Brickbat: Don’t Eat That

baconManagement of the Wagtail Close care home in England have promised better training for staff after a report found that Muslim workers at the home were refusing to serve bacon to residents when requested and even refused to help them buy ham, sausage or pork pies. The report said residents had complained to senior staff but received no help. 

from Hit & Run

Diversify Into Gold As An “Insurance Policy” Against Geopolitical Risk

“Investors could be forgiven for heading for the hills given the tumultuous start to 2016,”  so writes Andrew Oxlade in The Telegraph today who advises investors to diversify into gold as an “insurance policy”:

We have long been advocates of exposure to gold as an insurance policy. This was demonstrated once again in the recent sell-off when the price of bullion surged from $1,061 (£762) an ounce on New Year’s Day to $1,246 (£895) by early February. In times of fear, gold is in demand. The price also rises when inflation becomes a danger.

Deflation remains the bigger threat for now, which is partly why gold has been a poor investment in recent years, but the money printing excesses of central banks could yet unleash inflation. In the meantime, the gold price offers some protection during repeat episodes of buckling confidence.

Gold in GBP – 5 Years

The Telegraph, like GoldCore, had warned of such turbulence at the start of the year. John Ficenec, editor of the Questor column, warned of the real risk of volatility and falls in stock markets.

We believe that the tragic events in Brussels show the continued very high degree of geopolitical risk and the need for an insurance policy.

Further attacks are quite possible, including in the U.S., and this should support gold.

Geopolitical risk is frequently underestimated and it would be unwise to discount the risk of a September 11 style attack in the coming months. Intelligence agencies and ISIS themselves are warning of such attacks and investors need to be diversified to hedge this growing risk.

It gives us no pleasure to be the bearer of this bad news but it is important that the reality of the real risks of today are considered in order to protect and grow wealth in these uncertain times.

Read Telegraph article here


Market Performance This Week (Finviz)


Gold is -2.6% and silver -3.4% this week and markets are in a sea of red as they react to the terrorist attacks in Brussels (See Table).


Gold Prices (LBMA)

24 Mar: USD 1,216.45, EUR 1,088.75 and GBP 861.89 per ounce
23 Mar: USD 1,232.20, EUR 1,101.76 and GBP 870.03 per ounce
22 Mar: USD 1,251.80, EUR 1,117.35 and GBP 876.96 per ounce
21 Mar: USD 1,244.25, EUR 1,104.47 and GBP 863.60 per ounce
18 Mar: USD 1,254.50, EUR 1,112.93 and GBP 868.78 per ounce

Silver Prices (LBMA)

24 Mar: USD 15.28, EUR 13.70 and GBP 10.82 per ounce
23 Mar: USD 15.58, EUR 13.92 and GBP 10.99 per ounce
22 Mar: USD 15.89, EUR 14.16 and GBP 11.12 per ounce
21 Mar: USD 15.81, EUR 14.02 and GBP 10.99 per ounce
18 Mar: USD 15.94, EUR 14.13 and GBP 11.02 per ounce

Gold News and Commentary

Spot gold targets biggest weekly loss in four months (Reuters)

Stock Slide Deepens in Asia as Oil Slumps Amid Resurgent Dollar (Bloomberg)

Gold Falls to Lowest in a Month as Dollar Advance Saps Demand (Bloomberg)

World’s richest Hindu temple wants gold back rather than cash (Reuters)

China’s vice finance minister denies any secret US-China exchange rate deal (Reuters)

Gold Investors Unfazed By Fading Rally – Chart (Bloomberg)

Silver Attractive as Gold-Silver Ratio at 2008 Financial Crisis Level – Video (Bloomberg)

Technician: Gold Heading Toward $1,450—Here’s Why (CNBC)

Bonds Best-Bid But Bullion Blasted As Belgium-Bombing-Bounce Is Battered (ZH)

Stocks vs. Gold – Money and Investment (Future Money Trends)

Read More Here



‘7 Real Risks To Your Gold Ownership’ – Must Read Gold Guide Here

Please share our website with friends, family and colleagues who you think may benefit from it.

Thank you

via Zero Hedge GoldCore

The Threat Continues: Yuan Weakens For 6th Straight Day – Longest Losing Streak In 2 Years

PBOC fixed the Yuan at its weakest in 3 weeks, pushing the devaluation streak to its longest since early January. However, Offshore Yuan has now dropped over 1.1% against the USD, extending losses for the 6th straight day to 3-week lows. This is the longest streak of weakness in the offshore Yuan since April 2014.



