Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Unmasked: Trump Doctrine vows carnage for new axis of evil

by Pepe Escobar, The Asia Times:

North Korea, Iran, Venezuela are targets in “compassionate” America’s war on the “wicked few.” It’s almost as though Washington felt its hegemony threatened

his was no “deeply philosophical address”. And hardly a show of  “principled realism” – as spun by the White House. President Trump at the UN was “American carnage,” to borrow a phrase previously deployed by his nativist speechwriter Stephen Miller.

One should allow the enormity of what just happened to sink in, slowly. The president of the United States, facing the bloated bureaucracy that passes for the “international community,” threatened to “wipe off the map” the whole of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (25 million people). And may however many millions of South Koreans who perish as collateral damage be damned.

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Multiple attempts have been made to connect Trump’s threats to the madman theory cooked up by “Tricky Dicky” Nixon in cahoots with Henry Kissinger, according to which the USSR must always be under the impression the then-US president was crazy enough to, literally, go nuclear. But the DPRK will not be much impressed with this madman remix.

That leaves, on the table, a way more terrifying upgrade of Hiroshima and Nagasaki (Trump repeatedly invoked Truman in his speech). Frantic gaming will now be in effect in both Moscow and Beijing: Russia and China have their own stability / connectivity strategy under development to contain Pyongyang.

The Trump Doctrine has finally been enounced and a new axis of evil delineated. The winners are North Korea, Iran and Venezuela. Syria under Assad is a sort of mini-evil, and so is Cuba. Crucially, Ukraine and the South China Sea only got a fleeting mention from Trump, with no blunt accusations against Russia and China. That may reflect at least some degree of realpolitik; without “RC” – the Russia-China strategic partnership at the heart of the BRICS bloc and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) – there’s no possible solution to the Korean Peninsula stand-off.

In this epic battle of the “righteous many” against the “wicked few,” with the US described as a “compassionate nation” that wants “harmony and friendship, not conflict and strife,” it’s a bit of a stretch to have Islamic State – portrayed as being not remotely as “evil” as North Korea or Iran – get only a few paragraphs.

The art of unraveling a deal

According to the Trump Doctrine, Iran is “an economically depleted rogue state whose chief exports are violence, bloodshed and chaos,” a “murderous regime” profiting from a nuclear deal that is “an embarrassment to the United States.”

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif tweeted: “Trump’s ignorant hate speech belongs in medieval times – not the 21st century UN – unworthy of a reply.” Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov once again stressed full support for the nuclear deal ahead of a P5+1 ministers’ meeting scheduled for Wednesday, when Zarif was due to be seated at the same table as US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. Under review: compliance with the deal. Tillerson is the only one who wants a renegotiation.

Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani has, in fact, developed an unassailable argument on the nuclear negotiations. He says the deal – which the P5+1 and the IAEA all agree is working – could be used as a model elsewhere. German chancellor Angela Merkel concurs. But, Rouhani says, if the US suddenly decides to unilaterally pull out, how could the North Koreans possibly be convinced it’s worth their while to sit down to negotiate anything with the Americans ?

What the Trump Doctrine is aiming at is, in fact, a favourite old neo-con play, reverting back to the dynamics of the Dick Cheney-driven Washington-Tehran Cold War years.

This script runs as follows: Iran must be isolated (by the West, only now that won’t fly with the Europeans); Iran is “destabilizing” the Middle East (Saudi Arabia, the ideological foundry of all strands of Salafi-jihadism, gets a free pass); and Iran, because it’s developing ballistic that could – allegedly – carry nuclear warheads, is the new North Korea.

That lays the groundwork for Trump to decertify the deal on October 15. Such a dangerous geopolitical outcome would then pit Washington, Tel Aviv, Riyadh and Abu Dhabi against Tehran, Moscow and Beijing, with European capitals non-aligned. That’s hardly compatible with a “compassionate nation” which wants “harmony and friendship, not conflict and strife.”

Afghanistan comes to South America

The Trump Doctrine, as enounced, privileges the absolute sovereignty of the nation-state. But then there are those pesky “rogue regimes” which must be, well, regime-changed. Enter Venezuela, now on “the brink of total collapse,” and run by a “dictator”; thus, America “cannot stand by and watch.”

No standing by, indeed. On Monday, Trump had dinner in New York with the presidents of Colombia, Peru and Brazil (the last indicted by the country’s Attorney General as the leader of a criminal organization and enjoying an inverted Kim dynasty rating of 95{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528} unpopularity). On the menu: regime change in Venezuela.

Venezuelan “dictator” Maduro happens to be supported by Moscow and, most crucially, Beijing, which buys oil and has invested widely in infrastructure in the country with Brazilian construction giant Odebrecht crippled by the Car Wash investigation.

The stakes in Venezuela are extremely high. In early November, Brazilian and American forces will be deployed in a joint military exercise in the Amazon rainforest, at the Tri-Border between Peru, Brazil and Colombia. Call it a rehearsal for regime change in Venezuela. South America could well turn into the new Afghanistan, a consequence that flows from Trump’s assertion that “major portions of the world are in conflict and some, in fact, are going to hell.”

For all the lofty spin about “sovereignty”, the new axis of evil is all about, once again, regime change.

Read More @ AsiaTimes.com

ALTERNATIVE SOCIAL NETWORK GAB FACES DOMAIN SEIZURE FOR VIOLATING “ANTI-DISCRIMINATION LAWS”

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by Aaron Kesel, via The Daily Sheeple:

Alternative media social network Gab.ai, whose logo is a frog often used by the “alt right,” faces domain seizure for failing to remove content that vilifies “race, religion or ethnic origin.” Their registrar further implied that the site promotes hate and discrimination.

Gab’s domain registrar, Asia Registry, has given the network 5 days to transfer its domain or it will be seized according to a notice sent to the company, Andrew Torbha Gab’s CEO tweeted out.

