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Friday, December 4, 2015

General Wesley Clark: ISIS Serves Interests Of US Allies Turkey And Saudi Arabia

 Image result for General Wesley Clark
"Let’s be very clear: ISIS is not just a terrorist organization; it is a Sunni terrorist organization. That means it blocks and targets Shi’a. And that means it’s serving the interests of Turkey and Saudi Arabia - even as it poses a threat to them." - Retired Gen. Wesley Clark
Former NATO Supreme Allied Commander General and retired U.S. General Wesley Clark revealed in an interview with CNN that the Islamic State (Daesh, ISIS) remains geostrategically imperative to Sunni nations, Turkey and Saudi Arabia, as they clamor for strategic power over Shi’a nations, Syria, Iraq, and Iran. He explained that “neither Turkey nor Saudi Arabia want an Iran-Iraq-Syria-Lebanon ‘bridge’ that isolates Turkey, and cuts Saudi Arabia off.”
When asked by the CNN host if Russian President Vladimir Putin’s suggestion that Turkey was “aiding ISIS” had any validity, he responded:
“All along there’s always been the idea that Turkey was supporting ISIS in some way. We know they’ve funneled people going through Turkey to ISIS. Someone’s buying that oil that ISIS is selling; it’s going through somewhere - it looks to me like it’s probably going through Turkey - but the Turks haven’t acknowledged that.”
After explaining this virtual gateway for the Islamic State’s oil, Clark was quick to emphasize that Putin’s allegations about Turkey’s support for terrorist organization, ISIS, aren’t without their own hypocrisy. Russia, of course, has been upholding President Bashar al-Assad’s administration in Syria against rebel groups backed by the U.S. — despite continuing denials by U.S. officials that that particular theater is its primary interest in the region.
He said, “Putin would like to dirty Turkey by saying it’s supporting terrorists, but the truth is that he’s supporting terrorists. I mean, the tactics used by the Assad regime have been terror tactics. They’re dropping barrel bombs on innocent civilians.”
Clark concludes the interview with a statement that encapsulates growing sentiment of many Westerners who’ve grown war-weary with such geopolitical wrangling overseas:
“There’s no good guy in this - this is a power struggle for the future of the Middle East.”

Credit to Zero Hedge

Hanukkah Foreshadows the End Times

Global Crisis: Goldman Sachs Says That Brazil Has Plunged Into ‘An Outright Depression’

