While the US administration continues to fire 'sanction' bullets at Russia and explains how painful these will be, Senator John McCain - in response to his own sanctioning by the Russians - has responded... (as has John Boehner)
U.S. Senator John McCain (R-AZ) released the following statement on the need to provide greater support to Ukraine and impose additional costs on Russia in the wake of the Russian government’s annexation of Crimea today... clearly seeking the diplomatic way out...
Putin Strikes Back: Russia's Sanctions List Said To Include US Senators, High Ranking Administration OfficialsSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 03/17/2014 17:12 -0400
Ever since the theatrical announcement of asset freezes and other related sanctions of various Putin aides, Russian military and pro-Russia Ukrainian leaders earlier today by both the US president and the EU, the nagging question was when and how would Vladimir Vladimirovich retaliate, with tomorrow's Putin address to the joint session of Parliament seeming as a probable time and place. It now appears that Putin's personal retaliation has been leaked in advance, and according to the Daily Beast's Josh Rogin, it will involve an in kind response where various US senators and highly placed officials will be banned from visiting Russia, and likely also see their particular assets - if any- in Russian custody promptly frozen.
Three weeks ago, John Kerry came, saw, and launched a blitz-diplomatic campaign which promptly resulted in, well, Russia annexing Crimea. Now it is the turn of that other foreign policy titan, neo-con John McCain, to complete Kerry's job and finally launch the GDP-boosting World War III. He may have the chance to do that as soon as Thursday, when he, along with other senators, is slated to travel to Ukraine to "show support for the government there." Or, said otherwise, to show support for the government that is in power thanks to an illegitimate and deadly coup that took place just over two weeks ago, despite the formal signing of a memorandum, endorsed by all Western powers, that stipulated a peaceful transition as well as presidential elections in the coming months. When presented like that, one almost thinks back to the roaring success that was the US endorsement of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood regime (where the US too had zero involvement, repeat zero involvement) that also took over following a violent coup. As well as the largely predictable countercoup that overthrew said regime.
When one studies history, all events seem to revolve around the applications and degenerations of war. Great feats of human understanding, realization and enlightenment barely register in the mental footnotes of the average person. War is what we remember, idealize and aggrandize, which is why war is the tool most often exploited by oligarchy to distract the masses while it centralizes power. With the exception of a few revolutions, most wars are instigated and controlled by financial elites, manipulating governments on both sides of the game to produce a preconceived result. Every major international crisis for the past century or more has ended with an even greater consolidation of world power into the hands of the few, and this is no accident.
What Hagel proposes is not cuts, but instead a shift in spending away from personnel and toward new high-tech weapons which are favored by and profitable to the military-industrial complex. Welfare spending is bankrupting the country. But military spending is also welfare: it is welfare for the well-connected military-industrial complex, which enriches itself manufacturing useless boondoggles like the F-35 fighter. A proper foreign policy would mean a strong national defense, but a huge reduction in interventions and commitments overseas. Why are we stirring up trouble in Ukraine? In Syria? In Africa? Why are we defending South Korea and Japan when they are wealthy enough to defend themselves? A proper sized foreign policy would defend the United States instead of provoking the rest of the world.
Just when the latest wave of litigation against banks seemed to be calming down with one after another fraudclosure-related settlement (which have cost JPM alone some $30 billion in the past four years), here comes the Senate Permanent Subcommittee chaired by Carl "Shitty Deal" Levin, and blows up the peace of Zurich's nighttime air with a bombshell of a 175-page report which put Switzerland's second largest bank, Credit Suisse, front and center in a brand news tax evasion scandal... not that there is anything inherently wrong with that: the last thing the US government needs is to be enabled to be even bigger, plus any money the Treasury needs, the Fed will simply print on its behalf. However, it is considered illegal, at least in polite company. And so among the accusations listed in the report, seen by FT, is that "Credit Suisse made false claims in US visa applications, conducted business with clients in secret elevators and shredded documents to help more than 22,000 American customers avoid US taxes, according to a scathing report by a US congressional committee.
The usual interventionists in the US have long meddled in the internal affairs of Ukraine. In 2004 it was US government money that helped finance the Orange Revolution, as US-funded NGOs favoring one political group over the other were able to change the regime. These same people have not given up on Ukraine. They keep pushing their own agenda for Ukraine behind the scenes, even as they ridicule anyone who claims US involvement. If you asked most Americans how they feel, my bet is that you would discover they are sick and tired of the US government getting involved in every crisis that arises. And I bet if we asked the Ukrainians, a vast majority of them would prefer that the US — and Russia and the European Union — stay out their affairs and respect their sovereignty. So let’s keep our hands off of Ukraine and let them solve their own problems!
