Monday, May 27, 2019

This Is What The Death Of A Nation Looks Like: Venezuela Prepares For 2,300{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528} Hyperinflation

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from ZeroHedge:

Back in January 2016, we showed what the collapse of Venezuela looks like, when in addition to charting Venezuela’s imploding currency (which back then was trading at a positive expensive 941 bolivars to the dollar), we presented what at the time was the IMF’s latest Venezuela inflation forecast, which stunned us as it surged from 275{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528} in the just concluded 2015 to a whopping 720{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528} at the end of 2016.

Fast forward nearly two years until today, when the IMF released its latest estimate of what it believes will happen to Venezuela’s economy in the coming year and a half. What is striking, besides the fact that Venezuela has somehow still managed to avoid bankruptcy, is that the IMF now expects Venezuela’s hyperinflation to reach a staggering 2,349{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528} in 2018, after rising by “only” 626{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528} this year, the highest estimate for any country tracked by the IMF. While the South American country stopped reporting economic data in 2015, the IMF estimates that last year inflation clocked in around 254{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528}, a number which is set to soar in the coming years for obvious reasons.

At the same time as residents scramble to find alternative currencies to the local paper which will lost all of its purchasing power over the next year, the IMF predicts the “intensification of the political crisis in Venezuela” will lead to a further decrease in economic output. As a result, GDP is expected to shrink 6{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528} in 2018, after dropping an estimated 12{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528} in 2017.

And, as oil production declines and uncertainty increases, unemployment is forecast to increase to about 30{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528} in 2018, also the highest and followed by South Africa’s 28{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528} and Greece’s 21{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528} .

As Bloomberg adds, the Bolivarian Republic isn’t current with most of its key economic statistics, leaving economists scant data to crunch.

Of course, a far better indicator of the hyperinflation in Venezuela is not some forecast from the always wrong IMF, but what is taking place on the country’s currency black market, where as of today, 1 dollar buys 26,808 bolivars on the black market, up from 3,164 at the start of the year, or a nearly 9-fold loss in purchasing power in under a year.

Before Venezuela’s new legislative super body took over the functions of the country’s only remaining opposition-run institution this year, the sidelined National Assembly had started publishing its own inflation index due to the lack of official data. Bloomberg’s Cafe Con Leche Index puts the annual rate at 650{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528}.

Read More @ ZeroHedge.com

MYSTERY=> Vegas Shooter’s Reno Home Broken Into Over the Weekend

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by Cristina Laila, The Gateway Pundit:

There was a break-in at Stephen Paddock’s Reno home on Sunday. Local police say they were called to the home by a neighbor who says they saw the lights on.

RT reported:

FBI agents returned to search a house in Reno owned by Las Vegas shooter Stephen Paddock after local police told them that someone had broken into the home over the weekend.

Reno police officer Tim Broadway told The Associated Press, “Nobody really saw anything, just a light was on with nobody in the residence.”

Broadway said officers discovered that “someone had broken into the house” and he immediately contacted the FBI.

He added that the suspects broke into the home through the front door over the weekend, but said he was not sure exactly how they gained entry. Police are not aware of any damages or anything that was stolen.

There are no suspects at this time or any descriptions of a suspect.

According to KOLOtv investigators searched Paddock’s Reno home on October 3rd and found firearms.

At a news conference Tuesday afternoon, Investigators said they found five handguns, two shotguns and a “plethora of ammunition” and electronics. The house is being treated as a potential crime scene.

At least some of the guns found on Paddock’s properties had been bought at the Cabela’s store in Verdi.

We can’t even trust the FBI at this point so who knows what really happened with this ‘break-in’.

The current Head of the FBI in Las Vegas was appointed by former FBI Head and now admitted leaker James Comey. Is this why the investigation is such a mess?

The investigation into the events and the motive behind the Las Vegas shooting last Sunday night is in flux. To date no motive is provided by the FBI and local police.  

Last week a press conference was held jointly by the FBI and the local Sheriff in Las Vegas concerning the recent murder of at least 59 people in that city.  The Sheriff appeared transparent in the information he supplied.  But the major question that everyone wanted to know was – why did the killer do it?  What was his motive?

