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Time the US Peacefully Mends Ties with Russia

It’s High Time the US Peacefully Mends Ties with Russia. Here’s Why

With Putin reaching out to Trump, it is imperative the U.S. takes steps to avoid confrontation with Russia, end the bloody civil war in Syria, and help create a better, peaceful world.Anonymous News Headquarters

  1. Until the United States elected its new president on November 8, the Obama administration and the U.S. foreign policymakers successfully manipulated public perceptions to spread lies about the conflict in Syria, the democratically elected Syrian government, and the possibility of World War III. It was their agenda to rally support for invasive U.S. foreign policy goals in the name of combating terrorism, protecting human rights, and maintaining world peace.

Consequently, the U.S. took over the Syrian skies; Syrian president Bashar al-Assad was declared a dictator, and relations between the United States and Russia reached Cold War temperatures — but the world remained as terrorized, as victimized, and as rattled as before.

However, with the election of Donald Trump, there are hopes the U.S. will stop committing war crimes in Syria, end playing its war propaganda, and work towards mending ties with Russia, China and the Middle East by peaceful means.

The Past

What is the U.S. doing in Syria? Why does it want to overthrow Assad? How do Russian military interventions in Syria annoy the U.S? Is World War III in the pipeline or is it about the Iran-Iraq-Syria natural gas pipeline or the Qatar-Turkey natural gas pipeline?

Well, the U.S. interest in Syria is fueled by geopolitical competition to control Middle Eastern oil and natural gas pipelines — neither is it fueled by chemical weapon concerns, the civil war, massacres of civilians nor human rights violations.

The Guardian reports:

“In 2009, Assad refused to sign a proposed agreement with Qatar that would run a pipeline from the latter’s North field, contiguous with Iran’s South Pars field, through Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Syria on to Turkey, with a view to supply European markets – albeit crucially bypassing Russia. Assad’s rationale was “to protect the interests of [his] Russian ally, which is Europe’s top supplier of natural gas”.

“The following year, Assad pursued negotiations for an alternative $10 billion pipeline plan with Iran, across Iraq to Syria, which would also potentially allow Iran to supply gas to Europe from its South Pars field shared with Qatar.”

The Qatar-Turkey pipeline was backed by the U.S., while the Iran-Iraq-Syria pipeline was backed by Russia. Soon after Assad rejected the U.S. backed pipeline, the civil war broke out in Syria; ISIS began wreaking havoc in Syria and the Middle East, and the U.S. launched indiscriminate military strikes against Assad’s forces.

russiaThe Present

The Pentagon says the U.S. air strikes “may” have killed 119 civilians since its bombing campaign started in Syria in 2014. But Airwars, a London-based NGO, believes the true figure is much higher. Airwars estimates that U.S.-led coalition air strikes have killed “at least” 1,841 civilians.  Although Moscow insists the Russian air strikes have caused no civilian casualty, Airwars “believes” the Russian bombing campaign (started in Syria in 2015) “may” have caused between 7,004 and 8,960 civilian deaths. Meanwhile, the United Nations and Arab League Envoy to Syria estimates approximately 400,000 civilians have died in the Syrian Civil War, so far.

Thanks to the economic sanctions imposed on Russia by the U.S. — over Ukraine in 2014 — as well as rising tensions between Russia and the U.S. over Syria since 2015, speculations are rife that Russia and the U.S. are ready to destroy the Earth with World War III.

The Future

During the election campaign, the U.S. President–elect extolled Russian president Vladimir Putin’s leadership and called for a tempered approach to U.S.–Russian relations. Trump also promised that as the U.S. president, he will not provide military assistance to NATO allies, including the Baltic countries (Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania), if they were invaded by Russia.

The fact that a statement from Trump’s transition team claimed the U.S. President–elect told Putin he looked forward to “a strong and enduring relationship” that dates back over 200 years, after the duo spoke over the phone soon after his shocking victory, any move to lift the 2014 sanctions against sectors of the Russian economy (including financial services, energy, mining and defense) can establish Russia as the political and economic equivalent of the United States.

russia

With Putin reaching out to Trump — in an attempt to improve the relationship between Washington and Moscow by joining efforts to tackle global challenges, and ensure global security and stability — it is imperative the U.S. takes steps to avoid confrontation with Russia — in an attempt to strengthen the non-proliferation regime, fight international terrorism, end the bloody civil war in Syria, and create a better, peaceful world.

