How to Stop Post-Disaster Funding From Being a Disaster »»
A recent report from ProPublica reveals that the American Red Cross raised half a billion dollars for Haiti after the earthquake of 2010 and built just six homes there. Similar stories are likely to emerge from Nepal following the devastating earthquake and aftershocks in April and May of this year. The road to post-disaster recovery is paved with mismanaged funds and botched projects. Many large international agencies, often lacking local connections, have a dismal track record.
There is a pressing need to directly support communities following a catastrophe. There is also a widespread, compassionate desire to give. The question is, how do we avoid the six homes scenario?
As advocates for disrupting status quo philanthropy and amplifying outside-the-box, effective and creative funding, we explore how the underlying values of Indie Philanthropy - trust and balance in relationships, collaboration, experimentation, and empowerment - can shift post-disaster funding practices. What are the most effective models and practices for funding? Clear directives come from our interviews with Trishala Deb, the Asia Regional Director of International Development Exchange, which strengthens grassroots efforts for poverty alleviation and justice, and Beverly Bell from Other Worlds, which supports global movements for economic and social alternatives. Deb has worked in the post-disaster context of Nepal, and Bell in Haiti and New Orleans.
Be critically engaged.
Bell: Ask lots of questions. Do serious homework about whether the group approaching you has a record of trustworthiness, whether it is accountable to local communities, what exactly it plans to do with the money, and what its politics are. The Red Cross will likely siphon off your dollars, as it did with huge amounts of money in New Orleans after the flood and in Haiti after the earthquake. A lot of right-wing organizations will use your donation in ways that undermine progressive agendas - and what happens after disasters is very political, all about who gets the power and the money. If they are right-wing and evangelical Christians…well, you can guess. Follow your money.
Support grassroots, community-led programs.
Deb: Look for the grassroots organizations. Look for the people who have been building and repairing their own homes and communities. There's always a way to find the effort on the ground that potentially makes a huge difference for people.
Bell: Support community-led programs. A study conducted by Grantmakers without Borders found what many of us did ourselves: local and grassroots organizations are by far the most effective in delivering aid and services. If they are progressive to boot, they may be working to ensure that the most vulnerable and excluded have power in shaping their own solutions and in determining the country's redevelopment model.
Trust that those living the situation know best about what they need.
Deb: Our belief is that larger societal change comes from grassroots organizations that represent local residents. People living and working in their own communities and geographies have the knowledge and strategies to build their communities, as well as an understanding of the barriers to development. We will never walk into a community with an action plan.
Is it better not to give at all than to give to the wrong outcome, or where there's no infrastructure for distribution?
Deb: IDEX has been partnering with Women Awareness Center Nepal and ASHA Nepal for about 11 years. When the earthquake happened, we were able to send out money within a week through these organizations, knowing it was channeled directly to their member cooperatives since they already know how to make community-based decisions around their recovery priorities. Both of the organizations with whom we work are deeply invested in developing layers of local leaders. That is the best-case scenario for any recovery. What we don't want to see is money going in where there's no infrastructure for distribution.
Bell: If you are reading this article, you have a good chance of finding a contact who can connect you with a group that can use your money in powerful ways. If not, then use your funds to help other progressive international movements. Better not to give than to give to the wrong outcome. In Haiti, we all wished that most of the aid had never been given.
Listen and learn.
Deb: There's so much donors can learn from partners in times of crisis. I want to encourage all my colleagues in philanthropy around the world to embrace the opportunities for learning and the various paces of learning. For example, in the first two months after the quake there were so many five- to ten- minute conversations that enabled us to understand their capacity and degree of crisis. Then things settled down and they were busy with their recovery work and it was important to honor their time there as well. Our main job is to listen.
Adopt a broader and deeper analysis that helps you support work to resolve the structural problems that create vulnerability and poverty in the first place.
Bell: When we talk about 'natural' disasters, beyond the event of nature, what happens in the aftermath is usually unnatural, highly political phenomena that exacerbate pre-existing inequalities and vulnerabilities. To guide your and others' efforts, learn and share the priorities and analyses of social movements and organized communities. Most important of all, go beyond giving aid to supporting local movements in resolving the structural problems that created their vulnerability and poverty in the first place. This means connecting with sources that organize solidarity, and challenging US government policies and corporate tyranny playing out in disaster capitalism.
Long-term and general operating funding is important.
Deb: We understand that long-term funding is always more important than short-term funding. It helps communities plan. We always provide support through general operating funding and our grants are not connected to outcomes. The groups are then able to adapt to changes that may occur over time. This approach is a manifestation of our trust in our partners, a reciprocal trust.
Avoid having expectations around one set of goals.
Deb: We must understand the cultural assumptions we have and appreciate the cultural context and specificity of the places we're working in as much as we can. With this type of approach, we don't get sucked into an expectation of one set of goals for all of the organizations we're working with. Each organization and location is really different. There is a potential for the most impact when we appreciate these differences.
Last notes for the novice.
Bell: First, support what those directly impacted are doing instead of starting your own initiative. Second, at every step, promote mechanisms and opportunities for communities, especially of those whose voices go unheard, to take the lead. Third, act with care and deliberation instead of acting as fast as possible. Fourth, avoid material aid unless you have a direct and reliable connection with the group who has asked of for it; otherwise, you may be putting local production out of work or just feeding a giant sidewalk sale.
A word on why to use an Indie Philanthropy approach when funding post-disaster.
Bell: Indie Philanthropy addresses a lot of the principles that I have seen work in places in crisis, either natural disasters or political ones. In a nutshell, these principles are: Trust that those living the situation know best about what they need. Help shift power dynamics so that those impacted get to be part of the decision-making. Be as transparent and accountable as you expect your grantee to be to you. Be willing to take risks.
In the world of post-disaster funding, good intentions are at best simply not enough, and at worst, actually harmful. The crux is to be an engaged ally as much as a funder. Listen to, support and trust those who are already doing effective work locally.
Why Is The New York Times Swiftboating J Street for Supporting Iran Deal? »»
Demonstrators waving an Israeli flag protest the Iranian nuclear deal in New York, July 22, 2015. Despite opposition from pro-Israel groups and Republicans, the majority of US Jews back the deal. (Chang W. Lee/The New York Times)
On July 23, the New York Times published an op-ed by Shmuel Rosner, political editor at The Jewish Journal and a senior fellow at The Jewish People Policy Institute, which made the following claim:
"There are American organizations (such as J Street) that support goals that barely any Israeli agrees with, that nevertheless flaunt the pro-Israel label."
No explanation was given of what these goals are, nor was any evidence given that "barely any Israeli" agrees with these goals.
While New York Times editors didn't make Shmuel Rosner specify what the alleged goals of J Street are that "barely any Israeli" agrees with, context suggests the most obvious explanation: J Street has backed the Obama administration's diplomacy with Iran and is backing the Iran nuclear deal, and that's why opponents of the Iran nuclear deal are attacking J Street and saying that J Street's claim to be "pro-Israel" is dubious.
So let's assume that this is about diplomacy with Iran and the Iran nuclear deal. (The New York Times should certainly clarify this; you can urge them to do so here.)
Should the New York Times have allowed Shmuel Rosner to assert without evidence that J Street's backing of the Iran nuclear deal represents "barely any Israeli" and calls into question whether J Street is "pro-Israel?"
Here, here, here and here are examples of senior members of the Israeli national security establishment speaking in support of the Iran nuclear deal. Think about their US counterparts, and imagine that someone claimed that "barely any American" held a view that all those people held. Would the New York Times print such a claim?
Moreover, polling data indicates that the majority of US Jewsback the deal. So if Rosner's standard for "pro-Israel" is opposition to the Iran nuclear deal, then according to Rosner's standard, the majority of US Jews would not be "pro-Israel," which proves that Rosner's standard would be absurd. If someone claimed that the majority of US Jews are not "pro-Israel," would the New York Times print that claim?
It is a kind of swiftboating to claim that J Street is not "pro-Israel" because it backs the Iran nuclear deal, when senior members of the Israeli national security establishment and the majority of US Jews support the deal.
And this swiftboating concerns everyone who supports diplomacy with Iran, because for many congressional Democrats, "J Street supports this" is a marker for "it's relatively safe for congressional Democrats to stand with the Obama administration on this, without too much fear of being attacked as 'anti-Israel.'" J Street is protecting Democrats who support diplomacy. The opponents of diplomacy are attacking the J Street shield.
Some people cynically dismiss concerns about the New York Times regarding war and peace: What do you expect from the New York Times? Judy Miller, blah blah blah. This response, while perhaps seeming "radical," is counterproductive to efforts to promote peace. The New York Times has too much power to promote war for people who want less war to ignore it. The New York Times has more power to promote war than most members of Congress. Most members of Congress are pretty jazzed if the New York Times reports something that they say on a single day. The New York Times is shaping debate on war and peace every single day more than most individual members of Congress are on a very good day.
If we want to prevent war in the future, we need to take seriously any hint of warmongering at the Times, and that includes any swiftboating of advocates for diplomacy.
Perhaps you might think: Well, it's an opinion piece, that's that guy's opinion, he's entitled to his opinion.
But the New York Times claims to fact-check its op-eds; indeed, they fact-check letters to the editor. According to the Times, people are not allowed to say whatever they want in the Times, even in an opinion piece.
I know this intimately from personal experience of submitting letters to the New York Times. I have had the following experience repeatedly: I submitted a letter to the Times; the Times expressed interest in printing the letter; they then presented me with an edited version of my letter that was substantially different from the letter that I submitted, claiming that this was necessary to comply with their standards for factual accuracy. When I provided evidence for the factual claims that they were disputing, they said: this is the letter that we're willing to print, take it or leave it. At that point, I have always capitulated, on the theory that it would be better to have the Times print its version of my letter than no letter at all.
A sharp example when this occurred is publicly documented. In April 2000, New York Times columnist Paul Krugman, by his own later account, was a dogmatic "free trader," someone who supported anything labeled "free trade" without bothering to examine the actual details. Subsequently, emulating the exemplary John Maynard Keynes, he changed his mind in the light of new evidence. But in April 2000, Krugman attacked me by name in his Times column, as a representative of people who were then protesting the policies of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. In Krugman's account, my criticism of the World Bank's role in the destruction of Mozambique's cashew nut processing industry was ignorant of economics (actually, it was someone else's criticism, I had forwarded an article by a Mozambique expert to the people managing the protesters' website.) Krugman's argument was: Robert Naiman is ignorant, therefore all the protesters are ignorant, therefore the protesters' concerns can be dismissed.
I figured that having been attacked in the New York Times by name, I had the right of response. I asked for an op-ed, and was told that the Times doesn't allow op-eds in response to columns, but that I could send a (much shorter) letter to the editor, which I did. You can see here both the letter that I sent and the Times-written letter that the Times agreed to publish instead. (I experienced some vindication when a Washington Post reporter went to Mozambique to investigate and wrote this; a Mozambican official had suggested to me that I try to recruit a reporter to settle the dispute. Harvard development economist Dani Rodrik later wrote this.)
I bring this up now not to revisit the fight with Krugman, who as far as I am concerned has reformed his ways and is now an ally beyond measure to the critics of the IMF and the corporate-managed trade agenda, but to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that the New York Times does not take the position that you or I can write whatever we want in an opinion piece at the Times.
Critics of the Iran deal are talking about the president of the United States like this. There is a group of people that they are trying to organize and inflame with claims that Obama is "anti-Israel" and the Iran nuclear deal is "anti-Israel" and people who support the Iran nuclear deal are "anti-Israel." The support of J Street for the Iran deal is a big obstacle to this story line. That's why these people are going after J Street. The big crime of J Street for the Iran nuclear deal opponents is that J Street is defending President Obama. They're swiftboating J Street as part of their project of swiftboating President Obama.
You can urge New York Times editors to investigate this unsubstantiated attack on J Street here.
Obama Visits Ethiopia and Kenya to Discuss Counterterrorism, Gay Rights, Jobs »»
Obama arrived Sunday in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, for talks with leaders on counterterrorism efforts against al-Shabab in Somalia, and human rights abuses and looming famine in neighboring South Sudan. His visit marks the first by a sitting US president to Ethiopia, which is home to the African Union, and also to Kenya, his father's birthplace. In a major speech Sunday in the capital of Nairobi, Obama referred to himself as a "Kenyan American" and joked about critics who said he was there to look for his birth certificate. We go to Nairobi for an update from Aggrey Mutambo, a reporter at the Daily Nation, the principal English-language newspaper in Kenya. He covered Obama's visit for the paper. We are also joined by Salim Lone, a Kenyan journalist, political adviser and former director of the News and Media Division of the United Nations. From 2005 to 2012, he was the spokesperson for then-Prime Minister Raila Odinga of Kenya.
This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.
AMYGOODMAN: This is Democracy Now!, democracynow.org, The War and Peace Report. I'm Amy Goodman. We end today's show looking at President Obama's visit to Africa. He arrived Sunday in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, for talks with leaders on counterterrorism efforts against al-Shabab in Somalia, and human rights abuses and looming famine in neighboring South Sudan. Obama's visit marks the first by a sitting US president to Ethiopia, which is home to the African Union. Later today, he'll hold talks there with leaders of Kenya and Uganda. Not scheduled to attend the meetings is Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, the current chair of the African Union.
This comes as Obama has concluded his first visit to his father's birthplace of Kenya since taking office. In a major speech Sunday in the capital, Nairobi, he referred to himself as a "Kenyan American" and included many details of his personal history in his speech, while urging the country to deal with issues ranging from corruption to sexism. Speaking to a packed stadium filled with nearly 5,000 cheering Kenyans, Obama emphasized a message of optimism to Kenyans, especially youth.
PRESIDENTBARACKOBAMA: When it comes to the people of Kenya, particularly the youth, I believe there is no limit to what you can achieve. A young, ambitious Kenyan today should not have to do what my grandfather did and serve a foreign master. You don't need to do what my father did and leave your home in order to get a good education and access to opportunity. Because of Kenya's progress, because of your potential, you can build your future right here, right now.
AMYGOODMAN: To talk more about the significance of President Obama's Africa visit, we're joined now by two guests. In Nairobi, Kenya, Aggrey Mutambo is with us, reporter at the Daily Nation, principal English-language newspaper in Kenya. He covered Obama's visit for the paper. And via Democracy Now! video stream from Princeton, New Jersey, Salim Lone is a Kenyan journalist, political adviser and former director of the News and Media Division of the United Nations. From 2005 to '12, he was a spokesperson for then-prime minister of Kenya, Raila Odinga.
We welcome you both to Democracy Now! Let's begin in Nairobi, Kenya. Talk about the significance of the trip and the response of Kenyans, Aggrey Mutambo, if you can share what took place this weekend.
