Dec 17


- PIGMEN WIN AGAIN (The Burning Platform, Dec 16, 2014):

“The real owners are the big wealthy business interests that control things and make all the important decisions. Forget the politicians, they’re an irrelevancy. The politicians are put there to give you the idea that you have freedom of choice. You don’t. You have no choice. You have owners. They own you. They own everything. They own all the important land. They own and control the corporations. They’ve long since bought and paid for the Senate, the Congress, the statehouses, the city halls. They’ve got the judges in their back pockets. And they own all the big media companies, so that they control just about all of the news and information you hear. They’ve got you by the balls. They spend billions of dollars every year lobbying ­ lobbying to get what they want. Well, we know what they want; they want more for themselves and less for everybody else.”
- George Carlin

Too Pig To Fail - Congress

After the disgusting example of politicians of both spineless parties bowing down before Wall Street, the military industrial complex and corporate interests this weekend with the passage of a bloated pig of a spending bill totaling $1.1 trillion, how can anyone not on the payroll of the vested interests not admit there is only one party – and it serves only the needs of the wealthy business interests. Obama, champion of the common folk, signed this putrid example of political corruption and corporate capture of the American political system. For all the believers who voted for the red team in the November mid-terms, this is what you got – a bipartisanship screwing of the American people. Continue reading »

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Dec 17

whiskey japan

- Soaring Inflation Around The Globe: Cartier Hikes Russian Prices By 50%, Suntory Whiskey Prices Surge 25% In Japan (ZeroHedge, Dec 17, 2014):

As the Fed continues to rely on seasonally-adjusted survey data to validate its belief that the time to hike rates is coming, even as market-implied inflation swap rates are back to 2008 levels, the one thing that continues to happen everywhere but in the US is precisely what the Fed wishes for the US (as we reported yesterday): devaluaing currencies and spiking inflation (and expectations), without any accompanying rise in wages, have lead consumers to a buying frenzy in Russia, and to a far lesser extent Japan. As a result, providers of products and services in these countries have been scrambling to match prices to demand, especially since the demand is purely the result demand brought forward due to plunging currencies, not the result of some magical source of widespread wealth. Case in point, Cartier, the luxury jewelery maker, raised its Russian prices by as much as 50 percent after the ruble plunged to a record low.

 

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Dec 17

Vladimir-Putin

- A Full-Blown Economic Crisis Has Erupted In Russia (Economic Collapse, Dec 16, 2014):

The 8th largest economy on the entire planet is in a state of turmoil right now.  The shocking collapse of the price of oil has hit a lot of countries really hard, but very few nations are as dependent on energy production as Russia is.  Sales of oil and natural gas account for approximately two-thirds of all Russian exports and approximately 50 percent of all government revenue. So it should be no surprise that the fact that the price of oil has declined by almost 50 percent since June is absolutely catastrophic for the Russian economy.  And when you throw in international sanctions, wild money printing by the Central Bank of Russia and unprecedented capital flight, you get the ingredients for an almost perfect storm.  But those of us living in the western world should not be too smug about what is happening in Russia, because the nightmare that is unfolding over there is just a preview of the economic chaos that will soon envelop the whole world.

So far this year, the Russian ruble has fallen nearly 50 percent against the U.S. dollar.  That is a monumental shift.  And as the collapse of the ruble has accelerated in recent days, we are seeing scenes in Russia that are reminiscent of the Weimar Republic.  For example, just consider the following excerpt from an article that just appeared in the New York TimesContinue reading »

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Dec 17

RUB back teaser

- “Ruble Trading To Resume” (ZeroHedge, Dec 17, 2014):

As already noted, yesterday one after another FX broker scrambled to disconnected the Russian currency from the system due to “western banks stopping quoting pricing” and as a result of epic volatility (and as everyone knows, brokers prefer to only trade those pairs where they know with near certainty they can pick 1 pip or so from every trade which is why they prefer stability and orderly markets). However, in the aftermath of today’s announcement that the Russia finance ministry will join the central bank in selling reserves, the RUB has found a bid. And sure enough, here come the FX brokers barging back, advising that Ruble trading is set to resume this afternoon. Continue reading »

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Dec 17

Putin-Gold

- Surprise! Guess which currency has stronger fundamentals— the dollar or… ruble? (Sovereign Man, Dec 16, 2014):

Last night, the Russian central bank announced a shock decision to hike up its key interest rate from 10.5% to 17%, effective immediately. Incredible.

