EXISTING HOME SALES FALL IN JUNE VERSUS LAST JUNE – MSM TOUTS RISE

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Posted on 22nd July 2014 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

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Look at that amazing housing recovery. The usual housing propaganda being spewed this morning by the NAR and the MSM. Existing homes sales are all the way back to October levels, even though this is prime home sales season. The MSM buries the FACT that existing home sales are 2.3% LOWER than last June. The monthly change is meaningless. Home sales always are higher in the summer because families move while kids are out of school.

Let’s get real. Existing home sales are currently at 1999 levels when the working age population in this country numbered 208 million. Today the working age population numbers 248 million. We’ve got 40 million, or 19% more adults int he country, and existing home sales are exactly the same. They are still 30% below 2005 levels and destined to languish and decline over the coming years. Inventory rose 6.5% over last year. So sales are falling and inventory is rising. I wonder what that will do to prices?

 

You get nothing but feel good optimistic drivel from the faux journalists in the MSM. Their job is to keep you in the dark. Some facts from the NAR report:

  • First time home buyers still near record lows of 28%. In a healthy non-manipulated housing market this number is 40%.
  • Investors purchased 32% of all the houses sold. This number is closer to 15% in a normal market.
  • Mortgage applications remain at fourteen year lows.
  • Wall Street banks continue to withhold foreclosures and not foreclose on homes that should be foreclosed upon to prop up prices.

The entire housing recovery storyline has been a scam and a fraud. Now sales are falling and prices will follow. Look out below.

Existing-home sales rise 2.6% in June

WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) — Rising for a third month, sales of existing homes grew 2.6% in June to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.04 million, reaching the highest level since October, the National Association of Realtors reported Tuesday. Economists polled by MarketWatch had expected the sales rate to increase to 5 million in June from an originally reported 4.89 million in May, driven by a strengthening labor market, more homes on the market, and cooling price growth. On Tuesday NAR revised May’s sales rate to 4.91 million. Market conditions are becoming more balanced, but anecdotes still point to a shortage of homes on the market, said Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist. The median sales price of used homes hit $223,300 in June, up 4.3% from the year-earlier period. June’s inventory was 2.3 million existing homes for sale, a 5.5-month supply at the current sales pace. The number of homes available for sale was up 6.5% from the year-earlier period. Including June’s increase, the pace of sales was down 2.3% from a year earlier.

ARE WE THERE YET? OL REMUS.

29 comments

Posted on 22nd July 2014 by Yojimbo in Economy

The woodpile report is another excellent site to visit. The writer has a down-to-earth way of writing.

I post this because every day I have a profound sense of cognitive dissonance. I agree with the gist of The Burning Platform, Zero Hedge, The Market Ticker, SHTF Plan, and such like minded sites, but when I look around Boston, and the cares and financial lives of my neighbors, the two worldviews do not match at all.

The money is flowing fast and plentiful in Boston, the neighbors are comfortable and carefree; uber-liberals who are happy with the government and Obama. No one sees the cliff ahead. I’m the odd man out.

I continue to prep everyday. My gardens are overflowing with produce – so much so that I am purposefully giving as much as possible to the neighbors, both to inspire them and build up neighborly credit for the coming hard times.

I read opinions like this, and I ruminate on how bad it will be. I vacillate between imagining minor difficulties with slight inflation and Mad Max scenarios. It’s not easy being an independent thinker when everyone around you is drinking the cool-aid and following the mass media propaganda.

My flag is still upside-down outside the house since the 4th. No one has mentioned it once to me. No interest in asking me why from the neighbors. Strange.

Some days I do wish I took the blue pill, but I have a son, and I want him to survive and thrive no matter what comes.

Ol Remus is a much better writer than Kunstler – no snarky, pompous commentary, just wisdom.

Good luck to everyone on The Burning Platform.

Yojimbo

http://www.woodpilereport.com/html/index-378.htm

Imagine everything familiar collapsing like an accordion in the time between your morning coffee and your first midday yawn. It may happen just that way. In fact, it’s difficult to see how it can happen any other way.

Back in 2001, the Argentine economy all but collapsed. In a matter of days, the country went from mild recession to full-blown economic crisis. The currency went into freefall. Police were out in the streets shooting protestors. Unemployment and crime rates soared overnight. And the nation defaulted on its debt.
Simon Black at sovereignman.com, July 10, 2014

It’s said we’re in hard times, and we are in hard times. But as hard times go, these are the good days. There are those who have known real-and-for-true hard times. Not the poverty porn hawked around by social activists or the tiresome stories peddled in the movies. Actual hard times are ahead, not hard times by comparison but long term destitution with real privation, when we’ll fear a lot more than fear itself.

