May 312019
 May 31, 2019  Posted by at 9:01 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , ,


Julian Assange Shows Psychological Torture Symptoms – UN Expert (G.)
Julian Assange Must Never Be Extradited (Matt Taibbi)
The Unrelenting State (Craig Murray)
Trump Announces Tariffs On Mexico Until ‘Immigration Problem Remedied’ (G.)
Futures, Peso Tumble As Trump Unleashes Tariffs On Mexico (ZH)
GOP Senator Grassley Blasts Trump Over Mexico Tariff Threat (Hill)
Russiagate Is #1 Threat To US National Security – Stephen Cohen (RT)
Malaysia PM Wants Evidence To Show Russia Shot Down MH17 (FMT)
Boeing Admits It ‘Fell Short’ On Safety Alert For 737 (BBC)
Yield-Curve Spaghetti (WS)
Ted Cruz, AOC Agree To Ban Former Congress Members From Becoming Lobbyists (G.)



Time is ticking away.

Julian Assange Shows Psychological Torture Symptoms – UN Expert (G.)

Julian Assange is showing all the symptoms associated with prolonged exposure to psychological torture and should not be extradited to the US, according to a senior UN expert who visited him in prison. Nils Melzer, UN’s special rapporteur on torture, is expected to make his appeal to the UK government on Friday. It comes after Assange, the co-founder of WikiLeaks, was said by his lawyers to be too ill to appear by video link for the latest court hearing of the case on Thursday. Assange has been moved to the health ward of Belmarsh prison, London, where he has been serving a 50-week sentence for skipping bail while fighting extradition to the US.

He is accused of violating the Espionage Act by publishing secret documents containing the names of confidential US military and diplomatic sources. After meeting Assange earlier this month in the company of medical experts who examined him, Melzer will say on Friday that he fears the Australian’s human rights could be seriously violated if he is extradited to the US and will condemn what he describes as the “deliberate and concerted abuse inflicted for years” on him. “Physically there were ailments but that side of things are being addressed by the prison health service and there was nothing urgent or dangerous in that way,” Melzer said.

“What was worrying was the psychological side and his constant anxiety. It was perceptible that he had a sense of being under threat from everyone. He understood what my function was but it’s more that he was extremely agitated and busy with his own thoughts. It was difficult to have a very structured conversation with him.” [..] The lawyer [..] said that his office had been approached by Assange’s lawyers in December. But he said that he was initially reluctant to do so, admitting he was affected by what he called the “prejudice” around the case.However, he began looking into the case again in March and, earlier this week, wrote letters to the foreign ministers of the US, the UK and Sweden.

“In the course of the past nine years, Mr Assange has been exposed to persistent, progressively severe abuse ranging from systematic judicial persecution and arbitrary confinement in the Ecuadorian embassy, to his oppressive isolation, harassment and surveillance inside the embassy, and from deliberate collective ridicule, insults and humiliation, to open instigation of violence and even repeated calls for his assassination,” Melzer will say on Friday. He added the UK authorities had contacted his Geneva office to indicate that the British government would be issuing a point-by-point rebuttal of the assertions made in his letter. [..] “In 20 years of work with victims of war, violence and political persecution I have never seen a group of democratic states ganging up to deliberately isolate, demonise and abuse a single individual for such a long time and with so little regard for human dignity and the rule of law.”

Read more …

I doubt Orwell ever knew how right he was.

Julian Assange Must Never Be Extradited (Matt Taibbi)

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange today sits in the Belmarsh High Security prison in southeast London. Not just for his sake but for everyone’s, we now have to hope he’s never moved from there to America. The United States filed charges against Assange early last month. The case seemed to have been designed to assuage fears that speech freedoms or the press were being targeted. That specific offense was “computer hacking conspiracy” from back in 2010. The “crime” was absurdly thin, a claim that Assange agreed (but failed, apparently) to try to help Chelsea Manning develop an administrative password that could have helped her conceal identity as she downloaded secrets. One typewritten phrase, “No luck so far,” was the damning piece of evidence.

