Thursday, June 30, 2016

More Changes For EU As Problems Increase



Is Europe In Trouble Again: Hints Of Portuguese, Italian Bank Bailouts Suggest Not All Is Well


In the aftermath of Germany refusal to allow Italy to breach Eurozone regulations, and provide its banks with up to €40 billion in new capital, Italy has unveiled a new track to handle its insolvent banks and as Reuters reports, the Italian government may have to inject capital directly into weaker banks to bolster their financial strength, a government source said on Thursday, adding it was waiting for the results of stress tests being conducted by European banking authorities. The results of the tests are expected to be published at the beginning of the third quarter.
The source told Reuters the government was also working on a plan to increase the firepower of bank bailout funds Atlante, which was set up in April to help lenders raise cash and sell bad loans, by 3-5 billion euros ($3.34-5.57 billion) by the summer. The source said the government was in talks with private pension funds to seek additional contributions for Atlante. 
Other contributions were expected to come from the state lender Cassa Depositi e Prestiti and from a public company called Societa per la Gestione di Attivita.
And then, in a surprising follow up, the EU appears to have once again backtracked when Reuters headlines emerged suggesting that Europe would provide up to €150 billion for Italian banks"

    • LIQUIDITY SUPPORT APPLIES ONLY TO SOLVENT ITALIAN BANKS --COMMISSION SPOKESWOMAN
    Which, technically is none of them, but practically any bank can - after the sufficient non-GAAP adjustments - pass for solvent. 

    So is another major bank bailout event on the horizon? It appears so. And Italy may not be alone. In comments that were little noticed yesterday, Germany's Schauble said that Portugal may see another bailout too, saying "It would have to apply for a new program, which it would get. But the terms would be severe and it is not in Portugal's interests."

    As Reuters reported, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble pressed Portugal on Wednesday to stick to its European fiscal targets and said that if it were to apply for a new aid program the terms would be harsh. Portugal's left-leaning government has set out to reverse its predecessor's austerity policies, aiming to grow its way out of trouble by boosting demand and set an example for other post-bailout euro zone countries.

    "Portugal would be making a big mistake if it does not stick to its commitments," Schaeuble told a news conference in Berlin.

    Pressed by journalists, Schaeuble stressed that Portugal would not need a new aid program if it sticks to EU rules. "They (the Portuguese) don't want it (a new package) and they don't need it if they stick to the European rules," he said. Portugal insists it will meet this year's budget deficit target of 2.2 percent, which is half last year's gap, and that no new measures will be necessary after solid budget execution in the first five months of the yea

    The Portuguese finance ministry said Lisbon was not considering asking for any new bailouts and was working to meet its EU targets and to cut its budget deficit.
    "Regarding the remarks made by Wolfgang Schaeuble, although he himself immediately corrected them, the finance ministry clarifies that no new aid program is being considered for Portugal," it said in a statement.
    Still, was Schauble's Freudian slip earlier that "it would get a new program" if it only just asked for it a hint of things to come? 

    And then there is, of course, the world's most systemically risky bank, Deutsche Bank...
    In retrospect, the UK may have exited Europe just in time.





    Despite all the exuberance over the Brexit bounce in US (and UK) equities, never minds bonds, FX, and credit being far less enthusiastic, Deutsche Bank is plunging once again this morning. 
    Having failed The Fed's stress test for the second year running and been diagnosed by The IMF as the world's most systemically dangerous financial entity, the giant Germanbank is getting slammed down almost 4% today, back near record lows as its 'Lehman-esque' path to devastation continues.



    As we previously conclude, considering two of the three most "globally systemically important", i.e., riskiest, banks just saw their stock price scrape all time lows earlier this week, we wonder just how nervous behind their calm facades are the executives at the ECB, the IMF, and the rest of the handful of people who realize just close to the edge of collapse this world's most riskiest bank (whose market cap is less than the valuation of AirBnB) finds itself right now.







    Countries including as Austria, Hungary, France, the Netherlands, Italy, and Denmark are calling for referendums on their own membership of the EU, as well as on issues such as the migrant allocation policy and the euro.
    Front National leader for France, Marine Le Pen, stated in the European Parliament that the UK’s vote was a “signal of liberty and freedom to the rest of the world”, and that she “commit[s] to pursuing the path of liberty [for France] – to be a free people”.
    Here’s a look at Europe’s most emboldened member states, dissatisfied by the EU’s push for ever closer union, looking to challenge the authority of the political bloc and take back their sovereignty.

    Movement – Danish People’s Party (DK). Denmark’s second largest party, which, along with two other right-wing parties, supports the Liberals in the minority government.
    Aside from the recently-liberated Britain, Denmark is the least integrated into the politico-trading bloc out of the remaining 27 nations and is broadly sceptical of deeper EU integration.

