Wednesday, February 26, 2020

The Illusion of Growth

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by David Stockman, Daily Reckoning:

The Wall Street Journal published a superb example of hopium recently in a sunny-side-up story entitled “U. S. Manufacturing Rides Rising Tide, Buoyed by Global Growth, Optimism.”

Indeed, this lazy cheerleading excuse for journalism captured the sum and substance of why the punters keep buying the dips despite troubles gathering all around.

That is, as the tax bill falters, the crusade to remove the Donald from office gathers strength, the Fed moves into balance sheet normalization and instability breaks out all over the world from the Persian Gulf to the Korean peninsula.

You would think the title says it all, but the WSJ was not nearly done. It cited a 156,000 pick-up in manufacturing employment since last November, rising energy and commodity prices as evidence of a booming global economy and double digit growth in business investment earlier this year, among other things.

American manufacturing has picked up pace over the last 12 months thanks to steady global economic growth, a rise in energy and other commodity prices, and increased business confidence.

Although progress isn’t being felt by all industries, makers of items ranging from bulldozers to semiconductors to food products are on the upswing as various measures of spending, sentiment and employment have climbed, while stock markets have hit record highs.

Yet every one of the trends cited in the WSJ article are less than a year-old. They coincide with the Great Coronation Boom in the Red Ponzi ( the run-up to Xi Jinping’s ascension to total power at the 19th Party Congress); represent only a minor up-tick from the 2014-2015 global deflation; and in the context of the current feeble recovery from the 2008 crisis represent nothing at all to write home about.

Indeed, I am confident that as the Red Ponzi goes into a stabilization and credit containment mode, as is already evident from the October economic data (fudged as it is), that the slight lift to global activity engendered by the latest China credit impulse will quickly fade. And with it the entire trading meme reflected in that WSJ puff piece.

But short of that yet to unfold but predictable global mini-cycle, the actual data on U.S. manufacturing output trends through September reveal nothing to smile about.

In fact, overall U.S. manufacturing production is still down 4.3{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528} from its pre-crisis high back in December 2007, and was no higher last month than it was three years ago in November 2014.

Of course, global commodity prices did perk up during the last 18 months. Not only did they rebound off the bottom in normal cyclical fashion, but the hands of China’s central bank were more than a little evident.

When they unleashed the latest credit tsunami in early 2016, the hordes of Chinese speculators dutifully bought up all the iron ore, copper, steel, diesel fuel etc that was to be had and which could be readily financed in cash and futures markets alike.

Presently, they will be selling, too, as the post-coronation signals coming out of Beijing become unmistakably clear.

Nor is the above even the half of it. If you look at output of U.S. consumer goods, which is much less attached to the global commodity/industrial cycle, the rising tide of manufacturing output is nowhere to be seen.

In fact, consumer goods production has flat-lined for the last two years, and is still below where it was at the pre-crisis peak.

The same is true of manufacturing employment. There is no “rising tide.” Thus, between October 2007 and the April 2010 bottom, the U.S. lost 2.3 million manufacturing jobs — representing a loss of 76,000 high paying jobs per month.

By contrast, during the three years since October 2014, the U.S. has recovered about one-tenth of that loss — with manufacturing jobs expanding at a rate of  just 6,000 per month. That is to say, the WSJ was essentially trumpeting statistical noise.

We are now 120 months from the pre-crisis peak in November 2007. Yet the compound annual growth rate of manufacturing is just 0.08{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528}. Which is to say, nothing.

Read More @ DailyReckoning.com

Doug Casey on the Paradise Papers

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by Doug Casey, Casey Research:

Justin’s note: People are outraged over the Paradise Papers.

The Paradise Papers are a collection of more than 13 million confidential documents. They relate to offshore investments.

Someone stole these documents from Appleby, a law firm based in Bermuda, and leaked them to the press.

But that’s not why people are upset. Instead, they’re mad that rich people are using offshore accounts to pay less taxes.

It’s completely ridiculous. So, to make sense of this, I called Doug Casey…

Justin: Doug, what do you make of all this hysteria surrounding the Paradise Papers? Should the public be upset, or even surprised, that rich people are trying to reduce their tax burden?

Doug: It’s a sign of the times for several reasons. And none of them are good. It’s a sign of terminal moral sickness.

First, the mob is howling about the fact that rich people would dare to get their money offshore to jurisdictions where the taxes are lower. The cancer of envy is very advanced in the Western body politic. Envy is different from, and much worse than jealousy. Jealousy says: “You have something I want. If I can’t get my own, maybe I’ll take yours.” Envy says: “The very fact you have something I want, but don’t think I’ll ever get, makes me hate you. I’ll destroy both you and the object if I can.”

