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Archive → January 13th, 2017

Trump nails CNN reporter: ‘You are fake news’

Trump nails CNN reporter: ‘You are fake news’

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trumpbashIf you’ve ever wondered what media blitzkrieg against a politician looks like, you’re witnessing one now as the mainstream news establishment continues to attack President-elect Donald with unverified and highly salacious attacks. But Trump seems to be taking it remarkably well.

CNN on Tuesday cited an unverifiable intelligence report in a story claiming that Trump, along with President Barack Obama and a handful of ranking members of Congress, are aware that the Russian government possesses damaging information on the president-elect that could affect how he leads.

From the report:

Classified documents presented last week to President Obama and President-elect Trump included allegations that Russian operatives claim to have compromising personal and financial information about Mr. Trump, multiple US officials with direct knowledge of the briefings tell CNN.

The allegations were presented in a two-page synopsis that was appended to a report on Russian interference in the 2016 election. The allegations came, in part, from memos compiled by a former British intelligence operative, whose past work US intelligence officials consider credible. The FBI is investigating the credibility and accuracy of these allegations, which are based primarily on information from Russian sources, but has not confirmed many essential details in the memos about Mr. Trump.

The classified briefings last week were presented by four of the senior-most US intelligence chiefs — Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, FBI Director James Comey, CIA Director John Brennan, and NSA Director Admiral Mike Rogers.

Almost immediately after, cat list purveyor and longtime Trump foe BuzzFeed was reporting that the Russians have proof that Trump had prostitutes “perform a ‘golden showers’ (urination) show in front of him” during a trip to Russia.

Trump, of course, has denied the allegations.

And the documents, remember, are unsourced.

BuzzFeed’s decision drew so much criticism from Americans who note that responsible journalism is not about publishing documents whose source cannot be verified that CNN was forced to release a statement distancing itself from the story about the supposed information.

But not before Trump had the opportunity to lay a serious truth on one of its reporters during a press conference.

During a presser today, Trump called intelligence officials “disgraceful” for allowing information that is “false and fake” to be released to journalists.

He then lambasted BuzzFeed and CNN for running with the story without properly verifying details of the report.

CNN’s Jim Acosta then exploded that Trump was “attacking” his news organization.

He shouted, “Since you are attacking us, can you give us a question?”

Trump replied that he would not, adding, “Your organization is terrible.”

But Acosta persisted, yelling over another reporter’s attempt to ask Trump a policy question.

“I’m not going to give you a question,” Trump responded. “I’m not going to give you a question. You are fake news!”

Bravo.

Source: Will County News

The petrodollar is dying: what to do next?

The petrodollar is dying: what to do next?

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petrodollarThere’s an old Chinese curse that seems somewhat benign on the surface — may your wishes come true.

If you’ve ever seen the movie Bedazzled — and you should — you will get the idea. It’s about a guy (Brandon Fraser) who gets three wishes from the comely devil Elizabeth Hurley, in exchange of course for his soul.

The problem is, his broad wishes get him into more trouble than he could have expected. For one wish, he asks to be wealthy and powerful and have the woman at his office he’s pining for become his wife.

The wish is granted. He’s wealthy and powerful all right… the Devil makes him a Colombian drug lord. But his wife is unfaithful and hates him, and he’s betrayed by his henchmen.

You get the idea. Everything isn’t always what you wish for.

What does it have to do with oil?

We’ve heard investors and analysts crying about “low” oil prices and the shuttering of companies in the U.S. energy patch for the past couple years.

And now the wishes for higher prices have been granted.

But will this be the game-changer we wanted? The answer is likely no.

First there are the simple issues. Higher gas prices are like a tax on business and individuals for consuming petroleum products. On the business side, that makes transporting goods more expensive, and that cost is then passed on to consumers as well. That means consumers are pay extra at the pump and extra at the store. And extra for airline tickets. And surcharges for delivering all those packages ordered online…

All this while there’s still no real evidence that the U.S. economy is in any kind of recovery. Yet now we have higher gas prices, which will raise the inflation rate, which will trigger more rate hikes from the Fed. Add to that the fact that this ‘full employment’ isn’t really what it appears.

Now, this is all on the surface. You can see it.

But deeper down lies something truly troubling.

We are at the beginning of the end of the petrodollar economy.

In 1970 the Nixon administration cut a deal with the Saudis. If we protected the Saudis from their enemies, they would price their oil in U.S. dollars.

In this way, every nation that needed to buy oil would have to have some U.S. dollar reserves. Also remember almost all commodities — industrial and agricultural — are priced in dollars as well.

But as the Chinese become more economically powerful, they see that holding U.S. dollars is not in their best interest. They are the world’s largest oil importer and they also buy massive amounts of commodities like iron, pork bellies and corn.

Most countries hold dollars in the form of U.S. Treasuries to secure their transactions. And China became the top holder of U.S. Treasuries in the 2000s.

Given their interest in getting out from under its economic rival’s monetary system, China began to open its currency and build out its markets so it could become a player on the global economic stage.

The petrodollar’s fall really started when Saddam Hussein began selling oil to all interested parties in any currency but U.S. dollars.

