Thursday, October 6, 2022

Globalists Will Throw Antifa To The Wolves To Further Their Agenda

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by Brandon Smith, Alt Market:

In numerous interviews and articles, including my essay ‘Globalist Strategy: Use Crazy Leftists And Provocateurs To Enrage/Demonize Conservatives‘, I have warned leftists that they are being exploited by globalists as a means to drive conservatives towards greater centralization under Trump and the federal government and that if they continue on the path they have embraced, a totalitarian response may be imminent.

I have also made it clear to conservatives that cultural Marxist groups like Antifa and Black Lives Matter as they exist today are paper tigers; they are not physically or strategically capable of backing up the viciousness of their ideologies. Meaning, a totalitarian response is not warranted (a totalitarian response is NEVER warranted) and would in fact only help the globalists in their long term efforts to destroy our Constitutional principles.

To summarize, the goal of the establishment is to use extreme leftist groups like a short stick to prod the real tiger — conservative movements. The goal, I believe, is to enrage liberty champions to the point that they are willing to “bend the rules” and rationalize the abandonment of their morals in order to defeat what they think is a great evil. Like all morally relativistic shifts in society, there is always the claim that it is for “the greater good of the greater number”, or, “the other side is much worse, therefore we are justified in our tyranny…”.

In the end, groups like Antifa will be thrown to the wolves, because the globalists do not intend for them to “win” any engagement with conservatives. This was never the plan.

If you want to measure the speed at which our nation is destabilizing under this agenda, it is helpful to watch how quickly government institutions and politicians abandon or turn on the leftists. The faster they do so, the more likely it is that a major crisis event is in the making.

In the past week alone, the entire narrative surrounding the mainstream relationship to Antifa has turned sour. For example:

According to documents obtained by Politico, the FBI and DHS have now officially classified Antifa as a terrorist group. The DHS has stated that these documents were not meant to be made public.

The mainstream media, the largest backers of cultural Marxist groups, must have received a memo, because their tune has quickly morphed to the negative when dealing with Antifa. The Washington Post chastised them for attacking “peaceful right-wing demonstrators” (did you EVER think you would see the words “peaceful right-wing protestors” in an establishment rag like The Washington Post?).

The Los Angeles Times also admonished far-left violence, while The Atlantic warned of the “rise of the violent left.”

Even crazed leftist zealot Nancy Pelosi has publicly turned against Antifa, stating that violent members should be “locked up.”

This is a rather fascinating 180-degree turn from a couple of weeks ago when all eyes were on “white nationalist” groups as the primary threat to America. But does this mean that the establishment did some soul searching and realized who the real purveyors of violence and conflict are? No, it does not.

As I have been predicting since before the 2016 elections, the left’s usefulness has a shelf life. If the establishment was interested in following through with the concept that Trump must be “unseated,” then they would retain full public support behind groups like Antifa. Instead, the establishment is playing the game of the hidden hand.

Right now,it would seem that Antifa groups are to take on the role of the underdog — the battered but still active insurgency against an “increasingly fascist regime.” A few events need to take place in order for this narrative to hold any weight in the national consciousness, however. For example, while globalists may back away from support of extreme leftists in public, they will most likely continue with private support and funding as men like George Soros have always done. Leftists will also have to be inspired to even greater violence than they have already committed.

As I discussed in my article ‘Militant Leftists Are More An Annoyance Than A Real Threat To Liberty’, published in May, regular Antifa protest organizations are not a true threat. That said, eventually there will be Antifa groups that are directly trained by government agencies to commit terrorist acts, much like The Weather Underground in the U.S. in the 1970s, or the controlled and well armed terror groups in Europe during Operation Gladio from the 1950s to the 1990s. In the end, all leftists will be associated with the actions of these false-flag groups.

In the meantime, the Trump administration is playing its part by preparing the ground for a future martial law-style crackdown. Trump’s latest executive measure? Bringing back Department of Defense program 1033, which funnels considerable amounts of surplus military hardware to police departments across America.

What happens next?  Well, in my view the next most logical step for the globalists would be to initiate an attack of some kind on a civilian or government target and ensure that leftists are involved or blamed.  With the fanaticism of the left today almost on par with the fanaticism of Islamic fundamentalists, I imagine it will not be very hard to find some useful idiots to carry out such an action.

