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Chairman Of Joint Chiefs: US Ready For “Military Response” In Ukraine | Zero Hedge

Chairman Of Joint Chiefs: US Ready For “Military Response” In Ukraine | Zero Hedge.

With diplomacy having failed miserably to resolve the Russian annexation of Crimea, and soon East Ukraine (and with John Kerry in charge of it, was there ever any doubt), the US is moving to the heavy artillery. First, moments ago, the US DOE announced in a shocking announcement that it would proceed with the first draw down and sale of crude from the US strategic petroleum reserve, the first since June 2011, in what it said was a “test sale to check the operational capabilities of system infrastructure”, but is really just a shot across the bow at Putin for whom high commodity prices are orders of magnitude more important than how the Russian stock market performs. And now, as Bloomberg just reported, the US has escalated even further, citing the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin Dempsey, who “has claimed that in the case of an escalation of unrest in Crimea, the U.S. Army is ready to back up Ukraine and its allies in Europe with military actions.

So much for those peaceful hour long phone calls between Obama and Putin.

From Bloomberg:

According to the Web site of the Atlantic Council, Dempsey said that “he’s been talking to his military counterparts in Russia, but he’s also sending a clear message to Ukraine and members of NATO that the U.S. military will respond militarily if necessary.”

“We’re trying to tell [Russia] not to escalate this thing further into Eastern Ukraine, and allow the conditions to be set for some kind of resolution in Crimea. We do have treaty obligations with our NATO allies. And I have assured them that if that treaty obligation is triggered [in Europe], we would respond,” Dempsey said.

According to the General, the incursion of Russian troops into the Crimea creates risks for all the countries of Europe and NATO allies. “If Russia is allowed to do this, which is to say move into a sovereign country under the guise of protecting ethnic Russians in Ukraine, it exposes Eastern Europe to some significant risk, because there are ethnic enclaves all over Eastern Europe and the Balkans,” Dempsey said.

And with that, the USDJPY ramp takes the pair to overnight highs, and futures are set to go green. BTFWWIIID!

More seriously, the real question is how Putin will react to this quantum escalation in verbal hostilities: wild guess here, but somehow we doubt he will pick up and leave.

Russian Neighbor Belarus Asks To Host Another 15 Russian Fighter Jets In Response To NATO Escalation | Zero Hedge

Russian Neighbor Belarus Asks To Host Another 15 Russian Fighter Jets In Response To NATO Escalation | Zero Hedge.

With NATO actively building up its airforce support in Poland and the Baltic states in recent days in a flashback to cold war military escalation and deterrence, and evenlaunching AWACS planes over Poland and Romania to monitor the Ukraine crisis and “enhance the alliance’s situational awareness,” the inevitable has finally happened, and other Russian neighbor states, ones not alligned with the military treaty, have escalated in turn only this time the are showing their allegiance not to the west but to Russia.

Moments ago RIA reported that Minsk will “adequately react to the strengthening of NATO forces near the borders of Belarus, and will offer to host up to an additional 15 Russian aircraft, according to the President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko on Wednesday at a meeting of the Security Council of Belarus.

“Belarus is adequately reacting to the strengthen the forces of NATO near the borders of Belarus” – the president said. He added that “Belarus will offer to host up to an additional 15 Russian Federation aircraft in connection with the activity of NATO.”

Which, it goes without saying, plays precisely into Putin’s intentions all along: force all of Russia’s neighbors to reveal their allegiance, and since virtually all would have to pick Moscow (see what happened in Ukraine), set the stage for the grand reincarnation of the Soviet Union.

In the meantime, while the G-7 and everyone with a microphone, continues to warn Russia not to annex Crimea, which now seems a done deal, Ukraine’s PM Arseniy Yatsenyuk, whose cash-strapped nation needs as much as $15 billion in loans, will meet President Barack Obama later today. And as if to aid Putin’s plans even further, First Deputy Premier Vitaliy Yarema told the government in Kiev that Russian forces continue to be deployed along Ukraine’s eastern border and are “constantly increasing their presence,”

Logically, the western response will be to beef up NATO forces even more, which in turn will force nations like Belarus to self-annex themselves to Russia by demanding even more Russian troops in their nations, allowing Putin to serially, and peacefully, to takeover the former USSR nations one by one until the empire rebuilding effort is complete.

Russian Neighbor Belarus Asks To Host Another 15 Russian Fighter Jets In Response To NATO Escalation | Zero Hedge

Russian Neighbor Belarus Asks To Host Another 15 Russian Fighter Jets In Response To NATO Escalation | Zero Hedge.

With NATO actively building up its airforce support in Poland and the Baltic states in recent days in a flashback to cold war military escalation and deterrence, and evenlaunching AWACS planes over Poland and Romania to monitor the Ukraine crisis and “enhance the alliance’s situational awareness,” the inevitable has finally happened, and other Russian neighbor states, ones not alligned with the military treaty, have escalated in turn only this time the are showing their allegiance not to the west but to Russia.

