Category: ZeroHedge

The West’s “Guilty Until Proven Innocent” Mantra Is Wrecking Lives & International Relations

Authored by Robert Bridge, op-ed via,

Western society is flirting with a disturbing trend where people are being denied the time-honored ‘presumption of innocence’. The same undemocratic method is even being used against nations in what is becoming a dangerous game.

Imagine the following scenario: You are a star football player at the local high school, with a number of college teams hoping to recruit you. There is even talk of a NFL career down the road. Then, overnight, your life takes an unexpected turn for the worse. The police show up at your house with a warrant for your arrest; the charges: kidnapping and rape. The only evidence is your word against the accuser’s. After spending six years behind bars, the court decides you were wrongly accused.

That is the incredible story of Brian Banks, 26, who was released early from prison in 2012 after his accuser, Wanetta Gibson, admitted that she had fabricated injurious claims against the young man.

Many other innocent people, however, who have been falsely accused in the West for some crime they did not commit, are not as fortunate as Brian Banks. Just this week, for example, Ross Bullock was released from his private “hell” – and not due to an accuser with a guilty conscience, but by committing suicide.

“After a ‘year of torment’… Bullock hanged himself in the garage of the family home, leaving a note revealing he had ‘hit rock bottom’ and that with his death ‘I’m free from this living hell,’” the Daily Mail reported.

There is a temptation to explain away such tragic cases as isolated anomalies in an otherwise sound-functioning legal system. After all, mistakes are going to happen regardless of the safeguards. At the same time, however, there is an irresistible urge among humans to believe those people who claim to have been victimized – even when the evidence suggests otherwise. Perhaps this is due to the powerful emotional element that works to galvanize the victim’s story. Or it could be due to the belief that nobody would intentionally and unjustly condemn another human being. But who can really say what is inside another person’s heart? Moreover, it can’t be denied that every time we attempt to hunt down and punish another people, tribe, sex, religion, etc. for some alleged crimes against victims, there is a real tendency among Westerners to get carried away with moralistic zeal to the point of fanaticism.

A case in point is last year’s scandal that rocked the entertainment industry as the movie mogul Harvey Weinstein was accused of sexually assaulting numerous women over the span of a 30-year career. Eventually, over 80 females, emboldened by the courage displayed by their peers, drove Weinstein straight out of Hollywood and into the rogue’s gallery of sexual predators. Few could deny this was a positive thing.

But then something strange began to happen that has been dubbed the ‘Weinstein effect.’ Powered by the social media #MeToo movement, women from all walks of life began to publicly accuse men for all sorts of sexual violations, some from decades ago. Certainly, many of the claims were legitimate. However, in many cases they were not. Yet the mainstream media, which has taken great delight in providing breathless details of every new accusation, has shown little interest in pursuing those stories of men who went on to suffer divorce, ruined reputations, and the loss of jobs without so much as a fair hearing in a court of law. 

As far as the mainstream media is concerned, and to be fair they don’t seem that concerned, the victim’s story is the only story that matters. Indeed, it was almost as if the victim had become judge, jury and executioner. This is, in reality, just one step from mob rule, and woe to anyone who questions the motives of the movement, as French star Catherine Deneuve discovered.

The (female) writer, D.C. McAllister, described the poisonous “environment of suspicion” that has beset relations between men and women.

“While women’s willingness to hold men accountable for criminal sexual behavior is to be applauded, the scorched-earth approach we are seeing today is destructive because it undermines trust,” McAllister wrote in The Federalist.

“When anything from a naive touch during a photo shoot to an innocent attempt at a kiss is compared to rape and sexual abuse, we are not healing society but infecting relationships with the poison of distrust.”

In other words, neither men nor women have gained anything from this otherwise-well-intended campaign against sexual improprieties. However, this is not the first time the West has allowed raw emotions to knock the train of progress right off the tracks. History books are replete with examples of Western campaigns rising out of sheer mass hysteria. But at least in those wild times there was still some semblance of justice, complete with trials and investigations. Now compare that with our ‘modern’ times, when all it took for the United States to win approval for an illicit attack on Iraq was for Colin Powell to shake a vial of faux anthrax in front of the UN General Assembly.

With these historical hiccups in mind, it is possible to argue that the West has truly forgotten the lessons of history because they are certainly repeating them today.

By way of example, consider where the great bulk of US troops are encamped today – in and around the Middle East – and then ask yourself how they got there.

The answer is by hook and by crook, and not a little public manipulation and chicanery. That is because, in our insatiable desire to defend victims – the good guys, we are told – we are allowing ourselves to ignore crucial evidence while placing blind faith in what we are being told is the truth. Clearly that has not been the case to date.

From the accusations that Iraq was harboring weapons of mass destruction to launch against innocent people, to the current claims that the Syrian government of Bashar Assad is using chemical weapons against his own people, the West is gambling that claims based on zero evidence will always work to fulfill ulterior motives. So far, the ploy seems to be working with the gullible public, but sooner or later truth will catch up, indeed, as truth usually does.

Just this month, for example, an assassination attempt was made against Sergei Skripal – a former double agent who had moved to Salisbury, England following a spy-swap in 2010. Any guesses as to who the British authorities have ruled – without a trial, evidence or motivating factor – is the main culprit? Yes, Russia. Yet, even the usually loyal British press has started expressing reservations over the dubious claims.

This should come as no surprise since the UK, a member of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), has staunchly refused to provide samples of the alleged nerve agent to Russia for analysis. Why would it do that? Would anyone be surprised if this investigation goes the same way it did for all those Russian athletes who were, unjustly, banned from the Winter Olympic Games this year? 

Or perhaps the same way it went following the 2016 US presidential elections, when Russia was accused of meddling on behalf of Donald Trump – zero evidence to back up the slanderous accusations, which are responsible for putting US-Russia relations into a free fall.

