India Bans Largest Bills Without Warning

Indian Rupee
Indian Bans Bills Without Warning

India abolished banknotes last night without warning, triggering trading chaos in the country. As of midnight Wednesday, 500 and 1,000 rupee notes are no longer valid. Many ATMs are closed, and stores will no longer accept bank notes, which are the highest denominations in India. Even hospitals are reported to say no, even though they should have received an exemption from the flash operation.

The decision was announced late Tuesday night, just hours before it took effect. All 500 and 1,000 rupee notes must be exchanged in banks, and the idea is that this will attract large amounts of black-market money.

New 500 and 2,000 rupee notes are scheduled to be released on Thursday, but in a country with over a billion inhabitants, where very many manage all their business with cash, the changeover will be catastrophic.

“Life will be harder for everyone, from the poorest to the richest,” said the assessor Swaminathan Aiyar in the news channel ET Now.

In anticipation of the new banknotes reaching out is the highest denomination is 100 rupees (1.5 USD).

Hillary Heard a Fly Buzz When She Died

A fly landed on Hillary’s face during the October 9 presidential debate between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, and I was immediately reminded of a poem by Emily Dickinson.

I heard a Fly buzz – when I died – (591)
By Emily Dickinson

I heard a Fly buzz – when I died –
The Stillness in the Room
Was like the Stillness in the Air –
Between the Heaves of Storm –

The Eyes around – had wrung them dry –
And Breaths were gathering firm
For that last Onset – when the King
Be witnessed – in the Room –

I willed my Keepsakes – Signed away
What portion of me be
Assignable – and then it was
There interposed a Fly –

With Blue – uncertain – stumbling Buzz –
Between the light – and me –
And then the Windows failed – and then
I could not see to see –

I find it fitting on many levels, metaphorically and literally. Literally: a fly actually landed on her face and she is in poor health. Metaphorically: her campaign is dying, and her criminal career is over. If you look deeper into the poem, flies are often associated with Beelzebub, the Lord of the Flies, the devil. In the end of the poem, the fly comes “Between the light – and me.” In other words, the devil is blocking her journey into the light as she closes her eyes and dies. Fitting indeed!

Swedish MSM Web Sites Simultaneously Remove Comment Sections

Swedish CensorshipIn recent months, all Swedish main-stream media (MSM) have simultaneously removed comment sections from their websites, thereby silencing the voice of the people. What could have possibly caused this “coincidence” on such a broad scale?

Background

I’m an American who has been living in Sweden for over 18 years.  When I first moved here, the culture was as homogeneous as milk. Back then, in a city of 125,000 people, I could go for weeks without seeing a single non-white person.  This is not hyperbole; virtually everyone was a blonde, blue-eyed Swede.  Back then, I was easily spotted as an outsider–even though I’m white–because I didn’t carry myself like a Swede. Fast forward to 2016, and this once traditional Swedish city is unrecognizable. The streets are swarming with refugees. Beggars have taken permanent residence in front of every grocery store, even in the suburbs. Crime is on the rise, and there have even been bombings down town.  Even at this very moment, there is a newsflash about a hand grenade that was thrown into an apartment in Gothenburg, Europe’s terrorist-training capital. The police are reporting that it’s “merely gang violence.”  But the Swedish police, like other countries in Europe, have been instructed not to report ethnicity of the criminals anymore because they don’t want to play into the hands of the “extreme” right.  For example, just as the German police tried to cover up the gang rapes on New Year’s Eve, the Swedish police tried to cover up sexual assault committed by refugees at the We Are Stockholm festival.

This is a sore point. Sometimes we dare not say it like it is because we believe that it plays int the hands of the Sweden Democrats.

Swedish Police Chief Peter Agren.

Changing Tides

Politically, I was very much an outsider in Sweden when I first moved here. I spent a lot of time commenting on Swedish MSM web sites.  Rarely did anyone agree with my anarcho-capitalist ideas, and I was often censored for even the most unprovocative comments.  About 2 years ago, however, there was a change of attitude in the comments of main-stream Swedish websites. Almost over night, I went from being a lone outpost, to being the voice of the majority. Every day I noted that there were more and more comments that could’ve been written by me.  People were questioning the motives of the central banks, of the EU and the main-stream agenda.  This might sound rather tame if you’ve already taken the red pill, but this was a a profound change in the Swedish mentality, considering that average Swede used to worship the government unquestionably.

In the begging of this change, the comments focused on economics, the injustices of the welfare state, the hypocrisy of government etc. But in the last year or so, the majority of the comments shifted to anti-immigration sentiments.  Swedes, like much of the West, are fed up with having refugees forced upon them by the globalist elite. At first, the media outlets disabled comments on articles about crime and refugees, but then the anti-refugee comments spilled over to other articles.  In the end, no matter what the subject of the article was, the comments morphed into rage against forced immigration.

