Introduction by WhoWhatWhy
Omar Mateen had been on the FBI’s radar for some time before he opened fire at a nightclub in Florida, killing 49 and wounding 53 people. Now the public is asking why the FBI didn’t do something to prevent the tragedy.
Glenn Greenwald responded to an article in The Washington Post, “The FBI Was Right Not to Arrest Omar Mateen Before the Shooting”. He warned that pressure on the FBI to be more pro-active will inevitably lead to more draconian anti-terror legislation and the loss of even more civil liberties in the name of preventing the unpreventable.
But there is a legitimate reason to question the FBI. There are times when the Bureau seems to be playing dangerous games with dangerous people, as shown in the article below.
This was first published in June of 2013. At the time, we said there were ‘aspects of the Boston Marathon bombing where the official story just doesn’t add up. But what if these inconsistencies point to something amiss on a far deeper level? What if the FBI’s initial claim that it didn’t know who the Tsarnaev brothers were — when in fact it knew about them for several years — hides an even bigger embarrassment?
Update. Last month, WhoWhatWhy’s James Henry reported that, despite public denials, the FBI secretly flagged Tamerlan as a terrorist threat in his immigration records. And the Bureau admitted that it conducted a six-month-long “assessment” of Tsarnaev, two years before the bombing. But then the FBI said it closed the investigation after it“found no link or ‘nexus’ to terrorism”.
Contradicting that statement, both the FBI and CIA had actually put Tsarnaev’s name on the terrorist “watch list,” stating that he “may be armed and dangerous” — and that screening him is “mandatory” if he attempts to board an airplane.
So why didn’t they do so?
Was Tamerlan Tsarnaev a Double Agent Recruited by the FBI?
Amid the swirl of mysteries surrounding the alleged Boston bombers, one fact, barely touched upon in the mainstream US media, stands out: There is a strong possibility that Tamerlan Tsarnaev, the older of the two brothers, was a double agent, perhaps recruited by the FBI.
If Tsarnaev was a double agent, he would be just one of thousands of young people coerced by the FBI, as the price for settling a minor legal problem, into a dangerous career as an informant.
That he was so coerced is the easiest explanation for two seemingly incompatible incidents in his life:
The first is that he returned to Russia in 2012, ostensibly to renew his Russian passport so he could file an application for US citizenship.
The second is that Tsarnaev then jeopardized his citizenship application with conspicuous, provocative — almost theatrical — behavior that seemed more caricature than a characteristic of a Muslim extremist.
This morning, I happened to overhear something I found to be highly hilarious, to say nothing of guffaw-inducing. Ok, so I’m here in Tucson and I walk all over the place. To date, I have only been approached twice in about a year by panhandlers asking for money. And I see the homeless all the time. Talk to some of them at length. But petition gatherers? I think I’ve been approached by a little over a hundred within the past six months. Feh, it’s like running a gauntlet of government officials at a budget free-for-all of McPork Barrel proportions. And your humble scribe has discovered why that is.
This morning, one approached me to ask if I’d like to sign a petition to limit “dark money” campaign contributions from the corporations. I, of course, pointed out that I burned my voter registration card quite some time ago and lit the barbeque with it. It finally did something for me—those fire-roasted green chiles were delicious. But I then overheard the other petition gatherer with him answering a question from a signer. These petition gatherers are paid! These guys were supposedly getting $18 an hour! My gosh, that’s probably more than sheriff’s deputies here get, I think! At the least, these human gnat-imitators are garnering $2.50 per signature. “Well, they can’t do it for free!”, defenders say. Oh, can they not? What happened to the tough guys telling me this was a democratic process?
Look here, Thomas Jefferson, WHO is paying these guys to gather these signatures? And why is it worth so much money to pass these laws? Gee, Tom, you don’t suppose maybe the political parties themselves might be behind this, do you? And, gosh, you don’t suppose they’d have at least three front groups doling out the money so it looks like the money comes from “Jimmy Crack Corn Public Relations” and not directly from the Democratic Party or the Republicans, do you? Because that’s how corporate marketing works. You, Boffo Frisbees Inc. issue a press release through Dingbat Marketing who then hands it to the press agency through Scam-O-Matic Public Relations. The paper trail is difficult to follow.
Therefore, Mr. Jefferson, how is it you can be against “dark money” in political campaigns when you are PAYING to gather signatures to create yet another law allegedly against it? Unless, of course, you seek to pass a law that benefits your party because you’ve written into it a loophole that’ll immunize you from the law while it nails everyone else? See, it’s really quite simple. If you really believe in a cause, you’ll go gather these signatures as a volunteer effort. But there are ads in the paper to enlist these people, promising great pay. Come on, man, how can you claim this as some kind of democratic process? This is the best government money can buy.
How can anyone fail to see the obvious here? And people go and die for this system?! People imagine they owe some kind of “debt” to a system such as this? Some kind of “duty” or the shivers up the spine when they hear “The Blood-Spattered Banner”? Oops, Star-Spangled Banner. Well, they can spangle their own stars for all I care because I don’t want their gold star on my report card. I’ve had enough star-spangling, thank you very much. Every tax time, the star-spangling gets more expensive. Duty? Huh, I feel more of a duty to the spider residing in a corner of the porch because it provides a useful service. To my mind, if they’re paying these jokers at least $2.50 per signature, they owe me $1.00 of it for my part in that transaction.
