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A New Middle East Thanks to Putin

A New Middle East Thanks to Putin

Peace in the Middle East is coming at us fast and we’re going to have Russian President Vladimir Putin to thank for it. 

The howls of agony coming from U.S. and European foreign policy centers are deafening.  Pat Buchanan lists them in his latest article which asks if Putin is now the new king of the Middle East.

“Donald Trump Has Handed Putin the Middle East on a Plate” was the title of a Telegraph column. “Putin Seizes on Trump’s Syria Retreat to Cement Middle East Role,” said the Financial Times.

The U.S. press parroted the British: Putin is now the new master of the Mideast. And woe is us. 

Remember that the epicenter of virulent anti-Russian, pro-Israeli sentiment doesn’t begin with the Neocons along K-Street. It begins with the remnants of the British imperial class which still holds tremendous sway over British politics.

Think I’m wrong about that. Just look at Brexit.

As I pointed out the minute Trump defended his initial pullout of 50 U.S. troops to allow Turkey to cross into northern Syria, Putin has the situation mostly under control by laying the groundwork to craft win/win/win/win possibilities for everyone in the region.

Buchanan remains skeptical of this, saying that if Putin is the new king of the Middle East, will the crown lie heavy on his head?

It’s a fair question but I think it betrays Pat’s biases as an old Cold Warrior. 

Pat makes a series of comparisons between Russia’s military presence in the region and the size of the economies backing them to make his point. I think, frankly, that’s outdated analysis.

It is based on the premise that Russia has imperial aspirations in the region, similar to that of the U.S. At his core, Buchanan is still a ‘great powers theory’ kind of guy. 

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

The Coup Has Begun – The Empire Strikes Back Everywhere

The Coup Has Begun – The Empire Strikes Back Everywhere

“I am altering the deal, pray I don’t alter it any further.”

Darth Vader, “The Empire Strikes Back”

You know I think there are no coincidences in politics. Everything happens on a particular schedule. So when I see a day as crazy as today I have to ask the question, “Why this, why now?”

Look at the headlines and you’ll see what I’m talking about. All of these things happened since I woke up at 7:30am this morning in Florida:

  1. The British Supreme Court just arrogated unprecedented power to itself by inserting itself into any dispute between the Government and Parliament. This upends more than 300 years of constitutional process.
  2. The Democrats have announced they will pursue impeachment charges against President Trump because an unverified, hearsay whistleblower made a complaint about a phone call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenski. Impeachment odds soared overnight as someone was tipped off about the Democrats’ plan.
  3. Bitcoin’s hashrate mysteriously flash-crashed more than 40% presaging a massive $1500 drop in price. 
  4. Donald Trump delivered a blistering critique of socialism at the United Nations General Assembly. Too bad he’s nearly as bad as the ones he’s fighting on the far left.
  5. Europe’s Trio of Faded Glory — The UK, France and Germany — joined in the chorus of unverified condemnation of Iran in the attack on the Saudi oil field on the 14th.
  6. The Federal Reserve continues to bail out banks to the tune of $65 to $75 billion per day through overnight repo operations that no one can give us an explanation as to why they’re needed.

This feels to me like a multi-level coup against those that dare stand athwart the global power structure. Both British and American leadership institutions are under sincere attack with these moves.

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

Will the Yemen War be the End of Saudi Arabia?

Will the Yemen War be the End of Saudi Arabia?

The attack on Saudi Arabia’s major oil processing station in Abqaiq over the weekend was a major turning point in global politics. It may be even bigger than many of us realize.

While forces within U.S. political circles, Israel and Saudi Arabia keep trying to shift the blame to Iran, the most likely scenario is that the Houthis in North Yemen were responsible for the attack as a follow up to last month’s hit which showed off the capabilities of their new drones

That attack set the stage for the latest one in a classic case of the past being prologue. By showing the world it was capable of throwing drones anywhere in Saudi Arabia rebels in Yemen created plausibility for last weekend’s attack.

And as I said the other day this attack begs a lot of questions. And the ham-fisted push to blame Iran for it, after President Trump all but ruled out a military response from the U.S. from all corners of the U.S. and Saudi establishment opens up even more.

If this was a swarm attack from Iraq and Iran, as claimed now (and supported by factless conjecture) then how did all the vaunted U.S. technology fail to account for it?

