Saturday, July 2, 2022

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It’s Time to Take Out “Freedom Insurance”

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by Nick Giambruno, International Man:

Only a fool tries to survive by acting like a vegetable, staying rooted in one place, when the political and economic climate changes for the worse.

—Doug Casey

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know that America is in turmoil. That was on full display recently in Charlottesville, Virginia.

But it’s not just Charlottesville. There have been deadly clashes in Ferguson, Charleston, Dallas, St. Paul, Baltimore, Baton Rouge, and Alexandria.

America is headed for a new kind of civil war.

And when it erupts, you and your family will want “freedom insurance”—the ability to get out fast and set up comfortably in a more stable country.

I recently spoke with my friend and colleague Chris Lowe about this, and I knew I had to pass along our discussion to International Man readers.

Chris is the editor of Bonner & Partners’ Inner Circle. His publication shares insights from Bill Bonner’s personal global network of analysts and investment experts.

Chris Lowe: You’ve been urging folks to diversify internationally. Why is that message so important now?

Nick Giambruno: The US is becoming more and more fragmented, as I’m sure our readers have noticed. I’ve never seen it more polarized.

In fact, I’ve only seen this degree of polarization in countries that have gone through civil wars. It all feels eerily familiar.

I was born in the US, and grew up there. But I used to live in Lebanon, which went through a nasty 15-year civil war. More than 120,000 died. Thousands more lost their homes.

And I currently live in Colombia part of the year. The country has a 50-year history of civil conflict.

Chris Lowe: What’s to blame for this situation?

Nick Giambruno: Identity politics are a big factor.

That’s when your religion, race, ethnic background, and so forth are the most important thing in politics. You’re no longer an individual American. You’re part of some group, undoubtedly being victimized by another group.

This naturally leads to collectivism, tensions… and eventually violence between the groups.

Identity politics were a big factor in Lebanon’s civil war. And they’re a big factor in the US right now. This poisonous trend is growing, and it’s probably unstoppable.

The media is another big factor. Most Americans live in a partisan information bubble with these 24-hour news networks and partisan websites. That accelerates the divide.

I lived in Beirut, Lebanon’s capital city, for about three years. It reminds me of the media there. About 6 million people live in Lebanon, but it has about a dozen 24-hour news channels. Each one caters to a different political/sectarian/ethnic group. This allows each group to live in its own media bubble.

Lebanon’s bloody civil war happened in the 1970s and 1980s. But it’s still an extremely divided country. It wouldn’t take much for its civil war to start up again.

The media in Lebanon helps incubate tensions there. Today, the same thing is happening in the US.

I don’t mean to sound dramatic, but Americans hate each other right now. And it’s getting worse. We’re just a market crash… a recession… or some other extreme event away from more widespread violence. A new form of civil war is even possible.

Chris Lowe: We’re not talking a return to 1861—to pitched battles between armies and hundreds of thousands dead. But if you define “civil war” as a situation where you have widespread violence, a rejection of political authority, and the National Guard on the street, it’s easy to see how America gets there.

Nick Giambruno: I agree. I can’t say exactly what it is. But something does seem to be brewing. And it’s not good. That’s why Doug Casey and I urge our readers to internationalize their lifestyles.

Call it what you want, but American society is cracking. Like you say, it’s not necessarily just the political system, but society itself. And that’s probably more worrisome.

Doug and I have talked about this a lot lately. Doug is older than I am. He’s in his 70s. And he says he hasn’t seen anything like this in his lifetime.

This is why I urge readers to diversify outside of the US. The fracturing of society will create a lot of political risk. And that’s on top of the risks from money printing, higher taxes, and increasing regulations.

Read More @ InternationalMan.com

Has the NYT Gone Collectively Mad?

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by Robert Parry, Russia Insider:

For those of us who have taught journalism or worked as editors, a sign that an article is the product of sloppy or dishonest journalism is that a key point will be declared as flat fact when it is unproven or a point in serious dispute – and it then becomes the foundation for other claims, building a story like a high-rise constructed on sand.

This use of speculation as fact is something to guard against particularly in the work of inexperienced or opinionated reporters. But what happens when this sort of unprofessional work tops page one of The New York Times one day as a major “investigative” article and reemerges the next day in even more strident form as a major Times editorial? Are we dealing then with an inept journalist who got carried away with his thesis or are we facing institutional corruption or even a collective madness driven by ideological fervor?

