Tuesday, April 23, 2019

The Not-so-Minor China Presence in Zimbabwe

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by F. William Engdahl, New Eastern Outlook:

Who stands to benefit from the recent military toppling of Mugabe in Zimbabwe? The military and his own party have “convinced” 93-year-old Robert Mugabe to surrender office after 37 years of iron-fisted rule over one of resource-rich Africa’s richest lands. Little discussed is the fact that the country holds some of the world’s most valuable mineral deposits and that China, USA, and former colonial power Britain all have their eyes on that wealth. The problem is that the US and Britain have soured their chances by years of severe economic sanctions, leaving China in a very positive position.

The basic facts leading up to the military intervention are well documented. Mugabe’s ambitious wife, the 52-year-old Grace Mugabe, nicknamed “Gucci Grace” by her political opponents for her lavish lifestyle in one of the world’s poorest countries, apparently persuaded her husband to fire her main rival to succeed Mugabe as president. Days before the military intervened,on November 6, Mugabe fired Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa, his long-term ally since the war of independence from British rule, who went into exile in neighboring South Africa.

The Mugabe plan was reportedly to make his wife his successor as President. Mugabe’s two sons, Robert Jr and Bellarmine Chatunga Mugabe, and Grace Mugabe’s son by a previous marriage, Russell Goreraza, were also being positioned to take key posts in the Mugabe regime. All sons were notorious in the country for their playboy lifestyle, sharing the lavish spending habits of their mother, Grace.

From public evidence, at that point General Constantine Chiwenga, commander of the Zimbabwe Defense Force and Chris Mutsvangwa, the head of the powerful War Veterans’ Association, in consultation with ousted Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa, moved to stop the machinations of Mugabe and wife and stage the putsch. The day Mugabe fired Mnangagwa, General Chiwenga was in China and was informed that Mugabe had ordered his arrest on his return. Through aid of loyal soldiers, he managed to get back to Harare to carry out the putsch on November 12.

In a mostly bloodless operationChiwenga ordered tanks to control key government buildings and the Harare airport, which in a touch of irony had just been renamed the Robert Mugabe International Airport on November 9. Chiwenga had support of the military and of internal security forces as well as leaders of Mugabe’s own ZANU-PF party. Mugabe and his family were put under house arrest. To prevent appearance of a coup which would draw sanctions from the African Union, the military spent six days of negotiations to get Mugabe out of office via public pressure, impeachment threats and hours of cajoling.

On November 21, Parliament interrupted impeachment proceedings to announce Mugabe had agreed to resign. Although under the Constitution of Zimbabwe Mugabe should be succeeded by Vice President PhelekezelaMphoko, a supporter of Grace Mugabe, ZANU-PF chief whip LovemoreMatuke stated that former Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa, now party chairman, would be appointed as President which was done on 24 November.

British media reports that before moving to oust Mugabe, General Chiwenga informed Washington as well as Beijing. What it did not report was the fact that several days before he ordered his tanks to surround Harare government buildings, General Constantine Chiwenga was in Beijing on a “routine visit,” where he met with senior Chinese military officials.

Notably, when Chiwenga returned to Zimbabwe and ordered the house arrest of Mugabe, the Chinese government responded with a non-committal statement that Beijing was “paying close attention to developments.”On November 17, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesmanGengShuang officially stated that, “China’s friendly policy toward Zimbabwe will not change. We will continue to advance friendly cooperation with Zimbabwe in line with the principle of equality, reciprocity and win-win cooperation.”

China is careful not to tie its economic relations abroad with US-style interventions into domestic affairs. In this case it would seem Beijing is interested in an orderly continuity of relations and was persuaded neither Mugabe nor his wife whom they had formerly regarded as likely successor, would be able to provide this. It’s clear the Chinese officials gave General Chiwenga the assurances that GengShuang made public days later. They would back the government of Zimbabwe, not side with Mugabe, even though a year earlier they indicated they would be willing to accept Grace Mugabe as successor. For China stability is sine qua non.

Washington and London Try to Gain

For its side, Washington has reacted with cautious optimism. The US State Department called for the post-Mugabe era to open the way for Zimbabwe to “rejoin the West” as before the 2000 US and EU sanctions. US State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert called the Mugabe resignation “a historic opportunity” for the country’s people. She declared, “The people of Zimbabwe have firmly voiced their desire for a new era to bring an end to Zimbabwe’s isolation and allow the country to rejoin the international community.”

The CIA-tied “private democracy-promoting” NGO, National Endowment for Democracy wrote, “there is nothing yet to suggest that Zimbabwe is about to undergo a substantive shift toward a more democratic and open society based on the full implementation of its 2013 constitution…” Translated from the NED Orwell-esk, that “open society”means return to IMF austerity and US and UK economic domination.