    The Danish People’s Party (DK), led by Kristian Thulesen Dahl, called for a ‘Danexit’ should Brexit succeed. The Danish populists hope to use Britain’s exit negotiations as a template, believing that with the groundwork already done for them a referendum would be successful in Denmark.




    France – ‘Frexit’


    Movement – Front National. 

    Key figures – Marine Le Pen (left), leader of the Front National; Marion Maréchal-Le Pen (right), politician and niece of Marine.
    There has been a rising groundswell of Euroscepticism in France where a protracted economic crisis and anger over immigration have led to a rejection of the EU, with the nation polling at over 50 per cent of citizens as having a strong desire to have a referendum on membership.

    Austria – ‘Auxit’



    Movement – Freedom Party of Austria (FPÖ)
    Key figures – Heinz-Christian ‘HC’ Strache (left), Chairman of the FPÖ; Norbert Hofer (right), politician and member of the FPÖ, former candidate for President of Austria (2016 election).
    Freedom Party of Austria (FPÖ) leader HC Strache has called for a return of powers from Brussels to national parliaments, an end to the Schengen Agreement, and the returned right for Austria to control its own immigration policy.

    Norbert Hofer narrowly lost the Austrian presidential election – the result of which is currently being investigated for postal voter fraud – and the party is favourite to win power in the Austrian elections in 2018.



    The Netherlands – ‘Nexit’


    Movement – Party for Freedom (PVV) 
    Key figures – Geert Wilders, founder and leader of the PVV

    Leader and founder of the Party for Freedom (PVV) said of the ‘Patriot Spring’ that it was a reaction to the authoritarian and undemocratic EU, and that the “genie” of populist, pro-freedom politics was “now out of the bottle”. Following the vote to Brexit he has called for the Netherlands to hold its own referendum on membership of the EU.  



    Italy – ‘Itexit’



    Movements – Five Star Movement (M5S); Northern League
    Key figures – Virginia Raggi, Mayor of Rome (above, left); Beppe Grillo, co-founder (above, centre); Chiara Appendino, Mayor of Turin (above, right) of M5S.  Matteo Salvini, MEP and leader of the Northern League.
    Co-founded by comedian Beppe Grillo, the Five Star Movement (M5S)  wants to see a referendum on the euro, and said it would gather signatures in order to force a referendum on the single currency so that “the Italian people can decide on monetary sovereignty”.
    Hungary, though not seeking a referendum on its membership of the EU, wants to attack the Brussels bureaucrats on specific issues.  Namely, President Viktor Orbàn is committed to holding a referendum on the EU-imposed migrant quotas.
    Furthermore, Hungary, along with the other Visigrad countries (Poland, Czech Republic and Slovakia) post-Brexit have slammed the EU, and called for reforms.
    Sweden – Sweden Democrats called for a British-style referendum, though does not expect a ‘Swexit’ to happen any time soon.  However, the party leader Mattias Karlsson said: “With Brexit, I think the tide has turned. We can see that a larger proportion of the Swedish population are increasingly eurosceptic and in favour of leaving the European Union,” he said. “In the end I think it will be very hard for the establishment to refuse these people a vote.”

    Germany – though the populist Alternative for Germany (AfD), headed up by Frauke Petry, celebrated Britain’s exit result, deputy leader Alexander Gauland said any referendum proposal would have to be “carefully considered” and that the party shouldn’t make decisions “in the heat of battle”. Significantly, there is not the appetite for leaving the EU, a recent poll showing that 17 per cent of Germans would vote to leave the EU with 79 per cent voting to remain.





    The World On Edge - Restraining Sudden Destruction, Brexit Aftermath, EU To Create Military?

    In another excellent commentary by Terry James, we see yet another watchman who seems to be getting the same sense of what may be holding the world back from 'sudden destruction'  - this is worth reading. The second article delves deeply into the EU and where we may be headed now and it opens the possibility that the currents events have been well-planned. Both articles serve as significant food for thought and are worth contemplating as we approach the last days of this generation: 



    Restraining Sudden Destruction


    There is a sense among many at this moment in history that impending disaster presses against the fabric of life on planet earth from every side. This is not mere paranoia pushing against the collective anxiety-ridden psyche of a world uncertain about its future. The threat is real, and it is in Bible prophecy. A quick scan of issues, events, and anticipated actions testify to the reality of the threat and validates the angst.

    Israel is ground zero for much of the fear pressing upon a world full of dread. The Jewish state is considered the trigger point for possible nuclear conflict in the Middle East–conflict that is sure to spread globally once unleashed. Iran is the antagonist that is the cause of the most immediate threat to regional and world peace–although the world diplomatic community seems intent on making Israel responsible for keeping war from erupting. This is the way it is, despite the fact that the Iranian regime’s leaders threaten to wipe Israel off the map.