What is stunning about the lede story in last Friday’s print edition of The New York Times is that it offers no real evidence to support its provocative claim that – as the headline states – “To Sway Vote, Russia Used Army of Fake Americans” or its subhead: “Flooding Twitter and Facebook, Impostors Helped Fuel Anger in Polarized U.S.”

In the old days, this wildly speculative article, which spills over three pages, would have earned an F in a J-school class or gotten a rookie reporter a stern rebuke from a senior editor. But now such unprofessionalism is highlighted by The New York Times, which boasts that it is the standard-setter of American journalism, the nation’s “newspaper of record.”

In this case, it allows reporter Scott Shane to introduce his thesis by citing some Internet accounts that apparently used fake identities, but he ties none of them to the Russian government. Acting like he has minimal familiarity with the Internet – yes, a lot of people do use fake identities – Shane builds his case on the assumption that accounts that cited references to purloined Democratic emails must be somehow from an agent or a bot connected to the Kremlin.

 

For instance, Shane cites the fake identity of “Melvin Redick,” who suggested on June 8, 2016, that people visit DCLeaks which, a few days earlier, had posted some emails from prominent Americans, which Shane states as fact – not allegation – were “stolen … by Russian hackers.”

Shane then adds, also as flat fact, that “The site’s phony promoters were in the vanguard of a cyberarmy of counterfeit Facebook and Twitter accounts, a legion of Russian-controlled impostors whose operations are still being unraveled.”

The Times’ Version

In other words, Shane tells us, “The Russian information attack on the election did not stop with the hacking and leaking of Democratic emails or the fire hose of stories, true, false and in between, that battered Mrs. Clinton on Russian outlets like RT and Sputnik. Far less splashy, and far more difficult to trace, was Russia’s experimentation on Facebook and Twitter, the American companies that essentially invented the tools of social media and, in this case, did not stop them from being turned into engines of deception and propaganda.”

Besides the obvious point that very few Americans watch RT and/or Sputnik and that Shane offers no details about the alleged falsity of those “fire hose of stories,” let’s examine how his accusations are backed up:

“An investigation by The New York Times, and new research from the cybersecurity firm FireEye, reveals some of the mechanisms by which suspected Russian operators used Twitter and Facebook to spread anti-Clinton messages and promote the hacked material they had leaked. On Wednesday, Facebook officials disclosed that they had shut down several hundred accounts that they believe were created by a Russian company linked to the Kremlin and used to buy $100,000 in ads pushing divisive issues during and after the American election campaign. On Twitter, as on Facebook, Russian fingerprints are on hundreds or thousands of fake accounts that regularly posted anti-Clinton messages.”

Note the weasel words: “suspected”; “believe”; ‘linked”; “fingerprints.” When you see such equivocation, it means that these folks – both the Times and FireEye – don’t have hard evidence; they are speculating.

And it’s worth noting that the supposed “army of fake Americans” may amount to hundreds out of Facebook’s two billion or so monthly users and the $100,000 in ads compare to the company’s annual ad revenue of around $27 billion. (I’d do the math but my calculator doesn’t compute such tiny percentages.)

So, this “army” is really not an “army” and we don’t even know that it is “Russian.” But some readers might say that surely we know that the Kremlin did mastermind the hacking of Democratic emails!

Read More @ Russia-Insider.com

KID ROCK BLASTS ‘EXTREME LEFT’ IN BOMBSHELL TIRADE

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by Shepard Ambellas, via Infowars:

Kid Rock, a.k.a. Robert Ritchie, pushed back against recent claims made by the president of a local civil rights group which painted the famed rocker as an alt-right white supremacist.

The popular musician, who is currently considering a 2018 Senate run, went into defense mode Monday releasing a statement in response to remarks made by National Action Network Detroit Chapter President Rev. Charles Williams II last week.

“People! Pay NO attention to the garbage the extreme left is trying to create! (and by the way, fuck the extreme left and the extreme right!),” the opening line of Ritchie’s statement read.