Read More @ TheGatewayPundit.com

The House of Saud Bows to the House of Putin

by Pepe Escobar, Russia Insider:

Saudi Arabia pivots to Russia, the new sheriff in town

What a difference a year – an eternity in geopolitics – makes. No one could see this coming; the ideological matrix of all strands of Salafi-jihadi terror – which Russia fights no holds barred, from ISIS/Daesh to the Caucasus Emirate – beating a path to the Kremlin and about to embrace Russia as a strategic ally.

The House of Saud was horrified by Russia’s successful campaign to prevent regime change in Syria. Moscow was solidifying its alliance with Tehran. Hawks in the Obama administration were imposing on Saudi Arabia a strategy of keeping oil prices down to hurt the Russian economy.

Now, losing all its battles from Syria to Yemen, losing regional influence to both Iran and Turkey, indebted, vulnerable and paranoid, the House of Saud has also to confront the ghost of a possible coup in Riyadh against Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, a.k.a. MBS, as Asia Times reported. Under so much pressure, who’re you gonna call?

The ultimate ghostbuster; Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Essentially, the House of Saud is obsessed by three main vectors; low oil prices; Iran and Shi’ism; and what to make of US foreign policy under Trump. Let’s take them one by one.

 

I want my S-400s

As much as a Moscow-Washington reset remains doomed, even with the implosion of Russia-Gate, House of Saud advisers must have known that the Kremlin won’t ditch its strategic relationship with Iran – one of the key nodes of Eurasia integration.

Moscow will keep aligned with Iran across “Syraq”; that’s part of the “4+1” (Russia-Syria-Iran-Iraq, plus Hezbollah) alliance in the Levant/Mesopotamia, an incontrovertible (and winning) fact on the ground. And that does not preclude Russia’s increasingly cozy relationships across the Arab world – as with Egypt, Jordan, the UAE and Libya.

What concerns Moscow, deeply, is Saudi (formal or informal) financing of Salafi-jihadi outfits inside Russia. So a high-level line of communication between Moscow and Riyadh works towards dissipating any misunderstandings regarding, for instance, jihadism in Tatarstan and Chechnya.

Moscow does not buy the much-spun (in the West) Iranian “aggressive behavior” in the Middle East. As a key negotiator of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), Russia very well knows that Iran’s ballistic missile program is actually the key target of Trump’s imminent decertification of the Iran deal.

These missiles actually represent dissuasion against any possible US attack, “leading from behind” or not. The Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corp (IRGC) in Tehran has made it quite clear the ballistic missile program does not fall into the JCPOA, and will remain active.

Enter the memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the Saudis and Rosoboronexport (Russia’s state body for exporting military hardware) signed in Moscow for the purchase of the S-400 missile system; the Kornet-EM system; the TOS-1A; the AGS-30; and last but not least the new Kalashnikov AK-103.

The S-400 success story is unequivocal. Iran bought it. Turkey bought it. Now Saudi Arabia buys it – even after splurging a fortune in US weapons during Trump’s by now infamous “sword dance” visit to Riyadh.

So no wonder, after the S-400 news, the US State Department like clockwork approved the possible – that’s the operative word – $15 billion sale of 44 THAAD launchers and 360 missiles to Saudi Arabia, a very good business for Lockheed Martin and Raytheon.

The Pentagon’s defense security cooperation agency said, “this sale furthers US national security and foreign policy interests, and supports the long-term security of Saudi Arabia and the Gulf region in the face of Iranian and other regional threats.” Cynics already envisage a battle of Iranian S-400s and Saudi THAADs “moderated” by Saudi S-400s.

Read More @ Russia-Insider.com

Delingpole: Man-Made Climate Catastrophe Is a Myth, More Studies Confirm

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by James Delingpole, Breitbart:

From the world of science – as opposed to grant-troughing junk science – two more studies confirming that the man-made global warming scare is a myth.

One, a study by Scafetta et al, published in International Journal of Heat and Technology, confirms that the “Pause” in global warming is real – and that “climate change” is much more likely the result of natural, cyclical fluctuations than man-made CO2 emissions.