In conclusion, the unsightly spectacle of Western capitals backtracking on legal precedent – from domestic cases to international – makes it all the more clear why it is so anxious to win back the media mountaintops – it has no evidence whatsoever to support the reasons behind its increasingly illicit behavior. It is therefore incumbent upon them to own the narrative, as well as the justice system. How long this democratic charade can last is anybody’s guess.

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South Korea Will Shut Off Computers To Stop Employees From Overworking

The government of South Korea is trying to curb a “culture of working overtime,” and has mandated that federal employees must power down their computers by 20:00 (8 p.m.) on Fridays and leave work, in the first of three phases of the program.

South Koreans work some of the longest hours in the world – with government employees clocking an average of 2,739 hours per year, around 1000 more than workers in other developed countries which have an average of 1,763, according to Yonhap.

(2016 figures)

According to a survey by the Ministry of Personnel and Management, the average overtime worked in 2017 was 70.4 hours per month for around-the-clock employees, and 31.5 hours per month for ordinary workers. 

Officials of the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries had the most overtime hours with 158.3 hours a month, followed by the National Fire Agency with 144.8 hours, the Coast Guard with 132.2 hours and the Korea Customs Service with 110.1 hours. –Yonhap


The mandated 20:00 Friday shutdowns will begin on March 30, while the second phase in April will add mandated shutoffs at 19:30 on the second and fourth Friday of theat month. 

After May, the program will mandate shutoffs at 19:00 (7 p.m.) hours every Friday. 


While South Korea’s emphasis on a work-life balance is commendable, according to the Seoul Metropolitan Government (SMG), 67.1% of government workers have asked to be exempt from the forced lights-out.

Meanwhile, South Korea’s national assembly passed a law earlier this month to cut the maximum weekly working hours from 68 to 52.

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Nomi Prins: Collusion – Central Bank Money Rules The World

Authored by Nomi Prins via The Daily Reckoning,

Central bank credit that supports markets – is not just creation of the Fed, but by central banks and institutions around the world colluding together. Global markets are too deeply connected these days to consider the Fed in isolation.

Since last month’s correction, the world has been watching the Fed because its policies have global implications. And worldwide sell-offs sent a clear sign to Fed Chair Powell to relax with the rate hikes.

When fears arise that central bank QE will recede on one side of the world, we see more volatility and rumors of hawkishness.

To counter those fears, there will be a move toward dovish policy on the other side of the world.

Central banks operate in collusion. When the Fed signals it is raising rates, or markets over-react negatively to the threat, another central bank steps in. By colluding, other central banks offer even more dark money-QE to keep the party going.

The net result is a propensity toward the status quo in global monetary policy: a bullish, asset bubble-inflating bias in the stock markets and caution in the bond markets.

Here’s what’s going on with some of the most powerful central bankers right now, starting with Japan

While U.S. markets were correcting earlier this month, Japan’s financial benchmark, the Nikkei 225 index fell more than 1,200 points. At the same time, the rumors of Japan’s central bank curbing its dark money-QE programs are just that.

While investors have speculated that the BoJ could be moving towards an exit from dark money policy (despite the BOJ denying this), we know that central banks are too scared of the outcomes.

In an economic pinch, the Bank of Japan (BoJ), will keep dark money flowing.

Confirming my premise, when Japanese Government Bond prices were dipping too fast, the BoJ announced “unlimited” buying of long-term Japanese government bonds. This is simply the continuation of the policy the BoJ already has in place.

It was also, as CNBC reported, “the first time in more than six months that the BOJ has conducted special operations to buy bonds to achieve the yields it wants to see…”

That’s a clear sign of more manipulation of the bond market. And now we have confirmation that Japan likely has more dark money coming…

For the past year, there have been media rumblings that Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe would relieve current Bank of Japan (BoJ) head, Haruhiko Kuroda. The dark money maven was set to end his term on April 8.

Seeing through the media craze, I have repeatedly detailed that it would not be the case. Abe and Kuroda go together like peanut butter and jelly. Abe specifically chose Kuroda to implement a massive dark money strategy in what has been referred to as a monetary “bazooka.”

A piece in Japan Today confirms this view. It concludes that 73-year-old Kuroda will stick around for a second five-year term, through 2023. So as the article notes, “He would be the first BoJ governor to serve two terms in half a century.”

Kuroda has implemented the most aggressive dark money manufacturing on the planet since taking the helm of the BOJ in 2013. Prime Minister Abe has become the longest-standing Japanese prime minister in years with the success of the snap elections he called for last fall.

Logically, why would he seek to end a partnership that is lifting the Japanese markets and making its economy appear rosy? (Though as in the U.S., wage growth and consumption remain tepid.)

With core inflation rising just 0.5% last year, well below Kuroda’s 2% target, you should expect that he’ll be pumping even more dark money into Japanese markets. For investors that means more opportunities in Japanese stocks. Currently, I’m focused on sectors related to the 2020 Olympics and the infrastructure projects that come with it.

Japan offers us a clear roadmap. Financial markets in Japan are clearly addicted to dark money.

Meanwhile, over in Europe, on Feb. 5, European Central Bank (ECB) President Mario Draghi told a European parliamentary hearing in Strasbourg, France, that the ECB can’t yet “declare victory” in its fight to resurrect inflation.

To calm financial markets, he noted, “Monetary policy will evolve in a fully data-dependent and time-consistent manner.” That means more central bank intervention to bolster markets when they buckle.

Draghi espoused some concerns for the strong euro. Draghi’s euro concerns translate into keeping interest rates lower for longer as a way to cool off euro strength. That means more dark money.

In the U.K., the jobless rate rose for the first time since 2016 and wage growth isn’t hitting the Bank of England’s 3% target. Here are the implications: The Bank of England, despite having hinted at tightening, can keep rates where they are given that elements of economic weakness still prevail. More dark money could be coming if economic conditions warrant it.

Of course, one of the most powerful dark money leaders is the head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Christine Lagarde.

