Foreign Policy

Sri Lankan opposition party picks Gotabhaya Rajapakse as presidential candidate

World Socialist Web Site - Thu, 2019-09-19 12:00
The former defence secretary was directly implicated in war crimes and gross human rights abuses during final stages the war against the separatist LTTE.

A Record 21,380 People Just Passed The CFA Level 3 Examination

Zerohedge (BFFBT) - 2 hours 17 min ago

The CFA examination is known for being notoriously difficult, which traditionally has contributed to the poor pass rate for the examination. But that wasn’t the case this past June, according to Bloomberg.

The CFA Institute is going to be adding a record 21,380 new chartered financial analysts after a robust 56% of test takers passed the third and final level of the examination this summer. Pass rates for the exams are often under the 50% level.

However, the pass rate for the third level of the exam this year was unchanged year-over-year and compares to 41% who passed the first level of the exam and 44% who passed the second part of the exam, according to the CFA Institute.



The institute offered additional insights on its most recent examination.

For instance, women now account for more than 39% of CFA candidates and some markets, like the UK and Australia, have reached gender parity for the first part of the exam. The number of females taking the examination has more than doubled over the last five years.

Part of the reason for the record numbers is also because the institute has expanded the number of test centers that offer the exam, adding sites and places like Cambodia and Myanmar. The exam was offered at 343 test centers in 192 cities this past summer and the new CFAs will add to the ranks of 167,000 who already carry the charter.

The CFA Institute will offer computer-based testing for candidates starting in 2021, which will allow candidates to choose their own exam date within new test taking windows.

The Real Reasons Why The Media Is Suddenly Admitting To The Recession Threat

Zerohedge (BFFBT) - 2 hours 37 min ago

Authored by Brandon Smith via Alt-Market.com,

One thing that is important to understand about the mainstream media is that they do tell the truth on occasion. However, the truths they admit to are almost always wrapped in lies or told to the public far too late to make the information useful.   Dissecting mainstream media information and sifting out the truth from the propaganda is really the bulk of what the alternative media does (or should be doing).  In the past couple of weeks I have received a rush of emails asking about the sudden flood of recession and economic crash talk in the media.  Does this abrupt 180 degree turn by the MSM (and global banks) on the economy warrant concern?  Yes, it does.

The first inclination of a portion of the liberty movement will be to assume that mainstream reports of imminent economic crisis are merely an attempt to tarnish the image of the Trump Administration, and that the talk of recession is "overblown".  This is partially true; Trump is meant to act as scapegoat, but this is not the big picture.  The fact is, the pattern the media is following today matches almost exactly with the pattern they followed leading up to the credit crash of 2008.  Make no mistake, a financial crash is indeed happening RIGHT NOW, just as it did after media warnings in 2007/2008, and the reasons why the MSM is admitting to it today are calculated.

Before we get to that, we should examine how the media reacted during the lead up to the crash of 2008.

Multiple mainstream outlets ignored all the crash signals in 2005 and 2006 despite ample warnings from alternative economists. In fact, they mostly laughed at the prospect of the biggest bull market in the history of stocks and housing (at that time) actually collapsing. Then abruptly the media and the globalist institutions that dictate how the news is disseminated shifted position and started talking about “recession” and “crash potential”. From the New York Times to The Telegraph to Reuters and others, as well as the IMF, BIS and Federal Reserve officials – Everyone suddenly started agreeing with alternative economists without actually deferring to them or giving them any credit for making the correct financial calls.

In 2007/2008, the discussion revolved around derivatives, a subject just complicated enough to confuse the majority of people and cause them to be disinterested in the root trigger for the economic crisis, which was central bankers creating and deflating bubbles through policy engineering. Instead, the public just wanted to know how the crash was going to be fixed. Yes, some blame went to the banking system, but almost no one at the top was punished (only one banker in the US actually faced fraud charges). Ultimately, the crisis was pinned on a “perfect storm” of coincidences, and the central banks were applauded for their “swift action” in using stimulus and QE to save us all from a depression level event. The bankers were being referred to as “heroes”.

Of course, central bank culpability was later explored, and Alan Greenspan even admitted partial responsibility, saying the Fed knew there was a bubble, but was "not aware" of how dangerous it really was. This was a lie. According to Fed minutes from 2004, Greenspan sought to silence any dissent on the housing bubble issue, saying that it would stir up debate on a process that “only the Fed understood”. Meaning, there was indeed discussion on housing and credit warning signs, but Greenspan snuffed it out to prevent the public from hearing about it.

Today we have a very similar dynamic.

Use of the “R word” in the mainstream media and among central banks has been strictly contained for the past several years.  In the October 2012 Fed minutes, Jerome Powell specifically warned of what would happen if the Federal Reserve tightened liquidity and raised interest rates into economic weakness.  He warned that this would have negative effects on the stimulus addicted investment environment that the central bank had fostered.  This discussion was held back from the public until only a year-and-a-half ago.  As soon as Powell became chairman, he implemented those exact actions.

Only in the past year has talk of recession begun to break out, and only in the past couple of weeks have outlets become aggressive in pushing the notion that a financial crash is just around the corner. The reality is that if one removes the illusory support of central bank stimulus, our economy never left the "Great Recession" of 2008.  Signals of renewed sharp declines in economic fundamentals have been visible since before the 2016 elections.  Alarms have been blaring on housing, auto markets, manufacturing, freight and shipping, historic debt levels, the yield curve, etc. since at least winter of last year, just as the Fed raised rates to their neutral rate of inflation and increased asset cuts from the balance sheet to between $30 billion to $50 billion or more per month.

The media should have been reporting on economic crisis dangers for the past 2-3 years.  But, they didn't give these problems much credence until recently.  So, what changed?

I can only theorize on why the media and the banking elites choose the timing they do to admit to the public what is about to happen. First, it is clear from their efforts to stifle free discussion that they do not want to let the populace know too far ahead of time that a crash is coming. According to the evidence, which I have outlined in-depth in previous articles, central banks and international banks sometimes engineer crash events in order to consolidate wealth and centralize their political power even further. Is it a conspiracy? Yes, it is, and it's a provable one.

When they do finally release the facts, or allow their puppet media outlets to report on the facts, it seems that they allow for around 6-8 months of warning time before economic shock events occur. In the case of the current crash in fundamentals (and eventually stocks), the time may be shorter. Why? Because this time the banks and the media have a scapegoat in the form of Donald Trump, and by extension, they have a scapegoat in the form of conservatives, populists, and sovereignty activists.

The vast majority of articles flowing through mainstream news feeds on economic recession refer directly to Trump, his supporters and the trade war as the primary villains behind the downturn. The warnings from the Fed, the BIS and the IMF insinuate the same accusation.

Anyone who has read my work for the past few years knows I have been warning about Trump as a false prophet for the liberty movement and conservatives in general. And everyone knows my primary concern has been that the globalists will crash the Everything Bubble on Trump's watch, and then blame all conservatives for the consequences.

To be clear, Trump is not the cause of the Everything Bubble, nor is he the cause of its current implosion. No president has the power to trigger a collapse of this magnitude, only central banks have that power. When Trump argues that the Fed is causing a downturn, he is telling the truth, but when he claims that recession fears are exaggerated, or "inappropriate", he is lying.   What he is not telling the public is that his job is to HELP the Fed in this process of controlled economic demolition.

Admissions of crisis in the media are coinciding directly with Trump's policy actions. In other words, Trump is providing perfect cover for the central banks to crash the economy without receiving any of the blame. Trump's insistence on taking full credit for the bubble in stock markets as well as fraudulent GDP and employment numbers, after specifically warning about all of these things during his election campaign, has now tied the economy like a noose around the necks of conservatives. The tone of warning in the media indicates to me that the banking elites are about to tighten that noose.