Commenting on the developments and declaring Mugabe must leave, US Secretary of State for Africa, Donald Yamamoto stated openly, “The United States would discuss lifting multiple U.S. sanctions on Zimbabwe if it began enacting political and economic reforms.” He added, “Our position has always been that if they engage in the constitutional reforms, economic and political reforms, and move forward to protecting political space and the human rights, then we can start the dialogue on lifting sanctions.”

Now we can be certain the full armamentarium of US “human rights” or fake democracy NGOs will try to reopen operations in Zimbabwe to bring the country fully into the camp of the IMF and World Bank and draw the country away from the deep ties to China.

London is also betting it can cut a better deal with Emmerson Mnangagwa in charge than with Mugabeas head of the former British colony. According to a Reuters report, hundreds of pages of documents from the Zimbabwe CIO intelligence agency state that Mnangagwa was in discussions with the British Ambassador, Catriona Laing,about leading a transitional government for five years with the tacit backing of some of Zimbabwe’s military.Mnangagwa reportedly was also in discussions
with dispossessed white farmers about returning the lands forcibly taken from them in 2000 by Mugabe in a violent land redistribution that triggered western sanctions.

In 2000 for a complexity of reasons, Mugabe approved radical land reforms that encouraged veterans from the fight for liberation to occupy some 4,000 white-owned commercial farms. At least 12 farmers were murdered. Most fled. They were replaced by Mugabe cronies and

inexperienced black farmers. The agriculture-based economy went into freefall. Before 2000, farming accounted for 40 percent of all exports. By 2010 it had dropped to just 3 percent. GDP almost halved from 1998 to 2008 and hyperinflation came as the central bank printed money endlessly in a vain effort to keep the economy afloat.

In December 2001, the US Congress passed the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act (ZDERA) and Zimbabwe was denied access to IMF and World Bank credit. The result of the West’s severe sanctions was dilapidated infrastructure, increased poverty, high unemployment, economic meltdown and hyperinflation.

In October 2015 in an attempt to regain access to western capital cut off by US and EU sanctions since 2001, Zimbabwe had agreed to the West’s so-called Lima Process.

The Lima Process called for the Zimbabwe government to pay off some $1.8 billion in arrears to the World Bank, IMF and African Development Bank as precondition for getting a new $2 billion IMF credit, hardly a game-changer for the embattled economy. As part of the deal Zimbabwe must agree to sharp cuts in the state budget deficit, and reduction of state sector employment, measures highly unpopular in the economically depressed country. By 2016, despite some small measures, Zimbabwe was clearly not going along with the US IMF measures. What intervened was China yuan diplomacy.

A Chinese Carrot

In December, 2015, clearly realizing it was about to be eased out of Zimbabwe by the US and UK using the IMF, Beijing sweetened the game. It prepared a $5 billion aid package independent of any IMF conditions. In July 2016 Zimbabwe’s Macro-Economic Planning and Investment minister ObertMpofu and Agriculture, Mechanization and Irrigation Development minister Joseph Made negotiated a deal with Beijing, giving Zimbabwe $4 billion to improve agriculture productivity and $1 billion for urban low-cost housing as well as US$46 million for the construction of a new parliament building outside Harare.

Now the stakes become high, with the USA and former colonial masters UK with the IMF and its “reforms” on the one side, and China on the other.

Zimbabwe is a treasure of untapped minerals. Under the British colonial era it was named Rhodesia after British miner and occultist of the Empire, Sir Cecil Rhodes.

China is today the key trade and investment partner of Zimbabwe.

Minerals Wealth Untapped

As a result of years of Western sanctions and hyperinflation as well as a ban on western investment, the country’s mining infrastructure is operating far under potential. The country is enormously rich in untapped minerals including copper, platinum, gold, diamonds and iron ore. Only five countries in the world, for example, produce platinum, a rare metal used among other places in catalytic converters for vehicles. The leading producers are South Africa and Russia. Zimbabwe is number five. Total platinum reserves in Zimbabwe are estimated at 2.8 billion tons. Owing to lack of investment, only 2.4 million tons a year are mined.

Read More @ Journal-NEO.org
 

You’re Just Not Prepared For What’s Coming

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by Chris Martenson, Peak Prosperity:

I hate to break it to you, but chances are you’re just not prepared for what’s coming. Not even close. 

Don’t take it personally. I’m simply playing the odds.

After spending more than a decade warning people all over the world about the futility of pursuing infinite exponential economic growth on a finite planet, I can tell you this: very few are even aware of the nature of our predicament.

An even smaller subset is either physically or financially ready for the sort of future barreling down on us. Even fewer are mentally prepared for it. 

