As I write, FOX News television is reporting on the following story, which is also posted to its website, ‘A protest against police-involved killings spun out of control for the second straight night in Berkeley, Calif. Sunday [Dec. 7], as demonstrators threw rocks and explosives at officers, turned on each other, and shut down a highway.’ Two officers were injured. An undisclosed number of protesters were arrested.
Anyone following American news knows the police are entirely out of control. They kill, beat, and brutalize non-resisting ‘civilians’ with impunity, even if that person is a child, even if he is shot in the back. Police officers who kill unarmed and complying people are almost always vindicated by their department superiors and by a court system that will not prosecute. No wonder homicides by cops are at a two decade high despite a continuing decline in America’s overall homicide rate.
The problem is not a few bad cops. It is the entire system of law enforcement. And the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) must shoulder blame for giving cops close to carte blanche to kill.

This post was published at Dollar Vigilante on December 8th, 2014.

Retail Is Dying

This weekend I’ve spent a bit of time in a few retail stores.
Where are the deals? They’re missing, really.
I can’t find them at all. Retailers are notorious for marking things up in the fall and then having great “sales” that aren’t really sales, but there are usually a few deals to be had in various things you might want or need.
I’m not seeing them this year in any material sense — not even in places where you usually do see them.
For instance, last year you could buy a 4TB hard drive (very nice if you happen to need one; that plus a $30 enclosure makes an excellent gift for someone who has a computer and doesn’t back it up — and you know damn they should!) for about $100. This year that same drive (literally) is 30-40% more. That’s unheard of in the technology sector, but the “not on sale” price was around $140ish, so what’s really happened is that there are no sales.
There are many other examples — including things like BluRay players and other consumer electronics, where the deals are typically actually pretty decent.
If you look at the stocks of many of the retail firms they’re a disaster, with many (Abercrombie anyone?) off 30, 40, even 50%.
How does anyone square a craptastic consumer economic picture as measured by actual performance of real firms selling real goods with the claimed “retail sales” reports and sky-high asset prices? That’s your puzzle for the week, and if you’re one of those who believes in those market unicorns you may wish to add some eggnog to your evening ritual in an attempt to sleep well through the night.

This post was published at Market-Ticker on Dec 8, 2014.

Berkeley on Fire: Protest for Eric Garner Turns Into a Riot

The decision to leave the deaths of Eric Garner and Michael Brown unpunished has students and locals outraged in Berkeley, as they came together yesterday evening to protest what they view as an unjust court system.
However, chaos erupted for the second night in a row, as demonstrators squared off against police and challenged looters that are taking advantage of the unrest. So far 5 police officers have suffered minor injuries, and at least a dozen protesters have been arrested since the unrest began on Saturday night.
While it appears that most of demonstrators have been peaceful, a small minority of agitators have been using the protest as cover for looting and mayhem.
Sunday’s protest began peacefully on the University of California, Berkeley campus. But as protesters marched through downtown Berkeley toward the neighboring city of Oakland, the unrest resumed as someone smashed the window of a Radio Shack. When a protester tried to stop the growing vandalism, he was hit with a hammer, Officer Jennifer Coats said.
Some of the protesters made their way to a freeway in Oakland and blocked traffic. The California Highway Patrol said some tried to light a patrol vehicle on fire and threw rocks and bottles. Police also said explosives were thrown at officers, but there was no information immediately available on how potent they were. Highway patrol officers responded with tear gas…
…police said protesters returned to Berkeley streets, throwing trash cans, scattering garbage and sparking small blazes. Police said several businesses were damaged and looted, and they were checking reports of vandalism at City Hall.

This post was published at The Daily Sheeple on December 8th, 2014.

US And Allies Building Up Forces To Invade Syria – Episode 536

The following video was published by X22Report on Dec 8, 2014
The latest US jobs report makes no sense when you look at the facts. McDonald’s sales are in a major decline. The Baltic Dry Index falls again, we are headed towards a major collapse. Russia’s payment goes live Dec 15. Leaked document shows Obama Executive Order allows criminals and terrorists into the country. US fear riots, attacks if terrorists report is released. The US is preparing for war with Russia. 1500 allied troops heading to Iraq. US and Allies getting ready to invade. Israel bombs Syria, an act of war. UN reports that Israel meets with Syrian rebels regularly in the Golan Heights. The Islamic State reports they have a training school in Syria in the city of Damascus.