Moments ago RIA reported that Minsk will “adequately react to the strengthening of NATO forces near the borders of Belarus, and will offer to host up to an additional 15 Russian aircraft, according to the President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko on Wednesday at a meeting of the Security Council of Belarus.

“Belarus is adequately reacting to the strengthen the forces of NATO near the borders of Belarus” – the president said. He added that “Belarus will offer to host up to an additional 15 Russian Federation aircraft in connection with the activity of NATO.”

Which, it goes without saying, plays precisely into Putin’s intentions all along: force all of Russia’s neighbors to reveal their allegiance, and since virtually all would have to pick Moscow (see what happened in Ukraine), set the stage for the grand reincarnation of the Soviet Union.

In the meantime, while the G-7 and everyone with a microphone, continues to warn Russia not to annex Crimea, which now seems a done deal, Ukraine’s PM Arseniy Yatsenyuk, whose cash-strapped nation needs as much as $15 billion in loans, will meet President Barack Obama later today. And as if to aid Putin’s plans even further, First Deputy Premier Vitaliy Yarema told the government in Kiev that Russian forces continue to be deployed along Ukraine’s eastern border and are “constantly increasing their presence,”

Logically, the western response will be to beef up NATO forces even more, which in turn will force nations like Belarus to self-annex themselves to Russia by demanding even more Russian troops in their nations, allowing Putin to serially, and peacefully, to takeover the former USSR nations one by one until the empire rebuilding effort is complete.

Russia warned by G7 of Crimea vote legality – Europe – Al Jazeera English

Russia warned by G7 of Crimea vote legality – Europe – Al Jazeera English.

G7 group of nations says in statement that referendum on future of Ukraine region is a violation of international law.

Last updated: 12 Mar 2014 13:33

A man walks past a poster in Simferopol that reads “Crimea – Russia” [AP]
The G7 group has said a Moscow-backed referendum in Crimea on switching from Ukraine to Russia would have “no legal effect” and called on Moscow to back down.On Wednesday, the G7 – the UK, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the US – along with EU leaders called on Russia “to cease all efforts to change the status of Crimea contrary to Ukrainian law and in violation of international law”, according to a statement released by the White House.

“Any such referendum would have no legal effect,” they said.

“Given the lack of adequate preparation and the intimidating presence of Russian troops, it would also be a deeply flawed process which would have no moral force. For all these reasons, we would not recognise the outcome.”

The statement comes before Sunday’s referendum in the Black Sea peninsula and as the US president, Barack Obama, prepared to meet the Ukrainian prime minister, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, to the White House on Wednesday.

Russian troops moved into Crimea, a predominantly ethnic Russian region, after the February 22 removal in Kiev of Ukraine’s pro-Kremlin leader Viktor Yanukovich.

The move by Moscow has sparked the biggest breakdown in relations with the West since the Cold War.

The G7 and the EU said annexation of Crimea would be a “clear violation” of the UN Charter, and would violate Russia’s commitments under several other treaties.

“Should the Russian Federation take such a step, we will take further action, individually and collectively,” the group said.

They called on Russia to de-escalate the crisis by moving forces back to bases in Ukraine and reducing numbers to pre-crisis levels, opening talks with Kiev and using international mediators to address concerns.

“We also remind the Russian Federation of our decision to suspend participation in any activities related to preparation of a G8 Sochi meeting until it changes course and the environment comes back to where the G8 is able to have a meaningful discussion,” they said.

 

Mental Health in a Catastrophe – Will You Fall apart?

Mental Health in a Catastrophe – Will You Fall apart?.

This is a guest post by Happy Camper and entry for our non-fiction writing contest.

Planning ahead

Preppers have secured themselves in the knowledge that they intend for themselves and their families to be safe in a catastrophic event. Do you have a bunker, a bug out location or a bug in plan? The food, medication and sanitation that you have prepared are all for the benefit of our physical well-being.

It is wonderful that preppers are so organized for the items that they will have in a post apocalyptic scenario. But how prepared mentally are we for the items and relationships that will be changed or gone?

The key to maintaining a healthy mental environment is being mindful and aware that mental health is a major factor in preparing, a major factor during a SHTF event and even more so the key to rebuilding and moving forward in a recovery are healthy relationships and a healthy attitude and positive mental health.

The brain

Our brains are the most complex part of our bodies, it is the control center of intelligence, movement, interpretation, decisions and behavior. The most powerful tool that we can take into any situation is our mental wellbeing. Knowing the basics about human reactions and mob behavior could be a huge advantage in a catastrophic event, to be able to understand and anticipate human behaviors and reactions.

Getting to know our own mental well-being and the mental well-being of those around us is important. Any type of psychological trauma can cause the brain to respond in ways that are not expected and are certainly not convenient, psychological trauma can provoke the brain to respond by impairing the functions of behavior, thought control emotions and reasoning. Mental distress can also cause physical effects, including: fatigue, insomnia, nightmares, aches and pains, racing heartbeat, concentration difficulties.

Keeping a balanced mental state is individual to each one of us. What makes you happy? What keeps your relationships moving forward and stress free? What do you need to maintain mental clarity? Make a list of these things, discuss with your family how these things may be able to be maintained in a SHTF situation. Discuss any concerns openly.

