Posts Tagged ‘France’

 

Authored by Michael Snyder via The Economic Collapse blog

 

Two major hurricanes, unprecedented earthquake swarms, and wildfires roaring out of control all over the northwest United States – what else will go wrong next?

When I originally pointed to the month of September as a critical time, I had no idea that we would see so many catastrophic natural disasters during this time frame as well. Hurricane Harvey just broke the all-time record for rainfall in the continental United States, Hurricane Irma is so immensely powerful that it has been called “a lawnmower from the sky”, vast stretches of our country out west are literally being consumed by fire, and the magnitude-8.2 earthquake that just hit Mexico was completely unexpected. As I have stated so many times before, our planet is becoming increasingly unstable, but most people simply do not understand what is happening.

My good friend Zach Drew posted the best summary of the major disasters that we have been experiencing so far this month that I have seen anywhere…

California is on fire.

Oregon is on fire.

Washington is on fire.

British Columbia is on fire.

Alberta is on fire.

Montana is on fire.

Nova Scotia is on fire.

Greece is on fire.

Brazil is on fire.

Portugal is on fire.

Algeria is on fire.

Tunisia is on fire.

Greenland is on fire.

The Sakha Republic of Russia is on fire.

Siberia is on fire.

Texas is under water

India, Nepal, Pakistan, and Bangladesh, experience record monsoons and massive death toll.

Sierra Leone and Niger experience massive floods, mudslides, and deaths in the thousands.

Italy, France, Spain, Switzerland, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Bosnia, Croatia, and Serbia are crushed in the death grip of a triple digit heat wave, dubbed Lucifer.

Southern California continues to swelter under triple digit heat that shows no sign of letting up.

In usually chilly August, the city of San Francisco shatters all-time record at 106 degrees, while it reaches 115 degrees south of the city. Northern California continues to bake in the triple digits.

(()) Yellowstone volcano is hit with earthquake swarm of over 2,300 tremors since June, recording a 4.4 quake on June 15, 20017 and 3.3 shaker on August 21, 2017.

(()) 5.3 earthquake rumbles through Idaho

(()) Japan earthquake 6.1 possible tsunami.

(()) Mexico earthquake 8.2 imminent tsunami. Beach lines are receded atleast 50+ meters

Hurricanes Harvey, Irma (biggest ever recorded), Jose and Katia are barreling around the Atlantic with 8 more potentials forming

And last but not least an X10 C.M.E solar flare two nights ago. The highest recorded solar flare ever!

 

For much more from Zach, you can follow his work regularly at TruNews.com.

Some are describing what is happening to us as a “perfect storm”, and they are wondering if even more major disasters are coming in the very near future.

Let us hope not, because there is a tremendous amount of concern that we may not be able to pay for the disasters that have happened already. The following comes from Politico…

 

Harvey and Irma could be a breaking point. At $556 billion, the Houston metropolitan area’s economy is bigger than Sweden’s. New Jersey could easily fit inside the region’s sprawling footprint, where Harvey dumped 34 trillion gallons of water, as much as the three costliest floods in Texas history combined. The Harvey response alone eventually could double the $136 billion in government aid spent after Hurricane Katrina flooded New Orleans.

And as of Friday, an estimated $1.73 trillion worth of real estate was in the path of Irma’s hurricane-force winds, according to the University of Wisconsin’s Cooperative Institute for Meteorological Satellite Studies.

We won’t know the true extent of the damage that has been caused down in Florida for many days, but we do know that much of the state is already without power…

More than 3.3 million homes and businesses and counting have lost power in Florida as Hurricane Irma moves up the peninsula. The widespread outages stretch from the Florida Keys all the way into central Florida. Florida Power & Light, the state’s largest electric utility, said there were nearly 1 million customers without power in Miami-Dade County alone. The power outages are expected to increase as the storm edges further north. There are roughly 7 million residential customers in the state.

In the end, the federal government will likely step in and spend a lot of money that it does not have to rebuild and restore the communities that Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma have destroyed.