The troubling parts of that case lurked in the rest of the indictment, which seemed to sell normal journalistic activity as part of the offense. The government complained that Assange “took measures to conceal Manning as the source of the disclosure.” Prosecutors likewise said, “Assange encouraged Manning to provide information and records from departments and agencies of the United States.” The indictment stressed Assange/Manning were seeking “national defense information” that could be “used to the injury of the United States.” The indictment likewise noted that the pair had been guilty of transmitting such information to “any person not entitled to receive it.” It was these passages that made me nervous a month and a half ago, because they seemed to speak to a larger ambition.

Use of phrases like “national defense information” given to persons “not entitled to receive it” gave off a strong whiff of Britain’s Official Secrets Acts, America’s Defense Secrets Act of 1911 (which prohibited “national defense” information going to “those not entitled to receive it”) and our Espionage Act of 1917, which retained many of the same concepts. All of these laws were written in a way that plainly contradicted basic free speech protections. The Espionage Act was revised in 1950 by the McCarran Internal Security Act, sponsored by Nevada Senator Pat McGarran (who incidentally was said to be the inspiration for the corrupt “Senator Pat Geary” character in The Godfather). The change potentially removed a requirement that the person obtaining classified information had to have intent to harm the country.

There was a way to read the new law that criminalized what the Columbia Law Review back in 1973 (during the Pentagon Papers controversy) called the “mere retention” of classified material. This provision buried in subsection 793 of the Espionage Law has, since passage, been a ticking time bomb for journalism. The law seems clearly to permit the government to prosecute anyone who simply obtains or receives “national defense” information. This would place not only sources who steal and deliver such information at risk of prosecution, but also the journalists who receive and publish it. If the government ever decided to start using this tool to successfully prosecute reporters and publishers, we’d pretty quickly have no reporters and publishers.

I’m not exaggerating when I say virtually every reporter who’s ever done national security reporting has at some time or another looked at, or been told, or actually received copies of, “national defense” information they were technically “not entitled to receive.

Read more …

Britain employs torture. What do its own laws say about that?

The Unrelenting State (Craig Murray)

We are seriously worried about the condition of Julian Assange. He was too unwell to appear in court yesterday, and his Swedish lawyer, Per Samuelson, found him in a state where he was unable to conduct a conversation and give instructions. There are very definite physical symptoms, particularly rapid weight loss, and we are not satisfied that genuine and sufficient diagnostic efforts are being made to determine the underlying cause. Julian had been held for the last year in poor, highly confining and increasingly oppressive conditions in the Ecuadorean Embassy and his health was already deteriorating alarmingly before his expulsion and arrest.

A number of conditions, including dental abcesses, can have very serious consequences if long term untreated, and the continual refusal by the British government and latterly the Ecuadoreans to permit him access to adequate healthcare while a political asylee was a callous denial of basic human rights. I confess to feeling an amount of personal relief after his arrest that at least he would now get proper medical treatment. However there now seems to be no intention to provide that and indeed since he has been in Belmarsh his health problems have accelerated. I witnessed enough of the British state’s complicity in torture to know that this may be more than just the consequence of unintended neglect. That the most lucid man I know is now not capable of having a rational conversation is extremely alarming.

There is no rational reason that Assange needs to be kept in a high security facility for terrorists and violent offenders. We are seeing the motive behind his unprecedented lengthy imprisonment for jumping police bail when he entered political asylum. As a convicted prisoner, Assange can be kept in a worse regime than if he were merely on remand for his extradition proceedings. In particular, his access to his lawyers is extremely restricted and for a man facing major legal proceedings in the UK, USA and Sweden it is impossible, even were he healthy, for his lawyers to have sufficient time with him adequately to prepare his cases while he is under the restrictions placed on a convict. Of course we know from the fact that, within three hours of being dragged from the Ecuadorean Embassy, he was already convicted and sentenced to a lengthy prison term, that the state has no intention that his lawyers should be able to prepare.

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It’s like hammering in a nail with a pair of scissors.

Trump Announces Tariffs On Mexico Until ‘Immigration Problem Remedied’ (G.)

