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The Hunt for Taxes Destroying Healthcare in Britain

armstrongeconomics.com / by Martin Armstrong / Nov 18, 2017

The Hunt for Taxes is now creating a crisis in healthcare in Britain. The UK government is gearing up for a massive tax clampdown targeting private sector contractors. The UK Treasury estimates in its budget that this taxing of private contractors in healthcare will create £185m in new taxes for the year 2017/18. This is known as the IR35 regime, which will apply to hundreds of thousands of freelancers outside the public sector.

At the core of this is the issue where someone who is incorporated pays less tax and national insurance than an employee on the same income working freelance under contract. Many suspects that this is just a test run and the government will extend the tax increases to the private sector in a year.

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Gold Gains As Stocks Slide, Yield Curve Crashes, & Dollar Dumps

zerohedge.com / by Tyler Durden / Nov 17, 2017  4:03 PM

Economic Data continues to surprise to the upside (compared to what had been terrible expectations)…is this as good as it gets?

But credit, the yield curve, and now stocks are not loving it…

Small Caps were the only major index green today…

The Dow and S&P 500- fell for the 2nd week in a row – something they haven’t done for 3 months…Small Caps best on the week (followed by Nasdaq thanks to yesterday’s panic buy)…

 

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Spain’s Pension System Hits Crisis Point (and Everyone Ignores it)

wolfstreet.com / by Don Quijones / 

But how did things get this bad?

By most measures sun-blessed Spain is an idyllic place to grow old in. Life expectancy is among the highest in the world, and the national pension fund’s payout ratio (pension as percent of final salary) is the second highest in Europe after Greece. But if current trends are any indication, that may soon be about to change.

The country’s Social Security Reserve Fund, which was meant to serve as a nationwide nest egg to guarantee future pension payouts, given Spain’s burgeoning ranks of pensioners, has been bled virtually dry by the government. This started ever so quietly in 2012 when the government began withdrawing cash from the fund. Some of it was used to fill part of the government’s own fiscal gaps while billions more were tapped to cover the Social Security system’s growing deficits. As a result the pension pot has shrunk from over €66 billion in 2011 to just €15 billion in 2016.

To avoid wiping out the fund altogether this year, the Spanish government extended a €10.1 billion interest-free loan to Spain’s social security system, which enabled it to pay out the two extra pension payments due in June and December. That way, only €7-7.5 billion will be tapped from Spain’s public pension nest egg. Emptying the pot altogether this year would have been politically unpalatable, says El País. Instead, it will be emptied next year as the social security system racks up yet another massive annual shortfall.

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The Man Who Predicted Friday’s Gold & Silver Surge Now Says Metals May Be Ready To Fly

kingworldnews.com / November 18, 2017

The man who predicted Friday’s gold and silver surge now says metals may be ready to fly.

How Did You Know?
November 18 (King World News) – 
Eric King:  “James, quite a day today.  And yesterday you did an interview with KWN where you predicted that the price of gold and silver was going to go against the central planners, that they were in a moment of crisis, that this manipulation wasn’t going to go their way, and gold and silver were going to begin to spike aggressively.  It started to happen on the tape today.  How did you know?”

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Zimbabwe: Reports That All Ten Branches Of Mugabe’s Zanu PF Party Passed No Confidence Votes

zerohedge.com / By Tyler Durden / Nov 17, 2017 3:35 PM

NewsDay, the privately-owned Zimbabwe newspaper, is reporting that all the provincial branches of President Mugabe’s party have passed votes of no confidence in his leadership.

In a dramatic twist of events, all the ten Zanu PF provinces have passed a vote of no confidence on President Robert Mugabe, and declared the 93 year-old leader – who has been in office for 37 years – too old and incapacitated to lead both Zanu PF and government. The move, which comes at the height of a drama-filled week that saw the military taking control of the country, is a huge knock on the veteran’s leader’s prospects of retaining his presidency for much longer.

It’s not clear where NewsDay got this information, although other sources are saying the central committee of Zanu PF could meet as early as Sunday to decide on Mugabe’s fate. In the meantime, Mugabe is reported to have resisted pressure to step down in negotiations with the Zimbabwe military and could face impeachment. The possibility of impeachment is being discussed by Zimbabwe politicians who are loyal to Mugabe’s former deputy, Emmerson Mnangagwa, whose dismissal precipitated the crisis.

The grounds for impeachment might include the wealth accumulated by the Mugabe family, corruption amongst his wife’s allies and the collapse of the Zimbabwe economy (now half the size it was in 2000). According to Bloomberg.

