Thursday, April 9, 2020

LYNETTE ZANG: BARTERING EGGS & TOILET PAPER vs GOLD/SILVER/BTC

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from Rachel L. McIntosh:

 

 

 

 

Here’s what to expect from next week’s BRICS summit

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by Adam Garrie, The Duran:

The BRICS summit in Xiamen which begins on the 3rd of September presents the wider world with a cohesive trade strategy over which China and Russia are taking the lead.

Next week’s BRICS meeting is set to discuss options for creating new customs cooperation initiatives which could pave the way for integration between the BRICS, the Eurasian Economic Union and the overarching goals of One Belt–One Road.

Russia which is a core member of both organisations currently operates a customs union within the single market of the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), a bloc which includes Armenia, Belarus, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan and Russia. Indonesia has recently been in talks to either join the EAEU or develop a customs deal with the bloc.

While the EAEU is comprised of states with historic ties to the Russian Empire and Soviet Union, the BRICS is bloc focused on economic, monetary, trade and political cooperation between the leading economies of the so-called multi-polar world. BRICS members Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa represent the major hubs across several continents.

According to Russian Presidential aid Yury Ushakov,

“Documents to be signed after the meeting of the business council include an action plan for the BRICS countries on trade and economic cooperation, an action plan for cooperation in innovation, a strategic program for customs cooperation and a memorandum of understanding between the BRICS business council and the New Development Bank”.

This would have the de-facto effect of combining the material and geo-political assets of the BRICS with those of the EAEU, to create a potentially continent wide single-market underpinned by Russia’s membership of both institutions.

In addition to existing members of the BRICS, this year’s summit which begins on Sunday in China will also include the leaders of Egypt, Mexico,Thailand, Guinea and Tajikistan thus opening the possibility for the expansion of a would-be BRICS customs union to the Arab world, South East Asia and addition parts of Central Asia and Africa.

The opportunities implicit in such a product include the following:

–Easing trade regulations across a multitude of inter-dependent growing as well as booming economies.

–Harmonising product regulations across a more cohesive single market

–Easing the ability of investment banks to take advantage of a wide range of opportunities for growth across the world

–Easing the transfer of labour and business representatives across countries which at present have a wide variety of differing visa regulations

–Creating wealth and jobs throughout markets with young and educated labour forces

Most importantly utilising the BRICS in tandem with the EAEU could help to harmonise the trading and customs laws across important areas along China’s One Belt–One Road, the land and maritime trading logistics project through which China seeks to modernise the material mechanisms of world trade across, East Asia, South Asia Asia, Eurasia, East Africa, The Middle East and into Europe.

In this sense the advantages of mutual participants in the BRICS, One Belt–One Road and the EAEU could effectively mean that each body works to utilise its inbuilt strengths to bolster the desired outcome of each which in summary aims for the ever closer cooperation between countries of the wider ‘global east’ and ‘global south’ on trade, monetary policy, freedom of movement and goods, investment, security and political cooperation in the name of the greater collective peace.

According to Shen Yi, deputy director of the Center for BRICS Studies and an associate professor at School of International Relations and Public Affairs, Fudan University in Shanghai,

“The confidence of BRICS nations evolved over the years. Previously, they were all very cautious, especially China. They tried to focus mostly on reshaping the global economic order, specifically regarding to trade and investment. But political and security related agenda topped the proposed topics under discussion at the upcoming summit. It shows the BRICS nations have set their sight on global governance, instead of being limited to economic issues”.

There are of course obstacles to such an ambitious initiatives beyond the obvious efforts it would take to create anything on such a wide global scope.

While Russia and China, the two most powerful members of the BRICS have become key allies, India and Vietnam are two countries which while maintaining good relations with Russia, continue to exercise scepticism towards projects involving China.

In this respect, India is the greater worry. From June until the final week of August, India was involved in an active border dispute with China in the Doklam/Donglang region at the tri-junction of China, India and Bhutan. India claimed that China was building a road on Bhutanese territory which threatened India’s security while China has maintained that India illegally and provocatively moved its troops onto sovereign Chinese territory.

The dispute was at least temporarily resolved when India withdrew its troops on the 28th of August. Since then, China has reasserted its sovereign claims over the region and its right to build roads on that sovereign territory.

Read More @ TheDuran.com

Eric Sprott: THE GREATS ARE BACK! – “It’s Going to SKYROCKET”

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by Eric Sprott, via SilverDoctors:

ERIC SPROTT IS FIRED UP! He says there’s not much left, there are huge unknowns, and the greats are finally back! Eric suggests that ALL INVESTORS DO THIS right about now…

Craig Hemke interviews Eric Sprott on Sprott Money News going into the Labor Day weekend.

Eric is very bullish on gold. He says there are just too many unknowns right now, so the governments and central banks are going to have a difficult time orchestrating the markets from here.

Read More @ SilverDoctors.com

The Southern Poverty Law Center and the Profits of Hate

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by James Corbett, International Forecaster:

Make no mistake: hate makes a great business model for those pretending to fight it.

You might not know them by name, but assuming you have ever seen a talking head on MSCNNBCFOXMSMBS fearmongering about the ever-present danger of “hate” groups that (GASP!) don’t worship the government as the holiest institution on the planet then you know they’re work.

