The US economy has been supercharged by tax reform and tariffs – but can it last?
In part 3 of this corrective history of the Syrian proxy war, we chart ISIS’ rapid advance into central Syria and inroads into the Damascus suburbs, as well as Russian intervention and the resulting failure of US regime change plans. See Part 1 here and Part 2 here.
On May 20, 2015 ISIS conquered the city of Tadmur at the site of ancient Palmyra, famous for its Roman ruins, and which lies in Homs province on the road between Deir Ezzour and Damascus. CNN reported of the ISIS assault to take Palmyra that “After at least 100 Syrian soldiers died in fighting overnight, Syrian warplanes carried out airstrikes Thursday in and around Palmyra.”
Shortly after capturing the city, ISIS released video of its fighters throwing two allegedly gay men from the top of a building, and then stoning them. CBS News cited an eyewitness as claiming that “ISIS militants blared on loudspeakers for men to gather”.
Then a black van pulled up outside the Wael Hotel, and Mallah and Salamah were brought out. The first to be thrown off was Mallah. He was tied to a chair so he couldn’t resist, then pushed over the side. He landed on his back, broken but still moving. A fighter shot him in the head. Next was Salameh. He landed on his head and died immediately. Still, fighters stoned his body, Omar said. The bodies were then hung up in Palmyra’s Freedom Square for two days, each with a placard on his chest: ‘He received the punishment for practicing the crime of Lot’s people.’”
ISIS also released video of teenage boys carrying out the mass execution of 25 captured Syrian soldiers in the city’s ancient amphitheater. Agence France Presse (AFP) reported that ISIS executed as many as 200 people after taking the city. ISIS militants also murdered Khalid al-Asaad, the 83 year old retired director of antiquities for Palmyra. The New York Timesreports that “After detaining him for weeks, the jihadists dragged him on Tuesday to a public square where a masked swordsman cut off his head in front of a crowd, Mr. Asaad’s relatives said. His blood-soaked body was then suspended with red twine by its wrists from a traffic light, his head resting on the ground between his feet, his glasses still on, according to a photo distributed on social media by Islamic State supporters.”
CNN commented that despite these atrocities, “there’s no indication that Syrian ground forces will try to take back the city, 150 miles northeast of Damascus, the capital. Nor that any other countries such as the United States will come to the rescue. ‘The world does not care about us,’ the Palmyra resident said. ‘All they are interested in is the stones of ancient Palmyra.’”
US refused to stop ISIS advance on Palmyra
US planners could have indeed bombed convoys of ISIS fighters moving across the open desert from Raqqa to assault Palmyra, but chose not to. The LA Times reported of this period that “as Islamic State [ISIS] closed in on Palmyra, the U.S.-led aerial coalition that has been pummeling Islamic State in Syria for the past 18 months took no action to prevent the extremists’ advance toward the historic town — which, until then, had remained in the hands of the sorely overstretched Syrian security forces.
The U.S. approach in Palmyra contrasted dramatically with the very proactive U.S. bombardment of Kobani during 2014-15 on behalf of U.S.-allied Kurdish militias fending off a furious Islamic State offensive [Emphasis mine].” US planners were willing to come to the aid of their Kurdish allies in northeastern Syria against ISIS, but refused to do the same for residents in Palmyra, as the city had been under Syrian government control.
One year later, in March 2016, Russian and Syrian forces were able to retake Palmyra and liberate it from ISIS, to the displeasure of US planners. The LA Times noted that White House officials have “difficulty publicly lauding advances against Islamic State by Assad and his allies, including the Russians and Iranians, after years of calling for Assad’s fall” and that the Russian success in combating ISIS created a “dilemma” for US planners, because “Washington has endeavored to portray the battle against Islamic State as a project of the United States and its allies, while accusing Moscow of attacking ‘moderate’ rebels instead of the extremists. Palmyra seems to embody an alternative narrative.” US dissatisfaction at the defeat of ISIS in Palmyra was also expressed by State Department spokesperson Mark Toner at a press briefing in March 2016, when Toner refused “to laud” the Syrian and Russian effort to liberate the city.
The fall of Palmyra in May 2015 resulted in ISIS control of some 50% of Syrian territory, and constituted “another strategic defeat that could expose Homs and Damascus to the terror group’s advances,” according to the Guardian. Al-Jazeeraacknowledged the same, explaining that the “fall of the city potentially opens the way for ISIL [ISIS] to advance towards key government-held areas, including the capital and Homs.”
Terror Insurgency Gains Momentum
After capturing Palmyra, ISIS militants attempted multiple times to assault the nearby T4 airbase, located 40 km west to the west of the ancient city in Homs province. Crowd-sourced journalism site Bellingcat reported that “The Islamic State’s [ISIS] offensive in Central Syria has not only allowed the fighters of the Islamic State [ISIS] to expand their operations into areas previously out of reach, but it now also threatens the regime’s gas supplies, its presence on numerous fronts, its control over the only road leading to the vitally important T4 airbase and the airbase itself, the largest of its kind in Syria.”
On August 6, 2015 ISIS advanced further toward the Damascus by capturing the town of al-Qaryatain, which lays roughly half way between Palmyra and the Syrian capital. United Press International (UPI) reports that “37 pro-government forces were killed, as were 23 IS militants.
The battle began with suicide bombings at checkpoints of the town of about 40,000; the population of the community, a mix of Sunni Muslims and Christians, has been reduced by the flight of refugees. The capture of al-Qaryatain indicates IS [ISIS] can move troops and supplies across central Syria without interference, from Palmyra in the east and southwestward to al-Qaryatain.” CNN cited SOHR as reporting that “The Islamic extremists [ISIS] have abducted more than 200 people, said Rami Abdurrahman, the observatory’s executive director. Up to 500 people are unaccounted for, but Abdurrahman said the observatory has confirmed that at least 230 people have been taken hostage.
He said that ISIS militants targeted Christians, some of whom were abducted from the town’s Dar Alyan monastery, as well as people believed to have alliances with the Syrian regime.” To be considered a collaborator or as having “alliances with the regime” by ISIS, it was often enough to simply have a picture of Bashar al-Assad on one’s phone, despite the fact that “lots of people have a picture of Bashar on the phone because it helps them get through checkpoints,” according to one former ISIS captive. ISIS militants then bulldozed the 1,500 year old monastery and its church, while the senior priest, Father Jacques Mouraud, was among the kidnapped.