But we are already 20 trillion dollars in debt, and it is being projected that we will continue to add another trillion dollars to that total every year for the foreseeable future.

At some point all of this debt will simply become completely unsustainable.

Of course the major disasters will just inevitably keep on coming. As Politico has pointed out, major natural disasters seem to just keep on getting bigger, and they seem to be hitting us more frequently than in the past…

The disasters are arriving with greater frequency. Counting Harvey, the U.S. this year has experienced 10 weather-related events each costing $1 billion or more. The country averaged fewer than six big-dollar storms, flood, fires and freezes a year between 1980 and 2016, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Between 2012 and 2016, however, weather catastrophes occurred almost twice as often.

I know that I have been writing about these hurricanes a lot in recent weeks, and I promise to get back to focusing on the economy in the days to come.

But it is absolutely imperative that we all begin to understand that something has fundamentally changed. Our world has become much less stable, and “apocalyptic events” are starting to hit us one after another.

So will things start to calm down in the months ahead?

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George Soros’s worst nightmare is about to become a reality in a key European country – France.

Francois Fillon, former French prime minister and member of Les Republicains political party, delivers his speech after partial results in the second round for the French center-right presidential primary election in Paris, France, November 27, 2016.

In an interview to Le Monde, the likeliest winner of the coming presidential election Francois Fillon called NATO’s promise in 2008 to take in Georgia and Ukraine as “irresponsible.” For Soros, who in his recent article saw Europe as a battleground for a Manichean fight between “democrats” and “dictators,” this must be a sure sign of “Europe falling under the influence of Vladimir Putin.”

In reality, Russia’s hopes for France are much more modest. They are nothing like the monsters which Mr. Soros creates in his imagination. Contrary to the fake generalizations in the mainstream press, Russia has been looking for understanding not so much in the so called far-right parties inside the EU countries as in the established “center” of European politics. Francois Fillon and his Gaullist party The Republicans represent exactly that – the moderate “right of center” in the French politics.

In the years that followed the worsening of relations with the West after the Kiev coup in 2014, Russia invited even the former president Nicolas Sarkozy, the main architect of the Western intervention in Libya, to several forums in Moscow and St. Petersburg. The aim was not “to dominate Europe,” but to find in France a minimally sensible politician, who would not see Russia as a “clear and present danger” (a preferred expression of French Russophobes). Finding such politicians in France would set a stage for a dialogue – an antonym to Mr. Soros’s “color revolutions,” touted by the Western media and despised by the people in the “revolutionized” countries, from Syria and Serbia to Georgia and Ukraine.

This aim of a dialogue could not be achieved through the cruel and duplicitous Sarkozy, who only advised Russia to remove its countersanctions against Western foodstuffs “in a gesture of goodwill.” (Many a previous gesture of this kind from Russia did not deter NATO’s expansion to Russia’s borders or any other hostile moves from the US and the EU.) But Russia suddenly found a lot of sympathy among the less elitist French politicians, who represented the pragmatic interests of French business, and not the imperial designs of “spreading democracy” around the globe.

In April 2016, the French parliament, the National Assembly, recommended the lifting of sanctions against Russia.

And now Francois Fillon, an unexpected winner of the primaries in the French rightist party The Republicans, is voicing similar ideas about EU-Russian relations in general. To an unbiased observer, these truths are simple enough to be coming out of the mouth of babes, but for the mainstream media they are dangerous heresies.

“Has the West always been a reliable partner for Russia?” Fillon asked himself rhetorically during a recent interview to Le Monde daily. “Didn’t we deceive Russia on Libya, on Kosovo, on the economic partnership with the EU?”

Despite his previous characterizations of Russia as a “dangerous” country, Fillon obviously went beyond the limits of the European mainstream on Russia when he called NATO’s invitation for Georgia and Ukraine to join NATO in future “irresponsible.”

“Why did we need to deploy anti-missile defense right near the Russian border? We made a lot of mistakes,” Fillon said in that same interview.