    Is puzzling to many as to why there hasn’t been an uncontrollable explosion there in the ancient Bible land. Israel’s restraint has been remarkable, considering the threat from its neighbors, particularly from Iran and its developing nuclear program. Rumors continue to fly of war-making against that program, thus to eliminate atomic weapons that will almost certainly be unleashed against Israel if allowed to come to fruition.

    The world is in absolute economic chaos. Everywhere one looks, there are untenable fiscal circumstances that threaten not only national, but continental and even planetary economic implosion. Greece is the most pronounced of notable nations to require a $170 billion bail-out–done, incidentally, with money that doesn’t really exist. Debt forgiveness and other sleight-of-hand chicanery are at the root of the “fix”–a trick similar to the trillions-of-dollars, smoke-and-mirrors maneuvering employed to keep America’s financial ship afloat for these years since the current administration began to wrestle with the controls of power.

    Like in the case of the Israeli/Iranian threat to world peace, it is dumbfounding to many as to why these economic pressures, pressing in upon the fabric of world stability, hasn’t ruptured the building bubble and collapsed the global monetary structure. The worldwide terrorism factor–wrapped up in militant, fanatic Islam and the ongoing jihad declared against anyone and everyone who refuses to bow to Allah–amazingly hasn’t broken through the fabric of the world’s relative stability. Tremendous pressure from that quarter is on the rise in a mighty way, however.


    Why, many puzzle, has that incendiary movement not torched the combustible Mideast situation, igniting the conflagration the world’s diplomatic community fears?

    Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection would, the prophet foretold, set in motion events that will culminate with mankind’s final war that will be fought this side of Christ’s return. The desolations of that era will be like a flood–i.e., the war of good versus evil will include many troubles, which God’s Word outlines for anyone who truly is a watchman in the last days.
    Jesus told those watchmen (mentioned in Mark 13: 37) that when we see all of these things, including great wars and rumors of war, that we are to know that the end “is not yet” (Matthew 24:6). But we are to be looking up, because He is very near to His time of return (Luke 21:28).
    When is the end coming, then? We know from Daniel’s prophecy that a flood of issues and events with evil at their core will mark the end. Jesus Himself prophesied that the time of His coming will be like it was in the times of Noah’s day and like Lot’s day in Sodom (read Luke 17:26-30 and Matthew 24:36-42). Things will be moving along relatively as usual for those times.

    We must remember that those times were filled with godlessness and great evil, even though people were buying, selling, marrying, planting, etc. Jesus then said that the same day Noah went into the ark, and the same day that Lot was taken from Sodom, God’s judgment fell. He said it will be exactly like in those days at the time He returns.

    That first phase of His return will be at the Rapture of His church–not at His Second Advent (Revelation 19:11). We can know that is true, because at the time of His Second Coming at Armageddon, it will not be business as usual. The earth will be almost completely destroyed, and nearly three-fourths of mankind will have been killed by that time.


    Prophetic observers of God’s Word are witnessing that end-times onslaught of pressures from evil that Daniel called a flood. But, that flood hasn’t broken the dam holding it back. This is amazing even to many who watch and believe in prophetic stage-setting. Why hasn’t the Middle East completely exploded in war? Why hasn’t the world economy imploded, bringing about worldwide financial collapse? Why have the Muslims been allowed to continue to set up their long-desired, worldwide caliphate, while Israel more and more is viewed as the troublemaker that might be the instigator of war?



    Paul the apostle, through inspiration of the Holy Spirit, told us the reason things haven’t yet completely come apart–why evil hasn’t yet taken over: And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time. For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way. And then shall that wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. (2 Thessalonians 2:7-10)


    The KJV word “withholdeth” in the Greek language is katecho. It means to “restrain.” So, this prophecy by Paul is about the one who will “restrain” evil, until He is taken out of the way. The Restrainer is God the Holy Spirit, the third Person of the Holy Trinity. God Himself is restraining the evil, which can’t take over the world and be ruled by Antichrist.

    How can God be “taken out of the way” so evil and Antichrist can take over for a time? This will happen only when the church–all believers in Christ (the born again) are taken to Heaven in the Rapture. The Holy Spirit indwells each and every Christian at present. When the Church is raptured from the earth, the Holy Spirit will serve a different purpose in God’s plan for the consummation of human history. He will no longer restrain the evil thoughts of mankind. He will no longer govern the consciences of those left behind to endure the Tribulation–the final seven years of history before Christ’s Second Coming. It is no wonder that Jesus said that time will be the worst that has ever been, or ever will be (Matthew 24:21).