In a surprise announcement that could compromise a major trade deal, Donald Trump announced on Thursday that he is slapping a 5% tariff on all Mexican imports to pressure the country to do more to crack down on the surge of Central American migrants trying to cross the border. He said the percentage would gradually increase “until the Illegal Immigration problem is remedied”. Trump made the announcement by tweet after telling reporters earlier Thursday that he was planning “a major statement” that would be his “biggest” so far on the border. “On June 10th, the United States will impose a 5% Tariff on all goods coming into our Country from Mexico, until such time as illegal migrants coming through Mexico, and into our Country, STOP. The Tariff will gradually increase until the Illegal Immigration problem is remedied,” he wrote, “at which time the Tariffs will be removed.”

Mexico’s president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, responded with a two-page letter to Trump on Thursday night. “The Statue of Liberty is not an empty symbol,” he said. “With all due respect, even though you have the right to say it, ‘make America great again’ is a fallacy because, until the end of times, and beyond national borders, universal justice and fraternity should prevail,” he wrote. Amlo, as the president is commonly called, offered his US counterpart history lessons on past periods of cordial US-Mexico relations. He also included details of his plans to develop Central America to stop migration and warned: “I don’t lack courage, I’m not a coward nor timid, rather, I act on principles.”

Read more …

“The only way the S&P 500 doesn’t sink massively today is if Trump rows back on this.”

Futures, Peso Tumble As Trump Unleashes Tariffs On Mexico (ZH)

Update 2: some borderline apocalyptic observations from Bloomberg markets live managing editor, Mark Cudmore who writes the following: “This Mexico tariff news is far worse than even the initial market reaction makes it out to be. The timing is almost immediate. Chaos for both companies and bureaucrats. No time for anyone to prepare or make contingencies. The only way the S&P 500 doesn’t sink massively today is if Trump rows back on this. The U.S. imported almost $350b worth of goods from Mexico in 2018. What makes it even worse again, if possible, is that so many traders were hoping Trump would soon take a more conciliatory trade zone because U.S. stocks have weakened. This is a black swan event for markets and people aren’t even registering. Maybe traders are all hoping there’s some mistake or that this won’t be implemented.”

Update 1: it’s going from bad to worse, with the White House warning that it will hike Mexico tariffs to 25% by October 1, if the border crisis persists, as Trump is activating a scorched earth approach whereby he will “punish” any offshore nation that he believes is transgressing, by imposing tariffs. Meanwhile, moments after Trump’s shock tweet, the Mexican deputy foreign minister Seade said that if President’s threat to impose tariffs is carried out, “it would be disastrous”, and Mexico would “respond strongly”, adding that “we will not remain with out arms folded” before the tariff deadline “to see if it is serious.”

Read more …

“Trade policy and border security are separate issues.”

GOP Senator Grassley Blasts Trump Over Mexico Tariff Threat (Hill)

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) condemned President Trump’s new tariffs on Mexico late Thursday, calling the move a “misuse” of presidential tariff authority and cautioning the levies could derail passage of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). “Trade policy and border security are separate issues. This is a misuse of presidential tariff authority and counter to congressional intent,” Grassley said in a statement. The lawmaker cautioned that following through on Trump’s tariff threat “would seriously jeopardize passage of USMCA,” a revision of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

“I support nearly every one of President Trump’s immigration policies, but this is not one of them,” he added. Trump announced he would impose the tariffs to pressure Mexico to stop the flow of migrants into the U.S. via the southern border. [..] Grassley had previously threatened to derail Trump’s central trade achievement over continued steel and aluminum tariffs. Last week, Trump hinted that he had reached a deal to drop those tariffs, paving the way for the USMCA in the Senate.

Read more …

“This is the worst scandal in American history. It’s the worst, at least, since the Civil War.”

