Mar 05

- The Chinese have put out billboard ads announcing the renminbi as the new world currency (Sovereign Man, March 4, 2015):

When I arrived to Bangkok the other day, coming down the motorway from the airport I saw a huge billboard – and it floored me.

The billboard was from the Bank of China. It said: “RMB: New Choice; The World Currency”

China-rmb-world-currency

Given that the Bank of China is more than 70% owned by the government of the People’s Republic of China, I find this very significant. Continue reading »

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Mar 05

- IMF Director Admits: Greek Bailout Was “To Save German & French Banks” (ZeroHedge, March 4, 2015):

For the first time in public, though practically the entire world assumed it, an official from The IMF has admitted that the various Greek bailouts were not for The Greeks at all… “They gave money to save German and French banks, not Greece,” Paolo Batista, one of the Executive Directors of International Monetary Fund told Greek private Alpha TV on Tuesday. As KeepTalkingGreece reports, Batista then went on to strongly criticized not only the euro zone and the European Central Bank but also the IMF and the Fund’s managing Director Christine Lagarde for defending Europe much too much

Oops! “The Greek issues were not the best handled by The IMF… They put too much of a bruden on Greece and not enough of a burden on Greece’s creditors

Batista then urged Greece to directly negotiate with the IMF and favored the restructuring of the Greek debt that is been hold by the European partners. Continue reading »

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Mar 05

CA_sea-lions_strandings

- Gov’t: It’s getting “even worse” on West Coast — Experts say over 35,000 baby sea lion could be dead, “this phenomenon unprecedented in scale” — Hundreds of times more pups than usual at rescue center — Doctor: “Definitely indicates ocean not normal… Really, we should be worried” (AUDIO) (ENENews, March 4, 2015):

NOAA, Feb 18, 2015 (pdf): We are seeing an unusually large increase of California sea lion pups stranding [that’s] intensified over the last few weeks… it is very difficult to pinpoint what is causing the increase… [There are] warmer waters than usual, but an official El Nino has not yet been declared… [We are] preparing for the worst… health trends of marine mammals [inform] us about the health of the entire ecosystem… if the stranding numbers exceed the 2013 UME [facilities will be unable to] accept more animals… animals may be left on the beach [or] humanely euthanized.

Malibu Surfside News, Mar 3, 2015: The number of animals that can be rescued and rehabilitated is very small compared to the total number of pups in distress… in 2013, Federal officials estimated that 70 percent of the total number [~35,000 out of 50,000 newborns] may have died and experts say that the numbers may be even higher this year. Continue reading »

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Mar 05

rbs

- RBS is cutting 14,000 investment banking jobs (Business Insider, Feb 4, 2015):

According to a report in the Financial Times, RBS will cut about 14,000 investment bank jobs in the US and Asia by 2019. This is about three-quarters of the total investment bank workforce, which stands at 18,000. However, the bank employs 118,000 people worldwide across all units.

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Mar 05

- “There’s Going To Be Chaos” – What Is The Worst-Case Outcome Of Today’s Supreme Court Obamacare Hearing (ZeroHedge, March 4, 2015):

Today, for the second time since 2012, the fate of Obamacare lies in the hands of the Supreme Court, and like last time, it will likely be all about Justice John Roberts ‘ decision. Later today, the US Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in the case of King v. Burwell, the latest challenge to Obamacare, and one that could potentially leave it gutted from an unexpected direction. As a result, nearly eight million Americans could lose their health insurance depending on how the Supreme Court interprets four words in the “Affordable” Care Act.

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Mar 05

grocery vs restauant

- History Made: For The First Time Ever, US Consumers Spent More On Food In Restaurants Than In Grocery Stores (ZeroHedge, March 4, 2015):

Over the weekend, we mocked the WSJ for glorifying the US “wage recovery” by focusing on the “scarcity” of waiter and bartender jobs (“there is fierce competition” for restaurant workers the WSJ said), a concept well-explored on these pages: we have shown repeatedly that soaring number of waiters and bartenders have been the “backbone”, so to say, of the US job recovery in recent years (alongside energy workers but that ship has now sailed). As it turns out the joke’s on us.