    It will be hell on earth when the Restrainer no longer restrains evil as He does in this present hour. Jesus says that at the time the Holy Spirit leaves His restraining office, judgment will fall that very day (again, reread Luke 17: 26-30 and Matthew 24:36-42).
    That stupendous change for all of mankind can take place at any moment. Here is what Jesus told us further: “Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh” (Matthew 24:44).






    In my article 'Brexit: Global Trigger Event, Fake Out Or Something Else?', published before the U.K. referendum vote, I outlined numerous reasons why I believed the Brexit was likely to pass. As far as I know, I was one of very few analysts that stuck to my call of a successful Brexit right up until the day of the referendum instead of slowly backing away as the pressure of conflicting polls increased. My prediction was verified that evening.
    In my post-Brexit commentary, which can be read here, I then outlined why so many analysts in the mainstream and even in the liberty movement were caught completely unaware by the referendum results. Today, however, I now see hundreds of analysts using the same talking points I argued before the Brexit, but still missing the first and most VITAL underlying truth.  

    The core reason why I was able to discern the Brexit outcome was because I accepted the reality that the Brexit does not hurt globalists — in the long run, it actually helps them.

    Now, I fully understand the excitement surrounding this event.  For many people it was a complete surprise because they assumed that international financiers and the ever-pervasive global elites would do anything to stop it from happening. It feels like a kind of revolution; a pointy stick in the eye of the beast. While I applaud the people of the U.K. for their ongoing battle for sovereignty, I can assure you that the Brexit is NOT an obstacle to the plans of globalists.

    I would remind readers that it was actually "pro-EU" globalist puppet David Cameron himself that presented the prospect of a referendum to exit the EU. 

    While some may argue this was bungling on the part of Cameron, I think this is a rather foolish notion.  Cameron does what he is told like every other elitist owned politician.  Furthermore, the behavior of internationalists leading up to the Brexit was rather strange, hinting to me that they were preparing for a Brexit surprise.

    Globalist financiers like George Soros jumped into the markets and bet in favor of stocks going negative, indicating prior knowledge.  Hilariously, Soros' advisers are now playing damage control by claiming that Soros "lost money" on bets on the English Pound.  While they admit he did "make profits" on all of his other investments due to the Brexit, they will not say what the magnitude of those investments were, nor have they provided evidence supporting any of the information they have given to the media on his losses on the Pound.  Truly, a slapdash lazy play at spin control.

    “…the failure of the EU does not necessarily mean a failure for the internationalists. For groups of globalists that promote an ideology of Fabian Socialism, a breakdown of the EU, whether partial or total, can be used as leverage for a larger and more centralized global power structure in the long term. Mark my words, when the system comes crashing down (whether after the Brexit or after another trigger event), internationalists will say that the EU failed not because it was centralized, but because it was not centralized ENOUGH.”
    “If the Brexit succeeds, the globalists can allow the market systems they have been inflating for years to finally crash (at the speed they choose). They can then blame those dastardly “far-Right extremists” in the U.K. for triggering a domino effect within the global financial system, conveniently scapegoating British conservatives, moderates and sovereigns for a breakdown that was going to happen eventually anyway. Their solution will once again be to argue for the end of “barbaric” conservative principles and install complete centralization and socialism as the cure.”

    EU officials only continue to strengthen my predictions by calling for an EU superstate in response to the Brexit; in other words, a completely centralized Europe.

    And, Bloomberg has reported on Mario Draghi's recent call for a "new world order" in response to the UK referendum in which central bank policies around the globe are completely coordinated.  Bloomberg removed the word "NEW" from the article's title an hour after it was published.  Go figure; I guess mentioning the "new world order" was just a little too honest.

    The concept of a dangerously volatile and destructive populist movement for sovereignty is being heavily pushed in the mainstream media. The racist angle is now being implemented, with the MSM warning that racism is on the rise in the U.K. due to the Brexit campaign.
    Most if not all of the developments I warned of when I predicted the Brexit are also coming true.  So, if I am as correct about the motives behind the Brexit as I was correct about the outcome of the Brexit, here is what will probably happen in the coming months as the drama unfolds.
    The globalists have conjured an interesting paradox with the UK referendum.  Look at it this way; even if you believe that the globalists were "caught off guard" by the Brexit, one must admit that it is still in their best interest to initiate a crash.
    First, the elites spent so much time warning of the doom that would befall the world if a Brexit vote succeeded, they must now fulfill their own prophecy or appear foolish and impotent.

    Second, if globalists and the central banks they control act too aggressively to stall a market plunge, they are sending a message to all other EU nations that they should not worry about seeking their own referendums, because the central banks will save the day if they do.  More referendums mean exponential crisis in equities.  So, markets will crash if the central banks don't act, and they will crash if central banks do act.