After the event

What can cause mental distress? Unstable environments, physical or mental abuse, sexual abuse, separation from a loved one, medical or illness trauma, domestic violence, bullying etc.
The immediate and long term effects of catastrophic events, particularly on children need to be considered. Studies that have been done on children from war torn areas show that around 40% of children develop long term PTSD.

Symptoms that a person is likely to display that will indicate that they are in mental distress, may be evident immediately or not show for a unset period of time. The most common symptoms (as described in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, AKA the DSM) are: being over emotional, fear, anxiety, depression, self-destructive behaviour and low self-esteem.

Imagine a scenario, that all of your physical preps have been successful. You have enough food to sustain you in the months ahead, any physical wounds are healing and you are feeling secure about the months ahead in regards to surviving. However you have no idea what to expect, your routine is unpredictable, nothing will be the same. Your children are asking you questions that you cant answer. Are you ready for that ? Or can anyone ever be ready for that ?

Is there any point to surviving physically if you and your family end up being mentally broken ?

All humans have needs that need to be fulfilled to maintain mental clarity and order. We need to be aware of our place in the hierarchy, we need to have a sense of independence and responsibility, we need to be mentally stimulated and maintain a mental strategy for the future, we need hope for the future and unity with our group / family or community.

Mental Preparedness suggestions

1. Is there a clear hierarchy and is each member aware of their place in the pack?
2. Each pack member needs to be confident and enjoy the tasks that they have been allocated.
3. A resolution strategy may be effective for group functioning.
4. There should be a basic reward system in place, this offers encouragement and pride.
5. Be aware of peoples mental limitations and phobias.
6. It is important to be aware of before, during and the aftermath, will each have is own set of issues and differences.
7. What personal and important items will be retained? Everyone needs comfort items and items that relate to our personal history.
8. Don’t undervalue anyone else’s personal items, they may have a particular sentimental value.
It is important to remember that some members of the group will get bored, be unwilling to participate or even become destructive (for example emotional children, teenagers or those who are mentally struggling).
9. Provisions for entertainment are very important, boredom can be very negative. The ability to play games for entertainment is invaluable and great for morale. Don’t forget to give compliments and appropriate physical contact (hand-shakes or hugs can be food for the soul)
10. Entertainment is individual and should be shared, adults taking time to play games with their children, reading together etc.
11. The acronym SAFE is used as a reminder for what people mentally need: Partially derived from ‘Maslow’s hierarchy of human needs’
S: Safety and freedom from being harmed
A: Access to basic needs, of food, water, shelter
F: Family and connections to others
E: Education, self Esteem, and Economic security

Suggested reading topics on Google:
Maslow’s model of motivation,
Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders AKA the DSM,
Mindfulness and meditation,
Pack behaviours / social hierarchy,
Herd or mob mentality

Godzilla is good for you? | Business Spectator

Godzilla is good for you? | Business Spectator.


3 Mar, 7:15 AM 

Fans of Japanese schlock fiction will be pleased to know that that old mega-favourite Godzillais returning in 2014, to stomp on simulated cities in a cinema near you. And of course, he’s bigger and better: the original Japanese movie had him at about 50-100 metres and weighing 20-60,000 tons; I’d guess he was about twice that size in the 1998 US remake; and by the looks of the trailer for the 2014 movie, he’s now a couple of kilometres tall and probably weighs in the millions.

That’s good: when you want thrills and spills in a virtual world, then as it is with sport (according to Australian comedic legends Roy and HG) too much lizard is barely enough. The bigger he gets, the more he can destroy, which makes for great visual effects (if not great cinema).

But in the real world? The biggest dinosaur known came in at about 40 metres long, weighed “only” about 80 tonnes, and had an estimated maximum speed of eight kilometres an hour. In the real world, size imposes restriction on movement, and big can be just too big. So a real-world Godzilla is an impossibility.

Cinema — especially CGI-enhanced cinema — can overcome the limits of evolution, and therein lie the thrills and spills of Godzilla: the bigger he is, the more terrifying. Godzilla is scary purely because of his scale: a 100 metre Godzilla is scary; the 1 metre iguana species from which he supposedly evolves is merely cute. In Godzilla, there is a positive relationship between size and destructive capacity.

Maybe Bank of England governor Mark Carney should attend the UK premiere, because he clearly needs to learn this lesson and apply it to his own bailiwick. If he can’t learn it from economics, then maybe he can learn it from the movies by analogy: finance is dangerous in part because, like Godzilla, it is too big.

Instead, as Howard Davies — himself an ex-deputy governor of the Bank of England — observed in a recent Project Syndicate column, Carney seems almost to celebrate the prospect that the UK’s financial sector — now with assets four times the size of its economy — might grow to nine times the size of GDP if current trends continue.

“Bank of England Governor Mark Carney surprised his audience at a conference late last year by speculating that banking assets in London could grow to more than nine times Britain’s GDP by 2050… the estimate was deeply unsettling to many. Hosting a huge financial center, with outsize domestic banks, can be costly to taxpayers. In Iceland and Ireland, banks outgrew their governments’ ability to support them when needed. The result was disastrous,” Davies said.

