La Tarcoteca

La Tarcoteca

jueves, 29 de septiembre de 2016

Tech Giants Team up to Sell Artificial Intelligence to the Public Despite Dire Predictions

(ANTIMEDIATechnology powerhouses Microsoft, IBM, Facebook, Google, and Amazon announced yesterday they have joined forces to create the Partnership on Artificial Intelligence (AI) to Benefit People and Society.
According to their website, the non-profit organization was “[e]stablished to study and formulate best practices on AI technologies, to advance the public’s understanding of AI, and to serve as an open platform for discussion and engagement about AI and its influences on people and society.”
The non-profit’s website shows the coalition’s main goal is to show the public that these companies are conducting extensive research and developing Artificial Intelligence technology to benefit the people in an ethical manner. In order for people to want to purchase AI products when made available, they first have to trust the fundamental technology  — and right now, not many people do.
It should come as no surprise that software programmed by humans, who are flawed, will reflect and even amplify those human flaws. The White House released a report in May highlighting the major potential for discrimination in “Big Data.” A quick look at the table of contents shows that mitigating discrimination is a challenge in every area. A report published byProPublica showed risk assessment programs used by courtrooms across the nation turned up significant racial disparities, falsely labeling black defendants as future criminals at twice the rate of whites.
Though the public is skeptical of AI, most people are unaware of these shortcomings.
Even so, a poll conducted by the British Science Association shows “60 per cent think that the use of robots or programmes equipped with artificial intelligence (AI) will lead to fewer jobs within ten years, and 36 per cent of the public believe that the development of AI poses a threat to the long term survival of humanity.”
In 2014, theoretical physicist and author Stephen Hawking penned an op-ed in the Independent that cautioned against it:
“Success in creating AI would be the biggest event in human history. Unfortunately, it might also be the last, unless we learn how to avoid the risks. In the near term, world militaries are considering autonomous-weapon systems that can choose and eliminate targets.”
While Hawking acknowledges and praises advancements in technology using AI, which have undoubtedly improved the quality of life for many, he warned in a2014 interview that “humans, limited by slow biological evolution, couldn’t compete and would be superseded by A.I.”
In 2015, Hawking signed an open letter released at last year’s International Joint Conference on AI warning that artificial intelligence could be more dangerous than nuclear weapons. He was joined by Apple, Inc. co-founder Steve Wozniak and inventor and tech mogul Elon Musk, along with thousands of other industry giants and AI researchers. The letter was put together by The Future of Life Institute and warns of the very serious dangers of AI weapons:
If any major military power pushes ahead with AI weapon development, a global arms race is virtually inevitable, and the endpoint of this technological trajectory is obvious: autonomous weapons will become the Kalashnikovs of tomorrow. Unlike nuclear weapons, they require no costly or hard-to-obtain raw materials, so they will become ubiquitous and cheap for all significant military powers to mass-produce. It will only be a matter of time until they appear on the black market and in the hands of terrorists, dictators wishing to better control their populace, warlords wishing to perpetrate ethnic cleansing, etc. Autonomous weapons are ideal for tasks such as assassinations, destabilizing nations, subduing populations and selectively killing a particular ethnic group.”
Musk has even gone as far as to say that “[w]ith artificial intelligence we are summoning the demon,” calling AI “our biggest existential threat.” He has stated his investment in the AI research company DeepMind is intended to “just keep an eye on what’s going on with artificial intelligence. I think there is potentially a dangerous outcome there.”
Even Bill Gates stated last year:
“I am in the camp that is concerned about super intelligence. First the machines will do a lot of jobs for us and not be super intelligent. That should be positive if we manage it well. A few decades after that though the intelligence is strong enough to be a concern. I agree with Elon Musk and some others on this and don’t understand why some people are not concerned.”
It’s important to point out the myriad ways in which AI is saving lives and improving the quality of life of millions across the globe. It’s even more important to be careful not to embrace a technology that could easily slip out from under our control. Earlier this year, TechCrunch published a thought-provoking article by Doc Huston on the subject, which pointed out that “no one knows where the actual crossover point — the edge or tipping point — exists, and thus we mortals are unlikely to be able to prevent it from occurring. Said differently, there is a very high probability that we will misjudge where that crossover point is and will thus go beyond the key threshold. Overshooting is the norm in biology and in most, if not all, evolving systems, but especially man-made ones.”
While many of these AI research companies are currently conducting likely harmless research with good intentions that will be successful in mitigating threats to humans, Huston warns “there is no reason to assume…that governments and military organizations throughout the world will play by the same rules. Rather, as all of history tells us, they will bend or break rules however they see fit under the claim that the ends justify the means. That is classic realpolitik — if we don’t do it, ‘they’ will…and we lose.”
After all, MicrosoftIBMFacebookGoogle, and Amazon already have ties to the government in one form or another, and the Department of Defense is plantingfirm roots in Silicon Valley.

