Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Washington Is the “New Rome”

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by Jim Rickards, Daily Reckoning:

I just got back from a trip to Washington, or what I call “New Rome” because Washington’s relationship to the rest of America is the same as Rome’s relations with the agrarian and plebeian citizens of its vast domains in late antiquity.

Washington is a parasite that sucks the rest of the country dry. The counties surrounding Washington, D.C., have the highest per capita income of any metropolitan area in the country including New York, Hollywood and Silicon Valley. The unemployment rate is also the lowest of any large region in the country.

At least New York, Silicon Valley and Hollywood all produce something we need or enjoy. Washington produces red tape, taxes and new ways to handicap innovation on a daily basis.

While America staggers after its first lost decade (2007–17) and with a new lost decade set to begin (Japan, anyone?), Washington grows fat and rich. Trust me, the hotels and restaurants in town are jammed. No depression here.

This is an important observation because it has to do with how great powers decline and fall.

The conventional view of the fall of the Roman Empire is that they succumbed to barbarian invaders. That’s only half the story. In fact, barbarians had invaded for centuries and been repeatedly repulsed by Roman citizens who valued their citizenship and were loyal to the emperor and senate in Rome.

Yet as Rome grew corrupt and decadent, it increased taxes and offered less safety in return. There came a time when barbarian rule looked better to frontier agrarians than rule from the corrupt cosmopolitan center.

When the barbarians invaded for the last time, citizens welcomed them. The barbarian policy was 10{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528} taxes in exchange for order. Rome offered 20{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528} taxation and disorder. Citizens went with the barbarians, and the rest is history.

Rome was not destroyed from the outside; it collapsed from the center. I see something similar happening today.

So why was I in Washington?

Well, for better or worse, this is where critical decisions are made that affect war and peace, decline or prosperity and the success or failure of enterprise. If you want to provide forward-leaning analysis to readers, it’s important to interact both with decision makers and the policy experts who advise them.

I’m always happy to share what I learn with my readers, unless it’s highly sensitive material I can’t divulge for national security reasons.

Here’s the latest readout:

There won’t be any tax cut this year. As we say in New York, “fuggedaboudit.” Maybe next year, but even that’s not clear. The stock market has “priced in” a tax cut four or five times since last November. Wall Street loves a good story. So a tax cut policy failure, similar to the failure to repeal Obamacare, could be catalyst for a 10{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528} stock market correction in coming months.

We’ve had four stock market corrections of 10–15{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528} in each of the past eight years, or one every two years on average. The last one was January 2016, almost two years ago. So we’re due.

A 10{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528} stock market correction is not the end of the world. Still, a quick 2,300-point drop in the Dow Jones industrial average might get some attention. This looks like a good time to decrease your equity exposure and allocate more to cash.

Another potential catalyst to watch for is a possible government shutdown on Dec. 8. That’s the day the congressional authorization to keep the government open expires. Unlike the tax bill and some other issues, you need 60 Senate votes to keep the government running. That means Democrats have to go along.

The issues on which Democrats and Republicans disagree include funding for Trump’s border wall, Planned Parenthood, Obamacare insurance bailouts, sanctuary cities and “Dreamer” immigration status. You get the point. There’s no middle ground.

We’ve had several government shutdowns in the past seven years. Again, this is not the end of the world. But it does not inspire confidence in U.S. governance at a time when China is taking center stage and war drums are beating in North Korea. There’s nothing the stock market likes less than uncertainty. This could be a catalyst for the overdue stock market correction.

Read More @ DailyReckoning.com

Saudi Arabia Is Finally Admitting in Actions that Muhammad’s Teachings can Lead to Islamic Terror

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by Tim Brown, Freedom Outpost:

Though Saudi Arabia practices much of what Muhammad teaches, their current actions demonstrate clearly that they acknowledge that those teachings can, and do, lead to Islamic terrorism.

It’s being reported by Reuters that the Saudis are going to be monitoring interpretations of Muhammad’s teachings in an attempt to sanitize those teachings from being used to justify violence or terrorism, according to the Culture and Information Ministry.

Of course, the title of the Reuters article was also attempting to sanitize the teachings of Islam:  “Saudi Arabia to vet use of Prophet’s sayings to counter extremism.”

Those engaging in jihad are merely following in the footsteps of Muhammad who did the same thing.  He waged real war on his enemies and called for the conversion and murder of non-Muslims and even Muslims whom he deemed to be hypocrites.

Reuters reported:

In a decree, King Salman bin Abdulaziz al Saud ordered the establishment of an authority to scrutinise uses of the hadith – accounts of the sayings, actions or habits of the Prophet (PBUH) that are used by preachers and jurists to support teachings and edicts on all aspects of life.

The ministry said late on Tuesday that the body’s aim would be to “eliminate fake and extremist texts and any texts that contradict the teachings of Islam and justify the committing of crimes, murders and terrorist acts”.

The body will be based in Madina and overseen by a council of senior Islamic scholars from around the world, according to the decree. The ministry offered no specific details of how it would work in practice.

