And The World Was Split In Twain

Submitted by Jeff Thomas via Dooug Casey's International Man blog,

Magic once flowed freely across the land… Ruled by a Covenant that gave both sides equal power, but in the quest to gain more, the Covenant was broken. Man survived only the dedication of a handful of people, and the world was split in twain.

In 1991, the Cold War between the US and the USSR ended, as, economically, the USSR had run its course. Since that time, the US has had the ability to back off on armaments and to strengthen itself economically, to become even more powerful as the world’s present empire.

But, of course, that’s not what they did. Instead, they went headlong in the direction of becoming a more highly armed, more fascist state. Along the way, they became extremely reckless with their economy, following a Keynesian model that contributed to the greatest debt bubble the world has ever seen.

During this period, they had numerous knowledgeable advisors who recommended a Westphalian system of cooperation between nations. But the leaders of the empire chose instead to pursue greater, more forceful dominance of the world. Over recent decades, US leaders have become increasingly self-possessed with their assumed level of power. So much so that, as long as they can sell the idea to the American people that the larger world is a threat to the US, they can advance as they please against other nations.

Nowhere in their thinking were they more incorrect than in their assumption that they could arrange for a takeover in Ukraine, a country long regarded as a key objective by the West in lessening Russian power.

Russian Takeover

But in the decades since 1991, Russia has rebuilt itself and has become powerful once again. In addition, its present leader has shown himself to be able to consistently outwit US leaders. This was either not anticipated or was regarded as unimportant.

Not only have American attempts at diminishing Russian influence resulted in Russia deftly countering every US move, they have resulted in Russia’s leader gaining great popular support, just as the US president loses his. Further, it has driven the Russians toward the other BRICS, convincing them to become closer with regard to treaties, trade, and economic development.

Along the way, the less powerful countries in the world, seeing the rise of the BRICS and realising that they might need to choose between the two, are choosing the BRICS. The Russians and Chinese have been busy in recent years, signing treaties and agreements first with Second- and Third-World countries and now with Western allies in Southeast Asia and Europe.

At this point, the US, if it had any sense at all, would back off dramatically, but this will not happen. Even such a stalwart US advisor as Henry Kissinger recently told Germany’s Der Spiegel that, regarding the handling of the Ukraine effort, “If the West is honest with itself, it has to admit that there were mistakes on its side.” He further stated, “There clearly is this danger, and we must not ignore it.” He warned that not to do so may result in “a historic tragedy.” Coming from Mister Kissinger, these comments, as understated as they are, speak volumes as to the folly of the present US leadership.

Only a decade or two ago, the US had visions of creating a world in which it was the undisputed leader, with the other powers acting as lesser players, beholden to the US.

But, incredibly, the US has trashed its own economy, driven productivity away (via the world’s highest corporate taxation), and created a level of debt that is far too large to ever repay. To add to this, they have invaded country after country.

What on Earth made them think that the BRICS would take this lying down?

Sterling BRICS

By comparison to the US, the BRICS, in recent years, have done a sterling job of becoming increasingly productive, establishing treaties and trade agreements, and working toward a common understanding that the US and the EU are a danger to them.

China will take over as the world’s most productive country. China Merchants Bank now issues the world’s #2 credit card. In response to US/EU sanctions, Russia and China have recently inked the largest energy-provision agreement the world has ever seen, posing a major threat to the continued position of the petrodollar. By mid-2015, the Angola-Brazil fibre-optic cable will enter service, providing cheaper (by 80%) communications for the BRICS, independent of the US. Increasingly, the world is entering into agreements to trade in the yuan and the ruble. Some EU countries now issue bonds in yuan. New SWIFT

In recent years, I’ve forecasted that an even more significant step would be taken by the BRICS—that they would create their own SWIFT system. At first, this may have appeared unlikely, based on their continued statements that their objective was to gain a more equitable seat at the IMF table. Additionally, many people have not felt that such a move would be all that significant, as SWIFT is little more than a means by which to transfer payments.

However, I regard the possibility of a second SWIFT system as a major, major development, as, without it, the BRICS are still tied to the US/EU banking system and must therefore accept their edicts.

My belief has been that the BRICS would wait until most of their ducks were in a row before making this announcement. Russia has now made it. It’s set to be operative within the first half of 2015.

I’ve often stated that, with each year, both the magnitude and the frequency of events will increase. That theory seems to be holding true. Only a year or so ago, the question of whether the BRICS might even form their own IMF might have seemed quite fanciful. Today, we should be looking more closely at this possibility.

With this final step, the world could literally function as two separate worlds. Communication, trade, and inter-governmental economic dealings will undoubtedly continue, but at this historic point, the BRICS will have the ability to operate entirely independently and can no longer be held to ransom through the threats of sanctions from the West.

