Sunday, August 25, 2019

The Epoch Times hits back at NBC Facebook stories



We were surprised to learn from media reports that Facebook has blocked The Epoch Times ability to advertise for print-subscriptions. This appears to be a response to NBC News' reporting on us. Despite a vast "dark money" political conspiracy alleged in NBC News reporting, the reality is much simpler. The Epoch Times has been running a very popular digital marketing campaign for our print-newspaper subscriptions. In the video advertisements, we discuss The Epoch Times' editorial and feature content and encourage people to subscribe to our print newspaper. Facebook has specific rules for advertising that require everyone — including publishers like The Epoch Times — to label content as political advertising if it touches on social issues or politics, something some news content naturally does. Many other media run advertising campaigns for their content and products in the same category on Facebook.


The Epoch Times Hits Back at Media Claims of Running Political Ads Amid Facebook Ban

The Epoch Times' Facebook pages have been blocked from advertising over allegations that it spent money on pro-Trump advertisements in violation of Facebook's rules. The move follows a July ban on the outlet's main Facebook page, The news site insists that its ads have no political agenda.


YouTube Deletes Exposé on Google’s Stealthily Pushing Its Politics on Users

Project Veritas’s Vimeo Account Removed After Running Exposé on Google’s Political Manipulation

Truth About Hong Kong Protests


Watch this 1-min clip from a BBC documentary from 2014. This is how revolutions happen around the world. There’s a lot of money, expertise, logistics, training and propaganda.

Hong Kong protests are and were organized by the West. They have a “school of revolution” where people are taught how to overthrow governments. And the protest leaders get daily/hourly coaching

This documentary is from 2014 when Hong Kong went through the Umbrella Revolution a.k.a Occupy Central. As the journalist says, it took two years of preparation. And you can see Joshua Wong who was 16 in 2014. Young people are easy to brainwash. He’s now 21 and is the main leader of the protests.

In this video, they show Oslo Freedom Forum, but there are several western organizations that do the same activities. NED is a “non-profit” funded by the US gov. NED openly funds “pro-democracy” activists in Hong Kong, but doesn’t reveal the full amount.

Here’s Michael Pillsbury — a veteran of US foreign policy establishment — calmly explaining how the NED gives millions of dollars to “pro-democracy” groups in Hong Kong:

The above video is from 2014 as well. Now, in 2019, China is more powerful — and Trump wants a trade deal badly — so the US is a little shy and sneaky about the involvement. For example, the senior US consulate member Julie Eadeh was caught/photographed secretly meeting with Joshua Wong and Nathan law, the two top leaders of the protests:

Hong Kong - Julie Eadeh

Also, another western propaganda is about “peaceful protesters.” Just like the Al Qaeda jihadists in Syria are freedom fighters or rebels. Here’s a short video that summarizes some of the violent tools of Hong Kong protesters — (1) sticks and metal poles (2) Molotov cocktails — fill up bottles with gasoline and set it on fire (3) bricks and stones thrown with hands (4) grenade launchers! (5) laser beams that can blind people (6) special catapults and slingshots to hurl bricks to the police and (7) arson/fire:

Here’s a protester with a gun. It’s from Getty Images, but I doubt western mainstream media would show it. If they did, they would say it’s “totally justified”! And look at his friends — they are all like Antifa on steroids.

HK protester with a gun

It’s exactly the same playbook as in Tiananmen Square or Libya or Syria or Ukraine. People never learn. And such shenanigans don’t help the US in the long run. Do we like it if Russia meddles in our affairs? Not far in the near future, the US won’t enjoy its hegemony, and I suspect that a lot of countries would seek revenge.

Hong Kong activists training from oslo freedom forum.mp4-
NED gives Millions to HK protesters
Hong Kong weapons summary


BernieGate 2.0? Gabbard Gutted By DNC's Dubious Debate Dodge

BernieGate 2.0? Gabbard Gutted By DNC's Dubious Debate Dodge me

Google’s Power to Shift Elections—Zachary Vorhies, Greg Coppola and Dr. Robert Epstein

Saturday, August 24, 2019

Michael Mann Refuses to Produce Data, Loses Case

(John Hinderaker)

Some years ago, Dr. Tim Ball wrote that climate scientist Michael Mann “belongs in the state pen, not Penn State.” At issue was Mann’s famous “hockey stick” graph that purported to show a sudden and unprecedented 20th century warming trend. The hockey stick featured prominently in the IPCC’s Third Assessment Report (2001), but has since been shown to be wrong. The question, in my view, is whether it was an innocent mistake or deliberate fraud on Mann’s part. (Mann, I believe, continues to assert the accuracy of his debunked graph.) Mann sued Ball for libel in 2011. Principia Scientific now reports that the court in British Columbia has dismissed Mann’s lawsuit with prejudice, and assessed costs against him.

