by Bryan MacDonald, RT:
America’s ruling class has a curious attitude to democracy. It seems to be interpreted as something that’s good for the US and its allies but bad for critters who won’t accept their role in the ‘America-led international order.’
First off, let me be clear. I think all foreign electoral interference is wrong. In any country. And if it’s eventually proven that Russians meddled in America’s 2016 presidential election, I certainly won’t condone it. But I’ve have always doubted that the Russian state organized some heinous plan to tilt the contest to Donald Trump, so I’ll be shocked if something of this nature is ever proven.
Instead, I’ve always imagined the greatest extent of Russian ‘interference’ was probably some half-baked playing around by private individuals. Something akin to a “social media marketing campaign,” as the New Yorker’s Adrian Chan believes. And on a relatively minute scale, to boot. Because – given the billions of dollars swirling around American stumping – anything bar a full-scale FSB/GRU, all-hands-on-deck operation would probably amount to little more than a hill of beans.
By the same token, I was stunned back in 2011 when the Moscow Times (a pro-US title, overwhelmingly written by Westerners, despite its name) reported how ex-vice president Joe Biden had told fringe Russian opposition figures that “it would be better for Russia if Putin did not run” in the 2012 election. Indeed, when you see the opprobrium directed today towards US Green leader Jill Stein for once attending an RT banquet where Putin was present, its shows one hell of a double standard.
Being relatively new to Russia in those days, and far from Moscow, it also seemed bizarre when then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called for a “full investigation” of alleged irregularities in 2011’s parliamentary elections. And, even more absurd, that she did it in front of Sergei Lavrov, Russia’s foreign minister, at an OSCE meeting attended by 56 countries. Indeed, it seemed like a teacher wagging her finger at an errant student in front of his classmates, and not how you’d interact with the emissary of a powerful country.
At the time, something interesting happened. Many of my then-relatively new Russian friends had expressed concern about the vote, and a good few supported calls for a fresh ballot. However, once Clinton stuck her oar in, their anger switched to the American; with the attitude quickly transforming into outrage at her arrogance in trying to tell Russians how to manage their internal affairs. Last night, I reminded one of them, Vova, and he said: “Yeah, what did she think? That we were one of those sh*tty little countries the Americans can just push around?” This morning, he emailed me joking, “You know very well, I am not a huge fan of Putin but as soon as Hillary started that nonsense, it smelled to me of the Yeltsin years. I’d rather eat rats than go through that again.”
Time magazine, 1996. As you can see it's perfectly acceptable for Americans to interfere in Russian elections. pic.twitter.com/alH0BCl0uh
— Bryan MacDonald (@27khv) 26 July 2016
And this brings us to 1996. Back then, Russia’s economy was in serious trouble. American-backed neoliberal economic reforms had reduced ordinary Russians to penury. And Washington turned a blind eye when Yeltsin essentially dismantled the country’s nascent democracy in 1993, going so far as to take over the parliament in a tank battle, killing 187 people. He also banned opposition parties and newspapers. Of course, somewhat amazingly, Yeltsin is remembered as a “democrat” in the West – which is actually code for “he defended American interests.”
Anyway, by the spring of 1996, Yeltsin was in serious bother. The Communist Party, which had combusted in 1991, was back in business, with its new leader, Gennady Zyuganov, well ahead in the polls. And at this point, Uncle Sam got busy, in events which have been widely catalogued and even spawned a Hollywood movie, with the tagline “electing a Russian president, the American way.”
Read More @ RT.com
by Jerome Corsi, Infowars:
Reported: several million illegals voted, while legitimate ballots were thrown away
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Director of National Intelligence (DNI) together with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the FBI are planning to publish in March a study of the 2016 elections that will demonstrate massive Democratic Party voter fraud of a magnitude sufficient to have influenced election outcomes.
On Jan. 3, 2018, President Trump signed an executive order disbanding the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity, largely because states controlled by the Democrats refused to cooperate.
