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71

      

By Tyler Durden


Russia is evacuating civilians in the area of Nyonoksa village in the far northern region where a nuclear-powered experimental rocket exploded during tests last Thursday, which had killed seven, Interfax reports.


So far it appears a “recommendation” and not an ordered evacuation, which officials advise should be accomplished by Wednesday, after radiation levels in the vicinity of  Severodvinsk spiked to 20 times normal last week in the blast’s aftermath. The local governor is insisting its not an “ordered” evacuation but is merely highly recommended.


Russian media reports say authorities are offering for a train to take Nyonoksa residents to safety, which might be due either to further clean-up and decontamination of the site or possibly to conduct some kind of new test. Work is still reportedly being carried out on the rocket engine that exploded.


Russia belatedly admitted on Monday that the mystery explosion which released radiation into the air last Thursday, triggering warning alerts across towns near the northern port cities of Arkhangelsk and Severodvinsk, involved a “small-scale nuclear reactor.”


         



      

Also on Monday President Trump tweeted concern over the radiation leakage, saying, “The United States is learning much from the failed missile explosion in Russia.” He added concern over the “air around the facility” which area residents have been exposed to and could possibly impact neighboring areas.


Local footage last week showed emergency personnel responding to the accident in full chemical/radiation protective suits.




Severodvinsk officials within a couple days after the accident claimed radiation levels had “normalized” amid a reported run on iodine pills and general civilian resident panic in the vicinity of the site. There were also unconfirmed reports that local citizens had been issued instructions to take precautions to prevent radiation exposure.



Though within two days following last Thursday’s accident – believed to have happened on a sea platform, which resulted in an area of a White Sea port being shut down – Russia’s nuclear agency Rosatom, admitted it had been testing an “isotope power source in a liquid propulsion system,” there’s since been increasing confirmation that the explosion involved a cutting edge hypersonic cruise missile.



By Tyler Durden | ZeroHedge.com


This article was sourced from The Mind Unleashed.


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72

      

By Michael Snyder


We are watching a complete and utter financial meltdown unfold in Argentina, and many are concerned that the panic could start spreading elsewhere.  When you go into way too much debt and you just keep devaluing your currency, this sort of thing is inevitably going to happen, and this is why I am endlessly criticizing the path that the United States is currently on.  If we do not reverse course, we will end up just like them.


On Monday, we witnessed the second largest one-day stock market decline that we have seen anywhere in the world since 1950.  It is hard to believe, but the most important stock market index in Argentina actually plummeted 48 percent in a single trading session…


The S&P Merval Index plummeted 48% Monday, the second-largest single-day drop in any global stock market since 1950, according to Bloomberg. The Argentine peso also declined, losing 15% of its value against the US dollar Monday and falling further Tuesday to a new low.


         



      

This is what a financial implosion looks like, and it wasn’t supposed to happen.  In fact, we are being told that there was only a .006% chance that such a sell-off would take place…



There was a 99.994% probability that an event like Monday’s sell-off in Argentina wouldn’t happen.


But it did. And it served to underscore the need for investors to protect against extreme events that look very unlikely but can have outsize impact if they do occur.



As I keep reminding my readers, stocks tend to fall a lot faster than they rise, and when some sort of trigger event causes panic things can escalate rather quickly.


In this case, the trigger event was an election result…


So much for the polls. Forgetting the electoral shocks of Donald Trump and Brexit, investors displayed herd-like faith in surveys showing that reform-minded Argentine President Mauricio Macri would run close in an Aug. 11 primary, positioning him for re-election in October. They bid up assets accordingly. The GlobalX MSCI Argentina exchange-traded stock fund (ticker: ARGT) soared 42% in the year to Aug. 9. It lost all that the day after voters behaved the way you’d think voters might in a country afflicted by near-zero growth and near-50% inflation.


Investors had been hoping that Argentine President Mauricio Macri would win re-election, but now that possibility appears to be extremely remote.  In the primary vote, Macri was soundly defeated by Alberto Fernandez…



In the primary over the weekend, Macri took home only 32% of the vote, while Fernandez won 47%. The 15-point lead was much larger than investors had expected, Bloomberg reported.


Investors are now fleeing the country’s assets in hoards, leading industry watchers to question if default is on the horizon.



Argentina is considered to be an “emerging market” and many fear that this sell-off in Argentina could spark a wider emerging market crisis.


And that could definitely be the case.  Many other emerging market countries are also up to their eyeballs in debt, and some investors may start dumping assets just out of fear that a broader sell-off could potentially happen.






When there is fear in the air, a lot of times rational behavior goes out the window.


At the first whiff of panic, many investors want to make sure that they get to the exits before anyone else does.  And some people are already using the word “contagion” to describe what we are potentially facing…



Andrea Iannelli, investment director at Fidelity International, told CNBC’s “Squawk Box Europe” on Tuesday that it was hard to see how Argentina’s stock market and currency crash could be completely isolated.


“We are going to get a spill over (or) contagion of some sort.”



Of course all of this could have been avoided if Argentina had not gone into so much debt and had used a stable currency all this time.


Unfortunately, nations all over the planet are making the exact same mistakes.  Here in the United States, we have been adding an average of more than a trillion dollars a year to the national debt since Barack Obama first entered the White House, and we have been systematically destroying the value of the U.S. dollar.


