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Global Warming Accelerates

New climate data shows that the global warming crisis is worse – and accelerating at a faster pace – than was understood as recently as last year’s climate-change conference in Paris.

by Nicholas C Arguimbau

Consortium News (May 18 2016)

The participants at the Paris climate change conference saw themselves produce “an agreement hailed as ‘historic, durable and ambitious’ ” and “the world’s greatest diplomatic success”, according to the UK Guardian on December 15 2015.

The president of the Natural Resources Defense Council said, “A great tide has turned. Finally the world stands united against the central environmental challenge of our time.”

They were still basking in the glow of their success, when news arrived of a sudden and extreme rise in global temperature, described by climate scientists as “stunning”, “a shocker”, “a bombshell’, “hurtling at a frightening pace toward the globally agreed maximum of two degrees Celsius warming over pre-industrial levels”, “a kind of climate emergency”, an event “using up all our room for manoevre”.

UK Guardian: “February breaks global temperature records by ‘shocking’ amount”. An event, in short, rendering almost obsolete everything done at the Paris conference.

The most significant aspect of the February event is probably the speed with which it happened. Spikes occur in global temperature during major El Ninos, although ordinarily not in arctic regions or the Southern Hemisphere, and this was the largest spike ever. It dwarfs the spike of the last major El Nino, 1998.

Here’s what recent history of global average monthly ocean and land surface temperature looks like.

As you can see, the monthly global average temperature went up in the last two months approximately as much as it had in the prior 35 years. To be sure, El Nino does funny things, but just look for another comparable El Nino.

As you can see, the February temperature anomaly hit 1.35 degrees Celsius, by far the greatest in history; a few weeks before, the Paris conference had given lip service to a goal of keeping below 1.5 degrees, already apparently impossible with the temperature anomaly passing 0.8 degrees. That wasn’t supposed to happen until we passed two degrees, but here we are at 1.35 only two years after we were at 0.8. Hmmm.

It looks sort of as if we should have drawn the line of relative safety at 0.8 degrees or below instead of two but that’s MUCH too little information to go on because the numbers are too “noisy”.

Reading the Data

What’s really going on? We know El Ninos produce spikes, but not like this.

We all know ice is melting in the arctic, which people say is bad because Miami could drown if enough ice melts. It turns out the drowning of cities is not all. Here’s a picture of the September arctic ice cover since 1979. As you can see, the ice cover has dropped most dramatically in the last decade, with the last nine years being by far the lowest nine.

There is a stunning video of the Arctic ice melt if you prefer visuals. People pay much more attention to the arctic ocean ice than to the inland snow, maybe because the ice covers great oil fields (As Pete Seeger asked, “When will they ever learn?”) But the same thing is happening except on a much grander scale to the Northern Hemisphere spring snow cover.

Here’s a graph of the June snow cover anomaly. Over the same period in which the Arctic Ocean has lost three million square kilometers of ice, the Northern Hemisphere as a whole has lost on average an incredible seven million square kilometers of snow cover.

Miami is in trouble and so are we. The fraction of light reflected by an object is its “albedo”. The albedos of ice and snow are close to one, whereas the albedos of earth and open ocean are close to zero. So if the snow and ice melt, more light will be absorbed by the earth and its temperature will rise. That’s the albedo effect.

Warming causes the ice and snow to melt and the melting causes warming, a vicious circle which could accelerate until there is no more snow or ice to melt.

Just remember this formula: If snow or ice melts, the increase in the incoming radiant heat energy absorbed by the earth is equal to the albedo of the snow or ice minus the albedo of what it uncovers, times the intensity per unit area of the incoming radiant energy, times the area involved. This is heating independent of and additional to that caused by carbon dioxide entering the atmosphere.

So if snow melts but just uncovers more snow there’s no change, and otherwise the change is proportional to the area of water or earth exposed.

Assessing the Albedo Effect

Only recently have scientists discovered how powerful the albedo effect is. There were models designed in the 1960s to assess the problem, from which it was concluded that cloud cover in the arctic would prevent it from becoming serious. Actual measurements, however, were not made until two years ago, using satellite data. Why it took so long is a mystery. Did “we” not want to know?

Be that as it may, the scientists showed that over the period 1979 to 2014, warming attributable to the albedo effect in the Arctic Ocean alone had been equal to 25 percent of warming directly attributable to carbon dioxide. Pistone, Eisenman and Ramanathan, National Academy of Sciences, “Observational determination of albedo decrease caused by vanishing Arctic sea ice”. These folks should get a Nobel Prize.

This is not a small effect. It means that if we assess global warming by measuring the accumulated greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, we are missing twenty percent of the warming just because of a small part of the Northern Hemisphere’s ice and snow cover. That’s a lot, and it tells us at least one reason why warming is happening faster than anyone expected, in fact faster all the time.

Faster all the time because that’s what a “positive feedback loop” does. The really troublesome aspect of the positive feedback loop is that it operates as long as the temperature is above a critical level, and cutting greenhouse gas emissions may slow the warming but doesn’t reverse it.

Paris ignored the albedo effect totally. As a consequence, the nations systematically underestimated the amount of warming we need to deal with, overestimated the time we have to do so and erringly gave themselves a large “budget” of permissible increased emissions. They are set to meet in five years for progress reports, and as things are going, we’ll have gone past two degrees by then.

Bad and Getting Worse

All pretty bad but it’s worse. We have to be careful how we understand the number, 25 percent, because it is about accumulated warming from 1979 over almost four decades, not about warming here and now. As you can see from the above graph, ice-melting has become dramatically greater in the last decade, and therefore so has the Arctic Ocean’s albedo effect.

Were the last decade used as the comparison period for global albedo-warming originating in the Arctic versus for the Arctic versus global greenhouse-gas warming for the last decade, the figure could be closer to 100 percent. And things will get worse, because at this point the Arctic Ocean still retains at least one quarter of its ice-cover in the summer but this will drop to zero at a date that is unclear, reducing the average albedo substantially.

