Monday, August 20, 2018

Believe Robots

Reading Entrails,

I am working with​in​ the hypothesis that the Chinese Yuan peg to gold has been negotiated last Friday, and will no longer be contested. The Friday gold market-price graph shows an eerie straight line climb of $7-8/oz in the last 150 min, upon which nobody comments (like WTC #7). That higher level has held today and is climbing. The CNY peg appeared to be around 8200 CNY per oz. and was embattled all last week, though China can clearly hold it, and the battle is now off. I have been following this on my blog since 8/11/18 Gold Peg War.Look at Kitco gold http://www.kitco.com/charts/popup/au24hr3day.html
Look at Gold Price China https://goldprice.org/gold-price-china.html
The bottom is in for gold, and the Chinese Yuan is fixed to it around 8100 – 8200 CNY/oz
This is necessarily the beginning of the end of the $US as global reserve currency. Who would want to borrow in dollars that bite your fingers off next time around? While people owe dollars, and the countries who already borrowed in Dollars, largely non-Chinese Asians, are feeling the stress of reduced dollar supply, really need them to pay what they owe, borrowing in something neutral, not weaponized, will be a better choice in the next round of economic borrowing.
The $US will undergo inflation, as it did in the 1970s, likely stagflation again. Before that, we will get the second-leg-down of the 2008 crisis, which I expect to hit the top 5% pretty hard in their assets. There will need to be some kind of Bernie-Sanders social compact for most people, with Medicare for All, legal pot, and maybe iPhones and bicycles. Will the crash happen before, during or after November?
And this will go badly:  As Peter Boockvar notes, "for those who care about gold such as myself, in the just released CFTC data for the week ended Tuesday, speculators went net short for the first time since December 2001 when gold was priced at $275 an ounce. It’s tough to find a more contrarian indicator."
https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-08-18/gundlach-warns-bond-bears-massive-increase-shorts-could-cause-quite-squeeze

The Saker: Sanctions, Sanctions, Sanctions, The Finale Demise of Dollar Hegemony?
China also has a solid economy and gold-based currency, the Yuan – which is on a fast track to overtake the US-dollar as the number one world reserve currency.
​..​
​ ​ 
This behavior by the dying empire is driving allies and friends into the opposite camp – to the east, where the future lays, away from a globalized One-World-Order, towards a healthy and more equal multi-polar world. – It would be good, if our world body, the members of the United Nations, created in the name of Peace, would finally gather the courage and stand up against the two destroyer nations for the good of humanity, of the globe, and of Mother Earth.

​Pepe Escobar usually has much better taste than he does in this piece, which styles "The Sanctioned" as a rock supergroup of yore, when T.Rex ruled the world. He closes with a link to Mott The Hoople performing All The Young Dudes in 1972. Always a good song. Pepe has a lot of good information about what all those countries hit with $US sanctions can do and are doing with each other, without dollars.
ATMs are being disappeared fast. Where's yours? Got cash? Plastic money always works. Don't worry!

What happens if smart appliances get hacked? 
Hacking 1.5% of air conditioners in summer, to control them with a botnet, can crash the grid, at least in Poland. Probably the rest of us don't have to be concerned.

This study says children quickly came to trust robots more than themselves. Grown-ups, not so much. So, safe.... right?
“People often follow the opinions of others and we’ve known for a long time that it is hard to resist taking over views and opinions of people around us. We know this as conformity. But as robots will soon be found in the home and the workplace, we were wondering if people would conform to robots,” one of the scientists behind the study,  Professor in Robotics Tony Belpaeme, explained.
“What our results show is that adults do not conform to what the robots are saying. But when we did the experiment with children, they did. It shows children can perhaps have more of an affinity with robots than adults, which does pose the question: what if robots were to suggest, for example, what products to buy or what to think?”
https://www.rt.com/news/436106-robots-influence-children-research/

Occupy London Facebook page is taken down for repeatedly violating rules against talking about the trampling of Palestinian rights by the Illegally "ocupying" Israeli colonials and military. Seems reasonable. Everybody agrees on that, right?
A Facebook page containing pro-Palestinian posts has been taken down by the social media giant. The latest in a string of pages removed by Facebook, it has renewed claims of “censorship” against the company.
The closure of the Occupy London page, which has garnered more than 150k followers since its opening in 2011, follows the “continual removal of posts related to Palestine”, an Occupy London spokesperson told The Canary.
“It feels like censorship. For months, we faced removal of posts related to Palestine. Perhaps once every few weeks or so, a post would be taken down and admins for the page were frozen out of their personal accounts. Then, today, Facebook unpublished the entire page.

​Look at what Michael Creighton has to say about censorship on his American Everyman site. Thanks Colleen.

