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Be Skeptical Whenever The Political/Media Class Converges On A Single Narrative

Be Skeptical Whenever The Political/Media Class Converges On A Single Narrative

The Trump administration has ended its weeks-long silence on the disappearance of the Saudi Arabian Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Following a briefing from Secretary of State Pompeo who has just returned from a visit to Riyadh and Ankara, the president has said that contrary to some hopeful speculation that had emerged early on after his disappearance, Khashoggi does indeed appear to have been killed at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. If it is determined that the Saudis were responsible, Trump warned that there will be “very severe” consequences. Secretary of the Treasury Steve Mnuchin has announced that he will not be attending the Future Investment Initiative summit in Riyadh next week.

I’ve been following this story with some interest, but I haven’t been writing about it until now. This is one of those rare stories that has drawn the focus of both mainstream and alternative media, the latter because it’s seen as an opportunity to criticize the west’s extremely immoral involvement in the depraved activities of a murderous theocracy, and because it’s an opportunity to attack the hypocrisy of the establishment in decrying the murder of a single man while ignoring Saudi Arabia’s far more unconscionable behavior like its war crimes in Yemen and facilitation of bloodshed in Syria. Killing one man is very, very far from the top of the list of the most horrific things Saudi Arabia has done; criticizing them for that is like criticizing Henry Kissinger for not tipping well at restaurants.

The dominant anti-establishment criticism of the mainstream coverage of this story has been that they’re only upset at the Saudi royals now because their bloodshed finally touched a member of the political/media class, who are meant to be untouchable. And hey, that could be it, who knows.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Last History of the United States

The Last History of the United States

Photo Source Boston Public Library | CC BY 2.0

The words “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal…”, from America’s Declaration of Independence, stands as one of the finest historical examples of what Hitler, and later Goebbels, called the big lie. Hitler wrote in Mein Kamf (1925) “that in the big lie there is always a certain force of credibility; because the broad masses of a nation are always more easily corrupted in the deeper strata of their emotional nature than consciously or voluntarily…” In Jill Lepore’s These TruthsA History of the United States (2018), she painstakingly exposes the truth that America is founded on hypocrisy.

The greatest fear of the Founding Fathers was democracy. Their intent was to establish a white aristocracy of wealth largely based on the productivity of African slaves.  Lepore shows that they succeeded beyond their wildest dreams of avarice and power. She shows that big lies and little lies have subsequently sustained the illusion of democracy in the United States and the façade of inclusivity and freedom it presents to the world. The nation’s underlying hypocrisy is rarely challenged; instead, political factions compete to demonstrate (or at least propagandize) their fealty to its foundational “truths”. Along the way, the means of communication, from broadsheet to newspaper, radio, TV, computers and now the internet have serially compounded the ability of partisans to disseminate their truths – to propogandize more effectively.

The narrative she weaves, over almost 800 pages, is more requiem than history – the ship of state, in her telling, now wallows adrift on a rising ocean bereft of a mainsail.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Russia And China Prepare To Ditch Dollar In Bilateral Trade

In a time when many nations have gone public with their intention to ditch the dollar in part or in whole, in bilateral trade with non-US counterparts, either to prevent the US from having “veto power” of commerce courtesy of SWIFT or simply in response to Trump’s “America First” doctrine, attention has long focused on Russia and China – the two natural adversaries to the US – to see if and when they would accelerate plans for de-dollarization.

To be sure, the two nations wouldn’t be the first to reduce their reliance on the dollar, as we have discussed in recent months:

However, when it comes to symbolism and optics, no other pair of nations would have as much an impact in dumping the dollar as (quasi) superpowers China and Russia. Which is why we found it a material development when Russia’s Ministry of Economic Development said on Thursday that Moscow and Beijing are working on an inter-governmental agreement to expand the use of the ruble and yuan in mutual trade settlements.