AGGREYMUTAMBO: Thank you for having me on the show. The visit by the president of the United States was very significant in two ways here. First of all, it involved an image-boosting scenario for Kenya, given the fact that there has been a lot of issues related to the security and whether it was proper for people to come to Nairobi and other parts of the country, where there has been a lot of terrorism incidents. Secondly, the president, when he came to Nairobi, he helped address some of the issues which have been raised here by the civil society, given - such as civil liberties, corruption and other issues, like press freedom. So, his coming here has been seen as one way of helping boost the voice of the civil society in expressing these issues, which have been a great concern to people. To the government side, of course, it has been used to show that Kenya is indeed safe and not a banana republic, as many people may have thought. That is according to the government's side. So, it's [inaudible] -
AMYGOODMAN: Aggrey, I wanted to go to -
AMYGOODMAN: - President Obama urging Kenyans to embrace gay rights.
PRESIDENTBARACKOBAMA: If you look at the history of countries around the world, when you start treating people differently, not because of any harm they're doing anybody, but because they're different, that's the path whereby freedoms begin to erode, and bad things happen. And when a government gets in the habit of treating people differently, those habits can spread. ...
So, I'm unequivocal on this. If somebody is a law-abiding citizen who is going about their business and working in a job and obeying the traffic signs and doing all the other things that good citizens are supposed to do, and not harming anybody, the idea that they are going to be treated differently or abused because of who they love is wrong. Full stop.
AMYGOODMAN: In responding to President Obama's comments, the Kenyan president, Kenyatta, said the two countries share a lot in common, but not everything, called gay rights a, quote, "non-issue" for Kenyans.
PRESIDENTUHURUKENYATTA: Just like President Obama, I think we also need to be able to speak frankly about some of these things. And the fact of the matter is that Kenya and the United States, we share so many values. Our common love for democracy, entrepreneurship, value for families, these are things that we share. But there are some things that we must admit we don't share, our culture, our societies don't accept. It's very difficult for us to be able to impose on people that which they themselves do not accept. This is why I repeatedly say that for Kenyans today, the issue of gay rights is really a non-issue. We want to focus on other areas that are day-to-day living for our people.
AMYGOODMAN: That is Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta. Aggrey Mutambo, can you elaborate on this interaction?
AGGREYMUTAMBO: Yes. The president's response indicates the kind of controversy associated with the issues of homosexuality here, mainly because many people see gay rights within the prism of morality, and mostly they borrow those virtues from religious scriptures. If you walk around in Nairobi, you will find that many people live according to the teachings of their religious scriptures - the Bible, the Qur'an, for example - so most of those people see that allowing gays to have the same freedoms as them is like going against the teachings of those religious scriptures.
But also, those religious organizations are very influential here in shaping the kind of politics that politicians may want to pursue. This was very evident, for example, during the formation of the current constitution, where the Catholic Church was very much opposed to the inclusion of those gay rights. The initial drafts had proposed that marriage not be defined within the lens of man and woman. But the church insisted that this had to be included. So, the fact that it was passed after the push by these religious organizations, which initially argued that the new constitution was going to allow these rights, shows that politicians are just answerable to what these organizations push for.
AMYGOODMAN: This is President Obama - not all things were serious there - joking during his speech in Nairobi about questions about where he was born.
PRESIDENTBARACKOBAMA: I suspect that some of my critics back home are suggesting that I'm back here to look for my birth certificate. That is not the case.
AMYGOODMAN: That was President Obama speaking in Nairobi, Kenya. Salim Lone is also with us. He is a Kenyan journalist, political adviser, former director of the News and Media Division of the United Nations. Can you talk, Salim, about the significance of President Obama, the first sitting US president's trip to both Kenya and, as well, Ethiopia, as well as addressing the African Union, and what he is doing in these places?
SALIMLONE: Well, first of all, I just want to repeat what Aggrey said, that this was an incredible visit for Kenya - and for him. I think many people have said that they haven't seen President Obama so happy for three consecutive days. I mean, he really loved being at home and talking to people, and he spoke very, very honestly on a number of urgent issues that Kenyans are trying to address.
At the same time, I think, sticking to Kenya for the moment, his trip there was a huge boost for President Uhuru Kenyatta. I think some of you might know that there are a number of issues that surrounded his legitimacy, first because of his trial at the ICC for crimes against humanity, which was dropped recently. In addition, the last election, which brought him to power, was, like the one before that, deeply disputed. And he was struggling with these issues, plus the issue of terrorism and the fact of Kenyan soldiers who are occupying a large swath of southern Somalia, which in turn has made Kenyans pay a very bloody price. That invasion was supposed to keep Kenya and Kenyans more secure, but in fact over 400 Kenyans have died since the invasion began, with virtually none having died before. So this is very good for Uhuru Kenyatta. But as I said, the president raised a number of issues about human rights, about suppression of democracy; whether it will influence Uhuru Kenyatta, we are not so sure.
But I think the second issue, which concerns the AU as a whole, Africa as a whole and, of course, Kenya itself, which has been a victim of terrorism since 1998 - as you'll recall, that was the greatest terrorist attack, the most number of people killed, over 200 people, when the Kenya - the US Embassy in Kenya was attacked. And we are doing in East Africa, in fighting the al-Shabab, what the world has been doing in fighting terrorism generally, meaning using primarily force and, in the process, seeing terrorism get much, much worse everywhere. You know, they used to be small, hidden cells of terrorists, and now they control large swaths of countries. And that's exactly what's happening in East Africa, too, that we are - we've invaded Kenya - I mean, we've invaded Somalia, for our own political reasons. Obviously, it is not improving security in Kenya. And that's an issue that President Obama, unfortunately, came out on the wrong side, supporting the invasion of Somalia, continuing the drone strikes, and this is a problem. We need to tackle the scourge of terrorism. It is the greatest scourge that humanity faces at the moment, apart from wars, of course, unlawful wars in particular. But to tackle this scourge, we must do it right, and not do it in ways which are actually making it a much more relevant factor in our daily lives. Kenyans are really suffering from this insecurity.
AMYGOODMAN: Aggrey Mutambo in Nairobi, can you talk about Kenyans' perception of the impact of the counterterrorism efforts?
AGGREYMUTAMBO: Of course, the fight against terrorism here has elicited a lot of debate, because when the police go hunting for those suspects, it has always come out within the lines of human rights violations. Reports have been published by Amnesty International, for example, accusing the police of harassing people suspected to be terror suspects. Some people have disappeared mysteriously. So, it is the same reason that human rights organizations here have said - had urged President Obama to tell the Kenyan authorities that fighting terrorism should not go with diluting people's rights. So, it is true that people perceive terrorism as having a very big economic impact here. We have had a lot of lives lost, for example, property destroyed. But again, there are other voices which are saying that the counterterrorism measures being adopted by the government here are, in fact, adding salt to the wound.
AMYGOODMAN: President Obama speaking about the issue of counterterrorism.
PRESIDENTBARACKOBAMA: On security, the United States and Kenya are already strong partners, and today we reaffirm that we stand united in the face of terrorism. Earlier, I had the opportunity to meet with survivors and families of victims of the bombing of our US Embassy in 1998. In the face of despicable violence, such as the attack on Garissa University College and the Westgate Mall, the Kenyan people have shown incredible resolve and remarkable resilience.
AMYGOODMAN: That was President Obama in Nairobi. Aggrey Mutambo, were you at these attacks, either at Westgate or at the University of Garissa?
AGGREYMUTAMBO: Yes, I was there. I covered both the Westgate attack and the Garissa University attack. And what came out at that time was the confusion, maybe, from the authorities here in the way they were responding. Of course, President Kenyatta has argued that the issue of terror is a new phenomenon, and the way they react to it has had a lot of problems. But at Westgate and Garissa, perhaps, my observation is if there had been an earlier response, many people's lives may have been saved.
AMYGOODMAN: Finally, President Obama visited family there, right? His step-grandmother, his half-sister. Can you talk about the significance of this? He had an extended family dinner?
AGGREYMUTAMBO: Yes. There had been hope that he would go to the village where his father was born, but I think he was trying to compensate for the fact that he couldn't go to the village, so he met here with some of the relatives from his extended family. And they shared local delicacies here, which is partly traditional here. Whenever a guest comes, people do share those kind of delicacies to show the significance of that guest. So, I think the president was just trying to live within the traditions of his father.
AMYGOODMAN: And, Salim Lone, now President Obama is in Addis Ababa. He's in Ethiopia. How Ethiopia fits into this picture?
SALIMLONE: Well, Ethiopia is an economic dynamo and has enabled even Kenya to do better because of its own growth. I think the problem in Ethiopia has been the lack of democracy there. But at the same time, I think all of us recognize that you live in a world that you have, and you cannot keep on hoping for a better world, so you struggle and you struggle. But Ethiopia, apart from some terror bandits in Somalia, for example, when it invaded and destroyed a very moderate Islamic Courts Union, which seemed to be bringing peace to Somalia, in 2006, with US help, of course. So Ethiopia is the head of the - you know, it's the seat of the African Union and a very, very important player, the second-largest population in Africa. So it's a tough call for Obama, knowing what he's trying to do in the US, making major changes in so many US policies, and yet, on this issue of terrorism, I think he has not got the right message. Basically, he -
AMYGOODMAN: We have five seconds.
SALIMLONE: - and the US don't have a vision of the world. I mean, that's one of the greatest problems we have in the world at the moment. It's that the West, especially US, has no vision for how to address these awful problems.
AMYGOODMAN: Salim Lone, we're going to have to leave it there, Kenyan journalist, as well as Aggrey Mutambo, speaking to us from Nairobi.
Stop Securing the Border and Start Valuing Migrants' Lives »»
Border enforcement isn't just a counterproductive waste of taxpayers' money; it's also lethal. A quarter century's buildup on the border has forced would-be crossers to take more dangerous routes through the Southwest's deserts and mountains. At least 5,607 people died while attempting to enter the country between 1994 and 2008, mostly along these new, riskier routes. It's time to end this irrational policy.
A helicopter patrols the US-Mexico border near Campo, California, May 17, 2007. (Photo: Qbac07)
US billionaire and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is not the only politician intent on barricading the southwestern border of the United States. Calls for "regaining control of our border" are commonplace in US political discourse, routinely repeated by both liberals and conservatives, Democrats and Republicans. The most recent proposal for "comprehensive immigration reform" is a good example. The bill, which passed the Senate in June 2013 but was blocked by House Republicans as "dangerously liberal," included provisions for doubling the current number of Border Patrol agents and adding $30 billion to the border enforcement budget over the next ten years.
Border enforcement was actually a major cause of the very phenomenon it was supposed to prevent.
The general public overwhelmingly backs these calls for more enforcement. While a survey the Pew Research Center conducted in May found respondents generally supportive of immigrants - 72 percent said undocumented people now living here should be allowed to stay - 80 percent thought "a lot" or "more" could be done to reduce unauthorized immigration at the borders.
This support continues despite a complete lack of evidence that an increase is necessary or that it would be effective - or even that there's an actual "crisis" of people crossing the border. What the facts show, on the contrary, is that the current policy is expensive and counterproductive and needs to be rolled back.
The Buildup on the Border
The US government began stepping up border enforcement in the mid-1980s. There were a total of 2,268 Border Patrol agents in 1980; by 2012 the Border Patrol had funding for 21,370 agents, nearly 10 times as many as 20 years earlier. The Border Patrol's annual budget was $263 million in 1990; by 2014 it had jumped thirteen-fold to $3.6 billion. The Border Patrol is only one part of Customs and Border Protection, the agency that handles border enforcement; Customs and Border Protection’s proposed budget for fiscal year 2015 was $13.1 billion, nearly twice what it was just a decade earlier.
When politicians demand a border wall, they fail to note that the US had already built 651 miles of fencing as of February 2012; the estimated cost of the fence's construction and its maintenance over the next 20 years is $6.5 billion. When they demand a "crackdown" on border crossing, the politicians don't mention that the government has been imposing criminal sentences on border crossers since 2005; the program, code-named "Operation Streamline," had processed 208,939 people by the end of 2012. While it's hard to estimate the total bill for Streamline, it could be costing us as much as $300 million a year just through the increase it has created in the federal prison population.
It seems fair to ask what this massive border build-up has accomplished. In fact, for most of the time that border enforcement was being stepped up, the number of undocumented immigrants in the country was increasing dramatically; the unauthorized population tripled between 1990 and 2008, from 3.5 million to 11.9 million.
"Defense industries" - both US and Israeli - have been busily pitching weapons, vehicles, helicopters, drones and various science-fiction devices for the border.
Academic studies explain why this would happen. The University of California San Diego's Center for Comparative Immigration Studies has found that border enforcement is a deterrent, but not a very strong one for people considering their first trip into the United States. Migrants and potential migrants surveyed in southern Mexico said they were aware of the harsher enforcement measures at the border but that this wasn't an important influence on whether they decided to leave for the north.
On the other hand, while border enforcement doesn't do much to keep undocumented immigrants out of the United States, the studies indicate that it has been very effective at keeping them in once they arrive.
Reasons for Decreased Migration
Before the increase in border security, the flow of migration from Mexico - the main source of unauthorized immigration - tended to be circular. Many migrants from Mexico would work in the United States a few months each year and then return home with extra cash. When border crossing became riskier and more expensive in the 1990s, migrants were more likely to settle down here, and they often sent for their families to join them. In other words, border enforcement was actually a major cause of the very phenomenon it was supposed to prevent.
But the trend has now reversed. The number of apprehensions on the border has fallen to its lowest level in 20 years and is continuing to fall: during the first half of this fiscal year (from October 2014 through March 2015) the rate was down 28 percent from the same period the year before.
Increased border enforcement also means increased incarceration for immigrants, and this means more business for the private prison industry.
Enforcement advocates claim this is chiefly because of their policies, but the statistics don't support this. The state of the US economy is almost certainly a more important factor. The rate of border crossings over the past quarter century has regularly fluctuated, according to the employment rate in the United States, with dips during the 2001 recession and then a larger decline starting in 2007 as the housing boom collapsed and construction jobs disappeared. The job market has remained weak since then, despite a technical recovery from the 2007-2009 recession.
But the most important factor, according to a study in the International Migration Review in November 2014, has been the aging of Mexico's population, the result of a dramatic decline in the country's birth rate over the past 40 years. There's less border crossing simply because there are fewer members of the younger demographic that has tended to fuel immigration in the past. The study's authors concluded that the United States "spent $35 billion in constant dollars on border enforcement between 1970 and 2010 in a vain effort to bring about a decline in undocumented migration that was already built into Mexico's demography."
