en Stocks, USDJPY Stumble After North Korean "H-Bomb Test" Threat Reports <p>After an initial slide on Kim&#39;s &quot;deranged dotard&quot; reaction to President Trump, both USDJPY and US equity futures are falling further after<a href=""> Yonhap reports,</a> North Korea&rsquo;s Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho says the <strong>&ldquo;highest level of hard-line&rdquo; countermeasure could refer to hydrogen-bomb detonation in the Pacific</strong>.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><img height="316" src="" width="600" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Of course, if recent threats and tests are anything to gop by tyhis is the perfect time to BTFN(uclear)A(rmageddon)Dip!</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="2166" height="1142" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> American people of German descent Bomb Business Chemistry Climate change skepticism and denial Donald Trump Economy of the United States Hydrogen KIM Matter North Korea Politics of the United States Ri Yong-ho The Apprentice WWE Hall of Fame Yonhap Fri, 22 Sep 2017 00:51:19 +0000 Tyler Durden 603953 at The Future Will Be Decentralized <p><a href=""><em>Authored by Mike Krieger via Liberty Blitzkrieg blog,</em></a></p> <p><em><a href=""><img height="222" src="" width="600" /></a></em></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><em><strong>I heartily accept the motto, &ldquo;That government is best which governs least&rdquo;; and I should like to see it acted up to more rapidly and systematically. Carried out, it finally amounts to this, which also I believe - &ldquo;That government is best which governs not at all&rdquo;; and when men are prepared for it, that will be the kind of government which they will have.</strong></em></p> <p>&ndash; Henry David Thoreau, <em>Civil Disobedience </em></p> </blockquote> <p>Some people live their existence in a great state of dread, convinced a totalitarian, centralized world government of sorts is in our future. Not only do I not think this is going to happen, but I predict the exact opposite will occur. <strong>I believe the world has already hit &ldquo;peak centralization&rdquo; and decentralization will be the defining trend of human existence on this planet going forward.</strong></p> <p>Naturally, this is just one man&rsquo;s opinion, but I strongly believe it and will make my case in this piece. When I look around and think about the major trends of our time, they all point in the direction of decentralization, something which invariably scares the living daylights out of authoritarians worldwide.</p> <p><strong>Irrespective of what you think of Donald Trump, the fact he was elected proves the power of decentralization in the modern communications and media realm.</strong> As was well documented throughout the campaign, the mainstream media came out in clownish and historically lopsided fashion in favor of his opponent Hillary Clinton. We all remember seeing headlines like the one below and then reading stuff like the following.</p> <p><a href=""><img class="alignnone wp-image-47625" height="138" src="" width="600" /></a></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><em><strong>Republican presidential nominee <span class="rollover-people">Donald Trump</span> has received fewer endorsements from the editorial boards of the nation&rsquo;s largest newspapers than any major-party presidential candidate in history.</strong></em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em>Among the top 100 largest newspapers in America, just two &mdash; the Las Vegas Review-Journal and the Florida Times-Union in Jacksonville &mdash; endorsed Trump.</em></p> </blockquote> <p><strong>Yet he won the election anyway, which is instructive of the changing dynamics of our times.</strong> Indeed, I&rsquo;m not sure Trump could&rsquo;ve won if not for the internet and social media, which leveled the communications playing field and allowed anyone anywhere to have an opinion and share it widely. The role of media as officialdom&rsquo;s trusted gatekeepers had been declining in influence for years, but the 2016 election served as the real wakeup call for a discredited establishment. <strong>Control of mass consciousness had been lost.</strong></p> <p><strong>This realization is at the root of all hysteria surrounding fake news and the intense drive to push the &ldquo;Russia did it,&rdquo; via state funded media and Facebook meme. </strong>The end goal of this narrative is to somehow get information back under control of the gatekeepers in order to keep alternative views hidden. The rabble must be silenced, lest it get too powerful.</p> <p>The general public would never accept such a crackdown if assorted billionaires and other corrupt card-carrying members of the status quo were honest about their intentions, so they have to create a story to justify stealth censorship. They&rsquo;ve done this by aggressively pushing this story that fake new and Russia will spell the end of civilization as we know it unless we do something. The objective of all that &ldquo;doing something&rdquo; is to reestablish control of narratives by whatever means necessary. The tech platform monopolies will all play a key part in this narrative readjustment process, which will ultimately speed up calls for decentralized and more transparent social media platforms.</p> <p>Another area where we&rsquo;ve seen the clear impact of decentralization having already established itself in everyday life relates to drug laws. Twenty years ago it would&rsquo;ve been inconceivable that U.S. states would simply vote by referendum to legalize cannabis. Not only has this happened over the past five years, but it&rsquo;s been a resounding success in multiple states, including my adopted home of Colorado. While much hand-wringing has taken place about what Jeff Sessions or some other government goon might do, I for one believe the debate on this issue is settled. Much of the country has decided that cannabis is a relatively benign substance that no one should go to jail for, and any politician or other bureaucrat who dares to pick this fight will lose.</p> <p><strong>Which brings me to a point about the ability of governments and institutions to do whatever they want. Many people seem to think that because governments have guns and the threat of imprisonment, they can therefore do whatever they want at any given time. I do not accept this premise, and think a lot of the most dreadful things that happen around us are allowed to happen because we collectively put up with it. In other words, our collective consciousness resides in such a low state, we allow ourselves to be bullied and coerced into a state of degraded submissiveness.</strong></p> <p>If the power structure didn&rsquo;t actually care about what we thought, why would they put so much effort into propagandizing us; into making us feel so powerless and fearful? The reason is because narrative is everything, and the public must be molded and manipulated in a certain way in order to keep us submissive. Once enough of us say we&rsquo;ve had enough, then the game is over. That&rsquo;s how you get progress, and that&rsquo;s exactly what has happened with drug laws in certain states.</p> <p><strong>Finally, let&rsquo;s move on to Bitcoin, and crypto currencies in general, which represent one of the most disruptive decentralizing forces the world has ever seen.</strong> Any student of money and history understands that there really is no greater power than the power to create and distribute money at will. Our supposedly sophisticated societies entrust this awesome power to central bankers, which in turn enrich the financial sector at the expense of everyone else. The unethical theft inherent in this system was exposed for everyone to see during the 2008 crisis, as the criminals were bailed out and rewarded while everyone else was kicked to the curb. Bitcoin came about shortly after, and has captured the imagination of tens of millions around the world ever since.</p> <p>The beautiful thing about Bitcoin is that it&rsquo;s government censorship-proof by design thanks to its decentralized nature. There&rsquo;s no CEO to threaten, no company to shut down. It&rsquo;s just a free-wheeling ecosystem of hodlers, supporters, thinkers, developers, miners, exchanges and related businesses somehow co-existing and thriving with no one actually being in charge. Of course, this comes with its own set of issues as we see with the scaling debate, but the fact it&rsquo;s been this successful thus far is nothing short of extraordinary. With the advent of Bitcoin, decentralization finally made its mark on one of the most historically significant control systems of human power. Currency.</p> <p><strong>Naturally, this sets up a major confrontation with the current power structure which will not want to easily relinquish a tool so powerful as the ability to create money out of thin air. China, with its well-laid plans to replace the dollar one day with its own statist, centralized currency, has unsurprisingly started to push back.</strong></p> <p>When some people see the power structure fight back, whether against Bitcoin or alternative news, they get nervous and feel that all is lost. That we can&rsquo;t win. I completely disagree and see it in the complete opposite way. The powerful are fighting back because they see themselves losing. We can&rsquo;t be so naive to expect them to go down without a fight, but that doesn&rsquo;t mean we should shrink from the challenge. If you go into a fight with a defeatist attitude of course you will be defeated. We&rsquo;re the ones on the right side of history while their dominator hierarchies must be displaced. Our way is the way of freedom, ethics and innovation. Their way is of control, authority and violence.</p> <p>Which brings me to a few key excerpts on China&rsquo;s war against Bitcoin from a very interesting article,&nbsp;<a href="" rel="noopener" target="_blank">Is Bitcoin Reaching Critical Mass?</a></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><em>In contrast to the commonly quoted &ldquo;no news is good news&rdquo;, I believe in the context of bitcoin and crypto overall &ldquo;any news is good news&rdquo;. Ranging from the China &ldquo;ban&rdquo; on bitcoin, to the <a href="" rel="noopener" target="_blank">SEC crackdown on ICOs</a>, they all inevitably acknowledge the presence and inevitably of bitcoin without actually harming it in any tangible way.</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em>Anything short of compromising the integrity of the bitcoin blockchain is entirely ineffective, including any government-issued &ldquo;ban&rdquo;. Bitcoin&rsquo;s censorship resistant nature means that the cost incurred to undermine the network is significantly higher than the reward to be gained in doing so &ndash; and this only becomes more true over time with increased adoption. You can read more about this on Elaine Ou&rsquo;s <a href="" rel="noopener" target="_blank">piece</a> titled &ldquo;A hundred years of Crypto Anarchy&rdquo;.</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong><em>In some ways, the news is like a badge of validity to the public, even condemning news from official sources about bitcoin is exposure and consequently positive. It&rsquo;s a message saying &ldquo;this is something that could potentially undermine us&rdquo;. </em></strong><em>In a global climate where government-backed currencies are constantly exposed for their shortcomings, and distrust in governance is at an all time high, bitcoin is appearing as an incredibly superior alternative. It has already established itself in places like </em><em><a href="" rel="noopener" target="_blank">Venezeula</a>.</em></p> </blockquote> <p>Decentralization is an idea whose time has come. As I write this, conscious people across the world are creating systems of human empowerment, while powers of centralization desperately fight to preserve control.