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  • The Christmas Truce of World War I

    In August 1914, Europe’s major powers threw themselves into war with gleeful abandon. Germany, a rising power with vast aspirations, plowed across Belgium, seeking to checkmate France quickly before Russia could mobilize, thereby averting the prospect of a two-front war. Thousands of young Germans, anticipating a six-week conflict, boarded troop trains singing the optimistic refrain: ‘Ausflug nach Paris. Auf Widersehen auf dem Boulevard.’ (‘Excursion to Paris. See you again on the Boulevard.’)
    The French were eager to avenge the loss of Alsace and Lorraine to Germany in 1870. The British government, leery of Germany’s growing power, mobilized hundreds of thousands of young men to ‘teach the Hun a lesson.’ Across the continent, writes British historian Simon Rees, ‘millions of servicemen, reservists and volunteers … rushed enthusiastically to the banners of war…. The atmosphere was one of holiday rather than conflict.’
    Each side expected to be victorious by Christmas. But as December dawned, the antagonists found themselves mired along the Western Front – a static line of trenches running for hundreds of miles through France and Belgium. At some points along the Front, combatants were separated by less than 100 feet. Their crude redoubts were little more than large ditches scooped out of miry, whitish-gray soil. Ill-equipped for winter, soldiers slogged through brackish water that was too cold for human comfort, but too warm to freeze.
    The unclaimed territory designated No Man’s Land was littered with the awful residue of war – expended ammunition and the lifeless bodies of those on whom the ammunition had been spent. The mortal remains of many slain soldiers could be found grotesquely woven into barbed wire fences. Villages and homes lay in ruins. Abandoned churches had been appropriated for use as military bases.

    This post was published at Mises Canada on DECEMBER 27, 2017.


  • Yes, Virginia, There Is A “Santa Rally”

    Yes, Virgina, There Is A Santa Claus
    Every year, at this time, I republish the story of 8-year Virginia O’Hanlon who asked the most important of questions. I encourage you to read it as it reminds us of the importance, meaning and the ‘Spirit’ of the Christmas season.
    * * *
    Eight-year-old Virginia O’Hanlon wrote a letter to the editor of New York’s Sun, and the quick response was printed as an unsigned editorial Sept. 21, 1897. The work of veteran newsman Francis Pharcellus Church has since become history’s most reprinted newspaper editorial, appearing in part or whole in dozens of languages in books, movies, and other editorials, and on posters and stamps
    THE EDITORIAL
    DEAR EDITOR:
    I am 8 years old.
    Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus.
    Papa says, ‘If you see it in THE SUN it’s so.’
    Please tell me the truth; is there a Santa Claus?
    VIRGINIA O’HANLON.
    115 WEST NINETY-FIFTH STREET.

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 24, 2017.


  • Conscience, Heroic Virtue, and Civil Disobedience in the Resistance to Evil

    “A period of tension ensued, for the Danish population in general and its Jewish citizens in particular. Danish policy sought to ensure its independence and neutrality by placating the neighboring Nazi regime. After Denmark was occupied by Germany following Operation Weserbung on April 9, 1940, the situation became increasingly precarious.
    In 1943, the situation came to a head when Werner Best, the German plenipotentiary in Denmark ordered the arrest and deportation of all Danish Jews, scheduled to commence on October 1, which coincided with Rosh Hashanah. However, the Jewish community was given advance warning, and only 202 were arrested initially. As it turned out, 7,550 fled to Sweden, ferried across the resund strait. 500 Jews were deported to the Theresienstadt concentration camp. In the course of their incarceration, Danish authorities often interceded on their behalf, as they did for other Danes in German custody, sending food.
    Of the 500 Jews who were deported, approximately 50 died during deportation. Danes rescued the rest and they returned to Denmark in what was regarded as a patriotic duty against the Nazi occupation. Many of non-Jewish Danes protected their Jewish neighbors’ property and homes while they were gone.”
    Lidegaard, Bo. Guarding Denmark’s Jewish Heritage, The New York Times, 26 February 2015

    This post was published at Jesses Crossroads Cafe on 23 DECEMBER 2017.


