MODERN JUGGERNAUTS LIKE APPLE DON’T EVEN COME CLOSE The Chart of the Week is a weekly Visual Capitalist feature on Fridays. *** Before speculative bubbles could form around Dotcom companies (late-1990s) or housing prices (mid-2000s), Visual Capitalist’s Jeff Desjardins notes that some of the first financial bubbles formed from the prospect of trading with faraway lands. Looking back, it’s pretty easy to see why. Companies like the Dutch East India Company (known in Dutch as the VOC, or Verenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie) were granted monopolies on trade, and they engaged in daring voyages to mysterious and foreign places. They could acquire exotic goods, establish colonies, create military forces, and even initiate wars or conflicts around the world. Of course, the very nature of these risky ventures made getting any accurate indication of intrinsic value nearly impossible, which meant there were no real benchmarks for what companies like this should be worth.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 11, 2017.
The Pakistan Air Force (PAF) has just been ordered to shoot down any foreign drones that violate the country’s airspaceincluding attack drones operated by the United States, Chief Marshal Sohail Aman said on Thursday. The announcement is a complete change from the air force’s previous view, of which foreign drone strikes on its soil were condemned but the air force never threatened to shoot them out of the sky. ‘We will not allow anyone to violate our airspace. I have ordered PAF to shoot down drones, including those of the US, if they enter our airspace, violating the country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,’ Air Chief Marshal Sohail Aman told an audience in Islamabad. The statement was made about two weeks after a US drone strike targeted a militant compound in Pakistan’s tribal region along the border of Afghanistan, leading to multiple casualities, The Times of India reported.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 8, 2017.
Just when you thought the bills coming out of this Congress could not get any more repugnant in their giveaways to the richest Americans, the U. S. Senate Banking Committee proved otherwise yesterday. The hearing to approve Senate Bill S.2155 was so tainted with doublespeak and preposterous assertions that it would beef up consumer protections, while actually slashing them to shreds, that the video of the hearing has just up and disappeared. As of 8:00 a.m. this morning, it’s not on the Senate Banking Committee website. All that we could locate to review what actually went down in this sellout-to-the-rich session was an audio recording at C-SPAN. Curiously, however, there are numerous breaks in this audio where the speaker’s comments are cut off. Typically, these occur when a Democrat is challenging some provision in the bill. C-SPAN notes that the audio ‘was produced by the U. S. Congress.’ In a shocking rebuke to their constituents, four Democrats on the Banking Committee joined with 12 Republicans to pass the measure. Those four are: Joe Donnelly of Indiana, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, Jon Tester of Montana and Mark Warner of Virginia.
Andrew Korybko 21st Century Wire Speculation has been rife over the past couple of years that Pakistan was clandestinely involved in the War on Yemen, but it turns out that it’s actually India which is the South Asian state playing a shadow role in this conflict. Every now and then people are exposed to the thoroughly debunked fake news story that’s been circulating for the past couple of years claiming that Pakistan agreed to deploy its military forces to Yemen in support of the Saudi-led war on the country. Nothing of the sort ever happened because Islamabad refused to get directly involved in the war due to its sectarian implications and the quagmire-like risk that it entails, instead settling for a ‘compromise’ agreement to dispatch some of its forces to protect the Two Holy Mosques in Saudi Arabia in the event that they ever come under attack from Yemeni-based fighters. Since the Houthi National Liberation Movement harbors no such sacrilegious intentions, the announcement was essentially a face-saving way for Pakistan to politely resist the joint Saudi-Emirati pressure to get tangled up in this conflict as a de-facto mercenary force while still symbolically showing that it doesn’t outright reject its historic partnership with these two Gulf States. Nevertheless, it’s widely thought that this prudent decision dealt irreversible damage to Pakistani-Emirati relations, seeing as how the latter has been doing most of the ‘heavy lifting’ in that warzone, and as such, would prefer for Pakistanis to bear the brunt of the Houthis’ effective countermeasures than their own troops.