Corporate Investments in Increased Border Enforcement
If border enforcement has been such a colossal failure, why do US politicians constantly call for more of it?
One obvious reason is that border enforcement is quite profitable for powerful business interests. In September 2006, for example, the Boeing corporation won a contract worth an estimated $2.5 billion to set up the "Secure Border Initiative Network" (SBInet), a web of new surveillance technology and sensors with real-time communications systems. After spending $1 billion on this "virtual fence," the government scrapped the project in January 2011, saying it "does not meet current standards for viability and cost effectiveness."
The growing number of Border Patrol agents translates to more guns and other equipment, and the "defense industries" - both US and Israeli - have been busily pitching weapons, vehicles, helicopters, drones and various science-fiction devices for the border. This is especially important as the US military reduces its involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan. "So as the wars are winding down, we're trying to find more applications for this technology here in the US," a division manager from the Applied Research Associates firm explained to the Huffington Post in April.
Increased border enforcement also means increased incarceration for immigrants - Operation Streamline is one example - and this means more business for the private prison industry. In the decade leading up to 2013, just three of these companies poured out some $45 million in various lobbying efforts. Recipients of funds from the Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), the country's largest private prison company, include such rabidly anti-immigrant Republicans as Rep. Lamar Smith of Texas and Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin.
Amped-up border anxiety has political uses as well. As Princeton sociologist Douglas Massey, an expert on immigration patterns, remarked to Truthout in an email, "Politicians find the symbolic trope of an 'invasion of illegal aliens' too useful to give up." Xenophobic and irrational fears of invasion, violation and disease from foreign and dark-skinned people have historically provided a good tool for distracting the US population from the real failures of the political system.
Sometimes this exploitation of border fears turns farcical. In August 2014, Georgia Republican Phil Gingrey, then a member of the House of Representatives, suggested that Central American minors might be carrying the Ebola virus. Gingrey, formerly a practicing physician, apparently didn't know that no Ebola cases had ever been reported in Latin America. But there's nothing funny about claims from people like Donald Trump and right-wing columnist Ann Coulter that immigrants are rapists. These slanders appeal to the same part of the national psyche as white racists' fraudulent rape charges against African Americans, the rationalization for thousands of lynchings in the 19th and 20th centuries and, most recently, for Dylann Roof's murder of nine worshippers at an historic African-American church in June.
The Real Border Crisis
Can anything be done to counter the widespread acceptance of the "securing our border" narrative?
"Someone - a prominent politician or journalist - has to say that the 'emperor has no clothes,'" Prof. Massey suggests. "[I]llegal migration from Mexico is over and will not be coming back." But activists can do a lot on their own, both by informing the general public and by putting pressure on politicians and reporters, in the same way that LGBT activists have turned public opinion around in ways few people thought possible even a decade ago.
One important step would be for immigrant rights activists to stop viewing border enforcement as a bargaining chip that can be exchanged for broader legalization of undocumented immigrants, as has happened in mainstream immigration reform proposals like the 2013 bill. "You have to inoculate the broader movement against trading away the border," Bob Libal, executive director of the nonprofit organization Grassroots Leadership, said in a phone interview.
Border enforcement isn't just a counterproductive waste of taxpayers' money; it's also lethal.
Above all, we need to remember that border enforcement isn't just a counterproductive waste of taxpayers' money; it's also lethal. A quarter century's buildup on the border has forced would-be crossers to take more dangerous routes through the Southwest's deserts and mountains. At least 5,607 people died while attempting to enter the country between 1994 and 2008, mostly along these new, riskier routes. University of California, San Diego professor Wayne Cornelius has noted that the death toll at the border just in the decade from 1993 to 2003 was more than 10 times as high as the number of people killed trying to cross the Berlin Wall in its 28-year history. The deaths have continued even as the rate of border crossings fell: an average of 360 people died this way each year in 2010 and 2011.
This is the real border crisis, and we shouldn't be able to sleep comfortably at night as long as we know that an irrational enforcement policy is killing hundreds of human beings each year for the supposed crime of wanting to get a job or to reunite with friends and family.
Black Lives Matter Convergence Ends With Police Pepper-Spraying Teen »»
More than a thousand Black Lives Matter supporters converged in Cleveland, Ohio, this weekend for a historic conference to raise national attention about police brutality and other pressing issues, including immigration rights, economic justice and LGBTQ rights. During the opening ceremony, family members of more than 20 African Americans killed by police took to the stage to speak about why they continue to fight for justice. Democracy Now!'s Messiah Rhodes was on the ground in Cleveland, Ohio, and spoke to several conference participants who say it was "a learning space, a healing space, a politicizing space, a radicalizing space." The event ended with a stark reminder of how much work remains to be done. On Sunday, a crowd of participants witnessed a police officer attempting to arrest a 14-year-old boy for alleged intoxication. The Black Lives Matter participants blocked the squad car and tried to get the child out. One of the officers then began pepper-spraying the crowd. The video has since gone viral.
This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.
AMYGOODMAN: We turn right now to what happened this weekend in Cleveland, Ohio, where about a thousand Black Lives Matter supporters gathered for an historic conference to raise national attention about police brutality and other pressing issues, including immigration rights, economic justice and LGBTQ rights. Democracy Now! spoke Friday to three of the founders of the Black Lives Matter movement. This is Opal Tometi. But we will turn to the clip of people speaking at the conference in Cleveland.
CHERRELLBROWN: Cherrell Brown. I'm with several different organizations. Right now I currently teach social justice with Sadie Nash Leadership. We've been through a lot this year, you know, since August - and before then. And it's trauma compacted on trauma for people who are in black communities, right? So, this has been a learning space, a healing space, a politicizing space, a radicalizing space. We get to love upon each other, affirm each other, check each other, hold each other, hold each other accountable. And I think that's really important in sustaining us moving forward. There is collective healing in not having to worry about filtering yourself or worrying about, at least in some instances, not feeling unsafe, right? Because you're amongst family.
MARSHALLEDWARDCONWAY: Marshall Edward Conway, a former political prisoner for the last 44 years. I don't believe that black freedom can exist without world freedom. We need to free the planet. We need to free the human race. We need to work together across all the different lines. And it is only because of creating a space for everybody to be a human being can we be a human being and have black freedom. We need to work together. For years, women has been taking the lead in this. We need to involve ourselves. We need to engage ourselves. We need to put aside our moralistic or ideological differences, and realize that as a black community we are all under threat. We're under the threat of genocide. We are under the threat of mass incarceration. We are under the threat of impoverishment. And we definitely have a community that's collapsing. And if we don't come together, reach out to the youth, to the elders, to every segment of the community, then we're going to be in real trouble.
BREECAMPBELL: My name is Bree Campbell, and I'm from Detroit, Michigan. I work for the University of Michigan SexLab, and I am a fellow at the National LGBTQ Task Force. I'm a trans woman of color, and I wanted to make sure that in this movement, that we are included, because we are left out of a lot of things. And it's really sad that there are times when I want to express the sorrow that's going on for people of color in the community, but feel very left out a lot of times when it comes to conversations about, like, Black Lives Matter, violence against women, violence against trans women. So I'm here not only to build capacity, but I'm also here to make sure that trans voices are brought to the table.
AMYGOODMAN: Special thanks to Messiah Rhodes for that report from the inaugural Movement for Black Lives conference in Cleveland, Ohio. Well, conference-goers ended the weekend with a stark reminder of how much work needs to be done. When the event ended around 5:00 p.m. Sunday, a crowd of participants witnessed a police officer attempting to arrest a 14-year-old boy for alleged intoxication. The Black Lives Matter participants blocked the squad car, tried to get the child out. One of the officers then began pepper-spraying the crowd. The video has since gone viral.
This is Democracy Now! When we come back, we're going to Nairobi, Kenya, to talk about the president's first trip to Kenya - a first US president's trip to Kenya - President Obama has been there before - and then his trip to Ethiopia. Stay with us.
Hulk in Brazil? Cyclist lifts car out of bike lane with bare hands (VIDEO) »»
A video of a Brazilian cyclist lifting a car out of the bicycle lane with his bare hands is rocking YouTube. The car blocking the cycle lane apparently got on the man’s wrong side, and he wasn’t going to just ride around and leave. Read Full Article at RT.com Read more...
London Underground serial killer ‘covered up’ by Home Office, former detective claims »»
A former detective claims Scotland Yard covered up the case of a self-confessed serial killer who pushed up to 18 people to their deaths on the London Underground during the 1970s. Read Full Article at RT.com Read more...
Knight Rider-inspired: ‘Real life KITT’ electric super sedan unveiled in China »»
All-electric super sedan Youxia X taking after the artificially-intelligent car KITT from the ’80s American TV show ‘Knight Rider’ is looking to become a worthy competitor to the upcoming Tesla Model 3. Read Full Article at RT.com Read more...
Eurozone members should have right to go bankrupt, leave the bloc – German ‘wise men’ »»
A German government economic panel of ‘wise men’ says the eurozone needs a mechanism that’ll allow troubled economies to leave the currency as a last resort, and free taxpayers in creditor countries from paying the debts of “uncooperative” members. Read Full Article at RT.com Read more...
Sent to Siberia? Nationalist leader proposes repopulation through exile of petty criminals »»
The head of the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia has come forward with an idea to send people convicted for minor crimes to settlements in underdeveloped eastern territories, saying this would be beneficial both for justice and the economy. Read Full Article at RT.com Read more...
New Eastern Outlook
Report From Moscow: Urgent Issues of International Law »»
On July 10th this writer had the honour of participating in a unique event that took place in the stunningly beautiful Reception House of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Moscow. In a chamber of white marble walls and glittering chandeliers, dozens of legal experts, parliamentarians, social activists and government representatives from Germany, France, […] Read more...
CIA is Using “Man’s Best Friends” for Spying »»
The activities of American intelligence services have received a somewhat extensive coverage from both the written media and different moviemakers, and not just from Hollywood alone, which is explainable if one is to consider the staggering amount of funds that are being allocated by the US Congress on the secret operations of such institutions. Therefore, […] Read more...
The Hydra of the Caspian Sea: Iran’s Naval Strategy »»
The Iranian military is predominately thought of for its capabilities and strategy in the Gulf. Though the competitors differ in the Caspian Sea, the Iranian Military has a similar composition and strategy in this theater. The Strait of Hormuz is a global chokepoint for the flow of oil in which Iran is able to leverage […] Read more...
A Killer-Diller: GMO Soy makes Formaldehyde in our Gut »»
Of course only very pathologically damaged mothers would ever knowingly feed their family formaldehyde. But that’s precisely what hundreds of millions of families are unknowingly doing around the world every day. A brilliant new scientific experiment has proven in a peer-reviewed study published in the journal, Agricultural Sciences, that human consumption of GMO soy creates […] Read more...
United States is Destroying Saudi Arabia »»
It’s hardly a secret for anyone that the United States and Saudi Arabia are longtime partners, hence Washington has historically been the guardian of Saudi interests in the Middle East. These special relations between the states were built back in the 1930s, when in exchange for security guarantees that were granted to the House of […] Read more...
DuPont profit falls 12 pct, cuts full-year outlook on weak farm sales (Reuters)
Husky Energy, Canada's No.3 integrated oil company, reported 81% fall in profit (Reuters)
Overnight Media Digest
* The Obama administration plans to restore federal funding for prison inmates to take college courses, a potentially controversial move that comes amid a broader push to overhaul the criminal justice system. (http://on.wsj.com/1IDgh7h)
* The National Security Agency will destroy the telephone records of millions of Americans it has collected over almost 10 years once it has resolved pending litigation and implemented a new surveillance law. (http://on.wsj.com/1Kv0jcK)
* When Mylan NV moved its legal home to the Netherlands it gained not just tax savings, but a Dutch corporate rule book that gave it more levers to resist takeovers, such as Teva Pharmaceutical Industries' $40 billion proposal. (http://on.wsj.com/1IpYKxp)
* Procter & Gamble Co is expected to soon name David Taylor as CEO, succeeding A.G. Lafley, who came out of retirement to take a second stint running the company. (http://on.wsj.com/1I5Yekt)
* With its decision to end auto production in the United States, Mitsubishi Motors Corp has become the latest second-tier car maker to shift its focus away from crowded, mature markets to smaller emerging economies. (http://on.wsj.com/1Ku8ZD9)
Online gambling firm GVC Holdings returned on Monday with a new 1 billion-pound ($1.56 billion) bid for rival Bwin.party Digital Entertainment, looking to trump a recently accepted offer from 888 Holdings Plc.
Marwyn Value Investors Ltd, the group that brought companies including Peppa Pig rights owner Entertainment One to the public markets, is launching an Aim-listed acquisition vehicle called Gloo Networks to buy media companies valued at up to 1 billion pounds ($1.56 billion).
Deliveroo, an early-stage UK start-up that delivers takeaways from high-end restaurants, has raised $70 million to expand internationally, valuing the London-based company at $315m, according to one person familiar with the matter.
