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Category: Economics

Saving Illinois: Getting More Bang for the State’s Bucks

By Ellen Brown

Illinois is teetering on bankruptcy and other states are not far behind, largely due to unfunded pension liabilities; but there are solutions.

The Federal Reserve could do a round of “QE for Munis.” Or the state could turn its sizable pension fund into a self-sustaining public bank.
Illinois is insolvent, unable to pay its bills. According to Moody’s, the state has $15 billion in unpaid bills and $251 billion in unfunded liabilities. Of these, $119 billion are tied to shortfalls in the state’s pension program. On July 6, 2017, for the first time in two years, the state finally passed a budget, after lawmakers overrode the governor’s veto on raising taxes. But they used massive tax hikes to do it — a 32% increase in state income taxes and 33% increase in state corporate taxes — and still Illinois’ new budget generates only $5 billion, not nearly enough to cover its $15 billion deficit.
Adding to its budget woes, the state is being considered by Moody’s for a credit downgrade, which means its borrowing costs could shoot up. Several other states are in nearly as bad shape, with Kentucky, New Jersey, Arizona and Connecticut topping the list. U.S. public pensions are underfunded by at least $1.8 trillion and probably more, according to expert estimates. They are paying out more than they are taking in, and they are falling short on their projected returns. Most funds aim for about a 7.5% return, but they barely made 1.5% last year.
If Illinois were a corporation, it could declare bankruptcy; but states are constitutionally forbidden to take that route. The state could follow the lead of Detroit and cut its public pension funds, but Illinois has a constitutional provision forbidding that as well. It could follow Detroit in privatizing public utilities (notably water), but that would drive consumer utility prices through the roof. And taxes have been raised about as far as the legislature can be pushed to go.
The state cannot meet its budget because the tax base has shrunk. The economy has shrunk and so has the money supply, triggered by the 2008 banking crisis. Jobs were lost, homes were foreclosed on, and businesses and people quit borrowing, either because they were “all borrowed up” and could not go further into debt or, in the case of businesses, because they did not have sufficient customer demand to warrant business expansion. And today, virtually the entire circulating money supply is created when banks make loans When loans are paid down and new loans are not taken out, the money supply shrinks. What to do?
Quantitative Easing for Munis
There is a deep pocket that can fill the hole in the money supply — the Federal Reserve. The Fed had no problem finding the money to bail out the profligate Wall Street banks following the banking crisis, with short-term loans totaling $26 trillion. It also freed up the banks’ balance sheets by buying $1.7 trillion in mortgage-backed securities with its “quantitative easing” tool. The Fed could do something similar for the local governments that were victims of the crisis. One of its dual mandates is to maintain full employment, and we are nowhere near that now, despite some biased figures that omit those who have dropped out of the workforce or have had to take low-paying or part-time jobs.
The case for a “QE-Muni” was made in an October 2012 editorial in The New York Times titled “Getting More Bang for the Fed’s Buck” by Joseph Grundfest et al. The authors said Republicans and Democrats alike have been decrying the failure to stimulate the economy through needed infrastructure improvements, but shrinking tax revenues and limited debt service capacity have tied the hands of state and local governments. They observed:

State and municipal bonds help finance new infrastructure projects like roads and bridges, as well as pay for some government salaries and services.
. . . [E]very Fed dollar spent in the muni market would absorb a larger percentage of outstanding debt and is likely to have a greater effect on reducing the bonds’ interest rates than the same expenditure in the mortgage market.
. . . [L]owering the borrowing costs for states, cities and counties should not only forestall tax increases (which dampen individual spending), but also make it easier for local governments to pay for police officers, firefighters, teachers and infrastructure improvements.rs and infrastructure improvements.

The authors acknowledged that their QE-Muni proposal faced legal hurdles. The Federal Reserve Act prohibits the central bank from purchasing municipal government debt with a maturity of more than six months, and the beneficial effects expected from QE-Muni would require loans of longer duration. But Congress was then trying to avoid the “fiscal cliff,” so all options were on the table. Today the fiscal cliff has come around again, with threats of the debt ceiling dropping on an embattled Congress. It could be time to look at “QE for Munis” again.

