Saturday, January 25, 2020

CNN ACCUSED OF STAGING HURRICANE RESCUE VIDEO

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by Paul Joseph Watson, Infowars:

Did reporter Drew Griffin have time to change clothes during dramatic incident?

CNN has been accused of staging a dramatic piece of footage where reporter Drew Griffin rescues a Texas man who drove his truck into a canal.

Griffin said his crew were setting up a live shot when they “heard a sound”.

The video then cuts to the moment when the vehicle becomes marooned in the water. After about 20 seconds, Griffin is seen running towards the vehicle. He is wearing khaki shorts and trainers.

However, in the next clip, where Griffin is seen pulling the man out of the water, he is now wearing dark pants and boots.

“It happens within seconds,” said Griffin, although people pointed out that it would have taken Griffin more than a few seconds to change his clothing.

“It wasn’t much of a desperate emergency if CNN’s Drew Griffin had time to change from a pair of shorts and sandals into a pair of long pants and boots?” remarks the Conservative Treehouse blog.

“CNN faked rescue video where their anchor “saved a man in a truck,” claimed one tweet that got over 5,000 retweets.

The comments on the video are littered with people asserting the entire thing was staged.

Others claimed that the man wearing the shorts was a different person.

To be fair to Drew Griffin, although he works for CNN, he can’t be put in the same category as most of their partisan commentators. Griffin has done solid journalism before, particularly when he stood up to the TSAafter they put him on a terror watch list.

Read More @ Infowars.com

Only In California: Sacramento To Pay Gang Bangers A Cash Stipend If They Stop Killing People

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by Mac Slavo, SHTFPlan:

You’re probably thinking this is a satirical report from The Onion.

We thought so, too.

But be assured it’s very real, as reported by Fox 40 Sacramento:

After a violent weekend of suspected gang-related shootings, Tuesday the Sacramento City Council took action to reduce the bloodshed.

It approved a controversial program called Advance Peace, which offers cash stipends to gang members who remain peaceful.

“Let’s get going on doing everything we can to save innocent lives,” Steinberg said.

The program targets key gang agitators, offering them cash stipends to graduate school and remain peaceful. It already claims success in dropping crime rates in Richmond. But the city would still have to pay half the cost of the program, $1.5 million out of the city’s general fund.

In the end, the council agreed to the program, voting 9-0 in favor.

Because policies of appeasement have worked so very well throughout history, why not give it another try?

Take money from peaceful tax paying citizens and redistribute that money to the gang bangers who are killing them.

Read More @ SHTFPlan.com

Wells Fargo caught with another 1.4 million fake accounts, will anyone ever get jailed?

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from Hang The Bankers:

As the tally of fake Wells Fargo accounts balloons to 3.5 million, Congress has yet to discipline the executives, while the financial giant has only paid fines.

A coalition of 33 groups is now demanding new hearings and for the bank to be held accountable.

Wells Fargo and Company increased its estimate of how many accounts were created by 67 percent Thursday. The mega bank issued shocking new disclosures, showing 1.4 million more bogus customer accounts had been created, a significant  increase from previous estimates, the New York Times reported.

In addition, Wells Fargo admitted to yet another impropriety, stating that they enrolled more than a half-million customer accounts into their online bill pay service without notifying them. The embattled bank has since agreed to pay out $910,000 to customers who accrued fees or charges related to the unknown accounts.

“We are working hard to ensure this never happens again and to build a better bank for the future,” Wells Fargo CEO Timothy J. Sloane said in a statement, the Times reported.

There has not yet been word if executives with the bank will be summoned back to Washington to face lawmakers for yet another round of questioning following last year’s Capitol Hill hearing with then-CEO John Stumpf.

During that hearing, Wells Fargo and their former CEO paid big bucks, but no other actions have been taken by Congress to thwart future offenses by the company. Now, 33 organizations have banded together to call for new congressional hearings relating to Wells Fargo’s questionable practices.

Two groups, Americans for Financial Reform and Public Citizen, are leading the charge to stage new hearings, The left-leaning organizations sent a letter Thursday to the Senate Banking Committee and the House Financial Services Committee, asking to bring Wells Fargo executives back to Capitol Hill to answer for the newly found malpractices.

US Senator Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), head of the Senate Banking Committee, tweeted“Wells Fargo harmed millions more customers than originally disclosed, and continues to avoid accountability.”

