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Here Are BofA's "Trades Of The Unexpected" For June, The "Event Risk Month"

Zerohedge - Sat, 05/28/2016 - 16:17

Courtesy of BofA, Michael Hartnett, this is where we are now, or as the author puts it, "The Nut":

  • 2016 total returns YTD are gold 15.0%, commodities 14.0%, bonds 5.9%, stocks 1.7%, and for the US dollar -3.3%.
  • Note how a “barbell” of inflation assets (e.g. commodities, energy, Petrobras) and deflation assets (e.g. bonds, utilities, Facebook) simultaneously outperforming.
  • We believe “positioning” & “policy” are driving “grind higher”: in a world full of bearish investors & desperate central bankers “pain trade” for risk assets is up.
  • But cyclical upside modest in a world where deflation from tech disruption, aging demographics, excess debt thwarting stimulus of astonishingly low interest rates.
  • And excess asset valuations (driven by ZIRP & NIRP) mean GDP/EPS upgrades required for big upside; we don’t see it, but cautious positioning limits downside.
  • Our AA thus continues to anticipate volatile, single-digit asset returns, and remains skewed toward long volatility, long gold, long stocks>bonds, long DM>EM, long IG>HY, long Main Street, short Wall Street.
  • And barbell strategies recommended (e.g. long Best of Breed stocks & long EM debt) in anticipation of inflationary policy shifts to fight a War on Inequality.

All that is in the past however, with the last trading days of May coming up in the coming week for all those who wish to "sell in May and go away", because as we look at the future, Hartnett points out that June is the "event risk month" with FOMC on 15th, BoJ on 16th & UK BREXIT referendum on 23rd.

More importantly, the BofA strategist also lays out the key breakout and breakdown catalysts, as well as the bullish and bearish "trades of the unexpected":

In the run-up to June, financial markets continue to be trapped within multi-month trading ranges: GT5 1.2-1.8%, DXY 92-100, ACWI 380-440, SPX 1850-2100, VIX 12-20. So what are the catalysts & “trades of the unexpected” should risk assets finally breakout or breakdown?

Breakout bull catalysts:

  • Bear capitulation: consensus is bearish, FMS cash levels high, our Global Flow Trading Rule once again super-close to a “buy-signal” (and unlike in January, this time we are closer to “ceiling” rather than “floor” of the trading range in risk).
  • Strong macro: if recovery in credit & commodity markets (oil>$50b, US & European high-yield bonds close to all-time highs) & stonking April US new home sales followed by rising PMI’s (e.g. US ISM>53) & retail sales, then investors can return to bullish narrative of “higher rates & rising EPS” (Chart 2).
  • Helicopters: BoJ in Japan, Riksbank in Sweden, SNB in Switzerland hint at future use of “helicopter money”.

Bull Trades of the Unexpected:

New highs in S&P500 and, more important, US high yield (H0A0) best played via selling calls on gold or shorting VIX futures; best contrarian risk-on trades (based on FMS) are long UK, Japan, banks (see Chart 3), tech & industrial

Should Japan go “all-in” by announcing a permanent increase in the money stock to finance fiscal stimulus traders should play the weaker Japanese yen via long TPX, short KOSPI, long inflation assets e.g. TIPS but not EM given likely resumption of China renminbi depreciation fears (and CNH depreciating once again – Chart 4).

* * *

What about on the bearish side? Here are BofA's breakdown bear catalysts:

  • China: renewed renminbi depreciation validated by sub-50 China May PMI indicating that China’s Q1 stimulus has failed (note BofAML’s China-ACT index, our gauge of Chinese activity decelerated in April).
  • Fed hates Profits: Fed in June is more hawkish than expected despite weak global profit growth (trailing 12m = -8% YoY); overvalued asset prices forced to correct.
  • Politics: rising political risk premia as electorates demand more extremist policies cause volatility tremors, already witnessed this year in the British pound & more recently the Mexican peso, to become more frequent and stronger; the symbolism of BREXIT, a vote for regime change in the absence of recession, would force risk premia dramatically higher.

* * *

Bear Trades of the Unexpected:

  • Trading a hawkish Fed will depend on the reaction of yield curve: flatter yield curve = deflation trades = long defensives, short EM equities & resources; a hawkish Fed is US dollar positive and boosts long Main Street, short Wall Street trades, e.g. long KRX, short XBD.
  • Should the UK vote for BREXIT our European strategists expect GBPUSD to sell off to 1.25 and the FTSE index to fall 15%; in addition, long gold, short peripheral European debt/banks, would work as investors discount FX wars & euro breakup.

Why TRUMP is good for USD and FX

Zerohedge - Sat, 05/28/2016 - 16:03

Donald Trump is good for the markets, and good for the US Dollar.  Donald Trump - is net positive for FX.  The reason why, is very simple.  Readers of Splitting Pennies would have come to this conclusion on their own.  Love or hate Trump, he's not a politician.  Some say, he's worse than a politician.  But he's not a career politician.  The Dud-Fag act (The Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (Pub.L. 111–203H.R. 4173; commonly referred to as Dud-Fag) put a choke hold on the budding FX market in USA.  While the regulations stopped rampant fraud, they also extinguished legitimate FX businesses, leaving an FX black hole in USA.  And so it's no wonder that less than half of US listed public companies hedge their FX exposure.  But what's a few billion off the balance sheet of a public company to investors, it's not even a 'rounding error.'  Checkout the latest disaster from PVH.  Critics of Trump, they are both mostly establishment trash, and brainwashed TV watchers who will believe anything the MSM tells them.  And Trump clearly, does not have the support of the mainstream establishment.  Trump doesn't know what is a Bilderberg meeting (probably now he does, but the point is that he didn't spend the last 20 years attending these meetings).

Let's address the trust fund baby issue.  Trump was given substantial wealth by his father.  But so were millions of other trust fund babies, and Trump's 4 siblings.  That's right - Donald Trump is the fourth of five children.  It was "The Donald" who took what his father had, and created an Empire.  Many children of wealth in Trump's generation, they didn't do it.  So this nonsense about how Trump inherited his wealth, it's a very misguided and unintelligent attack.  It's very misleading.  He did inherit wealth, but he works very hard, and took a dollar and turned it into ten, and in the process went bankrupt a few times.  He has guts!  And primarily, Trump was in one of the top most difficult businesses in America - Real Estate.  

The problem with America, Inc. is not that it's run like a business, it's run like a bad business with an unlimited budget.  The government isn't responsible - and the better word to use, LIABLE - like in private business.  There's no gun to their head, like in the private sector.  Trump can't solve all these government problems, but having the leader of the executive branch being from the private sector, a self-made billionaire who understands the markets - it's the only first step to even consider solving the problem of the collapsing US government.  Without a Trump win, we'll probably see USA breakup into regional countries as explained in this book "The Nine Nations of America".   

Trump can make America, Inc. profitable.  He understands finance, he understands markets.  On the record, he's a terrible investor.  His portfolio looks like Bono's - the majority of investments he's made in hedge funds and other alternative investments have been net losers.  But that's often what being a billionaire means - you do business with someone, and you buy 10,000 copies of their book.  You invest in their Ostrich farm.  Do you really believe that McDonalds is going to make Big Macs with Ostrich meat?  Of course not.  It's just good business.  