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Will the Light News Week Facilitate Range Trading?

marctomarket.com / by Marc Chandler / NOV 17, 2017

Last week, we warned that dollar’s downside correction to its two-month advance was not over.  It slipped further against the euro, yen, and sterling, while it strengthened against the dollar-bloc currencies.  The outlook remains mixed for the week ahead, making it difficult to discuss the dollar in general.

The Dollar Index is heavily weighted toward the complex of European currencies.  Two of the US main trading partners, China and Mexico, are not even included.  Yet it frequently is used as a broad gauge of the greenback.  The recent pullback saw it push through the 38.2% retracement of the rally (93.55) that began from the year’s low set on September 8 (~91.00).

The Dollar Index finished the week a marginally above the 100-day moving average (~93.65).  The lower Bollinger Band is found near 93.50.  The technical indicators on the daily bar charts still warn of downside risks,and the five-day moving average has fallen below the 20-day for the first time since late September.  The 50% retracement is seen near 93.10.  The weekly technical studies lend support to our view that the pullback is corrective in nature.

In the middle of last week, the euro climbed to approach the $1.1860-$1.1885 area, which corresponds with retracement objectives.  Also, importantly that area marks the October high that was also part of a larger topping pattern.   Following the mid-week reversal (shooting star candlestick) the euro had a shallow pullback, finding support at near the five-day moving average, which it has not closed below since November 8.  A move below that moving average (~$1.1765) could be among the first signs to confirm a near-term high is in place.  The upper Bollinger Band is near $1.1835.  The US two-year premium continuing to trend higher against Germany, which was not the case during the late April through early September euro rally, and this makes us hesitant about getting enamored with the euro.

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REALIST NEWS – “Helpless, Raging” Charlottesville Families Shocked By These 2018 Obamacare Premiums

jsnip4, Published on Nov 18, 2017

How Uncle Sam Inflates Away Your Life

zerohedge.com / By MN Gordon via EconomicPrism.com / Nov 17, 2017 3:05 PM

“Inflation is always and everywhere a monetary phenomenon,” once remarked economist and Nobel Prize recipient Milton Friedman.  He likely meant that inflation is the more rapid increase in the supply of money relative to the output of goods and services which money is traded for.

As more and more money is issued relative to the output of goods and services in an economy, the money’s watered down and loses value. 

By this account, price inflation is not in itself rising prices.  Rather, it’s the loss of purchasing power resulting from an inflating money supply.

Indeed, Friedman offered a shrewd insight.  However, he also accompanied it with an opportunist mindset.  Friedman saw promise in the phenomenon of monetary inflation.  Moreover, he saw it as a means to improve human productivity and economic growth.

You see, a stable money supply was not good enough for Friedman.  He advocated for moderate levels of monetary growth, and inflation, to perpetually stimulate the economy.  By hardwiring consumers with the expectation of higher prices, policy makers could compel a relentless consumer demand.

This desire to harness and control the inflation phenomenon has infected practically every government economist’s brain since the early 1970s.

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Is a December Rate Hike Necessarily Bad News for Gold?

schiffgold.com / BY SCHIFFGOLD / NOVEMBER 17, 2017

Conventional wisdom holds that an interest rate hike in December will be bad for gold.

But will it?

There is actually evidence the opposite could be true.

Higher interest rates generally boost the dollar. This puts downward pressure on the price of gold. So, one would expect a rate hike to cause gold to tank. But over the last two years, the opposite has happened. In fact, we have seen double-digit increases in the price of gold after rate hikes.

So what gives?

The biggest factor is that we generally know the Federal Reserve is going to raise rates long before it actually acts. We’ve heard talk of a December rate hike since July. In fact, analysts say the likelihood of a quarter point December hike stands at 97%.

So, with several months to anticipate a hike, it is generally already baked into the price of gold by the time it happens. The market has been factoring it in all along. The Economic Times of India provides a succinct explanation of what has happened over the last two years.

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REALIST NEWS – Congress Discloses Amount Of Harassment Settlements (Guess who pays?)

jsnip4, Published on Nov 18, 2017

A Plurality Of Voters Want Special Counsel To Investigate Clinton And Trump

zerohedge.com / by Tyler Durden / Nov 17, 2017 2:52 PM

Despite Jeff Sessions’ surprising insistence during his testimony before the House Judiciary Committee earlier this week that there’s “no factual basis” to appoint a special counsel to investigate actions by Clinton and former FBI Director James Comey, a plurality of voters believe special prosecutors should be investigating both the Clinton and Trump campaigns, according to a recent study that was shared with the Hill. 