Another factor on our timeline beyond Trump's helpful geopolitical distractions is the possibility of a 'No-Deal' Brexit in October.  I continue to believe this outcome (or something very similar) has been pushed into inevitability by former Prime Minister Theresa May and EU globalists, and that it will be used as yet another scapegoat for the now accelerating crash in the EU.  With Germany on the verge of admitting recession, Deutsche Bank on the edge of insolvency, Italy nearing political and financial crisis, etc., it is only a matter of months before Europe sees its own "Lehman moment".  The Brexit is, in my view, a marker for a timeline on when the crash will hit its stride.

To summarize, the mainstream media and global banking institutions have two goals in informing the public about recession right now :

  1. They are seeking to cover their own asses when the next shoe drops so they can say they "tried to warn us", and...

  2. ...they are conditioning a majority of the public to automatically blame conservatives and sovereignty proponents when the consequences hit them without mercy.

As the truth of a recession smacks the public in the face, the media will likely pull back slightly, just as they did in 2008, and suggest that the downturn is "temporary".  They will claim it's "not a repeat of the credit crisis", or that it will "subside after Trump is out of office".  These will all be lies designed to keep the public complacent even as the house of cards collapses around them.  The fact is, the hard data shows that economic conditions in the US and in most of the world are far more unstable than they were in 2008.  We are not looking at the crash of a credit bubble, we are looking at the crash of the 'Everything Bubble'.

The pace of the narrative is quickening, and I would suggest that a collapse of the bubble will move rather quickly, perhaps in the next four to six months. If it does, then it is likely that Trump is not slated for a second term as president in 2020. Trump's highly divisive support for “Red Flag” gun laws, a move that will lose him considerable support among pro-gun conservatives, also indicates to me that it is likely he is not meant to be president in 2020.  This is another sign that a massive downturn is closing in.

As events are unfolding right now, it appears that Trump has served his purpose for the globalists and is slated to be replaced next year; probably by an extreme far-left Democrat.  There are only a couple of scenarios I can imagine in which Trump remains in office, one of them being a major war which might require him to retain the presidency so the globalists can finish out a regime change agenda in nations like Iran or Venezuela.  This could, however, be pursued under a Democrat president almost as easily as long as Trump and his elitist cabinet lay the groundwork beforehand.  As in 2007/2008, it is unlikely that the mainstream would admit to a downturn that is not coming soon. Using the behavior of the media and of banking institutions as a guide, we can predict with some measure of certainty a crisis within the economy in the near term. Clearly, a major breakdown is slated to take place before the election of 2020, if not much sooner.

*  *  *

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Treasury Targets Chinese 'Kingpins' In Opioid Distribution Crackdown

Zerohedge (BFFBT) - 2 hours 57 min ago

The Trump administration on Wednesday announced a crackdown on international opioid trafficking, including coordinated actions by the US Treasury against Chinese nationals accused of being "significant foreign narcotics traffickers." 

The Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control identified Fujing Zheng (Zheng) and the Zheng Drug Trafficking Organization (DTO) as significant foreign narcotics traffickers pursuant to the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act (Kingpin Act). Chinese national Guanghua Zheng was also designated for his support of the organization. 

"The Chinese kingpins that OFAC designated today run an international drug trafficking operation that manufactures and sells lethal narcotics, directly contributing to the crisis of opioid addiction, overdoses, and death in the United States.  Zheng and Yan have shipped hundreds of packages of synthetic opioids to the U.S., targeting customers through online advertising and sales, and using commercial mail carriers to smuggle their drugs into the United States," according to Sigal Mandelker, Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence. 

Zheng created several websites to sell drugs in over 35 languages, and touted his ability to avoid detection by customs and law enforcement officials. 

According to the Treasury, Zheng's organization "used its chemical expertise to create analogues of drugs with slightly different chemical structures but the same or even more potent effect. The Zheng DTO even agreed to manufacture adulterated cancer medication, creating counterfeit pills that replaced the active cancer-fighting ingredient with dangerous synthetic drugs."

The group laundered their drug proceeds using digital currency and bank accounts in China and Hong Kong. 

Kyle Bass Summarizes The State Of The World: "This Is Insane!"

Zerohedge (BFFBT) - 3 hours 12 min ago

Despite interest rates having bounced (albeit very modestly) in the last few days, prompting shrieks of "the lows for yields are in" once again, and hyped-up belief that 'There Is No Alternative' to dumping bonds and buying stocks at record highs, Hayman Capital fund manager Kyle Bass has a different view suggesting that a global re-awakening of easier-and-easier monetary policy will drive US rates to zero (and potentially beyond).

"This is insane. The Japanese are going to keep going. The Chinese print money like it’s a national pastime today. Europe is going to restart QE."

During an interview with CNBC, Bass exclaimed:

“We’re the only country that has an integer in front of our bond yields,”

“We have 90% of the world’s investment-grade debt. We actually have rule of law and we have a decent economy. All the money is going to come here.”

For now, it appears that money is buying bonds AND stocks...

Which, Bass notes, will spark even more inequality (as 'assetholders' get richer - in ever more diluted dollar terms while the rest suffer from inflationary living costs)

"The unintended consequences of central bank printing are that it makes the rich even richer, it makes the middle class stay where they are and it makes the poor stay poor."

Bass also noted that he does not think a China trade deal is anywhere in sight.

I think Trump’s political calculus is to keep talking. If he does a deal, it will be too easy and he’ll get attacked from the right. If he does a deal that’s too difficult, they won’t sign it.”

Watch the full interview below:

More Americans Live Alone Than Ever Before

Zerohedge (BFFBT) - 3 hours 17 min ago

Submitted by Nicholas Colas of DataTrek

More Americans live alone than ever before, some 28% of the population. They actually outnumbers households with 4+ people and demographic trends point to even more single-person households over the next decade. This is one of those long-term secular trends that should be part of every investor’s checklist when considering the merits of a company’s product/service offering.

First, a brief overview of the data (graph below):

  • As of 2018, 28.0% of Americans lived alone. The raw numbers: 35.7 million single-person households and 127.6 million total households.
  • That percentage has been rising steadily for +50 years.
  • In 1960, for example, only 13.1% of Americans lived alone. If you walked into a random American house back then, you were 3x more likely to see 4 or more residents. Now, the odds favor meeting only one inhabitant.
  • The crossover point between single-person households and 4-or-more was 1998.
  • The trend to more Americans living alone rather than in a “traditional” 2-adults, 2-or-more kids household is the central reason the number of people/household has declined from 3.3 in 1960 to 2.5 today.

Why is this happening?

  • Greater female labor force participation, which allows women the choice of living alone, is one factor. LFP for this cohort went from 38% in 1960 to 60% in 2000 and is at 57% today.
  • Lower birthrates is another, with the US going from 3.7/woman in 1960 to 1.8 today.
  • An aging population is the last variable, since men typically die 5 years earlier than women. Data from other aging populations such as Europe (33% 1-person households) and Japan (35%) show where the US statistics will likely go in coming years.

Why does this matter from an investment perspective?

  • The US consumer is the backbone of the domestic economy, and the growing percentage of 1-person households is theoretically a secular positive. Single person households do not typically share durable goods like motor vehicles, major appliances, rent/mortgage or even smaller items like media subscriptions. They therefore will tend to consume more than a multiple-person household.
  • The offsetting problem: since America’s growing single-person household percentage is partly due to an aging population, consumption will be lower than if this was all due to millennials living alone.

