Financial sources feeds
Ahead of Tuesday's opening arguments in the Senate impeachment trial, House Democrats - seven impeachment managers led by Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff - filed their legal brief today.
The House legal filing (due by 5pmET) reiterates the findings of the House Intelligence and Judiciary panels, which, after hearing from witnesses and experts, settled on charging Trump with abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.
Additionally, the case that House prosecutors sent to the Senate references new evidence that wasn’t part of the impeachment inquiry, including material from Lev Parnas, an associate of Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, according to Democratic officials familiar with the argument.
President Trump's legal team outlined the fiery response to its impeachment summons, calling the two articles of impeachment passed by the House last month “a dangerous attack on the right of the American people to freely choose their president.”
The six-page document - which they stressed is different from the brief that is not due until Monday - offers a taste of the rhetoric expected to be deployed by the president’s defenders in the Senate.
“This is a brazen and unlawful attempt to overturn the results of the 2016 election and interfere with the 2020 election, now just months away,” the filing states.
Trump’s legal team, led by White House counsel Pat Cipollone and Trump personal lawyer Jay Sekulow, is challenging the impeachment on both procedural and constitutional grounds, claiming Trump has been mistreated by House Democrats and that he did nothing wrong.
Notably, at least four of the impeachment managers, including Schiff, are scheduled to appear Sunday on political talk shows.
Former Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) told Fox News this week that he predicts President Donald Trump’s Senate trial will be short and that the president’s best defense is a review of the transcript.
“The transcript is the single best piece of evidence that the president has,” Gowdy said. “Who brought up Rudy Giuliani’s name? It wasn’t Donald Trump. It was Zelensky. This was the second call, not the first call. If President Trump were really hell-bent on ensuring that Ukraine investigate the Bidens, would he not have brought that up in the first telephone call he had with Zelensky? Why wait till the second?”
“As far as the timing of this trial is concerned, Trey, they are estimates that it could be quick, it could last as long as six weeks,” Fox News co-host Sandra Smith said. “Where do you fall on that, and what is the length of time mean?”
“I mean God help us if it lasts six weeks,” Gowdy responded. “The investigation is over, so it’s Schiff’s job to present the case. If he’s going to present the case on the paper with the depositions, it shouldn’t take that long. I don’t need Adam to read the depositions to me; the jury can go read it themselves.”
“If they open it up to witnesses, and they want Bolton, and then there’s some Republicans that want four or five other witnesses, it could last six weeks,” Gowdy continued. “Sandra, I just have not met anyone whose opinion has changed during the pendency of this investigation. I can’t identify – maybe three open-minded jurors in the U.S. Senate. I just don’t, no matter how long it lasts, I don’t think it’s gonna change anyone’s mind in the Senate or among my fellow citizens. The shorter the better.”
Fox News co-host Bill Hemmer asked, “Did you want to give us a time frame for that?”
“I’m saying two weeks,” Gowdy said. “If it goes six weeks, then they’re going to have to make some hard decisions on which witnesses are important enough to hear from and which ones, while they may have relevant evidence, we just don’t – I think in terms of a real trial.”
“Why would you ever not call a witness if that witness has relevant information?” Gowdy continued. “How do you pick which ones to call and which ones not to? You can never do that in a real trial. So, if we’re going to open this thing up anew to a brand new investigation, then call everybody, and God knows how long that’ll take.”
“President Trump has done nothing wrong and is confident that this team will defend him, the voters, and our democracy from this baseless, illegitimate impeachment,” White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham said in a statement on Friday night.
A GoFundMe for a browbeaten Target manager has reached more than $18,000 after a notorious internet troll's temper tantrum over a mispriced toothbrush went viral.
Liberal journalist David Leavitt - who the late Anthony Bourdain once called a "gaping asshole" for mocking victims of a terrorist bombing - tried to publicly shame the Target manager, known as "Target Tori" after she refused to sell him a $90 toothbrush which had accidentally been marked at .01c, based on a Massachusetts law (he likely misinterpreted).
When Tori put her foot down, Leavitt called the cops and threatened to take Target to court.
I just had to call the police because @target Refused to sell me the toothbrush— David Leavitt (@David_Leavitt) January 17, 2020
After Leavitt's post went viral, he was caught in a lie trying to defend himself when he claimed to have not been to a dentist in over three years - only for an old tweet to surface in which he bragged about turning off Fox News in the Dentist's office.
And while the internet came to Tori's defense, President Trump's favorite meme maker - Carpe Donktum - set up a GoFundMe to send '#TargetTori on a vactation' which has raised more than $23,000 as of this writing.
Tori was reached, and full control of the GoFundMe has been granted to her.
Winnie the shit?
Facebook said on Saturday it was trying to figure out how the name of China's president-cum-dictator for life, Xi Jinping, appeared as "Mr Shithole" in posts when translated into English from Burmese, apologizing for any offense caused and saying the problem had been fixed.
The "error" emerged on the second day of Xi Jinping's visit to the Southeast Asian country, where Xi and state counselor Aung San Suu Kyi signed dozens of agreements covering massive Beijing-backed infrastructure plans. A statement about the visit published on Suu Kyi’s official Facebook page was littered with references to “Mr Shithole” when translated to English, while a headline in local news journal the Irrawaddy appeared as "Dinner honors president shithole”.
Umm. Facebook seems to be translating “Xi Jinping” written in Burmese as “Mr Shithole”.— Poppy McPherson (@poppymcp) January 18, 2020
This is a post on Aung San Suu Kyi’s official page, recounting her meeting with him yesterday... h/t @felizysolo
”kingdom of Mr Shithole” pic.twitter.com/B4V2cYjPJw
It was unclear how long the issue had lasted but Google’s translation function did not show the same error, prompting amused commentary on social media.
"Xi Jinping"— Rt Rev Sir Chris Pamplemousse Esq. 🇪🇺 #FBPE🕷 (@ChrisMousse3) January 18, 2020
No problem. 👍
Keep your head down, Zuck. 😬 https://t.co/UVk7Li8SK2
In a statement, Facebook said that “we have fixed an issue regarding Burmese to English translations on Facebook and are working to identify the cause to ensure that it doesn’t happen again,”
This issue is not a reflection of the way our products should work and we sincerely apologize for the offence this has caused," Facebook added and it had plenty of reasons to be concerned: China is Facebook’s biggest country for revenue after the US and the company is setting up a new engineering team to focus specifically on the lucrative advertising business there, Reuters reported last week.
“We are aware of an issue regarding Burmese to English translations on Facebook, and we’re doing everything we can to fix this as quickly as possible,” a spokesperson said in a statement.
“This issue is not a reflection of the way our products should work and we sincerely apologize for the offense this has caused."
This is not the first time Facebook has faced problems with translation from Burmese. In 2018 it temporarily removed the function after a Reuters report showed the tool was producing bizarre results. An investigation documented how the company was failing in its efforts to combat vitriolic Burmese language posts about Myanmar’s Rohingya Muslims, some 730,000 of whom fled a military crackdown in 2017 that the United Nations has said was conducted with “genocidal intent”.
It also showed the translation feature was flawed, citing an anti-Rohingya post advocating killing Muslims that was translated into English as "I shouldn’t have a rainbow in Myanmar."
Adding more to the ever evolving rationale for the Jan.3 Qassem Soleimani killing which has brought the Middle East to the brink of a new major war, President Trump told Republic donors Friday night that the IRGC Quds force chief was “saying bad things” about the U.S. before his death.
High-dollar donors were gathered for a fundraiser at Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate, where Trump offered a play-by-play of sorts surrounding the decision-making behind the admittedly bold and risky move to strike the elite Iranian military leader via drone as he passed through Baghdad's international airport. Soleimani was “saying bad things about our country” prior to the US taking action, Trump described of his decision.
"How much of this shit do we have to listen to?" Trump was quoted as saying in audio of the event obtained by CNN. "How much are we going to listen to?" The president continued, suggesting that Soleimani's anti-American invectives were ultimately a convincing enough reason to sway Trump toward issuing the final order.
Trump further admitted the killing "shook up the world" given that from the perspective of Iran and its allies "He was supposed to be invincible".
However, like with prior official statements surrounding the controversial military operation, which subsequently triggered a move in Iraqi parliament to boot American forces from the country, no specific evidence was offered that Soleimani was an "imminent" threat to US national security in the region. Previously contradictory statements have come out of the administration saying US embassies in the region were under threat of bombing.
Describing that the drone strike took out "two for the price of one" — in reference to slain Iraqi Shia paramilitary commander Abu Mahdi al-Mohandes, who had been at the airport to greet Soleimani, Trump gave a more detailed accounting than ever before of proceedings in the 'situation room' (which had been set up at Mar-a-Lago) that night.
According to CNN's summary of the new details recounted in the speech:
He went on to recount listening to military officials as they watched the strike from "cameras that are miles in the sky."
"They're together sir," Trump recalled the military officials saying. "Sir, they have two minutes and 11 seconds. No emotion. '2 minutes and 11 seconds to live, sir. They're in the car, they're in an armored vehicle. Sir, they have approximately one minute to live, sir. 30 seconds. 10, 9, 8 ...' "
"Then all of a sudden, boom," he went on. "'They're gone, sir. Cutting off.' "
"I said, where is this guy?" Trump continued. "That was the last I heard from him."
During these latest remarks Trump spoke of Soleimani as a "noted terrorist" who "was down on our list" and "was supposed to be in his country" before he landed in Iraq that fateful night.
However, during the night of boasting the president predictably avoided the question of what's next in terms of US relations with its uneasy Middle East ally. Washington now finds itself in the awkward and increasingly precarious situation of being at the center of popular Iraqi anger and wrath, while also wanting to 'stay the course' in the country to "curtail Iran".
It goes without saying the Soleimani killing has set off a chain of events which are entirely unpredictable and possibly disastrous for Americans in the region, which could lead to a another significant military conflict and quagmire in the region.
As the market is levitated by central bank liquidity to record high after record high despite stagnant fundamentals, one asset manager is quantifying the mass hypnosis and warns investors are in "grave danger."
"Investors should keep in mind that market valuations stand nearly three times the historically run-of-the-mill valuation levels from which stocks have historically generated run-of-the-mill long-term returns," says John Hussman, president of the Hussman Investment Trust, in his latest note to investors.
"In fact, the highest level of valuation ever observed at the end of any market cycle in history was in October 2002, and even that level is less than half of present valuation extremes."
To Hussman, this indicates that there's a wide disconnect between valuations and underlying fundamentals.
"This doesn't mean that valuations have 'stopped working,'" he said.
"It means that speculative psychology plays an important role over shorter segments of the market cycle, and that investors place themselves in grave danger if they assume, at points of extreme confidence, that valuations can be ignored."
The business media is awash with asset-gatherers and commission-rakers arguing that low interest rates "justify" higher stock market valuations, but as Hussman explains
"...that’s really equivalent to saying that 'low prospective returns in the bond market justify low prospective returns in the stock market'... Emphatically, nothing about that argument changes the fact that elevated stock market valuations imply lower future investment returns. We also have to ask how much of a valuation premium is actually ‘justified’ by low interest rates."
"It’s there that investors have inadvertently created a world of future pain for themselves."
So just how much pain?
"The risks that investors face don't care whether their investment horizon is 10 years, or 12 years, or 20 years," he said. "The problem is that at present valuation extremes, passive investors are locking in dismal future return prospects regardless of their investment horizon."
And so how do we get back to historically run-of-the-mill valuation norms?
The answer is simple:
"Wait nearly 30 years, allowing both the U.S. economy and U.S. corporate revenues to grow at the same rate as the past two decades, while stock prices remain unchanged, with no intervening periods of recession or investor risk-aversion, or alternatively (and far more likely), watch the S&P 500 lose two-thirds of its value over the completion of this market cycle."
Couldn't happen? Ask the Japanese...
Buy... and wait passively.
Presently, Hussman estimates that S&P 500 total returns will fall short of Treasury bond returns by about 2.5% annually over the coming 12-year period, which is equivalent to saying that we estimate negative total returns for the S&P 500 itself over that horizon.
Future generations, Hussman argues, seeing the collapse of this bubble in hindsight, will marvel that today’s speculative extremes were ever possible; that they were ever invited and embraced by investors.
They will look back on the entire episode, just as we look at the aftermath 1929, and 2000, and 2007, shaking their heads at the utter madness of it all.
"What QE actually did was to amplify yield-seeking speculation: in the attempt of each successive holder to get rid of their zero-interest hot potatoes, the valuations of stocks and bonds were progressively bid up until everything – all of it – is now priced at levels that promise near-zero future long-term returns. That’s exactly where we are today."
