Unlike the 2016 Democratic presidential candidate, Elizabeth Warren doesn’t radiate contempt, loathing, and horror at the task of mingling with the hoi polloi. Rather, she has become famous for staging lengthy sessions after campaign speeches to pose for selfies with her fans. The selfie-seekers, you will notice, are all women. It’s heartwarming as all get out. This is at the center of Senator Warren’s strategy for winning the next election: to cadge all of the women’s vote and become the President of all the women of the United States.
It’s a shrewd strategy, to turn the election into a gender-bonding contest, but elections have turned on equally fatuous premises, probably more often than not. Paradoxically, the lumbering President Trump, with his bay window belly, mystifying bouffant, fourth-grade vocabulary, and grab-them-by-the-pussy approach to romance, scored 53 percent of women’s votes last time around. Perhaps that was more a reflection of his opponent’s titanic loathsomeness than of Mr. Trump’s charms. But it only underscores Ms. Warren’s gambit: all she has to do is swing a generous majority of American women over to her side.
She is, in many ways, an exemplar of her sex. She’s made the best of her corn-fed Oklahoma looks. At 69, she capers energetically around the hustings in spanx and Nina McLemore jewel-toned, popped-collar jackets as though she were America’s yoga instructor, an appealing addition to her previous career as a distinguished Harvard law professor. She scores well on the feelings and sharing index, qualities that most men can only caricature. (Claiming to be a Cherokee was a forgivable way of sharing — sharing useful identities for career advancement.) And she has a palpable edge of anger about all the swindles and injustices in American life today, especially those spawned on Wall Street by the financial patriarchy — hey, who can argue with that one? If she has a husband (she has, Harvard law prof Bruce H. Mann) he might as well be hiding under a rock.
Ms. Warren’s big sell at this point in the campaign is Medicare for all, nationalized single-payer health care. The appeal is obvious: for one thing, other civilized countries manage to provide it for their citizens. And despite the counter-claims that “people like their health insurance,” the world has probably never seen such a pitiless, odious racket as the current system in the USA. Ask the schnooks forced to take their kids to the emergency room who end up stuck with bills for $6000 for a few stitches. Ms. Warren proposes something that would turn medicine into something more like the motor vehicle bureau with doctors — if you could find any doctors who would willingly sign on, which I doubt. And, of course, because it evokes such strong feelings of maternal sympathy, Ms. Warren also avidly raised her hand to support free health care for illegal immigrants, too, as a companion piece to the Democrats’ open borders policy.
Ms. Warren might win the nomination and even the election just on that portfolio of qualities, especially if the economy goes in the tank under the Golden Golem of Greatness, where it is apparently headed as I write, if you look at dismal car sales and the stats on plummeting world trade. There’s more than a year before the election for that scene to worsen. In the event, though, President Warren would be stuck on-the-job in a second Great Depression much worse than the one of the 1930s.
I doubt she could FDR her way through it. America back then still had plenty of everything except cash money. Lots of oil, ores, factories, and well-regimented workers. Now we’re officially $22 trillion in debt. The remaining oil costs so much to get out of the ground it’s bankrupting the oil companies. The ores are gone. The factories stand in ruin. And the workforce has degenerated into various mobs demanding something for nothing. The coming disposition of things will be less a depression than a long emergency of permanent contraction, and even Ms. Warren’s zesty grandmotherly charms may not avail to preserve the civil order under those conditions.
The picture I draw is admittedly severe, but what troubles me as much is the prospect of a civil war between the sexes. Things are already bad enough, as witnessed this week by the latest campaign by The New York Times to take down Judge Kavanaugh in the sensationally mendacious reporting by Robin Pogrebin and Kate Kelly. The educated class of American women is earning a reputation for dishonesty and wickedness every bit as bad as the patriarchy they inveigh against. And believe it or not, men are still out there, even some heroic ones, and they won’t stand for this nonsense forever.
Submitted by Ronan Manly, BullionStar.com
Just when you think it couldn't get any more embarrassing for JP Morgan's precious metals business and its embattled head, Michael Nowak, it just did today as the powerful London Bullion Market Association (LBMA) moved to oust Nowak, who has become too toxic, from the LBMA's board of directors.
According to the Financial Times:
"The London Bullion Market Association has removed Michael Nowak, JPMorgan’s head of precious metals trading, from its board after he was indicted by the US Department of Justice for a “massive, multiyear scheme” to manipulate the precious metals markets.
“In light of the ongoing investigation by the Department of Justice, the LBMA, under the terms of its Articles of Association, has removed Mr Nowak from its board,” the LBMA said.
The DoJ indictment is an embarrassment for the LBMA, which represents London’s precious metals market, and launched a code of conduct for its members in 2017.
Mr Nowak's name was no longer listed on the LBMA's website as of Friday."
Toxic Board Member - Widespread Spoofing
As background, JP Morgan managing director and head of precious metals trading Nowak become too toxic to retain his seat on the LBMA Board from at least last Monday, when DoJ charged and unsealed an indictment against Nowak, JP Morgan precious metals trader Gregg Smith, and former JP Morgan precious metals trader Christopher Jordan for:
“alleged participation in a racketeering conspiracy and other federal crimes in connection with the manipulation of the markets for precious metals futures contracts, which spanned over eight years and involved thousands of unlawful trading sequences.”
In the words of the DoJ indictment, the three and and their co-conspirators allegedly engaged in:
"a massive, multiyear scheme to manipulate the market for precious metals futures contracts and defraud market participants”
"widespread spoofing, market manipulation and fraud while working on the precious metals desk” at JP Morgan “through the placement of orders they intended to cancel before execution (Deceptive Orders) in an effort to create liquidity and drive prices toward orders they wanted to execute on the opposite side of the market.
In thousands of sequences, the defendants and their co-conspirators allegedly placed Deceptive Orders for gold, silver, platinum and palladium futures contracts traded on the New York Mercantile Exchange Inc. (NYMEX) and Commodity Exchange Inc. (COMEX), which are commodities exchanges operated by CME Group Inc.”
In its charges, the DoJ used the severe Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO Act), charging each of Nowak, Jordan and Smith with one count of conspiracy under the RICO Act.
The background and details to the DoJ charges were explained in a BullionStar article on Tuesday titled "LBMA Board Member & JP Morgan Managing Director Charged with Rigging Precious Metals", which also broken the news that Nowak was a board member of the powerful London Bullion Market Association (LBMA), an Association which is dominated by bullion banks such as JP Morgan, and an Association which is in the self-proclaimed words of the LBMA is the "the world’s authority on precious metals".
Promoting a Fair, Effective and Transparent market
All through this week, Nowak's continued role as a board member of the LBMA seemed strange in light of the DoJ charges, and stranger still that the LBMA claims that its Global Precious Metals Code that the Code:
"promotes a fair effective and transparent market. It provides market participants with Principles and Guidance to uphold high standards of business conduct. All of this creates confidence in the market for all participants"
More specifically, the LBMA's Global Precious Metals Code states that:
"Market Participants should not engage in trading strategies or quote prices with the intent of hindering market functioning or compromising market integrity."
"Such strategies also include collusive and/or manipulative practices, including but not limited to those in which a trader enters a bid or offer with the intent to cancel before execution (sometimes referred to as “spoofing”, “flashing” or “layering”) and other practices that create a false sense of market price, depth or liquidity."
On Tuesday, we therefore wondered:
"how does the LBMA explain that one of its Board of Directors has been charged in US Federal Courts of these very practices, using the RICO Act, an act that was created to take down mafia mobsters?"
while also asking:
"Will the LBMA remove Nowak from its Board of Directors? Will the LBMA reprimand or expel JP Morgan from its membership list?
LBMA in discussions with JP Morgan
As the week progressed and the world's financial media continued to cover the story, there was still no word out of the LBMA as to how it would react, if at all to the Michael Nowak story. This then promoted the Financial Times on Friday morning to ask the LBMA what it intended to do about the indictment of Nowak, one of its board members, to which the LBMA responded that it was merely in 'discussions' with JP Morgan.
According to the FT's early story:
The London Bullion Market Association is in “discussions” with JP Morgan after its board member was indicted by the US Department of Justice for a “massive, multiyear scheme” to manipulate the precious metals markets.