“The document is currently being prepared, the process is not easy,” said Deputy Minister of Russia’s Economic Development Sergey Gorkov, as quoted by TASS. “Russia and China have had some experience of using national currencies in bilateral trade.”

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

U.S-Saudi Clash Could Spell Disaster For OPEC

U.S-Saudi Clash Could Spell Disaster For OPEC

OPEC meeting

The Khashoggi case is far from over, as current harsh statements coming from Washington are showing.

Not only is there a long line of U.S. Senators calling for an in-depth investigation of the matter, some have even openly called for the removal of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin. Senior R-Senator Lindsay Graham, one of the staunchest supporters of US president Trump and Saudi Arabia, has broken ranks as he asked on US Fox-News to remove MBS from his position.

These moves from Washington are not only endangering the very strong ties between Washington and Riyadh, but also endanger the overall Middle East and internal stability of OPEC. The oil cartel, led by Saudi Arabia, is looking at a very stormy ride the next couple of months, while the U.S. is heading for another showdown in the Arab world.

The Khashoggi case has become a possible watershed in international relations. Statements made by US R-Senator Graham, already supported by other high-ranking U.S. officials, show that the position of Saudi Arabia as a strategic ally of Washington in the Middle East, and MBS in particular, is under severe pressure.

The public threat, made by Graham news channel Fox-News, to put strong sanctions on Saudi Arabia, if the Crown Prince is not being removed, is a first. Not even in the case of Iran, Russia’s involvement in the Ukraine or the ongoing disaster in Syria, an open call was made for regime change. If threats were made by U.S. government-linked senators, it always was directly linked to a strong opposition movement in that country, or being directed at an anti-U.S. government or entity.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Big Oil Cheers Trump’s ‘New NAFTA’ But Mexico Could Complicate Things

Big Oil Cheers Trump’s ‘New NAFTA’ But Mexico Could Complicate Things

While the oil and gas industry has lauded the new trade deal that may soon replace the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), a provision added by Mexico, along with its new president’s plan to ban fracking, could complicate the industry’s rising ambitions there.

The new agreement, known as the United States–Mexico–Canada Agreement (USMCA), has faced criticism as being tantamount to NAFTA 2.0 — more of a minor reboot that primarily benefits Wall Street investors and large corporations, including oil and gas companies.

Mercilessly critiqued by then-candidate Donald Trump during the 2016 presidential campaign, NAFTA is now the second major trade deal kicked to the curb by now-President Trump. The other, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), was canceled days intoTrump’s presidency.

After the most recent deal’s announcement, the oil and gas industry offered praise for USMCA. The White House even pointed this out in a press release, highlighting a quote given by the U.S. industry’s major trade group, the American Petroleum Institute (API).

“We urge Congress to approve the USMCA. Having Canada as a trading partner and a party to this agreement is critical for North American energy security and U.S. consumers,” said Mike Sommers, President and CEO of API. “Retaining a trade agreement for North America will help ensure the U.S. energy revolution continues into the future.”

In its own press release declaring its support for USMCA, API further spelled out the parts of the deal it supports.

Those include “continued market access for U.S. natural gas and oil products, and investments in Canada and Mexico; continued zero tariffs on natural gas and oil products; investment protections to which all countries commit and the eligibility for Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) for U.S. natural gas and oil companies investing in Mexico…

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

America and Russia, Part Two: The Far Side of Progress

America and Russia, Part Two: The Far Side of Progress

Two weeks ago, in the first part of this sequence of posts, we explored the way that Oswald Spengler’s insights into the cycles of history can be used not only to make sense of the past, but also to get some idea of the shape of the future ahead of us. That’s explosive stuff, because the future thus revealed isn’t the one demanded by the cultural obsessions of the present day.

