Obama Explains Why The Presidential Race Is Such A “Nail-Biter”

The President of "the most transparent administration ever" is shocked at how close the election has become. Having seemed to be try to shame the black community into voting for Hillary (calling it a "personal insult"), CNN reports that President Obama has found another scapegoat  – blaming "misinformation" from right-wing websites for the "nail-biter."

President Obama told African American leaders he’d take it as “personal insult” if the community doesn’t turn out in droves and vote for the Hillary Clinton in November.

As NYPost reports,

Speaking at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation gala Saturday night, Obama made an impassioned pitch to voters who may be leery of Clinton by putting his legacy as the first African American president on the ticket in November.

“I will consider it a personal insult, an insult to my legacy if this community lets down its guard and fails to activate itself in this election,” Obama said. “You want to give me a good send-off, go vote.”

Here's why… Hillary is losing the Black vote…

USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Daily Tracking Poll

And while Clinton continues to lead among non-white voters, overall her national poll numbers are plunging… 

But do not worry, President Obama has an excuse for that too… (via CNN)

President Obama says "misinformation" fed by Fox News, Rush Limbaugh and right-wing web sites partly explains why the presidential race is such a nail-biter.

 

At a fundraiser in New York City, he cited political polarization and specifically called out the influence of conservative media.

 

"This should not be a close election, but it will be. And the reason it will be is not because of Hillary's flaws, but rather because, structurally, we've become a very polarized society," Obama said Sunday.

 

He continued, "If all you're doing is watching Fox News and listening to Rush Limbaugh and reading some of the blogs that are churning out a lot of misinformation on a regular basis, then it's very hard for you to think that you're going to vote for somebody who you've been told is taking the country in the wrong direction."

 

"And so, structurally, we already have these divisions and it's going to be hard to overcome those," Obama said.

For the men and women who paid tens of thousands of dollars to attend the fundraiser, the implication was clear: We need your checks to help counter the conservative media narrative.

*  *  *

So… to summarize – it's the right-wing "crazies" that have polarized this nation; not policy that created welfare cliffs, sent black income inequality to record highs, enabled a record number of Americans on food stamps, continued to enact crony capitalism at every chance, extended the socialist state – further dividing the 'payers' from the 'receovers', and crushed US productivity?

"If you like your black president, you can keep him… by voting for Hillary and ignoring all that truthiness from the 'other side'"

While writing this brief update on Obama's somewhat separate from reality pereception, were were reminded of a post from over two years ago that seems even more relevant as we near the election… via Brandon Smith of Alt-Market blog,

Is The Cloward-Piven Strategy Being Used To Destroy America?

In the mid-sixties at the height of the “social revolution” the line between democratic benevolence and outright communism became rather blurry. The Democratic Party, which controlled the presidency and both houses of Congress, was used as the springboard by social engineers to introduce a new era of welfare initiatives enacted in the name of “defending the poor”, also known as the “Great Society Programs”. These initiatives, however, were driven by far more subversive and extreme motivations, and have been expanded on by every presidency since, Republican and Democrat alike.

At Columbia University, sociologist professors Richard Cloward and Francis Fox Piven introduced a political strategy in 1966 in an article entitled 'The Weight Of The Poor: A Strategy To End Poverty'. This article outlined a plan that they believed would eventually lead to the total transmutation of America into a full-fledged centralized welfare state (in other words, a collectivist enclave). The spearpoint of the Cloward-Piven strategy involved nothing less than economic sabotage against the U.S.

Theoretically, according to the doctrine, a condition of overwhelming tension and strain could be engineered through the overloading of American welfare rolls, thereby smothering the entitlement program structure at the state and local level. The implosion of welfare benefits would facilitate a massive spike in poverty and desperation, creating a financial crisis that would lead to an even greater cycle of demand for a fully socialized system. This desperation would then “force” the federal government to concentrate all welfare programs under one roof, nationalize and enforce a socialist ideology, and ultimately, compact an immense level of power into the hands of a select few.

Cloward and Piven claimed that this could be accomplished at a grassroots level through community activism, and, that it would facilitate a more compassionate federal authority, however, there are numerous problems with these assertions.

The Cloward-Piven Strategy has nothing to do with grassroots activism, and accomplishes nothing tangible for the downtrodden poverty class. In fact, I would dare to say that Cloward and Piven as well as most social engineers are well aware that the concept ultimately only serves to give even more dominance to the establishment and pilfer even more freedom from the masses.

Cloward-Piven is not limited to the destabilization of state and local welfare programs. It can easily be used against federal level entitlements, and in reality, is much more effective against an entity with the proven tendency towards exponential debt spending. Though the federal government may be able to borrow fiat dollars through the Federal Reserve to prolong welfare rolls while the states cannot, a more volatile threat arises when debt monetization begins to wear down the purchasing power of the currency. Weakened purchasing power results in reduced consumer activity, less industrial growth, less GDP, and obviously, more poverty. The dollar has lost approximately 98% of its purchasing power since 1972, and after 50 years of the so-called “War on Poverty”, nearly one third of the American population now repeatedly slips under the official poverty line.

In the past decade alone, the number of people dependent on food stamps and EBT for their survival in the U.S. has doubled from 25 million people to nearly 50 million people. Those who receive some kind of payment from the government, including those on social security, disability, and veterans benefits, are approximately 100 million. Americans on social security do not consider themselves welfare recipients because they paid into the system, however, the point remains that if the federal money tap shuts down due to overwhelming participation, the checks will stop whether you paid into the system or not.

In the end, it is the Federal Government itself that is most vulnerable to the Cloward-Piven Strategy, and I believe the goal is to set fire to ALL social structures in the U.S., then assimilate them into a new globalist system.