Many Democrats breathed a sigh of relief, thinking President Trump had given up his effort to uncover and correct the decades of Democratic Party voter fraud.
Little noticed was a provision in the executive order that tasked the Department of Homeland Security to review the presidential commission’s initial findings and to determine next courses of action.
Equally unnoticed by the mainstream media were news releases on Feb. 15 from the DNI and from DHS that briefings were being held with election officials in all 50 states on Feb. 16 and Feb. 18 to inform them of the initial conclusions of their on-going investigation into voting fraud during the 2016 election.
The outcomes of the DNI, DHS, and FBI investigations are expected to be disastrous for the Democratic Party, revealing precisely why Democratic-controlled states refused to cooperate with Trump’s presidential commission.
When Special Counsel Robert Mueller indicated last Friday some 13 Russians for trolling the Internet as the only evidence of “Russian Collusion” he could find after months of investigation that spent millions of dollars in taxpayer funds, the intelligence operative known as QAnon posted a preview of the DNI, DHS, and FBI conclusions.
As seen in this Internet posting, QAnon first cites Deputy Attorney General Rob Rosenstein’s statement in announcing the indictment involving the 13 Russian trolls that: “There is no allegation in this indictment that any American was a knowing participant in this illegal activity. There is no allegation in the indictment that the charged conduct altered the outcome of the 2016 election.”
That comes close to sounding the death knell for the “Russian Collusion” mainstream media hysteria we have endured since the 2016 election as a Democratic Party “hate-Trump” narrative for impeachment.
Next, QAnon makes clear the DNI, DHS, and FBI study will prove massive Democratic Party voter fraud, including the allowing of several millions of illegal immigrants to vote in direct contradiction of voting laws across the country.
QAnon wrote the following, apparently citing the DNI, DHS, and FBI study to be released next month:
In an effort to preserve the integrity of all U.S. elections, as ordered by the President of the United States, after an extensive investigation in select counties (the ‘sampling’), the DHS has concluded that while Russian entities (as outlined in Special Counselor Mueller’s investigation were complicit in attempting to undermine the presidential election of 2016) had no direct impact or bearing on the outcome of the presidential election, nor were any U.S. person(s) knowingly part of such an attempt to sabotage as it relates to the Russian investigation …
… U.S. and other foreign entities (as further described within DHS (XXXX), acting outside of Russian agents, did attempt on numerous occasions, and were successful, in interfering w/ the presidential elections of 2016, Senate elections of [x, y, and z], [x] elections, whereby several million of illegal, non-resident ballots (the “irregularities”) were counted, while legal ballots were improperly tabulated and/or intentionally mishandled. We believe these actions were a coordinated attack against the democracy of our country.
The QAnon post goes on to note the DHS will be submitting a final report to the White House, to the Department of Justice, and to other state and local agencies outlining findings next month.
The post further suggests that while the DNI, DHS, FBI study was limited to a sampling of 22 counties, the findings were so conclusive that a countrywide examination is mandated.
Read More @ Infowars.com
by Nick Giambruno, International Man:
“When any market is down 90%, you’re obligated to go and investigate.”
That’s what Doug Casey often says. And it’s part of the reason I put my boots on the ground in China a few months ago.
As I told you yesterday, the country has a monopoly on a little-known resource market. For years, stocks in this sector only went down. The industry was left for dead… until recently.
The last time this happened, the price of this resource skyrocketed over 10 times almost overnight.
And, as I’ll show in a moment, I think there’s a strong chance a similar mania will start soon…
Most people have never heard of the material China controls. But it’s essential to modern life.
It’s used to make crucial components for advanced electronics like iPhones, electric cars, flat-screen TVs, computers, and sophisticated military equipment—like guidance systems, drones, anti-missile systems, radars, and fighter jets.
The United States’ top-line fighter jet, the F-35, contains nearly 450 kilograms of this material.
There’s no substitute for this resource in these advanced electronics. The US military and US consumer depend on it.
