Pivot To Asia Failing (video)

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LONDON (Reuters) – Goldman Sachs (GS.N) is cutting almost 30 percent of its 300 investment banking jobs in Asia outside Japan in response to a slowdown in activity in the region, two sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.

The Wall Street bank is reducing the number of bankers working on mergers and acquisitions (M&A), and equity and debt capital markets deals, the sources said. It will be left with slightly more than 200 bankers across Asia.

Most of the jobs cuts are likely to take place in Hong Kong, Singapore and China, where Goldman’s main Asian offices are located, according to the sources, who said the process was underway.

A Goldman Sachs spokesman declined to comment.

The company, whose investment banking revenue fell 11 percent to $1.79 billion in the second quarter, has been hit by a lacklustre environment for deals across Asia.

The total value of M&A deals across the Asia-Pacific region has dropped to $572.9 billion so far this year, from $745.7 billion in the same period of 2015, according to Thomson Reuters data.

Goldman said in July it had embarked on a cost-cutting plan that would save $700 million a year in response to a “challenging backdrop” for revenue.

It still tops the Asia-Pacific M&A league tables but in the first half of the year it came third after JPMorgan (JPM.N) and Citi (C.N) as the biggest bank by revenue in Asia, according to data published on Friday by industry analytics firm Coalition.

One of the sources said no managing directors in Asia were in the running to be made partners this year while three existing partners in the region had been stripped of their titles.

RETRENCHMENT

Goldman and other big investment banks are grappling with a harsh environment after the region’s economies and markets failed to deliver sustained growth after the 2008 financial crisis. The banks’ business has also been eroded by local competitors.

In 2015 Goldman reduced the number of its investment bankers in Singapore – a hub for Southeast Asia – to about 35 from 50, several sources said.

There have been further departures this year, including its Southeast Asia chairman Tim Leissner.

Many of Goldman’s European rivals have announced plans to scale down their operations in Asia.

Barclays (BARC.L) said in January that it would cut about 1,000 staff in its investment bank operations worldwide, with the bulk happening in Asia, while Societe Generale (SOGN.PA) decided to close its equities research desk in India.

Other European banks including BNP Paribas (BNPP.PA) and Deutsche Bank (DBKGn.DE) are expected to scale back operations in non-core Asian markets while last year Asia-focused Standard Chartered (STAN.L) shut down its equities franchise.

Goldman employs just over 100 bankers in China, where it was one of the first foreign investment banks to start operations. But like other banks it has been hit by a drop in Chinese trading volumes and competition from local banks.

By Pamela Barbaglia | Yahoo Finance

Russia Prepares for War

Plans to Move Thermonuclear ICBMs to Western Border

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Last week TASS reported Russia’s western-most ICBM division will be rearmed with the RS-24 Yars missile system. Yars is a MIRV-equipped, thermonuclear, intercontinental ballistic missile that can reportedly carry up to 10 independently targetable warheads. The ICBM RS-24 Yars constitutes the backbone of Russia’s strategic missile force.

“The westernmost strategic missile force division in the Tver region will soon begin to be rearmed with the missile system Yars. It will be a sixth strategic missile division where the newest mobile ground-based missile complexes will replace the intercontinental ballistic missile Topol,” Sergey Karakayev, the commander of Russia’s Strategic Missile Force told the news agency.

The Russians claim the deployment is in response to NATO installing a US anti-missile system in Eastern Europe in violation of previous Russian-US arms treaties. The United States has made the outrageous claim its missile system is designed to respond to threats from Iran.

“Now, after the deployment of those anti-missile system elements, we’ll be forced to think about neutralizing developing threats to Russia’s security,” Russian President Vladimir Putin said in May.

Putin added that the US anti-missile systems currently in place in Romania and soon in Poland can be easily be repurposed to fire short and mid-range missiles.

Russia announced it would modernize a launch detection system in response to the threat along its border. It has also discussed stationing its state-of-the art Iskander missiles at its westernmost Baltic outpost of Kaliningrad which borders NATO members Poland and Lithuania. The Iskander travels at hypersonic speed and is capable of evading anti-ballistic missiles.

In addition to missiles and nuclear warheads, NATO and Russia have engaged in massive war games this year. NATO’s Anakonda 2016 exercise involved more than 30,000 troops, about half of them Americans, and thousands of combat vehicles from 24 nations. The huge exercise simulated battle maneuvers across Poland. A simultaneous naval exercise, BALTOPS 16, simulated “high-end maritime warfighting” in the Baltic Sea. Exercises were conducted in the waters near Kaliningrad, the Russian enclave between Poland and Lithuania. The maritime exercise represented a clear provocation.