The tactic of overwhelming the welfare structure REQUIRES the complicity of the government itself. A grassroots activist movement cannot and will never compel federal and state governments to expand welfare initiatives if they do not wish to. If welfare programs are not expanded beyond their capacity to be maintained, they cannot be overwhelmed. Therefore, government must cooperate with the Cloward-Piven Strategy by generating more and more welfare programs to be exploited. That is to say, the elitists who control our government, regardless of their claimed political party, must WANT to arrange circumstances to allow for Cloward-Piven to be successful.

Another key component of Cloward-Piven is the existence of an immense number of poverty stricken people. Without a significant portion of the population under the poverty level, there is no mass of people to use as a weapon. Again, grassroots activists would be hard pressed to actually create the kind of poverty levels they would need for exploitation. But wait! Government, along with the aid or direction of central bankers, is able to create any level of poverty it wishes at any time by simply pretending to bungle everything it does. Once again, Cloward-Piven (much like Saul Alinsky's repertoire of propaganda scams) is far more useful to the power elite than it is to the common citizen. As former White House Chief of Staff, Rahm Emanuel, famously said:

You never want a serious crisis to go to waste. And what I mean by that is it's an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before…”

In light of the Cloward-Piven Strategy, which is at its very core a method to artificially induce crisis, the otherwise insane policy actions of the Obama Administration and preceding puppet presidents now become perfectly logical. Obama, after all, has been a long time proponent of the methods of Saul Alinsky, the left wing gatekeeper equivalent to Neo-Con godfather Leo Strauss. Cloward and Piven were also both avid followers of Alinsky, who promoted lies, misdirection, subversion, and abandonment of conscience in order to win social power at any cost (special note – Alinsky also dedicated his book 'Rules For Radicals' to Lucifer…yeah, to the friggin' devil).

Under Obama's watch alone, our real national debt including unfunded liabilities and entitlements has risen to nearly $200 trillion. Our “official” national debt has gone from $10 trillion to $17 trillion in the short time Obama has been in office. Real unemployment including U-6 measurements stands at around 20% of all Americans. Personal wealth and savings have plummeted. Wages remain in stasis while prices on necessary goods continue to rise.

In my articles 'The Socialization Of America Is Economically Impossible' and 'Obamacare: Is It A Divide-And-Conquer Distraction?', I examined much evidence suggesting that Obamacare was actually designed to fail, and that the bumbling of the Obama White House when dealing with the program was purely deliberate. When coupled with Obama's handling of the current illegal immigration conflict, I would say that the Cloward-Piven Strategy is in full force.

Why fight tooth and nail against all common sense and history, why lie openly to millions of registered voters to get the program in place, only to allow it to derail because of a poorly designed website!? Because, Obama and his handlers know full well that it will end up costing the country billions that we cannot afford, and aid in a resulting crash.

Why the sudden surge of illegal immigrants into the U.S.? Why not! The White House has made it clear that it has every intention of keeping them within America by allowing the border patrol to ship the detained across the country where they are then released. Obama's threat to use executive action to force through his own version of the immigration bill is the icing on the cake. Amnesty is essentially guaranteed, I believe, in the near term, which is why tens of thousands of Central American parents are willing to send their children on a journey where they could very well be kidnapped by sex traffickers or killed. If the White House really wanted to stop this humanitarian crisis, the President would state publicly and clearly that America is not a drive through welfare center, that there will be no free goodies at the second window, and that there will be no chance of amnesty, instead of diverting more agents to the border to ensure more illegals are shipped into the interior.

The president does not wish to stop the flood of immigrants exactly because Cloward-Piven requires their presence. Not only would this officially add millions of people to welfare rolls, but I would venture to suggest that Obama will likely include automatic sign-up to universal healthcare as part of his amnesty measures.

If there wasn't enough strain on the social welfare structure before, there certainly will be now.

I would remind readers, though, that in the final analysis this is NOT about Obama. I have seen other commentators including Glenn Beck discuss Cloward-Piven in the past, but always through the blinders of the false left/right paradigm. Obama could not have attained the levels of destabilization he has without standing on the shoulders of those political errand boys who came before him. Ronald Reagan, for instance, was also responsible for signing the Immigration Reform And Control Act of 1986 into law, which was supposed to trade the amnesty of 3 million illegals for greater border security.  This new "more comprehensive" security was never implemented by Reagan.  Both Republican and Democratic regimes have made our current calamity possible, and the leaderships behind both parties are nothing more than paid mascots for international financiers and globalists who have a very different vision of what America should be.

If we allow ourselves to fall into the trap of making the developing crisis about a singularly unimportant man such as Obama, then the elites get exactly what they want – an angry and desperate citizenry out for the blood of a middleman and out for the blood of each other, while they sit back, relax, and wait to swoop in as our financial saviors with strings attached.

For those naïve enough to assume that Cloward-Piven is just a well intentioned activist method, it is important to understand that even if that were so, the effect of the Cloward-Piven Strategy will never achieve the goal its creators claimed to support. In my view, it is probable that they never really intended for it to produce wealth equality or an increased quality of life.

The tactic can only decrease wealth security by making all citizens equally destitute. As we have seen in numerous socialist and communist experiments over the past century, economic harmonization never creates wealth or prosperity, it only siphons wealth from one area and redistributes it to others, evaporating much of it as it is squeezed through the grinding gears of the establishment machine. Socialism, in its very essence, elevates government to the role of all-pervasive parent, and casts the citizenry down into the role of dependent sniveling infant. Even in its most righteous form, Cloward-Piven seeks to make infants of us all, whether we like it or not.

 

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President Clinton Admits “Some” Foundation Donors “Gave Money” To Gain Political Influence

President Bill Clinton appeared as a call-in guest on NPR this morning and his remarks regarding pay-for-play allegations surrounding the Clinton Foundation were fairly surprising.  When asked directly whether donors gave money to gain favor with the Secretary of State, Clinton brazenly admitted that “since we had more 300,000 donors, it would be unusual if nobody did.” 