This comes after Gab was contacted by its registrar to take down a post by the founder of the neo-Nazi site, Daily Stormer, Andrew Anglin.

The post by Anglin grotesquely mocked Charlottesville murder victim Heather Heyer, which Asia Registry told Torbha violated their abuse policy.

Torbha noted in a Medium post that Gab previously has enforced its own guidelines and that the post did violate its own policy and was indeed obscene.

“This is not the first time we have enforced our guidelines. Gab has banned users for spamming, making death threats to the President, posting revenge porn, and doxing among others. We’ve been transparent and incredibly fair about this on many occasions,” Torbha wrote.

Torbha, who I personally interviewed before Gab’s start last year for We Are Change, expressed on Twitter that “The free and open web is in danger.”

This isn’t the first time Torbha suggested what he saw as a “threat to the Internet.” During our interview he stated that “big social was moving to censor everyone and play the online thought police.”

He also highlighted that Gab’s site didn’t have “hate speech or harassment rules” because in this day and age that has become a “subjective definition.”

We have very simple guidelines. We don’t have anything like hate speech or harassment rules because in 2016 that type of stuff has largely become a subjective definition by whoever is deeming something hateful speech. So our guidelines are very simple. We have three: #1 no illegal pornography, #2. Zero tolerance policy for threats and terrorism. 3. No posting other users’ private information (d0xing).

He further stated that any organization defined as a terrorist organization by the U.S. government or the UN will be considered a terrorist organization on their end.

Gab just wrapped up its fundraising campaign last month tweeting “F*CK YOU Silicon Valley Elitist Trash,” thanking its users for a successful crowdfund in which the company raised 1 million dollars.

This comes as the Gab app was pulled from Google Play just last month after Google also accused the alternative free speech social network of “violating its hate speech policy.”

“Google has pulled Gab’s Android app from the Google Play Store for ‘hate speech,’” wrote Andrew Torba, the creator of Gab. “This is war.”

Google isn’t the only one censoring the alternative social network, Apple also denied the app in its own Appstore stating it “included pornographic content” posted by users — despite how Twitter also features similar user-generated content.

Gab, in turn, is suing Google for what it calls “antitrust violations” arguing that the company violated antitrust laws when it rejected Gab’s app from its Android app store. Gab further went on to state, the decision to block its app from the Play Store “is intended to, and does, unlawfully protect the financial and strategic benefits it enjoys by virtue of its partnership with Twitter, Gab’s chief competitor, from other competitors.”

Read More @ TheDailySheeple.com

To “Prevent Rebellion”, Spain Docks Cruise Ship Housing 16,000 Riot Police In Barcelona Port

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from Zero Hedge:

Efforts by Madrid to stop a Catalonia independence vote, currently slated for October 1st, seem to be growing more hostile by the day.  Earlier this week Spanish police seized control of Catalonia’s finances, seeking to ensure that separatist politicians could not spend further public funds on the referendum, and conducted raids across Catalonia to confiscate ballots and campaign materials from printing shops and delivery companies.

Now, as the New York Times notes this morning, Spanish police have detained 14 people during operations conducted yesterday which included the secretary general of economic affairs, Josep Maria Jové.

The Spanish police detained more than a dozen people in the region of Catalonia on Wednesday, drastically escalating tensions between the national government and Catalan separatists. The episode occurred less than two weeks before a highly contentious referendum on independence that the government in Madrid has vowed to block.

The police raided the offices of the Catalan regional government early Wednesday and arrested at least 14 people, including Josep Maria Jové, secretary general of economic affairs. The arrests were not expected, but hundreds of mayors and other officials in Catalonia had been warned that they would be indicted if they helped organize a referendum in violation of Spanish law.

Hundreds of supporters of Catalan independence immediately took to the streets of Barcelona to protest the arrests. Jordi Sanchez, the leader of one of the region’s biggest separatist associations, used Twitter to urge Catalans to “resist peacefully,” but also to “come out and defend our institutions.”

According to Reuters, the increasingly hostile crackdown by the Spanish police has led Catalan leaders to acknowledge for the first time today that plans to hold a referendum on independence are now in doubt following the arrest of senior regional officials and the seizure of campaign material by national police.

“It is obvious that we won’t be able to vote as we would have liked,” Oriol Junqueras, deputy head and economy minister of the regional government, told local television TV3. “They have altered the rules.”

It was the first time the promoters of the referendum had acknowledged their plans were in doubt, although Junqueras said he said he was convinced voters would still turn out in numbers.

It is not yet clear whether the police operation would be enough to prevent the vote overall or if it could instead bring fresh momentum to the secession campaign.

Polls show about 40 percent of Catalans support independence although a majority want a referendum on the issue.

Meanwhile, as a sign of the growing hostility and Madrid’s intentions to do all that is necessary to block a vote, Bloomberg notes that Spain has hired cruise liners specifically to mount a massive force of 16,000 police in a Catalan port.

Spain has discreetly hired ferries to be moored in the Port of Barcelona as temporary housing for possibly thousands of police specially deployed to keep order in rebel Catalonia and help suppress an illegal independence referendum.

The country’s interior ministry asked Catalan port authorities to provide a berth for one ship until Oct. 3 — two days after the planned vote — saying it was a matter of state, a spokeswoman for the port said by phone Wednesday. The vessel, known as “Rhapsody,” docked in the city about 9:30 a.m. Thursday, she said.

The aim is to amass more than 16,000 riot police and other security officers by the Oct. 1 referendum, El Correo newspaper reported on its website. That would exceed the number of Catalan police, the Mossos d’Esquadra, who serve both the Catalan and central governments.

Still, the Catalan government says it can hold the vote, and recently announced that it had stored about 6,000 ballot boxes in a secret location. “The referendum will be held and is already organized,” Mr. Romeva said. “Clearly the conditions in which it will be celebrated are not those that we wished for.”

