Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Catalonia’s Political Crisis Snowballs into an Economic Crisis

by Don Quijones, Wolf Street:

Independence would be “horrific” and amount to “financial suicide,” said Spain’s Economy Minister. But financial suicide for whom?

It’s not easy being a Catalan bank these days. In the last few weeks the region’s two biggest lenders, Caixabank and Sabadell, have lost €9 billion of deposits as panicked customers in Catalonia have moved their money elsewhere. Many customers in other parts of Spain have also yanked their savings out of Catalan banks, but less out of fear than out of anger at the banks’ Catalan roots.

Moving their official company address to other parts of Spain last week may have helped ease that resentment, allowing the two banks to recoup some €2 billion of deposits. But the move has angered the roughly 2.5 million pro-independence supporters in Catalonia, many of whom have accounts at one of the two banks. Today they expressed that anger by withdrawing cash en masse.

Many protesters made symbolic withdrawals of €155 — a reference to Article 155 of the Spanish constitution, which Madrid activated today to impose direct rule over the semi-autonomous region. Others opted for €1,714 in a nod to the year 1714, when Barcelona was captured by the troops of King Felipe V, who then proceeded to suppress the rights of rebellious regions.

Some bank customers withdrew a lot more than that. The council of Argentona, a small town outside Barcelona, closed its accounts at Caixabank and Sabadell and transferred all €2.25 million of its funds to a branch of the Dutch lender Triodos. If other institutional or business customers follow Argentona’s example, Caixabank and Sabadell could have a big problem on their hands.

The fallout of political instability in Catalonia is being felt across the whole economy. Real estate investment in the region, both domestic and foreign, is drying up. Starwood European Real Estate Finance, the European subsidiary of the U.S. property giant Starwood Capital, has announced that it’s shifting its focus away not only from Catalonia but Spain as a whole, and toward more stable European markets.

It’s not just investments that have been put on hold. People are not spending much either. Important consumer purchases have been put on hold until some semblance of stability returns, and people are not going out as much as before. Based on my own observations, the bars are emptier and the streets are quieter.

Tourism to Catalonia, Spain’s most visited region last year, slumped by 15{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528} in the two weeks following the referendum on independence, according toindustry experts. Catalonia received about 18 million visitors last year, and tourism accounts for around 12{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528} of the region’s GDP, with industry and trade as the other main contributors.

Those sectors are feeling the pinch too, partly due to the dark clouds of uncertainty and dread surrounding the region’s short-term future, but also as a result of a gathering boycott against Catalan products in other parts of Spain.

“There is a widespread rejection of Catalan products and more and more restaurants and supermarkets are changing the brands they offer,” says Bartomeu Servera, the president of a food and beverage trade association in the Balearic Islands. “It is especially noticeable in the drinks sector, but it affects all products that are identified with Catalonia.”

It’s not just Catalan companies that are being hurt. Many Catalan products include components and raw materials from other parts of Spain. A case in point is the Catalan ready-made pizza company, Tarradellas, which has been on the sharp end of the boycott for months. The tomato sauce it uses to top its pizzas is provided by Conesa, a tomato-processing company in Extremadura, an impoverished region on the border of Portugal in the South West of Spain.

Speaking to the Extremaduran newspaper Hoy Conesa’s Managing Director, Manuel Vázquez Calleja, warned that “by refusing to buy Catalan products such as those of food company Tarradellas, we could be shooting ourselves in the foot, as their pizzas are covered with our tomatoes… Probably the tuna they use comes from Galicia and the flour from Andalusia.”

This self-defeating pattern is a constant feature of the economic tug of war between Madrid and Catalonia — a war that began when Madrid seized full control of the accounts of Catalonia’s 298 regional public bodies in the wake of the banned referendum on Oct. 1. Shortly after that the Rajoy government passed a law making it much easier for Spanish companies to move their registered address.

The move helped spark a mass exodus as over a thousand Catalan-based businesses, including six of the seven firms listed on Spain’s benchmark index, the IBEX 35, opted to move their registered address outside Catalonia. The extent to which it was a voluntary move is debatable. Some companies, including Spain’s car manufacturer SEAT, have accused the Spanish government and King Felipe VI of pressuring them to leave the region.

