XIAM007

Making Unique Observations in a Very Cluttered World

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

The Countdown To The Nationalization Of Retirement Savings Has Begun -

The Countdown To The Nationalization Of Retirement Savings Has Begun - 



Simply put, the new myRA program put forward by Obama is at best a sucker's deal… or worse, it's a first step toward the nationalization of private retirement savings. (Note: If you haven't yet heard of myRA, I'd strongly suggest you read this excellent overview by my colleague Dan Steinhart.)

Even before the new myRA program was announced, there had been whispers about the need for the US government to assume some risk for US retirement accounts. That's code for forced conversion of private retirement assets into government bonds.

With foreigners not buying as many Treasuries and the Fed tapering, the US government has been searching for new buyers of its unwanted debt. And this is where the new myRA program comes in.

In short, it's ostensibly a new way for people to save for retirement. Of course, you can only invest in government-approved investments—like Treasuries—which probably won't even come close to keeping up with the real rate of inflation. It's like Jim Grant says: "return-free risk."

In reality, a myRA doesn't really provide any significant new benefits over existing options. To me it just looks like a way for the US government to pass the hot potato on to unsuspecting Americans in exchange for their retirement savings.

The net effect is the funneling of more capital to Treasury securities and thus helping the US government finance itself.

You'd be much better off using a precious metals IRA to save for retirement than participating in the government's latest Ponzi scheme.

There are other protective strategies as well, such as internationalizing your retirement savings into assets that are hard, if not impossible, to confiscate on a whim—like foreign real estate and physical gold held abroad. More on that below.

Retirement Savings Are Always Juicy Targets

As bad as it is to deceive na├»ve Americans into trading their hard-earned retirement savings for garbage (i.e., Treasury securities), the myRA program potentially represents something far worse… the first step toward the nationalization of existing private retirement accounts.

I believe myRA is a way to nudge the American people into gradually becoming more accustomed to government involvement in their private retirement savings.

It's incorrect to assume nationalization couldn't happen in the US or your home country. History shows us that it's standard operating procedure for a government in dire financial straits.

In just the past six years, it's happened in some form in Argentina, Poland, Portugal, Hungary, and numerous other countries.

To me it's self-evident that most Western governments (including the US) have current debt loads and future spending commitments that all but guarantee that eventually—and likely someday soon—they will try to unscrupulously grab as much wealth as they can.

And retirement savings are a juicy target—low-hanging fruit for a desperate government.

Naturally, politicians will try to slickly sell the idea to the public as something "for their own good" or as "protection from market instability." This is how similar programs were sold to skeptical publics in the past.

In reality, governments take these actions not to "reduce the risk" to your retirement savings or whatever propaganda they happen to come up with, but rather to obtain financing—by forcefully dumping their unwanted debt onto seniors and savers.

Below are several ways it has happened or could happen. Of course, there could always be some sort of new, creative proposal that was previously unthinkable. No matter the method, however, the end result is always the same—the siphoning off of purchasing power from your retirement savings.

New Contribution Mandate: The government could mandate, for example, that 50% of new contributions to private retirement accounts must consist of "safe," government-approved investments, like Treasury securities.
Forced Conversions: This is where a government will forcibly convert existing assets held in retirement accounts into so-called "safer" assets, such as government bonds. For example, if the US government forcibly converted 20% of the estimated $20 trillion in retirement assets (401k plans, IRAs, defined benefit and contribution plans, etc.), it would net them $4 trillion. Not a bad score, considering the national debt is north of $17 trillion.
Special Taxes: The government could look into levying special taxes on distributions from retirement, especially those deemed to be "excessively large."
In order to be more effective, forced conversations probably wouldn't happen until after official capital controls have been instituted. Once in place, capital controls would make it very difficult, if not impossible, for you to avoid the wealth confiscation that is sure to follow… like a sheep that has just been penned in for a shearing.

Since FATCA and other regulatory burdens already amount to a soft form of capital controls, it's absolutely essential that you start implementing protective measures now.

It's like I have always said: internationalization is your ultimate insurance against the measures of a desperate government. In the case that the government makes a grab for retirement savings, it's much better to be a year or two early rather than a minute too late.



