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Americans' Comfort Soared To 17-Year High As Stocks Crashed

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The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index surged in the week-ending Feb 9th (matching its biggest weekly jump in 9 years) to its highest since 2001... as the US equity market crashed...

As Bloomberg notes, consumers remain upbeat about the economy, their finances and the buying climate, representing a disconnect from volatility in the stock market that culminated in a 5.2 percent slump in the Dow Jones Industrial Average last week.

Comfort among married Americans reached its highest since January 2001, which at 64.8, is far higher than for singles.

Sentiment among political independents reached its strongest reading since February 2001.

Confidence among Republicans, while falling last week, remained higher than that of Democrats.

Comfort levels increased the most among Americans in the South and West.

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Dadster
4 days ago
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Or perhaps they should be checking their population samples?
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If America Wasn't America, The United States Would Be Bombing It

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Authored by Darius Shahtahmasebi via The Anti Media,

On January 8, 2018, former government advisor Edward Luttwak wrote an opinion piece for Foreign Policy titled “It’s Time to Bomb North Korea.”

Luttwak’s thesis is relatively straightforward. There is a government out there that may very soon acquire nuclear-weapons capabilities, and this country cannot be trusted to responsibly handle such a stockpile. The responsibility to protect the world from a rogue nation cannot be argued with, and we understandably have a duty to ensure the future of humanity.

However, there is one rogue nation that continues to hold the world ransom with its nuclear weapons supply. It is decimating non-compliant states left, right, and center. This country must be stopped dead in its tracks before anyone turns to the issue of North Korea.

In August of 1945, this rogue nation dropped two atomic bombs on civilian targets, not military targets, completely obliterating between 135,000 and 300,000 Japanese civilians in just these two acts alone. Prior to this event, this country killed even more civilians in the infamous firebombing of Tokyo and other areas of Japan, dropping close to 500,000 cylinders of napalm and petroleum jelly on some of Japan’s most densely populated areas.

Recently, historians have become more open to the possibility that dropping the atomic bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki was not actually necessary to end World War II. This has also been confirmed by those who actually took part in it. As the Nation explained:

“Fleet Adm. Chester Nimitz, Commander in Chief of the Pacific Fleet, stated in a public address at the Washington Monument two months after the bombings that ‘the atomic bomb played no decisive part, from a purely military standpoint, in the defeat of Japan…’ Adm. William “Bull” Halsey Jr., Commander of the US Third Fleet, stated publicly in 1946 that ‘the first atomic bomb was an unnecessary experiment…. It was a mistake to ever drop it…. [the scientists] had this toy and they wanted to try it out, so they dropped it…” [emphasis added]

A few months’ prior, this rogue country’s invasion of the Japanese island of Okinawa also claimed at least one quarter of Okinawa’s population. The Okinawan people have been protesting this country’s military presence ever since. The most recent ongoing protest has lasted well over 5,000 days in a row.

This nation’s bloodlust continued well after the end of World War II. Barely half a decade later, this country bombed North Korea into complete oblivion, destroying over 8,700 factories, 5,000 schools, 1,000 hospitals, 600,000 homes, and eventually killing off as much as 20 percent of the country’s population. As the Asia Pacific Journal has noted, the assaulting country dropped so many bombs that they eventually ran out of targets to hit, turning to bomb the irrigation systems, instead:

“By the fall of 1952, there were no effective targets left for US planes to hit. Every significant town, city and industrial area in North Korea had already been bombed. In the spring of 1953, the Air Force targeted irrigation dams on the Yalu River, both to destroy the North Korean rice crop and to pressure the Chinese, who would have to supply more food aid to the North. Five reservoirs were hit, flooding thousands of acres of farmland, inundating whole towns and laying waste to the essential food source for millions of North Koreans.” [emphasis added]

This was just the beginning. Having successfully destroyed the future North Korean state, this country moved on to the rest of East Asia and Indo-China, too. As Rolling Stone’s Matt Taibbi has explained:

“We [this loose cannon of a nation] dumped 20 million gallons of toxic herbicide on Vietnam from the air, just to make the shooting easier without all those trees, an insane plan to win ‘hearts and minds’ that has left about a million still disabled from defects and disease – including about 100,000 children, even decades later, little kids with misshapen heads, webbed hands and fused eyelids writhing on cots, our real American legacy, well out of view, of course.”