On Thursday Spain’s Economy Minister, Luis de Guindos, raised the stakes even further, warning that the independence of Catalonia could spark a bank run in the region. Independence would be “horrific;” it would amount to “financial suicide,” he said.

But financial suicide for whom?

Read More @ WolfStreet.com

James Woods Destroys “Parasite Rodeo Clown” Rep Wilson in Tweetstorm and It’s Glorious

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by Christina Laila, The Gateway Pundit:

James Woods went to town on his Twitter account slamming the liberal lunatic Rep. Wilson and it was glorious.

This is why we LOVE James Woods!

As The Gateway Pundit previously reported, far left Cowgirl Congresswoman Frederica Wilson trashed President Trump after he called Sgt. La David T. Johnson’s widow, Myeshia this week.

Trump called the grieving widow after her husband died in Niger serving the country.

Frederica, who is always spotted in a glittery cowgirl hat, trashed the GOP president for his words to the widow.
Frederica said Trump was cold and callous to the widow.

President Trump tweeted a response to the controversial Democrat on Wednesday.
And he has proof to back up his words!

The situation continued to spiral out of control because on Thursday Rep. Frederica Wilson ripped General John Kelly for defending President Trump’s phone call to Gold Star widow of Army Sgt. La David Johnson.

Following Kelly’s remarks, Wilson responded by saying to reporters, “John Kelly’s trying to keep his job. He will say anything.”

Obviously this cretin wants attention…

Wilson has been basking in national attention following her blistering attack on President Donald Trump over a condolence call to the widow of Sgt. La David Johnson who was killed in Niger on October 4.

She bragged to reporters Thursday afternoon that she is now a “rock star” following criticism by White House Chief of Staff Gen. John Kelly (USMC Ret), himself a Gold Star father.

SICK.

James Woods didn’t hold back. The patriotic actor unleashed on Wilson and it was a treat to watch. Woods referred to Wilson as a “parasite rodeo clown” who is only being used to distract from the Uranium One scandal. TRUTH BOMB.

Read More @ TheGatewayPundit.com

Did John McCain Provide The Infamous ‘Trump Dossier’ To BuzzFeed?

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from ZeroHedge:

After nearly a year of cogitating, no one in the media, usually a fairly leaky institution, has been able to figure out who exactly who provided the infamous “Trump Dossier” to BuzzFeed which was published on January 10, 2017 and promptly debunked within approximately 35 seconds. 

As the Daily Caller points out today, less than a handful of people had access to the dossier before it made its way to BuzzFeed: John McCain, David Kramer (a former State Department official and an associate of McCain), then FBI Director James Comey and Fusion GPS (the creator of the document).  Fusion GPS has since admitted under oath that they did not share the document with BuzzFeed which basically just leaves John McCain (and/or his associate) or James Comey.

Asked about the dossier recently, an irritable, and perhaps defensive, McCain lashed out at a Daily Caller reporter (seemingly a new trend for McCain of late) saying only “I don’t know why you’re digging this up now.”

In addition to McCain and Steele, opposition research firm Fusion GPS had the dossier, as did David J. Kramer, a former State Department official and an associate of McCdoain’s.

One person who was provided a copy of the salacious document, written by former British spy Christopher Steele, is Arizona Sen. John McCain. But McCain, who has already acknowledged providing an early version of the dossier to former FBI Director James Comey, denied this week that he also gave a version to BuzzFeed, which published it on Jan. 10.

“I gave it to no one except for the director of the FBI. I don’t know why you’re digging this up now,” McCain said during a testy exchange with The Daily Caller on Wednesday.

McCain was asked whether he was BuzzFeed’s source after the Republican’s office declined to answer direct questions on the matter.

As a reminder, here is a recap of the timeline leading up the dossier’s BuzzFeed debut.

McCain and Kramer, a former official at the McCain Institute, were first told about the dossier in November, during a conversation with Sir Andrew Wood, a former British spy and associate of Steele’s. McCain then dispatched Kramer to meet with Steele in London on Nov. 28.

Steele, who operates Orbis Business Intelligence in London, has revealed in the London lawsuit that he allowed Kramer to view the dossier but did not provide him a copy. He said that an “arrangement” was later made for Fusion to provide a copy of the dossier to McCain through Kramer.

McCain then provided a copy of the document to Comey during a Dec. 9 meeting.

