The Fourth Turning and Steve Bannon Pt. 2 = Happiness, Hedonism, Horror – Repeat – By Harrison Koehli

histeria

Continued from Part 1: Why He’s Wrong, Even Though He’s Right

I wasn’t familiar with the ‘fourth turning’ before the Bannon media hype, but the idea didn’t strike me as off the wall once I read about it. I think it’s actually quite useful. And it’s not really new either. Howe and Strauss seem to have built upon existing ideas of historical cycles and refined them, tying them to the biological life cycle and filling in a lot of the details. For example, Howe mentions Toynbee’s idea of a “great war cycle”:

And this is the old lesson of Arnold Toynbee, of what he calls the great war cycle that arose every 80 years or so: it’s when the generation who doesn’t remember the last great catastrophe finally become the senior leaders.

Another source is Russian sociologist Pitrim Sorokin. I’m not sure if Howe and Strauss were familiar with Sorokin’s work, but these blog posts (here, here, and here) suggest that their theory at least “appears to be a clean innovation on Sorokin’s work”. Sorokin also identified a cycle of 80 to 100 years that ping-pongs between spiritual and materialistic mindsets, roughly corresponding to the awakening and crisis turnings. For Howe and Strauss, the second and fourth turnings – spiritual awakening and secular crisis – form the key moments in the larger cycle of cultural trends.

There’s another source, however, that I think rounds out generational theory even more and provides the perspective we need in order to prevent the current crisis from progressing to a reign of terror. Readers familiar with Lobaczewski’s Political Ponerology (which cites Sorokin’s work as a source) know that one of main points of the book is that some psychopaths strive for political power, and create societal nightmares once they achieve it. But equally important is his focus on the historical cycles that make such a thing possible. The two are intimately tied together.

In PP, Lobaczewski describes this cycle in terms of “good times” and “bad times”. Bad times contain within them the seeds of good times, because they provide the hard lessons that force people to rediscover what really matters, prompting a spiritual awakening for society to rebuild. But good times also contain the seed of bad times, because they tend to lead to hedonism, complacency, and stagnation, where past lessons are forgotten and written off as a waste of time. But the hedonistic pursuit of happiness only leads to misery, because it lacks any meaning or sense of purpose. And by ignoring the lessons learned in the past, societies open themselves up to the same “infection”. They lose their “immunity”. Their defenses are weakened, and another crisis becomes inevitable.

Already we see aspects of Howe and Strauss’s “high” (good times), “awakening” (rediscovery of lost values), and “unraveling” (stagnation and hedonism), which lead to “crisis” (bad times).

Lobaczewski admitted that the two key “danger” phases were well recognized by historians. The first is a spiritual crisis where moral, religious, and intellectual values atrophy and cease to nourish a society. If the correct measures aren’t taken, this leads to a secular crisis: economic collapse, revolution, war, the fall of empires. That’s pretty standard stuff in history, but what’s not understood very well are the specific dynamics that govern why and how this happens – and therefore give a clue as to how to prevent the worst from happening. Left only with Howe & Strauss’s theory, we’d be in the same boat as any other generation, albeit with the advantage of knowing we’re navigating a crisis. Luckily, we have PP to help us out.

As a psychologist who lived in Communist Poland and studied the Soviet system – risking his life in the process – Lobaczewski had a unique perspective, something people like Bannon could probably benefit from. He focuses in detail on two “pathological states” of societies. Think of them as mental illnesses affecting an entire society, which have specific causes, stages, symptoms, and treatments. These two societal diseases also act as distinct stages within a bigger “macrosocial disease process”:

…their essence and contents appear different enough, but they can operate sequentially in such a way that the first opens the door to the second. (PP, p. 120)

I want to focus on the first: a state of heightened and pervasive societal hysteria, which can open the door to the nightmare of the second disease state, “pathocracy”.

Lobaczewski fits these pathological social conditions into what he calls a “hysteroidal cycle”, but I’ll just refer to it as the cycle of hysteria. It’s important information to have, so I’m going to summarize his ideas here and relate them to Howe and Strauss’s work on the four turnings. (For those readers who have PP, the bulk of this information comes from Chapter 2.)

The Cycle of Hysteria

Lobaczewski says the cycle of hysteria repeats “not quite every two centuries”. The level of social hysteria peaks around one generation before a crisis, in other words during an unraveling. If it peaks hard enough, it can lead to a reign of terror, as it has so often in the past. If Lobaczewski is right about the length of the cycle, that suggests a longer cycle – close to two of Howe and Strauss’s cycles (i.e. 150 to 180 years). Civil War buffs might be able to provide some insight into this, given that the Civil War happened just over 150 years ago. Or perhaps Howe and Strauss are correct in limiting the cycle to 80 years, and the conditions that make one cycle worse than another are secondary and don’t repeat like clockwork. I don’t know.

As bad as the bad times are, they give purpose: for progress and the rediscovery of lost values. A close encounter with evil forces us to gather the physical and mental strength to fight not only for our lives, but also for our sanity. Even though our first response is usually to turn to violence and military might (revolution, counter-revolution, civil war), that hotheadedness falls by the wayside with time and experience. In the cauldron of suffering and chaos, frivolous emotions eventually make way for sober reflection, and we’re forced to regain lost powers of thought and discernment. Society eventually regains a healthier worldview: knowledge of self and others, old virtues and values, understanding the meaning of history. All of which eventually gives us the power to actually conquer evil by creating a new order out of the chaos.

But this knowledge slowly fades. Those who benefit the most after the crisis in terms of position and wealth give birth to children who haven’t known real hardship. These children learn to repress uncomfortable truths that would force them to admit that they profit from injustice (e.g., slavery, worker exploitation, corrupt business practices, imperialism, etc.). This form of denial only gets worse with each new generation. In other words, the privileged, elite establishment gradually loses touch with reality, becoming more self-serving and self-entitled with time.

This kind of comfortable life – blind to the negative underbelly – gives rise to increasing levels of self-importance and hysteria, which eventually reach a critical point. If this critical point can’t be overcome, a bloody tragedy usually results within the next generation. In other words, if the disease isn’t treated in its infancy, crisis is probably inevitable. How bad it is depends on how far a society has devolved morally and psychologically. Some societies survive relatively intact; some are tied to the fate of other nations; but empires can and do collapse. A crisis of hysteria is how it all happens.

So let’s take a look at some of the “symptoms” of this social disease, which show up after a couple generations of living the good life. Lobaczewski gives a few specific examples of how the hysteria manifests. People tend to become overly emotional, hyper-sensitive and hyper-irritable, prone to taking offense at the drop of a hat, and unreasonably distrustful of others. In Eastern Europe, some of the older generation assumed anything anyone said to them in casual conversation was a lie. Having a conversation with such a person is not easy. They’re constantly seeing something that isn’t there: you lying to them. And nothing you can say or do will convince them otherwise. In other words, they’re basically hallucinating.

Cognitively, critical thinking goes down the tubes, people lose their ability to reason, and cognitive dissonance reaches pandemic levels because people come to believe many things that just aren’t true. When you consistently hallucinate an alternate reality that isn’t actually there, naturally that alternate reality has to come face to face with actual facts. But those facts can’t be accepted as true, otherwise that would mean you’re wrong and you’re not as smart as you think you are. Result: cognitive dissonance. And when this kind of pseudo-thinking based on “alternative facts” becomes habitual, people habitually miss the point. Lobaczewski calls it “chronic avoidance of the crux of the matter” – they simply can’t see what’s actually important or significant. (I’ll go into this in more detail in Part 3.)

This video captures some of the above. It’s also funny.

This is bad news. When we ignore reality, or substitute facts with more comfortable alternatives, this means we can’t come to correct conclusions or make effective choices. And as Dr. Jordan B. Peterson put it in one of his talks: “Every time you tell yourself a lie and every time you act out a falsehood, you distort the pristine integrity of your nervous system, and the reports it will give you about the nature of the world will be distorted.” And that inevitably leads to bad results.