Global RecessionOne of the most important banks in the western world says that the 7th largest economy on the entire planet has entered a full-blown economic depression.  Brazil’s economy has now contracted for three quarters in a row, and many analysts believe that things are going to get far worse before they have a chance to get any better.  Earlier this year, I warned about “the South American financial crisis of 2015“, and now it is in full swing.  The surging U.S. dollaris absolutely crushing emerging markets such as Brazil, and if the Fed raises interest rates this month that is going to make the pain even worse.  The global financial system is more interconnected than ever before, and the decisions made by the Federal Reserve truly do have global consequences.  So much of the “hot money” that was created by the Fed poured into emerging markets such as Brazil during the good times, but now the process is starting to reverse itself.  At this point, it is hard to see how much of South America is going to avoid a complete and total economic disaster.
It is one thing for Michael Snyder from the Economic Collapse Blog to say that the Brazilian economy has entered a “depression”, but it is another thing entirely when Goldman Sachs comes out and publicly says it.  The following comes from a Bloomberg article that was just posted entitled “Goldman Warns of Brazil Depression After GDP Plunges Again“…
Latin America’s largest economy shrank more than analysts forecast, as rising unemployment and higher inflation sapped domestic demand, pulling the nation deeper into what Goldman Sachs now calls “an outright depression.”
Gross domestic product in Brazil contracted 1.7 percent in the three months ended in September, after a revised 2.1 percentdrop the previous quarter, the national statistics institute said in Rio de Janeiro. That’s worse than all but three estimates from 44 economists surveyed by Bloomberg, whose median forecast was for a 1.2 percent decline. It also marks the first three-quarter contraction since the institute’s series began in 1996, and a seasonally adjusted annual drop of 6.7 percent.
And when you look deeper into the numbers they become even more disturbing.
Unemployment is rising, consumer spending is way down, and investment spending is absolutely collapsing.  Here is some of the data that Goldman Sachs just released that comes via Zero Hedge
Private consumption has now declined for three consecutive quarters (at an average quarterly rate of -8.5% qoq sa, annualized), and investment spending for nine consecutive quarters (at an average rate of -10.0% qoq sa, annualized). Overall, gross fixed investment declined by a cumulative 21% from 2Q2013. The declining capital stock of the economy (declining capital-labor ratio) hurts productivity growth and limits even further potential GDP. The sharp contraction of real activity during 3Q was broad-based: both on the supply and final demand side. Final domestic demand weakened sharply during 3Q2015 (-1.7% qoq sa and -6.0% yoy) with private consumption down 1.5% qoq sa (-4.5% yoy) and gross fixed investment down 4.0% qoq sa (-15.0% yoy). Finally, on the supply side, we highlight that the large labor intensive services sector retrenched again at the margin (-1.0% qoq sa; -2.9% yoy).
The term “economic depression” is not something that should be used lightly, because it conjures up images of the Great Depression of the 1930s.  And the Brazilian economy is very important to the global economic system.  As I mentioned above, there are only six countries in the entire world that have a larger economy, and Brazil accounts for more than 242 billion dollars worth of exports every year.
So if Brazil is feeling pain, it is going to affect all of us.
Up to this point, everyone had been calling what has been going on in Brazil a “recession”, but now Goldman Sachs is the first major bank to label it “an outright economic depression”
“What started as a recession driven by the adjustment needs of an economy that accumulated large macro imbalances is now mutating into an outright economic depression given the deep contraction of domestic demand,” Alberto Ramos, chief Latin America economist at Goldman Sachs Group Inc., wrote in a report Tuesday.
Of course Brazil is far from alone.  The third largest economy on the globe, Japan, has also now slipped into recession territory.  So has Russia.  And just today we learned that Canadian GDP is plunging
Who could have seen that coming? It appears, for America’s northern brethren, low oil prices are unequivocally terrible. Against expectations of a flat 0.0% unchanged September, Canadian GDP plunged 0.5% – its largest MoM drop since March 2009 and the biggest miss since Dec 2008.
It is just a matter of time before this global economic downturn catches up with us here in the U.S. too.
In fact, there is evidence that this is already happening.
According to brand new numbers that just came out, manufacturing activity in the U.S. is contracting at the fastest pace that we have seen since the last recession
Manufacturing in the U.S. unexpectedly contracted in November at the fastest pace since the last recession as elevated inventories led to cutbacks in orders and production.
The Institute for Supply Management’s index dropped to 48.6, the lowest level since June 2009, from 50.1 in October, a report from the Tempe, Arizona-based group showed Tuesday. The November figure was weaker than the most pessimistic forecast in a Bloomberg survey. Readings less than 50 indicate contraction.
Another indicator that I am watching is the velocity of money.
When an economy is healthy, money tends to flow fairly freely.  I buy something from you, and then you buy something from someone else, etc.
But when economic conditions start to get tough, people start to hold on to their money.  That means that money doesn’t change hands as quickly and the velocity of money goes down.  As you can see below, the velocity of money has declined during every single recession since 1960…
Velocity Of Money M2
When a recession ends, the velocity of money normally starts going back up.
But a funny thing happened when the last recession ended.  The velocity of money ticked up slightly, but then it started going down steadily.  In fact, it has kept on declining ever since and it has now hit a brand new all-time record low.
This is not normal.  Yes, Wall Street is temporarily flying high for the moment, but the underlying economic fundamentals are all screaming that something is horribly wrong.
A global crisis has begun, and the U.S. will not be immune from it.  I truly believe that we are heading toward the worst economic downturn that any of us have ever experienced.
But there are many out there that insist that nothing is the matter and that happy times are ahead.
So who is right and who is wrong?
We will just have to wait and see…
Credit ti Economic Collapse

