After the Berlin Wall fell in November 1989 and the death of the Soviet Union was confirmed two years later when Boris Yeltsin courageously stood down the red army tanks in front of Moscow’s White House, a dark era in human history came to an end. The world had descended into what had been a 77-year global war, incepting with the mobilization of the armies of old Europe in August 1914. If you want to count bodies, 150 million were killed by all the depredations which germinated in the Great War, its foolish aftermath at Versailles, and the march of history into the world war and cold war which followed inexorably thereupon. To wit, upwards of 8% of the human race was wiped-out during that span. The toll encompassed the madness of trench warfare during 1914-1918; the murderous regimes of Soviet and Nazi totalitarianism that rose from the ashes of the Great War and Versailles; and then the carnage of WWII and all the lesser (unnecessary) wars and invasions of the Cold War including Korea and Vietnam. We have elaborated more fully on this proposition in “The Epochal Consequences Of Woodrow Wilson’s War“, but the seminal point cannot be gainsaid. The end of the cold war meant world peace was finally at hand, yet 26 years later there is still no peace because Imperial Washington confounds it.
In a testament to how the US government views its military service men and women, for decades, troops were used as experimental test subjects and doused with chemicals, injected with drugs, and otherwise treated like human guinea pigs – leading to a slew of negative health effects. When these troops simply tried to get care for the onslaught of medical problems brought on by these experiments the government told them to kick rocks. For decades, the military flat out denied medical care to those it injured through these unethical experiments. After being poked, prodded, and force-fed with everything from lethal nerve gases like VX and sarin to incapacitating agents like BZ, and given drugs like barbiturates, tranquilizers, narcotics and hallucinogens like LSD, soldiers were told that is what they signed up for and were offered no care after their end of active service. After being told they were crazy for years, the Army finally declassified the details of these experiments. However, veterans were still denied care. In 2009, thousands of veterans – Vietnam Veterans of America and other plaintiffs who wanted to know which chemical agents they had been exposed to – filed a class action lawsuit against the Central Intelligence Agency, et al., for the experiments. It took seven years for a court to finally rule in the plaintiffs’ favor.
Princes, ministers and a billionaire are ‘imprisoned‘ in the Riyadh Ritz-Carlton while the Saudi Arabian Army is said to be in an uproar… The House of Saud’s King Salman devises a high-powered ‘anti-corruption’ commission and appoints his son, Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman, a.k.a. MBS, as chairman. Right on cue, the commission detains 11 House of Saud princes, four current ministers and dozens of former princes/cabinet secretaries – all charged with corruption. Hefty bank accounts are frozen, private jets are grounded. The high-profile accused lot is ‘jailed’ at the Riyadh Ritz-Carlton. War breaks out within the House of Saud, as Asia Times had anticipated back in July. Rumors have been swirling for months about a coup against MBS in the making. Instead, what just happened is yet another MBS pre-emptive coup. A top Middle East business/investment source who has been doing deals for decades with the opaque House of Saud offers much-needed perspective:
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 7, 2017.
Having sworn themselves to secrecy, Republicans on the House Ways and Means committee are scrambling to put together a tax bill by next week. But not knowing anything about the details of the plan, as it stands right now, hasn’t stopped an army of lobbyists from mobbing Capitol Hill with one overweening mission: To threaten, cajole or otherwise coax lawmakers into preserving loopholes that benefit their clients. Here’s Bloomberg: The stage was set with the House’s adoption Thursday of a budget resolution designed to speed the course of tax legislation and kick off a three-week sprint toward a House bill. Now, lobbyists representing every corner of the economy are poised to first devour, then attack what may be hundreds of pages of legislation that Brady says he’ll release Nov. 1. Special interests from realtors to dairy farmers will be trying to save their industry-specific tax breaks, said Tim Phillips, president of Americans for Prosperity. His group, which is backed by billionaire industrialists Charles and David Koch, supports ending such breaks. ‘It’s pretty fierce,’ Phillips said. ‘We met with Brady on Tuesday and he was saying their offices are swamped with all the special interest groups swarming in asking to be protected.’ The immense pressure to find a source of revenue to compensate for the sweeping cuts to corporate and individual rates has already nearly derailed the tax reform process. Yesterday, House Republicans narrowly approved the Senate version of a $4 trillion federal budget over the objections of 20 blue-state Republicans who oppose the elimination of the state and local tax deduction, which they say would disproportionately raise taxes on middle-class taxpayers in blue states, which tend to have higher taxes. Yet, Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady has said the elimination of the SALT deduction will stay in the bill – for now, at least.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 27, 2017.