Ahead, stretching to the horizon, lies deepest 1932 but without the civility and yes, without the relative plenty. The Great Depression will be something to aspire to, where even migrant field hands drove cars to work. Actually it doesn’t all lie ahead, some of it is already behind us. Truth is, we arrived a while back. We’re like the Okies in that first month without a good rain, or the laid off employee who thought he was between jobs. The era of hustle and opportunity that lifted all boats ended a long while ago. We’ve fallen below the event horizon. Gravity is in charge now. We’ve entered an era of relentlessly deepening want. In not much time it will beggar belief, then plunge directly to the heart of catastrophe. You’ll never again use the word hungry as lightly as you do now.

You needn’t fear the Mad Max scenario ‘though, not for long, there’ll not be the wherewithal to support it. Nor should you fear DC overmuch, other than rogue Free Corps and last ditchers and everyone taking control of everything and arresting each other. It will remain an obnoxious meddler at the outset and a while longer, but it’ll be mostly habit. DC‘s broke. In fact, it’s broker than you are. Meddling gets prohibitively expensive absent voluntary compliance. We’ve already seen DC metastasize from a dignified bribery and extortion racket with a credible claim to utility into smash-and-grab street thuggery. But more importantly, DC has become exclusively self-referential, a dead short in the circuitry, irrelevant to the problems at hand other than as an extravagant consumer of wattage.

The Tenth Amendment movement looks more dynamic every day, in fact, they’re already preparing Uncle Sam’s commitment papers in the back room. He doesn’t like it one bit. Too bad. We’ve had a family meeting and that’s the way it has to be. You see, not only is our formerly beloved Uncle paying his bills with counterfeit trolley tokens and IOUs, and not only does he get violent just because he can, he’s getting, well—bizarre. When we’re on the phone, he listens in, then says he didn’t. And he insists we expose ourselves to him as a condition of travel. Stuff like that art-link-symbol-tiny-grey-arrow-only-rev01.gif. The senile demand attention in, you know, odd ways. Our descendents will wonder why we ever took him seriously but we remember him in his youth, when he was a quirky but okay guy.

What you should really fear is scarcity. It’s unAmerican to say this, but what you have is all you’re likely to have and chances are you won’t keep all of that. So, are you planning a mountain retreat with a well and a hand pump, more than a tank of gas from the nearest urban center, away from lines of drift, solar powered hot tub with optional foot massage? If you’re not there now, or nearly so, you’re not going to get there. In other words, time’s up. Get your affairs in order where you are, because where you are is where you’re going to be. And what you have is what you’re going to have.

Societies are normally this badly wounded coming out of catastrophes, not entering them. Which means we’re in no condition for what’s coming, and what’s coming is something not seen since feudal times. Everything’s on the table including civilization itself. We’ve run out of good outcomes. There isn’t even a name for what’s coming. So far we’ve only seen the water trickling between the sandbags. Even so, the alarms have been notable, full of entertaining nuance and learned anecdotes about Medieval Venice and such. We’ve had the time for it. There’ll be no time for nuance when it all unzips. It’ll be a fire-hose in the face. Events won’t so much occur as uncork that which has already occurred.

The financial sector has reached the suburbs of self-parody. ‘Bmoreland’ at Zero Hedge comments: “it takes holding $50,000 in a Wells Fargo High Yield Checking Account for 1 year to generate the $15 necessary to handle one Incoming Domestic Wire Transfer. Yes, that’s Incoming Wire Transfer, what used to be free at 95% of the banks a decade ago.” When deposits are a liability for both banker and depositor it’s plain we’ve been “crashing upward” long enough. With nothing to keep it aloft it’s visibly stalling. Dire warnings are arriving closer together. Here are samples from recent days:

So just maybe the Fed fully intends on heeding the advice of the BIS [Bank for International Settlements], and is strategically positioning itself as a stalwart dove to shield itself from the public fallout of it’s orchestrated financial calamity. A particularly sound play from a political perspective in the event that things don’t go as smoothly as planned. One thing is certain at this point: An intentionally orchestrated crash is the direct recommendation of the BIS, per it’s annual report. That this action exists as a potential policy measure is now confirmed. The remaining question is: Would the Federal Reserve pursue such a policy measure openly, or behind the same curtains from which most of their historic policies were enacted.
notquant.com, July 8, 2014

art-link-symbol-tiny-grey-arrow-only-rev01.gif The report and a plain English analysis by Ambrose Pritchard, at The Telegraph.

and, about the market:

