from The Richie Allen Show:
by Joshua Caplan, The Gateway Pundit:
The House Judiciary Committee grilled FBI Director Christopher Wray Thursday morning. In response to Rep. Darrell Issa’s question if whether or not political bias impacted the outcome of Hillary Clinton’s email probe, Wray replied the FBI is prepared to “unring that bell,” if the Inspector General report suggests it to. Read Wray’s complete answer below.
WRAY: “I think of the Inspector General’s investigation as de novo in one sense, in which that it’s objective, arms length, no skin in the game, if you will. But you’re right, the Inspector General is not second guessing prosecutorial decisions and things like that. However, the Inspector General is looking at the very important question of whether or not improper political considerations factored into the decision making. If he were to conclude that’s what happened, then I think at that point were we’re in a situation were we have to assess what else might need to be done to unring that bell.”
— TrumpSoldier (@DaveNYviii) December 7, 2017
What did Wray mean? Congressman Andy Biggs asked the FBI director to expand on his answer. Wray explained that depending on the Inspector General’s findings, the FBI would be prepared to reopen an investigation (the Clinton email probe in this case), as long as a statue of limitation issue does not arise.
Read More @ TheGatewayPundit.com
by Michael Krieger, Liberty Blitzkrieg:
In the first two installments of this series, I discussed the potential for the U.S. federal government to make some spectacularly foolish moves against its own people in the realms of cannabis and Bitcoin. My basic assumption is that government tends to despise freedom, and that “leaders” of an empire in decline like the U.S. are particularly vulnerable to very bad decisions.
Government propagandists constantly instruct the public that they need to be fearful of their neighbors or some guy in a cave overseas (who they probably funded in the first place), when they themselves tend to be the most unethical, corrupt thieves of all. It’s a very clever scam.
If you want to ban Bitcoin because of money laundering, crime and violence, we should really ban government first.
— Michael Krieger (@LibertyBlitz) December 6, 2017
With that in mind, today’s post will zero in on what I consider to be the greatest threat to world peace going into 2018. While I remain unsure as to what the U.S. government may attempt when it comes to cannabis and Bitcoin, I’m far more concerned about the prospects of Donald Trump entangling this nation in an escalating and increasingly disastrous conflict in the Middle East. The signs are everywhere, and it’s all becoming very obvious. In fact, I’ve probably written more articles on this topic than any other in 2017.
Rather than rehash everything I’ve already said, below are links to my October series on the matter:
Confrontation with Iran has been the holy grail of neocons for decades, but it’s become increasingly likely under Trump, as I detailed above. Since I wrote those articles, the situation has only escalated and Trump has decided to attach himself even more clearly to the hip of crazed Saudi princeling Mohamed bin Salman (MBS) and Israel. It’s become obvious that Trump sees both Israel and Saudi Arabia as direct extensions of the U.S., and is quite willing to sacrifice his own country to protect their position. In prior posts, I spent most of my time focused on why I thought Trump would go in such a non-MAGA direction. Today’s post will focus on why I think it’ll be such a historical failure.
Conventional wisdom says that a dedicated alliance of the U.S., Israel and Saudi Arabia is an unstoppable force in the Middle East. Trump’s bought into this view hook, line and sinker, which is why he’s willing to go all in on such a foolish showdown with Iran. I’m going to take the complete other side of that view, and assert than a more aggressive posture against Iran in the Middle East will lead to another huge fail, sparking a more serious collapse in the U.S. empire and ultimately Iranian domination of the region. Crazy, you say? I also heard Brexit had no shot and that Trump couldn’t win. When it comes to conventional wisdom at this point in the historical cycle, I want to be short.
Why do I think this? First of all, the U.S. simply doesn’t have the position it thinks it has in the world any longer. The moral authority, irrespective of whether it was ever deserved in the first place, is gone. Disastrous and bloody wars based on lies and media propaganda have been exposed for the world to see, and many allies won’t be willing to go along with an unnecessary Saudi/Israel/USA mission against Iran. Empires always make increasingly stupid decisions toward the end driven by hubris and a lack of self-awareness. The U.S. is no different.
Second, the U.S. would be getting in bed with a complete and total lunatic when it comes to de facto Saudi leader MBS. Pretty much everything this guy touches turns to shite, with his campaign in Yemen and attempt to isolate Qatar being prime examples. Now with his mass arrests of Saudi princes and other powerful people/family members in a quest to firm his position, he’s lost even more credibility in the region and created a slew of dangerous enemies, who will never forget what he did to them.
And remember to NEVER humiliate a bedouin in public. pic.twitter.com/iwbHyEiZZB
— NassimNicholasTaleb (@nntaleb) November 10, 2017
MBS is far, far weaker both internally and externally than he realizes. He thinks he’s this grand figure who’s destined to bring glory to himself and Saudi Arabia in the region, but he’ll end up accomplishing the exact opposite. In addition to all the the dangerous mistakes I’ve already mentioned, he recently made the biggest mistake of all by bringing the Saudi-Israeli alliance public for the world to see.
Read More @ LibertyBlitzkrieg.com
by Peter Schiff, Euro Pacific Capital:
After supposedly chomping on the bit for years to pass meaningful tax reform, Republicans are now set to blow an historic opportunity. Whatever version of the Bill that emerges from the House and Senate Conference Committee (which will be signed by President Trump faster than he can down a Filet o’Fish), will be far less than the Republicans envisioned when they finally captured the White House and both Congressional Chambers in 2016. But from what I have seen of the particulars, the revisions to the tax code will offer a marginal, although temporary, win for low income individuals, a major slap for moderately successful wage earners and home owners, (especially in the high tax Blue States) and a huge victory for the extremely wealthy and certain categories of business owners. While it is certain that the plan will add to the growing deficit, its immediate economic and political impact is hard to predict.