When these emotional and cognitive errors run rampant, they lead to a life dominated by what Lobaczewski calls the “three egos”:

  • Egoism: selfishness, self-interest above all else on the personal and national levels
  • Egotism: self-importance, arrogance, boastfulness on the personal and national levels
  • Egocentrism: self-centredness, thinking only of oneself, without regard for feelings, interests, of well-being of others, on the personal and national levels

That’s what happens when you hallucinate a world in which you are the best and the most important, and you ignore or reinterpret any evidence to the contrary. At the level of governmental administration, it leads to self-defeating and even disastrous domestic and foreign policy.

So, due to all the above (emotional hysteria, cognitive dissonance, the three egos), people and nations steadily cease to see the importance of engaging in introspection and self-criticism, and acknowledging their own faults. They lose interest in gaining knowledge of life and of others. They aren’t interested in understanding or acknowledging the suffering of others, here or abroad. When creature comforts and a relatively decent or exceptional standard of living are readily available, answering tough questions and acknowledging harsh realities just aren’t worth the effort. What’s the point when you have everything you want or need? “What’s in it for me?”

Public, social and moral responsibilities take a back seat. People become self-indulgent, driven by the pursuit of pleasure, and obsessed with trivial things. Our social connections with others get weaker and weaker. We don’t think seriously about the future, how to prepare for it, and what to do in order to make sure we have a future. We steadily lose basic knowledge of how our own minds work and how to interact with others in a healthy way. In a nutshell, we lose our understanding of the very things necessary for a peaceful preservation of law and order, and for social progress. And without this understanding, we can’t and don’t properly educate the next generation with the knowledge they need to deal successfully with the world, which only sets them up for failure.

Truth becomes an uncomfortable concept in such times; truth tellers and whistleblowers aren’t treated well, lies become common currency. People in high social positions become contemptuous of their inferiors, while those “inferiors” grow resentful of those at the top. Universities, politics, and business form a united front of talentless, incompetent hacks. This leads to a paralysis of leadership. Simple problems that should have relatively common-sense and simple solutions become overwhelming. Can’t get much worse, right? Wrong. Things can get much worse.

In sum, when hysteria reaches its peak, people are overwhelmingly ruled by automatic, unconscious emotional and cognitive processes. Readers should check out Daniel Kahneman’s Thinking, Fast and Slow, and Timothy Wilson’s Strangers To Ourselves, because they talk about these specific processes. And a little self-knowledge goes a long way. The alternative is not pretty:

Those who try to maintain common sense and proper reasoning finally wind up in the minority, feeling wronged because their human right to maintain psychological hygiene is violated by pressure from all sides. This means that unhappy times are not far away. (PP, p. 105)

So the question is this: Is America (and the rest of the world) in for some unhappy times?

In Part 3, I’ll take a look at the hysterical state of American society, the implications, and what can go wrong.

Harrison Koehli

Harrison Koehli co-hosts SOTT Radio Network’s Truth Perspective, and is an editor for Red Pill Press. He has been interviewed on several North American radio shows about his writings on the study of ponerology. In addition to music and books, Harrison enjoys tobacco and bacon (often at the same time) and dislikes cell phones, vegetables, and fascists.

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US Intelligence Apparatus Seems ‘Hellbent’ On Escalating Tensions With Russia – By Joe Catron

‘Improvement is possible,’ one activist tells MintPress, but ‘it’s going to be a real challenge to push back effectively against the whipped-up hostility toward Russia.’

Traditional Russian wooden dolls called Matryoshka are displayed at a souvenir street shop in St.Petersburg, Russia. (AP/Dmitri Lovetsky)

UNITED NATIONS — Despite President Donald Trump’s divisive policies and inflammatory rhetoric, many of his opponents have instead concentrated for months on hurling accusations of collusion with Russia against him.

The steady drumbeat of charges, which began soon after the Trump campaign convinced Republican delegates to drop language critical of Russia from their party’s platform, has only escalated since the Nov. 8 election.

Unsubstantiated claims, often leaked by the CIA, have been broadcast uncritically in media, typically led by the Washington Post, then trumpeted by not only Democratic leaders, but also many Republicans.


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“The entire campaign to blame Russia for ‘hacking the election’ has been conducted without presenting any evidence to the public,” veteran foreign affairs journalist and United Nations correspondent Joe Lauria told MintPress News.

“Instead, a compliant media has taken the word of unnamed officials of the CIA, an organization for decades devoted to deception, disinformation and meddling in other governments’ elections, not to mention overthrowing many.”

This open maneuvering by intelligence elements has sparked wide discussion of a “deep state”: a network of established figures within the government determined to protect their interests, regardless of changes at the elected level.

When the CIA has failed to offer sufficient material, Trump critics have dug deeper for it, at one point promoting a blacklist from an amateurish website whose anonymous operators made no secret of their sympathy for Ukrainian fascism.

Despite their eagerness to amplify every claim, no matter how unlikely, their dogged pursuit of a conspiracy between Trump and Moscow has produced nothing more scandalous than a discussion between Michael Flynn, then a nominee for national security advisor, and Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak of U.S. sanctions against Russia.

Meanwhile, known but failed attempts by the Ukrainian government to boost Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s campaign have received little attention, and certainly none comparable to unproven claims of Russian support for Trump.

But with anti-Russian sentiment permeating the news cycle, many observers suspect the truth or untruth of any charge may be beside the point.

Rather, some think, their objective is to freeze the status quo on the frayed ties between the United States and Russia, or even to weaken them further.

 

‘Not just maintaining the status quo, but escalation’

Protesters hold placards and chant slogans during a demonstration called "Emergency Rally to Stand for Democracy," Sunday, Feb. 26, 2017, in Boston. Demonstrators called for an investigation into what they describe as the possible involvement of Russian officials in the campaign of then presidential candidate Donald Trump in the Nov. 2016 electio

“Some very powerful interests in the United States want U.S.-Russia relations to get worse, not better,” Norman Solomon, co-founder of RootsAction.org, told MintPress.

As protests against Trump continue into the second month of the his administration, some of his critics argue that the president’s bellicose threats make him an unusual, if not unprecedented, threat to global peace and stability.

In a seeming paradox, however, many of the same figures have joined the anti-Russia drive, pushing the United States toward continued, and perhaps escalated, conflict with another nuclear-armed power.

Days before the election, Trump said Hillary Clinton’s plans to claim both airspace and territory in Syria, where Russia participates in military operations by the Damascus government, were “going to end up in World War III.”

Military and intelligence veterans shared his assessment, albeit in subdued terms.

Now many supporters of Clinton’s proposals seem determined to force a clash, perhaps with the help of pliant figures within the Trump administration.

“The neocons expected Hillary to be elected and their plan was to ramp up provocative NATO actions against Russia,” Bruce Gagnon, coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space, told MintPress.

“Trump’s victory put a damper on that plan.”

But political figures hostile to Russia have resisted the possibility of rapprochement on multiple fronts, coupling accusations against Trump with other aggressive maneuvers.

“I think the danger is not just maintaining the status quo, but escalation, bringing Ukraine into NATO and putting U.S. troops on the Russian border,” Bill Dores, a member of the International Action Center, said in reference to former President Barack Obama’s deployment of forces to the Russian border days shortly after he launched a fresh round of sanctions.

Others agree that critics of Trump’s openness to Russia seemed inclined to fray relations rather than simply maintaining existing levels of conflict.

“I think they might even want an escalation of tensions,” Sam Husseini, media and communications director at the Institute for Public Accuracy, told MintPress.

The focus on a foreign power, he suggested, could offer Trump’s political antagonists a chance to divert public attention from their stinging losses.

“Russia affords all these entities an opportunity to grandstand and distract from their own failures to provide meaningful democratic engagement and economic advancement for the bulk of the U.S. population.”

 

‘No time to waste’

Dores, of the International Action Center, suspects thirsts for both increased political power in Washington and greater profit margins on Wall Street.