“They are trying to use the old confederate flag BS, etc. to stir the pot, when we all know none of this would be going on if I were not thinking of running for office. Pretty funny how scared I have them all and their only agenda is to try and label people / me racist who do not agree or cower to them!! No one had a word to say when we sold out the 6 shows at LCA back in January! My track record in Detroit and Michigan speaks for itself, and I would dare anyone talking trash to put theirs up against mine. I am also a homeowner and taxpayer in the city of Detroit, so suck on that too!”

The statement went on to make clear that Ritchie’s local reputation is untarnished, and challenged anyone “talking trash” to put up or shut up.

Additionally, on Monday the Detroit-based musician conveyed his frustration toward local businesses and charities which he previously “diligently supported” who turned their backs after recent unfounded claims against Ritchie hit the press.

Addressing the NFL kneeling controversy, Ritchie added: “To be clear – Fuck ANYONE who takes a knee or sits during our national anthem! Pretty sure if Russell Wilson or Tom Brady were doing it they would have no problem finding a job playing for any team they wanted in the NFL! So cut the bullshit!”

The statement ended with a “P.P.P.P.P.S” which read: “I LOVE BLACK PEOPLE!!”

The ensuing drama stemmed from a powerful speech at a concert in Grand Rapids last week where he expressed disdain for the system and talked about the elite’s plan for the “redistribution of wealth.”

Read More @ Infowars.com

Trump Administration Urges Congress To Renew Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA)

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by Aaron Keel, Activist Post:

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions is urging Congress to “promptly” reauthorize section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) scheduled to expire at the end of this year.

The Director of National Intelligence (DNI) Dan Coats also signed the letter, addressed to House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y.

Section 702 of FISA “allows the Intelligence Community, under a robust regime of oversight by all three branches of government, to collect vital information about international terrorists, cyber actors, individuals and entities engaged in the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and other important foreign intelligence targets located outside the United States,” Sessions and Coats wrote.

They added: “Reauthorizing this critical authority is the top legislative priority of the Department of Justice and the Intelligence Community. As publicly reported by the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, information collected under one particular section of FAA, Section 702, produces significant foreign intelligence that is vital to protect the nation against international terrorism and other threats.”

FISA was enacted in 1978 as a response to illegal domestic surveillance operations revealed by two Senate committees in the 1970s, including President Richard Nixon’s use of federal intelligence agencies to monitor his political opponents. It was brought into law “to authorize electronic surveillance to obtain foreign intelligence information.”

The law requires the government to obtain a warrant from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court before setting up an electronic or physical wiretap targeted at foreigners and foreign agents.

Congress amended FISA in 2007 to let the government wiretap communications that either begin or end outside the United States jurisdiction without Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) approval; in a stronger  2008 overhaul, they further limited that power to non-U.S. persons. The last reauthorization of the act was in 2012, which set the current expiration date of Dec. 31, 2017.

The FISA law has long been criticized by privacy and civil liberties advocates like the EFF who say the order allows broad, intrusive spying without oversight. The section first gained renewed attention following the 2013 disclosures by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden that the agency carried out widespread monitoring of emails and other electronic communications through Prism, XKeyScore, Upstream and other NSA surveillance programs. In fact, the first Snowden leak was a FISC order issued to Verizon under Section 702 that required the company to turn over all of its calling records to the NSA.

Read More @ ActivistPost.com

US Threatens To Cut Off China From SWIFT If It Violates North Korea Sanctions

from ZeroHedge:

In an unexpectedly strong diplomatic escalation, one day after China agreed to vote alongside the US (and Russia) during Monday’s United National Security Council vote in passing the watered down North Korea sanctions, the US warned that if China were to violate or fail to comply with the newly imposed sanctions against Kim’s regime, it could cut off Beijing’s access to both the US financial system as well as the “international dollar system.”

Speaking at CNBC’s Delivering Alpha conference on Tuesday, Steven Mnuchin said that China had agreed to “historic” North Korean sanctions during Monday’s United Nations vote. “We worked very closely with the U.N.  I’m very pleased with the resolution that was just passed.  This is some of the strongest items.  We now have more tools in our toolbox, and we will continue to use them and put additional sanctions on North Korea until they stop this behavior.”

In response, Andrew Ross Sorkin countered that “we haven’t been able to move the needle on China, which seems to be the real mover on this, in terms of being able to apply the real pressure. What do you think the issue is?  What is the problem?”

