The Niki Haley moron appointed as US ambassador to the UN by Trump to destroy America’s reputation in the world is today sucking her thumb. All her threats to cut off US money to countries that voted against Trump’s illegal and unilateral action of establishing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital had no effect. The world gave Nikki and Trump the bird, voting 129 to 9 against the rogue governments of the US and Israel. The Chinese government referred to Trump’s effort to impose Israel’s will on international law as typical “American arrogance.”
Wherever one looks, Washington is digging America’s grave. The Russians view Trump’s, or rather the military/security complex’s, national security speech the same as I do. Russian President Putin said that Washington’s strategy is “definitely offensive” and “definitely aggressive.” Russia has taken note, Putin said.
Russia has reacted fiercely to the end of week breaking news that President Trump plans to approve the legal sale of US antitank missiles and possibly other advanced systems to the Ukrainian government in a move that could change the battlefield calculus of the war between Ukrainian and Russian-aligned forces in the Donbass region along the Russian border. ABC News described the “total defense package of $47 million includes the sale of 210 anti-tank missiles and 35 launchers” which will be sure to harm Trump’s longtime stated goal of improving relations with Moscow.
Though Kiev has long had limited access to US lethal arms through private contracts with American and international arms producers, this represents a significant escalation involving the likelihood that advanced US systems would be used directly on Russian-aligned militias in the eastern Donbass region and potentially Russian forces along the border. Up until now, the White House has been reluctant to escalate the war so openly, as it did when it supplied anti-Assad fighters in Syria with sophisticated TOW anti-tank missiles.
While the US State Department claims the move is “defensive” in nature, Russian deputy foreign minister Sergei Ryabkov charged the US with deliberately “crossing the line” and pushing the Ukrainian authorities “towards new bloodshed,” adding that “American weapons can lead to new victims”.
“Kiev revanchists are shooting at Donbass every day, they don’t want to conduct peace negotiations and dream of doing away with the disobedient population. And the United States has decided to give them weapons to do that,” Ryabkov said. He further slammed the US as an “accomplice in igniting a war” whose political leadership is “blinded by Russophobia and eagerly applaud the Ukrainian nationalist punitive battalions.”
Indeed a number of outspoken Russia hawks in Congress were enthusiastic over the possibility of heavier and direct arms flow to Ukraine, including John McCain, Bob Corker, and Tom Cotton – all supporters of the original Ukraine Freedom Support Act signed into law by President Obama in December 2014, though never fully enacted.
So you're telling me Putin ordered his puppet Trump to arm Ukrainians that are hostile to Putin?
Cotton for example – recently rumored to be Trump’s pick for CIA Director – said of the new initiative for arms exports to Ukraine: “This is a break from failed Obama era policies to make Russia pay a cost for its aggression. With this decision, the Trump administration is reminding Vladimir Putin and his cronies that they lost the Cold War, and we won’t tolerate their bullying of our friend Ukraine.”
The DNC hacking story just took another strange turn. According to the BBC, alleged Russian hackers responsible for infecting DNC systems, used servers linked to a company based in Pakistan.
“BBC says a server whose IP was hard-coded into the virus found on the DNC’s server traces to a company called Crookservers that is based in PAKISTAN, run by a guy named Usman Ashraf,” tweeted the Daily Caller’s Luke Rosiak.
BBC says a server whose IP was hard-coded into the virus found on the DNC's server traces to a company called Crookservers that is based in PAKISTAN, run by a guy named Usman Ashrafhttps://t.co/uQvYVvYjso
When Russia’s most notorious hackers hired servers from a UK-registered company, they left a trove of clues behind, the BBC has discovered.
The hackers used the computers to attack the German parliament, hijack traffic meant for a Nigerian government website and target Apple devices.
The group played a key role in 2016’s attack on the US’s Democratic National Committee (DNC), according to security experts.
