The US’s Fingerprints Are All Over Nicaragua’s Bloody Civil Unrest

Authored by Mac Slavo via SHTFplan.com,

Bloody protests against Nicaragua’s President Daniel Ortega’s government have the United State’s fingerprints all over it.  Over 100 people have been killed since the civil unrest broke out in mid-April and it doesn’t take much to realize the US government is fueling the bloodbath.

According to RT, the so-called marea rosa, or “pink tide”, of allied leftist governmentswhich held sway across Latin America in previous years is being rolled back. Brazil’s Dilma Rousseff was removed from power in a right-wing coup, co-conspirators of which have now managed to imprison the current presidential frontrunner, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. Ecuador’s Lenin Moreno has stabbed his former leader Rafael Correa in the back by barring him from seeking re-election, while seemingly purging his cabinet of remaining Correa loyalists and beginning the process of allowing the US military back into the country

These are all coalescing as other democratic and not-so-democratic removals of leftist governments from power continue. NATO has nabbed itself a foothold in the Latin American region, now that Colombia has joined the obsolete yet aggressively expanding Cold War alliance, in a thinly veiled threat to neighboring authoritarian Venezuela.

Now it’s Nicaragua’s turn for the US to interfere in the government’s efforts to “police the entire world,” paid with by our stolen tax money, of course. Student demonstrations began in the capital Managua as a reaction to the country’s failure to handle forest fires in one of the most protected areas of the Indio Maiz Biological Reserve. The situation was then exacerbated when, two days later, the ruling Sandinista National Liberation Front announced it was slashing pensions and social security payments, sparking further anti-government protests. Targeted opposition violence along with police repressions have led to a mounting body count on both sides. Violence persists in the country, despite the fact that President Ortega has now ditched the proposed welfare reforms and has been engaging in talks with the opposition.

The government has adamantly denied it was responsible for snipers killing at least 15 people at a recent demonstration. And, while we may never know what really happened, it’s fair to say an embattled national leadership in the midst of peace talks has little to gain from people being gunned down in front of the world’s media at an opposition march on Mother’s Day. All I’ll say on the matter is it’s not like we didn’t have mysterious sharpshooters picking off protesters during US-supported coups in Venezuela and Ukraine. –RT

It is unsurprising then that the US is apparently attempting to capitalize on the growing discontent, stoking dissent among the youth in a deliberate attempt to destabilize the Sandinista government. Infamously nefarious US soft power organizations such as the National Endowment for Democracy, also known as the CIA’s ‘legal window’, have set up extensive networks in Nicaragua. Among the leading Nicaraguan student activists currently touring Europe to garner support for the anti-government movement is Jessica Cisneros. Cisneros is a member of the Movimiento Civico de Juventudes, which is funded by Madeline Albright’s National Democratic Institute (NDI). Albright is the former US Secretary of State that said that 500,000 Iraqi Children dying as a result of US sanctions against Saddam Hussein was “worth it”.

If the idea of Washington supporting progressive anti-government forces in Latin America confuses you, then you’re failing to grasp the nature of US interference. During the Cold War, for example, the US supported both the Mujahideen inAfghanistan as well as eastern European trade unionists against the Soviet Union. Indeed, throughout the Syrian conflict, Washington has been arming leftist groups alongside jihadist organizations. It goes without saying that, despite US politicians getting all dewy-eyed over “freedom fighters,” the likes of Jihadists or even trade unionists are not welcome in US society. –RT

It isn’t like the US never interferes, in fact, if it can, it will. And unfortunately, all we get is the bill and the knowing that our tax dollars are being used to slaughter human beings we don’t even know.

White House Urges US Airlines To Resist Beijing’s “Orwellian Nonsense” On Taiwan

After describing it as “Orwellian nonsense” last month, the Trump administration is again pushing back against China’s request that US airlines change how they refer to Taiwan to make clear that it is a part of China.

“This is Orwellian nonsense and part of a growing trend by the Chinese Communist Party to impose its political views on American citizens and private companies,” the White House press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, said in a statement.

According to the Financial Times, US officials have asked United, American Airlines and Delta not to comply with China’s demands, which stipulate that airlines should refer to Taiwan as “Taiwan, China” on their websites and maps. China sent letters earlier this year to 36 foreign airlines demanding they remove any language which implied that Taiwan was an independent state, saying they have until later this month to comply.

Airlines

The White House has urged airlines to push back and tell China that this issue should be handled by the US and Chinese governments.

American Airlines CEO Doug Parker told the FT last month that the Taiwan issue is “between countries.”

“The United States has replied to the Chinese government and as a result we are following the direction of the US government,” said Mr Parker, who would not say if he viewed the order as Orwellian nonsense. “I’m not certain if we are obliged to [heed the US government guidance] but right now it is between our government and their government and we are following the guidance of our government.”

While the White House is trying to reassure carriers that it will handle the issue with China, air lines are nervous because they could lose access to valuable routes in China at a time when the Chinese market is becoming increasingly important for aviation.