The stunner was revealed in Mnuchin’s answer: “I think we have absolutely moved the needle on China.  I think what they agreed to yesterday was historic.  I’d also say I put sanctions on a major Chinese bank.  That’s the first time that’s ever been done.  And if China doesn’t follow these sanctions, we will put additional sanctions on them and prevent them from accessing the U.S. and international dollar system.  And that’s quite meaningful.”

And to underscore his point, the Treasury Secretary also said that “in North Korea, economic warfare works. I made it clear that the President was strongly considering and we sent a message that anybody that wanted to trade with North Korea, we would consider them not trading with us.  We can put on economic sanctions to stop people trading.

In other words, to force compliance with the North Korean sanctions, Mnuchin threatened Beijing with not only trade war, but also a lock out from the dollar system, i.e. SWIFT, something the US did back in 2014 and 2015 when it blocked off several Russian banks as relations between the US and Russia imploded.

Of course, whether the US would be willing to go so far as to use the nuclear option, and pull the dollar plug on its biggest trade partner, in the process immediately unleashing an economic depression domestically and globally is a different matter.  So far Washington has been reluctant to impose economic sanctions on China over concerns of possible retaliatory measures from Beijing and the potentially catastrophic consequences for the global economy. Washington runs a $350 billion annual trade deficit with Beijing, while the PBOC also holds over $1 trillion in US debt.

Ironically, the biggest hurdle to the implementation of the just passed sanctions may be the president himself.  “We think it’s just another very small step, not a big deal,” Trump told reporters at the start of a meeting with Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak. “I don’t know if it has any impact, but certainly it was nice to get a 15-to-nothing vote, but those sanctions are nothing compared to what ultimately will have to happen,” said Trump who has vowed not to allow North Korea to develop a nuclear ballistic missile capable of hitting the United States.

Separately, at a hearing of the House Foreign Affairs Committee on Tuesday, Republican Chairman Ed Royce said the U.S. should target major Chinese banks, including Agricultural Bank of China Ltd. and China Merchants Bank Co., for aiding Kim’s regime. Russia also came in for criticism. Assistant Treasury Secretary Marshall Billingslea said in prepared remarks to the committee that North Korean bank representatives “operate in Russia in flagrant disregard of the very resolutions adopted by Russia at the UN.”

While China and Russia supported the latest UN sanctions, officials made clear they were troubled by Haley’s comments in the Security Council that the U.S. would act alone if Kim’s regime didn’t stop testing missiles and bombs. They emphasized the world body’s resolution also emphasized the importance of resolving the crisis through negotiations. “The Chinese side will never allow conflict or war on the peninsula,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said in a statement on Tuesday.

In a soundbite late on Tuesday, Japan’s Nikkei quoted prime minister Shinzo Abe who said that “in the end, [the North Korean] problems should be solved through diplomatic dialogue,” adding that Japan will “work together with the international community to apply maximum pressure, so that North Korea commits to perfect, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization.” For Japan to engage with the regime, he stressed it would have to be “on the condition that North Korea commits to” this complete denuclearization.”

Which, of course, won’t happen: “sanctions of any kind are useless and ineffective,” Russian President Vladimir Putin told reporters earlier this month at a summit in Xiamen, China. “They’ll eat grass, but they won’t abandon their [nuclear] program unless they feel secure.

Predictably, North Korea’s Foreign Ministry slammed the sanctions saying it “condemns in the strongest terms and categorically rejects” the United Nations adding more sanctions, North Korea’s state-run KCNA reported on Wednesday morning. Instead, North Korea warned it “will redouble efforts to increase its strength” as it seeks to establish “practical equilibrium” with U.S.

And so, not only is the entire geopolitical circle jerk back at square one, but the ball is again back in North Korea’s court, while the decision on whether or not to launch another ICBM really depends on whether China will give it the quiet go ahead; a China which responds notoriously poorly to being threatened in the global financial arena, like for example when the US threatens to kick it out of the global dollar system…

    Read More @ ZeroHedge.com

    Rand Paul Takes a Stand Against Unconstitutional War

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    by Michael Krieger, Liberty Blitzkrieg:

    Rand Paul’s 2016 presidential run was extremely disappointing. Rather than take it hard to the establishment, he seemed more interested in playing footsie with neocons and establishment Republicans. That strategy didn’t work and it never will. Rand Paul is best when he’s acting like a statesman and not a politician — that’s what people who like him, like about him. His campaign advisors were clearly incompetent, but at the end of the day the buck stops with him.