That said, Clinton was dismissive of the relevance of the pay-for-play allegations saying it was just “natural for people who had been our political allies and personal friends to call and ask for things.”  Clinton’s comments seemed to echo those of DNC chair, Donna Brazile, who recently told ABC that it was natural for donors to seek access, saying that any questions over the impropriety of such behavior was just an attempt to “criminalize behavior that is normal.”

This new approach to addressing allegations surrounding the Clinton Foundation (i.e. admitting to improper behavior while simultaneously dismissing the seriousness of the charges) seems to be a coordinated strategy between the DNC, the Clinton Foundation and the Hillary campaign.  Just last week, Clinton Foundation CEO, Donna Shalala, admitted that there was “no question” that Foundation donors received “courtesy appointments” but simultaneously dismissed the behavior as completely normal in Washington politics.

Here is the relevant exchange between Bill Clinton and Steve Inskeep from NPR:

Steve Inskeep (NPR): 

“Do you think over the years, Mr. President that there were people who donated to the Foundation thinking that they’re building a relationship wit you, that they’re building a relationship with Hillary Clinton and that you guys might be back in the White House some day?”

 

Bill Clinton: 

“Well, since we had more than 300,000 donors, it would be unusual if nobody did.  The names I saw in the paper, none of them surprised me and all of them could have gotten their own meeting with Hillary.  When you’ve been doing this kind of work as long as we have, you know the people who are the major players. 

 

And also, some of them who call my staff, people were doing double duty back then, and I had an office of the former president when it was natural for people who had been our political allies and personal friends to call and ask for things.  I trusted the State Department wouldn’t do anything they shouldn’t do, from a meeting to a favor.”

 

Maybe some of them gave money for that reason [to gain political influence], but most of them gave it because they liked what we were doing.” 

The full interview is available for your listening pleasure below (segment on donors starts at 4:55):

Nothing to see here folks, please stop trying to “criminalize behavior that is normal.”

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Why Socialism Is Here To Stay

Submitted by Jeff Thomas via InternationalMan.com,

“[T]he government has to take resources from someone before it can dole them out to others. This act of taking destroys an economy. The more you take from the productive members of society, the less productive they become. That’s the primary lesson of the history of socialism.”

The above quote is from Porter Stansberry – from his book, America 2020: The Survival Blueprint. It states a concept I’ve described for years, but Porter states it more succinctly than I ever have. In particular, it negates the argument by many “progressives” that, even if they don’t recommend full-on socialism, they believe in getting “just the right mix” of socialism and capitalism to create the ideal system.

Unfortunately, as viable as this concept may sound, even moderate socialistic national policies result in moderate deterioration of the system. It’s not unlike being “just a little” addicted to heroin.

It may be argued that, “That’s different. With heroin, the addict will always end up wanting more and he’ll become even more dependent.” Exactly so – and that’s unquestionably true for socialism as well. Once the concept of “free stuff” is part of a nation’s governing system, the desire for more free stuff will inexorably rise.

And, of course, historically, we have seen that governments always step up to the plate whenever the demand for more free stuff is suggested. But why should this be so? Wouldn’t a more conservative government be less likely to proffer entitlements than a more liberal government?

Actually, no. To believe this is to misunderstand the very nature of governance. Those who are governed like to believe that their government exists to serve them, and all political leaders are quick to encourage this perception. However, amongst themselves, political leaders fully understand that they exist primarily to feed off of and dominate the electorate. Of course, they can’t actually admit this, but, regardless of party affiliation, that is their very raison d'tre.

In a free-market society, a government is not especially necessary. It may be needed to defend the country if it’s invaded, or, arguably, it may be useful in creating a national currency, building national highways, etc. (But even these needs may be argued.)

A free-market society is beneficial, as it creates prosperity. It enriches the population with money, goods, and services. It also rewards those who are most productive. However, it does tend to leave behind those who are less productive, and here’s where political leaders find their opportunity to cash in.

Let’s say we have a country that’s made up of five voters, with their respective net worth as follows:

Voter A:   $1

Voter B:   $10

Voter C:   $100

Voter D:   $1,000

Voter E:   $10,000

If I were running for office and declared that no one should own more than $10, I would not be elected, as most voters would quite rightfully regard me as a threat. But if I were to declare that “the greedy rich” have too much money and should be required to “give some back,” I might get all voters except Voter E to vote for me.

Why should this be so? Because no one thinks of himself as being amongst “the greedy rich.” For the man who is worth $1,000, the greedy rich are those who are worth $10,000 or more. But, likewise, the man worth $100 thinks of the greedy rich as those worth $1,000 or more. Human nature dictates that we don’t see ourselves as greedy, but it’s not too difficult for politicians to convince us that those who have more than us are greedy. Further, once we’re convinced of this, it’s not too difficult to fool us into believing that the greedy rich have, in some way, achieved this wealth by swindling us out of it. And, now that you mention it, yes, we would like to have some of it back, thank you.

So, any population becomes an easy target for leaders who promise to take from the rich and “give back” to the less rich, like a modern-day Robin Hood. But what of that claim that “just the right mix” of socialism could take some away from the rich, but leave prosperity intact? Well, here’s why that will never happen in any country…

Political leaders, as stated above, do not exist to serve the populace, they exist to feed off of and dominate them. They cannot do this without the wealth of the electorate passing through their hands. The more of the electorate’s wealth passes through their hands, the greater the amount that can be skimmed off to both enrich themselves and increase their power. (Only in Uruguay does the President leave office driving the same Volkswagen he did when he took office.)

And so, it’s the nature of governments (whether they claim to be conservative or liberal) to seek to increase the size of government annually (requiring ever-more revenue to pass through their hands) and to take an ever-greater part in the hands-on distribution of the nation’s wealth. All governments will do all they can to grow themselves, as it’s very much in their interest to do so. All governments will, regardless of their party rhetoric, continually pursue a greater level of socialistic policies. In this regard, political parties are interchangeable.