In a speech marking the 125th anniversary of The Financial Times, Carney noted that when the paper was founded, “the assets of UK banks amounted to around 40 per cent of GDP. By the end of last year, that ratio had risen tenfold.” He then noted that if the UK maintains its share of global finance, and “financial deepening in foreign economies increases in line with historical norms”, then “by 2050, UK banks’ assets could exceed nine times GDP, and that is to say nothing of the potentially rapid growth of foreign banking and shadow banking based in London.”

From 40 per cent to 400 per cent of GDP in 125 years, and then from 400 per cent to 900 per cent in another 35: even the Godzilla franchise would be impressed with that rate of growth. And Carney seems to relish the prospect. Though he notes that “some would react to this prospect with horror. They would prefer that the UK financial services industry be slimmed down if not shut down”, he next stated that “in the aftermath of the crisis, such sentiments have gone largely unchallenged”. And he proceeds to challenge them.

After stating that “if organised properly, a vibrant financial sector brings substantial benefits”, he denied any responsibility in determining how big the financial sector should be — either absolutely or relative to the economy:

“It is not for the Bank of England to decide how big the financial sector should be. Our job is to ensure that it is safe,” Carney said.

Oddly, as well as seeing no necessary relationship between size and safety, he also takes a lopsided position on this non-responsibility: while he is not responsible for determining the finance sector’s size, he nonetheless thinks that his role is to make it as big as it can be:

“The Bank of England’s task is to ensure that the UK can host a large and expanding financial sector in a way that promotes financial stability…”  Carney said.

Herein lies the rub, and the non-sequitur: bigger cannot mean more stable, for the simple reason that the assets of the financial sector are, in large measure, the debts of the real economy to the banks. The bigger the assets of the financial sector, the higher the debts of the real economy have to be. Ultimately, even with near-zero interest rates, servicing this debt is likely to prove impossible to large segments of the economy, leading to a financial crisis.

That logic is what led me to expect a financial crisis back in 2005: when I saw the data for Australia’s and America’s private debt to GDP ratios (figure 1), I was convinced that a crisis was in the offing. That rate of growth of debt compared to GDP could not continue. Figure 1 shows that I was right: the rate of growth of debt turned negative, ushering in the economic crisis that no central bank foresaw (except the Bank of International Settlements, thanks to its Minsky-aware research director Bill White). Debt to GDP levels fell as, for a while, the private sector deleveraged.

Growth is now returning — strongly in the US, meekly in the UK — largely because private debt is rising once more. But rather than seeing danger here, the UK’s central banker happily contemplates a world in which the UK financial sector is more than twice as big as it is now — which would require the liabilities of the non-bank side of the economy to grow to roughly four times GDP.

Figure 1: The UK’s Godzilla is bigger and faster growing than the US Godzilla

 

Graph for Godzilla is good for you?

 

There is a line of thought that blames central banks for causing the crisis — with Scott Sumner being the first to outright blame the 2007 crisis on Ben Bernanke. I don’t blame them for causing the crisis, but rather for letting the force build up that would make one inevitable — by letting bank debt get much, much larger than GDP without batting an eyelid.

Now we’ve had the crisis, and if Carney’s speech is any guide, they’re once again letting private debt levels rip again, because even after the experience of 2008, they can’t see a problem. Given this complete failure of oversight, I expect that the sequel to the economic crisis of 2007 will appear before the next sequel for Godzilla.

Steve Keen is author of Debunking Economics and the blog Debtwatch and developer of theMinsky software program.

 

Godzilla is good for you? | Business Spectator

Godzilla is good for you? | Business Spectator.


3 Mar, 7:15 AM 

Fans of Japanese schlock fiction will be pleased to know that that old mega-favourite Godzillais returning in 2014, to stomp on simulated cities in a cinema near you. And of course, he’s bigger and better: the original Japanese movie had him at about 50-100 metres and weighing 20-60,000 tons; I’d guess he was about twice that size in the 1998 US remake; and by the looks of the trailer for the 2014 movie, he’s now a couple of kilometres tall and probably weighs in the millions.

That’s good: when you want thrills and spills in a virtual world, then as it is with sport (according to Australian comedic legends Roy and HG) too much lizard is barely enough. The bigger he gets, the more he can destroy, which makes for great visual effects (if not great cinema).

But in the real world? The biggest dinosaur known came in at about 40 metres long, weighed “only” about 80 tonnes, and had an estimated maximum speed of eight kilometres an hour. In the real world, size imposes restriction on movement, and big can be just too big. So a real-world Godzilla is an impossibility.

Cinema — especially CGI-enhanced cinema — can overcome the limits of evolution, and therein lie the thrills and spills of Godzilla: the bigger he is, the more terrifying. Godzilla is scary purely because of his scale: a 100 metre Godzilla is scary; the 1 metre iguana species from which he supposedly evolves is merely cute. In Godzilla, there is a positive relationship between size and destructive capacity.

