Wednesday, November 20, 2019

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Should You Use Leverage With Precious Metals And Mining Stocks?

by Dave Kranzler, Investment Research Dynamics:

While I will maintain, until proven wrong by the test of time, that Bitcoin and Cryptocurrencies are nothing more than a temporary fad, investing with a long term outlook (20-30 years) gives the investor the best probability of generating life-style changing wealth.

William Powers, of MiningStockEducation.com, invited onto his podcast to discuss using leverage in precious metals and mining stock investing.  We discuss greed/fear, using margin with mining stocks, volatility, options, futures and the leveraged ETFs.

The problem for most investors, and the reason many have not made a lot of money – or might have lost money – in the precious metals sector is the inability to invest with a long term perspective.  Since 2001, gold has outperformed every asset class.  The mining stocks, in general as measured using the HUI index, have outperformed the Dow/Naz since 2001.

If your reason to be invested in a sector is still valid, there’s no reason to sell investments in that sector.  Have the reasons for investing precious metals as a hedge against a collapsing U.S. economic and political system, and thereby a collapse in the U.S. dollar, changed? Have the problems taking the U.S. down been fixed?  The answer is pretty obvious, which means you should be holding your precious metals investments, even if you bought them in early 2011.   In fact, if you bought then, you should be buying more now.  I know I have been adding to my holdings gradually since early 2016.

Read More @ InvestmentResearchDynamics.com

Stock & Bond Markets in Denial about QE Unwind, but Banks, Treasury Dept Get Antsy

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by Wolf Richter, Wolf Street:

“Let markets clear.” It’ll be just “a financial engineering shock.”

Stock and bond markets are in denial about the effects of the Fed’s forthcoming QE unwind, whose kick-off is getting closer by the day, according to the minutes of the Fed’s July meeting.

“Several participants” were fretting how financial conditions had eased since the rate hikes began in earnest last December, instead of tightening. “Further increases in equity prices, together with continued low longer-term interest rates, had led to an easing of financial conditions,” they said. So something needs to be done about it.

And “several participants were prepared to announce a starting date for the program at the current meeting” – so the meeting in July – “most preferred to defer that decision until an upcoming meeting.” So the September meeting. And markets are now expecting the QE unwind to be announced in September.

Since then, short-term Treasury yields have remained relatively stable, reflecting the Fed’s current target range for the federal funds rate of 1{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528} to 1.25{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528}. But long-term rates, which the Fed intends to push up with the QE unwind, have come down further. As a consequence, the yield curve has flattened further, which is the opposite of what the Fed wants to accomplish.

The chart shows how the yield curve for current yields (red line) across the maturities has flattened against the yield curve on December 14 (blue line), when the Fed got serious about tightening:

Yields of junk bonds at the riskiest end (rated CCC or below) surged in the second half of 2015 and in early 2016, peaking above 20{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528} on average, as bond prices have plunged (they move in opposite directions) in part due to the collapse of energy junk bonds, which caused a phenomenal bout of Fed flip-flopping. But by rate-hike-day December 14, the average yield was 12{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528}. And since the tightening moves and the planning for the QE unwind, the yield has dropped to 10.7{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528} currently:

So markets are loosening “financial conditions” for companies, thus making capital cheaper and easier, rather than tightening financial conditions. The St. Louis Fed tracks these financial conditions with its “Financial Stress Index.” In this chart of the Financial Stress Index, the blue line (=zero) represents “normal financial market conditions.” Values below zero indicate below-average financial market stress. The record low was -1.609 on June 27, 2014. Currently, the index is at -1.604, just barely above the record low:

Read More @ WolfStreet.com

Chief Obamacare Architect Fired, Forced To Settle Fraudulent Billing Investigation In Vermont

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from ZeroHedge:

If not for the undercover video below in which MIT professor, and chief Obamacare architect, Jonathan Gruber attributed the passage of Obamacare to the “stupidity of the American voter,” most Americans wouldn’t even have known it was Gruber who was responsible for eternally destroying the healthcare system in the U.S.