We are now at heights where even the so-called “Uber Bulls” are beginning to get a little nervous in the hoof. For just who is going to buy when the first major dip goes stampeding past? There are no shorts to speak of at these levels… These prices are only representative of anything worth value if they can be sold.
Mark St. Cyr at markstcyr.wordpress.com, july 8, 2014

FOMC Minutes Show Fed Fears Investors Are Too Complacent; QE To End In October
Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com, July 9, 2014

and, about banks:

Germany’s cabinet Wednesday approved plans to force creditors into propping up struggling banks beginning in 2015, one year earlier than required under European-wide plans that set rules for failing financial institutions… “This ensures that in times of crisis mainly owners and creditors will contribute to solving the crisis, and not taxpayers.”
Andrea Thomas at marketwatch.com, July 9, 2014

Note: this appears to be the infamous “bail-in” where depositor’s accounts are “recognized” as “shares” in a bankrupt bank. Add the risk of confiscation to the next-to-zero interest rate now, and a negative interest rate soon, where direct taxation of deposits is automatically deducted. And note well, Spain’s trial bail-in is retroactive to the first of the year. The mother of all bank runs could be in the making from this alone.

Karl Denninger at Market Ticker summarizes the Fed’s dilemma plainly:

In the last quarter for which we have data the net economic impact including QE, which totaled about $250 billion during that time, was a negative $500 billion… The Fed has maintained repeatedly that QE “helps the economy.” The facts say it does no such thing; gross economic output trends downward to flat when QE has been in process, and net-net economic progress is negative. They lied. What QE did was boost asset prices—but not economic activity.
Karl Denninger at market-ticker.org, July 10, 2014

The Fed is pulling QE because it doesn’t work, exactly as I pointed out it would not because arithmetic doesn’t allow it to (and which the Japanese discovered over a decade ago) and laddered fixed-income segments in the market are being progressively destroyed by it.
Karl Denninger at market-ticker.org, July 12, 2014

Charles Smith at Of Two Minds says reform hasn’t worked, probably can’t work, and offers his bottom line:

People constantly ask me for solutions to our all-too visible ills. You want solutions? Here’s the solution for every systemic, structural problem we face: Avoid getting hurt when it collapses, then start over.
Charles Smith at charleshughsmith.blogspot.com, July 13, 2014

Every bank’s liabilities are on every other bank’s books as credit or collateral, except massively more bloated with years of leveraging and rehypothecatation. The BIS is warning the Fed to back away and the Fed is backing away. We’re about done stair-stepping into the night. A colossal collateral meltdown is looming. This time it won’t merely take down a Lehman or two, it may take down whole nations.

Big Money knows it. They’ll act with blinding speed in the final feeding frenzy, anxious to cage prize morsels before decamping to their redoubts for brandy and cigars. This is what all the positioning is about. They’re maneuvering, rigging this and nudging that to get just the right deflection, always careful not to snag a tripwire prematurely, but knowing someone will blunder eventually. When they do you’ll need an egg-timer at most. The alert and realistic observer—also known as a tinfoil hat alarmist—sees the maneuvering and what it points to.

You may think it comforting we’re all in this together. We’re not all in this together. While you’ve been stockpiling essentials and planting thorny bushes outside your windows and putting away heritage seeds, the upper percentiles have figured out they don’t need to be clever to survive, they just need to be somewhere else. Surely you’ve noticed sellers of big boats and Peruvian realty are affluent America’s new best friends. And how they’ve been keeping company with vendors of portable wealth.

You and yours, and those trusted few with whom you can ally, will be on your own. America isn’t the Apple Blossom Valley of the past where communities looked out for one another and left a picnic ham on the porch of those in need. No, this time your odds are millions to one. Against. For those who think there’s safety in numbers, you’re wrong. As has been said here many times: get away and stay away from crowds. Most are created by opportunists calculating an advantage at your expense, the rest are outright vermin. When it all goes sour, and it will, they’ll cash in your well being to save their own. Control over your own life passes into the hands of others when you find yourself in a crowd. The crowd’s fate becomes your fate.

You may believe being a productive and honest citizen is an asset. It isn’t. If you listen carefully you’ll hear yourself being positioned as an enemy of all that is good and wholesome. For instance, if you oppose the regime’s serial squandering and—gasp! are a veteran—you’re an incipient terrorist. If you criticize Obama by name you’re a crypto-racist. If you’re a boomer you wantonly plundered the nation’s future for your own squalid gain. If you take responsibility for your own life and expect the same from others, especially if you seriously prepare for hard times, you’re an anti-social loner nursing dark thoughts of mass violence. It’s a setup.

