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Trump Walks Back Syria Pullout As Noose Tightens

Trump Walks Back Syria Pullout As Noose Tightens

If anyone still thinks that Donald Trump has some master plan to kill off his Deep State adversaries they should check themselves into therapy. I know withdrawal is hard, but admitting you have a problem is the first step to curing it.

He doesn’t have a plan. He may fight them but it won’t be with any kind of master plan to trap them in some beautiful bit of political judo.

Frankly, Vladimir Putin he is not.

No, Trump is winging things at this point. While he still has the office he’s trying to do some of the things he promised. Doing that may keep him in power for a few more months.

But with his walking back the timetable for pulling troops out of Syria after a visit from Lindsay Graham (R-MIC/AIPAC) should tell you all you need to know about Trump’s willingness to stand up to the pressure he’s under.

Add to that the opening salvo from Mitt Romney (R-Wall St.) and it becomes pretty clear that Trump was told what the score really is. When, not if, the Democrats push for impeachment or a 25th Amendment proceeding against him Graham and Romney will lead a GOP revolt against him, siding with Senate Democrats to get rid of him.

That’s been the point of this from the beginning. Pat Buchanan and I both talked about this from the moment he was elected. Pat reminding us of what happened to Nixon who was hounded out of office because he did the unthinkable — ending the Vietnam War.

I’ve been simply looking at this from the standard libertarian perspective that “War is the health of the state” and Trump’s opposition to our Middle East follies would net him nothing but contempt.

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

US Rage for Endless Wars Threatens World Peace in the New Year

US Rage for Endless Wars Threatens World Peace in the New Year

Washington’s hegemonic aims, under Republicans and undemocratic Dems, represent the greatest threat to world peace and humanity’s survival.

At his annual marathon Q & A news conference last week, Vladimir Putin warned about possible nuclear war, a growing threat because of Washington’s reckless geopolitical agenda, including withdrawal from the Iran (JCPOA) nuclear deal and INF Treaty, as well as its reluctance to negotiate extending New Start (April 2010) on reducing and limiting strategic weapons, expiring in February 2021 if not renewed.

Based on bad advice from regime hardliners, Trump falsely called New Start a bad deal favoring Russia. It’s nothing of the kind. It’s even-handed, shifting things to less war and more peace globally.

Last October, John Bolton called for withdrawing from New Start. He convinced Trump to abandon the JCPOA and INF Treaty. He advocates greater US toughness against all sovereign independent countries.

Before becoming Trump’s national security advisor, he urged terror-bombing Iran and North Korea, sanctions not enough, he said, diplomacy “a waste of time.”

He claimed “Iran will not negotiate its (nonexistent) nuclear (weapons) program.” He urged “military action like Israel’s 1981 attack on Saddam Hussein’s Osirak reactor in Iraq…”

He said “(t)he way to end (North Korea’s nuclear program) is to end the North.”

New Start calls for reducing the number of strategic nuclear missile launchers by half. It limits the number of deployed strategic nuclear warheads to 1,500.

It also limits the number of ICBMs, submarine-launched ballistic missile launchers, and nuclear capable heavy warplanes. 

It calls for satellite and other monitoring, as well as annual on-site inspections to assure both sides comply with terms agreed on.

Bolton, Pompeo, and other Trump regime hardliners want restraints on its weapons development and deployments eliminated, part of Washington’s permanent war agenda.

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

The Curious Case of The Economist: How It Manipulates Its Readers with Slanted Comment on Russia

The Curious Case of The Economist: How It Manipulates Its Readers with Slanted Comment on Russia

The Curious Case of The Economist: How It Manipulates Its Readers with Slanted Comment on Russia

The Economist magazine is an admirable publication to which I have subscribed for over fifty years, with gaps now and then. While serving in Vietnam in 1970 its weekly arrival was a major event, as we were bereft of sensible reportage about that disastrous war, and I have always considered it to be balanced, extremely well-informed, and accurate. In its own modest words “What ties us together is the objectivity of our opinion, the originality of our insight and our advocacy of economic and political freedom around the world.”

