Monday, May 20, 2019

MORE ANTARCTICA STRANGENESS: NOW IT’S A FOSSILIZED FOREST…

by Jospeh P. Farrell, Giza Death Star:

While most of the USSA is freezing from record cold temperatures (one wonders how cold it is in Canada!), it seems appropriate to blog about this story which came into my inbox during the holidays from Mr. V.T., a regular article contributor here.  As one might imagine, this prompt some really high octane speculation:

Mysterious Fossilized Antarctic Forest May Offer Evidence Of The Great Flood – But Some Facts Speak Against This Theory

As one might imagine, there are those taking this fossilized Antarctic forest as evidence of the Flood. But there’s a teensy weensy “catch”:

The fossilized trees in Antarctica, discovered by a team of scientists led by Erik Gulbranson, a paleoecologist at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee raise a number of unanswered questions.

Scientists say the prehistoric forest on Antarctica existed long before the dinosaurs roamed the Earth. About 280 million years ago it was rapidly buried in volcanic ash, which preserved it down to the cellular level. The age of the forest alone speaks against the Great Flood theory because it is highly unlikely the Deluge happened so long ago.

Now, as one can imagine, that date of 280 million years ago sparked my interest, because if one adds “fossilized forest” to the small but growing amount of indicators that there may be very old and ancient artificial and perhaps even human structures on that polar continent, then clearly at one time in the distant path the world’s geography was vastly different, and Antarctica-Atlantis – if I may be so bold – was a part of it. The problem, as the article points out, is the chronology: either one has to assume a very old date for such things, which raises the question of how the Atlantis mythology could be preserved to Plato’s articulation of it.

One answer might be my “cosmic war” scenario which I outlined in my book of that name. In that book I hypothesized that the explosion of the planet that used to orbit in the asteroid might have been the cause of the flood myths, if that planet was a large water-bearing body. Shockwaves of water would have scoured Mars and concussed the Earth, perhaps burying Antarctica in water (ice) and altering the planet’s continental disposition radically. The problem, once again, is the chronology: in my scenario, that event occurred either at 3.2 million years ago, or at 65 million years ago. Again, the datasets of chronological benchmarks are all messed up.

Read More @ GizaDeathStar.com

Peter Thiel’s Founders Fund places a big bet on Bitcoin

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by Alex Christoforou, The Duran:

Billionaire Silicon Valley investor is investing heavily in Bitcoin.

Few mainstream investors have bought large sums of bitcoin, scared off by concerns about cybersecurity and liquidity, but one of the biggest names in Silicon Valley is placing a a very big moonshot bet on bitcoin.

According to various insiders, Founders Fund, the venture-capital firm co-founded by Peter Thiel, has amassed hundreds of millions of dollars in bitcoin.

The bet has been spread across several of the firm’s most recent funds, including one that began investing in mid-2017 and made bitcoin one of its first investments.

Via WSJ

Founders and Mr. Thiel, 50 years old, are well-known for early investments in companies like Facebook Inc. that sometimes take years to come to fruition. The bitcoin bet is quickly showing promise. Founders bought around $15 million to $20 million in bitcoin, and it has told investors the firm’s haul is now worth hundreds of millions of dollars after the digital currency’s ripping rise in the past year.

It isn’t clear if Founders has sold any of its holdings yet. The bet hasn’t been previously reported.

Bitcoin vaulted last year from a fringe area of Wall Street interest to the most talked-about asset in the financial world. The currency, essentially a digital form of money with no government or central bank behind it, started 2017 trading around $1,000, then shot to near $20,000 as individual and institutional investors alike ramped up speculating on its rise. From its all-time high reached in mid-December, the price chopped almost in half over the rest of the month.

Prices as of late Tuesday afternoon were up 10% to $14,783, after ending 2017 at about $14,000, according to research site CoinDesk. Bitcoin spiked after The Wall Street Journal reported Founders’ investment.

Relatively few mainstream investors have bought large sums of bitcoin, scared off by concerns about cybersecurity and liquidity, as well as more mundane fears of investment losses. JPMorgan Chase & Co. Chief Executive James Dimon famously called the digital currency a “fraud,” while Bridgewater Associates founder Raymond Dalio said it was a bubble. Even some of those who do own it are cautious about speaking too publicly, lest they draw the attention of hackers.

