D.C. accidentally uploads private data of 12,000 students

The private information of about 12,000 D.C. Public Schools students was accidently uploaded to a publicly accessible website, the District’s Office of the State Superintendent of Education announced Thursday in an internal memo.

The information, which was online for several hours Tuesday, has been taken down.

Officials said someone in the office uploaded the data to a public D.C. Council account at Dropbox — the online service offers large amounts of digital storage space — ahead of a council oversight hearing on the education department.

All 12,000 students, who attend public and charter schools in kindergarten through 12th grade, are part of the Individualized Education Program, which provides tailored education plans for students with special needs.

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Bank of America Increases CEO Moynihan’s Pay 23% to $16 Million

Bank of America Corp. awarded Chief Executive Officer Brian T. Moynihan $16 million for his work last year, raising his potential compensation 23 percent.

Moynihan received $14.5 million in stock grants for 2015 and left his salary unchanged at $1.5 million, according to a regulatory filing Friday. A year earlier, the Charlotte, North Carolina-based bank gave the CEO of the second-biggest U.S. bank a $13 million pay package.

Moynihan, 56, survived a battle with investors in 2015 over whether he should be stripped of his role as chairman as the bank’s stock lagged behind peers. The company also wrangled with regulators, as it was forced to resubmit its capital plan under the Federal Reserve’s annual stress test. Moynihan slashed expenses 24 percent last year, partly by putting some of the bank’s biggest legal woes behind it.

Bank of America shares slid 5.9 percent in 2015, trailing the 3.5 percent drop of the 90-company Standard & Poor’s 500 Financials Index.

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How A German Historian Predicted The Decline Of Western Civilization 100 Years Ago

Is Western Civilization in Decline? I think nearly everyone in the manosphere would agree that it is.

There is a lot of discussion these days about America and the other nations comprising Western Civilization being in decline, and there is certainly a lot of evidence to support this claim. Whether it be dying populations among the Caucasian races that created the civilization, unchecked immigration rapidly replacing native populations in Europe and the United States, evidence that America is currently and has been behaving as an imperialistic empire but is now slowly losing its power around the world, a culture that seems to completely disregard the importance of family, the building block of civilization, or a loss of religiousness and sense of purpose, signs that something is wrong are everywhere.

You may be surprised to learn that many of the things that have been happening to Western Civilization were written down in a predictive model of history written by German historian and philosopher Oswald Spengler nearly 100 years ago.

Oswald Spengler, Prophet of Western Decline

That said, Spengler has his critics, as do many misunderstood geniuses. Right or wrong, most of the attacks on his civilization model are made by those who cannot see the forest for the trees. Because of this, his genius work has largely gone unrecognized in modern times. As with many truths, “… in every culture and society there are facts which tend to be suppressed collectively, because of the social and psychological costs of not doing so,” as stated by researcher Peter Dale Scott. A lot of people seem to be turned off by a predictive model of history since the psychological cost of admitting that humans are subject to the same cycles in nature as other animals is quite high.

Whether you agree with his ideas or not, they’re intellectually fascinating, and worth a look. This article only scratches the surface of Spengler’s epic civilization model.

The Four Seasons

Spengler equated the four cycles in human civilizations to the seasons: Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter. In compiling his work, he studied the 8 High Cultures thought to have existed: Babylonian, Egyptian, Indian, Chinese, Mayan/Aztec, Greek/Roman or Classical, Arab and, finally, Faustian, or what we call Western civilization. He believed each of the eight civilizations went through phases, just like the seasons. While some of those cultures are still with us, they have not been dominant cultural forces since their Winter. For example, China was referred to as a Sleeping Giant until it picked up on some of the vitality of the West.

In Spengler’s model, each culture goes through a formative Culture Stage, followed by a decadent period known as Civilization. The culture period makes up the “organic” Spring and Summer of a civilization, and is when the civilization is inspired by its own art and religion. Autumn and Winter make up the Civilization phase, in which the society becomes inorganic and is based only on the organization created during the Culture phase. The creativity seen in the Culture period slowly fades away. The civilization stiffens, and becomes overpopulated, metropolitan, and uninspired. For the purpose of this article, we will focus mainly on Western Civilization and its expression of the four seasons.

Roughly speaking, each season makes up about 250 years. This procession of “seasons” happened to all civilizations Spengler studied. Spengler said that by using his civilization model he could make predictions so accurate they would astonish people. Indeed, since 1918 through the present day, his predictions for Faustian/Western Civilization have been spot on.

The full civilization model is available here.
Four Seasons

Spengler’s civilization model – as organic as the four seasons

The Culture Phase: Spring and Summer

Spengler wrote Western civilization entered its Pre-Culture stage before 1000 AD. During that time, there is what he calls, “Chaos of primitive expression forms. Mystical symbolism and naive imitation.” As with other civilizations coming into being, in Faustian civilization there is a lot of apocalyptic imagery in this period and a fascination with death. Architecturally, the Romanesque cathedrals constructed around this time mark the beginning of the new Faustian culture form. In literature, collective epics like Beowulf and works such as The Song of Roland are published. Politically, there are “tribes and their chiefs. As yet no Politics and no State.

Moving into Spring, there is a “powerful cultural creation from awakening souls, unity and [cultural] abundance. Great creations of the newly-awakened dream-heavy soul. Super-personal unity and fullness.” Some of Faustian Civilization’s expressions of this idea were as follows: The Holy Grail romances such as Perceval, the Story of the Grail are written. Architectural style shifts from Romanesque to Gothic Cathedrals. Gregorian Chant evolves as a musical form and we hear polyphony becoming the great Western musical form. (While we are discussing polyphony, an important note is that Spengler considered infinity to be the central, motivating idea behind Faustian/Western civilization. It is expressed in its music as polyphony, in its mathematics as infinitesimal calculus, and finally through Manifest Destiny/boundless exploration conducted by Western civilization which ultimately led it to the ultimate infinity – space.)

Politically, there is the formation of “national groups of definite style and particular world-feeling: ‘nations.’ Working of an immanent state-idea.” This is sub-divided into“The two prime classes (noble and priests). Feudal economics; purely agrarian values,” transitioning into “Actualizing of the matured State-idea. Town versus countryside. Rise of Third Estate (Bourgeoisie). Victory of money over landed property.”

