Monthly Archives: October 2016

Australian Politics 2016-10-31 15:33:00

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Walgett Community College, the 'worst school in the state' gets a fresh start

Wotta lotta ... !  How are new buildings going to solve behaviour problems?  Politicians don't or won't understand Aboriginal behaviour problems so they do the one thing they can: Build things

A school with a long and troubled history of violence and disadvantage has been given a fresh start as students moved into brand-new $9.2 million school facilities.

A viral video of teenage girls fiercely attacking a classmate in a classroom last year brought infamy to the remote north-western NSW school, Walgett Community College.

Students at Walgett High say their school has seen a dramatic turnaround since a time when regular fights left them feeling unsafe.

There were crisis meetings with the minister and education bureaucrats, more student fights during their visits and police were stationed in the school, which found itself thrust reluctantly into the media spotlight.

This was after Education Minister Adrian Piccoli​ had declared it "the worst school in the state" over the ruinous state of its buildings and facilities.

It wasn't just that. Attendance rates were abysmal, violent fights were common, teachers were subject to verbal abuse by students and the high turnover of principals had left a leadership gap and sour relations with the mostly Indigenous population in the town.

The students were hurt by the video and the media coverage. "That was just embarrassing," year 9 student Abbey Ashby, 14, told Fairfax Media this week. "It was pretty sad. It just made Walgett look bad."

But the school community celebrated a rare bright spot this week as they moved into brand new facilities built by the Department of Education under its Connected Communities Strategy, after what department officials say has been a stabilising year under new executive principal Karen McKinnon.

Year 9 student Raylene Kennedy, 14, said "It's better than how it used to be, it's safer. The learning, it's getting better. Nobody used to feel safe, 'cos there used to be so many fights. But now there's none."

The students are still the same, she adds, but they're behaving better.

Abbey, who wants to study nursing at university when she finishes school, said the new buildings were a major improvement on the old school. "It's just more like a learning space, [compared with] over there. You felt real crowded in."

The executive principal Karen McKinnon, who took over in October 2015, is being credited by the department for turning things around
in the school. She has worked in several remote and Indigenous schools, mainly in Queensland and the Northern Territory.

Making the school safer, she said, is "about expectations and being consistent. There are rules and students know the rules and they know there are consequences if those rules aren't followed, and they know there's a consistency in the follow-up.

"So in this school, fighting has been reduced almost to none this year. That's because the consequences are out there, kids know, and they don't like to be suspended. In the end they recognise fighting isn't the answer."

The victories are small – Mrs McKinnon cites a year 10 student who was virtually never at school last year, who shows up "almost" every day now. They have been given the budget to hold a breakfast club every day at the primary school to make sure kids get a decent feed so they can concentrate in class. Staff say they are committed and feeling positive. And overall attendance rates have lifted a little from 68.9 per cent last year to an average of 72.5 per cent for 2016.

There are just 98 students enrolled in the gleaming new school which could house three or four times the number. But there are hopes for a resurgence. Walgett has a potential high school population of around 350 according to a census by the department last year, most of whom attend high schools elsewhere, driven away by the school's terrible reputation.

Signs of the old problems were scarce for Education Minister Adrian Piccoli's visit on Wednesday – his fifth as minister – but a groundsman let slip he'd been hard at work the night before scrubbing off graffiti and laying neat astroturf in the outdoor learning area.

New buildings can't fix everything, the minister conceded, but they make a difference. "I think you would walk in here as a student and feel like the system values you," he said.

"Aboriginal people on many occasions have been treated like rubbish and when you saw this school in its original state, given the vast majority of students were of Aboriginal background, you can't not make that conclusion.

"So here we've turned that around. I'd like to think that the students see this is an investment in them."

The minister said needs-based funding in NSW had seen an extra allocation of essential resources to schools like Walgett.

"They'd been able to get out of this crisis mode they've often been in. Lots of drama comes into these schools because of what's happening in children's homes and a lot of the time was taken just dealing with that stuff.

"A principal said to me recently we've been able to get out of our welfare mentality and into a teaching and learning mentality. That's music to my ears."

Trent Graham, the acting head of teaching and learning, said the staff saw the new buildings as an "positive opportunity to continue the change" they'd been working for. Time will tell if they can maintain it.

The intensive, individual approach is a lot of work for the teachers, he conceded. "But the kids are worth it."

SOURCE





Foreign-funded green groups could take whole swathes of Australia out of the productive economy

Hillary Clinton and Julia Gillard have a lot in common — and it’s not just the ladylike shoes and matching pearl earrings.   

They both love to play the gender card, turning their immense privilege into victim status and ­dividing the electorate by sex.

Thus, Gillard nobbled Tony ­Abbott with her fabled misogyny speech and Clinton’s machine manages to drown out every Wikileaks embarrassment with a new Donald Trump bimbo eruption.

