This post was published at SilverDoctors
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.
The many new integrated non-USD platforms devised and constructed by China finally have critical mass. They threaten the King Dollar as global currency reserve. Clearly, the USDollar cannot be displaced in trade and banking without a viable replacement for widespread daily usage. Two years ago, critics could not point to a viable integrated system outside the USD realm. Now they can. The integration of commercial, construction, financial, transaction, investment, and even security systems can finally be described as having critical mass in displacing the USDollar. The King Dollar faces competition of a very real nature. The Jackass has promoted a major theme in the last several months, that of the Dual Universe. At first the USGovt will admit that it cannot fight the non-USD movement globally. To do so with forceful means would involve sanctions against multiple nations, and a war with both Russia & China. Their value together is formidable in halting the financial battles from becoming a global war. The United States prefers to invade and destroy indefensible nations like Libya, Iraq, Ukraine, Syria, and by proxy Yemen. The USMilitary appears formidable against undeveloped nations, seeking to destroy their infra-structure and their entire economies, in pursuit of the common Langley theme of destabilization. In the process, the USMilitary since the Korean War has killed 25 million civilians, a figure receiving increased publicity. The Eastern nations and the opponents to US financial hegemony will not tolerate the abuse any longer. They have been organizing on a massive scale in the last several years. Ironically, the absent stability can be seen in the United States after coming full circle. The deep division of good versus evil, of honest versus corrupt, of renewed development versus endless war, has come to light front and center within numerous important USGovt offices and agencies.
The shape of the US nation will change with the loss of the USDollar’s status as global currency reserve. The starting point for the global resistance against the King Dollar was 9/11 and the onset of the War on Terror. It has been more aptly described as a war of terror waged by the USGovt as a smokescreen for global narcotics monopoly and tighter control of USD movements. Then later, following the Lehman failure (killjob by JPMorgan and Goldman Sachs) and the installation of the Zero Interest Rate Policy and Quantitative Easing as fixed monetary policies, the community of nations has been objecting fiercely. The zero bound on rates greatly distorted all asset valuations and financial markets. The hyper monetary inflation works to destroy capital in recognized steps. These (ZIRP & QE) are last ditch desperation policies designed to enable much larger liquidity for the insolvent banking structures. Without them, the big US banks would suffer failure. They also provide cover for the amplified relief efforts directed at the multi-$trillion derivative mountain. In no way, can the global tolerate unbridled monetary inflation which undermines the global banking reserves.
This post was published at GoldSeek on 26 December 2017.
Having worked closely with U. S. intelligence agencies over the last two decades, James Rickards was once asked to simulate asymmetric economic attacks on the U. S. financial system. He is an expert at escalation scenarios and end games, and in a recent article at The Daily Reckoning he warns that the geopolitical situation on the Korean Peninsula will soon come to a head.
According to Rickards, author of The Road To Ruin: The Global Elites Secret Plan For The Next Financial Crisis, while the world concerns itself with stock bubbles, bitcoin and debt, the most imminent threat we face is military confrontation with North Korea.
And while the rogue state has been an ongoing threat for many years, the first half of 2018 will likely see the trigger that sets the whole powder keg off:
The most important financial or geopolitical issue in the world today is a coming war between the U. S. and North Korea, probably in the next twelve weeks.
This post was published at shtfplan on December 26th, 2017.
Authored by James Howard Kunstler via Kunstler.com,
If only abortion were retroactive, we could suitably deal with monsters like Senator Al Franken (D – MN), who apparently ventured to apply a breast adjustment to a female colleague asleep on the military airplane winging them home from USO duty in Afghanistan. This was back in the day when Senator Franken was a professional entertainer, a clown to be precise, but his career shift to politics has rendered all his prior clowning anathema.
Will he slink out of the senate in disgrace with (ahem) his tail between his legs? Or will he bunker in and wait until the mega-storm of sexual accusation roars on to strand some bigger, flashier fish on the shoals of ignominy?
Perhaps we’ll soon learn that Warren Buffet repeatedly shagged his notoriously over-taxed secretary in the Berkshire Hathaway janitor’s closet.
Or that Mike Pence once bought a diet Dr. Pepper for a woman who was not his wife!
