30 ноября 2018, 04:15

These Countries Are Quickly And Quietly Dumping The Dollar

Authored by Robert Wheeler via Daisy Luther's Organic Prepper blog, Over the past few months, there has been a steady uptick in the number of countries dumping significant portions of their dollar holdings. This is causing many people to worry whether or not the US economy is in for a massive shock sooner, later, or somewhere in between. While American corporate media outlets either ignore the developments entirely or claim that there is nothing to worry about, the reality is that the dumping of the dollar is a process that is clearly underway. More than that, it appears it is a process that is at least partially coordinated by a number of countries that have been targets of American sanctions and financial bullying in the “post 9/11 world.” Thus, while corporate media outlets ignore the vanishing dollar dominance and reassure their hapless audience that everything is fine, alt media outlets are predicting a second Weimar Republic, this time in North America. But what is really going on with the recent dollar dumping? Who is actually dumping the dollar and what kind of effects could we really expect to see in America if the dollar is truly abandoned? Who Is Dumping The Dollar? Since the dollar currently enjoys its status as the world’s reserve currency, it is constantly being bought and sold by nations across the entire planet. This arrangement is essentially what is keeping the dollar strong even after the United States embraced neo-liberal Free Trade policies that saw the greatest economic system the world has ever known turned into a shell of its former self. This arrangement allows the United States to sell its “debt” to the rest of the world, which other countries are willing to buy because of the stability of the American governmental system and the fact that America is still an economic powerhouse. But as the US stretches its military and financial forces thin in the course of expanding its empire across the world, the collapse of that empire looms and, with it, increasingly jittery feet from countries desiring to make prudent financial decisions. For countries tired of being victims of the empire, those who desire a “multipolar” world, and those seeking to expand their own empires, however, the smell of blood is wafting through the air. China, the emerging and competing empire, has already started the process of dumping the American dollar in a careful and coordinated fashion. This is particularly concerning since China holds so much of America’s debt and so many US dollars. If China dumped all of its holdings at once, America would likely enter a new financial crisis. Fortunately for Americans, however, such an immediate move would also throw China into a crisis which is most likely the main thing holding China back. But make no mistake. China is moving forward with the plan of relieving itself of the dollar. After all, the country recently inked a deal to trade oil in yuan instead of the dollar. “Mainland it is laying the ground for the Belt and Road Initiative, and China is even sweetening the pot by offering swap facilities to local countries to promote the use of the yuan,”  Stephen Innes, Head of FX Trading for OANDA in Asia Pacific told RT. Indeed, it appears that developing country-to-country trading mechanisms are emerging as well which will eventually subvert the US dollar as the world reserve currency. Interestingly enough, the development of such a system is a result of aggressive Americans sanctions and financial bullying over the past few decades. The United States maintains sanctions on all of its target nations such as Iran, Syria, North Korea, Russia, and others. But the US also threatens its “allies” with sanctions if they dare act rationally on the world stage or refuse to follow American dictates. As a result, America is sanctioning itself into isolation and creating a world where it has taken its ball and gone home so many times that the rest of the kids realize it’s possible and even easier to just play the game without the American bully on the field. India is also slowly moving away from the dollar. Recently, it announced that it would be paying for the Russian S-400 system (important in its own right) and settling the payment in rubles, not dollars. But it’s not just the development of country-to-country financial/trading mechanisms. Other countries have been slowly dumping the dollar outright. In fact, China has done that also. Take a look at a recent report from RT detailing how China just dumped the largest amount of Treasuries in 8 months. The article states, In September, China’s share of US Treasuries holdings had the highest decline since January as ongoing trade tensions with Washington forced the world’s biggest economy to take measures to stabilize its national currency. Still the biggest foreign holder of the US foreign debt, China slashed it’s share by nearly $14 billion, with the country’s holdings falling to $1.15 trillion from nearly $1.17 trillion in August, according to the latest data from the Treasury Department. The fall marks the fourth straight month of declines. China is followed by Japan, whose share of US Treasuries fell to $1.03 trillion, the lowest since October 2011. Washington has accelerated the Treasury issuance to avoid potential growth in the federal deficit due to the massive tax cut pushed by President Donald Trump, as well the federal spending deal approved by the government in February. Chinese purchases of US state debt have been decreasing over recent months. The latest drop comes on top of the escalating trade conflict between Beijing and Washington over trade imbalance, market access, and alleged stealing of US technology secrets by Chinese corporations. So far, the US has imposed tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods and Beijing retaliated with tariffs on $60 billion of US goods and stopped buying American crude. China has been steadily dumping US dollar holdings over the past several months and Japan has followed suit. As RT reported last month, China and Japan – the two main holders of the US Treasury securities – have trimmed their ownership of notes and bonds in August, according to the latest figures from the US Treasury Department, released on Tuesday. China’s holdings of US sovereign debt dropped to $1.165 trillion in August, from $1.171 trillion in July, marking the third consecutive month of declines as the world’s second-largest economy bolsters its national currency amid trade tensions with the US. China remains the biggest foreign holder of US Treasuries, followed by long-time US ally Japan. Tokyo cut its holdings of US securities to $1.029 trillion in August, the lowest since October 2011. In July, Japan’s holdings were at $1.035 trillion. According to the latest figures from the country’s Ministry of Finance, Japanese investors opted to buy British debt in August, selling US and German bonds. Japan reportedly liquidated a net $5.6 billion worth of debt. Liquidating US Treasuries, one of the world’s most actively-traded financial assets, has recently become a trend among major holders. Russia dumped 84 percent of its holdings this year, with its remaining holdings as of June totaling just $14.9 billion. With relations between Moscow and Washington at their lowest point in decades, the Central Bank of Russia explained the decision was based on financial, economic and geopolitical risks. Turkey is also backing away from the dollar, having dropped out of the “top-30 list of holders of American debt.” This probably has more to do with Turkey finally coming to the realization that the US was engaging in “hamburger diplomacy” and has no real allegiance to Turkey accept as a vassal state. The failed military coup in the country and the US arming of Kurdish forces in