I’m referring to the Southern Poverty Law Center, a “nonprofit legal advocacy organization” that is “dedicated to fighting hate and bigotry and to seeking justice for the most vulnerable members of our society” according to their self-congratulatory PR material. Founded in 1971 by a pair of civil rights lawyers, the SPLC prides itself on its “Hatewatch” and “Hate Map” projects, monitoring the rise of hate groups as they spread hate and hate across America.

Did I mention hate? Because that’s what the SPLC specializes in. Hate, I mean. Or monitoring hate. It’s hard to tell the difference sometimes.

Anyway, if you’re a dedicated listener to The Corbett Report you’ll remember I did a podcast seven years ago exploding the myth of the SPLC as a crusading bunch of civil rights defenders volunteering their services across the South in their thankless pursuit of justice for the poor and downtrodden. In that episode I talked about Mark Potok (the “editor-in-chief of the SPLC’s award-winning, quarterly journal, the Intelligence Report and its investigative reports”), his relentless smearing of anyone and everyone who dares criticize the government (or, more specifically, the Democratic party), and his hatred of those vile conspiracy theorists who actively try to educate (GASP!) the people about the government’s misdeeds. I discussed the fact that the SPLC provides instructors and “training materials” to the Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Law Enforcement Training Centers (presumably so they can better identify and strip the rights from aforementioned conspiracy theorists). And I even discussed the SPLC’s role in planting federal informants in “Elohim City,” the militia enclave that housed the government spook at the center of the OKC conspiracy.

But if you have listened to that episode (or if you do so now), you’ll find that the single most intriguing about the SPLC is their annual revenue and net asset holdings. Citing the most recent data available at that time (2010), I noted that the Center’s 2007 revenue was $44.7 million (on $20.8 million in program expenses) and their 2008 net assets totaled an unimaginable $170 million.

Yes, you read that correctly: $170 million. Not bad for a “nonprofit” legal advocacy group, hey?

But if you think that’s outrageous, just wait till you hear what that number is now. And wait till you hear what they’re doing with it.

In their 2015 declaration (the most recent available to the public), the SPLC admits to $58.2 million in revenue and…(are you ready for it)…a staggering $328.4 million in net assets. That’s right, this “nonprofit” legal advocacy group, this ragtag bunch of civil rights lawyers and anti-hate do-gooders, now has a war chest totaling 1/3 of a billion dollars. To use the internet parlance: WTF?

Keep in mind, a considerable portion of which is raised from aggressive direct mail campaigns aimed at pensioners and those struggling to get by, pulling at their heart strings by pleading financial difficulty in their noble pursuit of ridding the world of hate. As Ken Silverstein noted in a groundbreaking article about the SPLC and its cofounder Morris Dees in Harper’s in 2000:

Any good salesman knows that a products “value” is a highly mutable quality with little relation to actual worth, and Morris Dees-who made millions hawking, by direct mail, such humble commodities as birthday cakes, cookbooks (including Favorite Recipes of American Home Economics Teachers), tractor seat cushions, rat poison, and, in exchange for a mailing list containing 700,000 names, presidential candidate George McGovern-is nothing if not a good salesman. So good in fact that in 1998 the Direct Marketing Association inducted him into its Hall of Fame. “I learned everything I know about hustling from the Baptist Church,” Dees has said. “Spending Sundays on those hard benches listening to the preacher pitch salvation-why, it was like getting a Ph.D. in selling.” Here, Dr. Dees (the letter’s nominal author) masterfully transforms, with a mere flourish of hyperbole, an education kit available “at cost” for $30 on the SPLC website into “a $325 value.”

But lest there be any doubt that Dees and the Center are raising these hundreds of millions of dollars to somehow spend hate out of existence (or something like that?), The Washington Free Beacon just released another bombshell report on the Center’s shady finances. Titled “Southern Poverty Law Center Transfers Millions in Cash to Offshore Entities,” the report finds an interest from the group’s 2014 tax filing. To summarize, the SPLC:

  • transferred hundreds of thousands of dollars to a bank account located in the Cayman Islands.
  • transferred hundreds of thousands of dollars to unknown foreign entities (going by descriptive names like “BPV-III Cayman X Limited”).
  • transferred a total of $4.4 million in two separate transactions to two foreign entities sharing the same address in the Cayman Islands in 2015.
  • declared “financial interests” in the Cayman Islands, British Virgin Islands, and Bermuda (with no further details given).

This is not just odd behavior for a nonprofit civil rights litigation firm in the US, it’s downright inexplicable.

“Tax experts” contacted by the Beacon for the story were uniform in their expressions of bafflement. “It seems extremely unusual for a ‘501(c)(3)’ concentrating upon reducing poverty in the American South to have multiple bank accounts in tax haven nations,” said one. “I am stunned to learn of transfers of millions to offshore bank accounts,” said another. “It is a huge red flag and would have been completely unacceptable to any wealthy, responsible, experienced board member who was committed to a charitable mission who I ever worked with.”

Read More @ InternationalForecaster.com

A Discussion on “Bugging Out”, by Max Alexander

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by Max Alexander, Survival Blog:

Let’s have a discussion today about “bugging out”. This is in fact a huge topic and often discussed across the prepper-sphere. There are many aspects to this and a detailed discussion, including the debate about “to stay or to go” is written up in “Contact! A Tactical Manual for Post Collapse Survival. The issues, pros, cons, and mistakes around this are further illustrated in the collapse-novel Patriot Dawn: The Resistance Rises.

