LOL, this episode is brilliant!
LOL, this episode is brilliant!
Godfathers all over the place. We have a wannabe in the White House who wants to muscle in on Russian territory… u know, Putin’s puppet. 😉
THIS IS A COMPLETELY FREE NEW ARTICLE ONLADA RAY PATREON!
JUST IN TIME FOR UKRAINE PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS!
IF YOU THOUGHT IT WAS CRAZY BEFORE…
Back in 2014-15 on FT I dubbed what was happening under Poroshenko and the junta the Crazy Asylum called Ukraine. But this is already a whole new level!
I previously mentioned that Zelensky is financed by oligarch Kolomoysky, who has a big score to settle with Poroshenko. Therefore, Zelensky is a puppet, but he is also a very talented actor. If people think that if he is a good actor, he can also be a good president… I don’t know, perhaps they are thinking of Reagan… Even a stick fires once in a lifetime, as they say. I don’t know if it can fire twice though…
Many analysts still feel Poroshenko will falsify elections. But what Zelensky definitely has going for him is that…
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Today we’re continuing our new weekly feature, where each Friday we highlight a number of often bizarre stories from around the world that we’re closely following.
When it comes to business, this story pretty much sums up how far the Land of the Free has fallen from its free-wheeling economic golden age.
We’ve covered a number of stories over the years of cops shutting down lemonade stands, and teens being stopped from mowing lawns and shoveling driveways because they don’t have proper licenses and permits.
In this case, two children (ages 7 and 8) had their lemonade stand shut down by local police because they lacked a ‘Peddler’s Permit’, along with approval from the health department, and who knows how many other government permissions.
Some politicians saw this story and decided to pass a law making it legal for children to operate lemonade stands.
On one hand, great news. On the other, it’s pretty sad that a state legislature actually had to pass a law to make this legal.
Amazon has been rolling out cashierless stores.
You simply walk in to an “Amazon Go” store, scan the app, grab what you want off the shelf, and walk out. Cameras and sensors throughout the store charge you automatically for whatever you take.
But you can’t use cash at the stores. And that has ruffled the feathers of one San Francisco politician who thinks that is discriminatory against people who cannot get credit or open bank accounts.
She wants to force all stores to accept cash, and keep cashiers available to accept cash.
Which sort of defeats the entire purpose of the cashierless business model… and adds back a bunch of unnecessary costs.
But “They can afford it,” the politician says.
What do you think is more traumatic for a child:
I’m going to have to say option B is worse for the child. But that is exactly what happened, all because his parents ignored a doctor’s advice to take their toddler with a fever to the emergency room.
The doctor coordinated with the hospital, and when the family didn’t show up, called the Department of Child Safety. A few hours later, the SWAT team raided the home, and kidnapped the children.
Now the parents have been separated from their children for a month, and could wait months more until they know if the state will allow them to have their children back.
If your most basic parenting rights depend on the whims of the state, they’re no longer rights.
A 78 year old veteran spent a year and a half in federal prison for the heinous crime of digging holes in his own backyard.
The man lived in an area prone to forest fires, so he thought it would be a good idea to dig a few small ponds in his backyard.
According to the EPA, his big mistake was digging in proximity to a “navigable waterway” on the edge of his property, a violation of the Clean Water Act.
Not that anyone knows the first thing about countless vagaries of the Clean Water Act. But as they say, ignorance of the law is not an excuse.
So the man was arrested, charged, convicted, and sentenced. He served his time and has unfortunately passed away.
His widow has now asked the Supreme Court to review the case.
I don’t seem to remember anyone from the EPA going to prison for spilling millions of gallons of toxic water into rivers in Colorado, New Mexico and Utah.
In fact, the agency even refused to pay the $1.2 billion in damages demanded by affected farmers, homeowners, and rafting companies.
So we’re definitely following this one closely.
VPNs (Virtual Private Networks) are an important part of digital security and privacy; they provide a way to reroute your Internet traffic in a secure way to prevent hacking and monitoring by governments.
