The Safest Way to Buy Illegal Drugs (Even if You Don’t Buy Drugs)

By Chris Campbell

1x1.trans The Safest Way to Buy Illegal Drugs (Even if You Don’t Buy Drugs)

Five grams of “Highest Purity Cocaine — Direct From Colombia” were listed on sale for $488 in bitcoins.

You could’ve gotten 100 grams of “Afghan Heroin Brown Powder” for $4,555.

For $2,414, you could get a fake Danish passport. A faux New Jersey driver’s license — hologram included — would’ve cost you only $98.

Once purchased, your bitcoins would go into escrow. Once you received your goods, the money would’ve been released to the seller.

It was like eBay, but with (nearly) all things illegal. And it spanned over 10 different countries.

And, of course, it was beyond the state’s reach. No taxes. No regulation.

It was an anarchic underbelly of the Internet.

Its name? Silk Road.

1x1.trans The Safest Way to Buy Illegal Drugs (Even if You Don’t Buy Drugs)

And before the FBI got involved and shut it down, the world was a safer place…

1x1.trans The Safest Way to Buy Illegal Drugs (Even if You Don’t Buy Drugs)In October 2013, the FBI shut down the thriving online black market…

In the 2½ years it was running, the agency estimates it did about $1.2 billion in sales.

And our arbiters of the law nabbed them. And seized almost $30 million in Bitcoins.

But the FBI didn’t have very long to celebrate its bust…

It took only a month for another opportunist to revive Silk Road — dubbing it Silk Road 2.0 — and get the black market rolling again.

Soon after its reopening, the successor was already making $8 million per month through illicit drug sales.

And after a long, drawn-out (and probably heinously expensive) investigation, the FBI did it again…

Early this month, the FBI seized Silk Road 2.0.

1x1.trans The Safest Way to Buy Illegal Drugs (Even if You Don’t Buy Drugs)

1x1.trans The Safest Way to Buy Illegal Drugs (Even if You Don’t Buy Drugs)“Let’s be clear,” Manhattan U.S. attorney Preet Bharara wrote in a press statement, “this Silk Road, in whatever form, is the road to prison.

“Those looking to follow in the footsteps of alleged cybercriminals should understand that we will return as many times as necessary to shut down noxious online criminal bazaars. We don’t get tired.”

Ooh. Sassy.

The FBI has a lot of work ahead of them, then.

See, they hoped that by shutting the two Silk Roads down, they would plug the hole in the booming online black market.

Not a chance. The online drug trade has morphed into a Hydra. Cut off one head, she grows three.

1x1.trans The Safest Way to Buy Illegal Drugs (Even if You Don’t Buy Drugs)Since the first Silk Road was taken down, dozens of sites have popped up in its place.

And there are no signs of this trend stopping.

“Just before it was shut down,” Christopher Ingraham writes in The Washington Post, “Silk Road, along with three similar sites, had about 18,000 drug items listed for sale — everything from marijuana to ecstasy to heroin.

“By April 2014 — six months later — there were 10 darknet markets listing 32,000 drug items for sale.

“By August of this year, there were 18 darknet marketplaces with 47,000 drug listings, according to data compiled by the Digital Citizens Alliance.”

[“Darknet,” if you don’t know, simply means a network with restricted access mainly used for illegal file sharing or black market sales.]

Even New York Sen. Charles Schumer, >> READ MORE <<

SOURCE ARTICLE: : http://lfb.org/safest-way-buy-illegal-drugs-even-dont-buy-drugs/

Six Reasons to Embrace Paying More at the Pump

By Byron King

Think back to the aftermath of the 2008 market crash.

Oil prices fell off a cliff, from $147 per barrel in July, to $33 on one frosty morning in early 2009. So could we see oil prices decline further, from $79 to a lower number?

Hey, never say never.

Still, I believe we’re at or near the price-bottom.

There are six reasons why we’ve hit bottom…

ONE: THE COMING CLOSED-DOOR SESSION

On Nov. 27, OPEC will hold its 166th scheduled meeting in Vienna. If pre-meeting comments from OPEC big shots are indicators, the closed-door session will feature incandescent arguments over cutting back oil output from numerous nations.

The fact is that, with just a little bit of collective production discipline, OPEC can arrest tumbling prices and turn things around. By the time of the post-meeting press conference, I suspect traders will already be bidding oil prices back up.