Moving into Summer, we see these developments in the Culture: “Ripening consciousness. Earliest urban and critical stirrings.” In Faustian civilization, the dominant literature shifts from Grail romances to novels such as Don Quixote and Shakespearean plays. Architectural forms once again shift from Gothic Cathedrals to princely palaces and polyphonic musical forms evolve into Baroque, which is the period of the birth of Classical music. In politics we see “conflicts between aristocracy and monarchy. The political center shifts from castles and estates to the cities.

Spring_Summer

Political Epochs in Spring and Summer

1. Feudalism. Spirit of countryside and countryman. The “City” only a market or stronghold. Chivalric-religious ideals. Struggles of vassals amongst themselves and against overlord. 900-1500 AD.

2. Crisis and dissolution of patriarchal forms. From feudalism to aristocratic State. 900-1500 AD.

3. Fashioning of a world of States of strict form. 1500-1800 AD.

4. Climax of the State-form (“Absolutism”) Unity of town and country (“State” and “Society.” The “three estates”) 1500-1800 AD.

5. Break-up of the State-form (Revolution and Napoleonism). Victory of the city over the countryside (of the “people” over the privileged, of the intelligentsia over tradition, of money over policy.) 1800-2000 AD.

The Civilization Phase: Autumn and Winter

The body of the people, now essentially urban in constitution, dissolves into formless mass. Megalopolis and Provinces. The Fourth Estate (“Masses”), inorganic, cosmopolitan.

We have now entered the Civilization phase as Summer transitions into Autumn. The intellect of the civilization, fully developed, begins to sterilize away the culture’s early organic nature. Spengler calls it, “Intelligence of the City. Peak of strict Intellectual creativeness.” In the West, the Enlightenment occurs during this time. Classical music peaks and then declines as an art form, further marking the shift into the Civilization phase.

The civilization becomes metropolitan, first overpopulating its cities, only to eventually begin dying out once Winter arrives. In Autumn, true art dies out in favor of metropolitan “art for the masses.” Politically, there are “struggles between the aristocracy and the bourgeoisie, Revolutions, and Napoleonism.” The American Revolution occurs during Autumn. Also in autumn we see “urban rise; peak of disciplined organizational strength.” This is the peak of the civilization, which is then followed by a “fissure in the world-urban civilization; exhaustion of mental organization strength; and irreligiousness rising.”

According to Spengler, Western world has entered Winter and its civilization is ending. He describes Winter as the “dawn of Megalopolitan Civilization. Extinction of spiritual creative force. Life itself becomes problematical. Ethical-practical tendencies of an irreligious and unmetaphysical cosmopolitanism.”

Over the coming decades, Spengler expects the intellect of our civilization to fade, people to stop reading and thinking as the civilization as a whole loses interest in thought, and the government to become autocratic/tyrannical. Art will further devolve into “meaningless subjects of fashion.” The population comprising the civilization will continue dying off as it loses touch with the myths and culture it was founded upon. We are also experiencing the “spread of the Final World Sentiment” of our civilization as the spread of Socialism around the world. As government becomes autocratic we can expect “primitive human conditions slowly thrust up into the highly-civilized mode of living.” Our great works and most of our technology will fade and lie in ruins as the population comprising our civilization fades away. First the countryside and then the cities will depopulate (as seen in the Rust Belt and now cities like Detroit.) Spengler says we should also expect conquests of our now-exhausted civilization by “young peoples eager for spoil, or [foreign] conquerors” as the imperial machinery of the State falls apart.

Keep in mind – this was all predicted in 1918 by Spengler even though it sounds as if it was written today!

Winter_Sun

Political Epochs in Autumn and Winter

1. Domination of Money (“Democracy”). Economic powers permeating the political forms and authorities. 1800-2000 AD.

2. Victory of force-politics over money. Increasing primitiveness of political forms. Inward decline of the nations into a formless population, and constitution thereof as an Imperium of gradually-increasing crudity of despotism. 2000-2200 AD.

3. Private and family policies of individual leaders. The world as spoil. Egypticism, Mandarinism, Byzantinism. Historyless stiffening and enfeeblement even of the imperial machinery, against young peoples eager for spoil, or alien conquerors. Primitive human conditions slowly thrust up into the highly-civilized mode of living. After 2200 AD.

The Future, Echoing Roman Civilization

In the Winter of Roman politics there was a shift from the Roman Republic to Caesarism, or government led by a charismatic strongman. Eventually, the idea of representation broke down and there was a shift to bloody “force politics.”

Of course, our current government is modeled on the Roman system. There are even similarities between the two dominant parties. In Rome, the two dominant parties were the Optimates and Populares, the Republicans and Democrats of their day. This form of representative government eventually stops working because the system of checks and balances interfere with each other, causing gridlock. Force politics (killing people) eventually comes along to break the gridlock. (As an aside, some historians say it’s possible we entered this era in 1963 with the assassination of JFK by the military-industrial complex.) Arguably, this predictive model is spot-on with the current situation in the Western world. So, if Spengler’s model is correct, we are awaiting the rise of a dictator to come along and smash the rotten edifice of democracy sometime this century.

Democracy_Greece

Spengler thought Democracy was the form of government of a civilization in decline

Spengler on Democracy

Spengler did not have a very high opinion of democracy. He believed it was the form of government of a civilization in decline, and interestingly the idea of mass democracy arrived in the Winter of Faustian/Western Civilization. Spengler viewed democracy as a weapon of moneyed interests, who use the media to create the illusion that there is consent from the governed. To him, the notion of democracy is really no different than living under a plutocracy (government by a wealthy elite.) Using the media’s propaganda, money is turned into force and controls people’s lives.

The leftist causes that have dominated the last century, such as equalism, feminism, and Socialism, to Spengler, were only tools used to assist the moneyed powers to be more effective.

The decline is also marked by increasingly authoritarian leaders as the democracy breaks down. Monetary powers permeate the government, eventually destroying it. This is where we currently are on Spengler’s timeline, which leads to what Spengler expects will happen in the West: The rise of a a Caesar as democracy, dominated by money, crumbles under its own corruption. People will cease to participate in elections, and the best candidates will remove themselves from politics. Spengler thinks blood is the only force that can conquer the force of money.

