http://www.zerohedge.com/fullrss2.xml/news/italy-expected-cut-growth-forecasts-further en Simplifying The Message To Cuba's Castro Brothers From 11 US Presidents http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-12-27/simplifying-message-cubas-castro-brothers-11-us-presidents <p>Presented with no comment...</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2014/12-overflow/20141227_cuba.jpg"><img src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2014/12-overflow/20141227_cuba.jpg" width="596" height="429" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><a href="http://media.cagle.com/58/2014/12/27/157955_600.jpg"><em>Source: Cagle Post</em></a></p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="596" height="429" alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/20141227_cuba.jpg?1419701246" /> </div> </div> </div> http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-12-27/simplifying-message-cubas-castro-brothers-11-us-presidents#comments Sat, 27 Dec 2014 19:15:23 +0000 Tyler Durden 499603 at http://www.zerohedge.com Greek Prime Minister: "It's Best For The Country" To Do Away With Democracy http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-12-27/greek-prime-minister-its-best-country-do-away-democracy <p>During a state-TV "interview" which many are dubbing pure fear-mongering propaganda ahead of Monday's final 'vote of confidence', Greek Prime Minister Samaras unleashes his most assanine M.A.D. comments yet.</p> <p><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2014/12-overflow/20141227_greece.jpg"><img src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2014/12-overflow/20141227_greece_0.jpg" width="600" height="535" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p> <strong><em>"It's not a question of what's good for me or New Democracy. It's best for the country that there are not snap elections."</em></strong> </p> <p>Translation: you don't need no stinking democracy, trust us - your benevolent rulers - to do what's best for the Greek people.</p> <ul> <li><strong>*SNAP ELECTIONS WILL THROW GREECE INTO TURMOIL, SAMARAS SAYS</strong> (and the ECB)</li> <li><strong>*GREECE'S BIGGEST PROBLEM IS POLITICAL UNCERTAINTY: SAMARAS</strong> (not record youth unemployment, povrty, and suicide rates, and surging youth emigration)</li> <li><strong>*SAMARAS SAYS NOW IS TIME FOR LAWMAKERS TO DO THEIR DUTY</strong> (ignore the people's pleas and pain, vote for EU bureaucrats)</li> </ul> <p>And with Greece's (anti-EU) Syriza party now leading by 2.5pts in the latest polls, it is hardly surprising Samaras is pulling out all the 'turmoil' threats. "Greek people don't want elections," he chides. <strong>By 'Greek people', we assume he means 'unelected European bureaucrats'.</strong></p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="389" height="389" alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/20141227_greece1.jpg?1419701117" /> </div> </div> </div> http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-12-27/greek-prime-minister-its-best-country-do-away-democracy#comments Greece Unemployment Sat, 27 Dec 2014 18:30:23 +0000 Tyler Durden 499602 at http://www.zerohedge.com How Central Banks Saved The World (Stocks) In 2014 http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-12-27/how-central-banks-saved-world-stocks-2014 <p>2014 was awash with <strong>potentially status quo destabilizing 'realities'</strong> to the "we're back on track and world economic growth is about to reach escape velocity" meme... but time after time, the well-conditioned 'investor' was rescued... <em>here's how...</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2014/12-overflow/20141227_world.jpg"><img src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2014/12-overflow/20141227_world_0.jpg" width="600" height="427" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Because - fun-durr-mentals.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><a href="http://press.source.info/Download/The_12_charts_of_Christmas_22.12.14.pdf?dm_i=8X4,32V93,IHQCUO,B1ZFG,1"><em>Chart: Source Research</em></a></p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="1234" height="879" alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/20141227_world.jpg?1419697217" /> </div> </div> </div> http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-12-27/how-central-banks-saved-world-stocks-2014#comments Central Banks Sat, 27 Dec 2014 17:45:23 +0000 Tyler Durden 499601 at http://www.zerohedge.com Future Shock - The Unsustainable Often Ends Abruptly http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-12-27/future-shock-unsustainable-often-ends-abruptly <p><a href="http://www.peakprosperity.com/blog/90385/future-shock-crash-course-chapter-25"><em>Submitted by Adam Taggart via Peak Prosperity</em></a>,</p> <p>Here at the penultimate chapter of <a href="http://www.peakprosperity.com/crashcourse" target="_blank">The Crash Course,</a> everything we&#39;ve learned comes together into a single narrow range of time we&#39;ll call the twenty-teens.&nbsp;</p> <p>What this chapter offers is a <strong>comprehensive view of how all of our problems are actually interrelated and need to be viewed as such, or solutions will continue to elude us.</strong></p> <div> <p><em>Each</em>&nbsp;of the many key trends and threats mentioned earlier in The Crash Course will take many years, if not several decades, to address. And yet, we find them all parked directly in front of us without any serious national discussion or planning.&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>With every passing day we squander precious time while the problems grow larger and more costly, if not thoroughly intractable.</strong>&nbsp; Buying time, as the central bankers and politicians the world-over have opted to do, is not a strategy.&nbsp; Simply hoping for better times has a much different probability for success than having a well thought-out plan. The mark of a mature adult is someone who can manage complexity and plan ahead.&nbsp; The same description applies to an entire society. &nbsp;Here at Peak Prosperity, our&nbsp;<em>opinion</em>&nbsp;is that with precious few exceptions, the current political and corporate leadership of this country are not adequately managing the complexity of the situation. And they are not planning ahead.&nbsp;</p> <p><u><strong>Simply put: We&#39;ve lived well beyond our economic, energetic and ecological budgets. It&#39;s time to change that.</strong></u></p> <p><u><strong>It is time, to return to living within our means.&nbsp; We need to set priorities, set budgets, and stick to both.</strong></u></p> <p>If we do, the next generations following us will have opportunity to pursue, as well as a plan and a narrative that makes sense and into which they fit, and which seems prudent and rational. If we don&#39;t, they simply won&#39;t.</p> <p>And you?&nbsp;<strong> If you haven&rsquo;t already, you need to begin to embrace the possibility that the road to the future will not be straight and smooth; it may take a few twists and turns and end up somewhere unexpected.</strong> You happen to be alive at one of the most interesting points in human history &ndash; a time when a great shift will occur.&nbsp; This can be frightening or it can be exhilarating. And that choice is yours.</p> </div> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/gutQJMuDlBo" width="560"></iframe></p> <p><em>The full suite of chapters in this new Crash Course series can be found at&nbsp;<a href="http://www.peakprosperity.com/crashcourse" target="_blank">www.peakprosperity.com/crashcourse</a></em></p> <p><em>And for those who have yet to view it, be sure to watch the <a href="http://www.peakprosperity.com/crashcourse/accelerated" target="_blank">&#39;Accelerated&#39; Crash Course</a> -- the under-1-hour condensation of the new 4.5-hour series. It&#39;s a great vehicle for introducing new eyes to this material.</em></p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="697" height="315" alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/20141227_shock.jpg?1419697620" /> </div> </div> </div> http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-12-27/future-shock-unsustainable-often-ends-abruptly#comments Sat, 27 Dec 2014 16:58:27 +0000 Tyler Durden 499600 at http://www.zerohedge.com Hundreds Of NYPD Officers Turn Their Back On de Blasio Again http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-12-27/hundreds-nypd-officers-turn-their-back-de-blasio-again <p>Amid the heartbreak and sorry of the funeral of Rafael Ramos (one of the two assassinated NYPD cops last week), <strong>hundreds of police officers turned their backs away from the large screen outside the church as New York mayor Bill De Blasio began to speak</strong>...