Simultaneous Censorship

Around February 2016, the comment sections of one of Sweden’s largest economic sites, Dagens Industri, experienced “technical difficulties.”  Old comments remained on the site, but new comments could not be posted due to these “technical difficulties.”  The problem persisted for a couple months, if I remember correctly.  Then one day, the comments disappeared altogether across the entire site.  Image that.  A quick glance at other MSM sites in Sweden reveals that all of the major Swedish MSM websites have removed their comment sections:

I did find one site that still has some comments: Sydsvenskan. But judging by the lack of comments, it’s probably highly censored.  Note also that comments are disabled, for example, on this article about yet another bombing in another Swedish city.

What Next?

So what happens next, when people are no longer allowed to express their opinions and debate in open forums?  Will the Swedes continue to bend over and take it, or will the viking spirit return?

Gift Idea: Real Silver Treasure for Your Kids

Real Silver Treasure Chest

Looking for that perfect gift for your kid’s birthday? Instead of buying plastic crap that’s made in China, how about getting a treasure chest full of real silver coins! I usually put a silver coin in the kids’ Christmas stockings, and sometimes I use silver coins as a part of the gift wrapping for special birthday presents. On the next special occasion, however, I’m giving the kids a treasure chest full of real silver that I just found at BGASC.

This miniature treasure chest is filled with 100 1-gram Silver Salmon Rounds by Monarch Precious Metals for a total of 100 grams. Not only is it a fun way to teach the kids about sound money, it’s also a convenient way to stock up on silver in a compact storage box. The small wooden pirate chest contains 100 1-gram rounds with plenty of room to spare for even more loot! The small metal swivel latch will keep your treasure chest fastened shut when not in use.

So what are you waiting for? Head on over to BGASC, and get your silver treasure chest today! After you receive your order, be sure to come back and write a review of BGASC.

The unique 1 gram Silver Salmon Round is a fractional silver round, skillfully made by hand by the Monarch Mint. Sheets of .999 fine silver are hand rolled, blanks are individually cut by hand, and the design is hand stamped on the obverse (front) and reverse (back). Because they are made by hand, no two rounds are exactly alike. Imagining the labor involved to produce large quantities of these fractional silver rounds makes us appreciate them even more.

The obverse (front) of the round reads “Monarch Precious Metals” with the signature MPM crown logo. The reverse (back) is marked “One Gram, .999 Fine Silver” and features a Pacific Northwest salmon in honor of MPM’s home state of Oregon, USA.

Silver Treasure Highlights

  • The chest contains 100 grams of silver.
  • Each round contains 1 gram of .999 fine silver.
  • Each coin is hand cut and stamped.
  • Symbolic Salmon design.
  • Fractional silver is easy to trade.
  • Funfor the kids!

Headquartered in southern Oregon’s beautiful Rogue Valley, the Monarch Precious Metals Mint hand pours and marks all of their silver bullion investment products the old fashioned way, giving them a unique look that collectors love.

Hannes Tulving Sentenced 30 Months in Prison and $10 Million in Fines

Hannes Tulving
Hannes Tulving

Hannes Tulving of The Tulving Company–which filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy protection on March 11, 2014–has been sentenced to 30 months imprisonment and $10 million in fines. Of course the $10 million goes to the government, and not the 380 customers that he defrauded for over $15 million.

Full Press Release

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – A coin and precious metals dealer and his company responsible for defrauding more than 380 customers of over $15 million were sentenced in federal court late Wednesday, February 17, 2016, announced Jill Westmoreland Rose, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina.  U.S. District Judge Max O. Cogburn, Jr. sentenced Hannes Tulving, Jr., 60, of Newport Beach, California to 30 months in prison and three years of supervised release.  The company was ordered to pay a $10 million fine and was placed on a probationary period of two years.  Judge Cogburn reserved his ruling on the amount of restitution owed by Tulving and the company for 90 days.

Matthew Quinn, Assistant Special Agent in Charge of the United States Secret Service, Charlotte Field Division joins U.S. Attorney Rose in making today’s announcement.

According to the filed court documents and statements made in court, Hannes Tulving was the sole owner, shareholder and president of The Tulving Company, Inc. (Tulving Co.), a California-based business that sold coins, bullion, and other precious metals over the Internet.  Court records show that from about August 2013 to January 2014, Tulving and his company executed a scheme to defraud customers nationwide by inducing them to place orders for coins and other merchandise knowing those orders could not be fulfilled.  Court records show that the customers paid for the merchandise expecting their orders to be delivered within a certain time frame as advertised on the company’s website.

Court documents show that Tulving and his company accepted the customers’ payments but failed to deliver some of the merchandise.  Instead, they diverted the customers’ payments to fulfill other customers’ orders, to pay company debts and to return the money to previous customers who did not receive their merchandise.  According to court documents filed in the case, the defendants defrauded more than 380 victims nationwide of over $15 million.  Hannes Tulving and the Tulving Co. each pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud in August 2015.