These lone wolves. These homegrown violent extremists are people who keep me up at night, as well. Trying to monitor them, trying to anticipate what it is they are going to do. And the experience that we had in Boston is instructive. It only takes only one or two people to really do something horrific.
Attorney General Holder via Daniel Halper at weeklystandard.com

Wherever the TSA or the Department of Education struts its stuff even toddlers are a security risk for which they have “zero tolerance”. Being a kid is the new entry-level crime. Nobody escapes. Creating criminals is not only fun, it’s profitable. Notice the Soviets vilified the wealthy, not the workers and peasants. Also notice the untermenchen of the Third Reich had confiscatible wealth. The SS was not only self-supporting, it returned a profit. Even slave labor wasn’t free, it was rented out. Wholesale, systematic wealth confiscation, not wealth creation, is the universal model for political economies.

All any regime requires is a continuing supply of crimes that can be neither understood or avoided. Think of Political Correctness as the field-testing and conditioning phase and it all makes sense. Notice how the civil rights movement went from sunny sing alongs to one-way prosecutable offenses in less than a generation. Notice who’s terrified of getting tangled in some trivial, unintended but ruinous offense. Hint: it isn’t The Diversity.

These are good times for the crime-fighting trade. Thanks to asset forfeiture, the militarization of civilian police and other outrages, there are plenty of resources to use for a police state. Those well-publicized SWAT debacles rattle dissenters like direct threats never could art-link-symbol-tiny-grey-arrow-only-rev01.gif, and they normalize random violence for the troops. Mainly, they display the new order at street-level in a wartime occupation sort of way.

These are nice side benefits, but law enforcement is a business, and like any other business it has to pay its way. If you’re a solid citizen with something to lose, watch out. It’s unlikely their financial files on The Dependency see much use. You, however, interest them. Maybe it helps to know there’s little new in all this. When Sherman marched through Georgia, well beyond his supply lines, he took the census and tax roles with him as ready-made shopping lists.

Perhaps you believe this time it will be different, that the safety nets put in place since the Great Depression will be there for you. They won’t be. The safety nets are overflowing with professional voters and have been from the first day. They’re part of the boondoggle bankrupting us in the first place. As any first-aider knows, first stop the bleeding. That would be you. The rhetoric will say otherwise, but you’ll be amputated like gangrene.

There’s a tsunami arriving. If you paid attention to those who saw things clearly and warned you plainly for all of your adult life, if you recalibrated your expectations and took charge of your own destiny, good for you. This calamity won’t last forever, quite, but it will bring low those it doesn’t maim or destroy. There won’t be any bystanders. The prudent and prepared may make it, some of them, maybe even most of them. Lord help the rest. Nobody else will.

A BRieF MeSSaGe ReGaRDiNG RaCiSM…

1 comment

Posted on 22nd July 2014 by AWD in Economy

A BRieF MeSSaGe ReGaRDiNG RaCiSM…
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Submitted by williambanzai7 on 07/21/2014

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http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-07-21/brief-message-regarding-racism

FREE WEED

11 comments

Posted on 22nd July 2014 by AWD in Economy

The FSA in Colorado are using their EBT cards to score some choice buds and weed. You and I are paying for it. Getting stoned and using food stamps for free food, lobsters,crab legs on SNAP, free Obamaphones, free housing to watch Beevis and Butthead while baked, and free Medicaid and free vicodan and xanax for ALL! What a great Country…..

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Welfare Cash for Weed in Colorado

Recipients are withdrawing thousands in cash at pot dispensaries, and Republicans want to stop it.

By Jillian Kay Melchior July 22, 2014 4:00 AM

For the past six months, welfare beneficiaries in Colorado have repeatedly withdrawn their cash benefits at marijuana retailers and dispensaries, according to a new analysis by National Review Online. Such apparent abuses have caught the eye of Colorado’s executive and legislative powers alike, and the state has launched an effort to curb them.

At least 259 times in the first six months of legalized recreational marijuana in Colorado, beneficiaries used their electronic-benefit transfer (EBT) cards to access public assistance at weed retailers and dispensaries, withdrawing a total of $23,608.53 in Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) cash, NRO’s examination found.

In 2012, the latest fiscal year available, Colorado used $124 million in TANF money from the federal government, according to the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities. Withdrawals at marijuana establishments represented only a tiny fraction of the more than 500,000 total EBT transactions that have occurred since recreational weed became legal in Colorado on January 1. And it’s impossible to determine how much of that welfare money actually was used to buy pot, given that cash benefits are fungible and some of these establishments also sell groceries.

Nevertheless, welfare withdrawals at weed stores are coming under increasing scrutiny, and Colorado’s legislators and bureaucrats are beginning an effort to restrict abuses.