Abstract

The period from 2000 to 2016 shows a modest warming trend that the advocates of the anthropogenic global warming theory have labeled as the “pause” or “hiatus.” These labels were chosen to indicate that the observed temperature standstill period results from an unforced internal fluctuation of the climate (e.g. by heat uptake of the deep ocean) that the computer climate models are claimed to occasionally reproduce without contradicting the anthropogenic global warming theory (AGWT) paradigm. In part 1 of this work, it was shown that the statistical analysis rejects such labels with a 95{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528} confidence because the standstill period has lasted more than the 15 year period limit provided by the AGWT advocates themselves. Anyhow, the strong warming peak observed in 2015-2016, the “hottest year on record,” gave the impression that the temperature standstill stopped in 2014. Herein, the authors show that such a temperature peak is unrelated to anthropogenic forcing: it simply emerged from the natural fast fluctuations of the climate associated to the El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) phenomenon. By removing the ENSO signature, the authors show that the temperature trend from 2000 to 2016 clearly diverges from the general circulation model (GCM) simulations. Thus, the GCMs models used to support the AGWT are very likely flawed. By contrast, the semi-empirical climate models proposed in 2011 and 2013 by Scafetta, which are based on a specific set of natural climatic oscillations believed to be astronomically induced plus a significantly reduced anthropogenic contribution, agree far better with the latest observations.

Note also that it says the computer-modelled predictions of climate doom relied on by all global warming alarmists to support their thesis are wrong.

The second study, by Hodgkins et al, published in the Journal of Hydrology, concerns flooding in North America and Europe.

What it shows is that, contrary to the claims often made by climate alarmists, there has been NO increase in flooding due to “global warming” or “climate change.”

Flooding events, it shows, have more to do with chance than any noticeable long term trend. It finds no link between flooding and “global warming.”

Abstract

Concern over the potential impact of anthropogenic climate change on flooding has led to a proliferation of studies examining past flood trends. Many studies have analysed annual-maximum flow trends but few have quantified changes in major (25–100 year return period) floods, i.e. those that have the greatest societal impacts. Existing major-flood studies used a limited number of very large catchments affected to varying degrees by alterations such as reservoirs and urbanisation. In the current study, trends in major-flood occurrence from 1961 to 2010 and from 1931 to 2010 were assessed using a very large dataset (>1200 gauges) of diverse catchments from North America and Europe; only minimally altered catchments were used, to focus on climate-driven changes rather than changes due to catchment alterations. Trend testing of major floods was based on counting the number of exceedances of a given flood threshold within a group of gauges. Evidence for significant trends varied between groups of gauges that were defined by catchment size, location, climate, flood threshold and period of record, indicating that generalizations about flood trends across large domains or a diversity of catchment types are ungrounded. Overall, the number of significant trends in major-flood occurrence across North America and Europe was approximately the number expected due to chance alone. Changes over time in the occurrence of major floods were dominated by multidecadal variability rather than by long-term trends. There were more than three times as many significant relationships between major-flood occurrence and the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation than significant long-term trends.

A few take-home points from these studies.

One, they explode – yet again – the myth that there is a consensus among scientists about catastrophic man-made climate change. In fact, as I reported earlier this year, there are dozens of papers produced every year by reputable, honest scientists which call into question the great man-made climate change scare.

Two, the alarmists hate it when you point this out. After my Breitbart piece Global Warming is a Myth, Say 58 Scientific Papers in 2017an alarmist website published a supposed expert rebuttal by leading climate scientists. The problem was, of course, that all the “experts” involved were members of the alarmist cabal who pal-review one another’s papers and who ruthlessly shut out of the debate any scientists who dare to disagree with them.

Three, the alarmists know the jig is up and have done for some time. But in the interests of damage limitation they’re trying to drip out their corrections (aka admissions of error) slowly – and on their terms – rather than allow any hated skeptics (like yours truly) the chance to crow.

This is what happened after that bombshell paper released in Nature Geoscience last month by leading climate alarmists including Oxford University’s Myles Allen. Buried beneath its misleading and dull abstract was an extraordinary admission: that their computer models had wildly overestimated the effects of carbon dioxide on global warming.

Which in turn means, of course, that the entire AGW scare (which relies above all else on those computer models) is bunk and that really – “Big Mac meal with Coke, 5 chicken select, curry dip and two large teas, thanks Myles” – it’s about time these taxpayer-funded Chicken Littles did something useful with their lives for a change.

But when journalists pointed this out, the alarmists responded by attacking the journalists, supposedly for having misrepresented their paper. Yeah right. Look guys, if a dodgy company – say Enron Inc – releases its annual report with a summary that says: “Good news. Our profits are up again and our prospects are better than ever” but on closer examination of the company accounts this turns out to be drivel, it is not the job of journalists to report that rosy executive summary, however much Enron/Global Warming Inc might prefer it.

