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Zero Hedge
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01 декабря, 07:45

Relentless Totalitarianism Toward What Ends? Depopulation & Global Rule

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Authored by Jeremiah Johnson (nom de plume of a retired Green Beret of the United States Army Special Forces) via SHTFplan.com, We’re going to open up this article with a summary of some things that have happened just in the past week, with sources attributed where applicable or necessary: As of November 23, 2018, it was reported in an article by Guns in the News entitled “Red-Flag laws only lead to gun confiscation,” that 46 gun grabs by red-flag laws have occurred in Oregon, and another 36 in Maryland with 114 requests for the grabs being filed in the courts in the latter state. The New York Times’ Liz Alderman reported on 11/21/18 that 4,000+ Swedes have accepted microchips to eliminate the use of cash (erroneously believing the desire to do so is theirs). The article is entitled “Sweden’s Push to Get Rid of Cash Has Some Saying, ‘Not So Fast’.” Later on, the article mentions Christine Lagarde, the woman who heads the IMF (International Monetary Fund) as stating that digital currency needs to be investigated further. If she is involved in it, and the IMF? You had better run for cover. Half of Sweden’s banks no longer accept cash deposits, and the article leads off with a photo of a couple of “soy boys” (Ragnar Lodbruk must be turning over in his grave) in a cafe that accepts no cash. An article by Strange Sounds from 11/20/18 is entitled “Is the government concealing California’s wildfire death toll?” The depth to this one comes not only in the form of potentially-concealed numbers, but in this excerpt, with the “kicker” parts emboldened: According to our sources, an anonymous White House official and a pair of California firefighters, the Trump administration and CAL Fire are acting in collusion, underreporting a catastrophic death toll because “they don’t want people to freak out and panic,” said our White House source. He said CAL Fire has found the charred remains of 480 people, and that number increases hourly. “It was FEMA Director Brock Long’s idea. He told [President] Trump that Americans can’t handle another mass casualty event after the recent string of mass shootings. His idea is to slowly release the number of fatalities, one here and one there, to soften the impact. Eventually, maybe in a year or two, they’ll admit all the missing people died in the fire. By that time, though, everyone’s mind will be occupied with other events, and no one will remember what happened in California in November 2018,” our source said. Just look at these three items: Bypassing the 2nd Amendment of the U.S. Constitution domestically to grab the guns...starting to set a precedence that will be followed throughout the nation; the slow death of cash and the dull, vapid acceptance of microchips by those who will both “manage” their funds, and keep track of them; the cover-up by government of what is really happening in the California wildfires. Oh, it doesn’t stop. End of the American Dream reported on 11/22/18 that “Authorities are using a “mysterious new tool” that can unlock virtually any cellphone.” Yeah, isn’t that great? Enjoy your Thanksgiving Dinner…and the Government is your “extra guest” at the table via the stupid phone. But the biggest one of all is one that did not receive either much coverage or notice by anyone. Lourdes military base close to Havana, Cuba may be reopened shortly by Russia, and there’s talk that the Russians are going to bring nuclear missiles to Cuba to offset the deployment of American missiles in the former Soviet-bloc countries of Eastern Europe, such as Moldavia, Romania, and Poland. These items surfaced after the Cubans and Russians had a meeting a week ago, and numerous articles covering this surfaced on or about 11/19/18. One of them was reported by The Trumpet, that you can read here: Is Russia Reopening a Soviet Military Base in Cuba? In the meanwhile, we have yet to see what will develop from the tens of thousands of foreign aliens approaching our Southern border. We know that the President has authorized the use of lethal force against them if they attempt to enter. This is good: it is not a “humanitarian exodus of refugees,” to the tune of the mid ‘80’s “Caravan of Love.” If they attempt to enter, it is an invasion, pure and simple. They won’t be alone:  if you think they will not find “5th columnists” right here in the Southwest United States, you’re sorely mistaken. A potential lock-down of the border is looming. All of these actions outlined in this piece are a part of the Globalists’ plans for Global Rule. War has always been a preferred method for gaining control: it boosts the economy via the Military Industrial Complex, and reduces the population all in one fell swoop. In this day and age, however, it is the assets that are the main concern: the ability to kill off the populations and then swoop in akin to vultures to pick up the pieces. Sound farfetched? Here are a few direct quotes for you that you can find under “22 Shocking Population Control Quotes from the Global Elite that will make you want to lose your lunch,” worth noting: “The world today has 6.8 billion people. That’s heading up to about nine billion. Now if we do a really great job on new vaccines, health care, reproductive health services, we could lower that by perhaps 10 or 15 percent.” –  Bill Gates “A total population of 250-300 million people, a 95% decline from present levels, would be ideal.” – Ted Turner “We must speak more clearly about sexuality, contraception, about abortion, about values that control population, because the ecological crisis, in short, is the population crisis. Cut the population by 90% and there aren’t enough people left to do a great deal of ecological damage.” –  Mikhail Gorbachev “Maintain humanity under 500,000,000 in perpetual balance with nature.” – #1 item of “The new 10 Commandments,” the Georgia Guidestones These people are serious, and the best way to do it would be with a virus. They will eventually use nuclear war, an EMP, or a virus to do the trick. The last one would be the most convenient, as well as leave valuable property and resources undamaged. Look closely around the country: they reactivated Mt. Weather, and refurbished Cheyenne Mountain.  Denver International Airport has plenty of “subterranean surprises” for any who do their homework, complete with interconnecting tunnels. All of those (Mis)representatives: Pelosi, Swalwell, Paul Ryan, Rand Paul….Ocasio Cortez (yeah, picture her, now)…these will all be taken underground and kept alive no matter what the catastrophic event…with supplies, medical care, and an army of guards….all on our dime. I’m going to close with this quoted speech/dialogue from the film, “Resident Evil: The Final Chapter,” that ties into everything we’ve discussed. I watched it for the first time the other day on recommendation from someone who told me that it really makes a lot of sense. It does make sense. The film was released in 2016, and this speech by the character Dr. Isaacs covers the mindset and actions of the Globalists plans, and is applicable. Here you go, and it ran (if you want to watch it) from 54:06 to 55:55 on the film: Dr. Isaacs:  “We’re here today not just to talk about the future of this company. We’re here to talk about its destiny. We’re here to talk about the end of the world. “We stand on the brink of Armageddon.  Diseases for which we have no cure. Fundamentalist states who call for our destruction. Nuclear powers over which we have no control. And even if we navigate these dangerous waters, we face other, even more inevitable threats. Global warming will melt the polar ice caps within 80 years, flooding 90% of all habitable areas on Earth.  Unchecked population growth will overtake food production in less than 50 years, leading to famine and war. This is not conjecture. This is fact. One way or another, our world is coming to an end.” Woman of the Corporation:  “What do you propose?” Dr. Isaacs:  I propose that we end the world, but on our terms. An orchestrated apocalypse, one that will cleanse the Earth of its population, but leave its infrastructure and resources intact. It’s been done once before…[he taps the Bible]…with great success. The chosen few will ride out the storm, not in an Ark, as in the book of Genesis, but in safety, underground. And when it’s over, we will emerge onto a cleansed Earth, one that we can then reboot in our image.” Woman:  “And just how do you intend to achieve this?” Dr. Isaacs:  “The means of our salvation are already at hand. I give to you…the T-virus.” Do you think that any of this can’t happen? Think again. We are on the precipice of a world catastrophe by our own making, and the slightest push in any area can cause the inevitable (and perhaps irreparable) plunge into destruction, followed by centuries or even millenia of decay, darkness, and barbarism. Be alert, be aware, and be resolved to hold onto that flame that is within your heart. Prepare, train, study, and most importantly, pray…before the moment arrives.