Read More @ HangTheBankers.com

SHTF Security: Principles for Patrolling Your Property

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by Jeremiah Johnson, Ready Nutrition:

OK, all of you Readers out there in ReadyNutrition Land, we’re going to kick off this article on basics of how to patrol your property.  Sounds easy enough, right, I mean, you have two eyes and a brand-new popgun right out of Cabela’s, right?  And a licensed, approved, NRA-certified instructor at the gun range to show you how to shoot, right?  Sure, when it hits the fan, you and the family are just going to prop up a couple of sandbags in the windowsills and watch your lanes, right?  No, on all counts.

Patrolling is more than that, and you’ll need to patrol your property.

The Army Field Manual, FM 7-8 for Infantry Rifle Platoon and Squad, Chapter 3 will give you all you need.  You can also reference the Ranger Handbook, SH 21-76 for the info.

That being mentioned, let’s break it down to make it a little more simplistic for you.  Patrolling (in the case of the happy family defending their home when the S hits the fan) will amount to giving yourself and your family a “buffer” to engage hostiles before they reach your house.  There will be many parameters that cannot be addressed, simply because of the complexity and individuality of each situation.

Patrolling means that you will range out (usually on foot, but for large tracts of property, on horseback or with some type of vehicle) and observe everything that happens to protect your home and family.  It requires a routine for you to follow, as well as a schedule and an ROE (Rules of Engagement).  We’ll cover that last part later.  The main thing: you’ll need to rove and range around your property night and day to ensure your house isn’t approached and surrounded in an assault.

The more people you have in your family or group, the easier it will be to conduct scheduled patrolling operations.  The time to practice these operations is now before anything happens.  You need to find out how many people will be on your guard roster, and how frequently you will patrol.  It is different from military patrolling because you won’t have to establish a patrol base or occupy one: you have a house.

Patrolling Fundamentals

You must do the following for your property to follow good patrolling fundamentals:

  1. Draw a map of your property: this is a sensitive item! Do not allow it to leave the property.
  2. On the map, outline all natural and man-made terrain features, as well as what is adjacent to the property.
  3. Determine danger areas: these are areas that would enable an enemy or attacker to make maximum use of the terrain to gain the advantage. Examples of this would be a hilltop overlooking your house, or a large boulder near the end of the driveway with a view of your front door on either side of it.
  4. Determine the route and area you would patrol, and how many people this would need. You may have someone who always observes (a guard station) in the third-floor attic; however, that person can’t see everything…where a roving patrol can “flush” out someone hidden out of the view of the sentry.  Will you walk the whole perimeter of the property?  Or will you zig-zag back and forth, covering it that way?  You’ll have to determine what is optimal.
  5. Fighting positions: you may need to set up or construct some hasty fighting positions near your patrol route. Keep in mind: any fortified hasty position can be used against your house by an opponent, as well.  You can find all that you need on this in the infantry field manual.  These can suit purposes of defending a property.
  6. Measure distances and note azimuths from the house to different points on the property: I’ve done articles on sector stakes and sector sketches in the past. They work, and they’ll work for you as well.  They take the “guesswork” out of things and give you an edge to work with.

You need security 24/7 after the S hits the fan.  You’ll have to work out a schedule.  Basically, patrolling the property for 2-4 hours is monotonous work.  You’ll need VOX’s (voice-activated radios) or Motorola’s to use, and a schedule of frequencies to hop back and forth with.  Remember: if you can speak on a radio, someone else besides your team/family member can listen in as well.

NVG’s: Night Vision Goggles/Night Vision Devices – these are great to use until the firefight begins.  If they’re on your face when that happens?  Well, you’ll be hard pressed just to recover seeing.  The best ones to use are hand-held ones that you can take a quick peek and then take them off.  This way you don’t lose your night vision completely.

Just please keep this in mind: double up on that equipment and stick one of each item in a Faraday cage.  If an EMP hits, you’ll be glad you did.

You will need to range the property and the perimeter, checking for any vehicles, suspicious individuals moving in the area (all individuals are suspicious after the SHTF event), and individuals or groups making a move (incursion) onto the property.  This is where ROE (Rules of Engagement) come in.  Depending on the size and spread of the intruders, you need to determine the maximum you (as an individual or a group) number of hostiles you will engage and when you will break contact.