The problem is that finding this material isn’t cheap. And once you find it, mining it is expensive and messy. It takes about 40 tonnes of rock (40,000 kilograms) to get only about 250 kilograms of this valuable material.
The costs are even higher if you separate the material from the ore in an environmentally friendly way.
But China is willing to do the dirty work.
Beijing helps by subsidizing the industry. Meanwhile, many companies in other countries—operating without hefty state subsidies—go bankrupt.
Plus, China doesn’t fret about the environmental fallout as much as other countries. This lets it produce the material at a much lower cost than its competitors.
Until recently, one company in the US still produced a small amount of this material. Then, after a spat with a neighboring country, China flooded the market with supply. This oversupply drove the last US company out of business.
According to a US Congressional report:
[China] flooded the market by more than tripling the previous world supply of the materials. During this time, [Chinese firms] were largely unprofitable but were allowed to survive through direct and indirect support by the Chinese government.
This backing enabled [China’s industry] to continue to mine and export these materials at prices far below the actual costs of production…
Mines in the United States and elsewhere, unable to remain profitable against cheap Chinese exports, went out of business.
This is how China undercut everyone else and came to dominate the industry. Today, China produces around 90% of global supplies of this material.
In short, no one poses a serious threat to China’s monopoly. China can simply hold prices lower for longer than any competitor can stay solvent.
This unchallenged monopoly could quickly become a huge problem for the US. But the US government won’t just sit on its hands…
Regular readers know I think a full-blown trade war between the US and China is imminent. And we’ve already heard the opening shot.
Let me explain…
Early on in his presidency, Donald Trump indicated that he wouldn’t handle China like the previous US presidents.
In January 2017, he became the first president in 40 years to speak with the leader of Taiwan, an island off the coast of China that Beijing considers a renegade province.
Even during the campaign, Trump famously threatened a 45% tariff on Chinese goods entering the US.
He also said China was sucking “the blood out of the United States” and “we can’t continue to allow China to rape our country, and that’s what they’re doing.”
Read More @ InternationalMan.com
by Jim Rickards, Daily Reckoning:
Turkey is a beautiful country with a rich history including Greek, Roman and Muslim influences that make it one of the most fascinating places on Earth. It is literally a bridge between East and West: The mile-long Bosporus Bridge just north of Istanbul connects Europe and Asia across the Bosporus Strait.
Turkey has been a magnet for direct foreign investment from abroad and dollar-denominated loans by international banks to local enterprises. This investment enthusiasm is understandable given Turkey’s well-educated population of 83 million and its rank as the 17th-largest economy in the world, with a GDP of just under $1 trillion.
The flood of bank lending and direct foreign investment has given rise to another flood of hot-money portfolio investors in Turkish stocks chasing high returns with cheap dollar funding in a variation of the global carry trade. So-called emerging-market (EM) funds offered by Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs and others are stuffed full of Turkish stocks and bonds.
But there’s a dark side to this seeming success story. Turkey’s external dollar-denominated debt is so large that a combination of rising U.S. dollar interest rates and a slowing global economy could quickly turn Turkey from model EM to the canary in the coal mine of the next great global debt crisis.
The risk of a major debt crisis beginning in Turkey is heightened by the rise of Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan as an autocratic strongman in the mold of Argentina’s Juan Perón and other populist nationalists who have ruined strong economies.
Begin with a look at the Turkish debt situation. Turkey’s debt is huge, one of the highest debt burdens of any EM. Turkey owes $450 billion to foreign creditors, of which $276 billion is denominated in hard currency, mostly dollars and euros. The remainder of $174 billion is denominated in Turkey’s local currency, the lira.
Both kinds of debt are problematic. The lira debt is a growing burden because lira interest rates have skyrocketed from 6% to 12% in the past five years.
The foreign currency debt is problematic for two reasons. The first is that the lira has devalued from 1.75 to 3.89 to the dollar since 2013, which increases the amount of lira needed by local companies to repay their external debt. The second reason is that U.S. and euro interest rates are starting to rise, which also makes the external debt burden more difficult to service.