* Teva Pharmaceutical Industries has found a neat exit from its Mylan NV mess. Teva, an Israeli pharmaceutical firm, had been locked in a bitter battle to take over Mylan. Now it has agreed to buy the generic business from Allergan Plc for $40.5 billion. (http://nyti.ms/1evy6Hb)
* Fiat Chrysler Automobiles could pay up to $105 million in addition to giving authority to an independent monitor to oversee safety operations, buying back defective vehicles and paying consumers to participate in a Jeep recall. (http://nyti.ms/1Jr8qIO)
* Comcast Corp and Discovery Communications Inc announced Monday that they had reached a multiyear agreement over the fees Comcast pays to carry Discovery networks. (http://nyti.ms/1I61Xyh)
* McGraw Hill Financial Inc, the owner of Standard & Poor's Ratings Services and S&P Capital IQ, said on Monday that it had agreed to buy the financial data and information provider SNL Financial for $2.2 billion in cash. (http://nyti.ms/1JMTYq9)
THE GLOBE AND MAIL
** Veteran corporate director James Baillie has resigned from the board of Home Capital Group Inc, just days before the company is expected to shed light on the sudden drop in its new mortgage business in the second quarter of the year. The company said it plans to announce a new director in the third quarter of the year. (http://bit.ly/1ewg0EZ)
** TransAlta Corp deliberately timed outages at power plants in Alberta at peak times in order to drive up electricity prices, the province's utilities commission said in a ruling on Monday. The Alberta Utilities Commission launched an investigation after the market surveillance administrator alleged that the company manipulated the electricity market. (http://bit.ly/1GXCzct)
** Flight simulator manufacturer CAE Inc is selling its mining division, the Montreal-based company said on Monday. It said Constellation Software Inc has acquired its CAE Mining unit for an undisclosed amount. (http://bit.ly/1h29rMc)
** Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp announced changes on Monday that will make it easier for homeowners to rent out their residences and qualify for a loan. The Crown corporation, which controls a majority of the mortgage default insurance market, says that starting Sept. 28 homeowners will able to count all the income from rental units when qualifying for a loan. (http://bit.ly/1h2auvx)
** Despite weak oil prices and a slowdown in oilfield activity, PrairieSky Royalty Ltd was able to grow its revenue by 31 percent between the first and the second quarter. PrairieSky, which recently marked a year since being spun out from Encana Corp in a massive initial public offering, reported revenue of C$71.8 million ($55.2 million) for the second quarter on Monday. (http://bit.ly/1h2aUSD)
SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST
- A breakthrough study by the University of Hong Kong has found two existing drugs, which are being used to treat HIV and sclerosis, offer the best hope of beating the Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) coronavirus that has claimed hundreds of lives globally since its emergence three years ago. (bit.ly/1S9Z6hO)
- Chinese venture firm GSR Capital has launched a $5 billion fund devoted to buying up Western technology, internet and biotech firms that are looking to enter the Chinese market. Its chairman Sunny Wu Shen Chun said the new fund will either buy-out or acquire a minority stake in target enterprises through a combination of equity and leveraged debt. (bit.ly/1Ktsk4w)
- There will be no reshuffling of Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying's Cabinet in the last two years of his term, a source said. This comes after the shock departure of Tsang Tak-sing, the former home affairs secretary, and Paul Tang Kwok-wai, who resigned as secretary for the civil service last week. (bit.ly/1MSPzFl)
- One in every six housewives will gladly swap brooms and cooking pots for a desk, a government survey has found. Hong Kong women spend 2.7 hours daily taking care of the family while only 10 percent of men do housework. (bit.ly/1D7bBUy)
MING PAO DAILY
- DBS Hong Kong posted an 11 percent rise in first-half net profit thanks to growth in brokerage and wealth management businesses, but investors' cautious approach on investment is set to affect its business in the third quarter, according to Chief Financial Officer Chan Nap-shan.
FACTORIES STRUGGLE TO SHAKE OFF BURDEN OF STRONG POUND
Order books for British manufacturers grew at their slowest rate in two years this month as exports continued to struggle in the face of the strong pound, according to a key industry survey. (http://thetim.es/1Io33Vq)
NORTHERN IRELAND DENIED EXTRA WELFARE AID AHEAD OF US STORMONT TALKS
Northern Ireland will not receive any extra finance to cushion the impact of welfare reforms that could destabilise power sharing in the region, cabinet minister Theresa Villiers warned, ahead of separate trips to Washington this week for two politicians with opposing views on the province's economic future. (http://bit.ly/1Io3fUB)
SCOTTISH GOVERNMENT TURNING TO MORE PRIVATE MONEY FOR PUBLIC PROJECTS
The Scottish government is turning to increased private-sector funding to pay for a multi-billion-pound spending programme after a Brussels ruling that has delayed major public projects in Scotland. (http://bit.ly/1Io3rDo)
ECB WARNED TO PUMP MORE MONEY TO SAVE EURO ZONE AS VAROUFAKIS DENIES HACKING INTO GREEK TAX SYSTEM
The European Central Bank should stand ready to use the full force of its financial fire power to stop the euro zone from falling into renewed turmoil in the wake of the Greek crisis, according to the International Monetary Fund. (http://bit.ly/1Io47ss)
BARCLAYS 'MAY HAVE TO RAISE 5 BLN STG TO KEEP UP WITH RIVALS'
Barclays Plc may have to ask investors for more money to bolster its capital levels, just two years after last tapping shareholders for funds. The bank could need as much as 5 billion pounds ($7.78 billion), analysts at Bernstein Research said, as it has fallen behind rivals. (http://bit.ly/1Io4d3g)
HSBC FACES THREAT OF FTSE EXIT OVER HQ REVIEW
Sky News has learnt that HSBC Holdings Plc, which announced in April that it was launching a formal review of its domicile, has been discussing with its advisers the implications of an enforced ejection from the FTSE-100. (http://bit.ly/1MvUPBE)
MERS FEARS CLOSE MANCHESTER A&E DEPARTMENT
Two suspected cases of the respiratory virus MERS have forced A&E at Manchester Royal Infirmary to close for several hours. The patients were isolated for tests and treatment before the department reopened. (http://bit.ly/1Io3MWM)
GOOGLE VENTURES GIVES 39 MLN STG BACKING TO LONDON'S SECRET ESCAPES
Secret Escapes, the London-based travel website, has won backing from Google's venture capital arm, which has jointly led a 38.7 million pounds ($60.22 million) fundraising for the flash sales site. (http://ind.pn/1Io3S0r)
BUSINESSES IN KENT COUNT THE COST AFTER M20 WAS TURNED INTO GIANT LORRY PARK
Businesses across Kent are counting the cost of the disruption by Operation Stack - which saw stretches of the M20 turned into a giant lorry park for most of last week - and demanding the Government prevent a repeat of the gridlock. (http://ind.pn/1Io3YVS)
- He is “very bullish indeed” on gold - Gold is “investment in financial and monetary disorder” - says Grant - It thrives in current environment - “uncertainty, turbulence and disorder” - “One of the most radical periods of monetary experimentation in the annals of money” - “Gold…is now the conjunction of price, value and sentiment” - Reminds owners of gold that the original reasons for buying gold have not gone away - Believes Fed will raise rates despite deflationary environment - Explains detrimental effect of excessive debt on an economy - Grant light-heartedly destroys Jason Zweig’s “pet rock” gold jibe
Jim Grant, publisher of Grant’s Interest Rate Observer says that gold is “an investment in financial and monetary disorder.” He believes that today we are experiencing “uncertainty, turbulence and disorder”.
When asked how he liked to own gold he said he owned physical, generic, non-numismatic coins - specifically mentioning South African Gold Krugerrands and also mining shares.
Krugerrands are one of the cheapest and most cost effective ways to buy gold with very low premiums. Clients in Ireland, the UK, the U.S. and internationally are currently buying Krugerrands at extremely low premiums of just 2.5%. They remain some of the most popular bullion coins in the market due to their durability (harder 22-carat gold coin), recognisability, portability and liquidity throughout the world.
“You look around the world and you see exchange rates are properly disorderly, when you look around the world of lending and borrowing -- we are in a regime of price control by another name, so-called zero percent rates and quantitative easing by the world central banks”.
He adds, “We are in one of the most radical periods of monetary experimentation in the annals of money”, with a “low probability” of a favourable outcome.
Given the disorder he sees in the world due to monetary experimentation and the very low gold price Grant says,
“You want to have exposure to the reciprocal asset of the paper assets that are the most popular - so gold, to me, is now the conjunction of price, value and sentiment, and I am very bullish indeed.”
He describes the recent fall in prices as “terrifically vexing but a wonderful opportunity” and reminds owners of gold that the reasons for owning gold have not gone away. He emphasises that gold thrives in periods of turbulence and disorder and uncertainty adding “I think we have all three of these things.”
On interest rates Grant believes that the Fed - having talked interest rate rises for so long - must soon take action to maintain “institutional pride”. However, it may be economically counterproductive given the deflationary forces still extant.
“The Fed feels it must act just for institutional pride; but, money supply growth is dwindling, the turnover rate of money likewise, the only thing that is dynamic in the world of money and credit is the issuance of more and more dubiously sourced debt, and more and more lenient terms”.
Grant takes a light hearted pop at Jason Zweig’s theory that gold is simply a “pet rock”. He jokes that gold can make people say ridiculous things they may soon regret - pointing out that Zweig had written a piece “within two weeks of the top of the bullion price” in 2011 extolling the virtues of gold mining stocks.
During the course of the interview he also explains how excessive debt can be detrimental to an economy.
“What debt does is two things: it pulls forward consumption and pushes back evidence of business failure”.
Debt allows us to spend more on what we want today at the expense of what we need in the future. Businesses which should fail are kept alive by easy credit leading to a backlog of bankruptcies and more loan defaults in the future.
While optimists in general, we share Jim Grant’s pessimism with regards to the health of the global monetary and economic system. and the usefulness of gold as to protect one’s wealth in the current environment.
We also believe that physical bars and coins including Krugerrands, should form the bedrock of any gold investment strategy. We offer delivery and storage of Krugerrands at the most competitive prices, in the safest vaults in the safest jurisdictions in the world.
Jim Grant interview with Kitco on Value Line can be watched here
Futures Soar On Hope Central Planners Are Back In Control, China Rollercoaster Ends In The Red »»
For the first half an hour after China opened, things looked bleak: after opening down 5%, the Shanghai Composite staged a quick relief rally, then tumbled again. And then, just around 10pm Eastern, we saw a coordinated central bank intervention stepping in to give the flailing PBOC a helping hand, driven by the BOJ but also involving NY Fed members, that sent the USDJPY soaring which in turn dragged ES and most risk assets up with it. And while Shanghai did end up closing down -1.7%, with Shenzhen 2.2% lower at the close, the final outcome was far better than what could have been, with the result being that S&P futures have gone back to doing their thing, and have wiped out all of yesterday's losses in the levitating, zero volume, overnight session which has long become a favorite setting for central banks buying E-Minis.
As Bloomberg's Richard Breslow comments, the majority of Asian equity indexes finished with losses but on an upbeat note, helping most European markets to start with modest gains that have increased with the morning, thanks to the aforementioned domestic and global mood stabilization. S&P futures have been positive all day other than a brief dip negative at the worst of the day’s China levels. Chinese equities opened quite weak and were down another 5% before the authorities assured the market that speculation they would withdraw from market supportive measures was misguided. This began a rally of over 6% before a mid-afternoon swoon.
There was the usual propaganda out of China, which requested traders rat out any "malicious sellers" and appears to have been inundated with responses...
BREAKING: China's securities regulator has received reports about "massive selloff" yday in stock market, will take actions soon - spokesman
... mixed with the facts that China also reported that margin leveraged positions were reported to have been reduced on Monday by the most in two week. Additionally, the PBOC injected CNY 50 billion worth of funds, marking the 10th consecutive injection of liquidity by the central bank.
There was some discussion early over comments by Tom DeMark, popular for predicting the 2013 bottom in the Shanghai Composite, who wrote that "Chinese stocks will decline by an additional 14% over the next three weeks as the market demonstrates a trading pattern that mimics that of the U.S. crash in 1929."
More troubling was the WSJ's assessment that the continuing "losses are casting doubt on Beijing’s ability to contain the slide, and has left investors and analysts wondering what officials might do next to reverse it.
Whether the government’s rescue measures are successful or not hinges on performance through the rest of the week, said Zhou Xu, an analyst at Nanjing Securities. “The market consensus that the bottom line for the government is around the 3400 point. If the market slides further, it will be a real disaster.”
Government measures to step up purchases of stocks, announced late Monday, appeared to reassure some investors shaken earlier by the steep losses the day before, when the Shanghai benchmark fell 8.5%. That marked its worst one-day percentage decline since 2007.
On Tuesday afternoon, China’s securities regulator announced it would launch an investigation into Monday’s selloff.
“Right now the [Chinese] central government is trying to maintain the confidence of the individual investors” that drive China’s stock market, said Castor Pang, head of research for Core Pacific-Yamaichi International. If the government “can maintain their confidence, everything can be solved.”
Good luck China, your dazed and confused central planning overlords need it now more than ever.
Elsewhere, the Nikkei 225 (+0.1%) saw a choppy price action, led by sentiment in China. Finally, JGBs traded higher following spill over buying in USTs and Bunds.
With Macro news fairly light in terms of Europe, price action today has shrugged off the ongoing tensions surround the volatility in Chinese equity markets, to focus on stock specific news and specifically earning season, with indices trading higher (Euro Stoxx: +1.1%) supported by consumer discretionary sector following an encouraging earnings report by Kering (7.0%), with a weaker EUR continuing to provide supportive tailwind. The risk on sentiment ensured that Bunds edged lower, with T-Notes moving in sympathy, while peripheral bond yield spreads narrowed, albeit marginally.
In FX, there was little in terms of macroeconomic data, but the advanced UK GDP report came in line with estimates at 0.7% Q/Q and 2.6% Y/Y and has seen GBP supported despite a stronger USD weighing on other major pairs . The USD-index resides in positive territory (+0.2%) to pare back some of yesterday's losses with price action relatively subdued during the European Morning.
Looking ahead, today sees the release of the latest US services and composite PMIs, consumer confidence report and S&P/Case-Shiller House Price Index. Also of note, Greek negotiations with creditors are set to kick off today after a week long delay due to logistical issues, while the FOMC are also set to begin their 2 day meeting today, with a rate decision scheduled for tomorrow.
Brent and WTI head into the NYMEX pit open trading firmly in negative territory as bearish sentiment continues, with Brent Crude at its lowest level since Feb 2nd , weighed on by firmer USD as well as ongoing concerns surrounding the economic slowdown in China. The latest DOE estimates have stockpiles for Crude, Cushing OK, Gasoline and Distillate all show a build, while participants will be looking out for today's API Crude oil inventories (Prey. +2300K). NatGas has bucked the trend of the as a spate of hotter Weather is about to hit the eastern coast of USA. Gold trades in modest negative territory, however remaining below the USD 1100 handle.
Today's US earnings include 40 S&P500 companies among which Merck, Ford, Reynolds American and Pfizer pre market, with Twitter and Gilead scheduled to report after market. This afternoon the two-day FOMC meeting begins today while data wise we get the flash composite and services PMI’s for July, S&P/Case Shiller house price index, consumer confidence and finally the Richmond Fed manufacturing activity reading.
Bulletin headline summary from Bloomberg and RanSquawk
European equities trade in positive territory, taking the lead from earnings specific news.
USD is stronger against most major pairs with the exception of GBP, which saw strength after Q2 GDP printed in line with expectations
Today's highlights include US services and composite PMIs, consumer confidence report and the latest API crude oil inventories after the closing bell on Wall Street with earnings expected from Pfizer, Gilead Sciences and Merck.
Treasuries decline before Fed begins two-day meeting in Washington and week’s auctions begin with $26b 2Y notes; WI 0.695%, highest since Dec., vs 0.692% in June.