The capture of Qaraytain also allowed ISIS forces to threaten to take control of the strategic M5 highway on month later.
Patrick Cockburn of the Independent reported in September 2015 that “Islamic State (Isis) forces in Syria are threatening to capture a crucial road, the loss of which could touch off a panic and the exodus of several million refugees from government areas, in addition to the four million who have already fled. Isis fighters have advanced recently to within 22 miles of the M5 highway, the only major route connecting government-held territory in Damascus to the north and west of the country. . . The four million Syrians who are already refugees mostly came from opposition or contested areas that have been systematically bombarded by government aircraft and artillery, making them uninhabitable. But the majority of the 17 million Syrians still in the country live in government-controlled areas now threatened by Isis. These people are terrified of Isis occupying their cities, towns and villages because of its reputation for mass executions, ritual mutilation and rape against those not obedient to its extreme variant of Sunni Islam. Half the Syrian population has already been displaced inside or outside the country, so accurate figures are hard to estimate, but among those particularly at risk are the Alawites (2.6 million), the Shia heterodox sect that has provided the ruling elite of Syria since the 1960s, the Christians (two million), the Syrian Kurds (2.2 million), and Druze (650,000) in addition to millions of Sunni Arabs associated with the Syrian government and its army [emphasis mine].”
ISIS inroads to Damascus
By April 2015, ISIS and Nusra had also captured the Yarmouk Palestinian refugee camp, known as the capital of the Palestinian diaspora, in the southern suburbs of Damascus, and just kilometers from the presidential palace. This allowed ISIS and Nusra to control territory that could be used as a base to assault the heart of the Syrian capital itself.
Flush with newly delivered weapons supplied by the CIA and its Saudi partners, rebels from the FSA and Nusra had invaded and occupied Yarmouk camp two and a half years previously, on December 15, 2012. Rebels entered the camp against the will of Yarmouk’s resident’s, despite explicit requests from the PLO that the rebels not invade, as Palestinians wished to remain neutral in the conflict.
Some 800,000 Yarmouk residents, both Palestinian and Syrian, fled the camp to escape the dangers of the subsequent fighting. Residents, fearing both the rebel mortars and Syrian government MiG airstrikes, sought refuge in other Damascus neighborhoods, in the Palestinian camps in Lebanon, in Turkey, and even in Europe, with the scale of the displacement numerically rivaling that of the 1948 Nakba.
Rebels soon began looting homes, taking over hospitals and stealing medicine. The Syrian government imposed a siege on Yarmouk, which prevented the rebels from advancing further toward Damascus, but which made food, water, and basic necessities scarce, forcing residents to depend heavily on intermittent UNRWA humanitarian aid deliveries. Government and rebel use of heavy artillery and mortars while fighting one another led to significant destruction in the camp, and scores of civilian deaths.
The few remaining civilians, roughly 20,000, became trapped in the camp because, as one Yarmouk resident told the Guardian, “rebel groups were eager to keep people in the camp, she said, particularly men and boys. Their departure was seen as defection from the opposition cause as well as potentially making it easier for government troops to enter the camp by force and regain control.” While the Syrian government encouraged civilians to leave, many nonetheless feared being detained by the Syrian security forces which were screening exiting civilians for fighters. The rebel occupation and government siege continued for years, causing hundreds of deaths due to starvation and lack of medical care.
In April 2015, Nusra fighters facilitated the entry of ISIS fighters into Yarmouk. The BBC reported that “Monitors say IS [ISIS] and the al-Qaeda-affiliated al-Nusra Front, who have fought each other in other parts of Syria, are working together in Yarmouk.”
Several thousand residents who managed to escape the camp and take shelter in a school in an area under Syrian army control told of ISIS atrocities, including one boy who saw ISIS fighters using a severed head as a soccer ball, and a woman who described how “’Daesh’s [ISIS] arrival meant destruction and massacre. Their behavior’s not human and their religion is not ours.”
Clashes between ISIS and local Palestinian rebels (who were loyal to Hamas and had previously supported Nusra’s initial invasion of the camp) exacerbated the humanitarian situation, forcing UNRWA to cease the already limited aid deliveries to Yarmouk. The Guardian quoted one Yarmouk resident as stating, “There is no food or electricity or water, Daesh [ISIS] is killing and looting the camp, there are clashes, there is shelling. Everyone is shelling the camp. . . As soon as Daesh entered the camp they burned the Palestinian flag and beheaded civilians.”
The Syrian government tightened the siege, reaffirming their concern that ISIS fighters controlled territory so near the heart of the Syrian capital. Al-Jazeera reporter Stefanie Dekker explained that “It is a complex situation. The government forces control the northern part [of the camp] towards Damascus. It is their priority to keep the capital safe. . . The fact that ISIL [ISIS] fighters are less than 10km away is of a huge concern. If they allow a humanitarian corridor, who will be coming out?” Despite these concerns, al-Jazeera reported that the Syrian government did indeed allow residents to leave, as some 2,000 were able to be evacuated at this time, with many finding shelter in government schools in neighboring areas.
Fighters from the pro-government Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command (PFLP-GC) confronted ISIS fighters at the northern edge of the camp to stop their advance, while the Syrian military bombed ISIS positions. Foreign Policy quoted one PFLP-GC fighter originally from Yarmouk as saying “I will not stop until they [ISIS] leave the camp. . . I have no problem staying here in this position, not sleeping, digging out tunnels, and fighting. We need to do this,” while quoting another PFLP-GC fighter who felt that “If we weren’t here fighting, [the militants] would be able to access Damascus. . . We’re here to protect the camp and Damascus.”
The New York Times acknowledged the ISIS threat to Syrian capital at this time, observing that “By seizing much of the camp” ISIS had “made its greatest inroads yet into Damascus,” while the Washington Post noted that “Their new push puts [ISIS] within five miles of the heart of the capital… even as they are on the retreat in Iraq.”
