Friday, December 14, 2018

100 Victims Testify in Court Over Massive Child Molestation Cover-Up in USA Gymnastics

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by Rachel Blevins, The Free Thought Project:

Nearly 100 out of the 140 women who have accused a former USA Gymnastics team doctor of sexually assaulting them are now testifying against him in court.

Nearly 100 women will read victim impact statements this week, sharing their accounts of the horrific sexual assault they endured when they were young girls, at the hands of Larry Nassar—and in doing so, they are also revealing that USA Gymnastics enabled the predator.

You failed all of us, and for that, I see you in the same category of criminal as I do the criminal standing before us today,” Olivia Cowan said in court on Tuesday, addressing the roles of USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University in allowing Nassar’s abuse to continue for decades.

Cowan accused the organizations of ignoring numerous complaints about Nassar’s conduct and noted that they have still refused to take responsibility for their role in the abuse, claiming they were never alerted to Nassar’s serial abuse.

“Today, I am a mother, a wife, a daughter, a friend that is struggling each day to find peace and joy in all the things that once made me happy,” Cowan said.

The long-term effects stemming from Nassar’s sexual and psychological abuse were also brought to light in court. Donna Markham spoke on behalf of her daughter Chelsey, who took her own life after a confession about Nassar’s abuse—that occurred in the doctor’s office, while her mother was in the room—drove her to a path of depression and drugs that led to suicide.

“Every day I miss her. Every day. And it all started with him. It all started with him, and it just became worse as the years went by until she just couldn’t deal with it anymore,” Markham said.

A total of 140 women have publicly revealed that they were sexually assaulted by Nassar, and some of the most notable victims include Olympic gymnasts McKayla Maroney, Aly Raisman, Gabby Douglas and Simone Biles.

Maroney, 22, was originally facing a $100,000 fine if she testified in court against Nassar, after she signed a non-disclosure agreement as part of her settlement with USA Gymnastics, according to a report from The New York Times.

The settlement was finalized in December 2016, and it left Maroney with $1.25 million. However, she is now suing USA Gymnastics, the US Olympic Committee and Michigan State University claiming that she was forced to sign an illegal NDA preventing her from talking about her abuse and that the three organizations enabled Nasser’s actions despite numerous complaints.

“During the period McKayla Maroney was being sexually abused and harassed by Nassar, Defendants had the authority and ability to prevent such abuse by removing Nassar from his position as team physician at Team USA, USAG and in his status with the USOC. They failed to do so, allowing the abuse to occur and to continue unabated.” 

Maroney’s lawsuit claims that she “was forced to agree to a non-disparagement clause and confidentiality provision,” and that she would be fined at least $100,000 if she was ever to “speak of her abuse or the settlement.” The lawsuit also claimed that Maroney accepted the money because she needed the funds to seek treatment for the psychological damage caused by Nassar’s abuse.

USA Gymnastics responded with the claim that the settlement terms were created by Maroney’s attorney, and that “the process culminated in a settlement agreement that included a mutual non-disclosure clause and a mutual non-disparagement clause.”

Maroney’s lawsuit claims that USA Gymnastics “had a plan to keep the sexual abuse of Nassar quiet, and allow Nassar to quietly leave USAG, and further silence his victims. It also alleges that Nassar has possession of thousands of photographs he took of Maroney, and he has shared them with other pedophiles.

“Nassar would continuously, obsessively and compulsively photograph McKayla Maroney and is believed to have possessed thousands of photographs of McKayla Maroney competing in gymnastics events, training, in everyday situations.

McKayla Maroney alleges that she believes photographs were taken of her while Nassar was sexually abusing her under the guise of treatment. McKayla Maroney is further informed and believes, and on that basis alleges, that these photographs were shared by Nassar with other pedophiles for their sexual gratification.”

Maroney did speak out about the abuse she endured from Nassar in a post on Twitter in October. She said Nassar began abusing her when she was 13 years old and did not stop until she left the sport when she was 20. She said the worst incident happened when she was 15, and Nassar gave her a sleeping pill and then sexually assaulted her during a trip to Tokyo for a world championship.

“Dr. Nassar told me that I was receiving ‘medically necessary treatment’ that he had been performing on patients for over 30 years,” Maroney wrote. “It seemed whenever and wherever this man could find the chance, I was ‘treated.’ It happened in London before my team and I won the gold medal, and It happened before I won my silver.”

Following intense criticism of the non-disclosure agreement on social media, USA Gymnastics has announced that it will not fine Maroney if she speaks out about Nassar’s abuse.