What happened was that Dr. Ball asserted a truth defense. He argued that the hockey stick was a deliberate fraud, something that could be proved if one had access to the data and calculations, in particular the R2 regression analysis, underlying it. Mann refused to produce these documents. He was ordered to produce them by the court and given a deadline. He still refused to produce them, so the court dismissed his case.

The rules of discovery provide that a litigant must make available to opposing parties documents that reasonably bear on the issues in the case. Here, it is absurd for Mann to sue Ball for libel, and then refuse to produce the documents that would have helped to show whether Ball’s statement about him–he belongs in the state pen–was true or false. The logical inference is that the R2 regression analysis and other materials, if produced, would have have supported Ball’s claim that the hockey stick was a deliberate fraud on Mann’s part.

Mann says that his lawyers are considering an appeal. He can appeal to his heart’s content, but there is not a court in North America that will allow a libel case to proceed where the plaintiff refuses to produce the documents that may show whether the statements made about him were true or false.

Mann responded to the dismissal of his lawsuit in typically mean-spirited and dishonest fashion: “The dismissal involved the alleged exercise of a discretion on [sic] the Court to dismiss a lawsuit for delay.” The dismissal was for failure to obey a court order, and the delay went on for eight years.

Fun fact: I learned while tracking down Michael Mann’s statement about the court’s order that he has blocked me on Twitter:

It must have been something I said.

livefeed?d=yIl2AUoC8zA livefeed?i=xrJjiBO27hM:zNjXqjcA3ZI:V_sGL livefeed?d=qj6IDK7rITs


The Genesis and Evolution of the Jeffrey Epstein, Bill Clinton Relationship

Mega Group, Maxwells and Mossad: The Spy Story at the Heart of the Jeffrey Epstein Scandal

Jeffrey Epstein, Trump’s Mentor and the Dark Secrets of the Reagan Era

Hidden in Plain Sight: The Shocking Origins of the Jeffrey Epstein Case

HuffPo, Forbes, Nat’l Review All Took Money from Epstein to Publish Fluff Pieces On Him

epsteinThe mainstream media took money from Jeffrey Epstein to print positive puff pieces about the convicted pedophile.


Where’s Ghislaine?


It now looks like that photo of Ghislaine Maxwell at a burger bar in California is a fake. It was allegedly taken by her close friend and lawyer, Leah Saffian. Metadata on the image file is tagged with “Meadowgate,” the media investment corporation where Saffian is president. At least one photo shows Ghislaine with Dexter, Saffian’s dog. 

What is the point of this photo, which was at first assumed to be legitimate? The answer is quite simple: Maxwell, Jeffrey Epstein’s collaborator in serial rape of 14-year-old girls, is laughing at the so-called justice system. 

Here’s Maxwell’s subtext—she is protected, she will never see the inside of a prison cell for the unpardonable crime of making an unknown number of children sex slaves. The civil cases against her and the Epstein estate will fizzle out and go nowhere. She is thumbing her nose at the victims. She once referred to them as “nothing” and trailer park “trash.”   

From USA Today.

Legal experts say it will likely be difficult for prosecutors and Epstein victims to win criminal cases and civil lawsuits against the financier’s former associates… If prosecutors have strong cases against the peripheral players, they would have charged them already.

Ghislaine, the daughter of the late Mossad operative Robert Maxwell, is not a peripheral player. She recruited pervert Epstein’s girls, taught them how to perform oral sex, and loaned them out to his rich and elite friends,. None will go to prison, or even face serious investigation. London police refuse to investigate Prince Andrew. A system of law designed for commoners doesn’t apply to royalty. 