The Russians had dangled their multi-billion euro carrot - then swiftly removed it pending further details of who is really running the show (demanding a crackdown on the extremists who are trying to establish power). The Europeans have promised an even bigger carrot - predicated on, we presume, total abdication of sovereignty. But now the Americans are jumping in - Treasury Secretary Jack Lew "urged" Ukraine's interim leader Yatsenyuk to start talks with the IMF as he and Lagarde agreed the fund would be the best foundation for advice and financing (if sought by a fully established Ukrainian government). And the winner is...
- *UKRAINE'S KUBIV PLANS TO INVITE IMF MISSION, UNIAN SAYS
Which means only thing - Russia is locked out and gas prices are about to take off.
The United States’ rapport with the Russian Federation is one of the world’s most important bilateral relationships. Russia maintains a large nuclear arsenal and is a resurgent player in world affairs. Russia has considered Ukraine to be a vassal for the last five hundred years. Russian President Putin has routinely referred to Ukraine as a Russian state rather than a free and independent country. How would the United States react if Moscow was able to exert influence over Mexico and install a pro-Russian government? America needs to take off her rose colored glasses and look at the world with a Machiavellian view. We should decide to intervene in centuries old conflicts only when there are clear American security interests involved. Unfortunately for the idealistic leaders of American foreign policy, Ukraine does not meet this test. The Ukrainian people have shown an ability over the two decades to have a natural ability to take matters into their own hands and are quite capable of deciding this issue among themselves.
Ukrainian protesters erected more street barricades and occupied another government ministry building on Friday after the failure of crisis talks with President Yanukovich, as opposition leader Klitschko feared "more deaths" pointing to a weekend of increasingly violent protests. Reuters reports that Yanukovich's party stated "the situation has grown sharper throughout the country," and called on people to disregard the calls of "radical troublemakers" to turn out for protest rallies. Klitschko punched back, "Yanukovich has declared war on his own people. He is trying to hold on to power at the price of blood and de-stabilization of the situation in the country. He has to be stopped." The international community is getting involved with Hollande calling for "dialogue" but it is Biden's threat of "consequences" that spurred a different protest at the US embassy - "The US is behind everything that is happening in Kiev’s downtown right now."
There are a thousand lessons to be learned from the Third Reich, from the evils of totalitarianism to the dangers of racial thinking. A key economic lesson is that, rather than curing the Great Depression, Hitler’s military Keynesianism on a massive scale left the German people starving and short of goods. It’s a lesson advocates of building tanks to make us rich, from John McCain to Paul Krugman (and now Shinzo Abe), would do well to learn.
The American people are coming to the realization that everything Ron Paul has stood for in the last 40 years is true. He has been proven right regarding the Federal Reserve, the Military Industrial Complex, and the Warfare/Welfare Surveillance State. The American people have grown weary of inflation, wars of choice and being spied upon. Ron Paul’s consistently right message is finally making headway... The corporate media will avoid reporting it. They try their best to ignore Ron Paul’s 30 plus year intellectual march through our institutions. But the facts in Pew Research’s 50 year survey of US views of “America’s place in the world” do not lie: This year the highest percentage of Americans ever — 53 percent — agree with the statement that “the US should mind its own business internationally and let other countries get along the best they can on their own.”
"It’s time to put that power back where it belongs," explains Jonathan Zimmerman in today's Washington Post, "Barack Obama should be allowed to stand for re election just as citizens should be allowed to vote for — or against — him. Anything less diminishes our leaders and ourselves." The 22nd Amendment, limiting the Presidential term, according to Zimmerman, reflected "a shocking lack of faith in the common sense and good judgment of the people." Of course, in the increasingly 'entitled' America, it would only cost a few hundred million to bribe all the newly downgraded Middle-to-Lower class Americans with Obamaphones in order to finally get a "dictatorial democracy" by indirectly funding the lower common denominator with $400 in free money every election cycle.
In addition to the bevy of ugly European unemployment and inflation news just reported, the overnight session had a dollop of more ugly macro data for the algos to kneejerkingly react to and ramp stocks to fresh time highs on. First it was China, where the PBOC did another reverse repo, however this time at a fixed 4.3% rate, 0.2% higher than the Monday iteration and well above the 3%-handle from early October, indicating that China is truly intent on tightening its monetary conditions. Then Japan confirmed that despite the soaring imported food and energy inflation, wages just refuse to rise, and have declined now for nearly 1.5 years. Then, adding core insult to peripheral injury, Germany reported retail sales that missed expectations of a +0.4% print wildly, declining -0.4% from a prior downward revised 0.5% to -0.2%. And so on: more below. However, as usual what does matter is how the market digests the FOMC news, and for now the sense is that the risk of a December taper has risen based on the FOMC statement language, whether warranted or not, which as a result is pushing futures modestly lower following an epic move higher in the month of October on nothing but pure balance sheet and multiple expansion. The big data week in the US rolls on with the highlights being the Chicago PMI and initial jobless claims, which are expected to print their first accurate, non-impaired reading since August.