Back in December 2012, we wrote that it was only a matter of time before Japan’s criminal lying about the radioactive exposure in the aftermath of the Fukushima catastrophe caught up with it, as well as with countless numbers of people who would soon succumb to radiation induced cancers and other diseases. What we found surprising back then, before the full scale of the Fukushima catastrophe become clear and before even Tepco admitted that the situation is completely out of control, is that those holding Japan accountable were not its own citizens but eight US sailors who have then filed a suit against semi-nationalized energy operator TEPCO – the company which repeatedly ignored internal warnings about the ability of the Fukushima NPP to withstand an earthquake/tsunami – seeking $110 million in damages.
“Eight U.S. sailors have filed a damages suit against Tokyo Electric Power Co., claiming they were exposed to radiation and face health threats as the utility did not provide appropriate information about the Fukushima nuclear disaster while they engaged in rescue operations on board an aircraft carrier, U.S. media reported.
The plaintiffs who filed the suit at the U.S. federal court in San Diego — seeking a total of $110 million, or 9.4 billion yen, in damages — were aboard the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan when it was involved in “Operation Tomodachi,” a disaster relief effort shortly after a big earthquake and tsunami triggered the worst nuclear accident in decades, the reports said.”
What is sad is that while everyone in the alternative media was repeatedly warning about the radiation exposure being misrepresented by both TEPCO and various Japanese ministries, it was the mainstream media that was constantly complicit in disseminating official and unofficial lies that there is nothing to fear.
One year after our report, the lies are not only catching up (and overtaking), but are ruining and dooming innocent lives. As Fox reports, dozens of US soldiers who participated in the Fukushima cleanup effort, are succumbing to numerous radiation-related illnesses, including cancer, and their only error was believing the official media lies.
When the USS Ronald Reagan responded to the tsunami that struck Japan in March 2011, Navy sailors including Quartermaster Maurice Enis gladly pitched in with rescue efforts.
But months later, while still serving aboard the aircraft carrier, he began to notice strange lumps all over his body. Testing revealed he’d been poisoned with radiation, and his illness would get worse. And his fiance and fellow Reagan quartermaster, Jamie Plym, who also spent several months helping near the Fukushima nuclear power plant, also began to develop frightening symptoms, including chronic bronchitis and hemorrhaging.
They and 49 other U.S. Navy members who served aboard the Reagan and sister ship the USS Essex now trace illnesses including thyroid and testicular cancers, leukemia and brain tumors to the time spent aboard the massive ship, whose desalination system pulled in seawater that was used for drinking, cooking and bathing. In a lawsuit filed against Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), the plaintiffs claim the power company delayed telling the U.S. Navy the tsunami had caused a nuclear meltdown, sending huge amounts of contaminated water into the sea and, ultimately, into the ship’s water system.
“At our level, we weren’t told anything,” Plym told FoxNews.com. “We were told everything was OK.” Now, Plym, Enis and dozens of others wonder if their service to their country and to Japan has left them doomed.
“I get so angry,” Plym said. “They said as long as the plume was avoided we would be fine. But we knew then that something was going to happen. Common sense tells you that the wind would blow it everywhere. You don’t need to be a nuclear scientist to figure that out.”
Why the anger though: after all everyone lied, starting with those in control, and certainly the media that supports the status quo (one must think of all those advertising dollars) constantly and repeatedly that it is simply preposterous to assume that a benevolent regime which only cares about the wealth effect (of both the US and Japan) would engage in such a vast conspiracy as to hide from the world just how destructive the fallour from Fukushima truly was (even as the fringe blogosphere was warning precisely about this day in, and day out).
But while the lies are easily explainable, what is more surprising is that the soldiers are blaming just Tepco instead of everyone in their chain of command for putting them in the line of gamma radiation fire.
San Francisco Attorney Charles Bonner,who is representing allegedly cancer-stricken sailors, initially filed a federal suit in the Southern District of California more than a year ago on behalf of a dozen sailors. The lawsuit was initially dismissed, when the court ruled that any ruling would hinge on interpreting communication between the Japanese and U.S. governments, which could violate the separation of powers. But Bonner is amending the suit to add new allegations that would fall under the court’s jurisdiction. And the number of plaintives has more than quadrupled as more service members come forward with radiation-related illnesses, he said.
“They went in to help with rescue efforts,” said Bonner, who plans to refile the suit on Jan. 6. “They did not go in prepared to deal with radiation containment.”
The plaintiffs don’t blame the U.S. Navy, which they believe acted in good faith, Bonner said. It was the plant’s operators who sat on the meltdown information during the crucial hours following the March 11, 2011 disaster, he said.
“TEPCO pursued a policy which caused rescuers, including the plaintiffs, to rush into an unsafe area which was too close to the [Fukushima nuclear power plant] that had been damaged,” Bonner charged in an April filing now being updated to add more plaintiffs. “Relying upon the misrepresentation regarding health and safety made by TEPCO, upon information and belief, the U.S. Navy was lulled into a false sense of security.
“The officers and crew of the U.S.S. Reagan (CVN-76) and other vessels believed that it was safe to operate within the waters adjacent to the FNPP, without doing the kinds of research and testing that would have verified the problems known to the defendant TEPCO at the time.”
Nathan Piekutoski, 22, who served aboard the USS Essex, which was in the same deployment as the Reagan, said sailors had no choice but to trust what they were told.
“They did say it was safe at the time,” Piekutoski said. “We had to take their word for it.”
Piekutowski says he suffered from leukemia and, while he is currently in remission, Doctors have told him that he may need a bone marrow transplant.
“Within a few months I started getting all these weird symptoms,” he recalled of the months following the disaster response. “Night sweats. Not sleeping. I started losing a lot of weight.
“It’s one of those things,” he added. “You’re angry that it happens but we had to go. It was our duty. I joined the military to help people in need.”
A spokesperson for the Department of Defense declined to comment on the pending lawsuit, but told FoxNews.com the Pentagon has been monitoring and collecting data on radiation exposure in the region.
Needless to say, the criminals at Tepco have nothing to say:
TEPCO officials did not respond to requests for comment. But a recent admission before members of the Japanese press on Dec. 12 during a meeting at the Tokyo Press Club, former Prime Minister Naoto Jan said the first meltdown occurred five hours after the tsunami, not the next day as reported at the time.
Bonner alleges that the statement means that the Japanese government knew radiation was being leaked and did not inform the U.S. Navy.
“They knew there was an active meltdown and they deliberately hid it from the public as well as the Navy,” Bonner said. “Those sailors went in there totally unaware and they were contaminated as a result.”
Plym says she is prepared to have her symptoms question in court, should the case go to trial. But with so many U.S. sailors coming forward, she believes justice will prevail.
“People will say that out lawsuit is fake and that we are doing this for money, but it’s really about getting the correct information out there,” Plym said.