Foolhardy Bugging Out On Foot

Given the breadth of the topic, my plan today is to focus on the idea of bugging out on foot with a “never coming back’ mindset. Much has been discussed before about the problems of trying to survive in the woods, or of becoming a refugee, and I think that there are a number of issues with the idea of trying to bug out from your home base carrying a huge load on your back. So much so that I believe the idea of trying to bug out on foot with a huge load is foolhardy. Let us examine why.

None of us know what form and extent a collapse, or event, will take. For the purposes of this post, let us assume that something serious has happened that has us staying in place at a location that is our home base, or retreat location. Thus, we have already gone through the decision making process of an initial “get home” or “bug out” to a retreat, or attempt to stay in the suburbs, et cetera. Related to this is the idea of attempting to use whatever vehicles we have available for any sort of move that we make. We still do not know exactly what will befall us, but our assumption here is that we are now at our prepared location and we are surviving in place.

 

Thus, something will happen that will force us out of that location and into a move on foot scenario to escape. Let us assume for the purposes of this article that the threat displacing us is a determined gang of aggressors who are moving through the area cleaning out survivors. We cannot know the reality until we get there, but we can examine why planning to ruck out with a huge load on our backs is not a good idea.

Basics of Home Defense

The basics of a defense of a home base is to attempt to have patrols and observation posts out that will give you early warning of enemy approach. To do this you need a trained team. This is something that many lack. Worst case, you do not have sufficient security in place and thus you will be taken by surprise. In this case, it may already be too late for you, and you may be fixed in place to die there. If you are defending a house, it is best to do so from outside of that house.

You need to be able to maneuver on the enemy to disrupt their attack, and you should aim to not be fixed in place. Your ability to do that will depend on a function of whether or not you have a trained team, the element of surprise the enemy has, their tactical skill and numbers, and whether or not you were fixed in place by the initial surprise attack. One thing to seriously consider here is what will happen with your non-combatants.

These are your protected personnel, such as children and the elderly, and their guardians/close protection, such as (most likely) wives et cetera (who need to be trained, of course). Given sufficient warning, you could get these people out of the house and move them to an offset location where they could await the results of the fight. If the fight is lost, they could continue the bug out from this rally point “in the woods”. If it is won, they could be collected to return.

Alternatively, you could have a safe room in the house where you move people to as the fight goes on outside. However, if the fight is lost, they will be captured or killed. When you are taken by surprise, you may have no choice but to centralize non-combatants at a location inside the structure, simply because it is now too late to run. If you are caught unaware asleep in the house, a lot will depend on the skill and proximity of the enemy and the terrain at and around your house.

If the enemy has not set up the attack well, then you may have both time and space to bug out to a nearby rally point. However, you need to be sure that if they move out, for example, of the back door, that the enemy does not have that covered by fire, for example by an assault or support by fire group. Thus, there is a lot to be said for having a rehearsed tactical contingency plan and to make efforts to not be taken by surprise.

Family and Non-Combatants

This raises the next point, that of family and non-combatants. Much is talked about bugging out with huge rucks. To where? You will need resupply at some point anyway, unless you have a specific place to go. And are we all single men doing this? Or a young fit couple? Who is carrying the rucks for the kids? You need to do the planning to move this beyond a survivalist fantasy.

I have written much on the need to ensure that you do not carry too much gear and that you carry the right gear to be able to effectively maneuver under enemy fire. You can find the rest of the links in this first link here: “Gear: The MVT Lite Fight Concept.” If you are bugging out on foot because you have been forced out, this may well be a break contact under enemy fire, then the last thing you want to do is carry too much gear. And, the rest of the group? And what if you have to carry kids at times? This also goes to the level of physical fitness you have, and it ties back in to the use of vehicles, maybe UTV/ATV, as written in the linked articles on gear. You may actually have vehicles and gear stashed out at that rally point in case you need to bug out.

Be sure that it falls under your security plan, and you have an alternative in case that is where the enemy comes from that day. You cannot assume an enemy will always be dumb and will come up your driveway. Do not underestimate the enemy, and try to think like they would, if they were conducting a raid on your house. For that, of course, you need to be tactically trained to understand that process.

Yes, it may simply be the worst case time and you have just been forced out. If that happens, however, what guarantee do you have that you will even be able to get all that gear? Yes, you must retain the flexibility of mind and option to ensure that you do not die in place, simply because all your eggs are in one basket with that pile of dried food and prepper supplies. But if you do bug out with that ruck, where to, and where is that resupply coming from once you eat the rations you packed?