Every great culture, to use Spengler’s phrase, has its own vision of what the future ought to be like. In Apollonian culture—the great culture of the ancient Mediterranean basin, which hit its cultural stride in classical Greece and metastasized beneath the eagles of Rome—the future everyone expected was the present endlessly prolonged. The vision of time and change that guided Apollonian culture in the centuries of its maturity had three phases: first, things were in chaos, then a mighty power arose to set things in order, and that order endured forever.  In religious terms, the mighty power was the god Jupiter taming the Titans with his thunderbolts; in political terms, the mighty power was the Roman Empire bringing the warring kingdoms of the world under its sway; the same logic applied to classical philosophy, which sought to teach the rational mind how to reduce the chaos of the self into an enduring order, and so on.

In Magian culture—the great culture that emerged in the Middle East as Apollonian culture peaked and began to fade, hit its cultural stride during the Abbasid caliphate and metastasized under the Ottoman Empire—this vision found few takers once the Apollonian pseudomorphosis faded out. The Magian vision of time and change, rather, is the one familiar to most of my readers through its reflection in Christian theology.

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911 was a bank heist

Food for thought.  9/11 was a bank heist.

As we explain in Splitting Pennies and Splitting Bits – the world is not as it seems.

If we can source this untold story even from the JYT then you know it must be real: 

A team of 30 firefighters and police officers are helping to move the metals, a task that can be measured practically down to the flake but that has been rounded off at 379,036 ounces of gold and 29,942,619 ounces of silver.  As layers of debris are peeled away, recovery workers are opening gangways to intact portions of a 16-acre basement that was largely unseen but was a place of spectacular scope in its own right. Just the basement area of the World Trade Center enclosed twice as much space as the entire Empire State Building.  Nearly a quarter of a mile below the spectacular vistas from the towers was their upside-down attic dropping 70 feet below the ground, a strange world with enough room for fortunes in gold and silver, for Godiva chocolates, assault weapons, old furniture, bricks of cocaine, phony taxicabs and Central Intelligence Agency files. With so many people still lost, the owners of this stuff have maintained a discreet silence during the recovery operations. But that doesn’t mean they’re not interested.

So let’s repeat this.  Cocaine, guns, gold, silver, and secret CIA files – all stored underground in the WTC complex and all went missing?  How convenient!

You can’t make this stuff up folks.  Growing up in the 90’s you can’t miss Hollywood films like Die Hard with a Vengeance.  But who would have even suggested, that only 6 years later, an eerily similar plot would unfold in Lower Manhattan, shaping the world forever?

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Soaring Deficits and Interest Costs Leave the U.S. Looking Very Fragile

Soaring Deficits and Interest Costs Leave the U.S. Looking Very Fragile

If you take a step back and look at the macro picture of the U.S. economy – it resembles a huge, upside-down, glass pyramid.

Constantly teetering back and forth – struggling with everything it has to keep from collapsing.

And so far – it’s done a good job maintaining its balance. But nonetheless, it’s extremely fragile. And gets more so as each day passes by.

All it needs is a slight push in the any direction and down it goes – shattering into pieces. . .

It’s not hard to see that the ever-growing U.S. deficits – along with the soaring interest costs on the National debt – are going to be the focal point of a worldwide crisis.

Especially over the next few years. . .

To start – the U.S. deficit almost eclipsed $800 billion for the entire fiscal year (which ended September 2018) – a 17% year-over-year increase.

And it’s the largest deficit the U.S. has had in six years.

“Hold up – isn’t the economy doing well? Why’s the deficit soaring?”

See – That’s the problem.

The U.S. is borrowing at levels not seen since the direct aftermath of 2008. When the economy was in shambles.

As usual – government spending greatly outpaced revenue.

U.S. Treasury ‘outlays’ (spending) increased $127 billion compared to government ‘receipts’ (income) of only $14 billion.

That’s a $113 billion more than last year’s deficit.

The main causes for the increased deficit was because of Trump’s Tax Cuts (which brought in less federal revenue). And from soaring spending – which came from Defense/Military, as well as Medicaid, Social Security, and Disaster Relief.