This article (Tech Giants Team up to Sell Artificial Intelligence to the Public Despite Dire Predictions) is free and open source. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Josie Wales andtheAntiMedia.orgAnti-Media Radio airs weeknights at 11 pm Eastern/8 pm Pacific. Image credit: Stephen Bowler. If you spot a typo, please email the error and name of the article to edits@theantimedia.org.

martes, 27 de septiembre de 2016

Visit NAALPO at the LA Anarchist Book Fair, October 8th 2016

Dear comrades,
We wish to remind you about the upcoming Sixth Los Angeles Anarchist Bookfair, taking place at CIELO Galleries on Saturday, October 8th!
Where: CIELO Galleries
3201 Maple Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90011
When: Sat. 10/8, 11am-7pm
Though space is filling up, we are still accepting applications for vendors and workshops until next Friday, 9/16.  Please consider sending either or both and letting your friends and comrades know about this second call-out!
Thanks to those vendors who have paid for their spaces ahead of time.  To those who have submitted vendor applications to us but not paid for the tables yet, we remind you to please send checks for the appropriate amount to Alexandra Hong at the address specified on the form itself!
Please also feel free to enjoy and distribute the attached flyers to promote the event!
See you next month!
In solidarity,
LA ABF Collective

martes, 20 de septiembre de 2016

Why we liberate Mother Earth through direct action?: A message of resistance from the Northern Cauca for the world

Why we liberate Mother Earth through direct action?: A message of resistance from the Northern Cauca for the world – Ruptura Colectiva (RC)
Revolución Internacional / World Revolution
Ruptura Colectiva (RC) -Colombia-

Why we liberate Mother Earth through direct action?: A message of resistance from the Northern Cauca for the world

* From “The Guanabano” in Corinto, Cauca-Colombia, one of the millenary liberators of Uma Kiwe (Mother Earth) explains what’re the dreams of the Nasa people in the ancestral lands, that are released through direct action are: food sovereignty and self-management, auto-organization of their economic activities, respect for indigenous governances and expansion of education under the worldviews of ethnic groups and peoples of Colombia, are some of the goals.

¿Por qué liberamos a la Madre Tierra mediante la acción directa?: Un mensaje de resistencia desde el Norte del Cauca para todo el mundo

Desde “El Guanábano” en Corinto, Cauca, uno de los liberadores milenarios de la Uma Kiwe (Madre Tierra) nos explica cuáles son los sueños del pueblo nasa en las tierras ancestrales que se liberan mediante la acción directa: la soberanía y autogestión alimentaria, la organización propia de sus actividades económicas, el respeto a las gobernanzas indígenas y la ampliación de la educación, bajo las cosmovisiones de las etnias y pueblos originarios de Colombia, son algunos de los objetivos.

sábado, 17 de septiembre de 2016

Induced Dementia IS NOT Alzheimer’s Disease

Drug-Induced Dementia IS NOT Alzheimer’s Disease | Global Research - Centre for Research on Globalization 13.9.2016

