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How Faux Capitalism Works In America

Authored by EconomicPrism’s MN Gordon, annotated by Acting-Man’s Pater Tenebrarum, Stars in the Night Sky The U.S. stock market’s recent zigs and zags have provoked much squawking and screeching.  Wall Street pros, private money managers, and Millennial index fund enthusiasts all find themselves on the wrong side of the market’s swift movements.  Even the best and brightest can’t escape President Trump’s tweet precipitated short squeezes. The Donald mercilessly hits the shorts with a well-timed tweet. But as it turns out, this market is in a really bad mood at the moment. [PT] The short-term significance of the DJIA’s 8 percent decline since early-October is uncertain.  For all we know, stocks could run up through the end of the year.  Stranger things have happened. What is also uncertain is the nature of this purge: Is this another soft decline like that of mid-2015 to early-2016, when the DJIA fell 12 percent before quickly resuming its uptrend?  Or is this the start of a brutal bear market – the kind that wipes out portfolios and blows up investment funds? The stars in the night sky tell us this is the latter.  For example, when peering out into the night sky even the most untrained eye can identify the three ominous stars that are lining up with mechanical precision. These stars include a stock market top, followed by a monster corporate debt buildup,...

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Trump’s Interior Secretary Zinke to Step Down

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, who has sought to open U.S. offshore waters to oil and gas drilling despite environmental protests, will be leaving his post at the end of the year, President Donald Trump tweeted on Saturday, the latest high-profile departure from his administration. Trump did not give a reason for Zinke’s departure. However, the former Navy Seal and ex-congressman from Montana has faced multiple probes into his use of security details, chartered flights and a real estate deal. “Ryan has accomplished much during his tenure and I want to thank him for his service to our Nation,” Trump said on Twitter. “The Trump administration will be announcing the new secretary of the Interior next week,” he added. Zinke has run the Interior Department overseeing America’s vast public lands since early 2017. He has pursued Trump’s agenda to promote oil drilling and coal mining by expanding federal leasing, cutting royalty rates, and easing land protections. Zinke, 51, was among Trump’s most active Cabinet members, cutting huge wilderness national monuments in Utah to a fraction of their size and proposing offshore oil drilling in the Arctic, Pacific and Atlantic. He became a darling of the U.S. energy and mining industries and a prime target for conservationists and environmental groups. Critics also questioned Zinke’s ethics and some of his moves triggered government investigations. Senate Democratic leader Chuck...

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Bare-Breasted ‘Mariannes’ Face Off With French Police; Tear Gas, Pepper Spray Used On Protesting Yellow Vests

Week five of Yellow Vest demonstrations turned violent after protesters in Paris began to scuffle with police.  Just under 70,000 police have been mobilized across France in an effort to contain some 33,500 estimated protesters – a much lower turnout than in previous weeks, while the Yellow Vest movement itself has spread to several countries across Europe, as well as Iraq, Israel and even Canada.  Less than 3,000 protesters descended on Paris so far on Saturday, compared to 8,000 or so last week. Of those, 114 people had been detained in the capital – around 20% of last week’s figure.  Police used tear gas and pepper spray on protesters in the center of Paris on Saturday. One person was reportedly hurt in the head during clashes at Champs-Élysées. A correspondent with Russian state-owned media outlet RT suffered an injury to the face and was taken to the hospital.  Нашего корра на протестах во Франции ранили в лицо. Она поехала в больницу. pic.twitter.com/nVRBuuOKWG — Маргарита Симоньян (@M_Simonyan) December 15, 2018 Meanwhile, in stark contrast to the bright yellow vests worn by most protesters – a groupd of half-naked women posing as Marianne, the Goddess of Liberty and a symbol of French patriotism, have faced off with police in Paris.  Donning blood-red hoodies and coated in silver paint, the women paid homage to the French revolutionary hero on Champs-Élysées avenue on Saturday in a silent...

