"'Congress shall make no law respecting an institution of religion.' -- The First Amendment to the Constitution

A Nativity scene (or a Menorah for that matter) is not a law, it is a decoration. And on that basis, even though I myself am an atheist, I do not have a problem with Nativity scenes on government property, other than they are a reminder that those are the people we are bombing to steal their oil.

I do draw the line at the Ten Commandments being on display on government buildings with its prohibitions against lying, theft, and killing, as that hostile work environment!" -- Michael Rivero

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All over the world, newspapers publish news and analyzes about the possibility of direct NATO intervention in the Ukrainian conflict. Recent threats made by French leader Emmanuel Macron have raised fears about a possible war between the Russian Federation and the Collective West, further escalating current global tensions. However, little is said about the Western troops who are actually already fighting against Russia.

The presence of foreign mercenaries in Ukraine is not new. War correspondents have reported the deep involvement of Western mercenaries in Ukraine since the first months of the special military operation. The Western media obviously ignores these facts and, through censorship and coercive measures against the Russian press, prevents public opinion from discovering them. Now, however, there appear to be signs that such a foreign presence in Ukraine is even more serious, as there are clear signs that mercenaries are being used by Kiev to attack peaceful Russian cities.

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What is most disturbing about this unprecedented case is that, if the prosecution gets its way, all the evidence produced by the State claiming the Covid vaccines are “safe and effective” will be deemed indisputable, irrefutable–and Dr. Hoffe would not be able to defend himself or call expert witnesses!

In other words, a Stalinist show trial designed to intimidate all doctors and patients who value medical freedom of choice, the right to a fair trial, freedom of speech, and medical ethics.

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We stand on the cusp of what might be termed Chaotic War. Not the formula used by Israel often in the past to intimidate adversaries; this is different.

Israeli reporter Eddie Cohen said, in the wake of the attack on the Iranian Consulate: “We are very clear that we want to start a war with Iran and Hezbollah. Do you still not understand?”

Israel wants to drag Iran into a full-scale war in order to be able to strike at Iran’s nuclear facilities”, though these facilities are beyond American and Israeli reach, buried beneath mountains.

Cohen, and of course, Israel’s military leadership, will know that; but Israel nonetheless is locking itself into a logic that can only lead to defeat. Iran’s nuclear facilities are safe from Israeli assault. The destruction of civilian Iranian infrastructure, which is out in the open, may kill many, but will not, per se, collapse the Iranian state.

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By Stuart Winer and ToI Staff 8 April 2024, 8:31 pm

Image removed.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during a press conference in Jerusalem on March 31, 2024. (Marc Israel Sellem/POOL/Flash 90)

Opinion polls show nearly three-quarters of the Israel public want Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to resign against the backdrop of the ongoing war in the Gaza Strip, with half the country also preferring earlier elections for the Knesset.

The Kan public broadcaster and Channel 12 both published surveys on Sunday to coincide with the six-month milestone since the war started on October 7 with a devastating attack on Israel by the Palestinian terror group Hamas.

Both polls showed the current government being ousted if elections were held immediately.

The polls sampled opinions on who should take responsibility for the Hamas attack and feelings about how well the country’s leaders are prosecuting the war.

Kan reported that 42 percent of respondents said Netanyahu should resign immediately, and 29% that he should step down after the war concludes, making a total of 71% seeking his ouster. Of the rest, 21% said Netanyahu doesn’t need to resign and 8% said they don’t know.

Claire's Observations:  Dear, and very bright, people of Israel; you're being bamboozled by the current Israeli government, because as long as Netanyahu is in office, this war will be without end.

De you remember how long the American war against Vietnam lasted?!?  1955-1975; 20 years, to be exact.   Yes, circumstances were  vastly different, but  Netanyahu desperately needs this war to continue, to postpone his corruption trial.

Can Netanyahu and his minions accomplish their goals by continuing to fight Hamas and Hezbollah for 20 more years?!?  The short answer is hell, no.   And why?!? 