I predict the current investigations will widen and take a variety of twists and turns that surprise all those anticipating a tidy, narrowly focused denouement. The theme this week is The Rot Within. To those of us who understand the entire status quo is rotten and corrupt to its core, the confidence of each ideological camp that their side will emerge unscathed by investigation is a source of amusement. The fake-progressives (fake because these so-called “progressives” support Imperial over-reach and a status quo whose only possible output is soaring wealth and income inequality) are confident that a “smoking gun” of corruption will deliver their most fervent dream, the impeachment of President Trump, while Trump supporters are equally confident there is no “smoking gun.” One camp is confident that the wily Clintons and their army of enablers, from former FBI Director Comey on down, will finally be brought to long-evaded justice for their various perfections of corruption and collusion: pay to play, and so on. Clinton supporters are equally confident that there is no “smoking gun” that will bring down the House of Clinton, and by proxy, the organs of the Democratic Party.
If you want to understand why the status quo is unraveling, start by examining the feudal structure of our society, politics and economy. The predators reckon their aristocratic status in Hollywood/D. C. grants them a feudal-era droit du seigneur (rights of the lord) to take whatever gratifications they desire from any female who has the grave misfortune to enter their malefic orbit. The revelations coming to light about Hollywood Oligarch Harvey Weinstein perfectly capture the true nature of our status quo: a rotten-to-the-core, predatory, exploitive oligarchy of dirty secrets and dirty lies protected by an army of self-serving sycophants, servile toadies on the make and well-paid legal mercenaries. Predators aren’t an aberration of the Establishment; they are the perfection of the Establishment, which protects abusive, exploitive predator-oligarchs lest the feudal injustices of life in America be revealed for all to see. Anyone who protests or makes efforts to go public is threatened by the oligarch’s thugs and discredited/smeared by the oligarch’s take-no-prisoners legal mercenaries. (Recall the Clintons’ Crisis Management Team tasked with crushing any Bimbo Eruptions, i.e. any eruptions of the truth about Bill’s well-known-to-insiders predation of the peasantry.) The dirty secret is that the oh-so-hypocritical power elites of Hollywood and Washington D. C. circle the wagons to protect One of Their Own from being unmasked. The first weapons of choice in this defense are (as noted above) threats from thugs, discrediting the exploited via the oligarchy’s paid goons and lackeys in the mainstream media and dirty lies about what a great and good fellow the oligarch predator is. The last line of defense is a hefty bribe to silence any peasant still standing after the oligarchs’ onslaught of threats, smears and lies.
The rights of the American people have been, and are being trampled into the dust, as the pseudo-representatives glut themselves from the trough of lobbyists and oligarchs alike. It could be proven, but won’t be proven: the investigating ‘authority’ is not accountable to the people and there is no oversight. The FBI, and any investigations under special counsel? Look at Fast and Furious and how the Attorney General’s office covered that one up. What is needed to prove it? Something that doesn’t exist. Here is what is needed: A team of spotless individuals with a leader of unquestionable character and service…with complete authority and impunity: unable to be hindered by any federal, state, or local police and army of ‘authorities.’ This Special Investigative Team would have the power to investigate fully any and all ties to Congressmen, Senators, and Supreme Court judges…to find evidence of bribery, kickbacks, and influence peddling…and then arrest them and bring them to trial. Everyone can jump up and down, desiring to boil in oil anyone making such a suggestion; however, without some kind of accountability, these elected officials are running rampant and trampling the rights of the citizens. Who is going to stop it? The courts? The courts are the biggest pack of crooks of all. Yes, ‘Your Honor,’ and ‘The Honorable,’ ad infinitum. I guarantee that a Special Investigator with impunity would have found plenty of coral snakes under Chief (in)Justice John Roberts’ front porch…if Obama and Holder had been made to step aside and an investigation had been done. This should have been done after he cast his deciding vote on Obamacare. Going back a few years, Obamacare would have never made it to the floor of the Senate if Olympia Snow (R, ME) had not allowed it to come up for a vote. Who paid her off? In order to follow the money, you have to be allowed to follow it: or you’ll just end up arrested or dead. The special unit of investigators I suggested? They need to be armed to the teeth, and they need giant, shiny badges that every human in the Western Hemisphere will recognize. And why not? It worked for Elliot Ness and his team. This won’t be done, of course, for one reason:
This post was published at shtfplan on August 7th, 2017.