Four days after McCain met with Comey, Steele would produce the final memo of the dossier, the one that was provided to BuzzFeed and which included the allegations against Gubarev.

Steele sent the final memo to Fusion with instructions to pass a hard-copy to Kramer and McCain. It is unclear how the dossier was disseminated after that. Fusion has not said whether it disseminated the final version of the dossier to anyone outside the company.

The denials by Steele, Fusion and McCain that they were BuzzFeed’s sources leaves just a few posibilities, including Kramer.

Kramer has not responded to multiple requests for comment about his handling of the dossier or whether he gave it to any news outlets. He has not talked on the record to any reporters since being identified in the controversy.

Read More @ ZeroHedge.com

Deep State Trump

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by Carey Wedler, The Anti Media:

Any remnants of the notion that Donald Trump is an enemy of the Deep State and ruling establishment were put to rest over the last two weeks as CIA Director Mike Pompeo echoed the Trump’s foreign policy rhetoric and proudly bragged about having the president’s support, passionately advocating the use of “aggressive” and “vicious” tactics.

On Thursday, Pompeo spoke at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies forum, sounding the alarm on North Korea’s nuclear capabilities. Though he distinguished between the county’s capacity to produce a single weapon versus an entire arsenal, he stressed the need to halt the country’s weapons’ ambitions altogether (like Trump and the media, he ignored the reality the North Korea has expressed its openness to negotiation).

Pompeo also stressed the need for Pakistan to aid in the fight against the Taliban, which has thrived in Afghanistan despite the U.S.’ military presence there for sixteen years and previous troop increases.

More telling, however, were Pompeo’s remarks at the University of Texas-Austin last week when he spoke bluntly about the aggressive power he believes the CIA should wield.

The CIA published the prepared remarks in full.

Opening with the topic of “espionage,” which Pompeo described as “the art and science of running assets and stealing secrets,” he stressed that this was the core of the agency’s activities and asserted it was all done in the name “of collecting foreign intelligence to keep America safe. Period. Full stop.

After establishing the necessity of espionage (a practice the CIA has bungled in the past), he shared his particularly disturbing perspective on the CIA’s approach to ‘keeping America safe’:

The second thing you must know is that the CIA, to be successful, must be aggressive, vicious, unforgiving, relentless — you pick the word. We must every minute be focused on crushing our enemies and providing unfair advantage for our diplomats, our military and our president.”

Pompeo not only insisted that the CIA’s success depends on aggression and viciousness but he also openly advocated American exceptionalism to the extent that he was willing to create an unfair advantage, which implies breaking rules or subverting justice to get ahead. This statement came in a speech where he also claimed the CIA adheres to the constitution, plays by the rules, and serves a country rooted in “deeply moral” values.

Despite these platitudes, on Thursday, Pompeo expressed his intention to further radicalize the CIA:

We’re going to become a much more vicious agency,” he said.

It is not immediately clear how the CIA could possibly be more vicious than it has since its inception, toppling democratically elected governments; installing brutal dictators; imposing ‘vicious’ torture techniques against captives not charged with crimes; infiltrating the news media to manipulate the American public’s perception of reality; forcing mind-altering drugs on innocent people to learn how to control them; infiltrating domestic activist movements (including black rights and anti-war groups); importing Nazi scientists; and arming radicals in schemes that ultimately put the United States in more danger.

Read More @ TheAntiMedia.com

MARKETS… WE GOT TROUBLE: Debt & Brain-Dead Retail Investors Prop Up Stocks

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by Steve St. Angelo, SRSrocco:

As the Dow Jones Index hits another all-time high today, smart money is rushing to the exits.  You see, smart money knows when something is too good to be true.  Unfortunately for the retail investor who is suffering from acute BRAIN DAMAGE, they are doing quite the opposite.  As institutions sellout on each new market price rise, retail investors are happily buying… hand over fist.

And why shouldn’t they?  These are good times.  Well, maybe not for Americans living in Houston, parts of Florida, California or in Puerto Rico.  Whatever happened to the news on the massive flooding and hurricane damage in Houston, Florida and Puerto Rico?  I remember seeing videos of Miami Beach High-Rise Condos with seawater 5-8 feet surrounding the entire area.  Does anyone have an idea of what happens to electrical systems when salt water floods buildings?  It’s not good.