“The desire to take medicine is perhaps  the greatest feature which distinguishes man from animals.” -- Sir William Osler
“More than 50 conditions can cause or mimic the symptoms of dementia.” and “Alzheimer’s (can only be) distinguished from other dementias at autopsy.” — from a Harvard University Health Publication entitled What’s Causing Your Memory Loss? It Isn’t Necessarily Alzheimer’s
“Medications have now emerged as a major cause of mitochondrial damage, which may explain many adverse effects. All classes of psychotropic drugs have been documented to damage mitochondria, as have statin medications, analgesics such as acetaminophen, and many others…Damage to mitochondria is now understood to play a role in the pathogenesis of a wide range of seemingly unrelated disorders such as schizophrenia, bipolar disease, dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, epilepsy, migraine headaches, strokes, neuropathic pain, Parkinson’s disease, ataxia, transient ischemic attack, cardiomyopathy, coronary artery disease, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, retinitis pigmentosa, diabetes, hepatitis C, and primary biliary cirrhosis. Medications have now emerged as a major cause of mitochondrial damage, which may explain many adverse effects” –  Neustadt and Pieczenik  authors of Medication-induced Mitochondrial Damage and Disease
“Establishing mitochondrial toxicity is not an FDA requirement for drug approval, so there is no real way of knowing which agents are truly toxic.”  – Dr. Katherine Sims, Mass General Hospital – http://www.mitoaction.org
“It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!” – Upton Sinclair, anti-fascist, anti-imperialist American author who wrote in the early 20th century.
“No vaccine manufacturer shall be liable…for damages arising from a vaccine-related injury or death.” – President Ronald Reagan, as he signed The National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act (NCVIA) of 1986, absolving drug companies from all medico-legal liability when children die or are disabled from vaccine injuries.
Over the past several decades there have been a number of well-financed campaigns, promoted by well-meaning laypersons, to raise public awareness to the plight of patients with dementia. Suspiciously, most of these campaigns come from “patient support” groups lead the public to believe that every dementia patient has Alzheimer’s dementia (AD).
Not so curiously, it turns out that many – perhaps all – of these campaigns have been funded – usually secretly – by the very pharmaceutical companies that benefit economically by indirectly promoting the sale of so-called Alzheimer’s drugs.
Such corporate-generated public relations “campaigns” are standard operating procedure for all of Big Pharma’s drugs, especially its psycho-pharmaceutical drugs. Big Pharma has found that the promotion and de-stigmatization of so-called “mental illnesses of unknown etiology” is a great tool for marketing their drugs.
Recently Alzheimer’s support groups all around the nation have been marketing a documentary about country singer Glen Campbell who has recently been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease (of unknown etiology) despite the obvious fact that Campbell was infamous for his chronic heavy use of brain-damaging, dementia-inducing, addictive, and very neurotoxic drugs like cocaine and alcohol. And, just like so many other hard-living celebrities like the (now cured) dementia victim Kris Kristofferson and the suicidal and early dementia victim Robin Williams. All three celebrities were known to have received prescriptions for legal neurotoxic brain-altering drugs, adding to the burdens that their failing brains, livers and psyches had to endure. It is highly likely that all three of them were also on statins and were up-to-date on their mercury and aluminum-containing vaccinations.
It is an established fact that Alzheimer’s disease can only be definitively diagnosed at a post-mortem examination of the cerebral cortex, something that dementia patients are almost never subjected to. Because of the rarity of coroners doing autopsies on dementia patients, we have to question the accuracy of the diagnoses of, for example, the still living Glen Campbell, Kris Kristofferson and our own memory-impaired spouses, aunts, uncles, grandmas and grandpas, especially since so many of them have been on neurotoxic substances such as those mentioned in this article.
And we also have to question the motivations of the Big Pharma corporations that financially underwrite patient support groups like the Alzheimer’s Association. AND, equally importantly, given the total lack of recognition of the reality of drug-induced dementia, we have to question to oft-cited assertion that 2/3 of all dementia cases are because of Alzheimer’s disease (of unknown cause).
Are the Alzheimer’s, Autism and Autoimmune Epidemics Actually Iatrogenic, Drug-Induced Epidemics?
Synchronous with the recent large increases in 1) childhood and adult neurotoxic aluminum-adjuvanted vaccinations, 2) the use of neurotoxic psychotropic drugs, 3) the use of statin drugs (cholesterol-lowering drugs)  known to cause memory-impairment, and 4) the  ingestion of a variety of neurotoxic food additives, there has been a large parallel increase in A) the incidence of chronic autoimmune disorders, especially in childhood, B)the incidence of autistic spectrum disorders, C) “mental illnesses of unknown origin” and D) dementia.
Each of those 4 root causes and the 4 neurological disorders that are closely correlated with them are admittedly multifactorial realities. But the important lesson is that they are also preventable. However, due to clever marketing by Big Pharma and the studied ignorance of Big Medicine and the refusal of Big Media to allow scholars to talk about the connections, “walks for the cure” and drug treatment is what is emphasized rather that prevention.
