en Trump's Declaration Of War: 12 Things He Must Do For America To Be Great Again <p>President Trump&rsquo;s brief inaugural speech was a declaration of <strong>war against the entirety of the American Ruling Establishment.</strong> All of it.</p> <p><em><a href="">As Paul Craig Roberts details,</a> </em><strong>Trump made it abundantly clear that Americans&rsquo; enemies are right here at home</strong>: globalists, neoliberal economists, neoconservatives and other unilateralists accustomed to imposing the US on the world and involving us in endless and expensive wars, politicians who serve the Ruling Establishment rather than the American people, indeed, the entire canopy of private interests that have run America into the ground while getting rich in the process.</p> <p>If truth can be said, President Trump has <strong>declared a war far more dangerous to himself than if he had declared war against Russia or China.</strong></p> <p>The interest groups designated by Trump as The Enemy are well entrenched and accustomed to being in charge. Their powerful networks are still in place. Although there are Republican majorities in the House and Senate, most of those in Congress are answerable to the ruling interest groups that provide their campaign funds and not to the American people or to the President. The military/security complex, offshoring corporations, Wall Street and the banks are not going to roll over for Trump. And neither is the presstitute media, which is owned by the interest groups whose power Trump challenges.</p> <p>Trump made it clear that he stands for every American, black, brown, and white.<strong> Little doubt his declaration of inclusiveness will be ignored by the haters on the left who will continue to call him a racist just as the $50 per hour paid protesters are doing as I write.</strong></p> <p>Indeed, black leadership, for example, is enculturated into the victimization role from which it would be hard for them to escape. <em><strong>How do you pull together people who all their lives have been taught that whites are racists and that they are the victims of racists?</strong></em></p> <p>Can it be done? I was just on a program briefly with Press TV in which we were supposed to provide analysis of Trump&rsquo;s inaugural speech. The other commentator was a black American in Washington, DC. Trump&rsquo;s inclusiveness speech made no impression on him, and the show host was only interested in showing the hired protesters as a way of discrediting America. <strong>So many people have an economic interest in speaking in behalf of victims that inclusiveness puts them out of jobs and causes.</strong></p> <p><em>So along with the globalists, the CIA, the offshoring corporations, the armaments industries, the NATO establishment in Europe, and foreign politicians accustomed to being well paid for supporting Washington&rsquo;s interventionist foreign policy, Trump will have arrayed against him the leaders of the victimized peoples, the blacks, the hispanics, the feminists, the illegals, the homosexuals and transgendered. This long list, of course, includes the white liberals as well, as they are convinced that flyover America is the habitat of white racists, misogynists, homophobes, and gun nuts. As far as they are concerned, this 84% of geographical US should be quarantined or interred.</em></p> <p><strong><em>In other words, does enough good will remain in the population to enable a President to <a href="">unite the 16% America haters with the 84% America lovers?</a> </em></strong></p> <p><strong>Consider the forces that Trump has against him:</strong></p> <ul> <li>Black and hispanic leaders need victimization, because it is what elevates them to power and income. They will turn a jaundiced eye toward Trump&rsquo;s inclusiveness. Inclusiveness is good for blacks and hispanics, but not for their leaders.</li> <li>The executives and shareholders of global corporations are enriched by the offshored jobs that Trump says he will bring home. If the jobs come home, their profits, performance bonuses, and capital gains will go away. But the economic security of the American population will return.</li> <li>The military/security complex has a 1,000 billion annual budget dependent on &ldquo;the Russian threat&rdquo; that Trump says he is going to replace with normalized relations. Trump&rsquo;s assassination cannot be ruled out.</li> <li>Many Europeans owe their prestige, power, and incomes to the NATO that Trump has called into question.</li> <li>The financial sector&rsquo;s profits almost entirely flow from putting Americans into debt bondage and from looting their private and public pensions. The financial sector with their agent, the Federal Reserve, can overwhelm Trump with financial crisis. The New York Federal Reserve Bank has a complete trading desk. It can send any market into turmoil. Or support any market, because there is no limit on its ability to create US dollars.</li> <li>The entire political ediface in the US has insulated itself from the will, desires, and needs of the people. Now Trump says the politicians will be accountable to the people. This, of course, would mean a big drop in their security in office and in their income and wealth.</li> <li>There are a large number of groups, funded by we-know-not-who. For example, RootsAction has responded today to Trump&rsquo;s forceful commitment to stand for all of the people against the Ruling Establishment with a request to &ldquo;ask Congress to direct the House Judiciary Committee to open an impeachment investigation&rdquo; and to send money for Trump&rsquo;s impeachment.</li> <li>Another hate group, human rights&nbsp;first, attacks Trump&rsquo;s defense of our borders as closing &ldquo;a refuge of hope for those fleeing persecution.&rdquo; Think about this for a minute. According to the liberal-progressive-left and the racial interest group organizations, the US is a racist society and President Trump is a racist. Yet, people subject to American racism are fleeing from persecution to America where they will be racially persecuted? It doesn&rsquo;t make sense. The illegals come here for work. Ask the construction companies. Ask the chicken and animal slaughter houses. Ask the vacation area cleaning services.</li> </ul> <p><strong>This list of those on whom Trump has declared war is long enough, although there are more that can be added.</strong></p> <p><em>We should ask ourselves why a 70 year old billionaire with flourishing businesses, a beautiful wife, and intelligent children is willing to give his final years to the extraordinary stress of being President with the stressful agenda of putting the government back in the hands of the American people. There is no doubt that Trump has made himself a target of assassination. The CIA is not going to give up and go away. Why would a person take on the grand restoration of America that Trump has declared when he could instead spend his remaining years enjoying himself immensely?</em></p> <p>Whatever the reason, we should be grateful for it, and if he is sincere we must support him. If he is assassinated, we need to take up our weapons, burn Langley to the ground and kill every one of them.</p> <p><u><strong>If he succeeds, he deserves the designation: Trump the Great!</strong></u></p> <p>Russia, China, Iran, Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia, and any other country on the CIA&rsquo;s hit list should undersand that Trump&rsquo;s rise is insufficient protection. The CIA is a worldwide organization. Its profitable businesses provide income independent of the US budget. The organization is capable of undertaking operations independently of the President or even of its own Director.</p> <p><strong>The CIA has had about 70 years to entrench itself. </strong>It has not gone away.</p> <p><a href=""><em>But, as Jeremiah Johnson explains (via, </em></a><strong>it will take a complete sea change to rectify the course this country has been heading in the past eight years.</strong>&nbsp; These are some of the problems that Trump will need to reverse when he becomes President Trump, many of which he promised to either change or end completely:</p> <ol> <li> <p>The (Un)Affordable Health Care Act, now law, termed &ldquo;Obamacare&rdquo; that is the most heinous piece of legislation&hellip;a law that mandates a requirement for a citizen to have health care coverage as dictated by government requirements.