Syria have done nothing but push Turkey toward Russia. India remains in the top 30 holder list but it has cut its holdings for five straight months. As would be expected, Russia has been consistently moving forward not only to dump the dollar in a responsible manner but also to make its financial system more distinctly Russian and less dependent upon the whims of the Anglo financier arrangement. Again, RT writes, One of Russia’s largest banks, VTB is seeking to decrease the share of US dollar transactions at home as locals are choosing the Russian ruble over the greenback. “There is one interesting thing I wanted to highlight. Since the beginning of this year, people seem to be less interested in making dollar deposits or taking out dollar loans, compared to ruble-denominated deposits and loans. We believe this to be an important step towards the de-dollarization of the Russian finance sector,” said VTB head Andrey Kostin at a Kremlin meeting with President Vladimir Putin. According to Kostin, VTB experts have drafted a package of proposals designed to further promote the ruble in international settlements. “I think that we need to create our own financial tools. This would serve as an additional safeguard for the Russian financial sector against external shocks, and would give a new impetus to its development,” Kostin added. The financial tools Kostin mentioned are floating Eurobonds, shares and other derivatives that are now used only in the West. Russia has been seeking the ways of decreasing the dependence on the US currency after Washington and its allies imposed sanctions against Moscow in 2014. In May, President Putin said Russia can no longer trust the US dollar-dominated financial system since America is imposing unilateral sanctions and violates World Trade Organization (WTO) rules. Putin added that the dollar monopoly is unsafe and dangerous for the global economy. It is important to remember that Russia has also dumped $47bn worth of Treasury bonds, dumping nearly half of its holdings at once. What Happens If The Dollar Loses Its Status? So why is this concerning? What would happen if the dollar loses its status as the world’s reserve currency? The truth is, no one fully knows exactly what such a situation would look like and it would depend on a number of factors such as how quickly the dollar is abandoned by the world, the action taken by the US government in response, and the economic situation of the country once the dollar is unseated. Despite mainstream claims, we’ve never really been in this specific situation before. Other countries have seen their currency used as the de facto world reserve but, when their time was up, there were also many other factors at play and the world financial system was less intertwined than it is today. Still, although we may not know the specifics, we do have a general idea of what would happen. First, Americans are going to lose the convenience of being able to use their currency just about anywhere in the world, both on a business and individual level. That’s not such a big deal on the individual level though it may cause a few hiccups for mid-sized businesses. Second, interest rates will most assuredly go up. This is going to make it harder for businesses and individuals to pay back any loans they may have received to start or maintain their businesses, buy a home or car, and it will stifle economic growth and it is going to make more people hesitate to request those loans knowing that interest rates will be so high. Third, and perhaps the most dangerous, is the potential for widespread inflation and devaluing of the currency. Loss of world reserve status will undoubtedly lower the value of the dollar. The question, however, is whether that devaluation would occur slowly over a period of years or even decades or whether it would take place within months, weeks, or days. Obviously, the former would be preferable if the dollar does have to be unseated because it would at least allow time for Americans to brace themselves and to prepare and innovate for the coming devaluation that would gradually get worse. In some cases, American exports might even be helpful for some American exports (though not helpful in terms of wages – competing via lower living standards is a race to abject poverty). But at least a slow burn would allow for Americans “in the know” to stock up on food, attempt to pay off their debts, arm themselves, and make prudent financial decisions in anticipation. A quick and sudden loss of reserve currency status, however, would bring about an immense crisis that virtually no one is prepared for. As Webster Griffin Tarpley wrote in his article “The Second Wave Of The Depression – Hyperinflation Likely,” published in 2009, The next wave is likely to involve a worldwide dollar panic. Using ballpark figures, we can say that there are about $4 to $5 trillion sloshing around the world in the form of hot money, US Treasury securities, Euro dollars, and various forms of zeno-dollars. Japan has about a trillion, China almost $2 trillion, and so forth. It is naturally very unwise for a developing country like China to hold so many dollars rather than using them to purchase needed infrastructure and capital goods, and the Chinese leaders are now very uncomfortable with their own foolish decision, which was of course taken under heavy US pressure. But the point is that this $4.5 trillion overhang is by its very nature exceedingly unstable. Every country that holds large sums of dollars or US treasury bonds is nervously eyeing every other such country to see if they show signs of bolting for the exit. Up to now, so far as we know, no large holder of dollars has attempted to reduce its exposure to the battered greenback by dumping these dollars on the international market. If anyone did so, would cause a true universal financial panic which would create chaos and mayhem not just in the United States and Great Britain, but in the vast areas of the rest of the world as well. This is concretely how hyperinflation could now very well arise: if one or more US creditor nations attempts to abruptly lighten up on dollars, the value of the US currency could undergo a catastrophic collapse, and that would spell runaway hyperinflation on the US domestic front. The numbers are a decade old but the concept is still there. That being said, given that the United States has used its status as a method of financing itself into maintained prosperity, the loss of that status would remove that privilege. Instead, the United States would be forced to either knuckle under to the dictates of the financiers that will have the country on its knees or do what it should have done all along – nationalize the Federal Reserve and begin issuing credit stimulus and imposing across-the-board tariffs on imports. Conclusion It would be nice to hope for the best and prepare for the worst but, as things appear today, we might want to start preparing much more than hoping. The US economic system, partially as a result of becoming an empire with all its requisite destabilizations and wars, mostly a result of Free Trade, and partially a result of private central banking among a host of other factors, has been sacrificed on the altar of globalism. Aggressive behavior on the financial, political, and military fronts has thus created a world seething with anger and hatred at the United States, who is now willing and able to begin weakening the dollar dominance in hopes for the creation of a new “multipolar” world out of the ashes of the old “American” one. There are no signs that anyone in the American government is either prepared to defend against the dollar collapse or to prevent it. In fact, all signs point to the possibility that such a collapse is desired by the Anglo-financier community. In other words, the best time to prepare is today.

