Wednesday, October 7, 2015
Coincidence or Conspiracy On the Part of Obama?
Why the United States Cannot Win a Conventional War Against Russia and China
The US Is Dependent On a Devastating First Strike Attack
Nuclear Submarines Are the “X Factor”
The Trigger Event
Never give up your guns America, because the coming conflict will eventually become a guerilla war.
Credit to Common Sense
WASHINGTON -- He hasn't announced his candidacy.
Indeed, the job he seeks doesn't really exist.
But shrewdly, methodically and with a showman's flair, the soft-spoken, 78-year-old Argentinian Jesuit priest named Jorge Mario Bergoglio -- Pope Francis -- showed Thursday that he is running to become president of the planet.
He did so in a congressional ceremony of secular civic pomp in a massive legislative building that, after all, harks back to ancient Rome.
As devout as he is, and as focused on the faith and practice of the Catholic Church, Francis is also campaigning to lead public, secular, political discourse worldwide. He is arguing that the two realms of faith and politics are one, and that the moral and spiritual teachings of faith should inform and guide political decisions for "our common home."
This is not a new idea, but it seems again a timely one. Francis' own church sorely needs the refreshing input of world opinion. Secular leaders, meanwhile, are reviled and government itself seems to have lost any sense of moral purpose.
With the rope-line skills of Bill Clinton and the stagecraft mastery of Ronald Reagan, Francis is selling himself and his message in Washington like the political master that he is.
In his speech to the U.S. Congress -- the first ever delivered by a pope -- he never directly mentioned abortion. He defended the "family," but didn't specifically define it by gender or sexual preference. He didn't speak of an assault on traditional Catholic or even Judeo-Christian culture.
That is so yesterday.
Instead, Pope Francis gave a 45-minute secular homily to Congress on the need for American lawmakers to honor communal morality drawn from the Catholic social gospel. In U.S. political terms, it was as if this man clad in simple white robes was leader of the progressive wing of the Democratic Party.
He beseeched U.S. lawmakers -- and, by extension, government leaders around the world -- to use their temporal power to lift up those in extreme poverty, to fulfill promises of racial equality, to make peace with former ideological enemies, to welcome immigrants with open arms, to end arms sales and to save the ecology of the planet.
Francis singled out for praise and emulation Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King Jr., Dorothy Day and Thomas Merton. It was a roster of heroes who, taken together, provide a template for government action on behalf of the dispossessed.
His approach draws on his roots. As a youth in Argentina, he had admired Juan Peron, whose brand of paternalistic, personality-cult socialism propelled him to power with increasingly enthusiastic backing of the Catholic Church. Today, Francis skillfully wields social media and his own popularity.
Francis knows the demographics: In Latin America, Africa and elsewhere, the Catholic Church is in competition with Islam and Evangelical Protestantism.
The pope wants to win that battle, and Washington was one more stop on the campaign tour.
Credit to huffingtonpost.com
The home of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), the world’s largest particle accelerator, is getting a new machine — and this time, the whole point is to keep it small.
On 18 September, the council that governs CERN, Europe’s premier particle-physics laboratory, near Geneva, Switzerland, approved a boost in funding for a planned experiment called the Advanced Wakefield Experiment, or AWAKE. Due to switch on next year, AWAKE will accelerate particles by ‘surfing’ them on waves of electric charge created in a plasma, or ionized gas. It is a method that could allow future accelerators to probe matter and the forces of nature at ever-higher energies, without the usual accompanying increase in the instruments’ size and therefore cost.
Although plans are afoot to build bigger machines once the LHC reaches the end of its life in the 2030s, many fear that accelerator size is nearing its limit and that such proposals may simply prove too expensive to implement.
“When you look at cost estimates for these machines and the scale of machines, you understand that maybe a new breakthrough regime is needed,” says Nick Walker, an accelerator physicist at DESY, Germany’s high-energy-physics laboratory in Hamburg.
