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Congress is Set to Expose What May be the Largest Censorship System in U.S. History

Congress is Set to Expose What May be the Largest Censorship System in U.S. History

Below is my column in the Hill on the first hearings this week to be held by the Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government. It could be one of the most consequential investigations for free speech in decades if it pulls back the curtain on government censorship programs. After the historic release of the Twitter Files by Elon Musk, questions remain on any similar coordination with other social media companies with federal agencies like the FBI to target views considered “disinformation” or “misinformation.”

Here is the column:

This coming week a new House select subcommittee will hold its first hearing on the FBI and the possible “weaponization” of government agencies. A variety of such controversies have contributed to plunging public trust in government and the FBI in particular.

The role of the FBI in prior scandals will remain a point of heated debate in Congress. However, members of both parties should be able to agree on the need to investigate one of the most serious allegations: Censorship by surrogate.

Many of the allegations of FBI bias are worthy of investigation. Some of those allegations are problems of personnel who can be removed. But a far more menacing problem has emerged in recent months with the release of information from Twitter.

The “Twitter files” revealed an FBI operation to monitor and censor social media content — an effort so overwhelming and intrusive that Twitter staff at one point complained internally that “they are probing & pushing everywhere.” The reports have indicated that dozens of FBI employees worked on the identification and removal of material on a wide range of subjects and that Twitter largely carried out their requests.

…click on the above link to read the rest…

 

Oil shocks and the potential for crisis U.S. House 2007

Oil shocks and the potential for crisis U.S. House 2007

oil shockwave 2007 oil on firePreface. U.S. Congressional hearings have boasted of America’s energy independence for several years.  For those of you with a longer view, and doubts about the shale “fracked” oil revolution, here’s a house hearing about oil dependence.  Much of the testimony revolves around an exercise called “Oil ShockWave”, which Admiral Blair describes as “an executive crisis simulation to illustrate the strategic dangers of oil dependence. Oil Shockwave confronts a mock U.S. cabinet with highly plausible geopolitical crises that trigger sharp increases in oil prices. Participants must grapple with the economic and strategic consequences of this ‘oil shock’ and formulate a response plan for the nation.” Some of the participants were Robert Rubin, former secretary of the Treasury, Carol Browner (former head of the EPA), Richard Armitage former deputy secretary of state, Retired General Abizaid, John Lehman, former secretary of the Navy, Gene Sperling former national economic adivisor, Phhilip D. Zelikow executive director of the 9/11 commission, and Daniel Yergin.

The best “solution” offered is by Edward Markey of Massachusetts: …a nationwide oil savings plan saving of 10 million barrels of oil per day by 2031. Heinberg proposed this in his 2006 book “The Oil Depletion Protocol: A Plan to Avert Oil Wars, Terrorism and Economic Collapse“.  Ah well, with peak oil likely in 2018 (Peak Oil is Here!), we’ll be forced to reduce consumption without having made plans.  Though I fear the plan is War: the 1980 Carter Doctrine states that the United States will use military force, if necessary, to defend its national interests in the Persian Gulf.

Some of the interesting bits include:

ADMIRAL DENNIS BLAIR, USN (RET.), Former Commander in Chief, U.S. PACIFIC COMMAND

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Michael Pento: First Disinflation, Then Deflation, Then Big-Time Inflation

Michael Pento: First Disinflation, Then Deflation, Then Big-Time Inflation

Suddenly investors are panicked that (hyper)inflation is taking over.

But what if they’re mistaken? That could be a costly mistake if they’re betting their portfolio’s future on it. Because there’s a strong case to be made that we’re now actually entering a period of dis-inflation, one that has a high risk of tipping into outright deflation by next year.

To argue this, investment manager Michael Pento, who pulls no punches, joins Wealthion for this video explaining why the Fed and Congress don’t currently have sufficient air cover to continue the same magnitude of stimulus the market is now addicted to — and thus won’t be able to resume it until after the next painful market correction arrives.

Michael then proceeds to explain why the bond market is such a ticking time bomb right now for investors.

