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Is China Dumping US Treasuries and Buying Gold? Bloomberg Says Yes, Pettis Uncertain

Bloomberg reported that China is selling a record amount of US debt while buying gold. Previous reports of debt selling were false. Let’s check in with Michael Pettis at China Financial Markets for another opinion.

China Sells Record Sum of US Debt

Bloomberg reports China Sells Record Sum of US Debt Amid Signs of Diversification

China sold a record amount of Treasury and US agency bonds in the first quarter, highlighting the Asian nation’s move to diversify away from American assets as trade tensions persist.

Beijing offloaded a total of $53.3 billion of Treasuries and agency bonds combined in the first quarter, according to calculations based on the latest data from the US Department of the Treasury. Belgium, often seen as a custodian of China’s holdings, disposed of $22 billion of Treasuries during the period.

China’s investments in the US are garnering renewed investor attention amid signs that tensions between the world’s largest economies may worsen. President Joe Biden has unveiled sweeping tariff hikes on a range of Chinese imports, while his predecessor Donald Trump said he might impose a levy of more than 60% on Chinese goods if elected.

“As China is selling both despite the fact that we are closer to a Fed rate-cut cycle, there should be a clear intention of diversifying away from US dollar holdings,” said Stephen Chiu, chief Asia foreign-exchange and rates strategist at Bloomberg Intelligence. “China’s selling of US securities could speed up as US-China trade war resumes” especially if Trump returns as president, he said.

China is Buying Gold

One part of the story is not in question. That part pertains to China buying gold.

Is China Dumping US Debt?

I asked Michael Pettis that question yesterday. Pettis graciously replied with an email this morning plus a five-part Tweet.


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

Germany’s Dark Future

Germany’s Dark Future

The Pot is calling the kettle black.

Many in Germany are now afraid to fly the German flag, for fear they will be labelled a “nationalist”.

By weaponizing the fear of being labeled a Nazi, the currently governing German government is going further down the dark path of censorship and, even worse, is moving towards an outright banning of political leaders of the AFD (Alliance for Deutschland) party as well as the AFD party itself. To provide context, the center-right populist AFD party is leading in current German polling ahead of the upcoming election of delegates to the European Union. The elites don’t want people to actually have a democratically elected representative European Union or German government. The German elites want to choose the available leaders people are allowed to vote for. That is not democracy. That is a form of totalitarian oligarchy, one which is dependent on a variety of “public-private partnerships” involving very large and often transnational corporations. One version of modern corporatism.

One recent example:

The debate about a possible ban on the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) never really went away, but it is once again getting louder. That’s because the Münster Higher Administrative Court (OVG) has on Monday rejected a complaint by the party against its classification by the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV) as a suspected right-wing extremist case. The Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution is the domestic intelligence service.

On Tuesday, a court ruled against Thuringian AfD leader Björn Höcke for allegedly using a slogan from the paramilitary wing of the Nazi Party, the Storm Troopers (Sturmabteilung). The graduate historian and former history teacher denies knowing the origin of the banned slogan “Alles für Deutschland” (Everything for Germany).

Höcke was fined €13,000 ($14,060) which is to go to a grassroots anti-extremism program.

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

Hezbollah launches first-ever Lebanese airstrike on Israeli base

Hezbollah launches first-ever Lebanese airstrike on Israeli base

The resistance group used, for the first time, a drone equipped with two missiles to attack Israel’s Metulla site

(Photo credit: X)

Hezbollah launched the first-ever Lebanese airstrike on an Israeli target on 17 May, using a never-before-seen drone for the operation.

“In support of our steadfast Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip and in support of their brave and honorable resistance, the Islamic Resistance attacked at 1:38 pm on Thursday 5/16/2024 the Metulla site, its garrison, and its vehicles with an offensive drone armed with two S5 missiles,” Hezbollah said in a statement on Thursday afternoon, marking the sixth of 13 operations that day.