&nbsp;We aren&rsquo;t the ones reacting to them, they are reacting to us. That&rsquo;s not a fight they can easily win&ndash; the only question is how much are they willing to destroy in a futile quest to stymie human progress?</p> <p><strong>Strategically, much of the current battle is about exposing power structures for what they really are by making them reveal their true thuggish natures</strong>. We must do this by creating systems that are transparently superior and more ethical than existing systems, which will then force their hands. If governments insist on thwarting human progress merely to retain control, it&rsquo;ll be clear to all that they don&rsquo;t work for the people, but rather, for themselves.</p> <p>Looking ahead, <strong>the next major battleground for decentralization likely will be fought in the political realm of governance, with the Catalan independence movement&nbsp;providing a perfect example.</strong> I explained how I see this process unfolding on twitter yesterday.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p dir="ltr" lang="en">Here&#39;s how I see things playing out.<br />Humans push for decentralization, the state responds with thuggishness.<br />Legitimacy further damaged.</p> <p>&mdash; Michael Krieger (@LibertyBlitz) <a href="">September 20, 2017</a></p></blockquote> <script async src="//" charset="utf-8"></script><p><strong>This is precisely what is happening in Spain right now.</strong> As <a href="" rel="noopener" target="_blank"><em>Reuters</em></a> reports:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><em>(Reuters) &ndash; Spanish police raided Catalan government offices and arrested officials on Wednesday to halt a banned referendum on independence, an action the regional president said meant Madrid had effectively taken over his administration.</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em>Tens of thousands of protesters gathered outside the regional government offices in the center of Barcelona&rsquo;s tourist district as well as in several Catalan cities, waving the red-and-yellow Catalan flag and chanting &ldquo;Occupying forces out&rdquo; and &ldquo;Where is Europe?&rdquo;.</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em>&ldquo;The Spanish state has by all rights intervened in Catalonia&rsquo;s government and has established emergency rule,&rdquo; Catalan President Carles Puigdemont said in a televised address.</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em>&ldquo;We condemn and reject the anti-democratic and totalitarian actions of the Spanish state,&rdquo; he said, adding Catalans should turn out in force to vote in the Oct. 1 referendum on a split from Spain that Madrid has declared illegal.</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong><em>State police arrested Catalonia&rsquo;s junior economy minister Josep Maria Jove on Wednesday in their first raid of government offices in the region, Catalan government sources said. The raid targeted several regional government departments.</em></strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong><em>Acting under court orders, police have raided printers, newspaper offices and private delivery companies in a search for campaign literature, instruction manuals for manning voting stations and ballot boxes.</em></strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em>The Civil Guard, a national police force, on Wednesday seized 10 million ballot papers, polling station displays as well as documents and forms to run the vote, including a list of voters under the headline &ldquo;2017 Catalonia self-determination referendum&rdquo;.</em></p> </blockquote> <p><u><em><strong>Is that Riyadh or Barcelona?</strong></em></u></p> <p>Naturally, many Catalans were none too pleased and came out in the streets as you can see from the picture below.</p> <p><a href=""><img class="alignnone wp-image-47640" src="" style="width: 600px; height: 340px;" /></a></p> <p>Plenty of people previously against independence are probably in favor of it now. That&rsquo;s just how these things work. As <em>Reuters</em> reported:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><em>But the central government must tread a fine line in enforcing the law in the region without seeming heavy-handed. Polls show a minority of Catalans, albeit more than 40 percent, support independence although<strong> a majority want a referendum on the issue.</strong></em></p> </blockquote> <p><strong>Denying the right to vote in such an aggressive and authoritarian manner will only galvanize support for the independence movement and increase anger towards the centralized government in Madrid. This was a major mistake by the Spanish state, but it&rsquo;s precisely the sort of mistake we should expect as the world becomes increasingly decentralized.</strong></p> <p>To conclude, I recognize that I&rsquo;m making a huge call here. I think the way human beings organize their affairs will experience the most significant paradigm level shift we&rsquo;ve seen in the Western world since the end of the European feudal system hundreds of years ago. That&rsquo;s how significant I think this shift will be. There are two key things that need to happen for this to occur. The first is technological innovation, and that&rsquo;s already happening. The second is increased human consciousness. As Thoreau noted, in order for us to have greater self-determination we need to be ready for it. Are we ready? I think we&rsquo;re getting there.</p> <p>So get out there and innovate if you can, and if you can&rsquo;t that&rsquo;s ok too, go become an inspiration to others. If we spread the ethos of freedom and decentralization far and wide, we shall have it.</p> <p>*&nbsp; *&nbsp; *</p> <p><strong><em>If you liked this article and enjoy my work, consider becoming a&nbsp;monthly&nbsp;<a href="" rel="noopener" target="_blank"><span style="color: #ff6600;">Patron</span></a>,&nbsp;or visit our&nbsp;<a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">Support&nbsp;Page</a>&nbsp;to show your appreciation for&nbsp;independent content creators.</em></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="290" height="153" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Alternative currencies Bitcoin Bitcoin Catalan government Catalonia’s government China Cryptocurrencies Currency Decentralization Donald Trump Economics of bitcoin Finance Florida headlines Las Vegas Legality of bitcoin by country or territory Money Newspaper None Politics regional government Reuters Spanish police state police Twitter Twitter U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission Fri, 22 Sep 2017 00:35:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 603944 at To Prevent Rebellion, Spain Docks Cruise Ship Housing 16,000 Riot Police In Barcelona Port <p>Efforts by Madrid to stop a Catalonia independence vote, currently slated for October 1st, seem to be growing more hostile by the day.&nbsp; Earlier this week Spanish police seized control of Catalonia’s finances, seeking to ensure that separatist politicians could not spend further public funds on the referendum, and conducted raids across Catalonia to confiscate ballots and campaign materials from printing shops and delivery companies.</p> <p>Now, as the <a href="">New York Times</a> notes this morning, Spanish police have detained 14 people during operations conducted yesterday which included the secretary general of economic affairs, Josep Maria Jové.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p><strong>The Spanish police detained more than a dozen people in the region of Catalonia on Wednesday, drastically escalating tensions between the national government and Catalan separatists.</strong> The episode occurred less than two weeks before a highly contentious referendum on independence that the government in Madrid has vowed to block.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>The police raided the offices of the Catalan regional government early Wednesday and arrested at least 14 people, including Josep Maria Jové, secretary general of economic affairs.</strong> The arrests were not expected, but hundreds of mayors and other officials in Catalonia had been warned that they would be indicted if they helped organize a referendum in violation of Spanish law.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Hundreds of supporters of Catalan independence immediately took to the streets of Barcelona to protest the arrests. </strong>Jordi Sanchez, the leader of one of the region’s biggest separatist associations, used Twitter to urge Catalans to “resist peacefully,” but also to “come out and defend our institutions.”</p> </blockquote> <p>According to <a href="">Reuters</a>, the increasingly hostile crackdown by the Spanish police has led Catalan leaders to acknowledge for the first time today that plans to hold a referendum on independence are now in doubt following the arrest of senior regional officials and the seizure of campaign material by national police.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p><strong>“It is obvious that we won’t be able to vote as we would have liked,”</strong> Oriol Junqueras, deputy head and economy minister of the regional government, told local television TV3. <strong>“They have altered the rules.”</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>It was the first time the promoters of the referendum had acknowledged their plans were in doubt, although Junqueras said he said he was convinced voters would still turn out in numbers.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>It is not yet clear whether the police operation would be enough to prevent the vote overall or if it could instead bring fresh momentum to the secession campaign.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Polls show about 40 percent of Catalans support independence although a majority want a referendum on the issue.</p> </blockquote> <p><img src="" alt="Rajoy" width="501" height="322" /></p> <p><em>Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy of Spain</em></p> <p><span style="font-size: 13.008px;">Meanwhile, as a sign of the growing hostility and Madrid's intentions to do all that is necessary to block a vote, </span><a href="" style="font-size: 13.008px;">Bloomberg</a><span style="font-size: 13.008px;"> notes that </span><strong style="font-size: 13.008px;">Spain has hired cruise liners specifically to mount a massive force of 16,000 police in a Catalan port.</strong></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p><strong>Spain has discreetly hired ferries to be moored in the Port of Barcelona as temporary housing for possibly thousands of police</strong> specially deployed to keep order in rebel Catalonia and help suppress an illegal independence referendum.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The country’s interior ministry asked Catalan port authorities to provide a berth for one ship until Oct. 3 -- two days after the planned vote -- saying it was a matter of state, a spokeswoman for the port said by phone Wednesday. <strong>The vessel, known as “Rhapsody,” docked in the city about 9:30 a.m. Thursday, she said.</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>The aim is to amass more than 16,000 riot police and other security officers by the Oct. 1 referendum,</strong> El Correo newspaper reported on its website. <strong>That would exceed the number of Catalan police, the Mossos d’Esquadra, who serve both the Catalan and central governments.</strong></p> </blockquote> <p><img src="" width="500" height="333" /></p> <p><em>the Rhapsody of the Sea cruise ship.</em></p> <p><strong>Still, the Catalan government says it can hold the vote, and recently announced that it had stored about 6,000 ballot boxes in a secret location. “The referendum will be held and is already organized,”</strong> Mr. Romeva said. <strong>“Clearly the conditions in which it will be celebrated are not those that we wished for.”