</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2014/12/20141227_NYPD1.jpg"><img src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2014/12/20141227_NYPD1_0.jpg" width="600" height="448" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2014/12-overflow/20141227_NYPD2.jpg"><img src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2014/12-overflow/20141227_NYPD2.jpg" width="600" height="441" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>After initially facing forward nearly all NYPD &amp; other officers have now turned their backs as Mayor de Blasio speaks <a href="http://t.co/Fz2wHKZNXn">pic.twitter.com/Fz2wHKZNXn</a></p> <p>— Joe Jackson (@joejackson) <a href="https://twitter.com/joejackson/status/548868730944782336">December 27, 2014</a></p></blockquote> <script src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js"></script><blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>Before and during Bill De Blasio speaking at <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/rafaelramos?src=hash">#rafaelramos</a> funeral. Officers turn backs to screen airing speech. <a href="https://twitter.com/CNN">@cnn</a> <a href="http://t.co/6cma4M7bCK">pic.twitter.com/6cma4M7bCK</a></p> <p>— Rosa Flores (@RosaFlores) <a href="https://twitter.com/RosaFlores/status/548869517808762880">December 27, 2014</a></p></blockquote> <script src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js"></script><blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>Officers turn their backs during Mayor de Blasio's remarks <a href="http://t.co/7k32whsIfA">pic.twitter.com/7k32whsIfA</a></p> <p>— Mark Morales (@MarkMorales51) <a href="https://twitter.com/MarkMorales51/status/548868806328991745">December 27, 2014</a></p></blockquote> <script src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js"></script><blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p>Officers from New York, elsewhere join ordinary citizens in turning their backs as NYC Mayor de Blasio speaks. <a href="http://t.co/zNmjxLH6Pc">pic.twitter.com/zNmjxLH6Pc</a></p> <p>— Laura Crimaldi (@lauracrimaldi) <a href="https://twitter.com/lauracrimaldi/status/548869108629266432">December 27, 2014</a></p></blockquote> <script src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js"></script><p>&nbsp;</p> <p><a href="http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2014/dec/27/funeral-nypd-officer-rafael-ramos">As The Guardian explains</a>,</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p><strong>Some police union officials have said de Blasio contributed to a climate of mistrust toward police amid protests over the deaths of Brown and Garner.</strong> At a hospital after the shooting, the police union’s president, Patrick Lynch, and others turned their backs on the mayor in a sign of disrespect. Lynch blamed the mayor then for the officers’ deaths and said he had blood on his hands.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Weeks before the shooting, Lynch suggested that officers sign a petition requesting that the mayor not attend their funerals were they to die in the line of duty. </strong>Cardinal Timothy Dolan and others have since called for such officials to temper the rhetoric.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>De Blasio has stood by the police since the shooting, calling on demonstrators to temporarily halt protests and praising officers after the NYPD announced the arrest of a seventh person since the shooting for making threats against police.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>On Thursday, the mayor briefly attend Ramos’ wake but made no comments. There was no noticeable reaction from the officers upon his arrival, and Ramos’ family has said they welcome the mayor’s presence at the funeral.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>On Friday, an anonymous person paid for a an aerial sign to be flown over New York City.<strong> It read: “de Blasio, our backs have turned to you.”</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>*&nbsp; *&nbsp; *</p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="617" height="461" alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/20141227_NYPD1.jpg?1419696055" /> </div> </div> </div> http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-12-27/hundreds-nypd-officers-turn-their-back-de-blasio-again#comments New York City Twitter Twitter Sat, 27 Dec 2014 16:04:33 +0000 Tyler Durden 499599 at http://www.zerohedge.com Dollar Outlook at the End of 2014 http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-12-27/dollar-outlook-end-2014 <p>The US dollar closed higher against all the major currencies during the holiday shortened week. The lack of liquidity may have exaggerated the weakness of Swedish krona and Norwegian krone, the poorest performing major currencies. &nbsp;Both lost about 1.5% against the greenback.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The least weak currencies were in the dollar-bloc. The Canadian and New Zealand dollars were practically flat, and the Australian dollar slipped 0.2%. &nbsp; The euro and sterling slipped about 0.5%, while the yen shed 0.7% of its recent gains.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The lack of participation will continue into the last week of the year. &nbsp;The general technical condition will not change. &nbsp; The dollar's bull advance is not over. &nbsp;Leaving aside the housing market, which has been one of the few US economic disappointments of 2014, the 5% Q3 GDP, coupled with continued improvement in the labor market keeps the Fed poised to raise rates in around the middle of 2015. The prospects of a more aggressive ECB, buying a wider range of assets, including sovereign bonds, will keep the euro on the defensive. &nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The euro recorded a marginal new low on December 23 near $1.2165. &nbsp;This is just above the 50% retracement of the euro's trading range since its launch in 1999 (~$1.2135). The bottom of the Bollinger Band (set 2 standard deviations below the 20-day moving average) is near there as well (~$1.2125). &nbsp;Further out is the July 2013 low near $1.2045 and the $1.20 psychological level. &nbsp;On the upside, offers in the $1.2250-75 band may contain upticks.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Despite unprecedented expansion of the central bank's balance sheet, Japanese inflation fell to its slowest pace in six months (headline and core). &nbsp; When adjusted for the sales tax increase, Japan's core CPI rose 0.7% year-over-year in November. &nbsp;The 2% inflation target looks nearly as elusive as the ECB's. &nbsp; The dollar's recent 5.5% slide in six sessions to almost JPY115.50 shook out many of the recent dollar longs. &nbsp;As many of these positions are re-established, the dollar's ascent has resumed. &nbsp;Initial resistance is seen in the JPY120.85-JPY121.00 area. &nbsp;Above there is the high from December 8 near JPY121.85. &nbsp;On the other hand, a break now of JPY119.40 will warn of a more complicated correction. &nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Sterling was mostly confined to a $1.56-$1.58 trading range from the middle of November through the middle of December. &nbsp;It has slipped from this box to a lower trading range, and spiked to $1.5485 on December 23. &nbsp;It has not recovered above $1.5580 since, but this is probably more a consequence of the lack of participation than a genuine technical cap. &nbsp;Stronger offers are likely in the $1.5600-35 area. &nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The Canadian dollar is moving sideways. &nbsp;The US dollar has been within the range set on December 15 (CAD1.1550-CAD1.1675) for the past nine sessions. &nbsp;This renders many trend following technical tools less useful. &nbsp; Over the medium term, we continue to favor a weaker Canadian dollar. &nbsp; &nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The Australian dollar recorded new multi-year lows on December 23 when it slipped a little below $0.8090. &nbsp;Expectations have built for not one but two rate cuts by the RBA in H115. &nbsp;Many want to sell into an Aussie bounce, but in thin market conditions, the $0.8140-50 area is capping upticks. &nbsp;Stronger selling interest is seen near $0.8200. &nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The February crude oil (light-sweet) futures contract will likely spend the last week in the year in the $54-$59 a barrel that has contained prices since the middle of the month. &nbsp;Barring a significant reversal, December will be the sixth consecutive monthly decline for crude prices. &nbsp;The 7.27 mln barrel unexpected build of crude stocks according to the EIA in the latest week (consensus was for a 2.5 mln barrel decline) warns of the risk of additional price declines. &nbsp;That said, we see many forecasts for the price to bottom in early 2015. &nbsp;We are less sanguine. &nbsp;Inventories are still rising, and the pace of rig shutdowns will have to accelerate. &nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>US 10-year yields have been hovering around 2.25% since that surprisingly strong Q3 GDP revision to 5.0%. &nbsp;It would have to rise above 2.35% to be anything of note. &nbsp;On the downside, the 2.15% area may tempt Treasury sellers. &nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Technically, price gaps are often important. &nbsp;We identified the significance of two S&amp;P gaps in Q4. &nbsp;The first was the sharply higher opening on October 21. &nbsp;It boosted our confidence that the correction that had seen the S&amp;P 500 lose nearly 10% between September 19 and October 15 was over. &nbsp;The S&amp;P 500 gapped higher again on December 18. &nbsp; &nbsp;It confirmed our suspicions that the S&amp;P 500 5.5% week-long downdraft ended on December 15 and that the index was on its way to new highs. &nbsp;While the gains scored in the extremely light volume may be tested, technically there is little reason not to expect more life in the bull. &nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Due to the holiday, the Commitment of Traders report was delayed.