The world is now changing rapidly, and our future plans should be based not on what exists at present, but on what is likely to exist in the future.

There’s little any individual can practically do to change the trajectory of this trend in motion. The best you can and should do is to stay informed so that you can protect yourself in the best way possible, and even profit from the situation. That’s what

A Presidential Birth Certificate Controversy Leads To Clashes, Arrests, One Death

It appears that only in less-developed nations do the people care about Presidential birth certificates. As GlobalVoices reports, clashes broke out between police and the opposition in Gabon stemming from questions about the legitimacy of President Ali Bongo Ondimba. The publication of a book disputing the origins of the President (claiming him to be Nigerian) has led opposition parties to challenge the authenticity of the birth certificate of the head of state which has sparked widespread protests. The protests left 1 dead and many injured and arrested. As local media note, “if the government continues to refuse to negotiate, things could go very wrong.”

As Global Voices reports,

Clashes broke out between police and the opposition in Gabon on December 20 stemming from questions about the legitimacy of President Ali Bongo.

Obamacare Architects At Harvard Furious After Learning They Are Not Exempt From Obamacare

The brain incubator at Harvard, the place which according to legend, and certainly the US News and World Report’s annual paid college infomercial, is the repository for some of the smartest people in the world, is furious.

The reason – Harvard’s illustrious faculty has learned that they too will be subject to their own policy recommendations as relates to Obamacare, which they themselves helped conceive. As the left-leaning NYT reported earlier today, “for years, Harvard’s experts on health economics and policy have advised presidents and Congress on how to provide health benefits to the nation at a reasonable cost. But those remedies will now be applied to the Harvard faculty, and the professors are in an uproar.

Because Harvard’s brilliant ivory tower economists and public policy wonks know precisely how to fix the world… as long as said fix never applies to them.

And sure enough, the faculty did everything in its power to make sure it never had to suffer the consequences of its own brilliance…

“Members of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, the heart of the 378-year-old university, voted overwhelmingly in November to oppose changes that would require them and thousands of other Harvard employees to pay more for health care. The university says the increases are in part a result of the Obama administration’s Affordable Care Act, which many Harvard professors championed.

… But it was too late:

The faculty vote came too late to stop the cost increases from taking effect this month, and the anger on campus remains focused on questions that are agitating many workplaces: How should the burden of health costs be shared by employers and employees? If employees have to bear more of the cost, will they skimp on medically necessary care, curtail the use of less valuable services, or both?

And it just gets better:

“Harvard is a microcosm of what’s happening in health care in the country,” said David M. Cutler, a health economist at the university who was an adviser to President Obama’s 2008 campaign. But only up to a point: Professors at Harvard have until now generally avoided the higher expenses that other employers have been passing on to employees. That makes the outrage among the faculty remarkable, Mr. Cutler said, because “Harvard was and remains a very generous employer.”

Ah, hypocrisy: exactly the same whether it is at the lowliest of community colleges or the leading bastion of liberal thought.

In Harvard’s health care enrollment guide for 2015, the university said it “must respond to the national trend of rising health care costs, including some driven by health care reform,” otherwise known as the Affordable Care Act. The guide said that Harvard faced “added costs” because of provisions in the health care law that extend coverage for children up to age 26, offer free preventive services like mammograms and colonoscopies and, starting in 2018, add a tax on high-cost insurance, known as the Cadillac tax.

The faculty is enraged, ENRAGED that what it hoped would only apply to the plebian peasantry is just as applicable to the self-appointed smartest people in the world. Here’s Dick:

Richard F. Thomas, a Harvard professor of classics and one of the world’s leading authorities on Virgil, called the changes “deplorable, deeply regressive, a sign of the corporatization of the university.”

And here’s Mary:

Mary D. Lewis, a professor who specializes in the history of modern France and has led opposition to the benefit changes, said they were tantamount to a pay cut. “Moreover,” she said, “this pay cut will be timed to come at precisely the moment when you are sick, stressed or facing the challenges of being a new parent.”

Why the anger? Because Harvard thought that it would be, drumroll, exempt from the Affordable Care Act which it was instrumental in conceiving :

The university is adopting standard features of most employer-sponsored health plans: Employees will now pay deductibles and a share of the costs, known as coinsurance, for hospitalization, surgery and certain advanced diagnostic tests. The plan has an annual deductible of $250 per individual and $750 for a family. For a doctor’s office visit, the charge is $20. For most other services, patients will pay 10 percent of the cost until they reach the out-of-pocket limit of $1,500 for an individual and $4,500 for a family.
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A (Satirical) Preview of 2015

Submitted by William Blum via Counter-Punch,

January 25: 467 people reported missing from a university in Mexico. US State Department blames Russia.

February 1: Military junta overthrows President Nicolás Maduro in Venezuela. Washington decries the loss of democracy.