SALUTE for Safety

Before you make any contact, you want to radio in a SALUTE report to whoever is on radio watch.  This is to alert the family/team that there is going to be a problem and to provide them with as much intel as possible prior to contact being made.  Here is the “refresher” on SALUTE:

S – Size: the size of the group/unit

A – Activity: what are they doing?  Are they engaged in any other activity besides approaching the house?

Read More @ ReadyNutrition.com

Six Banks Join UBS’s “Utility Coin” Blockchain Project

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from ZeroHedge:

Here’s a piece of news that the remaining human members of Wall Street’s FX sales and trading desks probably don’t want to hear.

According to the Financial Times, six of the world’s largest banks have decided to join a blockchain project called “utility coin” that will allow banks to settle trades in securities denominated in different currencies without a money transfer. What’s worse, the banks expect to begin live-testing the project late next year.

Here’s the FT:

“Barclays, Credit Suisse, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, HSBC, MUFG and State Street have teamed up to work on the “utility settlement coin” which was created by Switzerland’s UBS to make financial markets more efficient.

The move comes as the project shifts into a new phase of development, in which its members aim to deepen discussions with central banks and to work on tightening up its data privacy and cyber security protections.”

The project’s managers say they’ve already involved representatives from various central banks…

“Hyder Jaffrey, head of strategic investment and fintech innovation at UBS, said: “We have been in discussions with central banks and regulators and we will continue that over the next 12 months with the aim of a limited ‘go live’ at the back end of 2018.”

Here’s a brief explanation of how it’s expected to work , courtesy of the FT:

“The utility settlement coin, based on a product developed by Clearmatics Technologies, aims to let financial groups pay each other or to buy securities, such as bonds and equities, without waiting for traditional money transfers to be completed.

Instead they would use digital coins that are directly convertible into cash at central banks, cutting the time, cost and capital required in post-trade settlement and clearing.

The coins, each convertible into different currencies, would be stored using blockchain, or distributed ledger technology, allowing them to be swapped quickly for the financial securities being traded. Existing members of the project are Deutsche Bank, Banco Santander, BNY Mellon and NEX.”

Initially, utility coin will be used primarily for interbank payments, the banks told the FT. Say two institutions owed one another sums denominated in two different currencies. They could settle those payments in utility coin instead of routing payments through an interbank broker. This will only hasten the declining employment of human currency traders, as fewer trades executed via traditional systems means even less business and even more pressure to automate.

Read More @ ZeroHedge.com

THERE JUST ISN’T ENOUGH GOLD

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by Egon von Greyerz, Gold Switzerland:

There are lies damned lies and Central Bank Gold statistics. Total official global gold holdings are reported to be 33,000 tonnes. That is 19{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528} of all the gold ever produced in the world. But how can anyone ever believe any of these figures. Because no central bank ever has a public audit of all its gold holdings. Since the gold belongs to the people, they have the right to know if the gold actually exists, especially since the gold reserves are backing the currency.

WHY IS THE US GOLD NOT AUDITED?

But no, the truth about these gold reserves are veiled in total secrecy. And why we may ask. Why are the people as well as the creditors of a country not told the true financial position? What do these central banks have to hide? Let’s take the US. The US is allegedly holding 8,100 tonnes of gold, stored in Fort Knox, Denver and New York. The last official audit was 64 years ago in 1953 when Eisenhower was president. Since then, the US Government claims that the US gold has been audited over a period from 1974 to 2008. But no proper figures have ever been published.

FORT KNOX – WHERE IS THE GOLD?

The first question to ask is of course how an audit can ever take 34 years!!!! Only a government organisation can take 1/3 of a century to audit their assets. I know of no company in the world that can take 34 years to report their assets to the shareholders. The stakeholders of the US gold are the US people and they certainly have the right to know if the country really holds $332 billion worth of gold. Steve Mnuchin, the US Treasury Secretary, spent an afternoon in Fort Knox last week. After having seen a few percent of the total gold held there, he confirmed that it was SAFE! Well that’s good to know but he obviously hasn’t got a clue how much is there.

Secondly, an audit carried out over 34 years cannot possibly be accurate. The movement in gold over that period would totally nullify the accuracy of the audit.

Thirdly an audit should be carried out by independent auditors. This audit was done by a Government Committee for Gold and the Treasury. The exact method of the audit has not been revealed but according to some sources, the methods were highly suspect.

