Sunday, February 24, 2019

Czar vs. Pope

by Antonius Aquinas, via Acting Man:

Vladimir the Great Sums Up Pope Francis the Fake

Vladimir Putin has once again demonstrated why he is the most perceptive, farsighted, and for a politician, the most honest world leader to come around in quite a while.  If it had not been for his patient and wise statesmanship, the world may have already been embroiled in an all-encompassing global conflagration with the possibility of thermonuclear destruction.

Vladimir Putin is sizing up Pope Francis with his “good grief, where did they find that one” stare. Since the East-West schism of AD 1054 there have been differences between the Catholic and the Eastern Orthodox Church, one of which concerns the issue of papal primacy (which the Orthodox Church rejects, although it would be prepared to acknowledge the Pope as a primus inter pares). Under Pope John Paul II previous doctrinal differences were downplayed in favor of further rapprochement. In this John Paul II followed the spirit of the decree Unitatis Redintegratio promulgated by Pope Paul IV in 1964. As the time the Catholic Church altered its stance toward the Protestant and Eastern Orthodox Churches by no longer referring to them as “heretics and schismatics”, but rather as “dissidents and separated brethren”. John Paul II went a step further by declaring that the major theological differences between East and West should be viewed as complementary rather than conflicting. Said differences concern primarily Palamist doctrine, which emerged in the 14th century in the course of the dispute over Hesychasm.  They revolve mainly around the nature of the Holy Trinity (specifically the so-called “filioque” clause,as well as Palamas’ differentiation between God’s essence and energy) and the rational (scholastic) vs. the mystical (Orthodox) approach to the faith. Laymen may well deem these controversies as examples of “how many angels can stand on the head of a pin” type disputes (consider e.g. that theologians fervently debated whether the writings of Gregory Palamas indicated that he regarded the essence-energy distinction as “real”, “virtual”, or “formal”). In times past, much could depend on how such doctrinal disagreements were resolved. Maximus the Confessor, a 7th century monk and theologian who was eventually canonized by both the Catholic and Orthodox Churches is a good example. His views on monothelitism (the interaction between Christ’s divine and human nature) initially led to his conviction as a heretic. In order to prevent him from spreading his alleged heresies, his tongue and right hand were cut off so that he could no longer speak or write and he was exiled. Less than twenty years after his death, he was fully rehabilitated; soon thereafter he began to be venerated as a saint. The East-West schism has been in place a lot longer, but a trend toward reconciliation emerged in the second half of the 20th century, with the Catholic Church adopting the view that its differences with Eastern Orthodox Churches were largely of an ecclesiastical rather than a theological nature. Most people think of the Catholic Church as inflexible, but in the words of Catholic theologian G. Philips: “The essence-energies distinction of Palamas is a typical example of a perfectly admissible theological pluralism that is compatible with the Roman Catholic magisterium”. John Paul II seems to have agreed with this viewIn fact, the Eastern mystical concepts of khatarsis, theoria and theosis are far more apodictic than the rational “theological pluralism” permitted by today’s Roman Catholic Church. In short, the Eastern Orthodox Churches actually tend to be more inflexible and dogmatic in their outlook. It is little wonder that Putin – who sees himself as the temporal protector and patron of the Russian Orthodox Church – looks askance at a Pope who often sounds like a representative of Marxism-inspired “liberation theology”. [PT]

His latest comments on the purported head of the Catholic Church may have been his most perceptive as of yet and should be heeded not only by Western secular leaders, but by the globe’s one billion or so Catholics, most of whom regard Jorge Bergoglio as their pope.

The Russian President’s statement came on a visit to the Naval Cathedral of St. Nicholas in Kronstadt.  Mr. Putin succinctly sums up what Pope Francis is not: “If you look around at what he (the Pope) says it’s clear that he is not a man of God.  At least not the Christian God, not the God of the Bible.”*

No truer words have as yet been said about this cretin by a world leader since his wretched pontifical reign began in 2013! While Mr. Putin and those with “eyes to see and ears to hear” recognize that “Pope Francis” is not a Christian, the current occupant of St. Peter’s Chair is disqualified for that position on theological grounds as well.