Now, hear me out here. Obviously, we cannot prevent them from passing more laws. So I’m thinking, gee, there’s a problem with this entire transaction of the petition gathering itself. I, the signer, am the supplier the same as if I was growing apples people wanted. But I am not being paid for the product I am providing, that being my signature and personal information. If the petition gatherer is getting $2.50 for this on his end, then he owes me $1.00 for supplying the product which he then garners a $1.50 profit after paying his supplier. The Very simple market economics here.
I think I have stumbled upon a way to reform the government here. From here on, I will ask these jokers for $1.00 cash every time they ask for my signature. Of course, they’ll invoke the false idol of “democracy” to refuse paying for my product. But then I will ask what they get paid and why it is acceptable for them to be paid for the simple task of harvesting the signature when I am the grower of it. I have to feed and water and shelter the body that produces the signature. Signatures don’t just grow on trees, but if you want to harvest mine, look, man, it’s going to cost you $1.00. That’s cheaper than the per-pound price of Granny Smith apples right now, so I think it’s a good deal and a fair price.
Nah, I don’t think I could go through with it. There are just some things a person cannot morally do for any amount of money. Participating in politics and government is one of them. But as an experiment, it would be interesting to see the reactions of them when they’re told the signature will cost $1.00 because then the hypocrisy will be revealed. The hypocrisy is this: The government makes money off of us through our labor and this is how they exist. Their bread-and-butter is jumping over our corral fence and milking our cows and swiping the loaf of bread cooling on the windowsill.
Knowing all of this, how can the government be said to be any form of moral force in the world? Again, the political parties pay people to gather signatures to pass more laws that favor the political parties. They do this to create a false majority of the people because they’ll claim all these people want these laws. No, they were hassled into signing these petitions by political panhandlers. “Excuse me, could you spare a signature?” This is not a “democratic process”, this is panhandling. Cities want to pass laws banning panhandlers. But these political panhandlers run amok hassling people relentlessly without so much as a nod to the public nuisance they are. Democracy, huh, yeah, sure it is.
Thus, I think the Dollar Rebellion might just be a free market solution to this problem with petition gathering. “Excuse me, can I get your signature on—” “It’s a dollar.” “What?” My signature. It costs one dollar. That’s my price, based on my overhead.” “But this is a democratic process!” “Is that a fact? Well, you get paid, so why am I not to be paid? Remember, this is a democracy, you say. So, if it’s good for you, it’s good for me, too.” Watch how quick the scam is defeated and he goes off to find the people giving away their names for free. Well, buddy, I am not free in this country and so neither will my signature be free until I am in fact. Put that on your clipboard and file it into you know where.
Spend ten minutes on the web surfing the keywords “prepping skills” and you will be presented with the site after site preaching the gospel of prepping for the time when the stuff hits the fan, something we commonly call SHTF. The truth is it is a bit bittersweet to see so many of us planning for a major meltdown of our economy, food supply, power grid, country, society, and quite possibly our planet.
Call it a feeling or an intuitive guess, but It is as though we are preparing for a huge rogue wave that will hit any moment. There is a huge, 100-foot wall of disaster that is zooming toward us. We don’t know what is coming or when, but we know in our gut that it is on its way. And so we prepare.
In my opinion, every once in awhile we need to go through a self-assessment to determine how well we are doing in planning for this rogue wave of collapse, in whatever form it might take.
Last week the Supreme Court of the United States voted that President Obama exceeded his authority when he granted exemptions from the immigration laws passed by Congress.
But the Supreme Court also exceeded its own authority by granting the University of Texas an exemption from the Constitution’s requirement of “equal protection of the laws,” by voting that racial preferences for student admissions were legal.
Supreme Court decisions in affirmative action cases are the longest running fraud since the 1896 decision upholding racial segregation laws in the Jim Crow South, on grounds that “separate but equal” facilities were consistent with the Constitution. Everybody knew that those facilities were separate but by no means equal. Nevertheless, this charade lasted until 1954.
But minority students admitted to institutions whose academic standards they do not meet are all too often needlessly turned into failures, even when they have the prerequisites for success in some other institution whose normal standards they do meet.
When black students who scored at the 90th percentile in math were admitted to M.I.T., where the other students scored at the 99th percentile, a significant number of black students failed to graduate there, even though they could have graduated with honors from most other academic institutions.
We do not have so many students with that kind of ability that we can afford to sacrifice them on the altar of political correctness.
Such negative consequences of mismatching minority students with institutions, for the sake of racial body count, have been documented in a number of studies, most notably “Mismatch,” a book by Richard Sander and Stuart Taylor, Jr., whose sub-title is: “How Affirmative Action Hurts Students It’s Intended to Help, and Why Universities Won’t Admit It.”
When racial preferences in student admissions in the University of California system were banned, the number of black and Hispanic students in the system declined slightly, but the number actually graduating rose substantially. So did the number graduating with degrees in tough subjects like math, science and engineering.
But hard facts carry no such weight among politicians as magic words like “diversity” — a word repeated endlessly, without one speck of evidence to back up its sweeping claims of benefits. It too is part of the Supreme Court fraud, going back to a 1978 decision that seemingly banned racial quotas — unless the word “diversity” was used instead of “quotas.”
Seeming to ban racial preferences, while letting them continue under another name, was clever politically. But the last thing we need in Washington are nine more politicians, wearing judicial robes.
While San Andreas and Cascadia are well known for their potential to cause megaquakes, researchers have warned a little-known fault in the midwest is also long overdue a tremor.
The New Madrid Seismic Zone is 150 miles long, and experts say a quake would impact seven states – Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, Arkansas, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Mississippi.