Seems to me this storm could roar and roil on until ninety-plus percent of the men in America are exposed as sex monsters and expelled from every workplace in the land. And then America can feel good about itself again. At least until the bond market blows up, or Kim Jung Fatboy sends a rocket over Rancho Cuckamonga.
But in the meantime, this scourging of male wickedness raises some interesting questions about human dynamics vis-a-vis workplace dynamics.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 17, 2017.
– Deepening Crisis In Hyper-inflationary Venezuela and Zimbabwe
– Real inflation in Zimbabwe is 313 percent annually and 112 percent on a monthly basis
– Venezuela’s new 100,000-bolivar note is worth less oday thehan USD 2.50
– Maduro announces plans to eliminate all physical cash
– Gold rises in response to ongoing crises
A military coup-de-grace in Zimbabwe and a bankrupt Venezuela. Both countries have extreme hyperinflation, citizens are starving and basic medical treatment is near impossible to find. These are the real world problems 47.5 million people are currently facing.
Presidents Robert Mugabe and Nicolas Maduro both deny the crises in their respective countries. For Maduro it is the media propagating false truths. In Zimbabwe the response to hyperinflation has been to declare it illegal.
Both countries are in the media spotlight after a significant week that has left one man powerless and another scrambling to restore faith in his bankrupt country.
This post was published at Gold Core on November 16, 2017.
Ever since President Donald Trump and Chinese leader Xi Jinping shared a slice of chocolate cake at Mar-a-Lago in April, many have speculated about the burgeoning ‘bromance’ between two of the world’s most powerful men.
Well, if anybody had any doubts about thelr ‘special relationship’, the opulent welcome that the Trump’s received upon landing in Beijing should put them to rest.
A red carpet, military band and flag-waving children met Trump and first lady Melania Trump when they arrived in Beijing. That greeting – which included far more pageantry than is typically bestowed on visiting foreign leaders – was followed by a tour of China’s Forbidden City accompanied by Xi and his wife, Peng Liyuan. Following that, they took in an opera performance. Trump also reportedly showed Xi video clips of his grandchildren singing in Chinese. Indeed, a video of Ivanka Trump’s daughter Arabella reciting a Chinese poem went viral on Chinese social media shortly after Trump’s election last year.
The Chinese have promised that Trump would receive what they call a ‘state visit plus’ – with the Trump’s being accorded courtesies that are rarely bestowed on foreign leaders.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 8, 2017.
Gold prices held most of yesterday’s 1.0% jump against the Dollar and touched new 3-week highs for Euro investors on Tuesday, trading higher as crude oil rose and Saudi Arabia accused Iran of “direct military aggression” tantamount to a declaration of war.
Wall Street’s S&P500 index of US stocks ended Monday with its 11th new record closing high in a month.
Crypto-currency Bitcoin today rallied to regain half of Monday’s 6% drop, trading back above $7000 after hitting 5 new daily all-time highs in succession last week.
Listen to Tom McClellan on Stocks and Real Estate; Keith Barron on Peak Gold
Crude oil spiked Tuesday to new 2.5-year highs, while Arabian stock markets fell hard – down over 3% – as news broke of further detentions and sanctions against senior Saudi figures by new crown prince Mohammed Bin Salman.
“We expected to some interest in gold following the close above $1280,” says one Asian trading desk in a gold price note, “[but] Chinese selling appears to be capping the market.”
“Stocks are at record highs, so you don’t need gold,” says George Gero at the wealth management division of Canada’s RBC.
This post was published at FinancialSense on 11/07/2017.
President Donald Trump is leaving his administration’s push to pass comprehensive tax reform before year’s end in the hands of his trusted deputies while he embarks this morning on a 10-day tour to Asia, where he’s expected to discuss, among other topics, the security threat that North Korea poses to both the region and to the world more broadly.