When will the Arctic be ice-free in the summer? Maybe four years. Or forty.

– Washington Post.

So if the albedo effect isn’t yet as strong as the greenhouse-gas effect, it will be soon.

All of this is VERY bad news. People went to Paris and talked about reducing carbon dioxide emissions. The goal for years had been to take such steps as would keep global warming within two degrees Celsius with a probability of two thirds. The oil industry had been complaining that this would cost them $30 trillion. In practice fixing the industry complaint, the planning documents for Paris “budgeted” an extra $30 trillion worth of petroleum to be burnt by reducing the probability of staying within two degrees to one half.

Once it gets started, the albedo effect is its own cause, and stopping carbon dioxide emissions totally will no longer stop warming. In December, it looked as if we had a very small margin of safety that we could expend so the public could buy and the fossil fuel industry could sell another $30 trillion in carbon. [See Arguimbau’s “The International Energy Agency’s ‘Cookbook’ For Paris: A ‘Last Chance’ That Only Continues Forty Years of Failure”.]

But it doesn’t look possible any more. We can control the world’s carbon dioxide emissions, at least in theory, and we’d damned well better, NOW (the albedo effect means the thousands of gigatonnes of extra carbon dioxide emissions the nations are presently allowing themselves as a “budget” and giving gratis to the industry no longer exist), but heating from the melting of the arctic ice will go on, whatever we do to slow carbon dioxide emissions.

So will heating from the melting of the Siberian and North American snow, which apparently already is twice that of the Arctic ice and because the snow occupies an area several times that of the Arctic Ocean and will therefore ultimately have an albedo effect several times larger.

Disappearing Snow

The Northern Hemisphere snow cover must be heating the earth about twice as fast as the Arctic ice melt. Then of course is the melting of the ice floating on the sea surrounding Antarctica, coming from an area comparable to the Arctic ice melt but not presently well-advanced.

Finally, warming from melting of the Greenland (and Antarctica, but the present warming may not yet be sufficient to assure that) land-based snow-and-ice cover, which is not yet happening because so far the snow and ice are too thick to be uncovering land as they melt, will begin unless for some unascertained reason positive cooling takes place elsewhere.

And then there is methane. Ouch! And remember, these are all effects we may now expect to happen because of the albedo feedback even if we stop all further greenhouse emissions today.

So it all appears to this writer, who apologizes that he isn’t a scientist but doesn’t apologize very much because the scientists should have gotten here decades ago.

There is nothing apparent to prevent a heating equal to that occurring from albedo-effect removal of all Northern Hemisphere ice and snow, PLUS the heating occurring from greenhouse-gas emissions as we may or may not control them.

This writer has an educated guess that this will be 3.5 degrees each from the albedo effect and greenhouse emissions, but will not elaborate for the sake of brevity, and perhaps the climate scientists can be coaxed out of hiding.

Large-scale heating beyond that caused directly by carbon dioxide emissions is now inevitable without promptly beginning to reverse the EXISTING heating and/or EXISTING atmospheric carbon dioxide contamination.

At most the rapidity of the albedo warming and perhaps whether the Antarctic land mass joins the frenzy – can be affected by the amount of carbon dioxide we continue to dump into the atmosphere. And don’t forget – the multi-thousand gigatonne “budget” we gave ourselves no longer exists.

The scientists and the nations need to reconvene and start over. Whether they have the intestinal fortitude to do so, is something else.

There is nothing at all new about what this writer is saying except that the inevitable is now occurring and is undeniable. Things weren’t supposed to get out of hand until we exceeded two degrees Celsius, a figure settled upon by virtually all the governments and all the “big green” environmental groups.

But there is not and never has been any scientific justification for two degrees as our line of safety. Two degrees was a political compromise of the like of “We agree. We’ll only cut half the baby’s head off.” We wanted to buy the fossil fuels, and the industry wanted to sell them, for trillions of dollars per year for as long as they could. And so we made the fatal compromise.

Prophecy Ignored

NASA scientists were talking about it a decade ago. NASA scientist James Hansen was saying at the time that to “avoid the point of no return” we must “begin to roll back not only the emissions [of carbon dioxide] but also the absolute amount in the atmosphere”, and he suggested a target of 300 to 350 parts per million (“ppm”) carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, 300 ppm being equivalent to one degree of warming. Others said we had already reached the point at which the Arctic ice could not be restored.

What they were saying – and the nations were ignoring – has now been proven.

How did we get here? It was our own choice. Political compromise. It’s just the way humanity makes its decisions, and always has. And our very own “big green” environmental groups joined.

Political compromise works for running a small community when the decisions aren’t earth-shattering. Decisions about climate change are earth-shattering and we aren’t a small community.

And nobody knows how to make social decisions without political compromise. It’s fine to blame corrupt politicians but we elected them. It is fine to blame capitalist thieves, but we are happy to employ them for trillions of dollars. It’s fine to call for a revolution, but how long will it take?

If we get through this mess, which we could have avoided by cutting the global warming temperature ceiling in half, maybe a little more, we have to remember something. If we survive, we need to reorganize into populations and communities that are small enough and physically powerless enough that political compromise can’t bring us close to destruction of the earth. We have learned that if we can do it, we will do it, sooner or later.

Links: The original version of this article, at the URL below, contains links to further information not included here.


Nicholas C Arguimbau is a retired lawyer with a physics degree from Harvard and a law degree from UCLA, who lives with a cat and a dog and forty fruit trees in Western Massachusetts.

Categories: Uncategorized

Next Step for the US

Looks like Helicopter Money

Does this Sound like a Drug Addict?

by Harry Dent, Economy & Markets

Wolf Street (May 16 2016)

It just seems like human nature to ruin a good thing.

As much as I am a strong proponent of free market capitalism, and against complex regulations and central planning, I understand government’s role in all this.

Capitalism and democracy teamed up in the late 1700s to form the big bang in economics, or what I call “When Harry met Sally”. They’re opposites that balance each other – capitalism rewards people for their contributions, and democracy ensures that greed doesn’t take over.