So what we need to ask – and then demand – is an honest answer to the question “could there be a connection between America’s increasingly common over-prescribing of immunotoxic, neurotoxic, synthetic prescription drugs and the equally over-prescribed immunotoxic and neurotoxic vaccines (that often contain either of the heavy metals aluminum and mercury) and some of the neurodegenerative disorders that supposedly “have no known cause”? Could the disabling American epidemic of autoimmune disorders, psychiatric disorders, autism spectrum disorders, etc (all supposedly of unknown origin) be found to have recognizable iatrogenic root causes and therefore be preventable? Psychiatrist and scholar Grace E. Jackson has the answers in her seminal (and black-listed) book
“Drug-Induced Dementia: A Perfect Crime”.
These are extremely important issues, especially in the case of the dementia epidemic, because the Alzheimer’s patient support groups seem to be unaware of the fact that many psychiatric drugs are known to irreversibly damage brain cells (partly by poisoning their mitochondria, the microscopic hearts and lungs of every cell) and therefore would be expected to cause a variety of other neurological and mental health disorders. (See more info on drugs and mitochondria below.
One of the big problems in America’s corporate-controlled culture, corporate-controlled government, corporate-controlled medical industries and corporate-controlled media is that the giant multinational (especially Big Pharma) corporations are in the business of developing and marketing known mitochondrial toxins with no oversight from regulatory agencies. These businesses obscure the fact that there ARE known causes for the disorders and that they are preventable. The unproven claims expressed in the TV commercials and medical journals advertising the newest drug-of-the-month are often later exposed as plain snake oil propaganda.
It should be a concern for everyone that some Alzheimer’s support groups are actually front groups for the pharmaceutical industry that profit handsomely from the handful of virtually useless drugs such as Aricept, Exelon, Namenda, Hexalon, and Razadyne.
Prescription Drug-Induced and Vaccine-Induced Mitochondrial Disorders
Acquired mitochondrial disorders (as opposed to the rare primary mitochondrial disorders like muscular dystrophy) can be caused by commonly prescribed drugs. They are difficult to diagnose and are generally poorly understood by most healthcare practitioners. When I went to medical school, none of my professors knew anything about the lethal effects that many synthetic drugs and vaccines do to the mitochondria of average brain or body cells. The science of the mitochondria was in its infancy.
A lot of mitochondrial research has been done since then, especially starting in the 1990s,and that research has proven the connections between a variety of commonly prescribed medications and mitochondrial disorders. That evidence seems to have been cunningly covered-up by the for-profit pharma groups whose drug are the culprits. Big Pharma has tremendous control  over the medical education of most health care providers, and they spoon-feed pro-drug and pro-vaccine propaganda to undiscerning “healthcare” journalists, which is where many physicians and patients get their health information.
An Honest Patient Guide for Dementia Patients (from Harvard)
I was pleasantly surprised recently to find a reasonably honest guide for dementia patients on a Harvard University website.
The entire guide can be accessed at
The information at that site stated that there were over 50 conditions that could cause or mimic early dementia symptoms. What medical practitioner in our double-booked clinic environment has the time to thoroughly rule out the 50 root causes of dementia symptoms when confronted with a patient with memory loss? It’s simpler to just diagnose every case of dementia as another case of Alzheimers! Who will ever dispute such an authoritative-sounding diagnosis? Certainly not those who want to keep dementia from being recognized as a potentially iatrogenic disorder (doctor or treatment-caused disorder).
I have often said to my patients and seminar participants: “it takes only 2 minutes to write a prescription, but it takes 20 minutes to not write a prescription”. In the current for-profit clinic culture, time is money and very few physicians are ever given the “luxury” of spending sufficient time listening carefully to their patients. (In defense of the physicians that I know, they are not happy about these realities but feel powerless to do anything about it.)
It is so tempting for us physicians to use the popularized, but rather squishy label of Alzheimer’s dementia rather than to educate ourselves about the possibility of drug-induced, vaccine-induced or malnutrition-related dementia. But what is so important is that many of the 50+ conditions are preventable or reversible, which will be therapeutic only if the real root causes are identified before permanent brain damage occurs. Just one example was the subject of the book “Lipitor: Thief of Memory” written by former astronaut and flight surgeon Duane Graveline, M.D., M.P.H
The Harvard guide actually said that “medications are common culprits in mental decline. With aging, the liver becomes less efficient at metabolizing drugs, and the kidneys eliminate them from the body more slowly. As a result, drugs tend to accumulate in the body. Elderly people in poor health and those taking several different medications are especially vulnerable.”
The guide continued with a list of the possible classes of prescription drugs that number in the hundreds:
“The list of drugs that can cause dementia-like symptoms is long. It includes antidepressants, antihistamines, anti-Parkinson drugs, anti-anxiety medications, cardiovascular drugs, anticonvulsants, corticosteroids, narcotics, sedatives.”
