Monthly Archives: March 2020

U.S. Federal Reserve And U.S. Government To Use Corona Virus For Excuse To Get Rid Of Cash.

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Digital Dollar And Digital Wallet Bill Surfaces In The U.S. Senate.

Source: Forbes.com

By Jason Brett

Updated 3/24/20 11:35pm: New bill text inserted at the bottom with press release from the bill sponsor.

A bill has surfaced in the Senate called the ‘Banking For All Act’, sponsored by the Ranking Member of the Senate Banking Committee, U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH). In the press release, Senator Brown lays out the details of his bill as well as how he looks forward to urging his colleagues to include it as part of the coronavirus economic stimulus package.

‘At the height of this pandemic we must do more to protect the financial wellbeing of hardworking Americans and consumers. They are on the front lines of this crisis and are already feeling the effects of the economic fallout. My legislation would allow every American to set up a free bank account so they don’t have to rely on expensive check cashers to access their hard-earned money.’

Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH)

This bill offers a definition for digital dollars as well as for a digital dollar wallet, and provides the provision for a pass-through digital dollar wallet with the mandate for all member banks to open and maintain digital dollar wallets for all persons, including those eligible to receive the stimulus.

Member Vs. Non-Member Banks In The United States

In the United States, the vast majority of banks, with the exception of the big banks such as Wells Fargo that are supervised by the OCC, have the option to be members of the Federal Reserve and to buy shares in the Reserve as a way of becoming a ‘member bank.’ These banks are then supervised and regulated by the Federal Reserve. A ‘non-member bank’ is a bank that chooses not to be a ‘member’ of the Federal Reserve and is regulated by the FDIC.

For large banks, there is a provision in the bill that online applications for pass-through digital wallets must be made available. The pass-through digital wallet contains consumer protection terms where it notes the wallet ‘shall not be subject to any account fees, minimum balances, or maximum balances and shall pay interest at a rate not below the greater of the rate of interest on required reserves and the rate of interest on excess reserves’.

Federal Reserve Banks and the U.S. Postal ‘Banking’ Service

From one institution that likely most Americans have never even entered, the Federal Reserve, to the Post Office, where sometimes daily visits can be part of a person’s routine, this bill includes mandates for each agency to assist in the supply of digital dollar wallets for all. The Federal Reserve may maintain digital dollar wallets. And for low-income areas where the Federal Reserve may not be able to have a branch, the Fed will partner with postal retail facilities to carry out this mandate. For access to the digital cash, ATMs will be provided at U.S. Post Offices.

Now that both Chambers – the House and the Senate – have legislation introduced within both the Senate Banking Committee and the House Financial Services Committee, it does appear that the concept of digital dollars is one that Congress realizes reaches beyond the current coronavirus crisis, and may become a bi-partisan issue. With concerns over China and other countries developing a CBDC, the U.S. might be using this bill to introduce its own digital currency – and also be looking to solve one of the oldest policy issues of all in reaching out to offering banking services to the unbanked and underbanked.

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Fed Just Revealed Plans for Digital Dollar Replacement.

Source: Newsmax.com
 

Thanks to the Federal Reserve, the idea that you can go into a store and anonymously purchase something with cash might soon be obsolete.

Why? Because they’re developing something called Fedcoin, which would be based on blockchain technology.

If you’re unfamiliar with blockchain technology, you’re not alone. Here’s how a piece on Motley Fool describes it:

The digital and decentralized ledger that records all transactions. Every time someone buys digital coins on a decentralized exchange, sells coins, transfers coins, or buys a good or service with virtual coins, a ledger records that transaction, often in an encrypted fashion, to protect it from cybercriminals. These transactions are also recorded and processed without a third-party provider, which is usually a bank.

Right now, Bitcoin is a popular form of cryptocurrency that operates using blockchain technology. Like the description above, Bitcoin is decentralized, its transactions are anonymous, and no central bank is involved.

But the irony is, the blockchain tech behind the Fed’s idea isn’t likely to be used the way Bitcoin uses it. Not even close.

