en Chinese Stocks Are Now Up Over 100% Year-To-Date <p><em><strong>Another day, another dip to be bought aggressively in China. </strong></em>The only catalyst for moar - aside from "well it was up yesterday" - is the news that the Shanghai-HK Stock Exchange aggregate quota will be abolished, leaving room for more speculative excess to flood into 500%-gainers.&nbsp; CSI-300 is now up almost 6% since Friday's close and Shenzhen and CHINEXT are soaring back from underperformance yesterday. To round things out on a superlative note,<strong> the Shenzhen Composite - which contains all the ponzi-based self-collateralized idiot-makers, is now up over 100% year-to-date</strong>. Simply put, you can't keep a bad market down...</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><a href=""><img src="" width="600" height="318" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Which has sent the Shenzhen Composite above the 100% return mark for 2015...</p> <p><a href=""><img src="" width="600" height="315" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em>Charts: Bloomberg</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="955" height="506" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> China Shenzhen Tue, 26 May 2015 03:36:04 +0000 Tyler Durden 507010 at Global Trade Dives Most since the Financial Crisis <p>Wolf Richter&nbsp;&nbsp; <a href=""></a>&nbsp;&nbsp; <a href=""></a></p> <p>How great was the global economy in the first quarter?</p> <p>We know the US economy was crummy. The revised GDP estimate will likely sink into red mire. Hence the heated proposals these days, <a href=""><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><span style="color: #0009c4;">including at the Fed</span></span></a>, to apply “a second round of seasonal adjustment” that would “correct” the first-quarter GDP estimate, no matter how bad, into positive territory. An elegant way of covering up an unsightly sore.</p> <p>So was it just a crummy quarter in the US, or was it a global thing, in which case we might have to apply a “second round of” whatever to adjust the global downturn out of the picture?</p> <p>Because here is the thing: in the first quarter, one of the&nbsp;crucial measures of the global economy – global trade – slumped the most since the Financial Crisis. But <em>ironically</em>, it wasn’t because of the USA.</p> <p>The CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis, a division of the Ministry of Economic Affairs, just released its latest <a href=""><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><span style="color: #0009c4;">Merchandise World Trade Monitor,</span></span></a> which covers global import volumes&nbsp;as well as global export volumes. The index dropped 0.1% in March to 136.5, after having already dropped 0.7% in February, and 1.7% in January. The index, which was set at 100 in 2005, is now down 2.5% from the peak of 140.0 in December. That 3.5-point decline was the sharpest since the Financial Crisis.</p> <p>This chart, going back to January 2012, doesn’t exactly inspire confidence in the current state of the global economy:</p> <p><a class="image-anchor" href=""><img height="501" width="447" class="alignnone size-full wp-image-14829" src="" alt="World-Trade-Monitor-Volume-2012-2015_03" /></a></p> <p>To mitigate the volatility of these kinds of monthly numbers, the CPB offers a measure of trade volume “momentum,” which it defines as “the change in the three months average up to the report month relative to the average of the preceding three months.”</p> <p>That trade momentum measure slumped 1.5% in March, the largest monthly decline since April 2011, after having edged down 0.4% in February. It now amounts to the most negative “momentum” since the Financial Crisis.</p> <p>This chart, going back to 2010, looks even worse than the prior chart. This sort of thing isn’t supposed to happen in an expanding, or even a stagnating, global&nbsp;economy:</p> <p><a class="image-anchor" href=""><img height="280" width="499" class="alignnone size-full wp-image-14825" src="" alt="World-Trade-merchandise-momentum-2010-2015_03-change" /></a></p> <p>Both of the measures above involve import and export <em>volumes</em>. With volumes now actually declining and with new shipping capacity coming on line throughout the period, pricing per unit,&nbsp;in dollars, has plunged 15% since June 2014, and nearly 20% since the peak in March 2011. It’s now at the lowest level since May 2009:</p> <p><a class="image-anchor" href=""><img height="512" width="440" class="alignnone size-full wp-image-14830" src="" alt="World-Trade-Monitor-Unit-Price-2012-2015_03" /></a></p> <p>But the trade debacle wasn’t spread evenly. For March, the CPB reported:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>A positive turnaround occurred in both import and export growth in advanced economies. Imports bounced back strongly in the United States. They contracted deeply in Japan however. In emerging economies, import growth accelerated, but export growth became heavily negative on account of a deep fall in emerging Asia’s exports.</p> </blockquote> <p>And that would be mostly China. </p> <p>Hard-landing gurus have been predicting an imminent end of the China bubble for years. But there was no hard landing, or a soft landing, or any landing for that matter. China just kept on flying, fueled by an enormous credit bubble and monetary propellants. But now it’s running out of air. Read…&nbsp; <a href=""><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><span style="color: #0009c4;">China Momentum Indicator Plunges to “Hard Landing” Level </span></span></a></p> China Global Economy Japan Netherlands Volatility World Trade Tue, 26 May 2015 02:49:44 +0000 testosteronepit 507002 at How The Saudis Wag The Washington Dog <p><a href=""><em>Submitted by Andrew Levine via</em></a>,</p> <p><strong>American diplomacy favors (majority) white, English-speaking countries (the UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand) and non-Hispanic European settler states (Canada, Australia and New Zealand again, but also Apartheid South Africa and, of course, Israel).</strong></p> <p>South Africa eventually fell out of favor, thanks in part to boycott, divestment and sanctions efforts in Western countries.</p> <p>Similar efforts now underway directed towards Israel are beginning to change public opinion too; though elite opinion, in the United States and the other settler states especially, has, so far, hardly budged.</p> <p>Thanks to its lobby and its strategic location, Israel is still, for America, the most favored nation of all.