The Greek people are sick and tired of austerity, unemployment is ~30% and rising. The Greek people are being urged by their government to keep all money in the country to help the debt problem. More financial layoffs are looming, reports are filtering in that many will possibly lose their jobs in the next few months. The Ukraine crisis continues, the central bankers/US government are pursuing other options, meanwhile they are positioning military assets for war with Syria and Libya. The US government is trying to push legislation and attach it to the Ukraine bill which will meet the obligations of the IMF. If this legislation is not passed there is a high possibility that the US dollar might shift the reserve status to the SDR which would wreak havoc on the American people. The dollar would devalue and goods and services would be to expensive for most people.
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Current News – 03.12.2014
- A protest march is planned in central Athens later in the day, while civil servants have penciled in another 48-hour strike on March 19-20.
- Demonstrators gathered at two squares in central Athens, including cleaning staff fired by the Finance Ministry, who marched holding up buckets and mops.
- The latest disruptions have come as negotiations with rescue lenders have dragged on for months, with the government reluctant to impose more economic pain in a country already exhausted by a six-year recession.
- A video about small Greek bondholders who lost their money when the previous Greek government imposed 74% losses on investors, including those who had put up their savings to benefit their homeland, has gone viral on the Internet.
- According to the information given in the video by the Association Natural Persons of Greek government Bonds,“almost 15,000 families were deceived, as they never got their money back by the Greek State, who grabbed the savings of a lifetime. Most of these people are in despair. The overriding public interest is the trust that citizens should have towards the state.”
- UniCredit SpA (UCG), Italy’s biggest bank, posted a record 15 billion-euro ($20.8 billion) fourth-quarter loss as it set aside money for bad loans and wrote down goodwill from acquisitions. It plans to cut 8,500 jobs.
- Provisions for doubtful loans soared to 9.3 billion euros in the quarter, more than double the year-ago level, while impairments, including those on the goodwill of units in Italy, central and eastern Europe and Austria, amounted to more than 9 billion euros, the Milan-based lender said today.
- “Analysts now expect Goldman Sachs to record its weakest first quarter since 2005 and JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America are forecast to see their lowest revenues since they bought Bear Stearns and Merrill Lynch, respectively, in 2008.“
- More from FT:
- The weakness is expected to be even more severe among European banks such as Deutsche Bank and Credit Suisse, which are looking to meet new capital requirements by shrinking their balance sheets. “Anecdotally it seems Europeans are losing most share in the US itself and so are losing global diversification,” said Huw van Steenis, analyst at Morgan Stanley.
- Citigroup and JPMorgan Chase have warned publicly that fixed income revenues – the engine of most investment banks’ profits since 2000 – will be down by double digits when they report first-quarter earnings next month. But other banks privately warn that their year-on-year declines could exceed 25 per cent after both institutional investors and banks shied away from trading. The first quarter is traditionally a high point for revenues.
- So what happens next:
- Two of the top five fixed income divisions said they expected to respond by cutting more jobs because the market is worse than expected, with traders blaming patchy macroeconomic data, interest rate uncertainty, regulation that limits risk taking and worries about the situation in Ukraine.
- On March 6, 2014, President Obama conducted a town hall meeting with Spanish-language media regarding the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare. He was asked about the concerns of many Latinos that the law is simply too expensive. He suggested that some families may be spending too much on cable television or cell phones, and not enough on health insurance.
- Price cited a report that said only 27% of those enrolled were previously uninsured, much lower than the administration had hoped. The administration has come under heavy criticism for touting the 4.2 million enrollees, with critics saying most of that number are those who lost their previous insurance due to the law.
- Americans are more concerned with the availability and affordability of energy than they are with climate change or general environmental concerns, according to a Gallup poll released Wednesday.
- The poll comes a day after Senate Democrats spent all night on the chamber floor decrying the supposed catastrophe of carbon-induced global warming.
- More respondents, 37 percent, said they worry a great deal about “the availability and affordability of energy.”
- A Gallup survey conducted prior to the marathon self-filibuster found that only 24 percent of Americans worry a “great deal” about climate change. Thirty-one percent said they worry a great deal about “the quality of the environment.”
- Legislation is now being pushed that will raise American electricity prices and raise taxes on energy.
Residents refuse to surrender high-capacity magazines as ban begins in California town
- It is estimated that over 300,000 gunowners have practiced civil disobedience in refusing to register and give up the newly forbidden items. Only roughly 50,000 citizens in the state have complied.