“When it reached its designated point, it fired missiles at one of its vehicles and the elements gathered around it, killing and wounding them. After that, it continued its assault on its designated target and hit it accurately,” the statement added.

The resistance group released footage of its drone strike on Metulla. Two missiles are seen being fired from each side of the drone, which then descends towards its final target and explodes.

Three Israeli soldiers were injured – with one seriously wounded – in the drone attack.

Coinciding with Israel’s brutal assault on Rafah and its relentless attacks across the Gaza Strip, Hezbollah has stepped up its operations in recent days.

While it has increasingly deployed the use of attack drones in its operations over the past several months, this is the first time a drone equipped with missiles has been used to attack targets from above – not only since the start of this war but for the first time in Lebanon’s history.

Hebrew news outlet Channel 13 noted on 16 May that Hezbollah’s attacks have become bolder and more sophisticated, and are resulting in more Israeli casualties.

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


Why the dollar will lose its status as the global reserve currency

By the early 400s, the Roman Empire was coming apart at the seams and in desperate need of strong, competent leadership. In theory, Honorius should have been the right man for the job.

Born into the royal household in Constantinople, Honorius had been groomed to rule, practically since birth, by the finest experts in the realm. So even as a young man, Honorius had already accumulated decades of experience.

Yet Rome’s foreign adversaries rightfully believed Honorius to be weak, out of touch, divisive, and completely inept.

He had entered into bonehead peace treaties that strengthened Rome’s enemies. He paid vast sums of money to some of their most powerful rivals and received practically nothing in return. He made virtually no attempt to secure Roman borders, leaving the empire open to be ravaged by barbarians.

Inflation was high. Taxes were high. Economic production declined. Roman military power declined. And all of Rome’s foreign adversaries were emboldened.

To a casual observer it would have almost seemed as if Honorius went out of his way to make the Empire weaker.

One of Rome’s biggest threats came in the year 408, when the barbarian king Alaric invaded Italy; imperial defenses were so non-existent at that point that ancient historians described Alaric’s march towards Rome as unopposed and leisurely, as if they were “at some festival” rather than an invasion.

Alaric and his army arrived to the city of Rome in the autumn of 408 AD and immediately positioned their forces to cut off any supplies. No food could enter the city, and before long, its residents began to starve.

Historians have passed down horrific stories of cannibalism– including women eating their own children in order to survive.

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

The Great Ukraine Robbery Is Not Over Yet. Ron Paul

The ink was barely dry on President Biden’s signature transferring another $61 billion to the black hole called Ukraine, when the mainstream media broke the news that this was not the parting shot in a failed US policy. The elites have no intention of shutting down this gravy train, which transports wealth from the middle and working class to the wealthy and connected class.

Reuters wrote right after the aid bill was passed that, “Ukraine’s $61 billion lifeline is not enough.” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell went on the Sunday shows after the bill was passed to say that $61 billion is “not a whole lot of money for us…” Well, that’s easy for him to say – after all it’s always easier to spend someone else’s money!

Ukraine’s foreign minister, Dmytro Kuleba, was far from grateful for the $170 billion we have shipped thus far to his country. In an interview with Foreign Policy magazine as the aid package was passed, Kuleba had the nerve to criticize the US for not producing weapons fast enough.

“If you cannot produce enough interceptors to help Ukraine win the war against the country that wants to destroy the world order, then how are you going to win in the war against perhaps an enemy who is stronger than Russia?”

How’s that for a “thank you”?

It may be understandable why the Ukrainians are frustrated. Most of this money is not going to help them fight Russia. US military aid to Ukraine has left our own stockpiles of weapons depleted, so the money is going to create new production lines to replace weapons already sent to Ukraine. It’s all about the US weapons industry. President Biden admitted as much when he said, “we are helping Ukraine while at the same time investing in our own industrial base.”

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

The Trouble With World Government

The Trouble With World Government

Well, at least that’s one setback for world government.

A court in Australia has told the government’s own eSafety Commission that Elon Musk is correct: One country cannot impose censorship on the world. The company X, formerly known as Twitter, must obey national law but not global law.