As Mark Perry of the AEI shows, for the first time ever, the spending patterns of US consumers are so skewed, that Americans, or at least a small fraction of them, spent more on restaurants and bars, than what Americans, the much larger fraction, spent on grocery stores to prepare food for themselves. Continue reading »

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Mar 05

- Hillary Clinton’s “Personal” Emails To Be Subpoenaed (ZeroHedge, March 4, 2015):

In the aftermath of the revelations that Hillary Clinton had exclusively used a personal email account to conduct state correspondence with diplomatic leaders around the globe and pretty much everyone else, it was only a matter of time before the subpoenas started flying. That time is now and as WaPo reports, the “House investigative committee is preparing to send out subpoenas later Wednesday to gather a deeper look into former secretary of state Hillary Rodham Clinton’s nearly exclusive use of personal e-mails to do her official business as the government’s top diplomat, according to people familiar with the probe.”

 

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Mar 05

- NFIB Chief Economist Warns “Bubble In US Net Worth Has Reached Unsustainable Heights” (ZeroHedge, March 4, 2015):

“The relationship of U.S. net worth to GDP appears to have reached unsustainable heights,” warns NFIB Chief Economist William Dunkelberg, adding that a massive decline in the value of assets is “more likely” than a massive increase in GDP. Logically this seems unavoidable, unless you believe that we are truly wealthier now, even with an economy that is delivering a rather poor performance (historically weak output and sales growth) in real terms. It would seem not to be ‘whether’ we will adjust but when.

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Mar 05

Fukushima

- Report: Fukushima fallout detected in U.S. fish — Dose equal to samples caught 100 miles from plant — Persistently high levels detected in marine life offshore “not anticipated… orders of magnitude” more than expected — “Measurements needed… along predicted plume trajectory” (ENENews, March 2, 2015):

Excerpts from Radiological Dose Rates to Marine Fish from the Fukushima Daiichi Accident: The First Three Years Across the North Pacific’, includes authors from Japan’s National Institute of Radiological Sciences and Oregon St. Univ., 2015 (emphasis added):

  • A more complete record is emerging of radionuclide measurements in fish [from] across the Pacific… Fish 100–200 km east of [Fukushima], coastal fish in the Aleutian Islands… and trans-Pacific migratory species, all had increased dose rates as a consequence of the FDNPP accident. Continue reading »

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Mar 05

Related info:

- This Is The Biggest Problem Facing The World Today: 9 Countries Have Debt-To-GDP Over 300%


- Only mass default will end the world’s addiction to debt (Telegraph, March 3, 2015):

As global debt rises off the scale, creditors stand to take a huge hit in a threatened tsunami of defaults

In a valedictory speech at the weekend of characteristically Latin American duration a mind-numbing three hours the Argentine president, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, claimed that her country was the only one in the world to have reduced its national debt over recent years.

I doubt she is right about being alone in this “achievement” there must surely be others – but even if she is, I’m not sure that reduction in the national debt via the mechanism of default is anything to boast of. Only Kirchner could think this a matter of national pride. Continue reading »

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Mar 05

Fukushima-Radioactive-Cover-Up

- TV: “Radioactive cover-up” at Fukushima — Experts believe “other sources of contamination” are flowing into ocean — Emergency hearing with plant officials — “TEPCO decided long ago there was no need to monitor” the  water with high-level radioactive materials (VIDEO) (ENENews, March 1, 2015):

Asahi Shimbun, Feb 28, 2015 (emphasis added): The nation’s nuclear watchdog body slammed [TEPCO] over its failure to disclose information on the leakage of radioactive rainwater into the sea… TEPCO President Naomi Hirose… apologized profusely… TEPCO became aware more than a year ago that the concentration of radioactive materials in the water flowing… was high [first disclosing it to regulators] January 2014… TEPCO continued to conceal details, including the fact that the concentration became high whenever it rained… However, TEPCO had decided long ago there was no need to monitor rainwater for radioactive materials. Continue reading »

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Mar 04

US-China

- China Blasts Obama’s “Paranoid, Narrow-Minded, Arrogant, & Hypocritical” Foreign Policy (ZeroHedge, March 4, 2015):

Yeah but apart from that, US-China relations are excellent. Following President Obama’s barbed comments aimed at China’s new counter-terrorism laws (and their implications for US tech companies – as NSA spying ‘facts’ reduce China’s appetite for American-made IT products), Beijing has blasted back. In one of the least holds-barred undiploatic statements in recent times, China (speaking through its official mouthpiece Xinhua), calls Obama’s criticism “utterly groundless and another piece of evidence of arrogance and hypocrisy of the U.S. foreign policy.” And with that they are just getting started…

Full statement (via Xinhua)

U.S. President Barack Obama’s criticism of the upcoming counterterrorism law of China is utterly groundless and another piece of evidence of arrogance and hypocrisy of the U.S. foreign policy. Continue reading »

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Mar 04

Alexis-Tsipraschange-we-can-believe-in
‘CHANGE’ … looks like its your turn now Greece!

