Yellow Vest Protestors Destroy Most of France’s Speed Cameras

All around France, speed cameras are covered in paint or black tape that prevents them from taking photos of speeding cars’ license plates and sending the motorists a ticket.

Nwo Report

Yellow Vest protestors destroy speed cameras in FranceThousands of Yellow Vest protesters have destroyed 60 percent of the speed cameras in France in response to the government’s lowering of speed limits last July. 

The protests, which began in November as a protest to an environmentally friendly fuel tax, have expanded to an anti-globalist movement reflecting the values of millions of ordinary citizens.

Usnews.com reports: According to CNN, speed limits were decreased from 56 mph to 50 mph on two-lane highways – a decision officials made in an effort to reduce vehicle accidents and deaths.

But the protesters feel the speed cameras are only a way for the country to take money from poor, the BBC reported.

All around France, speed cameras are covered in paint or black tape that prevents them from taking photos of speeding cars’ license plates and sending the motorists a ticket.

“I saw on social networks a few fools who appear next…

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AMERIKA: U.S.A & The Collapse Continuum – By Dmitry Orlov

Stage 1: Financial collapse. Faith in “business as usual” is lost.
Stage 2: Commercial collapse. Faith that “the market shall provide” is lost.
Stage 3: Political collapse. Faith that “the government will take care of you” is lost.
Stage 4: Social collapse. Faith that “your people will take care of you” is lost.
Stage 5: Cultural collapse. Faith in “the goodness of humanity” is lost.

RIELPOLITIK

Source – unz.com

   – “…Unlike the Titanic, most collapsed regimes don’t fully sink. They remain about half under water, and half above, possibly with an orchestra still playing joyful music. And in the most expensive top deck cabins, a pretty luxurious lifestyle can be maintained by the elites. But for most of the passengers such a collapse results in poverty, insecurity, political instability and a huge loss in welfare. Furthermore, in terms of motion, a half-sunk ship is no ship at all”

Placing the USA on a Collapse Continuum with Dmitry Orlov

The West is rotting!
Yes, maybe, but what a nice smell…

Old Soviet joke

The word ‘catastrophe‘ has several meanings, but in its original meaning in Greek the word means a “sudden downturn” (in Greekkatastrophē ‘overturning, sudden turn,’ from kata- ‘down’ + strophē ‘turning’). As for the word “superpower” it also has several…

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Hidden History: The US Wars Against Japan, Korea and Vietnam

The China Mirage: The Hidden History of American Disaster in Asia

By James Bradley

Back Bay Books (2015)

Book Review

This book details numerous myths about the origin of the US wars against Japan, Korea and Vietnam. Bradley begins by revealing how the Roosevelt administration was hoodwinked by the overt fascist Chiang Kai-Shek and Christian missionaries into believing China was ripe for wholesale conversion to Christianity and US-style capitalism. Deceived by Chiang’s promises to wage war against Japan,  Roosevelt poured billions into the civil war Chiang was waging with Mao Se Tung. FDR also created an illegal covert mercenary Air Force for Chiang, a major motivator in the Japanese decision to attack Pearl Harbor.

Had FDR listened to advisors who understood the strong support Mao enjoyed from China’s rural peasants, he never would have supported Chiang – or been forced to open a second front (against Japan) the US was totally unprepared for.

In addition to his greater popularity and military strength, Mao was also genuinely interested in establishing a trade relationship with the US.

According to Bradley, the civil war Mao won in 1949 was actually a war of liberation from European colonial powers, just like Kim Sung Il’s war of liberation in Korea and Ho Chi Minh’s war of liberation in Vietnam. Owing to the total ignorance of Asian society and culture, advisors in the Roosevelt, Truman, Eisenhower and Kennedy administration mistakenly viewed these wars of independence as part of a global communist conspiracy and military aggression the only possible response.

The China Mirage traces the  history of each of these conflicts (Japan, China, Korea and Vietnam) in a clear and compelling way, starting with the massive fortune Roosevelt’s grandfather amassed via the opium smuggling the US and UK forced on China via two opium wars.

For me the most interesting part of the book concerns the US oil/steel embargo that supposedly triggered the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor. According to Bradley, Roosevelt opposed the embargo. It was surreptitiously enacted by members of his administration while he was at a secret meeting in Canada with Winston Churchill.

