Back in May we outlined the cost to the Greek economy of each day without a deal between Athens and creditors.
At the time, a report from the Hellenic Confederation of Commerce and Enterprises showed that 60 businesses closed and 613 jobs were lost for each business day that the crisis persisted without a resolution.
Since then, things have deteriorated further and indeed, with the imposition of capital controls, businesses found that supplier credit was difficult to come by, leading to the very real possibility that Greece would soon face a shortage of imported goods, something many Greeks clearly anticipated in the wake of the referendum call as evidenced by the lines at gas stations and empty shelves at grocery stores.
AMMAN/BEIRUT — Syria’s foreign minister said in Moscow on Monday Russia had promised to send political, economic and military aid to his country, where the army is coming under some of the heaviest pressure since the start of the civil war.
Insurgent groups have made gains against government forces in northwest, central and southern Syria in the past two months but Damascus has voiced confidence that it can hold on to important territory with the help of its allies.
“I got a promise of aid to Syria – politically, economically and militarily,” Walid al-Moualem said at a televised news conference after meeting Russian President Vladimir Putin. He did not give details.
The US-led alliance realizes very well that as long as Assad has to fight three fronts: i.e., the Nusra Front in the northwestern province of Idlib and ever closer proximity to Syria’s main infrastructure hub of Latakia, ISIS in the central part of the nation where militants recently took over the historic town of Palmyra, and the official “rebel” force in close proximity to Damascus, Assad’s army will either eventually be obliterated or, more likely, mutiny and overthrow the president, putting the Ukraine scenario in play.
In short, the US and its Middle Eastern allies are simply playing the waiting game; watching for the opportune time to charge in and “liberate” Syria from whatever army manages to take Damascus first, at which point a puppet government will be promptly installed. Continue reading »
Three months ago, just as the last Census Homeownership and residential vacancy report hit, Gallup released its latest survey which confirmed just how dead the American Dream has become for tens if not hundreds of millions of Americans.
According to the poll, the number of Americans who did not currently own a home and say they do not think they will buy a home in “the foreseeable future,” had risen by one third to 41%, vs. “only” 31% two years ago. Non-homeowners’ expectations of buying a house in the next year or five years were unchanged, suggesting little change in the short-term housing market.
As Gallup wryly puts it, “what may have been a longer-term goal for many may now not be a goal at all, and this could have an effect on the longer-term housing market.”
Earlier today, the US Census released its latest homeownership data, which confirmed that for what is left of America’s middle class, owning a home has become virtually impossible, with the homeownership rate plunging from the lowest level since 1986, or 63.7%, to just 63.4% the lowest reading since the first quarter of 1967.Continue reading »
As noted yesterday, during a moment of social network levity in the president’s twitter stream, Obama who is currently in Ethiopia as part of his African tour, urged Americans to eat ice cream. Subsequently, he shifted into a more serious diplomatic mode, and during an address to the African Union, whose “leaders” are not well versed in the finest traditions of democracy (no, not accepting legal bribes from lobbies but term limits), he urged African leaders to share power and recognize the value of changes in government. Obama used his own term-limited tenure as an example on Tuesday, making some interesting comments about 2016.
“Now, let me be honest with you,” Obama said. “I am in my second term. It has been an extraordinary privilege for me to serve as the President of the United States. I cannot imagine a greater honor or a more interesting job. I love my work. But under our Constitution, I cannot run again.”
The crowd cheered appreciatively.
He then added: “I actually think I’m a pretty good president. I think if I ran, I could win. But I can’t. So there’s a lot that I’d like to do to keep America moving, but the law is the law.”
As a general principle, I’ve always tended to avoid entrusting others with my money. I’ve avoided funds, as they are often based upon investments that are peaking or close to peaking. I’ve avoided pension funds, as they’re often structured in a similar manner.
And whenever by law I’ve been required to be invested in such funds, they’ve rarely been successful over the long term. In the end, I would invariably have made more money by pursuing those investments that had great promise but at the time were unpopular (and therefore underpriced).