This mass murder led to the deaths of between 1.5 million and 3.8 million people, according to the Washington Post. More bombs were dropped on Vietnam than were unleashed during the entire conflict in World War II. While this was going on, this same country was also secretly bombing Laos and Cambodia, too, where there are over 80 million unexploded bombs still killing people to this day.

This country also decided to bomb YugoslaviaPanama, and Grenada before invading Iraq in the early 1990s. Having successfully bombed Iraqi infrastructure, this country then punished Iraq’s entire civilian population with brutal sanctions. At the time, the U.N. estimated that approximately 1.7 million Iraqis had died as a result, including 500,000 to 600,000 children. Some years later, a prominent medical journal attempted to absolve the cause of this infamous history by refuting the statistics involved despite the fact that, when interviewed during the sanctions-era, Bill Clinton’s secretary of state, Madeleine Albright, intimated that to this rogue government, the deaths of half a million children were “worth it” as the “price” Iraq needed to pay. In other words, whether half a million children died or not was irrelevant to this bloodthirsty nation, which barely blinked while carrying out this murderous policy.

This almighty superpower then invaded Iraq again in 2003 and plunged the entire region into chaos. At the end of May 2017, the Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR) released a study concluding that the death toll from this violent nation’s 2003 invasion of Iraq had led to over one million deaths and that at least one-third of them were caused directly by the invading force.

Not to mention this country also invaded Afghanistan prior to the invasion of Iraq (even though the militants plaguing Afghanistan were originally trained and financed by this warmongering nation). It then went on to bomb Yemen, Syria, Libya, Pakistan, Somalia, and the Philippines.

Libya famously had one of the highest standards of living in the region. It had state-assisted healthcare, education, transport, and affordable housing. It is now a lawless war-zone rife with extremism where slaves are openly traded like commodities amid the power vacuum created as a direct result of the 2011 invasion.

In 2017, the commander-in-chief of this violent nation took the monumental death and destruction to a new a level by removing the restrictions on delivering airstrikes, which resulted in thousands upon thousands of civilian deaths. Before that, in the first six months of 2017, this country dropped over 20,650 bombs, a monumental increase from the year that preceded it.

Despite these statistics, all of the above conquests are mere child’s play to this nation. The real prize lies in some of the more defiant and more powerful states, which this country has already unleashed a containment strategy upon. This country has deployed its own troops all across the border with Russia even though it promised in the early 1990s it would do no such thing. It also has a specific policy of containing Russia’s close ally, China, all the while threatening China’s borders with talks of direct strikes on North Korea (again, remember it already did so in the 1950s).

This country also elected a president who not only believes it is okay to embrace this rampantly violent militarism but who openly calls other countries “shitholes” – the very same term that aptly describes the way this country has treated the rest of the world for decades on end. This same president also reportedly once asked three times in a meeting, “If we have nuclear weapons, why don’t we use them?” and shortly after proposed a policy to remove the constraints protecting the world from his dangerous supply of advanced nuclear weaponry.

When it isn’t directly bombing a country, it is also arming radical insurgent groups, creating instability, and directly overthrowing governments through its covert operatives on the ground.

If we have any empathy for humanity, it is clear that this country must be stopped. It cannot continue to act like this to the detriment of the rest of the planet and the safety and security of the rest of us. This country openly talks about using its nuclear weapons, has used them before, and has continued to use all manner of weapons unabated in the years since while threatening to expand the use of these weapons to other countries.

Seriously, if North Korea seems like a threat, imagine how the rest of the world feels while watching one country violently take on the rest of the planet single-handedly, leaving nothing but destruction in its wake and promising nothing less than a nuclear holocaust in the years to come.

There is only one country that has done that and continues to do the very things North Korea is being accused of doing.

Take as much time as you need for that to resonate.

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Dadster
5 days ago
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Patients Are "Dying In Corridors" Of Britain's Socialised Health System

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Authored by George Pickering via The Mises Institute,

“Patients dying in hospital corridors.”