Let’s get something absolutely clear about this global warming debate. (I may have mentioned this before but it’s worth restating). Anyone at this late stage who is still on the alarmist side of the argument is either a liar, a cheat, a crook, a scamster, an incompetent, a dullard, a time-server, a charlatan or someone so monumentally stupid that they really should be banned by law from having an opinion on any subject whatsoever.

And that’s just the scientists.

The parasitic industry profiting from all that junk-science nonsense the alarmists keep pumping into the ether is even worse.

Read More @ Breitbart.com

The Warrior Mentality: Controlled and Purposed Action in a Post Collapse Combat Situation

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by Jeremiah Johnson , Ready Nutrition:

This article is not for the faint of heart, but there is an important point to it that needs to be the central focus.  The focus is simple: We are a nation founded by citizen-soldiers who did not win freedom or liberty playing Yahtzee.  They won it by fighting.  When the time comes, the citizens of this country will need to fight again.  If you don’t believe that, then you don’t believe that there is nothing new under the sun…and you don’t believe that what happened before will happen again.

I have written many articles on a wide variety of subjects from woodcutting to weightlifting, from herbal remedies to first aid.  Many times, I wished to go into greater detail regarding subjects of a military nature or pertinent to combat, but I am limited by the amount I can write: books can be written on the subjects, and we’re trying to introduce readers to concepts.  These will get you started…if you do something with them after reading them.

It is what you do with these concepts and articles that will determine how successful they will be in your employ. 

That being said, there will be a time to fight.  I want to emphasize a concept known in the Army as “Violence of Action.”  This covers precise, measured action…not a berserk, uncontrolled frenzy…but a purposed delivering of the most hurtful response you can muster in a home defense.

Your culture…our culture…is based on authoritarian rules of conformity that (at times) instigate complacency during an emergency.  “Wait on the authorities,” or “call the police,” or that ambiguous “someone will take care of it.”  No.  That “someone,” when the SHTF, will be you.  Successful actions depend on a good follow-through.

All of the articles I have written on physical conditioning, weight training and basics on combat both with a weapon and unarmed…. all of these are your “basics” to build off.  I have suggested different works to read to learn about the warrior mentality and ethos.  Why?  Why all of this preparation and development of the warrior mentality?

Because it is the warrior mentality that you will need to make it through, and protect you and yours.

Let’s cover a few concepts that can further your preparations…thoughts to consider.

  1. You are going to be faced with a deliberate decision: to act or not to act when it hits the fan. This may take several forms: escape from a large city or suburb and fleeing to somewhere out of a target zone…with dangers along the way.
  2. In a SHTF situation, the resultant frenzy that begins 24-48 hours later (or even sooner) may force you to fight…and “Marquis of Queensbury Rules” will not be honored by those storming your house and front lawn.
  3. Fight or Flight: you must weigh the threats and see which are viable…that you will have to confront immediately, or that it is best to withdraw from. Discretion is the better part of valor.
  4. Are you “finger-drilling it,” or is it for real? Are you ready…really prepared physically, mentally, and yes, spiritually…to act?  On behalf of you and your family?  There: it’s the next door neighbor trying to jimmy your back door open with a crowbar, and his two sons with rifles behind him.  Are you ready for them?  Or are you going to “offer some of them your canned jellies, preserves, and fruity treats” from your larder?

“Finger Drilling” is a term we had in the Special Forces Medical Course.  One of the instructors was a skinny black guy who had served in Vietnam named Mr. R.V. Johnson.  He was a stickler for taking real pulses and really assessing the patient in a primary survey…not just playing the scenario with taking a “fake” pulse or seeing clear breathing when the patient was told to simulate sonorous breath sounds.  “Finger Drilling” was just going through the motions.

Are you going through the motions, or are you really preparing for what you’ll have to do…fight to protect your home and family?

  1. Take action on your training program…of marksmanship, of hand-to-hand combat, of physical conditioning. Take the action now.  Train with the heavy bag, train with family members.  Resolve yourself to carry out the defense of your family…in a controlled, purposed manner…with the violence of action and follow-through.  No finger drilling.  Resolve yourself to prepare.