In 2012, Iran began taking renminbi laundered through Russian banks in exchange for oil.

Then in 2015, Russia began selling oil to China in renminbi directly. And all the while these countries began to become net sellers of U.S. Treasuries.

Now the Chinese are building up their own commodities markets and as leading producers and consumers of gold, they’ve created a Shanghai gold exchange. This effort continues as the renminbi gains more and global acceptance.

The end of the petrodollar will be a major disruption to the U.S. economy.

The best way to protect yourself is to make sure you are holding gold. Gold prices have been manipulated for decades by the Western banks.

As this old model collapses, gold prices will have to rise to their unrestricted levels. The value of the Midas metal has nowhere to go but to soar upwards.

Oil will not sustain its current levels for long, as the economy swoons again in 2017. There are plenty of things to like about what Trump is doing, but his attitude toward China will only speed the petrodollar’s death.

What’s happening is not conjecture, it’s an inevitability. Don’t wait until it’s too late. In the meantime, if you want some most excellent and complete advice on buying and keeping gold and silver, Bob Livingston has put all the details in his latest exclusive report, which you can get a copy of by going to the bottom of this page.

— GS Early

Source: Will County News

Massive retaliatory power

nuclear blastOn January 12, 1954, Secretary of State John Foster Dulles announced in a speech at the Council on Foreign Relations that the United States would protect its allies through the “deterrent of massive retaliatory power.” The policy announcement was further evidence of the Eisenhower administration’s decision to rely heavily on the nation’s nuclear arsenal as the primary means of defense against communist aggression.

Dulles claimed that the aim of the Soviet Union was the “bankruptcy” of the United States through overextension of its military power. As History.com notes:

Both strategically and economically, the secretary explained, it was unwise to “permanently commit U.S. land forces to Asia,” to “support permanently other countries,” or to “become permanently committed to military expenditures so vast that they lead to ‘practical bankruptcy.’” Instead, he believed a new policy of “getting maximum protection at a bearable cost” should be developed. Although Dulles did not directly refer to nuclear weapons, it was clear that the new policy he was describing would depend upon the “massive retaliatory power” of such weapons to respond to future communist acts of war.

The Eisenhower administration had two significant objectives in mind at the time, Armscontrolwonk.com notes, (1) Avoiding another long, punishing land war in Asia; and (2) Avoiding budgetary red ink that would result from the maintenance of overly large conventional forces. The Eisenhower administration’s solution? A brief flirtation with the doctrine of massive retaliation.

Eisenhower soon recognized that nuclear weapons were a poor substitute for conventional military capabilities. Yet Eisenhower remained concerned that the rise of the military-industrial complex would bankrupt the country.

It would not be long before the U.S. and USSR would embark on a new nuclear path — that of mutually assured destruction (MAD). MAD, plus Ronald Reagan’s promotion of “Star Wars” missile defense, bankrupted the USSR and led to its collapse.

But it also set the U.S. on the road to bankruptcy. Subsequent U.S. presidents (both Bushes, Clinton and Obama) did not heed Dulles’ warning that it was unwise to “permanently commit U.S. land forces to Asia,” to “support permanently other countries,” or to “become permanently committed to military expenditures so vast that they lead to ‘practical bankruptcy.’”

The U.S. currently has land forces permanently committed to Asia, supports permanently other countries and has become permanently committed to military expenditures so vast they lead to “practical bankruptcy.” And America currently spends more on defense than does China, Russia, Saudi Arabia, France, the UK, India and Germany – the next largest military spenders – combined. And Donald Trump has vowed to spend more.

Also of note, John Dulles’ brother, Allen, was CIA director at the time of John’s speech before the CFR. Just months prior to John’s speech, Allen Dulles’ CIA had instigated Operation Ajax, a coup in Iran to remove the democratically-elected prime minister, Mohammad Mossadegh. The U.S. then had Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi installed as its puppet (which led eventually to the Iran hostage crisis in 25 years later). John Dulles encouraged Eisenhower to approve the plan.

Months after his massive retaliation speech, John F. Dulles lobbied Eisenhower on behalf of United Fruit Company to instigate a military coup by the Guatemalan army through his brother’s CIA against the Guatemalan government under the pretext that the ongoing Guatemalan revolution was becoming “too communist.” John Dulles was a former United Fruit Company lawyer and remained on its payroll at the time, and Allen was on the company’s board of directors.

Following the coup the U.S. installed Carlos Castillo Armas – who had led 480 CIA-trained troops into Guatemala City – as president. He quickly moved to grant himself dictatorial powers, banned political parties and locked up and tortured political opponents. U.S.-backed puppets — dictators, really — ruled Guatemala with a similar iron hand until 1996 and the Guatemalan civil war.