Unfortunately, the now infamous MIT prof just had to open his mouth and the video just had to go viral…which means that all the rest of us have to live the remainder of our lives with the knowledge that one elitist, leftist professor who has probably never worked a day outside of academia and/or government in his life is the sole reason we can suddenly no longer afford to buy health insurance for our families.

Now, according to the Vermont Rutland HeraldGruber’s perpetual desire to save American voters from their own stupidity has landed him in some hot water with Vermont’s Attorney General T.J. Donovan.  As the Herald explains, Gruber was apparently hired as a consultant by Vermont’s former Governor to assist with analyzing a single-payer healthcare system but got a little too creative with his invoices…

Vermont Attorney General T.J. Donovan said his office has concluded an investigation into the invoices and billing practices of Dr. Jonathan Gruber, an economic consultant who contracted with the state to provide policy expertise, research and economic modeling for Vermont’s abandoned single-payer healthcare system.

Former Gov. Peter Shumlin sought to create the single-payer system, known as Green Mountain Care, but eventually walked away from the plan after determining it would cost too much. The attorney general’s office’s began the investigation into Gruber’s billing after receiving a referral by State Auditor Doug Hoffer.

Donovan said Thursday his office and Gruber reached an agreement to settle the state’s potential legal claim that Gruber submitted false claims to the state under Vermont’s Civil False Claims Act. Donovan said his office concluded that Gruber’s conduct violated the Vermont Civil False Claims Act. Gruber denied a violation, but in order to resolve the case, he agreed to forgo any further payments from the state that he might be owed.

Donovan’s office found that Gruber submitted at least two invoices that were false with respect to the amount of work performed by a research assistant working for Gruber. The supporting documentation provided by Gruber did not reflect the actual hours worked by the research assistant, nor did the assistant keep records accurately reflecting the hours he devoted to the state project, Donovan said.

Gruber’s contract was originally supposed to pay him as much as $400,000 to test economic models related to Shumlin’s health care proposal. The contract allowed the state to use the Gruber Microsimulation Model that Gruber developed to simulate the implementation of Shumlin’s plan and test various financing mechanisms.

Read More @ ZeroHedge.com

Spain ‘issues arrest warrant’ for Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu over 2010 Gaza flotilla attack

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by  Loulla-Mae Eleftheriou-Smith, The Independent:

‘We consider it to be a provocation. We are working with the Spanish authorities to get it cancelled’ 

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and seven other former and current government officials are at risk of arrest if they set foot in Spain, after a Spanish judge effectively issued an arrest warrant for the group, it has been reported.

According to the Latin American Herald Tribune, Spanish national court judge Jose de la Mata ordered the police and civil guard to notify him if Mr Netanyahu and the six other individuals enter the country, as their actions could see a case against them regarding the Freedom Flotilla attack of 2010 reopened.

The other men named in the issue are former defence minister Ehud Barak, former foreign minister Avigdor Leiberman, former minister of strategic affairs Moshe Yaalon, former interior minister Eli Yishai, minister without portfolio Benny Begin and vice admiral maron Eliezer, who was in charge of the operation.

The case – which was put on hold by Judge de la Mata last year – was brought against the men following an attack by Israeli security forces against the Freedom Flotilla aid ships in 2010, which was trying to reach Gaza.

It concerns the Mavi Marmara ship, the main civilian vessel in a fleet of six that were attempting to break an Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip. The six ships were carrying around 500 passengers, humanitarian aid and construction materials. The Israeli Defence Force stormed the ship in a raid that left nine human rights activists dead. A tenth activist died later that month due to wounds sustained in the raid.

Read More @ Independent.co.uk

The Bioterroism Threat to Our Vulnerable Food Supplies

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by Dave Hodges, The Common Sense Show:

If people let government decide what foods they eat and what medicines they take, their bodies will soon be in as sorry a state as are the souls of those who live under tyranny.”

Thomas Jefferson

If the Deep State, does what many of us in the media believe they are going to do, they will soon provoke a crisis, declare martial law and use food as the ultimate weapon to subjugate an unruly population. This article provides an assessment of these possibilities.