The LBMA said that it had not made any decision to remove Michael Nowak, JP Morgan's head of precious metals, from its board. "We are still in discussions with JP Morgan," Aelred Connelly, a spokesmas for the LBMA, said.
The DoJ indictment is an embarrassment for the LBMA, which represents London’s precious metals market, and launched a code of conduct for its members in 2017. JP Morgan, along with HSBC, dominates gold trading in London, and is one of the most powerful members of the LBMA.
"People are shocked that an LBMA board member is at the centre of the DoJs case, and in disbelief that Nowak is still, according to the LBMA website, listed as a LBMA board member," Ronan Manly, a precious metals analyst at BullionStar in Singapore, said.
"The LBMA board sits above the entire LBMA governance structure, so even though the DoJ case is allegation at this stage, it taints the LBMA.”
Nowak's Bio removed from LBMA website
What exactly went down in the 'discussions' between LBMA and JP Morgan today is not clear, but within a few hours after the Financial Times' initial story, the LBMA released a statement to the FT saying that:
“In light of the ongoing investigation by the Department of Justice, the LBMA, under the terms of its Articles of Association, has removed Mr Nowak from its board.”
At the same time the LBMA quietly removed Michael Nowak's bio from its board of directors page. The previous version of the LBMA Board members page, including Nowak, can be seen here. The new updated version where all references to Nowak have been removed, can be seen here.
Now that the LBMA has made its move, can the London Metal Exchange (LME) be far behind? For the same Michael Nowak, who is head of both base metals and precious metals trading at JP Morgan, is also on the LME 'User Committee' as can be seen on the LME website here, and in case the page changes, a Wayback Machine archive from today can be seen here.
All that remains for now is for Michael Nowak's defense lawyer, David Meister of law firm Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, the same Meister who was former Director of Enforcement for the CFTC from November 2010 to October 2013 under then chairman Gary Gensler, to show how he is going to get Nowak off the hook on this one.
While he's at it, Meister needs to also explain how there is not a conflict of interest in representing Nowak, when the CFTC closed down an investigation into the manipulation of the silver markets in October 2013, an investigation that had been running since September 2018, saying that there was:
"not a viable basis to bring an enforcement action with respect to any firm or its employees related to our investigation of silver markets."
And finally, does David Meister sleep soundly at night representing an alleged criminal enterprise of market manipulation at Jp Morgan, knwoing that in July 2013, Meister stated in another CFTC enforcement case that:
“While forms of algorithmic trading are of course lawful, using a computer program that is written to spoof the market is illegal and will not be tolerated. We will use the Dodd Frank anti-disruptive practices provision against schemes like this one to protect market participants and promote market integrity, particularly in the growing world of electronic trading platforms.”
Yemen's Houthis have announced at the end of a dramatic week following the early Saturday aerial attacks on two Saudi Aramco facilities which knocked out up to half of the kingdom's daily oil production their intent to cease targeting Saudi territories.
Pro-Houthi Al Masirah TV announced the news Friday, citing president of the rebels’ ruling council Mahdi al-Mashat, who said the group "will halt all attacks on Saudi territories with ballistic missiles and drones," as translated by Bloomberg.
However, the statement said it was conditioned on the Saudi coalition halting its own devastating airstrikes over Yemen as well, which have been a constant since Yemen's civil war brought Saudi military intervention in 2015. Houthi forces have "the right to respond to any aggression" the statement added.
Both Washington and Riyadh have long accused the Houthis of being the long arm of Tehran, given the Shia forces are ideologically aligned with the Islamic Republic.
Meanwhile on Friday Iran itself vowed to keep up its own 'counter-pressure campaign' against US threats "from the Mediterranean to the Red Sea and to the Indian Ocean."
“If the Americans think of any plots, the Iranian nation will respond from the Mediterranean to the Red Sea and to the Indian Ocean,” a senior military adviser to Iran’s Supreme Leader, Major General Yahya Rahim Safavi, said.
And separately a former chief commander of the Revolutionary Guards, Rahim-Safavi, echoed the threat: “The U.S. president (Donald Trump) will face the same fate as the six presidents before him who failed to impose their political will on the Iranian nation, and Trump will join history with the same yearning,” according to Reuters.
Both sides have expressed a desire to avoid war, yet this week Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif promised "all-out war" would result in any US or Saudi attack on Iran.
But the Houthis' apparent attempt to offer an olive branch Friday in the form of announcing a halt to all attacks on Saudi soil could be a sign the nearly half-decade long war is possibly in the beginning phases of winding down.
Perhaps Tehran brought its own pressure to bear on its alleged proxies following the devastating Aramco attacks, which clearly did its work in sending a forceful message.
Multiple cities in Illinois are forced to cut police, fire departments and other city services to fund pension plans.
Illinois does not allow cities to file for bankruptcy but that is the best word to describe many of them. East St. Louis is the latest.
What Follows is a Guest Post from Wirepoints
My comments at the end.
Wirepoint reports Third domino falls: Illinois Comptroller set to confiscate East St. Louis revenues to pay for city’s firefighter pensions.
On Tuesday, the East St. Louis’ firefighter pension fund demanded that Illinois Comptroller Susana Mendoza intercept more than $2.2 million of East St. Louis city revenues so they could be diverted to the pension fund.
The fund trustees said the city shorted firefighter pensions by $880,000 in 2017 and another $1.3 million in 2018. Under a 2011 pension law, the state comptroller gained the powers to intercept city revenues on behalf of police and fire pension funds shorted by their municipalities.
Back when Harvey was first intercepted last year, Wirepoints reported that comptroller confiscations could wreak havoc on hundreds of Illinois communities, potentially creating a domino effect. Hundreds of Illinois’ 650 pension funds have not received their statutorily required contributions from their respective cities in recent years, meaning the intercept law could go into wide usage under a broader crisis scenario. In the most recent analysis of Illinois Department of Revenue data, nearly half of the 650 funds were not properly funded in 2017 (see details below).
That domino effect could be exacerbated given that municipalities have virtually no control over their own pension funds. State law sets all the rules and pensions are protected by the Illinois Constitution, meaning that in a market downturn, the pension funds may have little choice but to demand more intercepts.
The East St. Louis firefighter fund has certified to the comptroller that the municipality didn’t fully pay its required contributions to the pension fund in 2017 and 2018. Now the Comptroller has 60 days to decide whether that’s correct. After that, it can begin confiscating East St. Louis revenues. The request by the lawyers of the firefighter fund can be found here.
The intercept law was first utilized in 2018, when Harvey, Illinois, revenues were garnished to pay the city’s police and firefighter pension funds.
That intercept of nearly $3.3 million led to the layoff of 40 public safety workers so the city could avoid insolvency. The city found it couldn’t simultaneously pay for both current workers and pensioners. The city and the pension plans eventually reached a deal that relieved some of the pressure on the city.
The East St. Louis intercept
East St. Louis is no stranger to fiscal crises, but the intercept is bound to cause the city a new level of pain. The Comptroller can confiscate revenues that come from the state and an overwhelming share of the city’s general budget comes from the state.
If the full $2.2 million is intercepted, the city would end up losing the equivalent of 10 percent of its budget (the city’s 2018 general budget equaled $18 million). And what’s worse, the city’s 2019 budget is already facing millions in deficits.
East St. Louis’ fire and police pensions are some of the worst funded in the state, with funded ratios of just 31% and 9%, respectively. In total, the city has a shortfall of more than $104 million in its public safety pension plans, according to Illinois’ Department of Insurance. That’s more than $9,700 per household in a community where 43 percent of people live below the poverty line.
And with just $6.1 million in assets and annual payouts to beneficiaries totaling $3.7 million, the city’s fire fund has the equivalent of only two years of payouts in its accounts today.
Another day, another domino
Cities like Harvey, North Chicago and now East St. Louis are the vanguard of a much wider problem faced by municipalities across Illinois.
The most recent numbers show that 301 of Illinois’ 651 public safety pension funds, or 46 percent, were shorted their full payments in 2017, according to the actuarial standards published by the Illinois Department of Insurance.
Illinois cities – from Kankakee to Danville to Alton – need pension fixes before costs bankrupt them. And while state politicians have effectively quashed any chance for reforms now, that shouldn’t stop city officials from demanding real changes.
