Alarming: Putin Could Soon Bring The U.S. Economy To Its Knees With One Simple Action

by L. Todd Wood

The de-dollarization of the world economy continues to proceed as countries around the world sign swap agreements to trade in their own currencies and remove the US dollar from transactions with their non-U.S. trading partners.
It is no secret that Russian President Vladimir Putin would love to further this process and damage the United States economically as much as possible by minimizing the use of the dollar globally, and undermining its status as a global reserve currency.  The Western sanctions on Russia are starting to bite as the Ruble approaches forty to the dollar.
Unfortunately for Russia, it cannot harm U.S. interests on its own.  She does not have the economic strength and is playing this hand from a position of weakness.  However, there is a way the Kremlin could seriously harm the United States. Combined efforts by the BRIC developing economies would have a devastating impact on the value and influence of the dollar.
China is also keen on reducing USD hegemony in the global economy. India and Brazil are as well, although to a lesser extent than China and Russia. If these four nations teamed up to sell U.S. treasuries and remove the dollar from their foreign transactions, we could see the bottom fall out of the dollar’s valuation. The Federal Reserve would also most likely lose control of the bond market. So you would have a dual shock to the American economy–significantly higher interest rates and a weak currency.  We also would have trouble finding buyers for our bonds to support our ravenous spending habits if the BRICs refused to participate in U.S. treasury auctions.
This scenario is almost certainly being planned and implemented by Moscow already, with the latest indications being that they’re shifting their assets out of the greenback and into hard commodities like gold.  In a recent commentary on its website, Birch Gold Group, a national dealer of precious metals, noted that “Besides retaliating with more sanctions against the E.U. and the U.S., the Russians have been one of the world’s biggest buyers of gold this year. Over the past six months, according to the World Gold Council, Russia has added 54 metric tons to its gold reserves; Russians now have the 6th largest gold reserves, higher than both Switzerland’s and China’s.”
Perhaps the Russians know something we don’t?
With the recent Western sanctions targeting the life blood of the Russian economy, the main state-owned hydrocarbon producers, the Russians have been looking East.  Russia recently signed a multi-year natural gas deal with China to lock in a long term customer, albeit just above cost.  Moscow is also very aware of Western Europe’s efforts to diversify away from Russian gas supplies.
The point is that cooperation with the historically belligerent neighbors is already underway.  In the same commentary, Birch Gold observed that “Russia is also unloading U.S. dollars and euros and increasing its Chinese yuan reserves – which could hurt the dollar in the long run. China and Russia have recently agreed on a draft document to exchange currencies. Their central banks will swap currencies to stimulate further development of direct trade between the countries.”
The wildcard in the BRIC adverse scenario is the actions of India and Brazil.  Relations with India soured significantly last year after the U.S. arrested an Indian diplomat for alleged visa fraud. Since the election of Modi earlier in 2014, the United States has been keen to repair relations and have warmed up to the new Indian leader.  Perhaps the Obama administration realizes America needs more friends in the world, not less.  Relations with Brazil and the United States are also at an all-time low. This comes after the news that the NSA was spying on the Brazilian president. Efforts by the Obama administration to repair this relationship have so far been fruitless.
So it seems the United States finds itself in a situation where all of the BRIC countries are at odds with the United States’ policy agenda. Therefore, the potential for these countries to unite and coordinate their efforts to harm the United States economically is substantial.  This bodes ill for the status of the USD and influence of the United States in the long run.  In other words, a perfect storm.

Photo credit: ID1974 / Shutterstock.com

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author

Read more at http://www.westernjournalism.com/heres-putin-attack-dollar/#8P2erXhIJoju6VTb.99

Priorities: NFL-Obsessed Networks Skip Jihad Killing Within U.S.

Priorities: NFL-Obsessed Networks Skip Jihad Killing Within U.S.


NEW YORK (AP) -- Al Jazeera America is suing former Vice President Al Gore and Joel Hyatt, the former owners of the TV network that became Al Jazeera America.

