Post-Coup Ukraine – How Three Oligarchs Looted 100s Of Millions From the Country

Three Ukrainian oligarchs traded part of around $1.5bn in illicit assets traced to cronies of former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich, an exclusive investigation by Al Jazeera revealed on Sunday. They did so as the war-torn country struggled to return suspected misappropriated funds to its coffers.

An unsigned contract obtained by Al Jazeera’s Investigative Unit identifies Alexander Onyschenko – the gas tycoon, former member of parliament and currently one of Ukraine’s most-wanted men – and Pavel Fuchs, a real estate tycoon who made his fortune in Moscow, as the buyers in the illegal deal.

Other documents suggest the seller was Serhiy Kurchenko – a fugitive Ukrainian gas tycoon based in Moscow who was known as Yanukovich’s “family wallet”.

The contract obtained by Al Jazeera, revealed in The Oligarchs investigation, said Onyschenko and Fuchs paid $30m, including cash and a private jet, for the Cyprus-based company, Quickpace Limited.

That company held $160m-worth of bonds and cash, which was frozen by a Ukrainian judge as they were suspected of being proceeds of crime.

The findings were “unbelievable”, said Daria Kaleniuk, executive director of the Anti-Corruption Action Centre (ANTAC).

“It sounds like an agreement between criminal bosses, you know? You can sign it with your blood.”

It is illegal in Ukraine and abroad to trade with frozen assets.

“The whole idea is I’ve frozen the asset because I think it’s the proceeds of crime,” said Jon Benton, former director of the International Corruption Unit at Britain’s National Crime Agency.

“It’s like trading in stolen goods that have been taken by the police. You’re putting the cash in the getaway car,” he told Al Jazeera.

The buyers aim to make a $130m profit by persuading a judge to unfreeze the assets.

Article 4.4 of the contract said that the buyers would cooperate in “taking action to remove the arrest from the accounts” held by Quickpace Limited.

Looted state

Ukrainian authorities froze the assets in June 2014 across numerous companies in Cyprus, the UK, Panama, Belize and the British Virgin Islands totalling $1.5bn. It is estimated that that Yanukovich and his cronies stole far more.

Evidence found on Yanukovich’s abandoned property hidden outside Kiev showed one of his clan’s corporate networks. Documents obtained by Al Jazeera expose another.

They reveal how Yanukovich’s clan pumped stolen money into companies in Ukraine with bank accounts in Latvia and gradually passed it through dozens of offshore shell companies in Cyprus, Belize, British Virgin Islands and other money-laundering hotspots including the UK.

“The philosophy of money launderers is just to create a situation where the money has moved through so many different companies and so many different countries, in so many different accounts that it would be almost impossible to recreate the trail,” said Bill Browder, chief executive of Hermitage Capital.

Yanukovich’s name never appeared on any of the paperwork.

The companies bear the names of nominee directors – cut-out characters who appear to be the owner of a company, but simply act on instruction by the real owner.

Ukraine’s new authorities started to look into the corrupt schemes after Yanukovich’s removal from office in 2014.

It began a series of reforms that included the establishment of the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU).

But nothing important has been achieved in terms of the prosecution of the corrupt individuals or the recovery of the stolen assets.

“Resistance is very strong from the elites who are in power now and the more we investigate, the more we face this resistance,” Artem Sytnyk, NABU director, told Al Jazeera.

“Parliament is taking steps to sideline the management of the Anti-Corruption Agency and take control.”

Nazar Holodnitsky, Ukraine’s special anti-corruption prosecutor, refused Al Jazeera’s requests for information, saying: “Until this investigation is complete, any comments, assertions regarding the existence or absence of certain documents is premature.”

Onyschenko took the position that there was nothing wrong with buying a company holding frozen assets.
“You can buy cheap and try to fix the problem to make money,” he told Al Jazeera.

Onyschenko confirmed Fuchs’ and Kurchneko’s role in the deal, but denied the deal went ahead.

“It was like normal business, but this has not happened. We didn’t buy.”

However, a Cypriot lawyer and the NABU, who worked on the deal, confirmed the sale of Quickpace went through and company documents record a transfer of ownership to one of Mr Fuchs’s companies.

Al Jazeera obtained a record of an initial payment of $2m from an account at Barclays Bank to another at a Russian-owned Latvian bank, Norvic Banka.

Currently, Quickpace is owned by Evermore Property Holdings Limited, a company based in the British Virgin Islands, which, in turn, is owned by Dorchester International Incorporated. Fuchs is its owner.


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With all the Heavy Metals Going Straight to the Brain, Taking the Flu Shot is Like Taking a Shot to get Alzheimer’s

Is it funny that the government is pushing the flu vaccine even though it’s shown to be completely ineffective against that year’s flu strain?

Is it funny that the state of California that has mandatory vaccinations is currently paralyzed by a public health crisis this flu season?

Unhinged, Part 1: The GOP’s Fiscal Madness

Fragmented States of America

The watchword for 2018 is: UNHINGED!

That refers to Wall Street, Washington, the Dems and the GOP, and all the far and near corners of the planet which are implicated in their collective follies.

The latter begins with the fact that Imperial Washington has become so dysfunctional that the most powerful government on earth can’t seem to keep its doors open for more than a few weeks at a time.

The next continuing resolution (CR) deadline is January 19 and the route thereto resembles nothing less than kick-the-can-alley. It’s strewn with $100 billion of unfunded disaster aid, defense and nondefense sequester caps fixing to be busted by another $100 billion, 700,000 dreamers waiting to be deported, 9 million poor children (CHAPS) facing termination of medical care and millions more ObamaCare recipients who have been promised that cost abatement subsidies to insurance companies will be funded forthwith.

And along with those major bouncing cans are countless more articles of graft and booty cued-up on Capitol Hill looking for a legislative gravy train (i.e. CR) to hop aboard.

