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Technical Analysis: WTI Crude Oil

Since the beginning of May the WTI oil contract gain 1.06% and touch for the there’d time in the 104.00 resistant level area. Recent political changes result in low inflation rates and with the unpredictable nature of the Russian government,  uncertainty…

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HELOCs and No-Doc Loans Are Back

HELOCs and NO-Doc Loans Are Back

HELOCs and NO-Doc Loans Are Back

America, it’s safe to go back in the real estate waters again. The banks are loaning money for No-Doc loans and the WSJ tells us that HELOCs are back. Debt is GOOD!

What did the banks learn? Nothing! Who bailed out the banks? You and I did. And like the swallows returning, this new lending will get the banks in trouble in the next downturn and we will bail them out again.

Rinse and repeat. The incentives haven’t changed. The banks win and the upper-level employees get fat bonuses. The banks lose and you bail out the banks.

Listen to the WSJ:

“Banks have been emboldened to originate new Helocs in part because new regulatory requirements completed this year and last year make it less burdensome to do so. And in an era where interest rates are expected to rise in the future, some lenders say they prefer Helocs over some other home-equity products because interest rates on Helocs rise as interest rates rise, making the products potentially more profitable. (emphasis added)”

Sickening!

The Dust Bowl Is Back

dust bowl, dust storms, 1930s

Dust Bowl storms

You’d have to be unconscious not to know that 47 million people are on EBT or food stamps as we used to call it. I have written repeatedly about Hunger in America. Back in 2006, I warned of another dust bowl possbility. I wrote, “…we are still looking at a drought that is the worst since the 1930s in the mid-section of the U.S.”

Zero Hedge warns “Dust Bowl Conditions Have Returned To Kansas, Oklahoma And North Texas.” “Many of those that were convinced that we could never see a return of the Dust Bowl days are now being forced to reevaluate their beliefs. According to the National Weather Service, parts of Kansas, Colorado, Texas and Oklahoma are already drier than they were in the 1930s.” Already the mid-west is experiencing dust storms ripping the topsoil and sending it 200 miles away. “As bad as things are in Kansas right now, the truth is that things are probably even worse down in Texas. Amarillo has had 10 dust storms so far this year, and Lubbock has already had 15 days of dust storms in 2014…”

Here’s a key point: “The farmers and ranchers that live there provide a tremendous amount of food for the rest of the country, and food prices are already starting to rise at an alarming pace.”

MOSLEMS ARE LOSING THEIR WAR ON FUN

Written by Michael Ledeen at To The Point News
Wednesday, 28 May 2014

We all know the Moslem world is a political and cultural disaster zone.

All you need to know is the spectacularly low level of book sales in the Arab world, and a similarly miserable record in winning Nobel prizes, whether in literature or hard science.

A dozen years ago, a group of Arab scholars did a report for the United Nations that ascribed the failure of Arab society to a lack of freedom, knowledge and womenpower. And things have gotten considerably worse since 2002; the authors could write that there were no ethnic conflicts then. That’s long gone.

Never mind failed states – we’re talking about a failed civilization, even in the most culturally advanced Moslem domain, the Islamic Republic of Iran. The root of their failure is the War Against Fun. They’re not only failures, but grim, humorless failures. This is the miserable common denominator of the Moslem world.

As Jonathan Schanzer recently tweeted, “Saudi blocks Youtube. Iran blocks Instagram. We knew they could eventually find common ground.”

They know it themselves, and talk about it a lot. Several writers in the Saudi press, for example, unloaded on the ban on celebrating Valentine’s Day, as reported in Memri:
[The answer] to most of our daily needs comes from the West, from the Christian world, of [the culture] we created in previous eras only a pittance remains… the prohibition on Valentine’s Day bears no relation to faith or belief, but [only] to desert thinking that lacks subtlety, targets women specifically and prevents a social encounter between men and women and normal life as in other societies. The guardians of values and customs went overboard in pressuring our society…it has become desiccated and coarse and adopted the thinking and behavior of the desert..
Or in this tirade, quoted in Memri:

“What grabs attention is that those who ban imitating the West on Valentine’s Day see nothing amiss in imitating the West in other ways, and are completely immersed in [Western] consumer culture and in devouring new Western products…”

They know we’re better. Some of them, seemingly more with the passage of time, are desperate and brave enough to risk life and limb to fight back on behalf of fun.

