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Aug 31, 2014

The Bitcoin Revolution with Max Keiser

Published on Aug 31, 2014

Currency Reform In Ancient Rome

From ZeroHedge08/31/2014
Submitted by Peter Earle via The Adam Smith Institute
Currency Reform In Ancient Rome
In the Western world, modern civilizations are often thought of in comparison to those of the ancient world. The Roman Empire is typically the first considered, and arguably the most natural reference point owing to its many achievements, complexity and durability. It stands in history, widely considered the high water mark of the ancient world; one against which contemporary political, economic and social questions can be posed. Much of the world is still living with the consequences of Roman policy choices in a very real sense, in matters ranging from the location of cities to commercial and legal practices to customs.
The global economic downturn of 2008, in particular its monetary facet, readily invites comparison between the troubles of the modern world and those of the Roman Empire; just as Western currencies have declined precipitously in value since their commodity backing was removed in stages starting roughly a century ago, Roman currencies were also troubled, and present a cautionary tale.
The Roman coin in use through most of the empire was the denarius, which demonstrated a persistent decline in value, starting from the time of transition from Republic to Empire, and continuing until its decimation during the Crisis of the Third Century AD. Although efforts by Diocletian taken after the monetary collapse are commonly associated with Roman economic reform, there were other efforts by earlier, lesser known emperors that suddenly and unexpectedly improved the silver content and value of the denarius. Firsthand accounts and archeological findings provide sufficient detail to allow examination of these short, if noteworthy, periods of voluntary restorative policies – and their architects.
While popular interest typically fixes on such well known emperors as Julius Caesar, Nero, and Augustus, I seek to direct attention toward four lesser known emperors who undertook the improvement of the denarius.  These initiatives essentially constitute rare, temporary episodes of qualitative tightening, in contrast to the more common – and, in recent history, ubiquitous – policy of quantitative easing. The reformers were Domitian, Pertinax, Macrinus, and Severus Alexander. A necessarily concise summary of each one’s initiatives follows, with a brief review of the circumstances surrounding their administration and decisions.

Jim Willie: US Plans to Blame Russia for Coming Dollar Collapse

From Silverdoctors August 30, 2014

Jim Willie joined TFMetalsReport this weekend for a special holiday podcast.   In this excellent report from the Hat Trick Letter editor, Willie discusses:
  • This week’s announcement by Gazprom that they will begin accepting payment in rubles and yuan
  • The escalation of US and EU sanctions against Russia and how they are failing/backfiring
  • Willie explains the US’ motives for provoking Russia via Ukraine: To entice Russia to prematurely move to place the Ruble into a reserve currency status, and ultimately, to blame Putin/Russia for the coming US dollar collapse!
  • The growing isolation of the US as a economic superpower
  • The eventual emergence of a new global currency regime & collapse of the dollar
60 full MUST LISTEN minutes of Pure Golden Jackass are below:
Download Podcast (Right Click + ‘Save As’)

The West, the greatest cause of War in human history, stands stripped of all Legitimacy — Paul Craig Roberts