Getting More Bang for the Pensioners’ Bucks

Scott Baker, a senior advisor to the Public Banking Institute and economics editor at OpEdNews, has another idea. He argues that the states are far from broke. They may not be able to balance their budgets with taxes, but a search through their Comprehensive Annual Financial Reports (CAFRs) shows that they have massive surplus funds and rainy day funds tucked away around the state, most of them earning minimal returns. (Recall the 1.5% made by the pension funds collectively last year.)
The 2016 CAFR for Illinois shows $94.6 billion in its pension fund alone, and well over $100 billion if other funds are included. To say it is broke is like saying a retired couple with a million dollars in savings is broke because they can earn only 1.5% on their savings and cannot live on $15,000 a year. What they need to do is to spend some of their savings to meet their budget and invest the rest in something safe but more lucrative.
So here is Baker’s idea for Illinois:

Make an iron-clad pledge by law, even in the State Constitution if they can get quick agreement, to provide for pension payouts at the current level and adjusted for inflation in the future.

Liquidate the current pension fund and maybe some of the other liquid funds too to pay off all current debts.

This will leave them with a great credit rating . . . .

Put the remaining tens of billions into a new State Bank, partnering with the beleaguered small and community banks . . . . Use that money to finance state and local businesses and individuals instead of Wall Street schemes and high fund manager fees that will no longer be necessary or advisable, saving the state hundreds of millions a year.
The Public Bank could be built roughly on the model of the hugely successful Bank of North Dakota example, one of the country’s greatest banks, measured by Return on Equity, and scandal-free since its founding in 1919.
The Bank of North Dakota (BND), the nation’s only state-owned bank, has had record profits every year for the last 13 years, with a return on equity in 2016 of 16.6%, twice the national average. Its chief depositor is the state itself, and its mandate is to support the local economy, partnering rather than competing with local banks. Its commercial loans range from 2.4% to 7.5%. The BND makes cheaper loans as well, drawing on loan funds for special programs including infrastructure, startup businesses and affordable housing. Its loan income after deducting allowances for loan losses was $175 million in 2016 on a loan portfolio of $4.7 billion. (2016 BND CAFR, pages 28-29.)That puts the net return on loans at 3.7%.
Illinois could follow North Dakota’s lead. Looking again at the Illinois CAFR (page 45), the amount paid out for pension benefits in 2016 was only $1.833 billion, or less than 2% of the $94.6 billion pool. An Illinois state bank could generate that much in profit, even after paying off the state’s outstanding budget deficit.
Assume Illinois guaranteed its pension payouts, as Baker recommends, then liquidated its pension fund and withdrew $10 billion to meet its current budget shortfall. This would significantly improve its credit rating, allowing it to refinance its long-term debt at a reduced rate. The remaining $85 billion could be put into the state’s own bank, $8 billion as capital and $77 billion as deposits. [See chart below.] At a loan to deposit ratio of 80%, $60 billion could be issued in loans. At a return similar to the BND’s 3.7%, these loans would produce $2.2 billion in interest income. The remaining $17 billion in deposits could be invested in liquid federal securities at 1%, generating an additional $170 million. That would give a net profit of $2.37 billion, enough to cover the $1.8 billion annual pensioners’ payout, with $570 million to spare.
The salubrious result: the pension fund would be self-funding; the state would have a bank that could create credit to support the local economy; the pensioners would have money to spend, increasing demand; the economy would be stimulated, increasing the tax base; and the state would have a good credit rating, allowing it to borrow on the bond market at low interest rates. Better yet, it could borrow from its own bank and pay the interest to itself. The proceeds could then go to its pensioners rather than to bondholders.
Where there is the political will, there is a way. Politicians and central bankers will take radical, game-changing steps in desperate times. We just need to start thinking outside the box, a Wall Street-imposed box that has trapped us in austerity and economic servitude for over a century.

Self-funding of Illinois Pensions
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http://Illinois is teetering on bankruptcy and other states are not far behind, largely due to unfunded pension liabilities; but there are solutions.

 

Is This The Future Of Healthcare In America?

Is this really the future of healthcare in America?

