en "Sorry Chump, You Didn't Have It In Writing" <p><a href=""><em>Authored by Eric Margolis via,</em></a></p> <p>At a time when the United States is convulsed by anti-Russian hysteria and demonization of Vladimir Putin, <a href="">a trove of recently declassified Cold War documents</a> reveals the <strong>astounding extent of the lies, duplicity and double-dealing engaged in by the western powers with the collapsing Soviet Union in 1990</strong>.</p> <p><img height="320" src="" width="600" /></p> <p><strong>I was covering Moscow in those days and met some of the key players in this sordid drama.&nbsp;&nbsp;</strong> Ever since, I&rsquo;ve been writing that the Soviet leader, Mikhail Gorbachev, and Foreign Minister, Eduard Shevardnadze, were <strong>shamelessly lied to and deceived by the United States, Britain, and their appendage, NATO.</strong></p> <p>All the western powers promised Gorbachev and Shevardnadze that NATO would not expand eastward by &lsquo;one inch&rsquo; if Moscow would pull the Red Army out of East Germany and allow it to peacefully reunify with West Germany.&nbsp; This was a titanic concession by Gorbachev: it&nbsp;led to a failed coup against him in 1991 by Communist hardliners.</p> <p><a href="">The documents released by George Washington University in Washington DC,</a> which I attended for a semester, make sickening reading (see them online).&nbsp; <strong>All western powers and statesmen assured the Russians that NATO would not take advantage of the Soviet retreat and that a new era of amity and cooperation would dawn in post-Cold War Europe. </strong>&nbsp;US Secretary of State Jim Baker offered &lsquo;ironclad guarantees&rsquo; there would be no NATO expansion. &nbsp;Lies, all lies.</p> <p>Gorbachev&nbsp;was a humanist, a very decent, intelligent man who believed he could end the Cold War and nuclear arms race.&nbsp;&nbsp; He ordered the Red Army back from Eastern Europe.&nbsp; I was in Wunsdorf, East Germany, HQ of the Group of Soviet Forces, Germany, and at Stasi secret police HQ in East Berlin right after the pullout order was given.&nbsp; The Soviets withdrew their 338,000 troops and 4,200 tanks and sent them home at lightening speed.</p> <p><strong>Western promises made to Soviet leaders by President George W. H. Bush and Jim Baker quickly proved to be empty.</strong>&nbsp; They were honorable men but their successors were not. &nbsp;Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush quickly began moving NATO into Eastern Europe, violating all the pledges made to Moscow.</p> <p>The Poles, Hungarians and Czechs were brought into NATO, then Romania and Bulgaria, the Baltic States, Albania, and Montenegro.&nbsp; Washington tried to get the former Soviet Republics of Georgia and Ukraine into NATO.&nbsp; The Moscow-aligned government of Ukraine was overthrown in a US-engineered coup.&nbsp; The road to Moscow was open.</p> <p><strong>All the bankrupt, confused Russians could do was denounce these eastward moves by the US and NATO.</strong>&nbsp; The best response NATO and Washington could come up with was, &lsquo;well, there was no official written promise.&rsquo;&nbsp; This is worthy of a street peddler selling counterfeit watches.&nbsp; The leaders of the US, Britain, France, Belgium and Italy all lied.&nbsp; Germany was caught between its honor and imminent reunification. So even its Chancellor Helmut Kohl had to go along with the West&rsquo;s prevarications.</p> <p>At the time, I wrote that the best solution would be for the demilitarization of formerly Soviet-controlled Eastern Europe.&nbsp; NATO had no need or business to expand eastward.&nbsp; Doing so would be a constant provocation to Russia, which regarded Eastern Europe as an essential defensive glacis against invasions from the West.</p> <p><u><em><strong>Now, with NATO forces on its western borders, Russia&rsquo;s deepest fears have been realized.</strong></em></u></p> <p>Today, US military aircraft based on the coasts of Romania and Bulgaria, former Warsaw Pact members, probe Russian airspace over the Black Sea and the vital strategic port of Sevastopol.&nbsp; Washington talks about arming chaotic Ukraine.&nbsp;&nbsp; US and NATO troops are in the Baltic, on Russia&rsquo;s northwestern borders.&nbsp; Polish right-wingers are beating the war drums against Russia.</p> <p>In 1990, KGB and CIA agreed to the principal of &lsquo;not one inch&rsquo; eastward for NATO.&nbsp; Former US ambassador to Moscow, Jack Matlock, confirms the same agreement. Gorbachev, who is denounced as a foolish idealist by many Russians, trusted the Western powers. He should have had a battalion of New York City garment district shyster lawyers to document his agreements in 1990.&nbsp; He thought he was dealing with honest, honorable men, like himself.</p> <p><u><em><strong>Is it any wonder after this bait and switch diplomacy that Russia has no trust in the Western powers?&nbsp;</strong></em></u> Moscow watches US-run NATO oozing ever eastwards. Today, Russia&rsquo;s leaders firmly believe Washington&rsquo;s ultimate plan is to tear apart Russia and reduce it to an impotent, pauper nation.&nbsp; Two former Western leaders, Napoleon and Hitler, had similar plans.</p> <p><strong>Instead of carrying on about Hitler&rsquo;s duplicity after Munich, we should look at our own shameless behavior after 1990.</strong></p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="622" height="332" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Baltic States Belgium black sea Bulgaria Central Intelligence Agency Cold War Eastern Europe Eastern Europe Eduard Shevardnadze Enlargement of NATO Foreign relations of the Soviet Union France George Washington University in Washington Germany International relations Italy Jack F. Matlock Jr. KGB Mikhail Gorbachev Military Napoleon NATO New York City North Atlantic Treaty Organization Politics Politics Red Army Romania Russia Soviet Union–United States relations Ukraine Vladimir Putin War Mon, 18 Dec 2017 05:05:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 609343 at Saudi Media Releases Propaganda Film Showing Invasion Of Iran <p>It&rsquo;s&nbsp;been a little over three weeks since&nbsp;Crown Prince <strong>Mohammed bin Salman (MbS) called&nbsp;the Supreme Leader of Iran &ldquo;the new Hitler of the Middle East&rdquo;,</strong> escalating the war of words and ultimately launching&nbsp;the next leg up in the&nbsp;infowar between both countries.</p> <p>And now the Saudi media, building on that rhetoric, just<strong> published a powerful short&nbsp;3D-animated film depicting the Saudi military invading and&nbsp;conquering Iran.</strong></p> <p><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 560px; height: 250px;" /></a></p> <p><a href="">Al-Riyadh</a> newspaper on Friday said<strong> the video called &ldquo;Saudi Deterrent Force&rdquo;- was created by&nbsp;&ldquo;young people from Saudi Arabia&rdquo;, which it &ldquo;depicts reality and the prestige of the Saudi Armed Forces&rdquo; invading Iran by air, land, and sea.</strong></p> <p>Further, Al-Riyadh noted, &ldquo;the 5-minute film tells the operational reality of how the Saudi armed forces&rdquo; plan to use advanced technologies from the United States, such as&nbsp;weapons, aircraft, ships, and tanks in an upcoming operation against Iran.</p> <div> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div> <p><strong>The film &ldquo;Saudi Deterrence&rdquo; not only revealed the defensive power of Saudi Arabia, but went&nbsp;beyond the detection of strategic missile system &ldquo;East Wind&rdquo;, </strong>which exceeds the range of 12 thousand kilometers, and can thus reach the Iranian military bases and nuclear reactors, F15, Taifon, Tornado and AWACS, as well as strategic Abrams tanks, high-armed naval frigates and the Air Defense System of Patriot batteries &nbsp;</p> </blockquote> </div> <p><iframe allow="encrypted-media" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" gesture="media" height="315" src="" width="560"></iframe></p> <p><strong>Meanwhile, <a href=" army invading Iran-publish-short-film-of-army-conquering-iran">The New Arab</a>&nbsp;said the short film has been widely &ldquo;mocked&rdquo; on social media as nothing more than propaganda from MbS.&nbsp;</strong>The film shows MbS&nbsp;in a control room orchestrating air, land, and sea missions, while the military has very little resistance against Iranian troops. At the end, the film shows the Saudi army taking control of Tehran, where the Iranian civilians are thanking the Saudis for the liberation.</p> <p>A furious tweetstorm was unleashed on Twitter after the video was published on YouTube. One Twitter user said,<em><strong> &ldquo;In the delusional world of Saudi Arabia, Saudis invade Iran, take over the country and are greeted as liberators by Iranians who hold MbS posters. </strong></em><em><strong>You can&rsquo;t make this shit up. Try not to laugh,&rdquo; </strong></em></p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p dir="ltr" lang="en">In the delusional world of Saudi Arabia, Saudis invade Iran, take over the country and are greeted as liberators by Iranians who hold MBS posters.