Originally, the “Fedcoin” idea appeared to be a security enhancement to a century-old system used for clearing checks and cash transactions called Fedwire. According to NASDAQ in 2017:

This technology will bring Fedwire into the 21st Century. Tentatively called Fedcoin, this Federal Reserve cryptocurrency could replace the dollar as we know it.

The idea didn’t seem to move very much three years ago, but now the idea of a central bank-controlled “Fedcoin” seems like it could be moving closer to reality, according to a Reuters report from February 5.

According to the report, “Dozens of central banks globally are also doing such work,” including China.

Of course, there is risk, according to Federal Reserve Governor Lael Brainard. For example, there is the potential for a country-wide run on banks if panic ensued while the Fed “flipped a switch” and made Fedcoin the primary currency for the United States.

But blogger Robert Wenzel warns the risks of the Federal Reserve issuing its own cyber currency may run even deeper than that.

“This is not good.”

Lawmakers try to package and sell whatever ideas they come up with, no matter how intrusive or ineffective they might be.

According to Brainard, Fedcoin has the potential to provide “greater value at a lower cost” for monetary transactions. Sounds reasonable, if taken at face value.

But no matter how the Fed may try to “sell” the idea of utilizing Fedcoin in the future, Wenzel’s warning is pretty clear:

A Federal Reserve created digital coin could be one of the most dangerous steps ever taken by a government agency. It would put in the hands of the government the potential to create a digital currency with the ability to track all transactions in an economy—and prohibit transactions for any reason. In terms of future individual freedom, this would be a nightmare.

If you use cash at a grocery store, no one will know who you are or what you bought unless it was caught on video or you use a reward card. In the rare instance a store accepts Bitcoin, the same would be true.

But if you were to use a centrally-controlled digital currency like Fedcoin, who knows what the Fed will decide to track now or in the future? Or what meddling they could come up with to deny your transaction?

If the Federal Reserve wanted to outlaw cash, and your only choice was to use Fedcoin to make purchases, then your financial life would be tracked under their watchful eye.

“Not good” indeed.

Protect your retirement by maintaining your financial freedom

Who knows if the Federal Reserve will move closer to making cash a thing of the past? Perhaps Fedcoin will add to the number of ways the Fed can meddle with your retirement?

Until that gets sorted out, you can consider other options to protect your retirement with a tangible asset that can’t be converted into digital form.

Precious metals like gold and silver continue to hold value, and have for thousands of years. And because they are physical assets, you can’t be tracked as you could if Fedcoin moves from being a bad idea to reality.

Bill Gates & World Economic Forum (U.N.) Ran Coronavirus Outbreak Simulation Just 6 Weeks Before The Real Outbreak Started In China. United Nations Released Biological Weapon On World.

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Source: JamesFetzer.org

In this report we take an inside look at Event 201, which took place in NYC on October 18 2019.

Event 201 is a high-level pandemic exercise hosted by the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security in partnership with the World Economic Forum and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

This is extremely fascinating because this pandemic simulation exercise of coronavirus took place about 6 weeks before the first illness from the coronavirus was actually reported in Wuhan, China.

That is one hell of a coincidence if you believe in that sort of thing.

Another fascinating connection is the fact that not only did the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation participate in and help set up the pandemic simulation of a coronavirus outbreak, but they just so happen to fund the group who owns the patent to the deadly coronavirus and are already working on a vaccine to solve the current crisis.

Again, an incredible coincidence…

In this report you will see footage from inside the event from the members of the emergency epidemic board in this simulation consisting of representatives from major banks, the UN, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Johnson and Johnson, logistical powerhouses, the media as well as officials from China and America’s CDC just to name a few.

This simulation also includes news reports that were fabricated just for this exercise — please keep that in mind because they are eerily similar to reports we are currently seeing regarding this real-world coronavirus outbreak.

President Trump Joins Democrats In Attack On Congressman Thomas Massie From Kentucky. President Trump Very Wrong On This Issue.