The other thing the two ladies have in common is the Clinton Foundation, which Wikileaks emails now show is an influence-peddling political slush fund.

And guess which country was one of its biggest donors? Australia. Yep, we’re up there with Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

The Australian taxpayer shovelled at least $88 million into the Clinton Foundation and associated entities from 2006 to 2014, reaching a peak of $10.3 million in 2012-13, Gillard’s last year in office.

On the Clinton Foundation website, AusAID and the Commonwealth of Australia score separate entries in the $10 million-plus group of donors, one rung up from American teacher unions.

In 2009-10 Kevin Rudd handed over another $10 million to the foundation for climate research, part of $300 million he squandered on a Global Carbon Capture and Storage Institute.

Gillard also donated $300 million of our money to the Clinton-affiliated Global Partnership for Education.

Lo and behold, she became chairman in 2014 and has been ­actively promoting Clinton as president ever since — in a campaign video last December slamming Trump, in opeds trumpeting the next woman president and in appearances with Clinton spruiking girls’ education.

The Abbott government topped up the left-wing organisation’s coffers with another $140 million in 2014, bringing total Australian largesse to $460 million, according to a press release from Foreign Minister Julie Bishop.

And yet, apart from the beautiful friendship with Gillard, what did Australia get from the Clintons for all that cash? A whole lot of trouble is what.

The latest treasure trove of Wikileaks emails released last week shows that Australian green groups have been secretly funded to destroy our coal industry by environmental activists connected to the Clinton campaign.

The email account of Clinton’s campaign chairman John Podesta reveals extraordinary details of the sabotage of the $16 billion Adani coalmine in Queensland, which has damaged Australia’s national interest and denied cheap electricity to millions of poor Indians.

Last August John Hepburn, former Greenpeace activist and founder of Australian anti-coal group the Sunrise Project, sent a crowing email to his American paymasters, the Sandler Foundation, which is also a major donor to the Clinton Foundation. (Founder Herb Sandler and mate George Soros funded another Clinton-aligned progressive group, the Centre for American Progress, previously chaired by Podesta.)

“The Adani Carmichael mine and the whole Galilee Basin fossil fuel industrial complex is in its death throes,” Hepburn wrote in the email forwarded to Podesta.

“I am going to buy a few bottles of bubbly for a celebration with the (Environmental ­Defenders Office) legal team, our colleagues at GetUp, Greenpeace, 350.org, ECF, Australian Youth Climate Coalition, Mackay Conservation Group, Market Forces and the brilliant and tireless Sunrise team.”

In another email forwarded to Podesta, Hepburn panics about an Abbott government inquiry into environmental charities and discusses hiding Sunrise’s sources of funding to safeguard its charitable tax status.

Hepburn boasts about the latest legal blow to Adani, when the Federal Court overturned its approval and the Commonwealth Bank quit the project. In it he now wants to “escalate the campaign ­towards the other 3 big Australian banks”.

And he mocks miners who “try to claim that there is some kind of foreign-funded and tightly orchestrated conspiracy to systematically ­destroy the Australian coal industry. (I seriously don’t know where they get these wacky ideas from!)”

As if it’s not bad enough that foreign-funded activists are meddling with our largest export earner, Podesta’s emails also detail their insidious influence on indigenous land owners who blocked the Adani mine using powerful native title rights.

This alliance of green groups with native title owners is a frightening development detailed in a new book by historian Keith Windschuttle, The Break-up of Australia: The Real Agenda behind Aboriginal Recognition.

He reveals the imminent expansion of native title claims, either ­approved or quietly being processed, stretch across a whopping 60 per cent of the Australian continent, an area twice the size of Western Europe.

Already 6000sq km of the Kidman cattle empire in the Kimberley has been given, via native title, to green activists to be converted from productive cattle country to a wildlife conservation area.

“In return, the Yulumbu people get a paltry $50,000 a year royalty,” Windschuttle writes. “As a flora and fauna sanctuary it is economically defunct for the foreseeable future.”

At worst, writes Windschuttle, the upcoming referendum for indigenous constitutional recognition, proposed by Gillard in 2012, could pave the way for a separate Aboriginal state on native title land, funded by taxation, royalties and lease payments — passive welfare in another guise.

At the very least, the ­alliance between foreign-­funded green groups and ­indigenous owners gives ­environmentalists the opportunity to take whole swathes of Australia out of the productive economy and shut down industries they don’t like, from coal mines in Queensland to cattle farms in Western Australia.

Thanks for nothing, Hillary and Julia.

SOURCE






Open borders inevitably stoke xenophobia

JENNIFER ORIEL

The Western world is edging towards a precipice. The postwar consensus that cast internationalism as a global ideal is unravelling. The Muslim migrant crisis has revealed that the political ideals of the West’s ruling elite and the people they govern are not simply different but apparently opposed.