This article will examine past history and archival information in order to look for a pattern of behavior which suggests that the Deep State in this country plans to use food as a weapon against the people. This will be followed by an analysis of a current state of affairs in order better assess the immediacy of any such threat.

The Historical Precedent of Using Food As a Weapon

The two most notable examples of dictators using food as a weapon in order to destroy the free will of their people, comes from the regimes of Stalin and Hitler.

Josef Stalin engaged in his own Soviet-style Holocaust when, in 1932 and 1933, an estimated six to 20 million people in the Ukraine died from starvation when Stalin implemented his prescription of “hope and change” policies in order to eliminate the Ukrainian’s desire for becoming their own nation-state.

Upon assuming power, the Stalinist Communist regime rapidly nationalized the food industry and forced all of the region’s farms into collectives. This is exactly what is happening under the Obama administration and the dramatic rise of corporately owned farms.

Stalin’s version of the Holocaust came to fruition in what history has dubbed, the “Holodomor,” in which millions perished in only a two year period when the Soviet government began to exterminate the Ukrainian population by taking control of food and food production. And why would Stalin do such a thing to his own people? The Ukrainians were discussing and publicizing some very dangerous ideas about freedom, liberty and the ability to act on their desire for political autonomy. Americans would be wise to heed this warning as despots hate freedom. The parallel between Stalin and collectivist farms and American corporately owned farms is very disturbing.

Hitler proclaimed that food could be used as a tool “…to discipline the masses” and he did not hesitate to use the control of food as a type of carrot and stick in which he would reward accomplishment and punish failure as well as to ferment preferential class distinctions in which his armed forces received the largest food ration cards. Skilled workers who were engaged in industries critical to the building of the German war machine, received food ration cards which were slightly less in value. And, finally, the prisoners and the Jews received the lowest valued Nazi food ration cards. Food ration cards were also utilized as incentives to increase industrial production and were also increased in value when productive Nazi workers would be promoted. Food ration cards were diminished in value for the failure to meet Nazi production goals. Hitler’s use of what psychologists refer to as classical conditioning techniques reduced the will of the German population to a pack of Pavlovian dogs who were conditioned to be totally dependent upon the government for their survival. The presence of 50 million Americans on food stamps would certainly make an applicable parallel to Hitler’s practices and the potential for Obama, or another future president to follow in Hitler’s footsteps with regard to food management.

Read More @ TheCommonSenseShow.com

What Happened to CNN?

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from Mark Dice:

One Statistics Professor Was Just Banned By Google: Here Is His Story

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from ZeroHedge:

Statistics professor Salil Mehta, adjunct professor at Columbia and Georgetown who teaches probability and data science and whose work has appeared on this website on numerous prior occasions, was banned by Google on Friday.

What did Salil do to provoke Google? It is not entirely clear, however what is clear is that his repeated attempts at restoring his email, blog and other Google-linked accounts have so far been rejected with a blanket and uniform statement from the search giant.

Here is what happened, in Salil Mehta’s own words.

Dont do a googol of evil

Freedom is not free unless corporations who exert a large influence in our lives believe in our well-being.  I am a statistics professor and understand that there needs to be reasonable standards to control a large social network and make sure everyone is able to enjoy it freely.  Invariably people disagree (we all see this), but some principles, such as simply showing probability and statistics with the sole hope of educating others, should be acceptable and in the middle of the distribution.  I am for a higher standard, and a higher purpose.  There is great care that I have taken to make sure that people treat one other well, admit faults, and present math and probability education to a wide audience.

On Friday afternoon East Coast Time by surprise, I was completely shut down in all my Google accounts (all of my gmail accounts, blog, all of my university pages that were on google sites, etc.) for no reason and no warning.  A number of us were stunned and unsure, but clearly we know at this point it wasn’t an accident.  Here are some examples commented from best-selling author Nassim Taleb, and they have been retweeted by government officials, and the NYT and WSJ journalists. 