And make no mistake: it’s the mental and emotional preparation that matters the most. If you can’t cope with adversity and uncertainty, you’re going to be toast in the coming years.

Those of us intending to persevere need to start by looking unflinchingly at the data, and then allowing time to let it sink in.  Change is coming – which isn’t a problem in and of itself. But it’s pace is likely to be. Rapid change is difficult for humans to process. 

Those frightened by today’s over-inflated asset prices fear how quickly the current bubbles throughout our financial markets will deflate/implode. Who knows when they’ll pop?  What will the eventual trigger(s) be? All we know for sure is that every bubble in history inevitably found its pin.

These bubbles – blown by central bankers serially addicted to creating them (and then riding to the rescue to fix them) – are the largest in all of history. That means they’re going to be the most destructive in history when they finally let go.

Millions of households will lose trillions of dollars in net worth. Jobs will evaporate, causing the tens of millions of families living paycheck to paycheck serious harm.

These are the kind of painful consequences central bank follies result in. They’re particularly regrettable because they could have been completely avoided if only we’d taken our medicine during the last crisis back in 2008.  But we didn’t. We let the Federal Reserve –the instiution largely responsible for creating the Great Financial Crisis — conspire with its brethern central banks to ‘paper over’ our problems.

So now we are at the apex of the most incredible nest of financial bubbles in all of human history.

One of my favorite charts is below, which shows that even the smartest minds among us (Sir Isaac Newton, in this case) can succumb to the mania of a bubble:

It’s enormously difficult to resist the social pressure to become involved.

But all bubbles burst — painfully of course. That’s their very nature.

Mathematically, it’s impossible for half or more of a bubble’s participants to close out their positions for a gain. But in reality, it’s even worse. Being generous, maybe 10% manage to get out in time.

That means the remaining 90% don’t. For these bagholders, the losses will range from ‘painful’ to ‘financially fatal’.

Which brings us to the conclusion that a similar proportion of people will be emotionally unprepared for the bursting of these bubbles.  Again, playing the odds, I’m talking about you.    

How Exponentials Work Against You

Bubbles are destructive in the same manner as ocean waves. Their force is not linear, but exponential. 

That means that a wave’s energy increases as the square of its height. A 4-foot wave has 16 times the force of a 1-foot wave; something any surfer knows from experience.  A 1-foot wave will nudge you.  A 4-foot wave will smash you, filling your bathing suit and various body orifices with sand and shells.  A 10-foot wave has 100 times more destructive power. It can kill you if it manages to pin you against something solid. 

A small, localized bubble — such as one only affecting tulip investors in Holland, or a relatively small number of speculators caught up in buying swampland in Florida — will have a small impact.  Consider those 1-foot waves.

A larger bubble inflating an entire nation’s real estate market will be far more destructive. Like the US in 2007. Or like Australia and Canada today.  Those bubbles were (or will be when they burst) 4-foot waves. 

The current nest of global bubbles in nearly every financial asset (stocks, bonds, real estate, fine art, collectibles, etc) is entirely without precedent. How big are these in wave terms? Are they a series of 8-foot waves? Or more like 12-footers? 

At this magnitude level, it doesn’t really matter. They’re going to be very, very destructive when they break.

Our focus now needs to be figuring out how to avoid getting pinned to the coral reef below when they do.

Understanding ‘Real’ Wealth

In order to fully understand this story, we have to start right at the beginning and ask “What is wealth?”

Most would answer this by saying “money”, and then maybe add “stocks and bonds”. But those aren’t actually wealth. 

All financial assets are just claims on real wealth, not actually wealth itself.  A pile of money has use and utility because you can buy stuff with it.  But real wealth is the “stuff” — food, clothes, land, oil, and so forth.  If you couldn’t buy anything with your money/stocks/bonds, their worth would revert to the value of the paper they’re printed on (if you’re lucky enough to hold an actual certificate). It’s that simple. 

Which means that keeping a tight relationship between ‘real wealth’ and the claims on it should be job #1 of any central bank. But not the Fed, apparently. It’s has increased the number of claims by a mind-boggling amount over the past several years. Same with the BoJ, the ECB, and the other major central banks around the world. They’ve embarked on a very different course, one that has disrupted the long-standing relationship between the markers of wealth and real wealth itself. 

They are aided and abetted by both the media and our educational institutions, which reinforce the idea that the claims on wealth are the same as real wealth itself.  It’s a handy system, of course, as long as everyone believes it. It has proved a great system for keeping the poor people poor and the rich people rich.

But trouble begins when the system gets seriously out of whack. People begin to question why their money has any value at all if the central banks can just print up as much as they want. Any time they want. And hand it out for free in unlimited quantities to the banks. Who have their own mechanism (i.e., fractional reserve banking) for creating even more money out of thin air.