Regardless… the amount of destruction major U.S. cities have experienced in the past three months is like nothing we have witnessed before.  Regrettably, a lot of these homes and businesses will never be rebuilt.  Not only don’t we have the money to do it, more importantly, we also don’t have the available energy.  While the massive destruction by hurricanes, flooding and fire have not impacted the stock market currently, they will.

As I mentioned at the beginning of the article, retail investors are propping up the markets.  However, they aren’t the only ones, or should I say, the only factor in keeping the markets from falling off a cliff.  Thanks to Uncle Sam, total U.S. debt has increased by $590 billion in just the past month and a half.  Here is a table of U.S. debtfrom the data published by the fine folks at TreasuryDirect.gov:

The U.S. debt ceiling was finally breached on Sept 8th as the Treasury added another $318 billion of debt in one day.  Since that day, the U.S. debt has increased by another $271 billion.  The addition of debt to the U.S. Government balance sheet had a wonderful impact on the stock market:

You will notice that the Dow Jones Index was running along the 50 Month Moving Average (BLUEline).   Any breach below a crucial technical support line could force selling by traders.  But, when the U.S. Treasury added another $318 billion of debt on Sept 8th, this propelled the markets higher.  While I don’t pay much attention to technical analysis, many professional traders most certainly do.

Read More @ SRSrocco.com

Report: President Trump looking To RELEASE The CIA JFK Assassination Files Despite Intelligence Community Fears

by Alex Thomas, SHTFPlan:

Despite reported pleas from the intelligence community to delay their release, President Trump is set to declassify the tens of thousands of remaining CIA documents relating to the JFK assassination, according to a report by longtime Trump friend and adviser Roger Stone.

Stone, who is also an Infowars correspondent, spoke to the president Thursday about the issue as well as the fears of some within the CIA over the files pending release.

“Yesterday I had the opportunity to make the case directly to the President of the United States, by phone, as to why I believe it is essential that he release the balance of the current redacted and classifeid JFK assassination documents,” Stone detailed in an appearance on the Alex Jones Show.

“He was all ears,” Stone continued. “The president believes in transparency, he believes in the public’s right to know.”

Stone stressed that Trump didn’t specifically tell him that he had planned to release the files, but the way he took the information in and his past beliefs on the subject made it seem highly likely that he was leaning towards their release.

During the interview Stone also detailed the fact that the CIA doesn’t want the files released and why this may be the case.

“A very good White House source, not the president, told me that the Central Intelligence Agency, specifically the CIA director, have been lobbying the president furiously to not release these documents,” he noted.

“Why? I believe they show that Oswald was trained, nurtured, and put in place by the CIA, it sheds very bad light on the deep state – the same characters trying to take down our president right now.”

As it has gotten closer to their possible release, there haven’t just been ramblings in the intelligence community as mainstream authors of books that point to Oswald as the lone gunman have also publicly wrote about their worry that “experts” would not be able to dissect the documents before the public are able to read them.

An article in the establishment Politico Magazine by two mainstream JFK authors, Philip Shenon and Larry J. Sabato, quotes Stone about the CIA’s worry while also adding worry of their own.

As it stands now, the document release this month will be a logistical nightmare, with the public suddenly flooded with a huge online library of documents—tens of thousands in total—that will be, at first, mostly incomprehensible even to experienced students of the assassination. The National Archives, abandoning its plans to release the documents in batches over the course of several months, said this week that it will instead release everything at once—all on the same day—sometime between now and the deadline on October 26.

[…]

With everything made public at once, pandemonium is all but guaranteed, since major news organizations around the world will want to know, almost instantly, what is in the documents that is new and potentially important. And there will simply be no way for historians and other researchers, even those with a special knowledge of the Kennedy assassination, to make any authoritative judgment as they try to page through tens of thousands of pages of files all at once.

Sadly but understandably, the result will be that many journalists and others will either reach overly hasty, cherry-picked conclusions from individual documents or throw up their hands, assuming that the confusion over the documents is simply more proof of why it is impossible to know the full truth about JFK’s death—precisely the sort of cynical response the authors of the 1992 law had hoped to avoid. The 1992 law was itself a response in Congress to the furor created by the release the year before of Oliver Stone’s film “JFK,” which suggested that a vast government conspiracy was behind Kennedy’s death.