The late-year price plunge has also spooked some. On Dec. 22, the prominent investor Michael Novogratz said he was delaying launching a crypto-focused hedge fund for outside investors, stating “we didn’t like market conditions for new investors.” South Korea announced last week it would crack down on cryptocurrency trading, an ominous sign given that the country at one point accounted for as much as one-fourth of global bitcoin trading activity.

Founders began buying in for its investors before the recent volatility, the people familiar with the matter said.

The billionaire Mr. Thiel is an outspoken libertarian who co-founded digital payments service PayPal Holdings Inc. and made headlines as a prominent booster of President Donald Trump. He serves on the president’s technology advisory council. Mr. Thiel previously ran a multibillion-dollar hedge fund focused on global macroeconomic trends, and had some success navigating the financial crisis before racking up investment losses by investing in havens and missing out on the subsequent rebound.

As a venture capitalist, Mr. Thiel and Founders fund are among the most successful in Silicon Valley. Founders has more than $3 billion under management and has taken stakes in more-than 100 companies, including Facebook, Airbnb Inc., SpaceX and Lyft. More recent investments include the crypto-focused hedge funds Metastable Capital and Polychain Capital, which puts money into blockchain companies.

Mr. Thiel made the decision to buy up bitcoin together with Founders’ other investment partners, a person familiar with the matter said.

In an October onstage interview at an investment conference in Saudi Arabia, Mr. Thiel described cryptocurrencies as “charismatic.”

“While I’m skeptical of most of them, I do think people are a little bit underestimating bitcoin, specifically, because it is like a reserve form of money,” Mr. Thiel said. “If bitcoin ends up being the cyber equivalent of gold, it has great potential.”

Read More @ TheDuran.com

It’s Operating As Designed (ROFL!)

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by Karl Denninger, Market Ticker:

Intel’s “big dude” was just on CNBC with a dog and pony show and a host asking questions who obviously doesn’t know what the hell he’s talking about.

CNBC’s people should all be fired.  Not bringing someone in to ask questions who actually understands what is going on here is criminally stupid — but this is exactly what you’d expect from a channel that has as it’s highest calling protecting the stock price of various firms.

Including Intel, I might add.

Let me make this clear:

Anyone who believes that a processor is “operating exactly as designed” when through any combination of unprivileged operations it allows access to data in a higher-privileged ring or one of equivalent privilege but not under the same guest instance, no matter how it happens, is a flat-out liar and in the context of a public company should be indicted NOW for making knowingly-false statements in relationship to their firm and its value.

To claim that this is not a “bug” or “flaw” is equally outrageous; this certainly was not documented or expected behavior by anyone.  That is the very definition of a bug.

The entire premise of privilege “rings” on a CPU is to allow the partitioning of said CPU so that certain data can only be accessed or modified through a series of known, documented and permitted operations.  Said operations then can implement whatever gating functions are appropriate and thus prohibit someone from extracting or changing privileged data without permission — whether that extraction be from the supervisory code running with said privilege or from another “guest” running at a similar privilege to the item doing the extracting.

If you can get access to any such data via any other means then the entire premise on which the CPU’s security model rests is void.   As just one example of how ugly this can get if I can steal arbitrary data from the running (“ring 0”) hypervisor that means I can steal a password hash used to access same or the allegedly-secure private key.  Having done so I can then take all the time in the world to crack that hash offline or simply use said private key and now I’m able to sign into the hypervisor and steal all of the data and software from all of the guest instances on that physical piece of hardware, including any encryption keys that are in use and there is exactly no way for the victim guest(s) to know that it happened.

If you sell someone a product that represents it has such a security model and it can be breached in this fashion, and such person(s) bought that product believing that the security model actually works when it does not it is my contention you have committed fraud and are liable not only for the price of the CPU but also all the consequential damages that, in this case, include the cost of replacement motherboards and system RAM since newer-generation chips without said flaw will not work in the older boards and with older memory designs.

That there are “workarounds” that come with outrageously high performance penalties — in this case it’s being discussed that they may be as much as 50% or more does not change any of this.  You didn’t sell said processors disclosing that said “workarounds” were necessary and if you did you might not have sold any of said processors because at the degraded performance level they are likely worthless in the market when compared against others made by competitors.

Intel should be forced to buy back all of the impacted CPUs and the boards and RAM they run with at their original invoiced price, or to replace impacted system boards including the CPU, board itself and RAM with non-defective units of at least equivalent performance since newer CPUs will not socket into the existing boards — and that assumes the chip is not soldered in place as is the case with some newer laptops, in which case the entire machine needs to be replaced.

