03/30/18

#OpioidCrisis Myths and Lies; Time to #BuildTheWall

By: Renee Nal | New Zeal

Images of an illicit Chinese drug lab, courtesy of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration

Over 63,600 Americans died after overdosing on drugs in 2016, according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC). Of those, 42,249 people died from taking “opioids,” which is a deceptive catch-all word that includes both prescription pain killers such as oxycodone and hydrocodone, as well as illicit drugs such as heroin and synthetic fentanyl. For some reason, the 21,351 people who died after overdosing on non-opioids like cocaine and methamphetamine are not in the conversation.

Of the 42,249 people who died from taking “opioids,” how many were from doctor prescriptions? How many were from people “doctor shopping” or otherwise abusing/misusing their own prescriptions? How many deaths were from drugs illegally pushed through the southern border?

Without the answers to those questions, how can Americans possibly know that the billions of dollars allocated to combat the opioid epidemic will be spent wisely? Continue reading

03/29/18

Russia Expels Western Diplomats Then Announces High Tech Weapons

By: Denise Simon | Founders Code

“U.S. ambassador to Russia Jon Huntsman has been summoned to our ministry, where my deputy Sergei Ryabkov is briefing him on the tit-for-tat steps against the U.S.,” Lavrov said, according to the state-run Tass Russian News Agency.

“They include the expulsion of the same number of diplomats and our decision to withdraw consent to the work of the Consulate General in St. Petersburg.” More here.

Meanwhile…

Robotics, artificial intelligence, and a willingness to strike the enemy’s non-military targets will figure in the country’s future strategies.

The U.S. military isn’t alone in its plans to pour money into drones, ground robots, and artificially intelligent assistants for command and control. Russia, too, will be increasing investment in these areas, as well as space and information warfare, Russian Army Gen. Valery Gerasimov told members of the Russian Military Academy of the General Staff last Saturday. In the event of war, Russia would consider economic and non-military government targets fair game, he said.

The comments are yet another sign that the militaries of the United States and Russia are coming more and more to resemble one another in key ways — at least in terms of hyping future capabilities. The chief of the General Staff said the Russian military is already developing new drones that could perform strike as well as reconnaissance missions. On the defensive side, the military is investing in counter-drone tech and electromagnetic warfare kits for individual troops.

The Russians are building an “automated reconnaissance and strike system,” he said, describing an AI-drive system that sounds a bit like the Maven and Data to Decision projects that the United States Air Force is pursuing. The goal, according to Gerasimov, was to cut down on the time between reconnaissance for target collection and strike by a factor of 2.5, and to improve the accuracy of strike by a factor of two. The Russian government is developing new, high-precision strike weapons for the same purpose. “In the future, precision weapons, including advanced hypersonics, will allow for the transfer the fundamental parts of strategic deterrence to non-nuclear weapons,” he said.

Sam Bendett, a research analyst at the Center for Naval Analyses, says the moves signal that the Russian military is trying to push fighting further away from its borders, thus growing the area to which it can deny access, or at least appear to do so. “Russia’s current force composition is aiming at short-range, short-duration conflict where its forces can overwhelm the adversary close to Russian borders. The new technology Gerasimov discusses would allow Russia to conduct deep-strikes within enemy territory, thus ‘pushing’ the actual fighting far from Russian borders and Russian vulnerability to Western precision-guided weapons,” he said.

What would Gerasimov hit with those weapons? In his talk, the Russian general said that enemy economic and non-military aspects of government could be on the list of potential targets. “The objects of the economy and the state administration of the enemy will be subject to immediate destruction, in addition to the traditional spheres of armed struggle, the information sphere and space will be actively involved,” he told the audience.

Says Bendett, “the use of such technologies is especially important given the type of war Moscow intends to fight. Gerasimov stated that potential adversary’s economic targets, as well as government’s ability to govern, will be fair game. Striking deep into enemy territory can be accomplished more easily by unmanned systems—whether armed with EW, various sensors or strike components … All this also depends on the Russian military-industrial complex’s ability to properly marshal the needed resources in an organized fashion in order to field this technology.”

One other explanation for the tough talk: Russia is hardly an even match for the United States in terms of either military spending or capability. The recently announced $61 billion increase in the U.S. military budget over last year’s budget (bringing the total to $700 billion) is greater than the entire Russian military budget, which sits around $46 billion. That number represents about 2.86 percent of Russian GDP. In December, Putin said that the government would “reduce” future expenditures.

“Gerasimov is, like anyone in a senior military post, a lobbyist as much as a soldier, and at a time when the Russian defense budget is going to continue to shrink, he is doing what he can both to maintain it as high as possible and also to tilt procurement away from older-fashioned metalwork — which is really a way for the Kremlin to subsidise the defence industries rather than what the military want — and towards advanced communications, reconnaissance and targeting capabilities,” said Mark Galeotti, the head of the Center for European Security at UMV, the Institute of International Relations, Prague.

