Consumer comfort rose off the lows of 2009 even though more people are being laid off and retail is contracting. Initial jobless claims continue to fall with layoffs rising. US Gov and the corporate media pushing that retail is doing well, evidence shows retail is imploding. Why is the US housing market being propped up, to make people feel like they have wealth, even though its paper wealth. Manufacturing is a complete disaster, the Baltic Dry Index declines again below 800. Reports about US torture black sites are much worse than the redacted report revealed. Leaked reports on Obama’s drone program shows he targeted innocent people for assassination. Details show the hospital in Afghanistan was purposely targeted. Obama announces that troops in Afghanistan will remain, this is to have troops ready for the next war. Iran shows off their ballistic missiles. US getting ready to provoke China, hoping China will react. Russia destroys more IS terrorist and they are on the run. US helping IS and re branding them into the Syrian Democratic Forces’. US border terrorist computer system went down for 90 minutes.
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Current News – 10.15.2015
- The last 4 weeks have seen Bloomberg’s Consumer Comfort index rise at the fastest pace since its “Off The Lows” move from March 2009… The driver, apparently, was women whose comfort rose from 41.6 to 43.0 as men dropped from 48.2 to 47.6; and while “white” people’s comfort dropped from 45.3 to 44.5, “black” people surveyed saw a huge jump from 40.3 to 45.9 in their comfort.
- The yawning gap between job cuts (surging most since 2009) and initial jobless claims (hovering near 42 year lows) continues to grow as initial jobless claims collapse 7k this week to 255k – the lowest since 1973.
- September retail sales were grudgingly reported by the Census Bureau yesterday morning and they were absolutely dreadful. MSM couldn’t blame it on snow, cold, flooding, drought, or even swarms of locusts. So they just buried the story in their small print headlines. The propaganda media machine had nothing. They continue to spew the drivel about a 5.1% unemployment rate as a reflection of a booming jobs market. If we really have a booming jobs market, we would have a booming retail sector. The stagnant retail market reveals the jobs data to be fraudulent.
- Consumer spending accounted for 68% of GDP in 2008 at the peak. Seven years later it still represents 68% of GDP. The difference is the spending has shifted dramatically towards services since the Wall Street created financial crisis. Spending on services has grown by 31% versus 20% for goods since 2008. Guess what has caused that surge?
- Spending on healthcare has skyrocketed for the average person. Rent, taxes, utilities and educational expenses have all exploded higher. Meanwhile, real median household incomes are 7% lower than they were in 2008.
- Retail sales have missed the expectations of highly paid Wall Street economists 7 out of the last 10 months and 10 out of the last 15 months. But they guarantee sales will be strong next month.
- I found it amusing that Marketwatch had their headline as Wal-Mart to Buyback $20 Billion of Stock, rather than reporting that Wal-Mart’s profits are crashing by billions.
- The Powers That Be have gone to extraordinary lengths to prop up housing by whatever means are necessary since the collapse of the housing bubble in 2008: the Federal Reserve has pushed mortgages rates down by buying mortgage-backed securities, the federal housing agencies (FHA, VA) have issued millions of low-down payment loans, and the federal government has essentially taken over the mortgage industry, backing 90+% of all mortgage loans.
- Why is the status quo so keen on propping up housing?
- The majority of household assets are owned by the top 10%, and this includes the majority of financial assets. The top .1% own 22% of all U.S. household wealth, the top 1% own 35% and the top 10% own 75%.
- Households below the top 10% may have financial assets such as insurance policies, 401K accounts or pensions funded by employers, but a house is typically the largest store of value the household owns.
- If you want to make the top 1% and top 10% happy, you prop up stocks and bonds. if you want to make the 60% of the populace who own a home happy, you prop up housing.
- Housing is the only real source of the wealth effect for households below the top 10%.
- If housing tanks, the last prop under the veneer of middle class wealth collapses.
- The Philly Fed general business activity index somehow managed to rise very modestly in October from -6.0 to -4.5 (but missed expectations) even as 7 out of 9 constituent components dropped if not crashed outright!.