Read More @ Market-Ticker.org

French President To CENSOR THE MEDIA By Making Certain News Illegal

by Mac Slavo, SHTFPlan:

French President Emmanuel Macron says he will push a new law aimed at cracking down on alternative media and news that isn’t liberal. He invoked the term “fake news” saying he hopes to have the law in place by the end of the year.

Oh, the irony of guys like Macron thinking censorship is “freedom.” Speaking at a news conference at the Elysee Palace in Paris on Wednesday, Macron said such a law was essential, especially during elections. Sure.  We can’t be having people pointing out that Macron is communist. That’s not good for reelection chances. He even says it’s to protect “liberal democracies” as if this is some sort of page out of a novel about a dystopian society.

“The freedom of the press is not a special freedom, it is the highest expression of freedom,” Macron said. “If we want to protect liberal democracies, we have to be strong and have clear rules.” He added that “A law will follow in due course.” No law has ever given anyone freedom, rather by their very nature, take it away and list a punishment, so the illogical rant flowing from his mouth is more than enough for most rational humans to roll their eyes at.

The idea of an individual freedom is incompatible with a communist ideology.  The only reason to hold individual speech and information rights would be to better the society, a condition which would likely be met only in certain instances rather than across time, making the default a lack of freedom. –Stanford.edu

Macron said the law should require websites to disclose their source of funding and have a cap on the amount of money they receive from sponsored content. During an election, the government would be authorized to block a website, he said. He insisted that “press freedom” could be preserved under such a law. Of course! Suppressing free speech is always a good start to press freedom.

Read More @ SHTFPlan.com

While Media Goes Into Rabid, Foam At The Mouth Frenzy Over Trump-Bannon Theater, They Ignore That Manafort Lawsuit Could Deem Entire Mueller Investigation Illegal

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by Susan Duclos, All News Pipeline:

Whenever the media goes into a rabid, foam at the mouth frenzy over a certain topic, the first question we see asked and have asked ourselves, is what are they trying to distract us from?

Paul Manafort, indicted by Robert Mueller for issues that occurred before the presidential campaign of Donald Trump began, issues that had been previously known by the Department of Justice, and did not “arise directly from the investigation,” and also goes beyond the original scope of the mandate in the initial DOJ press release, just filed a lawsuit against the DOJ, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and special counsel Robert Mueller.

For the past two days we have seen a complete media circus over a supposed “Steve Bannon – President Trump” feud in relation to excerpts from an upcoming book release, that has dominated the headlines, the television talking heads and bloggers, forums and websites all across the Internet, yet the Manafort lawsuit, which was barely covered by the media, could literally deem the entire Mueller investigation illegal…. from its inception.

When Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein released the announcement of appointing a special counsel (Appointment Order) into the Russian collusion investigation, he specified that Mueller would have the power to investigate and/or prosecute “any links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the Campaign of President Donald Trump,” and “any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation,” and “any other matters within the scope of 28 CFR § 600.4“, which covers “Jurisdiction.” (See Special Counsel Order here)

When Mueller indicted Manafort, the charges had nothing to do with the original “jurisdiction,” meaning Russian collusion, nor did it arise directly from the initial investigation into links or coordination between Russia and individuals associated with the Trump campaign, which I initially thought was the impetus behind the Manafort lawsuit against the DOJ, Deputy AG Rosenstein and Mueller, until I read the entire lawsuit, where we see Manafort isn’t just trying to get the charges against him dropped as improperly investigated and charged, but he is asking the court to deem the entire investigation illegal because Rosenstein’s Special Counsel order violates DOJ regulations for Special Counsels.

In the 17 page complaint filed with the courts against the DOJ, Rosenstein and Mueller, Manafort’s counsel explains that the charges stemmed from actions going back over a decade and which Manafort had already spoken to the DOJ about in July of 2014, when Mr. Manafort voluntarily met with DOJ prosecutors and FBI agents, therefore the indictment was not gleaned from any matters that arose or might arise “directly” from the investigation.

What was unexpected in the complaint is Manafort is not just trying to get the charges against him dismissed, but is asking the court to rule that the Rosenstein order granting authority to Mueller was illegal in and of itself because it violates the DOJ’s special counsel regulations.