 Because you can assassinate people, as the IDF is so  gleefully  doing with the Palestinians (primarily women and children, by the numbers), but you cannot kill an idea.  And that idea is the idea of a  viable Palestinian state, with leadership which is both very responsible to its people, and also  a very adult member of the family of countries around the world.

I would respectfully suggest, that the governments of Israel and Egypt, and valid, peaceful Palestinian representatives start working on this, and immediately.  There have already way too many deaths here.  This will take a lot of courage, will, and imagination on all sides, and a lot of breaking with historical hatreds, based on feuds for land in an area without a whole lot of real estate.

But it can be done.

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One observer warns of the power of the United States’ permanent security bureaucracy, which he claims will dictate the country’s stance toward Russia regardless of who is elected in November.

Former US President Donald Trump has startled European leaders in recent weeks with plans to interfere in the functioning of NATO and reorient US foreign policy if reelected this November. The brash real estate magnate frequently threatens Western allies with cuts to US funding for the decades-old alliance and has recently touted a proposal he claims would rapidly bring the war in the Donbass to an end.

Both ideas have proven distinctly unappetizing to Europe’s political elite, who reject any concession of territory to Russia regardless of the wishes of the region’s inhabitants.

The threat of Trump’s restoration to power has prompted moves to provide Ukraine with a multi-year fund for President Volodymyr Zelensky to continue hostilities whether his country is supported by the United States or not. But the ultimate decision over whether American aid will continue to flow to the embattled leader may not lie with the US president at all.

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Ukrainian media covered the preliminary details of the incident. A company of 9 minors purchased low-alcohol drinks, and then decided to ride a funicular in the center of Kiev. A man in military uniform, entered the cabin with the teenagers. According to some reports, the man reportedly operated the elevator.

The man in military uniform forced the conversation and asked the teenagers if they were ready to go to the front to defend their Homeland. The teenagers apparently said no, but this answer did not suit the military man. As a result, an argument ensued.

When the trailer stopped, the group left the cabin. The angered man attacked the last boy. His name was reportedly Maxim. The victim was 16 years old.

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The European Union shows all the symptoms of a structure in deep crisis. Like other organizations in the past, the more it tries to convey an image of internal cohesion, the greater the fissures it creates, based on the increasingly rigid demand for compliance with the rules that this appearance of cohesion requires.

In order to assert its political power, Brussels is presented as a power that is as distant as it is unattainable, so superior that everything it has is unquestionable. Placing itself on such a pedestal, Brussels arrogates to itself a presumed wisdom and omniscience, relying on a very well-constructed communication process, based on the idea of a power above all others, above the elected powers, above the “people’s governments”: “The EU said that…”; “the EU says you can’t…”; “the government asked the EU to…”; “the EU warned that…”; “the government was forced by the EU to…”. One gets all this, without question, criticism or reflection. A sort of European extension of the “one indispensable nation” theory.

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Several recent incidents have increased the pressure on Israel to end its war on Gaza.

There are serious signs that the Israeli government, under pressure from the U.S., is now moving towards an intermediate ceasefire state that all sides may be able to live with – at least for a while. The decision to do that however has split the Netanyahoo government and may well end the coalition which supports it.

After six month of operations in Gaza the Israeli government has reached none of its announced aims. Neither is Hamas defeated, nor have the hostages been released. There is no viable plan who, if not Hamas, will in future rule the Gaza strip.

Israeli settlers, who have been living near the Gaza strip and the northern border, are still not willing to return to their homes as the government lacks a plan to guarantee their security.

Pressure on the Israeli government comes from several sides.

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Baltimore is selling $1 homes amid 15,000 abandoned properties and high crime, by Mary K. Jacob, New York Post, March 26, 2024

In a bid to breathe life back into its beleaguered neighborhoods, the city of Baltimore is rolling out a groundbreaking initiative: selling boarded-up homes for a mere dollar each, according to Bloomberg.

Mayor Brandon Scott is spearheading this plan, aimed at tackling the city’s longstanding battle with crime and urban decay.

With more than 200 city-owned vacant properties up for grabs, residents willing to roll up their sleeves and restore these homes to their former glory are being offered a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

Still, with nearly 15,000 abandoned properties blighting Baltimore’s landscape as of 2022, according to city records, the road to urban renewal remains long and arduous.