Since the Federal Reserve was created in 1913, our national debt has gotten more than 6000 times larger, and the value of our currency has fallen by more than 98 percent.  Our fate will be even worse than Argentina’s fate if we stay on our current path, and I am one of the few national voices that is continually warning about this.  For the most part, both major political parties have completely given up on fiscal responsibility and financial sanity.  It is absolutely infuriating, but at this point the American people don’t seem to care enough to vote the people that got us into this mess out of office.




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All throughout history, we have seen government debt spirals end with episodes of wild money printing.  And no matter which politician ultimately ends up triumphant in Argentina, the choices under the current system are going to remain the same.  The following is what one economist recently told CNBC…



He added Argentina’s central bank had been left with a binary choice.


“You have one option which is to print peso’s like there is no tomorrow and you have another option which is to print quite a lot — and it is scary.”



It would be easy to mock Argentina for the giant financial disaster that they have created, but the truth is that we are doing the precise same thing to ourselves.


We are literally in the process of committing national financial suicide, and it deeply frustrates me that more people can’t seem to understand this.



About the author: Michael Snyder is a nationally-syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is the author of four books including Get Prepared Now, The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters. His articles are originally published on The Economic Collapse Blog, End Of The American Dream and The Most Important News. From there, his articles are republished on dozens of other prominent websites. If you would like to republish his articles, please feel free to do so. The more people that see this information the better, and we need to wake more people up while there is still time.


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73

      

By Michael Snyder


We haven’t seen anything like this since the Great Depression of the 1930s.  Leading up to this year, farm incomes had been trending lower for most of the past decade, and meanwhile, farm debt levels have been absolutely exploding.


So U.S. farmers were desperate for a really good year, but instead, 2019 has been a total disaster.  As I have been carefully documenting, due to endless rain and catastrophic flooding millions of acres of prime farmland didn’t get planted at all this year, and the yields on tens of millions of other acres are expected to be way, way below normal.  As a result, we are facing the worst farming crisis in modern American history, and this comes at a time when U.S. farms are drowning in more debt than ever before.  In fact, the latest numbers that we have shown that the average U.S. farm is 1.3 million dollars in debt…


Debt-to-asset ratios are seeing the same squeeze, with more farms moving into a ratio exceeding 80%. Barrett notes each year since 2009 has seen an increase in the average amount of total debt among farmers, and 2017 was no exception. Average debt rose 10% to $1.3 million. The biggest increase was in long-term debt, such as land.


         



      

Farming in the 21st century has become an extraordinarily risky business, and countless U.S. farmers were already on the verge of going under even before we got to 2019.


Now that this year has been such a complete and utter disaster, many farms will not be able to operate once we get to 2020.


Minnesota farmers Liz and Bob Krocak were hoping for better days ahead as this year began, but things have been really tough and their debts have become overwhelming.  During a recent meeting with their creditors, Liz was so distraught that she literally burst into tears…



They had to face their creditors at a mediation. There was Del, the mechanic, whom they owe $28,000 and who now can’t help his son buy a home. There was Steve, the feed store guy, who is 64 and has delayed his retirement because of the Krocaks’ $311,000 bill.


Liz recalled the mediator opening the meeting by saying, “This is going to be an emotional day. I can see everybody really likes this family.” Liz had burst into tears then – and she was crying again now, describing the scene seven months later.


“We just hope there’s a farm left at the end of it,” she said.



In total, the Krocaks just happen to be 1.3 million dollars in debt.


At this point, there isn’t a prayer that all of that debt will ever be paid off.  All they can really hope for is more patience from their creditors because without it the farm is going under.


The Krocaks recently received a check for about 12,000 dollars from the federal government, and they are very grateful for the money, but the truth is that it isn’t even going to make a dent in their 1.3 million dollar debt.


If the horrific weather and endless flooding wasn’t enough, about a week ago the Chinese government announced that they would be ending all “purchases of U.S. agricultural products”, and that was a devastating blow for farmers all over the nation.


In particular, soybean farmers are going to see demand for their crops absolutely collapse.  In recent years, China has purchased approximately 60 percent of all U.S. soybean exports.






And even if a trade deal is eventually reached, it is unlikely that all of that demand is ever going to come back.  Right now, the Chinese are spending enormous amounts of money “to build transportation infrastructure to ship soybeans grown in what used to be rain forests” in Brazil.  They aren’t going to abandon all of that just because Trump suddenly changes his mind.


And the truth is that it is extremely unlikely that Trump will change his mind and cave in to the Chinese.


So for the foreseeable future, U.S. farmers are going to be facing weaker markets and lower prices, and that is going to be the final straw for many of them.


Have you ever been at a point in your life where you have endured problem after problem and then one day a final crushing blow comes along that takes away the last shred of hope that you were holding onto?  That is precisely what has happened to farmers like Bob Kuylen of North Dakota…



“It’s really, really getting bad out here,” said Bob Kuylen, who’s farmed for 35 years in North Dakota.


“Trump is ruining our markets. No one is buying our product no more, and we have no markets no more.”



We keep hearing about “government bailouts”, but they aren’t going to be nearly big enough for most farmers.  Kuylen has worked as hard as he possibly could, but he was not able to overcome the challenges he was facing, and now he is facing financial disaster.  He would walk away, but he says he can’t because “I’ve invested everything I have in farming”…



Kuylen, who farms roughly 1,500 acres of wheat and sunflowers, lost $70 per acre this year, despite growing good crops. Current government subsidies only cover about $15 per acre, he said.




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“There’s no incentive to keep farming, except that I’ve invested everything I have in farming, and it’s hard to walk away,” he said.