  • Deadly Train Derailment Likely Caused By Object “Placed On The Tracks”: AP

    Update: As we mentioned lower in the boss, Monday’s deadly Amtrak train derailment in Washington state appears to have been caused by an object on the railway, according to a government official briefed on the crash.
    The Associated Press reported that officials arrived at this conclusion following a brief investigation.
    A preliminary investigation suggests maintenance problems are unlikely to blame because the incident took place on brand-new tracks, the official told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.
    At least six people were killed and the death toll is expected to rise, the official said.
    The Amtrak 501 plunged off an overpass onto I-5 near Lacey, Washington, sometime before 7:45 a.m., during its inaugural run between Seattle, Washington, and Portland, Oregon.
    During an afternoon briefing on his national security strategy, President Trump expressed ‘our deepest sympathies and most heartfelt prayers for the victims,’ adding: ‘We are closely monitoring the situation and coordinating with local authorities.’
    To be sure, this is still a preliminary finding. At a press conference Monday, representatives from the NTSB said the investigation is ongoing…

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 18, 2017.


  • Freedom of Religion under Attack by Australian Gov’t

    OK, believe it or not, the Australian government wants sweeping changes in the Catholic Church and other organizations, including making celibacy voluntary for clergy, but the real kicker is that they want priests to report people who confess sins in church. Politicians no longer have respect for religion or the beliefs of people. To them, there is no God, only their power. This is getting really insane.

    This post was published at Armstrong Economics on Dec 17, 2017.


  • Suspect In Custody After Pipe Bomb Explodes At Port Authority, Injuries Reported

    Update 2 : The Terrorist in NYC attack is injured and in custody. Bomb exploded prematurely. The suspect is reportedly a Muslim man from Brooklyn, east Flatbush area, Investigators are on the way to his home, for further investigations
    * * *
    A clip of the moment an alleged pipe bomb exploded at Port Authority around 6:30am on Monday morning has been released.
    BREAKING VIDEO: MOMENT OF EXPLOSION AT TIMES SQUARE SUBWAY STATION pic.twitter.com/bb6nEPwfqD
    — Breaking911 (@Breaking911) December 11, 2017

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 11, 2017.


  • Homeless Swedes Out In The Cold

    Authored by Bruce Bawer via The Gatestone Institute,
    One reason there are so many immigrants in Sweden, both legal and illegal, is that the country’s welfare system is a bonanza for foreigners. Far from not being covered by the system, immigrants often enjoy preferential treatment These Swedes should not be sleeping on the streets. The Scandinavian welfare states were founded on a compact between the citizens and their government: the people would pay outrageously high taxes, and in return their government would guarantee them a magnificent safety net should they get sick or get fired. But ever since these countries chose to open their doors to mass Muslim immigration, that compact has been broken. A state-employed paper-pusher who gives citizens something for which they have already paid can hardly feel particularly virtuous, whereas handing out free stuff to aliens who have done absolutely nothing to deserve it can make that same government paper-pusher feel like a world-class Good Samaritan. Even more shattering is that millions of those Scandinavian citizens accept it. Marinated from birth in multiculturalism, millions of them dare not demand what they have coming to them — what they have paid for, what they deserve — lest they be viewed by others, and even by themselves, as bigots. The other day, I reported about the Church of Sweden’s strenuous efforts to appease Islam. Now comes the news that from December 15 to March 15, churches in the diocese of Gothenburg will be used at night as shelters for the homeless.
    Lovely idea. But there is a catch. The only homeless people who will be allowed in are foreigners — either immigrants from elsewhere in the EU, who are by definition legal, or illegal immigrants from outside the EU. In other words, native Swedes need not apply, even though the initiative is being paid for by taxpayer money.

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 8, 2017.


  • Give me six lines written by the most honest man & I will find something to hang him

    One of the most notorious political men who also pretended to be a man of God, was Cardinal Armand Jean du Plessis, Duke of Richelieu and Fronsac (1585 – 1642), who is commonly referred to as Cardinal Richelieu. Richelieu was a French nobleman and statesman who then pretended to be religious. During the 17th century, controlling the Catholic Church and using God for the political cover was the name of the game. Richelieu was consecrated as a bishop in 1607 and then was appointed Foreign Secretary of the French government in 1616. Richelieu rose through the political ranks in both the Catholic Church and the French government. By becoming a cardinal in 1622, he then became King Louis XIII’s chief minister in 1624! He remained in office until his death in 1642.

    This post was published at Armstrong Economics on Dec 1, 2017.