The Big Foreign Policy Lie: The War Party Couldn’t Rule Without It

What gets me are the lies. Iraq’s ‘weapons of mass destruction’ – Iran’s (nonexistent) nuclear weapons program – the Vietnamese ‘attack’ in the Gulf of Tonkin – Germans bayoneting Belgium babies – the sinking of theUSS Maine: over the long and bloody history of US imperialism, these are just a few of the fabrications US policymakers have seized on to justify Washington’s aggression. It’s quite a record, isn’t it? Not only that, but there’s been little if any acknowledgment by the American political elites that they’ve ever lied about anything: it’s all been thrown down the Memory Hole, along with whatever sense of shame these people ever had.
Indeed, if there is an award for sheer shamelessness then surely it must go to the court historians who preserve the myth of Pearl Harbor, insisting that the Japanese launched a ‘sneak attack’ on the US fleet. The official versionof the narrative is that the Americans, dewy-eyed innocents all, were simply minding their own business, not bothering anybody and certainly not aggressing against the predatory Japanese, who were fighting harmless ‘agrarian reformers’ led by Mao Tse-Tung in China. Suddenly, totally without provocation, and out of the clear blue the Japs – to use the term routinely employed by the Roosevelt administration and its media minions at the time – crossed thousands of miles of Pacific Ocean to commit murder and mayhem for no good reason other than their own inherent evil.
What’s amazing is that even though this nonsense has been thoroughly andrepeatedly debunked over the years by historians concerned with discovering the truth – as opposed to getting tenure at some Ivy League university – the Big Lie is still not only believed by the hoi polloi but also stubbornly upheld by the ‘intellectuals.’ As to whether they actually believe it or not, that’s largely irrelevant as far as they’re concerned. As Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., the archetypal pointy-headed liberal intellectual – and idolator of FDR – put it: ‘If he [the President] was going to induce the people to move at all, he had no choice but to trick them.’

This post was published at David Stockmans Contra Corner on December 8, 2014.

10 Reasons Why A Severe Drop in Oil Prices Is A Problem

Not long ago, I wrote Ten Reasons Why High Oil Prices are a Problem. If high oil prices can be a problem, how can low oil prices also be a problem? In particular, how can the steep drop in oil prices we have recently been experiencing also be a problem?
Let me explain some of the issues:
Issue 1. If the price of oil is too low, it will simply be left in the ground.
The world badly needs oil for many purposes: to power its cars, to plant it fields, to operate its oil-powered irrigation pumps, and to act as a raw material for making many kinds of products, including medicines and fabrics.
If the price of oil is too low, it will be left in the ground. With low oil prices, production may drop off rapidly. High price encourages more production and more substitutes; low price leads to a whole series of secondary effects (debt defaults resulting from deflation, job loss, collapse of oil exporters, loss of letters of credit needed for exports, bank failures) that indirectly lead to a much quicker decline in oil production.
The view is sometimes expressed that once 50% of oil is extracted, the amount of oil we can extract will gradually begin to decline, for geological reasons. This view is only true if high prices prevail, as we hit limits. If our problem is low oil prices because of debt problems or other issues, then the decline is likely to be far more rapid. With low oil prices, even what we consider to be proved oil reserves today may be left in the ground.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on 12/08/2014.

Fracking Chemicals May Harm Reproduction and Developmental Health

Unconventional oil and gas (UOG) operations combine directional drilling and hydraulic fracturing, or ‘fracking,’ to release natural gas from underground rock. Recent discussions have centered on potential air and water pollution from chemicals used in these processes and how it affects the more than 15 million Americans living within one mile of UOG operations.
Now, Susan C. Nagel, a researcher with the University of Missouri, and national colleagues have conducted the largest review to date of research centered on fracking byproducts and their effects on human reproductive and developmental health. They determined that exposure to chemicals released in fracturing may be harmful to human health in men, women and children and recommend further scientific study.
‘We examined more than 150 peer-reviewed studies reporting on the effects of chemicals used in UOG operations and found evidence to suggest there is cause for concern for human health,’ said Nagel. ‘Further, we found that previous studies suggest that adult and early life exposure to chemicals associated with UOG operations can result in adverse reproductive health and developmental defects in humans.’
The ‘weight of evidence’ review of scientific literature and peer-reviewed publications, where studies are examined thoroughly for patterns and links, included international studies that focused on UOG chemicals.

This post was published at The Daily Sheeple on December 8th, 2014.

