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And the loser in Brazil is - neoliberalism

Dilma Rousseff
© AFP Photo/Evaristo Sa
Re-elected Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff waves following her win, in Brasilia on October 26, 2014.
Sun, sex, samba, carnival and at least until the World Cup hammering by Germany, the "land of football". And don't forget "vibrant democracy". Even as it enjoys one of the highest soft power quotients around the world, Brazil remains submerged by cliches.

"Vibrant democracy" certainly lived up to its billing as President Dilma Rousseff of the ruling Worker's Party (PT) was re-elected this Sunday in a tight run-off against opposition candidate Aecio Neves of the Social Democracy Party of Brazil (PSDB).

Yet another cliche would rule this was the victory of "state-centric" policies against "structural reforms". Or the victory of "high social spending" against a "pro-business" approach - which implies business as the privileged enemy of social equality.

Exit cliches. Enter a cherished national motto: "Brazil is not for beginners".

Indeed. Brazil's complexities boggle the mind. It starts with arguably the key, multi-layered message a divided country sent to winner Dilma Rousseff. We are part of a growing middle class. We are proud to be part of an increasingly less unequal nation. But we want social services to keep improving. We want more investment in education. We want inflation under control (at the moment, it's not). We support a very serious anti-corruption drive (here's where Dilma's Brazil meets Xi Jinping's China). And we want to keep improving on the economic success of the past decade.

Rousseff seems to get the message. The question is how she will be able to deliver - in a continental-sized nation suffering from appalling education standards, with Brazilian manufacturing largely uncompetitive in global markets, and with corruption run amok.
Arrow Down

Now that 'quantitative easing' is ending, what will happen to the economy?

It is widely expected that the Federal Reserve is going to announce the end of quantitative easing this week. Will this represent a major turning point for the stock market? As you will see below, since 2008 stocks have risen dramatically throughout every stage of quantitative easing. But when the various phases of quantitative easing have ended, stocks have always responded by declining substantially. The only thing that caused stocks to eventually start rising again was a new round of quantitative easing. So what will happen this time? That is a very good question. What we do know is that the the performance of the stock market has become completely divorced from economic reality, and in recent weeks there have been signs of market turmoil that we have not seen in years. Could the end of quantitative easing be the thing that finally pushes the financial markets over the edge?

After all this time, many Americans still don't understand what quantitative easing actually is. Since the end of 2008, the Federal Reserve has injected approximately 3.5 trillion dollars into the financial system. Of course the Federal Reserve didn't actually have 3.5 trillion dollars. The Fed created all of this money out of thin air and used it to buy government bonds and mortgage-backed securities.

If that sounds like "cheating" to you, that is because it is cheating. If you or I tried to print money, we would be put in prison. When the Federal Reserve does it, it is called "economic stimulus".

Comment: From the author's article: Why are the banksters telling us to sell our gold when they are hoarding gold like crazy?
Anyone that thinks that gold and silver are bad investments for the long-term when the central banks of the world are being so reckless should have their heads examined.

However, I do believe that gold and silver will experience wild fluctuations in price over the next several years. When the next stock market crash happens, gold and silver will go down. It happened back in 2008 and it will happen again.

But in response to the next major financial crisis, I believe that the central banks of the globe will become more reckless than anyone ever dreamed possible. At that point I believe that we will see gold and silver soar to unprecedented heights.

Yes, there will be huge ups and downs for gold and silver. But in the long-term, both gold and silver are going to go far, far higher than they are today.


Info

Putin's rating falls below 50 percent in September but performance rated 7.33 out of 10

© RIA Novosti / Sergey Kuznecov
After reaching an all-time high in August President Putin's approval rating has fallen in September according to the latest research. The Kremlin says it is a natural fluctuation.

According to the influential independent pollster Levada, 49 percent of Russians said they were ready to vote for Putin should a presidential election be held next weekend. In August he was polling 57 percent - the highest in history. Regardless of the share of supporter in society Putin has topped the presidential ratings since his election as president in 2012.