That’s because the French leader manages the organization that directs an internationally accepted currency basket and coordinates global monetary policy. Lagarde provided a highly optimistic message at the recent World Economic Forum amongst the elites in Davos. Now she is attempting to step in again to sooth markets.

As one report reveals, while speaking at another elite gathering on global business in Dubai, Lagarde said, “I’m reasonably optimistic because of the landscape we have at the moment.” She also warned that, “we cannot sit back and wait for growth to continue as normal.”

When Lagarde speaks, we should listen. While it is true that global markets sank after the optimism at Davos, the elites have quickly pivoted. Their optimism and associated perception of inflation served to add to market volatility and contributed to the correction. So, they’ve now dialed it back.

“I’m ringing not the alarm signal, but the strong encouragement and warning signal,” Lagarde told an ultra-wealthy Dubai audience.

What central bankers don’t want you to know is that after a decade of cheap money policy to fix the worlds’ economies – they’ve only inflated asset bubbles. That’s why Lagarde repeated last month’s IMF forecast, singing the chorus that the global economy would hit 3.9% growth in 2018 and again in 2019.

Don’t expect this to happen.

But Lagarde’s dark money leadership wasn’t completely oblivious to a developing crisis. Of course, she tried to cast away blame from central bank collusion to other scapegoats. She noted, “We need to anticipate where the next crisis will be. Will it be shadow banking? Will it be cryptocurrencies?”

What this statement should signal to you is that central bankers are hitting their limits. They don’t want you to know how ineffective dark money policies have been for real economic growth.

The concept of central bank collusion is not one that is built upon conspiracy theories. To the contrary, the alliances make perfect sense and operate publicly.

If the Fed rate hike this week teaches us anything, its that Jerome Powell will eventually embrace the same unlimited easy money policy on any sign of market weakness, while the global web of central banks remain as omnipresent as ever.

*  *  *

Earlier in the week, Nomi appeared on Lance Roberts’ Real Investment Hour” to discuss the Fed’s rate hike decision this week and the end result of the ongoing surge in debt combined with continued Central Bank interventions.

Spoiler Alert: “It Ain’t Good.” 

Nomi, is also graciously giving our readers an “exclusive 40% discount” on her upcoming book “Collu$ion”  just by clicking here: Pre-Order “COLLU$ION” Now – 40% OFF

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The 2017 Stock-Market Rally Minted 700,000 New American Millionaires

Last year, North America lost its status as the region with the highest number of millionaires and billionaires to the Asia-Pacific region – largely due to the rapidly rising inequality in nominally communist China.


…But even though China is rapidly catching up to the US in terms of the number of ultra-wealthy individuals (not to mention the exasperating breadth of wealth inequality), strong stock-market performance and rising real-estate valuations caused the ranks of American millionaires to expand by a solid 700,000, according to data from the Spectrum Group, via CNBC.

According to Spectrum, the US now has more than 11 million millionaire households, up more than 6% from 2016. The number of new millionaires and the total population of millionaires set records. By Spectrum’s definition, millionaire households are those with at least $1 million in investible assets – not including their primary residence.

Of the factors that contributed to this rise, soaring equity values had perhaps the biggest impact. Excluding dividends, the S&P 500 climbed 19% last year.

“It was the equity markets that really pulled these folks up,” said George Walper, president of Spectrem Group. “This is the group that has the most equity holdings, so the biggest change is at the high end.”

Meanwhile, members of the American working class, who have little or no money invested in the equity market and often rent instead of owning their own homes, found it harder than ever before to support their families and pay their bills without going deeper into debt…

In an interesting twist, the impact of bitcoin’s torrid rally (and subsequent crash) was conspicuously absent from the Spectrum Group report.

Working Class

Of course, this is hardly a new trend. To wit: the number of millionaire households has nearly doubled. In 2009, there were just under 6 million millionaire households. It’s grown every year since, and is now well past the precrisis level of 9 million millionaires.

As the old saying goes, “it takes money to make money.” That’s especially true for America’s high net worth individuals. Because as Spectrum points out, the richer the individual, the more wealth they saw created this year.

The number of households worth $5 million to $25 million grew by 84,000, to 1.35 million households. The number of households worth more than $25 million jumped by 10 percent, increasing by 16,000 to a total of 172,000.

And barring an all-out stock-market collapse – which, if you listen to Bill Gross, Scott Minerd and handful of other investing luminaries is entirely within the realm of possibility – the wealthiest Americans are bound to see their wealth multiply again in 2018.

“I think people are pretty optimistic,” he said. “But a lot has to do with whether the Democrats take the House and whether we see changes in the tax law. But right now I could see a similar increase next year.”

In addition to their investment returns, the rich also stand to benefit from a Trump tax reform package that, by many estimates, allots more than 80% of its returns to the top 1%…

Meanwhile, working and middle class Americans are being forced to accept an ever-shrinking piece of the pie…

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Why China May Win The Space Race

Submitted by Denison Smith,

Recently, Elon Musk – the same “political grandstander” that once stormed out of President Trump’s advisory councils and said he doesn’t have the right character to be the leader of the free world – tweetstormed the president about having China impose the “same [low automobile] import duties, ownership constraints & other factors” as the United States.

Funny thing, though: Musk is doing more to empower the Chinese government than nearly anyone else in the country. The quality of his products emits more of a “Made in China” feel than they do a “Made in America” one, and their shocking unreliability is risking our diplomatic standing on the global sphere.

Last week, CNBC reported that current and former employees of Musk’s Tesla have found the company is “manufacturing a surprisingly high ratio of flawed parts and vehicles.” One of the company’s workers predicted that 40 percent of the parts flowing through Tesla’s Fremont factory require repair, while another said that the “defect rate is so high that it’s hard to hit production targets.”

Although Tesla’s travails may disappoint the 400,000 customers that have reserved Model 3s, at least these issues don’t empower rogue nations like China at our expense. That’s a problem that SpaceX  – Musk’s aerospace company – and its Deep State backers are already instigating.