Bottom line: the growth of single-person US households is one of those big macro trends that should filter its way into considering what sorts of companies will prosper in the next decade. Just ask yourself “would a person living alone buy X, subscribe to Y, or use Z’s services?” If the answer is a resounding “yes”, that’s a good start.

Sources:

CME FedWatch (odds of rate cuts): https://www.cmegroup.com/trading/interest-rates/countdown-to-fomc.html

US Census (Households by size): https://www.census.gov/data/tables/time-series/demo/families/households.html

Trump Paves The F*cking Way For Politicians Swearing In Public

Zerohedge (BFFBT) - 3 hours 37 min ago

President Trump is not one to mince words. The New York billionaire won hearts and minds in 2016 using candid, coarse, and at times profane language while speaking at rallies and in interviews.

"I’d say swearing is part of his appeal," author Melissa Mohr told the New York TimesMohr wrote "Holy Sh*t: A Brief History of Swearing." 

"It helps create the impression that he is saying what he thinks, ‘telling it like it is.’ We tend to believe people when they swear, because we interpret these words as a sign of strong emotions. In his case, the emotion is often powerful anger, which his supporters seem to love."

And while Trump's coarse language has been largely relegated to the words "Bullshit", "Hell" and "Ass," Democrats have cranked it up to 11 over Twitter and elsewhere, dropping F-bombs and all sorts of other colorful language as they attempt to match Trump's bluster, according to The Hill

In analysis conducted exclusively for ITK, GovPredict, a government relations software company, found that the frequency of lawmakers using words that might make one’s grandmother blush has increased steadily since 2014.

President Trump and several of the candidates seeking to replace him next year — including Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Cory Booker (D-N.J.) — have used impassioned swear words to make their points recently. Sanders responded to a debate comment about "Medicare for All" last month by saying that he "wrote the damn bill," and Trump used the word “hell” at least half a dozen times at a Thursday night rally. 

GovPredict’s data shows that obscene language not including the words "shit" and "f---" has been used at an all-time high by politicians, with 1,225 instances on Twitter so far this year compared to 833 in 2018. -The Hill

Weeks ago, 2020 White House hopeful Rep. Beto O'Rourke (D-TX) dropped an F-bomb while discussing the MSM's failure to hold Trump accountable for fanning the flames of racial discord, saying "He's been calling Mexican immigrants rapists and criminals. Members of the press, what the fuck?"

Cory Booker said in a text message shared by his campaign manager over Twitter: "Listening to the president. Such a bullshit soup of ineffective words." In May, Booker said on CNN while discussing gun control "We are not going to give thoughts and prayers, which to me is just bullshit. I’m sorry to say that as a man of faith, but I was taught that faith without works is dead."

In January, Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) told a cheering crowd of Trump "We're gonna go in and impeach the motherfucker.Did she learn that kind of language from her grandmother?

Meanwhile, Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) wrote on Twitter that voters should "Demand the Members of Congress get rid of ALL assault weapons or kick our ass out of Congress!"

And in a 2017 speech, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) said "If we are not helping people, we should go the fuck home." 

UCSD professor of cognitive science Ben Bergen opines on the new abnormal. 

"For the most part, with a few exceptions, candidates have avoided being recorded swearing," says Bergen, who authored "What the F: What Swearing Reveals About Our Language, Our Brains, and Ourselves." 

"We’ve seen media become democratized. There are fewer and fewer channels of communication that are censored. And as a result, there’s just more swearing around," added Bergen. 

Bergen also says that for veterans of Congress who have "spent decades and decades crafting a public image," talking blue could be a calculated choice: "They believe that there’s work that swearing can do for them, and that although there is risk associated with it, they’re willing to take that risk for the potential reward."

Pitkin says that "as a growing number of elected officials break social norms, we are not likely to see a tempering of open-mindedness and self-expression by way of the usage of foul language." -The Hill

According to Bergen: "It’s hard to tell whether this is a moment that we’re experiencing where political discourse is now, because of heightened emotions and stakes and so on, [such] that people are trying to reach into a quiver of more affectively laden language or whether this is just the new normal.

Will it backfire? 

According to Bergen - no fucking way

"People who are already likely to be supportive of those individuals are more likely to believe that they are honest, they’re telling the truth, are more likely to believe that they’re emotionally involved in the things that they’re saying, and that they are powerful." 

Israeli Warplanes Strikes Hamas’ Naval Positions Following Rocket Launch From Gaza

South Front - 3 hours 54 min ago

F-16I “Sufa” Photo by: Maj. Ofer

In the late hours of on August 21, unknown Palestinian gunmen launched a rocket from the Gaza Strip at nearby Israeli settlements.

The rocket, which apparently landed in an empty area, didn’t cause any material losses. However, the Israeli Air Force (IAF) responded by striking several naval positions of the Hamas Movement on Gaza’s coast.

“In response to the rocket fired from Gaza to Israel, we just struck a number of military targets in a Hamas naval facility in the northern Gaza Strip,” the Israeli military said on Twitter.

Following the Israeli airstrikes, a second projectile was launched from Gaza at the Israeli Eshkol Regional Council. The projectile also landed in an empty area causing no damage what so ever.

Last week, four rockets were launched from the Gaza Strip. However, the Israeli military limited its response to few pinpoint airstrikes on Hamas positions.

Both the Israeli and Palestinian sides are not apparently interested in a large-scale military confrontation. While Hamas is struggling to deal with the economic difficulties in Gaza, Tel Aviv is preparing for a second round of elections.

More on this topic:

The post Israeli Warplanes Strikes Hamas’ Naval Positions Following Rocket Launch From Gaza appeared first on .

Categories: Foreign Policy

Incredibly Sick, Federally-Funded Experiments Happening Behind Closed Doors In Secret Labs Across America

Zerohedge (BFFBT) - 3 hours 57 min ago

Authored by Michael Snyder via The End of The American Dream blog,

Some of the things that are being done in the name of “scientific research” are almost too horrifying to talk about.  But it is vitally important that we shine a light on these practices, because most Americans don’t realize what is really going on

Normally when we talk about crime, the primary focus is on the drug abuse and violence in the urban areas of our major cities.  But the truth is that often the worst crimes are committed by “doctors”, “scientists” and “researchers” wearing white lab coats.  The experiments that I am about to share with you are incredibly disgusting, and I apologize for this in advance, but the only way that they will stop is if they are fully exposed.  And since these experiments are funded by our tax dollars, the nation as a whole will ultimately be held accountable for the great evil that is taking place.

Earlier this year, the Trump administration ended “all internal National Institutes of Health (NIH) experimentation using aborted human fetal tissue”, and when that happened many came to the conclusion that the problem had been solved…

This summer, the Trump Administration made the commendable decision to terminate all internal National Institutes of Health (NIH) experimentation using aborted human fetal tissue. It also canceled a controversial $2 million contract between the NIH and the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) which required two healthy human fetuses per month from elective abortions to be used for disturbing and unnecessary taxpayer-funded medical experimentation on animals.

Unfortunately, the experiments that were canceled represented only a very small fraction of the federally-funded human fetal tissue experimentation that is going on around the nation.  The White Coat Waste Project and Pro-Life San Francisco teamed up to investigate, and they just shared what they discovered in a joint op-ed in the Washington Examiner

Our organizations — White Coat Waste Project and Pro-Life San Francisco — recently analyzed NIH spending data and related scientific publications. Unfortunately, we’ve discovered that the canceled projects are just the tip of the iceberg. While the administration’s June decision ended NIH’s internal human fetal tissue experiments and the UCSF contract it funded, it did not halt another 200 projects outside of NIH using human fetal tissue that received a combined $115 million in taxpayer funds from NIH in 2018.