The latest Harvard CAPS/Harris survey found that 44 percent of voters surveyed said a special counsel is needed to investigate both campaigns, meanwhile twenty-seven percent said only Trump needs to be investigated, while 21 percent said only Clinton needs to be investigated and nine percent said neither should be investigated.

The poll’s findings also showed that the number of voters who believe Special Counsel Mueller has found hard evidence of collusion is a paltry 38 percent, while 36 percent say there is no hard evidence yet and 27 percent saying they don’t know.

Unsurprisingly, the survey concluded that the public believes the Mueller investigation is hurting American democracy more than it is helping by implying that powerful, politically-connected Democrats who have the implicit support of the FBI and Deep State intelligence apparatus are immune to prosecution, while an outsider like Trump is not.

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Bonfire of the Absurdities

mauldineconomics.com / BY JOHN MAULDIN / NOVEMBER 17, 2017

“Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity.”

– Ecclesiastes 1:2, King James Version (attributed to King Solomon in his old age)

This week’s letter will take a look at the growing number of ridiculous, inane, and otherwise nonsensical absurdities that fill the daily economic headlines. I have gone from the occasional smile to scratching my head now and then to “WTF” moments several times a week.

Wondering if it was just me, I recently sent an appeal to a what became a large number of my friends and fellow writers and analysts, asking for their graphic examples of this paranormal economic activity. Suffice to say, it is not just me who sees absurdities. I received so many responses that I may have to extend this letter another week or two. (Note: This letter will print long, as there are lots of graphs.)

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Bitcoin is the new crisis currency

gata.org / By Rob Urban, Bloomberg News / November 17, 2017

About a third of the customers queuing at La Maison du Bitcoin’s teller windows in Paris aren’t speculating on the value of the cryptocurrency. They’re sending digital money home to Africa.

“In many countries in Africa, there are far more cellphones than bank accounts,” said Manuel Valente, co-founder of La Maison. “For bitcoin, all you need is a phone.”

Zimbabwe, where the price of bitcoin spiked to double the international rate after this week’s military takeover, shows Jamie Dimon, Axel Weber and other cryptocurrency skeptics where the real-world use of bitcoin, and possibly its future, lies. It’s becoming the preferred way for residents of failing economies to transfer money without dealing with banks, protecting their savings from political turmoil, and avoiding the local currency when its value declines due to inflation.

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“We Paid A Heavy Price For This Mistake” – Europe To Be Flooded With 2nd Refugee Wave, UN Warns

zerohedge.com / by Tyler Durden / Nov 17, 2017 3:20 PM

Back in 2015, at the height of Angela Merkel’s “open door” admission policy which in addition to granting German entry to over 1 million refugees, many of whom turned out to be radical jihadists and sent her approval rating crashing to the lowest in her career, the German chancellor realized that the great migration wave from the middle east into Central Europe, originally meant to reinvigorate Europe’s aging demographics (and prompted Deutsche Bank to even boost its German GDP forecast), maybe was not such a great idea, and was just not worth the risks and trade offs.

And while in the subsequent two years Germany in particular, and Central Europe in general managed to avoid another mass migration wave with most refugees gated either in Turkey or Italy, a second wave of migration into Europe now may be imminent as the situation in refugee camps in Africa and the Middle East is only getting worse, the head of the UN World Food Programme said. He added there is a clear link between hunger and migration.

Speaking to German newspaper Die Zeit, the executive director of the UN’s World Food Programme, David Beasley, said that living conditions, mostly food distribution, in refugee camps in crisis-affected regions had deteriorated dramatically before the European migrant crisis struck in 2015.

“We paid a heavy price for this mistake and I’m afraid we’re about to make it once again,” Beasley believes. According to the UN food chief, while many asylum seekers wanted to stay in their home region, the lack of food has driven them away. “If they don’t have enough food, they will leave. And many of them would go to Europe,” Beasley said.

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Asian Metals Market Update: November-17-2017

news.goldseek.com / By: Chintan Karnani, Insignia Consultants / November-17-2017

Gold and silver are steady on increasing chances of the passage of the US tax cut bill. Resurgence in bitcoins and other crypto currencies is preventing investment interest in bullion. Short term hot money has moved to cryptos from bullion. The price moves in gold and silver are mainly dependent on physical demand and physical premiums in Asia.

