Tag: British government

Keep Calm & Carry On

Authored by 720Global's Michael Liebowitz via RealInvestmentAdvice.com,

“Before long, we will all begin to find out the extent to which Brexit is a gentle stroll along a smooth path to a land of cake and consumption.” – Mark Carney, Bank of England Governor

In 1939, the British Government, through the Ministry of Information, produced a series of morale-boosting posters which were hung in public places throughout the British Isles. Faced with German air raids and the imminent threat of invasion, the slogans were aimed at helping the British public brave the testing times that lay ahead. The most enduring of these slogans simply read:

 “Keep Calm and Carry On.”

Ironically, it was the only one of the series that was never actually displayed in public as it was reserved for a German invasion that never transpired. Today, the British Government may wish to summon a fresh propaganda strategy to address a new threat on the horizon, that of the eventuality of Brexit.

The Kingdom Divided

The United Kingdom (UK) is in the process of negotiating out of all policies that, since 1972, formally tied it to the economic dynamics of the broader western European community. Since the unthinkable Brexit vote passage in June 2016, the unthinkable has now become the undoable. The negotiations, policy discussions, logistical considerations and legal wrangling are becoming increasingly problematic as they affect every industry in the UK from trade and finance to hazardous materials, produce, air travel and even Formula 1 racing.

The worst case scenario of a disorderly or “hard” Brexit, whereby no deal is reached by the March 2019 deadline, is the most extreme for investors along the spectrum of potential outcomes. A deadlock, which is unfortunately the most likely scenario, would result in tariffs on trade between the UK and the European Union (EU). Such an outcome would result in a rapid deterioration of British economic prospects, job losses and the migration of talent and businesses out of the country. Even before the path of Brexit is known, a number of large companies with UK operations, including Barclays Bank, Diageo, Goldman Sachs, and Microsoft, are discussing plans to move or are already actively moving personnel out of Britain. Although less pronounced, the impact of a “hard” Brexit on the EU would not be positive either.

The least damaging Brexit outcome minimizes costs and disruption to business and takes the form of agreement around many of the key issues, most notably the principle of the freedom of movement of labor. The current progression of events and negotiations suggests such an agreement is unlikely. The outcome of negotiations between the UK and the EU will be determined by politics, with the UK seeking to protect its interests while the EU and its 27 member states negotiate to protect their own.

To highlight the complexities involved, the challenges associated with reaching agreements, and why a hard Brexit seems most likely, consider the following:

  • Offering an early indication of the challenges ahead, German Prime Minister Angela Merkel stated that she wants the “divorce arrangement” to be agreed on before terms of the future relationship are negotiated. The UK has expressed a desire for these negotiations to run concurrently
  • A withdrawal agreement (once achieved) would need to be ratified by the UK
  • A withdrawal agreement would have to be approved by the European Parliament
  • A withdrawal agreement would have to be approved by 20 of the 27 member states
  • The 20 approving states must make up at least 65% of the population of the EU or an ex-UK population of 290 million people
  • If the deal on the future relationship impacts policy areas for which specific EU member states are primarily responsible, then the agreement would have to be approved by all the national parliaments of the 27 member states

The summary above shows that the unprecedented amount of coordination and negotiation required within the 27 member states and between the EU Commission, the EU Council and the EU Parliament, to say nothing of the UK.

The “do nothing and see what happens” stance taken by the British and the EU would likely deliver a unique brand of instability but one for which there is a precedent.

The last time we observed an economic event unfold in this way, investment firm Lehman Brothers disappeared along with several trillion dollars of global net worth. Although the Lehman bankruptcy was much more abrupt and less predictable, a hard Brexit seems likely to similarly roil global markets. The “no deal” exit option, which is the path currently being followed, threatens to upend the intricate and endlessly interconnected system of global financial arbitrage. Markets are complacent and seem to have resigned themselves to the conclusion that since no consequences have yet emerged, then they are not likely.

Lehman Goes Down

In late 2007 and early 2008, as U.S. national housing prices were falling, it was becoming evident that the financial sector was in serious trouble. By March of 2008, Bear Stearns was sold to JP Morgan for $2 per share in a Fed-arranged transaction to stave off bankruptcy. Bear Stearns stock traded at $28/share two days before the transaction and as high as $172 per share in January 2007. Even as evidence of problems grew throughout the summer of 2008, investors remained complacent. After the Bear Stearns failure, the S&P 500 rallied by over 14% through mid-May and was still up over 3% by the end of August following the government seizure of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. While investors were paying little attention, the solvency of many large financial entities was becoming more questionable. Having been denied a Federal Reserve backstop, Lehman failed on September 15, 2008 and an important link in the global financial system suddenly disappeared. The consequences would ultimately prove to be severe.

On September 16, 2008, the first trading day after Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy, the S&P 500 index closed at 1192. On September 25, just 10-days later, it closed 1.43% higher at 1209. The market, in short time, would eventually collapse and bottom at 666 in six short months. Investors’ inability to see the bankruptcy coming followed by an inability to recognize the consequences of Lehman’s failure seems eerily familiar as it relates to the current status of Brexit negotiations.

If all efforts to navigate through Brexit requirements are as complicated and difficult as currently portrayed, then what are we to expect regarding adverse consequences when the day of reckoning arrives? Is it unfair to suspect that the disruptions are likely to be severe or potentially even historic? After all, we are not talking about the proper dissolution of an imprudently leveraged financial institution; this is a G10 country! The parallel we are trying to draw here is not one of bankruptcy, it is one of disruptions.

As it relates to Brexit, Dr. Andreas Dombret, member of the executive board of the Deutsche Bundesbank, said this in a February 2017 speech to the Bank of International Settlements –

“So while economic policy will of course be an important topic during negotiations, we should not count on economic sanity being the main guiding principle. And that means we also have to factor in the possibility that the UK will leave the bloc in 2019 without an exit package, let alone the sweeping trade accord it is seeking. The fact that this scenario would most probably hurt economic activity considerably on both sides of the Channel will not necessarily prevent it from happening.”

Rhyming

On June 23, 2016, the day before the Brexit vote, the FTSE 100 closed at 6338. After a few hours of turbulence following the surprising results, the FTSE recovered and by the end of that month was up 2.6%. Today, the index is up 17.5% from the pre-Brexit close. The escalating risks of a hard exit from the EU clearly are not priced into the risky equity markets of Great Britain.

Data Courtesy: Bloomberg

Conversely, what has not recovered is the currency of the United Kingdom (chart below). The British Pound Sterling (GBP) closed at 1.4877 per U.S. dollar on June 23, 2016, and dropped by 15 points (-10%) to 1.33 by the end of the month following the Brexit vote. Over the past several months the pound has fallen to as low as 1.20 but more recently it has recovered to 1.33 on higher inflation readings and hawkish monetary policy language from Bank of England (BoE) governor Mark Carney. Despite following through on his recent threats to hike interest rates, the pound has begun to again trend lower.

Data Courtesy: Bloomberg

Carney has voiced concern over Brexit-induced inflation by saying that if global integration in recent decades suppressed price growth then the reduced openness to foreign markets and workers due to Brexit should result in higher inflation. This creates a potential problem for the BoE as a disorderly exit from the EU hurts the economy while at the same time inducing inflation. Such a stagflation dynamic would impair the BoE’s ability to engage in meaningful monetary stimulus of the sort global financial markets have become accustomed since the financial crisis. If the central bankers lose control of inflation, QE becomes worthless.

Some astute observers of the currency markets and BoE pronouncements argue that Carney’s threat of rate hikes are aimed at halting the deterioration of value in the pound and preventing a total collapse of the currency. That theory is speculative but plausible when analyzing the chart. Either way, whether the pound’s general weakness is driven by inflation concerns or the rising risks associated with a hard Brexit, the implications are stark.

