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Military spending continues to fall in the West but rises everywhere else, says SIPRI‘, SIPRI Press Release, 14 April 2014.

Trends in world military expenditure, 2013′, SIPRI Fact Sheet, April 2014.

Click to view interactive map

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Inside the secret network behind mass surveillance, endless war, and Skynet

by Nafeez Ahmed

INSURGE INTELLIGENCE, a new crowd-funded investigative journalism project, breaks the exclusive story of how the United States intelligence community funded, nurtured and incubated Google as part of a drive to dominate the world through control of information. Seed-funded by the NSA and CIA, Google was merely the first among a plethora of private sector start-ups co-opted by US intelligence to retain ‘information superiority.’

The origins of this ingenious strategy trace back to a secret Pentagon-sponsored group, that for the last two decades has functioned as a bridge between the US government and elites across the business, industry, finance, corporate, and media sectors. The group has allowed some of the most powerful special interests in corporate America to systematically circumvent democratic accountability and the rule of law to influence government policies, as well as public opinion in the US and around the world. The results have been catastrophic: NSA mass surveillance, a permanent state of global war, and a new initiative to transform the US military into Skynet.

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Once Isis got near oil fields, the US sent drones to strike targets

by Tom Bawden

Conspiracy theorists have long insisted that modern wars revolve around oil. Now research suggests hydrocarbons play an even bigger role in conflicts than they had suspected.

According to academics from the Universities of Portsmouth, Warwick and Essex, foreign intervention in a civil war is 100 times more likely when the afflicted country has high oil reserves than if it has none. The research is the first to confirm the role of oil as a dominant motivating factor in conflict, suggesting hydrocarbons were a major reason for the military intervention in Libya, by a coalition which included the UK, and the current US campaign against Isis in northern Iraq.

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by Jena McGregor

Last Thursday, a technology blogger for Forbes magazine reported that IBM was planning to cut 26 percent of its total workforce — or some 112,000 jobs — in a “bloodbath” of layoffs that would begin this week. Headlines buzzed that this would amount to the biggest corporate layoff in history, and the stock appeared to rise on the news.

By Monday, however, IBM had sharply dismissed the report, calling the rumor “ridiculous” and “baseless,” putting the number at more like “several thousand people,” and noting it has 15,000 job openings, too. “If anyone had checked information readily available from our public earnings statements, or had simply asked us, they would know that IBM has already announced the company has just taken a $600 million charge for workforce rebalancing,” the company said in an emailed statement.

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A stock photo of Graphene based transistors. @unknown

by Ahmed Bilal

One of the major reasons that solar panels are facing such hurdles to replace conventional electricity sources is because they are very inefficient. The most efficient (and most expensive) panel is currently somewhere around 32 percent efficiency. However, scientists in Switzerland have figured out a way to utilize Graphene in solar panel design, raising its efficiency to an absolutely staggering 60% – a finally feasible amount.

The experiment was conducted by a team from École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) and no I cannot pronounce that and they were able to convert a single photon into electorns, producing an electric current. They did this by placing a thin layer of Graphene into an ultra high vacuum chamber. Electrons were subtracted and added chemically before the process (graphene doping). Then, it was blasted with a super fast pulse of laser light which excited the electrons in Graphene and put the whole material into a higher energy state. Since electric conduction is relative the new state was higher than before, resulting in current, and once again as it reverted back to its old state. This phenomenon can then be conducted as an electric current and used for power, and it all happens in a matter of femtoseconds, so a few quadrillionths of a second.

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[CAF Note: Obama Administration is dropping the proposal to tax 529 plans
I told you the week it was announced that it was DOA. You did not even need the Congress to DOA it. The idea of taxing middle class people trying to save for higher education in the hopes that this will help the middle class is something that would only happen in a country where only political dynasties run for President. Here is how bad things are – first The Economist editorial page points out that the American police state is destroying the US economy, then the Administration cancels the state and local share of asset forfeiture. This week, The Economist points out that America’s aristocracy privileged access to education may also destroy the economy, then the Administration cancels their insane plan to tax college savings. I can only wonder: has the City of London decided to save America and announce its intended policy changes in the editorial page of The Economist?  This week’s well deserved spanking of the American elite should not be missed.]

By the Editors, The Economist

WHEN the candidates for the Republican presidential nomination line up on stage for their first debate in August, there may be three contenders whose fathers also ran for president. Whoever wins may face the wife of a former president next year. It is odd that a country founded on the principle of hostility to inherited status should be so tolerant of dynasties. Because America never had kings or lords, it sometimes seems less inclined to worry about signs that its elite is calcifying.

…Loosening the link between birth and success would make America richer—far too much talent is currently wasted. It might also make the nation more cohesive. If Americans suspect that the game is rigged, they may be tempted to vote for demagogues of the right or left—especially if the grown-up alternative is another Clinton or yet another Bush.

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The American people need health care, not health insurance.”
~ Catherine Austin Fitts

by Catherine Austin Fitts

Personal health care choices have become a risky gauntlet in America. Increasingly, we are navigating between evils – like Homer’s mythical sea monsters Scylla and Charybdis

Personal choices in the health care area come down to what sea monsters you are willing to manage – and which ones you are not. Because these choices involve potentially life and death decisions, they are highly personal. We each have to weigh options for ourselves, as we must each live with the consequences.

Which is to say that I am about to tell you what I do, but I am not recommending it for you. You must assess your needs and risks which are likely different than mine.

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by Greg Hunter’s

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“What we need to do is always lean into the future; when the world changes around you and when it changes against you – what used to be a tail wind is now a head wind – you have to learn into that and figure out what to do because complaining isn’t a strategy.”  ~Jeff Bezos

By Catherine Austin Fitts

Every other Monday night is Team Awesome Solari Circle night. Members of the Solari Report team join by phone to manage our simulated $1 million investment portfolio

This week we will review my recommendations for portfolio allocations for 2015 based on the analysis in our Annual Wrap Up. We will enjoy a Market Round Up – a review of leading market indicators as well as performance in the major markets last week and consider team members individual picks for investments this week.

If we have time, we will continue our review of James Montier’s The Little Book of Behavioral Investing: How Not to Be Your Own Worst Enemy. It’s one of the books listed in the investment section of “Best Books for 2015? in the Annual Wrap Up.

Related Reading:

2014 Annual Wrap Up

Team Awesome Posts:

Part I Part II Part III

Part IV Part V Part VI

Part VII Part VIII