Congress Proposes Law Banning Body Armor In The Land Of The Free

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

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Submitted by Simon Black via Sovereign Man blog,

By the late 1920s, Joseph Stalin became the unchallenged leader of the Soviet Union after having eliminated his opposition.

He topped it off in 1929 by serving a decisive blow to anyone that would dare to oppose him by outlawing private gun ownership in the country.

From that year on until 1953 when Stalin died, it’s estimated that more than 20 million Soviet citizens that were seen as a threat to the country’s leadership.

People were rounded up and either murdered outright, or sent to infamous gulag labor camps.

Stalin is an extreme case. But history is ripe with examples of governments which disarm their citizens, only to engage in serious oppression afterwards.

Communist China. Nazi Germany. Cambodia. Guatemala. Uganda. The list goes on and on. Pacification of the citizens is almost always a prerequisite to totalitarianism.

There have been a lot of attempts to disarm, or at least partially disarm, people in the US throughout history as well.

Each time there’s a major shooting somewhere, the chant to ban firearms grows louder.

But the latest proposal is especially telling.

H.R. 5344 is a bill currently going through Congress that would ban the purchase of body armor.

Violation would carry CRIMINAL penalties, including up to ten years in prison.

Many bullet-resistant items on the market now, such as bulletproof backpacks for school children, would be banned by this legislation.

This is incredible given that the legislation is all about banning something that is purely defensive.

Whatever your stance on firearms, I hope we can agree that it’s pretty damn difficult to hurt another human being with body armor.

People buy body armor for protection. That’s the point. Duh.

So why in the world would they want to ban it?

The government claims that “criminals and rampaging madmen” can “wreak havoc” while wearing body armor, and it’s important to shield police from these nefarious individuals.

Uh, wait a sec– you mean the same police that go around terrorizing ordinary citizens who aren’t breaking any laws whatsoever?

The same police who beat homeless people to death?

The same police who shoot and kill innocent animals in broad daylight in the middle of the street?

The same police who scream “I will f***ing kill you!” with their weapons trained on crowds of protestors exercising their constitutional rights?

Right. Those guys.

This is such a disgusting, yet unfortunately predictable, turn of events in the Land of the Free.

It’s enraging. It’s infuriating. And it’s so obvious: the country has become a giant police state. And the trend is not getting any better.

It’s time to set aside emotion. It’s time to set aside a lifetime of propaganda and programming telling you that you live in a free country.

It’s time to look at the objective evidence all around you.

They spy. They steal. They wage illegal wars. They authorize military detention of civilians. They assassinate citizens.

They intimidate. They terrorize. They torture. They suspend due process when it suits. They destroy anyone who challenges them.

And now they want to take away a non-violent means of protecting yourself.

This is our reality. And at a minimum, it’s time for rational, thinking people to come up with a Plan B. What’s yours?

The Richest Man In Asia Is Selling Everything In China

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Posted on 17th April 2014 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

Submitted by Simon Black of Sovereign Man blog,

Here’s a guy you want to bet on– Li Ka-Shing.

Li is reportedly the richest person in Asia with a net worth well in excess of $30 billion, much of which he made being a shrewd property investor.

Li Ka-Shing was investing in mainland China back in the early 90s, way back before it became the trendy thing to do. Now, Li wants out of China. All of it.

Since August of last year, he’s dumped billions of dollars worth of his Chinese holdings. The latest is the $928 million sale of the Pacific Place shopping center in Beijing– this deal was inked just days ago.

Once the deal concludes, Li will no longer have any major property investments in mainland China.

This isn’t a person who became wealthy by being flippant and scared. So what does he see that nobody else seems to be paying much attention to?

Simple. China’s credit crunch.

After years of unprecedented monetary expansion that has put the economy in a precarious state, the Chinese government has been desperately trying to reign in credit growth.

The shadow banking system alone is now worth 84% of GDP according to an estimate by JP Morgan. The IMF pegs total private credit at 230% of GDP, jumping by 100% in the last few years.

Historically, growth rates of these proportions have nearly always been followed by severe financial crises. And Chinese leaders are doing their best to engineer a ‘soft landing’.

If they’re successful, the world will only see major drops in global growth, stocks, property, and commodity prices.

If they fail, the spillover could become pandemic.

This isn’t important just for Asian property tycoons like Li Ka-Shing. Even if you don’t know Guangzhou from Hangzhou from Quanzhou, there are implications for the entire world.

Here in Chile is a great example.

Chile is among the top copper producers worldwide, China among its top consumers. With a major slowdown in China, however, copper prices have dropped considerably.

Consequently, the Chilean economy has slowed. The peso is down nearly 10% against the US dollar in recent months, and the central bank is slashing rates trying to prop up growth.

There are similar situations playing out across the globe.

Not to mention, China could put the entire global financial system on its back just by dumping a portion of its Treasuries in order to defend the yuan.