Municipal leaders across Illinois need to demand the following if they want their cities to survive Illinois’ collective crisis:
An amendment to the constitution’s pension protection clause so pensions can be reformed and workers’ retirement security saved;
The ability to convert pensions to defined contribution plans for workers going forward;
A freeze on retirees’ cost-of-living adjustments (while protecting small pensioners) until pension plans return to health;
Public sector collective bargaining reforms so officials can hold the line on new labor contracts, and;
And the possibility of a fresh start through the ability to invoke municipal bankruptcy.
The troubles brewing in Illinois are all happening during one of the longest economic expansions ever. When the economy and the stock markets inevitably correct, things will only get worse.
Without the above reforms, East St. Louis, North Chicago and Harvey might only be the first in a long list of collapsing cities.
What Illinois needs most is point 5, bankruptcy reform.
Points 1-4 can only happen if 5 is addressed. There will be no bargaining until unions face the threat of court bankruptcy decisions.
Under current law, states have the right to allow bankruptcies or not, but once they do, bankruptcies proceed through Federal, not state, bankruptcy courts.
One of my major pet peeves with the Trump administration is that it failed to reform bankruptcy laws at the national level.
Trump had two years to address this issue and did nothing. Why Rand Paul failed to introduce legislation is also a mystery.
Corrupt Illinois, in deference to public unions, refuses to act.
The citizens of East St. Louis, North Chicago, Harvey, Danville, Rockford etc are at the mercy of state funding laws even to the point of the state confiscating city funds needed to provide adequate police and fire protection for cities.
Eventually, an Illinois city will be forced to fire its entire police or firefighter force to fund pensions.
We don't have long to wait.
East St. Louis has only two year's cash left in which to pay firefighters.
I expect a case will then make it to the Supreme Court and hopefully we will have a national resolution.
France's foreign minister has indicated the country has dismissed former US National Security Agency contractor and leaker Edward Snowden's asylum request because “it is not the time”.
Snowden called on French President and former Rothschild banker Emmanuel Macron to grant him political asylum from the United States, after he's been living in Russia since the 2013 bombshell leaks were released, having first fled from Hong Kong.
"He asked for asylum in France, but also elsewhere, in 2013. At that time, France thought that it was not appropriate, I do not see anything that has changed Thursday, either from a political or a legal point of view," French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian told French TV station CNews on Thursday.
Paris is skittish over the whole issue due to US pressure and what such a move would do to its close relationship with Washington.
The whistleblower, who this week published his memoir, has escaped US prosecution as a guest of Putin's Russia. He previously said he would "love to see" Macron allow him to live in France. Snowden made a first asylum appeal to France in 2013, which was rejected, and another last week.
“I am not asking for a parade. I’m not asking for a pardon,” he said in a recent interview. “What I’m asking for is a fair trial.”
Speaking with France's Inter radio on Monday as part of a press junket to promote his new memoir, the former NSA contractor said "Protecting whistleblowers is not a hostile act," adding "Welcoming someone like me is not an attack on the United States."
"I would like to return to the United States. That is the ultimate goal. But if I'm gonna spend the rest of my life in prison, the one bottom line demand that we have to agree to is that at least I get a fair trial. And that is the one thing the government has refused to guarantee because they won't provide access to what's called a public interest defense," Snowden told CBS This Morning.
No doubt Snowden has to be dismayed over prospects of leaving Russia given Julian Assange's treatment, who is currently held in reported solitary confinement, often cut off from his own defense lawyers and from regular mail, awaiting a US extradition trial in UK court.
WASHINGTON/RIYADH – Saudi Arabia, along with Israel, is the main U.S.’ ally in the Middle East. It’s the main customer of American weapons, too. It spent almost $3.5 billion on them in 2018. Still, the country has nothing to show for it. It didn’t help Saudi Arabia when there was an attack on their oil-processing […]
The post Saudis in a Void; Trump Backtracks Earlier Claims the US Would Protect Saudi Arabia (VIDEO) appeared first on Fort Russ.
Saudis in a Void; Trump Backtracks Earlier Claims the US Would Protect Saudi Arabia (VIDEO) - Fort Russ
WASHINGTON/RIYADH - Saudi Arabia, along with Israel, is the main U.S.' ally in the Middle East. It's the main customer of American weapons, too. It spent almost $3.5 billion on them in 2018. Still, the country has nothing to show for it. It didn't help Saudi Arabia when there was an attack on their
Authored by Megan Brenan of Gallup
Americans' confidence in the economy has become less rosy this month as Gallup's Economic Confidence Index fell to +17 from August's +24 reading, marking the lowest level since the government shutdown ended in January.
At the same time, the public is evenly divided over the likelihood of a recession in the next year. The current expectation of a recession is nine points higher than it was in October 2007, just two months before the Great Recession began but slightly below a February 2001 reading, one month before that eight-month-long recession.
Economic Confidence Index Lowest Since January
The latest Economic Confidence Index results are from a Sept. 3-15 Gallup poll. As the poll was being conducted, the stock market was less tumultuous than earlier in the summer, but the August unemployment numbers showed that fewer new jobs were created than expected, concerns about the trade war with China continued and the global economy showed signs of slowing. As has been the case for months, economists continue to express concern about the possibility of a recession in the near future. The latest interest rate cut by the Federal Reserve was announced after the poll was completed.
Gallup's Economic Confidence Index is the average of two components: Americans' ratings of current economic conditions and their views of whether the economy is getting better or getting worse. The index has a theoretical maximum of +100, if all Americans believe the economy is excellent or good and getting better. The theoretical minimum is -100, achieved if all Americans say the economy is poor and getting worse.
Although Americans' confidence in the economy has faltered this month, it remains far more positive than in the 2007-2009 recession years, when confidence bottomed out at -72 in October 2008. Still, the current +17 is well below the historic high of +56 in January 2000.
Looking at the individual components of the index, 48% of Americans currently think the economy is getting worse while 46% think it is getting better. Until this month, readings had been positive on balance since January for this measure and have been so for most of the Donald Trump administration.
Americans' rating of the nation's current economic conditions is the other factor comprising the Economic Confidence Index. The latest readings, though slightly less positive than the past few months, roughly match those of April and January. Currently, 15% of Americans rate economic conditions as "excellent," 35% "good," 36% "only fair" and 14% "poor."
Public Is Divided About Recession Coming Within the Year
Recent surveys of economists and CEOs have found that most of them are predicting a recession in the U.S. by 2021. Economists point to the uncertainty about U.S. trade with China, the inverted yield curve and faltering global economies as signs that a recession is nearing. Yet, the public is divided over a possible recession in the near future. Half of Americans say it is "not too" (32%) or "not at all" likely (18%) and a roughly equal share say it is "very" (15%) or "fairly" (34%) likely.
Gallup has not asked this question on a regular basis but has done so when a recession seemed possible. The last reading, in October 2007, showed a more optimistic public than the current reading shows. At that time, 57% said a recession was not likely and 40% said it was. Two months later, the country was in the Great Recession of 2007-2009.
Gallup also asked Americans to predict whether a recession was in the offing in 2001 when the dot-com bubble was bursting, and at that time 53% said it was likely. The question was also asked in 1990 when the country was already in a recession and between 72% and 84% of Americans said a recession was already happening or likely to be coming soon.
Differing Views on the Economy by Political Party and Income Level
Republicans' assessments of the economy and their forecast for the near future are far more positive than Democrats' (and to a lesser extent independents'). Republicans are nearly three times as likely as Democrats to rate current economic conditions positively, more than four times as likely to say the economy is getting better, and more than three times less likely to think a recession is coming within the year
Like Democrats, Americans in households earning less than $40,000 hold much more negative views than those in higher income groups of current economic conditions, the outlook for the future and the likelihood of a recession.
While some economic indicators remain strong, many economists are sounding the alarm that a recession is coming in the near future. This latest polling finds that not all Americans are taking that warning to heart. Republicans hold starkly different views from Democrats which is not unusual in that those who identify with the party in the White House are typically more positive than others about the nation's economy. Yet in 2008-2010, this was not the case as economic conditions were so bad that even partisans who identified with the president did not rate the economy positively. A recession could seriously cripple President Trump's chances for re-election.