Historically, such a clash of ideals between the governing and the governed tends to produce the mass suppression of dissidents by the elite, or a grassroots revolution from below. Each tendency has become amplified in the battle ­between sovereign citizens and supranational elites over border policy.

In previous centuries, mass revolt usually has been caused by a combination of economic inequality and political disenfranchisement. The modern trust deficit between the rulers and the ruled is civilisational. It arises from a widespread belief that Western elites are ruled by and ruling for foreign interests against the sovereign wealth of their states and the sovereign interests of their people.

Historian John Fonte offers a scholarly account of the development of supranational elitism in his book Sovereignty or Submission. He analyses the emergence of a transnational system of unelected officials populating the UN, the EU and NGOs, who believe in imposing rule from above on sovereign states and citizens.

Recent evidence supports Fonte’s analysis of emergent supranational rule. Documents published by WikiLeaks and DCLeaks have exposed the influence of unelected elites, NGO networks and so-called human rights activists on Western politics. In particular, the leaked files illustrate a pattern of supranationalists funding Western political parties and civil society organisations that back open-border policy, complemented by the organised mobbing of freethinkers who dissent from the Left party line.

The old term used to punish Western dissenters from the UN’s porous border policy and PC politics was Islamophobia. The new thought crime is xenophobia.

At the September UN meeting attended by Malcolm Turnbull, the General Assembly adopted the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants. The UN aims to develop a global compact for migration in coming years. The declaration’s introductory paragraphs outline the contours of the new thought crime: “in many parts of the world we are witnessing with great concern increasingly xenophobia and racist responses to refugees and migrants. We strongly condemn acts and manifestations of … xenophobia and related intolerance against refugees and migrants … we deplore all manifestations of xenophobia.” To solve the UN’s problem, its members endorsed a new global campaign to “counter xenophobia”.

There should be no need to state the obvious truth that immigrants make great economic, social, intellectual and cultural contributions to their nations. There are innumerable examples in Australia including last week’s heroic act by taxi driver Aguek Nyok, who saved passengers from a burning bus. Nyok is an immigrant from Sudan. However, it would benefit social cohesion to celebrate the contributions of immigrants not as immigrants, but as citizens who have an equal share in advancing our great country and the civilisational values that sustain the free world.

The problem with the UN’s demand that only positive stories about migrants and refugees should be promoted as a part of its anti-xenophobia campaign is that it requires the censorship of truth, thereby deepening the trust deficit between supranational organisations and sovereign citizens. By permitting only positive reports about the effects of porous border policy, the UN has become a propagandist of PC ideology.

The politically incorrect truth is that people entering the West as asylum-seekers also commit serious violence against our citizens and undermine our civilisational values.

Soeren Kern, senior fellow at the Gatestone Institute, has reported on several rapes of German women and girls by migrants, including teenage boys. In October, a 19-year-old Moroccan migrant was arrested on suspicion of raping a 90-year-old woman as she walked home from Sunday mass.

Speaking to Britain’s Sunday Express newspaper, German police union chief Rainer Wendt notes that criminal migrants from North Africa “despise our country and laugh at our justice”.

Journalist Ingrid Carlqvist has documented a shockingly high number of arrests and convictions of asylum-seekers in Sweden during May. Their crimes include extraordinarily brutal rapes of women and children.

Norwegian police inspector Thomas Utne Pettersen reports that mass immigration has led to an increase in the rape of women and children. Speaking to Breitbart media, he cites the high incarceration rate of some migrant groups and cases of rape committed by asylum-seekers from Afghanistan and Syria, concluding: “People’s xenophobia in relation to this group is highly rational and justified”.

Despite the reports of horrific violence against Western citizens arising from open-border policies, the UN and activist groups continue their campaign to demonise sovereign governments that support a rational immigration policy.

The Australian’s associate editor Chris Kenny analysed open-border activists’ response to Australia’s offshore immigration processing on Nauru. In short, green-Left politicians backed by the activist press lie by portraying offshore processing as “torture” while demonising Nauru’s decent citizens. Like their supranational comrades at the UN, Australia’s open-border activists are shameless propagandists for PC ideology.

The Australian Human Rights Commission has a history of agitating against the Coalition government’s immigration policy. However, the commission’s supposedly landmark report on children in immigration detention was methodologically unsound and biased. Documents revealed the inquiry’s main conclusion that Australia’s immigration system is non-compliant with UN conventions was stated in a 2013 work plan before the main investigations had commenced. Yet the Left media continues to laud AHRC opinion on border security and immigration policy.