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Leaked Memo Touts UK-Funded Firm’s Ability To Create “Untraceable” News Sites For “Infowar Campaign”

The hacking collective known as “Anonymous” has published more explosive documents detailing a UK-based psyop to create a “large-scale information secret service” in Europe in order to combat “Russian propaganda” — which has been blamed for everything from Brexit to Trump winning the 2016 US election to this month’s anti-Macron “Yellow Vest” protests. We previously detailed the first trove of documents which were dumped online November 5th to the site Cyberguerilla, revealing the private UK organization with deep government ties, the Integrity Initiative, to be engaged in an aggressive campaign to organize “clusters” of journalists across the West engaged in “counter-propaganda” efforts on social media networks and in media. And now a new trove of leaked Integrity Initiative documents has been dumped online Friday. “Combatting Russian Disinformation” – Screenshot from a bombshell newly leaked document published Friday and hosted on the Cyberguerilla site. This week the Integrity Initiative and its founding parent organization, the Institute for Statecraft — which is known for its close relationship with the UK military and defense officials — is at the center of debate in the House of Commons over its anti-Corbyn and anti-Labour smears involving labeling party leader Jeremy Corbyn a “useful idiot” for Moscow, even while the company is a recipient of official Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) funding.  The early November online leaks of confidential Integrity Initiative documents were the first to reveal the UK government’s relationship to the private project devoted to “fighting Russian disinformation”. According to The Guardian: FCO funding of the...

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Interior Secretary Zinke Stepping Down Amid Ethics Inquiry

Trump’s Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke – who rode a horse to the Department of the Interior on his first day of work – has notified the White House he intends to step down amid an ethics investigation by the Interior Department’s inspector general into his travel, political activity and potential conflicts of interest, Bloomberg reported on Saturday morning with the president confirming the departure by tweet moments later. Secretary of the Interior @RyanZinke will be leaving the Administration at the end of the year after having served for a period of almost two years. Ryan has accomplished much during his tenure and I want to thank him for his service to our Nation……. — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 15, 2018 …….The Trump Administration will be announcing the new Secretary of the Interior next week. — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 15, 2018 News of Zinke’s departure comes as Democrats, who are about to take control of the House of Representatives, have vowed to grill the him over his conduct raising the prospect of heightened oversight – and a flood of legal bills from defending himself. According to Bloomberg, concern about all the scrutiny and legal costs on the horizon were factors in Zinke’s decision to quit. Zinke’s impending departure also emerges as President Donald Trump grapples with other changes to his Cabinet that underscore the challenges of filling vacancies in a tumultuous...

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The Bank Of England And The Manipulation Of Sterling

Authored by Steven Guinness, In a recent article where I discussed the Bank of England being at the heart of the Brexit process, I mentioned how the fall in the value of sterling following the 2016 referendum was pigeonholed by the bank as being the sole cause for inflation breaching their 2% target. After the article was re-posted by Zero Hedge, a reader commented on something I did not make specific mention of, which was that six weeks after the referendum the BOE halved interest rates to 0.25%, prompting the pound to drop further in value. The reader pointed out that cutting interest rates usually results in currencies depreciating, and that the bank’s actions were the cause of a subsequent rise in inflation and not Brexit itself. Essentially, the premise here is that the BOE were responsible for devaluing the pound and creating the conditions to eventually raise interest rates a year later. A similar comment from another reader in October last year spoke of how the BOE extending quantitative easing by £60 billion, as well as lowering rates, were ‘two sure fire things to lower the value of the pound.’ Whilst I have touched upon this in previous articles, it is a subject that deserves more attention and fresh context. Let’s start by first going back to December 2007 when the Bank of England cut interest rates from 5.75% to 5.5%....

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European Auto Registrations Plunge Third Month In A Row, Down 8.1% In November

Automakers in Europe saw new car registrations plummet an ominous 8.1% in November according to ACEA data provided by Bloomberg. This is now the third month in a row that registrations have declined, as the overseas market – already in a precarious position – shows yet another indication of continuing weakness into 2019. Shares of automakers fell overnight after the November numbers hit the wire. The decline in November helped drag down year to date growth to just 0.6% in the European Union in the European Free Trade Association area. This downturn earlier this year began with the introduction of new emission standards across Europe. EY Consultancy had previously predicted that levels would pick up toward the end of the year this year, but now partner Peter Fuss believes that December is going to be negative also. He notes the fewer shopping days in the month as a convenient excuse for the tanking numbers. If December comes in similar to November, it could throw all of 2018 into negative territory. In order to keep pace with 2017, automakers would need to sell 1.05 million cars this month. If December registrations drop more than 8% – as the November ones did – the 1 million car mark will be impossible to hit. Contributing to the ugly numbers are the United Kingdom and Italy, two areas currently in the midst of both economic and political unrest. Both...