A New Spring After the Winter?

Spengler’s predictions of decline, as prescient as they have been over the last century, may leave you feeling a sense of hopelessness after studying his work. However, as one culture and civilization fades away, it’s very likely another will arise as part of this organic cycle.

John David Gebser later studied Spengler’s work, and believes a new consciousness will emerge from the ashes of the old civilization. Just as Western civilization was built upon the ashes of Ancient Greece and Rome, a new civilization may well be built on the ashes of our own.

The Decline of the West, published in 1918 and largely unknown today, is work that very well could be among the greatest ideas ever conceived by the human mind. It smashes the linear model of history (always moving upward) presented in the public school system, and instead presents the idea that throughout history man and his civilizations go through periods of birth, growth, decline, and death.

NYPD Tracked Citizens’ Cellphones 1,000 Times Since 2008 Without Warrants

New York City police have tracked citizens’ cellphones over 1,000 times since 2008 without using warrants, according to public records obtained by the New York Civil Liberties Union.

The organization announced on Thursday that the NYPD has typically used “stingrays” after obtaining lower-level court orders, but not warrants, before using the devices. The department also does not have a policy guiding how police can use the controversial devices. This is the first time that the scope of stingray use by the nation’s largest police agency has been confirmed.

The devices, generically known as stingrays, work by mimicking cell towers and tracking a cellphone’s location at a specific time. Law enforcement agencies can use the technology to track people’s movements through their cellphone use. Stingrays can also detect the phone numbers that a person has been communicating with, according to the NYCLU. The devices allow law enforcement to bypass cellphone carriers, who have provided information to police in the past, and can track data about bystanders in close proximity to the intended target.

Mariko Hirose, the NYCLU attorney who filed the records request, said the records reveal knowledge about NYPD’s stingray use that should have been divulged before police decided to start using them.

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US Oil Price Tumbles To Near 13-Year Low On Growing Oversupply Concerns And Market Losses

Oil prices tumbled Thursday, spurred by growing fears of a global oversupply and falls in stock markets around the globe.

U.S. benchmark crude was down nearly 2 percent to $26.94 a barrel at 9:08 a.m. EST. Earlier in the session, it dropped to $26.22 — near its lowest level since late 2003. Brent crude, the global oil benchmark, was down 1.75 percent to $30.30 on London’s ICE Futures exchange.

Oil prices followed losses in the wider financial markets. Stock futures suggested an opening loss for the S&P 500 in New York, while the Stoxx Europe 600 fell as much as 3.9 percent, its lowest level since October 2014, the Wall Street Journal reported.

“Global equities have been a negative price directional driver for the oil complex,” Dominick Chirichella, analyst at the Energy Management Institute, told the Journal Thursday.

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$1.079 Trillion: Government Collects Record-High Taxes in First Four Months of FY 2016

Inflation-adjusted federal tax revenues hit a record $1.079 trillion for the first four months of fiscal year 2016, but the federal government still ran a $160 billion deficit during that time, according to the latest monthly Treasury Department statement.

Treasury receipts include tax revenue from individual income taxes, corporate income taxes, social insurance and retirement taxes, unemployment insurance taxes, excise taxes, estate and gift taxes, customs duties, and other miscellaneous items.

In the first four months of fiscal 2016, which included the months of October, November, December, and January, the amount of taxes collected by the federal government outpaced the first quarter of all previous fiscal years, even after adjusting for inflation. The 2016 fiscal year begins on Oct. 1, 2015 and runs through Sept. 30, 2016.

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1/3 Of Americans Say Special Interests Control Over Government Is Full Blown CRISIS

A new Gallup poll reveals that a third of Americans believe the power special interests now hold over government is a full blown crisis.

rateproblem_one

A total of 33 percent of respondents across the political spectrum said that special interests having too much control over what the government does has reached crisis level.

A further 51 percent say they view the issue as a “major problem,” meaning that a huge majority of 84 percent are deeply worried about the government being controlled by private entities.

Just 13 percent said that they see little or no problem in the matter.

In addition, close to a third of respondents also believe that the “failure of the government to solve major challenges” as well as representatives acting in the interest of their political party, rather than the country, also constitute crises.

rateporblems2

“Americans’ frustration with the federal government has been a rising force in politics,” Gallup notes.

“These major concerns about the workings of Washington are undoubtedly fueling the rise of unconventional presidential candidates in the 2016 election.” Gallup continues.

“Such perceptions could produce unexpected outcomes in the various phases of the 2016 presidential election, such as a political outsider or “anti-establishment” candidate winning the presidency.” the report concludes.

Previous recent polls revealed that six in ten Americans believe that the federal government has grown too powerful, with a record number of Americans now viewing Congress as corrupt, and trust in government hitting all time low.

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Steve Watson is a London based writer and editor for Alex Jones’ Infowars.com, and Prisonplanet.com.

Cologne Police Have Now Received over 1,000 Complaints after New Year’s Eve Sex Assaults

Six weeks after the mass sex assaults on New Year’s Eve in Cologne, the number of reported incidents continues to rise and has now surpassed 1,000.

Ulrich Bremer of the Cologne public prosecutor’s office told German daily Die Welt they had “so far received 1,054 complaints” from the night. Almost half of those (454) are for sexual assault, while a further 372 are reported thefts.

Mr Bremer added that the total number of victims now stood at 1,108 – the number of victims being higher as some people sought police help together. Only one complaint has so far been discovered to be unfounded.

Police have identified 59 suspects, the majority of whom are of Moroccan or Algerian origin. Only 13 people have been detained, however.

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Obama Wants ‘Billions For Gun Control’ In 2017 Budget

On February 9 President Obama released his 2017 budget proposal and it contains “billions for gun control.”

Much of this is to fund the various aspects of Obama’s January 5 executive gun controls, which include new FBI personnel to handle National Instant Criminal Background System (NICS) checks, more ATF agents, funding “smart gun” research, expanding background checks to trusts, etc.

According to The Hill, Tuesday’s budget proposal seeks “$1.3 billion” for the ATF alone. “Thirty-five million” of those dollars would go to funding the new ATF agents in the roles outlined the executive gun controls. Budget monies are also being sought for the “mental health” aspects of Obama’s gun controls–this includes the gun ban for some Social Security beneficiaries, which was co-opted into the list of executive controls.

