further human intervention, which crosses a moral threshold,” according to its website.


The campaign added:


As machines, they would lack the inherently human characteristics such as compassion that are necessary to make complex ethical choices.



According to the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots, the stage is being set for a potentially destabilizing “robotic arms race” that could see countries worldwide working to gain the upper-hand in building their autonomous warfighting capabilities.


The militaries of the U.S., Russia, China, Israel, South Korea and the United Kingdom have already developed advanced systems that enjoy significant autonomy in their ability to select and attack targets, the campaign notes.


And while countries across the Global South have urged the UN to impose a ban on killer robots, states who possess these technologies have opposed such a ban at every turn—signaling that they are unwilling to let go of their revolutionary new implements of death.


And on Sunday, former top Google engineer Laura Nolan told the Guardian that she had joined the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots because the robot systems envisioned by Big Tech firms and militaries could potentially do “calamitous things that they were not originally programmed for.”



4

      

By B.N. Frank


The Telecom Industry has provided no scientific evidence that 5G exposure is safe.  Many scientists insist that it isn’t (see 1, 2, 3).  They also insist we’re being exposed to excessive and unhealthy levels of wireless radiation already – even without 5G.


Regardless, 5G is being installed everywhere despite all of this and increasing widespread opposition.  That and more were highlighted in this Full Measure cover story:



The rollout of this new technology is happening as we speak.


[…]


But the same magic that makes 5-G bigger, better and faster poses serious health risks to people, says (Dr. Martin) Pall.


         



      

Pall: We know that the EMF impact the cells of our bodies, all the cells of our bodies by activating some channels. And when they do that, they produce all kinds of effects. And those include neurological neuropsychiatric effects. They include reproductive effects, they include oxidative stress, which is involved in essentially all chronic diseases. So I’m, I’m deeply concerned about the situation.


Sharyl: Is it your feeling that mobile phone use and 5-G in the future have been and are causes of chronic disease epidemics in this country?


Pall: I believe that the exposures we already have are producing major effects already on our health. And that 5-G will be vastly worse than anything that we, we are already exposed to.


At least three expert medical groups have linked certain kinds of electromagnetic fields or EMFs to cancer, particularly childhood leukemia: The U.S. National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, a working group under the World Health Organization, and a European Scientific Committee – which studied cell phones in particular. Pall says there’s more to worry about.


Pall: what’s been shown is you get depression, you get, “I can’t sleep, tired all the time. I’m depressed. I’ve got headaches. I can’t concentrate. I’m anxious.” All the things that everybody complains about now we know are caused by EMF exposures and not just one type, but multiple types of EMF exposures.





Activist Post reports regularly about all risks associated with widespread 5G installation.  For more information visit our archives and following websites:



5GCrisis
5GExposed
5G Information
The 5G Summit
Electromagnetic Radiation Safety
Environmental Health Trust
In Power Movement
Parents for Safe Technology
Physicians for Safe Technology
TelecomPowerGrab.com
The People’s Initiative
Whatis5G.Info
Wireless Information Network
Zero5G

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5

      

By John W. Whitehead



“Since when have we Americans been expected to bow submissively to authority and speak with awe and reverence to those who represent us? The constitutional theory is that we the people are the sovereigns, the state and federal officials only our agents. We who have the final word can speak softly or angrily. We can seek to challenge and annoy, as we need not stay docile and quiet.”—Justice William O. Douglas, dissenting, Colten v. Kentucky, 407 U.S. 104 (1972)


Forget everything you’ve ever been taught about free speech in America.


It’s all a lie.


There can be no free speech for the citizenry when the government speaks in a language of force.


What is this language of force?


         



      

Militarized police. Riot squads. Camouflage gear. Black uniforms. Armored vehicles. Mass arrests. Pepper spray. Tear gas. Batons. Strip searches. Surveillance cameras. Kevlar vests. Drones. Lethal weapons. Less-than-lethal weapons unleashed with deadly force. Rubber bullets. Water cannons. Stun grenades. Arrests of journalists. Crowd control tactics. Intimidation tactics. Brutality.


This is not the language of freedom.


This is not even the language of law and order.


This is the language of force.


Unfortunately, this is how the government at all levels—federal, state and local—now responds to those who choose to exercise their First Amendment right to peacefully assemble in public and challenge the status quo.


This police overkill isn’t just happening in troubled hot spots such as Ferguson, Mo., and Baltimore, Md., where police brutality gave rise to civil unrest, which was met with a militarized show of force that caused the whole stew of discontent to bubble over into violence.


A decade earlier, the NYPD engaged in mass arrests of peaceful protesters, bystanders, legal observers and journalists who had gathered for the 2004 Republican National Convention. The protesters were subjected to blanket fingerprinting and detained for more than 24 hours at a “filthy, toxic pier that had been a bus depot.” That particular exercise in police intimidation tactics cost New York City taxpayers nearly $18 million for what would become the largest protest settlement in history.


Demonstrators, journalists and legal observers who had gathered in North Dakota to peacefully protest the Dakota Access Pipeline reported being pepper sprayed, beaten with batons, and strip searched by police.


In the college town of Charlottesville, Va., protesters who took to the streets to peacefully express their disapproval of a planned KKK rally were held at bay by implacable lines of gun-wielding riot police. Only after a motley crew of Klansmen had been safely escorted to and from the rally by black-garbed police did the assembled army of city, county and state police declare the public gathering unlawful and proceed to unleash canisters of tear gas on the few remaining protesters to force them to disperse.


More recently, this militarized exercise in intimidation—complete with an armored vehicle and an army of police drones—reared its ugly head in the small town of Dahlonega, Ga., where 600 state and local militarized police clad in full riot gear vastly outnumbered the 50 protesters and 150 counterprotesters who had gathered to voice their approval/disapproval of the Trump administration’s policies.


To be clear, this is the treatment being meted out to protesters across the political spectrum.


The police state does not discriminate.


As a USA Today article notes, “Federally arming police with weapons of war silences protesters across all justice movements… People demanding justice, demanding accountability or demanding basic human rights without resorting to violence, should not be greeted with machine guns and tanks. Peaceful protest is democracy in action. It is a forum for those who feel disempowered or disenfranchised. Protesters should not have to face intimidation by weapons of war.”


A militarized police response to protesters poses a danger to all those involved, protesters and police alike. In fact, militarization makes police more likely to turn to violence to solve problems.


As a study by researchers at Stanford University makes clear, “When law enforcement receives more military materials — weapons, vehicles and tools — it becomes … more likely to jump into high-risk situations. Militarization makes every problem — even a car of teenagers driving away from a party — look like a nail that should be hit with an AR-15 hammer.”


Even the color of a police officer’s uniform adds to the tension. As the Department of Justice reports, “Some research has suggested that the uniform color can influence the wearer—with black producing aggressive tendencies, tendencies that may produce unnecessary conflict between police and the very people they serve.”


You want to turn a peaceful protest into a riot?


Bring in the militarized police with their guns and black uniforms and warzone tactics and “comply or die” mindset. Ratchet up the tension across the board. Take what should be a healthy exercise in constitutional principles (free speech, assembly and protest) and turn it into a lesson in authoritarianism.


Mind you, those who respond with violence are playing into the government’s hands perfectly.


The government wants a reason to crack down and lock down and bring in its biggest guns.


They want us divided. They want us to turn on one another.


They want us powerless in the face of their artillery and armed forces.


They want us silent, servile and compliant.


They certainly do not want us to remember that we have rights, let alone attempting to exercise those rights peaceably and lawfully.


And they definitely do not want us to engage in First Amendment activities that challenge the government’s power, reveal the government’s corruption, expose the government’s lies, and encourage the citizenry to push back against the government’s many injustices.


You know how one mayor characterized the tear gassing of protesters by riot police? He called it an “unfortunate event.”


Unfortunate, indeed.


You know what else is unfortunate?


It’s unfortunate that these overreaching, heavy-handed lessons in how to rule by force have become standard operating procedure for a government that communicates with its citizenry primarily through the language of brutality, intimidation and fear.


It’s unfortunate that “we the people” have become the proverbial nails to be hammered into submission by the government and its vast armies.


And it’s particularly unfortunate that government officials—especially police—seem to believe that anyone who wears a government uniform (soldier, police officer, prison guard) must be obeyed without question.


In other words, “we the people” are the servants in the government’s eyes rather than the masters.


The government’s rationale goes like this:


Do exactly what I say, and we’ll get along fine. Do not question me or talk back in any way. You do not have the right to object to anything I may say or ask you to do, or ask for clarification if my demands are unclear or contradictory. You must obey me under all circumstances without hesitation, no matter how arbitrary, unreasonable, discriminatory, or blatantly racist my commands may be. Anything other than immediate perfect servile compliance will be labeled as resisting arrest, and expose you to the possibility of a violent reaction from me. That reaction could cause you severe injury or even death. And I will suffer no consequences. It’s your choice: Comply, or die.