Around the same time that Tesla’s quality control problems were exposed, SpaceX’s unreliability was highlighted by NASA in a public summary report of its high-profile 2015 explosion.

The document stated that Musk’s brainchild implemented rocket parts “without adequate screening or testing of the industrial grade part, without regard to the manufacturer’s recommendations for a 4:1 factor of safety when using their industrial grade part in application, and without proper modeling or adequate load testing of the part under predicted flight conditions.”

We can only assume that the succeeding failed missions SpaceX was a part of were due to similar degrees of carelessness. Disturbing findings from the Defense Department’s Inspector General and NASA’s Aersopace Safety Advisory Panel don’t help to alleviate these negative speculations.

Despite knowing about the ostensible wounds Musk has imposed on our national security, last Thursday Pentagon staffers provided SpaceX with yet another near-$300 million contract to launch a military GPS satellite – a brow-raising decision that may have significant implications on our national security.

Upon hearing the news, leaders from the People’s Republic of China must have laughed with glee. By providing more high-priced contracts to SpaceX, American appropriators are exacerbating the growing disparity in space readiness between China and the United States. That’s alarming because according to Rick Fisher, the country’s goal is “to achieve control of low earth orbit in order to defeat the United States on Earth.”

China recognizes that the United States’ space presence is one of the things that make it the dominant military power that it is today. The country’s political class rightfully believes that gaining an edge in space will give them the ability to gauge what its adversaries are doing. Defeating the United States in the upper reaches will allow China to gain improved leverage over matters relating to international economics and diplomacy, and, perhaps eventually, make it the world’s newest superpower. That’s why the country has proposed tripling their annual spending on space investment – it will do whatever it takes to get ahead.

As things stands now, China is projected to climb ahead of the United States. The country is currently expected to reach Mars within a few years at a time when our government is becoming increasingly dependent on explosion-inducing, delay-ridden companies like SpaceX to get us there by 2022.

While China’s leaders emit rays of confidence about their abilities, contractors like Musk are remarking that the prospect of their companies not causing launch pad damage should be considered a national win. It’s no wonder why the US Air Force has expressed concern about what it sees as the US’s “50-year journey” to reach the stars, which pales in comparison to China’s fast-paced “ten-year plan.”

Utilizing SpaceX to the extent that the United States has over the past four years has likely already set the country back significantly in the international space race. China’s ambition and high bar for rapid success is not leaving us with much more of a failure cushion.

There are more reliable contractors available. It’s crucial that the government uphold standards that will propel our program forward. The strength of our national defense is counting on it.

*  *  *

Denison Smith is chairman of Longevity Health Foundation, a new start-up devoted to lowering health care costs through research and education.  Smith is a former assistant attorney general for the state of Idaho, staffer for Sen. James McClure (R-Idaho), and trustee of the Reason Foundation.  He has over three decades of experience in investment banking, including as the former regional vice president of the Pioneer Fund of Boston, the fourth oldest mutual fund in the United States.  

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March 2018 – A Truly Historic Month For The Future Of The Planet

Via The Saker blog,

March 2018 will go down in history as a truly historic month:

March 1st, Vladimir Putin makes his historical address to the Russian Federal Assembly.

March 4thSergei Skripal, a former UK spy, is allegedly poisoned in the UK.

March 8thBritish officials accuse Russia of using nerve gas to attempt to murder Sergei Skripal.

March 12th, Theresa May officially blames Russia for the poisoning and gives Russia a 24-hour ultimatum to justify herself; the Russians ignore that ultimatum. The same day, the US representative at the UNSC threatens to attack Syria even without a UNSC authorization.

March 13th, Chief of Russia’s General Staff Valery Gerasimov warned that “in case there is a threat to the lives of our military, the Russian Armed Force will take retaliatory measures both over the missiles and carriers that will use them”. The same day Chief of the Russian Armed Forces’ General Staff, Deputy Defense Minister, General of the Army Valery Gerasimov had a phone conversation with Marine Corps General Joseph Dunford, chairman of the United States’ Joint Chiefs of Staff.

March 15th, the UK blocked Russia’s draft UN Security Council statement on Skripal poisoning case asking for anurgent and civilized investigation” into the Skripal case. The US, UK, France, and Germany issue a statement backing the UK and blaming Russia. The UK Defence Minister tells Russia to “shut up and go away.

March 16th, Major General Igor Konashenkov calls the British Defense Minister an “uncouth shrew” and “intellectual impotent”.

March 17thRussian Generals warned that the US is preparing a chemical false flag attack in Syria

March 18thPutin overwhelmingly wins the Presidential election. The same day, General Votel, Commander of CENTCOM declares in a testimony to the Armed Services Committee that differences with Russia should be settled “through political and diplomatic channels”. When asked whether it would be correct to say that “with Russia and Iran’s help, Assad has won the Civil War in Syria?” General Votel replied “I do not think that is too — that is too strong of a statement. I think they have provided him the wherewithal to — to be ascendant at this point”.

March 19th, the EU’s Foreign Affairs Council issues a statement fully backing the UK.

March 21st The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs summons all ambassadors to a briefing on the Skripal case. The language used by the Russian representative at this briefing possibly is the bluntest used by any Russian (or even Soviet) official towards the West since WWII. The French, Swedish and US representative at the meeting all stood up to declare their “solidarity” with the UK.

March 22nd, The Chief of the Russian Armed Forces’ General Staff, Deputy Defense Minister, General of the Army Valery Gerasimov had another phone conversation with Marine Corps General Joseph Dunford, chairman of the United States’ Joint Chiefs of Staff.  The same day, General Gerasimov also held another conversation by phonewith the Commander of US European Command and NATO Supreme Allied Commander Europe Army General Curtis Scaparrotti.