From Paul Craig RobertsAugust 30, 2014 

The Donetsk National Republic States The Facts
“Every time you come to Russia with a sword, from a sword you will perish.”
The former Russian provinces, which Soviet party leaders carelessly attached to Ukraine at a time when it seemed to make no difference as all were part of the Soviet Union, are now independent republics with their own governments. The West pretends that this isn’t so, because Washington and its puppet capitals don’t recognize the independence of formerly captive peoples. But the West’s opinion no longer counts.
In the last couple of days the newly formed military units of the Donetsk National Republic have defeated and surrounded large portions of the remaining Ukrainian military. Russian President Putin asked the Donetsk Republic to allow the defeated Ukrainians to return home to their wives and mothers. The Donetsk Republic agreed to Putin’s mercy request as long as the Ukrainians left their weapons behind. The Donetsk Republic is short on weapons as, contrary to Western lies, the Donetsk Republic is not supplied with weapons by Russia.
Washington’s puppet government in Kiev declined the mercy extended to its troops and said they had to fight to the death. Shades of Hitler at Stalingrad. Western Ukraine has remained the repository of Nazism since 1945, and it is Western Ukraine with which Washington is allied against freedom and democracy.
Thanks to The Saker we are provided with a press conference with English subtitles that Alexander Zakharchenko, Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the Donetsk National Republic, held with media. Present are Russian and Western press.
You will be impressed with the ease with which Zakharchenko handles the ignorant and corrupt Western media representatives, and your sides will burst with laughter at his reply to the media question: “Are there there regular Russian military units fighting on your side?”
The British and American journalists were the most stupid, as we already knew. You will die laughing at the response to the question, “why did you parade the prisoners.”
This person Zakharchenko puts to shame every politician in the US, Europe, Canada, Australia, Japan, all of the puppet politicians of the American Empire. If only the United States had people of the character and quality of Zakharchenko.
Now that Zakharchenko has revealed himself and made mincemeat of the stupid Western media, he will be demonized and misrepresented. So use this opportunity to see for yourself who has integrity and character. Hint: no one in political and media circles in the West.
You might have to put the video on full screen to read the subtitles.

Aug 29, 2014

August 29th 15:35 UTC/ZULU Ukrainian SITREP

From The SakerAUGUST 29, 2014

The Ukrainian civil war has reached a turning point and a lot of separate facts point to this conclusion:

Military situation on the ground

The Ukies are losing, badly.  All the reports from Novorussian sources agree that the Ukie forces are either surrounded or in full retreat.  But Ukies sources also confirm this.  In Kiev, angry demonstrations by nationalists accuse the military high command of minimizing the real casualty figures, of having abandoned the forces fighting in the Donbass.  Even Oleg Liashko has stated that the Ukie forces have been "betrayed".  Demonstrations have taken place in from of the Ukie General Staff which many Right Sector protesters which are demanding the creation of a "generals battalion" which would be formed of only generals who would be sent to fight personally (an excellent idea, which I fully approve of!).  Others are also demanding the resignation of the Ukie Minister of Defense.  Ukrainian woman are regularly stopping military convoys on the roads, often by standing or lying down in front of trucks, to prevent their men from being sent to death.  Entire Ukie battalions are deserting from the front and Special Forces are sent to stop them.  Apparently, the Ukie police is afraid to arrest the soldiers for desertion because of their large numbers.  The city of Mariupol is now surrounded and the local political elites and SBU personnel have fled.  Poroshenko cancelled his trip to Turkey and gathered his Security Council.  Kolomoiski, who controls the southwestern Ukraine, did the same thing with his own Security Council (yes, since he has his own army, is also has his own security council).  Tymoshenko wants the introduction of full martial law.  The male population up to 60 is now conscripted (though not called up as far as I know).  Iatseniuk and Poroshenko have both demanded that NATO intervene and accept the Ukraine as some special ally.  In other words, all the signs are of total complete and utter panic in Kiev.

Political situation

Russia: Putin met with Poroshenko and the EU leaders and delivered them a very simple yet stark message: "don't talk to us, we are not a party to the conflict - talk to the Novorussians".  By the way, the Kremlin now openly speaks of "Novorussian" and "Novorussian forces".  Furthermore, the Russians are also officially sending in a second aid convoy and they have announced that this will not be the only one.  In the UN Security Council the Russian Representative, Vitalii Churkin, has dared the Ukie Rep to explain where the recording of the conversations between the Kiev ATC and MH17 were hidden and why.  With the Fall rapidly arriving, the EU has pushed Kiev to renew gas negotiations which the Russians have declared "deadlocked".  By all accounts, the "Voentorg" (a Russian contraction meaning "Military Trade", which was the name for the Soviet era building were military gear could be purchased) between Russia and Novorussia has further increased and the Novorussian are now getting more men, including specialists, and more equipment.