Moon of Alabama is still up. This is actually fun and informative about necrophiliac John Brennan.
U.S President Trump revoked the security clearance of former CIA Director John Brennan.
Good. It is probably the best thing Trump has ever done. Brennan is one of the most despicable former U.S. officials alive. He should rot in hell instead of making money off his former status.
Abu Jihad Brennan was the CIA's station chief in Saudi Arabia. Some assert he went native, i.e. converted to Wahhabism. Brennan was in Riyadh when the Khobar Towers were bombed. Al-Qaeda did it, but Brennan was helpful in b

laming the attack on Hizbullah and Iran. He was deputy executive director of the CIA on 9/11. That 9/11 happened was an intelligence failure or, as some have it, an incident arranged by the deep state. Brennan was CIA chief of staff while the agency concocted false stories about Iraqi WMD. He was within the line of command that ran the CIA torture program. It was Brennan who conspired with the Gulf dictators to hire Jihadis to destroy Libya and to attempt the same in Syria. In short - the man was always ruthless, incompetent and dishonest.

Eric Margolis:   After 17 bloody years, the longest war in US history continues without relent or purpose in Afghanistan.
There, a valiant, fiercely-independent people, the Pashtun (Pathan) mountain tribes, have battled the full  might of the US Empire to a stalemate that has so far cost American taxpayers $4 trillion, and 2,371 dead and 20,320 wounded soldiers.  No one knows how many Afghans have died. The number is kept secret.
https://ericmargolis.com/2018/08/afghanistan-the-war-that-shames-america/

​Twilight of Empire​



Saturday, August 18, 2018

Public Stoning

Human Targets,

Caitlin Johnstone got banned from Twitter this week, for saying mean things about nice (disabled by brain cancer) Senator McCain spending his life killing innocent people. This was one little bridge too far, but "thought leaders" unleashed Twitter "followers" on Caitlin, and she was banned for the ensuing "public outcry". Caitlin, unlike most of us, had some Twitter vigilantes, herself, who asserted that this was ordinary, protected, political speech. She was "reinstated", but then "suspended" for 12 hours.
Whoever controls the narrative controls the world. The only cracks in plutocratic narrative control have come in the form of alternative media outlets and social media, the access to which is unfortunately guarded by plutocrats with well-documented ties to secretive and unaccountable government agencies. The plutocratic alliance has successfully funneled online audiences into platforms that can be easily regulated, and now they are censoring those platforms.   An ungoverned media landscape would cripple the consent-manufacturing propaganda machine of the ruling oligarchs, making us impossible to manipulate and control. This would give us our only real shot at ending the wars that the John McCains of the world have devoted their lives to facilitating, our only shot at creating true and authentic democracy, and our only shot at turning the world around from the omnicidal, ecocidal trajectory that these sociopathic oligarchs have us on.

​The Judge in the Manafort case has already been threatened. How comfortable do you think these jurors ar feeling? It's a very weak "Russian rigging" case.​
In a motion filed in federal court on Thursday, CNN and several other media outlets requested that the court release the names and home addresses of all jurors in the Paul Manafort fraud case. Jurors haven not yet rendered a verdict on any of the 18 charges against Manafort, who briefly served as President Donald Trump’s campaign manager in 2016.

Dmitry Orlov, on the disappearing of Alex Jones from the ethersphere.
There is some carnival cryer in his cultural makeup as well, and he is not above peddling some survivalist/prepper snake oil
That said, we share certain important similarities. Neither of us is part of the official narrative that is endlessly being hammered home by US mass media with increasingly poor results. Thinking Americans are just not gullible enough any more. Jones has exploited this gullibility shortfall in the general public for all it’s worth by going after every conspiracy theory out there, while I am just like you—gullible. Sure, a few Arab tourists armed with box cutters destroyed three steel skyscrapers by flying two aluminum planes into them.
Do your own math, but that’s just 2/3 of a plane per skyscraper—ought to be enough, right? Jet fuel, which burns at 800° to 1500°F, melted steel columns. (Steel melts at 2750°F.) Two aluminum cans packed with kerosene, meat and luggage destroyed three steel structures. I find this explanation perfectly satisfactory; do you? If you need to know more, it’s easy to find out, but don’t wait on me because, being so gullible, I am perfectly satisfied.

Spurious claims of “hate speech” and “inciting violence” aside, what happened is that an order to shut down Jones was issued from Washington, DC. In response an impressively large group of transnational internet companies saluted and marched off to carry out the order, thereby making it perfectly obvious who they work for. And that is likely to become a big problem for them.

We have used CREDO wireless since it was Working Assets for our land line in 1992​, but today they sent me a petition to sign to make sure Alex Jones got banned from all electronic media in an organized fashion. 
Do y'all have suggestions for a network for us and our flip phones? We're up next, you know?

The World Socialist Web Site reported last year that changes to Google’s algorithms had seriously negatively impacted left-wing socialist and anti-war websites. An analysis by WSWS found that 13 such websites had seen their traffic plunge by a whopping 55 percent in the six months since Google had changed its algorithms. WSWS itself experienced a 74 percent drop in traffic between April and July last year. The changes also affected sites like Alternet, which saw its traffic plunge by 71 percent between April and September, Democracy Now (50 percent drop) and Truth-out.org (49 percent drop).
Similarly, Police the Police (a page dedicated to exposing US police brutality) and the Free Thought Project (which focuses on government transparency) also saw their Facebook page traffic tank in 2018 after Facebook made changes to its newsfeed and search algorithms in an effort to combat “fake news”. PTP traffic dropped from between 12-15 million people per week to about 4 million — and the website had to fire its writing staff as a result. “The left is cheering this on, when historically the left is usually the side cheering for free speech,” PTP founder Jason Bassler told Mic.
Amidst all of the celebration over the banning of Jones, some on the left cautioned that in fact, the left may indeed be the “real target” in all of this — and that those celebrating while people like Jones are banned are in fact being “conditioned” into accepting further censorship down the road.