Russiagate Is #1 Threat To US National Security – Stephen Cohen (RT)

The systemwide US Russophobia that reached its nadir with Russiagate has created a “catastrophe” for both domestic politics and foreign relations that threatens the future of the American system, professor Stephen Cohen tells RT. War with Russia could easily break out if the US insists on pursuing the policy of “demonization” that birthed Russiagate instead of returning to detente and cooperation, New York University professor emeritus of Russian history Stephen Cohen argues on Chris Hedges’ On Contact. While NATO deliberately antagonized post-Soviet Russia by expanding up to its borders, the US deployed missile defense systems along those borders after scrapping an arms treaty, leaving President Vladimir Putin devoid of “illusions” about the goodwill of the West – but armed with “nuclear missiles that can evade and elude any missile defense system.”

Cohen believes the conspiracy theory – which remains front-page news in US media despite being thoroughly discredited, both by independent investigators and last month by special counsel Robert Mueller’s report – is the work of the CIA and its former director, John Brennan, who are dead set against any kind of cooperation with Russia. Attorney General William Barr, who is investigating the FBI over how the 2016 counterintelligence probe began, should take a look at Brennan and his agency, Cohen says. “If our intelligence services are off the reservation to the point that they can first try to destroy a presidential candidate and then a president…we need to know it,” Cohen says. “This is the worst scandal in American history. It’s the worst, at least, since the Civil War.” And the damage wrought by this “catastrophe” hasn’t stopped at the US border.

Read more …

“We don’t know why we are excluded from the examination but from the very beginning, we see too much politics in it.”

Malaysia PM Wants Evidence To Show Russia Shot Down MH17 (FMT)

The Malaysian government wants strong evidence to show that Russia is responsible for the Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 tragedy in 2014, said Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad today. He said Malaysia accepted the investigation report of Holland but only up to the point where the plane was brought down by a missile made by Russia. Mahathir said while the government agreed that the plane was brought down by a Russian missile, it cannot be certain that the missile was launched by Russia. “They are accusing Russia but where is the evidence? We know the missile that brought down the plane is a Russian-type missile, but it could also be made in Ukraine. “You need strong evidence to show it was fired by the Russians.

“It could be by the rebels in Ukraine; it could be Ukrainian government because they too have the same missile,” he said during a dialogue and media conference with the Japanese Foreign Correspondents Club (FCCJ) here today. Mahathir said people of Russia are military people and they would know that MH17 is a passenger plane. “I don’t think a very highly disciplined party is responsible for launching the missile,” he said. The prime minister said Malaysia should also be involved in examining the black box as the plane belongs to Malaysia and there were Malaysian passengers. “We may not have the expertise but we can buy the expertise. For some reason, Malaysia was not allowed to check the black box to see what happened.

“We don’t know why we are excluded from the examination but from the very beginning, we see too much politics in it. “The idea was not to find out how this happened but seems to be concentrated on trying to pin it on the Russians. This is not a neutral kind of examination,” said Mahathir. “Had a neutral party examined and made the conclusion, Malaysia is willing to accept the findings but here we have parties with political interests in the matter,” he added.

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Why is the CEO still in office?

Boeing Admits It ‘Fell Short’ On Safety Alert For 737 (BBC)

Boeing has admitted it “fell short” when it failed to implement a safety alert system on the 737 Max. The aircraft was grounded globally in March after two crashes within months. Boeing boss Dennis Muilenburg said a mistake had been made in the software for a cockpit warning light called an “angle-of-attack (AOA) disagree alert”. He said: “We clearly fell short and the implementation of this angle-of-attack disagree alert was a mistake, right, we did not implement it properly.” In an interview with Norah O’Donnell of CBS News he said Boeing was now fixing the problem.

The alert could have notified pilots and maintenance crews that there was a problem early in the flight. One flight safety expert said if there had been an AOA disagree alert on board the Ethiopian airlines flight it “would have been the very first clue” for the pilots that something was wrong. Chris Brady, a pilot and author of The Boeing 737 Technical Guide said: “I’m fairly confident that the Ethiopian Airlines flight probably would not have crashed if they had had the AOA disagree alert” on the aircraft.

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“This is getting pretty nutty, when you think about it.”