Contrary to the predictions of the Putin bashing crowd, the replacement of Strelkov by Zakharchenko was not followed by any "sellout" of Novorussia.  Quite to the contrary, as soon as Zakharchenko took power the Novorussians went on a general offensive.  As for Strelkov himself, he is apparently in good health and is supposed to make a public appearance today in Crimea.  So all that talk about Putin backstabbing Novorussia, him having some kind of deal with Obama, about Strelkov having been eliminated by Putin's Spetsnaz and all the rest of the doom and gloom propaganda of the Putin haters has now clearly shown to be absolute rubbish.  Clearly, some Putin bashers are paid by Russian oligarchs, others are just to dull to understand the sophisticated policy of the Kremlin in the Ukraine.  Whatever may be the case, these shrills are now completely discredited by fact and forced to walk away in shame.

Putin's latest move is nothing short of brilliant.  Think of it: the mothers and wives of Ukie servicemen are demanding that their men be returned to them, the regime in Kiev ignores them, and Putin steps in to agree with them and asks the Novorussians to open humanitarian corridors to allow them to safely leave and go back home.  Thus, he shows more concern for the Ukies than the Ukie regime, he encourages the desertion of Ukie soliders, he minimizes the casualties on all sides, and he deals another death-blow to Ukie morale.  Best of all, he achieves all this by a simple statement written in such a way that nobody can possibly condemn him for anything.  As for the Novorussians, Zakharchenko has already agreed, but on the condition that the Ukies leave behind all their heavy weapons and the ammo for it.  Perfect. Needless to say, the Ukie high command has rejected the offer and ordered the surrounded units to break out guns blazing.  Just imagine how that response feels to the relatives of those stuck in the various "cauldrons"!

The EU: the EU is totally stuck.  Apparently, the chaos in Banderastan combined with the Russian sanctions and the gas crisis is gradually having an effect in the dull brains of the Eurobureaucrats who are coming to realize that they have been at least as stupid as the Ukies and that the US has used them for their own imperial goals.  "Fuck the EU" indeed.  Badly.  The best these hapless bureaucrats could do is to go to Minsk and agree to negotiate with Russia the terms under which the Ukraine would ratify the Agreement with the EU.  Exactly that which Russia had been demanding from Day 1 and which the EU had always been contemptuously rejecting with the arrogant "none of your business" reply.  Now Ashton and a few others had to eat humble pie and kindly ask the Russian to come and talk to them.

The US: Poor Uncle Sam is really looking pathetic, foolish and confused.  The very best the USA can do is to accuse Russia of invading the Ukraine and only threaten more sanctions as Obama has already admitted that the US has no military option in the Ukraine.  To measure the degree of disarray amongst the US Neocons I will just quote from an article written recently by Herbert E. Meyer, former Special Assistant to the Director of Central Intelligence and Vice Chairman of the CIA’s National Intelligence Council during the Reagan Administration, for American Thinker and modestly entitled "How to Solve the Putin Problem".  Here is what this genius came up with:

Since subtlety doesn’t work with Russians, the president and his European counterparts should also make absolutely clear that we have no interest whatever in how these people (the Russian oligarchs) solve their Putin problem. If they can talk good old Vladimir into leaving the Kremlin with full military honors and a 21-gun salute -- that would be fine with us. If Putin is too too stubborn to acknowledge that his career is over, and the only way to get him out of the Kremlin is feet-first, with a bullet hole in the back of his head -- that would also be okay with us.

Nor would we object to a bit of poetic justice.... For instance, if the next time Putin’s flying back to Moscow from yet another visit with his good friends in Cuba, or Venezuela, or Iran, his airplane gets blasted out of the sky by some murky para-military group that somehow, inexplicably, got its hands on a surface-to-air missile
I don't know if Mr. Meyer thinks that Mrs Nuland delivering cookies on the Maidan was the subtlety the Russian did not appreciate or understand, or if his own article is an expression of US subtlety, but he clearly has "Pat Robertson moment" (the latter wanted the US to kill  Hugo Chavez) which just proves that the AngloZionists don't have a diplomacy as such and that magical thinking is a key coping mechanism when that lack of diplomacy becomes obvious.

Where do we go from here?