“There are many factions in Washington, but none of them were satisfied with the Obama/Kerry strategy of proxy wars and sanctions that yielded neither fat military contracts nor significant geopolitical results,” he said.

“A big player of course is the military-industrial complex, which needs new markets in Eastern Europe and bigger Pentagon budgets,” he added. “Another is the oil industry, still reeling from the collapse of the asset-price bubble that Bush’s massacre in Iraq had created.”

Joe Lauria, the veteran journalist, suggested that U.S. investors hoped to eventually reshape Russia itself into a more receptive market.

Pew poll Russia“The bipartisan establishment is hellbent on dangerously confronting Russia and continuing the new Cold War,” he said.

“Its ultimate aim is to replace Putin with a Yeltsin-like figure.”

Among other factors, Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space’s Gagnon said, “the U.S. fears the combined power of Russia and China (and BRICS) in their quest to create a multipolar world, as opposed to the current model of the U.S. as ‘unipolar’ world ruler.”

“The U.S. knows that there is no time to waste if they wish to knock down this Russian-Chinese unity from flourishing.”

With public opinion on Russia roughly divided along partisan lines, yet mild overall, the long-term effects of attempts to foment animosity against it remain unclear.

But in the short term, manufactured rage seems to have stalled any possibility of improved relations, even if ties have not worsened.

And with few organized efforts opposing a panic encouraged by much of the political establishment, little seems likely to change soon.

“Improvement is possible,” RootsAction’s Solomon said.

But, he added, “it’s going to be a real challenge to push back effectively against the whipped-up hostility toward Russia.”

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The Fair Work decision on penalty rates is class war – we have to fight back – By Steph Price

 

The Fair Work Commission decision on penalty rates will result in the biggest wage cut since the Great Depression. It is class war.

Far from accepting the “business case” for the attack, hospitality, fast food and pharmacy industry workers have clogged talk back radio lines with stories about how they will now be pushed closer to the edge. Others are calling in to commiserate and to lay into the business owners who, everyone knows, simply want more money in their own pockets. Tens of thousands have signed petitions opposing the decision. The Sydney Morning Herald published one of its stable of writers under a headline calling the decision, “a war on the young and the poor”.

Some of the thousands to have responded furiously to the news still recall the spectacle, reported in January, of Australia’s business elite calling for Sunday wage cuts from the decks of their luxury yachts at Sorrento’s annual Couta boat race.

Evelyn, a Spotlight worker, who learned she will lose $80 a week, or 13 percent of her $600 weekly wage, fronted a media scrum to ask on national television if anyone can explain how she’s supposed to survive now. “$80 is a huge amount, I’m telling you”, she said.

This is heat that business groups are willing to cop. They knew when they launched this case that support for a wage cut for low paid workers was almost non-existent. They know how popular penalty rates are, in particular after trying, and failing dismally, to undermine the widespread attachment to the notion of a weekend. They came at it from every angle. They called it an “anachronism” and “a hangover from a bygone era” when Sundays were for church. They blamed weekend penalty rates for unemployment and small business failure. It was all to no avail.

Workers wouldn’t be talked out of their weekends, not with statistics about church attendance rates or rubbish about jobs growth. In 2013, an Essential Poll found that 81 percent thought that people should be paid more for working outside ordinary hours. Despite the business campaign to chip away at this sentiment, a 2015 poll showed that support for penalty rates had not moved an inch.

Throughout 2016, there were revelations that some of the country’s biggest companies were operating under dodgy workplace deals that unlawfully undercut the penalty rate entitlements of hundreds of thousands of their workers. Hardly a week would go by without another newspaper investigation uncovering a new name to add to the scandal list – Coles, Woolworths, Hungry Jacks and McDonalds were just a few.

There are few political issues in recent Australian history for which mass opinion has been more consistently lined up against the bosses’ agenda.

How is it then, that almost a million workers are months away from a historic wage cut? How did the ruling class win this one? Our side let them, that’s how.

This decision has been years in the making. The Fair Work Commission launched its penalty rates review in 2014. A year later the Productivity Commission bolstered the bosses’ case for a cut by issuing its own recommendation that Sunday rates be slashed. In September 2016, the commission delayed its long-awaited decision to invite the Australian Industry Group to make further submissions. In all of that time, even as the likelihood of this ruling became plain, our union leaders did nothing to turn mass opposition to wage cuts into the sort of force that could pressure the bosses and the commission to back off.

An estimated 5 million workers currently are entitled to penalty rates. The shop assistants, hospitality and fast food workers targeted in this decision make up just part of this number. Largely ignored by the union movement or abandoned to the worse than useless SDA, these are some of the least organised sections of the labour movement.

Many more of these millions work in construction, nursing, emergency services, manufacturing, energy and mining. In some of these industries, unions still have weight and union members remember what it is to fight. What should have been fertile ground for our beleaguered trade union movement to invigorate itself by building a serious, broad and active campaign to defend penalty rates instead came to nothing.

What effort was expended mobilising for penalty rates was focused only on the dead end strategy of getting Labor elected. In the last federal election campaign, unions brought workers together in their thousands to canvas for the ALP in marginal seats across the country. Decked out in t-shirts calling to “save the weekend”, union members tried to get the vote out for a party that was promising to do nothing on penalty rates. Bill Shorten went to the last election ruling out Labor legislating to protect penalty rates. The party that created the Fair Work Commission would respect its ruling, he said.

Labor, under some pressure, has now changed its position and announced that it will seek to protect penalty rates in parliament, though the details of its plan have not been revealed. The Greens, which campaigned on the promise, will introduce legislation to reverse the decision of the commission. Both parties sense the mood on this issue. But mood alone will not turn this around.

It is not yet clear that the commission’s decision and the magnitude of this attack have shaken the leaders of our unions out of their familiar pose. Already, we’re a few runs through the routine that for too long has characterised trade unionism in Australia: press conference, meme, petition, repeat. Days have passed since the announcement and there is no sign of any real fightback.

Now is not the time for more of what we’ve seen in the past. This is a historic attack. It demands a response to match, urgently. The evidence is all there: if the unions offer a genuine lead workers will mobilise and they will resist this.         

Now is the time to remind the Liberals why they hate unions. Now is the time for bosses to get a glimpse of the sight of thousands upon thousands of workers taking to the streets to protect their rights. The union movement can defeat this – but to do so we have to act now.

LEPEN CONSIDERS DR. ASSAD CRUCIAL TO SYRIAN PEACE; ARMY DEVASTATES ALQAEDA AFTER SUICIDE BOMBERS KILL OFFICER IN HOMS – By Ziad Fadel

SAAF DEVASTATES ISIS IN DZ; SAA REPELS ATTACK BY LUCKLESS ALQAEDA IN DER’AH

 

Image may contain: 1 person, text

The nominee of the National Front in France, Marine LePen, has announced that the only solution to the Syrian crisis is Dr. Bashar Al-Assad. Needless to say, she will be a welcome change from the rabid mass murderer and internationally despised weasel, Francois Hollande. Let us hope for her success and the return of France, finally, to its senses.

___________________________________________

HOMS: CHIEF OF MILITARY SECURITY IN HOMS KILLED BY SUICIDE BOMBERS:

استشهاد رئيس فرع الأمن العسكري في التفجيرين الإرهابيين في حمص

2 separate, but simultaneous suicide attacks took the life of Maj. Gen. Sharaf Hassan Da’bool, a personal friend of the Syrian president and a Military Security specialist in the Homs branch of that service. It happened this morning when 6 Nusra/Alqaeda terrorists managed to penetrate security cordons around 2 internal security bureaus, to wit, the Directorate for State Security and the Directorate for Military Security in the western quarters of Mahatta and Al-Ghoutaa in Homs City. The 6 terrorists wore explosive belts filled with C-4 or Semtex. The explosives were given to them by Saudi Arabia via Turkey. The targets were 2 well-manned checkpoints at the entrances to the security services’ buildings where another 32 soldiers were killed and about 24 wounded.