115 million dollars is an enormous amount of money, and a tremendous amount of good could be done with a sum that large.

But instead, that money is being used to conduct extremely sick experiments in secret laboratories all over the United States

Here’s how it works: First, babies are terminated at abortion clinics in university-affiliated hospitals. The remains of these unwanted children are harvested for research. College professors, eternally hungry for lucrative federal grants, solicit NIH funds earmarked for nightmarish human fetal tissue research on animals. Its big business, which is why it’s no surprise that UCSF has openly stated their hostility to any restrictions on fetal tissue research.

For instance, at UCSF, the abortion training capital of the US, experimenters recently used a $2 million government slush fund to transplant intestines removed from 18-24 week-old aborted fetuses onto the backs of 6 to 8-week-old mice. In other bizarre Frankenstein study funded by taxpayers, UCSF implanted intact reproductive tracts from 9.5 to 22-week-old human fetuses, including from a pair of aborted twins, into mice dosed with synthetic estrogen.

Before we proceed, let me ask you a question.

What do you think a nation that does such things deserves?

And nobody in the federal government can claim ignorance, because these practices have been debated on Capitol Hill repeatedly.  In fact, during a congressional hearing last December the director of the NIH openly defended these practices

But addressing Congress in December, NIH director Francis Collins defended the practice.

He said: “There is strong evidence that scientific benefits come from fetal tissue research, [which] can be done with an ethical framework.”

They all know what is going on, and yet this funding keeps getting approved on the federal level year after year no matter which political party is in power.

Overseas, the experiments are even more bizarre.

For example, over in China a team of scientists recently made headlines all over the world after they created “a hybrid human-monkey embryo”

Scientists have successfully formed a hybrid human-monkey embryo – with the experiment taking place in China to avoid “legal issues”.

Researchers led by scientist Juan Carlos Izpisúa spliced together the genes to grow a monkey with human cells.

We are talking about “Planet of the Apes” type stuff, and it is happening right out in the open.

And as time goes on, criminals in lab coats will be combining human genetic material with all sorts of different creatures.

In fact, the Japanese government has now officially approved the creation of “rat-human hybrids”

Human-animal hybrids are to be developed in embryo form in Japan after the government approved controversial stem-cell research.

Human cells will be grown in rat and mouse embryos, then brought to term in a surrogate animal, as part of experiments set to be carried out at the University of Tokyo.

Supporters say the work – led by renowned geneticist Hiromitsu Nakauchi – could be a vital first step towards eventually growing organs that can then be transplanted into people in need.

Of course it is theoretically possible to combine the genetic material of dozens of different creatures into one “super creature”, and given enough time it is inevitable that scientists would cook up all sorts of bizarre hybrids in their labs.

As I have repeatedly warned my readers, just about every sort of evil that you can possibly imagine is exploding all over the world, and what I have talked about in this article is definitely a great evil.

If we really want to deal with the evil that is plaguing America, I would suggest that the streets of our inner cities are not the first place to start.  Sadly, the truth is that many of our politicians, scientists and “researchers” are a much bigger problem, and it is probably extremely unlikely that they will ever be held fully accountable for the atrocities that they have been committing.

A Lib Dem MP just showed how detached from reality the party truly is

Canary, The Other - 4 hours 8 min ago

New Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson has chosen her “shadow cabinet”. Although cabinet might be stretching it. After all, the cabinet is made up of about 20 people and the Lib Dems only have 14 MPs.

But this small fact didn’t stop Lib Dem MP Ed Davey sending an absolutely ridiculous tweet; a tweet which shows exactly why the party is a total laughing stock:

We're now ready to form a government

We have a great team to get the UK back on track, restore confidence, stop Brexit, and tackle its causes

Chart Of The Day: China's Economy Slows To 4.6% In June

Zerohedge (BFFBT) - 4 hours 17 min ago

According to Fathom Consulting, a global independent macro research consultancy, it's proprietary China Momentum Indicator 2.0 has slowed to 4.6% in June, the lowest reading since Aug. 2016.

There is also a growing gap between the China Momentum Indicator 2.0 at 4.6% and official GDP data at 6.2%. Might suggest China's economy hasn't yet bottomed, could continue to decline through 2H19 into 1H20.

Gary Cohn, the former chief economic advisor to Donald Trump, has said the slowdown predates the trade war and reflects a strategic decision by China to rebalance the economy.

Fathom notes that China's economy was even slowing before the rebalancing.

The global macro research firm said, "with the consumer share of total import demand on a downward trend since 2016, we also find little evidence to suggest that China is successfully rebalancing."

To combat dangerous crosscurrents of the trade war disrupting global supply chains in and out of China, Chinese policymakers resorted to the same playbook as before, pump the economy with record amounts of the stimulus earlier in the year.

Currency depreciation came into the picture when President Trump escalated the trade war by raising tariffs to 25% from 10% on $200 billion of Chinese goods in May. Then a massive devaluation of the renminbi followed in early August, when the president slapped 10% tariffs on $300 billion worth of Chinese goods, effective Sept. 1.

"Trade talks are continuing, and during the talks the U.S. will start, on Sept. 1, putting a small additional Tariff of 10% on the remaining 300 Billion Dollars of goods and products coming from China into our Country...We look forward to continuing our positive dialogue with China on a comprehensive Trade Deal, and feel that the future between our two countries will be a very bright one!" Trump said in a tweet last month.

Since the trade war began last March, the renminbi has weakened 13% against the U.S. dollar, neutralizing some of the tariffs imposed by the U.S. on imports from China.

Currency devaluation undermines hopes for a soft landing, while further infuriating the Trump administration who has recently branded China as a currency manipulator.

And for more bad news, China has said its rebalancing will continue through 2020 and offered a pessimistic view of how Beijing won't sign a trade deal until after the November 2020 election. This would almost guarantee China is allowing its export economy to weaken while stimulating its domestic economy, all in the attempt to trigger a recession in the U.S. to diminish President Trump's probabilities of getting reelected.

Will Dems Keep Trump In The White House By Overplaying Race Card?

Zerohedge (BFFBT) - 4 hours 37 min ago

Authored by Graham Noble via LibertyNation.com,

The Democratic Party appears to have decided that the surest way to win control of the White House in 2020 is to make racial division the centerpiece of its agenda. That is a gamble, to say the least, but unless the US economy crashes before the general election, the race card may be the only one President Donald Trump’s opponents can play.

Potential 2020 challengers to Trump are trying to outdo each other on the issue of perceived racial injustice and bigotry. As usual, the left-wing mediaare doing all they can to influence the next election in favor of Democrats – in this case, by ramming down the throats of Americans the notion that the Commander-in-Chief is a white nationalist and, by extension, so are his supporters.

Dem Candidates All-In On Racism Claims

Addressing the Young Leaders Conference in Atlanta on July 17, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) pledged to “go to war against white nationalism and racism in every aspect of our lives.” The senator cited his personal history, saying that his father’s entire family was wiped out by “Hitler and his white nationalism.” Ironically, just as Hitler scapegoated Jews as being responsible for almost all of Germany’s problems at the time, so the modern American left seeks to hold white people of European descent responsible for all the Western world’s problems today.

In truth – while there is no doubt that Hitler was a racist – it is not accurate to describe him as a white nationalist. The Nazis allied themselves with the Japanese and also with Muslim Arabs while waging war on, or occupying, many European majority-white countries: Poland, Czechoslovakia, Britain, France, Belgium, Holland, Denmark, and Norway. Though European Slavs are white – many with blond hair and blue eyes – Hitler considered them sub-human.