Internationalize Your Retirement Savings

It's much more difficult for the government to convert your retirement assets if they're outside of its immediate reach. If you have a standard IRA from a large US financial institution, it would only take a decree from the US government and Poof!: your dividend-paying stocks and corporate bonds could instantly be transformed into government bonds.

Obviously, this is much harder for the government to do if your retirement assets are sufficiently internationalized.

For example, you can structure your IRA to invest in foreign real estate, open an offshore bank or brokerage account, own certain types of physical gold stored abroad, and invest in other foreign and nontraditional assets.

In my view, owning an apartment in Switzerland and some physical gold coins stored in a safe deposit box in Singapore beats the cookie-cutter mutual funds shoved down your throat by traditional IRA custodians any day.

If and when there's some sort of decree to convert or otherwise confiscate the assets in your retirement account, your internationalized assets ensure that your savings won't vanish at the stroke of a pen.

There are important details and a couple of restrictions that you'll need to be aware of, but they amount to minor issues, especially when weighed against the risk of leaving your retirement savings within the immediate reach of a government desperate for cash.

After placing a juicy steak in front of a salivating German shepherd, it's only a matter of time before he makes a grab for it. The US government with its $17 trillion debt load is the salivating German shepherd, and the $20 trillion in retirement savings is the juicy steak.

Internationalizing your IRA has always been a prudent and pragmatic thing to do. And now that the US government has now officially set its sights on retirement savings, it's truly urgent.

You'll find all the details on how it to get set up, along with trusted professionals who specialize in internationalizing IRAs in our Going Global publication.

Read more - 
http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-02-05/countdown-nationalization-retirement-savings-has-begun

Just When You Thought Google Glass Couldn't Get Creepier: New App Allows Strangers to ID You Just by Looking at You -

Just When You Thought Google Glass Couldn't Get Creepier: New App Allows Strangers to ID You Just by Looking at You - 



Have you ever seen someone wearing Google Glass out at the bar? Like a real person at a real bar actually wearing Google Glass? If so, you know how absolutely ridiculous they look. Which may be the only factor we have that will stop this:
A new app will allow total strangers to ID you and pull up all your information, just by looking at you and scanning your face with their Google Glass. The app is called NameTag and it sounds CREEPY.
The "real-time facial recognition" software "can detect a face using the Google Glass camera, send it wirelessly to a server, compare it to millions of records, and in seconds return a match complete with a name, additional photos and social media profiles."

The information listed could include your name, occupation, any social media profiles you have set up and whether or not you have a criminal record ("CRIMINAL HISTORY FOUND" pops up in bright red letters according to the demo).

And NameTag may have already added you to their database.
Two million entries have already been uploaded to FacialNetwork.com. Once the app officially goes live, you can sign up for NameTag and opt-out, instead of the alternative: Having to opt-in to allow them to show your information.
How is that OK?

"It's not about invading anyone's privacy," one NameTag's creators claimed (via Independent). "It's about connecting people that want to be connected. We will even allow users to have one profile that is seen during business hours and another that is seen in social situations. NameTag can make the big, anonymous world we live in as friendly as a small town."
It may not be about invading anyone's privacy, but that sounds like what it does. And forcing people to opt-out if they want to maintain their privacy is wrong (we would go so far as to say it should be illegal). But the purported benefits of the app are almost even worse:
They continue, "It's much easier to meet interesting new people when we can simply look at someone, see their Facebook, review their LinkedIn page or maybe even see their dating site profile. Often we were interacting with people blindly or not interacting at all. NameTag on Google Glass can change all that."

Read more - 
http://ca.eonline.com/news/507361/just-when-you-thought-google-glass-couldn-t-get-creepier-new-app-allows-strangers-to-id-you-just-by-looking-at-you

Bombshell Audio Recording Revealing Bill Clinton White House Sex Romps Behind Wife Hillary’s Back -

Bombshell Audio Recording Revealing Bill Clinton White House Sex Romps Behind Wife Hillary’s Back - 



As Hillary Clinton prepares to run for President in 2016, RadarOnline.com has uncovered bombshell new information that could torpedo her White House dreams: The philandering husband of the former United States Secretary of State, ex-President Bill Clinton, carried on a torrid year-long love affair with British supermodel Elizabeth Hurley behind White House walls.