Page #9 is where the complaint becomes very interesting:
 

32. Consistent with 28 C.F.R. §600.4(a)—which provides that special counsels “shall also” have “authority to investigate and prosecute federal crimes committed in the course of, and with intent to interfere with,” their investigations—paragraph (b)(iii) of the Appointment Order provides that Mr. Mueller may also pursue “any other matters within the scope of 28 C.F.R. §600.4(a).”

33. But paragraph (b)(ii) of the Appointment Order purports to grant Mr. Mueller further authority to investigate and prosecute “any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation.” That grant of authority is not authorized by DOJ’s special counsel regulations. It is not a “specific factual statement of the matter to be investigated.” Nor is it an ancillary power to address efforts to impede or obstruct investigation under 28 C.F.R. § 600.4(a).

34. DOJ’s special counsel regulations do address “new matters that come to light in the course of” the special counsel’s “investigation,” but not by authorizing a grant of original jurisdiction to pursue them. 28 C.F.R. §600.4(b). To the contrary, DOJ’s special counsel regulations specify that, whenever the special counsel “concludes that additional jurisdiction” is required to address “new matters that come to light in the course of” an investigationthe special counsel must “consult with the Attorney General,” who must then “determine whether to include the additional matters within the Special Counsel’s jurisdiction or assign them elsewhere.” Id

35. The effort to convey that “additional” authority to pursue any matters that might come to light, as part of the grant of original jurisdiction, without the required consultation and decision by the Attorney General, exceeds the scope of appointment authority under 28 C.F.R. §600.4. It also defies the principles of limited power and accountability that animatethose limits on the Attorney General’s appointment authority. Under the Appointment Order, the Special Counsel’s authorityis not confined to the specific matters identified by politically accountable officials: The Appointment Order purports to grant authority to the Special Counsel to expand the scope of his investigation to new matters without the consent of—indeed, without even consulting—any politically accountable officer of the United States.

Emphasis mine. The two points in bold above are critical and in my opinion, the main point of the lawsuit. First Manafort’s counsel is arguing that under the DOJ’s own regulation regarding jurisdiction, Rosenstein violated the law by giving Mueller carte blanche.

The second point caught my attention because during Rosenstein’s December 2017 testimony in front of the House Judiciary Committee, Representative Lamar Smith attempted to get Rosenstein to answer whether he had been asked by Mueller at any point for more authority to “expand” his investigation to include additional jurisdiction, meaning issues unrelated to “coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the Campaign of President Donald Trump,” or “any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation,” and Rosenstein wouldn’t answer the question, despite Representative Smith asking him point blank, multiple times.

Watch how Rosenstein consistently attempts to deflect from the question, and still never fully answers it.

Read More @ AllNewsPipeline.com

Jeff Sessions Foolishly Targets Pot: 3 Reasons Measure Can’t Work

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by Mish Shedlock, MishTalk:

Attorney General Jeff Session is taking aim legalized marijuana. His effort is not only foolish. It cannot possibly work

Please consider Attorney General Jeff Sessions to End Policy that Allowed Legal Pot to Thrive.

Sessions is expected Thursday to announce his intentions to repeal a 2013 Obama-era policy that’s protected legalized marijuana from federal intervention, according to two sources with direct knowledge of the decision.

The policy change would allow for each state’s U.S. attorneys to decide whether to aggressively enforce the federal marijuana law — even if the substance has already been made legal in their state, according to the sources, who spoke to the AP on the condition of anonymity.

The Obama administration in what’s been dubbed the “Cole Memo,” announced it would not prevent states from legalizing marijuana as long as the substance is kept away from minors and criminals. The memo, authored by then-Deputy Attorney General James Cole, also required officials to prevent it from reaching places where it was still illegal.

In October a poll found that 64% of Americans support legalizing marijuana, with both political parties mostly in favor.

Sessions, a vocal critic of marijuana, has been expected to crack down on federal enforcement. In November he hinted at repealing the memo, telling reporters there would likely be changes to the Obama-era guidelines.

“It’s my view that the use of marijuana is detrimental and we should not give encouragement in any way to it, and it represents a federal violation, which is law and is subject to be enforced,” he told The Sacramento Bee at the time.

He’s previously blamed the substance for spikes in violence and has compared it to heroin.

