Three Syrians who entered Germany as migrants have been arrested on suspicion of belonging to the Islamic State and may have links to those who carried out the Paris terrorist attacks last year, the authorities said on Tuesday.
Thomas de Maizière, the German interior minister, said the travel documents the men were carrying when they were arrested on Tuesday had been issued by the same authority as ones found on some of the men who carried out the attacks in and around Paris in November. The authorities also said that the three Syrians appeared to have used the same smugglers to enter Germany and to apply for asylum as some of those involved in the terrorist assaults in France.
“It could be that this was a sleeper cell,” Mr. de Maizière told reporters.
Prosecutors said in a statement that they believed the three came to Germany in November to carry out a planned attack for the group, also known as ISIL or ISIS, or to await instructions for one.
While there was no indication the three had been planning a specific attack, prosecutors said they had sufficient evidence to arrest the men on suspicion of membership in a foreign terrorist organization.
The German security authorities have been on high alert since two young men who entered the country as migrants carried out separate attacks in Bavaria in July, wounding dozens. Both attacks appeared linked to or inspired by the Islamic State, the authorities said.
The three men arrested on Tuesday were identified only by their first names and last initials, in keeping with German privacy laws. They entered the country in November by traveling through Turkey and Greece and had been living in refugee shelters north of Hamburg, the German news media reported.
In October, the suspects “pledged to an Islamic State operative responsible for operations and attacks outside of Islamic State-held territory to travel to Europe,” where they were to carry out a planned attack or await instructions, prosecutors said.
I have an old acquaintance named Sam who has a hell of a deal for you.
Sam is actually a pretty famous guy with a big reputation. Unfortunately he has been a bit down and out on his luck lately… but he’s trying to make a comeback. And Sam is prepared to float you a really great investment opportunity.
Here’s the deal he’s offering: you give Sam your hard-earned retirement savings. Sam will invest your funds, and pay you a rate of return.
Granted, the rate of return he’s promising doesn’t quite keep up with inflation. So you will be losing some money. But don’t dwell on that too much.
And, rather than invest your funds in productive assets, Sam is going to blow it all on new cars and flat screen TVs. So when it comes time to make interest payments, Sam won’t have any money left.
But don’t worry, he still has that good ole’ credibility. So even though his financial situation gets worse by the year, Sam will just go back out there and borrow more money from other people to pay you back.
Of course, he will be able to keep doing this forever without any consequences whatsoever.
I know what you’re thinking– “where do I sign??” I know, right? It’s the deal of the lifetime.
This is basically the offer that the President of the United States floated last night.
And like an unctuously overgeled used car salesman, he actually pitched Americans on loaning their retirement savings to the US government with a straight face, guaranteeing “a decent return with no risk of losing what you put in. . .”
This is his new “MyRA” program. And the aim is simple– dupe unwitting Americans to plow their retirement savings into the US government’s shrinking coffers.
We’ve been talking about this for years. I have personally written since 2009 that the US government would one day push US citizens into the ‘safety and security’ of US Treasuries.
Back in 2009, almost everyone else thought I was nuts for even suggesting something so sacrilegious about the US government and financial system.
But the day has arrived. And POTUS stated almost VERBATIM what I have been writing for years.
The government is flat broke. Even by their own assessment, the US government’s “net worth” is NEGATIVE 16 trillion. That’s as of the end of 2012 (the 2013 numbers aren’t out yet). But the trend is actually worsening.
In 2009, the government’s net worth was negative $11.45 trillion. By 2010, it had dropped to minus $13.47 trillion. By 2011, minus $14.78 trillion. And by 2012, minus $16.1 trillion.
Here’s the thing: according to the IRS, there is well over $5 trillion in US individual retirement accounts. For a government as bankrupt as Uncle Sam is, $5 trillion is irresistible.
They need that money. They need YOUR money. And this MyRA program is the critical first step to corralling your hard earned retirement funds.
At our event here in Chile last year, Jim Rogers nailed this right on the head when he and Ron Paul told our audience that the government would try to take your retirement funds:
I don’t know how much more clear I can be: this is happening. This is exactly what bankrupt governments do. And it’s time to give serious, serious consideration to shipping your retirement funds overseas before they take yours.
Those green pieces of paper are Federal Reserve notes. “Notes” in this case meaning liabilities to the central bank of the United States.
That makes you, me, and anyone else holding those green pieces of paper essentially creditors of the Federal Reserve, whether we signed up for it or not.
The Fed is theoretically like any other business. On one side of its balance sheet, it has assets. On the other side, it has liabilities.
The Fed is unique, though, in that its liabilities– namely Federal Reserve Notes– are passed off as money in the Land of the Free.
And they have a legal monopoly in this money business. Just ask Bernard von NotHaus, the founder of Liberty Dollar who was labeled a domestic terrorist and convicted for minting silver coins to be used as a competing money.
Moreover, the Fed has the ability to increase its liabilities at will. Mr. Bernanke can conjure additional Federal Reserve notes out of thin air and pump them into the system.
And at this point, thanks to a long-standing policy of wanton money printing, the Fed has more liabilities than ever before in its history. By an enormous margin.
