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Populism. If you open a newspapers or look up the news online, you are likely to find declarations from the President of the European Commission Juncker, or the German Chancellor Angela Merkel, or the French President François Hollande, just to name a few, that ‘’European people should not fall for populism’’.
Nassim Nicholas Taleb, author of ‘’The Black Swan’’, best-selling book on the verge of the 2007 financial crisis, offers a different interpretation in one of his latest commentaries in a harsh criticism of intellectuals: ‘’ What we generally call participation in the political process, he (The Intellectual) calls by two distinct designations: “democracy” when it fits the Intellectual-Yet-Idiot, and “populism” when the plebeians dare voting in a way that contradicts his preferences.’’ 1)The Intellectual Yet Idiot, Medium 201609-16.
The United States of America is deemed a benchmark of democracy. One of the pillars of democracy is free and independent press. And an objective one. Without objective press, the freedom of speech is replaced by propaganda, exactly the same as that one in Russia or other “autocracies”. Can we speak about democracy in the US if two major titles openly support one of the presidential candidates? Is it still democracy, if the press have already chosen who should be the commander-in-chief instead of leaving this decision to the voters?
Apple’s $14 billion EU tax fine, and the suspension of the TTIP negotiations cannot come as a surprise; they are a clear retaliation for the totally unjustified penalties the US authorities imposed on European banks during the period between 2009 and 2014.
These fines were based on a change in U.S. regulations made in the second half of the 2010’s, i.e. that all operations done in dollars need to conform to American regulations. As the Dollar happens to be the world’s reserve currency, the US unilaterally expanded its jurisdiction on all other nations. The U.S. has the power to subjugate their partners to their authority and hand over some of their sovereignty to the ruling elites in Washington. BNP Paribas was forced to pay $8.9 billion to Washington regulators. The extraordinary high penalty on the French bank was for all intents and purposes a humiliation of France.
The US alternative media rightly like to point out how the big banks buy their influence in Washington, but they purposely fail to mention another more powerful interest group, with much more influence. For every dollar a lobby group donates, it wants something in return. According to our analyses, the big banks are not the principal contributors who pull strings in Washington. The money trail shows another influential group that have put their wealth and money behind both candidates.
Presidential candidates have always had their political action committees (PACs). These collected money from donors and used it for the campaign. Traditional PACs must abide by strict limits: the money can only be accepted from individual contributors (corporations and labor unions excluded) and its amount is strictly limited.1)Federal Election Commission, Contribution Limits 2013-2014.Super PACs differ from traditional PACs in that they are allowed to collect money in all amounts, from individuals as well as corporations and labor unions on condition that (i) this money will not be given directly to the candidate nor (ii) will the expenditure of the money be consulted with the candidate.2)Sunlight Foundation, 2012-01-31.This has opened up quite new possibilities to the presidential candidates.
The time of Kazakhstan’s stability and prosperity is just passing away. And this conclusion does not come from recent protests and shootings in the city of Aktobe, but from the panicky reaction of President Nursultan Nazarbayev. According to the 75-year old declared Leader of the Nation and his officials, latest developments are a “color revolution” aiming at a “coup” made by “pseudo-religious extremists” financed by detained pro-Russian businessmen; the President voices this opinion despite the fact that previously he claimed it was the “fifth column” of undefined third (western) powers that attempted to interfere with Kazakhstan’s internal policy. Madness. As if it were not the sharp decline in oil revenues has nothing to do with that in a country which produces 1.7 million barrels per day.
Making things even worse, it is questionable if the Aktobe event was prepared by Wahhabis or other Islam terrorists. Religious extremists usually do not attack gun shops and military units, but prefer bombings and random mass killings1)Kazakhstan: Nazarbayev Embraces Color Revolution Paranoia, Source: Eurasia.net 2016-06-08. Moreover, they usually wear beards, whereas most of Aktobe assailants were clean-shaven2)Nazarbayev believes that in the tragedy of Aktobe blame the “color revolution”, Source: The Newspapers 2016-06-09. Radio Liberty attributes the responsibility for the attack to the “Army for the Liberation of Kazakhstan,” which, according to officials and some other experts, does not even exist. The level of misinformation is enormous.
There is a good chance Donald Trump will win the presidency as we already said in August 20151)The world should prepare for Mr. Trump as the next president of the USA Source Gefira 2015-08-15. Trump has the support of the most powerful part of the American elite. A Media Research Center study finds that, over a two week period, coverage of Donald Trump’s campaign took up nearly 78 percent of all CNN’s prime time GOP campaign coverage. 2)CNN Has Spent 78% of Its GOP Primary Coverage on Trump Source RedState 2015-09-16 According to mediaQuant, the big networks gave Trump 1.8 billion dollars’ worth free publicity, far more than the other candidates, with Clinton receiving a mere 746 million dollars.