Read More @ ZeroHedge.com

Former Muslim Speaks Out

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from Stefan Molyneux:

Today the music stops

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by Simon Black, Sovereign Man:

Today’s the day.

After months of preparing financial markets for this news, the Federal Reserve is widely expected to announce that it will finally begin shrinking its $4.5 trillion balance sheet.

I know, that probably sound reeeeally boring. A bunch of central bankers talking about their balance sheet.

But it’s phenomenally important. And I’ll explain why-

When the Global Financial Crisis started in 2008, the Federal Reserve (along with just about every central bank in the world) took the unprecedented step of conjuring trillions of dollars out of thin air.

In the Fed’s case, it was roughly $3.5 trillion, about 25{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528} of the size of the entire US economy at the time.

That’s a lot of money.

And after nearly a decade of this free money policy, there is more money in the financial system than ever before.

Economists have a measure for money supply called “M2”. And M2 is at a record high — nearly $9 trillion higher than at the start of the 2008 crisis.

Now, one might expect that, over time, as the population and economy grow, the amount of money in the system would increase.

But even on a per-capita basis, and relative to the size of US GDP, there is more money in the system than there has ever been, at least in the history of modern central banking.

And that has consequences.

One of those consequences is that asset prices have exploded.

Stocks are at all-time highs. Bonds are at all-time highs. Many property markets are at all-time highs. Even the prices of alternative assets like private equity and artwork are at all-time highs.

But isn’t that a good thing?

Well, let’s look at stocks as an example.

As investors, we trade our hard-earned savings for shares of a [hopefully] successful, well-managed business.

That’s what stocks represent– ownership interests in businesses. So investors are ultimately buying a share of a company’s net assets, profits, and free cash flow.

Here’s where it gets interesting.

Let’s look at Exxon Mobil…

In 2006, the last full year before the Federal Reserve started any monetary shenanigans, Exxon reported $365 billion in revenue, profit (net income) of nearly $40 billion and free cash flow (i.e. the money that’s available to pay out to shareholders) of $33.8 billion.

At the time, the company had $6.6 billion in debt.

Ten years later, Exxon’s full-year 2016 revenue was $226 billion, net income was $7.8 billion, free cash flow was $5.9 billion and the company had an unbelievable debt level of $28.9 billion.

In other words, compared to its performance in 2006, Exxon’s 2016 revenue dropped nearly 40{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528}, due to the decline in oil prices.

Plus its profits and free cash flow collapsed by more than 80{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528}. And debt skyrocketed by over 4x.

So what do you think happened to the stock price over this period?

It must have gone down, right? I mean… if investors are essentially paying for a share of the business’ profits, and those profits are 80{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528} less, then the share of the business should also decline.

Except — that’s not what happened. Exxon’s stock price at the end of 2006 was around $75. By the end of 2016 it was around $90, 20{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528} higher.

And it’s not just Exxon. This same curiosity fits to many of the largest companies in the world.

General Electric reported $13.9 billion in free cash flow in 2006. Last year’s free cash flow was NEGATIVE.

Plus, the company’s book value, i.e. its ‘net worth’, plummeted from $122 billion in 2006 to $77 billion in 2016.

So investors’ share of the free cash flow is essentially worthless, while their share of the net assets has also fallen dramatically.

GE’s stock was actually down slightly in 2016 compared to 2006. But the minor stock decline is nothing compared to the train wreck in the company’s financial statements.

Between 2006 and 2016, McDonalds reported only a tiny increase in revenue. And in terms of bottom line, McDonalds 2016’s profit was about 30{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528} higher than it was in 2006.

McDonalds’ debt soared from $8.4 billion to $25.8. And the company’s book value, according to its own financial statements, dropped from $15.8 billion to NEGATIVE $2 billion.

So over ten years, McDonald’s saw a 30{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528} increase in profits, but took on so much debt that they wiped out shareholders’ book value.

And yet the company’s stock price has TRIPLED.

Coca Cola. IBM. Johnson & Johnson.

Company after company, we can see businesses that are performing marginally better (or in some cases WORSE). They’ve taken on FAR more debt than ever before.

Yet their stock prices are insanely higher.

Read More @ SovereignMan.com

The Ultimate 4-Step “Freedom Insurance” Plan

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by Nick Giambruno, International Man:

Chris Lowe: What’s the first step someone can take to insure their freedom?

Nick Giambruno: The first step is to place some of your savings beyond the easy reach of your home government.

This is the best way to ensure you can get to your money if your home government implements capital controls or seizes some of your assets outright. Any government can do either without warning.

The ultimate way to diversify your savings is to put it into something tangible—something that can’t be easily confiscated, nationalized, frozen, or devalued at the drop of a hat or with a couple of taps on the keyboard—while retaining as much privacy as legally possible.

You want to own something that’s universally valued and not controlled by any government. Gold and silver fit the bill perfectly.

Gold has always been an inherently international asset. There’s nothing American, Chinese, Russian, or European about it. Different civilizations have used gold as money for millennia.

When you buy gold, you trade paper money—which the government can devalue and confiscate at will—for a hard asset that’s been a stable store of value for thousands of years.

Gold is universally valued. Its worth doesn’t depend on any government. This is why buying gold is the easiest way to lessen the political risk to your savings.

Chris Lowe: What form of gold are we talking about—bullion, gold coins, ETFs?

Nick Giambruno: Physical gold is your best option. Then you don’t have any counterparty risk.

Having some gold in your possession in your home country is good. But having another stash in a foreign country is even better. You can either store it at a foreign property. Or you can store it in a non-bank safe deposit box.

Chris Lowe: Why not a safe deposit box in a bank?

Nick Giambruno: When President Roosevelt criminalized the possession of gold in 1933, federal agents went through bank safe deposit boxes searching for undeclared gold.

