Tesla Model S Spotted At Nurburgring Reportedly "Broke Halfway Through A Lap"

After Porsche announced that its 750 HP Taycan EV, being dubbed a "Tesla-killer", had set a 7:42 time at the Nurburgring, Elon Musk quickly Tweeted out that the Model S would be there the "next week" to make a run of its own.

That's when, unfortunately, Road and Track actually called the Nurburgring, who informed them of the truth at the time:

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that Tesla did not, in fact, have an upcoming track time bookedand that the Nurburgring was instead booked solid for the season. 

But one week later, a Model S was spotted at a shop outside of the Nurburgring with "a clear wicker attached to its trunk lid and Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 Rs, some of the stickiest and most aggressive tires you can buy today."

But, despite the Model S being at the Nurburgring, Road and Track says they heard the Model S would be instead participating in the Ring's Industry Pool - where timing is "strictly prohibited" and "there's so much traffic that a fast lap is impossible".

Some sources on the ground said that Tesla has booked a private track to set a time for next week. The Nurburgring issued a schedule change for September 21, inserting a new 30 minute private window into a session that was already set for public laps and Ring taxi laps. Carving out time from a public lap session was likely an "expensive proposition" and "guaranteed to make the track money". 

Meanwhile, Musk himself has said that the run probably won't be this week.

Even funnier is that a Model S had already been spotted on the track, but wound up breaking halfway through a lap:

We've also heard that a Model S, likely the one with the wicker and the Cup 2 Rs, was on the track already and was absolutely flying, pulling away from other cars, but broke halfway through a lap.

Many have noted the configuration of the Model S that was spotted near the track, asking the question of whether or not the car would really be setting a record if it doesn't offer its modified configuration to customers. Will the company be running a special edition of the vehicle made just for the Nurburgring? Even better, will the Model S battery swap make an appearance?

Meanwhile, Musk Tweeted early Thursday morning that the Model S he plans on running has 7 seats.

...a claim that was rightfully met with immediate skepticism from social media...

Tyler Durden

Thu, 09/12/2019 - 09:05
"We should take them as slaves and treat them even worse."

How does a cyberattacker manage to break their way into your machine? Well, we can tell you it isn’t anything

Got Hacked? This Is Probably Why It Happened on Latest Hacking News.

<p>&#x201C;The monetary sovereignty of countries is at stake from a possible privatization of money . . . by a sole actor with more than 2 billion users on the planet.&#x201D;</p><br /><p>Frances powerful finance minister, Bruno Le Maire, has announced the country will block the development of Facebook&#x2019;s upcoming libra cryptocurrency in Europe due to fears it threatens the &#x201C;monetary sovereignty&#x201D; of governments, reports the <em>Guardian</em>.</p><p>Read Full Story</p><div class="feedflare"
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;><br /> <br /></div>
Draghi Goes All Out: ECB Cuts Rates, Restarts Open-Ended QE, Changes Forward Guidance, Eases TLTRO, Introduces Tiering

With the market worried that Mario Draghi could surprise hawkishly in his parting announcement...

... that is how the market initially interpreted today's ECB press release, which cut already negative deposit rates for the first time since 2016 to stimulate the sagging European economy, but by a smalle

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r than expected 10bps to -0.50% while restarting QE but by "only" €20 billion, less than the €30 billion baseline.

However, there was more than enough offsetting dovish bells and whistles, because while the restarted QE (or the Asset Purchase Program) was smaller than expected, it will be open-ended, and the ECB will run it "for as long as necessary to reinforce the accommodative impact of its policy rates, and to end shortly before it starts raising the key ECB interest rates."

Additionally, the ECB dropped calendar-based forward guidance and replaced it with inflation-linked guidance, noting that key ECB interest rates will "remain at their present or lower levels until it has seen the inflation outlook robustly converge to a level sufficiently close to, but below, 2% within its projection horizon." Furthermore, the ECB eased TLTRO terms, with banks whose eligible net lending exceeds a benchmark, the rate applied in TLTRO III operations will be lower, and can be as low as the average interest rate on the deposit facility prevailing over the life of the operation; additionally, the maturity of the operations will be extended from two to three years.

Finally, as many expected, the ECB will introduce a two-tier system for reserve remuneration in which part of banks’ holdings of excess liquidity will be exempt from the negative deposit facility rate, in an attempt to mitigate the adverse impact to banks.

In short: a somewhat hawkish read on the rate cut and QE amount, but dovish on every other aspect, from the changed forward-guidance, to the open-ended QE, to the easing in TLTRO terms and to the introduction of a two-tier deposit system.

This was reflected in markets, with the EURUSD first spiking the tumbling ...

... and the German bund following suit as the market realized the ECB was far more dovish than the kneejerk reaction suggested:

... with Italian yields tumbling to a record low of 0.783.

The full ECB press release is below:

At today’s meeting the Governing Council of the ECB took the following monetary policy decisions:

(1) The interest rate on the deposit facility will be decreased by 10 basis points to -0.50%. The interest rate on the main refinancing operations and the rate on the marginal lending facility will remain unchanged at their current levels of 0.00% and 0.25% respectively. The Governing Council now expects the key ECB interest rates to remain at their present or lower levels until it has seen the inflation outlook robustly converge to a level sufficiently close to, but below, 2% within its projection horizon, and such convergence has been consistently reflected in underlying inflation dynamics.

(2) Net purchases will be restarted under the Governing Council’s asset purchase programme (APP) at a monthly pace of €20 billion as from 1 November. The Governing Council expects them to run for as long as necessary to reinforce the accommodative impact of its policy rates, and to end shortly before it starts raising the key ECB interest rates.

(3) Reinvestments of the principal payments from maturing securities purchased under the APP will continue, in full, for an extended period of time past the date when the Governing Council starts raising the key ECB interest rates, and in any case for as long as necessary to maintain favourable liquidity conditions and an ample degree of monetary accommodation.

(4) The modalities of the new series of quarterly targeted longer-term refinancing operations (TLTRO III) will be changed to preserve favourable bank lending conditions, ensure the smooth transmission of monetary policy and further support the accommodative stance of monetary policy. The interest rate in each operation will now be set at the level of the average rate applied in the Eurosystem’s main refinancing operations over the life of the respective TLTRO. For banks whose eligible net lending exceeds a benchmark, the rate applied in TLTRO III operations will be lower, and can be as low as the average interest rate on the deposit facility prevailing over the life of the operation. The maturity of the operations will be extended from two to three years.

(5) In order to support the bank-based transmission of monetary policy, a two-tier system for reserve remuneration will be introduced, in which part of banks’ holdings of excess liquidity will be exempt from the negative deposit facility rate.

The irony, of course, is that the ECB is merely doing more of the same that it did before and got it to the current predicament. Also ironic: the ECB couldn't even last a full 9 months without QE.

And now we prepare for the ECB press conference in 30 minutes, but that will be nothing compared to the angry twitter tirade we expect by president Trump who will demand that Powell immediately match everything that Powell has done.

Tyler Durden

Thu, 09/12/2019 - 08:00


Business Finance

EU Accused Of Fascism After "Protecting Our European Way Of Life" Commissioner Announced

The creation of a UN "Commissioner for Protecting our European Way of Life" has sparked outrage across Europe, after the new role which will oversee immigration policy was announced by incoming EU commission president Ursula von der Leyen. 

The new position, to be filled by Greece's EU commissioner, Margaritis Schinas, was unveiled along wit

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h the rest of von der Leyen's new cabinet at a Tuesday press conference in Brussels. 

Margaritis Schinas

While Von der Leyen said the new Commission cabinet was "as diverse as Europe is," critics have noted that all of its members are white, while calling the new commissioner position "fascist," according to The Independent - which couldn't find a single person in support of the new role for a quote. 

"This looks like the portfolio to fight back against the rise of the fascists, but only by adopting their divisive rhetoric around ‘strong borders’," British Green MEP Molly Scott Cato told The Independent

"What Greens value about our European way of life is our role as a beacon of compassion and diversity. We will continue our work to ensure that Europe remains a safe harbour for those fleeing persecution and to champion global human rights." 

Many of the posts in Ms Von der Leyen’s new cabinet, which will serve for five years, have avoided traditional ministerial titles for more goal-orientated names like Commissioner for “A Stronger Europe in the World” and “An Economy that Works for People”.

But it is the migration commission’s rebrand that has raised the most eyebrows. Labour MEP Claude Moraes said that “calling the European Commission migration portfolio ‘protecting our way of life’ is deeply insulting”, adding that the “weird and odd titles’ of the Commission would create “confusion”. -The Independent

Liberal Dutch MEP Sophie in ‘t Veld told The Independent "The very point about the European way of life, is the freedom for individuals to chose their own way of life. We do not need a Commissioner for that, thank you very much," adding "The implication that Europeans need to be protected from external cultures is grotesque and this narrative should be rejected.