Pretty slick, right?  Convince everyone that something you literally make in unlimited quantities out of thin air has value. So much so that, if you lack it, you end up living under a bridge, starving. 

Let’s express this visually.

Read More @ PeakProsperity.com

Inside the CIA and “Project Prophesy”

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by Jim Rickards, Daily Reckoning:

Dear Reader,

After 9/11, I was tasked by the CIA with creating a system with one essential purpose: to predict the future.

That’s why it was called Project Prophesy.

Project Prophesy was launched as a strategic study under the direction of CIA veteran Randy Tauss, who was also a seasoned options trader.

I was tapped to join the group based in part on my experience with Islamic banking in Pakistan.

That was considered useful in understanding the mindset of potential terrorist traders. I later became one of two project managers reporting to Tauss.

In 2004, I helped build a working prototype of a Project Prophesy machine using artificial intelligence, applied mathematics, news feeds, price feeds, computing and human oversight. We were looking for terrorist insider trading.

We developed Project Prophesy in total secrecy. And much of my work is classified. But I can tell you that on Aug. 7, 2006, Prophesy’s system uncovered warning signs of an impending terrorist attack.

Three days later in London, a plot to blow up 10 U.S. passenger jets was thwarted. Twenty four Pakistani extremists were arrested.

Then in 2007, my system spotted an impending crash in the real estate and stock markets.

I presented my findings to Treasury officials. But they ignored my warnings. We all know what happened next.

We were ready at that point to build a more robust version of this for the CIA and sought additional funding.

But the CIA decided not to move forward with the project mainly for political reasons.

They were worried about possible adverse headlines if it were made to appear that the intelligence community was trolling through citizens’ personal trading records.

That was never true; we used open source price feeds to get initial leads and then operated through the judicial system after that. But the publicity risk was there and the CIA did not want to take a chance.

Read More @ DailyReckoning.com

Unbelievable: The Deep State Is Now Going After Michael Flynn And Donald Trump For Wanting To TAKE OUT ISIS Terrorists

by Alex Thomas, SHTFPlan:

In a move that has the entire liberal media establishment up in arms with claims that this could bring down the president, former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn has pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about conversations he had with the Russian ambassador.

Despite the fact that outlets such as CNN and ABC News are breathlessly reporting that the charges against Flynn have to do with Russia, it has actually been revealed that the reason for the calls to the Russians was to coordinate the FIGHT AGAINST ISIS.

CNBC reports:

ABC News reported that Flynn, the former national security adviser, would testify that he was directed to make contact with Russians during the presidential campaign in 2016. Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his postelection contacts with Russia’s ambassador to the U.S.

ABC said later in an updated report that Flynn will say Trump asked him to make contact with Russia “initially as a way to work together to fight ISIS in Syria.”

In a statement, Flynn said he agreed to “cooperate with the Special Counsel’s Office reflect a decision I made in the best interests of my family and of our country.”

That’s right, Michael Flynn, and President Trump by extension, are now being attacked by Mueller and the entire deep state simply for seeking to work closer with Russia in order to take out literal terrorists!

Paul Joseph Watson reports:

As news broke that Michael Flynn would testify that Donald Trump ordered him to talk to the Russians during the transition phase between administrations, the left exploded with glee that actual evidence of “Russian collusion” was in sight and it could bring down Trump.

The reality turned out to be somewhat disappointing for them.

ABC News reported that Trump directed Flynn to speak with the Russians “initially as a way to work together to fight ISIS in Syria.”

In other words, Trump committed the grievous sin of attempting to work diplomatically with another super power to defeat Islamic terrorism.

This is hardly the damaging revelation Trump’s enemies had been hoping for.

[…]

Talking to ambassadors is not a criminal offense, it’s a routine procedure for incoming administrations. Obama campaign officials responsible for the “reset policy” with Russia met with Russian officials back in 2008 before the election had even taken place.

The real reason Flynn was brought down on a technicality is because he made an enemy out of the deep state by directing exposing them for failing to fight ISIS and to some extent actually helping the spread of radical Islam.

At this point one has to wonder if Mueller himself is actually running cover for a terrorist organization as he has done in the past.

The National Review’s Andrew McCarthy also destroyed the notion that this is some big bombshell:

It remains unclear why the Obama Justice Department chose to investigate Flynn. There was nothing wrong with the incoming national-security adviser’s having meetings with foreign counterparts or discussing such matters as the sanctions in those meetings. Plus, if the FBI had FISA recordings of Flynn’s conversations with Kislyak, there was no need to ask Flynn what the conversations entailed.