In India I see more and more retail trading volumes in Industrial metals than gold and silver. This year’s rise in industrial metals has attracted brokers, retail traders and everyone alike. Aluminum was untouchable a few years ago and has attracted good trading volumes. Nickel’s recent breakout has also resulted more numbers of daily traders. Some of the head core silver traders have moved to industrial metals as it gives more profits than silver. A word of caution to industrial metal traders. The rise in industrial metals has been mainly on expectation that the global switch to electric vehicles can result in a long term shortage. But in my view traditional auto makers are making their vehicles more fuel efficient buy making engines from Aluminum instead of cast iron. The global switch to electric transport may not happen overnight. A sharp correction in industrial metals can happen anytime. Nickel has seen a very sharp correction over the past seven days. Other industrial metals could follow Nickel soon.

Traders will start taking positions for the first week of December from now. Geopolitical risk and political instability in the UK and some Eastern European nations can cause furor. Economic data releases from anywhere in the world will affect markets if and only if they indicate a slow down next year.

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US Industrial Production Rises To 2.88% YoY, Capacity Utilization Rises To 77% (M2 Velocity Still Dead)

wallstreetexaminer.com / by Anthony B Sanders • 

Call it rebound from the horrible hurricanes in Texas, Florida and even Georgia. The October Industrial Production numbers are out and IP YoY climbed to 2.88%.

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Power beyond mind control: Exit From The Matrix

jonrappoport.wordpress.com / by Jon Rappoport / November 18, 2017

Consciousness wants to create new consciousness, and it can. Imagination is how it does it. If there were some ultimate state of consciousness, imagination would always be able to play another card and take it further.

In any arena of life, and especially when it comes to the mind, perception, power, empathy, and so on, there is always a status quo. It’s merely the place where a person says, “Well, that’s enough. I’ll settle for what I have. I’ll stop here.”

Sooner or later, this leads to boredom, frustration, problems, and conflict. It leads to a decline.

Imagination, which knows no bounds, is the source for the most adventurous explorations. It can have great impact on the material world, of course, but one mustn’t therefore conclude it is composed of matter or energy. Imagination is non-material. To think otherwise winds you up in using some version of physics to depict imagination—and then you are imposing limits on it. This is an error. Imagination doesn’t obey any laws of physics.

If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, we’ve flattered reality enough. It doesn’t need any more. Imagination creates new realities.

You can create the same thing over and over, and eventually you’ll be about as alive as a table. Inject imagination into the mix, and everything suddenly changes. You can steer that boat anywhere you want to.

The lowest common denominator of consensus signals an absence of imagination: everyone agrees; everyone is bored; everyone is obedient. On the opposite end of the spectrum, there are massive floods of unique individual creation, and then that sought-after thing called abundance is as natural as the sun rising in the morning.

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Gillian Tett: Prepare to bet against bitcoin as it becomes civilized

gata.org / By Gillian Tett, Financial Times, London / November 17, 2017

In recent years, bitcoin has been the wild west of the financial world. Now, however, it is being civilised — a touch.

In the coming weeks, the Chicago Mercantile Exchange plans to start listing bitcoin futures, with a centralised clearing mechanism.

Cboe Global Markets may follow suit. That will enable investors to bet on the coin’s future value without actually holding it — just as investors can use the Chicago exchange to bet on hog prices, say, without ever handling a pig.

Is this a good idea? Some of the CME’s members do not think so. …

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“This Just Feels Like Death”: Analysts Flee Research Positions Amid MiFID II Changes

zerohedge.com / by Tyler Durden / Nov 17, 2017 2:20 PM

For the past couple of months, we’ve frequently shared our views that Europe’s MiFID II regulations, which force investment banks to charge for equity research instead of “giving it away” in return for trading commissions, could be a wake up call for 1,000’s of highly paid research analysts who were about to have their true ‘value add’ subjected to a market bidding test.  Here are just a couple of examples:

Now, per a note from Reuters, it seems that a growing number of equity research analysts are finally waking up to the fact that hedge funds don’t really have a burning desire to drop $400,000 per year on reports drafted by a 23-year-old recent college grad that do little more than summarize free SEC filings.  Who could have known?

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THE BIGGEST WEALTH TRANSFER IN HISTORY

goldswitzerland.com / by Egon von Greyerz / 

What will happen between now and 2025? Nobody knows of course but I will later in this article have a little peek into the next 4-8 years.

The concentration of wealth in the world has now reached dangerous proportions. The three richest people in the world have a greater wealth than the bottom 50%. The top 1% have a wealth of $33 trillion whilst the bottom 1% have a debt $196 billion.