Conventional colliders, such as the 27-kilometre-long LHC, use electric fields to move charged particles through a tunnel; the fields switch from positive to negative at a frequency that means the particles are constantly nudged forward, gaining energy with each push. But such colliders use metal-walled cavities that spark if the electric field is too strong. As a result, the only way to further increase the particles’ speed, and therefore energy, is to lengthen the tunnel.
Plasma wakefield accelerators, which were first proposed in the 1970s, are designed to break this cycle, says physicist Allen Caldwell at the Max Planck Institute for Physics in Munich, Germany, who will lead the AWAKE experiment. They send a pulse of charged particles or laser light through a plasma, which sets electrons and positively charged ions oscillating in its wake. The resulting regions of alternating negative and positive charge form waves that accelerate further charged particles. Injected at just the right time, these particles effectively surf the waves (see ‘Wakefield acceleration’). Crucially, as the electric fields are much stronger than those in a conventional collider, the acceleration can be as much as 1,000 times greater over the same distance.
Credit to Nature.com
The federal government uses very carefully manipulated numbers to cover up the crushing economic depression that is going on in this nation. For the month of September, the federal government told us that 142,000 jobs were added to the economy. If that was actually true, that would barely be enough to keep up with population growth. Sadly, the truth is that the real numbers were actually far worse than that. The unadjusted numbers show that the U.S. economy actually lost 248,000 jobs in September and the government added more than a millionAmericans to the “not in the labor force” category. When I first saw that number I truly believed that it was inaccurate. But you can find the raw figures right here. According to the Obama administration, there are currently 7.9 million Americans that are “officially unemployed” and another 94.7 million working age Americans that are “not in the labor force”. That gives us a grand total of 102.6 million working age Americans that do not have a job right now.
That is not an economic recovery – that is an economic depression of an almost unbelievable magnitude.
This is something that my friend Mac Slavo pointed out the other day. I encourage you to read his analysis right here. If we measured unemployment the way that we did decades ago, we would all be talking about how similar Obama’s economy is to the Great Depression of the 1930s.
But instead we let the feds get away with feeding us this completely fraudulent “5.1 percent” unemployment number and most of us believe the mainstream media when they tell us that everything is just fine.
Well no, everything is not just fine. At this point, the labor force participation rate is the lowest that it has been since 1977. And the labor force participation rate for men is at the lowest level ever recorded. The only way that the federal government has been able to get the official unemployment rate to go down so much is by pretending that hundreds of thousands of Americans that have been unemployed for a very long time “leave the labor force” each month.
The chart posted below shows how our labor force participation rate has deteriorated since the year 2000. And in particular, the decline since Obama first entered the White House has been very striking. Does this look like a “healthy economy” to you?…
To me, the civilian employment-population ratio is a far more accurate measurement of the employment picture in America than the official unemployment rate is. Just prior to the last recession, approximately 63 percent of all working age Americans had a job. During that recession, that figure slipped below 59 percent and it stayed there for several years. Just recently it slipped back above 59 percent, but as you can see we are now falling once again…
The reason this number is falling is because lots of Americans have been losing jobs lately.
In fact, we are seeing layoffs at major firms at a level that we have not witnessed since 2009…
The jobs report today has been described as “ugly,” though it certainly didn’t, or shouldn’t have, come out of the blue: Layoffs in the energy, Big Tech, retail, and other sectors have recently mucked up our rosy scenario.“The third quarter ended with a surge in job cuts,” is how Challenger Gray, which tracks these things, started out its report yesterday. In September, large US-based companies had announced 58,877 layoffs. In the third quarter, they announced 205,759 layoffs, the worst quarter since the 240,233 in the third quarter of 2009!Year-to-date, we’re at nearly half a million job cut announcements (493,431 to be precise), up 36% from the same period last year.
Some of the companies that have recently announced layoffs include Wal-Mart, RadioShack, Delta, Sprint, ConAgra, Caterpillar, Bank of America, Halliburton, Qualcomm, Microsoft and Hewlett-Packard.
If you need to find a job or you plan to switch jobs in the near future, time is of the essence. Jobs are going to become much, much harder to find in the months ahead, and so every single day of job searching is absolutely critical at this point.