As Reuters points out, it will be the longest Asia tour by a US president since George H. W. Bush vomited on Japan’s then-prime minister, Kiichi Miyazawa, during a trip to Asia in 1992 just weeks before the New Hampshire primary. While Trump, whoso gastro digestive system is in far better shape, will likely not suffer the same embarrassment, the possibility of a diplomatic fiasco is high for obvious reasons. Meanwhile, tensions run high: to underscore the seriousness of the biggest problem at hand, two US strategic bombers carried out military drills over South Korea Thursday, the U. S. Air Force said, raising tensions with North Korea, which accused the US of carrying out simulated bombing drills near its territory. In a move that is sure to further trigger the Kim regime just as Trump touches down in the region, the US has sent three aircraft carriers to participate in unprecedented 3-way drills off the Korean penninsula. Thursday’s drills were first reported by North Korean state news agency KCNA on Friday, which described the exercises involving South Korean and Japanese fighter jets were a ‘surprise nuclear strike drill,” Reuters reported.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 3, 2017.
Here’s a question for you: How do you spell boondoggle?
The answer (in case you didn’t already know): P-e-n-t-a-g-o-n.
Hawks on Capitol Hill and in the U. S. military routinely justify increases in the Defense Department’s already munificent budget by arguing that yet more money is needed to ‘support the troops.’ If you’re already nodding in agreement, let me explain just where a huge chunk of the Pentagon budget — hundreds of billions of dollars — really goes. Keep in mind that it’s your money we’re talking about.
The answer couldn’t be more straightforward: it goes directly to private corporations and much of it is then wasted on useless overhead, fat executive salaries, and startling (yet commonplace) cost overruns on weapons systems and other military hardware that, in the end, won’t even perform as promised. Too often the result isweapons that aren’t needed at prices we can’t afford. If anyone truly wanted to help the troops, loosening the corporate grip on the Pentagon budget would be an excellent place to start.
The numbers are staggering. In fiscal year 2016, the Pentagon issued $304 billion in contract awards to corporations — nearly half of the department’s $600 billion-plus budget for that year. And keep in mind that not all contractors are created equal. According to the Federal Procurement Data System’s top 100 contractors report for 2016, the biggest beneficiaries by a country mile were Lockheed Martin ($36.2 billion), Boeing ($24.3 billion), Raytheon ($12.8 billion), General Dynamics ($12.7 billion), and Northrop Grumman ($10.7 billion). Together, these five firms gobbled up nearly $100 billion of your tax dollars, about one-third of all the Pentagon’s contract awards in 2016.
This post was published at Ludwig von Mises Institute on November 2, 2017.
During the last two years of the Obama administration (Fiscal Year 2015 – 2016), law enforcement agencies such as the Department of Homeland Security spent $138 million on new guns and ammunition. But what’s strange, is that $20 million was spent on guns and ammunition for federal bureaucrats.
Four notable examples of paper pushers and bureaucrats arming up, according toForbes, are as follows:
1) The 2,300 Special Agents at the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) are now carrying AR-15’s, P90 tactical rifles, and other heavy weaponry. Recently, the IRS armed up with $1.2 million in new ammunition. This was in addition to the $11 million procurement of guns, ammunition, and military-style equipment procured between 2006-2014. What could go wrong when tax collectors have guns?
2) The Small Business Administration (SBA) spent tens of thousands of taxpayer dollars to load its gun locker with Glocks last year. The SBA wasn’t alone in the purchase of guns either. The U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service modified their Glocks with silencers. And recently a vote on the bill to allow civilians the freedom to hunt with a silencer was ‘indefinitely postponed.’
This post was published at shtfplan on October 24th, 2017.
Bloomberg’s series on automation on Wall Street has certainly given the hundreds of thousands of highly educated individualsemployed in the US financial services industry a lot to think about, like, for example, ‘will my job be here in ten years when it’s time for my oldest to head to college?”
However, Bloomberg’s latest installment in the series was apparently meant to provide some measure of relief to the legions of analysts, traders and salespeople worried about losing their jobs to a robot. While advances are being made in the field of artificial intelligence at an increasingly rapid clip, the truth is, efforts to automate an investor’s process have mostly fallen flat.
Bloomberg cites several examples, including a push by Paul Tudor Jones to build an algorithm that would mimic his analytical process, of these types of efforts fizzling – though of course firms like Bridgewater have successfully automated many of their trading strategies. Renaissance Technologies, a quant fund founded by former military code-breaker Jim Simons, has been a pioneer in using machine-learning techniques for decades while building an enviable investing track record.