Most likely attack scenarios in my view? Leftist terror groups supported covertly by governments have often gravitated towards bombings as their preferred method. On a larger scale, I would not rule out assassinations of politicians or even a FAILED assassination attempt on Donald Trump. These would be perfect triggers for a wider federal crackdown on leftists, fueling even greater animosity for Trump by progressives and providing a rationale for martial law for conservatives.

For some people uneducated on the finer points of false flag terrorism, this will sound like “conspiracy theory.” Some of it is indeed speculation on my part, but all of it is based on exposed programs of past high profile operations by various establishment entities to engineer civil unrest or to manipulate one part of a society to support more centralization and less freedom.

Read More @ Alt-Market.com

THE U.S. PETRO DOLLAR BREAKDOWN CONTINUES: Big Moves In Gold & Silver Ahead

by Steve St. Angleo, SRSrocco:

The four-decade long monopoly of the U.S. Petro-Dollar as the world’s reserve currency is coming to an end.  Unfortunately, most Americans have no clue that when the Dollar loses its reserve currency status, life will get a lot tougher living in the U.S. of A.  Let’s say, Americans will finally receive “Precious metals religion.”

The U.S. Dollar Index fell considerably yesterday and is now down below a key support level.  In early morning trading yesterday, the U.S. Dollar Index fell to 91.46, down 73 basis points:

According to technical analyst, Clive Maund, in his recent article, DOLLAR update as LOSS OF RESERVE CURRENCY STATUS LOOMS..., he stated the following:

The dollar is on course to lose its reserve currency status. This is not something that will happen overnight, it will be a process, but at some point there is likely to be a “sea change” in perception, as the world grasps that this is what is happening, which will trigger a cascade of selling leading to its collapse, whereupon gold and silver will rocket higher.

In that article, Clive posted the following chart on the U.S. Dollar Index (USD index) and its key support level:

As we can see, traders are looking closely to the Key support area at 92.5 for the USD index.  With the USD index now below that key support area, it could spell real trouble for the Dollar if it closes below that level at the end of the week.  After the markets opened today, the Dollar fell to a low of 91.08.  So, it looks like the Dollar will close this week well below the key support area.

Now, part of the reason for the selloff in the Dollar may have been due to the disaster that took place in the 10-year U.S. Treasury Repo market today.  According to Zerohedge’s article “We’ve Never Seen Anything Like This”: Repo Market Snaps As 10Y Suffers “Epic Fail”:

 Commenting on this dramatic move in 10Y repo rates, Stone McCarthy’s Alan Chernoff, in a note titled “Epic Fail”, writes that “the 10-year note has been below the fails rate and shows no signs of moving! It opened at -350 basis points, and though pressure has eased off of it slightly, it is STILL below the fails rate at -300 basis points.”
Commenting on this dramatic move in 10Y repo rates, Stone McCarthy’s Alan Chernoff, in a note titled “Epic Fail”, writes that “the 10-year note has been below the fails rate and shows no signs of moving! It opened at -350 basis points, and though pressure has eased off of it slightly, it is STILL below the fails rate at -300 basis points.”

The pressure on the U.S. Treasury 10-year repo market is likely a reaction to what came out of the annual BRICS summit in China yesterday,  According to the article, Escobar Exposes Real BRICS Bombshell: Putin’s “Fair Multipolar World” Where Oil Trade Bypasses The Dollar:

“To overcome the excessive domination of the limited number of reserve currencies” is the politest way of stating what the BRICS have been discussing for years now; how to bypass the US dollar, as well as the petrodollar.

Beijing is ready to step up the game. Soon China will launch a crude oil futures contract priced in yuan and convertible into gold.

This means that Russia – as well as Iran, the other key node of Eurasia integration – may bypass US sanctions by trading energy in their own currencies, or in yuan.

This announcement by Putin that oil trade should by-pass the Dollar came a few days after China announced that they plan to start trading oil on their Shanghai Exchange in Yuan, which will be backed by gold.  While we have heard for years that China was going to back their currency or trade with gold, we now see actual plans to start implementing it sometime this year.

By China backing its new oil trading benchmark in Yuan with gold, it provides countries with a great deal of confidence in trading oil in another fiat currency besides the U.S. Dollar.  Thus, countries that acquire a lot of Chinese Yuan by trading oil don’t have to worry about devaluation as they can convert Yuan into gold.

