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The New EU is Even More Insane than the Old EU

The New EU is Even More Insane than the Old EU

The new leadership team of the EU is insane. They learned nothing from May’s vote which saw the middle ground occupied by Angela Merkel lose ground. 

Euroskeptics doubled their representation while nationalist Greens gained ground as well. The European People’s Party lost significant clout and was forced into unprecedented haggling over the leadership bloc. 

Merkel, now having no political future to protect, as her last act of betrayal to Germany engineered the ‘election’ of Ursula von der Leyen to replace Jean-Claude “When things get tough you have to lie” Juncker as European Commission President.

Von der Leyen is more of a euro-integrationist than Juncker was. It’s clear they circled the wagons knowing that, as Nigel Farage points out in this clip, the EU will look nothing like it does now in five years when her term is up.

Just like the EU today looks nothing like it did in 2014 when Juncker took over.

So, it’s time to go for broke and push for everything before it all falls apart. But the trends are clear. von der Leyen is the past and Nigel Farage is the future of Europe.

More of everything EU is expected from them and there’s every reason to take them at their word.

The only interesting thing von der Leyen said here was that they would be happy to offer another extension. That’s only interesting because it sets her at odds with French President Emmanuel Macron. 

Of course the EU is happy to keep the UK in limbo.

But here’s the rub. The Brexit Party polling just behind Tories, who have rallied behind Boris Johnson to stabilize their poll numbers. Johnson has to keep talking No-Deal Brexit or the knives come out for him.

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

Meet the New European Union, Same as the Old One

Meet the New European Union, Same as the Old One

The European Union chose new leadership this week. It was, for once, a fraught affair. 

No rubber stamps were anywhere to be seen. 

In the end all four of the new European Union leadership were not the frontrunners as put forth by German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Her choice for EU Commission President was rejected.

So too was Mario Draghi’s replacement at the top of the European Central Bank, Bundesbanke President Jens Weidmann. 

French President Emmanuel Macron was the clear winner this weekend.

The choices for these positions are all designed to both maintain the path of European integration but also weaken the hold Germany has on European Union power politics.

And this thorough rebuke to Merkel immediately threw the euro into defensive mode. But, don’t kid yourself. Weidmann was never an acceptable choice as ECB President. More on this later.

The new Commission President, replacing the odious Jean-Claude Juncker, is German Defense Minister Ursula Von der Leyen. She’s a thorough Europhile and Russophobe. Since she’s a Social Democrat, to me it looks like ALDE’s Guy Verhofstadt flexed his expanded presence in the room. He helped ensure no populist upstarts would control EU foreign policy.

It will will continue being virulently anti-Russian, if not more so than in the past.

Von der Leyen is a perfect example of leadership chosen by committee (and The Davos Crowd behind them) to be nothing more than a puppet of the globalist/neo-liberal forces which control the direction of the EU. 

Merkel’s a lame-duck trying to get what she wants from Russia while maintaining a brave face to the United States. Putting Von der Leyen in charge ensures any good relations between here and Vladimir Putin should be heavily discounted going forward.

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

Europe Won’t Admit the Mini-BOTs Are Coming

Europe Won’t Admit the Mini-BOTs Are Coming

Italy is in serious trouble financially. This is virtually common knowledge at this point. What isn’t common knowledge is its Euroskeptic government led by Lega’s Matteo Salvini and Five Star Movement’s Luigi Di Maio are preparing an assault on the foundation of the European Union itself to save Italy.

And that assault comes with the most innocuous name. Mini-BOT. Mini-BOTs were originally the idea of former Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis to assist Greece get out of the stranglehold placed on it by the euro.

What is a mini-BOT? It is a small denomination (mini) Bill of Treasury (BOT) that can be issued by, in this case, the Italian government to act as a domestic currency for settling government debts, paying taxes, etc.