To be a legitimate pope, one must be “Bishop of Rome,” and prior to becoming a bishop, one must be a priest.  Jorge Bergoglio was not ordained (1969) in the traditional Apostolic ordination rite of the Church, nor was he consecrated (1992) as a true bishop in that rite.  His predecessor, Benedict XVI was likewise not consecrated in the traditional rite, although he was at least ordained as a priest under the “old rite.”

Simply put: Jorge Bergoglio is just a layman masquerading as a pope, as are all of the other priests and bishops which were given Holy Orders under the new rites which came into effect in the aftermath of the Second Vatican Anti-Council (1962-65).

Secular Sins

Not only is Pope Francis a Christian fraud as Vladimir Putin and other perceptive commentators have observed, but in secular matters he is a neo-Marxist in economic thought, a One-World Government advocate, and an enthusiast of open borders and mass migration.  In other words, an enemy of what is left of Western Civilization.

Mr. Putin accurately describes his “secular sins:”

  • Pope Francis is using his platform to push a dangerous far-left political ideology on vulnerable people around the world, people who trust him because of his position
  • He dreams of a world government and a global communist system of repression
  • As we have seen before in communist states, this system is not compatible with Christianity**

If these despicable qualities are not bad enough, there is a seedier side of Bergoglio that Mr. Putin did not address.  Pope Francis is now the third Pope presiding over the Church’s great pedophile sex and embezzlement scandals.

Read More @ Acting-Man.com

Henry Kissinger’s NAFTA and Why It Must Be Abolished, not Simply Re-Negotiated

by Tim Brown, Freedom Outpost:

Just how important is the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)  in the general scheme of things?  This is a question that the head of The John Birch Society, Arthur Thompson has addressed, and we should give heed to what he is saying.

NAFTA was on the radar as President Donald Trump entered the White House saying that it was a bad deal for Americans and would be renegotiated.

In fact, he said that the 1994 NAFTA, interestingly signed by Trump’s then presidential opponent’s husband, Bill Clinton (though it was negotiated by George H. W. Bush), was the worst trade deals in the history of the united States.

 Trump promised that NAFTA would be one of his first things he dealt with in his first 100 days of office.

This leads us to Art Thompson’s commentary concerning Henry Kissinger and NAFTA.

“Henry Kissinger, former Secretary of State for President Richard Nixon, put it this way,” said Thompson.

“It will represent the most creative step towards a new world order taken by any group of countries since the end of the Cold War… The revolution sweeping the Western Hemisphere points to an international order based on cooperation… It is this revolution that is at stake in the ratification of NAFTA.” -Henry Kissenger, Los Angeles Times, 1993

Thompsons quoted Kissinger from the Los Angeles Times as saying that what Congress had before it in NAFTA was “not a conventional trade agreement, but the architecture of a new international system.”

Here’s Kissenger’s op-ed in the LA Times, July 18, 1993.

 

Read More @ FreedomOutpost.com

This Hits the Wheezing Commercial Real Estate Bubble at Worst Possible Time

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by Wolf Richter, Wolf Street:

The last big enthusiastic buyer, China, is leaving the party.

Commercial real estate, such as office and apartment towers, in trophy cities in the US and Europe has been among the favorite items on the long and eclectic shopping lists of Chinese companies. At the forefront are the vast, immensely indebted, opaquely structured conglomerates HNA, Dalian Wanda, Anbang Insurance, and Fosun International. In terms of commercial real estate, the party kicked off seriously in 2013. Over the two years in the US alone, according to Morgan Stanley, cited by Bloomberg, Chinese firms have acquired $17 billion worth of commercial properties.

In the second quarter in Manhattan, Chinese entities accounted for half of the commercial real estate purchases. This includes the $2.2 billion purchase in May of the 45-story office tower at 245 Park Avenue, the sixth largest transaction ever in Manhattan. At $1,282 per square foot, the price was also among the highest ever paid for this type of property.

Most of HNA’s funding for this deal — one of its 30 major acquisitions since the beginning of 2016 — was borrowed from China’s state-owned banks. But HNA also borrowed $508 million from JPMorgan Chase, Natixis, Deutsche Bank, Barclays, and Societe Generale. This has been the hallmark for all Chinese acquirers: a lot of borrowing from China and some funding from offshore sources.