“The only threat to “our way of life” is autocrats and populists like Orbán, Kaczinsky or Johnson trampling all over the rule of law, fundamental rights and democracy. Instead of creating fake portfolios, the Commission should show some more guts in upholding the values we have laid down in our treaties, laws and case law.” -The Independent

The controversial new commissioner, Margaritis Schinas, said in a statement "I am trilled to be nominated for the position of Vice-President for Protecting Our European Way of Life." 

"From better protecting our citizens and borders and modernising our asylum system, to investing in Europeans’ skills and creating brighter future for our youth, I am confident that we can take great strides over the next five years to both protect and empower Europeans." 

Tyler Durden

Thu, 09/12/2019 - 04:15

This Tuesday, Microsoft has rolled-out its scheduled monthly updates for 80 different bugs. Notably, the September Patch Tuesday update bundle

Microsoft September Patch Tuesday Addresses Two Actively Exploited Zero-Day Bugs on Latest Hacking News.


 Scientology TV features so much repetitive and boring content that it has taken to inviting desperate filmmakers to screen their documentaries on its platform. These filmmakers are able to overlook the appalling human rights abuses of Scientology in order to get their documentaries about other appalling human rights abuses broadcast. The mental gymnastics of this [...]

<p>With Include.io, Lesbians Who Tech wants to help major tech companies tap into its 50,000-person community&#x2014;and move the needle on diversity. </p><br /><p>Since 2014&#x2014;when Tracy Chou called out Pinterest&#x2019;s gender imbalance&#x2014;the tech industry has spouted platitudes about the value of diversity. &#x201C;Diversity is critical to our success as a company,&#x201D; Facebook wrote in its diversity report this year. &#x201C;People from all backgrounds rely on Facebook to connect with others, and we will better serve their
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needs with a more diverse workforce.&#x201D;</p><p>Read Full Story</p><div class="feedflare"><br /> <br /></div>
US Surpasses Saudi Arabia, Russia To Become World's Top Oil Exporter

The US has once again surpassed Saudi Arabia and Russia to reclaim the No. 1 spot as the world's largest oil exporter, according to data from the International Energy Agency.

Record shale production helped the US ship nearly 9 million barrels of crude and other oil products a day in June, surpassing Saudi Arabia, Bloomberg reports. And as more companies build the infras

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tructure necessary to transport oil from fields in Texas and New Mexico to the coast, the amount of oil exported by the US is expected to climb.

The increase in US crude exports in June was helped by a surge in crude-oil shipments to more than 3 million barrels a day, according to the IEA report. Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia was cutting exports in line with the OPEC+ agreement on production cuts, while Russia's output was hampered by the Druzhba pipeline crisis.

As OPEC members adhere to an agreement to cut production for the third year, swelling US output is hampering the cartel's effort to drain stockpiles and 'rebalance' the global energy market in a way that drives up prices.

Rising American output, combined with concerns about global demand fueled by the ongoing US-China trade war have prompted a nearly 20% drop in Brent crude prices - the global benchmark - from the April high.

However, the US's spot at the top of the global oil-exporting heap already appears to be short-lived. Saudi Arabia appears to have reclaimed the top spot for July and August as hurricanes disrupted US production, while the trade dispute "made it more difficult for shale shipments to find markets," according to the IEA.

But in the coming months, the US could easily wind up back in the No. 1 spot as American crude exports are expected to climb by one-third from June levels to as much as 4 million barrels a day as new infrastructure is being built to handle more oil flows.

Tyler Durden

Thu, 09/12/2019 - 05:43


Business Finance

Shopkeeper says aggressive homeless destroying neighborhood
Hello Ladies, let's talk about periods, privacy, and Facebook.

Are you using an app on your smartphone to keep tracks on your periods?

Well, it's worrying, because it might be sharing your extremely sensitive information like menstrual cycle and sexual activities with Facebook.

A new investigative report from UK-based advocacy group Privacy International revealed how some most popular
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Eurasian Politics On The Cusp Of Change

Authored by M.K. Bhadrakumar via IndianPunchline.com,

The meeting of the foreign and defense ministers of Russia and France in the 2+2 format in Moscow on September 9 signified not only a warming up of relations between the two countries but a reset in Russia’s ties with the West.

The last time a Franco-Russian event in the 2+2 format took place was in October 20

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12 in Paris. A year later, the conflict erupted in Ukraine and the European Union imposed sanctions against Russia. The trajectory since then appears to be reversing its course.

The first signs appeared during the G7 summit in Biarritz on 24-26 August where the schism between the West and Russia significantly narrowed. The US President Donald Trump announced that he intended to invite Russian President Vladimir Putin to next year’s G7 at Miami.

In the run-up to the Biarritz summit and immediately thereafter, the host, French President Emmanuel Macron underscored that reversing the trend of distrust between the West and Russia is in the common interest. (See my blog Macron’s Carolingian Renaissance of the G7.)

Antagonism in Europe toward Russia has been steadily giving way to a new thinking that isolating Moscow is not a viable strategy on the global stage. German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas declared in July that “without Russia, we will not find answers to the pressing issues in global politics.”

Italy, of course, pioneered the new thinking and has sought the removal of the EU’s sanctions against Russia. In July, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte described EU restrictions as “sad,” and “not good for Russia, nor for the EU, nor for Italy.”

However, it is France’s role that becomes crucial today. Despite Moscow’s backing for Marine Le Pen, the far-right candidate in France’s 2017 presidential election, Macron seemed a model of moderation no sooner than he assumed office to invite Putin to visit him. Putin gleefully accepted the invitation (although Macron was seen in Moscow as the least desirable presidential candidate for Russian interests.)

In a summit at the highly-symbolic and sumptuous setting of Château de Versailles in May 2017, Macron held a “frank exchange” with Putin where they discussed “disagreements”. At a joint news conference, both leaders said there were opportunities to work together more closely.

Clearly, within ten days of assuming office as president, Macron was on the ball to bring Putin back in from the cold. Macron kept the lines open with Putin and even invited the Russian leader for talks at his residence on August 19 just days ahead of the G7 summit in Biarritz.

Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) meets with French President Emmanuel Macron (R) at Fort Bregancon near the village of Bormes-les-Mimosas, France, Aug 19, 2019.

Macron sees that it is upto him to grab a leadership role for France. He has attempted to play the role of a mediator in Libya’s civil war, the Syrian conflict, Ukraine and the situation around Iran. As Tatiana Kastoueva-Jean at the French Institute of International Relations recently told the AFP:

“The stars are aligning a bit for Emmanuel Macron. He has the presidency of the G7 and the Council of Europe; Germany is no longer playing an active role in these matters; and London is paralysed by Brexit. He’s the de facto leader of Europe, and can legitimately speak for the West.”

Macron senses that a breakthrough is possible over Ukraine where the new president Volodymyr Zelensky appears determined to improve relations with Russia, which is also what his massive electoral mandate expects from him.

On the other hand, Putin is eager to encourage Zelensky to push ahead to unlock the stalemate in Donbas by exploring the potentials of the Minsk agreements regarding some degree of autonomy for the breakaway regions.

To be sure, the growing rapprochement between Moscow and Kiev resulted in the swap of dozens of prisoners in each other’s custody on Saturday, which is a hugely emotive issue and clears the deck for a summit meeting of the Normandy format (France, Germany, Russia and Ukraine) to accelerate a peace process in Donbas.

Meanwhile, a trilateral meeting is also expected to take place within the year between Russia, European Union and Ukraine to discuss a new framework for Russian gas supplies to Ukraine.

Indeed, the ground beneath the feet is shifting. Trump struck the right cord by promptly welcoming Saturday’s prisoner swap: “Russia and Ukraine just swapped large numbers of prisoners. Very good news, perhaps a first giant step to peace. Congratulations to both countries!”

Relatives of Ukrainian prisoners arriving from Russia at Borispil Airport, outside Kiev, September 7, 2019

Unlike his predecessor Barack Obama, Trump doesn’t see any vital US interests at stake in pitting Kiev against Moscow. Trump’s detached attitude is making a difference. He understands that only by easing tensions over Ukraine, a meaningful rapprochement with Russia becomes possible.

On his part, Putin too knows that in order for Russia to play the optimal role as an independent power centre on the global stage and as a balancer in big-power politics — as well as for sustaining Russia’s resurgence in the medium and long-term — the strengthening of the European vector of its “Eurasianism” becomes imperative.

Putin hopes to secure an easing of EU sanctions and a possible return to the G7. On the other hand, he is acutely conscious that the divergences among the Europeans and the discords within the transatlantic alliance strengthen Moscow’s hand in negotiations.

However, there is going to be robust opposition from the western camp to any dismantling of sanctions against Russia. Britain will oppose tooth and nail any moves to give ground against Russia. (See an acerbic piece by the British think tank Chatham House titled On Russia, Macron Is Mistaken.)