</p> </li> <li> <p>&ldquo;Differentially permeable&rdquo; borders: where foreigners, such as Mexicans and Canadians can come and go as they please, and illegal aliens have free access&hellip;but Americans are confined until a full cavity search is conducted.</p> </li> <li> <p>An economy based not on true GNP, but on consumer spending&nbsp;(almost 80%); convincing one company not to pick up and relocate overseas is an illustration of the concept, and not the implementation&hellip;not yet.</p> </li> <li> <p>A reversal of the true unemployment rate, that hovers between 15 and 20%, depending on what paid &ldquo;parrot&rdquo; (such as Labor and Statistics) announces the phony figure.</p> </li> <li> <p>A reversal of the Entitlement Nation: the EBT and Food Stamp users, the unemployment collectors, the Social Security Disability recipients whose corpulence from overeating is termed a &ldquo;disability,&rdquo; the illegal aliens on the dole for all of the above, plus free healthcare, the almost 100 million no longer &ldquo;in the work force.&rdquo;</p> </li> <li> <p>Knocking the knees off lobbyists, NGO&rsquo;s, and NPO&rsquo;s&nbsp;who have been holding administrations hostage (the 1st), or acting as if they were a government agency (the 2nd), or with executives profiting immensely while running on slave labor using socially misfortunate people and writing it all off (the 3rd).</p> </li> <li> <p>Revitalizing a military&nbsp;whose Air Force is forced to scavenge parts from &ldquo;the Boneyard,&rdquo; and where levels of service members in terms of numbers and readiness have fallen to their lowest point since before WWII.</p> </li> <li> <p>Resetting an abysmal foreign policy&nbsp;where (for the past eight years) we have instituted coup d&rsquo;états, undermined relations that worked throughout the world, placed ourselves in position to start a new Cold War, and turned the Middle East and Eastern Europe completely upside down.</p> </li> <li> <p>Revitalizing a crumbling infrastructure&nbsp;of roads, bridges, and buildings very dangerously in disrepair&hellip;where maintenance charges and fees continue to rise with very little return on taxpayer dollars and nothing changing on our highways, ports, and bridges.</p> </li> <li> <p>Permitting (yes, permitting) and encouraging American businesses&nbsp;to be able to start up, operate, and produce in the United States without Soviet-style restrictions, regulations, and an army of bureaucratic &ldquo;flying monkeys&rdquo; inserting themselves into the business&rsquo;s &ldquo;fourth point of contact,&rdquo; preventing U.S. businesses (especially the small proprietorships and Mom-and-Pop concerns) from either starting, or succeeding.</p> </li> <li> <p>The Supreme Court: just&nbsp;look&nbsp;at them&hellip;and nothing else really needs to be said: Except that a branch of the U.S. government meant to be a &ldquo;check and balance&rdquo; does not need to circumvent the Constitution and be the sole arbiter and (in essence) a lawmaker to institute policy for a presidential administration.</p> </li> <li> <p>Bring about a change in the hearts of the American people.</p> </li> </ol> <p><strong>Perhaps the most important item in that list is the last one.</strong></p> <p><em>When Reagan took office, we (and he) faced double-digit unemployment, double digit inflation, and enormous taxation and loss of liberties.&nbsp; We faced a crumbling infrastructure, a military that was in shambles (Desert One to free the Iranian hostages, conducted with helicopters in a&nbsp;sandstorm&nbsp;as Carter approached the midnight hour to lose the election should never be forgotten).&nbsp; The Soviets were strong, and we were not&hellip;having recently ended the war in Vietnam.&nbsp; We weren&rsquo;t doing too well, in the world and in our own minds and hearts.</em></p> <p><strong>Then Reagan came, and he turned it around.</strong>&nbsp; He was not perfect, but he made up for his imperfections by surrounding himself with an excellent staff.&nbsp; He had a heart for the United States, and the fortitude to stand up for it.&nbsp; His leadership staved off the fall of the U.S., and turned things around for us.&nbsp; Do you remember that Lake Placid victory of the amateur&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">U.S. hockey team in the semifinals against the professionals of the Soviet hockey team</a>?&nbsp; Remember the moment&hellip;a small thing, perhaps, and many may discount it as being &ldquo;completely unimportant&rdquo; or &ldquo;unrelated to problems we now face.&rdquo;</p> <p>But that victory was neither one of those disparaging remarks.&nbsp; It was something that we all could focus upon, to form some kind of cohesive unity and think of ourselves together as Americans&hellip;to take pride in accomplishment in something&hellip;for once, after four years of Carter.&nbsp; There was a sea change made.&nbsp; Did it last?&nbsp; Perhaps it didn&rsquo;t, and yet, if the memory of those years is still alive in even one person with the hopes of a repeat&hellip;then maybe others can feel the same.</p> <p><strong>This is still the best country in the world.&nbsp; Trump&rsquo;s campaign slogan was &ldquo;Make America Great Again.&rdquo;&nbsp; Cliché, perhaps, but we must start somewhere.&nbsp;</strong> Last time I checked, the preamble to the Constitution starts out with &ldquo;We the people.&rdquo;&nbsp; Yes, we the people need to do the best we can with what we have, to be vigilant in our undertakings to prevent another eight years akin to the ones we are just emerging from, and to move forward and improve our lives.&nbsp;&nbsp;<a href="">Many will say that it doesn&rsquo;t matter, and that there are forces that are out of our control that will prevent us as a nation from overcoming obstacles.</a></p> <p>Such may be for a while, as it was under Obama.&nbsp; Those times cannot last forever, and eventually the change has to occur.&nbsp; We have perhaps a bigger job than those 12 items I listed for Trump to accomplish.</p> <p><strong>Number 12 is not all on him: it&rsquo;s also on us.</strong></p> <p>In order for the country to succeed, the people have to return to core values of family, hard work, respect (for self and others), and faith, with one another and in God.&nbsp; Trump can do a great deal, but in the end, it is we the people who will enable him to turn it around or not.&nbsp; <strong><em>Change can&rsquo;t be forced upon you by some jerk with a perfect smile who tells you that change is a movement &ldquo;we can believe in,&rdquo; and then assumes the role of a dictator and forces it on you.&nbsp; Change is something that comes from within, precipitated by a feeling that is in one&rsquo;s heart.&nbsp; We have our chance to change it all, and let us wish success for this man who will become the president of the United States in a couple of days.&nbsp; Let us hope that he has that feeling inside of himself and holds onto it&hellip;to unite the United States of America again.</em></strong></p> <p>&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="543" height="300" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Air Force American people of German descent Business Central Intelligence Agency China Climate change skepticism and denial Congress Donald Trump Donald Trump presidential campaign East Europe Eastern Europe Eastern Europe Federal Reserve Federal Reserve Bank Iran Judiciary Committee Middle East Middle East New York Federal Reserve Bank North Atlantic Treaty Organization Obamacare Political positions of Donald Trump Politics Politics of the United States Senate Social Issues Supreme Court The Apprentice Unemployment United States US Federal Reserve US government WWE Hall of Fame Sat, 21 Jan 2017 03:15:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 586026 at Chinese, Germans Bidding To Turn Abandoned Nuclear Wasteland Of Chernobyl Into Solar Farm <p>For 30 years the 1,000 square miles surrounding the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Ukraine, Belarus and Russia have lay largely inhabited and remains one of the most radioactively contaminated areas in the world.&nbsp; But that's all about to change if a group of German and Chinese investors have their way about it.&nbsp; According to Ukraine's Minister of Ecology and Natural Resources, Ostap Semerak, 39 separate entities have applied for permission to install 2 gigawatts worth solar panels on the land that would otherwise lie unutilized for centuries to come.&nbsp; Per <a href="">Bloomberg</a>:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>Chinese and Germans are among dozens of investors taking Ukraine up on its offer to turn the grounds of one of the world’s worst nuclear disasters into a massive solar park.