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Una truffa chiamata Valeant

Freedonia - 5 ore 16 min fa




di David Stockman


Se avete ancora bisogno di prove che Wall Street è una bomba ad orologeria finanziaria in attesa d'esplodere, vi basta guardare al recente crollo di Valeant Pharmaceuticals (VRX). La sua capitalizzazione di mercato di $90 miliardi il 5 agosto dell'anno scorso, è precipitata a meno di $12 miliardi mercoledì scorso.

Stiamo parlando di circa il 90% in meno. E il VRX è stato uno dei giganti preferiti dagli hedge fund. In un solo giorno questi ultimi hanno perso $5.3 miliardi.

Qualcuno parlerebbe di giustizia divina, soprattutto per giocatori d'azzardo del calibro di William Ackman (Pershing Square) e Jeffrey Ubben (ValueAct Holdings), i quali hanno entrambi perso $700 milioni quel giorno. Il fatto che essi stessi per così tanto tempo si siano creduti i padroni dell'universo, però, è la vera morale della storia.

I mercati finanziari e i media sono stati così corrotti dalla Finanza delle Bolle della banca centrale, che non hanno nemmeno capito come Valeant fosse una truffa monumentale e che Ackman e Ubben fossero solo venditori di fumo in giacca e cravatta. Ormai credo sia chiaro che gli hedge fund sono infestati da molte altre truffe simili.

Ecco il grafico:




No, negli ultimi sette mesi Valeant non è stata colta a vendere pillole avvelenate, o a torturare gattini. Sono solo venuti al pettine i nodi degli ultimi sette anni — visto che ha perseguito aggressivamente tutte le strategie d'ingegneria finanziaria adorate e premiate nel casinò di Wall Street.

L'evoluzione di Valeant durante suddetto periodo ha seguito alla lettera il copione dell'ingegneria finanziaria. È stata una creatura di Goldman Sachs e dei vari dealer, assicuratori, hedge fund e società di consulenza, che hanno alimentato il fuoco della Finanza delle Bolle.

Alla fine hanno trasformato i piani alti delle grandi aziende d'America in bische clandestine, attirando e premiando speculatori incuranti dei bilanci aziendali e bucanieri finanziari infatuati dal debito.

Nel caso di cui stiamo discutendo, l'agente principale della distruzione di Valeant è stato un ex-consulente di McKinsey & Co, Michael Pearson, il quale è diventato amministratore delegato nel 2008.

Il collega di Pearson, che l'ha aiutato a fare terra bruciata in questa impresa, è stato Howard Schiller, un veterano di Goldman Sachs, il quale è diventato CFO nel 2011 e ben presto ha completato la conversione di Valeant in una macchina d'ingegneria finanziaria.

Durante la loro permanenza nell'azienda, Pearson e Schiller hanno speso circa $40 miliardi per circa 150 acquisizioni. E quali competenze e valore hanno aggiunto queste acquisizioni per quanto riguarda lenti a contatto, terapie oftalmologiche, dermatologia, cosmeceutici, creme, equivalenti del botox, anti-acne, pomate anti-invecchiamento e fungicidi?

Invece hanno portato l'opportunità di tagliare migliaia di posti di lavoro, eliminare il settore della R&S e finanziare enormi quantità di avviamenti e asset intangibili con debito a buon mercato.

Valeant non solo non ha acquisito sviluppi farmaceutici significativi, ma in realtà è andata nella direzione opposta. Cioè, ha evitato investimenti in ricerca e sviluppo di farmaci in un settore il cui unico scopo è lo sviluppo di nuovi farmaci e terapie.

Eppure la strategia alternativa che hanno spacciato agli hedge fund, non poteva che prosperare durante le ultime fasi di una mania speculativa finanziaria.

In sostanza, Pearson e Schiller hanno affermato che il resto del settore era infinitamente stupido e che decine di miliardi di capitalizzazione di mercato potevano essere create dal nulla. Come? Bastava acquisire aziende con farmaci noti da tempo e poi alzarne i prezzi.

Infatti Valeant s'è costruita una reputazione negativa per aver aumentato ferocemente i prezzi. In un solo anno ha aumentato di circa il 66% il prezzo dell'81% dei farmaci nel suo portfolio.

Il punto qui non è quello di fare eco alla Clinton che vuole un controllo dei prezzi dei farmaci. Anzi, il contrario. Nonostante un regime clientelare e ostacoli giuridici infiniti sollevati dal cartello di Big Pharma, il mercato dei farmaci non è immune alle leggi dell'economia.

Aumentate il prezzo dei farmaci in modo spropositato e vi troverete concorrenti con nuove formulazioni che aggirano il brevetto; se invece diventate esponenzialmente avidi, i farmaci generici vi affogheranno alla scadenza del brevetto.

L'aumento smodato e sfrenato dei prezzi non è una strategia di business che costruisce valore sostenibile. È una tattica che può funzionare nel casinò, ma non nel mondo reale.

Nel contempo Pearson e Schiller hanno tagliato il personale e hanno abbattuto la spesa per la ricerca & sviluppo ad un ridicolo 3% delle vendite. Una cifra comica quando confrontata con gli standard industriali del settore che vanno dal 12% al 18%.

Infine, l'intruglio rialzista di Wall Street nei confronti di Valeant è stato creato con dati finanziari che presumevano la permanenza di questi aumenti predatori dei prezzi.

Le proiezioni di profitto conseguenti non avevano praticamente nulla a che fare con i risultati effettivi della società. Così, nel 2014 ha guadagnato solo $912 milioni in base ai principi contabili generalmente accettati (GAAP), ma ha riportato utili "monetari" per $2.85 miliardi.

Ciò significa che la sua capitalizzazione di mercato aveva raggiunto un picco a metà del 2015, trattata al 32X degli utili. In realtà, nel casinò era valutata al 101X degli utili.

Inutile dire che grazie a questo tipo di truffe finanziarie, non c'è voluto molto per trasformare Valeant in un vero e proprio mulo da soma carico di debiti. Il suo debito è passato da $400 milioni nel 2009 a $1 miliardo di oggi. Questa è un'eruzione di debito del 78X.

Valeant è stata trasformata in una vera e propria macchina per bruciare soldi nel corso della sua baldoria di fusioni & acquisizioni. Durante i 27 trimestri a partire dalla fine del 2008, il VRX ha generato solo $7 miliardi in flusso di cassa operativo. Ma ha consumato quasi $26 miliardi in investimenti e affari di altro genere. Detto in modo diverso, si trattava di un puro e semplice schema di Ponzi finanziario.

È stata una prosperità assolutamente senza profitti — non diversa dalla tipica ingegneria finanziaria. Nel corso di questi 27 trimestri, le vendite sono state pari a poco meno di $30 miliardi. Ma i suoi introiti netti cumulati sono stati pari a $130 miseri milioni.

Proprio così. Negli ultimi sette anni, i profitti GAAP di Valeant sono stati pari a solo lo 0.4% delle vendite.

Allora perché la capitalizzazione di mercato di Valeant è salita da $1.2 miliardi, quando Pearson è arrivato nel 2008, al recente picco di $90 miliardi nel corso di un periodo in cui l'azienda non ha generato un centesimo di profitto?

È stato solo l'ennesimo caso d' ingegneria finanziaria di Wall Street e della sua campagna speculativa.

Va da sé, naturalmente, che queste deformazioni della Finanza della Bolle sono nate dalle folli politiche di denaro facile e dagli effetti ricchezza a cascata della FED. La repressione finanziaria e il quantitative easing (QE) hanno sovvenzionato l'indebitamento delle imprese e alimentato l'ingegneria finanziaria.

Allo stesso modo, i tassi d'interesse a zero (ZIRP) sono miele per la speculazione di Wall Street. Hanno permesso agli hedge fund e agli altri operatori monetari di costruire castelli in aria, come Valeant, praticamente a costo zero.

Ma non è un mistero il motivo per cui queste truffe dell'ingegneria finanziaria accadano più e più volte nei mercati finanziari, corrotti dalla FED e dalle altre banche centrali.

L'ingegneria finanziaria è diventata così redditizia, perché l'equilibrio e la salubrità di un mercato libero — composto da short-seller, alte spese per l'hedging e costi significativi per i carry trade delle speculazioni alimentate dal debito — sono stati distrutti dalle banche centrali.

Inutile dire che Valeant non è l'unica aberrazione. È il simbolo della speculazione di oggi nei mercati finanziari.

E l'onnipotente banca centrale che ha alimentato questo pericoloso casinò, è ora guidata da una combriccola keynesiana che non vede l'ora di dar fuoco alle polveri. La Yellen non ha idea che un tasso d'interesse dello 0.38% non stimola il PIL. Si tratta di una miccia che sta alimentando la più grande mania speculativa della storia moderna.