Trump understands the most critical aspect of Forex, as quoted:

These people are crazy, this is the United States government. First of all, you never have to default because you print the money. I hate to tell you, OK. So there never is a default.

Yes - that's right.  The Fed can print US Dollars and pay off the debt, in one moment.  We've said this in articles - it's the most important Forex fact that's misinterpreted and misunderstood.  Why does Donald Trump understand this - but no other candidate does?  Because he never held a government position in his life.  This qualifies him - more than anything else - to be President of what has become effectively the world's largest corporation - The US Government, which exists as it does - in cooperation with the largest and most powerful bank in the world, the Federal Reserve Bank.  

It takes someone like a Paul Volcker, a Richard Nixon - to really create markets.  Donald Trump is that character.  He understands what it means to be a leader.  A leader is not someone who blah blah blah - a leader is someone who acts, and is liable for all the fallout.  Sun Tzu says, good general make any decision quickly, bad general decide on which decision is better.  Now, let's not give the egomaniac any special praise.  It was his business that made him who he is.  It was necessary for him to survive in his business, to be like this, to have a strong 'tank like' character.  Secondly, Trump has had a lot of business 'busts' - like Trump University.  His track record is not squeaky clean.  He's had some shady business partners, which the media says are 'mob ties.'  So what?  Do we shut down the stock markets because criminals have stock accounts?  

Trump is good for FX.  Under Trump's presidency, we could see the Fed raise rates substantially, which would cause the US Dollar to rise.  We can see further deregulation of markets, which can see an explosion of FX and money returning to USA now hiding and waiting offshore in various jurisdictions.  Once again, America could be the place where investors choose to setup shop and do business.  Currently, Wall St. is not number one - like it was in the 90s.  Now there's London, Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia, and even little New Zealand competing.  The reason for the growth of places like Singapore, London, and Sydney in the last 10 years, it's been only due to one problem:  the US Government has put a 'closed for business' sign on the door.  Even US Citizens are renouncing their citizenship in record numbers.  There's an American diaspora - for those who can afford - Americans are leaving USA for foreign enclaves.  And they are being replaced by unskilled illegals who don't speak English.  This is mostly caused by US government policy, and the dud-fag regulations, FATCA, the Patriot Act and its successors, and others.  Trump can reverse that trend.

Personal Authors note & disclosure:

Personally, as a US Citizen, I don't vote.  The idea of voting is noble, but the practicality of the system we have in America now, voting is a complete fraud.  Not voting, is also voting.  By the way, the only real way to stop a system that doesn't work - stop using it.  The only reason any politician is able to wreak havoc with our system is because people support them, people vote.  After being in Palm Beach County on the ground in 2000 and seeing the voter fraud, the chads, the people who voted for Gore but their voting receipt said 'Thank you for voting for George Bush,' and watching the machine descend on the blue haired residents - finally to recount the votes to see that Gore had more votes, only to be disallowed by Gore himself as President Pro Tempore of the Senate; after seeing all this ridiculous circus- and finally learning the Bush controlled company "Diebold" that makes the electronic voting machines... The idea of 'voting' under such conditions is offensive.  By the way, something like 30% of Americans don't vote.  To contrast with Europe, when they have a referendum, they have 90% + turnouts.  If it's important referedum, they can have 99% voter turnout.  Anyway, it's in other circumstances unprofessional to use personal opinions, stories, or references in an article which should be objective and present the facts.  But because Trump is involved in a political election, if this information wasn't disclosed, then it would be attacked as being a pro-Trump plant.  I have no involvement in politics AT ALL except insofar as understanding and analyzing Geo-politics involved in the Forex markets.  Forex traders need to be geo political experts, often.  When Trump first was here on the political scene, I didn't think he'd have a chance to even get on the ballot.  I said that if he's on the ballot, I'd go vote for him, for the first time in my life.  My father voted for Ross Perot, and I remember then the similar reasoning, which I still believe holds true.  I've dealt with many high level government workers and bankers & HNWI for my Forex business, and I can see the differences in their thinking - so independently I have a good contrast/compare which has nothing to do with Trump.  The point here is that Trump in the white house, it's good for business, it's a net positive for America, and it's net positive for FX.  It's irrelevant, Trump's personality quirks, manner of speaking, personal life, or other nuances.  Yes, probably, there will be knee jerk reactions to change as there always is, for example if the Fed hikes rates the market will crash, but that's a good thing - it's just shaking out QE money, and putting the economy back on a 'real' track based on the real economy, not artifical QE.  

Eyes Wide Open: An Adventure Capitalist’s Views on Colombia

Daily Bell - Sat, 05/28/2016 - 15:29

We’re developing a new community in the mountains of Colombia where liberty-minded individuals can participate in a safe and engaging lifestyle with others of similar mind, integrated with the surrounding local community yet away from the difficulties of the current economic environment.

I’ve mentioned the project – Terra Viva – before, but I wanted to re-expose Daily Bell readers, as we’re planning to make available another opportunity to visit the development soon.

As a Daily Bell reader, you are well aware of the unraveling of the West and its endless, expanding economic crisis.

If you live in the West, especially, you’re living at “ground zero.”

You’re facing the unraveling of the modern social order, the disintegration of the dollar economy, increasing militarization and the inevitable loss of civil liberties.

And since you read The Daily Bell, you are contemplating or already taking action to protect those you care about from what you anticipate may happen.

You know you need to secure a second passport, you need to secure your assets offshore and you need to secure a secondary residence. Becoming part of the Terra Viva community is one way to address all these issues.

Of course, you also know that expat communities can have their problems. Some are isolated, far from the services and amenities you want, while others are mismanaged or badly marketed.

That’s not the case with Terra Viva. It’s not isolated and it’s certainly not mismanaged. The great people who’ve already made the decision to invest in their future here wouldn’t have done so, after conducting their own exhaustive due diligence, if it were.

Terra Viva is being built to ensure that no matter what happens, you have a haven to fall back on, a beautiful place to live away from the increasing instability around you.

As they say in Colombia, “The only risk is wanting to stay.”

But don’t take my word for it.

I thought you’d like to read this refreshing personal perspective on Colombia from someone who recently joined about 200 of us there for a Sovereign Man investment conference.

He was willing to venture outside the box that is Medellín in order to see more of the real Colombia. I thought his reporting was both colorful and accurate, and I wanted to share it with you.

THE MAGIC OF COLOMBIA IN 2016

Nestled in the mountains of South America is a breathtaking land widely known for its struggles with cocaine, drug cartels, and violence: Colombia.

Not long ago, the narcos controlled the cities, towns, and emotions of the people. Cocaine – the white gold – inflicts carnage among its producers, traffickers, and users throughout the continent, wrecking millions of lives along its path to prosperous North America.

For most countries, stability is cyclical. And in Colombia, the positive part of a naturally occurring cycle is happening – the fog is lifting. Peace is permeating the fabric of the nation.

The softer side of this complex country is budding – a side where smiles are more of a potent force than violence. A place where the sun’s rays sweep gently over coffee plantations, which majestically blanket the mountainsides in a deep green. A place where family time and community are the nuclei of life.