Fourthly and just as relevant is the total balance sheet position of the US gold holdings. The physical gold is only one part. Central banks practice gold lending or leasing on a major scale. Thus, the US could lease its gold to another bank against a fee. Lending can take place without the physical position of the gold changing. Other banks accept to borrow gold from the Fed without having it in their possession. There can also be swaps, forward sales and other derivative transactions that reduce the holding.

GERMAN STILL HOLDS 50{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528} OF ITS GOLD ABROAD

Germany used to store 70{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528} of its gold abroad with the majority in the US. In 2013, they were under public pressure to repatriate the gold and declared that 674 tonnes would be repatriated from the US and France. They only received 5 tonnes in the first year because there was no gold available. It had probably been lent on to someone else. Finally, they just stated that the 674 tonnes are now in Germany. This means that around 50{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528} of the German gold or 1,665 tonnes is still held abroad. The obvious question is of course why not hold it all in Germany. The official reason is risk spread and trading. It is dubious if the US or the UK are safer places than Germany. Financially Germany is clearly safer. All central banks trade part of their gold. To lease gold to someone, it doesn’t have to be held in New York or London. The leasing could easily be done from Germany.

Possibly, the 1,665 tonnes held abroad have been covertly sold or leased to a bullion bank which has sold it on to China. And China of course always takes delivery. They wouldn’t be so stupid to keep a major part of their gold in the US or London. If the German gold has been leased and shipped to China, all the German government has is an IOU from a bullion bank. So instead of physical gold they have a piece of paper.

SILK ROAD NATIONS ARE BUYING ALL THE GOLD

The same could easily be the case with the US gold or other central bank gold. With the massive buying we have seen from Silk Road countries in the last 10 years, it would not be surprising that a major part of the gold has come from Western Central banks. Since 2005, four Silk Road countries have bought 28,000 tonnes of gold.

Many market observers estimate that official gold holdings could be as little as half of the reported figures. In my view, that is not unrealistic. As the chart above shows, there has been a major shift of gold from West to East. Four Silk Road countries have absorbed more than the annual gold production for the last 10 years. An important part of the sales to the East will most certainly come from Western Central bank holdings.

UK A MAJOR GOLD EXPORTER

Switzerland publishes the monthly imports and exports of gold. These give a good indication of global gold trading since Switzerland refines up to 70{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528} of the gold bars in the world. The chart below shows the Swiss gold imports from July. Of 152 tonnes imported, 80 tonnes came from the UK. The UK is certainly not known as a gold producer. The gold that the Swiss refiners get from the UK are 400 ounce (12kg) bars, most probably sold by central banks. The bars are broken down to 1 kilo bars and then shipped to China and India. These bars could either have been sold covertly by central banks or leased by them to the LMBA banks in London. In the past, the bars leased by central banks would have stayed in London.

Read More @ GoldSwitzerland.com

See no evil, speak no evil…

by Alasdair Macleod, Goldmoney:

The Jackson Hole speeches of Janet Yellen and Mario Draghi last week were notable for the omission of any comment about the burning issues of the day:

…where do the Fed and the ECB respectively think America and the Eurozone are in the central bank induced credit cycle, and therefore, what are the Fed and the ECB going to do with interest rates? And why is it still appropriate for the ECB to be injecting raw money into the Eurozone banks to the tune of $60bn per month, if the great financial crisis is over?i

Instead, they stuck firmly to their topics, the Jackson Hole theme for 2017 being Fostering a dynamic global economy. Both central bankers told us how good they have been at controlling events since the last financial crisis. Ms Yellen majored on regulation, bolstering her earlier-expressed belief that financial crises are now unlikely to happen again, because American banks are properly regulated and capitalised.

Incidentally, more regulation hampers economic dynamism, contra to the subject under discussion, and confirms Ms Yellen has little understanding of free markets. Mario Draghi, however, told us of the benefits of financial regulation and globalisation, and how that fostered a dynamic global economy. But a cynic reading between the lines would argue that Mr Draghi’s speech confirms the ECB is in thrall to Brussels and big business, and is merely representing their interests. And he couldn’t resist the temptation to have a poke at President Trump by expressing the benefits of free trade.

Hold on a moment, free trade? Does Mr Draghi really understand the benefits of free trade?

That’s what he said, but his speech was all about the importance of regulating everything Eurozone citizens can or cannot do. It is permitted free trade in a state-regulated environment. It is a version of free trade according to the EU rule book, agreed with big European business, which advises Brussels, which then sets the regulations. It is a latter-day Comintern that allows you to trade freely only on terms set by the state for prescribed goods with other states of a similar disposition. Draghi’s speech was essentially justifying the status quo laced with Keynesian-based central bank dogma.