Up to the dissolution of the SovietUnion the world had been bipolar: there had been two superpowers, the USSR and the USA, with two rivalling military (NATO, the Warsaw Pact) and economic (the European Economic Community and the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance in the West known as COMECON) blocs of vassal states. When the Soviet Union collapsed (1991) the world was left with but one superpower: the USA.
It took three wars for Rome to destroy Carthage. Carthago delenda est was the catchphrase of the day. Weakened though Carthage was, it was not allowed to exist. It took two wars for the Atlantic Anglo-Saxon alliance to destroy Germany. Germany must perish1 was the catchphrase of the day. And so Germany perished in the firestorms of carpet bombings. Now Germany is an American protectorate with a docile government and a people so re-educated that it has been turned into German self-haters. What will it take to destroy Russia? Because Ruthenia delenda est, Russia must perish, has been the catchphrase of the day for years now. And will be.
The Standard and Poor’s rating agency, notorious for its controversial assessments, has this time bashed Poland in the wake of the anti-Polish frenzy whipped up by the European media. To be more precise, Poland was assailed by a German S&P analyst who lowered Poland’s rating from A- to BBB+, despite the economic data that by no means warrant such an evaluation. The agency concedes that the change of the assessment of Poland’s solvency has been brought about by the alleged unfavourable political climate in the country. It is unfavourable especially for the financial and banking sector; the latest law levies a new tax on the banks. The lowering of the rating is aimed at curbing the activities of the Polish government which will now be compelled to take out loans under worse financial conditions as before and as a result have difficulties keeping its election promises.
On Friday afternoon (Jan. 15) President Andrzej Duda signed into law an act on bank tax within the meaning of which from February 2016 it will be mandatory for banks, insurance companies and other financial institutions to provide the country’s budget with 0,44% of the value of their assets. A few hours earlier on the same day, the President laid down a draft law that comes to the aid of the citizens who had taken out loans in the Swiss franc and who have found themselves in financial trouble after the exchange rate of the Swiss currency was floated. The Polish right-wing media tout the lowering of Poland’s rating as a retaliatory move against the Polish authorities on the part of the financial sector.
The tension between the USA and Russia has grown enormously over the couple of months. The case of yet another Russian jet shot down by Turkey pushed Ankara into the American embrace. Iran and Syria has stood by Moscow, the guarantor of their independence of the Western powers. Turkey, faced with no real choice, decided to throw in her lot with the USA. Wasn’t it the Allies that won in World War One? Was Turkey not defeated then because she backed the wrong horse? So Erdogan, Turkey’s president for life, has taken his decision: let the Americans make use of Kanal İstanbul and move their fleet into the Black Sea. The Montreux Convention forbidding passage of navies through the Bosporus does not apply. It is not the Bosporus, it is Kanal İstanbul. The year is 2023, the canal has just been completed.
That might be a scenario playing out in the nearest future. If. If the idea for cutting a waterway through the mainland will have materialized within several years from now.
NATO is about to expand taking on a new member: Montenegro. Podgorica’s bid to start accession talks and become the 29th member of the alliance was accepted on 2 December1. Strategically the country is no gain, politically it is. Russia is being sent a signal that yet another state that used to be under her influence is being taken away. The alliance is taking the Balkans piece by piece. Serbia, too, is being considered as a prospective NATO member.
The move that has been spearheaded by PM Aleksandar Vučić is strongly resisted by the Montenegrin population and by Russia. Montenegrins staged protests long ago, even during the visit paid to Podgorica by Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg2. People do remember NATO aerial bombings of former Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro) that took place during the 78 days of the war of 1999, which left many casualties and areas radioactively polluted due to the NATO’s use of missiles with depleted uranium. The opposition Democratic People’s Party advocates a referendum as the only way of deciding whether the country should join the alliance, but the authorities refuse3. Is it because they are afraid of losing?
Last summer we made a forecast that Mr Trump might be America’s next president. Back then, most of the political analysts could not take this as a serious eventuality. They wrongly viewed Mr Trump as an outsider, despised by the USA establishment. And as an outsider they think he has no chance of becoming the next US president. Some 4 months later as CNN headlines read: “CNN/ORC Poll: Trump alone at the top again”1, many political analysts are still in disbelief.
Democracy works according to a simple pattern. To make it as a president, a candidate needs access to the mainstream media. In many countries the mainstream media are partly state owned;, in the US they are owned by New York based firms like Twenty-First Century Fox (Fox News), Inc, Time Warner inc (CNN) and National Amusements, Inc. (CBS) financed by Wall Street Bankers and Wall Street investor funds. In modern society people do not receive media coverage by accident. It is carefully planned who is and who is not in the media.