So, where does that leave the individual voter? Well, the vast majority will vote for the candidate whose rhetoric most closely follows his own ideals, but he will surely be the loser as a result. (Campaign rhetoric almost always proves to be a lie.)

The choice, really, is whether the individual is living in a jurisdiction where he believes the government has already become so socialistic that he’s a net loser, rather than a net recipient. Beyond this point, his future can only be on a downward trajectory.

This is a most unpleasant conclusion to come to grips with, as it informs the individual not only of his current situation, but the rest of his life. In standing back and observing his entire future from a greater vantage point, he realises that, increasingly, he will be beating his head against the wall if he remains where he is.

Those who internationalise do so with the understanding that, if they choose one country because it’s the most ideal to do banking in and choose another because it’s the most productive to invest in, they will prosper. At some point, they additionally realise that it’s also beneficial to apply that logic to their choice of country of residence.

Throughout the life of anyone who advances himself, there’s a tendency to change neighbourhoods from time to time to attain a better quality of life. Yet most people drop this logic as soon as they reach the borders of the country they were born in. In truth, the decision to move beyond national borders to choose a neighbourhood – one where the system has not deteriorated to the point that it’s dramatically usurping the wealth of the individual – is not such a great leap. In fact, it’s relatively easy to do.

In much of the former “free world,” socialism is here to stay, but the individual citizen needn’t be. He may vote with his feet and move to a better neighbourhood.

*  *  *

Socialism often leads to economic and societal collapse, hyperinflation, shortages, and shrinking personal freedom.

This has happened most recently in Venezuela.

The truth is, it can happen anywhere. The U.S. is not immune. In fact, it’s extremely vulnerable.

Increasing socialism, bad financial decisions, and massive debt levels will cause another financial crisis sooner rather than later.

We believe the coming crash is going to be much worse, much longer, and very different than what we saw in 2008 and 2009. Unfortunately, most people have no idea what really happens when an economy collapses, let alone how to prepare… That’s why Doug Casey just released a guide titled Getting Out of Dodge that will show you exactly how. Click here to download the PDF now.

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DHS Admits “Mistakenly” Granting Citizenship To 858 Immigrants From “Countries Of Concern To National Security”

Just days after the Obama administration leaked plans to admit 57% more refugees in 2017 compared to 2015, the Department of Homeland Security Inspector General, John Roth, released a memo highlighting how the U.S. government mistakenly granted citizenship to at least 858 immigrants from “countries of concern to national security” who had pending deportation orders from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). 

The report does not identify any of the immigrants by name, but, according to the Associated Press, Inspector General John Roth’s auditors said they were all from “special interest countries” — those that present a national security concern for the United States — or neighboring countries with high rates of immigration fraud.

Per the DHS release:

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) granted U.S. citizenship to at least 858 individuals ordered deported or removed under another identity when, during the naturalization process, their digital fingerprint records were not available.

 

In July 2014, OPS provided the Office of Inspector General (OIG) with the names of individuals it had identified as coming from special interest countries or neighboring countries with high rates of immigration fraud, had final deportation orders under another identity, and had become naturalized U.S. citizens. OIG’s review of the list of names revealed some were duplicates, which resulted in a final number of 1,029 individuals. Of the 1,029 individuals reported, 858 did not have a digital fingerprint record available in the DHS fingerprint repository at the time U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) was reviewing and adjudicating their applications for U.S. citizenship.

Roth

 

What’s worse, the Homeland Security investigation found that at least a couple of these naturalized citizens obtained “sensitive” positions after being granted citizenship.  One person was found to be working in law enforcement while 3 others received security clearance to access secure areas of commercial airports and maritime facilities. 

For example, one U.S. citizen whom Operation Janus identified is now a law enforcement official. Naturalized U.S. citizens may also obtain security clearances or work in sensitive positions. Until they were identified and had their credentials revoked, three of these naturalized citizens obtained licenses to conduct security sensitive work. One had obtained a Transportation Worker Identification Credential, which allows unescorted access to secure areas of maritime facilities and vessels. Two others received Aviation Workers’ credentials, which allow access to secure areas of commercial airports.

Finally, as if this is really any surprise, the DHS reports that, despite filing deportation charges, ICE officials “did not pursue investigation and subsequent revocation of citizenship” because the DOJ refused to prosecute the cases leaving ICE officials to “focus their resources on investigating cases the [DOJ] would prosecute.”

According to ICE, it previously did not pursue investigation and subsequent revocation of citizenship for most of these individuals because the USAO generally did not accept immigration benefit fraud cases for criminal prosecution. ICE staff told us they needed to focus their resources on investigating cases the USAO will prosecute. In late 2015, however, ICE officials told us they discussed with the Department of Justice Office of Immigration Litigation the need to prosecute these types of cases, and that office agreed to prosecute individuals with Transportation Security Administration (TSA) credentials, security clearances, positions of public trust, or criminal histories. To date, and with assistance from OPS and USCIS, ICE has identified and prioritized 120 individuals to refer to the Department of Justice for potential criminal prosecution and denaturalization.

The DHS said the “mistakes” occurred because applicants used different names or birthdates to apply for citizenship and such discrepancies weren’t caught because of old paper-based records that prevented immigration officials from searching fingerprints electronically. 

So does that imply that when faced with the dilemma of not being able to verify fingerprints the default decision of U.S. immigration officials was simply to grant U.S. citizenship?

All that said, we continue to have the utmost confidence that our federal government can thoroughly vet incoming refugees to exclude any potential immigrants looking to carry out terrorist acts in our country.

 

The full report from the Department of Homeland Security Inspector General can be read below:

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The ‘Emerging Art Bubble’ Has Burst: “Everyone Got Caught With Their Pants Down”

Submitted by  Mike Krieger via Liberty Blitzkrieg,

Earlier today, Bloomberg published a fascinating article on the collapse of what is known as the “emerging art market.” Namely, a slice of the art world where spraying a canvas with paint from a fire extinguisher had been commanding six figures a pop.