Mr. Musk seems to have won a very similar fight in Brazil, where a judge demanded not just a national but global takedown. X refused and won. For now.

This really does raise a serious issue: How big of a threat are these global government institutions?

Dreamy, dopey, and often scary intellectuals have dreamed of global government for centuries. If you are rich enough and smart enough, the idea seems to be the perennial temptation. The list of advocates includes people who otherwise have made notable contributions: Albert Einstein, Isaac Asimov, Walter Cronkite, Buckminster Fuller, and many others.

Often the dream comes alive following huge upheavals such as war and depression. Or a pandemic period such as the one we’ve just gone through. The use of “disinformation” as a cross-border test case of global government power is designed to deploy a new strategy of governance in general, one that disregards national control in favor of global control.

That has always been the dream. In history, for example, following the Great War, we saw the creation of the League of Nations, which was a forerunner to the United Nations, at the urging of President Woodrow Wilson. Both were seen by the intellectual class as necessary building blocks for what they really wanted, which was a binding world state.

This is not a conspiracy theory. It’s what they said and what they wanted.

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

Russia Orders UK Defense Attaché Out Of The Country In Tit-For-Tat

Russia Orders UK Defense Attaché Out Of The Country In Tit-For-Tat

Russia has hit back at the UK’s latest diplomatic moves against Moscow, on Thursday ordering the expulsion of the British defense attache from the country.

“The defense attaché at the British Embassy in Moscow, A. T. Coghill, has been declared persona non grata. He must leave the territory of the Russian Federation within a week,” Russia’s foreign ministry said.

UK Embassy, Moscow, via TASS

It follows the UK first expelling Moscow’s defense attache from British soil earlier this month as he was accused of being “an undeclared military intelligence officer.” Russia blasted it as a lie, and its top diplomat overseeing military affairs was forced to leave.

The Kremlin is now threatening further diplomatic escalation while complaining about London’s “unfriendly,” “anti-Russian” and politically motivated recent actions.

The British government has of late quietly launched a pressure campaign on Russian diplomatic facilities and personnel in the UK, with Interior Minister James Cleverly recently briefing parliament that multiple Russian-owned properties will be downgraded from having diplomatic status and protections.

Cleverly alleged that Russian sites in Sussex as well as in London will see their diplomatic immunity removed. Cleverly told parliament that “we believe have been used for intelligence purposes.”

As we detailed this week, British intelligence has gone so far as to accuse Putin of plotting ‘physical attacks’ on British soil and NATO sites.

There have been a spate of new accusations of specific attacks on UK infrastructure being linked to Russia. For example The Telegraph writes that “Last week, a British man was charged with an arson attack in London and accused by prosecutors of working for Wagner Group, the Russian paramilitary organization.”

How Europe and Britain are getting ready for ‘WWIII’: Interactive graphic reveals how West will stop Putin unleashing Armageddon, with nukes at Russia’s doorstep, mass conscription at 18 and arms factories firing up

How Europe and Britain are getting ready for ‘WWIII’: Interactive graphic reveals how West will stop Putin unleashing Armageddon, with nukes at Russia’s doorstep, mass conscription at 18 and arms factories firing up

  • More than two years into the Ukraine war, Vladimir Putin has doubled down
  • UK and European allies are steeling their economies and armed forces for war

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 saw the horrors of a large-scale war darken Europe’s doorstep for the first time since the end of World War II.

For a short while, hope endured that a swift resolution to the conflict would materialise, but before long the prospect of a speedy diplomatic solution lay in tatters as Moscow’s drones and missiles continued to batter Ukraine’s cities.

Now more than two years into the conflict, Vladimir Putin has doubled down.

His forces have made noticeable gains on the frontlines in recent weeks as they pressure war-weary and ammo-starved Ukrainian defenders, and his decision to appoint civilian economist Andrei Belousov as defence minister suggests the Kremlin is committed to sustaining its war economy over the long run.