Instead of countering Mr. Fillon by arguments, French politicians and mainstream media prefers “trolling” him by alleging he has “personal connections” to Russia. So far, the only revealed connections were Mr. Fillon’s two visits to Russia in the framework of the Valdai Discussion Club (an organization bringing together people with all kinds of views on Russia, including some very critical ones). Also, Fillon and Putin were prime ministers of France and Russia respectively in 2008-2010 and as such they exchanged a few friendly messages. So much for “personal connections.”

This, however, did not deter Alain Juppe, Fillon’s rival during the primaries of the French right, to “warn” his adversary against “excess of vodka during his meetings with Putin.”

This cheap insult, however, did not play well with voters, who preferred Fillon to Juppe, making the former prime minister the main candidate of the center-right Republicans.

The lesson also did not go down well with Manuel Valls, the former Socialist prime minister, who is going through the leftist primaries right now in the hope of challenging Fillon later this year during the presidential election. Valls said he would “defend France against both the United States of Trump and Putin’s Russia” if elected the president.

Will Russophobia play out for Mr. Valls? There is a strong doubt about this. Valls has already lost the first tour of Socialist primaries to the little known “red and green” candidate Benoit Hamon.

“People like Valls just don’t understand that there is a certain fatigue about business as usual in Europe, and Russophobia is a part of the business as usual there,” said Gevorg Mirzayan, a specialist on foreign relations at the Institute of US and Canada in Moscow.

Hopefully, the Russophobic part of the business as usual will come to an end. Russia wants only as much as that – and legitimately.

The French top diplomat regretted that the Russian leader had to cancel his visit to Paris.
French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said Wednesday he regretted that Russian President Vladimir Putin canceled his October 19 visit to France.

“We offered to discuss the situation in Syria with Vladimir Putin… Vladimir Putin has refused to visit to talk about Syria and this is what I regret. We want to talk about the situation in Syria with Russia,” Ayrault said in an interview with France’s Europe 1 radio station.

On Tuesday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that Putin would have to cancel his visit to Paris due to a scheduling conflict, while remaining open to meeting French President Francois Hollande at the latter’s convenience. Hollande also voiced his willingness to meet Putin and spoke of “a profound need” for the talks with Russia.
Ayrault told France Info on Tuesday that Paris remains open for talks with Russia on concerted efforts to battle terrorism in Syria.

What a mess! In the crazy Syrian war, US-backed and armed groups are fighting other US-backed rebel groups. How can this be?

It is so because the Obama White House had stirred up war in Syria but then lost control of the process. When the US has a strong president, he can usually keep the military and intelligence agencies on a tight leash.

But the Obama administration has had a weak secretary of defense and a bunch of lady strategists who are the worst military commanders since Louis XV, who put his mistress, Madame de Pompadour, in charge of French military forces during the Seven Year’s War. The French were routed by the Prussians. France’s foe, Frederick the Great of Prussia, named one of his dogs, ‘la Pompadour.’

As a result, the two arms of offensive US strategic power, the Pentagon and CIA, went separate ways in Syria. Growing competition between the US military and militarized CIA broke into the open in Syria.

 Fed up with the astounding incompetence of the White House, the US military launched and supported its own rebel groups in Syria, while CIA did the same.

Fighting soon after erupted in Syria and Iraq between the US-backed groups. US Special Forces joined the fighting in Syria, Iraq and most lately, Libya.

The well-publicized atrocities, like mass murders and decapitations, greatly embarrassed Washington, making it harder to portray their jihadi wildmen as liberators. The only thing exceptional about US policy in Syria was its astounding incompetence.

Few can keep track of the 1,000 groups of jihadis that keep changing their names and shifting alliances. Throw in Turkomans, Yzidis, Armenians, Nestorians, Druze, Circassians, Alawis, Assyrians and Palestinians. Oh yes, and the Alevis.

Meanwhile, ISIS was inflicting mayhem on Syria and Iraq. But who really is ISIS? A few thousand twenty-something hooligans with little knowledge of Islam but a burning desire to dynamite the existing order and a sharp media sense. The leadership of these turbaned anarchists appears to have formed in US prison camps in Afghanistan.