It' hard to tell.  I think that Oleg Tsarev is right when he says that as soon as the Ukie regime begins collapsing the West will suddenly ask for negotiations.  Zakharchenko in his crucial press conference has clearly indicated that options such as federalization or decentralization are off the table and that nothing short of full independence will do.  Maybe.  Maybe not.  There are plenty of historical examples which show that separatist movements eventually settled for less, often wisely so.  But in this case, we are dealing with several intertwined problems:

a) Geographical: the Ukraine is an artificial country
b) Political: internally the regime in Kiev is Nazi 
c) Geo-strategic: externally the regime in Kiev is a russophobic US puppet
d) Economic: the Ukraine is economically dead

All these factors clearly point to the same conclusion: the Ukraine needs to be broken-up.  This might happen catastrophically - the East going to Novorussia, the South to Kolomoiski, the Center to Poroshenko and the West breaking off completely.  There are some signs that this is already gradually happening.   Furthermore, this is all made worse by the undeniable fact that  the Ukraine is already a failed state and that a seizable minority of the Ukrainian population if formed of truly rabid nationalists.  So right now things don't look too good for any negotiated solution.  Novorussia probably has the potential to rebuild and to become a more or less livable, stable place: most of its industry is in ruins, but it's "human capital", it's people, are very bright and hard working and its political leaders clearly capable people.  But short of some kind of miracle, the rest of the Ukraine is probably going to slouch to towards the kind of mess the USA is so good at leaving behind in places like Libya or Iraq.  Maybe not, maybe the Europeans will finally grow a spine and tell the US to stay out and then try to solve this ugly mess with Russia.  I am not holding my breath, not as long as the current AngloZionist nomenklatura is in power in the EU.

One thing could possibly change this downward spiral: a regime change in Kiev.  I don't mean one replacing Poroshenko by Liashko or Iarosh, but an anti-Nazi insurrection or coup.  I will be honest with you, with kind of terror the SBU and the oligarchs are capable of meting out to the general public, this is not very likely.  But who knows what might happen on a wave of popular discontent?  If the current freaks could be kicked out by halfway sane people and a process of denazification initiated, then maybe something could still be salvaged?  Again, I am not very hopeful.  But let's stick to current events.

Current situation

I would say that things look better right now than ever before.  This is far, far from over, and many things could go wrong but at least at this moment in time things look pretty good.  Short of a sudden reversal, the cities of Lugansk and Donetsk are probably going to be freed from most of the shelling within 10-14 days.  Currently, the Novorussians control the entire border between Russia and Novorussia, which makes the Voentorg much easier.  Zakharchenko and his men seem to be making an excellent job and rumor has it that Strelkov will be back soon in some special capacity.  The Novorussian leadership and the Kremlin are clearly on the same wavelength and there is no reason to suspect an over Russian military intervention.  I am confident that the Black Sea Fleet will do what is needed to keep the Novorussian coast safe so as long as the Ukies are not able to mount a surprise attack from the North, Mariupol will probably fall very soon.  There are increasing reports of partisan movements in Zaporozhie and that, if true, is something very interesting which might begin to affect other areas and cities such as Kharkov and Dnepropetrovsk. I still don't see Novorussian tanks headed for Kiev, but an operational success seems to be in the making right at this moment in time.

I am by character, education and trade a rather cautious person, but today I am cautiously optimistic, at least for Novorussia.

Aug 28, 2014

Central Banks at the Root of Evil

From MarketOracle, Aug 28, 2014
The current bubbles in financial assets -- in equities and bonds of all grades and quality -- raging in every major market across the globe are no accident.
They are a deliberate creation. The intentional results of policy.
Therefore, when they burst, we shouldn't regard the resulting damage as some freak act of nature or other such outcome outside of our control. To reiterate, the carnage will be the very predictable result of some terribly shortsighted decision-making and defective logic.