- But now these courageous citizens have key support in high places. With at least 250 law enforcement officers joining them in disobeying an unconstitutional law, the gunowners have a new weapon in their arsenal — the support of hundreds of police officers.
China helping with terrorism, helping with copper mining
- Gen. Joseph Dunford, the current commander of the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan said on Wednesday that if the U.S. were to pull all troops under a ‘zero option’ plan the entire “security environment” of the nation would begin to “deteriorate.”
- Moscow and Tehran “have reached a preliminary agreement on the construction of at least two new nuclear power units in Iran.” The Iranian national news agency IRNA reported this on Wednesday with reference to Behrouz Kamalvandi, spokesperson for Atomic Energy Organization of Iran.
- Crimean Prime Minister Sergey Aksyonov said on March 11 in reply to a question from journalists that there are no Russian servicemen in the republic’s local self-defense units.
- “These are Crimeans, have no doubts,” the Kryminform news agency quoted Aksyonov as saying. “The self-defense units contain no Russian servicemen.”
- “As of today, the Russian army does not participate in actions to block [military] units, to ensure public order,” he said, adding that Crimean self-defense units were involved in cooperation with Russia’s Black Sea Fleet based in Ukraine in line with a naval base lease deal.
- Earlier, a number of media claimed that Russian soldiers were reportedly seen blocking some military facilities in Crimea. But top Russian officials, including President Vladimir Putin, have denied any unlawful activities by Russian armed forces in Crimea.
- US firms are warning Obama that they will suffer huge economic losses should sanctions be put on Russia. These groups have cautioned Congress along with the Obama Administration that unilateral action executed by the US would put tens of billions of dollars of US trade and investment in jeopardy.
- Business officials claim that they have been caught in the middle of the swift-moving US foreign policy and their interests in a market so many have been keeping their eyes on with energy being the most important of sectors to watch. Huge corporations like PepsiCo and General Electric, among others have verbally made clear that their interest and involvement in Russia is key to their global strategic plan.
The G7, or G-7, is a group consisting of the finance ministers of seven developed nations: Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan,the United Kingdom and the United States. They are the seven wealthiest developed nations on Earth by national net wealth.
The Crimean people are preparing the declaration of independence not Russia
- The G-8(-1) is clearly concerned about the fall-out from this weekend’s referendum in Crimea and in its strngest language yet is condemning (and threatening) Russia:
- *G-7 CALLS ON RUSSIA TO ‘DE-ESCALATE THE CONFLICT IN CRIMEA’
- *RUSSIA ANNEXATION OF CRIMEA WOULD VIOLATE UN CHARTER: G-7
- *G-7 CALLS ON RUSSIA TO HALT SUPPORT FOR CRIMEA REFERENDUM
- *G-7 SAYS WILL NOT RECOGNIZE RESULT OF CRIMEA REFERENDUM
- *’CEASE EFFORTS TO CHANGE’ STATUS OF CRIMEA, G-7 TELLS RUSSIA
- *G-7 SAYS ANNEXATION OF CRIMEA WOULD HAVE ‘GRAVE CONSEQUENCES’
- Then, after the threats, calls on Russia to let observers into the country and enter into talks with the Ukrainian government (which has already appeared to give up on Crimea). This comes as Ukraine’s PM visits Obama in D.C.
- Via PTI:
- Source: zerohedge.com
- The top American military officer has warned about a US military attack against Syria, saying it would further commit Washington to a conflict that is not decisive militarily.
- “We can destroy the Syrian air force,” Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey said in a letter to Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.) dated August 19. “But it would also escalate and potentially further commit the United States to the conflict.” Presstv,ir
- With diplomacy having failed miserably to resolve the Russian annexation of Crimea, and soon East Ukraine (and with John Kerry in charge of it, was there ever any doubt), the US is moving to the heavy artillery. First, moments ago, the US DOE announced in a shocking announcement that it would proceed with the first draw down and sale of crude from the US strategic petroleum reserve, the first since June 2011, in what it said was a “test sale to check the operational capabilities of system infrastructure”, but is really just a shot across the bow at Putin for whom high commodity prices are orders of magnitude more important than how the Russian stock market performs. And now, as Bloomberg just reported, the US has escalated even further, citing the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin Dempsey, who “has claimed that in the case of an escalation of unrest in Crimea, the U.S. Army is ready to back up Ukraine and its allies in Europe with military actions.“
- And I have assured them that if that treaty obligation is triggered [in Europe], we would respond,” Dempsey said.