&nbsp;</p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-blog"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_blog" width="2048" height="1152" alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user113905/imageroot/interview.jpeg?1419694419" /> </div> </div> </div> http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-12-27/dollar-outlook-end-2014#comments Aussie Australian Dollar Canadian Dollar Commitment of Traders Core CPI CPI Crude Crude Oil Housing Market Market Conditions New Zealand Yen Sat, 27 Dec 2014 15:33:42 +0000 Marc To Market 499598 at http://www.zerohedge.com North Korea Internet, Cell Phones Go Dark http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-12-27/north-korea-internet-cell-phones-go-dark <p>When it comes to crude attempts at humor, The Interview may (and should) have been a stunning flop, but meanwhile the real comedy continues in the real world, whose absurdity has made any IPO of The Onion impossible. </p> <p>According to <a href="http://in.reuters.com/article/2014/12/27/nkorea-internet-idINKBN0K50AN20141227">Reuters</a>, North Korea's Internet and 3G mobile networks were paralyzed on Saturday evening, China's official Xinhua news agency reported on Saturday.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>The network had not returned to normal as of 2130 local time, Xinhua reported, citing reporters in the country that had confirmed the situation over fixed telephone systems.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The report comes after the North Korean government called Obama a "monkey" and blamed the U.S. for enduring instability in the country's internet infrastructure, after the U.S. blamed North Korea for hacking attack on Sony Studios.</p> </blockquote> <p>Do you see what happens Larry, when you, supposedly, use all of your crack 16MHz 80286 supercomputers to dictate to Americans what C-grade comedy flops they can and can not watch?</p> <p>Meanwhile, here is a candid look at what is surely the worst job in the world at this moment. </p> <p><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user5/imageroot/2014/12/kim%20pc.jpg"><img src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user5/imageroot/2014/12/kim%20pc_0.jpg" width="500" height="373" /></a></p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="636" height="475" alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user5/imageroot/kim%20pc.jpg?1419692020" /> </div> </div> </div> http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-12-27/north-korea-internet-cell-phones-go-dark#comments Crude fixed North Korea Reuters The Onion Sat, 27 Dec 2014 14:55:43 +0000 Tyler Durden 499597 at http://www.zerohedge.com 2014: The Year Propaganda Came Of Age http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-12-27/2014-year-propaganda-came-age <p><em>By Raúl Ilargi Meijer of <a href="http://www.theautomaticearth.com/2014-the-year-propaganda-came-of-age/">The Automatic Earth</a></em><a href="http://www.theautomaticearth.com/2014-the-year-propaganda-came-of-age/"></a></p> <p><strong>2014: The Year Propaganda Came Of Age</strong></p> <p>From just about as early in my life as I can remember, growing up as a child in Holland, there were stories about World War II, and not just about Anne Frank and the huge amounts of people who, like her, had been dragged off to camps in eastern Europe never to come back, but also about the thousands who had risked their lives to hide Jewish and other refugees, and the scores who had been executed for doing so, often betrayed by their own neighbors.</p> <p>And then there were those who had risked their lives in equally courageous ways to get news out to people, putting out newspapers and radio broadcasts just so there would be a version of events out there that was real, and not just what the Germans wanted one to believe. This happened in all Nazi – and Nazi friendly – occupied European nations. The courage of these people is hard to gauge for us today, and I’m convinced there’s no way to say whom amongst us would show that kind of bravery if we were put to the test; I certainly wouldn’t be sure about myself.</p> <p>Still, without wanting to put myself anywhere near the level of those very very real heroes, please don’t get me wrong about that, that’s not what I mean, I was thinking about them with regards to what is happening in our media today. I’ve mentioned before that I don’t think Joseph Goebbels had anything on US and European media today.</p> <p>That propaganda as a strategic and political instrument has been refined to a huge extent over the past 70-odd years since Goebbels first picked up on Freud’s lessons on how to influence the unconscious mind, and the ‘mass-mind’, as a way to ‘steer’ an entire people, not just as a means to make them buy detergent. These days, the media can make people believe just about anything, and they have the added benefit that they can pose as friends of the people, not the enemy.</p> <p>But there is a reason why such a large ‘industry’ has developed on the web with people writing articles that don’t say what the mass media say. That reason for is, obviously, first and foremost that not everybody believes whatever they are told. The problem is equally obvious: not nearly enough people are being reached to make a true difference, and to question the official narratives.</p> <p>Me, I have no claim to fame outside of the appreciation I get from first, my readers and second, from my colleagues and peers. I get a lot of both, and I thank you for that, but this certainly is not about me. If anything, it’s about trying to live up to the desire for truth in the face of odds squarely stacked against it, and against the people I try to reach out to. Trying to do just 0.1% of what the WWII underground press was about.</p> <p>A few days ago, I wrote in <a href="http://www.theautomaticearth.com/about-that-interview/">About That Interview</a>:</p> <blockquote><p><em> The FBI claims they are certain the hackers are North Korean, but they have provided no proof of that claim. We have to trust them on their beautiful blue eyes. I think <strong>if anything defines 2014 for me, it’s the advent of incessant claims for which no proof – apparently – needs to be provided</strong>. Everything related to Ukraine over the past year carries that trait. The year of ‘beautiful blue eyes’, in other words. Never no proof, you just have to believe what your government says.</em></p> </blockquote> <p>And that truly defines 2014 for me. A level of propaganda I don’t recognize, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen before. 2014 has for me been the year of utter nonsense. To wit, it just finished in fine form with a 5% US GDP growth number, just to name one example. Really, guys? 5%? Really? With all the numbers presented lately, the negative Thanksgiving sales data – minus 11% from what I remember -, the so-so at best Christmas store numbers to date, shrinking durable goods in November and all? Plus 5%?</p> <p>It really doesn’t matter what I say, does it? You have enough people believing ridiculous numbers like that to make it worth your while. After all, that’s all that counts. It’s a democracy, isn’t it? If a majority believes something, it becomes true. If you can get more than 50% of people to believe whatever you say, that’s case closed.</p> <p>With well over 90 million working age Americans counted as being out of the labor force, and with 43 million on food stamps, you can still present a 5% GDP growth number, if only you can get a sufficiently large number of people to ‘believe’. And you do, I’ll give you that. As far as the media goes, we have achieved the change we can believe in. We may not have that change, but we sure do believe we have, don’t we? And isn’t that what counts? Are congratulations in order?