Friday, February 15, 2019

Oh Look! It’s a Billion Wasted!

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by Karl Denninger, Market Ticker:

Wow, man, it’s misdirection again — on purpose!

A new audit about a Pentagon agency losing hundreds of millions of dollars is reported by Politico as an “exclusive.” While that’s technically correct, a government agency losing or wasting or misplacing millions, billions and even trillions of dollars (this is not hyperbole, folks) is nothing new.

Politico’s report is a reminder of what bloated, unaccountable government gets you.

Uh huh.

By the way, the report is true.  And while it should enrage you that our government treats money so cavalierly, given that you pay taxes, and they are running a huge deficit anyway, it is an utter misdirection, and an intentional one, to keep your eye off the ball when it comes to where the structural problems are in government spending that, if not addressed now, will cause the collapse of our economy and markets.

That’s in health care.

Most problems that have some level of complexity to them can be “80% solved” quite easily.  The last 20% is really hard, but it’s also where all of the attention is focused when it comes to the budget.  That above-referenced article, which managed to hit the top line of Faux Snooz, is just one example.  It focuses your attention on a very real, but mathematically immaterial, part of the problem — and one that is both diffuse and common enough that actually fixing all of it will be quite hard.

As I’ve pointed out in my article “The Low-Hanging Fruit” there is a very simple fix for a $400 billion+ waste and scam in government spending that takes place every single year.  It also takes place in the private sector as well, and likely wastes at least as much there, so we’re talking close to a trillion dollars — each and every year.

It’s not diffuse, and thus it’s easy to address should people care to because it can be fixed with one policy change aimed in one direction instead of having to spread a lot of effort and attention all over the millions of government workers and thousands of agencies.

When have you ever seen a Faux Snooz — or CNN for that matter — article on that point?  Never, and the reason is simple: It would actually put a monstrous dent in the deficit, it would do it immediately, it’s focused and easy to do and yet it would also stop a huge scam that is not only making a lot of people very rich it is also killing and maiming a sizable number of Americans each and every year.

This makes it unacceptable to actually do unless you, the American public, rise up and demand it, being willing to enforce that demand through any means necessary.  Why?  Because if it’s done then all the people who profit mightily from that near-trillion dollar annual expense no longer steal that money.

Read More @ Market-Ticker.org

US finally admits: ‘NO EVIDENCE’ Assad used sarin gas

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by Seraphim Hanisch, The Duran:

No specific supporting evidence for claims that Syrian leader Bashar Assad ordered sarin gas attacks in 2013 and 2017

Secretary of Defense James Mattis stated on or about February 2nd, 2018 that the United States has “no evidence” that the Syrian government used the banned nerve agent Sarin against its own people in attacks in 2013 and 2017.  The most recent one provoked a massive Tomahawk strike ordered by President Trump that was quite provocative in the eyes of the Russian Federation and of course the Syrian government.

Secretary Mattis’ assertion is in direct contradiction to the White House Memorandum which was rapidly written and declassified to justify the Americans’ strike.  However, the Secretary offered no specifics to his statement.  He did discuss the fact that there were aid groups and other people, including NGOs and other fighters operating in the area that had provided evidence and reports of what happened with the Sarin strike. Their information stopped short of naming President Assad as the culprit.

“I don’t have the evidence,” Mattis said. “What I am saying is that other groups on the ground – NGOs, fighters on the ground – have said that sarin has been used, so we are looking for evidence.”

The reporting on this is highly suspect, though.  NewsweekReuters and the Washington Post are three American publications that all have run pieces pointing out this contradictory matter.  At this time, FoxNews has nothing on its site about this matter, but ZeroHedge does.

Gen. Mattis, known affectionately as “Mad Dog” Mattis, is known for an uncompromising approach to dealing with America’s enemies:

Be polite, be professional, but have a plan to kill everybody you meet.

He was an outspoken critic of President Obama’s Middle East policy, naming Iran as the single most serious threat to stability in the region.

By all accounts, then, the General is faithful to the idea that projecting American power abroad is a good thing.  Seen with this context, the general’s statement seems unusual, and the media outlets that have a less than favorable view of Donald Trump as the American President have been quick to jump on board the train to point out that the General disagrees with his CO, the President.

Sadly, if this issue is able to gain traction, it is only going to do so as long as it serves the media’s narrative that President Trump is crazy or stupid, and should not be trusted with the leadership of the nation.  No doubt this will be spun as 25th amendment material, since the President “could in a moment of passion, decide to nuke someone.”