Hitler’s brand of racism was based not primarily on skin color but on a rather unscientific notion of racial heritage; he viewed people of “Germanic” descent to be superior to all others, regardless of skin color. Just as Africans and Asians have used tribal heritage as a reason to slaughter one another, so did Hitler use the same idea. While it is ridiculous to argue the relative merits of different brands of racism – since none has any merit – to blame white nationalism for Hitler’s atrocities is to rewrite history.

Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), whose campaign has yet to get off the ground, in July told CNN’s Dana Bash that Trump is “worse than a racist.” That is a rather confusing pronouncement, implying that the senator believes racists are not the worst of all people. Booker tried to explain himself: “[Trump] is actually using racist tropes and racial language for political gains, trying to use this as a weapon to divide our nation against itself.” Once again, a Democrat politician demonstrates his complete ignorance of the concept of irony.

Booker is not the only person on the left whose rhetoric requires redefining the word “outrageous.” MSNBC put alleged investigative journalist Vegas Tenold on the air, back in July, to claim, “We’re at a point where Trump is more racist than neo-Nazis.”

In August, Robert “Beto” O’Rourke said of Trump, “He is a racist, and he stokes racism in this country, and it does not offend our sensibilities; it fundamentally changes the character of this country and it leads to violence.”

Racial Rhetoric Coming From Only One Side

Only one of the two main political parties in the US appears to be obsessed with skin color (no prizes for guessing which). The main question, though, is why Democrats have decided to push this issue more than any other.

Only Joe Biden, by virtue of his eight years as Barack Obama’s vice president, truly commands the loyalty of most black Democrat voters. The concern must be that no other presidential hopeful can be assured the same level of loyalty from the black community.

Trump certainly is unlikely to win even 50% of the black or Latino vote in 2020, but he need only take a larger share of those votes than previous Republican presidential candidates claimed to put his eventual Democrat challenger in real trouble. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) currently is surging, but she does not enjoy anything like Biden’s level of loyalty among black voters. If the latter fades from the top tier of the nomination race, Warren is unlikely to benefit, though she certainly is one of those most likely to win her party’s nomination, and her support among blacks appears to dwarf Bernie’s.

Overplaying Your Hand

One would have thought that at some point the Democrats might worry that they are overplaying the race card. Such is the level of hysteria over the president’s alleged racism that the eventual Democratic Party presidential candidate will have little choice but to make the issue the very centerpiece of his or her campaign. Such a strategy is very unlikely to prove successful since most American voters – white, black, or brown – will probably base their choice on concerns other than racism.

Over many years the left has so diluted the impact of the label “racist” that there is little prospect a significant number of voters will be swayed by such allegations – particularly at a time of record-low unemployment among blacks and Latinos. Furthermore, Trump’s policies have done nothing to indicate racist sentiments. His attempts to reduce illegal immigration and impose a merit-based legal immigration system are the only things the left can interpret as racist policies.

Nevertheless, the majority of Americans agree, at the very least, that illegals should not be given a free pass, even if they may differ on how strict US immigration enforcement should be.

What chance, then, does a challenger to the president have of winning the 2020 election by focusing on portraying Trump  – and by association all of his supporters – as racist? Very little at all is the only possible answer.

China's Gold Reserves Jump For 7th Month As Consumption, Production Slump

Zerohedge (BFFBT) - 4 hours 57 min ago

A new report from the China Gold Association, first examined by China Daily, said gold consumption in China reached 523.54 metric tons in 1H19, down 3.27% YoY, due mostly to offlining of production facilities, the demise of zombie company producers, and readjusting the industrial structure to a period of lower demand.

Gold bar consumption declined 17.29% YoY to 110.51 tons in 1H19, while gold coins plunged 29.27% YoY to 2.9 tons. Gold for industrial purposes fell 0.6% YoY in 1H to 51.36 tons, the report said, outlining how some of gold's lackluster demand in 2019 is the result of soaring spot prices.

"China's total gold output decreased as the industry is upgrading the production techniques and cleaning up some mining rights issues," said Zhu Yi, senior analyst of metals and mining at Bloomberg Intelligence.

Demand for domestic gold jewelry bucked the trend, came in at 358.77 tons in 1H19, up 1.97% YoY.

"China's increasing demand for gold jewelry is due to consumers' rising needs and falling demand for gold bars and coins due to the decreasing investment needs."

The association said, "domestic companies in the gold sector have been pushing forward high-quality development, to close down outdated production facilities, optimize the industrial structure, integrate high-quality gold resources, against a background of global macroeconomic weakness and domestic economic restructuring."

China National Gold Group, a state-owned gold corporation, has "rooted out" 31 zombie company producers that rely on government bailouts to survive.

Zijin Mining Group Co saw stellar YoY growth of its overseas gold output in the 1H19. The miner has been focusing its efforts on expanding projects in countries with rich deposits of gold and copper.

Chen Jinghe, Chairman of Zijin Mining Group Co, told China Daily that its overseas mines are the main focus at the moment. 

Zhu believes gold production and consumption in the country will remain depressed through the early 2020s. China's gold industry is slowing, the days of super growth are over. 

"Large-scale gold producers are increasing capacity and output to ride on the price hike. Going overseas for mining assets is one of the quickest ways to add reserves and output."

Gold prices are likely to remain elevated due to its safe-haven function amid central banks shifting global policy rates towards zero as a worldwide recession could be imminent.

Spot prices broke above a 22 quarter neckline in June, prices have moved up 26% in 11 months.

The association said China's gold output fell 9.6 tons to 180.68 tons in 1H19, down 5.05% YoY, as miners cut production, suspension of production due to environmental and technical issues, and modernization efforts of facilities in Henan and Inner Mongolia.

However, gold reserves in China were up for the seventh consecutive month in June, with reserves reaching 1,926.55 tons.

China added 74.03 tons of gold in 1H19, as, along with many other global nations, it attempts to de-dollarize and reduce dependency on the US hegemon.

Which is notable since it appears China is "allowing" yuan to devalue against gold...

Environmentally-Hypocritical Lifestyles Of The Rich & Famous

Zerohedge (BFFBT) - 5 hours 17 min ago

Authored by Daisy Luther via The Organic Prepper blog,

There’s little I find more annoying than a bunch of rich people lecturing the peons about how something we’re doing is “bad” but then they turn around and do the exact same thing times ten because it’s different when they do it.

I’m talking about environmental hypocrisy.

I like the environment as much as anyone else. I take my reusable bags to the store. I re-use just about everything until it can’t be used any more (a practice I began when I was flat broke and couldn’t afford to add a box of ziplock bags to my grocery cart for school lunches every week.) We try to reduce the amount of trash we create. My family makes all sorts of choices that are good for the environment because we want to be good stewards of the earth.

But it’s pretty annoying to see a bunch of rich people take 114 private jets to an Italian island so they can talk about how crappy the rest of us are to the planet.

And then to hear them say that their private jet flight is “carbon neutral” because they made a financial donation is positively idiotic.

Apparently only people who can afford to make a donation are allowed to be environmentally frivolous and I can pay by credit card or debit to make my sins against the earth disappear.

Here are two ridiculous examples of the financial “elite” wishing to tell the rest of us what to do while they do the diametric opposite but it’s okay because they paid extra.

Environmental activists arrived at “Google Camp” in private jets

Google founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page throw a shindig every summer so that rich people can come and decide how to save the world from the rest of us.  Nicknamed “Google Camp,” it’s a star-studded, rich-person get-together.

This year, the “activists” arrived in Sicily via private jets, mega-yachts, and helicopters.

