Sunday, April 26, 2015

With U.S. 'Boots On The Ground' In Ukraine, What's Vladimir Putin's Next Move? ISIS Threat In U.S., War On Cash

With 580 U.S. Boots On The Ground In Ukraine, What's Vladimir Putin's Next Move?

As the crisis in Ukraine drags on, U.S.-Russia relations continue to deteriorate. The United States has just taken a step that risks bringing that relationship to a new low.
As part of its effort to support Ukraine, the U.S. military recently sent 290 troops from the 173rd Airborne Brigade based in Vicenza, Italy, to train the Ukrainian National Guard. In doing so, President Barack Obama is responding to widespread political pressure to “do something,” choosing a middle ground between doing nothing on the one hand — or, on the other, embroiling the United States more deeply in the conflict by sending billions of dollars of lethal weaponry to Ukraine.
But while the administration’s decision is understandable, it is likely to result in retaliation by the Kremlin in a variety of ways that are not in America’s best interests.
To understand why, consider the historical context. Since the end of the Cold War, Russia has watched as the NATO alliance has expanded across Central and Eastern Europe to the Russian border. As a result of this expansion, when the Maidan revolution in Ukraine overthrew former President Viktor Yanukovych, who had close ties to Russia, President Vladimir Putin and his advisers were convinced that this was a precursor to bringing Ukraine into NATO — a step the Western alliance had introduced  previously.
For Putin and the Russian establishment, however, preventing Ukraine from turning decisively West is an existential issue. U.S. ambassador to the Soviet Union Jack Matlock once told me that the possibility of NATO membership for Ukraine, for Putin, was and is something equivalent to Soviet missiles on Cuba for Kennedy.
As a result of Russia’s sensitivity toward Ukraine’s geopolitical orientation, we can expect that the introduction of American combat troops into Ukraine — even in a training role — will lead the Kremlin to retaliate against American interests in a number of possible ways.
First, Russia will likely become even more brazen in its support for its separatist proxies in Eastern Ukraine’s Donbass region. This support could involve the introduction of additional troops and weaponry, or even a possible spring offensive to capture the southern Ukrainian city of Mariupol as part of a “land bridge to Crimea” from southern Russia across Ukraine. 

This aggression would be the end of the already tenuous Minsk II cease-fire, which was designed to end the conflict in Ukraine. Put simply, Putin enjoys “escalation dominance” at every level of the conflict in Ukraine — any move the United States makes, Putin can match and surpass — and the Obama administration needs to be prepared to see Moscow double-down in the Donbass.

Second, we will likely see further nuclear saber rattling by the Russians in the upcoming weeks. Due to its weakness vis-à-vis the United States in conventional weaponry, Russia’s nuclear doctrine has recently changed to consider the use of nuclear weapons as a way to “de-escalate” a conflict.

 Putin startled viewers by stating that he had been prepared to put Russia’s nuclear forces on full alert at the beginning of Moscow’s operation in Crimea.

To back this up, recent Russian military exercises have included nuclear-capable weapons, such as the TU-95 nuclear bomber fleet, which in the past year has engaged in fly-by missions near Guam, the Alaskan coast, the Baltic region and the UK. These actions increase the risk that each party will misunderstand the other’s intentions. In 1979 and twice in 1983, the United States and Soviet Union had frightening incidents where each side believed that a drill by the other was the precursor to a real nuclear attack.

Finally, Russia can take any number of actions to cause further disruption in the Middle East, especially vis-à-vis Iran. Russia has just announced plans to move forward with the sale of its lethal S-300 surface-to-air missile system to Iran, a step that the Council on Foreign Relations says will “shift military balance across the Middle East.” Not surprisingly, the impending sale is causing concern in Washington as well as among U.S. allies such as Israel and Saudi Arabia. The Obama administration objects to any action by Moscow that could destabilize its P5+1 negotiations with Tehran.
While sending fewer than 300 American troops to Ukraine may seem insignificant, Moscow does not see it that way. The ride is about to get rockier.

While the FBI investigates a possible ISIS terror attack on the basis of intercepted chatter and intelligence information, the TSA issued a classified warning that ISIS is planning an attack on U.S. soil.