This Is Bad News For the Saudi-Petro Dollar System

The Petro-Dollar system that has been the foundation of world oil trade for the past four decades is now about to become obsolete.  Even though many countries will continue trading oil in Dollars in the future, a larger percentage will likely move into trading oil in Chinese Yuan as it provides a “gold-backed protection” against fiat currency devaluation.

Not only is the Petro-Dollar under severe pressure, so is Middle East’s largest oil exporter that was the foundation of this monetary system back in the early 1970’s.  Ever since the price of oil peaked in 2014 and has fallen by more than half to $49 currently, this has put an enormous strain on Saudi Arabia’s financial bottom line.  In the past three years, Saudi Arabia sold over $250 billion of its foreign exchange reserves, which are mostly in U.S. Treasuries, to fund its national government.

Read More @ SRSrocco.com

Russian Electronic Warfare Technology is Reshaping Western Attitudes

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from Rogue Money:

Another reason for the upswing in online interest regarding Russia’s rumored ability to simply shut off many Western combat systems and proven capability to crash low flying Raven drones and scramble Ukrainian army radio signals: the Israeli Air Force testing Moscow’s willingness to respond to their strikes against targets in Syria, typically launched from either IDF controlled air space over the Golan Heights or from above Lebanon. As the Russians clearly do not wish to engage the IAF with their S300/400 long range SAMs based near Latakia and Tartus (or they would have done so by now), one alternative to shooting down Israeli pilots may involve switching on the Tonka-truck like Krasukha 4 jammers to blind Israeli F15I/F16 targeting warplane radars or scramble the GPS and inertial guidance systems of their JDAMs and missiles.

After the hotly denied Cook incident the U.S. military of course, is likely to be impatiently waiting on the IAF-goaded Russians to do that very thing, so ELINT data can be gathered on the Russians’ ‘off switch’ from NSA/GCHQ listening posts in nearby Israel, Turkey and across the Med at the Royal Air Force bases on the island of Cyprus.

 A STILL OF A KRASUKHA 4 JAMMER OPERATING NEAR KHEIMMIM AIR BASE IN SYRIA (VIDEO FROM THE RUSSIAN DEFENSE MINISTRY CHANNEL ZVEZDA TV)
A STILL OF A KRASUKHA 4 JAMMER OPERATING NEAR KHEIMMIM AIR BASE IN SYRIA (VIDEO FROM THE RUSSIAN DEFENSE MINISTRY CHANNEL ZVEZDA TV)

For those who insist the Cook incident is a total propaganda myth, and that Russian EW capabilities are no big deal, and that the U.S. is miles ahead of anything Moscow can field, it’s fair to ask them a simple question: why then have we seen a drastic increase in ELINT collection flights all around Russian territory since April 2014? Why would the systems that NATO’s  supreme commander Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges described in 2015 as ‘eye watering’ in sophistication be limited to merely jamming the counter-battery radars (one of which was captured by the Donbass forces at Debaltsevo) and short range drones the U.S. provided to Ukraine? Would there not be much more powerful systems kept in reserve by Moscow for use at sea and to defend Russian military strong points like on the Crimean peninsula or Kheimmim in Syria?

Another awkward question for those waving the flag saying ‘rah rah USA USA we’re no. 1’ in EW: if Russian jamming had no effect on American missiles and their inertial/GPS guidance systems, why did one Tomahawk reportedly crash near Tartus during April’s salvo, and why didn’t all of the Tomahawk missiles launched at Al-Shayrat air base hit their target, and did such light damage to the facility that Syrian Air Force jets were able to fly and fight from it within 24 hours? Something does not add up in the Pentagon’s insistence that all Tomahawk missiles fired by the U.S. Navy then struck their target and the Russians were lying for propaganda effect.

Read More @ RogueMoney.net

Further Evidence As To Why America’s Word Cannot be Trusted

by James O’Neill, New Eastern Outlook:

Recent events confirm the long held view of many that adherence to international law is, for the Americans, at best an optional extra rather than being an essential component of conduct between States.

The first example relates to the current standoff between the US and North Korea. Article 2 (3) of the UN Charter, a document the US was instrumental in formulating, requires that:

“All members shall settle their international disputes by peaceful means….”

Article 2 (4) further provides that:

“All members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity …..of any State…..”