Likewise, the casino gamblers on Wall Street complacently attempt to tag another record at 2700 on the S&P 500. Yet that would represent a nosebleed 25X LTM earnings heading into a bond market rout that is certain to result from soaring treasury issuance and the Fed’s impending bond dump-a-thon.

Worse still, the Donald insouciantly unleashes tweet storms about the alleged Trumpian boom when the next recession is statistically just around the corner. After all, the current so-called recovery will pass the existing 118 month record, which occurred under the far more propitious circumstances of the 1990s, in April 2019.

But when it comes to Unhinged, nothing tops the GOP’s disgraceful plunge into fiscal turpitude. The once and former party of fiscal rectitude and a constitutionally required balanced budget has unleashed a torrent of red ink, which under the circumstances, makes Barack Obama’s profligacy pale by comparison.

What we mean is that circumstances matter, and that piling $800 billion of “shovel unready” stimulus on the recession-bloated Federal deficit in 2009 was bad enough. But 108 months on from the Obama Stimulus with the official unemployment rate at 4.1%, a huge discretionary leap into more red ink borders on madness.

Even the most incorrigible Keynesian stimulators have never argued that you inject massive amounts of borrowed money into the economy during the 8th inning of a business expansion. Instead, you are supposed to be shrinking any residual deficit from the last downturn, and, ideally, running a surplus in order to chip-away at the existing debt.

Yet the Trumpian-GOP has thrown every shred of fiscal rectitude to the winds at the absolute worse time in modern history. As we explained last week, the front-loaded tax bill will shrink the revenue base by $280 billion during FY 2019 to just $3.4 trillion.

At the same time, upwards of $200 billion in add-ons for defense, disaster relief, ObamaCare insurance bailouts, border control, veterans and law enforcement will drive spending to nearly $4.6 trillion or 20% above Obama’s outgoing budget of $3.85 trillion (FY 2016).

That’s right. These GOP clowns have left Big Spending Barry in the dust, and that’s before they get around to auctioning off votes for what the Donald is now flogging as a “bipartisan” infrastructure bill.

The latter will add hundreds of billions more to the borrowing tab. That’s because the White House can’t pass an infrastructure bill without a lot of Dem votes, and the latter will demand real pork in the appropriations barrel, not some kind of slight of hand tax-induced mobilization of so-called “private” capital (it’s not “private” when it get mobilized by a tax incentive bribe).

In short, what was already a structural deficit of $700 billion will erupt into new debt issuance of $1.2 trillion—-and perhaps well beyond that figure—-commencing in October. At that very time, of course, the Fed will be dumping old bonds into the market at a $600 billion annual rate.

Yet to our knowledge, there was not a single mention of this pending epic bond market collision during the perfunctory Congressional debt on a bill that had no hearings and had not been read by the overwhelming majority of legislators when it was jammed through on Christmas Eve.

And that’s why we describe the GOP’s fiscal policy—among others—as unhinged rather than merely reckless or hypocritical. That is, Imperial Washington has been house-trained for so long by central bank money printing that it has no clue that it has actually participated in a giant financial fraud.

To wit, the Fed balance sheet at the turn of the century was only $500 billion, meaning that in round terms upwards of $4 trillion of public debt has been monetized during the course of this century. And so doing, the Fed forced the other central banks of the world into aping its policy (or suffer soaring exchange rates), thereby causing even more of Uncle Sam’s massive debt emissions to be sequestered in central bank vaults around the world.

But now even Keynesian central bankers have realized that they must pivot toward interest rate normalization and balance sheet shrinkage (quantitative tightening or QT). Otherwise, they will be caught sucking their thumbs near the zero bound with no balance sheet dry powder when the next recession makes its inevitable appearance.

Moreover, from the Keynesian-statist point of view that would be an absolute political calamity and central bank franchise killer. That’s because the whole monstrosity of contemporary central banking rests on the false proposition that—save for the skillful (and “courageous”) ministrations of central bankers—-capitalism would never recover from recessionary slumps, and that it has some kind of depressionary death wish, to boot.

Needless to say, the GOP doesn’t even recognize the evil of present-day central banking and is so confused on the topic that its “low interest man” in the Oval Office chose an outright Keynesian statist and crony capitalist larcenist, Jerome Powell, as the next Fed Chairman.

Worse still, the Congressional GOP leaders persuaded the clueless Trump to also nominate Professor Marvin Goodfriend, whom House Financial Services Committee Chairman, Jeb Hensarling, described as an “impeccable conservative”.

But for crying out loud, Goodfriend wants to abolish cash (i.e. the ultimate protection from state seizure of wealth through control of bank deposits) so that the Fed can impose negative interest rates during an “emergency” declared by 12 central bankers.

That’s right. This whack job devotee of Milton Friedman wants to confiscate the liquid assets of savers if they fail to borrow and spend at the rate decreed by the monetary politburo in the Eccles Building.

So yes, when it comes to the state’s destructive propensity to borrow and print money, the GOP has simply become: Unhinged!

Worse, they have also become essentially innumerate. For instance, even as they are loading the public debt with another $1.2 trillion or more in the fiscal year just ahead, they have spent the Christmas break bloviating about the growth and jobs which will ostensibly issue from their asinine tax bill, thereby mitigating the added red ink—-if not eliminating it entirely.

Not on your life!

Even if the wallop of borrowed cash injected into the economy during FY 2019 adds a full 1% of extra growth, it would amount to just $190 billion of nominal GDP and therefore a mere $35 billion of incremental revenue. That is, the “reflow” would amount to a rounding error in the context of a $4.6 trillion spending orgy.

To be sure, tax bill apologists would argue just give it time. For instance, an extra point of growth (above CBO’s baseline of 1.7% per annum) for the next four years would result in a nominal GDP gain of $905 billion by FY 2022 and therefore an extra $160 billion of revenue.