They claim ‘all hell would break loose,’ with 715,000 buildings damaged and 2.6m people left without power.
The New Madrid Seismic Zone is 150 miles long, and experts say a quake would impact seven states – Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, Arkansas, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Mississippi.
The Mid-America Earthquake Center at the University of Illinois released a report in 2009, which suggested the effects of a force seven or stronger quake from the fault line.
Amr Elnashai, the study’s lead author, wrote ‘All hell will break loose.’
The 150-mile (240 km) long fault system, which extends into five states, stretches southward from Cairo, Illinois; through Hayti, Caruthersville and New Madrid in Missouri; through Blytheville into Marked Tree in Arkansas.
It also covers a part of West Tennessee, near Reelfoot Lake, extending southeast into Dyersburg. It is southwest of the Wabash Valley Seismic Zone.
Most of the seismicity is located between 3 and 15 miles (4.8 and 24.1 km) beneath the Earth’s surface, researchers believe.
The area has not seen significant earthquakes for more than 200 years.
In the winter of 1811 and 1812, there were three earthquakes of magnitude 7 – as high as 7.7 – and a series of aftershocks across the American Midwest.
Last week’s UK vote to leave the EU may have come as a shock to many, but the sentiment that led British voters to reject rule from Brussels is nothing unique. In fact, it is growing sentiment worldwide. Frustration with politics as usual, with political parties that really do not differ in philosophy, with an economy that serves the one percent at the expense of the rest of society is a growing phenomenon throughout Europe and in the United States as well. The Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump phenomena are but one example of a frustrated public sensing something is very wrong with society and looking for a way out.
What is happening in the UK, in Europe, and in the US, is nothing less than a breakdown of the entire system. The EU was meant to be a customs union where post-World War II Western Europe could rebuild itself through free trade and a reduction in bureaucracy. Through corruption and political ambition, it became an unelected bully government in Brussels, where the well-connected were well compensated and insulated from the votes of mere citizens.
Wait a minute. They’re already dead. Brexit just reveals that not everybody’s brains have been eaten. A viral contagion now threatens the zombified institutions of daily life, especially the workings of politics and finance. Just as zombies exist only in the collective imagination, so do these two principal activities of society operate mainly on trust, an ephemeral product of the hive-mind.
When things fall apart in stressed complex systems, they tend to fall apart fast. It’s called phase change. Too many things in 21st-century life have depended on sheer trust that the people-in-charge know what they are doing. That trust has subsisted on the doling out of money-from-nothing: debt, reckless bond issuance. TARP, QEs, bail-outs, bail-ins, Operation Twists, Ponzi schemes… the whole sad-ass armamentarium of banking necromancy. The politicians let it get out of hand. Things that can’t go on don’t, and now they won’t.
The politics of Great Britain are now falling apart landslide-style. Since just about everybody in or near power can be blamed for the national predicament, there’s nobody to turn to, at least not yet. The Labour party just acted out The Caine Mutiny, starring Jeremy Corbyn as Captain Queeg. The Tory Cameron gave three months notice without any plausible replacement in view. Now Cameron’s people are hinting in the media that they can just drag their feet on Brexit, that is, not do anything to enable it from actually happening for a while. Of course, that’s what the monkeyshines of banking and finance have done: postponed the inevitable reckoning with the realities of our time: growing resource scarcity, population overshoot, climate change, ecological holocaust, and the diminishing returns of technology.
Britain illustrates the problem nicely: how to produce “wealth” without producing wealth. It’s called “the City,” their name for the little district of London that is their Wall Street. In the absence of producing real things, the City became the driver of the UK’s economy, a ghastly parasitical organism that functioned as the central transfer station for the world’s swindles and frauds, churning the West’s dwindling residual capital into a slurry of fees, commissions, arbitrages, rigged casino bets, and rip-offs. In the process, it enabled the European Central Bank (ECB) to run the con-job that the European Union (EU) became, with the fatal distortions of credit that have put its members into a ditch and sent the private European banks off a cliff, Thelma and Louise style.
The next stage of this protean global melodrama is what happens when currencies and interest rates become completely unglued from their assigned roles as patsies in financial racketeering. Sooner or later we’ll know what’s going on in the vast shadowy gloaming of “derivatives,” especially the “innovative” arrangements that affect to be “insurance” against losses in currency and interest rate “positions” — bets made on the movements of these things. When currencies rise or fall quickly, these so-called “swaps” are “triggered,” and then some hapless institution is left holding a big bag of dog-shit. A zombie is a terrible thing to behold, but a zombie holding a bag of dog-shit is like unto the end of the world.
Once this contagion starts burning, the people-in-charge won’t be able to quell it the way they did last time: by drowning it in torrents of money-from-nowhere. At least not without inducing real-deal inflation, the kind that leads to epochal ruin and more intense political upheaval: the nation-changing kind. We’re about five minutes away from that in the USA already, with the loathsome duo of Hillary and Trump putting on a Punch and Judy show for a disgusted public. If nothing else, Hillary and Trump represent the withering of political trust in America. The parties that spawned them are also whirling around the drain of credibility. They won’t survive in the form we knew them.
Who knows what comes out of this vacuum, what rough beast slouches towards Washington.
Reprinted from Kunstler.com.
Bromelain is a protein-digesting (proteolytic) enzyme complex found in the fruit and, in higher concentrations, in the stem of the pineapple (Ananas comosus). It is able to hydrolyze or break down a wide variety of protein types in a range of both acid and alkaline environments.
