2015: The Last Christmas in America


by Charles Hugh Smith

The game of enabling more debt by lowering interest rates and loosening lending standards is coming to an end.

If we define Christmas as consumer spending going up while earnings are going down, 2015 will be the last Christmas in America for a long time to come. In broad brush, Christmas (along with all other consumer spending) has been funded by financialization, i.e. debt and leverage, not by increased earnings.

The primary financial trick that’s propped up the “recovery” for seven years is piling more debt on stagnating incomes. How does this magic work? Lower interest rates.

In a healthy economy, households earn more money (after adjusting for inflation, a.k.a. loss of purchasing power), and the increased earnings enable households to save, spend and borrow more.

In an unhealthy, doomed-to-implode economy, earnings are declining, and central banks enable more borrowing by lowering interest rates to zero and loosening lending standards so anyone who can fog a mirror can buy a new pickup truck with a subprime auto loan.

The problem with financialization is that it eventually runs out of oxygen. As earnings decline, eventually there’s no more income to support more debt. And once debt stops expanding, the economy doesn’t just stagnate, it implodes, because the entire ramshackle con game of financialization requires a steady increase in debt and leverage to keep from crashing.

The trickery of substituting financialization for earned income–the trickery that fueled the last seven years of “recovery”–is exhausted.

The incomes of even the most educated workers are going nowhere, while the earnings of the bottom 90% are sliding:

Wages as a percentage of gross domestic product (GDP) have been declining for decades. Note the diminishing returns on financialization and asset bubbles that always bust: wages blip up in the bubble and then crash to new lows when the bubble bursts:

Look at how debt has soared while GDP has essentially flatlined. This is diminishing returns writ large: we have to pile on ever-increasing mountains of debt just to keep GDP from going negative.

This dependence on debt for “growth” leaves the economy exquisitely sensitive to any decline in debt growth. The slightest drop in debt growth in the Global Financial Meltdown almost collapsed the entire global economy:

The essential fuel of “growth”–credit expansion–is rolling over:

Even the vaunted prop under a soaring stock market, corporate profits, are rolling over as the stronger dollar and stagnating sales pressure profits:

The game of enabling more debt by lowering interest rates and loosening lending standards is coming to an end. Debt is not a sustainable substitute for income, and households are increasingly finding themselves in two camps: those who can no longer afford to borrow and spend, and those who recognize that going in to debt to support spending is a fool’s path to poverty and insolvency.

Say good-bye to Christmas, America, and debt-based spending in general–except, of course, for the federal government, which can always borrow another couple trillion dollars on the backs of our grandchildren.



“It’s nice. It’s nice to be free.”

Man released after 44 years in jail marvels at a changed world

The Daily Buzz – Thu, Nov 26, 2015


Imagine stepping out your door one morning and finding that the world you thought you knew had completely changed. That’s what happened to one man when he was released from prison after 44 years.

Otis Johnson went to jail in 1970 for assaulting a police officer. He was 25 years old, and he would spend the next 44 years in prison. Upon his release, a team from Al Jazeera English accompanied him as he adjusted, and made a moving six-minute documentary about Johnson’s re-entry into a world that at times he struggles to understand.

“My re-entry was a little bit hard at first, because things had changed,” says Johnson. We see him marvel at the lights and screens of New York’s Times Square.

“I saw that everybody, the majority of people was talking to themselves,” says Johnson. “Then I looked closer and they seemed to have things in their ears.”

Though he’s simply observing people talking on cellphones with earbuds, to him it looks like they must be CIA agents.

“That’s the only thing I can think of — somebody walking around with wires in their ears.”

Johnson is also impressed by humanity’s new ability to walk while looking at their phones instead of where they are going.

“That was amazing to me,” says Johnson.

What else impresses him? Peanut butter and jelly in the same jar — and the fact that Skippy is still around.

But while Johnson marvels at the changes, we see through his words and actions in this film that perhaps it is us who should be marvelling at him.
“Being in society is a good feeling,” says Johnson, sitting outside in the sunshine. “It’s nice. It’s nice to be free.”

Otis Johnson

Though he came out of jail without friends or family to call on, he seems to approach the world with an unlikely optimism.

“You gotta let things go. Holding on to anger will only stagnate your growth and development,” says Johnson, as we see him meditating in a park.

“I don’t feel that society owes me anything, so I let that go and deal with the future instead of dealing with the past. I try not to go backward, I try to go forward, and that’s how I survive in society.”