And now back to a mythical reality in which insolvent governments tell the “truth” about the true, and very deplorable, state of affairs just behind the peeing facade. In the meantime, to all the sailors whose only crime was believing their criminal, corrupt superiors: our condolences.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe wants to raise Japan’s military profile to meet what he says is a threat from China. [AFP]
|China’s military has condemned Japan’s plans to boost defence spending, accusing Tokyo of raising regional tensions under the pretext of safeguarding national security.
In a statement issued on Saturday, Geng Yansheng, defence ministry spokesman, said China “resolutely opposes” Japan’s five-year defence plan, accusing its Asian neighbour of maintaining a “Cold War mentality”.
Geng accused Japan of manufacturing fears of Chinese aggression and denying responsibility for having invaded China and other countries in the last century.
Japan “continues to deny its history of World War II aggression, challenge the post-war order, and harm the feelings of the people of those victimised nations,” Geng said.
“We urge Japan to reflect deeply on its history, strictly adhere to its commitment to peaceful development, and take concrete measures to improve relations with its neighbours to play a constructive role in maintaining regional peace and development,” Geng said.
Geng was referring to Japan’s imperial occupation of China, starting with the invasion of Manchuria in 1931, to Japan’s surrender after the end of World War II in 1945. Japan has refused to apologise for the atrocities committed by its soldiers during that period.
The statement marks the latest salvo in the ongoing string of accusations over who is responsible for a sharp rise in tensions in the East China Sea.
Last Tuesday, Japan said it would lift military spending by 2.6 percent over five years, buying early-warning planes, beach-assault vehicles and troop-carrying aircraft.
It was seen as the clearest sign since Prime Minister Shinzo Abe took office a year ago that he wants to raise Japan’s military profile to meet what he says is a threat from China’s rapid military build-up.
China’s military has taken an increasingly hawkish stance amid a bitter dispute with Tokyo over uninhabited islands in the sea controlled by Japan but claimed by China.
Japan’s nationalisation of the islands in September 2012 sparked violent demonstrations in several Chinese cities.
In the months since, Chinese patrol vessels have routinely confronted Japanese ships in the area.
Under the new Japanese defence plan, the country will purchase its first surveillance drones, more jet fighters and naval destroyers, and set up an amphibious unit similar to the US Marines in the next five years.
Broader defence programme guidelines, also adopted on Tuesday, say Japan is “gravely concerned” about China’s growing maritime and military presence in the East China Sea, and its lack of transparency and “high-handed” approach.
Late last month, China said all aircraft entering a vast zone over the East China sea must identify themselves and follow China’s instructions.
The last few days have seen significant shifts in the term structure of US Treasury bonds; auctions have not gone well and despite the world’s expectations for ‘taper’ to lead to a surge in rates, the long-end of the bond-market has rallied. While Goldman might believe the ‘bond bubble’ is starting to pop, the following 223 years of Treasury yields (through free-markets and centrally-planned) sheds some light on what the ‘new normal’ level of rates really represents because, as we noted previously, the world is so levered now that any ‘reversion’ in rates is simply unthinkable.
Notice any difference pre- and post-Fed?
Chart: Goldman Sachs
With a wave of detente spilling over the Middle East, following the surprising US overture to calm relations with Syria and Iran just months after it nearly launched an offensive war in the country over a few fabricated YouTube clops Looks like Africa will be the next geopolitical hotspot. But while France is the figurehead leading the offensive over west Africa, focusing on Mali and the Central African Republic, where they are “peacekeeping” (with the support of US drones), east Africa appears set for a full-blown flare out, with the Sudan area emerging as the dominant zone of instability and future escalation. Which is perhaps why not only a US aircraft, but a UN helicopter, both came under fire in the Sudan over the past 24 hours in what is assured to generate an “appropriate” response by the US.
First, Reuters reports about a U.S. aircraft which was by gunfire in South Sudan:
A U.S. aircraft came under fire on Saturday on a mission to evacuate Americans from spiraling conflict in South Sudan and four U.S. military service members were wounded.
Nearly a week of fighting threatens to drag the world’s newest country into an ethnic civil war just two years after it won independence from Sudan with strong support from successive U.S. administrations.
The U.S. aircraft came under fire while approaching the evacuation site, the military’s Africa Command said in a statement. “The aircraft diverted to an airfield outside the country and aborted the mission,” it said.
Hundreds of people have been killed in the fighting that pits loyalists of President Salva Kiir, of the Dinka ethnic group, against those of his former vice president Riek Machar, a Nuer who was sacked in July and is accused by the government of trying to seize power.
Fighting that spread from the capital, Juba, has now reached vital oilfields and the government said a senior army commander had defected to Machar in the oil-producing Unity State.
And just to assure a condemning social response is generated, and the public mood against the South Sudan is sufficiently negative, the AP just reported that a UN helicopter in the region had been downed also following gunfire by local militant:
Two officials have told The Associated Press that a U.N. helicopter trying to evacuate peacekeepers and civilians was fired on and sustained significant damage on Friday in the same restive South Sudan state where a U.S. helicopter was hit Saturday.
Rob McKee of Warrior Security said the U.N. helicopter was hit by small arms fire and made an emergency landing while trying to evacuate personnel from a base in Yuai in Jonglei state. A second official who insisted on anonymity because the information hasn’t been released said the helicopter was abandoned and remains unable to fly. No injuries were reported.
A U.N. spokesman didn’t answer a phone call or email seeking comment.
U.S. aircraft were fired on Saturday in Bor, the capital of Jonglei. Four U.S. service members were wounded.
Of course, the question is why the US (and, laughably, French) scramble to get involved militarily in Africa now? The answer is easy: as we reported in June 2012, in the rush for Africa China has a multi-year head start in the colonization race. So what short cuts is a self-determined superpower to do to catch up – why find one pretext after another to send a military force and achieve through brute force what China has been able to attain through infrastructure and domestic investing over the past several years.
From June 2012:
“The Beijing Conference”: See How China Quietly Took Over Africa
Back in 1885, to much fanfare, the General Act of the Berlin Conference launched the Scramble for Africa which saw the partition of the continent, formerly a loose aggregation of various tribes, into the countries that currently make up the southern continent, by the dominant superpowers (all of them European) of the day. Subsequently Africa was pillaged, plundered, and in most places, left for dead. The fact that a credit system reliant on petrodollars never managed to take hold only precipitated the “developed world” disappointment with Africa, no matter what various enlightened, humanitarian singer/writer/poet/visionaries claim otherwise. And so the continent languished. Until what we have dubbed as the “Beijing Conference” quietly took place, and to which only Goldman Sachs, which too has been quietly but very aggressively expanding in Africa, was invited. As the map below from Stratfor shows, ever since 2010, when China pledged over $100 billion to develop commercial projects in Africa, the continent has now become de facto Chinese territory. Because where the infrastructure spending has taken place, next follow strategic sovereign investments, and other modernization pathways, until gradually Africa is nothing but an annexed territory for Beijing, full to the brim with critical raw materials, resources and supplies. So while the “developed world” was and continues to deny the fact that it is broke, all the while having exactly zero money to invest in expansion, China is quietly taking over the world. Literally.