My ads-free blog itself is a probability theory site, with 27 million reads and has somewhere near 150k overall followers.  It’s been read by Warren Buffett, Elon Musk, Nobel Laureates, multiple governments, celebrity athletes around the world, deans of many universities (on the syllabi of same), and a number of TV news anchors.  So it’s been a great boon for Google to be noticed so kindly by essentially a charitable site promoting math education.  What great people from all corners of the world and at all levels who can enjoy Google, until it suddenly died Friday afternoon.

My background is clean, and without a political or social agenda.  I am not promoting any specific viewpoint.  I teach probability math and that’s it.  Have worked with both the Obama administration and advised on polling statistics for the Trump campaign, am an adjunct professor at three top universities, an editor of the peer-reviewed journal of the American Statistical Association, and wrote a best-selling statistics book (all the proceeds of which I gave to charity!) https://www.amazon.com/Statistics-Topics-Salil-Mehta/dp/1499273533

The NYT has a popular print article this weekend and they cited my Google blog, but alas it not links to an embarrassing malfunction, for many to see: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/19/business/the-stock-market-has-been-magical-it-cant-last.html

This doesn’t look good.  Now instead of mathematics, reporters have turned to this latest circus nightmare from Google as an example of how they are compounding bad decisions on good people anywhere and at any time. 

Can they not differentiate me from an evil person?  Can they not see the large and reputable people and institutions that have relied on my work?  Do they have better people who can coach them on how to make decisions with much better taste and finesse?  What’s next, all CEOs and professors and politicians are going to be shut down from social media whenever it is least expected?  Overnight hi-tech lynching squads are a thing of the past.  We can’t have kangaroo courts and hope to lead with moral authority.

There is a lot of energy being spent right now thinking about how this happens to your best customers, just like that.  Fear is running wild about who is next and on what other social media platforms.  Have used Google for 11 years with no issue.  Have driven enormous free traffic to your products and properties.  But now that’s been severely damaged as the trust/reputational value has been crushed, and I have to re-emerge quickly elsewhere and deal with this fall-out.  I have many students, family, coworkers, etc who typically send me e-mails each day and all of it is vanishing with a kicked-back “user doesn’t exist” error.  And that’s totally unacceptable.  Through my many companies have business accounts on different social media and have no issue getting a marketing line, but one needs to know who they are dealing with and not treat them this badly.  The wrongs here are not being done by me.

Read More @ ZeroHedge.com

Opening Round NAFTA Fissures Over the Meaning of “Substantial”: What’s the Best and Worst That Can Happen?

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by Mish Shedlock, Mish Talk:

Trump is bound and determined to have his way in NAFTA negotiations whether or not anyone agrees with him. Ironically, not even the auto manufacturers do. The first round of negotiations, now underway, has hit a snag already. The meaning of “substantial” is in play.

The Wall Street Journal reports U.S., Canada and Mexico Wrap Up Nafta First Round.

Opening-round talks to remake the North American Free Trade Agreement revealed early fissures dividing the U.S. from Mexico and Canada, including a Trump administration proposal to require a “substantial” portion of autos and auto parts produced under the pact be made in the U.S.

The renegotiation of the trade deal, which was one of President Donald Trump’s main campaign promises and a key pillar of his “America First” agenda aiming to revive U.S. manufacturing and reduce the country’s trade deficit, is likely to face many hurdles. Auto makers in all three nations generally oppose the stricter rules floated by the U.S. negotiator, and pro-business lawmakers in Congress don’t want to see the pact significantly altered.

Early tensions over areas such as the so-called rules of origin—a major issue for the automotive industry—signaled the tough bargaining that lies ahead as the three nations try to wrap up a deal by early next year.

The chief U.S. negotiator, Robert Lighthizer, came into the talks Wednesday saying the U.S. would insist on tightening the rules of origin, and adding a provision covering U.S. production, an idea quickly dismissed as unworkable by Mexican and Canadian officials.