The US, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey armed and financed ISIS as a weapon to unleash on Syria, which was an ally of Iran that refused to take orders from the Western powers. The west bears heavy responsibility for the deaths of 450,000 Syrians, at least half the nation of 23 million becoming refugees, and destruction of this once lovely country.

At some point, ISIS shook off its western tutors and literally ran amok. But the US has not yet made a concerted attempt to crush ISIS because of its continuing usefulness in Syria and in the US, where ISIS has become the favorite whipping boy of politicians.

Next come the Kurds, an ancient Indo-European stateless people spread across Turkey, Iraq, Iran and Syria. They have been denied a national state by the western powers since WWI. Kurdish rebels in Iraq have been armed and financed by Israel since the 1970’s.

When America’s Arab jihadists proved militarily feeble, the US turned to the Kurds, who are renowned fighters, arming and financing the Kurdish Syrian YPG which is part of the well-known PKK rebel group that fights Turkey.

I covered the Turkish-Kurdish conflict in eastern Anatolia in the 1980’s in which some 40,000 died.

Turkey is now again battling a rising wave of Kurdish attacks that caused the Turks to probe into northern Syria to prevent a link-up of advancing Kurdish rebel forces.

So, Turkey, a key American ally, is now battling CIA-backed Kurdish groups in Syria. Eighty percent of Turks believe the recent failed coup in Turkey was mounted by the US – not the White House, but by the Pentagon which has always been joined at the hip to Turkey’s military.

This major Turkish-Kurdish crisis was perfectly predictable, but the obtuse junior warriors of the Obama administration failed to grasp this point.

Now the Russians have entered the fray in an effort to prevent their ally, Bashar Assad, from being overthrow by western powers. Also perfectly predictable. Russia claimed to be bombing ISIS but in fact is targeting US-backed groups. Washington is outraged that the wicked Russians are doing in the Mideast what the US has done for decades.

The US and Russia now both claim to have killed a senior ISIS commander in an air strike. Their warplanes are dodging one another, creating a perfect scenario for a head-on clash at a time when neocons in the US are agitating for war with Russia.

Does anyone think poor, demolished Syria is worth the price? Hatred for the US is now seething in Turkey and across the Mideast. Hundreds of millions of US tax dollars have been wasted in this cruel, pointless war.

The collapse of a signature Obama administration trade pact marks a major defeat for free trade advocates and politico-economic globalism.
Free trade negotiations between the European Union and the United States have fallen apart in recent weeks with Europe reticent to open its agricultural industry to low-cost American “frankenfruits” in addition to concerns over the depletion of labor standards and worries that an unelected cabal will be able to dictate policy over the sovereign objections of participating countries.
The trade talks over the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) began to stagnate years ago with the 14th round of negotiations between American and EU officials in Brussels in July serving as potentially the final death knell. The negotiations were the third round in six months as US officials attempted to make one last ditch effort to clear the deal before the end of Obama’s presidency.
Germany’s Vice-Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel confirmed that the negotiations between the parties had failed, but he said that “nobody is really admitting it.” The secretive deal, for which leaders of European countries cannot even access a fully copy of the pact, has become political anathema in both the EU and the United States behind a rising tide of nationalism and trade protectionism.
The deal began to fall apart beginning in May when France first threatened to block the deal. At the time, President Francois Hollande said that he would “never accept” the deal because it abridges the sovereignty of France and the rest of Europe while disproportionately favoring US agro-business.
 “We will never accept questioning essential principles for our agriculture, our culture and for the reciprocity of access to public markets,” Mr. Hollande said in May. “At this stage France says, ‘No’”
The deal has fallen under increased pressure in the wake of Britain’s historic vote to exit the European Union changing the dimensions and calculations of the trade pact while creating concern among US leaders that a TTIP deal without British involvement would actually diminish US-UK economic ties.
President Obama warned that a vote for Brexit would mean that the UK would have to wait at the “back of the queue” for trade deals with the United States and that Brits would lose out on the possibility of TTIP. These comments were interpreted by British pundits as a thinly veiled threat and the idea that Brexit would free the people from the unpopular trade deal became a major rallying cry for the Leave campaign which jumped nearly 5 points in polling following the comments.
The Remain campaign, by contrast, warned British voters that the UK could end up with “TTIP on steroids” if it does leave the European Union and opts to arrange in a direct pact with the US.
 In addition to Brexit politics, concerns with the deal include not only America’s lower food and drug standards that would place European agriculture at a disadvantage against US genetically modified produce, but also the across the board reduction in labor standards and the development of an international arbitration tribunal that allows companies to gain compensation from taxpayers if the health and safety laws of a country reduced economic profitability.
On Sunday Sigmar Gabriel, who is also Germany’s Economy Minister, said: “In my opinion, the negotiations with the United States have de facto failed.”