Another Trump nominee for a critical government role has decided to withdraw. After two prior Trump nominees, Army Secretary choice Vincent Viola and Labor nominee Andy Puzder, both removed themselves from consideration for their appointed role in recent weeks citing insurmountable opposition or conflicts, moments ago financier Philip Bilden, a senior advisor at HarbourVest Asia and President Trump’s pick to lead the Navy, was said to become the third Trump appointee to withdraw his nomination. “Philip Bilden has informed me that he has come to the difficult decision to withdraw from consideration to be secretary of the Navy,” Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said in a statement Sunday evening. He added that “this was a personal decision driven by privacy concerns and significant challenges he faced in separating himself from his business interests.” Bilden’s vast financial holdings, many of which he earned in Hong Kong, would have made it difficult for him to survive the scrutiny of the Office of Government Ethics, USNI News reported. Bilden, who built his career in Hong Kong with the investment firm HarbourVest, was a surprise pick for the Navy post but had been Mattis’ preferred candidate. Yet like billionaire investment banker Vincent Viola, who withdrew his nomination to be secretary of the Army earlier this month, Bilden ran into too many challenges during a review by the Office of Government Ethics to avoid potential conflicts of interest, the sources said.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Feb 26, 2017.
Trump’s ongoing spat with Iran escalated on Tuesday, when Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei dismissed the US president’s warning to Iran to stop its missile tests, saying the new U. S. president had shown the “real face” of American corruption. “We are thankful to (Trump) for making our life easy as he showed the real face of America,” Khamenei said according to his website. He made the remarks in an address to the commanders of the Army Air Force on the verge of the Islamic Revolution’s victory anniversary which falls on February 10 this year. “During his election campaign and after that, he confirmed what we have been saying for more than 30 years about the political, economic, moral and social corruption in the U. S. ruling system,” he added. It is unclear if Trump’s domestic opponents will be quick to agree with the Iranian. Provocatively, the Supreme Leader once again alleged that it was the US that created ISIS: “The new U. S. president says Iran should thank Obama! Why?! Should we thank him for [creating] ISIS, the ongoing wars in Iraq and Syria, or the blatant support for the 2009 sedition in Iran? He was the president who imposed paralyzing sanctions on the Iranian nation; of course, he did not achieve what he desired. No enemy can ever paralyze the Iranian nation.”
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Feb 7, 2017.
While Russia continues to mostly mock and ridicule, and generally take in good humor, the constant allegations by the Obama administration that it “hacked the election”, without actually hacking the election – as in actually rigging or changing the votes – but merely exposing the corruption of the DNC and the cronyism of the Clinton Family Foundation, even if so far the highly confident US “intelligence agencies” have yet to demonstrate a shred of proof substantiating such allegations, China’s reaction to a similar accusation has demonstrated far less sense of humor. That may explain why Beijing quickly slammed Washington’s claims it engaged in mass spying, and demanded an explanation from the US about its own global spying activities, after a US report accused China of using two Chinese hotels as spy centres, an allegation Beijing dubbed a ‘groundless’ smear attempt. Last Wednesday, the Washington Times accused the 4PLA, a unit attached to the Chinese Defence Ministry, of using the Jintang and Seasons hotels in the capital Beijing to conduct espionage. As evidence publication cited an open-source intelligence dossier produced by the Army’s Asian Studies Detachment, as the source of its report. The document does not explain why and how the hotels were allegedly used by the Chinese for hacking.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jan 8, 2017.