Alas, the baseline deficit for that year with the enacted tax bill and the GOP spending spree would otherwise amount to $1.44 trillion. So getting the outyear deficit down to $1.2 trillion with “more time” does not exactly compute to a growth based rescue of the nation’s rapidly unraveling fiscal accounts.

Moreover, it is utterly unreasonable to assume that Washington has that much time in the wake of the jarring bond market collision that it now baked into the cake for the year just ahead. In fact, FY 2022 would constitute months #147-159 of the expansion which incepted in June 2009.

Needless to say, that’s terra incognito from a macroeconomic perspective: A place where the US economy has never been—even during LBJ’s “guns and butter” frolic of the 1960s and Greenspan’s irrationally exuberant technology and dotcom boom of the 1990s.

In this context, we have frequently referenced then Senate Majority Leader Howard Baker’s characterization of the giant Reagan tax cut as a “riverboat gamble”. Yet today’s fiscal and demographic circumstances are so infinitely worse than those of 1981 that the GOP’s current fiscal posture surely constitutes a Riverboat Gamble On Steroids.

Back then, the public debt was just $930 billion or 30% of GDP, the 78-million strong baby boom had not even fully entered the work force yet and Paul Volcker was at the Fed, where he was slamming the breaks on the printing presses—-thereby pegging the 10-year treasury note at 15%.

That is to say, there was running room on Uncle Sam’s relatively pristine balance sheet, an army of strong backs was headed for the job and taxpayer rolls and interest rates had nowhere to got except down—-and big time in that direction after the back of commodity and consumer inflation had been broken.

By contrast, the GOP tax bill and spending spree—when piled on top of the inherited baseline deficits—will result in nearly a $27 trillion public debt by the end of FY 2022 or more than 120% of GDP. And that assumes that the current business cycle does not roll-over from record old age and the crunch of soaring debt yields on an economy saddled with $67 trillion of public and private debt at this very moment.

More importantly, it ignores the demographic-fiscal time bomb of the retiring baby-boom. That is already evident in the projections through FY 2022 when combined spending for baby boomers (including much of Medicaid which goes to the poor elderly and nursing home care) will exceed $2.5 trillion or 63% of total Federal revenues after the GOP tax cut is factored in.

Medicare, Medicaid, and social security spending.png

But that’s not the half of it. By early in the 2030s, the number of OASDI beneficiaries will reach 95 million compared to 60 million at present, and then climb steadily higher into the triple digit millions from there.

In a word, the longer-term fiscal condition of the nation’s baby-boom driven entitlement monster is so forbidding that not a single dime can be responsibly added to the Federal debt—not for tax cuts, defense, Mexican walls, the rescue of people who choose to live in hurricane ally without setting aside their own stormy day funds—or anything else.

So in the face of bond market collision that is imminently pending, a recession that is not far down the road, and a baby-boom/entitlement eruption that is baked into the demographic and statutory cake, the GOP’s current feckless fiscal game plan is truly unhinged.

Moreover, the recent announcement by the Great Fiscal Fake who presides over the US House of Representatives, Paul Ryan, that the GOP will now turn to spending control and welfare reform is truly laughable. The $70 billion extra they are pumping down the Pentagon rat-hole this year is equal to the entire cost of the Food Stamp program and exceeds spending on family assistance by more than 2X.

Indeed, the heart of the $700 billion means-tested “welfare budget” is Medicaid ($430 billion) and the earned income, child care and similar tax credits. But the GOP has already punted entirely on the former during its failed attempt to repeal and replace ObamaCare and it has added tens of billions to the latter in the now enacted tax bill.

The recklessness of it is only surpassed by the bubble-blind casino gamblers and robo-machines, which, oblivious to the fundamentals and inexorable future realities, chase prices higher and higher only because they are going up.

Image result for projected number of social security recipients by 2045

In Part 2, we will consider: The RussiaGate Hysteria of the Dems. It has now become the great skunk in the woodpile that is separating Imperial Washington from even a tenuous connection to the facts, history and common sense realities of the non-existent security threats that result from Russia’s pipsqueak sized economy and midget military budget.

Moreover, the resulting rampant Russophobia means that the War Party is more ensconced in power than ever before. That is to say, the ultimate threat to domestic peace and prosperity is a $1 trillion annual Warfare State budget that is both utterly unnecessary based on the real facts of the world, and which was utterly unaffordable—even before the outbreak of the GOP’s latest bout of fiscal madness.

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About That Cathy Newman / Jordan Peterson Interview

This might be an informative video for anyone that doesn’t understand the whole Jordan Peterson versus Marxist feminism discussion.

The feminist problem with equal treatment is that they are being treated like men.


97% employees who die at work are men (2009-2014 figures)

Russiagate Is Devolving Into an Effort to Stigmatize Dissent

McCabe lied

An amicus brief to a lawsuit filed against Roger Stone and the Trump campaign raises troubling questions over the right to political speech.

 By James Carden
December 28, 2017

Of all the various twists and turns of the year-and-a-half-long national drama known as #Russiagate, the effort to marginalize and stigmatize dissent from the consensus Russia-Trump narrative, particularly by former intelligence and national-security officials and operatives, is among the more alarming.

An invasion-of-privacy lawsuit, filed in July 2017 by a former DNC official and two Democratic donors, alleges that they suffered “significant distress and anxiety and will require lifelong vigilance and expense” because their personal information was exposed as a result of the e-mail hack of the DNC, which, the suit claims, was part of a conspiracy between Roger Stone and the Trump campaign.

According to a report in The New York Times published at the time of the suit’s filing, “Mr. Trump and his political advisers, including Mr. Stone, have repeatedly denied colluding with Russia, and the 44-page complaint, filed on Wednesday in the Federal District Court for the District of Columbia, does not contain any hard evidence that his campaign did.” (Emphasis added.)