Pot Stocks Plunge

Bloomberg reports Pot Stocks Plunge on Report U.S. to Rescind Expansion Policy

  • Canopy Growth, the world’s largest medical marijuana producer, fell 10 percent to C$32.21 at 9:38 a.m. in Toronto
  • Aphria plunged almost 13 percent to C$18.73, the most since Oct. 17.
  • MedReleaf fell 6.5 percent to C$28.01, its biggest decline since Nov. 14.

Sessions a Foolish, But Dangerous Neanderthal

It’s pretty clear that Sessions is a dangerous Neanderthal. It’s not clear whether or not Trump put him up to this ridiculous task, but it is clear Sessions has done nothing but make a big fool out of himself, assuming the report is true.

  • For starters, with 64% of the US supporting legalized cannabis, Sessions is entering a battle against public opinion he cannot possibly win.
  • Secondly, what can Sessions possibly achieve? Are states that legalized cannabis actually going to go out and enforce Federal law? The notion is ridiculous.
  • Finally, millennials are going to swing hard left in the next election instead of sitting it out as many did in the last election.

Read More @ MishTalk.com

Climate Change – Is the an OMG Event?

by Martin Armstrong, Armstrong Economics:

QUESTION: Is it in your view a minor cold blip or “OMG we’re all going to freeze to death and run out of food ?”

BR

ANSWER: We are looking at an unbelievable decline in the energy output of the sun which appears to be the most rapid decline in nearly 10,000 years. The Global Warming crowd may be setting society up for mass famine and death because they are deliberately point everyone in the opposite direction to get their portion of the $1 billion grants. Natural disasters are the most disastrous when the energy output of the sun declines. There has been a fatal interaction of ecological, agricultural, economic, and political factors that seem to be setting the stage for at least a repeat of what is known as the Great Famine of 1315-1317. The Great Famine started with bad weather in spring 1315. Crop failures lasted through 1316 until the summer harvest in 1317, and Europe did not fully recover until 1322. The period was marked by extreme levels of crime, disease, mass death and even cannibalism and infanticide. The crisis set in motion the great economic collapse that began during the fourteenth century. In our arrogance, we seem to believe we have conquered every aspect of the planet and many argue we can even alter the climate of the planet.

The collapse from the Medieval Warm period was rapid, but also deadly. When the climate turned down, what followed was suddenly bitter cold winters and drenching rains which then froze. Europe had expanded as society always does in warm periods. Study have shown that desert rodent populations of many species tend to “fluctuate synchronously owing to pulses of primary production and seed availability during rainy years, and reduced seed production during droughts” (PLOS 2013).

I have reported that plagues correlate to the decline in temperature. During the 14th century, there were warnings in the form of rumors that told of a great plague in China and India that killed most of the populations there. The plague made its way to Europe when the Kipchak forces were besieging the Genoese trading post in the Crimea (Ukraine). The Kipchaks began to catapult plague-infested corpses over the walls and into the trading post. The disease spread quickly and the Genoese abandoned the outpost. They sailed back to Europe stopping in Sicily in 1347 taking the Black Death with them.

Four centuries of global warming left Europe with mild temperatures, which were the highest in 8,000 years. This led to the great economic expansion and the rebirth of trade and the economy. In fact, gold began to reappear in the coinage after about 600 years. This was the Great Medieval Warming period that marked the rebirth of civilization following the fall of the Roman Empire. The European continent’s farmers expanded agriculture and planted crops on vast quantities of land previously unsuitable for agriculture. This led to the increased food supply which, like desert rodents, fueled a population explosion that tripled the number of people in medieval Europe.

First we have the sharp decline in weather. This resulted in those marginal lands that had been cultivated ceasing to produce crops as frosts and floods dominated the climate. Millions of extra mouths had to be fed and many died from the famine. Rebellions and civil wars emerged and this in turn exacerbated the  crisis. Then the terrible weather turned deadly and the first disease began to appear int the livestock. Two consecutive harvest failures in 1314 and 1315 launched seven years of famine, resulting in the deaths of between 5% and 12% of the population of northern Europe.

Yes, there have been famines caused by mankind. The worst in history remains that which occurred during the 20th century. This was the Russian famine created by Communism. Stalin’s forced collectivization program starved to death some 5 million Russians. Stalin took the food from Ukraine for Russia resulting in another 8 million Ukrainian deaths. Some 25 million Chinese died of hunger as a consequence of Mao’s Great Leap Forward, which also completely failed when bureaucrats try to run things from a central government perspective. Both of these modern famines were the result of Socialism/Communism taking the control away from the individual and handing it to bureaucrats in the central office.

