Society's Child

Star of David

Israeli army kills 14-year old Palestinian with U.S. citizenship

slain Palestinian youth, Orwa Hammad
© Shadi Hattem
14-year old slain Palestinian youth, Orwa Hammad who is also a U.S. citizen, was killed by the Israeli army, October 24, 2014.
A Palestinian teen with U.S. citizenship was killed today by the Israeli army at a demonstration in the West Bank town of Silwad, near Ramallah. Fourteen-year old Orwah Hammad was shot with a live bullet that entered his neck and exited through his head, according to Ramallah hospital staff. He died while being treated at Ramallah hospital around 6 p.m. this evening, Jerusalem time.

The killing comes eight days after Israeli soldiers killed a 13-year-old boy during a raid on a West Bank village.

How convenient! Washington school shooting took place during SWAT drill and two weeks before upcoming gun control vote

initiative 594
What are the odds?

Just a few weeks ago, I wrote an article about how a few elite billionaires including Michael Bloomberg and Bill Gates have spent some $8 million to make sure Washington's controversial gun control bill, Initiative 594, will appear on the state's November ballot and that voters will be flooded with anti-gun propaganda in the lead up.

I-594 would require universal background checks, going so far as a making it so that a hunter would not be allowed to hand a gun to a friend on a hunting trip without triggering the background check provisions in the anti-gun bill.

On YouTube, Michael Parkhurst commented, "Commercials promoting the bill have been bombarding us for weeks."

Comment: See also: Two dead from high school shooting in Washington state; shooter identified as Jaylen Rey Fryberg

Stock Down

Banker suicides continue: Deutsche banker and former SEC enforcement attorney hangs himself

© Reuters/Luke Macgregor
Back on January 26, a 58-year-old former senior executive at German investment bank behemoth Deutsche Bank, William Broeksmit, was found dead after hanging himself at his London home, and with that, set off an unprecedented series of banker suicides throughout the year which included former Fed officials and numerous JPMorgan traders.

Following a brief late summer spell in which there was little if any news of bankers taking their lives, as reported previously, the banker suicides returned with a bang when none other than the hedge fund partner of infamous former IMF head Dominique Strauss-Khan, Thierry Leyne, a French-Israeli entrepreneur, was found dead after jumping off the 23rd floor of one of the Yoo towers, a prestigious residential complex in Tel Aviv.

Just a few brief hours later the WSJ reported that yet another Deutsche Bank veteran has committed suicide, and not just anyone but the bank's associate general counsel, 41 year old Calogero "Charlie" Gambino, who was found on the morning of Oct. 20, having also hung himself by the neck from a stairway banister, which according to the New York Police Department was the cause of death. We assume that any relationship to the famous Italian family carrying that last name is purely accidental.

Here is his bio from a recent conference which he attended:
Charlie J. Gambino is a Managing Director and Associate General Counsel in the Regulatory, Litigation and Internal Investigation group for Deutsche Bank in the Americas. Mr. Gambino served as a staff attorney in the United Securities and Exchange Commission's Division of Enforcement from 1997 to 1999. He also was associated with the law firm of Skadden, Arps, Slate Meagher & Flom from 1999 to 2003. He is a frequent speaker at securities law conferences. Mr. Gambino is a member of the American Bar Association and the Association of the Bar of the City of New York.

EU fail: Domestic agricultural production soars in Russia after food sanctions

russian agriculture
© © RIA Novosti/Sergey Guneev
President Dmitry Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin have put on a new show of unity ahead of upcoming elections by harvesting corn together at a farm in southern Russia's Stavropol Region
Economy and sectors adjusting to changing environment

When Russian President Vladimir Putin cut off European Union imports of agricultural products earlier this year, one of the rationales was to give a boost to the badly underdeveloped domestic sector - and it seems to be working. September's retail and investment numbers were down but agricultural production soared by 16.8% year-on-year in September, according to Rosstat.

"Domestic demand in Russia remained sluggish in September, retail sales, which reflect household consumption, edging up 1.7% year-on-year. This is slightly better than what we saw in summer and puts the nine month tally at 2.3% y-o-y," Alfa Bank's chief economist Evgeny Gavrilenkov said in a note on October 20. "Conversely, the agriculture sector posted extremely strong growth of 16.6% year-on-year in September and 7.7% in the first nine months of this year. Combined with strong industrial output growth last month (2.8%), driven by import substitution, this should lead to improvements in basic sector output."

russian harvest
Agriculture has become a key sector in the Kremlin's import substitution programme. Despite being a top three world exporter of grain and home to the "Black Earth" regions, some of the most fertile land in the world, Russia continues to import about 40% of its food. It has deficits in raw milk, potatoes, pork and beef to name a few products.