What is equally evident, as shown below, is the laissez-faire attitude of the FTSE as opposed to the caution and reality being priced in by the currency markets. In Lehman’s case, the stock market was similarly complacent while the ten year Treasury yield dropped by nearly 2.00% from June 2007 to March 2008 (from a yield of 5.25% to 3.25%) on growing economic concerns and a flight-to-quality bid.

Data Courtesy: Bloomberg

A Familiar Problem

As discussed above, the Bank of England may find itself in a predicament where it is constrained from undertaking extreme measures due to inflation concerns or even being forced to tighten monetary policy despite an economic slowdown. Those actions would normally serve to support the pound. Further, if the prospect of a hard Brexit continues to take shape, capital flight out of the UK may overwhelm traditional factors. In efforts to prevent the disorderly movement of capital out of the country, the BoE may be required to hike interest rates substantially. Unlike the resistance of equity markets to bad news, the currency markets are more inclined, due to their size and much higher trading volume, to fairly reflect the dynamics of the economy and the central bank in a reasonable time frame.

Our perspective is not to presume a worst case scenario but to at least entertain and strategize for the range of possibilities. Equity markets, both in the UK and throughout the world, transfixed by the shell game of global central bankers’ interventionism, are clearly not properly assessing the probabilities and implications of a hard Brexit.

All things considered, the pound has rallied back to the high end of its post-Brexit range which seems to suggest the best outcome has been incorporated. If forced to act against inflation, the Bank of England will be hiking rates against a stagnant economy and a poor economic outlook.  This may provide support for the pound in the short term but it will certainly hurt an already anemic economy in the midst of Brexit uncertainty.

Summary

Timing markets is a fool’s errand. Technical and fundamental analysis allows for an assessment of the asymmetry of risks and potential rewards, but the degree of central bank interventionism is not quantifiable. With that premise in mind, we can evaluate different asset classes and their adherence to fundamentals while allowing a margin of error for the possibility of monetary intervention. After all, if central banks print money to inflate asset prices to create a wealth effect, some other asset should reveal the negative effects of conjuring currency in a fiat regime – namely the currency itself. In the short term, it may appear as though rising asset prices create new wealth, but over time, the reality is that the currency adjustments off-set some or all of the asset inflation.

Investors should take the time, while it is available, to consider the gravity of the disruptions a hard Brexit portends and look beyond high flying UK stocks to the more telling movement of the British pound. Like with Lehman and the global financial system in 2008, stocks may initially be blind to the obvious. Although decidedly not under the threats present during World War II, the British Government and the EU lack the leadership of that day and will likely need more than central banker propaganda to weather the economic storm ahead.

Keep calm and carry on, indeed.

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Frontrunning: November 15

  • GOP Seeks to Derail Moore, Salvage Senate Seat (WSJ)
  • Army takes control in Zimbabwe (Reuters)
  • Senate Tax Plan Guts Obamacare, Sunsets Many Middle-Class Cuts (BBG)
  • Senate Republicans tie tax plan to repeal of key Obamacare mandate (Reuters)
  • Trump’s Campaign Foreign Policy Team Under Mueller’s Microscope (BBG)
  • Ryan Says Future Congresses Will Preserve Tax Bill’s Temporary Measures (BBG)
  • Shareholders take aim at Murdochs with Fox voting rights push (Reuters)
  • AT&T Engages Its Washington Firepower to Push Megadeal (BBG)
  • Time Inc. to Launch Sports Illustrated TV (WSJ)
  • Boeing in 175 plane deal with budget carrier flydubai (Reuters)
  • Airbus Tops Boeing in Dubai With Record $50 Billion A320 Deal (BBG)
  • North Korea’s Kim trades missiles for tractors during testing lull (Reuters)
  • Amazon scraps bundled video service (Reuters)
  • What Tesla’s Big Rig Must Do to Seduce Truckers (BBG)
  • Bayer hires new blood to stem ‘Amazon effect’ in consumer health (Reuters)
  • How a Shirt Covered in Swastikas Ends Up in a Department Store (BBG)
  • With Two Price Tags From SoftBank, What Is Uber Really Worth? (WSJ)
  • Moscow Exchange bets on growth in Russia-China investments (Reuters)
  • Cheese and Bourbon Face Risk of Backlash From U.S. Solar Tariff (BBG)
  • Times Square Tenants That Replaced Porn Mark Their Own Retreat (BBG)
  • Target’s holiday-quarter profit forecast disappoints (Reuters)
  • Steve Jurvetson Fires Back at DFJ After His Exit (WSJ)

Overnight Media Digest

WSJ

– Senate Republicans attached a provision to their tax overhaul that would repeal the requirement that all Americans have health insurance, a new twist in the GOP lawmakers’ efforts to rewrite much of the U.S. tax code. on.wsj.com/2iVLgSg

– Venezuelan bonds, already trading at distressed levels, fell on Tuesday after credit-rating firms declared the nation in default on missed interest payments. on.wsj.com/2iXBcYP

– SandRidge Energy Inc is nearing an agreement to buy Bonanza Creek Energy Inc for about $750 million, according to people familiar with the matter. on.wsj.com/2iWT7yU

– The White House is considering economist Mohamed El-Erian as one of several candidates to serve as the Federal Reserve’s vice chairman, according to a person familiar with the matter. on.wsj.com/2iWls8E

– Three UCLA basketball players who had been under police investigation for a week in China flew home, hours after President Donald Trump said he had requested assistance on their behalf from his counterpart Xi Jinping. on.wsj.com/2iXn6a6

 

FT

– Brexit secretary David Davis promises City of London special post-Brexit travel regime. (on.ft.com/2hB1vI1)

– Labour flags concerns about $2 billion Saudi Aramco loan guarantee. (on.ft.com/2hAwljU)

– HSBC agrees to pay 300 million euros ($353.61 million) to settle probe into tax evasion. (on.ft.com/2hA76OH)

– Brexit Secretary David Davis, seeking to reassure the City of London, promised bankers and other professionals a special post-Brexit travel regime to allow them to move freely across Europe.

– Britain’s Labour party has raised concerns about the British government’s plan to provide $2 billion in credit guarantees to Saudi Aramco IPO-ARMO.SE, as it weighs a London flotation.

– HSBC Holdings Plc has agreed to pay 300 million euros to settle a long-running investigation into tax evasion by French citizens via its private bank in Switzerland, the lender said on Tuesday.

 

Canada

THE GLOBE AND MAIL

** The federal government is expanding its venture-capital funding to female-led startups in the face of mounting concerns women are underrepresented in senior roles at tech companies and that their enterprises don’t attract as much financing as those led by men. tgam.ca/2zK9HKj

** Ottawa filed a request on Tuesday for a binational panel under the North American Free-Trade Agreement to strike down the U.S.’s punitive tariffs on Canadian softwood, ramping up its lumber fight against the U.S. tgam.ca/2z2DqB5

NATIONAL POST

** Staff of the Ontario Securities Commission is seeking an order to temporarily suspend the operations of Omega Securities Inc, an alternative trading platform that captured about four percent of trading volume in Canada in the past four quarters. bit.ly/2A0yw81

** A marooned Bombardier airliner is at the centre of a strange international dispute that has prompted a direct appeal to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau from Tanzania’s president, and highlighted growing human-rights issues in the east African nation. bit.ly/2hrK2Oj

 

Britain

The Times

* Bankers working on the float of Cabot Credit Management (IPO-CAB.L) have yet to sell all the shares in the business, despite offering them well below its mooted 1 billion pounds ($1.32 billion) market value. bit.ly/2jru4YX

* British bankers and lawyers should be able to offer their services freely across the European Union as they do today after Brexit, David Davis has said. bit.ly/2jq6TxV