Number two, it shows the average person now resents rich people for having a modicum of privacy in today’s world. Privacy is a signature of civilization—there is no privacy in primitive societies, where everyone can see and hear what’s going on in the next hut. Today the average guy intuits that Google, the NSA, Facebook, and a hundred other entities, including his new “smart” refrigerator, know everything about him. He resents that some people don’t want to be an open book to the world, and can avoid it.

And finally, there’s no outrage about the fact that these papers were stolen from a law firm. Nobody is even acknowledging that an actual crime was committed. Nobody cares about the thieves being punished. Instead, they’re on an envy-driven witch hunt against the victims.

There’s no outrage at all, except against the victims, which is very disturbing. It’s yet another sign that one of the central values of Western civilization is going under.

Justin: I agree that there should be much more outrage over the actual crime that was committed. But doesn’t the average Joe have reason to be upset by this? I mean, “the system” clearly favors the rich, right?

Doug: Of course. The system of income and asset taxes is totally corrupt. The problem isn’t some people evading and avoiding tax to preserve their assets. The problem is that the hoi polloi want to see them pay their “fair share”—whatever that is—instead of eliminating or greatly reducing taxes. Rich people have the money to hire lawyers to make sure that laws are passed, and manipulated in their advantage. They have the money to hire accountants to take advantage of all the loopholes in the laws. They have the money and the connections to bribe politicians to make sure things are passed in their favor.

So yes, the system is very much oriented towards the rich people, and that’s not good. But it wouldn’t be that way if the world wasn’t so politicized, where the government’s not in a position to pass out favors.

In other words, the rich are getting richer, but it’s largely because the government is getting bigger and more powerful, and the rich are able to take advantage of it, for the reasons I mentioned.

And to keep the pot from boiling over, they give the plebs some welfare benefits. Free this and free that. Some bread and circuses, as it were.

The whole society has become quite corrupt. It’s become a giant circle jerk, where everyone is trying to live at the expense of everyone else.

So, you’re right. The plebs have plenty of reason to be angry about the rich patricians. Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos alone have more assets than the lower 50{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528} of American society put together. They deserve to be multibillionaires—they’ve created a lot of wealth. But they were also complicit with the government in the process, helped by public funds.

But the rich have plenty of reason to be angry, too. They’re paying almost all the taxes, while the bottom 50{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528} not only pay nothing, but are net recipients. Which is very corrupting.

This is all indicative of an underlying atmosphere of class warfare in the United States, and all over the world. It’s explosive.

Justin: Doug, you said earlier that this is “a sign of the times.” Does that mean that this anti-rich rhetoric will get louder?

Doug: I think so. You’ve got to keep in mind that since the so-called “Great Recession” started in 2007, interest rates have gone to zero in nominal terms, and less than zero in real terms.

This has made it possible for the wealthy people to borrow obscene amounts of money, and take advantage of the bubbles this money has created in the financial markets.

At the same time, these policies have encouraged poor people to buy houses, cars, trinkets from China, and so-called educations that they can’t afford. Consumer goods that depreciate.

When we get out of the eye of this hurricane, and enter the storm’s trailing edge, it’s going to last much longer, be much worse, and be much different than the unpleasantness of 2008 and 2009.

I’ve said that many times before, but it bears repeating again and again. The natives are going to get quite restless, because the same thing is going to happen. They’re going to lose their houses, they’re going to lose their cars, they’re going to lose their jobs.

This time we’ll likely see high retail inflation. The high inflation is going to devastate them in any number of ways, making it even harder for them to get ahead than it is now. Times will get much worse, not just economically, but politically, and sociologically. Perhaps militarily, which is really scary. They might start a serious war. I don’t know if it’ll be with North Korea, or Iran, or Russia, or one of a dozen other countries.

A serious war, not a sport war, which is the kind we’ve had so far in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Read More @ CaseyResearch.com

op NSA Official Says Russia Election Meddling is Propaganda to Increase War-Spending—Media Silent

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by Jay Syrmopoulos, Activist Post:

William Binney is a 30-year National Security Agency veteran, who served as the global Technical Director for geopolitical analysis at the NSA and was an architect of its surveillance program before becoming a famed whistleblower upon resigning in 2001.

Binney was persecuted for attempting to expose lies and distortions of intelligence by the George W. Bush administration used to justify systematic, massive, and all-encompassing surveillance into all Americans’ private electronic communications.

In regards to Russiagate, Binney has been a strong proponent of the idea that the Democratic National Committee was not hacked by Russians, and in a November 15 interview, published on the Washingtonsblog news-site, titled “How to Instantly Prove (Or Disprove) Russian Hacking of US Election”, he provides a technical analysis that exposes how the Democratic party allegations of “Russian hacking” are a part of an operation of intentional deception backed by the military-intelligence-industrial complex.