And, of course, he shares his views on his favored asset classes for each stage of the upcoming progression he sees:

1. first disinflation, then…

2. outright deflation, and then…

3. a hugely inflationary response from our central planners

Watch the full interview below:

Congress, in a Five-Hour Hearing, Demands Tech CEOs Censor the Internet Even More Aggressively

Congress, in a Five-Hour Hearing, Demands Tech CEOs Censor the Internet Even More Aggressively

The repressive objective of the Democratic-controlled Congress is to transfer the power to police and censor political discourse from these tech giants to themselves.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, and Google/Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai testify before the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Mar. 25, 2021

Over the course of five-plus hours on Thursday, a House Committee along with two subcommittees badgered three tech CEOs, repeatedly demanding that they censor more political content from their platforms and vowing legislative retaliation if they fail to comply. The hearing — convened by the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Chair Rep. Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ), and the two Chairs of its Subcommittees, Mike Doyle (D-PA) and Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) — was one of the most stunning displays of the growing authoritarian effort in Congress to commandeer the control which these companies wield over political discourse for their own political interests and purposes.

As I noted when I reported last month on the scheduling of this hearing, this was “the third time in less than five months that the U.S. Congress has summoned the CEOs of social media companies to appear before them with the explicit intent to pressure and coerce them to censor more content from their platforms.” The bulk of Thursday’s lengthy hearing consisted of one Democratic member after the next complaining that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Google/Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey have failed in their duties to censor political voices and ideological content that these elected officials regard as adversarial or harmful, accompanied by threats that legislative punishment (including possible revocation of Section 230 immunity) is imminent in order to force compliance (Section 230 is the provision of the 1996 Communications Decency Act that shields internet companies from liability for content posted by their users).

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

 

Canada & The Canceling of its Currency

QUESTION #1: If Canada is not a dictatorship, how can Trudeau cancel the dollar? How can he do so in secret?

RW

QUESTION #2: Why can’t Biden follow Trudeau and cancel the dollar?

EH

ANSWER: The answer lies in the difference in history.  Because the paper currency called bills-of-credit back then became worthless, the Framers of the Constitution expressly took into account currency. I have written before that when I was a market-maker in gold and one of the three largest in the country, the IRS walked in and declared me to be a bank and then I was supposed to report everyone who bought or sold gold in $10,000 amounts or more. They cited the Constitution saying that gold and silver were money thereby making me a bank because Nixon only closed the gold window, he never DEMONITIZED gold. So I was suddenly a bank in no need of such a license for the purposes of the IRS. Hence, I retired.

This raises an interesting question. Can Congress create a digital dollar constitutionally? The question of money was thus settled directly in the Constitution because each state had previously issued its own coinage and paper bills-of-credit (paper money).

Article 1 – The Legislative Branch
Section 10 – Powers Prohibited of States
<<Back | Table of Contents | Next>>

No State shall enter into any Treaty, Alliance, or Confederation; grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal; coin Money; emit Bills of Credit; make any Thing but gold and silver Coin a Tender in Payment of Debts; pass any Bill of Attainder, ex post facto Law, or Law impairing the Obligation of Contracts, or grant any Title of Nobility.

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Denouncing ‘Handouts to Big Oil,’ Biden Calls on Congress to End $40 Billion in Taxpayer Subsidies for Fossil Fuels

Denouncing ‘Handouts to Big Oil,’ Biden Calls on Congress to End $40 Billion in Taxpayer Subsidies for Fossil Fuels

“Biden campaigned on eliminating fossil fuel giveaways, and voters agree by a huge margin,” said one climate activist.

Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry listens as President Joe Biden speaks on tackling climate change in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, D.C. on January 27, 2021.

Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry listens as President Joe Biden speaks on tackling climate change in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, D.C. on January 27, 2021. (Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images)

In a speech Wednesday outlining his new executive actions aimed at confronting the “existential threat” of the climate crisis, President Joe Biden said he plans to ask the Democrat-controlled Congress to pass legislation eliminating the tens of billions in taxpayer subsidies the federal government continues to hand Big Oil even as the planetary emergency wreaks havoc in the U.S. and across the globe.

“Unlike previous administrations, I don’t think the federal government should give handouts to Big Oil to the tune of $40 billion in fossil fuel subsidies,” said Biden. “I’m gonna be going to the Congress and asking them to eliminate those subsidies.”

While the president did not offer specifics on what he would want a potential bill to look like, Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), and other progressive lawmakers introduced legislation last year that proposed ending direct federal subsidies to the fossil fuel industry and “abolishing dozens of tax loopholes, subsidies, and other special interest giveaways littered throughout the federal tax code.”

The lawmakers estimated the End Polluter Welfare Act would save taxpayers up to $150 billion over the next decade.

Watch Biden’s remarks:

Biden’s call for legislative action on fossil fuel subsidies came just before he signed an executive order that, according to a White House summary, “directs federal agencies to eliminate fossil fuel subsidies as consistent with applicable law”—a move that would not touch handouts mandated by Congress.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Fed Accountability is a Farce

FED ACCOUNTABILITY IS A FARCE

The Fed claims they are “accountable to the public and the U.S. Congress.” But what good is accountability, if the public and Congress have little understanding of what the Fed does? Even worse, if no one has the power to stop the inflationary actions of the Fed, what good are the accountability measures in place?