Similarly, Chinese acquirers accounted for about one-quarter of commercial property transactions in central London in 2016, according to the Morgan Stanley report. In Australia, over the past few years, Chinese firms accounted for 12{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528} to 25{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528} of all office transactions by value.

But now these conglomerates and other Chinese firms engaging in outbound acquisitions have run into a veritable buzz saw of regulatory efforts by Chinese authorities designed to accomplish two things: slow down these capital outflows; and keep the Chinese banks from getting perforated by their exposure to the overleveraged conglomerates.

The authorities put the banks under intense pressure to deleverage. And the banks put the conglomerates under pressure to deleverage. A number of deals have already gotten scuttled.

US and European banks too are getting second thoughts about funding these deals. Bank of America, for example, has already pulled back from doing business with HNA — “We simply don’t know what we don’t know, and are not prepared to take the risk,” BofA president for Asia Pacific, Matthew Koder, had said in an internal email.

Morgan Stanley estimates that China overseas direct property investment could plunge by 84{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528} in 2017 and another 15{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528} in 2018 — to just $1.4 billion. In other words, just a tiny trickle.

So what would happen to the US commercial property sector when the last big enthusiastic buyer, China, is leaving the party? Will the sellers get to dance with each other?

The party isn’t entirely over just yet: For example, Sunac China Holdings, now one of China’s most debt-burdened property investors after buying assets from Dalian Wanda, was able to sell $1 billion of dollar bonds last week, according to Bloomberg. So foreign-currency funding is still available to Chinese property buyers, but getting harder and more expensive to come by.

Commercial real estate prices in the US, after a seven-year boom, peaked last year. Green Street’s Commercial Property Price Index in July 2017 was below where it had been in June 2016. This marks the first year-over-year decline – albeit a small one – since the Financial Crisis. December had been the peak:

In many markets, transaction volume has dropped, as domestic buyers have become leery. Across the US, deal volume fell 8{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528} in the first half of 2017. And Q2 (down 5{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528}) was the third quarter in a row of year-over-year declines. “Investor caution” hurt higher-priced markets such as Manhattan in particular, according to Real Capital Analytics.

Everyone had been hoping that China’s formerly insatiable appetite for US properties would keep the market afloat and would let domestic sellers, after running up the seven-year boom, get their money out at peak prices.

Read More @ WolfStreet.com

This Is The Closest That The U.S. Has Been To Nuclear War Since The Cuban Missile Crisis

by Michael Snyder, The Economic Collapse Blog:

Are we on the verge of a nuclear war with North Korea?  It has now been confirmed that North Korea has successfully created a miniaturized nuclear warhead, and last month they tested a missile that can reach at least half of the continental United States.  Since 1994 the U.S. has been trying to stop North Korea’s nuclear program, and every effort to do so has completely failed.  Last September, the North Koreans detonated a nuclear device that was estimated to be in the 20 to 30 kiloton range, and back in January President Trump pledged to stop the North Koreans before they would ever have the capability to deliver such a weapon to U.S. cities.  But now the North Koreans have already achieved that goal, and they plan to ultimately create an entire fleet of ICBMs capable of hitting every city in America.

Right now, North Korea and the Trump administration are locked in a game of nuclear chicken.  Kim Jong Un’s regime is never, ever, ever going to give up their nuclear weapons program, and so that means that either Donald Trump is going to have to back down, find another way to deal with North Korea, or use military force to eliminate their nuclear threat.

And time is quickly running out for Trump to make a decision, because now that North Korea has the ability to produce miniaturized nuclear warheads, the game has completely changed.  The following comes from the Washington Post

North Korea has successfully produced a miniaturized nuclear warhead that can fit inside its missiles, crossing a key threshold on the path to becoming a full-fledged nuclear power, U.S. intelligence officials have concluded in a confidential assessment.

The new analysis completed last month by the Defense Intelligence Agency comes on the heels of another intelligence assessment that sharply raises the official estimate for the total number of bombs in the communist country’s atomic arsenal. The U.S. calculated last month that up to 60 nuclear weapons are now controlled by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Some independent experts believe the number of bombs is much smaller.

The truth is that nobody actually knows how many nukes North Korea has at this point, and they are pumping out more all the time.

Yes, the Trump administration could order an absolutely devastating military strike on North Korea.  But if the North Koreans even get off one nuke in response, it will be the greatest disaster for humanity since at least World War II.