In a new development, in early December, 14 former high-ranking US intelligence and national-security officials, including former deputy secretary of state William Burns; former CIA director John Brennan; former director of national intelligence James Clapper; and former ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul (a longtime proponent of democracy promotion, which presumably includes free speech), filed an amicus brief as part of the lawsuit.

The amicus brief purports to explain to the court how Russia deploys “active measures” that seek “to undermine confidence in democratic leaders and institutions; sow discord between the United States and its allies; discredit candidates for office perceived as hostile to the Kremlin; influence public opinion against U.S. military, economic and political programs; and create distrust or confusion over sources of information.”

The former officials portray the amicus brief as an offering of neutral (“Amici submit this brief on behalf of neither party”) expertise (“to offer the Court their broad perspective, informed by careers spent working inside the U.S. government”).

The brief claims that Putin’s Russia has not only “actively spread disinformation online in order to exploit racial, cultural and political divisions across the country” but also “conducted cyber espionage operations…to undermine faith in the U.S. democratic process and, in the general election, influence the results against Secretary Hillary Clinton.”

Much of this has been said before. But where the briefers branch off into new territory is in their attempt to characterize journalism and political speech with which they disagree as acts of subversion on behalf of a foreign power.

According to the 14 former officials, Russia’s active-measure campaign relies “on intermediaries or ‘cut outs’ inside a country,” which are rather broadly defined as “political organizers and activists, academics, journalists, web operators, shell companies, nationalists and militant groups, and prominent pro-Russian businessmen.”

Such “intermediaries” can range from “the unwitting accomplice who is manipulated to act in what he believes is his best interest, to the ideological or economic ally who broadly shares Russian interests, to the knowing agent of influence who is recruited or coerced to directly advance Russian operations and objectives.”

In other words, a Russian “cut out” (or fifth columnist) can be defined as those “activists, academics, journalists, [or] web operators” who dissent from the shared ideology of the 14 signatories of the amicus brief.

In a recent essay for the London Review of Books, the historian Jackson Lears observed that “the religion of the Russian hack depends not on evidence but on ex cathedra pronouncements on the part of authoritative institutions and their overlords.” And this amicus brief is one such pronouncement.

In spite of the brief’s high-flown language (“The threat posed to our democracy by Russian active measures campaigns is serious, ongoing and will require vigilance on the part of the U.S. government and people”), it is little more than yet another effort to stigmatize political speech that questions the necessity of demonizing Russia—political speech, in other words, with which these former high-ranking intelligence and national-security officials surely disagree.

Professor Lears also observed that as regards Russiagate, “In its capacity to exclude dissent, it is like no other formation of mass opinion in my adult life, though it recalls a few dim childhood memories of anti-communist hysteria during the early 1950s.”

That is only too true; indeed, as of this writing, the Russia-Trump collusion narrative is fast devolving into an effort to stigmatize and marginalize expressions of dissent, with the overarching aim of short-circuiting and stifling debate over US-Russia policy.

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Massive Forced Population Changes: Diversity + Proximity = War

Why it doesn’t work for the globalist Euro central government to force sudden, massive populations changes.

The more the government forces inextricable changes to their homeland, traditions and way of life, in the name of “diversity,”  the more Europeans will react with extremism.

The only motive has to be destabilization of civil society to allow for more Euro central government control.

the EU vs. Europe

German Far-Right “Reich Citizens” Organize Militia As Membership Skyrockets Ahead Of “Day X”

A far-right movement of Germans who have labeled themselves “Reich Citizens” (Reichsbürger) has grown to nearly 16,000 members, an increase of more than 50% over the last year – with a core group of armed militia members eyeing their own army to prepare for what they call “Day X,” reports Focus.

Reichsbürger is used as a label for a loosely connected group of Germans who believe that the 1871 borders of the German empire are still in effect and that all of the country’s governments since (and including) the Nazis have been illegitimate, many also subscribe to anti-Semitic ideologies,” according to Deutsche Welle​​​​, which adds “They believe that the current Federal Republic of Germany is a puppet government controlled by the Allied powers of World War II.”

Some members refuse to obey existing laws, pay taxes, and some members have even established their own “mini-kingdoms,” flying custom flags and forging phony passports. To participate in the movement, members must provide “Aryan Proof” of their bloodline up to 1914.

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

Swedish PM: We could “DEPLOY THE ARMY” to tackle gang criminality in Sweden.

This is a serious admission that something is very wrong in Sweden.

Could this be why they sent out leaflets to 4.7 million households warning people what to do in case of war? 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Explaining Our Money System a 14 Month Old

His mother tries to get him to go to bed at 9 p.m. But the little boy’s internal clock is still on Baltimore time; it tells him it is much too early to go to sleep.

Grandpa takes over, drawing out the monetary system like a general spreading a map on a field table. “Here is the enemy,” he says gravely. “They have us completely surrounded. We’re doomed.”

He seems to understand…

…that money is not wealth; it just measures and represents wealth, like the claim ticket on a car in a parking garage.

…that our post-1971 money system is based on fake money that represents no wealth and measures badly.

…that this new money enters the economy as credit… and that the credit industry (Wall Street) has privileged access to it. The working man still has to earn his money, selling his work, by the hour. But Wall Street—and elite borrowers connected to the Establishment—get it without breaking a sweat or watching the clock.

…that a disproportionate share of this new money is concentrated in and around the credit industry—pushing up asset prices, raising salaries and bonuses in the financial sector, and making the rich (those who own financial assets) much richer.

…that this flood of credit helped the middle class raise its living standards, even as earnings stagnated. But it also raised debt levels throughout the economy.

…and that it allowed the average American family to spend American money that Americans never earned and buy products Americans never made…

Instead, Walmart’s shelves were stocked with goods “Made in China.” The middle class lost income as factories, jobs, and earnings moved overseas. Debt stayed at home.