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01 декабря, 07:25

Silicon Valley, NYC, Boston: These Are The 100 Most Exclusive Zip Codes In The US

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With 2018 drawing to a close, Property Shark has released its annual ranking of the most expensive zip codes in the country. And in a year when tech giants led the market's ascent to record highs (as well as its stunning collapse over the past six weeks), perhaps it's fitting that Silicon Valley has once again claimed the title of most expensive region in the country (going by the number of most expensive expensive zip codes in the top 100). Property Shark bases its rankings on the most recent closing sales prices for each zip code. Taking first place is Atherton’s 94027, located in San Matteo County, thanks to a considerable spike in its median home sales price. All told, Silicon Valley claimed 30 of the country’s priciest zip codes. Silicon Valley and New York City claimed the top spots for cities, with nine each in the top 100.  In second place after Atherton's 94027 was Sagaponack’s 11962, part of a wealthy Hamptons enclave, with a median sales price of $5.5 million. NYC claimed the No. 4 spot with zip code 10013, which covers parts of SoHo and TriBeCa. it posted a median sales price of $3.81 million. Though, notably, the neighborhood saw a 7% contraction in sales prices that left it below the $4 million threshold. Massachusetts got six zip codes, with Boston’s 02199 stealing the spot as the 3rd most expensive zip code in the country. The state's second-highest entry came at No. 38 with 02543, located in Woods Hole, an affluent Cape Cod community, which posted a median sale price of $2,105,000. it was joined on the list by Nantucket's 02554, with a $1.48 million median. Florida, Maryland, Nevada and Washington State each notched one zip code in the top 100. Out of these state's Miami's 33109 was the priciest, coming in at 10th most expensive zip code nationally. Washington State made its presence known with Medina’s 98039 at No. 15. The King County zip posted a $3.05 million median, up by nearly half a million dollars compared with last year. Nevada’s 89413 in Glenbrook was also on the rise year-over-year, surpassing the $2 million mark to clinch the No. 37 spot. See the full list below (several counties tied for spots on the list): 1    94027    Atherton    San Mateo County    CA    $6,700,000 2    11962    Sagaponack    Suffolk County    NY    $5,500,000 3    02199    Boston    Suffolk County    MA    $4,772,500 4    10013    New York    New York    NY    $3,810,000 5    90402    Santa Monica    Los Angeles County    CA    $3,762,000 6    94301    Palo Alto    Santa Clara County    CA    $3,755,000 7    94022    Los Altos    Santa Clara County    CA    $3,500,000 8    94028    Portola Valley    San Mateo County    CA    $3,300,000 9    94024    Los Altos    Santa Clara County    CA    $3,254,500 10    33109    Miami Beach    Miami-Dade County    FL    $3,250,000 11    90210    Beverly Hills    Los Angeles County    CA    $3,212,500 12    92661    Newport Beach    Orange County    CA    $3,150,000 13    10007    New York    New York    NY    $3,075,000 14    92662    Newport Beach    Orange County    CA    $3,057,500 15    98039    Medina    King County    WA    $3,050,000 16    90272    Pacific Palisades    Los Angeles County    CA    $2,900,000 17    11976    Water Mill    Suffolk County    NY    $2,862,500 18    94010    Burlingame    San Mateo County    CA    $2,800,000 19    10282    New York    New York    NY    $2,792,500 20    94306    Palo Alto    Santa Clara County    CA    $2,700,000 21    95070    Saratoga    Santa Clara County    CA    $2,690,000 22    95030    Los Gatos    Santa Clara County    CA    $2,580,000 23    92657    Newport Coast    Orange County    CA    $2,550,000 23    94957    Ross    Marin County    CA    $2,550,000 24    92625    Corona Del Mar    Orange County    CA    $2,500,000 25    94920    Belvedere Tiburon    Marin County    CA    $2,400,000 26    10012    New York    New York    NY    $2,377,500 27    90266    Manhattan Beach    Los Angeles County    CA    $2,369,000 28    94025    Menlo Park    San Mateo County    CA    $2,363,500 29    92067    Rancho Santa Fe    San Diego County    CA    $2,275,000 30    90049    Los Angeles    Los Angeles County    CA    $2,250,000 31    93921    Carmel By The Sea    Monterey County    CA    $2,245,000 32    93108    Santa Barbara    Santa Barbara County    CA    $2,225,000 33    07620    Alpine    Bergen County    NJ    $2,200,000 34    90077    Los Angeles    Los Angeles County    CA    $2,175,000 35    94062    Redwood City    San Mateo County    CA    $2,150,000 35    11930    Amagansett    Suffolk County    NY    $2,150,000 36    91108    San Marino    Los Angeles County    CA    $2,109,000 37    89413    Glenbrook    Douglas County    NV    $2,107,500 38    02543    Woods Hole    Barnstable County    MA    $2,105,000 39    10018    New York    New York    NY    $2,100,000 39    94970    Stinson Beach    Marin County    CA    $2,100,000 39    90265    Malibu    Los Angeles County    CA    $2,100,000 40    94123    San Francisco    San Francisco County    CA    $2,075,000 41    95014    Cupertino    Santa Clara County    CA    $2,070,000 42    94087    Sunnyvale    Santa Clara County    CA    $2,050,000 43    90742    Sunset Beach    Orange County    CA    $2,000,000 44    94118    San Francisco    San Francisco County    CA    $1,975,000 45    10069    New York    New York    NY    $1,947,500 46    11932    Bridgehampton    Suffolk County    NY    $1,925,000 47    94402    San Mateo    San Mateo County    CA    $1,900,000 47    94070    San Carlos    San Mateo County    CA    $1,900,000 48    90291    Venice    Los Angeles County    CA    $1,895,000 48    11975    Wainscott    Suffolk County    NY    $1,895,000 49    06878    Riverside    Fairfield County    CT    $1,855,000 50    94041    Mountain View    Santa Clara County    CA    $1,850,000 51    94040    Mountain View    Santa Clara County    CA    $1,840,500 52    90212    Beverly Hills    Los Angeles County    CA    $1,835,000 53    92660    Newport Beach    Orange County    CA    $1,825,000 54    95129    San Jose    Santa Clara County    CA    $1,800,000 54    94127    San Francisco    San Francisco County    CA    $1,800,000 55    94528    Diablo    Contra Costa County    CA    $1,775,000 56    92651    Laguna Beach    Orange County    CA    $1,772,500 57    91011    La Canada Flintridge    Los Angeles County    CA    $1,770,000 58    94002    Belmont    San Mateo County    CA    $1,751,750 59    10580    Rye    Westchester County    NY    $1,750,000 60    94114    San Francisco    San Francisco County    CA    $1,725,000 61    95032    Los Gatos    Santa Clara County    CA    $1,700,750 62    94939    Larkspur    Marin County    CA    $1,690,000 63    90254    Hermosa Beach    Los Angeles County    CA    $1,687,000 64    94904    Greenbrae    Marin County    CA    $1,683,500 65    06870    Old Greenwich    Fairfield County    CT    $1,665,000 66    94043    Mountain View    Santa Clara County    CA    $1,650,000 66    90274    Palos Verdes Peninsula    Los Angeles County    CA    $1,650,000 67    11568    Old Westbury    Nassau County    NY    $1,645,000 68    21056    Gibson Island    Anne Arundel County    MD    $1,643,750 69    92014    Del Mar    San Diego County    CA    $1,640,000 70    90036    Los Angeles    Los Angeles County    CA    $1,638,250 71    10014    New York    New York    NY    $1,635,000 72    94030    Millbrae    San Mateo County    CA    $1,634,000 73    94507    Alamo    Contra Costa County    CA    $1,621,000 74    06830    Greenwich    Fairfield County    CT    $1,617,000 75    94121    San Francisco    San Francisco County    CA    $1,610,000 76    90048    Los Angeles    Los Angeles County    CA    $1,600,000 76    95120    San Jose    Santa Clara County    CA    $1,600,000 76    94131    San Francisco    San Francisco County    CA    $1,600,000 76    90405    Santa Monica    Los Angeles County    CA    $1,600,000 76    94117    San Francisco    San Francisco County    CA    $1,600,000 76    11959    Quogue    Suffolk County    NY    $1,600,000 77    92118    Coronado    San Diego County    CA    $1,595,750 78    94061    Redwood City    San Mateo County    CA    $1,577,500 79    93953    Pebble Beach    Monterey County    CA    $1,576,250 80    90064    Los Angeles    Los Angeles County    CA    $1,575,000 81    90027    Los Angeles    Los Angeles County    CA    $1,550,000 82    92663    Newport Beach    Orange County    CA    $1,548,750 82    94941    Mill Valley    Marin County    CA    $1,548,750 83    94539    Fremont    Alameda County    CA    $1,520,000 84    02493    Weston    Middlesex County    MA    $1,515,000 84    94115    San Francisco    San Francisco County    CA    $1,515,000 85    95130    San Jose    Santa Clara County    CA    $1,510,000 86    91436    Encino    Los Angeles County    CA    $1,507,500 87    94403    San Mateo    San Mateo County    CA    $1,500,000 88    02468    Waban    Middlesex County    MA    $1,491,000 89    02481    Wellesley Hills    Norfolk County    MA    $1,490,500 90    94086    Sunnyvale    Santa Clara County    CA    $1,482,250 91    02554    Nantucket    Nantucket County    MA    $1,480,000 92    10001    New York    New York    NY    $1,476,463 93    93067    Summerland    Santa Barbara County    CA    $1,475,000 93    11030    Manhasset    Nassau County    NY    $1,475,000 94    94110    San Francisco    San Francisco County    CA    $1,470,000 95    94563    Orinda    Contra Costa County    CA    $1,450,000 95    94618    Oakland    Alameda County    CA    $1,450,000 96    11024    Great Neck    Nassau County    NY    $1,442,900 97    06807    Cos Cob    Fairfield County    CT    $1,442,500 98    94705    Berkeley    Alameda County    CA    $1,440,000 99    10024    New York    New York    NY    $1,430,000 100    07078    Short Hills    Essex County    NJ    $1,426,250