Read More @ TheFreeThoughtProjec.com

Media Lies About Fake News

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by Eric Zuesse, Global Research:

A major new Gallup report that was issued on January 16th headlined “American Views: Trust, Media and Democracy” (it’s issued in conjunction with the Knight Foundation) and it finds that “Internet-only news websites” are the least-trusted of all newsmedia. 

54% trusted “Your local newspaper.”

52% trusted “National network news.”

51% trusted “Major national newspapers.” 

46% trusted “Cable news.”

38% trusted “News aggregators.”

36% trusted “Internet-only news websites.”

How did you learn that Saddam Hussein was “only six months from developing a [nuclear] weapon”? It was from the U.S. President, and from all of the stenographic ‘news’media, which was all of them, but especially the most-trusted ones: newspapers, TV, radio, and magazines. They enabled George W. Bush to invade and destroy Iraq, and more.

How did you learn that Libya should be invaded? It was from the same ones. They enabled Barack Obama to invade and destroy Libya, and Syria, and more.

How did you learn that dictatorship ended in Ukraine in February 2014’s “Maidan revolution,” instead of that that democracy ended in Ukraine then, and that it was instead a U.S.-engineered coup d’etat which happened there, no authentic ‘revolution’ at all. And this major-media lie thus ‘justified’ and led to the destruction of Ukraine, by U.S. President Obama.

The fake ‘news’ that affected history the most came from newspapers, magazines, TV, and radio. But the truth (such as you’ll see documented at those last links, the first of which is to a news-report which was produced by a lone individual from observers on the ground who had uploaded from their cellphones etc.) was available only at “internet-only news websites” — the type of sites that Americans respect the least.

Why do the public trust most the worst liars, the pumpers of the most viciously fake ‘news’? They do it because they’ve been taught to believe the most-successful newsmedia the most.

They’ve been taught that in order to be successful in newsmedia, the newsmedium needs to be reliably truthful, instead of to pump what the billionaires want you to think — to manipulate your mind and warp your view of reality the way they want.

All of those lies came from the owners and advertisers of the U.S. newsmedia and of the U.S. Government (which are the same owners and advertisers), the people who control the ‘best’ (i.e., worst) Government that big-money can buy — and does buy.

The only newsmedia that enable the reader to click onto a link and come directly (or at least indirectly) to allegations’ sources, are online news-sites that have the journalistic integrity to demand their writers to provide the links for all contentious allegations that are being made, so as to enable the reader to verify (or else invalidate — but the reader is doing this; no one is imposing such judgments upon the reader) what the allegation’s source is, and thus to evaluate it on his or her own. TV doesn’t do that. Radio doesn’t do that. Newspapers (even online ones) don’t do that. Magazines (even most of the online ones) don’t do that.

Why don’t they do that? TV, radio, and print media can’t. The bad online media don’t do it, because their owners don’t want to empower their audience; they want to persuade their audience to believe what the owners and the advertisers want them to believe. 

Read More @ GlobalResearch.ca

Richard E. Lugar: Body of Evidence Suggests New US Biological Warfront Opening

by Henry Kamens, New Eastern Outlook:

We know that the Richard E. Lugar Centre in Tbilisi is actually a biological weapons lab. It has always been assumed that the US Department of Defense took over this facility, alongside a string of others in the former Soviet Union, for offensive purpose, and that the “scientific research” into animal and human diseases it claims to be carrying out is merely a front for developing new biological strains, viruses and bacteria, and then testing them on the Georgian population and the agricultural industry, without asking for consent, and even developing new generation vaccines and cures which are often experimental, naturally donated or supported by the US Department of Defence and German medical research facilities.

There is much evidence that these strains are being tested on the population, ironically even pundits got-it-right. More measurable evidence includes the sudden unexplained spikes in various diseases, human and plants, mortality rates. One also needs to mention the great reluctance of medical people in Georgia to talk about such things, other than off the record and in total confidence, not even to be recorded.

Fewer are even willing to discuss the fact that, after millions of dollars have been spent on this “research lab”, because of flawed engineering and substandard safety standards. Ironically it is very difficult, if not impossible, to find a single research paper published in Georgian, and even the clinical studies are done in secret—and without informed consent. Josef Mengele, Nazi doctor, would be impressed with the Georgian project.

This is not all.

The present Georgian government made a great show of taking over this lab as soon as it took office, due to public concern about it, but the US Department of Defense still claims to run it regardless. A number of foreign contract staff at the centre had returned home to die, too many for these to be natural cause, unrelated deaths. If anyone starts asking questions, problems will result, as Ragnar Skre, a Norwegian Journalist found out after attacked at his home by mast men within hours of visiting the labseveral years ago.