</p> <p>You can&#39;t make this shit up. Try not to laugh. <a href=""></a></p> <p>&mdash; Serge (@Zinvor) <a href="">December 17, 2017</a></p></blockquote> <script async src="" charset="utf-8"></script><p>Another user said (translated in Bing), &ldquo;Fail and you still nfshlon in Yemen in the face of the resilience of the people and their resistance in the face of aggression and your siege you and with you, and you think you are able to make a victory over Iran? Finished with the Yemen and then just go to Iran if you have capacity and uptime is not actually animated, bin Salman. If you&rsquo;re brave, offering.&rdquo;</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p dir="rtl" lang="ar">????? ??? ???? ?????? ?? ????? ?? ??? ???? ??? ????????? ?? ??? ??????? ??????? ???? ??? ????? ?????? ???? ?????? ?? ?????? ????? ??? ????? ? ?????? ?? ????? ??? ?? ?????? ??? ????? ?? ???? ????? ?????? ?????????? ????? ???? ???? ?????? ?? ?? ?????.. ?? ??? ????? ?????</p> <p>&mdash; ???? ???? ???? ???? (@Guevara_lb) <a href="">December 17, 2017</a></p></blockquote> <script async src="" charset="utf-8"></script><p>The New Arab describes tension in the region is building between the two countries, especially after the latest missile launch striking Saudi Arabia from&nbsp;Yemen&rsquo;s&nbsp;Houthis (backed by Iran).</p> <p>Iran and Saudi Arabia have been engaged in a regional battle for dominance being fought by proxies across the region. Last month, Saudi Arabia&rsquo;s&nbsp;crown prince accused Iran of committing an &ldquo;act of war&rdquo; by arming Yemen&rsquo;s&nbsp;Houthis after a rebel missile reached Riyadh. It provoked a heated war of words with Tehran.</p> <p>The war drums beat between Saudi Arabia and Iran, however, in the meantime, <em><strong>sit back, grab some popcorn, and enjoy the infowar waged between both countries.</strong></em></p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="662" height="295" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Geography of Asia Heirs apparent Houthi insurgency in Yemen Houthis International reactions to the Saudi-led intervention in Yemen International relations Iran Iran–Saudi Arabia proxy conflict Iran–Saudi Arabia relations Islam Middle East Middle East Middle East Mohammad bin Salman Monarchy Newspaper Politics Reality Saudi Arabia Saudi Arabia Saudi army Saudi Deterrent Force Shia–Sunni relations Twitter Twitter War Yemeni Crisis Mon, 18 Dec 2017 04:40:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 609334 at The Year Of The Headless Liberal Chicken <p lang="en-US"><a href=""><em>Authored by CJ Hopkins via,</em></a></p> <p lang="en-US">According to the Chinese zodiac, 2017 has been the Year of the Rooster. Myself,<strong> I&rsquo;ve decided to designate it the Year of the Headless Liberal Chicken.</strong></p> <p lang="en-US"><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 505px; height: 312px;" /></a></p> <p lang="en-US">I don&rsquo;t mean that to be insulting &hellip; or, all right, I guess I do, a little. But my heart goes out to liberals, seriously. <strong>At this point, the amount of utterly baseless, contradictory propaganda, mass hysteria, and just flat out insanity the ruling classes have demanded they swallow is more than any human mind, no matter how medicated, could possibly handle.</strong> Is it any wonder so many of them of lost it and started seeing Nazis and Russians coming out of the woodwork?</p> <p lang="en-US"><u><strong>Just consider what the average liberal has been forced to try to cognitively reconcile since the tragic events of last November &hellip;</strong></u></p> <p lang="en-US"><strong>First came the overwhelming shock of Hillary Clinton&rsquo;s loss to Trump,</strong> a repulsive, word salad-babbling buffoon with absolutely no political experience who the media had been portraying to liberals as the Second Coming of Adolf Hitler. This was a candidate, let&rsquo;s recall, who jabbered about building a &ldquo;beautiful wall&rdquo; to protect us from the hordes of &ldquo;Mexican rapists&rdquo; and other &ldquo;bad hombres&rdquo; who were invading America, and who had boasted about grabbing women &ldquo;by the pussy&rdquo; like a prepubescent 6th grade boy. While he had served as a perfect foil for Clinton, and had provided hours of entertainment in a comic book villain kind of way, the prospect of a Donald Trump presidency was inconceivable in the minds of liberals. So, when it happened, it was like the Martians had invaded.</p> <p><span lang="en-US"><strong>Mass hysteria gripped the nation.</strong> There was beaucoup wailing and gnashing of teeth. Liberals began exhibiting irrational and, in some cases, rather disturbing behaviors. Many degenerated into dissociative states and just sat there with their phones for hours obsessively reloading the popular vote count, which Clinton had won, on FiveThirtyEight. Others </span><a href="">festooned themselves with safety pins</a> and went out looking for<span lang="en-US"> defenseless minorities who they could &ldquo;demonstrate solidarity&rdquo; with. Owen Jones flew in from London to join his colleague Steven Thrasher, who was organizing a guerilla force to resist &ldquo;</span><a href="">the normalization of Trump</a><span lang="en-US">&rdquo; and the global race war he was about to launch, which &ldquo;not all of us were going to get out of alive.&rdquo;</span></p> <p><span lang="en-US">In the weeks immediately following the election, <strong>the mainstream media inundated liberals with pronouncements of the advent of an &ldquo;</strong></span><strong><a href="">Age of Darkness</a><span lang="en-US">&rdquo; and the &ldquo;</span><a href="">Triumph of White Supremacy</a></strong><span lang="en-US"><strong>&rdquo; over the beneficent values of Globalism. </strong>Yes, it was pretty much </span><a href="">the end of everything</a><span lang="en-US">. America was facing nothing less than a descent into &ldquo;</span><a href=";action=click&amp;contentCollection=Opinion&amp;module=Collection&amp;region=Marginalia&amp;src=me&amp;version=column&amp;pgtype=article">racial Orwellianism</a><span lang="en-US">,&rdquo; &ldquo;</span><a href="">Zionist anti-Semitism</a><span lang="en-US">,&rdquo; and &ldquo;</span><a href="">the bottomless pit of Fascism</a><span lang="en-US">&rdquo; itself. Liberals, who by then had dispensed with the safety pins, immediately set about </span><a href="">terrorizing their children with visions of the impending holocaust</a><span lang="en-US">, which would be carried out by the </span><a href="">genocidal, racist monsters</a><span lang="en-US"> who had voted for Trump. </span></p> <p><span lang="en-US"><strong>At that point, the media had been hammering hard on the Trump-is-Hitler narrative for months, so they had to stick with that for a while.</strong> It had only been a few weeks, after all, since </span><a href=""><span lang="en-US"><em>The Wall Street Journal</em></span></a><span lang="en-US">, </span><a href=""><span lang="en-US"><em>The New York Times</em></span></a><span lang="en-US">, </span><a href=""><span lang="en-US"><em>The Washington Post</em></span></a><span lang="en-US">, </span><a href=""><span lang="en-US"><em>The Guardian</em></span></a><span lang="en-US">, and </span><a href="">numerous other establishment publications</a><span lang="en-US">, had explained how Trump was using special fascist code words like &ldquo;global elites,&rdquo; &ldquo;international banks,&rdquo; and &ldquo;lobbyists&rdquo; to signal his virulent hatred of the Jews to the millions of Americans who, according to the media, were secretly Hitler-loving fascists. </span></p> <p lang="en-US"><strong>This initial post-election propaganda was understandably somewhat awkward, as the plan had been to be able to celebrate the &ldquo;Triumph of Love over the Forces of Hate,&rdquo; and the demise of the latest Hitlerian bogeyman. </strong></p> <p lang="en-US">But this was the risk the ruling classes took when they chose to go ahead and Hitlerize Trump, which they wouldn&rsquo;t have done if they&rsquo;d thought for a moment that he had a chance of actually winning the election. That&rsquo;s the tricky thing about Hitlerizing people. You need to be able to kill them, eventually. If you don&rsquo;t, when they turn out not to be Hitler, your narrative kind of falls apart, and the people you&rsquo;ve fear-mongered into a frenzy of frothing, self-righteous fake-Hitler-hatred end up feeling like a bunch of dupes who&rsquo;ll believe anything the government tells them. This is why, normally, you only Hitlerize foreign despots you can kill with impunity.</p> <p lang="en-US"><em><strong>This is Hitlerization 101 stuff, which the ruling classes ignored in this case, which the left poor liberals terrified that Trump was actually going to start building Trump-branded death camps and rounding up the Jews.</strong></em></p> <p><u><strong><span lang="en-US">Fortunately, just in the nick of time, the ruling classes and their media mouthpieces rolled out the Russian Propaganda story. </span></strong></u><span lang="en-US"><em>The Washington Post</em></span><span lang="en-US"> (whose owner&rsquo;s multimillion dollar deal with the CIA, of course, has absolutely no effect on the quality of its professional journalism) led the charge with </span><a href="">this McCarthyite smear job</a><span lang="en-US">, legitimizing the baseless allegations of some random website and a think tank staffed by charlatans like </span><a href="">this &ldquo;Russia expert,&rdquo;</a><span lang="en-US">who appears not to speak a word of Russian or have any other &ldquo;Russia expert&rdquo; credentials, but is available both for television and Senate Intelligence Committee appearances. Numerous </span><a href="">similar smear pieces</a><span lang="en-US"> followed. Liberals breathed a big sigh of relief &hellip; that Hitler business had been getting kind of scary. How long can you go, after all, with Hitler stumbling around the White House before somebody has to go in there and shoot him?