The parties are fighting over money that is being held in escrow. The former vice president and Hyatt, the founder of Hyatt Legal Services, sued the network last month saying that it was improperly withholding tens of millions of dollars placed in escrow when Al Jazeera bought Current TV for $500 million.

Al Jazeera America says it is entitled to the money because Gore and Hyatt agreed to indemnify the network for claims made against Current TV, but didn't live up to their promise. It accuses the pair of "misrepresentations" and says they received hundreds of millions of dollars from the sale.

Gore and Hyatt filed a lawsuit against the network in the Delaware Court of Chancery. The two men each owned 20 percent of Current TV.

The Qatar-owned news channel took over Current TV's signal last August and hired U.S. TV news veterans including Soledad O'Brien and John Seigenthaler. It is available in almost 60 million U.S. homes.

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Liberals Who Were Hoping To Destroy Chris Christie Just Got Some Terrible News

A year after a major closure on the George Washington Bridge in Fort Lee, N.J. shut down traffic and inconvenienced countless motorists, Department of Justice investigators have been unable to pin any of the blame on Gov. Chris Christie.

The extensive delay did result in two of the governor’s staffers resigning based on evidence that they played a role in the closure to retaliate against partisan rivals
Dubbed ‘Bridgegate’ by critics of the Republican governor looking to tarnish his reputation by suggesting he was either responsible for or complicit in the traffic jam, a nine-month probe into the incident has yet to reveal any evidence of Christie’s involvement. Though the investigation is still technically ongoing, WNBC reports that the current situation looks positive for the potential 2016 presidential candidate.

According to Democrat state Assemblyman John Wisniewski, evidence supporting Christie does not mean investigators’ interest in this story is waning.
“This is not a Chris Christie investigation,” he explained. “It’s an investigation as to why this happened and who authorized it. As a consequence, this does not change our position.”
Marist Institute for Public Opinion Director Lee Miringoff explained that, while his ultimate exoneration is the best result of this investigation, Christie will not escape unscathed.
“That’s good news for him,” he said. “The bad news remains that politically, as chief executive, it looks like he was not in control of his administration at the time when this occurred.”
Nevertheless, Miringoff concluded that “this panel provides greater credibility barring any further revelations coming out.”
Christie noted that he never had any doubt that his name would be cleared.
“I don’t want to overreact to it, because I’m not surprised by it,” he said of the news. “And I’m hoping that, you know, we can start to focus on things that are important to all the people in the state of New Jersey.”

Number of billionaires hits record high in 2014

Photographer | Collection | Getty Images
The world economy is going through a rough patch, yet the world's billionaire population is at an all-time high.
A new survey shows that 155 new billionaires were minted this year, pushing the total population to a record 2,325 – a 7 percent increase from 2013.
Credit goes to the United States – home to the most billionaires globally – where 57 new billionaires were recorded this year, according to the Wealth-X and UBS Billionaire Census 2014 released on Wednesday.
Asia and Latin America and the Caribbean were also large contributors,with 52 and 42 new entrants, respectively.
"The fastest growing segment of the billionaire population, in terms of wealth source, are those who inherited only part of their fortunes and became billionaires through their own entrepreneurial endeavors," the report said, noting that 63 percent of all billionaires' primary companies are privately held.
Billionaire populations in emerging markets showed mixed signals however.
In Africa, billionaires' total wealth grew, but the overall number of billionaires decreased, due primarily to volatile socio-political conditions. A similar situation occurred in the Middle East.
Nevertheless, the combined wealth of the world's billionaires increased by 12 percent to $7.3 trillion, higher than the combined market capitalization of all the companies that make up the Dow Jones Industrial Average.
Profiling billionaires
The average billionaire is 63 years old, with a net worth of $3.1 billion, according to the report, which noted that most wealthy individuals do not reach the $1 billion threshold until their late forties.
Almost 90 percent of male billionaires are married, 6 percent are divorced, 3 percent are single and 2 percent widowed.
For male billionaires the top five industries are finance and banking, industrial conglomerates, real estate, manufacturing and textiles, andapparel and luxury goods.
Sixty-five percent of female billionaires are married, 10 percent divorced, 4 percent single and 21 percent widowed.
They are involved in similar industries to their male peers, but one difference is that many run non-profit and social organizations.