Maybe Bank of England governor Mark Carney should attend the UK premiere, because he clearly needs to learn this lesson and apply it to his own bailiwick. If he can’t learn it from economics, then maybe he can learn it from the movies by analogy: finance is dangerous in part because, like Godzilla, it is too big.

Instead, as Howard Davies — himself an ex-deputy governor of the Bank of England — observed in a recent Project Syndicate column, Carney seems almost to celebrate the prospect that the UK’s financial sector — now with assets four times the size of its economy — might grow to nine times the size of GDP if current trends continue.

“Bank of England Governor Mark Carney surprised his audience at a conference late last year by speculating that banking assets in London could grow to more than nine times Britain’s GDP by 2050… the estimate was deeply unsettling to many. Hosting a huge financial center, with outsize domestic banks, can be costly to taxpayers. In Iceland and Ireland, banks outgrew their governments’ ability to support them when needed. The result was disastrous,” Davies said.

In a speech marking the 125th anniversary of The Financial Times, Carney noted that when the paper was founded, “the assets of UK banks amounted to around 40 per cent of GDP. By the end of last year, that ratio had risen tenfold.” He then noted that if the UK maintains its share of global finance, and “financial deepening in foreign economies increases in line with historical norms”, then “by 2050, UK banks’ assets could exceed nine times GDP, and that is to say nothing of the potentially rapid growth of foreign banking and shadow banking based in London.”

From 40 per cent to 400 per cent of GDP in 125 years, and then from 400 per cent to 900 per cent in another 35: even the Godzilla franchise would be impressed with that rate of growth. And Carney seems to relish the prospect. Though he notes that “some would react to this prospect with horror. They would prefer that the UK financial services industry be slimmed down if not shut down”, he next stated that “in the aftermath of the crisis, such sentiments have gone largely unchallenged”. And he proceeds to challenge them.

After stating that “if organised properly, a vibrant financial sector brings substantial benefits”, he denied any responsibility in determining how big the financial sector should be — either absolutely or relative to the economy:

“It is not for the Bank of England to decide how big the financial sector should be. Our job is to ensure that it is safe,” Carney said.

Oddly, as well as seeing no necessary relationship between size and safety, he also takes a lopsided position on this non-responsibility: while he is not responsible for determining the finance sector’s size, he nonetheless thinks that his role is to make it as big as it can be:

“The Bank of England’s task is to ensure that the UK can host a large and expanding financial sector in a way that promotes financial stability…”  Carney said.

Herein lies the rub, and the non-sequitur: bigger cannot mean more stable, for the simple reason that the assets of the financial sector are, in large measure, the debts of the real economy to the banks. The bigger the assets of the financial sector, the higher the debts of the real economy have to be. Ultimately, even with near-zero interest rates, servicing this debt is likely to prove impossible to large segments of the economy, leading to a financial crisis.

That logic is what led me to expect a financial crisis back in 2005: when I saw the data for Australia’s and America’s private debt to GDP ratios (figure 1), I was convinced that a crisis was in the offing. That rate of growth of debt compared to GDP could not continue. Figure 1 shows that I was right: the rate of growth of debt turned negative, ushering in the economic crisis that no central bank foresaw (except the Bank of International Settlements, thanks to its Minsky-aware research director Bill White). Debt to GDP levels fell as, for a while, the private sector deleveraged.

Growth is now returning — strongly in the US, meekly in the UK — largely because private debt is rising once more. But rather than seeing danger here, the UK’s central banker happily contemplates a world in which the UK financial sector is more than twice as big as it is now — which would require the liabilities of the non-bank side of the economy to grow to roughly four times GDP.

Figure 1: The UK’s Godzilla is bigger and faster growing than the US Godzilla

 

Graph for Godzilla is good for you?

 

There is a line of thought that blames central banks for causing the crisis — with Scott Sumner being the first to outright blame the 2007 crisis on Ben Bernanke. I don’t blame them for causing the crisis, but rather for letting the force build up that would make one inevitable — by letting bank debt get much, much larger than GDP without batting an eyelid.

Now we’ve had the crisis, and if Carney’s speech is any guide, they’re once again letting private debt levels rip again, because even after the experience of 2008, they can’t see a problem. Given this complete failure of oversight, I expect that the sequel to the economic crisis of 2007 will appear before the next sequel for Godzilla.

Steve Keen is author of Debunking Economics and the blog Debtwatch and developer of theMinsky software program.

 

Activist Post: Final Goal of the Surveillance State

Activist Post: Final Goal of the Surveillance State.

Jon Rappoport
Activist Post

Surveillance is coming at us from all angles. Chips, drones, TSA checkpoints, smart meters, back-doored electronic products, video cameras, spying home appliances; our phone calls and emails and keystrokes and product purchases are recorded.

The government and its allied corporations will know whatever they want to know about us.

What then?

What happens when all nations are blanketed from stem to stern with surveillance?

Public utilities, acting on government orders, will be able to allot electricity in amounts and at times it wishes to. This is leading to an overarching plan for energy distribution to the entire population. 