As a result of this threat, 14 Palestinian factions agreed to form a joint operations room with the Syrian army to try defeat ISIS militarily and purge its militants from the camp. PLO Executive Committee member Ahmed Majdalani told a press conference that “The decision will be jointly made by the two sides to retake the camp from the obscurantist terrorists who seize it now.” However, the PLO soon reversed course, claiming the Palestinians should not be dragged into any conflict, allegedly as a result of pressure on Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas from Saudi Arabia and Qatar.
US Policy of Leveraging ISIS Against Assad
The US preference for the advance of ISIS toward Damascus, even as US warplanes were bombing the terror group in Eastern Syria and Iraq, was explained by Secretary of State John Kerry. Kerry shockingly admitted that US planners actually welcomed the ISIS push toward Damascus, which they felt they could leverage to put pressure on Assad to give up power to the US-backed opposition. As discussed above, Kerry explained that, “We were watching. We saw that Daesh [ISIS]was growing in strength. And we thought Assad was threatened. We thought we could manage that Assad might then negotiate. Instead of negotiating, he got Putin to support him.”
The New York Times reported in detail on the meeting, an audio recording of which was leaked, as did the Guardian and CNN. Despite Kerry’s shocking comments, none of these three news outlets mentioned his admission that US planners welcomed the ISIS advance on Damascus, presumably due to requests by US intelligence officials.
CNN initially posted the full audio of the leaked tape, but later took it down, claiming in an editor’s note to have done so for the safety of participants in the meeting.
The Nusra/FSA advance on Latakia and ISIS advance on Damascus and the M5 highway provides the context in which Russian forces intervened in Syria in September 2015. Writing in the New York Review of Books, Charles Glass confirmed Secretary of State Kerry’s view that Russia intervened in the conflict to prevent the fall of the Syrian government to jihadists from Nusra and ISIS. Glass quoted “one analyst familiar with Russian decision making” as noting that by autumn 2015, “it was clear Damascus could fall,” which was a “red line” that “Russia could not abide.” As a result, Russia “increased air support and sent ground forces to guarantee the survival of Syria’s government, army, and institutions. Its action saved Damascus from an insurgent onslaught and gave the Syrian army the upper hand in the long seesaw war.”
US planners responded to Russian efforts to save Damascus and Latakia from Nusra and ISIS respectively by immediately increasing shipments of TOW anti-tank missiles to the FSA, despite their knowledge these weapons had helped Nusra conquer Idlib and threaten Latakia.
The New York Times reported on October 12, 2015, just two weeks after the start of the Russian intervention, that rebels were now receiving as many TOW missiles as they asked for. One FSA commander explained, “We get what we ask for in a very short time,” while another rebel official in Hama called the supply “carte blanche,” suggesting, “We can get as much as we need and whenever we need them.” The NYT also acknowledged that FSA cooperation with Nusra constituted a “tactical alliance that Free Syrian Army commanders describe as an uncomfortable marriage of necessity, because they cannot operate without the consent of the larger and stronger Nusra Front.”
Daveed Gartenstein-Ross of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD) observedthat “at this point it is impossible to argue that U.S. officials involved in the CIA’s program cannot discern that Nusra and other extremists have benefited” from CIA weapons shipments to Syrian rebels, “And despite this, the CIA decided to drastically increase lethal support to vetted rebel factions following the Russian intervention into Syria in late September.”
The CIA knew where TOW Missiles were going
Understanding that TOW shipments were benefitting al-Qaeda, US planners stopped short of also providing anti-aircraft missiles to FSA groups. US planners have strongly supported Syrian rebel groups, but not at any cost. The New York Times noted that the Russians “appear to be using techniques honed in Afghanistan, where the occupying Soviet Army fought insurgents who were eventually supplied with antiaircraft missiles by the United States. Some of those insurgents later began Al Qaeda. That specter hangs over American policy, and has kept Syrian insurgents from receiving what they most want: antiaircraft missiles . . .”
Opposition supporters, including many oddly identifying as socialists, complained bitterly that US planners were not willing to take the step of providing anti-aircraft missiles to the FSA, for the ultimate benefit of al-Qaeda. Author and opposition supporter Leila al-Shami bizarrely suggested the US refusal to provide anti-aircraft missiles to the rebels proves that “The United States support for Free Syrian Army militias on the ground has never really been any more than rhetoric. It’s never really given any serious support to them.” Al-Shami ignores the over $1 billion of weaponry and assistance provided by the CIA to the rebels directly, not to mention the much larger amounts of aid provided by America’s Gulf partners to both the FSA and Salafi rebel groups Ahrar al-Sham and Jaish al-Islam since the start of the Syrian conflict, with US approval.
Some opposition supporters expressed to Secretary of State Kerry that they would not be satisfied unless the US military intervened directly on behalf of the rebels to depose Assad, despite the illegality of doing so under international law, and potential that such an intervention could trigger a direct conflict between the US and Russia.
Rebel-affiliated media activists tweeting under the guise of the young girl, Bana al-Abed, suggested the US should come to the aid of the al-Qaeda-dominated rebels in Aleppo even at the risk of starting World War III with Russia.
US planners welcomed rebel gains in Syria, including by jihadist groups advocating genocide against Syria’s Alawite population such as ISIS and Nusra, because these gains bolstered the broader US goal of toppling the Syrian government, in an effort to weaken its close allies, Iran and Hezbollah.
US planners wished to see rebel gains in Syria, in spite of the obviously catastrophic consequences for Syrian civilians that rebel success would bring. US support for the rebels belies the myth of US “inaction” in Syria, and the myth that any US intervention would be for the sake of preventing massacres and even genocide, rather than in support of it.
The Syrian government is an authoritarian police state that has long been in need of drastic reform. Like all governments fighting a war, the Syrian government has killed civilians and committed crimes against innocent people during the course of the Syrian conflict (though the extent of these crimes has been massively inflated and often even fabricated in the Western press). Similarly, the Russian military deserves harsh criticism, as it has undoubtedly killed civilians unnecessarily during air strikes against the rebels. The deaths of these civilians are tragic, as are the deaths of civilians in Raqqa and Mosul killed by US bombs in the effort to defeat ISIS in those cities.
