Category Archives: Governments

Nord Stream 2 ‘Deal’ Is Not an American Concession, It’s Admission of Defeat, by The Strategic Culture Editorial Board

Nord Stream 2 is a victory for American foreign policy in the same way as the Afghanistan War has been. From the Strategic Culture Editorial Board at strategic-culture.org:

All in all, Washington’s virtue-signaling is one helluva gas!

After much arm-twisting, bullying and foghorn diplomacy towards its European allies, the United States appears to have finally given up on trying to block the giant Nord Stream 2 project with Russia. What an epic saga it has been, revealing much about American relations with Europe and Washington’s geopolitical objectives, as well as, ultimately, the historic decline in U.S. global power.

In the end, sanity and natural justice seem to have prevailed. The Nord Stream 2 pipeline under the Baltic Sea will double the existing flow of Russia’s prodigious natural gas to Germany and the rest of Europe. The fuel is economical and environmentally clean compared with coal, oil and the shale gas that the Americans were vying with Russia to export.

Russia’s vast energy resources will ensure Europe’s economies and households are reliably and efficiently fueled for the future. Germany, the economic engine of the European Union, has a particular vital interest in securing the Nord Stream 2 project which augments an existing Nord Stream 1 pipeline. Both follow the same Baltic Sea route of approximately 1,222 kilometers – the longest pipeline in the world – taking Russian natural gas from its arctic region to the northern shores of Germany. For Germany’s export-led economy, Russian fuel is essential for future growth, and hence benefiting the rest of Europe.

It was always a natural fit between Russia and the European Union. Geographically and economically, the two parties are compatible traders and Nord Stream 2 is merely the culmination of decades of efficient energy relations.

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Meet Toka, the Most Dangerous Israeli Spyware Firm You’ve Never Heard Of, by Whitney Webb

NSO Group isn’t the only Israeli company out their peddling spyware, it just gets all the press. From Whiteney Webb at mintpressnews.com:

LONDON – This past Sunday, an investigation into the global abuse of spyware developed by veterans of Israeli intelligence Unit 8200 gained widespread attention, as it was revealed that the software – sold to democratic and authoritarian governments alike – had been used to illegally spy on an estimated 50,000 individuals. Among those who had their communications and devices spied on by the software, known as Pegasus, were journalists, human rights activists, business executives, academics and prominent political leaders. Among those targeted political leaders, per reports, were the current leaders of France, Pakistan, South Africa, Egypt, Morocco and Iraq.

The abuse of Pegasus software in this very way has been known for several years, though these latest revelations appear to have gained such traction in the mainstream owing to the high number of civilians who have reportedly been surveilled through its use. The continuation of the now-years-long scandal surrounding the abuse of Pegasus has also brought considerable controversy and notoriety to the Israeli company that developed it, the NSO Group.

While the NSO Group has become infamous, other Israeli companies with even deeper ties to Israel’s intelligence apparatus have been selling software that not only provides the exact same services to governments and intelligence agencies but purports to go even farther.

Originally founded by former Israeli Prime Minister and Jeffrey Epstein associate Ehud Barak, one of these companies’ wares are being used by countries around the world, including in developing countries with the direct facilitation of global financial institutions like the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the World Bank. In addition, the software is only made available to governments that are “trusted” by Israel’s government, which “works closely” with the company.

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Nuclear Energy: Systemic Risk or Climate Change Cure, by Geoffrey Pohanka

The climate change activists shun the most efficient and one of the most environmentally friendly sources of energy: nuclear. From Geoffrey Pohanka at realclearenergy.org:

Many of the world’s political leaders and people of influence have made it very clear that they view climate change as an existential crisis. President Joe Biden in his first days in office declared climate change the “number one issue facing humanity.” The UN warns that we have but twelve years to avoid a climate catastrophe, that searing, unrelenting heat could lay waste to large swaths of the planet, killing millions who have no means to escape a massive climate event. Unabated carbon pollution will spawn heatwaves exceeding the absolute limit of human endurance. According to the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), net-zero CO2 requires “transformative systemic change.” The International Energy Agency calls decarbonizing the energy sector “perhaps the greatest challenge humankind has faced.”