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Germany Can Only Absorb 350,000 Migrants A Year Despite 1.5 Million Influx

A senior manager of Germany’s Federal Employment Agency (BA) has said there is only limited capacity for the national job market to absorb new migrants, and it is already significantly overstretched.

Speaking to a club meeting of Hamburg business journalists, BA board member and former left-wing political senator Detlef Scheele said the job market could absorb 350,000 new working age migrants a year — half of the 700,000 new jobs created in total annually.

Yet over 1.5 million migrants arrived in Germany last year, with 1.1 million registering for asylum.

Mr. Scheele’s comments support, and may even go further than the figures seen in a leaked Federal document from 2015, which admitted the government was expecting at least new 400,000 welfare claimants last year from the migrant crisis. The BA October migration estimate paper forecasted Germany was to receive over one million unskilled migrants that year.

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German Gun Ownership SKYROCKETS To 301,000 In Response To Migrant Crisis

The number of licences for ‘small weapons’ in Germany rose by 21,000 over the month of January, pushing the total number of papers held across the Federal Republic to 301,000.

The declaration of small weapon licences comes after a request by a Green Party member of parliament, who criticised German citizens’ decisions to invest in self defence as provocative. Green politician, security committee member, and former policewoman Irene Mihalic acknowledged the change was because of growing insecurity felt by the Germany people, reports Frankfurter Allgemeine, and said:

“Imagine that during major event like a carnival, if people acted rashly a weapon might only provoke chaos and violence… when more and more people carry weapons, it is more likely to contribute to escalation than calm situations”.

The small arms licences being issued now in such great number only cover firearms such as blank firing pistols, and deterrent self-defence pistols.

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Government Employees Spent Almost $1 Million in Taxpayer Money at Casinos

The federal government is no stranger to waste—some examples are egregious. From July 2013 through June 2014, over 4,000 transactions, worth just short of $1 million, were conducted at casinos using the Department of Defense’s government travel cards.

Furthermore, nine hundred transactions, totaling $96,576, were made at “adult entertainment establishments.” As of May, 2015, only 41 percent of such actions went punished, with possible punishments including a “letter of reprimand.”

Originally adopted in 1998, the Travel and Transportation Reform Act sought to simplify the process of paying for the travel of federal employees by mandating usage of travel cards. These credit cards, managed by individual government agencies, have repeatedly proven to be a primary source of bureaucratic fraud against the American taxpayer.

Five short years after travel card implementation, reports of widespread misuse began to surface. Examples include unauthorized first-class trips to Hawaii funded by the Department of State and tens of thousands of dollars in “training” at golf and tennis resorts using funds meant to assist victims of Hurricane Katrina.

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$365,694,500,000: U.S. Merchandise Trade Deficit With China Hit Record in 2015

The merchandise trade deficit that the United States ran with China in 2015 hit a record high of $365,694,000,000, according to data released Friday by the U.S. Census Bureau and the Bureau of Economic Analysis.

“The deficit with China increased $22.6 billion to $365.7 billion in 2015,” the BEA said in a press release. “Exports decreased $7.5 billion to $116.2 billion and imports increased $15.1 billion to $481.9 billion.”

The $22,615,700,000 increase in the merchandise trade deficit the U.S. ran with China last year was a 6.6-percent jump from the $343,078,800,000 merchandise trade deficit the U.S. ran with China in 2014.

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Fed May Lack Legal Authority for Negative Rates: 2010 Memo

The Federal Reserve may not have the legal authority to set negative interest rates in the U.S., according to a 2010 staff memo that was posted late last month on the central bank’s website.

The document, which is dated Aug. 5, 2010, and was publicly released on Jan. 29, suggests the law that authorized the Fed to pay interest on excess reserves, or IOER, may not grant it the authority to charge interest. That could constrain the central bank’s ability to take interest rates below zero, though it might be able to find a work-around.

Speculation has increased that the Fed might consider negative rates in the next economic downturn as concerns of a U.S. slowdown have mounted. This also follows recent moves to cut borrowing costs below zero by central banks in Europe and Japan that show it can be done. The opinion of Fed staff back in 2010 was that this would difficult under U.S. law.

“There are several potentially substantial legal and practical constraints to implementing a negative IOER rate regime, some of which would be binding at any IOER rate below zero, even a rate just slightly below zero,” the authors wrote. “Most notably, it is not at all clear that the Federal Reserve Act permits negative IOER rates, and more staff analysis would be needed to establish the Federal Reserve’s authority in this area.”

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2016’s Economy Begins with a Whimper

January was the winter of our discontented stock market.

It was the worst January since 2008, when the Great Recession officially began. It was, in fact, the worst January in the history of the New York Stock Exchange. According to Citigroup, Inc., it was also the worst January ever for credit markets.

During many Fed tightenings, the stock market and overall economy improved for years afterward because the Fed stimulus had actually brought a temporary form of economic recovery. But rarely, if ever, has the mood turned dark so fast after the Fed officially announced that the recovery is sound and the life support can be removed.

So, even while I knew the global economic news was bleak, I didn’t expect the market bulls to snuff out their own ecstasy the day after the ball began. I can only imagine how much the permabulls wanted to go on air that next morning to revel in their we-told-you-sos about how the economy would do just fine after a Fed rate hike. Only they could not. They woke up to face reality.

Now that the Fed has decided to hold the Fed Funds target rate steady at their January meeting, everyone is nervously guessing which way the market will continue.

The Party in the Bull Pen Is Over

In December, Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen looked visibly happy when she was able to make the announcement of her lifetime — the claim that things looked optimistic enough for the Fed’s recovery that the Fed could finally end its economic aid. Never before has a Fed chairman looked less dour and more ready to crack open the champagne for the big Fed Christmas party.

Markets gleefully rewarded her with an immediate rise of 200 points in the Dow Jones Industrial Average during the remains of the day (December 16) after she delivered her glad yule tidings.

The market, however, decided to crash the party along Wall Street the next morning by dropping 253 points on December 17 — farther than it had risen during the celebration. The real gravity of those numbers was proven when the fall picked up speed for a 367-point plunge the next day, bringing the stock market down over 600 points before it closed at the end of last week.