The War Against Fun is deadly because it stultifies and suffocates creative enterprise. If the regime wins, and fun is killed, it would mark the death of playfulness, which is the heart of creativity. The Iranians are (falsely, I think) credited with the invention of chess, but there are no brilliant Persian chess grandmasters nowadays. Iranian humor is nasty, misogynistic and often sadistic, like the unhappy country’s ruling tyrants.

Some Iranian apologists and propagandists pretend that phenomena like the “Happy” videos show that Iranians are really having fun after all, but this is a ruse. These are protest videos – music, especially Western music, is forbidden in Iran, just as it was in Talibanic Afghanistan-and the happy people are politically threatening to the regime, like the Saudis who celebrate Valentine’s Day threaten the stability of the kingdom.

And it’s significant that other “Happy” videos keep showing up on YouTube. It bespeaks the depth of the contempt in which most Iranians hold their rulers, and the regime’s rapid response, whether arresting the Happy people or demanding flogging and imprisonment for the actress who gave a formalistic kiss on the cheek of an eighty-year old at the Cannes Film Festival, shows that Khamenei and his henchmen know it and fear it.

It is no accident that women are singled out for special degradation by the armies waging war on fun, for the Moslem world rests on a solid foundation of misogyny.

My professional career has been mostly devoted to the study of evil, including terrorism, fascism, Nazism and communism. That’s a lot of evil people, but I never found anything like the systematic rape of female death-row prisoners in Iranian prisons. Not even the Nazis in the death camps were so avid in humiliating their victims. Nor did I find the sort of systematic repression of women that abounds in so much of the Moslem world.

Like the reflexive attacks on the Happy people and the Valentine lovers, such actions betray fear that the people – especially the women-if left to their own devices would bring down the oppressive regimes. Which is why, as I have said for so long, women are the most revolutionary group in the Moslem Middle East.

The tyrants can’t risk granting freedom to fun lovers, especially if they are women, so the fun lovers are targeted, rounded up, incarcerated, tortured and often murdered. So long as that goes on, there is no hope for the Moslem world, nor for its best citizens.

Michael Ledeen holds the Freedom Scholar Chair at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies in Washington, DC.

Polish Artist Pawel Kuczynski Questions


Book Review: The Hidden Light of Mexico City By Carmen Amato

Print Length: 371 pages
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.

I loved this book. “Caught between Mexico’s class system and the country’s spiraling drug war, an attorney and a maid fight for their lives and each other in a political thriller torn from today’s headlines.”

Read the book and you will learn something about the drug wars cost and the people who are determined to end the corruption. You’ll learn about the class system that divides the Mexican culture. Amato fills the pages with three-dimensional characters that you care about. You will be thrilled with the way Amato shares the dinner between Eduardo and Luz. I wanted to read that whole scene out loud to my wife.

I look forward to reading other books by Carmen Amato.


OPERATION CHOKE FREEDOM

Richard Rahn writes of OPERATION CHOKE FREEDOM in the latest To The Point News edition.

If you were a political leader who wanted to control the population, but wanted to do it without using brute force, how would you do it?

The answer: control how individuals and businesses spend their money by controlling their bank and other financial accounts. The Obama administration has set up a program to do just that, called “Operation Choke Point.”

We’ve already seen this happen when legitimate businesses lose their banking support because of the products they sell or their views.

If the government can prevent you from spending your money on legal products and information services it does not like, it soon has control over much of your life. You might be thinking this could not happen in America, but it is.

Increasingly, businesses and individuals engaged in legal activities are having their banking relationships severed because people within the Obama administration and some politicians do not like the particular activity.

Wikipedia tells us that this operation is called Operation Choke Point. “A 2013 initiative of the United States Department of Justice which is investigating banks in the United States and the business they do with payment processors, payday lenders, and other businesses believed to be at higher risk for fraud. This operation is controversial in that it may be a method used by the United States Government to financially cripple politically unfavorable industries.”

Can you imagine what could happen if you unleashed the DOJ on Tea Party groups, or global warming “deniers”.

Some merchant categories that have been associated with high-risk activity include, but are not limited to:

Ammunition Sales
Cable Box De-scramblers
Coin Dealers
Credit Card Schemes
Credit Repair Services
Dating Services
Debt Consolidation Scams
Drug Paraphernalia
Escort Services
Firearms Sales
Fireworks Sales
Get Rich Products
Government Grants
Home-Based Charities
Life-Time Guarantees
Life-Time Memberships
Lottery Sales
Mailing Lists/Personal Info
Money Transfer Networks
On-line Gambling
PayDay Loans
Pharmaceutical Sales
Ponzi Schemes
Pornography
Pyramid-Type Sales
Racist Materials
Surveillance Equipment
Telemarketing
Tobacco Sales
Travel Clubs

Who’s next?