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     President Trump is wrong on this issue and should apologize. Fort Campbell soldiers were just sent to NYC to help with Covid-19. Congressman and Senators need to show up for a Roll call vote because they are serving the country also. It is unconstitutional to not have a roll call vote. A roll call vote allows for arguments to be presented by each individual congressman about the bill. I have no problem admitting when President Trump is wrong even though Trump as done great things as President so far on other issues. President Trump asking for Massie to be removed is Trump on a power trip and is very wrong. Covid-19 Is not above the U.S. Constitution. The fact of the matter is the U.S. Government can’t be trusted period. The U.S. government has been taken over by the communist United Nations a long time ago. WHO directs the CDC think about it. Lock and Load and stay safe.
                                                                                                                           By Michael Difensore
 

Trump Joins Democrats in Attack on Thomas Massie.

Source: Thenewamerican.com

Friday, 27 March 2020

In a shocking series of tweets, President Donald Trump joined with liberal Democrats in attacking Representative Thomas Massie (R-Ky.), essentially because Massie takes his oath to the Constitution seriously, opposes spending over $2 trillion without so much as a roll call vote, and for, well, being a conservative Republican.

“Looks like a third rate Grandstander named @Rep Thomas Massie, a congressman from, unfortunately, a truly GREAT state, Kentucky, wants to vote against the new Save Our Workers Bill in Congress. He just wants the publicity. He can’t stop it, only delay, which is both dangerous and costly,” Trump tweeted in response to the news that Massie would be attempting to force a recorded vote on the bill.

Despite Massie’s efforts, the bill passed with no roll call vote when he was unable to get support from any other member of the House.

Trump continued his Twitter storm against Massie (who sports a 99-percent score on the The New American’s Freedom Index, which scores members of Congress according to their fidelity to the U.S. Constitution): “Workers & small businesses need money now in order to survive. Virus wasn’t their fault. It is “HELL” dealing with the Dems, had to give up some stupid things in order to get the “big picture” done. 90% GREAT! WIN BACK HOUSE, but throw Massie out of Republican Party!”

This is not the first time that Trump has attacked fellow Republicans who failed to go along with his agenda — even some of the most conservative members of Congress, such as Massie. Early in his tenure, Trump forcefully criticized the House Freedom Caucus for opposing some of his agenda, which they did not consider very conservative. When the group scuttled his healthcare overhaul in 2017, Trump was furious, tweeting, “The Freedom Caucus will hurt the entire Republican agenda if they don’t get on the team, & fast. We must fight them & Dems, in 2018!”

In subsequent tweets, Trump even lambasted individual members of the Freedom Caucus, comparing them to Democrats (which is, of course, ridiculous) and urging Republicans to “fight them” in the 2018 midterm elections if they continue to oppose him. To their credit, the Freedom Caucus did not buckle before Trump’s tirade, and have been among his best supporters in Congress. But they did not support his healthcare proposal, for it was not a free market solution any more than ObamaCare.

Later, Trump publicly castigated Representative Justin Amash, then a Michigan Republican, for not jettisoning his conservative principles and supporting the Trump agenda. Amash has since left the Republican Party, and become an Independent, even voting for Trump’s impeachment last year.

Now, Massie has moved into Trump’s crosshairs for opposing a $2.2 trillion spending bill. Of course, Massie has consistently opposed excessive government spending, even joking that the buttons members of the House push to register their votes on the House floor should be changed from “yea” and “nay” to “spend,” and “don’t spend,” USA Today once reported.

Massie explained his opposition to the bill. “This stimulus should go straight to the people rather than being funneled through banks and corporations like this bill is doing.”

Some Republicans rose to Massie’s defense, however, including Representative Chip Roy of Texas, who bluntly told the president to “back off,” adding, “Representative Thomas Massie is one of the most principled men in Congress & loves his country. He is defending the Constitution today by requiring a quorum. There’s nothing 3rd rate about that.”