February 2: US recognizes the new Venezuelan military junta, offers it 50 jet fighters and tanks.

February 3: Revolution breaks out in Venezuela endangering the military junta; 40,000 American marines land in Caracas to quell the uprising.

February 16: White police officer in Chicago fatally shoots a 6-year old black boy holding a toy gun.

March 6: Congress passes a new law which states that to become president of the United States a person must have the surname Bush or Clinton.

April 30: The Department of Homeland Security announces plan to record the DNA at birth of every child born in the United States.

May 19: The Supreme Court rules that police may search anyone if they have reasonable grounds for believing that the person has pockets.

May 27: The Transportation Security Administration declares that all airline passengers must strip completely nude at check-in and remain thus until arriving at their destination.

June 6: White police officer in Oklahoma City tasers a 7-month-old black child, claiming the child was holding a gun; the gun turns out to be a rattle.

July 19: Two subway trains collide in Manhattan. The United States demands that Moscow explain why there was a Russian citizen in each of the trains.

September 5: The Democratic Party changes its name to the Republican Lite Party, and announces the opening of a joint bank account with the Republican Party so that corporate lobbyists need make out only one check.

September 12: White police officer in Alabama shoots black newborn, confusing the umbilical cord for a noose.

November 16: President Obama announces that Iran, Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, North Korea, Sudan, Nicaragua, Venezuela, Bolivia and Cuba all possess weapons of mass destruction; have close ties to the Islamic State, al Qaeda, and the Taliban; are aiding pro-Russian rebels in Ukraine; were involved in 9-11; played a role in the assassination of John F. Kennedy and the attack on Pearl Harbor; are an imminent threat to the United States and all that is decent and holy; and are all “really bad guys”, who even (choke, gasp) use torture!

November 21: The United States invades Iran, Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, North Korea, Sudan, Nicaragua, Venezuela, Bolivia and Cuba.

December 10: Barack Obama is awarded his second Nobel Peace Prize

December 11: To celebrate his new peace prize, Obama sends out drones to assassinate wrong-thinking individuals in Somalia, Afghanistan and Yemen.

December 13: Members of Ukraine’s neo-Nazi parties, which hold several high positions in the US-supported government, goose-step through the center of Kiev in full German Storm Trooper uniforms, carrying giant swastika flags, shouting “Heil Hitler”, and singing the Horst Wessel song. Not a word of this appears in any American mainstream media.

December 15: US Secretary of State warns Russia to stop meddling in Ukraine, accusing Moscow of wanting to re-create the Soviet Union.

December 16: White police officer shoots a black 98-year-old man sitting in a wheel chair, claiming the man pointed a rifle at him. The rifle turns out to be a cane.

December 28: The Washington Redskins football team finish their season in last place. The White House blames Vladimir Putin.

“Something Is Not Right” Jeff Gundlach Is “Concerned About Health Of The Economy & Financial System”

Having warned of the “terrifying consequences” of oil prices staying this low, DoubleLine's Jeffrey Gundlach, in an extensive interview with Finanz und Wirtschaft, warns he is “beginning to see signs of investor concern around the edges about the health of the economy and about the financial system. Historically, when junk bonds give up the ghost and treasuries remain firm, it is a signal that something is not right.” Touching on everything from a string dollar to Indian stocks, and from Oil to bonds, and The Fed, Gundlach concludes, “the only places where there is inflation is in places that are painful. Raising interest rates against that backdrop seems like a poor idea. So I just hope the Fed thinks carefully about what it is doing.” Boxed-in much?

Via Finanz und Wirtschaft,

Jeffrey Gundlach, CEO of the investment firm DoubleLine, is bullish on the Dollar and worried that a rise in interest rates could cause an economic downturn in the United States.

In the worlds’ financial markets things are coming thick and fast. Oil prices are spinning down, the Rubel is collapsing, and the Swiss National (NATN 81.05 -2.35%) Bank is introducing negative interest rates. At the same time, the Federal Reserve is getting ready for the first interest rate hike in over half a decade. Jeffrey Gundlach worries that this could be a severe mistake. The outspoken and highly influential CEO of the investment boutique DoubleLine was one of just a few contrarians who, at the end of last year, were correctly predicting that long term U.S. interest rates would decrease in 2014. Now, he spots warning lights in the bond market signaling the growing risk of a severe setback for the American economy that even could turn into a recession.

Mr. Gundlach, on Wall Street you are well known as an influential bond investor. But you are also a connoisseur of art and even tried to start a career as a drummer in a rock band. What tune comes to your mind when you look at the financial markets these days?

I have kind of lost track of music. I do not know any songs that have been written since about 1997. People around here, they all hear Radiohead and that stuff – I do not know a single song. But there is an old record by Led Zeppelin called