Read More @ SHTFPlan.com

Swedish Politicians Call For Army to be Deployed to No Go Zones to Keep Peace

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by Chris Tomlinson, Breitbart:

Twenty members of the Moderate Party in Sweden have proposed the government deploys the armed forces in some of the country’s most dangerous no-go zones to combat “gang violence”.

Moderate Party politician Mikael Cederbratt made the proposal this week saying: “The situation in our areas of exclusion has deteriorated. The gangs have taken over and the police have had to retreat. Swedish law no longer applies there.”

Cederbratt was backed up by 19 other Moderate party members who signed a motion to deploy members of the Swedish armed forces in the heavily migrant populated Stockholm suburbs of Hallunda-Norsborg, Tensta, Rinkeby, and Husby Botkyrka Direct reports.

“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,” Cederbratt said.

“It is the responsibility of the state to maintain the law, especially the police. But the police today do not have the numerical ability to maintain public order,” he added.

In certain no-go zones, police have been brutally attacked, some of which has even been caught on video. In Rinkeby, police have been trying to build a new, more secure police station for months but have been unable to find building contractors due to the danger of working in the area.

Cederbratt said that the military could take on police functions in the areas. “For example, a police bus and a night in Norsborg could be manned by four to five soldiers led by a police inspector,” he said.

“Military police are perfect. We also have a group of UN military unions who have learned this kind of work in very difficult situations abroad. If they receive supplementary education, they can work very well under the guidance of a police officer in Sweden.”

Read More @ Breitbart.com

Are You Infuriated Yet?

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by Chris Martenson, Peak Prosperity:

More and more, I’m encountering people who are simply infuriated with how our “leaders” are running (or to put it more accurately, ruining) things right now. And I share that fury.

It’s perfectly normal human response to be infuriated when an outside agent hurts you, especially if the pain seems unnecessary, illogical or random.

Imagine if your neighbor enjoyed setting off loud explosives at all hours of the day and night. Or if he had a habit of tailgating and brake-checking you every time he saw your car on the road. You’d been well within your rights to be infuriated.

Or to use a much more common example from the real world : When your politicians repeatedly pass laws that hurt you in favor of large corporations — that, too, is infuriating. Especially if those actions run directly counter to their campaign promises.

There’s a lot of be infuriated about in the world today, so go ahead and embrace your rage. By doing so, you’ll be in a better mindset to understand things like Brexit, Catalonia, and Trump, each of which is a reflection of the fury of your fellow citizens, who are finally waking up to the fact that they’ve been victims for too long.

An easy prediction to make is that this simmering anger of the populace is going to start boiling over more violently in the coming years. Welcome to the Age of Fury.

‘Over The Top’ Dumb

Do you ever get the sense that, as a society, we’re being dangerously reckless? Perhaps so dumb that we might not recover from the repercussions of our stupidity for many generations, if ever?

There are economic and financial idiocies in motion that are, by themselves, unsolvable predicaments without a peaceful solution. But when combined with resource depletion and declining net energy, they’re positively intractable.

Take for example the hundreds of trillions of dollars-worth of underfunded entitlement and pension promises. Those promises cannot be kept and they cannot be paid. Everybody with a basic comprehension of math can conclude as such.

Yet we continue to operate as if the opposite were true. We comfort ourselves that, somehow, all the promised future payouts will be made in full — even though the funds are insolvent, their returns are much lower than the actuarial projections require, and payout demand mercilessly rises each year.

Spoiler alert: This isn’t some future disaster lying in wait. It’s unfolding right now.

Take these headlines spanning the past several years:

When it comes to broken retirement promises, the future is now. It will be with us for a very long time.

Why? Because the math simply doesn’t work. It’s broken, it’s been broken for a long time. You can’t put too little in the piggy bank at the start, then raid it over time, and still expect to have enough at the end.

And yet we, as a society, have preferred to pretend as if that weren’t the case. Which, it turns out, was a terrible “strategy.”

But if you think that’s bad, you’re going to positively hate this chart:

The pension liabilities now blowing up are contained within the thin green smear in the middle of this chart. Think on the nation’s inability to handle that single crisis, and now reflect on how overwhelmed it’s going to be by the far larger predicaments that lie elsewhere on the chart.