In handing down Tulving’s sentence, Judge Cogburn noted what a staggering amount of money was stolen from the victims in such a short period of time.  He also noted the seriousness of the offense and said that, “People were seriously harmed and their lives are affected.  These people saved up money and they were hurt.”

Hannes Tulving will be ordered to report to the Federal Bureau of Prisons upon designation of a federal facility.  All federal sentences are served without the possibility of parole.

The U.S. Secret Service handled the investigation.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Kevin Zolot prosecuted this case.

Source: justice.gov

In other news, Jon Corzine, who stole $1.6 billion from MF Global clients, is still walking freely.

How You Could Make 50 Times Your Money in the Coming Gold Mania

By Doug Casey

Regular readers know why I believe the gold price is poised to move from its current level of $1,250 per ounce to $1,500…$2,000…and eventually past $3,000.

Right now, we are exiting the eye of the giant financial hurricane that we entered in 2007, and we’re going into its trailing edge. It’s going to be much more severe, different, and longer lasting than what we saw in 2008 and 2009.

In a desperate attempt to stave off a day of financial reckoning during the 2008 financial crisis, global central banks began printing trillions of new currency units. The printing continues to this day. And it’s not just the Federal Reserve that’s doing it: it’s just the leader of the pack. The U.S., Japan, Europe, China…all major central banks are participating in the biggest increase in global monetary units in history.

These reckless policies have produced not just billions, but trillions in malinvestment that will inevitably be liquidated. This will lead us to an economic disaster that will in many ways dwarf the Great Depression of 1929–1946. Paper currencies will fall apart, as they have many times throughout history.

This isn’t some vague prediction about the future. It’s happening right now. The Canadian dollar has lost 26% of its value since 2013. The Australian dollar has lost 29% of its value during the same time. The Japanese yen and the euro have crashed in value. And the U.S. dollar is currently just the healthiest horse on its way to the glue factory.

These moves show that we’re in the early stages of a currency crisis. But if you make the right moves, you could actually make windfall gains instead of suffering losses. Here’s how to do it…

The huge winner during this crisis will be the only currency that has real value: gold.

Gold has been used as money for thousands of years because it has a unique combination of qualities. Very briefly, it’s durable, easily divisible, convenient to carry, consistent around the world, and has value in and of itself. Just as important, governments can’t create gold out of thin air. It’s the only financial asset that’s not simultaneously someone else’s liability.

When people wake up and realize that most banks and governments are bankrupt, they’ll flock to gold…just as they’ve done for centuries. Gold will rise multiples of its current value. I expect a 200% rise from current levels, at the minimum. There are many reasons, which we don’t have room to cover here, why gold could see a 400% or 500% gain.

This should produce a corresponding bull market in gold stocks…perhaps of a magnitude we’ve never seen. A true mania for gold stocks could develop over the coming years. This could make anyone who buys gold stocks at their current depressed levels very rich.

What History Teaches Us About Great Speculations

Many of the best speculations have a political element to them.

Governments are constantly creating distortions in the market, causing misallocations of capital. Whenever possible, the speculator tries to find out what these distortions are, because their consequences are predictable.

They result in trends you can bet on. Because you can almost always count on the government to do the wrong thing, you can almost always safely bet against them. It’s as if the government were guaranteeing your success.

The classic example, not just coincidentally, concerns gold.

The U.S. government suppressed its price for decades while creating huge numbers of dollars before it exploded upward in 1971. Speculators who understood some basic economics positioned themselves accordingly. Over the next nine years, gold climbed more than 2,000% and many gold stocks climbed by more than 5,000%.

Governments are constantly manipulating and distorting the monetary situation. Gold in particular, as the market’s alternative to government money, is always affected by that. So gold stocks are really a way to short government—or go long on government stupidity, as it were.

The bad news is that governments act chaotically, spastically.

The beast jerks to the tugs on its strings held by various puppeteers. But while it’s often hard to predict price movements in the short-term, the long-term is a near certainty. You can bet confidently on the end results of chronic government monetary stupidity.

Mining stocks are extremely volatile for that very same reason. That’s good news, however, because volatility makes it possible, from time to time, to get not just doubles or triples but 10-baggers, 20-baggers, and even 100-to-1 shots.

When gold starts moving higher, it’s going to direct a lot of attention towards gold stocks. When people get gold fever, they are not just driven by greed, they’re usually driven by fear as well, so you get both of the most powerful market motivators working for you at once. It’s a rare class of securities that can benefit from fear and greed at once.

Remember that the Fed‘s pumping-up of the money supply ignited a huge bubble in tech stocks in the late 90’s, and then an even more massive global bubble in real estate that burst in 2008. But they’re still creating tons of dollars.