It is unclear however, how Syrian civilians generally would have benefited if US planners had succeeded in accomplishing their goal of helping the predominantly jihadist Syrian rebels, including al-Qaeda and ISIS, topple the Syrian government. One Syrian fighting for a pro-government militia articulated why he and many Syrians in general oppose the rebels and the Syrian political opposition which supports them: “At first, my family sympathized with the protesters. But then it became obvious that the hardliners among the secular opposition work in the interests of Turkey and the Arab monarchies. Plus the course for Islamization was visible early on, and that was a concern. Like pretty much all normal people, my family, my friends and everyone I know in Syria are strongly against Wahhabis and religious extremism in general [emphasis mine],” with Wahhabism referring to the state ideology of Saudi Arabia, from which al-Qaeda and ISIS draw much of their inspiration.
In Syria’s major population centers, civilians are terrified that the rebels will come, and look to the Syrian army to protect them. Large numbers of civilians leave any city where rebels gain a foothold and seek refuge primarily in government controlled areas of the country or outside of Syria itself. The threat of Syrian and Russian bombing certainly plays a role in this, but it is clear that rebel looting, the murder of minorities and those sympathetic to the government, and the imposition of extremist religious rule do not endear the rebels to Syria’s civilian population.
Contrary to most reporting on Syria, which suggests the “civil war” has pitted Syria’s entire Sunni population against its Alawite, Christian, Druze, Shia and other minorities, in fact many Syrian Sunnis support the government and oppose Salafi-Jihadism, the extremist religious ideology undergirding most rebel groups in Syria.
The Syrian government would have fallen long ago, if not for Sunni support. For example, the rebels were hated even in the majority Sunni city of Aleppo and many Sunnis continue to fight in the Syrian army against the rebels, while many Syrian Sunnis have been killed by the rebels for this support of the government. For this reason, describing the rebels as “Sunni” is misleading. A more accurate description of Syria’s rebels would be “Salafi-Jihadi” or “Wahhabi,” or “Takfiri,” or “religious fundamentalist” rather than “Sunni.”
Had Damascus and Latakia fallen to the rebels, not only Alawites and Christians, but also pro-government Sunnis and Sunnis opposed to Salafi-Jihadi ideology would have been massacred, not to mention members of Syria’s LGBTQ community.
The Russian intervention in Syria then, by all indications, prevented this horrific outcome for Syrians of all ethnic and religious identities, despite the best efforts of US planners to achieve the “catastrophic success” in Syria they had hoped for.
There is a disconnect within the liberty movement over the notion of where to find the root source of globalism.
A segment of people within the movement seem to think that the fount of globalism resides within America itself; that American imperialism is the foundation of the globalist scheme and the dollar is the single most important mechanism supporting their power. This is an naive oversimplification of the problem.
Numerous misconceptions stem from the idea that globalists actually have loyalty to the U.S. system. For example, over the past several years you might have often heard the argument that the Federal Reserve would “never end QE,” that they would “never let stock markets fall,” that they would “never raise interest rates,” that they would “inevitably go to negative interest rates,” that they would “never cut the balance sheet,” etc. etc. All of these assumptions were based on the idea that central bankers and globalists need the U.S. economy and the dollar system in order to maintain financial control of the world in general.
All of these assumptions also turned out to be completely false as the past couple years of fundamentals show the direct effects of the Fed pulling the plug on its artificial support of the U.S. economy. Particularly, we have seen a spike in corporate and consumer debt not seen since before the crash of 2008. Business interests are scrambling to take up the slack left by waning Fed stimulus, and they are digging themselves into a grave-like hole in the process.
Not only this, but we have numerous examples of Fed officials admitting that a crash in markets and the economy would occur if the Fed cut off support. This includes current Fed chairman Jerome Powell, who outlined the result of balance sheet cuts and interest rate hikes back in 2012. Meaning, skeptics cannot argue that the Fed is somehow “unaware” of its own actions and the consequences. The central bankers KNOW exactly what they are doing and what will happen as a result. They are bringing down the U.S. economy deliberately as multiple sectors hang by the thin thread of low but steadily rising interest rates and Trump’s tax cuts.
This has caused considerable confusion for many alternative analysts. They have spent so long operating under the notion that the Fed will protect U.S. markets, protect the dollar and thus protect itself. What they refused to accept was the possibility that the Fed is actually a suicide bomber whose goal is to eventually destroy itself and everything around it, thus bringing down America from within.
But why would the globalists do this? For those that assume the U.S. economy represents the “goose that lays the golden eggs,” what I describe above is inconceivable. In order to understand what is happening and why, we must cast off the lie that America is a golden goose that perpetually supports the globalist agenda. Rather, America is more like a host to the globalist parasites, and once the host is drained of all vitality, the parasites will leave and move on to bigger and better targets.
In other words, just as numerous empires before it, the U.S. system served a purpose for a particular window of time. It was exploited as a means to an end, and now the banking elites are moving on to a “new world order” in which America plays a far diminished role. This is why the Fed continues to act in a manner that appears bewildering to so many people. This is why the Fed is taking actions that they have openly admitted will cause a crash. They WANT a crash.
The Fed itself is merely an empty shell. It is an institution on paper, representing a set of illusions that are treated as concrete. If we are looking for the top of the globalist pyramid, we would certainly not start with the Fed. The Fed is a tool for manipulating the U.S. political framework and economic engine, and like all other central banks in the world its policies are dictated by much more important entities like the Bank For International Settlements (BIS).
It is organizations like the BIS and the IMF that are set to become the new centers of the financial world as the U.S. economy and the dollar sink into obscurity. I outlined this plan in detail in my article “The Economic End Game Explained,” but it has taken quite some time for the facts I presented to be accepted by a greater portion of the movement. The claim that the Fed “would never” sacrifice itself is a powerful distraction from the truth.
Globalists do not care about maintaining the U.S. system as it is. They are even willing to undermine it in order to create the chaos needed to generate social and political capital; the kind of capital that will buy them a worldwide economic reset and their so-called “new world order.” Within this construct, the masses would be made to accept open centralization of financial and political control into the hands of a minority of banking elites. That is to say, the globalists no longer want to be covert; they prefer to be overt, and venerated as saviors of humanity rather than despised as an organized cancer.
In order to achieve such a fantastic farce, certain steps need to be taken. In particular, someone else needs to take the blame for the disastrous consequences of the global reset when it accelerates.