The Press25 Jul 2017NICK ALLEN

Future of America?

PHOTOS: REUTERS
People wait to receive medical and dental care at the Remote Area Medical Clinic in Wise, Virginia.
“This organisation was designed to parachute into the most God-awful places. I expected to see stuff like this in South Sudan and Haiti, but it’s right here in the United States of America.” Stan Brock, Remote Area Medical
As Republican politicians in Washington bickered over the fate of ObamaCare, hundreds of desperate people queued outside a county fairground 650km away over the weekend in the hope of receiving basic medical treatment. Teeth rotting, blood pressure soaring, some on crutches or with oxygen tanks, they limped in through the darkness. Some had camped in a field or slept in their cars to be first in line.
This massive free healthcare event, staffed by volunteer doctors and nurses, treated thousands of people over the weekend. Inside a barn, animal stalls were transformed into makeshift medical facilities. A team of optometrists tested for glaucoma in the chicken house. Mammograms and skin examinations took place in articulated lorries.
‘‘I just wish I could get President Trump to come and see this,’’ said Stan Brock, a British philanthropist and founder of Remote Area Medical, the charity behind it. ‘‘The people here are Mr Trump’s constituency, they’re his voters, and it drives me up the wall. If he saw what was happening I’m sure he’d do something about it. Unfortunately I can’t contact him because I don’t tweet.’’ Brock, 80, added: ‘‘This organisation was designed to parachute into the most God-awful places. I expected to see stuff like this in South Sudan and Haiti, but it’s right here in the United States of America.’’
Last week the Republican bill to repeal and replace ObamaCare, a cornerstone pledge of Trump’s campaign, failed in the US Senate.
ObamaCare, the signature domestic policy legacy of his predecessor, led to 20 million more Americans getting health insurance. Repealing it became a cause celebre for Republicans who regard it as costly government overreach, and an unworkable system.
The Senate bill would not only dismantle ObamaCare, it would introduce swingeing US$800 billion cuts over the next decade to Medicaid, the social security healthcare subsidy programme for the unemployed.
As the unfortunate hobbled into the Wise fairground the headline on a morning paper screamed ‘‘32 million more to be uninsured under Republican plan’’. National polls also show ObamaCare is more popular than ever, with a majority of Americans in favour of it for the first time.
But, extraordinarily, many of those in direst need, and who could suffer most under the Trump-backed Senate bill, are still squarely behind the president. The Telegraph interviewed half a dozen Trump voters receiving healthcare at the fairground. Every one said ObamaCare should be repealed, and that they believed Trump would introduce something better.
Their reasons varied. Some had gained coverage under ObamaCare but were unable to meet the rising cost of monthly premiums. Others said they knew little of the detail of the Senate bill, simply pledging faith in Trump.
‘‘I love Trump,’’ said Margaret Harris, 54, shaking her head as she was told Trump backed massive cuts in healthcare spending. She added: ‘‘ObamaCare don’t pay for false teeth and glasses and I blame the Democrats. I’m diabetic and I can’t hardly see you. I need glasses but I ain’t got $400 to pay for them. I know Trump will get it done for us.’’ Similarly, Robert Hicks, 75, a former truck driver who has no insurance, added: ‘‘That’s not Trump, it’s the people in Congress.’’ Hicks, who was having five rotten teeth pulled from his mouth, added: ‘‘I know he’s trying to help us and I’m still with him. We need to vote out the people in Congress who aren’t helping him.’’
Terry Turner, 53, who suffered a broken neck in a factory accident, had much of his care covered by Medicaid, but seemed unconcerned at Trump-backed cuts to the programme.
‘‘I’m all in for Trump, he’s got a good heart,’’ he said, and added that there were ‘‘able-bodied people out there that won’t get out of bed’’ who were abusing Medicaid, who Trump would root out.
Buddy Howington, 48, who was having teeth pulled. His ObamaCare premiums rose to US$2500 a year, and he only earned US$7.25 an hour part-time in a supermarket, so he abandoned coverage. ‘‘Then they fined me $300 for not paying,’’ he said. ‘‘I couldn’t afford to pay for ObamaCare so they fine me. Makes no sense. I don’t know what’s going on in Washington but I think Trump will help eventually.’’ – Telegraph Group