Finally, Hussman concludes, one thing is clear: the Federal Reserve seems to have little grasp of the non-linearities involved in managing such a deranged balance sheet.
In case you didn’t fully realize that something big is about to take place in America, file these two facts in your brain:
#1: The U.S. military, Carrier Strike Group Four (CSG4), is jamming GPS signals from Jan 16th – 24th
...which may overlap the planned deep state false flag event in Richmond, Virginia. Richmond is just at the margins of the range of the GPS jamming exercise map released by the military (see below). The epicenter of the so-called “exercise” is off the coast of Georgia. The official FAA announcement claims no jamming will take place on Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday next week, but we don’t trust the FAA, so your mileage may vary. Remember, too, that 90% of the American population below the age of 30 has never read a paper map and can’t use a compass.
The GPS jamming exercise continues through Jan. 24th and effects South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, Eastern Tennessee, Alabama and all of Florida. The AOPA (Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association) has posted details of the warning here.
The FAA has also issued a flight advisory warning aircraft pilots that GPS will fail for “several hours each day” during this military jamming exercise. See:
Map of the Carrier Strike Group Four GPS testing
Here are the areas that will be impacted:
Note that this is the U.S. military testing GPS jamming capabilities in anticipation of an event that would require such jamming (obviously). Consider the convergence of events now shaping up:
The impeachment trial of President Trump by the U.S. Senate, presided over by the treasonous sellout SCOTUS Justice Roberts, who already sold out America to Obama under the wildly unconstitutional “Obamacare” decision years ago.
The Jan. 20th “Lobby Day” event in Richmond, Virginia, where deep state operatives are absolutely trying to put together a false flag event to cause violence and blame gun owners.
The Mysterious drone flights over Colorado, Oklahoma and Nebraska, recently followed up by an emergency meeting with the Oklahoma legislature on a military base, where they were briefed about something “horrific” and “life altering.”
The FBI’s sudden attempts to confiscate high-end night vision tubes from distributors, indicating an emergency need for night vision capabilities in an agency led by a treasonous traitor (Chris Wray) and that has a long history of planning and carrying out terrorism plots across America, according to the New York Times and the Kansas City Star.
#2: FBI invokes “imminent domain” to seize high-end night vision tubes
The FBI is now claiming “imminent domain” to essentially seize high-end night vision tubes (that power night vision goggles) from distributors in the United States. This indicates the FBI has an emergency effort under way to acquire large numbers of night vision devices in anticipation of some urgent event which will take place at night (possibly another FBI false flag operation like Oklahoma City or the 1993 attempted World Trade Center bombing which was entirely masterminded by the FBI).
As Dave Hodges is reporting from The Commonsense Show, Bob Griswold from ReadyMadeResources.com relates a shocking event where he had already locked in the purchase of 70 night vision tubes from his distributor, and had those tubes invoiced and committed. Within hours, the FBI claimed imminent domain over the tubes, effectively “seizing” them from Ready Made Resources before they could even be shipped.
We reviewed a letter written to RMR by their distributor, confirming that the government preempted the order to RMR and claimed they had ownership over the gear because they were the government.
An hour ago, I spoke with Griswold on the phone to confirm the situation, and he told me he thought there were, “No more than 200 high-end night vision devices remaining in the entire country.” (This excludes the crappy gen 1 and gen 2 night vision devices, which nobody wants anyway.)
I’m told that inventory units are flying off the shelves and will be gone everywhere in the next 1-2 business days. Yes, there is a run on night vision in America, happening right now.
Here’s the relevant question: What is the FBI planning that would require hundreds of night vision devices?
Answer: Probably another bombing, mass shooting, mass casualty event or some other terrorism flashpoint that the FBI is famous for causing. Just ask the church members of Waco, Texas… or not, since they’re all dead, thanks to the FBI and ATF.
Earlier this week, Alex Jones declared on his broadcast that the deep state was going to “attempt to assassinate Trump next week.” Could this military exercise, and the FBI night vision devices, and the drones scanning the Midwest all be related?
Most likely, yes.
Listen to my urgent false flag warning podcast which covers the possibility of deliberate violence being staged for Monday, Jan. 20th, in Richmond, Virginia:
One family's crusade to break from the unbearable bondage of royalty is finally over, or in other words, Megxit is a done deal.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, also known as the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, will no longer use the titles His and Her Royal Highness "as they are no longer working members of the Royal Family" Buckingham Palace announced Saturday, as part of an agreement that lets them build a life away from intense media scrutiny as members of the royal family.
"Following many months of conversations and more recent discussions, I am pleased that together we have found a constructive and supportive way forward for my grandson and his family," Queen Elizabeth II said in a statement.
"Harry, Meghan and Archie will always be much loved members of my family," she said. " I recognize the challenges they have experienced as a result of intense scrutiny over the last two years and support their wish for a more independent life."
As disclosed in the agreement, Harry and Meghan "understand that they are required to step back from Royal duties, including official military appointments. They will no longer receive public funds for Royal duties."
They also shared their wish to repay Sovereign Grant expenditure for the refurbishment of Frogmore Cottage, which will remain their UK family home.
With Brexit no longer dominating the British press, the announcement that the couple wished to step back back from the royal family had thrown Britain’s monarchy into turmoil and dominated the headlines. Even though Harry has only a remote prospect of becoming king - he’s sixth in line, behind his father, brother, and nephews and niece - there was outrage that, with his wife, he wanted to become financially independent and "carve out" a "progressive new role."
Still, as the following chart summarizing the net worth of UK's royalty shows, the former "Duke and Duchess" should be just fine.
According to Statista, Prince William and Prince Harry have similar incomes and net worth, and reportedly earn $6.6 million annually from the Sovereign Grant, which they split, and each have an estimated net worth that ranges around $40 million. Prince Harry’s income could fluctuate once his title is renounced. Rumors claimed Markle, who had a net worth of about $5 million before marrying Harry thanks to her acting career, was already inking up a deal with Disney to do voiceovers for future projects, though the money will reportedly go to charity.
In a separate statement, earlier this week the queen discussed the wishes of Harry and Meghan, a former actress, with her immediate family. The queen at the time described the talks as “very constructive.”
The Queen said the recent discussions led to a "supportive way forward for my grandson and his family." She said she was "particularly proud of how Meghan has so quickly become one of the family."
It now appears that it took Meghan even less time to leave the family.
Submitted by Jan Nieuwenhuijs of Voima Insight.
There are reasons to think that the gold price will rise faster than expected.
Since 2009 China has withdrawn 12,000 tonnes of gold from the rest of the world, where the short and medium-term gold price is set. For reasons I will explain, a tighter market outside of China can make the price of gold price rise faster than many expect. I believe the gold price will rise, because of excessive debt levels around the world, and incessant money printing by central banks. Central banks will try and resolve the debt burden through currency depreciation (inflation). China has been preparing for this scenario by buying gold.
One of the key drivers in recent decades for the US dollar gold price is real interest rates. It is thought that when interest rates on long-term sovereign bonds, minus inflation, are falling, it becomes more attractive to own gold as it is a less risky asset than sovereign bonds (gold has no counterparty risk). However, gold doesn’t yield a return (unless you lend it). So, when real rates rise, it becomes more attractive to own bonds.
Although the correlation is clear, it might change in the future. Possibly, when real rates fall, the gold price will rise faster than before. Let me explain why.
In my previous post, we have seen that the gold price in the short and medium-term is mainly set in the West by institutional supply of and demand for above-ground stocks. For the gold price, what matters is how much above-ground stock is in strong hands, i.e., owners of gold that will not be easily persuaded to sell.
A significant change in the global economy in the past two decades was the rapid expansion of China’s economy. As early as the 1980s, China started to liberalize its economy, but it was only after it joined the World Trade Organization in 2001 that its economy gained significance internationally. At the time of writing, the size of China’s economy is second globally. In 2002 China freed up its gold market with the opening of the Shanghai Gold Exchange (SGE).
Because of the aforementioned developments, and its Eastern mentality regarding gold, a few years after the Great Financial Crisis (GFC), China became a major player in the global gold market. It was a net importer since the 1990s, but imports grew in 2010 and exploded in 2013.
China’s central bank (which supervises the SGE) and other government departments have been stimulating physical gold ownership. One reason the government erected the SGE, was to allow the people to have direct access to the wholesale market and to be able to trade 999.9 fine gold at the lowest spreads. The stimulation program is sometimes referred to as the “People’s Gold.” In 2012, President of the China Gold Association, Sun Zhaoxue, wrote in Qiushi, the leading academic journal of the Chinese Communist Party’s Central Committee:
Because gold possesses stable intrinsic value, it is both the cornerstone of a countries’ currency and credit, as well as a global strategic reserve. Without exception, world economic powers established gold strategies at the national level. … the state will need to elevate gold to an equal strategic resource as oil and energy, …
In addition, because individual investment demand is an important component of China’s gold reserve system, we should encourage individual investment demand for gold. Practice shows that gold possession by citizens is an effective supplement to national reserves and is very important to national financial security. … We should advocate to ‘store gold among the people’ [“People’s Gold”] and guide a healthy positive development in this segment. … This is the objective under our gold strategy.
The world economy faces new changes, new challenges and new opportunities. Therefore, we must relook the status and function of gold from a strategic height, and create and implement a national gold strategy, to strengthen our country’s ability to counter complex situations.
Several national central banks in Europe will agree with Sun Zhaoxue, as they’re slowly preparing for Plan B: gold.
In 2016 the SGE launched a smartphone application called “Yijintong” to further ease gold trading for everyone. Note, the government has mainly facilitated the infrastructure for gold trading in China. Nobody forces Chinese citizens to buy gold. “China has been infatuated with gold for thousands of years,” according to former Managing Director of the Far East for the World Gold Council, Albert L.H. Cheng.
When the Chinese population had an opportunity to buy gold, so they did. According to my estimates, there are currently 20,398 metric tonnes owned by the private sector in China. The People’s Bank of China (PBoC) holds 1,948 tonnes, bringing the total to 22,346 tonnes. Up 230% from 2009.
Since the GFC, China has net imported 12,000 tonnes of gold. The gold came from the rest of the world, where the price is set in the short and medium-term. At this stage, it’s prohibited by the PBoC to export gold from the Chinese domestic market—all 20,398 tonnes of it. Gold owned by the Chinese is in strong hands. The fact the market in the West has become tighter can make gold go up faster than expected, according to my analysis. Needless to say, when sovereign bonds are downgraded (rated as riskier), the dynamic between real rates and gold will change too.
From industry insiders and circumstantial evidence, I believe the PBoC holds at least twice the amount of gold officially disclosed. Underreporting their gold reserves allowed the PBoC to accumulate at lower prices. Metal held by the PBoC, in addition to officially reported, was bought abroad and would add another 2,000 tonnes to China’s net import since the GFC. But I will leave this subject for a forthcoming article. I exclude speculative data in the paragraphs and charts above.
One reason for the gold price to rise is because the global debt-to-GDP ratios are excessive, and will be lowered, partially, through inflation. Debt in moderation can cause real economic progress. However, debt in excess can cause bubbles, stagnation, or depressions; too much debt caused the GFC. Unfortunately, the medicine we took was more debt. Last week, the World Bank warned the current debt wave is “the largest, fastest, and most broad-based wave of debt accumulation in advanced economies as well as in emerging and developing economies” since the 1970s.
NEW TODAY | Global debt reached a new all-time high of 322% of GDP in Q3 2019, with total debt nearing $253 trillion.— IIF (@IIF) January 13, 2020
Access the Global Debt Monitor report and database here: https://t.co/UyFYqwNRPx pic.twitter.com/jhEGoD1evz
Since the GFC, central banks have embarked on unconventional monetary policy. Through Quantitative Easing, i.e., printing money and ultra-low interest rates, initially, some economic pain was avoided, but the underlying problem got worse. Across the board, debt-to-GDP levels have gone up (world debt is now at a record 322% of GDP). It seems to me that unconventional monetary policy is counterproductive, and not just because debt has expanded. Consider some of the unintended consequences: Stock markets are addicted to the printing press, asset bubbles are everywhere, and inequality is rising. So-called zombie companies (kept alive through artificially low interest rates) decrease productivity. Instead of spending more, consumers are spending less because the low-interest rates policy makes them feel insecure about the future. How to get out of this situation?
Ever lower rates encourages the taking on of ever more debt which then can't be serviced with higher rates requiring even lower rates which then encourages the taking on even more debt which then can't be serviced by even lower highs in rates requiring even lower rates...etc.. pic.twitter.com/ZaQWJAeuqr— Sven Henrich (@NorthmanTrader) January 6, 2020
In the stalemate, Christine Lagarde, the new head of the European Central Bank, is urging the few countries with relatively low debt levels, to “stimulate” the economy by borrowing and spending. Meanwhile, she holds key interest rates below zero and the printing press active. The Federal Reserve has reignited its printing press last September, which gave the US stock market another catalyst. When push comes to shove, our monetary “leaders” will always revert to printing money. There is a sense of logic in this, as to not intervene would undermine a central banks’ right to exist.