But at this point Trump doesn’t sound like someone that intends to back down.  In fact, on Tuesday he threatened North Korea with “fire and fury” if they keep threatening us…

“North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States,” Trump said from the clubhouse at his golf course in Bedminster, N.J. “He has been very threatening beyond a normal state, and as I said they will be met with the fire and fury and frankly power, the likes of which this world has never seen before.”

In response to Trump’s comments, the North Koreans threatened to hit Guam with a pre-emptive strike…

If Trump thought that his bluff would be sufficient to finally shut up North Korea, and put an end to Kim’s provocative behavior, well… bluff called because North Korea’s state-run KCNA news agency reported moments ago that not only did N.Korea escalate the tensions up another notch, but explicitly warned that it could carry out a “pre-emptive operation once the US shows signs of provocation”, and that it is “seriously considering a strategy to strike Guam with mid-to-long range missiles.”

Most Americans appear to be completely oblivious to the seriousness of this crisis.  Once we hit North Korea, they will respond.  A single nuke could potentially kill millions in Tokyo, Japan or Seoul, South Korea.  And the North Koreans also have some of the largest chemical and biological weapons stockpiles on the entire planet.  If things take a bad turn, we could see death and destruction on a scale that is absolutely unprecedented.

And if the North Koreans launch an invasion of South Korea, we will instantly be committed to a new Korean War and thousands upon thousands of our young men and women will be sent over there to fight and die.

There is no possible way that a military conflict with North Korea is going to end well.  If things go badly, millions could die, and if things go really badly tens of millions of people could end up dead.

But members of the Trump administration continue to insist that “a military option”is on the table…

In an interview broadcast Saturday on MSNBC’s Hugh Hewitt Show, national security adviser H.R. McMaster said the prospect of a North Korea armed with nuclear-tipped ICBMs would be “intolerable, from the president’s perspective.”

“We have to provide all options . . . and that includes a military option,” he said.

Of course letting North Korea construct an entire fleet of ICBMs that could endanger the entire planet is not exactly a palatable option either.  The Clinton, Bush and Obama administrations all kicked the can down the road year after year, and now we facing a nightmare problem that does not appear to have a good solution.

Unfortunately for Trump, time has now run out and a decision has to be made

“Today is the day that we can definitely say North Korea is a nuclear power,” Harry Kazianis, director of defense studies at the Center for the National Interest, told USA TODAY. “There is no more time to stick our heads in the sand and think we have months or years to confront this challenge.”

Let us pray that a way can be found to derail North Korea’s nuclear program that does not involve us going to war.

Read More @ TheEconomicCollapseBlog.com

Trump Threatens North Korea With “Fire And Fury Like The World Has Never Seen Before”

from ZeroHedge:

Speaking at a press event at his golf resort in Bedminster, N.J., President Trump offered a stern warning to the rogue dictator of North Korea, Kim Jong Un, saying that he “best not make any more threats to the United States” or they “will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen.”

“North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States.  They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen.”

 

“He has been very threatening beyond a normal statement.  And, as I said, they will be met with fire, fury, and frankly power, the likes of which this world has never seen before.”

All of which spooked markets…though we’re sure a ‘Buy The Fucking Fire & Fury Dip’ rally will commence shortly.

Of course, first thing this morning we reported that according to a 500-page report by the Japanese Defense Ministry, North Korea may now be in possession of a miniature nuclear warhead. That said, the report did not move the market because the Japanese report was largely inconclusive and did not claim with certainty that this is the case.

Shortly thereafter, the exact same narrative escalated when the WaPo echoed what Japan said, only it “confirmed” that North Korea had successfully produced a miniaturized nuclear warhead that could fit inside its missiles, “crossing a key threshold on the path to becoming a full-fledged nuclear power, U.S. intelligence officials have concluded in a confidential assessment.”

As the WaPo added, the analysis completed last month by the Defense Intelligence Agency came on the heels of another intelligence assessment that sharply raised the official estimate for the total number of bombs in the communist country’s atomic arsenal.

“The IC [intelligence community] assesses North Korea has produced nuclear weapons for ballistic missile delivery, to include delivery by ICBM-class missiles,” the assessment states, in an excerpt read to The Washington Post. The assessment’s broad conclusions were verified by two U.S. officials familiar with the document. It is not yet known whether the reclusive regime has successfully tested the smaller design, although North Korean officially last year claimed to have done so.