Little is known about the nature of the attack other than its imminence, which has prompted the TSA to deploy its new Visible Intermodal Prevention and Response teams, or VIPR, to various undisclosed locations. The VIPR teams include airports, train stations and other busy transportation hubs. 
One law enforcement source suggested parts of California were of special concern.
As a result of the FBI warning, some cities have increased security as a precaution, but those cities have not been disclosed.
The TSA classified warning was issued Friday. The FBI investigation was confirmed Saturday.
While ISIS has warned repeatedly it planned to target the U.S., this is the first time the U.S. intelligence community has acted on what it perceives as a viable, if general, threat. So far, ISIS has only attacked U.S. targets abroad.

The FBI is investigating a possible ISIS-inspired terrorist threat in the United States, law enforcement officials said Saturday. 
The investigation originated from intercepted chatter and other intelligence information that led officials to believe a possible plot could be in the works, the officials said.
No arrests have been made. It's not clear whether the threat is real or aspirational.

The exact nature of the threat couldn't be learned. One official said it focused on parts of California where officials stepped up security, a U.S. official said.

The Transportation Security Administration alerted local law enforcement agencies that are responsible for external security around airports, but officials said the possible threat is not necessarily aviation-related. 
Some cities around the United States have increased their security as a precaution.
    A Department of Homeland Security spokesperson declined Saturday to talk about specifics, but spoke about security measures in general.

    The war on cash is proliferating globally. It appears that the private members of the world’s banking cartels are increasingly joining the fun, even if it means trampling on the rights of their customers.
    Yesterday we came across an article at Zerohedge, in which Dr. Salerno of the Mises Institute notes that JP Morgan Chase has apparently joined the “war on cash”, by “restricting the use of cash in selected markets, restricting borrowers from making cash payments on credit cards, mortgages, equity lines and auto loans, as well as prohibiting storage of cash in safe deposit boxes”.

    What happened next is truly stunning. Surely everybody is aware that Switzerland regularly makes it to the top three on the list of countries with the highest degree of economic freedom. At the same time, it has a central bank whose board members are wedded to Keynesian nostrums similar to those of other central banks. This is no wonder, as nowadays, economists are trained in an academic environment that is dripping with the most vicious statism imaginable. As a result, withdrawing one’s cash is evidently regarded as “interference with the SNB’s monetary policy goals”. Thus SRF reports:

    It is undoubtedly a huge red flag when in one of the countries considered to be a member of the “highest economic freedom in the world” club, commercial banks are suddenly refusing their customers access to their cash. This money doesn’t belong to the banks, and it doesn’t belong to the central bank either.
    If this can happen in prosperous Switzerland, based on some nebulous notion of the “collective good”, which its unelected central planners can arbitrarily determine and base decisions upon, it can probably happen anywhere. Consider yourself warned. As the modern day fiat money system inevitably cruises toward its final denouement, individual rights will come increasingly under attack as the world’s ruling elites and centrally directed banking cartels begin to batten down the hatches.

    The war on cash is escalating. Just a week ago, the infamous Willem Buiter, along with Ken Rogoff, voiced their support for a restriction (or ban altogether) on the use of cash (something that was already been implemented in Louisiana in 2011 for used goods). Today, as Mises' Jo Salerno reports, the war has acquired a powerful new ally in Chase, the largest bank in the U.S., which has enacted a policy restricting the use of cash in selected marketsbans cash payments for credit cards, mortgages, and auto loans; and disallows the storage of "any cash or coins" in safe deposit boxes.

    Buiter defended his "controversial" call for a ban on cash, as Bloomberg reports:

    “The world’s central banks have a problem. When economic conditions worsen, they react by reducing interest rates in order to stimulate the economy. But, as has happened across the world in recent years, there comes a point where those central banks run out of room to cut — they can bring interest rates to zero, but reducing them further below that is fraught with problems, the biggest of which is cash in the economy.

    In a new piece, Citi’s Willem Buiter looks at this problem, which is known as the effective lower bound (ELB) on nominal interest rates. Fundamentally, the ELB problem comes down to cash.According to Buiter, the ELB only exists at all due to the existence of cash, which is a bearer instrument that pays zero nominal rates. Why have your money on deposit at a negative rate that reduces your wealth when you can have it in cash and suffer no reduction? Cash therefore gives people an easy and effective way of avoiding negative nominal rates. Buiter’s note suggests three ways to address this problem:
    1. Abolish currency.
    2. Tax currency.
    3. Remove the fixed exchange rate between currency and central bank reserves/deposits.
    Yes, Buiter’s solution to cash’s ability to allow people to avoid negative deposit rates is to abolish cash altogether. (Note that he’s far from being the first to float this idea. Ken Rogoff has given his endorsement to the idea as well, as have others.)