It appears EUR and JPY took enough pain so the basket is revrting to the USD again…


What’s the opposite of passive-aggressive as a clear message is being sent to The Fed – tighten and we unleash the Yuan-weakness-driven turmoil…

via Zero Hedge Tyler Durden

Watch Matt Welch Talk About Gary Johnson’s Chances and Toes on Red Eye

Tonight’s Red Eye w/ Tom Shillue (Fox News 3 a.m.) will feature some extended discussion on the prospects for Gary Johnson (if he be the nominee) and the Libertarian Party in the nation’s upcoming Trump/Hillary bummer. I will be co-panelizing along with stand-up comic Sam Morril, actor Matt Walton, and the beautiful mind of Joanne Nosuchinsky. Other topics may include Starbucks’ sappy centrism, the Internet’s favorite new Nazi-bot, President Barack Obama’s dance moves, and more.

from Hit & Run

Refugee Crisis: Using Chaos To Build Power

Submitted by Alex Newman via,

A European Union military force with power to intervene in member states. A new “Marshall Plan” to radically redesign whole regions of the world and impose regional government. A United Nations empowered to manage it all. Christendom under siege. And the end of nationhood as it is understood today. That is where the “refugee crisis” is heading, as the engineered disaster wreaks havoc across Europe and beyond. Despite the appearance of chaos, though, it is all by design, with a series of radical goals in mind.

While the establishment’s demands on Europe to accept millions of Middle Eastern refugees have been couched in “humanitarian” rhetoric, the real agenda is nothing of the sort. Rather than helping out their fellow human beings, globalist forces actually created the refugee crisis and the suffering behind it. And they are using it to advance multiple, related agendas — primarily globalism and statism. That the crisis is being exploited to undermine Western culture, national sovereignty, and even nationhood itself is now beyond dispute. Top globalists are openly bragging about it.

“I will ask the governments to cooperate, to recognize that sovereignty is an illusion — that sovereignty is an absolute illusion that has to be put behind us,” declared former Goldman Sachs chairman Peter Sutherland, an ex-member of the Bilderberg Steering Committee who currently “serves” as the UN special representative of the secretary-general for international migration. “The days of hiding behind borders and fences are long gone. We have to work together and cooperate together to make a better world. And that means taking on some of the old shibboleths, taking on some of the old historic memories and images of our own country and recognizing that we’re part of humankind.”

Billionaire globalist and open-borders zealot George Soros, in denouncing European officials trying to control the human tsunami coming across their borders, similarly declared, “Our plan treats the protection of refugees as the objective and national borders as the obstacle.”

In essence, then, the engineered refugee crisis was created and is being used, at least in part, to advance what globalists often refer to in public as “global governance” and their “new world order.” As part of that, even the idea of nationhood is under fire — everybody is just part of “humankind,” as Sutherland put it. And as such, people must be governed by the “Parliament of Humanity,” as UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon referred to the dictators club known as the UN last year.

Already, the UN manages a global refugee program via the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). This agency decides which refugees will be settled where, including those destined to be settled in the United States at U.S. taxpayer expense. Further clues about the agenda can be found in the fact that the UN refugee outfit was until very recently led by António Guterres, the former president of the powerful global socialist-government-promoting Socialist International, as senior editor William Jasper documented in an October 19, 2015 cover story for this magazine.

There are several elements to the globalist plot as it relates to the refugee crisis.

Creating the Refugee Crisis

To begin with, it is important to understand that the same self-styled humanitarians claiming to be concerned about refugees, while demanding that they be given asylum in the West by the millions, are, in reality, the same people responsible for making their victims into refugees to begin with. As this magazine documented extensively in its October 19 cover story package, the globalist establishment literally unleashed the refugee exodus.


Among other actions to spark the crisis, Western governments and their allies — not to mention the globalist forces behind them, such as the Council on Foreign Relations and other global-government-promoting powerhouses — destroyed multiple Middle Eastern nations via war and chaos. These include Libya, bombed to smithereens by Obama and NATO under the supposed authority of the UN; as well as Syria, destroyed by civil war fueled by the globalist establishment; and of course Iraq, also crushed by Western intervention and globalist-fueled civil war.


Those same globalist forces were also responsible for wreaking havoc in many more nations — such as Yemen, Egypt, Ivory Coast, and Tunisia — through supporting uprisings, revolutions, terror groups, dictatorships, and more.


The predictable response to having one’s nation destroyed, of course, is attempting to leave — particularly if wealthier, freer nations throw down the welcome mat. And that is exactly what has happened and is still happening. Many of the same globalists responsible for creating the chaos and terror that refugees are fleeing from are publicly and loudly opening Europe’s doors to the growing tsunami of displaced victims. Obama and his billionaire supporter Soros, for example, were both instrumental in the UN-authorized war to destroy Libya, which was based on lies, and in fueling the civil war that is destroying what remains of Syria. And both of those figures have been very outspoken in demanding that the West welcome millions of refugees, regardless of the costs or the desires of Western voters.


The question that must be asked is: “Why?” The answers can be found in what has happened and what is happening, and especially in the policy prescriptions allegedly aimed at dealing with the crisis that globalists unleashed. At this point, Europe, Africa, and the Middle East are all in the cross hairs of internationalists, who are exploiting the refugee crisis to build up supranational institutions at the regional and global level to smash national sovereignty and even nationhood, to build up the power of government generally, and to destabilize societies. If left unchecked and unexposed, the refugee crisis will serve as a powerful tool to push the world ever closer to “global governance,” with a great deal of pain and misery along the way.