Again, how far Trump succeeds in forcing his will on the Russia policies remains to be seen. Fundamentally, the US establishment is nowhere near willing to accept the growing multipolarity in the world order. The US’ dual containment strategy against Russia and China is cast in stone, as the speech by the US Defence Secretary Mark T. Esper at London’s Royal United Services Institute last week reminds us.

But then, the Chinese have a saying — ‘Dripping water can pierce a stone.’ The Russian-Ukrainian swap of prisoners and the resumption of the Franco-Russian meeting in the 2+2 format signal a high degree of perseverance on the part of Macron and Putin — with tacit support from Trump. One can hear the sound of dripping water.

The French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said in Moscow after the 2+2 talks, “The time has come, the time is right, to work toward reducing the distrust between Russia and Europe, who ought to be partners on a strategic and economic level. It’s not yet the time to lift sanctions. (But) we are seeing a new state of mind compared to that of the last few years, which we are pleased about.”

The point is, Russia will never give back Crimea and France’s European allies may have to consider that to be an acceptable price to end the Ukraine conflict. Such a strategic adjustment is entirely conceivable but it takes time to mature.

Tyler Durden

Thu, 09/12/2019 - 05:00



Yes, turns out people still use this voucher biz – who knew?

We have a new twist on the "researchers find unprotected public-facing cloud-hosted database" story, as one recently uncovered archive turned out to be at the heart of a years-long fraud operation.…

Demythologizing The Roots Of The New Cold War

Authored by Ted Snider via AntiWar.com,

When Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev received his peace prize in 1990, the Nobel Prize committee declared that "the two mighty power blocs, have managed to abandon their life-threatening confrontation" and confidently expressed that "It is our hope that we are now celebrating the end of the Cold War." Recently, U.N. General Secretary António Guterre

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s funereally closed the celebrations with the realization that "The Cold War is back."

In a very short span of history, the window that had finally opened for Russia and the United States to build a new international system in which they work cooperatively to address areas of common interest had slammed back closed. How was that historic opportunity wasted? Why was the road from the Nobel committee’s hope to the UN’s eulogy such a short one?

The doctrinal narrative that is told in the U.S. is the narrative of a very short road whose every turn was signposted by Russian lies, betrayal, deception and aggression. The American telling of history is a tale in which every blow to the new peace was a Russian blow. The fact checked version offers a demythologized history that is unrecognizably different. The demythologized version is also a history of lies, betrayal, deception and aggression, but the liar, the aggressor, is not primarily Russia, but America. It is the history of a promise so historically broken that it laid the foundation of a new cold war.

But it was not the first promise the United States broke: it was not even the first promise they broke in the new cold war.

The Hot War

Most histories of the cold war begin at the dawn of the post World War II period. But the history of U.S-U.S.S.R. animosity starts long before that: it starts as soon as possible, and it was hot long before it turned cold.

The label "Red Scare" first appeared, not in the 1940s or 50s, but in 1919. Though it is a chapter seldom included in the history of American-Russian relations, America actively and aggressively intervened in the Russian civil war in an attempt to push the Communists back down. The United States cooperated with anti-Bolshevik forces: by mid 1918, President Woodrow Wilson had sent 13,000 American troops to Soviet soil. They would remain there for two years, killing and injuring thousands. Russian Premier Nikita Khrushchev would later remind America of "the time you sent your troops to quell the revolution." Churchill would record for history the admission that the West "shot Soviet Russians on sight," that they were "invaders on Russian soil," that "[t]hey armed the enemies of the Soviet government," that "[t]hey blockaded its ports, and sunk its battleships. They earnestly desired and schemed for its downfall."

When the cause was lost, and the Bolsheviks secured power, most western countries refused to recognize the communist government. However, realism prevailed, and within a few short years, by the mid 1920s, most countries had recognized the communist government and restored diplomatic relations. All but the US It was not until several years later that Franklin D. Roosevelt finally recognized the Soviet government in 1933.

The Cold War

It would be a very short time before the diplomatic relations that followed the hot war would be followed by a cold war. It might even be possible to pin the beginning of the cold war down to a specific date. On April 22 and 23, President Truman told Soviet foreign minister Vyacheslav Molotov to "Carry out his agreement" and establish a new, free, independent government in Poland as promised at Yalta. Molotov was stunned. He was stunned because it was not he that was breaking the agreement because that was not what Roosevelt, Churchill and Stalin had agreed to at Yalta. The final wording of the Yalta agreement never mentioned replacing Soviet control of Poland.

The agreement that Roosevelt revealed to congress and shared with the world – the one that still dominates the textbook accounts and the media stories – is not the one he secretly shook on with Stalin. Roosevelt lied to congress and the American people. Then he lied to Stalin.

In exchange for Soviet support for the creation of the United Nations, Roosevelt secretly agreed to Soviet predominance in Poland and Eastern Europe. The cold war story that the Soviet Union marched into Eastern Europe and stole it for itself is a lie: Roosevelt handed it to them.

So did Churchill. If Roosevelt’s motivation was getting the UN, Churchill’s was getting Greece. Fearing that the Soviet Union would invade India and the oil fields of Iran, Churchill saw Greece as the geographical roadblock and determined to hold on to it at all cost. The cost, it turned out, was Romania. Churchill would give Stalin Romania to protect his borders; Stalin would give Churchill Greece to protect his empire’s borders. The deal was sealed on October 9, 1944.

Churchill says that in their secret meeting, he asked Stalin, “how would it do for you to have ninety percent predominance in Romania, for us to have ninety percent predominance in Greece? . . ." He then went on to offer a fifty-fifty power split in in Yugoslavia and Hungary and to offer the Soviets seventy-five percent control of Bulgaria. The exact conversation may never have happened, according to the political record, but Churchill’s account captures the spirit and certainly captures the secret agreement.

Contrary to the official narrative, Stalin never betrayed the west and stole Eastern Europe: Poland, Romania and the rest were given to him in secret. Then Roosevelt lied to congress and to the world.

That American lie raised the curtain on the cold war.

The New Cold War

Like the Cold War, the new cold war was triggered by an American lie. It was a lie so duplicitous, so all encompassing, that it would lead many Russians to see the agreement that ended the cold war as a devastating and humiliating deception that was really intended to clear the way for the US to surround and finally defeat the Soviet Union. It was a lie that tilled the soil for all future "Russian aggression."

At the close of the cold war, at a meeting held on February 9, 1990, George H.W. Bush’s Secretary of State, James Baker, promised Gorbachev that if NATO got Germany and Russia pulled its troops out of East Germany, NATO would not expand east of Germany and engulf the former Soviet states. Gorbachev records in his memoirs that he agreed to Baker’s terms "with the guarantee that NATO jurisdiction or troops would not extend east of the current line." In Super-power Illusions, Jack F. Matlock Jr., who was the American ambassador to Russia at the time and was present at the meeting, confirms Gorbachev’s account, saying that it "coincides with my notes of the conversation except that mine indicate that Baker added "not one inch." Matlock adds that Gorbachev was assured that NATO would not move into Eastern Europe as the Warsaw Pact moved out, that "the understanding at Malta [was] that the United States would not ‘take advantage’ of a Soviet military withdrawal from Eastern Europe." At the February 9 meeting, Baker assured Gorbachev that "neither the President or I intend to extract any unilateral advantages from the processes that are taking place."

But the promise was not made just once, and it was not made just by the United States. The promise was made on two consecutive days: first by the Americans and then by West German Chancellor Helmut Kohl. According to West German foreign ministry documents, on February 10, 1990, the day after James Baker’s promise, West German Foreign Minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher told his Soviet counterpart Eduard Shevardnadze "‘For us . . . one thing is certain: NATO will not expand to the east.’ And because the conversation revolved mainly around East Germany, Genscher added explicitly: ‘As far as the non-expansion of NATO is concerned, this also applies in general.’"

A few days earlier, on January 31, 1990, Genscher had said in a major speech that there would not be "an expansion of NATO territory to the east, in other words, closer to the borders of the Soviet Union."

Gorbachev says the promise was made not to expand NATO "as much as a thumb’s width further to the east." Putin also says mourns the broken promise, asking at a conference in Munich in February 2007, "What happened to the assurances our Western partners made after the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact? Where are those declarations today? No one even remembers them."

Putin went on to remind his audience of the assurances by pointing out that the existence of the NATO promise is not just the perception of him and Gorbachev. It was also the view of the NATO General Secretary at the time: "But I will allow myself to remind this audience what was said. I would like to quote the speech of NATO General Secretary Mr. [Manfred] Woerner in Brussels on 17 May 1990. He said at the time that: ‘The fact that we are ready not to place a NATO army outside of German territory gives the Soviet Union a firm security guarantee.’ Where are those guarantees?"