Planning Options

So let us look at a few planning options:

  1. It is true that where most of us live, we do not live in a wilderness vacuum. The more of a wilderness you live in, of course, the less likely this will be to happen to you anyway. Suffice to say, there are hundreds of buildings and structures out there, and who knows what the situation with habitation will be if this sort of crisis is ongoing. Thus, there are shelter options if you conduct a prudent check/clearance of the place before walking up to it. Of course, this may even consist of a friendly neighbor option, who you planned a mutual bug-to plan with. This will help with the reality of the situation where you are not likely to be wearing 120lbs of gear and will more likely be dressed in your Lite Fight Concept, having conducted a fighting withdrawal, or at least one in haste with sufficient warning of the approaching threat.
  2. Caches: a few points on these. This is a way of establishing supply on a planned evacuation route. You do of course need to ensure that they are put in places where they will still be there when you need them, and they not controlled by others. So on what land? This can be problematic. Another way to look at this is to have close-in caches collocated at your primary and alternate close rally-points. This will allow those bugging out of the house in a hurry to equip, and fighters meeting up with them there before the bug-out to resupply with ammunition, food, and water. This will help if the enemy had surprise and caught you with your pants down. Such a proximity cache needs to be hidden but easily accessible. You could also use neighboring houses at sufficient distance, in a mutual bug-to support agreement if you had good relations with them in the collapse environment.
  3. Consider that you may not bug-out at all. You may simply bug-to a nearby rally point or neighbor and then re-take the house. How this works exactly depends on the enemy and their intent. If it is a quick raid, then they may be ransacking and leaving, or maybe staying a night and moving on. If you are out there at a rally point at sufficient distance to avoid any patrols they may put out, you can get eyes-on via an observation post and move back in. You may also decide to retake the house by force, which could take the form of a counter attack, if you have sufficient trained personnel, or simply harassing by fire, depending on the enemy and what you think their reaction might be. You may not want them chasing you into the woods in large numbers. Alternatively, you could set up an ambush on the egress from your house, and kill them as they leave in their vehicles. Many options there. The key thing is what you are planning if you do move back into a ransacked house, maybe even burned down. This is where close-in caches would have utility to ensure the enemy does not get all your supplies. At this time you can assess the situation and decide whether to stay or collect gear and equipment and then follow a bug-out plan.
  4. Vehicles: It makes sense to use vehicles any time you can, if you are tactically able. Even if you cannot use cars on roads due to the situation, any bug-out plan would be better if you could include some sort of all-terrain vehicles in it. This is true both for logistics and also the carriage of personnel.

Review

In summary here:

  • Be tactically trained, physically fit, and with a team.
  • Do not plan to carry too much gear.
  • Ensure that you are not taken by surprise.
  • Ensure you are not fixed mentally or physically in place and do not die in place as a result.
  • Defend by maneuver outside of any building you are defending.
  • If you have to bug out, consider your options and plan in advance to avoid ending up in the woods for any more than a short period of time.
  • Consider the use of pre-positioning supplies, including options on all-terrain vehicles,  to support either an extraction, or a temporary stay out at a rally point before moving back into the house.
  • If there is no option other than to continue the bug out, by pre-positioning/caching you will have additional supplies, equipment, and vehicles to support a more survivable bug-out.
  • You must plan for non-combatants, such as children and the elderly, and avoid thinking this is just a man’s game with single guys bugging out into the woods to live there indefinitely.
  • If you have network in the areas via community, you may be able to establish a mutual support bug-to plan to temporarily move to the houses of others. This may also work to centralize at one location while an enemy threat is known to be in the area, for better defense of a single location.
  • Most of us do not live in true wilderness, and there are many structures and resources out there that can be utilized for shelter and survival.

Read More @ SurvivalBlog.com

Antifa is Playing Right Into the Hands of a Burgeoning Police State

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by Michael Krieger, Liberty Blitzkrieg:

Many people involved in politics swear by the notion that “the ends justify the means,” which is typically the sign of a self-serving actor attempting to justify questionable if not downright evil action in order to get what he or she wants. While pursuit of “the greater good” is often put up for public consumption, the driving force behind this sort of action is almost always personal gain of some sort. This is what most politicians do for a living, which is why they are justifiably hated by the general public.

The moment you justify one very wrong action to achieve a noble goal, what’s to stop you from next even more unethical action, or the next and the next? Nothing. This is what’s so dangerous about going down such a path. Indeed, those who fight monsters often end up becoming the exact thing they claim to be fighting. The world doesn’t benefit from this, only the person who has gained power as a result does, at least superficially. Ultimately, even that person doesn’t benefit when all is said and done. A person who attains their goal by sacrificing principles is a tormented, miserable person. They may seem to “have it all” from the outside, but deep down they hate themselves and what they’ve become. There is no peace. I believe karma eventually catches up to everybody one way or the other.

– From May’s post: Do Ends Justify the Means?

One of the primary motivating factors that drove me to start writing publicly on a daily basis, was a recognition that the chaos and cultural lack of cohesion resulting from the thievery of the financial crisis and the increasingly corrupt, socioeconomic paradigm we live under would provide the pretext for “the state,” whether governed by a Democrat or Republican, to further dismantle civil liberties and usher in a country increasingly defined by less freedom. This was a motivating concern under Obama and it remains a motivating concern under Trump.

As I’ve warned repeatedly over the years, at some point the “war on terror” would be brought home to the good ol’ USA, with all enemies suddenly being labeled domestic terrorists. This is happening right now, thanks in large part to all the media hysteria about antifa and neo-Nazis.

Personally, I try to keep things simple and think it’d be wise if others did did the same for the sake of our future. I believe offensive violence is almost never justified, while self-defense almost always is. The purported objective of any group is irrelevant. The worst tyrants in the world always claim to be working for “the people” as they lock people up in gulags or concentration camps to torture and kill them. Ends don’t justify the means. The means are everything.