La spettacolare implosione di Valeant non è un caso. Al contrario, è il prodotto naturale di ciò che produce il casinò di Wall Street.

Saluti,


[*] traduzione di Francesco Simoncelli: http://francescosimoncelli.blogspot.it/


Israelis Are Tribalistic

Lew Rockwell Institute - 9 ore 26 min fa

A young friend, who writes brilliantly on Kant und Heidegger, sent me a commentary “In Defense of the Tribe,” which had just been posted on NRO .The author of this piece, Brian Stewart, states that human happiness is most fully achieved where some kind of “tribal life is maintained.” Stewart cites a World Happiness Report, 2016 Update, and a book On Homecoming and Belonging, by New York Times journalist Sebastian Junger, both of which indicate that where human beings are integrated into a community they feel physically safe and emotionally content. According to my correspondent, Stewart’s remarks could have a “subversive effect” in a publication that prides itself on its global democratic ideology and its liberal internationalist foreign policy.  Apparently Stewart is defending at least indirectly the paleoconservative view that national communities have a right and possibly a duty to preserve themselves. He also seems to be questioning an idea that is congenial to most of the NR-editorial staff, that the present pluralistic or multicultural model of government that now exists in the US should be forced on other countries as the only valid form of political life.

Moreover, a serious discussion of the American idea as presented by neoconservatives, and most prominently by Allan Bloom in The Closing of the American Mind, would reveal that the US was supposedly set up to exemplify a “proposition.” That proposition can be reduced to the formula that everyone on the planet should be viewed as equal; and just about everyone should be eligible for American citizenship, providing that he or she embraces the neoconservative notion of democratic equality. In a hard-hitting analysis of neoconservatism, Michael Lind observes that the foreign policy adviser to George W. Bush, Douglas Feith, was fond of contrasting America’s “fluid” identity to Israel’s entirely appropriate character as an ethnic state.

Feith had no problem justifying this difference and wished to see the US and Israel continue to exist according to their radically different founding principles. One may view this defense of the idea that the US and Israel function according to contrasting principles as illustrative of a widespread mindset on the pseudo-Right. It is certainly the view that one encounters among “conservative” superstars and among those who run the enterprise founded by Bill Buckley. Because of this established position, I do not share my friend’s hope that Brian Stewart’s comments on tribal identity may signal a turn-about in the world view associated with NRO. Stewart’s sympathetic discussion of Jewish tribalism can coexist in the minds of “conservative” Dittoheads with an equally strong view of America as a crusading global democracy. The need to make room for an Israeli exception never seems to bother those “conservatives” who call for a post-ethnic pluralistic democracy in other countries.

For the record: I do not oppose the right of Israel to exist as an ethnic state and to defend itself against foreign and domestic enemies. But I also believe that European gentiles have the same right as other groups to maintain their historic national identity and to decide their immigration policies accordingly. I also believe the US can protect its borders without having to be an ideological missionary. American internal safety does not depend on converting the entire planet to our latest authorized version of pluralistic democracy.

The post Israelis Are Tribalistic appeared first on LewRockwell.

Room for Some Syrians?

Lew Rockwell Institute - 9 ore 26 min fa

President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama have leased a spectacular 8,200 square-foot home in one of DC’s most elegant neighborhoods as their first post-White House dwelling.

The $4.3 million home features plenty of room for the Obamas to stretch out – with separate dressing rooms and his and her bathrooms, entertaining space, and a tranquil garden.

The home was built in 1928 and features nine bedrooms and eight and a half baths, according to Politico, which first reported the address.

The Obama’s area leasing the house from Joe Lockhart, who served as press secretary to Bill Clinton.

Read the Whole Article

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Tony Blair in Big Trouble Over Iraq War Lies?

Lew Rockwell Institute - 9 ore 26 min fa

With just over six weeks to go before the long-awaited release of the Chilcot report into the Iraq War, the calls for former Prime Minister Tony Blair to be properly held to account for the lies he told us in the lead up to the illegal invasion are increasing by the day.

A few days ago, the foreign affairs spokesperson for the Scottish National Party (SNP) Alex Salmond MP, told RT’s Going Underground program that he would like to see Blair impeached by the British Parliament and also stand trial at the International Criminal Court, if the families of those killed and the wider public agreed.

Other MPs have also expressed their support for Salmond’s initiative. “If it’s proved that Tony Blair misled everyone, I personally am determined to see justice prevail and to see him impeached,” said Conservative Sir David Amess.

Meanwhile, it’s been reported that Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn will not be backing down from his earlier calls for Blair to be investigated for war crimes depending on what Chilcot’s conclusions are. Last year Corbyn said: “I think it was an illegal war, I’m confident about that, indeed [former UN Secretary- General] Kofi Annan confirmed it was an illegal war, and therefore he has to explain that.

Tony Blair is clearly in deep trouble. But what are the practical chances of a trial of some sorts taking place?All things considered, the impeachment of Tony Blair really can’t come soon enough. Those who still defend/support the Iraq war will try and argue that it can’t take place as no one has been impeached since the 19th century. But they need to be overruled. Parliament’s ancient right to impeach has never been formally abolished, however, much Blair’s defenders might wish it had been.

Alas, we can’t bring back the lives of more than one million people killed since the illegal invasion, but we can make sure that one of the most important players in the criminal enterprise is brought to book. As the late and much missed Ken Coates, writing in The Spokesman, the journal of the Bertrand Russell Peace Foundation, put it in 2007:

Until accountability is reimposed, we cannot establish honest, political discourse. Evidently politicians have told lies before. But now we live with untruths that cannot be corrected, with falsehoods that have become official. Where the lie rules, logic gives way to unreason.”

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

Reprinted from Russia Today.

The post Tony Blair in Big Trouble Over Iraq War Lies? appeared first on LewRockwell.

The War on Cash Is Ancient

Lew Rockwell Institute - 9 ore 26 min fa

The war on cash is now a global phenomenon: under the pretext of tracing criminal activity, governments everywhere are cracking down on commerce that isn’t monitored or controlled.

However, the results of this war reveal its true purpose: tracking citizens and their taxable income.

The war on cash is actually a war on commerce, or rather, on any commerce that can’t be monitored and controlled by the government. Governments survive and grow based on the productivity of the rest of society, and as a result, they try to restrict wealth creation to only those areas where it can be recorded and redistributed.

This war on cash is attracting widespread attention. What people may not know, however, is that the current war is only the most recent version of government policies that have been around for a long time. Similar programs have appeared throughout history, some even dating to antiquity.

One notable example occurred in China during the “Warring States” period, roughly 475–221 BC. This era produced some of China’s greatest contributions to philosophy and technology, but unfortunately, was also a time of unrelenting warfare and political centralization, leading eventually to the Qin unification of China in 221 BC.

Throughout this era, “Legalist” ideas were increasingly prominent and inspired a number of “innovations” in public policy, including laws and regulations similar to the modern war on cash.

Legalists like Shang Yang (in the state of Qin) were primarily concerned with enhancing the power of the state, especially through the rigid organization and control of citizens. They were especially hostile to the merchant class, which they oppressed. As Professor Mark Lewis of Stanford explains,

Shang Yang … initiated a series of reforms to encourage agriculture, which provisioned the army and provided the economic foundations of the state, and to discourage trade, which proved less amenable to taxation. … [The Book of Lord Shang] also records antimerchant measures, including registration of merchants’ servants for corvée labor, high market taxes and taxes on goods in transit, and the registration of merchant households as “inferior people.” As such they were not permitted to wear silk or ride horses, and were subject to extended terms of garrison duty at the frontier. (Lewis, 1999, p. 613)

Faced with commercial growth that didn’t directly contribute to the growth of the state, Shang Yang and others sought to punish and stigmatize the merchant class while ensuring that as many transactions as possible were recorded and taxed.

Interestingly, the Legalists were also largely responsible for instituting the private ownership of land in parts of China. But this seeming laissez-faire reform was actually a ploy: owning land required public registration, which in turn allowed governments to monitor the population and register the people for military service. Private ownership was, therefore, a price the states were willing to pay. Likewise, a lost chapter of Sunzi’s Art of War indicates that in this period land ownership was exchanged for taxes, thus bringing landowners under state control (Sawyer, 1994, pp. 248–256).

There’s a lot more that could be said about this era or about the politics of the war on cash throughout history. But the underlying problem tends to be the same: states can’t survive or grow without the ability to systematically tax their citizens. For that reason, they always keep a careful eye on the financial history of as many people as possible. Importantly, this also means that protecting such information from prying eyes can be a powerful check on state power.

Note: The views expressed on Mises.org are not necessarily those of the Mises Institute.

The post The War on Cash Is Ancient appeared first on LewRockwell.