It would be a parallel currency which could circulate freely domestically at a discount to the euro which would work as a medium of exchange to reflect the reality of the Italian economy better than the euro does.

The euro’s value is dominated by Germany’s economy. And, in short, by being so the euro overvalues Italy’s labor pool and undervalues Germany’s. Gresham’s Law states under-valued money is hoarded and over-valued spent. In Italy the euro is hoarded. In Germany it is spent. This is why Germany runs such a massive trade surplus against the other members of the euro-zone.

Italy (and Greece, Portugal, Spain and others) need a currency that can circulate to properly support domestic trade.

By mispricing Italian labor via the euro it keeps the goods produced in Italy uncompetitive on the world market. Italy’s central bank can only issue euro-denominated debt which trades at rates far lower than it should, enhancing Germany’s position.

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

Who Survives the Iran Counter-Offensive?

Who Survives the Iran Counter-Offensive?

Iran has had enough. I think it’s fair to say that after 60+ years of U.S. aggression towards Iran that the decision to shoot down a U.S. drone represents an inflection point in world politics.

In the first few hours after the incident the fog of war was thick. But a day later much of it has cleared thanks to Iran’s purposeful poke at U.S. leadership by coming clean with their intentions.

Iran chose to shoot down this drone versus hitting the manned P-8 aircraft and then chose not to lie about it in public, but rather come forward removing any deniability they could have had.

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#Iran’s purpose by shooting down the drone was to warn the “#US terrorist forces”” as it could also target an #American P-8 military aircraft that was flying next to MQ-4C drone, but it didn’t: Brigadier General Hajizadeh

They did this after President Trump’s comments yesterday during a news conference with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau where Trump described the attack as “a big mistake” and “not intentional.”

But it was intentional. 

And the reason for this was that despite Trump’s assurances yesterday there is considerable debate as to where the drone actually was.  According to a report from the NY Times (and buried deep in a very long article):

Still, there remained doubt inside the United States government over whether the drone, or another American surveillance aircraft, this one flown by a military aircrew, did violate Iranian airspace at some point, according to a senior administration official. The official said the doubt was one of the reasons Mr. Trump called off the strike — which could under international norms be viewed as an act of war. 

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

Did the B-Team Overplay its Hand Against Iran?

Did the B-Team Overplay its Hand Against Iran?

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif has a term of endearment for Iran’s enemies, “The B-Team.”

The “B-Team” consists of U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton, Israeli Prime Minister (nee Dictator) Benjamin Netanyahu, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman and the UAE’s Mohammed bin Zayed. 

When we look seriously at the attacks on the oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman this week the basic question that comes to mind is, Cui bono? Who benefits?

And it’s easy to see how the B-Team benefits from this attack and subsequent blaming Iran for it. With Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Tehran opening up a dialogue on behalf of U.S. President Donald Trump the threat of peace was in the air.

And none of the men on the B-Team profit from peace in the Middle East with respect to Iran. Getting Trump to stop hurling lightning bolts from the mountain top the B-Team guided him up would do nothing to help oil prices, which the Saudis and UAE need/want to remain high.

Bin Salman, in particular, cannot afford to see oil prices drop back into the $40’s per barrel. With the world awash in oil and supply tight, even with OPEC production cuts, Bin Salman is currently on very thin ice because of the Saudi Riyal’s peg to the U.S. dollar, which he can’t abandon or the U.S. will abandon them.

Falling oil prices and a rising dollar are a recipe for the death of the Saudi government, folks. Iran knows this. 

Netanyahu and Bolton don’t want peace because the U.S. fighting a war with Iran serves the cause of Greater Israel and opens up the conflict in the hopes of regime change and elimination of Iran.

Bolton, as well, is finally feeling the heat of his incompetence and disloyalty to Trump, according to John Kirakau at Consortium News

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

The Center Isn’t Holding in Europe

The Center Isn’t Holding in Europe 

If there is one big takeaway from the recent European Parliamentary elections it is that centrist parties which stand for nothing in particular represent a lot fewer people. From both the ‘left’ and the ‘right’ the center lost ground across Europe.