</span></p> <p><span lang="en-US">In any event, <strong>by January, the media were playing down the Hitler stuff and going balls-out on the &ldquo;Russiagate&rdquo; story. </strong>According to </span><span lang="en-US"><em>The Washington Post</em></span><span lang="en-US"> (which, let&rsquo;s remember, is a serious newspaper, as opposed to a propaganda organ of the so-called US &ldquo;Intelligence Community&rdquo;), not only had the Russians &ldquo;hacked&rdquo; the election, but they had </span><a href="">hacked the Vermont power grid</a><span lang="en-US">! Editorialists at </span><span lang="en-US"><em>The New York Times </em></span><span lang="en-US">were declaring that Trump &ldquo;</span><a href=";pgtype=Homepage&amp;clickSource=story-heading&amp;module=opinion-c-col-right-region&amp;region=opinion-c-col-right-region&amp;WT.nav=opinion-c-col-right-region&amp;_r=0">had been appointed by Putin</a><span lang="en-US">,&rdquo; and that the USA was now &ldquo;at war&rdquo; with Russia. This was also around the time when liberals first learned of the </span><a href=";action=click&amp;pgtype=Homepage&amp;clickSource=story-heading&amp;module=first-column-region&amp;region=top-news&amp;WT.nav=top-news">Trump-Russia Dossier</a><span lang="en-US">, which detailed how Putin was blackmailing Trump with a video the FSB had shot of Trump and a bunch of Russian hookers peeing on a bed in a Moscow hotel in which Obama had allegedly slept. </span></p> <p lang="en-US">This nonsense was reported completely straight-faced, and thus liberals were forced to take it seriously. <strong>Imagine the cognitive dissonance they suffered.</strong> It was like that scene in <em>1984 </em>when the Party abruptly switches enemies, and the war with Eurasia becomes the war with Eastasia. Suddenly, Trump wasn&rsquo;t Hitler anymore. Now he was a Russian sleeper agent who Putin had been blackmailing into destroying democracy with this incriminating &ldquo;golden showers&rdquo; video. Putin had presumably been &ldquo;running&rdquo; Trump since Trump&rsquo;s visit to Russia in 2013 to hobnob with &ldquo;Russia-linked&rdquo; Russian businessmen and attend the Miss Universe pageant in Moscow. During the ensuing partying, Trump must have gotten loaded on Diet Coke and gotten carried away with those Russian hookers. Now, Putin had him by the short hairs and was forcing him to staff his Manchurian cabinet with corporate CEOs and Goldman Sachs guys, who probably had also been videotaped by the FSB in Moscow hotels paying hookers to pee on furniture, or performing whatever other type of seditious, perverted kink they were into.</p> <p><span lang="en-US"><strong>Before the poor liberals had time to process this, the ruling classes launched &ldquo;the Resistance.&rdquo;</strong> You remember the </span><a href="">Pussyhat People</a><span lang="en-US">, don&rsquo;t you? And the global corporate PR campaign which accompanied their historic &ldquo;Womens&rsquo; March&rdquo; on Washington? Do you remember liberals like Michael Moore </span><a href="">shrieking for the feds to arrest Donald Trump</a><span lang="en-US">? Or publications like </span><a href=";pgtype=Homepage&amp;clickSource=story-heading&amp;module=opinion-c-col-left-region&amp;region=opinion-c-col-left-region&amp;WT.nav=opinion-c-col-left-region"><span lang="en-US"><em>The New York Times</em></span></a><span lang="en-US">, </span><a href=""><span lang="en-US"><em>Salon</em></span></a><span lang="en-US">, and many others, and even </span><a href="">State Satirist Stephen Colbert</a><span lang="en-US">accusing Trump and anyone who supported him of treason &hellip; a crime, let&rsquo;s recall, that is punishable by death? Do you remember folks like </span><a href="">William Kristol</a><span lang="en-US"> and </span><a href="">Rob &ldquo;the Meathead&rdquo; Reiner</a><span lang="en-US"> demanding that the &ldquo;deep state&rdquo; launch a coup against Trump to rescue America from the Russian infiltrators?</span></p> <p><span lang="en-US"><strong>Ironically, the roll-out of this &ldquo;Russiagate&rdquo; hysteria was so successful that it peaked too soon, and prematurely backlashed all over itself.</strong> By March, when Trump had not been arrested, nor otherwise removed from office, liberals, who by that time the corporate media had teased into an incoherent, throbbing state of anticipation were &hellip; well, rather disappointed. By April, they were exhibiting all the hallmark symptoms of clinical psychosis. This mental breakdown was due to the fact that the media pundits and government spooks who had been telling them that Trump was Hitler, and then a Russian sleeper agent, were now telling them that </span><a href="">he wasn&rsquo;t so bad</a><span lang="en-US">, because he&rsquo;d </span><span lang="en-US">pointlessly bombed a Syrian airstrip, and dropped a $314 million Massive Ordnance Air Blast bomb on some alleged &ldquo;terrorist caves&rdquo; in Afghanistan. </span></p> <p lang="en-US"><span lang="en-US">As if liberals&rsquo; poor brains weren&rsquo;t rattled enough<strong>, the corporate media then switched back to, first, the Russian Propaganda narrative (which they expanded into a global threat), then, the Hitler stuff again, but this time Trump wasn&rsquo;t actually Hitler, because Putin was Hitler,</strong> or at least he was fomenting Hitlerism throughout the West with his legions of fascist hacker bots who were &ldquo;influencing&rdquo; unsuspecting consumers with their blitzkrieg of divisive &ldquo;fake news&rdquo; stories. Oh, yeah, and now </span><a href="">Putin had also done Brexit</a><span lang="en-US">, or Trump and Robert Mercer had, but they were working for Putin, who had also </span><a href="">hacked the French election</a><span lang="en-US"> that </span><a href="">he hadn&rsquo;t hacked</a>, or &hellip; whatever &hellip; this was no time to worry about what had or hadn&rsquo;t actually happened. The peace and prosperity President Obama had reestablished throughout the West by incessantly bombing the Greater Middle East and bailing out his pals at the Wall Street banks was being torn asunder by Vladimir Putin, who at some point had apparently metamorphosized from a ruthless, former KGB autocrat into a white supremacist megalomaniac.</p> <p><span lang="en-US">Right on cue, on the weekend of August 11-12 in Charlottesville, Virginia, </span><a href="">where there had never been any history of racism</a><span lang="en-US">, a &ldquo;national gathering&rdquo; of approximately five hundred tiki torch-bearing neo-Nazis, Ku Klux Klan types, and other white supremacists, many of them barking Nazi slogans, marched into the pages of history. Never before have so few fascists owed so much to the mainstream media, which showered them with overwrought coverage,<strong> triggering a national Nazi panic. </strong>Liberals poured into the streets, tearing down Confederate monuments, and otherwise signaling their total intolerance of the racism they had tolerated until a few days earlier. </span><strong><a href="">People named after Robert E. Lee</a><span lang="en-US">, and </span><a href="">horses named after General Lee&rsquo;s horse</a></strong><span lang="en-US"><strong>, went into hiding to until the panic subsided. </strong>This was wise, as by then the so-called anti-fascists were showing up in force at anything resembling a right-wing rally and stomping the living Hitler out of Nazis, and Trump supporters, and journalists, and &hellip; well, anyone they didn&rsquo;t think looked quite right. This totally preemptively self-defensive, non-violent type of violent behavior, naturally, shocked and horrified liberals, who are strongly opposed to all forms of violence that aren&rsquo;t carried out by the US military, or the police, or someone else wearing a uniform. Unsure as to whom they were supposed to condemn, the Nazis or the Antifa terrorists, they turned for guidance to the corporate ruling classes, who informed them </span><a href="">it was time to censor the Internet</a><span lang="en-US">. </span></p> <p><span lang="en-US"><strong>This made about as much sense as any of the other nonsense they&rsquo;d been spoonfed so far, so liberals decided to get behind it, or at least look the other way while it happened. </strong></span></p> <p><span lang="en-US">Facebook, Google, Amazon, Twitter (and all the other corporations that control the Internet, the media, Hollywood, the publishing industry, and every other means of representing &ldquo;reality&rdquo;) surely have people&rsquo;s best interests at heart. Plus, they&rsquo;re only censoring the Nazis, and the terrorists, and the Russian &ldquo;fake news&rdquo; disseminators, and, OK, </span><a href="">a lot of leftist publications, and award-winning journalists</a><span lang="en-US">, and anyone else espousing &ldquo;divisive,&rdquo; anti-American, or anti-corporate, &ldquo;extremist&rdquo; views. </span></p> <p lang="en-US"><em><strong>Look, I know what you&rsquo;re probably thinking, but it isn&rsquo;t like liberals don&rsquo;t actually care about fundamental liberal values like freedom of the press and speech and all that. It&rsquo;s just that they desperately need the Democrats to take back the House and the Senate next year, so they can get on with impeaching Trump, and if they have to stand by while the corporations suppress a little leftist dissent, or, you know, transform the entire Internet into a massive, mind-numbing echo chamber of neo-McCarthyite corporate conformity &hellip; well, sacrifices have to be made.