Originally isolated in the late 1800s, bromelain can play a key role in digestion, and perhaps more importantly, its properties have prompted many practitioners to use it as an agent in wound healing and the prevention of illness and irritation decades.
What Does Bromelain Do?Due to its beneficial properties, bromelain is currently being studied for topical applications for burns. Recent lab studies on animals show that bromelain helps slough off dead tissue from third-degree burns. Other studies show its effective topical use in people with second- and third-degree burns.
4. Insect Bites and Stings
Bromelain may be applied topically to lower swelling and reduce discomfort associated with insect bites and stings.
5. Reduced Swelling After Sports Injuries
Studies show that bromelain may speed up healing time after a physical or sports injury. Taking it has been linked to reduced swelling related to sprains, strains, bruises, and other minor muscle injuries.
Uncle has turned me into a litterbug.
I’ve chucked empty beer bottles out the window. I do not like doing this. I feel guilty about doing this. I never used to do this.
So why do I do it now?
Because having an “open container” – or an empty one – in one’s car invites severe (and for me, a car journalist, life-altering) consequences. If one happens to be pulled over by a cop for any random reason (seatbelt “violation,” “speeding,” an out-of-date sticker) and he sees an “open” or “empty” in the car, you are in serious trouble.
Better call Saul.
Even if the “empty” has been empty for weeks.
Even if all you’ve had is a sip – and your BAC level is nowhere near the legal limit defining “drunk” driving.
It doesn’t matter.
You still face the possibility of being charged with “drinking while driving” or “driving under the influence” – whatever the verbiage – and are subject to arrest and prosecution just as you would be if you “blew” a .08 or more on the Breathalyzer (see here for an interesting legal explanation/analysis) machine.
Except you didn’t.
Not being “drunk” isn’t a defense.
All that’s required to establish your “guilt” is the presence in the car of the open/empty container – even if it’s not yours. Even if you didn’t have so much as a sip.
You are presumed guilty of drinking while driving by dint of the presence of the container and it being opened or empty.
This is not unlike characterizing an 18-year-old as a “sex offender” because he had relations with his 17-year-old girlfriend.
Sober drivers are subject to being arrested and convicted and their lives ruined for what amounts to the same offense – in terms of what will happen to them – as drivers whose BAC levels are at or beyond the legal threshold defining them as “drunk.”
Even though theirs aren’t.
Hence the motivation to throw any empties out the window.
Littering is a small bust.
Clovers (see here) will sniff that people simply ought not to drink alcohol while driving, ever, regardless of the amount. But the presence of a bottle in the car does not establish that the driver has been drinking. Only that someone did. At some point. Maybe a long time ago.
But even if the driver was drinking, so what?
A majority of the voters of Venezuela are thieves. They have tried to vote themselves prosperity through the welfare state.
This preference for theft by the ballot box has now blown up in their faces.
To imagine that theft produces any other result is to imagine that (1) dishonesty is the best policy, (2) thieves win in the long run, and (3) private property is theft.
Venezuelans elected and re-elected the long-winded socialist Hugo [OOgowe] Chavez. Chavez was a tin-horn dictator whose role model — rhetorically and ideologically — was Fidel Castro. He loved to give three-hour speeches. He loved to hear himself talk.
After Chavez died of cancer, Venezuelans voted for his hand-picked successor, a former bus driver. Maduro carries on Chavez’s policies.
Chavez’s state took oil income and created massive bureaucracies, where his political cronies prospered. He let some of this money trickle down to the voters, who re-elected him four times.
Venezuela was Cuba with oil income. But now oil revenues are down. The free market is crippled. Maduro has now doubled down on welfare state tyranny. The government confiscates vital resources, such as food. Food shortages are universal. The government rations it.
The worse the economy gets, the more Maduro’s government tightens the screws. It’s the grab-bag of welfare state policies: price controls, food rationing, calls for citizens to cut back on consumption, and tirades against unnamed enemies.
So horrendous is the disaster that the New York Times ran this editorial:
As the effort to oust President Nicolás Maduro of Venezuela by referendum gains support, his government is ratcheting up repression. On Friday, Mr. Maduro declared a 60-day state of emergency, saying it was necessary to quash what he described as a “coup” and confront “all the international and national threats our nation is facing.”The threats Venezuelans face today are not the result of foreign or domestic conspiracies, but Mr. Maduro’s disastrous leadership. On his watch, the country’s health care system has atrophied so severely that scores of Venezuelans are dying every week because of chronic shortages of medicine and ill-equipped hospitals.
Violence has soared as armed gangs loyal to the government roam the streets. During the first three months of this year, 4,696 people were murdered in Venezuela, according to the government, and in 2015 more than 17,700 were killed. The three-month death toll is higher than the 3,545 civilians killed last year in Afghanistan, a record number.
Shortages of food and basic goods are likely to worsen as Venezuela’s economy continues to contract this year. Political prisoners, meanwhile, have languished behind bars for years, victims of a corrupt and broken justice system.
This crisis has exposed the hollow promise of the socialist policies Mr. Maduro and his predecessor, Hugo Chávez, have peddled since the late 1990s. While many Venezuelans got a taste of prosperity in better housing, subsidized food and higher wages when oil prices were high — oil accounts for roughly 96 percent of Venezuela’s exports — the government failed to build anything resembling a sustainable economy. It also failed to save when money was flowing in, which would have softened the impact of the recession that began in 2014.
All this is true, and much, much more.
Some of us have long predicted the breakup of the European Union. The Cousins appear to have just delivered the coup de grace.