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Authored by Christian Milord via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

The recent stringent Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) carbon emissions standards for internal combustion engines defy economic realities. The EPA would have us believe that coercing folks to buy electric vehicles (EV) will somehow reduce alleged climate change extremes. The new rules will negatively affect California and the entire nation.

Traffic moves along Interstate 80 in Berkeley, Calif., on August 24, 2022. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Obviously, most folks want to maintain clean air, land, and water ecosystems. However, scientists haven’t agreed on what degree human activity adversely impacts global climate change as opposed to natural causes for extreme climate events. Several dire predictions of rising seas haven’t panned out over several decades, while cooling and warming trends haven’t been too much out of the ordinary.

The new EPA standards are part of a government plan to make EVs two-thirds of new car sales by 2032. Thirty percent of heavy duty commercial vehicles have to be emissions-free by 2032 and 40 percent of short-haul trucks by the same time frame. Emission particulates must be reduced to nine micrograms for each cubic meter of exhaust. Spokespersons from the American Petroleum Institute stated that the new regulation “threatens consumer freedom, energy reliability and national security.”

These EPA goals are unlikely to eventuate due to several factors. First, Americans bristle when they are pressured into purchasing products that haven’t proven their worth over an extended period of time. Electric vehicles can be expensive and heavy due to large batteries that are costly to repair when they break down. They take too long to charge up when contrasted with diesel or gas refilling times. How will the grid handle millions of EVs when it can’t even cope with current electricity demands?

Claire's Observations:  Mike and I intend to adopt a young Cuban mechanic;  these people can keep gasoline powered cars on the road nearly indefinitely!!!! :-)

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The Department of Justice (DOJ) has reused to provide audio tapes of President Biden's interview with special counsel Robert Hur, defying a subpoena by the House GOP.

In an April 8 letter to the House Oversight Committee and House Judiciary Committee, Assistant AG Carlos Felipe Uriarte complained that despite cooperating with other aspects of the Feb. 27 subpoena, "the committees have responded with escalation and threats of criminal contempt."

"We urge the committees to avoid conflict rather than seek it," he added - while working for the same DOJ that has specifically sought conflict by launching investigations and lawsuits against former President Trump.

"It is not too late for the committees to choose a different path, to take an offramp towards the ’spirit of dynamic compromise' that the Constitution requires of us both," the letter continues.

The Feb. 27 subpoena requested copies of notes, audio files, video and transcripts related to Hur's probe, and had a deadline of March 7, according to the Epoch Times, which has obtained a copy.

"Americans expect equal justice under the law and DOJ is allowing the Bidens to operate above it,"  House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer (R-KY) said in a statement. "Special Counsel Hur’s report outlined that classified documents Joe Biden stashed for years relate to countries where his family cashed in on the Biden brand."

In response to a request for audio of what author Mark Zwonitzer recorded while interviewing Biden, whose two memoirs he wrote, Uriarte said there is no need for the department to hand it over because the committees also have transcripts of the interviews.

"To go further by producing the audio files would compound the likelihood that future prosecutors will be unable to secure this level of cooperation," Uriarte wrote.

"They might have a harder time obtaining consent to an interview at all. It is clearly not in the public interest to render such cooperation with prosecutors and investigators less likely in the future."

Uriarte then reiterated that the DOJ has provided ample evidence to the committees.

"The department is willing to hear more from the committees, but at this time your further requests appear attenuated from the committees’ stated purposes—with today’s production, you now have the information you requested. Given the extraordinary executive branch confidentiality interests implicated here, a specific and adequate showing of need for any additional information, tethered to the authority under which the committees purport to act, is critical," he wrote.

Uriarte then hilariously asked the committees not to make DOJ materials public, writing "To ensure an adequate opportunity to review these materials for suitability for public release, we respectfully request that the committees not disseminate or otherwise disclose the documents or information therein without prior consultation with the department."