</strong></em></p> <p lang="en-US">This can&rsquo;t go on forever, after all. This level of full-blown mass hysteria can only be sustained for so long. It&rsquo;s all fine and good to be able to whip people up into a frenzied mob, but at some point you need to have an endgame. The neoliberal ruling classes know this. <strong><em>Their endgame is actually fairly simple. Their plan is to (a) make an example of Trump to discourage any future billionaire idiots from screwing with their simulation of democracy, and (b) demonize anyone deviating from neoliberal ideology as a fascist, racist, or anti-Semite, or otherwise &ldquo;abnormal&rdquo; or &ldquo;extremist.&rdquo;</em></strong> Their plan is <em>not</em> to incinerate the entire planet in a war with Russia. We&rsquo;re not on the brink of World War III, despite how many Twitter likes or Facebook shares it might get me to say that. Yes, eventually, they want to force Russia to return to the kind of &ldquo;cooperation&rdquo; it engaged in during the 1990s, when it was run by an incorrigible drunkard and the Goldman Sachs boys and their oligarch pals were looting the country for all it was worth &hellip; but that has little to do with all this.</p> <p><u><strong><span lang="en-US">No, the corporate ruling classes&rsquo; endgame here is to reestablish neoliberal &ldquo;normality,&rdquo; so we can get back to the War on Terror (or whatever they&rsquo;ll be calling it by then), and </span><span lang="en-US">put this </span><a href="">neo-nationalist revolt against neoliberalism</a><span lang="en-US"> episode behind us.</span></strong></u><span lang="en-US"><u><strong> </strong></u></span></p> <p><span lang="en-US">To do that, they will need to install some sort of hopey-changey, Obama-like messiah, or at least somebody who can play the part of POTUS like a normal person and not sit around the Oval Office gobbling McDonald&rsquo;s and retweeting racist memes by random British fascists.</span></p> <p lang="en-US"><strong>The way things are going, that might take a while, but rest assured they&rsquo;ll get there eventually.</strong></p> <p lang="en-US">Now that Robert Mueller has proved that Trump colluded with Vladimir Putin by obstructing an investigation by Comey into Michael Flynn&rsquo;s lying to the FBI about not colluding with the Russian ambassador on behalf of Israel at Kushner&rsquo;s behest, <strong>the dominoes are surely about to fall</strong>.</p> <p lang="en-US">Once they all have, and Donald Trump&rsquo;s head has been mounted on a spike on the White House lawn as a warning to any other potential usurpers, all this Russia and Nazi hysteria that has the poor liberals running around like headless chickens will disappear. Russia will go back to being Russia. The North American Nazi Menace, deprived of daily media coverage, will go back to being a fringe phenomenon. Liberals will go back to ignoring politics (except identity politics, naturally) and obediently serving the global capitalist ruling elites that are destroying the planet, and the lives of millions of human beings, in order to increase their profit margins.</p> <p lang="en-US">Sure, there&rsquo;ll be a brief emotional hangover, once the adrenaline rush wears off and they look back at their tweets and Facebook posts, which in hindsight might convey the impression that they spent the better part of a year parroting whatever insane propaganda the corporate media pumped out at them, and otherwise behaving like <a href="">Good Americans</a> &hellip; but then, that&rsquo;s what the &ldquo;delete&rdquo; key is for.</p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="505" height="312" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Afghanistan B+ Central Intelligence Agency Cognitive Dissonance Donald Trump Donald Trump Donald Trump presidential campaign Donald Trump–Russia dossier Draft:Timeline of the Trump-Russia Scandal FBI Federal Bureau of Investigation goldman sachs Goldman Sachs Google International relations Israel KGB Ku Klux Klan Michael Moore Middle East Middle East New York Times Newspaper Politics Presidency of Donald Trump President Obama Reality Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections Russia–United States relations Senate Senate Intelligence Committee simulation Trump campaign–Russian meetings Twitter Twitter United States US military Vladimir Putin Wall Street Journal White House White House Mon, 18 Dec 2017 04:15:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 609337 at Meet The Team Building North Korea's Nuclear Missiles <p><strong>In recent years, North Korea has frustrated the US intelligence community, which has struggled to determine exactly how Kim Jong Un and his regime have managed to make so much progress, so quickly in their quest to develop a nuclear weapon capable of striking the Continental US.</strong></p> <p>The international community has authorized one round of sanctions after another, and yet they appear to have little impact on the country&rsquo;s economy. If anything, these efforts have only served to strengthen the Kim&rsquo;s grip on power by feeding the narrative - taught to every North Korean child - that the US is an evil, imperialist antagonist bent on subjugating the North.</p> <p>While the exact means by which the North has managed to survive such immense international pressure remain a mystery, the <a href="">New York Times </a>has a theory: North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has cultivated an aura of reverence and celebrity around the country&rsquo;s nuclear scientists.</p> <p>These celebrity scientists are known by nicknames like<strong> the &ldquo;nuclear duo&rdquo; and the &ldquo;missile quartet&rdquo;.</strong></p> <p><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 500px; height: 269px;" /></a></p> <p>They also occupy a unique place in the North Korea power structure: While Kim, 33, has executed scores of senior officials - including his own uncle - he has turned the scientists into public heros. So far, not one nuclear scientist has been punished by the regime.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><strong>&ldquo;We have never heard of him killing scientists,&rdquo; </strong>said Choi Hyun-kyoo, a senior researcher in South Korea who runs NK Tech, a database of North Korean scientific publications. <strong>&ldquo;He is someone who understands that trial and error are part of doing science.&quot;</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>As a result of this, each of the six nuclear tests conducted since 2006 has been more powerful than the last, an incredible feat of engineering, considering the restraints.</p> <p>Kim has elevated science as an ideal in the regime&rsquo;s propaganda and put his fondness for scientists and engineers on prominent display across North Korea.</p> <p><strong>One of the carrots Kim has offered his prized scientists is a street called &ldquo;Future Scientists Street&rdquo;</strong>. Opened four years after Kim assumed power in 2011, the street is reportedly filled with gleaming towers for scientists, engineers and their families.</p> <p>Kim also opened a sprawling complex shaped like an atom that showcases the nation&rsquo;s achievements in nuclear science, and where decadent galas are held to celebrate the nuclear program&rsquo;s progress.</p> <p>There is little doubt what is behind Mr. Kim&rsquo;s passion for science. In ubiquitous propaganda posters, North Korean rockets soar into space and crash into the United States Capitol.</p> <p><strong>After successful tests, scientists and engineers are honored with huge outdoor rallies.</strong></p> <p>While international sanctions prohibit the teaching of science with potential military applications to North Korean students, the regime has hit upon several clever strategies to import nuclear research from the outside world.</p> <p>Also, the country still manages to send talented students abroad to study science in places like China, India and even Germany.</p> <p><strong>Kim wasn&rsquo;t the first North Korean leader to adopt these special privileges for scientists.</strong> Indeed, his grandfather, Kim Il-sung, embraced science as he struggled to rebuild North Korea from the ruins of the Korean War. He embraced those trained in Japan when Korea was a Japanese colony and later sent hundreds of students to the Soviet Union, East Germany and other socialist states.</p> <p>One of them was So Sang-guk, a nuclear scientist who emerged as a key figure in the nation&rsquo;s nuclear program but seems to have retired.</p> <p>However, since taking power, Kim Jong-un appears to have overseen a generational shift at the top of the weapons program, elevating a group of scientists and officials about whom little is known.</p> <p>But now, analysts have identified six figures who have repeatedly appeared alongside Mr. Kim at key moments - four tied to missile development and two associated with nuclear tests.