Donald Trump fits the bill perfectly for a number of reasons, but the ultimate scapegoat for a crash of the U.S. system is not Trump alone, but the conservative ideal overall. I have argued for some time that Trump is likely controlled opposition — a pied piper for conservatives. His rhetoric is almost everything liberty advocates and Republicans like to hear, but his actions do not always match his words.
In particular, the induction of multiple banking elites and Council on Foreign Relations members into Trump’s cabinet makes it impossible for true change to ever take place within the White House, let alone the rest of Washington. Which is probably why we have seen Trump flip-flop on so many issues recently. Trump is supposed to present the face of a “populist” conservative stalwart while at the same time doing the bidding of the globalist handlers standing over his shoulder in the Oval Office.
More specifically, Trump has reversed course on his relationship to the Fed many times.
In September of 2016, Trump attacked the Fed on the campaign trail, stating that they were keeping interest rates low and the dollar weak in order to artificially boost stock markets for the Obama administration. This was mostly true, though the Fed could not care less about protecting the image of any particular president. Instead, they were preparing for the global reset while getting ready to lay blame at the feet of their populist scapegoat.
After Trump entered office, he suddenly changed his attitude, offering full support to Janet Yellen and then Jerome Powell while taking credit for the spike in stocks fueled by Fed’s balance sheet purchases and low rates. Trump at that time also stated that a strong dollar was better for America.
Today, the situation has changed yet again. Trump now suddenly has conflict with the Federal Reserve and the rising dollar index, voicing his concerns that the Fed is creating conditions that will lead to difficulty in the trade war as well as an economic crisis. Fears are rising within mainstream economic circles that this is leading to a war between Trump and the Fed. Some are even theorizing that Trump might try to take control of the Fed completely.
To the casual observer, all this makes Trump appear rather schizophrenic — but maybe this is the point.
The Fed’s usefulness for the globalists is waning. Their only job now is to continue raising interest rates and cutting their balance sheet in a controlled demolition of financial markets and equities. Once they are done, the only thing left is for the dollar to lose its world reserve status and then the sabotage of the U.S. will be complete.
A battle between Trump and the Fed serves a couple of purposes.
Firstly, it provides cover for the dismantling of U.S. stocks and the U.S. dollar, just as the trade war (also blamed on Trump) provides cover for the same. A conflict between the president of the United States and the Fed would lead to substantial doubt in markets over the safety of investment in U.S. equities, debt and currency.
Secondly, if Trump is seen as “getting tough” on the Fed, liberty activists that are skeptical of the Trump administration and his globalist appointed cabinet might be lured into the fold and support policies which will ultimately be the unmaking of liberty. Dismantling the Fed several years ago would have done irreversible damage to the banking elites and their plans for a perfectly timed economic reset. Today, it’s too little too late. In fact, the globalists may PREFER that the Fed be taken down by conservatives now so that we become the bumbling villains that triggered a historic fiscal panic.
This is not to say that I support the continued existence of the Fed, but I do want to point out that Trump is not talking about combating the IMF or the BIS, nor is anyone else in the mainstream discussing it. Removing one sacrificial appendage of the vampire squid is useless; we must go to core organizations and shut them all down to make any difference in the outcome. The fact that they are going to sacrifice the Fed and the dollar anyway does not help matters.
I believe Trump’s “schizophrenia” on the Fed is due to him simply following the script that has been given to him. I do not think the globalists were always certain they wanted to use the tactic of a president vs. Fed crisis. But, I did predict back in early 2017 that this is exactly what they would end up doing in my article “In A Battle Between Trump And The Federal Reserve, Who Really Wins?”
It only makes sense at this stage in the game. The Fed is going to continue to raise interest rates and cut its balance sheet no matter what happens. They are going to use “inflationary pressures” supposedly caused by Trump’s infrastructure spending and the trade war as an excuse for their actions. Trump, in turn, is going to blame the Fed for the inevitable stock market crash and the rising dollar causing difficulty with “winning” the trade war.
I do not know if the globalist script calls for Trump to go as far as shutting down the Fed completely, but rest assured if he does there will be hundreds of alternative analysts decreeing that it is irrefutable proof that Trump is not controlled opposition and he “must have a plan.” The actual plan will be the end of the dollar as the world reserve currency to make way for the global economic reset and a NWO currency framework, all in the name of stopping a catastrophe initiated by “evil conservative populists.”
Make no mistake, what we are witnessing is 4th generation warfare on the public – All other wars including the trade war are kabuki theater designed to distract from this reality. Even a war between Trump and the Fed would be ultimately farcical as the globalists are already positioned to exploit the outcome of a failing dollar system.
To convince the masses that sovereign nationalism leads to planetary disaster, and that the “only solution” is to hand over economic and political power to a centralized authority of financial high priests with a direct line to the god of fiscal stability.
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Anyone with a price book will agree that the cost of nearly everything has been steadily going up. Unfortunately, wages are not increasing at the same rate.
And to quote Bachman-Turner Overdrive, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet. There are three events happening in the economy right now that could, alone, cause the prices of everything from food to the materials to make replacement parts for your vehicle to skyrocket. But if you combine them all together? We could be facing a perfect storm of economic havoc.
Iran is blocking oil exports from Saudi Arabia
Yesterday, Saudi Arabia announced that they were halting oil exports through a specific lane in the Red Sea due to attacks by “Yemen’s Iran-aligned rebels.” Reuters reported:
Saudi Arabia and arch-foe Iran have been locked in a three-year proxy war in Yemen, which lies on one side of the Bab al-Mandeb strait at the southern mouth of the sea, one of the most important trade routes for oil tankers heading from the Middle East to Europe.
The Houthis, who have previously threatened to block the strait, said on Thursday that they had the naval capability to hit Saudi ports and other Red Sea targets. Iran has threatened to block another strategic shipping route, the Strait of Hormuz.
Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih said the Houthis attacked two Saudi oil tankers in the Red Sea on Wednesday, one of which sustained minimal damage.