For generations, taxpayers and politicians alike lambasted our overly complex tax code for its myriad of economic distorting loopholes that seemed to produce nothing except employment for legions of accountants and tax lawyers adept at gaming the system. As a result, talk about tax reform has always included proposals to make the system simpler, fairer, and more transparent. But on that front, the Republican proposals fail miserably. Trump and Congress will hail this achievement as being a major victory for the American people. But the true winner will be the swamp that Trump promised to drain.
Unlike Ronald Reagan, who passed tax reform in 1986 by striking a deal with Democrat House Speaker Tip O’Neill, Trump and Congressional Republicans faced no particular need to compromise. If Reagan had the benefits enjoyed by Trump, Ryan and McConnell, his tax cuts would have been paired with significant spending cuts and perhaps a balanced budget. But to get O’Neill (and his whopping 71 seat House majority) to go along, Reagan’s ideals of fiscal prudence and smaller government had to be set aside. But Trump is no Reagan, and today’s Republican Party has about as much commitment to shrinking the size of government as did the Democrats in the 1980s.
Taxes are the price we pay for government. If Republicans want to reduce the tax burden, they need to make government less expensive. Tax cuts without spending cuts is the Republican version of a free lunch. But if government spending is not paid for with tax revenue, alternate sources must be found that will ultimately prove more costly than the forgone tax revenue.
Despite endless campaign rhetoric to the contrary, the Republican Party is no longer the party of limited government, fiscal responsibility, Federalism, the Constitution, sound money, or any of the principals that they typically espouse while stumping for office or raising money. Instead of reducing the size of government, thereby lightening the burden on taxpayers and limiting the economic drag caused by government, Republicans have chosen the easy course of tax cuts, replete with overly optimistic assumptions and gimmicks meant to disguise their true impact on future deficits. Adding insult to injury, they leave in place an even more complex tax code, replete with even more loopholes, that limits individual freedom and undermines economic growth.
True reform would have eliminated the income tax completely, or at a minimum, replaced it with a flat tax. It would have abolished the corporate income tax, payroll taxes, and the estate and gift taxes, and replaced them with a tax system based on consumption rather than production. Such a system would encourage savings rather than debt accumulation, and would restore some semblance of sanity to a system increasingly dependent on borrowing. Real reform would have included entitlement reform, as well as across the board reductions in government spending. Entire agencies and departments would have been eliminated, making government smaller and less expensive. These are the types of changes that are needed to head off a possible looming debt crisis and put the country back on a path to achieve real economic growth, not the phony financial gains we have seen in the past generation.
But instead, Republicans crafted a plan that would cut taxes for some while raising taxes for others. The political genius of the plan can be found in the elimination of state and local tax deductions that will raise taxes predominantly on higher wage earners in Democrat controlled states with high taxes. This move was a political freebie for Republicans, as it largely spares their constituents from tax hikes, but prevents Democrats from protecting theirs because to do so would require them to argue against raising taxes on the “wealthy.” It may also trigger a fiscal crisis in largely Democrat states as high earners, who provide an outsize share of state tax revenue, consider pulling up stakes for lower tax jurisdictions. But Republicans did not leave well enough alone. The taxes raised on rich Democrats will not nearly be enough to pay for the cuts they offer business owners, passive investors, and corporations. The balance will be “paid for” by borrowing. In addition, high tax states may be forced to scramble to adjust their tax policies in an attempt to forestall defections of the wealthy. To do so, they may shift taxes to businesses (for which state taxes will still be deductible from federal taxes). The businesses in turn, can pass these costs onto their employees in the form of lower wages and their customers in the form of higher prices.
Republicans, of course, argue that the economic growth that will be generated by lowering the corporate tax rate from 35% to 20% will generate enough new tax revenue to offset what is lost. While that idea is sound in theory, nothing about our current situation would suggest that a growth surge is around the corner, with or without corporate tax cuts.
We are already in the ninth year of a supposed economic expansion. Over the last century, these expansions (the time between recessions) have lasted, on average, about five and a quarter years. So, already our current “expansion” has lasted nearly twice the average. Also, this expansion has been extraordinarily weak, with growth averaging around 2% since 2009. This is far below the 3% to 4% rate seen in prior recoveries. (data from the National Bureau of Economic Research and Bureau of Labor Statistics) It is also clear that this tepid number has relied heavily on surging asset prices in stocks, real estate, and bonds. But all three of those markets could easily reverse course.
The stock market has surged to all-time highs based on the expected likelihood that tax reform would be passed early in the Trump Administration. When this hope becomes reality, it may be that we will get a “buy the rumor, sell the fact” decline, especially if the final package is not all that investors hoped it would be. The real estate market may actually suffer under the new rules as high-end properties become more expensive to own and less attractive to buy given the limits on property tax and mortgage deductions. On the lower end of the market, the expansion of the standard deduction could mean far fewer will receive a tax benefit from buying modestly priced homes, thereby mitigating the advantages of buying over renting. (It is no accident that some of the biggest objections to the new proposals have come from real estate industry groups). And lastly, the bond market faces no shortage of headwinds. With the Fed threatening to sell much of its $4.5 Trillion holdings of Treasury and Mortgage bonds, the likelihood of falling bond prices and rising yields looms large. (In the past three months, 10-year Treasury yields have increased 30 basis points). Even the tax bill’s supporters acknowledge that it will increase the deficit significantly in the near term, thereby requiring the Treasury to sell more bond
s to fill the gap. The extra supply could put downward pressure on bond prices and raise yields on the long end, creating losses in the bond market and raising borrowing costs for government, businesses and consumers.