This precarious balance sheet is dangerous, because if the Fed goes bust, everyone loses.
Is it even possible for a central bank to go bust? Definitely. Zimbabwe and Tajikistan are infamous examples.
And most recently it happened in Iceland. The banking system there collapsed from being so highly leveraged, and Iceland’s central bank suffered tremendous losses.
The end result was insolvency, and the central bank’s liabilities, i.e. the Icelandic kronor, went into freefall, losing 60% against the dollar and euro in a matter of days.
So yes, it does happen. And the consequences are devastating.
But how likely is it that the Fed could go bust?
In its most recently published balance sheet, the Fed listed assets valued at $3.5 trillion.
Most of this is US Treasuries and ‘agency’ debt securities. You probably remember those– the toxic mortgage debt that blew up a few years ago like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Not exactly low risk.
Meanwhile, the Fed has become one of the biggest creditors of the United States government… which has managed to accumulate more debt than any government in the history of the world.
Of course, the only way the US government can pay interest to the Fed is by going into even more debt (which the Fed then has to buy).
Every time this happens, the Fed’s already razor-thin capital gets smaller and smaller, and the Fed’s balance sheet becomes riskier and riskier.
In fact, the Fed’s capital ratio (1.53%) is lower than Lehman Brothers when they went bankrupt in 2008.
But what happens if the Fed becomes insolvent?
In the case of Iceland, the government bailed out its central bank.
Iceland’s government went from being essentially debt free to having debts in excess of 100% of the country’s GDP, just to bail out the bank.
But the US, Japan, and Europe are already too indebted to bail out their central banks. An insolvent government cannot bail out an insolvent central bank.
The IMF is not an option either. The US, EU, Japan, etc. make up roughly half of the IMF capital quota– these are the countries who fund the IMF, not the other way around.
There really is no backstop for the Fed. The buck, so to speak, stops here. And with a capital ratio of just 1.53%, the Fed’s balance sheet is already in precarious financial condition.
Given that the Fed’s assets are so closely tied to the finances of the US government, the outlook should concern independent, thinking people.
If they go bust, the value of Federal Reserve notes (i.e. ‘dollars’) is going to plummet… along with the paper wealth of anyone holding them.
Congress is beginning its new year with a budget deal that busts right through “caps” it was supposed to have on spending. At Heritage, we want to hold Congress accountable for its tax-and-spend ways, even as Members claim there’s no room to cut.
A good place to start is understanding the mountain of debt Americans are already under. Check out and share our infographic below that puts it in perspective.
Last Wednesday, President Barack Obama dismissed the scandals that have engulfed his administration as “phony.”
“With an endless parade of distractions and political posturing and phony scandals, Washington’s taken its eye off the ball,” Obama said in a campaign-style speech on the state of the economy. “And I’m here to say this needs to stop. This needs to stop. Short-term thinking and stale debates are not what this moment requires. Our focus has to be on the basic economic issues that the matter most to you – the people we represent.”
Obama didn’t mention any controversies by name, so he may need reminded of a few. Starting with the decision of his Department of Justice to not prosecute members of the New Black Panthers for voter intimidation and the fiasco of Fast and Furious, his administration was off to the races with controversy. Obama’s disregard for the law has been rampant from the auto bailout to the illegal war in Libya to the most recent decision to administratively decide to change portions of the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. Throw in the use of the Internal Revenue Service to harass conservative and religious groups, revelations about the National Security Agency spying on American citizens and the Sept. 2012 terror assault in Benghazi, Libya and the associated cover-up have all brought unwanted scrutiny on the White House.
White House press secretary Jay Carney also used the term “phony scandals” earlier Wednesday in an appearance on MSNBC. I would say to the press secretary and even the president that just because MSNBC chooses not to cover the stories of the Obama administration’s misdeeds, does not mean that they didn’t take place.
Earlier this month, Chris Matthews of MSNBC wondered on air, “When is President Obama going to get some credit—and this is like Rodney Dangerfield—when’s he going to get some credit for this amazing economy that’s coming back?”
I felt that to be an odd request…to give credit for the economy to Obama.
For the entire Obama term in office it has been standard policy that when government officials say the economy is bad to blame George W. Bush…or the is Euro-crisis…or Bush…or big business…or Bush. Anybody but the current administration. It has been the policy to, when government officials say the economy good, to give all of the credit to Obama.
We are in Obama’s second term, so they have to skew the data to make it look good and then give President Obama full credit.
I want President Obama to accept the much deserved credit for this failing economy. However, I understand it’s not just Obama. It’s his entire team, including the media and even many on the Republican team who should share the credit.
So let’s get down to it and take a look at the Obama economy and at Matthews’ insistance, give the credit to President Obama.
The report that had just been released causing the Matthews request was the February jobs report which contained some encouraging news. National Journal’s Michael Hirsh wrote that the BLS numbers gave President Obama “what he’s wanted for four years: an unemployment rate that’s below where he started as president, 7.7 percent.” But Hirsh was guarded in his optimism, also acknowledging that “things are not really as good as the numbers suggest, and they are all but certain to get worse.”