TWO: THE BALANCE OF THE BOOKS

Outside the doors of OPEC meetings, there’s another price dynamic at work. Relatively low oil prices, of late, are playing havoc with national budgets of many oil exporting nations.

Nigeria, for example requires about $130 per barrel to balance its national books (fat chance!), while Russia needs prices near $100 to pay all the bills. In general, there’s a global push, from many quarters, to find ways to increase oil prices. The current number, hovering around $80, is too low.

THREE: VAPOR LOCKS AND NATURAL GAS SNARES

Meanwhile, close to home winter is coming. That means it’s going to be… cold and snowy, and not just if you live in Buffalo, New York. Highly-credentialed weather-guessers are forecasting another frigid winter, with more polar vortexes just like last year.

Energy demand will be strong in North America and Europe. Out in the field, expect harsh weather negatively to impact U.S.-Canadian oil output by making it harder to operate in sub-zero conditions of oil patches from the Bakken (North Dakota) to the Marcellus (Pennsylvania) and more. Remember last year’s ‘vapor locks’? I do. Long story.

FOUR: BIG OIL BACK IN BUSINESS

At the same time, across North America and other continents, refineries that scaled back for maintenance this fall are now coming back online. They need crude oil to flow through all those clean, shiny new pipes. This is positive for overall crude oil demand.

FIVE: SECRET CHINESE STOCKPILES

Chinese economic growth will do whatever it does. Actually, according to no less than investment guru Jim Rogers, you can’t trust most economic statistics out of China anyhow.

Still, I’ve seen hard numbers to the effect that China is using the current low oil price environment to fill its strategic petroleum reserve tanks, across the country. This oil doesn’t show up as ‘economic output’ in Chinese statistics, but it makes for global-levels of demand just the same.

SIX: FRACKING SMACKDOWN

Finally, I’ve heard from acquaintances up and down the supply chain that the falling oil price environment of the past six months has already caused a slowdown in scheduled drilling and completions in the North American oil patch.

Thus, as 2015 kicks into play, I suspect we’ll see lower numbers >> READ MORE <<

SOURCE ARTICLE: : http://lfb.org/six-reasons-embrace-paying-pump/

Money: The Green Shapeshifter That Rules the World

By Chris Campbell

1x1.trans Money: The Green Shapeshifter That Rules the World

Money.

It’s a powerful word, no?

How do you feel when you see it?

Money.

Whatever comes up inside of you, you should know, dictates — down to the dollar — how much is sitting in your bank account right now.

Is it enough?

If your answer is yes…

Just close this episode out and save yourself some time today. What you’ll read below won’t really be for you.

If not, stay tuned…

You could be one of many readers who will make one decisive action before Nov. 27 (Turkey Day) — and potentially make 2015 your most lucrative year yet right out of the gate.

More on that in one moment.

First, we should dive into what money actually is…

Is it gold… paper… or 1s and 0s on a computer screen?

Is it simply, as Wikipedia suggests, “A current medium of exchange…”

Or is it, as Tony Robbins wrote in his new book, Money: Master the Game, “like a shape-shifter or a canvas, assuming whatever meaning or emotion we project on it”?

We say it’s all of the above.

Though money is just digits and doubloons… it also has an almost ethereal hold on Earth: With the right leverage, it has the power to make or break each and every one of us.

And despite what famed economists might believe in their cushy offices, not much rational thought goes into how we use it.

Or, for that matter, how we talk about it.

Speaking of…

1x1.trans Money: The Green Shapeshifter That Rules the WorldWe started reading Tony Robbins’ book, Money, over the weekend…

And then we found ourselves yawning uncontrollably. So we stopped.

It’s a very thick book. And not in a good way.

Each page we read was saturated in rehashed financial advice… pointless filler… name-dropping… and much… much… much… more!

Don’t get us wrong. We’re fans of his early work. His books were guilty pleasures. And they did serve to light a few fires under our bums.

But of his latest, not so much…

Robbins spends an inordinate time getting you warmed up to believe things you probably already do.

For example, with the tone of a whistleblower gone wild, Robbins valiantly informs us that…

  • 401(k) providers and mutual funds charge big fees…
  • Financial advisors are more worried about their bottom line than yours…
  • Compound interest is awesome…
  • Starting a business can be lucrative…
  • You should probably cut back on your expenses…
  • Save. Save!