- A Ukrainian aircraft will carry out an observation flight over Russia upon Kiev’s request, Russian Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov said.
- “On March 11 Ukraine submitted the request to hold an emergency observation flight over Russia. Such a mission is being requested for the first time in the framework of the Open Skies Treaty signed in 1992. And even though we have no obligations to take the Ukrainian jet, we have decided to allow the observation group to carry out such a flight,” According to the Ukrainian ministers, a group of Russian servicemen comprising 220,000 people, 1,800 tanks and over 400 helicopters has allegedly been created.
- MOSCOW, March 12 (RIA Novosti) – A US navy destroyer began joint exercises Wednesday with Romanian and Bulgarian warships in the Black Sea, about 130 miles from Crimea, the Reuters news agency reported.
- The mission was cited by the White House last week as a sign of the United States’ commitment to the region amid ongoing turmoil in Ukraine – which also borders the Black Sea – that threatens to split the country apart.
- The exercises, taking place in Romanian territorial waters, were scheduled to begin Tuesday but were delayed due to adverse weather.
- Moments ago RIA reported that Minsk will “adequately react to the strengthening of NATO forces near the borders of Belarus, and will offer to host up to an additional 15 Russian aircraft, according to the President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko on Wednesday at a meeting of the Security Council of Belarus.
- Logically, the western response will be to beef up NATO forces even more, which in turn will force nations like Belarus to self-annex themselves to Russia by demanding even more Russian troops in their nations, allowing Putin to serially, and peacefully, to takeover the former USSR nations one by one until the empire rebuilding effort is complete.
- The Libyan General National Congress (GNC) has given the militants controlling Libya’s eastern oil ports two weeks to lift the blockade of crude terminals or face fresh military action.
- Nuri Abu Sahmein, the GNC president, said on Wednesday that Tripoli had “decided to give an ultimatum of two weeks at the most” for the militants to end the seizure of Libya’s eastern oil terminals.” The GNC is the highest political authority in Libya.
- The Libyan senior official further stated that a military operation to retake the oil terminals was being suspended for the time being.
- According to the GNC chief, if the militants refuse to respect the ultimatum, “the decision of the chief of the armed forces (Abu Sahmein himself) will be put into action by the Libyan army.”
- Abu Sahmein had earlier ordered an offensive against the militants demanding regional autonomy in the east after they began exporting oil independently in defiance of the central government.
Central bankers/US government have one agenda with President Assad, we saw this in the Geneva II talks, remove him and put in a puppet government. They need to make the push now because the Presidential elections are being held mid 2014, if the people vote Assad back into power it will be difficult to show that the people of Syria despise him. This will make it very difficult for the central bankers/US Government to prove why he needs to be removed
- Western governments are planning a new push against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad through funding proxy war on the conflict-stricken country, a report suggests.
- The British daily The Guardian reported on Tuesday that a fresh clandestine effort is under way for opening up a “southern front” against the Syrian president.
- A secret command center for international operations in Amman is monitoring preparations for the offensive. This center is staffed by military officials from the US, Britain, Israel and 11 Arab states opposed to Assad.
- The paper said its information is based on leaks from the United States, Israel, Jordan and some Persian Gulf Arab states.
- It said the planned offensive, dubbed Geneva Horan, is aimed at pushing back Syrian troops in the Daraa, Quneitra and As-Suwayda governorates in the southwest of the country in a bid to clear the way for militants to reach the capital Damascus.
- The United States is also constructing runways for reconnaissance aircraft near the border between Jordan and Syria to help with the operation against Syria.
- Mr. Obama’s job approval ticked down to 41% in March from 43% in January, marking a new low. Some 54% disapproved of the job he is doing, matching a previous high from December, when the botched rollout of his signature health law played prominently in the news. The latest survey also showed the lowest-ever approval in Journal/NBC polling for Mr. Obama’s handling of foreign policy.
- Al-Qaeda’s ideology, built on “a perverse and very corrupt interpretation of the Qur’an,” resonates in many parts of the world, and is often fed by political repression, economic disenfranchisement and “lack of education and ignorance,” CIA Director John Brennan said on Tuesday
- Fresh off his campaign to blame the crisis in Ukraine on Benghazi, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said on Monday that Iran will develop nuclear weapons if Crimea becomes part of Russia.