We took Adam Smith’s theory of the “invisible hand”, limited government and laissez faire politics … and combined it with Alexander Hamilton’s doctrine of a stronger government to enhance capitalism. We invested in common infrastructures, established a central bank with uniform monetary policies, and implemented financial and legal systems – things free market capitalism can’t do alone.

That’s why, together, these two ideologies complement each other – so long as they don’t get in each other’s way.

But, John Maynard Keynes screwed that up when he came out with the worst economic theory in history during the Great Depression. His brilliant idea was that the government should fight downturns with deficit spending to offset declines in the private sector. He said that if it would help, the government should pay people to dig ditches and then fill them back up!

How uneconomic is that?

I’ve realized by studying history that it helps to get government involved when it comes to nurturing a developing country. They need infrastructure and export industries as such countries are rapidly urbanizing. It works – if government doesn’t overdo it!

China’s government has overdone it, while India’s needs to step it up. With their rapid and unsustainable urbanization, China has a GDP per capita (adjusted for purchasing power) of $12,116, while India’s is $5,591. Malaysia, one of the wealthiest emerging countries with $26,145 GDP per capita and 75% urbanization, is an example of a government that got it more right.

It was inevitable that government’s role would grow as we urbanized and grew wealthier. Urban areas are exponentially more complex to manage than rural areas. The trick is to have government do the right things and to do them efficiently. Otherwise, you over-plan and over-regulate and end up like China or Russia – or increasingly, the US and Europe.

But that’s exactly what Keynes did. He thought governments should actively smooth out natural economic cycles through deficit spending. His theories got mainstream acceptance in the 1970s when Nixon said: “We’re all Keynesians now”. And ever since, this theory has been abused and is now destroying the golden goose of free market capitalism and democracy.

This chart shows the story on the fiscal side:

We started running nonstop deficits in the 1970s to offset that long recessionary economy in the summer season from 1969 ~ 1982. That was largely justified and inevitable. But then the real crime began.

We ran larger and larger deficits even in the greatest boom in history, when we should have run huge surpluses with burgeoning government revenues and falling social costs. Basically, we got hooked on the fiscal stimulus drug.

By the time the great boom started in 1983, we had government debt of $443 billion and a deficit that year of $208 billion. We added $1.8 trillion to the debt into 1990 … another $2.5 trillion into 2000 … $4.3 trillion more into 2008 … and another $8.1 trillion between 2009 and 2015. Today, it’s a grand total of $19.2 trillion!

Greenspan made it worse by adding monetary stimulus, lowering interest rates every time we had a stock crash or recession – from 1987 forward.

And since huge deficits and low rates weren’t enough, Bernanke came along and added Quantitative Easing (“QE”) – straight injections of “crack” – much more powerful than merely setting short-term interest rates to zero. Now, long-term Treasury interest rates are at zero or negative when adjusted for three-year average inflation rates. The next step looks like helicopter money – sending checks in the mail to households!

Do you get the progression here? Does this sound like a drug addict?

Liberal economists like Paul Krugman think we should be running bigger deficits and more QE – on top of already runaway deficits and monetary policy. This is insanity!

Here’s the reality just ahead. My indicators say we are going to see the worst of this winter deflationary season from 2016 into 2022 (2023 for deficits on a one-year lag). If we added $8.1 trillion to the debt in the eight years between 2009 and 2015, I see at least fifty percent more in the next eight years, or $12 trillion minimum by 2023. That will bring us to at least $31 trillion in national debt …

And GDP will be at least ten percent lower, say $16 trillion. That’s a government debt-to-GDP ratio of nearly 200%!

More on this from the preeminent government budget expert and former US Comptroller General, David Walker, as our keynote speaker at the Irrational Economics Summit, October 20 ~ 22 in Palm Beach. Walker will share his vision for the future of America, and how he thinks we can set ourselves on a course for financial responsibility, and save ourselves from ruin … a real insider’s take.

Does all give you market anxiety?

Categories: Uncategorized

The Negative Interest Rate Gap

by Dmitry Orlov

Club Orlov (May 17 2016)

Back in the early 1980s the US economy was experiencing stagflation: a stagnant economy and an inflating currency. Paul Volcker, who at the time was Chairman of the Federal Reserve (“Fed”), took a decisive step and raised the Federal Funds Rate, which determines the rate at which most other economic players get to borrow, to eighteen percent, freezing out inflation. This was a bold step, not without negative consequences, but it did get inflation under control and, after a while, the US economy stopped stagnating.

Well, not quite. Wages didn’t stop stagnating; they’ve been stagnant ever since. But the fortunes of the one percent of the richest Americans have certainly improved nicely! Moreover, the US economy grew quite a bit since that time. Of course, most of this growth came at the expense of staggering structural deficits and an explosion of indebtedness at every level, but so what? Sure, the national debt went exponential and the government’s unfunded liabilities are now over $200 trillion, but that’s okay. You just have to like debt. Keep saying to yourself: “Debt is good!” Because if everyone started thinking that debt is bad, then the entire financial house of cards would implode and we would be left with nothing.

But once interest rates peaked in the early 1980s, they’ve been on a downward trend ever since, with little ups and downs now and again but an unmistakable overall downward trend. The Federal Reserve had to do this in order to, in Fed-speak, “support economic activity and job creation by making financial conditions more accommodative”. Once it started doing this, it found that it couldn’t stop. The US had entered a downward spiral – of sloth, obesity, ignorance, substance abuse, expensive and disastrous foreign military adventures, bureaucratic insanity, massive corruption at every level – and under these circumstances it needed ever-cheaper money in order to keep the financial house of cards from imploding.

And then, in late 2008, the Fed finally reached the ultimate target: the Fed Funds Rate went all the way to zero. This is known as ZIRP, for Zero Interest Rate Policy. And, unfortunately, it stayed there.