The reason I’m writing this post is to demonstrate that antifa is playing right into the hands of those who wish to further the objectives of a burgeoning police state. They provide fuel for unconscious people on the other side of the political spectrum who see their thuggishness and then squeal to the government to “do something about it.” If I didn’t know better, I’d assume antifa were probably a bunch of deep state operatives trying to convince the groveling public to cry out for a strong hand government solution. Since I have no evidence to back this up, I’ll just go ahead and call them useful idiots.

Importantly, it’s not just those dressing up like ninjas punching people for wearing polo shirts who are the only useful idiots. Those on the “right” begging the government to call them terrorists are just as foolish. As I tweeted yesterday:

For more on that angle, see my recent article titled: Stop Asking the Federal Government to Label Groups You Dislike ‘Terrorists.’

Unfortunately, it seems this train has already left the station. The results for those of us who love freedom might not be pretty.

As Politico reported earlier today:

Federal authorities have been warning state and local officials since early 2016 that leftist extremists known as “antifa” had become increasingly confrontational and dangerous, so much so that the Department of Homeland Security formally classified their activities as “domestic terrorist violence,” according to interviews and confidential law enforcement documents obtained by POLITICO.

Since well before the Aug. 12 rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, turned deadly, DHS has been issuing warnings about the growing likelihood of lethal violence between the left-wing anarchists and right-wing white supremacist and nationalist groups.

Previously unreported documents disclose that by April 2016, authorities believed that “anarchist extremists” were the primary instigators of violence at public rallies against a range of targets. They were blamed by authorities for attacks on the police, government and political institutions, along with symbols of “the capitalist system,” racism, social injustice and fascism, according to a confidential 2016 joint intelligence assessment by DHS and the FBI.

Those reports appear to bolster Trump’s insistence that extremists on the left bore some blame for the clashes in Charlottesville and represent a “problem” nationally. But they also reflect the extent that his own political movement has spurred the violent backlash.

“It was in that period [as the Trump campaign emerged] that we really became aware of them,” said one senior law enforcement official tracking domestic extremists in a state that has become a front line in clashes between the groups. “These antifa guys were showing up with weapons, shields and bike helmets and just beating the shit out of people. … They’re using Molotov cocktails, they’re starting fires, they’re throwing bombs and smashing windows.”

Almost immediately, the right-wing targets of the antifa attacks began fighting back, bringing more and larger weapons and launching unprovoked attacks of their own, the documents and interviews show. And the extremists on both sides have been using the confrontations, especially since Charlottesville, to recruit unprecedented numbers of new members, raise money and threaten more confrontations, they say.

The way to stop this is actually pretty simple. Don’t get sucked in. Don’t pick “a side,” and don’t pressure others to do so. It’s just gang warfare and it won’t lead to anything good.

Moreover, we must denounce offensive violence as a political tactic and marginalize those who advocate it. 90{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528} of people don’t want anything to do with street violence irrespective of how much you despise the system, and believe me, I despise it. Don’t give into the negative energy. Negative energy creates negative outcomes.

Read More @ LibertyBlitzkrieg.com

Doug Casey on the World’s Biggest Revolution

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by Justin Splitter, Casey Research:

Justin’s note: South Korea just made history.

Two weeks ago, it introduced a “robot tax.” It became the first country to adopt this policy.

Now, to be fair, this isn’t a tax at all. But it will make it more expensive for South Korean companies to invest in technology. Under the current law, South Korean companies can deduct up to 7{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528} of how much money they spend on automation equipment or robots. But soon they’ll only be able to deduct 2{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528} of their investment.

The government hopes this will encourage companies to hire workers instead of buying robots. Below, I talk to Doug Casey about this radical idea…

Justin: Doug, what do you make of this robot tax? Should governments be discouraging companies from investing in innovation?

Doug: It’s incredibly stupid. I’m especially surprised to see the South Koreans be the ones to take the first step in this direction.

South Korea is one of the most technologically advanced countries in the world. It’s much more advanced on a per-capita basis than the United States or any place in Europe. Most of the countries in East Asia—most prominently Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, and most recently China—have been advancing at warp speed for decades. That’s partially because of their social ethos, but mainly because they’re very low-tax, low-regulation jurisdictions—like the US was during its golden age.

So, it’s very disturbing to see the South Koreans moving in this direction.

Justin: Why would they do this? And do you think other countries will follow suit?

Doug: Why indeed? The reasons offered have to do with preventing unemployment, heading off social unrest, and garnering more tax revenue. The real reasons however, in my view, are fear of the unknown and ignorance of economics.

There’s been a lot of talk about taxing robots. The meme is gaining traction with both the talking heads and the hoi polloi. Bill Gates is a big proponent, which further cements his status as being an idiot savant. 

What he wants to do is to not just withdraw the tax benefits for investing in robotic technology, but actually tax robots the way that a human worker would be taxed.

The rationale behind this is that since robots could replace from 15 to 35{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528} of all human jobs within the next ten years, something must be done to slow that trend. And generate tax revenue to put those newly unemployed people on welfare or whatnot.