  • Trump Sparks Outrage In UK With “Truculent Tweet” To Theresa May After Retweeting Far-Right Videos

    .@Theresa_May, don’t focus on me, focus on the destructive Radical Islamic Terrorism that is taking place within the United Kingdom. We are doing just fine!
    — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 30, 2017

    President Trump sparked outrage among Britain’s political establishment on Thursday with a sharp rebuke on Twitter of Prime Minister Theresa May on Twitter after she criticized him for retweeting British far-right anti-Islam videos. Following Trump’s condemnation by British politicians who lashed out at the US president for sharing videos originally posted by a leader of a British far-right fringe group, in an unprecedented attack on Theresa May, Trump replied with what Reuters dubbed an “unrepentant message”:
    ‘Theresa @theresamay, don’t focus on me, focus on the destructive Radical Islamic Terrorism that is taking place within the United Kingdom. We are doing just fine,’ he tweeted.

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 30, 2017.


  • Is The Left Self-Destructing, Or Is Something Else Going On?

    The temptation to revel in the implosion of the extreme political Left is high, and it’s understandable. I could go through a long list of insane offenses by the cultural Marxist cult of the church of “social justice,” but I think this latest example summarizes the problem nicely. In this video, teaching assistant Lindsay Shepard at Wilfred Laurier University in Canada is reprimanded and brow beaten by two professors for daring to commit the heresy of showing her students BOTH sides of the debate over transgenderism and pronoun politics.
    The zealotry on display here by these professors is indicative of a deep-rooted cancer within the Left. Shepard was not attempting to troll her class with misinformation or subtly manipulate them with propaganda, in fact she wasn’t seeking to pressure them to support either viewpoint. She was not violating anyone’s private property rights to assail them with her arguments, either. Her only goal was to show people in a public space that there are in fact at least two opposing viewpoints on the issue in question. But in a cult it is unacceptable to acknowledge that there are different ways of thinking from the prevailing doctrine. Other beliefs and evidence must be filtered out completely, otherwise, the devout members of the cult might be faced with uncertainty.
    If an ideological system is so fragile that it cannot tolerate the slightest hint of legitimate counter-evidence, then something is very wrong with that system. If that system is incapable of arguing its merits using facts and instead relies on the argument of “How dare you!,” the only things that could possibly keep it alive are threats of force and terror.

    This post was published at Alt-Market on Thursday, 30 November 2017.


  • China’s Corporate Debt Unexpectedly Rises At Fastest Pace In Four Years, As A New Risk Emerges

    Have you heard the one about the priest, the rabbi and China’s deleveraging? We forget how it goes, but it’s pretty damn funny, especially the last part after a Reuters report that following China’s repeated vows by Beijing it would reduce the country’s unprecedented sovereign, municipal, corporate and household leverage, China’s debt is not only rising, but growing at the fastest pace in four years.
    It’s especially funny because for years China’s top officials have – well – lied, touting their ambitious policy priority to wean the world’s second-largest economy off high levels of debt, but there is not much to show for it. On the contrary, the debt pile at Chinese firms has been climbing in that time, with levels at the end of September growing at the fastest pace in four years.
    As shown in the chart below, a Reuters analysis of 2,146 China listed firms showed their total debt at the end of September jumped 23% from a year ago, the highest pace of growth since 2013. The analysis covered three-fifths of the country’s listed firms, but excluded financials, which have seen the brunt of government de-risking and deleveraging efforts so far.

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 25, 2017.


  • Thanksgiving Day 2017

    ‘Do not indulge in dreams of having what you have not, but reckon up the greatest of the blessings you do possess, and then thankfully remember how you would crave for them if they were not yours.’
    Marcus Aurelius, Meditations
    “We pray for the big things, and forget to give thanks for the ordinary, small, and yet really not so small, blessings.’
    Dietrich Bonhoeffer
    “Rejoice in the Lord always; and again I will say, rejoice; let your gentleness and consideration to be known all, for the Lord is always near. Do not be anxious about anything, but with prayer, and by supplication, and with thanksgiving, let your needs be made known unto God. And the peace of the Lord, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds, in Christ Jesus.”
    Philippians 4:4-7

    This post was published at Jesses Crossroads Cafe on 23 NOVEMBER 2017.


  • Russia’s Alleged Meddling In Catalan Vote: Playing The Blame Game

    Marine Corps veteran Tommy Waller, director of special projects at the Center for Security Policy, has warned President Trump about the EMP threat facing the United States.
    “Winston Churchill once said, ‘History will be kind to me for I intend to write it’…
    The surest way for history to be kind to President Trump is for him to write it, by being the first leader to truly address the existential threat of EMP.
    The first and foremost thing he must write is an Executive Order establishing his own EMP Commission in the White House – a task force that draws from the experience of the previous EMP Commission.”
    The grim warning is directed at North Korea and their ambitions to unleash a devastating atmospheric nuclear explosion above the United States that would collapse the nation’s power grid.