While Scotland and Northern Ireland voted to remain in the EU, England voted for independence. These people, with their unique history, language and culture, want to write their own laws and rule themselves.
The English wish to remain who they are, and they do not want their country to become, in Theodore Roosevelt’s phrase, “a polyglot boarding house” for the world.
From patriots of all nations, congratulations are in order.
It will all begin to unravel now, over there, and soon over here.
In the past six months, millions of Democrats voted for a 74-year-old socialist against the establishment choice, Hillary Clinton, as Bush-Romney-Ryan Republicanism was massively repudiated in the Republican primaries.
As Trump said last week, “We got here because we switched from a policy of Americanism — focusing on what’s good for America’s middle class — to a policy of globalism, focusing on how to make money for large corporations who can move their wealth and workers to foreign countries all to the detriment of the American worker and the American economy.”
Yesterday, news arrived that in May alone, the U.S. had run a trade deficit in goods of $60 billion. This translates into an annual deficit of $720 billion in goods, or near 4 percent of our GDP wiped out by purchases of foreign-made rather than U.S.-made goods.
In 40 years, we have not run a trade surplus. The most self-sufficient republic in all of history now relies for its necessities upon other nations.
What might a Trumpian policy of Americanism over globalism entail?
A 10 to 20 percent tariff on manufactured goods to wipe out the trade deficit in goods, with the hundreds of billions in revenue used to slash or eliminate corporate taxes in the USA.
Every U.S. business would benefit. Every global company would have an incentive not only to move production here but its headquarters here.
An “America first” immigration policy would secure the border, cut legal immigration to tighten U.S. labor markets, strictly enforce U.S. laws against those breaking into our country, and get tough with businesses that make a practice of hiring people here illegally.
In Europe and America, corporate, financial and political elites are increasingly disrespected and transnationalism is receding. An anti-establishment, nationalist, populist wave is surging across Europe and the USA.
It is an anti-insider, anti-Clinton wave, and Trump could ride it to victory.
It’s the cause of many sleepless nights, leads to frazzled nerves, irritability and often couples sleeping in separate bedrooms.
Anyone can snore but, according to the British Snoring and Sleep Apnoea Association (BSSAA), more than two-thirds of snorers are men.
This is because men are more likely to carry weight around their neck and throat as well as more likely to drink and smoke which all contribute to snoring, explains co-founder, Marianne Davey.
Snorers can sometimes wake themselves up with their noisy breathing but not before their other halves have spent hours staring at the ceiling and missing out on valuable sleeping time.
So if you’re the one venting frustration at the duvet and stuffing cotton wool into your ears, is there anything you can do?
Speaking to the medical blogging website The Hippocratic Post, the sleep specialist says there are ways to minimise the racket – without the need for a pillow over the head.
‘You can’t cure snoring but you can find effective ways of controlling it,’ says Ms. Davey.
di David Stockman
In un post recente, Jeff Snider uccide una volta per tutte le gambe perennemente rialziste dei venditori ambulanti di Wall Street. Appena 22 mesi fa (giugno 2014), Wall Street proiettava per il 2015 utili GAAP per azione di $144.60 per l'S&P 500.
Inutile dire che non c' hanno preso. In realtà erano troppo alti del 67%, ma la storia interessante è quella che descrive come ci siano arrivati a quel numero.
Dato che i risultati effettivi del 2013 e i documenti 10-K erano storia antica a giugno 2014, uno potrebbe pensare che questa gente stesse fumando oppio. Vale a dire, le suddette stime per il 2015 incarnavano un guadagno biennale del 45% rispetto al dato effettivo di $100.20 per azione per il 2013.
Entro il marzo 2015 le stime del consenso erano state abbassate a $111.34 per azione, in quanto le speranze del giugno precedente non avevano funzionato. Infatti i risultati GAAP per il 2014 erano arrivati a soli $102.31 per azione, vale a dire un piccolo guadagno di appena il 2.1% l'anno e un buco impossibile da colmare rispetto all'utile proiettato del 45%.
Peggio ancora, a dicembre 2014 la cifra segnalata non solo era fuori bersaglio; in realtà rappresentava un'inversione di rotta. La ripresa degli utili post-crisi aveva già raggiunto il picco a $106 per azione a settembre 2014 ed era scesa di quasi il 4%.
Ma a quanto pare non importava. La stima del consenso di $111.34 per il 2015 rappresentava un guadagno di quasi il 9% rispetto al 2014. Come al solito, faceva tutto parte del programma per la seconda metà dell'anno. L'utile GAAP del primo trimestre 2015 di $25.81 stava già serpeggiando e rappresentava un calo del 6% rispetto all'anno precedente.
Ma a Wall Street gli intrugli rialzisti vengono preparati tutto il giorno. Una volta arrivati alle stime di settembre del consenso finanziario, gli utili della prima metà dell'anno erano già giù del 17%. Ma il consenso era ottimista per l'ultimo trimestre. Gli utili per azione venivano quindi proiettati a $95.06, rappresentanti un calo annuale del 7%.
Ma l'ottimismo era troppo ottimista ed è andato in fumo. Alla fine dell'anno gli utili GAAP chiudevano in calo del 14% rispetto al livello del 2013, non in salita del 45%!
Ma questa non è nemmeno la metà della storia. In questa epoca di Finanza delle Bolle, Wall Street presume che la crescita degli utili sia qualcosa di identificabile. Così, nonostante il disastro totale sopra descritto per quanto riguarda le gambe perennemente rialziste per il 2015, le previsioni stanno sfondando di nuovo il tetto. Anche su base GAAP, le stime del consenso per fine anno sono di $111.50 e $126.50 rispettivamente per il 2016 e il 2017.