And, so, the Fed’s rate hike made December the most volatile December for the Dow since the economic crisis of 2008. Moreover, since 1990, Decembers have been the least volatile month of the year. So, something is different this time. Something is very deeply and disturbingly different if you compare this seventy-degree day of winter solstice in Washington to any other.

It wasn’t your typical placid and merry December. Friday’s sell-off was the sharpest one-day plunge since September (up until January 7th’s 374-point plunge), and trading volume has been higher than usual in December as investors jockeyed to position themselves for the Fed’s anticipated rate rise. This is the feel of something big beginning to creep.

The sharp sell-off in stocks across all sectors of the Dow in the heaviest trading of the year came because of news that oil prices were still falling and fear over what this means for banks that are heavily involved in financing highly leveraged oil companies. For the past several years, such news would have caused the stock market to rise because it would mean another year of struggle in which the Fed would be hard at work trying to re-inflate the economy by giving free money to its friends in the financial sector.

All ten sectors of the S&P 500 also closed in negative territory the week of the Fed’s announcement. For the Dow, it was the third weekly decline in four weeks. Reality, in other words, hit the face like a glass of ice water the morning after the party. For the market bulls, it was off to work with a hangover.

The sobering fact that bank stocks were the first to decline was a surprise to many (including myself). Common wisdom throughout the market expected bank stocks to rise the fastest when the Fed raised rates because the rise in interest would actually improve bank profits since so many of their adjustable-rate loans and credit cards are pegged to interest rates that are strongly affected by the Fed’s target.

Banks will be collecting more in interest but they will be slow to start paying more interest on deposits, so were expected to benefit. Yet, financials went down because banks ensnared in a commodities massacre look edgy.

Even high-tech stocks, which have been supporting the narrowly traded market have been falling with the king of stocks — Apple — down 15 percent since the rate hike.

The global market had gone into a similar slide two weeks earlier when the European Central Bank did a little “quantitative wheezing” that didn’t satisfy the demands of its junkies. It was the same with Japan, where five rounds of QE have now failed to jack up the economy any longer than the QE lasted. QE is so unsuccessful that Japanese income and household spending are in decline again, even with the Bank of Japan embracing negative interest rates for the first time ever.

Muslim Rape Gang Sentenced to 140 years for Abusing White Schoolgirl

The Telegraph & Argus reports that ten of the men were convicted of raping the girl in the town of Keighley when he was between 13 and 14 years old, while another was found guilty of sexual activity with the girl. A twelfth man had already pleaded guilty to rape and sexual activity with a child.

The trial last year heard how the girl was “raped in car parks, parks and churchyards” in the small town in the north of England. Judge Roger Thomas QC told Bradford Crown Court: “In 40 years of practice, I have never seen a dock that has been as insolent and disrespectful as this one. I have the poorest of opinions about the defendants.”

The court heard how the man branded the girl a “little white slag” and a “white bastard” as she laid crying on the floor. She was passed around the gang by a “nasty” 17-year-old drug dealer named Ahmed Al-Choudhury who allegedly first raped her in a churchyard after she refused to continue delivering drugs for him. He is thought to have fled abroad.

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Record Number of People Reject US Citizenship in 2015

The number of people who decided to dump US citizenship last year surged, breaking all records ever registered.

At least 4,279 people rejected US citizenship and green cards last year, surpassing the previous record set in 2014 by 864 people, according to a US Treasury Department report.

Andrew Mitchel, an international lawyer analyzing Internal Revenue System (IRS) data, told the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) that 2015 was the third year in a row which beat prior records regarding deliberate deprivations of US citizenship.  He noted that the tendency may be related to the “hassle and cost of complying with US tax law.”

The expert have suggested that the trend could be caused by US authorities’ efforts to tackle unregistered offshore accounts. The campaign kicked off in 2009, when the Swiss bank UBS AG admitted it had called for its clients, including US taxpayers, to hide their assets abroad.

Since then, the US raised $13.5 billion in taxes and fines from foreign-based individuals and legal entities. The campaign caused hurdles for roughly 7 million US nationals living abroad, pronpting them to cut ties with their homeland.

Under US legislation, American expatriates face double taxation and can only get part of their money back, tax lawyer Philip Hodgen pointed out.

In 1995, the US increased fines for Americans living abroad. Now if expatriates don’t return tax forms on time – even unintentionally – they will have to pay the state up to $70,000 in fines, Mitchell added.

Another reason behind the record number of citizenship rejections is the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA). Passed in May 2015, this federal law obliges foreign banks to provide the US IRS with information about accounts heldy by American nationals. If banks fail to comply with the act requirements, the US can take up to 30 percent of payments proceeded by those financial establishments in taxes. Over 180,000 have adhered to FATCA so far.

The US is the only nation in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development  that imposes taxes on its citizens regardless to their location.

Obama Calls for $1.8 bn to Fight Zika

President Barack Obama on Monday asked for more than $1.8 billion in emergency funds to tackle the fast-spreading Zika virus at home and abroad.

The mosquito-borne illness has surged through Latin America, prompting fears that clement spring weather could bring an explosion in cases.

The White House said money is needed to fund vaccine research, insect control programs and other “essential strategies” to combat the virus and help “ongoing preparedness efforts.”

Obama’s formal request to Congress is expected soon.

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China Forex Reserves Fall Almost $100 bn in January

China’s foreign exchange reserves have fallen to their lowest level in more than three years, the central bank said Sunday, as Beijing sells dollars to stop the yuan from depreciating further.

The world’s largest currency hoard shrank by $99.5 billion in January to some $3.2 trillion, the People’s Bank of China said on its website, the lowest since May 2012.

Worries about China’s economy have pushed the yuan to a five-year low. The country saw its first-ever annual decline in foreign exchange reserves last year as Beijing tried to prevent a more drastic devaluation.

The PBoC is selling dollars to buy yuan amid a capital flight spurred by the slowing growth in the world’s second largest economy.

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Iraqi Migrant Rapes A 10-year-old Boy In Vienna

A 10-year-old boy was so brutally raped by an Iraqi migrant in a swimming pool cubicle that he had to be hospitalised for his injuries.