Turkey’s hard currency reserve position is adequate for the moment, with about 100% coverage of foreign debt. The problem is not an immediate debt crisis but the likelihood that foreign credit could dry up or reserves could drain quickly, leading to a tipping point and a rapid loss of confidence.
Unfortunately, there are numerous economic and geopolitical catalysts for such a loss of confidence. The principal catalyst is a sharp deterioration in Turkey’s relations with the West and increasing links between Turkey and Russia that could lead to a crisis.
Recent polls show that 68% of Turkish citizens believe that Turkey’s alliance with Europe and the U.S. is breaking down. The same poll shows 71.5% of Turkish citizens believe that Turkey should enter into an economic, political and security alliance with Russia.
Another irritant is the widespread belief in Turkey that the U.S. played a role in the attempted military coup d’état against President Erdoğan in July 2016. This suspicion is heightened by the fact that the U.S. refuses to extradite Erdoğan’s political enemy, Fethullah Gülen, who lives in exile in Pennsylvania.
Erdoğan alleges that Gülen tried to force him from office in 2013 based on false charges — what Erdoğan called a “judicial coup.” The combined impact of a so-called judicial coup and an actual military coup attempt have led to profound distrust between the U.S. and Turkey.
The U.S. court system is also currently hearing a trial in which a Turkish-Iranian gold dealer, Reza Zarrab, has turned state’s witness and is providing testimony involving bribes and kickbacks by the Erdoğan government.
The U.S. government’s main charge is that Turkey helped both Russia and Iran avoid U.S. government economic sanctions. A newly passed Russian sanctions bill would impose severe penalties on Turkey if it goes ahead with a proposed purchase of Russian anti-aircraft systems.
A more serious point of contention between the U.S. and Turkey involves the role of the Kurds in Syria. From Turkey’s perspective, the Kurds are a separatist movement that threatens the territorial integrity of Turkey. The most extreme Kurds are pushing for an independent Kurdistan that would include parts of present-day Turkey, Syria, Iraq and Iran.
From the U.S. perspective, the Kurds are a potent fighting force who have been instrumental in the decimation of ISIS and are now playing a key role in support of Syrian freedom fighters opposing the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. The Kurds are bitter enemies of Turkey and good friends with the U.S.
Another confrontation between the U.S. and Turkey is emerging over the status of Qatar. Saudi Arabia economically isolated and physically blockaded Qatar because of its support for terrorists and Islamic radicals. The U.S. has tried to mitigate this conflict but on balance supports the Saudi position.
Turkey has come to the aid of Qatar with both financial support and a military presence. A war between Saudi Arabia and Qatar would, in effect, be a proxy war between the U.S. and Turkey, two erstwhile NATO allies.
In short, U.S.-Turkish relations are at their lowest point since the breakup of the Ottoman Empire in 1922.
This deterioration in relations has important economic implications. If Turkey were to find itself in financial distress — a highly likely outcome in the near future — the usual place to turn for a financial lifeline is the IMF. However, the U.S. and its Western allies, especially Germany, have effective veto power over IMF bailouts.
The U.S. might demand conditions on any IMF assistance to Turkey in the form of compliance with Russia sanctions. Turkey would likely reject such conditions leading to an impasse on the subject of IMF aid.
Read More @ DailyReckoning.com
by Doug Casey, Casey Research:
Justin’s note: “Nobody’s property is safe anywhere.”
Doug Casey wrote that in a recent email he sent me. He was talking about one of Donald Trump’s latest executive orders. The order, signed in December, gives the US government power to block the property of persons “involved in serious human rights abuse or corruption.”
That might not sound like a big deal. After all, human rights abuse and corruption are obviously bad. But Doug told me this could have “very interesting consequences” for everyday Americans and foreigners.
To learn why, I got Doug on the phone…
Justin: Doug, why do you think Trump signed this executive order (EO)?