Il punto, però, non solo è che le gambe perennemente rialziste sono aumentate del 29% per l'anno in corso, quando i risultati/stime per il primo trimestre sono già giù del 10%, o del 46% per il 2017; il punto è che i venditori ambulanti di Wall Street sono così intossicati dalla vita nel casinò, da non capire che la festa è finita. Vale a dire, i margini di profitto sono arrivati ad un massimo di tutti i tempi, ma hanno raggiunto un picco e la spinta dell'ingegneria finanziaria è sicuramente finita.
I margini di profitto per l'S&P 500 hanno raggiunto un picco di quasi il 10% nel 2014 e sono già scesi di un quinto. E come dobbiamo ripetere ancora una volta, il ciclo economico non è stato bandito. Il grafico qui sotto fornisce tutte le informazioni necessarie per capire quello che accade ai margini di profitto quando la prossima recessione farà la sua inesorabile comparsa.
Allo stesso tempo, è una certezza che i riacquisti di azioni proprie scenderanno poiché i tassi d'interesse alla fine si normalizzeranno e prendere in prestito per acquistare azioni diventerà meno attraente. L'ingegneria finanziaria, di conseguenza, ha una data di scadenza.
Infatti il manifesto dell'ingegneria finanziaria è incarnato dai risultati di IBM; sono letteralmente un fiasco e sono un indicatore del dove i piani alti delle grandi aziende stanno portando le società americane, sotto gli auspici del sistema distruttivo della Finanza delle Bolle della FED.
Le vendite di IBM sono in calo per il sedicesimo trimestre consecutivo — questa volta del 4.5%. Nel frattempo i suoi profitti al netto delle tasse sono crollati del 67%, da $3 miliardi nel primo trimestre 2015 a solo $1 miliardo nel trimestre in corso.
Ma gli ultimi risultati di IBM sono stati salvati da un annichilimento totale grazie all'ennesimo sussulto dell'ingegneria finanziaria. Ha registrato un accantonamento fiscale negativo di $983 milioni, o negativo del 95%. A parte questa foglia di fico, IBM ha fatto registrare l'utile trimestrale al netto delle tasse più basso in due decenni!
Inutile dire che più di un decennio d'ingegneria finanziaria non ha nulla di speciale. IBM ha riversato nel casinò riacquisti d'azioni proprie e dividendi al fine di far levitare il prezzo delle sue azioni e inondare i suoi dirigenti con guadagni dalle stock option.
Ma anche la miope distruzione della propria base di capitale non funziona più. Dopo il disastro di ieri sera, le sue azioni sono scese del 6% rispetto al loro recente dead cat bounce e ora sono il 33% inferiori al picco del 2013 a $215 per azione.
Il suo CEO e il consiglio d'amministrazione non sono stati cacciati a pedate, perché hanno inondato di doni il casinò e gli intermediari finanziari che vi lavorano. Vale a dire, nel corso dell'ultimo decennio, IBM ha riacquistato $100 miliardi di azioni e ha pagato $33 miliardi in dividendi.
Ciò equivale al 100% del suo reddito netto cumulato — quindi non sorprende se le vendite e i profitti continuano a restringersi. Allo stesso tempo, IBM ha speso quasi $30 miliardi in acquisizioni e ha aumentato il debito totale da $10 miliardi a $31 miliardi.
In breve, IBM è stato un sogno fatto solo di ingegneria finanziaria. Ma, ahimè, l'ingegneria finanziaria non crea valore, e se praticata abbastanza a lungo, lo distrugge.
Ciò è evidente nel grafico qui sotto. Negli ultimi tre anni, le vendite di IBM sono diminuite del 21%, o più di $20 miliardi. Allo stesso modo, il suo utile netto è sceso del 23% e i suoi profitti lordi del 37%.
Proprio così. A marzo i suoi utili al lordo delle tasse erano di $14 miliardi rispetto ai $22.3 miliardi di tre anni fa.
Detto in modo diverso, la contrazione delle vendite e la costante erosione dei margini operativi, che sono scesi dal 20.6% al 17.4%, hanno provocato il caos nei profitti reali di IBM. L'unica ragione per cui il suo reddito netto non riflette pienamente il naufragio finanziario che gli ingegneri finanziari hanno scatenato su IBM, è la contorsione delle sue disposizioni fiscali.
Come mostrato nel terzo rettangolo, il suo tax rate effettivo era già ad un minimo del 24.0% a marzo 2013. Ora è al 7.3% su base annuale. Mentre continuerà a scendere, questi escamotage stanno raggiungendo i loro limiti.
Infatti non pagare le tasse non è vizio particolare. Anche così, però, non è possibile sfruttare una base di guadagni una tantum in termini di reddito che è stato rubacchiato al fisco.
Di tanto in tanto, zia Janet ha affermato che non esistono bolle nel mercato azionario e che lei è perplessa sul motivo per cui la produttività stia sbiadendo e la crescita continui a rallentare.
Forse avrebbe dovuto contemplare le conseguenze della massiccia intrusione della banca centrale nei mercati finanziari, la quale ha sostituito una determinazioen dei prezzi onesta e una sana disciplina finanziaria con l'ingegneria finanziaria.