The Guardian

* Big increases in the price of fish, fats and vegetables have driven food price inflation in Britain to the highest level in more than four years. New data from the Office for National Statistics shows food prices last month were up by 4.2 percent on 12 months earlier. bit.ly/2jrkBAG

* Deliveroo won the right not to give its couriers the minimum wage or holiday pay on Tuesday, dealing a blow to campaigners for workers’ rights in the gig economy. bit.ly/2jrPl4w

The Telegraph

* Zurich Insurance Group has become the latest insurance giant to cut ties with coal-intensive businesses, bringing the amount insurers have pulled from these companies to around 20 billion pounds in just two years. bit.ly/2jsw8zO

* UK business leaders would prefer to stick with EU rules on goods and services in order to preserve their current trading relationships, according to a survey of more than 900 members of the Institute of Directors. bit.ly/2js7GyC

Sky News

* Labour is seeking to increase the pressure on ministers over a $2 billion loan guarantee to Saudi Arabian Oil Co IPO-ARMO.SE as it weighs a London flotation that would become the biggest stock market listing in history. bit.ly/2jrCCio

* Coca-Cola has been accused by Health watchdog Public Health England of undermining efforts to cut childhood obesity by targeting children in the poorest parts of the country with its Christmas truck promotional tour. bit.ly/2jpV1vX

The Independent

* London will remain an important global financial hub after Brexit, according to billionaire businessman and former New York City Mayor, Michael Bloomberg. ind.pn/2jumxIV

* Aldi and Lidl have pulled several products from their shelves, with customers urged to return them immediately. ind.pn/2jpWEK5

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Cable Dumps’n’Pumps As EU Official Says No Brexit Talks Breakthrough

Brexit talks yielded no breakthrough on the financial settlement, and discussions focused on the issue of citizens’ rights, where the two sides are hoping for progress, an EU official told reporters.

Bloomberg notes that the anonymous official added that no breakthrough was expected on the bill, as that would require high-level political input, and as Citi notes, this meeting was meant to be more of a discussion anyway, with no expectations of an overall proposal being finalized.

The EU is piling the pressure on the UK to agree the divorce settlement as Brexit negotiations resumed in Brussels. In EU parlance, it appears that the term for this is the “moment of clarification”, which only makes us despise EU bureaucrats even more. Our suspicion is that, with the UK keen to settle the money issue and move on to trade talks, the EU sees an opportunity to take advantage of political turmoil in the UK, as the talks reaching their most critical stage. According to AFP.

The European Union on Thursday warned Britain to reach a divorce deal by the end of the month to guarantee moving to trade negotiations, as Brexit talks resumed in Brussels. Fears are growing in Brussels that the chaotic political situation in London after Prime Minister Theresa May suffered a string of ministerial resignations will hamper the chances of reaching a deal on key issues, especially Britain's contentious exit bill. EU leaders had hoped to officially approve the next phase on future relations and a transition period at a summit in December, but officials are increasingly concerned that deadline could slip to February or March.

 

"Time is pressing," chief EU negotiator Michel Barnier said in a speech in Rome on Thursday before flying back to Brussels to start the sixth round of the slow-moving talks. "The European Council summit in October wanted to keep up the dynamic of the negotiations and I am of the same state of mind," Barnier said. "But the real moment of clarification is coming."

Adding to the pressure is that this round of talks is confined to two days, rather than the normal four. Barnier and Britain’s Brexit Secretary, David Davis, will only meet on Friday morning, after which they will hold a press conference. As we’ve said on numerous occasions, the EU is believed to be demanding 60 billion Euros compared to the UK’s offer of about 40 billion Euros. However, earlier this month, Davis appeared to signal that the UK would increase its offer – see “UK Will Compromise On Divorce Bill To Accelerate Brexit Negotiations” here).

In the last two weeks, Prime Minister, Theresa May’s tenuous grip on power has been further undermined by the resignation of two ministers in her cabinet.

  • Defence Secretary, Michael Fallon, resigned amid the ongoing sexual harassment scandal in Westminster; and
  • International Development Secretary, Priti Patel, resigned over unauthorized meetings in Israel.

AFP alludes to weakness in the UK’s bargaining position given the latest scandals…

To move on to trade talks, the EU is demanding sufficient progress on three key divorce issues, above all the bill Britain must pay to cover its budgetary commitments, a figure which senior European officials put at 60 billion euros ($70 billion). They also want commitments on keeping an open border between Northern Ireland and Ireland, and on guaranteeing the rights of three million European citizens living in Britain. But the British government looks increasingly distracted, with the resignation of its aid minister over meetings in Israel on Wednesday adding to the sense of chaos since May's disastrous showing in elections earlier this year.

…and we suspect that this is what Barnier (with the guiding hand of the odious Jean-Claude Juncker) is hoping to turn to his advantage. Coincidentally, an anonymous EU source was able to provide AFP with some cryptic comments – although it wasn’t hard to see what he/she was getting at.

"We are a bit concerned about what we are seeing in the UK at the moment, we want a strong negotiating partner," an EU diplomat told AFP on condition of anonymity. "I see a strong willingness to come to a deal. I am confident that everybody understands what has to be done on both sides. The question is, Do they have the strength? And will the moves be made in time by the end of November, first week of December?

Bloomberg appears to have picked up a similar downbeat briefing from EU officials.

Brexit talks resumed Thursday with no indication that a breakthrough is in reach: the Europeans are taking a cautious approach even as both sides hope for an agreement by year-end. European diplomats in Brussels are concerned about the U.K.’s political crisis, and are trying to avoid sending Britain overly encouraging signals about how talks are progressing, according to a person familiar with the situation. Countries including Germany asked negotiators on Wednesday not to rush into preparing documents for trade talks, to avoid creating the impression that negotiations are moving on, the person said…EU diplomats have begun work on two versions of draft summit conclusions for the December gathering — one for the possibility of a breakthrough and another one for continuing stalemate. The Times reported on Thursday that leaders are also preparing for the possibility of May’s downfall.

It was probably another coincidence that Juncker’s European Commission today cut its forecasts for UK economic growth for 2017-19 on Brexit uncertainty, while raising its forecast for Eurozone growth. From The Guardian.

Newsflash: The European Commission has slashed its forecast for UK growth, warning that Brexit uncertainty will hurt business investment. It now expects Britain’s economy to grow by just 1.5% this year, down from 1.8% previously. The EC also predicts that growth will slow to 1.3% next year, and just 1.1% in 2019…Having slashed the UK’s growth forecasts, the EC has also raised its forecasts for the eurozone. The Commission now believes that eurozone countries will expand by 2.2% this year, up from the 1.7% forecast earlier this year.

As the talks progress, the clock is counting down to next month’s EU summit for the Brexit settlement to be finalized. As AFP’s anonymous source explains, the EU is ready to move the talks forward as long as it likes the “colour” of the UK’s money – otherwise, we suspect, banks and other businesses will go apoplectic about the risk of a “hard Brexit”.

That timescale would allow preparations for a formal decision by EU leaders at a summit on December 14-15 to move on to discussing future ties, a step Britain has been pushing for for months. "Everything is ready (to start trade talks) on the first of January," the EU diplomat said. Failure to do so would probably push back the move to one of the next summits in February or March, leaving only around six months to reach a deal by October 2018, the timeline Barnier has set in order for the withdrawal agreement to be ratified by Brexit day in March 2019. The EU says Britain must provide written guarantees of a pledge to honour the financial commitments that May made in a speech in Florence, Italy, in September. "We don't need speeches, we need commitments," the diplomat said.

There’s nothing like kicking a woman, Theresa May, when she’s down, but what else would you expect from Juncker and his cronies.
 