</p> <p>Well, not where I’m at, they’re not. I should do a shout out to the likes of Zero Hedge, Yves Smith, David Stockman, Wolf Richter, Mish, Steve Keen, Jim Kunstler, and so many others, we’re a solid crowd by now even if we’re neglected, and please don’t feel left out if you’re not in that list, I know who you are. The problem is, we’re all completely neglected by the mass media, even though there are a ton of very sharp minds in this ‘finance blogosphere’. And perhaps we should make it a point to break through that ridiculous black-out in 2015.</p> <p>2014, in my eyes, has been the year of propaganda outdoing even its own very purpose, and succeeding too. We are supposed to be living in a time of the best educated people in the history of mankind, and everyone thinks (s)he’s mighty smart, but precious few have even an inkling of a clue of what transpires in the world they live in. Talk about a lost generation. Or two.</p> <p>We really need to question the value of higher education, if all we get for it is a generation of people so easily duped by utter blubber. What do they teach people at our universities these days? Certainly not to think for themselves, that much is clear. And then what is the use? Why spend all that time raising an entire generation of highly educated pawns, sheep and robots? I can think of some people liking that, but for society as a whole, it’s devastating if that’s all higher education is.</p> <p>And if you would like to raise doubts here, the very existence of finance blogosphere I mentioned before is proof that we indeed have raised a generation of sheep. If we had functioning media, there’d be no need for that blogosphere. We are the people who keep on pointing out where the mass media fail, let alone the politicians, simply by being there and being supported to the extent we are by the few people who escape the sheep mentality.</p> <p>But that’s not nearly enough. Journalists, reporters, whatever they call themselves, working for Bloomberg, Reuters, CNBC etc. should at the very least quote Zero Hedge on a daily basis, and Mish, and Steve, and Yves, and perhaps even me – though it’s fine if they continue to ignore me, as long as they give the rest their rightful place.</p> <p>There are many people in the blogosphere who are many times smarter than the people who write for the mass media, and that’s a very simple and hardly disputable fact that needs to be recognized. When you read something in your paper or at your online news provider, it should be second nature to ask yourself: but what would Tyler Durden say, or the Automatic Earth, or Naked Capitalism, or David Stockman?</p> <p>But we’re nowhere near that, are we? We’ve been fooled with economic stats for years, not just in the US, not even just in the west, but all over, they all grabbed on to the potential of providing people with numbers that have little to do with reality, but that simply feel good. Or even just look good.</p> <p>Still, boy, have we been, and are we being, fooled. Then again, most of you wouldn’t know, would you? We people tend to discount the future, to see today as more important than tomorrow, and in the same manner we find our children’s future much less important than our own. Because that feels good too. If we are comfy right now, screw them. Not that we’d ever put it into those terms.</p> <p>But you know, that’s really all old hack by now. 2014 brought us a whole other class of nonsense. And we swallowed it all hook line and entire sinker.</p> <p>2014 gave us Ukraine. And you just try and find anyone today who doesn’t think Vladimir Putin is and was the evil genius mind behind the whole thing, including the 4500+ people who died there over the past 10 months. Why is it so hard to anyone who doubts that narrative? Because our media told us Putin is the bogeyman. And ‘we’ never asked for any proof. That is, except for those of us in that same blogosphere.</p> <p>Meanwhile, round after round of sanctions against Russia have been set up and activated by EU and US, causing hardship for both Russian people and European businesses. But why, what exactly is Putin allegedly guilty of?</p> <p>The US/EU installed a government in Kiev in February (yeah, yap about it), which is still in place, with a bunch of US citizens recently added for good measure – and for profit-. The chocolate prince president was indeed elected months later, but the prime minister – Yats – was handpicked by America, and is still -amazingly – in place. That’s the same government that had it own army murder thousands of its own citizens, and not a thing has been resolved so far.</p> <p>The whole thing came to a head when MH17 was shot down over the summer. That too was blamed on Putin. Or was it? Well, not directly, nobody said Putin ordered that plane to be shot. Nor did anyone say Russia shot it. There is the accusation that Russian speaking Ukrainian ‘rebels’ did it, but proof for that was never provided in the 6 months since the incident. And there must be a best before date in there somewhere.</p> <p>Is it possible the ‘rebels’ did it? We can’t exclude it, but that’s for the same reason we can’t exclude the option that little green Martians did it: we don’t know. But even then, even if they did, there’s the question whether that would have been on purpose. Which seems really stretching it: nothing they want would be served by shooting down a plane full of European, Malaysian and Australian holiday goers.</p> <p>But here we are: no proof and layer upon layer of sanctions. And nary a voice is raised in the west. If one is, it’s to denounce the Russians as bloodthirsty barbarians. Even though there is no proof they did anything other than protecting what they see as their own people. Something we all would do too, no questions asked.</p> <p>Ukraine defines 2014 as the year western propaganda came into its own. Not just fictional stories about an economic recovery anymore, no, we had our politico-media establishment ram an entire new cold war down our throats. And we swallowed it whole. We may have had a million more years of higher education than our parents and grandparents, but we sure don’t seem to have gotten any smarter than them.</p> <p>There is a lot of information out there, written by people inspired by things other than monetary incentives or job security or anything like that, people who simply want to get information out that your trusted media won’t give you anymore than Goebbels’ media did in occupied Europe in the 1940s. And you don’t even have to risk your lives to access that information. All you have to do is to get off your couch.</p> <p>The Automatic Earth is but a small part of a very valuable and fast growing resource that warrants a lot more attention than it’s been receiving to date. A reported 5% US GDP growth print is one reason why, the entire Ukraine fantasy story is another. The blogosphere is full of functioning neurons, which is more than you can say for your papers and online MSM.</p> <p>As far as media is concerned, 2014 has been downright scary in its distortion of reality. Let’s try and move 2015 a little bit closer towards what’s actually happening.</p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="1000" height="1000" alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user5/imageroot/goebbels.jpg?1419691203" /> </div> </div> </div> http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-12-27/2014-year-propaganda-came-age#comments Eastern Europe ETC Fail FBI Naked Capitalism Reality recovery Reuters Tyler Durden Ukraine Vladimir Putin Sat, 27 Dec 2014 14:41:53 +0000 Tyler Durden 499596 at http://www.zerohedge.com The Cradle of Democracy Rocks the Autocrats http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-12-27/cradle-democracy-rocks-autocrats-kleptocrats <p style="color: #222222; font-family: 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; line-height: 23.7999992370605px; margin-bottom: 0.825em; font-size: 14px;"><a href="https://zirpqe.files.wordpress.com/2014/12/acropolis-of-athens-7-2.jpg" style="color: #1b8be0; font-style: inherit; font-weight: inherit; line-height: 1.7; text-decoration: underline;"><img src="https://zirpqe.files.wordpress.com/2014/12/acropolis-of-athens-7-2.jpg?w=676&amp;h=352" alt="acropolis-of-athens-7 (2)" width="760" height="396" style="color: #222222; font-style: inherit; font-weight: inherit; line-height: 1.7; height: auto; max-width: 100%; border: 1px solid #bbbbbb; padding: 6px; margin: 0.4em auto 1.625em; display: block; clear: both; background: #eeeeee;" class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-6477" /></a></p> <h4 style="color: #111111; font-family: Merriweather, Georgia, Times, serif; font-weight: inherit; line-height: 1.7; clear: both; font-size: 1.2em; margin-top: 0px; margin-bottom: 0px; text-align: center;"><a href="http://zirpqe.wordpress.com/" target="_blank" style="color: #1b8be0; font-family: 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-style: inherit; font-weight: inherit; line-height: 1.7;">The StealthFlation Blog</a></h4> <p style="color: #222222; font-family: 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; line-height: 23.7999992370605px; margin-bottom: 0.825em; font-size: 14px; text-align: justify;">On the old continent, this December 29th, a succinct political showdown is scheduled to take place which may well become a defining moment for our entirely unsettled new millenium. &nbsp;What is at stake is none other than the prosperity of the common man pitted against the privilege of concentrated power. &nbsp;Lamentably, this deliberate dogmatic divide has relentlessly defined human civilization for the ages.