Probe into claims that girl, 17, was trafficked by Jeffrey Epstein to sleep with Prince Andrew were 'axed' by police

— The Sun (@TheSun) August 17, 2019

After the news cycle leaves Epstein behind, Ghislaine Maxwell will resume her life as a British socialite. She’s a protected intelligence asset like her father—or he was until he stepped on the toes of the wrong people and ended up mysteriously dead. He swindled his employees out of their pension funds. After his death, Maxwell was celebrated in Israel as a national hero. 

According to Gordon Thomas, author of Gideon’s Spies: The Secret History of the Mossad, Robert Maxwell was owned by Israeli intelligence. 

Israel would treat Robert Maxwell lavishly, supplying him with prostitutes for oral sex, while surreptitiously filming him to build up a "small library" of blackmail videos. Sounds like Ghislaine learned a few tricks from the Mossad's treatment of her dad.

— ★ GUMBY ★ (@gumby4christ) July 10, 2019

“We never had any accountability for 9/11. We never had any accountability for the Kennedy assassination,” Kevin Barrett told Press TV. “We never had any accountability for Operation Gladio, which the Pentagon used to murder thousands of innocent people in Europe in false flag operations during the Cold War. We never had accountability in MKUltra when Americans were tortured to death by the CIA in mind control experiments.”

Ditto the Epstein case. It will fade into the sunset and those of us who know the truth—the elite corporate and financial class are responsible for murder, mayhem, and the rape of children and will never be held to account. Those who insist otherwise will be denounced as dangerous conspiracy theorists. 

Local FBI field office warns that “fringe political conspiracy theories," including Qanon and Pizzagate, "very likely motivate some domestic extremists to commit criminal, sometimes violent activity.”

— NBC News (@NBCNews) August 6, 2019

creatdive commons by-sa_RGB-350x122


Save The World By First Saving Yourself


Ripped from today’s headlines:

From news reports like these, it’s understandable to think that our future looks bleak.

At this point we can only ride out the consequences as the systems we depend on collapse and then ebb away — exposing that the structure of our modern way of life is really a just an edifice built of sand.

That may be true. But not necessarily.

I’m here with some good news today. There remains a multitude of options that each of us can and should do to prepare for what lies ahead. And in so doing, we can help to avert the worst of it, as well.

But only if enough of us try. Critical mass is key here.

Yes, the world is busy collapsing around us. That’s true.

But collapse is a process, not an event. It can be ameliorated and even reversed, depending on the actions we decide to take from here.

And there’s still time left to change our fate.  Not much, mind you. But enough to matter.

The good news is that more and more people are heeding the call and taking action. The bad news is that too many still aren’t.

And the worse news is that the many entrenched powers of the status quo are working against our future best interests, as they desperately cling to old notions of advantage, wealth, and privilege.

Privately, many of the wealthiest and most politically powerful people are as worried as you and I about what’s coming. I can tell you from my personal interactions with them that many of the elite are preparing for crisis, building resilient “bug out” retreats and other safeguards.

Don’t Rely On The Herd

Our model at Peak Prosperity remains: Learn, Decide, Act.

It all begins with educating ourselves about the (complex) systems in play and the forces driving where developments are headed.

From there, we ask that you trust yourself.  This is especially important because, as social creatures, we are most comfortable moving where the herd is already moving. But by its nature, the herd (i.e., majority) is often behind the curve.

It takes time for privately-held but critically-important information to become acknowledged and accepted by the herd. Which is why so many of the masses become unsuspecting collateral damage when crisis hits. Since they aren’t privy to the early warnings, which are usually only noticed and appreciated by a proactive minority, they are caught by surprise.

And for many, even if they’re made aware of privately-held  information, they still won’t depart from the false comfort of the herd.  This explains the mysterious “bystander phenomenon” where people fail to come to the aid of a victim in distress if they don’t see other people reacting, too.

We all have the wired tendency to wait until others are moving before we move, too.  Take a crowded theater, where a fire breaks out and smoke starts to billow into the space.  A few people first take notice and begin to move to the exits.  Then a few more.  But at some point, the idea of a fire becomes ‘common knowledge’, when everyone believes everyone else agrees the theatre is on fire.  Then bedlam and chaos break out.

As we wrote at length in this recent report, it’s really important to understand the importance and power of this tipping point, when previously privately-held ideas suddenly become common knowledge. Because that’s the moment where the status quo quickly morphs into something new, usually catching the herd completely flat-footed.