The former NSA tech guru says the agency he worked at for decades has evidence of exactly who hacked… or instead, proves that the emails were leaked by a Democratic party insider.

Binney stressed:

If the idiots in the intelligence community expect us to believe them after all the crap they have told us (like WMD’s in Iraq and ‘no we don’t collect data on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans’) then they need to give clear proof of what they say. So far, they have failed to prove anything.

This highly suggests there is no evidence of a substantial Russian hack, but rather an operation by the military-intelligence-industrial complex (MIC) looks to expand the influence and hegemony of the United States under the auspices of a second Cold War.

As former CIA, State Department, and House Intelligence Committee security expert Fred Fleitz notes:

Only two intelligence entities – the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) – have weighed in on this issue, not 17 intelligence agencies [as Hillary Clinton had claimed]. And what they said was ambiguous about Russian involvement. An unclassified October 7, 2016 joint DNI-DHS statement on this issue said the hacks

‘. . . are consistent with the methods and motivations of Russian-directed efforts. These thefts and disclosures are intended to interfere with the US election process. Such activity is not new to Moscow — the Russians have used similar tactics and techniques across Europa and Eurasia, for example, to influence public opinion there. We believe, based on the scope and sensitivity of these efforts, that only Russia’s senior-most officials could have authorized these activities.’

Saying we think the hacks ‘are consistent with the methods and motivations of Russian-directed efforts’ is far short of saying we have evidence that Russia has been responsible for the hacks. Maybe high-level officials would have authorized them if Russian hackers were responsible, but the DNI and DHS statement did NOT say there was evidence Russia was responsible.

Binney believes the intelligence community is politicizing intelligence to promote a false narrative surrounding Russia. He claims they know that what they are saying is false, because if it weren’t false, then they could provide, to the public, evidence proving their claims, and do it without revealing any legitimate US national-security information.

Tellingly, Binney, who is widely regarded as a “legend” within the agency and the NSA’s best-ever analyst and code-breaker, believes the public is being lied to as the truth would destroy the entire popularized-Russian election interference narrative.

Read More @ ActivistPost.com

Did the US allow ISIS to escape to keep the fighting going?

by Phil Giraldi, Washingtons Blog:

Americans have been living in a country that has not known peace since 9/11, when President George W. Bush and his posse of neoconservatives delivered the message to the world that “you are either with us or against us.” The threat was coupled with flurry of hastily conceived legislation that opened the door to the unconstitutional “war on terror” carried out at the whim of the Chief Executive, a conflict which was from the start conceived of as a global military engagement without end.

Bush and his handlers might not have realized it at the time but they were initiating a completely new type of warfare. To be sure, there would be fighting on the ground worldwide against an ideologically driven enemy somewhat reminiscent of communism, but there would also be included “regime change” of governments in countries that were not completely on board with the direction coming out of Washington. Instead of invading and occupying a country in the old-fashioned way, so the thinking went, far better to just knock off the top levels and let the natives sort things out while acting under direction from the pros in Washington.

Even though “regime change” in Iraq and Afghanistan did not work out very well, Bush saw himself as a triumphant war leader with his vainglorious “Mission Accomplished,” and he later dubbed himself the “decider.” He insisted that his reelection in 2004 when running against a weak John Kerry was a validation of his policies by the American people, but one has to wonder how many voters really understood that they were signing on for perpetual war that would of necessity also diminish their most cherished liberties.

Nobel Peace Prize winner and U.S. President Barack Obama followed Bush and made it clear that there would be no stepping back from a policy of proactively “protecting” the American people. Obama and his Secretary of State Hillary Clinton destroyed Libya, a disaster that is still playing out, increased involvement in Syria, and introduced death by drone for both American citizens who have transgressed and random foreigners who fit a profile. And to eliminate any pushback to what he was doing, Obama relied on invoking the state secrets privilege to block legal challenges more times than all his predecessors in office combined.

And now we have President Donald Trump, whose foreign policy is particularly unarticulated, though in many ways similar to that of his predecessors. The United States is increasing its involvement in Afghanistan, where it has been engaged for longer than in any previous war, is threatening both Iran and North Korea with annihilation, and is hopelessly entangled in Trump’s pledge to completely eliminate ISIS. Indeed, destroying ISIS (and al-Qaeda) has been the one clearly articulated part of the Trump foreign policy, though there are also occasional assertions that it should be accompanied by yet one more try at regime change in Damascus.