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Indeed, as Officer Sunil Dutta of the Los Angeles Police Department advises:


If you don’t want to get shot, tased, pepper-sprayed, struck with a baton or thrown to the ground, just do what I tell you. Don’t argue with me, don’t call me names, don’t tell me that I can’t stop you, don’t say I’m a racist pig, don’t threaten that you’ll sue me and take away my badge. Don’t scream at me that you pay my salary, and don’t even think of aggressively walking towards me.


This is not the rhetoric of a government that is of the people, by the people, and for the people.


This is not the attitude of someone who understands, let alone respects, free speech.


And this is certainly not what I would call “community policing,” which is supposed to emphasize the importance of the relationship between the police and the community they serve.


Indeed, this is martial law masquerading as law and order.


Any police officer who tells you that he needs tanks, SWAT teams, and pepper spray to do his job shouldn’t be a police officer in a constitutional republic.


All that stuff in the First Amendment (about freedom of speech, religion, press, peaceful assembly and the right to petition the government for a redress of grievances) sounds great in theory. However, it amounts to little more than a hill of beans if you have to exercise those freedoms while facing down an army of police equipped with deadly weapons, surveillance devices, and a slew of laws that empower them to arrest and charge citizens with bogus “contempt of cop” charges (otherwise known as asserting your constitutional rights).


It doesn’t have to be this way.


There are other, far better models to follow.


For instance, back in 2011, the St. Louis police opted to employ a passive response to Occupy St. Louis activists. First, police gave the protesters nearly 36 hours’ notice to clear the area, as opposed to the 20 to 60 minutes’ notice other cities gave. Then, as journalist Brad Hicks reports, when the police finally showed up:


They didn’t show up in riot gear and helmets, they showed up in shirt sleeves with their faces showing. They not only didn’t show up with SWAT gear, they showed up with no unusual weapons at all, and what weapons they had all securely holstered. They politely woke everybody up. They politely helped everybody who was willing to remove their property from the park to do so. They then asked, out of the 75 to 100 people down there, how many people were volunteering for being-arrested duty? Given 33 hours to think about it, and 10 hours to sweat it over, only 27 volunteered. As the police already knew, those people’s legal advisers had advised them not to even passively resist, so those 27 people lined up to be peacefully arrested, and were escorted away by a handful of cops. The rest were advised to please continue to protest, over there on the sidewalk … and what happened next was the most absolutely brilliant piece of crowd control policing I have heard of in my entire lifetime. All of the cops who weren’t busy transporting and processing the voluntary arrestees lined up, blocking the stairs down into the plaza. They stood shoulder to shoulder. They kept calm and silent. They positioned the weapons on their belts out of sight. They crossed their hands low in front of them, in exactly the least provocative posture known to man. And they peacefully, silently, respectfully occupied the plaza, using exactly the same non-violent resistance techniques that the protesters themselves had been trained in.


As Forbes concluded, “This is a more humane, less costly, and ultimately more productive way to handle a protest. This is great proof that police can do it the old fashioned way – using their brains and common sense instead of tanks, SWAT teams, and pepper spray – and have better results.”


It can be done.


Police will not voluntarily give up their gadgets and war toys and combat tactics, however. Their training and inclination towards authoritarianism has become too ingrained.


If we are to have any hope of dismantling the police state, change must start locally, community by community. Citizens will have to demand that police de-escalate and de-militarize. And if the police don’t listen, contact your city councils and put the pressure on them.


Remember, they are supposed to work for us. They might not like hearing it—they certainly won’t like being reminded of it—but we pay their salaries with our hard-earned tax dollars.


“We the people” have got to stop accepting the lame excuses trotted out by police as justifications for their inexcusable behavior.


Either “we the people” believe in free speech or we don’t.


Either we live in a constitutional republic or a police state.




Brave - The Browser Built for Privacy



We have rights.


As Justice William O. Douglas advised in his dissent in Colten v. Kentucky, “we need not stay docile and quiet” in the face of authority.


The Constitution does not require Americans to be servile or even civil to government officials.


Neither does the Constitution require obedience (although it does insist on nonviolence).


This emphasis on nonviolence goes both ways. Somehow, the government keeps overlooking this important element in the equation.


There is nothing safe or secure or free about exercising your rights with a rifle pointed at you.


The police officer who has been trained to shoot first and ask questions later, oftentimes based only on their highly subjective “feeling” of being threatened, is just as much of a danger—if not more—as any violence that might erupt from a protest rally.


Compliance is no guarantee of safety.


Then again, as I point out in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, if we just cower before government agents and meekly obey, we may find ourselves following in the footsteps of those nations that eventually fell to tyranny.


The alternative involves standing up and speaking truth to power. Jesus Christ walked that road. So did Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., and countless other freedom fighters whose actions changed the course of history.


Indeed, had Christ merely complied with the Roman police state, there would have been no crucifixion and no Christian religion. Had Gandhi meekly fallen in line with the British Empire’s dictates, the Indian people would never have won their independence.


Had Martin Luther King Jr. obeyed the laws of his day, there would have been no civil rights movement. And if the founding fathers had marched in lockstep with royal decrees, there would have been no American Revolution.


We must adopt a different mindset and follow a different path if we are to alter the outcome of these interactions with police.


The American dream was built on the idea that no one is above the law, that our rights are inalienable and cannot be taken away, and that our government and its appointed agents exist to serve us.


It may be that things are too far gone to save, but still we must try.



ABOUT JOHN W. WHITEHEAD


Constitutional attorney and author John W. Whitehead is founder and president of The Rutherford Institute. His new book Battlefield America: The War on the American People  is available at www.amazon.com. Whitehead can be contacted at [email protected].


Publication Guidelines / Reprint Permission


John W. Whitehead’s weekly commentaries are available for publication to newspapers and web publications at no charge. Please contact [email protected] to obtain reprint permission.


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6

      

By Mac Slavo


Because of the “bloodbath” ongoing in the trucking industry right now, it’s important to realize just how much Americans are dependent on trucking. If truckers stopped working, grocery stores across the country would run out of food in just three days.


Trucking moves about 71% of the freight in the United States, according to the New Haven Register. That means that if the truckers in this country just stopped working, grocery stores would be out of food, plunging the nation into an epic food crisis. It’s more important than ever to prepare yourself and your family for a possible food crisis.  Hunger will bring out the worst in humanity and ensuring you can provide enough will keep your mind at ease while others fight over the last can of corn.


         



      

“Without trucking, we would be naked, starving, and homeless,” Mike Robbins, a longtime trucker and leader of trucker strike group Black Smoke Matters, told Business Insider. And a study by the American Trucking Associations outlined what would happen if truckers were to stop working. The effects would hit hospitals, gas stations, ATMs, grocery stores, and even your garbage can.


Basic medical supplies, like syringes and catheters, would be at risk of running out. Medication for cancer patients that use radiopharmacuticals, which only have a life span of a few hours, would expire. –New Haven Register




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This should highlight the importance of taking on a preparedness mindset.  If the grocery stores run out of food, what are your options?  A great majority of Americans have no idea how to grow or hunt their own food.  Others don’t think they need to have any stored food at all in case of a minor emergency such a blizzard or storm.


5 (More) Foods That Last Forever


If you are lagging in your prepping, consider buying bulk dried beans already in buckets. An added bonus is that these buckets are stackable and easy to store. Beans are a staple in my personal prepping supplies because of their nutritional value and price. Plus, everyone in my family will eat beans.  Several brands offer beans in a sealed bucket that’s really easy to store. Augason Farms Pinto Beans Emergency Bulk Food Storage 4 Gallon Pail 253 Servings is offered at our local grocery store.  I have several different kinds of beans in our long-term food storage from this brand because of it.  The price is reasonable too.  This will run you about $60 and it’s similar on both Amazon and in the store.  Here are the specs:



Total servings: 253
Total calories: 37, 950
Calories per serving: 150
Net weight: 24 lbs (10.89 kg)
Shelf life: up to 30 years

Beans are only one option. You can also buy kits that have 30-days worth of food in them, such as the Augason Farms 5-20091 Deluxe Emergency 30-Day Food Supply (1 Person), 200 Servings, 36,600 Calories, Net Weight 20 lbs. 7 oz.  Take the size of your family into account when buying.  If you’ve already started prepping, you might need more food, however, if you’re just starting, now is the time to make sure food and water are a top priority!


A food crisis can hit at any time, and it could be in the form of a massive storm rendering travel impossible or an escalated trucking industry “bloodbath.”


Tess Pennington, the author of The Prepper’s Blueprint, has come up with over 300 “prepper” recipes for your emergency and long-term food supply. The Prepper’s Cookbook: 300 Recipes to Turn Your Emergency Food into Nutritious, Delicious, Life-Saving Meals (Preppers) is an excellent resource and foundation that covers many topics of preparation. It is especially helpful for the seeker and the new-to-prepping; however, there are great ideas for even the seasoned prepper.