Recent scholarship supports the Russian version of the story. Russian expert and Professor of Russian and European Politics at the University of Kent, Richard Sakwa says that “[r]ecent studies demonstrate that the commitment not to enlarge NATO covered the whole former Soviet bloc and not just East Germany.” And Stephen Cohen, Professor Emeritus of Politics at Princeton University and of Russian Studies and History at New York University, adds that the National Security Archive has now published the actual documents detailing what Gorbachev was promised. Published on December 12, 2017, the documents finally, and authoritatively, reveal that "The truth, and the promises broken, are much more expansive than previously known: all of the Western powers involved – the US, the UK, France, Germany itself – made the same promise to Gorbachev on multiple occasions and in various emphatic ways."

That key promise made to Gorbachev was shattered, first by President Clinton and then subsequently supported by every American President: NATO engulfed Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic in 1999; Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Bulgaria, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia in 2004, Albania and Croatia in 2009 and, most recently, Montenegro.

It was this shattered promise, this primal betrayal, this NATO expansion to Russia’s borders that created the conditions and causes of future conflicts and aggressions. When, in 2008, NATO promised Georgia and Ukraine eventual membership, Russia saw the threat of NATO encroaching right to its borders. It is in Georgia and Ukraine that Russia felt it had to draw the line with NATO encroachment into its core sphere of influence. Sakwa says that the war in Georgia was “the first war to stop NATO enlargement; Ukraine was the second.” What are often cited as acts of Russian aggression that helped maintain the new cold war are properly understood as acts of Russian defense against US aggression that made a lie out of the promise that ended the Cold War.

When Clinton decided to break Bush’s promise and betray Russia, George Kennen, father of the containment policy, warned that NATO expansion would be "the most fateful error of American foreign policy in the entire post-cold-war era." "Such a decision," he prophesied, "may be expected to . . . restore the atmosphere of the cold war in East-West relations . . .."

The broken promise restored the cold war. Though it is the most significant root of the new cold war, it was not the first. There was a prior broken promise, and this time the man who betrayed Russia was President H.W. Bush.

The end of the Cold War resulted from negotiations and not from any sort of military victory. Stephen Cohen says that "Presidents Reagan and George H.W. Bush negotiated with the last Soviet Russian leader, Mikhail Gorbachev, what they said was the end of the Cold War on the shared, expressed premise that it was ending ‘with no losers, only winners.’"

The end of the Cold War and the end of the Soviet Union occurred so closely chronologically that it permitted the American mythologizers to conflate them in the public imagination and create the doctrinal history in which the US defeat of the Soviet Union ended the cold war. But the US did not defeat the Soviet Union. Gorbachev brought about what Sakwa calls a "self-willed disintegration of the Soviet bloc." The Soviet Union came to an end, not by external force or pressure, but out of Gorbachev’s recognition of the Soviet Union’s own self interest. Matlock flatly states that "pressure from governments outside the Soviet Union, whether from America or Europe or anywhere else, had nothing to do with [the Soviet collapse]." "Cohen demythologizes the history by reinstating the chronological order: Gorbachev negotiated the end of the cold war “well before the disintegration of the Soviet Union.” The Cold War officially ended well before the end of the Soviet Union with Gorbachev’s December 7, 1988 address to the UN

Matlock says that "Gorbachev is right when he says that we all won the Cold War." He says that President Reagan would write in his notes, "Let there be no talk of winners and losers." When Gorbachev compelled the countries of the Warsaw Pact to adopt reforms like his perestroika in the Soviet Union and warmed them that the Soviet army would no longer be there to keep their communist regimes in power, Matlock points out in Superpower Illusions that "Bush assured Gorbachev that the United States would not claim victory if the Eastern Europeans were allowed to replace the Communist regimes that had been imposed on them." Both the reality and the promise were that there was no winner of the Cold War: it was a negotiated peace that was in the interest of both countries.

When in 1992, during his losing re-election campaign, President Bush arrogantly boasted that "We won the Cold War!" he broke his own promise to Gorbachev and helped plant the roots of the new cold war. "In psychological and political terms," Matlock says, "President Bush planted a landmine under the future U.S.-Russian relationship" when he broke his promise and made that claim.

Bush’s broken promise had two significant effects. Psychologically, it created the appearance in the Russian psyche that Gorbachev had been tricked by America: it eroded trust in America and in the new peace. Politically, it created in the American psyche the false idea that Russia was a defeated country whose sphere of interest did not need to be considered. Both these perceptions contributed to the new cold war.

Not only was the broken promise of NATO expansion not the first broken American promise, it was also not the last. In 1997, when President Clinton made the decision to expand NATO much more than an inch to the east, he at least signed the Russia-NATO Founding Act, which explicitly promised that as NATO expanded east, there would be no "permanent stationing of substantial combat forces." This obliterated American promise planted the third root of the new cold war.

Since that third promise, NATO has, in the words of Stephen Cohen, built up its "permanent land, sea and air power near Russian territory, along with missile-defense installations." US and NATO weapons and troops have butted right up against Russia’s borders, while anti-missile installations have surrounded it, leading to the feeling of betrayal in Russia and the fear of aggression. Among the earliest moves of the Trump administration were the moving of NATO troops into Lithuania, Romania, Bulgaria and nearby Norway.

Mikhail Gorbachev, who offered the West Russia and cooperation in place of the Soviet Union and Cold War, was rewarded with lies, broken promises and betrayal. That was the sowing of the first seeds of the new cold war. The second planting happened during the Yeltsin years that followed. During this stage, the Russian people were betrayed because their hopes for democracy and for an economic system compatible with the West were both destroyed by American intervention.

The goal, Matlock too gently explains, "had to be a shift of the bulk of the economy to private ownership." What transpired was what Naomi Klein called in The Shock Doctrine "one of the greatest crimes committed against a democracy in modern history." The States allowed no gradual transition. Matlock says the "Western experts advised a clean break with the past and a transition to private ownership without delay." But there was no legitimate private capital coming out of the communist system, so there was no private money with which to privatize. So, there was only one place for the money to come. As Matlock explains, the urgent transition allowed "privileged insiders[to] join the criminals who had been running a black market [and to] steal what they could, as fast as they could." The sudden, uncompromising transition imposed on Russia by the United States enabled, according to Cohen, "a small group of Kremlin-connected oligarchs to plunder Russia’s richest assets and abet the plunging of some two-thirds of its people into poverty and misery."

The rape of Russia was funded, overseen and ordered by the United States and handed over by President George H.W. Bush to the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. Much of their advice, Matlock says generously, "was not only useless, but sometimes actually damaging."

Sometimes damaging? In the first year, millions lost their entire life savings. Subsidy cuts meant that many Russians didn’t get paid at all. Klein says that by 1992, Russians were consuming 40% less than they were the year before, and one third of them had suddenly sunk below the poverty line. The economic policies wrestled onto Russia by the US and the transition experts and international development experts it funded and sent over led to, what Cohen calls, "the near ruination of Russia." Russia’s reward for ending the Cold War and joining the Western economic community was, in Cohen’s words, "the worst economic depression in peacetime, the disintegration of the highly professionalized Soviet middle class, mass poverty, plunging life expectancy [for men, it had fallen below sixty], the fostering of an oligarchic financial elite, the plundering of Russia’s wealth, and more." By the time Putin came to power in 2000, Cohen says, "some 75% of Russians were living in poverty." 75%! Millions and millions of Russian lives were destroyed by the American welcoming of Russia into the global economic community.

But before Putin came to power, there was more Boris Yeltsin. Yeltsin was a necessity for Clinton and the United States because Yeltsin was the pliable puppet who would continue to enforce the cruel economic transition. But to continue the interference in, and betrayal of, the Russian people economically, it would now be necessary to interfere in and betray the Russian democracy.

In late 1991, after the fall of the Soviet Union, Boris Yeltsin won a year of special powers from the Russian Parliament: for one year, he was to be, in effect, the dictator of Russia to facilitate the midwifery of the birth of a democratic Russia. In March of 1992, under pressure from the, by now, impoverished, devastated and discontented population, parliament repealed the dictatorial powers it had granted him. Yeltsin responded by declaring a state of emergency, re-bestowing upon himself the repealed dictatorial powers. Russia’s Constitutional Court ruled that Yeltsin was acting outside the constitution. But the US sided – against the Russian people and against the Russian Constitutional Court – with Yeltsin.

Intoxicated with American support, Yeltsin dissolved the parliament that had rescinded his powers and abolished the constitution of which he was in violation. In a 636-2 vote, the Russian parliament impeached Yeltsin. But, President Clinton again sided with Yeltsin against the Russian people and the Russian law, backed him and gave him $2.5 billion in aid. Clinton was blocking the Russian people’s choice of leaders.

Yeltsin took the money and sent police officers and elite paratroopers to surround the parliament building. Clinton "praised the Russian President has (sic) having done ‘quite well’ in managing the standoff with the Russian Parliament," as The New York Times reported at the time. Clinton added that he thought "the United States and the free world ought to hang in there" with their support of Yeltsin against his people, their constitution and their courts, and judged Yeltsin to be "on the right side of history."

