Saturday, February 29, 2020

Study: Flagging Stories as ‘Fake News’ Ineffective; People No Longer Trust Media

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by Nate Church, Breitbart:

A Yale University study on the effectiveness of combatting “fake news” underlines what the rest of the country already knew: Americans no longer trust the media to tell the truth.

The study, entitled “Assessing the Effect of ‘Disputed’ Warnings and Source Salience on Perceptions of Fake News Accuracy,” put 24 news stories from 2016-2017 in front of 7,500 participants. Half of the stories presented were true, and half were fabricated. Those involved in the study were asked to rate the accuracy of a random selection of 12 of the headlines. The study was further divided into groups. In the first, the stories were presented as-is. In the second, fake news was tagged as “disputed.”

The results were marginal, at best. With false stories flagged, users who support President Trump were only 1.2{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528} more likely to correctly gauge whether or not a story presented was factual. Supporters of Hillary Clinton were slightly more trusting, with an increase of 4.3{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528} over the unflagged group.

It appears Trump supporters were generally less inclined to trust a headline in general — whether or not it has been checked by a third party. This skepticism is unsurprising in a climate that has shown consistent aggression toward those who have supported the POTUS, both before and after the election. In point of fact, only about 15{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528} of Trump voters have any trust in the media at all, according to a recent Edelman poll.

But the most interesting data set was buried deep and only unearthed with the help of artificial intelligence. When processed by a machine learning algorithm, an intriguing pattern emerged that surprised the researchers themselves.

The problem seems to be exaggerated among younger people. 18-25-year old participants in the control group believed fewer of the true stories than their elders to be real at 57.1{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528}, and more of the false ones, at 21.1{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528}. In the group that analyzed flagged stories, the problem actually worsened. While the flags made young people 3.1{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528} more likely to identify true stories as such, they also identified 4.4{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528} more fake news as real.

Psychologist David Rand is “not sure what explains this,” but acknowledges that “it means that this is a really big problem.” He suspects it has something to do with an overall decline in media trust. Furthermore, the measures seem least effective with the people for whom they have been engineered. According to Rand, “for the people who are most reliant on social media for their news, they are the ones who the warning doesn’t do anything and there’s a huge backfire.” That is even more worrying when you consider that 67{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528} of Americans rely on social media as a news source.

In an attempt to narrow the cause and effect of the data, Rand and his associates tried clearly branding the news stories with their sources. Unsurprisingly, that helped very little. “Slapping down a big logo also doesn’t do anything,” admitted Rand. The bottom line? “People don’t find mainstream media outlets particularly credible.”

Facebook was strident in response to the results, excusing its potentially damning conclusions by suggesting they were irrelevant since participating users were using a survey site, rather than Facebook itself. And while Rand acknowledged the limitation, he has maintained that “there are numerous studies showing that respondents from the website we used — Amazon Mechanical Turk — are pretty representative for doing studies on political opinions.”

And while Facebook has determined not to help identify the problem with their own information, they are quick to disparage the people who are attempting to seek it out. Poynter Institute International Fact-Checking Network Director Alexios Mantzarlis said that he is “hoping Facebook will see this study and determine that it is even more appropriate for them to share data as to how this is actually going.”

Read More @ Breitbart.com

NO RULES

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from Stefan Molyneux:

ANOTHER RAID WITH GOLD DOWN $4.20 AND SILVER DOWN 4 CENTS ON NEWS OF TRUMP’S SUPPOSED TAX REFORM COMING ON SEPT 25

from Harvey Organ, Harvey Organ Blog:

USA THREATENS CHINA WITH REMOVAL OF THE SWIFT PAYMENT SYSTEM IF THEY DO NOT BACK THE USA WISHES WITH RESPECT TO NORTH KOREA/TURKEY TURNS TO RUSSIA AS IT PURCHASES MISSILES FROM THEM/EX UBS TRADER ARRESTED IN THE USA FOR RIGGING GOLD AND SILVER