</strong></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>Separatist leaders, however, have accused Mr. Rajoy of plunging Catalonia into a state of emergency rather than negotiating the terms of a referendum.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>“The issue that is at stake today isn’t the independence — or not — of Catalonia,” </strong>Raül Romeva, Catalonia’s foreign affairs chief, told a group of foreign correspondents in Madrid on Wednesday, <strong>“but democracy in Spain and the European Union.”</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Mr. Romeva said that Catalonia would hold the referendum as planned, and that Catalan lawmakers would act to honor the result within 48 hours — meaning they would declare independence unilaterally if people voted for it.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>“There is no alternative, absolutely no alternative,” </strong>he said. <strong>“There are only two projects now on the table: a democratic project or repression.”</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>Now,why do we have a feeling that placing a riot police force of 16,000 in a Catalan port, ready to pounce at a moment's notice, will <strong>not </strong>help reduce the local push for independence...&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="486" height="215" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Autonomous communities of Spain Catalan government Catalan independence Catalan independence movement Catalan nationalism Catalan police Catalan self-determination referendum Catalans Catalonia Europe European Union European Union Generalitat de Catalunya Independence referendum national government New York Times Newspaper Outline of Catalonia Politics Politics of Catalonia Raül Romeva regional government Reuters Spanish police Statute of Autonomy of Catalonia Twitter Twitter War Fri, 22 Sep 2017 00:13:09 +0000 Tyler Durden 603904 at South Korea Overtakes China As Bitcoin's Third-Largest Market <p>China-based digital currency exchanges have until the end of September to cease operations after Chinese authorities, spooked by the ICO craze, decided earlier this month to crack down on all exchange-based digital currency trading.</p> <p>Trading volume in China has fallen dramatically since the country&rsquo;s exchanges briefly halted withdrawals earlier this year as they implemented new AML controls. Now, it appears that at least some of those displaced by China&rsquo;s crackdown have migrated to South Korea, which today overtook China as the third-largest market for bitcoin trading by volume.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p dir="ltr" lang="en">Today, South Korea surpassed China in <a href="">#bitcoin</a> trading volume. South Korea&#39;s Bithumb processes more volume than Bitfinex + Bittrex. <a href=""></a></p> <p>&mdash; Joseph Young (@iamjosephyoung) <a href="">September 21, 2017</a></p></blockquote> <script async src="//" charset="utf-8"></script><p>Japan remains the largest market, followed by the US.</p> <p><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 500px; height: 304px;" /></a></p> <p>According to <a href="">CoinTelegraph</a>, the shift suggests that traders have moved to South Korea in response to the Chinese government&rsquo;s decision to kill the exchanges. The largest exchange in South Korea is processing more transactions than Hong Kong-based Bitfinex and US-based Bittrex combined.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>&ldquo;The change in the processing of transactions indicates that traders have moved to South Korea. The largest exchange in South Korea has processed more transactions than Bitfinex and Bittrex.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>The shift represents a substantial movement of the Bitcoin community away from China, where regulators have confirmed that all Chinese exchanges will be closed shortly.</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>The shift toward South Korea indicates a response to the legalization of Bitcoin in the country in recent months.&nbsp; A general move away from China has generally occurred, even as the country has begun to tighten its grip on the cryptocurrency market.&rdquo;</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>While China&rsquo;s crackdown triggered the largest selloff in months as investors worried that it could inspire other governments to try and suppress digital currency trading, the shift to South Korea demonstrates bitcoin&rsquo;s durability. Instead of destroying a portion of the market, shuttering local exchanges simply forced traders to move elsewhere.<br />&nbsp;</p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="703" height="359" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Alternative currencies Bitcoin Bitcoin Bitcoin network Bitfinex Business China Chinese government CoinDesk Cryptocurrencies Digital currencies Digital currency exchange Finance Financial cryptography Foreign exchange market Japan Money Twitter Twitter Fri, 22 Sep 2017 00:10:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 603925 at Kim Jong Un Vows To Tame "Mentally Deranged Dotard" Trump "With Fire" <p>The verbal soap opera continues. </p> <p>Just hours after <a href="">North Korea's foreign minister Ri Yong-ho called Donald Trump </a>a "barking dog", the rogue state's president, Kim Jong-Un called President Donald Trump “a frightened dog” and a “gangster fond of playing with fire” in an official yet fiery statement on Thursday.</p> <p>Reacting to Trump's United Nation's speech in which the US president called Kim Jong Un “Rocket Man,” and threatened to "totally destroy" North Korea, Kim's response was nothing short of a macabre magnum opus of comic-hyperbolic fusion. </p> <p><a href=""><img src="" width="500" height="346" /></a></p> <p>“Far from making remarks of any persuasive power that can be viewed to be helpful to defusing tension, he made unprecedented rude nonsense one has never heard from any of his predecessors,” Kim said adding that "A frightened dog barks louder." </p> <p>Kim went on:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>"[Trump's] remarks remind me of such words as "political layman" and "political heretic" which were in vogue in reference to Trump during his presidential election campaign." </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The mentally deranged behavior of the U.S. president openly expressing on the UN arena the unethical will to "totally destroy" a sovereign state, beyond the boundary of threats of regime change or overturn of social system, makes even those with normal thinking faculty think about discretion and composure. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>"After taking office Trump has rendered the world restless through threats and blackmail against all countries in the world. He is unfit to hold the prerogative of supreme command of a country, and he is surely a rogue and a gangster fond of playing with fire, rather than a politician."</p> </blockquote> <p>The North Korean then responded to Trump's hollow threat with one of his own:</p> <p>"I am now thinking hard about what response he could have expected when he allowed such eccentric words to trip off his tongue. <strong>Whatever Trump might have expected, he will face results beyond his expectation. I will surely and definitely tame the mentally deranged U. S. dotard with fire</strong>."</p> <p>On Thursday, Trump signed an executive order that would slap sanctions on individuals, companies and financial institutions that do business with North Korea, or as Trump called the nation&nbsp; “this criminal rogue regime.” He said his mission was North Korea’s “complete denuclearization.”</p> <p>Also earlier this month, the U.N. Security Council passed harsh sanctions on Kim's small nation, as it continued to fire threatening missile tests and claim the expansion of its nuclear arsenal. The sanctions ban 90 percent of North Korean exports and were approved by Russia and China, who had previously maintained closer ties to North Korea.</p> <p>While Kim did not mention the sanctions, in his speech, which was officially translated by the DPRK, he refers to Trump multiple times as a “dotard”, a rather arcane word for an elderly person who is weak minded or senile, which will be entirely lost on Trump. </p> <p>* * * </p> <p><em>Kim's full speech - via KCNA - is below:</em></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p><strong>Pyongyang, September 22 (KCNA) -- Respected Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un, chairman of the State Affairs Commission of the DPRK, released a statement on Thursday. </strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The full text of the statement reads: </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The speech made by the U.S. president in his maiden address on the UN arena in the prevailing serious circumstances, in which the situation on the Korean peninsula has been rendered tense as never before and is inching closer to a touch-and-go state, is arousing worldwide concern. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Shaping the general idea of what he would say, I expected he would make stereo-typed, prepared remarks a little different from what he used to utter in his office on the spur of the moment as he had to speak on the world's biggest official diplomatic stage. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>But, far from making remarks of any persuasive power that can be viewed to be helpful to defusing tension, he made unprecedented rude nonsense one has never heard from any of his predecessors. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>A frightened dog barks louder. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>I'd like to advise Trump to exercise prudence in selecting words and to be considerate of whom he speaks to when making a speech in front of the world. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The mentally deranged behavior of the U.S. president openly expressing on the UN arena the unethical will to "totally destroy" a sovereign state, beyond the boundary of threats of regime change or overturn of social system, makes even those with normal thinking faculty think about discretion and composure. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>His remarks remind me of such words as "political layman" and "political heretic" which were in vogue in reference to Trump during his presidential election campaign. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>After taking office Trump has rendered the world restless through threats and blackmail against all countries in the world. He is unfit to hold the prerogative of supreme command of a country, and he is surely a rogue and a gangster fond of playing with fire, rather than a politician. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>His remarks which described the U.S. option through straightforward expression of his will have convinced me, rather than frightening or stopping me, that the path I chose is correct and that it is the one I have to follow to the last. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Now that Trump has denied the existence of and insulted me and my country in front of the eyes of the world and made the most ferocious declaration of a war in history that he would destroy the DPRK, we will consider with seriousness exercising of a corresponding, highest level of hard-line countermeasure in history. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Action is the best option in treating the dotard who, hard of hearing, is uttering only what he wants to say. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>As a man representing the DPRK and on behalf of the dignity and honor of my state and people and on my own, I will make the man holding the prerogative of the supreme command in the U.S. pay dearly for his speech calling for totally destroying the DPRK. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>This is not a rhetorical expression loved by Trump. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>I am now thinking hard about what response he could have expected when he allowed such eccentric words to trip off his tongue. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Whatever Trump might have expected, he will face results beyond his expectation. I will surely and definitely tame the mentally deranged U. S. dotard with fire. <br /><em><br /></em></p> </blockquote> <p>And for those asking, yes - nobody knew what it means...</p> <p><a href=""><img src="" width="500" height="270" /></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="543" height="326" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> American people of German descent Business China Climate change skepticism and denial Donald L. Trump Donald Trump Donald Trump KIM Kim dynasty Kim Jong-un North Korea State Affairs Commission of the DPRK The Apprentice U.N. Security Council United Nations United States WWE Hall of Fame Thu, 21 Sep 2017 23:50:56 +0000 Tyler Durden 603949 at India: The Genie Of Lawlessness Is Out Of The Bottle <p><a href=""><em>Authored by Jayant Bhandari via,</em></a></p> <h3><u><strong>Recapitulation (Part XVI, the Last)</strong></u></h3> <p>Since the announcement of demonetization of Indian currency on 8th November 2016, I have written a <a href="">large number of articles</a>. <strong>The issue is not so much that the Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, is a tyrant and extremely simplistic in his thinking</strong> (which he is), or that demonetization and the new sales tax system were horribly ill-conceived (which they were). Time erases all tyrants from the map, and eventually from people&rsquo;s memory.</p> <p><img src="" style="height: 420px; width: 560px;" /></p> <p><em>According to the Global Slavery Index, an estimated 18 million Indians, equivalent to half the total population of Canada, are bonded, modern slaves.</em></p> <p><span id="more-51383">&nbsp;</span></p> <p><strong>My interest has been mostly to use these events to document the underlying causes of such utter missteps, </strong>which technically must be called stupid, and to explain how the real disease runs much deeper and much wider, and that no solutions for this can be found in the next elections.</p> <p>My interest has been to<strong> explore the socio-cultural foundations of India that keep it perennially poor, wretched, and diseased, a state from which it never seems able to escape.</strong> I have attempted to dissect the unwitting tendency of Indians to destroy any material or civilizational advantages, which in the last 300 years have all accrued as products of extraneous events: Free gifts of Western experience and civilization, management skills, and technology, all offered on a platter.</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="" width="560"></iframe></p> <p style="text-align: left;"><em>Vegetables being washed in sewage water. This gives shine and color to vegetables. But do you really want to eat vegetables washed in human excreta? Even for such basic commodities, one must look for a trustworthy seller. In a tribal society, big institutions simply do not work.</em></p> <p>I have attempted to show that now that <strong>since the British left 70 years ago, Indian institutions have continued to fray, degenerate, degrade, and fall apart. </strong>The British left a robust judiciary, a university system, and parliament in place. Except for their facades, all these institutions are now soulless shells, something that politically correct intellectuals at the IMF, the World Bank, etc., completely fail to see.</p> <p>The math is very simple: <strong><em>If Western institutions are to be imposed on India, such institutions must be run by Westerners as well. The corollary is also very simple: Without the British running India, India cannot continue to exist the way the British left it.</em></strong></p> <p><img class="aligncenter wp-image-51386" src="" style="width: 560px; height: 315px;" /></p> <p><em>A minister in the government watering plants in heavy rain. This would be a joke, but knowing that these people rule India I consider it a tragedy. The photo shows C. P. Singh at a tree planting event on 17th July 2017 [your editor needs to chime in here: Indian politicians cannot claim sole ownership of the proud tradition of watering plants in the middle of a rainstorm. As we have reported in <a href="">Drowning the Fir</a> , the presidents of Turkmenistan and Belorussia have also not shirked their baby tree soaking duties just because there was a downpour. The plant in question was solemnly victimized near the Palace of Independence in Minsk last year [PT].</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>India&rsquo;s institutions must over a period of time realign themselves to reflect the underlying character of India&rsquo;s society. </strong>That character, alas, is tribal and irrational, which the British, missionaries and Western education were only able to&nbsp;&nbsp; affect positively to a marginal extent over the 200-300 years of their influence. India must revert back to its medieval, tribal institutions, its violent, irrational way to &ldquo;communicate&rdquo; and deal with its problems, and never-ending internecine conflicts.</p> <p><strong>The future of India looks extremely grim,&nbsp; Modi and the recent events are nothing but passing symptoms of this.&nbsp;</strong> The British also left a certain way of thinking and social behavior among the middle class in India. One important aspect of this was the pride a minority in the middle class felt about freedom of speech. This is the last but rapidly crumbling pillar of the British heritage, which I want to address in this last article of this series.</p> <p><img class="aligncenter wp-image-51388" src="" style="width: 560px; height: 316px;" /></p> <p><em>Madhya Pradesh, a province with a population of 81 million, introduced compulsory flag hoisting in schools in January. From November 2017, when teachers take roll-calls in class rooms, students will be required to shout, &ldquo;Jai Hind&rdquo; (Victory to India, a battle cry, but also carrying strong Hindu religious connotations). All Western institutions implanted in India are mutating to cater to the underlying tribalism. &ldquo;Nationalism&rdquo; is not underpinned by any values in the Indian mind, but relates merely to an arrogant, geographical concept. Western-style schools are mere indoctrination centers. What India needs is critical thinking, not the mindless recitation of slogans and sound-bites. Such slogans and religious indoctrination numb the minds of these kids, making them worse than the uneducated masses. The weight of indoctrinated beliefs is such that after a certain age they are totally incapable of any individuality or capacity to think. They merely parrot what they are told. Adults incapacitated to think react with anger when reasoned with, and become tools of demagogues. Indian demography is a major liability, and very likely cause of the next international humanitarian crisis.</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h3><u><strong>Demonetization: Now Officially a Failure</strong></u></h3> <p><strong>On 8th November 2016, India&rsquo;s prime minister Modi appeared on TV to announce that a few hours later 86% of the monetary value of currency in circulation (Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 bills, about US$15 and US$7.50 respectively) would no longer be legal tender. </strong>This sent hundreds of millions lining up upside the banks to convert their unusable cash into legal tender. The government had made absolutely no preparation. The replacement currency bills had not been printed yet, in a country where 95% of consumer transactions happened in cash.</p> <p>The knee-jerk move was a <strong>rather childish decision taken by a few senior politicians with little consultation with banks or economists. </strong>The problem was not just that they took a wrong decision it was also that they thought they could take such a decision without appropriate checks and balances. These are the same people who control the nuclear button and rule a population of 1.35 billion people.</p> <p><strong>Without a &ldquo;monetary&rdquo; system, the economy rapidly went into a state of trauma. Tens of millions were rendered jobless, as neither employers had the cash to pay salaries and input costs, nor did buyers have the cash to buy their products. Scared of the turmoil, even those who had cash avoided all unnecessary expenses.</strong></p> <p><img class="aligncenter wp-image-51391" src="" style="width: 560px; height: 392px;" /></p> <p><em>A memorable &ldquo;don&rsquo;t panic&rdquo; moment on the road to fully digitized Nirvana&hellip; [PT]</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Factory and shop workers preferred to line up outside the banks to convert other people&rsquo;s money for a lucrative commission. Wealth-creating activities came to a standstill.</strong> Vegetable prices crashed by as much as 50% as poor people who had lost their jobs were buying less. Farmers had to destroy their produce. Factories closed. A vicious cycle was set into motion.</p> <p>People were given until the end of December 2016 to deposit their banknotes. They were required to use the banking system, which was clogged by then. The banks were also acting as extended arms of the tax office. Digital payment systems were run very unprofessionally and banks suddenly started to charge unapproved commissions and fees.</p> <p>While the government wanted its largely illiterate population to go digital, it took the central bank another eight months to report how much of the demonetized currency had been deposited. While this number will be updated and increase in the next report, they have admitted that more than 99% of the currency has been returned. This figure is quite ironical, as a lot of people &mdash; in tribal and rural areas with no access to banks and those holding cash outside of India &mdash; failed to deposit their cash.</p> <p><strong>It is easy to conclude that effectively more than 100% of the extant cash was deposited with banks. </strong>On 9th November 2016, when I went to convert a part of my cash into legal tender, the person in front of me was found to have counterfeit cash. He managed to get his cash back by applying his influence on the manager. He very likely deposited his cash later in a rural bank where machines to check counterfeit currency do not exist.</p> <p><strong>In short, demonetization failed, it caught no black money, and quite hilariously, it actually helped to launder counterfeit currency by transforming it into legal tender. This was on top of the massive assault that the economy had to bear.</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><img class="aligncenter wp-image-51385" src="" style="width: 560px; height: 393px;" /></p> <p><em>A sad moment: holders of &ldquo;black&rdquo; and counterfeit money receive the terrible news of imminent demonetization&hellip; [PT]</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h3><u><strong>None of the Objectives Achieved</strong></u></h3> <p><strong>Despite the fact that government expenses - largely unproductive and often counter-productive - are up hugely, and statistics are being manipulated, India&rsquo;s official GDP growth rate has fallen significantly, to 5.7%. In due time this will worsen significantly, for India is stagnating and very likely regressing.</strong></p> <p><strong>Absolutely none of the claimed objectives behind demonetization have been achieved. </strong>As soon as people got hold of cash, they went back to their old ways of transacting. People are now storing more cash under the carpet than they did ever before. Corruption has increased hugely. The situation in Kashmir is extremely unstable. Terrorism is up; and India narrowly avoided a war with China.