On Monday alone the ruble declined more than 9% against the dollar, and almost 50% in 2014. It looks like a massacre.

If you listen to conventional financial news, they’ll all tell you that you’d have to be insane to own anything in Russia right now—stocks, bonds, currency, etc.

They’ll tell you that the ruble is in freefall, and that the dollar is the place to be.

But if you have been a reader of this column for any length of time, you know that I am a very data-driven person.

So… just for kicks, I decided to dive into the numbers and make an objective comparison between the US dollar and the Russian ruble.

The results might surprise you.

Continue reading »

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Dec 17

ISIS-1

- ISIS Unleash “Scorpion” Bombs In Iraq (ZeroHedge, Dec 16, 2014):

Just when you thought you had seen it all, Islamic State militants turn up the amplifier of terror to 11. As The Mirror reports, ISIS is launching bombs containing live scorpions as the latest terror weapon in Iraq. Canisters of the creatures are being blasted into towns and villages, according to a British military expert who has just returned from the country. Hamish de Bretton-Gordon, ex-head of chemical and biological weapons for the Army and Nato, said: “it’s madness. IS have improvised devices to launch them.” The weapon harks back to the scorpions stuffed into pots and launched by Iraqis thousands of years ago – in 198 AD.

As The Mirror reports,

Islamic State militants are launching bombs containing live scorpions as the latest terror weapon in Iraq. Continue reading »

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Dec 17

Gold-Vault

- Commodity Trading Giant Exits Physical Gold Due To “Lack Of Physical With A Documented Origin” (ZeroHedge, Dec 16, 2014):

Back in March, otherwise very under-the-radar Swiss commodities trading giant Gunvor and the fifth largest oil trader in the world, made headlines in the press when one of its then-Russian owners, billionaire Gennady Timchenko (estimated net worth of $8.5 billion), sold his entire 44% stake in the company to his partner in the firm, Torbjorn Tonqvist, just a day before the US revealed its first round of sanctions against individuals affiliated with the Putin regime. Timchenko was among them. As a result of the sale, however, Gunvor avoided falling on the US sanctions list and a Treasury official said that “Gunvor Group Ltd. isn’t subject to automatic blocking from dealing with U.S. persons under Russian sanctions because co-founder Gennady Timchenko owns less than 50 percent of the company.”

Since then the Geneva-based company rarely appeared in the media which is how the nondescript company lliked it. Until last week, that is, when Bloomberg reported that the company was giving up trading physical precious metals, read gold, less than a year after the commodity house started a business dedicated to buying and selling gold. Gunvor is, or rather was, one of the few large commodity firms that handles precious metals. The move into gold was part of an expansion into non-oil businesses that now include iron ore, industrial metals and natural gas. Gold trading was done by a handful of people in Singapore and Geneva.

Gunvor’s move away from physical commodities trading in itself is not surprising: recall that first it was Germany banking titan Deutsche Bank which announced it would no longer trade physical precious metals last month. Continue reading »

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Dec 17

First, of course I do not believe anything MSM or the government tells me.

Second, if this poll numbers were actually true, then everybody in support of torture should get waterboarded (our brave politicians and all of their family members who are in support of it first!!!), to make sure that they know what they are talking about. And then we’ll ask them again, if they are still in support of torture.