Per quanto riguarda la prima cosa, il mercato oggi ha chiuso al 24X degli utili effettivi dell'S&P. Questo è un incidente visto al rallentatore, ed è uno totalmente attribuibile alla follia degli 87 mesi consecutivi di ZIRP e massiccio QE.
Per quanto riguarda la seconda cosa, IBM non è un'aberrazione unica, ma il manifesto dell'ingegneria finanziaria che inesorabilmente condurrà ad una liquidazione degli asset produttivi. Su una base aggiustata all'inflazione, la spesa di IBM per il settore della ricerca & sviluppo è calata del 20% negli ultimi quattro anni e le sue spese in conto capitale sono scese del 40%.
Questo intruglio di Wall Street che comprende gambe perennemente rialziste e ingegneria finanziaria, è veleno allo stato puro. Ma zia Janet non ne ha idea.
[*] traduzione di Francesco Simoncelli: http://francescosimoncelli.blogspot.it/
Nella sua breve storia della moneta fiat ai tempi della Rivoluzione francese, Andrew D. White sottolinea che quanto più si fecero dannose le conseguenze dell’inflazione, tanto più divennero accese le richieste di una maggiore inflazione per porvi rimedio. Oggi, quando aumenta l’inflazione, i suoi sostenitori si affannano a sostenere che l’inflazione può essere una cosa molto buona — o, se un danno, quanto meno un danno necessario. Il principale portavoce di questo gruppo è il prof. Sumner H. Slichter di Harvard.
La dichiarazione e gli scritti di Slichter traboccano di fallacie. Mi limito qui a tre: 1) che un’inflazione strisciante del 2 per cento l’anno porterebbe più benefici che danni, 2) che è possibile per il governo pianificare un’inflazione strisciante del 2 per cento l’anno (o di qualunque altro tasso stabilito), 3) che l’inflazione è necessaria per conseguire “la piena occupazione” e “la crescita economica”.
Molto tempo fa sottolineai (Newsweek, 23 settembre 1957), insieme ad altri, che perfino se il governo potesse controllare un’inflazione al tasso del 2 per cento l’anno, ciò significherebbe un’erosione del potere d’acquisto del dollaro di circa metà ad ogni generazione. Questo non può non scoraggiare il risparmio, produrre ingiustizie, ed indirizzare male la produzione. Allo stato dei fatti negli Stati Uniti l’inflazione è corsa molto più velocemente. Il costo della vita è più che raddoppiato negli ultimi vent’anni. Ciò corrisponde ad un tasso composto di circa il 4 per cento l’anno.
Nel momento in cui un’inflazione programmata viene annunciata, o comunque attesa con anticipo, ciò accelera inevitabilmente il passaggio ad una “galoppante”. Perfino Slichter ora lo riconosce: se i creditori si aspettano un aumento del 2-4 per cento dei prezzi in un anno, chiederanno che tale rialzo sia aggiunto al tasso di interesse pagato loro affinché conservino il potere d’acquisto del loro investimento. Tuttavia egli non vede che tutte le società saranno forzate ad offrire un tasso lordo di rendimento corrispondentemente aumentato per attrarre nuovi investimenti, perfino patrimoni netti. Egli inoltre non vede che se c’è un aumento programmato del prezzo, i sindacati aggiungeranno il totale atteso di questo rialzo a qualsiasi richiesta salariale che avrebbero comunque sostenuto. Ancora, egli non vede che gli speculatori e compratori ordinari proveranno ad anticipare qualunque aumento programmato del prezzo — e di conseguenza accelereranno inevitabilmente l’andamento verso la percentuale pianificata. Egli infine non vede che l’inflazione spinge tutti a comportarsi come giocatori d’azzardo.
Il punto dell’argomento di Slichter ora è che “un lento aumento nel livello del prezzo è un inevitabile costo del tasso massimo di crescita”- in altre parole, l’idea che l’inflazione sia un costo necessario della “piena occupazione”. Questo semplicemente non è vero. Ciò che è necessario per una “crescita” massima (ossia, un’occupazione ottimale e una produzione massima) è una corretta relazione o coordinazione di prezzi e redditi. Se alcune retribuzioni diventano troppo alte per questo coordinamento, il risultato è la disoccupazione. La cura consiste nel correggere le retribuzioni colpevoli. Tentare di alzare l’intero livello dei prezzi attraverso l’inflazione monetaria semplicemente creerà nuove ripercussioni negative ovunque.
La coordinazione necessaria
In breve, se è presente una reale coordinazione di redditi e prezzi, l’inflazione non è necessaria; e se la coordinazione di redditi e prezzi non esiste- ossia se i redditi non seguono il passo di prezzi e produzione — l’inflazione è peggio che inutile.
Slichter assume che non ci sia modo di limitare le richieste sindacali eccetto che “mollando” i sindacati. Non gli è mai venuto in mente che abbiamo bisogno soltanto di revocare le speciali immunità e privilegi conferiti ai sindacati sin dal 1932, specialmente con gli Norris-La Guardia e Wagner-Taft-Hartley acts. Se i datori di lavoro non fossero completamente sottomessi nel “negoziare” con (in pratica, a fare concessioni a) uno specifico sindacato, a prescindere da quanto irragionevoli siano le sue richieste; se i datori di lavoro fossero liberi di licenziare coloro che fanno sciopero e tranquillamente assumere sostituti; e se il picchettaggio e la violenza di massa fossero realmente proibite, entrerebbero in gioco i controlli sulle eccessive richieste salariali, cui naturalmente spingerebbe la competizione.