According to Bendett, Russian government leaders are “hedging against impending geopolitical and economic uncertainty by trying to keep their military budget within certain parameters. The [Ministry of Defense] has been talking repeatedly about the rising share of new military tech in service of the Russian military, slowly phasing out older systems in favor of new ones. So the high-tech approach that Gerasimov outlined — space-based weapons, ‘military robots’ — is the next evolutionary stage in Russian military’s evolution to a more high-tech, sophisticated forces capable of rapid strike.”

Gerasimov also took a moment to denounce what he claimed were Western attempts to destabilize the Russian government through information and influence warfare and other subtle tactics. The charge may strike Western audiences as brazenly hypocritical given the Kremlin’s on-going attempts to sow misinformation to global audiences through social media, email theft and propaganda campaigns. But it’s an old talking point for Gerasimov.

Said UMV’s Galeotti: “At a time when the Kremlin is demonstrably worried about what it sees as Western ‘gibridnaya voina‘ [or hybrid war] being waged against it — we don’t have to accept their premises to acknowledge that the Russians genuinely believe this — he is staking out the military’s claims to being relevant in this age. And his answer, as in his infamous 2013 article, and as played out in the first stage of Zapad [the major wargame Russia executed in Belarus last summer] is that the military will deploy massive firepower to smash any foreign incursions meant to instigate risings against Moscow.”

03/29/18

U.S. Caps Money at 25% of UN Peacekeeping

By: Denise Simon | Founders Code

For the most part, peacekeepers do not achieve the standards of their home country for military or humanitarian positions, so they are dispatched to the United Nations.

Conflicts where peacekeepers are deployed are also near countries at the top of the list.

The UN’s peacekeepers currently have operations in Western Sahara, Central African Rebpublic, Mali, Haiti, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Darfur, Syria, Cyprus, Lebanon, Abyei, South Sudan, Ivory Coast, Kosovo, Liberia and India and Pakistan.

China’s peacekeepers will form part of the “Peacekeeping Capability Readiness System”, a rapid-deployment standby force.

Its move to become one of the largest forces in the UN’s peacekeepers indicates its growing presence on the world stage, while also saying that China is a responsible power.

The UN’s current peacekeeping budget stands at £5.25bn, and its force has been implemented in 69 missions over the past 68 years. Click here to see the personnel donations from listed countries.

US: Won’t pay over 25 percent of UN peacekeeping anymore

UNITED NATIONS — The United States will no longer shoulder more than a quarter of the multibillion-dollar costs of the United Nations’ peacekeeping operations, Washington’s envoy said Wednesday.

“Peacekeeping is a shared responsibility,” U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley said at a Security Council debate on peacekeeping reform. “All of us have a role to play, and all of us must step up.”

The U.S. is the biggest contributor to the U.N.’s 15 peacekeeping missions worldwide. Washington is paying about 28.5 percent of this year’s $7.3 billion peacekeeping budget, though Haley said U.S. law is supposed to cap the contribution at 25 percent.

The second-biggest contributor, China, pays a bit over 10 percent.

U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration has complained before that the budget and Washington’s share are too high and pressed to cut this year’s budget. It is $570 million below last year’s, a smaller decrease than the U.S. wanted.

“We’re only getting started,” Haley said when the cut was approved in June. It followed a $400 million trim the prior year, before Trump’s administration.

Haley said Wednesday that the U.S. will work to make sure cuts in its portion are done “in a fair and sensible manner that protects U.N. peacekeeping.”

The General Assembly sets the budget and respective contributions by vote. Spokesmen for Assembly President Miroslav Lajcak and U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres declined to comment on Haley’s remarks, noting that the 193 U.N. member states will decide the budget.

Drawing over 105,000 troops, police and other personnel from countries around the world, the peacekeeping missions operate in places from Haiti to parts of India and Pakistan. Most are in African countries. The biggest is in Congo, where the Security Council agreed just Tuesday to keep the 16,000-troop force in place for another year.

Some missions have been credited with helping to protect civilians and restore stability, but others have been criticized for corruption and ineffectiveness.

In Mali, where 13,000 peacekeepers have been deployed since 2013, residents in a northern region still “don’t feel safe and secure,” Malian women’s rights activist Fatimata Toure told the Security Council on Wednesday. She said violence remains pervasive in her section of a country that plunged into turmoil after a March 2012 coup created a security vacuum.

“We have still not felt (the peacekeeping mission) deliver on its protection-of-civilians mandate,” though it has helped in some other ways, Toure said. “We feel, as civilians, that we’ve been abandoned, left to our fate.”

Peacekeeping also has been clouded by allegations of sexual abuse and exploitation. An Associated Press investigative series last year uncovered roughly 2,000 claims of such conduct by peacekeepers and other U.N. personnel around the world during a 12-year period.

Maintaining peace has become increasingly deadly work. Some 59 peacekeepers were killed through “malicious acts” last year, compared to 34 in 2016, Guterres said Wednesday. A U.N. report in January blamed many of the deaths on inaction in the field and “a deficit of leadership” from the world body’s headquarters to remote locations.