Scores of A-list celebrities arrived in Sicily, Italy this week for the annual “Google Camp” to discuss the threat of climate change while communing with some of the wealthiest tech entrepreneurs in the world to a posh, seaside resort.

The event is hosted by Google co-founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page, who reportedly intend for the camp to be a “meeting of the minds” between technology giants, powerful business owners, and others who are known to be global thought leaders…

More than 114 private jets were reported to have been expected at nearby Palermo airport, where camp guests would be transported to the resort by van. Mega yachts docked at a nearby beach were reported to belong to designer Diane Von Furstenberg, German pharmaceutical giant Udo J. Vetter, Google’s Eric Schmidt, New Zealand tycoon Graeme Hart, and American billionaire David Geffen…

…Some estimates suggest that up to 100,000 kilograms of CO2 could be expelled into the air during the journeys of that many private jets. Mega yachts, like Graeme Hart’s $275 million “Ulysses,” can use up to 2,000 liters of fuel per hour when in motion. (source)

Thankfully, after attending Google Camp, “thought leaders” like movie stars, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, and pop singers should be able to explain to the rest of us how to live carbon neutral lives.

What should you do if you are carboning up the environment?

If you are flying around on private jets and dining on steak and using plastic bags, never fear. You don’t need to change your habits. You can buy your way out of this and the environment will be just fine.  I found this site where individuals can “offset” their carbon footprints by giving the organization money.

You can pay a fee for your own carbon use, choose what vehicle you have and offset that, choose how many flights you’ll be taking, how many gifts you will be giving, how many parties you’ll have, and how big your house is. And don’t worry – if you have a surprise flight you can just bop on over to the site and give them some more money.

I quickly calculated how much it would cost to make my family of 2 people carbon-neutral and it was “just” $955.72 a year. If I want a discount, I can pay $16,320 for each of us for our lifetime personal carbon output, however, I’d still need to donate to cover my sins of travel, gift-giving, driving, and living in a house. You can even “offset” your wedding right here.

Here’s how it works:

Carbonfund.org is leading the fight against global warming, making it easy and affordable for any individual, business or organization to reduce & offset their climate impact and hasten the transition to a clean energy future. Carbonfund.org achieves its goals through:

  • Climate change education
  • Carbon offsets and reductions
  • Public outreach

We encourage everyone to continually strive to reduce their carbon footprint through sensible energy reductions combined with cost-effective carbon offsets to eliminate their overall carbon footprint.

Carbonfund.org supports third-party validated renewable energy, energy efficiency and reforestation projects globally that reduce carbon dioxide emissions and the threat of climate change. (source)

And don’t worry. Your environmentally friendly donations are all tax-deductible. And as you can see, if you just pay some extra money after doing something environmentally unfriendly, it’ll be just fine. I figure all the people at Google Camp gave an organization like this some money to cover the use of their jets and yachts.

Unpopular opinion: If you firmly believe you’re doing stuff that is damaging to the environment, donating money doesn’t fix the harm you’ve done. How about, if you feel so strong, you just stop harming the environment?

Then there’s the new meat tax Germany wants to try.

Germany, most recently, has an idea to help convince people to eat less meat. They want to add on a hefty tax so that basically, poor people can’t afford it. Then, much like Google Camp, the wealthy can indulge however they want and it’ll be okay because they can pay the meat tax and it won’t count against the environment.

The German debate coincided with a UN report from a panel of scientists calling for a determined switch away from livestock farming. They argue that the West’s high consumption of meat and dairy produce is fuelling global warming.

Besides the harm caused by methane emissions from livestock, there is the widespread destruction of forests to make way for pasture, a process that releases CO2 stored in soil and reduces the absorption of CO2 by trees.

The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) says the livestock sector produces 14.5% of greenhouse gas emissions, or 7.1 gigatonnes of CO2 equivalent – more than all the direct emissions from cars, aviation, ships and other transport. (source)

Some MPs are calling for a meat tax as high as 19%. Currently, the tax is 7% on food.

SPD agriculture spokesman Rainer Spiering said “there are discount stores in Germany selling 500 grams of mince for €2.50 (£2.30), and if the VAT rate goes up by 12 percentage points they will charge €2.80 – I think that is acceptable”. (source)

But there are problems with this “solution.”

With the added tax, meat just costs more but there’s no real way to separate that extra meat tax from the general VAT (which stands for value-added tax ROFL). So that money just goes into the government coffers to the detriment of poor people. Which is really no surprise – as I’ve written before, when you are poor in the modern world, you get fined and fee-ed into a financial hole from which it’s nearly impossible to extricate yourself. Why not add some new taxes on top of that. Don’t be selfish. It’s for the EARTH.

Igor Ogorodnev’s beautifully scathing essay on RT points out some flaws in this logic.

Being a wealthy lawmaker you will eat as much or as little meat as before, as food makes a small proportion of your monthly budget. Your constituents – that is a different matter. Perhaps some will get the message, and eat more vegetables instead. Or perhaps, instead of buying organic, cruelty-free, carbon-neutral meat, they will now buy more factory-farmed meat. Or perhaps they will spend the money on a decent steak but will not be able to afford to repair their car, or take that holiday to the Balearics. Though I guess that could be a result in itself – after all, as a rule, the poorer someone is in the West, the less CO2 they emit. Some might be so deprived, however, that they will eat no meat at all. Their remaining money will now go to other, cheaper high-calorie processed foods, like cakes or oven-fried chips. While your farmers will simply find it more profitable to export the food abroad, over longer distances, increasing their emissions. Is this what you wanted?

…What’s the right ethical trade-off between seven-course feasts of imported ostrich and elk and government-mandated buckwheat three times a day?

…You will say that at least it is better to be doing something.

And indeed you are right – it is the “something” that matters, not the specific results. After all if there is one thing that Greta Thunberg and Nigel Lawson can agree on is that creating a meat tax in Germany, Sweden and Denmark, the three countries that have shown the greatest appetite for this policy, will make almost no difference to global emissions. For example, even if every resident of the United States, the country with the highest consumption of meat per capita, stopped eating meat tomorrow, that would only slice 2.6 percent off its emissions. Meanwhile, a Chinese person now eats five times as much meat as they did in the 1980s, and still only half as much as Americans – so he wants more. And the world population will likely double by the end of the century. Germans eating two fewer sausages a week is not going to cut it, and everyone knows it. (source)

Environmentally hypocrisy will end up costing us a lot of money.

The problem is, for some bizarre reason, people listen to the idealistic verbiage of the rich and famous. We’re not talking about high IQ environmental scientists. We’re talking about people like Leonardo DiCaprio, Harry Styles, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, Mark Zuckerberg, and Diane Von Furstenberg (source) attending an event that cost Google an estimated 20 million bucks.

As for the brainstorming sessions, you need not worry that they’ll be too arduous on the guests. Morning discussions are reportedly followed by afternoons and evenings of relaxation, food, and drink. (source)

It’s pretty “Marie Antoinette” to jet off to a sunbaked European holiday and talk about what the rest of us little people should be doing to save the earth.

Think about the clothes they’ll only wear once, the hats and the shoes.

Think about the multiple trips per year they take on private transportation.

Think about the mansions with 6 or more bedrooms they have to heat and cool.

Think about the lavish parties and events they host and attend.

The list of frivolities could go on and on, and actually if they can afford to be frivolous, more power to ’em. It’s not my job to police their finances and activities.

If only they felt the same way about policing ours.

Houthis Strike Saudi Operations Room In Jizan With “Ballistic Missile”

South Front - 5 hours 33 min ago

Illustrative image, source: the Houthis media wing

The Houthis launched in the late hours of August 21 a “medium-range ballistic missile” at an operations room of the Saudi military in the Kingdom’s southern province of Jizan.