And Russia completely fails to make any of the added value products like posh cheese or cured meats: why invest in complicated food processing products when it is easier and cheaper to simply import them from Europe? In Moscow the problem is particularly acute, with some 60% of food products imported last year.

Russia's food industry came under even more pressure after Russia acceded to the WTO in August 2012. Pork producers in particular immediately felt the squeeze after duties on European's higher quality, lower cost imports were phased out as part of the deal.

But that problem has gone now after the shops were cleared of this competition, leaving a giant gap in the market that the state is hoping local producers will rush to fill. Indeed, the spike in food prices is causing a macro problem as inflation soars, but the Kremlin must be hoping the food companies are using their extra money to improve their production and that their increased market shares will be permanent when the sanctions regime finally comes to an end.

The Kremlin turned the screw on Europe again this week by adding more products to its own sanction list. The federal supervisory agency for agriculture, the Rosselkhoznadzor, said "temporary restrictions" will go into effect this week on European beef and pork offal, as well as beef, pork and chicken fat.

The agency said it imposed the ban because "banned and harmful substances," including antibiotics, had been found in these meat products and byproducts. It did not identify the other substances.

"We reiterate our view that the economy is adjusting to the new environment. Economic growth has slowed, but it is not stagnating or contracting," writes Gavrilenkov.

Comment: This was a brilliant two-pronged strategy, both helping domestic producers, and encouraging trade relations among the lesser players in the world agricultural market. Latin America has been a particular beneficiary of Russian efforts.

Cow Skull

Life in the California towns hit hardest by the drought

© Reuters/Lucy Nicholson
Manuel Rodriguez, 83, watches as workmen install a water pump to carry water from an outdoor container into his home in Porterville, California October 14, 2014.
In one of the towns hardest hit by California's drought, the only way some residents can get water to flush the toilet is to drive to the fire station, hand-pump water into barrels and take it back home.

The trip has become a regular ritual for East Porterville residents Macario Beltran, 41, and his daughters, who on a recent evening pumped the water into containers in the bed of his old pickup truck to be used for bathing, dish washing and flushing.

As if to emphasize the arid conditions that led them there, an emergency broadcast warned of a brewing dust storm.

The state's three-year drought comes into sharp focus in Tulare County, the dairy and citrus heart of the state's vast agricultural belt, where more than 500 wells have dried up.

Donna Johnson's tap went dry in June. Since then she's been trying to help neighbors connect with help from the county and the state. She began making door-to-door deliveries of water donated by charities and such supplies as hand sanitizer - often in withering 100-degree heat.

"I saw all these people who couldn't take a shower: kids, pregnant women," the 72-year-old said.
Gold Seal

Prepping for the 'end of the world' as we know it

© Dwight Eschliman
A visit to "prepper camp," a four-day session on surviving super viruses, natural disasters, socioeconomic collapse, world war, and more

A shot rings out in the Orchard Lake Campground. The crack ricochets off of evergreens and elms and oaks. No one hits the ground, screams, or ducks for cover. None of the 600 campers even seems fazed by the blast piercing through the stagnant humidity. After all, it's just target practice.

Welcome to prepper camp.

For four days last month, the campground - nestled in a remote part of the foggy Blue Ridge Mountains in western North Carolina - hosted a crash course in survival. Organized by "Prepper Rick" Austin and his wife, a blogger who goes by "Survivor Jane," the weekend attracted participants from Tennessee, California, Kentucky, Texas, Ohio, and Georgia. When the sole Yankee outs herself, one person jokingly threatens to lynch her with a paracord.

Preppers have their own language. They carry "BOBs," or "bug-out bags," knapsacks stuffed with provisions necessary to "get out of dodge" when "TSHTF" (the shit hits the fan). "TEOTWAWKI" is instantly recognizable as shorthand for "the end of the world as we know it." But that "end" means something different to everyone. They're not all anticipating a rapture. Preoccupations range from super-viruses like Ebola to natural disasters (solar flares, hurricanes) to man-made catastrophes (an ISIS attack, socioeconomic collapse leading to utter mayhem).

Comment: See also: And do have a listen to the SOTT Talk Radio show that was devoted to this subject:

Surviving the End of the World (as we Know it) and further discussion on the SOTT forum here.


Poll: What Americans fear most

Chapman University has initiated the first comprehensive nationwide study on what strikes fear in Americans in the first of what is a planned annual study. According to the Chapman poll, the number one fear in America today is walking alone at night.
© Chapman University
The Chapman Survey on American Fears included 1,500 participants from across the nation and all walks of life. Underscoring Chapman's growth and emergence in the sciences, the research team leading this effort pared the information down into four basic categories: personal fears, crime, natural disasters and fear factors.