My concern is that money printing and more government-induced debt will ultimately lead to high inflation. Central banks will be reluctant to raise interest rates when that happens, as it would make the debt unserviceable. A “side effect” of high inflation, is that it reduces the debt burden. (Debt is fixed in nominal terms, of which the real value is eroded through inflation.) It’s an old trick to get out of debt through inflation, and governments are likely to choose this route.
In the scenario described above real rates will fall, and the price of gold will go up.
Hedge fund manager and debt cycle expert Ray Dalio stated in July 2019:
Governments are likely to continue printing money to pay their debts with devalued money. That’s the easiest and least controversial way to reduce the debt burdens and without raising taxes.
In a leading financial journal, The Economist, the same solution was presented:
good old fashion currency debasement [/inflation] and the annihilation of nominal creditors (most of which reside outside the US). We have done this before in our 200+ year history and we will surely do it again.
Ole Hansen, head of commodity strategy at Saxo Bank, noted on January 9, 2020, “The story for gold is still there…. the United Nations food agency reported Thursday that its global food price index rose to a five-year high in December to 181.7 points. We expect the inflation story to unfold throughout the year.” Just because we haven’t seen staggering inflation numbers in developed nations for forty years, doesn’t mean it’s not on the table.
Like I said before, I think in the current environment, the gold price can rise faster than expected. Aside from the speed with which the gold price can rise—in a debt-based monetary system, the gold price is guaranteed to rise in the long run—equally important is that inflation will create winners and losers. If your savings are in fiat money and you own debt, you will lose. If you own hard assets, such as gold, and you are in debt, you will win. Perhaps this is why Sun Zhaoxue wrote, “The world economy faces new changes, new challenges and new opportunities. Therefore, we must relook the status and function of gold from a strategic height, and create and implement a national gold strategy.” Having 22,346 tonnes of gold within Chinese borders will protect against currency depreciation.
Ms. Lagarde confirmed she aims for currency depreciation when last November, she said, “We should be happier to have a job than to have our [fiat] savings protected.” Fortunately, there is gold in Europe too.
The views expressed on Voima Insight are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official views or position of Voima Gold.
Stay up to date, subscribe to Voima Insight—click here
You are allowed to copy our content, in whole or in part, provided that you give Voima Gold proper credit and include the appropriate URL. The name Voima Insight and a link to the original post must be included in your introduction. All other rights are reserved. Voima Gold reserves the right to withdraw the permission to copy content for any or all websites at any time.
The Pentagon's second highest commander while addressing a defense gathering in Washington on Friday accused North Korea of building new missiles "as fast as anybody on the planet".
Gen. John Hyten, the vice-chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said during remarks that North Korea is “building new missiles, new capabilities, new weapons as fast as anybody on the planet.”
The top commander didn't offer any specifics or evidence on the "new missiles" other than the charge comes after talks between Washington and Pyongyang have stalled.
"If you want to go fast in the missile business you need to test fast, fly fast and learn fast. Look at Space X in this country. There were some pretty spectacular failures. Did they stop? No," Gen. Hyten said during his talk at the Center for Strategic & International Studies in Washington.
"That is what North Korea has been doing and North Korea has been building new missiles, new capabilities, new weapons as fast as anybody on the planet with the 115th most powerful economy in the world. Speed itself is efficiency," he added.
Interestingly Hyten has been a key US Air Force supporter of the new US Space Force, and has advocated for making it even more aggressive and robust than is currently planned for in the coming years.
While again no particular or damning evidence for his claims against Pyongyang were offered, North Korean state media did release an ominous statement at the start of the new year by Kim Jong Un warning there would never be denuclearization on the Korean peninsula so long as the US maintains its hostile and aggressive posture in the region.
Upon the end of the "The 5th Plenary Meeting of the 7th Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea," Kim had said in a January 2nd released statement: "the DPRK will steadily develop necessary and prerequisite strategic weapons for the security of the state until the US rolls back its hostile policy towards the DPRK and lasting and durable peace-keeping mechanism is built."
U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) has gotten the constitutional law exactly backwards. It said that the "faithful execution of the law" - the Impoundment Control Act- "does not permit the president to substitute his own policy priorities for those congress has enacted into law ."
Yes, it does - when it comes to foreign policy.
The Constitution allocates to the president sole authority over foreign policy (short of declaring war or signing a treaty). It does not permit Congress to substitute its foreign policy preferences for those of the president.
To the extent that the statute at issue constrains the power of the president to conduct foreign policy, it is unconstitutional.
Consider the following hypothetical situation: Congress allocates funds to Cuba (or Iran or Venezuela). The president says that is inconsistent with his foreign policy and refuses to release the funds. Surely the president would be within his constitutional authority. Or consider the actual situation that former President Barack Obama created when he unilaterally made the Iran deal and sent that enemy of America billions of dollars without congressional approval. I do not recall the GAO complaining about that presidential decision, despite the reality that the Iran deal was, in effect, a treaty that should require senate approval that was never given.
Whatever one may think about the substantive merits of what President Donald Trump did or did not do with regard to the Ukrainian money— which was eventually sent without strings —he certainly had the authority to delay sending the funds. The GAO was simply wrong in alleging that he violated the law, which includes the Constitution, by doing so.
To be sure, the statute requires notification to Congress, but if such notification significantly delays the president from implementing his foreign policy at a time of his choice, that too would raise serious constitutional issues.
Why then would a nonpartisan agency get it so wrong as a matter of constitutional law.
There are two obvious answers:
In the age of Trump there is no such thing as nonpartisan. The political world is largely divided into people who hate and people who love President Trump. This is as true of long term civil servants as it is of partisan politicians. We have seen this with regard to the FBI, the CIA, the Fed and other government agencies that are supposed to be nonpartisan. There are of course exceptions such as the inspector general of the Department of Justice who seems genuinely non-partisan. But most civil servants share the nationwide trend of picking sides. The GAO does not seem immune to this divisiveness.
Even if the GAO were non-partisan in the sense of preferring one political party over the other, it is partial to Congress over the president. The GAO is a congressional body. It is part of the legislative, not executive, branch. As such, it favors congressional prerogatives over executive power. It is not surprising therefore that it would elevate the authority of Congress to enact legislation over that of the president to conduct foreign policy.
In any event, even if the GAO were correct in its legal conclusion — which it is not— the alleged violation would be neither a crime nor an impeachable offense. It would be a civil violation subject to a civil remedy, as were the numerous violations alleged by the GAO with regard to other presidents. Those alleged violations were barely noted by the media. But in the hyper-partisan impeachment atmosphere, this report received breathless "breaking news" coverage and a demand for inclusion among the articles of impeachment.
If Congress and its GAO truly believe that President Trump violated the law, let them go to court and seek the civil remedy provided by the law. But let us not continue to water down the constitutional criteria for impeachment by including highly questionable, and on my view wrongheaded, views about violations of an unconstitutional civil law.
This week, Donald Trump formally nominated Judy Shelton and Christopher Waller for vacant governorships on the Federal Reserve. Waller, the Vice President of the Richmond Fed, is widely viewed as a standard Fed nominee with the reputation of being a "dove" who has criticized recent interest rate hikes.
It is Judy Shelton who is particularly interesting.
A former campaign adviser for Trump, Shelton has been a vocal Fed critic who has praised the gold standard in the past. While she has recently advocated for lower interest rates, she has also been a critic of the Fed's policy of paying interest on excess reserves that has become a key policy tool since 2008. Shelton's nomination is also interesting due to her background standing in stark contrast to most of her colleagues.
The good news is that Ms. Shelton is not a technically trained academic economist, indoctrinated in the prevailing orthodoxy. She holds a doctorate in business administration from the University of Utah and has spent most of her career in the world of free-market policy think tanks, including stints at the Hoover Institute and the Atlas Network. She also writes refreshingly and articulately in favor of the gold standard, or some version of it.
The bad news is that she leans heavily toward supply-side economics, which is deeply flawed on monetary policy. Like most supply-siders, the position she advocates may be summed up in the motto, “I favor sound money—and plenty of it.”
Still, though by no means an Austrian, Shelton's voice on the Fed would create some much needed ideological diversity to the central bank.
In reacting to an interview with Ms. Shelton last June, Jeff Deist wrote:
Her comments represent the most substantive attack on the Fed, and central banking generally, by any potential nominee to the Fed board in recent history. She not only challenges how Jerome Powell and Fed officials conduct monetary policy, but whether they can conduct it competently at all....
So Shelton doesn't want to End the Fed. But in the parlance of woke America, she's an "ally." Recognizing the limits of central bank omniscience, and challenging its benevolence, are important first steps on the road to redeeming our money and our economy.
In fact, it was precisely these unorthodox views that make her nomination a less-than-sure thing, even with a Republican-controlled Congress. As Bob Murphy has noted, her competency in financial history has made her the target of criticism from establishment powers on both left and right. Particularly of issue is comments made by Republican Senators, often offering criticism with intellectual depth on par with their colleague Ms. Ocasio-Cortez. For example, when asked about Shelton's views on gold, Senator Richard Shelby, the Chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, could only offer:
The gold standard would probably shatter a lot of people’s dreams around the world right now...There was a reason to get off of it.
The fact that the administration insisted on nominating Shelton, in spite of the public concerns, demonstrates a certain level of confidence that her nomination will not be shot down.
What's particularly interesting is that CNBC notes that there has been speculation that Shelton could be a potential for Jerome Powell if Trump is still in office at the end of the Fed chair's term in 2022. If so, that would bring someone who the Wall Street Journal described as a "goldbug" to the office of America's top central banker.
Of course, as Alan Greenspan's tenure showed, that may not actually mean much.
Ever since Virginia's Democrats retook the state assembly and Senate in November, Democratic Gov. Ralph "blackface" Northam and the legislature have been gearing up to pass a draconian gun control bill.
Unsurprisingly, many Virginians feel strongly about preserving their second amendment rights, and the state has traditionally enforced a more permissive stance toward firearm ownership. But now, lawmakers are tossing around ideas like an "assault weapons ban" - language that has been criticized as vague and even nonsensical. Several moderate Democrats have even expressed reservations about supporting a sweeping gun-control bill if it includes the ban.
"A lot of people don’t really understand assault weapons and how complicated the issue really is," said Democratic Sen. John Edwards. "It’s going to be very difficult to figure out a way to do it. But we’re studying it, that’s all I can say."
And yet, lawmakers are pressing ahead, prompting a vicious backlash that has even prompted Gov. Northam to declare a state of Emergency because armed militia groups planned to storm the capitol.
As the gun-control debate rages, thousands of Virginians have been rushing to gun stores across the state to buy up firearms before it's too late.
"Business has been absolutely crazy," explained Jerry Rapp, owner of SpecDive Tactical in Alexandria. Rapp said business has increased by 200 to 300 percent since the last election, although that doesn’t mean the news is all good for the gun shop owner and his customers. "People are really on edge. They’re worried about their Second Amendment rights. They’re worried about the future of what you can and cannot have as a firearm."
As one gun buyer put it, since Democrats have expressed open hostility to the 2nd Amendment, it makes more sense to just be prepared.
"If they’re willing to make laws that will strip your second amendment right, I mean who’s to say what could happen, so yeah, I’m gonna get it while I can," Roberson said.
According to FBI data, the number of firearm background checks ballooned in Virginia last month to nearly 77,000, up from 53,000 a year before. That's an increase of roughly 45%. That's in keeping with a national trend that we highlighted earlier this month.
President Trump has even chimed in, warning that your "2nd Amendment is under very serious attack".
Your 2nd Amendment is under very serious attack in the Great Commonwealth of Virginia. That’s what happens when you vote for Democrats, they will take your guns away. Republicans will win Virginia in 2020. Thank you Dems!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 17, 2020
Meanwhile, communities across Virginia are already looking into ways to sidestep any new state laws. The map below shows the counties that have enacted, or are considering, "Second Amendment Sanctuary" legislation.
The gun control debate has already ratcheted up tensions across the state. And things are only just getting started.
A long 'most wanted' ISIS mufti responsible for ordering gruesome killings, kidnappings, rapes, as well as the destruction of the northern Iraqi city of Mosul's ancient heritage has been captured by an elite Iraqi SWAT team raid.
The massively obese terror leader named Shifa al-Nima, known within the Islamic State as Abu Abdul Bari, has been dubbed “Jabba the Jihadi” and photos posted online showed that after his capture police had to load him onto the back of a flatbed truck to accommodate his some 560-pounds.