Trust Yourself

As I launched our Crash Course video series back in 2008, I implored people to trust themselves on a whole host of economic and financial indicators that were flashing red.  We’re trained to trust authorities who sometimes don’t have our best interests in mind and who sometimes are even more clueless than average and really have no good answers, or even harmful ones.

I wanted folks to look at the data and decide for themselves whether the official narrative of “there’s nothing to worry about” truly made sense. Just a few weeks after I published the final chapter of the series, the Great Financial Crisis erupted and oil shot above $100/barrel for the next several years — and the rest, as they say, is history.

I wrote in 2009:

The key to navigating during moments when the dominant story is ‘wrong’ is to consciously block out the ‘programming’ that is constantly reinforcing the status quo and to examine each assertion made by authorities (and by advertising and journalists, and any and all experts, myself included) as though it were possibly a live hand grenade.

While you may ultimately end up agreeing with the assertion or claim, your first instinct should be one of suspicion. Often my first clue that I need to do more research into a particular assertion is simply a gut feeling that “something is not right here.” Even when I cannot quite articulate why, and maybe have almost zero hard data on the matter, I have learned to trust my instincts for when a story just doesn’t add up.

This principle can be applied to the Bernie Madoff swindle. Many investors have recently described that they had suspicions and concerns over the years about the steadiness of Bernie’s investment returns. Yet they kept their money with him. If they had simply trusted themselves and decided to move their money to an institution where they did not have these gut-level concerns, they’d be in infinitely better shape right now.

The benefits of trusting yourself, and applying your private knowledge, can be huge. The Bernie Madoff case illustrates this perfectly.

Lots of people had their private concerns, but since ‘nobody else’ seemed to notice or care, they did nothing.  It was only once it all became “common knowledge” that the whole Madoff swindle broke into a shocking, wealth destroying scandal.

To avoid this fate, a key success strategy we can practice is to ‘trust ourselves’. Trust that our private knowledge is sufficient, and be confident that, eventually, the common knowledge crowd will catch up to us.

So what matters most is that we Act in advance of crisis. Especially, when those around us aren’t.

What I most want you to do, is to act on what you know.  Because it’s time.  Because you already know just how screwed up the systems are.  Because your trust in the collective political and corporate leadership to act responsibly has eroded.  Because you just know it in your gut.

It Takes Effort

Once the ball gets rolling, and more of the above concerns move from private to common knowledge, you should expect the pace of developments speed up quickly.

It’s like how Hemmingway answered the question “How did you go bankrupt?”. Gradually then suddenly.

So my question to you is, how many of these things are you holding right now as private knowledge?

  • The US justice system is corrupt and favors the wealthy
  • US financial markets are rigged and unfair
  • Our food system is, by and large, selling us toxic junk
  • Chemicals, such as neonicotinoids, are not fully tested before their deployment and are more harmful to our ecosystems than publicly admitted
  • Pharmaceutical companies often hide test results from the public that would reveal their drugs are less effective than advertised and have far riskier side effects
  • We should be a hell of a lot more concerned about the massive die-offs in animal, insect and marine life.
  • Weather patterns are become more extreme at a faster rate. Drought, heat, fires, hurricanes, and floods are happening with greater frequency and intensity than experienced in the past century.
  • The US political and military systems are not concerned about human rights or democracy. Instead, the US operates more as a modern version of the British empire, whose Redcoats mainly protected trade and other mercantile interests.

I’ll wager few, if any, of these feel untrue to you.

I think part of the reason that such damaging revelations still remain as private knowledge is because moving them into common knowledge requires the destruction of closely-held belief systems. It takes time, mental effort and emotional strain to admit to ourselves that those in charge of society may actually not have our interests at heart.

Again, nature has provided strong protections to maintaining existing belief systems.  Maybe it’s just too hard or expensive to alter them?

Whatever the reason, the more central the belief system, the more tightly we cling to it.

Some of the most tightly-held beliefs being:

  • Faith in authority
  • A belief in the fundamental goodness of people
  • Believing that your country is both moral and good
  • Bedrock knowledge that the justice system is blind and fair
  • A belief that nature will always bounce back

It’s far easier to live day to day walking around believing the above are true.  A thousand times easier than giving them up.