- This the second monthly decline in a row – not seen since 2013. New Orders collapsed from +9.4 to -10.6, Unfilled orders crashed to -11.7, Employment plunged from 10.2 to -1.7, and workweek evaporated from +7.0 to -7.3. Even “hope” collapsed with future expectations dropping from 44.0 to 36.7
- After collapsing in August and unable to get up in September, October’s Empire Fed bounced very modestly from -14.67 to -11.36 (but missed expectations for the 7th month of the last 8). This is the first time since 2009 that Empire Fed has printed below -10 3 months in a row putting The US firmly in recession territory, New orders crashing at the fastest pace since Nov 2010. Employees tumbled (as did inventories, although the plunge slowed) with prices received plumbing new cycle lows. In other words, total disaster..
- Using flight records, court cases and prisoner testimonies among other documents, journalists say they have compiled a comprehensive snapshot of the redacted details in the 500-page US Senate report on the CIA’s post-9/11 torture tactics.
- . It took researchers at the UK-based Bureau of Investigative Journalism and The Rendition Project nine months to match the code names with public source data in order to point to the specific countries where prisoners were taken to black sites. They also discovered how long prisoners were detained, and what happened afterwards.
- Through the work, researchers were able document the movements of 119 prisoners over a three-year period from 2002 to 2005.
- The report’s authors said that under the CIA’s rendition, detention and interrogation program, more than 130 people are known to have been tortured in the agency’s own secret prisons, which operated across the world between 2001-2009.
- The CIA began its rendition and torture program by using the black site nicknamed “Green” in Thailand where officials agreed to host the site and provide security for it, but then “problems with the hosts soon emerged.”
- “Reshuffles of Thai government personnel meant that the CIA Station Chief had to engage in ‘continued lobbying’ to keep the prison open. Less than a month after the site was set up, the agency estimated that the numbers of Thai officials who knew about it was already in double figures. It did not take long for media organizations to pick up on the fact that the CIA’s most important catch was being held in Thailand,” according to the report.
- A cache of classified documents has revealed the inner workings of US drone operations in Somalia, Yemen and Afghanistan, including the mechanism of targeting suspects slated for assassination
- The documents were provided to The Intercept by a source within the US intelligence community who wished to remain anonymous because of the government’s aggressive prosecution of whistleblowers. He says the American public has the right to know about the process by which people are placed on kill lists and assassinated on orders from US government officials.
- drones – which “have been President Barack Obama’s weapon of choice, used by the military and the CIA” – have been used in both declared and undeclared war zones.
- Saying that “there has been intense focus on the technology of remote killing” among top US officials, the report suggests fatal drone attacks targeting people were launched from bases in Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as in Somalia and Yemen – although “undeclared war zones… strikes [there] were justified under tighter restrictions.”
- Obama created the watchlist — of monitoring people and racking and stacking them on lists, assigning them numbers, assigning them ‘baseball cards,’ assigning them death sentences without notice, on a worldwide battlefield
- Data is most often gathered “from phone and computer communications intercepts,” with cell phones and emails being “the primary tools used by the military to find, fix, and finish its targets.”
- Documents describing Operation Haymaker, a special operations campaign in northeastern Afghanistan, show that US airstrikes killed over 200 people between January 2012 and February 2013, but only 35 were the intended targets. The military designated everyone killed in the strikes as “enemy killed in action (EKIA),” unless evidence later emerged specifically showing the male victims were not terrorists.
- US sci-tech contractor Battelle has developed a revolutionary gun that can target and stop UAVs dead at a range of just 400 meters using radio signals. It expects to make it available to US government agencies next year.
- “The DroneDefender can help protect us from those who may wish to do us harm. It can help us in numerous settings, from the White House lawn to bases and embassies overseas; from prisons and schools to historic sites. It easily and reliably neutralizes the threat,”
- Makers say that the model, which looks like a gun with an antenna, instead of a barrel, weighs less than 5 kg, can be switched on in less than one 10th of a second, and can operate for five hours straight without a recharge.
- To work it, the shooter simply sees the drone, and catches it in its scope, before pressing a trigger.
- “The system works by disrupting radio control frequencies between the drone and the pilot. It basically makes the drone think that it’s gone out of range. The drone enters into its safety protocols which include one of three options. It’ll either hover in position until the pilot can regain control link, it lands so the pilot can recover it physically, or it returns to its point of origin,” Stamm told Motherboard.