Read More @ ReadyNutrition.com

Wall Street Is Actively Preparing Nuclear Attack Contingency Plans: “These Bankers Have Firsthand Knowledge Of What Is Going To Happen”

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by Jeremiah Johnson, SHTFPlan:

The Hal Turner Radio show just released an article that merits immediate attention, given the current situation regarding North Korea.  The article is entitled JP Morgan Chase issues ‘Emergency Bylaws’ for Bank to Operate after a nuclear attack.  Just that title alone should ring the alarm bells.  Turner listed an excerpt from these bylaws filed with the SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission) on Wed., October 4, 2017.  These emergency by-laws deal with how the board of directors can operate after a nuclear attack has occurred against the U.S.

If you visit Turner’s website, you’ll also see part of that actual filing, in which the bylaws will come into effect in the event of an atomic or nuclear disaster.  Biological or chemical terrorist activity, too, is mentioned.  If you ponder this, an EMP (Electromagnetic Pulse) attack on the United States would also spell “curtains” on the controls for the nuclear power facilities in the country.  We would see significant problems and potential meltdowns for numerous atomic piles across the nation.

There are also a couple of “kicker” phrases in this submission.  One of them is that the Board of Directors cannot be held liable for any decisions made during the emergency except for “willful misconduct.”  The bylaws hand anyone on the board of directors a “get out of jail free” card and allows them to stymie anyone’s attempt to remove funds or use any credit.  The second “kicker” phrase is the prize winner, though, and here it is:

“Section 11.03.    Quorum.  At any meeting of the Board, or any committee thereof, called in accordance…the presence of one director shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business.”

And who might that one director be?  Well, who’s the CEO of JP Morgan Chase?  None other than James “Jaime” Dimon.  Guess what?  Dimon would be safeguarded in the event that COG (Continuity of Government) operations took place, as JP Morgan Chase is the largest and most important bank in the United States.

Going back through the years, it was Dimon who oversaw the TARP (Troubled Asset Relief Program) bailout to JP Morgan courtesy of the taxpayer via the Treasury department…to the tune of $25 billion.  Dimon is a Democrat, and he has contributed large sums of money to the Democratic Party, as well as to Obama.  He also “dabbled” in trading in 2012, where on his “behalf” JP Morgan Chase sustained a $6.2 billion loss on derivatives speculation.  Dimon fooled investors and led investigators on a wild goose chase that did not enable them to pin anything on him.

Dimon served as the head of President Trump’s Strategic and Policy Forum and was also appointed the head of the Business Roundtable. When it comes time to hide the rulers underground, Jaime Dimon will be with them.  Does it make a difference?  Depending on the extent of the damage sustained after the attack, it depends.

The importance is in the forecasting…the “telegraphing” of the punch…the scrambling of the rats prior to the ship going down: bylaws have just been filed with the SEC by the largest bank in the country for the express purpose of governing corporate policies after a nuclear attack.

Rothschild liquidated a great deal of U.S. assets in recent weeks, and Paul Singer (billionaire investor and oligarch) expressed concerns for client positions and vulnerabilities in the event of an EMP attack.  For several years, leading bankers have been leaving the industry and retiring quietly with assets to prepositioned secure facilities both private and government-owned.

This latest move of filing bylaws with the SEC by the largest bank in America should not be taken lightly.  These bankers have firsthand knowledge of what is going to happen…as the government needs these bankers and oligarchs to maintain the established political, economic, and social order in the event of any crisis.  Take a page out of their book.

Read More @ SHTFPlan.com

As Sex Abuse Rocks Tinseltown, Kim Dotcom Reveals Plan to Take Down Elite Hollywood Pedophiles

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by Matt Agorist, The Free Thought Project:

It is time to let this instance shine a light into the darkness of Hollywood—instead of serving as a distraction from the rest of the atrocious crimes.

The recent revelations of the sexual abuse of mega elite Hollywood mogul and fundraiser for the chrony Clinton family, Harvey Weinstein, prove that Hollywood, the mainstream media, and even government officials will cover for or look the other way as sexual predators act out their sick fantasies in front of them.

As the NY Times reports, this sexual harassment did occur in front of everyone and no one said anything about it.

He had an elaborate system reliant on the cooperation of others: Assistants often booked the meetings, arranged the hotel rooms and sometimes even delivered the talent, then disappeared, the actresses and employees recounted. They described how some of Mr. Weinstein’s executives and assistants then found them agents and jobs or hushed actresses who were upset.