“Saudi Arabia is temporarily halting all oil shipments through Bab al-Mandeb strait immediately until the situation becomes clearer and the maritime transit through Bab al-Mandeb is safe,” he said. (source)
According to the US Energy Information website, the United States imports 904,000 barrels of oil per day from Saudi Arabia. Prices of fuel would almost certainly go up, which, of course, affects the price of everything that is transported, which is, of course, everything.
Should we suddenly see a shortfall of nearly a million barrels per day, we’d have to get that oil from somewhere else. Most of the other oil we do not produce ourselves comes from Canada, from whom we currently import 120.000-140,000 barrels of oil per day.
Which leads us right to the next financial catastrophe that is looming.
The trade war is getting more heated every day.
As soon as President Trump slapped tariffs on products from China, the EU, and even Canada, he opened the door to our exports also being subject to tariffs. While I think the intentions were good – to bring production back to the United States – the whole thing could turn out to be very, very bad for many Americans. We are going to see the prices of almost everything we buy increasing.
Of course, that’s ALMOST everything, The prices of some things are going to plummet, which may seem good for many of us initially. But for businesses that rely on being able to export their goods, they could face utter devastation.
Take, for example, the farmers. 2.5 BILLION pounds of meat are taking up space in cold storage right now, and the pile just keeps growing as exports slow down due to the trade war.
U.S. consumers’ demand is increasing, but not at levels that are in pace with record production of chickens and hogs. The excess supply is generally exported to Mexico and China—among the biggest foreign buyers of U.S. meat — have both recently slapped tariffs on U.S. hog productsin response to President Trump’s tariffs on steel, aluminum, and other items. Industry officials told the WSJ that U.S. hams, chops and livers have become more expensive in international markets, coupled with a strong dollar weighing on local currencies, which has dramatically reduced demand for U.S. meats.
America’s meat industry production is rapidly filling up the specialized warehouses built to store meat…
…Thanks to President Trump, Canada implemented a 10 percent retaliatory tariff on U.S. beef starting July 01, and China increased its tax on U.S. beef to 37 percent on July 06. Mexico, the largest export market for U.S. pork, in June ordered a 10 percent tariff that soared to 20 percent this month. The USDA indicated that overall exports to Mexico are slightly higher than 2017, however, new weekly export data reported for the week of July 05 came in at their lowest levels in more than a year…
…Scott VanderWal, a farmer from South Dakota, said the uncertainty of a trade war disrupts entire supply chains and will be chaotic to rural America:
“We’ve got a decreasing population in our rural areas already. If we lose any more population in the state in these rural areas, not only does it make the young farmers and ranchers leave, or the retiring or about to retire people…it also takes out the people who supply those farmers and ranchers. The feed store, the fertilizer people, those that supply the things that we need to raise the products that we do. It has a tremendously long tail.”
Rapidly increasing meat stockpiles could force prices into a continued downward trend, which could be beneficial for meat-hungry U.S. consumers, along with restaurants and food retailers. While what is good for the consumer is usually bad for businesses, deflationary prices are quickly eroding margins for meat processors. (source)
Weather conditions are dealing another blow to farmers.
Nobody in the Western half of the United States can deny that this summer has been hot, dry, and miserable. The conditions are terrible for farmers and Michael Snyder of the Economic Collapse Blog has made an alarming comparison to the current heat and drought.
Despite all of the other crazy news that is happening all around the world, the top headlines on Drudge on Monday evening were all about the record heatwave that is currently pummeling the Southwest. Of course it is always hot during the summer, but the strange weather that we have been witnessing in recent months is unlike anything that we have seen since the Dust Bowl days of the 1930s. At this moment, almost the entire Southwest is in some stage of drought. Agricultural production has been absolutely devastated, major lakes, rivers and streams are rapidly becoming bone dry, and wild horses are dropping dead because they don’t have any water to drink. In addition, we are starting to see enormous dust storms strike major cities such as Las Vegas and Phoenix, and the extremely dry conditions have already made this one of the worst years for wildfires in U.S. history. What we are facing is not “apocalyptic” quite yet, but it will be soon if the rain doesn’t start falling. (source)
If you recall the Dust Bowl era from history class, you may recall that similar weather conditions to the ones we’re seeing now worsened the Great Depression exponentially.
It occurred due to a combination of ill-conceived ideas and drought conditions.
The Homestead Act of 1862, which provided settlers with 160 acres of public land, was followed by the Kinkaid Act of 1904 and the Enlarged Homestead Act of 1909. These acts led to a massive influx of new and inexperienced farmers across the Great Plains…
…A series of wet years during the period created further misunderstanding of the region’s ecology and led to the intensive cultivation of increasingly marginal lands that couldn’t be reached by irrigation.
Rising wheat prices in the 1910s and 1920s and increased demand for wheat from Europe during World War I encouraged farmers to plow up millions of acres of native grassland to plant wheat, corn and other row crops. But as the United States entered the Great Depression, wheat prices plummeted. Farmers tore up even more grassland in an attempt to harvest a bumper crop and break even.
Crops began to fail with the onset of drought in 1931, exposing the bare, over-plowed farmland. Without deep-rooted prairie grasses to hold the soil in place, it began to blow away. Eroding soil led to massive dust storms and economic devastation—especially in the Southern Plains. (source)
The dust storms became so bad that they traveled 2000 miles – as far as New York City and Washington DC. On one particularly notable occasion, the Statue of Liberty could not be seen because of the dust. Another dust storm was so bad that it was called Black Sunday, and on that day an estimated three million tons of topsoil were blown off the Great Plains.
Just last month, it’s important to note that commuters in Arizona faced down a mile-high wall of dust that was so bad that the National Weather Service in Phoenix warned of “near-zero visibilities” and “life-threatening travel.” Drought conditions, wildfires, and extreme heat have put a massive strain on the power grid in the Southwest.
These conditions could be troubling for farmers and ranchers. California produces a tremendous amount of the food grown in the United States and the Midwest and Southwest are studded with farms and ranches. Again, we could be looking at a massive increase in prices as shortages arise due to weather conditions. This is a shortage that would normally be overcome by importing the foods, but wait – since there’s a trade war, you can expect those imports to have an extra 25% cost slapped on them. Look out, economy.
None of these things alone would be enough to collapse the economy, but together, they’re a perfect storm.