</p> <p><strong>Two members of the &ldquo;missile quartet&rdquo; are scientists, according to state media. Jang Chang-ha is 53 and president of the Academy of National Defense Science, and Jon Il-ho, 61, is commonly described as an &ldquo;official in the field of scientific research.&rdquo;</strong></p> <p><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 500px; height: 249px;" /></a></p> <p><strong>Ri Pyong-chol appears to be the quartet&rsquo;s highest-ranking member. </strong>A former air force commander, he serves as first deputy director of the ruling Workers&rsquo; Party&rsquo;s munitions industry department.</p> <p><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 500px; height: 194px;" /></a></p> <p><strong>Kim Jong-sik, 49, first began appearing with Kim Jong-un in February 2016</strong> and has an engineering background. His rise has coincided with an acceleration of test launches, but he and Ri did not attend last month&rsquo;s launch.</p> <p><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 500px; height: 235px;" /></a></p> <p>Ri Hong-sop is the director of North Korea&rsquo;s Nuclear Weapons Institute.<strong> He appears to be a key figure in the nuclear program. </strong>&nbsp;</p> <p><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 500px; height: 243px;" /></a></p> <p>Hong Sung-mu, the other member of the &ldquo;nuclear duo,&rdquo; is a former chief engineer at the Yongbyon nuclear complex, the birthplace of the North&rsquo;s nuclear weapons program.</p> <p><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 500px; height: 244px;" /></a></p> <p>But in perhaps one of the most significant trappings of the scientists&rsquo; status in North Korean society is the picture below, where<strong> several scientists can be seen sharing a cigarette with Kim - a major privilege considering Kim is revered like a God in North Korea.</strong></p> <p><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 500px; height: 249px;" /></a></p> <p><strong>After successful tests, sometimes Kim will even embrace his scientists,</strong> some of whom can be seen weeping. In another stunning image, Kim can be seen carrying one of the scientists on his back - a play on an old Korean tradition.</p> <p><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 500px; height: 244px;" /></a></p> <p>North Korea carried out its most powerful nuclear test yet back in September when it detonated what was estimated to be a 300 kiloton bomb. Despite indications that the North&rsquo;s longtime test site at Punggye-ri is suffering from <a href="">&ldquo;tired mountain syndrome&rdquo;,</a> satellite imaging recently showed the North&rsquo;s military is hard at work on a new tunnel located in a remote area of the test site...</p> <p><strong><em>...Suggesting that the North is already preparing to carry out what would be its seventh nuclear test.</em></strong><br />&nbsp;</p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="1006" height="491" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Academy of National Defense Science Anti-Revisionists China Germany Hong Sung-mu India Japan KIM Kim dynasty Kim Jong-il Kim Jong-un Korea Marshals Military personnel New York Times North Korea North Korea North Korea North Korea’s Nuclear Weapons Institute Politics Politics Ri Hong-sop Technology U.S. intelligence Underground nuclear weapons testing Workers Party Mon, 18 Dec 2017 03:50:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 609291 at Newsweek: “U.S. Government Planned False Flag Attacks to Start War” <h3 data-mce-style="color: #000099;" style="color: #000099;">Mainstream Media Admits that False Flags Are Real</h3> <p>Last month, Newsweek <a data-mce-="" href="">ran</a> an article headlined (all caps in original Newsweek title):</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><em>U.S. GOVERNMENT PLANNED FALSE FLAG ATTACKS TO START WAR WITH SOVIET UNION, JFK DOCUMENTS SHOW</em></p> </blockquote> <p>The article notes:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><em>The U.S. government once wanted to plan false flag attacks with Soviet aircraft to justify war with the USSR or its allies, newly declassified documents surrounding the assassination of President John F. Kennedy show.</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em>***</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em>False flag attacks are covert operations that make it look like an attack was carried out by another group than the group that actually carried them out.</em></p> </blockquote> <p>The mainstream media is <em>finally</em> catching up with what historians have long documented ...</p> <p>After all, influential royal advisors have been advocating false flag attacks for <a data-mce-="" href="">more than 2,000 years</a> ... and false flag attacks are so common that U.S. officials <a data-mce-="" href="">commonly discuss them</a>.</p> <p>Indeed, there are now <a data-mce-="" href="">so many admissions</a> by government officials of false flag terror that only the willfully ignorant still doubt the reality of the concept.</p> Behavior Deception False flag Flag Military deception Military tactics Piracy Political history Politics Propaganda techniques Reality Soviet Union Star US government War Mon, 18 Dec 2017 03:37:40 +0000 George Washington 609348 at 2018: The Year Central Banks Begin Buying Cryptocurrency <p><a href=""><em>Authored by Eugene Etsebeth via,</em></a></p> <p>Behind closed doors, G7 central banks are sluggish traders that buy and sell the same foreign currencies, marketable securities, special drawing rights (SDR) and gold day in and day out.</p> <p>Central bank traders follow the investment policy enforced by the executive committees with specific asset allocation targets. In order of importance, the objective for foreign reserves trading generally is liquidity, security and returns (in last place).</p> <p><strong>Currently, the G7 is only concerned with the &quot;<a href="">appropriate regulation</a>&quot; of cryptocurrencies and not with the asset class potential of cryptocurrencies. Bitcoin, ether and zcash are nowhere to be found on the list of eligible instruments and currencies that central bankers are allowed to trade.</strong></p> <p><a href=""><strong><img alt="" src="" style="width: 600px; height: 379px;" /></strong></a></p> <p><strong>In 2018, things will be different. G7 central banks will start buying cryptocurrencies to bolster their foreign reserves.</strong></p> <p>The times they are a-changin&#39;.</p> <h2><u>Background</u></h2> <p><strong>One of the core functions of a central bank is to manage their nation-state, or union&#39;s, official gold and foreign exchange reserves.</strong></p> <p>Reserves are integral to ensuring that a nation-state can service its foreign exchange liabilities and maintain confidence in its monetary and exchange rate policies. Overall, the financial stability that comes from hording gold and foreign reserves has historically protected the economic well-being of citizens in the event of external shocks.</p> <p><strong>Gold is commonly held because it is used as protection against black swan economic events. </strong>It can be used as a buffer against calamity because of its high liquidity, currency attributes and its diversification benefits.</p> <p>Foreign exchange is also highly liquid and has diversification benefits (compared to a central bank&#39;s own currency). Foreign exchange is mainly accumulated through buying of foreign exchange in the spot market, conducting money market swaps in foreign exchange for investing and domestic liquidity management in term and call deposit accounts with foreign banks.</p> <h2><u>Interconnectedness</u></h2> <p><strong>The G7 countries are interconnected through a lattice of political, financial and trade agreements.</strong></p> <p>This club of countries hold massive reserves of each other&#39;s currencies &ndash; called foreign exchange reserves. Most of these countries also hold vast warehouses of gold reserves. Canada is the exception, as they recently liquidated all of their gold.</p> <p>The G7 central banks normally also hold special drawing rights (SDR) and marketable securities denominated in foreign currencies like government bonds, corporate bonds treasury bills, corporate equities and foreign currency loans.</p> <p>The SDR needs special mention. It is an international reserve asset, created by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to supplement its member countries&#39; official reserves.</p> <p>The SDR&rsquo;s value is based on five major currencies &ndash; the basket includes: US dollar, euro, Chinese renminbi (RMB), Japanese yen and British pound sterling. RMB has only recently (Oct. 1, 2016) broken the monopoly of G7 currencies that make up the SDR.</p> <p><strong>It is important to note that the SDR is still heavily weighted to the G7 currencies.</strong></p> <p>In a nutshell, the G7 countries mostly hold each other&#39;s currencies as foreign reserves whether it be through the SDR or directly. Gold is mostly accepted as the common standard of universal value.</p> <h2><u>Why 2018?</u></h2> <p><strong>A turning point for G7 central banks will be when the bitcoin market capitalization exceeds the value of all SDR&#39;s that have been created and allocated to members (approximately $291 billion)</strong>.