Vladimir Putin's press secretary and deputy head of the Presidential Administration, Dmitry Peskov, told reporters that changes in public mood were a normal thing.

"Ratings are not some sort of a constant, but a figure that is subject to fluctuations. Putin's rating achieved considerable heights and it is now fluctuating on this level," the TASS news agency quoted Peskov as saying. He added that ratings were not topping the list of Putin's interests or the everyday agenda of his administration.

Deputy Director of the Levada pollster, Aleksey Grazhdankin, told reporters that the current dive was normal. He said a fall in two polls in a row could be reason to worry, but in late October, when the research was released, it was too early to suggest this.

The Levada Center looked at Russians' opinion of President Putin's performance as leader. The study released in mid-October showed the average mark given to Putin by citizens was 7.33 out of 10. This figure has been higher only once before - a mark of 7.49 reached in January 2008 at the very end of Putin's first two terms as president.

Seventeen percent of all respondents think Putin deserved the top mark - 10 out of 10 - for his work.

In the same research, the overwhelming majority of respondents denied that the president's popularity was turning into a personality cult. Only 19 percent said they had noticed features resembling a cult, compared to 27 percent a year ago.
Bad Guys

"Canada the good" no more: Turns militaristic - blowback follows

harper canadian military
In 1968 the government of Canada decided to openly admit Americans seeking to avoid being drafted into the US war on Vietnam. Before, would-be immigrants were technically required to prove that they had been discharged from US military service. This move made it easier for Americans to escape President Johnson's war machine by heading north.

Although a founding member of NATO, Canada did not join the United States in its war against Vietnam. The Canadian government did not see a conflict 7,000 miles away as vital to Canada's national interest so Canada pursued its own foreign policy course, independent of the United States.

How the world has changed. Canada's wise caution about military adventurism even at the height of the Cold War has given way to a Canada of the 21st century literally joined at Washington's hip and eager to participate in any bombing mission initiated by the D.C. interventionists.

Considering Canada's peaceful past, the interventionist Canada that has emerged at the end of the Cold War is a genuine disappointment. Who would doubt that today's Canada would, should a draft be reinstated in the US, send each and every American resister back home to face prison and worse?

As Glenn Greenwald pointed out this past week:
Canada has spent the last 13 years proclaiming itself a nation at war. It actively participated in the invasion and occupation of Afghanistan and was an enthusiastic partner in some of the most extremist War on Terror abuses perpetrated by the U.S.
canadian military
© Canadian Broadcasting Corporation
Canada has also enthusiastically joined President Obama's latest war on Iraq and Syria, pledging to send fighter jets to participate in the bombing of ISIS (and likely many civilians in the process).

But Canada's wars abroad came back home to Canada last week.

Though horrific, it should not be a complete surprise that Canada found itself hit by blowback last week, as two attacks on Canadian soil left two Canadian military members dead.

Comment: Rather than "blowback", it's far more likely that the Ottawa shootings were a psyop to herd the Canadian public into line with neocon leader Harper's plans.

War Whore

Pentagon spends $8.3M per day on war against Islamic State

Salon Pentagon
© Salon/Reuters
The Pentagon has revised its estimate of the cost of the US air war in Iraq and Syria, saying the price tag for the campaign against the Islamic State group comes to about $8.3 million a day.

Since air strikes began on August 8, the campaign - which has involved about 6,600 sorties by US and allied aircraft - has cost $580 million, said Pentagon spokesman Commander Bill Urban.

The Defense Department had previously put the average daily cost of the military operation at more than $7 million a day.

The higher figure reflected the increased pace of air strikes and related flights, a defense official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told AFP.

But independent analysts say the Defense Department is underestimating the genuine cost of the war effort, which began in mid-June with the deployment of hundreds of US troops to secure the American embassy in Baghdad and to advise the Iraqi army.

Comment: So despite a collapsing economy, crumbling infrastructure, millions of people unemployed and living in poverty, the US has unlimited funds to foist 'democracy' on sovereign nations states, so that these countries too may experience the 'wonders' of American-style democracy. See anything wrong with this picture?