He thought at the time that robbery was not the purpose and suspected that the attack was connected to him having information on the planned production of biological weapons in Georgia. He had been carrying out journalistic investigation regarding the allegation.

“Even if the production of biological weapon does not start in Georgia, the government does not appreciate to expose the information that there is reserve of biological bacteria in the country,” said Skre in an interview with the Georgian Human Rights Centre.

All these things are matters of public record; even VOA tries to provide a smokescreen for its actual purpose, claiming that it is “politics-and-not-science” is why should Russia is concerned.

But recent developments suggest that the lab has other functions, including the links between DNA groups and bio weapons. It is not simply observing the effects of new biological strains by studying them by manipulating them. There is a strong possibility that one of its purposes is to inflict upon Georgia already proven viruses and bacteria, which no one needs to test.

Many in Russia and Arab countries suspect that they are likely the target of such research. Russian Senator Klintsevich claims that “It is no secret that different ethnic groups react to biological weapons in different ways and that is why the West is meticulously collecting material all across Russia.”  

In short, this and other labs, in Kenya, Thailand and Ukraine are not preparing weapons for future use by its favoured terrorists but by stockpiling them for a rainy day: using them itself: conducting its own biological terrorism against its friends rather than its enemies. It is no accident that it partners with the Army Medicine’s US Army Medical Research and Materiel Command in carrying out infectious disease surveillance and research, purportly develop better diagnostics, treatments and vaccines. Naturally all this is in violation of the Bio Weapons Convention, but that is a moot issue when the research is outsourced to Grey Zones as Georgia, under the flimsy guise of human and animal health.

Each State Party to this Convention undertakes never in any circumstances to develop, produce, stockpile or otherwise acquire or retain: Microbial or other biological agents, or toxins whatever their origin or method of production, of types and in quantities that have no justification for prophylactic, protective or other peaceful purposes Weapons, equipment or means of delivery designed to use such agents or toxins for hostile purposes or in armed conflict.

One of the people who ended up in a hospital for investigating what is going on in the Richard E. Lugar Centre is Jeffrey Silverman, who has lived in Georgia for over 25 years, and thought he had seen it all until the nature of this lab became clear. He has contributed some of his thoughts and experience to the book “Putin’s Praetorians”, written by NEO and Veterans Today contributor Phil Butler.

Silverman has brought to our attention a message he received from someone who apparently wrote to him out-of-the-blue. He recognised this message as the action of someone with a story to tell, who may have difficulty making the right people hear it.

Given the contents, this might be surprising in some countries, but not in Georgia.

Killing Hope – “Survival is Insufficient”

The message is from one Per Have. It reads:

“Dear Mr. Silverman,

I am writing to you after having read Putin’s Praetorians, and in particular your chapter.

Being a retired veterinarian specialising in animal virus diseases I am particularly interested in the spread of the devastating virus disease of pigs known as African Swine Fever (ASF). This infection had its origin in warthogs and other indigenous pigs in Sub-Saharan Africa.

ASF was introduced into Portugal and Spain around 1960, but has since been eliminated from the Iberian Peninsula. Quite surprisingly, it then surfaced in Cuba and other Caribbean islands at the beginning of the ’70s, where it proved to be detrimental to pig farming and the livelihood of poor people. It was suspected that it was introduced to cause economic damage by anti-Castro rebels supported by CIA (as mentioned in W, Blum, and “Killing Hope”).

In 2007 ASF appeared in Georgia, and has since spread to Russia, Ukraine, Belarus and most recently several Eastern EU countries. It is currently the greatest threat to pig production in the EU, because it is maintained in the wild boar population, which is expanding in Europe and in which it is practically impossible to control.

It does not stop there, and as in the US, where there is compelling evidence that the CIA released whooping-cough bacteria into the open air in Florida, followed by an extremely sharp increase in the incidence of the disease in the state that year. The following year, another toxic substance was disseminated in the streets and tunnels of New York City (Blum).

Officially, it is assumed (but not proven) that the virus was brought to Georgia via swill unloaded from ships in Black Sea harbours. The [apparent] fingerprints of the virus trace it back to South-East Africa. Having read your accounts on the biological warfare activities in Georgia, the question which comes to mind is whether the introduction of ASF was entirely accidental?