Right now, there are more than 100 million Americans that get some sort of assistance from the federal government every month. Government dependence is at a level that we have never seen before in U.S. history, and it is going to get a lot worse.
If we get to a point where the government is either unwilling or unable to take care of all of these people, we are going to have a massive societal problem on our hands. More than a third of the people living in our nation cannot independently take care of themselves, and more Americans are falling out of the middle class every single day. When the welfare state starts breaking down, the chaos that will ensue will be far worse than most people would dare to imagine.
So what do you think?
Are job losses and layoffs starting to happen in your area?
Credit to Economic collapse
The popular belief that the U.S. economy has been steadily recovering has endured months of disappointing data without losing much of its appeal. A deep bench of excuses, ranging from the weather to the Chinese economy, has been called on to justify why the economy hasn't built up any noticeable steam, and why the Fed has failed to move rates off zero, where they have been for seven years. But the downright dismal September jobs report that was released last Friday may prove to be the flashing red beacon that even the most skilled apologists can't explain away. The report should make it abundantly clear that we are far closer to recession than recovery. But old notions die hard and, shockingly, most economists still believe that we have hit a temporary speed bump not a brick wall. But at some point healthy hope turns into dangerous delusion. We may have just turned that corner.
The report was horrific any way you slice it. The consensus of economists had expected to see 203,000 new jobs in September, not a particularly impressive number, but at least it would have been an improvement from the 173,000 new jobs that were added in August. Not only did September miss substantially, at just 142,000 jobs, but August was revised down to 136,000 (Bureau of Labor Statistics) (there were economists who had even expected August to be revised up to as high 247,000). This means that the last three months have averaged just 167,000 jobs, a level that is not even close to where we should have been in a real recovery. But it gets worse from there.
The labor force participation rate got even lower still, dropping from 62.6% of working age adults, to just 62.4%, a near-40 year low. In September, another 579,000 potential workers gave up looking for jobs altogether and simply left the labor force. This figure dwarfs the 142,000 people that actually found jobs. Those lucky enough to still be working saw no increase in their hourly wages (the consensus had expected a .2% increase) and their average workweek ticked down from 34.6 hours to 34.5. In short, in September, fewer Americans worked, and those who did had fewer hours and lower pay. This is not supposed to be what a recovery looks like.
Even after the Fed surprised markets back in September by failing to raise interest rates for the first time in nine years, most economists still strongly believed that the Fed was on track to do so this year. Just prior to Friday's jobs report, a full 94% of economists in a Reuters survey saw a hike coming this year. No word yet on how much these expectations may have changed since Friday's jobs report, but my guess is that they won't fall nearly as much as they should. Many a happy economist took to the airwaves last week to explain that two more jobs reports will be issued before the Fed's December meeting. They insisted that those reports could provide the impetus that the Fed needs to finally pull the trigger.
But Janet Yellen said months ago that she would need to see "further improvements" in the labor market before she felt fully comfortable in raising rates. Since she made that statement, not only has the labor market not improved, it has actually retrogressed considerably. The fact that the headline unemployment rate has remained at a very low 5.1% is immaterial, as that rate has been low for some time without prompting any rate hikes. Yellen has already conceded that the official unemployment rate is not the benchmark she is using to assess the strength of the labor market. Instead, she is focused on labor force participation, wages, and the proliferation of involuntary part-time work. On these scores we continue to move further away from any potential rate hike.
But rather than questioning the Fed's credibility in missing another forecast, most economists are lauding it for supposedly seeing weakness that others missed, which allowed it to wisely do nothing in September. But I see this simply as a continuation of the Fed's long-standing playbook: Talk the economy up through optimistic statements while continually holding off an actual rate hike that the Fed is concerned could undermine an economy teetering on the brink of recession. I did not expect the Fed to raise rates in September, and I don't expect them to do so in December either, or at all in 2016, for that matter. I expect the Fed shares this view but they know any public utterance could be disastrous. Despite the fact that I was one of the few economists to declare no hikes in 2015, the media has continued to ignore and ridicule my forecasts.