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Thirteen international investors are among the 39 groups seeking Ukraine permission to install about 2 gigawatts of solar panels inside the radioactive exclusion zone surrounding the defunct Chernobyl nuclear plant,</strong> according to Minister of Ecology and Natural Resources Ostap Semerak. Two gigawatts is almost the capacity of two modern nuclear reactors, although atomic power unlike solar works day and night.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>“We have received requests from businesses that are interested in renting land for building solar power stations,”</strong> Semerak said in a phone interview from Kiev. “We are not looking to profit from land use, we are looking to profit from investment.”</p> </blockquote> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p><img src="" alt="Chernobyl" width="600" height="586" /></p> </blockquote> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Of course, the effort to attract the new investors required a modest <strong>85% rent reduction and guaranteed rates through 2030 </strong>to subsidize the solar farms which are otherwise not cost competive.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>Chinese companies GCL System Integration Technology Co Ltd. and China National Complete Engineering Corp said in November that they plan to build a 1 gigawatt solar project on the site in several stages. A German renewables developer has applied to install 500 megawatts, Semerak said, declining to name the firm. The remaining project proposals are for plants that are about 20 megawatts in size.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Companies “have requested between 20 hectares and 1,000 hectares for projects,” Semerak said. In a push for foreign investment, <strong>Ukraine has lowered the rent charged for state property by 85 percent, he said.</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>The country set up a feed-in-tariff system running through 2030 that offers a fixed price which is reduced annually. Projects that sign on in 2017 will receive 17 euro cents (18 U.S. cents) a kilowatt.</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>That said, there is one minor issue which could disrupt the otherwise genius plan, if we understand it correctly, which is that the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development has waffled on providing financing and said <strong>loans will be contingent on "environmental due diligence."&nbsp; <span style="text-decoration: underline;">Seriously</span></strong>?<strong><br /></strong></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p><strong>The lingering radiation at Chernobyl is a concern of the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development</strong>, which is considering whether to finance the solar projects. Loans will be contingent on <strong>environmental due diligence</strong>, according to spokesman Anton Usov. <strong>The projects would have to be safe to install and operate and also be commercially viable to receive funding, he said.</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>“For any project above 10 megawatts in size, you would need someone on-site almost every day,”</strong> said Pietro Radoia, solar analyst at Bloomberg New Energy Finance. <strong>“The bigger the project, the more daily small issues come up that have to be dealt with.”</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>After seeing some pretty ridiculous "environmental" concerns derail large M&amp;A projects in the U.S., we would love to see the consulting report that approves this deal.</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="705" height="360" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Alternative energy Belarus Chernobyl Chernobyl Exclusion Zone China Disaster Energy Energy conversion Environment Europe Feed-in tariff fixed Kievan Rus' Member states of the United Nations Nature Nuclear Power Nuclear power Nuclear technology Physical universe Pripyat radiation Radioactive contamination Renewable energy Republics Solar power Ukraine Ukraine Sat, 21 Jan 2017 02:50:52 +0000 Tyler Durden 586032 at The Geopolitics Of 2017 In 4 Maps <p><a href=""><em>Submitted by George Friedman and Jacob Shapiro via,</em></a></p> <p>International relations and geopolitics are not synonymous... at least, not the way we understand them at Geopolitical Futures. &ldquo;International relations&rdquo; is a descriptive phrase that encompasses all the ways countries behave toward one another. &ldquo;Geopolitics&rdquo; is the supposition that all international relationships are based on the interaction between geography and power.</p> <p>Our brand of geopolitics takes this a step further and asserts that a deep understanding of geography and power enables you to do two things. First, it helps you comprehend the forces that will shape international politics and how they will do so. Second, it allows you to identify what is important and what isn&rsquo;t.</p> <p>This makes maps an extremely important part of our work. Writing can be an ideal medium for explaining power, but even the best writer is limited by language when it comes to describing geography. So this week, we have decided to showcase some of the best maps our graphics team (TJ Lensing and Jay Dowd) made in 2016&hellip; not just because these four maps are cool (though they are), but because we think they go a long way in explaining the foundations of what will be the most important geopolitical developments of 2017.</p> <h3><u>Map 1: Russia&rsquo;s Economic Weakness</u></h3> <p><img src="" style="width: 550px; height: 679px;" /><br /><a href="" target="_blank"><em>Click to enlarge</em></a></p> <p>This map illustrates three key aspects of Russia that are crucial to understanding the country in 2017. First is the oft-overlooked fact that Russia is a federation. Russia has a strong national culture, but it is also an incredibly diverse political entity that requires a strong central government. Unlike most maps of Russia, this one divides the country by its constitutive regions. There are 85 of these regions&hellip; 87 if you count Crimea and Sevastopol. Not all have the same status&mdash;some are regions, while others are autonomous regions, cities, and republics.</p> <p>The second aspect is that there is a great deal of economic diversity in this vast Russian Federation. The map shows this by identifying regional budget surpluses and deficits throughout the country. Two regions have such large surpluses that they break the scale: the City of Moscow and Sakhalin. Fifty-two regions (or 60% of Russia&rsquo;s regional budgets) are in the red. The Central District, which includes Moscow, makes up more than 20% of Russia&rsquo;s GDP, while Sakhalin and a few other regions that are blessed with surpluses produce Russia&rsquo;s oil.</p> <p>The third aspect follows from combining the logical conclusions of the first two observations. Russia is vast, and much of the country is in a difficult economic situation. Even if oil stays around $55 a barrel for all of 2017, that won&rsquo;t be high enough to solve the problems of the many struggling parts of the country. Russian President Vladimir Putin rules as an authoritarian. This is, in part, because he governs an unwieldy country. He needs all the power he can get to redistribute wealth so that the countryside isn&rsquo;t driven to revolt.</p> <p>Russia is making headlines right now because of Ukraine, Syria, and alleged hacking. But the geopolitical position of Russia is better described by studying the map above.</p> <h3><u>Map 2: China&rsquo;s Cage</u></h3> <p><img src="" style="width: 550px; height: 313px;" /><br /><a href="" target="_blank"><em>Click to enlarge</em></a></p> <p>Maps that shift perspective can be disorienting, but they are meant to be. Our minds get so used to seeing the world in one way that a different view can feel alien. But that is even more reason to push through the discomfort. The map above attempts to do that by looking at the Pacific from Beijing&rsquo;s perspective.</p> <p>China&#39;s moves in the South China Sea have received a great deal of attention. In a Jan. 12 confirmation hearing with Congress, nominee for US Secretary of Defense James Mattish identified Chinese aggressiveness as one of the major reasons he believes the world order is under its biggest assault since World War II. But we believe the Chinese threat is overstated. This map helps explain why.