“Okay so far?” we asked James as his eyeballs rolled backward and his breathing slowed.

But one thing must still puzzle him. How did the new dollar actually retard growth?

Maybe it didn’t make people richer… After all, how can you expect to make people better off by giving them fake money?

But how did it make them worse off?

The Ultimate Absurdity

We began with an attack en masse across a broad, philosophical front:

“As you sow, so shall ye reap,” we said. “And when you put a lot of fake money into a society, you end up with a fake economy.”

Just look at Argentina in 2001… or Zimbabwe in 2006… or Venezuela now…

Prices go wild as people try to figure out what the money is really worth. But the economy shrinks.

It was the same way in Germany during the Weimar hyperinflation. People stopped producing. You might have a billion marks in your pocket, but you couldn’t find a bar of soap for sale.

“But wait… I know what you’re thinking…” we imagined James pushing back. “Those are all hyperinflation stories. We don’t have that now. Instead, we have much less inflation… Prices are almost stable.”

Yes… for now. The inflation is in the asset sector… and in credit itself… not in consumer items. But the phenomenon is much the same.

Fake money is giving grossly distorted information to everyone. In Manhattan, we are told that an ordinary apartment is worth $2 million. But in Geneva—where interest rates have turned negative—we are told that $2 million is worth nothing… You will have to pay one of the banks to take it off your hands.

Without honest money, real savings, and true interest rates, businesses and investors have nothing to guide them. They are lost in the woods. Few want to do the hard work, and take the risks, of long-term, capital-heavy ventures. Instead, the focus shifts to speculation, gambling… and playing the game for short-term profits.

What’s more, artificially low interest rates provide fatal misinformation. They tell the world that we have an infinite supply of resources—time, money, energy, and know-how.

Then, without its back to the wall of scarcity, with no need to make careful choices, capitalism becomes reckless and irresponsible with its most valuable resource—capital itself. It is destroyed, wasted, misallocated, and malinvested. Growth rates fall and the world becomes poorer.

James is startled awake. He is disturbed.

“What kind of a world have I been born into…?” he seems to ask.

Editor’s Note: The feds know an epic crisis is brewing. And they want to trap your money before you have time to protect it. They know the coming crisis will hit everything—your portfolio, your bank account… even the cash in your wallet.

Of course, America has seen plenty of crises before. But this time is different. Bill’s team recently put together a book revealing how bad things could get and how you can start preparing yourself today. Learn more here.

Doug Casey on the Coming Financial Crisis

Yellen Says Raise the Rates

Doug Casey was one of earliest authors I read during my awakening. The ideas he laid out were shocking to me at the time, but they were compelling because they made sense after years of accepting ideas that didn’t make sense. …P.D.

Justin’s note: Earlier this year, Fed Chair Janet Yellen explained how she doesn’t think we’ll have another financial crisis “in our lifetimes.” It’s a crazy idea. After all, it feels like the U.S. is long overdue for a major crisis. Below, Doug Casey shares his take on this. It’s one of the most important discussions we’ve had all year.

(If you missed the first two interviews from this series, you can catch up here and here.)

Justin: Doug, I know you disagree with Yellen. But I’m wondering why she would even say this? Has she lost her mind?

Doug: Listening to the silly woman say that made me think we’re truly living in Bizarro World. It’s identical in tone to what stock junkies said in 1999 just before the tech bubble burst. She’s going to go down in history as the modern equivalent of Irving Fisher, who said “we’ve reached a permanent plateau of prosperity,” in 1929, just before the Great Depression started.

I don’t care that some university gave her a Ph.D., and some politicians made her Fed Chair, possibly the second most powerful person in the world. She’s ignorant of economics, ignorant of history, and clearly has no judgment about what she says for the record.

Why would she say such a thing? I guess because since she really believes throwing trillions of dollars at the banking system will create prosperity. It started with the $750 billion bailout at the beginning of the last crisis. They’ve since thrown another $4 trillion at the financial system.

All of that money has flowed into the banking system. So, the banking system has a lot of liquidity at the moment, and she thinks that means the economy is going to be fine.

Justin: Hasn’t all that liquidity made the banking system safer?

Doug: No. The whole banking system is screwed-up and unstable. It’s a gigantic accident waiting to happen.

People forgot that we now have a fractional reserve banking system. It’s very different from a classical banking system. I suspect not one person in 1,000 understands the difference…

Modern banking emerged from the goldsmithing trade of the Middle Ages. Being a goldsmith required a working inventory of precious metal, and managing that inventory profitably required expertise in buying and selling metal and storing it securely. Those capacities segued easily into the business of lending and borrowing gold, which is to say the business of lending and borrowing money.

Most people today are only dimly aware that until the early 1930s, gold coins were used in everyday commerce by the general public. In addition, gold backed most national currencies at a fixed rate of convertibility. Banks were just another business—nothing special. They were distinguished from other enterprises only by the fact they stored, lent, and borrowed gold coins, not as a sideline but as a primary business. Bankers had become goldsmiths without the hammers.

Bank deposits, until quite recently, fell strictly into two classes, depending on the preference of the depositor and the terms offered by banks: time deposits, and demand deposits. Although the distinction between them has been lost in recent years, respecting the difference is a critical element of sound banking practice.

Justin: Can you explain the difference between a time deposit and demand deposit?

Doug: Sure. With a time deposit—a savings account, in essence—a customer contracts to leave his money with the banker for a specified period. In return, he receives a specified fee (interest) for his risk, for his inconvenience, and as consideration for allowing the banker the use of the depositor’s money. The banker, secure in knowing he has a specific amount of gold for a specific amount of time, is able to lend it; he’ll do so at an interest rate high enough to cover expenses (including the interest promised to the depositor), fund a loan-loss reserve, and if all goes according to plan, make a profit.

A time deposit entails a commitment by both parties. The depositor is locked in until the due date. How could a sound banker promise to give a time depositor his money back on demand and without penalty when he’s planning to lend it out?