    This is all an academic discussion, though, because central bankers fully intend for the existing system to at least partially crash.  They simply want to decide the pace of the implosion.  Most will do this through jawboning and minor policy maneuvers, but not much else.  The Federal Reserve is the only wild card in this equation.

    While the Brexit vote is a considerable shock to global markets, and there is a likelihood of referendums in other European nations, I do not believe the Brexit alone is enough to cause the kind of economic crisis the elites are seeking.  There needs to be a one-two punch combo here, and the second punch has not arrived yet.

    What form will it take?  I have no idea.  I do believe that with the Brexit drama in full swing, the timing is perfect for certain unstable EU banks, including Deutsche Bank, to announce insolvency.  This could be the next moment of shock.  That said, there are hundreds of possible trigger events ready and waiting to be exploited.

    So far it would appear that equities markets in particular are in for a slow grind down (with sporadic but short lived rallies) going into the U.S. elections.  I would not expect much to happen until the Fourth of July holiday has passed and I would expect low trading volume to persist until then.  I believe that by the time November arrives the global economy will be in a clear and visible recessionary mode.  This does not mean a "collapse" in the Hollywood sense will be in full swing, but our fiscal structure will be visibly worse off to even the most oblivious citizens.

    Imagine that the economic and political events of our world are for the most part a cleverly staged piece of cinema. The globalists are writing a screenplay for that cinema and we are all supposed to believe that the movie we are watching is real life rather than an engineered fantasy. The Brexit in our story is an act of “evil sovereignty activists” and “right wing extremists” who lure ignorant people away from the light of globalism using “emotion” rather than logic.

    This will be the narrative pressed in politics and social discussions from now on.  The story the globalists are writing is one of the terrorism of selfish freedom movements, how they brought the planet to the verge of complete collapse, and how globalism and collectivism finally “triumphed” and saved humanity.

    An interesting and very manipulative propaganda campaign being put in motion around the Brexit is the idea that the U.K. referendum represents a division between older generations and younger generations.  The mainstream media argues that older generations in the U.K. that have already benefited from the EU are now “taking it away” from the younger generations and essentially screwing them out of their futures.

    Anyone who understands the root failings of the EU and the fact that it has been on the edge of collapse for the past several years knows that such arguments are patently ridiculous. The EU has been beneficial to no one except in minor part to perpetually insolvent nations and peoples.  The EU aids these folks by stealing from solvent nations and peoples.  The Scottish were extremely anti-Brexit, for example, exactly because they have become a welfare dependent society and they know where their bread is buttered.  Most Muslim refugees aren’t flooding into the EU on the premise that they plan to start from scratch and work their way towards prosperity.  They march into the EU on the promise of free goodies.

    To claim that the Brexit was about young versus old is clearly a lie, but we should expect that this narrative will be pushed further.  The globalists need to own the minds of the next generation, and they hope to do so by blaming all their future economic woes on the kinds of sovereignty movements that voted for the Brexit.  

    The great weakness among economic analysts and many independent analysts is their refusal to examine the long game of the elites.  They become so obsessed with the day to day parade of stock tickers and the month to month central bank policy meetings that they miss the greater trends.  We can focus intently on each drop of water that makes up a tidal wave and forget that we are at the edge of the beach staring down death.
    The Brexit is part of a globalist long game that is designed to finally and completely demonize sovereignty movements.
    Think about it for a moment — what better way to remove the only obstacle in their path? The globalists create an economic crisis and then foster conditions by which their primary opponents (liberty activists) get BLAMED for it.  They then swoop in as the heroes of their little cinema after the damage is already done and offer their solution: complete globalization.  With enough people destitute from a global financial calamity, they may very well be begging the elites for help.  This is not to say that the elites will ultimately succeed (I believe they will fail), but that does not stop them from making the attempt.

    I realize this is not what many in the liberty movement want to hear, but this is reality.  This does not diminish the value of a British movement for sovereignty, but it does demand that we temper our celebration and recognize when we are being targeted with fourth-generation warfare.  If we accept the fact that the Brexit is an event the elites plan to exploit for their own ends, then we can identify the threat and deal with it.  If we continue the delusion that the Brexit is some kind of slap in their face when it is not, then we allow them yet another weapon in their arsenal of propaganda.







    In a column for Foreign Policy Magazine, Council on Foreign Relations member James Traub argues that the elite need to “rise up” against the “mindlessly angry” ignorant masses in order to prevent globalization from being derailed by the populist revolt that led to Brexit and the rise of Donald Trump.

    Concerned that, “Today’s citizen revolt — in the United States, Britain, and Europe — may upend politics as nothing else has in my lifetime,” Traub notes that Brexit was an “utter repudiation of….bankers and economists” and an example of how “extremism has gone mainstream”.