Guterres said Wednesday that the U.N. is improving peacekeepers’ training, has appointed a victims’ rights advocate for victims of sexual abuse and is reviewing all peacekeeping operations.

Still, he said, more needs to be done to strengthen peacekeeping forces and ensure they are deployed in tandem with political efforts, not instead of them. They also shouldn’t be overloaded with unrealistic expectations, he said.

“Lives and credibility are being lost,” he said. “A peacekeeping operation is not an army or a counterterrorist force or a humanitarian agency.”

Representatives from many countries also stressed a need for more focused, better prepared peacekeeping missions and more robust political peace processes.

The U.N., its member states and countries that host peacekeeping missions all “need to shoulder our responsibilities,” said Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, whose country arranged the debate as this month’s Security Council president.

03/29/18

China’s Global Kidnapping Program May Already Be Occurring In The U.S.

By: Terresa Monroe-Hamilton

Most Americans never stop to think what other humans suffer under communist regimes. And if you listen to politicians and the media, you would think the Chinese are our best friends. They aren’t. They are our enemies and always will be. Why? Because of communism and make no mistake, Xi’s regime is communist.

Now, our intelligence officials fear that China’s global campaign of kidnapping citizens that they want to repatriate for one reason or another has reached our borders. I would wager a guess that it happened long ago, we just haven’t been paying attention. These people are brought back to China where they may face arrest and imprisonment on political and corruption charges. Beijing admits that Chinese officials are doing this. They aren’t trying to hide it. They have repatriated more than 3,000 people “who had escaped overseas” since late 2012, Xinhua reports. What they call repatriation is often coercion or kidnapping. They threaten these people and their families. It’s the communist way.

In one example cited in an excellent report by Foreign Policy, a Chinese-Canadian billionaire named Xiao was snatched from his hotel in Hong Kong in 2017 and was loaded after probably being sedated into a wheelchair and rolled out through the lobby with a sheet covering his head. Similar stories have also come out of Australia, a U.S. intelligence partner, including one about a man who was allegedly drugged by Chinese security forces and transported back to the mainland on a state-owned shipping vessel.

An initial police report filed by a family member was quickly withdrawn and Xiao later issued a statement denying that he had been kidnapped. More than one year later, he remains in mainland China and though he hasn’t been charged with any crime, his businesses, under government direction, are expected to sell almost $24 billion in investments, which will reportedly be used to repay state banks.

Chinese nationals who are here in the U.S. legally have also started to disappear under suspicious circumstances. The only difference here is that these individuals are not high-profile targets. They are just normal people. “There were multiple reports of people observing Chinese intelligence operatives materializing around the schools or residences of the missing people,” one intelligence official said. “One theory was that they were strong-arming them in person, saying, ‘We’re here. Your flight back to China is tomorrow.'” The official stressed that there is still a difference between “kicking in a door and taking a guy forcefully away and saying, ‘Come with us or we’ll kill your family in Inner Mongolia.'” Still, in one case involving a Chinese graduate student at the University of California, Berkeley, there was “evidence of this person being taken against their will.” And no one notices or says a word.

The kidnappings happen all over the world and follow the same pattern. Either the person is threatened and goes with Chinese intelligence agents, or they are forcibly kidnapped. When they are in China, they disavow being kidnapped and their assets usually are seized by the Chinese government. Some of these Chinese nationals are in fact, nationals of other countries. Powerful businessmen, ex-Chinese Communist Party officials, dissidents and activists have all been targeted as part of what Western intelligence officials say appears to be a large-scale campaign.

These cases of forced repatriation appear to show just how seriously the Communist Party takes its assertion that anyone it regards as a national — no matter where they live, work, or study — is subject to its authority. The kidnappings have begun to occur in the territory of core U.S. allies, including some of the Five Eyes intelligence partners (the United States, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United Kingdom). The Chinese have become emboldened like the Russians, believing no one will do anything of substance to stop them. It appears that the forced repatriations started in earnest in 2004.

In 2014, Beijing formally announced that it was expanding its anti-corruption campaign, known as Skynet or Fox Hunt, to target officials living abroad. In mainland China, the use of kidnapping and illegal detention has become such a standard part of the Communist Party’s disciplinary procedures that it even has a name, shuanggui. In order to isolate suspects in corruption cases — which are often intertwined with fights among party factions — security officials seize them, hold them in undisclosed locations and torture them to extract quick confessions. The use of shuanggui has increased sharply since Chinese President Xi Jinping launched his anti-corruption drive.

About five years ago, U.S. intelligence noticed that Chinese people began ‘disappearing’ in the United States. The number of suspicious disappearances at the time was small — fewer than six, one former senior intelligence official said.

China has formal legal channels to retrieve “economic fugitives.” According to a former senior U.S. law enforcement official, Chinese officials about three years ago gave their American counterparts a list of U.S.-based individuals they wanted deported to China. The list, which numbered nearly 200 people and included 15 to 20 individuals in the Los Angeles area alone, tended to “trump up” charges in many cases, says the law enforcement official. China and the United States do not have an extradition treaty, but in 2015, the Department of Homeland Security agreed to enhance cooperation with China on deportation of U.S.-based fugitives.