Today, bank safe deposit boxes fall under the regulations and jurisdictions of banks. If there’s a bank holiday, like the one in Greece… or a bail-in like the one in Cyprus… or any event that shuts down or otherwise affects the banking industry, your bank safe deposit box is at risk.

That’s not the case with non-bank vaulting and storage companies.

Chris Lowe: What about gold ETFs? What role do they play?

Nick Giambruno: If you’re buying a lot of gold, that’s where ETFs come in. That’s because storing a lot of physical gold can be expensive and inconvenient.

You want to look for a fully allocated physical fund. They carry less counterparty risk than non-allocated funds.

The Sprott Physical Gold Trust is one example. It trades under the ticker symbol PHYS, and it stores gold on your behalf in the Royal Canadian Mint.

Chris Lowe: What about gold coins? Can you just hop on a plane to Colombia or Argentina with gold coins in your pocket?

Nick Giambruno: Well, it’s a gray area. And because it’s a gray area, I wouldn’t recommend taking more than a couple of gold coins with you when traveling abroad.

The average TSA agent has probably never seen a gold coin in his life. He probably wouldn’t know what it was if he found one. But, if he thought it was something suspicious, he would confiscate it and let the courts sort it out. And that’s no fun.

You’d have to go to court to get your metal back, and that would involve costly legal fees.

I’ve taken gold coins across numerous borders, and I haven’t had a problem. But I’ve heard horror stories. And from personal experience, I can tell you that gold coins set off the X-ray machine. So there’s a decent chance the TSA folks—or their foreign counterparts—will find them.

And remember, if you take more than $10,000 of “cash” in or out of the US, you need to file a “Report of International Transportation of Currency and Monetary Instruments” with FinCEN, a branch of the Treasury Department that deals with financial “crimes.”

These are not really crimes, but rather violations of the law. It’s an important distinction that few people understand. A real crime involves harm or the threat of harm to a person or property. Think murder, theft, or arson.

When someone breaks the law, it’s often not because they’ve committed a real crime. They may have merely violated a particular government’s law without threatening or harming anyone.

This is the case with most of what FinCEN handles. In my view, it’s a completely unnecessary and destructive organization. I think it’s one of the largest threats to your financial privacy.

Of course, I am not suggesting anyone break the law—even if they’re not harming people or property. As a practical matter, it’s foolhardy to violate any government’s laws while you’re within its reach.

You wouldn’t want to be a woman driving a car in Saudi Arabia or crack a joke about Kim Jong-un while in North Korea—both supposed “crimes.” Likewise, you wouldn’t want to break one of FinCEN’s Orwellian non-crimes while you’re under its jurisdiction… which is unfortunately almost everywhere, as long as the US financial system is still king.

But back to your question about gold coins…

If you have more than $10,000 on you, you’re asking for extra attention from the authorities. So, again, this is where it gets into a gray area.

Gold coins have a low face value. But they have a high metal value. For example, a 1 ounce American Gold Eagle has a face value of $50, but a metal value of about $1,300 at today’s gold price.

So some people might say, “Oh, yeah, well, I’m taking 100 American Gold Eagles with me. The face value is less than $10,000. So I should be okay.”

Technically, they might be right. But don’t bet on winning that argument with a TSA agent (or a judge later on). He’ll find it suspicious. At best, he’ll take your coins and let you deal with the courts. At worst, he might arrest you.

You’re better off buying coins when you’re already in your destination country. Taking gold coins with you is just too risky.

Read More @ InternationalMan.com

Wealth In Gold Motivation

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from Junius Maltby:

UK Supermarket Becomes World’s First To Offer Cashless Checkout With Finger Vein Scan

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by Nicholas West, Activist Post:

The march toward a cashless society has now moved from the theoretical to the phase of widespread adoption. This is primarily due to developments in the tech sector that now enable the easy use of biometric recognition systems, as well as the increasing acceptance from a public who is becoming familiar with turning themselves into a password for their personal devices.

Behind the scenes, governments and corporations have been building the political and economic enticements via the Better Than Cash Alliance to ensure that the world eventually gets “de-cashed.” We’re now witnessing the full roll-out of an architecture that has been in development for many years.

China’s high-tech KFC recently made headlines when it began testing facial recognition payments in its KPRO store. Cashless agenda denialists, however, could readily point to China’s authoritarian government to ease any fears about an impending technocratic takeover occurring in the (supposedly) more democratic West.

Well, today’s cashless agenda news does come from the West, and it’s a world’s first.  As reported by The Telegraph, London’s Costcutter supermarket has announced that its shoppers can now pay by finger vein scan.

It works by using infrared to scan people’s finger veins and then links this unique biometric map to their bank cards. Customers’ bank details are then stored with payment provider Worldpay, in the same way you can store your card details when shopping online. Shoppers can then turn up to the supermarket with nothing on them but their own hands and use it to make payments in just three seconds.

Nice and convenient, of course.

Longtime readers of Activist Post might remember an article by Brandon Turbeville written in 2011warning that this was being tested as a future payment system. Remarking at the time about how smartphone payments would eventually seem outdated, he explained:

Taking the cashless control grid one step further, an article published on August 8, 2011 in Technology Review, entitled “Beyond Cell Phone Wallets, Biometrics Promise Truly Wallet-Free Future,” explains that major corporations are not even waiting for the “digital wallet” to catch on. They are actually moving forward with a system that will allow for an individual to swipe their palm, not their phone, in front of a digital recognition device in order to gain access to various buildings, pay for merchandise, or otherwise identify oneself.

[…]

Indeed, this new type of technology, even this specific product, is already being introduced all over the United States.

For instance, New York University’s Langone Medical Center has already implemented the vein scanners in some of its medical facilities. Manufactured by Fujitsu, the scanners are being placed in the hospital under the guise of greater convenience (the marketing gift that keeps on giving) and faster access to medical records. Health histories, insurance forms, and other documents are all handled electronically and at a much faster pace with the help of the new vein scanners.