It stayed there, instead of continuing to gently drift down as before, because of a conceptual difficulty: how can an interest rate be negative? Does it become a “disinterest rate”? How can that work? After all, lenders are “interested” in lending because they get back more than they lend out (accepting some amount of risk); and depositors are “interested” in keeping money in banks because they get back more than they put in. And if these activities become “of zero interest”, why would lenders lend and depositors deposit? They wouldn’t, now, would they? They’d buy gold, or Bitcoin, or bid up real estate.

But of late other central banks around the world came up with a brilliant innovation: negative interest rates (“NIRP”). Both Japanese and European central banks sent rates negative. That’s right, now money isn’t just free any more, but you can be paid to borrow! Good-bye ZIRP, hello NIRP! And if you are silly enough to keep your money in the bank, the bank charges you for that privilege. Of course, people are not so silly, so instead of putting their money in the bank they will buy precious metals.

And if they don’t have the money with which to buy precious metals, they can always be paid to borrow some, and buy precious metals with that. And that will cause a shortage of precious metals. Don’t worry, you and I will still be able to buy a handful of gold and silver coins, but what about the fortunes of the one percent? They need the ability to buy gold wholesale, tons of it, and if they can’t then they will throw a fit and knock the card table over, taking the financial house of cards with it and leaving us with nothing.

Yes, that’s a danger, but the world is a dangerous place, and in the meantime we have a more serious problem: deflation. Unlike the 1980s, when the US dollar was experiencing double-digit inflation, now most things are getting cheaper. Commodity prices are way down: oil, gas, copper, steel, you name it, and this is seriously hurting all kinds of businesses. Sure, education, medical care, rent and a few other things have never been more expensive, but they are all optional because, unlike the suffering business tycoons, you can just stay ignorant, sick and homeless. The important thing is that a gallon of pesticide-laced milk is still cheap, and Walmart still has everyday low prices on shoddy imported products. But there is a problem: when everything keeps getting cheaper businesses can’t make money and there are job losses. Hello, Federal Reserve!

I think it is clear what the Fed needs to do to fight deflation and to “support economic activity and job creation by making financial conditions more accommodative”. They need to drive interest rates negative. For the past few years the Fed hasn’t kept up with its program of ever-lower interest rates, and they are allowing a dangerous gap to develop, which I will call “The ZIRP-NIRP Gap”. Really, to stay within their happy channel of continuously lower interest rates they should have set the prime rate to minus one percent, ideally a bit lower, right around now. I find such sluggishness most irresponsible!

And so my recommendation is that the Fed drop everything they are doing and start working on driving the interest rate down to minus one percent right away. And they shouldn’t stop there: to stay within the trend lines which the Fed has followed for decades, and which have by now become traditional, they will need to keep lowering the interest rate from now until whenever. That’s because we have to finance $200 trillion (and counting) of unfunded liabilities, which we will only be able to do through a massive amount of borrowing that will dwarf all of our previous efforts, and borrowing at minus one percent annual interest may not be good enough. But if we can borrow at, say, minus five percent or minus seven percent, everything should pencil out nicely.

Now, I know that some people don’t think that this will pencil out nicely. Apparently, there are these things called “unintended consequences”, whatever they are. I mentioned one such possible scenario above: the one percenters throw a tantrum when gold and silver prices go stratospheric but they can’t get any because the precious metals market is broken. (Oops, looks like that’s already been happening: the Gold Forward Rate (“GOFO”) has been spending time in negative territory of late. That means people will pay you money just to hold your gold as collateral.)

But perhaps there is a better explanation for why NIRP won’t work than appealing to vague notions like “unintended consequences”. After all, the other side of zero percent is a sort of terra incognita – the world behind the looking-glass – where the sun rises in the west and mice eat cats, and where entirely different economic laws may apply, and we have no idea what they are.

Perhaps it’s a world in which robbers stand around on street corners and force you to accept free money at gunpoint, where going to work is a foolish thing to do because bankers take your paycheck and say “And … it’s gone!” and where all the productive, successful people just lay in bed all day singing working songs and making their feet dance.

So, if you can think of a particularly good reason (or two or three) why you think “NIRP forever” will cause the whole financial house of cards to collapse, leaving us with nothing, then let’s hear it. But if you can’t come up with anything, then what part of “FREE MONEY” don’t you like – that it’s money, or that it’s free?

Categories: Uncategorized

Is Bill Clinton a Sexual Predator …

2016/05/20 1 comment

… or Just a Sex Addict?

by Michael Snyder

End of the American Dream (May 15 2016)

When dozens of women came forward to accuse Bill Cosby of rape, most Americans believed them, so why is Bill Clinton getting a free pass when a similar number of women are accusing Bill Clinton of sexual misconduct? As you will see below, new allegations continue to come out, and it has become exceedingly clear that Clinton is still chasing women that he is not married to even though his wife is in the middle of a presidential campaign. Of course Hillary Clinton knows exactly what is going on, and she has been serving as his enabler by doing all that she can to cover up Bill’s escapades whenever one of these “bimbo eruptions” happens. Ultimately, Bill and Hillary Clinton have together victimized countless numbers of women, and yet public opinion polls continue to show that most women voters plan to vote for Hillary Clinton in November. It is hard even for me to believe that our country has sunk so low at this point.

This list of Bill Clinton’s accusers is seemingly endless: Kathleen Willey, Connie Hamzy, Juanita Broaddrick, Eileen Wellstone, Sandra Allen James, Christy Zercher, Paula Jones, Monica Lewinsky, Gennifer Flowers, Elizabeth Ward Gracen, Sally Perdue, Lencola Sullivan, Susie Whitacre, Bobbie Ann William, et al.

But now new information is coming to the surface. Just recently, one of Bill Clinton’s former lovers named Dolly Kyle has made global headlines {1} by claiming that Bill Clinton is a “sex addict” that has had sex with approximately 2,000 women …


Hillary Clinton is not only an “enabler”, she is a “terrorist” who “terrorizes” her husband’s alleged lovers and women who accuse him of sexual assault, says Dallas lawyer Dolly Kyle, who says she had a long-running affair with Bill Clinton.