Now, you’d think that a major credit crunch with far-reaching consequences in the world’s second largest economy, its largest manufacturer, and its largest holder of US dollar reserves, would be constant front-page news.

But it’s not.

Most traditional investors are unaware that what’s happening in China will likely have far greater implications to their investment portfolios than the policies of Janet Yellen and Barack Obama combined. At least for now.

And folks who don’t see this coming and keep buying at the all-time high may see their portfolios turned upside down. Quickly.

At the same time, some investors who are conservative and cashed up may realize a real ‘blood in the streets’ moment.

Again, using Chile as an example, I’m starting to see over-leveraged property owners coming to the market in droves ready to make a deal. This is great news because my shareholders and I are able to buy far more property with US dollars than we could even just six months ago.

I expect this trend to hold given that China is just at the beginning of its process.

It’s said that the Chinese word for “crisis” is a combination of “danger” and “opportunity”.

This isn’t entirely accurate. ‘Weiji’ can have several meanings, but is probably best translated as ‘dangerous’ and ‘crucial point’.

We may certainly be at that crucial point, and now might be a good time to take another look at your finances and consider selling before a major crash. The richest man in Asia certainly thinks so.

THE MODERN DAY OTTOMAN EMPIRE

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Posted on 29th March 2014 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

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Guest post by Simon Black

By the 19th century, the Ottoman Empire had become a has-been power whose glory days as the world’s superpower were well behind them.

They had been supplanted by the French, the British, and the Russian empires in all matters of economic, military, and diplomatic strength. Much of this was due to the Ottoman Empire’s massive debt burden.

In 1868, the Ottoman government spent 17% of its entire tax revenue just to pay interest on the debt.

And they were well past the point of no return where they had to borrow money just to pay interest on the money they had already borrowed.

The increased debt meant the interest payments also increased. And three years later in 1871, the government was spending 32% of its tax revenue just to pay interest.

By 1877, the Ottoman government was spending 52% of its tax revenue just to pay interest. And at that point they were finished. They defaulted that year.

This is a common story throughout history.

The French government saw a meteoric rise in their debt throughout the late 1700s. By 1788, on the eve of the French Revolution, they spent 62% of their tax revenue to pay interest on the debt.

Charles I of Spain had so much debt that by 1559, interest payments exceeded ordinary revenue of the Habsburg monarchy. Spain defaulted four times on its debt before the end of the century.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that an unsustainable debt burden soundly tolls the death knell of a nation’s economy, and its government.

Unfortunately, it can sometimes take a rocket scientist to figure out what the real numbers are; governments have a vested interest in not being transparent about their debts and interest payments.

In the Land of the Free, for example, the government routinely doesn’t count interest payments that they make to the Social Security Trust Fund.

They’ve managed to convince people that those debts don’t matter ‘because we owe it to ourselves.’

Apparently in their minds, solemn promises made to retirees simply don’t count.

It’s like a person who is in debt up to his eyeballs with both credit card companies and family members has no compunction about stiffing Grandpa.

Obligations are obligations, no matter who they’re owed to.

Taking this into account, total US interest payments in Fiscal Year 2013 were a whopping $415 billion, roughly 17% of total tax revenue. Just like the Ottoman Empire was at in 1868.

Here’s the thing, though– it’s inappropriate to look at total tax revenue when we’re talking about making interest payments.

The IRS collected $2.49 trillion in taxes last year (net of refunds). But of this amount, $891 billion was from payroll tax.

According to FICA and the Social Security Act of 1935, however, this amount is tied directly to funding Social Security and Medicare. It is not to be used for interest payments.

Based on this data, the amount of tax revenue that the US government had available to pay for its operations was $1.599 trillion in FY2013.

This means they actually spent approximately 26% of their available tax revenue just to pay interest last year… a much higher number than 17%.

This is an unbelievable figure. The only thing more unbelievable is how masterfully they understate reality… and the level of deception they employ to conceal the truth.

INFLATION SUCKS

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Posted on 24th January 2014 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

Submitted by Simon Black of Sovereign Man blog,

One of the greatest lies of the modern financial system (and that’s really saying something) is about inflation.

The puppet masters who control the system have managed to convince people that deflation = bad, and inflation = necessary evil.

Perhaps the even bigger lie is that of the actual inflation statistics. They tell us that there’s no inflation… or minimal inflation.

And they tell us that the ‘target’ rate is 2%. Bear in mind that 2% annual inflation means your currency will lose over 75% of its value during the course of your lifetime.

But these figures are massively understated. And you don’t have to look hard for proof.

US postage stamp rates, for example, are set to increase this weekend. They’ve been going up almost every year since 2006.

This weekend, the rate for a one-ounce first class letter will rise to 49c from 46c, a 6.5% increase. And the price to send a postcard will rise from 33c to 34c, a 3.0% increase.