It’s now been almost three weeks since Donald Trump’s shocking (to mainstream propaganda media outlets) victory over Hillary Clinton and her establishment cronies in the presidential election. Despite an overwhelming electoral victory, the furious liberals and their captured media outlets have been conducting a full court press to somehow overturn the verdict of the American people through intimidation of electors, recounts funded by unknown parties, and Soros funded violent protests in liberal enclaves across the country. Meanwhile those of us who work for a living and pay the taxes, allowing the free shit army to protest at their leisure, have continued to go to work in order to make money to support our families just as we did before Trump was elected. As I’ve detailed in dozens of previous articles about the 30 Blocks of Squalor, West Philadelphia is a product of the ‘Great Society’ welfare state and sixty years of total Democrat control of Philadelphia government. While white working middle class Americans voted overwhelmingly for Donald Trump on November 8, the reality challenged voters in Philadelphia cast 82% of their votes for a corrupt establishment hack and only 15% for Trump. The black voters on the 30 Blocks of Squalor, ignored and taken for granted by Democrat politicians since the 1950s, cast 93% of their votes for Crooked Hillary. It is baffling how these people would continue to vote for their own servitude, trapped in squalor, dependent upon the state for survival, and wallowing in ignorance produced by government indoctrination public schools.
As we move into the final month prior to this year’s presidential election, the tempo of dramatic world events and developments that are breaking daily is mind-boggling. Every single day we are seeing more outrageously desperate actions on the part of the globalists and their US government minions. Among the latest unfolding developments this week all fast tracking towards world war against Russia is NATO’s violation of international law deploying AWACS (Airborne Radar Warning and Control system) in Syria despite only Syria and Russia possessing the legal right to control the embattled country’s airspace. With both US and Turkish boots on the ground in northern Syria and US-led coalition airstrikes regularly invading the sovereign nation’s airspace, recently targeting Syrian soldiers andplans to kill more, along with former acting CIA director Mike Morell’s recent call to begin killing Russian soldiers, the latest warpath rant comes from Army Chief of Staff General Mark Milley who is now threatening Russia (as well as China and Iran) with nuclear war. Spoken just like a true grade school bully on a playground, he boasts, ‘We will beat you harder than you have ever been beaten before!’ This is the kind of moronic leadership that rises to the top of the Empire food chain? I’m afraid so. God help us when his most likely next commander-in-chief is the warmongering bulldog herself Hillary Clinton who’s not any more civilized nor humane. She’s already made it very clear that any real or perceived cyberspace attack on America coming from anywhere in the world constitutes an act of war and a military response against the cyber-perpetrators’ country. After already vowing to bomb Iran and with her constant accusations blaming Putin for everything gone wrong in her miserable life, including exposing her DNC corruption scandal responsible for rigging her presidential election, she is also all but promising to launch World War III against nuclear powered Russia. Incisive insider Paul Craig Roberts and even Putin have both said so. The neocon insanity that she represents is committed to perpetrating both suicidal and genocidal mass murder. With a total of 7,100 US nuclear warheads as of August 2016 and an estimate reported two years ago of 2,150 operationally deployed nukes, America could destroy itself four times over while Russia’s 7,300 nuclear weapons would likely carry the same tremendous overkill power. When we’re all dead, it hardly matters who has what? As the Benghazi ringleader who gave the stand down order that sealed the fate of four murdered Americans would say,’What difference does it make?’ The sheer madness in control of our planet right now actually believes the elite can simply hunker down in their underground luxury bunkers, take a long nuclear winter’s nap and a few years later emerge like Rip Van Winkle unscathed in their grandiose fairy tale. Talk about madness!
Following on the story of how aggressive cross-selling requirements spurred employees to abuse customers and commit fraud at Wells Fargo, this week the Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth William Galvin accused Morgan Stanley of ‘dishonest and unethical conduct’ within the state and Rhode Island relating to employee contests that were run to push securities-based loans onto customers from January 2014 to April 2015. See Morgan Stanley unit accused of high pressure sales tactics: ‘This complaint lays bare the culture at Morgan Stanley that bred the high-pressure effort to cross-sell banking products to its brokerage customers without regard for the fiduciary duty owed to the investor,’ Galvin said in a statement. ‘This contest was relatively local, but the aggressive push to cross-sell was company wide.’ There should be no shock in any of this. Anyone who has dealt with an investment bank the past few years will have experienced cross-selling first hand. Employees are trained to recommend customers with any apparent resources (assets or income) to one of the bank’s army of ‘advisors’. Cross-selling is the business model of today’s finance sector. It has been the motivation for merging different product and advisory firms since the 1990′s when Glass Steagall (1933) divisions between deposit taking and product sales were eroded and then rescinded in 1999. This chart shows the massive consolidation since 1995 which has created the 4 largest US banks today: Citi, JP Morgan, Bank of America and Wells Fargo.