The Fed is clueless about the credit cycle

Let us return to the real issue at hand, the questions that went begging about monetary policy. More confident central bankers in control of their brief might have said something about it, if only in passing. But with Ms Yellen we have a problem. If, as she claims, the Fed has cured America of financial crises, why hasn’t the Fed normalised interest rates already? Even on the US Government’s heavily-sedated consumer price index, inflation is at the Fed’s target, as are its highly-questionable unemployment numbers. Interest rates should already be normalised, which means they ought to be considerably higher than they are today.

As a rough rule of thumb, bond market investors in the past expected a free market to reflect the originary rate, the real rate shorn of all lending risk, of two or three per cent adjusted for price inflation for medium to long-term government bonds. That indicates a yield level of four per cent or more on 10-year Treasuries, even on government inflation estimates. Meanwhile, the 10-year US Treasury yields only 2.15{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528}, and the Fed funds rate is currently targeted between one and one and a quarter per cent. Something is very wrong.

Correction: everything about this is wrong. The statistics are self-serving and bogus, so you cannot judge interest rates by referring to them. But worst of all is something that goes unquestioned today, and that is interest rates are a function of the markets, not central banks. They cannot possibly know what normalised rates should be.

That’s why we have a credit cycle, born out of the central banking system’s guesses. Central banks always err on the low side for interest rates, partly because of the long-standing moral antipathy against high interest rates and partly because of the Keynesian theology which accords with it. Over time, this suppression of interest rates has led us all into a global debt trap, because of the sheer size of it, which has accumulated to well over $200 trillion. That’s about three times global GDP.

Normalising interest rates would spring the debt trap firmly shut. The whole Western financial system would be threatened by a combination of defaults and collapsing asset values, starting from the weakest point in the global financial system. With debt of today’s magnitude, it will take nominal interest rate rises of only one or two per cent to set off the crisis Ms Yellen believes will never happen again. It is a repeating credit cycle endemic to the fractional reserve monetary system and central banking’s monetary intervention. And when the crisis hits, yet again for the umpteenth time, central banks will flood the system with ever larger quantities of cash.

Easy money and credit does its hidden damage by subverting economic calculation. The accumulation of miscalculations always leads into a crisis. When it happens, the crisis is sudden and unexpected by the banking community. The crisis phase of the credit cycle is nowadays curtailed by central banks, who come charging to the rescue with unlimited fiat money to offset contracting bank credit. They think by stopping the reallocation of capital from miscalculated investments, they are saving the world. They are not: all they are doing is making the economy less efficient by burdening it with a legacy of unrepayable debt for the next credit cycle. Hence, the sluggishness of Western economies which have progressively lost their productive mojo. These are the monetary policies that have become a growing impediment to Jackson Holes’ “fostering a dynamic global economy”.

However, there is a way to assess where we are in the credit cycle. Gibson’s paradox, which was impossible for the Keynesians to resolve, demonstrated that in a free economy it is demand for savings from businessmen that sets the marginal rate at which savers are prepared to defer their current spending. It is not, as Keynes averred, the greedy rentier forcing an unnecessary cost on the entrepreneur. Instead of being set by the saver, the level of interest rates correlate with the one thing a businessman knows best, the price at which he can expect to sell his production.ii

Importantly, that is where the correlation lies, not with the rate of inflation, which is what central banks assume in setting interest rate policy. Therefore, the amount of interest a businessman is prepared to pay is determined by the difference between the other factor costs of production and the anticipated wholesale value of the product. If the differential widens, an investing businessman can afford to bid up interest rates. If the differential contracts, borrowing at higher rates becomes uneconomic. The correlation between wholesale prices and wholesale borrowing rates is a reasonable fit for this reason.

Therefore, we should pay attention to the yield on a suitable government bond, as an indicator for the wholesale originary borrowing rate in a fiat currency. If we take the 10-year US Treasury bond as a marker this loan rate, tracking the yield should indicate changes in the level of borrowing demand from the wider economy, the small and medium size enterprises that make up 80{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528} of the non-financial sector, in accordance with Gibson’s paradox. It should give us an early warning of widening demand for bank credit.