At least that’s what we gathered in the first 50 or so pages…

Needless to say, our mind wasn’t exactly blown to bits.

Robbins also shared, we noticed, his “All Weather” portfolio — inspired by Ray Dalio, founder of Bridgewater.

“I give Robbins credit for this: He helped me make money,” Barry Ritholtz wrote last week in Bloomberg, referring to a video Robbins made way back in Aug. 2010.

“After a 57 percent market crash and barely a year after the lows were reached, the warnings by a self-help guru about dangers ahead seemed a lot like the proverbial “wall of worry” to me.

“Trading against Robbins then was profitable. His money-losing advice to the public was awful. I expect the All Weather Portfolio to perform as poorly.”

“This portfolio is great if >> READ MORE <<

SOURCE ARTICLE: : http://lfb.org/money-green-shapeshifter-rules-world/

You’re Just in Time: Stephen Hawking’s in the House

By Chris Campbell

1x1.trans You’re Just in Time: Stephen Hawking’s in the House

“There’s nothing like the eureka moment of discovering something that no one knew before,” he once told reporters.

“I won’t compare it to sex, but it lasts longer.”

I’ve seen two amazing movies in the past two weeks. The first one, as mentioned on Tuesday, is Interstellar.

The second one is The Theory of Everything.

The Theory of Everything is about Hawking’s life and his relationship with his first wife, Jane Wilde. He and Jane married in 1965 on July 14.

Hawking, as you probably know, is an interesting character. And has had a remarkable life.

1x1.trans You’re Just in Time: Stephen Hawking’s in the House

“You can’t be fooled by the fact that he’s disabled or a genius,” a former employee of his once said.

“Underneath all that, he’s just a guy. And a very powerful guy, too.”

“Charm is not necessarily his default setting,” Vanity Fair chimed in. “Hawking is, as his friend the British astronomer Bernard Carr once described him, ‘a cult figure,’ a status that gives him considerable leeway.”

For example…

Want to know if Hawking finds you annoying? If he runs over your toes with his wheelchair, as he’s apparently wont to do, it’s a telltale sign.

Prince Charles, among many others, have annoyed him on various occasions. And their toes paid the price.

But he’s not always so indirect.

The Vanity Fair article goes on:

“Some 10 years ago, the Cambridge literature professor John Casey recalls, when Hawking found himself dining in the company of, among others, Edward Teller, father of the hydrogen bomb, the uninflected robotic tones of Hawking’s voice synthesizer — ‘He is stupid’ were his precise words — pierced conversation.

“Hawking hadn’t troubled to lower the volume.”

1x1.trans You’re Just in Time: Stephen Hawking’s in the House“Life,” the wise physicist once said, “would be tragic if it weren’t funny.”

Hilarious character quirks aside…

Hawking is, more than anything, known for inspiring millions of people into embracing the unknown.

“Look up at the stars and not down at your feet,” he said at his 70th birthday symposium on Jan. 8, 2012.

“Try to make sense of what you see, and wonder about what makes the universe exist.

“Be curious.”

1x1.trans You’re Just in Time: Stephen Hawking’s in the HouseHe’s not just blowing hot air. Hawking eats his own cooking: He and his team have been at the bleeding edge of technology for years now…

If you’ve ever seen his show, Science of the Future, you’ve seen him investigate virtual worlds… animal-inspired robots… the battle of the world’s most killer diseases… the journey to create the perfect city… the future of designer humans… and more.

Today, in commemoration, we’re going to take a look at two innovations that could soon change the world in very dramatic ways.

Once these innovations come to full fruition — and it appears as if they must — every aspect of your life will be different.

How so? Well, they will have made two of our most ubiquitous substances on Earth completely irrelevant.

Imagine, for a moment, a fully-functioning world where nobody uses oil or silicon.

That’s what I’m talking about.

1x1.trans You’re Just in Time: Stephen Hawking’s in the HouseExcellent Innovation Story No. 1: A >> READ MORE <<

SOURCE ARTICLE: : http://lfb.org/youre-just-time-stephen-hawkings-house/

Modern Medicine in the Amazon Basin With Stephen Petranek

By Stephen Petranek

1x1.trans Modern Medicine in the Amazon Basin With Stephen Petranek

For as long as humans have banded together in tribes and social groupings, they have relied on one person in their group to act as a healer. We often call them shamans or medicine men. And although we tend not to think of them as useful as modern physicians, their medicines can be far more powerful than anything known by Western cultures.