Find out more about Otis:


…of corruption, murder, rape, and Malaysian politicians

Asian Correspondent

WikiLeaks unveils another Malaysian scandal

Prominent UMNO stalwart allegedly raped his housemaid in 2007 but wasn’t investigated, reports Asia Sentinel

The latest round of WikiLeaks cables to embarrass Malaysia alleges that a “VVIP” later identified as Rais Yatim, the Information, Communications, and Culture Minister, raped his Indonesian maid in 2007, but got away with it because then-Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi apparently didn’t want an embarrassing confrontation with the Indonesian government.

The 68-year-old Rais at the time was law minister in Badawi’s cabinet. He has been a stalwart in United Malays National Party politics since at least 1978. Although the rape charges were passed to Badawi’s office in 2007 and were well known to top government officials, it appears they were never investigated. Certainly, the charges didn’t stop Badawi from naming him foreign affairs minister in 2008, nor did they stop Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak from naming him information minister in 2009.

However, on July 27of 2007, Rais did abruptly pull out of the running to become Commonwealth Secretary-General after the end of the previous secretary’s reign in March 2008. He cited the conflict of his duties serving on the committee planning the celebration of the 50th anniversary of Malaysia’s freedom from British colonialism. The complaint making the rounds appears to have been filed on July 23.

The lack of investigation of the case also prevents Rais from protesting his innocence. At this stage, lack of evidence would probably make the case almost impossible to prosecute, since it would end up with just the maid’s word against Rais’s.

Malaysia’s blogosphere has caught fire over the allegations although Rais wasn’t named as the alleged rapist until this weekend. A three-page Indonesian police report giving details of the maid’s service in his home – with his name blanked out – has been making the rounds of the Internet since the middle of December.

However, despite widespread and growing demands in the blogosphere that the allegations against Rais be investigated and prosecuted, the odds are that nothing is going to happen, said a lawyer with close ties to UMNO. It raises too many questions – few people, with the probable exception of the former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, want to go after Badawi for refusing to allow the investigation of Rais. Najib probably doesn’t want fire him, the lawyer said, because that brings up unpleasant reminders that the other WikiLeaks documents quote Singaporean officials appearing to implicate Najib in the widely publicized 2006 murder of Mongolian translator Altantuya Shaariibuu. Other documents made public by WikiLeaks allege that Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim was probably entrapped into having sex with his then 23-year-old former male assistant, but did it anyway.


Putin Declares ISIS On “Brink Of Total Defeat”, Warns NATO War Has Been “Total Lie”


By: Sorcha Faal, and as reported to her Western Subscribers

A sobering report issued by the Ministry of Defense (MoD) states that in an address to Federation military commanders at the National Control Defense Center wartime government headquarters in Moscow earlier today, President Putin declared that Islamic State Forces (ISIS/ISIL/Daesh) operating in the Levant War Zone are on the “brink of total defeat” and that the Western nations claims that they had been battling these modern day barbarians has now been exposed as a “total lie”.


According to this report, Aerospace Forces, which in the past 48 hours have destroyed 472 terrorist targets, and in the past 5 days have obliterated 1,000 of their oil tankers, and when combined with the nearly 3,000 air and cruise missiles strikes conducted by Russian military and naval forces against these terrorists since 30 September, have reduced ISIS to having only 34 operating bases—a number confirmed by Iraq’s al-Nakhil news agency.

Adding to the coming success in defeating Islamic State forces, this report continues, are the new airstrikes against these terrorists being launched from the French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle under the control of Federation Aerospace Forces by order of President Putin after France broke with NATO and sided with Russia in this war.

Joining Russia and France too in battling ISIS, this report notes, is China, whose Foreign Ministry spokesman, Hong Lei, earlier today stated “Russia’s large-scale activities are an important integral part of the international counter-terror actions… China supports Russia’s efforts to combat terrorism”.

Not just in words either is China supporting Russia in the Levant either, this report says, but in military forces too as an estimated 3,000 Chinese marine forces are now operating in Syria under Federation military command—and which the United States has dispatched its USS Harry S. Truman aircraft carrier strike force against with its commander, Captain Ryan Scholl, warning:

ISIS is not the only challenge that awaits the flotilla, which includes the cruiser Anzio, Carrier Wing Air 7, and destroyers Bulkeley, Gravely and Gonzalez. Russian, Chinese and Iranian marines have established their presence in Syria, and Russian warships from the Black Sea have relocated to the eastern Mediterranean to protect fighter jets conducting airstrikes in support of Syria’s Assad regime. In preparation, the strike group’s Composite Training Unit Exercise focused on adversaries that more closely resembled those of the Cold War.”