The Harvard guide went on to emphasize that Alzheimer’s can only be accurately diagnosed on a post-mortem examination. The guide states that “Alzheimer’s is distinguished from other dementias at autopsy by the presence of sticky beta-amyloid plaques outside brain cells (neurons) and fibrillary tangles within neurons (all indicative of cellular death). Although such lesions may be present in any aging brain, in people with Alzheimer’s these lesions tend to be more numerous and accumulate in areas of the brain involved in learning and memory.”
“The leading theory is that the damage to the brain results from inflammation and other biological changes that cause synaptic loss and malfunction, disrupting communication between brain cells. Eventually the brain cells die, causing tissue loss and cell carcasses or scars.  In imaging scans, brain shrinkage is usually first noticeable in the hippocampus, which plays a central role in memory function.”
The FDA Does Not Require Big Pharma to Test its New Drugs or Vaccines for Mitochondrial Toxicity
But even the Harvard guide inexplicably fails to mention known mitochondrial toxins such as statins, metformin, Depakote, general anesthetics, fluoroquinolone antibiotics (like Cipro), fluorinated psychotropic drugs (like many of the SSRIs and the so-called antipsychotics).
And Big Food corporations are guilty of feeding us neurotoxins also.
For example, when the ubiquitous synthetic food, soft drink and chewing gum sweetener NutraSweet (aspartame) reaches 86 degrees (whether in our 98.6 degree bodies or in some MidEast desert (as was true for many American soldiers who developed Gulf War Syndrome) every molecule releases a molecule of the excitotoxic amino acids phenylalanine and aspartic acid and one molecule of the cellular toxin methanol (wood alcohol). Methanol then rapidly metabolizes into the known mitochondrial poison formaldehyde (embalming fluid), which is a serious cellular and mitochondrial toxin.
The chlorinated artificial sweetener Splenda, which was initially developed as a neurotoxic pesticide, is in an uncountable variety of foods as well.
These examples are only some of the synthetic chemicals in medicines, vaccines and processed foods that are capable of causing mitochondrial damage in brain and body cells – with memory loss, confusion and cognitive dysfunction, all early symptoms of dementia.
It is a tragedy for reversible and preventable drug- or vaccine-induced dementias (or any of the many neurodegenerative disorders) to be mis-diagnosed as Alzheimer’s disease (or neurological disorder) “of unknown cause” because if the root causes are not recognized preventive care will not be offered. And then, what may be worse, those patients might be placed on costly, potentially toxic and often useless medications that have not been tested for their own potential mitochondrial toxicities. (Tragically, the American pharmaceutical industry is not required by the FDA to test its drugs for mitochondrial toxicity, thus leaving physicians and their drug-consuming patients in the dark as far as safety of those medications is concerned.)
There is much more in the basic neuroscience literature proving the connections between drugs and vaccines and neurodevelopmental disorders. Those basic neuroscience researchers that do not have conflicts of interest with Big Pharma and Big Medicine should be listened to. Those authors with monetary or professional conflicts of interest should be regarded with suspicion.
Don’t expect Big Pharma to respond to such unwelcome revelations as mentioned above. Don’t expect Big Medicine to acknowledge the existence of iatrogenic illnesses or to offer apologies.
Do, however, expect denials, dismissals, distractions, delays and ad hominem attacks against the whistle-blowers rather than honest mea culpas.
So it must be up to the consumers of potentially toxic substances to do the research themselves, for those substances may not show symptoms until a tipping point is reached when their livers can no longer detoxify the cocktail of poisons that are presented to it).
Professor of Medicine Oliver Wendell Holmes once said: “If all the medicine in the world were thrown into the sea, it would be bad for the fish, but good for humanity.”
Enough said.
Dr Kohls has spent many years researching the powerful, obscenely profitable and therefore easily corrupted pharmaceutical industry and the many false claims that their lobbyists, think tanks and co-opted opinion leaders in the media have been making. He knows many families whose lives have been devastated by psychiatric drug and vaccine injuries, including the post-vaccination regressive autism that unequivocally began following routine well-baby or well-child vaccinations. He takes seriously the precepts of the Hippocratic Oath that he took when he received his medical degree. That oath says that physicians should above all do no harm to their patients and thus, when there is evidence of potential harm from a prescription drug, vaccine or procedure, physicians should hesitate in doing that harmful treatment until a thorough, unbiased re-evaluation is done. 
Tragically, there has been a proliferation of big medical corporations (for-profit health insurance companies, for-profit clinics, for-profit hospitals, etc) and the secretive, often above-the-law multinational pharmaceutical corporations that regularly use corrupted science to “prove” the safety and efficacy of their obscenely profitable drugs. They employ thousands of workers but mainly work for the economic benefit of their shareholders and not vulnerable patients. 
Dr Kohls practiced holistic mental health care for the last decade of his family practice career. He now writes a weekly column for the Reader Weekly, an alternative newsweekly published in Duluth, Minnesota, USA. Many of his Duty to Warn columns have been archived at