Fukushima Plant Owner To Dump 777,000 Tons Of Nuclear Waste Into Pacific Ocean

Fukushima waste dump

By: theantimedia.org |
Japan — More than three-quarters of a million tons of radioactive water is about to be dumped into the Pacific Ocean if the chairmen of the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) and the Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) have their way, Japanese media reported over the weekend. All they require now is final government approval.
“The decision has already been made,” TEPCO chairman Takashi Kawamura told the media, according to the Japan Times.
As of July 6, about 777,000 tons of tritium-tainted water is being stored in about 580 tanks at the Fukushima nuclear plant. The water, which is constantly injected into leaking reactor No. 1 to cool it since it was damaged by a tsunami in 2011, is then filtered to remove radioactive materials. The complex filtering system can eliminate everything but tritium.

This has left the Japanese government with a problem. They can’t go on filling up tanks forever. Something has to be done with the radioactive water. A government panel is currently coming to a decision on the issue, and simply dumping the water into the sea is an option on the table.
TEPCO chairman Kawamura is just waiting on the green light. “We cannot keep going if we do not have the support of the state,” he told the media.
Kawamura certainly has the support of NRA chairman Shunichi Tanaka, who’s been urging the TEPCO boss to make the move. Tanaka has been critical of Kawamura in the past, saying he should be more proactive in his handling of the Fukushima nuclear crisis.
“An operator lacking the will to take the initiative does not have the right to resume operation of nuclear reactors,” he said recently at a special meeting with TEPCO’s top management.
According to the Japan Times, Kawamura “feels emboldened to have the support of the NRA chairman.”
Tritium itself is said to be relatively harmless, and discharge of tritium-tainted water into the ocean is standard operating procedure at nuclear power plants. Oceanographer Simon Boxall spoke to The Guardian on the tritium issue last year, saying:
“In the broad scale of things, if they do end up putting the material in the Pacific, it will have minimal effect on an ocean basin scale.”
But local fishermen say the actual harmfulness of tritium isn’t the issue. What’s paramount is the perception people will have when they hear of hundreds of thousands of tons of radioactive water being released into the ocean. In short, such a move would make customers question the safety of their catches, which would thereby affect their livelihoods.
“Releasing (tritium) into the sea will create a new wave of unfounded rumors, making our efforts all for naught,” Kanji Tachiya, who heads a fishermen cooperative, told the Japan Times.
And Aileen Mioko-Smith of Green Action Japan says there is even more to consider here. “They say that it will be safe because the ocean is large so it will be diluted,” she told The Telegraph, “but that sets a precedent that can be copied, essentially permitting anyone to dump nuclear waste into our seas.”
Furthermore, says Mioko-Smith, those in charge of managing the Fukushima nuclear crisis have had plenty of time to come up with solutions and that the “out of sight, out of mind” approach is unacceptable:
“This accident happened more than six years ago and the authorities should have been able to devise a way to remove the tritium instead of simply announcing that they are going to dump it into the ocean.”

Contributed by The Anti-Media of theantimedia.org.

Rising Budget Stakes for Space Warfare

 

Exclusive: As a backdrop to the Russia-gate hysteria and the heightened fear of China is a budget war over how much U.S. taxpayer money to pour into space warfare, explains Jonathan Marshall.

By Jonathan Marshall
There’s a civil war being fought on our nation’s soil, right in our capital. It pits the Secretary of Defense and senior generals against a bipartisan band of militant legislators who accuse the Pentagon of standing pat while Russian and China work to achieve military superiority over the United States in space.