In an interview, Kyle claimed that “Billy” Clinton, as she called him, once boasted to her that he had had sex with about 2,000 women. She described Clinton as a “sex addict” who has some “sick, sick need” to “control women”.


And Kyle is quite credible. She is an attorney, her family has ties to the Clinton family that go back to the 1970s, and she reportedly had an extramarital sexual affair with Bill that lasted for more than a decade {2} …

ABC News previously summarized {3} Kyle’s affair allegations (at the time she went by the name Dolly Kyle Browning):


Browning says she went to high school with Bill Clinton … in Hot Springs, Arkansas in the 1960s. She alleged she became friends with the future president and carried on an extramarital sexual affair with him from the mid-1970s until roughly 1991.

Kyle’s family has long been intertwined with the Clinton’s, she says. Her brother was a Clinton associate who helped campaign for Bill Clinton from the 1970s through his presidential run and even flew him to multiple events in the 1970s, Kyle stated.

Kyle is the author of the forthcoming book, Hillary the Other Woman: A Political Memoir {4}. The book’s forward is written by David P Schippers, an attorney who served as chief investigative counsel for the US House Judicial Committee for the Clinton Impeachment.


To me, it is amazing that what we already know about the Clintons has not completely ended both of their political careers. What they have been able to collectively get away with is absolutely incredible.

And because nobody ever holds them accountable, they just continue to engage in the exact same behaviors.

For instance, even though Bill knew that Hillary would be running for president, he has continued to engage in very high risk behavior. The following comes from the New York Post {5}, and it is about one of Bill’s new “friends” known as “the Energizer” …


Secret Service agents were even given special instructions to abandon usual protocol when the woman came by, according to journalist Ronald Kessler’s tell-all book, The First Family Detail {6}.

“You don’t stop her, you don’t approach her, you just let her go in”, says the book, based on agents’ accounts.


And it turns out that Bill Clinton’s foundation committed a major boo-boo by funneling two million dollars {7} to a company that is partially owned by “the Energizer”…


Bill Clinton’s foundation arranged a $2 million pledge to a power company partly owned by a wealthy blond divorcee {8} who some say is the frequent visitor to his home nicknamed “Energizer”.

The “commitment” to Julie Tauber McMahon’s firm from the Clinton Global Initiative was placed on its 2010 conference agenda at Clinton’s urging, The Wall Street Journal reported {9} on Thursday.


Meanwhile, it is being reported by Fox News {10} that Bill Clinton took “at least 26 trips” aboard a private jet that was owned by a registered sex offender named Jeffrey Epstein that was widely known to be a pedophile …


Former President Bill Clinton was a much more frequent flyer on a registered sex offender’s infamous jet than previously reported, with flight logs showing the former president taking at least 26 trips aboard the “Lolita Express” – even apparently ditching his Secret Service detail for at least five of the flights, according to records obtained by

Clinton’s presence aboard Jeffrey Epstein’s Boeing 727 on eleven occasions has been reported, but flight logs show the number is more than double that, and trips between 2001 and 2003 included extended junkets around the world with Epstein and fellow passengers identified on manifests by their initials or first names, including “Tatiana”. The tricked-out jet earned its Nabakov-inspired nickname because it was reportedly outfitted with a bed where passengers had group sex with young girls.


In addition, other evidence shows that Clinton and Epstein were extremely close. Court records show that Epstein had 21 different phone numbers {11} for Clinton, and if Clinton ever engaged in sexual activity with any of Epstein’s underage girls, that would make him a sexual predator that should be in prison right now.

I don’t know how anyone can look at this growing body of evidence and not conclude that Bill Clinton is a monster.

And since Hillary Clinton has known exactly what has been going on this entire time and has done her best to cover up his crimes, that makes her a monster too.

But in the end, tens of millions of Americans will line up to vote for her in November.

We have become a nation that no longer has any moral foundation, and we will vote for just about anyone as long as they will give us what we want. As one anonymous member of Congress recently wrote {12}, it is “far easier than you think to manipulate a nation of naive, self-absorbed sheep who crave instant gratification”.















Michael Snyder is the founder and publisher of End of the American Dream. Michael’s controversial new book about Bible prophecy entitled The Rapture Verdict is available in paperback and for the Kindle on

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The Coming Democratic Crackup

Exclusive: Though the mainstream media is focused on Republican divisions, a more important story could be the coming Democratic crackup, as anti-war Democrats resist Hillary Clinton’s pro-war agenda.

by Robert Parry

Consortium News (May 16 2016)

If the Democratic Party presses ahead and nominates hawkish Hillary Clinton for President, it could recreate the conditions that caused the party to splinter in the late 1960s and early 1970s when anti-war and pro-war Democrats turned on one another and opened a path for decades of Republican dominance of the White House.

This new Democratic crackup could come as early as this fall if anti-war progressives refuse to rally behind Clinton because of her neoconservative foreign policy – thus infuriating Clinton’s backers – or it could happen in four years if Clinton wins the White House and implements her militaristic agenda, including expanding the US war in Syria while continuing other wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya – and challenging Russia on its borders.

Clinton’s neocon policies in a prospective first term could generate a “peace” challenge similar to the youth-driven uprising against President Lyndon Johnson and the Vietnam War in 1968.

Indeed, in 2020, anti-war elements of the Democratic Party might see little choice but to seek a candidate willing to challenge an incumbent President Clinton much as Senator Eugene McCarthy took on President Johnson (“LBJ”), leading eventually to the chaotic and bloody Chicago convention, which in turn contributed to Richard Nixon’s narrow victory that fall.

A difference between Johnson and Clinton, however, is that in 1964, LBJ ran as the “peace candidate” against the hawkish Republican Barry Goldwater (who incidentally was supported by a young Hillary Clinton), whereas in 2016, Clinton has made clear her warlike plans (albeit framing them in “humanitarian” terms).