Third, let theAmerican people know what the CIA is doing …

- Former UK ambassador: CIA sent people to Uzbekistan for extreme torture, to be ‘raped with broken bottles,’ ‘boiled alive’ and ‘having their children tortured in front of them’:

Craig Murray, the rector of the University of Dundee in Scotland and until 2004 the UK’s ambassador to Uzbekistan, said the CIA not only relied on confessions gleaned through extreme torture, it sent terror war suspects to Uzbekistan as part of its extraordinary rendition program.

“I’m talking of people being raped with broken bottles,” he said at a lecture late last month that was re-broadcast by the Real News Network. “I’m talking of people having their children tortured in front of them until they sign a confession. I’m talking of people being boiled alive. And the intelligence from these torture sessions was being received by the CIA, and was being passed on.”

… and if they are really willing to support this.


Torture Made In USA

- New Poll Finds 59% Of Americans Support Post-9/11 Torture – Propaganda, Cultural Sickness, Or Both? (Liberty Blitzkrieg, Dec 17, 2014):

Ever since the torture report was released last week, U.S. television outlets have endlessly featured American torturers and torture proponents. But there was one group that was almost never heard from: the victims of their torture, not even the ones recognized by the U.S. Government itself as innocent, not even the family members of the ones they tortured to death. Whether by design (most likely) or effect, this inexcusable omission radically distorts coverage.

Whenever America is forced to confront its heinous acts, the central strategy is to disappear the victims, render them invisible. That’s what robs them of their humanity: it’s the process of dehumanization. That, in turns, is what enables American elites first to support atrocities, and then, when forced to reckon with them, tell themselves that – despite some isolated and well-intentioned bad acts – they are still really good, elevated, noble, admirable people. It’s hardly surprising, then, that a Washington Post/ABC News poll released this morning found that a large majority of Americans believe torture is justified even when you call it “torture.” Not having to think about actual human victims makes it easy to justify any sort of crime.

– From Glenn Greenwald’s latest piece: U.S. TV Provides Ample Platform for American Torturers, but None to Their Victims

After reading about a new poll that shows 59% of Americans support post 9/11 torture, I’ve spent the entire morning thinking about what it means. Does this confirm the total degeneration of American culture into a collective of chicken-hawk, unthinking, statist war-mongering automatons? Alternatively, does it merely reflect the effectiveness of corporate-government propaganda? Is it a combination of both? How does the poll spilt by age group?

These are all important questions to which I do not have definitive answers, but I have some thoughts I’d like to share. First, here are some of the observations from the Washington Post: Continue reading »

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Dec 17

Sure!


crying arab

“Oil May Drop To $25 On Chinese Demand Plunge, Supply Glut, Ageing Boomers” (ZeroHedge, Dec 17, 2014):

Most commentators remain in a state of denial about the enormity of the price fall underway. Some, failing to understand the powerful forces now unleashed, even believe prices may quickly recover. Our view is that oil prices are likely to continue falling to $50/bbl and probably lower in H1 2015, in the absence of OPEC cutbacks or other supply disruption. Critically, China’s slowdown under President Xi’s New Normal economic policy means its demand growth will be a fraction of that seen in the past. This will create a demand shock equivalent to the supply shock seen in 1973 during the Arab oil boycott. Today’s ageing Boomers mean that demand is weakening at a time when the world faces an energy supply glut. This will effectively reverse the 1973 position and lead to the arrival of a deflationary mindset…. Prices have so far fallen $40/bbl from $105/bbl since we first argued in mid-August that a Great Unwinding was now underway. And there have been no production cutbacks around the world in response, or sudden jumps in demand. So prices may well need to fall the same amount again.

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Dec 17


Dec 15, 2014

Description:

Merging medical information with your drivers license information. It’s all about increased concentration in this North American Union. Dan Dicks of Press For Truth talks to Kelly Scott Kolodiazny, a medical cannabis user who renewed his drivers license only to find his medical marihuana ID planted on the drivers’ license card. He can’t get answers as to why his drivers abstract now has his medical information.

“ICBC, the RCMP, border guards… Why do all these people need my medical information? That’s between me and my doctor. And it shouldn’t be between anybody else.”