Bad Arguments Economically and Historically

Lew Rockwell Institute - 9 ore 26 min fa

I’m a fan of much of Pat Buchanan’s “America First” foreign policy writings in which he expresses the supposedly outrageous idea that the purpose of the national defense establishment should be to defend against foreign aggressors, and not be the aggressor.  Defense, not offense.  But his “America First” economic writings in defense of protectionism are completely wrongheaded, and often historically inaccurate.

The main reason for the wrongheadedness is Buchanan’s pervasive error of the post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy (“after this, therefore because of this”).  An example of this fallacy would be:  1) A rooster crows in the morning; 2) The sun rises shortly after the rooster crows; 3) Therefore, the rooster crowing must cause the sun to rise.

In Buchanan’s case, his entire argument for protectionism rests on a slightly different version of the post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy.  Buchanan’s fallacy is: 1) The Republican Party ushered in forty years of protectionist tariffs, After NAFTA, “Communist China” became “the world’s No. 1 manufacturing power.”

Hillary Clinton would be totally, one-hundred-percent supportive of Pat Buchanan’s Quixotic protectionist crusade.  It would benefit the corporate one percenters who she and her husband have expertly shaken down for years, and who would jump at the chance of benefiting from another round of “pay to play.”  This is the political game in which corporations funnel many millions to the Clintons and their cronies personally, and to their party, in return for onerous protectionist tariffs on their competition that would spike their profits by allowing them to, once again, rip off their American customers.  And of course, there is the old Democratic Party labor union machine that has always been in favor of protectionism for obvious selfish and greedy reasons.  Pat Buchanan just might be Hillary Clinton’s ideal running mate.

One thing Pat Buchanan is right about is that “economic nationalism” has always been the defining characteristic of the Republican Party.  That is why the party has  been such an economic curse on America, having transformed the nation into a corporate welfare/warfare state during the Lincoln regime.

The post Bad Arguments Economically and Historically appeared first on LewRockwell.

Open Borders Crime

Lew Rockwell Institute - 9 ore 27 min fa

NB: this post is regarding the elections in Austria, which occurred this past Sunday.  I wrote it prospectively, last week, with the intention to publish it before the elections, but did not have the chance to return to it to finish the post.  I became tied up on the issue of open borders.

In any case, the right-wing populist did not win the Austrian presidency, although the vote appears to have been about as close to 50/50 as possible.  This does not change the general observations and thoughts below (in fact, only reinforces these), so I have decided to leave it as is.

——————————————

Austria’s mainstream parties long believed they could keep the far right under control. On Sunday, though, a right-wing populist could become the country’s president. What went wrong? The answer has implications for all of Europe.

In this post, I will examine the comments from this Spiegel article regarding the right-wing movement in Austria.  Through this lens, one will find common threads through many countries in Europe and also in the United States.  In many ways, the causes are the same.

What went wrong?  One need only considers the frustrations of many people throughout the west regarding the favoritism of the government toward policies that favor the elite.  Instead of looking to the roots of the blowback for answers, which would require introspection and self-examination, they view the entire movement (in almost every western country at the same time) as “wrong.”

To summarize the situation in Austria, the right-wing populist Freedom Party of Austria (FPÖ) is on the verge of taking the presidency for the first time; their candidate is Norbert Hofer.

If he wins, and his chances are good, Austria would have a president who is “decisively opposed to forced multiculturalism, globalization and mass immigration.”

One might attempt to examine why the people are voting for a candidate who is against such things, instead of asking “what went wrong?”  Maybe it is because such things are being rammed down the throats of the people.

Hofer says he doesn’t understand all the agitation surrounding his candidacy and all the talk of a “presidential putsch” from editorialists and experts on the constitution.

Similar concerns are raised everywhere that a supposedly right-wing, nationalistic politician gains support.  Such concerns of a “putsch” are not raised regarding mainstream candidates who have been leading the west for decades – despite the usurpation of authority from both the people and the parliaments.

All of Europe is looking this week to Austria, this small country in its midst where an eventuality considered by many to be outrageous may soon become reality.

What is outrageous to those who are accustomed to controlling the narrative is that the narrative is no longer controlled; what is interesting is that it is happening at the same time in many places.  Perhaps for this, we have the internet to thanks, as the tool has afforded a global opportunity to compare grievances and share notes.

Hofer is receiving calls from right-wing parties throughout Europe, including France, Italy, the Netherlands, and Germany.

The right wing in Europe is becoming organized and developing contacts across the Continent. The election on Sunday is far more than just a purely Austrian affair.

Across Europe, large, mainstream parties are losing power and influence. It has happened in Spain, France and Germany, but nowhere has the phenomenon been as dramatically visible as during the first round of the presidential elections in Austria.

It is happening in the US as well, given the agitation Donald Trump is causing the Republican Party and the establishment.

The two main parties in Austria are in turmoil:

The setbacks for the ÖVP and the SPÖ have been dramatic. Into the 1970s, the two parties enjoyed four times the support they did in the first round of this year’s presidential elections…

They [the two main parties] watched the rise of the right-wing populists but continued to take their own primacy for granted.

Ignoring and abusing the people might have something to do with what went wrong.

Regarding Europe, Hofer says that “those issues that can be decided in the member states must once again be allowed to be addressed and decided there.”

Centralized decisions by unelected bureaucrats in Brussels might have something to do with what went wrong.

The opposition, internationally, is lining up against Hofer:

…Sigmar Gabriel, head of the Social Democrats in Germany, [demands] that “all democratic forces” must form a front against Hofer”…

Left, right, center – it doesn’t matter.  This popular uprising is perceived as a threat to them all.

Hofer was largely responsible for the party’s 2011 platform, called “Austria First.” It offers a look at the country as the FPÖ wants it to be.

“Austria First” – sounds familiar.

From the platform, an example:

That Austria is “not a country of immigration” and should focus primarily on its own citizens — and not on those that do not possess an Austrian passport.

Again, a similar sentiment in much of the west.

These days, it is becoming clear just how large, and likely lasting, the estrangement has become between voters and those parties, like the ÖVP and SPÖ, that were once defined by the term Volkspartei. Their old mistakes have continued through the decades and new ones have joined them. Both the center right and the center left have underestimated the electorate’s anger that has built up as a result of their almost God-given claim to leadership in Austria.

The people feel taken for granted at best, milked at worse.

The situation has been made worse by the fact that mistrust of those in power has been growing not just in Austria, but in all of Europe. That mistrust can be summed up in three overarching complaints: We are being steamrolled by globalization; nobody is listening to us; and the market economy benefits others.

If only we had a market economy….

In an attempt to keep their relevance, the two major parties tried to mimic some of the policies of the FPÖ:

But they were heavily punished by the voters anyway. Why should voters choose a copy when they can have the original?

It has become apparent that this opponent cannot be defeated with imitations. It may, however, help to listen to the voters, even those who have been lost, to take their concerns seriously and to provide their own answers that are more intelligent than those coming from the FPÖ.

These would be answers that those in power would not like: decentralize, stop working in secret, stop cutting deals that benefit the elite at the expense of the rest of us, stop being the puppet of the Anglo empire, stop agitating for all war all the time.

If someone would provide those answers, we could be on to something.  Since those answers won’t be forthcoming (and also not likely from the right-wing populists to any meaningful extent), the west will continue on this path until it cannot.

By then the people might figure out that no matter which leader they choose, the only right answer is to choose no such leader.

Reprinted with permission from Bionic Mosquito.

The post Open Borders Crime appeared first on LewRockwell.

Jane Bond? No, Never

Lew Rockwell Institute - 9 ore 27 min fa

In the fuss to find the next James Bond, I’m surprised no one has yet mentioned Orville the Duck. A talented young actor, he may well be two foot tall, green and wear a nappy – but are we saying that society isn’t ready for a duckling Bond? Times have changed – get with the programme, grandad.

I joke but Bond has evolved far from Ian Fleming’s alcoholic Tory with flashing fists – and is now, like everything old, subject to the iconoclastic whims of the young. For the record, there’s no reason why he can’t be black. He probably can’t be Idris Elba because Elba can’t act. The world isn’t ready for a Bond who shouts his lines like he’s communicating with the deaf: “The name’s Bond. JAMES B-O-N-D. Got it, love?”

But Bond absolutely cannot be a woman. Don’t tell Gillian Anderson, who has tweeted a photo of herself as Jane Bond and triggered a twitterstorm of delight.

Daniel Craig is fine with being replaced by a vixen, which is predictable. Ed Miliband thinks it’s a great idea, which means it’s terrible. Roger Moore utterly hates it, pointing out that it would represent a huge departure from what Fleming intended. And Moore’s opposition confirms my own fears – he was, after all, the greatest Bond of all. Whatever Roger says is gospel.

Read the Whole Article

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Big Fat Lies

Lew Rockwell Institute - 9 ore 27 min fa

By Dr. Mercola

If you were to believe the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Pop-Tarts and Frosted Flakes are healthier than nuts and avocados. This incomprehensible stance stems from the agency’s definition of the word “healthy.”