Quite so. And so say all of us. Let’s hear it for a fearless journal that tells it like it is.

Until it doesn’t.

In the issue dated December 15, 2018 there is a strange anomaly in its description of life in the Democratic Republic of Congo, a shattered African state which the magazine’s writer(s) criticise objectively and with originality. And it’s the originality tangent that is intriguing.

The hard copy which I received in France has a half-page leader about Congo, headlined “The Kremlin-style charade in Kinshasa — Can anyone stop Joseph Kabila from doing a Putin?” which was an arresting summons that indicated objective cover concerning what one might expect to be a series of parallels and comparisons involving the leaders of Congo and Russia. On reading it, however, I wondered if perhaps the writer(s) had trended to originality that transcended objectivity, so went to the website where the headline was slightly different, employing the tried and faithful “-ology” tack-on and omitting Kabila’s name. It read “Kremlinology in Kinshasa: Can anyone stop Congo’s president from doing a Putin?”

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

Putin warns US against misadventures

Putin warns US against misadventures

(Russia’s President Vladimir Putin addresses an extended meeting of the Russian Defence Ministry Board in the National Defence Management Centre in Moscow, Dec 18, 2018)

The Russian President Vladimir Putin’s address to an expanded meeting of the Defence Ministry Board in Moscow on December 18 stands out as a tour d’horizon of the global strategic balance. The speech must be seen against the backdrop of the free fall in US-Russia relations, build-up of NATO infrastructure on Russia’s western borders and, in particular, the Trump administration’s statements about the US withdrawing from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty of 1987.

Broadly, Putin’s message is in three directions:

The modernization of Russian armed forces has been most successful and the combat readiness of Russian military is at an all-time high level;

Russia has developed new hypersonic weapons of immense destructive power, which are going into serial production for deployment with the strategic nuclear forces to which the US simply has no answer;

Russia is determined to ensure that any US attempts to tilt the strategic balance in its favor will be effectively countered. 

Putin disclosed that the share of modern arms in Russia’s “nuclear triad” (air, navy and ground forces) is already at an impressive level of 82 percent. He implied that all in all, the US is punching above its weight: “These weapons (unique state-of-the-art weapons such as the Avangard missile system, Sarmat missile, Kinzhal hypersonic air-launched ballistic missile, Peresvet combat laser weapons, etc.) will multiply the potential of our army and navy, thus reliably and absolutely ensuring Russia’s security for decades ahead. These weapons are consolidating the balance of forces and, thus, international stability. I hope our new systems will provide food for thought to those who are used to militaristic and aggressive rhetoric.”

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

Don’t Laugh : It’s Giving Putin What He Wants

Don’t Laugh : It’s Giving Putin What He Wants

The BBC has published an article titled “How Putin’s Russia turned humour into a weapon” about the Kremlin’s latest addition to its horrifying deadly hybrid warfare arsenal: comedy.

The article is authored by Olga Robinson, whom the BBC, unhindered by any trace of self-awareness, has titled “Senior Journalist (Disinformation)”. Robinson demonstrates the qualifications and acumen which earned her that title by warning the BBC’s audience that the Kremlin has been using humor to dismiss and ridicule accusations that have been leveled against it by western governments, a “form of trolling” that she reports is designed to “deliberately lower the level of discussion”.


Turns out jokes are a Russian disinformation conspiracy. Is nothing safe?What will those barbarian Others think of next? Weaponizing our tears? http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-46567364 

Russian President Vladimir Putin smiles during his meeting with athletes at the Russia in October 2018

How Putin’s Russia turned humour into a weapon

Russia’s government wants people to have a laugh – as long as it’s at its opponents’ expense, and not Mr Putin’s.

bbc.co.uk


“Russia’s move towards using humour to influence its campaigns is a relatively recent phenomenon,” Robinson explains, without speculating as to why Russians might have suddenly begun laughing at their western accusers. She gives no consideration to the possibility that the tightly knit alliance of western nations who suddenly began hysterically shrieking about Russia two years ago have simply gotten much more ridiculous and easier to make fun of during that time.