[…]

Schools, too, have begun to implement the Fujitsu systems. For instance, the Pinellas County School District in Florida recently announced that it was introducing the system in order “to identify students and thereby reduce waste and the threat of impersonation.”

With the new scanners, the students are able to have their meals deducted from their account, upon scanning their palms, as they march single file in the feeding lines during lunch time. Of course, this type of technology is not new to Pinellas County. The students have been finger scanning in order to gain access to their lunch for years.

Naturally, these days not everyone is worried only about the intrusive nature of turning one’s body into a password to be mined by algorithms for corporations and governments, but just as legitimately about having their financial data hacked.

No worries, says the developer of the newest form of vein scanning, Sthaler. Although company director, Simon Binns, manages to sound creepy and objectifying even while trying to reassure the vein-scanning public:

SOS Pocket Survival Kit – Free Today (Ad)

This is the safest form of biometrics. There are no known incidences where this security has been breached.

“When you put your finger in the scanner it checks you are alive, it checks for a pulse, it checks for haemoglobin. ‘Your vein pattern is secure because it is kept on a database in an encrypted form, as binary numbers. No card details are stored with the retailer or ourselves, it is held with Worldpay, in the same way it is when you buy online.”

System developers are projecting that adoption of the technology will be rapid, with perhaps thousands of stores, nightclubs and membership services getting on board in the near future. The question is: Will it be optional? And if so, for how long?

Read More @ ActivistPost.com

BREAKING: U.S. Senators Introduce Bill In DIRECT ATTACK ON U.S. GOLD & SILVER MINING

from SilverDoctors:

If the federal government gets its massive piece of the action with the “Hard Rock Act”, the entire U.S. gold and silver mining industry could go the way of U.S. coal mining. Also, production costs could surge at the same time profits could collapse from government theft regulation…

Physical gold and silver in one’s own possession is the ultimate hedge against uncertainty.

The Federal Government’s Own Report Acknowledges the EPA Was Responsible for the Disaster Mentioned in This Bill:

On the morning of August 5, 2015, mine reclamation activities led by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) onsite project team triggered an uncontrolled rapid release of approximately 3 million gallons of acid mine water from the Gold King Mine located about 5 miles north of Silverton, Colorado. Commonly referred to as a “mine blowout,” the outflow carried with it ironoxyhydroxide sediments that had deposited inside the mine workings. The ironoxyhydroxide absorbed heavy metals when it formed in the mine, and when released it changed the acid water to a vivid orange-brown color. The blowout eroded soil and rock debris from the mine portal, eroded pyritic rock and soil from the adjoining waste-rock dump, and eroded road-embankment fill from several downstream unpaved road stream crossings. Most of the eroded rock, gravel, and sand were deposited in Cement Creek.

Straight from one of the senators who introduced the bill himself [Editor’s Note: bold emphasis ours]:

Senators Introduce Bill to Reform Antiquated Hardrock Mining Laws

Hardrock Mining and Reclamation Act will ensure mining companies pay their fair share and prevent future disasters like Gold King Mine blowout

WASHINGTON — Today, U.S. Senators Tom Udall (D-N.M.), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) introduced the Hardrock Mining and Reclamation Act of 2017, legislation to modernize the nation’s antiquated hardrock mining laws. The bill requires companies to pay royalties for the first time for the ability to extract mineral resources like gold, silver, and copperfrom public lands, helps ensure that taxpayers aren’t on the hook for cleaning up abandoned mines, and seeks to prevent another toxic spill like the Gold King Mine disaster of 2015. The Gold King Mine blowout spilled 3 million gallons of toxic wastewater into the Animas and San Juan rivers, and communities in New Mexico and Colorado are still waiting for compensation for the damage to their businesses and farms.

“It’s time to end the antiquated sweetheart deal that hardrock mining companies have enjoyed for nearly 150 years,” said Udall, who has fought for mining reform continuously since he was first elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1998. “Like oil, gas, and coal producers, mining companies need to pay their fair share, but because our mining laws date back to the Gold Rush era, it’s the taxpayers who are on the hook for cleaning up hundreds of thousands of abandoned mines that are poisoning our watersheds and threatening our communities. The Gold King Mine disaster – and the harm it has caused to Navajo Nation and New Mexico communities – show why we need to bring our laws into the 21st century. We no longer travel West by covered wagon and oxen, and our mining laws should no longer favor Manifest Destiny and the domination of the continent. This legislation will help communities across the West clean up these dangerous abandoned mines, and ensure that taxpayers are getting their fare share of the profit from resources mined on public lands.”

“Toxins leaking out of thousands of abandoned hardrock mines threaten public health and damage our watersheds every day,” said Heinrich. “In the Southwest, water is our most precious resource and we cannot continue to do nothing while toxic metals are drained into our rivers and drinking water supplies. We cannot wait to take action until another Gold King Mine disaster strikes again. It is time that Congress overhaul our outdated and ineffective federal hardrock mining policy so taxpayers aren’t the ones on the hook when something goes wrong. We must come together and pass these pragmatic reforms to stop future disasters, and protect the health of our communities, our land, and our water.

“The Gold King spill continues to be a reminder of the threat that abandoned mines pose,” said Bennet. “Hardrock mining is a part of our heritage in Colorado, but it is long past time to reform our antiquated mining laws. This bill would provide the resources necessary to help clean up the thousands of abandoned mines in Colorado, improve water quality, and prevent a future disaster for downstream communities.”

Private companies that profit from mining on public lands ought to pay for using those lands and for cleaning up the messes they’ve created,” said Wyden. “This common-sense legislation would update a century-old law to make sure hardrock mining companies no longer get a free ride when it comes to cleaning up abandoned mines, which threaten public safety and the environment.”