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Frontrunning: November 9

  • In China, Trump Cajoles Xi With Tough Talk, Flattery (WSJ)
  • Trump’s Flashy $250 Billion China Haul Has Little Substance (BBG)
  • Blame Game Over Rising Health-Insurance Premiums Begins (WSJ)
  • How to End Our Long National Tax Nightmare (BBG)
  • Trump Says Democrats Will Like Senate Tax Plan Over House Version (WSJ)
  • Venezuela’s PDVSA misses debt payments to India’s top oil producer (Reuters)
  • Britain, Russia clash over Syria at chemical weapons body (Reuters)
  • Coinbase Escalates Showdown on U.S. Tax Probe as Bitcoin Surges (BBG)
  • Saudi graft inquiry spreads beyond borders as UAE examines bank accounts (Reuters)
  • How an American Family Escaped From Amazon Pirates (WSJ)
  • Britain to provide Saudi Aramco with $2 billion credit guarantees (Reuters)
  • U.S. Proposes Freezing Mexican Trucks Out of New Nafta (BBG)
  • Exclusive: Iran’s Revolutionary Guards arrest more dual nationals (Reuters)
  • Behind the Fall of a New York State Pension Fund Executive (WSJ)
  • Want to Stay Safe While Traveling? Wear a Rolex (BBG)
  • Wal-Mart gears up to compete on Black Friday (Reuters)
  • Macy’s posts bigger-than-expected comparable sales drop (Reuters)
  • In 2017, Investors Can Either Buy Bubbles or Be Left Far Behind (BBG)
  • The Many Ways Amazon and Others Could Storm the Gates of Finance (BBG)
  • This French Bank Is Thriving on Exotic Deals (BBG)
  • Why Is U.S. Wage Growth So Low? It’s All About the Top 80% (BBG)
  • Republicans Take Stock After Election Losses (WSJ)

 

Overnight Media Digest

WSJ

– U.S. antitrust regulators are pressing for major changes to AT&T Inc’s proposed takeover of Time Warner Inc , demands that threaten one of the biggest media deals ever, people familiar with the matter said. on.wsj.com/2jdNwIv

– Federal prosecutors are investigating Carl Icahn’s former role advising U.S. President Donald Trump and the activist investor’s attempts to change an environmental rule that he opposed. on.wsj.com/2jbwbzU

– Twenty-First Century Fox Inc said profit and revenue rose in the most recent quarter, as higher fees for its cable networks helped offset continued weakness at local TV stations and its film studio. on.wsj.com/2ja5TOi

– China’s President Xi Jinping welcomed U.S. President Donald Trump to China with a series of business deals and a private tour of the Forbidden City, seeking to impress the U.S. president even as he stepped up pressure on Beijing to curb financial ties with North Korea. The deals, valued at an estimated $9 billion, were designed to set a positive tone for Trump’s visit. on.wsj.com/2jejVOR

– U.S. House lawmakers on Wednesday prepared changes to the GOP tax bill to fill a revenue hole of at least $74 billion, as Senate Republicans were set to release their own plan with significant differences that the GOP will eventually have to resolve to complete its tax overhaul. on.wsj.com/2jbH9FC

– Saudi authorities have frozen the bank accounts of the kingdom’s former crown prince, Mohammed bin Nayef, the latest royal targeted in a corruption crackdown carried out by a Saudi leadership seeking to consolidate power. on.wsj.com/2jby5R4

 

FT

* Former Yahoo Chief Executive Marissa Mayer apologised on Wednesday for two massive data breaches at the internet company, blaming Russian agents for at least one of them, at a hearing on the growing number of cyber attacks on major U.S. companies.

* British aid minister Priti Patel was forced from office on Wednesday over undisclosed meetings with Israeli officials after Prime Minister Theresa May sought to reassert her diminished authority as she negotiates Brexit.

* U.S. antitrust regulators and AT&T Inc sparred on Wednesday over whether the wireless carrier would be required to sell Time Warner Inc’s CNN cable network as a condition of approval of its deal to buy the media company.

 

NYT

– Russian Finance minister Anton Siluanov announced that Venezuela and Russia have agreed to the restructuring of roughly $3 billion in Kremlin loans. nyti.ms/2zuQe0n

– Senate Republicans, under pressure to pass a sweeping tax rewrite before year’s end, are expected to unveil legislation on Thursday that would eliminate the ability of people to deduct state and local taxes but would stop short of fully repealing the estate tax, according to lobbyists and other people familiar with the bill. nyti.ms/2zw70fp

– AT&T Inc’s pending $85.4 billion acquisition of Time Warner Inc could hinge on whether they agree to sell Turner Broadcasting, the group of cable channels that includes CNN. nyti.ms/2zudECU

– Apple Inc has secured one of the most sought-after new projects in television, landing the rights to a new drama centered on a morning TV show and starring Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Aniston, the company announced on Wednesday. nyti.ms/2ztqNvR

– Responding to what one travel expert categorized as “a wake-up call,” TripAdvisor Inc has begun placing symbols next to hotels and resorts that have been identified as locations of sexual assault and other major concerns. nyti.ms/2ztYOML

 

Britain

The Times

British jobs would be put at risk by government plans not to match the EU’s tough stance on dumped imports after Brexit, the steel industry warned. bit.ly/2hn9NCX

U.S. Hedge fund Kerrisdale Capital has taken a short position in drugmaker Prothena Corp Plc, a company backed by UK investor Neil Woodford, claiming that a key treatment is likely to prove a failure. bit.ly/2hlnu5z

The Guardian

Struggling care home provider Four Seasons, which is responsible for 17,000 elderly and vulnerable people, is set to be taken over by a U.S. hedge fund Terra Firma in a complex rescue deal being closely monitored by regulators. bit.ly/2hmBGeA

Uber Technologies Inc has taken a step forward in its plan to make autonomous “flying taxis” a reality, signing a contract with NASA to develop the software to manage them. bit.ly/2hlOqC0

The Telegraph

AT&T Inc Chief Executive Randall Stephenson said he had “no intention” of selling CNN and had “never offered” to, after reports emerged the media company was told by regulators a sale was needed to secure approval for its acquisition of Time Warner Inc. bit.ly/2hmzd3N

Financial Conduct Authority said it is now scanning the insurance market for anti-competitive behaviour just as London fights to retain its status as a financial hub post-Brexit. bit.ly/2hmdU2o

Sky News

JPMorgan Chase & Co Chief Executive Jamie Dimon held private talks with British Prime Minister Theresa May and finance minister Philip Hammond, according to Sky News. bit.ly/2hlPgPa

Priti Patel has offered the Prime Minister a “fulsome apology” as she resigned as International Development Secretary over secret foreign meetings. bit.ly/2hm1Uxx

The Independent

Patrick Vallance, president of research and development at the pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline Plc has been appointed as the British Government’s chief scientific advisor. ind.pn/2hkZVto 

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Censorship In The Digital Age

Authord by Jason Hirthler via CounterPunch.org,

The grand experiment with western democracy, badly listing thanks to broadsides from profiteering oligarchs, may finally run ashore on the rocks of thought crime. In the uneven Steven Spielberg project Minority Report, starring excitable scientologist Tom Cruise, Cruise plays a futuristic policeman who investigates pre-crimes and stops them before they happen. The police owe their ability to see the criminal plots developing to characters called pre-cognitives, or pre-cogs, kind of autistic prophets who see the future and lie sleeping in sterile pools of water inside the police department. Of course, it turns out that precogs can pre-visualize different futures, a hastily hidden flaw that threatens to jeopardize the profits of the pre-crime project. Here is the crux of the story: thought control is driven by a profit motive at bottom. As it turns out, just like real life.