How Doctors Prescribing Meds Based on Drug Company Payoffs is Further Evidence of Systemic Failure

When the drug maker Genentech introduced a major product in 2006, it found itself in an awkward position: persuading eye doctors to start using its new more expensive drug instead of a popular cheaper version that the company already sold.
Ophthalmologists had been enthusiastically using the company’s cancer drug Avastin, which cost about $50 a dose, to treat a common eye disease in the elderly, wet macular degeneration. Then Genentech introduced Lucentis, a nearly equivalent drug that cost $2,000 a dose and was approved specifically to treat the disease.
Now, a new federal database shows that many of the doctors who were the top billers for Lucentis were also among the highest-paid consultants for Genentech, earning thousands of dollars to help promote the drug. The data raises questions about whether financial relationships between doctors and drug companies influence treatment decisions, even though physicians maintain they cannot be swayed.
Half of the 20 doctors who received the most money from Genentech to promote Lucentis in 2013 were among the highest users of the drug in 2012, billing for higher amounts of Lucentis than 75 percent of their peers. The figures were compiled from two federal databases that covered different periods, and it is not known whether or how much Genentech paid the doctors in 2012.
– From the New York Times article: Paid to Promote Eye Drug, and Prescribing It Widely
The topic at the heart of the following post is not a commonly discussed one here at Liberty Blitzkrieg. It has to do with big corporate money influencing and corrupting the medical profession. The reason I chose to highlight this particular article, is because it perfectly puts into focus two of the most important macro cancers plaguing these United States today: A complete loss of ethics, and the dangers of over-centralization/corporatization.
Let’s start with ethics. If there’s one thing I want readers to take away from reading this site, it’s an understanding that the banker bailouts following the 2008 financial crisis was one of the most destructive events to happen within the U. S. during my entire lifetime.

This post was published at Liberty Blitzkrieg on Dec 8, 2014.

SP 500 and NDX Futures Daily Charts – The Eternal Footman Snickers

Stocks were weak today, with a decided lack of new economic news, based I think on ‘jitters’ with stock valuations at these lofty levels, and yet so many hedge funds underperforming the indices.
Oil took a 4 percent hit, and concern is growing that this is a sign of slackness in aggregate demand, and not a over production move by the US and some of its allies to punish Russia, or the Saudis to give the shale oil crowd a stiff gut check on their long term viability.
But all in all, today was just a pullback. Let’s see if we get any follow through anywhere in this market.
There is a surprising lack of liquidity in the market, despite the massive printing that has been done by the Fed.
If the markets get in trouble, it could develop into a blood bath. But that is a big *could*.

This post was published at Jesses Crossroads Cafe on 08 DECEMBER 2014.

NASA’s Orion completes historic flight, but why can’t man return to the Moon?

21st Century Wire says…
When NASA unveiled its space shuttle program in the mid-1970′s, it was hailed as a major breakthrough in space travel, using a ‘reusable’ spacecraft to fly multiple mission and with a savings in the hundreds of millions per mission. And then the US government scrapped the space shuttle and replaces it with… Orion?
Nearly 50 year on from NASA’s first mission to the Moon, and not once – ever – has the space agency even mentioned a plan to return to our Earth’s closest celestial body. Why is that? Instead, govt space agencies and their private contractors are piling in with budgets and all but impossible plans to send manned missions to Mars instead. Rather conveniently (see Orion story below), space officials are constantly laying on caveats and announcing delays to actually launching the Mars mission, and one might think was because neither NASA nor its privatized counterpart actually have a viable theory as to how to get there, much less a working physical plan for completing that mission.
One of the main barriers that astronauts will face in mounting a deep space journey to the red planet is surviving passage through the Earth’s notorious Van Allen radiation belts.

The belts extends some 60,000 kilometers above the planet’s surface and is mostly formed from solar wind and other particles by cosmic rays. The belt is what actually helps protect the Earth from cosmic radiation and solar shock waves, and is held in place by the Earth’s magnetic fields.
It’s believed that human exposure to the belts’ intense radiation would be fatal, and would require a substantial, thick lead, or alternate radiation shield around any spacecraft making that journey with human’s on board. To date, NASA has never fully explained how its Apollo astronauts were able to make repeated journeys through the belt in its relatively primitive 1960′s space capsules. The agency maintains that its astronauts had ‘low exposure in the Van Allen belts due to the short period of time spent flying through it. The question here is compounded by the fact that the Apollo command modules were made of aluminum with a thin steel ‘honeycomb’ core.

This post was published at 21st Century Wire on DECEMBER 8, 2014.

Betting On The ‘Other’ Oil Black Swan

With oil prices plunging to 5-year lows, perhaps it is time to consider the cheapness of betting on the other oil black swan…
Via BofA’s Jake Greenberg,
In my base case, I remain structurally bearish oil. The world is making huge productivity and efficiency gains (lighter vehicles, new technology, etc.), and we are starting to see real substitution (e.g. to LNG and CNG). On the supply side, oil is not resource constrained (i.e. at the right price, you get more shale coming to market Libya KRG North Sea’s Buzzard Arctic, etc) and OPEC is a dysfunctional oligopoly. Francisco Blanch thinks we could see Brent drop below $60/bbl in the next six months.
Interestingly, lower oil prices may not incentive increased demand as both China and India are taking advantage of the drop to raise taxes on fuel consumption.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on 12/08/2014.