Yield-Curve Spaghetti (WS)

On Thursday, the US Treasury yield curve sagged further in the middle, producing an ever more beautiful middle-age sag, so to speak, that first started taking shape late last year. The chart shows the yield curves on seven dates. Each line represents the yields from the 1-month yield on the left to the 30-year yield on the right, on that date. The steep green line coming up from the bottom represents the yields on December 14, 2016, when the Fed got serious about rate hikes — the steep slope, with short-term yields a lot lower than long-term yields, is what a yield curve in normal-ish times is supposed to look like. The beautifully sagging red line represents the yields today, May 30. The entire portion of the yield curve from the 3-year yield through the 10-year yield has now dropped by over 1 percentage point since the peak on November 8, 2018.

Some more standouts: The 3-year yield inched down to 2.00%, the lowest since January 2, 2018, forming the low point of the middle-age sag. On Nov 8, it was at 3.05%. The 10-year yield dipped to 2.22%, lowest since Sep 18, 2017, and below 1-year and shorter maturities; but it remains above the 2-year yield and in this cycle has not inverted with the 2-year yield yet. The 1-month yield ticked up to 2.37%, from 2.35% yesterday, which had been the bottom of its range, and as is to be expected, right in the middle of the Fed’s target range for the federal funds rate (2.25% -2.50%). The 6-month yield had been anchored since late October at round 2.5%, with only slight variations. It now too has dropped out of this range and hit 2.38% over the past two days but ticked up to 2.40% today. The 30-year yield dropped to 2.65%, the lowest since Nov 7, 2016. This is getting pretty nutty, when you think about it.

Read more …

AOC should be focusing all her energy on Assange.

Ted Cruz, AOC Agree To Ban Former Congress Members From Becoming Lobbyists (G.)

A conversation on Twitter has led to an unlikely collaboration between the Republican senator Ted Cruz and the Democratic representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to pass legislation targeting lobbying by former members of Congress. The two lawmakers tweeted support of placing restrictions or a potential lifetime ban on former Congress members becoming lobbyists. The conversation began when Ocasio-Cortez tweeted a study from Public Citizen that found 60% of former Congress members had taken jobs influencing federal policy. “If you are a member of Congress and leave, you shouldn’t be allowed to turn right around and leverage your service for a lobbyist check,” she wrote.

Cruz retweeted Ocasio-Cortez, suggesting bipartisan legislation to fight the Washington political “swamp”. The Republican House representative Chip Roy tweeted that he would help Ocasio-Cortez spearhead the effort. She agreed to create a bipartisan team in the House while Cruz forms one in the Senate to write a ban. [..] Previous efforts to prevent lobbying from former congresspeople have been put forth but not passed, including a 2017 bill co-sponsored by the Republican senator Cory Gardner and the Democratic senators Michael Bennet and Al Franken. Also in 2017, Senator Jon Tester of Montana introduced legislation that would ban lawmakers from lobbying their former colleagues until five years after leaving office, but it failed to gain traction.

Read more …






Home Forums Debt Rattle May 31 2019

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      • Julian Assange Shows Psychological Torture Symptoms – UN Expert (G.) • Julian Assange Must Never Be Extradited (Matt Taibbi) • The Unrelentin
    [See the full post at: Debt Rattle May 31 2019]

    V. Arnold

    It’s such a bloody mess; I doubt we’ll ever get it right…
    But, I guess all we can do is, continue to try to set it aright…

    Dr. D

    “Julian Assange Shows Psychological Torture Symptoms – UN Expert (G.)”

    Not sure what they’re saying here: we already know he’s been extensively tortured. We watched it happen while the UN did nothing. In fact, he’s probably being murdered right now. So…UN planning on doing something? Well, they didn’t even issue a sternly written letter here, so my guess is no.
    Here’s an idea: vote the UK as a terrorist state and major violator of human rights, then take a vote to censure them and boot them out. You know, in lieu of bombing and invading them, which we might vote to do tomorrow. That’ll get their attention. But no: it’s far FAR more important to SIGNAL virtue than to HAVE virtue. PS, where’s Australia? Censure, sanction, and boot them too.

    “we now have to hope he’s never moved from there to America.”