</p> <p>Western European countries are also favored, though to a lesser extent &ndash; thanks, again, to cultural affinities and historical ties. Those that sent large numbers of emigrants to North America generally have a leg up. France didn&rsquo;t send many emigrants, but it is also favored, at least some of the time, for philosophical and historical affinities dating back to the American and French Revolutions.</p> <p><strong>With Saudi Arabia and the other Gulf monarchies, there are no deep or longstanding cultural and historical ties; quite the contrary. Nevertheless, those nations, Saudi Arabia especially, receive favored treatment too.</strong></p> <p><strong>The events surrounding the death of Osama bin Laden provide a window into this strange and revealing state of affairs.</strong></p> <p style="text-align: center;">* &nbsp;* &nbsp;*</p> <p><u><strong>When Barack Obama lied about how Navy Seals murdered bin Laden, he blew apart a carefully constructed cover story concocted in Washington and Islamabad intended to conceal the role of Pakistani intelligence and the Pakistani military.</strong></u></p> <p>According to Seymour Hersh&rsquo;s account in <em>The London Review of Books</em>, bin Laden had been in Pakistani custody at least since 2006. American intelligence learned of this some four years later, when a &ldquo;walk-in&rdquo; gave them information that checked out.</p> <p>The raid itself took place a year after that, in time for the 2012 Presidential election in the United States.</p> <p>The Pakistanis had reasons for keeping bin Laden in custody and out of American hands. It gave them leverage with the Taliban and with the remnants of Al Qaeda, as well as with other radical Islamist groups.</p> <p>The Saudis wanted bin Laden kept in Pakistan too; away from the Americans. According to Hersh, they paid Pakistan generously for their trouble.</p> <p>Hersh&rsquo;s article does not dwell on their motives, but, in interviews he has given after his article went on line, he is less reticent.</p> <p>The Saudis didn&rsquo;t want the United States to get its hands on bin Laden because they didn&rsquo;t want him to talk about Saudi involvement in 9/11 and other operations directed against Western interests.</p> <p>This is only a conjecture, but it makes eminently good sense. It isn&rsquo;t even news. Like the fact that the Israeli arsenal includes nuclear weapons, everybody knows about the Saudis&rsquo; role, but nobody in official circles or in the media that toes its line talks about it.</p> <p>Since his article appeared, official Washington and mainstream media line have gone after Hersh with a degree of vehemence reminiscent of their attack on Edward Snowden.</p> <p><strong>They hate it when their bumbling is revealed, </strong>almost as much as when the hypocrisy of their claims to respect human rights and the rule of law is exposed.</p> <p>But, for all the sound and fury, they have not effectively rebutted a single one of Hersh&rsquo;s contentions &ndash; nor, for that matter, any of Snowden&rsquo;s.</p> <p>If Hersh is right, as he surely is, then two of America&rsquo;s closest allies were, to say the least, not acting the way that allies should.</p> <p>Capturing bin Laden was officially &ndash; and probably also really &ndash; a high priority for the United States.&nbsp;&nbsp; Pakistan and Saudi Arabia kept him from being captured.</p> <p><strong>However, none of this appears to have harmed U.S.-Pakistani or U.S.-Saudi relations.</strong></p> <p>The rulers of both countries depend on American support to survive.&nbsp;&nbsp; And yet, when they choose, they defy their protector with impunity. Israel isn&rsquo;t the only country that wags the dog.</p> <p>Pakistan gets carte blanche because, like Israel, it has the Bomb. Keeping the Bomb out of the hands of anyone who might use it &ndash; especially, against the United States or its interests abroad &mdash; is, understandably and legitimately, a goal of American diplomacy.</p> <p>And so, the United States will do what it must to keep the Pakistani military and intelligence communities happy and on board.</p> <p>This is not easy: the Pakistanis have been involved with radical Islamists from Day One. By all accounts, contacts survive to this day.</p> <p>The United States encouraged these connections, especially when the prospect of getting the Soviet Union bogged down in Afghanistan clouded the thinking of diplomats in the Carter and Reagan administrations.</p> <p>But, since even before the Americans became involved, the Pakistanis have been going their own way in Afghanistan &ndash; partly for cultural and historical reasons of their own, and partly to keep India at bay.</p> <p>For all these reasons, the Americans have found it expedient to buy off the leaders of the Pakistani military and intelligence communities.&nbsp;&nbsp; Therefore, whenever possible, in light of the totality of their concerns, they give them what they want. What the Pakistanis wanted with the bin Laden killing was plausible deniability.</p> <p>This was the point of the story that Obama blew. Therefore when he, or his political operatives, decided that, with the 2012 election looming, the moment was opportune to announce bin Laden&rsquo;s death, they had to concoct a different story that would also keep the Pakistani role secret.</p> <p>The one they made up had the added benefit of reinforcing the swashbuckling image that the Navy Seals, Obama&rsquo;s Murder Incorporated, try to project. Hollywood got the message, and made the most of it.&nbsp;&nbsp; So did the Obama campaign.</p> <p><strong>But, for reasons Hersh explains, the fable they concocted was transparently implausible; a point not lost on observers at the time.</strong></p> <p>To point this out, back in the day, was to risk being taken for a &ldquo;conspiracy theorist&rdquo; &ndash; or, worse, a Romney supporter.</p> <p>Now that a definitive account of what happened has appeared, it is plain who the real conspirators were.</p> <p>And so, by now, only the willfully blind &ndash; and the Washington press corps &mdash; believe the tale Obama told.</p> <p>Needless to say, it is not exactly news when Obama lies; in the &ldquo;man bites dog&rdquo; sense, it would be news if he didn&rsquo;t.</p> <p>And neither is the duplicity of Pakistan&rsquo;s military and intelligence leadership surprising.&nbsp;&nbsp; Politics in the Indian sub-continent is as devious and convoluted as anywhere in the world.</p> <p>In Pakistan, as in Iraq and Syria, the stewards of the American empire &ndash; the ones who worked for Bush and Cheney, and the ones who have worked for Obama and his hapless Secretaries of State &mdash; are in way over their heads. They are like the proverbial bull in the china shop; powerful and therefore destructive, but ultimately clueless.