Back in the 1990s, Paul Tudor Jones assigned a team of coders to a project dubbed ‘Paul in a Box.’ The effort sought to break down the DNA of the hedge fund manager’s trading – how he sizes up markets and generates ideas – to train a computer to do the same. The code created then was upgraded many times and is still used at his firm, Tudor Investment Corp. But it never took over.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 23, 2017.
France’s President Emmanuel Macron is calling for a radical restructuring of the whole EU. Macron has presented his map for the EU into 2024. He is proposing that the Eurozone budget must include a joint force for military operations. Macron intends to finance this new budget with its tax – the ‘EU tax’ he calls it.
Macron has looked at the numbers and see that France will go the way of Greece if something is not changed and soon. Macron hopes just to throw all the rotten eggs into one basket and hope nobody will notice. It’s the Three Musketeers – All for one; One for All just times 28.
Germany is still dominated by its misunderstanding of the Hyperinflation. Former Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis supports Macron’s federalist proposals on the euro single currency but believes only a real threat could make Germany budge on the issue. It has been Germany that opposed the consolidation of the debts to form the Euro. They are trying to remain isolated in their austerity posture refusing to budge on the debt consolidation, while at the same time they want the single currency to facilitate German exports eliminating foreign exchange risk among other members. They just cannot have it both ways.
This post was published at Armstrong Economics on Oct 22, 2017.
Somewhere in the mountains near Switzerland’s Lake Lucerne lies a hidden underground vault containing a vast fortune.
It’s no ordinary vault, according to Quartz. Built inside a decommissioned Swiss military bunker dug into a granite mountain, it’s precise location is a closely guarded secret, and access is limited by myriad security precautions.
But instead of gold bars, the bunker contains hard drives on which customers’ bitcoins are being kept in what’s call ‘cold storage’ – i.e. the owners’ private keys are protected by an air-gapped hard drive. The vault is one of many operated by Xapo, an early bitcoin company known for its cold storage wallet products and a debit card that pays for transactions in digital currencies.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 18, 2017.
Donald Trump, the President of the United States, who took his companies through bankruptcy six times, picked the three-week anniversary of Hurricane Maria delivering an epic humanitarian crisis to Puerto Rico to shame the U. S. territory for its financial troubles and to traumatize the struggling residents by suggesting he may yank Federal workers from Puerto Rico.
The President, whose key job is to rally people in the time of crisis, posted the following, insanely cruel Tweet yesterday to a region where 84 percent of the residents still lack electrical power; one-third lack clean running water; and only 8 percent of the roads are passable according to government statistics: ‘We cannot keep FEMA, the Military & First Responders, who have been amazing (under the most difficult circumstances) in P. R. forever!’ Trump posted to his Twitter page. That post came shortly after Trump retweeted a statement suggesting that Puerto Rico’s ‘financial crisis looms largely from their own making.’
The three-week time frame for Trump’s patience to be running out in the midst of a humanitarian crisis contrasts with the three-year time frame, from 2007 to 2010, in which the Federal government’s patience and money were lavished on Wall Street to the tune of $16 trillion. Wall Street’s crisis was not the product of Mother Nature but a thundering herd of greed-obsessed banksters hell bent on looting the investing public and the public purse. (See Puerto Rico Relief Efforts Pale to that for Just One Wall Street Bank.)
This post was published at Wall Street On Parade By Pam Martens and Russ Marte.
There was a time, centuries ago, that France was the dominant superpower in the world.
They had it all. Overseas colonies. An enormous military. Social welfare programs like public hospitals and beautiful monuments.
Most of it was financed by debt.
France, like most superpowers before (and after), felt entitled to overspend as much as they wanted.
And their debts started to grow. And grow.
By the eve of the French revolution in 1788, the national debt of France was so large that the government had to spend 50% of tax revenue just to pay interest to its lenders.
Yet despite being in such dire financial straits the French government was still unable to cut spending.
All of France’s generous social welfare programs, plus its expansive military, were all considered untouchable.
This post was published at Sovereign Man on October 6, 2017.
As seen in my previous article, US military power is on the decline, and the effects are palpable. In a world full of conflicts brought on by Washington, the economic and financial shifts that are occurring are for many countries a long-awaited and welcome development.