As dubious as I tend to be of conventional investment schemes (and those who broker them), I am doubly dubious of any government-run scheme. Governments, historically, have proved to be poor money managers, and politicians tend to place more value on big promises that garner votes than on delivering on those promises. Continue reading »
Nursery school staff and registered childminders must report toddlers at risk of becoming terrorists, under counter-terrorism measures proposed by the Government.
The directive is contained in a 39-page consultation document issued by the Home Office in a bid to bolster its Prevent anti-terrorism plan.
The document accompanies the Counter-Terrorism and Security Bill, currently before parliament. It identifies nurseries and early years childcare providers, along with schools and universities, as having a duty “to prevent people being drawn into terrorism”.
Never fear good citizens of Great Britain. While your government actively does everything in its power to protect criminal financial oligarchs and powerful pedophiles, her majesty draws the line at toddler thought crime. We learn from the Independent:
A three-year-old child from London is one of hundreds of young people in the capital who have been tipped as potential future radicals and extremists.
As reported by the Evening Standard, 1,069 people have been put in the government’s anti-extremism ‘Channel’ process, the de-radicalization program at the heart of the Government’s ‘Prevent’ strategy.Continue reading »
After pledging, investing and otherwise guaranteeing the Chinese stock market to the tune of 10% of GDP, and intervening on at least 40 different occasions in the past month ever since China’s stock bubble burst in late June, with the subsequent crash nearly taking the Shanghai Composite red for the year, overnight China officially lost control for the second time, when after a weak start to the Monday trading session, things turned very ugly in the last hour, when the Shanghai Composite plunged by 8.48%, closing nearly at the lows, and tumbling some 345 points for its biggest one-day drop since February 2007 and its second biggest crash in history!
The selling was steady throughout the day, but spiked in the last hour on concerns China would rein in its market-supporting programs following IMF demands to normalize its relentless market intervention. According to Bloomberg’s Richard Breslow: “fear that the extraordinary support measures employed to hold up the market may be scaled back caused heavy afternoon selling resulting in a down 8.5% day.” Of course, one can come up with any number of theories to explain the plunge: for example the PBOC did not buy enough to offset the relentless selling. Continue reading »
After pledging a whopping 10% of China’s GDP, or just about $1 trillion, to its various (at last check over 40) discrete measures to prop up its collapsing market, among which such threats as arresting shorters of stock and “malicious sellers”, China has finally reverted to what the communist regime does best to preserve “order” – implement witch hunts in which the population rats out any criminals who dare to go against the protocols of the communist party. In this case, the targets are “malicious sellers” with the regulator adding that those found guilty of shorting will be “dealt with severely.”
Over the weekend, the media world was abuzz with the leaked recording made during a July 16 “Greek Day” meeting by the Official Monetary and Financial Institutions Forum (OMFIF) which included a group of sovereign wealth funds, pension funds, and life insurers in which it was reveaked that Yanis Varoufakis had been in the process of preparing Greece for a cloak and dagger“Plan B” which included as its highlight a process for returning to the Drachma.
Overnight, the Telegraph’s Ambrose-Pritchard reported that “Mr Varoufakis told the Telegraph that the quotes were accurate but some reports in the Greek press had been twisted, making it look as if he had been plotting a return to the drachma from the start.
“The context of all this is that they want to present me as a rogue finance minister, and have me indicted for treason. It is all part of an attempt to annul the first five months of this government and put it in the dustbin of history,” he said.
“It totally distorts my purpose for wanting parallel liquidity. I have always been completely against dismantling the euro because we never know what dark forces that might unleash in Europe,” he said. Continue reading »
With creditors’ motorcades having officially returned to the streets of Athens in the wake of Greek lawmakers’ approval of the second set of bailout prior actions last Wednesday, tensions are understandably high.