People in places like China and Russia use VPNs all the time to beat Internet censorship.
But now Russia is demanding that VPN companies comply with their censorship within 30 days, and help the government block certain websites.
Many of the most popular VPNs say they will refuse to comply, and some have removed their servers from the country, taking them out of reach of Russian authorities.
And that’s the great thing about the Internet: physical borders cannot stop the flow of information. Now it’s just an arms race to who can build the best technology: the censors or the censored.
By MK Bhadrakumar
March 28, 2019 “Information Clearing House” – The Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharovaacknowledged in Moscow on Tuesday that Russian “specialists” are indeed in Venezuela within the ambit of a 2001 military-technical cooperation agreement with Caracas. Zakharova underscored that Russia’s bilateral military cooperation with Venezuela is in accordance with the latter’s constitution and has legal underpinning, which “doesn’t require any additional approval from the (opposition-controlled) National Assembly of Venezuela.”
This followed media reports that two Russian air force planes landed at Caracas on Saturday carrying Vasily Tonkoshkurov, chief of staff of the ground forces with nearly 100 military personnel and some 35 tonnes of material. An unnamed official at the Russian embassy in Caracas told the Sputnik that the Russian personnel had arrived to “exchange consultations. Russia has various contracts that are in the process of being fulfilled, contracts of a technical-military character.”
Zakharova’s remarks came a day after Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov received a phone call from the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on March 25. The Russian readout said Pompeo was “interested in certain issues related to the developments in Venezuela.” It added:
“Sergey Lavrov emphasised that Washington’s attempts to organise a coup d’etat in Venezuela and threats to its legitimate government are a violation of the UN Charter and blatant interference in the domestic affairs of a sovereign state… After stating principal differences in Russian and US positions, the officials agreed to stay in touch and continue to exchange assessments.”
The state department readout, however, claimed that Pompeo warned Russia “to cease its unconstructive behavior” in Venezuela” and that Washington and its regional allies “will not stand idly by as Russia exacerbates tensions.” It also said Pompeo accused Russia of “continued insertion … to support the illegitimate regime of Nicolas Maduro in Venezuela [which] risks prolonging the suffering of the Venezuelan people who overwhelmingly support interim President Juan Guaido”.
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Meanwhile, on Monday and Tuesday, in a series of tweets, US national security advisor John Bolton vent anger and frustration:
“Maduro has lost the support of the Venezuelan people, so he’s relying on Cuban and Russian support to usurp democracy and repress innocent civilians… Rather than sending nuclear-capable bombers and special forces to prop up a corrupt dictator, Russia should work with the international community to support the Venezuelan people. The United States will not tolerate hostile foreign military powers meddling with the Western Hemisphere’s shared goals of democracy, security, and the rule of law… Maduro asks for Cuban and Russian goons to suppress the people of Venezuela.”
With these developments, the crisis situation around Venezuela may deem to have acquired a New Cold War dimension to it.
Clearly, Moscow has weighed the pros and cons of the Venezuelan situation and has decided to be unapologetic about its support for the Maduro government. Despite the US outbursts, Moscow is showing no signs of backing off, either.
The big question ahead is whether Russia is climbing the escalation ladder. Indeed, the stepping up of the military-technical cooperation stems from the assessment in Moscow that the desperate US attempts to engineer / sponsor a military coup in Caracas aren’t getting anywhere.
Meanwhile, President Nicolas Maduro announced in an interview with the Russian state television today that “a high-level working session on intergovernmental cooperation” between Russia and Venezuela is due to take place in April where “we will sign over 20 documents on cooperation in economy, trade, culture, energy and education.”
Suffice to say, Moscow intends to step up its support for Maduro and is drawing up a plan of action to develop a comprehensive bilateral cooperation program with a medium and long term perspective.
Now, that can only mean that in the Russian assessment, US’ blueprint to overthrow the regime through economic sanctions and other covert actions (such as the sabotage of power supply) and various methods of political and diplomatic pressure (includingillegal confiscation of Venezuelan assets in western banks running into tens of billions of dollars) can be and must be countered.