Claiming shortages and limited options, governments will essentially be redistributing wealth, in the form of energy, under a collectivist model.

National health insurance plans (such as Obamacare) offer another clue. Such plans have no logistical chance of operating unless every citizen is assigned a medical ID package, which is a de facto identity card. In the medical arena, this means cradle-to-grave tracking.

Surveillance inevitably leads to: placing every individual under systems of control. It isn’t just “we’re watching you” or “we’re stamping out dissent.” It’s “we’re directing your participation in life.”

As a security analyst in the private sector once told me, “When you can see what every employee is doing, when you have it all at your fingertips, you naturally move on to thinking about how you can control those patterns and flows of movement and activity. It’s irresistible. You look at your employees as pieces on a board. The only question is, what game do you want to play with them?”

Every such apparatus is ruled, from the top, by Central Planners. When it’s an entire nation, upper-echelon technocrats revel in the idea of blueprinting, mapping, charting, and regulating the flows of all goods and services and people, “for the common good.”

Water, food, medicine, land use, transportation—they all become items of a networked system that chooses who gets what and when, and who can travel where, and under what conditions.

This is the wet dream of technocrats. They believe they are saving the world, while playing a fascinating game of multidimensional chess.

As new technologies are discovered and come on line, the planners decide how they will be utilized and for whose benefit.

In order to implement such a far-reaching objective, with minimal resistance from the global population, manufactured crises are unleashed which persuade the masses that the planet is under threat and needs “the wise ones” to rescue it and us.

We watch (and fight in) wars and more wars, each one exacerbated and even invented. We are presented with phony epidemics that are falsely promoted as scourges.

The only response, we are led to believe, is more humane control over the population.

On top of that, we are fed an unending stream of propaganda aimed at convincing us that “the great good for the greatest number” is the only humane and acceptable principle of existence. All prior systems of belief are outmoded. We know better now. We must be good and kind and generous to everyone at all times.

Under this quasi-religious banner, which has great emotional appeal, appears The Plan. Our leaders allocate and withhold on the basis of their greater knowledge. We comply. We willingly comply, because we are enlisted in a universal army of altruistic concern.

This is a classic bait and switch. We are taught to believe that service for the greater good is an unchallengeable goal and credo. And then, later, we find out it has been hijacked to institute more power over us, in every way.

The coordinated and networked surveillance of Earth and its people is fed into algorithms that spit out solutions. This much food will go here; that much water will go there; here there will be medical care; there medical care will be severely rationed. These people will be permitted to travel. Those people will be confined to their cities and towns.

Every essential of life—managed with on-off switches, and the consequences will play out.

An incredibly complex system of interlocking decisions will be hailed as messianic.

Surveillance; planning; control.

This is the vision.

It isn’t ours. It never was. But we are not consulted.

Instead we are made witness to watershed events: the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing; the 1993 attack on the World Trade Center; the 2001 assault on the Trade Center and the Pentagon. These ops paralleled the unleashing of better and more far-ranging methods of surveillance.

We are profiled down to the threads on our clothing and DNA in our cells. But what is our profile of the technocrats and their bosses?

They are divorced from human life. They live in a vacuum. They take pleasure from that vacuum.

In 1982, I interviewed Bill Perry, who had just left his job as PR chief at Lawrence Livermore Labs, where scientists design nuclear weapons. Perry had been given the kind of job PR people long for. But one day, when he passed the desk of a researcher and listened to his complaints about budget limitations, Perry said, “Listen, America already has the means to blow up the whole planet eight times. What more do you need?”

The researcher looked up at him with a genuinely puzzled expression. He said, “You don’t understand, Bill. This is a problem in physics.”

In the same detached sense, the technocrats who want to calculate and direct our future, move by move, minute by minute, see us as components of a complex and very interesting problem.

Yes, they indeed expect to exercise power and control. But they also live in an abstraction. They deal their answers from that realm. They exercise cool passion. They see, for example, that not every single twitch of thought of every person on earth is yet mapped, so they want to finish constructing the means by which they can chart those “missing elements.” They want to complete the formula.

They view their research as a wholly natural implication of the mathematics they can manipulate. They swim in technology and they want to extend its architecture. To abandon the program would be tantamount to denying their own intelligence. They climb the mountain because it is there.

They do perceive that one factor does not fit their algorithms: the free individual. It’s the wild card. Therefore, they are compelled to analyze freedom and break it down into DNA functions and brain processes. They assume, because they must, that the free individual is an illusory idea that flows from some older configuration of synaptic transmission, at a time in our evolution when we needed it. But now, they suppose, the engineering of human activity and thought has superseded such quaint notions. Now we all can be tracked, traced, and studied on a different and wider scale. Now we can be seen for what we really are: a hive.

Therefore, we must be instructed, within tight limits, about our various functions.

Today’s technocrats flourish with great optimism as they design the future world and its single society. If they run out of pieces of their puzzle to study, they’ll try to track the motion of every atom and electron and quark in the universe. They’ll delight in it.

Knowing all this, we know the terms of the war we are in.