“Huge multinational mining companies can extract gold, silver and other valuable hardrock minerals right now that belong to American taxpayers without paying a dime under a mining law passed after the Civil War,” said Markey. “The mining law of 1872 isn’t just outdated, it’s outrageous. We need to ensure that these large mining companies pay their fair share to mine on public lands so that we have the revenue to protect public health and the environment by cleaning up the hundreds of thousands of dangerous, toxic abandoned mines in Western states.

STOP, STOP, STOP: BS FLAG IS NOW THROWN:

Seems odd. The senator from Oregon must not have read the official investigation report on the disaster, or he would have known the spill was caused by the EPA itself.

Also, the History Channel tells us that the “Gold Rush” peaked in 1852 (decades before 1872):

A total of $2 billion worth of precious metal was extracted from the area during the Gold Rush, which peaked in 1852.

How does the west have “hundreds of thousands of abandoned mines” like the senator claims? How many people does it take to work in hundreds of thousands of gold and silver mines?

Read More @ SilverDoctors.com

Shock Survey: Less Than 1 Out Of Every 4 Republicans In Congress Support A Border Wall

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by Michael Snyder, The Economic Collapse Blog:

It is time to flush the toilet in Washington D.C., because the professional politicians that we have been sending there just keep betraying us over and over again.  On Wednesday, I was absolutely stunned when I came across a brand new survey that was conducted by USA Today.  They asked all of the members of Congress whether they support a border wall or not, and less than one out of every 4 Republicans said that they did.  This is just another example of why the American people are so deeply frustrated with the Republican Party these days.  Most Republicans are spineless jellyfish that have been compromising for so long that they don’t really stand for anything anymore.

If President Trump had not promised to build a wall, he never would have won the Republican nomination in 2016, and he sure wouldn’t be the president of the United States today.  This is a point that Ann Coulter had made over and over again, and the fact that I strongly support building a wall is a big reason why she is supporting my campaign for Congress.  Conservatives all over the country want a wall, and that is why it is so disturbing to hear that most Republicans in Congress do not support building one

President Trump has been adamant that he needs Congress to approve funding to start building his border wall, but Republicans on Capitol Hill are far less adamant about supporting it. When asked by the USA TODAY Network whether they support the president’s initial $1.6 billion budget request to begin construction, only 69 of the 292 Republicans on Capitol Hill said “yes.” Among the rest, three Republicans said they oppose the money, several evaded a direct answer, and the rest simply refused to respond to the question.

The USA TODAY Network asked the 534 members of the House and Senate whether they support the $1.6 billion down payment approved by the House and found fewer than 25{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528} of Republicans willing to stand up for the plan.

Building a wall seems like such a no-brainer to me.  For decades we have had an immigration policy that is all mixed up.  We have made it exceedingly difficult to come in through the front door, but meanwhile we have been keeping the back door completely wide open.

Today, our system of legal immigration is a complete and total nightmare.  It is extremely confusing, it is very expensive, and it takes way too long.  I once helped someone through that process, and it was so convoluted that I could barely even understand it.

Meanwhile, we have kept the back door totally wide open and have allowed tens of millions of people to enter this country illegally.  So we are actually discouraging good people from coming into our nation legally, and meanwhile we have rolled out the red carpet for criminals, gang members, drug dealers and those that would like to take advantage of the system.

As I discuss in my latest book entitled “Living A Life That Really Matters”, we need to make sure that everyone comes in through the front door.  It has been proposed that we can use “technology” and other methods to secure our borders, and I would love to see something that actually works.  But we do know that walls work, and we know that building a wall on the southern border would dramatically reduce illegal immigration and begin forcing people to come in through the front door.

I have previously written about the tremendous problems that illegal immigration is causing in communities all over the nation.  If we would just secure our borders, we could start significantly reducing levels of human trafficking, violent crime and gang membership, and so I don’t know why anyone would want to be opposed to doing that.

Unfortunately, when USA Today approached Republican members of Congress about a wall, most of them didn’t even want to take a clear stance at all

The overwhelming majority of congressional Republicans refused to take a stance on the wall funding when asked by USA TODAY. Most simply declined to participate in the survey or refused to even respond to queries. Many others offered general positions about the importance of securing the border and requiring employers to verify the immigration status of their workers.

Read More @ TheEconomicCollapseBlog.com

“What If” the North Korean Crisis is in the Bag Already?

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by Phil Butler, New Eastern Outlook:

What if North Korea is being cut off from world markets to shore up big mining businesses in the west? As crazy as this sounds, one was of explaining the crazy logic and policy moves from Pyongyang is to think outside the box. In a geopolitical world where nothing is as it seems, anything is possible. Could Kim Jong-un just be playing his role in a game of good cop – bad cop?

“What if” scenarios can tell us a lot about today’s foreign policy strategies. So, what if North Korean leader Kim Jong-un takes periodic calls from some 007 Spectre character? It’s not hard to imagine a sinister figure calling to give the order, “Okay Kim, stir up the chickens with some more rocketry like we discussed”. Yes, like I said, it’s a crazy world. But there is some circumstantial evidence if we look into markets.

An article about North Korea’s untapped mineral wealth on MENAFN caught my eye this morning. The piece entitled “The $10 Trillion Resource North Korea Can’t Tap” reminded me of something my Dutch research colleague, Holger Eekhof brought to my attention some months ago. Enter a man named Hans Werner Truppel, a German business man convicted in German courts for attempting to provide aluminum tubes to North for the country’s nuclear program back in 2003. This Seattle Times story lays out the voyage of the French cargo ship Ville de Virgo, and black-market business of supplying strategic materials and weapons to North Korea. The story uncloaked a CIA operator named Truppel, owner of a tiny German export company called Optronic, in a village about 85 miles northwest of Munich. Author Mike Chinoy also outlined the clandestine effort to build up North Korea’s nuclear capability in his book “Meltdown: The Inside Story of the North Korean Nuclear Crisis”, but his account frames US and European intelligence communities as the “good guy” investigators in the case. But this notion was manufactured subterfuge and only for plausible deniability if the US Senate should get involved.