The Euroskeptics got a lot of press in the run up to these elections and the final result was pretty much in line with expectations, with a couple of exceptions. The pro-EU left lost a lot more ground in Sweden than expected but the Dutch People’s Party were rejected thoroughly in the Netherlands.

Otherwise the polls were mostly in line with the results. And while the early spin tried to put a brave face on results in the U.K. and France Marine Le Pen outpolling sitting president Emmanuel Macron just two years after he beat her in the presidential election is notable.

The results in the U.K. were a microcosm of the trends we’re seeing across Europe. The major parties, both campaigning from the center, lost the confidence of the people on both sides of the divisive Brexit argument.

Those that want Brexit in no uncertain terms bolted to Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party while those fed up with Labour’s indecision on not only Brexit but a host of other issues bolted for the Liberal Democrats and the Greens.

And a lot of those seats that would have went to the Social Democrats via Labour in the European Parliament now belong to Guy Verhofstadt and ALDE.

But the U.K. isn’t alone in this splitting along ideological lines. Germany has seen the collapse of the Social Democrats give spark to the Greens there as well. The Greens outpolled Angela Merkel’s Grand Coalition partners by more than five points, coming in 2nd behind the CDU/CSU with 20.5%.

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

Trust is On Trial in Europe and the World

Trust is On Trial in Europe and the World

“It seems that if there was any truth to our language, ‘trust’ would be a four-letter word.”

Joel – “Risky Business”

Trust is the most important aspect of human endeavor. Without trust there can be no interaction. No communication.

No friendship. No love.

No Commerce.

The key to understanding economics is understanding people. The basis for all human interaction is the basic trust that a trade once completed will be honored.

The global economy runs solely on trust. Without the trust that contracts signed today can be fulfilled tomorrow and disputes settled with a reasonable degree of amity, there can be no iPhones.

No Amazon.

No oil.

When politics become toxic, when the sides refuse to cooperate on the very basic functions of government, uncertainty reigns. And uncertainty filters down to the people getting up everyday, going to work and providing a home for themselves and their families.

It’s like that great scene in the classic movie “Trading Places” where Eddie Murphy talks about the guy who’s worried he won’t be able to buy his kid that “G.I. Joe with the Kung Fu Grip” for Christmas.

That guy was the barometer for the market. That guy knew something about trust.

I had one of those G.I. Joe’s as a kid. My dad rarely let me down in supplying the most important things on my Christmas list.

It’s part of the reason why I loved him and trusted him completely. He was very human, but he kept his promises and I always knew where the boundaries were.

He and mom did what they could without making promises they couldn’t keep.

That example, despite the heartbreaks and the setbacks, shaped my approach to being a husband and a father. I don’t make promises to my daughter or my wife I can’t keep.

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

Trump’s Vanity Will Destroy The Global Economy

Trump’s Vanity Will Destroy The Global Economy

Last year I asked the question “Will Trump torch the global economy on the bonfire of his vanity?” 

A year later we have the answer. It’s a resounding, “Yes.”

I wrote after Trump pulled out of the JCPOA:

Donald Trump wants regime change in Iran. His cancellation of the JCPOA was a decision born of his myopia. He has surrounded himself with people who reinforce his view and manipulate him via his vanity.

And the price of implementing his current plan will be a global debt crisis which no one will escape. … 

He wants to remake America and the world in his image while undoing anything President Obama touched… 

We have a leaked (yeah, right) memo explaining this is the plan. Nothing Trump has done since he’s been in office has been contra to this goal; overthrowing the theocracy in Iran…

In fact, it has been a step-wise move in this direction with each decision he’s made. 

Today Trump has pushed this plan to its extreme. He’s fomented a trade war with China and threatened sanctions on anyone doing any business will Iran outside its border, now including all strategic metals.