Even CNN got in on the action by bashing the person who they vehemently defended during the 2016 presidential election, Hillary Clinton.

On Tuesday morning, Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine, the Democratic party’s 2016 vice presidential nominee, sat down for an interview on CNN’s “New Day.” Asked about the allegations of sexual harassment against Harvey Weinstein, the deposed Hollywood mogul, Kaine said: “Any leader should condemn this. These allegations are low-life behavior.”

 

By that definition, the last two Democratic presidents as well as the party’s 2016 nominee are not leaders.

While this news should come as no surprise to those who’ve been paying attention to the claims of abuse inside Hollywood, the recent and negative exposure given to the Hollywood elite is helping to garner attention to this long depraved practice inside the terrifying world known as Tinseltown.

As the elite point fingers at one another over who should distance themselves further from this sexual predator, internet sensation Kim Dotcom took to Twitter to propose an actual solution.

Pointing out the horrid nature of the film industry and their lust for sexual abuse and even slavery, Dotcom began Tweeting his idea to solve this problem.

Read More @ TheFreeThoughtProject.com

NATO Launches New Black Sea Force to Target Russia

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by Jason Ditz, The Anti Media:

The Black Sea Force will operate out of Romania and includes thousands of troops.

(ANTIWAR.COM— NATO has announced the launching of their multinational Black Sea Force, based in Romania, and including an entire Romanian brigade of 4,000 troops. The force is there to target Russia in the Black Sea region.

Romania insisted the deployment is “not a threat to Russia” and that the purpose of having more troops there to “target” Russia is “peace, not war.” 900 US troops were deployed to Romania to participate in this force.

Since Russia doesn’t border NATO anywhere in the Black Sea region, the force appears to be largely pointless, except for additional grandstanding about NATO’s “readiness” for a fight with “invading” Russian forces, in an invasion that’s been predicted for years.

This appears to be an attempt to mirror the creation of NATO’s much larger Baltic forces, which are all deployed at or near the Russian frontier, and which see large western military contingents placed in tiny Baltic states.

Read More @ TheAntiMedia.com

Strangely enough, Vanuatu proves why Bitcoin can never be banned

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by Simon Black, Sovereign Man:

In the late 1500s, an Englishman named William Lee invented a revolutionary knitting machine that could efficiently do the work of dozens of men.

Given how important the garment industry was at the time in English, Lee’s invention was truly disruptive.

But Queen Elizabeth wasn’t so excited.

When Lee came to visit her to demonstrate the power of his new technology, the Queen grimaced, lamenting that the machine would put too many people out of work… and she refused his request for a patent.

So Lee went to France, where King Henry IV was highly supportive of the technology and issued a royal patent.

I was thinking about this story recently when I read about the government of Vanuatu announcing that they will begin accepting Bitcoin in exchange for citizenship.

If that sounds strange, let me explain–

Vanuatu is one of several nations that offers citizenship to foreigners in exchange for making an ‘investment’ in the country.

Malta. Cyprus. Saint Kitts & Nevis. Etc. These countries all offer what are known as ‘citizenship by investment’ programs.

(And dozens of countries, including the United States, offer ‘residency by investment’ programs, where foreigners receive legal residency in exchange for an investment.)

As I’ve written before, however, sometimes these programs would be more accurately described as ‘citizenship-by-donation’.

Because, in many cases, you’re not really making an investment. You’re just writing a big check to the government.

Malta’s Individual Investor Programme requires foreigners to donate 650,000 euros to the government. And that’s only one of the qualifications. In Cyprus it’s more than 2 million euros.

Vanuatu has had a number of similar programs over the years. It’s MUCH cheaper, though you’ll still end up spending north of $200,000 between the fees and investment.

Dominica’s program is probably the best value for the money, with a donation of just $100,000 (not including fees).

And Saint Kitts is offering a bit of a ‘special’ right now through March 2018, providing citizenship in exchange for a $150,000 donation to their hurricane relief fund (that’s down from the normal $250,000 investment in their Sugar Industry Diversification Fund).

Vanuatu is the first country to accept Bitcoin in exchange for citizenship… which I find pretty shrewd.

There are countless ‘Bitcoin Millionaires’ out there who bought a boatload of the cryptocurrency years ago and are now sitting on hefty gains with limited options to spend it.