</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="" width="560"></iframe></p> <p><em>Goons destroying shops with Chinese (or what they think to be Chinese) products as the tension builds up at the border. Ironically, as in the West, Chinese products are everywhere in India &mdash; the tools used by goons are likely made in China as well. For almost a month, Indian and Chinese troops stood face to face, and in at least one case fought with bare arms and rocks. China&rsquo;s GDP is more than five times that of India. Both countries have nuclear capabilities. I am not in a position to know which side was in error, but Modi desperately needs to distract Indians and the international media from economic stagnation. Was he looking for a scapegoat?</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>One must revisit the fundamentals of Indian culture. Indian society is tribal and irrational. It simply cannot plan and undertake big projects, unless they are heavily subsidized. </strong>There is a reason why more than 50% of Indians still use&nbsp; open spaces as toilets. There is a reason why in virtually all of India, sidewalks, ambulances, fire-brigades, and roadside garbage cans &mdash; things that are considered elementary services in any society &mdash; are conspicuous by their absence.</p> <p>Tribal and irrational people also lack moral instincts, empathy and compassion. Members of the so-called educated Indian middle class have no interest in the suffering of poor people. Even after they have emigrated, they soon forget how desperately they wanted to leave India. They strive to make India look good in the eyes of foreigners, not for the sake of India, but in the hope of vicariously making themselves look good.</p> <p><strong>Those who have gravely suffered due to demonetization still &mdash; and ironically, increasingly &mdash; support Modi.</strong> India lacks the history of revolting against tyranny, as people merely adjust themselves to the new ecology. <strong>India&rsquo;s kind of drudgery and wretched poverty, which makes it worse than some of the poorest countries on the planet, does not come easy in this modern age of technology.</strong></p> <p><img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-51392" src="" style="width: 560px; height: 544px;" /></p> <p><em>Nothing fazes the common man in India&hellip; a R.K. Laxman cartoon (see also further below) [PT]</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><img class="aligncenter wp-image-51384" src="" style="width: 560px; height: 394px;" /></p> <p><em>As any person with a basic understanding of probability, data security and the realities of India would have seen, India&rsquo;s centralized ID system, Aadhaar, was going to turn into a disaster. About eight million fake ID cards are known to have been issued. They cloned fingerprints, etc. There simply isn&rsquo;t such a thing as &ldquo;fraud-proof&rdquo; in the real world. The card is used for all kinds of tyrannical intrusions, although the benefits are yet to be discovered, for the poorest are still running from post to pillar to get a few rupees promised to them.</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-51390" src="" style="width: 559px; height: 181px;" /></p> <p><em>The new GST system has been an unmitigated disaster. There is a plethora of rates. There is a minimum of two filing requirements per month, and a requirement to upload invoice details to a server, which keeps crashing. Two months after GST was imposed in an unplanned way, no one &mdash; not even those in the government &mdash; knows what the rules really are, which keep changing to boot [ed. note: India&rsquo;s GST rules are simply impossible to interpret in some cases; the chaos businesses are faced with is described in <a href="">this Reuters article</a> &ndash; for instance, the different parts making up a personal computer are taxed at different rates. What to charge for a laptop, which is a single unit? No-one seems to know. In the meantime <a href="">the government has been forced to cut its planned infrastructure spending</a>, as tax revenues have come in almost 50 percent (!) below plan. [PT]. </em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h3><u><strong>The Genie of Violence is Out</strong></u></h3> <p><strong>What terrorism and corruption mean in the Indian context requires one to dig deeper.</strong> India&rsquo;s governing principle is fear, delivered by irrational representatives, who are elected by an uneducated and superstitious populace, all driven by their tribal affiliations, unanchored to reason or morals. In this predicament, no solution to what looks like terrorism and violence to the rational eye can work.</p> <p><strong>Corruption is another curious issue.</strong> What looks like corruption to the West can hardly be called corruption in the Indian context. India&rsquo;s society is not based on moral calculations, but on expediency. What is good for the tribe is what is considered right. Western institutions based on the rule of law simply do not work under such conditions.</p> <p>People support &ldquo;anti-corruption&rdquo; drives as long as they are beneficiaries of them, but will refuse to honor them when they can be &ldquo;corrupt&rdquo; for their own gains. It is virtually impossible to find an Indian&mdash; both in the public and the private sector &mdash;who will forgo gains from corruption when he can get away with it.</p> <p><strong>Anyone who thinks that violence and &ldquo;corruption&rdquo; can end in India lives in a fool&rsquo;s paradise.</strong> As the institutions the British left behind continue to fray in India, corruption and violence will actually get much worse over time, regardless of short-term noise.</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="" width="560"></iframe></p> <p><em>According to Indian laws this is illegal. But so what? Constitutions and laws are mere ink on parchment. For a culturally tribal society, there is no escape from such a medieval existence, and in India&rsquo;s case, regression towards it. Stricter laws will not help. Democracy certainly does not help, for this case is indeed a case of democracy in action.</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Violence is an inherent part of the Indian psyche and social arrangement</strong>. In an irrational society, violence and might is the deciding factor. Honor killings, misogyny, misandry, the caste system, and incest have forever been a part and parcel of Indian life. These things happen mainly because the perpetrator does not even know that what he is doing is wrong. His perceptions are based on his tribalism, not any concept of morality.</p> <p><img class="aligncenter wp-image-51389" height="500" src="" width="332" /></p> <p><em>Gauri Lankesh, a journalist, was shot dead on September 5, 2017. While no motive is known, Hindu nationalists have increasingly targeted journalists and writers for voicing their views. Even anti-superstition activists have been murdered. Fanatics have created convenient sound-bites, which are now well-accepted by the irrational populace (particularly the so-called educated): &ldquo;pseudo-secular&rdquo; (read, pro-Islamic terrorism), &ldquo;presstitude&rdquo; (read, prostituting press), &ldquo;anti-national&rdquo; (read, does not go along with Hindu-fanaticism), &ldquo;libturds&rdquo; (read, leftists; in the Indian context right-wing is about religious fanaticism or ultra-nationalism), etc.&nbsp; Contrary to the popular perception in the West, India is a violent society. Reporters Without Borders ranks India among the three most dangerous countries for journalists in the world, below Pakistan and Afghanistan.</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h3><u><strong>Freedom of Speech</strong></u></h3> <p>When the British left India, it was assumed to be a democracy. What people hardly noticed was that those left in political positions had been mostly selected by the British.<strong> Those the British left in power, their children, and now even their grandchildren, are gone by now. Modi represents a complete break from the British legacy.</strong></p> <p>India&rsquo;s tribalism is now in full force. <strong>The concepts of individual liberty and freedom of speech were completely alien to the societies of South Asia. They still are.</strong> <em>Might is right</em> was and is the ruling principle.</p> <p>During colonial times, elite Indians were trained and educated in the UK. English rapidly became the language of those who wanted to be seen as sophisticated. British mannerisms were rapidly accepted by the who&rsquo;s who crowd.</p> <p>Even the most uneducated tried their best to drop as many English words into their local languages as possible. Today, local languages spoken in India are heavily larded with English words. Close relatives talk to each other in English, even if their mother-tongue is a local language. Even when their English is rather weak, they still use it as much as they can.</p> <p><strong>Indian dresses have mostly gone out of fashion, particularly in urban areas.</strong> Every middle class Indian aspires to go to least one foreign country if he wants a place in his social circle. He must have English music blasting away in his car. He must watch English movies. And he should never ever be seen reading a non-English book &mdash; although reading habits are virtually non-existent in India. If you speak your local language without larding it with English words, you are seen as a backward slob.</p> <p><img class="aligncenter wp-image-51393" src="" style="width: 560px; height: 273px;" /></p> <p><em>Apposite cartoons by the late R.K. Laxman, a famous Indian cartoonist (the unperturbed &ldquo;common man&rdquo; on his bed of nails further above was also drawn by him; he invented the &ldquo;common man&rdquo; cartoon figure in 1957, which became a highly popular staple of his work). [PT]</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Indians never understood that it was not the form, the facade or the clothing that gave massive success and superiority to the British. It was the British frame of mind, which was anchored to reason, which allowed them to navigate the world, optimize their position, and benefit from it.&nbsp; Indians have adopted the packaging, but they have not only forgotten the substance, but lacking the concept of reason, they could not even see the substance.</strong></p> <p>One very important aspect of British social behaviorism that was accepted as a sign of sophistication in India was freedom of speech. At least among the formally educated, even if they had no comprehension why freedom of speech was important, some learned to approve of it. You could find flaws in a person&rsquo;s religion and not have to worry about giving voice to your finding.</p> <p>Contrary to Pakistan, Sri Lanka or Bangladesh, freedom of speech managed to survive much longer in India. India wasn&rsquo;t much better in other human indicators, but its massive ethnic, lingual, regional, etc. diversity meant that there were far too many inner conflicts for the any single dogma to become powerful enough to take a position against a small minority that held on to its views.</p> <p><strong>India&rsquo;s respect for freedom of speech &mdash; as was the case in Pakistan and Bangladesh &mdash; lacked the foundations of reason, respect for the individual, or craving for liberty. With time, as the distance from British rule has grown, this once deeply inculcated social behavior has slowly but surely begun to dissipate.</strong></p> <p>Over the last few years, suppression of freedom of speech has picked up pace. Western media portray India as the place of Gandhi and yoga. This is quite erroneous, particularly when the last classical liberties are now waning in India.