</p> <p style="color: #222222; font-family: 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; line-height: 23.7999992370605px; margin-bottom: 0.825em; font-size: 14px; text-align: justify;">What is at hand isn’t so much about lofty ideals. &nbsp;It’s not about Socialism. &nbsp;It’s not about Capitalism. &nbsp;It’s not about Communism. It’s not about being a progressive, or a conservative or a liberal. It’s not about left vs right. &nbsp;Forget all those dumbed down dichotomies. &nbsp;It’s much more fundamental than all of that. &nbsp;Quite simply, it’s about People vs. Power, that’s it, nothing more. Those that have and wield institutional power, and those that do not. &nbsp;It’s as elementary and base as that I’m afraid.</p> <p style="color: #222222; font-family: 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; line-height: 23.7999992370605px; margin-bottom: 0.825em; font-size: 14px; text-align: justify;">Take a good look around, I defy you to point to a single socioeconomic construct in our supposedly enlightened and advanced society of today which is not essentially determined by that crude polarizing characterization. &nbsp;Whether it be our bought and paid for Political Class, our rapacious Banking Sector, our completely captured Regulators, our entitled Multinational Corporations, our entrenched Governmental Agencies, our marauding Military Industrial Complex, our fleecing Healthcare Providers, our muzzled Free Press, our hijacked Justice System, or our&nbsp;grossly&nbsp;overpaid CEOs, Athletes, and Entertainers, they all have one thing in common, and I assure you that it’s not the common good that they share. &nbsp;What they seek above all else is to expand existing institutional dominion and their own privileges within it.</p> <p style="color: #222222; font-family: 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; line-height: 23.7999992370605px; margin-bottom: 0.825em; font-size: 14px; text-align: justify;">Sad to say, but at the end of the day, perhaps&nbsp;<em style="font-weight: inherit; line-height: 1.7;">dog eat dog</em>&nbsp;is what we humans are really best at, and the only state of being we’re actually capable of. &nbsp; Maybe all those exalted ideals of enlightened forms of governance are just a load of crap to make us feel better about ourselves. &nbsp; Judging by the overt self seeking avarice that dictates the pace of just about everything these days, it sure seems that way.</p> <p style="color: #222222; font-family: 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; line-height: 23.7999992370605px; margin-bottom: 0.825em; font-size: 14px; text-align: justify;">The odd thing about all of this, especially for our nation, is that America was actually born out of a revolt against the oppressive power of institutional entitlement. &nbsp; Does the following ring a bell:</p> <blockquote style="color: #222222; font-family: Georgia, 'Bitstream Charter', serif; line-height: 23.7999992370605px; margin-top: 0px; margin-right: 3em; margin-left: 3em; font-size: 14px;"><p style="font-style: inherit; line-height: 1.7; margin-right: 3em; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-left: 3em;">We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from&nbsp;<em style="font-family: 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-weight: inherit; line-height: 1.7;"><strong style="font-style: inherit; line-height: 1.7;">the consent of the governed</strong></em>, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.</p> </blockquote> <p style="color: #222222; font-family: 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; line-height: 23.7999992370605px; margin-bottom: 0.825em; font-size: 14px; text-align: justify;">The founding fathers’ certainly understood the suffocating and&nbsp;stifling nature of undue privilege. &nbsp;Thank God they had the enlightened foresight to realize that liberating men, not subjugating them, was the most effective way to both govern and grow a nation, not to mention the righteous and moral thing to do. &nbsp;We’re not talking about mandating equality here, we are talking about demanding the liberty and opportunity for each of us to strive to become equals to the most admired and successful among us, should we so choose.</p> <p style="color: #222222; font-family: 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; line-height: 23.7999992370605px; margin-bottom: 0.825em; font-size: 14px; text-align: justify;">The Age of Enlightenment, also known as the Age of Reason, awoke Western civilization to the advancement and empowerment of the individual over the authority of the State, which was central to our founding fathers’ declaration. &nbsp; This powerful liberating social-political philosophy of their times traces its roots all the way back to the ancient Greek philosophers that roamed the halls of the Acropolis pictured above. The likes of Plato, Socrates and Aristotle insisted that society should be ruled by merritt. &nbsp; In his most famous work&nbsp;<em style="font-weight: inherit; line-height: 1.7;"><strong style="font-style: inherit; line-height: 1.7;">The&nbsp;Republic,&nbsp;&nbsp;</strong></em>Plato makes this clear.</p> <blockquote style="color: #222222; font-family: Georgia, 'Bitstream Charter', serif; line-height: 23.7999992370605px; margin-top: 0px; margin-right: 3em; margin-left: 3em; font-size: 14px;"><p style="font-style: inherit; line-height: 1.7; margin-right: 3em; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-left: 3em;">Interestingly, in his most famous work,&nbsp;<em style="font-family: 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-weight: inherit; line-height: 1.7;"><a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plato%27s_Republic" title="Plato's Republic" class="mw-redirect" style="color: #1b8be0; font-style: inherit; font-weight: inherit; line-height: 1.7;">The Republic</a></em>, Plato critiques democracy, condemns tyranny, and proposes a three tiered merit based structure of society, with workers, guardians and philosophers, in an equal relationship, where no innocents would ever be put to death again, citing the philosophers’ relentless love of truth and knowledge of the forms or ideals, concern for general welfare and lack of propertied interest as causes for their being suited to govern. &nbsp;<a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_philosophy#Western_philosophy" style="color: #1b8be0; font-family: 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-style: inherit; font-weight: inherit; line-height: 1.7;" rel="nofollow">http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_philosophy#Western_philosophy</a></p> </blockquote> <p style="color: #222222; font-family: 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; line-height: 23.7999992370605px; margin-bottom: 0.825em; font-size: 14px; text-align: justify;">“In a democracy,” the Greek historian Herodotus&nbsp;wrote, “there is, first, that most splendid of virtues, equality before the law.” Cleisthenes’ demokratia abolished the political distinctions between the Athenian aristocrats, who had long monopolized the political decision making process, and the middle and working class people who made up the army &amp; the navy. &nbsp;This obviously did not yet included slave labor, but clearly the foundations for self governance were established, and the seeds of equality of opportunity were certainly planted by the ancient Greeks.</p> <p style="color: #222222; font-family: 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; line-height: 23.7999992370605px; margin-bottom: 0.825em; font-size: 14px; text-align: justify;">Having laid out the above narrative, let’s get back to the crucial showdown about to take place on the 29th of this December, 2014. &nbsp; As you may know, today Modern Greece is in the midst of a parliamentary procedure to elect a new president. &nbsp;As a parliamentary democracy, the President of Greece, much like the Queen of England, plays mostly a ceremonial role as the figurehead of State. &nbsp; It is the Prime Minister and Parliament that actually govern the State’s affairs. &nbsp;So why is this important you ask?