Like Freedom? Then You Won’t Like The FREEDOM Act


25-03-20 08:37:00,

Authored by Ron Paul via The Ron Paul Institute for Peace & Prosperity,

Last Monday, a bipartisan group of Senators and a coalition including libertarian and progressive activists thwarted a scheme to ram through the Senate legislation renewing three provisions of the USA FREEDOM Act (previously known as the USA PATRIOT Act). The bill had already been rushed through the House of Representatives, and most expected it to sail through the Senate. But, instead, Senate leadership had to settle for a 77-day extension.

Senate leadership was also forced to allow consideration of several amendments at a later date. Included is Sen. Rand Paul’s amendment that would forbid the FISA court from issuing warrants targeting American citizens.

Deep state supporters claim the expiring business records provision (which authorizes the collection of our communications and was at the center of Edward Snowden’s 2013 revelations), lone wolf provision (which allows government to subject an individual with no known ties to terrorists to warrantless surveillance), and roving wiretaps provision (which allows government to monitor communications on any device that may be used by a targeted individual) are necessary to keep Americans safe.

But, since Congress first passed the PATRIOT Act almost 20 years ago, mass surveillance, warrantless wiretapping, and bulk data collection have not stopped a single terrorist attack.

The legislation does have “reforms” aimed at protecting civil liberties, but these new protections contain loopholes that render the protections meaningless. For example, the bill requires those targeted for surveillance to be notified that the government spied on them. However, this requirement can be waived if the government simply claims — not proves but just clams — that notifying the target would harm “national security.”

The notice provision also only applies to the target of an investigations. So, if you were caught up in a federal investigation because a coworker is being targeted and you shared an office computer, or if a store clerk reported to the government you and others bought pressure cookers, the government could collect your phone records, texts, and social media posts without giving you the chance to challenge the government’s actions.

The bill also makes some reforms to the special FISA court,

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The Fed Won’t Avert The Next “Crisis”… They Will Cause It


16-01-20 07:02:00,

Authored by Lance Roberts via,

John Mauldin recently penned an interesting piece:

“Ignoring problems rarely solves them. You need to deal with them—not just the effects, but the underlying causes, or else they usually get worse. In the developed world, and especially the US, and even in China, our economic challenges are rapidly approaching that point. Things that would have been easily fixed a decade ago, or even five years ago, will soon be unsolvable by conventional means.

Yes, we did indeed need the Federal Reserve to provide liquidity during the initial crisis. But after that, the Fed kept rates too low for too long, reinforcing the wealth and income disparities and creating new bubbles we will have to deal with in the not-too-distant future.

This wasn’t a ‘beautiful deleveraging’ as you call it. It was the ugly creation of bubbles and misallocation of capital. The Fed shouldn’t have blown these bubbles in the first place.”

John is correct. The problem with low interest rates for so long is they have encouraged the misallocation of capital. We see it everywhere throughout the entirety of the financial system from consumer debt, to subprime auto-loans, to corporate leverage, and speculative greed.

Misallocation Of Capital – Everywhere

Debt, if used for productive purposes, can be beneficial. However, as discussed in The Economy Should Grow Faster Than Debt:

“Since the bulk of the debt issued by the U.S. has been squandered on increases in social welfare programs and debt service, there is a negative return on investment. Therefore, the larger the balance of debt becomes, the more economically destructive it is by diverting an ever-growing amount of dollars away from productive investments to service payments.”

Currently, throughout the entire monetary ecosystem, there is a rising consensus that “debt doesn’t matter” as long as interest rates and inflation remain low. Of course, the ultra-low interest rate policy administered by the Federal Reserve is responsible for the “yield chase,” and the massive surge in debt since the “financial crisis.” 


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Europe Won’t Admit The Mini-BOTs Are Coming


26-06-19 09:31:00,

Authored by Tom Luongo,

Italy is in serious trouble financially. This is virtually common knowledge at this point. What isn’t common knowledge is its Euroskeptic government led by Lega’s Matteo Salvini and Five Star Movement’s Luigi Di Maio are preparing an assault on the foundation of the European Union itself to save Italy.

And that assault comes with the most innocuous name. Mini-BOT. Mini-BOTs were originally the idea of former Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis to assist Greece get out of the stranglehold placed on it by the euro.

What is a mini-BOT? It is a small denomination (mini) Bill of Treasury (BOT) that can be issued by, in this case, the Italian government to act as a domestic currency for settling government debts, paying taxes, etc.

It would be a parallel currency which could circulate freely domestically at a discount to the euro which would work as a medium of exchange to reflect the reality of the Italian economy better than the euro does.

The euro’s value is dominated by Germany’s economy. And, in short, by being so the euro overvalues Italy’s labor pool and undervalues Germany’s. Gresham’s Law states under-valued money is hoarded and over-valued spent. In Italy the euro is hoarded. In Germany it is spent. This is why Germany runs such a massive trade surplus against the other members of the euro-zone.

Italy (and Greece, Portugal, Spain and others) need a currency that can circulate to properly support domestic trade.

By mispricing Italian labor via the euro it keeps the goods produced in Italy uncompetitive on the world market. Italy’s central bank can only issue euro-denominated debt which trades at rates far lower than it should, enhancing Germany’s position.

The Italian economy, like Greece’s, is also strangled by the cost of servicing its national debt denominated in euros. This keeps the demand for money within the economy high for debt servicing purposes and its circulation low.

Low circulation equals low trade and a sluggish economy. The EU’s budget rules favor paying off creditors first and tending to the Italian economy second. The ‘austerity’ imposed on euro-zone members, because of this mispricing of both the debt and the euro itself,

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Trump Won’t Accept Trade Deal Unless China Opens Market To Manufacturers, Bankers And Farmers


31-01-19 04:52:00,

President Trump is on another tweeting tear Thursday morning, alternating between comments about the ongoing US-China trade talks and his push to convince a bipartisan group of lawmakers to strike a border security deal that includes funding for his promised border wall.

After affirming earlier that a trade deal won’t be struck this week because there won’t be a “final deal” until Trump and President Xi can meet face to face (the WSJ reported that Trump will travel to China next month for the meeting), Trump followed up by insisting that a final deal will require China to open up its markets not only to US financial services firms, but to US “manufacturing, farmers and other US businesses and industries.”

Looking for China to open their Markets not only to Financial Services, which they are now doing, but also to our Manufacturing, Farmers and other U.S. businesses and industries. Without this a deal would be unacceptable!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 31, 2019

He followed that up with a tweet affirming that the Pentagon will be sending more troops to the US border (something the Pentagon announced earlier this week).

More troops being sent to the Southern Border to stop the attempted Invasion of Illegals, through large Caravans, into our Country. We have stopped the previous Caravans, and we will stop these also. With a Wall it would be soooo much easier and less expensive. Being Built!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 31, 2019

On Wednesday, Trump shared a quote from a Fox & Friends story about the three migrant caravans that are currently headed for the US border, an angle that Trump is seeking to play up as Democrats dig in their heels and Trump threatens to finally call the national emergency that would (in theory, at least) allow him to circumvent Congress and order the military to build the wall (which, as Trump has repeatedly claimed, has already been started). The tweets on trade come ahead of a reported meeting between Trump and Chinese Vice Premier Liu He at the White House on Thursday.

However, despite Trump’s emphasis on farming and manufacturing, the president’s tweet notably follows a story published Thursday in the Wall Street Journal which explained why the US is in a better position to expand services like banking,

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