On the right side of history and armed with machine guns and tanks, in October 1993, Yeltsin’s troops opened fire on the crowd of protesters, killing about 100 people before setting the Russian parliament building on fire. By the time the day was over, Yeltsin’s troops had killed approximately 500 people and wounded nearly 1,000. Still, Clinton stood with Yeltsin. He provided ludicrous cover for Yeltsin’s massacre, claiming that "I don’t see that he had any choice…. If such a thing happened in the United States, you would have expected me to take tough action against it." Clinton’s Secretary of State, Warren Christopher, said that the US supported Yeltsin’s suspension of parliament in these "extraordinary times."

In 1996, elections were looming, and America’s hegemonic dreams still needed Yeltsin in power. But it wasn’t going to happen without help. Yeltsin’s popularity was nonexistent, and his approval rating was at about 6%. According to Cohen, Clinton’s interference in Russian politics, his "crusade" to "reform Russia," had by now become official policy. And so, America boldly interfered directly in Russian elections. Three American political consultants, receiving "direct assistance from Bill Clinton’s White House," secretly ran Yeltsin’s reelection campaign. As Time magazine broke the story, "For four months, a group of American political consultants clandestinely participated in guiding Yeltsin’s campaign."

"Funded by the US government," Cohen reports, Americans "gave money to favored Russian politicians, instructed ministers, drafted legislation and presidential decrees, underwrote textbooks, and served at Yeltsin’s reelection headquarters in 1996."

More incriminating still is that Richard Dresner, one of the three American consultants, maintained a direct line to Clinton’s Chief Strategist, Dick Morris. According to reporting by Sean Guillory, in his book, Behind the Oval Office, Morris says that, with Clinton’s approval, he received weekly briefings from Dresner that he would give to Clinton. Based on those briefings, Clinton would then provide recommendations to Dresner through Morris.

Then ambassador to Russia, Thomas Pickering, even pressured an opposing candidate to drop out of the election to improve Yeltsin’s odds of winning.

The US not only helped run Yeltsin’s campaign, they helped pay for it. The US backed a $10.2 billion International Monetary Fund (IMF) loan for Russia, the second-biggest loan the IMF had ever given. The New York Times reported that the loan was "expected to be helpful to President Boris N. Yeltsin in the presidential election in June." The Times explained that the loan was "a vote of confidence" for Yeltsin who "has been lagging well behind … in opinion polls" and added that the US Treasury Secretary "welcomed the fund’s decision."

Yeltsin won the election by 13%, and Time magazine’s cover declared: "Yanks to the rescue: The secret story of how American advisers helped Yeltsin win". Cohen reports that the US ambassador to Russia boasted that "without our leadership … we would see a considerably different Russia today." That’s a confession of election interference.

Asserting its right as the unipolar victor of a Cold War it never won, betraying the central promise of the negotiated end of the cold war by engulfing Russia’s neighbors, arming those nations against its written and signed word and stealing all Russian hope in capitalism and democracy by kidnapping and torturing Russian capitalism and democracy, the roots of the new cold war were not planted by Russian lies and aggression, as the doctrinal Western version teaches, but by the American lies and aggression that the fact checked, demythologized version of history reveals.

Tyler Durden

Thu, 09/12/2019 - 02:00


War Conflict

The tent camp was set up on the grounds of military barracks in order to begin hosting immigrants at a single day's notice, yet has never housed a single resident in several years.
Rome Needs "A Little Bit More Time" To Reduce Italy's Debt, Conte Tells Brussels

In his first comments to Brussels since being sworn in to his second act as prime minister, Italy's Giuseppe Conte, who is now leading a coalition of the Democratic Party and the anti-establishment Five-Star Movement, told the incoming president of the European Commission that Italy would need "a little bit of time" to cut its debt.

According to the FT, Conte told U

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rusla von der Leyen, the incoming head of the commission, that Italy wouldn't "risk financial stability" - i.e., risk triggering another bond-market-rattling showdown with Brussels by insisting on blowing out its federal budget deficit - but that the country would need to make investments that set it back on the path toward economic growth.

"We must make investments that allow us to direct growth towards greater employment, and we want to make a transparent pact with the EU on what is our programme," Mr Conte said. "Our objective is the reduction of debt,” he said. "We are not saying that we do not want our accounts in order, but we want to do it through a reasonable growth and productive investments."

There's a chance that Brussels might prove more receptive this time around (last year, the showdown between the anti-establishment coalition and Brussels reignited speculation about the possibility that Italy might leave the euro). Brussels eventually caved and allowed Italy to pursue a number close to its original request of around 2% of GDP. Though it was later revealed that the country's estimates were way off, and that its budget deficit would like be much larger than anticipated.

Conte and outgoing European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker

For one, the new coalition has already been rattled by internal conflict that has prompted some analysts to speculate about a possible election later this year.

But Conte's relationships with several key figures in Brussels should help negotiations go more smoothly.

Expectations that public spending negotiations between Rome and Brussels will be smoother this autumn - when the Italian budget for next year is drawn up - were boosted by the appointment of Roberto Gualtieri, a veteran member of the European Parliament, as Italy’s new economy minister. Another Italian, Paolo Gentiloni, a former prime minister and foreign minister, was this week nominated as Brussels’ new European Commissioner for the economy by Ms von der Leyen.

Last year, Italy's ruling coalition was threatened with sanctions by the commission. But with Germany reportedly considering a "shadow budget" - fiscal stimulus that many analysts believe would help right-size the European economy, it's likely that the Commission won't risk doing anything that could further destabilize the bloc's third-largest economy.

Tyler Durden

Thu, 09/12/2019 - 02:45


Business Finance

Omits fact her 33,000 deleted emails are not included at art exhibition.
From thwarting phishing to boosting infosec awareness, we've got it covered

Webcast  Security professionals like you have a tough job.…

<p>The checkered history of the Muppets under Disney&#x2019;s ownership continues. </p><br /><p>The Muppets are still looking for the rainbow connection that will put them back in the spotlight they so richly deserve.</p><p>Read Full Story</p><div class="feedflare"><br /> <br /></div>
More Americans Questioning Official 9/11 Story As New Evidence Contradicts Official Narrative

Authored by Whitney Webb via MintPressNews.com,

Today the event that defined the United States’ foreign policy in the 21st century, and heralded the destruction of whole countries, turns 18. The events of September 11, 2001 remains etched into the memories of Americans and many others, as a collective tragedy that brought Americans together and

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brought as well a general resolve among them that those responsible be brought to justice. 

While the events of that day did unite Americans in these ways for a time, the different trajectories of the official relative to the independent investigations into the September 11 attacks have often led to division in the years since 2001, with vicious attacks or outright dismissal being levied against the latter. 

Yet, with 18 years having come and gone — and with the tireless efforts from victims’ families, first responders, scientists and engineers — the tide appears to be turning, as new evidence continues to emerge and calls for new investigations are made. However, American corporate media has remained largely silent, preferring to ignore new developments that could derail the “official story” of one of the most iconic and devastating attacks to ever occur on American soil.

For instance, in late July, commissioners for a New York-area Fire Department, which responded to the attacks and lost one of their own that day, called for a new investigation into the events of September 11. On July 24, the board of commissioners for the Franklin Square and Munson Fire District, which serves a population of around 30,000 near Queens, voted unanimously in their call for a new investigation into the attacks.

While the call for a new investigation from a NY Fire Department involved in the rescue effort would normally seem newsworthy to the media outlets who often rally Americans to “never forget,” the commissioners’ call for a new investigation was met with total silence from the mainstream media. The likely reason for the dearth of coverage on an otherwise newsworthy vote was likely due to the fact that the resolution that called for the new investigation contained the following clause:

Whereas, the overwhelming evidence presented in said petition demonstrates beyond any doubt that pre-planted explosives and/or incendiaries — not just airplanes and the ensuing fires — caused the destruction of the three World Trade Center buildings, killing the vast majority of the victims who perished that day;”

In the post-9/11 world, those who have made such claims, no matter how well-grounded their claims may be, have often been derided and attacked as “conspiracy theorists” for questioning the official claims that the three World Trade Center buildings that collapsed on September 11 did so for any reason other than being struck by planes and from the resulting fires. Yet, it is much more difficult to launch these same attacks against members of a fire department that lost a fireman on September 11 and many of whose members were involved with the rescue efforts of that day, some of whom still suffer from chronic illnesses as a result.

Rescue workers climb on piles of rubble at the World Trade Center in New York, Sept. 13, 2001. Beth A. Keiser | AP

Another likely reason that the media monolithically avoided coverage of the vote was out of concern that it would lead more fire departments to pass similar resolutions, which would make it more difficult for such news to avoid gaining national coverage. Yet, Commissioner Christopher Gioia, who drafted and introduced the resolution, told those present at the meeting’s conclusion that getting all of the New York fire districts onboard was their plan anyway.

“We’re a tight-knit community and we never forget our fallen brothers and sisters. You better believe that when the entire fire service of New York State is on board, we will be an unstoppable force,” Gioia said. “We were the first fire district to pass this resolution. We won’t be the last,” he added.