Key takeaway…it seems the President has had some extra time to catch up on Game of Thrones during his vacation…

Read More @ ZeroHedge.com

Russia, Indonesia to Avoid Dollar in Su-35 Sale

from Russia Insider:

Indonesia says it will barter coffee, palm oil and other commodities for Russian fighter jets, calling US and European sanctions against Russia an opportunity to boost trade.

“This barter under the supervision of both governments hopefully will soon be realized through the exchange of 11 Sukhoi Su-35s and a number of Indonesian exports, starting from coffee and tea to palm oil and strategic defense products,” Indonesian Trade Minister Enggartiasto Lukita said on Monday, as quoted by Reuters.

Russian state-run corporation Rostec signed a memorandum of understanding for the deal with Indonesian state trading company PT Perusahaan Perdagangan Indonesia. Rostec says it is committed to implement the terms of a counter trade program.

At the same time, the Russian corporation reserves the option to choose which goods it receives in trade from Indonesia as well as the right to pick trade partners and producers for cooperation under the agreement, according to Rostec.

“The deal allows expanding supplies of Indonesian goods that are the most easily-suited for the Russian market. The range of products will be discussed by members of a specially created advisory group,” the company’s press release reads.

 

Indonesia already operates 16 Sukhoi jets, bought in 2003, when it was subject to a US and EU embargo on arms sales amid the alleged military’s human rights abuses in East Timor in 1999.

The Su-35 is a long-range ‘4++ generation’ super-maneuverable fighter jet. It is armed with an internal 30mm cannon and has 12 hard points with a combined capacity of 8,000kg, compatible with a wide range of unguided and guided missiles and bombs. Its maximum speed is 2,500 km/h, with a range of 3,400km, and a combat radius of around 1,600km.

Jakarta is trying to promote its palm oil products amid decreasing demand in Europe. Indonesia is the world’s number one producer of the commodity, which is widely used in cooking, cosmetics and biofuel.

Trade between Russia and Indonesia, the largest economy in Southeast Asia, has fallen in recent years, but Lukita said the wide-ranging US and EU financial and trade sanctions against Russia are an opportunity for Indonesia to revive trade through barter deals in other industries.

“This is an opportunity that should not be lost from our grasp,” said Trade Ministry spokesman Marolop Nainggolan, as quoted by AP.

Read More @ Russia-Insider.com

Can Switzerland Survive Today’s Assault on Cash and Sound Money?

by Marcia Christoff-Kurapovna, Mises Institute:

“Switzerland will have the last word,” wrote Victor Hugo in the late 19th century. “It possesses one of the most perfect forms of government in the world.” A contemporary of his, Frederick Kuenzli, a scholar of the Swiss Army, boasted: “No purer type of Republican ideals, no more fixed and devoted adherence to those ideals can be found in all the world than in Switzerland.”

On many levels, there is reason to believe that, indeed, Switzerland remains a unique oasis of rationality and intelligence in the ocean-wide bloodbath that is contemporary Western fiscal and social self-sabotage. On the other hand, there is the Swiss National Bank — the central bank — that oddly appears to be encouraging the same monetary policy dance-with-death that has tripped up the country’s masochistic neighbors. How viable yet is the Swiss element in that which we still admire as the nation of Switzerland? First the good news:

Direct democracy is alive and kicking: No mere opinion poll, the power and vibrancy of the referendum — one that can be launched by any local who can gather 100,000 signatures in support — constitutes one of the most impressive displays of true citizen-republicanism that there is. There is an upcoming vote on the Swiss Sovereign Money Initiative — a movement to obstruct financial speculation; recent referendums that were voted into law include a phasing out of nuclear energy to be replaced by renewables, and easier naturalization of third-generation immigrants.