Considered one of the biggest captures in recent months due to his heading up still active but underground "ISIS gangs" in the region, he was nabbed at his hideout in Mosul earlier this week. Lately he was known to issue sermons and messages to his followers to target Iraqi police.
And according to an Iraqi police statement, “He is considered one of the foremost leaders of ISIS and was responsible for issuing fatwas that led to the murder of scholars and clerics.”
The fat mufti was also well-known for issuing a fatwa in 2014 to bomb one of Mosul's most revered pilgrimage sites — a mosque believed to be site of the tomb of the Prophet Jonah — which attracted Muslims and Christians alike.
I'm delighted to say that the Islamic States very own Jabba the Hut has been captured in Mosul.— Macer Gifford (@macergifford) January 16, 2020
Responsible for the execution of men, women and children.
This animal raped and murdered.
Good luck hanging him Iraq 😬 pic.twitter.com/r1naWIXYMA
The Islamic State's strict Wahhabi interpretation of Islam forbids such veneration of tombs or religious places, and therefore sought to demolish any historical site it considered 'unIslamic'.
The military news outlet Stars & Stripes detailed some among the more popular memes which spread online in the wake of the ISIS cleric's capture:
Memes including “He puts the fat in fatwa” spread on social media after photos were posted of Bari seated on cushions inside his apparent hideout in one image and loaded into the back of a pickup truck in another.
The images of his arrest would strike a psychological blow against ISIS, Maajid Nawaz, founder of the London-based counter-extremist organization Quilliam, wrote on Facebook.
“Gluttony is frowned upon by jihadists. But also, ISIS branded themselves as fighters possessing rare courage & discipline... meanwhile this walrus was their top religious cleric,” he said.
Iraqi police suggest he was still making appearances in local mosques long after ISIS reign of terror, inciting hatred and violence against police and Iraqi leaders.
Nima was captured in Mansour neighborhood of Mosul by the Nineveh police command and is now in prison, awaiting trial, after which he could face execution.
Practically the entirety of Congress now believes that the ability to pay should not limit the ability to promise people whatever they want. There’s no poll of members of Congress to support this assertion. We base it on what they’ve communicated by real, material actions.
Remember, per the Constitution, Congress – and in particular, the House of Representatives – is vested with the “power of the purse.” They retain the authority to tax and spend public money for the federal government. Over the last 50 years Congress has demonstrated they give less than half a rip about the government’s ability to pay.
Congress may be good at taxing. But they’re even better at spending. According to the Treasury Department, the annual budget deficit, the shortfall between tax receipts and spending, for the 2019 calendar year topped $1.02 trillion. But that’s nothing…
The budget deficit for the first three months of the 2020 fiscal year, which started in October, is up 12 percent over this time last year. Specifically, the deficit for the first three months of the 2020 fiscal year is $357 billion. At this rate, the annual 2020 fiscal year deficit will eclipse $1.4 trillion.
The deficit, of course, is funded with Treasury debt. And since mid-October, nearly half the Treasury debt has been purchased by the Federal Reserve. If you recall, starting in mid-October, the Fed began conjuring money out of thin air at a rate of $60 billion a month for the sole purpose of buying Treasuries.
Over the next decade, as debt and deficits go vertical, more and more of the Treasury’s borrowing will be financed via the printing press. Here’s why…
New U.S. Census Bureau figures show that the U.S. population is growing at an annual rate of 0.48 percent. If it wasn’t for immigrants, which are entering the USA at a reduced rate, the U.S. population would be in decline. Business Insider offered several anecdotes:
“The census data capped 10 years of sluggish US population growth. The 2010s may enter the record books as the slowest decade in population growth since the first Census in 1790…. And low fertility and an increase in deaths are projected to continue into the 2020s.
“The prospect of demographic stagnation is playing a critical role in projections of slower U.S. economic growth over the next decade, given smaller increases in the numbers of working-age Americans and as baby boomers continue retiring. Going forward, a ballooning number of retirees would rely on a shrinking number of workers to power the economy.”
Quite frankly, this ‘going forward’ scenario is unworkable.
You see, when an economy’s supported by a young and growing demographic, the burden of public debt quickly dissipate. At the local level, long term municipal bonds are issued, and then repaid by a larger and more prosperous tax base. Public pension funds also work reasonably well when supported by a growing work force.
But as the economy ages, and growth stalls, the legacy costs become insurmountable. In effect, the age demographic transitions from a well-functioning pyramid, with a large base of workers supporting a small tip of retirees, to a top heavy inverted pyramid.
By then the public grifters, like intestinal tapeworms, have taken control from the inside. Rather than making a course correction, they devour their host. That’s when the gig is finally up.
Local governments default. Pensioners get the shaft. Public services diminish. Infrastructure falls to derelict, decay and disrepair. And formerly grand properties degenerate to single room occupancy housing for the wicked…much like Los Angeles’s Hotel Alexandria in the 1990s.
Living On Borrowed Time
At the national level, the rules are a bit different. With the Fed and Treasury working in concert with a fiat dollar, and Congress raising the debt ceiling with little reservation, it is impossible for the U.S. government to technically default. However, to keep perpetuating more and more debt, the Fed and Treasury resort to mass currency debasement.
As noted above, the Fed is currently printing $60 billion a month and loaning it to the Treasury. This is financing about 50 percent of the deficit through the first quarter of fiscal year 2020. Moreover, this $60 billion a month is in addition to the nightly liquidity blasts of upwards of $80 billion the Fed applies to the overnight funding market to price fix the repo rate below 2 percent as part of its program of repo madness.
Without the Fed’s fake money intervention, Washington would be forced to raise taxes, reduce spending, accept a much higher interest rate, and default. The progression would happen in short order. Plus, the financial system would blowout to the extreme.
Yet there’s no turning back. There’s no graceful way out. There’s no backing away from QE or repo madness.
When it comes down to it, population and age demographics make it impossible to support the accumulated debt of yesterday’s spending. The likelihood of growing our way out of this mess is next to none.
So what are we left with? We’re left with debt financing by way of fake money from the Fed.
Make no mistake, we’re living on borrowed time. The day will come when the costs of debt monetization exceeds any benefits. That’s when those costs will be paid with ruinous price inflation. And, as it happens, ruinous price inflation is very costly.
In the meantime, everything’s awesome. Shares of Tesla are trading at over $500. Somebody say amen.
The National Weather Service (NWS) warned a powerful winter storm could affect travel for millions of people across the Midwest and Northeast this weekend.
A significant winter storm continues to impact areas from the Midwest and Northern Plains to the Ohio Valley. Meanwhile, snow is pushing into the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast this morning, and will gradually change to sleet and freezing rain across parts of those regions. pic.twitter.com/T2b9AIHUDl— National Weather Service (@NWS) January 18, 2020
The storm is so massive, that two-thirds of the U.S. will be under weather advisors on Saturday. Accumulating snow is expected in the Upper Midwest, Great Lakes, and parts of the Northeast through Saturday. Snow totals could range from 6 to 12 inches in some regions.
A sprawling winter storm will continue to produce blizzard conditions, areas of moderate to heavy snow and freezing rain through Saturday. Check https://t.co/VyWINDBEpn for local impacts. pic.twitter.com/nM24Rd7iT1— National Weather Service (@NWS) January 18, 2020
"This storm will produce a widespread footprint of heavy snows from the Upper Mississippi Valley, across the Great Lakes, northern N.Y. State into central to the north of New England with snow totals in the 6 to 12 "+ range possible," NWS wrote.
Snow will end in the Midwest by early afternoon. Minnesota, Michigan, and Northern Iowa could end up with 8 to 12 inches.
From the Baltimore–Washington metropolitan area to Philadelphia to New York, snow will start in the afternoon and continue throughout the day. By late afternoon/evening, snow is expected to change over to a wintery mix then rain for some regions located on the coast.
"This will be another tricky forecast for the big cities along the I-95 corridor," said CNN meteorologist Taylor Ward.
"New York City and Boston will likely see 2 to 4 inches of snow before everything ends as rain Saturday night and early Sunday," said Ward.
The Baltimore–Washington metropolitan area could see 1 to 3 inches of snow – but a changeover to rain could depress totals.
Interior portions of the Northeast will see the heaviest snow. Some regions, including update New York and Northern Maine, could see 8 to 12 inches by the overnight hours.
Chicago O'Hare International Airport, Detroit Metro Airport, Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport, and major airports in New York City could see a spike in delays as the storm moves from the Ohio Valley to Northeast by Saturday afternoon.
The Fed will destroy the nation by widening the wealth/income inequality that is breaking down the nation's social order.
President Reagan was widely mocked in America when he declared the Soviet Union an evil empire, but this calling things by their real name had a profound impact in the Eastern Bloc. The mockery stemmed from the secularized American view that there was precious little moral difference between the USSR and the US, that the USSR was a legitimate "alternative system," and that ramping up Cold war tensions was not just dangerous but useless, as the USSR was as permanent (or more so) than the US.
None of which turned out to be true. While all nation-states harbor multitudes of sins, the Soviet Empire was unique in its mass suppression of basic human rights, its economic failure to better the lives of its imprisoned populations while its military might soared, and the perverse union of a Kafkaesque bureaucracy and an Orwellian propaganda machine epitomized by the old Soviet-era joke that "we pretend to work and they pretend to pay us."
Fast-forward to today's USA where soaring wealth and income inequality is making a social breakdown all but inevitable. Wages for the majority of households have gone nowhere for the past two decades, while the incomes of the top 5% have skyrocketed, with the majority of the gains flowing to the top 0.1%. (See charts below.)
History shows that fast-widening gaps between the super-wealthy / top 5% and the rest of the citizenry inevitably generate social disorder and breakdown. This dynamic is already painfully visible in rising homelessness, suicide rates, opioid addictions, burnout, intolerance, etc.
While there are many dynamics in play that exacerbate wealth / income inequality, the primary driver is the Federal Reserve's near-infinite giveaways to the financial and corporate elites. If we examine why our economy has become a winner take most casino, we find the gaming tables are rigged to favor the few closest to the Fed's money spigots: when JP Morgan gets in trouble by leveraging socially parasitic bets, the Fed steps in and saves their gambles by printing hundreds of billions of dollars in repos.
As a result of the Fed backstop, JP Morgan reported blow-out earnings.
The net result of the Fed's goosing the stock market ever higher is soaring wealth inequality as the average US household gains precious little from record highs, and whatever gains they might have are sequestered in 401Ks and IRAs until they retire.
The Fed justifies its enrich the already rich policies by claiming some of this newly created wealth will trickle down to the masses via walking the wealthy's dogs, polishing their Mercedes, tutoring their over-scheduled kids, busing their tables at $100 per plate bistros and so on.
The stagnant wages of the masses are the trickle down. Average Carlos and Carlita don't get an unlimited line of credit from the Fed; only bankers, financiers and corporations get an unlimited line of credit from the Fed.
If an alien force was purposefully widening America's wealth / income gap to destabilize the nation's social order, would we hesitate to call this force evil? Would we rationalize this force as "no worse than any other force" and an "alternative system" with the same moral standing as free markets and democracy?
Ours is a moral universe, and the first necessary step is to call things by their real name: the Fed is evil. Any force that relentlessly promotes fast-widening wealth / income inequality, knowing full well that the inevitable result is social breakdown, is evil.
If this force were external, its evil nature would not be denied or defended. But because the Fed favors the wealthy and powerful, it masks its evil behind an Orwellian cloak of PR much like the former USSR.
The parallels with the Evil Empire don't stop there. While the Fed pillages the vast majority of Americans and diverts the nation's wealth to the top 0.1%, it claims, absurdly and speciously, to be "helping the commoner." This is as Orwellian as it gets.
The Fed will destroy the nation by widening the wealth/income inequality that is breaking down the nation's social order.
Let's call things by their real name: the Fed is evil.
* * *
My recent books:
Audiobook edition now available:
Will You Be Richer or Poorer?: Profit, Power, and AI in a Traumatized World ($13)
(Kindle $6.95, print $11.95) Read the first section for free (PDF).
Pathfinding our Destiny: Preventing the Final Fall of Our Democratic Republic ($6.95 (Kindle), $12 (print), $13.08 ( audiobook): Read the first section for free (PDF).
The Adventures of the Consulting Philosopher: The Disappearance of Drake $1.29 (Kindle), $8.95 (print); read the first chapters for free (PDF)
* * *
If you found value in this content, please join me in seeking solutions by becoming a $1/month patron of my work via patreon.com.
President Trump revealed earlier this month that the US is currently developing hypersonic missiles and touted that the weapons were "big, powerful, lethal, and fast."