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h3><u><strong>Conclusion</strong></u></h3> <p><a href="">In this series of articles</a> that started with my expose on what was happening on the ground during the demonetization of 86% of monetary value of Indian currency,<strong> my key interest has not only been to show <em>what</em> was happening but most importantly to explain <em>why</em> it was happening.</strong></p> <p>My interest has been to<strong> show that without the British to run them, Indian institutions are now rapidly regressing to their pre-colonial, quasi-medieval, tribal past.</strong> Indian culture is tribal and irrational. It simply cannot maintain, let alone create, institutions of the type the British left behind.</p> <p>Freedom of speech is one of the last surviving major pillars of the British legacy, <strong><em>but it has weakened significantly and is rapidly crumbling further, with Modi as a major catalyst.</em></strong></p> <p><img class="aligncenter wp-image-51387" src="" style="width: 560px; height: 458px;" /></p> <p><em>R.K. Laxman gets the final word &ndash; the Indian space program decided to take advantage of the common man&rsquo;s resilience&hellip; [PT]</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="631" height="362" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Afghanistan Asia China Corruption ETC Fail Global Slavery Gujarati people India India Indian Hindus International Monetary Fund Narendra Modi Nationalism None Reporters Without Borders Reuters South Asia Turkmenistan World World Bank World Bank Thu, 21 Sep 2017 23:45:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 603945 at 1 Million Ohio Public Employees Face Pension Cuts As Another Ponzi Teeters On The Brink <p>We've written frequently of late about the pension crisis in Kentucky where pensioners are facing potentially catastrophic benefit cuts as their politicians finally admit that they've been sold a fantasy for decades (see: <a href="">Pension Consultant Offers Dire Outlook For Kentucky: Freeze Pension And Slash Benefits Or Else</a>).</p> <p>Unfortunately, Kentucky is not unique as there is a never-ending stream of similar pension failures popping up daily all around the country.&nbsp; The latest such example comes to us from Ohio as the <a href="">Dayton Daily News</a> notes that the <strong>Ohio Public Employees Retirement System (OPERS) has been forced to consider COLA cuts for its 1 million pensioners in order to keep the fund solvent.</strong></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p><strong>Ohio’s biggest public pension system is considering cutting the cost of living allowances for its 1-million members as a way to shore up the long-term finances of the fund.</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Ohio Public Employees Retirement System trustees on Wednesday discussed options that could affect all current and future retirees, including tying the cost of living allowance to inflation and capping it and delaying the onset of the COLA for new retirees.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>No decision has been made and trustees will discuss the options again in October. So far, some 72,000 members responded to an OPERS survey about possible changes. OPERS spokesman Todd Hutchins said 70 percent of retirees responding to the survey report that they prefer that the COLA be capped, rather than frozen.</p> </blockquote> <p>So how bad is OPERS?&nbsp; Per the latest valuation, Ohio taxpayers are on the hook for a roughly $20 billion underfunding.&nbsp; Ironically, the fund ended 2016 with the highest underfunding in it's history, after being nearly fully funded in 2007, despite a 275% surge in the S&amp;P off the lows in 2009.&nbsp;<strong> Perhaps someone can explain to us how these pensions stand a chance of ever again being fully funded if they can't even manage to improve their balance sheet during one of the biggest equity bubbles in history?</strong></p> <p><a href=" - OH Pension 3.jpg"><img src="" style="width: 600px; height: 375px;" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Be that as it may, <strong>like all pensions the OPERS underfunding is only as good as the garbage assumptions used to calculate it.</strong>&nbsp; As the following <a href="">table</a> shows, a mere 1% reduction in OPERS' discount rate would result in a $12 billion increase in the fund's net liability.</p> <p><a href=" - OH Pension 1.jpg"><img src="" style="width: 600px; height: 152px;" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Ironically, <strong>even OPERS' own financial report pegs its "Weighted Average Long-Term Expected Real Rate of Return" at just 5.66%.</strong></p> <p><a href=" - OH Pension 2.jpg"><img src="" style="width: 600px; height: 248px;" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Not surprisingly, OPERS is just one of many Ohio public pensions currently facing cuts.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>OPERS is the latest of the five public pensions systems in Ohio to consider benefit cuts.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>The State Teachers Retirement System of Ohio in April voted to indefinitely suspend the COLA for retired teachers. </strong>Trustees said they weren’t certain that the cut would be enough to shore up the finances of the $72-billion fund.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Ohio Police &amp; Fire Pension Fund is expected to hire a consultant to help restructure its health care benefits. O</strong>P&amp;F announced in May it would switch in January 2019 to issuing stipends to each retiree, who can then use the money to purchase coverage.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>School Employees Retirement System, which covers janitors, bus drivers and cafeteria workers, is taking steps to link its cost of living allowance to inflation, cap it at 2.5 percent, and delay its onset for new retirees.</p> </blockquote> <p>Meanwhile, by protesting earlier this week Ohio employees demonstrated that they're still in the <strong>"Shock and Denial" phase of dealing with the news that their pensions were always just a clever little fairy tale told to earn their votes.</strong>&nbsp; Luckily, "Anger and Bargaining" is only 2 steps away in the 7-step process...</p> <p><iframe src="" width="600" height="337" 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="998" height="522" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Business Economy Finance Fire Pension Fund Fiscal policy Investment Labor Money Ohio Ohio police Oklahoma Public Employees Retirement System Pension Crisis Pensions Pensions crisis Retirement S&P Social Issues Social Security Thu, 21 Sep 2017 23:20:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 603919 at If The Majority Votes To Secede - What About The Minority? <p><a href=""><em>Authored by Ryan McMaken via The Mises Institute,</em></a></p> <div class="body-content clearfix"> <p><strong>In recent years,&nbsp;left-wing&nbsp;groups have often been the driving force behind secession movements.</strong> This has been the case in Scotland, in Catalonia, and in California.&nbsp;</p> <p>In each case, the secession movements have been initiated in part to forward&nbsp;left-wing&nbsp;goals, such as the creation of a larger welfare state or to escape limitations imposed by&nbsp;political interest groups and institutions deemed to be too right-wing.&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Within the American context, the loudest calls for secession right now are coming from California where leftists are eager to assert their independence from the Trump administration in Washington.</strong></p> <p>Generally speaking, these California secessionists want single-payer health care, an even larger welfare state, confiscation of private firearms, and an ever larger environmental &quot;protection&quot; bureaucracy. <strong>That is, they want a European-style welfare state.&nbsp;</strong></p> <h4><u>California as Case Study&nbsp;</u></h4> <p>This case presents Americans - and especially libertarian-minded Americans - with a question that continues to come up in recent years on secession matters: should they&nbsp;support a left-wing secession movement?&nbsp;</p> <p><strong><em>Is it right or moral to support a secession movement that, in the short- and medium- terms is almost guaranteed to adopt policies that are counter to the cause of freedom and free markets?&nbsp;</em></strong></p> <p>The answer must first and foremost be compared against the reality of&nbsp;forcing&nbsp;political union on a separatist region. That is, the cost&nbsp;of allowing a region to separate must be compared to the cost of&nbsp;keeping it in&nbsp;&mdash; i.e., military invasion, occupation, mass arrests, government surveillance, martial law, and worse.</p> <p>Not&nbsp;surprisingly, we&#39;re forced to conclude&nbsp;the answer is the same whether we&#39;re talking about secession&nbsp;in Scotland, in California, or in Catalonia:<strong> the answer is yes.</strong></p> <h4><u>What About the Minority Interests?&nbsp;</u></h4> <p>Often, the immediate retort to this position is to point to those groups in the minority who are left stuck in the seceding territories.&nbsp;</p> <p>The argument goes something like this:<strong><em> &quot;Now that you&#39;ve cut California loose, what about those poor conservatives, gun owners, and business owners who will now be negatively impacted by a newly empowered California government? Before, California was at least somewhat restrained by its membership in the United States. Now the California government is even more free to inflict misery on the hapless taxpayers and productive people who are stuck there.&quot;&nbsp;</em></strong></p> <p>To this criticism, there are at least two responses.</p> <h4><u>One: California Independence Means More Freedom for the Rest of the Country&nbsp;</u></h4> <p><strong>Those who wish to focus on merely what happens to those who are in California take a parochial and far-too-limited view. </strong>Yes, it&#39;s true that business owners, religious Christians, and gun owners in California (to name just three groups) would likely be negatively impacted by California independence. The California government has long illustrated an open hostility to these minority groups.&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>The other side of the coin, however, is that California secession would lead to a significant expansion of freedom for the &quot;rump&quot; United States left behind.</strong> Freed of the influence of California on American politics, the remainder of the United States would likely move significantly in the direction of <em>more</em> freedom in markets. Federal regulations would likely be scaled back, and presidential candidates would no longer need to cater to interest groups with sizable memberships in California.&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>California&#39;s 53-member delegation in Congress (39 of them Democrats) would be gone, </strong>and voting patterns in Congress would likely shift in a direction more hospitable to freedom and free markets.&nbsp;</p> <p>In other words,<strong> the nation would be freed from a great weight tied around its neck.</strong> One might even say the situation is analagous to the removal&nbsp;of an infected appendage. It wouldn&#39;t be the first time such a thing had happened. In 1861, when Southern States began seceding from the Union, New Yorker George Templeton Strong welcomed the prospect of being freed&nbsp;from the political influence of the slave drivers down south. He concluded &quot;the self-amputated members were diseased beyond immediate cure, and their virus will infect our system no longer.