Doug: Well, there are several possibilities. One could be to strike back at the Clintons, perhaps about the astounding way they used their foundation to loot Haiti. Another might be to attack African dictators, who all become multi-billionaires after taking over their—what’s that colloquialism for an outdoor toilet that Trump quite accurately used?—countries. Or the Russians, who are the flavor of the day to be hated for every reason you can make up.
His new EO is a further assault on property rights. Fabricate a credible-sounding argument, make it legal, righteously promote it to the booboisie, and the emperor can deprive a subject of anything, or everything, that he owns.
What concerns me is that so many things are done by executive order these days. Not by a law duly passed by the House and the Senate. That’s not to imply that those laws show any prudence or intelligence or wisdom. But it’s still due process. When you do something that could have big consequences, it should go through the formal legislature as opposed to an imperial decree.
In recent years, presidents have done more and more executive orders. I find that very disturbing. The most outrageous executive order that I can recall—although I wasn’t alive then—is Roosevelt’s outlawing gold. Nixon’s devaluing of the dollar was an executive order too, with gigantic consequences.
It sets a dangerous precedent when they do something like this. It’s the type of thing that a dictator or an emperor is expected to do.
Justin: Would could the consequences of this executive order be?
Doug: For one thing, it could discourage foreigners from investing in the US or even putting money in US banks or brokerage accounts. Or investing in US property. Because now the government can seize their assets based on just the accusation of human rights abuses or corruption. The fortunes of almost all foreign leaders, all of their cronies, and most businessmen from backward countries are built on corruption. I urge readers to look at the pieces I did on this a while back, entitled “Make Corruption Your Friend” (here and here).
That’s a bad thing for the US. The US needs more capital, not less. We shouldn’t do things to scare them away.
But this isn’t just bad for foreigners. Americans that feel like they might get caught up in a dragnet of some type will be even more encouraged to get their money out of the country.
This EO just directs more power to the State—which, not just coincidentally—is the source of almost all the human rights abuses and corruption everywhere. But—stupidly, perversely, and paradoxically—people look to the State to solve the very problems it creates. By giving it even more power. And it gives politicians a chance to grandstand, and pretend they’re “doing something.” What do the millennials call this? They call it “virtue signaling.” Hypocrites specialize in virtue signaling.
But the US is not even in a position to do that anymore.
Justin: And why’s that?
Doug: Well, the US no longer stands for any of the things that made America great. We have 2.2 million people in prison, most for victimless crimes, and many millions more in and out of the system. We’re constantly meddling in other countries’ affairs, and systematically violating the rights of both US and foreign citizens. We already have combat troops in 150 countries. We have 800 bases around the world, bankrupting the US, supporting corrupt governments, and antagonizing the natives. We even have our own concentration camp now in Guantanamo. So, we’re not in the position to do any virtue signaling.
And since I mentioned it, I’d like to add something about Guantanamo. In the ’70s, there was a joke floating around: “The US will never have concentration camps. We’ll call them something else.” It was a joke at the time. And then Guantanamo appeared, and it is, in fact, a concentration camp. But they don’t call it that, of course.
This is all just part of a much bigger trend. It’s just another grain of sand building up on the dune, waiting for an avalanche to bury everybody. It’s a pity—Western Civilization, the rule of law, individual liberty, and property rights were wonderful things…
Justin: I agree. And I can only imagine what kind of executive orders the president will roll out when the economy or financial system starts to unravel. Does this concern you too?
Doug: Absolutely. Everybody thinks that the government is supposed to “do something” when things get grim.
The economy not only shouldn’t be controlled by these people—from a moral point of view—but it’s too big and complicated to be controlled, from a practical point of view. Government either tries to imitate the Soviets, with their counterproductive five-year plans, or put out the fires they start with ad-hoc measures. Most of them are necessarily ill-advised and almost always make the situation worse. Government employees are not, I assure you, the “best and the brightest”—just the opposite.
So, the answer isn’t more laws and more executive orders. Rather, the government should be getting rid of all the executive orders that exist already. They need to start repealing laws—wholesale and in large numbers.