Of course, Democrats predictably lambasted Massie. After Massie said, “I swore an oath to the Constitution, and I take that oath seriously,” Representative Dean Phillips (D-Minn.) caustically retorted, “Shameful. Your 428 colleagues take their oaths to the Constitution just as seriously. But unlike you, they take the health of their colleagues, Capitol staff, families, and communities seriously. That’s the difference. Even @realDonald Trump and I agree on that.” Phillips has a dismal 12-percent score on the Freedom Index.

It is certainly disappointing that Trump would make common cause with such a liberal Democrat as Phillips, even going so far as asserting, “By empowering the Radical Left Democrats, do nothing Kentucky politician @RepThomasMassie is making their War on the 2nd Amendment more and more difficult to win (But don’t worry, we will win anyway!). He is a disaster for America, and for the Great State of Kentucky!”

But perhaps the most shocking tweet of all was Trump’s response to the profanity-laced tweet of former Secretary of State John Kerry. Kerry tweeted, “Breaking news: Congressman Massie has tested positive for being an ***hole. He must be quarantined to prevent the spread of his massive stupidity. He’s given new meaning to the term #Masshole. Finally, something the president and I can agree on!

John Kerry

@JohnKerry

Breaking news: Congressman Massie has tested positive for being an asshole. He must be quarantined to prevent the spread of his massive stupidity. He’s given new meaning to the term . (Finally, something the president and I can agree on!) https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/1243534441772974081 

Donald J. Trump

@realDonaldTrump

Looks like a third rate Grandstander named @RepThomasMassie, a Congressman from, unfortunately, a truly GREAT State, Kentucky, wants to vote against the new Save Our Workers Bill in Congress. He just wants the publicity. He can’t stop it, only delay, which is both dangerous……

Trump could have just not responded. Instead, Trump tweeted approval of the disgusting Kerry tweet: “Never knew John Kerry had such a good sense of humor! Very impressed!”

Donald J. Trump

@realDonaldTrump

Never knew John Kerry had such a good sense of humor! Very impressed! https://twitter.com/JohnKerry/status/1243552337429438464 

John Kerry

@JohnKerry

Breaking news: Congressman Massie has tested positive for being an asshole. He must be quarantined to prevent the spread of his massive stupidity. He’s given new meaning to the term #Masshole. (Finally, something the president and I can agree on!) https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/1243534441772974081 

Constitutional conservatives who are serious about limited government are not very impressed — with Donald Trump — at least not with this episode.

 Image: Gage Skidmore / Wikimedia Commons

Steve Byas is a university instructor of history and government, and the author of History’s Greatest Libels. He can be contacted at byassteve@yahoo.com.

Related article:

Massie Fails to Force Roll Call Vote on Stimulus Package

 

 

U.S. Senators Accused Of Insider Trading, Dumping Stocks Before The Stock Market Fell For First Time Because Of The Corona Virus.

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Senators Accused Of Insider Trading, Dumping Stocks After Coronavirus Briefing.

Source: Forbes.com
By Jack Kelly
 

Our elected officials in Congress are supposed to look out for our best interests. In a shocking revelation, it’s been reported that a number of senators sold their stock holdings after being briefed about the coronavirus and the massive impact it will have upon the economy, jobs and the stock market. While telling the American public that there wasn’t much to worry about, they bailed out of their stock holdings to avoid large losses.

In a bizzare quirk, we’ve permitted our politicians to do things that we can’t. Prior to 2012, Congress members were not prohibited from insider trading. Senator Richard Burr from North Carolina was a fierce opponent of a bill that ultimately banned this practice. In an interview at the time, Burr said about the potential new law, “It’s ludicrous.” He voted against the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge (STOCK) Act and said, “I mean, it’s insane.”

The STOCK Act passed into law in 2012. It states that members of Congress, other government employees, congressional staffers, members of the executive branch and judiciary are not permitted to engage in insider trading gleaned from information ascertained through their jobs.

Burr’s vehement opposition to the STOCK Act is now coming back to haunt him. Burr, the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, sold 33 stocks held by both him and his spouse. The value of the sales is estimated at between $628,033 and $1.72 million. Some of the stocks were in sectors hit hard by the outbreak.