Popular support for Brexit and figures like Donald Trump is driven by the lies and propaganda of supranational elites. Their hostility toward the creed, culture and citizens of the free world is evident in their campaign to enforce open-border policy on Western states and demonise dissenters.

Politicians who believe in democracy, human rights and the rule of law should resist the corrupted ideology of a once great UN. Instead, they should fulfil their primary duty of care to citizens by defending their peoples’ sovereign right to safety and security against the elitism of unelected ideologues.

SOURCE






Corruption in high places?  NSW Police dropped drug charges that allowed a violent criminal to kill

Glen Roberts served in the Cronulla riots and survived being mowed down twice by the same car during a dramatic police pursuit.

Yet his professional career – and his personal life – will forever be defined by a drug exchange he wishes he had never, by chance, witnessed.

One of the two people he arrested and charged that night in April 2011, Wayne Edward Jones, was a major crime figure who, already serving parole, was sent straight back to jail – where he should have remained for several years.

Yet for reasons known only to a select few officers within the NSW Police Force, he did not.

Michelle Reynolds with one of her young sons. © Janie Barrett Michelle Reynolds with one of her young sons. Six months later, the charges against Jones were inexplicably withdrawn and he was freed - with deadly consequences.

Jones later booked into a Coffs Harbour motel where, high on ice, he hogtied, tortured and strangled to death a mother-of-four, Michelle Reynolds. He then ordered take-away pizza beside her broken body before dumping her in bushland the following day.

Senior Constable Roberts, meanwhile, found himself charged with having fabricated "false evidence" in the drug case against Jones.

A Fairfax Media investigation has now found that the force appeared so determined to discredit the officer over what he saw that night, it broke the law by withholding two crucial pieces of evidence from the Department of Public Prosecutions (DPP) and Senior Constable Roberts' defence lawyers which proved his innocence.

As a magistrate was still getting his head around the prosecution's case against Senior Constable Roberts, which he later remarked "should never have started", the worst possible news surfaced in court.

The same violent offender whose drug supply charges had strangely evaporated 14 months earlier had since become the subject of another serious criminal case at Coffs Harbour.

"Sorry your honour … I just have a question," said a court assistant about what first appeared to be a mix up with files. "The case … is for a murder charge."

"We all looked around in disbelief," recalled Senior Constable Roberts.

"The man whom I had charged, who should still have been inside, and for whom I was now in court, had killed someone. I was absolutely devastated."

On April 4, 2011, Senior Constable Roberts and a colleague were patrolling Sydney's Kings Cross where they observed Jones and three young women in a situation that prompted concerns of underage prostitution. Senior Constable Roberts then observed Jones "clearly and without obstruction" place both his hands down the front of his pants and remove "a plastic item" before transferring the object into the co-accused's hands" which she swiftly stuffed down the front of her shorts.

They called for back up and a a female officer searched the girl and located the package inside her pants which contained bags of heroin, ice and marijuana.

However, back at the station, the seemingly straightforward arrest started to unravel when the 21-year-old woman divulged that she had been assisting Newcastle-based detectives with classified intelligence about Jones and his bikie gang associates, describing scenes involving big silver cases and "pounds of drugs" laid across tables. "He is part of the Nomads ... they all are," she said. The woman went on to explain how the previous evening Jones had rounded her and two teenage girls up, conducted an ice deal at a service station and then bashed her and forced her to drive, unlicensed, to Sydney for the purpose of prostitution.

"He had sexual intercourse with me even though I tried to stop him ... and then after that he forced me to do two jobs …otherwise he was going to do it again." She also alleged he had raped one of the other girls.

Throughout the interview, the woman said she was "scared", adding: "Once he overdosed me on heroin and just left me there. Other days he just belts me."

The drugs that led to the arrest of Wayne Jones in 2011. © Supplied The drugs that led to the arrest of Wayne Jones in 2011. Years earlier, Jones had smashed a woman so hard with a car "club lock", it caused the left side of her face to collapse. He received a seven and a half year sentence with a non-parole period of four and a half years.

He was still on parole for that horrific attack when the drug exchange took place. He was now served with three drug possession charges, one count of dealing with suspected proceeds of crime and an additional charge of supply of an indictable quantity of drugs, which carries a maximum 15 year prison term.

Yet six months on, some shadowy element in the police force set wheels in motion to withdraw all those charges and have Jones freed.

In turn Senior Constable Roberts was suddenly accused of lying about what he'd observed on the night and was charged with "fabricating false evidence with intent to mislead judicial tribunal".

When the case was heard in Sydney's Downing Centre in April 2013, it emerged that the prosecution's case against Senior Constable Roberts hinged on one statement from a senior constable who said Roberts had told her he "hadn't actually seen" the drug transaction that led to Jones being charged.