According to FDA rules, food can only be marketed as healthy if it meets certain nutritional criteria for fat, sodium, cholesterol and beneficial nutrients like vitamins, minerals, and fiber.

Snack foods cannot contain more than 3 grams of total fat per serving in order to qualify as healthy, and only 1 gram of that can be saturated fat. This position is reprehensibly negligent in light of all the new evidence supporting the benefits of saturated fat.

As a result of this outdated — not to mention wrong — criteria, high-sugar, low-fat snacks like Pop-Tarts end up on the “healthy” snack list, while high-fat, low-sugar ones like KIND fruit and nut bars fail to qualify.

FDA to Reassess Definition of Healthy

Last year, KIND LLC received an FDA warning letter ordering the company to cease using the term “healthy” on its snack packaging because their nut bars contain too much-saturated fat. As noted by the Organic Consumers Association:1

  • Use organic butter made from raw grass-fed milk instead of margarine and vegetable oil spreads.
  • Use coconut oil for cooking. It is far superior to any other cooking oil and is loaded with health benefits.
  • Use olive oil cold, drizzled over salad or fish, for example. It is not an ideal cooking oil as it is easily damaged by heat.
  • Sardines and anchovies are an excellent source of protein and beneficial omega-3 fats and are also very low in toxins that are present in most other fish.
  • Following my nutrition plan will teach you to focus on real food instead of processed junk food. This change alone will dramatically reduce the amount of refined sugar and processed fructose in your diet. It will also address the issue of healthy versus harmful fats in your diet. Believe me, you’d be hard-pressed to find a processed food containing healthy fat, or a whole food containing a truly harmful one.
  • To round out your healthy fat intake, be sure to eat raw fats, such as those from avocados, raw dairy products, and olive oil, and also take a high-quality source of animal-based omega-3 fat.

Sources and References

The post Big Fat Lies appeared first on LewRockwell.

Smoking the Government Cheese

Lew Rockwell Institute - 9 ore 27 min fa

Suppose I saw you on the street and said, “Excuse me, but could you let me have a dollar to buy a loaf of bread?” And you said to yourself, oh, this is Jack, I’ll give him a buck. So you gave me the buck. But then suppose there was a tourist from Germany who was roaring drunk and belligerent and he asks me, “Hey man, I need another beer! Got a buck?” And then I gave him that dollar you just gave me and THEN I came back to you AGAIN and asked for ANOTHER dollar. Would you not say unto yourself, “This is ridiculous! I just gave Jack a buck and he gave it away! Now he asks for another dollar?! The nerve of this guy!” But then suppose while you’re thinking this, I reach into my pocket for something, pull it out, and a thousand bucks fall out of my pocket.

Far-fetched? Of course, it is. I haven’t got a thousand dollars or one dollar, for that matter. But where this is not far-fetched is with the United States government. This is precisely what they do with taxation. Now, our illustrious President Obama is giving billions of dollars of our tax money to terrorists in Syria. Oh, beg pardon, the “Syrian moderates”. They have not yet graduated from ISIS High School and took their U.S.-supplied weapons with them. If the government has money enough to just dole it out to the equivalent of Middle Eastern street gangs, then one thing becomes painfully apparent: We are ALL being taxed TOO MUCH.

Now I hear the Sandroids (The Bernie Sanders Mutual Admiration Society And Inflatable Raft Club) saying we need to tax the rich more. Why? Does ISIS need new anti-aircraft guns? Or is there some other covert aid to terrorist program elsewhere that’s launching the beta-test version of another murderous “democratic” movement? In retaliation, there are neocons that say, “The poor are not taxed enough!” To do what with the money? Buy iPads for teens in other countries so they’ll have access to American cultural junk food? No, we’re all taxed too much: Rich, poor, middle-class, working-class, opt-outers, denizens of remote deserts, and all of the general malaise-malignant masses of mega-mediocrity across America.

To what end are, they spending our money? I mean, what return-on-investment have we gotten? I mean besides terrorist attacks. Have these Syrian moderates paved our highways without filling in the potholes first, or pawed through our luggage at the airports, or done a no-knock raid on a raw milk dairy? Or denied the approval of new medications or refused to recognize medical marijuana? The Syrian moderates are not federal employees if they haven’t done all of those beneficial services the feds say our tax money goes towards. I think we’re getting ripped off by the feds here. And we can’t shop for a new government! We can’t even collate all our past tax paperwork together, use it as a receipt, and take our government back for a refund. “I’d like my money back. This government doesn’t get good mileage and it’s always in the shop. I’ve spent more repairing it than I’ve gotten to use it!”

The government has too much money. This much is obvious. I mean, they spend ten billion bucks like it was just buying a Three Musketeers bar because they saw it in the check-out line at the store and thought it sounded good. It’s time we did what the Mom Squad did back in the day before “self-esteem” became a cult that parents accepted en masse and allowed their brats to shriek at the top of their lungs in quiet restaurants. “He’s just expressing himself…”

But back in the day, remember this if you’re old enough, you’d go shopping with Mom because you had to. Get in the car, stop whining, or you’ll get something to whine about. And at the store, you’d see this nifty new breakfast cereal they advertised on a Saturday morning along with Scooby Doo and Sigmund and the Sea Monsters. You know, “Tooth Rot Sugar Berries” and so on. So you started nagging Mom at the store: “Ooh! Mom! Mom! Can we please get Super Hyper Sugar High ADHD Crunch” for cereal?! Please? Please? Pleeeeze??!!” What’d she say? “NO!! You’re not eating that CRAP and I’m not buying it! You’re getting oatmeal. And you’ll like it—or else!”

Where is Mom now that we need her? The government is that bratty kid at the store, demanding this and that—and getting it! Haven’t we all seen this kid? We think, “Man if that was me, my mom would’ve smacked me into the canned peas!” But this is our government, people! They demand more money and we give it to them! And we’re not even getting some crappy breakfast cereal! Or government cheese!

When do we start saying NO? But how can we at this point? They conveniently deduct it from your paycheck before you even see it. Obama invented a new way to garner more cash via the penalty assessed on the tax returns of people who refuse government breakfast cereal and don’t buy Obamacare Crunch. And all of that money wasted. The other day I saw that nifty military aircraft called the Osprey fly over. Osprey?! It looks like a Puffin! That thing has been in the works of being made to work since the 1980s! It’s killed more U.S. military personnel than the combined air forces of the rest of the world since the 1980s. Well, except our own, that is. Our own air force is pretty good at fratricide. Look! Up in the sky! It’s an Osprey! No, it’s a Puffin! No, it’s a gargantuan waste of tax money.

It’s bad enough our government gives our money to foreign governments. But then they give it to people that aren’t even a government! It appears to me a smart guy could establish some bogus “Syrian moderate” group over there and bilk our stupid government out of a cool twenty billion dollars before they figured it out. IF—IF—the government ever figured it out. “The Official Syrian Moderate Army And Land Rover Racing Society” and the “Lawrence Of Arabia Memorial Freedom Fund” could be scamming the United States government out of billions while we’re sitting here counting dimes to see if we can afford a Dollar Menu taco.

So, no, we don’t need more taxes. We’re already paying too much. If people can’t see that, then they’ve been smoking the government cheese. My only question is: How’d you get that rolled up into the rolling paper?!”

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Hiroshima Massacre Gets a Hollywood Makeover

Lew Rockwell Institute - 9 ore 27 min fa

President Barack Obama will finish up his current Asia trip by becoming the first sitting US president to visit Hiroshima, Japan, site of the fateful atomic bombing attack on Aug. 6, 1945, that killed tens of thousands of Japanese citizens.

The people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki suffered unspeakable horrors that day, and in the months and years, that followed. Some in the US government didn’t want Americans to see what really happened. For perspective — and revelations — on that paradigm-changing event, in concurrence with Obama’s visit, WhoWhatWhy revisits past coverage of a painful final chapter of World War II.

What follows is author Greg Mitchell’s piece (which originally ran in 2014), examining Hollywood’s role in sanitizing the devastation and suffering at Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

* * *nuclear arms race. He was surprised to learn they did not. But this would soon change.

Tompkins’ letter set in motion what MGM boss Louis B. Mayer, a conservative Republican, called “the most important story” he would ever film. MGM hired Norman Taurog to direct the film, and Hume Cronyn to star as physicist Robert Oppenheimer, who headed the scientific effort to create the bomb.

President Truman himself provided the title, The Beginning or the End. Within weeks, as I learned through archival research, MGM writers were meeting with the atomic scientists at Oak Ridge and elsewhere.