After the explosions, the remaining 4 terrorists who were committed to dying, got their wish and were sent to their separate chambers in Hell. A half-hour long gunfight ensued as the SAA took to the offensive, surrounding the terrorist hyenas, and forcing them to explode their belts killing themselves and, sadly, a number of our infantrymen.

Today, all day, the SAAF has been pummeling the only quarter of Homs City which still has rodents in it. All day, the area of Al-Wa’ir has been bombarded. It is totally abandoned now with only rodents inside. The president has ordered the quarter razed to the ground with all its vermin inside.

______________________________________________

DER’AH:

At the Al-Manshiyya Quarter, the Nusra/Alqaeda terrorist enterprise has had little luck. This morning, in what appears to be a coordinated attack with the suicide bombings in Homs City, 200 terrorists made another attempt to regain lost ground in this quarter but were stopped cold by alert SAA soldiers who had received intelligence about the assault earlier from local and patriotic citizens. The attack came from 3 directions: Al-Masri Roundabout, west of Al-Zumaytiyya Hill and west of the Old Customs Building in the south of the city. One pickup with 23mm cannon was destroyed along with 2 armored cars and 2 suicide trucks. SAA artillery also reportedly destroyed a Nusra/Alqaeda command-control center as the army responded to the attack with ferocity.

Yesterday, the SAA destroyed 3 suicide trucks belonging to Nusra/Alqaeda at Al-Manshiyya. The trucks were put in place for the attack that occurred today. The army knew about this attack since yesterday, at least.

Busra Al-Shaam: 2 trucks loaded with weapons and ammunition were destroyed by SAA rangers.

_________________________________________

QUNAYTRA:

At the Red Hills (Al-Tulool Al-Humr) in the northern sector of the Golan Heights east of Hadhar Village, SAA artillery rained death down on Zionist-allied Nusra/Alqaeda and killed their leader, Iyaad Kamaal (nicknamed: “Moro”). He led a terrorist gang called “Hermon Group”. Weapons and ammo were also destroyed.

__________________________________________

DAYR EL-ZOR:

The SAAF continued its campaign of annihilation against ISIS here at the following areas: Al-Tharda Mountain, Panorama, The Cemeteries, Sariyyat Junayd.

Al-Bukamaal: Something bizarre has taken place here concerning a leader of the “Hisba” unit of ISIS. He was killed under strange circumstances yesterday leaving his followers apparently shocked and confused. I hope to have more about this later.

Al-Mayaadeen City: 4 rodents were assassinated by SAA operatives as they slept.

Tallat Shu’ayb: This is a strategic hill overlooking the Cemeteries which was liberated last Wednesday by the SAA.

___________________________________________

ALEPPO: Here are the 15 towns liberated by the SAA in Eastern Aleppo:

Rasm al-Hirmil

Tabaarat Maadhi

Al-Mazboora

Rasm Al-Khabbaaz

Rasm Al-Sheeh

Al-Manaazhir

Umm Khirza

Abu Jabbaar

Al-Qibta

Qasr Al-Burayj

Al-Judayda

Khirbat Al-Mansoora

Al-Mazroofa

Mustareehat Meeri

Khirbat Kibaar

Saleem Mountain (strategic)

To do this, the SAA destroyed 8 suicide trucks and killed over 130 foreign rodents of ISIS. 500 square kilometers were liberated. Today, the SAA’s engineers were out dismantling IEDs and mines.

___________________________________________

NEWS AND COMMENT:

Samer Hussein sends this news report about a rodent who killed 20 Syrian soldiers execution style going on trial in Austria:

http://www.fort-russ.com/2017/02/austrian-court-begins-trial-for-syrian.html

Sharmine sends this one about U.S. use of depleted uranium on innocent civilians in both Iraq and Syria:

http://www.alternet.org/world/us-killing-innocent-civilians-iraq

More hilarious propaganda cited by Waf Halabi. This one’s a howler:

http://www.syrianews.cc/fake-news-report-criminal-lies-fake-hospital-fake-ngo-syria/

Brandon outs McCain again for his support of terrorism. Another great article for students of the MSM:

http://www.activistpost.com/2017/02/mccain-illegally-travels-syria-meets-leaders-fighting-groups.html

And here’s more from Waf about McCain who ought to be hanged:

http://www.syrianews.cc/foreign-terror-sponsor/

 

LEPEN CONSIDERS DR. ASSAD CRUCIAL TO SYRIAN PEACE; ARMY DEVASTATES ALQAEDA AFTER SUICIDE BOMBERS KILL OFFICER IN HOMS; SAAF DEVASATES ISIS IN DZ; SAA REPELS ATTACK BY LUCKLESS ALQAEDA IN DER’AH by Ziad Fadel

Google blacklists Natural News, removes 140,000 pages from its index – By Mike Adams

Big Brother is watching you

This is a guest piece by Mike Adams from Natural News (not us, Health Nut News!)

Late last week, I, Mike Adams, received a direct threat that warned if I did not take steps to destroy Alex Jones and InfoWars, I would be targeted for destruction in a campaign of smears, censorship and defamation.

Instead of giving in to the enemy, I refused to take the bait and went public with details of the threat, warning everyone in the new media that sinister forces were now being pursued to undermine and silence every anti-establishment (and pro-Trump) voice on the internet.

True to form, today the entire Natural News website has been blacklisted by Google, entirely without warning. This is just one of many censorship events that have all taken place over the last few days:

  • Last weekend, damning videos were leaked in a focused effort to take out Milo Yiannopoulos, a former Breitbart News editor and gay conservative who has openly supported President Trump. Milo was hit with an attack wave of “opposition research” and was forced to resign from Breitbart on Monday, citing the “cynical media witch hunt” that brought him down.
  • Yesterday, InfoWars was blackballed by AdRoll.com, an online advertising distribution company. According to Alex Jones, the blacklisting by AdRoll will cost InfoWars $3 million in annual revenues, possibly causing InfoWars to abandon plans of opening a Washington D.C. bureau to cover the Trump administration with real news (instead of the fake news from CNN and elsewhere).
  • The Shopify e-commerce platform was aggressively threatened by organized Leftists to dump the Breitbart online store and thereby deny revenues to Breitbart. Shopify’s CEO refused to kow-tow to the intimidation and censorship and has maintained a “neutral” position on political issues, focusing on running e-commerce platforms for everyone.
  • Today, Natural News has been hit by Google, which has blacklisted the entire Natural News domain and removed over 140,000 pages from its index. The take down of Natural News happened this morning, and it follows a pattern of censorship we’re seeing being leveled against other pro-Trump websites. Google sent no warning whatsoever to our “webmaster tools” email address on file with them. The shut off of Natural News was clearly driven by a human decision, not an algorithm. We’re currently attempting to determine Google’s claimed justification for censoring our entire website, and we hope to have NaturalNews.com restored in Google’s index.

Some of the news now being censored by Google includes our laboratory testing of the U.S. water supply, where we conducted laboratory testing to discover that 6.7% of municipal water is contaminated with toxic metals. Google has also blacklisted our announcement of free laboratory testing services for Native American water supplies impacted by oil pipeline leaks. Also blacklisted is our exclusive coverage of the GlaxoSmithKline criminal indictment by the U.S. Justice Dept. and our interview with the whistleblower who helped achieved a record $3 billion settlement with the criminal drug company.

Apparently, Google believes the public should no longer have access to these investigative journalism articles… and 139,997 more articles that cover activism, science frauds, drug industry criminality, political corruption and more. You are witnessing a modern-day book burning by the internet Gestapo that now decides what knowledge you’re never allowed to access… especially because much of that knowledge can help set humanity free.