“All of this—the aggressive exercises, the NATO buildup, the added US troop deployments—reflects a new and dangerous strategic outlook in Washington. Whereas previously the strategic focus had been on terrorism and counterinsurgency, it has now shifted to conventional warfare among the major powers,” Michael T. Klare wrote for The Nation in July.

“Washington might intend the military buildup as pressure on President Putin to reduce Russian opposition to Washington’s unilateralism. However, it reminds some outspoken Russians such as Vladimir Zhirinovsky of Hitler’s troops on Russia’s border in 1941,” notes Paul Craig Roberts.

“To make the crisis clear for my readers and for all peoples, Washington is surrounding Russia with nuclear missile sites that can be silently converted from ABMs to first strike nuclear missiles that can reach Russian targets in a mere few minutes. Washington attempted to disguise this first strike capability with the explanation that the missiles were there to protect against an Iranian ICBM attack on Europe. This explanation was given by the US government despite the fact that everyone knows that Iran has neither ICBMs nor nuclear weapons,” he writes on his website.

Roberts, a former Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy and associate editor of the Wall Street Journal, is not optimistic about what such frenzied military activity portends.

He believes it is futile for Americans to plan for retirement.

“The crazed American government drowning in its own hubris has set us on a course to nuclear war. Can America produce a leader who can reverse course?”

Hillary Clinton will undoubtedly continue along this suicidal path. Donald Trump has said repeatedly he will not confront Russia. However, he has announced if elected the United States will expand its already massively inflated military budget.

Source: Black Listed News

Texas to Withdraw From Obama Admin Refugee Program Over Terror Threat

Gov. Abbott: Obama administration cannot ensure safety

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From Fox News: The state of Texas on Wednesday announced that it is withdrawing from the Obama administration’s refugee resettlement program due to the administration’s inability to ensure that refugees resettled in the state do not pose terror threats, according to an announcement by Republican Gov. Greg Abbott.

Texas informed the Office of Refugee Resettlement in a letter that it will be withdrawing from the program on Jan. 31, 2017. The letter comes on the heels of several weekend terror attacks across the United States.

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The administration has refused to approve a security plan by the state of Texas aimed at ensuring that refugees are only resettled following in-depth security checks. 

Texas officials drafted a plan that would require federal national security officials to provide assurances that none of the individuals being resettled pose a terror threat. The administration has declined to approve this plan.

Abbott said Texas would not accept a single refuge until proper security measures are put in place. 

Source: Fellowship Of The Minds | By Adam Kredo | The Washington Free Beacon

Government Will Never Confiscate Your Guns Because You’ll Just Hand Them Over.

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The world does not care about you.

And the transnational socialists want you and yours first in slave chains, then dead.

Them.

Or you.

Got it?

I see and hear a lot of talk about how a national gun registration and/or confiscation would be the trigger that would spark a second American Revolution, as patriots rise up to resist the jackbooted thugs who are going door-to-door taking away people’s arms.

I have bad news for everyone who’s waiting for national registration or a mass confiscation so they can get their armed rebellion on: a national database of gun owners already exists, and a national confiscation effort will never happen. Ever. Instead, you’ll hand over your firearms peacefully. All of them, even the ones you paid cash for to some random guy on Armslist in the dead of night.

Here’s a look at how it will play out in our not-too-distant future.

The NSA Knows Who You Are and What You Have

Second Amendment supporters have been so focused on this one little corner of the Bill of Rights that they’ve let the Fourth Amendment, which is supposed to protect citizens against unreasonable search and seizure, turn into dead letter.

The surveillance state that got started under Clinton picked up steam under Bush II, and Obama has expanded it even further. The NSA is tracking everyone, all the time, and they’re hooked into Facebook, Google, Amazon, and every other piece of web-based software that you’ve been using to shop for accessories for that AR you paid cash for (which your wife doesn’t even know you have).

If you don’t believe me, go read this article about just how much detailed info one private company, Facebook, has on you, including your web surfing, shopping, and even your driving and walking habits. Now think about the fact that the NSA is even less constrained by the law (and has way more resources) than Facebook and has access not only to Facebook’s detailed profile of you but to profiles created by many other sources, from your credit card company to your health insurance provider.