https://www.rt.com/news/436058-censorship-left-right-facebook-google/

​Charles Hugh Smith​ on how we have ALL been reduced to dependence on predatory global financial capitalism. (YIKES!)
Nowadays, trade and "prosperity" are dependent on currencies that are created out of thin air via borrowing or printing. The problem with gold, in the view of predatory globalization, is that it can't be printed or conjured out of thin air. That won't do, because predatory globalization's primary export is newly printed currencies: dollars, euros, yen and yuan.
This puts every nation that can't print a global reserve currency at an extreme disadvantage. While the U.S. can conjure "money" out of thin air and trade it for goods, other nations must cough up resources and goods in exchange for the "money," and borrow it at hefty rates of interest if they want to use the global "money" for development or investment.
That leaves them highly vulnerable to foreign exchange fluctuations which can raise the cost of their interest due in dollars, etc. to punishing heights while devaluing whatever they built with the dollars, etc. they borrowed.
This is how "free" trade works in predatory globalization: The only thing that's free is the cost of issuing trillions in global reserve currency. Everything else will cost you dearly.

https://www.oftwominds.com/blogaug18/predatory-globalization8-18.html

Eleni sends this review by Yanis Varoufakis, of "Crashed", a book explaining (just in time!) the financial crash of 2008, what caused it, and how the causes have been amplified, leading to our current arrangement. An excerpt from this review seems pretty good.
Back in 1967, John Kenneth Galbraith described how capitalism had shifted from a market society to a hierarchical system owned by a cartel of corporations: the Technostructure, as he called it.[6] Run by a global elite that usurped markets, fixed prices and controlled demand, the Technostructure replaced the New Deal’s full employment objective with that of GDP growth. Though Tooze does not mention Galbraith, he implores us to grasp how Galbraith’s Technostructure extended, post-Bretton Woods, its realm magnificently by adding the black magic of financialisation to its structure (through, for example, turning car companies like General Motors into large speculative financial corporations, that also made some cars!), magnifying by a dizzying factor its power and, ultimately, replacing the aim of GDP growth with that of ‘financial resilience’: enduring paper asset inflation for the few and permanent austerity for the many.
https://www.yanisvaroufakis.eu/2018/08/13/crashed-long-version-of-my-observer-review-of-adam-toozes-new-book-on-the-crash-of-2008/

​The days of the $US as global-reserve-currency-and-cudgel appear to me to be very limited. The dollar is still used to beat up the countries without global reserve currencies, who have to borrow and sell in dollars, but they will not want another round of the same treatment after this one. I propose that they will borrow in not-dollars. I noticed something funny Friday afternoon on the gold market graph, a very steady rise in the dollar price of gold in the last 150 minutes of trading, going into Friday close (green). This kind of linear graph cannot be created by ordinary multibillion dollar participants. this is Masters of the Universe handiwork. Just as the current round of gold bashing, dropping it about $125 in 6 weeks, began with 3 days of immediate drop at New York open, which short sellers piled onto, I suspect that this is a signal that the US and China have reached some agreement, and there will be a gradual increase in the price of gold. Am I reading too much into these tea leaves? The decrease in Dollar Index mentioned in this article all happened Friday afternoon.
Live 24 hour Gold Chart

Russia offers China 2.5 million acres to grow soybeans, so as to not have to buy them from trade-warring American multinational corporations. BING!

Eleni sends this fun story, which makes perfect sense, if it can be done. 
Greece and Turkey are the overlap of what was the Byzantine Empire and the Ottoman Empire. There is not a whit of difference in the populations of these countries, both diverse, yet similar. What if Greece and Turkey join in common cause with each other? (Gosh, armies and navies, too!)
Amid the havoc and the despair in Greece’s wildfires, a joke comes from Turkey. In all seriousness. Chief aide of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, a notorious provocateur,  opened his mouth and started telling fairy tales right from the darkest corridor of the Anatolian bazaar.
From snoozing story teller to hypnotized audience, so to say.
“The West is terrified of a specter that countries seceded from Ottoman Empire might join Turkey again,” aid Yigit Bulut said in an interview with a Turkish television channel on July  28th.

L​egendary intelligence analyst, Ray McGovern, discusses how former Director of CIA Brennan got his clearance jerked and may soon face criminal charges.
After eight years of enjoying President Barack Obama’s solid support and defense to do pretty much anything he chose—including hacking into the computers of the Senate Intelligence Committee—Brennan now lacks what, here in Washington, we refer to as a “Rabbi” with strong incentive to advance and protect you.  He expected Hillary Clinton to play that role (were it ever to be needed), and that seemed to be solidly in the cards. But, oops, she lost.
What needs to be borne in mind in all this is, as former FBI Director James Comey himself has admitted: “I was making decisions in an environment where Hillary Clinton was sure to be the next president.” Comey, Brennan, and co-conspirators, who decided—in that “environment”—to play fast and loose with the Constitution and the law, were supremely confident they would not only keep their jobs, but also receive plaudits, not indictments.
Unless one understands and remembers this, it is understandably difficult to believe that the very top U.S. law enforcement and intelligence officials did what documentary evidence has now demonstrated they did.