After winning a landslide victory against Goldwater, Johnson reversed himself and plunged into the Vietnam War, fearing he otherwise might be blamed for “losing” Indochina. With Clinton, there’s no reason to expect a reversal since she’s made no secret about her plans for invading Syria under the guise of creating a “safe zone” and for confronting nuclear-armed Russia along its western borders, from Ukraine through the Baltic States. In her belligerent rhetoric, she has compared Russian President Vladimir Putin to Hitler.

Courting Bibi

Clinton also has vowed to take the US-Israeli relationship to “the next level” by embracing right-wing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who expects to convince President Hillary Clinton to end any detente with Iran and put the prospect of bombing Iran back on the table. Clinton would seem to be an easy sell.

Another feature of the LBJ-Hillary comparison is that the Democratic Party’s turn against the Vietnam War in the 1968 and 1972 campaigns prompted a collection of pro-war intellectuals to bolt the Democratic Party and align themselves with the Republicans, especially around Ronald Reagan in 1980.

Those Democratic hawks became known as the neoconservatives and remained attached to the Republican Party for the next 35 years, eventually emerging as Official Washington’s foreign policy establishment. However, in some prominent cases (such as Robert Kagan), neocons are now switching over to Clinton because of the rise of Donald Trump, who rejects the neocon passion for interventionism.

In other words, just as Johnson’s Vietnam War escalation – and the resulting fierce opposition from anti-war Democrats – set in motion the neocons’ defection from the Democrats to the Republicans, Clinton’s enthusiasm for the Iraq War, her support for escalation of the Afghan War, and her scheming for “regime change” wars in Libya and Syria are bringing some neocon hawks back to their first nesting place in the Democratic Party.

But a President Clinton’s transformation of the Democratic Party into “an aggressive war party”, whereas under President Barack Obama it has been “a reluctant war party”, would force principled anti-war Democrats to stop making excuses and to start trying to expel Clinton’s neocon pro-war attitudes from the party.

Such an internecine battle over the party’s soul could deeply divide the Democrats between those supporting Clinton – as “the first woman president” and because of her liberal attitudes on gay rights and other social issues – and those opposing Clinton because of her desire to continue and expand America’s “perpetual wars”.

The Sanders Resistance

Some of that hostility is already playing out as Clinton backers express their anger at progressives who balk at lining up for Clinton’s long-delayed coronation parade. The stubborn support for Senator Bernie Sanders, even after Clinton has seemingly locked up the Democratic nomination, is a forewarning of the nasty fight ahead.

The prospects are that the animosities will get worse if Clinton loses in November – with many anti-war Democrats defecting or staying home thus infuriating the Hillary Democrats – or if Clinton were to win and begin implementing her neocon foreign policy agenda which will involve further demonizing “enemies” to justify “regime changes”.

If anti-war Democrats begin to resist, they can expect the Clinton-45 (sic) administration to stigmatize them as (fill-in-the-blank) “apologists” and “stooges” of “enemy” powers, much as happened to protesters against the Vietnam War and, more recently, to Americans who objected to such US interventions as the Iraq War in 2003 and the Ukraine coup in 2014.

Yet, few Democratic strategists seem to be aware of this looming chasm between anti-war and pro-war Democrats. Many of these insiders seem to believe that the anti-war Democrats will simply fall in line behind Hillary Clinton out of fear and loathing for Donald Trump. That may be the case for many, but my conversations with anti-war activists suggest that a significant number will vote for a third party or might even go for Trump.

Meanwhile, most mainstream media commentators are focused on the divisions between the pro-Trump and anti-Trump Republicans, giving extensive TV coverage to various stop-Trump scenarios, even as many establishment Republicans begin to accommodate to Trump’s populist conquest of the party.

But it’s clear that some prominent Republicans, especially from the neocon camp, are unalterably opposed to Trump’s election in November, fearing that he will turn the GOP away from them and toward an “America First” perspective that would repudiate “regime change” interventions favored by Israel.

Thus, for many neocon Republicans, a Trump defeat is preferable to a Trump victory because his defeat would let them reclaim command of the party’s foreign policy infrastructure. They also could encourage President Clinton to pursue their neocon agenda – and watch as pro- and anti-war stresses rip apart the Democratic Party.

So, the establishment Democrats – with their grim determination to resuscitate Hillary Clinton’s nearly lifeless campaign – may be engaging in the political equivalent of whistling past the graveyard, as the ghosts of the party’s Vietnam War crackup hover over Election 2016.


For more on this topic, see:




Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. His latest book is America’s Stolen Narrative (2012).

Categories: Uncategorized

Preparing to Collapse …

… in Place with Permaculture

by Lambert Strether of Corrente

Naked Capitalism (May 15 2016)

Spring is here! Spring is here. Life is skittles, and life is beer!

– Tom Lehrer

Readers, this will be a brief post because it’s a lovely moist day, ideal for scatterering wildflower seeds, and I want to get out into the garden, and I bet you do, too, if you have a garden, or it has you. Now, up where I am in Zone 5b, we’re two full weeks away from Memorial Day, the traditional day for planting, but mud season is over, the forsythia is out, the lilacs are budding, and my garden is blanketed with winter detritus – the occasional student’s beer can, flattened styrofoam coffee cups, faded receipts, cigarette butts, great masses of twigs, lots and lots of road sand from the plows {1}, and the solids left behind when the snow melted into the spring air – because I’ve been lazy. No more of that! (And to be fair, I feel like my mental filters got clogged in the past few days from processing too much news, and olds {2}. I need a quick break.)

When I did the research for this post, I found an excellent article on permaculture in Modern Farmer, which is very much not Farm Journal, for reasons I’ll get to. So I’ll look at that, first, and if any of you are asking “What is permaculture?” you will get an answer. (There are other Naked Capitalism posts at the permaculture tag {3}.) Then I’ll plug a practical and simple permaculture technique: Sheet mulch. Finally, I’ll comment on permaculture as privilege. But first, a picture from last year, because my peonies aren’t nearly this far along:

So, Modern Farmer {4}:

Permaculture: You’ve Heard of It, But What the Heck Is It?