It doesn’t look good – does it. But here’s the worst part – things are only going to get worse going forward.

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) recently published, ‘The 2018 Long-Term Budget Outlook at a Glance’ white paper.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Germany Clashes With The U.S. Over Energy Geopolitics

Germany Clashes With The U.S. Over Energy Geopolitics

Nord Stream 2

The United States and the European Union (EU) are at odds over more than just the Iran nuclear deal – tensions surrounding energy policy have also become a flashpoint for the two global powerhouses.

In energy policy, the U.S. has been opposing the Gazprom-led and highly controversial Nord Stream 2 pipeline project, which will follow the existing Nord Stream natural gas pipeline between Russia and Germany via the Baltic Sea. EU institutions and some EU members such as Poland and Lithuania are also against it, but one of the leaders of the EU and the end-point of the planned project—Germany— supports Nord Stream 2 and sees the project as a private commercial venture that will help it to meet rising natural gas demand.

While the U.S. has been hinting this year that it could sanction the project and the companies involved in it—which include not only Gazprom but also major European firms Shell, Engie, OMV, Uniper, and Wintershall—Germany has just said that Washington shouldn’t interfere with Europe’s energy choices and policies.

“I don’t want European energy policy to be defined in Washington,” Germany’s Foreign Ministry State Secretary Andreas Michaelis said at a conference on trans-Atlantic ties in Berlin this week.

Germany has to consult with its European partners regarding the project, Michaelis said, and noted, as quoted by Reuters, that he was “certainly not willing to accept that Washington is deciding at the end of the day that we should not rely on Russian gas and that we should not complete this pipeline project.”

In July this year, U.S. President Donald Trump said at a meeting with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg that “Germany is a captive of Russia because they supply.”

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Jamal Khashoggi: Where The Road to Damascus & The Path to 9/11 Converge

By Kristen Breitweiser, one of the four 9/11 widows – known as the “Jersey Girls” – instrumental in forcing the government to form the 9/11 Commission to investigate the 2001 attacks. Follow Kristen Breitweiser on Twitter: .

Road to Damascus Conversion: Derived from the Biblical story of Paul, the term “Damascus road conversion” is commonly used to refer to an abrupt about-face on a serious issue of religion, politics or philosophy. In this type of change, a single, dramatic event causes a person to become aligned with something he or she previously was against or support a position that he or she previously opposed. https://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-a-damascus-road-conversion.htm#didyouknowout

As a 9/11 widow who has spent the last 17 years fighting for accountability with regard to the 9/11 attacks that killed my husband and 3,000 others, I find the recent uproar over Jamal Khashoggi’s disappearance and alleged murder interesting and out of character for many of those decrying his disappearance and demanding an investigation and accountability.

Frankly, 9/11 Family members keep a running list of all those in Washington who have proved by their past actions to be against U.S. victims of terrorism and in support of nations like the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, a nation with a long history of supporting global Wahhabist terrorism. As victims of terrorism, we are ever vigilant and watchful about all those named on our lists. We follow these folks actions, their speeches, their legislation, because we know that they are never looking out for our best interests as U.S. victims of terrorism. As a group, our institutional memory is broad and long. And we never forget.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

How the FBI Silences Whistleblowers

How the FBI Silences Whistleblowers

Speaking truth to power has ruined Darin Jones, a former FBI contract specialist who reported evidence of serious procurement improprieties. He should be the last federal whistleblower victimized, writes John Kiriakou.


The idea of “whistleblowing” has been in the news a great deal.

Is the anonymous author of a recent New York Times op-ed eviscerating the president a whistleblower?

Is the victim of an alleged sexual assault by Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh a whistleblower?

I’m fortunate to have access to the media to talk about torture after blowing the whistle on the CIA’s program. I think Ed Snowden, Tom Drake and others would say the same thing about the aftermath of their own whistleblowing.