When I asked Eekhof about the connection in between Truppel, the North Koreans, and the US agencies, he pointed out that Truppel’s wife Elisabeth had managed Optronic while he was in the German prison. Eekhof also pointed me in the direction of Optronic’s current operations, supplying temporary personnel to the US Army in Germany for situational drills involving so called COB’s, Civilians on the Battlefield, and represent the civilian population in conflict regions. These “extras” are apparently intended to serve as Russian, Polish, Czech, and Afghan civilians on some future battlefield. Optronic’s Facebook contingent links the German business with Joint Multinational Readiness Center Command (JMRC). From what I can gather, the company of the man convicted of trying to supply illegal nuclear weapons components is now working with the Pentagon for deploying multinationals with the western alliance. By all outward appearances, the 7th Army’s Joint Training Command is using international criminals to train for incursions into Ukraine, Russia, Poland, or anywhere in Eastern Europe. Or, Truppel’s company in cahoots with the Pentagon is the most fascinating coincidence in the history of journalism. Optronic’s Twitter profile was created back in 2010, and Elisabeth Truppel is was listed as the head of the company as recently as 2014. A story in German from neues deutschland also confirms Truppel’s company as the same one that tried to ship 22 tons of aluminum to the North Koreans. Beyond crazy coincidence, inquiring minds have to wonder if Truppel worked with the Pentagon before the French and Germans caught him shipping centrifuge parts to Pyongyang? Again, “what if” questions may provide more answers.

All this coincidence and loose information begs the question “Why would the United States help the North Koreans get nukes?” This brings us back to the MENAFN story, and what I believe is the answer to almost every geo-political crisis in the world. Markets and business are the only friction points the 21st century politics reveal. Take for example the raw material molybdenum, which is used to create so-called super-alloys used in making jet engines and other high temperature/high stress applications. The reader may be surprised to discover that North Korea possesses some of the largest remaining molybdenite deposits in the world. As it happens, the market for this fairly rare raw material is controlled by a US company Freeport McMoran, which is headquartered in Senator John McCain’s home state of Arizona, USA. I won’t go into a market summary on what happens when supply is controlled, I think the reader can make this connection in between molybdenum, or zinc, or copper, iron, graphite, or gold that North Korea has. Another “coincidence” looms large as I research this “what if” query.

Read More @ Journal-NEO.org

Google Is Actively Aiding and Abetting Child Trafficking

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by Dave Hodges, The Common Sense Show:

There can now be no question that Google is the most evil monolithic corporation on the face of the earth. Even though slavery was outlawed over 150 years ago, Google is participating in the creation of a business environment which facilitates more slavery in America today than the country had at the outbreak of the Civil War.

Google’s Criminal Hypocrisy Knows No Limits

On one hand, Google is preventing the conservative side of the media from telling their story with extreme censorship in the 80{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528} of the Internet that Google now controls. Further, Google is censoring conservative content on Youtube. Obviously, Google does not recognize the First Amendment as this unregulated monopoly is engaging in illegal anti-trust activity activities in a nation where the rule of law no longer applies. In google’s world, they satanic corporate giant can keep you from publishing on the Internet, or on Youtube, that the Clinton Foundation actively engages in child-sex-trafficking. However, this same Google will defend Backpage’s right to sell children for sex on the Internet. Isn’t it comforting to know that this is the world that we are giving our children?

There is a new development in the fight against child-sex-trafficking and Google is opposing the reform effort which has the two following goals:

1. State and local law enforcement agencies have the authority to arrest and prosecute websites that advertise human trafficking victims and
2. The protections that websites currently enjoy from being held liable for third party content when they profit from that content is eliminated.

Why would Google oppose legislation which would outlaw the sale and facilitation of children online?

Report Shows How Google Funded Defense of Child Sex Trafficking Through Backpage

Shout it from the roof tops, America, Google is engaged in the promotion and the facilitation of one of the most grotesque crimes on earth, namely, child sex trafficking. Consider the following:

“A coalition of anti-child sex trafficking and public interest groups, and the mother of a trafficking victim, today released a report detailing how a Google-funded campaign protects a law that shields a notorious hub of child sex-trafficking, Backpage.com, from any accountability for its activities. Google and the organizations it funds purport to be protecting free speech on the Internet.”

The law that Google is trying to protect is an outdated law which protects any kind of heinous expression on the Internet which is illegal. “In the event that a company profits from the sale of victims of trafficking (including minors under the age of 18), they can use Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act as a defense.” Section 230 provides websites with blanket immunity from “third party content”. This was designed to protect websites from being prosecuted when someone visiting their site posts inappropriate or even illegal content without the site’s knowledge or approval. It was NOT designed to grant immunity when a website actively PROFITS from third party content. And this is precisely what Google does, it is profiting from Child Sex Trafficking.

Legal scholars and groups supported by Google have written letters and amicus briefs in support of Backpage. Google has also deployed at least four of its lobbying firms to fight efforts to close the legal loophole that allows Backpage to profit from child trafficking, the report found, including the fact that Google opposes an US Senate attempt to outlaw these criminal enterprise activities.

“For years, documentary filmmaker and former attorney, Mary Mazzio, stated that “one company, Backpage.com, has dominated online trafficking in minors for sex. The advertising giant’s reach is vast, with sites catering to 437 locations in the U.S. and 506 overseas. So is its impact: By one count, 73{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528} of all suspected child trafficking reports in the U.S. involve Backpage,” the report said.