Claire's Observations:  I'd be laughing at this, but the problem will be stopping.  Because SOMEWHERE in that audio interview is the "sound bite" equivalent of a paparazzi's "money shot", where the image (or in this case, the sound bite) proves the truth of something. And my gut is telling me, that the "truth" in that sound bite (or sound bites), will be Biden's ever-worsening dementia, and how it is affecting his response to the questions.

Yes, we had a president crippled by polio, and that was FDR; but it never affected his mental processes, as far as I am aware.  But to re-run a guy with dementia as a Presidential Candidate?!? 

I would humbly suggest that the Dementocrats examine whether they have taken the principles of DEI just a bit too far on this!!!

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By George Lei, Bloomberg markets live reporter and strategist

US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen implored Beijing’s top leaders during her four-day visit to refrain from boosting the country’s already vast manufacturing capacity and to focus on lifting domestic demand instead.

That push, however, is in stark contrast to the priorities of President Xi Jinping, whose “new productive forces” slogan is now dominating the economic policy discourse. His push suggests the country’s expansion of its production capacity will likely persist and contribute to increasing tensions with the nation’s major trading partners.

While its not entirely clear how Xi’s policy will play out on the ground, equity investors have already picked winners since the phrase was listed as the government’s top task in early March. Market reactions seem to imply that Beijing will double down on state spending to strengthen China’s transition toward high-tech, value-added production and advanced manufacturing. There is also a perception that “Made in China 2025” - a government plan to groom 10 globally competitive industries, and one that drew the ire of former President Trump - is making a comeback.

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Insurance companies across the country are using satellites, drones, manned airplanes and even high-altitude balloons to spy on properties they cover with homeowners policies -- and using the findings to drop customers, often without giving any opportunity to address alleged shortcomings. 

“We’ve seen a dramatic increase across the country in reports from consumers who’ve been dropped by their insurers on the basis of an aerial image,” United Policyholders executive director Amy Bach tell the Wall Street Journal. Reasons can range from shoddy roofing to yard clutter and undeclared trampolines.  

Much of this surveillance is done via the Geospatial Insurance Consortium, which boasts of its coverage of 99% of the US population.

Image removed.The Geospatial Insurance Consortium provides imagery insurers use to study roof condition and look for risky property attributes (via GIC)

In pitching its ability to provide high-resolution "imagery and insights" for property reviews, GIC says insurers can use the service to "review risk and exposure on a building such as proximity of vegetation to the structure, whether a roof needs updating, and verify the exact location for a policy." 

“If your roof is 20 years old and one hailstorm is going to take it off, you should pay more than somebody with a brand new roof,” Allstate CEO Tom Willson told the Journal, unapologetically and ominously adding that, where the company's use of digital imagery is concerned, "there's even more to come." 

Wilson framed aerial spying as a pricing issue, but many consumers are finding that companies are using it to suddenly drop their coverage altogether

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After American borrowers adjusted their finances amid the mass-suspension of student loan payments during the pandemic (and the scorching inflation that followed), the Biden administration on Monday announced new student loan plans that would give borrowers up to $20,000 in loan forgiveness for balances that have grown due to unpaid interest since entering repayment, regardless of income.

The plan is aimed at those with "runaway interest."

Those who qualify for the "SAVE IDR" (income-driven repayment) would have the full balance of their unpaid interest forgiven, which would benefit roughly 25 million Americans.

What's more, the administration is also looking to provide automatic debt relief for those who qualify under the SAVE plan, Public Service Loan Forgiveness program, and similar forgiveness programs which have hit red tape when it comes to relief.

Lastly, the plan would give relief to those enrolled in low-financial-value education programs deemed insufficient by the Department of Education, as well as those experiencing hardship in paying back loans and who are at risk of default


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Authored by Mark Jeftovic via BombThrower.com,

Everybody talks a good game when asked about environmental concerns. But they underestimate what real “climate action” will cost them, personally, and they’re prone to balking when they figure it out.

In 2018, The Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago conducted a survey of 1,202 people asking them if they thought climate change was an issue, and if so, how much were they willing to contribute, out of their own pockets, towards “fixing it”:

  • 71% of the respondents said that climate change was a reality, and most of those thought human activity was largely responsible for it.
  • 57% said they’d be willing to spend $1/month, or $12 annually.
  • 23% were willing to go big: $40 a month, in order to “fix” climate change.