The CIA and the State Department referred questions about alleged cases of forced repatriation to the Justice Department. The DOJ released a brief statement on the matter: “The U.S. Department of Justice will not allow the United States to become a safe haven for criminals,” the spokesperson wrote in an email to Foreign Policy. “The Department will assist other countries if evidence of criminality is presented, but will not accept unilateral law enforcement activity by another country on our territory.”

The Chinese government alternates between vague threats and appeals to consider family. “The phrasing they use — either to force you back or to get you to give information when you’re back — is, ‘It would be best for your father if you did this,’ or ‘Don’t you want the best thing for your father?’” the person says. Often, the Chinese government operatives will also try to appeal to the person’s patriotism. “They’ll say, ‘You’re Chinese, don’t you want to help the motherland?’ And when they want to intimidate or bully you, they say, ‘You’re too American, you don’t understand how things work in China.’” If that doesn’t do the trick, they get rougher. “With most people, threats and imprisonment were enough,” the person says, “but with the really hard men, they tortured, or threatened to torture, the wives and relatives.”

China is flexing its muscles across the planet militarily and economically. They also feel it is their right to go after Chinese nationals no matter what country they are in or whether they are a citizen or not. Their intelligence agents are little better than the Gestapo was and they are feared just as much. Under Xi, it has gotten much worse and he’s just begun to use his power as the new Chinese dictator for life.

03/29/18

A Volatile And Mixed Day

By: Kent Engelke | Capitol Securities

Markets were again mixed yesterday in a very volatile session. Megacap tech shares slumped again falling about 0.85%. The biggest losers were Amazon and Netflix with the former shedding $53 billion in value. The Dow was essentially unchanged.

The Trump administration is considering leveling antitrust or anticompetition sanctions on Amazon. Some have opined the President is playing politics.

My comment is cynical… what administration has not played politics? President Obama was the master especially as it relates to the financials. President Clinton almost ruined the tobacco industry.

Amazon has bragged about being a “disrupter,” doing everything under the guise of benefiting the consumer. Wall Street and government have followed along. The former under the simple premise for fees and performance, living in a Janusian world that profits and valuations do not matter.

The latter because it is all about politics and to heck with the small businessman. It is easier to control one large organization versus hundreds of smaller companies.

The Trump administration was elected on a populist basis, espousing economic nationalism and the common person. The President is doing what he stated he would do.

Last week, I referenced Commerce Department statistics that only 10% of retail sales are conducted on an on-ine platform, platforms that include Walmart and Target. The Commerce Department also stated that online sales grew by 9% in 2017, double the 4% rate of overall retail sales.

In my view, the cards are stacked in favor of Amazon for a myriad of reasons and the populist President is attempting to level the playing field.

I have written a gazillion times about the “crowdedness” of several popular trades opining who will buy when selling commences? Some are “shocked” about the damage in a sector that was viewed as impervious to all laws of gravity, government and fairness. In my view, the damage is just beginning.

Algorithmic traders trade on momentum and may exacerbate selling pressure given their penchant for speed over capitalization. Indexers and ETFs may accentuate the selling, the inverse of the past three years.

Typically, great volatility — defined as big losses followed by big gains — are a sign of a major top. The “buy on dip” mentality becomes exhausted. Recent trading patterns of the mega-sized technology shares are similar to those of eighteen years ago. In that era, buyers gave in and the NASDAQ imploded about 80% in about two years while the typical stock greatly outperformed.

Will history repeat itself?

What happens today? Most markets are closed tomorrow for Good Friday.

Last night the foreign markets were up. London was up 0.39%, Paris was up 0.56% and Frankfurt was up 0.79%. China was up 1.22%, Japan was up 0.61%and Hang Sang was up 0.24%.

The Dow should open nominally higher. The 10-year is up 3/32 to yield 2.77%.

03/28/18

2 Russians May not Survive Poison, but What about Lesin’s Murder?

By: Denise Simon | Founders Code

As of the time this article is published, the Kremlin is turning the blame of the attempted assassination in Britain on the Brits themselves. There is overwhelming evidence that the poisoning was in fact done at the hands of thugs at the behest of Moscow.

Russia has denied any involvement in the attack and has said it suspects the British secret services of using the Novichok nerve agent, which was developed by the Soviet military, to frame Russia and stoke anti-Russian hysteria.

“We believe the Skripals first came into contact with the nerve agent from their front door,” said Dean Haydon, Britain’s’ senior national coordinator for counter terrorism policing. More here from Reuters.

Noisy Room has an excellent summary on Skripal and his daughter, that sadly are not expected to survive the assassination attempt by novichok. In part:

Sergei Skripal, 66, and his daughter, Yulia, are still hospitalized and are in critical condition in Britain after being exposed to the Russian nerve agent called novichok. Authorities now believe it was applied to their front door and that is how they came into contact with it. This is a military grade nerve agent that has no cure.