- Greece Said To Tap Social Security Capital To Fund T-Bill Rollover (ZeroHedge, March 4, 2015):

As reported over the past two days, in order to fund the payment on various imminent debt maturities to the IMF, the cash-strapped Greek government has been forced to consider, among other things, raiding Greek pension to procure the required funds. We noted yesterday, citing Reuters, that Greece will use short-term repo transactions to transfer the cash, but one government official said they could not be used to repay the IMF.

Greece is tapping into the cash reserves of pension funds and public sector entities through repo transactions as it scrambles to cover its funding needs this month, debt officials told Reuters on Tuesday…. At least part of the state’s cash needs for the month will be met by repo transactions in which pension funds and other state entities sitting on cash lend the money to the country’s debt agency through a short-term repurchase agreement for up to 15 days, debt agency officials told Reuters

“Repo” because the implication is that this funding need is temporary. Of course, should it provide to be anything but, the local population will promptly exhibit very angry tendencies once it is revealed that the “radical left” government plundered Greek pensions to pay the IMF which could then immediately turn around and use the fund to pay the Kiev government, which in turn could pay Putin to keep the gas running. Where Greece will find an additional source of funds to replace this Pension “repo” was not quite clear as of this writing. Continue reading »

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Mar 04

- Poland Cuts Rates More Than Expected, 21st Central Bank “Policy Ease” Of The Year (ZeroHedge, March 4, 2015):

Just hours after India’s ‘surprise’ rate cut (which saw the SENSEX surge and then dump to close red), Poland has surprised the market with a bigger-than-expected rate cut. Despite two-thirds of econmomists expecting a mere 25bps cut, the Polish Central Bank slashed its benchmarket 7-day rate to just 1.5% – the lowest on record. Today’s cut “makes up for inaction in previous months” after Poland held rate flat in January and February (but echoes Poland’s Oct ‘surprise’ greater-than-expected ease of 50bps. Polish stocks dropped on the news (but recovered), banks are weaker, and the Zloty is selling off on this news (pushing back towards record lows)

  • *POLISH CENTRAL BANK CUT LOMBARD RATE TO 2.5%
  • *POLISH CENTRAL BANK CUTS KEY INTEREST RATE TO 1.50%
  • *POLISH CENTRAL BANK CUTS DEPOSIT RATE TO 0.5%

Poland is seeing economic growth and disinflationary pressures leaving the Central Bank with a policy conundrum… Continue reading »

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Mar 04

Flashback:

- George Galloway: The Case Against War With Iran (Must-Listen!!!):

‘Iran Hasn’t Invaded Another Country In More Than 300 Years.’

… whereas …

- America Has Been At War 93% of the Time – 222 Out of 239 Years – Since 1776

- The Golden Age of Black Ops – In Fiscal 2015 U.S. Special Forces Have Already Deployed To 105 Nations


- This Is Why Obama Missed Netanyahu’s Speech Today (ZeroHedge, March 3, 2015):

By far the most important geopolitical event of the day, as straight-to-C Span-poluist-pandering as it may have been, was Israel Prime Minister’s address to congress, in which for nearly one hour the Israeli leader bashed Iran, stopping just shy of fabricating even more evidence about how close Iran is to developing a nuclear weapon. Yet one person missed everything including the standing ovation at the end: president Barack Obama. As it turns out he had more important things to do, such as the following.

obama meeting_0

What exactly is Obama doing in the photo above? As Politico explains, “Speaking in the Oval Office with Defense Secretary Ash Carter and Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey, Obama said he was unable to watch because he was meeting with European leaders via video conference.” A meeting in which the western world brain trust was discussing what… how to best confiscate the funds of broke Greek pensioners to fund the broke US puppet government in Kiev, so they can pay their bills to Gazprom for one more week using the IMF as a conduit?

Whatever the greater purpose, Obama had nothing but disdain for his Israeli peer’s proposal, or lack thereof.