Bad Guys

At least 70 Syrian Army leaders 'slaughtered' as ISIS and Nusra Front militants storm Idlib

© Karam/NurPhoto/REX
Grim toll: A reported 70 senior Syrian army officers were beheaded when members of ISIS and the Al-Nusra front launched simultaneous attacks in the city of Idlib.

Syria almost lost its second city to the jihadists of Isis and Jabhat al-Nusra last night when hundreds of fighters stormed into the provincial capital, Idlib, captured the newly installed governor's office and began beheading Syrian army officers.

By the time government troops recaptured the building, at least 70 soldiers - many senior officers - had been executed, leaving one of the oldest cities in Syria in chaos. "They were slaughtered," a message to Damascus said before the army was able to declare Idlib saved.

The eastern city of Raqqa has been in the hands of Isis for months, but Idlib lies strategically placed between Aleppo and the coastal city of Latakia - both of which are still held by President Bashar al-Assad's regime. Idlib's fall would have been a devastating blow to the government.

At one point, the Assad administration was told the city had fallen after police and security officers in the headquarters of governor Kheir Eddib Asayed defected to the rebels. Many did, in fact, surrender the building. But by chance soldiers on the city's perimeter did not receive this news and continued to fight hundreds of jihadis trying to break into Idlib. They were still holding off the attackers when the governor's office was recaptured.

Idlib lies scarcely 30 miles from Syria's largest city, Aleppo, and is home to more than 200,000 people. Its museum is well known to long-ago tourists wishing to see the treasures of the so-called Roman "dead cities" of northern Syria, and it has been in a virtual stage of siege for well over a year.
Eye 1

Russia has 'anti-venom' for Western lies - full disclosure

It's open season for Western media to bend the rules in their depiction of Russia. And with a little help from Western officials, they can quote President Putin speaking pretty aggressively - even when he actually said nothing of the kind.

In recent months, there have been two notable occasions when Vladimir Putin was misquoted. The first came when he apparently put on his conqueror's hat while speaking about Ukraine. In September, La Repubblica newspaper reported the Putin had told then-European Commission president, Jose Manual Barroso, that he "could take Kiev in weeks." The alleged bragging was revealed by the European official to a council meeting, but after Moscow said it would publish the transcript of the entire conversation, the EU admitted that the words were taken out of context.

An arguably more scandalous incident was sparked by former Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski, who told Politico magazine that he overheard Putin suggesting to Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk in 2008 that Ukraine be divided between the two nations. The official backpedalled on the accusations after a backlash both from Russia and at home, admitting that he never heard Putin actually voicing the Hitleresque plan. He also admitted that Putin and Tusk didn't actually meet at the time the conversation was supposed to have taken place.
Propaganda

Russian President Vladimir Putin, official 'group think' in Washington, and the New York Times narrative

Exclusive: Official Washington treats whatever comes out of Russian President Putin's mouth as the ravings of a lunatic, even when what he says is obviously true or otherwise makes sense, as the New York Times has demonstrated again, writes Robert Parry.

When reading the New York Times on many foreign policy issues, it doesn't take a savant to figure out what the newspaper's bias is. Anything, for instance, relating to Russian President Vladimir Putin drips of contempt and hostility.

Rather than offer the Times' readers an objective or even slightly fair-minded account of Putin's remarks, we are fed a steady diet of highly prejudicial language, such as we find in Saturday's article about Putin's comments at a conference in which he noted U.S. contributions to chaos in countries, such as Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria and Ukraine.

That Putin is correct appears almost irrelevant to the Times, which simply writes that Putin "unleashed perhaps his strongest diatribe against the United States yet" with his goal "to sell Moscow's view that American meddling has sparked most of the world's recent crises."