Cash is still very much king and carrying around personal debt is a social blackmark. In fact, the love of cash has a counter-cultural dimension to it as an anti-State, anti-globalist, anti-anti-privacy gesture intended to underscore the Swiss love of freedom. The Swiss will use huge denominations (the 1000-franc note, for example) like they use pocket change to pay for everything from monthly utility bills to buying a sandwich. Professionals regularly will pay their cantonal taxes by showing up at municipal offices and unrolling a wad of bank notes. No one bats an eye. The country’s long tradition of banking secrecy has instilled a love for the untraceable privacy conferred by cash notes and coins. In fact, so serious is the Swiss demand for privacy that the federal government appoints its own public data security officer and banking secrecy remains fully in force for domestic customers,

And then there is Switzerland the banking superpower. More than any other banking system anywhere, Swiss bankers have developed the art of learning from history. From its historic position at the crossroads of and as a safe-haven from the experience of world war, hyperinflation and political upheavals, Switzerland has cultivated that legendary conservatism which ensures that Swiss bank investments still are of the highest quality. The high standard of liquidity remains in place.

However,

The creeping signs of The State are settling upon the Alpine paradise. It may come as no surprise that a central bank figures at the center of this. The strange case of the Swiss National Bank (SNB) is a phenomenon to be followed closely, if Switzerland is not to lose sight of what it means, and has always meant, to be Swiss.

At first glance, the SNB appears to be the last of the bankers’ banks. The SNB is not powerful. It is not owned by the Swiss government. It is completely independent, as expressed in Article 6 of the National Bank Act, which explicitly prohibits the bank from seeking or accepting instruction from federal authorities. Instead, the SNB has the legal status of a special-statute joint-stock company. Under Article 11, it is not allowed to acquire government bonds from new issues and monetary policy is not bankrolled by the SNB as a central bank. The SNB has private shareholders so it must report earnings like a regular company. (The Swiss Federal Government owns no shares in the bank). It has almost 640 billion francs in its currency reserves; the cantons together own 45{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528}; a further 15{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528} is owned by cantonal banks and the remaining 40{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528} by private individuals and companies. But as good as all of that sounds:

Money printing fever has hit: When the SNB turned a record-setting loss into a massive profit in 2016, it was the result of the bank’s vast portfolio of U.S. stocks amounting to some $60 billion, with investments in such companies as Google parent-company Alphabet; Apple and Facebook, among others. The bank reported profits of 24 billion Swiss francs (23.4 billion USD for 2016), one of its best years ever. (This was a major turn-around from 2015, when it recorded its biggest loss in history of 23 billion francs). 

Yet James Grant, of the legendary Wall Street newsletter Grant’s Interest Rate Observer, is having none of it. As he told the Swiss economic journal Finanz und Wirtschaft last August, this buying spree consists of francs created from “the thin alpine air where the Swiss money grows”. He adds: “All this is done with a tab of a computer key. And then the SNB calls its friendly broker – I guess UBS – and buys the ears off of the US stock exchange. All of it with money that didn’t exist. That too, is something a little bit new.”

Then there are negative interest rates…The Swiss National Bank imposed sub-zero rates in early 2015, prompting many lenders including UBS Group and Credit Suisse Group to pass on the burden – it is not known how much– to cash-rich clients like asset managers and big companies. Now, cash hoarding is going like never before, a nice problem for the SNB’s “monetary policy” if there ever was one, effectively nullifying the effect of negative rates. Swiss insurance companies are having a field day as customers pile in to buy policies to protect their cash from theft or damage given the increasing demand for cash storage.

Read More @ MisesInstitute.com

Russia Responds to New US Sanctions by Dumping the Dollar

from The Anti Media:

Following new sanctions against Russia that President Donald Trump signed into law last week, Moscow responded Monday by announcing Russia will speed up work on reducing the country’s dependence on Western payment systems and the U.S. dollar in general, according to Russia’s state-run RIA Novosti news agency.

“We will of course intensify work related to import substitution, reduction of dependence on U.S. payment systems, on the dollar as a settling currency and so on. It is becoming a vital need,” said Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov on Monday, as cited by RIA.

“(Otherwise) we will always sit on their hook, exactly what they need,” he added.

The sanctions bill, born of U.S. politicians’ continuing accusations that Russia meddled in the 2016 election, was passed by Congress and sent to Trump’s desk for final approval at the end of July.

Russia didn’t wait for the U.S. president’s signature, however, and boldly responded within hours the bill’s congressional passage. As CNN reported:

“President Vladimir Putin has hit back at new American sanctions by ordering the US to cut staff at its diplomatic mission by 755, in Moscow’s most aggressive move against Washington since the final years of the Cold War.”