&quot;</p> <p>But, unlike Strong who might have been induced by conscience to think of the slaves left behind in the seceding territories, we face no similar scruples. Obviously, comparing modern California to a slave state of old is laughably inappropriate, and unlike the slaves, Californians are free to move away. Nor is it the moral obligation of Texans, or Floridians, or Coloradans to protect the Californians from the excesses of their own government.</p> <p>Thus, when we think of post-secession California subject to the whims of a hard-left government there, we must also think of the 285 million remaining Americans who would benefit from the separation.&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Note also that this situation <em>even has advantages</em> for the taxpayers and business owners in California who wish to escape the California regime.&nbsp;</strong></p> <p><strong>Now that the rump United States has been improved by California&#39;s absence, those&nbsp;in California who seek a more business-friendly legal environment can dramatically change their fortunes for the better by moving across the new national boundary to Arizona or Nevada. </strong>For these migrants, the net gain achieved by&nbsp;leaving California has grown larger thanks to California&#39;s departure.&nbsp;</p> <h4><u>Two: More States are Preferable to Fewer States&nbsp;</u></h4> <p><strong>The second response to the objection lies in the fact that secession already brings with it a solution to the problem. That is, the problems caused by one secession are solved by <em>more </em>secession.&nbsp;</strong></p> <p>As I&#39;ve explained <a href="">here</a>, <a href="">here</a>, and <a href="">here</a>, a larger number of states is preferable to a smaller number. <strong>A larger number of small states provides more practical choices to taxpayers and citizens in choosing a place to live under a governments that more closely match their personal values.&nbsp;</strong></p> <p>Thus, in considering the problems of an independent California, we find that <strong>the primary problem faced by taxpayers and productive residents in California is that the state&nbsp;is simply too large&nbsp;and contains too diverse a population within its boundaries.&nbsp;</strong></p> <p>As noted by numerous commentators over the years &mdash; including supporters of the <a href="" target="_blank">Six Californias initiative</a> &mdash;&nbsp;California&#39;s population is&nbsp;quite politically and culturally diverse, although it has been dominated for decades by a hard-left coalition of voters based around the Bay Area. Compared to these voters, Southern California residents&nbsp;appear downright&nbsp;centrist, but one would not know this by looking at statewide politics because Northern California is so adept at throwing its weight around.&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>The solution to this problem&nbsp;lies in breaking up California into still smaller pieces.</strong> We can see many of these political lines ripe for decentralization in the voting patterns revealed by statewide <a href="">votes such as those for Propsition 187 and Proposition&nbsp;8</a>. We can see it <a href="" target="_blank">in the map</a> of legislative districts. Nor is this just a matter of metropolitan areas versus rural areas. Many suburban areas within the metroplexes of California are quite right-of-center in their own rights, and would surely benefit from further political decentralization.&nbsp;</p> <p><a href="">Urban core cities ought to be their own self-governing territories</a>, with suburan and rural areas kept separate and self-governing in their own ways.&nbsp;</p> <p>The net result of all of this would be to offer a multitude of choices among taxpayers, entrepreneurs, gun owners, and moral traditionalists as to where they might live and enjoy the benefits of self-determination within their own communities.&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>But before any of this can&nbsp;happen, we must first establish and extend the moral and legal legitimacy of self-determination through secession and decentralization.</strong> Clinging to the status quo of existing regional and national boundaries is reactionary in the extreme.&nbsp;Insisting that no community ought to be allowed self government unless its leaders are hard-core libertarians is impractical, irresponsible, and doomed to failure.&nbsp;</p> <p>Nevertheless, when confronted with new attempts at decentralization and secession, even some of&nbsp;those who claim to be for freedom and self-determination cling to ideas of imposing nationalistic control over others.<strong> They invent emotion-laden fictional slogans claiming &quot;we are one nation&quot; or &quot;secession is treason&quot; or other sayings designed to justify using the&nbsp;power of the state to impose political unity.&nbsp;&nbsp;</strong>Ultimately, this is an ideology of monopoly and coercion, and tramples the very ideals of freedom that the nationalists claim they hold dear.</p> </div> <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="231" height="141" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Anarchist theory Autonomy California government Congress Decentralization International law International relations Martial Law Mises Institute Mises Institute Northern California Political philosophy Politics Reality Secession Secession in the United States Self-determination Southern California Trump Administration in Washington Thu, 21 Sep 2017 22:55:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 603936 at After 2.5 Years, A Lawsuit To Unseal Draft Whitewater Indictments Against Hillary Gets Its Day In Court <p>After 2.5 years since its original FOIA request was filed in March 2015, Judicial Watch will finally get its day in court tomorrow to argue for the release of draft indictments of Hillary Clinton from the Whitewater scandal in the 1990s.&nbsp; As <a href="">McClatchy</a> points out, <strong>since March 2015 Judicial Watch has been engaged in a back and forth battle with the National Archives which argues that "the documents should be kept secret [to preserve] grand jury secrecy and Clinton’s personal privacy.”</strong></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>Judicial Watch, a conservative watchdog group that files Freedom of Information Act requests, wants copies of the documents that the National Archives and Records Administration has declined to release. <strong>It filed a FOIA request for the documents in March 2015 and in October 2015 the group sued for the 238 pages of responsive records.</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>According to Judicial Watch: “<strong>The National Archives argues that the documents should be kept secret, citing grand jury secrecy and Clinton’s personal privacy.”</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>But Judicial Watch says that because so much about the Whitewater case has already been made public,<strong> “there is no secrecy or privacy left to protect.”</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>The documents in question are alleged drafts of indictments written by Hickman Ewing, the chief deputy of Kenneth Starr, the independent counsel appointed to investigate Bill and Hillary Clinton’s alleged involvement in fraudulent real estate dealings dating back to the 70's.&nbsp; </p> <p>Ewing told investigators he drafted the indictments in April 1995. According to Judicial Watch, the documents pertain to allegations that Hillary Clinton provided false information and withheld information from those investigating the Whitewater scandal.</p> <p><img src="" alt="Hillary" width="400" height="533" /></p> <p>Meanwhile, for those who haven't been alive long enough to remember some of the original Clinton scandals dating back to the 1970's, the Whitewater scandal revolved around a series of shady real estate deals in the Ozarks, not to mention a couple of illegal, federally-insured loans, back when Bill was Governor of Arkansas. </p> <p>Of course, like with all Clinton scandals, while several other people ended up in jail as a result of the FBI's Whitewater investigation, Bill and Hillary emerged unscathed. <a href="">Wikipedia</a> offers more details:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>The Whitewater controversy, Whitewater scandal (or simply Whitewater), was an <strong>American political episode of the 1990s that began with an investigation into the real estate investments of Bill and Hillary Clinton and their associates, Jim McDougal and Susan McDougal, in the Whitewater Development Corporation, </strong>a failed business venture in the 1970s and 1980s.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>A March 1992 New York Times article published during the 1992 U.S. presidential campaign reported that the Clintons, then governor and first lady of Arkansas, had invested and lost money in the Whitewater Development Corporation. The article stimulated the interest of L. Jean Lewis, a Resolution Trust Corporation investigator who was looking into the failure of Madison Guaranty Savings and Loan, also owned by Jim and Susan McDougal.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Lewis looked for connections between the savings and loan company and the Clintons, and on <strong>September 2, 1992, she submitted a criminal referral to the FBI naming Bill and Hillary Clinton as witnesses in the Madison Guaranty case.</strong> Little Rock U.S. Attorney Charles A. Banks and the FBI determined that the referral lacked merit, but Lewis continued to pursue the case. From 1992 to 1994, Lewis issued several additional referrals against the Clintons and repeatedly called the U.S. Attorney's Office in Little Rock and the Justice Department regarding the case. Her referrals eventually became public knowledge, and she testified before the Senate Whitewater Committee in 1995.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>David Hale, the source of criminal allegations against the Clintons, claimed in November 1993 that Bill Clinton had pressured him into providing an illegal $300,000 loan to Susan McDougal, the Clintons' partner in the Whitewater land deal.</strong> The allegations were regarded as questionable because Hale had not mentioned Clinton in reference to this loan during the original FBI investigation of Madison Guaranty in 1989; only after coming under indictment himself in 1993, did Hale make allegations against the Clintons. <strong>A U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission investigation resulted in convictions against the McDougals for their role in the Whitewater project. Jim Guy Tucker, Bill Clinton's successor as governor, was convicted of fraud and sentenced to four years of probation for his role in the matter. Susan McDougal served 18 months in prison for contempt of court for refusing to answer questions relating to Whitewater.</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Neither Bill Clinton nor Hillary were ever prosecuted, </strong>after three separate inquiries found insufficient evidence linking them with the criminal conduct of others related to the land deal. </p> </blockquote> <p>Just more attempts to <strong>"criminalize behavior that is normal"...</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="1280" height="720" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Bill Clinton Conservatism in the United States Department of Justice FBI Federal Bureau of Investigation FOIA Freedom of Information Act Hillary Clinton Judicial Watch Judicial Watch Law National Archives and Records Administration National Archives and Records Administration New York Times Politics Politics of the United States Real estate Rodham family Savings And Loan Securities and Exchange Commission Senate Whitewater Committee U.S. Attorney's Office U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission United States Whitewater controversy Thu, 21 Sep 2017 22:30:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 603928 at The Petrodollar Is Under Attack: Here's What You Need To Know <p><a href=""><em>Authored by Darius Shatahmasebi via,</em></a></p> <p><strong>Once upon a time, the U.S. dollar was backed by the gold standard</strong> in a framework that established what was&nbsp;<a href=",8599,1852254,00.html" rel="noopener" target="_blank">known</a>&nbsp;as the Bretton-Woods agreement, made in 1944. The dollar was fixed to gold at a price of $35 an ounce, though the dollar could earn interest, marking one notable difference from gold.