Senior clergy have denounced militant doctrines such as those of al Qaeda or Da’ish, while the government, which vets clerics in Saudi Arabia’s 70,000 mosques, has sacked many for encouraging violence or sedition.

Foreign Minister Adel al Jubeir said last month that thousands of extremist clerics had been dismissed, although he gave no timeframe.

Read More @ FreedomOutpost.com

Is America Becoming the Next Sweden?

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by Dave Hodges, The Common Sense Show:

President Trump has tried with all of his might to lessen the threat that could be potentially posed by Muslim immigrants in the sam emanner as has been experienced in Europe. His efforts are being met with an all out war on both his presidency and the American people.

To All Muslim Immigrants:

If one is a Muslim who is legitmately running for their lives and haas achieved the requisite refugee status,  and then come to America, welcome! Welcome immigrants, America will provide you and your family with unparalleled freedom compared to what you have experienced. Your girls will have a future and the sanctity of their bodies will be protected by law. Your children will receive as much education as they earn. And you will not find a caste system that will prevent your children from pursuing their dreams. This is the country that you have been lucky enough to be deposited in. Further, if you are willing to respect the Constitution as the supreme law of the land, we welcome you to take your place in our great country. Welcome immigrant, aas the guests of a generous country, if you respect the right of Jews, Christians and others to practice their religion as they have since the inception of the country. If however, you wish to practice Sharia Law to the exclusion of the Constitution and America’s right to worship and travel anywhere in the country as we please, then you need to leave before the legitmate forces of this country, led by President Donald Trump, expel you and yours. You have entered a country in which your right to worship as you wish is granted but that right ends at the constitutionally protected noses of your new neighbors. We will not tolerate any substitution for the Constitution being the supreme law of the land. If you plan to conspire to create no-go-zones and hararass local citizens and rape local women, as people of your status have in Sweden, then pack your bags and leave.

Please make note that on President Trump’s Facebook page, it declares that: “Just out report: ‘United Kingdom crime rises 13{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528} annually amid spread of Radical Islamic terror.’ Not good, we must keep America safe!”

 The Mainstream Media to the Rescue

When President Trump speaks, there is always an equal and opposite reaction to the truth he espouses. In this instance there was no difference as the purveyors of propaganda were quick to label Trump, again, for the “unparalleled racist” that he is and to claim that they have fact checked his statement of Muslim immigrants bringing increased criminality to Sweden and that Trump is unequivocably incorrect.

President Trump has long proclaimed that the media has consistently claimed that he and the Republicans are wrong and “Islamophobic” for saying that many cities in Europe have “No-Go Zones” where all non-Muslims are intimidated into not traveling ito because of the threat to their lives. It is not just Sweden, it is also Germany, France and Italy et al.

In reaction to the increasing violence spurred by immigrants, Sweden’s centrist Moderate Party proposed sending in the Swedish Army into several high-crime areas, in which the vast majority of the perpetrators are Muslims. The proposed intervention would center in Stockholm’s suburbs in order to restore order and to keep the citizens safe. In Sweden, it is not an exaggeration to claim that there is outright urban warfare currently going on.Moderate Party member Mikael Cederbratt“ It is absolutely necessary to do something, because these gangs are like cancerous tumours in our country, and it is urgent. My absolute belief is that we, the nation of Sweden, must declare war on criminal gangs.” In Sweden, most of the criminal element consists of immigrants from the the Middle East andNorth Africa. They live under the banner of Sharia Law and as a result they do not believe that there is a punishment too harsh for non-believers. It is not an exaggeration to state that these are the behaviors that President Trump is trying to prevent in America.

Don’t Confuse the Mainstream Media with the Facts

When Trump has tried to create an environment in which all Muslim immigrants would be vetted for being a threat to national security, as many are in Sweden, Trump was declared a racist. The media showered Donald Trump with allegations of being an Islamaphobe. He is being villified again for stating that Sweden is the prime example of what America shouldn’t do in regards to law enforcement and immigration. Since when is it racist to determine the intentions and the potential threat US security by any immigrant group? If an immigrant has nothing to hide, then shouldn’t they welcome the non-invasive background checks? Do we really want ISIS and their MS-13 allies roaming the American countryside looking to wreak havoc? And that is what a borderless society invites. For all the trouble that his happening in Sweden, what is the media’s response to the Swedish controversy?  The country, in its present state is referred to as a moral superpower by the mainstream media.

In Germany, if one makes a Facebook post criticing immigration policies they go to jail. In America, we are now seeing that hurricane relief funds will be withheld for the “wrong political beliefs (ie protesting Israel). Yes, t is a adiffernt country, the loss of the Constitution is equally felt by all.  Also in Germany, the government evicted German citizen apartments and evicted them in order to make room for the Muslim immigrants. How long until that happens here in America?

Consider what CNBC released just this morning:

“The U.S government issued a rare public warning that sophisticated hackers are targeting energy and industrial firms, the latest sign that cyber attacks present an increasing threat to the power industry and other public infrastructure.”

And we are listening to the liberals who want totally open borders so groups that could wreak such havoc on our society? Since when is self-defense a racist concept? Does Hillary Clinton leave her door unlocked at night so anyone can come in?