Scarcely a day has passed in recent weeks without those obligations being violated in respect of North Korea. President Trump himself has threatened “fire and fury like you have never seen”. He, along with his Defence Secretary Mattis and the US ambassador to the Un Nikki Haley have variously referred to “all options are on the table” or “North Korea will be obliterated” and similar phrases, all of which are unsubtle overt threats.

It is not just words. Massive military exercises have been conducted close to North Korea’s borders, both land and maritime. We are told that one of the objectives of the exercise is to practice the “decapitation” of the North Korean leadership. Nuclear-armed bombers patrol Korean air space, and missile systems have been installed. The latter are purportedly for “defensive” purposes but in reality they are part of an offensive missile system aimed at Russia and China.

The second example was the unprecedented incursions by US federal officers into the Russian consulate in San Francisco and the homes of Russian consular staff. This is a breach of one of the most important international conventions, the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations and Optional Protocols (“the Vienna Convention.”)

Article 22 of the Vienna Convention states:

  1. The premises of the mission shall be inviolable. The agents of the receiving State may not enter them, except with the consent of the head of the mission.

  2. The receiving State is under a special obligation to take appropriate steps to protect the premises of the mission……

  3. The premises of the mission, their furnishings and other property therein and the means of transport of the mission shall be immune from search, requisition, attachment or execution.

There is no scope for ambiguity here. Inviolable means exactly what it says. What is less clear are the American’s motives for such a blatant and unacceptable breach of international norms. Christopher Black quotes the Russian Foreign Ministry as saying that the only reason for such a search to be conducted, aside from bullying and intimidation, is to use it as an opportunity for the Americans to plant items to be used in their propaganda war against Russia.

That is certainly possible, and it is a reasonable inference to draw from the fact that the Americans demanded that the premises be vacated while the search was undertaken. It is also consistent with a long record of such duplicity by the United States, and its persistent false claims used to justify aggression.

The allegations against the Libyan government’s ‘killing of its own people’; the alleged sarin gas attacks by the Syrian government against its own people; Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction; and Iran’s alleged nuclear weapons program are only four of the most recent and egregious examples.

The consequences of those falsehoods have been devastating for three of the four countries concerned. Notwithstanding convincing evidence to the contrary, successive US governments have persisted in these falsehoods, with the willing complicity of the mainstream media.

Black also correctly points out that it acts as a precedent that can rebound against the United States, as the US cannot now logically argue that its own diplomatic missions remain immune.

The third possibility is that the actions were simply a result of terminal hubris and stupidity. The US has long regarded itself as the “exceptional nation” with that perception now irrefutably extended to being exempt from the provisions of international law.

This would not be a novel conclusion as their actions for many decades have long demonstrated both stupidity and a disregard for international law. The invasion and searching of diplomatic premises in violation of the Vienna Convention is therefore simply an extension of a well-established pattern of behaviour.

The third illustration of why the word of the United States cannot be trusted is the one with potentially the most dangerous consequences. The US and its allies have long claimed that Iran had a nuclear weapons program. Israel has claimed for 20 years that Iran was “only months away” from possessing a nuclear weapon, including a bizarre presentation by Benjamin Netanyahu to the UN General Assembly.

The complete absence of any supporting evidence, and indeed the existence of two unanimous US Intelligence Reports to the contrary, was never sufficient to stop the relentless propaganda barrage against Iran, nor prevent the imposition of sanctions.

The net effect was to dangerously ratchet up tensions to the point where a single act of stupidity, such as Israel carrying out one of its multiple threats to attack Iran, could easily have led to a wider war.

Thanks largely to the initiatives of the Russian and Chinese governments, and a rare moment of sanity by the then US administration, an agreement between the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, the European Union’s Foreign Affairs High Representative, Germany and Iran was negotiated. Known as the Joint comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) it was agreed to by all parties in July 2015.

The UN Security Council subsequently endorsed the agreement unanimously on 20 July 2015 (UNSC Resolution 2231). Three key provisions from the Preamble are worth briefly noting:

(iii) Iran reaffirms that under no circumstances will Iran ever seek, develop or acquire nuclear weapons.

(v) The JCPOA will produce the comprehensive lifting of all UNSC sanctions as well as multilateral and national sanctions related to Iran’s nuclear program.

(viii) The E3/EU+3 and Iran commit to implement this JCPOA in good faith and to refrain from any action inconsistent with the letter, spirit and intent of this JCPOA that would undermine its successful implementation.