viernes, 9 de septiembre de 2016

Philippine president declares “State of Lawlessness” after Bomb Blast. “Not Martial Law”

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte seized upon the pretext provided by a bomb blast in a marketplace in the southern city of Davao Friday night to announce a nationwide “state of lawlessness.” The declaration is a significant step toward the formal declaration of martial law.
The bomb, which was set off in Roxas Night Market in Davao, killed 15 people and injured at least 71. Duterte, who was in Davao at the time, appeared at the bombing site at four in the morning and announced to the press that he had placed Davao city under military lock-down and that he was declaring a nationwide “state of lawlessness.”
While stating that this was “not martial law,” Duterte told the press that the military would be “running the country.” He stated, “I am inviting now the Armed Forces of the Philippines, the military and the police to run the country in accordance with my specifications.” Military checkpoints would be set up throughout country, and the military and police would be authorized to conduct searches without warrants of vehicles and persons. Curfews might also be imposed throughout the country.
Duterte then told the media that he had been forewarned that the bombing would take place. He stated that this was why all of his military and police commanders, as well as intelligence heads, were already on the scene in Davao.
He was not able to prevent the bombing because “the Philippines is not a fascist state … It is unfortunate that this is a democracy and we cannot frisk anybody for just any reason.” He repeated this point later in his press conference, “Unfortunately we cannot stop people because that would be fascistic. That is the price of being a democratic state.”
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana issued a similar statement to the press, claiming that “the enemy” is “adept at using the democratic space granted by our Constitution to move around freely and unimpeded to sow terror.”
Duterte is openly stating his desire for a police state, if not fascism. According to him, democracy is a problem that must be remedied through direct police/military rule.
Duterte stated that the “state of lawlessness” would last as long he deemed that there was a threat of terrorism or “drug violence.” He cited the epidemic of vigilante killings, for which he is directly responsible by openly encouraging these murders, as a justification for his declaration.
Duterte’s declaration of a “state of lawlessness,” and his calling for the military to “run the country,” was a carefully planned event. Sal Panelo, the official legal counsel of the president, told the press over the weekend that the president had prepared the declaration long before the bombing as part of his campaign against alleged drug criminals. The bombing merely provided a convenient pretext.
The initial police suspect for the bombing is the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG). Operating in the Sulu archipelago, the Abu Sayyaf is a terrorist organization with approximately 200 members. Its activities consist of kidnap-for-ransom, beheadings of hostages, and occasional bombings.
The ASG was created in the early 1990s by Islamist elements returning to the Philippines from Afghanistan, where they had been part of the CIA’s secret war against the Soviet-backed regime. With assistance from then President Cory Aquino, the ASG was created to foment division between the larger Muslim secessionist organizations, the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).
Over the past 25 years, the ASG has provided the pretext for repeated US military interventions and for the increased militarization of the Philippine state.
The ASG issued a press statement over the weekend denying that they had been involved in the Davao bombing and claiming that a new breakaway group, Daulat Ul Islamiya, had been responsible.
The declaration of a “state of lawlessness” will be used to directly incorporate the military into Duterte’s murderous anti-drug crusade, which has thus far been carried out by the police and vigilantes.