It is important also to consider that the statement that Gen. Mattis gave is not that he says he disagrees with the Trump decision to launch the Tomahawk strike.  He is only saying there is no evidence in his possession that confirms the the Syrian government was behind these attacks.

Furthering this point, it is difficult at times to get hard evidence of such things in an active war zone.  Contextually, there are three possible agencies that could have done this attack: (1) the Syrian government, (2) the fighters of whichever group, like Al-Nusra or ISIS who elected to use this to frame the Syrian government, and (3) the US, in an attempt to frame the Assad regime.

Read More @ TheDuran.com

“Fake News” Is Fake News

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by William Blum, Global Research:

The people who created Facebook and Google must be smart. They’re billionaires, their companies are worth multi-multi billions, their programs are used by billions around the world.

But all these smart people, because of Congressional pressure, have swallowed the stories about “fake news”. Facebook hired a very large staff of people to read everything posted by users to weed out the fake stuff. That didn’t last too long at all before the company announced that it wasn’t “comfortable” deciding which news sources are the most trustworthy in a “world with so much division”. We all could have told them that, couldn’t we?

Facebook’s previous efforts to ask its users to determine the accuracy of news did not turn out any better. Last year, the company launched a feature that allowed users to flag news stories they felt were inaccurate. The experiment was shuttered after nine months.

Author William Blum (right)

“Fake news”, however, is not the problem. News found in the mainstream media is rarely fake; i.e., actual lies made from whole cloth, totally manufactured. This was, however, a common practice of the CIA during the first Cold War. The Agency wrote editorials and phoney news stories to be knowingly published by Latin American media with no indication of CIA authorship or CIA payment to the particular media. The propaganda value of such a “news” items might be multiplied by being picked up by other CIA stations in Latin America who would disseminate it through a CIA-owned news agency or a CIA-owned radio station. Some of these stories made their way back to the United States to be read or heard by unknowing North Americans.

Iraq’s “weapons of mass destruction” in 2003 is another valid example of “fake news”, but like the CIA material this was more a government invention than a media creation.

The main problem with the media today, as earlier, is what is left out of articles dealing with controversial issues. For example, the very common practice during the first Cold War of condemning the Soviet Union for taking over much of Eastern Europe after the Second World War. This takeover is certainly based on fact. But the condemnation is very much misapplied if no mention is made of the fact that Eastern Europe became communist because Hitler, with the approval of the West, used it as a highway to reach the Soviet Union to wipe out Bolshevism once and for all; the Russians in World Wars I and II lost about 40 million people because the West had twice used this highway to invade Russia. It should not be surprising that after World War II the Soviets were determined to close down the highway. It was not simply “communist expansion”.

Or the case of Moammar Gaddafi. In the Western media he is invariably referred to as “the Libyan dictator”. Period. And he certainly was a dictator. But he also did many marvelous things for the people of Libya (like the highest standard of living in Africa) and for the continent of Africa (like creating the African Union).

Or the case of Vladimir Putin. The Western media never tires of reminding its audience that Putin was once a KGB lieutenant colonel – wink, wink, we all know what that means, chuckle, chuckle. But do they ever remind us with a wink or chuckle that US President George H.W. Bush was once – not merely a CIA officer, but the fucking Director of the CIA!

Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg now says:

“We decided that having the community determine which sources are broadly trusted would be most objective”; “broadly trusted” sources being those that are “affirmed by a significant cross-section of users”.

Right, a significant cross-section of users – Will that include me? Highly unlikely. Broadly trusted sources – Will that include media like my Anti-Empire Report? Just as unlikely. Anything close? Maybe a single token leftist website amongst a large list, I’d guess. And a single token rightist website. Zuckerberg and his ilk probably think that the likes of NBC, NPR and CNN are very objective and are to be trusted when it comes to US foreign-policy issues or capitalism-vs-socialism issues.

On January 19 Google announced that it would cancel a two-month old experiment, called Knowledge Panel, that informed its users that a news article had been disputed by “independent fact-checking organizations”. Conservatives had complained that the feature unfairly targeted a right-leaning outlet.

Imagine that. It’s almost like people have political biases. Both Facebook and Google are still experimenting, trying to find a solution that I do not think exists. My solution is to leave it as it is. There’s no automated way to remove bias or slant or judgment from writing or from those persons assigned to evaluate such.

Fake news by omission – the Haiti example

“I’m happy to have a president that will bluntly speak the truth in negotiations,” Eric Prince commented on Breitbart News. “If the president says some places are shitholes, he’s accurate.”