He’s threatened Lebanon with extinction and Iraq as well. His foreign policy mouthpieces are making pronouncements and twisting arms.

And none of this for the United States. He’s doing this for the basest of reasons. His ego. And, for him, that means doing everything to support his upcoming “Deal of the Century” between the Palestinian authorities and Israel. That it is the first step towards peace in the Middle East.

But it isn’t. 

Israel leaked the terms of the Palestinian surrender yesterday. What was whispered to be a terrible plan is actually laughable if any of this is true.

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

The MAGApocalypse Comes to Venezuela

The MAGApocalypse Comes to Venezuela

When the U.S. surprised the world by electing Donald Trump president many of us understood what it truly meant. “MAGA Bitchez!” was all I could say for at least a week. It was such a glorious event.

It was a giant ‘two-fingers up’ to the globalist establishment and endemic corruption of not just our government but of our society. We hoped it would signal a fundamental shift in U.S. foreign and domestic policy. 

“No Mas” to more creeping totalitarianism at home. 

“No Mas” to the weird intersectionalism and messianic Just War interventionism of the Baby Boomer generation.

Finally a coherent political statement from the latch-key Generation X; ready to assume the mantle of political power and tear down the rotten edifice of the world’s financial and political behemoth sucking the life out of humanity, one rehypothecated dollar at a time.

Sadly many of us, including myself, were wrong. Two and a half years of the most cynical Russophobia supporting an obvious and ham-handed coup operation against Trump has left the country more divided today than it was in 2016 when he won.

And the profound unfairness of it all has polarized the MAGA crowd into frothing-at-the-mouth righteous warriors against the evils of Socialism as a proxy for the Democrats and the Deep State itself.

Two years of believing in 4-d chess, Qanon, and all the other political horoscoping has a large swath of Americans so gaslit they are not only willing to back Trump’s regime change operation in Venezuela, they are defending it as ‘not a coup.’

They believe that because Trump told them to.

The real victims are the Venezuelans, the latest in a long-series of people who lives have been destroyed because of our incessant meddling in foreign affairs for our profit while selling it to Americans as humanitarian aid. 

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

That Time the Dollar Tide Went Out…

That Time the Dollar Tide Went Out…

dollar-tide-apes-trump

Welcome to the Dollar Rally to end all rallies. This week’s action in the U.S. dollar puts paid all of the moves by the Fed and the ECB over the past three months to forestall this from coming.

First it was January’s FOMC meeting where the Fed completely reversed course after a very unpopular December rate hike threw equity markets into a tailspin by Christmas.

Of course our Narcissist-in-Chief thought it was all about him and implored the Fed to stop raising rates. It was interfering with his ability to shake down the world at his sanctions and tariffs party.

But it wasn’t about him at all. It was about the Fed’s need to normalize rates into a coming global slowdown after a central-bank-induced, decade-long recovery of dubious merit. 

They’d done their job of recapitalizing the banks, somewhat, and now it was time to start trying to address the massive pension system and municipal bond crisis that was on the horizon. 

Or at least that’s what they thought.

Moreover, at some point the Fed had to show the markets something positive. That unwinding its balance sheet alongside significant shift in capital flows thanks to Trump’s tax cuts going into effect in 2019 was a signal to U.S. corporations to invest in something other than balance sheet manipulations themselves — buybacks, special dividends, etc. 

Trump can talk a good game about the ‘greatest economy evahr!’ but reality is even today’s 3.2% GDP print is marred by one-off items like an anomalous contraction of the trade deficit and huge inventory builds as Zerohedge pointed out. 

Let’s not forget how easy it is to get a big GDP print when you’re running the biggest deficits in history.

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

Assange Arrested, Brexit Squashed — Just Another Day in the Empire

Assange Arrested, Brexit Squashed — Just Another Day in the Empire

And down goes Julian Assange, right beside Brexit. If there was ever any doubt that The Powers That Be are unrelenting in their cruelty just look at the 24 hours starting on Wednesday. 

