Beijing Goes Global: China Expands Marine Force 400%; First Overseas Military Base Almost Complete

Authored by Daniel Lang via SHTFplan.com,

For most of its recent history, China has largely been a land power with no significant naval capabilities. They haven’t been able to exert much military influence beyond their coastline for hundreds of years. In fact, one of the reasons why Western powers had no trouble bullying China during the 19th and 20th centuries, was because the Imperial Navy under the Qing dynasty was incredibly weak. With that in mind, it’s no surprise that lately, China has been putting a lot of effort into building an effective overseas naval force.

Not only have they been busy constructing their first combat-ready aircraft carrier, the Chinese have also been developing new aircrafts to accompany it. Of course, a navy can’t really exert much military influence if it doesn’t have soldiers to deploy. That’s why Chinese officials have recently announced that they are preparing to rapidly expand the ranks of the People’s Liberation Army Marine Corps.

Chinese media is reporting the People’s Liberation Army’s ambitious new plans following the announcement of a 7 per cent increase to $200 billion in defence spending last week.

 

Among the details to emerge is a move to boost China’s marine corps — highly trained and well equipped troops intended for rapid deployment and offensive missions launched from the sea — from an existing 20,000 troops to more than 100,000.

 

Chinese officials have stated this is to protect arterial maritime trade routes and enforce its growing overseas interests.

“What growing overseas interests” you might ask?

Well, China has been in the process of building their first overseas military base in Djibouti, on the Horn of Africa. And that base is expected to be completed this summer.

Marine Gen. Thomas Waldhauser, commander of AfriCom, told the Senate Armed Services Committee that he expected the Chinese base on the Horn of Africa to be operational later this summer.

 

Without getting specific, Waldhauser said he recently met with Djibouti’s President Ismail Omar Guelleh “and expressed our concerns about some of the things that are important to us about what the Chinese should not do at that location.”

 

The Chinese base would be about four miles from the U.S. base at Camp Lemonnier, one of the Pentagon’s largest and most important foreign military installations, where about 3,000 U.S. military personnel and contractors are assigned to Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa.

Given that base’s close proximity to Camp Lemonnier, China’s intentions are obvious.

They want what the United States has, which is a vast overseas empire, and an expeditionary force that can reach any coastline in the world. They want to compete with our current role in the global theater. Unfortunately, there isn’t enough room in the world for two countries carrying out that role. We may very well be witnessing the first stages of a new conflict between the United States and China.

Is Denmark On The Brink?

Authored by Erico Matias Tavares via Sinclair & Co.,

Iben Thranholm examines political and social events with focus on their religious aspects, significance and moral implications. She is one of Denmark’s most widely read columnists on such matters. Thranholm is a former editor and radio host at the Danish Broadcasting Corporation (DR), at which she created a religious news program that set a new standard for religious analysis in the newsroom. She has traveled extensively in the Middle East, Italy, the United States and Russia to carry out research and interviews. She has been awarded for her investigative research into Danish media coverage of religious issues.

 

E Tavares: Iben, thank you for being with us today. Over a year ago we talked to Dr. Tino Sanandaji, an economics professor at a leading Swedish university, on the inconsistencies of Swedish immigration policies. The resulting post was hit, revealing a significant interest for this topic. 

In a sense Sweden is the canary in the coalmine of Europe’s demographic future, since they have been at the forefront of this transformation and openly embrace it. Being a close neighbor we would like to get your views on what is happening there, as well as in Denmark. How do the Danes look at Sweden, with hope or apprehension? 

I Tranholm: With absolute horror! 

The Swedish media, which is quite pro-government and its leftwing policies, does not always report the full extent of the problems in their society. So it is hard to have a very accurate picture of what is going on. But we in Denmark have a good sense. We are very aware of the murders, rapes, riots, violence and the hand grenades that go on there. This does not often make the news but we know it is going on. And we don’t want to go down the same route. 