Economists remain somewhat divided over when Fed will begin to hike rates after this week’s FOMC meeting, though most see Sept. liftoff, based on published research
Chinese stocks extended yesterday’s losses, with the Shanghai Composite closing with a 1.7% loss after sinking as much as 5.1%
China’s securities regulator is investigating yesterday’s stocks selloff, the latest effort by the government to crack down on reports of market manipulation after a recent equities rout wiped out nearly $4t
Greece’s latest cycle of talks with its creditors started with a quarrel, as officials argued over what upfront commitments the government has yet to implement in order to tap emergency loans next month
U.K. GDP increased 0.7% in 2Q, in line with median forecast; growth in services accelerated while manufacturing declined and construction was unchanged
Sovereign 10Y bond yields higher. Asian stocks extend yesterday’s losses; European stocks, U.S.equity- index futures rise. Crude oil lower, copper and gold gain
US Event Calendar
9:00am: S&P/CaseShiller 20 City m/m SA, May, est. 0.3% (prior 0.3%)
S&P/CS 20 City y/y, May, est. 5.6% (prior 4.91%)
S&P/CS 20 City NSA, May, est. 180.34 (prior 177.01)
S&P/CS U.S. HPI m/m, May, est. 0.10% (prior -0.02%)
S&P/CS U.S. HPI y/y, May, est. 4.5% (prior 4.23%)
S&P/CS U.S. HPI NSA, May (prior 170.01)
9:45am: Markit U.S. Composite PMI, July P (prior 54.6)
Markit U.S. Services PMI, July P, est. 55 (prior 54.8)
10:00am: Consumer Confidence Index, July, est. 100 (prior 101.4)
10:00am: Richmond Fed Manf. Index, July, est. 7 (prior 6)
TBA: FOMC opens two-day meeting
DB's Jim Reid completes the overnight wrap
When we went to press yesterday Chinese equities were down about 1.5% broadly in line with the rest of the region. A couple of hours later at the close the Shanghai Comp was down -8.5% - the 2nd worst day in history. These violent late day movements are something we've highlighted a few times in recent weeks so by the time you're reading this the China's words below could be completely out of date. In total over 60% of the Shanghai and Shenzhen were limit-down at the -10% floor which means the end result could have been even worse. There was no obvious explanation for the timing or magnitude of the slump. It ceased to be a free market a long time ago so analysing it is tough. Does the slump really reflect concerns over weaker economic growth when the dramatic bubble ascent occurred at a time of sharply weaker growth in the first half? It all seems pretty random to me.
Confusion around support from the China Securities Finance Corporation (CSFC) was a talking point yesterday. According to Reuters early chatter in markets suggested that the CSFC had returned ahead of schedule some of the loans it had taken to stabilise the market while other commentaries at the same time highlighted the suspicious absence of any support from the Corporation. Following the market close however the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) put out a statement denying any such retreat from the CSFC and instead reinforced that the Commission will ‘continue efforts to stabilise market and investor sentiment and prevent systematic risk’. Interestingly yesterday’s selloff comes after the IMF on Friday urged China to eventually unwind its support to the equity market and allow prices to settle through market forces.
This morning we've seen more huge swings in the Chinese equity markets. Having initially plunged some 5% lower at the open, the Shanghai Comp briefly moved about a percent into positive territory only to then decline once again into the midday break to -1.00%. There’s been similar volatile moves for the CSI 300 (-0.21%), Shenzhen (-1.30%) and ChiNext (-2.18%) this morning while the PBoC has announced that it will inject 50bn yuan into money markets, its largest liquidity boost since early July. The volatility this morning has seen a large range of price action across the rest of Asia. In Japan the Nikkei (-0.04%) and Topix (-0.34%) have both declined slightly along with the ASX (-0.21%) in Australia while in Hong Kong the Hang Seng (+1.52%) has completely reversed a weak start to trade firmer. Elsewhere, in Korea the Kospi (-0.03%) is more or less unchanged. Credit markets have reflected the choppy trading this morning with Asia CDS currently unchanged while Japan is 2bps tighter and Australia half a basis point wider. Oil markets have weakened with WTI -0.5% while Treasury yields have moved 2.7bps higher.
China aside, the wider theme in markets at present continues to be the commodities slump and yesterday we saw another decent leg lower for Oil markets in particular with Brent (-2.11%) now joining WTI (-0.68%) in re-entering a bear market having slumped to $53.47/bbl. It has now lost 20% from the June 10th high of $67.00, declining to a four-month low in the process. The turbulence in China certainly isn't helping matters while export data showing Southern Iraq output rising to an all-time high added to the weakness. Meanwhile Gold (-0.47%) did its best to wipe out the bulk of Friday’s gains while Silver (-0.78%) and Platinum (-0.53%) also moved lower. Copper (-1.43%) added to the broad-based weakness, extending its record lows while Aluminum (-0.21%) also declined. All-told that’s seen the Bloomberg commodity index fall further, declining 1.22% overnight for its fourth consecutive down day and 10th in the last 11 sessions and in turn extending its 13-year lows.
The equity selloff stemming from China helped support a decent drop across most global equity markets yesterday. In Europe we saw the Stoxx 600 fall 2.21% while the DAX (-2.56%), CAC (-2.57%), IBEX (-1.45%) and FTSE MIB (-2.97%) also fell. In the US the S&P 500 (-0.58%) completed five-days of declines now for the first time since January (down 2.9% in that time) with nine out of ten sectors closing in negative territory, led unsurprisingly by energy (-3.31%) and materials (-3.29%). The Dow (-0.73%) and NASDAQ (-0.96%) also suffered similar falls. There was little help from the bottom-up earnings releases after a reasonably quiet day. The latest count on our earnings monitor shows EPS beats at 76% (a modest rise from Friday at 75%) while sales beats have ticked down again to 51% now (from 53% on Friday).
Credit markets also suffered with the weakness in risk assets. CDX IG moved +1.5bps wider while in Europe Main and Crossover were +2bps and +9bps wider respectively. Treasury yields on the other hand continue to march lower with the benchmark 10y yield ending 4.5bps lower at 2.218% and just a couple of basis points off the MTD lows while 30y yields (-2.9bps) fell to a near two-month low at 2.933%. That came despite an OK day for data. Durable goods orders for June rose 3.4% mom (vs. +3.2% expected) while the ex transportation print also increased above consensus during the month (+0.8% mom vs. +0.5% expected) although we did see downward revisions to prior months. Core capex orders rose +0.9% mom during June and also above expectations of +0.5% for just the second monthly increase this year, although shipments edged down during the month (-0.1% mom vs. +0.6% expected). Finally there was a 2.4pt improvement in the Dallas Fed manufacturing activity print for July but to a still weak -4.6 (vs. -3.5 expected), the eight consecutive sub-zero reading.
There was reason for optimism out of the European data flow yesterday following a better German IFO survey reading. The 108.0 reading (vs. 107.2 expected) was up 0.5pts from an upwardly revised June print, signaling an easing of concerns around Greece, while both the current assessment (113.9 vs. 112.9 expected) and expectations (102.4 vs. 101.8 expected) surveys also came in above market. That helped support a strong day for the Euro which finished +0.95% against the Dollar while 10y Bunds finished unchanged at 0.691% after a choppy session. Elsewhere, in its annual report published yesterday the IMF warned that developments in Greece still remain a risk and that authorities shouldn’t become too complacent. The fund did however ‘urge policymakers to use all the available instruments, if needed, to manage contagion risks’ while strongly supporting the ECB’s current plans to keep QE running through September 2016.
Taking a look at today’s calendar now, this morning’s dataflow is centered on the UK where we get the Q2 GDP reading while over in Italy consumer and business confidence readings are expected. Over in the US this afternoon the two-day FOMC meeting begins today while data wise we get the flash composite and services PMI’s for July, S&P/Case Shiller house price index, consumer confidence and finally the Richmond Fed manufacturing activity reading. It’s a busier day for earnings with 40 S&P 500 companies due to report including Gilead Sciences, Ford and Pfizer.
Open Letter to Alexis Tsipras »»
Dear Prime Minister Tsipras,
First, congratulations for mustering the popular support to say “no” to the troika. The euro has long offered Greece a perverse incentive to borrow, and now your country is trapped in debt. By any conventional means, Greece cannot repay (I propose an unconventional way, below). The sooner everyone acknowledges this simple fact the better.
While I don’t claim to know why you agreed to a bailout deal this weekend, I can guess. The troika threatened to maximize the costs of leaving the euro. They can shut off access to further credit; including the Emergency Liquidity Assistance, European Stability Mechanism loans, liability transfers via TARGET2, and bond buying programs. They could do more, such as refuse to clear payments to and from Greece.
That would utterly destroy the Greek banking system. In turn, that will wipe out all Greek savers and employers who haven’t already transferred their bank balances out of the country. Defaults of all euro denominated liabilities will cascade throughout Greece, including insurance, annuities, corporate bonds, business credit lines, personal loans, and mortgages. Every liability is someone else’s asset, and few creditors would survive. The government will collapse when no one can pay taxes. Greece will end, a failed state.
The troika wants you to accept another bailout deal, to service Greek debts a while longer. Since bailouts mean borrowing more, you cannot avoid default in the end. Going deeper into debt is no good for anyone.
Should you choose to default instead, you will not be able to continue using the euro. Even if the troika doesn’t immediately act, the threat is real. No one would lend to the Greek government, or even businesses, with that Sword of Damocles hanging over you. However, you need outside capital to restart production and trade. Otherwise, your industries will be shuttered, even including exports.
Some economists advise you to create a currency board. This is a new monetary authority that maintains a fixed exchange rate, by holding euros and issuing Greek currency. It’s nothing more than using the euro, though indirectly. It has all of the flaws and risks I just described.
Greece has no future, so long as it clings to the euro.
Adopting the dollar might seem less bad. At least, the Federal Reserve isn’t likely to stop you. Greek businesses and banks could even attract some dollar-based credit. Once you leave the euro, Greeks will probably end up using the dollar, with or without legal tender law. What a wasted opportunity.
You could create a new drachma and redenominate all debts in the currency. Lamentably, even Nigel Farage offered you this advice at the European Parliament. It’s tempting to think that Greece can just print its way out of debt, but it’s a trap. Don’t do it.
It’s obvious that the purpose of a new drachma is to fall. No one outside Greece will hold it. Few Greeks will hold it either, so the drachma will not find a bid. It may get you out of debt, but at the cost of the further destruction of businesses and jobs. Greece will become the next Zimbabwe.
You can’t stay with the euro. Switching to the dollar isn’t much of a move forward. Imposing a new drachma will only harm the long-suffering Greek people. By the logic of Aristotle, that leaves one other option. Adopt gold as money.
You have an historic opportunity to create another golden age for Greece.
Begin by allowing the Greek people to use gold, free from legal tender laws and taxes on gold. Your people will begin accumulating savings again, which they desperately need to rebuild businesses. And speaking of building businesses, if you want to attract capital from the rest of the world, gold will do it like nothing else. Dollar denominated bonds will attract tepid investment, at best. With gold bonds, Greece can raise unlimited amounts. At least it can get as much honest credit as it needs. Honest means that the borrower has the means and intent to repay. It means credit is financing productive enterprise that generates income to amortize the debt.
I said that no conventional approach will let Greece get out of debt. Let me briefly outline an approach to use gold to get out of debt without default or hyperinflation (I refer you to my paper, an entry to the 2012 Wolfson Prize, for the full explanation).
Greece should issue gold bonds.
These are not conventional bonds backed or collateralized with gold, but bonds that have the principal and interest denominated and paid in gold. There is one twist. Buyers don’t pay in euros, or any paper currency. Instead, they pay by redeeming outstanding Greek bonds. For example, to buy a 1000oz gold bond, a bidder might be willing to bring you €500,000 worth of existing Greek government bonds.
This is the only mechanism that lets Greece get out of debt cleanly.
Greece will exploit a rising euro to gold exchange rate (i.e. gold price). With each new tranche issued, the price of gold will be higher. It will take less gold to retire more debt. And believe me, the gold price will begin rising once the markets realize that gold is being remonetized. Greece will be the first country, the leader, in using gold bonds to avert financial Armageddon. Many others will follow.
With each new tranche, the paper bond to gold bond exchange rate will also be rising. As buyers realize that the value of gold does not erode, they will prefer a future gold payment to one in a paper currency. Gold bonds will sell for a premium over the gold price, compared to paper bonds. This premium will rise.
You will find that the market will happily buy long term bonds, giving you the opportunity to pay off your debt without having to constantly roll short-term liabilities.
If you can buy the time to let this strategy play out, you will get out of debt completely, avoid default, and end with the best credit rating. You will immediately attract capital, and then industry, and jobs to Greece.
At this point, Mr. Tsipras, you have nothing to lose. Why not win the future?
Sincerely, Keith Weiner, PhD Chairman, The Gold Standard Institute
This article is from Keith Weiner’s weekly column, called The Gold Standard, at the Swiss National Bank and Swiss Franc Blog SNBCHF.com.
Look no farther than my local newspaper this morning: the city of Menlo Park (which is an affluent superb like Palo Alto, but even whiter and more sheltered) spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on equipment to read the license plates of all the cars passing by certain intersections. (We'll set aside the creepiness of the surveillance and just focus on the economics here.)
The latest quarterly report came out, and out of 198,286 license plates read, 204 of them were brought to the attention of authorities as "wanted" vehicles. OK, cool. Looks like we're getting some hits here and and go grab some criminals, right, boys?
The problem is that 203 of the 204 weren't "wanted" at all. The plates were all misread. There was one - count 'em, one - license plate out of the 198,286 which was indeed a plate from a stolen car, and the police captain (which, around here, is a quarter-million dollar year salary) assures the public that the license plate readers are "working properly" since, after all, they did button down one vehicle (which, if I may speculate, was probably worth, oh, about ten thousand bucks or so).
Suffice it to say that the hundreds of thousands spent on the equipment - - to say nothing of the time and effort involved from the police force (each member of which enjoys a six-figure salary) probably is a substantially greater sum than the value of the single vehicle retrieved. Here ya go:
“Detroit Has Been Revitalized”: Privatization, Foreclosures, Bankruptcies and Forced Removals of African Americans »»
Image: Kenneth Kabaka Reynolds President of the Metro Detroit Cab Drivers Association at rally on July 21, 2015.
Shop owners, taxi drivers protest against real estate magnates, unlicensed drivers
A rally and march in Hart Plaza and at the Coleman… Read more...
Unprecedented Human Suffering in Yemen. Evidence of US-Saudi War Crimes Confirmed by ICRC »»
Yemen is Obama’s war – planned months before conflict began, using Saudi and other regional rogue state partners as proxies, wanting Yemen returned to US client state status at the expense of thousands of mostly civilian deaths so far (many… Read more...
Poll Driven Spin Doctors in the Age of Big Money Elections »»
For too long, candidates from both parties have been conducting a cynical game of asking us what we want to hear, then feeding it back to us in carefully managed sound bites, while they dance to the tune of corporations… Read more...
Turkey’s Call For “Safe Zones” In Syria Are Based On Problem Turkey Helped Create »»
As Turkey continues to bomb inside Syria and Iraq against alleged ISIS targets and PKK Iraqi Kurds, and as the NATO Article 4 meeting looms over the Middle East, Turkey has clearly taken yet another step toward its goal of… Read more...