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 15, 2017.


  • The White House Is Being Warned: North Korea Is Planning A “Devatstaing EMP Attack” On America

    Marine Corps veteran Tommy Waller, director of special projects at the Center for Security Policy, has warned President Trump about the EMP threat facing the United States.
    “Winston Churchill once said, ‘History will be kind to me for I intend to write it’…
    The surest way for history to be kind to President Trump is for him to write it, by being the first leader to truly address the existential threat of EMP.
    The first and foremost thing he must write is an Executive Order establishing his own EMP Commission in the White House – a task force that draws from the experience of the previous EMP Commission.”
    The grim warning is directed at North Korea and their ambitions to unleash a devastating atmospheric nuclear explosion above the United States that would collapse the nation’s power grid.

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 15, 2017.


  • How Facebook & Google Threaten Public Health… And Democracy

    Authored by Roger McNamee, op-ed via The Guardian,
    The sad truth is that Facebook and Google have behaved irresponsibly in the pursuit of massive profits. And this has come at a cost to our health…
    In an interview this week with Axios, Facebook’s original president, Sean Parker, admitted that the company intentionally sought to addict users and expressed regret at the damage being inflicted on children.
    This admission, by one of the architects of Facebook, comes on the heels of last week’s hearings by Congressional committees about Russian interference in the 2016 election, where the general counsels of Facebook, Alphabet (parent of Google and YouTube), and Twitter attempted to deflect responsibility for manipulation of their platforms.
    The term ‘addiction’ is no exaggeration. The average consumer checks his or her smartphone 150 times a day, making more than 2,000 swipes and touches. The applications they use most frequently are owned by Facebook and Alphabet, and the usage of those products is still increasing.
    In terms of scale, Facebook and YouTube are similar to Christianity and Islam respectively. More than 2 billion people use Facebook every month, 1.3 billion check in every day. More than 1.5 billion people use YouTube. Other services owned by these companies also have user populations of 1 billion or more.
    Facebook and Alphabet are huge because users are willing to trade privacy and openness for ‘convenient and free.’

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 11, 2017.


  • Mass Shootings, Mass Psychology And Self-Defense

    There is an unfortunate correlation between crises and catastrophes and mass psychology. For those with a decent long-term memory, you may have noticed that the frequency of attacks and tragedies taking place today around the world is far above and beyond what occurred 10 years ago. So much so that many in the public have moved beyond the point of outrage and have now embraced complacency.
    The mass shooting issue, for example, once inspired fevered debate over gun rights. Not so much anymore. While I am happy that the relentless attempts by leftists to exploit every shooting as a tool for their gun grabbing agenda have taken a backseat, I see a trend in another direction which is equally dangerous. That trend is a move towards acceptance that “these things happen,” instead of a healthy discussion on real solutions (and no, more gun control is not one of them).
    A decade ago the Vegas shooting would have inspired media and social discussion for at least a year. Now, the story disappears in two weeks and is replaced with 10 others. I will be surprised if the latest church shooting in Texas in which 26 people were killed stays on the news feeds for more than a few days.

    This post was published at Alt-Market on Thursday, 09 November 2017.


  • How Will Bitcoin React in a Financial Crisis Like 2008?

    If the ownership of bitcoin is as concentrated as some estimate, then the liquidity issue distills down to the actions of the top tier of owners.
    ***
    Whenever I raise the topic of bitcoin and cryptocurrencies, I feel like an agnostic in the 30 Years War between Catholics and Protestants. There is precious little neutral ground in the crypto-is-a-bubble battle; one side is absolutely confident that bitcoin and the other cryptocurrencies are in a tulip-bulb type bubble, while the other camp is equally confident that we ain’t seen nuthin’ yet in terms of bitcoin’s future valuation. I’ve stated here more than once that in my view the real value of bitcoin will only be revealed in a financial/market crisis/crash like 2008-09. Longtime correspondent Mark G. recently proposed three tests that illuminate some of the dynamics that might come into play in the next financial/market crash/crisis. (CHS NOTE: gold fell from a peak around $1,100 per ounce in March 2008 to $830 in October 2008. It then bounced back to $1,100 in February 2008. The standard explanation for the sharp decline was that gold was sold off to meet margin calls and other obligations arising from the Global Financial Meltdown of late 2008. That gold was perceived as a reliable store of value may have increased its attractiveness as an asset to sell in the mad scramble to raise cash.)