This article was sourced from SHTFPlan.com


Image credit: Pixabay




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7

      

By Michael Snyder


In the aftermath of the most dramatic attack on Saudi oil facilities that we have ever seen, the price of oil has exploded higher.  The Wall Street Journal is calling this attack “the Big One”, and President Trump appears to be indicating that some sort of military retaliation is coming.  Needless to say, a direct military strike on Iran could spark a major war in the Middle East, and that would be absolutely devastating for the entire global economy.  Just about everything that we buy has to be moved, and moving stuff takes energy.


When the price of oil gets really high, that tends to create inflation because the price of oil is a factor in virtually everything that we buy.  In addition, a really high price for oil also tends to slow down economic activity, and this is something that we witnessed just prior to the financial crisis of 2008.  And if this crisis in the Middle East stretches over an extended period of time, it could ultimately result in a phenomenon known as “stagflation” where we have rapidly rising prices and weaker economic activity simultaneously.  The last time we experienced such a thing was in the 1970s, and nobody really remembers the U.S. economy of the 1970s favorably.


The damage caused by the “drone attacks” in Saudi Arabia was immense.  According to the Daily Mail, “huge plumes of black smoke” could be seen pouring out of a key Saudi oil facility…



Infernos raged at the plant in Abqaiq, Bugayg, and the country’s second largest oilfield in Khurais yesterday morning after Tehran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen fired a flurry of rockets.


Huge plumes of black smoke could be seen coming from the oil facility.



         



      

Houthi rebels in Yemen have publicly taken responsibility for the attacks, but they may or may not be telling the truth.


At this point, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is completely rejecting that explanation, and he is claiming that there is “no evidence the strikes had come from Yemen”…



Secretary of State Mike Pompeo blamed Iran for coordinated strikes on the heart of Saudi Arabia’s oil industry, saying they marked an unprecedented attack on the world’s energy supply.


The strikes shut down half of the kingdom’s crude production on Saturday, potentially roiling petroleum prices and demonstrating the power of Iran’s proxies.


Iran-allied Houthi rebels in neighboring Yemen claimed credit for the attack, saying they sent 10 drones to strike at important facilities in Saudi Arabia’s oil-rich Eastern Province. But Mr. Pompeo said there was no evidence the strikes had come from Yemen.



And according to Reuters, another unnamed “U.S. official” told them that the attacks came from “west-northwest of the targets”…



The U.S. official, who asked not to be named, said there were 19 points of impact in the attack on Saudi facilities and that evidence showed the launch area was west-northwest of the targets – the direction of Iran – not south from Yemen.


The official added that Saudi officials had indicated they had seen signs that cruise missiles were used in the attack, which is inconsistent with the Iran-aligned Houthi group’s claim that it conducted the attack with 10 drones.



Of course drones don’t have to travel in a straight line, and cruise missiles don’t either, and so we may never know for sure where the attacks originated.


But we do know that the Houthi rebels in Yemen are being backed by Iran, and we also know that the Shia militias in Iraq are also being backed by Iran.


So whether the attacks originated in Yemen, southern Iraq or Iran itself, it is not going to be too difficult for U.S. officials to place the blame on the Iranians, and we should expect some sort of military response.


In fact, President Trump posted the following message to Twitter just a little while ago…





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Saudi Arabia oil supply was attacked. There is reason to believe that we know the culprit, are locked and loaded depending on verification, but are waiting to hear from the Kingdom as to who they believe was the cause of this attack, and under what terms we would proceed!



Of course U.S. airstrikes against Iran itself could ultimately spark World War 3, and most Americans are completely clueless that we could literally be on the precipice of a major war.


According to the Saudis, the equivalent of 5.7 million barrels a day of oil production were affected by the attacks.  Saudi Arabia typically produces about 9.8 million barrels a day, and so that is a really big deal.


When the markets reopened on Sunday night, oil futures exploded higher.  In fact, according to Zero Hedge this was the biggest jump ever…


With traders in a state of near-frenzy, with a subset of fintwit scrambling (and failing) to calculate what the limit move in oil would be (hint: there is none for Brent), moments ago brent reopened for trading in the aftermath of Saturday’s attack on the “world’s most important oil processing plant“, and exploded some 20% higher, to a high of $71.95 from the Friday $60.22 close, its biggest jump since futures started trading in 1988.


As I write this article, the price of Brent crude is currently sitting at $66.89, although at least one analyst is warning that the price of oil could soon shoot up to “as high as $100 per barrel” if the Saudis are not able to quickly resume their previous level of production…


The oil market will rally by $5-10 per barrel when it opens on Monday and may spike to as high as $100 per barrel if Saudi Arabia fails to quickly resume oil supply lost after attacks over the weekend, traders and analysts said.


Saudi officials have already told us that they anticipate that a third of the lost oil output will be restored on Monday.




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But because of the extensive damage that has been done, restoring the remainder of the lost output could take “weeks” or even “months”.


In the short-term, President Trump has “authorized the release of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve“, and that should help stabilize prices somewhat.


However, if a full-blown war with Iran erupts, nothing is going to be able to calm the markets.  In such a scenario, the price of oil could easily explode to a level that is four or five times higher than it is today, and that would essentially be the equivalent of slamming a baseball bat into the knees of the global economy.


The times that we are living in are about to become a whole lot more serious, but most Americans are not even paying attention to these absolutely critical global events.


In fact, even the mainstream media seems to believe that the new allegations against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh are more important.


That is because they don’t understand what is really happening.


Trust me, keep a close eye on the Middle East, because things are about to start breaking loose there in a major way.



About the author: Michael Snyder is a nationally-syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is the author of four books including Get Prepared Now, The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters. His articles are originally published on The Economic Collapse Blog, End Of The American Dream and The Most Important News. From there, his articles are republished on dozens of other prominent websites. If you would like to republish his articles, please feel free to do so. The more people that see this information the better, and we need to wake more people up while there is still time.


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8

      

By Matt Agorist


Meigs, GA — The town of Meigs, Georgia made a rather substantial move this month in an attempt to save money,by dissolving the entire police department. The decision to fire all the cops happened on Friday, and amazingly enough, the town has not yet descended into utter chaos. Imagine that.


On Friday, citing budget concerns, the Meigs City Council voted to shut down its police department. As WALB 10 reports, the vote was split with a majority 3-2 electing to shut the Meigs Police Department down, according to Meigs Police Chief Antonio Mango.


According to chief Mango, the mayor of Meigs, Cheryl Walters, was one of the deciding votes for shutting down the department.


Mango claims the council voted to close the department due to budgetary issues. However, he said the city is roughly $12,000 under budget for this year. He said the police department should have been the last place to shut down, according to WALB.


         



      

“Any city, when you’re looking at budget-cutting you know, I think the police department should be one of the final steps when you are looking at budget-cutting. The police department is vital to any city,” said Mango.


However, this was not the case.


The police department now has eight days to vacate the office before the doors are closed for the final time. Rest assured that the citizens of Meigs will be just fine without their police department. As the Free Thought Project has reported numerous times, the idea of a city firing all of its cops is not new and has never resulted in outbreaks of criminal behavior.


The idea that police protect you is a misconception, as they will seldom prevent violence. They normally show up after the violence or crime has been committed and then try and find a culprit, or not. This is not meant to discount the officers who do show up to dangerous situations and prevent harm. However, the overwhelming majority of police interactions do not involve someone being saved.


The average response time to a 9-1-1 call is 10 minutes nationwide; for poor areas, that time quadruples. In some cases, the dispatchers do not even take the caller seriously and the victim ends up dead when a crime could have actually been prevented.


The reality is that police act as revenue collectors for the state and solely exist to enforce the law only.


In a perfect world, police would show up prior to a crime and stop it, or at least during a crime, but this is simply not a reality.


Police in America also do not “protect and serve.” If you doubt this claim simply refer to Warren v. District of Columbia, in which the Supreme Court ruled that the police do not have a constitutional duty to protect a person from harm.






Sure, Meigs, Georgia is a small town and the likelihood of a crime wave bursting on to the scenes is rare regardless of police presence. However, we’ve seen similar situations involving millions. As TFTP reported earlier this month, since Police Commissioner James O’Neill fired the killer cop who choked the life out of Eric Garner on video in 2014, the NYPD has been throwing a temper tantrum. Officer Daniel Pantaleo’s firing sparked a police slow down which lead to a plunge in arrests since August 19th. However, this slowdown in arrests has not led to a spike in violence or crime, illustrating how most of the “policing” done in the US, is little more than revenue generation.


Multiple reports are showing that NYPD police officers are making far fewer arrests in the wake of Pantaleo’s firing, leading some to think it is deliberate. According to the most recent data, since Pantaleo’s arrest, felony arrests are down about 11% and misdemeanor arrests are down about 17% as compared to the daily totals for the rest of the year. Similarly, moving violations and traffic fines fell a whopping 32 percent, according to O’Neil—who stopped short of blaming the decline on his decision to fire the killer cop.