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02 апреля 2018, 23:41

This Secret Religious Ceremony Just Made Meghan Markle Even More Like British Royalty

Meghan Markle just made herself more like British royalty than ever before: Here's how.

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02 апреля 2018, 01:33


TUNKU VARADARAJAN INTERVIEWS HARVEY MANSFIELD ON TRUMP AND MASCULINITY: In 2016, Mr. Mansfield continues, Mr. Trump won “a majority of white women—and women are attracted to manly men, I think.” He agrees that there’s a connection between the campaign for gender-neutrality in the U.S.—seeking, as he sees it, to erase all differences between the sexes—and […]

27 марта 2018, 14:55

FULL TEXT: Speaker Ryan’s Address to the Czech Parliament

PRAGUE—In an address today to a special session of the Czech Parliament, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) called for “solidarity on this frontier of freedom” and hailed strong U.S.-Czech ties based on common values and interests. The speech comes during an official visit to mark the 100th anniversary of the establishment of U.S.-Czech relations. Speaker Ryan is the first American leader in history to address the Czech Parliament.   Following is the text of Speaker Ryan’s remarks, as prepared for delivery:  "Speaker Vondráček, Prime Minister Babiš, ministers, distinguished members of this chamber:  "It is wonderful to be here in Prague, this inspiring city of a hundred spires.  "Thank you for convening this special session.  "I know it is a rare privilege for a foreign leader to address this body.  "While I am deeply honored, I view this far more as a tribute to the warm friendship between our countries, which share such a unique and lasting bond of history.  "This is a special moment in that story, 100 years after President Woodrow Wilson collaborated with your first president, Tomas Masaryk, to establish an independent Czechoslovak Republic.    "Just as our declaration of 1776 spoke of a 'pursuit of happiness,' Masaryk’s declaration —drafted in Washington—calls the Czech people to begin a 'constant endeavor for progress.'  "What an extraordinary endeavor it has been.  "There were times along the way when few would have fathomed a gathering such as this.  "In the mid-1970s, the Chancellor of West Germany predicted that Western Europe 'has only 20 or 30 more years of democracy left in it.' "But today, the American and Czech militaries serve side by side to keep the peace.  "American and Czech businesses invest in each other’s workers and economies. "Countless students, artists, and entrepreneurs go back and forth each year.  "And today, an American speaker appears before you, the elected representatives of a free and thriving Czech people. "Colleagues, freedom is flourishing. We should not take this milestone for granted.  "You know, in a way, our ties run even deeper than the last century. "The Czech Republic is often referred to as being in the 'heart of Europe.' "Similarly, my family is from Janesville, Wisconsin, a small, working-class town in America’s heartland. We raise our kids on the same block where I grew up. "My great-great grandfather, James Ryan, made the long voyage from Ireland sometime in the 1850s.  "To this day, there are some 60 Ryan cousins in Janesville. . .all living in one square mile.  "Wisconsin is where many European migrations of the mid-19th century ended.  "In fact, most of the first Czech settlers in America came to our state. Many began as farmers, and went on to open their own shops and businesses.  "Racine, a community I have the privilege to represent, was actually called 'Czech Bethlehem.' "The first Czech newspapers in the United States were published there. One of the first mayors of Racine was Czech.  "The Czech people helped shape our country.  "That sense of striving and upward mobility—of making the most of your God-given talents—is at the heart of what I call the 'American Idea.' "It is the notion that the condition of your birth does not determine the outcome of your life.  "Those beautiful timeless principles—freedom, free enterprise, self-determination, government by consent…they give us the ability to chart our own course.  "Government is at its best when we are applying those founding principles to the problems of the day.  "This 'American Idea' animated my own studies, and motivated my own very unlikely pursuit of public service. "When I first ran for office, I was 27 years old.  "And to tell you the truth, there were few people willing to take a risk on a 27-year old running for Congress.  "I needed to find someone who would, and would help me get a start.  "So I reached out to one of the top political leaders in our state. His name was Steve King.  "By then, Steve was a giant in Wisconsin politics. He had long been our state party chairman.  "And I simply would not take ‘no’ for an answer.  "When Steve signed on to be my campaign chairman, it gave me instant credibility. And, as I know now, it gave me a lifelong friend too. "This man is a true patriot and a class act. We are so blessed to have him as America’s ambassador to the Czech Republic.  "Thank you, Mr. Ambassador. "Yesterday, over at our embassy, the Ambassador and I walked up the hill to the Glorietta. The view from up there is just splendid, it really is. "There, I presented him with an American flag that recently flew above our Capitol building to commemorate this centennial. "You may recall that in a much different, and darker, time—when the Iron Curtain divided this continent—we kept our stars and stripes flying above the Glorietta.  "It was a signal of our unending support for the Czech people and our desire that we would one day return to our deeply shared values. "But this republic did not merely return from communism.  "It roared back to life, in large part on the vision of Vaclav Havel.  "Every day, just before heading up the stairs to my office in the Capitol, I walk by a bust of Havel.  "It was sculpted by a Czech artist who was forced into exile during the period of communist rule. "The Havel bust is actually just across the hall from a bust of Winston Churchill.  "I always wonder what those two talk about at night when no one is around. "They stand watch in a space we call Freedom Foyer, as a tribute to all those who have fought and sacrificed for our guiding principles. "In a scene that only a playwright of his caliber could have crafted, Havel was just months removed from prison when he addressed the United States Congress in January 1990. "He reminded the Congress of our collective responsibility to preserve the greatness of democratic values. "He said this: 'Our freedom, independence and our newborn democracy have been purchased at great cost, and we shall not surrender them.' "On this occasion, we would be wise to recall Havel’s words, and his determination too.  "When he said ‘we shall not surrender’ freedom, he surely knew there were powers that would try to wrest it back, and take us backward.  "He knew there were forces that would seek to remake the world in their own authoritarian image. "And as we gather here to celebrate the ties of the last century, we are called to confront the challenges of the next. "The Czech people are no strangers to Russian influence, whether in the guise of oppression or subversion. "Russia has violated international norms with its aggression against our closest allies in Eastern Europe. "More furtively, it spreads disinformation, and engages in cyber attacks. "It meddles in democratic elections throughout Europe, as it did in the United States. "Russia does not share our interests or our values.  "If anything, it seeks to undermine those values. "We must see this for what it is: an attempt to sow discord among our peoples, divide allies, and destabilize democratic institutions. "We cannot and we will not tolerate it.  "This week, more than 20 countries, including the United States and the Czech Republic, took action to expel Russian diplomats in response to an attack on British soil.  "Solidarity on this frontier of freedom is more important than ever. It is everything, really.  "All of the nations that once suffered under Soviet rule have a common interest in building security and prosperity. "In this work, our two republics are not simply allies mutually dedicated to the cause of liberty.  "We are partners and leaders in the community of democracies.  "Our common values are the foundation on which we will build stronger, more resilient institutions. "First, there is our shared commitment to economic growth.  "A strong economy is essential to spreading liberty and ensuring stability. It is what gives people confidence they can get a good job, live a good life, and take care of their own.  "Faster growth does not solve all of our problems, but it certainly makes our problems easier to solve. "Here in the Czech Republic, you have an economy that is doing extremely well, featuring strong exports and low unemployment. "We are proud that the United States is one of the top foreign investors here.  "Leading American companies, such as AT&T, Honeywell, GE, IBM, and Microsoft, do innovative research and development in and with the Czech Republic.  "And I just learned this today: Prague is home to one of the oldest Harley-Davidson clubs in the world. A great Milwaukee company.  "There is so much potential for more trade between our two nations, which will bring more opportunity to Czechs and Americans alike.  "Second, there is our security cooperation, an area where we have a range of tools at our disposal. "Here again, the Czech Republic is an example to its neighbors, leading in the NATO alliance, aggressively fighting disinformation, and upholding sanctions against Russia.  "On NATO, as President Trump has said, we have demonstrated with our words and actions that we stand firmly behind Article 5, our mutual defense commitment.  "That commitment is rock-solid. "Of course, we have all pledged to spend at least 2 percent of GDP on our defense. We are glad that the Czech Republic has a concrete plan to reach its goal in the years ahead.  "And we look forward to seeing you take on a larger share of the defense responsibility.  "This is not simply about meeting a benchmark. It is about expanding our capabilities to address evolving threats.  "That is why last week, our Congress passed, and President Trump signed, legislation increasing support for the European Deterrence Initiative.  "It includes beginning the build-up of a division’s worth of equipment being prepositioned over five locations on this continent. "We want you to see that America is committed to an enduring presence in Europe.  "For us and our allies, the bravery and the expertise of the Czechs are indispensable.  "We know, and appreciate, how much you have fought side by side with us in Iraq, and in Afghanistan.  "We are also fortunate to have you watching over our embassy in Damascus, providing critical support for American citizens.  "You are an active and valued member of the Global Coalition for the Defeat of ISIS.  "And yes, we must defeat ISIS.  "We need to collectively do more to stop this insidious threat. We need all allies to assist robustly in sharing information, and addressing the sources of extremism. "You have not only helped to roll back ISIS on the battlefield. You have also taken part in efforts to rebuild liberated territory so that Iraqis can return home.  "No one knows better than you do just how much that means, for people to be able to return and rebuild their lives. "Your contributions to these missions have greatly enhanced your stature in Europe and the world. "And I am very encouraged by the discussions we have had here about how to expand our defense cooperation even further. "Third, there are the things we do every day to support democracy and human rights.  "Yesterday, I had the opportunity to visit Radio Free Europe, and to see firsthand the remarkable work they are doing. It was just incredible.  "How fortunate we are to have them broadcasting from here. Thank you for what you do to support them.  "Let it serve as a reminder that a free and transparent media is a vital component of a healthy democracy. "We also partner to support the heroic efforts of organizations such as the National Endowment for Democracy and the International Republican Institute.  "We, as elected legislators, should never forget just how powerful it is to speak out for those who cannot speak for themselves.  "After all, that is why we are here today, because people who were free and sought to be free banded together in common cause.  "Colleagues, I know democracy is not easy.  "It can be just as hard to keep it as it is to win it. "It has its flaws, and that is never going to change.  "It has its skeptics, and that is certainly never going to change.  "This truly is an ‘endeavor for progress,’ and so long as we are imperfect beings, we will have an imperfect form of government.  "But there is always that fearless aspiration to do better, pushing us forward.  "Our task, in the time we have to serve, is to build up the antibodies of our institutions—to leave them resilient enough to endure come what may.  "This is our great moral and political responsibility. "In this swirl of events, I refer you back to those moving words of Masaryk’s declaration of a century ago: "'The forces of darkness have served the victory of light; the longed-for age of humanity is dawning. We believe in democracy, we believe in liberty and liberty evermore.' "This is a time to raise our gaze, to renew our faith in what we believe, and what we can achieve together, to reach the grace and capacity of humanity.  "America was with you for the first 100 years.  "We will be with you for the next 100 years.  "We will be with you always, and evermore.  "God bless you. Thank you very much." p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 14.0px Helvetica; -webkit-text-stroke: #000000} p.p2 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 14.0px Helvetica; -webkit-text-stroke: #000000; min-height: 17.0px} span.s1 {font-kerning: none} span.s2 {text-decoration: underline ; font-kerning: none}