At this early stage of the talks, it is difficult to measure the depth of the disagreement. Opening rounds generally set the tone and schedule for negotiations. The U.S. has yet to release specifics on some of its most controversial positions, including measures to reduce the U.S. trade deficit, prevent currency manipulation, favor U.S. companies in government contracts, known colloquially as Buy America, and rework rules governing arbitration panels.

The U.S. feels that its most significant leverage in the talks is Mr. Trump’s threat to withdraw from Nafta if the U.S. doesn’t get the changes it wants. North American trade is far more significant to the Canadian and Mexican economies than it is for the U.S.

Mexican negotiators say they are prepared to scrap Nafta rather than accede to demands they consider harmful to their economy.

What’s the Best That Can Happen?

That’s a softball question. The best thing that can possibly happen is the trade talks collapse and Trump backs down on his promise to revoke the deal.

Nearly as good would be minor tweaks that don’t really do anything. One might even argue this is a better alternative as it would allow Trump to save face while bragging about nothing.

What’s the Worst That Can Happen?

The worst is the trade talks collapse, Trump abandons NAFTA and starts a global trade war.

Read More @ MishTalk.com

Angela Merkel is being Called a Traitor for the Refugee Crisis

by Martin Armstrong, Armstrong Economics:

The EU has abandoned Italy while simultaneously demanding that the refugees must be taken care of. Nearly 100,000 refugees have arrived in Italy since the start of this year alone. The Italian government cannot cope with the refugee crisis and Brussels said they cannot exempt them from the restraint of busgets. That means that money for Italians must be diverted to the refugees and they keep coming.

Italy is being pushed to the limit and cannot possible cope with this burden alone while Brussels refuses to compensate them. Let any country refuse to accept refugees and Brussels is quick to condemn them, but wont pay for them itself.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel is solely responsible for the refugee crisis. She is starting to be greeted with shouts of “traitor” by discontent German protesters. Nevertheless, Merkel continues to defend her decision to allow hundreds of thousands of refugees into the Germany.

Merkel only received 16,233,642 votes during the 2013 election which was  37.2{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528} of the popular vote of Germany. So the majority of Germans are really not supporting Merkel. Because they get to form collation governments, that someone who received less that any President in the political history of the USA gets to run Euorpe. Even Donald Trump won  46.1{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528} of the American popular vote. So someone who would never get into office under the USA system gets to dominate Europe.

Read More @ ArmstrongEconomics.com

Geoengineering Is Causing Lethal UV Radiation Exposure

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by Dane Wigington, Geoengineering Watch:

Does the sun feel scorchingly hot? Does it feel much more intense than in decades now past? It is not your imagination. Not only are UV-B radiation levels escalating exponentially, so is the even more dangerous UV-C spectrum. All official UV monitoring sources tell us that lethal UV-C radiation from the sun is stopped 100,000 feet up by our atmosphere. Official agencies tell us that no UV-C radiation penetrates the atmosphere below 100,000 feet of elevation. These are blatant, glaring, and very dangerous lies. GeoengineeringWatch.orgcontinues to work directly with a former NASA aeronautics engineer (a veteran of 40 years in the field of atmospheric study and ozone depletion) who is doing his best to sound the alarm on the critical UV radiation danger. Ongoing covert global climate engineering programs are destroying Earth’s protective ozone layer. Many mainstream sources confirm ozone damage “will” occur from geoegineering (along with countless other consequences), though such sources still will not admit geoengineering has long since been fully deployed.

  Tree die-off is rapidly increasing all over the world. Shasta County, California. Photo credit: Jovyde Wigington
Tree die-off is rapidly increasing all over the world. Shasta County, California. Photo credit: Jovyde Wigington

How dire is the situation? Far worse than almost any yet imagine. The chart below was assembled for GeoengineeringWatch.org by our NASA engineer colleague. To make the severity of the UV-C radiation exposure crystal clear, the chart was kept as basic as possible. Note that the baseline for the chart UV-C level is 0.00, this is the stated level of UV-C radiation from ALL official UV metering sources (many of the same agencies that officially deny the ongoing climate engineering reality). The chart’s skyrocketing red line of actual UV-C measurement speaks for itself.