And the grand tradition of using military might to back up diplomacy has certainly found little favor, so much so that it is certainly clear even to the supine American public and a risk averse congress that there is something wrong in Foggy Bottom. It is astonishing to note the mainstream media, which reviled George W. Bush when he was in office, describing him currently as a voice of moderation and restraint due to his recent criticism of the White House. You can’t go wrong if you pile on Trump.

Even the U.S. media has been reluctantly reporting that ISIS has been rolled back in Syria by the joint efforts of the Syrian Army and the Russian air force with the United States and its allies playing very much secondary roles in the conflict. The Russians have, in fact, complained that Washington seemed just a tad disinterested in actually cooperating to destroy the last remnants of ISIS in the few areas that the group still controls, citing most recently an alleged incident during the Syrian government liberation of the town of Abu Kamal in which U.S. air assets on site appear to have allowed ISIS fighters to escape.

The shambles of American policy as it applies to the Middle East was highlighted by yet another similar and particularly bizarre episode that was revealed initially by the BBC on Monday of last week. In early October, when the Syrians and Russians were closing in from the west on Raqqa, the “capital” of the ISIS caliphate while the U.S supported Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which predominantly consists of the Kurdish militias, was closing in from the east, a deal was reportedly struck to permit an evacuation of the remaining ISIS fighters and their families.

According to the BBC investigative report, the SDF and Kurds were wary of clearing out the remaining fighters from the ruins of the city and so negotiated an agreement whereby the ISIS fighters from Syria and Iraq and their families would be able to leave and be allowed to either go home and face the consequences or proceed to ISIS controlled areas about one hundred miles away. The objective was to avoid a final assault from the air and using artillery that would have produced a bloodbath killing thousands, including large numbers of civilians. The agreement stipulated that only ISIS fighters who were local would be allowed to leave. Others, referred to as “foreigners,” from Europe, Africa or Asia would have to surrender in order to avoid their going free and getting involved in new terrorist activity after returning home.

Read More @ WashingtonsBlog.com

Our Family’s Garden Grain Experiment- Part 2

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from Survival Blog:

Our family did an experiment to see how we could grow wheat and oats in a garden setting. In part 1 of this article series, we shared that we used two different garden plots, one that was well fertilized and one that had never been fertilized or used for a garden. Additionally, I told about our seeds and how we protected our growing areas from animals. We began describing the tools that we tested to harvest wheat and how we found, for us, that the sickle worked best. Also, because the naked oats we grew dropped seed more readily, we ended up grabbing the grain heads in the field and collecting grain by hand rather than cutting the stalks. We shared a video in Part 1 of this. Let’s continue on now.

Removing Grain From Stalks

With half of our wheat in sheaves and most of our oats gathered by hand, the next step was removing the grain from the stalks. We tried three different methods for this– by hand, by machine, and by a paint stirrer spun by a drill.

Threshing By Hand

With a hard-tine rake head we took a handful of wheat stalks and beat them back and forth inside a large, clean, plastic garbage can. The rake head did well to encourage the grain to leave its mother stalk. We used the rake head in our hand, but found if we fixed the rake head on the inside of the garbage can we could more effectively beat the grain off the stalks. This method worked okay by hand, but impressed us with how difficult it was to remove wheat from the stalks. Only about 20{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528} of the wheat came off with vigorous effort. This amount increased the longer the wheat had dried, but it never really felt efficient. And waiting longer and longer increases the risk for loss to mice, birds, or bad weather.

Threshing by Electric Machine

A friend of ours who also was growing wheat had made a thresher from a large electric motor. He had a very nice fixture for the motor, and had a large wooden dowel on the motor shaft with bent nails sunk into it. The motor turned at high speed, and by applying a bundle of wheat heads to the spinning nails, the grain was knocked off much better than by hand with a rake head! This setup was nice, but it was noisy and dangerous. The wheat heads required significant pressure to keep them into the spinning nails, too. Overall, this was a good way but not a great way to thresh the wheat from the stalks.

Threshing with Paint Stirrer

The paint stirrer, a large shaft with metal blades at the end and small chain links attached for stirring paint with a drill, was our best threshing tool. It was actually amazing how well this simple setup worked! To use it, we cut the heads off all the wheat stalks so very little of the stalk was left. We filled a large, durable (and clean) garbage can up with the heads. The tool was set into the wheat heads and spun. In 30-40 seconds, the entire can was pulverized into 1/3 its volume and consisted of grain and small, light pieces of chaff. It was like liquefying the mass into grain! We did worry about damage to the grain. However, on inspection, we could not really see any noticeable damage; all of the grain seemed fine. You really have to see this to appreciate how quickly it reduced so much biomass into grain. I’ve uploaded some video of it here.