This scenario has happened in New York on more than one occasion too. As TFTP reported, at the end of 2014, the NYPD stopped doing its job after the murder of officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu and something amazing happened — crime went down.


The Post reported that arrests were down 66% in the week following the deaths of officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu, compared to the same period in 2013.


For certain offenses, the arrest levels are staggeringly low, according to the numbers put out by the Post.



Citations for traffic violations fell by 94 percent, from 10,069 to 587, during that time frame.




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Summonses for low-level offenses like public drinking and urination also plunged 94 percent — from 4,831 to 300.


Even parking violations are way down, dropping by 92 percent, from 14,699 to 1,241.


Drug arrests by cops assigned to the NYPD’s Organized Crime Control Bureau — which are part of the overall number — dropped by 84 percent, from 382 to 63.


It wasn’t a slowdown — it was a virtual work stoppage. And, in spite of police not writing tickets for jaywalking, arresting people for marijuana possession, and failing to wear their seat belts, the city of New York did not descend into chaos either.



Matt Agorist is an honorably discharged veteran of the USMC and former intelligence operator directly tasked by the NSA. This prior experience gives him unique insight into the world of government corruption and the American police state. Agorist has been an independent journalist for over a decade and has been featured on mainstream networks around the world. Agorist is also the Editor at Large at the Free Thought Project, where this article first appeared. Follow @MattAgorist on Twitter, Steemit, and now on Minds.


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By Tyler Durden


After publishing a steady stream of scoops about Amazon’s anti-competitive tendencies, the Wall Street Journal on Monday dropped one of the biggest media bombshells to rock the e-commerce giant in recent memory: That Amazon has deliberately tweaked its product-search algorithm to more prominently feature products that are more profitable for Amazon, including its own in-house brands.


Multiple sources from inside the company told WSJ last year that the company’s engineers were ordered to change the algorithm so that instead of just showing customers the most relevant listings to their search, or the best sellers on the platform, they would also see companies that would have the highest return for Amazon if sold.



         



      

The change followed a lengthy struggle between executives overseeing the company’s retail business in Seattle and its search team – also known as A9 – in Palo Alto. The search team reportedly opposed the move.


The news hasn’t had much of an impact on AMZN shares, but it will almost certainly be of interest to Congress, as well as the State AGs and federal agencies who are investigating antitrust practices at the big tech giants – both in the US, and in Europe.



From WSJ’s description of how the project unfolded, it seems like Amazon’s retail execs ignored the company’s directive to put the company’s interests first, and tried to shape the changes in such a way that they wouldn’t trigger antitrust concerns.



Amazon’s lawyers rejected an initial proposal for how to add profit directly into the algorithm, saying it represented a change that could create trouble with antitrust regulators, one of the people familiar with the project said.


The Amazon search team’s view was that the profitability push violated the company’s principle of doing what is best for the customer, the people familiar with the project said. “This was definitely not a popular project,” said one. “The search engine should look for relevant items, not for more profitable items.”



When approached by WSJ, Amazon denied that the changes to the algorithm were significant, but declined to further discuss the innerworkings of its algorithm.



Amazon said it has for many years considered long-term profitability and does look at the impact of it when deploying an algorithm. “We have not changed the criteria we use to rank search results to include profitability,” said Amazon spokeswoman Angie Newman in an emailed statement.


Amazon declined to say why A9 engineers considered the profitability emphasis to be a significant change to the algorithm, and it declined to discuss the inner workings of its algorithm or the internal discussions involving the algorithm, including the qualms of the company’s lawyers.



While re-imagining anti-trust standards for the tech age, some lawmakers have said that a company’s market share isn’t as important as the dominance of its platform. As we detailed recently, often arbitrary decisions made in Seattle can bankrupt small businesses who rely on Amazon’s platform to move their products.




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This news shows how Amazon can leverage its platform to mislead customers and merchants, while further boosting its bottom line.


And to illustrate just how important it is for a product to appear on the first page of an Amazon search, WSJ showed that nearly two-thirds of all product clicks come from the first page.



What’s more, if this report is accurate, it would appear that Amazon’s counsel lied to Congress during a hearing in July.


During a House antitrust hearing in July, lawmakers pressed Amazon on whether it used data gleaned from other sellers to favor its own products. “The best purchase to you is an Amazon product,” said Rep. David Cicilline (D., R.I.). “No that’s not true,” replied Nate Sutton, an Amazon associate general counsel, saying Amazon’s “algorithms are optimized to predict what customers want to buy regardless of the seller.”


In the report, WSJ details the years-long battle between the engineers responsible for tweaking the algorithm and Amazon’s retail division, who have been lobbying the engineers to give a boost to the company’s own products practically since the company first launched its in house brands.


But eventually, the retail guys won out, and the engineers were forced to include profitability as a variable in the algorithm alongside popularity and relevance.




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One former Amazon search executive said: “We fought tooth and nail with those guys, because of course they wanted preferential treatment in search.”



Amazon retail executives, especially those in its private-label business, wanted to add a new variable for what the company calls “contribution profit,” considered a better measure of a product’s profitability because it factors in non-fixed expenses such as shipping and advertising, leaving the amount left over to cover Amazon’s fixed costs, said people familiar with the discussion.


Amazon’s private-label products are designed to be more profitable than competing items, said people familiar with the business, because the company controls the manufacturing and distribution and cuts out intermediaries and marketing costs.



Lawyers objected to this, believing it could anger regulators in Europe and lead to a find. So the engineers were tasked with finding a workaround – which they did. Now, when engineers bring proposed changes to the algorithm to an internal panel that must sign off on any changes, if the change lowers the impact of the profitability variable, it typically isn’t approved.


Though we imagine the company will come up with some defense of its actions before they’re dragged back in front of Congress for another round of hearings.



This article was sourced from ZeroHedge.com


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10
Huffington Post General Discussion / 9/11: The Gold and The Minders
« on: September 16, 2019, 06:29:32 PM »

      

By Jon Rappoport


Searching through the archive of my past articles, I’ve come up with two 9/11 stories that have been largely ignored—left to gather dust as they fade from memory. Here they are:



Flashback: 9/11 and the gold in the NY Federal Reserve


January 30, 2014


With reports that Germany can’t get back much of its gold stored in the NY Federal Reserve, I remembered what I was writing just after 9/11.


Here are a few quotes. Most are from my posts on 9/11 and 9/12, 2001:


“Still no word on the condition of the NY Federal Reserve Bank, which is 2.5 blocks away from the destroyed WTC. This bank, underground, holds $75 billion in gold from [about five] dozen countries.”


“CNN has a large map posted today, which shows the condition of a number of buildings by name in the area, but, curiously, the NY Fed Reserve is not one of them.”


         



      

“And now that workers are going down underneath the remains of the WTC, where $100 million in gold is admittedly stored (Reuters), we have no word on the condition of that gold, either.”


“Yesterday, I brought up the issue of the gigantic fed gold reserve stashed underground 2.5 blocks from the WTC. And mentioned that no press accounts were covering damage to nearby buildings. Which I find odd.”


“Here is an account from [a reader] on the ground in NYC, as of an hour ago. ‘It seems like we are getting the same limited [TV] shot on all networks…kind of a tight angle shot of damage of the base of the towers…no shots of damage to nearby buildings, including the gold reserve building. No one knows anything because the whole island [of Manhattan] has been shut down below 14th St. Camera crews not allowed to wander. If you live below 14th St. and you leave your apartment you need identification in order to get back in.’”


“The WTC took up several blocks in lower Manhattan. From the Liberty Street side, it is about 2 blocks to the Fed Reserve Bank of NY, at 33 Liberty St. Under the Bank, 5 levels down, in bedrock, is the $75 billion in gold.”


“The NY Federal Reserve keeps a facility for storing gold in NYC. It handles the gold reserves of about five dozen countries. $75 billion in a vault. About 1/4 of the world’s gold supply. At least, that’s the Fed Reserve press release on this, from 1999. This vault is located close to the WTC, where the towers fell. Is it [the vault] buried? Is the vault open? Anyone see Die Hard 3? A gigantic terrorist ‘diversion’ leading to the theft of all the gold in the vault.”


In the days following 9/11, I also wrote that there were no reports or video of troops guarding the NY Federal Reserve building. This was very curious. 75 billion in gold and no troops present? Nor have I found any video from that time, later posted on YouTube, showing troops around the Fed Reserve.


There is debate about whether a tunnel existed connecting the basement of the old WTC and the basement of the Federal Reserve. A 2010 piece at Cryptome indicates (with photos) that, during the post-9/11 WTC cleanup, an old railroad tunnel between the WTC and Fed Reserve basements was uncovered. (Diehard 3 featured such a tunnel and track.)


Was the Fed Reserve gold taken away after 9/11?


Or had it been taken before 9/11? Perhaps long before.


Clearly, in the immediate wake of 9/11, there was a concerted press effort to omit or limit mention of the Federal Reserve building.