    That being said, life is all about learning from your mistakes and Rand has truly started coming into his own in the age of Trump. With much of the party fractured and bickering, Paul seems to have found the space to push forward on key issues such as civil asset forfeiture, prison reform and endless war. He’s serving a very important function within a elitist and crony U.S. Congress and we should all take the time to thank him for his efforts.

    His latest stand relates to the 2001 and 2002 Authorizations for the Use of Military Force (AUMF), which has been consistently abused for 16 years by multiple presidents in order to start endless military interventions against new enemies without forcing Congress to uphold its constitutional duty to wage war.

    As Senator Paul explained in a recent Rare opinion piece:

     

    As Congress takes up the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), I will insist it vote on my amendment to sunset the 2001 and 2002 Authorizations for the Use of Military Force.

    Why?

    Because these authorizations to use military force are inappropriately being used to justify American warfare in 7 different countries. Sunsetting both AUMFs will force a debate on whether we continue the Afghanistan war, the Libya war, the Yemen war, the Syria war, and other interventions.

    Our military trains our soldiers to be focused and disciplined, yet the politicians who send them to fight have for years ignored those traits when developing our foreign policy.

    The result? Trillions spent in seemingly endless conflicts in every corner of the globe, while we find ourselves 16 years into the war in Afghanistan wondering what our purpose there even is any more, or if we’ll ever bring our troops home.

    If we don’t get this rudderless foreign policy under control now, we’ll still be asking the same questions another 16 years down the road.

    It’s time to demand the policymakers take their own jobs as seriously as the men and women we ask to risk it all for our nation.

    Doing so means restoring constitutional checks and balances. Congress has no greater responsibility than defending our country, and the Founders entrusted it with the power of declaring war because they wanted such a weighty decision to be thoroughly debated by the legislature instead of unilaterally made by the Executive branch.

    Yet Congress has largely abdicated its role anyways, and its sidekick status was plainly evident when former President Obama proposed a new AUMF for the fight against ISIS while insisting he really had all the authority he needed – it being more of a “wouldn’t it be nice” afterthought than an acknowledgement of any required step.

    For more on this very important issue, see: The New York Times Admits – Despite Going to Congress, Obama is Still Defending Unlimited War Powers

    Repealing the 2001 and 2002 AUMFs would restore respect for the balance of power and reassert Congress’ voice by forcing legislators to specifically approve or disapprove the direction of our foreign policy. If my provision passes, the authorizations would sunset six months later, allowing Congress time for a thorough debate about how we will move forward.

    I say this fully aware Congress could propose a blanket authorization I could never vote for, but that vote needs to at least happen.

    Let’s hear from those who want that blanket authorization and wish to keep the policy of perpetual war going. Let’s give the American people a chance to see that case laid out and to make their voices known. Their representatives cannot continue to hide behind steps taken 16 years ago to avoid accountability and debating the tough issues now.

    To further his point, Paul engaged in a senate floor sit-in. As Reasonreported yesterday:

    “An attempt was made to run the clock on the bill overnight. I objected and am now sitting on the floor of the Senate to stop that,” he tweeted two hours ago, part of a long series of tweets today on the topic.

    “The Senate is now in a quorum call, unable to act because of my protest. This is why I sit on the floor, in silent protest,” he further stated. “I will continue this protest and these objections for as long as needed to ensure Congress do its duty, and vote on ending these wars.”

    About an hour ago as of this posting, Paul announced via tweet that he had a victory: “Senate leaders have agreed not to try to end debate early, and have agreed to four hours of debate under my control to debate these wars.”

    “The Senate attempted to shorten debate [and] move forward without consideration [and] debate on my amendment to end our AUMF in Afghanistan and Iraq,” he began his series of tweeted critiques of his colleagues. “Where is the anti-war left demanding the wars end? Where is the constitutional conservative right demanding Congress reclaim its war powers?”

    For the latter he had a special slam: “Hypocrites, they pretend concern over our constitutional duty to declare war and then block any vote on ending any of our 7 current wars.”

    These are really important questions and I applaud Rand for asking them. While I hold no illusions about his ability to turn this unhinged imperial train wreck around, he’s doing his best to publicize how the U.S. Congress has unforgivably relinquished its constitutional duties to declare war to the executive branch.