As of September 1, the official death toll from this campaign, which targets the most impoverished layers of the population, was 2,446 in the first two months of the Duterte administration. Of this number, 929 were killed by the police, and 1,507 by vigilantes.
As a point of comparison, the scholarly consensus on Martial Law under the Marcos dictatorship estimates that 3,257 people were killed by state forces from 1972 to the early 1980s. If the current body count continues, Duterte will pass this figure by early October, as he completes his third month in office.
The vigilante killings are being carried out with the direct sanction and encouragement of the Duterte administration. An account published by BBC on August 26 revealed that at least some of the vigilante hit squads are operating on direct orders from local police and are being paid by the police for each of their victims.
Duterte openly sanctioned the hiring of hit squads during his Saturday press conference. He called for the hiring of “mercenaries,” saying, “There’s no other option. These people are like germs, which must be eliminated.”
Business investors and international finance capital continue to enthusiastically endorse Duterte’s dictatorial measures. Guenter Taus, chair of the European Chamber of Commerce in the Philippines (ECCP), told the press that what was needed—just as in “Brussels and Paris”—was a “transparent and obvious severe increase of military and police presence everywhere.” ECCP spokesperson Henry Schumacher told Reuters two weeks ago that investment would flow into the Philippines because “an iron fist is going to be behind it.”
Washington has funded Duterte’s death squads, with Secretary of State John Kerry supplying $32 million to support the anti-drug campaign. Whether Washington continues to support Duterte’s fascistic policies depends entirely on whether he toes their line in the South China Sea. Washington is looking for Duterte to aggressively assert Philippine claims of sovereignty in the South China Sea using the ruling against China by the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) in The Hague.
Duterte has thus far attempted to pursue a conciliatory foreign policy toward Beijing, looking to secure increased trade ties with China. Washington has begun raising the specter of “human rights” against Duterte as a means of applying pressure.
Duterte will be meeting with President Obama in Laos this week during the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit. He has begun to signal that he will adopt a more oppositional stance toward China as a means of securing Washington’s continued backing.
Over the weekend, Duterte summoned the Chinese ambassador demanding to know why Chinese vessels were operating in the disputed Scarborough shoal, which the PCA had ruled was not Chinese territory. Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay stated, “China will be the ‘loser’ if it does not recognize an international court ruling against its territorial claims in the South China Sea. We are trying to make China understand especially when the dust settles that unless they respect and recognize the arbitral tribunal, they will be the losers at the end of the day on this matter.”
If Duterte demonstrates that he will serve the interests of Washington in their drive to war against China, Washington will drop all concerns about “human rights.” They will back a Duterte dictatorship just as fully as they did the martial law regime of Ferdinand Marcos.

jueves, 8 de septiembre de 2016

The One Trillion Dollar Consumer Auto Loan Bubble Is Beginning To Burst



Do you remember the subprime mortgage meltdown from the last financial crisis? Well, this time around we are facing a subprime auto loan meltdown. In recent years, auto lenders have become more and more aggressive, and they have been increasingly willing to lend money to people that should not be borrowing money to buy a new vehicle under any circumstances. Just like with subprime mortgages, this strategy seemed to pay off at first, but now economic reality is beginning to be felt in a major way. Delinquency rates are up by double digit percentages, and major auto lenders are bracing for hundreds of millions of dollars of losses. We are a nation that is absolutely drowning in debt, and we are most definitely going to reap what we have sown.