- The South Carolina Republican — one of the Senate’s top Iran hawks who has said Tehran is a member of what he called “the trifecta from hell” — was on Fox News last night lecturing the Europeans to stop buying Russian oil. “Sometimes you have to suffer for your freedom,” Graham said. He later warned German Chancellor Angela Merkel that the entirety of the situation in Ukraine – and Iran – is on her shoulders.
- “And the Iranians are watching every move,” Graham said. “I would tell Chancellor Merkel, if you give Putin a pass, if you allow Putin to annex Crimea by force, threat and intimidation, you are basically encouraging the Iranians to break out with their nuclear program.” Watch the clip:)
- As the Russians are tightening their grip on Crimea, officials there are preparing for a referendum on whether the Ukrainian peninsula should become part of Russia, a move that both U.S. and Ukrainian officials have already called illegal and non-binding.
- Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates said on Sunday that it’s a forgone conclusion. “I do not think that Crimea will slip out of Russia’s hand,” he said.
- Meanwhile, negotiations with Iran to reach a final agreement over its nuclear program continued in Tehran on Sunday. E.U. foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton – there representing the permanent members of the United Nations Security Council (the U.K., the U.S., China, France, and Russia), plus Germany — said there’s “no guarantee” all sides will reach a deal. She made no mention of Ukraine.
- With the number of Islamic extremists in war-torn Syria growing, top U.S. Special Operations officials warned that the spillover effect would eventually threaten the American homeland.
- Navy Adm. William McRaven, commander of the U.S. Special Operations Command, and Asst. Defense Sec. for Special Operations Michael Lumpkin testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee Tuesday, and both agreed that if left unchecked the growing number of extremists and the threat they pose to the region and the world was “only going to get worse”.
- “The threat is already bleeding over beyond the borders of Syria as we’re having spillage into the surrounding nations,” Lumpkin said. “I can’t give you a date when the homeland is in direct threat but it’s in the not too distant future.”
- Adm. McCraven agreed, saying, “I do think one of the greater threats is the pressure they are putting on the Levant and the pressure on Lebanon and Jordan.”
- “That will have a cascading effect across that area which will have a cascading effect across North Africa, Southern Europe, and eventually the United States.”
- 1) Russia will not be alone in its decouple from the dollar system. China, our largest foreign creditor, and India (a supposed ally) have clearly sided with Russia on the Ukranian issue. China has stated that it will back Russia’s play in the event that sanctions are brought to bear by NATO, or if a shooting conflict erupts.
- 2) China has already been slowly dumping the dollar as a world reserve currency using bilateral trade agreements with numerous countries, including Russia, India, Australia, Brazil, Germany, Japan, etc. These agreements allow FOREX currency swaps and export/import purchases to be made with China without the use of the dollar. China has been preparing itself for a divorce from U.S. economic dependence for at least a decade. The idea that they would actually follow through over political tensions should NOT surprise anyone if they have beenpaying attention.
- 3) A total drop of the dollar or U.S. treasury bonds by Russia and China would send shock waves through global markets. Russia is a major energy supplier for most of Europe. China is the largest export/import nation in the world. If they refuse to accept dollars as a trade mechanism, numerous countries will fall in line to abandon the greenback as well. The fact that so many Americans refuse to acknowledge this reality is a recipe for disaster.
- The only advantage the U.S. has traditionally offered in terms of international trade has been the American consumer, whose unchecked debt spending partly fueled the rise of the industrialized East, not to mention the biggest credit bubble in history. The role of America as a consumer market is collapsing today, however. The mainstream media and the Federal Reserve can blame the steady decline in retail sales on the “weather” all they want, but negative indicators in global manufacturing often take many months to register in the statistics, meaning, this destabilization began long before the days turned cold.
- 4) China has been shifting away from export dependency since at least 2008, calling for a larger consumer based market at home. This process of enriching the Chinese consumer has almost been completed. The lie that China “needs the U.S.” in order to survive economically needs to be thrown out like the utter propaganda it is.
- 5) China (and most of the world) has ended new dollar purchases for their FOREX reserves, and has no plans to make new purchases in the future.
- 6) China executed the second largest dump of U.S. Treasury bonds in history in the past month.