This is the result of decades of policies promoting multiculturalism in Sweden. And what is left is this hollow house. You know, in the Bible it is said that if a house is left swept, tidied and unoccupied it eventually it will be taken over by evil. And I fear that this is what is happening in Sweden. Far from being a multicultural paradise, the problems can no longer remain hidden. 

ET: Indeed, even President Trump made some controversial comments about Sweden at a recent rally in the US, causing an international uproar, with many debates on whether he was right or wrong. Did this cause some discussion in Denmark as well?

IT: It wasn’t much of a discussion because we in Denmark know what is happening in Sweden. Malmo is very close so we only need to go there to see it with our own eyes. 

There was a TV ad partially paid by the Swedish government recommending that all Swedes integrate into this new multicultural society they are creating. Think about that. Even old Swedes now need to adjust to this new reality, instead of immigrants adapting to Swedish society. They call it “Det nya landet”, which means the new country. Traditional Sweden is gone.

ET: Swedes and Danes share many cultural traits. What explains this divergence in opinions? Is it because you do not face the same societal problems? 

IT: We are not as politically correct as the Swedes. So there is a lot of discussion here. (…) As such we have a greater awareness of our heritage and tend to be more protective of it.

Which is not to say we don’t have problems. We do. We face the same identity issues, and our traditions – in particular our Christian heritage – are fast disappearing from our society. That same hollowness is now becoming mainstream in Denmark. And this eliminates much of the arguments to defend ourselves against the importation of foreign values and customs, many of which are at odds with our own. Simply forbidding things will not change this reality. 

ET: And how has integration been? Seems to be going better than other European countries since we don’t hear much about “no-go” zones and riots in your country, unlike France and Sweden, for instance.

IT: We have those problems as well but because Denmark is a small country you won’t hear about them as much. 

We have this belief here that welfare is the solution for everything. No matter who comes here from whatever part of the world will get housing, work, entertainment and healthcare. The government will give those to you with the expectation that if you have all those things you will happily assimilate into Danish society, learn Danish and adapt to our culture. As a result we will become a vibrant multicultural society. 

The reality is quite different. The relativism that this multiculturalism engenders ends up putting different sides of society at odds with each other, especially when their values and beliefs are very different to begin with.

When immigrants come to Denmark they may be taken care of, but they have no dominant culture that they can assimilate into, certainly not in the religious sense. We are completely devoid of God. And as a result they end bringing elements of their culture and religion which often create friction, misunderstandings and also crime. So Danish society becomes more and more divided as a result. 

ET: Politicians seem to be getting the message. Your parliament recently passed legislation to ensure that immigration would never reach a level that would threaten Danish national identity. What do you make of this?

IT: We have a very divided society here as well, even without considering the waves of immigration that have recently settled here. 

Half of the population wants open borders, mass immigration and welfare for all. They reject traditional values and are very much in favor of globalism and multiculturalism. The other half is very much opposed to that, but they lack any persuasive arguments to support that position. All they can do is to forbid immigration, forbid women from wearing a head cloth and so on. 

We no longer have a moral compass. Before, Christianity provided this role, keeping us united over centuries. Now we can no longer distinguish between good and evil, and ultimately this is what this struggle comes down to. Without this any preventive measures like this are just quick fixes that will not solve anything over the longer term. What is needed is a positive alternative in a moral sense. 

ET: Is there any data or independent studies on the benefits and costs of immigration in Denmark? In Sweden for instance this topic is almost taboo, but there are many concerns in terms of finding good employment opportunities for immigrants, coming from the immigrants themselves in fact.

IT: With this new culture we have adopted in the West we stopped having enough children to support our welfare state. So yes, one argument is that we need more people to support it. 

In our own very secular society the state is God. It is supposed to provide and care for everybody. So the economic arguments become less relevant. Of course they are consideration since people are paying for these policies, but in a sense they are secondary.

ET: We are at the cusp of an automation wave that threatens to displace millions of workers across the developed world. This will raise even more concerns regarding mass immigration, which traditionally consists of lower skilled workers. Is there any discussion in Denmark about this?

IT: No. The only discussion is around the cultural aspect, namely the impact on our values and traditions. 