Trump signed the sanctions bill into law last Wednesday, August 2.

Deputy Foreign Minister Ryabkov’s comments Monday came as his boss, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson met on the sidelines of an Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) forum in the Philippines.

Speaking of the U.S.-Russia relationship following his talk with Lavrov, Tillerson said Monday that there exists “serious mistrust between our two countries” but that they “simply have to find some way to deal with that.”

Of the alleged Russian interference in the 2016 election, Tillerson said the U.S. needs to help Russia “understand how serious this incident had been and how seriously it damaged the relationship.”

The secretary of state also said Monday that an official response to Russia’s expulsion of 755 U.S. diplomats at the end of July can be expected by September 1.

Read More @ TheAntiMedia.com

The Death of Abenomics; the Rise of Interest Rates

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by Michael Pento, Market Oracle:

Job approval numbers for Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe are in freefall. Abe’s support has now fallen below 30{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528}, and his Liberal Democratic Party recently suffered heavy losses stemming from a slew of scandals revolving around illegal subsidies received by a close associate of his wife.

But as we have seen back on this side of the hemisphere, the public’s interest in these political scandals can be easily overlooked if the underlying economic conditions are favorable. For instance, voters were apathetic when the House introduced impeachment proceedings at the end of 1998 against Bill Clinton for perjury and abuse of power. And Clinton’s perjury scandal was indefensible upon discovery of that infamous Blue Dress. The average citizen, then busily counting their chips from the dot-com casino, were disinterested in Clinton’s wrongdoings because the 1998 economy was booming. Clinton remained in office, and his Democratic party gained seats in the 1998 mid-term elections.

Therefore, Abe’s scandal is more likely a referendum on the public’s frustration with the failure of Abenomics.

When Shinzo Abe regained the office of Prime Minister during the last days of 2012, he brought with him the promise of three magic arrows: an image borrowed from a Japanese folk tale that teaches three sticks together are harder to break than one. The first arrow targeted unprecedented monetary easing, the second was humongous government spending, and the third arrow was aimed at structural reforms. The Prime Minister assured the Japanese that his “three-arrow” strategy would rescue the economy from decades of stagnation.

Unfortunately, these three arrows have done nothing to improve the life of the average Japanese person. Instead, they have only succeeded in blowing up the debt, wrecking the value of the yen and exploding the Bank of Japan’s (BOJ) balance sheet. For years Japanese savers have not only seen their yen denominated deposits garner a zero percent interest rate in the bank; but even worse, have lost purchasing power against foreign currencies. The yen has lost over 30 percent of its value against the US dollar since Abe regained power in 2012.

Meanwhile, the Japanese economy is still entrenched in its “lost-decades” morass; and growing at just over one percent year over year in Q1 2017. Japan’s dramatic slowdown in growth, which averaged at an annual rate of 4.5 percent in the 1980s, fell to 1.5 percent in the 1990s and never recovered. In addition to this, higher health care costs from an aging population have driven government health care spending to move from 4.5 percent of GDP in 1990, to 9.5 percent in 2010, according to IMF estimates.

Incredibly, this low-growth and debt-disabled economy has a 10-Year Note that yields around zero percent; thanks only to BOJ purchases.

Prime Minister Abe’s plan to address this recent scandal-driven plummet in the polls is to increase government spending even more and have the BOJ simply step up the printing press. In other words, he is going to double down on the first two arrows that have already failed! However, the Japanese people appear as though they have now had enough.

Japan’s National Debt is already over a quadrillion yen (250{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528} of GDP). And the nation would never be able to service this debt if the BOJ didn’t own most of it. The sad truth is that the only viable alternative for Japanese Government Bonds (JGBs) is an explicit or implicit default.  And, a default of the implicit variety has already occurred because the BOJ now owns most of the government debt—total assets held by the BOJ is around 93{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528} of GDP; JGBs equal 70{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528} of GDP.

Read More @ MarketOracle.com

War Fever Mounts — ‘Russia Is First, China Is Next’

from LaRouche PAC:

John Pilger, a fierce critic of the Anglo-American war party, issued a stern warning Saturday of an onrushing nuclear war. “A coup against the man in the White House is under way,” he wrote on Truthdig.”This is not because he is an odious human being, but because he has consistently made clear he does not want war with Russia…. They have encircled Russia and China with missiles and a nuclear arsenal. They have used neo-Nazis to install an unstable, aggressive regime on Russia’s borderland — the way through which Hitler invaded, causing the deaths of 27 million people…. Russia is first, China is next.”