Atlanta, GA – According to the official historical record, in 1621, the Plymouth colonists and Wampanoag Indians shared an autumn harvest feast that is acknowledged today as one of the first Thanksgiving celebrations in the colonies. For over a century, families have gathered to proclaim what they are thankful for while others have taken to shelters and charities to help those who cannot help themselves. However, thanks to the state, helping others during this most giving time is now illegal – unless you pay the government for permission. During this Thanksgiving week, Adele Maclean and Marlon Kautz took to the streets to begin handing out food to the homeless – like they do every week. However, this time, instead of receiving praise for their services, they were issued a notice of extortion by police in the form of a citation. ‘We’re looking at a citation,’ Maclean said. As WSB-TV notes, Atlanta police have been handing out the flyers across the city telling people that a permit is needed to give food to the homeless.
Authored by Roger Beckett via InsideSources.com, Today, Americans will celebrate their oldest tradition: the observance of Thanksgiving, which dates back to 1621. The quiz below, from the Ashbrook Center at Ashland University in Ohio, provides an opportunity to test your knowledge of the history and customs of the nearly 400-year-old holiday. * * * 1. The first credited Thanksgiving was celebrated at the Plymouth Plantation in Massachusetts. How long was the first Thanksgiving feast? A. One day B. Three days C. Five days D. One week 2. What was the name of the Native American leader of the Wampanoag Indian tribe who forged an alliance with the English settlers and attended the First Thanksgiving feast with 90 of his men? A. Massasoit B. Powhatan C. Sacagawea D. Geronimo 3. The Pilgrims arrived at what would become Plymouth Plantation aboard the Mayflower. The ship on which they originally set sail was taking on water so the passengers and crew transferred to the Mayflower. What was the name of the ship on which the Pilgrims originally sailed? A. Mary Celeste B. RMS Carpathia C. Mary Rose D. Speedwell
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 23, 2017.
In October, we discussed Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi’s, decision to hand over $32bn to recapitalise India’s state banks. The motivation was India’s slowing growth rate and the need to add one million Indians to the workforce every month. Crippled by massive bad debts, the state-owned banks were struggling to extend more credit to the economy. The announcement caused a surge in India’s Sensex equity index, led by the banks. India has the second highest bad debt ratio of the world’s largest economies – possibly third since China’s official figure is patently incorrect. *** Enter Uday Kotak, Asia’s richest banker (net worth over $10 billion) and managing director of India’s Kotak Mahindra Bank. Kotak is a self-made man. Turning down a job offer from a multinational, he set up a financial services conglomerate, beginning with bills discounting before adding stockbroking, investment banking, mutual funds and car finance. Kotak thinks he’s spotted a ‘once-in-a-lifetime opportunity’ in Indian finance…so it probably bears considering. Nor is he alone as sovereign wealth funds and pension funds are also taking a close look. The opportunity is in India’s bad loans, as Bloomberg explains.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 22, 2017.
The British Ministry of Defence (MoD) has published several reports over the last few years. They discuss geopolitics and related themes, one of which is the likelihood of nuclear war or accident, including what it means for long-term survival. *** Experts say that even a so-called limited exchange or accident would be catastrophic. For example, a recent paper in Earth’s Future calculates that the most optimistic scenario of a ‘small,’ regional nuclear war between India and Pakistan would wipe out millions of people through famine and result in a nuclear winter. An exchange between the USA and Russia, for instance, could be even bigger and more devastating.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 22, 2017.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is preparing to simulate ‘biological attacks’ on critical infrastructure near the border between Kansas and Oklahoma. The first round of drills will occur on January through February of next year, along with the second round in the summer. For some time, we have been documenting the increased drills, the United States Government is actively preparing for or underway in a field training exercise. More recently, the Department of Defense just conducted a drill simulating a total grid collapse across the United States. Days ago, Wisconsin released plans on an upcoming drill to stimulate a grid collapse for mid-November. We find it strange the United States Government is drilling for apocalyptic scenarios, but provides very limited details to the American populace. It’s not strange and we’ll tell you why, if the public ever found out about the true nature of these drills it would lead to chaos. So frankly, most Americans will be left out of the dark of what’s coming… The first drill starts in January and continues into February of next year at two buildings within the Chilocco Indian Agricultural School (Chilocco campus) in Newkirk, Kay County, Oklahoma. The location is about 6-miles south of Arkansas City, Kansas. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science & Technology Directorate (S&T) plans to release low-levels of inert chemicals and biological stimulant materials simulating a biological attack on critical infrastructure. S&T is studying the penetration capabilities of a biological stimulant against resident buildings.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 13, 2017.