The Root of Evil

Blame can and should be laid where it belongs: with the central banks.
They were the "experts" who decided to confront the excesses of decades past (which saw borrowing running at roughly 2x the rate of real economic growth) with even easier monetary policies designed to spur even more borrowing.
Rather than take stock of the simple fact that nobody can forever borrow at a faster rate than their income is growing (no matter how large that entity may be), the Fed, the ECB, the BoJ and the BoE have conveniently overlooked that simple fact and then boldly claimed that the cure is identical to the disease.  If the problem is debt then the solution is even more debt.
If the Fed, et al. were doctors, they would prescribe alcohol to the alcoholic. They would administer more lead to the lead-poisoned patient. They would call for more water to put in the pool where a drowning individual is floundering.
The bottom line is that the Fed and its ilk made the disastrous decisions that gave us the first two burst bubbles of the new millennium. And the wonder of it all is that, instead of being met at the gates with torches and pitchforks and held to account for their errors, they have instead been granted even greater powers, less oversight, and practically zero blame.
And now they’ve given us a third and, I suspect, final bubble. By which I mean I think the effects of this bursting bubble will be so horrendous that a hundred years might pass before people will again be in the mood to speculate on fantasy wealth.
My hope is that, when this third bubble pops, the figurative (and, perhaps, literal?) torches and pitchforks come out. Finally forcing the central banks to answer to the public for their grievously poor decisions.
And yes, the investing public also bears a portion of the responsibility for playing along with the central banks. For years, some have consoled themselves with stories about how This Time Is Different, and many have ignored many obvious warning signs as they've enjoyed stock market and bond gains fueled by seemingly limitless liquidity.  
But in the end, it's the central banks that  set the tempo and the melody at the dance hall.  When they flood the world with liquidity and set interest rates to 0%, they enforce a Hobbesian choice: either play along in the risk markets, or sit in cash earning less than nothing as inflation eats away at your purchasing power.
The central banks are entirely to blame for mis-pricing money and that is the fundamental error that drives every bubble and betrays capital into hopeless investments.
So let’s all remember to place blame where it is due when the bubble bursts. We shouldn't act surprised because there’s really no honor in being caught unawares by something so obvious.

The Biggest Bubble(s) Of All Time

We’ve covered the equity bubble in the past, but today we’re going to cover the bond bubbles (yes, plural) because the current excess in the bond market is the granddaddy of them all, and is far larger than anything ever recorded in history by a very wide margin.
But for the sake of completeness, regarding equities, if you ever wanted to get the willies about the stock market in a single chart, I think this one from Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives which plots the relationship between equity prices and margin debt is about as good as it gets:
Margin debt is simply money borrowed to buy equities.  Typically speaking, an average investor with $100,000 in an account can buy up to $150,000 worth of stock. Margin debt is fuel to a rising market and a lead anchor for a falling market. 
Yes, perhaps this time is different, or perhaps it’s exactly the same with speculators borrowing more and more as stock prices rise, sure in the knowledge that they will be smart enough to get out of the way of a falling market (this time).
But, enough of material we've covered here recently. Back to bonds.
When the bond bubble bursts, so much that people believe to be true will be revealed to be obvious and distressingly ordinary illusions.
When there’s simply too much debt, in the period leading up to a debt bubble's bursting, everyone is counting on getting paid his or her money back, both the interest and the principal. After the bubble bursts, it’s plainly obvious that no such thing will be happening.
As is always the case with bubbles (of any sort), the only important question that needs to be answered is: Who will take the losses?
One simple answer to that question is: Whoever is holding the bonds when the bubble bursts.
Bubbles are structured like a game of hot potato. When the timer finally dings, the person holding the potato loses. It doesn’t matter one whit whether the 'hot potato' was a tulip bulb, swamp land, a house in Las Vegas, or a paper financial security.
The really striking part about the global bond markets today is that the potatoes have never been more numerous, or hotter.
I suppose this would be a good time to revisit how Einstein defined insanity: trying the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
Unfortunately for those hoping for a different outcome, history is 100% consistent on the matter: Bubbles always burst. And when they do, what people thought was fabulous wealth is proven illusory, and it simply vanishes.
Not that this clear historical record is keeping humans from trying to cheat the odds.
Given that the Fed has engineered three increasingly larger bubbles within an unprecedentedly-short fifteen-year time span, perhaps we shouldn't persecute them. After all, they may easily be able to plead 'not guilty' by reason of insanity.

$100 trillion – is that a lot?