Skripal’s niece, Viktoria Skripal, told the BBC that the two have about a one percent chance of surviving. If they do, they will be crippled physically and mentally for the rest of their lives. The effects are debilitating and the pain continues to grow. It is prolonged torture until the victim succumbs and dies. She said the prognosis “really isn’t good.” The attack took place on March 4th in Salisbury. “Out of 99 percent, I have maybe 1 percent hope,” she said. “Whatever [nerve agent] was used, it has given them a very small chance of survival. But they’re going to be invalids for the rest of their lives.” More here.

*** But the United States is not without a successful assassination that happened in Washington DC, that seems to continue to be a major coverup. Further, the Obama administration did nothing to Moscow regarding the case.

BuzzFeed News has uncovered new information in its ongoing investigation into the strange death of Russia Today founder and Vladimir Putin’s former media czar Mikhail Lesin on Nov. 5, 2015, thanks – in part – to a report by Christopher Steele.

The [FBI] received his report while it was helping the Washington, DC, Metropolitan Police Department investigate the Russian media baron’s death, the sources said.

(…)

Now BuzzFeed News has established:

• Steele’s report says that Lesin was bludgeoned to death by enforcers working for an oligarch close to Putin, the four sources said.

• The thugs had been instructed to beat Lesin, not kill him, but they went too far, the sources said Steele wrote.

• Three of the sources said that the report described the killers as Russian state security agents moonlighting for the oligarch.

The Steele report is not the FBI’s only source for this account of Lesin’s death: Three other people, acting independently from Steele, said they also told the FBI that Lesin had been bludgeoned to death by enforcers working for the same oligarch named by Steele.

DC police said Lesin died from a series of drunken falls, which just happened to take place the evening before Lesin was scheduled to meet with U.S. Justice Department officials to discuss the inner workings of RT.

BuzzFeed News has been out front on the issue of questionable deaths under Putin’s regime, and in the wake of the poisoning of former spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury, England on March 4th, the British government says it is taking another look at 14 incidents BuzzFeed has flagged as suspicious.

Meanwhile, the way authorities claim Lesin died in a Dupont Circle hotel in the heart of Washington, DC defies logic.

“What I can tell you is that there isn’t a single person inside the bureau who believes this guy got drunk, fell down, and died,” an FBI agent told BuzzFeed News last year. “Everyone thinks he was whacked and that Putin or the Kremlin were behind it.”

In December, DC police released 58 pages of its case file on Lesin’s death. While many parts are blacked out, what was released says nothing about the blunt force injuries that killed Lesin — or even about him falling down, which is how he is supposed to have died.

(…)

For his report to the FBI about Lesin, Steele gathered intelligence from high-level sources in Moscow, according to the two sources who read the whole report.

All four of the people who read Steele’s report said it pins Lesin’s murder on a professional relationship gone lethally awry. According to the report, they said, Lesin fell out with a powerful oligarch close to Putin. Wanting to intimidate Lesin, the oligarch then contracted with Russian state security agents to beat up Lesin, the report states, according to three of the sources. The goal was not to kill Lesin, all four sources said Steele wrote, but Lesin died from the attack.

The sources could not recall what, if anything, the report said about whether Putin knew of or sanctioned the attack.

Full story: Christopher Steele’s Other Report: A Murder In Washington (BuzzFeed News)

The British Government Will Review Allegations Of Russian Involvement In 14 Suspicious Deaths Exposed By BuzzFeed News (BuzzFeed News)

Related: More Mystery in Russia-Connected DC Death

From CIR’s Human Rights Abuses page:

Eight high-profile Russians have died since the November 8, 2016 U.S. presidential election. Buzzfeed has been investigating 14 suspicious deaths on British soil with ties to Russia that have taken place under Putin’s regime. The news site also has filed a lawsuit to speed up the FBI’s possible release of information pertaining to the suspicious death of Putin’s former media czar, Mikhail Lesin, in a DC hotel the night before he was scheduled to meet with the U.S. Department of Justice back in November 2015.

03/28/18

Russian Ex-spy, Daughter Exposed To Nerve Agent Have Slim Chance Of Surviving

By: Terresa Monroe-Hamilton

Sergei Skripal, 66, and his daughter, Yulia, are still hospitalized and are in critical condition in Britain after being exposed to the Russian nerve agent called novichok. Authorities now believe it was applied to their front door and that is how they came into contact with it. This is a military grade nerve agent that has no cure.

Skripal’s niece, Viktoria Skripal, told the BBC that the two have about a one percent chance of surviving. If they do, they will be crippled physically and mentally for the rest of their lives. The effects are debilitating and the pain continues to grow. It is prolonged torture until the victim succumbs and dies. She said the prognosis “really isn’t good.” The attack took place on March 4th in Salisbury. “Out of 99 percent, I have maybe 1 percent hope,” she said. “Whatever [nerve agent] was used, it has given them a very small chance of survival. But they’re going to be invalids for the rest of their lives.”