    Why would they do this you ask? I happen to have some thoughts about that…

    Read More @ LibertyBlitzkrieg.com

    Price Gouging and Property Rights

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    by Laurence M. Vance, Lew Rockwell:

    Price-gouging law has reared its ugly head in the wake of the flooding in Texas. This has totally overshadowed the alleged price gouging that occurred during the eclipse.

    The price of solar eclipse safety glasses was as low in the months before the eclipse, but rose to as much as $150 for the identical product on the day of the eclipse. And it turns out that prices for these glasses were higher along the direct path of the eclipse. Naturally, some eclipse glasses vendors were accused of price gouging because they demanded unreasonably high payments by exploiting unusual market conditions.

    Hundreds of complaints of price gouging were received by the office of Texas attorney general Ken Paxton in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. There were “reports of up to $99 for a case of water, hotels that are tripling or quadrupling their prices and fuel at $4 to $10 a gallon.” “These are things you can’t do in Texas,” Paxton said. “There are significant penalties if you price gouge in a crisis like this.” Indeed there are. Price gougers “can be hit with a $20,000 fine per occurrence, or up to $250,000 if the victim is someone age 65 or older.”

    By now the whole world has seen the picture of the case of water at a Best Buy store in Texas with a price tag of $42.96. “This was clearly a mistake in a single store,” Best Buy spokesman Shane Kitzman said in a statement. “We feel terrible about this because, as a company we are focused on helping, not hurting people affected by this terrible event. We are deeply sorry that we gave anyone even the momentary impression that we were trying to take advantage of the situation.”

    In this Internet age, there is one thing that always follows stories about price gouging: articles by free-market economists and commentators about the economics of price gouging. This is not one of those articles.

    This does not mean that these articles are wrong. To the contrary, they are right and needed. Here are statements from three such articles:

    Prices should rise during emergencies. Price changes save lives. That’s because prices aren’t just money—they are information. Price changes tell suppliers what their customers want most, maybe chainsaws more than blankets, water more than flashlights. (John Stossel)

    So-called price gougers face all the same challenges as anyone else, having to forego whatever income they otherwise would have earned if not for their disaster-relief project, and face the risk of losing future income because they took off from their jobs or put their own regular businesses on hold. These losses and risks must be compensated, which is another reason they sell products at a premium price, in addition to supply/demand realities. (Tom Mullen)

    Because each ‘gouging’ price paid for any item is paid voluntarily by a consumer spending his or her own money – and because that consumer cannot conveniently find that item elsewhere at a lower price – the consumer clearly doesn’t deem the price to be too high.  That is, while the consumer would, as always, prefer to pay a lower than a higher price, the consumer prefers to pay the high price and actually get the item than to save money by going without the item. (Donald Boudreaux)

    The economics of price gouging is simple. Price gouging is simply charging market prices for goods that are in high demand and short supply. Natural disasters don’t negate economic laws.

    And then there is the economic calculation problem. At what level of price increase does it become price gouging? A 100 percent increase? A 50 percent increase? A 20 percent increase? What about a 10 percent increase? Why or why not? All goods or just “essential” goods? For what period of time? How intense does a storm have to be in order to trigger price gouging laws? For the government to try and calculate how much prices should be allowed to rise on certain goods before, during, and after a natural disaster is pure Soviet-style central planning. Price-gouging laws are contrary the free market, free enterprise, and freedom itself.

    Read More @ LewRockwell.com

    GOFUNDME RAISES $56K FOR HOT DOG VENDOR AFTER COPS STOLE HIS EARNINGS

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    by Dawn Luger, The Daily Sheeple:

    Thousands of people have donated tens of thousands of dollars to the hot dog vendor who had his earnings stolen from him by the police. Hot dog vendor Juan’s wallet was taken and the campus cop helped himself to some the vendor’s hard earned money for the crime of selling hot dogs with out first paying to obtain permission from the government to do so.

    Cop apologists feel that theft of this man was the “right thing to do” because Juan was operating his business without a license. Customer Martin Flores was buying hot dogs outside this Saturday’s UC Berkeley football game when his purchase was interrupted by the police. That’s when Flores started recording the now viral incident on his cell phone.

    The cop can be heard saying “this is law and order in action.” To most, it appears like a scene straight of 1940’s East Berlin. And witnesses and those who watched the video appeared to agree.