    “With prospects of flat growth in Europe and minimal income growth in the United States, voters are rebelling against their dismal long-term prospects,” writes Traub. “And globalization means culture as well as economics: Older people whose familiar world is vanishing beneath a welter of foreign tongues and multicultural celebrations are waving their fists at cosmopolitan elites.”

    Traub’s tone is so contemptuous, he even describes the pro-Trump Republican base as “know nothing” voters and sneers at voters in Poland for being concerned about “values and tradition,” while stressing that the push for further globalization will pit “poor and non-white and marginal citizens” against “working-class and middle-class whites,” whom he describes as angry “fist-shakers”.

    Traub admits that his outlook is “elitist” but that, “It is necessary to say that people are deluded and that the task of leadership is to un-delude them.”









    According to a new foreign policy document from the Brussels-based institution to be handed to EU leaders next week, a "credible European defence" is also essential to preserve good relations with the US.
    EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini's Global Strategy document states that "as Europeans we must take greater responsibility for our security".
    The white paper adds: "While NATO exists to defend its members — most of which are European — from external attack, Europeans must be better equipped, trained and organised to contribute decisively to such collective efforts, as well as to act autonomously if and when necessary.
    "A more credible European defence is essential also for the sake of a healthy transatlantic partnership with the United States."
    While it stresses that "NATO remains the primary framework for most member states", it goes on to urge EU members to "channel a sufficient level of expenditure to defence".
    The document continues: “We live in times of existential crisis, within and beyond the European Union. 
    “Our Union is under threat. Our European project, which has brought unprecedented peace, prosperity and democracy, is being questioned. 
    “To the east, the European security order has been violated, while terrorism and violence plague North Africa and the Middle East, as well as Europe itself. 
    “A fragile world calls for a more confident and responsible European Union, it calls for an outward- and forward-looking European foreign and security policy.”
    The warning of a European army was at the core of the Brexit campaign and became a hot topic with both sides trading blows over the truth of claims Brussels wanted to create a NATO-style organisation.








    The General Assembly of Presbyterian Church, USA (PCUSA) meets biennially in even-numbered years. It consists of commissioners elected by each of its 172 presbyteries. The GA is full of activities: sessions on hundreds of items of business, committee meetings, an exhibit hall, daily worship services, and mission tours sponsored by the  Committee on Local Arrangements.

    This year, PCUSA’s 222nd General Assembly was held on June 18-25, in Portland, Oregon.

    Rachael Lee reports for Christianity Daily that General Assembly’s opening plenary session began with a Muslim, Wajidi Said of the Portland Muslim Community, offering a prayer to Allah, which had been arranged by the PCUSA’s Ecumenical and Interfaith ministry staff.

    After reciting a chant in Arabic, Said said:
    “Allah bless us and bless our families and bless our Lord. Lead us on the straight path – the path of all the prophets: Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Moses, Jesus, and Muhammad. Peace be upon them all, Amen.”

    Said then called upon Allah:
    “In the name of Allah, the beneficent, the merciful, let us praise the Lord. The creator of the Universe, the most merciful, the most compassionate and the Lord of the Universe who has created us and made us into nations and tribes, from males and females, that we know each other, not that we might despise each other, or may despise each other. Incline towards peace and justice and trust in God, for the Lord is one who hears and knows everything and the servants of God, the most compassionate, the most merciful. Gracious are those who walk in the earth with humility, and when bigots and hateful and Islamophobes address them, they say peace. Peace be upon them and peace be upon Allah.
























    Wednesday, June 29, 2016

    California Wildfires And Strange 'Accident'





    The Latest on wildfires burning in the West (all times local):
    7 p.m.
    Officials say evacuations are underway at a rural subdivision 50 miles northeast of Sacramento, California, as a wildfire climbs out of a steep canyon along the Middle Fork of the American River.
    Placer County Sheriff's spokeswoman Dena Erwin says homes near Todd Valley between the cities of Foresthill and Auburn are being evacuated as a 250-acre fire grows.
    She did not know how many homes are affected, but says the fire is approaching a subdivision with large lots and a scattered population.
    The fire began Tuesday afternoon in El Dorado County before jumping the river and climbing out of the canyon into neighboring Placer County.
    California Department of Forestry and Fire protection spokeswoman Lynnette Round says firefighters in the air and on the ground are working in 101-degree heat.
    A brush fire burning in central Arizona has forced evacuations and the closure of part of a major interstate.
    Dolores Garcia with the U.S. Bureau of Land Management says the blaze near the Cordes Junction along Interstate 17 north of Phoenix has charred more than a square mile, and crews are dealing with the effects of thunderstorms that are building in the area.
    Strong, erratic winds forced the flames to shift directions and start heading in a southern direction Tuesday evening.
    The Yavapai County Sheriff's Office called for mandatory evacuations in portions of Cordes Lakes earlier in the day. Garcia said crews have managed to keep flames from reaching any structures.
    Multiple engines, water-dropping helicopters and air tankers are assigned to the fire.