First Theresa “The Snake Oil Lady” May kicks 17.4 million voters into the weeds.

And then she oversees the arrest and judging of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange.

The timing of this is important beyond dovetailing it with her Brexit betrayal. They had to go after Assange now, because Theresa May’s time in office is ending. 

A Jeremy Corbyn-led government would not grant the U.S. it’s prize. 

Corbyn, for all of his faults, would be a breath of fresh air in the unraveling of the ‘special relationship’ between the U.S. and U.K. in foreign policy for as long as he lasted in office.

Still think Theresa works for anyone other than her owners?

Still think the opposition to Corbyn predicated on his “Socialism” isn’t anything other than a coordinated psy-op? It’s no different than the narratives spinning around Trump being a Nazi or a Russian stooge, except that Corbyn actually is a socialist. 

But, he is also far more independent than anyone in the British political class wants running the country, that much is certain.

Trump is running for re-election opposing “Socialism” in the U.S., Venezuela and soon, Cuba.

The Leave campaign, thanks to May, was focused for the week leading to Assange’s arrest on her sitting down, “with an avowed Socialist.” 

May and Trump are captured figures, dutifully doing their owners’ bidding. 

This 12 hour period may be the most brazen abuse of a Western nation by its government that I’ve seen. 

But nothing surprises me about the evil of Theresa May anymore. 

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

Can the EU Survive Its Own Censorship?

Can the EU Survive Its Own Censorship?

The EU’s new, comprehensive new Copyright Directive passed the European Parliament ensuring the way we use the Internet will change in the future.

And not for the better.

The controversial parts are Articles 11 and 13, the “link tax” and the “upload filter” requirements. For a good run down of how terrible these new rules are look anywhere on the internet but this article at Gizmodo (who I hope doesn’t charge me a link tax for doing so!) will do. 

I would also watch this video from Dave Cullen, a resident of Ireland, i.e. the EU, as to what he thinks this means.

Dave makes a number of fantastic points about the ramifications of Articles 11 and 13 which I will not dispute. 

The arrogance and pig-headedness of EU MEPs to push this through without even listening to arguments for Amendments speaks volumes as to how much this legislation was bought and paid for.

And you know who was doing the buying. The same folks currently behind destroying Brexit — The Davos Crowd. I don’t want to put too fine a point on this now, since I’ve covered all this recently (here) and in the past (here ).

Controlling The Wire

But there are very valid reasons why this push for control of information flow from the EU is yet another example of their desperations to keep control of what I’ve in the past called The Wire:

In short, The Wire is the main conduit through which we communicate with each other. Even money is The Wire. What are prices if not information about what we are willing to part with our money in exchange for?
Without The Wire modern society fails. So, government can’t shut it down but neither can it allow unrestrained access to it.

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

Globalism’s Last Disgrace: The Army vs. the Yellow Vests

Globalism’s Last Disgrace: The Army vs. the Yellow Vests

Globalism’s Last Disgrace: The Army vs. the Yellow Vests

There are few people in this world more odious than French President Emmanuel Macron after his behavior this week. I’m sure there are child molesters who are worse. But as a man who is pivotal in the future of hundreds of millions of people, his decision to order the French military to quell the Yellow Vests protests with live ammunition is simply vile.

Macron outed himself as the very symbol of what animates the globalist elite he represents.

Disdain.

The disdain he holds for the people he leads is palpable. It’s as palpable for his disdain for the British who voted for Brexit. To him the EU is all, the EU is inevitable and when faced with the choice of serving France or serving the EU, he chooses the EU every time.

That is what led him to this disastrous decision to deploy the French military to the streets for the first time since 1948 with orders to shoot protestors.