Brig. Gen. Yahya Sari, a spokesman for the Yemeni group, said that missile struck the operations room, destroying it and killing or injuring dozens of Saudi-led coalition personnel.

“The targeting of this important position came following a careful intelligence operation, where the battles on the [Saudi-Yemeni] border were being run from that room,” the spokesman said.

The Houthis didn’t reveal the type of the munition used in the attack. Usually, the Yemeni group uses the Badir-1P precision-guided artillery rocket, or the Badir-F tactical ballistic missile.

There was no immediate comment from the Saudi-led coalition on the Houthis’ claim. In most cases, this means that the attack was successful.

In the last three months, the Houthis intensified their attacks on southern Saudi Arabia. The Yemeni group claims that these attacks are a response to Saudi airstrikes and the siege on its areas.

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Categories: Foreign Policy

Philly Cop-Shooter Was Federal Informant

Zerohedge (BFFBT) - 5 hours 37 min ago

In the wake of last week's Philadelphia shootout between alleged gunman Maurice Hill and police, US Attorney William McSwain was quick to blame Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner - who McSwain said promoted "a new culture of disrespect for law enforcement in this City." 

"It started with chants at the DA’s victory party – chants of "F*** the police" and "No good cops in a racist system," wrote McSwain

New documents obtained by The Appeal, however, reveal that Maurice Hill's interactions with law enforcement began long before Krasner taking office

The 36-year-old suspect in the shooting which left six officers wounded has been a federal informant for years

Via The Appeal:

In June 2008, Hill entered a guilty plea the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania for being a felon in possession of a firearm. He was sentenced in the case in 2010. In an April 2010 sentencing memorandum filed with the court, Hill’s attorney Wayne Maynard stated that federal prosecutors filed a motion for a downward departure from Hill’s guideline sentence because he provided substantial assistance to the federal government. “He has testified before the Grand Jury on two occasions, was willing to testify at trial, and provided information about a shooter that led to an arrest,” Maynard wrote. “He has cooperated with the Government and provided information that has and will likely continue to imperil his safety and that of his family.”

Hill, who has a long rap-sheet dating back to when he was a teenager, was sentenced to 55 months in federal prison in April 2010 - 20 months less than the average sentence for felons caught in possession of a firearm.

Federal prosecutors attempted to revoke Hill’s supervised release several times after Pennsylvania prosecutors charged him with new crimes. However, all of these efforts had to be withdrawn because state prosecutors either dismissed charges or failed to get a conviction. 

The final petition to revoke Hill’s supervised release came in April 2016, when federal prosecutors said he was found in possession of roughly half a gram of crack cocaine by Philadelphia police and then charged with misdemeanor drug possession. 

In May of 2016, the DA's office offered Hill a plea deal which was rejected, according to a copy of his charging docket. Three months later, Judge Charles Hayden granted a motion to suppress evidence in Hill's case - after which prosecutors dropped it in October of that year. The records were expunged from Hill's records after Pennsylvania passed the Clean Slate law in 2018. 

Moscow City Management: Corruption, Inefficiency, Arrogance

South Front - 5 hours 55 min ago

ILLUSTRATIVE IMAGE

Over the past 5 days, the southwestern part of Moscow has appeared in the center of a manufactured traffic standstill, according to SouthFront readers from the city. The situation is especially complicated in in the districts of Troparyovo-Nikulino (population: 121,754) and Tyoply Stan (population: 133,905). Many representatives of the scientific and medical intellectuals live in these particular areas.

On August 18, without any notifications in advance, road services closed parts of highways, including kilometers of entrances into districts in the southwestern part of the city. This move de-facto blocked hundreds of thousands of people forcing them to use building surrounding grounds (with the traffic capacity of a single road stripe to a direction) to leave their districts. Furthermore, road services from the so-called Traffic Management Center immediately set up limiting signs and sent monitoring vehicles to the area. An average penalty for the violation of the newly-established limits is about 100 USD.

Click to see the full-size image

Other areas where similar measures were implemented are the district of Gagarinsky, Ramenki, Lomonosovsky, Prospect Vernadsky, and Obruchevsky, as well as the settlements of Moscow and Sosensky.

В след. воскресенье, 18.08, снова на неделю, до 24.08, для строительства правого тоннеля БКЛ придётся закрыть участок Сокольнической линии метро от «Университета» до «Коммунарки». Как в прошлый раз много перекрытий и ограничений для стабильной работы КМ. Посмотрите схемы заранее. pic.twitter.com/BUqM9S9Nyq

— ЦОДД (@gucodd) August 10, 2019

Additionally, metro stations of Vernadsky Prospekt, Yugo-Zapadnaya, Troparevo, Rumyantsevo, Salaryevo, Filatov Lug, Prokshino, Alder and Kommunarka were closed because of the ongoing works to build the Moscow Metro’s Large Circle Line.

According to the available data, these limitations will remain in force until August 24. These decisions predetermined the observed transport collapse in these areas.

The established situation drew attention of local and federal media that are surprised by both decisions of the Traffic Management Center and never ending repair works in particular areas of the city.

Web portal RBC conducted a brief investigation into the issue and found that 130 Moscow streets were repaired 2 and more times during the last 4 years. At the same time, repair works should not be conducted more often than one time per three years on large streets and highways and one time per four-five years for small streets. RBK found ‘no formal explanations’ for such decisions.

However, an independent observer will easily find a reason behind this situation: a wide-spread corruption. The repair works are constantly being held in areas where the cost of these works are the highest. For example, Frunzenskaya Naberezhnaya (near the building of the Defense Ministry), Komsomol’skiy Prospekt, the Third Ring Road and Leninsky Avenue. Another obvious reason is ‘window dressing’ for the top leadership of the state (President Vladimir Putin, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev) that often passes these areas during their daily activities. Other, less lucrative areas, are just ignored.

Click to see the full-size image

All these happen ahead of the election to the Moscow Duma (Parliament) and amid the relatively small, but active protest activity in the city. There are no signals that the protest activity in the city will decrease. The abovementioned arrogant actions of local authorities only fuel protest intentions of the people. The interesting fact that similar incidents could also be observed in northern and eastern parts of the city.

The case with never-ending repair works could be easily explained with an ordinary corruption. However, actions aimed at manufacturing transport collapse in particular areas are a sign of incompetence and arrogance, or of a prepared campaign to destabilize the situation in the Russian capital.

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Categories: Foreign Policy

Turkey Claims It Is Not Going To Withdraw Observation Post From Area South Of Khan Shaykhun

South Front - 5 hours 56 min ago

A summary of Ibrahim Kalin’s remarks by Turkey’s state-run Anadolu Agency

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will speak with Russian president  Vladimir Putin on the phone over the situation in Syria’s Idlib in the next couple of days, a Turkish presidential spokesman, Ibrahim Kalin, said on August 21.

He further claimed that the closure or shifting of location of the 9th observation point in the Idlib zone is “out of question”. This is the point near Morekt, which was encircled by the Syrina Army earlier on the same day.

Click to see the full-size image

Karim added Erdogan will also have a phone call with the U.S. President Donald Trump over the Turkish-US agreed safe zone in northeastern Syria at their earliest convenience on August 22 or August 23. He added that joint patrols of the U.S. and Turkish troops will begin soon east of the Euphrates river.