Mustafa Denktas had twin sons. One of them, a Kurdish militant, was killed fighting the Turkish army in 2012. Denktas was still in mourning when news arrived three weeks later that the other son had met the same fate. Back then Turkey’s war with separatist Kurds, however bloody and protracted, was essentially a domestic issue. Now it’s an international conflict. When President Recep Tayyip Erdogan sent his army into Syria last month, he wasn’t just striking a blow against Islamic State: a second goal was to stop Kurds from creating a de facto state. That’s the element of Erdogan’s Syrian gambit that poses the biggest political risks. It threatens to ensnare his soldiers in a civil war that’s already lasted 5 1/2 years, and drive a wedge between Turkey and its NATO allies – especially the U. S., which considers the Syrian Kurds an ally against Islamic extremists. When Moody’s Investors Service cut Turkey’s rating to junk last week, it cited ‘the persistence of geopolitical threats’ among other reasons. Erdogan is trying to stem a tide that turned more than two decades ago, when war in Iraq left Kurds in charge of that country’s oil-rich north. Since 2011, civil war has given a similar opportunity to Syrian Kurds, who now control of much of the territory along the 900-kilometer border with Turkey. Among the world’s largest ethnic groups without a state of their own, the Kurds can now glimpse a viable one.
This year is seen going down as the worst since 2011 for China’s stock investors as the memory of last summer’s rout lingers and speculative buying switches to the housing market. The Shanghai Composite Index will end the year at 3,075, according to the median forecast in a Bloomberg poll of 10 strategists and fund managers. That implies a 13 percent drop over the 12-month period, the steepest in five years, and a gain of 2.9 percent from Wednesday’s close. Fading prospects for monetary easing, a slowing economy and the risk of higher U. S. borrowing costs spurring yuan weakness were among factors weighing on the nation’s shares, the survey showed. Turnover on the world’s second-largest stock market has collapsed to a two-year low as China’s army of investors, unnerved by 2015′s plunge in equity values, charged into other assets. After a frenzied bet on commodities futures soured, they have set their sights on a bigger target – property. With new home prices now jumping the most in six years, analysts are scaling back projections for interest-rate cuts. ‘The property market and the stock market are like a seesaw,’ said Li Lifeng, a strategist at Sinolink Securities Co. in Shanghai. ‘If the ‘fever’ in the property market doesn’t cool down, funds will flow from equities into real estate.’ Small-cap technology stocks are the least preferred by analysts in the survey because of stretched valuations, while building companies are favored thanks to government efforts to boost infrastructure investment.
Former Arkansas Sen. William Fulbright said in 1967, ‘The price of empire is America’s soul, and that price is too high.’ War, expansion, the maintenance of a large standing army: these corrupt a country, as poets from James Russell Lowell to Wendell Berry have tried to tell us. The Vietnam or Iraq War may level villages across the sea but back home, in our villages, they unleash an insidious poison, too. They make our places less liveable. From the pit of the Cold War Edmund Wilson, the Sage of Boonville, New York, lamented that ‘our country has become today a huge blundering power unit controlled more and more by bureaucracies whose rule is making it more and more difficult to carry on the tradition of American individualism.’ In Boonville as in Emporia as in Sauk Centre, the little places that give America soul were ravaged and denuded by the machine of perpetual war. War effaces and perverts the very bases of healthy community life. It elevates impermanence and rootlessness to virtues. It forcibly uproots people; it distorts natural economic patterns, causing artificial regional booms and busts – witness the histories of Detroit and Kentucky; it spreads venereal disease, if not democracy; it separates husbands from wives and parents from children; it leads to a spike in the divorce rate among service personnel and it nationalizes their children in what the Pentagon, with its usual tone-deafness to Orwellian rings, calls ‘the Total Army Family.’ Welcome to the Brave New World. A militaristic state is a centripetal machine that sucks all power to the center. Smaller bodies, grass-roots democratic institutions, are devitalized, wiped out. All political decisions of consequence are made at a level impossibly remote from real life. People we don’t know – people who have no desire or even means to know us – make life or death decisions about us.