A New Marshall Plan: Regional Government for the Middle East

With the refugee situation quickly spiraling out of control across parts of the continent — the mass sexual assaults on New Year’s Eve across Germany and beyond, the implosion of law and order around Calais in France, the widely reported overrunning of Stockholm’s central station by refugee youths, and more — the public is now growing increasingly outraged. Indeed, even the establishment forces responsible for unleashing the chaos are now in some cases denouncing it. The New York Times, an establishment mouthpiece that dutifully promoted the globalist wars that sparked the refugee crisis and the subsequent flooding of the West with the victims of those wars (and many opportunists who joined the exodus), ran an op-ed pointing out that Germany was “on the brink” due to the crisis. Top European political bosses have also been sounding the alarm.


Another senior globalist, Rothschild banking dynasty protégé and billionaire hedge-fund boss Soros, played an instrumental role in encouraging the myriad wars and the subsequent tsunami of refugees into Europe that was sparked by those wars. And now, like other establishment voices, Soros is also pointing out the obvious. The European Union, he said in a recent interview, is “on the verge of collapse” due to the sudden influx of well over a million Islamic refugees last year. Not coincidentally, Soros also has ideas about “solutions.” And not surprisingly, those alleged “solutions” involve more globalism for Europe, Africa, and the Middle East — along with less sovereignty, self-government, and liberty.


In an interview with Bloomberg from the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland, the radical anti-national sovereignty statist claimed that Europe needed to finance a new “Marshall Plan” for the regions of the world from which the refugees are fleeing — regions and nations destroyed in large part by the globalist Western establishment figures pushing the new plan. Soros was expressing support for a proposal made earlier by a fellow globalist, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble. The new Marshall Plan they envision seeks to transfer wealth from struggling European taxpayers to areas of the globe ruined by globalist machinations — but the real agenda goes much deeper, as did the last Marshall Plan after World War II.


“What is most important is for us to invest billions in those regions from which the refugees come to reduce the pressure on the external frontiers of Europe,” Schäuble argued in a panel discussion at the globalist WEF, speaking alongside several European prime ministers who also played a key role in flooding Europe with refugees displaced from the nations they helped destroy. “That will cost Europe much more than we thought.” Of course it will, and taxpayers, already suffering under a crushing burden, will pay for it all. Writing in the Soros-backed “Project Syndicate” propaganda organ in 2014, Schäuble previously called for a global taxation regime in a piece called Why Taxation Must Go Global,one of his many calls for more globalism and statism.


So what would a new “Marshall Plan” for the Middle East and Africa look like? A brief history of the original Marshall Plan might offer some clues. Officially known as the “European Recovery Program,” or ERP, the scheme involved transferring the equivalent of almost $150 billion in today’s dollars from U.S. taxpayers to Western European governments. The ostensible purpose was to help rebuild Europe after World War II. In practice, though, it served as a key tool in the transformation of Western Europe into a statist region dominated by Big Government and supranational institutions, eventually culminating in the subjugation of Europeans under the unaccountable EU super-state. That was the goal all along.


As far back as 1947, then-U.S. Secretary of State George Marshall (CFR) — a key player in handing China to Chairman Mao’s murderous communists, and perhaps mass-murdering dictator Joseph Stalin’s most important ally in the world — called for European “economic cooperation” as a precondition for the desperately needed American aid after the war. “It is already evident that, before the United States government can proceed much further in its efforts to alleviate the situation and help start the European world on its way to recovery, there must be some agreement among the countries of Europe as to the requirements of the situation and the part those countries themselves will take in order to give proper effect to whatever action might be undertaken by this Government,” said Marshall, the man after whom the scheme was named. “The initiative, I think, must come from Europe…. The program should be a joint one, agreed to by a number, if not all European nations.” The Committee of European Economic Cooperation responded with a major report signed by government representatives from across Europe outlining efforts to create a “customs union” that could eventually lead to even further cooperation. U.S. officials were pleased.


Members of Congress even tried to get language in the statement of purpose for the original Marshall Plan bill of 1948 explicitly declaring that it was the policy of the United States to encourage the economic unification and the political federation of Europe. In the end, language calling for the development of economic cooperation was included instead. The next year, the “political federation” amendment was pursued again, with the result being the addition of the sentence: “It is further declared to be the policy of the people of the United States to encourage the unification of Europe.” By 1951, Congress finally came out and said it openly, with a clause included in the 1951 Mutual Security Act stating that its purpose was “to further encourage the economic unification and the political federation of Europe.”


The goals of U.S. government support for European integration were explained in part decades ago, though largely ignored, by top U.S. officials. On September 20, 1966, for example, then-Under Secretary of State George Ball (CFR) testified before Congress on the State Department’s view on forming an “Atlantic Community,” essentially merging the United States with Europe. “I find little evidence of any strong interest among Europeans for any immediate move toward greater political unity with the United States,” he explained. “They fear the overwhelming weight of U.S. power and influence in our common councils…. We believe that so long as Europe remains merely a continent of medium- and small-sized states there are definite limits to the degree of political unity we can achieve across the ocean.” Globalism was the agenda then, just as it is today.