We frequently throw around big numbers in our analysis. We even try to explain them in terms that help us mentally grasp an appreciation of their enormity (watch the video How Much Is A Trillion?, as an example). But the size of the bond market across the developed world defies even our best efforts.
After all, if $1 trillion dollars is a stack of $1,000 bills 68 miles high, then I guess $100 trillion would be a stack 6,800 miles high:
Mar 9, 2014
The amount of debt globally has soared more than 40 percent to $100 trillion since the first signs of the financial crisis as governments borrowed to pull their economies out of recession and companies took advantage of record lowinterest rates, according to theBank for International Settlements.
The $30 trillion increase from $70 trillion between mid-2007 and mid-2013 compares with a $3.86 trillion decline in the value ofequitiesto $53.8 trillion in the same period, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
The jump in debt as measured by the Basel,Switzerland-based BISin its quarterly review is almost twice the U.S.’sgross domestic product.
Note that global debt climbed by $30 trillion between 2007 and 2013, a 42% increase while global equities actually declined a few trillion (to $54 trillion), yielding a global debt-to-equity ratio of almost 2. [Note: Global equities are now valued at $66 trillion and are pouring on almost $1 trillion/week lately. Of course, they have a habit of going down, from time to time, even more quickly than they rise.  Something that is easy to forget in today's environment]
So, a 42% increase in just 6 years. Did global GDP advance by 42% during this same period? No. Not even close.
Did private companies borrow all that money planning to plow back into productive enterprises? Nope. Companies borrowed relatively little of $30 trillion, and even then, they mainly used that newly-borrowed money to buy back shares and/or stash it on their balance sheets.
Who did borrow all that money then?
Why, nations did. Sovereign entities that were desperate to keep things afloat and borrow heavily (because private concerns weren't able to take on new debt fast enough). 
Why? Because the world's debt pile must keep expanding. That's the world we live in today. If the pile should start to contract, the game of Who Will Take The Losses? begins. And governments know (sometimes consciously, sometimes subconsciously) that the debt bubble has become so monstrous, and so interconnected globally, that even a moderate correction will wipe out so many players that the world financial system will be brought to its knees. Or worse.

ANNE WILLIAMSON AGAIN: ON RUSSIA AND GERMANY

From J. Farrel 
I had such a response to my previous posting of an article by Anne Williamson, that I had to share this one, because it contains three statements that have echoed some of my own intuitions about the emerging long term geopolitical situation vis-a-vis Russia and Germany, and it also contains a final bombshell. Here’s the article:
Now let’s take note of the first interesting analysis from Ms. Williamson, which occurs in this set of statements right at the very beginning of her article:
“In 2009, Poland and Sweden, ever attentive to the US’s geostrategic goals of isolating Russia and gaining control of China thereafter, initiated the Eastern Partnership program, which its sponsors said was intended to tighten ties with former Soviet Republics, such as Moldova, Armenia, Kyrgyzstan, and Ukraine.  A trade pact is a part of the Partnership’s Association Agreement (AA) deal.”(emphasis added)
Note the implication of her remarks, for what she is clearly implying is something we touched on earlier this past week, and that is the long-term American strategy for dealing with China. You’ll recall that I blogged about the article by Mr. Mearsheimer that appeared in the CFR journal Foreign Policy. You’ll recall that Mearsheimer maintained that the American strategy is counter-intuitive, and that no one – neither Berlin, Brussels, Washington, nor Moscow – stood to gain from the current posture regarding the Ukraine or Russian sanctions. As I also indicated, however, the Russians in general, and Mr. Putin and his advisors in particular, are keenly aware of any attempt by the West to dominate Russia (even those that might be coming in the form of an olive branch in the CFR’s journal!). You’ll recall that Mr. Mearheimer’s ultimate long term concern was that Russia could play a pivotal role in the West’s attempt to hedge in the rising power of China, and hence it was essential to mend the badly battered relationships between Russia and the West.
But Ms.Williamson is suggesting something different, though similar: the Ukrainian fiasco is less about isolating Russia, but rather, making that nation subservient to the West’s long term geopolitical agenda, which is precisely to hedge in China’s growing power and influence. In other words, it is not a difference of agendas that distinguish hers and Mearsheimer’s articles, but rather only the method by which to do so: force Russia to compliance, versus having it as a voluntary partner.
The second “bombshell” contained in the article concerns the EU in general, and Germany in particular:
“Fast forward to 21 February 2014, the day of the Yanukovich government’s violent ouster.  Earlier that day, Germany, France and Poland had brokered a compromise agreement between the elected Ukrainian government and the protestors’ spokesmen.  Having already agreed and executed much of the protestors’ agenda, the pre-2004 Ukrainian constitution was to be restored and Yanukovich, in turn, would stay in the diminished office of the presidency until new elections could be organized.
“Within 12 hours of the agreement’s signing, dozens of corpses of demonstrators and police killed by sniper fire were reported in the Maidan.  On Saturday, in an un-constitutional procedure the Ukrainian parliament impeached Yanukovich, who then fled to Russia in fear of his life.
The Russian Foreign Ministry Russian Foreign Ministry observed that the Friday agreement was used “with the tacit consent of its external sponsors” as a “cover to promote the script of a forced change of power in Ukraine.”  In other words, the Russians smelled a high-stakes trick.
Trick it may or may not have been, but Ms. Williamson is also reading the same economic and therefore geopolitical realities in Europe that we have expressed previously on this site, Germany’s position within the tapestry of the EU and the NATO alliance may not be as secure and pat a matter as western planners wish:
“If so, then what explains Germany’s support of the US lead?  Since Russia supplies a third of the gas for Germany’s economy, risking Russia’s alienation seems unwise.
“The cat western media doesn’t let out of the bag is the fact that Germany has a full tank of gas, and there’s plenty more from where that came from.