I don’t know the answer to this question, but I have also not seen anyone try to answer it. I wonder if you might have any info which could shed more light on these events.“

Silverman responds:

I have read your message, and I think the question is very well worth the effort of asking. I will present it to the so-called experts in the Georgian Ministry of Health and Science, and to the Lugar Lab via the mainstream media in Georgia.

What went on in Cuba, based on your materials is going on in Georgia, such as Task 33, a “Plan for Incapacitation of Sugar Workers,” as part of a scheme to develop a plan for incapacitating large sections of the sugar workers by the covert use of BW [biological weapons] or CW agents, and I suspect the loses in the hazelnut industry in Western Georgia is a pilot for what is planned for Turkey next.

There is no coincidence that the US military is involved, and how such attacks are backstopped by the bio warfare experts from Fort Detrick, Maryland. BTW, I too have a background in agriculture, spending much of my youth on a farm, having a BSc and MSc in vocational agriculture, and I even worked on the university swine farm in my student days.

Based on the information I have had access to, material from insiders working in the lab and my own background in bio and chemical weapons, US Army, there is little doubt in my mind that ASF was intentionally released as an experiment to play havoc on the Russian economy. I will be looking into this, and will see what kind of literature review I can come up with, as Georgia is mostly surrounded by Muslim countries, and Turkey may be the next target, and the virus did not affect the wild pigs in Georgia as it did the domestic herds.

DNA Specific Weapons

But how the hell can one prove one version or the other? DNA strain – South East Africa, which could be Mozambique, not well known for its pork production “husbandry” – or for having the facilities to identify or weaponise any virus, and even if it was South Africa, who may well have the facilities and know how, I very much doubt there is the political appetite to get involved in this kind of adventure. Then too there is the theory that various strains of diseases are being designed to deal with Russians and Middle Eastern populations.

I am nearly always drawn to the cock up theory. I know a friend who spent some time looking at a story about strain of mildew that affected heroin harvests in Afghanistan – reducing it by as much as 80 percent. The Soviets had [allegedly] developed it in Abkhazia and at other plant warfare facilities in Georgia after the Soviet invasion.

More recently, it turned out that neither the Brits nor Americans would touch it as it would be biological warfare and set a precedent. If they wouldn’t do it in Afghanistan where there was a kinetic war, partly funded by heroin and the arms trade, then I doubt anyone would do it to get a very minor economic advantage—at least in a world when better minds make the decisions.

Read More @ Journal-NEO.org

America’s Payoff from Joining The New Silk Road: Optimism

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by Harley Schlanger, LaRouche PAC:

Compulsive media-followers in the United States are relatively sure about what’s going to happen in their near-term future: The government is going to shut down; millions of promising young people will be deported; an epidemic of more and more potent opiates will kill increasing tens of thousands of Americans; electronic surveillance of everyone, all the time, will continue indefinitely; President Trump’s planned $1 trillion initiative to build new infrastructure won’t happen; wars will continue in Afghanistan, the Middle East, and Africa, and we’ll likely go to war with Russia in Europe or over North Korea in Asia.

Businesses have their own version: They can’t find skilled workers to fill their job openings; but they don’t raise wages anyway, because of uncertainty about what will happen when the stock-and-bond bubble crashes.

These, along with mass shootings and periodic terrorist attacks, have become the “informed expectations” of Americans, and Europeans. Things have gone very badly since the turn of the century — especially since the 2007-08 financial crash — and so, pessimism is the order of the day.

Schiller Institute Founder Helga Zepp-LaRouche, who has great experience with China and as an intellectual author of its “New Silk Road” policy, points out that in China, expectations are completely different. They are of economic growth, of ending poverty not only there but in very poor countries, of seeing wonders of technology and new infrastructure, of cultural cooperation with other countries and the possibilities of peace; and even — remember when millions of Americans dreamed of this? — of exploring the Moon and the Solar System.

She points out that the growing influence of China’s Belt and Road Initiative —most recently in drawing in French President Macron — is an influence for optimism and a sense of mission, not just “practical” agreements to build high-speed railroads, although those, too, can spread a cultural optimism about the future.

That mission is essential to optimism. A financial crash of the “everything bubble” is in fact coming, of a certainty. But by reinstating the Glass-Steagall bank-separation act, we can easily bring the banking system and the economy through it and increase credit to expand real economic productivity. There are ways tested in American history to get credit directed into the great infrastructure projects and the breakthrough technologies we need, even a crash fusion energy program.