Read More @ Europac.net
by David Swanson, Washington’s Blog:
Donald Trump is tweeting about a particular spot in Hawaii. He visited it recently on his way to threaten war in Asia. It’s a big feature this week in lots of U.S. magazines and newspapers. It has a lovely name that sounds like murder and blood because Japanese airplanes engaged in large-scale murder there in 1941: Pearl Harbor.
Pearl Harbor Day today is like Columbus Day 50 years ago. That is to say: most people still believe the hype. The myths are still maintained in their blissful unquestioned state. “New Pearl Harbors” are longed for by war makers, claimed, and exploited. Yet the original Pearl Harbor remains the most popular U.S. argument for all things military, including the long-delayed remilitarization of Japan — not to mention the WWII internment of Japanese Americans as a model for targeting other groups today. Believers in Pearl Harbor imagine for their mythical event, in contrast to today, a greater U.S. innocence, a purer victimhood, a higher contrast of good and evil, and a total necessity of defensive war making.
The facts do not support the mythology. The United States government did not need to make Japan a junior partner in imperialism, did not need to fuel an arms race, did not need to support Nazism and fascism (as some of the biggest U.S. corporations did right through the war), did not need to provoke Japan, did not need to join the war in Asia or Europe, and was not surprised by the attack on Pearl Harbor. For support of each of these statements, keep reading.
World War II stands unchallenged as the worst thing humanity in general and the U.S. government in particular (as well as numerous other governments) have ever done in any short period of time. Recent wars don’t come close. There’s even a parallel to the Downing Street Minutes.
On August 18, 1941, Prime Minister Winston Churchill met with his cabinet at 10 Downing Street. The meeting had some similarity to the July 23, 2002, meeting at the same address, the minutes of which became known as the Downing Street Minutes. Both meetings revealed secret U.S. intentions to go to war. In the 1941 meeting, Churchill told his cabinet, according to the minutes: “The President had said he would wage war but not declare it.” In addition, “Everything was to be done to force an incident.”
Indeed, everything was done to force an incident, and the incident was Pearl Harbor.
This was a very useful document that was released in a moment when it could have an important impact.
Like every war ever launched by anyone before or since (at least up until the age of openly blurting out “steal their oil” and “kill their families”), the 2003 stage in the Iraq war had been launched on the basis of lies and had been and still is continued on the basis of other lies.
We ought not to have needed any evidence. It is illegal to attack another country under the UN Charter and under the Kellogg Briand Pact (and arguably under the Hague Convention of 1899). And in this case, as with Afghanistan two years earlier, the UN had specifically rejected war. Launching a war is illegal and immoral no matter what weapons may be in the nation attacked and no matter what crimes that nation has committed. Launching a total assault on civilians to supposedly shock and awe them is illegal even in the understanding of lawyers who ignore the illegality of war. Morally it is one of the worst things ever done. Practically it has never worked.
Even if we accepted that weapons in Iraq or Iraqi crimes could justify a war, the evidence was clear that these were lies. The Iraqi government was opposed to the group it had supposedly collaborated with. In 1995 Saddam Hussein’s son-in-law had informed the U.S. and the British that all biological, chemical, missile, and nuclear weapons had been destroyed under his direct supervision. After U.N. inspectors left Iraq in 1998, the lead inspector said they’d come to the same conclusion. In 1999 at a primary debate in New Hampshire, Bush said he’d “take out” Saddam Hussein. “I’m surprised he’s still there,” he said. In 2001, Condoleezza Rice, Colin Powell, and others in the Bush Administration were telling the media that Saddam Hussein had no weapons. They transparently switched their views on command.
So, when the Downing Street Minutes came out on May 1, 2005, we jumped on it, not as new information but as evidence we could use, both to persuade others and to make a case in court or in Congress. These were the minutes of a meeting at Prime Minister Tony Blair’s office on July 23, 2002, at which his head of so-called intelligence, just back from Washington, reported (as summarized in the minutes):
“Military action was now seen as inevitable. Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy.”
And so they were, as has been documented in extensive detail. The White House war schemers and their collaborators forged documents, solicited desired claims rejected by their own experts, relied on non-credible witnesses, fed fake evidence to complicit so-called journalists, and tortured desired statements out of victims they’d kidnapped. Bush concocted harebrained schemes to start a war that he publicly claimed to be trying to avoid. See, for example, the White House Memo.
Read More @ WashingtonsBlog.com
GOP lawmakers have come forward with new allegations of political bias or interference at the FBI – this time involving the 2012 Benghazi attack. John Solomon of The Hill reports tht Rep. Ron Desantis (R-FL) recently interviewed a retired FBI supervisor who told him he was instructed by Deputy Director Andrew McCabe not to call the 2012 Benghazi attack an act of terrorism when distributing the FBI’s findings to the larger intelligence community – despite knowing exactly who conducted the attack.