</p> <p>American obeisance to the wishes of the Saudi royal family is not unusual either. &nbsp;The United States has been toadying up to them since the days of Franklin Roosevelt. They have oil, and we want to control what they do with it.</p> <p><strong>However, the fact that the American public, and its counterparts in other Western countries, goes along, almost without dissent, is puzzling in the extreme.</strong></p> <p><strong>The American way, after all, is to villainize first, and ask questions later.</strong></p> <p>The Saudi royals, and the ruling potentates in the other Gulf kingdoms, are prime candidates for villainization. They are characters out of central casting.</p> <p>One would think that a public that loathes, or has been made to loathe, Vladimir Putin and Bashar al-Assad &ndash; and that still goes livid at the very thought of the Iranian Ayatollahs and Saddam Hussein &mdash; would be out with pitchforks demanding the heads of each and every member of the Saudi ruling class.</p> <p><strong>They were, after all, if not the perpetrators, at least the protectors of the perpetrators, of 9/11, a &ldquo;day of infamy,&rdquo; our propaganda system tells us, equal only to the day the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor.</strong></p> <p><strong>And yet the public&rsquo;s ire seldom turns the Saudis&rsquo; way.</strong></p> <p>This is all the more remarkable because they have neither a Bomb nor a domestic lobby that the entire American political class fears.</p> <p>All they have is a massive public relations operation. Evidently, the flacks they hire know their trade. No matter how much money they are paid, they earn every cent.</p> <p style="text-align: center;">* * *</p> <p><u><strong>Ironically, the Saudis&rsquo; hold over America&rsquo;s political and economic elites is an unintended consequence of American diplomacy in the days when the United States was, or seemed to be, on the side of the angels.</strong></u></p> <p>When Britain or France wanted Middle Eastern oil &ndash; in Iraq or Iran, for example, &mdash; they took it. They were colonial powers; this is what colonial powers do.</p> <p>Before World War II, American diplomats cultivated a different image. Washington&rsquo;s cupidity may have been no less than London&rsquo;s or Paris&rsquo;; but, in the White House and at Foggy Bottom, the idea was to present the United States as, of all things, an anti-colonial power.</p> <p>Never mind Puerto Rico or the Philippines or, for that matter, Hawaii and the several other Pacific islands that the U.S. Navy coveted; and never mind America&rsquo;s obvious collusion &ndash; before, during, and after World War II &mdash; with the British and French empires.</p> <p>It is true, though, that in the Middle East, American domination took a different form. When American oil companies wanted Middle Eastern oil, they didn&rsquo;t seize it; they bought it from the rulers of the peoples who live on top of it.</p> <p>And, if there weren&rsquo;t rulers willing or able to sell, the Americans created them.</p> <p>The House of Saud made out like bandits. For the oil companies, it was a small price to pay.</p> <p>The U.S. got control of the oil without having to administer rebellious colonies. Meanwhile, local elites got rich.&nbsp;&nbsp; All they had to do for the money was give the Americans free rein and enforce the order that made American domination possible &ndash; with American help, of course, and with arms purchased from American corporations.</p> <p>And so, until reality made the pretense unsustainable, the U.S. could present itself, throughout the Middle East, as a defender of anti-colonial, independence movements.</p> <p>As other Gulf states broke free from British rule, the U.S. took over, applying the same model. This worked well &mdash; for a while.</p> <p>Before long, though, the Saudi regime, and he others, became too big to fail.</p> <p>This is why, even as the Clinton State Department floundered about cluelessly when the Arab Spring erupted, the prospect of allowing those regimes to fall was never seriously considered.&nbsp;&nbsp; For official Washington, this was as unthinkable as allowing nuclear Pakistan to &ldquo;go rogue,&rdquo; or not kowtowing to the Israel lobby.</p> <p>When there is a disconnect between public and elite opinion, elites generally win, but not always: not when too many people care too much. American elites, eager to maintain the status quo, like the PR people the Saudis hire to keep public opinion from getting out of control, therefore have their work cut out for them.</p> <p><strong>Some of the reasons for this reflect poorly on the moral probity of public opinion in the West.</strong></p> <p>In their appearance, manner and demeanor, the Saudi ruling class epitomizes the Western idea of the Arab.</p> <p>Even before Europeans inserted themselves into the Arab world, Arabs have occupied a special place in the imaginations of Western peoples.</p> <p>Like many of the other peoples of the East, they were deemed mysterious and exotic, highly sexualized, and vaguely dangerous.</p> <p><strong>But, unlike Turks and Persians or the peoples of South Asia and the Far East, and like Africans and the indigenous peoples of the Americas and Australasia, Arabs were never quite regarded as fully human.</strong></p> <p><strong>The Saudi PR machine therefore has deeply racialized attitudes to counter. The Saudis epitomize &ldquo;the other&rdquo;; this makes them a hard sell.</strong></p> <p>They also epitomize the retrograde, which makes them a hard sell for reasons that have nothing to do with racial or cultural stereotypes &mdash; and everything to do with modern political morality.</p> <p>There is hardly a reactionary trend in the Muslim world that the Saudis haven&rsquo;t supported financially; and there are few that they did not actually instigate or help shape.</p> <p>Also, there are few places on earth where human rights and gender equality are less respected, or where liberal and democratic norms hold less sway, than in Saudi Arabia.</p> <p>Elites in that country and in the other Gulf monarchies are rich and idle because they are sitting on top of vast oil reserves, and because they have accumulated so much wealth that they can exploit &ldquo;guest workers&rdquo; in the ways that masters exploit slaves. No one holds them to account for this or anything else untoward that they do.</p> <p><strong>In a world that permits, indeed encourages, private ownership of natural resources and the limitless accumulation of wealth &mdash; and that is largely indifferent to the harm petroleum extraction does &mdash; they won the lottery.