    The next morning, Flores started a GoFundMe page to help the vendor with “personal, legal and professional matters.” He called the campaign “OfficialJustice4Juan&StreetVendors.” The campaign was set to raise $10,000 to help Juan, and “to cover other vendors who have been robbed of their hard earned living through citations and the removal of their carts.” As of now, it’s raised over $56,000 and it is continuing to rise quickly.

    Apparently, that thin blue line is thinning even more.

    The University of California Police Department has also responded to the video, with spokeswoman Sgt. Sabrina Reich stating the $60 was “seized as suspected proceeds of the violation and booked into evidence.”

    She also said that three other people were detained by campus police on charges of vending without a license, Berkeleyside reports. They, however, were released with a warning and not ticketed and their compensation for selling was not stolen by the police.

    If cops have ever wondered why they have such horrible relations with the public, look no further than this incident. And based on the amount of money this GoFundMe campaign has already raised, many are siding with Juan.

    Read More @ TheDailySheeple.com

    The real story behind America’s new $20 trillion debt

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    by Simon Black, Sovereign Man:

    Late yesterday afternoon the federal government of the United States announced that the national debt had finally breached the inevitable $20 trillion mark.

    This was a long time coming. It should have happened back in March, except that a new debt ceiling was put in place, freezing the national debt.

    For the last six months it was essentially illegal for the government to increase the debt.

    This is pretty brutal for Uncle Sam. The US government hasn’t run a budget surplus in two decades; they depend on debt in order to keep everything running.

    And without the ability to ‘officially’ borrow money, they’ve basically spent the last six months ‘unofficially’ borrowing money by plundering federal pension funds and resorting to what the Treasury Department itself calls “extraordinary measures” to keep the government running.

    Late last week the debt ceiling crisis came to a temporary armistice as the government agreed once again to temporarily suspend the debt limit.

    Overnight, the national debt soared hundreds of billions of dollars as months of ‘unofficial’ borrowing made its way on to the official books.

    The national debt is now $20.1 trillion. That’s larger than the size of the entire US economy.

    You’d think this would be front page news with warnings being shouted from the rooftops of America.

    Yet curiously the story has scarcely been covered.

    Today’s front page of the New York Times tells us about Hurricane Irma, North Korea, and alcoholism in Iran.

    Even the Wall Street Journal’s front page has zero mention of this story.

    In fairness, the number itself is irrelevant. $20 trillion is merely a big, round, psychologically significant number… but in reality no more important than $19.999 trillion.

    The real story isn’t the number or the size of the debt itself. It’s the trend. And it’s not good.

    Year after year after year, the US government spends far more money than it collects in tax revenue.

    According to the Treasury Department’s own figures, the government’s budget deficit for the first 10 months of this fiscal year (i.e. October 2016 through July 2017) was $566 billion.

    That’s larger than the entire GDP of Argentina.

    Since the government has to borrow the difference, all of this overspending ultimately translates into a higher national debt.

    Make no mistake, debt is an absolute killer.

    History is full of examples of once-dominant civilizations crumbling under the weight of their rapidly-expanding debt, from the Ottoman Empire to the French monarchy in the 1700s.

    Or as former US Treasury Secretary Larry Summers used to quip, “How long can the world’s biggest borrower remain the world’s biggest power?”

    It’s hard to project strength around the world when you constantly have to borrow money from the Chinese… or have your central bank conjure paper money out of thin air.

    And yet tackling the debt has become nearly an impossibility.

    Just look at the top four line items in the US government’s budget: Social Security, Medicare, Military, and, sadly, interest on the debt.

    Those four line items alone account for nearly NINETY PERCENT of all US government spending.

    Cutting Social Security or Medicare entitlements is political suicide.

    Not top mention, both of those programs are actually EXPANDING as 10,000 Baby Boomers join the ranks of Social Security recipients every single day.

    Then there’s military spending, which hardly seems likely to fall significantly in an age of constant threats and warfare.

    The current White House proposal, in fact, is a 10{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528} increase in military spending for the next fiscal year.

    And last there’s interest on the debt, which absolutely cannot be cut without risking the most severe global financial meltdown ever seen in modern history.

    So that’s basically 90{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528} of the federal budget that’s here to stay… meaning there’s almost no chance they’re going to be able to reduce the debt by cutting spending.