"Dis-Union" Grows - Danes Vote To Protect Sovereignty, Reject Further EU Integration

To be sure, just about the last thing the EU needed was another blow to European solidarity. 
The monumental challenge of coping with the millions of refugees who have inundated the Balkans on their way to Germany has splintered the bloc and now, the debate on how best to deal with the flood of asylum seekers threatens to shatter the sacred Schengen ideal altogether. 
On Wednesday we reported that the EU has now threatened Greece with indefinite suspension from the Schengen passport-free travel zone unless it overhauls its response to the migration crisis by mid-December, as frustration mounts over Athens’ reluctance to accept outside support. At the same time, Turkey (who is now fond of starting world wars) is set to receive a €3 billion check to support Ankara’s efforts to “keep migrants in the region.” 
Well, in case the situation wasn’t fractious enough, Denmark voted against further integration on Thursday in a referendum that boasted a turnout of 72%. As WSJ reports, “voters were asked if parliament should have the power to opt-in on a total of 22 EU justice and home affairs laws, from which the small Nordic country has hitherto been exempt.” 
53% of Danes said “no”. 
“The outcome is a defeat both for the Danish government and the main opposition parties who had urged voters to back the proposal, arguing it was necessary for Denmark to combat cross-border crime and remain a member of Europol even after a planned overhaul of the intergovernmental police agency next year,” WSJ goes on to note.
“The result of the election is based on a general skepticism toward the EU,” PM Lars Loekke Rasmussen said. Rasmussen contends that deeper integration is paramount if the country wants to "fight cross-border crime." "At stake is the ability to coordinate everything from tracking cyber crime to ensuring family disputes get the same legal treatment across EU borders," Bloomberg adds
"Danes are saying yes to cooperation but no to relinquishing more sovereignty to Brussels," Kristian Thulesen-Dahl, head of the EU-skeptic, anti-immigration Danish People's Party, said on Thursday. The DPP is the big winner here and the vote effectively means the majority of Danes do not support a move to subject the country to Brussels' migrant quota system."DPP leaders have said that adopting the government plan could compel Denmark to participate in joint EU efforts to tackle the region’s migrant crisis," WSJ says. Rasmussen says that isn't the case.
Now, the PM will have to struggle to keep his country in Europol. "Rasmussen said he now would have talks with European Council President Donald Tusk and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker aimed at reaching so-called parallel agreements that would allow Denmark to continue cooperation with Europol, among others," AP says
As for the consequences of preserving the opt-out, Denmark will now be cut off from critical information given last week's changes to the role of the European police agency. Danes "won't have immediate access to Europol registers on foreign fighters in Syria, criminal motorbike gangs, etc.," Henning Soerensen, a lecturer in EU law at the University of Southern Denmark, warns. 
So there you go. No access to centralized data on "motobike gangs," which means that if the Hell's Angels decide to stage an attack on Copenhagen, Denmark will be out of luck when it comes to shared intelligence. 
The vote has wider ramifications. As WSJ goes on to suggest, "the result of the Danish vote could have implications for British Prime Minister David Cameron as he seeks to renegotiate Britain’s relationship with the EU." 
As a reminder, Brexit is one of SocGen's five black swans for 2016 and "Denmark voting against further European integration could strengthen Cameron’s negotiating hand, since he could use the Danish referendum to show the U.K. isn’t the only country with major concerns about the EU and that other European populations are weary about further integration."
So there you have it, more "dis-union" and just one more reason to believe that the EU project has entered what might fairly be described as a terminal decline. If the Denmark vote tells us anything, it's that terrorists need not waste time attacking Europe - it's going to fall apart on its own. 

Credit to Zero Hedge