These people want to slow down the rise of the robots. And taxes will certainly do that by discouraging businesses from investing in them. But what’s even worse, Gates wants to use the income from the tax on robots to increase welfare benefits for the unemployed. Which is especially stupid, because you get the things that you encourage. And when you pay people for not working, or you make it possible for them to not work, that’s exactly what they’re going to do.

So, it’s a very, very bad trend, promoted by Gates, and implemented by the South Koreans.

Justin: Should the government do anything to prevent robots from taking people’s jobs?

Doug: No, there’s absolutely nothing that the government should be doing about this.

What would have happened if government had decided to do something about the rise of the cotton gin during the first Industrial Revolution? Or mechanical weaving machines, which unemployed millions of “cottage industry” spinners and weavers working with primitive foot-powered looms in their shacks? The Bessemer furnace, the steam engine, the railroad, and a thousand other technologies in the first industrial revolution?

In those days, technophobes were known as Luddites; they wanted to destroy the new machines in order to save their unproductive jobs. If they’d succeeded, we’d all still be primitive benighted peasants.

Any government interference withdraws capital from productive areas of the economy, and redirects it to some politically favored parts of the economy. Robots and artificial intelligence (AI) are the friend of the average man; they catapult the average standard of living much higher.

Justin: So, you’re saying the government should just get out of the way?

Doug: The government should withdraw itself not just from robots and artificial intelligence (AI), but from the economy in general. The State is, by its nature, a coercive institution. And coercion of any type should be kept to a minimum in any society. That means the State should be limited to protecting you from domestic coercion with police. Foreign coercion with an army. And facilitating the adjudication of disputes with a court system. In today’s world, however, it does none of those things effectively—but tries to do everything else.

I find it most disturbing that even in today’s world, when much more is known about economics than ever, that people still look at government, which is a coercive force, as something that should involve itself in the economy. It’s very discouraging.

Justin: So, what should people do if the government stays out of this? How can they prepare for the robotics age?

Doug: There’s no question that robots and AI are going to hugely expand. Their power is increasing at the rate of Moore’s Law. In other words, the power of computing is doubling roughly every 18 to 24 months, while the cost halves. This is also true in the areas of biotech, nanotech, and genetic engineering. These technologies are going to fundamentally transform the very nature of life itself.

In a decade or two, robots will be more intelligent, more innovative, and perhaps even more thoughtful than humans. They’re not just going to be the odd-looking mechanical beast that can perform a few parlor tricks like today. Soon, there will be not just mechanical robots, but biological robots. Who knows what will come after that.

We’re really on the cusp of the biggest revolution in world history. I look forward to it. It will cure disease and old age. The avalanche of new wealth that will be created will effectively eliminate poverty. Mankind’s wildest dreams and ambitions can be realized. People who are trying to slow this process down are worse than stupid—they’re criminal.

So, what should you do about it?

The first thing you have to remember is that there’s no need for unemployment in the world. Everybody—myself, you, and all the other seven billion people in the world—have an unlimited desire for goods and services.

So, theoretically, anybody could be able to work 24 hours a day, seven days a week, providing goods and services that other people want. The presence of robots will just make that easier, more efficient and more profitable.

And there are always going to be things that people can do better than robots. Point number one. So, there’s no need to be unemployed.

Justin: What’s the other reason?

Doug: Point number two is that the intelligence of computers and robots is increasing exponentially.

This will liberate people to do things—most of which we haven’t even thought of yet—that they’ll still be able to do better than machines. Years ago, IBM came up with the slogan “Machines should work, people should think.” The world is moving towards that ideal at the speed of Moore’s Law—as long as government, and busybodies like Gates, don’t slow down progress.

Not so long ago you were working 12 hours a day, loading 16 tons of coal in an underground coal mine, just to keep body and soul together; by the time you got home, you were just too tired and didn’t have time to do any creative, productive work. Unless the trend indicated by Bill Gates and the South Koreans continues, in a generation we’ll think of today’s world as being almost as oppressive and backward. Much of the work we do today is “dog work.” Good riddance to it.

I believe the trend to robotics and AI is a very favorable thing from both a humanist and a spiritual point of view. It’s immensely favorable from an economic point of view as well.

The problem—if there is one—is that government will try to use these robots to control the populace. And the military will be the biggest user of these things everywhere. 

So, it’s very dangerous. The movie The Terminator will be much more predictive than previously imagined.

Justin: That’s certainly a threat to consider. But what about the opportunity here? Have you personally invested in any robotics or AI companies?

Doug: No, I haven’t, because although most of the reading that I do is about either science or history, and I’ve got a reasonable theoretical grip on these things, I don’t feel like I have enough personal tactical competence in these areas to decide which company’s going to be a winner. It’s something I might look into more, exactly which companies are actively involved in these areas. Because it might be an excellent place to place some bets. Everybody wants to find the next Apple, Google, or Microsoft.

Read More @ CaseyResearch.com

Michael Pento Exclusive: Gold Sniffing Out Coming Central Bank Failure; $2000+ Per Ounce?

by Mike Gleason, Money Metals:

Welcome to this week’s Market Wrap Podcast, I’m Mike Gleason.

Coming up we’ll hear from Michael Pento of Pento Portfolio Strategies on how the broken window fallacy is now becoming a part of the narrative surrounding the terrible tragedy in the Houston area and also talks about an exciting setup he sees in the gold market and what will be the tipping point. Don’t miss another wonderful interview with Austrian economist and money manager Michael Pento, coming up after this week’s market update.