More from Stratfor:
In late July, Beijing hosted the 5th Forum on China-Africa Cooperation, during which China pledged up to $20 billion to African countries over the next three years. China has proposed or committed about $101 billion to commercial projects in Africa since 2010, some of which are under negotiation while others are currently under way. Together, construction and natural resource deals total approximately $90 billion, or about 90 percent of Chinese commercial activity in Africa since 2010. These figures could be even higher because of an additional $7.5 billion in unspecified commitments to South Africa and Zambia, likely intended for mining projects. Of the remaining $3 billion in Chinese commercial commitments to Africa, about $2.1 billion will be used on local manufacturing projects. While China has proposed $750 million for agriculture and general development aid and about $50 million to support small- and medium-sized business development in addition to the aforementioned projects, it has been criticized for the extractive nature of its relationship with many African countries, as well as the poor quality of some of its construction work. However, since many African countries lack the indigenous engineering capability to construct these large-scale projects or the capital to undertake them, African governments with limited resources welcome Chinese investments enthusiastically. These foreign investment projects are also a boon for Beijing, since China needs African resources to sustain its domestic economy, and the projects in Africa provide a destination for excess Chinese labor.
By Louise Egan
OTTAWA (Reuters) – Canada’s annual inflation rate crept up to 0.9 percent in November from 0.7 percent in October but it remained below the central bank’s target range, ensuring that chronically weak inflation will stay on policymakers’ radar as a top concern.
The Canadian dollar weakened to a 3-1/2-year low against the U.S. dollar after the Statistics Canada inflation report, which confirmed analysts’ expectations that steep discounting by retailers around “Black Friday” would prevent inflation from gaining much momentum in the near term.
A separate report from Statscan on retail sales in October showed unexpected weakness in the sector as purchases of cars declined.
The consumer price index was flat month on month, with the annual CPI rate pushed higher mainly by shelter and food costs, while prices fell for health and personal care as well as for clothing and footwear.
But the annual core CPI, closely watched by the Bank of Canada because it excludes volatile items such as gasoline and food, slipped 0.1 percentage point in the month for an annual rate of 1.1 percent.
Both the total and core inflation rates were slightly below market expectations of 1.0 percent and 1.2 percent, respectively.
“From a policy perspective, (it) helps fuel the growing narrative that the Bank of Canada is becoming increasingly more dovish,” said Mazen Issa, a strategist at TD Securities.
“Certainly the risk that the bank adopts an explicit easing bias in January continues to grow and this report lends further credence to that view,” he said.
Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz told Reuters this week the bank’s stance on monetary policy is neutral, but he acknowledged it is “having trouble explaining” why inflation is so weak, as well as being puzzled by poor exports and business investment in the context of an improving U.S. economy.
The bank first explicitly stated an increased concern about low inflation in its October 23 interest rate decision, when it shifted into a neutral after 18 months of leaning towards rate hikes.
This month, it warned that heightened competition in the retail sector appeared more persistent than anticipated.
More retailers in Canada, including Target Corp (TGT.N: Quote) and Wal-Mart Stores Inc (WMT.N: Quote), have been running Black Friday sales in November even though Canadians celebrate Thanksgiving in October, as they try to keep customers from crossing the border for better deals.
In the United States, this shopping season is expected to be the most competitive since the financial crisis of 2008, with retailers discounting heavily to woo cautious shoppers.
Inflation has been below the Bank of Canada’s 2 percent target for 19 months. For seven of the past 13 months it has been below the 1 to 3 percent range the bank tolerates.
The latest figures suggest inflation will be below the Bank of Canada’s latest estimate of 1.3 percent average CPI in the fourth quarter. The bank will update its forecasts on January 22.
“I do think the real story here is on core inflation, the fact that we’re now just about scraping the very low end of the comfort zone for the Bank of Canada, and I do think it’s largely due to the heavy duty discounting we’re seeing among a number of retailers,” said Doug Porter, chief economist at BMO Capital Markets.
“So it’s a fairly big miss by the bank on core inflation.”
The Canadian dollar weakened after the report to C$1.0700 to the greenback, or 93.46 U.S. cents, from Thursday’s close of C$1.0666, or 93.76 U.S. cents.
RETAIL VOLUMES TO FUEL GROWTH
Retail sales unexpectedly fell by 0.1 percent in October from September as a downturn at car dealerships offset upbeat supermarket sales. Market analysts had forecast a 0.2 percent increase in monthly sales.
The weak reading followed three straight months of gains as four of the 11 retail subsectors declined.
However, in volume terms, retail sales grew 0.2 percent in October.
The data, combined with strong readings in manufacturing and wholesale trade in October, suggest the economy will grow at a healthy clip in the fourth quarter, although below the 2.7 percent annualized growth seen in the third.
Overall sales at motor vehicle and parts dealers fell 1.9 percent. New car sales slid 1.6 percent after a 4.6 percent surge in the previous month. Gasoline station sales fell 1.6 percent.
On the other hand, food and beverage stores registered a 1.7 percent jump in sales.
Total sales excluding the auto sector grew 0.4 percent.
“The powers of financial capitalism had (a) far-reaching aim, nothing less than to create a world system of financial control in private hands able to dominate the political system of each country and the economy of the world as a whole. This system was to be controlled in a feudalist fashion by the central banks of the world acting in concert, by secret agreements arrived at in frequent meetings and conferences. The apex of the systems was to be the Bank for International Settlements in Basel, Switzerland; a private bank owned and controlled by the world’s central banks which were themselves private corporations. Each central bank… sought to dominate its government by its ability to control Treasury loans, to manipulate foreign exchanges, to influence the level of economic activity in the country, and to influence cooperative politicians by subsequent economic rewards in the business world.” – Carroll Quigley, member of the Council on Foreign Relations
If one wishes to truly understand the actions behind private Federal Reserve policy, one must come to terms with a fundamental reality – everything the Fed does it does for a reason, and the most apparent reasons are not always the primary reasons. If you think that the Fed simply acts on impulsive stupidity or hubris, then you haven’t a clue what is going on. If you think the Fed only does what it does in order to hide the numerous negative aspects of our current economy, then you only know half the story. If you think the Fed does not have a plan, then you are sorely mistaken…
Central Bankers and their political proponents espouse a globalist ideology, meaning, they are internationalists in their orientation and motivations. They do not have loyalties to any particular country. They do not take an oath to any particular constitution. They do not have empathy for any particular culture or social experiment. They have their own subculture, with their own “values”, and their own social hierarchy. They are a kind of “tribe” or “sect”; a cult,if you will, that views itself as superior to all others. This means that when the central bankers that run the Fed act, they only act with the intention to support and promote globalization, not the best interests of America and Americans.