My friend Mark Plotkin, an important ethnobotanist who explores for plants in the tropics, likes to tell a story about one of his encounters with a shaman and a powerful medicinal plant. He told the story last month at the TEDGlobal conference I attended on the Copacabana beach in Rio de Janeiro, and I got him to tell it again at a dinner in Washington, D.C., last week.

Plotkin’s tale begins four years ago when a climbing accident left him with an injury common to professional tennis players and a lot of pain in his foot. Despite giving it time to heal and seeking medical treatment, it became both acute and chronic. “I tried every medicine and every drug my doctors could think of, including heat, cold, aspirin and other anti-inflammatories, a narcotic painkiller, cortisone and even acupuncture.” None of it helped.

Plotkin’s work as president of the Amazon Conservation Team, which helps protect uncontacted rainforest tribes, often takes him deep into the Amazon basin. One day a few months after the injury, he was visiting a remote rainforest tribe known as the Tirio, on the border of Suriname and Brazil:

The shaman in the tribe comes up to me and says, I’ve noticed there’s something wrong with your foot. So I told him, yeah, it’s in a lot of pain. So he grabs a machete and tells me to take off my boot. Then he goes over to a palm tree, and growing on the palm was a fern. Now, ferns are believed by pharmacologists to be inert as far as containing useful medicinal chemicals. So he cuts off some leaves from the fern and throws them in the fire. Then he takes them and wraps my foot in them. They were very hot and even singed my skin. Then he made a tea from the leaves and had me drink it. The next day, my foot was like new.

Plotkin’s severe pain disappeared for about seven months and then returned. So he went back to the shaman, who repeated the treatment, and the foot has been pain-free since.

Mark Plotkin of the Amazon Conservation Team being treated by Tirio Indian shaman Amasina.

Stories like these never surprise Plotkin when he hears them, but they always create a look of “Really?” among Westerners. Although Plotkin admits there is always the possibility of a placebo effect, he is convinced there was a chemical in that fern tea that cured him and he points out that we are still searching the rainforests of the world for medicinal plants, and we are constantly finding new ones.

The basis of early medicine was plants, and we tend to think >> READ MORE <<

SOURCE ARTICLE: : http://lfb.org/shamans-heroin-benefits-french-kissing/

EXPOSED: The FDA’s Pants Are Down (Quick! Look!)

By Chris Campbell

1x1.trans EXPOSED: The FDA’s Pants Are Down (Quick! Look!)

We got a glimpse of real journalism wriggling out of the mainstream this week…

It was pretty refreshing. It’s been a while.

We wish we could say the same about the story.

It made the cover of Newsweek. Here’s the picture…

1x1.trans EXPOSED: The FDA’s Pants Are Down (Quick! Look!)

You might’ve heard about this story. The most shocking part of it all, as you’ll see, is how routine it is in the world of “medicine.”

1x1.trans EXPOSED: The FDA’s Pants Are Down (Quick! Look!)The article begins with the story of one 14-year-old Japanese girl.

She had been experiencing paranoid delusions.

You know the kind…

She thought someone was watching her. She thought someone was in the house. She felt like someone was watching her. And then, later, over a meal, she was convinced her food was poisoned.

A couple days later, she turned suicidal.

Odd thing is…

She had no history of mental illness.

But it hadn’t just sprung up out of nowhere…

The symptoms began when she started taking Tamiflu, the anti-influenza drug (also known as oseltamivir). The same drug that governments the world over have spent billions stockpiling (the U.S. alone spent $1.5 billion on a huge supply) since it received the FDA’s stamp of approval in 1999.

The Japanese teen lived. Others that took the drug weren’t so lucky.

At least 70 people have died from Tamiflu, many by suicide. One 14-year-old jumped off a balcony… one 17-year-old ran in front of a truck… a South Korean girl developed a temporary bout of bipolar disorder… and an 8-year-old displayed unusual behavior like growling and not responding to his name, among others.

Sure, this doesn’t happen to everyone.

1x1.trans EXPOSED: The FDA’s Pants Are Down (Quick! Look!)“Tens of millions of people have taken Tamiflu without incident,” Newsweek’s Ben Wolford admits, “and you are far more likely to die from the flu than you are to have a dangerous reaction to the drug.”