​Senator Rand Paul proposes that Julian Assange be granted immunity for testimony before Congress. Boy, does this idea make sense!
“I think that he should be given immunity from prosecution in exchange for coming to the United States and testifying,” Senator Paul told the Gateway Pundit. “I think he’s been someone who has released a lot of information, and you can debate whether or not any of that has caused harm, but I think really he has information that is probably pertinent to the hacking of the Democratic emails that would be nice to hear.”
T​he 6 pounds of bacteria inside you are also "you". Beginning to understand your microbiota. 
(It is a bit cumbersome getting through the definitions and introductions, but it looks like more articles will follow this overview.)

​Full of It​

Friday, August 17, 2018

Past It's Prime

Workers of the World,

Andrew Dobbs lays out the layers of reality in Nationalist and Socialist movements in America. The real Socialists were Occupy. they got hammered right away. What is being offered by our owners is relative position within society, with the boundaries defined by the owner class, and the poor people cut out of everything. Middle managers and up can play some role, for now...
These sorts of mistakes will keep popping up as long as these “socialists” refuse to actually pursue a socialist line. We need clear truth on this too. Socialism is the demand that production be brought under the control of the working class, seizing the value chain as a whole. Simply demanding that capitalists give workers more isn’t socialism, and it will — again — confuse that primary question of all politics: who are our enemies, and who are our friends?

Senator Elizabeth Warren demands in writing that the Pentagon explain it's role in the bombings of civilians in Yemen. The military is caught lying. It has been running the show for the Saudis all along. "No we don't know what they do with what we sell them."
China has reduced the ability for speculative gambling on the Yuan/Renminbi. This stabilized both the fall in the Yuan, and has led to a fairly level field of combat for the Yuan+gold vs $US. The Yuan+Gold seems to be the challenger to what has become the currency of global bullying and looting. Which would you want to borrow in , next time around? Again, today would be a good day to hedge your currency exposure with gold, a long term decision.

America The Punitive (how to lose friends and influence people against you)

Pepe Escobar: The long-awaited deal on the legal status of the Caspian Sea signed on Sunday in the Kazakh port of Aktau is a defining moment in the ongoing, massive drive towards Eurasia integration.  Up to the early 19th century, the quintessentially Eurasian body of water – a connectivity corridor between Asia and Europe over a wealth of oil and gas – was exclusive Persian property. Imperial Russia then took over the northern margin. After the break up of the USSR, the Caspian ended up being shared by five states; Russia, Iran, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan.

There is glyphosate/RoundUp in kid's foods. The Germans found it in their beer last year. It causes cancer. We all eat it.

Jadav Payen planted a tree every day since 1979 on a sandbar/island in India. He's a regular guy who hated to see the snakes baking to death in the sun. It's forest now. He's still going. Thanks Jeff.


Helping Hand

Jenny with okra and black-eyed peas this morning at dawn

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Gold Standard

Watching Waves,

My hypothesis, which time and tide are now testing, is that the world is transitioning off a petrodollar standard and back onto a gold standard for international trade and finance. 
It looks to me like the skirmishes are currently being fought around the line of 8200 Chinese Yuan/Renminbi per Troy oz of gold.
The People's Bank of China can certainly defend this peg, and the more it is contested, the more established it becomes in global consciousness. Western banking/governments can drive gold lower, which they do from time to time to make people feel gold is unreliable, but they will also drive the CNY/Renminbi lower, and just emphasize the peg to gold, by so doing. It looks like letting things settle close to where they are now is where the truce should be called. 1 Troy oz. Gold = 8200 CNY = $US 1200.

Historically finance can rule in good times, but politic/military rules in bad times. We have become ruled by transnational financial elites in recent decades. There is a novel proposal to strip transnational corporations of assets, to pay for the rebuilding of Syria. The war upon Syria was in the service of transnational elites, after all... Thanks Eleni;
The United States, which had been planning the war against Syria since 2004, does not want to part with a penny. According to the Trump administration, this war was created by the Bush Jr. administration and led by the Obama administration. However, these two administrations were not serving the interests of the US people, but those of a transnational financial class. Not only did they destroy Syria, but also the US economy. Thus it is not for Washington to pay, but these people and the transnational corporations directly implicated in the war. For example, the United States investment fund and rival of the Carlyle Group, Henry Kravis’ KKR (market value 150 billion dollars). It employs General David Petraeus and transferred funds and weapons to Al-Qaeda and Daesh...  Making the multinationals pay does not exclude obtaining damages from certain states like Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar or Turkey, which financed, or certain of whose citizens publicly financed the jihadists... If the Syrian Arab Republic can gather the proof of their role during the war, it will be legally entitled to demand seizure before the tribunals of the country accommodating their headquarters. In the light of President Trump’s arguments, it should be possible for them to count on the support of the new US administration... Àt the end of all wars which called for the payment of damages, national companies were seized. The novelty this time will be drawing the conclusions of economic globalisation and seizing the transnationals.