Many of the world’s leading climate scientists state that there are only a dozen years for global warming to be kept to a maximum of 1.5C, beyond which even a half degree will significantly worsen the risk of droughts, floods, extreme heat, and poverty for hundreds of millions of people. Vice-President Kamala Harris has determined that climate change is “driving migrants to the U.S. Border.” U.S. climate envoy John Kerry says the world needs a ‘wartime mentality’ to combat climate change. Even Hollywood is engaged with Angelina Jolie saying climate change will force hundreds of millions into refugee status and Rosanna Arquette warning that fossil fuels ‘will be the end of mankind.” Rising CO2 levels are also being named as a potential cause of the condominium collapse in Surfside Florida.

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2020—2022 versus 1929—1932, by Alasdair Macleod

If the earlier period is an analogue, then we’re headed for a severe depression. From Alasdair Macleod at goldmoney.com:

Current levels of equity markets are not only divorced from their underlying economic and business realities but are repeating the madness of crowds that led to the Wall Street crash of 1929—1932. The obvious difference is in the money: gold-backed dollars then compared with unbacked fiat today.

We can now begin to see how markets and monetary events are likely to develop in the coming months and this article provides a rough sketch of them. Obviously, the financial asset bubble will be burst by rising interest rates, the consequence of rising prices for consumer essentials. Fiat currencies will then embark on a path towards worthlessness because the monetary authorities around the world will redouble their efforts to prevent interest rates rising, bond yields rising with them, and equity values from collapsing; all by sacrificing their currencies.

The ghost of Irving Fisher’s debt-deflation theory will soon be uppermost in central bankers’ minds, preventing them from following anything other than a radically inflationary course regardless of the consequences.

Current views that tapering must be initiated to manage the situation miss the point. More QE and even direct purchases of bonds and equities are what will happen, policies that will certainly fail.

Anyone seeking to survive these unfolding conditions will be well advised to put aside some sound money — physical gold and silver.


Introduction

In the past I have compared the current market situation with 1929, when the US stockmarket suffered a major collapse that October. With memories short today, many will have even forgotten that between 12 February and 23 March last year the Dow Jones Industrial Index fell 38.4% top to bottom in less than six weeks, paralleling the 66% fall between 4 September and 13 November 1929 on an eerily similar timescale. Figure 1 shows the Dow of ninety years ago superimposed on top of that of today, shifted so that November 1929 coincides with March last year.

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JFK — Accept Our Diverse World as It Is, by Patrick J. Buchanan

Kennedy didn’t see the U.S. as an empire. From Patrick J. Buchanan at buchanan.org:

Seven months after the Cuban missile crisis, President John F. Kennedy, at American University, laid out his view on how the East-West struggle should be conducted to avoid a catastrophic war that could destroy us both.

Kennedy’s message to Moscow and his fellow Americans:

“If (the United States and the Soviet Union) cannot end now our differences, at least we can make the world safe for diversity.”

As George Beebe writes in his essay, “It’s a Big World: The Importance of Diversity in American Foreign Policy,” in the July National Interest, Kennedy later elaborated:

“We must recognize that we cannot remake the world simply by our own command. … Every nation has its own traditions, its own values, its own aspirations. … We cannot remake them in our own image.”

To Kennedy, a student of history, acceptance of the reality of a world of diverse political systems, many of them unfree, was a precondition of peace on earth and avoidance of a new world war.

Kennedy was asking us to recognize that the world consists not only of democrats but also of autocrats, dictatorships, military regimes, monarchs and politburos, and the goal of U.S. foreign policy was not to convert them into political replicas of the USA.