Thus did Mr. Eric Prince pay homage to Mr. Donald Trump. Prince of course being the renowned founder of Blackwater, the private army which in September 2007 opened fire in a crowded square in Baghdad, killing 17 Iraqi civilians and seriously wounding 20 more.

Speaking of Haiti and other “shitholes”, Prince declared:

“It’s a sad characterization of many of these places. It’s not based on race. It has nothing to do with race. It has to do with corrupt incompetent governments that abuse their citizens, and that results in completely absent infrastructure to include open sewers, and unclean water, and crime. It’s everything we don’t want in America.”

Read More @ GlobalResearch.ca

GOP LAWMAKERS RELEASE VIDEO EXPOSING DEEP STATE LIES TO FISA COURT

from Infowars:

‘The Republican memo fairly raises questions about why certain facts were never disclosed to the FISA court’

Republican lawmakers put together a video explaining how the DNC and Clinton cronies in the FBI lied to the FISA Court to spy on Trump campaign associates.

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) tweeted out the video Thursday, saying, “You deserve the truth. Here’s why the FISA memo matters.”

The video begins with Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC), who co-wrote the memo with House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.).

“You have a right to know what happened with this FISA process and whether reforms are warranted,” he says.

The video goes on to show clips of mainstream media breaking down what the memo reveals: FBI and DNC officials lying to the FISA court to justify a surveillance warrant on members of then-candidate Trump’s presidential campaign.

In addition, information was passed from British spy Christopher Steele through a Clinton-connected intermediary to the State Department itself.

“Political dirt was used by the FBI – and they knew it was political dirt – to open a counterintelligence investigation into the other campaign,” Nunes says.

Nunes has hinted that this memo is just one of several to be released.

“This completes just the FISA abuse portion of our investigation. We are — we are in the middle of like whole phase two of our investigation, which involves other departments, specifically the State Department and some of the involvement that they had in this,” he told Fox host Bret Baier earlier this month.

“That investigation is ongoing and we continue to work towards finding answers and asking the right questions to try to get to the bottom of what exactly the State Department was up to in terms of this Russian investigation,” he added.

Read More @ Infowars.com

Petro-Yuan Futures Launch in March: Ignore the Hype, It’s a Good Thing

by Mish Shedlock, Mish Talk:

After a 25-year wait, China is about to trade Yuan Oil Futures. Expect to see and hear a lot of hype over this event.

Bloomberg reports China Ends 25-Year Wait as Yuan Oil Futures Set to Start Trading.

In a challenge to the world’s dollar-denominated oil benchmarks Brent and West Texas Intermediate, China will list local-currency crude futures in Shanghai on March 26, according to the nation’s securities regulator. The start of trading, open to foreigners, will mark the end of years of delays and setbacks since China’s first attempt at a domestic contract in 1993.

If the futures are embraced by overseas investors and become a benchmark for global oil transactions, China’s hoping the yuan could threaten the dominance of the greenback in international trade. But skeptics say that will never happen as long as the currency is controlled by the central government, and while international traders may agree to settle contracts converted into yuan, they’ll continue to price the oil in dollars.

China surpassed the U.S. as the world’s biggest oil importer last year, buying about 8.43 million barrels a day to feed demand from government-run as well as independent refiners. The nation has also been hoarding million of barrels for its Strategic Petroleum Reserve. Rather than buying how much ever crude they want, private companies have to adhere to government-issues quotas for their purchases. And this year such allocations expanded.

The move toward creating a so-called “petro-yuan” will be a “huge story,” Adam Levinson, the founder and chief investment officer of Graticule Asset Management Asia, said in October. Besides serving as a hedging tool for Chinese companies, the contract will aid the broader government agenda of increasing the use of the yuan in trade settlement, he said.

End of the Dollar?

Don’t be silly. For starters, it is meaningless what oil is priced in. It makes no difference, outside of something illiquid like Yap Island stones, what any commodity is priced in. Conversion is instantaneous.

Reserve Currency Math

It does matter where countries hold their reserves. China wants the yuan to play a bigger role in international trade. That’s easy enough to achieve, at least on paper. All China has to do is run huge trade deficits and other countries will hold yuan as a mathematical necessity.

The corollary is that as long as the US runs huge trade deficits, it a mathematical necessity that the trade surplus countries accumulate dollar-denominated assets, typically US treasuries.

End of the Petro-Dollar?

Is this end of the petro-dollar in the Mideast? Actually, yes. But the Yuan has nothing to do with it.

US Petroleum Imports

Read More @ MishTalk.com

Soros – One of the Greatest Threats Against Society?