After all, these are the same “institutions” which Yanis Varoufakis famously booted from Greece after Syriza swept to power in January, and they’ve come to represent the oppression of the Greek people and are now a symbol of the country’s debt servitude.
Although an absurd attempt was made to rebrand the dreaded “troika” earlier this year, the new and rather amorphous moniker – “the institutions” – never really stuck and perhaps because everyone involved felt the need to put a new name to the group that Greeks regard as the scourge of the Aegean in order to make negotiators feel safer on their trips to Athens, creditors have now added the ESM to their collective and rebranded themselves “The Quadriga.”
According to a recorded teleconference between the former FinMin and “international hedge funds” heard by Kathimerini, Varoufakis planned to create secret accounts using tax filer numbers for individuals and corporations which he would obtain by hacking into the troika-controlled General Secretary of Public Revenues. Greeks would be made aware of the accounts’ existence in the event the banking system ceased to function altogether, and Athens would effectively facilitate payments through the new system in defiance of the EMU. Clearly, this would not have been well received by Brussels – especially the bit about hacking their software – but ultimately, because the new system would be entirely controlled by Varoufakis’ finance ministry, it could be converted to the drachma immediately. Continue reading »
Dr. Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury during President Reagan’s first term. He was Associate Editor of the Wall Street Journal. He has held numerous academic appointments, including the William E. Simon Chair, Center for Strategic and International Studies, Georgetown University, and Senior Research Fellow, Hoover Institution, Stanford University.
In an article on April 13 I used the so-called Civil War and the myths with which court historians have encumbered that war to show how history is falsified in order to serve agendas. I pointed out that it was a war of secession, not a civil war as the South was not fighting the North for control of the government in Washington.
As for the matter of slavery, all of Lincoln’s statements prove that he was neither for the blacks nor against slavery. Yet he has been turned into a civil rights hero, and a war of northern aggression, whose purpose Lincoln stated over and over was “to preserve the union” (the empire), has been converted into a war to free the slaves. Continue reading »
The history of the suppression of medical science in America is a long one, filled with true accounts of pioneering doctors and clinicians being threatened, intimidated and even assassinated in order to bury emerging cures and keep the “sick care” industry in control. (The American Medical Association, for example, has been found guilty by the U.S. federal courts of a conspiracy to destroy the chiropractic industry, by the way.)
Over the last few days, we’ve learned that before being found shot in the chest and floating in the river, pioneering medical researcher Dr. Bradstreet was working with a little-known molecule that occurs naturally in the human body. Called, “GcMAF”, this molecule has the potential to be a universal cancer cure for many people. It has also been shown to reverse signs of autism in the vast majority of patients receiving the treatment. Continue reading »
Does the CIA have too cozy of a relationship with Hollywood? Scripts for The Americans, Zero Dark Thirty and multiple other works are routinely approved by agency representatives when sensitive national security issues are discussed, and some fear self-censorship and outright manipulation have the potential to occur. RT’s Tabetha Wallace and Tyrel Ventura discuss.
The Pentagon has secured a 630 billion dollar budget for next year, even though it’s failed to even account for the money it’s received since 1996. A whopping 8.5 trillion dollars of taxpayer cash have gone to defence programmes – none of which has been audited.This black budget has sparked concerns over potential fraud, as Gayane Chichakyan reports.
It has been one month since Greek capital controls were imposed, and as we explained earlier, Greece is nowhere closer to having its deposit limits lifted. In fact, with several more months of capital controls at least, the Greek banks are likely to suffer ongoing balance sheet impairments which will ultimately result in depositor bail-ins, with Germany already pushing for haircuts on deposits over €100,000.
However, when it comes to banks there is at least still the illusion that Greece has some residual sovereignty. The reality is that it does not, as Greece is no longer an independent nation, and as of July 15, the Greek “In Dependence” day, every Greek decision needs to get pre-approval from both the ECB, Brussels and, naturally, Berlin. Continue reading »