(apologies if we got the 'art' upside down)

Well all of that is now over, as the space has experienced a stunning collapse.

Bloomberg reports:

Art dealer and collector Niels Kantor paid $100,000 two years ago for an abstract canvas by Hugh Scott-Douglas with the idea of quickly reselling it for a tidy profit. Instead, he is returning the 28-year-old artist’s work to the market this week at an 80 percent discount.

 

Such is the new art season. At auction houses in London and New York, sellers are preparing to bail on their investments after the emerging-art bubble burst and the resale market for once sought-after artists dried up.

 

“I’d rather take a loss,” said Kantor, who is offering the Scott-Douglas work at the Phillips auction in New York on Sept. 20. “I feel like it can go to zero. It’s like a stock that crashed.”

 

Kantor acquired the work privately in July 2014. Four months later, a similar piece from the series went for $100,000 at Christie’s. Kantor expected the prices to keep surging, but in February 2015 another canvas from the same series failed to sell at auction.

 

“I feel like we were a little bit drunk and didn’t think of the consequences,” he said. “Then the bottom fell out. Everyone got stuck with their pants down.”

 

Before consigning his piece to Phillips, Kantor tried selling it privately for a year — through Blum & Poe, the work’s former owner, even on EBay. At one point he was asking $50,000 but couldn’t get an offer.

 

“There are certainly some cases where people have paid more at the height of the market,” said Rebekah Bowling, head of the Phillips sale. “We are in a market where we have to be conservative. Everyone is very price conscious.”

 

Prices for works by young artists such as Scott-Douglas and Lucien Smith soared with the auction market in 2014, sometimes reaching hundreds of thousands of dollars, when they were traded like bull-market tech stocks. But since auction sales began to drop in late 2015, the emerging names have been hit especially hard. Sales by some artists are down 90 percent or more as the glut of work and nosebleed prices scare away buyers.

 

 

That’s because speculators purchase art to resell it, not to keep it.

 

Today’s market is a far cry from a few years ago, when young artists churning out process-based abstract work presented opportunities for outsize returns.

 

The works were often created by artists still in their 20s. Smith saw a painting he made while an undergraduate at New York’s Cooper Union fetch $389,000 at Phillips in 2013, two years after it was purchased for $10,000.

 

This week, estimates for three Smith pieces are as low as $7,000. One, from the series he made by spraying more than 200 canvases with paint from a fire extinguisher, is estimated at $12,000 to $18,000. A bigger spray work sold for $372,120 two years ago.

 

Before consigning his piece to Phillips, Kantor tried selling it privately for a year — through Blum & Poe, the work’s former owner, even on EBay. At one point he was asking $50,000 but couldn’t get an offer.

While interesting in its own right, the reason I flagged this article is because it comes on the heels of reports of plunging sales figures in the ultra luxury segments of various real estate markets including Aspen, Miami, Manhattan, the Hamptons and Greenwich, CT. All of which followed a weakening London’s high end real estate sector last year, which proved to be the perfect leading indicator.

As I observed in September 2015’s post, Luxury London Home Sales Plunge 26% – Has this Mega Real Estate Bubble Finally Burst?

It appears the music may have finally stopped for one of the world’s largest luxury real estate bubbles: London.

 

It’s well known that foreign oligarchs love London real estate as a means to launder funds, typically “earned” by soaking their host countries dry via corruption and fraud. This has caused absurd and irrational spikes in high-end residential real estate in the English capital, as well as a flood of new construction.

 

With emerging markets now completely collapsing, the seemingly endless flood of foreign money is drying up, and with it, London real estate.

 

So has the London real estate bubble popped? Probably.

For related articles, see:

Luxury London Real Estate Prices Plunge 11.5% Year-Over-Year

Luxury London Home Sales Plunge 26% – Has this Mega Real Estate Bubble Finally Burst?

The Luxury Housing Bubble Pops – Overseas Investors Struggle to Sell Overpriced Mansions

Before You Buy That Rothko…How the CIA Covertly Nurtured Modern Art as a Cold War “Weapon”

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“Panic Gasoline Buying” In Southeast Leads To “Massive Lines”, Gas Shortages, Price Gouging

As reported over the weekend, the Colonial Pipeline, which runs from Houston to New York, began leaking on September 9, spilling 250,000 gallons of gasoline, or 6,000 barrels. The pipeline was built in 1962, and the current leak in Helena, Alabama, is the largest one Colonial Pipeline has experienced in 20 years.

 

As a result, various states in the Southeast, including Alabama, Tennessee, & Georgia declared states of emergency ahead of what could be substantial gas shortages, with North Carolina and Virginia joining earlier today.

For the Nashville area, however, this escalation achieved the opposite effect of the intended outcome: as the Tennessian reports, in the “panic-driven” rush to Nashville area gas stations to load up in advance of what would be higher prices if not outright shortages, motorists scrambled to load up, leading some stations to run out of gas while others reported long lines.

Ironically, the leaking Colonial Pipeline doesn’t even regularly supply Tennessee, said Emily Leroy, executive director of the Tennessee Fuel and Convenience Store Association. However, that did not matter to local residents  And, Leroy adds, “Panic buying is the worst thing that can happen under any circumstance.”

According to the paper, Nashville experienced similar panic in September 2008 after Hurricane Ike hit Texas. Officials estimated then that about 85 percent of Nashville area gas stations ran out of fuel — outages caused almost exclusively by panic buying. Many Middle Tennesseans had deja vu when they saw lines over the weekend.

Jackie Dawson, 69, of Mt. Juliet, Tenn., gasped when she saw five cars deep at the pumps at her local Kroger. “I was just amazed at how everybody went into panic mode when they shouldn’t have,” she said.

“One woman put gasoline in three huge gas tanks as well as her car. It was bizarre. Just like in 2008. Just like the ’70s.” In 2008, Dawson remembers sitting in lines that were 12 deep. “And they’d turn away 10 because they ran out of gas.”