This week, Chair Powell addressed Congress and provided the June Monetary Policy Report. The process of testifying before Congress is very much farcical because what the Fed says has no bearing on what the Fed does. We can assume few members of Congress actually understand monetary economics. But what if many of them did, as well as the general public, could the Fed really get away with all of this?

Reviewing the Chair’s testimony to Congress reveals how little the Fed and Congress know about economics and illustrates how ineffective testimony before Congress really is.

In his speech, Powell lists many of the lending programs (Paycheck Protection Program, Main Street Lending Program and Term Asset-Backed Securities Loan Program) but when it comes to corporate bond buying program, all he offered was:

To support the employment and spending of investment-grade businesses, we established two corporate credit facilities.

Like a teenager trying to hide purchases made on a parent’s credit card, he did not explicitly list the Primary and Secondary corporate credit facilities by name. He only said the two “corporate credit facilities,” the only two the Fed has. How issuing debt to corporations or trading their bonds on the stock exchange supports employment or spending is anyone’s guess. What does it matter anyway? Even if he said $750 billion may go to buy corporate bonds, who would stop them?

He moved from vagueness to deception quickly with the statement:

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

California Just Put Washington in this Economic “Catch-22”

California Just Put Washington in this Economic “Catch-22”

California catch
Photo by Flickr.com CC BY | Photoshopped

Government bailouts are being revived, and this time, unlike during the 2008 recession, it appears large financial companies won’t be the only ones asking for help.

The problem is, the government may not be able to help this time.

In response to a bloated state budget and a massive debt of over $550 billion, Newsmax reports that California Governor Gavin Newsom is looking for a bailout from the federal government:

Without an infusion of at least $14 billion from Congress, Newsom said the state would have to cut billions to public schools, not to mention hundreds of millions for preschool, child care and higher education programs. It’ll also need to eat into health benefits for the poor, among other things.

“The enormity of the task at hand cannot just be borne by a state,” Newsom said. “The federal government has a moral and ethical and economic obligation to help support the states.”

Obviously, Newsom’s decision to impose lockdowns in response to the coronavirus pandemic, resulting in more than 746,000 unemployed, partly explains the sudden need for cash.

Economist Robert Wenzel thinks the “lockdown is projected to lead to a state budget shortfall this year of $54 billion,” which is bound to make things more complicated.

Wenzel added another sharp critique of Newsom’s request for a bailout, and a comparison to Greece’s economic bust in 2007:

[Newsom] is now in begging mode just like Greece was, but, whereas a lot of Greece’s financial trouble was about paying off old debt, California’s problem is about running the current state government (and also local governments).

It sure seems like California has been playing a dangerous debt game, first ignoring economic realities prior to the pandemic, and then asking the federal government to send bags of cash so things can keep running smoothly.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Panic Sets In: Fed Promotes More Free Money

Panic Sets In: Fed Promotes More Free Money

Lawmakers need to do more says Minneapolis Fed President Neel Kashkari.

Free Money for 18 Months

The Fed cannot directly give money away so that burden falls on Congress. Kashkari follows Fed Chair Jerome Powell in seeking Congressional Action.

“They are going to need more. If this is a slow recovery, the way I think it is — I think we’re in this for months, a year, 18 months — there are going to be a lot of families that are going to need direct financial assistance,” Kashkari said Thursday during a virtual event with CBS. “I think a V–shaped recovery is off the table.”

“Putting money directly in the hands of laid-off Americans is, I think, the most direct way to get assistance, and then they will spend the money where they need it,” Kashkari said. “I just think money in the pockets of people who have lost their jobs is what we need right now until we can get the health care system to catch up and get control of this virus.”

I case you were wondering what sent the S&P in a huge 70-point S&P 500 U-Turn today, that reason is as good as any.

Powell’s Message

Yesterday, Powell made similar statements, just not as forceful. 

Recall that the Fed has lending powers, not spending powers. A loan from a Fed facility can provide a bridge across temporary interruptions to liquidity, and those loans will help many borrowers get through the current crisis. But the recovery may take some time to gather momentum, and the passage of time can turn liquidity problems into solvency problems. Additional fiscal support could be costly, but worth it if it helps avoid long-term economic damage and leaves us with a stronger recovery. This tradeoff is one for our elected representatives, who wield powers of taxation and spending.