In Human Action Ludwig von Mises wrote, ‘corruption is a regular effect of interventionism.’ As Peter Klein highlighted this week, we’ve seen a perfect illustration of that with continuing scandal plaguing Hillary Clinton involving the Clinton Foundation, and the speaking fees she received from Wall Street banks and other powerful companies. The larger government becomes, the more important it is to it have on your side. It’s why EpiPen enjoys the benefit of having so few competitors, and it’s why even fantasy football has had to invest millions in their own army of lobbyists. All the unfortunate consequences of a nation, founded in liberty, devolving into an fascist state.
Last week, we first touched on a topic which, in any non-banana republic, would be a far greater scandal than what Ryan Lochte may or may not have been doing in a Rio bathroom: namely, government corruption, falsification and potential fraud and embezzlement, which has resulted in the Pentagon being unable to account for up to $8.5 trillion in taxpayer funding. Today, Reuters follows up on this disturbing issue, and reveals that the Army’s finances are so jumbled it had to make trillions of dollars of improper accounting adjustments to create an illusion that its books are balanced. The Defense Department’s Inspector General, in a June report, said the Army made $2.8 trillion in wrongful adjustments to accounting entries in one quarter alone in 2015, and $6.5 trillion for the year. Yet the Army lacked receipts and invoices to support those numbers or simply made them up. As a result, the Army’s financial statements for 2015 were ‘materially misstated,’ the report concluded. The ‘forced’ adjustments rendered the statements useless because ‘DoD and Army managers could not rely on the data in their accounting systems when making management and resource decisions.’ For those wondering, this is what $1 trillion in $100 bills looks like.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Aug 19, 2016.
Isolationists must not prevail in this new debate over foreign policy,’ warns Richard Haass, president of the Council on Foreign Relations. ‘The consequences of a lasting American retreat from the world would be dire.’ To make his case against the ‘Isolationist Temptation,’ Haass creates a caricature, a cartoon, of America First patriots, then thunders that we cannot become ‘a giant gated community.’ Understandably, Haass is upset. For the CFR has lost the country. Why? It colluded in the blunders that have bled and near bankrupted America and that cost this country its unrivaled global preeminence at the end of the Cold War. No, it was not ‘isolationists’ who failed America. None came near to power. The guilty parties are the CFR crowd and their neocon collaborators, and liberal interventionists who set off to play empire after the Cold War and create a New World Order with themselves as Masters of the Universe. Consider just a few of the decisions taken in those years that most Americans wish we could take back. After the Soviet Union withdrew the Red Army from Europe and split into 15 nations, and Russia held out its hand to us, we slapped it away and rolled NATO right up onto her front porch.
Although many are confused by these markets, there is a simple explanation for every strange thing going on right now: The United States is rapidly devolving into a Third World country. We’ve got the politicians to prove it. On one side is the classic insider, handing out favors to cronies and corporate big-shots while not-so-secretly covering her tracks and lining her pockets; on the other side is the classic Strongman, full of machismo, bluster, simple sloganeering, and even a trademark hair-do/spray tan combo. Just slap some epaulets and a row of chest medals on Donald’s blazer and he could easily pass for our first Yankee Generalissimo. But the analogy goes even deeper with monetary policy, debt, and spending. We are swimming in debt and deficits, with no other plan but “even more,” which leads eventually to an Argentina-style default. Actual economic growth is anemic, while the insiders that live in Washington D. C. and environs grow ever richer on fat contracts and sweetheart legislative deals for big corporations, written by an ever-expanding minion army of lawyers and lobbyists. It’s Third World cronyism on a grand scale.
This post was published at GoldSeek on Monday, 8 August 2016.