    Historically, when a nation’s debt exceeds its ability to repay even the interest, it can be assumed that the currency will collapse. Typically, governments exacerbate the situation by printing large amounts of currency notes in an effort to inflate the problem away, or at least postpone it.
    The greater the level of debt, the more dramatic the inflation must be to counter it. The more dramatic the inflation, the greater the danger that hyperinflation will take place. No government has ever been able to control hyperinflation. If it occurs, it does so quickly and always ends with a crash.
    Although there are observers (myself included) who frequently discuss what a reserve-currency crash would mean to the world, there is little or no discussion as to how this would impact people on the street level, and perhaps that discussion should begin.
    When currencies crash, the state often tries to float a new currency. Sometimes, it’s accepted, sometimes not. Generally, the people of the country (and those trading within the country) move immediately to “the next best thing.” In 2009, when the Zimbabwe dollar crashed, several currencies were used, but the US dollar was the clear favourite, as it was the world’s reserve currency and therefore the most “spendable” currency.

    Ultimately, the black-market currency is legalised (since it’s the only truly workable solution), and it often becomes the unofficial currency, if not actually the official one.

    First, the Euro Crash
    It’s safe to say that the EU, the US, and quite a few other jurisdictions are nearing currency crashes, and in all likelihood, the euro will go before the dollar. So, unless the EU has already prearranged a new euro, the US dollar might well be chosen as an immediate solution to the problem, as the US dollar is presently recognised and traded throughout Europe. Therefore, a relatively painless transfer could be made.
    Then, the Dollar Crash
    However, the dollar, which is presently praised as being a sound currency, is really only sound in relation to the euro (and some other lesser currencies). Once its less stable brother, the euro, collapses, the dollar will be exposed.
    As the US dollar is a fiat currency and is on the ropes, the US (and any other country that is using the dollar as its primary currency when the time comes) will experience a currency emergency at the street level that will be unprecedented.
    The big question that is generally not being discussed is: The day after the crash (and thereafter), what will be the currency that is used to buy a bag of groceries, a tank of petrol, a meal at a restaurant? Certainly, the need will be immediate and will be on a national level in each impacted country, affecting everyone.
    And Then…

    I have discussed for some time that the US will be prepared ahead of time with a new, electronic currency. This will serve three purposes:
    1. It will allow the US government to blame paper currencies for the crash, in order to distract the public from recognising that the government itself is the culprit.
    1. It will allow the US government to create a currency system that disallows the holding of tradable currency by the population—that is, a debit card would be created by banks through which alltransactions must pass, assuring that all transactions are processed by (and thereby subject to the control of) a bank.
    1. It will allow the US government to have knowledge of every penny earned and spent by any individual or organization, allowing for direct-debit income taxation.

    If the US does institute such a system, US citizens will then become the most economically controlled people in the world, overnight.

    It’s likely that a black-market system would spontaneously be created by US citizens in order to bypass the new government system. A portion of daily trade would occur under the table. It would unquestionably be made illegal, and we can only speculate as to how prevalent it would become: 10% of all transactions? 30%? Anyone’s guess. Certainly, the government would crack down, and penalties might become severe.

    Elsewhere in the world, there would be greater freedom, but what would their currencies be? There are many countries that presently use the US dollar as one of their official currencies. After a crash, the greater the link to the US dollar, the greater the loss of economic freedom, although, in most such countries, the government is likely to be less efficient than in the US, which would work in favour of the individual.
    Such countries would also have the option of switching from the dollar to another dominant currency. With the euro and dollar gone, that currency might be the Chinese yuan. The difficulty with this possibility is that, presently, the yuan is not in common use on the street.

    Adoption of a currency such as the yuan would require a sudden switch in monetary policy, complete with teething problems. However, recent developments amongst the BRICS and others indicate that many countries are already seeing the writing on the wall and are readying themselves for the use of the yuan as an alternate.

    As the Great Unravelling proceeds, we would be wise to monitor what happens with the Libertad in Mexico and watch for a similar return to precious metals in other jurisdictions.As this development progresses, we might wish to consider that, whatever jurisdictions are the most forceful in demanding the continued use of doomed paper currencies (or, worse, transferring into electronic currencies), we may choose to store our wealth, no matter how great or small, in a safer jurisdiction. Further, we may choose to reside in a jurisdiction where a currency crisis will be less likely to occur; to live under a government that does not seek to monitor and tax our every economic transaction.