The process of globalization REQUIRES the dissolution of the U.S. economy as it exists today. Period. There is no way around it. America can no longer remain a superpower in the face of what globalists call “harmonization”. The dollar can no longer maintain its petro-currency status or its world reserve status if total centralization under a new global currency is to be achieved. Globalists believe that America must be sacrificed on the altar of “progress”, and diminished into a mere enclave, a feudal colony of a greater global system. The globalists at the Fed are no different.
Once this driving philosophy is understood, the final conclusion is obvious – the Fed exists to destroy the U.S. financial system and the U.S. currency mechanism. That is what they are here for.
This is why the dollar has lost 98% of its value since the Fed was established in 1913. This is why the Fed deliberately engineered the derivatives bubble crisis through the implementation of artificially low interest rates. This is why their response to the crisis was to create yet another massive bubble in stocks and bonds through QE stimulus. This is why the Fed is cutting stimulus today.
How does the taper play into the long running program of dollar destruction and globalization? Let’s take a look…
The Multifaceted Taper Strategy
In my article ‘Is The Fed Ready To Cut America’s Fiat Life Support’, and my article ‘Expect Devastating Global Economic Changes In 2014’, I predicted that a Fed taper was highly likely. Central banks almost always implant policy shift rumors into the mainstream media a few months before they implement them. They did this for TARP, for QE1, QE2, QE3, and the Taper. In fact, the Fed spent the better part of the past quarter conditioning investors to the idea of stimulus cuts, so I was not at all surprised when they followed through.
The Fed has, of course, now announced a $10 billion QE reduction just in time for Christmas and the 100th anniversary of the privately run institution. In the past, I have pointed out the tendency of central banks to enforce detrimental policy changes while the government, the economy and/or the bank itself is in the midst of a major transition. The Fed’s taper announcement comes just in time for the end of Ben Bernanke’s term as chairman, and the expected nomination of Janet Yellen.
This is done, I believe, because it provides an opportunity to divert blame for a crisis event they know is on the horizon. If attention is ever focused on the Fed specifically for a market downturn or bond disaster triggered by the ever present dollar bubble, Yellen can simply blame the QE policies of Bernanke (who will be long gone), while promising that her “new” policies will surely repair the damage. This placates the public and buys the central bankers time to do even MORE damage.
The taper itself is not just a “head fake”, however. It is a far more complex action. Tapering provides a method of psychologically distancing the Federal Reserve from the consequences of market movements. The banksters are essentially proclaiming to the public that their work is done, they have saved the economy, and now they are moving on, be it only $10 billion at a time. Whatever happens from here on is “not their fault”.
Most alternative analysts expected no taper of QE, and for good reason. While the mainstream touts the propaganda of economic recovery, independent financial experts understand that little to nothing was actually accomplished by the bailouts. Virtually no stimulus was absorbed in a localized way by mainstreet business. Real unemployment counting U-6 measurements still stands at around 20%. Real estate markets and home prices have a received a small boost, which at first glance appears positive until one examines who is actually buying; namely big banks and international investment firms snapping up properties only to reissue them on the market as rentals:
U.S. holiday retail sales and annual retail sales have been the weakest since 2009:
The only thing that QE ultimately accomplished was a spectacular rise in stocks through direct manipulation, which Fed agents like Alan Greenspan and Richard Fisher now openly admit to. The problem is, while gamblers in equities proudly boast about the Fed induced bull run in the Dow and how much money they have made, they remain oblivious to the underlying cost of the charade. Market investors have been enriched, yes, but little do they know that stock legitimacy is about to be sacrificed.
The price to earnings ratio of stocks (the market value of stocks versus what they SHOULD be valued according to the actual earnings of the companies listed) in the S&P 500 today stands at around 15, which is the highest it has been since before the 2008 market crash. Mainstream economists attempt to dismiss the issue by using a 15 year average while claiming that the P/E ratio in 2013 is mild compared to the tech bubble of the late 90’s. What they don’t seem to grasp is that the market of the past four to five years is an entirely different animal compared to 15 years ago.
Stocks in general have received considerable support through purchases by Fed bolstered banks and the Fed itself, creating an atmosphere of artificial demand for equities using QE fiat injections. Though no full audit of the bailouts exists (TARP is the only measure audited so far), it is projected that the banking sector alone has garnered tens of trillions in Fed fiat, which they have used to bolster their otherwise debt ridden holdings. It is only logical to expect that this capital tsunami has been used by numerous companies as a way to present false earnings.Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, and Morgan Stanley all reported substantial profits for 2009 while at the same time reporting massive liabilities caused by the derivatives crash so that they could collect on the bailout bonanza.
So which one is it? Are companies making profits, or are they wallowing in insurmountable debt while presenting government stimulus as a form of profit?
What the Fed and corporate banks have done is create a market in which neither earnings, nor stock values can be trusted. The fact that the P/E ratio is higher than it has been since 2008 despite this manipulation should concern anyone with any sense.
Worst of all, the Fed’s monetization of U.S. Treasury debt has only expanded while foreign investment in long term debt has contracted. With our official national debt growing by at least $1 trillion per year, our country cannot continue to function without an ever increasing amount of foreign investment, or, Federal Reserve printing. The Fed cannot make cuts to QE if our system is to survive (if you want to call it survival), the Fed must expand QE forever, or at least until the dollar implodes due to hyperinflation.
So then, why has the taper been introduced at all? No one wants it. The government shouldn’t want it. Investors certainly don’t want it. Our economy is utterly dependent on the opposite. What purpose does it serve?
The assumption has always been that the Fed wants to keep the system afloat. I submit that things have changed. I submit that the Fed no longer wishes to prop up our fiscal structure, or at least, no longer wishes to be seen as propping it up. I submit that the Fed is not pursuing dollar destruction through standard hyperinflation, but rather, they are preparing the U.S. for default, which also will result in currency implosion.
The Taper Parallels
“It must not be felt that the heads of the world’s chief central banks were themselves substantive powers in world finance. They were not. Rather they were the technicians and agents of the dominant investment bankers of their own countries, who had raised them up, and who were perfectly capable of throwing them down. The substantive financial powers of the world were in the hands of these investment bankers who remained largely behind the scenes in their own unincorporated private banks. These formed a system of international cooperation and national dominance which was more private, more powerful, and more secret than that of their agents in the central banks. “ – Carroll Quigley, Tragedy And Hope
Initial shock over the taper scenario has not sunk into the markets yet (as Zero Hedge points out, the last time a major central bank cut stimulus measures to a dependent country, stocks rallied, then crashed within months). Few people see much difference between $75 billion per month and $85 billion per month, but the size of the cuts is not really the issue. Rather, it is the Fed’s act of fading into the background that should concern us.
