The world’s third-smallest country has been born – Liberland – larger than both the Vatican and Monaco. Not sure if it will survive, but it continues a tradition of those seeking to create a new political space – as an alternative to warmongering nations controlled by sociopaths.
It always amazes me that here in the West (led by the USA) we somehow think that Saudi Arabia is an ally. And yet the evidence is overwhelming that they and their Salafist ideology are the lynchpin of everything going wrong in the Middle East – including Al-Qaeda and Islamic State. And for some inexplicable reason Iran is demonised for being all the things Saudi Arabia is – including being sponsors of terrorism.
With the Saudi (and US supported) war in Yemen we are witnessing one more gross hypocrisy on the part of the West – an attempt to re-install a fled leader of a failed state. And it’s interesting to compare this with when Ukraine’s elected leader fled in defeat, the US were not interested in re-installing him, but instead immediately endorsed the new regime. Not so in Yemen.
Why? Because Yemen represents a challenge to Saudi Arabia, who keep harping on about Iranian “aggression” in the region, when in fact it is they who are clearly the aggressors – with their ongoing bombing of the country and its hapless inhabitants.
The US has even gone so far as to block any cease-fire and move to negotiations, standing steadfastly by their criminal Saudi allies.
One thing all this disturbance in the Middle East is doing is to bring some clarity. We can no longer imagine that Islamic State represents all Islam. When we watch Iraq and Iran (not to mention Yemenis) fighting these Salafist-inspired terrorist groups, it’s clear a split is emerging between Sunni and Shia – and for my money we should be on the Shia side.
One person I have found worth listening to, if only to get a different view from the “inside”, is Hassan Nasrallah, leader of Hezbollah. Yeah, sure the Israelis call them “terrorists” (along with Iran for supporting them), but in my view they are nothing more than freedom fighters. Anyway, Nasrallah has some interesting things to say in the video shown here – including why he believes Yemen could be the catalyst that brings down the House of Saud. And if that happens, all hell will break loose in the Middle East.
The deal emerging (or not) between Iran and the group of nations headed by the USA is not really about trying to stop Nuclear weapons, but a belated attempt to face the reality that Iran has not “bent the knee” before the global elites.
Eric Margolis, a long-time foreign correspondent, writes an interesting piece that lays out the real reasons for the West’s hostility to Iran.
I was only 9 years old or so when my father told me that China would one day wake up, that it was a sleeping giant. Well it appears he was right. Since the mid-80s, when my interest in China was piqued by what Deng Xiaoping was up to in China, I have seen mounting evidence of China’s rise to global significance. And it’s not finished yet.
This drive by China to once again become a civilisation that matter, is driving the shift “East” that we are witnessing today. The western countries, mired in debt and welfare economies, are simply unable to compete with China’s “lean mean” approach to business.
I’ve spent a lot of time in China and can attest to the spirit of entrepreneurship that exists there, untrammelled by excessive regulation or high taxes. Being in that country and witnessing the energy and momentum that is so apparent, feels a bit like I imagine being in the “wild west” felt – pure adrenaline and opportunity.
However, we are being given mixed messages about China. We are constantly being told (especially by US sources) it’s about to implode, that it represents a “future danger”, and that it needs to be contained.
Well, that ain’t happening, as this insightful essay by Pepe Escobar reveals:
The world is changing. While most of the media concentrate on the superfluous, things are happening beyond public view that are changing the world order, as this short but interesting commentary attests:
While more and more online companies accept Bitcoin, and a number of “go-between” services have launched, making it easier to spend your bitcoins, the easiest option of all is to have a branded debit card with which to access your “coins”.
The process is simple enough, you just need a Visa or MC branded debit card that you can load with funds from the sale of Bitcoin. Another way to look at this is as simply a way to exchange Bitcoin for fiat currency. So instead of using an exchange to sell your bitcoins and withdraw to your bank account, you use a dedicated service which enables you to sell your bitcoins and immediately load the proceeds on to a linked debit card. From there you can use the card anywhere in the world.
Right now there’s not much choice out there, but I believe this will change during 2015. Meanwhile, in the video below I take a look at the currently available cards, including one I personally recommend and have tested myself.
Bitcoin can be many things to many people. But what I find intriguing is how I keep discovering new ways to understand it and, as a result, value it more. The following essay by Nozomi Hayase is well worth a read in this regard.