I describe it in more detail in this podcast: (article continues below)

Silencing Natural News is all part of the globalist “script” for the enslavement of a population kept ignorant of reality

Natural News is, of course, one of the world’s top educational and activism sources exposing the lies of dangerous medicine, toxic mercury in vaccines, the corporate-quack science behind GMOs, cancer industry fraud and so on. By providing truthful, empowering and passionate information to the public, we harm the profit model of the corrupt medical cartels that fund the media, lobby the government and influence internet gatekeepers with advertising money. (Google has already declared war on natural medicine and nutritional supplements, all but banning them from being advertised on Google Adsense.)

The removal of Natural News from Google’s index means that millions of people may now be unnecessarily harmed by toxic medicines, herbicides and brain-damaging mercury in vaccines because they are being denied the “other side of the story” that’s censored by the corporate-controlled media. By censoring Natural News, Google is, in effect, siding with the criminal pharmaceutical industry that has been charged with multiple felony crimes and caught bribing doctors, fraudulently altering scientific studies, conducting medical experiments on children and price fixing their drugs to maximize profits.

In effect, censorship of Natural News is part of the establishment’s war on humanity which includes depopulation measures (Bill Gates), covert infertility vaccines, corporate-run media disinfo campaigns and a full-on assault against scientific truth and free speech conducted in the public interest.

With the attacks on Milo, InfoWars and Natural News, what you are witnessing right now is the coordinated silencing of every voice that opposes the corrupt, globalist establishment. All such voices are being “memory holed” in the run-up to an attempted Orwellian-style domination over all information run by Facebook, Google, Yahoo, Twitter and other internet gatekeepers. This is all by design. It is nefarious, sinister and represents nothing less than the final desperate assault to enslave humanity by silencing truth.

Targeted by anti-Trump globalists

It’s clear to me that Natural News is being targeted primarily because of our support for President Trump and his review of vaccine safety. It is now apparent that any person who engages in real science, critical thinking or any attempt to protect children from the brain damaging effects of mercury in vaccines is going to be silenced, discredited, smeared and blacklisted. This is an astonishing realization about the depths of total corruption in society today and how the medical cartels control information to maximize their profits off human suffering.

Note that if I had agreed to betray my colleagues and agree to participate in a smear campaign against Alex Jones, everything would have been fine with Natural News and you wouldn’t see the attacks being waged against us. The tactic now being pursued by the establishment is, “Join the Dark Side or be destroyed.”

I won’t ever join the Dark Side, which means I will be silenced. The message from Google and other information gatekeepers is now clear: Obediently conform to the status quo or you will be banished from the digital realm.

This is, in essence, nothing less than a modern-day book burning by anti-human globalists who are determined to keep humanity ignorant (and diseased).

The real agenda of the humanity-hating globalist agenda is now on full display: It’s about total domination over all information so that humanity never learns that cancer can be prevented with vitamin D, or that glyphosate herbicide causes cancer, or that statin drugs are a multi-billion-dollar medical scam. The Sheeple are all slated to be sacrificed upon the altar of Big Pharma profits, and anyone who dares stand in their way will be eliminated by any means necessary.

What you can do to fight this brazen censorship and assault being waged against humanity

First off, stop using anti-truth internet gatekeepers like Google, Facebook, Yahoo and Twitter. They are quietly controlling your thoughts, ideas and beliefs by limiting your access to valuable resources like Natural News.

Second, use GoodGopher.com as your search engine, as it provides you with uncensored search results from thousands of independent media websites (many of which are banned or penalized by Google).

Third, bookmark NaturalNews.com in your browser and check it at least twice daily (we post new content each morning and each evening). Manually type it into your browser if you have to. From now on, never rely on some other gatekeeper to bring you to Natural News, because those gatekeepers are censoring all our content.

Be sure to also sign up to our email newsletter using the form below. This email newsletter is one of the best ways we can reach you without being filtered out by other sources. As you might expect, Gmail censors our newsletters too, so don’t use a Gmail email address. (Yes, the censorship is an all-out assault.)

Finally, make Censored.news a primary resource to watch for breaking news on important events that are being censored by the fake news media (CNN, WashPo, NYT, etc.).

Finally, prepare for total war on humanity. I’m being told from other sources that the “final solution” is coming soon from the globalists, and it’s going to be unleashed as an all-out war against Trump, liberty, free speech, natural medicine and every individual who dares stand up and speak the truth against the lying globalists and their fake news minions. The reason they are silencing Natural News, InfoWars and other outlets is because they are preparing for a very big false flag assault and they don’t want independent media websites to be able to counter the “official” news narrative.

I’m serious. Get ready. It’s all coming down soon.

Mike Adams

Comment: The war on humanity is being ramped up and escalated to a fever pitch. For yet another example see this slick anti-Trump/anti-Putin video that, as of 2/24/17, and entitled ‘Pros and cons of closer relations with Russia’ – is linked right to Yahoo’s portal page under hack corporate “journalist” Katie Couric’s picture. The linked page includes a blurb that presents itself as objective. See how many blatant and egregious lies you can count in the video.

As President Trump continues to signal that he’d like to have closer ties with Russia, Yahoo Global News Anchor Katie Couric takes a look at the pros and cons of changing that relationship.

Fidel Castro’s comments on Israel’s ‘macabre genocide’ of the Palestinians should be heeded – By Ramona Wadi

© Ninian Reid/flickr/cc
“The danger always lay in the example Castro set, which exposed the possibility of challenging the pernicious self-declared U.S. monopoly over human existence—and for which he merits remembrance as a hero.” -Belén Fernández

Of all the comments penned about Israel’s atrocities inflicted on the people of Gaza, Fidel Castro’s reflection published in Granma, the newsletter of the Cuban Communist Party, is of utmost significance. Weaving an account of imperial violence as a force necessitating resistance, the legendary Castro’s discussion of Palestine and the genocide inflicted upon Palestinians should be read with particular attention within the internationalist context that has, historically, formed part of the Cuban revolution since his memorable speech, History will absolve me. Not only read, but heeded.

Reflecting upon the widespread horror that engulfed the world in relation to the Nazi persecution of Jews, among other minority groups, Fidel wrote:

“Why does this government believe that the world will be insensitive to the macabre genocide which today is being perpetrated against the Palestinian people? Perhaps it is expected that the complicity of the US Empire in this shameful massacre will be ignored?”

Cuban collaboration with the Palestinian resistance dates back to June 18, 1959, when revolutionary Ernesto Che Guevara visited Gaza only a few months after the triumph of the Cuban revolution. In later years, Cuba supported Palestinian armed resistance, forming particular alliances with Fatah under Yasser Arafat, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine. Following this, the Caribbean country severed all diplomatic ties with Israel.

As can be seen from Castro’s many speeches and declarations, internationalism against colonial and imperial domination remains a central feature. In the Second Declaration of Havana, he said, “The movement of the dependent and colonial peoples is a phenomenon of universal character which agitates the world and marks the final crisis of imperialism.” In further analysis with regard to revolutionary consciousness and internationalism, the Cuban revolutionary leader stated, “A country that exploits the people of Latin America, or any other parts of the world, is an ally of the exploiters of the rest of the world.”

Within the context of Gaza and Israel’s colonial massacre, the above quotes prompt profound reflection. Imperialism has sought, relentlessly, to dismiss Palestinian resistance as uncalculated and unwarranted violence, aka “terrorism”, despite the obvious discrepancies arising from the magnitude of the damage inflicted by Israel upon Gaza. Following decades of colonial violence in various manifestations which contributed to the erosion of resistance through concessions, Palestinian revolutionary struggle has been embraced at a national level, through recognition of, and resistance against, the threat of colonisation. “Protective Edge” has served to heighten the legitimacy of Palestinian resistance; not through the ramifications of international law, but as a coherent struggle against the epitome of imperialist-supported violence.

Fidel Castro’s words stand in stark contrast to the UN’s ineffective and ambiguous resolutions, another struggle which the Cuban leader elaborated upon continuously as he utilised the international platform to further the revolution’s internationalist stance. Armed struggle has proven to be the primary means through which imperialism may be combated, a fact proven by the continuation of the Cuban Revolution. Salvador Allende’s refusal to advocate for armed struggle (a fact expounded upon by Castro in his analysis of Chilean society and the military) against US-backed neoliberal violence resulted in a brutal military dictatorship, the relics of which continue to hold sway over Chilean society.