In a prepared statement from Burr, he claimed:

Richard Burr

@SenatorBurr

My statement in response to reports about recent financial disclosures:

View image on Twitter
Georgia Senator Kelly Loeffler was also at the meeting with Burr. Loeffler sold stocks valued at around $1.275 million to $3.1 million in an apparent effort to avoid potential losses. She also purchased stocks in two companies that were deemed to benefit from the coronavirus, including one in a company that offers teleconferencing software, which would help people who are working remotely from home. 

Shockingly, Loeffler is a former executive at Intercontinental Exchange and married to Jeffrey Sprecher, the chairman of the New York Stock Exchange. Clearly, they should have been aware of how inappropriate this looks. It also opens them both up to regulatory—and possible criminal—investigations.

Loeffler’s office issued a statement early on Friday. “Sen. Loeffler does not make investment decisions for her portfolio,” the statement said. “Investment decisions are made by multiple third-party advisers without her or her husband’s knowledge or involvement.”

The Democratic senator from California, Diane Feinstein, who’s a ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, sold stock owned by herself and her husband valued at $1.5 million and $6 million between Jan. 31 and Feb. 18.

Tom Mentzer, a spokesperson for Feinstein, said, “All of Senator Feinstein’s assets are in a blind trust.” Mentzer added, “She has no involvement in her husband’s financial decisions.”

Oklahoma Republican Senator Jim Inhofe sold stocks on January 27 that amounted to about $400,000, according to his disclosure report. Inhofe said, in response to the accusations, that he didn’t attend the briefing and doesn’t have “any involvement” in making his investment decisions.

It is possible that the senators have their money in blind trusts and give full trading discretion to their financial advisors. Many wealthy people hire professional money managers to make buy and sell decisions for them. Even if this is the case, how can such high-profile elected officials allow their wealth managers to make these types of investment decisions? At face value, they look like they are flouting the law and taking advantage of private information only available to them. It’s frightening how arrogant or clueless they are to be unaware of how the public views this perceived breach of trust. At a time when we are depending upon our leaders in Congress, the appearance is that they are looking out for themselves.

Insider trading is a serious matter and can lead to investigations that result in possible civil and criminal indictments. People are now calling for probes into the senators’ financial dealings and demanding that they resign.

This scandal may be a tipping point. When he campaigned for the presidency in 2016, President Donald Trump was emphatic in his belief that regulations hold back businesses. One of his campaign promises was to limit the reach of regulatory agencies. By declawing the regulators, Trump believed that businesses would flourish, as they’re unencumbered by red tape and bureaucracy.

If the heinous actions of the senators prove to be true, it will place great pressure on Trump’s administration to reconsider its rollback of regulations. Regulators will become empowered. It would be reasonable to believe that investigations will be launched into other matters as well.

For example, regulators and the Department of Justice may decide to look into the companies that engaged in massive stock buybacks. When companies buy back their shares, the stock prices usually rise. Executives who receive stock and stock options greatly benefit from the appreciation in value of the company stock.

There are questions if this strategy played a part in over-leveraging the stock market—aiding its current collapse. Boeing, the large aircraft manufacturer that had several of its planes crash with accompanying allegations of faulty software and inadequate pilot training, is now asking the government for a bailout. The American public is now being asked to give the company money when it may have arguably engaged in a massive pump-and-dump-type scheme.

Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google and a handful of other companies have become incredibly powerful. The coronavirus outbreak may make these companies even larger, asserting even greater control over the economy. Their growth harms their thousands of small and midsize competitors. Antitrust reviews may be initiated to determine if they are abusing their monopolistic grip over their respective sectors to ensure that we don’t end up with a handful of dominant companies controlling our economy.

Accusations over privacy violations have been continually raised, but nothing really has changed. We’ve become resigned to the fact that everything we do will be surveilled and all of our information will be sold off to the highest bidder. This may be looked into as well.

If this administration—or whichever one comes into power after the presidential election—recognized the need to stop the deregulatory environment and ramp up investigations, reviews and examinations of these and other important matters, there will be a huge need for compliance, legal, audit, privacy and regulatory professionals.