Rising Budget Space
No doubt these bureaucratic warriors will eventually call a truce. But in the meantime, the American people will almost certainly become less secure and more indebted (in budget terms) as a result of both sides’ macho posturing for new warfighting capabilities in space (differing mostly on how far and how fast to go).
Eager congressional advocates of space warfare have attached an amendment to the House defense authorization bill requiring the Pentagon to create a new U.S. Space Corps to join the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard by 2019. Currently, the Air Force oversees most space warfare projects.
The amendment has sent senior Pentagon leadership into a tizzy. Secretary of Defense James Mattis “strongly” urged Congress to rescind the requirement, stating in a letter that “it is premature to add additional organization and administrative tail to the department at a time I am trying to reduce overhead.”
Similarly, Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson protested that the proposal will simply “add more boxes to the organization chart.” Meanwhile, Gen. John W. Raymond, commander of Air Force Space Command, insisted that his service has space matters well in hand. (He should be happy — the Pentagon recently raised his position to a 4-star rank.)
Upping the Ante
In response, Rep. Mike Rogers, an Alabama Republican and chairman of the Strategic Forces subcommittee, announced that he was “pissed” and “outraged” at the Air Force for fighting the new Space Command, saying its obstructionism would “set back efforts to respond to adversaries and space threats” and allow Russia and China “to surpass us soon.”

Rising Budget Stakes
“The Air Force leadership would have us trust them: I don’t think so,” Rogers sneered, as if speaking about the Russians. “They just need a few more years to rearrange the deck chairs: I don’t think so. This is the same Air Force that got us into the situation where the Russians and the Chinese are near-peers to us in space.” He vowed, “We will not allow the status quo to continue.”
Behind all the fiery argumentation lies a bipartisan consensus that the United States must sharply increase its spending on the militarization of space to maintain global supremacy. Gen. Raymond applauded Congress for recognizing the “national imperative” of his mission to “normalize, elevate, and integrate space as a war-fighting domain.”
Secretary Wilson published an op-ed column last month on her new initiatives to “develop space airmen who have the tools, training, and resources to fight when – not if – war extends into space.” She fully expects Congress to follow through on her request for a 20 percent increase in Air Force space funding. (Total military spending on space, including non-Air Force programs like the National Reconnaissance Office, came to about $22 billion last year.)
What’s driving all this activity — aside from baser motives of bureaucratic advantage and financial gain — are “intelligence assessments” that “China and Russia have aggressive programs to both demonstrate and produce eventual operational capability to . . . attack our space assets across the spectrum,” in the words of David Hardy, acting deputy undersecretary of the Air Force for Space.
“While we’re not at war in space, I don’t think we can say we’re exactly at peace, either,” said Navy Vice Adm. Charles A. Richard, deputy commander of U.S. Strategic Command, in March. Gen. John Hyten, head of the Pentagon’s Strategic Command, recently declared that the United States needs not only a good defense, but “an offensive capability to challenge” space threats from Russia and China.
The High Stakes in Space
The stakes are potentially huge because the United States uses space for all manner of command, control, and intelligence missions, not to mention civilian applications. Orbiting satellites provide near-real-time images of conflict zones, sense missile launches and nuclear tests, provide precise positioning coordinates to guide weapons systems, and route secure communications to remote regions of the globe.