In the business of accepting time deposits, a banker is a dealer in credit, acting as an intermediary between lenders and borrowers. To avoid loss, bankers customarily preferred to lend on productive assets, whose earnings offered assurance that the borrower could cover the interest as it came due. And they were willing to lend only a fraction of the value of a pledged asset, to ensure a margin of safety for the principal. And only for a limited time—such as against the harvest of a crop or the sale of an inventory. And finally, only to people of known good character—the first line of defense against fraud. Long-term loans were the province of bond syndicators.

That’s time deposits.

Justin: And what about demand deposits?

Doug: Demand deposits were a completely different matter.

Demand deposits were so called because, unlike time deposits, they were payable to the customer on demand. These are the basis of checking accounts. The banker doesn’t pay interest on the money, because he supposedly never has the use of it; to the contrary, he necessarily charged the depositor a fee for:

  1. Assuming the responsibility of keeping the money safe, available for immediate withdrawal, and…
  2. Administering the transfer of the money if the depositor so chooses, by either writing a check or passing along a warehouse receipt that represents the gold on deposit.

An honest banker should no more lend out demand deposit money than Allied Van and Storage should lend out the furniture you’ve paid it to store. The warehouse receipts for gold were called banknotes. When a government issued them, they were called currency. Gold bullion, gold coinage, banknotes, and currency together constituted the society’s supply of transaction media. But its amount was strictly limited by the amount of gold actually available to people.

Sound principles of banking are identical to sound principles of warehousing any kind of merchandise—whether it’s autos, potatoes, or books. Or money. There’s nothing mysterious about sound banking. But banking all over the world has been fundamentally unsound since government-sponsored central banks came to dominate the financial system.

Central banks are a linchpin of today’s world financial system. By purchasing government debt, banks can allow the state—for a while—to finance its activities without taxation. On the surface, this appears to be a “free lunch.” But it’s actually quite pernicious and is the engine of currency debasement.

Central banks may seem like a permanent part of the cosmic landscape, but in fact they are a recent invention. The U.S. Federal Reserve, for instance, didn’t exist before 1913.

Justin: What changed after 1913?

Doug: In the past, when a bank created too much currency out of nothing, people eventually would notice, and a “bank run” would materialize. But when a central bank authorizes all banks to do the same thing, that’s less likely—unless it becomes known that an individual bank has made some really foolish loans.

Central banks were originally justified—especially the creation of the Federal Reserve in the US—as a device for economic stability. The occasional chastisement of imprudent bankers and their foolish customers was an excuse to get government into the banking business. As has happened in so many cases, an occasional and local problem was “solved” by making it systemic and housing it in a national institution. It’s loosely analogous to the way the government handles the problem of forest fires: extinguishing them quickly provides an immediate and visible benefit. But the delayed and forgotten consequence of doing so is that it allows decades of deadwood to accumulate. Now when a fire starts, it can be a once-in-a-century conflagration.

Justin: This isn’t just a problem in the US, either.

Doug: Right. Banking all over the world now operates on a “fractional reserve” system. In our earlier example, our sound banker kept a 100% reserve against demand deposits: he held one ounce of gold in his vault for every one-ounce banknote he issued. And he could only lend the proceeds of time deposits, not demand deposits. A “fractional reserve” system can’t work in a free market; it has to be legislated. And it can’t work where banknotes are redeemable in a commodity, such as gold; the banknotes have to be “legal tender” or strictly paper money that can be created by fiat.

The fractional reserve system is why banking is more profitable than normal businesses. In any industry, rich average returns attract competition, which reduces returns. A banker can lend out a dollar, which a businessman might use to buy a widget. When that seller of the widget re-deposits the dollar, a banker can lend it out at interest again. The good news for the banker is that his earnings are compounded several times over. The bad news is that, because of the pyramided leverage, a default can cascade. In each country, the central bank periodically changes the percentage reserve (theoretically, from 100% down to 0% of deposits) that banks must keep with it, according to how the bureaucrats in charge perceive the state of the economy.

Justin: How can a default cascade under the fractional reserve banking system?

Doug: A bank with, say, $1,000 of capital might take in $20,000 of deposits. With a 10% reserve, it will lend out $19,000—but that money is redeposited in the system. Then 90% of that $19,000 is also lent out, and so forth. Eventually, the commercial bank can create hundreds of thousands of loans. If only a small portion of them default, it will wipe out the original $20,000 of deposits—forget about the bank’s capital.

That’s the essence of the problem. But, in the meantime, before the inevitable happens, the bank is coining money. And all the borrowers are thrilled with having dollars.

Justin: Are there measures in place to prevent bank runs?

Doug: In the US and most other places, protection against runs on banks isn’t provided by sound practices, but by laws. In 1934, to restore confidence in commercial banks, the US government instituted the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) deposit insurance in the amount of $2,500 per depositor per bank, eventually raising coverage to today’s $250,000. In Europe, €100,000 is the amount guaranteed by the state.

FDIC insurance covers about $9.3 trillion of deposits, but the institution has assets of only $25 billion. That’s less than one cent on the dollar. I’ll be surprised if the FDIC doesn’t go bust and need to be recapitalized by the government. That money—many billions—will likely be created out of thin air by selling Treasury debt to the Fed.

The fractional reserve banking system, with all of its unfortunate attributes, is critical to the world’s financial system as it is currently structured. You can plan your life around the fact the world’s governments and central banks will do everything they can to maintain confidence in the financial system. To do so, they must prevent a deflation at all costs. And to do that, they will continue printing up more dollars, pounds, euros, yen, and what-have-you.

Justin: It sounds like the banking system is more fragile than it was a decade ago…not stronger.

Doug: Correct. So, Yellen isn’t just delusional. As I said before, she has no grasp whatsoever of basic economics.