My fascination with the making, and unmaking, of this seminal film about the dawn of the Atomic Age, took me to the Truman Library, where I was the first to consult key documents, White House letters and scripts. The story of the derailing of the movie, and why it was important, is told in my book, “Hollywood Bomb.”

The Bombing Gets a Hollywood Makeover

The early scripts, which I discovered at the library, raised doubts about President Truman’s decision to drop the bomb on the Japanese city of Hiroshima—and portrayed the effects of the bombing with a stark realism that would have shocked many viewers.

The script called for shots of a bombed-out Hiroshima as ghostlike ruins, with close-ups of a baby with a burned face. The underlying message reflected the regrets of many of the scientists who had worked to create the bomb: It would have been better to continue the war—even if it meant a full-scale invasion of Japan—“than release atomic energy in the world.”

But then something happened, and the “message” of The Beginning or the End shifted radically.

The reason for the shift was clear: General Leslie Groves, the director of the Manhattan Project who was back at the Pentagon, had secured the all-important right of script approval—along with a then-hefty $10,000 fee—and was playing an active role in reshaping the film.

Unlike Groves and Truman, nearly all of the scientists impersonated in the film—even Albert Einstein—were not given script approval (although they signed releases). The Hollywoodization of the bomb had begun.

Facts were suppressed, and events were completely fabricated:

Suppression of fact:

In revised scripts, the decision to use the bomb was presented as justifiable, even admirable. The doubts raised earlier just disappeared. And now, after scenes depicting the bombing of Hiroshima, no victims were shown, just a charred landscape filmed from the air.

Suppression of fact:

Under General Groves’ guidance, the revised script made light of nuclear fallout.

Fabrication:

The B-29s flying over Hiroshima were pelted with heavy flak, a detail that made the attack seem more courageous. In fact, there was no anti-aircraft fire over Hiroshima.

Fabrication:

One scene depicted fictional German scientists visiting a fabricated Japanese nuclear facility in—Hiroshima!

Fabrication:

In another entirely false episode, Matt Cochran, a young scientist arming the bomb, prevents a chain reaction from blowing up 40,000 people on a Pacific island—and thereby exposes himself to a fatal dose of radiation. But before he dies, Matt concludes,

“God has not shown us a new way to destroy ourselves. Atomic energy is the hand he has extended to lift us from the ruins of war and lighten the burdens of peace.”

Read the Whole Article

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The Contagion of Government Lying

Lew Rockwell Institute - 9 ore 27 min fa

“Crime is contagious. If the Government becomes a lawbreaker, it breeds contempt for law; it invites every man to become a law unto himself; it invites anarchy.” – Justice Louis Brandeis (1856-1941)

Last week, this column chronicled the startling admissions of lying by White House senior adviser Ben Rhodes. Rhodes readily acknowledged to The New York Times that he lied to the public and to members of Congress during the negotiations that produced the recent Iranian nuclear deal so as to temper the “irrational” fear that some senators and representatives had of the mullahs who run the government in Iran.

He was asked — not subpoenaed — to testify before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee about his lying, and he refused to show up, claiming his lies were protected by executive privilege. Because he spoke publicly about this, he has no privilege, yet nothing further happened. The committee gave up the ghost.

The judge’s response in the case was curious. He ordered the DOJ lawyers to take ethics classes. I would have done differently. Lying to the court is so severe a violation of the ethical rules, so disruptive of the moral order, that its significance is diminished by the so-called cure of ethics classes.

I would have barred all lawyers who lied to me from ever appearing in my courtroom, and I would have removed them from the case. I would also have referred what I knew about them to ethics prosecutors in the states and federal districts where they are admitted.

Lawyers have an obligation of candor to the judges before whom they appear. That duty is no less serious when the lawyers work for the government than when they work for private clients.

Because the government prosecutes people who lie to it and its liars almost never can be prosecuted, government lying is grave. It is equivalent to government lawbreaking because when people to whom the government lies — judges or litigants or members of Congress or the public — rely on those lies, they often do so to their detriment. They lose a right or an opportunity that often cannot be recaptured.

I have often asked rhetorically whether the government works for us or we work for the government. The answer to this inquiry is obvious. It is only a fiction that the government works for us.

Yet fear of the consequences of government lying should terrify anyone who believes in the rule of law and fair play. Those consequences can be as contagious as government lawbreaking.

Reprinted with the author’s permission.

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The Music Will Stop

Lew Rockwell Institute - 9 ore 27 min fa

Marc Faber is an international investor known for his uncanny predictions (and memory) of the stock market and futures markets around the world. Dr. Doom also trades currencies and commodity futures like gold and oil.

In this wide-ranging and extensive interview, Faber states that because of central bank manipulation, he cannot imagine any scenario, REPEAT any scenario, under which there will not be significant pain for investors. He cautions that some money may be made in some asset classes — but one day the music will stop.

He believes that all investors should be diversified  along the lines that he personally prefers:

Real Estate (25%)

Equities (25%)

Cash and Bonds (25%)

Precious Metals (25%)

The post The Music Will Stop appeared first on LewRockwell.

Prepararsi per il terremoto finanziario

Freedonia - Mer, 25/05/2016 - 10:04
L'economia mondiale non è affatto messa bene, nonostante le rassicurazioni provenienti dai canali ufficiali. Ad esempio, in Giappone la BOJ è decisamente propensa a pagare le banche commerciali affinché concedano prestiti. Dopo Danimarca e Belgio, il limite della follia adesso è stato sorpassato dal Giappone. Nonostante famiglie e settore privato siano sepolti sotto quantità chilometriche di debiti, e nonostante la BOJ abbia sequestrato nel proprio bilancio quasi ogni JGB, il 50% degli ETF giapponesi emessi e gran parte delle azioni nell'indice Nikkei 225, i banchieri centrali nipponici continuano a spingersi oltre. Ma i risultati sono quelli che sono, ovvero, niente di niente di quello che si aspettano. Stendendo un velo pietoso sulla gigantesca bomba ad orologeria rossa, la quale ha fatto registrare una crescita del PIL da $180 miliardi nel primo trimestre a fronte di un indebitamento di $1,055 miliardi (questo significa che per creare $1 di PIL ce ne sono serviti $6 di debito), parliamo di un'Italia che ha scoperto d'avere doti da veggente. Nel caso specifico, parliamo delle tasse che stanno demolendo il tessuto economico italiano, dove lo specchietto per le allodole rappresentato dalla cosiddetta "lotta all'evasione" si rivela l'ennesima farsa messa in campo dallo stato per mantenere in piedi il suo sistema in bancarotta (le ritenute alla fonte aumentano, mentre diminuiscono gli accertamenti). Nonostante le entrate da record, infatti, continua inesorabilmente a salire il debito pubblico. Ma le tasse, nonostante le promesse, non possono scendere: finanziariamente impossibile. Così come le spese non possono scendere: politicamente impossibile. L'accanimento miope sulla classe produttiva di questo paese rappresenterà l'epitaffio del parassitismo statale.
__________________________________________________________________________________


di James Rickards


Viviamo in un tempo in cui i terremoti finanziari potrebbero schiacciare le pareti del vostro portfolio e mandare in rovina la vostra ricchezza.

Purtroppo negli ultimi giorni violenti terremoti hanno interessato il Giappone e l'Ecuador, causando morte e distruzione. Siamo ovviamente preoccupati per i terremoti "reali", ma anche per quelli finanziari.

I terremoti finanziari sono pericolosi per la ricchezza personale come lo sono quelli "reali" per il vostro benessere. I terremoti "reali" possono addirittura influenzare i mercati dei capitali.

Facciamo una panoramica su questa nuova era dei terremoti, cercando di trovare riparo dalla rovina e dalle scosse di assestamento.

Giovedì 14 aprile un grande terremoto di magnitudo 6.2 ha colpito il Giappone, per la precisione l'isola meridionale di Kyushu nei pressi della città di Kumamoto. Fortunatamente ci sono state poche vittime. Ma la città è rimasta senza elettricità e sono stati segnalati ingenti danni ad edifici e strade.

Poi, sabato 16 aprile, un terremoto di magnitudo 7.0 ha colpito la stessa area del Giappone. La perdita di vite umane è stata maggiore, con almeno 32 morti e oltre 2,000 feriti. Almeno 180,000 persone hanno perso casa e cercavano riparo. Oltre 1,000 edifici sono rimasti gravemente danneggiati e oltre 90 sono stati completamente distrutti.

Con il senno di poi, gli scienziati hanno affermato che il terremoto del 14 aprile era un cosiddetto foreshock e il terremoto del 16 aprile era la scossa importante. I due terremoti sono un esempio di come gli eventi nei sistemi complessi interagiscono in modi che sono impossibili da prevedere.

Poche ore dopo il terremoto del 16 aprile in Giappone, un terremoto di magnitudo 7.8 ha colpito la costa nord-occidentale dell'Ecuador. Ci sono stati oltre 350 morti. Almeno 370 edifici sono stati completamente distrutti, e di più danneggiati.