Skripal and his daughter were found unconscious on a park bench. A police officer exposed to the substance during the investigation was hospitalized and released last week. Over 130 of Brits were exposed to the agent, but are expected to survive their encounters with it.

At least 21 countries across the planet have expelled over 135 Russian diplomats they suspect of being spies. That includes NATO itself that has expelled 7 Russians. Virtually every country is blaming Russia and Putin for the attack. In retaliation, Russia is expelling diplomats and threatening a new Cold War. “Together we have sent a message that we will not tolerate Russia’s continued attempts to flout international law and undermine our values,” British Prime Minister Theresa May told Parliament

Russia is blaming Britain for the attack, which is ridiculous. They have adamantly denied any involvement in the nerve agent attack. But Russia has been involved in the assassination of 14 other individuals in Britain over the last 20 years. This is just an escalation of those actions. “This is an attempt on the lives of Russian citizens on the territory of Great Britain,” Russia’s Foreign Ministry said. “It goes without saying that this unfriendly move by this group of countries will not go unnoticed.”

Theresa May says the Skripals may never recover from the attack, saying “their condition is unlikely change in the near future, and they may never recover fully.” In fact, death would probably be a blessing at this point. At least the unbearable torture would end. “This shows the utterly barbaric nature of this act, and the dangers that hundreds of innocent citizens in Salisbury could have faced,” she said. “We assess that more than 130 people in Salisbury could have been potentially exposed to this nerve agent.”

The remarks from Viktoria Skripal and May echo those made by a Russian scientist, Vil Mirzayanov, who once leaked Moscow’s secret experimentation with novichok. He is now 83 and lives in the U.S. He said earlier this month that the nerve agent, developed in the early 90s during the end of the Cold War, is “10 times” more powerful that other nerve agents like sarin or VX. “The people are gone – the man and his daughter. Even if they survive they will not recover,” he told AFP a week after the attack in Salisbury. He stated that the nerve agent attacks the nervous system, making it impossible for victims to breathe and causing unimaginable pain. “It’s torture,” he said. “It’s absolutely incurable.” That Russia could use this on people is not surprising, but it is evil and barbaric.

This brings to mind the infamous assassination of Alexander Litvinenko, a former intelligence officer who defected to London in 2000 after publically accusing his superiors of hatching a plot against a Russian oligarch. He fell ill in November of 2006 and died not long after that. His death was ultimately attributed to drinking tea poisoned with radionuclide polonium-210. A judicial inquest ruled in 2016 there was a “strong probability” Litvinenko’s death was a Russian intelligence operation that was probably approved by President Vladimir Putin. In my book, that is a certainty.

The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons is currently conducting a probe into the nerve agent used against the Skripals. Officials said this week it could take two to three weeks to complete laboratory analysis on the samples.

Another hit on a Russian has surfaced this week that I have written on before. Buzzfeed is reporting that a secret report authored by Christopher Steele alleges that a former aide to Russian President Vladimir Putin was assassinated in Washington, D.C. and did not die by accident as the Department of Justice ruled.

Four sources familiar with the document told the news outlet that the former British intelligence agent’s report concludes that Mikhail Lesin was beaten to death by individuals working for a Russian oligarch close to Putin. The individuals were instructed not to kill Lesin, the report continues, but went too far and murdered him.

Steele is the source of the infamous dossier against Trump that is fake. But before you discount the story on the assassination in D.C., I will tell you I already knew about this and have known for a month or more that this was the case. There are other sources reporting it as well. Originally, Obama’s Department of Justice said that the man got drunk and literally beat himself to death. Which is laughable. The Justice Department concluded in 2016 that Lesin’s death was due to injuries sustained in an accidental fall, with “acute ethanol intoxication” as a contributing cause of death. I have no doubt that Putin’s thugs got over zealous and killed the guy. He was the former head of RT.

“As a result of the almost year-long investigation, the Chief Medical Examiner of the District of Columbia has amended Lesin’s manner of death from ‘undetermined’ to ‘accident,’ ” the department wrote in a statement at the time. Why and how that was determined is unfathomable and highly suspicious.

Lesin served as Russian minister of press, television and radio broadcasting before he founded the state-sponsored news agency RT, then known as Russia Today in 2005. Last year, the U.S. government forced RT to register as a foreign agent, citing the channel’s “strategic messaging for [the] Russian government.” According to Buzzfeed, no one at the FBI believes it was an accident. They never have.

This is yet another incidence of Putin punishing and killing those that fall out of favor with him. The attack in Britain was an act of war. It should be treated as such. Kicking out spies and tit for tat maneuvers are not holding the Russkies to account here and they will keep on doing it. Until countries stand up and tell the Russians enough and apply real consequences to them, they will only be emboldened to kill people whenever, wherever and however they want. It’s Putin’s way.