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by Martin Armstrong, Armstrong Economics:

It is no secret that I have no respect for George Soros and that is aside from the fact that we would often be on opposite sides of the market. I never saw Soros as a great trader. Even the reputation that he broke the Bank of England was nonsense. The “Club” was all on that trade and it was a guaranteed trade where if the peg broke, you made a fortune and if you were wrong, you got your money back. I was on the opposite side back then being called in by those in the British government. After a 7-year bull market in equities, Soros finally threw in the towel ending his bets on the stock market crash only after being wrong for so long.

Soros lost big time on the Russian manipulation when the “Club” was bribing the IMF to keep the loans to Russia going so they could make a fortune in interest rates. That failed and ended up in Long-Term Capital Management debacle. Soros lost $2 billion on that one. I believe he also lost when the “Club” was targeting the Japanese yen in 1999. So I never saw Soros as some fantastic trader. I believe he was just simply on the right side of a few big plays orchestrated by the “Club” and never by himself.

I personally believe he is very dangerous politically. I believe he stands for control of the people and is always plotting for the manipulation of society. He appears to be always on the side of Marxist/Socialism which disturbs me greatly. This is just his political philosophy. There has been a rising movement against Soros on a global scale. This is one person who the world will celebrate his death – not morn it.

The Telegraph is now reporting that Soros “is one of three senior figures linked to the Remain-supporting campaign group Best for Britain who plan to launch a nationwide advertising campaign this month, which they hope will lead to a second referendum to keep Britain in the EU.” Soros is on the wrong side. Europe has no chance of the EU Project actually succeeding long-term. The entire structure is completely unsound and the political process is anti-Democrat. The EU was purposefully designed to be as close to a dictatorship where the people are not trusted to make any decision and are too stupid to even know how to spend their own money. Nobody in the Troika ever stands for an election and they are the people who rule with an iron fist over the economy.

Read More @ ArmstrongEconomics.com

UK prosecutors admit destroying key emails in Julian Assange case

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by Ewen MacAskill and Owen Bowcott, The Guardian:

Correspondence between CPS and its Swedish counterparts about WikiLeaks founder deleted after lawyer retired in 2014

The Crown Prosecution Service is facing embarrassment after admitting it destroyed key emails relating to the WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who is holed up in Ecuador’s London embassy fighting extradition.

Email exchanges between the CPS and its Swedish counterparts over the high-profile case were deleted after the lawyer at the UK end retired in 2014.

The destruction of potentially sensitive and revealing information comes ahead of a tribunal hearing in London next week.

Adding to the intrigue, it emerged the CPS lawyer involved had, unaccountably, advised the Swedes in 2010 or 2011 not to visit London to interview Assange. An interview at that time could have prevented the long-running embassy standoff.

The CPS, responding to questions from the Guardian, denied there were any legal implications of the data loss for an Assange case if it were to come to court in the future. Asked if the CPS had any idea what was destroyed, a spokesperson said: “We have no way of knowing the content of email accounts once they have been deleted.”

Assange, whose WikiLeaks has been involved in a series of controversial leaks that include the Iraq war logs, US state department cables and Democratic party emails, was wanted by Sweden as part of a preliminary investigation into rape allegations. Sweden dropped the investigation in May.

Detractors of Assange, who sought refuge in Ecuador’s embassy in 2012, accuse him of collaborating with Russian propagandists in undermining Hillary Clinton’s bid for the presidency and helping Donald Trump secure it.

Supporters of Assange fear he could have been extradited to the US from Sweden and might yet from the UK. The US attorney general, Jeff Sessions, said this year Assange was a priority for the justice department and US federal prosecutors are believed to be considering charges against him over the leaks.

The CPS data destruction was disclosed in a freedom of information (FOI) case being pursued by the Italian journalist Stefania Maurizi.

Advertisement

 

Read More @ TheGuardian.com

‘This was a setup … the entire time!’ Dan Bongino blows Obamagate wide open

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by Phil Shriver, Conservative Review:

… using left-wing media reports!

Filling in for Mark Levin Friday night, former Secret Service agent and host of “The Dan Bongino Show” Dan Bongino made the case that the entire Trump-Russia collusion narrative was a “setup.”

“You can see the left-wing media’s own stories about all of this. The spying, the setup, the framing of Donald Trump. The left wing reported on it because they thought it was real … because they’re suckers for the Democrats!” Bongino argued.

“Folks, this was a setup. It was sting operation, an entrapment operation the entire time.”

Listen:

Along with Levin, Bongino has been leading the charge in exposing the Obamagate scandal on his chart-topping podcast, calling it the “biggest political scandal in U.S. history.”