Creating a Middle East Union

Not coincidentally, the new “Marshall Plan” is being pushed by the same globalist establishment that has been openly advancing the imposition of a “Middle East Union” on the region in recent years. “Just as a warring [European] continent found peace through unity by creating what became the EU, Arabs, Turks, Kurds and other groups in the region could find relative peace in ever closer union,” claimed Mohamed “Ed” Husain, a former caliphate-seeking Islamist and current “adjunct senior fellow for Middle Eastern studies” at the CFR, in a piece published in the Financial Times and on the CFR website in mid-2014. “After all, most of its problems — terrorism, poverty, unemployment, sectarianism, refugee crises, water shortages — require regional answers. No country can solve its problems on its own.” That is, of course, nonsense, but it is standard globalist rhetoric.


Plenty of other globalists have offered similar admissions. It has become fashionable for establishment figures and their hangers-on to compare today’s Middle East with Europe before the EU. Indeed, Richard Haass, the CFR boss and a former leader at the U.S. State Department, writing in Soros’ Project Syndicate, does precisely that. In an incredible admission, Haass explains, without admitting the CFR’s giant role in instigating all of the tragedies he mentions, that the CFR-backed globalist wars of the last decade and a half were crucial in setting the region on fire — the same blaze that now supposedly can only be extinguished by a CFR-inspired “Middle East Union.” The globalist strategy used over and over again goes like this: Create a problem, then exploit and manage the inevitable reaction to push a “solution.”


“The 2003 Iraq war was highly consequential, for it exacerbated Sunni-Shia tensions in one of the region’s most important countries and, as a result, in many of the region’s other divided societies,” Haass wrote. “Regime change in Libya [by Obama, the UN, NATO, and CFR apparatchiks] has created a failing state; lukewarm support for [CFR- and Soros-backed] regime change in Syria has set the stage for prolonged civil war.” And the chaos, bloodshed, and terror will continue, he says, until “a new local order emerges or exhaustion sets in.” In the meantime, globalists should treat the region as a “condition to be managed,” Haass said. How convenient — the CFR sets a fire, and now purports to have the fire extinguisher, promising a raging inferno unless and until everyone submits to the globalist demands, including a new regional “order,” which, as in “new world order,” is globalist-speak for transnational government.


Of course, Husain, Haass, and the CFR are not alone. In 2011, the Islamist president of Turkey at the time, Abdullah Gül, also called for an EU-style regime to rule the Middle East. Speaking in the United Kingdom, Gül claimed “an efficient regional economic cooperation and integration mechanism” was needed for the region. “We all saw the role played by the European Union in facilitating the democratic transition in central and Eastern Europe after the fall of the Berlin Wall,” he claimed. Islamic Turkey is also working to join the EU.


Various Middle Eastern tyrants have echoed the calls for a regional regime, too — the kings of Saudi Arabia and Jordan, for example. As Husain pointed out, the radical Muslim Brotherhood and the terrorist group Hamas are also working to unify the Middle East under one single tyrannical government of gargantuan proportions. With financial backing from the West under a new “Marshall Plan” and the bloodshed fueled by globalist-engineered wars, not to mention EU and UN support, the plot could easily become a reality.


Further Empowering the European Union

Also being advanced using the refugee crisis is the further empowerment of the EU itself, the regional government created thanks in large part to the original Marshall Plan. Among the various schemes allegedly needed to deal with the immigrant influx is the creation of military outfits — a border and coast-guard force — ostensibly aimed at “protecting Europe’s borders” from the immigration tsunami. The force would also fight “transnational crime and terrorism,” according to an EU outline of the scheme. The plan calls for mandatory biometric ID checks to come or go from the super-state’s territory, so everyone can be checked against Interpol’s databases.


Most alarmingly, perhaps, the EU military force would be able to “intervene” in European nations — even without permission from national authorities, as long as EU bosses claim the situation is “urgent.” In fact, even if the nation “considers that there is no need for additional intervention” from the new EU force, it could still be imposed by Brussels. The force would also have the power to commandeer national governments’ resources, something even the U.S. federal government cannot do to state or local authorities.


At the national level, some European officials were appalled. Creating such a structure “that is independent of member states is shocking,” said Polish Foreign Minister Witold Waszczykowski, noting that nobody even knew who the force would be accountable to. Greek and Swedish officials also spoke out.


Among EU leadership, though, it is par for the course. “Managing Europe’s external borders must be a shared responsibility,” claimed European Commission “First Vice President” Frans Timmermans with the Dutch Labor Party, a Bilderberg summit attendee. Noting that the new force could take over the management of national borders in some circumstances, the globalist official claimed, “It is essential to restore the credibility of our border management system.”