</p> <p style="color: #222222; font-family: 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; line-height: 23.7999992370605px; margin-bottom: 0.825em; font-size: 14px; text-align: justify;">Well, here’s the deal. To be elected president, the proposed nominee must receive a supermajority of votes from the parliament, and should the current governing coalition fail to achieve the required number of votes, it is promptly dissolved and national elections are immediately held to elect a new government. &nbsp; Moreover, it is widely believed that the next ruling coalition to be voted in would likely be controlled by the popular SYRIZA party led by a new Prime Minister in Alexis Tsipras.</p> <p style="color: #222222; font-family: 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; line-height: 23.7999992370605px; margin-bottom: 0.825em; font-size: 14px; text-align: justify;"><img src="http://globalriskinsights.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/greek-poll-283x300.png" alt="greek election polling" width="297" height="315" style="font-style: inherit; font-weight: inherit; line-height: 1.7; height: auto; max-width: 100%; border: 1px solid #dddddd; padding: 6px; margin-top: 0.4em; float: left; display: inline; margin-right: 1.225em; margin-bottom: 1.625em;" class=" alignleft" />I’ll be perfectly blunt here. &nbsp;The current Greek Prime Minister, Antonis Samaras of the New Democracy party, is exactly who the Autocrats and financial Kleptocrats in Brussels want to work with. &nbsp; I’ll be equally blunt here again. &nbsp;Mr. Tsipras of the Syriza party is their worst nightmare. &nbsp;We’ll get back to this shortly, as first we must wade through some procedural parliamentary protocol to get you up to date.</p> <p style="color: #222222; font-family: 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; line-height: 23.7999992370605px; margin-bottom: 0.825em; font-size: 14px; text-align: justify;">Thus far, two separate votes have taken place to elect the new Greek Presidential nominee, Stavros Dimas, who has been put forward by Prime Minister Samaras and is favored by Brussels. &nbsp;During the first round, which took place on December 17th, he received 160 votes, well short of the required 200 supermajority threshold required. &nbsp;The December 23rd second round also fell short of the 200 needed with 168 votes, but here’s the catch, when it comes down to a final 3rd round, which is now the case here, the supermajority tally required drops down to only 180 votes out the 300 member Parliament. &nbsp; So, to make a long story short, on December 29th, the current Samaras led Government needs 12 additional votes to stay in power.</p> <p style="color: #222222; font-family: 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; line-height: 23.7999992370605px; margin-bottom: 0.825em; font-size: 14px; text-align: justify;">The European establishment, as reflected by the 30% drop in the Athens Composite Index, is certainly not encouraged by these developments. &nbsp;Infact, Jean-Claude Juncker, the sitting president of the EU Commission, the man who once categorically stated that when things get serious you have to lie, has instead decided to make, a not so subtle, direct threat to the Greek people.</p> <blockquote style="color: #222222; font-family: Georgia, 'Bitstream Charter', serif; line-height: 23.7999992370605px; margin-top: 0px; margin-right: 3em; margin-left: 3em; font-size: 14px;"><p style="font-style: inherit; line-height: 1.7; margin-right: 3em; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-left: 3em;">Jean-Claude Juncker, head of the EU Commission, stated&nbsp;<a href="http://tvthek.orf.at/program/Inside-Bruessel/3084543" style="color: #1b8be0; font-family: 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-style: inherit; font-weight: inherit; line-height: 1.7;">during a debate</a>that he does not want Syriza to assume power in Greece. “I think that the Greeks […] know very well what a wrong election result would mean for Greece and the Eurozone.”</p> </blockquote> <p style="color: #222222; font-family: 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; line-height: 23.7999992370605px; margin-bottom: 0.825em; font-size: 14px; text-align: justify;">Apparently, Mr. Junker feels the EU’s own institutional interests should take precedence in determining the outcome of the Greek presidential elections over the Sovereignty of Greece itself. &nbsp; Last I checked, the European Union was an association of Sovereign member States, not an official body presiding over internal domestic national elections. &nbsp;Should the people of Greece decide they want a new government in Parliament to represent their objectives and aspirations, that’s entirely their prerogative, not Junker’s.</p> <p style="color: #222222; font-family: 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; line-height: 23.7999992370605px; margin-bottom: 0.825em; font-size: 14px; text-align: justify;">To add some additional insight, below is a brief profile on the EU establishment’s preferred candidate for the Greek presidency. Wikipedia brings you&nbsp;<em style="font-weight: inherit; line-height: 1.7;"><strong style="font-style: inherit; line-height: 1.7;">Stavros Dimas</strong></em>:</p> <blockquote style="color: #222222; font-family: Georgia, 'Bitstream Charter', serif; line-height: 23.7999992370605px; margin-top: 0px; margin-right: 3em; margin-left: 3em; font-size: 14px;"><p style="font-style: inherit; line-height: 1.7; margin-right: 3em; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-left: 3em;">In 1968 he began working as a lawyer for a firm on&nbsp;<a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wall_Street" title="Wall Street" style="color: #1b8be0; font-family: 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-style: inherit; font-weight: inherit; line-height: 1.7;">Wall Street</a>, moving to the&nbsp;<a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_Bank" title="World Bank" style="color: #1b8be0; font-family: 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-style: inherit; font-weight: inherit; line-height: 1.7;">World Bank</a>&nbsp;the following year, where he worked on investments in Africa and the Middle East.<span id="cite_ref-inbio_1-1" class="reference" style="font-family: 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-style: inherit; font-weight: inherit; line-height: 1; font-size: 10px; height: 0px; position: relative; vertical-align: baseline; bottom: 1ex;"><a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stavros_Dimas#cite_note-inbio-1" style="color: #1b8be0; font-style: inherit; font-weight: inherit; line-height: 1.7;">[1]</a></span>&nbsp;In 1975 he returned to Greece to take up the post of deputy governor of the&nbsp;<a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Hellenic_Industrial_Development_Bank&amp;action=edit&amp;redlink=1" title="Hellenic Industrial Development Bank (page does not exist)" class="new" style="color: #1b8be0; font-family: 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-style: inherit; font-weight: inherit; line-height: 1.7;">Hellenic Industrial Development Bank</a>(ETVA), while also being a member of the committee preparing Greek accession to the EEC.<span id="cite_ref-inbio_1-2" class="reference" style="font-family: 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-style: inherit; font-weight: inherit; line-height: 1; font-size: 10px; height: 0px; position: relative; vertical-align: baseline; bottom: 1ex;"><a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stavros_Dimas#cite_note-inbio-1" style="color: #1b8be0; font-style: inherit; font-weight: inherit; line-height: 1.7;">[1]</a></span></p> <p style="font-style: inherit; line-height: 1.7; margin-right: 3em; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-left: 3em;"><span class="reference" style="font-family: 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-style: inherit; font-weight: inherit; line-height: 1; font-size: 10px; height: 0px; position: relative; vertical-align: baseline; bottom: 1ex;"><br /></span></p> <p style="font-style: inherit; line-height: 1.7; margin-right: 3em; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-left: 3em;">Dimas served briefly in the&nbsp;<a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prodi_Commission" title="Prodi Commission" style="color: #1b8be0; font-family: 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-style: inherit; font-weight: inherit; line-height: 1.7;">Prodi Commission</a>. He was appointed European Commissioner for Employment and Social Affairs in March 2004, taking over the role from the previous Greek Commissioner&nbsp;<a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anna_Diamantopoulou" title="Anna Diamantopoulou" style="color: #1b8be0; font-family: 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-style: inherit; font-weight: inherit; line-height: 1.7;">Anna Diamantopoulou</a>. A major focus of his work during this time involved making it more difficult for states to opt out of the&nbsp;<a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Working_Time_Directive" title="Working Time Directive" style="color: #1b8be0; font-family: 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-style: inherit; font-weight: inherit; line-height: 1.7;">Working Time Directive</a>. The Greek government nominated Dimas for the incoming<a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barroso_Commission" title="Barroso Commission" style="color: #1b8be0; font-family: 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-style: inherit; font-weight: inherit; line-height: 1.7;">Barroso Commission</a>&nbsp;which took office on 22 November 2004.