Now, the British government has decided to prosecute pre-crime but has done away with the clunky plot device of the pre-cogs, opting rather to rely on a hazy sense of higher probability to justify surveilling, nabbing, convicting, and imprisoning British citizens. The crime? Looking at radical content on the Internet. What is considered radical will naturally be defined by the state police who will doubtless be personally incentivized by pre-crime quotas, and institutionally shaped to criminalize trains of thought that threaten to destabilize a criminal status quo. You know, the unregulated monopoly capitalist regime that cuts wages, costs, and all other forms of overhead with psychopathic glee. Even a Grenfell Towers disaster is regarded more as a question of how to remove the story from public consciousness than rectify its wrongs.

The Triple Evils

Martin Luther King, Jr. famously, or infamously, depending on whether you are a penthouse mandarin or garden-variety prole, linked the triple evils of poverty, racism, and militarism. These evils are as yet unaddressed in our society, as we are daily shown on the media mouthpieces of imperial capitalism. Wars must be waged. Victims of social injustice must be incarcerated. Society itself must be made poor to ensure higher profits.

Yet there is another set of evils that are primarily used to mask the original trifecta outlined by King. In fact, the connection between propaganda, surveillance, and censorship is clear and inseparable. Take as your initial premise that imperial capitalists want to control the world. Not an unjustified claim. As an imperial capitalist, you are part of a privileged minority whose objective is to further exploit the disenfranchised whose only recourse is the resources you are pillaging. War, be it with bombs or sanctions or special forces or proxies, is immensely profitable to the capitalists. Arms makers make money. Chemical companies make money. Energy companies make money. Media companies make money. Presidents not only make money, they also make history. But the workers, the poor, and the downtrodden pay the price. That’s why they won’t be happy to hear of your plans. Therefore, they must be lied to, lied to so convincingly and comprehensively that they accept, without a second thought, the plans you have laid out before them.

This convincing requires three decisive actions: propaganda, surveillance, and censorship. The first is the official lie you craft to convince them to believe you. The second is the dragnet of digital observation by which you assess whether or not they do believe you. The third is the coercive methods by which you punish those that don’t believe you (justified by the imperial tale you first wove).

The official interpretation of reality is already in place: western civilization is beset on all sides by maniacs that want to take away our freedoms. The surveillance is already in place through programs like the Five Eyes alliance and ECHELON, PRISM, Boundless Informant, FISA, Stellar Wind, and many others. What remains is to tighten the noose of censorship around the neck of our open western societies.

Idiots Abroad

To that end, British Home Secretary Amber Rudd recently announced that citizens that view too much extremist material online could face up to 15 years in jail. Rudd related,

“I want to make sure those who view despicable terrorist content online, including jihadi websites, far-right propaganda and bomb-making instructions, face the full force of the law.”

This flaxen cipher of totalitarian control opened by tabulating some 67,000 tweets by ISIS, along with 44,000 links to ISIS propaganda, had been generated in the last year. Already, Section 58 of the Terrorist Act 2000 criminalized the possession of information that might be useful to a terrorist. But this is not enough for 10 Downing Street. Rudd is taking that law of possession and expanding it into a law of perception. It is now enough to simply watch extremist content. You needn’t download it, distribute it, or otherwise act on it. You need only see it more than once. At that point, by Rudd’s surely flawlessly calculated probabilities, you have become an existential threat to the state, or rather, to national security. You are more likely to commit acts of terror than those who have not seen the extremist content. Pre-crime without the pre-cogs.

But Rudd’s was another step in a long line of encroachments peddled by fascist-minded western governments. Theresa May, the reviled Thatcherite epigone, wants to play a paternal role in preventing citizens from even having the chance to view extremist content. The Tory manifesto tells us, “Some people say that it is not for government to regulate when it comes to technology and the internet. We disagree.” Britain plans, quite proudly it seems, to become the “global leader” in the regulation of the Internet. Just before these announcements were made, Britain had passed the Investigatory Powers Act, which lets the government sweep up user browsing histories. So the surveillance data authorities would use to implement Rudd’s plan is already there. Want to read that eloquent jeremiad against the Tories? Sorry, that was just labeled hate speech. Want to visit your favorite leftist forum? Apologies, mate, but that was deemed a “safe space” for extremist speech and shut down. Want to watch some attractive young people copulate? No problem. Just submit a request to your local minister outlining your precise reasons for wanting access to such nominally proscribed content. Otherwise, forget it.

The Germans aren’t far behind. The so-called Network Enforcement Act is said to create a framework for managing Internet activity, particularly in social media. The act is part of the country’s fake fight against fake news and hate speech, or rather its quite real fight against progressive, leftist, or communist thought and expression. This law demands, on pain of a fifty million euro penalty, that companies with two million or more web visitors must, on receipt of complaint, remove “unlawful content” from their sites. Facebook has opened a new data center in Germany to deal with removal requests, sure to be flooding in from the Bundestag. As the World Socialist Web Site makes clear, if your fake news promotes war (Iraq 2003), mischaracterizes coup d’états (Ukraine 2014), or spreads anti-immigrant hysteria (Cologne 2015), then you’ve got nothing to fear. Of course, it falls to the government itself to decide what is and what isn’t extremist content, no doubt a comforting thought for myriad Der Spiegel loyalists. And, of course, the erstwhile European Commission, destroyer of Greece and perpetrator of other ills, has published guidelines to help member states remove “illegal” content. Even the Russians have joined in, promoting legislation designed to curtail digital freedoms.

Stateside Schlemiels

None of this would be news to Barack Obama, whose own legacy of crumpled writs of habeas corpus, worthless privacy platitudes, and high-altitude wetwork, sits like a canker on the body politic. On his way out the door, through the turnstile of public weal into private gain, he provided the deep state with millions of dollars when he added the Countering Disinformation and Propaganda Act to the annual National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which consecrates black budgets, cost overruns, price gouging, and all other manner of insecurity practiced by the Pentagon and its parasitic defense contractor community. The CDPA, if that’s how it will eventually be known, will effectively pay people to generate officially sanctioned narratives. The U.S. government is fighting fact by calling it propaganda and then producing its own propaganda and calling it fact.

Thanks in part to pressure from Congressional Senate Intelligence Committee that, and the indefatigable efforts of Democrats Adam Schiff and Mark Warner, major brands have been hopping on the clanging tumbrel of Russiagate, as it wheels unsteadily through the digital space, collecting the corpses of freethinkers. Facebook is now blocking “fake news” from its ads. YouTube has begun to fetter content producers with a more restrictive ad network and murky review policies. Google has tweaked its algorithm to keep “fake news” from surfacing high in Search Engine Results Pages, or SERPS.

What precisely constitutes fake news is evidently up to the Zuckerbergs and Schmidts of the world. For Google, it has decidedly meant suppressing progressive and left-wing content, as plummeting traffic numbers have indicated. Of course, it won’t mean suppressing the fake news produced by the CIA or Mi5 or the standard state-fluffing smorgasbord of lies, deceits and hit jobs offered up by the so-called mainstream media.

The always sharp Glen Ford at Black Agenda Report writes that the FBI has created a fresh construct to deal with African-American unrest, called, “Black Identity Extremism,” already truncated into another mind-murdering acronym, BIE. (As though an acronym adds just the note of tenability required to pass off a fatuity on a mal-educated populace.) Foreign Policy, in an otherwise surprisingly liberal-minded story, suggests the construct risks reviving the racism the agency has worked so hard to overcome. Ford drily notes the overlooked matter of J. Edgar Hoover targeting blacks since the 1920s, not to mention COINTELPRO and attacks on the Black Panthers. Regardless, in the eyes of the FBI, blacks angry about police abuses, persistent economic inequalities, and the New Jim Crow, are little more than “identity extremists,” a danger to national security, notably the security of the white plutocracy which it serves.