Couldn’t possibly have anything to do with the emergence of a demented media environment wherein everything around the world from French protests to American culture wars to British discontent with the European Union gets blamed on Russia without any facts or evidence.

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

The Russia Investigation is about Criminalizing Peace

The Russia Investigation is about Criminalizing Peace

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“For those who long wondered why throughout the presidential campaign Trump could not bring himself to say a critical word about Russian President Vladimir Putin, we now know the answer: Trump was hoping to do business in Russia, and doing so would require the approval of Putin.” – USA TodayOpinion

Make no mistake, the mainstream left and state serving-media voices are trying to gaslight an entire generation into believing any candidate that wants peace with Russia may be a foreign conspirator worthy of prison, shame, and family persecution.

Former congressman Ron Paul, as a peace presidential candidate, did not regurgitate war propaganda against Russia either. Neither did Senator Rand Paul when he ran. What Paul hotel do you see in Moscow? Yet for future generations, many in the media want to ensure no such candidate ever runs again without baked-in misgivings of treason and criminality.

No serious observer of recent events can honestly believe the mono-narrative the old media, including “hard news” outfits, has tried to curate about the 2016 election. However, the aim of the last two years of conspiratorial hysteria has been to sear into the minds of low information voters suspicion of any successful political figure who even half challenges the conventional wisdom that America must perpetually spend hundreds of billions on NATO, collect citizens’ private conversations, sanction Russian citizens, and intervene in Russia’s local border disputes.

This is nothing new. When Martin Luther King Jr. used his national spotlight to challenge the moral authority of the Vietnam War, he was denounced as a subversive agent of enemy foreign powers.

What voters need to understand is that those who challenge bipartisan orthodox foreign policy are the leaders most likely to keep them safe from foreign authoritarians.

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

Encouraged by US, Ukraine Prepares to Stage Military Provocation

Encouraged by US, Ukraine Prepares to Stage Military Provocation

Encouraged by US, Ukraine Prepares to Stage Military Provocation

There is a cause for concern and it’s real and very grave. Ukraine is being pushed to war. Kiev is not bluffing. Encouraged by its American tutors, it’s involved in dangerous games pursuing political purposes. It’s not about sanctions, warnings, statements and declarations – they want to provoke real shooting now. The time is right for ringing alarm bells before it’s too late.

The US President Donald Trump’s refusal to have a separate meeting with President Putin at the G20 summit in Argentina citing the Kerch Strait incident as a reason was not exactly unexpected. Obviously, Washington is interested in aggravating the Russian-Ukrainian relations. The introduction of the state of emergency in the territories bordering Russia, the concentration of Ukrainian troops in the Donbas region, and the call-up of reservists announced by Ukraine’s president – all these moves testify to the fact that war preparations are in full swing. Neither Washington nor Brussels have called on Kiev to show restraint.

Ukraine has recently announced its decision not to allow Russian men aged 16-60 into the country. This policy of Kiev is in stark contrast with what Moscow does. According to Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin, Russian President Vladimir Putin decided not to retaliate. No, quite the opposite – he ordered to simplify the procedures for Ukrainians asking for Russian citizenship. The move is intended to demonstrate good intentions. In late October, the Russian president signed the Concept of the State Migration Policy of the Russian Federation for 2019-2025 to facilitate the inflow of Russian speakers to the country.

US Air Force RQ-4 Global Hawk UAVs and US Navy P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft operate over the Black Sea and eastern Ukraine.

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

Putin Confirms No New Oil Production Cuts; Hopes For US, UK Detente

Russian President Vladimir Putin praised Trump, pummeled Poroshenko, and poured cold water on oil market bulls’ hopes in a statement following the G-20 meetings.

Putin began by confirming what White House Press Secretary Sanders noted earlier – he and Trump had spoken broefly on the sidelines of the G-20 and discussed the Ukraine incident. Putin added that “Trump is not afraid of [him]” and expressed “pity that he could not have a full format meeting with President Trump” pointing out that “Russian needs to maintain dialog with US,” and “hopes to meet [Trump] when US is ready.”

Putin also mentioned Russia’s relationship with the United Kingdom, noting that “UK is an important partner for Russia” adding that he “hopes to overcome differences, to normalize relations with UK in the near future.”