PG&E Former CEO To Collect Millions In Cash While Utility Files For Bankruptcy

Source: Zero Hedge

With the second bankruptcy of PG&E looming and shareholders and bondholders both staring at massive losses…while some 16 million California residents are about to experience sharply higher electricity rates, not everyone is suffering. As Bloomberg reports, the utility’s former CEO Geisha Williams, who abruptly left the sinking ship just hours before notifying the company’s workers it would file for bankruptcy within weeks, is set to walk away with millions in cash.

During Williams’ brief two-year tenure, the San Francisco-based utility accrued more than $30 billion in potential wildfire liabilities. And now Williams is set to make a lot of money even as she departs her former company in flames, so to speak.

On Monday, PG&E confirmed that Williams will receive severance, which will likely be between $2.36 million to $4.46 million, depending on how her departure is categorized. The former CEO also has $3.1 million of pension benefits that may be in flux if the firm enters bankruptcy court.

In 2017, she was paid $8.6 million in 2017, mostly consisting of stock awards (it was not immediately clear how much stock the company bought back to artificially boost the management’s incentive-based comp). That said, jer unvested stock options and restricted shares will likely be wiped out if the firm enters Chapter 11 [. . .]

Source: PG&E Former CEO To Collect Millions In Cash While Utility Files For Bankruptcy

Wildly Successful Mao Era Airbrushed Out of Western Media and History Books.


By Jeff J Brown

I was sent a good mainstream article about China’s development (Looking Back Last 40 Years Reforms China – RayDalio). Ray Dalio, a billionaire hedge fund manager talks about all of China’s successes since 1978, which is the end of the Mao Era. As usual, you would never know that China’s many developmental successes started in 1949, when the Communist Party of China (CPC) and People’s Liberation Army (PLA), defeated and kicked out Japanese and Chinese fascists, along with their partners in crime, Western capitalists and drug cartel dealers, mainly Americans, British and French. 

In books #2 (China Rising) and #3 (China Communist Dammit) of (The China Trilogy), I wrote extensively about the amazing success story of Mao Zedong and his government’s leadership, in freeing their people from foreign exploitation, while transforming the nation into an industrial, agricultural, military and technological powerhouse. This, in spite of Uncle Sam’s illegal and cruel blockade of the country, just like what it is still doing to other communist-socialist countries such as Cuba, North Korea, Iran, Eritrea and Venezuela today. 

I thought it would be interesting to take the statistics table from Mr. Dalio’s article and add a column for 1949 (see below). The results from the beginning to the end of the Mao Era are remarkable. After 110 years of Western rape, plunder and unlimited importation of illegal opium, per capita income in China was only $23/year when its people gained their freedom from imperialism. Virtually the entire population was living in poverty, except the elites. Life expectancy was an unbelievable 35 years of age. One-fifth of infants were dying, due to Western/Japanese colonialism. Only one in five citizens could read and the country had no spoken lingua franca, with thousands of regional and local dialects keeping citizens separated. Few people went to school and not for very long. 

The only numbers that are outlying are the share of world GDP, but this and the high percentage for poverty in 1978 have an explanation. Due to the Mao Era’s communist economic system, prices of inputs and goods were much lower than in Western countries. Thus, the $1.90 per day threshold for poverty is skewed, since $1.90/day back in the day could actually buy a lot, not to mention close to free housing, medical and education costs. This communist pricing system therefore also artificially deflated the share of world GDP. 

China’s Development Since 1949, Including the Mao Era for Comparison 
  Start Mao Era  End Mao Era     
Category/Year  1949  1978  1998  2018 
RGDP per Capita (2011 USD, PPP adj)   $      23    $     650    $     3,244    $     15,309  
Share of World GDP  4.5%  2%  7%  22% 
Population below the Poverty Line ($1.90/day)  97.0%  88.30%  41.0%  1.4% 
Life Expectancy  35  66  71  76 
Infant Mortality Rate (per 1,000 births)  201  53  33  8 
Urbanization  10.6%  18%  34%  57% 
Literacy  20%  70%  93%  96% 
Average Years of Education  1.2  4.4  6.6  7.7 
Note: numbers in italics are calculated estimates.         
Note: China’s share of world GDP was historically 25-32%, until the West’s rape and plunder of the country, with the onset of the Opium Wars and forced UK/US drug imports, 1839-1949. 