That’s the explosive revelation dropped by the man who says he arranged the secret tryst, actor Tom Sizemore.

In a blockbuster exclusive, Radar has unearthed a secret audio recording during which the Hollywood actor, who had his own three-year sexual liaison with Hurley, recounts how the horn-dog ex-President once sent a plane to fly Hurley to Washington D.C., where he bedded her in the White House — while First Lady Hillary was in the very next room!

On the tape, recorded in January of this year and provided to Radar and GLOBE in a joint investigation, 52-year-old Sizemore boasts to two pals about how he arranged the pair’s first rendezvous.

According to the Black Hawk Down star, it all began during a 1998 White House screening of Saving Private Ryan, when President Clinton pulled Sizemore aside from the crowd of A-listers that included Tom Hanks, Matt Damon, Ed Burns and Dennis Farina.

The premiere of the film was four years after Hurley was catapulted into the limelight after wearing that Versace dress to the premiere of ex-boyfriend Hugh Grant’s film Four Weddings And A Funeral.

Sizemore claims that Clinton asked if he wanted to see the Lincoln Bedroom and after shaking his Secret Service detail, the pervy President quickly made his move!

“We walk in,” Sizemore says on the tape, when suddenly Clinton, then in his second-term of office, asked point-blank, “Did you go with Liz Hurley for four years? Do you still see her?”

When Sizemore confirmed they had dated but were no longer together, he says the President asked for her number.

Stunned at the suggestion, Sizemore admits to being somewhat hesitant to dole out the digits, but claims Clinton insisted: “Give it to me. You dumb m***********r, I’m the Commander-in-Chief of the United States of America. The buck stops here. Give me the damn number.”

The actor obliged, but before dialing, he says the President was already covering his tracks, thinking of his oblivious and long-suffering wife Hillary in the other room.

“[Clinton] said, ‘I’m going to say I asked you about your uncle, Ted Sizemore, who played professional baseball,” Sizemore recalls. “That’s the lie. Don’t forget it.’”

Then, Sizemore recounts, Clinton dialed, wasting no time in getting down to dirty business with the stunning brunette, now 48.

“Elizabeth, this is your Commander-in-Chief,” Clinton said to the actress, who played Vanessa Kensington in the 1997 hit Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery.

And though Hurley at first thought it was a joke, she played coy, but the President wouldn’t take no for an answer!

Clinton said, “Listen Elizabeth, this is the President!” Sizemore recalls. “‘I don’t have any time for this ****. I‘m keeping the world from nuclear war all the time. I’m sending a plane to pick you up.”

Hours later, he claims, Hurley was at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

“While we’re at the reception, I see her,” Sizemore reveals, but then she disappeared through a door, trailed by a Secret Service agent.

As she disappeared into a room with the President, Sizemore charges, “Bill turns to me and he goes, ‘I owe you one.’”

As to what happened after that, Sizemore declares on the tape: “What do you think? She was there for four days. He f****d her that night.”

Later, her recalls, “I asked her (Hurley), what was it like there? …I said was Hillary a problem? And she said ‘No, they sleep in different bedrooms.’”

“Bill said that, he intimated to Elizabeth that they have been, they’re in love,” Sizemore claims, “but they stopped [sleeping together] a long time ago and they both have separate romantic lives.”

As such, the steamy affair didn’t end after Hurley’s visit.

Sizemore says they kept in contact for a year, until Clinton ended the sexual shenanigans because he was falling deeply in love with the charming actress, 19 years his junior.

“At a certain point, he told her, ‘I don’t do love and I’m beginning to think I might love you,” Sizemore says.

Confronted with Sizemore’s claims, a representative for Hurley did not deny the relationship and coyly said that she would not be commenting on her relationship with Clinton.