I landed in Colombia a few days before a conference I was attending, so I decided to explore this exotic land by taking a road trip to Pablo Escobar’s former backyard: the expansive countryside outside Medellín.

I rented a car and aimed the vehicle toward the roads southwest of the city; I ascended from the valley and upward into lush landscapes and cooler temperatures.

About an hour into the trip, I was stopped at a checkpoint outside a small town. Soldiers stood dressed in new uniforms and polished black boots (a good uniform always seems to have a positive effect on the psychology of a soldier). Machine guns hung over the soldiers’ shoulders, adding another layer of machismo to the masculinity they already radiated.

The guard asked for my registration and had me open the trunk of the car. I walked around to the back of the vehicle and showed him my few things, which he didn’t have much interest in. A couple of minutes into our time together, the official mood deleveraged into an exchange of smiles and simple jokes.

This interaction alone says a lot about a country….

I’ve always found that the countries where you can crack the authorities’ tough exteriors – smiling or humanizing with them when they have the guns and the power – are better places to spend time in. It means that there is wiggle room, and that overall, they’re happy with your foreignness.

With these thoughts in mind, I departed the checkpoint. The road twisted on and became remote and special; my feelings about the journey transitioned from curiosity into absolute surprise. I had no idea that Colombia was so beautiful.

I’ve spent a lot of time traveling around the world, and I’ve observed a common trend – beauty and stability equals tourism. The fact that it is 2016 and tourism still hasn’t made much of a mark outside of Medellín is quite remarkable.

In towns like Concordia, Tarso, Jericó, Buenos Aires, Jardín and Titiribí, the landscapes are world-class stunning. And I had them all to myself. Most of these towns each have a simple but charming hotel, basic restaurants, and a high percentage of bars per capita. For a tourist cruising through on a road trip, these towns have a lot going for them.

The town of Tarso had roughly seven bars in a town of less than 5,000 people. I had the pleasure of hearing Guns and Roses karaoke deep into the night from my hotel room balcony, which overlooked the moonlit mountains. The hotel itself was full of random antiques, like various typewriters, and was operated by a few older ladies who smiled at every bit of my rudimentary Spanish. It was real.

There is a clear line between poverty, which hinges on day-to-day survival, and a standard of living above that level, where basic needs are met. These towns aren’t rich, but their economies churn enough to keep their people well above that line. This reality completely changes the mood of a place. This feeling contrasted starkly from the small towns in the north of Colombia, near Venezuela, where the stress of poverty created an atmosphere of palpable negativity and unhappiness.

In these relaxed environments, locals hang around the center square drinking coffee, and kids play freely, their laughter echoing through the streets. The mood feels safe, and healthily calm. Intricately painted buildings – the work of local artistic talents – shine everywhere. Panoramic mountain backdrops frame the goodness.

I also rate a country’s happiness of off the behavior of children and dogs—the lifeforms who directly emulate the people in power. Unlike rural Macedonia, Colombian dogs didn’t go at my ankles, and the kids seemed well behaved, without much brattiness.

The purchasing power of the USD to the Colombian peso is insanely high right now – another good reason to spend time in Colombia, either as a tourist or as an investor. Accommodations are very affordable. On one occasion, I spent $12 for a room and two meals. Another time, I spend $25 for a beautiful room in a brand new, fortress-looking guesthouse overlooking a river – breakfast included.

Countries in aggregate are like businesses, relationships, or economies: they are either climbing or falling.

And right now, Colombia feels like it is climbing; there is a tangible optimism. Roughly 50% of the population is under age 25. The middle class is growing, along with the number of opportunities. And even though the living standards of the Colombian middle class can’t be compared with the U.S. in regard to earnings or material wealth, there is something to be said for a future that looks brighter, rather than a future that looks bleaker (that is, if you believe the middle class in the U.S. is declining).

The business climate is also incredibly progressive. I toured a dynamic company named PharmaCielo that is gearing itself up for producing medical cannabis. It is currently a flower operation. But the company is ready to flip the switch to cannabis once the legislation goes through, and it looks like this is going to happen soon.

I only saw a few Colombian tourists during my road trip, though I’m sure it gets busy on the weekends with locals from Medellín. But during the midweek, I saw not one other gringo.

Colombia’s image hangover is the only explanation I can come up with for the lack of tourists; many people still associate the country with drugs and violence. Global influences, like the Netflix series “Narcos” probably don’t help. Instead, they solidify the traditional perception of Colombia.

I think it’s a subconscious thing. Once a country is associated with a specific label enough times, the unconscious mind solidifies that thought. It takes either a personal experience, or a countering message with equal or greater repetition, to break it. And these things don’t happen overnight.

Of course, Colombia isn’t all sunshine and roses, (although it is the largest exporter of roses to the U.S.). There is plenty of poverty and crime in cities like Bogotá and Medellín. Even though these problems are generally segregated from the nicer parts of those cities, crime still exists in volumes.

The world’s demand for cocaine isn’t going away. There will be a supply as long as there is a demand; and Colombia is too attractive, with its warm climate and fertile soil, not to provide that commodity.

The government is in peace negotiations with the FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia), which controls much of the cocaine trade. This looks very positive, but the reality is that production will continue, whether FARC controls most of it or someone else does.

From what I’ve witnessed in Mexico, more cartels and players means more violence. The best outcome is for a big group/cartel to control most of the supply, coupled with a back-channel agreement with the government to keep all of the power brokers well funded. Or, in my humble opinion, they could just make the shit legal in all of the countries that cocaine touches, which would eradicate most of the problems.

The way cocaine needs to be controlled in Colombia is much like how stability is maintained in the Middle East. In the Middle East, we’ve seen time and time again that only strong-fisted leaders can keep peace. In Colombia, the drug trade needs a strong structure, or it turns into blood.

Who knows how long this current level of stability will last? The stability in countries is like the intervals between waves. And it’s just a matter of time before another wave of instability hits Colombia’s shores. Will it be in 5 years? 20 years? 50 years? It’s anybody’s guess….

But for now, Colombia is mostly stable. Even with all the negatives, the positives are much more powerful. The smiles of the people are moving… the energy of the youth is captivating. This is a time of growth on myriad levels.

2016 is a fantastic year for Colombia, and it’s an excellent time to visit a country that has risen from so much struggle; a place full of surprise that will grab your eyes and soul. The magic of Colombia is real, and is currently one of the true gems in the world.

* * *

I hope you enjoyed Peter’s description of his recent trip and thoughts on Colombia. To read more of his reflections on countries he’s visiting while exploring the world, visit his blog at PeterSantenello.com.

He certainly makes the case for a “new Colombia” – which is the reason I first came here over 15 years ago, have spent as much time as possible here ever since and eventually decided to build Terra Viva.

Please bear in mind, the cost of building an exceptional residence here is extremely low compared to anything in Canada, the United States or Europe. Each house is an original design and built by leading Colombian architects, and all are easily customized and highly livable.

Getting into and out of Colombia is easy and relatively inexpensive, with daily direct flights from many major cities in North America, Europe and Central and South America.

The land on which the community is being developed is near enough to Medellín to make intra-day travel convenient and is a short flight – or an incredible drive through the mountains – from other major Colombia cities, including both coasts for those who need to stretch their legs on a sandy beach and sip margaritas.