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p dir="ltr" lang="en">The real flippening: $17,600 when <a href=";ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#bitcoin</a> becomes the biggest international currency in market cap. <a href=";ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#IMFSDR</a></p> <p>&mdash; Datavetaren (@Datavetaren) <a href="">November 29, 2017</a></p></blockquote> <script async src="" charset="utf-8"></script><p><span id="cke_bm_60S" style="display: none;">&nbsp;</span><strong>Another tipping point will be the realisation that the values of G7 currencies are devaluing against cryptocurrencies</strong><span id="cke_bm_60E" style="display: none;">&nbsp;</span>. The SDR and G7 country currencies will be forced to alter their foreign reserve weightings and eventually include a basket of cryptocurrencies.</p> <p>The prescient Christine Lagarde, managing director of the IMF, has already warned central banks about cryptocurrency causing massive disruptions.</p> <p>Foreign exchange reserves are used to back a nation&#39;s domestic currency. Fiat currencies are pieces of paper or coinage that inherently do not have value. If anything the currency is backed by the shared belief of participants in a country&#39;s currency scheme. When a central bank from a G7 country like Japan purchases foreign exchange reserves of the United States (US dollars) the shared belief of the U.S. dollar advertently becomes shared with the Japanese people.</p> <p>In 2018, G7 central banks will witness bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies becoming the biggest international currency by market capitalization. This event, together with the global nature of cryptocurrencies with 24/7 trading access, will make it intuitive to own cryptocurrencies as they become a de-facto investment as part of a central banks investment tranche.</p> <p><strong>Cryptocurrencies will also fulfil a new requirement as digital gold.</strong></p> <p>Furthermore, foreign reserves are used to facilitate international trade. This means holding reserves in a trading partner&#39;s currency makes trading simpler. In 2018, cryptocurrencies like bitcoin will be utilized for international trade on a moderate basis because the high returns as an investment will encourage a &lsquo;hold&rsquo; strategy for G7 countries.</p> <p>Foreign reserves are also used as monetary policy tool. Central banks may pursue the option to sell and buy foreign exchange currencies to control exchange rates.<strong> In 2018, central banks will start realising that monetary policy for a global market in cryptocurrency is not achievable.</strong></p> <p>Foreign reserves are additionally used as a hedge against its own economy. Countries whose economies are dependent on export products may use foreign currency as a buffer should the exports or value of their currency drop.</p> <p><strong>G7 central banks will purchase cryptocurrencies as a hedge to the performance of their economy.</strong></p> <h2><u>How it will happen</u></h2> <p><strong>As the realisation of the systemic weakness of fiat currencies becomes apparent contrasted with the groundswell of cryptocurrency, the executive committee of central banks, including governors, presidents and chairpersons &ndash; will call emergency meetings to exercise their prerogative to deviate from the current investment policy for reserves management.</strong></p> <p>Bitcoin and other select cryptocurrencies will be added to the list of eligible securities and currencies. Central bank money will pour into cryptocurrencies.</p> <p>Most G7 central banks will likely use external fund managers to invest in cryptocurrencies over this new epoch. But don&rsquo;t expect this information to be freely available.</p> <p><strong>This will happen in the dark. Old habits die hard.</strong></p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="704" height="445" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Alternative currencies Bitcoin Bitcoin Black Swan British Pound Business Central Banks Cryptocurrencies Digital currency E-commerce Economy Finance Foreign exchange market Foreign-exchange reserves G7 International Monetary Fund International Monetary Fund International trade Japan Monetary Policy Money Renminbi SDR Special drawing rights Yen Mon, 18 Dec 2017 03:25:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 609336 at Artist's Impression Of Mainstream Media In 2017 <p>Chasing tall tales...</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><a href=""><img src="" width="600" height="397" /></a></p> <p><a href=""><em>Source: Ben Garrison</em><br /></a></p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="1012" height="670" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Barnyard Ben Cinema of the United States English-language films Film Tall Tales Technology Mon, 18 Dec 2017 03:00:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 609321 at Poll Shows Nation Divided Between 'America First' And 'Blame America First' <p><a href=""><em>Authored by Ginni Thomas via The Daily Caller,</em></a></p> <p><strong>Despite the real possibilities of alienating paying customers, the NFL, Starbucks, Target, Chick Fil-A and a host of entertainers continue choosing sides in an escalating culture war centering on America&rsquo;s past and future.</strong>&nbsp;As a new poll documents, citizens increasingly fear expressing their <a href="">love of country</a>&nbsp;or expressing their political views, for instance by wearing a Make America Great Again <a href="">cap</a>.</p> <p>George Barna, executive director of the American Culture and Faith Institute, recently released a patriotism <a href="">poll</a>&nbsp;documenting a <strong>surprising degree of polarization and politicization of Americans after the first year of President Donald Trump&rsquo;s governance.</strong></p> <p><em><strong>Different world views, values and even meanings of words fragment the citizenry...</strong></em></p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="//" width="560"></iframe></p> <p>For <u><strong>conservatives</strong></u>, according to the poll, the most patriotic organizations and individuals include the National Rifle Association, Chick-Fil-A, the Republican Party, Fox News and Hobby Lobby. The least patriotic to conservatives are: CNN, The New York Times, NFL, Planned Parenthood, Target, Starbucks, Colin Kaepernick, Michael Moore, Rachel Maddow and Al Sharpton.</p> <p><u><strong>Liberals </strong></u>think the most patriotic institutions and people are the Democratic Party, Colin Kaepernick, the U.S. Supreme Court, Planned Parenthood, Michael Moore, The New York Times, and the NFL. The least patriotic to liberals are Chick-Fil-A, Fox News and Hobby Lobby.</p> <p>To Barna, the NFL &ldquo;take a knee&rdquo; controversy was a cultural flashpoint demanding citizens and leaders to take a stand. His survey showed that conservatives were offended by the NFL while liberals were excited about the courage of those making a stand. Trump, Barna says, did the right thing to weigh in, as elected leaders have the responsibility to make sense of the reality unfolding around them.</p> <p><strong>Ninety-one percent of who Barna labels as SAGECONS (spiritually active, governance engaged, Christian conservatives) turned out to vote in the presidential election in 2016, and 93 percent of them voted for Trump.</strong> While only 9 percent of SAGECONS supported Trump in June 2015, 93 percent of them voted for him in November 2016. Also surprising, Barna says, is that while 58 percent of Americans voted nationwide, 91 percent of these faith-based voters came out to vote. These faith-driven voters &ldquo;had a huge impact&rdquo; even though they still weren&rsquo;t huge fans of Trump, but they had grown more comfortable with him on some life issues and constitutional judges.</p> <p>Barna believes that people&rsquo;s worldview is the single most important consideration for where the future of America lies, yet these competing world views are pulling the country apart. As a sociologist, he sees the value of people&rsquo;s faith as a cornerstone to what America is becoming and doing.</p> <p>Progressives have been waging cultural and language battles in our schools, churches, families, media and government for decades.<strong> Liberals in Barna&rsquo;s poll indicated that free speech was important, but yet there is growing intolerance of civil debate and views that offend the politically correct cultural elite. </strong>Language and values are being <a href="">redefined</a>.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><em><strong>&quot;Cultural marxists have been winning (in our institutions and culture), but the battle is not over,&rdquo;</strong></em> Barna said.</p> </blockquote> <p>*&nbsp; *&nbsp; *</p> <p>Barna has been doing national public opinion surveys since the 1970s. He sold his company, The Barna Group, nine years ago and started American Culture and Faith Institute with work focused on what can we do to turn the culture around.</p> <p>For more on George Barna, read his <a href=";ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1513372227&amp;sr=1-1&amp;keywords=the+day+christians+changed+america" rel="noopener" target="_blank">book</a> &ldquo;The Day Christians Changed America&rdquo;&nbsp;that summarized some 45 surveys in the 2016 election cycle studying how faith influenced voters on issues and candidates. See his website to explore his research or subscribe to his free <a href="">newsletter</a>.