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01 декабря, 07:05

Comparing China & America: Economies Diverge, Police States Converge

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Authored by Fred Reed via Fred On Everything blog, I have followed China’s development, its stunning advance in forty years from impoverished Third World to a huge economy, its rapid scientific progress. Coming from nowhere it now runs neck and neck with the US in supercomputers, does world-class work in genetic engineering and genomics (the Beijing Genomics Institutes), quantum computing and quantum radar, in scientific publications. It lags in many things, but the speed of advance, the intense focus on progress, is remarkable. Recently, after twelve years away, I returned for a couple of weeks to Chungdu and Chong Quing, which I found amazing. American patriots of the lightly read but growly sort will bristle at the thought that the Chinese may have political and economic systems superior to ours, but, well, China rises while the US flounders. They must be doing something right. In terms of economic systems, the Chinese are clearly superior. China runs a large economic surplus, allowing it to invest heavily in infrastructure and in resources abroad. America runs a large deficit. China invests in China, America in the military. China’s infrastructure is new, of high quality, and growing. America’s slowly deteriorates. China has an adult government that gets things done. America has an essentially absentee Congress and a kaleidoscopically shifting cast of pathologically aggressive curiosities in the White House. America cannot compete with a country far more populous of more-intelligent people with competent leadership and the geographic advantage of being in Eurasia. Washington’s choices are either to start a major war while it can, perhaps force the world to submit through sanctions, or resign itself to America’s becoming just another country. Given the goiterous egos inside the Beltway Bubble, this is not encouraging. To compare the two countries, look at them as they are, not as we are told  they are. We are told that dictatorships, which China is, are nightmarish, brutal, do not allow the practice of religion or freedom of expression and so on. The usual examples are Pol Pot, Stalin, Hitler, Mao, and North Korea, of whom the criticisms are true. By contrast, we are told, America is envied by the world for its democracy, freedom of speech,  free press, high moral values, and freedom of religion. This is nonsense. In fact the two countries are more similar than we might like to believe, with America converging fast on the Chinese model. The US is at best barely democratic. Yes, every four years we have a hotly contested presidential election, full of sound and fury signifying nothing. The public has no influence over anything of importance: the wars, the military budget, immigration, offshoring of jobs, what our children are taught in school, or foreign or racial policy We do not really have freedom of speech. Say “nigger” once and you can lose a  job of thirty years. Or criticize Jews, Isreal, blacks, homosexuals, Muslims, feminists, or transexuals. The  media strictly prohibit any criticism of these groups, or anything against abortion or in favor of gun rights, or any coverage of highly profitable wars that might turn the public against them, or corruption in Congress or Wall Street, or research on the genetics of intelligence. Religion? Christianity is not illegal, but heavily repressed under the Constitutionally nonexistent doctrine of separation of church and state. Surveillance? Monitoring of the population is intense in China and getting worse. It is hard to say just how much NSA monitors us, but America is now a land of cameras, electronic readers of license plates, recording of emails and telephone conversations. The tech giants increasingly censor political sites, and surveillance in our homes appears about to get much worse. Here we might contemplate Lincoln’s famous dictum, “You can fool all of the people some of the time, and some of the people all of the time, but you can’t fool all of the people all of the time.” Being a politician, he did not add a final clause that is the bedrock of American government, “But you can fool enough of the people enough of the time.” You don’t have to keep websites of low circulation from being politically incorrect. You just have to tell the majority, via the mass media, over and over  and over, what you wnat them to believe. The dictatorship in China is somewhat onerous, but has little in common with the sadistic lunacy of Pol Pot’s Cambodia. In China you do not buck the government, propaganda is heavy, and communications monitored. If people accept this, as most do, they are free to start businesses, bar hop, smoke dope (which a friend there tells me is common though illegal) engage in such consumerism as they increasingly can afford and lead what an American would call normal lives. A hellhole it is not. Socially China has a great advantage over America in that, except for the Muslims of Xinjiang, it is pretty much a Han monoculture. Lacking America’s racial diversity, its cities do not burn, no pressure exists to infantilize the schools for the benefit of incompetent minorities, racial mobs do not loot stores, and there is very little street crime. America’s huge urban pockets of illiteracy do not exist. There is not the virulent political division that has gangs of uncontrolled Antifa  hoodlums stalking public officials. China takes education seriously, as America does not. Students study, behave as maturely as their age would suggest, and do not engage in middle-school politics. In short, China does not appear to be in irremediable decadence. America does. An intelligent dictatorship has crucial advantages over a chaotic pseudo-democracy. One is stability of policy. In America, we look to the next election in two, four, or six years. Businesses focus on the next quarter’s bottom line. Consequently policy flipflops. One administration has no interest in national health care, the next administration institutes it, and the third wants to eliminate it. Because policies are pulled and hauled in different directions by  special interests–in this case Big Pharma, insurance companies, the American Medical Association, and so on–the result is an automobile with five wheels, an electric motor but no batteries, and a catalytic converter that doesn’t work. After twenty-four years, from Bush II until  Trump leaves, we will neither have nor not have national health care. China’s approach to empire is primarily commercial, America’s military.  The former turns a profit without firing a shot, and the latter generates a huge loss as the US tries to garrison the world. Always favoring coercion, Washington now tries to batter the planet into submission via tariffs, sanctions, embargoes, and so on. Whether it will work, or force the rest of the world to band together against America, remains to be seen. Meanwhile the Chinese economy grows. America builds aircraft carriers. China builds railroads, this one in Laos. A dictatorship can simply do things. It can plan twenty, or fifty,  years down the road.  If some massive engineering project will produce great advantages in thirty years, but be a dead loss until then, China can just do it. And often has. When I was in Chengdu, Beijing opened the Hongkong–Zhuhai-Macau oceanic bridge, thirty-our miles long.  The bridge. The US would take longer to decide to build it than the Chinese took actually to build it. In the US? California wants high-speed rail from LA to San Fran. It has talked and wrangled for years without issue. The price keeps rising. The state can’t get rights of way because too many private owners have title to the land. Eminent domain? Conservatives would scream about sacred rights to property, liberals that Hispanic families were in the path, and airlines would bribe Congress to block it. America does  not know how to build high-speed rail and hiring China would arouse howling about national security, balance of payments, and the danger to motherhood and virginity. There will be no high speed rail, there or, probably,  anywhere else. Wreckage from the 8.0 earthquake. This is not un-repaired devastation but, weirdly, is kept as a tourist attraction and actually propped up so it won’t collapse further. Phredfoto. China has a government that can do things: In 2008 an 8.0 quake devastated the region near the Tibetan border, killing, according to the Chinese government, some 100,000 people. Buildings put up long before simply collapsed. Some years ago everything–the town, the local dam, and roads and houses–had been completely rebuilt, with structural steel so as, says the government, to withstand another such quake. Compare this with the unremedied wreckage in New Orleans due to Katrina. Here we come to an important cultural or philosophical difference between the two countries. Many Orientals, to include the Chinese, view society as a collective instead of as a Wild West of individuals. In the East, one hears sayings like, “The nail that stands up is hammered down,” or “The high-standing flower is cut.” Americans who teach school in China report that students will not question a professor, even if he spouts arrant nonsense to see how they will react. They are not stupid. They know that the Neanderthals did not build a moon base in the early Triassic. But they say nothing. This collectivism, highly disagreeable to Westerners (me, for example) has pros and cons. It makes for domestic tranquility and ability to work together, and probably accounts in large part for China’s stunning advances. On the other hand, it is said to reduce inventiveness. There may be something to this. If you look at centuries of Chinese painting, you will see that each generation largely made copies of earlier masters. As nearly as I, a non-expert, can tell, there is more variety and imagination in the Corcoran Gallery’s annual exhibition of high-school artists than in all of  of Chinese paining. People alarmed at China’s growth point out hopefully that the Chinese in America have not founded Googles or Microsofts. No, though certainly have founded huge companies: Alibaba, Baidu, Tencent, for example. However, the distinction between inventiveness and really good engineering is not always clear, and the Chinese are fine engineers. With American education crashing under the attacks of Social Justice Warriors, basing the future on a lack of Chinese imagination seems maybe a bit too adventurous.