Threshing went much smoother than we had expected. It is still the most significant part of the effort in the harvest, but after our experiences I am confident we not only can harvest well but very efficiently, too.

Winnowing

Winnowing the wheat was pretty straight forward, but this did take some time and care. Equipment needs were minimal: just a sheet, bins for the grain, and a wind source. We used a small and a large “box” fan for winnowing. Both of these worked well. The sheet was under the fan, and the bin was used to catch the chaff and stray wheat. It was also very helpful to put a bit of chicken wire over the top of the bin to catch large chaff.

Nothing Wasted

It is worth noting that throughout the harvest, nothing went to waste. The chickens were eager to clean up after us, and we threw the straw into the coop for them to glean, and to use in the laying boxes. They were very pleased.

Best Parts of the Harvest

The best parts were the pancakes. Harvest is about enjoying the fruit of our labor and the blessings of the Lord. He is the source of the increase. We all agreed that the pancakes just tasted better with our own wheat.

The Disappointment With Oats

The oats, however, were a bit of a disappointment after the harvest. We chose to grow “naked oats” to get the groats from the hull easier, but that was not the experience. We could not find an effective way to “shell” the oats, but we did try running them through a rough grinder with rubberized grinding plates, but this didn’t leave us groats in the end. What groats we did get took time. When we made oatmeal, there was still enough hulls to make the oatmeal taste like hay. It was disappointing overall but still very fun. The chickens were eager to help here, too.

Return on Investment of Sown Wheat

At the end of the harvest, we had sown about seven pounds of wheat in our two plots and measured about 35 lbs of grain in the end. That’s a decent yield and a great experiment. Thirty-five pounds of wheat is not very valuable, but the education was of great worth, and our time in the field with our kids was priceless.

The children really had fun with this project and trying so many new things. They delighted in the growth and seeing the wheat take head. They had fun harvesting the fruit and delighting in thanks to the Lord for His blessing. The children raved about the pancakes, and now as we eat store-bought bread they ask for the chance to bake bread with their mother. They are shocked to see how much cellulose (sawdust) is used in bread, ice cream, and even cocoa from the store, and are appreciative of what they have learned and enjoy. That is the true harvest!

Take-Aways For Long-Term Situation

In conclusion, there were a few important take-aways we had in better preparing for a long-term situation. First, we bought some triple 16 fertilizer (16-16-16) to keep on hand. We yearly add chicken, cow, and sometimes horse manure to the main garden, and now use just a cup or two of this synthetic fertilizer as needed for the corn and grain. A little goes a long way, and it stores easily for long-term. It’s very nice to have this powerful resource to boost yields.

Read More @ SurvivalBlog.com

The Huge Implications of Russia’s Northern Sea Route

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from F. William Engdahl, New Eastern Outlook:

In terms of dealing with some of the world’s harshest weather conditions no country comes close compared with Russia. Now Russia has made it a highest priority to develop a Northern Sea Route along the Russian Arctic coast to enable LNG and container freight shipments between Asia and Europe that will cut shipping time almost in half and bypass the increasingly risky Suez Canal. China is fully engaged and has now formally incorporated it into its new Silk Road Belt, Road Initiative infrastructure.

Before attending the Hamburg G20 Summit in July, China’s President Xi Jinping made a stopover in Moscow where he and Russia’s President Vladimir Putin signed the “China-Russia Joint Declaration on Further Strengthening Comprehensive, Strategic and Cooperative Partnership.” The declaration includes the Northern Sea Route as a strategic area of cooperation between China and Russia, as a formal part of China’s Belt, Road Initiative (BRI) infrastructure. For its part, Russia is investing major resources in development of new LNG ports and infrastructure along the route to service a growing maritime traffic passing through its Arctic territorial waters.

The Russian Federation, under the direct supervision of President Putin is building up the economic infrastructure that will create an alternative to the Suez Canal for container and LNG shipping between Europe and Asia. In addition, the developments are opening up huge new undeveloped resources including oil, gas, diamonds and other minerals along the Russian Exclusive Economic Zone,transversing its northernmost Siberian coastline.

Officially Russian legislation defines the Northern Sea Route as the territorial waters along the Russian Arctic coast east of Novaya Zemlya in Russia’s Arkhangelsk Oblast, from the Kara Sea across Siberia, to the Bering Straitthat runs between far eastern Russia and Alaska. The entire route lies in Arctic waters and within Russia’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).