Sizemore, who starred in Natural Born Killers before spiraling into a dark drug addiction, revealed the tryst between the politician and actress in the recorded conversation which took place at his hotel room in Manchester, Conn., where he was shooting a movie.

Listen to the tape, below. (It has been edited to remove the voices of the two other individuals on the tape, at their request. Both asked not to be identified.)

Read more - 
http://radaronline.com/exclusives/2014/02/hurleys-ex-lover-caught-on-bombshell-audio-recording-revealing-ex-prezs-white-house-sex-romps-behind-wife-hillarys-back/

Sochi Pllow Shortage as Residents Ordered to Surrender Their Pillows to Olympic Athletes... -

Sochi Pllow Shortage as Residents Ordered to Surrender Their Pillows to Olympic Athletes... - 



Days before the Winter Games begin, Sochi staffers are looking for a few goose men

The Olympics officially kick off Friday. We imagine many a staffer and volunteer are scurrying around the Black Sea resort of Sochi, trying to prepare for the glamorous opening ceremony and making sure all security protocols are in place. But it turns out that Russia, despite spending a reported $51 million on the most expensive Olympics ever, neglected a few key details. 

It appears there aren’t enough pillows for the athletes in the Olympic Village. This news comes via the Instagram posts of Luiza Baybakova, a member of the catering staff for the games.

Baybakova posted a picture of a notice to volunteers, which translates as follows:

“ATTENTION, DEAR COLLEAGUES! 

Due to an extreme shortage of pillows for athletes who unexpectedly arrived to Olympic Village in the mountains, there will be a transfer of pillows from all apartments to the storehouse on 2 February 2014. Please be understanding. We have to help the athletes out of this bind.”

HOW WE KNOW
We monitored both Russian-language social networks and Instagram for posts related to the Olympic Village, and ran across this controversial gem.

Either the athletes arrived early, or event planners somehow didn’t know when they were arriving. Regardless, it seems like volunteers and staffers might now be asked to give up their own pillows to accommodate the athletes. It’s in line with what other citizen bloggers are posting ahead of the Olympics, like this guy, who claims residents near the stadiums are forbidden from using wood-burning fireplaces to avoid unsightly smoke coming out of chimneys. Even though it’s the Winter Games.

Read more - 
http://www.vocativ.com/02-2014/sochi-running-pillows/

All Visitors to Sochi Olympics Immediately Hacked - as soon as electronic devices connect to any Russian network -

All Visitors to Sochi Olympics Immediately Hacked - as soon as electronic devices connect to any Russian network - 



"As tourists and families of athletes arrive in Sochi, if they haven't been warned, and if they fire up their phones at baggage claim, it's probably too late to save the integrity of their electronics and everything inside them. Visitors to Russia can expect to be hacked. And as Richard Engel found out upon his arrival there, it's not a matter of if, but when," reports NBC's Brian Williams.

Engel says, "The State Department warns that travelers should have no expectation of privacy. Even in their hotel rooms. And as we found out, you are especially exposed as soon as you try and communicate with anything."

"One of the first thing visitors to Russia will do is log on," says Engel. "Hackers here are counting on it."

They test the system in the report -- and are, as one might expect, immediately hacked the moment the test computer connects with the Russian network.

"Malicious software hijacked our phone before we even finished our coffee, stealing my information, and giving hackers the option to tap and record my phone calls."



Read more - 
http://www.weeklystandard.com/blogs/nbc-all-visitors-sochi-olympics-immediately-hacked_778718.html

Authorities search for a monkey believed to be breaking into cars... -

Authorities search for a monkey believed to be breaking into cars... - 



Officials continue to search for a monkey believed to be breaking into cars in a Tampa Bay neighborhood.

MyFoxTampaBay.com reports a rhesus macaque has been spotted wandering the Mirabay neighborhood in Apollo Beach.

The animal is believed to be breaking into cars and disturbing things inside, although nothing has been taken.

No injuries have been reported since the primate has been on the loose, but neighbors say they want it captured safely and moved elsewhere.

Read more - 
http://www.clickorlando.com/news/report-mystery-monkey-spotted-in-tampa-neighborhood/-/1637132/24283440/-/pvum9y/-/index.html