[…]

Flynn is prepared to testify that Trump directed him to make contact with the Russians — initially to lay the groundwork for mutual efforts against ISIS in Syria. That, however, is exactly the sort of thing the incoming national-security adviser is supposed to do in a transition phase between administrations. If it were part of the basis for a “collusion” case arising out of Russia’s election meddling, then Flynn would not be pleading guilty to a process crime — he’d be pleading guilty to an espionage conspiracy.

So there you have it. These entire “bombshell revelations against Flynn” are literally NOTHING but two politicians trying to reach out to another country in order to FIGHT ACTUAL TERRORISTS. I repeat, Flynn and Trump are being attacked for reaching out to a Russian ambassador about FIGHTING ISIS.

Read More @ SHTFPlan.com

MEDICAL TYRANNY: Florida health coach threatened with JAIL time for helping people make healthier food choices

by Vicki Batts, Natural News:

When it comes to government interference, it seems like the southern state of Florida just can’t say “No.” In recent years, the state has continuously come under fire for trampling all over the rights of private citizens — particularly when it comes to food and health freedoms. A Florida health coach is under attack for offering clients advice on how to incorporate healthy foods into their daily lives. You’d think the government has better things to do than crack down on health and wellness, but apparently not.

Heather Kokesh Del Castillo first began her career as a health coach in 2014, back when she still lived in California. She was a privately licensed health coach and operated her own business on the West Coast for years, before moving to Florida. That was when all the problems began.

Holistic health coach under attack

As Reason.com reports, it appears that a local registered dietitian sought to eliminate a little competition by reporting Heather to the Florida Department of Health. The licensed health coach was then cited and fined by the state government for offering nutrition advice without a license. The department underwent a “sting operation,” posing as a potential client and then slapping Heather with fines. In Florida, the “unlicensed practice of dietetics or nutrition is a first-degree misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail and $1,000 in fines per offense.” The Department of Health can also seek out civil fines of up to $5,000 per day that the “violation” occurs.

Though Heather never once described herself as a nutritionist or dietitian, the government also presented her with an order to cease and desist providing nutritional advice to her clients. Now, she is looking to fight back against this egregious case of government overreach, with help (and legal counsel) from the Institute for Justice (IJ). As IJ notes, “Occupational licensing boards are increasingly operating as special-interest censors, while licensed practitioners—eager to keep out would-be competitors—often scour advertising spaces in search of people to file complaints against. And this problem is particularly acute for military families like Heather’s, for whom frequent moves often lead to conflict with state licensing boards.”

Heather’s holistic health coach license didn’t preclude her from offering nutritional advice in California, but in the state of Florida, it seems as though she’s viewed as nothing more than a snake oil salesperson.

As the IJ contends, if Heather were to put all of her advice into a book and advertised it, there’d be no issue with the government. While working with her clients as a holistic health coach, Heather helped create personalized exercise regimens and showed them how to incorporate more nutritious foods into their diets. Most everyone knows that they should be eating more fruits and vegetables, but actually incorporating these foods can pose quite the challenge for many people. And according to IJ, Heather’s clients were more than appreciative of her advice — with many seeing great success.

The crackdown on health freedom

Occupational licensing is a growing phenomenon here in the United States; the Institute for Justice says that roughly one out of every four American workers needs some sort of government-issued license to do their job. And for military families like Heather’s, such draconian licensing practices can be exceptionally burdensome, as most every state has different laws. IJ states, “When the U.S. military relocates service members from one state to another, their spouses are often subject to new licensing laws that didn’t exist in their previous state of residence, and their existing professional credentials often aren’t transferable to their new state.”

Read More @ NaturalNews.com

The War on Gold Intensifies: It Betrays The Elitists’ Panic And Coming Defeat – Part 2

by Dave Kranzler, Investment Research Dynamics:

Here is Part 2 of Stewart Dougherty’s “War on Gold” essay.  Here’s Part 1

Magicians use distraction, deflection and misdirection to conduct their tricks. They get their audiences to look to the left while they perform their magic undetected on the right. So do con artists and swindlers.

George H. W. Bush, in a speech delivered to a joint session of Congress on 11 September 1990 entitled “Toward a New World Order,” headlined a geopolitical theme that has garnered a great deal of attention ever since. And while Bush was not the first person to use the term, it struck a global nerve when he invoked it.

Bush’s speech about the New World Order deflected and misdirected the people’s attention to the left, and prevented them from seeing the real action that was taking place to the right: the imposition of a New World Central Banking Order throughout the west. This multi-country, supranational, autonomous, all-powerful, privately-controlled, for profit, non-auditable, monopolized, collusive, monetary leviathan has become what we call the Western Central Banking Dictatorship (WCBD).