While a number of Western officials have expressed an openness to lifting anti-Russia sanctions, the German chancellor remains steadfast.

In June, French lawmakers voted 302 to 16 to lift sanctions against Moscow, given the impact of counter-sanctions on France’s own economy. A number of EU members have made similar considerations, including Germany.

“German businesses have been at least as concerned about the impact of sanctions against themselves,” political analyst Bunn Nagara wrote in an article for Malaysian daily The Star Online. “No less than the German Vice-Chancellor and Foreign Minister have been floating the prospect of rolling back sanctions against Russia.”

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, however, appears to be resisting this trend. Speaking to RedaktionsNetzwerks Deutschland (RND) on Friday, the German leader indicated that she sees no end to the sanctions.

“Europe had to react against this violation of basic principles,” she said, referring to repeatedly rebuffed claims of Russia’s involvement in ongoing internal political instability in Eastern Ukraine.

She added that she and French President Francois Hollande are working “with all one’s strength” to force Russia to comply with the Minsk ceasefire agreement.

“This is and remains the yardstick for the future of the sanctions.”

Moscow has, however, repeatedly pointed out that Kiev has been conducting military operations against Donbass independence supporters.

“It is clear why it was done,” Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Friday, referring to the Ukraine’s recent attempt to sabotage critical infrastructure on the Crimean peninsula. “They [Kiev] do not want or are unable to implement Minsk agreements for whatever reasons. And they cannot explain to their own people the significant lapses in socio-economic policy.”

On Thursday, Eduard Basurin, deputy defense minister of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic, said that Ukrainian authorities had again deployed heavy weaponry near the line of contact.

If Germany and the European Union insist on continuing sanctions against Moscow, they will be a political gesture only, without result, given the “size and economic weight of Russia,” Nagara points out.

“If any Western policymaker still harbors the thought of cornering or containing Russia, it should be obvious that Russia is too big and savvy for that.”

According to media reports, French energy giant Total has fired almost three-quarters of staff working in its Russian office in Moscow following the partial withdrawal from the Kharyaga oil field.

The French energy giant Total has fired almost three-quarters of staff working in its Russian office in Moscow following the partial withdrawal from the Kharyaga oil field, media reported Monday, citing sources in the company.

Total sold a half of its 40-percent share in the Kharyaga oil field production sharing agreement (PSA) to the Russian state Zarubezhneft firm earlier this month after a preliminary agreement was signed in January.

According to the Forbes magazine, some 420 people lost their jobs at Total, with some of them transferring to Zarubezhneft, which now owns a larger part of the oil field.

Before the sale of the Kharyaga shares to Zarubezhneft, Total was Russia’s largest foreign investor in the oil field. Apart from the 20 percent of Kharyaga PSA shares, Total has kept bilateral projects with the Russian Novatek technology company.

The Kharyaga production sharing agreement aims to develop two objects of the oil field in Russia’s northern Nenets Autonomous Region. The geologically complex field produces 1.5 million tons of oil yearly, having raised some $3 billion for the Russian government since operations began in 1999.