Trump's mention of hypersonic missiles occurred during his national address last Wednesday as he spoke about escalating tensions with Iran.
Key points from Trump's address to the nation:— GlobalObserver (@GlobalObserver4) January 8, 2020
*Backs down from taking military action against Iran
*Production of hypersonic missiles underway
*More sanctions on Iran
*US "no longer needs Middle Eastern oil"
*Reminds Americans that al-Baghdadi is dead https://t.co/gKGZKaLlpg
"Our missiles are big, powerful, accurate, lethal, and fast, "Trump said.
"Under construction are many hypersonic missiles. The fact that we have this great military and equipment, however, does not mean we have to use it. We do not want to use it. American strength, both military and economic, is the best deterrent," he added.
The hypersonic missile under development that President Trump was likely referencing is the US Air Force Research Laboratory's (AFRL) X-60A, an air-launched, single-stage rocket designed to reach speeds of Mach 5 to March 8, reported Flight Global.
AFRL moved a step closer to initial flight tests after it recently conducted test firings of its engines while on the ground at Cecil Spaceport in Jacksonville, Florida.
"This test series was a critical step in reducing risk and gathering necessary system integration data in preparation for our upcoming flight tests," said Barry Hellman, AFRL X-60A program manager.
The X-60A has been designed to be air-launched from the undercarriage of a NASA C-20A, a military version of the Gulfstream III.
The initial flight test could take place in the second half of this year: "When we go to flight later this year, we hope to demonstrate the capability of the X-60A to provide affordable access to hypersonic flight conditions, which will position AFRL to deliver an innovative test capability for the Air Force and other [US Department of Defense] organizations," Hellman said.
The next global conflict will be fought with fifth-generation stealth fighters and hypersonic missiles.
In August of 1945, the United States became the only country to drop nuclear bombs on an enemy.
Hiroshima and Nagasaki were largely destroyed in the blink of an eye. And the Japanese had no choice but to surrender to the Allies, finally ending World War II.
Ever since, world superpowers have been rapidly advancing weapons technology, constantly raising the bar for destructive power.
It won’t surprise you to find out that the most powerful and destructive weapon in the world, though, by far, is claimed by the United States.
But this weapon has nothing to do with America’s nuclear arsenal. It doesn’t even require bullets.
I’m talking about the US dollar.
The US is still the world’s dominant superpower, still the largest economy in the world. And the US dollar is still the world’s dominant reserve currency.
This means that the VAST MAJORITY of international trade and cross-border financial transactions take place in US dollars.
When Saudi Arabia’s state-owned oil company sells petroleum to the Chinese, that transaction takes place in US dollars.
Last year when Air France (a European airline) agreed to purchase 60 jets from Airbus (a European aircraft manufacturer), that contract was negotiated in US dollars– even though both parties are European!
When commodities traders buy and sell cotton futures on the national mercantile exchange… in PAKISTAN… those trades are settled in US dollars.
When the IMF stepped in to bail out Argentina back in 2018 with an emergency loan, those funds were paid in US dollars.
And right now as I write these words, the Chile-based agriculture business I founded several years is selling literally millions of pounds of blueberries to wholesale buyers in Europe and Asia. Those deals are also closed in US dollars.
You get the idea. The US dollar is at the center of global commerce. Commercial banks, central banks, governments, sovereign wealth funds, and businesses around the world all need US dollars if they expect to be able to do any business internationally.
And that’s what makes the dollar such a powerful weapon: the US government can threaten foreign countries with nearly total financial collapse.
The US government realized it had this power roughly two decades ago after the September 11th attacks.
In their efforts to track down terrorist organizations and obtain intelligence, the Treasury Department began strongarming foreign banks to hand over financial information about suspected terrorists by threatening to revoke access to US dollars.
The threat worked. And a new weapon was born.
In 2010, they made some serious upgrades when Congress passed the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act, known as FATCA.
FATCA forces EVERY foreign bank and financial institution IN THE WORLD to share information about their depositors with the Treasury Department.
And if these foreign banks refuse to comply? You guessed it. They’ll lose access to US dollars.
We’ve continued to see the US government rely on this tactic more and more over the past ten years; in 2015, for example, the Treasury Department famously hit French bank BNP Paribas with an $8.9 billion fine.
BNP’s egregious crime? They were doing business with countries that the US government doesn’t like– countries like Cuba and Iran.
But wait a minute. BNP is a FRENCH bank! France has no beef with Cuba or Iran!
Doesn’t matter. Uncle Sam doesn’t like Cuba and Iran. BNP did business with Cuba and Iran. So BNP was punished.
And if BNP didn’t pay this ridiculous $8.9 billion fine? Yep, you know what’s coming– they’d lose their access to US dollars.
Just last week they did it again when the Iraqi parliament voted to expel all US troops from the country.
Now, it was just a non-binding resolution anyhow, which means it was just politicians making a bunch of noise. But the US government hit back, threatening Iraq with the loss of US dollar access if they went forward with the idea.
To be honest, when used in the right circumstances, this entire concept is pretty ingenious. It’s a powerful weapon that, unlike bombs and drones, causes no loss of life.
But the US government has been relying on this tactic WAAAY too much. Frankly they’re starting to look like a bunch of rowdy teenagers in skeleton costumes beating up a weakly Ralph Machio.
And every time they loudly threaten another country or foreign bank with losing US dollar access, they’re essentially daring the rest of the world to come up with another option.
Remember, America only has this power because there is no alternative to the US dollar. Not yet.
But people can only be threatened so many times before they start working on a solution.
In many respects it’s already happening. Countries like Russia and China are already engaging in trade with one another without the use of US dollars. And more and more governments are starting to hold Chinese renminbi as official reserves.
So far these actions have barely dented the US dollar’s dominance, so there’s not going to be any major change for at least the next several years.
But the world is definitely moving in that direction. They’ve learned that the US government is happy to weaponize its currency… so, fool me twice, shame on me.
Having the world’s dominant reserve currency is an enormous privilege that provides many economic benefits. And it has changed many times throughout history– from the Roman solidus to the Spanish real de ocho. It never lasts forever.
And at some point in the future when the US loses its dominant reserve status, historians will look back and realize they did it to themselves.
After the mass migration into Germany of roughly a million refugees over the last several years, Germans have become 'obsessed' with refugee porn, according to The Sun, citing data from adult content platform "xhamster," which reports roughly 800,000 monthly searches for the fetish.
In fact, entire film companies are now specializing in refugee smut and so-called 'hijab porn' - in which Middle Eastern porn stars in subjugated roles wear their religious headgear while being sexually dominated by white males.
According to the report "the headwear often stays on even when all the other garments have been taken off."
The majority of refugee porn titles depict female protagonists in subjugated roles, who are often made to look like they have Middle Eastern origins. In explicit scenes, they are often shown as being dominated sexually by white males. A main feature in many of these adult film productions is the wearing of the hijab — the Islamic head covering used by many Muslim women; the religious headwear is frequently fetishized as a symbol representing female migrants as a whole, and only in the rarest of cases is it taken off at all — even if all other garments have been removed in the depicted scenes.
Some of the refugee porn movies also feature the Arabic language or other foreign tongues as part of their narratives in a further attempt to present migrants as mysterious, out-of-place objects of sexual desire. -InfoMigrants
According to the report, Google searches for said porn have skyrocketed over the past four years, while major porn websites host hundreds of refugee / hijab videos.
In the weeks leading up to the Austrian parliamentary elections in September of 2019, the phrase "refugee porn" high a two-year high. During the 2017 Austrian election, searches for the term had nearly doubled vs. a month earlier. Meanwhiule, German searches for "refugee porn" spiked in Saxony leading up to the September election as well.
Adding a dash of legitimacy to Germany's newfound obsession is Professor Jakob Pastötter, a sexual scientist and cultural anthropologist, who told InfoMigrants in October that "Sexuality is a means to familiarize yourself with things that are alien to you. By approaching new phenomena from a sexual angle we get to understand these things better," and that "Pornography doesn't simply just show sex. People want to experience at the very least a rudimentary link between the sexual acts they view and themes from everyday life, as is the case with refugee porn."
That said, InfoMigrants suggests that the porn genre objectifies migrants with violent narratives that promote rape and sex trafficking.
"(Pornography) is the public face of a larger network of sexual exploitation which deliberately recruits from foster homes, shelters serving various desperate populations and otherwise seeks out poor people from across the world to feed a supply chain with a constant need for fresh bodies," said Jennifer Johnson, Associate Professor and Chair of Sociology at Virginia Commonwealth University.
Pastötter disagrees - saying that "Only a small minority of so-called refugee porn films focus on aspects like humiliation. I believe that those more violent films are mainly addressed at an audience who like to watch porn, in which domination always plays a key role anyway."
"Think about the likelihood of actually meeting a refugee woman, let alone having sex with one against the backdrop that the majority of migrants to Europe are men. It's even less likely to actually happen than that common porn cliché about the pizza delivery boy who happens to also offer sexual services for a tip. This is all just about fulfilling fantasies, and should really be communicated as such."
When Matteo Salvini’s Lega won the state elections in Umbria in late October few, if any, noticed. Lega and the Brothers of Italy and Forza Italia took at whopping 53% of the vote, with Lega taking 37%.
It was this result that should have had everyone in Brussels worried. But since they had just gotten finished patting themselves on the back for maneuvering around Salvini’s attempt to force an election the month before, the news quickly moved to the back burner amongst all of the Brexit drama.
But, the result in Umbria was important because it showed Lega’s ability to turn a center-Left stronghold against history. The Democrats (PD) had held sway there for over fifty years. But no longer.
The result showed that even though Salvini was no longer in a governmental office in Rome, his popularity hadn’t waned. It’s clear that polling since then has seen Lega hold its position as the dominant party in Italy, which has Lega commanding 31-33% of the vote.
The real story, however, is the surge of the Brothers of Italy (FdL) who are picking up disaffected Forza Italia voters and held them for months now, continuing to hold a solid 10%.
In short, Italian polls haven’t moved much in months despite Salvini and Lega being ousted from the ruling coalition when coalition partner Five Star Movement (M5S) made a backroom deal with PD which has only accelerated M5S’s slide in the polls. Remember, M5S was formed to stop PD from holding onto power and challenging them on EU membership and continued adoption of the euro as Italy’s currency.
Making that deal with the establishment like that has alienated a lot of M5S’s base and it’s support is now threatening to collapse below the all-important 16% level, which once breached to the downside opens the door for someone else to gain dramatically.
And that is the backdrop against which the PD/Five Star Movement (M5S) government is dealing with.
Lega alone polls close to or better than PD/M5S together nationally. And it is the upcoming state election in Emilia-Romagna on January 26th that is their next headache. As the Financial Times pointed out in a recent article, Salvini and Lega have made serious inroads in what is a traditionally heavily left-leaning area.
Giorgio Bennetti, a 35-year-old sweets seller with a stall in Ferrara’s centre, believes that many voters are willing to switch to the right to express a general political dissatisfaction. Local issues, such as the collapse of the Ferrara savings bank — 130,000 investors lost their savings — have also given voters reason to want to punish the PD, which was in charge both locally and nationally when the rescue happened in 2015.
“This is a protest vote; people don’t believe that the left is working for them any more,” Mr Bennetti says. “My grandmother used to say that people have no problem changing their shirts from red to black if they need to.”
But similar to what Donald Trump did in 2016 and Boris Johnson just pulled off in the U.K. these nominally right-wing candidates became the champions of domestic working middle class.
In Italian political terms, the former Communists in Emilia-Romagna now firmly trust Salvini to protect their futures and the jobs rather than the traditional left parties.
Current polling there has Lega with 31% of the vote, a massive 12-point rise over the last election while PD has lost even more down 20 points.
Italy (Emilia-Romagna regional election), SWG poll:— Europe Elects (@EuropeElects) January 10, 2020
LEGA-ID: 31% (+12)
PD-S&D: 25% (-20)
BP-S&D|RE|G/EFA: 13% (new)
FdI-ECR: 8% (+4)
M5s-NI: 6% (-7)
FI-EPP: 4% (-4)
+/- vs. 2014 election
Fieldwork: 7-9 January 2020
Sample size: 1,000
Election: 26 January 2020 pic.twitter.com/H3kgkfMYmk
Since parties can campaign in coalitions in Italy the current center-left versus center-right numbers in Emilia-Romagna are within a couple of points. But Salvini’s guys are rising fast and it’s very possible that the polls haven’t quite caught up to the shift in sentiment leading into the election.
This happened in 2018 where Lega was polling behind Forza Italia by a couple of points and would up coming out of the election four points up and the dominant player in the center-right coalition. That paved the way for the scenario that led to the short-lived Euroskeptic coalition between Lega and M5S.