    And great that everybody thinks charges = conviction. There is no presumption of innocence, or that a man, once charged, even MIGHT, even COULD, be found innocent and set free. Maybe we should discuss why that is so deeply ingrained they can’t see the fishbowl. In my world, you’re just as likely to be found innocent as guilty, because if the government charges you, you probably ARE innocent, not guilty. Join with the sound of inevitability, Mr. Anderson! Don’t bother using the 50,000 tactics at your disposal to actually get things done, like Monsanto plaintiffs or Judicial Watch does, you’re small and helpless. You outnumber the government 170:1, any State Attorney General can bring them to heel, they already can’t enforce federal laws nationwide, but we’re helpless and have no leverage. Might as well surrender now.

    So the Supreme Court upheld the Pentagon Papers and nothing’s changed now; so why do you think they would lose and not win? Wishful thinking? If you’re a helpless loser, you don’t have to do anything, you can have “peace in our time” and not “if trouble must come, let it, the mortal fight, come in my time”? Apparently. You can shut down the government in 6 hours with a tax strike. The states can stop cooperating until the law is re-established—we already know they can, since they do it to protect NON-citizens, while they utterly refuse to protect NATURAL citizens. But it’s your Republic, ma’am, if you can keep it.

    Oh and PS, this is what always, always, always, always, always, always, always, always, always, always, always, always, always, always, always, happens when government gets large. But wait! We’ll make it larger and give it MORE power to stop it! Yes!!! Social Democracy, that’s the ticket! A ticket to “The Unrelenting State (Craig Murray)”

    “The only way the S&P 500 doesn’t sink massively today is if Trump rows back on this.”

    They’re hilarious. The only way it could sink is if we actually had markets. We don’t. Trump will tell Mnuchin to click a mouse, then go have coffee for 6 hours. Traders will cheer and buy buy buy.

    Well, good for returning jobs, I guess. We’ll need them since sanctioning the whole planet means we’re cutting ourselves off from the world. Good for the world? Good for us? I would think people would be happy, but you can’t satisfy anyone these days.

    “Trade policy and border security are separate issues.”

    Perhaps, but any attempt to even discuss non-open borders, say the DACA he already offered, increasing immigration, but legally, have been rejected out of hand. Congress won’t negiate, nobody’s doing nothing. So when 100,000 foreigners enter your nation monthly, say 1,000,000/year, what would you call that? And they’re mad we didn’t build 5-10 new cities to house them, such racists as we take 1M legally and probably half that illegally — almost entirely their vaunted “POC” — without fretting too much. But it’s never enough.

    Let me put this another way: A Chinese general said if he fought the United States, he’d put a million men on the field….and have them surrender. Then he’d take a million MORE men…and have THEM surrender. The system would be choked, the U.S. by their own morals wouldn’t shoot them. The nation would be overrun and collapse as 2M men would escape and overtake from within. For whatever reason – intentional or unintentional — that’s exactly what’s happening now. 6 states have less than 1M population. You are adding a new state, every year, for what’s probably 25 years now. Nobody really said nothing. We weren’t making a big deal. We’re tolerant, but even the U.S. has limits. 25 new states since Reagan’s amnesty? A new (democratic-voting) U.S. city every 30 days? Can you see why this is a crisis? They are each and all citizens of their own countries. Why aren’t they home, working and improving things there?

    “Cohen believes the conspiracy theory – which remains front-page news in US media despite being thoroughly discredited”

    Nope. When I say something, sourced in wikipedia, like say Project Northwoods or Gulf of Tonkin, a thing where you can look up the documents in the federal register under FOIA, it’s still not true. When they keep saying something their own FBI special investigator says did NOT happen, it’s NOT a tinfoil-hat-wearing, spittle-flecked, stark raving nonsense. Because we only believe our own side. What’s true is whatever I think it is, a minute ago, without evidence, because there is no objective reality, there is no #logos. When everyone on Twitter agrees because billionaire oligarch Jack Dorsey prints and promotes it, how can that be wrong? Isn’t reality decided by popularity, by democratic mob vote? They are the Church of Karl Rove: “We create our own reality now…” How’d that work out for them?

    “Malaysia PM Wants Evidence to Show Russia Shot Down MH17 (FMT)”

    So do we all. Malaysia also said they plan to buy all the Huawei they can. Sounds like they need some #Freedom! Expect ISIS and Boko Haram to appear there tomorrow.