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“Absolute Mayhem” In DC Court As Mueller May Have Made A Move 

Reporters who had descended on a DC courthouse on Friday grew frustrated as a “dramatic scene” unfolded which may or may not have something to do with special counsel Robert Mueller, according to BuzzFeed News.  The US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit heard Friday morning arguments involving a grand jury matter that is currently sealed – a typical practice while cases are pending. The publicly available information on the case offer little clues as to what’s going on, as there are no description of the subject of the case, no information on the parties or their lawyers, and no public access to the documents.  The tight-lipped approach of Mueller and his team has led to rampant speculation and curiosity. In October, Politico reported that on the day a filing was due in the sealed grand jury case, a journalist overheard a man in the clerk’s office request a copy of the special counsel office’s latest sealed filing so that the man’s law firm could put together a response. Several hours later, a sealed response was filed in the grand jury case. It was not confirmation that the sealed grand jury case was indeed related to Mueller’s investigation, but it was enough to make Friday’s arguments a must-attend event. –BuzzFeed What makes this interesting is that the federal court in DC is where Mueller’s team has brought most of their cases – as there have...

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US Demands Europe Join Its War Against Russia

Authored by Eric Zuesse via The Strategic Culture Foundation, In recent decades, the US Constitution’s clause that requires a congressional declaration of war before invading any country, has been ignored. Furthermore, ever since 2012 and the passage by Congress of the Magnitsky Act sanctions against Russia, economic sanctions by the US Government have been imposed against any company that fails to comply with a US-imposed economic sanction; a company can even be fined over a billion dollars for violating a US economic sanction. And, so, sanctions are now the way that the US Congress actually does authorize a war — the new way, no longer the way that’s described in the US Constitution. However, in the economic-sanctions phase of a war — this initial phase — the war is being imposed directly against any company that violates a US-ordered economic sanction, against Russia, Iran, or whatever target-country the US Congress has, by means of such sanctions, actually authorized a war by the US to exist — a ‘state of war’ to exist. For the US Congress, the passage of economic sanctions against a country thus effectively serves now as an authorization for the US President to order the US military to invade that country, if and when the President decides to do so. No further congressional authorization is necessary (except under the US Constitution). This initial phase of a war penalizes only those other nations’ violating companies directly — not the...

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Bah, Humbug

In the midst of all the new Christmas books that every year brings us, in the midst of the made-for-Netflix holiday programs, in the midst of the productions of The Nutcracker, in the midst of the seasonal movies (from It’s a Wonderful Life to Die Hard), in the midst of the Yuletide television specials, it might be worth remembering an indisputable truth about Christmas art: The single most successful bit of seasonal fiction is Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol. Over 40 film versions of the thing exist, and it’s been dramatized for the stage in dozens of different versions. Children’s editions, radio plays, cartoon encapsulations, parodies, takeoffs, retellings: What Dickens achieved with A Christmas Carol is unmatched by any other attempt to add a little post-gospel storytelling to the season. Of course, it’s also a mess of a story—a fact that, once every four or five years, I seem compelled to remind readers, usually during that surfeited, frantic period when the season briefly inverts me into a grumpy, pre-transformation Scrooge. Come December, as P.G. Wodehouse’s Bertie Wooster observed, and “Christmas was again at our throats.” Back in the days when Freudianism dominated literary criticism, the critic Edmund Wilson complained of those who gave psychological explanations of Scrooge’s conversion. The story is essentially a fairy tale, and it’s as meaningless to psychoanalyze Scrooge as it is to ask about penis...

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