Here, “what do you want” is more important than “what do you think.” Will Trump reset U.S.–Russian relations? Will the U.S. and Russia come together to restore the balance of power in international relations? Will war win or will peace be given a chance — in Syria and in the rest of the world?


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Source: Will County News

Remember anyone who says they figured out the markets is lying

By Briton Ryle
Written Monday, December 5, 2016
Twenty years ago today, former Fed Chief Alan Greenspan gave the now-infamous “irrational exuberance” speech.

Clearly, sustained low inflation implies less uncertainty about the future, and lower risk premiums imply higher prices of stocks and other earning assets. We can see that in the inverse relationship exhibited by price/earnings ratios and the rate of inflation in the past. But how do we know when irrational exuberancehas unduly escalated asset values, which then become subject to unexpected and prolonged contractions as they have in Japan over the past decade?

Greenspan said he came up with the phrase “irrational exuberance” in the bathtub. And he later said, “I was acutely aware of the fact that that particular phrase was put in that speech to spook the market.”

It did, too. Japan sold off 3% that day. The next day, the Dow Industrials dropped as much as 2.2% during trading.

Of course, the Dow was also trading around 6,400 at the time…

People love to say that Greenspan was basically right, that the stock market was a bubble at the time, and that he was just a little early with his “irrational exuberance” line. Yeah, I guess if you want to call three years and 5,000 points early, you’re welcome to do so. But it’s a pretty lame excuse…

For one, the Dow got creamed when the Asian Tiger economies imploded in late 1997. Between July and September 1997, the Dow fell as much as 16%. That’s a solid correction, enough to temper any irrational exuberance. And if that didn’t do it, the Russian default and subsequent $4.6 billion failure of the Long-Term Capital Management (LTCM) hedge fund in 1998 should have helped. The Dow fell 19.5% in just two months, to around 7,500.

I was just starting to learn about economics and the stock market at that time. And I can tell you, it was a bit scary. I sure wouldn’t describe the action as irrationally exuberant.

A Rational Market? 

Here’s the thing I’ve learned about the stock market: it’s pretty much always irrational. I know, you were probably hoping for something better than that. But how else can you explain the way companies will add or lose billion of dollars in valuation every single day the stock market is open?

Rationally, we know that Apple isn’t really worth $17 billion less today than it was on Friday. And we can easily take it a step further and say that Apple’s $584 billion market capitalization isn’t really a rational number, either. And yet we have no problem seeing Apple’s stock trade $0.35 lower and think, “Yeah, that makes sense.”

Or how about the fact that Bank of America (NYSE: BAC) is worth $50 billion more just because Trump won the election? Does that make sense?

The fact is, the stock market is a human construct, and humans are a little nutso sometimes. Personally, I think the craziest thing you can do as an investor is try to pretend that you’re not crazy. The minute you think you have it all figured out, the market will make a fool of you, guaranteed. Just like it did with Greenspan.

My biggest knock on Greenspan is that he always believed his own BS. He always thought he knew. And he still does. That’s why he made some of the biggest mistakes a Fed Chief has ever made. And yes, I firmly believe we can lay the blame for the 2008–9 financial crisis squarely on Greenspan.

After all, it was Greenspan who said that derivatives actually lowered overall economic risk of higher housing prices because of the way derivatives spread risk around the globe. He thought things like credit-default swaps meant no one entity would be left holding the bag if it all went south. He had it completely, absolutely backwards. Derivatives made sure that everyone was a counterparty, so everyone was left holding the bag.

And perhaps worse than that, Fed governors were talking about a housing bubble in 2004, about a year before real estate prices peaked. Transcripts from 2004 meetings show they said things like:

“…buyers freely admitting that they have no intention of occupying the units… but rather are counting on ‘flipping’ the properties—selling them quickly at higher prices.”

“A second concern is that policy accommodation — and the expectation that it will persist — is distorting asset prices.”

“The high price of housing worries many in the region who find that hiring the skilled workers they need in health care, for example, is made even more difficult by high housing costs.”