Read More @ LaRouchePAC.com

The Smoking Gun II: The FBI’s Concerted Effort To Interfere With The 2016 Presidential Election

by Dr Robert Owens, Freedom Outpost:

Hillary and her crew get a pass for colluding to stack the deck against Bernie.  No matter what the evidence revealed, the FBI nomenclature predetermined that New York’s sixth crime family was untouchable.  Congressional insiders report they have uncovered new irregularities and contradictions inside the FBI’s probe of Hillary Clinton’s email server. 

Investigators say there is written evidence that the FBI found evidence that some laws were broken when the former secretary of State and her top aides transmitted classified information through her insecure private email server. 

That evidence includes passages in FBI documents stating the “sheer volume” of classified information that flowed through Clinton’s insecure emails was proof of criminality. 

According to Sean Moran in Breitbart, “Former FBI Director James Comey’s original memo regarding former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s private email server was edited by FBI staffers to remove five references suggesting Clinton engaged in activities that would suggest felony and misdemeanor charges, according to obtained copies of the original memo.” 

Looking into this matter, Senate Homeland and Government Affairs Committee by Chairman Ron Johnson (R-WI) states, “The edits to Director Comey’s public statement, made months prior to the conclusion of the FBI’s investigation of Secretary Clinton’s conduct, had a significant impact on the FBI’s public evaluation of the implications of her actions. … This effort, seen in light of the personal animus toward then-candidate Trump by senior agents leading the Clinton investigation and their apparent desire to create an ‘insurance policy’ against Mr. Trump’s election, raise profound questions about the FBI’s role and possible interference in the 2016 presidential election.” 

Was there a concerted effort to interfere in the election of 2016?  Yes, there was.  And the activities of those who sought to impose their handpicked candidate Hillary Clinton, the last nail in our coffin need to be brought to light. 

According to Andrew C. McCarthy in National Review, “When you look at it hard, two conclusions are impossible to escape: First, at the height of the 2016 campaign, Obama intelligence officials anxiously adopted Christopher Steele’s allegations of traitorous conduct by then-candidate Donald Trump rather than first subject his “dossier” to rigorous investigation — even though Steele himself admits that his “raw,” “unverified” reports might not be true. Second, at the same time the FBI was receiving Steele’s reports — which were based on multiple-hearsay from anonymous Russian sources, and paid for by the Clinton campaign — Obama intelligence officials were briefing congressional leaders about them, thereby ensuring that they’d be publicized just six weeks before Election Day.”   

This was a brazen attempt to weaponize Steele’s raw unverified ‘Intelligence’ seeking to use it to sink Trump’s campaign. 

This so-called intelligence was bought and paid for by the Clinton campaign.  It used unverified sources and introduced what is now believed to be deceptive stories from a foreign power perhaps designed to influence the election by spreading false stories about Trump.  If there was any Russian influence in all of this it was the introduction of it by the Clinton campaign and their bogus intelligence. 

According to Scott Uehlinger, a retired CIA Station Chief and Naval Officer in Newsmax, “As we move into 2018, we are seeing a rapid unravelling of the infamous Fusion GPS-Christopher Steele ‘dossier.’ With this discredited report dies the false narrative that the Trump Administration was involved in collusion with the Russian government. It’s about time — the Justice Department investigation into ‘Russian collusion’ was always the fruit of this poisoned tree. 

Read More @ FreedomOutpost.com

COMEX Open Interest Data Suggests Another Gold Price Slam Imminent – Craig Hemke

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by Craig Hemke, Sprott Money:

Within this current fractional reserve and derivative pricing system, it’s sometimes easy to anticipate price rallies and slams by observing The Bullion Banks and their practice of increasing and decreasing the total open interest of contracts on the COMEX.

Our most recent example of this came back in December. With price down near $1250 in COMEX gold, we anticipated a bottom and a rally due to the open interest and Commitment of Traders structure. We wrote about it then, and Sprott Money posted it on December 14. Here’s the link:https://www.sprottmoney.com/Blog/are-you-ready-for…

In that post, we used this chart to explain how a 10% rally in the price of COMEX gold was likely forthcoming:

Here’s your updated chart as of six weeks later:

How do we know that this initial rally of 2018 has nearly run its course? By checking the same data that made us so optimistic six weeks ago. Namely, the open interest and Commitment of Traders data.

In terms of total COMEX gold open interest, this number bottomed on December 12 at 446,618 contracts. As of Tuesday this week, total OI has grown to 582,333 contracts as banks have created and fed new contracts to hungry Spec longs seeking gold exposure during this rally.