This will inevitably ignite other asset bubbles. Where? I can’t say for certain, but I say the odds are extremely high that as gold goes up, a lot of this funny money is going to be directed into these gold stocks, which are not just a microcap area of the market but a nanocap area of the market. The combined market capitalization of the 10 biggest U.S.-listed gold stocks is less than 29% of the size of Facebook.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: When the public gets the bit in its teeth and wants to buy gold stocks, it’s going to be like trying to siphon the contents of the Hoover Dam through a garden hose.

Gold stocks, as a class, are going to be explosive. Now, you’ve got to remember that most of them are junk. Most will never, ever find an economical deposit. But it’s hopes and dreams that drive them, not reality, and even those without merit can still go up 10, 20, or 30 times your entry price.

And companies that actually have the goods can go much higher than that.

You buy gold, the metal, because you’re prudent. It’s for safety, liquidity, insurance. The gold stocks, even though they explore for or mine gold, are at the polar opposite of the investment spectrum; you buy them for their extreme volatility, and the chance they offer for spectacular gains. It’s rather paradoxical, actually.

Why Gold Stocks Are an Ideal “Asymmetric Bet”

Because these stocks have the potential to go 10, 50, or even 100 times your entry price, they offer something called “asymmetry.”

You probably learned about symmetry in grade school. It’s when the parts of something have equal form and size. For example, cut a square in half and the two parts are symmetrical.

Symmetry is attractive in some forms. The more symmetrical someone’s face is, the more physically attractive they are considered to be. Symmetry is often attractive in architecture.

But when it comes to investing and speculating in the financial markets, the expert financial operator eschews symmetry. Symmetry is for suckers.

The expert financial operator hunts for extreme asymmetry.

An asymmetric bet is one where the potential upside of a position greatly exceeds its potential downside. If you risk $1 for the chance of making $20, you’re making an asymmetric bet.

Amateur investors too often risk 100% of their money in the pursuit of a 100% return. These are horrible odds that the financially and statistically illiterate flock towards…the kind you find in casinos and most sports betting. It’s one of the key reasons most people struggle in the market.

I’ve always been more attracted to asymmetric bets…where I stand a good chance of making 10, 50, even 100 times the amount I’m risking. I’m not interested in even bets. I’m only taking the field if my potential upside is much, much greater than my potential downside.

Because of the extreme asymmetry gold stocks offer—because of their extreme upside potential—you don’t have to take a big position in them to make a huge impact on your net worth. A modest investment of $25,000 right now could turn into $500,000 in five years. It has happened before and it will happen again.

Right now gold stocks are near a historic low. I’m buying them aggressively. At this point, it’s possible that the shares of a quality exploration company or a quality development company (i.e., one that has found a deposit and is advancing it toward production) could still go down 10, 20, 30, or even 50 percent. But there’s an excellent chance that the same stock will go up by 10, 50, or even 100 times.

I hate to use such hard-to-believe numbers, but that is the way this market works.

When the coming resource bubble is ignited, the odds are excellent we’ll be laughing all the way to the bank in a few years.

No one, including me, knows that the Mania Phase is just around the corner. But I’ve operated in this market for over 40 years. This is a very reasonable time to be buying these stocks. And it’s absolutely a good time to start educating yourself about them.

There’s an excellent chance a truly massive bubble is going to be ignited in this area. If so, the returns are going to be historic.


Editor’s note: With gold already up 17% this year (and gold miners up 42%), NOW is the time to take a position in gold stocks. Because we don’t expect this extraordinary opportunity to last, we’re running a special $500-off deal for our gold stock research.

Please realize that opportunities to make 500%+ in a short period don’t come around often. This situation has only occurred in gold stocks a handful of times in the last forty years. But every time it occurs, some investors see gains as large as 1,700%, 4,300%, and 5,000%.

If you’re interested, please act now. Once the window of opportunity closes, we likely won’t get another one for five years or more. Read more here.

Swedish Central Bank Lowers Interest Rate to -0.5 Percent

The Swedish central bank, Riksbank, lowered the interest rate to -0.5% at 09:30 this morning (local time). Stefan Ingves,  governor of the Swedish central bank, presented his new record-low interest rate from the Governor House in Stockholm. The interest rate was lowered to -0.5 percent from the previous -0.35 percent.

Usually when central banks lower interest rates, the market rebounds, but the Swedish stock market index, OMX30, dropped another 1% immediately after the announcement, landing around -3.0%, where it’s hovering now. With the OMX30 at -13% for the year, and a looming housing bubble about to pop, it appears that the Swedish central bank is out of ammo.

Swedish Housing Bubble
Compare the current housing bubble in Sweden to the 1990s bubble. Then consider that the world’s second-highest taxed population with a government that is hostile towards business is undergoing a stock market crash and a refugee crisis, and you have a recipe for pain and disaster.

Albert Edwards Predicts 75% Decline in S&P

Usually posts in the Watchlist category have a target date, but this time I made an exception because the prediction is so profound.