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01 декабря, 06:45

Suicides, Overdoses And Diabetes: US Life Expectancy Falls For 3rd Straight Year

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During a year when drug overdose deaths jumped to a record high 72,000 - roughly one every seven minutes - it's probably not surprising that overall life expectancy for Americans declined for the third straight year in 2017. But according to data from the CDC, drugs weren't the only factor at play: Deaths from suicide, the flu, diabetes and many other causes also increased. In 2017, US life expectancy at birth for the total population declined by 0.1 to 78.6 years for the total U.S. population. The drop in overall rates was driven by an increase in deaths for men (who are more likely to die of drug overdoses and suicide), with their life expectancy dropping by 0.1 to 76.1, while life expectancy for women was steady at 81.1. The spread between life expectancy for men and women also widened (in the women's favor) by 0.1 to 4.9 years. As more baby boomers die off, some might assume that the increase in rates has been driven by demographics, but this simply isn't accurate. Because even when adjusted for age (which should filter out most of the impact from the aging US population), mortality rates increased by 0.4% from 728.8 per 100,000 standard population in 2016 to 731.9 in 2017. White men and white women were responsible for most of the increase, with the age adjusted mortality rate for men climbing 0.6% while the rate for women climbed 0.9%. But the rise in mortality rates for white women was offset by a 0.8% decline in rates for black women. But by far the most significant increase for a given demographic group was the 2.9% rise for all Americans between the ages of 25 and 34, which more than offset a 1% drop for Americans aged 45-55. The 10 leading causes of death - heart disease, cancer, unintentional injuries, chronic lower respiratory diseases, stroke, Alzheimer disease, diabetes, influenza and pneumonia, kidney disease, and suicide - were unchanged from 2016 (these are ranked by number). These accounted for 74% of all deaths last year. But when adjusted for age, the data showed that more Americans are dying at younger ages from nearly all of the causes above - with the biggest jump seen in the age-adjusted rate for suicides (up a staggering 3.7%). Meanwhile, rates of infant mortality declined slightly, but were not statistically significant (the US continues to struggle with one of the highest infant mortality rate in the developed world). Overall, a total of 2,813,503 Americans died last year - 69,255 more than in 2016. In a series of tweets published after the CDC released its report, the organization's director said it is committed to "putting science into action" to ensure all Americans live longer, healthier lives. Latest CDC data show U.S. life expectancy has declined over past few years. Tragically, this trend is largely driven by deaths from drug overdose and suicide. This is a wakeup call. We are losing too many Americans, too early and too often, to conditions that are preventable. https://t.co/fiTD0zg01p — Dr. Robert R. Redfield (@CDCDirector) November 29, 2018 CDC is committed to putting science into action to protect U.S. health, but we must all work together to reverse the trend of declining life expectancy and help ensure that all Americans live longer and healthier lives. — Dr. Robert R. Redfield (@CDCDirector) November 29, 2018 Life expectancy rates are so broad that most Americans who see these headlines probably don't realize that falling life expectancy rates can affect their lives in myriad ways that might not be immediately obvious. Take the Dow, for example: The last time US life expectancy declined for 2+ years was in 1963 - right around the beginning of a secular bear market that lasted for more than a decade.

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01 декабря, 06:25

UC-Berkeley Student Govt Unanimously Approves Resolution To Fund Migrant Caravan

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Authored by Celine Ryan via Campus Reform, The University of California Berkeley student government has resolved to financially support the Honduran migrant caravan after a four-hour meeting Wednesday evening, during which senators were told that voting against the funding would be “violent." The resolution passed Wednesday night was presented by the Associated Students of the University of California. Among other initiatives, the bill titled In Support of Central American Refugees in their Pursuit of Asylum proposed that the student government allocate $1500 to be donated to a non-profit organization with the intent of helping to fund the caravan. The bill specifically referenced the Honduran migrant caravan, acknowledging that "while some have gradually arrived to the US-Mexico border, thousands are still en route and should arrive in the next week or two,” and calling on the student government to “be in solidarity” with these individuals. The document details the plight of Honduran citizens and blames the state of Honduras on the United States.  "The United States, fueled by corporate greed, has strategically intervened in Central American politics and warfare; thus strengthening the U.S. economy and further disregarding the livelihood of  the citizens in these countries." Multiple Latino American students, one of whom stated that she was "undocumented and unafraid," showed up to speak before the vote in an effort to persuade senators to pass the bill, some more aggressive than others.  These students urged the association to “put their money where their mouth is” to prove their empathy for the migrants and asserted that a refusal to allocate the $1,500 in caravan assistance funding would be “damn petty.” Multiple students called the proposed donation the “bare minimum” that could be done by ASUC to support migrants. “Get your shit together,” one student told senators. Another warned senators that a “no” vote on this bill would be “ignorant and violent." After these community members spoke, the bill was passed unanimously, approving not only the donation of funds to support the caravan, but also tasking the student government’s Office of External Affairs Vice President with “phone-banking and lobbying in support of both emergency and comprehensive immigration reform.” The bill states that this effort should specifically address asylum and visa application backlog and “ending the violent practices of our border patrol agents.”