System Apologists will claim these new contracts represent new demand for hedging from the banks’ mining company clients … to which you should ask: 13,600,000 ounces worth? That’s 423 metric tonnes! So you’re telling me that suddenly over the past six weeks, the mining companies have decided to hedge 423 metric tonnes of future production?

That’s preposterous … but that’s what The Apologists will claim.

Instead, The Banks have used their old trick of increasing the overall “float” of contracts. They take the short side of the new issuance and sell the long side to the speculating hedge and technical funds. THIS is how The Banks manage and control price. If you don’t yet understand this, I suggest you check out this link for a primer: https://www.tfmetalsreport.com/blog/8252/econ-101-…

So, back to the COMEX open interest discussion … At 582,333 contracts, total COMEX gold OI is now at the highest level seen since September of 2016. It’s also within shouting distance of the ALLTIME HIGH of 657,776 seen on July 11, 2016. This fact alone should give you pause to consider that price is near a short-term top.

Read More @ SprottMoney.com

New York Fed official celebrates a century of market rigging

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by Chris Powell, GoldSeek:

Dear Friend of GATA and Gold:

Last month an official of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York celebrated a century of cooperation by central banks in secret interventions in the markets. His address was posted on the internet sites of the New York Fed and the Bank for International Settlements, but mainstream financial news organizations have yet to take note of it.

The official, Simon M. Potter, executive vice president of what the New York Fed calls its Markets Group, spoke December 20 at the bank’s “Commemoration of the Centennial of the Federal Reserve’s U.S. Dollar Account Services to the Global Official Sector”:

https://www.newyorkfed.org/newsevents/speeches/2017/pot171220

https://www.bis.org/review/r180112a.htm

Central banks, Potter said, often prefer and sometimes require their foreign exchange reserve managers to use the account services of other central banks.

“This is especially true,” Potter explained — with GATA’s emphasis added below — “for liquidity tranches of reserve portfolios where safety and accessibility are critical for the execution of core central banking functions, including foreign-exchange reserve management, foreign-exchange intervention, time-sensitive official payments, macro-prudential policy, lender-of-last-resort responsibilities, and other central bank operations that may require the use of foreign assets and currencies. …

“For the world’s major central banks, the maintenance of operational links through reciprocal account relationships is integral to their ability to engage in global financial stability operations. Having accounts, settlement instructions, tested and secure lines of communication, and business processes already in place at the time of or leading up to a crisis enhances major central banks’ ability to respond to crises efficiently and flexibly.

“There are numerous historical examples, both known and unknown to the public, of these account relationships being used to support the stability of the global financial system, perhaps best exemplified historically by the Bretton Woods network of central bank swap lines.

“More recently, in nearly every major international incident over the past 20 years that has prompted a coordinated response by the world’s major central banks — be it coordinated foreign-exchange interventions by the major central banks in the wake of the 2011 Fukushima disaster, the swap lines established during the 2008 financial crisis, or swap lines in the wake of 9/11 — the reciprocal accounts among major central banks formed the backbone for the actual or potential execution of stabilization policies. Without these accounts, coordinated central bank action in pursuit of financial stability objectives would be either severely handicapped or entail high risks in terms of the safety, confidentiality, and reliability of these operations.”

Read More @ GoldSeek.com

Sweden Is Preparing For A “Civil War”: PM Wants To Deploy Army In No-Go Zones

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from ZeroHedge:

For the first time since World War II, Sweden is preparing to distribute a civil defense brochure to some 4.7 million households, warning them about the onset of war.

The booklet will serve as a manual of “total defense” in case of a war, and provide details on how to secure basic needs such as water, food, and heating, the FT reported. The manual also covers other threats such as cyber attacks, terrorism, and climate change.

All of society needs to be prepared for conflict, not just the military. We haven’t been using words such as total defense or high alert for 25-30 years or more. So the knowledge among citizens is very low,” said Christina Andersson, head of the project at the Swedish civil contingencies agency.

The survivalist manual or better known by some as a preppers guide is called “If Crisis or War Comes,” will be published by the government in late spring. Its publication comes at a time when the threat of war from Russia is high, well, possibly, but that is what the mainstream media has conditioned many to believe.

What if the threat is not from Russia, but one that is domestic?

On Wednesday, Prime Minister Stefan Lofven said that Sweden would do whatever it takes, including sending in the army, to end the wave of gang violence situated in the no-go zones around the country. Sweden’s murder rate has been relatively low over the years, but thanks to the migrant crisis, police are powerless in many areas across the country.

It’s not my first action to put in a military, but I’m prepared to do what it takes to ensure that the seriously organized crime goes away,” Lofven said after the party leadership discussion in parliament.