The March to War: Fighting ISIL is a Smokescreen for US Mobilization against Syria, Iran »»
The strength of the ISIL has deliberately been inflated to get public support for the Pentagon and the illegal bombing of Syria. It has also been used to justify the mobilization of a large-scale US-led military buildup in the Middle East Read more...
Hillary Clinton: Where Prisons, Politics and Profits Converge »»
Clinton rhetoric ignores her troubled dealings. Read more...
Corporations Own and Write The Laws »»
Cop Caught on Private Dashcam Threatening to “Blow a Hole” in Driver’s “F**king Head” During Stop »»
Officer threatens to seize camera after unhinged outburst. Read more...
Obama pushing for ‘largest gun grab in American history’: NRA »»
“The implications of this policy are too far reaching to fathom at present." Read more...
US Behind Migration Crisis in Europe – Putin »»
Putin claims that the United States stands at the origin of many problems that the European Union faces. Read more...
The 4th Media
Oliver Stone: Untold History of United States »»
Oliver Stone: Untold History of United States (58 minutes video) Watch video on youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F6TGkpi_vVE Print this entry Read more...
U.S. Holds the World Record of Killings of INNOCENT CIVILIANS around the World »»
A world-renowned Canadian philosopher argues that the United States holds the world record of illegal killings of unarmed civilians and extrajudicial detention and torturing of prisoners who are detained without trial. Prof. John McMurtry says that the U.S. government is a gigantic mass-murdering machine which earns profit through waging wars, and is never held accountable […] Read more...
Global Derivatives: $1.5 Quadrillion Time Bomb »»
A casino culture of anything goes persists. When counter-parties don’t have funds to pay on demand, bubbles begin deflating. It’s just a matter of time before current market mania ends. When investing becomes gambling, bad endings follow. The next credit crunch could make 2008-09 look mild by comparison. Bank of International Settlements(BIS) data show around […] Read more...
The US-Iran Deal: “America’s Insistence on Imperialism & Control of Other Countries Is the Cause of Every Catastrophe” »»
The U.S. deal with Iran – based on assumptions about an Iranian nuclear weapons program that American intelligence agencies have twice concluded does not exist – allows the U.S. to concentrate on provoking Russia and China while continuing to threaten Iran with destruction. Global peace is no closer than before, since “America’s insistence on imperialism […] Read more...
Israel’s Endless Misery for Gaza is No Policy at All »»
For those trying to read developments between Israel and Gaza over the past weeks, the picture has been unusually puzzling. A month ago European diplomats and Palestinian officials in the West Bank suggested that Israel and Hamas were taking “baby steps”, as one Palestinian analyst termed it, towards a truce. Then earlier this month, as […] Read more...
21st Century Wire
A Nuclear City Under The Ice (Yes, It’s Real) »»
21WIRE + Brasscheck TV | Much more than just a 'remote research community.' Read more...
GMO Mafia: Washington Paid-Off To Hide GMO Ingredients In Our Food »»
Christina Sarich | US Congress members who were paid to vote for keeping the public from knowing what is in their food. Read more...
NATO: A Sick Dinosaur Overdue for Extinction »»
SARTRE | NATO's intrusive intervention in the Middle East can ony escalate and broaden the blight. Read more...
IT’S OFFICIAL: Greece Joins Africa in IMF Ghetto of ‘Third World’ Nations »»
Nizar Visram | Thanks to the lords of usury, Greece has now joined Africa as part of the 'developing' world. Read more...
Episode #94 – SUNDAY WIRE: ‘Der Homeland’ with host Patrick Henningsen and guest Prof. James Tracy »»
SUNDAY WIRE | Strap yourselves in and lower the blast shield - this is your brave new world... Read more...
Soldiers Assault Imprisoned PFLP Leader In Nafha »»
IMEMC : The Palestinian Detainees Committee has reported that Israeli Special Forces attacked, on Tuesday morning, the imprisoned Secretary-General of the leftist Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) Ahmad Sa’adat, held in the Nafha Israeli prison. The Committee said the soldiers invaded Sa’adat’s room before attacking him. It held Israel responsible for any escalation that […] Read more...
Sabotage of Iran – Turkey Pipeline stops Flow of Gas: Geopolitics? »»
nsnbc : Sabotage of the Iran – Turkey gas pipeline in Turkey’s eastern Agri province late Monday has stopped the flow of gas from Iran to Turkey, reported Turkey’s Energy Minister Taner Yildiz. The Turkish section of the pipeline is operated by the State-owned Botas Gas Company. Nobody has yet claimed responsibility for the sabotage. […] Read more...
Egyptian Police raid apartment of alleged Ajnad Misr Militants in Giza – Two Down »»
Hanan Fayed (TCP) : Two men, allegedly belong to the militant group Ajnad Misr (Soldiers of Egypt), were killed Monday in confrontation with police forces in an apartment in a Giza suburb, Youm7 reported. The jihadists rented an apartment located in Faisal Street two months ago and used it to manufacture explosives, security source told […] Read more...
San Francisco Too Valuable for Poor People – Landlords Behaving Badly »»
Carl Finamore (nsnbc) : Last year, San Francisco tenant rights’ supporters scored an important victory when voters overwhelmingly approved Proposition K, requiring all new housing developments provide 33% low and moderate-cost units. The objective was to put a lid on the unregulated, speculative construction boom that earned the city its most contentious distinction of being the […] Read more...
Situation of Syrian Military critical after 4 Years of War »»
Christof Lehmann (nsnbc) : In a recent statement, Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad noted that the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) is focusing its operations on the most important strategic locations, adding problems with recruitment and training of new soldiers. Meanwhile, both the US-led and particularly Turkish air strikes against ISIS in Syria continue to carve out […] Read more...
Turkey calls emergency NATO meeting; ‘no-fly zone’ on the horizon? »»
Brandon Turbeville | As Turkey continues to bomb alleged ISIS targets in Syria and Kurdish targets in Iraq, it has now taken yet another step toward its goal of establishing a “buffer zone” and “no-fly zone” Read more...
EPA looks the other way as toxic corporate chemicals enter the U.S. from other countries »»
J.D. Heyes | Recent surveys asking Americans to rate Congress and the U.S. government in general have revealed that few of us have any faith whatsoever in our ruling class Read more...
INVESTIGATION: Three days before Dr. Bradstreet was found dead in a river, U.S. govt. agents raided his research facility to seize a breakthrough cancer treatment called GcMAF »»
Mike Adams | Dr. Bradstreet was working with a little-known molecule that occurs naturally in the human body Read more...
Driver pulled over by off-duty detective: “I’ll blow a hole right through your F***ing head” »»
Joshua Krause | This guy is really lucky to be alive. The detective has since been placed on leave Read more...
How much have American taxpayers really paid for police brutality? »»
Amanda Warren | Americans have paid a lot for the radicalized and militarized policing Read more...
This year’s “surge” of illegal immigrant children and teens is continuing at last year’s historic pace, with about 30,000 expected to reach the United States, according to humanitarian groups. Different this year: Many more are being stopped in Mexico as they flee Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala, cutting the number making the dangerous trek […]
OUT OF FLIPPIN’ CONTROL! Cop Caught on Private Dashcam Threatening to “Blow a Hole” in Driver’s “F**king Head” During Stop »»
Officer threatens to seize camera after unhinged outburst A Massachusetts man had a dangerous run-in with one of Medford’s finest Saturday night, which has led to that officer being placed on administrative leave. According to the YouTube description, the man was simply lost in a different part of town and made a mistake in traffic. […]
Obama pushing for ‘largest gun grab in American history’: NRA »»
The Obama administration is pushing to ban Social Security beneficiaries from owning guns if they lack the mental capacity to manage their own disability payments — a move the NRA is calling the “largest gun grab in American history.” The push is intended to integrate data for the first time from the Social Security […]
ATF: Gun Production Up ‘140 Percent’ During Obama Presidency »»
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) is reporting that gun production has more than doubled during the Obama presidency, increasing “140 percent.” This jump is based on 2013 production numbers, which is the most recent year where complete numbers are available. According to The Hill, the gun industry manufactured approximately […]
More green cards issued in year than entire population of original 13 colonies »»
A remarkable transformation is underway in the Commonwealth of Virginia. The birthplace and final resting place of George Washington, James Madison, Thomas Jefferson—and once one of the most reliably-red of red states—is being rapidly turned into a progressive stronghold. These changes are not the result of an inside agency, or a natural evolution […]
At least 69 people have been killed and nearly three lakh others displaced across Pakistan in the devastating floods triggered by torrental rains, officials said today.
At least 34 people were killed in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, 15 in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, eight in Punjab, seven in Balochistan and five in Gilgit-Baltistian, bringing the overall toll to 69, said Ahmad Kamal, an official with National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA).
About 36 people sustained injuries in the rain and flood related accidents. At least 294,844 people were affected by the floods. About 1,855 houses have been destroyed and crops on 2,05,366 acres of land have been damaged.
NDMA along with army and civil authorities have taken measures to help the people displaced by the deluge. Read more...
Lightning strike kills 12-yr-old boy in Jamnagar, India »»
Summary: The boy was identified as Gala Raba, a resident of Jambusar Nes village in Bhanvad taluka. Though the weather remained overcast on Friday there was no heavy rains reported from any part of Saurashtra on Friday.
However, sporadic light to moderate rains were recorded in few place in Saurahstra and Kutch region.
A 12-year-old boy died after being struck by lightning in Bhanvad taluka of Jamnagar district on Thursday late evening. The boy was identified as Gala Raba, a resident of Jambusar Nes village in Bhanvad taluka. The incident took place when he was playing in the field. Though the weather remained overcast on Friday there was no heavy rains reported from any part of Saurashtra on Friday. However, sporadic light to moderate rains were recorded in few place in Saurahstra and Kutch region. The India Meteorological Department (IMD) issued a rainfall forecast for the next 48 hours. Read more...
Lightning strike kills fisherman in Philippines »»
A fisherman died after a bolt of lightning reportedly hit him while he was eating bread in Barangay Maya, Daanbantayan yesterday morning.
Police identified the fatality as Benancio Pepito, who suffered severe head injuries.
Investigator PO3 Victor Avenido said the town experienced intermittent rain and thunderstorm before the incident happened around 10 a.m.
Relatives told the police that Pepito sailed to the sea early in the morning to fish. He was using a wooden boat.
He later went back to shore to buy bread.
Some residents saw Pepito eating the bread while walking along the shore toward his boat when the lightning struck him, said Avenido in a phone interview.
They tried to help the fisherman and rush him to the hospital, but they noticed he was already dead. Read more...
2015: A year of record-breaking extreme weather »»
The "State of the Climate," released annually by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, found that 2014 was a record year for extreme weather: the "warmest year across global land and ocean surfaces since records began in 1880." In other words, it was the hottest year ever recorded on Earth. This year is shaping up to be no different, as 2015 has seen record-breaking heat, cold, precipitation, and drought. Here's a running list of this year's frightening new milestones. Read more...
10,000 holidaymakers evacuated in south of France due to wildfires »»
Up to 10,000 holidaymakers were evacuated from campsites in the south of France after wild fire ravaged nearby forests.
Firefighters and water planes were brought in to tackle the blazes which broke out near the town of Frejus, about 25 miles from Cannes. Read more...
The Vigilant Citizen
Justin Bieber’s “Where Are U Now” is Full of Quickly Flashing Illuminati Imagery »»
Justin Bieber’s “Where Are U Now” video features hundreds of images superimposed on the singer, all flashing at high speed. Unsurprisingly enough, there’s a whole lot of Illuminati symbolism. Although this is my first full article on Justin Bieber, it is nevertheless quite obvious that he has been a major music industry pawn for years. [...]
Rihanna’s “Better Have My Money” purposely pushes limits and purposely pushes them in a specific direction. The video is a continuation of mass media’s agenda of glorifying death, torture and dehumanization. We’ll look at the twisted messages behind “Better Have My Money”. Since the launch of Vigilant Citizen in 2008, Rihanna has been a part [...]
Muse’s The Handler is one of the most obvious music videos about Monarch mind control ever created. However, it takes some basic knowledge on the subject to understand the true meaning of the video. Here’s a closer look at The Handler. Muse’s lead singer Matt Bellamy was never a stranger to themes relating to the [...]
In this edition of SPOTM : Miley Cyrus, CERN, and more proof that the one-eye sign is taking over the world. This bizarre video entitled “Dance of Destruction” posted by CERN ahead of re-launch conveys a dark, ritualistic and occult [...]
The 2015 Bilderberg Conference will reunite, once again, representatives of the international elite to discuss world issues in total secrecy. Here’s the full list of attendees and the official agenda of the conference. The 2015 Bilderberg Conference will take place from June 11-14 in Telfs-Buchen, Austria at the luxury InterAlpen Hotel. Police state-style measures are [...]
How the Greek Shipping Industry Schemed to Win Big in the Debt Crisis (2/2) »»
James Henry says it will be difficult to help Greece if global tax competition continues to make fair income taxation impossible Read more...
If Syriza Ruptures, Will Greeces Left Unite to Oppose Austerity? »»
Dr. Panagiotis Sotiris, Member of Antarsya, talks to Dimitri Lascaris about Syriza's failure to implement its anti-austerity program and the political options that are now available to the left in Greece Read more...
How the Greek Shipping Industry Schemed to Win Big in the Debt Crisis (1/2) »»
James Henry says Greek shipping tycoons created a pipeline for laundering billions of taxable income out of Greece and into Swiss bank accounts Read more...
UN Reports Blasts Canada's Human Rights Record on Violence Against Indigenous Women »»
Aboriginal Legal Service of Toronto's Christa Big Canoe explains why government policies are leaving indigenous women four times more likely to be murdered than non-indigenous women - and what can be done about it Read more...
Trump Cast as Perfect Ringleader of Corporate Media Circus »»
Despite outspending the world in elections, U.S. voter turnout is historically low because of media's focus on the interest of the elite, says University of Illinois Professor Robert McChesney Read more...
New Legislation Would Place Breathalyzers in All New Cars: “Drunk Driving Demands Bold Action” »»
Gone are the days when a car was synonymous with freedom. Now they’re just another shackle in the open air prison we call America. Read more...
Transhumanist Candidate Wants “Brain Implants to Manage Violent Actions of Prisoners”… And Society »»
Mind Control 2016? Maybe the solution to all crime is direct control over the minds of all prisoners, anyone with violent tendencies and ultimately everyone. Read more...
Liberal Media Openly Calls for Mass Gun Confiscation in America: “The Second Amendment Must Go” »»
The Second Amendment protects militias, not the individual's right to carry a pistol... Read more...