On July 11, the Colorado State Board of Human Services passed an emergency rule, effective immediately, restricting the use of TANF funds at marijuana shops, bars, liquor stores, gambling establishments, and other potentially inappropriate venues.

The Colorado Department of Human Services (CDHS), which oversees the TANF program, has begun to convene a task force on apparent misuse of cash benefits, joining with other state agencies to work out the details of enforcement, including how to monitor transactions, what constitutes wrongful usage, and whether withdrawals at medical-marijuana dispensaries should be considered a potential abuse of welfare money.

Todd Jorgensen, deputy director of the CDHS Office of Economic Security, says: “For the first time in Colorado, the rule will allow us to deactivate an EBT card if we identify misuse. . . . The department takes the appropriate use of TANF funds very seriously.”

As the first state in the nation to allow recreational marijuana, Colorado is trailblazing such restrictions. Though federal law requires states to limit the use of cash benefits at liquor stores, gambling establishments, and adult-entertainment stores, it does not explicitly address marijuana retailers or dispensaries.

Last session, some Colorado legislators attempted to pass a bill banning TANF withdrawals at marijuana establishments, but Democrats blocked it. The state’s Republicans did succeed, however, in passing a budget amendment that would preclude such use. Because of a legislative technicality, however, the amendment “doesn’t have the power and teeth behind it that a statute does,” says Colorado Springs representative Dan Nordberg, one of the key proponents of the ban. Republican lawmakers plan to re-introduce stronger legislation next session.

http://www.nationalreview.com/article/383334/welfare-cash-weed-colorado-jillian-kay-melchior

PHOTO OPS

4 comments

Posted on 22nd July 2014 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

150961 600 Photo Ops cartoons

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MEASURED RESPONSE

3 comments

Posted on 22nd July 2014 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

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151181 600 Israel vs Gaza cartoons

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DECENTRALIZATION

12 comments

Posted on 22nd July 2014 by AWD in Economy

Silicon Valley is trying to divide the liberal socialist state of California into 6 “states”. Sounds like a great idea to me. People are sick and tired of being governed by corrupt socialist fascist criminals catering to the FSA mouth breathers on the taxpayer’s dole. There is still hope this country can be salvaged after the coming collapse.

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The Ambitious Plan To Break California Into 6 States – A Model For The Future?

Submitted by Michael Krieger of Liberty Blitzkrieg blog,

The more I’ve thought about potential solutions to the gigantic mess we have found ourselves in as a species, the more I have come to believe we need to break apart into a vast multitude of city-states. The revolutionary concept of America in the first place was this idea of “self-governance,” something we do not posses an iota of in this day and age. As was noted recently in an academic paper published by Princeton and Northwestern, these United States have mutated into nothing short of an oligarchy. In fact, the study demonstrated that the will of the people has essentially zero impact on legislation whatsoever.

In centuries prior, the idea of “representative-democracy” in which people elect people to represent their interests in a far off capital seemed like a reasonable solution to a very real problem. Information took a very long time to get from one place to another, so you had to trust someone else to essentially negotiate for you on issues of national significance. Moreover, in such a disconnected world, centralization was not only more efficient, it seemed like the only way. As such, things became highly centralized, so much so that things have now morphed into a global oligarchy that wields almost total power. Meanwhile, the billions of plebs have no say whatsoever in the affairs that govern their lives; including whether they will be financially secure, posses any civil liberties at all or end up in jail for a wide litany of non-violent “crimes.”

With the incredible tools we now possess, thanks primarily to the Internet, we no longer need centralization of government. Nor do we really need representatives to vote for us on the issues that most greatly affect out lives. As any American understands, the diversity of cultural, economic, and political sentiments vary greatly throughout the land. It’s not just the obvious ones, such as the differences between “northerners” and “southerners,” but wide discrepancies exists within states themselves. For example, Austin is nothing like much of the rest of Texas, and the Denver/Boulder area where I live is very distinct from much of the rest of Colorado. The examples are simply too many to list, but I am of the belief that people are capable of, and should be free to, decide the most important things that affect their lives at a local level (with the exception of obvious things such as violence or aggression toward one another).

The founding fathers’ original idea of many “United States” allowed for different ideals to be expressed in a wide variety of ways, and is in my opinion one of the most advantageous attributes of our nation. But why stop there? Why not allow different areas and municipalities break off even further into far more autonomous type structures than we have today?