Meanwhile, EU officials and apparatchiks have taken to shrieking whenever a government actually takes serious actions to “restore the credibility” of border management. The howls have been especially pronounced when border checks were re-introduced along some intra-EU borders. When Hungarian authorities tried to stop the tsunami with a fence along the border with Serbia, for instance, eurocrats were fuming. In a letter sent to the government of Hungary, the European Commission — essentially the unelected regime now ruling Europe — blasted the use of troops on the border, complained about criminal sanctions imposed on illegal immigrants who damage the fence, and demanded that refugees stop being denied entry on the grounds that they transitted through a safe country. In short, actually guarding the borders appears to be the last thing on the EU’s agenda, except as an excuse to create a paramilitary force with powers to intervene in member nations.


Also at the top of the EU-empowerment agenda is a new agency in charge of refugees, with the power to resettle refugees in EU members against their will. A number of Eastern European governments have fought back against the plot, but it continues to advance, having already allocated a number of immigrants throughout the bloc. Last year the EU agreed to relocate 40,000, with that number set to balloon even further. (More than a million others are simply staying in nations where they registered without involvement with EU.)


For the UN, even all of that has not been enough. “UNHCR is deeply disappointed that although a majority of member States were in agreement with a wider relocation proposal involving 120,000 people, a final consensus on this could not be reached,” a UNHCR spokesperson said after the EU approved the deal. “Decisive agreement is needed without further delay to address the needs, as is bold action based on solidarity from all member States.” The then- “High Commissioner” himself, former Socialist International boss António Guterres, has also been loudly demanding that the EU usurp all power over asylum and resettlement. In other words, more assaults on sovereignty.


Some Europeans, though, have seen through the scheming and the exploitation of the refugee crisis by the Brussels-based super-state to advance its radical agenda. “Is Western Europe to be a series of democratic nation states that govern themselves, control their borders and trade with each other, or is the supra nationalist agenda of Brussels going to win? That’s the real debate that’s going on,” said EU Parliamentarian and U.K. Independence Party chief Nigel Farage.

Separately, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has described the orchestrated refugee tsunami as a tool of a “treasonous conspiracy” to destroy nationhood, Western civilization, and Christendom. “Ladies and gentlemen, what we face is nothing less than the challenge of finding ourselves at the gateway to the implementation of a deliberate conceptual project, which could be described as left-wing and which seeks to marginalize the nation states of Europe,” he told his countrymen. “Where this project has failed to overcome Christianity and the identity of the nation state — and the values and responsibility springing from it — in conventional political struggle, it will strive to eliminate it on ethnic grounds.”


Beyond crushing sovereignty, the crisis is also advancing assaults on liberty. Especially useful to the assault on individual freedoms has been the threat of terrorism posed by the influx of millions of Muslims, at least some of whom are and will be radicalized.


ISIS has been boasting that its operatives are among the refugees, and U.S. presidential contender Ben Carson even said it would be “jihadist malpractice” not to send terrorists into the West among the immigrants. He is right, of course, as the Paris attacks last year showed. Now, the jihadists will be used as the justification to wage war on liberty.


Already, as The New American has documented extensively, “Islamic” terror — much of it fomented behind the scenes by globalists and communists — is being used as a pretext to radically expand government. Just last year, EU “police,” known as Europol, announced the creation of a new unit to censor the Internet under the guise of fighting “extremism.” In Britain, authorities are cracking down on homeschoolers and Sunday schools under the guise of rooting out Islamic extremism. Attacks on gun rights, free speech, and more are all advancing under the guise of stopping “Islamic terrorism” and “Islamic extremism.” And as millions of Muslims continue to flood Europe, the totalitarian advances will only accelerate.

The end game is clear: using the increasingly powerful regional blocs such as the European Union, the African Union, Putin’s Eurasian Union, and the Middle East Union as building blocks to build what globalists such as Soros, Bush, Clinton, Biden, and others often refer to in public as their “New World Order.” In his recent book World Order, globalist operative and former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger laid out the plan. “The contemporary quest for world order [world government] will require a coherent strategy to establish a concept of order [regional government] within the various regions and to relate these regional orders [governments] to one another,” he wrote. State Department documents going back decades outline the same strategy.

If humanitarianism were truly the motivation, countless experts have pointed out, it would be radically more cost effective, not to mention humane, to help refugees and victims of globalist wars closer to their homes. Literally 25 to 50 times more people could be supported in Lebanon or Jordan than in Europe for the same amount of tax funds. The wars that destroyed Middle Eastern countries and caused the crisis to begin with would never have been launched if the purported “humanitarian concerns” of the establishment were genuine. Instead, the agenda is to advance globalism, pure and simple, and the establishment seems barely interested in concealing it anymore.

In short, the “refugee crisis” appears to have been engineered in yet another typical example of what legendary French philosopher Frédéric Bastiat described as concocting the antidote and the poison in the same laboratory. Now that the deed is done, politicians and establishment figures are pointing out the obvious while exploiting the inevitable public reaction. Hopefully the people of Europe and the world will be smarter than to fall for the ruse yet again, as the consequences are deadly serious.

via Zero Hedge Tyler Durden

Tough Guy Ted Warns “Sniveling Coward” Trump: “Leave My Wife Alone”

This embarrassing episode just goes from farce to farcical-er.