GOLD: $1324.40 DOWN   $4.20

Silver: $17.79  DOWN 4 CENT(S)

Closing access prices:

Gold $1323.20

silver: $17.78

SHANGHAI GOLD FIX:  FIRST FIX  10 15 PM EST  (2:15 SHANGHAI LOCAL TIME)

SECOND FIX:  2:15 AM EST  (6:15 SHANGHAI LOCAL TIME)

SHANGHAI FIRST GOLD FIX: $1336.44 DOLLARS PER OZ

NY PRICE OF GOLD AT EXACT SAME TIME:  $1332.55

PREMIUM FIRST FIX:  $3.89

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

SECOND SHANGHAI GOLD FIX: $1334.59

NY GOLD PRICE AT THE EXACT SAME TIME: $1331.55

Premium of Shanghai 2nd fix/NY:$3.04

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

LONDON FIRST GOLD FIX:  5:30 am est  $1332.25

NY PRICING AT THE EXACT SAME TIME: $1332.20

LONDON SECOND GOLD FIX  10 AM: $1327.55

NY PRICING AT THE EXACT SAME TIME. 1328.65

For comex gold:

SEPTEMBER/

NOTICES FILINGS TODAY FOR SEPT CONTRACT MONTH: 3 NOTICE(S) FOR  300  OZ.

TOTAL NOTICES SO FAR: 54 FOR 5400 OZ  (0.1679 TONNES)

For silver:

SEPTEMBER

 

 264 NOTICES FILED TODAY FOR

 

1,320,000  OZ/

Total number of notices filed so far this month: 4,898 for 24,490,000 oz

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

 

end

 

Let us have a look at the data for today

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In silver, the total open interest ROSE BY A RATHER LARGE 1031 contracts from  187,176 DOWN TO 188,207 DESPITE THE  DROP IN PRICE THAT SILVER UNDERTOOK IN YESTERDAY’S TRADING (DOWN 1 CENT(S). WE HAVE NOW HAD THREE DAYS OF TORMENT AND YET THE SILVER OPEN INTEREST HARDLY BUDGES.  THE LONGS ARE REMAINING STOIC AND REFUSE TO GIVE IN TO THE ANTICS OF THE BANKERS.

RESULT: A STEADY RISE IN OI COMEX  DESPITE THE 1 CENT PRICE LOSS. 

 In ounces, the OI is still represented by just UNDER 1 BILLION oz i.e.  0.941 BILLION TO BE EXACT or 134{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528} of annual global silver production (ex Russia & ex China).

FOR THE NEW FRONT MAY MONTH/ THEY FILED: 264 NOTICE(S) FOR 1,320,000OZ OF SILVER

In gold, the open interest ROSE BY A MONSTROUS 6,487 CONTRACTS DESPITE THE  LOSS  in price of gold ($2.95 LOSS YESTERDAY). The new OI for the gold complex rests at 580,606. NO WONDER THAT WE ANOTHER FLASH CRASH AND ANOTHER DAY OF TORMENT FROM THE BANKERS. 

 

Result: A LARGE INCREASE IN OI DESPITE THE  FALL IN PRICE IN GOLD ($2.95). THE COMMERCIALS SUPPLIED THE NECESSARY SHORT PAPER.  NO DOUBT THAT ANOTHER FLASH CRASH WAS ORCHESTRATED TODAY DUE TO THE HUGE RISE IN OPEN INTEREST IN GOLD AND THE STEADY RISE IN OI IN SILVER

we had: 3 notice(s) filed upon for 300 oz of gold.

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With respect to our two criminal funds, the GLD and the SLV:

GLD:

Tonight , we had a huge change in gold inventory last night: a huge addition of 4.14 tonnes of gold.

Inventory rests tonight: 838.64 tonnes

SLV

Today: no change in inventory.

INVENTORY RESTS AT 327.088 MILLION OZ

 

end

.