Yet two pivotal pieces of evidence, which the force had failed to produce for two years, proved otherwise. The first, an official record of interview in which Jones' co-accused acknowledged she personally saw Senior Constable Roberts witness the exchange. "I know you saw me," she said, adding: "I spotted that."

The second testimony came from the female constable called to the sceneto search the three women. In her statement, which police did not disclose, the officer recalled Senior Constable Roberts saying: "I've seen her hug the accused and possibly put something down the front of her pants."

Under the Director of Public Prosecutions Act 1986, police are legally bound to "disclose" to the DPP "all relevant information, documents or other things obtained during the investigation" that might reasonably be expected to assist the case for the prosecution or that of the accused person.

Magistrate Graeme Curran said it was that "critical" evidence that not only favoured the "truthfulness" and "accuracy" of Roberts' observations, but "founded" the supply charges then laid against Jones.

"For reasons which just remain completely inexplicable and quite strange … this document was not provided to the DPP. This is despite a request that it be made available to the DPP."

Michelle Reynolds was dumped in bushland by Wayne Jones. © Frank Redward Michelle Reynolds was dumped in bushland by Wayne Jones. He added: "It seems quite exceptional, quite unacceptable, and as far as I am concerned, quite inexcusable in relation to the conduct of this matter before the court."

NSW Greens justice spokesman David Shoebridge said on Saturday: "This was either the grossest incompetence or, these actions were conducted with the clear intent of delivering a serious miscarriage of injustice. Either way, the consequences have been deeply tragic."

Senior Constable Roberts has had plenty of time to speculate on why someone in the force freed Jones and then attempted to "throw him under a train". But central to the grief that still consumes him is the question of what might have unfolded, had he never made the arrest that night.

"I'm still plagued by the thought that I may have saved the lives of those three young girls, but I cost another woman hers."

On Saturday, the force released a statement to Fairfax Media acknowledging "the seriousness of this issue."
How the bizarre sequence of events unfolded

Feb 2003: Wayne Jones bashes a woman so hard with a car "club lock", the left side of her face collapses. He already has convictions for armed robbery, possession of a pistol and numerous drug-related charges. At the end of the year, he receives a 7year sentence with a non-parole period of 4years.

Apr 2011: Kings Cross Senior Constable Glen Roberts witnesses a drug exchange involving Jones and a woman who he allegedly brought to Sydney to prostitute. Jones' parole is revoked and he is returned to jail. It emerges the woman has been forwarding classified intelligence about Jones' involvement with a major drug supply and the Nomads motorcycle gang.

Oct 20: All charges against Jones are withdrawn. He is freed.

Nov: Within weeks of being released, Jones is charged with possessing a knife in public, driving while disqualified, dealing with proceeds of crime and possessing identity information to commit an indictable offence. He again avoids jail and is placed on good behaviour bonds, the last of which expires on November 18, 2014.

October 10, 2012: Senior Constable Glen Roberts is charged with "fabricating false evidence with intent to mislead judicial tribunal".

December  11-17: Jones tortures, bashes and strangles Central Coast mother Michelle Reynolds in a Coffs Harbour motel room, then dumps her battered body in bushland.

June 6, 2013: A judge dismisses the case against Senior Constable Roberts and is scathing of police after they were found to have concealed "critical" evidence from the DPP that verified the detective's "truthfulness" and the case against Jones.

October 2014: Jones is sentenced to minimum 20 years jail for murder.

SOURCE

Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).    For a daily critique of Leftist activities,  see DISSECTING LEFTISM.  To keep up with attacks on free speech see Tongue Tied. Also, don't forget your daily roundup  of pro-environment but anti-Greenie  news and commentary at GREENIE WATCH .  Email me  here



2016-Q4 Off to Similar Start as 2016-Q3

We're awaiting S&P's month end official tally of the number of dividend cuts in October 2016 later today, but until then, we do have a sense of the relative health of the private sector of the U.S. economy from our real time sources that report the dividend declarations of U.S. firms. Our first chart reveals what they indicate for how 2016-Q4 is playing out so far, as compared to the previous three quarters (2016-Q1, 2016-Q2 and 2016-Q3):

Cumulative Number of Dividend Cuts Announced in U.S. by Day of Quarter, 2016-Q1 vs 2016-Q2 vs 2016-Q3 vs 2016-Q4, Snapshot on 2016-10-31

We first confirm that recessionary conditions continue to be present within the U.S. economy, but at a reduced level with respect to the first two quarters of 2016. They are however consistent what what we observed through the same point of time in 2016-Q3, which would so far appear to have seen the strongest growth in the year to date.

We also confirm year over year improvement in economic performance through our chart comparing the current quarter to date against the number of dividend cuts that was recorded through this point of time in 2015-Q4.