To if the United States led NATO will intervene to protect their Islamic State allies against total defeat and risk World War III with Russia and China, this report warns, is the greatest unanswered question now facing the Federation—a question made more complicated by official Washington’s many false narratives about Russia and Syria that have gotten so tangled that they have become a danger to the struggle against Sunni jihadist terrorism and conceivably a threat to the future of the planet.

And to how complicated the United States propaganda narrative about this war has become, this report notes, was evidenced this past week when one American news programme, PBS, actually showed their viewers a false report about the US Air Force bombing ISIS targets in Syria, but used in its entirety Russian Aerospace Forces videos posted on the MoD website.

To the “sick joke” perpetrated upon the peoples of the West about the war against the Islamic State, this report continues, was laid even more bare by President Putin when he told his commanders that evidence now proved that NATO member Turkey had supplied these terrorists with an estimated 100,000 fake passports enabling their travel to Europe and America.

Even worse, this report says, a former ISIS fighter told the American news magazine Newsweek that Turkey was allowing ISIS trucks from Raqqa to cross the border, through Turkey and then back across the border to attack Syrian Kurds in the city of Serekaniye in northern Syria in February and that ISIS militants would freely travel through Turkey in a convoy of trucks, and stop at safe houses along the way.

And with documents leaked in September 2014 showing that Saudi Prince Bandar bin Sultan had financed weapons shipments to ISIS through Turkey, and a clandestine plane from Germany delivered arms in the Etimesgut airport in Turkey and split into three containers, two of which were dispatched to ISIS, this report continues, the warning issued in December 2014 by Claudia Roth, deputy speaker of the German parliament, who expressed shock that NATO is allowing Turkey to harbour an ISIS camp in Istanbul and facilitate weapons transfers to Islamist militants through its borders tacitly support ISIS oil sales was ignored.

Also, this report notes, in his testimony before the US Senate Armed Services Committee in September 2014, General Martin Dempsey, then chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, when asked by Senator Lindsay Graham whether he knew of “any major Arab ally that embraces ISIL”? General Dempsey replied: “I know major Arab allies who fund them.” US allies that include Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the UAE, and Kuwait in particular — all of whom, for the last four years at least, have funneled billions of dollars largely to ISIS.

The consistent transfers of CIA-Gulf-Turkish arms supplies to ISIS which have destroyed Syria and led to the rise of the Islamic State, this report further notes, has, also, been documented through analysis of weapons serial numbers by the UK-based Conflict Armament Research (CAR), whose database on the illicit weapons trade is funded by the EU and Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, and led, this past week, Professor David Graeber of London School of Economics stating the obvious:

Had Turkey placed the same kind of absolute blockade on Isis territories as they did on Kurdish-held parts of Syria… that blood-stained ‘caliphate’ would long since have collapsed — and arguably, the Paris attacks may never have happened. And if Turkey were to do the same today, Isis would probably collapse in a matter of months. Yet, has a single western leader called on Erdoğan to do this?”

And with Russia having long warned that Obama regime polices were aiding the Islamic State, this report says, new evidence is now emerging in the United States proving their military officials have been lying to their President, Congress and the American public about their fight against ISIS—and which this past week led the Pentagon’s Inspector General, who is in charge of the investigation, to seize a massive number of Central Command emails from US military computers, along with other documents, in an effort to uncover how deep this conspiracy goes.

While the US begins its charade to investigate this plot to plunge our world into total war, this report concludes, the truest facts behind this conspiracy remain untold to the West (and which we had reported on in our 14 November report Russia Warns Friday The 13th Paris Massacre Is Masonic Power Play For World War III), but which another “puzzle piece” is soon to be laid down when the secret archive that lists two million Freemason members is published for the world to begin to see how deep this plaque goes.


November 23, 2015 © EU and US all rights reserved. Permission to use this report in its entirety is granted under the condition it is linked back to its original source at WhatDoesItMean.Com. Freebase content licensed under CC-BY and GFDL.


Saudi Arabia, an ISIS That Has Made It


US is facing a “potential bloodbath” during next week’s Thanksgiving Holidays


Russia Warns America Facing Thanksgiving “Bloodbath” Next Week

By: Sorcha Faal, and as reported to her Western Subscribers

A grim Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) report circulating in the Kremlin today warns that the United States is facing a “potential bloodbath” during next weeks Thanksgiving Holiday period at the hands of Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL/Daesh) terrorists—the leaders of whom are now being actively searched for after they were secreted into America by a top US Army General fired by President Obama just hours before the Friday the 13th Paris Massacre.