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01 декабря, 06:05

This Opioid Antidote Was Hiked 600% To Exploit Crisis

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An American drug company hiked the price of its opioid-overdose antidote by 600% since going to market in 2014, has cost Medicare and Medicaid health programs $142 million, according to a new Senate subcommittee report, which called the company's actions a way of taking advantage of the worst drug overdose crisis in US history. Senators Rob Portman of Ohio and Tom Carper of Delaware said in the report, published last week, that Kaleo, Inc. "exploited the opioid crisis by increasing the price of its naloxone drug EVZIO by more than 600 percent (from an initial price of $575 per unit to $3,750 and then $4,100 eleven months later)." Portman, a Republican, and Carper, a Democrat, head the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs investigative subcommittee, determined the Virginia-based company advise doctors’ offices to sign documents establishing that Evzio, which administers the opioid antidote naloxone, was medically necessary for overdoses - guaranteeing government health programs would cover costs. “Naloxone is a critically important overdose reversal drug that our first responders have used to save tens of thousands of lives,” Portman said in a statement. “The fact that one company dramatically raised the price of its naloxone drug and cost taxpayers tens of millions of dollars in increased drug costs, all during a national opioid crisis no less, is simply outrageous.” Kaleo justified its pricing strategy in a statement and said it was strategizing with insurers to lower prices. “We believe two facts are critical to the Evzio story,” the company said in a statement. “First, we have received voluntary reports from recipients of donated product that Evzio has saved more than 5,500 lives since we launched the product in 2014. Second, we have never turned an annual profit on the sale of Evzio.” Drug-pricing consultants told the Senate subcommittee that Kaleo's price should be between $250 and $300 - not $4,000.  Cheaper brand-name naloxone products are available including Narcan, cost $125, and more inexpensive generic naloxone products under $100.  The price jump came after Kaleo contracted two Chicago-based consultants, Todd Smith and Benjamin Bove, who have had plenty of experience hiking drug prices for pharmaceutical companies at the taxpayer's expense.  The consultants came up with a scheme for Evzio, and Kaleo paid the consulting firm, Underhill Pharma LLC., more than $10 million to figure out how to milk government healthcare programs.  In 1Q 2016, Kaleo increased the drug’s price to $3,750, indicating that it was aimed at making sure people could get the drug fully subsidized.  This model “relied on patients with insurance coverage to subsidize patients without coverage,” the report concluded. “Thus, the need to raise the price to $3,750 and, eventually, 11 months later to $4,100.” Kaleo’s website detailed all individuals with commercial insurance “pay absolutely nothing out of pocket” for the drug, so long as they go through a direct delivery service. Smith and Bove pitched a “patient-access-centered model” that was hassle-free for doctors and easy for patients too, since customers paid low or zero co-payments. At least three other pharmaceutical companies in which Smith and Bove played important roles sharply raised prices on pharmaceutical products -- in one instance by 4,116%, Bloomberg reported. It seems like the government, and ultimately taxpayers will be the biggest losers in yet another drug price scheme.  * * * In other related news, President Trump scolded Pfizer about raising drug prices earlier this year, and The Wall Street Journal has just reported that the pharma giant is planning again to raise prices on 41 drugs. Is President Trump just all talk and when do the American people get relief from out of control drug price inflation? 

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01 декабря, 05:45

Scientists: Weak Ocean Circulation Could Signify Incoming Mini Ice Age

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Authored by Mac Slavo via SHTFplan.com, A weak circulation of ocean waters in the North Atlantic could signify that a mini ice age is just around the corner.  Scientists have discovered the weakening currents look similar to those that happened right before the Little Ice Age, a cold spell observed between about 1600 and 1850 AD. During the Little Ice Age, the Baltic Sea, along with many of the lakes and rivers in Europe froze over. And new and recent studies are showing that the currents in the North Atlantic ocean are at their lowest in 1,500 years.  Researchers studied the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC), the branch of the North Atlantic circulation that brings warm surface water toward the Arctic and cold deep water toward the equator. The research, co-led by Dr. Christelle Not and Dr. Benoit Thibodeau from the Department of Earth Sciences and the Swire Institute of Marine Science, The University of Hong Kong, is interpreted to be a direct consequence of global warming and associated melt of the Greenland Ice-Sheet. Slower circulation in the North Atlantic can yield profound change on both the North American and European climate but also on the African and Asian summer monsoon rainfall. –The Daily Mail Scientists are about to blame a mini ice age on global warming climate change. “The discovery of this new record of AMOC will enhance our understanding of its drivers and ultimately help us better comprehend potential near-future change under global warming,” said Dr. Thibodeau.  “While we could ground-truth our temperature reconstruction for the 20th century against instrumental measurement it is not possible to do so for the Little Ice Age period, added Not. “Therefore, we need to conduct more analysis to consolidate this hypothesis.” This weakening in the current is still vigorously debated because of the scarcity of long-term record of the AMOC. To read the entire press release, please click here.

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01 декабря, 05:25

Hospital Suggests Woman Refused Heart Transplant Raise Money On GoFundMe

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A Michigan woman who was rejected for a heart transplant by an area hospital because she couldn't afford the after care has raised more than $30,000 on GoFundMe after her story went viral. Shortly before Thanksgiving, 60-year-old Hedda Martin received a letter from the Spectrum Health Richard DeVos Heart and Lung Transplant Center recommending that she undertake a "fundraising effort" to raise $10,000 needed to pay for the immunosuppressive drugs necessary to ensure that her body accepts the new heart. After Martin shared it on Facebook, a copy of the letter was posted to Twitter, where it was swiftly picked up by Congresswoman-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and others. Insurance groups are recommending GoFundMe as official policy - where customers can die if they can’t raise the goal in time - but sure, single payer healthcare is unreasonable. h/t @DanRiffle pic.twitter.com/zetPW0MgDd — Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@Ocasio2018) November 24, 2018 Jokes about how GoFundMe is becoming an integral part of our insane health insurance system are no longer funny. pic.twitter.com/47DrOXsc1r — Every billionaire is a policy failure (@DanRiffle) November 24, 2018 According to her GoFundMe page, Martin developed congestive heart failure following aggressive chemotherapy treatments for breast cancer back in 2005. The $10,000 recommended by the hospital would cover 20% of her copays for the treatment. "The transplant team does not want to 'waste' a vital organ if she cannot afford heart rejection drugs. Understandably," Martin’s son wrote on her GoFundMe page. "However, they are not even willing to put her on the list knowing it would still give her time to raise money over a year or so through family" In statement to Splinter, the hospital acknowledged that ability to pay is a factor when determining who receives potentially life saving transplants. "While it is always upsetting when we cannot provide a transplant, we have an obligation to ensure that transplants are successful and that donor organs will remain viable. We thoughtfully review candidates for heart and lung transplant procedures with care and compassion, and these are often highly complex, difficult decisions," the organization said. "While our primary focus is the medical needs of the patient, the fact is that transplants require lifelong care and immunosuppression drugs, and therefore costs are sometimes a regrettable and unavoidable factor in the decision-making process." Martin's GoFundMe Page had raised over $30,000 as of this evening...