Phase 1:Cruz Reps "Cross The Line"

Almost a week ago, we were stunned when we learned that in order to support Ted Cruz and to "attack" Donald Trump, Liz Mair's anti-Trump Make America Awesome super PAC launched a Facebook campaign which in addition to showcasing Mitt Romney's support for Ted Cruz, emphasizing Trump’s past support for pro-choice policies, it also crossed the family line when it showed a GQ modeling photo of Melania Trump posing nude.



Phase 2: Trumps Warns Cruz…

Phase 3: Cruz Warns Trump – Don't Do The Same Thing To Me That [My Reps] Just Did To You (Or Else!)

Phase 4: Trump Goes There

Phase 5: Cruz Goes Full Rambo

So to sum up – 'Cruz' uses naked images of Trump's wife to disparage him to saintly 'Utah-ans'; Trump pissed; Cruz warns Trump not to reciprocate; Trump shows ugly picture of Cruz's wife… Cruz unleashes inner Hulk as Trump dares to do what Cruz reps did to him…

All we can say is – thank goodness there are no naked picture of Heidi floating around.

Stay Classy San Diego!

via Zero Hedge Tyler Durden

For The Average American, Owning A Home Is Increasingly Unaffordable

One month ago, in its traditionally cheerful assessment of the US housing market, the NAR’s Larry Yun snuck in an unexpected warning:

“Home prices ascending near or above double-digit appreciation aren’t healthy – especially considering the fact that household income and wages are barely rising.

He did it again just a few days ago:

“The overall demand for buying is still solid entering the busy spring season, but home prices and rents outpacing wages and anxiety about the health of the economy are holding back a segment of would-be buyers.

This is about as close to a warning that the US housing market is back into bubble territory as one can hope to get from the NAR.

Overnight, we got another confirmation of American runaway – if only for the vast majority of people – home prices, when RealtyTrac released its Q1 2016 Home Affordability Index, which showed that in Q1 2016, 9% of U.S. county housing markets were less affordable than their historically normal levels, up from 2 percent of markets that exceeded historic home affordability levels a year ago.

That may not sound like much but it means that marginal “bubble” conditions of the type the NAR was warning about, have returned.  It means that home buyers need to spend more of their incomes on housing, leaving less money for other purchases.

But where this home inflation is most evident is in the clear disconnect between home prices which are rising faster than wages in most of the United States, making homeownership increasingly difficult for average Americans. 

The report found that home price growth exceeded wage growth in nearly two thirds of the nation’s housing markets so far this year, with urban centers like San Francisco and New York City among the least affordable.

This is what the RealtyTrac report found:

Annual change in median home prices in Q1 2016 outpaced annual change in average weekly wages in Q3 2015 (the most recent county-level wage data available from BLS) in 276 of the 456 counties analyzed for the report (61 percent).


The top five most-populated county housing markets where price growth outpaced wage growth were Los Angeles County, California (5 percent median home price growth and 3 percent average wage growth); Maricopa County, Arizona in the Phoenix metro area (8 percent median home price growth and 2 percent average wage growth); San Diego County, California (5 percent median home price growth and 4 percent average wage growth); and Orange County, California (5 percent median home price growth and 2 percent average wage growth).


Other markets where median home price growth outpaced average wage growth included counties in Miami, Brooklyn, Dallas, Seattle and Las Vegas.


“I’m sure it comes as no surprise to anyone in Seattle that it’s getting harder and harder to afford a home,” said Matthew Gardner, chief economist at Windermere Real Estate, covering the Seattle market. “Thanks in part to strong income growth and intense competition, home prices continue to escalate at rates that are negatively impacting affordability. Something else pushing up prices is the Washington State Growth Management Act, which continues to limit developable land and is holding back many builders from adding much-needed inventory to the market.”

More troubling is that at the national level, prevailing home prices have now risen faster than average wages for four consecutive years.


It is this troubling trend – which is leading to declining demand as well as even bubblier, debt-fueled conditions for the rest – that the NAR is worried about.

So is RealtyTrac: “While the vast majority of housing markets are still affordable by their own historic standards, home prices are floating out of reach for average wage earners in a growing number of U.S. housing markets,” said Daren Blomquist, senior vice president at RealtyTrac, which monitors housing market trends.

Well, that’s what mortgage debt is for; the same debt the Fed is hoping US consumer will splurge on and US lenders will eagerly hand out just so the housing bubble of 2006/7 can be recreated and housing can again become a “money-like” instrument – which as we have explained in our shadow debt series is the all important missing link which the Fed needs to come back so it can finally stop micromanaging the US market and to a lesser extent, economy.

It is the stubborn unwillingness of Americans to comply with this directive to go out and rake up as much mortgage debt as they can that is the biggest hurdle to “renormalizing” to a post-bubble economy, because in addition to a stock bubble, the US economy also needs a housing bubble to restore its previous “shine.”

RealtyTrac also found that the national median home price requires 30% of average wage. This means that in Q1, the average wage earner needed to spend 30.2% of monthly wages to make monthly mortgage payments (including property taxes and insurance) on a median-priced home ($199,000), up from 26.4 percent of average wages needed to buy a median-priced home in the first quarter of 2015.