I hope you have read the most important novel of the 20th century, George Orwell’s 1984. You may recall that the main character, Winston, works for a branch of the government whose job is changing history books, and even old newspapers, to make the past match the Party’s ever changing present. Revising history isn’t always bad. History does change as historians reexamine the evidence. One recent example: it used to be taught that the first slaves in the American colonies were Africans sold from a Dutch ship docked in Virginia. Recent examination of old documents shows that they may not have been slaves once on shore. Within a few decades, at least some of those Africans were free men, plantation owners, and – slave owners. But revising history to change the present is just as bad as it was in 1984. In 1996, the Journal of American History, which is the journal for American history professors, published an article by then-respected Professor Michael Bellesiles of Emory University in Atlanta. His article claimed that conventional wisdom about guns in early America was all wrong. He said guns were rare; most Americans hated guns; hunting was almost unknown; gun ownership was very tightly regulated; and because there were so few guns, murder (except of blacks and Indians) was very rare. Gun murders were especially rare. To prove his gun scarcity claim, his article contained a graph that he said showed how rarely guns appeared in probate inventories, which recorded what people owned when they died. Even those guns were usually described as broken or rusty. His article’s point was that the NRA’s version of history and gun culture was a modern invention. If guns were rare and hated back then, and tightly regulated, then the Second Amendment could not possibly protect an individual right. In 2000, the prestigious Alfred A. Knopf published a book-length version of Bellesiles’ article titled Arming America. It was awash in positive reviews and glowing comments about ‘this book changes everything’ meaning about gun control. Someone sent me a copy. After reading through the first few chapters, about the Colonial period, I found myself saying, ‘This sounds wrong.’ Then I got to a chapter where Bellesiles wrote that a review of 80 travel accounts from early America found that travelers did not notice that they were surrounded by guns and violence. So I flipped to the endnote where he listed those travel accounts, some of which I had read. I knew his claim was false.
This post was published at Gary North on November 11, 2017.
Technically, she was one of the richest women in the world, although her fortune is all for charity and held in trust. Born Agnes Gonxha in Albania, Mother Teresa founded the world-famous ‘Missionaries of Charity’ and spent the majority of her life in Calcutta, India, providing care for people living in poverty there. Before her passing in 1997, she had opened 517 missions in more than 100 countries. Her brand of altruism soon developed a worldwide reputation, with her name becoming synonymous with good deeds and earthy sacrifice in the service of the poor. In 2003, she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize and was beatified by the Vatican, approaching sainthood. She was not without her critics however. Accusations of mishandling cash followed the iconic charity figure after her death. Critics maintain that the hundreds of millions of dollars collected by her foundation have not been distributed as effectively as many thought. This week another new chapter to this story has emerged. According to a newly-released book by Italian investigative journalist Gianluigi Nuzzi, it was Mother Teresa’s cash savings which helped to prop-up the Vatican’s shadowy financial institution, and that if she had withdrew those funds the bank could have potentially defaulted, said Italy’s La Presse magazine.