</p> </blockquote> <p style="color: #222222; font-family: 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; line-height: 23.7999992370605px; margin-bottom: 0.825em; font-size: 14px; text-align: justify;">Sound familiar, yet another technocratic global banker background, who would have guessed it? &nbsp;Clearly, should Greece want to reconsider its current fiscal relationship with Brussels and the European int’l banking community by dismissing their current government, that’s entirely within their rights as a sovereign nation. &nbsp;Junker’s EU can certainly refuse any newly proposed solutions or initiatives put forth, and the int’l banks can decide not to play ball, but what they can not do is force the Greek people to choose a hand picked negotiating partner, that’s for the people to decide, which is exactly what is taking place at the moment.</p> <p style="color: #222222; font-family: 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; line-height: 23.7999992370605px; margin-bottom: 0.825em; font-size: 14px; text-align: justify;">For the record, most objective observers agree that the dictated debt regime combined with the strict austerity measures which were imposed on Greece by the TROIKA (the European Commission, the European Central Bank, and the International Monetary Fund), shortly after the global debt crisis had metastasized from its initial epicenter during the US Subprime meltdown debacle, has now created an entirely untenable situation for the Greek people. However, the EU doesn’t want you to understand this, they are too busy orchestrating a smear campaign painting any opposition to their self serving plans as a radical Marxism.</p> <p style="color: #222222; font-family: 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; line-height: 23.7999992370605px; margin-bottom: 0.825em; font-size: 14px; text-align: justify;">The fact of the matter is that you can only effectively restructure debt if their is enough income to service that debt at a reduced rate of interest, period. &nbsp;If the income side of the equation is not there, simply adding more to the debt load, no matter what the terms, will get you nowhere. Extending and pretending is precisely what got the int’l financiers in all this trouble to begin with. Let’s face it, you don’t solve a debt crisis with more debt, especially when you can’t pay off your existing obligations to begin with.</p> <p style="color: #222222; font-family: 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; line-height: 23.7999992370605px; margin-bottom: 0.825em; font-size: 14px; text-align: justify;">Below are general points of contention for renegotiation which Syriza wants to reopen with the TROIKA. &nbsp;Sure doesn’t sounds like something Trotsky would draft. &nbsp; It reads more like a resolution by existing shareholders of a corporation (in this case the Greek people) to put in place new management and restructure with creditors. &nbsp; In fact, it actually offers to give the EU more explicit control of the Greek banking system itself moving forward. &nbsp;Hardly seems radical or revolutionary to me? &nbsp; See for yourself:</p> <blockquote style="color: #222222; font-family: Georgia, 'Bitstream Charter', serif; line-height: 23.7999992370605px; margin-top: 0px; margin-right: 3em; margin-left: 3em; font-size: 14px;"><h5 style="color: #111111; font-family: Merriweather, Georgia, Times, serif; font-style: inherit; font-weight: inherit; line-height: 1.7; clear: both; font-size: 1.1em; margin: 0px;"><strong style="color: #222222; font-family: 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-style: inherit; line-height: 1.7;">Negotiating Stance with the Troika: Reconstruction of the Banking Sector and Debt Relief</strong></h5> <p style="font-style: inherit; line-height: 1.7; margin-right: 3em; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-left: 3em;">&nbsp;</p> <p style="font-style: inherit; line-height: 1.7; margin-right: 3em; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-left: 3em;"><strong style="font-family: 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-style: inherit; line-height: 1.7;"><em style="font-weight: inherit; line-height: 1.7;">Reconstruction of Greece’s banking sector</em></strong></p> <p style="font-style: inherit; line-height: 1.7; margin-right: 3em; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-left: 3em;">Offer to pass ownership and direct managerial control of Greek banks requiring recapitalisation to the ESM under certain conditions (see below). Such a transfer of ownership (i.e. common shares) and management will entail disbanding the GFSF (the Greek Financial Facility) and passing all its, newly acquired assets, onto its parent the ESM-EFSF, together with the responsibility for future recapitalisation phases. The conditions under which the Greek government will consent to this transfer include:</p> <p style="font-style: inherit; line-height: 1.7; margin-right: 3em; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-left: 3em;">&nbsp;</p> <ul style="font-family: 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-style: inherit; line-height: 1.7; margin: 0px 0px 0.825em 2.5em; padding: 0px; list-style: square;"> <li style="font-style: inherit; font-weight: inherit; line-height: 1.7;">No existing member of the Board of these banks must be retained.</li> <li style="font-style: inherit; font-weight: inherit; line-height: 1.7;">New Boards to be appointed by the ECB, in association with the ESM-EFSF and the European Commission; possibly under advisement from the European Banking Authority.</li> <li style="font-style: inherit; font-weight: inherit; line-height: 1.7;">The new Boards will replace top management and proceed with bank mergers and resolutions as required and under the supervision of the ECB.</li> <li style="font-style: inherit; font-weight: inherit; line-height: 1.7;">All depositors to be protected in full, whether guaranteed and not, during the period of insolvency and resolution, with a “deep insolvency” insurance fund funded by the ESM.</li> <li style="font-style: inherit; font-weight: inherit; line-height: 1.7;">Remaining shareholders and subordinated bondholders are not protected.</li> <li style="font-style: inherit; font-weight: inherit; line-height: 1.7;">Eventually, the shares of the reconstituted banks are to be sold back to the Eurozone private sector at a profit to the ESM-EFSF.</li> <li style="font-style: inherit; font-weight: inherit; line-height: 1.7;">ESM-EFSF investments for the purpose of recapitalisation of Greek banks not to count as part of the Greek national debt.</li> </ul> <p style="font-style: inherit; line-height: 1.7; margin-right: 3em; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-left: 3em;"><strong style="font-family: 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-style: inherit; line-height: 1.7;"><em style="font-weight: inherit; line-height: 1.7;">Re-negotiation of loan repayments re. Bailouts Mk1 and Mk2</em></strong></p> <ul style="font-family: 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-style: inherit; line-height: 1.7; margin: 0px 0px 0.825em 2.5em; padding: 0px; list-style: square;"> <li style="font-style: inherit; font-weight: inherit; line-height: 1.7;">Invite the troika to negotiate a schedule of repayment for past loans that is tied to the growth rate of the Greek economy. This way the troika acquires a stake in Greek stabilization and growth.</li> <li style="font-style: inherit; font-weight: inherit; line-height: 1.7;">Use the profits of the ECB from the SMP program (up to €14 billion so far), and of the Greek Central Bank from the ELA program, to establish a Solidarity Fund to provide food relief, through a food stamps program, and minimal electricity security for eligible Greek citizens and legal residents.