It would be nice to think that all of these farmers will somehow bounce back next year, but that isn’t likely.  It is very doubtful that there will be any sort of a trade agreement with China before the 2020 presidential election, and global weather patterns are not going to be getting any more stable.  Sadly, it is entirely possible that next year could be even tougher for U.S. farmers than this year was.


So please say a prayer for our farmers.  They grow the food that we all eat on a daily basis, and their hard work is rarely recognized on a national basis. They are unsung heroes, and right now most of them are really, really hurting.


Michael Snyder is a nationally-syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is the author of four books including Get Prepared Now!: Why A Great Crisis Is Coming & How You Can Survive It. Preparedness is multi-faceted and is best accomplished with a clear purpose in mind. Michael Snyder offers sound economic reasons to prepare while addressing the struggles that many Christians face regarding preparedness. His advice will comfort and uplift the reader, offering peace of mind that preparedness brings during uncertain times.


This article was sourced from The End of the American Dream.


Image credit: Pixabay


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74

      

By Aaron Kesel


A recent article in CNN tells the tale of teens whose friends think they are spying on their phone conversations because they work for the National Security Agency (NSA) at the complex at Fort Meade in Maryland.


CNN expresses that three 18-year-old teens who graduated from high schools in Maryland — Summer, Brianna and Simon —  are among more than 150 high schoolers in a work study program at the NSA. These students are then given TS/SCI or Top Secret security clearance access to U.S. secrets.


“Recruiters at the NSA (and other intelligence agencies, like the CIA, have similar programs) know that when it comes to hiring smart, driven, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math)-minded young people, they are competing with the flashiness and deep pockets of Silicon Valley. So, they aim young and try to dazzle the teens with the work, rather than the paycheck,” CNN wrote.


         



      

CNN tries to give lightheartedness to the subject, but fails to address the concern about giving teens the responsibility of handling such highly classified information and the other problem at hand. The fact that teens in schools in Maryland and possibly elsewhere are being taken into the NSA and brainwashed into working for the establishment while attempting to balance their studies. The NSA and agencies alike also use the Web, social media and job fairs to recruit students. Although, some of the students filled out a long application on intelligencecareers.gov.


“Once they’re here they get that sense of purpose from what they’re doing every day and they see that they can do things here that they can’t do anywhere else,” Courtney, an NSA recruiter told CNN. (Her last name withheld for security reasons.)


“We want to get them in and get them hooked early to the mission so they can have a long career here. There’s more emphasis now on student programs than I think there’s ever been to try to get them when they’re young. Get them hooked young,” Courtney added.


According to the article, the students are required to intern and go to Fort Meade every summer during college; in exchange the NSA pays a year-round salary and guarantees them a full-time job at the NSA when they have finally graduated.


CNN’s article paints the NSA as a fun job experience, while ignoring the absurd constitutional abuses that were exposed by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. In fact, the piece reads like a promotional press release for the NSA.


Snowden quickly rose to prominence in 2013, after leaking classified information on widespread warrantless NSA surveillance programs like XKeyscore and PRISM to The Guardian and The Washington Post. In fact, the first Snowden leak was a FISC order issued to Verizon under Section 702 that required the company to turn over all of its calling records to the NSA.


FISA was enacted in 1978 as a response to illegal domestic surveillance operations revealed by two Senate committees in the 1970s, including President Richard Nixon’s use of federal intelligence agencies to monitor his political opponents. It was brought into law “to authorize electronic surveillance to obtain foreign intelligence information.”






The law requires the government to obtain a warrant from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court before setting up an electronic or physical wiretap targeted at foreigners and foreign agents. However, that law is not always followed.


Congress amended FISA in 2007 to let the government wiretap communications that either begin or end outside the United States jurisdiction without Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) approval; in a stronger 2008 overhaul, they further limited that power to non-U.S. persons. The last reauthorization of the Act was in 2012, which set the current expiration date of Dec. 31, 2017.


The FISA law has long been criticized by privacy and civil liberties advocates like the EFF who say the order allows broad, intrusive spying without oversight. The section first gained renewed attention following the 2013 disclosures by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden that the agency carried out widespread monitoring of emails and other electronic communications through PRISM, XKeyscore, Upstream and other NSA surveillance programs.


Activist Post covered XKeyscore and PRISM in extensive detail when the revelations happened. XKeyscore, which in 2008 was on 750 servers on 150 sites around the globe, served as the point of entry for most of the information that was collected by the NSA.


NSA agents would easily be able to gather information using XKeyscore’s system the operator could then trawl through billions of emails and online chat sessions, or check sites visited by specific computers by using IP addresses.


It’s worth noting that this author recently wrote an article on Palantir, the company that was accused of providing the technology that enables NSA’s mass surveillance PRISM. In that article, we went into extensive detail about Palantir’s history as a company and the development of software used at Fusion Centers across the U.S.




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Some of the other programs that Snowden leaked include the following – MUSCULAR, CO-TRAVELER, Dishfire, and Tailored Access Operations.


Snowden has recently announced a new forthcoming memoir called Permanent Record, due out in September, which will tell all his secrets. Snowden has also released a YouTube ad for the book and stated that he would begin exposing social media surveillance of Facebook, YouTube and Instagram, as Activist Post reported.


As a free society we can only hope that these students involved in the NSA programs will do the same as Edward Snowden and whistle-blow if they encounter abuse of civil and privacy rights.