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01 декабря, 05:05

G20 Summit, Top Agenda Item: Bye-Bye American Empire

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Authored by Finian Cunningham via The Strategic Culture Foundation, The G20 summits are nominally about how the world’s biggest national economies can cooperate to boost global growth. This year’s gathering – more than ever – shows, however, that rivalry between the US and China is center stage. Zeroing in further still, the rivalry is an expression of a washed-up American empire desperately trying to reclaim its former power. There is much sound, fury and pretense from the outgoing hegemon – the US – but the ineluctable reality is an empire whose halcyon days are a bygone era. Ahead of the summit taking place this weekend in Argentina, the Trump administration has been issuing furious ultimatums to China to “change its behavior”. Washington is threatening an escalating trade war if Beijing does not conform to American demands over economic policies. President Trump has taken long-simmering US complaints about China to boiling point, castigating Beijing for unfair trade, currency manipulation, and theft of intellectual property rights. China rejects this pejorative American characterization of its economic practices. Nevertheless, if Beijing does not comply with US diktats then the Trump administration says it will slap increasing tariffs on Chinese exports. The gravity of the situation was highlighted by the comments this week of China’s ambassador to the US, Cui Tiankai, who warned that the “lessons of history” show trade wars can lead to catastrophic shooting wars. He urged the Trump administration to be reasonable and to seek a negotiated settlement of disputes. The problem is that Washington is demanding the impossible. It’s like as if the US wants China to turn the clock back to some imagined former era of robust American capitalism. But it is not in China’s power to do that. The global economy has shifted structurally away from US dominance. The wheels of production and growth are in China’s domain of Eurasia. For decades, China functioned as a giant market for cheap production of basic consumer goods. Now under President Xi Jinping, the nation is moving to a new phase of development involving sophisticated technologies, high-quality manufacture, and investment. It’s an economic evolution that the world has seen before, in Europe, the US and now Eurasia. In the decades after the Second World War, up to the 1970s, it was US capitalism that was the undisputed world leader. Combined with its military power, the postwar global order was defined and shaped by Washington. Sometimes misleading called Pax Americana, there was nothing peaceful about the US-led global order. It was more often an order of relative stability purchased by massive acts of violence and repressive regimes under Washington’s tutelage. In American mythology, it does not have an empire. The US was supposed to be different from the old European colonial powers, leading the rest of the world through its “exceptional” virtues of freedom, democracy and rule of law. In truth, US global dominance relied on the application of ruthless imperial power. The curious thing about capitalism is it always outgrows its national base. Markets eventually become too small and the search for profits is insatiable. American capital soon found more lucrative opportunities in the emerging market of China. From the 1980s on, US corporations bailed out of America and set up shop in China, exploiting cheap labor and exporting their goods back to increasingly underemployed America consumers. The arrangement was propped up partly because of seemingly endless consumer debt. That’s not the whole picture of course. China has innovated and developed independently from American capital. It is debatable whether China is an example of state-led capitalism or socialism. The Chinese authorities would claim to subscribe to the latter. In any case, China’s economic development has transformed the entire Eurasian hemisphere. Whether you like it or not, Beijing is the dynamo for the global economy. One indicator is how nations across Asia-Pacific are deferring to China for their future growth. Washington likes to huff and puff about alleged Chinese expansionism “threatening” US allies in Asia-Pacific. But the reality is that Washington is living in the past of former glory. Trading blocs like the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) realize their bread is buttered by China, no longer America. Washington’s rhetoric about “standing up to China” is just that – empty rhetoric. It doesn’t mean much to countries led by their interests of economic development and the benefits of Chinese investment. One example is Taiwan. In contrast to Washington’s shibboleths about “free Taiwan”, more and more Asian countries are dialing down their bilateral links with Taiwan in deference to China’s position, which views the island as a renegade province. The US position is one of rhetoric, whereas the relations of other countries are based on material economic exigencies. And respecting Beijing’s sensibilities is for them a prudent option. A recent report by the New York Times starkly illustrated the changing contours of the global economic order. It confirmed what many others have observed, that China is on the way to surpass the US as the world’s top economy. During the 1980s, some 75 per cent of China’s population were living in “extreme poverty”, according to the NY Times. Today, less than 1 per cent of the population is in that dire category. For the US, the trajectory has been in reverse with greater numbers of its people subject to deprivation. China’s strategic economic plans – the One Belt One Road initiative – of integrating regional development under its leadership and finance have already created a world order analogous to what American capital achieved in the postwar decades. American pundits and politicians like Vice President Mike Pence may disparage China’s economic policies as creating “debt traps” for other countries. But the reality is that other countries are gravitating to China’s dynamic leadership. Arguably, Beijing’s vision for economic development is more enlightened and sustainable than what was provided by the Americans and Europeans before. The leitmotif for China, along with Russia, is very much one of multipolar development and mutual partnership. The global economy is not simply moving from one hegemon – the US – to another imperial taskmaster – China. One thing seems inescapable. The days of American empire are over. Its capitalist vigor has dissipated decades ago. What the upheaval and rancor in relations between Washington and Beijing is all about is the American ruling class trying to recreate some fantasy of former vitality. Washington wants China to sacrifice its own development in order to somehow rejuvenate American society. It’s not going to happen. That’s not to say that American society can never be rejuvenated. It could, as it could also in Europe. But that would entail a restructuring of the economic system involving democratic regeneration. The “good old days” of capitalism are gone. The American empire, as with the European empires, is obsolete. That’s the unspoken Number One agenda item at the G20 summit. Bye-bye US empire. What America needs to do is regenerate through a reinvented social economic order, one that is driven by democratic development and not the capitalist private profit of an elite few. If not, the futile alternative is US failing political leaders trying to coerce China, and others, to pay for their future. That way leads to war. 

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01 декабря, 04:45

Hong Kong Home Market Headed For Big Correction 

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Back in October, Hong Kong’s housing market suffered its first decline in 29 months only days after HSBC became the first commercial bank to raise its prime lending rate, taking a hint from the Federal Reserve and the Hong Kong Monetary Authority in ending a decade of cheap money. In that time, Hong Kong retained the world’s hottest housing market, but there is new evidence now of an immient slowdown.  New-home sales this month have tumbled to levels not seen since 1Q 2016, according to Midland Realty data. Meanwhile, home prices have fallen for two straight months, the longest losing streak since 2016, according to the Centa-City Leading Index. Bloomberg said other reports showed deteriorating sales at Country Garden, the 6th largest property developer in China, is fueling speculation that the world’s most expensive housing market is headed for a deep correction.  Last week, home prices experienced the largest decline since March 2016, falling 1.3% week-on-week, the data showed.  From August's peak, home prices have dipped about 5%. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. has forecasted a 15 to 20% correction into 2020, as the Hong Kong Monetary Authority is expected to raise rates in tandem with the Fed, according to a research report released Monday. Here are some more signs the storm clouds are gathering over the Hong Kong housing market: Mortgage applications recorded the most significant month-on-month drop in 20 years in September, according to Centaline Mortgage Broker Ltd. The number of applications slid 56% to 7,977, the Hong Kong Monetary Authority reported. The number of transactions for luxury homes is now the worst on record.  Hong Kong has for decades been one of the most stable places in the world, however, with one interest rate hike and the threat of an imploding real estate market in 2019, it seems like regime change is imminent. 