L'Ecuador è un paese relativamente povero, per cui la ricaduta sull'economia mondiale dovrebbe essere minima, nonostante la sofferenza orrenda di coloro che ne sono stati protagonisti.

Mentre i due terremoti in Giappone sono chiaramente collegati, gli scienziati non vedono alcun collegamento diretto tra i terremoti giapponesi e quello ecuadoriano. Eppure non c'è dubbio che il Giappone e l'Ecuador facciano parte di un unico sistema che produce terremoti su base continua.

Giappone ed Ecuador fanno entrambi parte del cosiddetto "Anello di Fuoco" composto da 25,000 miglia di vulcani e faglie che circondano l'Oceano Pacifico. L'Anello di Fuoco si estende dal Cile lungo tutta la costa occidentale americana fino all'Alaska, e poi scende lungo la costa orientale asiatica inglobando Giappone, Indonesia e Nuova Zelanda.




Il cosiddetto "Anello di Fuoco" è un gruppo di vulcani e faglie che circonda l'Oceano Pacifico. È un buon esempio di un sistema complesso. I mercati finanziari sono anch'essi sistemi complessi che mostrano un comportamento connesso con una tempistica impossibile da prevedere.

Questi eventi possono essere notizie da prima pagina, ma cosa ha a che fare la sismologia con il vostro portfolio?

Terremoti e mercati dei capitali sono entrambi rappresentativi di sistemi dinamici complessi. C'è tanto che possiamo imparare sui mercati dei capitali studiando i terremoti, soprattutto se si utilizza una teoria della complessità. La teoria della complessità comprende strumenti che uso per capire i rischi e fare previsioni finanziarie.

Gli scienziati conoscono molto dei terremoti, eppure ci sono tante altre cose che non sanno. È possibile identificare le faglie, le quali consentono agli scienziati di individuare potenziali terremoti. È anche possibile valutare le dimensioni potenziali dei terremoti futuri in base alla portata e alla natura delle faglie.

L'unica cosa che gli scienziati non possono prevedere, è il momento esatto di un terremoto.

Potrebbero dirvi che sta arrivando un cosiddetto "big one" e potrebbero dirvi dove, ma non possono dirvi esattamente quando. Un terremoto mostruoso potrebbe accadere domani, il prossimo anno, tra cinque anni o più in là nel futuro.

Queste cose renderebbero inutile la conoscenza scientifica dei terremoti? Dopo tutto, gli investitori dicono sempre che il tempismo è tutto quando si tratta di acquistare o vendere azioni. Se non è possibile prevedere i tempi esatti, a che serve la scienza?

La risposta è che si può fare buon uso di quello che si sa, anche se ci sono fattori che non si conoscono. Ad esempio, non si può sapere quando ci sarà un terremoto su una particolare faglia. Ma voi sapete che non è una buona idea costruirvi sopra un reattore nucleare. Il terremoto arriverà alla fine, e il reattore si frantumerà. È stupido aggiungere altri rischi a quelli noti, solo perché la tempistica esatta non è nota.

Vale lo stesso per i mercati finanziari. Possiamo intravedere un tracollo finanziario e sappiamo quanto possa essere doloroso. Sebbene non conosciamo il momento esatto, sarebbe sorprendente se riuscissimo a stare più di tre anni senza un terremoto finanziario di magnitudo 9.0. (Se i crolli Lehman Bros. e AIG del 2008 erano un terremoto finanziario 8.0, potete immaginare quanto sarà peggiore uno di 9.0.)

Se è in arrivo un terremoto finanziario peggiore di qualunque cosa abbiate mai visto prima, allora la tempistica è irrilevante. Dal momento che potrebbe essere domani, è necessario prepararsi oggi, con strategie che preservino la ricchezza o ne facciano accumulare altra.

Questa conoscenza limitata, ma potente (conosciamo dimensioni e probabilità, ma non la tempistica), non è l'unica caratteristica comune tra sismologia e finanza. Entrambi i sistemi causano "contagi" o effetti "dirompenti". Un evento a sorpresa provoca altri shock, proprio come accade con un domino o un castello di carte.

Il panico russo/Long-Term Capital Management dell'agosto 1998, è iniziato in Thailandia nel giugno 1997. S'è poi diffuso in tutto il mondo. Il panico Lehman/AIG del settembre 2008, è iniziato nel mercato dei mutui a luglio 2007. Poi s'è diffuso attraverso Bear Stearns e Fannie Mae, prima di diventare un panico in piena regola.

Il prossimo panico globale potrebbe essere già iniziato, ma potremmo non vederlo nella sua interezza per un anno o più.

A volte le calamità naturali e quelle nei mercati dei capitali interagiscono direttamente: un sistema complesso che si schianta in un altro. L'esempio è il disastro di Fukushima in Giappone a marzo 2011.

Il tutto ha avuto inizio con un terremoto sottomarino che poi s'è trasformato in uno tsunami. Lo tsunami ha poi danneggiato un reattore nucleare. La fusione del reattore ha causato un crash della borsa di Tokyo e un aumento del valore dello yen. Il picco dello yen ha poi spronato un intervento dei paesi del G-7 sul mercato delle valute per indebolire lo yen, nel tentativo di alleviare le sofferenze dell'economia giapponese.

Il terremoto, lo tsunami, il reattore nucleare, il mercato azionario e il mercato dei cambi, sono tutti esempi di sistemi dinamici complessi. Due sono naturali (terremoti e tsunami) e tre sono artificiali (reattore, mercato azionario e mercato dei cambi), eppure tutti si sono schiantati come se avessero fatto parte di una sola fila di domino.

Questo dimostra la potenza della complessità e la sua capacità di scioccare e sorprendere gli investitori.

Qualcosa di simile è accaduto a seguito dei recenti terremoti giapponesi. Avevamo già allertato i lettori circa gli "Accordi di Shanghai", un piano segreto concordato il 26 febbraio scorso tra i banchieri centrali durante la riunione del G-20 a Shanghai, in Cina. Uno dei principali obiettivi degli Accordi di Shanghai è uno yen forte.

Mentre il terremoto giapponese non aveva nulla a che fare con gli Accordi di Shanghai, c'era un collegamento diretto e potente col mercato.

Quando si verificano terremoti, le compagnie di assicurazione devono liquidare gli asset per pagare i rimborsi. Dopo il 14 aprile le compagnie di assicurazione giapponesi hanno iniziato a vendere asset oltremare, convertendo il ricavato in yen e rimpatriandoli per pagare i rimborsi e finanziare la ricostruzione. Questa liquidazione e il successivo rimpatrio, ci hanno fornito una nuova serie di dati per aggiornare la nostra tesi sugli Accordi di Shanghai: un rafforzamento dello yen.

Tale tesi è ora più forte.

Io uso un metodo chiamato probabilità inversa per fare previsioni di eventi che possono verificarsi in sistemi complessi, come i mercati dei capitali. La probabilità inversa è anche conosciuta come Teorema di Bayes, sulla base di una formula d'inizio XIX secolo scoperta da Thomas Bayes. La formula nella sua forma matematica si presenta così:




In parole povere, questa formula dice che aggiornando la comprensione iniziale con nuove informazioni imparziali, si migliora la propria comprensione di un determinato argomento. Uso questo metodo nella CIA e per le mie previsioni finanziarie.

Il lato sinistro dell'equazione rappresenta la stima delle probabilità che un evento possa accadere. Le nuove informazioni vanno nella parte destra dell'equazione. Se è coerente con la propria stima, va al numeratore (aumenta le probabilità di un risultato previsto). Se è incoerente, va al denominatore (abbassa le probabilità di un risultato previsto).

Quali sono alcune delle faglie finanziarie che stiamo monitorando in questo momento? Quali sono i nuovi dati che finiranno nel modello di Bayes per aggiornare la nostra previsione di un tracollo finanziario?

Ecco un elenco delle principali faglie che potrebbero portare al disastro:

  • Il Brasile sta intraprendendo un procedimento di impeachment per rimuovere la presidente Rousseff dalla carica. Il Brasile è la nona economia più grande al mondo. Si tratta di un importante esportatore di energia e un importante membro dei BRICS, del G-20 e di altre organizzazioni transnazionali chiave. L'incertezza in Brasile significa incertezza per l'intera economia globale
  • Il 23 giugno ci sarà un referendum in cui si deciderà se l'Inghilterra dovrà lasciare l'UE. Questo evento causerà onde d'urto in Europa e potrà portare ad una completa perdita di fiducia nella sterlina. Effetti indesiderati includerebbero la Scozia che lascia la Gran Bretagna dopo che l'Inghilterra avrebbe lasciato l'UE. La Scozia potrebbe aderire alla zona Euro, cosa che, ironia della sorte, potrebbe rendere l'euro più forte, nonostante il distacco dell'Inghilterra.
  • Il 15 aprile scorso il New York Times ha riferito che l'Arabia Saudita ha minacciato di scaricare sul mercato centinaia di miliardi di dollari in titoli del Tesoro USA, se il Congresso degli Stati Uniti avesse proceduto con una votazione per consentire ai parenti delle vittime del 9/11 di citare in giudizio il Regno dell'Arabia Saudita. (In questo momento il Regno gode di certe immunità, che rendono impossibili tali cause.) Questa mossa avrebbe potuto rendere illiquido il mercato del Tesoro USA, con una potenziale salita dei tassi d'interesse e perdite per gli investitori che al confronto il panico del 2008 sarebbe stato un picnic.