Aaron Kesel writes for Activist Post. Support us at Patreon. Follow us on Minds, Steemit, SoMee, BitChute, Facebook and Twitter.


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75

      

By Tyler Durden


Just under 40 minutes before ABC News reporter Aaron Katersky tweeted the first media announcement of Jeffrey Epstein’s death, someone posted about it on 4chan – saying “[D]ont ask me how I know, but Epstein died an hour ago from hanging, cardiac arrest. Screencap this,” reports BuzzFeed.



         



      

Later in the thread, the anonymous user posted: “Was called out as a cardiac arrest at the manhattan federal detention facility. Worked asystole for 40 mins”



As other 4chan users cast doubt, the user said: “worked asystole arrest for 40 minutes, als intubated in the field/epi/2 liters NS infused. Telemetry advised bicarb and D50 in field. Pt transported to Lower Manhattan ER and worked for 20 minutes and called. Hospital administrator was alerted, preparing statements.”



“Telemetry implies the paramedics were in contact with a medical control hospital who then gave orders to give Sodium Bicarbonate, bicarb which is designed to reverse the acid buildup in the blood from prolonged cardiac arrest,” according to Dr. Keith Wesley, author of several EMS textbooks and articles.


According to the FDNY’s Frank Dwyer, the fire department says it’s reviewing the incident, but there is no investigation.



Oren Barzilay, the president of the union for EMT workers Local 2507 in New York, said, “our members do not release this type of confidential information, this looks like a 3rd party info.” Barzilay also told BuzzFeed News the union would investigate the potential breach of confidentiality “if such a claim came forward.”


“There’s serious consequences for those violations. Discipline. Suspensions. Civil penalties, etc,” Barzilay said in an email. – BuzzFeed



In short, a 4chan user with inside medical information scooped the media.


RELATED:



‘Shrieking’ Heard From Epstein’s Jail Cell the Morning He Died
Source Claims Jeffrey Epstein Hanged Himself With a Bedsheet
FBI Agents Raid Jeffrey Epstein’s ‘Pedophile Island’
Epstein’s Autopsy Results Delayed “Pending Further Information”
There’s No Surveillance Video of Epstein’s Apparent “Suicide”: Report
Former MCC Inmate Says Epstein Suicide Was ‘Impossible’
Jeffrey Epstein Dies of “Suicide”: What You’re Not Being Told


By Tyler Durden | ZeroHedge.com


This article was sourced from The Mind Unleashed.


Subscribe to Activist Post for truth, peace, and freedom news. Follow us on Minds, Twitter, Steemit, and SoMee. Become an Activist Post Patron for as little as $1 per month.


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76

      

By Jason Bermas


We’re still searching for answers even as more questions arise. We have an untrained prison guard, no regular patrol, lawyers for Epstein requesting lawyers, shrieking from the jail cell, still no video footage and a bunch more.


Jason Bermas covers the latest in conflicting accounts, “conspiracy theories,” and general puzzlement over how we arrived at this point.


And where is Ghislaine Maxwell by the way?


         



      


Epstein Update! Shrieking And Screaming Heard From Cell https://www.gofundme.com/f/bermasbrig…


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77

      

By Jake Johnson


Farmers facing record bankruptcies and collapsing incomes due to President Donald Trump’s escalating trade war with China were not amused by U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue’s joke about their economic pain during an event in Minnesota last week.


“I had a farmer tell me this in Pennsylvania,” Perdue told an audience of thousands of farmers gathered in a barn near Morgan, Minnesota. “What do you call two farmers in a basement? A whine cellar.”


Some laughed at the agriculture secretary’s joke, but other farmers booed and denounced Perdue’s wisecrack as callous and tone-deaf mockery of the real hardship caused by the Trump administration’s trade policies.


         



      

“It was definitely not an appropriate thing to say,” Gary Wertish, president of the Minnesota Farmers Union, told HuffPost on Monday. “It was very insensitive. It took everyone by surprise. He doesn’t understand what farmers are dealing with, and he’s the head of the Department of Agriculture. He’s supposed to be working for farmers.”




Perdue’s characterization of struggling farmers as “whiners” came after the Trump administration announced it will impose a 10 percent tariff on $300 billion of Chinese goods starting Sept. 1, a significant escalation in the ongoing trade war between the two global powers.


China quickly retaliated by canceling all purchases of U.S. agricultural products, a move American Farm Bureau Federation president Zippy Duvall called “a body blow to thousands of farmers and ranchers who are already struggling to get by.”


With farmers suffering from his trade policies, Trump has attempted to tamp down backlash with targeted aid packages—but, according to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), most of the assistance has gone to wealthy farmers.


Meanwhile, as HuffPost reported on Monday, “Net farm income in America has plunged by nearly half over the last five years from $123.4 billion in 2013 to $63 billion last year. It plummeted by 16 percent last year alone.”


Roger Johnson, president of the National Farmers Union, said last week that Trump’s “strategy of constant escalation and antagonism” toward China has “made things worse.”


“It’s really, really getting bad out here,” added Bob Kuylen, a North Dakota farmer, in an interview with CNBC. “Trump is ruining our markets.”



By Jake Johnson | CommonDreams.org


This article was sourced from The Mind Unleashed.


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78

      

By Matt Agorist


Adult and child sex trafficking is an unfortunate and horrifying reality that plagues countries around the world—including the United States. As TFTP has reported, people have been arrested attempting to purchase children as young as three months old to abuse them, including police officers. Even former child sex slaves have come forward to tell their stories and provide insight into the elite sickos who have the money and resources to deal in the lives of children. This has been ongoing for decades, yet the media and Americans alike, have largely ignored it, until now.