26 марта 2018, 22:47

Prague, Day One: Solidarity of Western Alliance, Stronger U.S.-Czech Ties

PRAGUE—House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) today underscored the importance of the solidarity of the Western alliance and stronger U.S.-Czech ties during a visit to mark the centennial of diplomatic relations between our two nations. At a meeting with Prime Minister Andrej Babiš, the two leaders discussed a range of defense and economic issues as well as the decision by the U.S. and NATO allies to expel Russian diplomats following the attack on British soil. In the evening, Speaker Ryan took part in a working dinner with Prime Minister Babiš and Ambassador Stephen B. King at the Ambassador’s residence.  “As we enter the second century of U.S.-Czech relations, we are poised to further strengthen our security and economic ties,” Speaker Ryan said. “Today’s united action to expel Russian diplomats is a perfect example of how we must work together to defend our interests and values. The Western alliance, particularly through our joint efforts in NATO, has never been more critical.”  Radio Free Europe. In the afternoon, Speaker Ryan visited Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) to learn more about their work reporting in 20 countries without a fully-established free press, and particularly how they reach audiences in Russia. Ryan then sat down for an interview with RFE that focused on today’s actions against Russian diplomats. “This is done in solidarity with our allies in Britain,” Ryan said. “I think it’s fantastic that other European nations, including the Czech Republic right here, followed suit as well.” Watch the full interview. Flag Presentation at the Glorietta. At the Glorietta pavilion overlooking the U.S. embassy and the city, Speaker Ryan presented Ambassador King with an American flag that was flown over the Capitol in honor of this centennial. The flag was raised by the embassy’s Marine Detachment. During the period of communist role in Czechoslovakia, the United States kept its flag flying above the Glorietta as a symbol of our solidarity with the Czech people. Watch the ceremony.  Look Ahead. Tomorrow, Speaker Ryan will address a special session of the Chamber of Deputies, the lower house of the Czech parliament. He will be the first American leader in history to address this body. Afterward, Ryan will take part in a joint press conference with Speaker Radek Vondráček. More information is available here. 