To lose faith in these beliefs means squinting at every package label of food, wondering what hidden toxins might be lurking within.

It means questioning every news release.  Take the recent coverage of the Epstein “suicide” (in quotes because it has been reported that after allegedly leaning forward onto paper-thin bedding to strangle himself ‘multiple bones in his neck were broken, among which was the hyoid’ … yeah, right, got it…ummmm…wait…back up… multiple bones?)

It means Googling your medical symptoms because you don’t fully trust in the treatment plan and prescriptions your health insurer is willing to cover.

I get it.  All this work is definitely not as easy as trusting in the basic systems that govern and support our lives.

Challenging “Growth”

But the biggest fallacy of them all, the biggest belief system that is increasingly under attack in both private and common knowledge, is the idea that perpetual exponential economic growth is good, let alone possible.

Those like us at Peak Prosperity are unsettled with our private understanding that it isn’t. The public is catching on, albeit very slowly.  While the keepers of the system remain busy deflecting attention and delaying the inevitable.

But it won’t matter.  Eventually the reality catches up.  Private knowledge becomes common knowledge and then everything changes very suddenly.

All of which brings me to my conclusions:  Think for yourself.  Make up your own mind.  Be secure in your ability to think for yourself. And act now, before things get materially worse and your options become much more limited.

Which leads to my motto: I’d rather be a year early than a day late.

Tomorrow Needs Heroes Like You

You already know that it’s time to prepare for whatever is coming.  None of us knows exactly how and when it will manifest, but our Spidey Senses are tingling loudly at this point.

We see the building tension in the mass Yellow Vest restiveness across France.  And in the millions of protestors in Hong Kong.

It’s in the quickening breakdown of political goodwill between nations.  It’s in the trade disputes.  And in every tweet and headline desperately floated out there to divert the public’s attention from the problems we face.

It’s in the sudden appearance of $16.5 trillion of negative yielding debt and the many companies that make no profit but are apparently worth tens of $billions of dollars each.

All of which signals: It’s time. Time to act before the system falls apart.

Change is happening. Abrupt departures from the script are already occurring.

Which is why I implore you to see to your own provisions now, and to take the necessary steps to align your personal actions with your private knowledge.

Specifically, we have and continue to encourage folks to:

Step 1: Make sure your wealth is safely managed by prudent professionals or is entirely out of the markets. Our endorsed financial advisor uses a variety of hedging techniques to manage risk on existing positions to both limit downside as well as generate some additional returns.

Step 2: Have at least 3 months in physical cash on hand, and out of the banking system, for immediate access during an unexpected emergency. Beyond that, consider holding any remaining cash you have ‘in the system’ inside the US government’s TreasuryDirect program, where it will earn a higher return with greater safety vs being in a bank. Read our primer on how to use TreasuryDirect.

Step 3: Have a ‘crisis stash’ of physical gold and silver stored somewhere safe where you can get to it yourself, possibly quickly. Read our free primer on how to purchase and store precious metals.

Step 4: Get prepared. Be sure to have all the emergency basics safely stored and readily accessible. Food, water, personal protection, medical supplies, etc. This is smart preparation against any kind of unexpected crisis — be it a natural disaster, a painful economic downturn, social unrest, or something even worse. But it also to give you the peace of mind that will free you up for step 5.

Step 5: Be positioned to help those less prepared than you. Review our detailed What Should I Do? Guide, which is full of steps to take to get yourself well-prepared in advance for what’s coming. The most likely outcome of all this, probability-wise is a grinding decline that causes people to lose jobs and hope. Your role, as one who prepared in advance and hopefully still thriving, will be to offer as much support as you can to the masses who were caught unawares.

…and the above are just the absolute basics. We get into MUCH more detail on the wide range of steps you can (and should!) take to live with greater resilience in your life at the website and in our book, Prosper!: How to Prepare for the Future and Create a World Worth Inheriting. You should start reading both

These are all reflections of the idea that the current way of doing things cannot last.  It’s no longer a good strategy to assume that they will.

It really all boils down to this: To save the world you first need to save yourself.

But first you have to trust yourself enough to act on your own.  You may be the first among your friends and neighbors, or one of the final early movers within your community who shakes the herd of out its complacency to bolt for the exit.