Russell Napier: The Solid Ground has long forecast a major debt default in Turkey. More specifically, the forecast remains that the country will impose capital controls enforcing a near total loss of US$500bn of credit assets held by the global financial system. That is a large financial hole in a still highly leveraged system. That scale of loss will surpass the scale of loss suffered by the creditors of Bear Stearns and while Lehman’s did have liabilities of US$619bn, it has paid more than US$100bn to its unsecured creditors alone since its bankruptcy.

Who can Turkey rely upon for financial help, among the Arab neighbors? Qatar, maybe, within narrow limits, since Turkey protected them (somewhat) from Saudi invasion a couple of years ago. (That's not a game changer. What if the House of Saud falls? Turkey, Syria, Qatar and Iran could do pipeline business over the Pars gas field pipeline to Europe.)

Qatar "pledges" $15 billion in Turkish investment.
The Turkish Lira, which has been rising all day after an earlier attempt to crush shorts by reducing the amount of swap transactions to just 25% of bank capital, down from 50%, got another boost moments ago when Anadolu news agency reported that Qatar has pledged $15 billion in direct investment in Turkey.

Turkey extends an olive branch to Greece, releasing 2 Greek soldiers, held prisoner since March, for straying into Turkey in bad weather.
This is more symbolically strong, happening on a Greek Orthodox Holy Day.
Defense Minister Panos Kammenos said he phoned his Turkish counterpart to express his satisfaction with the soldiers’ release and invite him to visit Greece. “This is a great day for our motherland, the day of Our Lady, the day of Tinos in 1940,” Kammenos told reporters, referring to the Feast of the Dormation, which falls on August 15 and to the Italian torpedoing on a Greek warship on this day in 1940. “I hope that their release … will herald a new day in Greek-Turkish relations. We can live together peacefully, for the benefit of both our peoples.”

Pastor Brunson is still in the klink...

But...   Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan’s spokesman said on Wednesday he expected problems with the United States, which helped drive the lira to record lows, to be resolved but Washington must stop trying to influence Turkey’s judiciary.

Since November 2017 the U.S. largely stopped the fight against ISIS in north-east Syria. It gave ISIS the chance to regain power. A new report to the UN Security Council now confirms that ISIS in north-east Syria recuperated. It again profits from oil extraction under the nose of U.S. forces.
​ (Who's yer Daddy?)​
http://www.moonofalabama.org/2018/08/un-sanction-monitor-us-watches-as-isis-in-syria-recuperates-pumps-and-sells-more-oil.html#more

R
​ussia is stabilizing the (again) UN monitored DMZ between the Israeli-occupied Golan heights and the rest of Syria. This means that Israel accepts that status quo and will no longer support ISIS in that area to destabilize the Syrian government and society. It also means that Syria/Hezbollah/Iran will not soon take back the Golan into Syria. 
"The Russian military police will create eight outposts near the demilitarized zone at the Golan Heights on the Syrian-Israeli border, a deputy commander of the Russian forces in Syria in charge of of military police, Viktor Zaytsev, said.
“I would like to stress that there will be no Russian military police posts in the demilitarized zone,” he said."

Eleni also sends this about the Caspian Sea agreement. Russia's protected pond, with mutual benefit of gas and pipelines for all. Iran gives up some military buffer from Russia, but Russia is not the current threat. No NATO in this lake...
After more than 20 years of fraught diplomatic efforts, the five littoral Caspian nations agreed upon a legal framework for sharing the world’s largest inland body of water.

​More Caspian Agreement details here. European gas pipeline implications are included. Not all details are finalized.
Censorship Is What Happens When Powerful People Get Scared (and after that comes...)
​Taibbi: Censorship Does Not End Well (How America Learned to Stop Worrying and Put Mark Zuckerberg In Charge of Everything)

Sister Caitlin on the political wars being fought upon the battlefield of censorship:
“The world’s dumbest and/or most deceitful people have always been those who equate ‘I defend X’s right to speak’ with ‘I defend X and their ideas,’” wrote Greenwald. “It’s the scummiest tactic there is. They did it to Chomsky when he opposed prosecuting a Holocaust denier.”
These few principled leftists brave enough to take a strong stand on the issue have been attacked and smeared with amazing viciousness by leftists who are blinded by their hatred of Jones, and by Democrats who know that censorship will never hurt their power-enabling faction. The position that the left is always the real target of censorship was ignored and replaced with the absurd straw man argument that anyone objecting to the coordinated de-platforming is defending Alex Jones because they love him and think Infowars is awesome.

​The western obesity epidemic began after 1976. Westerners ate more calories in 1976, but not much at all in sweet drinks. that has changed. Our bodies don't see" the calories in sweet drinks. There is a lot of psychological research into marketing, and what taste combinations are most prone to addicting us.
"We" are to blame, of course. Nobody is making us eat potato chips and Cokes. George Monbiot has the story.