Solid Republican South: First Time Since Reconstruction

When Lyndon Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 he predicted that this would lose the South for the Democrats. Four months later, the Southern states voted for Barry Goldwater.
Exactly 50 years later, the Deep South is solid: not a single governor or Senator is a Democrat. Senator Landrieu of Louisiana was the last woman standing. She lost the runoff on Saturday, 56%-44%.
A solid Republican South did not seem possible in 1960, when Kennedy was elected. No one even discussed it. It was too far off the radar. But Johnson knew what would happen in 1964.

This post was published at Tea Party Economist on December 8, 2014.

Sad but Funny (but Sad): America Is Much Worse Than a Bad Boyfriend

This guy sucks!!! College Humor did the video below about how America is like a bad boyfriend. Aside from a few propaganda bits, they made a pretty good point.
‘But…but… He can change! You know, he promises… (Every four years…)’
Actually, America is so much worse than a bad boyfriend in so many more ways than a two-and-a-half-minute video could never fully illustrate.
I’m not about to exhaust that list here because I have the rest of my life to live and it would probably take that long to get through such a list.
Ultimately, if you have a bad boyfriend, usually you can just break up with him…
If he becomes a little stalkery, you can change your phone number, block his email and move, because he likely doesn’t control a militarized standing army in any town you go to, on top of a $3 billion spy hub in the Utah desert that is so powerful it can capture an entire country’s data in one go (so sucking up your cell phone and computer data and tracking you anywhere you go is easy peasy pie); in other words, your privacy in this relationship isn’t just being intruded upon – it’s virtually nonexistent.
If an American wants to break up with America, you have to pay America…oh, and the price to expatriate just got raised a few months back a whopping 422% from $450 to $2,350. This is more than 20 times the going rate in other developed nations, just by the way.

This post was published at The Daily Sheeple on December 8th, 2014.

Is The Canadian LNG Export Dream Dead?

Lower oil prices have killed off major plans for liquefied natural gas exports from Canada’s west coast.
On December 2 the state-owned oil company of Malaysia, Petronas, decided to shelve plans to build an enormous LNG export terminal in British Columbia, citing the falling price of oil. It is common for LNG contracts to be priced using a formula linked to the price of crude oil, so declining oil prices pushes down prices for LNG.
Petronas’ Pacific NorthWest LNG, as it was known, was a proposed $32 billion export terminal that would send LNG to Asia. The decision highlights how competitive global LNG trade has become, despite growing demand. Greenfield projects, such as Pacific Northwest LNG, face steep startup costs that become prohibitive when oil prices fall.
Although low oil prices may have been the icing on the cake, Canadian LNG projects were facing serious obstacles before oil prices plummeted. There is stiff competition from a slew of LNG projects already under construction in the U. S. and Australia, which will come online much earlier than anything from British Columbia.
Several LNG export facilities in the U. S. are not starting from scratch, for example. The Sabine Pass terminal on the Gulf Coast and the Cove Point facility on the Chesapeake Bay were both originally constructed to import LNG rather than export. The original facilities were put on ice when the U. S. no longer needed LNG imports. Now, companies are retrofitting them to handle exports – a much cheaper process than building a new facility.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on 12/08/2014.

“Careening Toward A New & Different Kind Of Civil War”

The Beauty Shop had barely stopped smoldering in Ferguson, Missouri, when the Eric Garner grand jury decision came down on Staten Island – no probable cause to indict one particular cop for something – manslaughter? – in his choke-hold take-down of the 300-pound cigarette-seller. For my money, they should have indicted the whole gang of cops who were there that day, including the black female NYPD sergeant on the scene ostensibly ‘supervising’ the action, at least for something like negligent homicide, since the infamous video shows them acting cruelly, stupidly, and indifferently as the poor guy just lay dying on the sidewalk.
Worse, the decision only muddied the public’s view of several events in recent years involving black people, police, and standards of behavior so that now a general opinion prevails that all black people are always treated badly for no reason. That was the same week, by the way, that a white Bosnian immigrant named Zemir Begic was bludgeoned to death by three black teenagers wielding hammers who were out beating on stopped cars on a St Louis street – a crime that was barely covered in the news media, and went unprotested outside the immigrant neighborhood where it occurred. It’s hard to blame the public for being confused about what may or may not be happening across the nation, but history will surely judge this as a tragic time for America.
If we can’t or won’t unpack the separate issues in these matters, the country is going to get into a lot more trouble. One issue is whether police forces in the USA are becoming goon squads. The decision by the federal government to offload tactical military equipment, including armored war wagons, on police departments far and wide was disgracefully stupid since it only gives the impression, when hauled out, that the police are at war with the citizenry. There ought to be public discussion of just flat-out taking all that stuff away from them.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on 12/08/2014.