The UNSC Resolution effectively turned the JCPOA into an instrument of international law. The US Congress also passed the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act under which the President is required to provide a “compliance certification” to Congress every 90 days to verify Iran’s adherence to the terms of the JCPOA.

Under the terms of the JCPOA the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is also entitled to carry out inspections of Iran’s nuclear facilities (civilian use is permitted) and issue its own compliance certificates. It has repeatedly done so.

Trump has twice thus far met his obligations to report compliance to Congress, but he told the Wall Street Journal that if it was up to him he would have found Iran non-compliant 180 days ago (i.e. when he was inaugurated).

Trump’s ignorance is bad enough, but it is now known that he has instructed his intelligence agencies to provide proof of Iran’s non-compliance. This is extraordinary and dangerous. Trump clearly has an a priori conclusion that Iran is non-compliant and wants the intelligence agencies to produce what can only be described as ‘fake facts’ to justify his pre-held conclusion.

This is reminiscent of the point noted by the head of British Intelligence in the lead up to the Iraq war when he noted that “the facts were being made to fit the policy.”

The US has also not only failed to life the sanctions in accordance with the JCPOA but has imposed new sanctions on the pretext that Iran has carried out ballistic missile tests (not banned under the JCPOA) and is a “sponsor of terrorism.” Again, facts are not allowed to intrude upon the policy. It is simply impossible to reconcile these and other actions with the obligation of “good faith” in the JCPOA.

Read More @ Journal-NEO.org

Dear President Trump: America is in for a Rude Awakening in January

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by Jim Rickards, Daily Reckoning:

Over the last couple of years I’ve been all over TV… from Fox News to CNBC, CNN and Bloomberg. I’ve been telling our fellow Americans that the financial global elite was planning to issue their own globalist currency called special drawing rights, or SDRs.

And that those elites would use this new currency to replace the U.S. dollar as the global reserve currency.

I’ve even written about this extensively in my best-selling booksThe Road to Ruin and The New Case for Gold.

I’m sure some people in the mainstream media thought I was out of line — but the United Nations and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) have both confirmed this plan to replace the U.S. dollar is real. I’ve made this warning many times, but it seems to be falling on deaf ears. That’s why I’m writing directly to you.

Here’s the proof that the U.S. dollar is under attack, right in front of our eyes:

The UN said we need “a new global reserve system… that no longer relies on the United States dollar as the single major reserve currency.”

And the IMF admitted they want to make “the special drawing right (SDR) the principal reserve asset in the [International Monetary System].”

More recently, the IMF advanced their plan by helping private institutions, such as the UK’s Standard Chartered Bank, issue bonds in SDRs.

Although our mainstream media ignored this major event, the UK media reported:

This is all happening. And on January 1st, 2018, this trend to replace the U.S. dollar will accelerate. That’s when the global elite will implement a major change to the plumbing of our financial system.

It’s a brand-new worldwide banking system called Distributed Ledger Technology. And it will have a huge impact on seniors who are now preparing for retirement.

When this system goes live, many nations will be able to dump the U.S. dollar for SDRs.

For now, the U.S. dollar is still the world’s reserve currency. Other nations have to hold and use the U.S. dollar for international trade, instead of their own currencies.

This creates a virtually unlimited demand for U.S. dollars, which allows us to print trillions of dollars each year to pay for wars, debt and anything we want. It keeps our country operating.

Now, we can see that the global elites are working to unseat the U.S. dollar as the global reserve currency.

Here are the three key pieces of information that prove this will happen.

Fact #1 — The IMF issues a globalist currency called special drawing rights, or SDRs.

Fact #2 — The IMF has confirmed they want to replace the U.S. dollar with SDRs.

Fact #3 — The IMF has confirmed Distributed Ledgers can be used for “currency substitution”… and they’ve even set up a special task force to speed up implementation.

The IMF is using this technology to create an SDR payment system, because that’s the currency they issue.

As you know, Christine Lagarde, head of the IMF, is the woman in the middle.

When asked about the task force, she said:

“As I see it, all this amounts to a brave new world for the financial sector.”

Yes, a brave new world where the dollar is no longer the world reserve currency.

Barbara C. Matthews, a former US Treasury Department attaché to the European Union, has reached the same conclusion.

She said the link between the globalists’ currency and Distributed Ledgers “is impossible to avoid.”

And that “the IMF seems to be exploring the possibility of permitting a broader use of [their globalist currency] beyond internal transactions among member central banks.”