Kennedy was willing to put our political model on offer to the world, but not to impose it on anyone: “We are unwilling to impose our system on any unwilling people — but we are willing and able to engage in peaceful competition with any people on earth.”

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Life and Death in the Age of Fear, by MN Gordon

Overblown fear is driving a lot of idiotic policies. From MN Gordon at economicprism.com:

The general mood presently being fortified by the chattering classes is one of perpetual fear.  The basic stratagem includes continuously implanting the populace with extreme panic.  For a fearful populace is a subservient populace.

The current hobgoblin is the delta variant of the coronavirus.  The bug, at this very moment, is dispersing through the population…as viruses do.  And, per latest reports from the front lines, the lambda variant’s now on the loose too.

Nonetheless, there’s something on the loose that’s far more deadly to society than a mutated coronavirus.  That is, the virus of fear.  It originates with the control freak central planners.  Then it’s showered on the populace in rapid succession.

Last Sunday, for example, at the conclusion of a meeting of Group of 20 finance ministers, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said she was, “…concerned that coronavirus variants could derail the global economic recovery and called for an urgent push to deploy vaccines more rapidly around the world.”

And to avoid catching the delta variant, Dr. Anthony Fauci – a complete doof – stated that, “…if you want to go the extra mile of safety even though you’re vaccinated when you are indoors, particularly in crowded places, you might want to consider wearing a mask.”

Certainly, the opportunities to spread the virus of fear are countless.  New coronavirus variants.  Cyberattacks.  Climate change.  Terrorism.  The Russian menace.  The China problem.  UFOs.

You name it…the sky’s the limit…

Situation Perpetual Fear

The most advantageous kind of fear in the eyes of the political class is fear that can be tied to some sort of imminent economic calamity.  Such fears are not entirely fabricated.  Rather, they stem from a real threat, which is then whooped up and overblown to the max.

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A Pandemic of The Vaccinated? by Raúl Ilargi Meijer

A rather inconvenient fact is developing: a lot of vaccinated people are getting Covid-19, and they are not all mild cases. Which prompts an inconvenient question: what the hell good are the vaccines? From Raúl Ilargi Meijer at theautomaticearth.com:

I’ve been trying to write this for a week or so, but every time I start, new things happen. The virus landscape has changed enormously, which we of course don’t see reflected in the media. They report only on increases in infections and panicking politicians. Which can all be nicely packed together in “the Delta variant”.

But there should be much more attention -and questions- with regards to those rising numbers, more often than not occurring in highly vaccinated countries, UK, Israel etc. We might learn a thing or two if we don’t look at this through the same glasses we’ve used for a year and a half now. They grossly distorted our view. Here goes:

What do the substances sold to us as “vaccines” -even if they’re not in the general sense of the word-, actually do? They don’t limit the risk of infection, we know that now, but we could have known it already, the producers told us. Of course the politicians and their experts said otherwise for as long as they could, but with recent rapidly rising infection rates among the fully vaccinated, we’ll hear much less of that. That story died.

So what do they do? The one thing left, and which the producers DO claim, is they make (Covid-related) illness less severe. But has anyone seen any irrefutable proof of that? If so, please send it. Not some hint at proof, nothing halfway, we’re not interested in that, but absolute and irrefutable. Like Godot.

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If the US Wants to Beat China, Why Is It Copying China’s Socialism? by Mihai Macovei

Just because the Chinese are pushing their Belt and Road Initiative doesn’t mean big state-directed infrastructure projects work any better than they ever have. It’s certainly not a reason for the US to copy them. From Mihai Macovei at mises.org:

Under the Biden administration the US continued escalating the economic and geopolitical frictions with China. At the recent G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, President Biden sought to rally a “united front” against China with traditional G7 allies and new ones such as Australia, India, South Korea, and South Africa and rebuked China on economic policies, human rights, and tensions in the East and South China Seas. The US also persuaded its G7 allies to back a massive infrastructure support package for developing countries. The so-called Build Back Better World Partnership (B3W) is a de facto rival to China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). But it is far from obvious what the West stands to gain by emulating China’s exorbitant and highly controversial modern “Silk Road” venture.