The size of this market is larger than you may imagine. Earlier this year, the auto loan bubble surpassed the one trillion dollar mark for the first time ever

Americans are borrowing more than ever for new and used vehicles, and 30- and 60-day delinquency rates rose in the second quarter, according to the automotive arm of one of the nation’s largest credit bureaus.
The total balance of all outstanding auto loans reached $1.027 trillion between April 1 and June 30, the second consecutive quarter that it surpassed the $1-trillion mark, reports Experian Automotive.

The average size of an auto loan is also at a record high. At $29,880, it is now just a shade under $30,000.

In order to try to help people afford the payments, auto lenders are now stretching loans out for six or even seven years. At this point it is almost like getting a mortgage.

But even with those stretched out loans, the average monthly auto loan payment is now up to a record 499 dollars.

That is the average loan size. To me, this is absolutely infuriating, because only a very small percentage of wealthy Americans are able to afford a $499 monthly payment on a single vehicle.

Many middle class American families are only bringing in three or four thousand dollars a month (before taxes). How in the world do they think that they can afford a five hundred dollar monthly auto loan payment on just one vehicle?

Just like with subprime mortgages, people are being taken advantage of severely, and the end result is going to be catastrophic for the U.S. financial system.

Already, auto loan delinquencies are rising to very frightening levels. In July, 60 day subprime loan delinquencies were up 13 percent on a month-over-month basis and were up 17 percent compared to the same month last year.

Prime delinquencies were up 12 percent on a month-over-month basis and were up21 percent compared to the same month last year.

We have a huge crisis on our hands, and major auto lenders are setting aside massive amounts of cash in order to try to cover these losses. The following comes from USA Today

In a quarterly filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Ford reported in the first half of this year it allowed $449 millionfor credit losses, a 34% increase from the first half of 2015.
General Motors reported in a similar filing that it set aside $864 million for credit losses in that same period of 2016, up 14%from a year earlier.

Meanwhile, other big corporations are also alarmed about the economic health of average U.S. consumers. Just check out what Dollar General CEO Todd Vasos had to say about this just the other day

I know that when we look at globally the overall U.S. population, it seems like things are getting better. But when you really start breaking it down and you look at that core consumer that we serve on the lower economic scale that’s out there, that demographic,things have not gotten any better for her, and arguably, they’re worse. And they’re worse, because rents are accelerating, healthcare is accelerating on her at a very, very rapid clip.

The stock market may seem to be saying that everything is fine (for the moment), but the hard economic numbers are telling a completely different story. What we are experiencing right now looks so similar to 2008, and this includes big institutions just dropping dead seemingly out of the blue. On Tuesday, we learned that ITT Technical Institute is immediately shutting down and permanently closing all locations. This is from a Los Angeles Times report
The company that operates the for-profit chain, one of the country’s largest, announced that it was permanently closing all its campuses nationwide. It blamed the shutdown on the recent move by the U.S. Education Department to ban ITT from enrolling new students who use federal financial aid.
“Two quarters ago there were rumors about the school having problems, but they told us that anyone who was already a student would be allowed to finish,” said Wiggins, who works as the assistant manager for a family-run auto parts business and went to ITT to open new opportunities.
“Am I angry?” he said. “I’m like angry times 10 million.”

As a result of this shutdown, 35,000 students are suddenly left out in the cold and approximately 8,000 employees have lost their jobs.

This is what happens during a major economic downturn. Large institutions that may have been struggling under the surface for quite a while suddenly give up and drop a bomb on those that were depending on them. In the months ahead, there will be a lot more examples of this.

Already, some of the biggest corporate names in America have been laying offthousands of workers in 2016. Mass layoffs are usually an early warning sign that big trouble is ahead, so keep a close eye on those companies.

The pace of the economic decline has been a bit slower than many (including myself) originally anticipated, but without a doubt it has continued.

And it is undeniable that the stage is set for a crisis that will absolutely dwarf 2008. Our national debt has nearly doubled since the beginning of the last crisis, corporate debt has doubled, student loan debt has crossed the trillion dollar mark, auto loan debt has crossed the trillion dollar mark, and total household debt has crossed the 12 trillion dollar mark.

We are living in the greatest debt bubble in world history, and there are signs that this giant bubble is now starting to burst. And when it does, the pain is going to be greater than most people would dare to imagine.