The survey shows that the top five things Americans fear the most are:
  • Walking alone at night
  • Becoming the victim of identity theft
  • Safety on the internet
  • Being the victim of a mass/random shooting
  • Public speaking
"What initially lead us into this line of research was our desire to capture this information on a year-over-year basis so we can draw comparisons with what items are increasing in fear as well as decreasing," said Dr. Christopher Bader, who led the team effort. "We learned through this initial survey that we had to phrase the questions according to fears vs. concerns to capture the information correctly, so that is how we present it," Bader continued.

Comment: Fear is the mind-killer. When it comes to dealing with fear, knowledge protects. The more you know about your fears, the less you will be controlled by them and be able to set them aside and move forward.

Fear and Knowledge

You can also learn more about what to expect from the upcoming collapse by listening to the Sott editor's interview with Dmitry Orlov. See also the preparedness thread on our forum.

Eye 2

Big brother: Students told to take inventory of home medicines and turn in list to school

Students at a Mapleton Junior High School in Utah County were given an assignment by the Health teacher to take inventory of their family medicine cabinet and turn in a list of what they found.
A junior high homework assignment has drawn strong criticism over its violation of privacy.

Fox13 reports, students at a Mapleton Junior High School in Utah County were given an assignment by the Health teacher to take inventory of their family medicine cabinet and turn in a list of what they found.

The assignment explained that a major reason for drug abuse in Utah County is people are not safely disposing of medications. Students were to write the names of the medications in the medicine cabinet, what the medication is being used for, and whether it was still being used.

Parent Onika Nugent was bothered by the assignment and posted her feelings to Facebook, and sent a letter to the teacher and principal.

Comment: Well meaning, but misguided? One is left wondering how far this would have gone if concerned parents had not voiced such strong disapproval. Now that educational institutions in the US have turned into prisons, and that CPS can abduct children from their parents with little provocation, such a seemingly 'misguided' assignment takes on more sinister implications.


Over one million protest in Rome against government reforms

© RIA Novosti. Igor Mikhalev
Some one million people have gathered in a rally on Saturday organized by the Italian General Confederation of Labor (CGIL) in Rome against the government's labor market reforms.
Some one million people have gathered in a rally on Saturday organized by the Italian General Confederation of Labor (CGIL) in Rome against the government's labor market reforms.

General Secretary of CGIL Suzanne Camusso, addressed the government on stage saying "do not deceive yourself," and warned that the union would take to the streets and squares of cities throughout Italy to promote their cause, according to Italian news agency TM News.

"Today is not the last. CGIL will continue their protest to change the Job Act (law on employment) and the policies of the government, including by means of a nationwide strike," Camusso added.

CGIL's march under the slogan "Work, dignity, equality. To change Italy," began on Saturday as two processions made their way to Piazza San Giovanni from two different points of the city, TM News reported. Participants include people of different ages and social status, many of which are workers, the unemployed, pensioners and students. Protesters are demonstrating against Prime Minister Matteo Renzi's employee protection rules which contribute to unemployment in the country.

According to Camusso, the "Stability Law", which defines the basic parameters of the state budget for 2015, is not sufficient to ensure that the country observe "equality."

In early September, the Italian prime minister presented a three-year program of measures and reforms to be implemented within "one thousand days." Key areas of the plan will include the labor legislation, judicial reform and institutional reform.

Tax breaks and spending cuts unveiled in Italy's 2015 budget earlier in October have also come under scrutiny by the public, with critics worrying the plans will prolong the country's ongoing recession and rise in unemployment.
Stock Down

90% of Americans are poorer today than in 1987

© AFP Photo / Jewel Samad
The American Dream is slipping further away from the vast majority of Americans than it has in a quarter century. Now 90 percent of US households are poorer than they were in 1987, according to both a new study and the head of the Federal Reserve.

"The new, harsh reality is that the bottom 90 percent of households are poorer today than they were in 1987," Matt O'Brien wrote in the Washington Post Wonkblog, citing data from a new National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) paper on U.S. wealth inequality, which he says is based on tax data. "It's been a lost 25 years for the bottom 90 percent, but a lost 15 for the next 9 percent, too. That's right: altogether, the bottom 99 percent are worth less today than they were in 1998."

Federal Reserve Board Chairwoman Janet Yellen delved deeper into the statistics at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston Economic Conference on Inequality of Economic Opportunity last Friday.