But the minutes from those meetings, which are released shortly after a meeting concludes, do not mention any of these concerns. All discussion of a housing bubble were stricken from the record and show up only in transcripts, which are released a decade later. In one case, a chart that was viewed by the Fed members was left out of the official record because, as the transcripts show, one member said, “I don’t want to leave the impression that we think there’s a huge housing bubble.”

Personally, I find these revelations shocking. Greenspan’s Fed basically lied about what they were seeing. In the official minutes, they deliberately understate their concerns, concluding that “a slowdown might be likely later in the year.”

If that doesn’t tick you off, maybe this Greenspan quote from March 2004 transcripts will:

We run the risk, by laying out the pros and cons of a particular argument, of inducing people to join in on the debate, and in this regard it is possible to lose control of a process that only we fully understand.

That quote right there tells you all you need to know about Greenspan…

Keep Your Head in the Game

It is absolutely critical that you be on the lookout for know-it-alls like Alan Greenspan. Anybody who says they have it all figured out is lying to you.

I’ve been watching, trading, and learning the markets for nearly 20 years. And every single day, I find more things that I don’t know. I get taken to school every day, and I love it. And I won’t ever tell you I have it all figured out…

But sometimes I do get a few things figured out. Like, I’ve been trading Bank of America a whole lot since the election. And the stock has donated generously to my bottom line.

I hope you took my advice over the last couple of years to buy shares of BofA. If you didn’t, you can probably wait and get them around $19 in the next few months.

Until next time,

brit''s sig

Briton Ryle

Source: Will County News

Teetering on the precipice of WWIII

 

Children play on an un-exploded Russian rocket possibly from a Russian warship on Nov. 17, 2016 in Anjara, a village in the countryside to the west of Aleppo, Syria. (Juma Muhammad/ImagesLive/Zuma Press/TNS)The Barack Obama/Hillary Clinton-instigated war on Syria leaned way over the precipice toward World War III earlier this week when Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan let slip the real reason behind the NATO assault on Syria is the removal of Bashar Assad.

Erdogan said, “We entered [Syria] to end the rule of the tyrant al-Assad who terrorizes with state terror. [We didn’t enter] for any other reason.”

Of course, removing Assad to be replaced by an American puppet regime that would allow a natural gas pipeline across Syria into Turkey was the goal of the Obama/Clinton operation from the beginning. It was the exercise of “soft power” (Clinton’s terminology) as we saw in Libya.

Obama has tried to walk a fine line on Syria ever since the American people rose up and pressured Congress to deny Obama’s request for a military strike on Syria in August of 2013. Obama tried to use the false flag chemical attack on the so-called moderate opposition forces – blamed on Assad but carried out by another group of so-called “moderate” rebels – to pressure Congress to grant him military attack authority. That chemical attack crossed the “red line” Obama had set as a precursor to direct U.S. intervention (as opposed to the then-secret CIA intervention that was ongoing and now continues openly).

Erdogan’s slip of the tongue – if that’s what it was – has been largely ignored by the American media. But it brought a swift response from the Kremlin – Assad’s biggest partner.

RT reported that Erdogan’s statement “caused consternation in the Kremlin.” From RT:

“The statement was indeed news, this is a very serious statement. [It] is in discord with the previous [statements] in general and with our understanding of the situation,” Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Wednesday.

“We hope that in the near future there will be explanations on this from our Turkish partners,” he said, adding that Russia is the only country whose armed forces are in Syria on a legitimate basis – at the direct request of the Syrian authorities.

Answering a question as to whether Erdogan’s comments would affect the relations between Moscow and Ankara, Peskov stressed that Turkey is Moscow’s partner and therefore will have to explain its stance before the Russian authorities make any judgments.

“Before making any judgments, we expect that this position will be clarified,” Peskov said.

President Erdogan and his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, discussed the situation in Syria in a telephone call on Wednesday, the Kremlin’s press service reported.

Erdogan backtracked Thursday. Or in the words of Al Masdar News, he “retracted his statement” after the conversation with Putin.

“The aim of the Euphrates Shield Operation is not against any country or person but only terror organizations. No one should doubt this issue that we have uttered over and over, and no one should comment on it in another fashion or try to derail it,” Erdogan said at his 30th gathering with village chiefs at the Presidential Palace in Ankara.