- 7) Russia, China, and numerous other countries, including U.S. “allies”, have been calling for the end of the dollar’s world reserve status and the institution of a new global basket currencyusing the IMF’s Special Drawing Rights (SDR). Even Putin has suggested that the IMF take over administration of the global economy and issue the SDR as a world currency system. This flies in the face of those who argue that the IMF is somehow “American run”. The truth is, the IMF is run by global banks and no more answers to the U.S. government than the Federal Reserve answers to the U.S. government.
- The U.S. Department of Energy will sell up to 5 million barrels of crude oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, a move it said was to test the capabilities of the nation’s emergency stockpile in a rapidly changing oil market.
- In the first sale from the reserve since 1990 that is specifically designed as a test, the department will offer sour crude from its West Hackberry and Big Hill sites on the U.S. Gulf coast, with bids due March 14.
- Surging U.S. shale oil production has changed the logistics of U.S. crude markets. Instead of moving oil from the Gulf up to the center of the country, as was traditionally the case, major pipelines have reversed course to move a glut of shale oil from places like North Dakota to points south.
- “Due to the recent dramatic increase in domestic crude oil production, significant changes in the system have occurred,” department spokesman Bill Gibbons said.
- The test sale was needed to “appropriately assess the systems capabilities in the event of a disruption,” he added.
- The most recent emergency sale from the reserve was in 2011, in response to the civil war in Libya, when the Energy Department authorized a tap of 30 million barrels in coordination with the EU, which tapped a similar amount from its reserves.
- Source: reuters.com
- It appears Russia will not back down on their position in the Ukraine and the end game is fast approaching. Many of my readers sent the following link yesterday:
- If you haven’t read that article yet I suggest you do. Its telling us that the G20 countries will implement the IMF 2010 Reforms without the US if Congress doesn’t pass the required legislation by April.
- “It was agreed that in the absence of progress by the United States on the 2010 package by the April meeting of the IMF and G20, that there will be formulated a list of ‘bad options,’ which will allow to move forward in this matter, excluding the opinions of the United States.”
- Congress for its part is attempting to attach the reforms to the Ukrainian aid package which will be put before the Senate next Tuesday. But if they are waiting for any concessions from Russia before passing it, I don’t think those concessions will be forthcoming.
- The United States has found itself in the position where it has no other move but to attempt sanctions which will back fire, escalate military conflict, or accept that the economic reality has shifted away from the dollar reserve status and towards a more centralized and balanced system.
- The 2010 Code of Reforms act as the singularity for the economic shift or transition from dollars to SDR’s with sovereign debt restructuring through the International Monetary Fund.
- Its understood that America is attempting to secure its interests around the world before willingly agreeing to the dollars status change. Unfortunately it cannot control all energy hubs and strategic borders without the ability to fund a large military machine with over 800 bases around the world.
- Without the ability to print endless money and export the inevitable inflation, the US will have to constrict the scope of its international ambitions. In fact, without the reserve currency status, those ambitions will become irrelevant for the most part.
- We have continued to state that its either consolidation of sovereign debt and currency reset through a centralized SDR system or collapse of the old system.
- The Senate Foreign Relations Committee is set to vote on an aid bill for Ukraine on Wednesday that includes reforms to the International Monetary Fund pushed by President Obama.
- Conservatives oppose the IMF provisions and are demanding that the bill also include the delay of Internal Revenue Service regulations to govern 501(c)(4) tax-exempt groups that were at the center of the recent IRS targeting controversy.
- The United States is hearing that its refusal to approve previously negotiated reforms for the International Monetary Fund could reduce the nation’s influence at the institution, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew said on Wednesday.
- U.S. lawmakers have been reticent to approve the IMF quota reforms that were agreed to in 2010 and would give developing countries a bigger say at the international lender.
- The reforms would not reduce Washington’s power at the IMF, where the United States is the sole country with veto power.
- The Obama administration hoped Congress would tack approval of the IMF quota reforms onto legislation for an aid package for crisis-stricken Ukraine, but the outlook for that happening remains uncertain.
- Lew did not provide details on what consequences Washington could face, but sources told Reuters last week that Russian officials are pushing for the IMF to move ahead with planned reforms without the United States, which could mean the loss of Washington’s veto over major decisions at the global lender.
- “We’re already hearing calls by some to say if the United States doesn’t approve (the IMF) reforms, we should maybe move on without them,” Lew told a Senate committee. “That’s not a good place for the United States to be.”
- Lew said approving the reforms was also necessary for effective IMF support of Ukraine.