According to Edwards, Société Générale’s global strategist and prominent perma-bear, the S&P 500 could falls as much as 75%, from the recent peak of 2,100 to 550.

Edwards stated:

If I am right and we have just seen a cyclical bull market within a secular bear market, then the next recession will spell real trouble for investors ill-prepared for equity valuations to fall to new lows. To bottom on a Shiller PE of 7x would see the S&P falling to around 550. I will repeat that: If I am right, the S&P would fall to 550, a 75% decline from the recent 2100 peak.

He further noted that in the previous bear markets, it has taken four to six recessions to shake off the weak sentiment, as shown in the chart below. In other words, we’ve only had two recessions in this current cycle, and the bear market has not yet completed. Edwards

Oregon Militia Showdown: The Truth About The Hammonds

I’m posting this for the historical records (source).

I am in direct, daily contact with a close friend who has lived and worked in Burns his entire life – except for a short stint with the 101st. He has worked in the woods (timber faller) on ranches (cowboy), and as a gunsmith in a local gunstore. Some of the Oregon, Washington, and Idaho guys (and at least one Georgian) have met him. Solid dude who, like many of us, is trying to balance family and work obligations with a deep and abiding love for the land he grew up on, the country he remembers, and the Constitution that protects it.

Here’s the background. I’ll start by saying that I put *some* of this up a few weeks ago when I asked the members here to sign a petition asking the Sheriff of Harney county to *not* arrest or transport the Hammonds to prison. I got some (minor) flak because some members here pointed out that there were other (past) charges against the Hammonds, and that it sounded like they were their own wort enemy. Here, then, is the history of actions by the government and by the Hammonds as it is available publicly. I took much of this from The Conservative Treehouse.com, which is associated with the Breitbart news site. They, in turn, took much of this from the Oregonian (libtard Portland paper) and from The Capital Press (much more ag-centered, small paper iirc)…

Warning: This is long. If it hurts you to read for ten minutes, then you are probably too weak and/or stupid to be involved with making comments about serious issues. Please go to another topic somewhere else on the board.

1. The Harney Basin (were the Hammond ranch is established) was settled in the 1870’s. The valley was settled by multiple ranchers and was known to have run over 300,000 head of cattle. These ranchers developed a state of the art irrigated system to water the meadows, and it soon became a favorite stopping place for migrating birds on their annual trek north

2. In 1908 President Theodor Roosevelt, in a political scheme, create an “Indian reservation” around the Malheur, Mud & Harney Lakes and declared it “as a preserve and breeding ground for native birds”. Later this “Indian reservation” (without Indians) became the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge (note: the Federal government could *make* an Indian Reservation – but they couldn’t *make* a “preserve” for birds – so this was a fabrication from the beginning…)

3. In 1964 the Hammonds purchased their ranch in the Harney Basin. The purchase included approximately 6000 acres of private property, 4 grazing rights on public land, a small ranch house and 3 water rights. The ranch is around 53 miles South of Burns, Oregon (note: to this day you can buy land out in this desolate place for about $1,000/acre – so in 1964 this was an affordable ranch purchased by working people – not some millionaire ranch deal. Not that that should matter…)

4. By the 1970’s nearly all the ranches adjacent to the Blitzen Valley were purchased by the US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and added to the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. The refuge covers over 187,000 acres and stretches over 45 miles long and 37 miles wide. The expansion of the refuge grew and surrounds the Hammond’s ranch. Being approached many times by the FWS, the Hammonds refused to sell. Other ranchers also choose not to sell

5. During the 1970’s the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), in conjunction with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), took a different approach to get the ranchers to sell. Ranchers were told that, “grazing was detrimental to wildlife and must be reduced”. 32 out of 53 permits were revoked and many ranchers were forced to leave. Grazing fees were raised significantly for those who were allowed to remain. Refuge personnel took over the irrigation system claiming it as their own

6. By 1980 a conflict was well on its way over water allocations on the adjacent privately owned Silvies Plain. The FWS wanted to acquire the ranch lands on the Silvies Plain to add to their already vast holdings. Refuge personnel intentionally diverted the water (bypassing the vast meadowlands) and directed the water into the rising Malheur Lakes. Within a few short years the surface area of the lakes doubled. Thirty-one ranches on the Silvies plains were flooded. Homes, corrals, barns and graze-land were washed a way and destroyed. The ranchers that once fought to keep the FWS from taking their land, now broke and destroyed, begged the FWS to purchase their useless ranches. In 1989 the waters began to recede and now the once thriving privately owned Silvies plains are a proud part of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge claimed by the FWS

7. By the 1990’s the Hammonds were one of the very few ranchers that still owned private property adjacent to the refuge. In an effort to make sense of what was happening around her, Susie Hammond began compiling facts about the refuge. In a hidden public record she found a study that was done by the FWS in 1975. The study showed that the “no use” policies of the FWS on the refuge were causing the wildlife to leave the refuge and move to private property. The study showed that the private property adjacent to the Malheur Wildlife Refuge produced 4 times more ducks and geese than the refuge did. It also showed that the migrating birds were 13 times more likely to land on private property than on the refuge (note: when Susie brought this to the attention of the FWS and refuge personnel, she and her family became the subjects of a long train of abuses. See more on this later…)