About 25 miles away, her daughter waited in a 40-car line at CostCo in West Nashville. “I expected there to be a line, but nothing like what I found,” said health care worker Brandie Reeves, 39, of West Nashville.

While Leroy urged motorists to get gas only when they need it and to avoid filling gas cans “just in case”, that is the last thing on motorists’ minds as the scramble to avoid what may be an unknown price hike.

* * *

It wasn’t just Tennessee.

Overnight, AAA reported that the price of regular gas in Georgia jumped more than 5 cents from Sunday’s average of $2.26 to the current average of just over $2.31. The average price of regular gas in Georgia a week ago was around $2.10, AAA reported. The national average price for regular gas in the U.S. on Monday is just over $2.20.

Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal has issued an executive order aimed at preventing price-gouging by merchants amid some gas shortages caused by a recent pipeline break. In the order signed Monday morning, Deal said there have been recent reports that wholesale and retail gas prices have “substantially increased” in some markets.

 The governor said in the order that price-gouging is harmful to the social and economic welfare of Georgia residents, and issued the order prohibiting the practice.

Meanwhile, in North Carolina, ABC11 reported that gas stations throughout the central part of the state are having to turn away customers because they are out of gas due to the leak in the Colonial Pipeline. The ABC11 team reports that its crews around the Triangle “have seen stations without gas. Other places had massive lines or were only selling certain types of gas.”


Some stations appear to be resorting to price gouging: gas prices in the Triangle have risen an average of nearly 10 cents since Friday, although some stations are much higher. One station in Apex had prices over $3 a gallon.

“Based on our ongoing updates from Colonial, the construction of a bypass pipeline is moving forward which will soon allow fuel supply operations to return to normal,” said Governor McCrory. “In the meantime, my executive orders remain in effect to protect motorists from excessive gas prices and minimize any interruptions in the supply of fuel.” 

Colonial say they expect the bypass of the leak to be in place by mid to late week, according to the governor. Colonial Pipeline said in a press release Monday that they are gathering resources from Gulf Coast refiners in order to ship supplies. Deliveries are expected in Greensboro and Charlotte. 

There was good news: the AAA Auto Club issued a statement yesterday saying things should return to normal next week, and any outages are short term. “This will not persist, and indeed the price increases you’ll see do not represent a trend,” Tom Kloza of AAA’s energy analysis for oil price information said in the statement.

For now, however, these are the kinds of images that drivers in the southeast have been seeing over the past three days at their local gas stations.

Read more here.

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“Warped” WaPo Calls For Prosecution Of Its Own Source (after Accepting Pulitzer For Snowden Leaks)

Authored by Glenn Greenwald, originally posted at The Intercept,

Three of the four media outlets that received and published large numbers of secret NSA documents provided by Edward Snowden — The Guardian, the New York Times, and The Intercept –– have called for the U.S. government to allow the NSA whistleblower to return to the U.S. with no charges. That’s the normal course for a news organization, which owes its sources duties of protection, and which — by virtue of accepting the source’s materials and then publishing them — implicitly declares the source’s information to be in the public interest.

But not the Washington PostIn the face of a growing ACLU and Amnesty-led campaign to secure a pardon for Snowden, timed to this weekend’s release of the Oliver Stone biopic “Snowden,” the Post editorial page today not only argued in opposition to a pardon, but explicitly demanded that Snowden — the paper’s own source — stand trial on espionage charges or, as a “second-best solution,” accept “a measure of criminal responsibility for his excesses and the U.S. government offers a measure of leniency.”

In doing so, the Washington Post has achieved an ignominious feat in U.S. media history: the first-ever paper to explicitly editorialize for the criminal prosecution of its own source — one on whose back the paper won and eagerly accepted a Pulitzer Prize for Public Service. But even more staggering than this act of journalistic treachery against the paper’s own source are the claims made to justify it.

The Post editors concede that one — and only one — of the programs that Snowden enabled to be revealed was justifiably exposed — namely, the domestic metadata program, because it “was a stretch, if not an outright violation, of federal surveillance law, and posed risks to privacy.” Regarding the “corrective legislation” that followed its exposure, the Post acknowledges: “We owe these necessary reforms to Mr. Snowden.” But that metadata program wasn’t revealed by the Post, but rather by The Guardian.

Other than that initial Snowden revelation, the Post suggests, there was no public interest whatsoever in revealing any of the other programs. In fact, the editors say, real harm was done by their exposure. That includes PRISM, about which the Post says this:

The complication is that Mr. Snowden did more than that. He also pilfered, and leaked, information about a separate overseas NSA Internet-monitoring program, PRISM, that was both clearly legal and not clearly threatening to privacy. (It was also not permanent; the law authorizing it expires next year.)

In arguing that no public interest was served by exposing PRISM, what did the Post editors forget to mention? That the newspaper that (simultaneous with The Guardian) made the choice to expose the PRISM program by spreading its operational details and top-secret manual all over its front page is called … the Washington Post. Then, once they made the choice to do so, they explicitly heralded their exposure of the PRISM program (along with other revelations) when they asked to be awarded the Pulitzer Prize.

If the Post editorial page editors really believe that PRISM was a totally legitimate program and no public interest was served by its exposure, shouldn’t they be attacking their own paper’s news editors for having chosen to make it public, apologizing to the public for harming their security, and agitating for a return of the Pulitzer? If the Post editorial page editors had any intellectual honesty at all, this is what they would be doing — accepting institutional responsibility for what they apparently regard as a grievous error that endangered the public — rather than pretending that it was all the doing of their source as a means of advocating for his criminal prosecution.