According to SVR intelligence analysts, and as we reported on in our report titled Only Jews Were Saved After France Ignores Russia-Israel Warning Of Paris Massacre, the Federation issued a 12 November warning bulletin to the French General Directorate for External Security (DGSE) that a terror attack was about to take place—a warning that was, shamefully, ignored.

Causing this extraordinary warning to be issued to be issued by the SVR to the DGSE, this report explains, was the tracking of movement and communications of Islamic State terrorists known to be planning attacks—4 of whom were secretly transported from Syria to the Incirlik Air Base in Turkey where they then boarded a US Army cargo flight bound for Joint Base Andrews located near Washington D.C.

Authorizing the transport of these Islamic State terrorists to America, this report continues, was US Army Lieutenant General Ron Lewis—who aside from being the top Pentagon aide to Defense Secretary Ashton Carter, had also been the main liaison between the Pentagon and France last week for a massive terror exercise that took place the morning of the Friday the 13th Paris Massacre.

Hours before the beginning of this mass-shooter exercise in Paris the morning of 13 November, this report says it’s important to note, the 4 Islamic terrorist leaders who were secreted out of Syria to Washington D.C. were brought to the Pentagon to meet with General Lewis (who himself had just returned from Paris) immediately after which Defense Secretary Carter fired him, the man just a month ago he had praised by stating: “It’s my privilege, also, to work closely with some of the terrific soldiers, and I want to take a moment to recognize some of them who are right around me every day, starting with my senior military assistant, Lt. Gen. Ron Lewis. Time after time, whenever I’ve needed Ron’s counsel and vision, I’ve been able to count on him. Thanks, my friend.”

As to the whereabouts of the 4 Islamic State terrorists General Lewis secreted into America immediately before his firing, this report says, it is not know at this time—but a secret internal US police bulletin for them has been issued, which was subsequently made public after this grave notice was leaked by “unnamed/unknown” sources to WTTG-TV reporter Emily Miller.


The SVR, however, in their tracking of these 4 Islamic State terrorists since they last appeared on camera at the Pentagon metro station, this report continues, shows them traveling to the Boston, Massachusetts, region where, “coincidentally”, a US Army armory was reported to have been broken into where a substantial amount of weapons and explosives were stolen.

Combined with these 4 Islamic State terror leaders now in the United States, this report further notes, continuing reports of Syrian terrorists entering into America continue to flood in—including the 8 Syrian terrorists captured on the Texas border and another 5 arrested in Honduras caught traveling to the US using stolen Greek passports.

Not to the captured Islamic State terrorists entering into America is the SVR concerned about either, this report states, but rather it is those terrorists that haven’t been caught—such as the Islamic terrorists invading the US found residing in Kentucky last year after they entered into the United States via their refugee programme.


As to why the United States is preparing to attack itself again in yet another false flag “event”, this report says, was best articulated earlier today by Foreign Minister Lavrov who said: “NATO is now actively looking for an enemy, because it has once again started searching the purpose of its existence after the Afghan campaign failed.”

And not just looking for an enemy either, this report explains, but actually creating one as many world experts are wondering why the United States still hasn’t cut off the Islamic States funding sources—and which President Putin warned about this week in his noting that these terrorists are being funded by 40 nations, including those belonging to the G-20.

Not playing the United States “game” with these Islamic State terrorists though, this report continues, now includes China after these barbarians executed one of their citizens they had previously put up for sale.


With the Friday the 13th Paris Massacre, also, now being confirmed to have been Western led and directed, this report says, French President Hollande has now broken with the United States telling President Obama his nation won’t wait for America’s lead in fighting these Islamic State terrorists—a stance that was quickly welcomed by the Federation and causing President Putin to issue orders telling the Russian Navy to work with their French counterparts in conducting this war.

And now with the Federation, France and China devoted to waging total war against the Islamic State, this report grimly warns, all that remains is for the United States to suffer a crippling attack like Paris—which SVR analysts note could occur as soon as next week during that nations Thanksgiving holiday, which will, undoubtedly, plunge the Americans into further terror.


But to the greatest concern of the SVR, this report concludes, is that by the Islamic State expanding this war by acts of terror may seem like a self-destructive move—it is squarely in keeping with what these barbarians advertise as its overriding, apocalyptic mission: to lure the world’s unbelievers into Syria for a final, Armageddon-like battle.


November 19, 2015 © EU and US all rights reserved. Permission to use this report in its entirety is granted under the condition it is linked back to its original source at WhatDoesItMean.Com. Freebase content licensed under CC-BY and GFDL.