</strong></p> <p>This could make them objects of envy, of course; and envy tinged with racial animosity is a lethal brew. Yet, for all practical purposes, the Saudis get a pass &ndash; not just in Western elite circles and within the political class of Western countries, but in Western public opinion too.</p> <p>It has been this way ever since the phasing out of the short-lived Arab oil embargo brought on by American support for Israel in its 1973 war against Egypt.</p> <p>The Saudis&rsquo; immunity from public rancor is all the more amazing because it would be easy to rationalize &ndash; indeed, to justify &ndash; turning them into objects of scorn.</p> <p>Inasmuch as our moral intuitions took shape over many centuries, under conditions in which nearly everything everyone wanted was in short supply, we are inclined to think that, where the distribution of income and wealth are concerned, principles of fair play apply; and therefore that &ldquo;free riding&rdquo; on the contributions of others is morally reprehensible.</p> <p>In existing capitalism &ndash; and, indeed, in all class divided societies &ndash; plenty of free riding nevertheless occurs. It is so commonplace that people often don&rsquo;t notice it or don&rsquo;t care. Sometimes, though, when people get something for nothing, it can be enough over the top to cause consternation. When the free riders stand out conspicuously, the level of consternation is typically enhanced.</p> <p><strong>Saudi Arabia&rsquo;s feudal rulers, and their counterparts in other Gulf states, are about as over the top as it gets.</strong></p> <p>Other than maintaining the profoundly oppressive order that makes the status quo possible in the territories they control, it is hard to think of any contributions, productive or otherwise, that they make to justify the riches they receive.</p> <p>But, as finance has superseded industry as the driving force behind the world&rsquo;s overripe capitalist system, Western publics have become more accustomed than they used to be to rewarding unproductive people.</p> <p>The robber barons of old, and the &ldquo;industrialists&rdquo; who succeeded them, at least played a role in increasing society&rsquo;s wealth. The enterprises from which their riches derived made things. The money people at the cutting edge of capitalism today make money out of money, an activity even more useless than collecting rents for drilling rights.</p> <p><strong>Yet, hostility is seldom directed towards them. Quite the contrary: the richer they are, the more they are esteemed.</strong></p> <p>Could the sort of confused and obsequious thinking that has made hedge fund managers the heroes of our age account, in part, for how Saudi elites escape vilification? Is this yet another situation where, if you are rich enough, everything is forgiven?</p> <p>No doubt, this is part of the explanation. But a government intent on keeping public and elite opinion on the same page is a more important factor.&nbsp;&nbsp; Add on a lavishly funded PR campaign and an entire category of miscreants gets off scot-free.</p> <p><strong>That there is no group of people on earth today to whom the epithet &ldquo;malefactors of great wealth&rdquo; more justly applies hardly matters. The Western public may not like them much or respect them; but, so long as they don&rsquo;t flaunt their wealth too blatantly, hardly anyone complains when Western politicians let them call the shots.</strong></p> <p><strong>Meanwhile, Islamophobia rages and a gullible public lives in mortal fear of terrorist bogeymen.</strong>&nbsp;&nbsp; And yet the Saudi elite gets a pass, notwithstanding the fact that nearly all the perpetrators of 9/11 &mdash; of the event that, more than any other, boosted Islamophobia and got the so-called war on terror going &mdash; were Saudi nationals. It is an amazing phenomenon.</p> <p style="text-align: center;">* * *</p> <p>In real democracies, governments would do what the citizens who put them in office want them to do. <strong>The United States and other Western democracies make a mockery of that ideal. But, even so, there are limits; governments cannot defy public opinion on matters of great moment indefinitely.</strong></p> <p>It is also the case, at least in the United States, that public opinion is affected significantly by the very government that is supposed to do what the people want &ndash; and therefore, ultimately, by the demands of the corporate and financial forces that corrupt democracy.</p> <p><strong><u>This is why propaganda matters</u>.</strong> Keeping public opinion in line is a function, perhaps the main one, of propaganda systems. In America in the Age of Obama, that is one of the few things that works well.</p> <p><strong>We underestimate its effectiveness at our peril.</strong></p> <p><strong><em><u>Enabling the Saudi ruling class, and the rulers of the other Gulf states, to direct American foreign policy to the extent that they do, and to get away with whatever they please, is hardly the least of it; but neither is it the only cause for concern.</u></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="338" height="291" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Afghanistan Australia Barack Obama China Fail France India Iran Iraq Israel Middle East New Zealand None Puerto Rico Reality Saudi Arabia Too Big To Fail Vladimir Putin White House Tue, 26 May 2015 02:05:43 +0000 Tyler Durden 506976 at Now Hiring In China: Porn Identification Officers <p><a href=""><img src="" width="600" height="2290" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><a href=""><em>Source: Global Times</em></a></p> China Tue, 26 May 2015 01:30:46 +0000 Tyler Durden 506975 at ISIS Planning US Nuclear Attack In Next 12 Months: Report <p>Three weeks after the <a href="">first supposed attack by Islamic State supporters in the US</a>, in which two ISIS "soldiers" wounded a security guard before they were killed in Garland, Texas, the time has come to raise the fear stakes. </p> <p>In an article posted in the terrorist group's English-language online magazine Dabiq (which as can be see below seems to have gotten its design cues straight from Madison Avenue and is just missing glossy pages filled with 'scratch and sniff' perfume ads ) ISIS claimed that it has enough <a href="">money to buy a nuclear weapon from Pakistan </a>and "carry out an attack inside the United States next year."