Dazzled by the Fed's many statements of gaining economic strength, Wall Street has, by contrast, been completely blind to the many, many signs of gathering weakness. In September, factory orders were down year-over-year for the 10th month in a row, according to the Census Bureau's August Factory Orders report. As far as I know, this has never happened outside of a recession. But good luck finding anyone on Wall Street who shares my opinion that these figures suggest that a recession is already underway. My position is buttressed by the steady torrent of disappointing production numbers contained in the regional Fed surveys. But since manufacturing is no longer considered an important sector for the American economy, those once important surveys are no longer even mentioned in main-stream press.
In addition, the Atlanta Fed's "GDPNow" statistics, which attempt to offer a real time glimpse at economic conditions, gets similarly short shrift in the media. That number currently stands at just .9% annualized growth. However, consensus on Wall Street for Q3 GDP remains at 2.4%. Those forecasts should have been slashed months ago. But they have not. Based on the reports that I am seeing, I believe that there is a good chance that the barely positive growth rate that the Atlanta Fed is seeing for Q3, could turn negative. After all, jobs reports have been revised down in six of the last eight months (BLS). What makes economists think that this trend will suddenly reverse? It is, therefore, more likely that the awful employment picture for September will even get worse. A negative GDP print in the third and fourth quarters of this year, which would qualify as a recession, is a possibility that Wall Street has not even considered, let alone prepared.
If weakening conditions prevent the Fed from pulling the rate hike trigger by December, can we really expect it to do it in the election year of 2016? With the economy already on thin ice, a rising rate environment may likely push the economy into recession if it somehow isn't already there. This will play directly into the hands of the Republicans who will be able to hammer the outgoing Obama Administration's economic legacy, thereby handing the election to the GOP. Does anyone really expect the left-leaning Federal Reserve led by Janet Yellen to do that? Given that, we may not see a rate increase until 2017, even if conditions improve, which is a dubious proposition. Predictably, Goldman Sachs' chief economist Jan Hatzius came out with a statement today predicting the first move may not come until 2017. Look for many other influential economists to follow suit.
My view is that it is far more likely that we will see a fresh round of Quantitative Easing before we see a rate hike. As far as I know, however, I am still one of the only economists making this "outrageous" forecast.
The biggest practical implications of all this is that the commodity and foreign currency markets, which have been so thoroughly decimated by expectations of imminent rate hikes in the U.S., should reverse course. In the past, the dollar has generally risen on the anticipation of rate hikes and has sold off when the Fed actually delivered on those expectations. This is the classic "buy the rumor, sell the fact" trade. But what will happen when the Fed fails to deliver? Then all we have is false rumor and no fact. In such a scenario, reversals in the "bid up" dollar and in "beaten down" commodities like gold, silver, copper, and oil, could be dramatic. This could be especially true when you consider all the global economic problems that would be solved by a weaker dollar. Already we are seeing the markets drifting in that direction. Today silver hit a three-month high, and other commodities are finally getting up off the mat. It's been a long time coming, and I expect that it's a pattern that will take hold for a long time to come.
When the jobs report was released last Friday, markets reacted initially with a sharp 200-point sell off. For a while, traders seemed to forget that it's not the economy that has driven the markets but Fed stimulus. They thought bad news was actually bad news. But that "perverse" sentiment didn't last. Once it became clearer (to some) that rate hikes this year were less likely, the markets reversed course and completed a 450-point reversal to the upside. The Fed has created a phony "bad is good economy" and we are not about to snap out of it any time soon.
I expect that once the threat of rate hikes is finally and officially taken off the table, the Wall Street rally will continue. But those gains will be attenuated by a weaker dollar and depressed earnings by domestically focused companies.In that case, it may be better to search for stocks outside the dollar and for the potential benefit of rising share prices and a rising currency. Given how far those assets have been beaten down (see my commentary of July 6th), the opportunities may be worthwhile.
Credit to Zero Hedge