On March 2, 2013, Tyler Durden, writing at zerohedge.com, in Why Is JPMorgan’s Gold Vault, The Largest In The World, Located Next To The New York Fed’s?, reported his finding that “the de facto largest private gold vault in the world [is] located across the street [from the NY Federal Reserve building] 90 feet below 1 Chase Manhattan Plaza.”


This private vault, at the same level as the NY Fed Reserve vault, could front right up against it.


The private vault belongs to JP Morgan Chase. It is larger than a football field.


Under circumstances deemed “essential,” it would appear to be easy to transfer an enormous amount of gold from the Fed Reserve to JP Morgan Chase.


Silverdoctors.com reports that a US Treasury Dept. audit of all US gold reserves inadvertently exposed a total figure of 466 tons, far less than previous claims of 8,133 tons.


Anyone trusting that US-held gold reserves are safe and sound needs to examine his own head.







HERE IS THE SECOND STORY—


Intimidation of 9/11 Commission witnesses: the “minders”


September 15, 2017


Let’s say you work for a large corporation, which is undertaking an internal investigation of possible corruption and fraud within the company.


You’re sitting in a room, and an employee of the company is interviewing you.


But next to you sits your boss. He hears all the questions, and he hears your answers. He takes notes on the interview. He answers questions you are supposed to answer. He is your “minder.”


Getting the picture?


On October 2, 2003, during the 9/11 Commission investigation into what happened on September 11, 2001, a memo was sent to two Commission attorneys, Daniel Marcus and Steven Dunne. It was ominously titled:


“Executive Branch Minders’ Intimidation of Witnesses.”


The memo was written by members of the 9/11 Commission’s Team 2: Kevin Scheid, Lorry Fenner, and Gordon Lederman. There is no indication that any official subsequently acted on their highly serious charges:


“When we have asked witnesses [in interviews] about certain roles and responsibilities within the intelligence community, minders [in the room] have preempted witnesses’ responses by referencing formal policies and procedures. As a result, witnesses have not responded to our questions and have deprived us from understanding the intelligence community’s actual functioning and witnesses’ view of their roles and responsibilities.”


“[M]inders have positioned themselves physically and have conducted themselves in a manner that we believe intimidates witnesses from giving full and candid responses to our questions. Minders generally have sat next to witnesses at the table and across from Commission staff, [falsely] conveying to witnesses that minders are participants in interviews and are of equal status to witnesses.”




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“[Minders now and then] answer questions directed at witnesses.”


“[Minders write] verbatim notes of witnesses’ statements [which] conveys to witnesses that their superiors will review their statements and may engage in retribution.”


“[Minders making notes] facilitates [government] agencies in alerting future witnesses to the Commission’s lines of inquiry and permits agencies to prepare future witnesses either explicitly or implicitly.”


“[T]he net effect of minders’ conduct, whether intentionally or not, is to intimidate witnesses and to interfere with witnesses providing full and candid responses.”


This key memo defines the term “cover-up.”


Take it even further. This Commission “minder procedure” would be analogous to you sitting in the witness box at a criminal trial of a mob boss. You’re testifying for the prosecution against the boss. But in the box, next to you, sits a mob assassin.


So you say: “I may have implied I was there on the night the defendant was planning…whatever it was. But I didn’t really say that. I was misinterpreted. I don’t recall being there. I’ve never met the defendant. I’m a retired investor living on a pension. I’m receiving treatment for early-onset dementia…”


Granted, the 9/11 Commission interviewers were certainly asking superficial questions of witnesses from the get-go. But if a government witness by chance saw something or heard something or knew something that would have exploded the official 9/11 story, with his minder there he was in a straitjacket.


And he’ll stay in a straitjacket.



(To read about Jon’s mega-collection, The Matrix Revealed, click here.)


The author of three explosive collections, THE MATRIX REVEALED, EXIT FROM THE MATRIX, and POWER OUTSIDE THE MATRIX, Jon was a candidate for a US Congressional seat in the 29th District of California. He maintains a consulting practice for private clients, the purpose of which is the expansion of personal creative power. Nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, he has worked as an investigative reporter for 30 years, writing articles on politics, medicine, and health for CBS Healthwatch, LA Weekly, Spin Magazine, Stern, and other newspapers and magazines in the US and Europe. Jon has delivered lectures and seminars on global politics, health, logic, and creative power to audiences around the world. You can sign up for his free NoMoreFakeNews emails here or his free OutsideTheRealityMachine emails here.


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11

      

By Jon Miltimore


One of the certainties of a market economy is change. As Joseph Schumpeter famously observed, innovation moves the world forward, but not painlessly.


The evolutionary process of “creative destruction” introduces new industries and new opportunities, but in its wake, less efficient industries and jobs are left behind. Even longstanding industries can struggle to keep up if they fail to innovate—just ask newspaper and magazine publishers who experienced the upheaval of one of the most disruptive technologies in history: the internet.


For young people mapping out a career plan, knowing which jobs are projected to grow can offer a significant edge. But knowing which jobs are disappearing the fastest can be just as useful.


The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) recently published a list of the fastest declining jobs in America. Below are the eight occupations that top the list.*


         



      
Executive Secretaries (Median Annual Salary: $59,340)

2018: 622,500


2028 (projected): 499,400





Image credit: Pixabay | Pixabay license (https://pixabay.com/service/license/)





Of all the occupations facing sharp declines, executive secretaries and executive administrative assistants represent the single biggest in terms of aggregate jobs.


These individuals provide high-level support for senior staff by conducting research, preparing reports and correspondence, receiving visitors, and scheduling meetings. They may also be responsible for training lower-level staff.


Executive secretaries make nearly $60,000 a year, on average, but the government projects there will be about 120,000 fewer of them 10 years from now. While there are 622,500 today, BLS projects there will be fewer than half a million of them in 2028.


The decline is generally attributed to smart technology that has improved scheduling efficiency and record-keeping.


Typists/Word Processors ($39,750)

2018: 60,000


2028: 40,000





Image credit: Pixabay | Pixabay license (https://pixabay.com/service/license/)





Typists, not to be confused with administrative assistants, use word processors to type letters, reports, or other materials. (They also may perform other clerical duties.)


There are 60,000 professional typists in the US today, but the government projects that figure to fall by 33.8 percent over the next decade, to 40,000.


The decline likely stems from the rise of voice-to-text software and other smart technologies. According to the BLS, about one-fifth of all typists are employed in the New York metropolitan area.


Data Entry Keyers ($32,170)

2018: 187,300


2028: 143,900





Image credit: Pixabay | Pixabay license (https://pixabay.com/service/license/)





Data entry technicians operate equipment (usually a keyboard) to input alphabetic, numeric, or symbolic data into computer systems. They make $32,170 annually, on average.




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There are currently 187,000 data entry keyers in the US, but that figure is projected to fall to 144,000 over the next decade, a 23 percent decline. The drop appears to be linked to improvements in automation that require less manual clerical work.


Legal Secretaries ($46,360)

2018: 180,100


2028: 142,500





Image credit: Pixabay | Pixabay license (https://pixabay.com/service/license/)





Legal secretaries make about $46,000, on average, by performing secretarial duties for attorneys and law firms. These responsibilities often include preparing legal documents and correspondence such as summonses, complaints, motions, and subpoenas, as well as performing some legal research.


The number of legal secretaries is expected to decline from 180,100 in 2018 to 142,500 by 2028. The decline continues a trend The Wall Street Journal first observed in 2013. This industry-wide cost-cutting measure stems largely from enhanced technology and the willingness of firms to allow young lawyers to type their own legal briefs.


Switchboard Operators ($29,420)

2018: 74,000


2028: 55,900





Image credit: US Air Force | Public domain





Believe it or not, there are still nearly 74,000 switchboard operators in the US today. These folks operate telephone systems equipment to relay calls, though their work will sometimes also involve recording messages or supplying information to callers.


Switchboard operators make about $30,000 a year, but the government projects there will be about 17,500 fewer of them in a decade (55,900).


While switchboard operators were once a fixture of most communities, the digital age of mass communication finds itself less reliant on this antiquated form of communication.


6. Postal service mail sorters ($55,770)

2018: 99,000


2028: 76,000


7. Mail Carriers ($55,210)


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2018: 328,000


2028: 263,000


8. Postal Service Clerks ($55,280)

2018: 75,000


2028: 60,000





Image credit: Pacific Air Forces | Public domain





The last three jobs three have the same employer: the US Postal Service. US Postal Service jobs are expected to decline substantially over the next decade, which is not a surprise if you’ve been following the Post Office’s recent financial problems.


Between clerks, carriers, and mail sorters, the USPS is projected to shed more than 100,000 jobs over the next decade.



(*Note: I restricted this to occupations filled with at least 50,000 workers.)



Jonathan Miltimore is the Managing Editor of FEE.org. His writing/reporting has appeared in TIME magazine, The Wall Street Journal, CNN, Forbes, Fox News, and the Washington Times.