Palestinians find themselves in a far more perilous predicament. Any retreat, or concessions, that divert from the recently-embraced revolutionary consciousness manifesting itself in armed struggle will contribute towards the complete Zionist colonisation and continued extermination of the indigenous population.

Comment: As a powerful and global symbol of resistance, Fidel Castro protected Cuba for decades against the hegemonic machinations of the USA. As painful as it is to see the Palestinian toll in the face of its will to survive, he is right in his reasoning that to give up, at any stage, no matter the violence, is to resign to a swift and complete extermination…something Israel is only too willing to accommodate.

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The Fourth Turning and Steve Bannon Pt. 1: Why He’s Wrong, Even Though He’s Right – By Harrison Koehli

If you’ve been following the lamestream fakenews media, you’ve probably heard about Steve Bannon’s “obsession” with the “dark theory” about an imminent “fourth turning” in America. Bannon is Trump’s chief strategist, so the idea is that he’s whispering in Trump’s ear and making his own agenda reality. If that’s the case, it’ll help to understand what Bannon may be whispering. See SOTT.net editor Andres Perezalonso’s piece, Trump, Bannon and the danger of self-fulfilling prophecies, for some of that. Here I want to dig into this “fourth turning” I’ve been hearing so much about lately.

The idea comes from a book of the same name by historian/economist/demographer Neil Howe and author William Strauss. Their overall theory is called “generational theory“, and Bannon is a proponent of their work. So let’s see what they have to say.

Howe did an interview with Erico Matias Tavares of Sinclair & Co. back in July of 2015. In it he explains that a “turning” is a unit of history, roughly that of a social generation, i.e. around 20 years or so. Each generation interacts with the ones before it, and the ones that come after, so the cycle is tied to the biological life cycles of the people living in them – the character of their parents, how they’re raised, how they react to the older generation, how they influence the world once they themselves become parents and leaders, rinse and repeat. Each generation is a product of the last, but also reacts against it in significant ways, setting a culture on a slightly new, or radically new, path.

But there seems to be some regularity in how these interactions between generations play out. By studying generations of American and world history, Howe and Strauss began to see a pattern, “a certain order”. This cycle is punctuated by crises, e.g., the American Revolution, the Civil War, the Great Depression. Howe and Strauss observed that the cycle seems to repeat every four generations, so roughly every 80 to 90 years. Coincidentally or not, the Soviet Union lasted roughly three generations (1922-1991), and it was another 8 years or so before Putin came into power at the end of the crisis of the 90s.

The first turning is the “high” following a crisis, when collective mentality is strong and societies rebuild on a new foundation, e.g., the period following the Great Depression and WWII up to the death of JFK in 1963. Or, by contrast, the period of the formation of the Soviet Union in 1922 after the October Revolution, up until WWII, when Russian society was radically reshaped by the Soviets.

By contrast, the second turning is an “awakening”, where individualism begins to confront and outstrip the conformity of the previous generation. This period sees revitalizations of religion, values, and art, e.g., the consciousness revolution of the 60s and 70s in the U.S. Even totalitarian Russia had an awakening of sorts during Khrushchev’s “Thaw” in the 50s (that’s when Solzhenitsyn was first published, for example), which saw some major scientific/technological innovations.

After that comes the “unraveling”, where people just want to enjoy what they’ve built. Institutions stagnate, and people see them as weak and untrustworthy. In the U.S., this was the 80s and 90s, including the culture war and economic boom. The USSR had Brezhnev’s “Era of Stagnation” (1964-1985).

After that, when the vast majority of those who lived through the last crisis are dead or retired, comes the next “crisis”. For the Soviet Union, this was the era of Gorbachev and Yeltsin, the dismemberment of the Soviet Union and the catastrophic 90s where Russia was economically raped by a criminal gang of liberal oligarchs (I know, “criminal” and “liberal” are synonyms in Russian!). Howe describes the crisis period as one driven by “the sense of collective urgency to solve a dire problem which is perceived to threaten the very future existence of this society”, often but not always characterized by war. “The economy, politics, empire, technology, infrastructure” are torn down then remade. And the crisis isn’t necessarily good or bad. Howe says it’s like a forest fire: “It burns away the brush and allows new seedlings to grow.”

We intuitively capture the essence of a generation in the name we give it: for example, the high’s Baby Boomers, the awakening’s Generation X, the unraveling’s Millennials (Howe and Strauss came up with that last one, by the way), and the crisis’s Generation Z. Howe thinks the U.S.’s fourth turning began in 2008, as the Boomers retired, the Gen X-ers were entering mid-life, the Millennials were coming of age, and the economy crashed.

Howe doesn’t presume to know the future. When it comes to predictions, this model is best at anticipating trends, not specific events. For example, crises can come at any time, especially if they’re sourced from outside the culture in question. For example, Russia entered WWII at the end of a first turning. 9/11 came near the end of a third turning. Howe calls these types of events “sparks” – events like Pearl Harbor, the assassination of JFK, 9/11. They can happen at any time; no one can predict them. What can be predicted are the likely responses. 9/11 could’ve been the trigger for a massive WWII-style crisis, but it came at the tail end of an unraveling. A similar event today would be different. If the people responsible for 9/11 were hoping for a bigger response, they were about 10-20 years too early.

Now consider what Howe has to say in light of Trump’s election:

“It’s amazing if you look back at the prior 20 years how little we have done in any way to legislate and form a collective public policy to change even the basic direction, or just adjust the direction, of our country.

This is typical. We have seen eras like that before in American history and what happens – and what people forget – is that public history does not always move in the same way. Decades go by and then suddenly certain events hit, and everything changes on a dime. Huge changes occur! And it’s almost like a seismic event, you know, suddenly the tectonic plates collide…”

That’s the gist of the fourth turning, at least. So what are the media saying about Bannon’s views?

Bannon of the Trumpocalypse

You can get an idea of the mainstream coverage by reading the following headlines and noticing that the major articles on Bannon and the fourth turning all clustered at the beginning of February:

First things first: ignore the predictably lame framing of Bannon as some evil, scheming Rasputin (that could be true, but the media would say the same even if it isn’t). Howe and Strauss’s generational theory is not “dark” and even Bannon’s views have nothing to do with the “apocalypse”. The only sense in which the theory is dark is the fact that historyis dark. It’s a bloody mess. And war is pretty much always inevitable, just by virtue of the fact that one part of humanity has always been at war with another for all of recorded history and that doesn’t look like it’s about to change anytime soon.

But as Andres Perezalonso writes in the piece mentioned at the beginning of this article, sometimes a prediction of the future can become a self-fulfilling prophecy. So even if Bannon may not want to start WWIII, it’s always possible that he or others will bring it about simply by virtue of the fact that they believe it’s coming. As Bannon himself says in the video included in the HuffPo piece, he sees the West’s current crisis as a crisis “of the underpinnings of the Judeo-Christian West and our beliefs“. And he does seem to see a massive war as an inevitability. Or at least he did a couple of years ago – if Clinton had won, he may have been right.

In a piece for Time, historian David Kaiser, relates an anecdote about his experience being interviewed by Bannon for a documentary, Generation Zero:

“Meanwhile, however, two other dangers lurk—one of them embodied in my most vivid memory of my own encounter with Bannon.

When I was first exposed to Strauss and Howe I began thinking how their ideas explained the histories of other countries as well, and during our interview, I mentioned that crises in countries like France in the 1790s and Russia after 1917 had led to reigns of terror. Bannon included those remarks in the final cut of Generation Zero.

A second, more alarming, interaction did not show up in the film. Bannon had clearly thought a long time both about the domestic potential and the foreign policy implications of Strauss and Howe. More than once during our interview, he pointed out that each of the three preceding crises had involved a great war, and those conflicts had increased in scope from the American Revolution through the Civil War to the Second World War. He expected a new and even bigger war as part of the current crisis, and he did not seem at all fazed by the prospect.