 

https://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/inline-images/20180123_NHS.jpg

So went the headline which appeared on the BBC’s website last week, detailing the newest outrages which have emerged from Britain’s crisis-beset healthcare system. This most recent revelation came as a result of an open letter sent to the prime minister by 68 senior doctors, offering details of the inhuman conditions which have become common in the National Health Service’s hospitals.

The letter, which collected statistics from NHS hospitals in England and Wales, found that in December alone over 300,000 patients were made to wait in emergency rooms for more than four hours before being seen, with thousands more suffering long waits in ambulances before even being allowed into the emergency room. The letter further noted that it had become “routine” for patients to be left on gurneys in corridors for as long as 12 hours before being offered proper beds, with many of them eventually being put into makeshift wards hastily constructed in side-rooms. In addition to this, it was revealed that around 120 patients per day are being attended to in corridors and waiting rooms, with many being made to undergo humiliating treatments in the public areas of hospitals, and some even dying prematurely as a result. One patient reported that, having gone to the emergency room with a gynecological problem which had left her in severe pain and bleeding, a lack of treatment rooms led hospital staff to examine her in a busy corridor, in full view of other patients.

While it’s tempting to believe that these extreme cases must be a rare occurrence, the fact is that such horror stories have become increasingly the norm for a socialised healthcare system that seems to be in a permanent state of crisis. Indeed, as the NHS entered the first week of 2018, over 97% of its trusts in England were reporting levels of overcrowding so severe as to be “unsafe.”

Almost as predictable as the regular emergence of new stories of this kind is the equally unwavering refusal of British commentators to consider that the state-run monopoly structure of the system itself might be to blame. Many, including the prime minister herself, have pointed to the spike in seasonal illnesses such as the flu at this time of year, to distract from the more fundamental flaws of the system. However, officials from Public Health England recently went so far as to openly dismiss this as a major cause of the current healthcare crisis, clarifying that current levels of hospital admissions due to the flu are “certainly not unprecedented.” The aging of the population, and local councils’ failure to provide more non-hospital care have also been blamed.

By far the most commonly suggested remedy, however, is simply to inject more taxpayers’ money into this failing system. Indeed, the belief that Britain’s perpetual healthcare crisis is solely the result of funding cuts by miserly Conservative politicians is so widespread that it is almost never challenged, least of all by the trusted experts within the system itself, many of whom stand to benefit from increased funding.

However, the popular caricature of the NHS as suffering from chronic underfunding is simply a myth. In fact, even when adjusting for inflation, it is clear that government funding to the NHS has been increasing at an extraordinary rate since the turn of the millennium, much more quickly than during the early years which its supporters look back on so fondly.

pickering1.png

 

Indeed, under the Conservative government of 2015–16, almost 30% of Britain’s public services budget was spent on its monopoly healthcare system, compared with around 11% in the NHS’s first decade.

One commonly heard soundbite from supporters of the current system is that the Conservatives have allowed healthcare spending to slump to historically low levels; all it would take to return the NHS to the levels of success it supposedly previously enjoyed would be to increase its funding back to the same level it previously enjoyed, or so they say. However, to believe such a statement one would have to make two separate misinterpretations of the statistics, both so basic that they would strike shame into even the dullest high school math students: firstly, it is not the absolute amount of spending on the NHS which has fallen under the Conservative-led governments of 2010–18, but merely the rate at which spending is continuing to increase, even when adjusting for inflation. Second, the only reason that the rate of increase seems to have fallen is because of how disproportionately high it had been been under the infamously spendthrift Labour governments of 1997–2010.

Not only is the NHS not underfunded, but it suffers from dismally low efficiency in terms of healthcare bang per buck compared with similarly developed countries. This suggests that no matter how much its funding is increased, the current set-up is prone to chronically waste that money away.

To overcome these problems, reforms to the fundamental nature of the system itself are desperately needed, to increase the economic freedom of healthcare providers in the UK as well as the freedom of choice of consumers. In short, as long as British healthcare is organised as a taxpayer-funded state monopoly it will continue to fail, just as the other nationalised monopolies of the 1970s failed. To get to a point where the British public would even consider reforms of that kind, however, would require the breaking of a taboo that has defined the past 70 years of British politics.