A more recent study of ten European countries in 2021 found that most people feel as though they are already doing their part to live a climate conscious lifestyle – and further – they are individually doing more than those in the media, or their governments (hold that thought).

In other words, while most respondents believed that there was an impending climate crisis, they also believe they had already made all the personal lifestyle adjustments they’ll need to make in order to address it.

These attitudes are pretty typical of a populace who has already undergone massive conditioning by the media and academia around climate alarmism, but who otherwise live largely insular, bubble-wrapped lifestyles and think food comes from Uber Eats.

They have no idea that  that climate targets, like “netzero” or Agenda 2030 will cost more them more than a few hundred bucks a year, per person, to “fix”.

Even with carbon taxes becoming more prevalent – citizens think the extent of the impact on their lives are the economic pressures of them inexorably rising (here in Canada, the carbon tax went up 23% on April 1st, the same day all federal Members of Parliament got a pay raise).

That’s bad enough – but people are still completely unprepared for what has already been decided from on high for their personal destinies

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Authored by Paul Joseph Watson via Modernity.news,

Entirely as predicted, Police Scotland has been deluged with vexatious and politically-driven ‘hate crime’ reports, with one top official complaining “we cannot cope.”

Didn’t see this one coming.

Under the new legislation, anyone deemed to have been verbally ‘abusive’, in person or online, to a transgender person, including “insulting” them could be hit with a prison sentence of up to seven years.

That instantly led to a flood of bad faith reports, including from conservatives making a mockery of the system and from deranged left-wing activists trying to punish their ideological adversaries.

David Threadgold, Chairman of the Scottish Police Federation, said that the new legislation was being exploited to pursue personal and political vendettas.

“Police Scotland have gone public and said that on every occasion, reports of hate crime will be investigated,” Mr. Threadgold told the BBC. “That creates a situation where we simply cannot cope at the moment.”

“When you have vexatious complaints, people who look to weaponise this legislation or who make these complaints for personal gain or political point scoring, then that creates a problem for the police which can affect public satisfaction in my organisation,” he added.

As we previously highlighted, Police Scotland admitted that the new law could create “additional demand” and create a “resource implication” for police.

This followed a trial of a separate program set to be implemented across the country to stop investigating crimes like theft and criminal damage, which authorities acknowledge will help criminals.

As we reported yesterday, out of the more than 8000 reports police have received under the new ‘hate crime’ law, less than one per cent are leading to investigations.

Police Scotland are having to pay officers in their control room “hundreds of thousands” in overtime to deal with the onslaught of frivolous reports.

However, that’s still nearly 800 new investigations in a single week for a police force that already has stretched resources.

It’s been a complete disaster, but they can’t say nobody warned them

Claire's Observations:  the Scottish people are usually infinitely more pragmatic than to introduce legislation which could be so abused; what the hell happened here?!?

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Tuesday, Apr 09, 2024 - 01:45 AM

In 2006, NATO defense ministers agreed that each member country would commit at least 2% of its GDP to defense spending. Nearly two decades later, some member countries have not met the target, only to be recently reminded by former President Trump to ramp up defense spending or face severe consequences. 

Perhaps Germany's ruling coalition heard Trump's warning loud and clear. A new Bloomberg report, citing people familiar with the plans, reveals the German government is planning to purchase two additional F126 frigates via Damen Group/Blohm plus Voss/Lürssen/German Naval Yards for three billion euros and 900 Fuchs armored vehicles manufactured by Rheinmetall for four billion euros

Claire's Observations;  Well, this is a very interesting start of a "coming up to the plate" on NATO expenses by Germany; are they foreseeing a Trump landslide in November (IF elections are allowed to happen at that point)?

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Tuesday, Apr 09, 2024 - 03:15 AM

A judge in Missouri has significantly reduced a jury award against Bayer AG's Monsanto unit, cutting down the punitive damages from a $1.5 billion verdict to about $550 million, according to Fortune

This decision comes amid Monsanto's ongoing legal battles over allegations that its Roundup weedkiller causes cancer. While the judge, Daniel Green, declined Monsanto's request for a new trial or to dismiss the verdict entirely, the reduction in damages provides some financial relief to Bayer.