US Embassy person who asked for more security in Libya promoted

Joan Polaschik, the Deputy Chief of Mission for the American embassy in Libya during the time of the failure at Benghazi and the person who fought for more security before that, has been nominated to be the Ambassador to Algeria. While there is a long…

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Spend A Few Minutes With Jim Rickards

Controversial best-selling author James Rickards sits down with Hedgeye CEO Keith McCullough to discuss a number of important subjects in this wide ranging interview such as the FED, USD, the flagging economy and much more.

OUR CARE-NOTHING-FOR-VETS PRESIDENT

OUR CARE-NOTHING-FOR-VETS PRESIDENT
Written by Jack Kelly
Thursday, 22 May 2014
It’s been a month since we learned up to 40 of more than 1,400 veterans on a secret waiting list at the VA hospital in Phoenix may have died while waiting up to a year for treatment.

Since that CNN broadcast April 23, doctored records and preventable deaths have been reported at 25 other VA facilities.

It wasn’t until yesterday (5/21) that President Barack Hussein Obama spoke in public about the scandal.

He’d learned of it from news reports, said White House Press Secretary Jay Carney. That’s also how the president learned theObamacare web site was a mess; the IRS was targeting conservative groups; security at the Benghazi consulate was lax, aides said.

Evidently no one who works for Mr. Obama ever tells him anything.

“I will not stand for it,” Mr. Obama said. “There must be consequences.”

But he took no steps either to alleviate the suffering of veterans, or to punish those who’ve neglected them.

The man in charge of the VA while this was going on is “a fine public servant,” the president said.

Mr. Obama’s praise for the Secretary of Veterans Affairs gobsmacked Georgia Rep. David Scott, who said Eric Shinseki should be fired.

“Under his watch at my own hospital in Atlanta, four of our soldiers committed suicide, and the inspector general of the VA laid the blame directly at the foot of the VA administration,” Rep. Scott stormed in a fiery speech on the House floor.

All criticism of Mr. Obama is rooted in racism and motivated by politics, some liberals say. Rep. Scott is a Democrat. He’s also black.

No federal agency is less likely to become a partisan football than the VA. No matter how they feel about spending for defense or the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Americans think vets should get the health care they were promised.

It took about four months, on average, to process veterans’ claim for disability pensions when Secretary Shinseki took office in 2009. By the summer of 2012, the average wait time had ballooned to nearly nine months.

By law, a veteran is supposed to see a physician within 30 days of requesting an appointment. In fact, wait times at VA hospitals average between three and four months, veterans groups report.

Vets who seek emergency care at VA facilities typically have to wait twice as long for treatment as do patients who go to emergency rooms in civilian hospitals, according to an analysis by the Washington Times.

How many duties must Mr. Shinseki neglect before the president will fire him?

Mr. Obama evidently thinks that if he says the right things, he needn’t actually do anything.

That’s worked in the past. But many journalists are as furious as the rest of us are about how veterans have been treated. Liberal pundits Eugene Robinson and Dana Milbank are among those who’ve demanded a thorough housecleaning.

And journalists have begun to notice the president talks a better game than he plays.

“Firing Shinseki would suggest he was actually taking responsibility, rather than just talking about taking responsibility,” saidJohn Kass of the Chicago Tribune.

Because journalists are paying so much more attention to this scandal, it’s risky for Mr. Obama not to clean house, and puzzling that he hasn’t. Is Mr. Shinseki a long lost relative? Does he have blackmail material?

Perhaps Mr. Obama fears that if the massive failure of this government-run health care system is fully exposed, people may wonder what it portends for Obamacare.

The VA is “socialized medicine that works,” New York Times columnist Paul Krugman wrote in 2011. The VA is an example of a single payer system that provides “better care for more people at far less cost,” Physicians for a National Health Program said last September.

No liberal is saying that now.

If the president cared as much for vets as for his image, he’d offer those who’ve waited 90+ days a voucher to get the health care they need somewhere else. It would cost less than what we’re spending for the health care they’re not getting.

Former Navy SEAL Marcus Luttrell has another idea. Make the bigshot politicians in Washington go to the VA for health care. If that doesn’t spark reform, nothing can.

Jack Kelly is a former Marine and Green Beret and a former deputy assistant secretary of the Air Force in the Reagan administration. He is national security writer for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.


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