So what is really going on here? Surely nobody seriously believes that the Brits really think that the Russians had any motive to try to kill Skripal or, for that matter, if they had a motive, that they would do it in such a stupid manner? And what’s the deal with Syria anyway? Is the USA going to execute their false flag and bomb?

I think that at this point we should not get bogged down in the details of all this. There is a forest behind these trees. What matters most now, is that the most powerful factions of the AngloZionist Empire’s ruling elites are making a concerted effort to create a unified anti-Russian coalition. In this regard it is quite telling that the US, France, and Germany issued a statement on March 15th without even bothering to consult with their so-called “allies” in NATO or the EU. You can immediately tell “who is boss” in those crisis situations when the rest of the Euro-riffraff simply doesn’t matter (poor East Europeans with their delusions about being appreciated or even respected by the West!). Furthermore, it is quite clear that in this case, the “Anglo” component of the AngloZionist Empire is far more involved than the Zionist one, at least insofar as the front of the stage is concerned (behind the scenes the Neocons are seething at Trump for calling Putin to congratulate him and offer negotiations). I think that a number of crucial developments forced the US and the UK into trying to strong-arm the rest of the western nations to “circle the wagons” around the Empire:

  1. The US humiliatingly failed in its attempts to frighten and force the DPRK into submission

  2. The AngloZionists have lost the civil war in Syria

  3. The UK and the rest of the NATO are becoming militarily irrelevant

  4. The Ukraine has crashed and is burning and a Ukronazi attack on the Donbass is most likely

  5. The political forces in Europe who opposed anti-Russian policies are on the ascent

  6. The Russians are winning many EU countries over by economic means including North Stream whereas sanctions are hurting the EU much more than Russia

  7. The anti-Putin campaign has miserably failed and Russia is fully united in her stance against the Empire

What this all means is very simple: the Empire needs to either fold or double down and folding is just not something the imperial elites are willing to consider yet. They are therefore using the tools which they perceive as most effective:

  1. False flags: this is really a time-honored western tradition used by pretty much all the western powers. Since the general public is brainwashed and mostly can’t even begin to imagine that “freedom loving liberal democracies” could use methods usually ascribed to evil, bloodthirsty dictatorial regimes, false flags are an ideal way to get the public opinion in the correct state of mind to approve of aggressive, hostile and even violent policies against a perceived threat or obstacle to hegemony.

  2. Soft power: have you noticed how the Oscars or the Cannes festival always pick exactly the kind of “artists” which the Empire happens to politically promote? Well, this is true not only for the Oscars or the Cannes festival but for almost all of the cultural, social and political life in the West. This is especially true of so-called “human rights” and “peace” organizations which are simply political pit-bulls which can be sicked on any country in need of subversion and/or intervention. Russia has never developed that kind of political toolkit.

  3. Verbal escalation: this tactic is extremely crude yet very effective. You begin by vociferously proclaiming some falsehood. The fact that you proclaimed it in such vociferous and hyperbolic matter achieves two immediate results: it sends all your friends and allies a clear message “you are either with us or against us”, that leaves no room for nuance or analysis, and it gives otherwise rather spineless politicians no way to back down, thus strengthening their “resolve”.

  4. Herding: there is safety in numbers. So when dealing with a potentially dangerous foe, like Russia, all the little guys flock together so as to appear bigger or, at least, harder to single out. Also, when everybody is responsible, nobody is. Thus herding is also politically expedient. Finally, it changed the inter-relational dynamic from one of friends or allies to one typically found among accomplices in a crime.

  5. Direct threats: the Empire got away with making threats left and right for many decades, and this is a habit which is hard to break. The likes of Nikki Haley or Hillary Clinton probably sincerely believe that the USA is quasi-omnipotent or, conversely, they might be terrified by the creeping suspicion that it might not. Threats are also an easy, if ineffective, substitute for diplomacy and negotiations, especially when your position is objectively wrong and the other side is simply a lot smarter than you.

The big problem is that none of these methods work against Russia or, let me correct that, don’t work anymore (they sure appeared to work in the past). The Russian public opinion is fully aware of all these methods (courtesy of a Russian media NOT controlled by AngloZionists) and Margarita Simonian beautifully summarized the feelings that all this elicits in the Russian population:

all your injustice and cruelty, inquisitorial hypocrisy and lies you forced us to stop respecting you. You and your so-called “values.” We don’t want to live like you live, anymore. For fifty years, secretly and openly, we wanted to live like you, but not any longer. We have no more respect for you, and for those among us that you support, and for all those people who support you (…). For that, you only have yourself to blame (…) Our people are capable to forgive a lot. But we don’t forgive arrogance, and no normal nation would. Your only remaining Empire would be wise to learn the history of its allies, all of them are former empires. To learn the ways they lost their empires. Only because of their arrogance. White man’s burden, my ass!” (this last sentence in English in the original text – trans.)

The stark truth is that far from wanting to invade, appease or otherwise please the West, Russia has absolutely no need, or even interest, in it. None. For centuries Russian elites have been western-focused to some degree or other and none of them could even begin to imagine a West-less Russia. This is still true today, the Russian “elites” still want to live like (very rich) Brits or Germans and they still hate the common Russian people and Vladimir Putin. But those Russian elites have now been crushed by the magnitude of Putin’s victory in the presidential elections.

Normally, this should result in an even bigger exile of Russian “businessmen” to the UK, France or Israel, but the problem now is that the British are making noises about punishing them for, well, being Russians (even Russophobic, pro-western, “Russians”). As a result, these “poor” pro-western liberals can only whine on the social media and in the few pro-western media outlets left in Russia (no, not due to repression, but due to their political irrelevancy being backed, as they are, by something between 2% and 5% of the population).