Earth Rise
Of some 1,400 operational satellites currently in orbit, 40 percent belong to the United States, nearly twice as many as Russia and China combined. About 150 U.S. satellites serve military applications.
Any threat to satellites would thus pose a serious, even disproportionate military risk to the United States. But instead of supporting international initiatives to put space off limits to warfare, Washington has led the way in developing anti-satellite missile technology, encouraging a space arms race that puts our assets in peril.
The United States and Russia experimented with primitive anti-satellite technology as far back as the 1960s, but the United States first used a missile fired from a fighter jet to destroy an aging satellite in 1985. Not until 2007 did China conduct a similar test, blowing up an old weather satellite, while emphasizing its interest in multilateral talks to prevent the weaponization of space. The following year, the United States used a Navy interceptor missile to shoot down a dying military satellite. Russia followed suit with an anti-satellite test in 2015, proving that no military advance goes unanswered.
Some Key Facts
Alarmists who selectively cite Russian and Chinese activities to warn of an impending military space “gap” ignore a few key facts:
The United States holds a clear technology lead and spends at least 10 times more on military space operations than every other country on earth combined.
Although U.S. satellites are vulnerable to attack, most have maneuvering capabilities, shielding against various forms of radiation, and jam-resistant communications.
For years, Russia, China and other nations have sought to control the spread of weapons into space — only to face consistent opposition from Washington.
An Outer Space Treaty signed in 1967 limited only the deployment of nuclear weapons in space. In 2002, the George W. Bush administration withdrew from the Anti-Ballistic Missile treaty with Russia, opening the door to widespread deployment of weapons that put U.S. satellites at risk. A year later, the Air Force declared in its Strategic Master Plan that “the ability to exploit space while selectively disallowing it to adversaries is critically important and . . . an essential prerequisite to modern warfare.”George W. Bush
Candidate Barack Obama proposed an international “code of conduct” in space, but as president he met resistance from the State Department and Pentagon, and dropped the idea as U.S.-Russia relations soured. In 2011, Congress passed an amendment banning cooperation with China in space, thus encouraging a military space race between our countries.
In 2014, the United Nations General Assembly voted 126 to 4 to pass a Russian resolution banning an arms race in space. The four dissenting countries were Georgia, Israel, Ukraine — and the United States.
Because the United States depends on space more than any other nation, both for military security and commerce, it has the most to lose if wars spread into space. Instead of relying only on military superiority to keep us safe, the time is long overdue to pursue diplomatic options for arms control — which potentially could help us achieve greater security for far less money.
“Unfortunately, the structural inertia that supports and, indeed, advocates, aggressive space postures requiring expensive weapon systems is strong,” notes Joan Johnson-Freese, a professor of national security affairs at the Naval War College and expert on space warfare. “Congressional support for their efforts is easily garnered, as building hardware creates lucrative jobs and corporate profits, whereas diplomacy does not.
“But if the goal of U.S. space security efforts is to maintain stability in space so it can fully utilize its space assets, then the time seems ripe for proactive diplomatic leadership and, at the same time, sustained strategic restraint. Otherwise, the U.S. will be seen (not for the first time) as advocating a policy of do-as-we-say-and-not-as-we-do regarding pursuit of offensive space capabilities.”
Johnson-Freese is not alone in her call for fresh new thinking about space warfare. A 2016 policy paper that she co-authored was published of all places by the Atlantic Council — a pro-NATO, Pentagon-funded think tank.
Its introduction declared, “The days of ‘space dominance’ are over and we need to move from thinking of space as a military domain of offense and defense to a more complex environment that needs to be managed by a wide range of international players. Doing so would calm growing tensions in space and, with deft management, lead to a more stable, peaceful space domain.”
The author of those words was retired Marine Gen. James Cartwright, former vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. They are words that sensible Americans — who want a safer world and a sane limit on military spending — should rally round. We will stand a greater chance of preserving our civilization if we reserve space wars for movies and novels.
Jonathan Marshall is a regular contributor to Consortiumnews.com.

Rising Budget Stakes for Space Warfare

Noam Chomsky: The Emerging World Order

ESSENTIAL VIEWING!

Fascinating new presentation From Chomsky. What kind of world are we leaving for our children?

Australia To Chip $100 Notes: Cashless Society Looms

The Australian government plans to crack down on the ‘black economy’ by implanting $100 and $50 notes with hi-tech nano-chips so they can be surveilled.
No this isn’t a futuristic Hollywood movie, this is Australia in 2017.
With around 300 million $100 notes in circulation carrying out such a task seems almost impossible to derive any value, let alone a waste of time and tax payer money.
Especially at a time when Australia’s household debt-to-income is at an all time high.
Nevertheless Michael Andrew, the man appointed by the Federal government to lead the ‘Black Economy Taskforce’ at the end of 2016 believes tracking the currency denomination is the best solution in stopping unwanted transactions from taking place and people avoiding paying tax.
According to the The Treasury the black economy:
“…refers to people who operate entirely outside the tax and regulatory system or who are known to the authorities but do not correctly report their tax obligations.”
That sounds good and well until we read on to find out who these people targeted by the agency actually are and how they seem to think $100 note is to blame.

Michael Andrew, head of the Black Economy Taskforce.
Mr Andrew claims that the $100 note should be tracked with nanotechnology due to:
Australian pensioners hoarding money under their bed to escape asset tests.
Chinese citizens taking Australian $100 notes back to China because it is apparently more trusted than the internationally superior Yuan.
This government created Black Economy Taskforce wants us to believe that Grandma is hoarding hundreds of thousands of dollars under her mattress in stacks of $100 notes.