Confused Hypothalamus 

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Shifting Alliances

​Odd Men Out,​
Eric Zuesse on why Trump canceled the Iran deal.​

The bottom-line difference between Donald Trump and Barack Obama, regarding US national security policies, turns out to be their different respective estimations of the biggest danger threatening the maintenance of the US dollar as the world’s leading or reserve currency. This has been the overriding foreign-policy concern for both Presidents.
America’s political class now have two competing ideas to deal with this danger, Obama’s versus Trump’s, both being about how to preserve the dollar in a way that best serves the needs of ‘defense’ contractors, extractive firms, and Wall Street. Obama chose Europe (America’s largest market) as America’s chief ally (he was Euro-centric against Russia); Trump chose the owner of Saudi Arabia (he’s Saudi-Israeli centric against Iran) — that’s the world’s largest weapons-purchaser, as well as the world’s largest producer of oil (as well as the largest lobbies)
It’s not the ‘threat’ that perhaps, some day, Iran will have nuclear warheads, that is actually driving Trump’s concern here (despite what Israel’s concerns are about that matter), but instead, it is his concerns about Iran’s missiles, which constitute the delivery-system for any Iranian warheads: that their flight-range be short enough so that the Sauds will be outside their range. (The main way Iran intends to respond to an invasion backed by the US, is to attack Saudi Arabia — Iran’s leaders know that the US Government is more dependent upon the Sauds than upon Israel — so, Iran’s top targets would be Saudi capital Riyadh, and also the Ghawar oil field, which holds over half of Saudi oil.
With Trump now in the White House, overwhelmingly by money from the Israel lobbies (proxies also for the Sauds) — and with no equivalently organized Jewish opposition to the pro-Israel lobbies (and so in the United States, for a person to be anti-Israel is viewed as being anti-Semitic, which is not at all true, but Israel’s lies say it’s true and many Americans unfortunately believe it) — Trump has not only the Sauds and their allies requiring him to be against Iran and its allies, but he has also got this pressure coming from Israel: both the Big-Oil and the Jewish lobbies drive him. Unlike Obama, who wasn’t as indebted to the Jewish lobbies, Trump needs to walk the plank for both the Sauds and Israel.
To satisfy the Sauds, despite the EU, Trump has dumped the Iran deal. And he did it also to satisfy Israel, the main US lobbyists for the Sauds. (Americans are far more sympathetic to Jews than to Arabs; the Sauds are aware of this; Israel handles their front-office.) For Trump, the Sauds are higher priority than Europe; even Israel (who are an expense instead of a moneybag for the US Government) are higher priority than Europe. Both the Sauds and Israel together are vastly higher. 
Trump is doing what he thinks he has to be doing, for his own safety. He’s just a figurehead for a different faction of the US aristocracy, than Obama was. He’s doing what he thinks he needs to be doing, for his survival. Political leadership is an extremely dangerous business. Trump is playing a slightly different game of it than Obama did, because he represents a different faction than Obama did. These two factions of the US aristocracy are also now battling each other for political control over Europe.

​Turkey is ready to trade with other countries bilaterally, outside of the $US, due to undergoing currency=punishment from American allies these days. Turkey is a strategic crossroads, with a big military, and political connections throughout the Mideast and southern Europe.​ Turkey controls the choke point of some contested gas pipeline routes.
​Ilargi at The Automatic Earth looks at Turkey's massive dollar denominated debt, which is no surprise to anybody, and is why Turkey is going down first among debtor nations, as the dollar is strengthened, and dollar supply gets scarce to roll over loans. (I wonder where Turkey will get the dollars, or if it will declare war on somebody. The dollars could be channeled through Saudi Arabia, if Turkey would abandon Qatar, and ally against Iran.)
Recep Tayyip has long seen this coming. His economy is collapsing, his currency is collapsing, so he’ll focus on what’s left: Turkey’s strategic position on the map, its NATO membership, the negotiations for EU membership, and most of all the support of the Muslim contingent in Turkey that solidifies his power.
 

​Turkish Lira has "relief rally" upward bounce this morning. Where is the support coming from? Has Turkey made a deal with a partner with bailout money? Who?​
https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-08-14/global-stocks-rebound-relief-rally-sends-turkish-lira-sharply-higher

​Thierry Meyssan presents The Twilight ​of the War. Thanks Eleni.
The Third World War began in Yugoslavia, continued in Afghanistan, Iraq, Georgia, Libya and Yemen, and ended in Syria. Its battle-grounds were confined to the Balkans, the Caucasus and what we now call the « Greater Middle East ». It has cost the lives of countless Muslim and Orthodox Christian populations, without spilling over too much into the Western world. It is in the process of drawing to a close since the Putin-Trump Summit in Helsinki.

The Chinese Yuan/Renmenbi is down on economic news, and still seems unofficially pegged to gold. Gold is under $1200/oz. Buy (physical) any time for long term reduction of risk to fiat currencies.

Russia and China block the US from instituting more sanctions against North Korea at the UN. (It happens that the US wants to sanction Russian and Chinese persons and banks and companies... Of course, they are vulnerable, because they need to use $US.)