Cost of Doing the Right Thing

The problem is that we are the exception to the rule. Most whistleblowers either suffer in anonymity or are personally, professionally, socially and financially ruined for speaking truth to power. Darin Jones is one of those people. He’s one of the people silenced in Barack Obama’s war on whistleblowers. And he continues to suffer under Donald Trump.

Jones was an FBI supervisory contract specialist who in 2012 reported evidence of serious procurement improprieties to his superior. Jones maintained that Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC) had been awarded a $40 million contract improperly because a former FBI official with responsibility for granting the contract then was hired as a consultant at CSC. Jones said, rightly, that this was a violation of the Procurement Integrity Act. He made seven other disclosures alleging financial improprieties in the FBI, and he was promptly fired for his troubles.

Remember, the United States has a Whistleblower Protection Act.  Any federal employee who brings to light evidence of waste, fraud, abuse, illegality, or threats to the public health or public safety is protected under federal statute.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Saudi Arabia Calls The End Of Russia’s Oil Prowess

Saudi Arabia Calls The End Of Russia’s Oil Prowess

Putin MBS

Saudi Arabia has not only called the end of Russia’s prominence as a global oil behemoth, but anticipates that Russia’s oil exports “will have declined heavily if not disappeared” within the next 19 years, Mohammed bin Salman said in a recent interview with Bloomberg.

When asked whether Russia and Saudi Arabia had made a backroom deal to increase oil production, MbS was more tight-lipped, saying only that Saudi Arabia was “ready to supply any demand and any disappearing from Iran.” With Russia out of the game, Saudi Arabia would have plenty of oil demand to service, according to MbS.

MbS did not comment on his rationale for Russia’s exit as a major oil producer.

Russia’s oil production in August of 11.21 million barrels per day, near the post-Soviet era high reached the month prior to signing the OPEC+ deal that curbed its production. The 11.21 million barrels places the country in second place of the most prolific oil producers in the world, behind the United States, who overtook both Saudi Arabia and Russia earlier this year, according to EIA data as cited by CNN.

While America managed to rise from its third place seating in 2018, it did so unencumbered by the production-curbing agreement that both Saudi Arabia and Russia agreed to. Gazpromneft earlier today said it was no longer restricting its oil output, although it doubtful that either Russia or Saudi Arabia can reclaim their top spots.

Saudi Arabia has been at the forefront of oil news in recent weeks—almost neck and neck with Iran—as traders try to anticipate just how much spare oil production capacity Saudi Arabia has—if any—and if that spare capacity, whether it’s zero or a million barrels per day, will be sufficient to offset any losses sustained from Iran and Venezuela.

The Implications Of A Fractured U.S., Saudi Alliance

The Implications Of A Fractured U.S., Saudi Alliance

oil tanker

After the resurgence of the U.S. oil industry in recent years due to hydraulic fracking and the shale oil revolution, most thought the days of Middle Eastern oil producers, Saudi Arabia in particular, being able to threaten use of the so-called oil weapon as geopolitical leverage or even coercion were over. But that couldn’t be further from the truth.

Even though the U.S. is pumping oil at record levels, hitting 11 million barrels of oil per day, a rate that should have negated such a threat from ever resurfacing, it seems that Washington has also arguably shot global oil markets in the foot by re-imposing economic sanctions against Iran, with more sanctions slated to hit the Islamic Republic’s energy sector in just a matter of weeks.

The loss of Iranian barrels from global oil markets has already pushed prices well past $80 per barrel recently, and prices could break into the $90 plus range after November. Added to the fray are long term production problems in major OPEC producers Venezuela, Nigeria and Libya – in effect offsetting the ramp-up in U.S. production and the ability for shale producers to play the coveted role of oil markets swing producer. Now Saudi Arabia has taken at least marginal control of oil markets back again – not a comforting prospect for many.