Of course many people will answer, what about slavery? The truth of the matter is that this abomination in the United States seemingly had to be resolved through a bloody conflict given the economic interests in the south at the time. The founders decided one war was enough, and let this horrible practice be tackled almost a hundred years later through violent conflict. I hope that we have advanced enough as a species that we can come to a global consensus that certain things are illegal everywhere. Slavery, murder, rape, etc. Other than these (and other) obvious evils we can all agree on, decentralized legislation seems to make sense to me in this day and age. While I strongly disagree with “global government” a global consensus on certain things we can all agree upon as reprehensible anywhere on earth seems completely reasonable.

With that in mind, the man who recently purchased the entire 30,000 Silk Road Bitcoins from the feds has proposed to break California into six separate parts. The measure has already collected “far more than the 800,000 signatures” needed to to get it on the state ballot.

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From Wired:

Like Hollywood or Manhattan, Silicon Valley occupies a singular place on the American cultural and economic landscape. Unlike those other locales, however, the Valley’s more idiosyncratic political leanings have led to murmurings of secession more typical of rural hinterlands that already feel cut off through sheer physical isolation. That chatter has culminated in a measure that appears headed for the statewide ballot to split California into six separate states, of which Silicon Valley would be one.

While ostensibly a plan to make the entire state of 38 million people more governable, the six-state initiative is being led and funded by a member of the Silicon Valley elite, many of whom would no doubt welcome the increased political clout that would likely come from carving out their own statehood. In the hands of most, the six-state initiative would look like a pure stunt. But with Silicon Valley behind it, this effort’s chances at the ballot box can’t be dismissed out of hand. Unlike most other would-be revolutionaries, Silicon Valley has a long record of taking ideas that sound outlandish at the time—affordable computers in every home, private rocket ships—and managing to make them real. It also has a seemingly endless stream of money that, combined with heavy doses of ingenuity and shamelessness, give its goofball ideas the fuel they need to take off.

Leading the six-state push is Tim Draper, a wealthy third-generation venture capitalist known for his theatrics. He hosts the superhero-themed Draper University of Heroes, a kind of motivational cram session for would-be startup entrepreneurs, and once wore a Captain America costume himself on a magazine cover. Last month, he bought nearly 30,000 bitcoins auctioned off by the U.S. Marshals Service after authorities had seized them from online black market Silk Road. In short, he’s exactly the kind of guy with the time, money, and temperament to push a wacky-sounding ballot measure.

“Our gift to California is this—it’s one of opportunity and choice,” Draper said at a press conference yesterday where he announced the campaign had collected far more than 800,000 signatures needed to get the measure on the ballot. “We’re saying, make one failing government into six great states.”

The campaign in favor of the measure argue that six states will mean six state governments more responsive to local concerns, rather than the unwieldy process of orchestrating the state’s 158,000 square miles entirely from Sacramento.

With the six-state proposal, the Californian Ideology appears to be seeking out its final, fullest, most ironic realization by underwriting Silicon Valley’s emancipation from California itself.

And why wouldn’t Silicon Valley seek to be free? Through the lens of its own sensibility, at least, California looks like the worst kind of incumbent, an ancient and inefficient institution mired in old ways of doing business, a monopolist that holds onto power through manipulation, not innovation. To six-state supporters, holding onto the idea of a single California represents, at best, an irrational sentimentality, a commitment to the past grounded in lazy logic and unexamined assumptions. Breaking up California is exactly the kind of “disruption” that titillates the venture capitalist imagination. In the process, the new state of Silicon Valley—which would stretch from San Francisco to Monterey–would also, conveniently, separate its great and greatly concentrated wealth from the poorer parts of the state.

The Valley’s “hacker way” has so far proven a clumsy fit for the strategic complexity of the political process, which relies more on realism than idealism. Before California would officially break up, per the U.S. Constitution, the existing state legislature would still have to sign off, which it’s unlikely to do for a host of reasons, not least being the tax revenue lost to Silicon Valley seceding. Congress would also have to approve what would amount to the dilution of its own power by granting California twelve senators instead of the current two.

At this point, I’d like to make it clear I don’t think this will become a reality in the near-term. In fact, it is likely that decentralization will first occur in the economic and technological areas of human society way before it happens on the political level. The reasons for this should be obvious.

We are already seeing decentralization take over in all sorts of economic areas. Information flow in general and alternative media specifically, currency (Bitcoin), transportation (Uber, Lyft), and manufacturing (3D-printing). When the political process fully implodes in the West, we’ll look to decentralized successes in other areas and apply them to politics.

I believe the current overly centralized paradigm parasitically engulfing the planet will experience a series of spectacular collapses in the years ahead that will make 2008 look like practice. As the centralized beast episodically implodes upon itself, we will have a historic chance to remake our world in a new way that will better serve humanity. That new paradigm will consist of freedom through decentralization, and I can’t wait to see it.