Indeed an internet protocol (IP) address that once belonged to a dedicated server hired via Crookservers was discovered in malicious code used in the breach
But after a short period, the listing switched to Pakistan. The BBC has seen no evidence the shop or its employees knew how the address was being used or that Crookservers had any real connection to the newsagent’s. […]
The BBC identified Crookservers’s operator as Usman Ashraf.
At this point, little is known as to why Crookservers was later moved to Pakistan.
Ashraf refused to participate in a telephone interview with the BBC, instead writing via email that the hackers were eventually banned from using Crookservers.
“We never know how a client is using the server,” Ashraf claimed.
In November, WikiLeaks released ‘Vault 8,’ a series of documents detailing how the CIA developed code to impersonate Russian anti-virus giant ‘Kaspersky Labs.’ The mainstream media refuses to include WikiLeaks’ findings in its reporting on alleged Russian hackers breaching the DNC’s network.
WikiLeaks says it has published the source code for the CIA hacking tool ‘Hive,’ which indicates that the agency-operated malware could mask itself under fake certificates and impersonate public companies, namely Russian cybersecurity firm Kaspersky Lab.
The CIA multi-platform hacking suite ‘Hive’ was able to impersonate existing entities to conceal suspicious traffic from the user being spied on, the source code of the malicious program indicates, WikiLeaks said on Thursday.
Rumors that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman has hired mercenaries to torture recalcitrant royals and officials sleeping in the ballroom of the Ritz Carlton in Riyadh have been circulating since shortly after last month’s “corruption crackdown” naked cash grab.
Now, Middle East Eye reports that one of MbS’s guests has reportedly died under torture rather than fork over his money and assets to his domineering relative. He was reportedly beaten and tortured so bad his family members had difficulty recognizing his body.
Major general Ali Alqahtani, who was detained in early November as part of an alleged anti-corruption drive, had been working in the royal guard forces.
He was the manager of the private office of Prince Turki Bin Abdullah, the son of former king Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz, according to the newspaper.
Alqahtani died on 12 December after being tortured with electric shocks, and his family struggled to recognise him after receiving his body, according to sources, the newspaper reported.
We know this might come as a shock to some – Tom Friedman and the New York Times said MbS was such a nice guy! But that doesn’t change the fact that he is effectively extorting members of his own family to help plug a gaping hole in the Saudi government’s budget, willfully employing violence when necessary in a fashion that would make Tony Soprano proud. Case in point: Yesterday, we noted that the Saudi government had reportedly made Prince Alwaleed bin Talal – one of the world’s richest men – an offer he cannot refuse: Either fork over $6 billion to the Treasury, or spend the rest of his life being strung upside down and tortured by foreign mercenaries.
Back when oil was at $100 and above, the Saudi economy was firing on all cylinders, and nobody even dreamed that the crown jewel of Saudi Arabia – Aramaco – would be on the IPO block. But official data released earlier this week showed the Saudi economy contracted this year for the first time in eight years. It’s estimated to have shrunk by 4% as thousands of state-subsidized jobs have disappeared.
Another bitcoin expert, Peter van Velckenberg, spills the beans and perfectly describes the “decentralized” “private” aspect of owning bitcoin, or any other cryptocurrency that lives on a blockchain, and uses said cryptocurrency to conduct any transaction via blockchain technology. Remember, it’s all about blockchain technology.
Now the non-traceable is the other aspect I wanted to address. We talked about the fundamental innovation as to how this thing (bitcoin) works. It works because there’s a ledger. Not only is that ledger traceable, with perfect fidelity, and there’s only one version of it; not a bunch of records kept by five different international correspondent banks that don’t record beneficial ownership of shell companies that open accounts. There’s one ledger it’s called the blockchain. If you know that someone received a payment at an address on that blockchain you see with perfect fidelity every transaction into and out of that address and this is exactly the type of technological tool that law enforcement has used to apprehend the people that have used these networks for bad purposes. Ross Ulbrecht, the guy that created the Silk Road he was caught with his laptop in front of him. They opened it up, they found the public address where he was receiving payments from the Silk Road drug market and that’s unimpeachable evidence that he benefited from every single atomistic transaction for drugs or heroin that happened on that website.