Image credit: Paul De Los Reyes on Flickr | (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/)


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12

      

By Tony Cartalucci


Huge blazes were reported at two oil facilities in Saudi Arabia owned by Aramco. While Saudi authorities refused to assign blame, media outlets like the BBC immediately began insinuating either Yemen’s Houthis or Iran were responsible.


The BBC in its article, “Saudi Arabia oil facilities ablaze after drone strikes,” would inject toward the top of its article:


Iran-aligned Houthi fighters in Yemen have been blamed for previous attacks.


Following an ambiguous and evidence-free description of the supposed attacks, the BBC even included an entire section titled, “Who could be behind the attacks?” dedicated to politically expedient speculation aimed ultimately at Tehran.


         



      

The BBC would claim:



Houthi fighters were blamed for drone attacks on the Shaybah natural gas liquefaction facility last month and on other oil facilities in May.


The Iran-aligned rebel movement is fighting the Yemeni government and a Saudi-led coalition.


Yemen has been at war since 2015, when President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi was forced to flee the capital Sanaa by the Houthis. Saudi Arabia backs President Hadi, and has led a coalition of regional countries against the rebels.


The coalition launches air strikes almost every day, while the Houthis often fire missiles into Saudi Arabia.



Deliberately missing from the BBC’s history lesson are several key facts, leaving readers to draw conclusions that conveniently propel the West’s agenda versus Iran forward.


The US and Saudi Arabia vs. MENA


The war in Yemen was a result of US-backed regime change operations aimed at Yemen – along with Tunisia, Algeria, Libya, Syria, and Egypt – starting in 2011.


Major hostilities began when the client regime installed by the US was ousted from power in 2015. Since then, the US and its Saudi allies have brutalized and ravaged Yemen triggering one of the worst humanitarian crises of the 21st century.



The UN’s own news service in an article titled, “Humanitarian crisis in Yemen remains the worst in the world, warns UN,” would admit:


An estimated 24 million people – close to 80 per cent of the population – need assistance and protection in Yemen, the UN warned on Thursday. With famine threatening hundreds of thousands of lives, humanitarian aid is increasingly becoming the only lifeline for millions across the country.


The cause of this catastrophe is the deliberate blockading of Yemen. Reuters in its article, “U.N. aid chief appeals for full lifting of Yemen blockade,” would report:


The United Nations appealed on Friday to the Saudi-led military coalition to fully lift its blockade of Yemen, saying up to eight million people were “right on the brink of famine”.


Essentially – the United States – with the largest economy and most powerful military in the world – along with its allies in Riyadh – are attempting to erase an entire nation off the map through bombings, starvation, and disease.


Saudi aggression carried out on behalf of Washington isn’t confined only to its war on Yemen. Saudi Arabia has played a key role in radicalizing, arming, and funding US-backed militants attempting to overthrow the government of Syria as well as extremist groups bent on destabilizing Iraq and even Iran itself.


Likewise, the militants who overran Libya in 2011 were drawn from extremist networks funded for decades by Riyadh. Thus, Saudi Arabia is not merely menacing neighboring Yemen, it is menacing the entire Middle East and North Africa (MENA) and even beyond.


Saudi Arabia the Victim?


The BBC’s recent article attempting to portray Saudi-Yemeni hostilities as a tit-for-tat conflict rather than Yemen’s desperate struggle for survival is yet another illustration of not only the West’s hypocrisy in terms of upholding or in any way underwriting human rights, but also the Western media’ complicity in advancing this hypocrisy.






Saudi Arabia is no victim.


If the US can predicate the invasion of Iraq and the overthrow of its government on deliberately false claims of possessing “weapons of mass destruction,” wouldn’t Yemen and its allies be justified in using any means possible to attack and undermine Saudi Arabia’s fighting capacity as it and its US allies openly carry out a war of aggression unequivocally condemned by the UN itself?


Houthi fighters or Iran would both be well within their rights to strike at the economic engine driving what even the UN has repeatedly declared as an illegal war of aggression waged by Saudi Arabia and its Western sponsors against the nation and people of Yemen.


Unfortunately, provoking such attacks – however justified – is key to US machinations toward igniting an even wider and more destructive regional conflict.


Two Possibilities


The alleged attacks on Saudi oil facilities mean one of two things.


Either it is indeed retaliation against Saudi Arabia for its criminal activities across the region – showcasing new military capabilities raising the costs for Riyadh to continue down its current foreign policy path – or it was a staged provocation that will be used by the US to station yet more military forces in Saudi Arabia and to ratchet up tensions with both Iran to the east and Yemen’s Houthis to the south.


The recent departure of US National Security Adviser John Bolton led many to believe the US may be changing tack on its foreign policy – particularly toward Iran. However, it was much more likely a means of portraying the US as a “peacemaker” ahead of another round of attempts by the US to escalate tensions with Iran and if at all possible, trigger a wider conflict long sought by US special interests for years.


The US already used recent and highly questionable incidents in the Persian Gulf to justify sending hundreds of troops to Saudi Arabia. The New York Times in its July 2019 article, “U.S. to Send About 500 More Troops to Saudi Arabia,” would report:



The United States is sending hundreds of troops to Saudi Arabia in what is intended as the latest show of force toward Iran, two Defense Department officials said Wednesday.


The roughly 500 troops are part of a broader tranche of forces sent to the region over the past two months after tensions between Washington and Tehran escalated.


Since May, a spate of attacks have left six oil tankers damaged in the Gulf of Oman, with Washington accusing Tehran of inciting them. Iranian officials have denied that claim. The downing of an American drone in June by an Iranian surface-to-air missile only heightened tensions, prompting President Trump to approve military strikes against Iran before abruptly pulling back.





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With a growing number of US troops in Saudi Arabia, the US will be well positioned to launch offensive attacks against Iran in any future war, as well as carry out defensive operations to protect Saudi Arabia and essential infrastructure from retaliation.


This most recent alleged attack, along with a series of questionable incidents in the Persian Gulf have afforded the US justification – however tenuous – to further build up its military presence along Iran’s peripheries it otherwise would have had to carry out in an openly provocative and unjustified manner.


It was just these sort of provocations that were described for years by US policymakers who sought to “goad” Iran into war with the West.


For example, in a 2009 Brookings Institution paper titled, “Which Path to Persia? Options for a New American Strategy toward Iran,” US policymakers would openly admit (emphasis added):


…it would be far more preferable if the United States could cite an Iranian provocation as justification for the airstrikes before launching them. Clearly, the more outrageous, the more deadly, and the more unprovoked the Iranian action, the better off the United States would be. Of course, it would be very difficult for the United States to goad Iran into such a provocation without the rest of the world recognizing this game, which would then undermine it. 


However beneficial this campaign of provocations may be for US foreign policy objectives, neither possibility – a provoked reaction from the Houthis or Iran or a staged attack organized by the US – bodes well for those ruling in Riyadh.


For Washington’s allies – the fact that they are just as likely – or more likely – to receive a devastating attack from the US itself than from their actual enemies – all to trigger an even more devastating war they will find themselves in the middle of – is added incentive for nations like Saudi Arabia to take the extended hands of future potential allies like Russia and China, and begin walking down a new and different path.


Only time will tell how far Saudi Arabia is willing to go down its current path, and how much they are willing to risk doing so, before they join the growing list of nations departing from America’s unipolar global order and choosing a more equitable multipolar future.


Whether the US and Saudi Arabia finally provoked genuine attacks from nations they’ve purposefully goaded for years, or staged the attacks themselves, a dangerous course toward war has been set – and a course the rest of the world must now work hard to steer away from.



Tony Cartalucci, Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”, where this article first appeared.


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13
Huffington Post General Discussion / The FBI vs. Antiwar.com
« on: September 16, 2019, 05:38:31 PM »

      

By Justin Raimondo


On September 11, the United States Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit ruled in favor of Antiwar.com and against the FBI in the landmark case of Garris v. FBI (known as Raimondo and Garris v. FBI until Justin’s death), and the court ordered the FBI to destroy records it collected during its unlawful investigation of our editors. The case and decision were well-described in The American Conservative, Courthouse News, our local paper The San Francisco Chronicle, and the AP. The complete text of the decision makes for very interesting reading, and even better is the video of the hearing before the 9th Circuit judges. Justin’s column from August 22, 2011 provides his own unique perspective on the beginnings of the case.


Originally published August 22, 2011


The phone rang.


It was a beautiful Saturday afternoon and it was my day off. Sitting in my rather neglected garden, as the late afternoon light sparkled golden on the tops of the plum trees, I put down my book – the 1995 edition of The Year’s Best Science Fiction, edited by Gardner Dozois – with more than a little annoyance. I was smack dab in the middle of a short story, “Asylum,” by Katharine Kerr, a tale about a future military coup in the US, written from the point of view of a particularly earnest liberal with faintly radical leanings. The main character is a woman writer who is abroad when the generals take over, and is marked as an enemy of the state on account of her book, Christian Fascism: Its Roots and Rise. Her San Francisco office is raided and her files carted away. She gets a call from a friend before the coup plotters cut off all communications with the outside world: “It’s seven days in May – stay where you are!” She stays, but is tortured by the prospect of her daughter being in harm’s way: when communications with America are finally restored, she wrestles with the question of whether to pick up the phone and make a call that might endanger her daughter. After all, what if the Christian Fascists are listening?