So, the probability of a center-right government coming into being in Emilia-Romagna is growing by the day. And that puts the national coalition at serious risk.
“This coalition is already so fragile that the only thing gluing it together is their fear of Salvini,” says Erik Jones, professor of European studies and international political economy at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies in Bologna. “If they lose it is hard to see how they make it through the spring.”
This fear is well-founded and no matter how hard they try and hold it together political forces within Italy will ultimately tear it apart. Losing Emilia-Romagna would create serious panic in the ranks of both ruling parties.
But the political establishment in Rome is dead set on keeping Salvini out of power for as long as possible. And that goes double for the traditional EU leadership in Brussels. But one thing working in Salvini’s favor here is that it has been German Chancellor Angela Merkel pulling the strings in Rome to keep the Italians in sync with German fiscal and monetary demands.
But Merkel is on the way out and there is a concerted challenge to German rule coming from French President (for now) Emmanuel Macron. Macron wants fiscal integration and the euro-zone is suffering from Merkel’s insistence on punitive austerity.
I expect the next leadership challenge in Italy will not be fought nearly as hard as in the past by the EU. Salvini either wants a stronger seat at the decision-making table for EU fiscal policy for Italy or be let out of the monetary union. In that sense Salvini is a future ally for Macron against Merkel and her successor.
I can see Macron and new ECB President Christine Lagarde not fighting Salvini’s rise to power to help them remake the EU’s fiscal structure, prevailing upon the Italian old guard like President Sergio Mattarella to allow the government to collapse and not fight new elections, which Salvini will win in a walk, likely with just the Brothers of Italy as his coalition partner depending on how the vote lays out.
At that point things get really hairy for Merkel as a Salvini as Prime Minister will be in the position to dictate terms to Germany having Lagarde and Macron on his side, tacitly.
Because, remember folks, when you owe the bank a thousand dollars it’s your problem. When you owe the bank a few hundred billion dollars it’s the bank’s problem, in this case, specifically German banks.
That’s where Salvini’s leverage lies and he knows it. But with the changing of the guard in Brussels and Strassbourg, he would finally be in a position to use it.
Statista's Willem Rpoer reports that the investment plan is in line with European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen’s Green Deal, which looks to make the European continent carbon-neutral by 2050. Since taking office, Von der Leyen has made climate change her top priority.
European countries have typically been leaders in the fight against climate change, with many ranking lowest in carbon emissions globally and highest in environmental quality. The newest trillion-euro investment plan looks to solidify Europe as the global example for combating global warming as other continents like Asia and North America continue to produce high carbon emissions and lag behind in renewable energy sources.
In 2019, Yale University released their Environmental Performance Index (EPI) for all 180 countries in order to gauge which countries had the highest environmental quality and which had the lowest.
You will find more infographics at Statista
The EPI measures two dimensions, environmental health and ecosystem vitality, through numerous metrics that focus on biodiversity, air and water quality, climate and agriculture.
European and North American countries held the highest overall scores, while Asian and African countries saw the lowest, globally.
The index doesn’t take into account the average GDP per capita in each country or the overall economic viability for a country and government to produce a healthy environment.
In the last decade, the combination of virulent asset price inflation and low reported consumer price inflation crippled sound money as a political force in the US and globally. In the new decade, a different balance between monetary inflation’s “terrible twins” — asset inflation and goods inflation — will create an opportunity for that force to regain strength. Crucial, however, will be how sound money advocacy evolves in the world of ideas and its success in forming an alliance with other causes that could win elections.
It is very likely that the deflationary nonmonetary influences of globalization and digitalization, which camouflaged the activity of the goods-inflation twin during the past decade, are already dissipating.
The pace of globalization may have already peaked, before the Xi-Trump tariff war. Inflation-fueled monetary malinvestment surely contributed to its prior speed. One channel here was the spread of highly speculative narratives about the wonders of global supply chains.
Digitalization’s potential to camouflage monetary inflation in goods and services markets, on the other hand, has come largely via its impact on the dynamics of wage determination. It has forged star firms with considerable monopoly power in each industrial sector. Obstacles preventing their technological and organizational know-how from seeping out to competitors means that wages are not bid higher across labor markets in similar fashion to earlier industrial revolutions. These obstacles reflect the fact that much investment is now in the form of firm-specific intangibles. Even so, such obstacles tend to lose their effectiveness over time.
As deflation fades, monetary repression taxes (collected for governments through central banks' manipulation of rates to low levels so as to achieve 2 percent inflation despite disinflation as described) will undergo metamorphosis into open inflation taxes as the rate of consumer price inflation accelerates. Governments cannot forego revenue given their ailing finances. Simultaneously, asset inflation will proceed down a new stretch of highway where many crashes occur.
Historical Circumstances of Empowerment of Sound Money Forces
If the small sample size of monetary history is any guide, the combination of asset market crashes and high goods inflation empowers sound money forces in the political arena. Widespread public resentment against higher goods and services prices and wealth loss (whether by strong inflation or crash) is responsible for the shift.
By contrast, when the goods-inflation twin is camouflaged (as during the 2010s) and asset inflation is rife, unhappiness among some savers about the monetary repression tax is more than matched (in terms of electoral impact) by happiness among large segments of the population about rising wealth and the comforting performance of their pension funds.
If the asset inflation ends without the goods-inflation twin emerging from its camouflage, then most likely there would be a further triumph for unsound money, as was the case in the 1930s and again in the aftermath of the 2008 crash. The bankers, mortgage brokers, and securities salespersons would be blamed, not the money printers, though the latter’s political masters might suffer the consequences even without direct attribution.
The last time we had the combination of high goods inflation coupled with crash-prone asset markets was in the later stages of the great monetary inflation from the early 1960s to the 1970s. Sound money did become a political force both in Europe and the US despite the most effective groupings' advancement of the flawed doctrines of monetarism.
The seriousness of the flaws and whether these could be lessened by various forms of financial system reconstruction were never put to the test. In the US, the Reagan administration by 1985 had decided on a new devaluation policy (highlighted by the Plaza Accord), endorsed at the start by then Fed chairman Paul Volcker. Earlier the same administration had undermined the original purpose of a commission to study a return to the gold standard (law signed by President Carter in 1980) by packing it with opponents. In Europe, the dollar devaluation of the mid-1980s created the political dynamics towards monetary union which proved fatal to discount margin (DM) monetarism.
After the waxing and waning of monetarism, the US adopted gradually the 2 percent inflation standard built on emperor’s-new-clothes econometrics and expectations inertia. The newly established European Monetary Union followed suit. This all occurred just as nonmonetary deflationary forces were gaining power. At first globalization was the strongest force; later it was digitalization and resource abundance (especially of shale oil and gas).
A Sound Money Resurgence?
As the camouflage of goods and services inflation now thins, a climb in consumer price inflation may undermine the equity market and lead to an early dose of asset deflation. Governments will then double down on money printing. If that asset deflation nonetheless leads to great depression, sound money advocacy will remain dead.
However, if there is no great depression and goods inflation picks up sharply into the next cycle beyond a normal recession, sound money will have its chance. The extent of malinvestment during the monetary inflation of the past decades will be revealed in the wake of asset price deflation. Effective capital shortage resulting from the obsolescence of malinvestment will mean that goods and services price inflation can pick up faster and earlier than much conventional macroeconomic modeling would suggest as the business cycle upswing gets under way.
In this case there will still be a problem for sound money advocacy in the political arena. We can count the number of US senators in favor of sound money on one hand — and less in European parliaments. There is no ready popular brand of ideology of sound money analogous to Friedman’s 1970s monetarism.
Popular branding is difficult. The fundamental prerequisite to monetary soundness is an anchoring of the monetary system, which is accomplished by designing a monetary base for which a broad and stable demand exists that is not hugely sensitive to small changes in interest rates. This is not an easy concept to popularize. Successful anchoring means that automatic mechanisms would keep money under control without any official setting or manipulation of interest rates or any targeting of the price level.
It is hard to imagine a brand “catching on” that does not include gold. which has potential and actual popular appeal. A natural ally of sound money forces promoting this brand could be antimonopolists, found on both sides of the aisle. Big Tech and Big Finance are joining with Big Government in pursuing the war against cash. While this rages, gold money and the little saver stand little chance.
In Europe the forces of sound money would have a natural base in Germany, Holland, Belgium, and Austria. These forces could build on resentment toward transfers to southern Europe and negative rates. The main counterforce for now are the Greens. Watch how European Central Bank chief Lagarde is playing to the Green Party in Germany, expecting it to be an equal partner to the Christian Democrats in the next government, probably at some point in 2020.
A gold-backed euro based in northern Europe seems like fantasy for now, but it is more plausible than a gold dollar as an outcome of this decade.
Trump supporting Senate Republicans have warned their moderate GOP colleagues that if they side with the Democrats to force witnesses in the upcoming impeachment trial, they're going to flip the script and weaponize the process to call controversial witnesses such as Hunter Biden and Alexandra Chalupa - people central to the core claims behind the impeachment, yet were ignored like the plague by House Democrats during their investigations.
The pressure tactics are the latest shift in strategy as Republican leaders try to navigate the factions in their caucus, where moderates want to leave the potential for witnesses on the table and conservatives are anxious to quickly acquit President Trump. -The Hill
Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) warned fellow GOP senators that if four or more of them join with Democrats to entertain witness testimony, he'll make sure the Senate holds a vote on subpoenaing President Trump's preferred witnesses - including the Bidens.
"If you vote against Hunter Biden, you’re voting to lose your election, basically. Seriously. That’s what it is," Paul told Politico on Wednesday. "If you don’t want to vote and you think you’re going to have to vote against Hunter Biden, you should just vote against witnesses, period."
Paul added that if GOP senators insist on calling people "who are unhappy about being fired," referring to former National Security Adviser John Bolton, "then I think the president should get to call his [witnesses] and we should have votes on those."
"The president gets to call anybody he thinks would be good for his defense, the prosecution can call who they want, but I don’t think we should selectively call witnesses that don't like the president," he said.
Louisiana Republican Sen. John Kennedy says he expects that if moderate GOP join with Democrats to call their preferred witnesses, it's only fair that Trump's team can call theirs.
"I assume that if we're going to be fair ... that if we get into having witnesses and evidence that both the prosecution and the defense will be able to weigh in as well," said Kennedy. "I feel pretty confident, though I don’t know it for a fact, that the defense team is going to want to call its witnesses, including but not limited to the Bidens, [and] as a fact witness the whistleblower."
Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) declined to weigh in on Thursday about if he would be willing to engage in a trade where Democrats could call Bolton in exchange for Republicans calling Hunter Biden, who has emerged as a prime fixation for Trump and his allies over his work on the board of a Ukrainian energy company.
“I’m not going to negotiate out here,” he told reporters. “They haven’t made any offer about any witnesses or any documents.” -The Hill
Meanwhile, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) has floated the idea of "witness reciprocity" across the aisle.
"If they are going to bring witnesses in, we’re not going to do what the House did of a one-sided show trial, and I think it should be at a bare minimum one-for-one," Cruz told Fox News' Sean Hannity. "So if the prosecution brings ... John Bolton, then President Trump can bring a witness. He can bring Hunter Biden."
Hannity told Cruz he "loved your proposal" and that he hopes the Democrats agree so that Republicans can call the Bidens, whistleblower Eric Ciaramella and House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA), whose staff met with the whistleblower and steered him to Democratic operative attorney Mark Zaid - who loves going to Disneyland alone.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has worked behind the scenes to unite various factions within his caucus as the impeachment trial looms - meeting recently with moderates such as Susan Collins (R-ME) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) - the latter of whom was bullied mercilessly by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) during the Kavanaugh confirmation.
Sen. Roy Blunt, meanwhile, the #4 GOP senator, said McConnell has convinced Republicans to entertain a decision on witnesses after the trial begins.
"I think he’s done a good job listening and trying to understand that everybody has their own unique set of considerations here as to how they move forward," said Blunt, adding "By doing that [he] has all of us in the same place on the rules that we’ll vote on next Tuesday. That’s a good way to start."
Former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon has called for a full investigation into coordination between Congressional Democrats and members of the media, after articles of impeachment against President Trump appear to have been deliberately 'slow walked' in order to coincide with two 'bombshell' developments in the Ukraine story.
"Why did they time this? Why did they wait?" asked Fox Business host Trish Regan.
"First off, Rachel Maddow should be a witness of fact now. She should be brought in," replied Bannon - referring to the seemingly coordinated media blitz surrounding Lev Parnas, an indicted former Rudy Goiliani associate whose undated, hand-written notes appear to support the claim that President Trump pressured Ukraine into investigating Joe Biden for corruption.