Slichter sostiene che i sindacati siano di più che la principale causa dell’attuale inflazione e allo stesso tempo afferma che un aumento del reddito generale è proprio la giusta medicina di cui abbiamo bisogno immediato per l’economia! La sua illusione è che possiamo evitare l’inflazione tramite un maggiore inflazionamento.
Integral to the implausible claim that Donald Trump has wrested the GOP from “conservatives” is a recent statement by former G.W. Bush speechwriter and Fox-news wise man, Marc Thiessen in The Washington Post that “Trump has followed a consistent strategy of neutralizing traditional Democratic attacks by adopting the Democrats’ positions.” A striking example of this strategy cited by Thiessen is Trump’s foreign policy, which sees him “campaigning from the isolationist Left.” Aside from the inconvenient fact that Trump has announced that as president he’ll “knock the sh-t out of ISIS,” there is absolutely no reason that an intelligent person would identify a retreat from the policies of Thiessen’s former boss exclusively or even primarily with “the isolationist Left.”
Only a Neanderthal cave dweller would not notice that self-identified conservatives have been raging against the neoconservative foreign policy for decades, that is, the policy that Thiessen was paid richly to defend. For starters, there are numerous websites, such as this one, that have defended a more restrained engagement with the world than the one advocated by the last Republican administration and it’s unmistakably neoconservative “advisers.” Moreover, the entire Old Right, most notably Pat Buchanan and Ron Paul, has been declaiming against neoconservative warmongers for generations, and before them we had George F. Kennan, Robert A. Taft, libertarians of all kinds, and the later Herbert Hoover, warning us to avoid foreign entanglement. Yesterday I walked into my local post office in South Central Pennsylvania and listened to die-in-the-wool right-wingers, including two army veterans, screaming against further military commitments. None of my fellow residents at the post office could ever be mistaken for a leftist. In fact, they were ardent Trump-supporters, who were worried “about what’s going on in this country.” And they were most definitely immigration restrictionists, although decency prevents me from repeating their opinions on this subject.
Thiessen’s observation that Trump took the position of the Left because he wished to rethink foreign policy commitments, is either false or flagrantly exaggerated. But the media continue to push this line out of convenience. Supposedly a principal dividing line between Right and Left separates those who accept from those who question W’s foreign policy. Getting people to buy into this nonsense makes things simple for those who control the public debate. Our major ideological difference we are made to believe should come out in a discussion between The Washington Post and The Weekly Standard or between Charles Krauthammer and Juan Williams.
Things would look more complicated if one had to take into account certain messy variables, for example, that millions of self-identified “conservatives” most certainly do not favor a return to W’s global democratic foreign policy and that prominent neoconservatives like Robert Kagan are supporting the social leftist Hillary Clinton. After all, Hillary seems closer in her missionary belligerence to the last Republican administration than she does to Trump. And much of the Republican base voted for Trump even after he accused W and his administration of lying about the reasons that they launched an offensive war in Iraq. If the kind of interventionism that Thiessen favors is truly a pillar of the Republican Right, why didn’t the Republican base turn in utter revulsion against Trump and then vote in the primaries for one of Thiessen’s favorites, say George W. Bush’s younger brother, Jeb, in the numbers that Thiessen would have wanted?
Thiessen and his pals are confusing (in a very deliberate manner) two different concepts, patriotism and their updated version of liberal internationalism. It is one thing to be patriotic, in the sense of cherishing one’s country or one’s region and those persons and things associated with one’s home country. Understandably the patriot seeks to protect what he values from harm. It is an entirely different thing to wish to see American armies sent all over the globe to fight a shifting array of enemies, all of them designated as the most recent incarnations of Nazi Germany.
This internationalism becomes downright nutty when it involves dragging as many countries as we can toward the latest model of American “liberal democracy.” Presumably, we’re in danger of losing our country or our souls unless we pursue this dream, and we’re supposed to do so while “leading from the front.” And what we are supposed to impose, if necessary by force, cannot be any old Western government, but whatever form of that government we have reached the present moment. As I learned from watching Fox news, a regime that does not allow women to vote or gays to wed is inherently oppressive, which I have to believe was what the American regime was up until quite recently. If at some point our leaders and opinion-makers decide to allow sexual pioneers to marry their dogs and cats, perhaps we’ll then be morally required to confer the same liberty on those countries that we are bringing under our tutelage. I recall talking to a neoconservative professor (when he was still talking to me) at a luncheon party, who explained that the war in Iraq was worth our effort because “at last we gave women there the right to vote.” I replied that perhaps it would have been a good thing if some more progressive country than ours had invaded New York City or Boston in 1890 and forced the city fathers to extend the franchise to women. My interlocutor smiled and changed the conversation. Whereupon I knew this guy was clearly no Straussian. If he had been, he would have scolded me as a moral relativist who didn’t appreciate “our values” sufficiently.
In a book set to be released on Tuesday, former Secret Service agent Gary J. Byrne details his time in the White House serving former president Bill Clinton and former first lady Hillary Clinton.
Byrne claims within the pages of the book that Bill Clinton had a ‘jogging list’ and would have Secret Service ‘take the names of attractive women he saw while out exercising’.
In Byrne’s new book, ‘Crisis of Character: A White House Secret Service Officer Discloses His Firsthand Experience with Hillary, Bill, and How They Operate‘, the former White House security makes no apologies for his criticisms of the Clintons.
In the ‘jogging list’, a detail exposed by Byrne, the former president Clinton would allegedly see women who were dressed in nightclub attire or exercise gear, who showed up at the southeast gate.