Each of these events could affect a sector of the US economy on their own but they wouldn’t be enough to cause an economic catastrophe. But all together? It’s a perfect storm. A worrisome picture is starting to form. An inverted yield curve in interest rates has accurately been a predictor of an economic recession 7 times since the 1960s, and we are currently flatlined.
I know that bloggers have been predicting an economic crisis in America for years now, so much so that some readers scoff.
But it has been edging along this whole time The indicators are all there.
- The mass closing of retail stores has increased every year.
- The price of medical care has become out of reach for all but the very rich who can afford it or the very poor who have it subsidized.
- Rents have increased in 89% of US cities this year already.
It would be difficult to deny that a perfect storm is brewing.
We continue careening towards more conflicts which can always lead to unintended consequences, ever closer to nuclear war. Meanwhile efforts for a dialogue with Russia are thwarted by our internal politics and dysfunction in Washington.
Sifting through the cacophony of commentary from the Trump-Putin meeting in Helsinki, here are four key points missed, ignored or glossed over by the Washington establishment and mainstream news coverage – and they require a good airing.
1) It’s clear now that Europeans will increase their contributions to NATO. But Big Media totally ignored the trillion dollar gorilla in room: Why does anyone have to spend so much on NATO in the first place?
Are we planning a ground attack on Russia because we really think the former Soviet Empire will invade Poland or the Baltic nations? Are we planning for a land war in Europe to intervene in the Ukraine? What for is the money? The Trump administration and Big Media, for all their noise, mainly argue that more spending is good. There is no debate about the reasons why. Meanwhile Russia is cutting its military spending.
Washington is so dominated by our military-industrial-congressional complex that spending money is a major intent. Remember when Washington first insisted that putting up an anti-missile system in Poland and Romania was supposed to protect Europe from an Iranian attack? Of course, it was really directed against Russia. Washington was so eager to spend the money that it didn’t even ask the Europeans to pay the cost even though it was supposedly for their defense. As of 2016 Washington had spent $800 millionon the site in Romania. Now it appears that Poland and Romania will pay billions to the Raytheon Corporation for the shield to comply with their commitment to increase military spending to 2 percent of gross national product.
2) There was no focus on the real, growing threat of nuclear war, intentional or accidental. No one, including journalists at the joint press conference, spoke about the collapsing missile treaties (the only one who reportedly seemed keen to discuss it was ejected beforehand). Scott Ritter details these alarming risks here on TAC.
The U.S. is now funding new cruise missiles with nukes which allow for a surprise attack on Russia with only a few minutes of warning, unlike the ICBMs which launch gives a half an hour or more. This was the reason Russia opposed the anti-missile system in Eastern Europe, because they could have little warning if cruise missiles were fired from the new bases. Americans may think that we don’t start wars, but the Russians don’t. The old shill argument that democracies don’t start wars is belied by American attacks on Serbia, Iraq, Libya, and Yemen.
3) For all the Democratic and Big Media attacks on Trump for supposedly caving in to Putin, he gave Putin nothing. His administration is still maintaining an increasingly stringent economic attack on Russian trade and banking, announcing (just days after his meeting) $200 million of new aid to Ukraine’s military and threatening Europeans with sanctions if they go ahead with a new Baltic pipeline to import Russian natural gas. Consequently, some analysts believe that Putin has given up on wanting better relations with the U.S. and instead is just trying to weaken and discredit America’s overwhelming power in the world. In a similar vein Rand Paul writes how we never think about other nations’ interests.
4) The release of intelligence agency findings about Russians’ intervention in the last election just a day before the conference precisely shows the strength of the “Deep State” in dominating American foreign policy. An article by Bruce Fein in TAC argues we should “Forget Trump: The Military-Industrial Complex is Still Running the Show With Russia,” showing how Washington wants to keep Russia as an enemy because it’s good for business.
Furthermore, releasing the accusations and indictments via a press already out for Trump’s blood is explained away by pointing out that the special prosecutor has separate authority to that of the president. But the timing, a day before the Helsinki meeting, obviously shows intent to cause disarray and to prevent meaningful dialogue with Russia. It’s interesting to note that TAC has been criticizing the “Deep State” since at least 2015.
The casualness with which much of Washington regards conflict and starting wars is only comparable to the thoughtlessness of Europeans when they started World War I. Like now, that war followed nearly a century of relative peace and prosperity. Both sides thought a war would be “easy” and over quickly and were engulfed in it because of minor incidents instigated by their small nation allies. It was started with a single assassination in Serbia. The situation is similar now. America is hostage to the actions of a host of tiny countries possibly starting a war. Think of our NATO obligations and promises to Taiwan and Israel.
America has become inured to the risks of escalation and Congress has ceded its war powers to the president. The authority of war power was one of the most important tenets of our Constitution, designed to prevent our rulers from irresponsibly launching conflicts like the European kings. Witness now how casually Trump talks about starting a war with Iran, with no thought of possible consequences, including blowing up oil facilities in the Persian Gulf, oil and gas vital for the world economy.
For most Americans, war means sitting in front of their TVs watching the bombs fall on small nations unable to resist or respond to our power. “We” kill thousands of “them” in easy battles and then worry if a single American soldier is harmed. We don’t viscerally understand the full threat of modern weapons because they’ve never been used against us. This is not unlike World War I, for which the countries engaged were wholly unprepared for a protracted siege war against the lethality of new modern artillery and chemical weapons. All had assumed the war would be over in weeks. I wrote about these issues after visiting the battlefields of the Crimean war. (See “Lessons in Empire”)
And so we continue careening towards more conflicts which can always lead to unintended consequences, ever closer to nuclear war. Meanwhile efforts for a dialogue with Russia are thwarted by our internal politics and dysfunction in Washington.
Alphabet Inc’s Waymo, an autonomous car company, could have just unlocked a rather displeasing future for the heavily indebted consumer, one where corporate America uses self-driving vehicles to herd the bottom 90 percent to brick and mortar retail stores.
In fact, this is now a reality, as Waymo and Walmart have launched a pilot program to ferry customers back and forth from home to Walmart’s store in Phoenix, Arizona, the company blog said on Wednesday.
Tom Ward, Vice President – Digital Operations of Walmart U.S., said, “We’re working with them on an online grocery pilot project – limited to a group within Waymo’s 400 daily users known as “early riders”– that will run out of one Walmart store in Chandler, Arizona.”