This dictatorship, and we are not being pejorative, we are simply applying the standard definition of the word to what central banking actually is, operates throughout the broadly defined “west,” which includes: the United States, Canada, Mexico, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Japan, India, New Zealand and Australia. Certain African, Asian and South American countries also play lesser parts in the regime. Dictatorially ruled by this private monetary system are the hundreds of millions of citizens who must use Euros, Yen, Rupees, and United States, Canadian, Australian and New Zealand dollars to function in their daily lives, as these fiat currencies are all 100% controlled by the regime, and are subject to whatever actions, no matter how experimental or extreme (such as Quantitative Easing and negative interest rates), the controllers, in their sole discretion, decide to take.

One of the seven core principles of Inferential Analytics, the forecasting method we have developed and use, is that all phenomena represent Life Forces, and that all Life Forces ceaselessly work to expand, evolve, empower themselves, and conquer new terrain.

Some of the most powerful Life Forces on earth are the “isms.” One of today’s most rapidly evolving “isms’ is crony communism, the national operating system now metastasizing throughout western nations to replace its dying predecessor, crony capitalism. In this expanding system of crony communism, the cronies loot the capital that was produced by the dying capitalistic system, while the masses descend into communistic impoverishment, entrapment and despair. Crony communism is a system in which the forces of diabolism, greed and evil usurp and exploit state power for their own enrichment, empowerment and dominance, at the direct expense of the communized masses.

Relentlessly increasing wealth concentration combined with spreading impoverishment and paycheck to paycheck living are two glaring signs among many others that the Life Force of crony communism has entrenched itself throughout the west, and that it is evolving and advancing.

The enabling institution for the spread of crony communism is the WCBD, which is owned and operated by the Deep State crony elite, both of which are Life Forces of plunder and human exploitation.

To those who pay attention to fiscal, monetary, economic and financial realities, it is becoming clear, despite the current frenzy of propaganda to the contrary, that the existing system is failing. In the United States, to focus on one national example, massively underfunded pensions will collapse without equally massive bailouts; every government entitlement program is bankrupt, a fact publicly admitted by the programs’ respective government overseers; structural deficits are uncontrollable under current law and can only be contained if government promises are broken at extreme expense to the economy and people; debt at all levels is exploding and structurally, must continue to explode; mass financial stress is directly observable in such forms as street-level, in one’s face homelessness, fast-spreading tent cities, and teeming under-bridge communities; paycheck to paycheck and government welfare payment to government welfare payment living is now the norm for the vast majority of the population (for example, 78% of full time workers in the United States now live paycheck to paycheck; the financial condition of part time and unemployed persons is even more dire); the savings rate has plunged as people struggle to make ends meet or engage in financially disastrous “Eat, Drink and Be Merry” binge spending programmed into their brains by the MSM, which repeatedly tells them that things have never been better and they should go shopping; overall savings are non-existent or meaningless for the vast majority of the population; among many other signs of fiscal and financial decline.

The WCBD, which includes all western central banks, the World Bank, the IMF, the ESF and their consolidating organization, the intensely secretive, predatory, and frigid BIS, is fully aware that the system is failing. The United States Federal Reserve System alone employs hundreds of Ph. D. economists and statisticians, and it is literally impossible they do not comprehend that trillions more fiat currency units must be created out of nothing to keep the monetary system functioning. Further, it is impossible that these Ph. D.s and their management do not realize that ultimately, the very design of the fiat monetary edifice means that it must erupt into a hyperinflationary bonfire, exactly as it has repeatedly done throughout history. Every “fix” now being implemented, most particularly the new, frenzied fixation on GDP growth, is an urgent attempt deflect attention away from the structural impossibilities of the monetary system, and to buy time.

For years, people have realized that certain vital government statistics, such as employment, inflation, retail sales and GDP are manipulated to tell a comforting narrative that all is well in the land. Confidence is everything in debt-dependent, fiat currency-based, consumer-expenditure-addicted economies. But for some strange reason, very few people question the most important statistic of all: money supply. This is remarkable in light of the fact that long after the emergency measures taken to re-start the system during the Great Financial Crisis (GFC), we learned that the Fed had created, in total secrecy, trillions of dollars’ worth of currency swaps that were extended to foreign central banks in order to bail out the financial system. This was so far outside the Fed’s “Dual Mandate” that it beggared belief they had actually done it, let alone without any public or even intra-governmental disclosure whatsoever.

Read More @ InvestmentResearchDynamics.com

Rents Plunge in the Most Expensive US Cities

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by Wolf Richter, Wolf Street:

But many mid-tier markets are red-hot.

In San Francisco, the most expensive major rental market in the US, the median asking rent in November for one-bedroom apartments, at $3,390, is up 1.8% year-over-year, but is down 7.6% from the peak in October 2015. The median asking rent for two-bedroom apartments, at $4,380, rose 2.7% year-over-year, but is down 12.4% from the peak in October 2015.