Less than a week after Venezuela shocked the world by announcing it would proceed to restructure its massive external debt, even as it was within the grace period on hundreds of millions in unpaid interest expense, on Thursday the socialist nation confirmed it has never been closer to an official default after Reuters reported that Venezuela’s state oil-firm company, PDVSA, has not made a debt payments to India’s top oil producer ONGC for six months, and has previously used a Russian state-owned bank and another Indian energy company as intermediaries to make payments. Reuters sources noted that PDVSA has made no payment since April on what was a $540 million backlog of dividends owed to ONGC for an investment the Indian firm made in a an energy project in Venezuela. Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro said last week that the country planned to restructure some $60 billion of bonds, much of it held by PDVSA, as the country struggles to meet debt repayments. While ONGC Videsh – the overseas investment arm of ONGC confirmed to Reuters that PDVSA had fallen behind on the payments, but declined to give details on the delays. Curiously, the Indian company appears not to be overly concerned about non-payment for half a year, and instead was willing to keep giving Maduro the benefit of the doubt: ‘They have got certain challenges at this stage,’ ONGC Videsh said in an emailed response to Reuters’ questions. ‘They have assured that they are working on it (payment of dues). In due course it will be settled and follow up steps will be undertaken.’ And just to underscore that it has no intention of pushing Venezuela into involuntary bankruptcy, ONGC added that ‘we have a good working relationship with PDVSA.”
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 9, 2017.
The British Empire, which at the end of the 19th century ruled one quarter of the earth’s land surface, is long gone. But its robust successor and heir, the United States, has set about enlarging it. As I sought to explain in my last book ‘American Raj – How the US Rules the Muslim World,’ the US imperium exerts its power by controlling tame, compliant regimes around the world and their economies. They are called ‘allies’ but, in fact, should be more accurately termed satrapies or vassal states. Many states are happy to be prosperous US vassals, others less so. The US power system has successfully dominated much of the world, except of course for great powers China, Russia and India. Germany and much of Western Europe remains in thrall to post WWII US power. The same applies to Canada, Latin America, Australia, and parts of SE Asia. There is one part of the globe that has remained free from heavy US influence since 1945, sub-Saharan Africa. But this fact is clearly changing as the US military expands its operations the width and breadth of the Dark Continent. We are seeing a rerun of the fine old 1930’s film, ‘Beau Geste’ which was taken from a cracking good 1924 Victorian novel by C. Percival Wren. Set in French North Africa, Wren’s dashing French Legionnaires end up defending a remote fort against masses of hostile Arab and Berber tribesman.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 9, 2017.
Residents of the heavily populated city of New Delhi, India have had to tie scarves across their faces in an effort to breathe more easily. The heavy smog in the city is entering day three, and a state of emergency could soon be declared to protect the health of the people who reside there. Air quality readings in India’s capital have soared since Tuesday, with one monitor showing levels in the city were 969. To put that in perspective, the World Health Organization considers anything above 25 to be unsafe. Those levels are based on the concentration of fine particulate matter, or PM 2.5, per cubic meter. The microscopic particles, which are smaller than 2.5 micrometers in diameter, are considered particularly harmful because they are small enough to lodge deep into the lungs and pass into other organs, causing serious health risks. The wider Delhi-National Capital Region (NCR) is a sprawling area that encompasses Delhi, as well as satellite districts in the neighboring states of Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, and Rajasthan, and is home to some 46 million people The area lacks effective public transportation and workers must drive their own cars to and from jobs in the city, which CNN says further exacerbates the problem.
This post was published at shtfplan on November 8th, 2017.