And in a sense this just shows how weak we are. For instance, there are only 250,000 Muslims in Denmark, so a tiny minority. And yet the majority of our political debates focusing on culture over the last ten years have largely revolved around Islam. That’s how weak our culture has become.

So while as an open society there is resistance to women having to cover themselves up, having separate swimming pools for men and women and so forth, we have lost the argument to combat these imported traditions largely because we have lost our Christian roots and values. So over time they will become more prevalent in our society. We are already seeing it.

ET: Secular Muslims may also lose out a result. Many cherish Western values but will increasingly find a native society that is at odds with them, as their own communities become more extremist. Many complain that the Islam in Denmark and other European countries is more hardcore or even radical than in their home countries.

IT: That is true. And again that is largely a result of this cultural hesitation in the societies that host them. As a result, those more aggressive forms gain more ground to the detriment of everyone, especially women. 

ET: Much of the developing world faces a difficult situation and undoubtedly the countries that can help should. Let’s face it, faulty Western foreign policies have made bad situations even worse across much of the Middle East, although other very important sectarian and ethnic conflicts play a large role as well. 

There are those who suggest that instead of opening the borders this help should be provided at the origin, which would be cheaper and thus could help many more people, would place refugees closer to their homes and avoid many of the social problems we are unfortunately seeing across Europe – caused by a minority to be sure, but still very problematic. What do Danish politicians think about this?

IT: That would be logical in many ways, but again the debate is not economical. People want to be perceived as doing good, meaning opening their communities, welcoming and caring for others. 

I would be in favor of that if we were talking about women and their children, even families. But the reality is different. The majority of people we have welcomed in recent years, especially following the migrant crisis, are fit young men. They bring their conflicts and their frustrations with them, creating a difficult environment for everyone. 

So yes, arguably it would be more efficient to provide care at the source but this is not how the debate is framed.

ET: Denmark is supposedly the happiest country on the planet. But you have little reason to be happy these days as you find yourself on the receiving end of government censorship, not only for expressing your concerns about the future of your country but also for working for a Russian news outlet. What happened here? You recently wrote a powerful piece about this, expressing your feelings not only as a woman who does not toe the party line but especially as a Christian. 

IT: In 2015 I wrote an article criticizing our politicians who for the most part hate Christianity but nevertheless use Christian values, especially charity and compassion, to promote their own agendas, in particular mass immigration. So I called them out on that.

A few months later I got a call from a politician here who told me that I was on a government blacklist, supposedly acting as a pro-Russian propagandist agent, despite having absolutely no evidence to that effect. I occasionally work for a Russian news outlet, but that’s simply my job as a journalist. 

Today, in a society where supposedly there is freedom of speech, if politicians want to silence their critics they simply accuse them of working for the Kremlin, or having some unexplained ties with Russia. That is what happened to me, and it also happening to high profile politicians and journalists in the US, France and Germany. If you don’t agree with the multicultural policies of Europe then you are labeled a Russian agent. Which is really a form of political or character assassination. 

They are so afraid of the rise of what leftist politicians in Europe call “populism”, which threaten the existence of their beloved European Union. And this year the stakes are very high with elections in France and Germany. So they resort to these kinds of tactics to quash any dissenters. 

So I find myself in a blacklist in a supposedly free country like Denmark, but if a conflict with Russia emerges I can end up in prison under the pretext of being a foreign agent. Again, with no proof and no judicial process. This is very much how totalitarian societies operate. First they put you on a list, then when there is a problem or a made-up reason they will come for you.

ET: You were only expressing views that are consistent with those of many conservatives on both sides of the Atlantic. There are certainly many people concerned about the future of Western societies. In many ways this evokes memories of the Soviet Union, and the great new society they tried to create, with the disastrous consequences we all know.

That is actually a very real and concerning comparison. After all, communism was a Western idea and it was imposed on Russia, they did not create it. And it did not die with the collapse of the Soviet Union. On the contrary, it is still very much alive and roaming around our continent. While it operates differently, the goals are not too dissimilar. The version we have spreading across the West is Cultural Marxism.