Read More @ ArmstrongEconomics.com

Don’t Look Now, but Gold Just Finished Its Best Year Since 2011

by Clint Steiger, Money Metals:

Metals investors may have missed it given the gloomy sentiment that plagued markets for much of 2017, but gold just finished its best year since 2011.

Perhaps in a year like the one just passed, 13% gains are simply not inspiring. U.S. stocks finished about 25% higher for the year, and crypto-currencies including Bitcoin left all other asset classes in the dust. Bitcoin gained roughly 1,400%.

Die hard gold bugs enter 2018 waiting for crypto-bugs and stock bulls to see the value of precious metals. Fortunately, precious metals have served reliably both as an inflation hedge and as a safe haven for most of recorded history. It looks less and less probable investors will get through another 12 months while ignoring both inflation and market risk simultaneously.

While other markets were finishing 2017 strong, the U.S. dollar ended the year with a whimper. The dollar fell 10%, its worst performance in more than a decade.

That weakness has yet to manifest itself as price inflation in consumer goods and services. It has instead shown up in asset prices.

Consumers have yet to feel their dollars getting weaker, which may explain much about why a traditional inflation hedge like gold isn’t getting a lot of attention. That may change in the months ahead, particularly if President Donald Trump can add his debt-financed infrastructure spending program to the tax cuts recently passed. Both initiatives represent fiscal stimulus for Main Street, and a shift from Wall Street oriented monetary policy including Quantitative Easing.

Fiscal stimulus programs should contribute to more weakness in the dollar, as deficits and borrowing increase. Yes, the Republican led Congress could insist on spending reductions elsewhere to compensate for tax reduction and infrastructure spending, but only the most naive would consider that a genuine likelihood.

If the dollar loses another 10% in the year ahead, metals ought to be significant beneficiaries – even if most aren’t paying attention to that possibility.

Read More @ MoneyMetals.com

Neocons Are Salivating, But There Won’t Be a Revolution in Iran

by Pepe Escobar, Russia Insider:

Regime change is unlikely, but what is in play is setting the scene for more economic sanctions

“If we consider the Islamic Republic experiment the most striking element is how deeply rooted it is in the country.”

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani did the right thing going on television and at least acknowledging popular anger over hard economic times. Inflation is high at 12% but down from 40% at the start of Rouhani’s first term. And the recent increase in fuel and food prices by up to 40% has hardly helped.

That was part of Team Rouhani’s 2018 budget, which cuts subsidies for the poor – a key feature of the previous Ahmadinejad administration.

Then there is youth unemployment, which hovers around the 30% mark. Similar figures recently came out of Spain, a member of the European Union. Of course, that explains why the bulk of the protesters are under 25 from working class backgrounds.

What Rouhani should have explained to Iranians in detail is the direct consequences of hard economic times and United States sanctions, which are affecting the country.

These were coupled with financial threats against western firms now back in business, or at least contemplating opening up operations, in Iran.

Rouhani did promise after signing the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, also known as the Iran nuclear deal, in the Austrian capital of Vienna in 2015 that it would lead to more jobs and stimulate the economy.

While that has not been the case, legitimate protests singling out economic problems have never gone away. In fact, they have been part of the Iranian picture for decades.

If we consider the Islamic Republic experiment, a sort of “theocracy with democratic characteristics,” the most striking element is how deeply rooted it is in the country.

I learned this during my many trips to Iran and it has a great deal to do with the basij, or voluntary militias. They have permeated all aspects of social life from unions to student bodies and civil servant groups.

In this respect, there is a strong similarity to China, where the Communist Party is embedded in the very fabric of society.

Talking to young people in places such as Kashan or Mashhad showed me how solid the popular base was behind the Islamic Republic experiment. It was certainly more thought-provoking than listening to ayatollahs in Qom.

Still, what is happening now in Iran is that legitimate protests related to economic hardships have been hijacked by the usual suspects in a move to influence the minority. After all, Rouhani’s administration is comparatively liberal compared to the populist Ahmadinejad government.

So, what we have is a concerted attempt to turn legitimate protests into a “revolutionary” movement with the aim of bringing about a regime change. In all practical purposes, this would be civil war.

Read More @ Russia-Insider.com