There is nothing more that needs to be added to this information except – if you think for one second that your blockchain transactions are private, decentralized and untraceable please re-read the above or listen to the words coming out of Peter’s mouth in the video below. We have been warning people for months and months to stay away from this NSA/MIT created nightmare and if you want private, decentralized money and a store of wealth then you should acquire gold, silver or diamonds. You can always use your favorite wholesaler, but there would be a record of that transaction – but, you could store your physical gold/silver/diamonds off shore in a gold/silver safe region. If you want true decentralized, privacy acquire gold, silver and/or diamonds with cash conducted with another person face-to-face. Remember handshakes? Well, those are 100% decentralized and untraceable. Blockchain transactions, no so much.
Gold and silver have been stores of wealth for multiple millenniums. NO cryptocurrency can even say multiple decades, much less any real time line. Just know that most of the people reading this article are 5+ times older than bitcoin! If a person acquires real money or real stores of wealth from an off grid location well, what happens off grid, stays off grid, unlike “every single atomistic transaction” conducted on a blockchain which carries “perfect fidelity” traced right back to you, your phone, your laptop, your zip drive, your stick drive or whatever you happen to have your wallet stored upon. If you keep the address in your head, well, good luck with that as those cryptocurrencies will be lost forever. We are not advocating that anyone break the law or do anything that is illegal what a person does with their cash should be their business and their business alone. Governments and banks want to make every transaction their business and not yours. Governments and banks want to dictate who, what, how much, when, where and with whom we conduct business. Cash, gold, silver, diamonds allow people to conduct business privately. Online transactions, especially transactions, according to Peter van Vecklenberg, conducted on a blockchain, do not.
Peter Schiff does a great job of defending his position. The panel members continually cut him off but that’s okay, because Peter V., the bitcoin guy, makes a great assistant to Peter Schiff and doesn’t even realize what he is doing.
“Russia and China … have concluded that pumping the US military budget by buying US bonds … is an unsustainable proposition …”
The new 55-page “America First” National Security Strategy (NSS), drafted over the course of 2017, defines Russia and China as “revisionist” powers, “rivals,” and for all practical purposes strategic competitors of the United States.
The NSS stops short of defining Russia and China as enemies, allowing for an “attempt to build a great partnership with those and other countries.” Still, Beijing qualified it as “reckless” and “irrational.” The Kremlin noted its “imperialist character” and “disregard for a multipolar world.” Iran, predictably, is described by the NSS as “the world’s most significant state sponsor of terrorism.”
Russia, China and Iran happen to be the three key movers and shakers in the ongoing geopolitical and geo-economic process of Eurasia integration.
The NSS can certainly be regarded as a response to what happened at the BRICS summit in Xiamen last September. Then, Russian President Vladimir Putin insisted on “the BRIC countries’ concerns over the unfairness of the global financial and economic architecture which does not give due regard to the growing weight of the emerging economies,” and stressed the need to “overcome the excessive domination of a limited number of reserve currencies.”
That was a clear reference to the US dollar, which accounts for nearly two-thirds of total reserve currency around the world and remains the benchmark determining the price of energy and strategic raw materials.
And that brings us to the unnamed secret at the heart of the NSS; the Russia-China “threat” to the US dollar.
The CIPS/SWIFT face-off
The website of the China Foreign Exchange Trade System (CFETS) recently announcedthe establishment of a yuan-ruble payment system, hinting that similar systems regarding other currencies participating in the New Silk Roads, a.k.a. Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) will also be in place in the near future.
Crucially, this is not about reducing currency risk; after all Russia and China have increasingly traded bilaterally in their own currencies since the 2014 US-imposed sanctions on Russia. This is about the implementation of a huge, new alternative reserve currency zone, bypassing the US dollar.