The arrest of Jeffery Epstein and his subsequent demise in the Metropolitan Correctional Center in New York has catapulted the massive problem of elite child sex trafficking into the limelight. Naturally, politicians on both sides — including the president — are attempting to use Epstein’s death for political advantage which has skewed the discourse. However, for the first time, Americans are actually talking about the problem of child sexual abuse among the elite, and this is healthy.


While some Americans are hearing Epstein’s name for the first time, TFTP has been reporting on his special treatment and ties to the elite for years. The child trafficking scandal doesn’t stop at the White House either, it crosses the pond and implicates the royal family too. Last year, a photo of the Queen’s son, Prince Andrew, surfaced as evidence during legal proceedings, showing him with his arm around one of the underage victims.


         



      

Epstein is a convicted child molester and sexually abused no less than 40 underage girls. Despite this fact, Alexander Acosta protected him while serving as a U.S. Attorney in Florida. After letting an admitted pedophile off with a wrist slap, instead of being fired, Acosta was then appointed to Trump’s labor secretary in 2017 before resigning last month amid the Epstein controversy.


Instead of going to prison for life, as he should’ve considering the evidence against him, Epstein only got 13 months and was allowed to stay in the Palm Beach County Jail in his own private cell where he was allowed to leave the prison six days a week for “work release”. Epstein was forced to register as a sex offender for life, but with his money and his connections he wasn’t too bothered—until last month.


Despite the left and the right pitting Epstein against their political foes, this pedophile was tied to all sides of the political spectrum.




As a report in the Miami Herald noted:


The eccentric hedge fund manager, whose friends included former President Bill Clinton, Donald Trump and Prince Andrew, was also suspected of trafficking minor girls, often from overseas, for sex parties at his other homes in Manhattan, New Mexico and the Caribbean, FBI and court records show.






However, he was never held accountable until last month — only after his victims and dedicated reporters pushed for justice for nearly a decade.


Now, as a tornado of conspiracy theories over Epstein’s death continues to travel across the Internet like wildfire, the media can no longer ignore the problem, nor Epstein’s connections.


Maybe now, as the DOJ investigates, the media may start to actually report on this massive problem. This is not the first time high profile figures have been arrested for sick crimes against children and let off with a wrist slap, but it is the first time the media is giving it so much attention—because this sicko is now dead.


As TFTP reported, in April of 2016, Dennis Hastert, former Speaker of the House under Clinton and Bush — and admitted child rapist — was sentenced to 15 months in prison after he was caught paying his victims to keep quiet. However, he was released in 2017 — two months before finishing his already insultingly lenient sentence.


Hastert was sentenced, not for raping children, but for illegally structuring bank transactions in an effort to cover up his sexual abuse of young boys.




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Just like Epstein, Hastert was an admitted serial child rapist, yet because he is a well-connected politician and former Speaker of the House, this vile man’s victims received no justice. In fact, Hastert attempted to sue his victims for speaking out after he paid them to stay silent about their abuse.


As TFTP has reported, Washington D.C. not only protects sex abusers but they use your tax dollars to silence their victims. Sadly, most people ignore at least half of all the abuse because blowhards in the media try to turn sex abuse into a partisan issue. Those on the left ignore the crimes of their party, just like those on the right claim sex abuse is a liberal issue. But as we’ve shown, there is no difference between a blue child rapist and a red one.


As the Free Thought Project has previously reported, the problem of child sex trafficking goes all the way to the top in the UK as well. Sir Edward Heath, the former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom was found by the police chief to be a pedophile. Just like what happens in the US, his vile crimes against children were allegedly ‘covered up by the establishment.’


Unfortunately, pedophilia and human trafficking is all too common among those in power. Sadly, however, those who attempt to draw attention to this problem are labeled as conspiracy nuts or perpetrators of fake news. Hopefully, as the truth comes out in regard to Jeffrey Epstein, the establishment will have a harder time protecting society’s worst.




Matt Agorist is an honorably discharged veteran of the USMC and former intelligence operator directly tasked by the NSA. This prior experience gives him unique insight into the world of government corruption and the American police state. Agorist has been an independent journalist for over a decade and has been featured on mainstream networks around the world. Agorist is also the Editor at Large at the Free Thought Project, where this article first appeared. Follow @MattAgorist on Twitter, Steemit, and now on Minds.



79

      

By Matt Agorist


Adult and child sex trafficking is an unfortunate and horrifying reality that plagues countries around the world—including the United States. As TFTP has reported, people have been arrested attempting to purchase children as young as three months old to abuse them, including police officers. Even former child sex slaves have come forward to tell their stories and provide insight into the elite sickos who have the money and resources to deal in the lives of children. This has been ongoing for decades, yet the media and Americans alike, have largely ignored it, until now.


The arrest of Jeffery Epstein and his subsequent demise in the Metropolitan Correctional Center in New York has catapulted the massive problem of elite child sex trafficking into the limelight. Naturally, politicians on both sides — including the president — are attempting to use Epstein’s death for political advantage which has skewed the discourse. However, for the first time, Americans are actually talking about the problem of child sexual abuse among the elite, and this is healthy.


While some Americans are hearing Epstein’s name for the first time, TFTP has been reporting on his special treatment and ties to the elite for years. The child trafficking scandal doesn’t stop at the White House either, it crosses the pond and implicates the royal family too. Last year, a photo of the Queen’s son, Prince Andrew, surfaced as evidence during legal proceedings, showing him with his arm around one of the underage victims.