We no longer have families, religion, even genders. In Sweden now they have invented a gender neutral term to address little boys and girls at kindergarten. This is a complete change from traditional Western values that have kept Europe safe from outside invasion for centuries. And this is now gone. 

All this talk of multiculturalism and open borders sounds very nice, but in practice it has led to a progressive transformation of our societies, and as Sweden shows not for the better. Less freedoms, less safety, less cohesion; more crime, more fragmentation, more social problems. It really is a struggle of good versus evil, and we in the West can no longer distinguish between the two. I would even call it diabolical disorientation. 

ET: So how long you think before the Christian cross is removed from your flag? And how does the Danish monarchy, which is sworn to protect Danish culture and religion, feel about all of this?

IT: No European politician will stand up for Christianity. Nobody. Expect from perhaps Hungarian Prime Minister, Victor Orbán. 

There is this unholy alliance between the left and radical Islam. Many Europeans have such a disdain for their own traditions that they would prefer to see Christianity being eradicated even if it might cost their way of life and even personal freedoms in the end. 

We have this bizarre situation where Western feminists support women having to wear a head cloth, along with foregoing many of the rights they should be able to enjoy in our countries. And these women often get penalized by their own communities when they try to assimilate into our society, while the feminists stay quiet. It is all very multicultural and good.

ET: You know Russia well as part of your work. Can you contrast what is happening there relative to the transformation taking place across much of Western Europe?

Believe it or not, we have swapped lanes. Now it is Russia who is adopting Christianity as the West gets rid of it by any means possible. 

Christianity runs very deep in Russia: in their literature, in their arts, in their culture. When the Soviets brutally tried to suppress it, at the cost of countless lives, it survived underground. People still celebrated it in secrecy, performing baptisms and the like behind closed doors. 

President Putin recently inaugurated an enormous statue of St. Vladimir, the patron saint of the Russian Orthodox Church, about 100 yards from the Kremlin walls. If you stand at a certain point across the street from the Kremlin, the cross that he bears is even taller than the star in the Red Square, so the symbolism is very potent. 

In the West, as we discussed, we are going the other way. We can’t discard our values and heritage fast enough. 

ET: There was a 2014 Russian movie, Leviathan, which alluded to this transformation. However it put Orthodox Christianity in a less positive light, essentially being used as an ideological argument to justify the power of the oligarchs in society. President Putin is certainly no saint. Isn’t this all just superficial?

IT: There are people in Russia who are also opposed to their own traditional values and who want a more Westernized Russia. I have not seen that movie so I can’t say if the director supports that view or not. 

People need to go to Russia and see it for themselves. President Putin is only responding to what is happening there and he respects the Russian people’s faith in Orthodoxy.

This is one of the reasons why I believe the West hate the Russians so much. They cannot tolerate the thought of having a resurgent and powerful Christian Russia who openly rejects their Cultural Marxism. And accordingly they demonized it in much of our media and political circles.

ET: So, is Denmark on the brink? Indeed, is the rest of Europe on the brink?

IT: Yes, Denmark is on the brink. And Europe is on the brink. We completely lost our culture, our values and our moral compass. What used to be good is now evil and vice-versa. 

You mentioned Denmark being the happiest country in the world but I am not sure that is true. We have high alcohol consumption and about half a million people on happy pills for a reason. 

Channel 1, our main TV channel here, recently aired a documentary on three Danish girls who converted to Islam out of their own will, not because they got married or anything like that. They all had the same background, coming from broken homes, dealing with alcoholism and so forth – basically part of the legacy of the 1968 revolution we had across Europe. What these girls lacked was structure, and they found it in Islam because it regulates all aspects of your life: how you dress, what you eat, with whom you can socialize with, how to pray, how to interact as a wife and so on. 

That is what the right-wing parties in Europe don’t understand. This is a spiritual battle. There is no political freedom without spiritual freedom. If you go around just forbidding things, like don’t wear the head cloth and so forth, it will not work. Our civilization will gradually disappear.