So what’s the fuss?

Well, according to the Cochrane Collaboration, one of the most meticulous scrutinizers of health science data, here’s the real problem: Tamiflu didn’t do what it was supposed to.

Therefore, it’s potentially harmful and probably ineffective. Not a great combination for a drug that’s being counted on all around the globe for the future safety of humanity.

Cochrane Collaboration, if you don’t know, is considered the gold standard in medicine. It’s a global not-for-profit organization of 14,000 academics that do their own independent research. Just like yours truly, Cochrane isn’t tethered to any commercial purse strings or any other conflicts of interest.

They let the research lead the way — just how it should be.

Unfortunately, that’s not the way Big Pharma likes to operate. More on that in a moment.

1x1.trans EXPOSED: The FDA’s Pants Are Down (Quick! Look!)Tamiflu was thought by its creator, Roche Pharmaceuticals, to work by trapping the virus inside the cell.

Normally, a virus will copy itself in the nucleus of a cell and burst out of the cell membrane once its strong enough in order to infect more cells. Tamiflu was supposed to stop that “bursting out” from happening.

“That was the theory,” Wolford says. “Roche paid >> READ MORE <<

SOURCE ARTICLE: : http://lfb.org/exposed-fdas-pants-quick-look/

SPACE: The Final Frontier Begins

By Chris Campbell

1x1.trans SPACE: The Final Frontier Begins

Would you leave Earth to help colonize another planet?

Absurd question? Not really.

At some point down the line, the human race will be confronted with it.

The planet won’t live on forever. If we plan to outlive it, we have to move to a new space rock — or to many of them.

Stephen Hawking, renowned astrophysicist, said as much recently. And he thinks we might have to ship off sooner than later.

“It will be difficult enough to avoid disaster in the next hundred years, let alone the next thousand or million,” he told Big Think.

“Our only chance of long-term survival is not to remain inward looking planet Earth, but to spread out into space.”

Finding volunteers to go first, it appears, won’t be a problem.

Just last year, the Mars One opened up its first round of its Astronaut Selection Program.

In five months, Mars One received over 202,000 applicants, all willing to go to Mars for an indefinite amount of time. Those who are chosen, according to the group, will be trained for permanent settlement and leave in 2023.

And they’re aware they might not return.

In less than 10 years after that, Mars could be accepting visitors. Pretty cool, right?

1x1.trans SPACE: The Final Frontier BeginsSpace exploration, I think, is as Libertarian as it gets.

And, as Policy Mic put it: “Fortunately, we live in an age where space travel is no longer limited to the government. Entrepreneurs and scientists like Elon Musk and Richard Branson, both “small ‘l’ libertarians,” have been pioneering space travel in the private sector. Their advances are making it something that the whole human race can potentially experience.”

While NASA just shelved a $1.2 billion J-2X engine program, SpaceX and Virgin Galactic are inching closer and closer to making space exploration something anyone can do — provided, of course, you can afford it.

Yes, there have been failures. But our successes, as our tech maven Stephen Petranek wrote this morning, “are far more significant than the losses we experience trying to explore space.”

1x1.trans SPACE: The Final Frontier BeginsI bring this up in part because I just saw the movie Interstellar last night…

Without revealing any spoilers, it’s about a time in the not-so-distant future when Earth has become nearly uninhabitable.

The air is turning to nitrogen, the land is drying up, the rain is sparse, and one-after-another, the crops are suffering blight and disease.

The time has passed for a solution to save our terra firma. Humanity is on the brink with no hope of turning things around on Earth — and very little hope of finding another planet to colonize.

Here’s the thing about Interstellar…

If we wait long enough, this won’t just be a Hollywood plot — it’ll be a terrifying reality.

Space exploration is the inevitable next step. And hopefully, it’ll move us past all the meaningless nonsense we wrap ourselves up with each day.

1x1.trans SPACE: The Final Frontier Begins“From out there on the moon,” Edgar Mitchell, an Apollo 14 astronaut told People magazine in 1974, “international politics look so petty.

“You >> READ MORE <<

SOURCE ARTICLE: : http://lfb.org/space-final-frontier-begins/

Obama’s ‘Master Plan’ is Hiding in my Basement

By Chris Campbell

1x1.trans Obama’s ‘Master Plan’ is Hiding in my Basement

The Baltimore streets are getting cold.

And hate is a strong word…

But I hate the cold.