The deployment of US Special Operations Forces in Europe is never in spotlight but it is rapidly increasing. There can be no other purpose than acquisition of capability to deliver strikes deep into Russia’s territory. The Trump administration is relying heavily on Special Operations Forces (SOF). They are deployed to 137 countries or 70% of them in the world. At least 8,000 of SOF are operating in around 80 countries at any given moment. The numbers have ballooned from a few thousands in the 1980s to 70,000 at present. In 2016, the US deployed special operators to Taiwan, Mongolia, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Nepal, India, Laos, the Philippines, South Korea, and Japan. In 2006, 3 percent of special operators deployed overseas were in Europe. In 2016, the number topped 12 percent. Much has been said recently about SOF operations in Africa, which are going to expand and intensify. Formally, they are on train and assist missions to counter terrorist threats. But one can hardly imagine the need to deploy such special purpose forces from overseas to fight terrorists in the Old Continent.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 5, 2017.
Every year, the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requires most large industrial facilities to report the volume of toxic chemicals they release into the environment. The EPA takes this data and consolidates it into the Toxic Releases Inventory (TRI), which is then used to set environmental policies in place. We analyzed this data along with Priceonomics customer, Ode, a company that creates environmentally-conscious cleaning products. So, we got interested in the information buried in these massive, hard to understand reports. What are the most commonly released toxins? In which states and cities are the most chemicals emitted? Which industries contribute the most to this pollution? Summary of findings: As a state, Alaska produces the most toxins (834 million pounds) Zinc and lead compounds (common products of the mining industry) are the most common toxins Metal mining accounts for 1.5 billion pounds of toxins, while chemicals (515 million) ranks second On a county level, the Northwest Arctic of Alaska leads the list, but multiple Nevada counties round out the top 5 Kotzebue, AK produces the most toxins as a city (756 million pounds), and Indianapolis, IN (10.9 million) produces the most out of the top 100 most populous cities
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 25, 2017.
Political Correctness Hampers Honest Debate What would the world be like today had Europeans never colonized Americas, Africa, the Middle East, Australia, New Zealand, and South Asia? Most of these societies would still not have discovered the wheel. It takes a huge amount of reality-avoidance and ineptitude for outsiders who travel there not to realize that a billion or more people in the Third World still wouldn’t have discovered the wheel. There is absolutely no evidence to suggest that the Third World would have independently found, discovered, or invented even a fraction – if any at all – of the sciences and technologies that exist today. Without Europeans, lives in what were once colonized countries would have been brutish and much shorter than they are. These countries would have had nothing remotely resembling the concept of the rule of law. After the end of the World War II, countries in the Third World started to gain their so-called independence. One the largest waves of immigration of Indians to the UK happened soon after the process of British decolonization started. Locals in those days knew that once the British were gone, India and Africa would enter a phase of chaos. After almost 70 years, this chaos shows little sign of abating. It is getting worse.
This post was published at Acting-Man on October 25, 2017.
Authored by Andrew Korybko via Oriental Review, The US-Indian Strategic Partnership has rapidly evolved to such a point that the Indian government is now obliquely hinting that Russian twitter trolls are backing the country’s opposition leader, showing that New Delhi is willing to say and do anything in order to further ingratiate itself with Washington even if this means demolishing its decades-long relationship with Moscow. Indian Information and Broadcasting Minister Smriti Irani sent shockwaves through the diplomatic community over the weekend when she indirectly accused Russian ‘Twitter trolls’ of supporting opposition leader Rahul Gandhi. The government official tweeted an article from ANI Digital which purports that Gandhi’s Twitter popularity is partly due to automated bots located in Indonesia, Kazakhstan, and Russia, snidely remarking in her post that ‘Perhaps @OfficeOfRG planning to sweep polls in Russia, Indonesia & Kazakhstan ??’ The report in question is nothing more than unfounded speculation, but the strong symbolism behind it in trying to capitalize on the US’ anti-Russian hysteria shouldn’t be overlooked. Furthermore, the very fact that a high-ranking member of the Indian government, a woman who plays an indispensable role in the projection of the country’s soft power within its borders and beyond, would publicly retweet such a ridiculous claim and even add her own snarky commentary to it is very scandalous, to say the least.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 25, 2017.