What the Media Ignores About the Civil War In Sweden

 The data is in and it declares that Sweden is the “rape capital” of the Western Civilization. this includes a dramatic and random series of attacks on Swedish police and First Responders (ie anyone in uniform). In this year alone, Sweden is witnessing a 550{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528} rise in hand grenade attacks on the police as well as random citizens. These attacks most often take place in the “No-Go Zones” that the media once said do not exist at all. Wait a minute where have we heard the announced intentions to kill police and first responders? Isn’t this what Antifa declared when they stated that they would start a civil war by any means possible? What about the November 4th warning about widespread terrorism to be unleashed in America?

Read More @ TheCommonSenseShow.com

GOLD AND SILVER REBOUND ON EITHER TRUMP’S CLOSE TO PICKING A FED NOMINEE OR MOST LIKELY REACTING TO IMMINENT THREAT COMING FROM NORTH KOREA

by Harvey Organ, Harvey Organ Blog:

TROUBLE IN SPAIN AS ARTICLE 155 IS INVOKED AND THE CATALANS RESPOND TO CREATE HAVOC/GENERAL ELECTRIC AGAIN CRASHES AS A SIGN OF POOR GLOBAL GROWTH/VENEZUELA MOST PROBABLY WILL DEFAULT IN THE NEXT FEW WEEKS AS INCOME IS FALTERING FROM ITS OIL OPERATIONS

GOLD: $1279.65 UP $0.30

Silver: $17.05 UP 2 cents

Closing access prices:

Gold $1282.20

silver: $17.08

SHANGHAI GOLD FIX:  FIRST FIX  10 15 PM EST  (2:15 SHANGHAI LOCAL TIME)

SECOND FIX:  2:15 AM EST  (6:15 SHANGHAI LOCAL TIME)

SHANGHAI FIRST GOLD FIX: $1290.33 DOLLARS PER OZ

NY PRICE OF GOLD AT EXACT SAME TIME:  $1275.55

PREMIUM FIRST FIX:  $14.78(premiums getting larger)

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SECOND SHANGHAI GOLD FIX: $1290.33

NY GOLD PRICE AT THE EXACT SAME TIME: $1276.55

Premium of Shanghai 2nd fix/NY:$13.78 PREMIUMS GETTING LARGER)  

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LONDON FIRST GOLD FIX:  5:30 am est  $1275.25

NY PRICING AT THE EXACT SAME TIME: $1275.85

LONDON SECOND GOLD FIX  10 AM: $1274.90

NY PRICING AT THE EXACT SAME TIME. 1274.75

For comex gold:

OCTOBER/

NOTICES FILINGS TODAY FOR OCT CONTRACT MONTH: 4 NOTICE(S) FOR  400OZ.

TOTAL NOTICES SO FAR: 2443 FOR 244,300 OZ  (7.599TONNES)

For silver:

OCTOBER

 

 5 NOTICES FILED TODAY FOR

 

25,000  OZ/

Total number of notices filed so far this month: 784 for 3,920,000 oz

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Bitcoin:  $5659 bid /$5678 offer DOWN $278.00(MORNING)

BITCOIN CLOSING;$5904 BID:5924. OFFERDOWN $29.00

end

Let us have a look at the data for today

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In silver, the total open interest FELL BY ONLY 722 contracts from  193 ,086 DOWN TO 192,364 WITH RESPECT TO FRIDAY’S TRADING (DOWN  22 CENTS).  THE CROOKS ARE STILL HAVING AN AWFUL TIME TRYING TO COVER THEIR MASSIVE SILVER SHORTS. 

RESULT: A SMALL SIZED FALL IN OI COMEXWITH THE  22 CENT PRICE FALL.  OUR BANKERS COULD NOT COVER MUCH OF THEIR HUGE SHORTFALL

 In ounces, the OI is still represented by just UNDER 1 BILLION oz i.e.  0.966 BILLION TO BE EXACT or 138{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528} of annual global silver production (ex Russia & ex China).

FOR THE NEW FRONT OCT MONTH/ THEY FILED: 14 NOTICE(S) FOR 70,000OZ OF SILVER.

In gold, the open interest SURPRISINGLY FELL  BY ONLY722 CONTRACTS DESPITE THECONSIDERABLE FALL IN PRICE OF GOLD ($9.05) .  The new OI for the gold complex rests at 529,313. OUR BANKER FRIENDS  COULD NOT COVER ANY OF THEIR GOLD SHORTS AS THEIR RAID FAILED MISERABLY IN THE ATTEMPT TO COVER ON FRIDAY..SO THEY INITIATED ANOTHER RAID THIS MORNING AND THAT ENDED IN FAILURE.

 

Result: A SMALL SIZEDDECREASE IN OI WITH CONSIEREABLE FALL IN PRICE IN GOLD ($9.05). WE HAD MINIMAL BANKER GOLD SHORT COVERING AS THE BANKERS FAILED MISERABLY TO LOOSEN ANY GOLD LEAVES FROM THE GOLD TREE ON FRIDAY..SO THEY INITIATED ANOTHER RAID THIS MORNING WHICH ENDED IN FAILURE..

we had: 0 notice(s) filed upon for NIL  oz of gold.