The agent found the instruction concerning because his unit had gathered incontrovertible evidence showing a major al Qaeda figure had directed the attack and the information had already been briefed to President Obama, the lawmaker said. –The Hill
After the September 11, 2012 attack against U.S. government facilities in Benghazi, Libya, the Obama administration peddled a lie, telling the public that the attack was related to Muslims who had become enraged at an anti-Islam YouTube video, and not a planned act of terrorism – despite Hillary Clinton emailing Chelsea Clinton from her unsecure @clintonemail.com server the night of the attack to say exactly that.
Chelsea – using the pseudonym “Diane Reyonds” probably didn’t have the clearance to receive classified intelligence from her mother, the Secretary of State.
“Two of our officers were killed in Benghazi by an Al Queda-like group: The Ambassador, whom I handpicked and a young communications officer on temporary duty w a wife and two young children. Very hard day and I fear more of the same tomorrow.” –Hillary Clinton to Chelsea Clinton
And we now know FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe lied for the Obma administration in a clear, partisan violation of the FBI’s mandate to “detect and prosecute crimes against the United States,” not “lie for the President so as not to offend Islam.”
As Rep. DeSantis told The Hill:
“What operational reason would there be to issue an edict to agents telling them, in the face of virtually conclusive evidence to the contrary, not to categorize the Benghazi attack as a result of terrorism? By placing the interests of the Obama administration over the public’s interests, the order is yet another data point highlighting the politicization of the FBI.”
DeSantis and other GOP lawmakers say they plan to question FBI Director Christopher Wray at a Thursday hearing in front of the House Judiciary Committee about claims of growing concern among certain FBI supervisors over political bias clouding decisions at the highest levels of the agency.
The case against the FBI for overt political bias couldn’t be more clear. Over the last week we’ve learned of veteran FBI investigator Peter Strzok’s dismissal for texting his mistress anti-Trump messages, which the DOJ is handing over to the House Intelligence Committee. We also learned yesterday that a second prosecutor on Robert Mueller’s Special Counsel, Andrew Weissmann, praised then-acting Attorney General Sally Yates after she refused to defend President Trump’s travel ban.
Fox News reports:
A top prosecutor who is now a deputy for Special Counsel Robert Muellers Russia probe praised then-acting attorney general Sally Yates after she was fired in January by President Trump for refusing to defend his controversial travel ban.
The email, obtained by Judicial Watch through a federal lawsuit, shows that on the night of Jan. 30, Andrew Weissmann wrote to Yates under the subject line, I am so proud.
He continued, And in awe. Thank you so much. All my deepest respects.
Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton called the new Weissmann document an astonishing and disturbing find.
“The data points we have regarding politicization are damning enough but appear all the more problematic when viewed against the backdrop of investigations whose ferocity seemed to depend on the target:
Read More @ ZeroHedge.com
by Michael Snyder, The Economic Collapse Blog:
Either the Republicans are going to give Democrats virtually everything that they want, or the federal government will shut down at the end of the day on Friday. We have been through this process time after time, and in every single instance the Republicans have always folded like a 20 dollar suit. Unfortunately, it looks like the Democrats are going to win big this time around too. The spending agreement is essentially an updated Obama budget that fully funds Planned Parenthood, that contains no money for a border wall, and that doesn’t reflect any of President Trump’s other important priorities either. On Thursday, the House is expected to pass this horrible bill, and the Senate is expected to take up the matter on Friday. According to Bloomberg, right now this plan would keep the government open through December 22nd…
The House Rules Committee approved a rule setting the bill up for a floor vote Thursday, after which the Senate will have until the end of the day Friday to avoid a partial government shutdown. A formal check of how members would vote on the Dec. 22 deadline came back showing widespread support, said Representative Dennis Ross, a member of the vote-whipping team.
So even if this plan gets through both the House and the Senate, we will be facing another government shutdown deadline in just a few weeks.
And every time one of these deadlines approaches, the Democrats use it as leverage to get what they want. In addition to getting a spending agreement that is extremely lopsided in their favor, many Democrats want to use this current deadline to pass the DREAM Act before the end of 2017. In fact, Kirsten Gillibrand, Kamala Harris, Bernie Sanders, Dick Durbin, Elizabeth Warren and Corey Booker have all said that they will not vote in favor of any spending agreement unless it includes the DREAM Act.
Emboldened by their past successes, Democrats are asking for more than ever this time around. But if we are just going to hand the Democrats whatever they want every time, what is the point of even having elections? In 2016 we gave the Republicans control of the White House, the Senate and the House of Representatives, and yet the Democrats just keep winning over and over again. This is deeply infuriating, and grassroots conservatives all over the country are sick and tired of Republicans acting like spineless jellyfish.
Fortunately, we do have a man with a spine in the White House, and it sounds like he has absolutely no intentions of giving in on the DREAM Act. The following comes from NBC News…
“Democrats are really looking at something very dangerous for our country. They are looking at shutting down, they want to have illegal immigrants, in many cases people that we don’t want in our country,” Trump told reporters at the White House. “We don’t want to have that, we want to have a great, beautiful, crime-free country.”
If the Democrats stand firm on their demands, there is a very real possibility that we could have a government shutdown, and federal agencies are already preparing for one. When the government shuts down, it only affects about 13 percent of the federal government, and we don’t actually need most of that 13 percent anyway.
So even though the mainstream media would be totally freaking out, it definitely would not be the end of the world.
If you don’t remember the last government shutdown, the following is a pretty good summary of what would happen that was published by Newsweek…
If the shutdown does occur this weekend, the effects will be felt immediately. All nonessential employees of the federal government will stay home until further notice, and some will stop receiving paychecks. Refunds from the IRS could be delayed, as could the State Department’s passport service. Most air-traffic controllers and Transportation Security Administration security will continue to go to work, but there won’t be as many as them so air-travel will be slower. Members of Congress will have limited staff and won’t be as responsive (well, as responsive as they normally are) to constituents. And after 10 days without a spending bill, federal courts will close.