All manner of outdoor activities are being established in the community. These offer residents access to the central facilities, including boating, fishing or barbecuing with friends on the shore of our beautiful lake, meandering through the community gardens that dot the property, swimming, hiking, tennis, use of the athletic center, spa and equestrian facilities.

A brand new four-lane, divided highway is now being built and already well underway that will connect the area to Medellín via several tunnels and bridges. This means any real-estate purchases made in the area will likely increase considerably in value.

Colombia is in many ways a sophisticated place but because of its past history and notoriety – its “image hangover,” as Peter calls it – many people are still hesitant to consider it for investment and real-estate purposes. Their loss is our gain… maybe yours, too.

I can assure you that spending time here will leave you with a very different understanding and perception of life now.

Colombia is Latin America’s biggest unfolding success story, and Terra Viva is sharing in that success. As I mentioned, we’re working out final details now to open up future meet-and-greet opportunities at Terra Viva.

To learn more about Terra Viva, have a look at the website, here: TerraViva-Colombia.com. Sign up now to receive news and updates, including notification of the next meet-and-greet opportunity.

EU Becomes Increasingly Orwellian in Preparation for Possible Brexit

Daily Bell - Sat, 05/28/2016 - 15:04

A European army is exactly what the EU and UK needs Whether or not Donald Trump wins the US presidency, American sentiment is for the Europeans to do much more to help themselves  …  Under Nato Euope’s defences remain incomplete and necessitate US involvement – UK Independent

George Orwell’s 1984 is coming to pass.

It is not enough that the US has faux face-offs with Russia and China. Now Europe will build an army too.

And thus there will be three or four different major powers in the world.

Perhaps once Europe has an army, it will have a rapprochement with Russia and then Orwell’s prophecies will be mimicked almost exactly.

Three power centers, all opposed to each other.

The plan is obviously to have Germany manage it. This is why the false narrative has been floated that mysterious Nazis are somehow responsible for the creation of the EU.

Directed history goes to work. Germany supposedly created the EU and now Germany runs Europe and its army.

Germans are surely not happy about the idea of an EU army. Germans even now have had enough of war.

Also, Germans are uncomfortable with the “leadership role” that the Western mainstream media suggests they have.

But Germans are inevitably and always at the mercy of British banking. The City rules Europe and has done as it pleases with Germany for more than a century.

The EU was a City and CIA operation. Two world wars were not entirely Germany’s fault by any means.

Now the plan may be to anoint Germany more formally as head of the EU. This turns the EU essentially into a German property – for public consumption anyway.

This could be the next step in the European evolution.

Along with the success of Brexit.

Maybe this is why David Cameron was caught up in the Panama Papers. Perhaps the idea was to discredit him, and anti-Brexit forces.

Brexit may be the galvanizing incident that Eurocrats are searching for.

The trigger that gives them the justification to turn Europe from an economic union to a political one.

Europe is essentially unfinished business. It is a work in progress.  It needs an army and a political structure to turn into a full-fledged United States of Europe.

And the US? An expanded union is still planned from what we can tell, one that will include Mexico, Canada, etc.

Orwell was surely privy to such plans. He may even have had an affiliation with MI5 or  MI6.

From Wikipedia: “Despite his lifelong socialist views, in 1949, a year before his death at 46, Orwell gave the government a list of people he thought were Stalinist sympathizers or ‘fellow travelers.’”

And “1984” certainly served the purpose of accustomizing people with what’s happening now. People generally are less resistant if current events are familiar to them.

More:

Germany has been among the most vocal opponents of Brexit. So it was perhaps surprising that it was from here that a mini-missile was launched into the referendum campaign, with leaked details of a defence White Paper pushing the creation of a European Army.

For the UK’s flailing Brexiteers, this was just what was needed. Veterans for Britain duly popped up to warn of the threats to UK sovereignty and to Nato, the alliance that had kept the country safe through the Cold War and beyond.

We are slowly changing our mind about Brexit. Perhaps it is more likely.

First the Panama Papers’ Cameron expose Now this EU army leak.

Conclusion: If this is a correct analysis of Brexit, then enjoy your visits to Europe while you can. At some point, Europe will begin to grow more hostile to the Americas and perhaps to Britain too. And it will be no accident.

 

6 Giant Corporations Control The Media, And Americans Consume 10 Hours Of "Programming" A Day

Zerohedge - Sat, 05/28/2016 - 13:40

Submitted by Michael Snyder via The Economic Collapse blog,

If you allow someone to pump hours of “programming” into your mind every single day, it is inevitable that it is eventually going to have a major impact on how you view the world.  In America today, the average person consumes approximately 10 hours of information, news and entertainment a day, and there are 6 giant media corporations that overwhelmingly dominate that market.  In fact, it has been estimated that somewhere around 90 percent of the “programming” that we constantly feed our minds comes from them, and of course they are ultimately controlled by the elite of the world.  So is there any hope for our country as long as the vast majority of the population is continually plugging themselves into this enormous “propaganda matrix”?

Just think about your own behavior.  Even as you are reading this article the television might be playing in the background or you may have some music on.  Many of us have gotten to the point where we are literally addicted to media.  In fact, there are people out there that become physically uncomfortable if everything is turned off and they have to deal with complete silence.

It has been said that if you put garbage in, you are going to get garbage out.  It is the things that we do consistently that define who we are, and so if you are feeding your mind with hours of “programming” from the big media corporations each day, that is going to have a dramatic affect on who you eventually become.

These monolithic corporations really do set the agenda for what society focuses on.  For example, when you engage in conversation with your family, friends or co-workers, what do you talk about?  If you are like most people, you might talk about something currently in the news, a television show that you watched last night or some major sporting event that is taking place.

Virtually all of that news and entertainment is controlled by the elite by virtue of their ownership of these giant media corporations.

I want to share some numbers with you that may be hard to believe.  They come directly out of Nielsen’s “Total Audience Report“, and they show how much news and entertainment the average American consumes through various methods each day…

Watching live television: 4 hours, 32 minutes

Watching time-shifted television: 30 minutes

Listening to the radio: 2 hours, 44 minutes

Using  a smartphone: 1 hour, 33 minutes

Using Internet on a computer: 1 hour, 6 minutes

When you add all of those numbers together, it comes to a grand total of more than 10 hours.

And keep in mind that going to movie theaters, playing video games and reading books are behaviors that are not even on this list.

What in the world are we doing to ourselves?

The combination of watching live television and watching time-shifted television alone comes to a total of more than five hours.

If you feed five hours of something into your mind day after day, it is going to change you.  There is no way around that.  You may think that you are strong enough to resist the programming, but the truth is that it affects all of us in very subtle ways that we do not even understand.