Precious metals markets enter trading for the month of September with strong upside momentum on the heels of a late summer rally.

On Monday, gold prices broke out above the $1,300 resistance level to new highs for the year. As of this Friday recording gold trades at $1,323 an ounce, up 2.4{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528} on the week. Gold’s gains are being confirmed by the gold mining stocks, which are now putting in their biggest weekly up moves of the summer.

Turning to the white metals, silver shows a weekly gain of 3.3{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528} to bring spot prices to $17.69 an ounce. Platinum poked back above the $1,000 level on Thursday and currently trades at $1,007 an ounce on the heels of this week’s 2.9{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528} advance. Its sister metal palladium is up 3.9{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528} to $966.

Metals markets responded to the carnage inflicted by Hurricane Harvey and the inflationary implications for U.S. fiscal policy.

Lawmakers return to Capitol Hill next Tuesday. They will take up a Harvey aid bill expected to cost tens of billions of dollars. Whether it’s a clean bill or is tied to unrelated pork barrel spending or an increase in the debt limit remains to be seen.

The Treasury Department had said that the debt ceiling must be raised by September 29th. Officials now say that the deadline may move forward by a couple days because of disaster relief spending. These developments will make it more difficult for Freedom Caucus members of Congress to win any spending concessions.

President Donald Trump still intends to push for tax reform. Senate Republicans will be under tremendous pressure to deliver something on that front after they failed spectacularly on Obamacare repeal. Here’s what Trump had to say in a speech earlier this year:

Donald Trump: We need a tax code that is simple, fair, and easy to understand. That means getting rid of the loopholes and complexity that primarily benefit the wealthiest Americans and special interests. Our last major tax re-write was 31 years ago. And I am fully committed to working with Congress to get this job done, and I don’t want to be disappointed by Congress.

The President did get some good news on the economy this week. U.S. GDP growth got revised upward to a better than expected 3{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528}.

Good news is often interpreted by markets as bad news for metals markets. A stronger economy makes the Federal Reserve more likely to tighten monetary policy. But this week, good news was good for stocks, commodities, and precious metals.

The bad news out of Texas may have something to do with that. Given the tremendous financial stresses on millions of families who have either been impacted or flooded out of their homes, the Fed is likely to hold off on any new rate hikes or quantitative tightening for a while. Central bankers don’t want to be perceived as villains for causing rates on mortgages and home improvement loans to rise.

Yet in keeping rates artificially low, central bankers are complicit in inflating asset bubbles to dangerous proportions. The stock market certainly wouldn’t be trading where it is today without Fed stimulus. The sky high costs of health insurance and college tuitions wouldn’t be where they are now, either.

In order to help qualified students pay for the ever-rising costs of higher education, Money Metals Exchange has teamed up with the Sound Money Defense League for a scholarship fund. It is the first gold-backed scholarship of the modern era. We’re setting aside 100 ounces of physical gold for scholarships to outstanding undergraduate and graduate students who display deep understanding of economics and monetary policy.

For 2017, we will be awarding this scholarship to two incoming or current undergraduate students and to two graduate students. First place winners will receive $2,000 each, with runner ups getting $1,000.

Applicants must submit an essay that answers a specific question about free markets and sound money. Essays will be reviewed by a blue ribbon committee of professors, economists, and executives of Money Metals Exchange and the Sound Money Defense League. The application and essay must be submitted by September 30, 2017.

Click HERE to listen.

Read More @ MoneyMetals.com

6 Critical Items That Have Disappeared in the Immediate Aftermath of Hurricane Harvey

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by Tess Pennington, Ready Nutrition:

Before something like Hurricane Harvey, who would’ve imagined the kind of destruction that would literally immobilize a major U.S. metropolitan area for what could potentially be weeks if not months? As of this writing, we’re 72 hours into the aftermath of this major disaster and supplies are already running low.

Amid the images of loss and destruction, hurricane survivors know they must restock provisions to prepare for another week or more of sheltering in place. Now, imagine 6.2 million people trying to stock up at the same time. Panic buying is gripping the affected area and beginning to overload local and regional communities. Ahead of the hurricane making landfall the vast majority of people simply figured that the aftermath would, at most, last a few days. No one ever contemplated that real possibility that this scenario would be the end result or believed they would have to evacuate after the storm hit.

In fact, many have evacuated the city and moved to other Texas towns and now those areas are beginning to exhaust supplies as well. In any disaster, when the needs of the people are strained, frustration can quickly descend into a breakdown. While this is something no one wants to see happen, with a disaster such as this one, it is very easy to see how it can overwhelm government emergency response plans.

In an article explaining the breakdowns that occur after disasters, it was written, “When the needs of the population cannot be met in an allotted time frame, a phenomenon occurs and the mindset shifts in people. They begin to act without thinking and respond to changes in their environment in an emotionally based manner, thus leading to chaos, instability and a breakdown in our social paradigm.”

This is what is to be expected when so many people are hit with a rapid, far from equilibrium event. Keeping up with the desperate and immediate demands of hundreds of thousands of people will undoubtedly be a challenge in and of itself and supply trucks can only do so much, especially with flood water still standing on highway systems. Those living in this aftermath have a long road ahead of them, and knowing which items disappear off the shelves first can help them better prepare and stay on top of their personal supplies.