The interesting point is not just that the rich are getting richer and the poor poorer. More interesting is to understand: How did we get there? and what will be the consequences?

PANAMA & PARADISE PAPERS – SENSATIONALISM

As the socialist dominated media dig into the Panama Papers and now recently the Paradise Papers to attack the rich and tell governments to tackle the unacceptable face of capitalism, nobody understands the real reasons for this enormous concentration of wealth. Sadly no journalist does any serious analysis of any issue, whether it is fake economic figures or the state of the world economy.

Instead, all news is accepted as the truth while in fact a lot of news is fake or propaganda. The media is revelling in all the disclosures of offshore trusts and companies. The British Queen is being accused of having “hidden” funds. The fact that offshore entities have been used legally for centuries for privacy, wealth preservation and creditor protection purposes is never mentioned. The media sell more much news by being sensational rather than factual.

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Ira Epstein’s Metals Video 11 17 2017

news.goldseek.com / By Ira Epstein / November 10, 2017

Risk off mentality lifts metals into next week’s Senate debate before full Senate vote on Tax Reform Act.

SOURCE

“Did Mike Pence Buy A Diet Dr.Pepper For A Woman That Was Not His Wife?”

zerohedge.com / by Tyler Durden / Nov 17, 2017 2:07 PM

Authored by James Howard Kunstler via Kunstler.com,

If only abortion were retroactive, we could suitably deal with monsters like Senator Al Franken (D – MN), who apparently ventured to apply a breast adjustment to a female colleague asleep on the military airplane winging them home from USO duty in Afghanistan. This was back in the day when Senator Franken was a professional entertainer, a clown to be precise, but his career shift to politics has rendered all his prior clowning anathema.

Will he slink out of the senate in disgrace with (ahem) his tail between his legs? Or will he bunker in and wait until the mega-storm of sexual accusation roars on to strand some bigger, flashier fish on the shoals of ignominy?

Perhaps we’ll soon learn that Warren Buffet repeatedly shagged his notoriously over-taxed secretary in the Berkshire Hathaway janitor’s closet.

Or that Mike Pence once bought a diet Dr. Pepper for a woman who was not his wife!

Seems to me this storm could roar and roil on until ninety-plus percent of the men in America are exposed as sex monsters and expelled from every workplace in the land. And then America can feel good about itself again. At least until the bond market blows up, or Kim Jung Fatboy sends a rocket over Rancho Cuckamonga.

But in the meantime, this scourging of male wickedness raises some interesting questions about human dynamics vis-a-vis workplace dynamics.

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Live Stream – Friday Night – Wuzzup Peeps?

jsnip4, Nov 17, 2017

Wall Street Traders Used Chat Rooms To Rig Treasury Auctions, Federal Lawsuit Alleges

zerohedge.com / by Tyler Durden / Nov 17, 2017 1:50 PM

Over the past several months, as we followed HSBC’s currency scandal involving trader Mark Johnson who netted his firm $8 million in illicit profits by front-running a $3.5 billion client order, we frequently noted that Johnson was nothing more than a convenient scapegoat for a global financial industry that is rife with similar front-running scams that go unnoticed.

That said, to our complete ‘shock’ the NY Post today highlights another front-running scam allegedly perpetrated by Wall Street’s finest at the expense of their clients.  According to new documents published in a class action lawsuit filed by a number pension funds and wealthy individual investors, some of Wall Street’s largest primary dealers in the U.S. Treasury market habitually, and illegally, shared client orders via online chat rooms to order to game Treasury auctions.

Wall Street banks secretly shared client information in online chat rooms in order to rig auctions for the $14 trillion US Treasurys market, according to an explosive lawsuit filed in Manhattan federal court on Wednesday.

The move wrongly fattened the banks’ profits and picked profits from clients, the suit claims.

The new accusations, leveled by several pension funds and wealthy individual investors, are contained in an expanded class-action suit originally filed in July 2015 — and include an unusual twist: Some of the evidence came from confidential informants and one of the banks sued in the earlier action.

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Here We Go Again: No Down Payment, No Problem!

themaven.net / by  / Nov 17, 2017

Flagstar bank in Michigan will “gift” down payments to low-income borrowers to buy a house. What can possibly go wrong?

Flagstar Bank is targeting low- to moderate-income borrowers with a mortgage offer that’s seemingly too good to be true.

The program, which Flagstar introduced earlier this week, requires no down payment from the borrower and also provides the borrower with closing cost assistance.

Under the program, Flagstar will gift the required 3% down payment to the borrower, plus up to $3,500 to be used for closing costs.

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