</p> <p><img src="" width="600" height="338" /></p> <p>In the article, the ISIS columnist said the weapon could be smuggled into the United States via its southern border with Mexico. </p> <p>Curiously, the author of the piece is John Cantlie, a British photojournalist who was abducted by ISIS in 2012 and has been held hostage by the organization ever since; he has appeared in several videos since his kidnapping and criticized Western powers. </p> <p><a href=""><img src="" width="600" height="375" /></a></p> <p><em>John Cantlie</em></p> <p>As the <a href="">Telegraph notes</a>, "Mr Cantlie, whose fellow journalist hostages have all either been released or beheaded, has appeared in the group’s propaganda videos and written previous pieces. In his latest work, presumed to be written under pressure but in his hall-mark style combining hyperbole, metaphor and sarcasm, he says that President Obama’s policies for containing Isil have demonstrably failed and increased the risk to America."</p> <p>Cantlie describes the following "hypothetical" scenario in Dabiq :</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>Let me throw a hypothetical operation onto the table. <strong>The Islamic State has billions of dollars in the bank, so they call on their wil?yah in Pakistan to purchase a nuclear device through weapons dealers with links to corrupt officials in the region. </strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The weapon is then transported overland until it makes it to Libya, where the muj?hid?n move it south to Nigeria. Drug shipments from Columbia bound for Europe pass through West Africa, so moving other types of contraband from East to West is just as possible.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The nuke and accompanying muj?hid?n arrive on the shorelines of South America and are transported through the&nbsp; porous borders of Central America before arriving in Mexico and up to the border with the United States. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>From there it’s just a quick hop through a smuggling tunnel and hey presto, they’re mingling with another 12 million “illegal” aliens in America with a nuclear bomb in the trunk of their car.</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>Cantlie continues:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>Perhaps such a scenario is far-fetched but it’s the sum of all fears for Western intelligence agencies and it’s infinitely more possible today than it was just one year ago. And if not a nuke, what about a few thousand tons of ammonium nitrate explosive? </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>That’s easy enough to make. The Islamic State make no secret of the fact they have every intention of attacking America on its home soil and they’re not going to mince about with two muj?hid?n taking down a dozen casualties if it originates from the Caliphate. They’ll be looking to do something big, something that would make any past operation look like a squirrel shoot, and the more groups that pledge allegiance the more possible it becomes to pull off something truly epic.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Remember, all of this has happened in less than a year. <strong>How more dangerous will be the lines of communication and supply a year on from today? If the West completely failed to spot the emergence of the Islamic State and then the allies who so quickly pledged allegiance to it from around the world</strong>, what else of massive significance are they going to miss next?</p> </blockquote> <p>One can, of course, debate just how much the West "failed to spot the emergence of ISIS" considering it was <a href="">not only the CIA which initially trained </a>the <a href="">terrorist organization in Jordan in 2012</a>, but <a href="">according to recently declassified Pentagon documents</a>, the US was well aware the outcome its attempt to overthrow Syria's Assad would have on the region, in the process "creating" ISIS, aka al Qaeda 2.0.</p> <p>In other words, even the "hypothetical operation" involving a nuclear attack on US soil would implicitly have the blessing of the US government. Which, considering the way the stock market surges every time the US economy deteriorates further on its way towards recession, probably means that a mushroom cloud appearing in some major US metropolitan area is just what the E-mini algos would need to send the S&amp;P500 limit up.</p> <p>Finally, we leave it up to our readers to decide for themselves just who is behind the production of the <a href="">Islamic State's magazine Dabiq</a>, whose <a href="">latest issue, #9,</a> is shown below. One thing is clear: <a href="">unlike the Greek finance minister and the European Commission</a>, ISIS knows all about purging metadata after posting a pdf to avoid identification of the original author.</p> <p><iframe src=";view_mode=scroll&amp;access_key=key-qMA4w8juzViNrKOixbnF&amp;show_recommendations=false" width="100%" height="600" frameborder="0" scrolling="no"></iframe></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="650" height="366" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Madison Avenue Mexico Recession Tue, 26 May 2015 01:20:12 +0000 Tyler Durden 506954 at Chinese State Paper Warns "War Will Be Inevitable" Unless U.S. Stops Meddling In Territorial Dispute <p>Whereas over the past year, ever since the outbreak of the hostilities over the fate of Ukraine following the Victoria Nuland orchestrated presidential coup, relations between Russia and NATO have devolved to a Cold War 2.0 state as manifested by <a href="">countless interceptions of Russian warplanes </a>by NATO jets and vice versa as depicted in the following infographic...</p> <p><a href="" style="text-decoration: none; color: #666666; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 13.3333330154419px; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; letter-spacing: normal; line-height: 17.3333320617676px; orphans: auto; text-align: start; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: 1; word-spacing: 0px; background-color: #ffffff;"><img src="" width="600" height="465" style="border: 0px; max-width: 100%; height: auto;" /></a></p> <p>... at least China was mercifully allowed to stay out of the fray between the Cold War enemies.