Much of the attention concerning the crippling damage to Saudi Aramco facilities struck in last week's aerial attack ultimately blamed on "Iranian sponsorship" by US and Saudi officials has focused on Abqaiq processing plant, but on Friday the first on the ground images from the kingdom's giant Khurais oil field — the country's second largest — have been revealed, showing scorched infrastructure, ruptured pipelines, and "a mess of oil melted to asphalt, twisted and charred metal grates" according to an on site Bloomberg report.
And yet Aramco has remained insistent that the field will return to pre-attack output levels this month, after the company reported losing half its daily output in the aftermath of the early Saturday attacks, impacting a whopping 5% of total global supply.
Per Bloomberg, Khurais has a capacity of 1.45 million barrels a day, processing all oil on site; however the attack took out four 300-foot towers essential to the production process.
Like at the Abqaiq processing plant nearer the coast, the strikes — whether by drones or ballistic missiles (debris showed by the Saudi Defense Ministry this week featured both) — appeared remarkably precise.
The Saudis have counted a total of twenty-five drones and missiles used in the twin attacks, after statements by Yemen's Houthi rebels claimed ten drones were used.
CNBC: RT @CNBCi: Abqaiq, the world’s largest oil facility, was attacked in 18 different locations on Saturday, CNBC's @_HadleyGamble is on the ground at Saudi Aramco's facilities. https://t.co/vcgOhkE03m pic.twitter.com/qEJd6QZOtz— Paul M Smith BA Hons (@paulmsmith1975) September 20, 2019
Bloomberg reports of the recovery progress at Khurais:
The Khurais field and processing plant resumed 30% of production within 24 hours of the strike and will produce 1.2 million barrels a day by the end of September, Fahad Al Abdulkareem, general manager for Aramco’s southern area oil operations, said at a briefing on Friday. Workers are at the site 24 hours a day to speed the repairs, according to the company.
The precision nature of the strikes, which Washington has claimed can only point to Iranian involvement given the level of sophistication needed to conduct such an operation, is even more evident at the Abqaiq facility.
Given the sheer distance the drones would have to travel, whether from Yemen or possibly Iran, combined with 18 precision strikes on the 70-year old but state of the art Abqaiq facility, a number of analysts are questioning whether the operation had inside the kingdom help.
Bill Blain of Shard Capital is one of them, who notes "a number of my sources suggest things look increasingly questionable in the desert kingdom."
Looking at the photos of the Houthi drone strikes, the damage and the holes made in the gas tanks look suspiciously regular and well placed. MBS’s shakedown of his royal cousins and the nation’s business leaders stands alongside rising revulsion at his own spending. As defacto absolute ruler he feels above question, but domestic tensions are rising. More than a few analysts suspect the Houthis may have had inside assistance for a growing Saudi domestic insurgency.
"Trump and Kushner are going to struggle with that one.." he concluded.
Indeed, considering the kingdom's historically restive Shia community in the eastern part of the country would also avail itself to help any operation intent on striking sensitive state facilities, the possibilities are endless.
Home improvement stores like Home Depot and Lowe's have become partners in Big Brother's ever expanding public surveillance program.
Home Depot's "You Can Do It. We Can Help" slogan should really say, "We Can Do It. We Can Help Big Brother." And Lowe's "Do It Right For Less. Start At Lowe's" slogan should say, "Doing It Right And Identifying Every Customer, Starts At Lowe's."
According to the Cook County Record, two recent class action lawsuits accuse Home Depot and Lowe's of secretly using facial recognition to identify customers as soon as they enter their stores.
On Sept. 4, 2019, a group of plaintiffs simultaneously filed virtually identical class action complaints in Cook County Circuit Court in Chicago against Lowe’s and in federal court in Atlanta against Home Depot, accusing the retailers of violating the Illinois state law by “surreptitiously” scanning customers’ faces as they moved about the chains’ stores.
According to the Lowe's lawsuit, home improvement stores are secretly using facial recognition to identify everyone.
“Lowe’s has augmented its in-store security cameras with software that tracks individuals’ movements throughout the store using a unique scan of face geometry. Put simply, Defendants surreptitiously attempt to collect the faceprint of every person who appears in front of one of their facial-recognition cameras.” (To find out more about Home Depot tracking customers, click here.)
The Home Depot and the Lowe's cases claim that they have failed to inform customers that their biometric data is being collected, and did not obtain written consent for doing so. Home Depot and Lowe's have also neglected to post a publicly available retention schedule detailing when the data will be destroyed.
According to the Lowe's class action, "defendants actively conceal their faceprinting practices from the public."
The class action also claims that Lowe's has been secretly using facial recognition for over 11 years. There is no mention of how long Home Depot has been using facial recognition.
Have private corporations secretly turned America into China? Since when did it become OK for private corporations to secretly surveil the public?
But that is not the end of this privacy nightmare. Things get worse, and I mean a lot worse.
Can you imagine two competing corporations sharing millions of facial recognition photos and descriptions of customers?
Well imagine no more, because it is happening right now.
The class actions claim that Home Depot and Lowe’s have shared facial recognition pictures of its customers with other stores.
"Framed as a loss-prevention measure, these systems allow stores to follow customers, to identify particular individuals when they enter the store and, in some cases, to track shoppers across multiple stores and identify “suspicious” shopping activity."
Welcome to China, sorry I meant America: where everyone is treated like a potential criminal.
The plaintiffs seek to expand the case to include an additional class of perhaps “hundreds of thousands, if not millions” of additional plaintiffs; potentially including everyone who entered a Home Depot or Lowe's store with the facial recognition surveillance program in place.
Think about what this means: both Home Depot and Lowe's have secretly collected millions of customers faces and are sharing them with other stores, regardless of whether or not they have committed a crime.
Corporations and Big Brother do not care about our privacy, in fact the opposite is true. Corporations want to monetize our privacy and Big Brother wants to use it to track everyone.
By everyone, I mean your kids, family, friends, co-workers, and even your pets are all affected by facial recognition.
Stopping facial recognition should be everyone's goal unless you like being treated as a potential criminal everywhere you go.
MOSCOW – The new technological image of civilization – smartphones and supercomputers – would not have appeared without the atomic bomb. The president of the Kurchatov Institute Mikhail Kovalchuk spoke today about this connection, which is quite unexpected at first glance. From the archives of the Foreign Intelligence Service, previously classified documents on developments that […]
Secret Papers Reveal Russian Hero Scientists Who Prevented America's Insane Plan to Drop 300 Nuclear Bombs on USSR After WW2 (VIDEOS) - Fort Russ
MOSCOW - The new technological image of civilization - smartphones and supercomputers - would not have appeared without the atomic bomb. The president of the Kurchatov Institute Mikhail Kovalchuk spoke today about this connection, which is quite unexpected at first glance. From the archives of the F
Update: This is the catalyst: Montana Farm Bureau says the Chinese delegation has cancelled its US farm visit to Montana, and agriculture officials are returning to China sooner than expected.
Sending the odds of a trade deal reeling...
* * *
Well that escalated quickly...S&P crashed back below 3,000
All major indices erasing all the post-FOMC gains...
Hog futures limit down...
And copper clubbed
The 2Y Yield also tumbled...
...while Gold futures popped to their highs of the day, around 1520.
With sentiment on a US-China trade deal turning decidedly more optimistic in recent weeks, with Goldman's proprietary trade deal odds indicator jumping as high as 40% most recently after tumbling to the single digits last month...
... moments ago Trump poured cold water on expectations for a deal announcement next month when senior Chinese and US officials meet, he doesn’t want to make a partial trade deal with China, that just agricultural purchases won't be enough, and that voters won’t punish him for the ongoing trade war during the 2020 presidential election.
"I am not looking for a partial deal. I am looking for a complete deal," Trump said around noon at the White House during a joint news conference with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, adding that it would not be enough for China to buy more agricultural products, with Trump instead holding out for a comprehensive deal.
One reason why hopes for a deal rose in recent weeks is because Trump administration officials reportedly discussed offering a partial, or "interim" trade deal to China that would delay and even roll back some U.S. tariffs in exchange for Chinese commitments on intellectual property and agricultural purchases. However, in light of today's Trump statement, which perhaps was predicted by the S&P being once again above 3,000, this appears to no longer be the case.