03/28/18

Leftists Are The Attackers, Not Victims

By: Lloyd Marcus

Duped family members, friends and fellow Christians have fallen for leftists’ lie that all they are tearfully asking for is fairness and tolerance on various issues. The truth is leftists are rabid relentless attackers, using government, deception and guilt-tripping to silence all opposition to their extreme anti-God, anti-traditional family and anti-freedom agendas. Indoctrinated by leftists since kindergarten through college, youths actually believe our first amendment right of free speech should be repealed because conservative speech/ideas are offensive to them. Youths also believe they have a right to physically beat you up to shut you up. https://bit.ly/2G6SpO0 Outrageously, leftists are making tremendous gains on making speaking the truth about various issues illegal.

For example. Take abortion. Leftists say they are pro-choice. The truth is leftists are at war with innocent unborn babies, wanting as many murdered as possible. Why? Because leftists believe humanity is bad for the planet. Leftists write countless articles infecting youths with their lie that child-birth is environmentally irresponsible. https://ind.pn/2ucA1h2 Leftists say screw God’s command to “be fruitful and multiply.” (Genesis 1:28) Leftists, in their prideful arrogance, believe they are smarter than God.

If leftists are truly about “choice”, why do they angrily oppose counseling mothers considering abortion? Why do leftists seek to make it illegal to show moms a sonogram of their unborn child? https://bit.ly/2G1YWtx Leftists desire government to ban mothers from hearing their baby’s heartbeat; seeing their baby’s head and fingers. Stats prove most women change their mind about killing their baby after seeing a sonogram. Focus on the Family says since the ultrasound program began in 2004, over 201,000 baby’s lives have been saved. https://bit.ly/2DRT5km

If leftists are truly on a saintly mission to provide women a choice, as they claim, why are leftists infuriated when a woman chooses life for her baby?

Leftists seek to make it illegal to speak the truth about abortion. As freedom loving Americans, this should make you angry, folks. Not violent, but angry; a righteous anger.

Leftists seek to make it illegal to speak the truth about LGBT issues. The California LGBT Caucus has introduced a bill to ban counseling to adults who seek to correct their same-sex attraction, behavior and gender confusion. https://bit.ly/2pDebxT

Again I ask, if leftists are truly about tolerance and allowing people to be who they desire to be, why are leftists infuriated; trying to use government to block homosexuals who want to become heterosexual? Why should leftists even care? What do they fear; especially after claiming homosexuals are born that way? If homosexuality is in their genes/DNA counseling will not change them. Right? So, why are leftist homosexual activists threatened by counseling?

The word “liberal” implies a live and let live attitude. The truth is liberals (leftists) are laser-focused on using big brother government to force their far-out minority ideas on mainstream Americans. The leftist media mafia publicly shames mainstream Americans into silence; banning publicly speaking the truth about leftists’ sacred cow issues. Homosexuals are 1-2% of the population. Transgenders are 0.3%. https://bit.ly/2pVBgK6 It is un-American to allow a handful of LGBT activists to bully us into silence and submission.

Perhaps, because I grew up in the Baltimore project surrounded by bullies, being controlled by bullies is extremely repulsive to me. One thing I learned as a kid is if you allow a bully to demand and take your lunch money today, he will take it and more tomorrow.

Here’s another example of leftists arrogantly banning speaking the truth. Leftists are hellbent on disarming law-abiding citizens. While relentlessly preaching to us about tolerance, a leftist refused to tolerate a student speaking the truth about guns and criminals. Leftists organized an anti-gun rally using students as pawns and cover. One kid showed up with a sign which read, “Guns Don’t Kill People, People Kill People.” https://bit.ly/2G51kPZ A leftist school principal immediately ordered the student to leave the rally. Notice how the leftist operative refused to tolerant truth, publicly humiliating the student for daring to defend our constitutional right to bear arms.

Do you see the pattern folks? Leftist activist thugs are dictating that we dare not speak the truth about their sacred cow issues or our derrieres are in big trouble; publicly humiliated and even jailed.

While leftists are bludgeoning us into silence and submission, my family members, friends and fellow Christians continue falling for leftists’ lie that leftists are passively seeking fairness and tolerance.

Leftists insidiously throw WWJD (What Would Jesus Do) into our faces. In other words, leftists are saying to be loving like Jesus, Christians must “in love” abandon biblical teachings; allowing Godless liberalism to infect our morals, principles, values and culture.

Leftists using WWJD to further their depravity is particularly repulsive considering that most leftists despise Jesus and His followers. Sadly, some Christians have fallen for leftists’ WWJD scheme, rolling out the red carpet, welcoming leftists’ anti-Christ agenda into their churches.

I heard this not-so-nice joke, but it makes an interesting point. A woman was cursing-out a man at the beach. The angry man threatened to drown her if she did not stop cursing at him. The strong-willed woman continued her rant. As the man held her head and body under water, her hand emerged out of the water giving him her middle finger; her final act of defiance. Though admittedly unwise, I loved the woman refusing to be bullied.

I would love to see more Americans refusing to be bullied by leftists, banned from speaking the truth about issues crucial to God, family and country.