And as I mentioned above, there are just six giant corporations that account for almost all of the programming that we receive through our televisions.  Below is a list of these six corporations along with a sampling of the various media properties that they own…

Comcast

NBC
Telemundo
Universal Pictures
Focus Features
USA Network
Bravo
CNBC
The Weather Channel
MSNBC
Syfy
NBCSN
Golf Channel
Esquire Network
E!
Cloo
Chiller
Universal HD
Comcast SportsNet
Universal Parks & Resorts
Universal Studio Home Video

The Walt Disney Company

ABC Television Network
ESPN
The Disney Channel
A&E
Lifetime
Marvel Entertainment
Lucasfilm
Walt Disney Pictures
Pixar Animation Studios
Disney Mobile
Disney Consumer Products
Interactive Media
Disney Theme Parks
Disney Records
Hollywood Records
Miramax Films
Touchstone Pictures

News Corporation

Fox Broadcasting Company
Fox News Channel
Fox Business Network
Fox Sports 1
Fox Sports 2
National Geographic
Nat Geo Wild
FX
FXX
FX Movie Channel
Fox Sports Networks
The Wall Street Journal
The New York Post
Barron’s
SmartMoney
HarperCollins
20th Century Fox
Fox Searchlight Pictures
Blue Sky Studios
Beliefnet
Zondervan

Time Warner

CNN
The CW
HBO
Cinemax
Cartoon Network
HLN
NBA TV
TBS
TNT
TruTV
Turner Classic Movies
Warner Bros.
Castle Rock
DC Comics
Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
New Line Cinema
Sports Illustrated
Fortune
Marie Claire
People Magazine

Viacom

MTV
Nickelodeon
VH1
BET
Comedy Central
Paramount Pictures
Paramount Home Entertainment
Country Music Television (CMT)
Spike TV
The Movie Channel
TV Land

CBS Corporation

CBS Television Network
The CW (along with Time Warner)
CBS Sports Network
Showtime
TVGN
CBS Radio, Inc.
CBS Television Studios
Simon & Schuster
Infinity Broadcasting
Westwood One Radio Network

Fortunately, those enormous media conglomerates do not have quite the same monopoly over the Internet, but we are starting to see a tremendous amount of consolidation in the online world as well.  Just check out these numbers

Overall, the top 10 publishers — together owning around 60 news sites — account for 47% of total online traffic to news content last year, with the next-biggest 140 publishers accounting for most of the other half, SimilarWeb found.

 

The biggest online news publisher for the U.S. audience was MSN, owner of MSN.com, with just over 27 billion combined page views across mobile and desktop, followed by Disney Media Networks, owner of ESPN and ABC News, with 25.9 billion.

The battle for the future of this nation is a battle for the hearts and minds of individuals.

And it is hard to see how things will be turned in a dramatically different direction as long as most of us are willingly feeding our hearts and minds with hours of “programming” that is controlled by the elite each day.

The good news is that there are signs of an awakening.  More Americans than ever are becoming disenchanted with the mainstream media, and this is showing up in recent survey numbers.  Here is one example

Trust in the news media is being eroded by perceptions of inaccuracy and bias, fueled in part by Americans’ skepticism about what they read on social media.

 

Just 6 percent of people say they have a lot of confidence in the media, putting the news industry about equal to Congress and well below the public’s view of other institutions.

As Americans (and people all over the world) have lost confidence in the mainstream media, they have been seeking out other sources of news and entertainment.  This has greatly fueled the rise of the alternative media, and the dozens of websites all over the Internet where this article will ultimately be published are examples of this explosion.

You can only enslave people for so long.  Ultimately, they will want to break free of the chains that are holding them back and they will want to find the truth.

In this day and age, it is absolutely imperative that we all learn to think for ourselves.  If you find that you are still addicted to the “programming” that the giant media corporations are feeding you, I would encourage you to start unplugging from the matrix more frequently.

In the end, you will be glad that you did.

Goldman Sachs Is The Gift That Keeps On Giving... To The Clintons

Zerohedge - Sat, 05/28/2016 - 13:00

By now we all know that Goldman Sachs is the gift that keeps on giving to the Clintons. Whether it's paying millions out for speeches, investing in family member's failing hedge fund ventures, or donating hundreds of thousands to the Clinton Foundation, Goldman seems to be keeping a close relationship with the family.

What's a more fun development to watch (other than to see Lloyd Blankfein lose money invested with a Clinton son-in-law) is how persistent The Intercept is being with Hillary about Goldman. Every chance it gets, The Intercept has a reporter asking Clinton about Goldman related items, and of course they never get an answer.

Earlier this year The Intercept caught up with Hillary and asked if the transcripts of the speeches given to Goldman would be released. Clinton's response was just to laugh of course, because as we all know, those will never be released... on purpose anyway.

The Intercept: "Hi Secretary Clinton, will you release the transcript of your paid speeches to Goldman Sachs?"

Clinton: "Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha"

At a Clinton campaign rally in San Francisco last Thursday, The Intercept's Lee Fang caught up with Clinton again and this time wanted to ask about Goldman CEO Lloyd Blankfein's investment in her son-in-law Marc Mezvinsky's hedge fund Eaglevale Partners.

The Intercept: "Hi Secretary Clinton, do you know how much money Lloyd Blankfein invested in your son-in-law's hedge fund?"

After being ignored multiple times, Clinton's traveling press secretary Nick Merrill stepped to ask just what Fang was trying to find out more about.

Merrill: "Hey buddy how are you. What's your name?"

The Intercept: "Lee Fang"

Merrill: "Hi I'm Nick, I'm her spokesperson. What are you trying to find out more about?"

The Intercept: "I want to know how much money Lloyd Blankfein invested in Marc Mezvinsky's hedge fund. Do you know how much money Nick?"

Merrill: "I don't know has it been reported?"

The Intercept: "No it hasn't. Could you find out the amount for me?"

Merrill: "I don't know what the amount is. You wanna give me your contact information?"

The Intercept: "So you're gonna get back to me?"

Merrill: "I'll email you right now"

* * *

Of course Merrill never got back, but that's to be expected as the entire campaign continues to dodge any questions around the matter. The enjoyment that can be gained from watching The Intercept dog Clinton for answers is priceless however, and it's nice to see that Goldman is the gift that keeps on giving to Clinton, especially as an inconvenience on the campaign trail.

The Next Big Crash Of The U.S. Economy Is Coming, Here's Why

Zerohedge - Sat, 05/28/2016 - 12:38

By the SRSrocco Report

Investors better be prepared as the next crash of the U.S. economy is coming.  This is not based on hype or speculation, rather due to the disintegration of the underlying fundamentals.  Matter-a-fact, the fundamentals are so completely AWFUL, that the next market crash will make 2008 look quite tame indeed.

To get the skinny on the lousy fundamental data, let's first look at the Auto Industry.  The next series of charts come from the article, More Warnings--Unsustainable Auto Sales & Stock PE Ratios:

Ever since the supposed economic turnaround, the amount of outstanding auto loans has increased dramatically from less that $700 billion in 2010 to over $1 trillion in the fourth quarter of 2015.  According to Wolf Richter, quoted in the article:

“Deep-subprime borrowers are high-risk. Typically they have credit scores below 550. To make it worth everyone’s while, they get stuffed into loans often with interest rates above 20%. To make payments even remotely possible at these rates, terms are often stretched to 84 months. Borrowers are typically upside down in their vehicle: the negative equity of their trade-in, along with title, taxes, and license fees, and a hefty dealer profit are rolled into the loan. When the lender repossesses the vehicle, losses add up in a hurry.

When I was younger, the longest automobile loan an individual could get was 48 months.  However, you were considered to be a REAL LOSER if you had to finance an automobile that long.  Now, 84 months is becoming the norm....LOL.