So Vanuatu’s economic citizenship program will likely end up being a popular outlet for Bitcoin’s early adopters, causing a surge in applications (and much-needed revenue).

The irony is that this will put Vanuatu in the cross-hairs of illicit hackers.

Even governments in more advanced countries lack in-house crypto expertise who truly understand Bitcoin cold storage and proper handling of private keys.

It’s doubtful that tiny Vanuatu has those resources either.

Consequently, I imagine we may soon hear about the Vanuatu government’s Bitcoin wallet being hacked. The potential treasure trove is simply too big for hackers to ignore.

The good news, though, is that this will likely spur other governments to start doing the same thing (once they nail down their cryptosecurity strategies). And that’s a big deal.

Vanuatu’s decision to accept Bitcoin payments shows that there will always be competition among governments.

Some governments have already decided to impose bans of cryptocurrencies or their exchanges.

Just this morning, for example, the Russian central bank said it will block Bitcoin exchange websites.

Other governments may also move in that direction.

Read More @ SovereignMan.com

“YOU HAVE THE WAY OUT” Recordings Capture Brutal FBI Tactics to Recruit a Potential Informant

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by Trevor Aaronson, The Intercept:

A BAILIFF PUSHED Jabar Ali Refaie’s wheelchair into a federal courtroom in Tampa, Florida, on September 20. Dressed in an orange jumpsuit and looking weak from not having had the drugs he takes to treat his multiple sclerosis, the 37-year-old Refaie was here for a bond hearing after being indicted on felony charges that allege he sold counterfeit BMW logos and diagnostic software on eBay.

Refaie’s case seemed by appearances to be about a lot more than selling shady car parts on the internet. That much was obvious from Assistant U.S. Attorney Carlton C. Gammons’s stiff bond requests — $25,000, a GPS monitoring device, the surrender of his passport, and the removal of all firearms from his residence — as well as the six U.S. Homeland Security agents who packed into the courtroom for Refaie’s hearing.

Refaie’s 30-year-old girlfriend, Felicity, was present in the courtroom. She and Refaie had been married before; after their divorce, when Refaie was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, they rekindled their relationship and live together again but never remarried. Felicity told U.S. Magistrate Judge Thomas McCoun III that Refaie wasn’t a flight risk. They have 4-month-old daughter together, she said. The government knows all about their lives. “The government has been monitoring us for the better part of two years,” she told the judge matter-of-factly. McCoun agreed with the suggested conditions from the U.S. attorney’s office, and Refaie was released from jail that evening after posting bond. Prior to this charge, Refaie had no criminal history.

For two years, the FBI has followed and harassed Refaie as part of an apparent effort to recruit him to become an informant or cooperate in some way with counterterrorism investigations. The FBI has more than 15,000 informants today, many working because they have been coerced or threatened by criminal prosecution or immigration enforcement. Classified FBI policy documents published by The Intercept in January revealed the often heavy-handed methods used by the government to recruit informants, including so-called threat assessments as “a means to induce him/her into becoming a recruited [informant] mainly through identifying that person’s motivations and vulnerabilities.” What’s unique about Refaie’s interactions with the FBI is that he recorded and documented the conversations and events that led to his indictment. The FBI did not respond to a request for comment or a list of questions about Refaie’s case.

“I don’t believe they are representatives of the government; they’re misusing the government with their badges,” Refaie said of the federal agents he’s come to know. “They’re breaking oaths that they swore to uphold.”

REFAIE’S STORY BEGINS in September 2015, when agents claiming to be from Immigration and Customs Enforcement showed up unannounced at the offices of a web hosting company where Refaie oversaw data center operations. A Muslim U.S. citizen whose mother was Jewish-American and father a Jordanian citizen, Refaie brought the agents to a conference room, where they told him he might be a victim of identity theft and then showed him a mugshot of an Arab man.

“I was staring at the picture, and I said, ‘I know a lot of people who look like him. But I don’t think I’ve ever seen this guy,’” Refaie told the agents. As the months passed, Refaie began to grow suspicious. He saw cars that he suspected were following him. A camera appeared to be mounted on the light pole near his house, so he took pictures of it. On August 17, 2016, he found a GPS device on his girlfriend’s Toyota Camry and filmed himself removing it. A week later, he found another GPS device on his BMW. He also found electrical outlets in his house that he says were replaced with ones that looked identical but seemed to have listening equipment on the inside. He took pictures of those too.