    But perhaps it’s possible they can slash the national debt by growing tax revenue?

    Possible. But unlikely.

    Since the end of World War II, the US governments’ overall tax revenue has been VERY steady at roughly 17{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528} of GDP.

    You could think of this as the federal government’s ‘slice’ of the economic pie.

    Tax rates go up and down. Presidents come and go. But the government’s slice of the pie almost always remains the same 17{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528} of GDP, with very small variations.

    With data this strong, it seems rather obvious that the solution is to allow the economy to grow unrestrained.

    If the economy grows rapidly, tax revenue will increase. And the national debt, at least as a percentage of GDP, will start to fall.

    Here’s the problem: the national debt is growing MUCH faster than the US economy. In Fiscal Year 2016, for example, the debt grew by 7.84{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528}.

    Yet even when including the ‘benefits’ of inflation, the US economy only grew by 2.4{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528} over the same period.

    In other words, the debt is growing over THREE TIMES FASTER than the economy. This is the opposite of what needs to be happening.

    Read More @ SovereignMan.com

     

    Fair Trial is WRONG??

    0

    from Lauren Southern:

    The U.S. Government Massive ONE-DAY Debt Increase Impact On Interest Expense & Silver ETF

    0

    by Steve St. Angelo, SRSrocco:

    The U.S. Government’s massive one-day debt increase had a profound impact on the amount of money it will have to fork over just to service its interest payment.  On Friday, Sept 9th, the U.S. Treasury increased the total debt by a stunning $318 billion.  Thus, the total U.S. Government debt increased from $19.84 trillion on Thursday to $20.16 trillion on Friday.

    We must remember when the U.S Treasury adds more debt to its balance sheet; the government is now obligated to pay additional funds to service the interest on that debt.  So, for each increase in U.S. Government debt, comes with it, an increase in its debt service payment.

    However, the U.S. Government has been able to control the rise in its annual interest payments by pushing the interest rate lower.  For example, the average interest rate on U.S. Treasury debt in 2000 was 6.4{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528} versus 2.2{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528} currently.  If we look at the chart below, we can see how the interest rate has declined as U.S. Government debt increased:

    The RED DOLLAR bars represent total U.S. Government debt in billions of Dollars, while the WHITE LINE shows the annual average debt service interest rate.   We can plainly see that total U.S. debt has nearly quadrupled from $5.6 trillion in 2000 to $20.1 trillion in 2017.

    NOTE:  I arrived at the average interest rate percentage figures by dividing the annual interest payments by the total outstanding debt.

    This next chart from the Treasurydirect.gov website lists the annual U.S. debt service interest payments:

    By taking the interest payment of $362 billion in 2000 and dividing it by the total U.S. Government debt of $5,674 billion ($5.67 trillion), it equaled 6.4{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528}.  So, the U.S. Treasury paid an average 6.4{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528} interest payment on its outstanding debt that year.

    What is interesting about the figures in the table above is that the U.S. Treasury paid out a larger interest payment in 2008 of $451 billion versus $432 billion in 2016, even though the debt was much higher in 2016.  The reason the interest payment was higher in 2008 than in 2016 had to do with a 4.5{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528} interest rate on $10 trillion of debt compared to a 2.2{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528} interest rate on $19.6 trillion in debt.  By cutting the interest rate in half (4.5{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528} down to 2.2{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528}), the U.S. Treasury’s interest expense remained flat or slightly declined as the debt nearly doubled.

    Skyrocketing Central Bank debt is the rationale behind the super-low or zero interest rate policy.  If interest rates were normalized to either a 5-6{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528} rate, the interest payments Central Banks would have to pay would bankrupt them.  Unfortunately, this game of suppressing rates to hold down ballooning interest payments will not last forever.  Even with a 2.2{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528} average interest rate, the U.S. Treasury will likely reach a new record interest expense in 2017 at an estimated $460 billion:

    According to the Treasurydirect.gov website, the U.S. Government has paid $434.6 billion in interest payments in 2017, with September remaining.  If the September interest payment is $26 billion, the total will reach a record high of $460 billion in Fiscal 2017.  So, the notion that the Fed is going to raise rates is pure folly when we realize it will severely push up the U.S interest payment on its debt.

    Read More @ SRSrocco.com