Gold’s Two Stories: Paper Markets Collapse… While The Retail Public Buys At A Record Pace »»
Though past performance is not necessarily an indicator of future results, we have over 6,000 years of history backing gold's legitimacy as a true mechanism of exchange. Read more...
Top Economic Forecaster Warns: Have Cash On Hand To Survive For Three Months: “No Institution Is Safe” »»
Should the system buckle we can expect widespread rioting, panic and confusion... Read more...
Stop Making Sense
Obama in Kenya: Why the Horn of Africa Matters to Geopolitics »»
Juan Cole writes for Informed Comment: ‘President Obama’s visit to Kenya is of course personal, though he has been there before both as a civilian and as a senator. But it does also have a geopolitical and economic dimension. Kenya is a country of roughly 46 million people, about the same as Spain. But its […] Read more...
In Ethiopia, Obama and the United States stand in China’s long shadow »»
Omar Mohammed and Lily Kuo report for Quartz: ‘When US president Barack Obama speaks in front of the African Union in Ethiopia today (July 28), he will address the delegation at the organization’s new, shiny headquarters—built by the Chinese. The symbolism aptly demonstrates the challenge that America faces in Africa. While the president is beloved on the continent, […] Read more...
Foreign Office to face inquiry into role played by UK in Libya’s collapse »»
Matthew Weaver reports for The Guardian: ‘The Foreign Office is to face questions over Libya’s descent into a failed state, following the launch of an inquiry by an influential committee of MPs into Britain’s role in the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi and the troubled aftermath. Launching the inquiry, the Tory chairman of the foreign affairs select […] Read more...
Documents Published by WikiLeaks Reveal the NSA’s Corporate Priorities »»
Bill Blunden reports for Truthout: ‘“We are under pressure from the Treasury to justify our budget, and commercial espionage is one way of making a direct contribution to the nation’s balance of payments.” – Sir Colin McColl, MI6 Chief For years public figures have condemned cyber espionage committed against the United States by intruders launching their […] Read more...
Dodd-Frank’s 5th Anniversary Passes, But Should We Celebrate? Interview with Gerald Epstein »»
Banking From Financial Crisis to Dodd-Frank: Five Years On, How Much Has Changed? Five Years Later, the Unfulfilled Promise of Dodd-Frank Dodd-Frank is Five: And Still Not Allowed Out of the House Hillary Clinton’s Mistake on Glass-Steagall Five Years Later, Dodd-Frank is at the Chopping Block Two cheers for the Dodd-Frank Act – but Wall […] Read more...
The Economic Collapse Blog
Now Is The Time – Fear Rises As Financial Markets All Over The Planet Start To Crash »»
Can you feel the panic in the air? CNN Money’s Fear & Greed Index measures the amount of fear in the financial world on a scale from 0 to 100. The closer it is to zero, the higher the level of fear. Last Monday, the index was sitting at a reading of 36. As I [...] Read more...
The Stock Market Will Start To Fall In July? The Dow Plummeted More Than 500 Points Last Week »»
Was last week a preview of things to come? There are quite a few people out there that believe that the stock market would begin to decline in July, and that appears to be precisely what is happening. Last week, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell by more than 530 points. It was the biggest [...] Read more...
Copper, China And World Trade Are All Screaming That The Next Economic Crisis Is Here »»
If you are looking for a “canary in a coal mine” type of warning for the entire global economy, you have a whole bunch to pick from right now. “Dr. Copper” just hit a six year low, Morgan Stanley is warning that this could be the worst oil price crash in 45 years, the Chinese [...] Read more...
Commodities Collapsed Just Before The Last Stock Market Crash – So Guess What Is Happening Right Now? »»
If we were going to see a stock market crash in the United States in the fall of 2015 (to use a hypothetical example), we would expect to see commodity prices begin to crash a few months ahead of time. This is precisely what happened just before the great financial crisis of 2008, and we [...] Read more...
12 Ways The Economy Is Already In Worse Shape Than It Was During The Depths Of The Last Recession »»
Did you know that the percentage of children in the United States that are living in poverty is actually significantly higher than it was back in 2008? When I write about an “economic collapse”, most people think of a collapse of the financial markets. And without a doubt, one is coming very shortly, but let [...] Read more...
Fox News star slams Cruz as 'obvious hypocrite' »»
Fox News star pundit Brit Hume – and the cable outlet’s former leading news host – took to national airwaves to call out Sen. Ted Cruz for attacking Sen. Mitch McConnell but not Donald Trump, saying the Texas presidential candidate violated his own standards against speaking ill of fellow Republicans. Cruz has separated from most [...] Read more...
Iris scans come to airport check-in lines »»
Boarding pass, out. Biometrics, in. Alaska Airlines is testing out a new intake procedure for frequent fliers, letting roughly 200 of them jetting off from the tech-savvy Mineta San Jose International Airport use iris scanners and fingerprint machines to prove their identities. The new program is part of an elite partnership with the CLEAR airport [...] Read more...
Model's shoot interrupted by illegals storming beach »»
A female model was in the middle of posing for a shoot on a Miami-area beach when a curious real-life scene unfolded in the background – a group of illegal immigrants exited a boat and made their way through the water, onto the beach, and ostensibly, to their new, undocumented lives in America. Get the [...] Read more...
Republicans demand firing of IRS chief »»
Republicans on Capitol Hill sent a 30-page letter to President Obama calling for him to fire IRS Commissioner John Koskinen because of alleged lies he told Congress during recent hearings. “Mr. Koskinen failed to testify truthfully,” said Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz, speaking of the pressing of his panel to bring contempt or impeachment charges [...] Read more...
'Progressives' get history wrong »»
This past week, one of the greatest differences between the left and right – both around the world and in America – once again came to light: how each views America. Every year for the past 67 years, the Jefferson-Jackson Dinner has been the major fundraising event for the Connecticut State Democratic Party. Not anymore. [...] Read more...
Earlier this year, a US drone strike killed two innocent hostages, one American and one Italian citizen near the Pakistan-Afghanistan border. The incident spurred outrage across the media, resulting in Obama having to apologize for the grave error. If only one could expect the same apology for the thousands of drone victims across the Muslim World since the advent of … Read More Read more...
Chelsea Manning & the Military Entertainment Industrial Complex »»
As the futures of whistleblowers like Edward Snowden and Julian Assange hang in the balance, the fate of another has been sealed for 35 years. Chelsea Manning sacrificed it all to leak classified information which exposed some of the most heinous US war crimes from Iraq and Afghanistan.Manning shattered paradigms yet again by coming out as transgender. In a recent interview from jail, she discusses her … Read More Read more...
Baltimore Uprising, Freddie Gray & the Police State »»
Despite bizarre allegations that Freddie Gray killed himself by those trying to justify abominable police brutality, a medical examiner’s report officially ruled Gray’s death a homicide. After more than two weeks of sitting idly while the city erupted into protest, Baltimore’s chief prosecutor charged six officers with crimes including murder and manslaughter. The arrests are likely due to enormous community pressure, as … Read More Read more...
Saudi Arabia’s Yemen War, Factory of Terror & American Bribery »»
Saudi Arabia’s American backed war in Yemen continues, yet it is massively failing to achieve its stated objectives. The Houthis continue to advance in the region, and the instability is causing Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula to gain more ground.Bombing civilians in the poorest country in the Arab World is only exacerbating the crisis. Before the bombing campaign even … Read More Read more...
Washington, DC: The Emperor Wears No Clothes »»
Those that have been paying attention to the war hawks in DC know about the Foreign Policy Initiative (FPI), a neocon think tank that rose out of the ashes of infamous Project for a New American Century (PNAC). When Abby was placed in the crosshairs of war mongers last year during the Ukraine incursion, Media Roots was repelled by the … Read More Read more...
American Free Press
AUDIO INTERVIEW: Who’s Afraid of Political Correctness? Not This Guy »»
AFP AUDIO INTERVIEW Wicomico County, Maryland Sheriff Michael A. Lewis has grabbed the national stage recently with his no-nonsense, politically-incorrect comments on the Baltimore riots. Now, Dave Gahary had a chance to sit down with the outspoken sheriff, a breath of fresh air in these stifling, politically-correct times. Read more...
Fighting for Your Health Freedom »»
• In the “Land of the Free,” Americans have no right to choose treatments. By James Spounias — If you’re an American who is seriously ill and you want to use a health treatment not approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), do you have the constitutional Read more...
Putting the ‘Hood’ in ‘Neighborhood’; ‘Sanctuary Cities’ Anger Many Americans »»
• House of Representatives moves to halt Obama forced-diversity scheme. By Robert Romano — The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has finalized its “Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing” rule that empowers the government to condition eligibility for community development block grants on redrawing zoning maps to achieve Read more...
70,000 Whites Murdered in ‘Modern’ South Africa; Obama’s African Legacy »»
By Paul Fromm — Since Nelson Mandela and the communist African National Congress (ANC) took over South Africa, more than 70,000 whites have been murdered and untold numbers have been robbed, raped and tortured. But you will not hear about this in the Western media, which fawns over Read more...
Israel & Germany: An Abusive Relationship »»
• Israeli spokeswoman’s remarks reveal exploitation. By Ronald L. Ray — On June 25, Israeli daily Ha’aretz published a stunning story, revealing the Jewish terrorist state’s heretofore unspoken manipulation of Germany for the former’s own advantage. And just like an abused child crying, “Please don’t hit me,” the Read more...
Video: BREAKING: Gaddafi’s son, 8 officials sentenced to death by Tripoli court »»
Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, the surviving son of Libya’s slain leader Muammar Gaddafi, has been sentenced to death in the country along with several other members … Via Youtube Read more...
Video: Liberal Monster Wants to Take Your Guns »»
Last month, an intransigent liberal filmed himself outside of the St. Louis Zoo berating a man who was open carrying a pistol. How long until the rest of America … Via Youtube Read more...
Video: Social Services Say Loving Grandparents Too Old To Care For Grandchild, So She Must Be Adopted! »»
John and Jackie Ward from Southend, were looking after their granddaughter Olivia, as their daughter was seriously unwell. A family court, on the advice of SS, … Via Youtube Read more...
‘Swiftboating’ J Street to Smear Iran Deal as ‘Anti-Israel’ »»
Opponents of the Iran deal hope to do to the Jewish peace group J Street… On July 23, the New York Times published an op-ed by Shmuel Rosner, political editor at the Jewish Journal and a senior fellow at the Jewish People Policy Institute, which made the following claim: There are American organizations (such as J ... Read more...
Video: Cleveland police pepper spray protesters at Black Lives Matter rally »»
Courtesy: twitter.com/KentaviousPrime Cleveland police have used pepper spray against activists attending the national convention of the Movement for Black … Via Youtube Read more...
We Are Change
A Nuclear City Under The Ice (Yes, It’s Real) »»
Obama Visits Ethiopia and Kenya, Land of His Father, to Discuss Counterterrorism, Gay Rights, Jobs »»
President Obama arrived Sunday in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, for talks with leaders on counterterrorism efforts against al-Shabab in Somalia, and human rights abuses and looming famine in neighboring South Sudan. His visit marks the first by a sitting U.S. president to Ethiopia, which is home to the African Union, and also to Kenya, his father’s birthplace. In a major speech Sunday in the capital of Nairobi, Obama referred to himself as a "Kenyan American" and joked about critics who said he was there to look for his birth certificate. We go to Nairobi for an update from Aggrey Mutambo, a reporter at the Daily Nation, the principal English-language newspaper in Kenya. He covered Obama's visit for the paper. We are also joined by Salim Lone, a Kenyan journalist, political adviser and former director of the News and Media Division of the United Nations. From 2005 to 2012, he was the spokesperson for then-Prime Minister Raila Odinga of Kenya. Read more...
"Collective Healing" at Nat'l Black Lives Matter Convergence Ends with Police Pepper-Spraying Teen »»
More than a thousand Black Lives Matter supporters converged in Cleveland, Ohio, this weekend for a historic conference to raise national attention about police brutality and other pressing issues, including immigration rights, economic justice and LGBTQ rights. During the opening ceremony, family members of more than 20 African Americans killed by police took to the stage to speak about why they continue to fight for justice. Democracy Now!’s Messiah Rhodes was on the ground in Cleveland, Ohio, and spoke to several conference participants who say it was "a learning space, a healing space, a politicizing space, a radicalizing space." The event ended with a stark reminder of how much work remains to be done. On Sunday, a crowd of participants witnessed a police officer attempting to arrest a 14-year-old boy for alleged intoxication. The Black Lives Matter participants blocked the squad car and tried to get the child out. One of the officers then began pepper-spraying the crowd. The video has since gone viral. Read more...
"I Was Almost Another Dead Black Male": Denver Teen Recalls Police Beating After 2009 Traffic Stop »»
We feature a video just released by the oral history project StoryCorps called "Traffic Stop," in which Alex Landau, an African-American man, recalls how he was raised by his adoptive white parents to believe that skin color didn’t matter. But when he was pulled over by Denver police officers in 2009, he lost his belief in a color-blind world when he was nearly beaten to death. Alex and his white adoptive mother, Patsy Hathaway, discuss what happened that night and how it continues to affect him. Landau has since become involved in efforts to curb use of excessive force by police and to foster transparency and accountability by police officers, including the use of body cameras. Read more...
Sandra Bland Laid to Rest; First Black Judge in Waller County Demands Sheriff Resign over Her Death »»
Hundreds gathered Saturday to remember Sandra Bland at the suburban Chicago church she attended for decades before moving to Waller County, Texas, where she was set to begin a new job but was then discovered dead in her jail cell after a traffic stop escalated into an arrest. The 28-year-old African-American woman’s family members stood before her open casket as they continued to dispute law enforcement claims she hung herself with the liner of a trashcan. Illinois Senator Dick Durbin and Congressman Bill Foster have sent letters to U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch calling for a federal investigation into Bland’s death. We go to Texas to discuss the history of racial profiling in Waller County, and police relations with the African-American community, with DeWayne Charleston, who served as the first African-American judge in Waller County, Texas. He also responds to how Bland was arrested and the investigation into her death has been handled, and calls on Sheriff Glenn Smith to resign. Charleston is the author of "The United States v. Waller County, Then Me." Read more...