Perhaps these pensioners, if they even are hoarding money (which is not illegal in itself), are doing so because the federal government is hiring people like Mr Andrew with our tax money to work out ways the public can be further surveilled and tracked.
As for Chinese citizens, there is a $10,000 limit on taking cash out of the country so I doubt this is any cause for concern.
But is this all part of a bigger agenda?
CALLS TO REMOVE MAJOR CURRENCY FROM CIRCULATION
The Australian government has previously floated the idea to remove the $100 note from circulation, citing once again the need to crack down on the black economy.
This came shortly after global Investment Bank UBS recommended that Australia remove its largest value note from circulation.
This is not a local phenomena in terms of requests made for currency denominations to be removed from circulation.
We’ve seen moves in Europe where the 500-Euro bill was labelled the ‘Bin Laden bank note‘ that criminals love and removed from circulation.
In the United States, one of the chief architects of the 2008 global financial crisis Larry Summers has called for the removal of the $100 and $50 bill, once again demonising their use in illegal activities.
India removed their 500 and 1,000 rupee notes from circulation overnight which saw queues form around the country at ATM machines as people desperately tried to convert out of the newly defunct notes.
Keep in mind that the Indian government claimed the decision was an effort to close down the economy of untaxed cash transactions, which allows corruption, the funding of terrorist groups, and keeps counterfeit notes in circulation.
For the record, 500 rupee in Australian dollars is worth $10.20 and 1,000 rupee $20.40. I doubt any terrorism is being financed with that sort of money but rather sounds like the government is seeking more control over taxing its citizens.
Whilst some people see the move to a global cashless society as being inevitable, others claim this is part of a global ‘war on cash’ and freedom, as governments around the world seek to tighten the noose on citizens.

This has in turn seen many people move into the growing cryptocurrency market where there is no centralised control and people can experience freedom with their hard earned money rather than being taxed into oblivion.
Hence the recent booms we’ve seen in cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum.
People are seeking ways to escape the clutches of ever so hungry governments.
WAR ON CASH = WAR ON FREEDOM
Furthermore the Australian Tax Office came out this week saying it was going to target work expense claims.
Big corporations making billions of dollars and not paying tax? Don’t worry you’re safe, the ATO isn’t interested in cracking down on you.
Trying to claim for those $160 business shoes you bought this year? Then look out, you’re being targeted!
People are in their right to claim what they legally can in order to reduce their taxable income. However with traceable money and increasingly dictatorial changes in law people may soon find they are unable to escape the grip of excessive government taxation.
The irony is that people’s tax revenue is being used to further clamp down on them by creating and funding agencies such as the Black Economy Taskforce.
GOVERNMENTS NO LONGER WORK FOR THE PEOPLE
There are clear signs that the public is fed up with government wasting their tax money on things we don’t need.
This includes the now over $15 billion of Australian tax payer money wasted in fighting unnecessary wars overseas.
Money being squandered to friends of politicians so they can profit, either through the military industrial complex or corporations who avoid paying tax.
Note how no measures are being introduced to clamp down on this waste in the billions of dollars, but a few hundred dollars here or there by you and the government wants to know everything about it.

Prime Minister of Australia, Malcolm Turnbull.
This is one of the reasons that increasingly the trend around the world is that people are growing discontent with the actions of their governments and political systems. People no longer feel they are being represented or that the system is working for them.
This was highlighted with the rise of Donald Trump in the United States, largely seen as an anti-establishment figure, and Britain’s vote to leave the European Union that saw the Brexit party win.
FINAL THOUGHTS
Perhaps it’s time that we as humans evolve past the notion of needing a small elite few living in another reality telling us how we should live our lives. After all, we’ve moved on since the times of kings and queens.
Well, at least some of us have.
For now it seems governments will look for increasing ways to control and surveil their citizens. Using well sounding excuses such as ‘stopping terrorism’ or fighting the black economy.
In reality, it’s more likely a case that government is looking at new ways to bolster its coffers and if people are using physical cash then there is less money to be had for the greed that resides in Canberra.
The war on cash is well and truly underway.