Cumulative Number of Dividend Cuts Announced in U.S. by Day of Quarter, 2015-Q4 vs 2016-Q4, Snapshot on 2016-10-31

The reason for the improvement is fairly straight forward - there is considerably less distress in the oil production sector of the U.S. economy thanks to relatively higher oil prices, which bottomed in February 2016, and have since recovered to today's level near $50 per barrel.

Consequently, there are a lot fewer oil producing firms announcing that they need to cut their dividends these days. Then again, there are also fewer oil producing firms these days.

Data Sources

Seeking Alpha Market Currents. Filtered for Dividends. [Online Database]. Accessed 31 October 2016.

Wall Street Journal. Dividend Declarations. [Online Database]. Accessed 31 October 2016.

The S&P 500 in Week 4 of October 2016

In the fourth week of October 2016, the S&P 500 ended the week lower than it began, as stock prices also fell from the level at which they closed in Week 3.

But that's not what people will remember about the market close at the end of the week, since the S&P 500 only dropped on Friday, 28 October 2016 in response to what we would describe as a political noise event.

And since politics rarely ever drive stock prices, the market experienced little more than a hiccup in terms of its typical daily volatility.

Alternative Futures - S&P 500 - 2016Q4 - Standard Model with Connected Dots Overlay - Snapshot on 2016-10-28

In the absence of other such noise events, or changes in fundamental factors that could more seriously influence stock prices, we can reasonably expect stock prices in the near future to converge with the red-dashed line trajectory we sketched on the chart above two weeks ago. After that happens, stock prices will more likely than not resume their generally downward trajectory, although the only thing we would really expect is that they fall somewhere within the red-shaded range we've indicated on the chart above, consistent with our assumption that investors will continue to focus on the current quarter of 2016-Q4 and will make their investing decisions in accordance with its corresponding expectations.

Although the week was, by far, the busiest to date at this point of 2016-Q4's earnings season, there weren't all that many headlines with market moving potential during the week. The handful that we identified are listed below.

Monday, 24 October 2016
Tuesday, 25 October 2016
Wednesday, 26 October 2016
Thursday, 27 October 2016
Friday, 28 October 2016

For a more complete picture of the week that was, Barry Ritholtz identifies what he saw as the positives and negatives of the week's market and economic news.

US Elite, By Way of Deception Thou Shalt Lose Your Empire


Very little of what has been revealed in the Wikileaks dump of the Podesta emails comes as a surprise.  Everyone I know suspected at least the crime, corruption, and sleaze they have shown. But I am still stunned by the levels of arrogance and the superficial nature of the discussion.

The assumption that ties all this together is the seemingly unshakable belief that everything is about optics.  If something looks bad, well then the solution is to make things look better. And the corollary to this is the idea that anyone not convinced by these efforts to change the optics much surely suffer from some serious psychological disorder. The idea that there are people suffering from real problems that need real solutions seems never to appear on the radars of the correspondents of John Podesta. For them, if something does not conform to their preferred narrative, it cannot exist.

There are far too many subjects where real matters are reduced by our "leadership" to a matter of optics.  Of course, my personal favorite is climate change / end of the petroleum age.  Perhaps the biggest reason why this one fascinates me so is that it is a simple struggle between faith-based arguments (religion, politics, pop psychology, etc) and simple arithmetic.  I come down on the side of arithmetic because in my 67 years on earth, it has always worked. I tend to lose patience with the faith-based versions of perceived reality because as a childhood of religious indoctrination taught me, such beliefs are wrong so often the historical exceptions could be covered in a short Ted talk.

Unfortunately, there is the related subject of imperialism / empire building that became necessary when USA became a net importer of oil.  Our empire is being run by the most pig-ignorant people imaginable.  Since most of what official Washington believes to be true is based on data gathered by a highly politicized "intelligence" community, we may fairly think of our diplomatic corps as being populated by designer morons. These folks believe above all else in "American Exceptionalism" so for them there is no point is learning anything from the rest of the world because those poor souls are, at best, American wannabes anyway.  Ignorance and arrogance—the worst combination of characteristics for running an empire imaginable.

The Saker seems to think that this crazy situation is going to come crashing down because of its internal contradictions.  He reasons that ignorant folks determined to enrage everyone else on earth will ultimately fail no matter how well-armed and willing to lie, kill and, destroy they might be.  We shall see.  The main threat to the empire comes from Russia which is currently committing the unforgivable sin of defending itself.  See, if we were taught a reasonably accurate history of WW II we would actually have some idea of what those people are willing to do to defend themselves.  And Putin is a son of Leningrad / St. Petersburg—where over a million perished during the 900 day siege and yet they still prevailed.  When you hear the morons going off about what they think they know about Putin, the tiny detail that he was born to survivors of that vicious seige seems unimportant. Ignorance, the gift that keeps on giving.