Obviously it would be a good thing to avoid a government shutdown, but it is exceedingly foolish to give the Democrats whatever they want just to keep things functioning normally.
In case you are wondering, I would definitely vote “no” on the bill that is currently going through the House of Representatives. I will not vote in favor of a spending bill that explodes the size of the national debt, that funds Planned Parenthood and that contains no money for a border wall. I am never going to compromise on my most important principles, and any Republican that caves in and gives the Democrats whatever they want just to avoid a government shutdown should be ashamed of themselves.
Sadly, the Democrats have done a very good job of selling their story to the American people, and at this point most Americans are overwhelmingly in favor of a compromise…
Sixty-three percent say members of Congress should avoid a shutdown at all costs. Only 18 percent of voters surveyed say members should allow a temporary government shutdown if it helps them achieve their policy goals. The remaining 19 percent of voters are undecided.
Read More @ TheEconomicCollapseBlog.com
by Philip M. Giraldi, Strategic Culture:
Former US National Security Adviser Michael Flynn is cooperating with the Special Counsel Robert Mueller to determine whether Donald Trump’s associates colluded with Russian government officials during the 2016 electoral campaign and also in the two months before president-elect Trump assumed office on January 20th. Flynn has pleaded guilty to lying to Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) special agents regarding two late December telephone exchanges with former Russian Ambassador to the US Sergey Kislyak.
The first call was initiated at the request of Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner and related to Russia’s possible use of its United Nations Security Council veto to stop a resolution condemning Israel’s illegal settlements, as the Barack Obama Administration had decided to abstain to send a message of disapproval to Tel Aviv. If Russia had agreed, which it did not, it would have meant conniving with Moscow to do something sought by Israel and opposed by the elected government still in power in Washington.
The second call possibly was requested by Donald Trump himself and was made while Flynn was lying on a beach in the Dominican Republic. It sought Russian agreement not to escalate the tit-for-tat expulsions of diplomats that had been set in motion by the outgoing Obama administration. Russia delayed any possible expulsions, eventually implementing them when the Trump administration proved unable to mitigate other sanctions put in place by Obama. Both phone calls took place after the American election. Neither had anything to do with possible collusion regarding the election.
Flynn’s admission that he was lying is believed to be part of an agreement with Mueller, presumably eliminating a possible jail sentence and reducing the actual penalty to payment of a fine. Mueller will undoubtedly seek Flynn’s evidence confirming that he and both Kushner and Trump were all acting in violation of the Logan Act of 1799, which they quite possibly had never heard of, that bars private citizens from negotiating with foreign governments on behalf of the United States. At the time of the phone calls, neither Flynn nor Kushner nor Trump held any actual government office, but it should also be pointed out that no one has ever been convicted under the Logan Act and the de facto status of an incoming administration as a precedent for engaging with foreign powers has never been tested.
The Logan Act aside, the real purpose of the investigation is to “get” Russia and its President Vladimir Putin. If it were otherwise, Mueller would be looking hard at the Israeli connection since it is clear from the time line that Israel had approached Kushner who then asked Flynn to make the phone call. The New York Times described the sequence of events as “Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu asked the Trump transition team to lobby other countries to help Israel…” The Israeli overture is a clear example of actual foreign government interference in United States politics and foreign policy, but the interference was by Israel and not by Russia.
The Flynn case is also a prime example of how the American security services have been politically corrupted, but it is unlikely that Mueller will have any interest in that aspect of the case as the investigation itself has become little more than a political witch hunt in which the Washington-New York Establishment is seeking to explain why its candidate lost in November. Flynn was interviewed by the FBI regarding his two phone conversations on January 24th shortly after assumed office as National Security Adviser. During his interview, he was not made aware that the Bureau already had recordings and transcripts of his phone conversations, so, in a manner of speaking, he was being set-up to fail. Mis-remembering, forgetting or attempting to avoid implication of others in the administration would inevitably all be plausibly construed as lying since the FBI knew exactly what was said.
Read More @ Strategic-Culture.org
by Alasdair Macleod, GoldMoney:
This article looks at this aspect of government finances in the longer term, first on the route to eventual currency collapse which governments create for themselves by ensuring a continuing devaluation of their currencies, and then in a sound money environment with a positive outcome, for which there is good precedent. This is the second article exposing the fallacies of supposed advantages of inflation over deflation, the first being posted here.
While central bankers have convinced themselves, in defiance of normal human behaviour, that consumption is only stimulated by the prospect of higher prices, there can be little doubt that the unmentioned sub-text is the supposed benefits to borrowers in industry and for government itself. Furthermore, the purpose of gaining control over interest rates from free markets is to reduce the general level of interest rates paid to lenders, further robbing them of the benefits of making their capital available to willing borrowers.
All this is in defiance of the principles behind contract law, but the courts do not accept that the unbacked state-issued currency of today is no different from the gold-backed money of yesteryear, nor the same as tomorrow’s further debased currency. Tax on interest is an added distortion, reducing net interest received by holders of depreciating currency even more. It is hardly surprising that the savings rate collapses in an economy characterised by inflation and taxed savings, leading to a relentless expansion of debt, financed by other means.