Make no mistake, if the IMF is planning to use Distributed Ledgers to replace the U.S. dollar with SDRs. And just to be clear, when SDRs take over, the American people will be left with devalued dollars.

Read More @ DailyReckoning.com

Laughing on the Way to Armageddon — Paul Craig Roberts

by Paul Craig Roberts, Paul Craig Roberts:

The United States shows the world such a ridiculous face that the world laughs at us.

The latest spin on “Russia stole the election” is that Russia used Facebook to influence the election. The NPR women yesterday were breathless about it.

We have been subjected to ten months of propaganda about Trump/Putin election interference and still not a scrap of evidence. It is past time to ask an unasked question: If there were evidence, what is the big deal? All sorts of interest groups try to influence election outcomes including foreign governments. Why is it OK for Israel to influence US elections but not for Russia to do so? Why do you think the armament industry, the energy industry, agribusiness, Wall Street and the banks, pharmaceutical companies, etc., etc., supply the huge sum of money to finance election campaigns if their intent is not to influence the election? Why do editorial boards write editorials endorsing one candidate and damning another if they are not influencing the election?

What is the difference between influencing the election and influencing the government? Washington is full of lobbyists of all descriptions, including lobbyists for foreign governments, working round the clock to influence the US government. It is safe to say that the least represented in the government are the citizens themselves who don’t have any lobbyists working for them.

The orchestrated hysteria over “Russian influence” is even more absurd considering the reason Russia allegedly interfered in the election. Russia favored Trump because he was the peace candidate who promised to reduce the high tensions with Russia created by the Obama regime and its neocon nazis—Hillary Clinton, Victoria Nuland, Susan Rice, and Samantha Power. What’s wrong with Russia preferring a peace candidate over a war candidate? The American people themselves preferred the peace candidate. So Russia agreed with the electorate.

Those who don’t agree with the electorate are the warmongers—the military/security complex and the neocon nazis. These are democracy’s enemies who are trying to overturn the choice of the American people. It is not Russia that disrespects the choice of the American people; it is the utterly corrupt Democratic National Committee and its divisive Identity Politics, the military/security complex, and the presstitute media who are undermining democracy.

I believe it is time to change the subject. The important question is who is it that is trying so hard to convince Americans that Russian influence prevails over us?

Do the idiots pushing this line realize how impotent this makes an alleged “superpower” look. How can we be the hegemonic power that the Zionist neocons say we are when Russia can decide who is the president of the United States?

The US has a massive spy state that even intercepts the private cell phone conversations of the Chancellor of Germany, but his massive spy organization is unable to produce one scrap of evidence that the Russians conspired with Trump to steal the presidential election from Hillary. When will the imbeciles realize that when they make charges for which no evidence can be produced they make the United States look silly, foolish, incompetent, stupid beyond all belief?

Countries are supposed to be scared of America’s threat that “we will bomb you into the stone age,” but the President of Russia laughs at us. Putin recently described the complete absence of any competence in Washington:

“It is difficult to talk to people who confuse Austria and Australia. But there is nothing we can do about this; this is the level of political culture among the American establishment. As for the American people, America is truly a great nation if the Americans can put up with so many politically uncivilized people in their government.”

These words from Putin were devastating, because the world understands that they are accurate.

Consider the idiot Nikki Haley, appointed by Trump in a fit of mindlessness as US Ambassador to the United Nations. This stupid person is forever shaking her fist at the Russians while mouthing yet another improbable accusation. She might want to read Mario Puzo’s book, The Godfather. Everyone knows the movie, but if memory serves somewhere in the book Puzo reflects on the practice of the irate American motorist who shakes a fist and gives the bird to other drivers. What if the driver receiving the insult is a Mafia capo? Does the idiot shaking his fist know who he is accosting? No. Does the moron know that the result might be a brutal beating or death? No.

Does the imbecile Nikki Haley understand what can be the result of her inability to control herself? No. Every knowledgeable person I know wonders if Trump appointed the imbecile Nikki Haley US ambassador to the world for the purpose of infuriating the Russians.

Ask Napoleon and the German Wehrmacht the consequence of infuriating the Russians.

After 16 years the US “superpower” has been unable to defeat a few thousand lightly armed Taliban, who have no air force, no Panzer divisions, no worldwide intelligence service, and the crazed US government in Washington is courting war with Russia and China and North Korea and Iran.