Even Obama’s Personal Chef Is Leaving Him

One of the perks of being a president: having your own personal, taxpayer-funded chef. And in the case of Barack Obama, this means an instrumental player in the development of Michelle Obama’s controversial “school lunch program“, one who also happens to be “Executive Director of the First Lady’s Let’s Move! initiative, the first-ever White House Senior Policy Advisor on Nutrition, and personal chef to the First Family.” He name is, or rather his name was Sam Kass, because alongside pretty much everyone else close to Obama in recent few years, Chef Kass is done feeding the First Stomach and is also getting the hell out of Dodge the White House.
As Washington Examiner reports, “the first family’s personal chef, whose influence extended well beyond the kitchen to putting a honey bee hive on the South Lawn and running Michelle Obama’s kiddie health program ‘Let’s Move,’ is resigning.
‘His departure concludes a tenure of dedicated service not only to the First Family, but also to the Obama Administration as a key player in the development of nutrition policy,’ said the White House in a statement.
Kass recently married Alex Wagner, host of MSNBC’s daytime program “Now with Alex Wagner.” He is moving to New York.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on 12/08/2014.

Still Nobody Asks The Proper Question

Why should anyone care any more about where this nation is headed when nobody will stand and do a damn thing about it?
U. S. diplomatic and military posts overseas are being put on alert over the potential backlash from a looming Senate report examining the alleged use of torture by the CIA, with one top lawmaker warning its release could cause “violence and deaths.”

In Washington, tensions grew over the expected release of the report, with House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Mich., saying America’s allies are predicting “this will cause violence and deaths.” He said U. S. intelligence agencies and foreign governments have said privately that the release of the Senate intelligence panel report on CIA interrogations a decade ago will be used by extremists to incite violence that is likely to cost lives.
So why isn’t Mike Rogers, who has access to this data and has had it all along, not be in the dock right here and now on charges?

This post was published at Market-Ticker on 2014-12-08.

Oil Crash Comes Home To Roost: ConocoPhillips To Slash 2015 CapEx By 20%

With every single hollow chatterbox repeating that crashing oil prices are “unambiguously good” it is clearly the case that the opposite is true. And sure enough, the first indications that the crude price crash is about to lead to some serious pain in the US came first yesterday from BP, which announced over the weekend that it would “slash 100s of mid-level supervisor jobs” around the globe, and moments ago, from ConocoPhillips, which added that as a result of plunging oil prices, it would slash its 2015 spending budget by a whopping 20%, cutting off some $3 billion in capital spending mostly involving “less developed project: spending which for those who remember their GDP calculation, means a proportional reduction in the US Gross National Product.
From Houston Chronicle:

This post was published at Zero Hedge on 12/08/2014.

Putin Prepares to Win While Obama Prepares to Surrender

Does anyone really think that any nuclear-armed nation, whether it would be the United States, China and especially Russia will ever accept defeat to a rival nation, in conventional warfare, without subsequently inflicting the maximum penalty on its opponent? There is little question in most experts minds that the loser of a ‘conventional’ World War III will not hesitate to unleash its nuclear weapons as a last ditch means to ‘even the score’
Obama’s Complacency Is Our Number One National Security Concern Forbes writer, James Conca, has expressed the view in a dramatic report that when it comes to matching the growing Russian military threat, that America’s most pressing concern is complacency. Conca noted that the recent reports that Russia has gained the upper hand in nuclear weapons capability against the United States, has been met with indifference from this administration.
Making matters worse, Conca observed that this current administration fired the one General who was going to shape up America’s Intercontinental Ballistic Missile command. Now he’s gone and our ICBM’s sit in less than a state of readiness.
Conca notes that even the U. S. State Department has acknowledged that not only has the the U. S. nuclear arsenal fallen behind Russia but so has basic U. S. military technology. The U. S. State Department admits that America is now the underdog should hostilities involving nuclear weapons between the two nations actually break out. Obama is out to lunch and seems oblivious to the threat. The Forbes investigation goes on to say that Russia is absolutely ready and their new long-range cruise missiles that are ready for mobile deployment by land or sea.

This post was published at The Common Sense Show on December 8, 2014.