Bill Mollison, the Tasmanian son of a fisherman who first coined the term 1978, defined “permaculture” as:

“The conscious design and maintenance of agriculturally productive systems which have the diversity, stability, and resilience of natural ecosystems. It is the harmonious integration of the landscape with people providing their food, energy, shelter and other material and non-material needs in a sustainable way.”

In other words, permaculture is a holistic, living-in-harmony-with-nature worldview, as well as technical approach for how to do so. Here is link {5} to fifty-some other definitions that have been espoused over the years.)

Here are some of those approaches:

1. Closed Loop Systems – Any permaculturist worth their salt would remind you that a successful closed loop system {6} “turns waste into resources” and “problems into solutions”. “You don’t have a snail problem, you have a duck deficiency”, Mollison was fond of saying, which makes perfect sense if you’ve ever seen how gleefully ducks wolf down snails.

2. Perennial Crops – Permies aren’t the only ones to recognize that tilling the ground once or twice a year isn’t particularly good {7} for the soil. Which is why they advocate using perennial crops that are planted just once, rather than annual crops which require constant tillage.

3. Multiple Functions – One of the more original ideas of permaculture is that every component of a structure or a landscape should fulfill more than one function {8}. The idea is to create an integrated, self-sufficient system through the strategic design and placement of its components. For example, if you need a fence to contain animals, you might design it so that it also functions as a windbreak, a trellis, and a reflective surface to direct extra heat and light to nearby plants …

4. Eco-Earthworks – Water conservation is a major focus on permaculture farms and gardens, where the earth is often carefully sculpted to direct every last drop of rain toward some useful purpose …

5. Let Nature Do the Work for You – The permaculture creed is perhaps best captured in the Mollisonian mantras of “working with, rather than against, nature” and of engaging in “protracted and thoughtful observation, rather than protracted and thoughtless labor”. On a practical basis, these ideas are carried out with things like chicken tractors {9}, where the natural scratching and bug-hunting behavior of hens is harnessed to clear an area of pests and weeds in preparation for planting – or simply planting mashua under your locust trees. Locust trees are known for adding nitrogen to the soil, while mashua, a vining, shade tolerant root crop from the Andes, needs a support structure to grow on. Thus, the natural attributes of the locust eliminate the need to bother with fertilizer or building a trellis, while providing shade, serving as a nectar source for bees and looking pretty. By letting nature do the work of farming and gardening for you, one achieves another of Mollison’s famous maxims {10}: “maximizing hammock time”.

(I should emphasize these are design principles, as opposed to physical laws, or dogmas.) Now, I encountered permaculture in the depths of the 2007 depression, when it did indeed seem that I would need to prepare to grow my own food on the property available to me. The wolf is a bit farther from my door these days, and so that time’s push for yield has been replaced by the sense of beauty and fulfillment {11} that comes from growing enough food to give away, the sheer pleasure of sitting (and typing) in the midst of a blooming, buzzing, and ever-changing profusion, and learning the art of photographing the parts of the system acting in concert. (A better photograph of that, perennial,  peony would include ants seeking nectar {12}. Perhaps this year!) However, one never knows when the wolf will come closer again, and so I’m grateful to permaculture for giving me the principles to keep improving the property continuously in small ways, in case I need to strive for yield once again. Especially the soil! Which brings me to sheet mulch.

Sheet mulch is the gateway drug for permaculture. When I sheet mulch, my approach is simple, cheap, and lazy (“hammock time”). Think lasagna with three layers:

At the bottom, compost or earth, then newspaper, and then on top, after soaking the newspaper, straw (and not hay; hay has seeds, and you don’t want them {13}. You want your own seeds). Then I punch holes through the sheet mulch for the seedlings.) Sheet mulch is great for these reasons {14}:

1. Very little weeding. The newspaper serves as a light block, so weeds don’t sprout. (I do have a problem with quack grass where the plants have been punched in, because the soil is exposed, but generally weeds are easy to pull out of a sheet mulched bed when they do grow, because the soil is so soft.)

2. Very little watering. I was away for the month of July, which was very dry, and the tomato beds weren’t watered at all. I came back, and they are as you see [very healthy]. The straw captures any rain that falls, the newspaper lets it soak through to the soil, and the newspaper also prevents evaporation.

3. Less disease. Molds and spores and TMV live in the soil, and the sheet mulch prevents them from infecting the plants through the leaves. When I didn’t sheet mulch, and watered, the plants would get infected from splashed bare soil, and by this time [August], two or three tiers of leaves would be yellow or even blackening (depending on which mold attacked them).

4. Lazier staking. Tomatoes that touch or rest on the soil are goners. Not so with tomatoes that rest on clean dry straw (though if it rains, raise them up or pick them!)

5. Better soil. A lot of the improvement is due to the compost, the leaves, and the soil amendment. However, worms also like sheet mulch because the soil is not compacted. Worms also like darkness and moisture, which the newspaper layer provides. Further, over a season, the new mulch will settle, and open up an air gap between the soil and the newspaper. Just as in your house, the air gap insulates, and so the soil temperature doesn’t fluctuate so much. So, the worms aerate the soil and also leave their lovely nutritious worm castings {15}. (If I were more ambitious, I’d be doing vermiculture.)

So, less work, better soil, improved work – what’s not to like?

And sheet mulch is a great way to get rid of your lawn, too. Surely you don’t want to waste your time cutting the grass!

Underlining: My soil is greatly improved. I’ve been sheet-mulching for a long time, and the soil, originally very heavy and clay-y, is now much more light and fluffy, and full of organic matter. Makes my vegetables happy! And I don’t have to do any rototilling, or that nutty French technique that’s w-a-a-a-y too much work, double-digging, both of which damage soil structure,
in my not so humble opinion. Of course, gardening isn’t all about soil, even if the happy plant is the insect-resistant plant, and this year I plan to me more systematic and clever about setting up a rotation system, and integrating more companion plants, especially flowers, into the beds proper, as opposed to round the edges. (The companion plants will also have an additional stacked function, as objects of contemplation and photography.)