The decision follows the establishment by Beijing, in October 2015, of the China International Payments System (CIPS). CIPS has a cooperation agreement with the private, Belgium-based SWIFT international bank clearing system, through which virtually every global transaction must transit.
What matters, in this case, is that Beijing – as well as Moscow – clearly read the writing on the wall when, in 2012, Washington applied pressure on SWIFT; blocked international clearing for every Iranian bank; and froze $100 billion in Iranian assets overseas as well as Tehran’s potential to export oil. In the event that Washington might decide to slap sanctions on China, bank clearing though CIPS works as a de facto sanctions-evading mechanism.
Last March, Russia’s central bank opened its first office in Beijing. Moscow is launching its first $1 billion yuan-denominated government bond sale. Moscow has made it very clear it is committed to a long-term strategy to stop using the US dollar as their primary currency in global trade, moving alongside Beijing towards what could be dubbed a post-Bretton Woods exchange system.
Gold is essential in this strategy. Russia, China, India, Brazil & South Africa are all either large producers or consumers of gold – or both. Following what has been extensively discussed in their summits since the early 2010s, the BRICS countries are bound to focus on trading physical gold.
Markets such as COMEX actually trade derivatives on gold, and are backed by an insignificant amount of physical gold. Major BRICS gold producers – especially the Russia-China partnership – plan to be able to exercise extra influence in setting up global gold prices.
The ultimate politically charged dossier
Intractable questions referring to the US dollar as the top reserve currency have been discussed at the highest levels of JP Morgan for at least five years now. There cannot be a more politically charged dossier. The NSS duly sidestepped it.
The current state of play is still all about the petrodollar system; since last year, what used to be a key, “secret” informal deal between the US and the House of Saud, is firmly in the public domain.
Even warriors in the Hindu Kush may now be aware of how oil and virtually all commodities must be traded in US dollars, and how these petrodollars are recycled into US Treasuries. Through this mechanism, Washington has accumulated an astonishing $20 trillion in debt – and counting.
Did the Obama administration launch an investigation into the Trump campaign based solely off of unverified political opposition research? And was that “research” dressed up and given more credibility than it should have? It appears that way based on an investigation of open-source information by Tablet.
The outlet’s investigation begins with a June 24, 2017, Facebook post by Mary Jacoby, the wife of Glenn Simpson, the former Wall Street Journal reporter who started Fusion GPS, the firm behind the dossier.
Jacoby, a former Wall Street Journal reporter who once shared bylines with Simpson, bragged how her husband was not getting the credit he deserved for the dossier.
“It’s come to my attention that some people still don’t realize what Glenn’s role was in exposing Putin’s control of Donald Trump,” she wrote on Facebook. “Let’s be clear. Glenn conducted the investigation. Glenn hired Chris Steele. Chris Steele worked for Glenn.”
Until this day, the dossier is often referred to as the “Steele dossier,” named after the former British spy Christopher Steele who is believed to have authored the document.
Steele’s background has been used by collusion-believers to argue that the document is credible. But Jacoby’s post suggests that Steele might not have played as big of a role in the dossier as he is given credit.
Indeed, Fusion GPS hiring of Nellie Ohr — the wife of senior Justice Department official Bruce Ohr — also shows that Steele’s role in producing the dossier may be exaggerated. Ohr is a Stanford Ph.D. whose expertise is Russia and she appears to be fluent in Russian. She may have conducted interviews or written parts of the dossier.
The dossier, however, only has Steele’s name on it — helping to credential the research as an “intelligence product.”
Tablet also took a look at Simpson and Jacoby’s work for the WSJ. In April 2007 — in the lead-up to the 2008 election — they co-wrote a story about Republican links to Russians.
In that story, titled “How Lobbyists Help Ex-Soviets Woo Washington,” they detail how prominent Republicans helped open doors for “Kremlin-affiliated oligarchs and other friends of Vladimir Putin.”