In Part 2: Becoming Tomorrow’s Hero, we provide specific guidance on additional critical steps every one of us should take to bolster our (and our community’s) ability to persevere through the challenging times ahead.

Act now to get yourself safely and smartly positioned. Inspire as many others as possible to follow your model. And perhaps, together, we just might be able to save this world.

Click here to read Part 2 of this report (free executive summary, enrollment required for full access).

The post Save The World By First Saving Yourself appeared first on Peak Prosperity.

PeakProsperity?d=yIl2AUoC8zA PeakProsperity?d=qj6IDK7rITs PeakProsperity?i=M-IX4qm_t0o:vFiOO47TW1I PeakProsperity?i=M-IX4qm_t0o:vFiOO47TW1I


Friday, August 23, 2019

Australia Wants Two-Year Prison Sentences for Paying More Than $10,000 in Cash



by Martin Armstrong, Armstrong Economics: In Australia, they want to make it a criminal act with a penalty of 2 years in prison for purchasing anything with more than $10,000 in cash. Australia is really going off the deep end. They are desperately trying to eliminate all cash and are forcing people to have only bank accounts […]

The post Australia Wants Two-Year Prison Sentences for Paying More Than $10,000 in Cash appeared first on SGT Report.


Ex-Overstock CEO Byrne Reveals FBI's Peter Strzok Manipulated Him For 'Political Espionage'

Ex-Overstock CEO Byrne Reveals FBI's Peter Strzok Manipulated Him For 'Political Espionage' 

Study Says BPA is Causing Severe Hormone Imbalances in 80% of Teens


According to new research, four out of five teenagers in the UK are having their hormones disrupted by chemicals found in plastics. Experts believe that the chemical responsible for these widespread hormone issues is bisphenol A, which is more commonly known as BPA. This chemical is often used to make plastics, and can be found in products that come into contact with food.


Emails Show Monsanto Orchestrated GOP Effort to Intimidate Cancer Researchers


In 2015, the World Health Organization’s cancer research arm, the International Agency for Research on Cancer, classified glyphosate, an active ingredient in the herbicide Roundup, as a “probable carcinogen,” setting off a global debate about the world’s most popular weedkiller.

Over the last four years, Republicans in Congress have excoriated and pushed to defund the IARC, casting their defense of the chemical as a quest on behalf of small American farmers. Rep. Frank Lucas, R-Okla., has written that his outrage over the cancer research is on behalf of the “farmers and food manufacturers who rely on traditional farming methods to produce the food that fuels America — and the world.”

But according to a recent trove of documents, the ongoing political assault on the IARC has been scripted in part by Monsanto, the St. Louis-based chemical and seed conglomerate that produces Roundup and Roundup-resistant crops.

Roundup has been cash cow for the company since the 1970s, fueling billions of dollars in annual profits. Its use has skyrocketed in recent decades since the company developed genetically modified corn and other crops that are resistant to it; it is now the world’s leading herbicide.

A growing number of individuals say that Monsanto failed to warn consumers of the dangers of using Roundup and had marketed the chemical spray as harmless to humans, while internally recommending that its own employees use gloves and protective gear. Critics say that the Roundup formula used in the U.S. also contains a surfactant that makes the herbicide far more toxic than the variation of the spray sold in the European market.

Monsanto, which merged with German multinational pharmaceutical company Bayer AG last year, is facing as many as 11,000 cases relating to glyphosate. Last year, Dewayne Johnson, a former groundskeeper now dying of cancer, was the first to win his jury trial in San Francisco state court against Monsanto, alleging that years of using Roundup contributed to his non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Johnson was awarded $289 million by a jury, though a judge later reduced the amount to $78 million. Two other plaintiffs in federal court, who also alleged that they spent decades spraying the glyphosate-based weedkiller with little to no protective gear and developed the same blood cancer, have won their lawsuits.

Plaintiff Dewayne Johnson looks on after hearing the verdict in his case against Monsanto at the Superior Court of California in San Francisco on Friday, Aug. 10, 2018. A San Francisco jury on Friday ordered agribusiness giant Monsanto to pay $289 million to the former school groundskeeper dying of cancer, saying the company's popular Roundup weed killer contributed to his disease. (Josh Edelson/Pool Photo via AP)

Plaintiff Dewayne Johnson after hearing the verdict in his case against Monsanto at the Superior Court of California in San Francisco on Aug. 10, 2018.