The taper announcement parallels perfectly with the accelerating debate over the U.S. debt ceiling, and I do not think this is at all a coincidence. Tapering seems inconceivable to many, but for the Fed it makes perfect sense if the goal of the globalists is to generate a default scenario while diverting blame. I believe that Americans are being prepared psychologically for just such an event. Already, the White House is warning that government funding will essentially disappear by the end of February:
The expectation fostered by the mainstream media is that a debt fight similar to the October theater will not happen again. I agree. I believe the next debate will be much worse. The vast majority will assume that the “can” will be kicked down the road again, and they may be right, but given the Fed’s behavior, and given that they have begun to taper despite what appears logical, many people may be in for a shock when our government also suddenly decides one day soon to buck assumptions and default rather than prolong the pain.
The full spectrum failure of Obamacare only adds excuse and incentive. There is no longer a legislative centerpiece rationale for further spending. Obama’s approval rating is at historic lows for any president. The stage has been set for the most epic of fake political battles.
The Left and Right leadership, at the top of the pyramid, are nothing more than flunkies for the global elite. If globalists have decided that it is time to apply the final death blows to the dollar, default would be the quickest and most efficient way, and political puppetry can easily make it happen. The calamity would be blamed on “partisan bickering” and “government gridlock”, or even the inefficiency of “democracy”. The Fed, with its taper in place and its fake recovery established, would be presented as the only “sane” institution at America’s disposal.
Perhaps at this point even more pervasive QE programs would recommence, perhaps not. At bottom, though, the taper is not a peripheral issue. It is an action at the center of a much more elaborate process, an action that seems to have been undertaken in preparation for a larger event. The next year is shaping up to be the most chaotic since the debt crisis began in 2008, and as the situation progresses, the subtleties of the Federal Reserve and the international banks that back it must not go unnoticed, or in the end, unpunished.
From the United States to Europe and Asia: The world’s central banks are flooding markets with liquidity and pushing deeper into unknown monetary policy territory. Jim Grant tellsGermany’s Finanz und Wirtschaft that he “fears that thisjourney will not end well.” The sharply thinking Wall Street veteran doesn’t trust the theoretical models of the central banks and warns of irrational exuberance in the financial markets adding that “the stock market is increasingly full of stocks that are borne aloft by hope rather than demonstrated performance.”
Mr. Grant, half a decade after the financial crisis hope is rising that the United States finally are on a sustainable path to economic recovery. How are chances that the US economy gets back soon its status as the growth engine of the world?
In the past, the United States has been very resilient even in the face of very unfavorable and even punitive policy measures. The United States seem to want to be prosperous despite of what’s happening in Washington. Therefore, one can never rule out a great unscripted outburst of prosperity. I hope for that to happen, but I don’t predict it. Also, I’m coming increasingly to wonder about the concept of an economy as an integrated whole. People who talk that way don’t appreciate the incredible complexity of individual choices and decisions. Until fairly recently, no one thought about what we now call the economy as anything organic and macro in whole. This wasn’t a concept that entered our collective thinking until the nineteen forties. If you go back and read what economists wrote and what newspapers reported in the early portion of the twentieth century, you see that they would talk about prosperity or depression. But they wouldn’t talk about the economy. They just didn’t see it that way.
Signs of a brighter economic environment have encouraged the Federal Reserve to finally start the tapering of its massive bond purchase program, also known as QE3. What’s your take on this, for most market participants surprising move?
The «non-taper taper», Wednesday’s announcement, is yet another Federal Reserve innovation. To remove the sting from its decision to reduce the gait of its asset purchases, the central bank has vowed to hold its policy rate at zero even when the jobless rate falls below 6½%. «Inflation or bust – or both» would appear to be the Fed’s mantra.
Janet Yellen, who will be the next Fed chairman, has already made clear that she stands behind the recent monetary policy. What can Investors expect from her?
She is the key figure head of our monetary system which is what I call the PhD-standard. In the not so distant past, until a generation or so ago, central bankers were as likely to be ordinary bankers or ordinary business people as they were academics like the college professors who are mainly running the show now in this country. Apparently, in the Federal Open Market Committee, the interest rate setting regime here, nine out of the twelve members this year never had an experience in the private sector. Janet Yellen is the quintessential academic economist who is now in charge of what we ought to call – in the interest of plain speaking – price control. They certainly mean well but they have led us on a path of price administration rather than price discovery.
What do you mean by that?
If you ask economists they will tell you that price controls are a very bad idea. But that’s exactly what these mandarins at the Fed are doing. We are embarked on a unique experiment in monetary manipulation. That kind of central banking might be more accurately called central planning. One time, I therefore asked Fed-Governor Jeremy Stein in an open meeting if he could help us understand the substantial economic difference between central banks manipulating money market interest rates on one hand and traders at commercial banks manipulation Libor at the other. He just denied answering it. Also, since interest rates are artificially low the valuation of all earning assets must be called into question. This is the difficulty investors are facing the world over. We live in a hall of mirrors thanks to the zero interest rate regime and the chronic nonstop interventions by central banks
What are the consequences of these distortions?
One distortion is that people who are in the business of dealing with distressed debt have very little to do these days because there is less and less distressed debt because there are fewer bankruptcies. That’s because interest rates are so low that companies, even in a very bad way, can survive. That reduces in an unintended fashion the dynamism of our economy. In a dynamic society entrepreneurs start things and other entrepreneurs finish them or bankers finish them for the entrepreneurs because the entrepreneurs have failed. Without failure there really can’t be any success. Otherwise you have a futile system of permanent state sponsored enterprises. So our manipulated interest rates have given us a society that, in commercial terms, is much less dynamic than it should be.
But with super low interest rates, central banks like the Fed or the European Central Bank are fighting the low inflation rates which can also cause some serious problems to the economy. The ECB just recently cut its intervention rate in half to one quarter of one percent because it expressed its concern over an inadequate rate of the depreciation of the value of the Euro. Seven tenths of one percent is not good enough, we need two percent, they think.But why is two percent of inflation a good thing? They even acknowledge that the statistical difference between seven tenths of one percent and one and a half percent might all be error. It is very difficult to measure these price indices and to assure that the data are compiled properly and seasonally adjusted in a correct way. It speaks to our collective faith in our economic technicians or to the lack of critical thought that we accept so generally theses numbers as if they were gospel.
Then again, there is still the risk of deflation looming. Examples of how harmful deflation can be are the Great Depression or more recently the economic malaise of Japan.