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Dadster
25 days ago
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Why this is an issue with Americans, I don't know. It's common in Emergency rooms across this country and has been for years. And we pay many times more for the privilege.
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Only 1-In-3 Americans Think Michael Wolff's Book Is Credible

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Michael Wolff's new book "Fire and Fury" has proven explosive, sending shockwaves across Washington and beyond.

In its first week of publication, it sold 29,000 copies according to NBD BookScan with digital sales reaching an estimated 250,000. President Trump has claimed Wolff was not provided with access to the White House and that the book is "full of lies, misrepresentations and sources that don't exist".

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders also labeled Fire and Fury "complete fantasy".

Wolff has defended himself against that criticism, insisting Trump is "a man who has less credibility than, perhaps, anyone who has ever walked on earth."

Notably, however, Wolff did include a note at the beginning of the book where he says some of his sources were definitely lying to him while others offered contradictory reports, and this has cast doubt on the book's credibility. 

The end result of the sensational spat between Trump and Wolff is that the book is flying off the shelves.

But, given its success, Statista's Niall McCarthy asks (and answers) what does the American public make of its accuracy?

Infographic: Do Americans Think Michael Wolff's Book Is Credible?  | Statista

You will find more statistics at Statista

A new Morning Consult/Politicopoll has found that a third of registered voters (32 percent) think the book is very or somewhat crediblewhile a quarter (25 percent) consider it not too or not at all credible. 20 percent of respondents either haven't heard of it or have no opinion.

When it comes to political affiliation, unsurprisingly, 46 percent of Democrats view the book as credible while percent think it's inaccurate.

Among Republicans, a 38 percent majority are skeptical about Fire and Fury while just under a quarter find it very or somewhat credible.

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Dadster
33 days ago
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Who cares? It's all a distraction anyway.
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1 public comment
sirshannon
32 days ago
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"Only 1-in-3 Registered Voters think Michael Wolff's Book is Credible" is a more accurate headline but why not "Only 1-in-4 Voters think Wolff's book is not credible" or "Only 56% of Voters with an opinion think Wolf's book is credible" or "Only 57% of voters have an opinion about Wolff's book"? I find it hard to imagine there is something in Wolff's book that would seem too incredible for turmp in rl.

From Camo To 'Lucky Charms' - Tucker Carlson's Hilarious List Of 100 "Racist" Things

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Authored by Amber Athey via The Daily Caller,

Fox News’ Tucker Carlson tweeted out Friday a hilarious list of 100 things people have deemed “racist” this year, and some of the entries are just unbelievable.

The Daily Caller founder geared up for the list by telling his followers that “we live in revolutionary times” and that some “wild things” happened in the past year.

Carlson gave each “racist” item its own separate tweet, and while the list is worth reading in its entirety, we’ve compiled some of the best ones for you here.

#1: Trees

A group of trees in Palm Springs, California, was considered racist because the trees separated an upscale golf course from a historically black neighborhood. City officials promised to kill the trees, ridding Palm Springs of a longtime symbol of oppression.

#8. Disney movies

Kat George, a writer for Vh1’s website, insisted in 2017 that some of your favorite Disney movies are racist. The Little Mermaid was listed as an offender because Sebastian, Ariel’s crab sidekick, spoke in an exaggerated Jamaican accent.

#13. Milk

Milk apparently became a symbol of the alt-right and neo-Nazis this year because racial minorities may be more likely to suffer from lactose intolerance. Even worse, the USDA’s dietary guidelines further such oppression by advertising dairy as an essential part of a healthy diet.

#18. Science

Students in South Africa declared that science is racist because it cannot explain “black magic” — no, really.

“I have a question for all the science people. There is a place in KZN called Umhlab’uyalingana, and they believe that through the magic, the black magic–you call it black magic, they call it witchcraft–you are able to send lightening to strike someone,” one student explained. “Can you explain that scientifically? Because it’s something that happens.”

#29. Military Camouflage

Don’t use face paint while sneaking through the jungle, or you might be accused of racism! The British Army was accused of donning “blackface” after they posted a picture of a soldier wearing dark face paint and holding a rifle.

#41. Lucky Charms

A diversity officer at Miami University was actually open to the idea of banning Lucky Charms because some undercover students claimed the cereal was racist against Irish Americans. Yikes.