The Infuriating Plunder-fest That Is Health Care

The Medicare liabilities (the orange and largest band on the above chart) are immense, and will only become more so as our largest demographic, the baby boomers, further ages. But they become especially infuriating when seen in the larger context of the racketeering that drives the health care system in the United States.

Instead of doing anything constructive about the high number of IOUs building up within Medicare, Washington DC politicians are sidestepping the most obvious elements that contribute the most to the problem. Enormously wasteful, the “healthcare” system is entirely out of control and spiraling deeper into an abyss that threatens to literally destroy the most productive segment of the US social structure: the middle and upper middle classes.

That should be a topic of serious discussion in the halls of power. But none is being had.

Literally each day brings worse news on the skyrocketing costs of healthcare. But, as with most topics,  the media mostly focuses on the symptoms (prices) rather than the causes of the issue.

The real culprits here are the insurance cartel and a hospital system that has the most unfair, incomprehensible, and inhumane billing process ever devised. One easy to grasp feature of both the insurance companies and conspire to pay the executives far more than they actually deserve or are truly worth.

Health care premiums for 2018 set to go up by as much as 50 percent

Oct 5, 2017

Several states have announced rates for health insurance premiums on the Obamacare exchanges for 2018. Topping the list is Georgia, with rates that are 57 percent higher than last year, while Florida said some premiums will be 45 percent higher.

Among the reasons for these increases is the uncertainty about the future of the Affordable Care Act. President Donald Trump has vowed to repeal and replace the health care law, which was passed under his predecessor President Barack Obama.

Insurers are raising premiums in the face of repeated threats from President Trump to stop funding so-called cost-sharing reductions, payments to insurers that cover out-of-pocket costs for some low-income consumers. Trump previously referred to these payments as “bailouts” for insurance companies and threatened to stop making the payments so as to “let Obamacare implode”.

(Source)

Read More @ PeakProsperity.com

China’s National Congress: What You Need To Know

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by James Corbett, The International Forecaster:

… already it seems clear that President Xi is indeed tightening his grip on control of the Party (and thus the country), and that Xi is continuing with his vision of making China into a world superpower in the coming decades.

As you may have seen in the news, the China’s ruling Communist Party is currently convening its twice-in-a-decade National Congress. And, as you may have also seen in the news, it’s kind of a big deal. “Xi Jinping declares China’s intent to be a ‘leading power’ by 2050,” warns Business Insider. “China’s leader Xi Jinping declares the start of a ‘new era‘.” screams The Economist. “We are obsessed with Brexit and Trump: we should be thinking about China,” chides the Guardian. “But wait, James,” you say. “Didn’t this just happen a couple of years ago. Weren’t you just telling us about the shisanwu?”

Ah, dear reader, I’m glad you’re paying attention. Sort of. Actually, that was the the 5th plenary session of its 18th Central Committee, aka the meeting where the ChiComs hammered out China’s 13th five-year plan. (But I’m not surprised you remember that catchy shisanwu song!)

This is the National Congress, where the 18th Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party becomes the 19th Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party. You know, the invitation-only shindig where 2,287 of the Party’s faithful (only those of “unshakable belief” and the “correct political stance,” of course) converge on Beijing’s Great Hall of the People to “appoint” the membership of the Party’s Politburo, “elect” members to the Central Committee, and “decide” on amendments to the Party’s constitution.

Of course, like everything else in the glorious socialist utopia of China, all of the outcomes have been decided beforehand and there will be no surprises whatsoever. But as a forum for formalizing China’s (pre-determined) future course, it gives those of us outside the Politburo a glimpse into what shape China will be taking in the coming years.

And, given China’s role as the rising economic dragon, rising geopolitical force, rising military threat and rising pawn in the grand plan for the powers-that-shouldn’t-be’s next “Great War,” there are some valuable things to be learned from the proceedings.

So, without further ado, here are seven things you need to know about this week’s 19th National Congress.