    “Why is the CEO still in office?”

    Because when you print phony shares in DTCC “failures to deliver” you also can create fake voters for fake corporate voting rights. So all you need to do to lie, cheat, and prosper is to control the system. Taser had a vote where twice as many people voted as there were shares outstanding. No one batted an eye. They all know, they don’t care, because they think fraud will get them money instead of getting them irreversibly down the road to h-ll. Y’all want money? Wait until our hyperinflation and repudiation, you’re going to get it good and hard.

    What? How can that happen?

    “Yield-Curve Spaghetti (WS)”

    It can happen when deep yield curve inversions guarantee a wicked recession while you’re all hyper-leveraged and the Fed is long since out of ammo. Duh.

    John Day
    Trump has talked rightly about war being the last thing he wants and has broached the idea of a bilateral negotiation with Tehran on issues of concern. Establishing more communication nodes with the Iranians is the correct approach.
    ​More weapons in the hands of the Saudis, however, sends Iran the opposite message—that the United States is only interested in talking if the topic is full surrender. And if Iran remains resistant to the idea, Washington will sell munitions to its adversaries until it‘s ready to sign off like the Japanese in 1945…
    ​ ​It’s not too late for President Trump to reverse a potentially calamitous decision. For the good of America’s security, one hopes he has second thoughts and recognizes that the U.S. and Saudi Arabia don’t always align.

    Trump’s Decision to Arm the Saudis Against Iran Will End in Disaster

    ​Russia won’t send Iran S-400 anti-aircraft missiles right now. (I suspect there had to be some price for the US/Israel to pay for this, like promising Vladimir they won’t launch massive air attacks.)​

    Trump called political financier/fixer, Sheldon Adelson a few days ago about Bolton running his own war policy…
    ​ ​In perhaps the best sign thus far that a potential US war with Iran has been averted (at least for the near term), given the possibility that both heightened saber-rattling and the potential for an “accidental” deadly encounter between IRGC forces and the recent build-up of American deployments could have led to a major conflict, White House National Security Adviser John Bolton himself appears to now be fast climbing down the escalation ladder.
    ​ ​According to Reuters on Thursday Bolton is singing a different tune compared to the war rhetoric of the past weeks since the crisis began: “The threat from Iran is not over but quick action from the United States has helped deter it.”

    ​Mike Pompeo and Jared Kushner are participating in highly secretive Bilderberg meeting of global power elites this week. (shhh…)

    Nixon/Kissinger/Butz weaponized global staple food production against families, nations and farmers.
    ​ ​Archaeology, history and anthropology have been largely neglected in discussions on climate change and agricultural sustainability. However, our past contains a rich, diverse, and global dataset resulting from the successes and failures of numerous societies and their interactions with the environment.
    ​ ​This research provides an important source of information on food security and agricultural development over a much longer period than current studies allow and under a range of different challenges.
    ​ ​The memory of agriculture and food is carried by landscapes, seeds, animals, people, and technologies, as well as by oral traditions, languages, arts, rituals, culinary traditions, and unique forms of social organisation.
    ​ ​In many regions around the world landscapes and agricultural systems have developed often distinctive, ingenious practices that have stood the test of time in their robustness and resilience…
    ​ ​Of Earth’s estimated 400,000 plant species, 300,000 are edible, yet humans cultivate only around 150 species globally, and half of our plant-sourced protein and calories come from just three: maize, rice and wheat.

    Agricultural Memory and Sustainability


    The execution of the details will be interesting.

    There is a lot of trucking of “stuff” that goes to Canada from Mexico.

    I wonder if these tariffs will delay the ratification of USMCA trade deal?

    The stock markets are taking a big hit. I guess the experts are the winners.


    Dr D. asked,

    PS, where’s Australia? Censure, sanction, and boot them too.

    Australia is where it has been for far too long: taking orders from Washington. We now have a new Prime Minister who lets it be known that he is a Christian. Maybe we’ll see some love and compassion coming from him, although I strongly doubt it.

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