A lifeguard immediately called an ambulance after the boy went to him in floods of tears, while the Iraqi was entertaining himself by repeatedly jumping off the three-metre diving board.

Police arrested him on the spot at the pool in Vienna, and during an interrogation, he told police that it was a ‘sexual emergency’ as he had not had sex in four months.

The Iraqi, who had been working as a taxi driver in Vienna, told police he knew it was ‘a mistake’ and did not mean to ‘scar the boy’, reports Kronen Zeitung.

But the migrant, who had entered the country through the Balkans on September 5, official records show, said he could not help himself as he had an ‘excess sexual energy’.

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14 Year-Old Belgian Muslim Videotapes Migrants Gang Raping Drunk Girl

How awful.

A 14 year-old Muslim boy recorded himself and 6 other “Migrants” gang raping a passed out girl in Belgium.

Five of the six suspects are Iraqi migrants.

Belgian police investigating a tip-off about the possible radicalization of a 14-year-old male student have discovered a video implicating him and six others in the gang rape of an unconscious girl. Five of the suspects are Iraqi immigrants.

The video was shot on a phone camera and reportedly shows the assailants laughing, singing and dancing around their victim, who has passed out after drinking too much alcohol. The men pulled the girl’s pants down then groped and raped her, police told the Belgian media.

Police officials in Ostend, Belgium’s largest coastal city, discovered the evidence of the sex crime as they were investigating a 14-year-old student of the Ostend Technical Institute, who had been seen showing his friends a photo of himself wearing military garb and holding a sub-machine gun. The gang rape video was found on the boy’s phone. [MORE…]

10-Year-Old Boy Brutally Raped By Iraqi Migrant at Pool in Vienna

An Iraqi migrant has admitted to raping a ten year old boy in a Viennese swimming pool so ferociously that the boy had to be hospitalised for his injuries. The man said he knew it was wrong but couldn’t help himself as he hadn’t had sex in months.

Police investigators have ascertained that the 20 year old man entered Austria on the 13th September, travelling into the country via the Balkans.

On the December 2nd he brutally attacked the young boy, pulling him into a changing cubicle, pulling down his swimming trunks and assaulting him. Although the boy cried out he was not heard by anyone, Kronen Zeitung has reported.

Following the attack, the Iraqi amused himself by diving repeatedly from the three metre board. The young boy, meanwhile, went to a lifeguard in tears and told him what had happened. The police were immediately called and were able to arrest the Iraqi on the spot, while the boy was taken to hospital suffering from serious injuries.

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2 NYPD Officers Shot In The Bronx, 1 Suspect Dead

Two NYPD officers were shot Thursday night in the Melrose Houses development in the Bronx, and one suspect was killed by an apparent self-inflicted gunshot afterward.

Around 8 p.m., the officers were shot and wounded in a Melrose Houses building at 320 E. 156th St., at Cortlandt Avenue, according to police First Deputy Commissioner Benjamin Tucker.

Three officers had been conducting a vertical patrol in a sixth-floor stairwell in the public housing building when they found two suspects, Tucker said.

Police approached the suspects in the stairwell, and one suspect continued walking to the seventh floor carrying a black duffel bag, sources told CBS2.

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Code 291: Swedish Police Cover-Up Thousands of Crimes Involving “Refugees”

Swedish police have covered up thousands of crimes involving migrants over the past four months, all of which have been classified under a secret ‘291 refugee code’ designation, it has been revealed.

According to a report in Swedish newspaper Svenska Dagbladet, around 5,000 incidents have been kept secret, including 559 cases of violence, 194 assaults, two terror threats and four rapes.

The article explains that the incidents have been covered-up because of a directive from the National Operational Department that any information pertaining to the behavior of “refugees” be censored.

Official sources blamed the violence on “traumatized people” being kept in “overcrowded places,” with NOA commander Thomas Wallberg adding that it was “sad” the information wasn’t made available to the public.

Wallberg also “told the newspaper that there are even more incidents than the Swedish newspaper has (not) been given access to,” reports Speisa.

Police have also been ordered not to reveal how much resources they have used to deal with refugees entering Sweden, with one officer telling Dagens Nyheter that the secret code was “absolutely ridiculous”.

Last month, Svenska Dagbladet also reported on a directive that police were not to give descriptions of refugee criminals involved in “everything from minor traffic accidents to serious crimes like robbery, abuse and murder” so as not to appear “racist”.

However, accusations of Swedish police covering up crimes linked to migrants stretch back further, with details of the molestation of women by Muslim migrants at a music concert in Stockholm last summer being kept under wraps so as to “avoid an anti-immigrant backlash”.

Authorities have been caught hiding crimes committed by migrants from the public in several other European countries, including Germany, where details of the New Years Eve sex attacks on hundreds of women in Cologne were initially buried.

Police in Detmold also refused to divulge details about the rape of a 13-year-old girl at a migrant camp because they did not want to “give legitimacy to critics of mass migration”.

Germany’s top broadcaster ZDF is also refusing to run crime stories about Muslim rape suspects because, in the words of Editor in chief Ina-Maria Reize-Wildemann, “We don’t want to inflame the situation and spread the bad mood. [The migrants] don’t deserve it.”

Earlier this week, former head of ZDF Bonn Dr. Wolfgang Herles revealed that the station takes orders from the government on what to report and that journalists are, “not allowed to say anything negative about the refugees”.

As we highlighted back in October, police in Finland were also ordered by the country’s national police board not to publicly identify migrants as criminal suspects over concerns that doing so would encourage a ‘racist’ backlash against the wave of asylum seekers entering Scandinavia.

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Paul Joseph Watson is the editor at large of Infowars.com and Prison Planet.com.

$19 Trillion and Counting: The Dangers of Unlimited Debt

The statutory limit on how much debt the federal government can accumulate is back in the news, but this time it’s not because Washington is close to breaching it. That’s not a present concern thanks to the year-end bipartisan spending spree that included a suspension of the debt limit until March 2017. The news is that a report from the House Financial Services Committee found that the Obama administration’s Treasury Department has been repeatedly misleading the American public on the matter.