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With respect to our two criminal funds, the GLD and the SLV:

GLD:   

Tonight , NO CHANGESin gold inventory at the GLD/

Inventory rests tonight: 853.13 tonnes.

SLV

Today:   STRANGE!! WITH SILVER CLOSING HIGHER WE HAD A WITHDRAWAL OF 1,039,000 OZ FROM THE SLV

INVENTORY RESTS AT 320.288 MILLION OZ

 

end

.

First, here is an outline of what will be discussed tonight:

1. Today, we had the open interest in silver SURPRISINGLY FELL  BY ONLY 722 contractsfrom 193,098  DOWN TO 192,364(AND now A LITTLE FURTHER FROM THE NEW COMEX RECORD SET ON FRIDAY/APRIL 21/2017 AT 234,787) .  OUR BANKERS WERE AGAIN UNSUCCESSFUL IN THEIR ATTEMPT TO COVER MUCH OF THEIR SILVER SHORTS.

RESULT:  A SMALL DECREASE IN SILVER OI  AT THE COMEX WITH THE  GOOD SIZED FALL IN PRICE OF 22 CENTS (WITH RESPECT TO FRIDAY’S TRADING). OUR BANKER FRIENDS WERE UNSUCCESSFUL IN THEIR ATTEMPT TO COVER MUCH OF OUR SILVER SHORTS

(report Harvey)

.

2.a) The Shanghai and London gold fix report

(Harvey)

 

2 b) Gold/silver trading overnight Europe, Goldcore

(Mark O’Byrne/zerohedge

and in NY:  Bloomberg

3. ASIAN AFFAIRS

i)Late SUNDAY night/MONDAY morning: Shanghai closed UP 2.05 points or .06{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528} /Hang Sang CLOSED DOWN 181.36 pts or 0.64{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528} / The Nikkei closed UP 239.01 POINTS OR .04/Australia’s all ordinaires CLOSED UP 0.19{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528}/Chinese yuan (ONSHORE) closed DOWNat 6.6403/Oil UP to 52.13 dollars per barrel for WTI and 57.77 for Brent. Stocks in Europe OPENED IN THE GREEN EXCEPT SPAIN.  ONSHORE YUAN CLOSED DOWN AGAINST THE DOLLAR AT 6.6403. OFFSHORE YUAN CLOSED STRONGER TO THE ONSHORE YUAN AT 6.6501 AND //ONSHORE YUANWEAKER AGAINST THE DOLLAR/OFF SHORE WEAKER TO THE DOLLAR/. THE DOLLAR (INDEX) IS STRONGER AGAINST ALL MAJOR CURRENCIES. CHINA IS NOT HAPPY TODAY.

Read More @ HarveyOrganBlog.com

Gundlach Warns “The Order of The Financial System Is About To Be Turned Upside Down”

from Zero Hedge:

“I’m not a big fan of bonds right now,” may seem like an odd way for the so-called Bond King to begin, but in an audience at Vanity Fair’s Establishment Summit, DoubleLine’s Jeff Gundlach told Bethany McLean, “I haven’t been really [a fan of bonds] for the past four years, even though I manage them, and institutions have to own them for various reasons.”

As Vanity Fair’s William Cohan reports, Gundlach admitted “I’m stuck in it,” of his massive bond portfolio, adding that interest rates have bottomed out and been rising gradually for the past six years.

Gundlach said his job now, on behalf of his clients, “is to get them to the other side of the valley.”

When the bigger, seemingly inevitable hikes in interest rates come, “I’ll feel like I’ve done a service by getting people through,” he said.

“That’s why I’m still at the game. I want to see how the movie ends.”

But it can’t end well. To illustrate his point about the risk in owning bonds these days, Gundlach shared a chart that showed how investors in European “junk” bonds are willing to accept the same no-default return as they are for U.S. Treasury bonds, pointing out that this phenomenon has been caused by “manipulated behavior” by central banks.

European interest rates “should be much higher than they are today,” he said,

“…[and] once Draghi realizes this, the order of the financial system will be turned upside down and it won’t be a good thing.

It will mean the liquidity that has been pumping up the markets will be drying up in 2018…

…Things go down. We’ve been in an artificially inflated market for stocks and bonds largely around the world.

“My job is to find scary things,” Gundlach told McLean

“My critics say, ‘You find seven risks for every one that exists.’ Guilty. That’s my job. My job is to try to find out what can go wrong, not cover my ears and hum. It’s better to keep your eyes open.”

Read More @ ZeroHedge.com

The EU’s anti-Brussels dominos keep falling: AfD in Germany, Freedom Party in Austria, Babiš in the Czech Republic

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by Alexander Mercouris, The Duran:

Czech election result points to deep malaise in Europe but unlikely to trigger crisis or cause change in EU policies

On 25th June 2016, shortly after Britain’s Brexit referendum, I wrote an article for The Duran in which I pointed out that the British vote for Brexit was a symptom of growing disaffection across Europe with an EU project which has evolved into something very different from the community of European nation states which it had initially been.