It adds that “when home prices were most affordable nationwide in Q1 2012, the average wage earner needed to spend 22.2 percent of monthly wages to buy a median-priced home. When home prices were least affordable nationwide in Q2 2006, the average wage earner needed to spend 53.2 percent of monthly wages to buy a median priced home.

* * *

What this simply means is that while few will want to admit it, the bubble conditions of an unaffordable (for most) housing bubble have returned.

Finally, for those curious, these are the least and most affordable housing markets in the US:

Markets least affordable by absolute standard

The top five least affordable counties based on percentage of average wages to buy a median priced home were Kings County, New York (Brooklyn) at 120.4 percent; Marin County, California in the San Francisco metro area at 109.2 percent; Santa Cruz County, California in the Santa Cruz metro area at 106.9 percent; New York County, New York (Manhattan) at 105.1 percent; and San Francisco County, California at 95.3 percent.

Markets most affordable by absolute standard

The top five most affordable counties based on percentage of average wages to buy a median priced home were Wayne County, Michigan (Detroit) at 8.5 percent; Baltimore County, Maryland at 9.2 percent; Clayton County, Georgia in the Atlanta metro area at 10.1 percent; Bay County, Michigan in the Bay City metro area at 11.5 percent; and Rock Island County, Illinois in the Davenport-Moline-Rock Island metro area at 12.3 percent.


via Zero Hedge Tyler Durden

It’s 1790 All Over Again – The World Is Sunk By Central Banker Conceit

Authored by Hugo Salinas Price via,

It was 1790 and the revolutionary National Assembly in Paris was worried.

Complaints were reaching the Assembly from all over France, that business was stagnant, sales were down, people were without work, and there was a great scarcity of money.

This was quite natural, because all business slows down when the prevailing source of Authority is under question. The Bastille prison had been taken the prior year by a revolutionary crowd and all sorts of ugly things were being said about King Louis XVI and his pretty young Queen, Marie Antoinette.

But this was the "Age of Reason" and the most educated, intelligent and reasonable people in France were members of the revolutionary National Assembly, which gathered daily in Paris.

The Assembly put their highly educated heads together and came to the conclusion that a scarcity of money was quite intolerable and that the Assembly must really do something about it.

"What do we have highly educated brains for, if we can't solve the problem of a scarcity of money? Without a doubt, Reason can overcome this problem."

So the members of the National Assembly thought about the problem of the scarcity of money, and came up with a splendid idea: "Let us create the necessary money, and things will go swimmingly."

Thus was born the "Assignat". Out of the collective wisdom of the Assembly, the Assignat was born as a claim upon the vast extension of lands recently taken by the State of France, from the Catholic Church. What could be more solid than a claim upon the lovely lands of dear France?

The Assignats were soon printed up, with various denominations of monetary value in gold Francs.

At first, the Assignats circulated alongside gold coin at par value. But soon enough, the exchange value of the Assignats against gold began to fall.

Thus began a nightmare episode that lasted seven years.

The first issue of Assignats did not relieve the problem of business being in a funk. So a second issue followed the first; and then another, and then more, and thick and fast they came at last, and more and more and more, falling, falling, always falling in value against gold.

The highly intelligent gentlemen of the Assembly decided that this fall in value of their Assignat must be the work of wicked, unpatriotic people who should be severely punished.

The Assembly decreed that a merchant should be punished by being sent to the galleys or to the guillotine, if he should venture to ask a customer who wanted to know the price of bread, with what money he planned to pay for the bread – whether it was with gold coin or with Assignats?

The Assembly created a national net of spies to hunt down the wicked hoarders of gold, confiscate their gold and have them part with their heads with a short, sharp shock on a big, black block.

In the meantime, the more intelligent of the citizenry took out enormous debts in Assignats, with the certainty that their value would soon plummet; with borrowed Assignats they purchased all sorts of things of lasting value, such as real estate, art and jewelry. In due course, the value of the Assignat fell to next to nothing and the debts were wiped out. Enormous wealth was transferred from the mass of the ignorant to the few who were able to see what was going on.

Eventually, the common people of Paris found that bread was hard to come by. Starvation set in, and the Parisian government had to provide rations of bread for the multitude – rotting, wormy bread.

In 1797 Napoleon came to power in France. He put a stop to the very reasonable plans of the highly educated men of the National Assembly, and declared that henceforth, only gold would be money.

In the center of the Place Vendome, where today there stands a great column surmounted by a statue of Napoleon, a huge bonfire consumed piles of freshly printed Assignats and the wooden printing machinery which fabricated them.

The highly educated and eminently reasonable men of the National Assembly had succeeded – in the mighty work of bringing France to its knees. But not one of those men, responsible for the colossal disaster, was ever known to have said about it: "We were mistaken".

2016: Why is it 1790 all over again? Because just as in France in 1790, today we have a set of conceited men running the world's economic policy on the basis of a flawed intellectual construct. In 1790, the flawed construct was the Assignat. Today, the flawed intellectual construct is the irredeemable dollar and its derivative currencies.