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Categories: Foreign Policy

When It Comes To The US Economy, Everyone Wants To Pin The Credit Or The Blame On President Trump

Zerohedge (BFFBT) - 5 hours 57 min ago

Authored by Michael Snyder via The Economic Collapse blog,

No matter what happens with the U.S. economy, most of the credit or the blame is going to go to President Trump. 

And now that the U.S. economy appears to be headed for big trouble, the mainstream media is salivating over what this could mean for Trump’s chances of winning in 2020. 

Within the past few days, the New York Times, the Washington Post, CNN, MSNBC and Fox News have all run stories about Trump and the economy, and they are all perpetuating the false premise that presidents should be held accountable for how the economy performs.  As I have repeatedly reminded my readers, the truth is that U.S. presidents generally have relatively little control over the direction of the economy

In our system, it is the central planners at the Federal Reserve that primarily direct our economy, and so most of the credit or the blame for our economic performance should go to them.  And the truth is that even President Trump realizes this.  He understands that the Federal Reserve has control over key economic tools that he does not, and that is one of the reasons why he is so frustrated right now.  The Fed is not running things the way that he would run them, and he realizes that this could severely hurt his chances of winning the next election.

During his first term, President Trump has not actually been able to do much to alter the overall trajectory of the economy.  Some pundits point to the tax cuts that he was able to pass, and certainly reducing corporate tax rates helped things a little bit in the short-term, but the overall impact of the tax bill was relatively negligible.  Ultimately, the moves that the Federal Reserve has been making have been far more important, and at this point Trump seems to be convinced that Fed Chair Jerome Powell and others are intentionally trying to undermine him

He has insisted that his own handpicked Federal Reserve chair, Jerome H. Powell, is intentionally acting against him. He has said other countries, including allies, are working to hurt American economic interests. And he has accused the news media of trying to create a recession.

“The Fake News Media is doing everything they can to crash the economy because they think that will be bad for me and my re-election,” Mr. Trump tweeted last week. “The problem they have is that the economy is way too strong and we will soon be winning big on Trade, and everyone knows that, including China!”

Trade policy is one area where presidents do have more power than anyone else, and this is definitely where President Trump has had the biggest impact on the economy.  After claiming for months that a trade war would be “easy” to win, President Trump is now acknowledging that our trade war with China could potentially result in a recession

“I am doing this whether it’s good or bad for your statement about, ‘Oh, will we fall into a recession for two months?’ The fact is, somebody had to take China on,” Trump said.

“Whether it’s good for our country or bad for our country, short term, it had to be done,” he said, repeating that “whether it’s good or bad, short term, is irrelevant.”

And to be honest, this is the argument that Trump should have been making all along.  A trade conflict with China is most definitely going to be very painful, but it is also very true that something had to be done about China.  They have been taking advantage of us and ripping us off for years, and when previous administrations decided to do nothing about China they were being exceedingly negligent.

However, there is a huge difference between recalibrating our relationship with China and antagonizing them so much that our relationship with the Chinese is completely destroyed.  At this point it appears that we are doing the latter, and that is going to have enormous implications in 2020 and beyond.

And if our trade war with China does push us into a recession, there are many on the left that would greatly rejoice.  The following comes from a Fox News editorial by Steve Hilton

It’s pretty obvious that these establishment Trump-hating hysterics — all of them, of course, living comfortable coastal lives — actually want a recession because they think that’s the best way to get rid of Trump. At least one of them is honest about it.

“I’ve been saying for about two years  — that I hope we have a recession, and people get mad at me,” said Bill Maher, host of HBO’s “Real Time with Bill Maher.”

Unfortunately for Trump, most Americans will squarely blame him if a recession happens even if it wasn’t his fault.  When the U.S. economy was doing relatively well, Trump repeatedly took full credit for it, and that was a huge mistake.  Because if the economy is really struggling in 2020, he probably won’t be able to successfully shift the blame to someone else.  The mainstream media will hammer him over and over again with editorials about “the failure of Trumponomics”, and even though most of those editorials won’t make any sense, they will still have a huge impact on millions of Americans voters.

It is often said that “pride goeth before destruction”, and President Trump has repeatedly told us that this is the greatest economy ever and that he is responsible for it.  But of course this isn’t even close to the greatest economy ever.  The following comes from another Fox News editorial

The fact is Trump’s best economic growth is 3.5 percent in two quarters out of the 10 quarters he’s been in office, CNBC’s John Harwood reports, adding that same growth figure, 3.5 percent, is Obama’s seventh best quarter, George W. Bush’s eighth best, and Bill Clinton’s 17th best. Yet, Trump claims his economy is the best ever. Far from it.

When things were going relatively well, President Trump should have said that it was a team effort and he should have acknowledged that we still had an enormous amount of work to do.

And all along he should have been educating the American people about the fact that the Federal Reserve has far more power over the performance of the economy than he does.

But now it appears that we are facing a nightmare economic scenario, and everybody is going to blame him for the failure of the economy.

Meanwhile, the Federal Reserve will once again escape accountability for running our economy into the ground, and that is extremely unfortunate.

Trump Tweets Out Quote Likening Himself to ‘Second Coming of God’

TruNews - 6 hours 2 min ago
President Trump raised eyebrows by repeating a quote from Newsmax host Wayne Allyn Root in which he said Donald Trump is like a King to Israeli Jews. The uber-Zionist was responding to criticism of the president’s earlier tweets criticizing the “loyalty” of American Jews who vote for Democrats like “The Squad” members Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rep. Rashida Tlaib, and Rep. Ilhan Omar. The conservative commentator told his audience: “This is the greatest president for Jews and for Israel in the history of the world. Not just in America, Trump is the best president for Israel in the history of the world. And the Jewish people love him like he is the King of Israel. They love him like he is the second coming of God. “In America, American Jews don't like him. They don't even know what they're doing or saying anymore. It makes no sense. But that's okay. He keeps doing what he's doing. He's good for all of us. Good for Jews, good for blacks, good for gays. “He is good for everyone in America who wants a job.” For Root, the comments were hardly controversial. He’s expressed variations of this sentiment dating back to the 2016 presidential campaign. The president thanked him for his latest comments, however, he later took another swipe at “The Squad” group of Democrat House freshman women, which he now calls “AOC Plus 3”: “Rep. Tlaib wants to cut off aid to Israel. This is the new face of the Democrat Party? Read the AOC Plus 3 statements on their hatred of Jews and Israel. Check out Rep. Omar (the great people of Minnesota won’t stand for this).” That’s not the only disturbing move by the president recently. Despite claiming the trip had nothing to do with his desire to buy Greenland for the U.S., President Trump has abruptly canceled his upcoming state visit to Denmark, saying: “Denmark is a very special country with incredible people, but based on Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen’s comments, that she would have no interest in discussing the purchase of Greenland, I will be postponing our meeting scheduled in two weeks for another time. “The Prime Minister was able to save a great deal of expense and effort for both the United States and Denmark by being so direct. I thank her for that and look forward to rescheduling sometime in the future!” The president was referring to Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen’s statement that his idea to buy Greenland was “absurd.” Danish politicians are outraged over the “deeply insulting” move that left Queen Margrethe the Second “surprised.” Grilled about his statement by members of the press today, he said: “Denmark, I looked forward to going but I thought that the prime minister's statement that it was absurd, that it was an absurd idea, it was nasty, I thought it was an inappropriate statement. All she had to do is say no, we wouldn’t be interested but we can’t treat the United States of America the way they treated us under President Obama. I thought it was a very not nice way of saying something.” Later in the press appearance, he claimed he was the “chosen one” to deal with China. These comments, and much more, were the subject of tonight’s God-cast at TruNews.com. (Photo Credit: Shealah Craighead/The White House)
Categories: America, Foreign Policy

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