Within two years of liberation, the Mao administration had wiped out drugs, organized crime, prostitution and gambling. During the Mao Era, hundreds of thousands of clinics, hospitals, schools, post/telegraph offices, dams, canals, irrigation projects, businesses and factories of all sizes were built. Tens of thousands of kilometers of roads and rail lines were laid. The GDP increased 600%, grain production 300% and the Great Leap Forward saw the greatest burst of industrial production in human history, far outstripping the three best years for Britain, Germany, the United States and Japan during the Industrial Revolution [. . .]

Source: Expert: Wildly successful Mao Era is airbrushed out of Western media and history books.

Accomplishments of Eleven Years of the “Process of Change” in Evo Morales’ Bolivia

by  Stansfield Smith, January 4, 2019, Chicagoalbasolidarity

Evo Morales will soon have been the president of Bolivia for 12 years, heralding the ascent of the indigenous social movements to governmental power. This ended the apartheid system against the indigenous that existed for 500 years in Bolivia. Evo won in 2005 with 53.7% of the vote, followed by re-elections in 2009 with 64.2% and 2014 with 61.3%.

The country has made great strides in economic development, national sovereignty, women’s and Original Peoples’ rights, respect for Mother Earth, raising the people’s standard of living, level of education, and health care.

His presidency, which has brought an era of relative social peace and economic growth, has been the longest in Bolivia’s history.  Since 1825 Bolivia has had 83 presidents with 37, almost half, by means of coup d’etats.  Previous presidents typically lacked social legitimacy, representing a political system that excluded participation of the indigenous peoples, plagued by social and economic inequality, subjugated to foreign interests, and complicit with the looting of natural resources.  By 2002, after years of neoliberal regimes serving foreign, mostly US corporations, the proportion of the rural population living in extreme poverty had risen to 75%.

The election of Evo, a campesino movement leader and head of the Movement Toward Socialism (MAS), began what his government describes as the “Process of Change” that shifted power away from Bolivia’s traditional elite, the mostly white owners of industry and agriculture, and towards the majority, the mostly indigenous workers and campesinos.

evo-morales-with-the-people

Reflecting on the historic significance of the changes underway in Bolivia, Morales declared: “We are the indigenous blood of Mother Earth. Until now Bolivia has been ruled by a few families that have all the political and economic power. They despise, humiliate, marginalize and hate the majority of the indigenous population.” “After 525 years of colonization, we indigenous peoples are part of the construction of a new Plurinational State and we have full particpation in international political organizations and forums.”

  Why Has Economic Development Been so Successful During the Process of Change

The MAS government undertook an anti-neoliberal  program, which has enabled the economy to grow an average 5% per year since 2006, compared to 2.8% during the years 1951-2005.  As a result, the Gross Domestic Product has grown four-fold from $9 billion in 2005 to  $36 billion today.  Bolivia has become the fastest growing economy in Latin America.

Economic strategy focused on regaining national sovereignty over the country’s natural resources and using this wealth not to enrich foreign multinationals but to raise the standard of living of the neglected people of Bolivia.  In 2006 Evo Morales asserted public ownership over the country’s gas and oil resources, making foreign companies turn over extractive industry resources to the state . The state now fully controls  sales, transport and distribution as well as key decisions regarding the extraction and refining of raw materials.  The nationalization decree also forced foreign oil companies to renegotiate contracts with the new administration.  Today, foreign corporations still extract most of Bolivia’s natural gas, but do so as contractors hired by the state, on the state’s terms.

Prior to the nationalizations (not only of gas and oil, but telecommunications, water, electricity, and a number of mines), foreign corporations pocketed about 85% of the profits generated by natural gas production.  Morales increased the country’s profit share from gas from about 15% before his presidency to between 80-90%.[i]  In 2005, before nationalization, government gas revenues totalled $0.6 billion; in 2015 it was over four times as much, $2.6 billion – in fact down from $4.5 billion in 2014.

In 2015 all gas and oil revenues yielded $4 billion, making up nearly half of Bolivia’s export earnings.

