In the midst of a near-nationwide blackout that grounded planes and froze rail traffic and which officials say could be terror-linked, armed gunman have taken a prosecutor hostage in an Istanbul court house.
People in the United States feel under threat, both from beyond our borders and within them and as Reuters reports, when asked about both U.S. President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin, it was a pretty darn close call. A new Reuters/Ipsos poll finds a third of Republicans believe President Barack Obama poses an imminent threat to the United States, outranking concerns about Russian President Vladimir Putin and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Meanwhile, the world is certainly worried about America with about one quarter (of respondents from 65 countries) naming the United States as the greatest threat to world peace.
The day is starting off on a very bizarre footing after not only Ben Bernanke became a blogger and joined Twitter, but moments ago at least one American appears to have had enough with the Big Brother state, and moments ago WNEW reported that there has been a shooting, two injured and according to local reports, there appears to be one fatality at the gate of the NSA's Fort Meade, Maryland headquarters.
"Chances for a diplomatic solution to current geopolitical tensions appear slim. The irreconcilable characterizations inside and outside of Russia of current geopolitical stress lead us to believe that it is unlikely that understanding / compromise between political parties involved can be achieved via diplomacy," Soc Gen says, in a new note that outlines the current state of affairs in Russia.
Introducing The "Overseas Contingency Operations Account" – Washington's Crony Capitalist War Slush FundSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 03/28/2015 14:45 -0400
The imperial spiral into the stratosphere of stupidity is well underway. With zero accountability for those in power, there’s no way to realistically stop it before crash and burn. The best we can hope is to bring the responsible to justice afterward and pick up the pieces by going back to the Constitution.
The Sunlight is Fading … and America Is Falling Into Darkness
While a source of much schadenfreude by its neighbors and casual onlookers, Turkey has become a glaring example of what happens to a formerly respectable nation as it devolves entirely into a banana republic with not only authoritarian overtones but a police state to boot. And earlier today, Turkey's conversion to a full blown police state was complete when, after weeks of heated debates and brawls in parliament, Turkey’s government passed a security package expanding police powers, along with an online surveillance law and a discretionary fund for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to fund covert operations.
- Google's new CFO to make $70 million (WSJ)
- Senate passes Republican budget with deep safety net cuts (Reuters)
- With Yemen strikes, Saudis show growing independence from U.S. (Reuters)
- Banks Slash Dividends as Loans Sour From Beijing To Pearl River (BBG)
- North American Railroads Caught by Speed of Crude-Oil Collapse (BBG)
- Japan’s Zero Inflation a Setback for Abenomics (WSJ)
- Cooperman Says U.S. Seeks Information About Omega Trades (BBG)
Did you know that the Russians have a massive underground complex in the Ural mountains that has been estimated to be approximately 400 square miles in size? In other words, it is roughly as big as the area inside the Washington D.C. beltway. Back in the 1990s, the Clinton administration was deeply concerned about the construction of this enormous complex deep inside Yamantau mountain, but they could never seem to get any straight answers from the Russians. The command center for this complex is rumored to be 3,000 feet directly straight down from the summit of this giant rock quartz mountain. And of course U.S. military officials will admit that there are dozens of other similar sites throughout Russia, although most of them are thought to be quite a bit smaller. But that is not all that the Russians have been up to.
All Wars Are Bankers’ Wars
"Revelations about the NSA’s programs reveal the extraordinary extent to which the program has invaded Americans’ privacy. I reject the notion that we must sacrifice liberty for security — we can live in a secure nation which also upholds a strong commitment to civil liberties. This legislation ends the NSA’s dragnet surveillance practices, while putting provisions in place to protect the privacy of American citizens through real and lasting change." – Rep. Mark Pocan on the Surveillance State Repeal Act
Saudi Arabia Imposes Naval Blockade On Red Sea Strait, Deploys 150,000 Troops As Iran Condemns Military ActionSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 03/26/2015 07:51 -0400
As noted earlier, the biggest significance of any Yemen conflict has little to do with its own domestic oil production, which at 133,000 bpd is negligible, but due to its location, which not only shares a border with Saudi Arabia, but more importantly due to the Bab el-Mandeb strait which connects the Red Sea with the Gulf of Aden: it is the fourth-biggest shipping chokepoint in the world by volume (3.8 million barrels a day of oil and petroleum products flowed through it in 2013) and is just 18 miles wide at its narrowest point. It’s located between Yemen, Djibouti, and Eritrea, and connects the Red Sea with the Gulf of Aden and the Arabian Sea. And since to Saudi Arabia preserving the logistics of oil supply is critical, it is hardly surprising that as Egypt's Ahram Gate reported earlier, the Saudi-led Firmness Storm coalition imposed a naval blockade on Bab El-Mandab strait earlier today. The Saudi navy's western fleet has also secured Yemen's main ports including Aden and Midi.
"The Strategy emphasizes the US desire to proceed with the formation of a new global economic order. Significant efforts by the US and its allies will be directed to the formation of anti-Russian policy states, with which Russia has established partnership relations, as well as to reduce Russian influence in the former Soviet Union. [The US will] continue the policy of preserving the global dominance of the United States [and] increasing the combat capabilities of NATO," a statement on the Russian Security Council's webpage says.
Back in May 2014, Obama shocked much of America when, in stark rejection of long-standing US policy not to negotiate with "terrorists", he agreed to exchange Sgt. Bowe Berghdahl for five Taliban prisoners held at Guantanamo. The prisoner exchange further raised eyebrows when it was suggested that Bergdahl hardly deserved such an executive action because he was captured only because he had deserted his post: a treason-worthy offense. Unfortunately, today was yet another day of humiliation for an administration whose most recent foreign "success" was arming the Yemen rebels with hundreds of millions in weapons when earlier this afternoon. the Army announced it would officially charge Bowe Bergdahl with desertion for leaving his post in 2009, his attorney said Wednesday.