  The UV-C radiation reading shown in the chart above was taken on 1-1-17. Ongoing measurments are in a similar range. The danger UV-C radiation exposure poses to the entire web of life cannot be overstated.
The UV-C radiation reading shown in the chart above was taken on 1-1-17. Ongoing measurments are in a similar range. The danger UV-C radiation exposure poses to the entire web of life cannot be overstated.

The August 5th, 2017, UV metering graph below reveals the increasing spikes of ever more lethal UV radiation spectrums.

  The ozone destruction / UV radiation increase equation is extremely non-linear, this fact must be remembered and considered.
The ozone destruction / UV radiation increase equation is extremely non-linear, this fact must be remembered and considered.

Below is a direct quote from a World Health Organization (WHO) publication on UV radiation, the total denial of UV-C radiation reaching the surface of Earth is nothing less than a lethal lie.

Short-wavelength UV-C is the most damaging type of UV radiation. However, it is completely filtered by the atmosphere and does not reach the earth’s surface.

What does a Stanford University Study tell us about dangerous UV-C radiation? Yet another lie.

The UV-C region of the UV spectrum includes wavelengths below 280 NM; these highly energetic wavelengths are effectively absorbed by ozone in the stratosphere.

Read More @ GeoengineeringWatch.com

The US Visa “Suspension” for Russians is an inconvenient administrative rerouting

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by Andrew Kotybko, The Duran:

It was just announced earlier today that the US is suspending the processing of non-immigrant visas to Russians in all of its consulates in the country on 23 August, which caused a knee-jerk social media reaction that America was essentially banning Russians from visiting. That’s not the case, at all, and anyone who read beyond the headlines would know this. According to the US’ official statement:

“…all nonimmigrant visa (NIV) operations across Russia will be suspended beginning August 23, 2017.  Visa operations will resume on a greatly reduced scale.  Beginning September 1, nonimmigrant visa interviews will be conducted only at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow.  NIV interviews at the U.S. Consulates in St. Petersburg, Yekaterinburg, and Vladivostok are suspended until further notice.”

Basically, the US is just inconveniencing Russians by having them go to Moscow to receive their visa as opposed to the much closer consulates in whichever part of the country they live in. This might be problematic for some because of the attendant transportation and time costs inherent in, such as the case of Vladivostok, going halfway across Eurasia just to get a tourist visa, and that’s all before undergoing the planned trip to the other side of the world in the opposite direction afterwards.

There are also more technical details to the US’ announcement concerning visa fees that were already payed and a prohibition on transferring people’s applications to a closer US Embassy outside of the country instead, but these aspects are only relevant if an individual doesn’t want to travel to Moscow to complete the final stage of their visa process. While it’s understandably troublesome for some people to do this, it’s a far cry away from the exaggerated hype that the US banned Russians from visiting the country.

It’s always unfortunate when regular folks are caught in the middle of a diplomatic crisis between two countries, and the only losers are the Russian people themselves who simply wanted the convenience of processing their visa applications in a US consulate near the region that they live, but the fact is that the US might no longer have the personnel capacity to handle these tasks after complying with Russia’s request that they downscale their staff.

One should remember that Russia only issued this order months after former President Obama unilaterally seized the country’s diplomatic property and expelled its diplomats on the false pretext that they “hacked” the 2016 election, so Moscow’s response was proportionate and fair, to say nothing of being somewhat overdue. That said, however, Russia isn’t responsible for how the US decides the sovereign management of its consular and embassy activities.

Whether the US is scaling back its nonimmigrant visa operations as a snide move to punish the Russian people or if this is a genuine response to their newfound lack of staff to process such requests, the fact remains that this nevertheless isn’t anything more than a 9-day “suspension” of operations and their administrative rerouting to the Moscow Embassy from the three consulates across the country.

In no way whatsoever does this amount to the US “banning” Russians from visiting, even if it does make it more inconvenient for them to do so.

Read More @ TheDuran.com