</p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="534" height="365" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> American Culture and Faith Institute Christianity Colin Kaepernick Conservatism Conservatism in the United States Democratic Party Donald Trump Donald Trump Fox News Michael Moore National Football League National Rifle Association New York Times Political correctness Political parties in the United States Politics Politics of the United States Reality Republican Party Republican Party U.S. Supreme Court United States Mon, 18 Dec 2017 02:35:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 609313 at "All-In" On Tax Reform <p><a href=""><em>Authored by Lance Roberts via,</em></a></p> <h2><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Review &amp; Update</span></h2> <p>In last week&rsquo;s &ldquo;Technically Speaking&rdquo; post I discussed the S&amp;P 500 hitting 2700 by Christmas. To wit:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><em>&ldquo;<strong>As stated in the title, the current push higher puts 2700 in sight by the time Santa fills the &lsquo;stockings hung by the chimney with care.&rsquo;</strong></em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em>As shown below, price momentum triggered a short-term&nbsp;&ldquo;buy&rdquo;&nbsp;signal following Thanksgiving, and after the brief &lsquo;AMT Tax Debacle&rsquo;&nbsp;in the Senate Tax Bill, momentum again has turned up as prices continue to press higher.&rdquo;</em></p> </blockquote> <p><a href=""><img class="alignnone size-full wp-image-25963" height="346" src="" width="600" /></a></p> <p>As noted above, this&nbsp;<em>&ldquo;momentum&rdquo;</em>&nbsp;keeps portfolios allocated towards equity risk, but we continue to be prudent about the risk we are taking and continue to hedge risk as necessary.</p> <p>After discussing that <em>&ldquo;dip&rdquo;</em> in the market caused by concerns over the current <em>&ldquo;tax reform&rdquo; </em>proposal, I followed up with an analysis of the Federal Reserve&rsquo;s balance sheet manipulations. Unsurprisingly, I discovered the following:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><em>&ldquo;With global Central Banks still flooding the system with liquidity, the Fed has yet to begin rolling off their reinvestments as expected. In fact, the Fed made a timely reinvestment during the&nbsp;&ldquo;Senate Tax Bill&rdquo;&nbsp;debacle earlier this month.&rdquo;</em></p> </blockquote> <p><a href=""><img class="alignnone size-full wp-image-25967" src="" style="width: 601px; height: 348px;" /></a></p> <p>Of course, that bump of liquidity sent asset prices rocketing higher.</p> <p>Then on Thursday, we saw a brief slide in equities as concerns once again rose over the potential for the tax reform legislation to be blocked by several Senators who were leaning towards voting &ldquo;<em>no&rdquo;</em> on the bill. <strong>However, those concerns lasted only momentarily and stocks rocketed higher on Friday ending the week on a positive note. With concerns over tax reform fading, equities are sitting at all-time highs and within striking distance of 2700 by Christmas.</strong></p> <p><a href=""><img class="alignnone size-full wp-image-26056" src="" style="width: 600px; height: 264px;" /></a></p> <p>The current technical underpinnings remain bullish currently, but as shown below, are pushing into extremely overbought conditions. The chart below shows the 1 and 2-year moving averages with 2 and 3-standard deviations of the 1-year moving average. That deviation, combined with the most overbought readings on both RSI and MACD, suggest risk has risen markedly in recent weeks.</p> <p><a href=""><img class="alignnone size-full wp-image-26057" src="" style="width: 600px; height: 449px;" /></a></p> <p>While the conditions are very bullish heading into the end of the year, it is advisable that individuals take some actions in re-balancing risk in portfolios. As I noted last week in <a href="" rel="noopener" target="_blank">&ldquo;The Exit Problem,&rdquo;</a> it is time to start considering sitting a little closer to the <em>&ldquo;exit.&rdquo;</em> To wit:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><em>&ldquo;<strong>Am I sounding an &lsquo;alarm bell&rsquo;&nbsp;and calling for the end of the known world? Should you be buying ammo and food? Of course, not.</strong></em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em>However, I am suggesting that remaining fully invested in the financial markets without a thorough understanding of your &lsquo;risk exposure&rsquo;&nbsp;<strong>will likely not have the desired end result you have been promised.</strong></em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em>As I stated often, my job is to participate in the markets while keeping a measured approach to capital preservation.&nbsp;<strong>Since it is considered &lsquo;bearish&rsquo;&nbsp;to point out the potential &lsquo;risks&rsquo;&nbsp;that could lead to rapid capital destruction; then I guess you can call me a &lsquo;bear.&rsquo; </strong></em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em><strong>Just make sure you understand&nbsp;</strong><strong>I am still in &lsquo;theater,&rsquo;&nbsp;I am just moving much closer to the &lsquo;exit.&rsquo;&rdquo;</strong></em></p> </blockquote> <p>What does that mean? Here are the rules once again&nbsp;which guide the investment process in our shop. It is&nbsp;through following these basic rules that, with the markets overbought, underlying fundamentals stretched, we continue to suggest&nbsp;<strong>some portfolio actions be taken to reduce, not eliminate, overall risk</strong>.</p> <ol> <li style="list-style-type: none;"> <ol> <li><em><strong>Tighten up stop-loss levels</strong>&nbsp;to current support levels for each position.</em></li> <li><em><strong>Hedge portfolios</strong>&nbsp;against major market declines.</em></li> <li><em><strong>Take profits</strong>&nbsp;in positions that have been big winners</em></li> <li><em><strong>Sell laggards</strong>&nbsp;and losers</em></li> <li><em><strong>Raise cash</strong>&nbsp;and rebalance portfolios to target weightings.</em></li> </ol> </li> </ol> <p><strong>Notice, nothing in there says <em>&ldquo;sell everything and go to cash.&rdquo;</em></strong></p> <p>However, being a bit more cautious at this juncture will likely pay dividends.&nbsp;As I have stated over the past several weeks, if tax reform does pass, it now looks likely that it will become effective in February, 2018. If that is the case, the setup for an early January/February sell-off in the markets is likely as portfolio managers lock in gains. <strong>While I have NOT added a short-position to portfolios as of yet, the setup by year-end is becoming much better with the excessive price extension in the market.</strong></p> <hr /> <h2><u><strong>Final Tax Bill Details</strong></u></h2> <p>On Friday, Kevin Brady of the House Ways and Means Committee was on my radio program discussing the bill which was released later that day.</p> <p><iframe frameborder="no" height="300" scrolling="no" src=";color=%23ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_teaser=true&amp;visual=true" width="200%"><span class="mce_SELRES_start" data-mce-type="bookmark" style="display: inline-block; width: 0px; overflow: hidden; line-height: 0;">?</span><span class="mce_SELRES_start" data-mce-type="bookmark" style="display: inline-block; width: 0px; overflow: hidden; line-height: 0;">?</span></iframe></p> <p>Here <a href="" rel="noopener" target="_blank">are the details</a> of the release he referenced in the interview.</p> <ul> <li>Seven rates, starting at 10 percent and reaching 37 percent for incomes above $500,000 for singles and $600,000 for married, joint filers.&nbsp; <span style="color: #993300;"><strong>ALL EXPIRE IN 2025.</strong></span><br /><strong><em>For joint filers:</em></strong> <ul> <li>10 percent: $0 to $19,050</li> <li>12 percent: $19,050 to $77,400</li> <li>22 percent: $77,400 to $165,000</li> <li>24 percent: $165,000 to $315,000</li> <li>32 percent: $315,000 to $400,000</li> <li>35 percent: $400,000 to $600,000</li> <li>37 percent: $600,000 and above</li> </ul> <p><strong><em>For single filers:</em></strong></p> <ul> <li>10 percent: $0 to $9,525</li> <li>12 percent: $9,525 to $38,700</li> <li>22 percent: $38,700 to $70,000</li> <li>24 percent: $70,000 to $160,000</li> <li>32 percent: $160,000 to $200,000</li> <li>35 percent: $200,000 to $500,000</li> <li>37 percent: $500,000 and above</li> </ul> </li> <li><strong>Corporate Tax Rate &ndash;&nbsp;</strong>21 percent, beginning in 2018.</li> <li><strong>Pass-Through Deduction &ndash;&nbsp;</strong>Owners could apply a 20 percent deduction to their business income, subject to limits that would begin at $315,000 for married couples <em>(or half that for single taxpayers).</em></li> <li><strong>Individual State and Local Tax Deductions &ndash;&nbsp;</strong>Individuals can deduct no more than $10,000 worth of the deductions, which could include a combination of property taxes and either sales or income taxes.</li> <li><strong>Obamacare Individual Mandate &ndash;&nbsp;</strong>Repeal the penalties.</li> <li><strong>Mortgage Interest Deduction &ndash;&nbsp;</strong>Deductible mortgage interest for new purchases of homes would be capped at loans of $750,000.</li> <li><strong>Medical Expense Deduction &ndash;&nbsp;</strong>Reduce the threshold to 7.5 percent of AGI for the tax years 2017 and 2018.