Finally on Modern Farmer not being Farm Journal: I found it disheartening, not to say unnerving, to discover that Modern Farmer is funded {16} by mining squillionare and Clinton Foundation donor Frank Giustra {17} (even if the Medici funded {18} Michelangelo, da Vinci, Botticelli, Raphael …). Which brings me – you did notice the words “the property” throughout? – to the question of class privilege. Why, for example, for example, hasn’t permaculture spread through the third world? [1] One answer {19}:

I’ve been finding that throughout Central America and much of the “under-developed” (or perhaps better stated as “differently developed”) world, this appreciation of permaculture as a movement of gringos is strongly felt and deeply rooted.

As I’ve talked with different farmers, researchers, academics and others interested in alternative agriculture and ecology, the main grievance that they have with permaculture is the steep costs associated with the courses offered and the literature sold. These prohibitive costs, they argue, turn permaculture into an exclusive club that can only be enjoyed by the affluent. They have very little argument with what permaculture actually teaches or advocates for, but they find that in a region where small farmers are usually severely economically marginalized, the exclusivity of the permaculture movement is a major impediment.

Most permaculture teachers offer a two week Permaculture Design Course (“PDC”). The running cost for most PDCs is around $2000 dollars, give or take $500. With prices like those, it’s hard to argue against the idea that permaculture is unaffordable to ninety percent of the world’s farmers who might be lucky to make that amount in a year of hard work.

Though there are a few permaculture institutes in Central America, the agroecology movement is far better established. This movement, in comparison with permaculture courses, tends to offer courses and classes for free to local farmers. True, participants may have to settle for eating beans and tortillas three times a day instead of organic hummus and other delicacies of the First World alternative health food movement, but nonetheless, it’s free!

Fair enough, although I’d point out that the validity (if any) of permaculture design principles is unaffected by the cost of courses. On the other hand, this argument reminds me very much of the feeling some have that the left should live on bread and water because hypocrisy (which is a recipe for burnout and dysfunction, not coincidentally). The work of propagation, absent a Frank Giustra, demands funding, those who want to keep living in the first world need to set first-world prices, and “teach permaculture and grow rich!” hasn’t been a plan anybody I know has been able to carry out. In fact, permaculture as a business strategy will probably be marginal as long as petroleum-based agriculture remains dominant (in part because of the subsidies Big Agriculture extracts) {20}. So one person’s class privilege is another person’s survival strategy, sadly.

Bringing me round to “collapsing in place”, a term coined by the Archdruid {21}:

Collapse now, in other words, and avoid the rush.

There’s a fair amount of subtlety to the strategy defined by those words. As our society stumbles down the ragged curve of its decline, more and more people are going to lose the ability to maintain what counts as a normal lifestyle – or, rather, what counted as a normal lifestyle in the recent past, and is no longer quite so normal today as it once was. Each new round of crisis will push more people further down the slope; minor and localized crises will affect a relatively smaller number of people, while major crises affecting whole nations will affect a much larger number. As each crisis hits, though, there will be a rush of people toward whatever seems to offer a way out, and as each crisis recedes, there will be another rush of people toward whatever seems to offer a way back to what used to be normal. The vast majority of people who join either rush will fail. Remember the tens of thousands of people who applied for a handful of burger-flipping jobs during the recent housing crash, because that was the only job opening they could find? That’s the sort of thing I mean.

The way to avoid the rush is simple enough: figure out how you will be able to live after the next wave of crisis hits, and to the extent that you can, start living that way now.

That, to me, is what permaculture as a long-lived (forty-year) social movement is all about: “Start living that way now”. Nobody ever said class privilege is permanent, after all. It, too, can melt away and leave only detritus behind.


[1] The design principles are portable, even if the techniques are not. For example, it always struck me as odd that the Thai gardens I’ve seen have never been mulched. One answer is that water is plentiful, so there’s no need for mulch to capture it; but that’s not true in drought years. However, I now think the real reason is that snakes, scorpions, and other critters would find a home in the mulch! With bare earth, you can see there’s nothing lurking. The tropics really are not temperate.























Categories: Uncategorized

Bank with No Firewall

That’s How Hackers Managed to Steal $80 Million

by Mohit Kumar

The Hacker News (April 22 2016)

In Brief: Investigators from the Forensic Training Institute of the Bangladesh investigated the $80 Million bank heist and discovered that the hackers managed to gain access to the network because the Bank was using second-hand $10 network switches without a Firewall to run its network.

When it was reported last month that an unknown hacking group attempted to steal $1 Billion from Bangladesh’s Federal Reserve bank account with the help of a malware and, in fact, successfully stole over $80 Million, the investigators would not say how the hackers managed to bypass the security solutions on its network.

But in reality, there was no security solution installed to help protect against increasingly sophisticated attacks.

This lack of security practices made it incredibly easier for the hackers to break into the system and steal $81 Million, though a simple typo (spell error) by hackers halted the further transfers of the $850 Million funds.

The network computers that were linked through the second-hand routers were connected to the SWIFT global payment network, allowing hackers to gain access to the credentials required to make high-value transfers straight into their own accounts.

“It could be difficult to hack if there was a firewall”, forensic investigator Mohammad Shah Alam told Reuters.

Firewalls are meant to help keep out malicious hackers and malware from doing nasty things.

Moreover, the use of cheap routers made it difficult for investigators to pinpoint the hackers behind the largest bank heist and figure out the hackers tactics, Alam added.

The investigator blamed both the bank as well as SWIFT, saying “It was their responsibility to point it out, but we have not found any evidence that they advised before the heist”.

Hackers broke into the bank’s systems and tried to steal $1 Billion from its account at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York in early February and then transferred large sums to fraudulent accounts based in the Philippines and Sri Lanka.

Bangladesh police have identified twenty foreigners involved in the heist but the police said the people appear to be those who received some of the payments rather than the hackers who initially stole the money.

Though the investigators are still scratching their heads to identify the hackers with no clue, the incident is a good reminder for financial institutions across the global to tighten up the security of their systems.

Categories: Uncategorized

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