Over ten years, Evo’s Bolivia has gained $31.5 billion from the nationalizations, compared to a mere $2.5 billion earned during the previous ten years of neoliberal policies. This vastly increased revenue, largely used to benefit the people, starkly exemplifies the extent the people have been robbed to serve foreign corporate interests.

By the end of 2013 the state-owned portion of the economy reached 35%, double that of previous neoliberal governments. The state has become the main generator of wealth, and public investment amounted to over $5 billion in 2016, compared to a mere $629 million in 2006.  Much of this new revenue funds the country’s impressive development, infrastructure, community projects, such as schools, gyms, clinics, roads, and subsidies for agricultural production. It is spent on the people’s health and education, on price controls for staple foods, on wage increases, and social security benefits.

This humane redistribution of national wealth away from corporate interests to serving the poor majority has allowed one in five Bolivians, two million people, to escape a life of poverty. Even the World Bank has recognized the country as world champion in income growth for the poorest 40% of its population [. . .]

Source: Accomplishments of Eleven Years of the “Process of Change” in Evo Morales’ Bolivia

PG&E Reportedly Planning Bankruptcy Announcement To Workers As Soon As Monday

Source: Zero Hedge

18 years after becoming one of America’s largest bankruptcies, the writing is on the wall for California’s utility giant after its cash-collateral-call triggering second downgrade to junk has led to reports that PG&E may notify employees as soon as Monday that it’s preparing a potential bankruptcy filing, according to people familiar with the situation.

California passed legislation last year in the aftermath of the deadly Wine Country fires requiring utilities to post public notices for employees at least 15 days before a change of control, including a bankruptcy filing.

This potential bankruptcy announcement comes after PG&E’s AIG moment hit late on Thursday, when Moody’s did precisely what S&P did two days earlier, and cut the utility’s credit rating to junk citing the electric company’s potential wildfire liabilities.

“We see a much more challenging environment for PG&E,” Moody’s analyst Jeff Cassella said in a statement. “The company is increasingly reliant on extraordinary intervention by legislators and regulators, which may not occur soon enough or be of sufficient magnitude to address these adverse developments.”

As Bloomberg reports, a notice may signal that the company has accelerated plans to make a Chapter 11 filing as way of dealing with crippling liabilities from wildfires that tore through California in 2017 and 2018, killing over 100 people and destroying hundreds of thousands of acres.

And, as we detailed previously, with two junk ratings, PG&E will now be required to use cash as collateral to guarantee power contracts, according to the company’s latest quarterly filing, which estimates the utility will have to fully collateralize as much as $800 million of positions.

That… is a problem because PG&E had only $430 million of cash on its books in September, precipitating what now appears to be an imminent liquidity crisis, one which as a result of some $30 billion in wildfire legal liabilities will quickly escalate into a solvency inferno, to use a term closely associated with California utility companies.

PG&E declined to provide a statement, saying the company doesn’t comment on rumor or speculation.

During its 2001, bankruptcy, California governor Gray Davis used the state’s treasury to bail out the utility, provoking a controversy that eventually contributed to his ouster. PG&E emerged from bankruptcy in April 2004 after returning $10.2 billion to creditors.

Newly appointed California Governor Gavin Newsom said during a press conference Thursday that his office would be making an announcement related to PG&E within the next few days and that the issue was at the top of his agenda. He said in a later interview that the announcement would involve appointments to the California Public Utilities Commission, the state’s grid operator and to a commission established by legislature to explore wildfire issues.

Newsom’s office didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment on Saturday.

Citigroup Inc. called it a “a crisis of confidence.” Guggenheim Securities analysts likened the dilemma PG&E poses to investors and lawmakers as “a falling knife.”

As we pointed out previously, with relation to the last financial crisis, while Lehman was the spark, its was the bailout of AIG that really precipitated the most violent part of the 2008 crisis. While most analysts see PG&E as an isolated case, now that the biggest California utility is on the verge of bankruptcy, and is about to have its own AIG moment, one wonders just how “contained” this particular shock to the system will be.

One thing is clear, however: the shock to California residents, or rather their wallets, will be most unpleasant, as their rates are about to surge one way or another [. . .]

Source: PG&E Reportedly Planning Bankruptcy Announcement To Workers As Soon As Monday