8. In the early 1990’s the Hammonds filed on a livestock water source and obtained a deed for the water right from the State of Oregon. When the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) found out that the Hammonds obtained new water rights near the Malhuer Wildlife Refuge, they were agitated and became belligerent and vindictive towards the Hammonds. The US Fish and Wildlife Service challenged the Hammonds right to the water in an Oregon State Circuit Court. The court found that the Hammonds legally obtained rights to the water in accordance to State law and therefore the use of the water belongs to the Hammonds (note: thereafter, the Federal gov’t pressed Oregon to change its laws about citizens’ gaining access to water rights)

9. In August 1994 the BLM & FWS illegally began building a fence around the Hammonds water source. Owning the water rights and knowing that their cattle relied on that water source daily the Hammonds tried to stop the building of the fence. The BLM & FWS called the Harney County Sheriff department and had Dwight Hammond (Father) arrested and charged with “disturbing and interfering with” federal officials or federal contractors (two counts, each a felony). He spent one night in the Deschutes County Jail in Bend, and a second night behind bars in Portland before he was hauled before a federal magistrate and released without bail. A hearing on the charges was postponed and the federal judge never set another date (no need for Due Process, or any of that other stupid stuff…)

10. The FWS also began restricting access to upper pieces of the Hammond’s private property. In order to get to the upper part of the Hammond’s ranch they had to go on a road that went through the Malhuer Wildlife Refuge. The FWS began barricading the road and threatening the Hammonds if they drove through it. The Hammonds removed the barricades and gates and continued to use their right of access. The road was proven later to be owned by the County of Harney – which meant that the Hammonds could use the road, and that neither the BLM nor FWS could close said road. (note: you don’t think that this further enraged the BLM & FWS management, do you? Me either…)

11. Shortly after the road & water disputes, the BLM & FWS arbitrarily revoked the Hammond’s upper grazing permit without any given cause, court proceeding or court ruling. As a traditional “fence out state” Oregon requires no obligation on the part of an owner to keep his or her livestock within a fence or to maintain control over the movement of the livestock. The Hammonds intended to still use their private property for grazing. However, they were informed that a federal judge ruled, in a federal court, that the federal government did not have to observe the Oregon fence out law, which meant…

12. The Hammonds were forced to either build and maintain miles of fences or be restricted from the use of their private property. Cutting their ranch in almost half, they could not afford to fence the land, so the cattle were removed (note: you know DAMNED WELL that the BLM knew that’s what would happen…)

13. The Hammonds experienced many years of financial hardship due to the ranch being diminished. The Hammonds had to sale their ranch and home in order to purchase another property that had enough grass to feed their cattle. This property included two grazing rights on public land. Those were also arbitrarily revoked later (which was probably either random, or part of a management plan that had nothing to do with the Hammonds, right?)

14. The owner of the Hammond’s original ranch passed away from a heart attack and the Hammonds made a trade with his widow to get their original ranch back

15. In the early fall of 2001, Steven Hammond (Son) called the fire department, informing them that he was going to be performing a routine prescribed burn on their ranch. Later that day he started a prescribed fire on their private property. The fire went onto public land and burned 127 acres of grass. The Hammonds put the fire out themselves. There was no communication about the burn from the federal government to the Hammonds at that time (note: prescribed fires are a common method that both Native Americans and ranchers have used in the area to increase the health & productivity of the land for many centuries)

16. In 2006 a massive lightning storm started multiple fires that joined together inflaming the countryside. To prevent the fire from destroying their winter range and possibly their home, Steven Hammond (Son) started a backfire on their private property. The backfire was successful in putting out the lightning fires that had covered thousands of acres within a short period of time. The backfire saved much of the range and vegetation needed to feed the cattle through the winter. Steven’s mother, Susan Hammond said: “The backfire worked perfectly, it put out the fire, saved the range and possibly our home.”

17. The next day federal agents went to the Harney County Sheriff’s office and filled a police report making accusation against Dwight and Steven Hammond for starting the backfire. A few days after the backfire a Range-Con from the Burns District BLM office asked Steven if he would meet him in town (Frenchglen) for coffee. Steven accepted. When leaving he was arrested by the Harney County Sheriff Dave Glerup and BLM Ranger Orr. Sheriff Glerup then ordered him to go to the ranch and bring back his father. Both Dwight and Steven were booked and on multiple Oregon State charges. The Harney County District Attorney reviewed the accusation, evidence and charges, and determined that the accusations against Dwight & Steven Hammond did not warrant prosecution and dropped all the charges (Got that? “Dropped all charges”…)

18. In 2011 (5 years after the police report was taken), the U.S. Attorney Office accused Dwight and Steven Hammond of completely different charges, and accused them of being “Terrorists” under the Federal Antiterrorism Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996. This act carries a minimum sentence of five years in prison and a maximum sentence of death (note: for burning sage brush on their OWN property and the land that they have FEDERAL PERMITS TO MANAGE. Hello?)