They never make a distinction between deflation and progress. In the last quarter of the nineteenth century thanks to everything, from the electric light to progress in the process of steal making or the telephone, prices and costs fell for the better part of thirty years. Real wages went up, some people suffered, many didn’t, society progressed and people got richer. Also, in the early nineteen sixties prices as measured by the CPI did not rise by as much as two percent for five years in a row. Nobody cared at that time. But now there is this fear fanned by the professors who run our central banks and we are all hysterics about deflation.
That’s maybe because so many governments and households are so heavily indebted these days. Why shouldn’t we have some mild form of inflation to make the deleveraging process a little bit easier?
By insisting on trying to raise the price level the Fed is in effect resisting the progress of our time. As technology advances one would expect that the cost of production would fall. Digital technology and the accession of all these hundreds of millions of hands in the world labor force ought to be forces for falling costs of making things. And as the cost of production falls so should the cost of selling things. Yet, the Fed, the ECB and other central banks resist this by using monetary policy. And as they resist the tendency of prices to fall in time of technological progress they unintentionally seed the booms and busts in financial markets.
More and more people on Wall Street are screaming alarm about new bubbles of speculation. Do you spot any sings of irrational exuberance?
The massive market of treasury securities is itself in some kind of a bubble. Other examples are junk bonds or biotechnology stocks. Another bubble is the art market as the record auction prices are indicating. A similar case is classic sport cars: Some weeks ago, a Ferrari 250 GTO commanded 52 Mio. $ in a private sale. That’s almost a 50% increase on the record that was achieved last year for another 250 GTO. Investors who are looking for tangible assets find better value in antique furniture or in historic documents.
Another reason why the Federal Reserve is going to start to taper its securities purchases might be fear of exactly such kind of bubbles. Do you think they will ever find a way back to a normal monetary policy?
They say they have everything under control. To do, what they are saying they are going to do, requires both: technique and judgment. But they did not see one clue before the disaster of the years 2007, 2008 and 2009 – absolutely nothing. These people are well intending and most respectable but they are very concrete minded and very fixated on their way of thinking. What a good investor has – and what a bureaucrat typically lacks of – is imagination.
So what could go wrong this time?
What happens if, despite the Obama administration, there is a succession of booming months in job growth and the Fed at first doesn’t react and then, when it finally tries, it’s too late: First, there is a little bit inflation and then there is some more inflation and bond yields suddenly go up. The Fed thinks it has to control this by selling bonds and contributes thereby to the rise in interest rates and the fall in bond prices. And suddenly, there’s a disaster in the bond market.
But there seems to be really not that much investor nervousness in the bond market these days.
What one can observe about interest rates is that they have tended to rise and fall in generation length intervals, at least throughout Europe and North America. Since the early eighties they have been falling now most of the past 31 years. So, one would expect that we are closer to the end of this bull market than to the beginning. Therefore, bond yields are likely to go up in the future, which makes bonds look like a very poor investment.
Also, the setback in the gold market does not flash red lights for inflation. What’s next for the archaic metal after the terrible performance in 2013?
Gold is just an enigma, isn’t it? As an asset it yields nothing and pays no dividend. Therefore, you can’t value it like a common stock or bond. To me, gold is an investment in the almost certain failure of the PhD-standard in central banking. The gold price is down some 25% this year and gold stocks have been destroyed. In fact, the bear market in gold equities is the only bear market I know of these days. But when the world gets a full-on glance of the new Fed Chairman Yellen and understands the measure of the policies that central bankers will likely continue to implement, the gold price will go up a lot against the dollar. Only if the central bankers ever achieve to solve all the problems with fiat money and if governments end their tendency to over-issue uncollateralized debt then gold gets obsolete. But I certainly don’t agree with that promise. I think gold will yet shine as a monetary alternative and maybe serve in my grand children’s life time again as an anchorage to the world’s monetary system.
How should investors behave in such an environment?
At «Grant’s Interest Rate Observer», our ambition is to identify assets that are priced in such ways that you can afford a margin of error, knowing that one is likely to be early or even wrong about certain aspects of a particular situation. With a properly conservative valuation you are protected to a degree against such kind of human errors. A friend of a friend once had a great saying. What this fellow said was: Successful investing is all about having everyone agreeing with you – later. We are trying to live that kind of philosophy: to think of a thing that is now out of favor but has a reason to be in favor.
What would be such a thing?
Russian oil stocks like Lukoil, Gazprom and Rosneft exhibit several of desirable characteristics. There is insider buying – oddly enough. The business seems to be viable or even more than viable. Corporate governance is awful and investor sentiment is almost universally depressed. So here are cheap stocks in an environment of great skepticism toward them and with the added appeal of substantial insider accumulation. Once we looked at these stocks we were even more attracted since these companies are soundly financed which mitigates the risk of being wiped out through bankruptcy.
Russian oil stocks are a little bit exotic, though. What about investment ideas for Western Europe or for the United States?
Nobody knows what is going to happen in Europe. Additionally, we can’t find a lot of buying opportunities. Stocks have already gone up and they don’t seem to reflect the risks of the still precarious macro environment. Of course, there are always risks. But the question is if you are being adequately compensated for that risk. One stock that stands out is the Italian energy company Eni. The ideal hedge against the possible consequences of an overly aggressive monetary policy would be a value-laden equity that could prosper in any macro-economic setting but could shine in an inflationary one. Eni conforms to that description.
And what’s your take on the US stock market?
In the US we’re seeing more to do on the short side than on the long side. As an example it could pay off to take a closer look at story stocks. A story stock is a stock that is highly valued by the price earnings or price revenue calculation. Its price is manly driven by the quality of the narrative brokers are telling about it. So we just recently compiled an index of such kind of stocks because we think the stock market is increasingly full of stocks that are borne aloft by hope rather than demonstrated performance. Examples for such story stocks are Tile Shop Holdings or Boulder Brands.
Annalee Newitz has a succinct, bittersweet message for the human race: Mass extinction is coming, and we’re probably going to survive it. Whether it’s manmade (a nuclear holocaust,anthropogenic climate change), earth-spawned (mega-volcanoes, a pandemic) or of the cosmic variety (radiation bombardment or an asteroid impact), there’s eventually going to be catastrophe big enough to snuff out the vast majority of life on Earth.
The eventual plausibility of these events is precisely why our religion, science, and pop culture is obsessed with the end times. It’s not just that it’s in our egotistical human nature to perpetually imagine ourselves as standing among the last age of man—it’s that there’s an ironclad precedent or five for large-scale planetary die-outs. Earth has been through this before, and Newitz, who is the editor of another future site, io9, knows this better than anyone. Her book, Scatter, Adapt, and Remember: How Humans Will Survive a Mass Extinction, details the five major mass die-offs that have racked the planet in the past, and plumbs the story of the survivors of each for advice on how humanity might make it through the next one.