         



      

The phone kept ringing. I picked it up with annoyance: it was our webmaster, Eric Garris, telling me about this – FBI documents recovered through the Freedom of Information Act that detail surveillance of Antiwar.com, the staff, and specifically yours truly.


A word about the authenticity of the documents and their provenance: they were posted on a public website, Scribd.com: their form, including the extensive redactions, the acronymic bureaucratese, and the lunk-headed cluelessness which dominates the FBI’s corporate culture, so to speak, combine to verify their authenticity.


As to the content of these documents, one word describes them: bizarre.


According to a memo stamped “Secret,” marked as “routine,” and dated April 30, 2004, we apparently drew the attention of the feds when we posted a copy of a “terrorist suspect list” [.pdf] which had been supplied by the US government to various corporate and governmental agencies, both here and abroad. These documents – including one posted on the web site of an Italian banking association – contained the names of those on a “watch list,” the product of an FBI operation dubbed “Operation Lookout.” The memo acknowledges the list “was posted on the internet” in “different versions,” but says the FBI “assessment was conducted on the findings discovered on www.antiwar.com.”


These guys are using us a resource – so why haven’t they contributed to our fund drive?


The April 30 memo – which was issued to FBI counterrorism offices in New York, Philadelphia, St. Louis, and San Francisco – is prefaced with the following rather ominous “administrative” note:


This document contains information obtained under the authority of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), 50 U.S.C., Section 1801. Such FISA derived information shall not be used in any criminal proceeding, including grand jury proceedings …


FISA created a special secret court, to which the feds have to go to get approval from a judge to tap your phone, open your mail, and rifle through your garbage. This accounts for the large number of lengthy redactions that pepper the pages of this report. Sneaking around corners, and spying on Americans engaged in peaceful and legal activities, they don’t want anyone to know how closely they mimic the methods of totalitarian governments,


After a paragraph of précis detailing the basic facts about Antiwar.com – its mission, personnel, and nonprofit status – the details of several database searches are enumerated. A search of the Universal Index (UNI) for antiwar.com “was negative,” however “a scan of the Electronic Case File (ECF) revealed numerous documents for [redacted] and antiwar.com.” This is apparently an index of documents, “intelligence,” and random rumors picked up by various FBI snoops. The information revealed about Antiwar.com is, naturally, redacted, although we are given a hint as to the origins of some of the dirt they have on us: “File 65T-HQ-1427774 serial 26, dated 04/14/2004, from the Counterintelligence Unit CD-4E/11869 to the Washington Field Office furnished Washington Field Office with information received by [next four lines redacted].”


So who says we don’t have friends in Washington?


The redactions are extensive. The next entry refers to another file in the FBI database and starts out in mid sentence:


…that he was in possession of a document which was written in Italian. This document specified that [redacted] was a suspect on an FBI list. The document contained[redacted] social security number, date of birth, and two previous addresses. [Redacted] was listed as [redacted] on a list dated 05/22/02. This document can be found at www.antiwar.com/justin/CI-08-02.pdf.


This almost certainly refers to one of my columns about the mysterious “Urban Movers,” the Israeli employees of a New Jersey moving company who were arrested on 9/11/01 on suspicion they had some connection to the attacks. Five Israeli nationals were arrested that day, and held for over three months, subjected to lie detector tests, and later deported back to Israel. The owner of the company, one Dominick Suter, and his wife, fled to Israel the day before the police raided the company’s office and hauled away cartons of evidence: the Suters are among those listed on the “terrorist suspect list.” That was the angle I pursued in my columns, and it looks like the FBI also took an intense interest in the Suters.


The FBI’s intense interest in this “suspect list” verifies that, as I wrote on several occasions, it is indeed authentic. The “enclosures” accompanying the memo include two pieces written by me on the subject: one a piece I wrote for  Chronicles magazine about the New Jersey incident, and another antiwar.com column which they wrongly attribute to some website styling itself as “Pravda” (a site which was never authorized to publish my work). While the FBI and the US government have long denounced the persistent stories [.pdf] of “Israeli art students” and “Urban Movers” conducting covert activities on Israel’s behalf in the US as an “urban myth,” their inclusion of Suter and his spouse on their “Operation Lookout” list and their apparent panic that I publicized this fact directly contradicts their denials.


Here’s how the law enforcement resources devoted to “counterterrorism” are being spent: scouring for useful “intelligence” on Antiwar.com on the Internet turned up an article – title and author redacted – “reporting on the magnitude and value of American military and economic assistance to Israel” whose author cited “one of his sources of information as www.antiwar.com.”


Aha! Evidence! But evidence of what?


A report dated 11/13/2002 describes a peaceful protest at the gates of a military base in Britain, during the course of which someone handed out a leaflet citing my “Urban Movers” piece. Another report, detailing a meeting of the neo-Nazi National Alliance, apparently attended by one of their undercover agents, says “a member discussed a website, Antiwar.com,” as a way to “educate themselves about the Middle East conflict.” As if to provide a “balanced” view, the memo cites the website of the New York Jewish Defense League – an officially designated terrorist outfit – as including “harsh criticism” as well as photographs of Eric Garris and myself.


Slowly, but surely, the author of this FBI memo is building a case: the document is written in the language of an indictment – but what are the charges? That Antiwar.com is widely read and cited? That we posted a publicly available document on the Internet, one that was published by Cryptome.org and others? That we are in league with neo-Nazis and are hoping to start a race war and initiate a reign of terror? Well, that’s just a warm-up, folks, because it’s worse than that:







File 17A-LA-234485 serial 55, dated 11/10/2003 indicated that on 10/27/2003, a special agent reviewed the computer hard drives of [several words redacted]. The review of two hard drives revealed visits to many websites between 07/25/2002 and 06/15/2003. One of the websites listed was antiwar.com.



Of course, we’re terrorists – yes, that must be it. Otherwise why would the FBI Counterterrorism Unit be taking such an interest in Antiwar.com? And the proof? Well, someone snared in one of their investigations actually went to our website – more than once! If that isn’t a good reason for the feds to set their dogs sniffing around our garbage cans, well then I don’t know what is.


Following this “incriminating” tidbit are several redacted paragraphs, interspersed with one rather intriguing comment: “There are four FISA derived references [to Antiwar.com] located at Newark [FBI Office].” Only the serial numbers corresponding to the files in the FBI database are referenced: the rest is redacted, including what they discovered after searching DMV records.


Under “Analyst Comments,” we are told that “the rights of individuals to post information and express personal views on the Internet should be honored, however” the “terrorist suspect list” we published is somehow “singular in nature and not suitable for public release.”


Well, they should have thought of that before they released the list to that Italian bankers’ association and other Internet-accessible sources. Yet we aren’t dealing here with rational human beings: these are government snoops pursuing an ideologically-driven vendetta.


From the implication that we’re engaged in illegal activities the memo segues easily into inquisitorial mode:


There are several unanswered questions regarding www.antiwar.com. It describes itself as a nonprofit group that survives on generous contributions from its readers. Who are these contributors and what are the funds utilized for?


The idea that the FBI is interested in identifying our contributors is probably not something I ought to be dwelling on in the midst of our fundraising drive: clearly the feds want to intimidate our supporters, but I have to ask: what in the name of the Constitution is the FBI doing investigating the contributors to a legal organization that is engaged in exercising its right to free speech, absent any evidence of criminal activity? In spite of the memo’s strenuous efforts to link us with terrorism, the “evidence” they present is laughable, strictly amateur hour – an embarrassment. Are  these the people charged with protecting us? If so, these Keystone Kops are worse than useless: they’re downright dangerous.


The next three lines of the memo are redacted, ending in “on www.antiwar.com,” and continuing:


If this is so, then what is his true name? Two facts have been established by his assessment. Many individuals worldwide do view this website including individuals who are currently under investigation and [next two lines redacted].


Justin is a name I adopted at the age of sixteen, when I decided I was going to be a writer; my Wikipedia entry contains all the information they’re seeking in that regard, as any sixteen-year-old could discover in a few seconds of Googling. But I guess it’s too much to expect the FBI can muster the investigative powers of an American teenager. They proved that on 9/11/01, and in this memo they prove it all over again.




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I saved the best for last: the “action” recommendations contained in the memo. While directing the Washington FBI’s Electronic Communication Analysis Unit (ECAU) to “further monitor the postings of website www.antiwar.com,” the San Francisco office – where both Eric and I lived at the time – is tasked with the following:


It is recommended that a PI be opened to determine if [redacted] are engaging in, or have engaged in, activities which constitute a threat to National Security on behalf of a foreign power.