In New York City, the median asking rent for one-bedroom apartments dropped 3.3% year-over-year to $2,900. For two-bedrooms, it dropped 1.2% to $3,360. Since the peak in March 2016, asking rents have dropped respectively 13.9% and 15.6%.

Oakland used to be red-hot as it attracted San Francisco’s housing refugees. But in November, one-bedroom and two-bedroom rents have dropped respectively 6.4% to $2,060 and 7.1% to $2,500. Both are down 15% from their peaks in April 2016.

In Honolulu, one-bedroom asking rents were flat year-over-year, and two bedroom rents were down 11% year-over-year. But from their respective peaks in early 2015, rents have now plunged by 20.2% and 28.5%. These are starting to be some serious declines.

The data is based on asking rents in multifamily apartment buildings, gleaned from “over one million active listings” that Zumper aggregated in its National Rent Report. Single-family houses or condos for rent are not included. Also not included are incentives, such as “one month free” or “two months free,” which effectively slash the rent for the first year by 8% or 17%.

The data includes asking rents from new construction, which other rent reports may not include. In many cities across the US – including in San Francisco, New York City, and Seattle (more in a moment) – there has been a boom in construction of high-rise apartment and condo buildings. These units are now showing up in large numbers on the rental market. Most of them are high-end, and landlords might price them aggressively to fill them.

In Chicago, the median asking rent for a one-bedroom apartment dropped 15.9% year-over-year to $1,530, and for a two-bedroom 11.4% to $2,180. They’ve now crashed from their peaks in September 2015 by 25.4% and 17.7% respectively.

In this table below of the 12 most expensive major rental markets, the shaded area indicates peak rents and the changes since then. Note the number of double-digit declines from their prior records:

In Seattle rents have been booming for years. But now asking rents are coming under serious pressure, possibly due to new units flooding the market as a result of an apartment- and condo-tower construction boom that has already become legendary. These landlords are likely feeling pressure to get their units rented out. But suddenly there’s a lot of competition. Zumper’s data includes asking rents from new construction. That might be one of the reasons for the decline in rents, with one-bedrooms down 5.6% from their peak in August 2017, and two-bedrooms down 9.1% from their peak in April 2016.

However, some other cities on the top 12 list saw large year-over-year rent increases, particularly Washington DC, where rents rose in the double digits from a year ago.

But rents are booming in some “mid-tier” markets – “mid-tier” in terms of the magnitude of the rent. Here are some with double-digit year-over-year rent increases (one-bedroom and two-bedroom apartments):

  • Denver, CO (+15.6% and +13.1%)
  • Houston, TX (15.6% and 14.7%), likely boosted by demand following the destruction of some housing stock during the hurricane.
  • Baltimore, MD (15.7% and 9.4%)
  • Sacramento, CA (+15.0% and +15.4%)
  • Orlando, FL (+15.0% and 8.3%)
  • Gilbert, AZ (+13.4% and 11.5%)
  • Tampa, FL (15.8% and 13.9%)
  • Or even Toledo, OH (+14.6% and 14.5%)

But not all “mid-tier” markets are still seeing rising rents. In some of them, the tide has turned sharply, including Minneapolis, MN (-12.3% and -5.5%) and Lincoln, NE (-15.3% and -12.8%).

In other mid-tier markets, rents are down more or less mildly, including Portland, OR (-1.5% and 3.8%); Madison, WI (-1.6% and -9.1%); Austin, TX (-3.4% and -5.3%).

Read More @ WolfStreet.com

It Is Being Reported That Donald Trump May Recognize Jerusalem As The Capital Of Israel In December

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by Michael Snyder, The Economic Collapse Blog:

Is President Trump about to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel?   If so, this would be one of the most historic events to happen in the Middle East in a very long time.  Needless to say, the government of Israel would be absolutely thrilled by such a move, while the Palestinians and Israel’s neighbors would not be pleased at all.  In fact, some Palestinians have suggested that if the Trump administration actually moves the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem that it could spark widespread violence or even war.

But Donald Trump promised that he would recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel during the campaign, and it looks like he intends to keep his word

A senior U.S. administration official said on Thursday that President Donald Trump is considering recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of the State of Israel without moving the embassy to the Israeli capital, at least for the time being.

Trump wants the recognition of Jerusalem to be a gift to Israel on the occasion of its 70th Independence Day, and he may even announce this recognition by means of a statement to be made by Vice President Mike Pence, who will visit Israel in December.

Pence will be visiting Israel next month, and he is scheduled to deliver an address to the Knesset.  If the Trump administration is going to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, it is believed that it may happen at that time.

Israel became a nation in 1948, and so 2018 will be Israel’s 70th anniversary.  There will be independence celebrations throughout the year, and recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital as we approach this highly significant time would be considered a great gift to the Jewish people.