Saudi Arabia said on Sunday it would retaliate against any punitive measures from the U.S. linked to the disappearance of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi with even “stronger ones.”  In what Bloomberg News called an implicit reference to the kingdom’s petroleum wealth, the Saudi statement noted the Saudi economy “has an influential and vital role in the global economy.”

1973 oil embargo remembered

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Big Tech Has Performed the “Greatest Bait-and-Switch in American History” As It Now Turns On Free Speech

Big Tech Has Performed the “Greatest Bait-and-Switch in American History” As It Now Turns On Free Speech

Big tech companies such as Google, Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube have performed “perhaps the greatest bait-and-switch in American history” as they now have committed to an about-face to the American value of free speech.

That is the assessment of Breitbart New‘s Allum Bokhari who exclusively presented a leaked Google internal briefing titled “The Good Censor” to the public on October 9th, exposing the world once again to major tech companies’ attitude towards the bedrock of traditional American attitude.

“The Good Censor” is an 85-page briefing that openly admits that Google and other tech platforms are undertaking a “shift towards censorship” in response to unwelcome political events around the world. Unsurprisingly – especially afterleaked video showed google employees in an emotional meltdown after the election victory of Donald J. Trump – The Good Censor cites the 2016 U.S. presidential election and the rise of the populist Alternative for Deutschland (AfD) party in Germany as unwelcomed events.

While admitting the shift away from free speech it is also simultaneously admitted that those select few giants “control the majority of online conversations.”

The briefing goes into how Google, Facebook, Twitter and Youtube are stuck in a position of going along with the “unmediated marketplace of ideas” (free speech and free markets) vs. “well-ordered spaces for safety and civility” (censorship). These two directions are also described as the “American tradition” which “prioritizes free speech for democracy, not civility” and the “European tradition,” which “favors dignity over liberty and civility over freedom.” The internal pages claim that all tech platforms are now moving toward the European tradition.

Perhaps the most significant part of the brief, as Breitbart’s Bokhari reports, is when it associates Google’s new role as the guarantor of “civility” with the categories of “editor” and “publisher.”

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Welcome to the G-20 from Hell

US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, left, chats with Chinese Vice-Premier Liu He during 'trade dispute' talks in Beijing earlier this year. Some sort of agreement could be reached at the G20 summit. Photo: AFP / Andy Wong

US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, left, chats with Chinese Vice-Premier Liu He during ‘trade dispute’ talks in Beijing earlier this year. Some sort of agreement could be reached at the G20 summit. Photo: AFP / Andy Wong

Welcome to the G-20 from Hell

World leaders wrestle with a maelstrom of complex, burning issues as they prepare for November 30 summit

The G-20 in Buenos Aires on November 30 could set the world on fire – perhaps literally. Let’s start with the US-China trade war. Washington won’t even start discussing trade with China at the G-20 unless Beijing comes up with a quite detailed list of potential concessions.

The word from Chinese negotiators is not at all bleak. Some sort of agreement could be reached on about a third of US demands. Debate on another third could ensue. But the last third is absolutely off-limits – due to Chinese national security imperatives, such as refusing to allow the opening of the domestic cloud computing market to foreign competition.

Beijing has appointed Vice-Premier Liu He and Vice-President Wang Qishan to supervise all negotiations with Washington. They face an uphill task: to pierce through President Donald Trump’s limited attention span.

On top of it, Beijing demands a “point person” with the authority to negotiate on behalf of Trump – considering the mixed-message traffic jam out of Washington.

Now compare this with the message coming from the research institute fabulously named Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era under the Party School of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC): the US has started the “trade friction” essentially “to hinder China’s industrial upgrading.”

That’s the consensus at the top.

And the clash is bound to get worse. Vice President Mike Pence accused China of “meddling in American democracy,” “debt diplomacy,” “currency manipulation,” and “IP theft.” The Foreign Ministry in Beijing dismissed it all as “ridiculous.”

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

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