         



      

Epstein is a convicted child molester and sexually abused no less than 40 underage girls. Despite this fact, Alexander Acosta protected him while serving as a U.S. Attorney in Florida. After letting an admitted pedophile off with a wrist slap, instead of being fired, Acosta was then appointed to Trump’s labor secretary in 2017 before resigning last month amid the Epstein controversy.


Instead of going to prison for life, as he should’ve considering the evidence against him, Epstein only got 13 months and was allowed to stay in the Palm Beach County Jail in his own private cell where he was allowed to leave the prison six days a week for “work release”. Epstein was forced to register as a sex offender for life, but with his money and his connections he wasn’t too bothered—until last month.


Despite the left and the right pitting Epstein against their political foes, this pedophile was tied to all sides of the political spectrum.




As a report in the Miami Herald noted:


The eccentric hedge fund manager, whose friends included former President Bill Clinton, Donald Trump and Prince Andrew, was also suspected of trafficking minor girls, often from overseas, for sex parties at his other homes in Manhattan, New Mexico and the Caribbean, FBI and court records show.






However, he was never held accountable until last month — only after his victims and dedicated reporters pushed for justice for nearly a decade.


Now, as a tornado of conspiracy theories over Epstein’s death continues to travel across the Internet like wildfire, the media can no longer ignore the problem, nor Epstein’s connections.


Maybe now, as the DOJ investigates, the media may start to actually report on this massive problem. This is not the first time high profile figures have been arrested for sick crimes against children and let off with a wrist slap, but it is the first time the media is giving it so much attention—because this sicko is now dead.


As TFTP reported, in April of 2016, Dennis Hastert, former Speaker of the House under Clinton and Bush — and admitted child rapist — was sentenced to 15 months in prison after he was caught paying his victims to keep quiet. However, he was released in 2017 — two months before finishing his already insultingly lenient sentence.


Hastert was sentenced, not for raping children, but for illegally structuring bank transactions in an effort to cover up his sexual abuse of young boys.




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Just like Epstein, Hastert was an admitted serial child rapist, yet because he is a well-connected politician and former Speaker of the House, this vile man’s victims received no justice. In fact, Hastert attempted to sue his victims for speaking out after he paid them to stay silent about their abuse.


As TFTP has reported, Washington D.C. not only protects sex abusers but they use your tax dollars to silence their victims. Sadly, most people ignore at least half of all the abuse because blowhards in the media try to turn sex abuse into a partisan issue. Those on the left ignore the crimes of their party, just like those on the right claim sex abuse is a liberal issue. But as we’ve shown, there is no difference between a blue child rapist and a red one.


As the Free Thought Project has previously reported, the problem of child sex trafficking goes all the way to the top in the UK as well. Sir Edward Heath, the former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom was found by the police chief to be a pedophile. Just like what happens in the US, his vile crimes against children were allegedly ‘covered up by the establishment.’


Unfortunately, pedophilia and human trafficking is all too common among those in power. Sadly, however, those who attempt to draw attention to this problem are labeled as conspiracy nuts or perpetrators of fake news. Hopefully, as the truth comes out in regard to Jeffrey Epstein, the establishment will have a harder time protecting society’s worst.




Matt Agorist is an honorably discharged veteran of the USMC and former intelligence operator directly tasked by the NSA. This prior experience gives him unique insight into the world of government corruption and the American police state. Agorist has been an independent journalist for over a decade and has been featured on mainstream networks around the world. Agorist is also the Editor at Large at the Free Thought Project, where this article first appeared. Follow @MattAgorist on Twitter, Steemit, and now on Minds.



80

      

By Antony P. Mueller


President Donald Trump wants a lower US dollar. He complains about the over-valuation of the American currency. Yet, is he right to accuse other countries of a “currency manipulation”? Is the position of the US dollar in the international monetary arena not a manipulation in its own right? How much has the United States benefited from the global role of the dollar, and is this “exorbitant privilege” coming to end? In order to find an answer to these questions, we must take a look at the monetary side of the rise of the American Empire.


Trump is right. The American dollar is overvalued. According to the latest version of the Economist’s “  Big Mac Index,” for example, only three currencies rank higher than the US dollar. Yet the main reason for this is not currency manipulation but the fact that the US dollar serves as the main international reserve currency.


This is both a boon and a curse. It is a boon because the country that emits the leading international reserve currency can have trade deficits without worrying about a growing foreign debt. Because the American foreign debt is in the country’s own currency, the government can always honor its foreign obligations as it can produce any amount of money that it wants in its own currency.


Yet the international reserve status comes also with the curse that the persistent trade deficits weaken the country’s industrial base. Instead of paying for the import of foreign goods with the export of domestic production, the United States can simply export money.


         



      

American Supremacy


The performance of the US economy in the 20th century owes much to the predominant role of the US dollar in the international monetary system. A large part of attaining this role was the result of the political and military supremacy that the United States had gained after World War I. Still today, the position of the US dollar in the world of finance represents a major underpinning of the prosperity at home and provides the basis for the expansion of the US military presence around the globe.


After each of the two world wars in the 20th century, the United States emerged as the largest creditor country, while the war had ruined the economies of the war-time enemies along with that of the major allies. After the end of the Cold War, this pattern would experience a repetition. The United States, so it seems, has been, since then, the only remaining superpower.