Treasury has routinely rejected the idea that once the government reaches the debt limit, federal spending could be prioritized to avoid a default. During a previous debate over the debt limit in 2011, my colleague Jason Fichtner and I wrote a paper explaining that even if Treasury is unable to issue more debt, it can still avoid a default and thus give policymakers more time to implement reforms that would put the government on a more sustainable fiscal path.

Contrary to Treasury’s claims, we argued that it has several financial management options to continue paying the government’s primary obligations. Specifically, Treasury could use incoming tax receipts to cover high priority claims including the interest on existing debt, the principal on that debt, Social Security benefits, and more. Government assets could also be liquidated to pay bills.

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Judge Makes Government Pay Legal Fees to Store Owner Whose $107,700 Was Seized by the IRS

A federal court delivered a victory to a North Carolina convenience store owner from whom the IRS had seized $107,700, directing the government to reimburse him for  more than $20,000 in legal fees and expenses.

Lyndon McLellan, who owns a convenience store in Fairmont, N.C., already had won back the $107,700 the Internal Revenue Service took from him in 2014.

A federal judge ruled Tuesday that the federal government is required to pay McLellan’s legal fees, expenses and interest earned on the money the IRS seized in a case that could set a “powerful precedent” for victims of forfeiture fighting to be made whole.

“When the government takes people’s property without justification and then tries to walk away—what this decision really stands for is the idea that the government doesn’t get to put the cost of its mistake on the person who has done nothing wrong,” Robert Johnson, a lawyer with the Institute for Justice who represented McLellan, told The Daily Signal. Johnson added:

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81% of Germans say refugee crisis ‘out of control’ under Merkel govt – poll

More than four in five Germans believe Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government isn’t controlling the refugee crisis, and welcome tougher measures to deal with it, a poll by ARD Deutschlandtrend has suggested.

The vast majority of the country’s citizens disagree with Merkel’s refugee policy, according to the poll conducted last weekend. Asked whether “the federal government has the refugee situation under control,” 81 percent of Germans answered “No,” with just 18 percent saying “Yes.”

Those answering “No” also included members of Merkel’s Christian Social Union, with a notable 67 percent of the party’s voters unhappy with the chancellor’s policies.

Voter support for Merkel’s government dropped from 57 percent in July 2015 to 38 percent on February 2016 – “the worst estimate during the current government’s term,” the pollster said.

Germany’s right-wing Alternative for Germany (AfD) which advocates an anti-immigrant agenda became the third most influential party. It was projected to get 12 percent of the vote if the federal election were held this Sunday.

Most Germans also think more restrictive measures towards refugees and asylum seekers must follow.

A remarkable 88 percent believe the government should curb benefits for refugees who fail or are unwilling to integrate into German society, with 10 percent saying “No” – a measure previously announced by Germany’s Labor Minister Andrea Nahles.

Introducing tougher border control on the EU’s external frontiers and a more detailed processing of asylum seeker applications, debated over the past months in Germany, was also widely supported. Some 63 percent said “Yes” to install the EU’s external border, while 33 percent were opposed.

Consequently, 53 percent of Germans said border controls within EU countries – seen as threatening the Schengen border-free zone by many in Brussels – should be introduced as well.

According to 77 percent of respondents Europe must also set up refugee centers at the EU’s external borders to process migrants’ applications and send back ineligible asylum seekers.

The poll came alongside the so-called “Asylum package II” (Asylpaket II) – the newest set of measures by the German government designed to toughen refugee policies. The package includes putting limits on the number of asylum seekers admitted to Europe, and also an attempt to integrate those who have already reached Germany. Refugees will have to take integration courses, costing €10 a month.

Merkel’s government has come under fire for the chancellor’s “welcoming policy” towards refugees, who have recently arrived in Germany in overwhelming numbers. Although she says Germany can cope with the 1.1 million who have come in 2015 – and potentially more in 2016 – nearly 40 percent of Germans believe Merkel should step down over her refugee policy, according to January’s Insa survey for Focus magazine.

10,000 Migrants to be Housed in Berlin’s Luxury Hotels While Local Homeless Go Without Shelter

The Berlin Senate has announced an audacious, and some would say totally inappropriate plan to house 10,000 migrants in mid level to luxury hotels in the city with a total price tag of at least 600 million euros.

The senate has requested a contract with Grand City Hotels to lease out 22 hotels to house migrants in the city. According to German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine the senate entered negotiations with London-based Hampton Holding, the owners of the popular Holiday Inn and Wyndam hotels in Berlin.

The costs break down at 50 euros a night, 1500 euros a month and 18,000 euros a year. The costs to rent an apartment in Berlin, even in the centre of the city average far lower prices. A quick look on apartment rental sites show much cheaper prices even in the centre of Berlin.

The company who own various hotels in the city like Hotel Berlin Mitte, the Berlin City East and City West, have been incredibly attracted to the idea as the government guarantees an occupancy rate of 95 per cent, something the hotels may only see seasonally rather than all year round when the capacity averages 60-65 per cent at best.

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John Cleese: Political Correctness Will Lead To 1984 Nightmare

John Cleese says political correctness has gone too far, especially on America’s college campuses, where he will no longer go to perform.

As BigThink reports, the very essence of his trade — comedy — is criticism and that not infrequently means hurt feelings. But protecting everyone from negative emotion all the time is not only impractical (one can’t control the feelings of another), but also improper in a free society.

Pentagon wants $582bn in 2017 budget, quadrupling of spending in Europe

President Obama will request $582.7 billion in funding for the Pentagon as part of the fiscal year 2017 budget, Secretary of Defense Ash Carter said.

It will be partly used to keep a competitive edge over Russia and China, and to quadruple spending in Europe.

Carter said part of the $582.7 billion will include $71.4 for research and development funding, adding that much of the money will focus on maintaining an edge over the competition. The defense secretary called Russia and China “our most stressing competitors.”

The budget will also include $7.5 billion to fight Islamic State, $8.1 billion for submarines, and $1.8 billion on munitions, according to Carter.

Carter said the budget was guided by five factors: the rise of power from Russia and China; the threat of North Korea to the US and its Pacific allies; Iran’s “malign influence” against allies in the Gulf; and the ongoing fight against Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL).

“We don’t have the luxury of just one opponent, or the choice between current fights and future fights – we have to do both,” Carter said. “And that’s what our budget is designed to do.”