​David Graeber on the bullshitization of work, and how it comes to be like this.​ We live in a "compliance economy" here, not really a "production economy".
Well it’s fairly straightforward: shit jobs are just bad jobs. Ones you’d never want to have. Back-breaking, underpaid, unappreciated, people who are treated without dignity and respect… The thing is for the most part, shit jobs aren’t bullshit, in the sense of pointless, nonsensical, because actually they usually involve doing something that genuinely needs to be done: driving people around, building things, taking care of people, cleaning up after them…
Bullshit jobs are most often paid quite well, involve nice benefit packages, you’re treated like you’re important and actually are doing something that needs to be done — but in fact, you know you’re not. So in that way they’re typically opposites.
Well, nowadays the vast majority of corporate profits don’t come from making or selling things but from “finance”, which is a euphemism for other peoples’ debts — charging rents and fees and interest and whatnot. It’s feudalism in the classic definition, “direct juro-political extraction” as they sometimes put it.
The Obama quote felt like a smoking gun in that regard — basically he said “well everyone says single payer health care would be so much more efficient, sure, maybe it would, but think about it, we have millions of people working in jobs in all these competing private health firms because of all that redundancy and inefficiency. What are we going to do with those people?” So he admitted the free market was less efficient, in health at least, and that’s precisely why he preferred it — it maintained bullshit jobs.
In the case of Obama, it’s pretty clear why: as Tom Frank recently noted, the Democratic Party made a strategic decision starting in the ‘80s to basically drop the working class as their core constituency and take up the professional managerial classes instead. That’s now their base. But of course that’s exactly the area the bullshit jobs are concentrated.
Right now nurses in New Zealand are on strike and one of their major issues is exactly that: on the one hand, their real wages have been declining, but on the other, they also find they are spending so much time filling out forms they can’t take care of their patients. It’s over 50 percent for many nurses.


​The Clinton foundation tax returns reveal,,, Ta-Da!
It took 486 people who are paid $34.8 million and $91.3 million in fees and expenses, to give away $5.1 MILLION WHICH IS LESS THAN 3% OF TOTAL REVENUES!
http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/50010.htm

​Ray McGovern: ​
Newly released official documents show CIA head Gina Haspel directly supervised waterboarding at “Black Site” in Thailand.  Sen. Intelligence Committee Chair Richard Burr and Vice Chair Mark Warner hid that, demonstrating once again that today’s Senate “oversight” means “overlook.” Hold your nose and read:

S
​heepish Wolf​

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Gold Peg War

Students of History,

China has the longest recorded economic history, and the Chinese study Chinese history for mastery. Thousands of years of paper money cycles all ended with degradation of the currency and return to gold. The link i posted last night, was economist  Michael Hudson telling his life story to a rapt audience of elite Chinese college students, with the point being to avoid the pitfalls now bringing western finance toward inevitable economic-collapse. Nobody interrupted.
In the past dozen years we have seen political arguments about where China should peg the Yuan/Renmenbi compared to the $US. The official story is now that China is letting it float lower to counter Trump-tariffs. That's not untrue... It's also a partial story.
China is a country with plenty of financially savvy and recently wealthy people, who have been buying real estate in western cities, and other foreign assets, to reduce their exposure to risks of downward fluctuation of value of Yuan/Renmenbi. Every time the Yuan would face further devaluation, there would be a peak in property sales in Canada.
The Chinese government has labored mightily to curtail these capital outflows, yet with only partial success. No fence was tight enough. What would induce Chinese millionaires to keep their money in China? They need a guaranty against loss of value. They already buy gold, and there is now that exchange in Hong Kong doing so much of the actual physical gold trade in the world...
What if the Yuan/Renmenbi were pegged to gold within China, so that Chinese would not lose monetary value against gold, but would see it fluctuate against foreign fiat currencies?
The problem for the "Masters of the Universe" in western banking is that they have had to keep the price of gold suppressed to keep the dollar dominant, even though the dollar is now poisonous for global trade, being used as a weapon against Russia and Iran, and hurting Europe, Brazil and Turkey in the process. They have to keep gold looking risky in the west. Gold short positions remain near all time highs. This means that China can peg to gold and still devalue against the dollar in the trade war. Quietly establishing this relationship hints openly at what the post-dollar global reserve regime will be. Gold again. Who can argue with that?
David Brady says "There will be no bottom in gold until trade war ends" Maybe, but when does it "end", and how?

Take a look at 5 years of gold priced in dollars and gold priced in Yuan. Gold in dollars remains volatile. Gold in Yuan is stabilizing. The messages are very different in the 2 currencies. One says "risk". The other says "stability".
Price of Gold
Price of Gold

Europe, China and Russia defy Trump on Iran Sanctions ("King Dollar will beat you all to a pulp!")

(sphinxlike) Lord Jacob Rothschild:   "In 9/11 and in the 2008 financial crisis, the powers of the world worked together with a common approach. Co-operation today is proving much more difficult. This puts at risk the post-war economic and security order."

(plainspoken)  David Stockman warns that the global economy has reached an "epochal pivot", a moment when the false prosperity created from $trillions in printed money by the world's central banks lurches violently into reverse.