I did not agree, and said so. But, knowing that the history of international conflict was my own specialty, he repeatedly pressed me to say we could expect a conflict at least as big as the Second World War in the near or medium term. I refused.”

Sounds a tad obsessive to me, which raises the possibility that a self-fulfilling prophecy might just be made reality. Howe himself says the biggest concerns he sees facing the U.S. this time around are “underproduction, undercapacity, deflation, currency wars, demographics, and falling birthrates”, which coincidentally tie in with many Trump policies.

I suppose it’s possible to give Bannon the benefit of the doubt. Back when he made his most alarming statements, he could have been simply predicting the natural course of things and trying to scare people into making the changes necessary in order to stop it. But if he is single-minded about predicting what amounts to World War III, and even wants to encourage it in order to be in place to rebuild from the ashes, that’s concerning, to say the least. I think a more responsible approach is to be open to all possibilities, but take all steps to avoid a major crisis or mitigate the fall-out, as Russia has done for the last several years in the face of constant American aggression. Prepare for the worst, work towards the best. There are steps that can be taken.

With any hope, Trump’s win could stave off a major crisis. Like him or not, he was the anti-war candidate. A Clinton win would have been business as usual, and business as usual was taking the U.S. straight into catastrophe at full speed. Tackling underproduction, undercapacity, deflation, demographics, infrastructure, etc. could be the steps the U.S. needs to take in order to sidestep a major collapse that would otherwise force those things to be prioritized. In other words, Trump could pre-empt such a crisis, if he’s successful. In which case, his election and current unpopularity could be be extent of the crisis. But inertia creeps, and opposition to Trump may actually end up precipitating a crisis, especially if the traitorous deep state has its way with him.

The thing is, Bannon seems to get a lot right. He’s not crazy for seeing a current crisis, and the danger that it will get worse. And the American system is long overdue a good re-structuring. The tricky part is that, as Kaiser points out above, chaos is a dangerous thing. The “new order” can be better than what came before. Or it can be a nightmare. Without the right kind of knowledge, it’s hard to predict which way it will go, and even harder to prevent a catastrophe. The fourth turning is useful, but it’s incomplete. In Parts 2 and 3, I’ll round out the picture.

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Harrison Koehli

Harrison Koehli co-hosts SOTT Radio Network’s Truth Perspective, and is an editor for Red Pill Press. He has been interviewed on several North American radio shows about his writings on the study of ponerology. In addition to music and books, Harrison enjoys tobacco and bacon (often at the same time) and dislikes cell phones, vegetables, and fascists.

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Sanctions and the ‘Gold Ruble’: Russia’s Gambit For Full Financial Sovereignty – By Rudy Panko

The ruble is the most gold-backed currency in the world. Can this help Russia safeguard against western economic warfare?

Mon, Feb 20, 2017 | 6,409 125

Can Russia "go it alone"?
Can Russia “go it alone”?
 

America’s trusted television pundits are once again screaming about how important it is to maintain sanctions against Russia.

Did they not get the memo? Russia doesn’t expect sanctions to be lifted any time soon. Instead, it’s forging its own path towards financial sovereignty.

With America now in full meltdown mode over the ongoing Trump “sanctions conspiracy” with Russia, we thought it would be prudent to ask if there is any real evidence that Russia is desperately trying to fully reintegrate itself with the western-controlled financial system, or if instead there are signs that Moscow is pursing a completely different path — one of self-sufficiency and financial sovereignty. (Maybe we are seeing signs of both.)

After all, it would only make sense for the Kremlin to conspire with Trump to remove sanctions unless it was a life-and-death situation for Russia’s economic viability. Think about it: Why would a “Kremlin puppet” make lifting sanctions his first priority, unless it was a top national security issue for Moscow?

The truth is that western sanctions cut both ways for Russia.

The western sanctions regime has restricted foreign lending and capital flows, hurting investment and innovation in many Russian sectors. Credit, especially for Russian consumers, has dried up or has become prohibitively expensive to obtain. Old loans pinned to foreign currencies such as the dollar or euro are now financial nightmares. And for Russian companies who used to import products for 30 rubles — they now have to fork over double that amount.

It’s not all doom and gloom, though. As Putin pointed out when the value of the ruble began to tank:

Our budget is not calculated in dollars, but in rubles. The value of the ruble has fallen by about 30%. For example, where we earlier traded something that was worth $1, we would receive 32 rubles in exchange. So now we sell for $1, but receive 45 rubles in return.

The profits in our budget have actually increased.We are resolving our social issues and will continue to do so competently, and we are more than capable of sustaining any military-defense output. Why? Because we operate independently, and we have a program in place to replace imports.

We have had a lot left to us from the previous generations, as well as modernizing thoroughly over the past 15 years. We can resolve these questions independently.

Do the sanctions cause us harm? Yes, they do, but they are not fatal.

We’ve written extensively about how Russia’s response to western sanctions — specifically in the form of counter-sanctions — has reinvigorated the country’s agriculture and manufacturing sectors. Be we would like to return to our original question: Can Russia survive (and thrive) without bending the knee to the western financial establishment? And is there evidence that Moscow is already heading in this direction?

Last week we highlighted a controversial opinion offered up by Bloomberg: If the eurzone broke apart, the rammifications for Russia would be severe.

Bloomberg’s arguments doesn’t sit well with those of us who want to see Russia tear itself from euro/dollar hegemony, but there’s no point in trying to hide the fact that euros currently account for 40% of Russia’s total foreign currency reserves. What this would mean if the eurzone were to suddenly collapse is up for debate. What it means right now, with 100% certaintly, is that Russia needs relies upon Europe to make its economy work.

Right now, Russia needs euros to pay for European goods. Furthermore, at least for the time being, no one in Europe is interested in accepting rubles as payment.

Herein lies Russia’s greatest challenge: How can it shield itself from western speculation and economic warfare, while also staying competitive in a market where money is literally created out of thin air?

Sergey Glazyev, an advisor to Putin and member of the Russian Academy of Sciences, explains how these two goals conflict with each other:

The ruble is the most gold-backed currency in the world, and our currency reserves are excessive — twice as much as our monetary base. As the most undervalued currency in the world, the ruble is five times undervalued in terms of purchasing power parity, and it’s also the most volatile, driving us artificially into stagnation. 

Developed countries’ monetary and industrial policy floods the economy with money. In the last eight years, there has been an unprecedented issuance of dollars, euros, yen and yuan. The value of the world currency in dollars, i.e. the amount of the dollar mass, has grown fourfold since 2007.

Our financial system is shrinking while the West’s expands. The interest rate is being raised while the West innovates. According to Schumpeter, the interest rate is a tax on innovations and investments. We are killing the transition to a new technological system by our macroeconomic policy while strengthening our dependence on foreign sources. Our economy goes where the money is, and because money doesn’t come from here, the economy shrinks.

Here’s where the “gold ruble” comes into play.

For us, the “gold ruble” is just a useful euphemism for a much larger concept: Russia is focusing on giving its currency real value that will be recognized throughout Eurasia (and perhaps the rest of the world).

This seems to be a common strategy shared among most BRICS nations. Emerging economies understand that if they want to free themselves of the “dollar yoke”, they  must create confidence in their own currencies.

In this context, Russia and China’s gold-buying sprees make sense:

As they sharply increase their gold reserves, China and Russia are selling off their U.S. Treasuries, with their hunger for the metal coming amid a strict diet excluding dollars. Gold is appealing to these countries because it shields them from the U.S. government’s ability to control the value of their holdings. Gold is a country-less currency. A continuing trend of reserve buildup and Treasury sales might weaken the dollar and pressure gold prices higher.

China and Russia have officially added almost 50 million ounces of gold to their central banks while selling off more than $267 billion of Treasuries.