But setting aside the wealthy “elites” for a moment, Russia as a country and as a nation has simply no use for the West and what it represents. Those who fantasize about Russia being interested in “Europe”, “White identity” or “Western Christianity” are only kidding themselves. They hope that the current cultural and spiritual revival in Russia will somehow spill over to them and allow them to extricate themselves from the gutter in which they are currently prostrated. It won’t. Just read again what Simonian said about the western “values” in the quote above. For most Russians “Europe” reeks of Napoleon, “White identity” of Hitler and “Western Christianity” of the creation of the Ukraine and the “Eastern Crusades“.

No, Russia has no interest in revenge against any of that, she just has no respect or interest for what these concepts stand for. (Poland – is possibly the last country where all these things are taken seriously and fondly remembered). Still, the Russians are still willing to negotiate to establish a viable coexistence between the Western and Russian civilizational realms. Putin clearly said so in his speech

There is no need to create more threats to the world. Instead, let us sit down at the negotiating table and devise together a new and relevant system of international security and sustainable development for human civilization. We have been saying this all along. All these proposals are still valid. Russia is ready for this.

But if the AngloZionists are dead set on world domination by means of war, then Russia is ready for that too. Not a war of aggression, of course, not even against the tiny Baltic statelets, Putin made that clear too when he said “we are not threatening anyone, not going to attack anyone or take away anything from anyone with the threat of weapons. We do not need anything. Just the opposite” (emphasis added). But if attacked, Russia is now ready to defend herself:

“And to those who in the past 15 years have tried to accelerate an arms race and seek unilateral advantage against Russia, have introduced restrictions and sanctions that are illegal from the standpoint of international law aiming to restrain our nation’s development, including in the military area, I will say this: everything you have tried to prevent through such a policy has already happened. No one has managed to restrain Russia (…) Any use of nuclear weapons against Russia or its allies, weapons of short, medium or any range at all, will be considered as a nuclear attack on this country. Retaliation will be immediate, with all the attendant consequences. There should be no doubt about this whatsoever.”

Why is the nuclear issue so central? Because the Russians are fully aware of the fact that the AngloZionists cannot win a conventional war with Russia. Thus it is crucial for the Russians to convince the AngloZionists that they are neither militarily superior nor invulnerable (see here for a full analysis of these two myths). But once some kind of modus vivendi is achieved with the West, Russia will focus her efforts in different directions: much needed internal reforms and development, the work with China on the establishment of a single Eurasian zone of economic security, peace and prosperity, the restoration of peace in the Middle-East, the development of the Russian Far East and North – you name it. Russia has plenty of work which needs to be done, none of which involves the West in any capacity.

And that is, of course, what is so totally unacceptable to the West.

Hence this month’s historical developments which have placed Russia and the West in a direct collision course. As I said above, the Empire can now either fold or double down. If it decides to fold, war will be averted and meaningful negotiations finally entered into. If it doubles down, something the Neocons always do, then this means war with Russia. This is a stark and very difficult choice (no, not for normal people, but for the psychopaths ruling the West). And there isn’t much Russia could, or should, do at this point. As is the case every time a serious crisis takes place, the apparently united elites running the West will now break-up into separate factions and each one of these factions will pursue and promote its own, narrow, interests. There will be an intense, mostly behind the scenes, struggle between those who will want to double down or even trigger a war against Russia and those who will be horrified by that notion (not necessarily for profound moral reasons, just out of basic self-interest and a healthy instinct for self-preservation).

As to who will prevail, your guess is as good a mine. But the fact that today Trump replaced McMaster with a warmongering psychopath like John Bolton is a clear sign that the Neocons are in charge in the USA and that the Axis of Kindness is about to get a heck of a lot “kinder”.

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“The Obama People Better Start Packing Their Shit” – John Bolton Expected To “Clean House” At The NSC

The cautious and considered HR McMaster is leaving the White House to be replaced by one of the most polarizing, irascible figures operating in contemporary national security circles: Former UN Ambassador John Bolton.

Bolton, who recently penned an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal arguing that a preemptive strike against North Korea would be both legal AND desirable, is widely believed to be one of the most interventionist figures to ever hold a senior position in the US government. Case in point: Before 9/11, Bolton helped found a group calling for the unilateral overthrow of Saddam Hussein. Rand Paul declared that Trump was wrong to trust someone who is “unhinged as far as believing in absolute and total intervention.”


So it should hardly come as a surprise that Bolton plans to shake up the National Security Council staff when he arrives in the West Wing.  Foreign Policy reports that Bolton, Trump’s third NSA in 15 months, is preparing to begin firing staff and replacing them with his own allies, as well as a few allies of former NSA Michael Flynn, who share Bolton’s hawkish views.

As one might expect, the Obama holdovers and McMaster loyalists will be the first to go. But they won’t be the only ones: Those targeted for removal include officials believed to have been disloyal to President Donald Trump – especially those who have leaked about the president to the media.

“Bolton can and will clean house,” one former White House official said.

Another source said “He is going to remove almost all the political [appointees] McMaster brought in.”

A second former White House official offered a blunt assessment of former Obama officials currently detailed or appointed to the NSC: “Everyone who was there during Obama years should start packing their shit.”

The circumstances surrounding McMaster’s departure will only embolden his successor to make sweeping changes. As FP reports, McMaster was reportedly planning to hang on for a few more months, but a recent leak about Trump’s decision to congratulate Russian President Vladimir Putin.

McMaster’s departure may have been hastened by leaks emanating from the White House. Two sources familiar with the matter said McMaster was going to stay on until early summer.

But when the Washington Post reported this week that Trump had congratulated Putin in a phone call on his fraudulent election win — after receiving written briefing materials from the NSC instructing him not to congratulate Putin — the president reacted furiously and blamed McMaster. The story caused Trump to speed up McMaster’s departure, the sources said.

Bolton is already in talks with certain longtime advisors and is likely preparing to offer several of them jobs in the West Wing. One such advisor is Matthew Freedman, a Republican consultant who previously advised Bolton at the State Department and the United Nations.  Freedman and many other Bolton allies are pushing the incoming national security advisor to make sweeping changes (changes that will, of course, benefit them).