(Fore) Closing Thoughts

Remember that much of this apparatus of thought control has been applied beneath the banner of the fake Russia hacking story. That story, created by the Clinton camp to distract from the DNC email revelations provided by WikiLeaks, at first blamed Russia for hacking into “our democracy”, then suggested Donald Trump had colluded with Russia to swing the election, and then emphasized that Russia had launched an “influence campaign” designed to swing the election, with the focus subtly shifting from hacking to collusion to influence. At each turn, the evidence proves paltry, the claims absurd, and the virtue signaling nauseating. The bar is being progressively lowered until it meets a threshold of credibility by which the Senate Intel Committee can prosecute Donald Trump or justify some sort of punitive measures against Russia.

The story is so transparently false, from the technical detail to the geopolitical motive, that it is only sustained by the permanent – or deep state – elements of the foreign policy community that need a means by which to control and direct the Trump administration. Russia collusion served as an ideal pretext to force Trump away from campaign-trail odes to conciliation and toward a continuation of the hostile foreign policies glibly enabled and advanced by Barack Obama. The comedy of it all is that Facebook found ‘incriminating’ ads that amounted to less than one percent of the Facebook total ad buys. Congress would like to ban RT, which has ratings that are 0.3 percent of Judge Judy’s. And the infamous hack has been shown to be a leak. What are we left with? A grandiose deceit based on a need to sustain a brutal ideology of oppression, austerity, and war.

But this is how the imperialists do it. They organize globally to oppress locally. That’s why they’ve been rightly rebranded as ‘the globalists’. The workers always trail behind, left to cope with recently discovered alliances of institutional powers collaborating to fence in the prospects for economic equality, social justice, and the fair distribution of a nation’s wealth. We find ourselves beneath the a pregnant cloud of metastasizing repression, conceived and constructed beneath our own gaze. In his recent novel Purity, one of author Jonathan Franzen’s characters, a famous East German exile and whistleblower extraordinaire (a more charismatic Assange), finds himself a global celebrity, the subject of countless interviews wherein,

“…he’d taken to dropping the word totalitarian. Younger interviewers, to whom the word meant total surveillance, total mind control, gray armies in parade with medium-range missiles, had understood him to be saying something unfair about the Internet. In fact, he simply meant a system that was impossible to opt out of.”

Whether it is too late for a world of working class people and the ubiquitous poor to opt out of the globalized imperium dreamed up by our post-war planners, is hard to say. But if you think there’s still time, be extremely careful, since the pre-crime police are nearly omnipresent, and they might overhear you quoting Marx or see you scrawling ideas about redistribution on the walls of some abandoned underpass. Just imagine some future advertisement for the pre-crime program, a glistening LCD ad floating between skyscrapers, a smiling family at play, a nation secure, and an omniscient narrator softly reminding you, “Don’t forget—it’s the thought that counts.”

http://WarMachines.com

UK PMs Push Back As Regulators “Bend The Rules” To Accommodate Saudi Aramco IPO

All IPO’d up and no place to go? UK portfolio managers with $6.9 trillion resist rule bending by regulator to achieve Aramco London listing

Another potential problem for the world’s biggest ever (potential) IPO…

A lobby group representing UK portfolio managers with $6.9 trillion AUM has warned the UK financial regulator that bending the rules to accommodate Aramco’s IPO will damage London’s status as a global financial centre.

In a letter to the head of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), the embattled Andrew Bailey, the Investment Association (IA) argued that it threatened the “high standards” of London’s listing regime.

In “Funds fire broadside over Saudi oil float”, the Sunday Times noted that “Britain’s largest investors have turned up the heat on the City watchdog over its controversial plans to allow Saudi Arabia’s oil giant to float in London.”

Besides the tricky issue of its oil and gas reserves (especially the Ghawar field), the IA argued in the letter that “For the premium segment of the UK main market, investors must have confidence that a company is run for all shareholders, not just the major or controlling shareholder.”  

Selling only 5% of the share capital, rather than the prescribed 25%, is one of the major stumbling blocks in terms of the listing regulations.

According to the London Stock Exchange, a premium listing meets “the UK’s highest standards of regulatory and corporate governance.”

However, regulations are made to be broken…not just by banks and funds…but (when it suits) by the regulator itself, it seems. The FCA’s Bailey has proposed a new category of premium listing which would be tailor-made for government-controlled companies, like Aramco.

According to Bailey, investor safeguards would not be “weakened.”

It turns out that Bailey proposed the new category of premium listing after meeting and having conversations with Aramco and its advisers. As the Sunday Times reports, Bailey “emphasised during those conversations that we (FCA) were reviewing the listing regime.”

Perfect timing.

Clicking on the “About Us” tab on the FCA’s website, the regulator champions its wish that “consumers can place their trust in transparent and open markets” under the heading “Enhancing Market Integrity”.

Having said that, there is an option to click “No” after the question “Was this page helpful?”

In Bailey’s defence, it is possible that he’s being lent on by the British government to find a way to accommodate the high-profile Aramco IPO.

After all, Theresa May travelled to Saudi Arabia in April with the CEO of the London Stock Exchange, Xavier Rolet.

Here is Mrs May making the introductions in Riyadh on 5 May 2017.

Given the stringent anti-trust laws in the US and Aramco’s pivotal role in the Opec cartel, a US listing is also looking problematic. So, it’s no wonder that chatter about delays to the IPO or a private sale to China, or a consortium of sovereign wealth funds, has gathered pace.

Aramco denied such reports on Twitter over the weekend “All listing venues under review for optimal decision, IPO process is on track for 2018.”

If three denials are forthcoming, maybe we’ll know what’s really happening.

In the meantime, it’s embarrassing to the Saudi regime and not good news for improving its short/medium term cash flow problem.

http://WarMachines.com

Monarch Airlines Files For Insolvency: Britain’s Biggest-Ever Airline Collapse

U.K. leisure carrier Monarch Airlines filed for insolvency on Monday, the biggest ever failure of a British airline, stranding tens of thousands of travellers overseas and prompting the country’s biggest-ever peacetime repatriation effort, as the government has to find a way to to arrange the return of 110,000 tourists, and marking the third failure of a major European operator in five months. Monarch cancelled about 300,000 future bookings and apologized to customers and staff as it became the UK’s largest carrier to go into administration, according to Reuters.

Monarch CEO Andrew Swaffield said the carrier had fallen victim to “outside influences,” especially a flood of seating into its core Mediterranean markets after a spate of terrorist attacks prompted holiday companies to reduce their exposure to Egypt, Tunisia and Turkey. Attempts to sell the short-haul business prior to the insolvency filing failed, he added.

“I am so sorry that thousands now face a cancelled holiday or trip, possible delays getting home and huge inconvenience as a result of our failure,” Swaffield told employees in a message. “I am truly sorry that it has ended like this.”

According to a statement, the airline and Monarch Travel Group were placed under administration, leading to the suspension of the Luton, England-based company’s operating license. Future flights and holidays have been canceled and won’t be rescheduled, affecting a further 300,000 people. Monarch said its companies that entered into administration include Monarch Airlines, Monarch Holidays Ltd, First Aviation Ltd, Avro Ltd and Somewhere2stay Ltd.


A notice for Monarch staff is seen stuck to a door after the airline ceased trading,
at Luton airport in Britain, October 2, 2017

UK transport secretary Chris Grayling said the company fell victim to a price war over flights to the Mediterranean and told customers not to come to airports. “We are doing our best to make sure that those people who are stranded and can’t get back otherwise will be able to do so,” he told BBC television, adding that he expected many of Monarch’s more than 2,000 staff to get jobs elsewhere. The British government has asked the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to charter more than 30 aircraft to bring back to the UK about 110,000 Monarch customers currently overseas, the CAA said.