This is just one factor that shows just how weak the economy has become if Americans have to finance a car for seven years.

Here is another chart from the article linked above.  It shows just how inflated the S&P 500 index has become:

According to Michael Lebowitz of 720 Global Research (quoted in the article):

Since October 1, 2011, the S&P 500 has risen 82% on the heels of a 0.75% decline in earnings. The price to earnings ratio over that time period has risen 83%, with price gains contributing 99% to the increase. Prices have risen substantially, while earnings have actually fallen. The chart below highlights the growing gap between earnings and the S&P 500.”

As we can see from the chart, the S &P 500  and earnings have been surviving on HOT AIR, especially since the latter part of 2014.  When QE (money printing) and zero interest rates no longer provided enough bounce in the markets, the Fed, Central Banks and the Plunge Protection Team stepped in a BIG WAY to keep the markets from crashing.

So, not only do we have a highly over-leveraged automobile financed industry, the broader stock market valuations are in bubble territory.  Unfortunately, this is only part of the story.  If we look at the disintegrating U.S. Energy Industry, the situation is even more dire.

The Coming Collapse Of The U.S. Energy Industry

Today I did an interview with Money Metals Exchange.  I will be putting out the interview when it's published.  However, I discussed this energy subject matter during the interview.  When I first started the interview, I said the precious metals community was guilty of propagating hype and short-term surging price moves that never came true.  Thus, we have frustrated a lot of precious metals investors because the COLLAPSE of the Dollar, DEFAULT of the COMEX or much HIGHER gold and silver prices have not yet occurred.

So, am I guilty myself by putting out a new a headline that reads, "The Coming Collapse of the U.S. Energy Industry?"  No.... here's why.

The situation in the U.S. Energy Industry is so AWFUL, I wouldn't be surprised to see half of the industry go bankrupt over the next few years.  Of course, the U.S. Government could step in and either bail out or nationalize the energy industry, but this wouldn't stop the impending collapse.

Let's take a look at this next chart.  The U.S. Energy Industry has added so much debt that it took nearly half of all its operating profits to just pay the interest on its debt in 2015:

While this was bad, it was even worse in the first quarter of 2016.  According to the article, Why Oil & Gas Companies Are Barely Scraping By, the U.S. Energy Sector paid 86% of its total profits just to service the interest on its debt.  Can you imagine that?

This chart from the article shows the huge change of interest payments on debt of the percentage of operating income in the U.S. Energy Sector:

Since 2000, the U.S. Energy Sector was paying (on average) between 10-15% of its operating income to service its debt.  However, that changed significantly in 2014 as the price of oil plunged.  The reason this percentage jumped over 20% in 1998 was due to the price of oil falling below $15 compared to $22 in 1996.

So, why is the U.S. Energy Sector interest on the debt so much worse now with the price of oil more than double the 1998 price??  Again, the average annual price of oil in 1998 was $15 compared to $33 in Q1 2016.  Why did the U.S. Oil and Gas Industry have to pay 86% of its operating income to service its debt during the first quarter of 2016 on the back of a $33 oil compared to 25% on $15 oil in 1998?

BECAUSE.... The U.S. Oil & Gas Industry has gone into massive debt to bring on very expensive energy supplies.

Here is one more chart from the energy article linked above:

This chart shows the U.S. Energy Sector maturing debt outstanding for each year.  According to the article:

While $5.1 billion of U.S. energy debt matures this year, $25.1 billion will mature in 2017. The number risies to $52.5 billion in 2020.

“There’s not a lot of this debt that comes due in 2016. But in 2017—that’s when the rubber will really hit the road. Now a lot of these companies are already looking to bankruptcy because people know that the bond position is untenable,” said Dicker.

As the article states, the outstanding U.S. energy debt that matures in 2017 ($25.1 billions) is five times what matures this year ($5.1 billion).  How can the U.S. Energy Industry pay back this debt when it can barely pay the interest on its debt currently?

And... to make matters even worse, U.S. oil production is falling rapidly:

U.S. domestic oil production peaked at 9.6 million barrels per day (mbd) in June 2015 and is currently at 8.7 mbd.  This is nearly a 10% decline in U.S. oil production in less than a year.  Some may think this huge decline is due to lower oil prices.  That may be partly true, however U.S. oil production was going to decline even with higher oil prices.

Which means, the U.S. Energy Sector will be in even more trouble as oil production declines further as the amount of debt that matures continues to increase over the next several years.  This is extremely bad news for the U.S. economy as it will have to import more foreign oil to make up for declining domestic production.

Of course, this means the market will have to react by offering 96 and 108 month payment plans to keep the automobile financing bubble from popping.  Furthermore, I would imagine the Plunge Protection Team will work overtime just to keep the markets from imploding.

As the fundamentals of the market continue to deteriorate, the precious metals offer the only real safe haven.  As I mentioned in a previous article, Something Big Happened In The Gold Market, mainstream investors flocked into Gold ETF's in record numbers during Q1 2016:

Investors moved into Gold ETF's in a big way during the first quarter of 2016 on a mere 2,000 point drop of the Dow Jones.  Why would investors move into Gold ETF in such a large degree as the market sustained a normal 15% correction??  Hell, in the first quarter of 2009, flows of gold into Gold ETF's surged to a record 465 metric tons, but this was when the Dow Jones was crashing to its lows of 6,700.

I talk to several people in the industry, and the word out there is that mainstream investors are worried as hell about the markets.  I believe when the broader markets really start their NEXT BIG CRASH, investors will flow into gold and silver in record volume.

This is not a matter of "IF", but "WHEN."  However, if we go by the disintegration market fundamentals, that day will likely be sooner, rather than much later.

Lastly, if you haven't checked out our new PRECIOUS METALS INVESTING page, I highly recommend you do.

Check back for new articles and updates at the SRSrocco Report.

Martin Armstrong Warns The Rise Of Nationalism Throughout Europe Is Inevitable

Zerohedge - Sat, 05/28/2016 - 12:24

Submitted by Martin Armstrong via ArmstrongEconomics.com,

This is what happens when politicians think they are smarter than the great unwashed whom they rule over.

 They lack common sense on every possible level. The rise of third parties is a reality and our computer has been spot on with this forecast for 2016. It accomplished this forecast by simply doing what government does not seem capable of doing — correlating political trends with economic trends.

 

Socialism is the lite version of communism where you let the people own property and freely buy and sell homes instead of dictating where they live, but you tax the hell out of them for the privilege of existing. They pretend to be all noble for they are taking your money for some greater good, but somehow there is a sea of hands in the pot belonging to government employees with pensions that often include free healthcare for life that nobody in the real world can possibly get.

Would you give to a pretend charity such as Hillary’s that actually keeps 88% for itself and precious little is actually given to needy people? Then Hillary takes a tax deduction claiming 10% of her income she donates to herself — tax-free of course. Now she is worth more than any other Republican who ran for office except Trump. Hillary Clinton’s campaign emphasized her charitable giving in a press statement, actually claiming she donated “10.8 percent” of her income in 2014.

Politics reek of corruption. We deserve what we get for being stupid enough to put up with this stuff, regardless of whether we are talking about Democrats or Republicans. When it comes to money, there is no difference. Both parties always look to grab whatever you have for themselves, claiming they are helping the poor. The polls show that 57% of Americans believe Hillary is dishonest.