“But it is also obvious that there are social problems. Last year 300 shootings occurred, 40 people were killed. The new year has begun with new launches. We see criminals with total lack of respect for human life, it’s a terrible development I’m determined to turn around,” he added.

Even the Swedish Democrat leader Jimmie Akesson “declared war” against organized crime and suggested that Sweden should deploy the military to no-go zones to counter the out of control violence.

People are shot to death in pizza restaurants, people are killed by hand grenades they find on the street,” Akesson said in parliament on Wednesday.

“This is the new Sweden; the new, exciting dynamic, multicultural paradise that so many here in this assembly … have fought to create for so many years,” he said sarcastically.

Peter Imanuelsen, an independent journalist in Sweden, summed up the recent developments in a timeline:

    • Government sends out leaflets to 4.7 million households telling them how to prepare for war
    • Leader for Swedish Democrat party says “A war is being waged on Swedish society”
    • Swedish PM is considering deploying the army in no-go zones

Read More @ ZeroHedge.com

Sacrifices Will Be Made

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by Gary Christianson, Miles Franklin:

Financial sacrifices are so obvious and commonplace they are seldom acknowledged.

Borrowing money on a credit card, mortgage or car loan to purchase something is typical. You have sacrificed future spending for use in the present.

  • If the purchase, financed by debt, increases income more than the cost of debt service, the required principal plus interest can be repaid from future income. This is probably good.
  • But if the purchase is consumed, future income is not increased and future discretionary spending must be decreased. Consumption examples: food, energy, transportation, housing, medical care, televisions, and so many more. Probably bad.
  • One hundred years ago purchases made with debt were less common. Today we buy groceries, gasoline and almost everything with a credit card. Those purchases burden future income streams and reduce future discretionary expenditures.

SO WHAT?

It should be obvious that encumbering future revenue streams will reduce available purchases in the future unless overall debt is increased (forever) or income increases to offset the required debt service.

Test this against most governmental actions and policies:

  • Do government expenditures increase future revenue?
  • Did any wars pay for their costs? What was their return on investment?
  • Did expenditures for government employees (salaries, medical costs, pensions) add to government revenues?
  • Did Representatives and Senators sufficiently benefit government revenues and the economy (through their wise management and policies) to justify expenditures for their salaries, medical cost, staff, pensions, junkets and payoffs?
  • How much does government revenue increase due to the SNAP program (food stamps) and other social programs?

Many people believe governments spend far too much, add to unpayable debt, encumber future revenues, and do not increase revenues sufficiently to justify their expenditures.

To keep this obviously flawed system working, total debt must increase every year, debt service increases forever, and people must pretend a mathematically flawed system will survive.

Central banks assist the delusion. They buy sovereign debt (by the trillions), push interest rates lower to reduce debt service expenditures (lowered to multi-decade or multi-century lows) and increase their balance sheets (code for “money printing”) to “stimulate” the economy.

AND THE CONSEQUENCES ARE:

  • S. national debt exceeds $20 trillion and unfunded liabilities are $100 to $200 trillion more.
  • Global debt exceeds $230 trillion and increases rapidly.
  • Interest rates are low (though moving higher since mid-2016) but still negative in many European countries.
  • The many trillions of “printed currency units” created by central banks levitated global stock and bond markets. The excess liquidity went into stocks, bonds, corporate debt, student loan debt, consumer debt, reduced yields, and boosted the wealth of the 1%, especially the wealth of 0.01%.
  • Annual interest payments made by the U.S. government to bond holders has increased to about half a trillion dollars. It will increase further. Questions: How rapidly will it increase and how much will it damage the economy?

WHAT WAS SACRIFICED BY CENTRAL BANK POLICIES?

  • Savers, insurance companies and pension funds. Also, small businesses, the poor and middle class, indebted students, and consumers whose expenses increased faster than wages.
  • Your “high yield” checking account probably pays less than 0.1% annually, insurance companies raise premiums to compensate for lower earnings from Treasury debt, and U.S. pension plans are underfunded by $1 – $5 trillion, depending on who is counting and investment assumptions.

THE REALITY OF THE SITUATION:

  • The U.S. government owes over $20 trillion in official debt and has committed far more in future payouts. These debts will not be paid in dollars with current value. Dollars must be devalued further, as they have been every decade since 1913, or … the debts will default.
  • Massive government, corporate and consumer debts have committed a huge portion of future incomes for debt service. Fewer resources will be available for future spending.

Read More @ MilesFranklin.com

Just How Big a Player Is the Federal Reserve in the Stock Market?