SOURCE:

Australian government to track $100 notes with nano-chips as cashless society looms

Donald Trump mocks Kim Jong-un as North Korea fires ballistic missile ahead of G20 summit

Trump mocks Kim

Donald Trump has mocked Kim Jong-un after North Korea has launched a ballistic missile into the sea off its east coast ahead of the G20 summit later this week.

The missile was launched at around 9.10am local time from an airfield in Panghyon, about 100 km (60 miles) northwest of the North’s capital, Pyongyang, the South Korean military said.

The rocket flew for about 40 minutes and may have landed in Japan’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), the Japanese government said.

The US President was quick to react on Twitter, asking “does this guy have anything better to do with his life?”

The launch is the last since Pyongyang fired several cruise missiles in early June.

It comes as the leaders of the United States, China, Japan and South Korea are expected to discuss efforts to rein in the North’s nuclear and missile tests the G20 summit on July 7 to 8.

Pyongyang has been working to develop a nuclear-tipped missile capable of hitting the United States.

Earlier this week, North Korea was a key topic in phone calls between President Donald Trump and the leaders of China and Japan.

Leaders of both Asian countries reaffirmed their commitment to a denuclearised Korean Peninsula.

Tuesday’s missile launch also comes ahead of July 4 Independence Day celebrations in the United States.

North Korea has previously fired missiles around this US holiday.

South Korea’s presidential Blue House said President Moon Jae-in called a national security council meeting for 2.30am GMT after being informed of the North’s missile launch.

Last week after his first summit with Moon, Trump called for a determined response to North Korea, stressing the importance of the alliance between the two countries.

Last month, North Korea carried out another test of a rocket engine, believed to be part of its programme to develop an intercontinental ballistic missile.

The US fears the test, the latest in a series of engine and missile tests this year, could be for the smallest stage of an ICBM rocket engine, an official said.

It is not known what type of rocket component was tested or whether it fit into the ICBM programme, another official told Reuters.

The test came days after the death of US student Otto Warmbier .

The 22-year-old died on Monday after suffering a severe brain injury while being held prisoner in North Korea.

The disclosure of the engine test also came a day after the US pressed China to exert more economic and diplomatic pressure on North Korea to help rein in its nuclear and missile programmes during a round of high-level talks in Washington.

Donald Trump has warned that a “major, major conflict” with North Korea is possible over its weapons programmes, although officials say tougher sanctions, not military force, are the preferred option.

The head of the US Defense Intelligence Agency told Congress last month that North Korea, if left unchecked, was on an “inevitable” path to obtaining a nuclear-armed missile capable of striking the US mainland.

Still, experts say Pyongyang could still be years away from have a reliable ICBM capability.

The continental United States is around 5,600 miles (9,000 km) from North Korea.

ICBMs have a minimum range of about 3,400 miles (5,500 km), but some are designed to travel 6,200 miles (10,000 km) or further.

Any military solution to the North Korea crisis would be “tragic on an unbelievable scale”, Trump’s defence secretary, Jim Mattis, said last month.

The US, meanwhile, is ramping up capabilities to defend against the threat from North Korea, staging its first-ever successful test to intercept an incoming ICBM-type missile in May.

But a test on June 21 of a new capability being developed by the United States and Japan to defend against shorter-range missiles failed to hit its target, the U.S. Missile Defense Agency said on Thursday.

It was the second such test of the SM-3 Block IIA interceptor, which is being developed by Raytheon. The previous intercept test, conducted in February, had been successful.

Natalie Evans

Unprecedented – 30 wildfires/9 states – “Turning livestock loose to run from wildfires”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KrQoX03uYeY

Published on Jun 29, 2017
June 29, 2017: **Millions of acres are at risk it is so incredibly dry**
Nationally, 30 large fires have burned nearly 180,000 acres. Twenty new large fires were reported in nine states. More than 8,000 firefighters and support personnel are assigned to wildfires across the country. Firefighters contained 11 wildfires yesterday.