</p> <p>China&rsquo;s access to the Pacific is limited by two obstacles. The first is the small island chains in the South and East China Seas. When we look at this map, China&rsquo;s motive in asserting control over these large rocks and molehills becomes clear. If China cannot control these islands and shoals, they can be used against China in a military conflict. (If there were small island chains off the US coast in the Pacific or the Atlantic, US strategy might look like China&rsquo;s.)</p> <p>The second obstacle is that China is surrounded by American allies. Some such as Japan (and to a lesser extent South Korea and Taiwan) have significant military forces to defend themselves from Chinese encroachment. Taiwan sticks out as a major spur aimed squarely at China&rsquo;s southeast coast. Those that don&rsquo;t have sufficient military defenses, like the Philippines, have firm US security guarantees. China is currently at a serious geographic disadvantage in the waters off its coast.</p> <p>This map, though, does not reveal a critical third piece of this puzzle&mdash;the US Navy outclasses the Chinese navy in almost every regard, despite impressive and continuing Chinese efforts to increase capabilities. But looking at this map, you can see why China wants to make noise in its coastal waters and how China is limited by an arc of American allies. You can also see why one of China&rsquo;s major goals will be to attempt to entice any American allies to switch sides. Consequently, China&rsquo;s moves regarding the Philippines require close observation in 2017.</p> <h3><u>Map 3: Redrawing the Middle East</u></h3> <p><img src="" style="width: 550px; height: 413px;" /><br /><a href="" target="_blank"><em>Click to enlarge</em></a></p> <p>It has become cliché to point out that the Middle East&rsquo;s current political borders were drawn after World War I by colonial powers like the United Kingdom and France, and that the region&rsquo;s wars and insurrections in recent years are making these artificial boundaries obsolete. What isn&rsquo;t cliché is doubling down on that analysis. We&rsquo;ve drawn a new map of the Middle East based on who controls what territory, as opposed to the official boundaries recognized by international organizations like the United Nations.</p> <p>The map above reveals what the Middle East really looks like right now. Many will object to some of the boundaries for political purposes, but this map is explicitly not trying to make a political statement. Rather, it is an attempt to show who holds power over what geography in the Middle East.</p> <p>From this point of view, Syria, Iraq, Yemen, and Libya don&rsquo;t exist anymore. In their places are smaller warring statelets based on ethnic, national, and sectarian identities. Other borders (like those of Lebanon and Israel) are also redrawn to reflect actual power dynamics. Here, a politically incorrect but accurate map is more useful than an inaccurate but politically correct one.</p> <p>Just as important as redrawing the borders of countries that no longer function as unified entities is noting which countries&rsquo; borders do not require redrawing. These countries include three of the region&rsquo;s four major powers: Turkey, Iran, and Saudi Arabia. The borders of the other major power, Israel, are only slightly modified. (Egypt is an economic basket case and does not qualify as a major power, even though it has arguably the most cohesive national culture in the Arab world.)</p> <p>The Middle East is defined by two key dynamics: the wars raging in the heart of the Arab world and the balance of power between the countries that surround this conflict.</p> <h3><u>Map 4: Imagining 2017&rsquo;s Brexit</u></h3> <p><img src="" style="width: 550px; height: 490px;" /><br /><a href="" target="_blank"><em>Click to enlarge</em></a></p> <p>Analyzing this map must begin with a disclaimer: This is, first and foremost, an analytical tool and a means of thinking about Europe&rsquo;s future. It is explicitly not a prediction of what Europe&rsquo;s borders will look like in the future.</p> <p>The map identifies areas in Europe with strong nationalist tendencies. Those regions with active separatist movements are not italicized. The italicized regions are those demanding increased autonomy but not independence. In many of these regions, secessionist movements may be favored by a minority of the population. The point here is not their size, but rather that in all these regions, there is some degree of national consciousness that is dissonant with the current boundaries of Europe&rsquo;s nation-states.</p> <p>The European Union is a flawed institution because its members could never decide what they wanted it to be. The EU is not quite a sovereign entity, but it claims more authority than a free trade agreement. European nation-states gave up some of their sovereignty to Brussels&hellip; but not all of it. So when serious issues arose (such as the 2008 financial crisis or the influx of Syrian and other refugees), EU member states went back to solving problems the way they did before the EU. Instead of &ldquo;one for all and all for one,&rdquo; it was &ldquo;to each their own, but you still have to buy German products.&rdquo;</p> <p>Brexit shook the foundations of the EU in 2016. Elections in France and Germany and domestic instability in Italy will shake those foundations in 2017. But Brexit also opened the doors to a deeper question: How will national self-determination be defined in the 21st century? Not all of Europe&rsquo;s nation-states are on stable ground. The most important consequences of Brexit may end up being its impact on the political future of the United Kingdom. And in Spain, Catalonia already claims it will hold an independence referendum this year.</p> <p>Brussels, meanwhile, keeps trying to speak with one voice. This map communicates just how hard that is&hellip; not just for the EU, but also for some of Europe&rsquo;s nation-states.</p> <h3><u>Conclusion</u></h3> <p>The saying goes that a picture is worth a thousand words. Maps are worth many more. Our perspective on the world is rooted in an objective and unbiased approach to examining geography and power. Maps like these are foundational components for building that perspective. These four maps are especially helpful in thinking about the geopolitical forces that will shape the world in the year ahead.</p> <p>*&nbsp; *&nbsp; *</p> <p><em>Over the last couple of weeks, we&rsquo;ve shared some sneak peeks of our 24-page forecast, <strong>The World in 2017</strong>. If you&rsquo;ve enjoyed these snapshots, you can now download your free copy of a special report that further illuminates the year ahead. The report, <strong>Top 3 Economic Surprises for 2017</strong>, contains information on what the future holds for three geopolitically important countries. <a href="" target="_blank">Simply click here to get your free copy</a>.</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="704" height="343" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Asia Border China China Chinese navy Congress East China European Union European Union France Geography Geopolitics Germany headlines International relations theory Iran Iraq Israel Italy Japan Map Middle East Middle East Political geography Politics Region Saudi Arabia South China Turkey Ukraine United Kingdom United Nations United States Navy Vladimir Putin Sat, 21 Jan 2017 02:25:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 586020 at Friday Humor: Hillary Catches Bill Staring At Ivanka <p>While there is no proof that Bill is indeed ogling Ivanka Trump as this viral clip alleges, judging by Hillary's reaction (and Bill's stoic avoidance of Hillary), it is hardly that far fetched. In any case, it's been a long week, it's Friday, and its funny: <em>what difference does it make if this is a "fake clip."</em></p> <blockquote class="twitter-video"><p dir="ltr" lang="en">Credit: <a href="">@beinlibertarian</a>! Hillary catches Bill staring at Ivanka <a href="">#Inauguration</a> <a href=""></a></p> <p>— James Slingsby (@luckyjimsling) <a href="">January 20, 2017</a></p></blockquote> <script src="//"></script> <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="537" height="287" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> American people of German descent Business Hillary Clinton Ivanka Ivanka Trump Nationality Twitter Twitter United States Sat, 21 Jan 2017 02:13:35 +0000 Tyler Durden 586031 at Trump Takes Over 'Riskiest' America Since World War II <p>While most are well aware that President Obama is leaving office having almost doubled the national debt during his &#39;reign&#39;, the more concerning fact is that this debt-splosion came with the <a href="">weakest economic recovery in US history</a>. What this means simply is that <strong>Obama is handing Trump the &#39;riskiest&#39; America since World War II</strong> as debt-to-GDP is the highest since Truman.