19. In September 2006, Dwight & Susan Hammond’s home was raided. The agents informed the Hammonds that they were looking for evidence that would connect them to the fires. The Hammonds later found out that a boot print and a tire tracks were found near one of the many fires. No matching boots or tires were found in the Hammonds home or on their property

20. During the trial proceedings, Federal Court Judge Michael Hogan did not allow time for certain testimonies and evidence into the trail that would exonerate the Hammonds. Federal prosecuting attorney, Frank Papagni, was given full access for 6 days. He had ample time to use any evidence or testimony that strengthened the demonization of the Hammonds. The Hammonds attorney was only allowed 1 day. Much of the facts about the fires, land and why the Hammonds acted the way they did was not allowed into the proceedings and was not heard by the jury. For example, Judge Hogan did not allow time for the jury to hear or review certified scientific findings that the fires improved the health and productivity of the land. Or, that the Hammonds had been subject to vindictive behavior by multiple federal agencies for years

21. Federal attorneys, Frank Papagni, hunted down a witness that was not mentally capable to be a credible witness. Dusty Hammond (grandson and nephew) testified that Steven told him to start a fire. He was 13 at the time and 24 when he testified (11 years later). At 24 Dusty had been suffering with mental problems for many years. He had estranged his family including his mother. Judge Hogan noted that Dusty’s memories as a 13-year-old boy were not clear or credible. He allowed the prosecution to continually use Dusty’s testimony anyway (good jurisprudence, no doubt…)

22. Judge Michael Hogan & Prosecutor Frank Papagni tampered with the jury many times throughout the proceedings, including during the selection process. Hogan & Papagni only allowed people on the jury who did not understand the customs and culture of the ranchers or how the land is used and cared for in the Diamond Valley. All of the jurors had to drive back and forth to Pendleton everyday. Some drove more than two hours each way. By day 8 they were exhausted and expressed desires to be home.

On the final day, Judge Hogan kept pushing them to make a verdict. Several times during deliberation, Judge Hogan pushed them to make a decision. Judge Hogan also would not allow the jury to hear what punishment could be imposed upon an individual that has convicted as a terrorist under the 1996 act. The jury, not understanding the customs and cultures of the area, influenced by the prosecutors for 6 straight days, very exhausted, pushed for a verdict by the judge, unaware of the ramification of convicting someone as a terrorist, made a verdict and went home

23. June 22, 2012, Dwight and Steven were found guilty of starting both the 2001 and the 2006 fires by the jury. However, the federal courts convicted them both as “Terrorists” under the 1996 Antiterrorism Act. Judge Hogan sentenced Dwight (Father) to 3 months in prison and Steven (son) to 12 months in federal prison. They were also stipulated to pay $400,000 to the BLM. Hogan overruling the minimum terrorist sentence, commenting that if the full five years were required it would be a violation of the 8th amendment (cruel and unusual punishment). The day of the sentencing Judge Hogan retired as a federal judge. In his honor the staff served chocolate cake in the courtroom Hell Yeah!! FTW!!!

24. On January 4,, 2013, Dwight and Steven reported to prison. They fulfilled their sentences, (Dwight 3 months, Steven 12 months). Dwight was released in March 2013 and Steven, January 2014

25. Sometime in June 2014, Rhonda Karges, Field Manager for the BLM, and her husband Chad Karges, Refuge Manager for the Malheur Wildlife Refuge (which surrounds the Hammond ranch), along with attorney Frank Papagni exemplifying further vindictive behavior by filing an appeal with the 9th District Federal Court seeking Dwight’s and Steven’s return to federal prison for the entire 5 years (note: Rhonda Karges – Resource Field Manager for the BLM is the wife of Chad Karges Refuge Manager for the Malheur Wildlife refuge.

Rhonda specifically deals with all the BLM issues relating to the area in and around Hammonds property including “grazing denial”. Her husband just happens to be the person in charge of all the issues surrounding the Hammonds ranch such as “water and access”)

26. In October 2015, the 9th District Court “resentenced” Dwight and Steven, requiring them to return to prison for several more years. Steven (46) has a wife and 3 children. Dwight (74) will leave Susan (74) to be alone after 55 years of marriage. If he survives, he will be 79 when he is released

27. During the court preceding the Hammonds were forced to grant the BLM first right of refusal. If the Hammonds ever sold their ranch they would have to sell it to the BLM. (note: Hello?! Do I have to make a “note” here? Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, Over?!?!?)