As Bloomberg notes, the collapse of Monarch, which served more than 40 destinations from five U.K. bases, follows insolvency filings at Alitalia and Air Berlin as a glut in capacity prompted by the low oil price compels carriers to slash fares in a battle for market share. At the same time, the low-cost operator has seen margins squeezed by higher fuel costs, which are priced in dollars, following the pound’s decline in the wake of last year’s Brexit vote. Tough competition has been pressuring European airlines while driving consolidation and, well, bankruptcies.

Furthermore, the developments at Monarch, which employs 2,100 people, follow on the heels of 20,000 flight cancellations at low-cost rival Ryanair Holdings Plc due to pilot scheduling issues, which have disrupted travel for around 700,000 customers.

The airlines’ collapse will be a headache for some of the world’s largest leasing companies, which financed its current fleet of 36 mainly Airbus jets, and for Boeing, which has sold the airline 32 of its 737 MAX aircraft. None of the planes has yet been delivered. Although relatively small compared to Europe’s leading scheduled carriers, Monarch had been a regular hotspot in the global battle for market share between planemakers as it shifted its loyalties between Airbus and Boeing.

As Reuters adds, Boeing secured Monarch’s agreement to revert back to its jets in 2014 following a fierce contest against Airbus and Bombardier.

“We are working with the joint administrators and the CAA to do everything we possibly can to help minimise disruption where we can, but are under no illusion as to the problems this will cause,” Monarch’s Swaffield said. “And many suppliers will suffer hugely as a result of our insolvency – for which I am equally sorry.”

Flight tracking service Flightradar24 reported that at least 25 aircraft had been lined up to start repatriating passengers by 0600 GMT on Monday, including 10 from Qatar Airways already based in Europe on behalf of British Airways. An easyJet airplane and several charter aircraft were also part of the operation. Hungarian low-cost carrier Wizz Air meanwhile said it was offering to fly stranded Monarch passengers home from Tel Aviv for 119 pounds ($159) each.

* * *

Monarch, which was founded in 1968, has come close to collapse before, with the airline rescued by a 165 million-pound ($220 million) capital injection from Greybull Capital LLP last December, just hours before it faced grounding by the U.K. Civil Aviation Authority due to a lack of funds. Greybull had bought 90% of Monarch in 2014 via a 125 million-pound recapitalization that funded the final elements of a transformation from charter specialist to discount carrier. The private-equity firm said in a statement Monday it was “very sorry” that the three-year turnaround bid failed.

The latest airline banktupcy opens up opportunities for rival operators to expand into former Monarch routes or snap up the carrier’s assets. Cantor Research analyst Rob Byde said in a note that the failure is “another step in the consolidation of the European short-haul market” and that it views EasyJet Plc, Britain’s biggest discount carrier and also based at Luton, as a likely bidder, though a wholesale takeover is unlikely.  According to Bloomberg, British Airways owner International Consolidated Airlines Group SA has expressed interest in Monarch’s takeoff and landing slots, fleet and crew, Sky News reported over the weekend, without saying how it got the information. IAG has a growing discount arm of its own in Barcelona-based Vueling.

http://WarMachines.com

The Root Of Current Tensions: “They Hold No Loyalty Except To Themselves And To Personal Gain”

Authored by Jeremiah Johnson (nom de plume of a retired Green Beret of the United States Army Special Forces) via SHTFplan.com,

One of the items that is regularly reported on, but quietly…not alarming anyone…is the situation developing in Eastern Europe and the Baltic States. 

At the forefront is Ukraine, as the U.S.-orchestrated coup of 2014 and the subsequent annexation of Crimea by Russia created a line to develop into a Second Cold War.  This is the root of the current tensions where both Russia and the U.S. are continuously posturing against one another.

The root of the matter lies in the undue influence that was secured by Georgy Schwarz (also known as George Soros) with the purchase of John McCain.  An article just surfaced on September 13, 2017 entitled Power Games: What McCain, Soros, and the Clintons Have in Common, by Ekaterina Blinova of Sputnik News.  The article gives a brief history of “The McCain Institute for International Leadership,” a non-profit organization profiting on the campus of Arizona State University.  This non-profit organization has received “minor” donations, such as $1 million from the Saudi Arabian government in 2014.

Financial ties between McCain and Soros have been exposed in the past, and that the two have had a nebulous relationship since 2001.  Interestingly enough, it was McCain who was the leading proponent behind the regime change in Ukraine.  Assisted by Victoria Nuland with Obama and Hillary Clinton acting the part of “Zardoz” floating invisibly in the background, supplying the authority, and with Sen. Lindsey Graham as a lapdog-collaborator, it was McCain who orchestrated the coup above-board.

Beneath the boards was Soros.  The reason Soros funded Maidan (the right-wing ultra-nationalists of Ukraine) and approved of Arseniy Yatsenuk (a globalist scientologist who currently resides in California) was to grab Eastern Ukraine for himself.  Soros planned on dumping $50 million, backed by political control via McCain and the other Munsters, and financially by the IMF…all wrapped up in the NATO Hegemony….and buying himself one third of Ukraine…with all types of natural resources from coal to minerals…for 1/1000th of its actual worth.

Soros’ plan fell apart, because he did not count on the Russians seizing Crimea to secure Sevastopol (their Black Sea Fleet HQ) and access to the Mediterranean.  He also did not count on Ukrainians of Russian national derivation revolting in Eastern Ukraine against the installed puppetry of Yatsenuk (Yoda) that eventually “morphed” into Petro “Willy Wonka” Poroshenko’s Kiev government.  Because of the insurrection in the east, the IMF would not bail Ukraine out of the $9 billion plus owed to Russia to pay Gazprom for natural gas consumption.

Notice the complexion of the game has changed.  Soros now is fostering ties with Russia, in the hopes that he can take those mineral and oil rights from the other direction and take himself off the hook with the Russian government. Par for the course in the manner of Rothschild, bankrolling both Napoleon and the British government and selling short on both sides to pocket from the overall misfortune of the situation.  A situation caused by Rothschild and instigated into a war that gave him profits.  Only the players are different in the comedy being played out today.

Jared Kushner has deep ties to Soros, as does Hillary Clinton.  As mentioned in other articles, read Shadow Party by Poe that outlines the key role Soros played in the rise to power of Hillary Clinton.  The President truly needs to clean Washington out, and remove these politicos that kowtow and bend to the whim of oligarchs.  Only then can foreign policy be set that is in the interests of the United States and not a pack of privateers, oligarchs, and politicians…such as a Pelosi who begins a career making $150 grand and ends up with a net worth of more than $40 million.

There is a part of it all that is even worse than the theft.  Because of these games and the corruption attached to them, these individuals depose governments and throw whole nations into civil war and anarchy for the promulgation of personal power and personal gain.  World wars begin on the whims of madmen and see fruition because those madmen are in positions of authority derived from the citizens, yet with no accountability to the citizens.  They hold no loyalty except to themselves and to personal gain.

http://WarMachines.com

Myanmar’s Rohingya Crisis: George Soros, Oil, & Lessons For India

Authored by Shelley Kasli via GGINews.com,

"When George Soros comes to this or that country… he looks for religious, ethnic or social contradictions, chooses the model of action for one of these options or their combination and tries to 'warm them up'," Egorchenkov explained…

 The ongoing crisis in Myanmar including tensions between Buddhist and Muslim communities and the military crackdown by Myanmar Army and police seems to be a multidimensional crisis with major geopolitical players involved according to a report by Sputnik International.

As per the report Dmitry Mosyakov, director of the Centre for Southeast Asia, Australia and Oceania at the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences, told RT that the conflict “was apparently fanned by external global players” and “has at least three dimensions”.

First, this is a game against China, as China has very large investments in Arakan [Rakhine],” Mosyakov told RT.

 

“Second, it is aimed at fuelling Muslim extremism in Southeast Asia….