</p> <p>Combine <a href="">this</a>...<strong>Worst Recovery Ever...</strong></p> <p><a href=""><img src="" style="width: 600px; height: 680px;" /></a></p> <p><em>Source: JPMorgan</em></p> <p>With <a href="">this</a>...<strong>Biggest increase in debt ever...</strong></p> <p><a href=" final debt.jpg"><img src="" style="width: 599px; height: 314px;" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>And you get this... <strong>the highest debt-to-gdp since Truman...</strong></p> <p><img alt="" src="" style="width: 600px; height: 455px;" /></p> <p><em>h/t @Schuldensuehner</em></p> <p>Trump is taking over America in its most perilous economic state since World War II.</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="959" height="727" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Barack Obama Fiscal policy Government debt Illinois National Debt Politics Politics of the United States President Obama recovery United States Sat, 21 Jan 2017 02:00:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 586021 at The Epidemic Of Bad Ideas <p><a href=""><em>Submitted by David Galland via,</em></a></p> <p><strong>Our education begins within a few minutes of arriving on planet Earth. </strong>That&rsquo;s when we begin to learn that crying and carrying on is rewarded with coddling and nourishment.</p> <p>That particular lesson stays with us throughout our lives, more so with some people than others. I especially love watching red-faced yuppies trying to argue canceled airline flights back into service.</p> <p><strong>We also are educated by the physical world.</strong> Running barefoot and stepping on a tack/bee/piece of glass/thorn/etc. teaches us the importance of protective garments. As does our first time staying out too long shirtless in the sun.</p> <p>Of course, our family members and friends also play an important role, teaching us the difference between wrong and right. Of course, as often as not, those concepts are subjective. Is it really &ldquo;wrong&rdquo; to question your elders? Or &ldquo;right&rdquo; to fall to your knees in prayer to an invisible superhuman at bedtime?</p> <p>Maybe, maybe not. But not being privy to the hard data proving either point in our formative years, we are expected to take these various ideas on board without questioning. And, for the most part, we do.</p> <p><strong>It is also clear that having a poor role model can have long-term deleterious results.</strong> A single mother on welfare who is addicted to crack is unlikely to instill in Junior a strong moral compass or the work ethic needed to get ahead in a competitive world.</p> <p><strong>Regardless, while still in the proverbial short pants, we are one day bundled up and sent off to begin our formal education.</strong> This is where things get interesting.</p> <p><em>Moving along, it seems appropriate to drop the virtual needle on Pink Floyd&rsquo;s classic, <a href="" target="_blank">Another Brick in the Wall</a>.</em></p> <h3><u>Bricks in the Wall</u></h3> <p>Once our parents hand the keys to our brains to professional teachers,<strong> any number of factors come to play in our education.</strong></p> <p>For starters, every graduating class of future teachers contains those who sit in the front and those who hide at the back. If you&rsquo;re lucky, your formative years won&rsquo;t be shaped by a guy with &ldquo;Dopey&rdquo; as a college nickname.</p> <p>And that&rsquo;s not the worst roll of the dice. In my early schooling, I had a perennially pissed-off teacher by the name of Mr. Hirata. That I still remember his name is the direct result of his pulling a handful of my hair out by the roots in front of the class. My crime? Tossing a small glob of rice at another student during lunch break.</p> <p>Likewise, in the education of my own children, there was an intensely passive-aggressive female teacher (at least I think she was female) who clearly disliked boys. Not the best setting for my son, and another brick in the wall that ultimately led my wife and me to homeschool the kids.</p> <p>But stupidity, an excess of emotions, or gender bias are not the worst traits an educator might possess. While those may affect a subset of the student body, leaving them with a poor opinion of their educational experience, the real threat comes from bad ideas accepted by academics as good ideas.</p> <p>I subscribe to the theory that ideas are like living viruses: a strong idea, once released into the ether, will take hold and gain currency. The stronger the idea, the more likely it is to spread.</p> <p><strong>Unfortunately, even terrible ideas can spread virulently. The classic of the genre being Karl Marx&rsquo;s &ldquo;From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs.&rdquo;</strong></p> <p>That particular idea has literally cost&nbsp;millions of lives.&nbsp;Incredibly, despite having been proven false time and again since its first utterance, it continues to spread.</p> <h3><u>Violence as Policy and Other Insanities</u></h3> <p><strong>Throughout history, bad ideas such as those espoused by Marx have taken hold in the public arena and become institutionalized. </strong>This despite the inherent violence required by a system where individuals are forced to be subservient to the state.</p> <p>The iconic socialist revolutionary, Che Guevara, made the case that in a true socialist revolution, large swaths of the population <em>had </em>to die.</p> <p style="margin-left: .5in;">&ldquo;Is it possible or not, given the present conditions in [the Americas] to achieve socialist power by peaceful means? We emphatically answer that, in the great majority of cases, this is not possible. The most that could be achieved would be the formal takeover of the bourgeois superstructure of power and the transition to socialism of that government that, under the established bourgeois legal system, having achieved formal power will still have to wage a very violent struggle against all who attempt, in one way or another, to check its progress toward new social structures.&rdquo; &nbsp;</p> <p style="margin-left: .5in;">&mdash;<em>Che Guevara, Tactics and Strategy of the Latin American Revolution, 1962</em></p> <p>You may recognize that doctrine being applied eight years after it was written in <a href="" target="_blank">Pol Pot&rsquo;s regime</a><span style="text-decoration: underline;">.</span> More than 20% of the population died horribly in the reeducation camps where they were sent to learn how to think correctly. Or die. Actually, mainly die.</p> <p><img src="" style="width: 200px; height: 187px; float: right;" />If mass murder as policy isn&rsquo;t about as bad an idea as ever stalked the land, I don&rsquo;t know what is. Yet, there is still a large demand among the clamoring masses for T-shirts and posters emblazoned with Che&rsquo;s beret-bedecked cabeza. You know, because he&rsquo;s sooo cool.</p> <p>But I drift.</p> <p>The point I am laboring toward is that once bad ideas infest the educational system, they invariably jump the intellectual barriers and end up in the political system.</p> <p>It is thus that the low-information processors have so tightly embraced the Chicken Little idea that the sky is falling due to the degradation of the environment, and that the governments of the world have responded by spending hundreds of billions of dollars fighting a fiction.</p> <p>This despite all the flashing fluorescent signs that the idea holds no water. If it did, why the pivot from &ldquo;global warming&rdquo; to the catch-all broader notion of &ldquo;climate change&rdquo;? And why is there a steadfast refusal by leading climate alarmists to <a href="" target="_blank">publicly debate scientists who dispute the theory</a>?</p> <p>But that is just one small example of a long list of bad ideas that have crossed the blood-brain barrier.</p> <p><strong>Here&rsquo;s another. Not all that long ago, some bright light decided that voluntarism should be injected into the schools. For example, making it a class project to read to old folks or play with stray dogs down at the local animal shelter. Harmless enough activities designed to &ldquo;teach&rdquo; the young to be more civic-minded. Well, that idea has morphed from a one-off activity to being mandatory for graduation.