The American people are clearly out to lunch in their insouciance. Americans are fighting among themselves over “civil war” statues, while “their’ government invites nuclear armageddon.

The United States has an ambassador to the world who shows no signs of intelligence, who behaves as if she is Mike Tyson or Bruce Lee to the 5th power, and who is the total antithesis of a diplomat. What does this tell about the United States?

Read More @ PaulCraigRoberts.org

A2A with John Embry

by Turd Furguson, TF Metals:

On Wednesday, the legendary John Embry joined us for a webinar that was full of insight and wisdom. You should be sure to listen to this recorded copy of the audio.

Among the topics discussed over the course of this call:

  • the current level of sentiment in the precious metals space and how this compares to past bull markets
  • the recent visit to Ft Knox by SecTreas Mnuchin
  • possible future confiscation of retirement assets to fund government spending
  • John’s favorite gold and silver miners
  • the idea of an official revaulation of the US’ gold reserves
  • and a whole lot more!

Again, please make the time to give this podcast a thorough listen. You won’t be disappointed!

TF

Click HERE to listen.

Read More @ TFMetals.com

Brick & Mortar Meltdown: Bon-Ton Department Stores Hires Bankruptcy Advisor

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by Wolf Richter, Wolf Street:

Vitamin World plans to file for bankruptcy, Perfumania Holdings just filed. And Toys R Us… All in just two weeks.

Bon-Ton Stores, Inc., which operates about 260 department stores largely in the Northeast and Midwest under the names Bon-Ton, Bergner’s, Boston Store, Carson’s, Elder-Beerman, Herberger’s, and Younkers, has hired PJT Partners, which describes itself as “a leading advisor to companies and creditors in restructurings and bankruptcies around the world.”

Faced with falling sales and customer traffic, the company is trying to refinance debt and prepare for a possible bankruptcy filing, “people familiar with the matter” told the Wall Street Journal.

Bon-Ton had already hired turnaround firm AlixPartners to help improve its operations but added PJT to focus on the financial aspects, “the people” told the Journal.

Bon-Ton’s debt and shares found their way onto WOLF STREET for the first time in November 2015, in Capital Destruction Rages Beneath S&P 500 Tranquility after it reported crummy results, blaming the “unseasonably warm weather” and “continued weakness in overall traffic trends.” That day, its already beaten-down 8{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528} notes plummeted well below 40 cents on the dollar, and its shares crashed 39{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528} to $1.21.

In January 2016, Bon-Ton’s 8{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528} notes reappeared in Defaults and Restructuring Next for Retailers, at which time they traded at 33 cents on the dollar.

Yesterday, the notes traded at 40 cents on the dollar, and the stock was down to $0.69 a share.

In May 2015, shares had traded at around $7. In May 2007, at around the peak of the boom in leveraged buyouts – when there were hopes that a private equity firm would buy out the retailer, as they had done with so many others that have now become part of the brick-and-mortar meltdown – shares had spiked to over $56. But that LBO didn’t happen.

So signs that Bon-Ton was in trouble have been out there for over two years, but in an era of unlimited liquidity and artificially low interest rates, waiting for the inevitable requires patience.

In the last quarter, Bon-Ton reported that sales fell 7{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528} to $505 million on dropping customer traffic. Sales have been falling every year for at least three years. Its growing online sales didn’t make up for the plunge in brick-and-mortar sales. Bon-Ton generated a quarterly net loss of $33 million, on top of the $134 million it had lost over the past three years.

It reported total long-term debt of $856 million plus about $300 million in capital leases, financing obligations, and “other long-term liabilities.” Its cash balance was down to just $6.3 million, and on July 29, it still had $171.5 million available to borrow under its credit line with Bank of America – so it’s not going to run out of money tomorrow. But the day is approaching.

In its report on retailers in July, Standard and Poor’s warned about weak recovery for creditors in case of default by a slew of retailers that are headed for a debt restructuring or bankruptcy, including Bon-Ton.

And it pointed out that a number of recently defaulted retailers weren’t able to restructure and continue but instead “have largely closed shop and liquidated their assets.” Among them were The Limited, American Apparel, Wet Seal, and Sports Authority, all heroes of our Brick-and-Mortar Meltdown theme. Alas, “recovery prospects in a liquidation scenario are often dramatically lower than when a company continues to operate,” and this “is especially true in the retail sector because most retailers are asset light – meaning most creditors are highly dependent on profitability and cash flow as a source of repayment.