</p> <p>This all changed this month when first the Pentagon's annual report to Congress this month cast China as a threat to regional and international peace and stability, followed several weeks ago when, with China aggressively encroaching into territories in the South China Sea claimed by US allies in the region such as Philippines, Vietnam and Japan, the US decided to get involved in yet another regional spat that does not directly involve it, and started making loud noises about China's territorial expansion over the commodity-reach area. </p> <p>China promptly relatiated by <a href="">threatening a US spy plane </a>during a routine overflight, while immediately thereafter the US retaliated at China's escalation, and warned that building sea "sandcastles" <a href="">could "lead to conflict</a>." </p> <p>Far from shutting China up, earlier today China said it had lodged a complaint with the United States over a U.S. spy plane that flew over parts of the disputed South China Sea in a diplomatic row that has fuelled tension between the world's two largest economies. </p> <p><a href="">Quoted by Reuters</a>, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said on Monday China had lodged a complaint and that it opposed "provocative behaviour" by the United States. </p> <p>"We urge the U.S. to correct its error, remain rational and stop all irresponsible words and deeds," she said. "Freedom of navigation and overflight by no means mean that foreign countries' warships and military aircraft can ignore the legitimate rights of other countries as well as the safety of aviation and navigation." </p> <p>China had noted “ear-piercing voices” from many in the U.S. about China’s construction on the islands and reefs.</p> <p>In other words, China just imposed an effective "no fly zone" for US spy planes, a dramatic shift from its recent posture when it tolerated and turned a blind eye to US spy plane overflights. Going forward, the US has been explicitly warned not to fly over China or risk the consequences. </p> <p><a href=""><img src="" width="600" height="338" /></a></p> <p><em>This handout photo taken on March 16, 2015 by satellite imagery provider Digital Globe shows a satellite image of vessels purportedly dredging sand at Mischief Reef in the Spratly Islands in the disputed South China Sea</em></p> <p>And just to confirm that if the US had hoped it could threaten Beijing into submission and force the Politburo into curbing its expanionist appetit, it was dead wrong, <strong>the <a href="">nationalist Global Times</a>, a paper owned by the ruling Communist Party’s official newspaper, the People’s Daily, said in a Monday editorial that war was “inevitable” between China and the United States unless Washington stopped demanding Beijing halt the building of artificial islands in the disputed waterway. </strong></p> <p>PressTV <a href="">has more details</a>:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>A war between the United States and China is “inevitable” unless Washington stops demanding Beijing halt its construction projects in the South China Sea, a Chinese state-owned newspaper warns. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“If the United States’ bottom line is that China has to halt its activities, then a US-China war is inevitable in the South China Sea,” The Global Times, an influential newspaper owned by the ruling Communist Party’s official newspaper the People’s Daily, said in an editorial Monday. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>“We do not want a military conflict with the United States, but if it were to come, we have to accept it</strong>,” said The Global Times, which is among China’s most nationalist newspapers. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Beijing last week said it was “strongly dissatisfied” after a US spy plane defied multiple warnings by the Chinese navy and flew over the Fiery Cross Reef, where China is reportedly building an airfield and other installations. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“The intensity of the conflict will be higher than what people usually think of as ‘friction’,” it warned. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The paper also asserted that China was determined to finish its construction work in the South China Sea, calling it Beijing’s “most important bottom line.”</p> </blockquote> <p>Such commentaries are not official policy statements, but are sometimes read as a reflection of government thinking.</p> <p>More importantly, they serve as populism-timestamped warnings that US demands for a Chinese retreat over what the world's most populous nation considers' its own national interest, will backfire dramatically and the next time a US spy plane flies over the Spratly Islands, or Beijing's smog for that matter, a very serious diplomatic incident may ensue. </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="650" height="366" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> China Japan Newspaper Reuters SPY Ukraine Tue, 26 May 2015 01:00:10 +0000 Tyler Durden 506984 at Guest Post: Gray Skies And Memorial Day Reflections <p><a href=""><em>Submitted by Scott Spangler via</em></a>,</p> <p><strong>Most Americans today have but two connections with those who serve and have served in the military, and especially those who have perished in that service. </strong>The first is the hollow seconds it takes to utter “Thank you for your service,” an seemingly autonomic reflex when seeing someone in uniform. The other occurs should they see a film about any of our many conflicts. Since America’s last declared war, which ended 70 years ago, Memorial Day has become an annual celebration of patriotic hypocrisy, when people might notice that the American flag they ran up their front yard pole last year is faded and frayed and, maybe, add a new one to their celebration’s shopping list.</p> <p><strong>True appreciation is measured by our depth of experience and understanding.</strong></p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em><strong>Today, less than 1 percent of the population reaps the benefits resulting from the service and sacrifice of the less than 1 percent of the population who serve the politicians elected by the majority of people who separate, and have no direct involvement with, these two segments of society. And this disconnection and separation is no accident.</strong></em></span></p> <p>During the war Congress declared the day after the attack on Pearl Harbor, citizens didn’t thank members of the military for their service because everyone, one way or the other, was involved and contributed to a successful outcome. For many, Korea is a forgotten conflict, but it set the stage for all the undeclared conflicts that followed. <strong>War, as Eisenhower warned, is big business, and public protest is a political challenge that complicates their promotion and prosecution.</strong> Vietnam proved this, and people protested because the draft could send any one of them into harms way. And on the nightly news they would watch their loved ones suffer for a cloudy cause.