Worse than the intellectual dishonesty of this editorial is its towering cowardice. After denouncing their own paper’s PRISM revelation, the editors proclaim: “Worse — far worse — he also leaked details of basically defensible international intelligence operations.” But what they inexcusably omit is that it was not Edward Snowden, but the top editors of the Washington Post who decided to make these programs public. Again, just look at the stories for which the Post was cited when receiving a Pulitzer Prize:

Almost every one of those stories entailed the exposure of what the Post editors today call “details of international intelligence operations.” I personally think there were very solid justifications for the Post’s decision to reveal those. As Snowden explained in the first online interview with readers I conducted, in July 2013, he was not only concerned about privacy infringement of Americans but of all human beings, because — in his words — “suspicionless surveillance does not become okay simply because it’s only victimizing 95 percent of the world instead of 100 percent. Our founders did not write that ‘We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all U.S. Persons are created equal.’”

So I support the decision of the Post back then to publish documents exposing “international intelligence operations.” That’s because I agree with what Post Executive Editor Marty Baron said in 2014, in an article in the Washington Post where they celebrated their own Pulitzer:

Post Executive Editor Martin Baron said Monday that the reporting exposed a national policy “with profound implications for American citizens’ constitutional rights” and the rights of individuals around the world (emphasis added). “Disclosing the massive expansion of the NSA’s surveillance network absolutely was a public service,” Baron said. “In constructing a surveillance system of breathtaking scope and intrusiveness, our government also sharply eroded individual privacy. All of this was done in secret, without public debate, and with clear weaknesses in oversight.”

The editorial page is separate from the news organization and does not speak for the latter; I seriously doubt the journalists or editors at the Post who worked on these news stories would agree with any of that editorial. But still, if the Post editorial page editors now want to denounce these revelations, and even call for the imprisonment of their paper’s own source on this ground, then they should at least have the courage to acknowledge that it was the Washington Post — not Edward Snowden — who made the editorial and institutional choice to expose those programs to the public. They might want to denounce their own paper and even possibly call for its prosecution for revealing top-secret programs they now are bizarrely claiming should never have been revealed to the public in the first place.

But this highlights a chronic cowardice that often arises when establishment figures want to denounce Snowden. As has been amply documented, and as all newspapers involved in this reporting (including the Post) have made clear, Snowden himself played no role in deciding which of these programs would be exposed (beyond providing the materials to newspapers in the first place). He did not trust himself to make those journalistic determinations, and so he left it to the newspapers to decide which revelations would and would not serve the public interest. If a program ended up being revealed, one can argue that Snowden bears some responsibility (because he provided the documents in the first place), but the ultimate responsibility lies with the editors of the paper that made the choice to reveal it, presumably because they concluded that the public interest was served by doing so.

Yet over and over, Snowden critics — such as Slate’s Fred Kaplan and today’s Post editorial — omit this crucial fact, and are thus profoundly misleading. In attacking Snowden this week, for instance, Kaplan again makes the same point he has made over and over: that Snowden’s revelations extended beyond privacy infringements of Americans.

Leave aside the narcissistic and jingoistic view that whistleblowers and media outlets should only care about privacy infringements of American citizens, but not the 95 percent of the rest of the planet called “non-Americans.” And let’s also set to the side the fact that many of the most celebrated news stories in U.S. media history were devoted to revealing secret foreign operations that had nothing to do with infringing the constitutional rights of U.S. citizens (such as the Pentagon Papers, Abu Ghraib, and the Post’s revelations of CIA black sites).

What’s critical here is that Kaplan’s list of Bad Snowden Revelations (just like the Post’s) invariably involves stories published not by Snowden (or even by The Intercept or The Guardian), but by the New York Times and the Washington Post. But like the Post editorial page editors, Kaplan is too much of a coward to accuse the nation’s top editors at those two papers of treason, helping terrorists, or endangering national security, so he pretends that it was Snowden, and Snowden alone, who made the choice to reveal these programs to the public. If Kaplan and the Post editors truly believe that all of these stories ought to have remained secret and have endangered people’s safety, why are they not attacking the editors and newspapers that made the ultimate decision to expose them? Snowden himself never publicly disclosed a single document, so any programs that were revealed were the ultimate doing of news organizations.

Whatever else may be true, one’s loyalty to U.S. government officials has to be slavish in the extreme in order to consider oneself a journalist while simultaneously advocating the criminalization of transparency, leaks, sources, and public debates. But that’s not new: There has long been in the U.S. a large group that ought to call itself U.S. Journalists Against Transparency: journalists whose loyalty lies far more with the U.S. government than with the ostensible objectives of their own profession, and thus routinely take the side of those keeping official secrets rather than those who reveal them, even to the point of wanting to see sources imprisoned.

But what makes today’s Washington Post editorial so remarkable, such a tour de force, is that the editors are literally calling for the criminal prosecution of one of the most important sources in their own newspaper’s history. Having basked in the glory of awards and accolades, and benefited from untold millions of clicks, the editorial page editors of the Post now want to see the source who enabled all of that be put in an American cage and branded a felon. That is warped beyond anything that can be described.

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Dear FBI, This Is Intent: Hillary’s “Oh Shit” Guy Sought Reddit Advice On How To “Strip VIP’s Emails”

At this point, our readers should be intimately familiar with the timeline leading up to the “Oh Shit” moment when the Platte River Networks employee, Paul Combetta, deleted Hillary’s emails despite later admitting to the FBI that he “was aware of the existence of the preservation request and the fact that it meant he should not disturb Clinton’s e-mail data on the PRN server” (if not, see “The “Oh Shit” Moment: Hillary Wiped Her Server With BleachBit Despite Subpoena“).  Once Combetta was summoned to testify in front of Congress, we also learned that the FBI had granted Combetta an immunity deal (see “The “Oh Shit” Guy That Wiped Hillary’s Server With BleachBit Was Just Granted Immunity“). 

Well, the plot just continues to thicken around the “Oh Shit” guy as a political researcher just posted the following tweet that exposes a Reddit thread from July 2014 in which Combetta sought tech advice on how to strip out a VIP’s (VERY VIP) email address from a bunch of archived emails.

 

The full thread initiated by Combetta can be viewed here, but below are a couple of the key exchanges. 