But perhaps the most important aspect of Putin’s comments – related to markets – was his statement on crude production cuts.

Russian news service RIA noted earlier that Putin and Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MbS) discussed oil, haven’t taken concrete decisions yet, including production cuts, Kremlin’s foreign police aide Yuri Ushakov said.

And Putin just confirmed that there are no additional cuts over and above the OPEC+ Vienna Accord levels currently in place:

  • *PUTIN SAYS THEY AGREED TO EXTEND OPEC+ AGREEMENT
  • *PUTIN SAYS RUSSIA, SAUDI AGREES TO CONTINUE AGREEMENT
  • *PUTIN: EXACT VOLUME TO BE AGREED W SAUDI ARABIA BASED ON MARKET

Confirming Lavrov’s comments earlier in the week that there was no need for additional deals or cuts. The two producers will monitor market to adjust policy accordingly.

Finally Putin raised the topic of the Kerch Strait crisis, explaining that “Poroshenko was dividing Ukraine through the use of mertial law,” adding that it “was much too early to talk about the release/swap of Ukraine sailors.

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

Oil Prices Set To Book Worst Month In A Decade

Oil Prices Set To Book Worst Month In A Decade

Refinery

Oil prices dropped early on Friday, on course to finish their worst month since 2008, as fears of oversupply and slowing demand growth dragged oil down into a bear market in November with prices off by some 30 percent from four-year highs in early October.

At 07:10 a.m. EDT on Friday, WTI Crude was down 1.81 percent at $50.52, and Brent Crudetraded down 1.47 percent at $59.03.

On Thursday, oil prices jumped on reports that Russia had conceded that it needs to reduce oil production and join a new Saudi-led OPEC cut to balance the market.

The rise didn’t last long—prices headed down again on Friday, pressured by rising U.S. oil production and comments by Russia’s Energy Minister Alexander Novak, who said in an interview with the TASS news agency that “To me, the current price range is comfortable for producers and consumers.”

Earlier this week, Russian President Vladimir Putin also signaled that Moscow is okay with oil prices at their current levels.

Russia is comfortable with oil at around $60, Putin said, a week ahead of the OPEC+ meeting in Vienna and just two days before the G-20 summit in Buenos Aires.

In his interview with TASS published on Friday, Novak, as usual, was elusive about Russia’s position about a new production cut, and said that Moscow will have its stance ready by the December 6-7 meeting.

Before the OPEC/non-OPEC meeting, the oil market will be looking for clues about global economy and trade at this weekend’s G-20 summit. U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping are expected to meet on the sidelines of the event to discuss the trade war. Putin, for his part, is expected to meet with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and the two may discuss the OPEC-Russia oil cooperation, days ahead of the OPEC+ meeting.

The next few days could provide some major catalyst for oil prices.

Black Sea Provocation… Vintage Putin or Poroshenko Dregs?

Black Sea Provocation… Vintage Putin or Poroshenko Dregs?

Black Sea Provocation… Vintage Putin or Poroshenko Dregs?

The latest potentially disastrous flare-up in violence between the Kiev regime and Russia near the Black Sea’s Kerch Strait is clearly a blatant provocation aimed at strengthening the autocratic regime under President Petro Poroshenko.

It’s also a reckless gambit to push Kiev’s madcap agenda for joining NATO and the European Union. No matter, it seems, if that gambit risks igniting a full-scale war between Russia and NATO.

The US-led NATO military alliance and the European Union appeared to back Kiev’s claims of aggression by Moscow following the latest escalation in the Black Sea. That response fits Poroshenko’s long-held narrative of casting Russia as an aggressor and to mobilize support from NATO and the EU.

Ironically, Western news media featured pro-NATO pundits who have claimed that the weekend confrontation was “vintage Putin”. It is speculated that the Russian president was taking advantage of several political distractions for Western governments – Trump’s public relations problems with Saudi Arabia over the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, the Brexit debacle and so on – to strike a heavy hand at Kiev.