​(​Russia has the highest ratio of physical gold reserves to GDP of any country, and very low national debt:GDP, something like 23%)
As diplomatic tensions again escalate between the US and Russia following the announcement of new sanctions against Moscow earlier this week by the Trump administration, Russia's prime minister Dmitry Medvedev warned the United States on Friday that Russia would regard any U.S. move to curb the activities of its banks as a declaration of economic war which it would retaliate against. 

"Understanding Russia, Undemonizing Putin" is something I sent out in February, and bears posting again. Understanding is better than being emotionally manipulate, no?


​T​he U.S. and Russia are the first and second largest energy producers in the world. Saudi Arabia is the third largest energy producer in the world. If you put the U.S., Russia, and Saudi Arabia in a loose alliance, they dominate the energy markets. They can cut you off, they can supply, they can set prices.Who needs energy the most? China.
China has very little oil or natural gas. It does have coal, but if you’ve been to Beijing lately, you know it looks black at noon because the air is so bad and you can’t breathe it. Pulmonary disease is becoming fairly common. They’re literally choking themselves to death. So, Russia, the U.S., and Saudi Arabia acting jointly have China completely at their mercy.
But the U.S. presently has no relationship with Russia to help back up our position against China. It’s two-against-one, and the U.S. is the odd man out — thanks to U.S. political dysfunction and the media.
In a three-handed poker game, if you don’t know who the sucker is, you’re the sucker. Trump will try to make China the odd man out. Very few people seem to get this.


​Take one look at this story, from Moon of Alabama, about the US providing Saudi Arabia with their targeting information, as they bomb Yemen. One look.

Al Jazeera has more specifics, plenty of specifics. (Can we ally with Iran, instead of Saudi Arabia after the petro-dollar crashes into oblivion?)

How the high-tech US military strategy of bombing people you don't know leads to repeated failures. Example: Afghanistan.

The Crisis in Corbyn's Labor Party is over Israel, not anti-Semitism (Whats in a name?)

Koch brothers survey finds that most Americans like $15 minimum wage, free college and universal health care.

Charles Hugh Smith:
Here's the uncomfortable reality: the means to pay all these future obligations-- the real-world economy, and the wealth and income of the vast majority of the populace-- are far too modest to fund the fast-expanding obligations,which include interest due on the ever-increasing mountain of public and private debt.
The current "everything" asset bubbles have temporarily boosted the wealth and income of corporations and the wealthy, but all bubbles eventually pop as the marginal elements that are propping up the expansion weaken and implode.

Currently, I am living in Russia, where the difference between Russians and Americans when it comes to preparing for the ‘unknown’ could not be greater. While Americans spend untold hours per week mowing their lawns, pulling weeds and trimming the hedges, Russians are toiling at their ‘dachas’ (in Russia, it is common for people to own an apartment in the city and a piece of land in the countryside), growing fruit and vegetables in greenhouses, and collecting mushrooms in the forest (picking mushrooms is a veritable art form, where it can literally mean the difference between life and death to choose the correct variety among dozens of species). Every Russian I have met in the countryside also have their own private source of water from painstakingly dug wells on their land. This is no small consideration when it is remembered that corporations are gradually buying up, in addition to our food supplies, the rights to our water supplies as well.
The entire notion of ‘prepping’ in Russia is completely nonexistent since the knowledge of working the land, which became absolutely critical during the severe food shortages of the communist years, has been a traditional part of Russian life since the country’s inception. Although Russians, like any other people, would suffer grave hardships in the event of a severe economic downturn, many of them would still be able to feed themselves due to their time-tested ‘survival’ skills. I am not sure the same could be said of their American and European counterparts.


A San Francisco Jury awarded $289 million in damages to a former school groundskeeper, Dewayne Johnson, who said Monsanto's Roundup weedkiller gave him terminal cancer. The award consists of $40 million in compensatory damages and $250 million in punitive damages.
Johnson's trial was fast-tracked due to the severe state of his non-Hodgkins lymphoma, a cancer of the lymph system he says was triggered by Roundup and Ranger Pro, a similar glyphosate herbicide that he applied up to 30 times per year. His doctors didn't think he'd live to live to see the verdict.
Johnson testified that he had been involved in two accidents during his work in which he was doused with the product, the first of which happened in 2012. Two years later, the 46-year-old father of two was diagnosed with lymphoma - which has covered as much as 80% of his body in lesions.

​Realizing Too Late​

Friday, August 10, 2018

The Life Of Michael

Physiocrats,

Michael Hudson is probably the most brilliant economist of our era. I like reading his work in small doses. When you read a whole book of his, he makes every sentece and every paragraph, and every chapter be a whole, self-standing, quotable unit. Redundant redundancy is the result. Still, you get a lot of repitition leading to a lot of retention for your persistence. Here in an interview, Michael Hudson tells his whole economic life and experiences in one hour, without repitition. Oh, man, was he in the middle of so much history. Why did he live to be old? Accident? Guardian angel?
I break somewhat with my pattern. Here is one link, with transcript, but I actually watched Michael Hudson tell it for an hour. He was only slightly slower than my reading, and conveyed more in speech than is conveyed in the transcript. [Jada, especially. Watch and enjoy!]

Satoshi Nakamoto