It is interesting that Cuba, which is rich in experience in countering the US’ coercive policies, is working shoulder to shoulder with Russia in this direction.
From all appearance — so far, at least — a direct US military intervention in Venezuela to forcibly change the regime is not on the cards. Rather, a cold-war era war of attrition appears to be looming ahead. Can Russia sustain the financial and economic burden involved?
But the analogy of the Russian intervention in Syria does not hold good here insofar as Venezuela is potentially a rich country with the world’s largest proven hydrocarbon reserves. Equally, China is also a stakeholder in Venezuela’s economic stability.
On the other hand, it is vitally important for Russia that the US, which aspires to be the number one exporter of oil and gas, does not gain control of the vast Venezuelan reserves, as that would mean an enormous capacity falling into Washington’s hands to manipulate the supply and demand in the world energy market and set the price of oil and gas.
In geopolitical terms, a strong Russian presence in Venezuela becomes a negotiating chip for Moscow in dealing with the growing NATO and American deployments along Russia’s western borders in central and eastern Europe and the Baltic states. That alone makes Venezuela a strategic partner for Russia.
Plainly put, any projection of Russian power in the US’ backyard will at some point sooner rather than later impress upon Washington the imperative need to constructively engage Moscow in dialogue and negotiations, howsoever unpalatable that prospect might be.
In fact, at one point, Zakharaova pointedly touched on the Trump administration’s Munroe Doctrine, asking in an acerbic tone:
“What are they (US) themselves doing in Eastern Hemisphere? Perhaps, they believe that the people of this part of the world will be thankful when Washington wilfully changes their leaders and kills the unwanted ones. Or the US still believes that people are waiting for the Americans to bring democracy to them on the wings of their bombers. Ask Iraqis, Libyans or Serbs about it.”
Zakharova did not explicitly mention Ukraine or the Baltic states and Poland and the Black Sea and the Caucasus, but the implicit meaning is clear: If the US interferes in Russia’s backyard, Moscow reserves the right to retaliate. Period. It is useful to recall that the denouement to the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962 was ultimately on the basis of a reciprocal withdrawal of Russian missiles in Cuba and the American missiles deployed in Turkey.
Pompeo’s phone call to Lavrov suggests that the US is trying to figure out the Russian intentions. Interestingly, the Russian readoutmentioned that Lavrov also brought up Syria and Ukraine during the conversation with Pompeo. Lavrov’s remarks were rather sharp: “He (Lavrov) also stressed that the US’s intention to recognise Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights would lead to a serious violation of international law, impede the Syrian settlement process and aggravate the situation in the Middle East. Speaking about Ukraine, Sergey Lavrov noted that Washington’s playing into the Kiev regime’s hands in torpedoing the Minsk Agreements on the settlement of the intra-Ukrainian conflict was unacceptable.”
Curiously, on the contrary, the US state department readout completely omitted any references to Syria or Ukraine. Evidently, it was too much of a hot potato for Washington to even acknowledge that Lavrov might have drawn a parallel with the US behaviour in the ‘Eastern Hemisphere’, which Russia finds utterly unacceptable.
This article was originally published by “Indian Punchline” –
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Peace and joy
The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Information Clearing House.
Spent my days with a woman unkind
Smoked my stuff and drank all my wine.
Made up my mind to make a new start
Going To California with an aching in my heart.
Someone told me there’s a girl out there
With love in her eyes and flowers in her hair.
Took my chances on a big jet plane
Never let them tell you that they’re all the same.
The sea was red and the sky was grey
Wondered how tomorrow could ever follow today.
The mountains and the canyons started to tremble and shake
As the children of the sun began to awake.
Seems that the wrath of the Gods
Got a punch on the nose and it started to flow;
I think I might be sinking.
Throw me a line if I reach it in time
I’ll meet you up there where the path
Runs straight and high.
To find a queen without a king;
They say she plays guitar and cries and sings.