Aug 27, 2014

Will the US succeed in breaking Russia to maintain dollar hegemony?

From CliveMaund, August 25th, 2014

In Why they are making an enemy of Russia? we looked at two of the key reasons why the US is making an enemy of Russia, namely the promotion of conflict by the powerful Defense industry lobby in order to keep its order books full, and the value of conjuring up an external enemy as a hate figure for the masses, in order to take the heat off the government. In this article we are going to look at what is arguably an even bigger reason, that was largely omitted in the earlier article, which is that Russia, in alliance with China, is threatening to bring an end to the dollar as the global reserve currency, which would mean the end of the American empire.

We are witness to the greatest struggle of our age – the battle to maintain global dollar hegemony, and with it US economic, military and political dominance of the entire planet – and this struggle is now coming to a head.

Notwithstanding its undeniably great accomplishments of the past hundred years, the relationship of the United States to the rest of the world is parasitic. This is because it creates money and debt instruments out of nothing, requiring virtually no effort, which it then swaps for goods and services with other countries. Because the US dollar is the global reserve currency, it is able to rack up astronomic deficits that would be untenable for any other country. US debts are now at such levels that if the US dollar loses its reserve currency status, the United States economy will implode and it will quickly be reduced to the status of a banana republic – hence the sense of urgency in the face of growing threats.

Any state that moves to opt out of using the dollar as a medium of exchange is dealt with, forcibly if deemed necessary. The tactics are threefold – economic blockade (sanctions), the funding of an internal revolution, perhaps assisted by US special forces, and an outright military invasion, or perhaps a combination of the three. This is what happened in Iraq and Libya, both of which planned to trade their oil in currencies other than the dollar. Perhaps the greatest irony of all is that the world’s savings, via the Treasury market, are used to fund the vast US military machine with its hundreds of bases spread across the world which forcibly makes sure they stay yoked to this system.

Justice Department Confirms Lost IRS Emails Are Stored On Backup Drives

by Mac Slavo, SHTFPlan:
 For weeks the IRS and Obama Administration told the American people a carefully crafted narrative regarding the whereabouts of emails containing information surrounding the targeting of specific groups and individuals based on their political party. The Obama administration vehemently denied that such targeting had taken place or that they had any involvement whatsoever. For their part, IRS heads testified that the thousands of emails belonging to director Lois Lerner, who headed the IRS Exempt Organizations Unit, simply disappeared when her hard drive was thrown away.
Most Americans simply couldn’t believe it. How could an agency that deals with billions of pages worth of tax returns simply lose emails, especially from a department head? Moreover, how is it possible that these emails were not backed up somewhere?