Meanwhile, the president’s long-serving and intensely loyal foreign minister Sergei Lavrov earlier this week challenged what Russia calls the ‘collective West’, declaring Moscow‘s troops are ready to meet NATO on the battlefield.

In light of the downward spiral of East-West relations – not to mention the alarming escalation of tensions further afield in the Middle East and Indo-Pacific – the UK and its European partners could soon be forced to contend with any number of major military threats.

As a result, many countries are reversing decades of peacetime policy to reignite their war engines. Others never stopped and are only consolidating efforts to ensure they are fit for conflict.

But there is little doubt that all Europe is now scrambling to prepare in anticipation of what may lie over the horizon.

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

From Climate Crisis to Polycrisis

Climate change, resource depletion, extreme weapons, AI, and more: Richard Heinberg looks at the individual threats composing the unprecedented convergence of risk leading us to a global polycrisis. Though he finds no easy answers, he concludes that humanity’s collective survival will require setting aside our hubris and coming to terms with environmental and social limits.

The Chinese philosopher Sun Tzu wrote that, in warfare, it is essential to know both your enemy and yourself. Today, humanity has “enemies,” including climate change and nuclear weapons, that are capable of destroying civilization and whole planetary ecosystems. So far, we are not defeating these enemies—which we ourselves created.

Indeed, even more existential risks are coming into view, including the disappearance of wild nature and the proliferation of toxic chemicals that undermine the reproductive health of humans and other creatures. So many new and serious threats are appearing, and so quickly, that a word has come into currency to describe this unprecedented convergence of risk—polycrisis.

Our collective inability to reverse the rising tide of risk implies a failure of understanding: we don’t know our enemies; moreover, we evidently don’t know ourselves, because if we did, we wouldn’t continue generating such problems.

People have always faced challenges. But what is happening now implies a different scale of consequence. Unless we change the direction and momentum of events, global systems on which humanity depends for its existence will unravel, and civilization with it.

It is essential that we step back from whatever we are doing and mentally come to terms with the polycrisis. Three questions demand answers: What is the full spectrum of risks that we face? Why are we failing to manage or reduce these risks? And finally, since these risks are human-generated, why are we creating so many threats to our own future?

The Risk Spectrum of the Polycrisis

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

Shocking Headline of the Day: Germany to Re-Introduce Slavery

Young Germans will have to choose between the Bundeswehr (military service) and unpaid social service work. Libertarians to a person, will call this slavery, because that is what it is.

Germany to Re-Introduce Slavery

Please consider the Eurointelligence headline story Germany to Re-Introduce Slavery

The headline might be bordering on the hysterical, but the big idea in German politics right now is to re-introduce the general draft. This is not happening because Germany expects to be at war. It is not about the military at all. Under the plans, young people, male and female, can choose between the Bundeswehr or a year of forced labour in the social services, essentially uncompensated.

The main reason we see is that their fiscal rules have depleted them with the resources to fund the Bundeswehr and critical social services like old-age care. For example, there is a big row going on right now within the coalition currently between Boris Pistorius, the defence minister, and Christian Lindner, over Pistorius’ demands for another €6bn for the Bundeswehr. The discussions on the reintroduction of the draft are at an early stage. They won’t affect the current budget dispute. But it could go some way to fix the Bundeswehr’s budget issues.

The SPD leader Lars Klingbeil sugar-coated the idea as giving young people an opportunity to serve the state at one point in their lives. Another underlying assumption is that young people are infinitely stupid. German high school goes until the age of 19. This is higher than elsewhere because German children do not start school until they are 6. With a year of enforced military or social services, they won’t start their studies or apprenticeship until they are 20…

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

Europe and the Middle East, Two Scenarios of the Same War

On the Red Square in Moscow, on May 9, the Parade for the 79th Anniversary of the Victory of the 1941-1945 Great Patriotic War against Nazi Germany took place.

More than 9,000 military personnel with 75 weapon systems including nuclear missiles on mobile launch pads participated. The political media mainstream described the Parade as a threatening force display against Europe and the entire West, erasing its historical significance and anything leading to the current war in Europe.