Middle Eastern governments friendly to the U.S. – Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, UAE, Bahrain, Turkey, etc. – financed the operation to overthrow Assad with U.S. assistance. This led to the creation of ISIS, which continues to be funded by those governments with an assist from Israel.

Erdogan’s “slip” may or may not have been intentional. There is evidence that the coup to take him out was a CIA operation to topple him for cozying up to Putin. Both the Turkish lira and the Turkish stock market are tanking. So Erdogan may have been playing games in order to show  his allegiance to Washington and/or create a sense of nationalism in order to reverse those negative trends. That’s a ploy that has been used by governments many times.

But with Turkey (NATO member) at the point of the spear in Syria and Erdogan prodding the Russian bear, a Russian response to Turkey’s saber rattling would put the U.S. directly at odds with Russia and bound (by NATO treaty) to assist if Turkey is attacked.

The neocon war machine seems bound and determined to provoke Russia into war. Obama’s neocon-backed and ham-handed Middle East meddling needs to end sooner rather later, lest we fall over the precipice and into full-scale war.

Let’s hope Erdogan can keep his mouth shut until we get some sanity in U.S. foreign policy and the neocon war hawks removed from places of influence.

Source: Will County News

High noon for sanctuary cities

amnestyFrom coast-to-coast, sanctuary city mayors are united in their resolve to harbor criminal aliens. Their shared commitment comes despite the Trump administration’s pledge to remove most of the 2 million to 3 million convicted felons who remain in the U.S. and pose a threat to local communities.

The mayors’ defiance is, on several levels, puzzling. To begin with, illegal entry is a misdemeanor crime, and the law calls for deportation. But beyond that, the mayors’ assurances to the aliens are even more bewildering. Just days after Donald Trump’s election, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, surrounded by immigration activists, held a news conference during which he said about the illegal immigrants, “You are safe [from deportation] in Chicago.”

Chicago’s violent crime rate is higher than the national average and, to date in 2016, accounts for more than half the nation’s homicide increases. Reducing it should be Emanuel’s top priority, not criminal aliens’ safety. Violent crime in Chicago has been on the rise since the 1960s. During the Thanksgiving weekend in Chicago, 61 were shot, eight fatally, which brought the annual total of shootings in the city to more than 3,950.

What the mayors refuse to acknowledge is that they’ve already lost, and that they’re better advised to drop the posturing and instead line up with the new Trump administration’s reality. The criminal alien aiders and abettors are on the way out – President Barack Obama, Attorney General Loretta Lynch, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, and his underling Immigration Customs and Enforcement Director Sarah Saldana. On the way in are Trump, who campaigned on removing criminal aliens, and his AG pick Senator Jeff Sessions who is committed to immigration enforcement.

Banning sanctuary cities should be a slam-dunk. Such cities violate then-President Bill Clinton’s 1996 immigration law which states that “no local government entity or official” can deny providing to or interfering with the federal government’s immigration information sharing requests. Failure to cooperate can result in the loss of federal funding provided through Justice Assistance Grants and the State Criminal Assistance Program. Lynch didn’t pursue prosecution of uncooperative municipalities, but Sessions, if forced, will.

The mechanism for withholding monies is already in place. Early this year, U.S. Representative John Culberson (R-TX), an Appropriations Committee subcommittee chairman responsible for funding the Department of Justice, got Lynch to officially designate the top ten sanctuaries, including Chicago, New York and the entire state of California, as noncompliant with federal law.

Culberson’s quiet, unpublicized victory makes sanctuaries immediately vulnerable to the loss of congressional money. Lynch has notified every city and state about the DOJ understanding with Culberson. In a post-election interview, Culberson said that if President Trump wants to, he could cut off funding to those cities and California the instant he’s sworn in at noon, January 20, 2017. Not only would future funding be cut off, the administration could demand the return of previously distributed monies. In California’s case, the grant totals paid out over the last ten years exceed $3 billion.

If the mayors think they can prevail, they’re clueless. Not only is Trump committed to ending sanctuaries, the public is fed up too. A November Rasmussen poll found that 81 percent of probable voters favor mandatory deportation for aliens convicted of felonies. In light of those statistics and in view of his own determination to enforce immigration laws, Trump won’t back down on his campaign promises. The mayors’ choice: give up, or proceed at their own risk.

— Joe Guzzardi

Source: Will County News