    Authorities say firefighters battling a blaze that has scorched almost 72 square miles in Arizona were forced to use their fire shelters following a sudden change in fire activity.
    Officials with the Bureau of Indian Affairs Fort Apache Agency said Tuesday the firefighters were able to walk out of the area once it cooled, and none suffered life-threatening injuries.
    It's not clear what may have caused the change in fire behavior, and officials say an extensive investigation will follow given that deploying a fire shelter is considered a serious incident.
    The blaze has been burning since June 15 and is 75 percent contained.
    The crew was working along the remaining uncontrolled fire line when the incident occurred.
    A report by the nonpartisan Climate Central says that 11 million Californians are at risk of wildfire and that climate change will lengthen wildfire season.
    NASA climatologist Bill Patzert says climate change is a real factor. But he says California has irresponsibly built homes in wildlands as the state's population exploded in recent decades.




    Summer has just begun and California's wildfires are already on the move. 
    The latest blaze, called the Erskine fire, is estimated to be about 70 square miles and is the state's largest out of the nine ongoing wildfires. The Los Angeles Times reports that so far the fire has claimed the lives of two people and has destroyed 200 structures.
    About 2,000 firefighters have been assigned to fight the fire, however, officials estimated on Monday that it was only 45% contained. 
    Here are some pictures that illustrate the tragic events surrounding the wildfires in California.




    This U.N. official accidentally crushed his own throat right before he was set to testify against Hillary Clinton


    Call it conspiracy theory, coincidence or just bad luck, but any time someone is in a position to bring down Hillary Clinton by testifying they wind up dead. In fact, there’s a long history of Clinton-related body counts, with scores of people dying under mysterious circumstances.

    Perhaps the most notable is Vince Foster. Foster was a partner at Clinton’s law firm and knew the inner workings of the Clinton Machine.  Police ruled that death a suicide, though it is often noted that Foster may have been suicided.

    Now, another official has found himself on the wrong end of the Clintons. That John Ashe was a former President of the United Nations General Assembly highlights the fact that no one is safe once in their sights.

    And as you might have guessed, there are major inconsistencies with Ashe’s death. It was not only conveniently timed because Ashe died just a few days before being set to testify against Clinton in a corruption case, but official reports indicated he died of a heart attack.

    The problem, however, is that police on the scene reported Ashe died when his throat was crushed during a work-out accident.

    The New York Post’s Page Six reported that after Ashe was found dead Wednesday, the U.N. claimed that he had died from a heart attack. Local police officers in Dobbs Ferry, New York, later disputed that claim, saying instead that he died from a workout accident that crushed his throat.
    Adding to the mysterious nature of Ashe’s death was the fact that he had been slated to be in court Monday with his Chinese businessman co-defendant Ng Lap Seng, from whom he reportedly received over $1 billion in donations during his term as president of the U.N. General Assembly.
    And then there was this: During the presidency of Bill Clinton, Seng illegally funneled several hundred thousand dollars to the Democrat National Committee.





    U.S. vs Russia: More Provocations



    Russia: US Destroyer Got Too Close to Its Ships in Europe



    The Russian defense ministry has accused a U.S. Navy ship of sailing dangerously close to its vessels in the Mediterranean Sea.

    The ministry says Tuesday in comments carried by the Interfax news agency that the destroyer USS Gravely passed a Russian combat ship dangerously close earlier this month in the eastern section of the Mediterranean and cut in front of a Russian frigate. The ministry insisted the Russian vessels were in international waters and did not perform any dangerous maneuvers regarding the American ship.
    U.S. officials have repeatedly complained about Russian military jets and vessels buzzing and sailing too close to their planes and vessels, calling it dangerous and unprofessional behavior.



    The US guided-missile destroyer Gravely breached international navigation safety rules by coming within dangerous proximity of the Yaroslav Mudry, a Russian frigate, in the eastern Mediterranean, the Russian Defense Ministry has said.
    The USS Gravely approached the Yaroslav Mudry, a Russian frigate, on June 17, passing across her course at a “dangerous” distance of 180 meters (55ft), the Defense Ministry said in a statement on Tuesday.
    The encounter occurred in international waters. The Yaroslav Mudry did not deviate from her course and refrained from engaging in dangerous maneuvering with the US warship, the ministry added.
    According to the statement, the warship’s captain and crew violated the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea (COLREGS), which govern the conduct of two or more vessels when they meet at sea in order to prevent dangerous situations.