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01 декабря, 04:25

America Needs A New National Strategy

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Authored by Charles Hugh Smith via OfTwoMinds blog, A productive national Strategy would systemically decentralize power and capital rather than concentrate both in the hands of a self-serving elite. If you ask America's well-paid punditry to define America's National Strategy, you'll most likely get the UNESCO version: America's national strategy is to support a Liberal Global Order (LGO) of global cooperation on the environment, trade, etc. and the encouragement of democracy, a liberal order that benefits all by providing global security and avenues for cooperation. This sounds good, but it overlooks the Endless Wars (tm) and global meddling that characterize America's realpolitik dependence on force, which it applies with a ruthlessness born of America's peculiar marriage of exceptionalism and naivete. The happy UNESCO story also overlooks the rapacious incoherence of America's political system which is ultimately nothing but the Corporatocracy's advocacy of self-interest. This sytem is based on the bizarre notion that private-sector corporations with revolving-doors to central state agencies lobbying for state protection of their monopolies will magically benefit the entire populace. This absurd idea that the single-minded pursuit of maximizing private gain by any means available will magically benefit society is the essence of neofeudalism: the financial and political nobility maximize their take and justify this exploitation with airy assurances to the politically impotent debt-serfs that this systemic predation magically offers up the best possible outcome for the peasantry. Uh, not to put too fine a point on it, but if this is the best possible world for America's peasantry, let's switch places, Mr. Financial Noble: you take my student loan debt and $30,000 a year job and I'll take your $100 million private-wealth managed accounts in tax havens around the world, your private access to politicos and the Gulfstream on the tarmac. The no-holds-barred pursuit of self-enrichment by the Nobility is America's real-world national strategy: a system of institutionalized greed lacking any actual strategy. America's citizenry deserves better, and the place to start is to discuss a real strategy rather than justify self-serving elites' parasitic predation as "good for everyone" via PR magic. Let's start by distinguishing force and power. This is a key discussion in my new book Pathfinding our Destiny: Preventing the Final Fall of Our Democratic Republic. It’s instructive to recall Edward Luttwak’s distinction between force and power in his book The Grand Strategy of the Roman Empire: From the First Century CE to the Third where he defines force as a mechanical input (expense) that doesn't scale; it takes a lot of people, effort and treasure to force others to comply with authoritarian edicts. Power, on the other hand, reflects the total output of the nation-state: its productive capacity, resources, human and financial capital, social mobility and cohesiveness, shared purpose--everything. Technocrats take their authority to force compliance as power, but real power attracts cooperation; it has little need for force. Brute-force diktats to maintain a surface stability of order only increase the brittleness and fragility of the system. This is the false promise of authority: we can force stability by forcing compliance. But sustainable stability is the output of adaptability, i.e. productive disorder, not force. A national strategy that truly benefits all the citizenry starts with a simple principle: offer a secure level playing field for innovators, innovation and capital, and let that power attract opt-in cooperation of the most productive elements on the planet. Simple principle #2: relinquish force and seek power, as defined above. In plain language: stop trying to run the world. Lead by example: there is no way authoritarian regimes can match the output of productive people and capital who are offered a low-cost entry to a secure level playing field free of parasitic predatory elites. Simple principle #3: define American exceptionalism as the systemic elimination of the neofeudal dominance of financial and political elites (the New Nobility). The structure to do this is simple: A productive National Strategy would systemically decentralize power and capital rather than concentrate both in the hands of a self-serving elite. *  *  * My new book on these topics is available at a 28% discount for the ebook and 23% discount for the print edition through November 30 ($4.95 ebook, $9.95 print). Read the first section for free in PDF format. My new mystery The Adventures of the Consulting Philosopher: The Disappearance of Drake is a ridiculously affordable $1.29 (Kindle) or $8.95 (print); read the first chapters for free (PDF). My book Money and Work Unchained is now $6.95 for the Kindle ebook and $15 for the print edition. Read the first section for free in PDF format. My new book Pathfinding our Destiny: Preventing the Final Fall of Our Democratic Republic is 23% off ($4.95 ebook, $9.95 print): Read the first section for free in PDF format. If you found value in this content, please join me in seeking solutions by becoming a $1/month patron of my work via patreon.com.

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01 декабря, 04:05

Luxury Housing Bust - Chicago's Most Expensive Mansion Taken Off Market

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Chicago's most expensive mansion was abruptly taken off the market last week after failing to attract bidders at a staggering $50 million price tag. United Automobile Insurance Co. Chairman and CEO Richard Parrillo and his wife, Michaela, constructed the 25,000 sqft Lincoln Park mansion a decade ago, after buying the property in 2005 for $12.5 million from the Infant Welfare Society. After two years on the market, Parrillo and his wife held firm at $50 million, a record for the region, their original listing agent told the Chicago Tribune. The agent said the couple plowed more than $65 million into the estate, including land cost. Listing information shows the mansion measures 25,000 sqft, which simple arithmetic would mean a cost of $2,000 per sqft. However, Cook County Assessor's Office reports that the structure is more like 15,533 sqft. The report also shows how the mansion's $50 million asking price is hugely overinflated versus 2018 estimated market value, which is $19.36 million. The report notes the 2018 property value is significantly higher from the assessor’s $13.98 million estimated market value for the mansion in 2017, due to a quick burst in high-end home sales in the last several years, but has since cooled. With the Parrillos’ mansion off the market, Pete’s Fresh Market co-founder and owner James Dremonas’ $21.9 million asking price for a 13,400 sqft North Dearborn Street mansion on the Near North Side, is now the most expensive listing for any suburban home currently on the Chicago market. More than likely, Parrillos and Dremonas have missed the window of opportunity to sell their luxury homes for the cycle.  We have well documented the luxury Manhattan condo bust, Greenwich Homes sales plunge, Hamptons real estate downturn, Miami beach home implosion, Aspen mountain home crash, and the West Coast luxury market falling apart over the last several years. Turning points in the real estate market take time, but as we find out this fall, the top is here:  Bank of America rang the proverbial bell on the US real estate market back in September, indicating that existing home sales have peaked, reflecting declining affordability, greater price reductions and deteriorating housing sentiment. Chief BofA economist Michelle Meyer warned that "the housing market is no longer a tailwind for the economy but rather a headwind. Today's crash in new home sales - which tumbled the most Y/Y in 7 years - only confirmed that.