The US’s Ambitious Global Infrastructure Plan

The B3W wants to mobilize “hundreds of billions of dollars of infrastructure investment,” in order to narrow an estimated infrastructure need of $40 trillion plus in the developing world. The B3W financing is expected to come from US budgetary instruments, such as the Development Finance Corporation and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID); from multilateral development banks (MDBs), such as the World Bank; and from the private sector and G7 partners. As the B3W is meant to challenge China’s project, we expect it to at least match the Chinese financial envelope, most commonly estimated at more than $1 trillion in investment and lending commitments so far.1 This is more than eight times higher than the nearly $113 billion in official development assistance and $22 billion in private sector investment provided by G7 countries for foreign infrastructure projects during 2015–19 (graph 1).

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Cuba Demoted to “Not Real Socialism”, by Art Carden

You can always find some idiot who will claim that “real” communism or socialism has never been tried, and all those failed governments that labeled themselves socialist or communism weren’t the real thing. From Art Carden at aier.org:

If the Socialist Party of Great Britain is an authority on such things, it is official: in light of recent anti-communist protests and civil unrest, Cuba has been demoted to “Not Real Socialism” and reclassified, along with the USSR and other failed socialist experiments, as “actually state capitalism.”

La Revolucion, it appears, is moving into the last stage of what we might call the Niemietz Cycle in honor of Kristian Niemietz’s excellent-and-downloadable-for-$0 book Socialism: The Failed Idea That Never Dies (I review it here and here). The first stage is the “honeymoon” stage where things look like they’re going well. Contrary to what neoliberal naysayers might think, short-run successes seem to prove that socialism is viable.

In the second stage, which Niemietz calls the “Excuses-and-Whatabouttery” stage, mounting socialist failures are explained away as the products of a series of unfortunate (and entirely coincidental) events, like weather in the Soviet Union and Zimbabwe. In the case of Cuba, we’re told–as we have been hearing for six decades–that the country’s problems aren’t because of socialism. They’re actually because of the US embargo. If it weren’t for the embargo, we’re told, the regime would be stable and socialist Cuba would thrive.

I think the embargo is a terrible idea that should be lifted immediately, as it has given Cuban communists a convenient scapegoat for their country’s problems. The embargo, however, is not what causes Cuba’s woes, and people blaming the embargo overlook the fact that Cuba trades pretty extensively with the rest of the world–how else do you think Canadian and Mexican merchants get the Cuban cigars they hawk to American tourists? It’s not because a Cuban Rhett Butler is smuggling them past a blockade. It’s because Cuba trades freely with the entire world. I suspect the US embargo hasn’t really hurt Cuba that much more than the “transgender bathroom” boycott hurt Target.

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What Will This New Wave Of Lockdowns Do To The Global Economy? by Michael Snyder

There’s always going to be a new germ or mutation, so we’re just going to go from lockdown to lockdown. From Michael Snyder at themostimportantnews.com:

I am extremely concerned about how some national governments are choosing to respond to this new variant.  In particular, I think that officials in Australia have gone completely nuts.  Now that a third state has implemented new restrictions, more than half of the country is currently under lockdown…

More than half of Australia’s 25 million people were under lockdown on Tuesday after a third state adopted movement curbs to rein in the highly contagious Delta variant of coronavirus.

Australia’s infections and deaths are well below other developed nations, but its use of lockdowns, prompted by a sluggish vaccination campaign, is putting pressure on the national government, with polls at their lowest in a year and just months before elections are due to be held.

Once upon a time, I used to recommend Australia as a potential relocation destination.

But I don’t think that I will ever be able to recommend Australia again after what we have witnessed during this pandemic.

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