Misguided Plans to Fix the Fed Part 1: Bernie Sanders

Starting with a recent op-ed in the New York Times by Bernie Sanders, let’s take a look at various proposals floating around to fix the Fed and other central banks.

Bernie Sanders says To Rein In Wall Street, Fix the Fed

Sanders: Wall Street is still out of control. Seven years ago, the Federal Reserve and the Treasury Department bailed out the largest financial institutions in this country because they were considered too big to fail. But almost every one is bigger today than it was before the bailout. If any were to fail again, taxpayers could be on the hook for another bailout, perhaps a larger one this time.

To rein in Wall Street, we should begin by reforming the Federal Reserve, which oversees financial institutions and which uses monetary policy to maintain price stability and full employment. Unfortunately, an institution that was created to serve all Americans has been hijacked by the very bankers it regulates.

Mish: That type of populist proposal will appeal to those who believe Wall Street is the problem. It will also appeal to those who understand the Fed is indeed in bed with Wall Street. But we must analyze Sanders’ specific recommendations one-by-one.

Sanders: The recent decision by the Fed to raise interest rates is the latest example of the rigged economic system. Big bankers and their supporters in Congress have been telling us for years that runaway inflation is just around the corner. They have been dead wrong each time. Raising interest rates now is a disaster for small business owners who need loans to hire more workers and Americans who need more jobs and higher wages. As a rule, the Fed should not raise interest rates until unemployment is lower than 4 percent. Raising rates must be done only as a last resort — not to fight phantom inflation.

Mish: Sanders ignores the dotcom bubble, the housing bubble, and the bubbles now in both stocks and bonds. Those bubbles all have their roots in a Fed that kept rates too low, too long. The idea that rates should be tied to a single measure like unemployment is ludicrous. And at 4% unemployment rates, the Fed would seldom if ever hiked. The Fed does not know where interest rates should be, and neither does Sanders.

Sanders: What went wrong at the Fed? The chief executives of some of the largest banks in America are allowed to serve on its boards. During the Wall Street crisis of 2007, Jamie Dimon, the chief executive and chairman of JPMorgan Chase, served on the New York Fed’s board of directors while his bank received more than $390 billion in financial assistance from the Fed. Next year, four of the 12 presidents at the regional Federal Reserve Banks will be former executives from one firm: Goldman Sachs. These are clear conflicts of interest, the kind that would not be allowed at other agencies. We would not tolerate the head of Exxon Mobil running the Environmental Protection Agency. We don’t allow the Federal Communications Commission to be dominated by Verizon executives. And we should not allow big bank executives to serve on the boards of the main agency in charge of regulating financial institutions.

Mish: The conflicts of interest are indeed obvious. The solution is to get rid of the Fed.

Sanders: The Fed must also make sure that financial institutions are investing in the productive economy by providing affordable loans to small businesses and consumers that create good jobs. How? First, we should prohibit commercial banks from gambling with the bank deposits of the American people. Second, the Fed must stop providing incentives for banks to keep money out of the economy. Since 2008, the Fed has been paying financial institutions interest on excess reserves parked at the central bank — reserves that have grown to an unprecedented $2.4 trillion. That is insane. Instead of paying banks interest on these reserves, the Fed should charge them a fee that would be used to provide direct loans to small businesses.

Mish: I agree the Fed should prohibit commercial banks from gambling with the bank deposits of the American people. The way to do that is end fractional reserve lending. Lending deposits that are supposed to be available on demand is fraudulent. Paying interest on excess reserves the Fed creates out of thin air is also fraudulent. However, the notion the Fed should charge interest on reserves to spur lending is ridiculous. Mathematically, every dollar the Fed prints has to be held by someone. When banks lend, the money eventually ends up as a deposit somewhere else. Moreover, efforts to force banks to make more loans will just encourage bad lending decisions and subsequent writeoffs.

Sanders: As a condition of receiving financial assistance from the Fed, large banks must commit to increasing lending to creditworthy small businesses and consumers, reducing credit card interest rates and fees, and providing help to underwater and struggling homeowners.

Mish: Banks should not be bailed out or given assistance ever. To do so creates a moral hazard.

Sanders: We also need transparency. Too much of the Fed’s business is conducted in secret, known only to the bankers on its various boards and committees. Full and unredacted transcripts of the Federal Open Market Committee must be released to the public within six months, not five years, which is the custom now. If we had made this reform in 2004, the American people would have learned about the housing bubble well in advance of the financial crisis.

Mish: The housing bubble was obvious to every thinking person. Yet, the idea minutes would prove the Fed knew are highly unlikely. The Fed has never spotted a bubble. And neither the Fed nor Sanders sees the bubbles we are in now. That said, I fully support transparency and the release of full and unredacted transcripts.

Sanders has some things right, but as many things wrong.

We should audit the Fed and end it, not attempt to fix it with absurd rules about where interest rates should be, coupled with preposterous efforts to force banks to lend.

Mike “Mish” Shedlock