Trust in Mass Media Returns to All-Time Low

by Justin McCarthy

Six-percentage-point drops in trust among Democrats and Republicans

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- After registering slightly higher trust last year, Americans' confidence in the media's ability to report "the news fully, accurately, and fairly" has returned to its previous all-time low of 40%. Americans' trust in mass media has generally been edging downward from higher levels in the late 1990s and the early 2000s.
Americans' Trust in the Mass Media
Prior to 2004, Americans placed more trust in mass media than they do now, with slim majorities saying they had a "great deal" or "fair amount" of trust. But over the course of former President George W. Bush's re-election season, the level of trust fell significantly, from 54% in 2003 to 44% in 2004. Although trust levels rebounded to 50% in 2005, they have failed to reach a full majority since.
Americans' trust in the media in recent years has dropped slightly in election years, including 2008, 2010, 2012, and again this year -- only to edge its way back up again in the following odd-numbered years. Although the differences between the drops and the recoveries are not large, they suggest that something about national elections triggers skepticism about the accuracy of the news media's reporting.
Among Democrats, Trust in Media at a 14-Year Low
Trust among Democrats, who have traditionally expressed much higher levels of confidence in the media than Republicans have, dropped to a 14-year low of 54% in 2014. Republicans' trust in the media is at 27%, one percentage point above their all-time low, while independents held steady at 38% -- up one point from 37% in 2013.
Trust in Mass Media, by Party
Sharp Uptick in Americans Who Think News Media Are "Too Conservative"
As has been the case historically, Americans are most likely to feel the news media are "too liberal" (44%) rather than "too conservative," though this perceived liberal bias is now on the lower side of the trend. One in three (34%) say the media are "just about right" in terms of their coverage -- down slightly from 37% last year.
Nearly one in five Americans (19%) say the media are too conservative, which is still relatively low, but the highest such percentage since 2006. This is up six points from 2013 -- the sharpest increase in the percentage of Americans who feel the news skews too far right since Gallup began asking the question in 2001.
Americans' Perceptions of Media Bias
Conservatives (70%) are far more likely than liberals (15%) to perceive the media as too liberal. Moderates' views are closer to liberals, with 35% calling the media too liberal. Likewise, relatively few moderates -- similar to conservatives -- think the media are too conservative.
Democrats -- with a small majority of 52% -- are most likely to think the media are just about right, while a mere 18% of Republicans feel this way about the news. More than seven in 10 Republicans say the media are too liberal.
Perceptions of Media Bias, by Party and Ideology
Bottom Line
Though a sizable percentage of Americans continue to have a great deal or fair amount of trust in the media, Americans' overall trust in the Fourth Estate continues to be significantly lower now than it was 10 to 15 years ago.
As the media expand into new domains of news reporting via social media networks and new mobile technology, Americans may be growing disenchanted with what they consider "mainstream" news as they seek out their own personal veins of getting information. At the same time, confidence is down across many institutions, and a general lack in trust overall could be at play.
Americans' opinions about the media appear affected in election years, however. Americans' trust in the media will likely recover slightly in 2015 with the absence of political campaigns. But the overarching pattern of the past decade has shown few signs of slowing the decline of faith in mass media as a whole.
Survey Methods
Results for this Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted Sept. 4-7, 2014, with a random sample of 1,017 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia.
For results based on the total sample of national adults, the margin of sampling error is ±4 percentage points at the 95% confidence level.
Interviews are conducted with respondents on landline telephones and cellular phones, with interviews conducted in Spanish for respondents who are primarily Spanish-speaking. Each sample of national adults includes a minimum quota of 50% cellphone respondents and 50% landline respondents, with additional minimum quotas by time zone within region. Landline and cellular telephone numbers are selected using random-digit-dial methods. Landline respondents are chosen at random within each household on the basis of which member had the most recent birthday.
Samples are weighted to correct for unequal selection probability, nonresponse, and double coverage of landline and cell users in the two sampling frames. They are also weighted to match the national demographics of gender, age, race, Hispanic ethnicity, education, region, population density, and phone status (cellphone only/landline only/both, and cellphone mostly). Demographic weighting targets are based on the most recent Current Population Survey figures for the aged 18 and older U.S. population. Phone status targets are based on the most recent National Health Interview Survey. Population density targets are based on the most recent U.S. census. All reported margins of sampling error include the computed design effects for weighting.
In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls.
For more details on Gallup's polling methodology, visit www.gallup.com.