Lloyd Marcus, The Unhyphenated American
Help Lloyd spread the Truth: http://bit.ly/2kZqmUk
http://LloydMarcus.com

03/28/18

Manic Market Day 2

By: Kent Engelke | Capitol Securities

Equity markets ended considerably lower, the inverse of the previous day. The tech heavy NASADQ was down about 3% while the Dow was off about 1.5%. The decline in technologies was led by Facebook whose shares according to Bloomberg have dropped about $145 billion or 20% in value since its early February apex.

In an attempt to place Facebook’s capitalization into proper context, the $145 billion decline is greater than all but 28 members of the S & P 500. Facebook is still worth about $450 billion. Twelve years ago, Facebook turned down a $1 billion offer to be acquired by Yahoo.

Many times I have commented about the lopsidedness of the markets. Five companies representing about 1% off all shares outstanding represent about 14% of the S & P 500. Depending upon the source/proxy, technology represents a record 25% to 27% of the S & P 500.

For what it is worth department, there is only one S & P 500 ETF that does not have any technology represented in its portfolio; a statement in itself is misleading for this ETF owns Amazon which it considers a retailer.

On the other hand, oil represents the lowest weighting in the S & P 500 in at least 50 years according to Goldman. The historical average is about 10%. Today oil is less than 5% of the S & P 500 as per Goldman.

What I find confounding is that oil equities are priced for $25/barrel crude even as crude is hovering around 3-year highs of almost $66/barrel, up about 165% from February 2016 lows. Geopolitics, a historical driver of oil prices is a disaster, a disaster that is not reflected in prices. Wow!

Moreover, according to the Texas based law firm of Haynes and Boone, since 2014 over 350 public and private oil companies have filed for bankruptcy. Goldman writes the companies remaining are in a “sweet spot, with rising prices, low operating costs and considerably less competition.”

I can go on some rhetorical and conjectural rant as to why oil shares are underperforming, but will instead write the infallibility of the technology and momentum stocks was perhaps shattered last week by Facebook. As noted earlier in the week, many of these momentum technology companies were given a pass enabling behavior that would have sunk mere mortal companies.

If economics still is of any merit, economics dictates monies ultimately gravitate from sectors that are viewed as overvalued to those that are undervalued whose environment is improving not deteriorating.

What will happen today?

Last night the foreign markets were down. London was down 0.62%, Paris was down 1.11% and Frankfurt was down 1.19%. China was down 1.50%, Japan was down 1.34% and Hang Sang was down 2.50%.

The Dow should open moderately lower as the tech selloff continues. The market is reassessing the profit potential and valuation of this sector, the sector that has propelled the indices higher the last several years. I can envision a scenario where the averages are flat to down, but the rest of the market advances as the proverbial distribution phase occurs. The 10-year is up 4/32 to yield 2.76%.

03/28/18

Judiciary Cmte Subpoenas FBI for all Clinton Investigation Records

By: Denise Simon | Founders Code

Politico: Facing a legal threat from House Republicans, the FBI announced Tuesday that it is doubling to 54 the number of staffers combing through documents to comply with GOP requests for records of the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s email server.

“Up until today, we have dedicated 27 FBI staff to review the records,” FBI director Christopher Wray said in a statement. “The actual number of documents responsive to this request is likely in the thousands. Regardless, I agree that the current pace of production is too slow.”

Wray’s statement comes just days after a top House Republican, Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), subpoenaed the Justice Department for Clinton investigation records, citing “ongoing delays” in obtaining the documents. Goodlatte added that the subpoena covers documents related to the recent firing of former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe.

Wray’s statement describes an intensifying demand on resources required by the bureau to fulfill the GOP subpoenas. It comes as some House Republicans have mounted an increasingly hostile campaign against the bureau leadership, accusing top DOJ and FBI officials of mishandling the Clinton investigation while assigning anti-Trump agents to oversee the Trump-Russia probe that the FBI launched in July 2016.

Democrats have derided those criticisms as baseless and politically motivated.

In a separate letter issued Tuesday, a top Justice Department official accused Goodlatte of breaking from longstanding norms in the relationship between DOJ and Congress. His subpoena for records surrounding McCabe’s firing, the department noted, came less than a week after his ouster and without any negotiations that typically precede a subpoena.

In a letter to Goodlatte, Assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd called it a “significant deviation” from past practices.

Boyd also indicated that Goodlatte’s request included demands for documents that include “highly sensitive law enforcement and national security” information. Another request, Boyd said, covered information protected by attorney-client privilege and other aspects of the GOP requests were already provided, he said.

Boyd indicated that the FBI had provided the committee in August 2016 — during a previous session of Congress — with a 32-page set of investigative documents about the Clinton probe.

He said the department continues to provide new documents ever 10 to 14 days, based on Goodlatte’s requests, and that the work to produce them includes scrubbing for grand jury information, privileged materials or other sensitive material related to ongoing investigations.

“We are expeditiously reviewing the remaining documents to determine whether they are responsive,” Boyd said.