Of course, this rate is distorted by interest rate suppression, and by loan demand from the financial sector itself, so we cannot take it as an interest rate proxy per se. It turns out that the yield first bottomed at 1.5{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528} in 2012, which probably sets a date for the end of the crisis phase and the beginning of the recovery phase of the current credit cycle, now in its sixth year. This was followed by a rise in yield to touch 3{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528}, when corporate borrowing for share buy-backs and for geared financial speculation on Wall Street soared.

It then tested that low level again in July 2016, as these factors abated. More recently, it rose strongly from that time to hit a high of 2.5{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528} last December, from which it has declined steadily to the current level at 2.15{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528}.

This is admittedly imprecise, but if it is telling us anything it is that US businesses are most recently stalling in their loan demand. This could reflect margins being squeezed by rising commodity prices, though in a service-oriented economy this effect should not be given undue weighting. But on a flow of funds basis, we can take it that the US economy is still in the minor ups and downs of a recovery phase in terms of commercial demand for credit. The softness of credit demand since December is probably what convinces the Fed that the current level of interest rates can be maintained, with a modest upwards bias in time.

However, we know that while interest rates remain heavily suppressed, it allows business propositions to be financed which are not otherwise commercially justified. Long-term projects appear to become viable, that will be uneconomic when rates normalise. The longer this goes on, the greater will be the drip-feed accumulation of distortions during the credit recovery phase that will have to be washed out in the next credit crisis.

To summarise, credit demand from non-financial businesses is not yet expanding at an accelerating rate, the distortions from suppressed interest rates are nevertheless accumulating, and yet the Fed seems blissfully unaware of the dangers accruing for the next financial crisis.

The Eurozone is running into deep monetary trouble

The US is an economy geographically isolated from the rest of the world, except from its close neighbours. And even NAFTA, the trade agreement that conjoins them, is under threat from President Trump’s administration. Europe is very different, with a dynamic Asian economy, stimulated by massive Chinese investment and spending, offering new business opportunities. The development of China’s overland silk road is already having a major impact, with rail freight quantities rapidly expanding in both directions. Admittedly, some of this is replacing freight that would have gone by sea or air, but there is still a substantial increase in the transhipment of goods overall.

European manufacturers are waking up to this potential. A brand-new Mercedes can be shipped from Stuttgart and be in a saleroom in Beijing in a little over two weeks. Similarly, Zanussi can railroad white goods from its Chinese factories to its European distributors, saving both time and money compared with using sea routes. The benefits of this trade, even with EU protective tariffs, are not to be underestimated. Furthermore, it is expanding rapidly on the back of interest-free monetary policy.

Read More @ Goldmoney.com

Is the CIA Writing Legislation for the U.S. Congress?

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by Michael Krieger, Liberty Blitzkrieg:

Today I want to highlight a troubling bill moving through Congress that seems inspired by a thuggish, authoritarian speech given earlier this year by CIA head Mike Pompeo.

I found that speech so disturbing at the time, I wrote an entire piecetaking it apart. Below is an excerpt from that talk which is relevant to this piece:

WikiLeaks walks like a hostile intelligence service and talks like a hostile intelligence service. It has encouraged its followers to find jobs at CIA in order to obtain intelligence. It directed Chelsea Manning in her theft of specific secret information. And it overwhelmingly focuses on the United States, while seeking support from anti-democratic countries and organizations.

It is time to call out WikiLeaks for what it really is – a non-state hostile intelligence service often abetted by state actors like Russia. In January of this year, our Intelligence Community determined that Russian military intelligence—the GRU—had used WikiLeaks to release data of US victims that the GRU had obtained through cyber operations against the Democratic National Committee. And the report also found that Russia’s primary propaganda outlet, RT, has actively collaborated with WikiLeaks.

Pompeo said that in April. Fast forward a few months, and let’s take a look at what the U.S. Senate is up to.

From The Daily Beast:

 

If the Senate intelligence committee gets its way, America’s spy agencies will have to release a flood of information about Russian threats to the U.S.—the kind of threats that Donald Trump may not want made public.

The committee also wants Congress to declare WikiLeaks a “non-state hostile intelligence service,” which would open Julian Assange and the pro-transparency organization – which most of the U.S. government considers a handmaiden of Russian intelligence – to new levels of surveillance.