That typically cynical anti-Russian view completely overlooks the glaring facts that the naval clash between Ukrainian and Russian forces in the Black Sea plays conveniently for the Kiev regime and Poroshenko. It’s less a case of “vintage Putin” and more the dregs of Poroshenko’s intrigue.

The prompt declaration by Poroshenko’s national security council for imposing martial law in Ukraine – within hours of the naval confrontation on Sunday – effectively strives to give Poroshenko and his Kiev regime dictatorial powers. Potentially, a state of emergency could permit Poroshenko to call off presidential elections due in March next year.

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

Drama in the Kerch Strait: teasing the Russian bear

Drama in the Kerch Strait: teasing the Russian bear

The West is complaining about Russian ‘aggression’ but the incident looks more like a cheap ploy by a desperate Ukrainian president and US conservatives keen to undermine Trump’s next pow-wow with Putin

Ukrainian nationalists hold flares during a rally outside parliament on Monday to demand that Kiev break its agreement with Russia on cooperation in the use of the Sea of Azov and the Kerch Strait and impose martial law in the country. The previous day Russia seized three Ukrainian naval ships by force in a strait near Moscow-annexed Crimea. Photo: AFP/ STR / NurPhoto

Ukrainian nationalists hold flares during a rally outside parliament on Monday to demand that Kiev break its agreement with Russia on cooperation in the use of the Sea of Azov and the Kerch Strait and impose martial law in the country. The previous day Russia seized three Ukrainian naval ships by force in a strait near Moscow-annexed Crimea. Photo: AFP/ STR / NurPhoto

Russian South Stream 2.0 Comes Out of the Shadows

Russian South Stream 2.0 Comes Out of the Shadows

Russia and Turkey have announced that the two countries have reached significant progress in reviving the November 2014-shut down South Stream gas pipeline intended to land Russian gas across the Black Sea. The project is the part of the already secured open tender contracts for purchases of gas signed between Gazprom, Bulgaria, Serbia, Hungary, Slovakia and Austria.

Source: Kommersant

The new Black Sea gas pipeline Turkish Stream will run under sea from Krasnodar to a landing hubv just west of Istanbul. On November 19, presidents Vladimir Putin and Recep Tayyip Erdogan met in Istanbul to announce the completion of pipeline’s off-shore section.

Pipeline capacity is for 30 bullion cubic meters, bcm, although initial phase capacity will be closer to 17bcm (the first pipe). Currently, Gazprom supplies the above volume (30bcm) to Turkey (ca 16bcm), Bulgaria, Serbia, Slovakia, Hungary and Austria. Turkish market has been supplied via Blue Stream pipeline, and the other countries are supplied via Ukraine.

Based on reports from Russia’s Kommersant (https://www.kommersant.ru/doc/3806415), Gazprom has managed to achieve two feats:

  1. Gazprom has completed laying two (not one) pipes for Turkish Stream, one intended to supply Turkey and another, to supply Southern Europe,
  2. Gazprom secured tenders for purchases of gas from all EU states to be connected to the South Stream project (Bulgaria’s open tender closes in December 2018, but all other countries have already signed onto supply agreements).

Significantly, the tenders were secured in compliance with the EU Energy Directives. This means that Gazprom latest venture has addressed the main cause of the EU’s original objections to the same pipeline prior to 2014. In the case of open tenders process, Gazprom used exactly the same scheme to secure capacity orders for its Nord Stream 2 pipeline to Germany, Czech Republic and Slovakia back in 2017.

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

Forget Nordstream 2, Turkstream is the Prize

Forget Nordstream 2, Turkstream is the Prize

While the Trump Administration still thinks it can play enough games to derail the Nordstream 2 pipeline via sanctions and threats, the impotence of its position geopolitically was on display the other day as the final pipe of the first train of the Turkstream pipeline entered the waters of the Black Sea.

The pipe was sanctioned by Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan who shared a public stage and held bilateral talks afterwards.  I think it is important for everyone to watch the response to Putin’s speech in its entirety.  Because it highlights just how far Russian/Turkish relations have come since the November 24th, 2015 incident where Turkey shot down a Russian SU-24 over Syria.