It seems like we’re keen to obsess over the Last Days—Walking Dead is one of the biggest cable shows ever,This is the End was this year’s idea of comedy, and films like Oblivion and After Earth dominate our cinemas—but we’re not doing much critical thinking about how they’ll actually unfold. Or how we might prepare for them.
What, I wondered aloud to Newitz recently, should humans do, specifically, to survive mass death? Three lessons from the book and our conversation seemed to bubble up to the top: If humanity is going to make it, we’re going to have to emulate the most resilient proto-mammals in geohistory, listen closely to the message of Occupy Wall Street, and start engineering our globe to prepare for major climate change—right now.
Newitz first shaped the theme of her book after researching the Great Dying—the worst extinction event in the planet’s history thus far. Some 250 million years ago, a series of geologic events caused a dramatic climatic shift that extinguished nearly 95 percent of the planet’s life. Newitz, a self-described “apocalypse buff” nonetheless found an unlikely wellspring of hope in the pernicious chaos.
“Not only was this horrific event going on for a really long time with mega-volcanoes and other problems, but then it took, possibly, about 30 million years for the planet to recover,” Newitz says. “And, I thought, how awesome is that? 30 million years of, basically, just giant crocodiles fighting each other in scum-filled sludge.”
As countless plants and animals were killed off for good, a handful managed to thrive. “All of these creatures, all these plants and bacteria and sludge made it through the worst thing that’s ever happened—measurably, scientifically the worst thing that’s ever happened—and all of these creatures made it. And in a sense, the planet made it through. I just got interested in the tough heroism of these animals that made it.”
Thus, not-so-coincidentally, learning to emulate one of those survivors is our first mass extinction survival tip. We’ve got to follow the Lystrosaurus‘s lead.
Do as the Lystrosaurus does
“It was a humble creature. Maybe the size of a dog,” Newitz says. “Lystrosaurus looked pretty darn goofy. But it managed to become the most powerful animal on land for millions of years. Something about that idea that even the humble pig-face could make it through, really made me curious about who were the other survivors of these other events? And what were the tools they had that we might want if we want to survive?”
“There’s a couple things that they did that humans could do too,” Newitz explains, “one of which is that if there is a really horrific event that changes the entire environment, Lystrosaurus was a burrowing animal, and was able to go underground. Humans have done that periodically throughout our history—different communities of humans have had to go underground. And certainly we might have to do that again in the future, if there’s some sort of radiation disaster, or some other really dramatic change, maybe something like a megavolcano or if something like an asteroid hit.”
We tend to think of subterranean cities as grim compounds or sterile bunkers, but Newitz insists that we’ve got to start thinking about ways to make living below ground more bearable. We have in the past, after all.
“Underground cities were really quite popular in the Middle Ages, in areas where it was easy to build them. Where there was a lot of strife, and people were vulnerable to having their villages destroyed by invaders. They were like, alright, let’s just build underground. These villages lasted hundreds of years—over a thousand years in one case.” We’re starting to venture subsurface again, to build parks like the Low Line, or transit systems. We’ll have to be ready to expand again.
“What Lystrosaurus did by instinct we could do because we’re tool users and such good shapers of the environment,” Newitz said.
Beyond burrowing, the piggish proto-mammal was also good at something humans are certainly capable of—unrepentant cowardice and escape-routing.
“The other thing Lystrosaurus had going for him was, one: they fled upon the scene of disaster. They scattered.”
Which seems easy enough, but Newitz cautions otherwise.
“Humans, I think we’re often taught that if there’s some kind of danger, that we should face the danger. You know, fight the war. And it turns out that’s a really bad survival strategy. That actually, survivors are the ones who scatter from nature and who are brave enough to look somewhere else to live and not try to stay where they’ve been and not try to destroy the danger but just run away. Lystrosaurus did a great job of that.”
Thirdly, there’s inherent strength in numbers. The Lystrosaurus knew that too.
“Another thing that they did, which humans are doing, accidentally, is that they lived in a pretty high population size. There were a lot of them. If something terrible happened, which it did, there were still plenty of them left, even if many of them had died out. The same is true for humans.”
Think of it as an anti-Malthusian ideology—in the event of a massive catastrophe, huge numbers are a hedge against extinction.
“One of the reasons I’m so certain that humans will survive, even after a major planetary disaster, is because there are so many of us. Many of the survivor species that we see in these several mass extinction events have been species like humans, invasive species, that have lived in a bunch of places, and have fled danger to find a new place to live, and there were a lot of them. So, with humans, take out like 4 billion of us, and you still have 3 billion left. Which is still more humans than lived on the planet in 1930. Which was about a billion. So we’re in good shape.”
Finally, Newitz notes that the the Lystrosaurus was also just plain lucky. Because it had lived underground, its lung capacity had evolved in a way that might have been ideally suited to the methane-choked atmosphere.
So, to recap: According to Newitz, we’ve got to follow the pig-faced proto-mammal’s lead. We should hone our ability to live underground. Learn to scatter. Keep our numbers up. And we’ve got to get lucky, in both an evolutionary and cosmic sense.
That’s the most basic stuff; the base animalistic instincts we should embrace to get by. But, seeing as how we’re capable of abstract thought, after all, there are certainly ways we can organize and prepare ourselves in ways the Lystrosaurus couldn’t. We can, for instance, address biblical-scale threats like famine and pestilence by building more equal societies.
“Economic inequality at the level that we’re seeing it right now is totally unsustainable, and it’s fatal. Literally fatal,” Newitz says. “I think we can all kind of agree on that.”
That’s because inequality at great scale both weakens populations and renders them susceptible to disease and starvation and inspires violent conflict. Millions died during the Black Death, for instance, because the poor were herded together, and the disease was easily transmissible. And oppressive economic and social policies forced the Irish to convert farmland to cash crops during the potato famine. And this sort of societal mismanagement is still going on, of course.
“When you have economic inequality, that will cause humans to be less healthy. That’s something that’s really measurable and you can actually point to the numbers and say ‘economic inequality caused mass death in Ireland. It caused mass death in India. It’s causing mass death in parts of Africa now.'”
Messages like the one trumpeted by Occupy Wall Street, those that call for a more equal distribution of income, resources, and services, aren’t just a left-leaning political goal, then—they’re a necessary plank of a long-term survival strategy.
Newitz won’t prescribe any particular form of government or set of social policies (“If I had my druthers, I’d probably live in a city-state,” she says), though she does lambast modern politics for distracting us from science and from important survival preparation:
“What I want to suggest with this book is that we actually have the scientific knowhow and a lot of the engineering tools to create a better world right now. Which I think is something a lot of people don’t realize because of the fact that we’re so mired in politics, which we can turn a lot of this stuff into endless debate. Instead of being like, hey guys, we actually have this shit right now. We can do this right now. Instead we’re arguing about, well, what should we do, and do we even think that the world exists, and is there evolution? So people get so mired in those questions that they don’t focus on the scientific reality that we could be building self-repairing buildings, like, next year.”