</strong></p> <p><strong>And rather than providing the simple lesson that people can do a bit of good in their local community by volunteering, it has become indoctrination to advance Marx&rsquo;s mantra.</strong></p> <p>We know a nice enough family back in the States that can never just go on vacation. Rather, they feel compelled to head off to some backwater to do good works, paying for their &ldquo;holidays&rdquo; with donations dunned from friends and family members.</p> <h3><u>The Epidemic of Bad Ideas</u></h3> <p>Slapping together an abbreviated list of the bad ideas now sweeping aside intelligent thought across the land&mdash;both in the US and in most countries where people have too much time on their hands, we come up with:</p> <ul> <li><strong>Mother Earth Is Dying.</strong>&nbsp;What a dismal and stupid perspective. And doubly stupid because the same morose idea has infested the human imagination time and time again over the millennia. In the past, Gaia&rsquo;s purported assassins have taken the form of overpopulation, a new ice age, air pollution, swine flu, holes in ozone layers, dying bees, or whatever the hell. <p>Speaking as someone who has visited all points of the compass on planet Earth, if there&rsquo;s a problem humanity faces, it is underpopulation. Case in point, my partner Olivier Garret&rsquo;s sainted mother lives in the countryside about 20 minutes from Paris. Despite the area being populated since men and apes were dating, there are rolling green hills and forests as far as the eye can see.</p> <p>Dear readers in England might get a kick out of this illustrative quote from Paul Ehrlich, the dimwitted father of modern doomsday predictions:</p> <p>&ldquo;By the year 2000 the United Kingdom will be simply a small group of impoverished islands, inhabited by some 70 million hungry people ... If I were a gambler, I would take even money that England will not exist in the year 2000.&rdquo;<br />&mdash;<em>Speech at British Institute for Biology, September 1971</em></p> <p>Proving how hard it is to kill off bad ideas, to this day Ehrlich remains the president of Stanford University&rsquo;s Center for Conservation Biology.</p></li> </ul> <ul> <li><strong>All Cultures Are Good. </strong>You have to be naive in the extreme to accept this notion as true. Is an Islamic theocracy on par with living in a secular democracy where, for example, women have basic rights? Is African tribalism as an organizing system as valuable as one based on the rights of the individual to pursue life, liberty, and happiness? Is the Indian caste system really okay? <p>In my opinion, the idea that individual cultures should be preserved like museum pieces is one of the most dangerous ideas afflicting modern man. That which separates us does not make us stronger.</p></li> </ul> <ul> <li><strong>Capitalism Is Bad.</strong> Wake up and smell the Starbucks! Or some other brand determined to unseat Starbucks by offering better coffee at a better price. Though far from perfect&mdash;and, sorry to break it to you, but like Santa Claus, there is no such thing as a perfect economic system&mdash;minimizing government interference in the free exchange of goods and services works best at elevating the quality of life for the greatest number of people. <p>Conversely, despite Marx&rsquo;s quip, the systems that work worst are invariably based on some group of elites using the cover of &ldquo;public good&rdquo; to pull the levers on a command economy.</p></li> </ul> <ul> <li><strong>Political Correctness</strong>. Talk about a slippery slope. Today, virtually any action or word can be seen to &ldquo;micro-aggress&rdquo; against some sensitive soul. In response, universities and governments feel compelled to take active measures to protect those same souls. <p>The end result has to be a Gordian knot of soul-draining policies, regulations, and other complexities. Oh wait, why should it be a Gordian knot? Why not Gordiana or some other gender-neutral name? Sexist bastards!</p></li> </ul> <ul> <li><strong>White People Are Bad and a Dying Breed.</strong> And that goes double for white men, eeeww!&nbsp;Sorry toots, but in the US 75% of the population is Caucasian, and just under half of that number are men. And it&rsquo;s not just in the US that whites make up the demographic majority, by a wide margin. That is also the case in Canada, Australia, the UK, Europe, Russia, and many other countries. It may surprise you to learn that here in Argentina, the number is closer to 90%, and it&rsquo;s even higher than that in Costa Rica, among many others. <p>The idea that white people will effectively fade away anytime soon crashes and burns in the face of demographic facts. Regardless, focusing on the color of a person&rsquo;s skin in making policy is, per my comments above, looking for ways to separate us humans, and so I am 100% against it. As far as the notion that white people are somehow bad, that&rsquo;s just naked racism.</p></li> </ul> <p>I could go on. However, as the sun is high in the sky, it is time to move on to other tasks.</p> <p>As I slide toward the exit, I will sum up by expressing my concern that parts of the world, in particular the United States, are now cartwheeling down the slippery slope toward disaster. A disaster caused by the epidemic of bad ideas that have germinated in the educational system and subsequently taken root in the halls of political power.</p> <p>Of course, not everyone has been equally infected. Individuals with common sense and an inclination toward facts and the scientific method are largely immune and can only view with alarm the zombie-like madness caused by bad ideas.</p> <p>With the body politic so deeply divided, I really don&rsquo;t see how a serious sociopolitical crisis can be avoided.</p> <p><strong>Trump&rsquo;s inauguration, happening today, very well may serve as a starter pistol in unleashing the physical manifestation of the extraordinary conflict in the ideas held by approximately equal contingents of the population.</strong></p> <p>I will watch this particular parade closely and with deep concern, but very definitely from afar, here in the warm and pacific climes of the Argentine outback.</p> <p>Don&rsquo;t forget to duck.</p> <p><em>(For those of you who want to read a scholarly dissertation about the takeover of the US educational system by socialists and progressives&mdash;two sides of the same coin&mdash;the National Association of Scholars recently released a comprehensive study entitled, &ldquo;Making Citizens&mdash;How American Universities Teach Civics.&rdquo; <a href="" target="_blank">It&rsquo;s long, but worth a scan</a>.)</em></p> <h2><u><span style="color: #0a4b7d;">Here Come the Clowns</span></u></h2> <p><strong>Mother, May I?&nbsp;</strong>Our clowny entry this week provides additional support for the contention that an epidemic of bad ideas has spread across the land.</p> <p>In the United Kingdom where the bureaucrats have, at least until recently, seemed keen to pattern their regulatory regime to achieve a society that rhymes with Orwell&rsquo;s <em>1984</em>, a woman was called to the bench and made to pay a fine of &pound;80 (US$98) for the offense of <a href="" target="_blank">pouring a cup of coffee down the drain</a>.</p> <p>One can only hope that, with Brexit, the dogma-blinded cretins in the bureaucracy there will be chased back into the shadows.</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="284" height="158" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Australia British Institute for Biology Chicken Little Cognition Concepts Creativity ETC Global Warming Ice Age Idea Idealism low-information processors Metaphysics National Association of Scholars Ontology Philosophy Stanford University’s Center for Conservation Biology Swine Flu United Kingdom Sat, 21 Jan 2017 01:35:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 586024 at George Soros faces backlash in Eastern Europe and Balkans <p style="margin-top: 0px; margin-bottom: 28px; color: #1a1a1a; font-family: Merriweather, Georgia, serif; font-size: 16px;">Amid cooling global attitudes towards&nbsp;international institutionalism and open border, anti-sovereign state political policies, George Soros has found himself facing an increasingly resilient and international resistance to his non-profit organizations and NGOs.