On Thursday evening, just hours after Trump tapped him for the job, Bolton held a call with longtime advisors, including Matthew Freedman, a Republican consultant who once advised Bolton at the State Department and the United Nations. Freedman is currently helping manage the transition, according to a source familiar with the call.

“Freedman is a very political guy that Bolton likes,” one Republican source said. “He is overly ambitious about cleaning house.”

Freedman disputed that account, saying he was not aware of the Thursday phone call. “I can tell you there is no list,” he said.

Another source close to Bolton said it was premature to be talking about personnel changes.

While Trump might object to Bolton’s mustache (the president has a distaste for men with facial hair), the two at least see eye to eye on policy issues. In a way, Bolton could be considered a “proto-Trumpian” figure due to his criticism of the United Nations and the European Union – positions that Trump has also embraced. 

Bolton’s friends believe this closeness will allow Bolton to make swift changes at the White House. Indeed, Bolton’s allies already have two names that should be at the top of Bolton’s list of staff to fire: Deputy NSA Nadia Schadlow and former McMaster deputy Ricky Waddell.

Among the officials Bolton’s allies are urging him to fire is Nadia Schadlow, currently the deputy national security advisor for strategy. Schadlow was the primary author of the administration’s recently released National Security Strategy, which was viewed as a surprisingly mainstream document that reaffirmed many traditional U.S. foreign-policy positions. Another official likely to be targeted in a Bolton purge is McMaster’s deputy, Ricky Waddell.

It wouldn’t be the first purge to follow a change in Trump’s national security advisor. When Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster replaced retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn in the job last year, McMaster systematically eliminated officials seen as loyal to his predecessor. According to four sources close to the White House, those so-called “Flynnstones” – advisors loyal to Flynn – are believed to be plotting their return to the NSC.

Whether Bolton will sign off on the staff purge his allies and advisors are pushing is less clear, though he has been insistent about ousting so-called Obama holdovers. “You could easily say that people close to Bolton want these people to go,” one source said. Other sources stress that Bolton, a veteran bureaucratic infighter, makes his own decisions.

A source close to Bolton cautioned that any staffing changes would take time, given the need to process security clearances. That means Bolton will likely be stuck with his current staff for the May summit meeting between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

Trump and Bolton have reportedly discussed staffing changes since at least last July, when Bolton was offered the job as McMaster’s deputy – a position currently held by Waddell. Trump told Bolton that the deputy job would lead to the top post, but Bolton declined, saying he’d rather wait until he was offered the national security advisor job.

However, there are two factors that Bolton’s allies believe could make life difficult for the former ambassador to the UN.

One is his hawkishness toward Russia – which puts him at odds with Trump (though Trump, who is planning to expel dozens of Russian diplomats over the Skripal incident).

Another is whether he manages to get along with Chief of Staff John Kelly – very much a supporter of the establishment view of American foreign policy. Bolton also has Trump’s ear, which could lead to tensions between the two men. Since he arrived in the West Wing, Kelly has proven incredibly effective at keeping his job, and has helped dispatch many West Wing rivals.

Bolton will need to tread carefully if he wants to outlast his two predecessors.

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Exodus: Baltimore Residents Flee Collapsing City, Census Figures Warn

Baltimore City ranks somewhat high on the “shithole” list for its widespread death and destruction. After fifty years of failed democratically controlled leadership, the eastern and western districts of the inner-city have deteriorated into a complete and utter war-zone. This is not a new phenomenon but has been worsening for decades.

In 2017, the city’s population hit a 100-year low, as residents abandoned their neighborhoods to escape the opioid-infused violent crime that continues to ripple through the city streets. In fact, the violent crime is so severe in the region, that the homicide rate is now the highest in the entire country.

According to The Baltimore Sun, the U.S. Census Bureau recorded one of the most significant population declines for Baltimore City than any jurisdiction in the nation this past year. The city had the second-largest decline of any county for 2016 through 2017, second only to Cook County (Chicago), according to the latest figures from the U.S. Census Bureau.

Last year, more than 5,300 people fled the collapsing and shrinking city, which continued its downward death spiral that accelerated after the 2015 Baltimore riots.

As of July 01, 2017, new estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau announced Baltimore’s population stood at 611,648. The decline represents “a drop of less than 1 percent from the previous year,” said The Baltimore Sun.

The Census data shows a decline of 6,000 people from 2015 through 2016 that occurred shortly after the Baltimore riots. A baby boomer’s memory of ‘white flight’ occurred in 1968 after the riots, as families in the region escaped the turmoil of a new life in suburbia. Unfortunately, Baltimore has never been the same since the 1968 and 2015 riots.

Last year, Baltimore earned national recognition for its record number of homicides and a massive corruption scheme which involved rogue officers planting drugs on citizens.

City Councilman John Bullock, who represents West Baltimore, said he knows people who had left the city over fears about their safety.

“It’s clearly not the direction we want to be going in,” Bullock said of the population decline. “I don’t think it’s fatal. But it’s something we need to keep our eyes on.”

Baltimore’s population topped after World War II, reaching almost 950,000 in 1950. Now the population stands at 611,000, which represents around a -35 percent drop in residents, as the city continues to shrink.

According to JP Morgan Chase & CO., Baltimore has more than 30,000 vacant homes and a city that continues to contract. Baltimore’s vacant buildings stand as reminders that the city is nearing a collapsing point that cannot be ignored any longer.

Baltimore has 30,000 vacant homes and lots according to the Housing Authority of Baltimore City. These vacancies are concentrated in neighborhoods with low incomes and high proportions of households of color.

As Baltimore struggles to reverse a decades-long population decline, the city’s growing number of vacant buildings serves as a useful indicator. Since a peak in the 1950s, the population has dropped by nearly a third from 950,000 down to 622,000 in 2014. The population decline can be attributed in large part to the closings of the city’s factories and shipyards after World War II. Baltimore also became more racially homogenous as Whites left for the suburbs.