The US president also explained that contrary to Wall Street and pundit expectations - such as those from JPMorgan's Marko Kolanovic - he is in no rush to get a trade deal before the 2020 election, adding that he has an "amazing" relationship with Chinese President Xi Jinping but that right now they’re having "a little spat."
"I think the voters understand that," Trump said. "I don’t think it has any impact on the election" even though he conceded that it would probably be "positive" for his re-election prospects if the two countries reached a deal.
U.S. and Chinese officials held discussions in Washington this week with the aim of setting up high-level talks in early October. Trump has touted the resumption of negotiations, and last week delayed a planned tariff increase scheduled for Oct. 1 on $250 billion in Chinese goods as “a gesture of good will.”
And now that Trump has once again called China's bluff, we wait to see how Beijing will respond with Trump pulling the rug from under the trade deal.
19 septembre 2019 – Après un temps assez long d’attente, l’escorte du porte-avions USS Henry S. Truman, formant avec ce navire un Groupe de porte-avions d’attaque (Carrier Strike Group), a finalement appareillé de Norfolk le 12 septembre sans son porte-avions, et rebaptisé pour l’occasion Groupe de surface d’attaque (Surface Strike Group). Le porte-avions, revenu à la grande base navale US sur l’Atlantique de Norfolk le 5 août pour préparer cette nouvelle mission, a rencontré des problèmes sérieux dans son circuit électrique, qui fait qu’il n’est pas opérationnel comme il aurait dû l’être dans ces circonstances tout à fait exceptionnelles de capacités d’emploi puisqu’il s'agit de son troisième déploiement opérationnel en quatre ans.
L’US Navy annonçait fièrement la chose il y a deux mois, selon les termes rapportés par Military.com le 4 juillet 2019, jour de la fête nationale :
« L'exercice en cours permettra de s'assurer que ces navires, – les destroyers USS Ramage et USS Lassen, – sont certifiés pour être déployés avec le Truman et prêts pour les missions que la Navy a prévues pour eux.
» “Cet exercice mettra à l'épreuve notre force intégrée en tant que force multimissions”, a déclaré le contre-amiral Andrew J. Loiselle, commandant du Truman Strike Group. “Les manœuvres complexes de la période d’entraînement sont l’occasion de travailler en équipe, à la fois dans notre capacité à supporter des périodes prolongées en mer et à trouver des domaines où nous pouvons nous améliorer.
» La Navy n’a pas dit publiquement quand le Truman sera déployé, où il ira et combien de temps durera son déploiement. »
... La dernière phrase qui laissait entendre à quelque exaltante expérience l’on allait assister, rend désormais un son malheureux quand l’on apprend que les USS Ramage et USS Lassen, ainsi que deux autres navires de surface de renfort, sont partis sans l’essentiel, c’est-à-dire le USS Harry S. Truman. Ils étaient lassés d’attendre que le circuit électrique du grand porte-avions d’attaque soit effectivement réparé, s’il l’est finalement à temps...Cela est résumé par le site TheDrive.com le 13 septembre 2019, à la suite d’une nouvelle de l’immobilisation du Truman publiée par le site USNI News le 12 septembre.
« Un croiseur de classe Ticonderoga et trois destroyers de classe Arleigh Burke affectés au Truman Carrier Strike Group ont quitté les ports de la côte Est des États-Unis pour un déploiement prévu, mais sans deux éléments clés, le porte-avions de classe Nimitz USS Harry S. Truman et sa force aérienne embarquée.
» Le porte-avions a été mis sur la touche depuis qu'il a subi un dysfonctionnement électrique le mois dernier et l'U.S. Navy ne sait pas encore, ni quand ni s’il pourra rejoindre son escorte. Cette situation a également ajouté à la pénurie actuelle de porte-avions déployables sur la côte Est, ce qui pourrait limiter la capacité du service à réagir en cas de crise. »
Cette triste aventure du USS Harry S. Truman est rapidement présenté par Spoutnik-français du 18 septembre, autour d’une idée-centrale : c’est la première fois qu’un tel incident arrive pour un grand porte-avions d’attaque de l’U.S. Navy. Alors que, depuis le début août, le Truman attendait impatiemment son “‘escorte” de frégates et de croiseurs pour constituer son Groupe d’Attaque, voilà que l’“escorte” du grand porte-avions part sans lui et qu’on ignore s’il sera réparé suffisamment à temps pour “rejoindre son escorte”, celle qui est censée le protéger ! La situation est présentée sur un ton flegmatique, ce qui colore d’un certain ridicule d’un poids de 90 000 tonnes (celui du Truman) cette étrange “première” : “le fait qu’un groupe de porte d’avions d’attaque soit déployé opérationnellement sans porte-avions” est une véritable “première”, un simulacre naval sans précédent, – d’autant que la Navy, habile, a permis en rebaptisant le groupe “Surface Strike Group” d’entretenir le doute : après tout, le Truman, qui est également un bâtiment “de surface”, s’y trouverait peut-être, devenu stealthy et donc bien caché et diablement bien protégé par son “escorte”.
« ...“La réparation du porte-avions est en cours, tout est mis en œuvre pour le renvoyer en service”, a déclaré le commandement de l'US Navy.
» Comme l’ont indiqué à USNI News d’anciens militaires de l’US Navy, le fait qu’un Groupe de porte-avions d’attaque soit déployé opérationnellement sans porte-avions est sans précédent. »
Nous en sommes là de cette odyssée étrange du Harry S. Truman alors qu’il faut savoir, pour bien en embrasser tout le charme, que lorsque son déploiement (le troisième de cette envergue en quatre ans) fut annoncé, nombre de commentaires soupçonneux sinon purement et simplement amers furent publiés. Il y a celui-ci, de Chris “Ox” Harmer, de War Zone, le 18 juillet 2019, qui soupçonnait que cette décision servait essentiellement à dissimuler une faiblesse de l’US Navy, celle du USS Dwight D. Eisenhower, ce qui a eu pour conséquence d’en mettre à jour une autre, celle du Truman... Ainsi parlait l’amer Harmer :
« “Une armée marche avec son estomac”. Ce truisme de la mobilité militaire de l’époque préindustrielle a été attribué à Napoléon Buonaparte et à Frédéric le Grand. Personne n'est sûr si l'un ou l'autre l'a vraiment dit, mais tous deux ont certainement expérimenté la réalité de la maxime. En leur temps, non seulement les vastes armées de l'époque se déplaçaient à pied sur le champ de bataille, mais elles se déplaçaient à pied sur le champ de bataille. Il n'était pas rare que les fantassins marchassent des centaines de kilomètres entre les grandes batailles, et toute cette marche signifiait que les soldats devaient être bien nourris. S'ils ne l'étaient pas, ils mouraient de faim, de maladie ou étaient trop faibles pour combattre efficacement et étaient massacrés, ce qui arriva exactement à la Grande Armée de Napoléon à la suite de son invasion de la Russie avec des ressources insuffisantes.
» J'ai lu récemment que le porte-avions USS Harry S. Truman (CVN-75) de la marine américaine allait partir pour son troisième déploiement en seulement quatre ans, ce qui m'a rappelé ce dicton lapidaire. Bien que la Navy insiste sur le fait que le déploiement avait été planifié à l'avance, le fait qu'il ait été annoncé peu après que l'USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN-69) eut terminé une période de maintenance de 18 mois qui devait initialement durer six mois a suscité des spéculations selon lesquelles la Navy avait déployé le Truman pour dissimuler le fait que l’Eisenhower ne pouvait simplement pas effectuer ce déploiement. »
... Mais nous n’en avons pas fini avec le USS Harry S. Truman, tant s’en faut, et tant cette formidable unité semble résumer à elle seule tous les problèmes de l’US Navy en, train de couler très rapidement, et même, disent certains, pas loin d’être menacée de perdre un jour dans années 2020 sa position de “Première Dame des Mers du Monde”. Il faut savoir qu’en février 2019, l’US Navy annonçait par le biais du détail de son budget pour l’année fiscale 2020 (FY2020) que le Truman prendrait sa retraite en 2024, soit près de dix ans avant la date qui achève le demi-siècle de carrière de ce type d’unités ; et cela, alors que l’US Navy est de plus en plus serrée du point de vue de ses super-porte-avions ; et cela, alors que le Gerald R. Ford qui doit inaugurer la super-classe succédant à la classe USS Nimitz à laquelle appartient le Truman, connaît d’innombrables problèmes techniques comme nul ne peut en ignorer.