The problem is less that the EU is evolving into some sort of pan-European superstate – in my opinion the EU is far too dysfunctional for that ever to happen – but that since the end of the Cold War the EU has become alongside NATO a vehicle of US control of Europe, and has therefore come increasingly to serve US geopolitical interests rather than the interests of the people of Europe

John Laughland in a recent RT Crosstalk called the EU more accurately a cartel of governments who conspire behind the scenes with each other to pass legislation without the need to consult with their democratically elected parliaments.  Whilst that is closer to the truth, it is not the whole truth.  Rather the EU, at least as it has become over the last decade, is best understood as a cabal of three governments, primarily those of the US and Germany, with France treated by the Germans (though not by the US) as a sort of junior partner, which make the decisions in secret that are binding on all the rest.

I appreciate that this description of the EU will meet with strong objections in some quarters, especially as by far the most powerful of these governments is that of the US which is not a member of the EU.  However what I say is well known by all the relevant insiders.  Indeed the facts speak for themselves and are hardly even concealed.  On key issues EU policy is nowadays decided in private bilateral discussions between the US and the Germans, often involving the US President and the German Chancellor, with the Germans then telling the other Europeans what they should do…..

In the same article I pointed out that this repeatedly results in policies being followed which whilst they serve US geopolitical interests European electorates have never agreed to and in many cases do not want.

I gave two examples, the issue of internal migration within the EU and the Eurozone crisis, where US geopolitical interests have both created the crises and prevented solutions to them

Take the issue that more than any other crystallised anti-EU sentiment in Britain during the Brexit referendum: the EU’s policy of unrestricted internal migration, which has resulted in large numbers of East European migrant workers coming to Britain. 

Freedom of movement within the EU has always been a core principle of the EU.  It was never an issue within the EU until the EU was expanded to include the much poorer countries of Eastern Europe.  That expansion – as everyone knows – was driven not by European needs but first and foremost by US geopolitical strategies, being intended to anchor Eastern Europe in the US-led Western alliance system.

To that end the East European states were admitted into the EU long before their economic situations justified doing so.  In order to seal the deal their elites were won over by promises of a seat at the EU top table.  Huge sums were paid over to them principally by Germany through the so-called EU structural funds (originally conceived to foster development in the EU’s poorer regions but increasingly used in Eastern and Southern Europe as a form of legalised bribery to bind local elites).  Lastly, their young people were won over with the promise of visa free access to the rest of Europe – thus creating the migrant situation that has been the cause of so much anger in Britain. 

The implications were never thought through or discussed within Europe because EU expansion ultimately followed a US geopolitical agenda rather than a European one.  The result is that despite increasing alarm across Europe at the consequences of the policy the EU bureaucracy continues to pursue the same policy towards other states the US wants to bring into the system like Turkey and Ukraine.

Or take another issue: the Eurozone crisis.  The idea of European monetary union was originally conceived in the 1970s and was already firmly on the agenda by the late 1980s.  Margaret Thatcher fell from power because she opposed it.  The idea it was conceived following the fall of the Berlin Wall is wrong.

What has made the Eurozone crisis so intractable is its well-known structural problems – the fact a single currency was created to cover very different economies without a single treasury or tax system behind it – but also the contradiction between the US geopolitical ambitions that increasingly drive the EU and European needs if the Eurozone is to be managed properly. 

Economic conditions in southern Europe – in Greece especially – point clearly to the need for at least some of these countries to exit the Eurozone, a fact that is well-understood within the German government.  Yet that option is ruled out not just because of opposition within Europe itself but because again it goes against the geopolitical interest of the US, which is to keep these countries locked within the euro system, which in turn binds them to the Western alliance and therefore ultimately to the US itself.  Thus at the height of the Grexit crisis last year German Chancellor Merkel abruptly reversed a previously agreed German position to support Grexit following a call from President Obama of the US who told her not to.  The result is that instead of the Greek crisis being resolved once and for all in Europe’s and Greece’s interests – as German Finance Minister Schauble said it should be – it has instead been left to fester indefinitely.

To these two example I would add a third, the refugee crisis which hit Europe in the autumn of 2015, and which is the direct catalyst for the recent votes for anti-Brussels anti-immigration parties in the recent elections in Germany, Austria and the Czech Republic.

Though the decision – taken practically without consultation – to let in hundreds of thousands of refugees from the Middle East is generally blamed on German Chancellor Angela Merkel, in reality there is little doubt that she acted in the way she did because she knew that the US would be happy with the way she was acting in that way.

The refugee exodus was after all the direct product of the US’s regime change wars in the Middle East and in Syria especially.  By acting to admit the refugees Merkel was acting to relieve a humanitarian crisis that US policies had created, saving the US embarrassment and the problems this crisis was causing for the US with its Middle East allies, especially Jordan and Turkey.

Merkel for her part was at the time especially anxious to please the US in order to repair the damage done to her reputation by her brutal handling of the Greek crisis earlier that year.  She therefore did something which she knew the US would approve of without thinking the consequences through.