</p> <p style="margin-top: 0px; margin-bottom: 28px; color: #1a1a1a; font-family: Merriweather, Georgia, serif; font-size: 16px;">On January 17, 2016 Macedonian Newspaper&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank" style="box-shadow: currentcolor 0px 1px 0px 0px; color: #007acc;">Republika</a>&nbsp;reported the January 16th launch of a domestic initiative&nbsp;to investigate and resist the influence of George Soros aligned NGOs and political parties within Macedonia. &nbsp;Co-founder Nikola Srbov cited the "<span class="s1">take over of the entire civil sector and its abuse and instrumentalization to meet the goals of one political party" as the reason for the movement's founding. Srbov was quoted by Czech publication&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank" style="box-shadow: currentcolor 0px 1px 0px 0px; color: #007acc;">Svobodné Noviny</a>&nbsp;as calling for all "freedom-minded citizens" regardless of ethical origin or religion to join in "the fight against the civilian sector, which is designed and managed by George Soros."</span></p> <p style="margin-top: 0px; margin-bottom: 28px; color: #1a1a1a; font-family: Merriweather, Georgia, serif; font-size: 16px;">The news breaks&nbsp;less than a month after&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank" style="box-shadow: currentcolor 0px 1px 0px 0px; color: #007acc;">EU officials criticized</a>&nbsp;Macedonian&nbsp;<span class="s1">VMRO DPMNE party leader Nikola Gruevski for&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank" style="box-shadow: currentcolor 0px 1px 0px 0px; color: #007acc;">comments he made</a>&nbsp;accusing Macedonia's election commission of allowing "foreign ambassadors" to interfere in their work. In late December, Macedonia's&nbsp;</span><span class="s1">Public Revenue Office began to send&nbsp;</span><span class="s1">financial inspectors to the Open Society Foundation's offices along with 20 other NGOs. They insisted that the inspections were not related to&nbsp;</span><span class="s1">Gruevski's comments.</span></p> <p style="margin-top: 0px; margin-bottom: 28px; color: #1a1a1a; font-family: Merriweather, Georgia, serif; font-size: 16px;">Macedonia's moves to restrict the influence of George Soros-aligned organizations come&nbsp;just days after&nbsp;an&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank" style="box-shadow: currentcolor 0px 1px 0px 0px; color: #007acc;">announcement by Hungarian Prime Minister</a>&nbsp;Viktor Orban that&nbsp;his government&nbsp;<span class="s1">would use “all the tools at its disposal” to crack down on non-governmental organisations bankrolled by the Hungarian-born business magnate and investor.</span></p> <p style="margin-top: 0px; margin-bottom: 28px; color: #1a1a1a; font-family: Merriweather, Georgia, serif; font-size: 16px;"><span class="s1">George Soros' Open Society Foundation works globally to promote liberal ideals and generate support for open-border, liberal institutionalist policies around the world. Soros is well known for funneling millions of dollars into the U.S. Democratic Party to support Hillary Clinton during the 2016 Presidential Election.</span></p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-blog"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_blog" width="1196" height="683" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Czech Democrats Eastern Europe European Union Finance George Soros George Soros Macedonia's Public Revenue Office Macedonian VMRO DPMNE party Money Nationality Newspaper Nikola Gruevski Open Society Foundation Open Society Foundations Politics Republic of Macedonia US Democratic party Sat, 21 Jan 2017 01:22:06 +0000 William Craddick 586035 at As Its Housing Bubble Pops, Chinese Real Estate Firms Halt Monthly Pricing Data <p>That didn't take long. </p> <p>Earlier this week <a href="">we reported </a>that after 19 straight months of continued acceleration in home prices, China's latest housing bubble may have finally burst (again) after December prices in the 70 cities tracked by the NBS, rose by 12.7%, below the 12.9% annual growth rate in the previous month - the first annual decline in nearly 2 years.</p> <p><strong>&nbsp;</strong> </p> <p><img src="" width="520" height="288" /></p> <p><span id="article-text"><span class="article-prime">&nbsp;</span></span></p> <p>Fast forward to Friday, when at least two<br /> major Chinese private providers of home price data stopped<br /> publishing the figures, just as the housing market is stating to cool off at a dramatic pace across all Tier cities. <a href="">According to Reuters</a>, the<br /> China Index Academy, a unit of U.S.-listed Fang Holdings, has stopped<br /> distributing monthly housing price index data for 100 cities that it<br /> usually issued at the start of the month. The academy said it had suspended distribution indefinitely, without giving a reason for the suspension. </p> <p>"I don't know who exactly is making the order, and it's not mandatory," said a source with knowledge of the matter, who declined to be identified as the topic is a sensitive one.</p> <p>Home price data from private providers tends to show sharper increases than official data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), which publishes monthly and annual percentage changes in 70 major cities. It also overextends on the downside, which according to official data, has now begun, and may explain the self-imposed censorship.</p> <p>Since last summer, in an attempt to cool the overheating housing market, China's government had levied curbs on buying and ownership to rein in soaring prices and limit asset bubble risks. E-house China, another influential private real estate consultancy also indefinitely suspended its monthly housing price index for 288 cities. </p> <p>"Judged by current conditions, we won't publish it in the future," said Cherilyn Tsui, a public relations officer at CRIC, the consultancy's real estate research branch. "We stopped distributing prices data a few months ago. At first it was just no external distribution, but now even internally we don't distribute any more," she told Reuters.</p> <p>While Tsui said she did not know the reason for the halt, she added that data on sales volumes and inventories would still be published. </p> <p><strong>"Housing prices are an extremely sensitive matter right now," </strong>a second source with knowledge of the matter told Reuters. Perhaps the reason is that having created a massive bubble to the upside, Beijing is hoping to delay the descent in prices&nbsp; in order to attain a smooth landing at a time when China is already faced with record capital outflows, a plunging currency and all time high levels of debt. </p> <p>E-house's last data release in November said new home prices in Beijing and Shanghai rose 1.32 percent and 1.09 percent in October, respectively, on the month. The NBS reported an increase of 0.5 percent. In light of the slowdown reported by the official data, one can surmise that the December print would have been quite dire.&nbsp; In China Index Academy's last data release in December, new home prices in Beijing and Shanghai rose 0.84 percent and 0.88 percent in November, while the NBS reported prices unchanged.</p> <p>The NBS usually publishes price data around the 19th of the month, and private providers issue it earlier. </p> <p>Meanwhile, the NBS denied it had ordered the data suspension. "We didn't ask that. It's not true," an NBS representative told Reuters by telephone, when asked if it had asked private real estate consultants to halt distribution. </p> <p>Why would one doubt the sincerity of Chinese government organization? Perhaps the same reason that also last week, China - facing daily smog alerts and a population which has grown weary and angry of Beijing's unwillingness to address the issue - ordered its local weather bureaus to <a href="">stop issuing smog alerts</a>. </p> <p>Which brings us back to a question we <a href="">asked earlier in the week</a>: if, as circumstantial evidence shows, the Chinese housing bubble has finally hit its inflection point and is headed downward, prompting the momentum chasers to flee, the question is whether the Chinese stock market is about to once again become the bubble choice du jour, as happened in mid to late 2014 and early 2015, when the bursting of the home bubble pushed the housing speculators into the stock market with scary, if entertaining, consequences. And, as we concluded, "it may not be a bad idea to buy some deep out of the money calls on the Shenzhen composite, as that is the place where the most degenerate of Chinese gamblers eventually congregate to every time the housing bubble bursts, only to be reincarnated two years down the line."