In Scatter, Adapt, and Remember, Newitz tours a number of examples of new technology that engineers, scientists, and entrepreneurs are embracing to prepare for the future—from the immediately pragmatic, like tsunami-research labs and algae biofuel projects, to out-there sci-fi concepts like “living” cities built and covered with organisms and cyborg suits that might one day allow us to telecommute to robot colonies on Titan, to the supremely contentious: Geoengineering projects that could alter the Earth’s atmosphere to head off climate change.
And that’s the third plank here. One lesson we can glean from every single previous planetary disaster, Newitz says, is that the climate inevitably changes. And we, being fleshy, finicky humans, can only thrive in a pretty specific atmosphere. So we’ve got to understand and stop climate change.
“We’re heading into a period now where we’re seeing climate changes going on and so given that we now have the science to understand that it’s going on,” she says, “and we know how to change it, we know if we reduce carbon loading in the atmosphere, that we can probably have an effect on climate change. We need to be thinking about that.”
But Newitz says that simply reducing emissions won’t be enough in the long term. “Let’s build awesome new technologies that prevent the climate from changing so that we can continue to enjoy those ice caps we love and the animals we love to eat.” She’s talking primarily aboutgeoengineering efforts like cloud or iron-seeding, technologies that some scientists believe could be used to tinker with the global thermostat. In fact, for Newitz, controlling Earth’s climate takes top billing. I asked her what she would put on the top of the list of humanity’s survival guide, and, after demurring that the matter was too complex for simple bullet points, here’s what she said:
“Maybe the list would be: Try to prepare for disaster. One of those disasters is going to be climate change, no matter what, even if humans don’t do anything, the climate is still going to change and we need to be prepared for that, and thinking about the technologies that we need to maintain he climate in its current state; because the one that it’s in now is the best for our ecosystem.”
This is a bit of controversial stance, especially in the environmental community—geo-engineering, or using technology to hack the atmosphere itself, is both seen as potentially dangerous and a cop-out that will encourage inaction from the global community. Critics worry that convincing the public that we can build a giant ‘off switch’ for climate change will leave the root of the problem—out-of-control industrial carbon emissions—unaddressed. And there’s always the chance that geo-engineers could miscalculate and over-cool the planet, and usher in a manmade ice age instead.
But overall, she’s truly optimistic—which may seem unusual, for someone whose life work for the past few years has revolved around mass death. Yet it’s the clinical optimism of a pragmatic scientist: We’re going to survive the coming disruptive disaster, yes, but billions of us are no doubt going to die. It’s the species that will live on, not necessarily your grandson. This is the pattern of life thus far, after all. Even the mighty Lystrosaurus eventually died off, albeit after a much, much longer stint than we’ve enjoyed so far.
But humans, with their big brains and unprecedented technologies, seem at some level capable of transcending the previous patterns, and that’s what’s interesting about Newitz’s work: this perpetual tension between humanity and our survival-ready precursors. We’re smarter, maybe, but more ready to self-destruct. We’re proven survivors, but we’ve done so without eradicating many of our worse habits—war, oppression, genocide—and we now possess technologies that could literally wreck the planet. So the big question becomes whether we’re actually willing to be better at thinking ahead.
“We need to be figuring out what our long term goals are as a species,” Newitz says. “What would be an ideal outcome for humanity?”
Newitz thinks it’s focusing on space exploration—visiting and colonizing other worlds, which is the opposite of apocalypse, maybe. But everyone’s idea of a human end game is bound to be different. So the biggest takeaway from all this apocalypse talk is that we definitely need to be talking. Not just watching apocalypse porn and reading the perpetually grim news and hoping for the best, but incorporating long-term human sustainability into our conversations, our planning, our governance.
“What we really need to be doing is not looking at lists, but be actively planning ahead for the future on a small scale, like in our cities, our city blocks.”
Mass extinction may spread across the globe, but survival starts at home.
The U.S. government’s cover-up of a Saudi connection in the 9/11 terrorist attacks is receiving new attention because a pair of legislators—one Republican, one Democrat—recently viewed a redacted chunk of a congressional report that confirms foreign state involvement in the plot.
Americans have been told that Al Qaeda acted alone on September 11, 2001 and that there were no state sponsors. In fact, the George W. Bush administration blacked out dozens of pages of a congressional investigative report on 9/11 that dealt with specific sources of foreign support for the 19 hijackers, most of whom were Saudi nationals.
Judicial Watch quickly launched an investigation and in 2005 obtained shocking documents from the FBI detailing how well-connected Saudis, including relatives of Osama bin Laden, left the U.S. on specially chartered flights while most air traffic was still grounded. In all, 160 subjects of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, including but not limited to members of the House of Saud and/or members of the bin Laden family fled the U.S. between September 11, 2001 and September 15, 2001.
The records uncovered by JW show that two prominent Saudi families that fled the U.S. following 9/11 got personal airport escorts from the FBI and that authorities let other Saudis leave the country without first interviewing them. The secret Saudi flights left from Las Vegas, Los Angeles and other major U.S. cities. An unidentified prince in Las Vegas even thanked the FBI for its assistance, according to one internal report obtained by JW. Incredibly, the FBI returned to the Las Vegas hotels with subpoenas days after the Saudi flights departed to gather information on the royal guests, the records show. Read more about this in JW’s New York Times Best Seller “Corruption Chronicles.”
This week investigative journalist Paul Sperry reveals that two federal lawmakers— North Carolina Republican Congressman Walter Jones and Massachusetts Democrat Stephen Lynch—finally got a hold of the suspiciously redacted pages of Congress’s 9/11 report. Federal law prohibits them from disclosing the details, but both legislators said they were “absolutely shocked” at the level of foreign involvement in the 9/11 attacks. There’s little doubt they’re referring to the Saudi connection.
To make the information public, the lawmakers have proposed that Congress pass a resolution asking President Obama, who has promised to run the most transparent administration in history, to declassify the entire 2002 report. It certainly appears that the U.S. government is protecting the Saudis. In fact, federal agents told Sperry, a veteran reporter and columnist, that they were repeatedly called off pursuing 9/11 leads back to the Saudi Embassy, which had curious sway over White House and FBI responses to the attacks.
Besides the secret Saudi flights, Judicial Watch has ongoing investigations related to the sophisticated 9/11 plot. Earlier this year JW obtained documents from the FBI that show strong ties between Anwar al Aulaqi, the U.S.-born terrorist assassinated in 2011 by a U.S. drone in Yemen, and two of the 9/11 hijackers who attacked the Pentagon. In the documents the FBI describes al Aulaqi as “The Spiritual Leader of the Hijackers.”