Read More @ TheDuran.com

The Russian Intervention in the U.S. Civil War (1861-1865)

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by Alex Krainer, Russia Insider:

Basically, the Russian intervention saved the North from losing the war.

“The arrival of the Russian fleet to New York and San Francisco “unleashed an immense wave of euphoria in the North.” “The Russian visit … ended the last chance of European intervention.”

The U.S. Civil War has become a popular topic of late, but as it turns out, what nearly everyone thinks they know about that event is wrong, in part – and this part is very significant.

My high school and university history classes left me with the impression that the war was fought over the issue of slavery: the “North” (good guys) was against slavery and wanted it abolished; the “South” (bad guys) wanted to keep the slaves, so they all went to war. Good guys won, bad guys lost, slaves got their freedom, and the world was made a better place.

That, in a nutshell, is what I thought I knew about the Civil War. I’m not sure why I had that idea so, to make sure I wasn’t mistaken I conducted an informal survey among my American friends and acquaintances, all university educated people, some of them with advanced degrees. I asked about a dozen of them what they thought U.S. Civil War was about.

To a person, all of them unhesitatingly answered that it was about the abolition of slavery. Furthermore, none of them were aware that Russia played any role at all in the Civil War.

It struck me that maybe my friends and I all had the same basic idea about that event because we were meant to have that idea, which is now pretty much part of the popular culture. However, the popular interpretation omits some critical aspects of history.

While slavery was one of Civil War’s pivotal issues, the notion that the war was fought over slavery alone is simply wrong. The main issue on the opposing sides’ agendas was the secession of the southern Confederation vs. the preservation of the Union.

The issue of slavery was a distant second on President Lincoln’s agenda and he showed no intention to force the southern states to free their slaves.

In his inaugural address he said:

I have no purpose, directly or indirectly to interfere with the institution of slavery in the states where it now exists. I believe I have no lawful right to do so, and I have no inclination to do so.

Lincoln did not change his position even well into the war. In his August 22, 1862 letter to Horace Greely, he wrote,

My paramount objective is to save the union, and it is not either to save or destroy slavery. If I could save the union without freeing any slave, I would do it.” [2]

Far from being a domestic affair about the human rights of the slaves, Civil War was a momentous geopolitical event with massive international implications. In his 1960 book “War for the Union,” historian Allan Nevins wrote that,

It is hardly too much to say that the future of the world as we know it was at stake. … Anglo-French intervention in the American conflict would probably have confirmed the splitting and consequent weakening of the United States; might have given French power in Mexico a long lease, with the ruin of the Monroe Doctrine; and would perhaps have led to the Northern conquest of Canada. … The popular conception of this contest is at some points erroneous, and at a few grossly fallacious…” [3]

Behind the veil of overt neutrality, British and French governments both worked to bring about the breakup of the Union, covertly siding with the Confederation. A powerful faction in the British cabinet, which included the Prime Minister Lord Palmerston, Chancellor of the Exchequer William Gladstone, and Foreign Minister Lord John Russell, strongly advocated British intervention on the side of the Confederation. However, for a variety of reasons, Britain had to be extremely cautious about taking any strong actions.

Read More @ Russia-Insider.com

Spanish Government Announces Plan for ‘Coup’ Against Catalonia

by Julia Conley, The Anti Media:

Thousands of Catalans were planning protests for Saturday afternoon following Rajoy’s announcement.

(COMMONDREAMSThousands of Catalans were expected to protest Saturday afternoon after Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy announced he would take control of Catalonia by invoking Article 155 of the Spanish constitution, weeks after the region’s independence referendum.

Defying the majority of Catalan voters who approved of a split from Spain in Catalonia’s independence referendum this month, Rajoy spoke at a press conference about his plans to transfer the power of the region’s president, Carles Puigdemont, to the central government, and hold early elections in the next six months.

Forty percent of Catalonia’s 5.5 eligible voters cast ballots in the referendum, despite a show of force by Spanish police that left nearly 900 people injured ahead of the October 1 vote.

Ninety percent of those who voted approved of independence, according to the regional government. Officials said that in addition to police violence, Spanish law enforcement raided polling stations, resulting in the loss of 770,000 ballots.

Following the vote, large crowds in Barcelona last weekend called for peaceful negotiations to determine the next step, but Rajoy has rejected dialogue on the grounds that the Spanish government sees Catalonia’s referendum as illegal.

Observers and supporters of Catalonia’s independence movement denounced Rajoy’s planned power grab on social media.

Read More @ TheAntiMedia.com

Great News, Everyone! The CIA Has Promised To Become ‘Much More Vicious’!

by Caitlin Johnstone, The Burning Platform:

It’s not often that I get to be the bearer of good news at my humble little gig here on Medium, but readers will be glad to learn that I can put your minds at ease about at least one major concern today: the CIA is about to become much more vicious. 

It goes without saying that one of the major worries on the average American’s mind is that the Central Intelligence Agency has gotten far too soft and cuddly lately, but at Thursday’s National Security Summit for the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, CIA Director Mike Pompeo assured us that we can all breathe a sigh of relief. The Jerusalem Post reports that Pompeo said his role in the CIA has entailed helping it “become a much more vicious agency” in fighting US adversaries, which include Iran and the “Syrian regime.”