So, yes, they’re not just doing the wrong thing. Trump is doing the exact opposite of the right thing with this EO. Even if Trump acts like a saint, and only uses his new EO to prosecute “bad guys,” the next president will find a new and different group. You or I—or anybody else—could be among them.
Justin: Well, I think that covers everything I wanted to ask. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and insights, Doug.
Doug: You’re welcome.
Justin’s note: As Doug said, this is all just part of a much bigger trend… “another grain of sand building up on the dune, waiting for an avalanche to bury everybody.”
In short, it’s critical to know where to put your money over the next few years. That’s why our team just released this new video presentation. It all boils down to one little-known strategy. And 2018 is shaping up to be the best time to use it…
Read More @ CaseyResearch.com
by Jesse, Jesse’s Crossroads Cafe:
You may find this worth hearing.
And you probably will not hear it on the mainstream media.
The professional ruling class cannot accept responsibility for their many failures, and hypocrisies, and compromises with duty, and abuses of privilege because they are craven careerists in a corrupted system, caught up in a credibility trap. Their motto should be ‘go along to get along, though the heavens may fall.’
Remarkable times when the truth is being told by comedians, and not the unintentional kind in politics and the media.
Is Trump being harried by the ‘deep state’ and the political establishment with Russiagate? It sure looks that way. Alhough some of it is self-inflicted. And bear in mind that I am no Trump supporter, or Hillary either for that matter.
The proof of the hysterical phoniness of this New McCarthyism is that these same efforts and overstated smears are also turned, almost effortlessly, against Bernie Sanders and Jill Stein, often in the same breath by the same courtiers to power and money. What do these three have in common? Not so much except all of them are political ‘outsiders.’
We have been allowing our emotions and tribal loyalties to cause us to fall for all this manipulation. Have we, at the end of all of this, no shame? No dignity, or love of the truth to prompt us to rise above our own short term self-interests?
Force and fraud. And as the fraud wears thin and deteriorates, the use of force will increase.
Caution on language.
Read More @ JessesCrossroadsCafe.com
George Soros’ fingerprints are “all over” the push to demand gun control in response to last week’s Parkland, FL high school shooting, claimed former Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke Jr.
Clarke made the startling allegation in a Tuesday tweet, saying “The well ORGANIZED effort by Florida school students demanding gun control has GEORGE SOROS’ FINGERPRINTS all over it.” Adding “It is similar to how he hijacked and exploited black people’s emotion regarding police use of force incidents into the COP HATING Black Lives Matter movement.”
The well ORGANIZED effort by Florida school students demanding gun control has GEORGE SOROS’ FINGERPRINTS all over it. It is similar to how he hijacked and exploited black people’s emotion regarding police use of force incidents into the COP HATING Black Lives Matter movement. pic.twitter.com/XDZ3bcwF6F
— David A. Clarke, Jr. (@SheriffClarke) 20 February 2018
Clarke, a vocal Trump supporter who resigned as sheriff last year amid speculation he would join the Trump administration, is a senior advisor and spokesman for the pro-Trump America First Action PAC; he fired off the tweet in advance of a planned appearance at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) later this week.
Several conspiracy theories have emerged in the wake of the Valentine’s day shooting, which left seventeen people dead when a gunman opened fire on students in the early afternoon. A clip which was promptly featured on YouTube earlier, claimed that various students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School are “crisis actors” who are being used as political cudgels in efforts to repeal the Second Amendment.
An aide to Florida State Rep. Shawn Harrison (R) was fired Tuesday after emailing a reporter to suggest that student David Hogg and others are crisis actors. “Both kids in the picture are not students here but actors that travel to various crisis when they happen,” wrote now-fired aide Benjamin Kelly – drawing condemnation from the likes of Florida Senator Marco Rubio (R) and Harrison.
Claiming some of the students on tv after #Parkland are actors is the work of a disgusting group of idiots with no sense of decency
— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) 20 February 2018
Read More @ ZeroHedge.com