Rather than address the merits of Putin's critique, the Times' article by Neil MacFarquhar uncritically cites the "group think" of Official Washington:
"Russia is often accused of provoking the crisis in Ukraine by annexing Crimea, and of prolonging the agony in Syria by helping to crush a popular uprising against President Bashar al-Assad, Moscow's last major Arab ally. Some analysts have suggested that Mr. Putin seeks to restore the lost power and influence of the Soviet Union, or even the Russian Empire, in a bid to prolong his own rule."

Comment: The most threatening and dangerous virus to the world today, despite what we are being told, isn't Ebola. It's a virus of the minds and of the hearts of individuals who fall ill to the pathological web of lies propagated by the mainstream media, conceived of and directed by their masters in US seats of power. Read the enlightening book, Political Ponerology by Andrew M. Lobaczewski to learn just how psychopaths in power use their influence to sway the perceptions of normal and unaware people - on a macro scale.



Airplane

MH17 might have been shot down from air - chief Dutch investigator

MH17 wreckage
© Reuters/Sergei Karpukhin
George and Angela Dyczynski sit on a piece of wreckage of the downed Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17, during their visit to the crash site near the village of Hrabove (Grabovo), in Donetsk region July 26, 2014.
The chief Dutch prosecutor investigating the MH17 downing in eastern Ukraine does not exclude the possibility that the aircraft might have been shot down from air, Der Spiegel reported. Intelligence to support this was presented by Moscow in July.

The chief investigator with the Dutch National Prosecutors' Office Fred Westerbeke said in an interview with the German magazine Der Spiegel published on Monday that his team is open to the theory that another plane shot down the Malaysian airliner.

Following the downing of the Malaysian Airlines MH17 flight in July that killed almost 300 people, Russia's Defense Ministry released military monitoring data, which showed a Kiev military jet tracking the MH17 plane shortly before the crash. No explanation was given by Kiev as to why the military plane was flying so close to a passenger aircraft. Neither Ukraine, nor Western states have officially accepted such a possibility.

Westerbeke said that the Dutch investigators are preparing an official request for Moscow's assistance since Russia is not part of the international investigation team. Westerbeke added that the investigators will specifically ask for the radar data suggesting that a Kiev military jet was flying near the passenger plane right before the catastrophe.
Dollar

IRS seizes hundreds of perfectly legal bank accounts, refuses to give money back


The IRS. Grand theft America.
The Internal Revenue Service has been seizing bank accounts belonging to small businesses and individuals who regularly made deposits of less than $10,000, but broke no laws. And the government is refusing to return all the money taken.

The practice ‒ called civil asset forfeiture ‒ allows IRS agents to seize property they suspect of being tied to a crime, even if no charges are filed, and their agency is allowed to keep a share of whatever is forfeited, the New York Times reported. It's designed to catch drug traffickers, racketeers and terrorists by tracking cash deposits under $10,000, which is the threshold for when banks are federally required to report activity to the IRS under the Bank Secrecy Act.

It is not illegal to deposit less than $10,000 in cash, unless it is specifically done to avoid triggering the federal reporting requirement, known as structuring. Thus, banks are required to report any suspicious transactions to authorities, including patterns of deposits below that threshold.

"Of course, these patterns are also exhibited by small businesses like bodegas and family restaurants whose cash-on-hand is only insured up to $10,000, and whose owners are wary of what would be lost in the case of a robbery or a fire," the Examiner noted.

Carole Hinders, a victim of civil asset forfeiture, owns a cash-only Mexican restaurant in Iowa. Last year, the IRS seized her checking account ‒ and the nearly $33,000 in it. She told the Times she did not know of the federal reporting requirement for suspicious transactions, and that she thought she was doing everyone a favor by reducing their paperwork.

"My mom had told me if you keep your deposits under $10,000, the bank avoids paperwork," she said. "I didn't actually think it had anything to do with the I.R.S."

And her bank wasn't allowed to tell her that her habits could be reported to the government. If customers ask about structuring their deposits, banks are allowed to give them a federal pamphlet. "We're not allowed to tell them anything," JoLynn Van Steenwyk, the fraud and security manager for Hinders' bank, told the Times.
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