The only thing that can save Europe right now is a true spiritual, dare I say Christian, revival across the Continent. This played a significant role in the demise of communism in the Soviet Union and East Germany. The churches there provided hidden venues for people to congregate, express ideas and share their faith and hardships.

Since its inception Christianity was always about fighting evil with love, prayer and faith because these three are the key to freedom. And these are the values that the radical left and radical Islam do not tolerate, because of course both demand total obedience to the state and their conception of God, respectively. 

ET: Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and your courage. You deserve to be in the cover of a magazine, not on some government blacklist. Wish you all the best.

IT: Thank you.

Signs That The Silicon Valley Tech Bubble Is About To Burst

18 months ago there was a seemingly limitless number of Silicon Valley future billionaires buying up multi-million dollar homes and renting out lavish pads.  But if demand for excessively priced real estate is any indication of the health of Silicon Valley’s tech industry then all the venture capitalists who have tripped over themselves to invest in the next ‘decacorn’, or startups worth $10s of billions pre-IPO despite burning billions of cash quarterly, should be getting pretty worried right about now.

As the following chart from Zillow points out, home prices in San Francisco stalled about a year ago and rents have followed a similar path.

San Fran

 

But home prices aren’t the only thing stalling, according to a note from The Guardian, resumes are also starting to flood into Silicon Valley headhunters from recently unemployed software engineers who were let go after their companies failed to attract its required latest round of financing at a ridiculous valuation.

“We’re starting to get a lot of résumés from [software engineers at] companies where the business model isn’t working and they can’t get funding, so they are closing down or cutting back,” said Mark Dinan, a software recruiter based in the Bay Area, who keeps track of companies’ hirings and firings.

 

These startups are running out of money because VCs are being more discerning about where they place their money, making fewer, bigger bets.

 

“The number of investments [in the private market] has fallen by about a third, but the amount of capital is around the same,” said Tomasz Tunguz, a venture capitalist at Redpoint, adding that some of the “fast money” from hedge funds and mutual funds had shifted away from the sector.

 

“It’s been happening for a couple of years. It’s not as easy to raise capital and VCs are demanding better terms,” added Aswath Damodaran, a professor of finance at the Stern School of Business.

Despite the meteoric rise in the stock market over the past several years, venture capitalists have been forced to pull back on new investments partly because of a slowdown in companies going public. Last year was the slowest for US IPOs since the recession, with the amount raised by technology companies falling 60% from 2015.

Tech IPOs

 

Meanwhile, if SNAP’s IPO is any indicator of how other potential tech IPOs might be expected to perform, then we wouldn’t hold out hope for public investors to save the venture market from their valuation sins.

SNAP

 

But, a series of “down rounds” – when a company raises funds by selling shares that are valued lower than the last time they raised funds, leading its overall valuation to fall – may imply that there just isn’t a healthy backlog of companies that are IPO-worthy. CB Insights has tracked more than 100 of these down rounds and exits since 2015, including software company Zenefits, mobile app Foursquare and online music streaming service Rdio.

“It used to be that 95% of [investment] rounds were up, now 20% are down,” Tunguz said.

 

Then there are the so-called “decacorns” – unicorn startups valued at tens of billions of dollars – such as Airbnb, Uber and Palantir – which some believe are overvalued, but it’s hard to tell until they go public and are forced to reveal details of their underlying finances.

 

Ride-sharing app Uber, for example, has raised more than $16bn and is valued at more than $69bn. That’s more than automotive giants such as General Motors and Ford, despite the company losing $2.2bn last year.

 

“The interesting question with Uber is how long they can keep as a private company. They are raising capital like a public company without any of the disclosure and consequences of being a public company,” said Damodaran, who believes the company’s value is overinflated and it’s really worth $23bn.

So, how does this moment compare with the time leading up to the dotcom crash?  Here is the take of one Silicon Valley software recruiter:

“I got here in 97 and it was like it is now – incredibly packed, impossible to commute, high apartment costs,” Dinan said.