    “The US sailors, in particular, neglected Rule 13, which stipulates that an overtaking vessel must keep out of the way of the vessel being overtaken,” the Defense Ministry said. It added that the USS Gravely had also violated Rule 15, which says that a vessel that has another vessel on the starboard side must yield and avoid crossing ahead of her.
    The ministry also said the Pentagon should take note of such incidents rather than accuse the Russian Air Force and Navy of unprofessional conduct. “US sailors allow themselves to neglect key foundations of navigation safety without thinking of the consequences that dangerous maneuvering in a heavily trafficked maritime area might involve.”

    The USS Gravely is an Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer capable of carrying an Aegis missile defense system. She was commissioned in 2010 and sent to her first overseas deployment in the eastern Mediterranean three years later.



    Stunning advancements in ground warfare tactics and technology have given Russia a decisive advantage over the US in ground warfare capability; right now, the US would lose a ground war.  Such is the essence of Lt. General H.R. McMaster’s analysis of US ground force readiness as determined by analyzing what Russia has achieved in Ukraine.
    These days, the charismatic director of the Army’s Capabilities Integration Center is knee-deep in a project called The Russia New Generation Warfare study, an analysis of how Russia is re-inventing land warfare in the mud of Eastern Ukraine.Speaking recently at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C., McMaster said that the two-year-old conflict had revealed that the Russians have superior artillery firepower, better combat vehicles, and have learned sophisticated use of UAVs for tactical effect. Should U.S. forces find themselves in a  land war with Russia, he said, they would be in for a rude, cold awakening.

    “Look at the enemy countermeasures,” he said, noting Russia’s use of nominally semi-professional forces who are capable of “dispersion, concealment, intermingling with civilian populations…the ability to disrupt our network strike capability, precision navigation and timing capabilities.” All of that means “you’re probably going to have a close fight… Increasingly, close combat overmatch is an area we’ve neglected, because we’ve taken it for granted.”
    We’re out-ranged by a lot of these systems and they employ improved conventional munitions, which we are going away from. There will be a 40- to 60-percent reduction in lethality in the systems that we have,” he said. “Remember that we already have fewer artillery systems. Now those fewer artillery systems will be less effective relative to the enemy. So we need to do something on that now.”

    Karber also noted that Russian forces made heavy and integrated use of electronic warfare. It’s used to identify fire sources and command posts and to shut down voice and data communications. In the northern section, he said, “every single tactical radio [the Ukrainian forces] had was taken out by heavy Russian sector-wide EW.” Other EW efforts had taken down Ukrainian quadcopters. Another system was being used to mess with the electrical fuses on Ukrainian artillery shells, ”so when they hit, they’re duds,” he said.




     New research shows that most of the radioactive fallout which landed on downtown Tokyo a few days after the Fukushima accident was concentrated and deposited in non-soluble glass microparticles, as a type of ‘glassy soot’. This meant that most of the radioactive material was not dissolved in rain and running water… The particles also concentrated the radioactive caesium(Cs), meaning that in some cases dose effects of the fallout are still unclear… Japanese geochemists… analysed samples collected from within an area up to 230 km from the FDNPP… [I]t had been anticipated that most of the radioactive fallout would have been flushed from the environment by rainwater. However… most of the radioactive caesium in fact fell to the ground enclosed in glassy microparticles
    Analysis from several air filters collected in Tokyo on 15 March 2011 showed that 89% of the total radioactivity was present as a result of these caesium-rich microparticles, rather than the soluble Cs, as had originally been supposed.
    Discovery (Seeker), Jun 27, 2016: Fukushima Accident Rained Glass Particles on Tokyo… Most of the radioactive fallout that descended upon downtown Tokyo in the days after the March 2011 accident [was] glass microparticles — essentially, glass-filled soot. As a result, the fallout, which contained concentrated radioactive cesium, wasn’t dissolved by rainfall, and probably lingered in the environment… Japanese scientists thought that most of it would be washed away by rainwater. Instead, analysis… revealed that most of the radioactive cesium in fact fell to the ground enclosed in glassy microparticles.

    ANI, Jun 28, 2016: Research indicates Fukushima radioactive fallout may be worse than expected Most of the radioactive fallout, which landed on downtown Tokyo a few days after the Fukushima accident, was concentrated and deposited in non-soluble glass microparticles, as a type of ‘glassy soot’

    Inverse, Jun 26, 2016: Radioactive “Glassy Soot” Fell Over Tokyo After the Fukushima Meltdown… The findings… show that the radioactive fallout… has been poorly understood. Previously, it was assumed that most of the radiation that fell dissolved in rain. This would mean that it would wash out of the soil and through the environment… These tiny glass particles entered the air and fell as soot on the surrounding region. Because the radioactive molecules are contained in an insoluble medium, they will not wash out of the soil with rainwater to the same extent… Beyond the consequences for the environment, there are significant consequences for human health. Breathing caesium encased in glass particles may have a very different impact from exposure to it as radioactive rain…