Yemen: Tentative Ceasefire After U.S.-Backed Airstrikes Kill 120, Somalia: Al-Shabab Suicide Bombing Strikes Hotel, Killing 9, Obama Visits Kenya and Ethiopia in First for U.S. Sitting President, Burundi: Incumbent President Wins 3rd Term, Despite Protests, Turkey: Military Strikes ISIL and PKK Camps in Syria and Iraq, Ohio: Police Pepper-Spray Attendees of #BlackLivesMatter Convening, Hundreds Attend Sandra Bland Funeral in Illinois, Autopsy Underway for Choctaw Activist Found Dead in Miss. Jail Cell, Louisiana Movie Theater Shooter Lauded KKK Leader David Duke, Honduras: 25,000 People Protest Corruption, Demand President Resign, Colombia Suspends Airstrikes Against FARC Rebels, Chile: Copper Miner Shot Dead During Ongoing Labor Strike, Brazil: 1,000 Taxi Drivers Block Roads to Protest Uber, Report: U.S. Preparing to Release Israeli Spy Jonathan Pollard, Mike Huckabee Invokes Holocaust in Opposition to Iran Nuclear Deal, West Bank: Palestinian Teen Killed in Israeli Arrest Raid, 2 Animal Rights Activists Charged Under 2006 Terrorism Law, Historic Anthem-Cigna Merger Leaves U.S. with 3 Major Health Insurers, Spelman College Becomes Latest School to Cut Ties with Cosby Read more...
Obama: 'I think if I ran, I would win' »»
"I actually think I'm a pretty good president. I think if I ran, I would win. But I can't," he said. Read more...
Poll: Trump has twice the support of Bush in New Hampshire »»
Trump holds the top position in the Monmouth poll at 24 percent. Read more...
Hillary Clinton has a sharp insight on reforming CEO pay. The policy it could fix is her husband's. Read more...
Jon Stewart's secret White House visits »»
Obama, aides took unusual steps to cultivate 'Daily Show' comic Read more...
U.S. mayors say Ferguson could happen to us »»
City leaders worried about race in policing and schools, a POLITICO Magazine survey finds. Read more...
New Legislation Would Place Breathalyzers in All New Cars »»
By Joshua Krause
As time goes on, cars are becoming less of a symbol of freedom and status, and more like automated golf carts that coddle their drivers.
Every other year they add more features... Read more...
Turkey's Call For "Safe Zones" In Syria Are Based On Problem Turkey Helped Create »»
By Brandon Turbeville
As Turkey continues to bomb inside Syria and Iraq against alleged ISIS targets and PKK Iraqi Kurds, and as the NATO Article 4 meeting looms over the Middle East, Turkey has... Read more...
Transhumanist Candidate Wants “Brain Implants to Manage Violent Actions of Prisoners”… And Society »»
By Mac Slavo
Maybe the solution to all crime is more surveillance and direct control over the minds of all prisoners, anyone marked with violent tendencies and ultimately everyone in... Read more...
Behind the Scenes in Independent Media »»
By Dan Dicks
In this video Dan Dicks of Press For Truth takes you on a snapchat tour of the PFT studio while filming a live broadcast for Liberty.me. Dan also points out the importance of networking... Read more...
How Much Have American Taxpayers Really Paid for Police Brutality? »»
By Amanda Warren
Americans have paid a lot for the radicalized and militarized policing. The taxpayers pay through federal grants like the 1033 program that supplies small town police with MRAPs and... Read more...
US Republican presidential candidate blasted over Iran deal remarks »»
Clinton has criticized Huckabee for attacking President Barack Obama’s recent agreement with Iran. Read more...
Syria, Kurdish forces push ISIL out of Hasakah: Report »»
Syrian government forces and Kurdish fighters push ISIL terrorists from the northeastern city of Hasakah, a report says. Read more...
Iran, EU agree to resume stalled high-level talks »»
Iran’s foreign minister says the Islamic Republic and the European Union have agreed to revive stalled talks. Read more...
Iran says will pick best trade partners »»
Iran’s government spokesman Mohammad-Baqer Nobakht says the country will from now on pick and choose its trade partners. Read more...
Peugeot team in Tehran as criticisms grow »»
French auto giant Peugeot is in advanced stages of talks to provide parts to the leading Iranian carmaker Iran Khodro. Read more...
End The Lie
New Leaked TPP Chapter Shows Countries Converging on Anti-User Copyright Takedown Rules »»
A draft of the Trans-Pacific Partnership ‘s “Intellectual Property” chapter from May 11, 2015 has recently been leaked to journalists. This is the fourth leak of the chapter following earlier drafts of October 2014, August 2013, and February 2011. The latest leak is not available online and we don’t have a copy of it—but we […] Read more...
Ghost rider in the sky: Scientists use lasers to project movie onto clouds (VIDEO) »»
Published time: July 06, 2015 21:35 Screenshot from YouTube.com video A green ghost rider appeared in the sky over the British city of Nottingham when scientists started testing a newly developed projecting device which allows the beaming of moving images directly onto clouds for the first time ever. The image of a galloping horse rider […] Read more...
Varoufakis resigns as Greek finance minister 'to aid deal' »»
Published time: July 06, 2015 05:42Edited time: July 06, 2015 06:14 Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis.(Reuters / Alkis Konstantinidis) After securing a ‘no’ vote at Greek referendum on bailout, Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis resigned, saying it would help Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras negotiate a better deal with foreign creditors. “Soon after the announcement of the […] Read more...
Published time: July 05, 2015 21:38 Screenshot from YouTube video by Jenya Yakut Homelessness is rampant in Russia, and the nation’s capital is no exception. But one homeless man’s inventiveness makes him stand out in the crowd – his online video blog focuses on the life of Russia’s homeless, and provides tips for them as […] Read more...
Tentative agreement on sanctions relief for Iran reached in Vienna – sources »»
Published time: July 04, 2015 14:58 U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (2nd R) meets with the Iranian delegation including Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif (not pictured) in Vienna, Austria July 2, 2015. (Reuters / Carlos Barria) A tentative agreement between six world powers and Iran has been reached that includes sanctions relief for […] Read more...
Universities are using data analytics to assess a students mental health and much more »»
Currently there are 150 universities in the U.S. using "Skyfactor" which monitors and assesses a students tests scores. Schools are also assessing how "COOPERATIVE" your parents are! "Skyfactor advertises itself as a risk management service, promising to help academics “quickly see which students need attention and resources now — before it’s too late”. Course tutors are given access to a dashboard that documents each student’s class attendances, assessment grades, participation in sports practices, and visits to the campus financial aid officer. " Read more...
Palestinians and Israelis have clashed in Jerusalem after hundreds of Jews tried to enter the Al-Aqsa mosque compound. Read more...
After Testing the Technology, NASDAQ Will Use Bitcoin Blockchain »»
Nasdaq OMX Group Inc. expects to become the first major exchange operator to use the technology behind bitcoin when a project in its private-companies business goes live in the fourth quarter. The stock market operator is partnering with infrastructure provider Chain to use blockchain to issue and transfer the shares of privately held companies. Blockchain is the ledger that drives the bitcoin digital currency. Read more...
Former Finance Minister Reveals Cloak and Dagger ‘Plan B’ for Greece, Awaits Treason Charges »»
The revelations have caused a political storm in Greece and confirm just how close the country came to drastic measures before premier Alexis Tsipras gave in to demands from Europe’s creditor powers, acknowledging that his own cabinet would not support such a dangerous confrontation. Yanis Varoufakis, the former finance minister, told a group of investors in London that a five-man team under his control had been working for months on a contingency plan to create euro liquidity if the European Central Bank cut off emergency funding to the Greek financial system, as it in fact did after talks broke down and Syriza called a referendum. Read more...
Obama Pledges to Use Last 18 Months in Office Pushing Gun Control »»
President Obama on Thursday pledged to use his last 18 months in office to work on gun control, calling it “the one area where I feel that I’ve been most frustrated and most stymied.” “If you ask me where has been the one area where I feel that I’ve been most frustrated and most stymied, it is the fact that the United States of America is the one advanced nation on earth in which we do not have sufficient, common-sense gun safety laws – even in the face of repeated mass killings,” he told the BBC in an interview. Read more...
Bernie Sanders and GOP Crazies Are Destroying FDR's ExIm Bank, by Webster G. Tarpley »»
More Signs of Possible Easing of US-Russian Tensions; Turkey Reverses Support for “Caliphate,” Starts Bombing ISIS Butchers; Saudis Accept Iran Nuclear Accord, Isolating Netanyahu; Ukraine Dodges Bankruptcy at Last Minute; Bernie Sanders and GOP Crazies Are Destroying FDR's ExIm Bank; Congress Must Enact 1% Wall Street Sales Tax to Fund Highway Bill and Social Security Disability Pensions; Donald Trump the New Samson to Bring Down the Temple of GOP Philistines Read more...
François Hollande, Israël, and the atomic bomb, by Thierry Meyssan »»
During his interview of the 14th July on TF1 and France2, President François Hollande denied that Israël possesses the atomic bomb. But the Hebrew state has between 80 and 400 nuclear war-heads, and has already used neutron bombs against civilian populations. Is Mr. Hollande ignorant, to the point where he should be judged inapt to assume the responsibilities of Head of the Armed Forces and the strike force, or simply using bad faith in contempt of his fellow citizens ? Read more...
John Kerry at CFR on Iran Deal, by John F. Kerry »»
HAASS: Well, good morning, and welcome to this special meeting of the Council on Foreign Relations. I'm Richard Haass, CFR's president. And I want to make clear that my welcome includes not just the many of you in this room, but the even more of you who are watching this event on one device or another, including our national members who are wired into this as well as many others through the virtues of live streaming. This meeting is special in two ways. It's relatively rare for us to hold (...) Read more...
Thank you, Greec, by Ögmundur Jónasson / TPP, TTIP etc. – “political treaties to abolish democracy and State sovereignty “, Interview with Alfred de Zayas / “The Troika itself created this deadlock...”, by Karin Beindorff / Truth Committee on public debt. Special committee of the Greek parliament Summary of the previous results so far / UN human rights experts welcome Greek referendum and call for international solidarity / The Eastern Committee of German industry calls for removal of sanctions. Redemption of sanctions should accompany the Minsk peace process and should not be placed at the end – 150,000 jobs threatened by export slump / Stop starving out the people of Syria! End the embargo, so that Syria can live in peace! / Take care of the communes – they lay the foundation for a prosperous coexistence, Interview with Hans Peter Gantenbein / The communal assembly, a direct democratic (...) Read more...
First consequences of the 5+1 agreement, by Thierry Meyssan »»
Western politicians and journalists don't seem to know what to make of the 5+1 agreement. Many of them do not believe in our analyses and fail to understand what has in fact been negotiated. However, for Thierry Meyssan, at least three events this week seem to be directly connected to the agreement. Read more...
Britain’s Labour Party: Elect Jeremy Corbyn as Leader and Win the Next Election »»
What is it with Britain’s Labour Party? There is a surge in party membership, and this is a worry for the men in suits in the Westminster bubble! Why? People, particularly the young, are energized by the prospect of Jeremy Corbyn becoming its leader. Here is a man of principle who believes in what he […] Read more...
Wireless Carjacking: The Chrysler Recall »»
Caught with their proverbial pants down, Fiat Chrysler executives have issued a voluntary recall of a good 1.4 million cars for the vulnerabilities of its installed internet system. Last Tuesday, Wired burst the bubble of confidence by showing how hackers could take control of a Jeep Cherokee via its internet-connected entertainment system. “Hackers remotely kill […] Read more...
“British Columbia,”1 a province wrought through the genocide of First Nations2 and theft of their territory has been beset with several forest fires this summer that has at times choked urban centers with ash and particulate. Christy Clark, the premier of British Columbia, has blamed climate change for the great burn. “Climate change has altered […] Read more...
Aleppo: A City Ravaged by “Islamic State” and Imperialism »»
This is an authentic report from an Aleppo resident whose identity is protected for their own security. They are living through the daily hardships of life in an externally created war zone. Water and electricity shortages, NATO and US backed terrorists embedded in multiple areas of the city creating random buffer zones where the risk of […] Read more...
America’s Inherent Resolve to Destroy »»
We should expect conflicts in which adversaries, because of cultural affinities different from our own, will resort to forms and levels of violence shocking to our sensibilities. — Department of Defense, 1999, with thanks to William Blum One quote has reverberated throughout the United States decades of decimations of the lands of others. Journalist Peter […] Read more...
How Fluoride Damages Pineal Gland Health »»
Fluoride was originally added to the water supply sometime around the end of World War II in an effort to improve overall dental health. Despite the well wishes, no one anticipated the physical health dangers. Now, more and more people are recognizing the effects, and one of those is how it damages the pineal gland.
US-Supported Kiev Aggression On Donbass Escalated »»
Kiev junta officials want war, not peace. They want illegitimate fascist rule hardened – with no recognized democratic pockets. Local autonomy is strictly forbidden despite mandated under Minsk ceasefire terms. Rebel fighters continue showing good faith efforts for peace and stability. Despite obvious threats, they’ll withdraw heavy weapons from frontline positions – in place to
Suddenly Israel Wants Peace Talks »»
UN Unanimously Ratifies Iran Nuclear Deal and the US Congress needs to review it and approve it. The highest decision making body of the United Nations unanimously adopted on Monday a resolution that will allow the entry into force within 90 days of the recent agreement between Iran and five other western nations, including China,
2 Fatalities, Including Gunman, Victim Conditions Range From “Non-life Threatening to Critical” “FBI on the Scene” LiveStar From RT: Three people have been killed and seven others injured after a man opened fire at a movie theater in Lafayette, Louisiana. One of the deceased is the suspect, who turned the gun on himself. According to
China 21: Anglo-American “Sustainability” In Asia (VIDEO) »»
By: Rusticus | Stateless Homesteading – In the not-too-distant past, Sutton was counted among the more respected historians in higher education, holding the title of research fellow at the esteemed Hoover Institute at Stanford University. Before being jettisoned from this coveted position by the Trilateral-affiliated dean, Sutton was (and remains) one of the most thorough academic researchers on the machinations of the Anglo-American
UK Takes Lead on Dirty Money Laundering Crackdown »»
The UK is taking a global lead on cracking down on money laundering after it was revealed at least $190 billion worth of property in England and Wales is now owned by offshore companies, many of which are laundering operations, Sputnik has been told. Read more...
Gay Rights On $2 a Day? Obama Loses Plot »»
No-one can pretend that Kenya and Ethiopia are free from political defects. But the defects appear small in comparison to the challenges that these countries are facing and are largely overcoming for the greater good of their respective societies. Read more...
London Tube Drivers on Strike Over Unsafe Trains »»
RMT transport trade union said that a new wave of London Underground strikes is currently underway. Read more...
Obama Says Could Win Upcoming US Presidential Elections if Allowed to Run »»
Obama believes he could be US president once again. Read more...
UK, Indonesia Agree Measures to Counter ISIL - Cameron »»
David Cameron said Tuesday that he agreed with Indonesian President Joko Widodo's proposals to jointly counter extremism. Read more...