And we are already witnessing the results: Russia and China now feel confident enough to trade with each other using their own currencies:

Russia’s state budget strongly depends on oil export dollar profits. Ironically, because of the role of the dollar, the central banks of China, Russia, Brazil and other countries diametrically opposed to US foreign policy, are forced to buy US Treasury debt in dollars, de facto financing the wars of Washington that aim to damage them.

That’s quietly changing. In 2014 Russia and China signed two mammoth 30-year contracts for Russian gas to China. The contracts specified that the exchange would be done in Renminbi and Russian rubles, not in dollars. That was the beginning of an accelerating process of de-dollarization that is underway today.

We don’t believe there will ever be a “gold ruble”. But we do believe that Russia has no expectation that western sanctions will be lifted any time soon.

Which can only mean one thing: They are planning on “going it alone”.

It’s a bold gambit — but will it work? Again, Glazyev explains what’s at stake:

The economic situation is increasingly chaotic. The world economy is out of control. We target inflation, and it doubles. Talk about transitioning to a new direction results in a further degradation of the economy. ‘De-offshorization’ got us more foreign equity in our corporations and industries. Import substitution resulted in further price rises.

This growing crisis is due to two things: our increasing dependence on the America-centric financial system, and American aggression, which we must resist. There’s clearly a dissonance between our financial and economic dependence on a foreign system and the  need to pursue a sovereign foreign policy in order to survive.

This is the ultimate challenge for Russia. The Russians will always be able to defeat an armed invader — especially one as sad as NATO. But can Moscow forge an economic path that will lead to growth while also safeguarding against western economic warfare?

Should Russia look to Asia, or hope that a eurozone collapse will create a new paradigm — despite the short-term setbacks?

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Lavrov deep-fries Merkel: US tapped your phone, but you’re whining about ‘Russian hacking’?- By Matthew Allen

Russia’s Foreign Minister points out the obvious. Again.

It’s not even up for debate — Sergei Lavrov is in a league of his own. Russia’s Foreign Minister mutilates Washington soundbites in his sleep and eats NATO press releases for breakfast — no salt.

As you are well aware, Sergei dropped a payload of painful truth on Mike Pence’s smug, smarmy face during the Munich Security Conference on Saturday. But that was just a warm-up. Pence is a small fish in a big ocean of idiots.

On the sidelines of the Munich conference, Lavrov participating in a meeting with top diplomats from the Normandy Four (Russia, Germany, France and Ukraine).

Angela Merkel used this opportunity to lecture Lavrov and the rest of the audience about the dangers of Russian hacking.

You think Lavrov just sat there and took it on the chin? No. When it was his turn to speak, he reminded the entire world that Angela Merkel’s phones were tapped by her “ally”, and that this is a confirmed fact, and that Angela Merkel is a sad puppet:

The German story was shown to be a fact. You know when it happened, several years ago. It was confirmed that top officials had had their phones tapped. And the other day there was a leak showing that the 2012 presidential election campaign in France coincided with cyber-espianage on the part of the CIA. And talking to a journalist today, a CIA representative said that he had no comments to offer. So I repeat: show us the facts.

So basically Lavrov can check “told Merkel to her face that she’s a miserable witch” off his bucket list.

A true hero. Watch (starts around 6:40):

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Moscow’s Peace Efforts Are Sabotaged as Washington Aims to Make War With Russia Inevitable – By Rudy Panko

Russian efforts to broker peace in Syria and Ukraine are now in tatters, as Washington revs up its war rhetoric and throws caution to the wind. They want war, and they just might get it.

18 hours ago | 4,134 135

History is not on Washington’s side
 

It is now crystal clear that Washington and its client states have done everything in their power to sabotage the tentative peace settlement in Syria and provoke a fresh outbreak of fighting in East Ukraine.

Even the abstract concept of “talking” to the Russians is now considered an act of treason. Just ask Michael Flynn. When Tillerson had his first meeting with Lavrov in Bonn, he very anxiously shut out the press, in direct affront to normal protocol. No American official wants to be caught on camera talking with a Russian.

As a general observation, it’s a very bad time to be alive if you’re a Russian diplomat.

Here’s the latest on the fragile Syria ceasefire and peace settlement: Western NGOs are working around the clock to discredit and demonize the Syrian government. Every few days we are now seeing new reports about Russian and Syrian atrocities, giving ammunition to “moderate rebels” and their delegations that will be used to self-righteously reject any peace settlement. The media is already waiting on the sidelines, ready to declare peace talks as an outrageous whitewash of Assad’s “crimes”.

We’re not being dramatic. Here’s a press release from Human Rights Watch about the upcoming talks in Geneva:

In light of the Syrian government’s repeated war crimes and widespread and systematic human rights violations, including the unlawful use of weapons, all states, including those involved in the negotiations, should make a commitment to stop transferring all arms, related equipment, and logistical support to the Syrian government until the abuses stop and responsible parties are held to account. States should also stop providing such support to armed opposition groups that have been found responsible for widespread or systematic human rights abuses or war crimes.

The US-led coalition should take fully into account that the Russia-Syria coalition has repeatedly committed war crimes under the guise of fighting terrorism, and that any cooperation with Russia in the fight against the Islamic State (also known as ISIS) in Syria should ensure that it is not complicit in such crimes.

Not even trying to hide their disdain for the truth.

Meanwhile, Russian military advisors are being killed in well-timed, well-executed bomb attacks — with no terrorist organization or militia taking credit.

On top of all this: the “rebel” delegation refuses to recognize Tehran as a third guarantor of the ceasefire. And fighting around the suburbs of Damascus now challenges the idea that there even is a ceasefire.

In Ukraine, things have gone from bad to worse: Fighting in Avdiyevka, close to the biggest rebel-held city of Donetsk, has flared up. At least a dozen civilians have been killed and scores wounded. Kiev is using the uptick in violence as proof of renewed “Russian aggression”.

One fact Kiev has been less eager to advertise is that it is precisely the government side which is behind the recent escalation. Radio Free Europe (of all outlets) reports that recently the Ukrainians have gone on the offensive by infiltrating the “no man’s land”, usually under cover of the night, and setting up new positions almost hugging the rebel front line. This clear violation of the Minsk protocols is now being blamed on Russia by every western news outlet and government.

In a recent visit to Ukraine, U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham told Ukrainian troops:

All of us will go back to Washington and we will push the case against Russia. Enough of a Russian aggression. It is time for them to pay a heavier price. Your fight is our fight, 2017 will be the year of offense.

Graham reaffirmed his commitment to war just yesterday, when he declared 2017 to be the year of “kicking Russia in the ass”.

It’s time to face the music: Donald Trump was not able to rein in the permanent war state. He is probably playing golf, right now, as the real powerbrokers in Washington prepare their next provocation.

As Pat Buchanan wrote yesterday:

The epidemic of Russophobia makes it almost impossible to pursue normal relations. Indeed, in reaction to the constant attacks on them as poodles of Putin, the White House seems to be toughening up toward Russia.

Thus we see U.S. troops headed for Poland, Bulgaria, Romania, NATO troops being sent into the Baltic States, and new tough rhetoric from the White House about Russia having to restore Crimea to Ukraine. We read of Russian spy ships off the coast, Russian planes buzzing U.S. warships in the Black Sea, Russians deploying missiles outlawed by the arms control agreement of 1987.

An Ohio-class U.S. sub just test-fired four Trident missiles, which carry thermonuclear warheads, off the Pacific coast.

Any hope of cutting a deal for a truce in east Ukraine, a lifting of sanctions, and bringing Russia back into Europe seems to be fading.

Where Russians saw hope with Trump’s election, they are now apparently yielding to disillusionment and despair.

The question arises: If not toward better relations with Russia, where are we going with this bellicosity?

Russia has tried every diplomatic means possible to find peaceful settlements to the conflicts that Washington has started. These efforts have been sabotaged.

And now Washington aims to make war with Russia inevitable. If it’s not careful, it might just get what it wants.

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