Oh sure, you may have gotten your hands on a few guns that would be impossible to trace, even by the NSA. Maybe you inherited a long gun from your grandpa, or maybe you met a guy in a gun show parking lot and paid cash and then never Googled anything related to that gun. So here’s a question for you: how many people like you exist, and how many of those type guns are suitable for urban combat against AR-15s with state-of-the-art optics? I know which of my guns are probably totally “in the black,” and I can’t imagine trying to mount an insurgency with any or all of them.

The fact is, most guys who have the kind of hardware suitable for a Civil War 2.0 have been shopping on Gunbroker or Armslist, and/or have filled out FFL paperwork like law-abiding citizens. I seriously doubt there’s enough firepower totally hidden from the NSA to sustain any kind of real rebellion.

So the registration ship has sailed. They know what you have and where to find you. Now, here’s how they’re going to get you to turn it over without a fight.

Hitting You Where It Hurts

When the government outlaws semi-automatic firearms, they won’t send cops or troops door-to-door to take them. No, first they’ll send out letters saying they know what you have, and that you have to turn it over by a given deadline or face a penalty.

It’ll be up to you to prove that you’re clean, and that you’ve handed over everything. They’ll have a list, and if they think you’re still holding, they’ll hit you with asset freezes.

Imagine not being able to get any money out of your bank account or from your credit cards, because your assets are frozen. The federal and state governments already do this if you owe back taxes–a simple letter to your bank, and all of your cards stop working. (Here’s an account from one of our editors of how this actually happened to him.) The bank doesn’t care about you, and they don’t have the interest or resources to find out if the government’s claim against you is bogus. No, they’ll just freeze your assets until you get things sorted with the government and the government tells them to unfreeze it all.

The other thing they’ll do is take your children.

Do you think Child Protective Services is going to let your children live in a house with potentially dangerous firearms? No way. Your kids will get picked up at school and taken into custody, and a social worker will show up at your door with the cops. Only when a thorough search has been conducted and the authorities are completely satisfied that your property is 100% gun-free will they let you see your little ones again. After all, we have to protect the children.

You’re not going to shoot at those cops, either, because then your kids will just end up in the foster system as wards of the state.

Not Nearly Enough for a Revolution

Oh, I’m sure there are folks reading this who are so off-grid that none of the above can touch them. Their guns are totally invisible to the NSA, their assets are all in the form of cash and physically held precious metals, and their kids are home-schooled on a well-guarded ranch.

But is that blessed group big enough to overthrow a determined US government? No, it ain’t.

The measures outlined above–a de facto gun registration database courtesy of the NSA and its private-sector allies, asset freezes for non-compliance, and the threat of CPS visits that hold your children hostage–will be sufficient to take well over 90% of the lawfully held guns out of civilian hands, all without firing a single shot.

The bitter truth is this: there will be no confiscation shock troops for you and your buddies to shoot back at, and we will discover too late that the rights-defenders’ fantasy–of one, crystal-clear moment when it’s time for everyone to rise up as one and take it all back–has been the establishment’s biggest ally and freedom’s deadliest enemy.

Why do you think they’ve let you have guns for this long? Because those guns have given you a false sense of security and kept you from doing something truly dangerous, like mass-organizing to pull all your money out of the big banks and to vote out the incumbents.

So if you’ve sat idly by, fondling your firearms and watching the surveillance state expand while your paycheck shrinks, relying on your gun stash to bail you out when things hit bottom, then the joke’s on you. You’ve already lost the war, and when you hand over your weapons it’ll be the last (and mostly symbolic) step in a process of total subjugation that slipped up and swallowed you while you were distracted with building your gun collection.

You may hate me and everything I’ve said here, but deep down, you know I’m right.

Update: A number of commenters are misreading this article. The headline doesn’t say I’ll hand them them over — it says you will. And yeah, I’m trolling you a bit with the tone of this piece by saying what you “will” and “won’t” do, but it’s because I’m trying to slap you awake. The main point that’s being made is this: if you’re waiting for a door-to-door confiscation, or even a national gun registry, then you’ll be waiting forever. Folks who like to talk about a causus belli will need get more creative in coming up with a “bright line”, because the ones so many of you are waiting for won’t ever appear. If this article has spurred you to think more clearly about what the end of liberty might actually look like, and about what you’ll do under scenarios other than the classic door-to-door confiscation scenario, then it has done its job.