26 марта 2018, 14:50

Speaker Ryan Begins Official Visit to the Czech Republic

PRAGUE—House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) has begun a two-day official visit to the Czech Republic that will include a historic address to the country’s parliament. The visit marks the 100th anniversary of the establishment of U.S.-Czech relations. Speaker Ryan is the highest-ranking U.S. official to visit the Czech Republic since President Obama in 2009. “It is wonderful to be in Prague to commemorate this milestone in relations between the United States and the Czech Republic,” Speaker Ryan said. “Our countries continue to enjoy strong ties, made even stronger by our commitment to democratic ideals and the NATO alliance. I look forward to meeting with Czech leaders to discuss ways we can expand our security cooperation and economic partnerships in the years ahead.” As part of his visit, Speaker Ryan will meet with Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš, Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies Radek Vondráček, and U.S. Ambassador Stephen B. King. Speaker Ryan met with Ambassador King last week in the U.S. Capitol. Se @SpeakerRyan ve Strakovce. Je mi ctí. pic.twitter.com/nNe8xbixzn — Andrej Babiš (@AndrejBabis) March 26, 2018 The centerpiece of Speaker Ryan’s visit is an address he will give on Tuesday at a special session of the Chamber of Deputies, the lower house of the Czech Parliament. Ryan will be the first American leader in history to address this body. An advisory from the Chamber of Deputies is included below. “I am deeply honored by Speaker Vondráček’s invitation to address the Chamber of Deputies,” Speaker Ryan added. “This is yet another tribute to the warm friendship between the American and Czech peoples, who share common bonds of history and values.”  This is the fourth foreign visit of Ryan’s speakership. Speaker Ryan visited Europe last spring, leading a delegation to the United Kingdom, Poland, Norway, and Estonia, to reaffirm America’s commitment to NATO and our transatlantic alliances.  Media Advisory from the Czech Chamber of Deputies  All times local. Contact: [email protected]   At the invitation of the Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies Radek Vondráček, Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Paul Ryan, the third highest U.S. constitutional official, will visit the Czech Republic March 26 – 27, 2018.  In the framework of his official program on Tuesday March 27, 2018, he will come to the Chamber of Deputies.  He will be greeted by the Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies, Radek Vondráček, at 12:00 and they will then meet for a discussion in the Speaker’s office.  At an extraordinary session of the Chamber of Deputies at 14:00, Paul Ryan and Radek Vondráček will deliver speeches.  A press conference with both Speakers is planned for 14:40 in the Press Atrium. Photo-ops: 11:55     Arrival and beginning of visit (foyer of the Speaker’s Office) 12:30     P. Ryan signs the Guest Book (foyer of the Speaker’s Office) 14:00     P. Ryan delivers his speech at the Chamber 14:40     Press Conference in Press Atrium

22 марта 2018, 16:38

Fed Hikes Rate, Upbeat Economic Data: 4 Best Insurers to Add

Amid an improving macro backdrop, we select four lucrative stocks with strong fundamentals from the insurance industry for better returns to investors.

22 марта 2018, 01:57

These ‘American Idol’ Moments Really Made Us Cringe

'American Idol' has featured many awkward moments, but these were by far the most difficult for fans to get through.

21 марта 2018, 17:57

First American (FAF) Stock Surges 62% in a Year: Here's Why

First American Financial's (FAF) shares rise more than 62% in a year, driven by solid fundamentals and favorable industry trends.

19 марта 2018, 13:15

The Surprising Reason Meghan Markle’s Official Royal Title Has Made History

Meghan Markle is an official member of the royal family. Find out why Markle is making history with her official royal title, here.

28 февраля 2018, 22:04

15 U.S. Presidents and Other Famous World Leaders Who Also Had a Disability

These leaders chose to keep their illnesses and disabilities hidden from the public so they could remain in power

28 февраля 2018, 16:04

Powell Presents Optimistic View on Capitol Hill: Top 5 Winners

Powell hinted that gradual hike in short-term rates from the Federal Reserve could be warranted this year