These “other means” are mostly the expansion of bank credit, which is money created simply through book-entry. The cost of creating this money is set by the wholesale money rates, which are in turn set by the banks that issue the credit. If they all expand their bank credit at the same time (and it should be noted that bankers are very susceptible to herd instincts), interest rates can theoretically fall to zero, or more practically, the marginal cost of expanding it, which on large loans is almost the same thing. And as if that is not enough, there is now in addition a combination of central banks rigging interest rates to be negative coupled with quantitative easing, which has even allowed corporate borrowers to be paid to borrow money.
As already stated, the whole point of monetary inflation is to transfer wealth from lender to borrower. In the government’s case, it is a replacement for taxes that have become so burdensome, that to increase them further either risks provoking a taxpayers’ rebellion, or is so economically damaging that even the state knows to back off. But the books must be balanced, and given the unpalatable alternative of cutting spending, funding through monetary debasement is the accepted solution.
Most central banks understand from experience that if the central bank is involved in funding the government’s spending directly, the currency will eventually descend into crisis. Instead, central banks achieve the same thing by suppressing interest rates and allowing the commercial banks to subscribe for government bonds. They are bought by the banks themselves, or alternatively by lending to others to buy the government’s debt. There are technical monetary differences between bank and public subscriptions for government debt, which must be conceded. Nevertheless, it is just as inflationary, being supported directly or indirectly by the expansion of bank credit, particularly when central banks ensure that total currency in circulation will never be allowed to contract.
An important assumption behind long-term inflation targets, currently set at 2% per annum, is that the general price level can be controlled by managing the money stock. This flies in the face of all experience, and even economic theory. During the Volcker chairmanship of the Fed, when the effective Fed funds rate rose to over 19%, there was no let-up in the growth of broad money. It grew at 6.2% that year, compared with a long-term average annual growth rate of about 5.9%.[i] To link interest rates to the money-quantity is a common mistake by those who do not realise that interest rates regulate not the quantity of money, but its application.
The rate of US monetary expansion was reasonably constant at a little less than 6% until the Lehman crisis, yet interest rates (measured by the effective Fed funds rate) had varied between 19.1% in 1981 and 1% in 2003. US consumer price inflation had also varied between 14.4% and 1.07% on the same time-scale. There is no correlation between the quantity of money and these two statistics at all, so the control mechanisms employed, which are meant to regulate the decline in the currency’s purchasing power, are entirely bogus.
The point was sort of accepted by an official at the Bank of England last week. Richard Sharp, who is on the Bank’s financial stability committee, warned that if the UK Government increased its borrowing, it risked sliding into a Venezuela-style crisis. Undoubtedly, this comment was provoked by a growing debate over Jeremy Corbin’s proposal to borrow an extra £250bn if Labour is elected. But it raises the question over what is the difference between Venezuela’s disastrous inflation policies and those of Britain, other than scale. The answer is simply nothing.
Venezuela’s economic collapse into hyperinflation is all our final destinations as well. It is the eventual destination for all governments that depend on financing themselves by inflation. No longer are deficits being talked about as only temporary. Realistically, the accumulation of welfare liabilities, past, current and future, make it impossible to balance the books from taxation alone.
The fallacy that the state benefits from inflation ignores our central point: it transfers wealth from the masses. Far from stimulating the economy by persuading the masses to spend rather than save, it gradually grinds them down into poverty. The high standards of living in the advanced economies were acquired over decades by ordinary people working to improve their lives. The accumulation of personal wealth is vital for the enjoyment of improved standards of living. Remove earnings and wealth through currency debasement, and people are simply poorer. And if people are poorer, the finances of the state also become unsustainable.
This is why regimes that exploit the expansion of money to the maximum, such as Venezuela and Zimbabwe, demonstrably impoverish their people. It takes little intellect to work this out, yet amazingly, neo-Keynesian economists fail to grasp the point. The most appalling example was Joseph Stiglitz, a Nobel prize-winner no less, who ten years ago praised the economic policies of Hugo Chavez.[ii] Ten years on, we know the result of Chavez’s inflationary follies, which have taken Venezuela and her people into the economic abyss. Despite Stiglitz’s execrable errors, he remains an economist respected by those whose biased analyses are simply to wish reality away.
Read More @ GoldMoney.com a>
by Mike Adams, Natural News:
An attempted political coup is taking place in America right now as sinister swamp creatures with names like “James Comey” and “Peter Strzok” are attempting to nullify the outcome of the presidential election and steal the country away from the will of the voters. These very same swamp creatures exonerated Hillary Clinton for her role in a series of serious national security violations while giving her a free pass on lying to the FBI (and the entire country). Peter Strzok, for example — a rabid anti-Trump swampster — is now credited with changing the FBI’s assessment of Hillary Clinton’s offenses from “grossly negligent” to “extremely careless,” a monumental distinction in terms of legal liability. (See source links, below.)
Peter Strzok has been a member of the extremely corrupt Robert Mueller special counsel investigation team that’s attempting to ensnare President Trump on anything they can find (or fabricate) as a pretext to demand his impeachment. That investigation has been illegal from the start, as the Dept. of Justice regulations require a crime to be named before a special counsel is appointed, yet no crime was ever named to justify the appointment of the special counsel in the first place. Instead, the Mueller investigation was initiated as a witch hunt to try to find some crimes or engineer them in the process of the investigation. The General Flynn guilty plea, for example, stems wholly from the FBI deceptively interviewing Flynn under false pretenses, then catching him in a misstatement when he didn’t even realize he was being interviewed as part of a criminal trap. (Yes, you can be charged with a felony for merely lying to the FBI in a casual conversation, even though the government can lie to you with impunity.)