#49. Expecting people to show up on time

In this case, timeliness is NOT next to godliness. Expecting students to show up on time to class might be insensitive to “cultural differences,” Clemson University said in a diversity training program.

#64. Babies

Looks like that diversity training might have to start sooner than expected. According to a study by the University of Toronto, babies show preferences to adults of their own race.

You can follow the full thread on Tucker’s Twitter account HERE.

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Dadster
56 days ago
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[yawn]
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Prominent Names Within the Crypto Space Cash Out Their Positions

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Prominent Names Within the Crypto Space Cash Out Their Positions

Written by Nathan McDonald, Sprott Money News

 


Prominent Names Within the Crypto Space Cash Out Their Positions - Nathan McDonald (21/12/2017)

 

Last week, I penned an article about the history of Bitcoin and how the community around it has dramatically changed. This isn't just Bitcoin, however; it is all Cryptos. In the beginning, as I discussed last week, the Bitcoin community was all about helping each other grow and prosper. It had its own micro-economies, and because of this, it boomed.

 

Fast-forward to today, and the landscape is nothing like it once was. "Getting rich quick" topics are all the rage on Bitcointalk, and small businesses can no longer even use Bitcoin as a form of payment, due to skyrocketing fees.

 

As I mentioned, this has led to a large number of original veterans of the Crypto space leaving altogether, as the vision they once saw is long dead. Little did I know a mere week ago just how over-the-mark I was in this assessment.

 

The trend appears to be continuing and is now moving to high profile names within the Crypto space. Two in particular have now cashed out of their cryptocurrency positions almost entirely.

 

The first is Charlie Lee, the founder of Litecoin, often referred to as “Bitcoin’s silver.” As it is closely linked to the success of Bitcoin, Litecoin has skyrocketed in value over the course of the year.

 

In fact, this time last year, it was trading at a mere $3.67 USD per Litecoin. Today it sits at roughly $320 USD per Litecoin, a phenomenal gain of well over 9000% in less than one year!

 

You cannot blame Charlie Lee for cashing out, but what is shocking is the fact that Lee has been one of the biggest promoters and pushers of Litecoin in the past. Still, there are those stating the price can never go down. A warning sign noticed by any contrarian investor.

 

Charlie Lee, of course, had an explanation that had nothing to do with the parabolic rise of Litecoin, stating that he suddenly now believes his ownership to be a "conflict of interest." You can read his full reddit post here.

 

The second prominent figure to cash out of the cryptocurrency markets is the founder of the original Bitcoin.com website.

 

Emil Oldenburg, of Sweden, has been a massive supporter of Bitcoin, and it comes as a shock to many to learn that he now dismisses it as a valid form of money. He even went so far as to state that Bitcoin is currently "the most risky investment a person can make.


During his interview with Breakit, Oldenburg goes on to explain why he sold out of his Bitcoin position. His reasoning will come as a surprise to many, but not myself, as it is exactly what I have been talking about in this article and preceding ones:

 

“It’s a group of fanatic bitcoin talibans who themselves do not use bitcoin everyday to want it like this. They see bitcoin like digital gold and a technical experiment, not something you should actually use. It will never be a currency used in everyday life or for people who run companies.”


The markets have simply not priced this in yet. The ones who had the foresight to be a part of Bitcoin from inception are sending up red flags and even publicly stating they are cashing out of their positions.

 

Yet, the price of Cryptos continues to trend higher. Perhaps these announcements will be looked upon as the beginning of the top for Cryptos; perhaps not. Only time will tell, but what is certain is the fact that high profile names are taking notice of what I have been stating for close to half a year now: the community around Cryptos has dramatically shifted and changed. What sparked its meteoric rise is no longer in place, and sadly, is likely never coming back.

 

Questions or comments about this article? Leave your thoughts HERE.

 

 

 

Prominent Names Within the Crypto Space Cash Out Their Positions

Written by Nathan McDonald, Sprott Money News

 

 

Check out these other articles by our contributors:

 

 Kite in a Tree - Jeff Thomas (21/12/2017)

Eric Sprott Talks Lows in Gold, Comex Shenanigans, and Answers Your Questions (Weekly Wrap-Up, December 15, 2017)

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Dadster
58 days ago
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"Yet, the price of Cryptos continues to trend higher..." Not in the past 48 hours though...
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