The Central Planners have an equation: “free=uncontrolled=dangerous.”

By the gross terms of that equation, they lump us in with thugs and murderers and terrorists. They even see the normal functioning of the brain as a threat, as an intrinsically defective process, and they have long since decided that organ must be corrected with drugs.

We, on the other hand, must assert, in every way possible, that freedom is real and inviolable, and we must back that up with our actions.

Jon Rappoport is the author of two explosive collections, The Matrix Revealed and Exit From the Matrix, Jon was a candidate for a US Congressional seat in the 29th District of California. Nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, he has worked as an investigative reporter for 30 years, writing articles on politics, medicine, and health for CBS Healthwatch, LA Weekly, Spin Magazine, Stern, and other newspapers and magazines in the US and Europe. Jon has delivered lectures and seminars on global politics, health, logic, and creative power to audiences around the world. You can sign up for his free emails at www.nomorefakenews.com

The Animal Spirits Page: How monetary policy drives foreign policy

The Animal Spirits Page: How monetary policy drives foreign policy.

It should now be evident that America’s foreign policy is to an extent being driven by our banking mess. Again and again, we see Washington, including Wall Street’s handmaiden, the Fed, exporting monetary chaos implicitely in order to weaken the status of potentially competing reserve currencies:

  • Wall Street sent a tsunami of bad AAA-rated mortgage debt to Europe, much to Germany, the locus of power for the Euro (and again, implicit admission of guilt is seen in the apparent fronting of billions of bailout dollars to the European banks by the Fed after the crisis);
  • Washington has apparently fomented or supported a coup in the Ukraine that increases the likelihood of war in Europe dramatically therefore sending the gigantic pools of liquid financial assets in the world scurrying into the greenback and US Treasuries, which the Chinese have stopped gobbling up;
  • the other factor is that the military-industrial complex needs war to get its funding, and when drone-bombing rag-heads can’t provoke a serious attack, destabilizing a former Eastern bloc nation and provoking a somewhat justifiably paranoid Russian leader into military action guarantees at least a shot in the arm of crisis funding.

Russia has repeatedly stated over the past decades that an EU move on the Ukraine crosses a red line. The EU ignored the warning, and with the US’s help and the ire of Ukrainians sick of a corrupt government crossed Putin’s red line. What the Ukrainians want is democracy and relief from their corrupt plutocrats (see previous post’s article by Paul Craig Roberts).

The US has no compelling strategic interest in the Ukraine, or in the Crimea remaining part of the Ukraine. Yes, the Ukraine has been looted by its oligarchs, just as Russia was, and just as the US is being looted by its oligarchs right now; incomes of a majority of American households are falling so the banks can collect on bad debts. It would be nice for people everywhere if they could break the grip of the plutocrats over their livelihoods. In the Ukraine, to substitute debt servitude to Western banks for the domination of the oligarchs would only accelerate the collapse of the EU. And it’s not clear the EU, if it offers help, won’t be ripped off by the oligarchs as well. The new government in the Ukraine has already increased the power of the oligarchs by giving them provinces to rule, so it’s not clear the Western “rescuers” are even able to help solve the fundamental problem at all, and might end up losing their shirts again, as they have in Greece, Portugal, et al.

Until democratic governments around the world become strong enough to counteract the power of the plutocratsby taxing them, both their income and their wealth (as Sweden does) the revolving looting of sovereign governments and demolition of middle classes by the plutocrats and their corporations will continue.

A couple of posts ago I said the scariest thing I’ve heard recently was Catherine Anne Fitts saying what the world needs now is a global debt for equity swap. I should say I generally like Ms. Fitts’ analysis and suspect she may even have misspoken when she made this comment. Such a move would concentrate ownership of the world’s assets sufficiently to create even more of a Plantation Earth than we have currently.

She identified the problem, but not the solution. What the world needs now is a global jubilee, debt forgiveness. The debt that the Fed is shoving under the carpet via QE is what is known in banking circles as “bad debt.” It is loans that never should have been made because they will never be repaid. In honest not crony capitalism such debts come out of the profits (as losses) of the banks that made them. In crony capitalism, with a central bank controlled by the banks, such debts are “paid back” by being monetized and put on the backs of the taxpayers either directly or through inflation.

The austerity programs Europe has put in place so that Wall Street and European banks can be paid back bad debts have destroyed more than one economy and more are probably yet to fall. (The idea promoted ten plus years ago of “convergence” of interest rates in the EU between periphery and core caused me to gag at the time.) Debt slavery to Western banks is not the answer. (China is apparently making similar mistakes; it will be interesting to see what they do with the bad debt. I suspect their strong central government will tell the bankers to go stuff it.) Ms. Fitts suggests that sooner or later the plutocrats will destroy the banks in order to buy them cheap and collect the rents themselves, canny suggestion indeed.

Chaos in the world = a strong dollar. Until it doesn’t. Chaos has a way of being unpredictable.