If you take a longer-term view, the price of a postcard back in 1951 was just one cent. This means that the dollar has lost over 97% of its value against postcard shipping rates in the last six decades.

Let’s look at this another way.

According to the US Department of Labor, the average household income in 1950 was $4,237. This means that the average US household could afford to send 423,700 postcards back then.

Today’s median household income is $51,017 (and that’s from a majority of dual-income households). This means the average family in the Land of the Free can now afford to send about 150,050 postcards.

It’s a huge difference. The standard of living denominated in postcards has declined by nearly two-thirds since the 1950s.

Short-term, long-term, the conclusion is the same: Inflation exists.

And any suggestion to the contrary that inflation is ‘good’ or at least a ‘necessary evil’ is simply a lie. It destroys both purchasing power and standard of living.

Rational, thinking people need to be aware of this. If you hold a lot of your savings in a bank denominated in paper currencies like the dollar or euro, you will lose.

And I’d strongly urge you to consider holding at least a portion of your savings in stronger, more stable currencies, or better yet, alternative asset classes that cannot be inflated away by central bankers.

This includes productive real estate, precious metals, or even collectibles.

SIMON BLACK ON NEW HAMPSHIRE SELF IMMOLATION

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Posted on 20th June 2011 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

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The blogosphere keeping this important story in the forefront.

From Simon Black of Sovereign Man

New Hampshire Man Lights Himself On Fire To Protest America’s Decline

Late last week, Thomas James Ball reached his breaking point. Driven to desperation by a system that bankrupted him and destroyed his family, Ball walked up to the main door of the Keene County, New Hampshire courthouse, doused himself with gasoline, and lit himself ablaze.

Hardly anyone seems to have noticed.

Conversely, when a 26-year old Tunisian man lit himself on fire a few months ago after police confiscated the fruits and vegetables he had been selling without a proper permit, it launched a wave of revolution across the Middle East.

People were shocked into taking action… protests and riots swept the region and one regime after another crumbled.

Rather than sparking an “American spring” and shocking US citizens into taking their country back, though, Mr. Ball’s act of self-immolation seems to have been largely ignored. There has been scant coverage (and scant is being extremely generous) of Mr. Ball in the mainstream media, and what little coverage there is generally discredits the man as a troublemaker.

This is how the system’s gatekeepers have been so adroit at maintaining the status quo– by suppressing dissent, marginalizing the detractors, and distracting the populace with meaningless, irrelevant drivel.

Mr. Ball left behind a lengthy missive prior to his suicide, which covers a range of topics from political corruption to why the family court system in America is utterly disgraceful. He was, to put it mildly, a staunch advocate of violent change, and it’s clear he hoped a great deal of others would follow in his footsteps to literally burn the system down.

(Ball even left instructions for how to make a proper Molotov cocktail along with specific vulnerabilities of police stations in his area…)

Perhaps the most interesting part of his final post, however, was the observation that the United States is no longer a nation of laws; Ball described what he calls the ‘second set of books,’ which is essentially the collection of policies, procedures, and protocols that courts and executive agencies rely upon.

This includes police departments and other ‘enforcers’ across the country that come up with standardized responses to take judgment out of the equation. TSA agents, for instance, are only following procedure when they fondle children at airport checkpoints. Even the guys who drove the trains to the concentration camps were just following procedures.

Ball argued that the nation is now ruled by such procedures, even in such institutions as family court where judges (by policy) pass the buck down the line to mental health case workers.

His anger and desperation for this system, which tore apart his family and bankrupted his finances, led Ball to light himself ablaze at the local courthouse in a state whose motto is “Live Free or Die.” Ball chose the latter.

The next day, life went on in America. There was no shocking front-page cover story or award-winning photograph to spark a national debate… let alone propel droves of fed-up citizens to flood the streets demanding change.

Rather, the New Hampshire courthouse cleaned up his charred remains and meticulously scrubbed the floors to eliminate all trace of the event. 24-hour news networks ran a quick blurb in their scrolling tickers amid more important coverage of the Miss USA beauty pageant and President Obama’s Father’s Day plans.

In other words, business as usual… suggesting that if there is, in fact, going to be a fight for the soul of the country, it’s a long way off, and many more degrees for the boiling frogs who are stuck in the pot.

My assessment of this situation, however controversial it may be, remains very clear: the great faceless enemy that opposes us, irrespective of our country of origin, is the institution of government.

Over time, this institution has inserted itself into nearly all aspects of life, such that a man cannot so much as enjoy a pint of beer, discipline his children, ride on the train, go to the doctor, open a bank account, apply for a job, go fishing, or watch a sporting event without the heavy hand of government being involved.

This is a beast that feeds on citizens; the more it feeds, the larger it becomes and the hungrier it gets. Of all the solutions out there, including armed conflict, civil disobedience, self-immolation, active democracy, etc., the only one that truly destroys the beast is starving it– take away the feast of productive citizens and accelerate its collapse.