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Congress Sets Up Taxpayers to Eat $454 Billion of Wall Street’s Losses, Where is the Outrage?

Congress Sets Up Taxpayers to Eat $454 Billion of Wall Street’s Losses, Where is the Outrage?

Photograph by Nathaniel St. Clair

Beginning on March 24 of this year, Larry Kudlow, the White House Economic Advisor, began to roll out the most deviously designed bailout of Wall Street in the history of America. After the Federal Reserve’s secret $29 trillion bailout of Wall Street from 2007 to 2010, and the exposure of that by a government audit and in-depth report by the Levy Economics Institute in 2011, Kudlow was going to have to come up with a brilliant strategy to sell another multi-trillion-dollar Wall Street bailout to the American people.

The scheme was brilliant (in an evil genius sort of way) and audacious in employing an Orwellian form of reverse-speak. The plan to bail out Wall Street would be sold to the American people as a rescue of “Main Street.” It was critical, however, that all of the officials speaking to the media repeat the words “Main Street” over and over.

It was decided that Larry Kudlow would first announce the plan at the White House press briefing on March 24 followed by an unprecedented appearance of Fed Chairman Jerome Powell on the Today show on March 26.

This is how Kudlow explained the program that was going to be tucked into the stimulus legislation known as the CARES Act at the White House press briefing on March 24:

Kudlow: “This package will be the single largest Main Street assistance program in the history of the United States. Phase Two delivered the sick leave for individuals, hourly workers, families and so forth. Phase Three – a significant package for small businesses, loan guarantees will be included. We’re gonna take out expenses and lost revenues…And, finally, I want to mention the Treasury’s Exchange Stabilization Fund. That will be replenished.

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Massive Unemployment Surge Creates Challenge Ahead

Massive Unemployment Surge Creates Challenge Ahead

Unemployment has several faces. It will be interesting to see how America handles the massive unemployment caused not so much by covid-19 but the government’s effort to hold employers responsible for the cost. When the government passed a law increasing employers’ responsibility for paying workers even when there was no work for them, businesses countered by mass firings. This was both the logical move and the only way most businesses could survive.

Over time the lack of gainful employment acts as a cancer upon society. Some of the poorly crafted legislation recently passed in the capital of our nation could be considered incentivizing people not to work. The evidence of this can be found in the reports of employees not wanting to return to work because they see themselves making just as much or even more money staying home or being unemployed. When we couple this with the fact many people are unmotivated when it comes to rushing off and working for “the man” it is fair to understand why some people have adopted the attitude, I won’t do that.

The evolution of the covid-19 crisis has disrupted supply chains and is starting to trigger food shortages across the country. It is causing many people to question whether an economic depression is unfolding as over 30 million people are now out of work after only six weeks. A matter of great speculation is just how rapidly the unemployment rate will fall back once this pandemic begins to subside.  Congress has decided to make it rather financially rewarding not to work, and millions upon millions of Americans are going to be more than happy to take advantage of that opportunity for as long as it lasts. It is only by creating a pathway that rewards those that wish to move upward on the social-economic ladder that this attitude can be changed.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Capitalism on Life Support… Time for a Cure

Capitalism on Life Support… Time for a Cure

The Covid-19 pandemic is unleashing obscene bailouts of Western industries and companies, as well as lifelines for billionaire business magnates.

It is grotesque that millions of workers are being laid off by corporations which are in turn receiving taxpayer funds. Many of these corporations have stashed trillions of dollars away in tax havens and have contributed zero to the public treasury. Yet they are being bailed out due to shutdowns in the economy over the Covid-19 crisis.

Why aren’t the banks and corporations being forced by governments to pay for their workers on sick leave or in lockdown? It’s because the governments are bought and paid-for servants of the top one per cent. Some political leaders are the embodiment of the one per cent, like Donald Trump and senior members of the U.S. Congress.

The biggest orgy of funny money is seen in the U.S. where the Trump administration and Congress have approved the printing of trillions of dollars to prop up corporations and banks. Meanwhile crumbs are being thrown at millions of workers and their families.

In just five weeks, unemployment has hit a staggering 26.4 million people in the U.S. – and that’s the official figure. The real level is doubtless much higher. It is reported that the job losses have wiped out all the employment gains made over the past decade since the last financial crisis in 2008. As with the present crisis, the U.S. government arranged trillion-dollar bailouts for banks and industries back in 2008-2009. It didn’t last long until the next binge.