C'è di più, ma questo è un elenco sufficiente per evidenziare che giorno dopo giorno la mia previsione di un forte terremoto finanziario si materializza sempre di più.

Saluti,


[*] traduzione di Francesco Simoncelli: http://francescosimoncelli.blogspot.it/


Come curare la povertà

Von Mises Italia - Mer, 25/05/2016 - 09:08

Il presidente Johnson ha dichiarato guerra totale “alla povertà umana”. É un obiettivo lodabile. É infatti stato lo scopo di legislatori, statisti, economisti, riformatori, gruppi religiosi – l’obiettivo di ogni uomo di buona volontà- da tempo immemore. É un obiettivo condiviso da tutti gli economisti che si riconoscono nell’imprenditorialità privata dai tempi di Adam Smith e da tutti i socialisti e comunisti dai tempi di Marx. Il problema non concerne i fini bensì i mezzi. Qual’è il modo migliorare per sradicare la povertà?

Sfortunatamente i mezzi proposti dal signor Johnsom sono dubbi. Propone maggiori e più vasti programmi di spesa pubblica – “per creare più case e più scuole, più biblioteche e ospedali di qualsiasi sessione del Congresso nella storia della Repubblica” e “per finanziare il più grande supporto federale nella storia per l’istruzione, la sanità, per il reinserimento dei disoccupati e per aiutare gli handicappati fisici ed economici”

 

Non con l’infazione

Se sia possibile fare tutto ciò e al contempo tagliare il budget per la spesa Federale è lasciato a considerazioni successive. Ma anche a fronte delle sue stesse proiezioni il piano di spesa comporterà una combinazione di deficit negli introiti fiscali per l’anno corrente e per l’anno prossimo pari a 15 miliardi di dollari. Questa differenza sarà probabilmente finanziata con l’inflazione – ad esempio stampando più moneta, abbassando il potere d’acquisto del dollaro e dunque aumentando i prezzi. Ciò non può essere d’aiuto per i poveri. Indipendentemente dal risultato immediato, il risultato di lungo periodo dell’inflazione sarà la distorsione della struttura produttiva, e quindi il rallentamento del tasso di crescita dell’economia. Questo non può diminuire la povertà. Se il governo prende a prestito 15 miliardi adesso per ridurre le tasse di 11 miliardi significa che dovrà alzare le tasse nel futuro ad un livello ancora maggiore di prima per poter pagare anche il nuovo debito. Ciò scoraggia la produzione e l’occupazione, e non può quindi aiutare i poveri.

La proposta economica del signor Johnson più dannosa sarebbe quella di imporre una ancor maggiore aliquota fiscale sugli straordinari rispetto all’attuale maggiorazione del 50%. Ciò può solo aumentare i costi di produzione, far lievitare i prezzi, ridurre le vendite e la produzione, e quindi ridurre l’occupazione. Non potrà aiutare i poveri.

Mr. Johnson propone di dare fondi Federali alle “aree cronicamente disagiate degli Appalachi”, di espandere “lo sviluppo dell’area, di “distribuire più cibo ai bisognosi tramite un più vasto programma di buoni alimentari”. Queste sono tutte forme della vecchia idea di prendere dal ricco per dare al povero, di prendere dal più produttivo per dare al meno produttivo. Ciò che dimenticano i riformatori che appoggiano tali proposte è che non puoi “redistribuire” i frutti della produzione senza ridurre drasticamente la produzione stessa.

La “redistribuzione” riduce gli incentivi da entrambi i lati dell’ascensore sociale. Poiché il più produttivo viene maggiormente tassato ha un minor incentivo a sforzarsi per guadagnarlo. Poiché il povero riceve sussidi e aiuti ha un minor incentivo a migliorare la propria condizione con i suoi sforzi. Il problema del curare la povertà è che è difficile ed ha due facce. Mitigare gli ostacoli posti dalla sfortuna senza minare gli incentivi verso lo sforzo ed il successo.

 

Ripristinare gli incentivi

Il modo per curare la povertà non è l’inflazione, non gli schemi “condividi la ricchezza” o il socialismo, ma precisamente le politiche opposte – l’adozione della proprietà privata, libero commercio, libero mercato e libertà d’impresa. É dovuto al fatto che abbiamo adottato questo sistema, più di altre nazioni, che siamo diventati la più produttiva e quindi la più ricca nazione della terra. Attraverso questo sistema è stato fatto di più per sconfiggere la povertà negli ultimi due secoli di tutta la precedete storia.

Il modo per combattere le rimanenti sacche di povertà è mantenere questo sistema; ridurre l’intervento governativo anziché aumentarlo; ridurre la spesa pubblica e la tassazione punitiva — in breve, aumentare gli incentivi per favorire l’iniziativa, lo sforzo, l’assunzione di rischi, il risparmio e l’investimento per aumentare l’occupazione, la produttività ed i salari reali.

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10 Conspiracy Theories

Lew Rockwell Institute - Mer, 25/05/2016 - 06:01

To say that the Nazis caught the world off guard when they unleashed their military might at the end of the 1930s would be an understatement. In the 70 years since the fall of the Third Reich, there has been much theorizing and questioning to find out just how the German military became as strong as it did so quickly.

Some of those theories venture into an area bordering on absurd. Absurd or not, however, they are possibly some of the more interesting conspiracy theories of their time.

10 1936 Black Forest Incident

According to various reports that surfaced toward the end of the 20th century, a UFO crash-landed in Germany’s the Black Forest near Frieberg in 1936. It is claimed that the craft was saucer-shaped and was ultimately recovered by SS troops shortly afterward.

The object was allegedly taken to Wewelsburg Castle, the main headquarters of the Third Reich, where their top scientists worked to reverse engineer it and find ways to use the technology to their advantage. Whether they achieved this or not is open to debate, but it is widely accepted that German scientists and engineers were far ahead of other countries at the time.

Although it should be treated with a large pinch of salt, an article that appeared online in 2013 claimed that the author had been able to “channel” into the crash site that evening. He had achieved this by allegedly tracking down a pair of field glasses that had belonged to an SS officer who had witnessed the crash.

The author stated that not only were there survivors but that they were shot on sight by the SS. The article also claimed that the craft was not an alien vehicle but was, in fact, a time machine containing humans from the future.

9 The Nazi Bell

In the 2000 book The Truth About The Wonder Weapon, author Igor Witkowski claimed that he had translated the documents of Nazi SS officer Jakob Sporrenberg regarding a top secret Nazi weapon. According to Witkowski, the documents were given to him by an unnamed source in the Polish intelligence service. He was allowed to translate them but not allowed to make copies.

The documents referred to Die Glocke—also known as the Nazi Bell—and went into great detail about how it worked and what it was capable of. Housed in a military facility called Der Riese, which was close to the Czech border in Poland near the Wenceslas Mine, Die Glocke stood around 5 meters (15 ft) high and measured 3 meters (9 ft) across.

It was underground beneath a stone circular structure called “The Henge,” which is still there today. It was also said to have ancient symbols like hieroglyphics around the bottom of the bell shape. Two counterrotating cylinders within the structure were filled with a substance called “Xerum 525,” with Die Glocke employing anti-gravity technology. When tested and in motion, it was released from its underground facility while chained to The Henge to prevent it from flying off.

When Die Glocke was in motion, it was claimed that visions of the past could be seen upon its inner mirrorlike surface. Some even stated that the antigravity technology could warp time and space and that this was the true purpose of Die Glocke. It was, in fact, a time machine.

Die Glocke has not been found yet, but a 1965 incident in Kecksburg, Pennsylvania, raised a few conspiracy-minded eyebrows. The initial reports stated that a strange bell-shaped object had crashed in the woodlands near the town. The mysterious craft had strange hieroglyphic symbols around its base.

8 Ahnenerbe And The Hunt For Ancient Artifacts And Relics

Although the Indiana Jones movies are complete fiction, their portrayal of the Nazis’ interest in ancient relics and artifacts is very much true. It is said that Hitler was obsessed with ancient texts and philosophies and that he made genuine, concerted efforts to bring into his possession such revered items as the Holy Grail, the Ark of the Covenant, and the Spear of Destiny.