- The new details suggest “that the hospital was intentionally targeted,”
- Now, all 9,800 troops will remain for “most” of next year and 5,500 troops will remain in 2017.
- Russian officials have expressed doubt that a new plan by the United States to extend its military presence in Afghanistan could help the war-ravaged country.
- Russian presidential envoy to Afghanistan and head of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s Second Asia Department Zamir Kabulov said on Thursday that Washington’s decision to maintain its number of troops in Afghanistan could not improve the situation there.
“I don’t know what this will change. I have often said that if 100,000 [military personnel] couldn’t do it, what can be expected from 5,000 or 6,000,” said Kabulov,
- Russia’s deputy defense minister said it’s possible the Russian military would fight terrorism by putting regular units on the border between Afghanistan and Tajikistan.
- Russia has started construction of a 14 kilometer long power bridge from the mainland to the Crimean peninsula, which is currently dependent on Ukraine for electricity.
- The 13.8 kilometer cable will pass along the seabed of the Kerch Strait and connect the Krasnodar region and Crimea. Work begins on Thursday, says Crimean Fuel and Energy Minister Sergey Egorov.
- Kiev will demand $1 trillion from Moscow as compensation for the loss of Crimea and its alleged activities in Donbass, “We are ready for judicial proceedings,” said Yatsenyuk.
- The Kremlin was surprised by Ukraine’s intention to demand $1 trillion from Russia.
- “Crimea is the territory of the Russian Federation. Donbass is the territory of Ukraine. How did they get that $1 trillion? It is not clear,”
- For the first time ever, Iranian television has broadcast footage of a secret underground tunnel, stocked with missile and launcher units. Officials have said it is one of several such bases in the Islamic republic.
- Located at a depth of 500 meters under the mountains, the footage shows a very long tunnel which appears to be about 10 meters high. It is one of many missile bases in Iran, according to the Brigadier General commander of the Islamic Republic’s Revolutionary Guards’ aerospace division.
- China may use force if the US proceeds with its plan to sail within 12 miles of a reclaimed island in the South China Sea.
- “Make no mistake, the United States will fly, sail and operate wherever international law allows, as we do around the world, and the South China Sea will not be an exception,” US Defense Secretary Ash Carter
- early reports indicated that Beijing was indeed considering some manner of military “support.”
- On Tuesday morning, a Chinese naval vessel reportedly traveled through Egypt’s Suez Canal to enter the Mediterranean Sea; its destination was not confirmed.
- However, according to a senior officer in the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) that is stationed inside the Syrian coastal city of Latakia, Chinese military personnel and aerial assets are scheduled to arrive in the coming weeks (6 weeks) to the port-city of Tartous – he could not provide any more detail.
Three days later, Pravda reported that “according to Russian Senator Igor Morozov, Beijing has taken decision to take part in combating IS and sent its vessels to the Syrian coast.”
- Remember, China has voted with Russia on the Security Council when it comes to Syria and there is no question which side Beijing supports.
- the government has imposed a temporary media blackout on reporting about the deadly attack until those behind it are caught.
- Russian warplanes have destroyed a surface-to-air missile launcher that the Islamic State terrorist group previously captured from the Syrian Army, . The bombing campaign in Syria is forcing the jihadists to flee
- The general added that terrorist forces appear to be abandoning their positions and are pulling back.
- “The militants are retreating, trying to establish new positioning areas and changing their supply system,” he said, adding that Russia has intensified reconnaissance sorties to monitor the situation on the ground.
- for those who revel in watching Russia fly warplanes over Syria, you’re in luck, because The Russian Defense Ministry has taken it up a notch by attaching a GoPro to a Su-25.
- Both US and Russian defense officials are confirming some progress made on a basic understanding on air safety over Syria,
- Russian FM Sergey Lavrov reported that an offer for “deeper talks” was spurned by the US, and the administration went so far as to refuse to receive a Russian delegation if one was sent to Washington to discuss Syria.
- A Department of Homeland Security computer system that checks airline flight passenger lists against terror watch lists experienced a service disruption Wednesday night,
- U.S. Customs and Border Protection said in a statement late Wednesday that the outage lasted around 90 minutes