</p> <p><strong>The politicians, most of whom have never served and faced the possibility of a sudden end to life, solved this problem by replacing the draft with the all volunteer force</strong>. And never again would the news media work with the unrestricted access it had in Vietnam. Nor could they show the return of flag-draped transfer cases.<span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong> “Privacy,” the politicians said, but certainly a planeload of flags bedecked boxes says something more—something different—than a missing-man flyover and the single triangle-folded flag presented to the family to conclude a funeral’s full military honors.</strong></span></p> <p><strong>Understanding is the antidote for hypocrisy, and films that promote and criticize America’s endless series of conflicts can contribute to it. </strong>Watching requires more involvement than saying “Thanks” to a uniformed stranger. Put yourself in the protagonist’s place and wonder how you—and your family—would feel and deal with the consequences projected on the screen. Build on this understanding, test its veracity with questions and settle for nothing less than a direct answer to it, make it a resource that guides your daily decisions.</p> <p><strong>In so doing you can honestly honor those for whom this holiday was created after the nation’s most catastrophic conflict, the U.S. Civil War, which took the lives of roughly 620,000 individuals in military service.</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="198" height="264" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Guest Post Tue, 26 May 2015 00:55:19 +0000 Tyler Durden 506974 at Greece Was 20 Votes Away From Defaulting This Weekend <p>Up until this moment, Greece may not have had the financial wherewithal to pay its creditors, forced instead to use circular math gimmicks in which the IMF paid the IMF for the country's most recent €750 million due on May 12 when it <a href="">effectively pre-defaulted </a>and used SDR reserves as "payment", but at least it had a united facade when facing Europe and political cohesion when dealing with the Troika. </p> <p>That too may have just evaporated over the weekend, when in a surprisingly close vote showing just how deeply the ruling Greek Syriza party has splintered, the hard line "Left Platform" a faction within Syriza, proposed that Greece stop paying its creditors if they continue with "blackmailing tactics" and instead seek "an alternative plan" for the debt-racked country. Its motion called for the government to default on the IMF loans rather than compromise to creditor demands, among which a change to value-added tax rates, further liberalization of the labor market and changes to the pension system, including further cuts to pensions and wages. </p> <p><a href="">According to the NYT</a>, which first reported the vote outcome, the proposal was narrowly rejected <strong>with 95 people voting against and 75 in favor</strong>.</p> <p>The <a href="">WSJ adds</a>:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>The Left Platform’s leader, Energy Minister Panagiotis Lafazanis, told the meeting default was preferable to surrender, even if it meant Greece tumbling out of the euro. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“<strong>Who says that an exit from the euro and a return to the national currency is a catastrophe?” </strong>Mr. Lafazanis said at the meeting. </p> </blockquote> <p>Who? Well, all those - mostly bankers - who for the past 5 years bailed out European banks at the expense of preserving Greek participation in a doomed monetary union and avoiding the collapse of the Eurozone, an outcome which would lead to massive losses for the oligarchic status quo. </p> <p>But back to Greece where with a vote as close as that, the genie of the full-blown dissent within Syriza, which has a tiny majority of just 12 seats in Greece's 300 seat partliament, is out of the bottle which could mean that the Troika's long sought after goal of pushing Greece into a political crisis, may be just around the corner.</p> <p>As the <a href="">WSJ reports</a>, "Tsipras’s difficulty in selling a painful compromise to Syriza’s hard left, as well as to other parts of his ideologically diverse party, has become the largest obstacle to a deal. European officials and analysts—and privately even Greek government officials—say they don’t know whether the roughly 30 lawmakers who make up Left Platform will vote as defiantly as they talk if creditors’ terms are put before the Athens Parliament."</p> <p>That may be a moot point, since Greece needs a deal yesterday: as a reminder, Greece has about 10 days of cash left, and this time there is no kicking the can - if there is no deal by June 5, Greece will be in <a href="">default first to the IMF</a>, and soon to everyone else.</p> <p><a href=""><img src="" width="600" height="366" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Worse, while Greece may not have decided to formally prioritize pensions and wages over IMF repayments, at least not yet, it has absolutely no working proposal to present to the Eurogroup ahead of this week's latest meeting.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>The Central Committee agreed on a text saying any deal with creditors <strong>must involve no pension cuts, a small budget surplus before interest, increased public investment and a restructuring of Greece’s debt—terms that lenders are unlikely to accept. </strong>The text isn’t binding on Mr. Tsipras’s government but indicates how hard it will be to sell a deal to Syriza. </p> </blockquote> <p>But while some may have harbored hope that the Troika may agree to at least the smallest of concessions, after Sunday's municipal vote in Spain which showed a dramatic plunge in popularity of the ruling PP, a harbinger of even even more "anti-austerity" platforms coming to power, Merkel will do everything in her power to make an example of Greece that nobody can dictate terms to the Troika and in the end it is a very simple choice: the German way or the autbahn. </p> <p>And just like that Greece is suddenly caught between the devil and the deep red lines: an intransigent Troika and potential rebels within the party itself.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>“The biggest threat may not end up being Mr. Lafazanis, but other parliamentary members who lack party discipline, who are newly elected and are completely unpredictable,” said Dimitris Keridis, an associate professor of international politics at Panteion University in Athens. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Parliamentarian Ioanna Gaitani, a self-described Trotskyite in the Left Platform, said Greece can survive a debt default and lenders aren’t respecting Syriza’s mandate. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“When faced with the pseudo-dilemma of ‘euro or national currency,’ the answer is a unilateral write-off of most of the debt, the taxation of large wealth, and the implementation of Syriza’s program,” she said. “For the Left, the needs of the people are above profits and debts.”</p> </blockquote> <p>The best news perhaps for Greece and everyone else who has been following this ultra slow motion trainwreck for the past 5 years, is that it is nearly over (one can hope), and that when it comes to defaulting, Greece has a truly <a href="">exceptional range of choices </a>how to make sure its last Euro-denominated check bounces in the most dramatic fashion possible.</p> <p><a href=""><img src="" width="600" height="457" /></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="1280" height="853" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Creditors default Eurozone Greece Tue, 26 May 2015 00:20:46 +0000 Tyler Durden 506996 at Meet The Veteran Who’s Been Reduced To Peddling For Change Online To Buy A New Leg <p><em>By Simon Black of <a href="">Sovereign Man</a></em><a href=""></a></p> <p><strong>Meet the veteran who’s been reduced to peddling for change online to buy a new leg</strong></p> <p>Historian Will Durant once wrote “in the last 3421 years of recorded history only 268 have seen no war.”</p> <p>This is astounding. Warfare is constantly with us, often for the most absurd reasons.</p> <p>These days we’re told that the War on Terror makes us more free.</p> <p>We’re programed on days like Memorial Day to sing songs about our freedom and to thank the people in uniform for making us more free.</p> <p>The question I would respectfully submit is, do you feel more free today than you did 5, 10, 20 years ago?</p> <p>We now live in an era of unprecedented government intrusion.</p> <p>Senior citizens are thrown in jail for failing to file disclosure forms.</p> <p>Spy agencies arrogantly engage in illegal surveillance on their own citizens.</p> <p>And excessive force is so commonplace it barely registers as newsworthy any more.</p> <p>Curiously a number of polls from 2013 and 2014, including Gallup and the Washington Post, actually show that more people are afraid of the government than of terrorism itself.</p> <p>This isn’t freedom. And it’s a complete myth that soldiers fight and die in the name of freedom anymore.</p> <p>Warfare today means that a few people at the top of the military industrial complex, banking, and oil services companies become extremely rich. And everyone else pays the price.</p> <p>The price for everyday citizens is having less freedom than before.</p> <p>The price for future generations is inheriting a tremendous war debt.</p> <p>And the price for soldiers themselves is coming home wounded, limbless, or not at all.</p> <p>In today’s podcast, I introduce you to Joe, one of those recent veterans who lost his right leg.</p> <p>I recently met him while in the US, and he has an unbelievable story.</p> <p>Despite losing a limb in combat, Joe can’t get a new leg because the FDA won’t approve the procedure that he needs.</p> <p>It’s called osseointegration. And the FDA thinks that it might be too risky for Joe.</p> <p>Risky. Kind of like being in a combat zone in a country that never should have been invaded to begin with for reasons that were all lies, all to support a war that only makes the country less free.</p> <p>So since the government doesn’t think that Joe is responsible enough to make his own decisions, he now has to go overseas and pay tens of thousands of dollars out of his own pocket.</p> <p>Joe doesn’t have the money; so a family member set up a donation page on the Internet trying to get help. (I’m not publishing the link here because I’m going to take care of it myself.)</p> <p>It’s amazing when you think about it– a combat veteran who lost a leg supposedly fighting for ‘freedom’ can’t have the medical procedure he needs because a destructive government bureaucracy.</p> <p>That’s what freedom means today in America. And nobody’s fighting for it.</p> <p>Soldiers are off risking life and limb for oil companies, banks, and defense contractors. And citizens are distracted with bread and circuses.</p> <p>All the while, government power continues to expand at the expense of the individual.</p> <p>So today as we’re told to remember the fallen, we might also take a moment to remember the freedom we once had.</p> <p>And to think through the options for winning it back once again. </p> <p><em>Learn more about Joe’s unbelievable story, here:</em></p> <p><a href=""><img src="" width="400" height="209" /></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="640" height="430" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Gallup SPY Mon, 25 May 2015 23:43:47 +0000 Tyler Durden 506986 at Police Takedown 101: U.S. Vs UK <p>Early last month we highlighted a ThinkProgress report which suggested that more people were killed in encounters with police in the US in the month of March than were killed in encounters with UK authorities in 100 years.&nbsp;</p> <p>From <a href="">the report</a>:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p><em>A new report by unearthed disturbing figures when it came to the number of police-related deaths that occurred in America in the month of March alone.</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em>Just last month, in the 31 days of March, police in the United States killed more people than the UK did in the entire 20th century. In fact, it was twice as many; police in the UK only killed 52 people during that 100 year period.</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em>According to the report by ThinkProgess, in March alone, 111 people died during police encounters — 36 more than the previous month. As in the past, numerous incidents were spurred by violent threats from suspects, and two officers were shot in Ferguson during a peaceful protest. However, the deaths follow a national pattern: suspects were mostly people of color, mentally ill, or both.</em></p> </blockquote> <p>In that context we bring you the following compare and contrast visual exercise.</p> <p>The UK…</p> <p><iframe src="" width="560" height="315" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <p>....versus the US…</p> <p><iframe src="" width="560" height="315" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <p>Note: <strong>the suspect who was shot in the latter video clip was unarmed and died as a result of his injuries. </strong></p> <p>The officer responsible killed another suspect in 2013 — he was cleared of wrongdoing in both cases.</p> Mon, 25 May 2015 23:25:11 +0000 Tyler Durden 506995 at