For the moment, however, the Trump administration will not be moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem.  The White House recognizes that such a move could spark violence in the region, and so administration officials are treading carefully

President Donald Trump and his senior aides are mulling a plan to eventually move the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, a decision that could derail Trump’s attempts to restart peace talks between the Israelis and the Palestinians.

A leading option under consideration: temporarily keeping the U.S. embassy in Tel Aviv while also outlining a longer-term strategy to begin the process of moving the embassy to Jerusalem, according to two administration officials. The plan is meant to strike a middle ground on the politically treacherous issue.

We shall see how this plays out, but Vice-President Mike Pence sure sounds optimistic that moving the embassy will actually happen.  Earlier this week, he posted the following message on Twitter

While for the past 20 years, Congress and successive administrations have expressed a willingness to move our embassy, @POTUS Trump is actively considering when and how to move the American Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. #70toIsraelUN

Of course moving the embassy would have very serious ramifications, and without a doubt many those surrounding Trump are advising against such a move

American intelligence circles may caution Trump against the move, warning of the security-related ramifications that could ensue and danger that it could pose to American embassies around the world.

Rumors of Trump’s planned announcement were met with warnings from Jordan’s King Abdullah II, who said during a visit to the US that “the transfer of the American embassy to Jerusalem at this stage will have repercussions in the Palestinian, Arab and Islamic scene.”

I will be even more blunt.  If the U.S. embassy is moved to Jerusalem, there will definitely be violence, and it could potentially move us closer to armed conflict in the Middle East.

But U.S. policy should never be dictated by threats of violence.  Moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem is the right thing to do, and we cannot allow anyone to intimidate us.  In 1995, Congress passed a law that requires the U.S. embassy to be moved to Jerusalem, but ever since then presidents have used “waivers” to delay the move.

The current “waiver” expires on December 1st, and Trump is expected to sign another one at that time.

But even if the U.S. embassy is not moved to Jerusalem any time soon, the truth is that the next major war in the Middle East seems to be getting closer with each passing day.  Just check out some of the things that have happened over the past week…

Read More @ TheEconomicCollapseBlog.com

Turkish government issues arrest warrant for former CIA agent who allegedly aided an attempted coup

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by Kevin Ryan, The Blaze:

The Turkish government has issued an arrest warrant for former CIA officer Graham Fuller on charges of aiding a July 15, 2016, attempted Turkish coup.

Turkish news Hurriyet Daily News described the warrant as charging Fuller with “attempting to overthrow the government of the Republic of Turkey and obstructing the duties of the Republic of Turkey, obtaining state information that must be kept secret for political and military espionage purposes, attempting to overthrow the constitutional order.”

Special: This 2018 calendar is not politically correct

According to BBC, Fuller has denied the charges.

In a Turkish broadcast last month, Alexander Dugin, a Russian nationalist philosopher and strategist, claimed that Russian intelligence agencies had “concrete evidence that CIA agents commanded the failed coup attempt.”

On July 15, 2016, a faction within the Turkish Armed Forces, under the name Peace at Home Council, attempted to overthrow Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The soldiers occupied government buildings and media organizations in prominent Turkish cities and used Turkish Army jets to bomb Ankara.

Erdogan was not present for the coup. He first addressed the Turkish people using FaceTime, via a CNN Turk reporter, who held her cellphone to the camera.

Following the attempted coup, the Turkish government forced the closure of more than 100 media outlets. The purge resulted in the detainment of tens of thousands of people — among them citizens, journalists, soldiers, and high-ranking officials.

Who is Graham Fuller?

Fuller is a former vice chairman of the National Intelligence Council at the CIA and a former senior political scientist at RAND Corporation. He currently works as an adjunct professor at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia. He has a master’s in Russian and Middle Eastern Studies from Harvard.

He worked in the CIA for 20 years.

The Turkish government claims that Fuller aided Fethullah Gülen, the alleged mastermind of the July 15 coup. Erdogan has maintained that Gülen orchestrated the coup with the help of the U.S. government. Gülen, in response, has accused Erdogan of arranging the coup as a false-flag operation.

Who is Fethullah Gülen?

Gülen has lived in the U.S. since 1999. According to the Washington Post, the 77-year-old Gülen lives in exile at a compound in Saylorsburg, Pennsylvania. He is an Islamic cleric, former imam, writer, and political figure who runs schools, from kindergarten to university.

According to the Wall Street Journal, there are more than 1,000 Gülen schools worldwide, with 150 across the U.S. in 25 states, the greatest concentration of which are in Texas.

The schools proselytize the Gülen movement, which emphasizes interfaith and intercultural accord and humanitarian work.

Read More @ TheBlaze.com