The company, which acquired Monsanto for $63 billion in 2018, plans to appeal the entire verdict, arguing that the damages are still excessively high.

The original verdict awarded three plaintiffs a combined $61.1 million in actual damages and $500 million each in punitive damages for claims that Roundup use led to non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

The punitive damages were adjusted to align with Supreme Court guidance, which suggests punitive awards should not exceed 10 times the actual damages.

Fortune reported that Bayer has already allocated up to $16 billion to settle over 100,000 similar cases, and it's now facing a new wave of litigation.

The company has also committed to replacing glyphosate in its U.S. consumer Roundup products with other weed-killing ingredients. The Missouri case, involving plaintiffs from across the U.S., highlights the ongoing controversy and legal challenges surrounding Roundup and its alleged health risks.


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Monday, Apr 08, 2024 - 01:25 PM

Perhaps the world's most influential banker - JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon - warned the world in his annual letter to shareholders that while he expects US economic resilience (and higher inflation and interest rates), and is optimistic about transformational opportunities from AI, he worries geopolitical events including the war in Ukraine and the Israel-Hamas war, as well as U.S. political polarization, might be creating an environment that “may very well be creating risks that could eclipse anything since World War II.”

He begins with an ominous overview of the geopolitical chaos the world faces.

America's Global Leadership is being challenged...

Across the globe, 2023 was yet another year of significant challenges, from the terrible ongoing war and violence in the Middle East and Ukraine to mounting terrorist activity and growing geopolitical tensions, importantly with China. Almost all nations felt the effects last year of global economic uncertainty, including higher energy and food prices, inflation rates and volatile markets. While all these events and associated instability have serious ramifications on our company, colleagues, clients and countries where we do business, their consequences on the world at large — with the extreme suffering of the Ukrainian people, escalating tragedy in the Middle East and the potential restructuring of the global order — are far more important.

As these events unfold, America’s global leadership role is being challenged outside by other nations and inside by our polarized electorate. We need to find ways to put aside our differences and work in partnership with other Western nations in the name of democracy. During this time of great crises, uniting to protect our essential freedoms, including free enterprise, is paramount. We should remember that America, “conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal,” still remains a shining beacon of hope to citizens around the world. JPMorgan Chase, a company that historically has worked across borders and boundaries, will do its part to ensure that the global economy is safe and secure

Claire's Observations;   "Safe and secure", My astrolabe!!! Please remember here:  this is the same Chase bank with a criminal rap sheet as long as your arm, and here is the latest in a string of felony/fines it will have to pay:

JPMorgan fined $348M by OCC, Fed over trade surveillance lapses

By Thu, Mar 14, 2024 2:01 PM

"JPMorgan Chase will pay approximately $348.2 million in fines to settle allegations laid by two federal banking regulators that it failed to adequately monitor trading and order activity.

The Treasury Department’s Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) issued a $250 million penalty against the bank Thursday, while the Federal Reserve Board announced a fine of nearly $98.2 million as part of a consent order, both related to JP Morgan’s alleged failure to surveil “billions” of transactions on 30 trading venues"

And yet, with all of these foulups, bleeps, and blunders, Jaimie Dimon is NEVER the target, and will never go to prison over the bank's massive, fine-infused failures.  Interesting, that!!  One has to imagine that these fines are so small, relative to the money Chase is making, that they are simply an economic "swat on the wrist."


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Bank Says Silver $32 and Gold $3,000 Upside in Play

Bullion Bank (quietly) raises Gold and Silver targets

Authored by GoldFix ZH Edit

April 8th: Bullion Bank (Citi) raises short term price targets for Gold and Silver 9% and 16% respectively, increasing price targets to $2400 and $28 over the next 3 months. with topside price spikes of $3,000 and $32.00 this year now on the table.

This coming less than 2 months after raising their price targets for 2024

HT as always.. ZH

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By: orraz
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