Mass Exodus From Venezuela’s Socialist Violence And Starvation

Mac Slavo – February 13, 2018

People are fleeing the socialism forced on them in Venezuela by the hundreds of thousands. Starving, and facing violence over crumbs of food, many have no choice but to flee the wasteland which used the authority of government to destroy the lives of its citizens.

Thousands of Venezuelans are attempting to flee the socialist dystopia their nation has become. They are attempting to make it to Colombia. In a desperate bid to escape the hunger and soaring crime rate caused by the spiraling economic crisis, fueled by socialist policies, incredible pictures have surfaced showing the mass exodus of refugees crossing the Simon Bolivar international bridge trying to flee the ongoing political crisis threatening to engulf Venezuela.

Colombia and its neighbor Brazil have both sent extra soldiers to patrol their porous borders with Venezuela after officially taking in more than half a million migrants over the last six months of 2017. The country is also tightening its border controls in a bid to stem the flow of starving people.

Venezuela’s annual inflation rate is over 4,000 percent: ‘The authorities have lost control’

Kevin Ryan – February 7, 2018

Venezuela’s economic crisis continues to worsen. According to estimates from the Venezuelan opposition-led National Assembly, the socialist country’s annual inflation rate has risen to 4,068 percent over the past year.

Independent economists have produced similar figures.

For January, inflation was 84.2 percent, which analysts estimate would amount an annual inflation of more than 150,000 percent, with prices doubling every 35 days.

The Wall Street Journal reported that the inflation rate, currently the highest in the world, has risen so precipitously over the past 23 months that the Venezuelan government is unable to print enough money; customers often need stacks of bills even when paying for small purchases.

U.S. Hurtling Toward $1 Trillion in Borrowing This Year, Double Last, the Highest in Six

Michelle Moons – February 5, 2018

The United States Treasury Department revealed new estimates last week that show the country set to double borrowing in the current fiscal year, a total $995 billion that would nearly double last fiscal year’s $519 billion.

The nearly $1 trillion figure would be the highest borrowing level in six years according to the Washington Post. Last fiscal year the government borrowed $519 billion, a figure accumulated over the end of outgoing President Barack Obama and current President Donald Trump. This will be the first fiscal year presided over entirely by Trump and the current Congress.

Congress faces yet another spending showdown leading up to February 9, just weeks after the last one led to a short government shutdown. This comes also as the next decision on raising the debt limit looms.

Dow Plunges 1,100 Points to Erase This Year’s Gains

NewsMax – February 5, 2018

U.S. stocks plunged the most in 6 1/2 years, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average sinking more than 1,100 points, as the equity selloff reached a fever pitch amid rising concern that inflation will force interest rates higher. Treasuries rallied and gold rose on haven demand.

Volatility roared back into American equity markets, as the S&P 500 Index sank 4.1 percent to wipe out its January gain and turn lower on the year. The index capped its worst day since the U.S. lost its pristine credit rating, topping the rout that followed China’s shock devaluation of the yuan, the Brexit selloff and jitters heading into the presidential election. Trading volume was almost double the 30-day average. All but two stocks in the broad gauge declined.

“This is classic risk off that may not end any time soon,” says Win Thin, head of emerging-market currency strategy at Brown Brothers Harriman.

Mastercard Pushes Biometrics, Banks Follow

Don Quijones – Januaary 25, 2018

Mastercard has set a deadline for widespread use of biometric identification for its services across the whole of the EU: April 2019. Mastercard Identity Check, currently available in 37 countries, enables individuals to use biometric identifiers, such as fingerprint, facial, and iris recognition, to verify their identities when using a mobile device for online shopping and banking. The technology is not mandatory for customers, but from next year it will be vigorously promoted throughout the EU and many consumers will welcome it.

The impact will be felt not just by consumers but also by most European banks, since any bank that issues or accepts Mastercard payments will have to support identification mechanisms for remote transactions, alongside existing PIN and password verification. The deadline will also apply to all contactless transactions made at terminals with a mobile device.

Citing research it carried out with Oxford University, Mastercard says that 92% of banking professionals want to introduce biometric ID. This high number shouldn’t come as much of a surprise given the vast untapped value consumer data holds for banks and corporations as well the preference most banks have for electronic transactions.