In the 1990s, the dollar experienced a new flourishing, and the US economy went through magical rejuvenation. However, this time the economic and political fundamentals gave much less support to the assumed role of the dollar in the world. In contrast to the time after World War II, the basis for the dollar’s global expansion in the 1990s was not economic strength, but debt creation. The public debt ratio, which had been falling since the end of the war began to turn-around in 1982 and has been rising ever since (Figure 1).


mueller1_3.png

Figure 1: US Gross Federal Debt Ratio (Debt in percent of gross domestic product), 1940–2018. Source: US Bureau of Public Debt,  tradingeconomics.com


With this debt creation came a new phase of global expansion of the dollar. The spread of the dollar provided the basis for the economic performance and the military position of the United States. Yet this time, the new structure that has emerged is outwardly powerful but inherently fragile. It is not economic strength that provides the foundation of the role of the US dollar in the international monetary system, but it is the US dollar’s financial role that provides the basis for the United States to maintain and extend its global activities.


While after 1919 and after 1945, the United States emerged not only as the largest international creditor, but also as the major industrial power, the US has become an international debtor since the 1980s and is confronted with a weakening industrial base. Also, in contrast to the earlier world wars and the other conflicts, the economies of Russia, Western Europe, and Southeast Asia did not lay in ruins when the Cold War ended. As to their productive capacity and financial resources, these regions now are on an even footing with the United States.


For a while it appeared as if the international monetary system that emerged in the 1990s could be interpreted as a new version of the older Bretton Woods System whose structure foresaw a central role for the US dollar in the post–World War II era. While the parallels fit insofar as the current system provides similar benefits to the participants, the present structure is even more flawed than the older scheme, which broke down due to its inner contradictions.


Bretton Woods


Like the earlier Bretton Woods System (BW1), the current system (BW2) is characterized by the pegging of foreign currencies to the US dollar or using the dollar as the currency of reference. This time, it is mainly Southeast Asian countries, particularly China, that practice this policy in an informal way. Through this arrangement, these economies in Southeast Asia receive a similar advantage as was once enjoyed by the Western European countries when their undervalued currencies gave them a competitive advantage that helped to rebuild their industrial base after the Second World War. Once this reconstruction stage was completed, the BW1 system fell apart, and the Europeans began to build their own currency system. The decoupling of the European currencies from the dollar progressed step by step and finally led to the introduction of the euro in 1999. As of now, the euro is equal to the US dollar in the size of its internal use, yet as a global currency, and particularly as an international reserve currency, the US dollar still dominates majestically (Figure 2).


mueller2_2.png

Figure 2: Shares of the major currencies in the international monetary system. Source:  European Central Bank


Mainly the central banks in Southeast Asia, foremost China, have accumulated US dollars as their international reserves in the recent past. However, there is little doubt that their willingness to finance US deficits and to hold on to a weakening currency will not last forever. As happened in Europe before, once the prime goal of these countries is fulfilled — industrial development based on exports with the help of undervalued currencies — Southeast Asia will move out of the dollar linkage.


The Bretton Woods System as it was established by the end of World War II bestowed an “exorbitant privilege” to the United States when the dollar became the point of reference for the international currency system following the  Bretton Woods Accord. With the other member countries fixing their currencies to the US dollar, and the US dollar officially fixed to gold at $35 per troy fine ounce, it seemed as if an ideal construction was found in order to avoid international monetary disruptions and to provide the framework for global economic expansion.


The  gold anchor  was aimed at preventing an excessive production of US dollars by the US government. When foreign countries had a trade surplus, they were formally allowed, according to the Bretton Woods Accord, to exchange the excess dollars for gold from the American Treasury. With a stable parity between dollar and gold, this would have restricted dollar creation. France took the agreement literally and demanded gold from the United States instead of accumulating dollars as international reserves. Yet other surplus countries such as Japan and West Germany refrained from that option. With their exchange rates kept competitive, Japan and West Germany embarked upon an export-led growth strategy that sped up their economic recovery and made them industrial powers again.


For the United States, the BW1 system provided a special privilege and it did not take long for the United States to abuse it. Pursuing the goal of expanding the welfare state along with ever-more-active foreign military involvements, the United States expanded the money supply drastically. The discrepancy began to widen between the stock of gold in the vaults of the Federal Reserve and the dollars in circulation in the world. It became obvious that the US government no longer had the means to fulfill the original agreement of making foreign currencies exchangeable into gold. By the late 1960s, the dollar shortage of the 1950s had turned into a dollar glut. World price inflation began its rise.






Originally in the BW1 treaty, it was stipulated that the modification of currency parities should be an exception rather than a rule. But in the course of the 1960s, the international monetary system entered into a phase of high instability when fixing and re-fixing of foreign currencies to the dollar became a huge concern. The perverse monetary system that emerged created a bonanza for currency speculators. The candidates for exchange rate revaluation — such as Germany or Japan — were easy to identify. By taking out a dollar loan and changing the money at a fixed rate into German marks or Japanese yen and then depositing the amount, leverage could be applied, and profits were guaranteed when the revaluation of the foreign currencies occurred — as it was not hard to foresee. The risk was minimal and largely confined to bearing the cost of the interest rate differential between the rate of the dollar loan and that of the deposit rate in the German or Japanese money markets.