US Elite, By Way of Deception Thou Shalt Lose Your Empire


Could it be that after losing Russia to their lies, the Neocons will now lose the United States to their apparently incurable propensity to rule by deception?

The Saker
Originally appeared at The Unz Review, 10/18/16

“For nothing is hidden that will not be made manifest, nor is anything secret that will not be known and come to light”
Holy Gospel according to Saint Luke (8:17)

“There’s an old saying in Tennessee — I know it’s in Texas, probably in Tennessee — that says, fool me once, shame on — shame on you. Fool me — you can’t get fooled again.”
George W Bush

In April of 2014 I wrote an article entitled “How the Ukrainian crisis will eventually bring down the AngloZionist Empire” in which I made a list of the similarities between the Soviet Union of the 1980s and Obama’s USA and wrote the following:

What the AngloZionist are openly and publicly defending in the Ukraine is the polar opposite of what they are supposed to stand for. That is an extremely dangerous thing to do for any regime and the AngloZionist Empire is no exception to that rule. Empire often crumble when their own people become disillusioned and disgusted with massive discrepancy between what the ruling elites say and what they do. And as a result, it is not so much that the Empire is faced with formidable enemies as it is the fact that nobody is willing to stand up – nevermind die – in defense of it.

Over two years later, watching the Presidential race between Trump and Hillary I am amazed to see how deep and “in your face” the habit of lying, denying the obvious, deceiving and otherwise misrepresenting has permeated the US political discourse.

First and foremost, there is the absolutely unabashed way the corporate Ziomedia is bashing Trump without even so much as a pretense of objectivity or truthfulness. Of course, I always knew that the US propaganda machine was lying and that the media was owned by the US deep state, but at least there was this thin veneer or pseudo-objectivity, of having “both sides” heard. Now this is over. When dealing with Trump, we have Orwell’s “Two Minutes of Hate” but spread over 24/7. Not that Trump does not deserve some of it, he sure does, but compared to how real scumbags like the Clintons are treated, the lynching of Trump is, I believe, unprecedented and unique. Why does it matter? Because now the masks have been taken off, the pretenses removed, and what you see is the true face of the corporate media as it always was: hateful, hypocritical and totally corrupted. And since a truly free and independent media is central to a functioning democracy, then the total corruption of the media in the US is also the proof that this country does not have a functioning democracy.

Second, there are the completely surreal events happening in Syria: the US betrayal of the agreement signed with Russia, the US threats to attack Syria (in total illegality), the crocodile tears about the humanitarian situation in Aleppo (and the blind eye to Yemen), the mind-blowing hypocrisy of the US wanting to take the Syrians and the Russians to an international criminal court for war crimes, the now absolutely open support for al-Qaeda (aka al-Nusra, aka Jabhat Fateh al-Sham aka Daesh) and the threats to arm them, the open threats by Admiral Kirby to have Russian aircraft shot down, Russian cities bombed and Russians soldiers come back in body bags – we now see an Administration which has gone completely “mental” over Syria and which does not even know what it is doing. To say that the 1000-4000 US servicemen and contractors currently deployed in Syria are “serving their country” or “defending democracy” or “our way of life” is simply laughable and everybody knows that. But nobody says a word about it. In fact, their presence in Syria is hardly ever mentioned.

This Kafkaesque slouching towards war with Russia is simply never discussed by any pundit or media outlet. It’s like it’s not happening, but of course it is happening, right before our eyes. The Russian officials speak about this every day, so does the Russian media, it is one of the most discussed topics on TV, and yet in the “land of the brave home of the free” this is a kind of Orwellian “untopic” which, by consensus, has no existence, no reality and no relevance: The Neocons’ crazy policies risk turning the US into a gigantic pile of radioactive ashes, but the topic which preoccupies everybody is Trump’s potty-mouth about women.

I don’t know about you, but I see more nobility in the Titanic’s chamber orchestra playing the waltz “Songe d’Automne” as long as the ship could still float then in the pathetic spectacle which the (equally sinking) AngloZionist Empire offers to us today.

On the external front, the Empire is also doubling down on its lies. Here are a few headlines which were recently seen in 5th columnist newspapers in Russia and their colleagues abroad:

HeadlineReality
Patriarch Kirill bans abortions in Russia”Patriarch Kirill, along with other religious leaders, signed a statement saying that abortions should not be paid for by the state.
Russian women will be forced to give birth”
Employees will be fired for using Whatsapp or similar messaging services”State employee are banned from using messaging services to transmit work-related or classified information.
Tolstoi and Dostoevsky are now banned from Russian schools”Various officials are discussing in what grade Russian classical authors should be studied.

These are just a few recent examples. Such garbage is published by the pro-western “yellow” press in Russia and by the western corporate media on an almost daily basis.