In 1790, gold was the enemy of those conceited men, because the depreciation of the Assignat against gold revealed the falsity of the Assignat; so the National Assembly did their best to suppress the use of gold by violence against its owners. Today, gold is once again the enemy of our conceited masters: gold, whose value threatens to expose the falsity of the irredeemable dollar.

In 1933, the value of the dollar in gold was 1 1/2 grams. Today, the value of the dollar is only about 2 1/2 hundredths of a gram of gold. Our conceited masters are struggling to keep their intellectual construct, the irredeemable currency which is the dollar, from plunging in value to thousandths and ten-thousandths of a gram.

Like the Assignat, which in 1797 fell to a value of zero grams of gold, the dollar faces the same inevitable fate. And since the rest-of-the-world's currencies are derivatives of the dollar, they too will become worthless.

The fundamental flaw in the thinking of the conceited members of the National Assembly of France in 1790 was their mistaken idea that they could invent a money more suitable than gold to achieve the prosperity of France.

Today, the fundamental flaw in the thinking of our conceited Masters of the Universe is the same as that which blinded the members of the National Assembly in France, in 1790: they are convinced that their intellectual construct, the irredeemable dollar, is far more suitable than gold for use as money.

The conceit of the majority of the members of the National Assembly in France in 1790 led to the total prostration of the economy of France in the course of seven years. The conceited Central Bankers of today will without a doubt achieve a world sunk in economic prostration. But don't expect any one of them to ever say "We were mistaken".

So that's why It's 1790 All Over Again.

via Zero Hedge Tyler Durden

Libya: It Was About Regime Change, and It Was a Disaster

Five years ago this week, the U.S. began its intervention in the Libyan revolts against Moammar Qaddafi. Hillary Clinton, likely Democratic presidential candidate and reasonably likely next president of these United States, had a lot to do with all that mess, being secretary of state at the time.

In a detailed and damning look back on our little Libyan adventure and its aftermath in Foreign Policy, Micah Zenko looks at what Secretary Clinton thought about what had happened and her role in it. He notes that she very much sloughs over the time period when the clear purpose, from the U.S. perspective, went from “protect[ing] civilians in Libya” to overthrowing the regime. 

She has little to say about a U.S.-led NATO coalition’s role in helping the rebels along and adding both to casualties at the time and enduring trouble and chaos five years later.

Zenko sees, with merit, that the the Libya story and would-be president Hillary Clinton’s role in it is a valuable and informative “case study for the ways that supposedly limited interventions tend to mushroom into campaigns for regime change.”

Obama started on March 28, 2011, assuring us it was all about “protect[ing] the Libyan people from immediate danger and to establish a no-fly zone.… Broadening our military mission to include regime change would be a mistake.” Various other administration officials echoed that in the coming weeks.

Then Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, though, “told the New York Times last month that ‘I can’t recall any specific decision that said, ‘Well, let’s just take him out,’ although at the time “‘the fiction was maintained” that the goal was limited to disabling Colonel Qaddafi’s command and control.”

Zenko details that the actual pattern of NATO’s strikes makes it hard to believe they weren’t trying to kill Qaddafi pretty much form the beginning though it was denied straight-up by administration figures.

In fact, the NATO forces were not only not sticking to enforcing U.N. Security Council resolutions but actively facilitating their violation when it came to supplying arms to the rebels, which was supposed to be a no-no.

In this sense, then, it was an American intervention that at least achieved its real goal, if not one worth the expenditure of U.S. treasure and reputation, and one we should have lived to regret. As Zenko wrote:

on Oct. 20, 2011, it was a U.S. Predator drone and French fighter aircraft that attacked a convoy of regime loyalists trying to flee Qaddafi’s hometown of Sirte. The dictator was injured in the attack, captured alive, and then extrajudicially murdered by rebel forces.

This sort of lying to the American people about what our military is trying to do is a long tradition and ongoing to this day in terms of our essentially combat operations against ISIS. This sort of thing, this:

gradual accretion of troops, capabilities, arms transfers, and expanded military missions seemingly just “happens,” because officials frame each policy step as normal and necessary. The reality is that, collectively, they represent a fundamentally larger and different intervention.

Clinton tried to show some warrior cojones with her famous “We came, we saw, he died” zinger. Clinton described that before an October 2015 hearing as “an expression of relief that the military mission undertaken by NATO and our other partners had achieved its end.”

But as Zenko’s article makes clear, that wasn’t the end that we the people were told was being pursued. And Clinton’s eager central role in such a game of tricking both U.S. and world opinion into not caring much about military actions by misleading us about their goals and intentions is something I hope voters don’t forget.

I wrote on some larger issues involving the penumbra of misleading secrecy surrounding American foreign policy in “Secret Foreign Policy is Bad for Democracy.” That’s still quite true, even when the secrets are kept by Democratic presidential aspirants.

Reason TV on the Obama administration’s tendency to wage wars that aren’t “really wars.”

from Hit & Run