So what’s going on should be of no surprise. There are many separatist movements building throughout Europe all because government has become corrupt.

There are separatist movements in Hawaii, Texas, and Vermont in the USA for starters. This is ALL predictable. All you have to do is let the data speak for itself — no water or hot air needs to be added.

 

"The Stock Market Won't Crash, Yet" - The Barron's Cover Strikes Again

Zerohedge - Sat, 05/28/2016 - 11:41

When it comes to Wall Street superstitions, few things - even fading the most recent Dennis Gartman call - beats the Barron's front page article jinx: just when you think something will never happen, Barron's confirms it on the cover, virtually assuring that it does.

In which case, be afraid bulls, be very afraid, because if past is prologue Barron's just green-lit the next crash.

 

The Barron's argument:

The current period of gain has lasted more than seven years and propelled the stock market averages to new highs. But since the peak of last May, the market has faltered, briefly touching double-digit lows early this year. Bears have begun to wonder whether the crash to which the market is always headed is just ahead.

 

 

Probably not.

Well, not anymore. In the article, author Gene Epstein unveils such quantitative pearls as:

[T]here has been just one market crash over the past 35 years that wasn’t accompanied by a recession: the 12-month decline of more than 20% from August 1987 through August 1988. Arithmetically, this crash would not have happened were it not for the largest one-day plunge in U.S. history: Black Monday, Oct. 19, 1987, when the market tumbled more than 20% in a single day, the only one-day bear market on record. The previous crash on a single day that was at all comparable ran in the low-double digits and occurred 58 years earlier, in October 1929.

 

if a one-day crash does strike every 58 years, the next one is due 58 years from 1987, or in 2045. So if we treat the Black Monday–induced crash as an outlier, we are left with just three market crashes over the past 36 years plus one near crash, all four coinciding with the past four recessions.

So smooth sailing for the next 30 or so years then? He then presents what he believes are various reasons why there will be no crash this time. Among these are: stocks valuations are "not too exuberant"; that the inflation-adjusted house price is not above previous peak; that the yield curve is not flat or inverted; and that the price of oil is not surging.

One can, of course, debunk each one of these reasons simplistically with the following rebuttals:

But the simplest reason why the entire Barron's article has scrap value at best is that not once does it mention the only thing that does matter, and which saved the market from its most recent crashes, namely central bank intervention as the only recourse left in this centrally-planned global market where as the central bankers themselves now openly admit, their only mandate is to keep asset prices buoyant.

Whether it is the "Shanghai Accord", or the BOJ's attempts at creative monetary policy a la NIRP (which ended up being a huge mistake), or constant Fed president jawboning, or hints of helicopter money, the fact simply is that there is no market left: there is simply frontrunning of central bank intentions to either push stocks higher or lower.

That's it, and with every "policy failure" intervention, central banker credibility gets shorter and shorter, to the point where even the G-7 has to step in and say fiscal stimulus will be critical as monetary policy has lost power to push growth higher.

As such, in a "market" like this one, any attempts to predict future prices are not only naive and silly, but futile. It is, in fact, the same as saying that the market will crash just because Barron's cover page says it won't.

Buy the VIX and Sell Equities into June Rate Hikes (Video)

Zerohedge - Sat, 05/28/2016 - 10:51

By EconMatters


On Friday Janet Yellen gave the go ahead to rate hikes, and this change in Monetary Policy (Tightening) in not currently priced into financial markets.

© EconMatters All Rights Reserved | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube | Email Digest | Kindle   

Putin Vows Retaliation Over US Missile Shield; Warns Poland, Romania Now In The "Cross Hairs"

Zerohedge - Sat, 05/28/2016 - 10:38

While Obama was in Hiroshima in a historic trip as the first standing president of the only nation to have ever used a nuclear weapon during wartime, and warning about the dangers of nuclear power without offering an apology to Japan, Russian president Putin was in Greece seeking to resume where he left off one year ago, ahead of the turbulent Greece "referendum" and capital controls, following which the Greek people have turned increasingly against remaining in the Eurogroup, a shift Putin certainly hopes to capitalize on.

Tsipras commented on twitter:

Greek-Russian relations are an important element of our active, multidimensional foreign policy. We have upgraded our political dialogue 1/2

— Alexis Tsipras (@tsipras_eu) May 27, 2016

His presence in Athens marks the strengthening of our relations during the past year. 2/2

— Alexis Tsipras (@tsipras_eu) May 27, 2016

But it wasn't the latest Greek pivot toward Russia that was the highlight of Putin's trip: it was his latest warning that the Russian response to the most recent NATO provocation in Europe will be significant.

Recall that on May 12, in a dramatic development for the global nuclear balance of power, the United States launched its European missile defense system dubbed Aegis Ashore at a remote airbase in the town of Deveselu, Romania, almost a decade after Washington proposed protecting NATO from Iranian rockets and despite repeated Russian warnings that the West is threatening the peace in central Europe.

As we noted at the time, the US move was a clear defection from the carefully established Game Theory equilibrium in the aftermath of the nuclear arms race, one which explicitly removed a Russian "first strike threat", thereby pressuring Russia to implement further nuclear offensive and defensive measures: "the precarious nuclear balance of power in Europe has suddenly shifted, and quite dramatically: despite U.S. assurances, the Kremlin says the missile shield's real aim is to neutralize Moscow's nuclear arsenal long enough for the United States to make a first strike on Russia in the event of war."

And sure enough, making it very clear that this biggest yet provocation by the US and NATO is not forgotten, during a joint press conference with Tsipras in Greece, Putin warned Romania and Poland they could find themselves in the sights of Russian rockets because they are hosting elements of a U.S. missile shield that Moscow considers a threat to its security.

Putin, cited by Reuters,  issued his starkest warning yet over the missile shield, saying that Moscow had stated repeatedly that it would have to take retaliatory steps but that Washington and its allies had ignored the warnings.

"If yesterday in those areas of Romania people simply did not know what it means to be in the cross-hairs, then today we will be forced to carry out certain measures to ensure our security," Putin told a joint news conference in Athens with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras. "It will be the same case with Poland," he said.

"At the moment the interceptor missiles installed have a range of 500 kilometers, soon this will go up to 1000 kilometers, and worse than that, they can be rearmed with 2400km-range offensive missiles even today, and it can be done by simply switching the software, so that even the Romanians themselves won’t know."

Putin did not specify what actions Russia would take, but he insisted that it was not making the first step, only responding to moves by Washington. "We won't take any action until we see rockets in areas that neighbor us."

"We have the capability to respond. The whole world saw what our medium-range sea-based missiles are capable of [in Syria]. But we violate no agreements. And our ground-based Iskander missiles have also proven themselves as superb,” continued Putin.

Further undermining the Pentagon's provocative narrative, the Russian president said the argument that the project was needed to defend against Iran made no sense because an international deal had been reached to curb Tehran's nuclear program. The missiles that will form the shield can easily reach Russian cities, he said.

"How can that not create a threat for us?" Putin asked.

He voiced frustration that Russia's complaints about the missile shield had not been heeded. "We've been repeating like a mantra that we will be forced to respond... Nobody wants to hear us. Nobody wants to conduct negotiations with us."