La décision de démobilisation du Truman fit tant de bruit, tant au Pentagone qu’au Congrès où personne n’arrive (toujours pas maintenant) à comprendre les raisons qui y ont poussée, que la grogne atteignit l’Olympe de Jupiter lui-même. Le président Trump entra dans l’arène à la fin avril pour proclamer qu’il fallait abandonner cette absurde décision (de démobiliser le Truman) que lui-même avait approuvée sans ciller en signant la proposition budgétaire du Pentagone.
Commentaire de The War Zone du 1ermai 2019 : « Le président Donald Trump a annoncé qu’il avait annulé l’“ordre” de retirer du service le porte-avions USS Harry S. Truman de la classe Nimitz avant la date prévue, un jour après que le vice-président Mike Pence eut révélé pour la première fois que l'administration prenait ses distances de ce plan pendant une visite du navire. Le plan suscite une opposition croissante, en particulier parmi les membres du Congrès, depuis qu’il a été annoncé en février 2019. À l'époque, The War Zone a exposé en détails les raisons pour lesquelles il était peu probable que la proposition soit réalisée, et combien cette décision particulièrement rapide de l’abandonner effectivement ne fait que s’interroger plus encore à propos des raisons qui ont poussé l’administration Trump, le Pentagone et l’US Navy à la présenter à l’origine. »
Nous en sommes donc dans une grande zone navale d’incertitude, et pas encore à la mer pour l’épisode présent, pour ce qui concerne le sort du USS Harry S.Truman. Certes, il y a l’ordre de Trump d’abandonner la décision de démobilisation du porte-avions, mais l’on sait que les “ordres” de Trump sont souvent aussi incertains qu’ils sont proclamés avec la plus grande emphase que permet le tweet. Quoi qu’il en soit, l’opposition contre la décision de la Navy reste extrême, alors que l’incident du Truman en panne vient un peu plus encore brouiller la perspective. La chose ne va-t-elle pas regonfler le camp des partisans de la démobilisation ? Dans tous les cas, elle ne simplifie certainement pas le cas du Truman, et surtout de l’énorme problème qui se pose à l’US Navy lorsque tout son contexte est considéré. C’est ce qui est fait dans un long article de Forbes.com de Craig Hooper, certes du 26 mars 2019 mais qui garde toute sa pertinence et même sa complète actualité.
Hooper détaille l’extrême imbroglio, à la fois kafkaïen et ubuesque où se trouve aujourd’hui l’US Navy. Comme on l’a déjà ressenti à l’une ou l’autre allusion, nul ne sait précisément pourquoi la Navy veut retirer le Truman à peu près une décennie avant sa fin de vie opérationnelle normale. Certains ont laissé entendre que ce pourrait être le signe que la Navy a compris que l’ère des grands porte-avions étaient terminée, avec la perspective de les voir se faire tailler d’horribles croupières du fait des missiles antinavires hypersoniques où Chinois et Russes sont passés maîtres. L’argument peut s’entendre, d’autant que trois autres porte-avions de la classe Nimitz arrivent en fin de vie opérationnelle normale en 2025-2032, le Nimitz lui-même, le Eisenhoweret le Stennis.Mais c’est sans doute mal connaître la Navy, sa bureaucratie, sa certitude de soi, sa programmation et l’hybris qui l’enivre du simple fait de contempler ces mastodontes de 90 000/100 000 tonnes.
100 000 tonnes en effet, c’est le tonnage de la nouvelle classe des “super-super”, la classe Gerald S. Ford, avec dans la foulée deux autres unités dont la construction est déjà lancée après le premier de la classe, le USS John F. Kennedy et le USS Enterprise, pour 2024 et 2028 respectivement, – en principe et en théorie, ajouterons-nous fort prudemment. Dans ce cas, on voit mal comment on peut continuer à accepter l’argument que la Navy abandonne les grands porte-avions... Mais nous sommes d’ores et déjà emportés sur un autre champ de la polémique en cours, car l’arrivée possible/probable de ces nouvelles unités implique à la fois un grand embouteillage et un grand remue-ménage, avec des carambolages divers, et surtout le tout rythmé par les extraordinaires difficultés de mise au point que rencontre le Ford, comme on l’a vu à plusieurs reprises, avec le retard que cela implique et qui se répercutera sur les suivants.
Hooper nous explique donc plusieurs choses :
• Pour ces mastodontes qui demandent des périodes importantes et parfois très longues d’entretien opérationnel et de mise à niveau, il faut des chantiers navals avec leurs cales sèches, et les USA en manquent cruellement. De là la très grande difficulté de programmer la vie courante de tous ces porte-avions, la classe Nimitz en fin de vie et la classe Ford qui arriverait bientôt, à son heure (mais quand ?), à maturité, – si elle y arrive, certes...
• Au reste, les différences technologiques essentielles entre les deux classes, avec le Ford qui est présenté comme une super-merveille complètement nouvelle par rapport à la classe Nimitz, implique que les chantiers navals doivent être eux-mêmes modifiés pour traiter toutes ces choses nouvelles. Cela ajoute diablement à l’embarras, d’autant qu’il n’est pas assuré que ces installations ainsi modifiées soient encore adéquates pour traiter les classe Nimitz encore en service (d’où l’une des hypothèses pour répondre à la question : “pourquoi se débarrasser du Truman ?”).
• Mais comme l’on sait, il y a bien pire : il y a les formidables difficultés du premier de la nouvelle super-classe (voir plus haut : “d’innombrables problèmes techniques comme nul ne peut en ignorer”). Cela signifie 1) que le Ford a déjà pris du retard et qu’il passe énormément de temps dans les chantiers navals ; 2) que toutes les modifications qu’il reçoit, et dont on ne voit pas la fin, vont se répercuter sur les deux suivants qui, non contents (!) de dépasser leur date de mise en service opérationnel, vont à leur tour mobiliser les chantiers navals plus longtemps que prévu pour ces divers travaux...
Hooper : « Il pourrait être embarrassant pour la Marine ou le ministère de la Défense de l'admettre, mais la décision de retirer le Truman pourrait se résumer à une simple question de non-capacité de cale sèche “à l'ancienne”. En sacrifiant les carénage d’entretien de l’USS Harry S. Truman de 2024 à 2028, le Pentagone libérerait suffisamment de disponibilité de cale sèche pour accueillir, au besoin, des travaux de radoub ou de maintenance non planifiés mais importants sur le USS Gerald R. Ford et le USS John F. Kennedy. »
• ... Pendant ce temps, dans cet invraisemblable embouteillage de porte-avions immobilisés pour des travaux et des entretiens prévus et imprévus, sans compter les “imprévus imprévus” (les “unknown-unknowns” du philosophe Donald Rumsfeld) qui ne manqueront pas de survenir, que restera-t-il et combien restera-t-il de coques de l’US Navy encore à la mer ? Que restera-t-il de la maîtrise des mers du globe grâce aux “super” et aux “super-super” grands porte-avions d’attaque de la Navy ?
• “Les Chinois”, suggère Hooper...
En effet, Hooper termine son article sur les perspectives de la marine chinoise par rapport à l’US Navy, tournant autour de l’arrivée de porte-avions chinois, de leurs technologies, et notamment celle des catapultes et des systèmes électromagnétiques de lancement et de récupération des avions, qui paraît l’un des nœuds fondamentaux du formidable bond technologique en avant des nouveaux “super-super” type-Ford. (Hooper précise ainsi que les “experts” supputent et prévoient de quatre à six porte-avions chinois de technologies très avancées déployés dans les années 2020. Importante nouvelle pour notre compte.)
« Le Congrès a besoin de la vérité, aujourd'hui, pour prendre les bonnes décisions. Avec un préavis suffisant, il est possible de modifier les cales sèches ou d'en construire de nouvelles. Un plus grand nombre de travailleurs des chantiers navals peuvent être embauchés et formés. Les calendriers de livraison des porte-avions peuvent être modifiés selon une chronologie nouvelle. Les enjeux sont tout simplement trop élevés pour continuer à se perdre dans d’autres dissimulations [dont la Navy a le secret].