</p> <p><strong>The system ended up being short-lived,</strong> as President Richard Nixon&nbsp;<a href="">announced</a>&nbsp;that the U.S. would be abandoning the gold standard in 1971. Instead, the U.S. had other plans for the future of global markets.</p> <p>As the&nbsp;<em>Huffington Post&nbsp;</em>has explained, the Nixon Administration<a href="">&nbsp;reached</a>&nbsp;a deal with Saudi Arabia:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><strong><em>&ldquo;The essence of the deal was that the U.S. would agree to military sales and defense of Saudi Arabia in return for all oil trade being denominated in U.S. dollars.&rdquo;</em></strong></p> </blockquote> <p>This system became known as the&nbsp;<a href="">Petrodollar Recycling system</a>&nbsp;because countries like Saudi Arabia would have to invest excess profits back into the U.S. It didn&rsquo;t take long for every single member of&nbsp;<a href="">OPEC</a>&nbsp;to start trading oil in U.S. dollars.</p> <p>A little-known<a href="">&nbsp;economic theory</a>, rejected<a href="">&nbsp;by the mainstream</a>, stipulates that Washington&rsquo;s stranglehold over financial markets can be at least partially explained by the fact that all oil exports are conducted in transactions involving the U.S. dollar. This relationship between oil and currency arguably gives the dollar its value, as this paradigm requires all exporting and importing countries to maintain a certain stock of U.S. dollars, adding to the dollar&rsquo;s value. As&nbsp;<em>Foreign Policy</em>&nbsp;&ndash; a magazine that<a href="">&nbsp;rejects the theory</a>&nbsp;&ndash; explains:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><em>&ldquo;It does matter slightly that the trade typically takes place in dollars. This means that those wishing to buy oil must acquire dollars to buy the oil, which increases the demand for dollars in world financial markets</em><em>.&rdquo;</em></p> </blockquote> <p><strong>The term &ldquo;those wishing to buy oil&rdquo; encompasses almost every single country that does not have an oil supply of its own &ndash; hardly a trivial number. </strong>An endless demand for dollars means an endless supply, and the United States can print as much paper as it wants to account for its imperial ambitions. <strong>No other country in the world can do this.</strong></p> <p>In 2000, Iraq&nbsp;<a href="">announced</a>&nbsp;it would no longer use U.S. dollars to sell oil on the global market. It adopted the euro, instead, which was no easy decision to make. However, by February 2003, the&nbsp;<em>Guardian&nbsp;</em><a href="">reported</a>&nbsp;that Iraq had netted a &ldquo;handsome profit&rdquo; after making this policy change.</p> <p><u><strong><em>Anyone who rejects this petrodollar theory should be able to answer the following question: if currency is not an important factor in America&rsquo;s imperialist adventures, why was the U.S. so intent on invading a country (based on&nbsp;<a href="">cold, hard lies</a>), only to make it a priority to&nbsp;<a href="">switch</a>&nbsp;the sale of oil back to dollars? If they cared so much about Iraq and its people, as we were supposed to have believed, why not allow Iraq to continue netting a &ldquo;handsome profit&rdquo;?</em></strong></u></p> <p>In Libya, Muammar Gaddafi was punished for a similar proposal that would have created a&nbsp;<a href="">unified African currency&nbsp;</a>backed by gold, which would have been used to buy and sell African oil. Hillary Clinton&rsquo;s leaked emails<a href="">&nbsp;confirmed</a>&nbsp;this was the main reason Gaddafi was overthrown, though commentators continue to ignore and reject the theory. Despite these denials, Clinton&rsquo;s leaked emails made it clear that Gaddafi&rsquo;s plan for the future of African oil exports was a priority for the U.S. and its NATO cohorts, more so than Gaddafi&rsquo;s alleged human rights abuses. This is the same Hillary Clinton who&nbsp;<a href="">openly laughed</a>&nbsp;when Gaddafi was&nbsp;<a href="">sodomized</a>&nbsp;and murdered, displaying no regrets that she&nbsp;<a href="">single-handedly</a>&nbsp;plunged a&nbsp;<a href="">very rich and prosperous nation</a>&nbsp;into a complete state of chaos.</p> <p>At the start of this month, Venezuela<a href="">&nbsp;announced</a>&nbsp;it would soon &ldquo;free&rdquo; itself from the dollar. Barely a week or so later, the&nbsp;<em>Wall Street Journal</em><a href="">&nbsp;reported</a>&nbsp;that Venezuela had stopped accepting dollars for oil payments in response to U.S. sanctions. Venezuela sits on the<a href="">&nbsp;world&rsquo;s largest oil reserves</a>. Donald Trump&rsquo;s<a href="">&nbsp;threats</a>&nbsp;of unilateral military intervention &mdash; combined with the CIA&rsquo;s<a href="">&nbsp;admission</a>&nbsp;that it will interfere in the oil-rich country &mdash; may make a lot more sense in this context.</p> <p>Iran has also been using<a href="">&nbsp;alternative currencies</a>&nbsp;&nbsp;&mdash; like the Chinese yuan &mdash; for some time now. It also shares a<a href="">&nbsp;lucrative gas field</a>&nbsp;with Qatar, which could be&nbsp;<a href="">days away</a>&nbsp;from&nbsp;<a href="">ditching the dollar, as well</a>. Qatar has reportedly already been conducting billions of dollars&rsquo; worth of transactions in the yuan. Just recently, Qatar and Iran&nbsp;<a href="">restored full diplomatic relations</a>&nbsp;in a complete snub to the U.S. and its allies. It is no surprise, then, that both countries have been vilified on the international stage,<a href="">&nbsp;particularly</a>&nbsp;under the<a href="">&nbsp;Trump administration</a>.</p> <p>In the latest dig to the U.S. dollar and global financial hegemony, the&nbsp;<em>Times of Israel</em><a href="">&nbsp;reported</a>&nbsp;that a Chinese state-owned investment firm has provided a $10 billion credit line to Iranian banks, which will specifically use yuan and euros to bypass U.S.-led sanctions.</p> <p><strong>Consider that in August 2015, then-Secretary of State John Kerry<a href="">&nbsp;warned</a>&nbsp;that if the U.S. walked away from the nuclear deal with Iran and forced its allies to comply with U.S.-led sanctions, it would be a&nbsp;<em>&ldquo;recipe, very quickly&hellip;for the American dollar to cease to be the reserve currency of the world.&rdquo;</em></strong></p> <p>Iran, bound to Syria by a&nbsp;<a href="">mutual-defense pact</a>, was&nbsp;<a href="">reportedly</a>&nbsp;working to establish a natural gas pipeline that would run through Iraq and Syria with the aim of exporting gas to European markets, cutting off Washington and its allies completely. This was, of course, in 2009 &mdash; before the Syrian war began. Such a pipeline deal, now with Russia&rsquo;s continued air support and military presence, could entail the emergence of a whole new market that could easily be linked to the euro, or any other currency for that matter, instead of the dollar.</p> <p>According to Russian state-owned outlet&nbsp;<em>RT</em>, the Kremlin&rsquo;s website announced Tuesday that Russian President Vladimir Putin has also<a href="">&nbsp;instructed</a>&nbsp;the government to approve legislation to ditch the U.S. dollar at all Russian seaports by next year.</p> <p>Further, the&nbsp;<em>Asia Times</em>&nbsp;explains that Putin<a href="">&nbsp;dropped</a>&nbsp;an enormous &ldquo;bombshell&rdquo; at the recent BRICS summit in Xiamen early September, stating:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><em>&ldquo;Russia shares the BRICS countries&rsquo; concerns over the&nbsp;</em><strong><em>unfairness of the global financial and economic architecture,</em></strong><em>&nbsp;which does not give due regard to the growing weight of the emerging economies. We are ready to work together with our partners to&nbsp;</em><strong><em>promote international financial regulation reforms</em></strong><em>&nbsp;and to&nbsp;</em><strong><em>overcome the excessive domination of the limited number of reserve currencies.&rdquo;</em></strong>&nbsp;[emphasis added]</p> </blockquote> <p>According to the&nbsp;<em>Asia Times</em>&nbsp;author, the statement was code-speak for how BRICS countries will look to bypass the U.S. dollar as well as the petrodollar.</p> <p>China is also on board with this proposal. Soon, China will<a href="">&nbsp;launch a crude oil futures contract</a>&nbsp;priced in Chinese yuan that will be completely convertible into gold.&nbsp;As reported by the&nbsp;<em>Nikkei Asian Review</em>, analysts have called this move a &ldquo;game-changer&rdquo; for the oil industry.</p> <p>Both Russia and China have been<a href="">&nbsp;buying up huge quantities of gold</a>&nbsp;for some time now.&nbsp;Russia&rsquo;s present gold reserves would back&nbsp;<a href="">27 percent of the narrow ruble money supply &ndash; far in excess of any other major country.</a>&nbsp;The United States&rsquo; Federal Reserve admitted<a href="">&nbsp;years ago</a>&nbsp;that they haven&rsquo;t held any gold for a very long time.</p> <p>China is also implementing a&nbsp;<a href="">monumental project</a>, known as the Silk Road project, which is a&nbsp;major push to create a permanent trade route connecting China, Africa, and Europe.&nbsp;One must wonder much control over these transactions will the U.S. have.</p> <p><strong>These are just a few of the latest developments that have affected the dollar.</strong></p> <p><a href=""><strong><img alt="" src="" style="width: 600px; height: 279px;" /></strong></a></p> <p>Can those continue to reject this petrodollar-related theory answer the following questions with confidence:<strong><em> Is it a coincidence that all of the countries listed above as moving away from the dollar are long-time adversaries of the United States, including the ones that were invaded?</em></strong> Is it a coincidence that Saudi Arabia gets a free pass to commit a<a href="">&nbsp;host of criminal actions</a>&nbsp;as it complies with the global financial order? Are Saudi Arabia&rsquo;s concerns with Qatar really rooted in the latter&rsquo;s alleged funding of terror groups even though Saudi Arabia leads the<a href="">&nbsp;world in funding the world&rsquo;s</a>&nbsp;most vile terror groups?</p> <p><strong>Clearly, there is something far more sinister at play here,</strong> and whether or not it is tied solely to a deranged, psychopathic currency warfare will remain to be seen. <strong><em>The evidence continues to show, however, that the U.S. dollar is slowly being eroded piece by piece and ounce by ounce &mdash; and that as these adversarial countries make these developments in unison, there appears to be little the U.S. can do without<a href="">&nbsp;risking an all-out world war</a>.</em></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="719" height="334" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Bretton Woods system BRICs Business Cartels Central Intelligence Agency China Credit Line Crude Crude Oil Donald Trump Economy Federal Reserve Financial Regulation fixed Foreign exchange market Gold standard International relations Iran Iraq Israel Monetary hegemony Money Supply Natural Gas Nikkei Nixon Administration North Atlantic Treaty Organization OPEC OPEC Organization of Petroleum-Exporting Countries Petrodollar recycling Petroleum industry Petroleum politics Politics Reserve Currency Reserve currency Saudi Arabia Trump Administration US Federal Reserve Vladimir Putin Wall Street Journal Yuan Thu, 21 Sep 2017 22:25:26 +0000 Tyler Durden 603916 at