Just 72 hours after this disaster, here are the five supplies that have become difficult or impossible to find.

Gasoline

Concerns over closed refineries and disrupted pipelines erupted into a full-blown panic run on gasoline across Texas cities. Here’s the crazy thing, the shortages are not just happening in the greater Houston area, but two hundred miles north in Dallas, as well as in the cities of Austin and San Antonio, TX. This panic for gas is so insane that we are seeing gas lines that have been likened to the 1970’s.

While state officials are saying, “there is no need to worry,” things are getting real in Texas and whether they want to admit, the situation is beginning to get heated. So much so that reports of fist fights for fuel are popping up.

Water

Clean drinking water, the main staple in any disaster supply, is quickly being purchased faster than they can restock it. If hurricane victims do not have a high-quality water filter, they have to take their chances finding a store that has been restocked. In the flood ravaged areas, critical infrastructure has been damaged making it difficult for trucks to resupply the affected area, thus adding to the panic buying. Desperate residents do not know when this disaster area will normalize, so they want to grab supplies when they can to ensure their family has what they need.

In the city of Beaumont, things have become dire since the city shut off the municipal water supply, leaving 100,000 people with no other option but to hunt for water in surrounding areas. As well, the local hospital had to close its doors out of fear of water contamination, one of many immediate post-disaster threats we discussed in a previous article.

CNN reports that city officials plan to establish a water distribution point on Friday.

Meanwhile, earlier Thursday, residents lined up at stores hours before they opened in hopes of getting whatever bottled water they could find.

Read More @ ReadyNutrition.com

What to Do When Government Money Goes Bad

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by Greg Wilson, International Man:

First, they sold their car.

Then, they downsized from a house to a small apartment.

Next, they cut meat from their diets. And now, they skip meals to ensure survival.

This is the story of Vanessa Posada and her husband Adolfo.

They live in Venezuela. And their money simply doesn’t go that far anymore.

Falling oil prices have sent the economy into free fall. Per experts, the inflation rate is 720{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528} and rising.

And today, an estimated 93{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528} of Venezuelans don’t have enough money to buy food.

It’s a sad story… especially considering that Vanessa did everything right.

She completed her university studies. Then she got a job as a schoolteacher. And she later got married and had a child.

But that’s not enough to save her from government money gone bad.

Consider that at the beginning of 2014, one Venezuelan bolivar equaled roughly 16 cents. Today, that bolivar will supposedly get you just 10 cents – a 38{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528} decrease.

But that’s the official rate… the one no one pays attention to.

Today, one bolivar will actually get you just 0.000625 cents.

Put another way, at the beginning of 2014, you needed 6.25 bolivars to get $1. Today, using the black-market rate, you need 16,000 bolivars to get that same $1.

That means Vanessa’s bolivars are worth 99{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528} less than just three years ago.

This story shows how governments can inflate a currency away. And it can leave those using that currency in a dire situation.

There’s a way Vanessa could have protected herself from government-driven inflation.

I’ll show you that in a moment. But first, don’t think it can’t happen to you.

Government Money: It’s Not Really Your Money

Venezuela is an extreme case. Folks tend to dismiss it. They think it can’t happen in their country.

But there’s no shortage of extraordinary situations going on in developed economies, too.

Take Switzerland, for example.

So far in 2017, Swiss banks have paid $1 billion just for the privilege of holding their deposits with the country’s central bank.

It’s called negative interest rate policy (NIRP). It’s an unorthodox policy designed to stoke inflation.

Swiss banks are so worried about getting their cash back, they’re willing to take less of it in the future.

If you think that’s backward, you’re right.

Ten years ago, no one even thought this was possible.

What ever happened to earning interest?

And just last month, the European Union let slip that it would freeze bank accounts if there’s a bank run.

A person familiar with the German government’s thinking recently told Reuters, “The desire is to prevent a bank run, so that when a bank is in a critical situation it is not pushed over the edge.”

The European Union wants to help failing lenders. It wants to keep banks solvent.

The only problem: It wants to use your money to do it.

The worst part is that it would be an ex parte procedure. That means without YOUR knowledge.

Per the European Commission, this would have a “surprise effect” and reduce the chance of you moving your money elsewhere.

Should this happen, we’d once again see the value of currencies inflated away.

So if you can’t trust government money, what can you trust?

Getting Out of Government Money

The solution is simple: cryptocurrencies. And the best place to start is bitcoin.

Here’s why…

You need to find a way to protect yourself so that you’re not relying solely on vulnerable paper currency.

Bitcoin isn’t owned by any government or any bank. And it has a fixed supply.

Politicians and economists can’t inflate it away.

It’s just better money.

The world is waking up to this fact. And as it does, we’re going to see capital flow out of the old, corrupt government systems and into cryptocurrencies.

In fact, it’s already happening. Just look at the chart below.

As you can see, money is flowing into the future – bitcoin.

At the start of the year, bitcoin’s market cap stood at $15.6 billion. At writing, it’s just over $70 billion – a 381{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528} rise.

The trend is just getting started.

It’s time to get one foot in the door, and protect yourself in the process.

Read More @ InternationalMan.com