He added that in the past, the Defense Department “tended to focus and plan and prepare for whatever big war people thought was coming over the horizon,” but that such tactics “won’t work for the world we live in today.”

Spending in Europe

The Pentagon will also more than quadruple its spending in Europe, from $789 million to $3.4 billion, to reassure allies and deter so-called Russian aggression. This is expected to include more US forces in Europe, more training and exercising, the positioning of military equipment, and improving infrastructure there.

“While we do not desire conflict of any kind with any of these nations – and let me be clear, though they pose some similar defense challenges they are very different nations and situations – we also cannot blind ourselves to the actions they appear to choose to pursue,” Carter said.

Islamic State

When speaking about ISIS, Carter said “we need to keep ISIL down.”

“Our strategic approach is to keep motivated local forces which are hard to find. We have to take Mosul and we have to take Raqqa in order to make sure that there is no Islamic State,” he said.

Carter noted that Americans will lead the fight against the militant group, but that other countries need to do their part.

“Many of them are not doing that much,” Carter said.

The Pentagon plans to boost its spending on the war against ISIS in Iraq and Syria by 50 percent from last year, to $7.5 billion. Of that total, $1.8 billion will go to buying more than 45,000 GPS-guided smart bombs and laser-guided rockets, Carter said.

The Defense Department will also aim to delay the retirement of the A-10 attack jet, which has been dropping bombs on ISIS, until 2020.

North Korea

Referencing North Korea, Carter said the US is “keeping an eye on the DMZ (Korean Demilitarized Zone) every minute of the day.”

“…Don’t forget nuclear weapons coupled with ballistic missiles in the hands of North Korea, coupled with…how do I say this…their odd demeanor [is a bad thing],” he added.

Gitmo

Carter said he would like to see Guantanamo Bay closed.

“I would like to see Guantanamo closed, but here…is the issue. There are people in the detention facility, there’s no way to say this, [that] have to be contained. So it needs to be closed safely…there needs to be another place to keep them.”

He added that he would “rather not leave this detention business to the next president. We need to work with Congress…”

Snowden

When asked about damaged inflicted by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, Carter said: “It was damaging to security, to work with other countries, but most importantly [it] hurt trust with industry. For companies, it has been used as a guise for protectionism. It has put our companies at a disadvantage. Some countries say ‘store your data in our country, it will be safer here.'”

“When I was a physicist, the generation before me had a reflex that it was important to use your knowledge for the public good. I do find that people in Silicon Valley, these are people who are where they are because they like to do things of consequence, they see defending our country as something of consequence,” Carter added.

Submarines & fighter jets

Meanwhile, the Pentagon’s next five-year budget proposal will seek $13 billion in funding for a new submarine to carry nuclear ballistic missiles, along with orders for more Boeing Co (BA.N) and Lockheed Martin Corp (LMT.N) fighter jets, sources told Reuters.

According to one of the sources, the Pentagon will underscore the need to fund all three areas of a US strategic deterrent “triad.” This includes a new Air Force bomber, a replacement for the Ohio-class submarines that carry nuclear weapons, and new nuclear-armed intercontinental ballistic missiles.

The budget will also reportedly fund the procurement of materials for the new submarines that take a long time to acquire, with funding of the first full new submarine to follow in fiscal years 2021.

The sources added that the Navy will spend over $4 billion on research and development of the new submarines, plus over $9 billion in procurement funding over the next five years.

The Navy will request funding for two Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornets as part of the fiscal 2017 war budget, and 14 in the fiscal 2018 budget, one of the sources said. It will likely add a request for 12 more Boeing Super Hornets to their list of “unfunded priorities” for fiscal 2017.

The five-year budget plan calls for Lockheed to sell a total of 161 F-35 fighter jets to the Navy and Marine Corps. These include 64 C-model jets that take off and land on aircraft carriers, and 97 B-model jets which can take off from shorter runways and land like a helicopter.

US Flexes Muscles, Plans to Quadruple Military Budget in Europe in 2017

The US Defense Secretary Ash Carter has announced plans to significantly increase military spending in Europe from US$789 million to US$3.4 billion next year and place more troops and equipment in Eastern Europe and the Baltic States, according to sources.

It follows reports in late 2015 that the US was planning to boost its presence in Europe. According to a defense source quoted in the New York Times: “This is a longer-term response to a changed security environment in Europe. This reflects a new situation, where Russia has become a more difficult actor.”

The US already has 65,000 troops in Europe and has been stockpiling resources in Eastern Europe and the Baltic region for more than a year. Poland has called for a permanent NATO troop presence in the country with President Andrzej Duda suggesting he will use an upcoming summit to commit to the proposal.

Cater told a morning meeting at the Economic Club of Washington Tuesday: “Another near-term investment in the budget is how we are reinforcing our posture in Europe to support our NATO allies in the face of Russia’s aggression. In Pentagon parlance this is called the ‘European Reassurance Initiative’.

“After requesting about US$800 million last year, this year we are more than quadrupling it to a total of UD$3.4 billion in 2017. That’s to fund a lot of things: more rotational US forces in Europe; more training and exercising with our allies; more pre-positioned warfighting gear; and infrastructure improvements to support all this.

“When combined with US forces already assigned to Europe — which are all substantial — all of this, by the end of 2017, will let us rapidly form a highly capable combined ground force that can respond across that theater if necessary,” Carter said.

12,000 Pieces of Equipment

The US Department of Defense announced in November 2015 that equipment from the European Activity Set (EAS) was scheduled to be delivered to Central and Eastern Europe. Approximately 1,400 pieces of equipment will be delivered to sites in Bulgaria, Lithuania and Romania.

Carter announced during a trip to Estonia earlier last year that the US will “temporarily” stage enough vehicles and associated equipment in Central and Eastern Europe to support an armored brigade combat team.

In a statement, the US Defense Department said that NATO said “the placement allows US rotational forces in the region to move more quickly and easily to participate in training and exercises.”

The items are part of the European Activity Set, which includes some 12,000 pieces of equipment, including tanks, infantry fighting vehicles and artillery. The EAS equipment will be moved around the region for training and exercises as needed, he said.

Carter also announced that Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Romania agreed to host company to battalion-sized elements of EAS equipment. Germany already hosts EAS equipment, according to defense sources.