Today, Baltimore’s vacant buildings stand as reminders, both of the city that once was and of the economic insecurity that exists today. As illustrated in the adjacent map, the areas with the highest concentration of homicides correspond almost exactly with the city’s vacancies. These are the neighborhoods where most families live near or below the poverty line and where Black households are the overwhelming majority  

JP Morgan Chase & CO. also reminds us that Baltimore’s violent crime is occurring in inner cities where vacancies are extremely high. This is merely the end result of a shrinking city.

The racial wealth divide in Baltimore is so wide that “one-third of households of color in Baltimore have zero net worth,” said JP Morgan Chase & CO.

Nevertheless, The Baltimore Sun said Baltimore’s metropolitan region did make it into the country’s 20th most populous metro area, as St. Louis dropped down a slot.

The Baltimore metropolitan area did rise one spot to the country’s 20th most populous metro area, as St. Louis dropped down a slot. Baltimore County gained about 1,442 people, rising to an estimated total of 832,468 in 2017, according to the Census. Howard County gained about 3,880 people; Harford gained 1,128 people; Anne Arundel grew by 4,889; and Carroll added 125.

Parts of the D.C. area were seen to keep growing in population. The metropolitan area of “Washington, D.C.-Arlington-Alexandria” jumped to 5th largest-gaining metro area, up from 11th place in 2016. That makes the D.C. area the sixth most populous in the country. Falls Church City, in northern Virginia, was the fastest-growing county among counties with a population of 10,000 or more; it grew by 5.2 percent.

Baltimore-area 2017 population estimates and changes:

Maryland 6,052,177 +27,425

Baltimore 611,648 -5,310

Anne Arundel County 573,235 +4,319

Baltimore County 832,468 +1,037

Carroll County 167,781 +641

Harford County 252,160 +1,721

Howard County 321,113 +4,147

America’s inner cities are in turmoil… Just look at the mass exodus of residents from Baltimore City, and you will start to gain the critical knowledge the worst has yet to come. 

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McCabe Comes Clean: Blames His “Inaccuracies” On “Confusion & Distraction”

After 21 years at The FBI, Andrew McCabe was unceremoniously fired a day before retirement for what AG Sessions called “lack of candor,” which to us mere mortals is akin to something between a white lie and a big black lie.

The Deep State came out swinging to defend him and attack his ‘attackers’ with former CI Director John Brennan the most vocal, lambasting President Trump’s actions…

“When the full extent of your venality, moral turpitude, and political corruption becomes known, you will take your rightful place as a disgraced demagogue in the dustbin of history. You may scapegoat Andy McCabe, but you will  not destroy America…America will triumph over you.”

All of which leads us to today and Andrew McCabe’s op-ed in The Washington Post which appears to be something between a mea culpa admission that he may not have told “the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth,” a pathetic excuse-fest, and a jab at the current administration.

“Not in my worst nightmares did I dream my FBI career would end this way,” McCabe begins…

Despite all the preparation for the worst-case scenario, I still felt disoriented and sick to my stomach. Around 10 p.m., a friend called to tell me that CNN was reporting that I had been fired. She read me the attorney general’s statement.

So, after two decades of public service, I found out that I had been fired in the most disembodied, impersonal way — third-hand, based on a news account.

Shortly after getting word, I noticed an email from a Justice Department official in my work account, telling me that I had been “removed from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the civil service.”

Are we expected to feel sorry for him? We are not sure what he was expecting? A big hug? If Justice believed you committed a wrongdoing – which the IG report did – then asta la vista?

But then McCabe shifts into full Orwellian doublespeak:

I have been accused of “lack of candor.” That is not true. I did not knowingly mislead or lie to investigators.

Ok, go on…

When asked about contacts with a reporter that were fully within my power to authorize as deputy director, and amid the chaos that surrounded me, I answered questions as completely and accurately as I could. And when I realized that some of my answers were not fully accurate or may have been misunderstood, I took the initiative to correct them.

So to clarify – you did not tell the truth? … because of all the “chaos surrounding you”… ok go on…

At worst, I was not clear in my responses, and because of what was going on around me may well have been confused and distracted – and for that I take full responsibility. But that is not a lack of candor.

Well, “inaccurate” responses are “untruthful” responses and for a “21-year veteran” of The FBI, we are surprised that you would find it hard to stick to the “facts” because of being “confused and distracted”

And under no circumstances could it ever serve as the basis for the very public and extended humiliation of my family and me that the administration, and the president personally, have engaged in over the past year.

Again with the sob story… you just took responsibility for inaccuracies? So did you expect no consequences? Slink off to your safe space and be forgiven for this once in a career mistake?

The president’s comments about me were equally hurtful and false, which shows that he has no idea how FBI people feel about their leaders.

More hurt feelings?

I was drawn to the FBI by nothing more complicated than a desire to do good.

Like Google believes in “do no evil”?

McCabe finishes with a flourish, equating himself to the hard-working men and women of The FBI…

They continued to protect the American people and uphold the Constitution despite the political winds – and the unprecedented attacks on us by the president and other partisans – that buffeted us.

Except that parallel doesn’t really work does it Mr.McCabe? Since most FBI employees are indeed hard-working and are not implicated in lies, coup conspiracies, scandals over wife’s political funding, and undermining the democratically-elected president?

The nation continues to need them. And not just the current employees of the FBI, but all smart, talented, dedicated people considering careers in the law enforcement and intelligence communities. These are hard jobs that demand sacrifice, often involve danger, and take a toll on families and personal lives. But they also offer the rare opportunity to enter into a sacred trust with the American people: to protect and defend them, honestly, justly and fairly. There is no greater responsibility, but there is no greater reward.

Agreed. Agreed. Agreed. So don’t screw all that up by becoming emotionally mired so deep in the deep state that you forget why you started at The FBI in the first place.

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