Preliminary geophysical studies confirm that vast oil and gas reserves exist below the sea floor along the Northern Sea Route of Russia’s EEZ waters, increasing interest of the Chinese government in joint resource development with Russia, in addition to the potentially shorter shipping times to and from Europe.For China, which sees increasing threats to its oil supply lines by sea from the Persian Gulf and via the Straits of Malacca, the Russian Northern Sea Route offers a far more secure alternative, a Plan B, in event of US Naval interdiction of the Malacca Straits.

US Geological Survey estimates are that within the Russian Arctic EEZ some 30{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528} of all Arctic recoverable oil and 66{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528} of its total natural gas is to be found. The USGS estimates total Arctic oil recoverable reserves to be about one-third total Saudi reserves. In short, as Mark Twain might have said, there’s “black gold in them thar’ icy waters…”

The United Nations Convention on Law of the Seas (UNCLOS), to which Russia and China are signatories, but the USA not, defines an exclusive economic zone to be an area “beyond and adjacent” to a state’s territorial waters and provides the state with “sovereign rights…[over] managing the natural resources” within the zone. China does not contest Russia’s EEZ rights, but rather seeks to cooperate in its development now formally within the BRI project.

New Shipping Lanes

The other interest in Russia’s Northern Sea Route is for more economical and faster shipping. In August this year in a test run the Russian LNG tanker, Christophe de Margerie, delivered Norwegian LNGfrom Hammerfest in Norway to Boryeong in South Korea in just 19 days, some 30{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528} faster than the traditional Suez Canal route despite the fact that the vessel was forced to go through ice fields 1.2 meters thick. The Arctic Sea part of the journey was made in a record six and half days. The Christophe de Margerie is the first joint LNG tanker and icebreaker in the world, built to specification for the state-run Sovcomflot for the transportation of LNG from the Yamal LNG project in the Russian Arctic by a South Korean shipbuilder.

Russia is also cooperating with South Korea in development of the shipping capabilities of its Northern Sea Route. On November 6, Russia’s Minister for Development of the Far East, AleksandrGalushka, met South Korea’s Minister of Oceans and Fisheries, Kim Yong-suk. The two countries agreed to pursue joint research into investments for an Arctic container line along the Northern Sea Route. The joint development will include shipping hubs to be created in each end of the Northern Sea Route–Murmansk in the west and Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky in the east. Murmansk, bordering the northern regions of Finland and Norway, has ice-free access to the Barents Sea year around.

Korea’s Hyundai Merchant Marine plans test sailings of container ships along the Northern Sea Route in 2020 with container ships capable of carrying 2,500-3,500 TEU (Twenty-foot Equivalent Unit, a measure of container size) on the route. In July 2016, an historical shipment of two major industrial components was made from South Korea to the new Russian Arctic port at Sabetta and from there, on the rivers Ob and Irtysh to the South Ural city of Tobolsk.

New Arctic Port Investments

Murmansk itself is site of one of Russia’s largest infrastructure projects. Major construction work is currently on going to complete the so-called Murmansk Transport Hub which includes new roads, railway, ports and other facilities on the west of the Kola Bay. Murmansk is already a key hub for reloading coal, oil, fish, metals and other cargo from the European part of Russia. It will serve as the main western gateway for the Northern Sea Route to Asia.

The Russian Federation is also completing a new port at Sabetta on the Yamal Peninsula. The Yamal Peninsula, bordering the Arctic Kara Sea, is location of Russia’s biggest natural gas reserves with an estimated 55 trillion cubic meters (tcm).By comparison, Qatar gas reserves are calculated at 25 tcm, Iran at 34 tcm. The main developer of the Sabetta Port on Yamal is Novatek, Russia’s largest independent gas producer, together with the Russian government.

Sabetta Port is also site of the major new Yamal LNG Terminal that before end of 2017 will begin transporting Yamal gas via the Northeast Sea Route to China. When at full capacity, Sabetta Port will handle 30 million tons of goods a year making Sabetta the world’s largest port north of the Arctic Circle, surpassing Murmansk. Novatek hasalready pre-sold all its production volumes for Yamal LNG Terminal gas under 15- and 20-year contracts, most to China and other Asian buyers.

Read More @ Journal-NEO.org
 

JFK Files Reveal Bobby Kennedy And CIA Plotted False Flag War With USSR

from ZeroHedge:

False flag conspiracy theories have arisen from thousands of global tragedies ever since pirates allegedly spawned the term by flying the flag of the home country they were preparing to attack.  Of course, these “conspiracy theories” would be far easier to discredit if they’d stop coming true…

Alas, a recently revealed document from the so-called ‘JFK Files’ will only serve to stoke the flames of conspiracy theorists as it very clearly confirms a plot crafted by then Attorney General Robert Kennedy and the CIA to carry out a false attack that could be pinned on the USSR and serve as a basis for a U.S. “counterattack”.