U.S. Naval CENTCOM is in Bahrain folks. Are these people blind as well as incompetent? 

No. I don’t think they are. Say what you want about U.S. political leadership and the nigh-treasonous bureaucracy supporting it, I don’t think our military is that fundamentally corrupt, lazy or stupid.

What are we spending all of the money on, after all? 

By continuing to spin this attack up as Iranian in origin people like Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and the Saudi Arabian government are throwing the Pentagon under the bus.

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

Turkey Exposes Central Bank Incompetence

Turkey Exposes Central Bank Incompetence

Last year I asked whether Turkey would be “City Zero in Global Contagion.” That question was based on the crisis unfolding in the Turkish lira which materially threatened a number of major European banks, especially those in Italy.

This week highlighted something really interesting for me that, I think, sets in motion a similar thesis about Turkey but for much different reasons. The sovereign debt crisis will come about purely because of a failure of confidence in institutions.

Competence is the key to staying at the top of human dominance hierarchies, not force. Those built on competence tend to last and those built on force are, at best, meta-stable for a specific period of time.

The difference between what’s happening in Turkey with President Erdogan taking control of the Turkish central bank and the end of Mario Draghi’s term heading the ECB cuts to the heart of this issue of competence versus force.

The Draghi Put-on

Draghi has projected this aura of the ever-in-control competent manager of Europe’s finances while steadfastly holding to policy ideas which have done nothing but destroy capital formation within the Eurozone. 

His last statement and policy decision this week are emblematic of his inflexibility both intellectually and politically.  And it’s clear that he’s trapped at whatever negative-bound he’s got in his head, handing off a Europe on the verge of collapse to his sister-in-tyranny, Christine Lagarde.

Draghi just fired his “Cheap Money Bazooka” on his way out the door to kick the can down the road another few months.

He’s setting the stage for the full-blown monetization and collapse of the European banking system under his successor, former IMF chief Christine Lagarde. What hasn’t worked for Europe for the past 11 years was just introduced again as the only way to save the situation.

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

The Battle of the ‘Flations has Begun

The Battle of the ‘Flations has Begun

Inflation? Deflation? Stagflation? Consecutively? Concurrently?… or from a great height (apologies to Tom Stoppard).

We’ve reached a pivotal moment where all of the narratives of what is actually happening have come together. And it feels confusing. But it really isn’t. 

The central banks have run out of room to battle deflation. QE, ZIRP, NIRP, OMT, TARGET2, QT, ZOMG, BBQSauce! It all amounts to the same thing. 

How can we stuff fake money onto more fake balance sheets to maintain the illusion of price stability? 

The consequences of this coordinated policy to save the banking system from itself has resulted in massive populist uprisings around the world thanks to a hollowing out of the middle class to pay for it all. 

The central banks’ only move here is to inflate to the high heavens, because the civil unrest from a massive deflation would sweep them from power quicker. 

For all of their faults leaders like Donald Trump, Matteo Salvini and even Boris Johnson understand that to regain the confidence of the people they will have to wrest control of their governments from the central banks and the technocratic institutions that back them.

That fear will keep the central banks from deflating the global money supply because politicians like Trump and Salvini understand that their central banks are enemies of the people. As populists this would feed their domestic reform agendas.

So, the central banks will do what they’ve always done — protect the banks and that means inflation, bailouts and the rest. 

At the same time the powers that be, whom I like to call The Davos Crowd, are dead set on completing their journey to the Dark Side and create their transnational superstructure of treaties and corporate informational hegemony which they ironically call The Open Society.

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

Interview: The Lew Rockwell Show – The Coming Disintegration

Interview: The Lew Rockwell Show – The Coming Disintegration

dollar-tide-apes-trump

I got to chat with one of my all-time heroes the other day while taking in the sights of gorgeous Northern New Mexico, Lew Rockwell. Lew is a legend in the libertarian community and the father, in my opinion, of the modern libertarian movement.

Lew was the first person to publish my work and without that encouragement (I still remember the email response, “Brilliant! Send a pic and a bio.”) I wouldn’t be here today. 

So, without any further preamble here’s my talk with Lew.

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.

View image on Twitter
View image on Twitter
View image on Twitter

#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…

Olduvai IV: Courage
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Olduvai II: Exodus
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