I’m already counting down the days until my Thailand trip.

And, as a knee-jerk reaction, I’m actively seeking out reasons to dislike the cold weather even more.

Research from the University of Toronto, as one example, tells us that cold climates are linked to early death and exacerbated illness. The colder it gets, the worse off you are.

Sounds true to me. I don’t feel any healthier shivering on the sidewalk.

[Meanwhile, our director, Doug Hill, is out on a cruise this week. Puh.]

Also, blood vessels near the surface of the skin are known to get smaller in cold weather to conserve heat. This increases blood pressure.

Meaning? The cold could cause heart attacks.

And I’m sure California has some research somewhere on how being cold causes cancer.

I keep a whole list of these in my mind.

They leak out while I’m sleeping as nightmares of winter power outages.

It gets worse…

I just got a letter from my utility company telling me they recently installed a smart meter in my building’s basement.

Here are the types of winters we can look forward to in the advent of smart meters…

1x1.trans Obama’s ‘Master Plan’ is Hiding in my Basement“Imagine this,” suggests Laissez Faire Letter contributor Lee Bellinger.

“A utility company pick-up truck pulls in front of your home. Without getting out of the cab, the utility worker reads your smart meter remotely. And he detects that you are using ‘too much’ power.

“He may just fine you,” Lee goes on. “Or if you kiss his butt enough, he may only put your home into ‘brownout’ mode. Perhaps you can even talk him into at least keeping your refrigerator running. But if you’ve gone too far, or are a repeat “offender,” he could black you out completely.

“Especially if you have not purchased expensive, government-approved green appliances.

“What a dream come true for environmental bossers run amok!

“It’s all part of Mr. Obama’s energy use micromanagement ‘master plan.’ And it has set the stage for a very unpleasant scenario.”

Of course, this scenario is extreme. But the truth of the matter is no less harrowing…

1x1.trans Obama’s ‘Master Plan’ is Hiding in my Basement“Overzealous regulatory authorities are making a hash of the power grid,” Lee goes on.

“They have spawned a mounting tempo of what power company insiders call ‘load shedding.’ Better known as ‘rolling blackouts.’

Rolling blackouts, if you’re not aware, are intentional power cuts designed to reduce the load on a grid. They are usually only performed when demand outstrips supply and as a last-resort to avoid a total blackout.

In many developing countries where the electric grid is underfunded and poorly managed, rolling blackouts are a common — if not everyday — occurrence.

But according to many energy experts, like Steve Gorham, executive director of Climate Science Coalition, America’s power grid is stretched too thin — and it won’t take much to snap it back to third-world status.

“Last winter,” he wrote in April, “bitterly cold weather placed massive stress on the U.S. electrical system — >> READ MORE <<

SOURCE ARTICLE: : http://lfb.org/obamas-master-plan-hiding-basement/

Open Windows of Opportunity With Jim Rickards

By James Rickards

1x1.trans Open Windows of Opportunity With Jim Rickards

Today’s investment climate is the most challenging one you have ever faced.

At least since the late 1970s, perhaps since the 1930s.

This is because inflation and deflation and deflation are both possibilities in the near term.

Most investors can prepare for one of the other, but preparing for both at the same time is far more difficult.

The reason for this challenging environment is not difficult to discern.

Analysts and talking heads have been wondering for five years why the recovery is not stronger. They keep predicting that stronger growth is right around the corner. Their forecasts have failed year after year and their confusion grows. Perhaps even you, who have seen scores of normal business and credit cycles come and go for decades, are confused.

If this “cycle” seems strange to you there’s a good reason. The current economic slump is not cyclical; it’s structural. This is a new depression that will last indefinitely until structural changes are made to the economy.

Examples of structural changes are reduction or elimination of capital gain taxes, corporate income taxes and the most onerous forms of regulation. Building the Keystone Pipeline, reforming entitlement spending and repealing Obamacare are other examples.

These are other structural policies that have nothing to do with money printing by the Fed. This is why money printing has not fixed the economy. Since structural changes are not on the horizon, expect the depression to continue.

1x1.trans Open Windows of Opportunity With Jim RickardsHow can there be a depression?

Well, let’s take each one by one.

The soup lines are here. They’re in your local supermarket. Government issues food stamps in debit card form to those in need, who just pay at the checkout line.