According to a formerly “Top Secret” document summarizing a meeting from March 22, 1962, officials from JFK administration secretly strategized on the best way to “manufacture or acquire Soviet aircraft,” including a MIG 17 or MIG 19.  Per the following exceptplans ranged from building aircraft that could stand up “distant observation” or “close observation” and ranged in cost from $3.5 million to $22 million.

So what were these replica planes to be used for?  Well, it turns out those details were laid out with some level of specificity as well…that is, if you can get beyond the brilliant efforts at redaction in the excerpt below…

“There is a possibility that such aircraft could be used in a deception operation designed to confuse enemy planes in the air, to launch a surprise attack against enemy installation or in a provocation operation in which Soviet aircraft would appear to attack U.S. or friendly installations in order to provide an excuse for U.S. intervention. If the planes were to be used in such covert operations, it would seem preferable to manufacture them in the United States.”

According to the Daily Caller, the meeting was held by the “Special Group (Augmented),” which according to an encyclopedia on the Central Intelligence Agency, included Attorney General Robert Kennedy, CIA Director John McCone, National Security Advisor McGeorge Bundy and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Lyman Lemnitzer. And while not members, President Kennedy and Secretary of State Dean Rusk were said to attend certain meetings as well.

Read More @ ZeroHedge.com

In 10,000 Years, Will We Still Be Barbarians, Or Will We Be Humans?

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by Harley Schlanger, LaRouche PAC:

While the City of London and Wall Street are busy with one last-gasp effort to salvage their (unsalvageable) financial system, with an ECB bail-in plan designed to seize all financial assets for themselves—their earlier “Cyprus Template” writ large—Russia, China and allied nations are instead orchestrating a Grand Design for Middle East and world stabilization and peace, as suggested by what might be called a “Syria Template.”

We refer to the November 21 discussions in Sochi, Russia among visiting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, and Russian President Vladimir Putin, and that country’s top military command, in which they discussed their successful cooperation to bring Syria back from the abyss. Describing the moving exchange, Helga Zepp-LaRouche today commented:”This is an incredible idea, because in two years a completely hopeless situation was turned around. There was unbelievable human suffering, with the Syrian people being exposed to an enormous ordeal, but they came out victorious.”

If that can be achieved in Syria, a microcosm of the worst horrors that the dying world order of geopolitics and looting has created, then there is no reason that a similar about-face cannot be achieved globally, building a New Paradigm around China’s keystone Belt and Road Initiative. Helga Zepp-LaRouche summarized the strategic situation as follows:

“The main dynamic of change has to come from the United States. The follow-up from the Trump visit to China is really what will determine the situation. This is a unique moment in the history of mankind, not just of the U.S. That is the sense that we must get across to people.

“There is an enormous potential. You can see that in the dynamic which was shown between Xi Jinping and Donald Trump, which was a historic meeting. You can see it in Panama now joining with China on the Belt and Road Initiative, and the President of Panama saying this is where all of Ibero-America will go. It’s there in the rapprochement between Japan and China; in the Astana-Putin process for the consolidation of the situation in Syria and beyond; and in the profound changes underway in Africa through China’s investments there.

“All of these elements are moving in a very positive direction. But the Sword of Damocles of a potential financial crash is still hanging over the world. The instruments to move the U.S. in the direction of Lyndon LaRouche’s Four Laws are there, but they are not yet sufficient, by any means. The potential is very clearly there, and it has never been greater. But it would also be a big mistake to think that we have won already, just because we have helped to create this potentital. Until we have a complete victory of the New Paradigm, we should not have one resting minute,” Zepp-LaRouche stated.

She concluded: “Nor should we give in to the idea that you need some sort of ‘national expression’ of sane interest. We really have to fight with people that we need a New Paradigm, a completely new set of relations where geopolitics is simply thrown out the window. Because Mankind should be defined from the future, from 10,000 years from now, looking back at the present: How do we want to live 10,000 years from now? Will we still be barbarians or will we be humans?”                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

SUPPORTING MATERIAL

Putin Meets Assad and Briefs Trump

History is being written in Sochi, where Russian President Vladimir Putin held an unannounced meeting with Syrian President Bashar al Assad on Nov. 20 and then introduced him to the Russian military leadership who “helped save Syria.” Tuesday Putin briefed President Donald Trump about his discussions with Assad. Tomorrow, Nov. 22, Putin will chair the Astana Talks with the other two guarantor countries, Iran and Turkey, and will consult with Assad during the course of the talks. Putin yesterday also spoke by phone with the Emir of Qatar.