By Bilj | All Outdoor


How Google and Facebook Will Turn the Nation Against Gun Owners

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You probably think Facebook and Google are throwing off geysers of money by dominating an industry known as “online advertising”, but those of us who’ve spent time on the inside of this beast know the industry by its true name: mass behavior modification.

It’s only a matter of time before these two companies openly go on the attack against American gun ownership, and when they do, they’ll form a foe far greater than any we’ve faced before. If you don’t believe that they can turn the tide of public opinion on firearms, a tide that lately seems to be going in our favor, then you’re not paying attention.

Consider the following three articles:

Go ahead and click through to the above. I’ll wait. Just skim them for now, but when you get a moment definitely go back and read them. They’re not from your favorite conspiracy site, and the people sounding the alarm have impeccable, mainstream academic credentials. You may think you’re immune to most of the techniques outlined above, but you’re not. And even if you were, what matters is that the country as a whole is not immune, not by a long shot.

To understand just how effective these manipulation techniques are, you need only consider how large Facebook and Google’s profits have grown based on their ability to get users to buy things via advertising. These companies’ ability to alter user behavior on a mass scale has been validated again and again by the one entity that you just can’t fool, and whose judgement isn’t clouded by political agendas: the market.

First They Came for the Jihadis, Then the Right-Wingers…

With all of this in mind, consider the very latest news on Google’s Jigsaw project, which is a deliberate use of all of its tools and techniques for the purposes of explicitly political behavior modification–first against would-be jihadis, and next against right-wing “radicals”.

GOOGLE HAS BUILT a half-trillion-dollar business out of divining what people want based on a few words they type into a search field. In the process, it’s stumbled on a powerful tool for getting inside the minds of some of the least understood and most dangerous people on the Internet: potential ISIS recruits. Now one subsidiary of Google is trying not just to understand those would-be jihadis’ intentions, but to change them.

Jigsaw, the Google-owned tech incubator and think tank—until recently known as Google Ideas—has been working over the past year to develop a new program it hopes can use a combination of Google’s search advertising algorithms and YouTube’s video platform to target aspiring ISIS recruits and ultimately dissuade them from joining the group’s cult of apocalyptic violence.

The Intercept reports on Google’s plan to turn the aforementioned tool against right-wingers:

A GOOGLE-INCUBATED PROGRAM that has been targeting potential ISIS members with deradicalizing content will soon be used to target violent right-wing extremists in North America, a designer of the program said at an event at the Brookings Institution on Wednesday…

“We are very conscious — as our own organization and I know Jigsaw are — that this [violent extremism] is not solely the problem of one particular group,” Frenett said.

“Our efforts during phase two, when we’re going to focus on the violent far right in America, will be very much focused on the small element of those that are violent. The interesting thing about how they behave is they’re a little bit more brazen online these days than ISIS fan boys,” Frenett said.

He noted that this new target demographic is more visible online.

“In the U.K., if someone in their Facebook profile picture has a swastika and is pointing a gun at the camera, that person is committing a crime,” Frenett said. “In the U.S., there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. So we found that when we’re looking for individuals that are genuinely at risk of carrying out violence, that they’re relatively open online.”

Adnan Kifayat, head of global security ventures at Gen Next Foundation, said he is optimistic about applying the ISIS approach to North America. “Our interest is in countering extremism … particularly in the homeland,” he told The Intercept.

Taking all of the above into account, what comes next is crystal-freaking-clear: a coordinated, private sector, mass behavior manipulation campaign aimed at stigmatizing and suppressing gun ownership and disguised as an effort to “do something” about the “gun violence epidemic” and “right-wing extremism.”

When the CDC was in the heyday of their smear campaign against guns, a PR effort that a prominent CDC official likened to the public campaign against smoking, that was just the warm-up. Those guys with their billboards and their op-eds were just pikers compared to the power of Google and Facebook.

When these two private sector behemoths, who know everything about you and who are wildly successful in using that knowledge to manipulate you, turn their sights on the “public menace” that is guns, then you’ll long for the days when the anti-gun movement was mostly just sad astroturf groups funded by a single New York billionaire. These companies can flip national elections, state and local elections, and public attitudes, all in secret and without spending nearly the kind of (traceable) money that Bloomberg does.

I don’t know what to tell you to do about it. I’m just warning you that it’s coming. These companies will begin to manipulate public opinion on gun ownership, and it will have an impact. It’s going to be up to us to figure out how to counter it.

By Bilj | All Outdoor