Europe is sitting on a mountain of secret debt

RT – February 1, 2018

The 28 member states of the European Union (EU) have a total debt burden of €12.5 trillion, which could be even bigger, according to the latest figures from the EU statistics office, Eurostat.

Data shows that in the third quarter of 2017 the EU’s debt-to-GDP ratio fell from 82.9 percent to 82.5 percent when compared with the same quarter of the previous year. Greece’s general government-debt-to-GDP ratio was the highest in the eurozone, at 177.4 percent. It was followed by Italy (134.1 percent) and Portugal (130.8 percent).

Eurostat statistics are based on four broad categories of debt, which are guarantees issued by the state in relation to the liabilities of third parties. However, there are contingent liabilities which cannot be found in the official statistics. Those liabilities are not ‘hard’ debts but if even a small part of those guarantees was due to be repaid it would result in huge holes in the national budgets. This means there is accumulation of risks of which many are unaware.

“Under certain conditions, these contingent liabilities may become actual liabilities.

Similarly, non-performing loans can mean a loss to the state if these loans are not repaid,” according to Eurostat.

As Markets Roar American Poverty Soars

Isaac Davis – December 27, 2017

If you pay attention to the news you’ll hear all about great corporate earnings, the unbelievable stock market rally, the bitcoin hysteria, and improving jobless numbers. Somehow, though, all of this information and good times reporting belies the truth; and below the radar of such an apparent boom is the sad reality that the United States is suffering from crushing poverty unlike anything we’ve seen in generations.

Alongside all of this is an unprecedented division taking place right now, as the world’s wealthiest people are seeing their wealth explode. They are calling it the new Gilded Age, and at present the distribution of wealth in America has already exceeded the imbalance which preceded the French Revolution.

The United States Census Bureau reports that the poverty rate in America for 2016 was 12.7%, meaning some 41 million people live below the poverty line in the world’s richest country. This is punctuated by a wave of homelessness, especially on the West Coast, fueled by astronomical housing and rent prices. Furthermore, in a ‘new milestone,’ household debt in the U.S. topped $13 trillion in 2017, an incredible number.

Cashless Businesses Becoming More Common

Cathy Burke – December 25, 2017

The almighty dollar might be losing its muscle.

Cashless businesses are no longer an isolated phenomenon at a slew of small businesses and eateries in neighborhoods across New York City, The New York Times reported.

And in Chicago, the Salvation Army is considering accepting credit or debit cards next year, as it continues to look for ways to keep up with cashless trends, an NBC News affiliate reported.

As we move to a cashless society, that gets harder; and we need an innovative way to make it just as seamless,” John List, chairman of the economics department at the University of Chicago, who has studied charitable giving, told NBC Chicago.

Credit card companies that make a commission on every transaction applaud the trend — with Visa recently offering merchants a $10,000 reward for restricting customers to credit cards, the Times reported.

U.S. Cuts UN Funding by $285M

TruNews – December 26, 2017

The U.S. Mission to the United Nations announced Monday that it had reached an agreement with the world body to cut its annual contribution to its operating budget by $285 million.

The Christmas morning surprise reflects a nearly 9-percent cut in direct funding to the world body, but may not reflect the entire reduction in expense to U.S. taxpayers. U.S. Permanent Representative to the UN Nikki Haley explained she and her staff have “reduced the UN’s bloated management and support functions,” and “instilled more discipline and accountability throughout the UN system.”

She added:
“The inefficiency and overspending of the United Nations are well known. We will no longer let the generosity of the American people be taken advantage of or remain unchecked. This historic reduction in spending—in addition to many other moves toward a more efficient and accountable UN—is a big step in the right direction. While we are pleased with the results of this year’s budget negotiations, you can be sure we’ll continue to look at ways to increase the UN’s efficiency while protecting our interests.”

2018 Global defense spending to hit post-Cold War high of $1.67 trillion

Yonah Jeremy Bob – December 19, 2017

he annual Jane’s Defense Budgets Report released on Monday is forecasting that global defense spending will increase again in 2018 to hit a post-Cold War record of $1.67 trillion.

According to Jane’s Report, defense spending will grow for the fifth consecutive year, overtaking the previous post-Cold War record of $1.63 trillion from 2010.

Defense spending will increase by 3.3% in 2018 – the fastest rate of growth for a decade – driven by the largest annual increase in US spending since 2008. US defense spending jumped from $636.2b. in 2016 to $642.9b. in 2017.