In fact, it’s already started.

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-07-21/ambitious-plan-break-california-6-states-%E2%80%93-model-future

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Fact-Free Zone

8 comments

Posted on 22nd July 2014 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

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 Guest Post by Dmitry Orlov

The fog of war that has been hovering over eastern Ukraine has now spread to the shores of the Potomac, and from there has inundated ever pore of western body politic. The party line is that pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine have shot down Malaysia Airlines flight MH-17, using a surface-to-air missile provided by Russia, with Russia’s support and complicity. The response is to push for tougher sanctions against Russian companies and Mr. Putin’s entourage. None of this is based on fact. To start with, it isn’t known that MH-17 was brought down by a surface-to-air missile; it could have been an air-to-air missile, a bomb on board, a mechanical failure, or the same (or different) mysterious force that brought down MH-370 earlier this year. Mysteries abound, and yet western media knows it’s Mr. Putin’s fault.


Step through the looking glass over to Russia, and you hear a completely different story: the plane was shot down by the Ukrainians in order to frame the rebels and Russia in an attempt to pull NATO into the conflict. Here, we have numerous supporting “facts,” at varying levels of truthiness. But I have no way to independently verify any of them, and so instead I will organize what has been known into a pattern, and let you decide for yourself which story (if any) you should believe.

When trying to catch a criminal, a standard method is to look at means, motive and opportunity. Was the criminal physically capable of committing the act? Did the criminal have a good reason for committing it? Did the criminal get a chance to do it? One more criterion is often quite helpful: does the crime fit the perpetrator’s known modus operandi? Let’s give this method a try.

Means

Did the rebels have the means to shoot down the plane? They have no military aviation and no functioning airport (the one near Donetsk is out of commission and occupied by Ukrainian troops). They have shoulder-fired missiles, which can take out helicopters and planes flying at low altitude, but are useless against airliners flying at cruising altitude. They also have a “Buk” air defense unit (one truck’s worth of it) which they took from the Ukrainians as a trophy, but it’s said to be non-operational. A rocket from this unit could have shot down MH-17, but only if it were integrated with a radar system, which the rebels did not have.

Did the Ukrainians have the means? They had five “Buk” units active in the area on that day, integrated with a radar system which was also active that day. (Deploying an air defense system against an enemy that does not have any aviation seems a bit strange.) According to a report from a Spanish air traffic controller who was working in Kiev (and has since been dismissed, along with other foreign ATCs) MH-17 was followed by two SU-25 jet fighters. According to a Russian expert on “Buk” systems, the damage to the fuselage visible on photographs of the crash site could not have been from a “Buk” surface-to-air missile, but could have been caused by an air-to-air missile fired by a SU-25.

Did the Russians have the means? Of course they did. Never underestimate the Russians.

Motive

The rebels had absolutely no reason to want to shoot down that plane. This leaves open the possibility that they shot it down by mistake, but that’s not a motive, and if that is what happened, then this is not a crime but an accident, because a crime is an intentional act.

On the other hand, the Ukrainians had a really good motive for shooting it down. This part takes a little more explaining.

You see, the Ukrainians have been doing everything they can to pull Russia into the conflict, in order to then pull NATO into it as well, because their chance of victory while acting alone is nil. To this end, they have been shelling civilian targets relentlessly, causing many dead and wounded, in the hopes that Russian troops would pour across the border to defend them. This failed to happen; instead, the Ukrainians have succeeded in precipitating a refugee crisis that has produced something like half a million refugees seeking asylum in Russia. This has had an effect opposite of the intended. Whereas previously the rebels’ recruitment activities were somewhat hampered by a wait-and-see attitude on the part of the population, now they have seen all they need to see and are ready to fight. Also, the Russian population inside Russia itself has found the stories of the refugees sufficiently compelling to open their wallets, so that now the rebels are drawing healthy salaries and have good kit and a steady stream of supplies. They are highly motivated to fight and to win, with a steady rah-rah of support coming from across the border in Russia, while the Ukrainian forces they face consist of underfed, untrained, badly armed recruits being goaded into battle by Right Sector thugs. Their recent battle plan was to directly attack the population centers in Donetsk and Lugansk while cutting the rebels off from the Russian border. One column managed to break through to the defunct Donetsk airport, where it has been kettled every since (it is currently trying to break out in the direction of Donetsk). The troops massed along the Russian border got kettled there and decimated, with quite a few Ukrainian soldiers walking across the border sans weapons seeking food, shelter and medical treatment.