They reported on Viktor Yanukovich, who had paid political fixer Paul Manafort to introduce Yanukovich to powerful Washington, DC, figures. They later reported on May 14, 2008, that Manafort’s lobbying firm was escorting Yanukovich around Washington. Yanukovich would later become president of Ukraine in 2010.
Tablet explains how their reporting may have been the origins of the Trump dossier:
So when the Trump campaign named Paul Manafort as its campaign convention manager on March 28, 2016, you can bet that Simpson and Jacoby’s eyes lit up. And as it happened, at the exact same time that Trump hired Manafort, Fusion GPS was in negotiations with Perkins Coie, the law firm representing the Clinton campaign and the DNC, to see if there was interest in the firm continuing the opposition research on the Trump campaign they had started for the Washington Free Beacon. In addition to whatever sales pitch Simpson might have offered about Manafort, the Clinton campaign had independent reason to believe that research into Manafort’s connections might pay some real political dividends: A Democratic consultant and Ukrainian-American activist named Alexandra Chalupa, told the Clinton campaign about Manafort’s work for Yanukovich. “I flagged for the DNC the significance of his hire,” Chalupa told CNN in July of this year.
Perkins Coie hired Fusion GPS in April, shortly after Trump hired Manafort.
Manafort’s role now allowed Simpson to highlight corruption that he already knew to exist, from his reporting. A line from the dossier states:
Ex-Ukrainian President YANUKOVYCH confides directly to PUTIN that he authorised (sic) kick-back payments to MANAFORT, as alleged in western media … Assures Russian President however there is no documentary evidence/trail.
Tablet notes that Special Counsel Robert Mueller would later find corruption by Manafort related to money laundering (before he joined the Trump campaign). It also points out that Tony Podesta — Hillary Clinton campaign manager John Podesta’s brother — worked for Manafort at the time he represented Yanukovich. (The Podesta Group disbanded this year after those connections were made public, and the special counsel is reportedly investigating Podesta too.)
NYC residents are shocked to find out they actually support Trump’s tax cuts
Filmmaker and writer Ami Horowitz hit the streets of New York City to trick liberals into sharing their true feelings about the recently passed GOP tax bill by telling them it is Bernie Sanders’ tax plan.
Horowitz first asks people what they think of Trump’s tax plan and they all have something negative to say about the bill.
“I’m going to be honest with you, I feel like this is just another excuse for rich people to get a break on having to pay taxes like the rest of us hardworking people have to pay,” said one man.
The liberal talking point that the bill will hurt the middle class is the most common answer, one woman saying, “It doesn’t have much stuff in it for the middle-class, working Americans,” and another man said, “Seems like the middle class is going to get hit pretty hard here.”
After getting a feel for the public’s views on Trump’s bill, Horowitz introduces “Bernie’s competing plan,” which is actually the GOP plan.
When given the facts about the “Bernie” tax plan, such as a majority of families of four not having to pay any taxes at all, doubling the child tax credit from $1,000 to $2,000, lowering corporate taxes and keeping the Obama-era tax credits for clean energy, every single interviewee responded positively.
After Horowitz dropped the bombshell on the New Yorker’s and told them the “Bernie tax plan” was really Trump’s, they all agreed to give the GOP plan another look.
Referring to media silence on the positives of the bill, one man asked, “Why aren’t they showcasing those aspects of it then?”
Considering the remarkable change in public opinion once people are shown the facts, the answer is they should be.
One of the complications of a major disaster event taking place (with or without warning) is not having supplies and equipment before the event takes place. In line with this dearth is the shortage of preparations for members of the family who live in other locations who may wish to band together. I’m going to propose a solution here that is slightly “unconventional,” so try to remove your mind from the constructs imposed upon it by your entire life spent from the army of skeptics and closed-minded establishment mindsets.
The imposition is that we all are channeled to live in “cookie-cutter” houses, plopped down akin to so many Hershey kisses in a row: identical construction in an approved, regulated, homeowner’s association-sanctioned manner.