</li> <li><strong>Child Tax Credit &ndash;&nbsp;</strong>Double the credit to $2,000 and provide it for each child under 18 through 2024. Raise the phase-out amount to $500,000, and cap the refundable portion at $1,400 in 2018.</li> <li><strong>Estate Tax &ndash; </strong>Double the thresholds so the levy applies to fewer estates. The higher thresholds would sunset in 2026.</li> </ul> <p>Of course, the real question is how are you going to <em>&ldquo;pay for it?&rdquo;</em></p> <p><a href=""><img class="alignnone size-full wp-image-26058" src="" style="width: 600px; height: 386px;" /></a></p> <p>Even as Kevin Brady noted in our interview, when I discussed the <em>&ldquo;fiscal</em>&rdquo; side of the tax reform bill, without achieving accelerated rates of economic growth &ndash; <em>&ldquo;the debt will balloon.&rdquo;</em></p> <p>The reality, of course, is that is exactly what will happen because <strong>there is absolutely NO historical evidence that cutting taxes, without offsetting cuts to spending, leads to stronger economic growth.</strong></p> <p><a href=""><img class="alignnone size-full wp-image-25285" src="" style="width: 601px; height: 355px;" /></a></p> <p>Those, of course, are the long-term concerns that will lead to lower rates of returns for equity-based investors and will continue to suppress interest rates for the next decade as the <em>&ldquo;Japanification&rdquo;</em> of the U.S. continues.</p> <p>However, in the short-run investors have thrown caution to the wind. Not only are individual investors fully allocated to stocks<a href="" rel="noopener" target="_blank"> as noted on Thursday</a>, but professionals have gone <em>&ldquo;all-in&rdquo;</em> to chase returns into year-end as noted by my friend Dana Lyons on Friday. <a href="" rel="noopener" target="_blank">To wit:</a></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><em>&ldquo;The National Association of Active Investment Managers, or NAAIM, is made up of Registered Investment Advisors and other money managers who employ active or tactical investment strategies as opposed to buy-&amp;-hold and passive asset allocation. For the most part, the goal of such strategies is to reduce investment risk by applying processes to mitigate losses when they view markets as high-risk. <strong>Apparently, this group sees very little risk in the market at this time &mdash; or else they see Santa&rsquo;s sleigh headed this way &mdash; because they&rsquo;re currently throwing all caution to the wind.</strong></em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em>That interpretation is according to the NAAIM Exposure Index, a survey of the group&rsquo;s collective equity allocation. <strong>Based on the latest reading of the Index, these active managers have an average of 109% exposure to the stock market. Yes, 109%, meaning the&nbsp;average&nbsp;manager is leveraged long. That is the highest reading in the survey&rsquo;s 11-year history, and the 12th reading over 100%.&rdquo;</strong></em></p> </blockquote> <p><a href=""><img class="alignnone size-full wp-image-26059" src="" style="width: 600px; height: 396px;" /></a></p> <p>As I stated previously, t<span class="a">here&nbsp;</span><span class="a">was no catalyst that we know of that burst the dot-com bubble in 2000. There was no catalyst that started the slide in the markets in 2008 until it triggered the Lehman bankruptcy and&nbsp;<em>&ldquo;all hell broke loose.&rdquo;&nbsp;</em></span></p> <p><span class="a">Today, we once again have exuberance present and there is a widespread belief that nothing will stop this runaway train.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><strong><span class="a">But eventually, for whatever reason, the market will top. It is impossible to predict when, or how it will happen. It just most assuredly will, and will do so just as everything seems to be its brightest.&nbsp;</span></strong></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><em>&ldquo;It will be the rudest of awakenings for the slumbering bulls.&rdquo;</em></p> </blockquote> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="710" height="358" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Business Central Banks Economy Estate tax in the United States Federal Reserve Income tax in India Income tax in the United States Japanification Kevin Brady Lehman MACD Moving Averages NAAIM NAAIM Exposure National Association of Active Investment Managers Obamacare Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act Reality S&P 500 Statutory law Tax Tax credit US Federal Reserve Ways and Means Committee Wealth in the United States Mon, 18 Dec 2017 02:10:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 609330 at Here's How The Dallas Police Chief Plans To Fill A Record 250 Job Openings <p>Deteriorating public finances in many public cities are creating headaches for some of the country&rsquo;s largest police departments. The City of Dallas, as we&rsquo;ve pointed out <a href="">time </a>and <a href="">time again</a>, <strong>is in a particularly difficult position. </strong></p> <p>The <a href="">Dallas Police &amp; Fire Pension (DPFP), </a><strong>which covers nearly 10,000 police and firefighters, </strong>is on the verge of collapse as its board and the city struggle to pitch benefit cuts to save the plan from complete failure.</p> <p>The implosion of the fund left active-duty Dallas police and firemen wondering whether that pension check they had been counting on to fund their retirement was about disappear for good.&nbsp; All of which sparked a mass exodus of Dallas police and firefighters eager to lock in their payout rates before they were slashed by the DPFP board. <strong>A <a href="">record 72 officers </a>decided to quit the force in July, despite a plan wending its way through the Texas state legislature that would help &ldquo;save&rdquo; the pension fund.</strong></p> <p><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 500px; height: 250px;" /></a></p> <p>This has left the Dallas PD in an uncomfortable situation: <strong>Not only are there a record 250 open jobs to fill, but the enticements to lure quality recruits have been diminished, and with all the attention surrounding police killings, departments are hoping to be more discerning when hiring new recruits.</strong></p> <p>All of this has forced Dallas Police CHief Renee Hall to consider more creative recruiting strategies.</p> <p>The recruitment shortage that&rsquo;s occurred as a result in some areas is forcing police departments to develop creative strategies for luring millennial recruits to the force. <u><strong>In January, Hall plans to roll out a program that will give a total of four to six days off for officers that recruit someone who is hired and graduates from the academy.</strong></u></p> <p>According to<a href=""> Fox 4</a>, both the Dallas Police Department and Dallas Fire-Rescue are struggling to find people who want to protect and serve. Both chiefs told city council members that recruiting millennials has proven challenging.</p> <p>&quot;We have nights, weekends and holidays &mdash; not attractive to millennials who want all days off and to be the chief in six months,&rdquo; Chief Hall said. &ldquo;We recognize that is a challenge.&quot;</p> <p><strong>&quot;The other challenge &mdash; they&#39;re job hopping every five years,&rdquo;</strong> added Dallas Fire Chief David Coatney.</p> <p>Meanwhile, <a href="">the opioid crisis</a> has rendered hundreds of thousands of young men and women ineligible for law-enforcement service.</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="360" mozallowfullscreen="" scrolling="no" src="" webkitallowfullscreen="" width="640"></iframe></p> <p>Another factor making life difficult for Chief Hall is the fact that, because of the city&rsquo;s precarious fiscal situation, starting pay is lower than neighboring cities.</p> <p>All of this is happening as crime rates, which had been falling for decades, appear to be rising once again. Hall&rsquo;s department saw a 4% uptick in violent crime year-to-year.</p> <p><strong>&quot;Crime is still rising,&rdquo;</strong> said DPA President Mike Mata. &ldquo;We have to do what we can to bring those numbers down.&quot;</p> <p>Additionally, Hall plans to start recruiting Dallas ISD students and hiring them as public service officers until they can be peace officers at age 19-and-a-half. She says it is within her power as chief to hire applicants who would currently not qualify because they admit to infractions like minor drug use.</p> <p><strong>&quot;We recognize that when you&#39;re 17 and you do something silly or stupid, you&#39;re a different person when you&#39;re 24,&rdquo;</strong> she said.</p> <p>Chief Coatney, whose department has run out of ambulances on occasion this year, said he&rsquo;s working to shorten his department&#39;s long application process.</p> <p>&quot;We&#39;ve changed our entire hiring process,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;Now, we have an open hiring period. People can apply at any time.&quot;<br />&nbsp;</p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="813" height="406" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Chief of police Dallas Dallas PD Dallas Police Dallas Police Department Geography of Texas Government of Dallas Labor Police Prevention Safety Texas State legislature Mon, 18 Dec 2017 01:45:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 609309 at