Photo: Josh Edelson, Pool/AP

The newly disclosed files, released by Johnson’s law firm, Baum Hedlund, include company emails, documents, and deposition transcripts showing that Monsanto lawyers and lobbyists guided lawmakers, coordinating efforts to question the IARC’s credibility and slash U.S. support for the international body.

Monsanto did not respond to a request for comment. The company has denied claims that its products cause cancer, and Monsanto lawyers have declared that Environmental Protection Agency’s designation of glyphosate as safe should clear the company of any legal liability. In a recent marketing campaign, Bayer touted its friendly cooperation with regulators as a sign that the public should have nothing to fear from its products.

But the documents also suggest that the firm has used its influence with lawmakers to antagonize regulators, applying pressure and investigative threats to shape the science used to research glyphosate and other controversial chemical compounds, as part of a larger campaign to silence critics and discredit the IARC.

In June 2015, Michael Dykes, then serving as Monsanto’s vice president of government affairs, laid out the company’s strategy for “managing the IARC issue,” following the cancer research center’s determination that March.

The company, he wrote in an email, had dispatched its team of lobbyists to brief “key staff at EPA, USTR, USDA, and the State Department as well as members of Congress” to raise concerns with the IARC’s scientific process, and with how the decision could impact agriculture as well as international trade. Lobbyists also met with an official at the Department of Health and Human Services; they saw the agency’s support as key “to secure a WHO clarification.”

Later in the year, Dykes updated the Monsanto team with plans to push back against the IARC, including the possible placement of advertisements — in the form of letters from third-party groups — in Capitol Hill newspapers, as well as preparation to use a Senate Agriculture Committee hearing as a venue to get the EPA to reaffirm support for glyphosate. “We will make sure Committee members ask EPA the glyphosate safety question,” Dykes wrote.

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - MAY 14: Roundup weed killing products are shown on May 14, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. A jury yesterday ordered Monsanto, the maker of Roundup, to pay a California couple more than $2 billion in damages after finding that the weed killer had caused their cancer. This is the third jury to find Roundup had caused cancer since Bayer purchased Monsanto about a year ago. Bayer's stock price has fallen more than 40 percent since the takeover. (Photo Illustration by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Roundup weed killing products on May 14, 2019.

Photo Illustration: Scott Olson/Getty Images

The following year, FTI Government Affairs, one of several consulting firms guiding Monsanto’s political response to the IARC decision, assisted GOP lawmakers with an effort to investigate U.S. support for the IARC.

In one email sent by Todd Rands, a former Monsanto attorney working with FTI, sent a draft of a letter ostensibly written by Rep. Rob Aderholt, R-Ala., a senior lawmaker on the House Appropriations Committee, addressed to Dr. Francis Collins, the director of the National Institutes for Health. NIH is the government agency responsible for most federal public health research and is the largest funder to the IARC. The letter, in fact, had been written by FTI consultants, along with Rands’s edits, according to his deposition testimony.

The FTI-written letter declared that glyphosate “does not cause cancer,” accused the IARC of peddling “bunk science,” and threatened a reassessment of the NIH budget to ensure that the agency is “committed to only funding organizations that produce information and conclusions based on sound science, robust processes, and credible methodology.”

During his deposition, Rands said that he believed it appropriate for Monsanto to draft a letter on behalf of a lawmaker to NIH, calling such ghostwriting a “common practice in Washington.”

It’s not clear what Aderholt’s office did with the FTI-authored letter. Aderholt’s office did not respond to a request for comment from The Intercept. On June 2, 2016, Aderholt sent a letter to NIH to request a briefing on the IARC’s designation of glyphosate as a probable carcinogen and “the standards that NIH places on research funded by the U.S. taxpayers,” a letter that mirrored many of the demands in the FTI letter, though it used different language.

More GOP letters and demands for investigation over NIH’s funding for IARC followed. Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, then-chairman of the House Oversight Committee, Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., Chaffetz’s successor as Oversight chair, and Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas, then-chair of the House Science Committee, all called for inquiries into IARC funding and the designation of glyphosate as a carcinogen.