Reading that, I could hardly believe my eyes. Yielding to a sudden need for fresh air, I went out into my garden and just sat there for a few moments, warming myself in the last rays of the setting sun. It all seemed so unreal. Was this really happening, or had I imagined the whole thing? I returned to my computer and read it again, just to be certain, and – sure enough – there it was, plain as the pixels on my screen: I was accused of being “a threat to National Security” and working “on behalf of a foreign power.”


What “foreign power” would that be – Libertopia? Galt’s Gulch?


On what evidence was this “preliminary investigation” opened – and is it continuing? We don’t know the answers to these questions because the FBI redacted a good deal of the information it released to the FOIA petitioner, an obscure blogger I’ve never heard of. If the feds have such evidence, then let them release it – instead of releasing heavily censored documents that simply make unsupported assertions. That this kind of systematic defamation is now part and parcel of our system of “law enforcement” makes a mockery of the idea that we live in a free society. We don’t, as this incident has brought home to be in a very personal way.


That some idiotic overpaid FBI “analyst” is sitting around “analyzing” material that appears on Antiwar.com and concluding that we are engaged in activities “on behalf of a foreign power” is straight out of Bizarro World. Instead of tracking down criminals, and listening in on the communications of terrorists plotting violence against this country, they are sitting around reading my old columns, intercepting my emails, and listening to my phone conversations. This is at once depressing and frightening: depressing because one wonders: don’t these incompetents have any adult supervision? Frightening because the idea of some government sneak having full knowledge of my Internet hookups and my two-hour long conversations with my sister about the condition of her cats is the ultimate in creepiness.


That the FBI is engaged in a campaign of defamation and intimidation aimed at this website is not at all surprising, and yet I still can’t accept it emotionally. We have done nothing wrong: indeed, it is the FBI which is clearly in the wrong. Their activities in regard to Antiwar.com are of dubious legality, and are an infringement of our rights to free speech and to organize on behalf of our ideas. We demand the FBI retract its defamatory and damaging accusations, cease all investigations of our legally protected activities, and – most important – reveal the nature and full extent of their trumped-up “investigation.”


Are we still living in America – or are we living in a world very much like the one depicted in “Asylum,” where I have to worry about what I say and who I say it to, for fear of my government? It looks like the coup envisioned in that science fiction story has already occurred.


Like the main character in “Asylum,” these days I pick up the phone with some trepidation: do I want to call this person and say that with Big Brother listening? Do I want to incriminate someone – a friend, a relative, an acquaintance? How careful do I have to be in what I say?



14

      

This is a critical update from one of the best financial commentators I know, a good friend of ours, Mr. Lior Gantz of WealthResearchGroup.com and we’re excited to share this one with you!


Metals Deserve A Rest – Trump And FED Determine For How Long


What a daylight slaughter that was. In one day, the price of silver went down by a full $1, a 5% correction. At the same time, the cartel slayed gold by $33, a 2.1% drop.


Even after all of this, silver is STILL above the critical $18.22/ounce level, which marks the support for its bull market and gold is just over its support line of $1,475. You don’t want to see either of these break to the downside.


The Competitive Devaluation process, which I’ve highlighted on multiple occasions, must be managed in baby steps by government and their central banks, not uncontrollably, or fiat currencies will face panics.


         



      

On Friday, my wife and I drove two and half hours from Milano to the foothills of the Matterhorn, the most famous mountain in Europe, and hiked from Breuil-Cervinia to the waterfalls that are running this time of year. In town, a local guide told me about the movement of the glacier we saw up high. It is so slow that you’ll never notice it with the naked eye, but if you monitor it for a decade, you won’t believe the difference that water underneath the glacier is making; it is MOVING.


This is exactly what central banks want to achieve with fiat currencies: a slow, almost boring decline of 2%-3% a year for a whole decade. By 2029, your savings will buy 20%-30% less. If you could afford a $200K home today, you’ll only be able to purchase a $140K house in ten years. John Maynard-Keynes called it the greatest form of theft, since you don’t really notice it. This is a hidden tax.


There will be many more of these orchestrated attacks on precious metals, going forward. The price has run high too quickly to just get left alone.



Courtesy: Zerohedge.com



Here in Europe, the central bank isn’t hiding its intention whatsoever to lower the Euro. Since it is not owned by any one government, its policies are favorable to some and damaging to others.


Now, with Mario Draghi leaving office and Christine Lagarde taking over, it is probable that the escalation in devaluation of Europe’s currency will become a top priority for the union.


The endgame is clear and Trump wants to reach a similar phase in America: zero rates and more government policy.


Fiscal policies, such as deregulation, corporate incentives, tax reform, infrastructure spending and government-induced work training programs, impact many more segments of the population base than low interest rates do.


The general population, across the globe, has subconsciously given up on the idea of small government and has passed the baton of their fate to elected officials.


People want government to give them direction, provide them with work, train them, fund their retirements, support them in difficult times and navigate their lives.


They may complain about corruption or about mistreatment, but if any government announces austerity measures, you’ll see PROTESTERS in the street in no-time.



Courtesy: Zerohedge.com



In the past 20 years, most of the population in America and in Europe have barely made any headway. In the western world, people get paid to THINK, not to PRODUCE anymore.






Brains and heart can’t be replaced that easily, but manual labor can.


In general, the future belongs to thinkers much more than to skilled laborers.


Life isn’t getting more simplified; it is becoming more complex and more specialized.


In just the next decade, around 350 million people – about 1-in-4 working individuals – will make a career change.


The more complex, the more people will beg for help, cry for assistance and DEMAND that governments fix things.



Courtesy: Zerohedge.com



We are living in a time that historians will call the Nixon Scam. With one decision, he created this monopoly on credit.




Avoiding The Eye - Ships Free Today!



Trump will NOT be entertained by the FED that quickly; they will NOT drop rates aggressively in election year and I expect the feud between them to intensify.


One thing I can tell you is that while the elites don’t care who gets elected, as long as they can control him (Bush, Clinton and Obama), the wealthy LOVE Trump and will vote for him. When I say wealthy, I mean America’s millionaires, not the connected bloodsucking billionaires that represent the old aristocracy.


The wealthy in your city, genuine Americans, who are living the dream, but have no political aspiration or connection, know that more socialism means more regulations, fewer profits, and more of what caused the evaporation of the middle class.


This will be a rocky year for the markets, because the Chinese will also look to stall on the trade deal as much as they can, in order to see who gets to sit in the Oval Office until 2024.


The dollar will suffer from this uncertainty and precious metals will continue heading higher.


      
                     

ActivistPost.com absolutely loves the articles, contributed by WealthResearchGroup.com


            

Of all the investment and economic commentators we're tracking, this one is, by far, part of the top echelon.


            

We read his free newsletter daily


            

In fact, he's opened-up registration to our readers, so you can subscribe to his award-winning free letter right here!


         




   
   

   

   
      
      
       
   
   
   




      
      
   
            


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15

      

By B.N. Frank


The American Academy of Pediatrics, American Medical Association, and other health experts have provided parents with many different reasons to reduce kids’ “screen time” (see 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7).  Even though Silicon Valley parents take expensive and sometimes desperate measures to prevent their own kids’ use and exposure to screens, many public schools start students on screens as early as kindergarten.  See the problem?


Thanks to Natural Eye Care for reporting about increased nearsightedness in UK teens due to electronics and screens.



Smartphones, computers, tablets, and televisions are being blamed for a sharp increase in teenagers’ need for eyeglasses in the United Kingdom. The number of teens who need glasses nearly doubled, from 20% in 2012 to 35% in just four years later.1 Myopia was the diagnosis for 66% of these teens. Myopia, or nearsightedness, makes distant objects look blurry. Excessive up-close focusing is a risk factor for developing myopia.


Nearsightedness generally develops in childhood and stabilizes in teenagers. The eyeball becomes too long. Similar to a projector, light from the eye focuses on the retina. With nearsightedness, the light focuses in front of the retina, not on it. Sometimes the cornea is misshapen.


         



      

Tiny muscles in the eye are supposed to refine focus. The cornea is fixed, but the lens is flexible and should compensate to provide sharp vision. However, researchers have found a strong association between close-up focusing and myopia. For example, in some Asian cities, a very high child and teen myopia rate coincides with excessive studying indoors. Children are not spending enough time outdoors in sunlight.


The teens in the report spent about 26 hours a week on TV, video games, and smartphones. They were aged 13 to 16. Presumably, they were also in school five days a week.


Nearsightedness that goes undetected or untreated can lead to headaches, eye strain, and lower school performance. Teens are especially sensitive to feelings of isolation that untreated poor vision can bring.



Nearsightedness is still better than blindness which can also be caused by too much screen time.  Sigh.



Activist Post reports regularly about health issues associated with poor eye health due to screens and other electronics.  Please visit our archives for more details.



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