Now, the FBI is engaged in a massive cover-up, blocking information on Peter Strzok to make sure it doesn’t go public. “The FBI blocked all information on its website about a top counterterrorism official who was kicked off of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation for sending politically-biased text messages to an FBI lawyer,” reports the Daily Caller.
Peter Strzok was a venomous anti-Trump swamp creature, we now know, just like all the other members of the Robert Mueller special counsel. As the Daily Caller reports, “It was revealed on Saturday that Strzok was removed from Mueller’s team in August after the Department of Justice’s inspector general discovered that he exchanged anti-Trump and pro-Hillary Clinton text messages with his mistress, an FBI lawyer named Lisa Page who also worked on the Mueller team.” Via Daily Caller:
The revelation of Strzok’s biased texts is significant because of his central role in both the Russia investigation and the Clinton email probe. As the FBI’s No. 2 counter-terrorism official, Strzok helped start both of the investigations. He also conducted interviews with former national security adviser Michael Flynn in the Russia investigation and with Clinton and several of her top aides in the email inquiry.
Fox News is now reporting that the FBI is facing a contempt resolution from Congress for conspiring to withhold details about Strzok that show him to be an anti-Trump, pro-Clinton swamp creature working to ensnare Trump at all costs. “House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes, R-Calif., had demanded the text messages between FBI counterintelligence agent Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, an FBI lawyer with whom Strzok was romantically involved,” reports Fox News. “House investigators have long regarded him as a key figure in the chain of events when the bureau, in 2016, received the infamous anti-Trump ‘dossier’ and launched a counterintelligence investigation into Russian meddling in the election that ultimately came to encompass FISA surveillance of a Trump campaign associate.”
“Today [Robert Mueller] leads the most corrupt, criminal and treasonous Coup D’état in American history,” warns The Gateway Pundit. “Today the FBI that Mueller ran is in shambles. No one with an ounce of common sense believes that the FBI exhibits integrity and this is in large part because of the actions of Robert Mueller and his close allies who recently led the FBI.”
President Donald Trump ripped the ‘double standard’ in how 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton was treated and how Michael Flynn, his former national security adviser, was treated,” reports Corruption.news.
“So General Flynn lies to the FBI and his life is destroyed, while Crooked Hillary Clinton, on that now famous FBI holiday ‘interrogation’ with no swearing in and no recording, lies many times … and nothing happens to her? Rigged system, or just a double standard?” Trump tweeted:
So General Flynn lies to the FBI and his life is destroyed, while Crooked Hillary Clinton, on that now famous FBI holiday “interrogation” with no swearing in and no recording, lies many times…and nothing happens to her? Rigged system, or just a double standard?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 3, 2017
Fox News’ Tucker Carlson added to the warnings about the FBI’s deep state corruption, saying in a tweet:
The point is clear: the FBI is out of control and not just in the @realDonaldTrumpinvestigation. An agency charged with enforcing the law clearly considers itself above the law. That’s a threat to you, and every American, no matter who you voted for.
Read More @ NaturalNews.com
by Karl Denninger, Market Ticker:
How do you know when a nation is about to collapse?
It becomes so lawless that hiding the abuses is no longer necessary. They’re undertaken in full daylight, boldly, by those in charge. And, usually, they start to involve victimizing kids — not so much because it’s easier (it’s plenty easy to victimize adults when nobody goes to prison and you’ve turned every man into a eunuch on top of it) but because you start to run out of adults to vicimize so all that’s left is kids.
The poster child for this is of course Zuckerberg and Facebook, which the founding President of has admitted uses psychological trickery to addict people to the site, and now has chosen to abuse children. You’d think that when a business starts peddling the equivalent of drugs to kids that the cops would show up, haul everyone involved off in chains and destroy the company involved but you’d be wrong — Facebook’s stock closed at $172 yesterday, for a market cap of $502 billion. Every single penny of that should be forfeit right here, right now.
Oh, speaking of abusing children, if you’re a sorta little guy you might get arrested for prostituting kids. Maybe. It seems that being a State Senator is not far enough up the power ladder to evade going to jail. I hope that guy has a nice supply of Vasoline, as I have been told prison inmates just loooove those who like to screw kids. Now about Zucker****er; yeah, I know, it’s not sex — just totally buttraping the future of said kids by diddling their minds so it doesn’t count…. right?
It’s just Facebook you say, or some State Senator? Uh, no. How about Google and Youtube? Oh by the way, as Youtube “allegedly” tries to “clean this up” I can tell you with certainty that they are de-monetizing videos that absolutely are family-friendly. How do I know? They flagged one of my daughter’s — which featured…… wait for it…… a hike up a hill with her pussy…… CAT. There was utterly nothing objectionable in any way, shape or form in that video, but since she was out of town and I noted the lack of ads I filed the protest for her. They turned it back on. Instead of looking before killing it in the first place, of course, they just used a computer to do it, you see, because 30 seconds of actual looking would have disclosed….. a cat and a hike. It also would have meant Google would have made a bit less money to actually employ people, and, well, we can’t have that. Jobs? Forget about it.
Then there’s Chicago and Goldman’s latest fraud, and what a doozey that one is. The City, which incidentally is basically bankrupt and has insane pension liabilities, created a “new” corporation, assigned it alleged “preference” for sales tax revenues, and then had it issue bonds in order to game the ratings. The result? A “AAA” rated bond issue for a bankrupt municipality. May I remind you that if you tried this you’d be tossed in prison for 30 years for fraud and the entire set of transactions would be unwound because you cannot structure your finances to avoid paying creditors after the event that gives rise to the liability has happened. For example, you cannot get into a car accident where you’re at fault and then put your assets in a trust to avoid losing them in the ensuing lawsuit.