When you contrast this event with the strained and uninspired interactions between Erdogan and President Trump you realize that the world is moving forward despite the seeming power of the United States to derail events.

And Turkey is the key player in the region, geographically, culturally and politically.  Erdogan and Putin know this.  And they also know that Turkey being the transit corridor of energy for Eastern Europe opens those countries up to economic and political power they haven’t enjoyed in a long time.

The first train of Turkstream will serve Turkey directly.  Over the next couple of years the second train will be built which will serve as a jumping off point for bringing gas to Eastern and Southern Europe.

Countries like Bulgaria, Hungary, Italy, Greece, Serbia and Slovakia are lining up for access to Turkstream’s energy.  This, again, is in stark contrast to the insanely expensive Southern Transport Corridor (STC) pipeline set to bring one-third the amount of gas to Italy at five times the initial cost.

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

How George W. Bush Corrupted America’s ‘News’-Reporting

How George W. Bush Corrupted America’s ‘News’-Reporting

How George W. Bush Corrupted America’s ‘News’-Reporting

In order to understand today’s demonization of Vladimir Putin, one must go back to US President George W. Bush’s propaganda for “regime-change in Iraq” and demonization of Saddam Hussein at that time. The US regime now has come to recognize that with Putin’s high approval-ratings from the Russian public, the US aristocracy’s dream of fomenting Putin’s ouster by Russia’s voters will not work; and, so, all foreign leaders who cooperated with Russia, such as Saddam Hussein, Muammar Gaddafi, Viktor Yanukovych, and Bashar al-Assad, were first targeted by the US regime for “regime-change,” so as to isolate Russia and soften it up for the demanded US-takeover (‘democracy’, ‘free market’, etc., which Russia actually now already has, at least as much as America does); and, then, since that hasn’t yet worked, came the US aristocracy’s campaign to ‘protect The West’ by NATO troops and weapons surrounding Russia and forcing regime-change in Russia. It has escalated now to the point where World War III is more likely than ever it was during the Cold War.

Regime-change in Russia will thus either occur by the democratic vote of the Russian public at some distant time and produce a Russian Government that’s likely to be against the US regime in every possible way (which the current Russian Government is not), or else it will require a US-and-allied invasion of Russia, and that would destroy the world (but the US aristocracy want it anyway).

However, America’s aristocracy (or as they call it when referring to the same thing in low-income countries, “oligarchs”) — basically just its billionaires — are very impatient; they want to control the entire planet during their own lifetimes, and care little (if at all) about what will happen to the planet after they’re gone.

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

World’s Largest Asset Manager Warns: The Dollar’s Days As Global Reserve Currency Are Numbered

Have BlackRock CEO Larry Fink and Russian President Vladimir Putin been comparing notes?

In comments that sound eerily similar to a warning issued by Putin, who warned during a speech last month that the US risked undermining the dollar’s reserve currency status with its sanctions regime, the CEO of the world’s largest asset-management firm said Tuesday during a panel discussion at the New Economic Forum in Singapore that the US dollar’s status as the world’s dominant currency wouldn’t last forever.

Fink

And instead of citing external factors like China’s expanding economic clout and influence, or an insurgent Russia, Fink pointed to the widening US budget deficit as the biggest risk to the dollar’s status as the global hegemon. And while it might not happen tomorrow, or next year, over time, as US interest rates rise and the federal government strains under its tremendous debt burden, the creditors who were once eager to buy up Treasury bonds will gradually disappear.

“We’re going to move there over time” Fink said.

Instead of working with its creditors like China, the US is fighting them by engaging in an acrimonious trade war. Fink said that, in his experience, it’s never wise to fight with your lenders.

“The problem is we are living with a deficit that is very large. We are fighting with our creditors right now worldwide,” Fink said.

“Generally, when you fight with your banker, it’s not a good outcome,” he said.

“I wouldn’t recommend you fight with your lenders, and we’re fighting with our lenders. Forty percent of the U.S. deficit is funded by external factors. No other country has that.”

And as interest rates rise and the government struggles with its newfound debt premium, collateral damage in the equity market will be almost inevitable.

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

 

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