Combetta started the thread on July 24, 2014 with the following question seeking technical advice on how to “strip out a VIP’s (VERY VIP) email address from a bunch of archived email[s].” 

Combetta

 

Combetta was quickly admonished by a user named “borismkv” that “you can’t change them” because it was illegal and “could result in major legal issues.”  That, however, didn’t seem to deter the ambitious Combetta who continued to press “borismkv” for ways around the legal issues.

Combetta

 

The whole exchange may have been overlooked but for the following discovery from “Katica” linking Paul Combetta to the “stonetear” user name.  In the post below, this administrator notes that he’s “extremely grateful to Paul Combetta” who can be reached at “stonetear@gmail.com.” 

Combetta

Combetta

 

So now, we have evidence of the Hillary campaign and Platte River Networks conspiring in July 2014, a full 5 months before Hillary delivered emails to the State Department, to “strip out emails” in an obvious attempt to thwart efforts to collect federal records.  

Could someone within the FBI please explain how this does not constitute “intent”?

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‘Hard’ Brexit Looms For Ireland

The risks that a ‘hard’ Brexit will have for Ireland has been outlined by economist Dan O’Brien. Having once worked for the European Commission as the EU mission’s economic and political affairs officer for Malta and having worked on a free trade deal, his opinions are worth noting.
 

BREXIT

O’Brien outlines the risks on the horizon in the Sunday Independent and the article is well worth a read as it highlights the risks posed by Brexit to the Irish economy.

“A hard Brexit is now the most probable of the possible outcomes, with all the negative consequences for this island that such a rupture would entail.”

‘Things go from bad to worse for Ireland as a ‘hard’ Brexit looms over the horizon’ can be read here

 

Gold and Silver Bullion – News and Commentary

Gold Climbs as Investors Count Down to Fed Meeting, Dollar Sags (Bloomberg)

Gold prices gain in Asia on rebound as investors eye central bank meets (Investing)

Gold steady on uncertainty ahead of central bank meetings (Reuters)

Funds Dump Gold at Fastest Pace Since May as Fed Outlook Shifts (Bloomberg)

World’s gold miners stick close to home in hunt for more metal (Reuters)

Things go from bad to worse for Ireland as a ‘hard’ Brexit looms (Independent)

Ireland, Apple and Leprechaun Economics – Keiser Report (MaxKeiser)

Why Has Gold Stalled? (GoldSeek)

War is Peace, Ignorance Is Strength, Silver is Plentiful … (SilverSeek)

BIS flashes red alert for a banking crisis in China (Telegraph)

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Gold Prices (LBMA AM)

19 Sep: USD 1,315.05, GBP 1,007.99 & EUR 1,177.36 per ounce
16 Sep: USD 1,314.25, GBP 999.56 & EUR 1,170.08 per ounce
15 Sep: USD 1,320.10, GBP 998.26 & EUR 1,174.23 per ounce
14 Sep: USD 1,323.20, GBP 1,001.40 & EUR 1,177.91 per ounce
13 Sep: USD 1,328.50, GBP 1,000.36 & EUR 1,183.69 per ounce
12 Sep: USD 1,327.50, GBP 1,000.80 & EUR 1,182.54 per ounce
09 Sep: USD 1,335.65, GBP 1,004.68 & EUR 1,184.86 per ounce
08 Sep: USD 1,348.00, GBP 1,009.11 & EUR 1,195.81 per ounce

Silver Prices (LBMA)

19Sep: USD 19.12, GBP 14.65 & EUR 17.13 per ounce
16 Sep: USD 18.91, GBP 14.36 & EUR 16.85 per ounce
15 Sep: USD 18.96, GBP 14.32 & EUR 16.87 per ounce
14 Sep: USD 19.04, GBP 14.42 & EUR 16.96 per ounce
13 Sep: USD 19.16, GBP 14.44 & EUR 17.06 per ounce
12 Sep: USD 18.72, GBP 14.11 & EUR 16.68 per ounce
09 Sep: USD 19.41, GBP 14.58 & EUR 17.23 per ounce
08 Sep: USD 19.93, GBP 14.90 & EUR 17.65 per ounce


Recent Market Updates

– EU Bail In Rules Ignored By Italy – Mother Of All Systemic Threats and World War?– Buy Gold – Bonds Are ‘Biggest Bubble In World’ – Billionaire Singer Warns
– Silver Bullion Market – “Most Bullish Story Ever Told?”
– “Sorry, You Can’t Have Your Gold Bullion”
– Global Stocks, Bonds Fall Sharply – Gold Consolidates After Two Weeks Of Gains
– Gold, Silver, Blockchain and Fintech – Solutions To Negative Rates, Bail-ins, Cash Confiscations and Cashless Society
– Jan Skoyles Appointed Research Executive At GoldCore
– Silver Bullion Surges 3.5% To Over $20/oz
– Ireland “Especially Exposed” To “International Shocks” Warns Central Bank
– Deutsche Bank Tries To Explain Failure To Deliver Physical Gold
– Physical Gold Delivery Failure By German Banks
– Avoid Paper Gold – “Gold Delivery” Refused By Gold Exchange Traded Commodity
– Debt Bubble in Ireland and Globally Sees Wealthy Diversify Into Gold
– “Why Case Against Gold Is Wrong” – James Rickards

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Bernie Sanders Asks The Only Relevant Question About The Wells Fargo Scandal

While one can accuse Bernie Sanders of being a socialist, a sellout or, now that his presidential campaign is over, a “has been”, he is the only politician who has so far asked the only relevant question in the ongoing Wells Fargo consumer fraud fiasco. The following:

We wonder if anyone will ask John Stumpf a similar question at tomorrow’s Senate Banking Committee hearing, or if – mysteriously – all Senators had a meeting with Stumpf (or Bill Clinton) on some hot tarmac, where for 45 minutes they discussed nothing but “grandchildren and golf.”

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