This follows the similar stern warning from Oliver Stone on Friday, who pointed to the insanity demonstrated by the nearly unanimous Congressional vote imposing sanctions on Russia (which Trump has declared to be unconstitutional, adding that he would not implement such unconstitutional laws). Stone concluded: “I now fully realize how World War I started.”

Both these men are sounding a necessary alarm, but missing the necessary solution, as enunciated by Lyndon LaRouche on July 31:”The American people must demand that the ongoing treasonous British coup against the U.S. Presidency and the nation itself must be stopped and its perpetrators prosecuted and imprisoned. The British system must be cancelled, and the President must make every effort to save the people of this country and the rest of humanity from further British-directed deprivations against their lives. Cancel the British; save the people.”

The British-instigated Cold War, set in motion immediately after the death of their American nemesis Franklin Roosevelt, is now back in place, but in a world in which any war will be thermonuclear in nature, and result in the end of civilization as we know it, or perhaps human extinction. Roosevelt, in addition to telling Winston Churchill to his face that the U.S. would not fight the war to save the British Empire, also formed a partnership with Russia and China—precisely those nations which he knew were necessary and sufficient to defeat the British Empire and the Nazi scourge it had produced. His untimely death, and the subsequent Presidency of British puppet Harry Truman, precipitated America’s slaughter of tens of thousands of innocents by nuclear incineration, (exactly 72 years ago yesterday in Hiroshima), while also helping the colonialist powers back into their former colonies, forcing generations of anti-colonial wars and more hundreds of thousands of unnecessary deaths.

What we face today is far worse.

And yet, the solutions are not only known—they have been promoted by LaRouche for these past 50 years—, but they are now also in hand, being implemented under the leadership of China and Russia across Eurasia, Africa and Ibero-America, in the form of the Belt and Road Initiative — the New Silk Road initiated by Lyndon and Helga LaRouche after the collapse of the Soviet Union, as a means for peace through development and the end of warfare as a means of imperial power.

Trump is standing his ground. He correctly blamed the corrupt Congress for the deteriorating relations between the world’s two leading nuclear powers, and announced that he is sending an envoy to meet with the Russians regarding the festering crisis in Ukraine. Secretary Rex Tillerson met today for over an hour with Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on the sidelines of the ASEAN meeting in Manila, while the progress in Syria is demonstrating to the world how terrorism can be defeated through close U.S.-Russian cooperation.

Meanwhile, China is demonstrating how development can transform the areas of the world looted and otherwise ignored by the Western powers for hundreds of years. Just over the weekend they have contracted to build a huge hydropower plant in Angola as part of their transformation of African infrastructure, and announced a multibillion-dollar investment into Haiti, including power, rail, housing, markets and more, creating 20,000 jobs by the end of this year. How pathetic this makes Obama’s expressions of sympathy for the victims of the earthquake which destroyed that nation in 2010, while barely lifting a finger to rebuild anything, let alone transform it into a modern nation!

The ten Southeast Asian nations and China today agreed on a framework for a Code of Conduct in the South China Sea, marking another step towards peace and cooperation in that region of the world, now that Obama’s meddling in the Philippines has been ended with the election of Rodrigo Duterte, who is hosting the ASEAN meetings in Manila. Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi praised the progress in the region, which will continue to move forward, he said, towards a “comprehensive strategic partnership,” as long as “there is no major disruption from outside parties,” making the obvious reference to the Obama years.

While the danger of war has reached a critical point, such danger also holds tremendous potential for the “new paradigm” to sweep across Europe and the U.S. The Europeans are furious at the secondary sanctions against their economies under the Russia sanction bill, and many leading voices are now calling for a restoration of relations with Russia and a rejection of the dictates issued by the U.S. Congress. In the U.S., while Trump and Tillerson stand up for sanity in regard to Russia and China, industrial and agricultural delegations from several states are visiting China, looking to Chinese trade and infrastructure investments to help lift the country out of its malaise.

Read More @ LaRouchePAC.com