"We ought to have all the emails and all the text messages between Schiff, between Nancy Pelosi, Phil Griffin at MSNBC News. We ought to bring the whole thing out. How did this get dropped? Why have they been working on this for so long? How did this just come about at the last second? She admitted she's been working on this for months, and the House just got this. The Republicans didn't even see this when the vote when down," said Bannon, adding "This is now a complete farce."
"I think there was collusion between MSNBC, Rachel Maddow, Lev Parnas's attorneys, and the entire process." -Steve Bannon
"So why did this not come forward earlier?" asks Regan.
"You know why, because they wanted to drop their "big reveal," this was going be such a big bombshell. This is all total hearsay from a guy trying to talk his way into a lesser sentence because he's already indicted. It's so obvious what he's trying to do."
Adding to the collusion / 'slow walk' theory is the completion of a report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) requested by Democratic Senator Chris Van Hollen, which found that President Trump's pause of US aid to Ukraine violated the law. Of note, virtually every previous administration has received a similar nastygram from the GAO - just not the day after directly related impeachment articles were delivered to the Senate ahead of a trial.
Coming decade could see the US take on Russia, China and Iran over the New Silk Road connection
Iranian seamen salute the Russian Navy frigate Yaroslav Mudry while moored at Chabahar on the Gulf of Oman during Iran-Russia-China joint naval drills. The photo was provided by the Iranian Army office on December 27, 2019. Photo: AFP / HO / Iranian Army office
The Raging Twenties started with a bang with the targeted assassination of Iran’s General Qasem Soleimani.
Yet a bigger bang awaits us throughout the decade: the myriad declinations of the New Great Game in Eurasia, which pits the US against Russia, China and Iran, the three major nodes of Eurasia integration.
Every game-changing act in geopolitics and geoeconomics in the coming decade will have to be analyzed in connection to this epic clash.
The Deep State and crucial sectors of the US ruling class are absolutely terrified that China is already outpacing the “indispensable nation” economically and that Russia has outpaced it militarily. The Pentagon officially designates the three Eurasian nodes as “threats.”
Hybrid War techniques – carrying inbuilt 24/7 demonization – will proliferate with the aim of containing China’s “threat,” Russian “aggression” and Iran’s “sponsorship of terrorism.” The myth of the “free market” will continue to drown under the imposition of a barrage of illegal sanctions, euphemistically defined as new trade “rules.”
Yet that will be hardly enough to derail the Russia-China strategic partnership. To unlock the deeper meaning of this partnership, we need to understand that Beijing defines it as rolling towards a “new era.” That implies strategic long-term planning – with the key date being 2049, the centennial of New China.
The horizon for the multiple projects of the Belt and Road Initiative – as in the China-driven New Silk Roads – is indeed the 2040s, when Beijing expects to have fully woven a new, multipolar paradigm of sovereign nations/partners across Eurasia and beyond, all connected by an interlocking maze of belts and roads.
The Russian project – Greater Eurasia – somewhat mirrors Belt & Road and will be integrated with it. Belt & Road, the Eurasia Economic Union, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and the Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank are all converging towards the same vision.
So this “new era”, as defined by the Chinese, relies heavily on close Russia-China coordination, in every sector. Made in China 2025 is encompassing a series of techno/scientific breakthroughs. At the same time, Russia has established itself as an unparalleled technological resource for weapons and systems that the Chinese still cannot match.
At the latest BRICS summit in Brasilia, President Xi Jinping told Vladimir Putin that “the current international situation with rising instability and uncertainty urge China and Russia to establish closer strategic coordination.” Putin’s response: “Under the current situation, the two sides should continue to maintain close strategic communication.”
Russia is showing China how the West respects realpolitik power in any form, and Beijing is finally starting to use theirs. The result is that after five centuries of Western domination – which, incidentally, led to the decline of the Ancient Silk Roads – the Heartland is back, with a bang, asserting its preeminence.
On a personal note, my travels these past two years, from West Asia to Central Asia, and my conversations these past two months with analysts in Nur-Sultan, Moscow and Italy, have allowed me to get deeper into the intricacies of what sharp minds define as the Double Helix. We are all aware of the immense challenges ahead – while barely managing to track the stunning re-emergence of the Heartland in real-time.
In soft power terms, the sterling role of Russian diplomacy will become even more paramount – backed up by a Ministry of Defense led by Sergei Shoigu, a Tuvan from Siberia, and an intel arm that is capable of constructive dialogue with everybody: India/Pakistan, North/South Korea, Iran/Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan.
This apparatus does smooth (complex) geopolitical issues over in a manner that still eludes Beijing.
In parallel, virtually the whole Asia-Pacific – from the Eastern Mediterranean to the Indian Ocean – now takes into full consideration Russia-China as a counter-force to US naval and financial overreach.
Stakes in Southwest Asia
The targeted assassination of Soleimani, for all its long-term fallout, is just one move in the Southwest Asia chessboard. What’s ultimately at stake is a macro geoeconomic prize: a land bridge from the Persian Gulf to the Eastern Mediterranean.
Last summer, an Iran-Iraq-Syria trilateral established that “the goal of negotiations is to activate the Iranian-Iraqi-Syria load and transport corridor as part of a wider plan for reviving the Silk Road.”
There could not be a more strategic connectivity corridor, capable of simultaneously interlinking with the International North-South Transportation Corridor; the Iran-Central Asia-China connection all the way to the Pacific; and projecting Latakia towards the Mediterranean and the Atlantic.
What’s on the horizon is, in fact, a sub-sect of Belt & Road in Southwest Asia. Iran is a key node of Belt & Road; China will be heavily involved in the rebuilding of Syria; and Beijing-Baghdad signed multiple deals and set up an Iraqi-Chinese Reconstruction Fund (income from 300,000 barrels of oil a day in exchange for Chinese credit for Chinese companies rebuilding Iraqi infrastructure).
A quick look at the map reveals the “secret” of the US refusing to pack up and leave Iraq, as demanded by the Iraqi Parliament and Prime Minister: to prevent the emergence of this corridor by any means necessary. Especially when we see that all the roads that China is building across Central Asia – I navigated many of them in November and December – ultimately link China with Iran.
The final objective: to unite Shanghai to the Eastern Mediterranean – overland, across the Heartland.
As much as Gwadar port in the Arabian Sea is an essential node of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, and part of China’s multi-pronged “escape from Malacca” strategy, India also courted Iran to match Gwadar via the port of Chabahar in the Gulf of Oman.
So as much as Beijing wants to connect the Arabian Sea with Xinjiang, via the economic corridor, India wants to connect with Afghanistan and Central Asia via Iran.
Yet India’s investments in Chabahar may come to nothing, with New Delhi still mulling whether to become an active part of the US “Indo-Pacific” strategy, which would imply dropping Tehran.
The Russia-China-Iran joint naval exercise in late December, starting exactly from Chabahar, was a timely wake-up for New Delhi. India simply cannot afford to ignore Iran and end up losing its key connectivity node, Chabahar.
The immutable fact: everyone needs and wants Iran connectivity. For obvious reasons, since the Persian empire, this is the privileged hub for all Central Asian trade routes.
On top of it, Iran for China is a matter of national security. China is heavily invested in Iran’s energy industry. All bilateral trade will be settled in yuan or in a basket of currencies bypassing the US dollar.
US neocons, meanwhile, still dream of what the Cheney regime was aiming at in the past decade: regime change in Iran leading to the US dominating the Caspian Sea as a springboard to Central Asia, only one step away from Xinjiang and weaponization of anti-China sentiment. It could be seen as a New Silk Road in reverse to disrupt the Chinese vision.
Battle of the Ages
A new book, The Impact of China’s Belt and Road Initiative, by Jeremy Garlick of the University of Economics in Prague, carries the merit of admitting that, “making sense” of Belt & Road “is extremely difficult.”
This is an extremely serious attempt to theorize Belt & Road’s immense complexity – especially considering China’s flexible, syncretic approach to policymaking, quite bewildering for Westerners. To reach his goal, Garlick gets into Tang Shiping’s social evolution paradigm, delves into neo-Gramscian hegemony, and dissects the concept of “offensive mercantilism” – all that as part of an effort in “complex eclecticism.”
The contrast with the pedestrian Belt & Road demonization narrative emanating from US “analysts” is glaring. The book tackles in detail the multifaceted nature of Belt & Road’s trans-regionalism as an evolving, organic process.
Imperial policymakers won’t bother to understand how and why Belt & Road is setting a new global paradigm. The NATO summit in London last month offered a few pointers. NATO uncritically adopted three US priorities: even more aggressive policy towards Russia; containment of China (including military surveillance); and militarization of space – a spin-off from the 2002 Full Spectrum Dominance doctrine.
So NATO will be drawn into the “Indo-Pacific” strategy – which means containment of China. And as NATO is the EU’s weaponized arm, that implies the US interfering on how Europe does business with China – at every level.
Retired US Army Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson, Colin Powell’s chief of staff from 2001 to 2005, cuts to the chase: “America exists today to make war. How else do we interpret 19 straight years of war and no end in sight? It’s part of who we are. It’s part of what the American Empire is. We are going to lie, cheat and steal, as Pompeo is doing right now, as Trump is doing right now, as Esper is doing right now … and a host of other members of my political party, the Republicans, are doing right now. We are going to lie, cheat and steal to do whatever it is we have to do to continue this war complex. That’s the truth of it. And that’s the agony of it.”
Moscow, Beijing and Tehran are fully aware of the stakes. Diplomats and analysts are working on the trend, for the trio, to evolve a concerted effort to protect one another from all forms of hybrid war – sanctions included – launched against each of them.
For the US, this is indeed an existential battle – against the whole Eurasia integration process, the New Silk Roads, the Russia-China strategic partnership, those Russian hypersonic weapons mixed with supple diplomacy, the profound disgust and revolt against US policies all across the Global South, the nearly inevitable collapse of the US dollar. What’s certain is that the Empire won’t go quietly into the night. We should all be ready for the battle of the ages.
NFA News Releases
Elite Forex Blog - Market Research & Analysis
- China Purchases to Include Oilseeds, Meat, Cereals, Cotton
- China to Buy Add'l $19.5B U.S. Agriculture Products in 2021
- China to Buy Add'l $12.5B U.S. Agriculture Products in 2020
- China to Approve Pending Applications for U.S. Bond Raters
- China to Buy Add'l $33.9B U.S. Energy Products in 2021
- China to Buy More U.S. Nuclear Power Equipment in Trade Deal
- China Energy Purchases to Include LNG, Oil, Products, Coal
- China to Buy Add'l $18.5B U.S. Energy Products in 2020
- During the two-year period from January 1, 2020 through December 31, 2021, China shall ensure that purchases and imports into China from the U.S. of the manufactured goods, agricultural goods, energy products, and services identified in Annex 6.1 exceed the corresponding 2017 baseline amount by no less than $200 billion.
- The U.S. recognizes the importance of intellectual property protection. China recognizes the importance of establishing and implementing a comprehensive legal system of intellectual property protection and enforcement as it transforms from a major intellectual property consumer to a major intellectual property producer. China believes that enhancing intellectual property protection and enforcement is in the interest of building an innovative country, growing innovation-driven enterprises, and promoting high quality economic growth.
- The Parties affirm the importance of ensuring that the transfer of technology occurs on voluntary, market-based terms and recognize that forced technology transfer is a significant concern. The Parties further recognize the importance of undertaking steps to address these issues, in light of the profound impact of technology and technological change on the world economy.
- 1. Issues related to exchange rate policy or transparency shall be referred by either the U.S. Secretary of the Treasury or the Governor of the People’s Bank of China to the Bilateral Evaluation and Dispute Resolution Arrangement established in Chapter 7 (Bilateral Evaluation and Dispute Resolution).
- 2. If there is failure to arrive at a mutually satisfactory resolution under the Bilateral Evaluation and Dispute Resolution Arrangement, the U.S. Secretary of the Treasury or the Governor of the People’s Bank of China may also request that the IMF, consistent with its mandate: (a) undertake rigorous surveillance of the macroeconomic and exchange rate policies and data transparency and reporting policies of the requested Party; or (b) initiate formal consultations and provide input, as appropriate.”
- If the Party Complained Against considers that the action of the Complaining Party was taken in bad faith, the remedy is to withdraw from this Agreement by providing written notice of withdrawal to the Complaining Party.
- China shall allow U.S. financial services suppliers to apply for asset management company licenses that would permit them to acquire non-performing loans directly from Chinese banks, beginning with provincial licenses. When additional national licenses are granted, China shall treat U.S. financial services suppliers on a non-discriminatory basis with Chinese suppliers, including with respect to the granting of such licenses.