» Dans quelques années, le Pentagone saura avec certitude si le Ford est un fer à repasser sans fiabilité, exigeant un entretien considérable, ou s’il tient ses promesses. Mais le Congrès ne peut pas attendre. Le temps presse. Au plus tard, les systèmes électromagnétiques de lancement et de récupération de l'USS Gerald R. Ford doivent être à la fois opérationnels et fiables avant l’entrée en service des porte-avions chinois de Type-002 en 2023.
» Plus tard, l'Amérique aura de vrais problèmes.
» Le monopole américain sur les super-porte-avions est en train de s'effondrer et, considérant que la transition vers le super-porte-avions de classe Ford commencerait réellement au milieu des années 2020, la marine chinoise deviendrait une force de très-grande importante dans ce domaine des super-porte-avions, déployant de quatre à six porte-avions.
» Si le plan actuel de construction navale de 30 ans est maintenu, les États-Unis n'auront que neuf grands porte-avions d’attaque en 2027, et plusieurs d'entre eux ne seront tout simplement pas prêts pour des opérations de guerre. Avec la diminution de la force de porte-avions des États-Unis, la Chine pourrait bien être tentée de rechercher la parité relative des porte-avions avec les États-Unis.
» Et, en dehors de la course stratégique évidente à la parité du nombre de super-porte-avions, les stratèges économiques de la Chine ont également conçu ce développement quantitatif de porte-avions comme un défi direct lancé à la position de l'Amérique en tant que leader mondial de la technologie et de l'ingénierie. De nombreux observateurs chinois pensent que les porte-avions de Type-002, les premiers grands super-porte-avions chinois de construction “maison”, n’utiliseront pas l'ancienne technologie de la catapulte à vapeur utilisée à bord des vieux porte-avions américains au profit des mêmes systèmes de lancement et de récupération électromagnétiques high-tech utilisés sur le Ford.
» Si les observateurs ont raison et que le nouveau porte-avions de Type-002 devient opérationnel à la mer avec des systèmes de lancement et de récupération électromagnétiques, la course à la parité électromagnétique sera lancée. Et, dans ce genre de concours, la tolérance de la Chine au risque dans les tests de développement, jumelée à la poursuite ciblée d'une seule technologie de pointe, donne à la Chine un avantage distinct. Les États-Unis, par contre, seront peut-être encore aux prises avec une tâche beaucoup plus ardue, celle d'intégrer systématiquement plusieurs technologies de pointe dans une coque unique mais beaucoup plus formidable.
» Il y a beaucoup de choses en jeu. Tandis que le prestige de l’US Navy diminue aux yeux du public en même temps que ses manifestations publiques, les dirigeants chinois comprennent le pouvoir inhérent aux simple affichage public de leur puissance. Même si le Ford est pleinement opérationnel d'ici 2024, les États-Unis pourraient rater une occasion de montrer en public l’incroyable nouvelle puissance technologique qu’apporte cette classe. D'autre part, les progrès en technologie électromagnétique de la Chine, – s'ils sont atteints, – peuvent recevoir une grande publicité dans quelques vidéos triomphantes d’exercice d’opérations aéronavales de grande envergure. Si la Chine gagne la course aux systèmes électromagnétiques fiables, le coup symbolique porté à la Navy sera diablement douloureux.
» Mais ce sera encore bien plus douloureux si la classe Ford ne parvient pas à résoudre toutes ses technologies et se cantonne au rôle de fers à repasser... »
Reste à voir si tout cela se fera, et si “tout cela” ne sera pas pire encore... En effet, “tout cela” semble d’abord identifier une énorme crise ontologique de l’US Navy elle-même face à l’US Navy, entre sa puissance en train de s’effilocher, avec ses nouveaux mastodontes de 100 000 tonnes entre promesse du renouveau et très-possible “JSFisation” de la toute-puissante classe Gerald S. Ford, et ses interrogations au milieu du labyrinthe d’installations navales dépassées ou en nombre insuffisants, avec une classe Nimitz qu’on hésite à liquider ou à prolonger c’est selon... Le sort étrange et incertain du USS Harry S. Truman résume et symbolise bien cette formidable crise de l’US Navy, qui fut l’orgueil et le socle même de l’immense puissance militaire américaniste.
Pendant ce temps, plane la menace de la perception de la réduction à néant de la puissance des porte-avions du fait des armes hypersoniques. Les Chinois sont, avec les Russes, les maîtres de cette nouvelle arme ; mais en même temps, les experts projettent la possibilité d’une puissante flotte de porte-avions chinois qui pourrait supplanter au long des années 2020 la flotte US enfoncée dans ce désarroi labyrinthique qu’on a décrit. Les Chinois développeraient-ils un type de navires d’une puissance si considérable, dont ils savent très bien eux-mêmes l’extrême vulnérabilité face aux armes hypersoniques ? Dans tous cas prendre en compte cette perspective hypothétiique, c’est ajouter encore au désarroi de l’US Navy.
Hooper termine son article par une conclusion plaintive et si incertaine jusqu’au pathétique : « C’est pourquoi l'Amérique mérite des informations valides et véridiques pour gérer activement la transition de la classe de Nimitz en fin de carrière. Le Congrès a besoin de savoir maintenant si la retraite anticipée de l’USS Truman fait partie d'un grand plan stratégique ou s'il s'agit simplement d'un moyen de s'assurer que suffisamment d’espace est disponible dans les chantiers navals pour réparer les porte-avions défectueux de la classe Ford. »
Cette incertitude pathétique vaut certainement pour l’US Navy, pour la puissance navale en général, pour la puissance militaire conventionnelle confrontée aux inconnues et aux surprises de plus en plus catastrophique du technologisme en pleine crise, bref pour tout ce qui constitue le concept de puissance dans une époque si complètement hors du contrôle humain. Le destin du porte-avions et le destin de l’US Navy sont une illustration symbolique d’une très grande force de la Grande Crise d’Effondrement du Système. On comprend que le Congrès soit inquiet et n’y comprenne pas grand’chose. Nous non plus, nous n’y comprenons pas grand’chose, mais sans aucune inquiétude pour autant, – au contraire : c’est bien là le signe de cette Grande Crise.
This Daily FRN News Brief is a summary of 2, articles about Donbass, Donetsk, Eurasia, Lugansk, Ukraine, Anglo-5, China, Crimea, Russia, United-Kingdom, United-States. Tags in this brief: Donetsk, Luhansk, Normandy Format, Steinmeier Formula, Belt And Road Initiative, Bolton, Color Revolution, NATO, Neocon, New Silk Road, One World Government, Post Nation State, Soros. Let us know […]
Bombed apartment building
Fort Russ News’ parent organization, the Center for Syncretic Studies, most humbly announces the release of our latest series – Critical Notices. This is the 3rd series featured on the CSS YouTube channel. The channel can be accessed here: www.youtube.com/channel/UCsgoPtfRvxdO47SSRIhmzWw This will be a semi-documentary series, which explains the ideas and the work of CSS. […]
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VIDEO: Critical Notices I - The Revolution Beyond Academia - Documentary - Fort Russ
Fort Russ News' parent organization, the Center for Syncretic Studies, most humbly announces the release of our latest series - Critical Notices. This is the 3rd series featured on the CSS YouTube channel. The channel can be accessed here: www.youtube.com/channel/UCsgoPtfRvxdO47SSRIhmzWw This will b
September 14 would prove to be a major wake up call for Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest exporter and producer of oil in the world, as its daily supply was cut by nearly 50 percent because of drone and missile attacks against state-owned oil company, Aramco. The attack by the Yemeni Shi’ite Houthi-led Ansarullah movement […]
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Blain's Morning Porrdige, submitted by Bill Blain of Shard Capital
Its turning into a bad week for the credibility of Mohammed bin Salman, the defacto ruler of Saudi. After the Globe’s third largest defence spending state was crippled by supposedly unsophisticated Houthi rebels (with some likely assistance from Iran) when they struck his oil infrastructure, this morning the headlines are all about how MBS is now arm-twisting rich Saudi’s to buy into the discredited Aramco IPO.
Investors around the globe are increasingly disinclined to invest in the rising political risk swirling around Saudi and MBS. They have serious doubts about any chance of objective corporate governance of Aramco. Its broadly seen as MBS’ piggy bank. Such concerns clearly don’t worry his wealthier subjects, who are apparently delighted to have been offered the opportunity to invest upwards of $100mm. The alternative was to spend some time in basement of the luxury Ritz-Carlton in Riyadh. As a comment in one paper suggested: it’s hard to resist an equity salesman carrying a bone-saw.