Despite popular beliefs, unemployment is at 1930s levels too. If the Bureau of Labor Statistics measured the rate using the Depression-era method, it would be much higher than 6.2%. Also, millions today are claiming disability benefits when unemployment benefits run out — that’s just another form of unemployment when the disabilities are not real or not serious, as is often the case.

What about prices? Here the story is different from the 1930s. Prices declined sharply from 1929–1933, about 25%, but they have been relatively stable from 2009–2014, rising only about 10% over the five-year period.

The Federal Reserve’s money printing is responsible. The Fed had an overly tight monetary policy in the early 1930s but has employed unprecedented monetary ease since 2009. Ben Bernanke, who was in charge at the time, was reacting to what he viewed as the erroneous Fed policy of the 1930s. In a 2002 speech on the occasion of Milton Friedman’s 90th birthday, Bernanke said to Friedman, “Regarding the Great Depression. You’re right, we did it. We’re very sorry. But thanks to you, we won’t do it again.”

But this did not mean that Bernanke had single-handedly discovered the cure for depression. Fighting deflation by itself does not solve the structural problems of the economy that lead to depressed growth. Instead, Bernanke, and now Yellen, have created an unstable dynamic tension.

Depressions are naturally >> READ MORE <<

SOURCE ARTICLE: : http://lfb.org/open-windows-opportunity-jim-rickards/

Don’t Make the Same Mistake as Hitler: One Rookie Blunder You’re Probably Guilty of

By Chris Campbell

** What if Hitler had won?

This question randomly crossed our minds this morning, as some thoughts randomly do…

And for a few moments, we allowed our imagination full reign.

What would the world look like today?

Is our imagination too crazy in conjuring up a D.C. littered with the same busy streets, but with swastikas proudly flittering overhead?

Would the world be an apocalyptic wasteland, like some would suggest, full of death camps… gas chambers… and secret rooms filled with gold fillings?

Or would the world be, as one academic by the name of James Miller argues, a better, more just world with no communism… no dividing line between the Koreas… and no depraved filth on television (because, he wrote, “Jews wouldn’t run Hollywood”)?

It’s always interesting to see how far the pendulum swings. Heh.

** Of course, we’re far from the first (or second or third) to engage in such a thought experiment.

Philip K. Dick’s 1962 novel, The Man in the High Castle…

Historian William Shirer’s article, “If Hitler Had Won World War II”…

And even one Star Trek episode, “The City on the Edge of Forever”…

They all gave us their own glimpses of what would’ve happened had the U.S. refused to fight the Nazis and the Axis defeated the Allies. In their eyes, an unrelenting dark cloud of terror would’ve parked over Earth and never let up.

Others had a different view.

Historian John Lukacs, for example, wrote an essay titled, “What If Hitler Had Won the Second World War?”

In it, he concluded that the Third Reich would’ve slowed its roll after the war and possibly even sought European unification.

In 1988, science fiction writer Brad Linaweaver wrote a novel titled, Moon of Ice.

In that, Linaweaver compares FDR’s powers to Hitler’s… considers the war crimes trial of Churchill… and describes an enormously popular Nazi propaganda film called Fulfillment of Duty in the Light of the Holy Grail.

The film, you come to realize, with all of its original ethnic stereotypes intact, is actually Raiders of the Lost Ark.

And then there was Pat Buchanan’s 1999 book A Republic, Not an Empire.

In that one, Buchanan argued that had the U.S. stayed out and let the Nazis win, we could’ve avoided the Cold War (because there would’ve been no USSR).

On another end of the spectrum, the stalwart noninterventionist Murray Rothbard said that the U.S. should’ve stayed out for one reason alone: to avoid imperialism.

“Our entry into World War II was the crucial act in foisting a permanent militarization upon the economy and society,” he said, “in bringing to the country a permanent garrison state, an overweening military-industrial complex, a permanent system of conscription.”

** Though we’re apt to side with Rothbard (especially considering the current circumstances), we also know that opinions are like you-know-whats.

And the reality is that — at least in this universe — Hitler lost. And what’s done is done.

For that reason, we’re more interested in fishing out what wisdom we can glean from the “Good War.”

The Germans lost, of course, because they made mistakes. Some more damaging than others.

But there’s one mistake >> READ MORE <<

SOURCE ARTICLE: : http://lfb.org/dont-make-mistake-hitler-one-rookie-blunder-youre-probably-guilty/