First, here is an outline of what will be discussed tonight:

1. Today, we had the open interest in silver ROSE BY A STEADY  1031 contracts from 187,176  UP TO 188,207(AND now A LITTLE CLOSER TO THE NEW COMEX RECORD SET ON FRIDAY/APRIL 21/2017 AT 234,787) DESPITE YESTERDAY’S 1 CENT LOSS IN TRADING. OUR LONGS ARE STRONG AND REFUSE TO BUDGE WITH THE ANTICS OF OUR BANKERS.

RESULT:  A  STEADY RISE IN OI  AT THE COMEX  DESPITE THE LARGE  FALL IN PRICE OF 1 CENTS. NO DOUBT THE RAID WAS CALLED UPON BY OUR BANKERS WHEN THEY SAW BOTH GOLD AND SILVER OI ROSE YESTERDAY.

(report Harvey)

.

2.a) The Shanghai and London gold fix report

(Harvey)

 

2 b) Gold/silver trading overnight Europe, Goldcore

(Mark O’Byrne/zerohedge

and in NY:  Bloomberg

3. ASIAN AFFAIRS

i)Late TUESDAY night/WEDNESDAY morning: Shanghai closed UP 4.65 POINTS OR 0.14{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528}   / /Hang Sang CLOSED DOWN 78.16 POINTS OR 0.28{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528}/ The Nikkei closed UP 89.20 POINTS OR 0.45{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528}/Australia’s all ordinaires CLOSED DOWN 0.04{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528}/Chinese yuan (ONSHORE) closed UP at 6.5333/Oil DOWN to 48.60 dollars per barrel for WTI and 54.55 for Brent. Stocks in Europe OPENED GREEN EXCEPT LONDON. Offshore yuan trades  6.5352 yuan to the dollar vs 6.5333 for onshore yuan. NOW THE OFFSHORE MOVED A LITTLE WEAKER  TO THE ONSHORE YUAN/ ONSHORE YUAN MUCH STRONGER (TO THE DOLLAR)  AND THE OFFSHORE YUAN IS A LITTLE STRONGER TO THE DOLLAR AND THIS IS COUPLED WITH THE SLIGHTLY  WEAKER DOLLAR. CHINA IS VERY HAPPY TODAY

Read More @ HarveyOrganBlog.com

Overnight Strength In Gold & Silver: Cartel in BIG TROUBLE

from SilverDoctors:

SD Midweek Update: This is not what the cartel ordered. If Monday and Tuesday were all the cartel could muster, gold & silver are looking poised to rally in price to close the week…

Silver had strength to start the overnight session, and then again throughout the night:

This is pretty much where we would want silver to be. All things considered, the strong-arming of the markets looks to be waning. There is, after all, only so much hurricane. Hurricanes are regional events, and while the costs to rebuild will surely climb, it’s not like hurricanes offer the continued threat of Thermo-nuclear Armageddon, which seems to come front-and-center every few days now.

And so silver is looking healthy here for several reasons:

We know that silver is going to have a little trouble at $18.25. Sure enough, the two day tap-and-bounce followed by a dip is very bullish. Everything is set up for the move to the upside. Higher-lows, not screaming “overbought”, and the need for silver to catch-up to gold are all signaling that it is silver in control of the price action and not the central banks. What the silver price really need to accomplish is a commanding break-out above $18.50. Until that happens, the three-way divide between the skeptics, the bears and the bulls will remain as wide as ever.

Gold saw the same strength overnight as well:

Looking at the daily, we also see the healthy pullback in the yellow metal. There is also a bonus:

Read More @ SilverDoctors.com

Hillary Clinton Trolled at Book Signing “What Happened to Your 33,000 Emails?” (VIDEO)

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by Cristina Laila, The Gateway Pundit:

ailed Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton held a book signing at the Barnes & Noble in Union Square on Tuesday to mark the launch of her memoir ‘What Happened‘.