27 февраля 2018, 11:30

Endgame Russia: NATO Sprawl Invades Eastern Europe, No More Illusions

Authored by Robert Bridge via The Strategic Culture Foundation, In the past, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) justified its militarization of large swaths of Eastern Europe by pointing to the omnipresent threat of terrorism, or some 'rogue' foreign state, inherently understood to be Iran. Today the mask has slipped and it is no longer denied that NATO's primary target is Russia. But first, a trip down nightmare lane. The road to ruin - at least as far as US-Russia relations were concerned - began immediately following the 9/11 terror attacks. Three months after that fateful day, in December 2001, George W. Bush informed Vladimir Putin that the US was withdrawing from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, a strange move considering that the treaty had kept the peace between the nuclear superpowers since 1972. This geopolitical "mistake," as Putin rightly defined it, allowed the US to begin the process of deploying a missile defense system, smack on the border with Russia, allegedly to shield the continent against an attack by Iran. Never mind the fact that Tehran had absolutely no reason, not to mention the wherewithal, to carry out such a suicidal mission. But Washington has never been one to let facts get in the way of a forced move on the global chess board. Thus, the Bush administration advocated on behalf of a land-based missile defense system with interceptors based in Poland and a radar station in the Czech Republic. However, due to serious objections from Russia, not to mention the apprehensive citizens of the host countries, the plan had reached an impasse in 2008 - just as Obama was replacing Bush in the White House. Some would call that impeccable timing. What happened next can only be described as a devious sleight of hand on the part of Washington. In September 2009, the Nobel Peace Prize winner, Barack Obama, announced to great fanfare that the US would "shelve" the Bush plan. This announcement was received in Moscow and beyond as a sign that America's first black president was truly the real deal when it came to working on behalf of global peace. Suddenly, it appeared that the Bush reign of error had been an ugly anomaly, a bad eight-year dream. That grand illusion lasted for about as long as it took to read that sentence. Barack Obama, the man who had seduced the global masses with his velvety albeit teleprompted delivery, shifted gears the very next day, announcing that the US would be deploying, in four phases, sea-based SM-3 interceptor missiles in Eastern Europe instead. An opinion piece in the New York Times, penned by then Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates, provided all the information to understand that the world had been hoodwinked. "Steady technological advances in our missile defense program — from kill vehicles to the abilities to network radars and sensors — give us confidence in this plan," Gates wrote. "The SM-3 has had eight successful tests since 2007, and we will continue to develop it to give it the capacity to intercept long-range missiles like ICBMs. It is now more than able to deal with the threat from multiple short- and medium-range missiles — a very real threat to our allies and some 80,000 American troops based in Europe that was not addressed by the previous plan." "We are strengthening — not scrapping — missile defense in Europe," he concluded. With the benefit of hindsight and common sense, it seems that Washington's plan from the start was to move forward with the sophisticated SM-3 system; the bulky Bush initiative just provided the necessary distraction to usher in the advanced Obama plan, which presents a major threat to the global strategic balance. But all that is ancient history compared to what is happening today. Under the guise of 'Russia aggression,' a concept that was peddled to the unsuspecting masses based on the fake news of a Russian 'invasion' of Ukraine and Crimea, compounded by claims that Russia somehow swayed the 2016 US presidential elections, US-led NATO has dropped all pretensions and declared open season on Russia. Combined with Donald Trump's empty threat that the US would exit NATO if member states did not start spending more on defense (2 percent of annual GDP), Eastern Europe has become a veritable hothouse of paranoia-driven militarization. In what the Kremlin has described as the greatest amassing of military assets on its border since World War II, NATO troops and hardware have set up camp from as far north as Estonia, down through Latvia and Lithuania, into Romania and Poland, where the rotation of US troops is now standard operating procedure. Meanwhile, massive military games aimed at deterring the Russian bogeyman continue unabated on Russia's border. In April, British journalist Neil Clark described just one of these exercises, dubbed Summer Shield. The NATO military exercises "got underway at the Adazi military base. Soldiers from Latvia, the US, Bulgaria, Estonia, Canada, Lithuania, the UK, Luxembourg, Romania, Slovakia, Germany and also non-NATO member Sweden are taking part in the drills," Clark wrote. He then went on to make a rather unsettling yet accurate observation: "Today’s mantra regarding 'Russian aggression' is the 2003 equivalent of 'Saddam’s Weapons of Mass Destruction,' to be repeated ad nauseum by anyone supporting NATO’s Drang nach Osten. And like the WMD claim, it’s based on zero evidence." Such reckless behavior would have been difficult to fathom less than a decade ago. But these are brave new times, and American madness has settled upon the realm of foreign relations like a noxious cloud, forcing client states to crack open their tattered wallets or be left out in the cold when the big, bad Russian bear comes a knocking. Consider the case of Romania, one of Europe's poorest countries. Prompted by Donald Trump's warning that North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) members must fork over 2 percent of their GDP on military spending, Bucharest just made a down payment on a $1 billion American-made M142 HIMARS (High Mobility Artillery Rocket System), as well as four new multi-function corvettes. Romanian Defence Minister Mihai Fifor told Jane’s that these exorbitant purchases would “improve Romania’s national and allied defense capability” and emphasized that Romania’s commitment to the 2% of GDP spending cap “for the next 10 years is strong”. Prime Minister Viorica Dancila said, “We want those procurement programs to also strengthen our defense industry based on offset arrangements where possible”. This was not the first American military incursion into Romania under the guise of guarding against Iran and other alleged rogue players. In May 2016, the US activated its $800 million missile shield in Romania, which Russia obviously views as a direct threat. “At the moment the interceptor missiles installed have a range of 500 kilometers, soon this will go up to 1000 kilometers, and worse than that, they can be rearmed with 2400km-range offensive missiles even today, and it can be done by simply switching the software, so that even the Romanians themselves won’t know,” Vladimir Putin told reporters during a visit to Greece in May 2016. “We have been saying since the early 2000s that we will have to react somehow to your moves to undermine international security. No one is listening to us,” Putin warned. It remains to be seen how long NATO tone-deafness will continue before the militarization of Eastern Europe gets completely out of control and the situation becomes untenable. Or perhaps the point of no return has already come to pass and, fait accompli, we are merely enjoying an illusory calm before the storm.

23 февраля 2018, 20:12

Weekend Reading: Elizabeth Warren: Address to NCAI

**Weekend Reading**: **Elizabeth Warrn**: [Address to NCAI](https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/#inbox/16196b9709382efe): "I want to start by thanking Chairwoman Andrews-Maltais for that introduction... >...It has been an honor to work with, to learn from, and to represent the tribes in my home state of Massachusetts, the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head—the Aquinnah—and the Mashpee Wampanoag. I also want to thank President Jefferson Keel, and everyone at the National Congress of American Indians. For over 70 years, you’ve championed the rights and dignity of First Americans and I am honored to be here with you today. >I’ve noticed that every time my name comes up, President Trump likes to talk about Pocahontas. So I figured, let’s talk about Pocahontas. Not Pocahontas, the fictional character most Americans know from the movies, but Pocahontas, the Native woman who really lived, and whose real story has been passed down to so many of you through the generations. In the fairy tale, Pocahontas saves John Smith from execution at the hands of her father. In the fable, her baptism as “Rebecca” and her marriage to a Jamestown settler are held up to show the moral righteousness of colonization. In reality, the fable is used to bleach away the stain of...