Of course, the Neocons have always ruled “by way of deception”, as did the Anglo rulers of the British Empire, but in modern Russia they are now hitting a number of obstacles which greatly complicates their work:
1) Putin has done an excellent job of slowly but surely booting out the worst russophobes from the main Russian TV and radio channels. Of course, some are left, very deliberately (I explain the reason for that in detail here) but they surely don’t control the media like they did in the 1990s.
2) In the age of the Internet, it takes just days to debunk the lies of Uncle Sam, the Neocons or the Russian 5th columnists (for the latest example see here).
3) Russians remember the 1990s and they follow very closely what is happening across the border in the Nazi occupied Ukraine and they realize that what the Ukraine is undergoing today is what Russia had to suffer in the 1990s and would have to live through again if the pro-western forces ever came back to power. In a way, you could say that the Russians have been “vaccinated” against the AngloZionist propaganda.
I think that while the situation is still much worse in the US, there are also some very encouraging signs that the lies are beginning to wear off. While there are still millions who believe the Idiot-Box or simply don’t have the energy to think any more, there are also millions who are thoroughly disillusioned, cynical, disgusted and angry at the parasitic elites which rule over them. By and large, the corporate media is deeply distrusted. As for journalists, they are about as respected as lawyers and medical doctors (amazing how these two noble professions got completely discredited by their practitioners in just a few decades!). We can speculate for hours over whether Trump still has a chance to win the next election or not, but I submit that, judging by their panicked actions, the Neocons clearly believe that he might. And that terrifies them. The are clearly afraid that those whom they consider as their dumb serfs might revolt against their rule (as has happened so many times in history). I know that there are many out there who do not trust Trump. And I agree with them. I don’t trust him either. However, while I do not “trust” Trump, I admit that it is possible that he really might be a President who would put the interests of the American people first, and the interests of the AngloZionist Empire a distant second. The history of empires is full of situations were one part of the ruling class turned against the other one (SA vs SS, Trotskists vs Stalinists, etc.). There is no reason to dismiss a priori the possibility that there is a schism inside the US deep state, that one part wants to save the Empire as the expense of the US (the Neocons) and another wants to save the US at the expense of the Empire (the Trump supporters). Again, I did not say that this is likely, only that I admit that this is possible. And if that is really a possibility, could it not also be possible that the American people would deliberately vote against their own mass media and political elites, just like the British people chose the Brexit in total defiance of the official doxa? That all the Trump-bashing actually could help him get elected?

Could it be that after losing Russia to their lies, the Neocons will now lose the United States to their apparently incurable propensity to rule by deception?

For years I used to dismiss the US Presidential elections like a joke, a fraud and an exercise in collective brainwashing. This time around, and for the first time, I think that there is a possibility, however slim, that something of importance might be decided on November 8. The fact that such a possibility even appeared is, by itself, quite remarkable and it is yet another sign of how deep the systemic crisis of the Empire has become. As for the parasites who form the 1% who run this Empire, they are clearly in a panic mode, probably because they are much better informed than most of us of how truly catastrophic the situation really is.

A Hillary victory will not change any of it. It will only make it much, much more dangerous. With Trump, there is at least a possibility of a gradual, more or less organized withdrawal, a drawdown of sorts, a transition of the US from being a wannabe World Hegemon into a US as a major, but “normal”, country. Very much like Russia today, I hope.

With Hillary we can be sure the Empire will double down, continue to lie to itself and the rest of the planet, and deny it all, making the end inevitably very violent, possibly catastrophic. I would not put it past the “crazies in the basement” to prefer a nuclear holocaust (their favorite topic!) to a liberation of the US and the rest of the planet, from their demonic power. It is therefore our duty to prevent them from succeeding from destroying our planet. more

(Another) Former Salvadoran president under arrest

Former President Tony Saca (ARENA) was arrested after he could not account for several million dollars that he apparently did not earn. The official charges are illicit enrichment, unlawful association and money laundering. From the Associated Press:
Police said six former officials in his government were also arrested. Saca and two of the other suspects were arrested at the wedding of one of Saca's children.
Prosecutors say the former president has not clarified the origins of $5 million of the $6.5 million in assets he acquired during his time in office.
He declared his fortune at $3.6 million when he took office. Five years later, it had grown to $13.1 million.
But newly surfaced evidence suggests the sums involved could be even larger.
Elmer Charlaix, Saca's former private secretary and one of those arrested, allegedly had $18.7 million in private bank accounts and prosecutors said he could not explain the origin of the money. He allegedly wrote about $15 million in checks to Saca, other officials and Saca's party.
Another step in the right direction for El Salvador's institutions as they now seem to be responding to the demands of their citizens and the international community.

Let's see if the FMLN now complains that the AG is going after their allies.