 

“We’re seeing overvalued companies, funded based on hopes and dreams and aspirations and not good business models. Companies counting users and eyeballs rather than profits. There are a lot of similarities.”

 

Another echo of the dotcom era is what Dinan calls “bad habits” such as the allegations of sexual harassment at Uber and human resources startup Zenefits cheating on mandatory compliance training.

 

“There was a lot of crazy behaviour in the late 1990s, including sexual harassment. It’s a result of there not being discipline,” Dinan said.

 

“The [dotcom crash] happened very suddenly and without any warning,” Damodaran said. “When it does happen everyone says they saw it coming. If you saw it coming then why didn’t you get out of it?”

Well, when all else fails there’s always the ‘negging’ option to drive valuation…

What The New CIA Leaks Tell Us About The US Government

Authored by Alice Salles via TheAntiMedia.org,

“The greatest danger to the State is independent intellectual criticism.” – Murray Rothbard

WikiLeaks may have finally done what many small and anti-government advocates have only dreamed of. They exposed the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) for what it is: a bloated government bureaucracy that has grown much too large to be restrained.

According to the document dump released by Julian Assange’s whistleblower hub, this list of highly confidential information regarding the CIA emerged from the agency’s Center For Cyber Intelligence in Langley, revealing details on the agency’s “global covert hacking program.”

The CIA’s hacking effort has been so powerful and effective, the leaks show, that it includes the weaponization of exploits used against products such as the iPhone, Android phones, Samsung TVs, and Microsoft Windows. This means any of these devices can be used as spying mechanisms at any given time.

But perhaps most troubling is the revelation that the CIA lost control of the majority of its hacking arsenal over time. That includes viruses, malware, trojans, malware remote control systems, and the previously mentioned weaponized exploits. In so many words, this means the U.S. government has handed over the key to the most intimate secrets of every single one of us to anyone with access to these lost tools. By allowing the CIA to grow so absolutely powerful, we also allowed the agency to be absolutely careless with our own lives.

What have we learned from this? That regardless of how detached we may seem from politics, its influence and power grows as we refrain from restricting it — even if most of those involved aren’t quite aware of the mechanisms that allow for this expansion.

The Government Is The Ultimate Monopoly And That’s Why The CIA Is So Powerful

As Austrian economist Murray Rothbard wrote in his pivotal essay, “Anatomy of the State,” the government is entirely wired to be “that organization in society which attempts to maintain a monopoly of the use of force and violence in a given territorial area.” This is not because there’s a conspiracy to ensure every subject lives solely to serve the state, but because government has no moral legitimacy.

In other words, government is only powerful because we, the individuals, have allowed it to have sole guardianship over our property — including self-ownership — and freedoms.

Once government has total control over every basic aspect of our lives, those within government see no boundaries. Why? Because the burden of self-censorship or even personal responsibility doesn’t lie with the individual any longer. Once the government employee crosses over, stepping into a world where he’s protected by an invisible authority, he is no longer a person who is led by the same morals that guided him before he assumed this position — he’s now a bureaucrat. And as such, he now knows he will no longer have to be accountable for his actions.

What does that have to do with the latest revelations on the CIA? When a lack of personal responsibility meets the always ravaging needs of the monopolistic State, the individual loses any sovereignty he has over his own life. The government worker becomes a thirsty member of the State, always looking for ways to undermine freedom while the so-called private individual becomes just another government enabler under its control.

The CIA has been careless with the tools it uses to spy on all of us, and whether or not we are guilty of committing crimes, it is clear that it has been equally careless with what it’s extracted from us over the years. This invites abuse from inside, which is what we saw happening within the National Security Agency (NSA) after Edward Snowden revealed the massive spying program sweeping our personal data (while also giving malicious elements outside of the CIA the same access to our personal communications).

We only have ourselves to blame for how out of control the CIA has become, and that’s because we have forgotten — or perhaps never known — that the government’s monopoly over our lives is granted, not warranted. Will the CIA leaks be the straw that broke the camel’s back?

Somehow, I highly doubt it.