Long Live the Dollar


In the late 1960s, the international monetary system had transmogrified into a source of global liquidity creation that originated from the United States but forced also other nations to import this inflation. Inflation-fighting central banks, such as the German Bundesbank, could not effectively apply restrictive instruments. Given that the interest rate differential was the prime risk factor for currency speculators, a restrictive monetary policy with higher interest rates in the revaluation candidate country would attract even more hot money and would have made the speculation even less risky. Central banks abroad, particularly the German Bundesbank and the Bank of Japan, massively accumulated US dollars as international reserves when they held their exchange rates fixed to the dollar at the undervalued parity. Yet by buying up the excess offer of US dollars with their own currency, these countries expanded their own monetary base and laid the foundation for inflation at home.


In 1971, with the so-called “Smithsonian agreement,” a final attempt was made to save the old system when the United States devalued its currency against gold and a series of other currencies. However soon thereafter, it became obvious that there was no chance of revival for the old regime. In 1973, with the adoption of the new rule that each country could choose its own currency arrangement, the Bretton Woods System was officially declared as dead.


Since then, the US dollar has entered into a long decline, interrupted by two episodes. Under the Reagan presidency, the Cold War entered into its final period, and the dollar became the currency of refuge for some time. The US victory in this battle appeared as a replay of the endings of World War I and World War II with the United States emerging for a third time on top of the world. In the 1990s, the triad of global dominance seemed well in place for the United States: unrivalled military might, a booming and innovative economy, and the status of undisputed issuer of the global currency. The US dollar experienced another period of strength. Since 2002, however, the long-term trend toward a weaker dollar is back in place, interrupted by lower peaks of the waves of strength (see Figure 3).


mueller3.png

Figure 3: US Dollar Index, 1965–2019. Source:  tradingeconomics.com


The Dollar and US Foreign Policy


In the 1990s, the monetary policy of the United States became an instrument of a grand geostrategic enterprise. The neoconservative movement took this constellation as it emerged in the 1990s for granted and implemented a policy that was based on a philosophy that assumed with almost religious confidence that it was the duty and right of the United States to be the hegemon in the 21st century. In contrast to the time after the two world wars, however, the rest of the world outside of the United States did not lay in ruins. While after the two world wars, it was the US industrial base that laid the foundation for the role of the US dollar, now it was not the superiority of the US industrial base that provided the basis for the global role of the United States but its insatiable appetite for private and public consumption. The current underpinning of the geostrategic supremacy play of the United States is the US dollar by itself in its role as the major international reserve and trade currency. It is a system without a proper foundation similar to traditions that live on for some prolonged period of time even when the reasons for their existence have vanished.


Changing of the Guard


The easy monetary policy of the United States has accelerated the de-industrialization at home and has fostered industrialization abroad (predominantly in China and in the rest of Southeast Asia); it has produced a situation that stands in sharp contrast to the end of World War I and World War II. Under the new BW2 system, the United States is no longer the largest creditor with the largest industrial base, but instead has become the largest international debtor. Imperial politics requires expansive monetary policy, and the consequence of it shows up in persistently high trade deficits and a deteriorating external investment position (Figure 4).


mueller4.png

Figure 4: United States net international investment position, 1976–2019 (in million US-dollars). Source:  tradingeconomics.com


Being the issuer of a global currency provides huge benefits that come with a curse. Increased private and public consumption possibilities come from the privilege of getting goods from abroad without the necessity of producing an equivalent amount of tradable export goods. While other countries have to export in order to pay for their imports, the sovereign who emits a global currency is exempt from adhering to the most fundamental law of economic exchange. This sets domestic resources free for the expansion of the state, particularly military power. The more such an imperial power extends its military presence, the more its currency becomes a global currency, and thereby new expansionary steps can be financed. Expansion becomes a necessity.




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Over time, however, the divergence widens between the weakening industrial base at home and the extended global role. With goods coming from abroad for which there is no immediate need to pay with sweat and effort, the domestic culture changes from an ethics of production to hedonism. Creeping corruption cronyism undermines the political system. With resources set free because of imports, the production of goods at home shifts to fancy activities. The cycle of “panem et circenses” has been the fate of all empires.


The current global position of the United States is similar to that of Spain in the period of its decline. Already economically hollow, Spain tried desperately to hang on to its outposts and “possessions” around the globe while the domestic economy transmogrified into a public-service and militarized economy. In the end, the United States gave the coup de grace to the Spanish Empire by taking away Cuba, Puerto Rico, and the Philippines. A new phase of US geographic expansion and dominance began and in 1898 and the stage was set for the United States to become the imperial power of the 20th century.


History, and in particular economic history, always shows both: common features and differences, and indeed, the American Empire is different from some of the former empires. Yet what the United States has in common with the former imperial states is that at some point the military extension becomes too complex to be handled efficiently and thus becomes too costly.


The discrepancy between the relative position of the US economy in the world on the one hand and the relative position of the United States as to its military presence and the role of the US dollar on the other hand is moving toward a cracking point. This leads to the conclusion that in a world where the economic strength of the United States is diminishing relative to other countries and regions, there will be less and less of a place for the US dollar privilege.


Different from the factors that justified the expectation of a coming demise of the dollar in 2007, the American currency has experienced a new spring due to the financial crisis of 2008. With little else in place for shelter, the US dollar served as a safe haven. It remains to be seen if this will also be the case when the next financial disaster happens.



Dr. Antony P. Mueller is a German professor of economics who currently teaches in Brazil. Write an e-mail. See his Amazon author page.


Note: The views expressed on Mises.org are not necessarily those of the Mises Institute.



This article was sourced from Mises.org


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