We’re referring to the end of the society, and if you’re a multi-millionaire and you want a house for each member of the family retreating to your location, more power to you. We do what we can in life, and do the best we can. In the absence of millions, there is another route. Let’s go over the basics first.
The principle is for all the family members (and anyone close to that family) having a place to meet up and reside together when it all falls apart. From a logistics perspective, unless you have a gigantic manorial-type residence, your space and resources will be stretched thin. What I propose here are sheds…cabins, if you prefer. You can build them yourself or you can buy them.
Once again, much of this is going to depend on the geographic location you reside, and the social and legal impositions placed upon you. Only you know them. Armies of bureaucrats who want to tax you into insolvency are behind the hordes of conformists (commonly labeled as homeowners’ associations) and “friendly” neighbors who wish to impose their wills upon you.
To succeed in this endeavor, you’re going to need to have a tight family that will help one another, even if many live in different states with their immediate families. You can stick-build these sheds out of plywood and lumber, roof them with steel roofs, insulate them, and throw them up on top of footers to prevent them from becoming “permanent structures” and taxed by your happy community.
Each shed can be fitted with an aperture to run a stovepipe to the outside, and the stove and pipe can be placed into each cabin/shed. Each shed can contain several mattresses and sets of linen and blankets, as well as bed frames. You can place into the sheds a few folding chairs and tables, and a cupboard or two. To the untrained eye, it will all appear to be storage. And add to the camouflage! Place some tools and supplies in each one…different stuff…that can easily be removed if need be. Give the appearance of storage sheds. Then your family members can arrive and set up shop.
If you have, for example, two brothers and a sister…then each family group can use a shed or double up with two families to a shed. To be on the safe side, as many family groups as possible should set up sheds on their own property to enable the whole family to flee to their property if the need arises. Situations change, and what may be the optimal location today may not be when everything occurs. By duplicating this “template,” you up the chances to enable your family to have a retreat in at least one safe area.
At least, that’s how the bullion bank traders must be thinking. Ahead of the Fed’s quarter-point rise in the Fed funds rate, they spooked the longs out of their positions to close their shorts, profitably. Nice bonuses all round.
This is the third time in succession this year-end ploy has worked. Our headline chart tells us that silver has been extremely profitable for the bullion banks, gold less so perhaps, but given the trading opportunities taken during the year, it has been pretty good on balance.
This week, gold rose $12 from last Friday’s close by early morning trade in Europe this morning (Friday) to $1268, and silver 12 cents to $16.20. Pre-Christmas trade has been subdued. Over the year, the dollar price of gold is up 10.4% from January 1, and silver is up a miserly 1.26%. However, this is mostly down to dollar weakness, with gold performing not nearly so well measured against other currencies, as our next chart shows.
In Japanese yen, gold is up 5.9%, in sterling 1.6%, and in euros down 2.3%. For the retail investment market, it has been a boring year, and it’s hardly surprising that the punters have had more excitement in cryptocurrencies. In Chinese yuan, gold is up barely 1% and in Indian rupees its lost 0.7%, yet physical demand from these countries continues apace. Holders of silver bullion in these currencies are faced with net losses.
Our third chart shows how the swap dealers on Comex have closed their net gold positions.
On 12 December, the swaps (as proxy for the bullion banks) in aggregate were net long 12,278 gold contracts (the red line), and it’s quite likely their books are level on other OTC derivative markets, or perhaps even net long as well. This is necessary for their trading strategy going into 2018, when shortages of physical bullion, and/or weakness in the dollar, might begin to drive the price. In silver, swaps are net long 8,877 contracts.
For the bullion banks trading on Comex ,it has been a good jobbing market. They are now in a position to run prices up, probably quite rapidly to avoid getting too short. In silver, the managed money category is net short, and outright shorts are over 50,000 contracts, representing one third of annual mine output. In gold, money managers are still net long 76,226 contracts, so the potential for a bear squeeze is not so marked as it is in silver.
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