La la la la
Ride a white mare in the footsteps of dawn
Tryin’ to find a woman who’s never, never, never been born.
Standing on a hill in my mountain of dreams,
Telling myself it’s not as hard, hard, hard as it seems
Check out fellow blogger:
Maximilian Bern had saved up 100,000 German marks for what should have been a modest, but comfortable retirement.
But in 1923, he withdrew every last cent, and spent it all on one purchase: a subway ticket.
He rode around his city one last time before returning home, and locking himself in his home, where he died.
He didn’t kill himself. He starved to death… simply because he could no longer afford food. A single egg at the market would cost millions of marks, more than Maximilian Bern had saved over his entire life.
This was one of the most famous episodes of hyperinflation, certainly in modern history.
In the wake of World War One, Germany (known as the Weimar Republic) was completely broke.
The War to end all Wars had bankrupted them; and on top of losing the war, Germany was forced to make ‘reparation payments’ to the victors, including France, the UK, etc.
That took Germany’s overall war debt to impossible levels. So in a feeble attempt to keep the economy afloat and meet its war debt obligations, the German government printed massive amounts of paper money.
Prior to World War I, one US dollar was worth 4.2 German marks.
By 1923, a single US dollar was worth 4.2 TRILLION marks.
We’ve seen this in our own lifetime in places like Zimbabwe, and now Venezuela.
I remember the first time I went to Venezuela the official exchange rate was four bolivars to the US dollar—and the black market rate was eight to one.
The next time I went it was hundreds, then thousands and then tens of thousands of bolivars to just one US dollar.
Around two years ago when I was in Caracas, I changed a few hundred dollars and received an entire suitcase full of money in return. (I didn’t get to keep the suitcase).
The rate of inflation now in Venezuela was as high as 1.6 million percent last year. It’s difficult to even imagine what that means.
But we’ve all heard these horror stories of hyperinflation. Everyone seems to understand the horrible effects it has on the economy and individuals.
But somehow we’re supposed to believe that a little bit of inflation is somehow good for the economy. I find that absurd.
The Federal Reserve tries to keep the inflation rate between 2% and 3% per year. That might seem like chump change, but it adds up.
Even John Maynard Keynes, whose works underpin the foundation of modern central banking, once wrote:
“By continuing the process of inflation governments can confiscate secretly and unobserved an important part of the wealth of their citizens.”
It’s so subtle because it only steals a little at a time from you, over the course of many years.
But again, over time, it adds up.
As we’ve seen over the last couple decades, wages have not kept pace with inflation. So year after year, the average workers loses a little bit of prosperity.
1-2% per year doesn’t really matter. A decade or two of this, however, really has an impact.
We keep hearing these Bolshevik politicians calling for a Wealth Tax. They obviously fail to realize that a wealth tax already exists. It’s called inflation.
Ironically, Keynes continued to write about inflation, saving, “And while the process [of inflation] impoverishes many, it actually enriches some.”
And that’s true. Back in Germany’s hyperinflation days, there were a handful of sophisticated people who saw the writing on the wall. They knew that the government could never pay its debts, and that they would print money and debase the currency.
These guys set up their investments in a way to actually profit from hyperinflation.
Donald Trump famously referred to himself during the 2016 Presidential campaign as the “King of Debt” because he has been able to profit by borrowing money.
These investors in the Weimar Republic were known as the Kings of Inflation. And Hugo Stinnes was the King of Kings.
Stinnes had positioned himself perfectly for when hyperinflation hit.
He borrowed vast amounts of German marks and poured them into his coal, steel, and shipping companies.
He also kept gold in Switzerland, and made investments in foreign markets.
When hyperinflation hit, Stinnes was able to pay back his debts with the massively devalued German mark.
But Stinnes’ hard assets weren’t affected by the hyperinflation. They held their value. His businesses and investments flourished, making him one of the wealthiest men in the world.
This is just a reminder that, no matter what happens in financial markets or the global economy, there are always winners and losers.