“This report is one more indication that tech companies have gone out of their way to defend what the U.S. Senate found to be essentially a boiler room operation to facilitate the crime of child sex trafficking,” said Mary Mazzio, director and producer of I Am Jane Doe. “It is time for the tech community to be part of the solution, and finally stand with the victims of this devastating crime.”

The previously mentioned groups were motivated to release an investigation of Backpage’s supporters after watching I Am Jane Doe. The film is now available on iTunes, Google Play, and Amazon, and will be available on Netflix as it was released on May 26th. The trailer can be viewed at http://www.iamjanedoefilm.com/

The report’s analysis of Google’s public records, tax documents and legal filings and other publicly-available documents shows Google has financed and supported a wide spectrum of groups and individuals who have tirelessly fought to block legal challenges to Backpage’s business model. Efforts have included:

• Legal scholars and groups supported by Google have written letters and amicus briefs in support of Backpage. More than half of the 42 signatories of a letter opposing a bill to tackle online child trafficking—22 in all—were either directly funded by Google, or worked at institutions that were funded by the company.

• At least four of Google’s lobbying firms have also worked to block efforts by the U.S. Congress to strengthen laws to prevent child sex-trafficking under the Stop Advertising Victims of Exploitation (SAVE Act) of 2014 that would have targeted Backpage and held it accountable.

• Google hired one of the leading campaigners for shutting down Backpage’s child-trafficking ads, who, after being hired, then changed her stance on the issue to align with her new employer. She now argues that it isn’t possible to shut down sites like Backpage and that laws should target buyers rather than websites that advertise children for sex.

Google’s financial support of EFF, CDT and dozens of other groups, has contributed to a string of legal successes by Backpage and complicated the quest for justice among its underage victims. Since 2011, the nonprofits have helped Backpage defeat several cases related to child sex trafficking by filing Section 230 briefs on Backpage’s behalf. Among the initiatives the groups have helped defeat:

• A legal case brought by three underage sex-trafficking victims who were advertised on Backpage and sold for sex in Massachusetts and Rhode Island more than 1,900 times over three years.

• Proposed state laws aimed at curbing Backpage’s child sex advertisements in Washington, New Jersey, and Tennessee.

• Efforts by law enforcement in Cook County, Illinois, to prevent the use of credit card payments to purchase ads offering children for sex.

• Efforts by 49 state attorneys general to amend Section 230 to give state and local law enforcement officials the authority to criminally investigate and prosecute companies like Backpage for promoting child sex trafficking.

• The “reckless” standard in early versions of Congressional legislation such as the SAVE Act, which strengthened child sex trafficking laws by making it illegal for online advertisers to recklessly disregard child sex trafficking occurring on their websites.

Read More @ TheCommonSenseShow.com

More Thoughts on Trump’s UN Declaration of War Against Iran and North Korea

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by Paul Craig Roberts, Paul Craig Roberts:

Trump’s UN speech makes it clear that Trump’s presidency, in terms of his campaign promise to remove Washington from the “policeman of the world” role, exit the Middle East, and repair the damaged relations with Russia, is over. The CIA and the military/security complex are in full control of the US government. Trump has accepted his captivity and his assigned role as the enforcer of Washington’s hegemony over every other country. Washington uber alles is the only foreign policy that Washington pursues.

At the UN Trump actually threatened to wipe North Korea off of the face of the earth. He added to this threat threats against Venezuela (http://stephenlendman.org/2017/09/trump-threatens-venezuela/) and Iran. He demonized these countries as “rogue states,” but it is Washington that is playing that role. Washington has destroyed in whole or part eight countries in the young 21st century and has 3 to 5 more in its crosshairs.

One question is: why did not the UN audience shout Trump down, a man standing before them telling obvious lies? The answer, of course, is money. The US taxpayers pay roughly one-quarter of the UN’s annual budget, leaving the other 130+ countries a light load. Washington is succeeding in driving the world to Armageddon, because the world’s leaders prefer money to truth, to justice, to survival. The UN diplomats see in their cooperation with Washington the opportunity to make money by sharing in the West’s exploitation of their own countries.

Washington, absorbed in its effort to destroy Syria, left it to its Saudi Arabian puppet to destroy Yemen. The Saudi autocracy, a major sponsor with the US of terrorism, has done a good job, thanks to US supplying the weapons and to the US refueling the Saudi attack airplanes. This totally gratuitous war has helped to maximize the profits of the American military/security complex, a collection of evil never before present on the face of the earth. UNICEF reports that one million Yemeni children will be the victims of “American compassion” of which Trump bragged in the CIA’s UN speech.

One wonders if the Russians and Chinese are so absorbed in getting rich like America’s One Percent that they are unaware that they are on the list of countries to be eliminated for not accepting Washington’s hegemony. Really, where was the Russian government when Washington overthrew the Ukranian government? It was at a sports event. And I call Americans insouciant. Where was the Russian government? How could it have not known?

To be frank. The point is this. Unless Russia and China can take out the US, the US will take out Russia and China. The only question is who strikes first. The only way to avoid this is for Russia and China to surrender and accept Washington’s hegemony. This is the firm undeviating path on which the neoconservatives, the CIA, and the military/security complex have set the United States. The entire point of North Korea is US nuclear missiles on China’s border. The entire point of Iran is US nuclear missiles on Russia’s border.

As far as I can ascertain, hardly anyone is aware that Armageddon is just around the corner. There is no protest from the Western presstitutes, a collection of whores. In the US the only protests are against ancient “civil war” statues, which the ignorant rabble say are symbols of black slavery. There is no peace movement and no peace marches. In London the transgendered and the radical feminists are protesting one another, engaging in fist fights in Hyde Park. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4891484/Fists-fly-politically-correct-rally.html No one seems to have any awareness.

In US online propaganda websites such as Americans for Limited Government—funded by who? serving who?—endorse Trump’s destabilizing UN speech as a non-threat to world peace:

Read More @ PaulCraigRoberts.org