It appeared to be Heinrich Himmler, however, who was the main driver behind Ahnenerbe—officially a study institute for German ancestral heritage. The real reason for its existence, however, was to acquire knowledge of the Aryan race of “superior” humans whom Himmler believed were once residents of Atlantis.

Not only that, but Himmler claimed that survivors of the disaster at Atlantis had fled northward and that true Germans were descendants of this race. Privately, Himmler felt that providing proof of this would pave the way for him to establish a new Aryan religion that would replace Christianity.

Under Himmler’s direction, the SS explored areas all over the world, including Scotland, Iceland, France, North Africa, and India. Following his research, Himmler believed that he would find evidence that the Tibetans were descendants of the Aryan people. A 1939 expedition to Tibet followed in which the SS crudely scrutinized the local population—including the bizarre procedure of measuring a person’s head to determine their true race.

Himmler returned to Germany from this particular exploration feeling satisfied that he had proven his theory. More chillingly, especially given the horrific events that unfolded throughout German-occupied Europe over the next five years, he felt sure that the descendants of the Aryan race had been weakened by mixing with the indigenous Tibetans. Himmler is regarded as being directly responsible for the millions of deaths at the dreaded concentration camps throughout the early 1940s.

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You Too Can Be Trans-Species

Lew Rockwell Institute - Mer, 25/05/2016 - 06:01

Last year, I declared myself a springbok trapped in a human body. A springbok is a highly agile individual who is among the “least concern” species and resides in the southeastern part of the African continent. With such a declaration, some people will suggest that I am suffering from a condition known as species dysphoria, in which one thinks he is a wild animal trapped in a human body. Species dysphoria is similar to gender dysphoria, a condition in which a person believes he is a woman trapped in a male body or a man trapped in a female body.

Many people will argue that I am in need of psychological counseling. I’d dismiss such a suggestion as animal phobia. You might ask, “Williams, why in the world would you want to call yourself a springbok?” The reason is simple. There is nothing in the Internal Revenue Code that says springboks have a federal tax obligation. If government officials were to demand taxes, I would ask the U.S. Department of Justice to intercede, plus they would be reported Dolezal is not the only white woman who has benefited from racial fakery. Sen. Elizabeth Warren sometimes called “Pocahontas,” claimed that she was of Cherokee Indian ancestry. That helped her land a job at diversity-hungry Harvard University as a professor of law. She described herself as a minority in the Harvard Law School directory. Not only was her great-grandfather, not a Cherokee as she claimed but he was a white man who boasted of shooting a Cherokee Indian.

Personally, I don’t hold either Dolezal or Warren at fault for racial fakery. It was 1960, during my troubled time in the U.S. Army, when I faked my race. It was in Incheon, South Korea, where arriving soldiers were required to fill out a vital information form. Where it asked for race, I checked off “Caucasian.” The chief warrant officer, in charge of inspecting the forms, queried me about my designation. I told him that if I put down “Negro” — as we called ourselves at that time — I’d get the worst job. The officer probably changed the designation; I didn’t.

The irrelevancy of DNA and being able to say what you are can lead to income-earning opportunities heretofore nonexistent. For example, the men’s fastest 100-meter speed is 9.58 seconds. The women’s record is 10.49. What about weaker male runners claiming womanhood and running in the women’s event and winning the gold? Greater opportunities for fame and fortune exist in women’s basketball. It would only take a few tall men who claim they are women to dominate the game.

Some of the readers of my column are truly concerned and kind. One reader, upon reading last year’s column in which I claimed to be a springbok, warned, “Watch out for lions!”

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We’re in the Eye of the Global Financial Hurricane

Lew Rockwell Institute - Mer, 25/05/2016 - 06:01

The only “growth” we’re experiencing are the financial cancers of systemic risk and financialization’s soaring wealth/income inequality.

The Keynesian gods have failed, and as a result, we’re in the eye of a global financial hurricane.

The Keynesian god of growth has failed.

The Keynesian god of borrowing from the future to fund today’s consumption has failed.

The Keynesian god of monetary stimulus / financialization has failed.

That is a mouthful, so let’s break it into bite-sized chunks.

Home mortgages are a good example of how financialization increases financial profits by jacking up risk and distributing it to suckers who don’t recognize the potential for staggering losses.

In the good old days, home mortgages were safe and dull: banks and savings and loans institutions issued the mortgages and kept the loans on their books, earning a stable return for the 30 years of the mortgage’s term.

Then the financialization machine revolutionized the home mortgage business to increase profits. The first step was to generate entire new types of mortgages with higher profit margins than conventional mortgages. These included no-down payment mortgages (liar loans), no-interest-for-the-first-few-years mortgages, adjustable-rate mortgages, home equity lines of credit, and so on.

This broadening of options (and risks) greatly expanded the pool of people who qualified for a mortgage. In the old days, only those with sterling credit qualified for a home mortgage. In the financialized realm, almost anyone with a pulse could qualify for an exotic mortgage.

The interest rate, risk and profit margins were all much higher for the originators. What’s not to like? Well, the risk of default is a problem. Defaults trigger losses.

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The Empire’s Reach Is Galactic

Lew Rockwell Institute - Mer, 25/05/2016 - 06:01

If China begins to reclaim and militarize Scarborough Shoal, says Philippines President Benigno S. Aquino III, America must fight.

Should we back down, says Aquino, the United States will lose “its moral ascendancy, and also the confidence of one of its allies.”

And what is Scarborough Shoal?

A cluster of rocks and reefs, 123 miles west of Subic Bay, that sits astride the passageway out of the South China Sea into the Pacific and is well within Manila’s 200-mile exclusive economic zone.

And if, after such a war, we have driven the Chinese off these islets and destroyed those bases, how long would we be required to defend them for Hanoi and Manila?

Have we not enough war guarantees outstanding?

We are moving NATO and U.S. troops into Eastern Europe and anti-missile missiles into Poland and Romania, antagonizing Russia. We are fighting in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya, and Yemen, and, if the neocons get their way, we will soon be confronting Iran again.

Meanwhile, North Korea is testing nuclear warheads for long-range missiles that can reach the American homeland.

And no vital U.S. interest of ours is imperiled in the South China Sea.

Should Beijing insanely decide to disrupt commercial traffic in that sea, the response is not to send a U.S. carrier strike group to blast their artificial islands off the map.

Better that we impose a 10 percent tariff on Chinese-made goods, and threaten an embargo of all Chinese goods if they do not stand down. And call on our “allies” to join us in sanctions against China, rather than sit and hold our coat while we fight their wars.

This economic action would send China’s economy into a tailspin, and the cost to Americans would not be reckoned in the lives of our best and bravest.

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The Gov’t War on Everything

Lew Rockwell Institute - Mer, 25/05/2016 - 06:01

Your friendly Uncle Sam has done a great job of ending the civil liberties protections enshrined in the US Constitution and Bill of Rights. Think of the PATRIOT Act, FATCA, and Obamacare, just to name a few examples.

But individual states are running roughshod over the Constitution as well, especially in the context of the “War on (Some) Drugs.” One example is the notorious practice of civil forfeiture, where police can seize your property without accusing you, much less convicting you, of a crime.

But there are many others. A case in point is Wisconsin. That state’s Supreme Court recently ruled that police do not need a search warrant to forcibly open locked doors in a private home.

In 2012, paramedics arrived at a residence in Kenosha, Wisconsin, after an emergency call. The patient, Antony Matalonis, appeared badly battered, with one side of his body covered in blood. City police accompanying the paramedics learned that Matalonis lived with his brother in a nearby residence.Warrants are also incredibly easy for police to obtain. They have been issued to search homes based on window coverings that hinder police from peeking inside, having a “heat source” in the home, or even possessing a security system.

Incredibly, even if Charles had refused permission for police to enter his home, they could have used his refusal as evidence to obtain a warrant. That’s a consequence of a 1996 federal circuit court decision. In that case, a homeowner declined to allow police to search his home. Police presented this refusal as “evidence” to a magistrate and obtained a search warrant. Based on the results of the search, the homeowner was convicted on criminal charges. A federal appeals court ruled that while the magistrate improperly issued the warrant, evidence police seized during the search could be used against the homeowner.

The War on (Some) Drugs, the War on Terror, the War on Money Laundering, the War on Tax Evasion, and other militaristic campaigns to fight crime, terrorism and social ills aren’t going away. They’re intensifying, and the Fourth Amendment is just one casualty. Indeed, research by lawyer Harvey Silverglate concluded the average American commits three felonies a day, whether they know it or not.

If you live in the US, you’re part of these wars, whether you like it or not. Maybe it’s time to think about a “Plan B.”

Reprinted with permission from Nestmann.com.

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