Source: Will County News

Press Release: Homer Township Fire District

With the continuing battle in Springfield for a state budget, and the continuing need for true reform in the State of Illinois, it is increasingly difficult for any local property tax payer to understand where their money goes and how it is spent. Most importantly, is it spent wisely and efficiently by the local taxing bodies? We at the Homer Township Fire Protection District use one sole determination for our annual levy request: public safety as a top priority. The Board of Trustees and the Fire District is continuously faced with numerous unfunded mandates by the State of Illinois and the federal government. Fulfilling those requirements requires the District to look at all sources of funding. These unfunded mandates include 10-year replacement cycles for PPE/Gear ($1,950 per set), SCBA Gear ($5,000 each), Stretchers ($10,000 each) and Cardiac Monitors ($31,000 each). Additionally, the District is mandated by the State to perform annual hose, ladder, sprinkler, and alarm testing. In order to meet these increasing large mountains of unfunded mandates, the District and Trustees must look at all revenue sources to ensure that we provide emergency services to the citizens of our District, while also meeting the strict requirement of the Property Tax Extension Law Limit. Every year, the District is limited to the CPI for its increase in tax revenue, recently this limit was 0.8% over the previous year. This is why the Trustees believe that continued smart commercial growth in the District will enable residential taxpayers to see an easing of their burden in the years moving forward. Understanding this, the District has wisely submitted applications for grant funding, receiving over $238,400 that can offset expenses to the taxpayers. One of our recent grant applications gave us a much needed ATV Gator to use for emergency forest preserve rescue and use at the numerous festivals held in Homer Township for EMS services. While recently submitting grant applications for a replacement of our 1995 era water tanker, which is so important to our rural and large acreage properties, and much needed updates and modernization to our radio/communication equipment. If we are successful, this is further evidence of easing the tax burden on our citizens. Further, the firefighter’s union has assisted the District with substantial savings in manpower costs in the past two contracts totaling nearly $1,000,000. We came to this multi-year agreement to move the District forward, as well as work as a team. The District and Trustees would also congratulate the firefighters on their recent donation of $3,300 in education funds toward a vital $12,000 emergency cutter and coming together to fund an $8,000 thermal imaging camera. These donations are safety priority one for the firefighters and for the citizens of our District they assist every day. We congratulate the Local 4223 for their efforts and their dedication to the citizens of our District and to the forward progress of Homer Township FPD. Realizing the need for extensive fleet and expense review, the Trustees approved a District maintenance review program to downsize its fleet, eliminating a reserve ambulance, a ladder truck, and three service vehicles. Thus reducing maintenance and insurance costs incurred by the District. We also established a reduced rate vehicle maintenance program with Frankfort FPD, allowing us substantial savings and much improved reliability. A long unused piece of property owned by the District since the early 1980s has gone on sale at market price at the Boards recommendation. We have also outsourced our ambulance billing, reducing administrative overhead at the District and increasing revenue for the District from out of District individuals using our services. Lastly, we were able to also reduce utility costs substantially by doing a full review and changing suppliers. We have done all of this with the clear realization that our citizens, our property taxpayers, expect a fire district that provides fire protection, EMS, and fire prevention services 365 24/7. The Board of Trustees and the men and women of the Homer Township Fire Protection District hope that we have met your goals and will continue to do so in a manner that respects the taxpayer, while also protecting the citizen when they are at their most vulnerable. Paul Anderson, Board President Mark Lobes, Board Secretary Ken Fijan, Board Trustee

Source: Will County News

2017 brings a slew of new sales tax hikes for 20 municipalities in Illinois.

Local governments raise sales tax in Illinois

January 3, 2017

2017 brings a slew of new sales tax hikes for 20 municipalities in Illinois.

Effective Jan. 1, 20 Illinois cities and local governments increased local sales taxes, according to the Illinois Department of Revenue.

The majority of the sales tax hikes were enacted in the various municipalities’ business districts. However, the city of Danville, located in Vermillion County, is raising taxes for the entire city. Listed as a “home-rule” sales tax increase, the new tax hike will go into effect on nearly every purchase made in Danville. This increase brings the combined sales tax rate to 9.25 percent up from 8.75 percent.

Local governments’ New Year’s cash grab is just the latest in a series of tax hikes that have left many Illinois residents feeling as though their pockets have been picked. Like property taxes, sales taxes are regressive and hit middle-and working-class families the hardest. Illinois has the highest property taxes in the nation and the highest sales tax in the Midwest. Chicago has the highest sales tax of any city in the country. When income, sales, property and other taxes are accounted for, Illinois’ combined tax burden puts the Prairie State at the fifth highest in the nation.

However, it never seems to be enough. Illinoisans are forced to continue paying more in local taxes to prop up Illinois’ 7,000 units of local government – the most in the nation – and the bureaucracies that run them.

And taxes at the local level aren’t the only government cost burdening Illinoisans. The state continues to spend more and more each year.

Despite the fact the state is expecting to take in more than $33 billion in 2017, Illinois is on course to spend $5 billion more than it will take in. From 2003 to 2016, Illinois taxpayers shelled out $70 billion more than if revenues had simply grown with inflation and population trends.

Middle-and working-class Illinoisans should not be forced to pay for the financial bungling of local and state government. Rather than raise taxes that will hurt already cash-strapped residents, these 20 municipalities should look for ways to fix their budgetary issues without going back to taxpayers.

TAGS: local government, municipal government, sales tax, taxes

Source: Will County News