He called the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office to document what he’d found. A police report written on September 1, 2016, described how Refaie “provided us with a wrapped-up towel containing several electrical outlet plugs and a device that appeared to be a GPS.” In another report from that day, Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Detective John McDarby wrote: “Mr. Refaie is not aware if he is being followed by a law enforcement agency or a private corporation. He is in fear.”

Less than a week later, Refaie had the answer to the question of who was following him. Agents with the Department of Homeland Security came to his office. They were at that moment executing a search warrant at his home, they told him. “I’ll see you at the house,” he told the agents.

Security cameras inside and outside of Refaie’s house in Riverview, Florida, south of Tampa, recorded the raid. At 12:27 p.m. on September 6, 2016, a black Homeland Security armored vehicle and a large blue van parked on the cul-de-sac in front of Refaie’s driveway. Wearing body armor and carrying a large shield, agents broke down the front door. An inside camera recorded two of Refaie’s six cats scurrying for safety as the front door flew open. The agents then walked slowly back down the driveway, their movements captured by an outside camera.

At 12:29 p.m., Felicity, who was pregnant at the time, walked downstairs from her bedroom and saw the front door busted open. She was then instructed to walk backward to the middle of the driveway, lift her shirt above her waistline, and turn around in a circle. She then was ordered to get on her knees and crawl backward to the end of the driveway, where she was detained by two agents. About 15 minutes later, the agents sent a bomb robot into the house; it went around the first floor and then struggled to get up the stairs, all while being recorded by the inside security cameras. Agents, guns pointed forward, finally entered the house using tactical formation at 1:54 p.m. A few minutes later, one of the agents noticed a security camera mounted high on the wall by the stairs. He grabbed a piece of the door’s trim molding that they’d busted off and used it as a makeshift club to strike the camera.

Read More @ TheIntercept.com

What a Famous Bill Murray Movie Says About Today’s Market

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by Jim Rickards, Daily Reckoning:

Markets have lately had a certain Groundhog Day quality to them, as in the Bill Murray movie: each day is like the one before.

Gold, the euro and Treasuries were all weak, while stocks and the U.S. dollar kept going higher and higher. It has been this way for several weeks now, ever since the market formed the view that the Fed would raise rates in December.

That conclusion was based on Janet Yellen’s Sept. 20 press conference following the FOMC meeting and her Sept. 26 speech in Cleveland.

I studied Yellen’s remarks closely and read her speech twice. Using my proprietary Fed model, her remarks can only be interpreted as dovish, and the data strongly support the view that the Fed will not raise rates in December.

The market disagrees with this analysis. As of today, the market is showing an almost 90{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528} chance of a December hike. That’s OK. The easiest way to make money is to be out of consensus when the consensus is incorrect. You just place your bets and wait for the market to come to you.

Well, the data came in exactly as I expected. PCE core year-over-year (YoY) inflation for August was 1.3{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528}, down 0.6{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528} from the January reading of 1.9{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528}. That’s eight months in a row of flat or down readings. The Fed is a far cry from their 2.0{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528} target and moving persistently in the wrong direction.

That’s a tribute to the predictive analytic models I use. However, the market continues to cling to what I called its “false belief system.” A shock reversal of the reflation trade is coming, but not yet. For now, complacency and consensus thinking still reign. The strong-dollar, weak-euro, weak-gold story persists.

But not for long. A weak reading in Friday’s employment report added to the pile of evidence that the economy cannot bear another rate hike in the near future, especially with balance sheet normalization, or “QT,” now underway. This quantitative tightening reduces money supply and results in a tightening of monetary conditions even in the absence of a rate hike.

Given the weak economic backdrop and the existing tightening from QT, plus the lagged effect of prior rate hikes, the Fed will take a pause in December. When that reality sinks in, the dollar will weaken and the euro and gold will resume their slow, steady climb that began at the end of 2016.

On top of that, it is now clear that Kevin Warsh will be the next Fed chair — something I first told readers about last winter. The early read on Warsh was that he is a hawk and will raise rates in accordance with the Taylor rule. But I also told my readers that Warsh is a pragmatist, not an ideologue.

Read More @ DailyReckoning.com