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Dec 16

- Western Banks Cut Off Liquidity To Russian Entities (ZeroHedge, Dec 16, 2014):

As Zero Hedge first reported today, shortly before noon one (and subsequently more) FX brokers advised clients that any existing Ruble positions would be forcibly closed out because “western banks have stopped pricing USDRUB“, over concerns of Russian capital controls. Ironically, it was this forced liquidation of mostly short RUB positions that pushed the RUB higher, which in turn had a briefly favorably impact on energy commodities and risk assets, as the market had by then perceived the Ruble selloff as excessive. Of course, since nothing had actually changed aside from a temporary market technical, the selloff promptly resumed into the close of trading once the market finally understood what we had explained hours previously.

And unfortunately for the bulls, various falling knife-catchers, and those who hope the Russian situation will stabilize imminently with or without capital controls, it appears things in Russia are about to get a whole lot worse because as the WSJ reports, the next driver of the Russian crisis is likely to come from within the banking system itself because global banks are curtailing the flow of cash to Russian entities, a response to the ruble’s sharpest selloff since the 1998 financial crisis.”

Presenting Russia’s banks: now cut off from the outside world as the second cold war goes nuclear, at least when it comes to the financial system:
Continue reading »

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Dec 16

Total Market Chaos

- Total Chaos: Massive Market Moves Spark Selling-Panic Into Close (ZeroHedge, Dec 16, 2014)

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Dec 16

FYI.


- Outspooking The Lehman Apocalypse: Could A Russian Default Be In The Cards? (ZeroHedge, Dec 16, 2014):

Via Mint – Blain’s Extra Porridge,

“Nazhmite Lyubuyu Stavku…“

Extra Comment – this might be getting serious.

russia-cds

Russia’s markets have been spanked hard despite last night’s hike. 19% currency crash and 13% down stocks in a session. Ouch! Cumulatively, over the past few weeks stocks, oil and the Ruble are off 50% plus, and bonds off 40%. This morning felt like free-fall. Expect more action from the Russians to stave off economic catastrophe… imminent capital controls are rumoured, but markets are demonstrating a massive loss of confidence.

Lots of old market hands are talking about how its similar to the Russia default and crash of ‘98 all over again.. Actually.. its worse.

Much worse. Continue reading »

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Dec 16

- The Russian Ruble Is Hereby Halted Until Further Notice (ZeroHedge, Dec 16, 2014):

Earlier, we reported that various currency brokers such as FXCM and FxPro, would – as a result of the soaring liquidity in the USDRUB pair – suspend trading in the Russian Ruble (while other merely hiked margins to ridiculous levels). It appears things have escalated again, and as FXCM just reported, instead of just politely advising clients not to open new USDRUB position tomorrow, it has advised anyone long, or short, the USDRUB that their positions will be forcibly shut in moments.

FXCM_0

So for those curious why there appears to be a collapse in Ruble volatility in the past few hours which in turn has sent both stocks and crude soaring, the answer is simple: nobody is trading it!

And this is what happened following the post: as soon as all those short the RUB (long USDRUB) realized they have to take profits, the USDRUB tumbled some 500 pips (!) in the process sending stocks surging.

usrub halted

h/t @Paul_Courtney

 

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Dec 16

Obama-Putin1

- Obama To Sign Off On Lethal US Aid To Ukraine By End Of Week, Russian Response To Follow (ZeroHedge, Dec 16, 2014):

As we reported over the weekend, in the tumult surrounding Citigroup’s annexation of Congress with the passage of the theatrically dramatic $303 trillion derivative quid-pro-$1.1 trillion spending quo, what most missed is that Congress also unanimously passed the The Ukraine Freedom Support Act of 2014, which not only expands Russian sanctions (read the details here) but far more impotantly, provides “lethal assistance to Ukraine’s military.” And as we explained, passage of this law is just the pretext some Russian legislators needed to push for a full-blown, preemptive military incursion in east-Ukraine. Continue reading »

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Dec 16

- It’s Not Just Russia: Middle East In Freefall, Biggest Plunge In 6 Years (ZeroHedge, Dec 16, 2014):

Dubai’s Financial Market General Index is now down 40% since the peak in oil prices in June this year. For now, only Qatar is clinging to gains year-to-date as the rest of the Middle Eastern equity markets give up 30-60% gains from mid-year and tumble to negative. Dubai and Abu Dhabi alone are down over 8% since Friday. Saudi Arabia is down 7.3% today – the biggest drop in 6 years.