 

Third, it’s the attempt to sow discord within ASEAN [between Myanmar and Muslim-dominated Indonesia and Malaysia].”

The conflict is mostly concentrated in the country’s northwestern region in the Rakhine State which consists of vast reserves of hydrocarbons located offshore. This vast reserve of hydrocarbon is the major reason why external players are using the conflict to undermine Southeast Asian stability, according to Mosyakov.

“There’s a huge gas field named Than Shwe after the general who had long ruled Burma,” Mosyakov said.

In 2004 this massive Rakhine energy reserves were discovered and by 2013 China had connected Myanmar’s port of Kyaukphyu with the Chinese city of Kunming in Yunnan province with oil and natural gas pipelines. Through this oil pipeline China can bypass the world’s most congested shipping choke points – the Malacca Straits, while through the gas pipeline hydrocarbons from Myanmar’s offshore fields are transported to China.

The development of the Sino-Myanmar energy project coincided with the intensification of the Rohingya conflict in 2011-2012 when 120,000 asylum seekers left the country escaping the bloodshed.

Dmitry Egorchenkov, deputy director of the Institute for Strategic Studies and Prognosis at the Peoples’ Friendship University of Russia doesn’t believe that this is a coincidence. Although there are certain internal causes behind the Rohingya crisis, Dmitry believes that the crisis might be fueled by external players, most notably, George Soros.

By destabilizing Myanmar they could directly target China’s energy projects.

George Soros funded Burma Task Force has been actively operating in Myanmar since 2013 although Soros interference in Myanmar’s domestic affairs goes deeper than that.

In 2003, George Soros joined a US Task Force group aimed at increasing “US cooperation with other countries to bring about a long overdue political, economic and social transformation in Burma [Myanmar].”

A document published by the Council of Foreign Relation’s (CFR) in 2003 entitled “Burma: Time For Change,” states that “democracy… cannot survive in Burma without the help of the United States and the international community” and calls for an establishment of a group to implement the project.

“When George Soros comes to this or that country… he looks for religious, ethnic or social contradictions, chooses the model of action for one of these options or their combination and tries to ‘warm them up,'” Egorchenkov explained, speaking with RT.

According to Mosyakov, it is a globalist management policy to sow discord in nations by fuelling regional conflicts which allows them to exert pressure on those nations and ultimately gain control over their sovereignty. A recent example is the Ukrainian Crisis and the Greek Crisis before that. When the flames are out and the country ravaged with the crisis, it is time for the vultures to descend.

“BUY WHEN THERE IS BLOOD ON THE STREETS, EVEN IF THE BLOOD IS YOUR OWN”

 

– THESE ARE THE WORDS OF NATHAN MAYER ROTHSCHILD OF THE HOUSE OF ROTHSCHILD, ONE OF THE FAMILY BLOODLINES THAT CONTROLLED THE EAST INDIA COMPANIES.

What one should understand is that a crisis just doesn’t take a toll on the infrastructure and human lives but it also ruptures the economy and puts the country in huge debt. And it is through this debt that the global players dictate their terms to sovereign nations for decades or even centuries if there is no course correction. That is the reason why both Ukraine and Greece appointed Rothschild as their debt adviser to assist with their growing debt crisis.

Lesson for India

 

Even India is hunting for a solution to its Bad-Debt Crisis (read the corporate loans that state-owned banks wrote off, which were taken by arousing nationalistic sentiments in the media) which is a Rs 1.14 lakh crore (this is a conservative figure) scam as we explained in our special Demonetization issue War on Cash. However, a solution has already been prescribed by the deputy governor of Reserve Bank of India, Viral Acharya. His solution is to simple sell-off state owned units to foreign players bankrupted in the 2008 crisis. You can read all about it here – PARA – A New Central Bank For Strategic Sale Of India.

These Money Masters doesn’t lose anything in case the situation escalates and war erupts between China and Myanmar, infact they have everything to gain from it; just like they had everything to gain from the Russian-Ukrainian conflict. Educated folks call it Balance of Power. It is through this same strategy of Balance of Power that even the India-China conflict is being orchestrated. But we don’t have to rely on war to be in debt, our policy makers are already doing a good job at it. We are already in the midst of a major crisis, be it agriculture, economy, civil society and press or defense and security. This is the direction our policy makers have set for us, and it leads directly to destruction, unless we do a major course correction.

Could such a crisis be orchestrated in India?

This is the hypothetical question we raised after Liquor baron Vijay Mallya was allowed to flee India to take refuge in London. This was not the first time a person fleeing local law in foreign countries had taken shelter in London. Since decades, high-profile foreign offenders with considerable wealth have found refuge and a safe place to park their assets and enjoy a peaceful life in Britain.

Similar is the case of Russia. Immediately after the collapse of the Soviet Union large-scale privatization of state-owned assets was implemented. From Glasnost and Perestroika (liberalization and privatization or globalization) – the tools created by the East India Company for enslavement of their colonies (known at the time as Free Trade) emerged the Oligarchs – who amassed vast wealth by acquiring state assets very cheaply (or for free) during the privatization process.

After coming to power Vladimir Putin set about on a massive purging of these oligarchs from Russia, the power struggle that continues to this day. The most famous case is that of Mikhail Khodorkovsky. In 2003, Khodorkovsky was believed to be the wealthiest man in Russia (with a fortune estimated to be worth $15 billion) who accumulated considerable wealth through obtaining control of a series of Siberian oil fields unified under the name Yukos, one of the major companies to emerge from the privatization of state assets during the 1990s. Khodorkovsky was later backed up by Henry Kissinger, George Soros and Rothschilds as a candidate to run for a Presidential election against Putin as well as for an attempted revolution.

UK has been traditionally the largest sanctuary to not just money launderers and fraudsters but foreign terrorists and extremists as well. Everybody, who is somebody in the world of terrorism, has found a rear base in the UK.

There are as many as 131 pending pleas for extradition of wanted criminals from Britain by India alone.

Below are just some of the cases of individuals wanted in India and living in Britain:

  1. Vijay Mallya (financial offences)
  2. Lalit Modi (financial offences)
  3. Ravi Shankaran (accused in the Indian Navy war room leak case)
  4. Tiger Hanif (wanted in connection with two bomb attacks in Gujarat in 1993)
  5. Nadeem Saifi (music director accused and acquitted in the Gulshan Kumar murder)
  6. Raymond Varley (accused in child abuse cases in Goa)
  7. Lord Sudhir Choudhrie (one of India’s most notorious arms-dealers and Italian consortium’s middleman in Finmeccanica helicopter scandal)
  8. Several individuals related to the Khalistan movement
  9. Several individuals related to the LTTE
  10. Several individuals related to ISIS

Even MQM leader Altaf Hussein resides in London, under the protection of the British government, which has refused Pakistani government requests for his extradition to face trial for murder.

Last year, Khodorkovsky said Open Russia (a George Soros funded organisation) would provide logistical backing to 230 candidates running from various opposition parties or on independent tickets in September from the headquarters of his Open Russia foundation in London. With rise of Indian Oligarchs increasingly finding asylum in Britain, is it a far-fetched scenario for India as well when these Indian Oligarchs would be used for inciting revolution in India or even orchestrating elections – that is in case India goes for course correction?

Even so, there is a way to avert such a scenario as well as the impending crisis.

After Putin kicked them out of Russia the same Oligarchs setup shop in India under the same tried and tested ideology of enslavement – Glasnost and Perestroika (called in India as Liberalization and Privatization) during the 90s.

It is this group of Oligarchs or Robber Barons (as they are known in the United States of America) that is still operational in India.

What our intelligence agencies should be doing instead of spying on opposition political parties and depending on foreign agencies for information and direction is to track this shadow network and dismantle its grip on India as was done in America (the process that still continues to this day).

 

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