- No later than April 1, 2020, China shall remove the foreign equity cap in the life, pension, and health insurance sectors and allow wholly U.S.-owned insurance companies to participate in these sectors. China affirms that there are no restrictions on the ability of U.S.-owned insurance companies established in China to wholly own insurance asset management companies in China.
- “No later than April 1, 2020, China shall eliminate foreign equity limits and allow wholly U.S.-owned services suppliers to participate in the securities, fund management, and futures sectors.
- China affirms that a wholly U.S.-owned credit rating services supplier has been allowed to rate domestic bonds sold to domestic and international investors, including for the interbank market. China commits that it shall continue to allow U.S. service suppliers, including wholly U.S.-owned credit rating services suppliers, to rate all types of domestic bonds sold to domestic and international investors. Within three months after the date of entry into force of this Agreement, China shall review and approve any pending license applications of U.S. service suppliers to provide credit rating services.
- Each Party shall allow a supplier of credit rating services of the other Party to acquire a majority ownership stake in the supplier’s existing joint venture.”
We first have to take advantage of the opportunities offered by the digital revolution to develop a genuine pan European payment solution.We as central banks must and want to take up this call for innovation at a time when private initiatives – especially payments between financial players – and technologies are accelerating, and public and political demand is increasing.
best-in-class payment infrastructure that can enable private innovators to deliver the payment products and services our citizens need.’ Infrastructure that is of course controlled by the central banking system. From the Bank of England’s perspective, they plan to ‘allow new entrants access to the same resources as incumbents, while holding similar risks to similar standards.’
Innovation in the area of payments is racing ahead in response to the urgent demand for quicker and cheaper payments, especially cross-border ones. The Eurosystem in general and the ECB in particular want to play an active role in this field, rather than just acting as observers of a changing world.
War of Deception Qassam Soleimani was the embodiment of deception, a creative genius at the art of warfare, operating on the Shiite maxim that lying to a non-believer is not a sin but a virtue in defense of umma, the community of faith. As a champion of asymmetric warfare, he was a master deceiver, but then again so is the Shiite Antichrist known as the Dajjal. At minimum, there's moral ambiguity in his career record, rather than the stark black-and-white portrait of duty and self-sacrifice being promoted to his fanboys in the Revolutionary Guard. The official biography presents this hardened murderer as a brilliant young officer in the 1980s Iraq-Iran War, specifically along the western front when Iraqi jets were spraying Iranian defenders with nerve gas secretly provided by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. That indeed might have seemed proof enough that the USA was a Satanic power, even though Rummie's secret authorization was in blatant violation of American law and congressional oversight. Despite a deficit in air power, Soleimani designed a counterattack based on maneuvers through the Kurdish highlands, outflanking the Iraqi ground force on the plains. The official biography omits the fact that Iran's brightest and best officer achieved his regular army troops' deep penetration maneuver by pinning down the Iraqi armored offensive with suicide bombings by Iranian teenagers. The mullahs promises these naive lads a reward of 24 virgins in the afterlife for blowing up the prized target. With that pleasant dream implanted in their tiny skulls, the Iranian boys crawled at night toward the Iraqi Republican Guard battle tanks and would jump aboard before pulling the cord to the detonator, that is, if they got past the automatic weapons fire. For a grown man to coerce a naive youth from some rural village with a cynical lie about a harem in the afterlife is an unforgivable sin, heaping shame on the war criminals who claim to be theologians. If this is "God's will", then what's left for the Devil?Of course, that cynical deceiver of children Soleiman never intended those youths to stop the Iraqi charm offensive. Their suicidal efforts, most of them being cut down by machine-gun fire, was a mere distraction, shifting away astounded enemy attention while the Iranian Army was infiltrating across the Kurdistan mountains deep into Iraq. The life-wasting ploy was awarded with career advancement. The deposed Shah, for all his crimes against political prisoners, never did anything comparable to that depraved level.
- CIA or Pro-CIA forces inside Iran
- Israel, or Pro-Israel forces inside Iran
- Russia, via electronic means, or via spies inside Iran (missile likely from Russia)
- Rogue agent inside Iranian forces - not everyone is for global war with USA, and not every Iranian supports the government (including in the military)
“Fed’s Clarida says economy in good place, does see inflation rising to 2%. Clarida says Fed’s repo operations could continue at least through April.”
The Fed's BS dance:
1. Repo is just a temporary thingy for a couple of weeks.
2. Oops, let's raise it to $120B
3. Oops, let's do it through January
4. Oops, let's do it through April
Don't believe a word they say.
Don't believe me? Check their dot plots for the past 10 years.
The irresponsiblity of this, telling the average person to take more risks this late in the cycle is simply staggering, regardless of what the markets do. To make them think a 50% return is low lacks any fiduciary responsibility. This is worse than the Greenspan housing comments. https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/1215285845336502272 …
We're witnessing the biggest market pump scheme in history.
1. Fed liquidity
4. Passive allocations, ETFs
Ever more money chasing less supply of shares, ever more concentrated market cap in fewer stocks, ever more disconnected from the economic basis. https://twitter.com/Schuldensuehner/status/1215303531042934784 …
GSA asked for sensitive information on his equity-trading including his profits and the speed of the trades. And then Cologlu handed over a plan that Citadel argues was based on its own confidential model, including the way the algorithm made predictions.
JPMorgan Silver Manipulation Saga 2008-2020
Indeed, as discussed extensively here previously, in 1998, the Fed delivered 75 bp of “insurance cuts” and the S&P 500 rallied by 27%. And just like now, valuations exploded - from 18x to 23x - and accounted for nearly all of the index return. Furthermore, amid global economic turmoil - also just like now - investors flocked to US stocks. Back then, Russia defaulted on its sovereign debt and the hedge fund LTCM collapsed, as Treasury yields fell from 5.8% to 4.7%. And yes, just like now, Info Tech was also the best-performing sector (+77%) and accounted for 35% of index return.
Following the recent rally, we expect S&P 500 will hover around 3250 until November. Prediction markets currently imply that a divided government is the most likely election outcome. Democrats are expected to maintain control of the House (71%), and are slight favorites to win the presidency (52% probability), but appear unlikely to regain control of the Senate (30% likelihood). A divided government would limit the prospect that legislation is passed reversing the 2017 corporate tax cut."
Some 40% of public stocks quoted in the U.S. have negative tangible book value, meaning that their tangible assets aren’t worth enough to repay all their debt. Two decades ago, this was only true of 15% of companies, according to Vincent Deluard of INTL FCStone Inc., who has carried out intensive research on the subject.Such companies sound dreadful. In tangible, material terms their share certificates aren’t even worth the paper they are written on. And yet, incredibly, a “negative-value” fund, composed of the shares of companies with negative tangible book value, would have beaten the main U.S. stock market, represented by the Russell 3000 Index, by 24% over the last 20 years. That outperformance has almost all happened since the financial crisis — before that, the negative-value fund had roughly tracked the benchmark.
Get Investigator Groups Out of Silos
Try a Tech-Enabled Portfolio Approach
Use Predictive Capabilities of Tech-Enabled Investigation Programs
Adopting a Tech-Enabled Approach
Vermont Republic (January 15, 1777 – March 4, 1791)
Republic of West Florida (September 23, 1810 – December 10, 1810)
Provisional Government of Oregon (May 2, 1843 – March 3, 1849)
“In considering that Bloomberg LP disseminated information which it should have known to be false, the Enforcement Committee noted that the publication of the dispatches by Bloomberg, which began one minute after receiving the fraudulent news release, was preceded by no verification by the journalists of the Speed Desk, even though the release, which contained several errors, sent to Bloomberg during a trading session and reporting very serious information, suggesting that a dramatic and immediate drop in the share price was likely, required increased vigilance from the journalists,” it said in a statement.Ethics in journalism requires verifying information prior to publication, which the outlet didn’t do, AMF said.
“The Committee stressed that the protection enjoyed by journalists is subject to the condition that they act in good faith so as to provide information that is accurate and credible,” it stated. The watchdog said that Bloomberg News could appeal.
“Bloomberg News was one of the victims of a sophisticated hoax, like the company that was directly targeted by the fraudsters, and the many other press agencies who were all victims of the same deception,” the statement said.“We regret that the AMF did not find and punish the perpetrator of the hoax, and chose instead to penalise a media outlet that was doing its very best to report on what appeared to be newsworthy information. “
I liked the book [Epstein: Dead Men Tell No Tales] a lot.Unfortunately, the media doesn’t understand 75% of the Epstein story.Because it’s a complicated story. Maxwell, the Crown, and spying. Of course, right now Prince Andrew is preventing the Southern District of New York from arresting Maxwell.There is a problem, because [Alex] Acosta in 2008, the reason that Epstein didn’t get any time and got a non-prosecution agreement was because of the intelligence agencies involvement with Epstein, and the two Maxwells, in Israel. I know that for a fact from Epstein.What you write [in Epstein: Dead Men Tell No Tales] is true. Matter of fact, I have been asked by many others about the spying, and I would never comment on the spying. I didn’t want to get ahead of this. But you have now created the platform. Your story is true.It is the truth. There’s no question. What you write is true. I am an eyewitness.He admitted this to me. That was not a core problem because he shared with me thousands of conversations; everything about his life. I mean, I was like his brother. We were inseparable for a long time. So I know every step of what you write.You see the espionage connections were too hot, and that concerned me for risk — up until your book. I’ve been pressed on espionage and I wouldn’t give it up. I didn’t confirm the espionage until your book came out. It’s a very serious master plan to the whole Epstein mystery. That was the master plan by Epstein.He’s got Andrew pinned to the wall right now. He’s got the crown stuck. Why the Crown is now taking this position. Maxwell has been described as a Co-conspirator. (She has denied any claims of wrongdoing). Why doesn’t the Crown in the U.K. seek justice? That’d bust the bubble in the UK. There’s 75% of Epstein’s story that is not understood by the media and the public. But we’ve got to bring it out there, we’ve got to tell them.He was needed by the CIA or the FBI for intelligence, because he was manipulating the American intelligence for the overseas organizations: MI6, the Israeli’s, and the Saudi’s. That’s what he was doing. They were afraid of the exposure that he brought to the table for what he did with Prince Andrew, MI6, the Israeli’s, and the Saudi’s. That’s why (Alex) Acosta said to the media, “This is an intelligence criminal case, this is not a standalone criminal case.” Acosta said that.Don’t forget, he and I interacted from ’87 through ’96 or around that timeframe. So we were inseparable, as being together and talking every day. Working together every day. I set up that office at Villard House at that time, which was his office that we opened up specifically for him. We were always together and he trusted me totally. I didn’t know he was setting me up at the time, which he was, to take the entire fall for the crimes. I was not supposed to take the fall. I was supposed to get a slap on the wrist. But he’s the one that caused me to not get a slap on the wrist, because he double-crossed me with the money.I don’t actually have an axe to grind for something that happened decades ago. But I was there, and that’s what happened and I have the evidence of that — of how he framed me. This is all true. I mean, I’m not using this as a story for that, because this is only one little component that I got set up. I got set up in the first round of big money crimes with Epstein. The story is remarkable. Nobody’s going to say that I have an axe to grind because I’m not a participant in all of these cover ups. I’m in one, heavily. Heavily. So you know, that’s not an axe to grind at all. That’s a story to tell. That’s all it is. It’s something to explain. His mindset, the profile, how Epstein saw things, and how he played the chess board. That’s all it is.
Cryptocurrency exchange UPbit announced today that it lost almost US$50 million worth of ether (ETH) in an apparent security breach. According to this statement by Lee Seok-woo, the CEO of the exchange’s operator Dunamu, around 342,000 ETH were moved from the platform’s ‘hot wallet’ to this unrecognized wallet today shortly after 1 p.m. local time. Client funds were not affected, said the South Korea-based cryptocurrency exchange.
The majority (70%) of organizations are seeing insider attacks more frequently, with 60% experiencing at least one attack within the past 12 months, according to the Nucleus Cyber 2019 Insider Threat Report, conducted with Cybersecurity Insiders, released on Thursday.The report surveyed 400,000 members of the Cybersecurity Insiders community to determine how prevalent email attacks are in the cyber threat landscape. Some 68% of respondents reported feeling "extremely to moderately" vulnerable to them, and 85% said it's difficult to fully see the damage caused from each attack.
12.30 GMT. Mark Carney hosting Monetary Policy Report press conference, quarterly Inflation Report #BankofEngland #BoE #MarkCarney #InflationReport $GBP #interestrates #monetarypolicy #CentralBanks #economy
Sign up for a free trial at http://statisma.com to hear him first.
“Looking at the charts shown to me by Thomson Reuters it seems evident that either a very close correlation in private/public data has been discovered that is allowing traders to pre-position ahead of publication or a leak of the numbers is occurring,” he said.