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by Pam Martens and Russ Martens, Wall St On Parade:

To understand how the U.S. central bank, known as the Federal Reserve, is influencing the froth of the stock market, you need to take a few moments to understand the interaction of bond yields with stock prices. Sophisticated investors who predominate in the markets compare the yield on bonds to the cash dividend yield on stocks to determine which is a better value. Following the financial crash of 2008, the Federal Reserve began buying up Treasury bonds and mortgage-backed bonds in the marketplace to the overall tune of more than $3 trillion. This has driven down bond yields and provided an artificial boost to the stock market.

The Fed’s assets swelled from $914.8 billion at the end of 2007 to $4.5 trillion in 2014 from its bond buying program. In just the single year of 2013 the Fed’s assets mushroomed by a staggering $1 trillion — from $2.9 trillion at the end of 2012 to $4 trillion at the end of 2013, according to the audited financial statement of the Fed’s books. As of October 25, 2017, its assets remain in the $4.5 trillion arena, at $4.461 trillion.

The Fed’s active involvement in messing with the stock market as a fair stock pricing mechanism through its massive purchases of bonds was quaintly called Quantitative Easing (QE) and the public was treated to three doses of it: QE1, QE2 and QE3.

Since 2011, the Fed has been jawboning about how it was going to normalize its balance sheet back to something resembling pre-crisis days. It actually began to cut back its bond purchases by shrinking the amount of its maturing bonds that it will roll over into new bond purchases in October of 2017. But its scheduled cuts are so small and gradual that we are not seeing any material shrinkage in its assets.

During Fed Chair Janet Yellen’s September 17, 2014 press conference, in response to a question from Ylan Mui of the Washington Post, Yellen said: “If we were only to shrink our balance sheet by ceasing reinvestments, it would probably take—to get back to levels of reserve balances that we had before the crisis—I’m not sure we will go that low, but we’ve said that we will try to shrink our balance sheet to the lowest levels consistent with the efficient and effective implementation of policy—it could take to the end of the decade to achieve those levels.”

In 2014, the end of the decade would have been 2020. It’s now 2018 and we’re looking at another half decade before the Fed’s balance sheet would normalize under the current schedule. That’s a very, very long time to provide spiked punch to a tipsy stock market.

The Goldman Sachs overlords who have so thoroughly infused themselves into the Donald Trump administration (the Presidential candidate who promised a draining of the Washington swamp) have figured out a way to get another round of cheap money. Instead of calling it QE4 and getting it from the Fed, it’s being called a corporate tax cut and its coming from the American public who will be squeezed in other areas to pay for it. Jamie Dimon, the Chairman and CEO of JPMorgan Chase, quickly recognized it for what it was, stating “think of it as a QE4” at an Axios event in Ann Arbor, Michigan in December.

Republicans have been peddling the tax cut as a boon to the economy. That’s not what’s going to happen. U.S. corporations and, particularly, the biggest Wall Street banks are going to use the extra money to continue buying back their own company’s stock, boosting the bank CEOs’ own stock options and enriching their shareholders to the detriment of business and job creation.

On July 31 of last year, Thomas Hoenig, the Vice Chairman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), sent a stunning letter to the Chair and Ranking Member of the U.S. Senate Banking Committee. Hoenig explained that the 10 largest banks in the country “will distribute, in aggregate, 99 percent of their net income on an annualized basis,” by paying out dividends to shareholders and buying back excessive amounts of their own stock. If those 10 banks had retained a larger share of the earnings they earmarked for dividends and share buybacks in 2017, said Hoenig, they would have been able “to increase loans by more than $1 trillion, which is greater than 5 percent of annual U.S. GDP.”

Hoenig included a chart showing payouts on a bank-by-bank basis. Highlighted in yellow on Hoenig’s chart is the fact that four of the big Wall Street banks are set to pay out more than 100 percent of earnings: Citigroup 127 percent; Bank of New York Mellon 108 percent; JPMorgan Chase 107 percent and Morgan Stanley 103 percent.

Hoenig adds that if just the share buybacks were retained by the banks instead of being paid out, the banks could “increase small business loans by three quarters of a trillion dollars or mortgage loans by almost one and a half trillion dollars.”

Stock buybacks also perform another magic trick for Wall Street bank CEOs like Jamie Dimon whose compensation is based on overall performance. By shrinking the number of shares outstanding through buybacks, it makes the bank’s per share earnings look more robust because they are spread over a smaller number of shares.

Read More @ WallStOnParade.com