In truth is this is a familiar pattern over the past century where the economy is continually salvaged from ruin by the government at the expense of ordinary workers, small businesses and taxpayers. The recurring rescue is proof that the system of private capital and supposed free markets is a myth.

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What Are You Gonna Do About It?

What Are You Gonna Do About It?

Tucked into the recent recovery bill was a provision granting the Federal Reserve the right to set up a $450 billion bailout plan without following key provisions of the federal open meetings law, including announcing its meetings or keeping most records about them, according to a POLITICO review of the legislation.

The provision further calls into question the transparency and oversight for the biggest bailout law ever passed by Congress. President Donald Trump has indicated he does not plan to comply with another part of the new law intended to boost Congress’ oversight powers of the bailout funds. And earlier this week, Trump dismissed the government official chosen as the chief watchdog for the stimulus package.

The changes at the central bank – which appear to have been inserted into the 880-page bill by sympathetic senators during the scramble to get it approved — would address a complaint that the Fed faced during the 2008 financial crisis, when board members couldn’t easily hold group conversations to address the fast-moving economic turmoil.

The provision dispenses with a longstanding accountability rule that the board has to give at least one day’s notice before holding a meeting. Experts say the change could lead to key information about the $450 billion bailout fund, such as which firms might benefit from the program, remaining inaccessible long after the bailout is over.

The new law would absolve the board of the requirement to keep minutes to closed-door meetings as it deliberates on how to set up the $450 billion loan program. That would severely limit the amount of information potentially available to the public on what influenced the board’s decision-making. The board would only have to keep a record of its votes, though they wouldn’t have to be made public during the coronavirus crisis.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Road to Perdition is Paved With Evil Intentions–A Final Reckoning

THE ROAD TO PERDITION IS PAVED WITH EVIL INTENTIONS – A FINAL RECKONING

In Part 1 of this article I pointed out how we have allowed ourselves to be cowed by authoritarian “experts” who have proven to be nothing but incompetent and wrong every step of the way, while the financiers have used the crisis once again to pillage the citizens as they did in 2008/2009.

The absurdity of shutting down this country based on academic death models that make economist and climatologist models look highly accurate in comparison, can be seen in the ludicrousness of the following chart. And realize we did this on purpose because of a virus that will kill .018% of the U.S. population. And most of those deaths will occur in several highly dense urban enclaves, with the rest of the country barely affected.

By shutting down the country the government has crushed virtually every business in the country and putting tens of millions out of work, with resulting crash in tax revenues at the Federal, State and Local level. At the same time, Trump and everyone in Congress have become Bernie Sanders socialists, except most of it is corporate socialism. The deficit was already on track to top $1.2 trillion, but with the $2.2 trillion stimulus package, and more to come, the deficit this year and next will approach $3 trillion.

“It has been more profitable for us to bind together in the wrong direction than to be alone in the right one. Those who have followed the assertive idiot rather than the introspective wise person have passed us some of their genes. This is apparent from a social pathology: psychopaths rally followers.” ― Nassim Nicholas Taleb, The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable

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Despite Massive QE And Congress Bill, The US Dollar Shortage Intensifies

Despite Massive QE And Congress Bill, The US Dollar Shortage Intensifies

How can the Fed launch an “unlimited” monetary stimulus with congress approving a $2 trillion package and the dollar index remain strong? The answer lies in the rising global dollar shortage, and should be a lesson for monetary alchemists around the world.

The $2 trillion stimulus package agreed by Congress is around 10% of GDP and, if we include the Fed borrowing facilities for working capital, it means $6 trillion in liquidity for consumers and firms over the next nine months. 

The stimulus package approved by Congress is made up of the next key items: Permanent fiscal transfers to households and firms of almost $5 trillion. Individuals will receive a $1,200 cash payment ($300 billion in total). The loans for small businesses, which become grants if jobs are maintained ($367 billion). Increase in unemployment insurance payments which now cover 100% of lost wages for four months ($200 billion). $100 billion for the healthcare system, as well as $150bn for state and local governments. The remainder of the package comes from temporary liquidity support to households and firms, including tax delays and waivers. Finally, the use of the Treasury’s Exchange Stabilization Fund for $500bn of loans for non-financial firms.

To this, we must add the massive quantitative easing program announced by the Fed. 

First, we must understand that the word “unlimited” is only a communication tool. It is not unlimited. It is limited by the confidence and demand of US dollars. 

I have had the pleasure of working with several members of the Federal Reserve, and the truth is that it is not unlimited. But they know that communication matters.

FED BALANCE SHEET 2020

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Olduvai IV: Courage
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Olduvai II: Exodus
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