Rebel Media reporter Laura Loomer confronted Hillary Clinton about her 33,000 emails and Seth Rich before being dragged out by Secret Service.

Laura Loomer live streamed her wait in line on Periscope as she zig-zagged through the line to confront Hillary. “So the American people would like to know, what happened to your 33,000 emails?” What happened in Benghazi?”

Hillary quickly retorted with a fake smile on her face, “Go read the book”.

Loomer then confronted Hillary Clinton about the Haitians who never received their earthquake relief from the Clinton Foundation funds. “What happened to the millions of dollars that was supposed to go to the people in Haiti?”

Hillary then replied, “You know what? I’m so sorry you believe things that are untrue”.

Hillary tried to ignore Loomer by speaking to the next person in line but Loomer continued to ask her questions.

“What happened to Seth Rich? What happened to your health Hillary?” Loomer asked as she was told to leave by security.

As Loomer walked away she spotted Huma Abedin and confronted her about her pervert husband Anthony Weiner. Yikes!

“When are you gonna divorce your husband for texting underage girls?”

Paul Joseph Watson reported that Hillary showed up an hour and a half late leaving two people with heat exhaustion from waiting in the hot sun:

Perhaps showing her arrogance and disdain for her own supporters, Clinton turned up an hour and a half late for the event and made them stand outside in the hot sun, including some people who were disabled.

After she finally arrived, two people who were suffering from heat exhaustion and dehydration had to be taken away by ambulance. Some people had been queuing up since the early hours of the morning. One elderly woman asked Clinton’s security for water but was denied.

Watch the video of Loomer below via Cernovich Facebook or click here to watch on Periscope.

Read More @ TheGatewayPundit.com

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

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

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

Fair Trial is WRONG??

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from Lauren Southern:

Trump Now Owns the Fed

by Jim Rickards, Daily Reckoning:

Donald Trump has the opportunity to appoint a higher percentage of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve system at one time than any president since Woodrow Wilson.

President Wilson signed the Federal Reserve Act during the creation of the Fed in 1913 when they had a vacant board. At that time, the law said the secretary of the Treasury and the comptroller of the currency were automatically on the Fed’s board of governors. But besides that, President Wilson selected all five of the other participating members.

Now Trump has the opportunity to fill more seats on the Fed’s Board of Governors than any president since then.

That’s pretty amazing when you think about it.

To review, the Federal Reserve’s Board of Governors is made up of seven appointees. That means that they can make a majority decision with four votes. If you’re reading about the Fed, you might also see reference to “regional reserve bank presidents.” These are roles within the Federal Reserve System, but the real power is found on seven-member Board of Governors.

Here’s the remarkable part:

As of last week, four of the seven Fed board seats are now vacant.

In fact, I’m describing a 72-hour span last week as the most momentous three-day period in the entire history of the Federal Reserve (see below for all the details).

Trump will own the Fed. Meaning, whatever the president wants monetary policy to be, he’ll get.

In other words, Donald Trump will be able to shape the Fed’s majority.

But the tricky part is figuring out how he plans to shape it…

During the campaign season, Trump called China and other nations currency manipulators. That signaled he believed the dollar was too strong and wanted it to weaken. But then the North Korean nuclear crisis rose to the fore.

Trump backed off his threats against China because China has the most economic influence over North Korea, and Trump wanted China to use that leverage to convince the North to back off its nuclear program.

But China didn’t deliver as Trump had hoped, and a trade war with China is now likely. This probably leads many to believe that Trump will appoint a lot of “doves” to the Board.

But don’t be surprised if Trump goes with a hard-money board. In fact, that’s what I expect. These will be hard-money, strong-dollar people, contrary to a lot of expectations. Trump advisers include hard-money advocates like Dr. Judy Shelton, David Malpass, Steve Moore and Larry Kudlow. I expect Trump to heed their advice.

Read More @ DailyReckoning.com