    [This one with the usual disclaimers. Of course updates on JADE HELM have to come from 'alternative sources' as the MSM refuses to follow this story. The truth is still elusive on this story, but we will continue with some updates when available. When videos are posted by citizens coincidentally passing by these convoys - it isn't a matter of 'propaganda' or 'conspiracy theory' - it is simply a video recording of what is being seen across the country]

    The build-up of military vehicles in the southern regions is now undeniable and as we can see in the 1st video and image below from Dahboo77, a military train has just been photographed in southern California with heavy duty military equipment that stretches as far as the eye can see. 
    With government paid trolls and the ignorant lashing out on comment boards trying to downplay Jade Helm 15, such as several trolls outed here on ANP, they are largely striking out as US patriots drown out the trolls overused spewing of phrases such as 'time to take your meds'. These trolls haven't yet realized that Americans who have largely 'awoken' to what is REALLY going on here choose to believe what they are seeing with their own eyes rather than to believe more government lies and 'troll droppings'.
    From Patriot News Wire: Breaking Jade Helm Update! United Nations Medical Vehicles Spotted Traveling Throughout The South!
    While the Government continues to deny that ANYTHING out of the ordinary is going on in regard to Operation Jade Helm 15, and the laimstream media continues to mock anyone who is genuinely concerned, watchful citizens across the nation have been keeping their eyes and ears open, like true patriots and minutemen. 

    For the past week, people have been reporting seeing United Nations medical vehicles traveling throughout the Southern U.S. Finally, one curious and concerned citizen was able to get an actual picture of one. 

    China’s sentencing of Christians exploded more than 10,000 percent from 2013 to 2014, according to a new report from China Aid Association, an organization that exposes religious freedom and human rights abuses.

    The group’s annual report notes that it tracks six categories of religious persecution, and since it obtains information directly from Christians inside China, most of its information concerns the Christian house church movement.
    The “Year of ‘Persecution and Endurance’” report said persecution rose, sometimes dramatically, in all six categories studied.
    For example, the number of citizens sentenced for their beliefs rose from 12 in 2013 to 1,274 in 2014, up 10,516.67 percent.
    The organization collected information on 572 cases of religious persecution, an increase of 300 percent.
    “Of the 17,884 people who were persecuted for their religion, more than 1,592 were church leaders, which represents a 140.89 percent increase over the previous year. The 2,994 people who were detained constituted an increase of 103.67 percent over the previous year. The CPC sentenced 1,274 people, a 10,516.67 percent jump over 2013.”
    China Aid reported, “Comparing the data in the above six categories – total number of religious persecution cases, total number of people persecuted for their religion, number of people detained, number of people sentenced, total number of severe abuse cases, and the number of individuals in severe abuse cases — the overall situation of persecution can be statistically represented as being 152.74 percent worse than in 2013, 250.85 percent worse than in 2012, 296.64 percent worse than in 2011, 465.19 percent worse than in 2010, 549.48 percent worse than in 2009, 673.31 percent worse than in 2008 and 1,331.76 percent worse than in 2007.”

    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu looked set to have the pieces needed to cobble together a new governing coalition, after Jewish Home leader Naftali Bennett reportedly dropped his demand for the Foreign Ministry Saturday night, likely removing a major stumbling block in coalition talks.

    With just over a week to go for Netanyahu to form his coalition, Bennett will ask Likud for control of the Education Ministry instead of the highly coveted Foreign Ministry, which will stay in Yisrael Beytenu leader Avigdor Liberman’s hands, according to Hebrew-language media reports.
    The move will pave the way for Jewish Home and Yisrael Beytenu to both join a Likud-led government, giving Netanyahu the last pieces he is thought to need to form a coalition.
    The Prime Minister has already all but formalized deals for Kulanu and ultra-orthodox factions Shas and UTJ to come aboard, giving him a total of 67 seats.

     Speaking to Israel Radio, Elkin urged the parties to act responsibly, and to understand that all sides would be required to compromise in order to form a government.
    “We are on the home stretch, and if parties of the national camp (meaning right-wing parties) want a government from the national camp to be formed, they need to move forward in the negotiation process,” he said.
    The prime minister has been racing the clock in order establish a new government by the May 7 deadline. Under Israeli election rules, if Netanyahu fails to form a coalition by that date, President Reuven Rivlin can assign someone else the task of doing so.