On Friday, the committee quietly published its annual intelligence authorization, a bill that blesses the next year’s worth of intelligence operations. The bill passed the committee late last month on a 14-1 vote, with Democrat Ron Wyden of Oregon as the lone dissenter, owing to what he calls the “legal, constitutional and policy implications” that the WikiLeaks provision may entail…

The bill would establish a “sense of Congress” that WikiLeaks and its leadership “resemble a non-state hostile intelligence service often abetted by state actors and should be treated as such a service by the United States.” The language echoes almost exactly CIA director Mike Pompeo’s scathing April speech calling WikiLeaks a “non-state hostile intelligence service often abetted by state actors like Russia,” a departure from the “I love WikiLeaks” rhetoric from then-candidate Trump.

The move, Eoyang assessed, would open WikiLeaks up to even more extensive surveillance.

“It would allow the intelligence community to collect against them the same way they collect against al-Qaeda,” Eoyang said. “If you think you’re helping WikiLeaks to aid a transparency organization, the US government fundamentally disagrees with you and you could find yourself on other end of NSA scrutiny.”

Wyden has criticized WikiLeaks before, including a May statement that “Trump actively encouraged Russians and WikiLeaks to attack our democracy.” WikiLeaks denies the accusation. But Wyden voted against the bill out of concern for the implications of the WikiLeaks provision.

“My concern is that the use of the novel phrase ‘non-state hostile intelligence service’ may have legal, constitutional, and policy implications, particularly should it be applied to journalists inquiring about secrets,” Wyden said in a quote to the Daily Beast he later released in a statement.  

“The language in the bill suggesting that the U.S. government has some unstated course of action against ‘non-state hostile intelligence services’ is equally troubling.  The damage done by WikiLeaks to the United States is clear.  But with any new challenge to our country, Congress ought not react in a manner that could have negative consequences, unforeseen or not, for our constitutional principles.  The introduction of vague, undefined new categories of enemies constitutes such an ill-considered reaction.”

See what happened there. The head of the CIA makes a dubious claim in order to launch what amounts to a backdoor attack against the press. Then, just a few months later, Congress begins pushing a bill which uses the exact same language as Pompeo. This episode once again demonstrates what a joke our so-called “representative” democracy is in practice. If the public wants something, it’ll never happen, but if spies or corporate titans need something done, Congress does not skip a beat.

Also of significance, was the near unanimous support from within the Senate Intelligence Committee, with only Ron Wyden voicing dissent. This is noteworthy because Sen. Wyden was one of the few people who vocally warned about unconstitutional surveillance before Snowden dropped his bombshell.

He was also the one who exposed James Clapper lying about domestic spying while he was Director of National Intelligence:

Read More @ LibertyBlitzkrieg.com

Pending Home Sales Down Again: NAR Blames “Staggering Lack of Inventory”

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by Mish Shedlock, Mish Talk:

The pending home sales index for July dropped 0.8 percent vs an Econodayexpected gain of 0.4{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528}.

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) also revised June pending sales from +1.5{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528} to +1.3{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528}.

NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun blames a “Staggering” Lack of Inventory.

Last month’s resurgence in pending home sales didn’t last long. Sales ended a three-month fad in June with a 1.5 percent increase in the Pending Home Sales Index (PHSI), but it dropped back by 0.8 percent in July. The National Association of Realtors®(NAR) says its PHSI registered 109.1 percent from a downwardly revised 110.0 in June. The June index was originally reported at 110.2.

The July number was 1.3 percent lower than the PHSI a year earlier and has now fallen year-over-year in three of the last four months. NAR said the West was the only region so show a slight gain.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, continues to blame the weak market on the lack of homes for sale and called the inventory woes throughout the country “staggering.”

According to Yun, in the past five years, the national median sales price has risen 38 percent, while hourly earnings have increased less than a third of that (12 percent). This unsustainable trend is putting considerable pressure on affordability in some markets – especially for prospective first-time buyers – and is pricing out some households who would otherwise be looking to buy a home. Despite this growing obstacle, Yun says data and feedback from Realtors® continues to confirm that the slowdown in existing sales since spring is the result of a supply problem and not one of diminished demand.

The PHSI is a leading indicator for housing sales. A sale is listed as pending when the contract has been signed; the transaction is usually expected to close within one or two months.

The index is based on a large national sample, typically representing about 20 percent of transactions for existing-home sales. An index of 100 is equal to the average level of contract activity during 2001, which was the first year to be examined. By coincidence, the volume of existing-home sales in 2001 fell within the range of 5.0 to 5.5 million, which is considered normal for the current U.S. population.

Existing Home Sales 1971-Present

Read More @ MishTalk.com