In the first place, history must be remembered.

The Soviet Union was attacked and invaded in 1941 by Nazi Germany with 201 divisions, including 5.5 million soldiers equal to 75% of all German troops, 3,500 tanks, and 5,000 aircraft, plus 37 divisions from satellite countries (including Italy).

The USSR had asked its allies – Great Britain and the United States – to open a second front in Europe, but they delayed it, aiming to unload Nazi power on the USSR to weaken it and thus have a dominant position at the end of the war.

The second front was opened with the Anglo-American landing in Normandy in 1944, by that time the Red Army and the Soviet partisans had defeated the German troops, dealing the decisive blow to Nazi Germany. The price paid by the Soviet Union was very high: around 27 million deaths, over half of them civilians, corresponding to 15% of the population (compared to 0.3% in the USA throughout the Second World War); around 5 million deported to Germany; over 1,700 cities and large population centres, 70 thousand villages devastated; 30 thousand factories destroyed.

In today’s war in Europe, Russia is facing not only Kyiv’s forces, formed and commanded by a political-military group of clear Nazi brand but with NATO under US command which uses these forces by equipping them with weapons capable of striking Russia…

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

Bidenomics At Work: Ford Slashing Battery Orders As Losses Per EV Approach $100,000

Bidenomics At Work: Ford Slashing Battery Orders As Losses Per EV Approach $100,000

Ford is cutting battery orders in yet another sign that the EV market, despite a constant tailwind from the U.S. taxpayer, is starting to slow.

The company is cutting the orders to curb electric-vehicle losses as it scales back its EV strategy in a slowing plug-in market, according to insiders who spoke to Bloomberg.

Ford CEO Jim Farley has said the company’s EV unit “is the main drag on the whole company right now” and CAT said its “cooperation with Ford is moving forward as normal”.

The company responded by saying it wouldn’t comment on relationships with suppliers.

Bloomberg notes that with plummeting EV prices and weakening demand, Ford’s losses per electric vehicle exceeded $100,000 in the first quarter, doubling last year’s deficit.

Bloomberg Intelligence estimates that Ford’s projected EV unit losses this year will nearly offset profits from its Ford Blue division, which produces traditional internal combustion engine vehicles like the Bronco SUV and gas-electric hybrids such as the Maverick truck.

BI analysts said of the results: “That raises questions about the prudence of investing heavily in EVs.”

Ford’s order reductions highlight industry challenges as U.S. automakers face weaker-than-expected EV demand and battery makers in South Korea, China, and beyond struggle with unsold inventory.

This has affected prices for key metals like lithium, cobalt, and nickel, leading to multiyear lows and stalling new projects. Ford has reduced EV production costs but had to cut prices to stay competitive with Tesla.

Ford CFO John Lawler said in April: “We’ve seen prices coming down quite dramatically and that’s why we haven’t been able to keep up from a cost reduction standpoint.”

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

The Militarization of Space: Report to U.S. Congress Outlines U.S. Determination to Establish “Space Command and Control”

Back in mid-February, the mainstream propaganda machine bombarded us with a slew of reports about “big bad Russian space nukes“, claiming that Moscow is using its technological prowess to build strategic space-based weapons. And while it’s true the Eurasian giant is a cosmic superpower and that it certainly has the know-how to accomplish such a feat, the mainstream propaganda machine conveniently “forgot” to explain why the Kremlin would make the decision to expand its space capabilities. Namely, Russia is indeed planning to deploy a nuclear-powered anti-satellite weapon (ASAT), but there’s a massive difference between having thermonuclear warheads pointed at Earth from space and having a nuclear-powered spacecraft. The Russian military is already in possession of the former, as it was the world’s first operator of the FOBS back in the early 1960s.