The focus of the Putin-Assad exchange was that the victory against ISIS was the start of a political process to bring peace and reconiciliation to Syria. The Kremlin posted long excerpts of the exchanges between the two leaders, which give a sense of the historical importance of the talks. Excerpts of those exchanges follow:

Putin began: “Welcome to Sochi. First, let me congratulate you on Syria’s results in combatting terrorist groups as well as on the fact that the Syrian people, despite a very difficult ordeal, are gradually moving towards the final and inevitable defeat of the terrorists.

“Mr. President, as you know, I will meet with my colleagues — the Presidents of Turkey and Iran — here in Sochi the day after tomorrow. We have agreed to hold additional consultations with you during our meeting. Of course, the main subject on the agenda is a peaceful and lasting political settlement in Syria after the routing of the terrorists.

“As you know, in addition to the partners I have mentioned we are also working closely together with other countries, such as Iraq, the United States, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Jordan. We maintain constant contact with these partners.

“I would like to talk with you about the basic principles of the political process and the Syrian National Dialogue Congress, the idea of which you have supported. I would like to hear your opinions on the current situation and development prospects and your views on the political process, which should ultimately be implemented under the UN auspices. We also hope that the UN will join the [political] process at its final stage.”

Assad replied, acknowledging Russia’s role in helping Syria win the war against terror. “Over this period, we have achieved major success both on the battlefield and on the political track. Many regions in Syria have been liberated from the terrorists, and the Syrians who had to flee from these regions can now return there.

“It should be acknowledged that the operation brought progress to the political settlement in Syria. And the process which was started and which Russia promoted with various efforts continues, above all, based on respect for the UN Charter, the state’s sovereignty and independence. This stance has been defended at various international platforms, including the talks in Astana. The same goes for the plans to hold the Syrian National Dialogue Conference in a few days. Today we have an excellent opportunity to discuss both the upcoming conference and the upcoming summit, and to coordinate our views on the next steps.

Read More @ LaRouchePAC.com

Do You beLIEve?

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from TruthNeverTold:

Why did so many of the Las Vegas Massacre survivors mention seeing helicopters during the shooting?

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from Intellihub:

It seems as if the mainstream media has buried eyewitness reports regarding the presence of helicopters in the air during the Las Vegas shooting

LAS VEGAS (INTELLIHUB) — A number of eyewitnesses who survived the Oct. 1 Route 91 Harvest Music Festival massacre reported seeing ‘helicopters’ during the shooting but their reports were completely ignored by the mainstream media for no apparent reason and never got the attention they deserved.

Not to mention, Intellihub Editor-In-Chief Shepard Ambellas has conclusively proven that helicopters were airborne in the vicinity during the shooting in the Nov. 18 article titled “Fact: Helicopters were airborne behind the Mandalay Bay during the Las Vegas Shooting.”

The  “John E Hoover” YouTube channel released a video Tuesday which better illustrates this fact.

Shepard Ambellas gives proof of the helicopters in the following video.

Read More @ Intellihub.com

Former Oklahoma Senator Pleads Guilty to Child Sex Trafficking – Faces Life in Prison

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by Tim Brown, Freedom Outpost:

Over the weekend, former Oklahoma Senator Ralph Shortey agreed to plead guilty to a single child sex trafficking charge.

The plea bargain came in order to have three other charges dropped against him.  The three chargesinclude two counts of transportation of child pornography and one count of production of child pornography.

News Oklahoma reported:

The federal grand jury accused Shortey in the first child pornography count of using his smartphone in October 2013 to email a video of a man engaging in sexually explicit conduct with a prepubescent girl.

He is accused in the second child pornographic count of using his smartphone that same month to email sexually explicit videos of young boys.

He is accused in the third child pornography count of persuading the boy he later took to the Moore hotel to send him an inappropriate picture.

He is accused in the child sex trafficking count of soliciting that boy in March to engage in a commercial sex act. The boy is identified in the indictment only as “John Doe.”

The crime will get him at least ten years in prison, but he could get up to life behind bars.

Shortey was known as a “family values” conservative and state chair of President Donald Trump’s campaign during the primary elections.

He continued to claims he was innocent up until this point despite the massive amount of child porn on his devices.

On Friday, Shortey attorney Ed Blau said, “Mr. Shortey feels this is a necessary step in putting this painful and humiliating ordeal behind him, for both himself, his family and for the state of Oklahoma.”

Shortey used various social media platforms such as Facebook and Kik, as well as Craig’s List to obtain his victims, according to court documents.

Police were notified when the boy went missing and his parents discovered disturbing texts between the boy and Shortey of a sexual nature.

Shortey was caught at a Super 8 motel room in Moore, Oklahoma.

Read More @ FreedomOutpost.com