Her comments remind me of what Ben Bernanke said in May 2007.

We believe the effect of the troubles in the subprime sector on the broader housing market will likely be limited, and we do not expect significant spillovers from the subprime market to the rest of the economy or to the financial system.

A few months later, the entire financial system started to unravel. You would have actually lost a fortune if you listened to Bernanke back then.

Justin: I take it investors shouldn’t listen to Yellen, either?

Doug: No. These people are all academics. They don’t have any experience in the real world. They’ve never been in business. They were taught to believe in Keynesian notions. These people have no idea what they’re talking about.

The Fed itself serves no useful purpose. It should be abolished.

But people look up to authority figures, and “experts.” The average guy has other things on his mind.

Justin: So if Yellen’s wrong, what should investors prepare for? How will the coming crisis be different from what we saw in 2007–2008?

Doug: Well, as you know, the Fed has dropped interest rates to near zero. I used to think it was metaphysically impossible for rates to drop below zero. But the European and Japanese central banks have done it.

The other thing they did was create megatons of money out of thin air. This hasn’t just happened in the U.S., either. Central banks around the world have printed up trillions of currency units.

How many more can they print at this point? I guess we’ll find out. Plus, it’s not like these dollars have gone to the retail economy the way they did during the “great inflation” of the ’70s. This time they went straight into the financial system. They’ve created bubbles everywhere.

That’s why the next crisis is going to be far more serious than what we saw a decade ago.

Justin: Is there anything the Fed can do to stop this? What would you do if you were running the Fed?

Doug: I’ve been saying for years that I would abolish the Fed, end the fractional reserve system, and default on the national debt. But would I actually do any of those things? No. I wouldn’t. I pity the poor fool who allows the rotten structure to collapse on his watch. Perish the thought of bringing it down in a controlled demolition.

They would literally crucify the person who did this…even if it was good for the economy in the long run. Which it would be.

So, these people are going to keep doing what they’ve been doing. They’re hoping that, if they kick the can down the road, something magic will happen. Maybe friendly aliens will land on the roof of the White House and cure everything.

Justin: So, they can’t stop what’s coming?

Doug: The whole financial system is on the ragged edge of a collapse at this point.

All these paper currencies all around the world could lose their value together. They’re all based on the dollar quite frankly. None of them are tied to any commodity.

They have no value in and of themselves, aside from being mediums of exchange. They’re all just floating abstractions, based on nothing.

When we exit the eye of this financial hurricane, and go into the storm’s trailing edge, it’s going to be something for the history books written in the future.

Justin: Thanks for taking the time to speak with me about this today, Doug.

Doug: My pleasure.

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UN Agenda 21: Lesson 4: Smart Growth

ALWAYS remember the END GAME that is being sought by folks pushing Agenda 21/2030. The endgame is CONTROL over humans and the Earth’s resources, with the environment being used as the excuse.

UN Agenda 2030

This is the fourth lesson in a series of ten lessons on Agenda 21, commonly known as Sustainable Development.. Today you will learn…

 How Smart Growth Stategies are Used to Control Human Behavior Within the Human Settlement.

One of the goals of Agenda 21 is to re-wild over 50% (plus an additional 10% for buffer zones around the re-wilded areas) of the United States. Out of necessity, this will force the human population off the rural lands and into, using Agenda 21 language, “human settlements”. Once there, the behavior of humans can be more easily monitored and controlled, thus creating, “sustainability”.

Video: Lesson 4

Sustainability, as defined by the 1987 United Nations report is: “development that meets the needs of today without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”.

Using the words of Maurice Strong, who was Secretary of the 1992 U.N. Summit that was held in Rio de Janeiro (See Lesson 1), quote, “the consumption patterns of the affluent middle class-involving high meat intake, use of fossil fuels, appliances, home and work air conditioners, and suburban housing are not sustainable.” Unquote.

In other words, for Agenda 21/Sustainable Development to be fully implemented, Americans must give up the American dream and embrace the life style foisted upon them by the radical leftist Sustainablists.

To create sustainability in the human settlements, there will be rules and regulations to control use of all resources; air, land, water, energy, and all resources underground. These rules are included under the heading of “Smart Growth”.

Smart Growth regulations fall primarily into three categories that are all designed to modify human behavior.

1.  Regulations to discourage travel and the ownership of automobiles.

2.   Regulations that discourage you from having children.

3.    Regulations that will discourage you from using water, land, energy, and the consumption of materials, whether it be toilet paper or materials to build a home.

Here are some of the ways Smart Growth would control life and development in the human settlements. Note that all of these fall into one or more of the three categories discussed above, and that ALL of the items listed below are impacted if energy resources are rationed.

Establishing boundaries around the city and preventing any development outside the perimeter is a Smart Growth tactic. This creates a situation where land inside the human settlement is at a premium, while land outside the boundary has little if any value. This in turn will cause land prices, land taxes, and congestion within the perimeter to increase, but a decrease in the size of homes and number of children. Smaller homes and fewer children will also decrease energy usage.

Another Smart Growth strategy is to not expand the width or length of highways in an attempt to create congestion and an unpleasant driving experience. Allowing bikes to travel on these inadequate highway systems will further force the issue.

Creating rules to prevent the building of garages on new homes will discourage automobile ownership and save on building materials.

The installation of Smart Meters is a particularly contentious Smart Growth issue. Smart Meters can monitor and/or remotely turn off home appliances when the utility company decides the consumer is using too much energy. Further, the radio frequencies given off by these Smart Meters are associated with a variety of health issues.

Restricting the mining, drilling, refining, and/or transporting of fossil fuels will increase the cost curve for electricity, gasoline, natural gas, etc., which will in turn force conservation by the users.

Smart Growth regulations may eliminate from the market place all appliances except those that radically control energy and resources like water and electricity.  Everyone is familiar with low flow toilets which, while they may save on water, often function poorly.