Yet that’s exactly what Chicago did with Goldman’s help to both set it up and run the bond offering. This is blatant and outrageous fraud upon every single previous creditor, and if you or I tried it not only would the transaction be unwound we’d be indicted on top of it. Well? Where are the handcuffs on Rahm and why isn’t Goldman shut down right here and now as a criminal enterprise with Mr. God’s Work being led off in cuffs?
Then you have the grand-daddy of all, which is quite-clearly outlined here — not that if you’ve read my column you need another example. It deals with the medical scam. Just a few miles south having your appendix removed is 1/10th of the cost of having it done here. The difference? Blatant and lawless behavior that violates 100+ year old anti-trust law. This law is not just civil in nature either; it is a felony to even attempt to monopolize trade or commerce.
May I remind you that this body of law (15 USC Chapter 1, Sections 1 and 2) do not require that prices go up, although in the case of medical care of all sorts they sure as hell have — by a factor of 10 or more. The reason the law was written to not require pricing to increase is that it is extremely common for monopolists to cross-subsidize — that is, screw someone else so you think you’re getting a “deal”. It’s illegal irrespective of price rises (or not) for the precise reason that the people who wrote the law at the time were well-aware that it is trivial for large, powerful corporations to cost-shift and thus hide what they’re doing, making it appear that you’re getting a reasonable deal when in fact they’re jacking people up the cornhole left, right and center.
Steve Forbes recently wrote on this but he has no sack either for he has refused to use the “F” word — consistently and over decades. See, people don’t want to use the “F” word (no, not ****, felony) because if the American public was to actually start reading said law, and realized that the first two sections consisted of all of a couple of paragraphs and nowhere is there a requirement that prices go up (never mind that they sure as hell have in the medical field) they might pick up pitchforks and torches and demand that people start going to prison right now “or else.”
I mean it’s not like hospital administrators (who provide zero care to patients) have risen in count by over 3,000% wh
ile doctors have risen by something like 100% from 1970 to today, or medical costs have gone up 800% while wages have risen 16%. Oh wait…..
People have told me that I’m being completely unrealistic when I point out that fixing this would cause medical costs to drop by 80% or more, making “insurance” completely unnecessary for 95% of all things medical and the cost of insurance for the remaining 5% about as expensive on an annual basis as one nice night out on the town. In other words with the exception of the truly destitute nobody would need any help at all from government or anywhere else.
Don’t tell me that this outcome is impossible either; if you’re older than 45 or so your parents did exactly that when you were a child. Were you stoned when you were six or are you intentionally refusing to face facts? I remember the doctor’s office — exactly where the building was, the waiting room (divided into two sections; one for well kids there for routine things, the other for sick kids — an attempt to avoid getting the well kids sick!), the front desk (where you paid, natch) and the little exam rooms. I also remember my very-much middle class mother writing a check for the modest cost incurred. There were no insurance cards and no angst about a visit to the doctor, if you really needed one. You called, you showed up, you had whatever you needed attended to taken care of, you wrote a check and left.
That’s because it didn’t bankrupt you.
Read More @ Market-Ticker.org
by Michael Snyder, End Of The American Dream:
At one elementary school in California, 96 percent of the students are not proficient in either English or math. How is that even possible? Unfortunately, the more the federal government gets involved in education, the worse it seems to get. At one time the United States had the greatest system of public education on the entire planet, but these days we only seem to make headlines when news comes out about how poorly we are doing. This has been a hot button issue for me for a long time, but even I was surprised when I learned that the state of California is actually being sued because so few of their public school children can read…
A group of prominent lawyers representing teachers and students from poor performing schools sued California on Tuesday, arguing that the state has done nothing about a high number of schoolchildren who do not know how to read.
The advocacy law firm, Public Counsel, filed the lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court to demand the California Department of Education address its “literacy crisis.” The state has not followed suggestions from its own report on the problem five years ago, the lawsuit said.
So exactly how bad is this “literacy crisis”?
Well, according to this lawsuit less than 50 percent of all third, fourth and fifth grade students in the state of California meet minimum standards for literacy…
English assessments found less than half of California students from third grade to fifth grade have met statewide literacy standards since 2015.Both traditional and charter schools are failing, Rosenbaum said.
Of the 26 lowest-performing districts in the nation, 11 are in California, according to the lawsuit. Texas, the largest state after California, has only one district among the 26.
If we want our nation to have a positive future, we must do something about this.
We desperately need to start raising our standards. These days, virtually all testing consists of either multiple choice, true/false or fill in the blank questions. Instead of teaching our kids how to think, we are training them how to regurgitate answers, and that is the wrong approach.
I believe that we need to throw out Common Core all across the country and return to the basics. Our young people need to learn how to communicate, and so I would love to see a renewed focus on reading, writing and speaking.
In addition, we need to start training our young people for the careers of tomorrow. I believe that we need an emphasis on science, technology, engineering and math, because we are starting to fall behind other nations. In particular, India and China combined are now pumping out 12 times as many engineering graduates each year as we are, and that is a major problem.
For those that are not bound for college, we need to make cutting edge vocational training available for them. Every high school student should be ready to enter the workforce after graduation, and today that simply is not happening.
Read More @ EndOfTheAmericanDream.com