Gov. Perry Sends Letter to Mexican President Peña Nieto, Invites Him to Texas

Press Release
Wednesday, September 17, 2014
Austin, Texas 
Gov. Rick Perry today sent the following letter to Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto following the President's comments last week regarding Governor Perry's decision to deploy the Texas National Guard to disrupt criminal activity along the Texas-Mexico border.
Dear President Peña Nieto:
I read with interest and concern your comments regarding border security on the week of September 11, which called Texas' increased law enforcement presence on the border "unpleasant" and "reprehensible." As neighbors and economic partners, Mexico and the United States are inextricably bound by shared interests and culture. As friends we might not always agree, but we must have an honest and respectful dialogue about the challenges we share, which is why I write to you today.
My time as governor has seen significant changes for both of our nations. Under your leadership, Mexico has undergone remarkable reforms, including measures to increase economic competitiveness and create opportunities for hardworking families, such as education reform, fiscal reform and the privatization of its energy industry.
All the while, our two countries have continued prosperous trade and cultural relationships. Texas is a national example of job creation in the United States, and our economic climate and strong infrastructure network have allowed us to become the nation's largest exporting state. As Texas' economy has grown, commerce between Texas and Mexico has flourished, creating opportunity for families on both sides of the border.
That is why your comments last week were particularly concerning. I believe strongly that our continued prosperity depends on a partnership that works collaboratively to address our shared border security challenges, rather than marginalizing the legitimate views of one side. Our partnership cannot advance if we fail to acknowledge the serious issues associated with lax border enforcement along both of our southern borders.
Our unique relationship as neighbors who share a nearly 2,000 mile border not only requires a spirit of cooperation, but a willingness to confront problems with direct, candid dialogue. The fact is, cartel violence plagues our international border and jeopardizes the security of citizens on both sides of the border. Furthermore, the number of illegal alien apprehensions in this country has been on the rise for the past few years. While many seek only economic opportunity, some seek to exploit our porous border with criminal intent. I will continue to act as necessary to uphold my constitutional obligations, and when it comes to the safety and security of Texans, I will not be dissuaded by rhetoric of any kind.
This crisis has manifested itself in the faces of scared children undertaking perilous journeys, traveling from Central America across Mexico to reach the United States. The threat posed to these young children, families along the border, and communities across Texas as a result of a porous border is real. That is why I directed the Texas Department of Public Safety and Texas' National Guard to provide additional law enforcement resources in the border region. As the Governor of Texas, I have an obligation to put the safety of our citizens first. Those obeying our laws have nothing to fear from our increased law enforcement presence. In fact, I would like to invite you to visit my state to see firsthand the professionalism of our National Guard soldiers and their law enforcement partners as they work to secure the border.
Our challenges today are partly a consequence of the failure of the Mexican government to secure its southern border from illegal immigration by unaccompanied children and other individuals from Central America, or to deploy adequate resources to control the criminal element in Mexico. Whether along Mexico's southern border or Texas', we must ensure our borders are secured in a manner that discourages illicit activities while allowing for legitimate commerce and lawful immigration, and I encourage you to take the necessary steps to do so along your country's southern border.
Our shared border represents a common opportunity to enforce the rule of law and continue a productive dialogue that addresses the evolving realities and challenges of border security. I would be honored to host you in Texas, and am hopeful the United States and Mexico can work as partners to find solutions to these challenges, now and in the future.
Rick Perry