While questioning the official conclusions of the first federal investigation into 9/11 has been treated as taboo in the American media landscape for years, it is worth noting that even those who led the commission have said that the investigation was “set up to fail” from the start and that they were repeatedly misled and lied to by federal officials in relation to the events of that day. 

For instance, the chair and vice-chair of the 9/11 Commission, Thomas Kean and Lee Hamilton, wrote in their book Without Precedent that not only was the commission starved of funds and its powers of investigation oddly limited, but that they were obstructed and outright lied to by top Pentagon officials and officials with the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA). They and other commissioners have outright said that the “official” report on the attacks is incomplete, flawed and unable to answer key questions about the terror attacks.

Despite the failure of American corporate media to report these facts, local legislative bodies in New York, beginning with the fire districts that lost loved ones and friends that day, are leading the way in the search for real answers that even those that wrote the “official story” say were deliberately kept from them.

Persuasive scientific evidence continues to roll in

Not long after the Franklin Square and Munson Fire District called for a new 9/11 investigation, a groundbreaking university study added even more weight to the commissioners’ call for a new look at the evidence regarding the collapse of three buildings at the World Trade Center complex. While most Americans know full well that the twin towers collapsed on September 11, fewer are aware that a third building — World Trade Center Building 7 — also collapsed. That collapse occurred seven hours after the twin towers came down, even though WTC 7, or “Building 7,” was never struck by a plane.

It was not until nearly two months after its collapse that reports revealed that the CIA had a “secret office” in WTC 7 and that, after the building’s destruction, “a special CIA team scoured the rubble in search of secret documents and intelligence reports stored in the station, either on paper or in computers.” WTC 7 also housed offices for the Department of Defense, the Secret Service, the New York Mayor’s Office of Emergency Management and the bank Salomon Brothers. 

Though the official story regarding the collapse of WTC 7 cites “uncontrolled building fires” as leading to the building’s destruction, a majority of Americans who have seen the footage of the 47-story tower come down from four different angles overwhelmingly reject the official story, based on a new poll conducted by YouGov on behalf of Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth and released on Monday. 

Source | Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth

That poll found that 52 percent of those who saw the footage were either sure or suspected that the building’s fall was due to explosives and was a controlled demolition, with 27 percent saying they didn’t know what to make of the footage. Only 21 percent of those polled agreed with the official story that the building collapsed due to fires alone. Prior to seeing the footage, 36 percent of respondents said that they were unaware that a third building collapsed on September 11 and more than 67 percent were unable to name the building that had collapsed.

Ted Walter, Director of Strategy and Development for Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth, told MintPress that the lack of awareness about WTC 7 among the general public “goes to show that the mainstream media has completely failed to inform the American people about even the most basic facts related to 9/11. On any other day in history, if a 47-story skyscraper fell into its footprint due to ‘office fires,’ everyone in the country would have heard about it.” 

The fact that the media chose not to cover this, Walter asserted, shows that “the mainstream media and the political establishment live in an alternative universe and the rest of the American public is living in a different universe and responding to what they see in front of them,” as reflected by the results of the recent YouGov poll.

Another significant finding of the YouGov poll was that 48 percent of respondents supported,  while only 15 percent opposed, a new investigation into the events of September 11. This shows that not only was the Franklin Square Fire District’s recent call for a new investigation in line with American public opinion, but that viewing the footage of WTC 7’s collapse raises more questions than answers for many Americans, questions that were not adequately addressed by the official investigation of the 9/11 Commission.

The Americans who felt that the video footage of WTC 7’s collapse did not fit with the official narrative and appeared to show a controlled demolition now have more scientific evidence to fall back on after the release of a new university study found that the building came down not due to fire but from “the near-simultaneous failure of every column in the building.” The extensive four-year study was conducted by the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Alaska and used complex computer models to determine if the building really was the first steel-framed high-rise ever to have collapsed solely due to office fires. 

The study, currently available as a draft, concluded that “uncontrolled building fires” did not lead the building to fall into its footprint — tumbling more than 100 feet at the rate of gravity free-fall for 2.5 seconds of its seven-second collapse — as has officially been claimed. Instead, the study — authored by Dr. J. Leroy Hulsey, Dr. Feng Xiao and Dr. Zhili Quan — found that “fire did not cause the collapse of WTC 7 on 9/11, contrary to the conclusions of NIST [National Institute of Standards and Technology] and private engineering firms that studied the collapse,” while also concluding “that the collapse of WTC 7 was a global [i.e., comprehensive] failure involving the near-simultaneous failure of every column in the building.”

This “near-simultaneous failure of every column” in WTC 7 strongly suggests that explosives were involved in its collapse, which is further supported by the statements made by Barry Jennings, the then-Deputy Director of Emergency Services Department for the New York City Housing Authority. Jennings told a reporter the day of the attack that he and Michael Hess, then-Corporation Counsel for New York City, had heard and seen explosions in WTC 7 several hours prior to its collapse and later repeated those claims to filmmaker Dylan Avery. The first responders who helped rescue Jennings and Hess also claimed to have heard explosions in WTC 7. Jennings died in 2008, two days prior the release of the official NIST report blaming WTC 7’s collapse on fires. To date, no official cause of death for Jennings has been given.

Still “crazy” after all these years?

Eighteen years after the September 11 attacks, questioning the official government narrative of the events of those days still remains taboo for many, as merely asking questions or calling for a new investigation into one of the most important events in recent American history frequently results in derision and dismissal. 

Yet, this 9/11 anniversary — with a new study demolishing the official narrative on WTC 7, with a new poll showing that more than half of Americans doubt the government narrative on WTC 7, and with firefighters who responded to 9/11 calling for a new investigation — is it still “crazy” to be skeptical of the official story?

Firefighters hose down the smoldering remains of 7 World Trade Center Tuesday, Sept. 18, 2001, in New York. Ryan Remiorz | AP

Even in years past, when asking difficult questions about September 11 was even more “off limits,” it was often first responders, survivors and victims’ families who had asked the most questions about what had really transpired that day and who have led the search for truth for nearly two decades — not wild-eyed “conspiracy theorists,” as many have claimed. 

The only reason it remains taboo to ask questions about the official narrative, whose own authors admit that it is both flawed and incomplete, is that the dominant forces in the American media and the U.S. government have successfully convinced many Americans that doing so is not only dangerous but irrational and un-American. 

However, as evidence continues to mount that the official narrative itself is the irrational narrative, it becomes ever more clear that the reason for this media campaign is to prevent legitimate questions about that day from receiving the scrutiny they deserve, even smearing victims’ families and ailing first responders to do so. For too long, “Never Forget” has been nearly synonymous with “Never Question.” 

Yet, failing to ask those questions — even when more Americans than ever now favor a new investigation and discount the official explanation for WTC 7’s collapse — is the ultimate injustice, not only to those who died in New York City on September 11, but those who have been killed in their names in the years that have followed.

Tyler Durden

Thu, 09/12/2019 - 00:05
Chinese Combat Drones Are Invading Europe To Protect Belt and Road 

Serbian Armed Forces have reportedly bought Chinese-built armed drones, could receive the drones in the coming months, Stars and Stripes reported Tuesday, citing local media reports and officials.

Serbia is expected to take delivery of nine Chengdu Pterodactyl-1 drones from now until February 2020. Media reports in Belgrade, the capital of Serbia, said follow up orders in 2020 c

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ould exceed 15 more. 

Stars and Stripes said the sale "marks Beijing's most significant foray into a continent where armed forces have traditionally relied on US and European weapon-makers."

Earlier this year, Serbian President Aleksander Vucic signed several agreements with Beijing to expand the Belt and Road in the country. 

Under the agreement, China is expected to construct new power plants, lay transmission cables, and fiber optics, build new railways, and ports in the country. 

So it becomes increasingly clear why China is beefing up the Serbian military: They want to protect critical assets of the Belt and Road in the country or at least use the drones as deterrence against American/NATO forces.

"This (sale) will greatly strengthen the Serbian military, which will gain capabilities it has not had in the past," Serbian Defense Minister Aleksander Vulin said in an interview with state media Tuesday. 

Belgrade military analyst Miroslav Lazanski said in a TV interview that "the Chinese have very good pilot-less aircraft, probably second only to the United States," adding that "they obviously copied some American systems (but) Chinese drones are very effective and very cheap."

Lazanski also said the cost of the drones was an important consideration for Serbia, adding that Chinese drones are cheaper than US' and offer "top" performance.

The Chengdu Pterodactyl-1 has very similar characteristics to the US' General Atomics MQ-1 Predator and MQ-9 Reaper drones. These drones have been sold to Asian, African, and Middle Eastern countries, including the United Arab Emirates, Nigeria, Pakistan, Indonesia Kazakhstan, Saudi Arabia, Uzbekistan, and Egypt. 

In an earlier report, we noted how Chinese armed drones are ending up in countries where the US has placed weapons embargos on. This has created a deadly network of Chinese drones above Middle East battlefields. 