Sometimes when regulations cannot create the desired change, grants and subsidies are used instead. When the government steps in to drive change in this way, the free market is eliminated.

An example of this is how the government has, through subsidies, encouraged the development of alternative energies while applying onerous regulations on the fossil fuel industry. At some point, when the cost of fossil fuels increase enough, and the cost of alternative energy decreases enough, alternative energy will be cost competitive. However, at that point in time, the cost of all energy sources will be artificially high forcing conservation by consumers.

Then again, expensive energy is seen by the proponents of Agenda 21 as a good thing, as shown by this quote from Amory Lovins of the Rocky Mt. Institute.

“It would be little short of disastrous for us to discover a source of clean, cheap, abundant energy, because of what we might do with it.”

Smart Growth policies are also being used to design new road projects. Many of the projects are driven by grants from the federal government sometimes funneled down through Regional Government. One of these projects is called Complete Streets. Below is a paragraph, which can easily be found on the Internet, from the Complete Streets Coalition. It reads…

Creating “Complete Streets” means those transportation agencies must change their approach to community roads. By adopting a “Complete Streets“ policy, communities direct their transportation planners and engineers to routinely design and operate the entire right of way to enable safe access for all users, regardless of age, ability, or mode of transportation. This means that every transportation project will make the street network better and safer for drivers, transit users, pedestrians, and bicyclists – making your town a better place to live.

There are many things about this single paragraph that are concerning.

First, it says that “transportation planners MUST change their approach to community roads.”  Whatever happened to local government control? What happened? Grants happened! The federal government is using your tax dollars to entice the local government to build the infrastructure for future human settlements where walking, bicycling, and mass transit will be the primary modes of transportation.Further, while sidewalks and bicycles may make sense in a populated area, “Complete Streets“ is pushing for sidewalks and bicycles paths in rural areas as well.

The local government may find that, by the time the cost of the bicycle paths and sidewalks are figured against the added grant money, the grant money went mostly to build road features that were unnecessary for rural use, while in exchange the government sold its autonomy for a too narrow road.

Add one final insult! By the time sidewalks and bike paths are added, even to a narrow road, the overall width of the roadbed will have increased, causing homeowners along the length of the project to lose parts of their front yards. This can have a negative impact on their property values.

Food and Fiber Sheds,Woodsheds, and False Choices

Since much of the land in the United States will be off-limits to humans, it will require that humans be limited to procuring that which they need to survive from the land near to the human settlements. But not to fear, the Sustainabilists have this all planned out.

Imagine a shooting target /bullseye with three consecutively smaller rings. The inner ring represents the area populated by humans. The ring that surrounds the inner ring is called the food shed. That is where all the food and fiber for the human settlement should be procured, of course, only through strictly approved and monitored methods of sustainable farming. The outside ring is the woodshed, where certain environmentally friendly human activities can occur. Beyond that lies the re-wilded land containing the buffer zones, cores, and corridors. These are off limit to humans. Travelling from one human settlement to another may incur fines, as the human will have, by passing through an environmentally delicate area, caused some degree of harm to the environment.

The loss of the rural lands for traditional farming, coupled with the design of future high density human settlements and the relatively small area of land around them for the raising of food, could create quite a dilemma for a human settlement that needs food to survive.

An idea being strongly forwarded by the proponents of Agenda 21 to replace traditional farming is vertical farming in multi-storied greenhouses. The claim is that food could be grown year round, isolated from disease and pests, and there would be a reduction in transportation costs.

If given a bit more critical scrutiny, one might ask how would a multi-storied green house be immune to pests and diseases when anyone who has ever raised a house plant knows that, at times, the plants get mites even under the strictest conditions.

One might also wonder, because this technology is a long way from production, if a lot of folks might die of starvation unless the switch-over from traditional farming to vertical farming is done in an extremely gradual and thoughtful way. However, as population reduction is a major goal of the proponents of Agenda 21, it makes one wonder if a situation resulting in mass starvation is not considered, by them, as a good outcome.

And then there is the never-ending litany over Greenhouse Gas emissions. Let’s take a look at the following quote.

“Buying local food within a foodshed can be seen as a means to combat the modern food system and the effects it has on the environment.

It has been described as “a banner under which people attempt to counteract trends of economic concentration, social disempowerment and environmental degradation in the food and agricultural landscape.”

Agriculture production alone contributes to 14% of anthropogenic (= “manmade”) greenhouse gas emissions. The food system’s contribution of greenhouse gases contributes to the global issue of climate change.  More attention is being paid to possibilities for reducing emissions through more efficient transport and different patterns of consumption, specifically, an increased reliance on local foodsheds.” Unquote. (Peters, 2008)

First, it is easy to see that as usual, the environment, in this case Global Warming and Climate Change, is the supposed excuse for this radical reconfiguring of man’s life style. Yet it remains to be seen if the globe is actually warming, and if so, whether man’s activity is responsible for the warming. A lot of doubt is cast when you see quotes like this one from Timothy Wirth, President of the UN Foundation)…

“We’ve got to ride this global warming issue. Even if the theory of global warming is wrong, we will be doing the right thing in terms of economic and environmental policy.”

The second thing worth noting is it is easy to see that Agenda 21’s 3 E’s, social, economic, and environmental justice, are all behind this effort to force a food-fiber-woodshed-human settlement model on mankind.

This is Agenda 21 social engineering at its best-or worst depending on how you look at it. Simply put, the folks behind this (and you might want to Google “the Club of Rome”), are retraining humans like we are lab rats.

In summary, while protecting the environment is a good thing, and if you CHOOSE to get your food close to home, recycle, or use a fuel-efficient car, that is fine. However, it is a false choice being offered here. It is NOT necessary to give up our freedom or our life style and be forced into human settlements in order to protect the environment. It is NOT an either or. We can live or lives in freedom and still protect the planet.

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