And since nobody will negotiate with Russia, the Kremlin will have to take offensive measures into its own hands: we already know what the first one will be. Recall what then-president Dmitiry Medvedev said in November 2008: "Russia will deploy Iskander missile systems in its enclave in Kaliningrad to neutralize, if necessary, the anti-ballistic missile system in Europe."

Once Russian SS-26 tactical missile systems are again to be found on the borders of a Europe which suddenly as facing not only a a nuclear-armed opponent on its borders, but an ongoing - and in many cases malicious - immigrant influx within, then all bets about the peaceful future of the European continent, the main stated reason behind the creation of the EU and the Eurozone, will once again be off.

But not before NATO and the Pentagon respond in symmetric fashion and deploy more nuclear weapons of their own to Europe's eastern borders, and aim them squarely at Moscow, as the precarious post-cold war game theoretical equilibrium is completely destroyed. At that moment the new nuclear arms race will have fully returned.

As Our Past Wars Are Glorified This Memorial Day Weekend, Give Some Thought To Our Prospects Against The Russians And Chinese In World War III

Paul Craig Roberts - Sat, 05/28/2016 - 07:42

As Our Past Wars Are Glorified This Memorial Day Weekend, Give Some Thought To Our Prospects Against The Russians And Chinese In World War III

Paul Craig Roberts

The Saker reports that Russia is preparing for World War III, not because Russia intends to initiate aggression but because Russia is alarmed by the hubris and arrogance of the West, by the demonization of Russia, by provocative military actions by the West, by American interference in the Russian province of Chechnya and in former Russian provinces of Ukraine and Georgia, and by the absence of any restraint from Western Europe on Washington’s ability to foment war. http://thesaker.is/how-russia-is-preparing-for-wwiii/

Like Steven Starr, Stephen Cohen, myself, and a small number of others, the Saker understands the reckless irresponsibility of convincing Russia that the United States intends to attack her.

It is extraordinary to see the confidence that many Americans place in their military’s ability. After 15 years the US has been unable to defeat a few lightly armed Taliban, and after 13 years the situation in Iraq remains out of control. This is not very reassuring for the prospect of taking on Russia, much less the strategic alliance between Russia and China. The US could not even defeat China, a Third World country at the time, in Korea 60 years ago.

Americans need to pay attention to the fact that “their” government is a collection of crazed stupid fools likely to bring vaporization to the United States and all of Europe.

Russian weapons systems are far superior to American ones. American weapons are produced by private companies for the purpose of making vast profits. The capability of the weapons is not the main concern. There are endless cost overruns that raise the price of US weapons into outer space. The F-35 fighter, which is less capable than the F-15 it is supposed to replace, costs between $148 million and $337 million per fighter, depending on whether it is an Air Force, Marine Corps, or Navy model. http://www.cnbc.com/2014/07/31/how-dods-15-trillion-f-35-broke-the-air-force.html

A helmet for a F-35 pilot costs $400,000, more than a high end Ferrari. http://www.airforcetimes.com/story/military/2015/10/26/f-35-helmet-costs-400000-4-times-predecessor/73826180/

(Washington forces or bribes hapless Denmark into purchasing useless and costly F-35: http://sputniknews.com/news/20160528/1040395012/denmark-f-35-military-nato-lockheed.html)

It is entirely possible that the world is being led to destruction by nothing more than the greed of the US military-security complex. Delighted that the reckless and stupid Obama regime has resurrected the Cold War, thus providing a more convincing “enemy” than the hoax terrorist one, the “Russian threat” has been restored to its 20th century role of providing a justification for bleeding the American taxpayer, social services, and the US economy dry in behalf of profits for armament manufacturers.

However, this time Washington’s rhetoric accompanying the revived Cold War is far more reckless and dangerous, as are Washington’s actions, than during the real Cold War. Previous US presidents worked to defuse tensions. The Obama regime has inflated tensions with lies and reckless provocations, which makes it far more likely that the new Cold War will turn hot. If Killary gains the White House, the world is unlikely to survive her first term.

All of America’s wars except the first—the war for independence—were wars for Empire. Keep that fact in mind as you hear the Memorial Day bloviations about the brave men and women who served our country in its times of peril. The United States has never been in peril, but Washington has delivered peril to numerous other countries in its pursuit of hegemony over others.

Today for the first time in its history the US faces peril as a result of Washington’s attempts to assert hegemony over Russia and China.

Russia and China are not impressed by Washington’s arrogance, hubris, and stupidity. Moreover, these two countries are not the native American Plains Indians, who were starved into submission by the Union Army’s slaughter of the buffalo.

They are not the tired Spain of 1898 from whom Washington stole Cuba and the Philippines and called the theft a “liberation.”

They are not small Japan whose limited resources were spread over the vastness of the Pacific and Asia.

They are not Germany already defeated by the Red Army before Washington came to the war.

They are not Granada, Panama, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, or the various Latin American countries that General Smedley Butler said the US Marines made safe for “the United Fruit Company” and “some lousy bank investment.”

An insouciant American population preoccupied with selfies and delusions of military prowess, while its crazed government picks a fight with Russia and China, has no future.

The post As Our Past Wars Are Glorified This Memorial Day Weekend, Give Some Thought To Our Prospects Against The Russians And Chinese In World War III appeared first on PaulCraigRoberts.org.

When socialism takes hold, hospitals collapse into ruin... Disturbing photos from Venezuela show the human cost of bad government

Natural News - Sat, 05/28/2016 - 03:00
(NaturalNews) Sen. Bernie Sanders, the first openly socialist U.S. presidential candidate, won't become the Democratic Party's nominee, no matter how much his supporters kick and scream about the unfair advantages awarded his chief rival for the Oval Office, Hillary Clinton.But...

Antidepressants linked to premature births

Natural News - Sat, 05/28/2016 - 03:00
(NaturalNews) Even though studies have already linked SSRI use during pregnancy to birth defects and autism in children, the pills are continually and dangerously prescribed to pregnant women. Common SSRIs like Prozac, Paxil and Zoloft artificially increase serotonin levels in the...

Women largely equate self-worth with appearance, explaining their hypersensitivity to aging

Natural News - Sat, 05/28/2016 - 03:00
(NaturalNews) The following is an excerpt from Denise Foley and Eileen Nechas' book, Women's Encyclopedia of Health & Emotional Healing, available for purchase here.Some women develop a sense of their own aging and begin the transition from youth into middle age in their thirties...

Fox News poll: Americans believe the world is 'going to hell in a handbasket'; many realize Obama Administration is lying to them

Natural News - Sat, 05/28/2016 - 03:00
(NaturalNews) If you have been watching national and world events and have been thinking that there seems to be an excessive amount of turmoil around the globe, take heart -- sort of. According to a new survey, you're certainly not alone, which is the good news. The bad news is, you're...

FLASHBACK: Toddlers to be screened for mental health conditions and drugged with Big Pharma's toxic chemicals

Natural News - Sat, 05/28/2016 - 03:00
(NaturalNews) The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recently announced a disgraceful revision to its diagnosis guidelines for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). The group now says that children as young as four (the previous minimum screening age was six) can and...

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