And a Chinese military strategist said drone technology in China is comparable to the US but lacks global market share.

"The Chinese product now doesn't lack technology, it only lacks market share," said Song Zhongping, a Chinese military strategist and former lecturer at the People's Liberation Army Rocket Force University of Engineering. "And the United States restricting its arms exports is precisely what gives China a great opportunity."

By exporting drones across the world, and with the latest report now into Europe, the Chinese are rapidly shrinking America's military-industrial complex's international drone market share. This will not sit well with US defense firms who will continue to tell the Trump administration to pressure China so that their market share doesn't continue to erode away. 

Tyler Durden

Thu, 09/12/2019 - 01:00


War Conflict

<p>As social media feeds filled up with #NeverForget hashtags today, one thing was markedly absent: tone-deaf tweets and posts from popular consumer brands.</p><br /><p>As Americans&#x2019; social media feeds are filled with #NeverForget hashtags today to commemorate the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, one thing is markedly absent: tone-deaf tweets and posts from popular consumer brands.</p><p>Read Full Story</p><div class="feedflare"><br /> <br /></div>
Boom Times Are Here: Hemp Farming Quadruples This Year!

A new report from Vote Hemp, a top hemp advocacy group, indicates the amount of licensed acreage of hemp farming across the US has more than quadrupled this year. 

The report, 2019 US Hemp License Report, says the number of acres of hemp licensed across 34 states totaled 511,442 in 2019, a 455% jump YoY. State licenses to produce hemp were issued to 16,8

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77 farmers and researchers, a 476% YoY jump. 

"We are seeing hemp cultivation dramatically expand in the US in 2019, with over quadruple the number of acres licensed in hemp compared to last year and the addition of 13 more states with hemp programs," said Eric Steenstra, President of Vote Hemp. "Now that we have lifted federal prohibition on hemp farming, it's time build the infrastructure and expand hemp cultivation and the market for hemp products across the country so that all can reap the benefits of this versatile and sustainable crop."

Vote Hemp notes that not all of the 511,442 acres will yield hemp this year. It estimates only 230,000 acres of hemp will be planted. Of that, only 50% will be harvested due to crop failure.

Thirteen new states this year have allowed farmers to cultivate hemp following its removal from the federal Controlled Substances Act via the 2018 Farm Bill. However, Idaho, Mississippi, New Hampshire and South Dakota were the only states that continued the ban. 

The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) is expected to release new hemp legalization that will allow for the mass production of hemp in the 2020 growing season. 

USDA officials said last week that hemp farmers would be eligible for federal crop insurance.

The Federal Credit Union Administration has recently said credit unions in rural America are now allowed to provide services for hemp producers.

The Environmental Protection Agency also announced that it's currently reviewing and will be regulating what pesticides can be used on the crops. 

The Food and Drug Administration is reviewing how hemp-derived CBD could be used in food products or nutritional supplements.

With a record-setting amount of new hemp acreage coming online, spot hemp prices have been stagnating this year.

In red, Hemp Benchmark shows the states where growing hemp is commercially legal. 

Hemp Benchmark breaks down the number of licenses and acreage grown in each state. 

So if any readers are soybean and corn farmers devastated by President Trump's trade war, now could be the time to overhaul operations and switch fields over to hemp - this could boost farm income as Americans are now stuffing their faces with CBD products.

Tyler Durden

Wed, 09/11/2019 - 23:05



Measure will invariably lead to deaths of more unborn babies.
Female students at a school in the UK were prevented by officials and police from attending class because they refused to comply with a new “gender neutral” uniform policy.

Around 100 students protested outside the gates of Priory School in Lewes in response to a letter sent at the end of the summer advising they would be mandated to wear trousers at all times.

The school claimed that the policy change was put in place to “address inequality,” and be “inclusive,” but students and parents were outraged.

Read Entire Article »
Immediately after Mozilla announced its plan to soon enable 'DNS over HTTPS' (DoH) by default for Firefox users in the United States, Google today says it is planning an experiment with the privacy-focused technology in its upcoming Chrome 78.

Under development since 2017, 'DNS over HTTPS' performs DNS lookups—finding the server IP address of a certain domain name—over an encrypted HTTPS
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The Bill Of Rights Turns 230, And What Do We Have To Show For It? Nothing Good

Authored by John Whitehead via The Rutherford Institute,

“That was when they suspended the Constitution. They said it would be temporary. There wasn't even any rioting in the streets. People stayed home at night, watching television, looking for some direction. There wasn't even an enemy you could put your finger on.”

- Mar

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garet Atwood, The Handmaid's Tale

It’s been 230 years since James Madison drafted the Bill of Rights - the first ten amendments to the Constitution - as a means of protecting the people against government tyranny, and what do we have to show for it?

Nothing good.

In America today, the government does whatever it wants, freedom be damned.

We can pretend that the Constitution, which was written to hold the government accountable, is still our governing document, but the reality of life in the American police state tells a different story.

“We the people” have been terrorized, traumatized, and tricked into a semi-permanent state of compliance by a government that cares nothing for our lives or our liberties.

The bogeyman’s names and faces have changed over time (terrorism, the war on drugs, illegal immigration, etc.), but the end result remains the same: in the so-called named of national security, the Constitution has been steadily chipped away at, undermined, eroded, whittled down, and generally discarded to such an extent that what we are left with today is but a shadow of the robust document adopted more than two centuries ago.

Most of the damage has been inflicted upon the Bill of Rights.

A recitation of the Bill of Rights—set against a backdrop of government surveillance, militarized police, SWAT team raids, asset forfeiture, eminent domain, overcriminalization, armed surveillance drones, whole body scanners, stop and frisk searches (all sanctioned by Congress, the White House, the courts and the like)—would understandably sound more like a eulogy to freedoms lost than an affirmation of rights we truly possess.

Here is what it means to live under the Constitution today.

The First Amendment is supposed to protect the freedom to speak your mind, assemble and protest nonviolently without being bridled by the government. It also protects the freedom of the media, as well as the right to worship and pray without interference. In other words, Americans should not be silenced by the government. To the founders, all of America was a free speech zone.

Despite the clear protections found in the First Amendment, the freedoms described therein are under constant assault. Increasingly, Americans are being arrested and charged with bogus “contempt of cop” charges such as “disrupting the peace” or “resisting arrest” for daring to film police officers engaged in harassment or abusive practices. Journalists are being prosecuted for reporting on whistleblowers. States are passing legislation to muzzle reporting on cruel and abusive corporate practices. Religious ministries are being fined for attempting to feed and house the homeless. Protesters are being tear-gassed, beaten, arrested and forced into “free speech zones.” And under the guise of “government speech,” the courts have reasoned that the government can discriminate freely against any First Amendment activity that takes place within a government forum.

The Second Amendment was intended to guarantee “the right of the people to keep and bear arms.” Essentially, this amendment was intended to give the citizenry the means to resist tyrannical government. Yet while gun ownership has been recognized by the U.S. Supreme Court as an individual citizen right, Americans remain powerless to defend themselves against SWAT team raids and government agents armed to the teeth with military weapons better suited for the battlefield. As such, this amendment has been rendered null and void.

The Third Amendment reinforces the principle that civilian-elected officials are superior to the military by prohibiting the military from entering any citizen’s home without “the consent of the owner.” With the police increasingly training like the military, acting like the military, and posing as military forces—complete with heavily armed SWAT teams, military weapons, assault vehicles, etc.—it is clear that we now have what the founders feared most—a standing army on American soil.

The Fourth Amendment prohibits government agents from conducting surveillance on you or touching you or invading you, unless they have some evidence that you’re up to something criminal. In other words, the Fourth Amendment ensures privacy and bodily integrity. Unfortunately, the Fourth Amendment has suffered the greatest damage in recent years and has been all but eviscerated by an unwarranted expansion of police powers that include strip searches and even anal and vaginal searches of citizens, surveillance (corporate and otherwise) and intrusions justified in the name of fighting terrorism, as well as the outsourcing of otherwise illegal activities to private contractors.

The Fifth Amendment and the Sixth Amendment work in tandem. These amendments supposedly ensure that you are innocent until proven guilty, and government authorities cannot deprive you of your life, your liberty or your property without the right to an attorney and a fair trial before a civilian judge. However, in the new suspect society in which we live, where surveillance is the norm, these fundamental principles have been upended. Certainly, if the government can arbitrarily freeze, seize or lay claim to your property (money, land or possessions) under government asset forfeiture schemes, you have no true rights.

The Seventh Amendment guarantees citizens the right to a jury trial. Yet when the populace has no idea of what’s in the Constitution—civic education has virtually disappeared from most school curriculums—that inevitably translates to an ignorant jury incapable of distinguishing justice and the law from their own preconceived notions and fears. However, as a growing number of citizens are coming to realize, the power of the jury to nullify the government’s actions—and thereby help balance the scales of justice—is not to be underestimated. Jury nullification reminds the government that “we the people” retain the power to ultimately determine what laws are just.