“If airlines are denied landing rights, they will simply have to deal with the commercial realities presented by the Chinese government and US top cover won’t help,” said Evan Medeiros, a former White House Asia official. “The only message the Chinese will understand is if the airlines, for their own reasons, are not willing to accept Chinese demands. The Chinese know the pressure points, and it is airline operations and not government-to-government interactions.”

A group of US senators recently wrote to the airlines urging them to rebuff China’s request.

A bipartisan group of US senators, including Cory Gardner from Colorado and Marco Rubio from Florida, ​recently wrote to United and American to urge them to resist the “long arm” of the Chinese government. Mr Gardner told the Financial Times that the airlines should think twice about complying with the Chinese order, and said the US should consider retaliatory measures again Chinese airlines if necessary.

Australia’s Qantas Airline and several other foreign airlines have decided to comply with China’s request, according to Business Insider.

Qantas

Qantas said it’s in the process of changing over all references to Taiwan in its systems and on its website, but that finalizing such a move will take time.

“Our intention is to meet the requirements. It is just taking time to get there,” CEO Alan Joyce told reporters at the annul meeting of the International Air Transport Association.

[…]

“The IT and technology that underpins our websites and the connectivity takes time for us to get to grips with changes that need to be put into the programming stages of that,” the statement read.

[…]

“An inter-governmental agreement on the naming and grouping of states and territories would be a helpful reference. In the meantime, airlines wishing to serve the China market are doing their best to comply with China’s very stringent requirements.”

Meanwhile, a spokesman for the International Air Transport Association said its members had no “no wish to make political statements” in their descriptions of markets. 

Air Canada, Air France, Malaysia Airlines, and a handful of other carriers have changed their references to Taiwan since receiving letters from Beijing. Lufthansa and British Airways made similar changes earlier this year after Delta Air Lines was censured by China for listing Taiwan as a country on its website. China has also been pressuring hotel chains and retailers. White House officials were reportedly angered earlier this year when Delta apologized to China for labeling Taiwan and Tibet as countries on their website.

World’s Biggest Hedge Fund: “We Are Bearish On Almost All Financial Assets”

One month ago, in a surprising reversal, we reported that Bridgewater was outperforming peers this year even after losing money in April, largely as a result of a a massive derisking, i.e. turning bearish. As Bloomberg further added, “the fund has also reduced its net long bets on U.S. equities to about 10 percent of assets from 120% earlier this year, and that overall, the fund is net short equities.”

And now we know why.

In one of Bridgewater’s latest Daily Observations authored by co-CIO Greg Jensen, the firm writes that “2019 is setting up to be a dangerous year, as the fiscal stimulus rolls off while the impact of the Fed’s tightening will be peaking” a point echoed yesterday by the head of the Indian central bank, Urjit Patel, who warned that unless the Fed ends its balance sheet reduction which comes as a time when the Treasury is soaking up dollar liquidity by issuing substantial amounts of Treasuries to fund the Trump budget, the tightening in financial conditions could lead to a global conflagration started by emerging markets.

And since asset markets lead the economy, Bridgewater continues, “for investors the danger is already here” and explains as follows:

Markets are already vulnerable, as the Fed is pulling back liquidity and raising rates, making cash scarcer and more attractive – reversing the easy liquidity and 0% cash rate that helped push money out of the risk curve over the course of the expansion. The danger to assets from the shift in liquidity and the building late-cycle dynamics is compounded by the fact that financial assets are pricing in a Goldilocks scenario of sustained strength, with little chance of either a slump or an overheating as the Fed continues its tightening cycle over the next year and a half.

To justify his point, Jensen notes that markets are pricing in that the world is pricing in a “goldilocks” world at the start of 2020, with 2.4% growth, 3.0% 10Y yields and 2.8% Fed Funds rates, which is essentially “an extrapolation of current conditions, with expected growth and inflation near perfect levels. The yield curve is priced to be flat, oil to be at $62, and the dollar to be down 3.5% against developed world currencies.”

Looking at pricing dynamics, the world’s largest hedge fund also notes that “expectations are for inflation to remain at fairly benign levels just above the Fed’s 2% target, and options pricing reflects little investor demand for protection against the potential for the economy to bubble over. On the other hand, it also shows virtually no chance of deflation, which is a high likelihood in the next downturn.

Needless to say, Bridgewater is skeptical: “we doubt this picture of calm priced into markets will actually play out.

But what is most ominous, is Bridgewater’s forecast beyond the end of 2019, when mysteriously most other permabullish projections are cut off. As Jansen writes, “while such strong conditions would call for further Fed tightening, there’s almost no further tightening priced in beyond the end of 2019. Bond yields are not priced in to rise much, implying that the yield curve will continue to flatten. This seems to imply an unsustainable set of conditions, given that government deficits will continue growing even after the peak of fiscal stimulation and the Fed is scheduled to continue unwinding is balance sheet, it is difficult to imagine attracting sufficient bond buyers with the yield curve continuing to flatten.”

With all of the above in mind, Bridgewater has one simple message: sold to you.

“We are bearish on financial assets as the US economy progresses toward the late cycle, liquidity has been removed, and the markets are pricing in a continuation of recent conditions despite the changing backdrop.”

Don’t worry though: Dennis Gartman remains bullish.