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22 февраля 2018, 01:02

U.S. women win 1st Olympic cross-country gold

The long Olympic drought is over for the United States in cross-country skiing. Jessica Diggins and Kikkan Randall became the first Americans to win an Olympic gold medal…

21 февраля 2018, 19:48

In 1968, a U.S. Navy Attack Submarine Exploded Underwater. No One Knows Why.

Kyle Mizokami Security, A tragedy for the U.S. Navy's silent service.  The conspiracy theory is that the Scorpion was somehow caught up in some kind of Cold War skirmish, and that the Soviet flotilla had sunk the sub. An unusually high number of submarines were sunk in 1968, including the Israeli submarine Dakar, the French submarine Minerve, and the Soviet submarine K-129. According to conspiracy theorists, the Cold War had briefly turned hot under the waves, leading to the loss of several submarines. Unfortunately, there is no actual proof, nor an explanation for why a Soviet task force with only two combatants could manage to kill the relatively advanced Scorpion. In May 1968, a U.S. nuclear-powered attack submarine was sent on a secret mission to spy on the Soviet navy. Seven days later, with the families of the crew waiting dockside for the USS Scorpion to return from a three-month patrol, the U.S. Navy realized that the submarine was missing. Scorpion had been the victim of a mysterious accident, the nature of which is debated to this day. The USS Scorpion was a Skipjack-class nuclear attack submarine. It was one of the first American submarines with a teardrop-shaped hull, as opposed to the blockier hull of World War II submarines and their descendants. It was laid down in August 1958 and commissioned into service in July 1960. Recommended: America Has Military Options for North Korea (but They're All Bad) Recommended: 1,700 Planes Ready for War: Everything You Need To Know About China's Air Force Recommended: Stealth vs. North Korea’s Air Defenses: Who Wins? Read full article

21 февраля 2018, 03:57

Winter Olympics women's downhill skiing: Lindsey Vonn misses gold – live!

American looks to add to medals won in 2010 Vancouver GamesLindsey Vonn: ‘There’s nothing special about me. I just ski fast’Latest medal table | Full event schedule 3.37am GMT So that’s all from here. The first of what might be many medals for Italy’s Sofia Goggia, now firmly entrenched as the world’s best downhiller. A stunning silver for Norway’s Ragnhild Mowinckel. And a hard-earned bronze for one of the legends of the sport, Lindsey Vonn.I think I’ll check out some figure skating. Gotta prep for coverage of the women’s free skate. Can we have the Olympics every year? 3.34am GMT And a quick tribute to Sofia Goggia. The downhill gold medalist (it’s now official, as are the silver for Ragnhild Mowinckel and the bronze for Lindsey Vonn) is 25 years old. In 2012 and 2013, she suffered a handful of knee injuries. Since then, she has been climbing her way up the World Cup ranks -- second in the downhill season standings last year and leading this year. Continue reading...

21 февраля 2018, 00:00

These Are the Rules Meghan Markle Is Learning During Her Duchess Lessons

Meghan Markle is officially part of the British royal family now. Here is everything she's learning now about being a duchess.

19 февраля 2018, 19:08

10 Forgotten Automakers That No One Remembers Anymore

Automakers have always come and gone, but these 10 actually made their mark on American roads before burning out and disappearing forever.

25 сентября 2012, 15:11

The Zero Deficit Line in 2012

Now that the U.S. Census has released its newest estimate of median household income in the United States, it's time to consider where the U.S. federal government spending per U.S. household stands with respect to the Zero Deficit Line, which is the amount of spending that the typical American household can actually afford. The chart below shows those two measures for each year since 1967, when the Census first began reporting its median household income figure: Looking at the chart, we see that for the third year in a row, the amount of U.S. federal government spending per household is hovering just below $30,000 per U.S. household. Our tool below will reveal how much spending can actually be supported by the typical American household given its annual income of $50,054 (or whatever median household income level you might choose to enter!) Median Household Income Data Input Data Values Median Household Income How Much Federal Spending Per Household Can the U.S. Really Afford? Estimated Results Values Federal Spending per U.S. Household Using our tool, we find that in reality, the typical American household can only afford to have the federal government spend no more than $21,059. On a side note, do you remember the old Warner Brothers' Road Runner cartoons? The ones where Wile E. Coyote would be chasing after the bird, then suddenly find himself suspended in mid-air beyond the edge of a cliff, until he looked down and finally crashed back to earth? The level of federal spending per household since 2008 and the lack of meaningful growth in the incomes of U.S. households under President Obama, combined with all the talk these days of the approaching "fiscal cliff" suggests that there is one giant "splat" sound in the near future for the U.S.