“On the core issue, which is how do we prevent Iran from obtaining a
nuclear weapon, which would make it far more dangerous and give it scope for even greater action in the region, the prime minister didn’t offer any viable alternatives,” Obama said, adding that he had looked at the transcript and saw “nothing new.”

It got so bad, Obama himself took a swipe at Netanyahu’s fabrication of redlined “proof” before the UN general assembly: Continue reading »

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Mar 04

PORN

- The Untouchables – Government Employee Can’t Be Fired Despite Watching 6 Hours of Porn a Day at Work (Liberty Blitzkrieg, March 3, 2015):

At the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), red tape is preventing the removal of a top level employee accused of viewing porn two to six hours a day while at work, since 2010. Even though investigators found 7,000 pornographic files on his computer and even caught him watching porn, he remains on the payroll.

Five years ago, the General Services Administration (GSA) spent more than $800,000 on a lavish conference in Las Vegas. They were served 1,000 sushi rolls costing $7 each and a clown and mind reader were hired for entertainment. Two managers were initially fired but got their jobs back after the MSPB reversed the decision.

The GSA was ordered to “cancel the appellants removals” and give them back pay plus interest. Meanwhile, the organizer of the convention was never technically fired. He was allowed to retire.

From the CBS News article: Red Tape Keeps Some Bad Gov’t Workers From Being Fired

It was just brought to my attention that prosecutors in the General David Petraeus case are suggesting two years probation and a $40,000 fine, rather than the one-year prison sentence his misdemeanor charge carries. If it were you or I, and the government didn’t like our political activities, the feds would undoubtably try to put us in a cage for as long as possible. Must be nice to be an oligarch. After all, insiders don’t jail other insiders. This is not a free country. Continue reading »

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Mar 04

- CIA Urged Rebels to Assassinate Their Own In Order to Create “Martyrs” (Washington’s Blog, March 3, 2015):

A CIA “psychological operations” manual prepared by a CIA contractor for the Nicaraguan Contra rebels noted the value of assassinating someone on your own side to create a “martyr” for the cause.

The manual was authenticated by the U.S. government.

The manual received so much publicity from Associated Press, Washington Post and other media that – during the 1984 presidential debate – President Reagan was confronted with the following question on national television:

At this moment, we are confronted with the extraordinary story of a CIA guerrilla manual for the anti-Sandinista contras whom we are backing, which advocates not only assassinations of Sandinistas but the hiring of criminals to assassinate the guerrillas we are supporting in order to create martyrs. Continue reading »

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Mar 04

- Buffett On Europe: Germany Must Stop Greek Dog Peeing On Its Carpet (ZeroHedge, March 3, 2015):

Not to be outdone by his partner Charlie Munger (who offended many with his comments that “gold is a great thing to sew onto your garments if you’re a Jewish family in Vienna in 1939,”), Berkshire Hathaway’s Warren Buffett decides to take on Europe (and The Big Lebowski), and particularly the Greeks in today’s ‘perhaps it’s time to just STFU’ moment. Responding to questions about Europe’s future, Buffett compares Greece to a “dog peeing on the carpet” of Europe, suggesting Germany stop “rewarding behavior you want to get rid of.”

Buffett explains…

*  *  *

Quick question – just how far does one go to ‘punish’ the peeing dog before Animal Cruelty is called? Continue reading »

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Mar 04

- GDP Shocker: Atlanta Fed Calculates Q1 Growth Of Only 1.2% (ZeroHedge, March 3, 2015):

While every other word from talking-heads and policy-makers relates various anecdotes (or simple lies) about US economic growth, The Atlanta Fed appears to have taken a ‘data-dependent’ perspective on the real economy (as opposed to smoke and mirrors). Based on their GDPNow “nowcasting” model, The Atlanta Fed projects Q1 2015 GDP growth os just 1.2% (less than half current sell-side economist consensus) and getting weaker…

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Mar 04

Obama_Nobel_Peace_Prize

- In “Unprecedented Move” Nobel Peace Prize Chairman Demoted For Decision To Give Obama 2009 Award (ZeroHedge, March 3, 2015):

In “an unprecedented move“, the controversial head of Norway’s Nobel Peace Prize committee was removed Tuesday and demoted to the rank of mere member.  Thorbjoern Jagland, a former Norwegian premier, drew criticism after becoming committee chairman in 2009 for awarding the prestigious Nobel to newly elected US President Barack Obama. He will be replaced by current Deputy Chair Kaci Kullmann Five.

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