1) The congress opened with a marathon three-and-a-half hour speech from President Xi. If you’re a glutton for punishment and/or mealymouthed political drivel, you can watch the entire thing here! Perhaps the most notable thing about the speech is the introduction of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era (习近平新时代中国特色社会主义思想). Yes, that is an official term, and yes, it is quite possible that it will be written into the Party’s new constitution during the congress, an act which would put him on par with Chairman Mao (“Mao Zedong Thought”) and Deng Xiaoping (“Deng Xiaoping Theory.”) Xi Thought (in case the full name is a bit of a mouthful) hinges on “14 fundamental principles,” ranging from the banal (“Committing to a people centred approach”) to the perfectly predictable (“Upholding core socialist values”) to the breathtakingly expansive and creepy (“Ensuring party leadership over all work.”) The same people who watched the full three-and-a-half-hour speech above may be interested in studying the 14 principles in depth. Happy thinking!

2) The Chinese Communist Party is replacing its “Central Commission for Discipline Inspection” — currently responsible for policing corruption and meting out punishment within the Party itself — with a “Supervisory Commission,” which is being touted as a type of “superagency, overseeing all inspections of government departments and state-owned firms and institutions as well as within the ruling party.” This is part of the “anti-corruption” agenda that has marked the era of Xi Jinping’s presidency — an agenda which, it has been pointed out many times, is really a convenient excuse for Xi to purge his enemies from the party. Now it seems that he’ll be able to purge his enemies from the broader institutions of the Chinese government and state-owned economy, as well!

3) As noted above, one of the tasks of the Congress is to appoint members to the Party’s 25-member Politburo. These 25 members in turn appoint the seven members of the powerful Politburo Standing Committee, the top leaders of the party. The Committee currently contains President Xi, Premier Li Keqiang and five others, but all five of those remaining members could retire during the congress, leaving the party’s leadership open for a nearly total shake-up. This shake-up would be overseen by Xi, and would essentially guarantee his total consolidation of power within the Party.

4) Given the incredible consolidation of power inherent in the (expected) enshrinement of Xi Thought in the party constitution, the creation of the Supervisory Commission for targeting Xi’s enemies throughout the government, and the shake-up of the Politburo Standing Committee, there are those speculating that Xi may signal his intention to stay on after his constitutionally-limited 10 years in power is up at the next Party Congress in 2022. Such a move would affirm that he is positioning himself as the single, unquestionable ruler of the world’s largest dictatorship, and the most important Chinese leader since Mao.

5) Continuing the Trump admin tradition of playing the “what the hell are we saying this week?” game, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson chided China for “provocative actions” in a speech on Wednesday and CIA chief Mike Pompeo spoke hopefully about China’s “incredible capacity to do good around the world” on Thursday. A confused Chinese leadership only just had time to respond to Tillerson before learning of Pompeo’s statements, so perhaps they’ll just continuing ignoring the Trump team for the rest of the Congress.

6) Shanghai city’s communist party has announced plans to make their pilot free trade zone into a free trade port, easing restrictions on incoming cargo. As a result, stocks in the city’s stocks (including Port operator Shanghai International Port Group Co. and property developer Shanghai Waigaoqiao Free Trade Zone Group Co.) surged on Friday.

Read More @ TheInternationalForecaster.com

Tens of Thousands of ACTUAL Nazis Hold March in U.S.-Funded Country—Mainstream Media Silent

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by Jay Syrmopoulos, The Free Thought Project:

Western mainstream media completely ignored the 20,000 Ukrainian neo-Nazis chanting fascist slogans, brandishing torchlights, and openly giving the Nazi salute.

Kiev, Ukraine – The largest neo-Nazi march in modern Ukrainian history was held last weekend, yet virtually the whole of Western mainstream media completely ignored the 20,000 neo-Nazi extremistschanting fascist slogans, brandishing torchlights, and openly giving the Nazi salute as they praised genocide.

Up to 20,000 neo-Nazi extremists gathered to honor the anniversary of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA). The UPA was a paramilitary group that collaborated with the Hitler and the Nazis.

Of course, since Ukraine now has a U.S. installed puppet government, the Western mass media – which now commonly operates as state-corporate propagandists for the American empire – remain silent like the proper lapdogs of the oligarchy they have become.

Revealing the nefarious nature of the U.S.’ chosen bedfellows, one of the reported leaders of the rally, Oleg Tyahnybok, who happens to be an associate of U.S. Senator John McCain and former Vice President Joe Biden, called on Ukrainian authorities to do more to crack down on the “criminal activities” of “organized Jewry.” Tyahnybok also is the leader of the ultra-nationalist political party Svoboda.

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