If we were to identify what uniquely fuels American imperialism and its aspirations for global hegemony, the role of the US dollar would figure prominently.
An exploration of the depth of the dollar’s effects on the world economy is therefore necessary in order to understand the consequential geopolitical developments that have occurred over the last few decades.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 4, 2017.
By Frank Holmes
The best performing precious metal this week was palladium, up 1.67 percent. Palladium prices rose above platinum prices on expectations there may be a surge in gasoline engines from China before clamp downs on their use comes into effect. Gold traders and analysts surveyed by Bloomberg maintained their bearish bias for a third week despite North Korean tensions escalating after our military show of force last weekend with fly-by of their airspace. Despite gold having a lousy month with negative price action and a spike in volatility, to four-month highs seen in the metal, holdings in exchanged traded funds rose to their highest levels since last November. At this week’s Denver Gold Form, Randal Oliphant noted that the industry may be reaching peak gold production as major new discoveries have waned over the last couple of decades, despite industry spending or changes in technology. Weaknesses
The worst performing precious metal this week was platinum, down 2.20 percent. Platinum is suffering a continued loss of market share to palladium in the near-term play out. Comments earlier in the week from Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen sent gold lower. Yellen said that it would be imprudent to leave rates on hold until inflation reaches 2 percent this year. Her co
This post was published at GoldSeek on Monday, 2 October 2017.
In a move that was little noticed outside of the financial world, China announced the creation of an oil futures contract (open to international traders) that will be denominated in Yuan and convertible into gold. This move provides the first official linkage of oil to gold, and more importantly a linkage between the Chinese currency and gold. While the contract volumes that will be traded on this new platform will certainly be minuscule in comparison to those in the dominant markets of New York and London (at least initially), I believe the move is the latest, and perhaps most significant, step that China has taken down the path that could lead to a global economic system that is not fully dependent on the U. S. dollar. The move amounts to a direct challenge to the dollar’s privileged reserve status and could threaten U. S. dollar price erosion.
The move comes at a time when the U. S is particularly vulnerable to an economic challenge. Given the bold, but not particularly diplomatic, efforts of the Trump Administration to push an America First agenda, the U. S. finds herself somewhat isolated. Add to this the widening political polarity in the U. S., which will make it that much less likely that Washington can take needed action in passing economic reforms to prevent a looming debt crisis. The dollar has been neglected far too long, and its strength may be far more tenuous than many imagine.
By way of background, the United States emerged from World War II as the world’s undisputed economic, financial and military leader. In 1944, at Bretton Woods, the U. S. dollar, convertible into gold exclusively by central banks, was adopted as the world’s main reserve currency. This status meant that the dollar was used to price most commodities, used to transact nearly all international trade. This status further strengthened the dollar and helped make Americans the richest people in the world.
This post was published at Euro Pac on September 28, 2017.
Signs of American collapse are everywhere. Apparently no one notices. The world continues to vote with the US in the UN. When even Russia and China serve as handmaidens to US foreign policy by voting with Washington against North Korea, it appears that the image of America as the exceptional and indispensable country is a propaganda success even among Washington’s most threatened enemies. When Russia and China follow Washington’s lead, it shows the world that there is no alternative to Washington’s leadership.
A country with a $20 trillion public debt, an even larger private debt, a work force drowning in debt and employed in third world lowly paid domestic services, a stock market pumped up beyond all reason by Federal Reserve liquidity and companies using their profits to repurchase their own stock, a military that’s been tied down for 16 years by a few lightly armed Muslims, a propaganda ministry instead of a media with public ignorance the consequence, and with a total collapse of morality in public and private institutions along with the disappearance of courage, is nevertheless able to make the entire world dance to its tune. Washington is the Wizard of Oz.
Washington in the past 16 years has destroyed in whole or part seven countries, murdering, maiming, orphaning, widowing, and displacing millions of peoples. Yet Washington still presents itself as the great defender of human rights, democracy, and all that is good. The American people have voiced few words of protest against the massive crimes against humanity committed by ‘their’ government.
This post was published at Paul Craig Roberts on September 20, 2017.