Pompeo did not specify the ways in which the CIA will be increasing its woefully deficient amount of viciousness, so it’s unclear how it will be escalating its savagery beyond torture, assassinations, drug running, warmongering, manipulating elections and toppling governments around the world, spying on congressional legislators and lying about it under oath, conducting psyops on entire nations, illegal domestic espionage, Orwellian surveillance programs, infiltrating the media, drug-induced mind control experiments, and deliberately arming and training known terrorist factions.Regardless, we can all sleep a little safer at night knowing that the agency will finally be taking off the kid gloves and dispensing with cutesy little girl scout tactics like those employed by the Phoenix program, an operation which involved in the kidnapping, torture, and murder of thousands upon thousandsof Vietnamese civilians, its methods including the following:

Rape, gang rape, rape using eels, snakes, or hard objects, and rape followed by murder; electric shock (‘the Bell Telephone Hour’) rendered by attaching wires to the genitals or other sensitive parts of the body, like the tongue; the ‘water treatment’; the ‘airplane’ in which the prisoner’s arms were tied behind the back, and the rope looped over a hook on the ceiling, suspending the prisoner in midair, after which he or she was beaten; beatings with rubber hoses and whips; the use of police dogs to maul prisoners,

and:

The use of the insertion of the 6-inch dowel into the canal of one of my detainee’s ears, and the tapping through the brain until dead. The starvation to death (in a cage), of a Vietnamese woman who was suspected of being part of the local political education cadre in one of the local villages…The use of electronic gear such as sealed telephones attached to…both the women’s vaginas and men’s testicles [to] shock them into submission.

So plainly it’s time for these fine fellows to stop playing Mr. Nice Guy and start doing some real work for freedom and democracy. Perhaps they can start filling Yemeni war orphans with helium until they float into the atmosphere and explode, or airdrop busloads of civilians on top of nursing homes in Syria? Surely there’s a way to napalm cities via drone by now, right? It’s 2017 for cryin’ out loud!

Read More @ TheBurningPlatform.com

Kazakhstan Launching Fiat Cryptocurrency

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from Rogue Money:

“The country’s government-supported Astana International Finance Center (AIFC) said Tuesday it had signed a deal of cooperation with Maltese firm Exante.

In a press release, Exante, which calls itself a “next generation investment company,” said it would work with the AIFC to develop the ex-Soviet nation’s untapped cryptocurrency market.

”Blockchain and cryptocurrencies are entering the mainstream of today’s economic reality,” Kairat Kelimbetov, governor of the Astana International Finance Center, said in the press release Tuesday.

”Astana’s leading financial regulators have already commenced their work and are laying the foundation for Kazakhstan’s fintech-ecosystem. We believe that the AIFC can become an international hub for blockchain operations and the development of the digital assets market is our key priority in the near future.”

Kazakhstan’s entry into the digital currency ecosystem would be underpinned by Exante’s new blockchain platform, ‘Stasis’.

Blockchains are digital ledgers that record cryptocurrency transactions on encrypted “blocks” across a distributed network of computers.

”The development of such a system will bridge the gap between the traditional asset market and the crypto-world,” Anatoly Knyazev, co-founder of Exante, said. “We see keen interest from the market players, and we already have applications from other government-related financial institutions.”

The technology is being experimented in a “closed mode” at present, and Exante didn’t indicate a timeline for commercial launch.”

— https://www.cnbc.com/2017/10/17/kazakhstan-plans-to-launch-its-own-cryptocurrency.html

The CryptoRuble: Russia’s Next Currency interview by Sputnik’s Andrew Korybko with Dr. Garrick Hileman, Research Fellow at the Judge Business School at the University of Cambridge and entrepreneur Jim Talbott October 21, 2017

As in Russia, Kazakhstan’s cryptocurrency issuance will be controlled by the State, and is intimately tied to the country’s status as a global energy exporter. The question of how rapidly we will see cryptorubles or cryptotengits (KZT) ‘in the wild’ being traded through the Moscow or available to non-Russian and non-Kazakh nationals is an interesting one. According to a story posted by V the Guerrilla Economist here at RogueMoney on October 19, ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin is skeptical governments in the former Soviet Union are actually ready to unleash these blockchain units into the global digital currency marketplace, where they could be owned by foreigners and compete with privately issued fiat like bitcoin or dash:

“Ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin has stated that he is “not expecting to see any kind of large-scale, live central bank digital currency actually launched for another few years.” He added that “if it is, then I guarantee you that it will basically be a server with a bunch of marketing buzzwords to make it look like a blockchain.” He made the remark while participating in an October 17 panel discussion at Swell, a conference convened by blockchain firm Ripple in Toronto.”