The Monsanto lobbyists closely conferred with the committees as they honed in on the IARC’s funding. Drew Feeley, an attorney for the GOP staff of the House Oversight Committee, emailed an FTI consultant to explain that his office was working to attach a line to a government budget bill designed “to apply to IARC” in order to slash its funding over the glyphosate issue. “Thanks again for coordinating,” Feeley wrote to the Monsanto consultant. Feeley, notably, is now serving as an attorney with the Council on Environmental Quality, the White House office that oversees environmental policy.

“We expect the House OGR investigation about IARC to expand as they move into the new administration,” wrote Rands, in an update to Monsanto colleagues.

Last year, under Smith, the House Science Committee devoted an entire committee hearing into questioning the IARC, with a focus on its conduct around glyphosate. Smith subsequently sent more letters to cancer researchers in Norway, demanding they “correct the flaws in IARC.” The House Appropriations Committee followed up by cutting $2 million in funding to the IARC, a symbolic move to distance the U.S. from the international body, which relies on a budget of around $40 million from a range of member countries.

The congressional outreach was only part of a multifaceted effort to control the backlash sparked by the IARC designation.

In recent years, a great deal of new information has come to light around Monsanto’s work to conceal the potential health risks around glyphosate. Earlier this month, new documents revealed that Monsanto operated a “fusion center” to discredit critics of the company, including former Reuters journalist Carey Gillam, who has written extensively about glyphosate. The operation even monitored and considered legal action again singer Neil Young, a critic of Monsanto.

Le Monde, the French newspaper, published an award-winning investigation on the controversy, referring to the Monsanto-run campaign to discredit the IARC as an effort to “intimidate” the cancer research center.

A separate cache of litigation files, released in May, revealed that Monsanto also contracted with Hakluyt, a corporate intelligence firm, to keep close tabs on political elites in Washington. The company consulted with senior Trump and EPA officials, and confirmed that the administration would support Monsanto on glyphosate issues. “We have Monsanto’s back on pesticide regulation,” a domestic policy adviser in the White House told Hakluyt.

A building on the campus of Monsanto headquarters is seen on May 23, 2016 in St. Louis, Missouri. - Monsanto shares jumped Monday after German chemicals giant Bayer said it had bid $62 billion for the US agricultural giant as US stocks opened slightly higher. Monsanto climbed 6.2 percent on news of the Bayer bid, which comes amid a wave of consolidation in the agrochemical sector with DuPont-Dow Chemical and other deals. Monsanto has not responded publicly to the offer. (Photo by Michael B. Thomas / AFP) (Photo credit should read MICHAEL B. THOMAS/AFP/Getty Images)

A building on the campus of Monsanto headquarters in St. Louis on May 23, 2016.

Photo: Michael B. Thomas/AFP/Getty Images

The last year has exposed other cloak-and-dagger tactics. The company was criticized for ghostwriting scientific studies on the safety of glyphosate, which were presented as independent research. At the San Francisco civil trial over glyphosate, an FTI consultant working for Monsanto was caught posing as a journalist working for the BBC and another British outlet.

And in 2017, one of the most stunning disclosures revealed that a senior EPA staffer, Jess Rowland, had quietly tipped Monsanto off to the fact that the agency had sought to reevaluate the safety of glyphosate, boasting to the company that he could “kill” investigations into glyphosate. Shortly before a crucial European Union vote on glyphosate products, the EPA suddenly released a report declaring the safety of the product. The document was later taken down because it had not yet been completed. One Monsanto official relayed to a colleague that Rowland had told him, “If I can kill this I should get a medal,” in regards to the glyphosate review.

After leaving the EPA, Rowland went to work in the private sector, consulting for chemical companies.

There’s also a revolving door between lawmakers supporting Monsanto and professionals working on behalf of the company. Shortly after retiring from Congress this year, following his investigation of the IARC, Lamar Smith took a job at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP, a lobbying firm that represents Bayer-Monsanto’s interests in Washington.

The post Emails Show Monsanto Orchestrated GOP Effort to Intimidate Cancer Researchers appeared first on The Intercept.


Thursday, August 22, 2019

Wake Up, Folks! $1 Trillion Of Negative Yielding Corporate Debt Is Insane


Government bonds aren’t the only instruments producing negative yields these days, with corporate debt recently passing the $1 trillion mark in a continuing sign of global financial displacement.neg%20yields.1566321963703.png











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