“Those in the pilot simply place an Online Grocery Pickup order at walmart.com/grocery. Our personal shoppers get to work meticulously picking customers’ orders based on their pickup times. Waymo does the rest! They transport customers to and from pickup, and all the while, those customers can text, nap, work… you name it!” explained Ward.
It is almost like herding cattle! Maybe this novel idea could save crumbling brick and mortar stores?
According to Reuters, Waymo also partnered with DDR Corp., a real estate investment trust that owns shopping centers, offering customers self-driving vehicles to and from the Ahwatukee Foothills Towne Center in Chandler, Arizona.
Additionally, the company will give patrons of AutoNation repair centers self-driving vehicles while their cars are being serviced, along with assisting customers at Avis Budget in Phoenix to pick up or drop off rental cars.
While technology has certainly made it easier for consumers to shop online [Amazon], Walmart and other competitors have been developing self-driving vehicles for home deliveries. However, the Waymo and Walmart partnership is an entirely new concept to lure customers away from Amazon and divert them to collapsing brick and mortar with autonomous vehicles. “These businesses are national and what we learn from these programs will give us a network of partners when we launch in new cities down the road,” the Walmart blog said.
Personal shoppers and private chauffeurs for your groceries? ✔ In Chandler, AZ we’re working with @Waymo on a small pilot project to bring the convenience of self-driving cars to Online Grocery Pickup. 🚗💨 https://t.co/cBj2MULvgH
— Walmart Newsroom (@WalmartNewsroom) July 25, 2018
Back in March, Waymo made a massive deal with Jaguar Land Rover for 20,000 self-driving all-electric I-Pace SUVs. A short time later, the company worked out an even larger deal with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles for 62,000 Pacifica Hybrid minivans. The first prototype I-Pace self-driving Waymo is expected to be delivered by the end of 2018, and if the pilot run is a success, it could become part of Waymo’s commercial ride-hailing service starting in 2020.
Autonomous cars have gained much attention in 2018. Waymo vehicles have been involved in numerous crashes since the Phoenix-area pilot program launched in the first half of 2017, but law enforcement has determined all accidents were human-error. In March, a “software bug” in an autonomous Uber vehicle killed a 49-year-old woman in Tempe, Arizona.
WALL-E gives an accurate portrayal of what corporate America has in store for the heavily indebted bottom 90 percent. Instead of consumers being whisked around on floating chairs to retail stores on a futuristic spaceship, it seems as today’s equivalent technology are Waymo’s self-driving cars ferrying back and forth to consumers home.
Silicon Valley’s wealthy elitists are preparing for the apocalypse, and their plans for survival don’t include us. When the time comes, those same elitists plan to only save themselves.
According to an article written by Douglas Rushkoff published originally in Medium, those hedge fund bankers are all preparing for a major apocalyptic event, which they actually dub “The Event.” Whether “the event” is to be artificial intelligence reaching singularity or a virus that brings about a major death toll, they wanted to be prepared, and they asked Rushkoff to fill them in. The elitists asked such questions as:
Which region will be less affected by the coming climate crisis: New Zealand or Alaska? Is Google really building Ray Kurzweil a home for his brain, and will his consciousness live through the transition, or will it die and be reborn as a whole new one?
Finally, the CEO of a brokerage house explained that he had nearly completed building his own underground bunker system and asked: “How do I maintain authority over my security force after the Event?”
This single question occupied us for the rest of the hour. They knew armed guards would be required to protect their compounds from the angry mobs. But how would they pay the guards once money was worthless? What would stop the guards from choosing their own leader?
The billionaires considered using special combination locks on the food supply that only they knew. Or making guards wear disciplinary collars of some kind in return for their survival. Or maybe building robots to serve as guards and workers — if that technology could be developed in time. –Medium
This sounds like a dystopia of humanity’s own making. And it also sounds like we should all be preparing. If the wealthiest billionaires are discussing literal slavery in the aftermath of the apocalypse, shouldn’t we all be preparing to defend ourselves from such a fate? We already know our current master, the government, has no plans for any of us to survive. They do, however, have massive bunkers that can withstand nuclear wars built into the sides of mountains that are ready to use at any time.
Confirming every establishment conspiracy, the soccer ball that Russian President Putin gifted to President Trump during their Helsinki press conference has been found to contain special transmitting technology…
Republican Senator Lindsey Graham even tweeted, “I’d check the soccer ball for listening devices and never allow it in the White House.”
Finally, if it were me, I’d check the soccer ball for listening devices and never allow it in the White House.
— Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) July 16, 2018
So was Graham’s ultra-Russophobic paranoia proved correct?
While some in the US thought they had uncovered an ingenious and nefarious ploy by the Kremlin to listen in on Trump’s conversations – seemingly oblivious to the president’s prolific and voluminous output on Twitter – RT notes that the tech is simply a feature of any old ball you can pick up in your local store.
— FIFA World Cup (@FIFAWorldCup) November 9, 2017
As Bloomberg details, markings on the ball indicate that it contained a chip with a tiny antenna that transmits to nearby phones.
But rather than a spy device, the chip is an advertised feature of the Adidas AG ball.
Photographs from the news conference in Helsinki, where Putin handed the ball to Trump, show it bore a logo for a near-field communication tag. During manufacturing, the NFC chip is placed inside the ball under that logo, which resembles the icon for a WiFi signal, according to the Adidas website.
The chip allows fans to access player videos, competitions and other content by bringing their mobile devices close to the ball.
There is no suggestion that such balls or their chips have any security vulnerabilities. The chip itself can’t be modified, according to the product description on the Adidas website. “It is not possible to delete or rewrite the encoded parameters,” it says.
Additionally, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said in an email:
“The security screening process that is done for all gifts was done for the soccer ball...We are not going to comment further on security procedures.”
The White House declined to say whether any modifications to the ball had been identified or where the ball would be kept going forward.
Nevertheless, there is always the possibility that Putin pushed for The World Cup to come to Russia and forced Adidas to embed the chip in their balls just so that he could spy on the US President’s dribbling ability… we are sure Adam Schiff is ready a probe into just that possibility (remember, Putin is former KGB).