And that disdain is so complete that he doesn’t realize what happens if even one of those men goes too far and takes the President at his word. Thankfully, that did not happen.

But if it did, he would have lost complete control of his country, if he hasn’t already.

The estimates for Act XIX of the Gilets Jaunes this weekend were over 125,000 across France. That many people taking to the streets risking getting shot is not something you dismiss with a wave of your hand.

It is something as a leader you need to take very seriously.

Because the real fear for Macron is not a violent demonstration that ends with protestors shot and killed. No, the real fear is the protests that are peaceful.

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

Censorship Tightens As Governments Lose Control

Censorship Tightens As Governments Lose Control

Governments have lost control of the narrative that they are in control of events. Everyday I wake up to another instance of outrageous censorship from some ‘social media’ company blocking or banning someone for no apparent reason.

The latest outrage is Twitter banning the account of Wikileaks publisher Julian Assange’s mother, Christine. 

Australian and New Zealand ISPs have gone bonkers IP blocking sites in the wake of the Christchurch massacre. Sites like Zerohedge have been targeted in the past two weeks for publishing narratives orthogonal to what the governments in the West are comfortable with people consuming. 

First it was Facebook, blocking and then unblocking Zerohedge with no apparent reasoning behind it. Now its ISP’s over-reacting to an emotional event ensuring that a good crisis never goes to waste.

And these ISPs are going much farther than just avoiding any potential legal liabilities. They are now openly calling for the platforms themselves — Twitter, Facebook, etc. — be regulated by governments to stop ‘dangerous information’ from reaching the eyeballs of consumers. 

And another mask is ripped off revealing the ugly totalitarians underneath. 

It begins with legitimizing de-platforming people like Alex Jones and social media companies like Gab. Because some speech is too free. These are people supposedly too fringe to be suffered. 

So it’s easy to whip up some public support for censorship of them alongside a one-sided media bombardment of justify their silencing to a large swath of people. 

Are You Now Or Have You Ever Been…?

It’s especially easy to do this after having whipped everyone up into two camps of highly polarized and radicalized camps across multiple political vectors.

Trump vs. Liberals in the U.S.

Remainers vs. Leavers in the U.K.

Open borders vs. Immigration control across the West

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

Moving Forward, Iran Outflanks the U.S. in Iraq and Beyond

Moving Forward, Iran Outflanks the U.S. in Iraq and Beyond

Iran has successfully navigated the first phase of its resistance to U.S. sanctions pressure. The U.S. State Department has admitted it’s goal of reducing Iran’s oil exports to zero is not feasible.

The goal now is a 25% drop to 800,000 barrel per day. And that is no joke. It’s a big drop from where Iran was looking to produce in the coming years under the auspice of the JCPOA. 

The U.S. will not stop until all avenues have been exhausted or Trump fires his current cabinet. 

Iran’s total non-oil exports have suffered as well, since gas condensate exports have also dropped along with the crude oil numbers. 

But Iran is finding friends in other places. They are currently finalizing a free trade agreement with the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) with Belarus leading the talks at the 15th meeting between their Joint Economic Committee. 

Iran’s non-oil exports, however, are still just one-fifth of their peak exports. Like Russia it is working quickly with regional partners to change that dynamic. 

It won’t be enough to overcome the U.S.’s economic pressure in the short term.

But as I always say if it survives the initial onslaught then market forces open up opportunities for change. Things like INSTEX, the EU special purpose vehicle for getting around U.S. sanctions, is a perfect example.

Bilateral trade outside of the U.S. dollar is another.

North-South Trade Routes

The completion of the North South Transport Corridor (NSTC) is also helping. For example, trade turnover between Azerbaijan and Iran rose more than 70% last year. 

Speaking in the event, [Azeri Trade Minister] Mustafayev mentioned the 12 meetings between the two countries’ presidents during the past five years and said “that is an indication of how good the relations between the two countries are.”

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

Olduvai IV: Courage
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