Capitalism has killed democracy. “Free” markets dominated by monopolies and oligopolies are not what Adam Smith had in mind. It’s time for democracy to be reborn. There are degrees of economic inequality that are simply immoral and destructive and humankind has the right to reject them. When the top 85 families own as much as the bottom 3.5 billion people, as recently reported, we have reached such a point.

Ukraine/Crimea – the Map That Explains Everything |

Ukraine/Crimea – the Map That Explains Everything |.

March 11, 2014 | Author 

What the Economy Needs

We want to briefly comment on the suggestions that the Ukraine – this is to say the government of the Ukraine – allegedlyneeds to “borrow at least $35 billion”. This has been reported in terms such as these:

“The political crisis has cost Ukraine economically as the country is facing a possible debt default. Ukraine needs approximately $35 billion in aid to improve its economy, according to the country’s finance ministry.”

The last thing a country needs to “improve its economy” is a giant loan to its government. Government equals waste, even if it isn’t prone to stealing, which we suspect the new administration in Kiev definitely is. Why should it be any different from the previous ‘Orange Revolution’ government? It’s the same people, only fortified by a bunch of extreme right-wing nationalists this time, who incidentally hold a number of important portfolios, including everything relating to police, defense, national security and even the post of prosecutor general. Germany’s news magazine Der Spiegel, which is largely sympathetic to the new government, reports this most recent tidbit from Kiev:

“They [the Maidan activits, ed.] are afraid that the political profiteering of recent years will carry on, just with different beneficiaries.

[…]

Their concern appears to be justified. Last Monday, a high-ranking officer from Ukraine’s customs administration contacted a newspaper to inform editors of a new deal pertaining to the “internal” allocation of unexpected customs revenues. No longer would confiscated money and valuables be given to Yanukovych’s Party of Regions as they had been previously. Rather, they would go to the Fatherland alliance. Timoshenko, the man said, had personally approved the deal. Furthermore, the Communist Party, he said, had been handed the leadership of the customs administration so that it would support Timoshenko in the future.”

(emphasis added)

Just as we suspected a short while ago: meet the new boss, same as the old boss! The US and EU governments have done their tax payers no favors by opening up this new black hole to throw money into. They should have let Russia lend the $15 billion it was prepared to lend to the Ukraine, then their new arch-enemy Putin would be stuck with the bill.

As Ludwig von Mises pointed out:

Investment and lending abroad are only possible if the receiving nations are unconditionally and sincerely committed to the principle of private property and do not plan to expropriate the foreign capitalists at a later date. It was such expropriations that destroyed the international capital market [this was published in 1949 and the destruction of the international capital market Mises refers to has since been largely rescinded, ed.]

Intergovernmental loans are no substitute for the functioning of an international capital market. If they are granted on business terms, they presuppose no less than private loans the full acknowledgment of property rights. If they are granted, as is usually the case, as virtual subsidies without any regard for payment of principal and interest, they impose restrictions upon the debtor nation’s sovereignty. In fact such “loans” are for the most part the price paid for military assistance in coming wars. Such military considerations already played an important role in the years in which the European powers prepared the great wars of our age. The outstanding example was provided by the huge sums which the French capitalists, pressed hard by the Government of the Third Republic, lent to Imperial Russia. The Czars used the capital borrowed for armaments, not for an improvement of the Russian apparatus of production. They did not invest it; they consumed a great part of it.”

(emphasis added)

The problem with the Ukraine is precisely that it has so far not adequately protected the property rights of foreign investors. It is all dependent on political whim, and thus far, it has made no difference whether the Western or Eastern Ukrainian parties were in charge. Moreover, as Mises correctly points out, intergovernmental loans are for the most part wasted on consumption and are frequently used for the purchase of war materiel. The economies of the nations concerned cannot possibly be improved this way.

Unless the country develops reliable institutions and rids itself of graft (which is tantamount to the entire political caste resigning – perhaps introducing a lottocracy would help), it will remain an economic backwater, no matter how much money is thrown at its government.

The Conflict Explained by a Single Map

As the title to this post promises, here is a map of the Ukraine that explains best why the EU tried to get its foot into the door and why the US government egged on by the usual suspect neo-con circles financed the revolution. It also explains in one stroke why Russia believes that its vital strategic interests are under threat from the Russo-phobe ultra-nationalists now in charge in Kiev and their Western backers, and why it decided to grab the Crimea (and with it the all-important Sevastopol port) while it still could.

Mind, this does not alter the fact that Putin’s moves are legally highly dubious. The excuse that he is merely following Yanukovich’s invitation is really quite lame, although it is quite funny as well. Western countries usually don’t wait to be invited before they bomb everything to hell in all sorts of places, and their pretexts are usually no less lame. At least the Russians haven’t come charging in guns blazing, a difference that is noteworthy. Anyway, we merely want to explain motives, not debate the legal and moral fine points. Clearly, the people of the Ukraine remain way down on everybody’s list of priorities anyway, all the sappy pronouncements to the contrary notwithstanding. And here it is – the map that explains everything:


_73340564_ukraine_gas_pipelines_624_v3

Pipelines and gas fields in the Ukraine, or the map that explains everything (source:BBC)


Obviously, no additional comments are required.


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