</p> <p>News like today's only validates our suspicion that Chinese stocks are about to soar yet again. </p> <p>&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="780" height="413" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Business China China Index Academy China's government Chinese government Chinese property bubble Community organizing Economic bubble Economic history Economy Financial crises Great Recession House price index Housing Bubble Housing Market Housing Prices National Bureau of Statistics Real estate Real estate bubble Reuters Shenzhen Sat, 21 Jan 2017 01:08:43 +0000 Tyler Durden 586030 at Anti-Trump Protester Reacts As Donald Trump Is Sworn In <p>No commentary necessary.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-video"><p dir="ltr" lang="en">An anti-Trump protester screams 'no' as Donald Trump is sworn in as the 45th US President <a href=""></a></p> <p>— ITV News (@itvnews) <a href="">January 20, 2017</a></p></blockquote> <script src="//"></script> <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="564" height="300" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> American people of German descent Business Business career of Donald Trump Climate change skepticism and denial Donald Trump Donald Trump Donald Trump presidential campaign Politics of the United States Stop Trump movement The Apprentice Trump Twitter Twitter United States Sat, 21 Jan 2017 00:46:09 +0000 Tyler Durden 586010 at These Are The 3 Main Issues For Europe In 2017 <p><a href=""><em>Submitted by George Shapiro and Jacob Shapiro via,</em></a></p> <p><em><strong>What will the year ahead look like for Europe? 2017 will be another chapter in <a href="" rel="nofollow">the European Union&rsquo;s slow unraveling</a>&hellip; a process that has been underway for over a decade.</strong></em></p> <p>The EU is a union in name only. The transfer of sovereignty to Brussels was never total, and member states are independent countries&hellip; each with their own interests at stake.</p> <p><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 230px; height: 121px;" /></a></p> <p>Here are the major forces at work.</p> <h3>1. The Italian Crisis</h3> <p><a href="" rel="nofollow">Italy&rsquo;s banking crisis has played a key role in the destabilization of its domestic politics</a>. The main problem is the Italian banking sector&rsquo;s high rate of non-performing loans (NPLs). Approximately 17% of all loans from Italian banks are NPLs, according to the European Banking Authority. The bank currently making headlines, Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena, had 45 billion euros ($47.4 billion) worth of NPLs and other doubtful loans when its problems came to light in 2016.</p> <p>But <a href="" rel="nofollow">the issue here is not simply money.</a> The balance sheets of Italian banks don&rsquo;t exist in a vacuum. If the European Central Bank were to bail out Italy, it would mean, in effect, that all of Europe would be paying for the bailout.</p> <p>Greece, which had austerity forced upon it, would cry foul. The German public would object, and Chancellor Angela Merkel&rsquo;s position would be severely weakened.</p> <h3>2. Declining German Exports</h3> <p>The major economic issue we expect to see in 2017 is a decline in German exports. The latest World Bank data shows that Germany&rsquo;s exports-to-GDP ratio is 46.8%.</p> <p>Neither China nor Russia will be increasing demand for German goods due to their own economic woes. And while Germany has managed to survive thus far by increasing exports to the UK and the US, this is not sustainable. This affects not just Germany, but all of Europe.</p> <p>The EU is built around a massive exporter: Germany. That makes the EU vulnerable to drops in demand for German exports. It also creates a particular kind of political relationship between Germany and the rest of the EU. This is especially true for countries that are markets for German goods and those that are in the German supply chain.</p> <p>This dependency and economic architecture has worked in the past. But now, it faces two key challenges. The first is how to increase demand for the products in question (which is not in any single country&rsquo;s control). The second is that many of Europe&rsquo;s economies are still struggling due to the 2008 financial crisis.</p> <div style="float: right; margin: 5px 0 5px 5px;">&nbsp;</div> <p>The EU&rsquo;s growing socio-economic problems, in turn, are leading to increased nationalism. We saw this manifest in Brexit in 2016. In 2017, this dynamic already is affecting elections in France and Germany. <a href="" rel="nofollow">The conversation has shifted from an internationalist position to a nationalist one</a>&mdash;even for those who historically have been most committed to the EU (like Merkel).</p> <h3>3. The Security Question</h3> <p>Security will be an issue for the EU&hellip; and here, too, member states&rsquo; interests diverge. <a href="" rel="nofollow">Some countries are more concerned with refugees than others</a>, and Brussels is still unable to present a universally accepted plan for dealing with the refugee crisis.</p> <p>There is also the question of Eastern Europe. It wants its security prioritized as it faces <a href="" rel="nofollow">an increasingly aggressive Russia</a>. Western Europe is less concerned with Russia on a daily basis and more concerned about Islamic terrorism.</p> <p>Meanwhile, a Trump presidency is about to shine a very bright light on <a href="" rel="nofollow">the future of NATO</a>. This will mean hard choices for many European countries.</p> <p>The security issues are not as serious as the economic and political issues for Europe right now. But they loom in the background and feed the strain on the EU rather than unite member states in common cause.</p> <h3>The Weakening of the EU</h3> <p>When we look at Europe today, we see less of a move toward EU dissolution than the gradual ignoring of EU directives. At the beginning of last year, George wrote the following, and it remains the general frame through which we view events in Europe:</p> <p>The EU will survive, and one day you will be able to visit a dusty office in Brussels, much like the European Free Trade Association&rsquo;s offices in Switzerland, where it still exists. [The EFTA was a British-led alternative to the European Community in the late 1950s and &rsquo;60s that is irrelevant today despite the continued existence of its offices.] I am sure the staff will be doing something, writing directives that no one will follow, or even care to object to. I once expected &lsquo;Götterdämmerung,&rsquo; the &lsquo;Twilight of the Gods,&rsquo; to move the EU. Today I became convinced, not that the EU couldn&rsquo;t continue this way, but that it really isn&rsquo;t continuing in any significant way.</p> <p><em><strong><a href="" rel="nofollow">Italian banks</a>, German exports, <a href="" rel="nofollow">nationalism affecting domestic elections</a>, and divergences on security issues will be the main issues in 2017. But these are really just small parts of a much larger forecast that is slowly hulking toward fruition.</strong></em></p> <p>*&nbsp; *&nbsp; *</p> <p><em>Now, for a limited time,&nbsp;<a href="" rel="nofollow">you can download this&nbsp;free report from Mauldin Economics</a>&nbsp;detailing the rocky roads that lie ahead for three globally important countries in 2017&mdash;and how the economic fallout from their coming crises could affect you.&nbsp;Top 3 Economic Surprises for 2017&nbsp;is required reading for investors and concerned citizens alike.&nbsp;<a href="" rel="nofollow">Get your free copy now.</a></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="230" height="121" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Bank Brexit China Eastern Europe Eastern Europe Europe European Banking Authority European Central Bank European Central Bank European Free Trade Association European Union European Union European Union Euroscepticism in the United Kingdom France Future enlargement of the European Union Germany Greece headlines Israel–European Union relations Italy Nationalism non-performing loans North Atlantic Treaty Organization Politics of Europe Politics of the European Union Switzerland western Europe Withdrawal from the European Union World Bank World Bank Sat, 21 Jan 2017 00:45:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 586019 at