— https://www.roguemoney.net/?author=524c6a2de4b0ad97e93c9607

However, as the Russia Analyst argued in our October 16 piece drawing on the research of London Paul into potential gold or other physical commodity backing for these Eurasian cryptocurrencies, there is a geoeconomic logic to accelerating the use of the digital ruble and tengits as block chain logged petrocurrencies. Furthermore, even if the initial use of these cryptocurrencies is non dollar or non euro trade settlement for oil and gas contracts, it will not be long before they become attractive for transparent payment in the sector most plagued by corruption in the former Soviet space: real estate. Additionally Kazakhstan’s role as a major global oil producer that like Russia stands outside of OPEC but is required to do business with the weakened cartel’s production cuts makes the crypto-tenge an attractive asset to Gulf state investors — particularly those keen to join in President Nazarbayev’s ‘Nurly Zhol’ infrastructure investment program that’s been expanded since Russia sanctions and lower oil prices hit Astana’s economy in 2014.

While Astana already has world class infrastructure in the capitol, the rest of the country and especially Kazakhstan’s Central Asian neighbors not blessed with abundant oil and gas like Tajikistan which largely survive on cotton exports or remittances from migrant workers in the Russian Federation desperately need more long term investment to grow. Denominating bonds in crypto-yuan, with the option for crypto-ruble payout could be a part of an effort to entice greater Russian and Chinese investment into OBOR linked projects across the region.

Read More @ RogueMoney.net

Video: The Vietnam War and the Phoenix Program: “A Computerized Genocide”

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by Michael Maclear and Douglas Valentine, Global Research:

Introduction by Douglas Valentine

Michael Maclear’s 1975 documentary, Spooks and Cowboys, Gooks and Grunts (Part 1) is more relevant now than ever. Forty-two years after its release, it exposes the suppressed, shameful truths that have corrupted America since the Vietnam War. The documentary makes it perfectly clear that “we” have always known what was going on – and that “we” have perfected the means of denying and obfuscating it.

Maclear’s documentary stands in stark contrast to the current Ken Burns documentary, The Vietnam War, which is nothing more than historical revisionism, sprinkled with massive doses of cognitive dissonance, served up as healing.

While Burns assiduously avoids connecting the conflicts of the Vietnam War to America’s on-going experiment in technofascism, Maclear’s documentary is straightforward in stating several shameful truths. Foremost, that the CIA has corrupted not only the military, but America’s political and judicial systems; and that, through its secret control of the media, the CIA’s power to create the official version of history has left veterans of the Vietnam War, as well as every subsequent generation of Americans as well, in a state of neurotic delusion.

This is what Guy Debord meant when he said,

“Secrecy dominates this world, and foremost as the secret of domination.”

While Burns falsely characterizes the war as a tragedy engendered by decent men with good intentions, Maclear offers incontrovertible proof that it was a war of imperial aggression in the pursuit of counterrevolution.

Maclear gets to the heart of the matter by focusing on the CIA’s Phoenix program, which Burns spends all of two minutes on. Through interviews with Bart Osborn and Jeff Stein, both veterans of Phoenix, Maclear shows what happens to combat veterans when they are made to function as judge, jury, and executioner of civilians. Mass murder and computerized genocide are the terms used in the documentary.

While Burns places combat veterans on an unassailable pedestal, and makes America’s involvement in the Vietnam War “noble” based on their sacrifices, Maclear shows how the war managers indoctrinated the troops with lies, and then aimed them at innocents. As Maclear explains, by 1968, the CIA knew American military forces could not win the “hearts and minds” of the Vietnamese people, so they turned to eliminating, through torture and terror, members of the revolution’s civilian infrastructure, as well as anyone who could be said to be sympathetic to it.

Burns has no stomach for this hard truth, or the fact that Phoenix, as Maclear made perfectly clear 42 years ago, has become not only the template for policing the American empire, but for the SWAT teams and militarized police forces that control America’s political and social movements on behalf of their corporate masters in the war industry.

I’ll close this brief introduction by honoring Bart Osborn, who, along with several other Phoenix veterans, testified to Congress about the Phoenix program. Based on the testimony of these veterans in 1971, four Congresspersons stated that Phoenix was a policy of waging war crimes and violated the Geneva Conventions.

In 1973, Osborn, along with Air Force veterans Perry Fellwock and Tim Butz, formed the Committee for Action-Research on the Intelligence Community (CARIC) in response to revelations about the CIA’s role in Watergate. CARIC exposed individual CIA officers and operations through its publication, CounterSpy.

At the same time in 1973, Norman Mailer and several of his associates created The Fifth Estate to counter the CIA’s secret intervention in America’s domestic political and social affairs. In January 1974, CARIC and The Fifth Estate combined to create the Organizing Committee for a Fifth Estate. The plan was to organize groups on campus and in communities to investigate and expose the CIA. CounterSpy was its publication.

If only such organizations existed today.

Before the security forces and complicit media subverted CARIC and its efforts to expose the CIA, CARIC worked with the British Corporation Granada Television Inc, to produce a documentary on political prisoners in Vietnam.

Titled A Question of Torture, it too has also been suppressed, but is well worth viewing as an antidote to the Burns propaganda film, as well as to the duplicitous Vietnam War narrative Americans have had shoved down their throats for the past 40 plus years.

In the absence of any organizations dedicated to exposing the CIA, war crimes have since become official US policy, at home and abroad.

Read More @ GlobalResearch.ca