Indeed, what assets does a retailer have that leases its stores? Inventory to be sold off at liquidation sales. Bon-Ton lists $658 million in merchandise, which is likely worth less when sold at a fire sale. But it has $200 million in accounts payable, $856 million in long-term debt, and $300 million in other obligations, plus things like accrued payroll and benefits. So creditors are going to come up woefully short in a liquidation.

Bon-Ton is just the current episode.

On September 6, Toys R Us was said to have hired a bankruptcy law firm. The company was subject to $6.6 billion LBO in 2005, and by now, the private equity firms involved – Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR), Vornado Realty Trust, and Bain Capital Partners – have stripped out cash and piled on enough debt to topple the company.

On September5, 2017,  Vitamin World, a vitamin and supplement seller with 345 stores, was said to have plans for a bankruptcy filing as early as this month, hoping to get out of exorbitant lease agreements for a number of its stores, people familiar with the plans told Reuters . CEO Michael Madden said that the agreements were negotiated by its previous owners, vitamin maker NBTY Inc. The current owner, private equity firm Centre Lane Partners acquired it last year for about $25 million.

Read More @ WolfStreet.com

Venezuela Is About to Ditch the Dollar in Major Blow to US: Here’s Why It Matters

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by Darius Shahtahmasebi, The Anti Media:

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said Thursday that Venezuela will be looking to “free” itself from the U.S. dollar next week, Reuters reports. According to the outlet, Maduro will look to use the weakest of two official foreign exchange regimes (essentially the way Venezuela will manage its currency in relation to other currencies and the foreign exchange market), along with a basket of currencies.

According to Reuters, Maduro was referring to Venezuela’s current official exchange rate, known as DICOM, in which the dollar can be exchanged for 3,345 bolivars. At the strongest official rate, one dollar buys only 10 bolivars, which may be one of the reasons why Maduro wants to opt for some of the weaker exchange rates.

“Venezuela is going to implement a new system of international payments and will create a basket of currencies to free us from the dollar,” Maduro said in a multi-hour address to a new legislative “superbody.” He reportedly did not provide details of this new proposal.

Maduro hinted that the South American country would look to using the yuan instead, among other currencies.

“If they pursue us with the dollar, we’ll use the Russian ruble, the yuan, yen, the Indian rupee, the euro,” Maduro also said.

Venezuela sits on the world’s largest oil reserves but has been undergoing a major crisis, with millions of people going hungry inside the country which has been plagued with rampant, increasing inflation. In that context, the recently established economic blockade by the Trump administration only adds to the suffering of ordinary Venezuelans rather than helping their plight.

According to Reuters, a thousand dollars’ worth of local currency obtained when Maduro came to power in 2013 is now be worth little over one dollar.

A theory advanced in William R. Clark’s book Petrodollar Warfare – and largely ignored by the mainstream media – essentially asserts that Washington-led interventions in the Middle East and beyond are fueled by the direct effect on the U.S. dollar that can result if oil-exporting countries opt to sell oil in alternative currencies. For example, in 2000, Iraq announced it would no longer use U.S. dollars to sell oil on the global market. It adopted the euro, instead.

By February 2003, the Guardian reported that Iraq had netted a “handsome profit” after making this policy change. Despite this, the U.S. invaded not long after and immediately switched the sale of oil back to the U.S. dollar.

In Libya, Muammar Gaddafi was punished for a similar proposal to create a unified African currency backed by gold, which would be used to buy and sell African oil. Though it sounds like a ludicrous reason to overthrow a sovereign government and plunge the country into a humanitarian crisis, Hillary Clinton’s leaked emails confirmed this was the main reason Gaddafi was overthrown. The French were especially concerned by Gaddafi’s proposal and, unsurprisingly, became one of the war’s main contributors. (It was a French Rafaele jet that struck Gaddafi’s motorcade, ultimately leading to his death).

Iran has been using alternative currencies like the yuan for some time now and shares a lucrative gas field with Qatar, which may ultimately be days away from doing the same. Both countries have been vilified on the international stage, particularly under the Trump administration.

Nuclear giants China and Russia have been slowly but surely abandoning the U.S. dollar, as well, and the U.S. establishment has a long history of painting these two countries as hostile adversaries.

Read More @ TheAntiMedia.com