The Eighth Amendment is similar to the Sixth in that it is supposed to protect the rights of the accused and forbid the use of cruel and unusual punishment. However, the Supreme Court’s determination that what constitutes “cruel and unusual” should be dependent on the “evolving standards of decency that mark the progress of a maturing society” leaves us with little protection in the face of a society lacking in morals altogether.

The Ninth Amendment provides that other rights not enumerated in the Constitution are nonetheless retained by the people. Popular sovereignty—the belief that the power to govern flows upward from the people rather than downward from the rulers—is clearly evident in this amendment. However, it has since been turned on its head by a centralized federal government that sees itself as supreme and which continues to pass more and more laws that restrict our freedoms under the pretext that it has an “important government interest” in doing so.

As for the Tenth Amendment’s reminder that the people and the states retain every authority that is not otherwise mentioned in the Constitution, that assurance of a system of government in which power is divided among local, state and national entities has long since been rendered moot by the centralized Washington, DC, power elite—the president, Congress and the courts. Indeed, the federal governmental bureaucracy has grown so large that it has made local and state legislatures relatively irrelevant. Through its many agencies and regulations, the federal government has stripped states of the right to regulate countless issues that were originally governed at the local level.

If there is any sense to be made from this recitation of freedoms lost, it is simply this: our individual freedoms have been eviscerated so that the government’s powers could be expanded.

Yet those who gave us the Constitution and the Bill of Rights believed that the government exists at the behest of its citizens. It is there to protect, defend and even enhance our freedoms, not violate them.

It was no idle happenstance that the Constitution opens with these three powerful words: “We the people.” As the Preamble proclaims:

We, the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect Union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this CONSTITUTION for the United States of America.

In other words, we have the power to make and break the government. We are the masters and they are the servants. We the American people—the citizenry—are the arbiters and ultimate guardians of America’s welfare, defense, liberty, laws and prosperity.

Still, it’s hard to be a good citizen if you don’t know anything about your rights or how the government is supposed to operate.

As the National Review rightly asks, “How can Americans possibly make intelligent and informed political choices if they don’t understand the fundamental structure of their government? American citizens have the right to self-government, but it seems that we increasingly lack the capacity for it.”

Americans are constitutionally illiterate.

Most citizens have little, if any, knowledge about their basic rights. And our educational system does a poor job of teaching the basic freedoms guaranteed in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. For instance, when Newsweek asked 1,000 adult U.S. citizens to take America’s official citizenship test, 44% were unable to define the Bill of Rights.

A survey by the Annenberg Public Policy Center found that a little more than one-third of respondents (36 percent) could name all three branches of the U.S. government, while another one-third (35 percent) could not name a single one. Only a quarter of Americans (27 percent) know it takes a two-thirds vote of the House and Senate to override a presidential veto. One in five Americans (21 percent) incorrectly thinks that a 5-4 Supreme Court decision is sent back to Congress for reconsideration. And more than half of Americans do not know which party controls the House and Senate.

A survey by the McCormick Tribune Freedom Museum found that only one out of a thousand adults could identify the five rights protected by the First Amendment. On the other hand, more than half (52%) of the respondents could name at least two of the characters in the animated Simpsons television family, and 20% could name all five. And although half could name none of the freedoms in the First Amendment, a majority (54%) could name at least one of the three judges on the TV program American Idol, 41% could name two and one-fourth could name all three.

It gets worse.

Many who responded to the survey had a strange conception of what was in the First Amendment. For example, 21% said the “right to own a pet” was listed someplace between “Congress shall make no law” and “redress of grievances.” Some 17% said that the First Amendment contained the “right to drive a car,” and 38% believed that “taking the Fifth” was part of the First Amendment.

Teachers and school administrators do not fare much better. A study conducted by the Center for Survey Research and Analysis found that one educator in five was unable to name any of the freedoms in the First Amendment.

In fact, while some educators want students to learn about freedom, they do not necessarily want them to exercise their freedoms in school. As the researchers conclude, “Most educators think that students already have enough freedom, and that restrictions on freedom in the school are necessary. Many support filtering the Internet, censoring T-shirts, disallowing student distribution of political or religious material, and conducting prior review of school newspapers.”

Government leaders and politicians are also ill-informed. Although they take an oath to uphold, support and defend the Constitution against “enemies foreign and domestic,” their lack of education about our fundamental rights often causes them to be enemies of the Bill of Rights.

So what’s the solution?

Thomas Jefferson recognized that a citizenry educated on “their rights, interests, and duties”  is the only real assurance that freedom will survive.

As Jefferson wrote in 1820: “I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of our society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power.”

From the President on down, anyone taking public office should have a working knowledge of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights and should be held accountable for upholding their precepts. One way to ensure this would be to require government leaders to take a course on the Constitution and pass a thorough examination thereof before being allowed to take office.

Some critics are advocating that students pass the United States citizenship exam in order to graduate from high school. Others recommend that it must be a prerequisite for attending college. I’d go so far as to argue that students should have to pass the citizenship exam before graduating from grade school.

Here’s an idea to get educated and take a stand for freedom: anyone who signs up to become a member of The Rutherford Institute gets a wallet-sized Bill of Rights card and a Know Your Rights card. Use this card to teach your children the freedoms found in the Bill of Rights.

If this constitutional illiteracy is not remedied and soon, freedom in America will be doomed.

As I make clear in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, we have managed to keep the wolf at bay so far. Barely.

Our national priorities need to be re-prioritized. For instance, some argue that we need to make America great again. I, for one, would prefer to make America free again.

As actor-turned-activist Richard Dreyfuss warned:

“Unless we teach the ideas that make America a miracle of government, it will go away in your kids’ lifetimes, and we will be a fable. You have to find the time and creativity to teach it in schools, and if you don’t, you will lose it. You will lose it to the darkness, and what this country represents is a tiny twinkle of light in a history of oppression and darkness and cruelty. If it lasts for more than our lifetime, for more than our kids’ lifetime, it is only because we put some effort into teaching what it is, the ideas of America: the idea of opportunity, mobility, freedom of thought, freedom of assembly.”

Tyler Durden

Wed, 09/11/2019 - 22:05



Trump Delays Increase In China Tariffs Until October 15; Futures Surge

Just hours after China, as a gesture of goodwill, waived tariffs on 16 types of US goods in a clear attempt to get on Trump's good side and "sweeten" trade talks, a move which clearly was not lost on the US president, moments ago Trump said he was delaying a 5% increase in tariffs on Chinese goods by two weeks, supposedly out of respect for the celebration of the 70th anniversary of the revolu

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tion that brought the communist government to power.

“At the request of the Vice Premier of China, Liu He, and due to the fact that the People’s Republic of China will be celebrating their 70th Anniversary on October 1st, we have agreed, as a gesture of good will, to move the increased Tariffs on 250 Billion Dollars worth of goods (25% to 30%), from October 1st to October 15th,” Trump tweeted at7;17pm.

While Trump claimed that the move was out of respect for the Chinese National Day holiday, it is far more likely an in kind response to China's announcement that a range of U.S. goods would be exempted from 25% extra tariffs put in place last year.

The delay comes into place just 11 days after a new round of tariffs kicked into place, and followed an escalation of the U.S.-China trade war in August when Trump announced an increase in the tariffs on $250 billion in Chinese goods to 30% from 25% starting Oct. 1.

The nations are scheduled to hold two rounds of face-to-face negotiations in Washington in coming weeks with the first this month and the second in early October with a visit from He.

The news sent S&P Emini futures surging by 0.6%, or up 17 points, to 3,020, just 7 points away from the July 26 all time high, and the Dow up over 140 points...

... sending the Dow back to where it was when Trump suffered his tariff tantrum at the end of July...

... with the Nasdaq...

... and the Yuan also sharply higher.

Source: Bloomberg

In the process roundtripping back to where the yuan was before China announced its retaliation to the latest round of US sanctions.

Source: Bloomberg

But yuan remains dramatically decoupled from US stocks.

Source: Bloomberg

At this rate, the S&P will be at its all time highs by the open tomorrow, which means that next Thursday the Fed will cut rates by 25 bps with the US stock market at fresh all time highs.... unless of course, the Fed sees today's de-escalation as a key transition in the trade war and decides to delay rate cuts. Which, however, it won't as otherwise - with the ECB set to cut tomorrow and restart QE - Trump will show up at the Marriner Eccles building with a flamethrower and burn the whole place down.

Tyler Durden

Wed, 09/11/2019 - 19:53
The head of United Nations Global Communications says that it is a “right” for migrants to illegally enter the United States.

Writing on Facebook, Melissa Flemming asserted that, “the right to seek asylum is enshrined in Article 14 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights & was made binding by the 1951 Refugee Convention.”

“It is never a crime to seek asylum in another country even if one enters a country irregularly,” she added.

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