So much for Ukrainian military strategy. But the other thing to note is that time is not on the Ukrainians’ side. First, a bit of background. Ukraine has always been a rather lopsided country. There are the Russian provinces in the east, which had coal, industry, good farmland, and lots of trade with Russia proper. They used to be Russia proper until Lenin lumped them into Ukraine, in an effort to improve it. And then there is western Ukraine, which, with the possible exception of Kiev, could never earn its keep. In terms of economic and social development, it resembles an African nation. Since its independence, Ukraine had subsisted through trade with Russia and through transfer payments from (Russian-speaking) Ukrainian citizens working in Russia. Because of fighting in the east, trade with Russia has been disrupted. Ukraine has been cut off from Russian natural gas supplies due to nonpayment; as a result, more and more Ukrainian cities no longer supply hot water, and come winter, there will be no heat. The economy is in freefall. The Ukrainian government received some funds from the IMF, but these are being squandered on the failing military campaign. The association agreement which Ukraine signed with the EU remains a dead letter because Ukraine does not make anything that the EU wants, and Ukraine has no money with which to buy anything the EU makes. So much for Ukrainian economic strategy.

And so, from the Ukrainian government’s perspective, shooting down an airliner and blaming it on Putin (which is something that western governments and media are only too happy to do) probably seemed like a good ploy.

What about Russia? Well, the Russian government’s chief concern is with avoiding becoming drawn into the conflict. The basic Russian strategy is, as I put it a couple of months ago, to let Ukraine stew in its own juices until the meat falls off the bone, and this strategy is working just fine.

It is important to draw a difference between the Russian state (Putin, the Kremlin, etc.) and the Russian people. According to Russian law, any Russian-speaking person born on the territory of the USSR has an automatic right to a Russian citizenship, so the people of eastern Ukraine are by default Russian citizens. It is a fine line between providing support to your fellow-Russians across the border as a people and being drawn into an international conflict as a nation, and the Russian government has been rather careful to preserve this distinction. Thus, the Russian government was very highly motivated to prevent this incident.

Opportunity

For the rebels, the opportunity amounted to looking up and seeing a plane. If, at that moment, they made the split-second decision to shoot it down using one of the “Buk” rockets (provided they had one ready to go) without radar support they could have only fired that rocket in “pursuit mode,” where the rocket flies to where the plane is, not to where the plane will be, and it is rather uncertain whether the rocket would have caught up with the jet before running out of fuel.

On the other hand, the Ukrainians gave themselves the opportunity by having Dnepropetrovsk ATC redirect the flight over the conflict zone, where they deployed their “Buk” systems.

I have trouble imagining a scenario in which Russian air defense forces would have been presented with an opportunity to shoot down MH-17.

MO

Although some criminals commit just one crime (and sometimes even get away with it), typically a life of crime follows a pattern. What is the pattern behind shooting down MH-17? It is to kill civilians for political gain. What has the Ukrainian government been doing, for quite some time now, in shelling apartment buildings, schools and hospitals in the east of the country? Killing civilians, of course. And why have they been doing it? For a political reason: to attempt to draw the Russian military into the conflict, in order to then appeal to NATO for help. This is part of a larger plan on the part of the US to use Ukraine as a wedge between Russia and the EU, to deprive the EU of Russian natural gas supplies and make it even more dependent on the US.

Conclusions

My effort here is to present you with a better framework for analyzing these events than you might find elsewhere, but I hope that you uncover your own “facts” (to the extent that facts can be said to exist on the internet) and draw your own conclusions.

But I would like to point out a few things.

First, I often encounter a certain attitude among Americans. They may absolutely hate the evil clowns in Washington who are ruining their lives, but when looking at the world, they suddenly decide that every other government is equally bad, that theirs is not so bad after all, and since the Ukrainians are suddenly our friends (or so says John Kerry) then they are not so bad either. Don’t make such assumptions. Look for evidence. To me it indicates that your government is run by evil clowns; other governments—not so much.

Second, citizens of the European Union shouldn’t think that it is only the dark-skinned people in faraway places like Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria and so on that get killed in the various wars instigated by the US. Continue outsourcing your foreign policy to the evil clowns of Washington (and the spineless jellies in Brussels) and you too will get killed.

Lastly, we already know who the criminals are in this case: they are the western politicians and journalists. Airliners fall out of the sky with some regularity. This is tragic, but not unexpected, and is not necessarily the result of a crime. The real crime is in exploiting this tragedy in order to smear and insult an entire people. Don’t worry, the people in question are too wise to respond to such ridiculous provocations. But the reputations of western journalists who have been covering this tragic event have already gone up in smoke. All of western media is now about as good as Pravda was back in the Soviet days—good for wiping your ass with, that is. It’s a sad day for anyone who cares about the truth but can only understand English.