FOBS, an acronym for the Fractional Orbital Bombardment System (СЧОБ in Russian), is a thermonuclear weapon system found on intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), designed to make their range effectively limitless. China tested its own version of the technology only in 2021, while the United States has been unable to create anything similar. Thus, Moscow has had this capability for well over half a century, so why is there such hype over a supposed nuclear-powered ASAT all of a sudden? It’s exceedingly difficult to ignore the fact that this is being used as yet another excuse to push several warmongering agendas at once. First, it furthers the idea that there “cannot be peace” with the Kremlin, and second, it gives Washington DC the perfect excuse to continue militarizing space, started years (or, in reality, even decades) before the special military operation (SMO).

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

Biden Wants EVs so Badly That He Will Quadruple Tariffs on Them

Astute readers will immediately notice the title of this post makes no sense. It’s not supposed to. But it is exactly what President Biden is doing.

Biden to Quadruple Tariffs on Chinese EVs

Counter to the idea that quick EV adoption is needed to save the planet from a climate disaster, please note Biden to Quadruple Tariffs on Chinese EVs

The Biden administration is preparing to raise tariffs on clean-energy goods from China in the coming days, with the levy on Chinese electric vehicles set to roughly quadruple, according to people familiar with the matter.

Higher tariffs, which Biden administration officials are preparing to announce on Tuesday, will also hit critical minerals, solar goods and batteries sourced from China, according to the people. The decision comes at the end of a yearslong review of tariffs imposed by former President Donald Trump on roughly $300 billion in goods from China.

Officials are particularly focused on electric vehicles, and they are expected to raise the tariff rate to roughly 100% from 25%, according to the people. An additional 2.5% duty applies to all automobiles imported into the U.S. The existing 25% tariff on Chinese electric vehicles has so far effectively barred those models, often cheaper than Western-made cars, from the U.S. market. Biden administration officials, automakers and some lawmakers worry that wouldn’t be enough given the scale of Chinese manufacturing.

Conflicting Goals

We need EVs so badly that we also need a 100% tariff to stop them. That makes no sense but it is the precise message.

Stated differently, we don’t want EVs unless people are willing to pay 100% more for them. And this is despite the claim that the world as we know it will end in 12 years if we don’t act on them.

World Will End in 12 Years 

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

Russia Launches Surprise Offensive In Kharkiv, Aims To Extend Border 10km Deep Into Ukraine

Russia Launches Surprise Offensive In Kharkiv, Aims To Extend Border 10km Deep Into Ukraine

Following several more cross-border attacks from Ukraine, including direct drone hits on Russian oil facilities over the past 48 hours, Russian forces have launched a surprise ground offensive which seeks to break through front lines in the northeastern Kharkiv border region on Friday.

“Russia launched a new wave of counteroffensive actions… Ukraine met them there with our troops, brigades, and artillery,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky confirmed of the new action in a briefing. “Now there is a fierce battle underway.”

Via Reuters

Civilians have also been witnessed fleeing border areas in droves as heavy fighting ensues. Already Moscow forces have penetrated at least 1 kilometer deep in what’s being described as an effort to create a larger ‘buffer zone’ in order to help prevent Ukrainian attacks from reaching Russian territory.

Ukraine’s defense ministry said that the new offensive began at 5am local time with armored vehicles leading the charge of infantry troops in this major effort to effectively push the border itself deeper into Ukraine territory.

Kharkiv region on fire amid a major surprise Russian offensive:

But Ukraine defense officials have claimed, “As of now, these attacks have been repulsed; battles of varying intensity continue.”

The AFP has written, “If Moscow’s advances are confirmed, it would represent the Russian military’s largest land operation in the region since sending thousands of troops across the border in February 2022.”

Below: the center of Vovchansk after heavy fighting…

Heavy shelling is also taking place, especially in the vicinity of Vovchansk, which is a border town of a few thousand people but which had a pre-war population of 17,000. According to further unfolding details:

Kharkiv region’s governor said the length of the border and the settlements in it were a “grey zone” and confirmed active fighting taking place.

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

Olduvai IV: Courage
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Olduvai II: Exodus
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