    This post was published at Charles Hugh Smith on MONDAY, NOVEMBER 06, 2017.


  • Technical Scoop – Weekend Update Nov 5

    Weekly Update
    To the moon, Alice!
    Ralph Kramden, The Honeymooners
    And at the current rate it might not be too long before it’s actually there. The moon, that is. No, not Alice – Bitcoin. Yes, Bitcoin crossed $7,000 this week. It was less than a month ago Bitcoin passed $5,000. The riches are dazzling as Bitcoin is up 640% this year alone. Bitcoin now has a market cap of $100 billion. How much longer before it’s bigger than Amazon or Apple or worth more than the entire gold stock market? But the question continues to beg – is Bitcoin an historic bubble? Until it bursts, the question is strictly academic. And don’t forget, not only is there Bitcoin but there are now over 1,000 other cryptocurrencies. And Bitcoin has forks as well called Bitcoin cash and Bitcoin gold.
    Okay, we are not going to get into a huge discussion of Bitcoin and how it is structured and what blockchains are all about. It is mind boggling enough trying to figure all of that out. We will have further comments on our weekly ‘Bitcoin Watch!’ commentary.
    The stock markets made new all-time highs again this past week. That comes against the backdrop of the terrorist attack in New York City, indictments in the Russia investigation including former top aides of President Donald Trump, and possible brewing trouble in the Mid-East. There is also the escalating crisis in Catalonia in the heart of the EU, ongoing trouble between Kurds and Iraq/Iran/Turkey, and continued moves afoot to lessen the use of the US$ in world trade. As well, a new Fed chairman has been proposed. But all the stock market cares about is the potential to pass the tax bill that could put billions into corporations and the 1% even as it could create deficits estimated at up $1.5 trillion over the next decade.
    Maybe the stock markets are also headed for the moon, albeit at a much slower pace. Still, the records just keep on falling and there seems to be little in the way of stopping it. We may wring our hands over the alleged terrorist attack that killed 8 and injured many more but largely ignore an attack in a Walmart in Colorado that left 3 dead that occurred not long after the NYC attack. And I might add as we prepare this for distribution another attack in some small Texas town in a church that has left multiple fatalities.

    This post was published at GoldSeek on 5 November 2017.


  • Doug Noland: End of an Era

    Of the diverse strains of inflation, asset inflation is by far the most dangerous. A bout of consumer price inflation would be generally recognized as problematic and rectified through a tightening of monetary conditions. On the other hand, asset price inflation is both celebrated and venerated. There is simply no constituency calling for a tightening of conditions to ward off the deleterious effects of rising asset prices, Bubbles and attendant economic maladjustment. And as we’ve witnessed, the bigger the Bubble the more powerful the constituencies that rationalize, justify and promote Bubble excess.
    About one year ago, I was expecting a securities markets sell-off in the event of an unexpected Donald Trump win. A Trump presidency would create disruption, upheaval and major uncertainties – political, geopolitical, economic and social. Instead of a fall, the markets experienced a short squeeze and unwind of hedges. Over-liquefied markets and a powerful inflationary bias throughout global securities markets won the day – and the winning runs unabated. We’ve come a long way since 1992 and James Carville’s ‘I used to think that if there was reincarnation, I wanted to come back as the president or the pope or as a .400 baseball hitter. But now I would like to come back as the bond market. You can intimidate everybody.’ New age central banking has pacified bond markets and eradicated the vigilantes. These days it’s the great equities bull market as all-powerful intimidator.

    This post was published at Wall Street Examiner on November 4, 2017.


  • Texas Church Shooting Leaves 26 Dead; Suspect Was Dishonorably Discharged From Air Force

    Update (8:50 pm ET): Trump offered his condolences for victims and their families after today’s “horrific” shooting during a press conference in Japan.
    “Victims and their families were in their sacred place of worship. We cannot put into words the pain and grief we all feel,” Mr. Trump said in televised remarks.
    “In dark times such as these, Americans do we what do best and we pull together. We lock hands and we joins arms. Through the tears and through the sadness we stand strong.”
    Meanwhile, a new photo of the shooter has been released…


    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 5, 2017.