MBS is determined to justify his own $2 trillion Aramco valuation. He and Adam Neumann of WeWork really should spend some time together to discuss delusional pricing. To reach such a number means suspending disbelief and rounding up compliant stuffees. He will be ably assisted by the western Investment Banks signed up for the deal – if you want an update on how the book is developing, then please ask Goldman, JP Morgan, Morgan Stanley of CSFB, who must be delighted to be seen supporting the deal which is attracting such eminent public support.
However, a number of my sources suggest things look increasingly questionable in the desert kingdom. Looking at the photos of the Houthi drone strikes, the damage and the holes made in the gas tanks look suspiciously regular and well placed. MBS’s shakedown of his royal cousins and the nation’s business leaders stands alongside rising revulsion at his own spending. As defacto absolute ruler he feels above question, but domestic tensions are rising. More than a few analysts suspect the Houthis may have had inside assistance for a growing Saudi domestic insurgency.
Trump and Kushner are going to struggle with that one..
Back in the real world…
It worried me how polarized opinions in Europe have become. My recent mailbag shows 100% of European readers think Boris Johnson should be shot, blame him for all this mess, and think the UK is mad to be leaving. British correspondents are exhausted by the political nonsense and generally desirous about getting it over with, and moving on. Since everyone is at each other’s throats, let me stir it up a bit…
One headline that caught my attention y’day is Brexit has cost the City of London 1000 investment banking jobs that have move to Yoorp. Really? To be frank, that’s another bogus story. Jobs may have gone, but I bet the bankers are still here. And most of the new window-dressing roles that have supposedly gone from London, are going to Dublin.. which is certainly more satisfying than hearing they went to Paris. (I still giggle about the two French bankers I interviewed last year – they were desperate for jobs because the French bank they worked had offered to send them home!!!)
But, at least the news re Brexit is getting better. (Really???)
Sterling has taken a leg up on the number of stories suggesting Europe may be willing to agree a face-saving non MAD Brexit compromise Boris can take to Parliament. Junker and Merkel made encouraging noises, and even Leo sounds positive agreeing to catch up with Boris for a pint in NY. Does that mean a deal is done? Nope – still lots of hurdles to cross, and the risk hardline ESG Brexiteer and the Farage extremists rock the boat.. but it’s the most hopeful noise we’ve heard for a while.
Let’s assume it happens. Brexit happens and we can all get on with our lives. Phew! The world will then focus on how the UK sets up new trade deals and how it struggles as a newly divorced single country…
Or maybe not.. the attention is more likely to return to Europe. I suspect the focus will return to how deeply recession will bite in an already slow Europe. A global slowdown, trade wars and recession fears will hit hard across the region. The fairly strong recovery in Spain is already slowing and could be overturned. France is likely to stumble again on the back of downturn and a renewal of the Gilet Jaune protests (I suspect a spent force). Italy is and will remain Italy.
Germany is the economy that frightens everyone, because everyone thought the Germans were the grownups at the Euro table. Instead the economy is slowing, their domestic politics look tired, the nation is at boot-end of a likely trade war with the US, and they aren’t demonstrating much imagination in reforming their utterly perfect precision-engineering and automotive brilliance year-2000 economy to make it work for the modern age.
The EU leadership has reacted to the challenge – appointing a whole new series of leaders to Brussels, the Union and the ECB, all politicians aiming to steer the EU through a new crisis while charting a path back towards growth. The new leadership team are acutely aware Mario Draghi saved the Euro at the critical moment, but nothing the ECB is currently doing – like cutting rates, or buying bonds is actually working to rebuild the broken European economies.
They know it needs a new approach – which is why Fiscal Spending! (Flashing lightning, very very frightening, and clashing minor chords..) is getting so many column inches these days..
The key unresolved problem with Europe is very simple. 20 years after the birth of the Euro, it remains a loose collective of very different countries trying to adapt to being members of their shared currency. That’s why the political imperative for Fiscal and Banking Union is so critical, and it’s so worrying that nations show little willingness to pursue these goals.
Economically, the key problem is the Euro is effectively the currency of Germany. The others play catch-up to be competitive. For Europe’s smaller states to evolve and thrive in the common currency, they need to reform their economies and broadly match German productivity, consumption and spending, and be prepared to stick to rules. That’s when currency unions work! (To short-circuit the next part of the argument, they work in the US and UK because of broadly aligned culture and values means sticking to the rules is not an issue.)
If reform and alignment happens, then Europe should grow into an economic wunderkid. Over the last 20-years, there are few signs structural reform or realignment has happened, except to confirm the differences in terms of massive Target imbalances in Europe, distorted trade power, and massive unemployment in the South while Germany sits smuggly recovered from the reunification with the East.
There are some itzy-bitzy problems with the simplistic approach that Europe could swiftly become a union of closely aligned nations. The Germans like to save, don’t particularly consume much, work hard, are precision engineers, and believe rules are there to be followed. As I noted above, it’s all about culture. None of these standout Germanic characteristics occur naturally together across the rest of the Eurozone.
Therefore, it’s going to get really interesting when it comes down to agreeing on how the Eurozone is going to agree on fiscal stimulus policies. The Eurozone member states all agree they want to pursue structural reforms, control debt, and carry out public investments – but there is absolutely no agreement or alignment on when or how. I suspect it will take a very long time…. The wheels of agreement turn slowly in Frankfurt and Brussels.
Perhaps readers might find the following snapshots defining how Europe views fiscal stimulus to be useful:
The Germans regard a “wildly outrageous and potentially de-stablising financial stimulus” to be new party hat spending for the Carnival season – but only if these can be paid for out of retained budget under-runs. (Yesterday, Olaf Scholtz, German Finance Minister, said Germany already has an expansive fiscal policy. Excellent. Please show us.)
A “mild financial stimulus” in Italy promises everyone a new Ferrari, a general tax amnesty, and a sweeping allocation of cash for a complete rebuild of the country’s entire infrastructure (none of which actually happens because it will be spent on “incidental deal expenses” to contractors in the South of the Country).
A “carefully balance financial stimulus” in Luxembourg means upping the rents they charge the resident Eurocrats and institutions, dropping their own taxes, and spending some money on glossy new brochures explaining why Luxembourg is such a great place for San Francisco start-ups to base their tax-advantaged new tech businesses.
A “Strategy for Growth financial stimulus” in France means employing 10,000 highly-trained bureaucrats from the elite schools to determine how to prise more money out of Brussels to prop up French farmers, or at least keep them busy enough to stop trying to burn down Paris.
A “barely adequate financial stimulus” in Greece will go.. well no one really knows where, but everyone will complain about how inadequate it was, how it’s all the fault of the Germans anyway, and Vanis Varoufakis will write a book about how he explained it years ago to Christine Legarde while they were quaffing ouzo in the sauna together.
There won’t be any “financial stimulus” in Belgium because no one will actually get round to agreeing on which language to propose it in.
The Spanish will stare daggers at each over “regionally targeted financial stimulus”. They Catalans will offer to be less obnoxious if they get most of it, while the rest of the country gets all emotional about how they deserve it.
The Irish “Brexit Financial Stimulus” package will basically be an insurance policy to give all young people tickets to somewhere else if the “what if Europe throws us under the bus after a no-deal Brexit” scenario plays out. Most young Irish will opt for County Kilburn – its worked for previous generations.
I do hope the above explains why European Fiscal Agreement might be a problem..
October 2nd, 2000, 3 days before the CIA fake revolution got rid of the last of Europe’s socialist leaders, Slobodan Milošević, the president of Serbia and FR Yugoslavia. In the speech he warns Serbian citizens, that if they vote for pro-western government, that they will lose literally everything. It came to be.
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Last speech of Serbian President Slobodan Milošević of FR Yugoslavia - Fort Russ
October 2nd, 2000, 3 days before the CIA fake revolution got rid of the last of Europe's socialist leaders, Slobodan Milošević, the president of Serbia and FR Yugoslavia. In the speech he warns Serbian citizens, that if they vote for pro-western government, that they will lose literally everything.