Saudi Arabia’s worst day in 6 years

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Dec 16

- “The USDRUB Pair Will Be Discontinued Due To Recent Instability Of The Russian Ruble” (ZeroHedge, Dec 16, 2014):

Dear Russian Ruble traders, please find a different sandbox, because “evil speculators” will no longer be tolerated, first at Forex Capital Markets and soon, everywhere else.

Ruble trading discontinued

And now, unless the selloff in US equity futures is immediately halted, expect the first self-help headline in US markets to strike – as usual – within hours.

* * *

Update: And now FxPro:

Continue reading »

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Dec 16

traders brokers hands on face stock market collapse

- Turmoil Spreads: Ruble Replunges, Crude Craters, Yen Surges, Emerging Markets Tumbling (ZeroHedge, Dec 16, 2014):

For those wondering if the CBR’s intervention in the Russian FX market with its shocking emergency rate hike to 17% overnight calmed things, the answer is yes… for about two minutes. The USDRUB indeed tumbled nearly 10% to 59 and then promptly blew right back out, the Ruble crashing in panic selling and seemingly without any CBR market interventions, and at last check was freefalling through 72 74 76, and sending the Russian stock market plummeting by over 15%.

USDRUB

It is so bad, US equity futures which had jumped earlier on hopes of more Chinese intervention following the latest disastrous Chinese PMI print, as well as a French manufacturing PMI beat (don’t laugh), are back to unchanged. Continue reading »

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Dec 16
Iskander-M missile system
FILE PHOTO: Iskander-M missile system (RIA Novosti / Alexander Vilf)

- Russian military completes rapid-deployment drills in Kaliningrad (RT, Dec 16, 2014):

The Russian military has concluded a massive surprise drill in the Kaliningrad region to test the combat readiness of some 9,000 troops and 642 vehicles, including tactical Iskander-M ballistic missile systems rapidly deployed from the mainland.

The drills took place December 5-10, the head of the main Operation Directorate of General Staff, Lieutenant General Andrey Kartapolov announced on Tuesday. Military units and formations deployed in the Western Military District were brought to their highest level of combat readiness at 7 p.m. Moscow time on December 5.

The exercises involved missile and artillery units, mechanized infantry, airborne troops and marines, division reconnaissance, communications, logistics, as well as the crews of combat and military transport aircraft and helicopters, and vessels of the Baltic Fleet.

Tactical Iskander-M ballistic missile systems of the Western Military District’s missile brigade were rapidly transferred from Russia’s mainland to conduct off-the-march combat training tasks. Within two days, two brigades were deployed in Kaliningrad by the military transport aircraft and vessels of the Baltic Fleet. Continue reading »

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Dec 16

- Ruble plummets losing more than 20% in a day, hitting new dollar and euro lows (RT, Dec 16, 2014):

No end seems to be in sight for the plight of the Russian ruble, which slumped to new record lows against hard currencies Tuesday. The EUR traded at 93.5 against the ruble, and the USD at 75.

The Russian stock market also went haywire, dropping more than 15 percent as of 2:30pm Moscow time, after it dropped 11 percent the day before. Sberbank, the country’s largest lender, lost 17.77 percent, and VTB, the second biggest bank, fell by 14.29 percent. State-owned oil and gas companies Gazprom, Rosneft, and Surgut also saw shares plummet.

The emergency interest rate hike to 17 percent has failed to halt the ruble’s landslide tumble against hard currencies. The rate increase only calmed the ruble temporarily. Continue reading »

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