No such considerations entered into the mind of Chris Matthews when he wondered aloud on “Hardball” when Republicans were going finally make sure that Obama got “credit for this amazing economy that’s coming back.”
Reality, however, is not quite as clear cut as the cheering Matthews would have Americans believe.
While 236,000 Americans found jobs in February, 296,000 stopped looking. Once an unemployed person has run through 99 weeks of unemployment compensation, moreover, he no longer exists in the eyes of the Labor Department’s statisticians, and is thus no longer counted as unemployed.
A record 89.3 million Americans are no longer counted as unemployed. That includes people who have retired, but it also includes people who have simply given up looking for work. Millions of people are in this category. When millions have given up looking for employment because not many businesses are hiring anymore, that indicates that the economy is not doing well at all, and that in reality, the unemployment rate is higher.
Still, Matthews wants Obama to get credit for this amazing economy, so we give him credit for the facts reported above.
But wait, there’s more!!
The United States Department of Agriculture quietly released new statistics related to the food stamps program, officially known as SNAP (the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program). The numbers reveal, in 2012, the food stamps program was the biggest it’s ever been, with an average of 46,609,072 people on the program every month of last year. 47,791,996 people were on the program in the month of December 2012.
The federal government also says that in a given month in 2012, the number of households on food stamps was 22,329,713.
On top of that, every month, 14 million people now get a disability check from the government.
The federal government spends more money each year on cash payments for disabled former workers than it spends on food stamps and welfare combined. Yet people relying on disability payments are often overlooked in discussions of the social safety net. People on federal disability do not work. Yet because they are not technically part of the labor force, they are not counted among the unemployed.
In other words, people on disability don’t show up in any of the places we usually look to see how the economy is doing. But the story of these programs — who goes on them, and why, and what happens after that — is, to a large extent, the story of the U.S. economy.
But wait, there’s even more!!
The U.S. economy is teetering further on the edge of recession, with revised numbers showing economic growth clocking in at an anemic rate at the end of 2012.
Analysts expect the numbers to pick up this quarter, but a succession of revisions for the final months of last year give a bleak picture. The Commerce Department estimated Thursday that the gross domestic product, the total output of goods and services, grew at an annual rate of 0.4 percent in the October-December quarter. That was just slightly better than the previous estimate of 0.1 percent, and an estimate before that showing the economy actually contracted in that period.
Technically, the economy has been in recovery since 2009. But for many, it doesn’t feel like it — recent public opinion surveys reflect the dour mood several years after the last recession’s end.
To be completely fair, the bright spots at the moment appear to be in the financial markets, where the Dow is still riding a surge, and in real estate. Sales of previously occupied homes rose in February to the highest level in nearly three years, while builders broke ground on more houses and apartments. Annual home prices jumped in January by the most since June 2006, according to a closely watched measure.
So, yes, this is absolutely Obama’s economy now and he should get all of the credit for it…the good as well as the bad.
The following article was posted at SovereignMan.com and I thought I should pass it along.
In another brilliant move aimed at destroying the few table scraps of economic freedom which remain in the Land of the Free, a bipartisan group of esteemed lawmakers in the United States Congress has introduced the Marketplace Fairness Act of 2013.
Remember the golden rule of legislation: the more noble the name of the law sounds, the more disastrous its results. This one is no exception.
Generally speaking in the United States, retailers must collect state and local sales tax at the point of sale. When you walk into a Main Street shop in Anytown, California, you’ll pay the sticker price PLUS hefty city and state sales taxes that can easily be 10% or more.
But if you purchase goods through the mail from a company in, say, Nevada or Oregon, either through the mail or online, no sales tax is charged. This goes back to a 20+ year old US Supreme Court decision which exempted out of state companies from collecting sales tax.
Well, according to the intellectual luminaries in Congress, local retailers are at a disadvantage, effectively having to charge 10%+ more for their products than an out-of-state retailer.
And by God, they’re going to do something about it. After all, it’s just not ‘fair’ that mom and pop retailers on main street have to charge sales tax, while mom and pop retailers on the Internet do not.
The Marketplace Fairness Act of 2013 aims to level the playing field by requiring online retailers to collect some sort of sales tax from their customers. Needless to say, if the bill is passed, it will be the customer who ends up paying the price.
The thinking on this is completely absurd.
One of the primary reasons people shop online is because online retailers have reduced overhead costs, and these cost savings are passed along to consumers in the form of lower prices.
So if the idea is to ensure that brick and mortar retailers don’t suffer any competitive price disadvantage, why not just regulate prices altogether? Or even better, why not just abolish sales taxes altogether?
That’s because this bill has absolutely nothing to do with fairness, and everything to do with the government taking more of your money. This bill constitutes STEP 1 on the road to a national sales tax, which, given the state of national and state balance sheets, is a financial inevitability.
It’s the most insidious form of deceit– creating new taxes masquerading as ‘fairness’. It’s a total fraud, brought to you by the same people who tell us that there is no inflation, and that we must sexually assault airline passengers in order to protect ourselves from men in caves.