    But I fear the word has now taken on a more sinister usage in the term "Society of Muslim Brothers," or more briefly, "Muslim Brotherhood." What is it, and why should we be concerned? It is a highly organized and well financed group of radical Islamic believers. Here is its symbol.

    The Muslim Brotherhood, founded in Egypt in 1928, is a revolutionary fundamentalist movement to restore the caliphate and strict Sharia (Islamist) law in Muslim lands and, ultimately, the world. Today, it has chapters in 80 countries. "Its purpose to impose its law on all nations and to extend its power to the entire planet." —Muslim Brotherhood founder Hassan al-Bann

    The Brotherhood advocates a deceptive strategy in democracies: appear moderate and use existing institutions to gain power. – Muslim Brotherhood Spiritual leader Yusuf al-Qaradawi, "Fatwa," 2003
    The Brotherhood wants America to fall. It tells followers to be "patient" because America "is heading towards its demise." – Muslim Brotherhood Supreme Guide Muhammed Badi, Sept. 2010
    Unfortunately, history has shown that these guys mean what they say, and they are right now here among us—in all levels of government, including the highest. So let's just start at the top with senior advisor to President Obama, Valerie Jarrett.

    Valerie Jarrett was born as Valerie Bowman on November 14, 1956, in Shiraz, Iran. So, like Barack Obama, Jarrett's initial experience was not as an American, but an American/Muslim hybrid.  After migrating to the US, Jarrett's mother
    co-founded a Chicago-based graduate school in child development known as the Erikson Institute, named after the psychoanalyst Erik Erikson; who became a cult hero by choosing to resign his professorship at the University of California rather than sign an anti-communist loyalty oath as the school required. The Institute's board of trustees has included Tom Ayers, father of lifelong Marxist radical Bill Ayers, whose wife is fellow insurrectionist, Bernardine Dohrn. You remember them; Obama's Chicago neighbors who hosted his first political campaign rally.
    In 1983 Valerie married Dr. William Robert Jarrett, son of the Chicago Sun-Times reporter Vernon Jarrett, who become the first nationally syndicated black columnist for the communist-influenced
    Chicago Defender, and was a leader of the Chicago chapter of American Youth for Democracy—youth wing of the Communist Party USA.
    My reason for spending so much space on Valerie Jarrett is that she is recognized as Obama's most intimate friend and confidant, and responsible for many of his actions. The New York Times says she's Obama's "closest friend in the White House," his "envoy," his "emissary," and his "all-purpose ambassador." The Times calls her the "ultimate Obama insider." Jarrett has a standing seat at any table that includes the president!
    She is by no means the only Muslim Brotherhood influence in the White House. For starters, let's look some of the major ones we know about:
    Arif Alikhan - Assistant Secretary for Homeland Security for Policy Development. 2009-2010.
    Eboo Patel - Member of the President's Advisory Council to the Office of Faith Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. 2009-Present.
    Huma Abedin - Personal Aide/Chief of Staff to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. 2009-2013.
    Mohamed Magid
     - DHS Countering Violence and Extremism Working Group. 2011-Present.
    Mohammed Elibiary
     - Senior Member of DHS's Homeland Security Advisory Council. 2010-2014.
    Rashad Hussain
     - U.S. Special Envoy to the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). 2010-Present. Deputy Associate Counsel to Barack Obama. 2009-2010.
    Salam Al-Marayati
     - Administration representative to UNESCO and United Nations. 2010.
    Rome's greatest statesman, Marcus Tullius Cicero, witnessed the end of the Roman Empire. But before paying with his life at the hand of dictator Mark Antony, he spoke to the Roman Senate:
    "A nation can survive its fools, and even the ambitious. But it cannot survive treason from within. An enemy at the gates is less formidable, for he is known and carries his banner openly. But the traitor moves amongst those within the gate freely, his sly whispers rustling through all the alleys, heard in the very halls of government itself. For the traitor appears not a traitor; he speaks in accents familiar to his victims, and he wears their face and their arguments, he appeals to the baseness that lies deep in the hearts of all men. He rots the soul of a nation, he works secretly and unknown in the night to undermine the pillars of the city, he infects the body politic so that it can no longer resist. A murderer is less to fear."
    Sadly, the threat of Brotherhood infiltration is not confined to the Washington establishment. It is infecting every level of government--state, city, local--even yours. Just Google it. It's all right there.

    Also see:

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