Read More @ ConservativeReview.com

Professor Claims Soros ‘Missionaries’ Bragged About Toppling Governments in Europe, Africa, and the Middle East

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by Jack Montgomery, Breitbart:

Author and sociologist Frank Furedi claims globalist activists working for billionaire financier George Soros bragged about toppling governments at a private lunch.

A former professor of sociology at the University of Kent in Canterbury, Furedi recounted his experience with the globalist’s “missionaries” in an article for the Telegraph newspaper, having been prompted by the revelations about his efforts to bring down the British government and trigger another EU referendum.

“Soros believes that if the people voted the wrong way, he is entitled to thwart decisions made by them,” Furedi wrote.

“Soros does not believe in the legitimacy of borders nor in the authority of national electorates. Consequently, he feels entitled to influence and if possible direct the political destiny of societies all over the world.”

Furedi said his own encounter with “the Soros operation” took place in the 87-year-old’s native Hungary in 2013, at an Open Society Youth Exchange exchange event which brought together so-called ‘civil society’ activists from across the globe:

Most of those in attendance were smart, idealistic young people who appeared to be committed to making the world a better place. My only concern with the gathering was it regarded its participants as a group of democratic missionaries, who would go back home to spread the good word.

It was later during lunch at a plush Budapest hotel that I encountered the full force of the arrogant ethos promoted by the Soros network of organisations. At my table I listened to Dutch, American, British, Ukrainian and Hungarian representatives of Soros NGOs boast about their achievements. Some claimed that they played a major role in the Arab Spring in Egypt. Others voiced their pride in their contribution to the democratisation of the Ukraine. Some bragged about their influence in preparing the ground for the overthrow of the Gadafif regime in Libya.

I sat quietly and felt uncomfortable with a group of people who so casually assumed that they had the right to play God throughout the world. At one point, the head of the table – a Hungarian leader of a Soros NGO – asked me what I thought about their work. Not wishing to offend, I quietly remarked that I wasn’t sure whether the external imposition of their idea of democracy on the people of Libya was legitimate nor that it would work. Without a second’s hesitation, my interlocutor rounded me with the response: “I don’t think that we have the luxury of waiting until the Libyan people come up with their own Jefferson!”

Furedi recalled being alarmed by “the haughty tone with which she lectured me about performing the role of Jefferson” in countries like Libya.

Foreign intervention has changed the North African country into a failed state, where jihadists are at large, black Africans are sold openly in slave markets, and criminal people-smugglers coin a handsome profit ferrying illegal migrants to Europe — often with the assistance of NGOs linked to Soros.

Read More @ Breitbart.com

Clark County Coroner releases autopsy for 6′-1″ body with bad teeth, Stephen Paddock was 6′-4″ with good teeth

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by Shepard Ambellas, Intellihub:

Something is afoot at the Clark County Coroner’s office, autopsy of “Stephen Paddock” reveals body was not Paddock and rather someone else

LAS VEGAS (INTELLIHUB) — It is unknown why the Clark County Coroner has released the autopsy report of a random 6′-1″ tall individual with bad teeth after cremating the body, violating court a court order, and then claiming the body is that of the alleged shooter Stephen Paddock when Paddock is clearly 6′-4″ tall and has rather good teeth.

No this is not a joke. This is real and should scare any American who entrusts their government, to tell the truth.

The bogus autopsy records were released by the coroner on Friday and contradict everything we know about Paddock physically.

Fox News reports:

The autopsy showed Paddock, who was just more than six feet tall, was considered to be slightly overweight at 224 pounds, had high blood pressure and bad teeth. But he appeared to be healthy and nothing out of the ordinary was uncovered in his physical condition, even after experts at Stanford University conducted a microscopic brain examination, according to the documents.

As Intellihub reported on 20 Jan., in the article titled Body autopsied by doctor likely not Steven Paddock’s, official LVMPD report reveals:

Information listed in the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department’s preliminary report on the 1 Oct. massacre, reveals that the body autopsied by Dr. Lisa Gavin may not be Steven Paddock at all.

According to Section VIII of the report titled Suspect Autopsy: “On 10-06-17, at approximately 1625 hours, under CCOCME case 17-10064 and FBI incident number 4-LV-2215061 an autopsy was performed on the body of Paddock at the CCOCME
by Doctor Lisa Gavin.”

However, the report lists the decedent Stephen Paddock as being only “73 inches” tall (6′-1″) despite the fact that it is well known that Paddock was 6′-4″ in height and had a much larger frame than the dead guy pictured in the leaked crime scene photographs.

Read More @ Intellihub.com