</li> </ul> </blockquote> <p style="color: #222222; font-family: 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; line-height: 23.7999992370605px; margin-bottom: 0.825em; font-size: 14px; text-align: justify;">Moreover, there can be little doubt that the predatory international banking institutions was clearly complicit, along with the disgracefully corrupt Greek politicians (many who still hold office) and high ranking government officials, as well as most of the Ionian elites at the highest levels of society in the near total abrogation of their financial responsibilities to their country. &nbsp;They completely failed the common man in this regard, who understandably counted on them for proper sustainable fiscal governance.</p> <p style="color: #222222; font-family: 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; line-height: 23.7999992370605px; margin-bottom: 0.825em; font-size: 14px; text-align: justify;">Simply put, the provincial woman on the streets of Athens pushing her Gyro cart up the steep hills of Kolonaki is certainly less responsible for the lamentable state of affairs her beloved country finds itself in, then those whom should have clearly known better. &nbsp;Yet, today she is the one being asked to bare the brunt of the terribly onerous predicament her Nation is suffering through. &nbsp;Meanwhile, the bankers get more free Euros, and no one is buying her Gyros.</p> <p style="color: #222222; font-family: 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; line-height: 23.7999992370605px; margin-bottom: 0.825em; font-size: 14px; text-align: justify;">The EZ bankers need to promptly step up to the plate here, by offer greater forbearance for their own egregious culpability in this Greek tragedy. &nbsp;After all, if you are going to demand harsh self sacrifice from the bottom and middle of slice of society, you best show the example at the top, particularly if you want peace on the streets. &nbsp;It is simply unacceptable to force feed the lions share of the sovereigns’ financial resources through the EFSF/ESM/OMT bailout mechanisms in order to desperately ressistate what are essentially failed EU banking procedures &amp; a broken EZ monetary regime.</p> <p style="color: #222222; font-family: 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; line-height: 23.7999992370605px; margin-bottom: 0.825em; font-size: 14px; text-align: justify;">The entire EU financial system has to be soundly restructured, and realistically reconfigured for the long haul, as a monetary union without a corresponding fiscal union is an abomination. &nbsp; Finally, it is the people of the Eurozone who must have the final say on how that is to be done, for in the end, they are the ones footing the bill, not the floundering self serving bankers and bumbling self seeking technocrats.</p> <p style="color: #222222; font-family: 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; line-height: 23.7999992370605px; margin-bottom: 0.825em; font-size: 14px; text-align: justify;"><img src="http://athenstransfers.com/human-resources/a03.JPG" width="376" height="239" style="font-style: inherit; font-weight: inherit; line-height: 1.7; height: auto; max-width: 100%; border: 1px solid #dddddd; padding: 6px; margin-top: 0.4em; float: right; display: inline; margin-left: 1.225em; margin-bottom: 1.625em;" class=" alignright" />The Eurozone's monetary system which the Eurocrats were in such a rush to put forth was most certainly structurally off base from the outset. &nbsp; Anecdotally, all one had to do was visit sublime Greece, as I did in the Summers of 2009 &amp; 2010, and notice the excessive number of brand new yellow BMW &amp; Mercedes taxis on the streets of Athens to realise something had been too good to be true. &nbsp;Unwittingly, the exporting nation’s multinational banks had accelerated the flow of cheap money into the periphery States to such a degree that they had over stimulated the consumption of imported durable goods from abroad, which created destabilizing capital flows and unsustainable trade imbalances. &nbsp;Economies which grow dependent upon excessive debt financing always end up creating precarious misallocations of capital. &nbsp; We may well be about to find that out ourselves, right here in the good old USA.</p> <p style="color: #222222; font-family: 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; line-height: 23.7999992370605px; margin-bottom: 0.825em; font-size: 14px; text-align: justify;">The Greek people understand all of this more and more with each passing day. &nbsp; They are turning to Alexis Tsipras, not because he’s a radical Socialist as the establishment and captured media would have you believe, but rather because he simply better represents the only viable hope and aspirations of the common man on the streets of Athens. &nbsp;I have recently read nearly 50 articles in the western press covering the current tenuous situation in Greece, every single one of them branded Tsipras with the word “Radical”. &nbsp;You would think that Lenin himself had come back from the dead to dismantle the EU’s Tsarist autocracy and execute a few top European Commission members. &nbsp;Talk about dirty tricks, cheap scare tactics and disingenuous obfuscation. &nbsp;Just exactly what is it that they are all so afraid of here?</p> <p style="color: #222222; font-family: 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; line-height: 23.7999992370605px; margin-bottom: 0.825em; font-size: 14px; text-align: justify;">The following passage below was written by one of our esteemed contributors, Yanis Varoufakis, who just happens to be a close advisor to Alexis Tsipras. &nbsp;He’s a professor of Economics<em style="font-weight: inherit; line-height: 1.7;">&nbsp;</em>at the&nbsp;<em style="font-weight: inherit; line-height: 1.7;">University of Athens,</em>&nbsp;and&nbsp;Visiting Professor&nbsp;<em style="font-weight: inherit; line-height: 1.7;">Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs, University &nbsp;of Texas&nbsp;</em>Austin, USA. &nbsp;Yanis is clearly in the thick of it, and knows of which he speaks. &nbsp;Listen up.</p> <blockquote style="color: #222222; font-family: Georgia, 'Bitstream Charter', serif; line-height: 23.7999992370605px; margin-top: 0px; margin-right: 3em; margin-left: 3em; font-size: 14px;"><p style="font-style: inherit; line-height: 1.7; margin-right: 3em; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-left: 3em;">SYRIZA, a growing political party in Greece, is an acronym that stands for “Coalition of the Radical Left.” For Americans, the idea that a party on the radical left could gain power is unthinkable, and it was for Greeks, too—until very recently. But the harsh austerity measures that the European Union imposed on Greece after its economic collapse have created extreme conditions in Greece: six in ten young people are unemployed, wages and pensions have been cut, national income has fallen by one quarter.</p> <p style="font-style: inherit; line-height: 1.7; margin-right: 3em; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-left: 3em;">&nbsp;</p> <p style="font-style: inherit; line-height: 1.7; margin-right: 3em; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-left: 3em;">Europe is currently caught in a negative feedback loop, from which the established political process is unable to escape. For three years now, an endless stream of spending cuts and tax hikes has dominated the Greek Parliament’s agenda. A SYRIZA win may be the jolt that Europe needs: a victory by a pro-European party committed to keeping the country both in the Eurozone and in the European Union, but a party that, importantly, because of its radical disposition, is prepared to open up the conversation at the level of the European Council so that, at long last, European leaders address the problems they have been ignoring over the past five years. Back in June,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/24/opinion/only-syriza-can-save-greece.html?emc=tnt&amp;tntemail0=y&amp;_r=3&amp;" target="_blank" style="color: #1b8be0; font-family: 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-style: inherit; font-weight: inherit; line-height: 1.7;">in a New York Times op-ed</a>, James K. Galbraith and I alleged that “SYRIZA may be Europe’s best hope,” and six months later this still holds true.</p> </blockquote> <p style="color: #222222; font-family: 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; line-height: 23.7999992370605px; margin-bottom: 0.825em; font-size: 14px; text-align: justify;">At the end of the day, is enlightened civilization about protecting the interests of institutions, or about creating institutions that protect the interest of people? &nbsp;You tell me. &nbsp;Let the Greeks decide! &nbsp;Just as our founding fathers threw off the yolk of our regal oppressors, so does Tsipras seek to throw off the straight jacket stranglehold imposed on them by the odious&nbsp;oligarchs and their financial technocrats in Brussels. &nbsp;Furthermore, Tsipras isn’t even calling for their overthrow, he’s simply demanding a more realistic approach to the situation at hand. &nbsp; What’s the problem with that Mr. Junker? &nbsp; Is it about people or only about institutional privilege for you sir? &nbsp;Will you be nefariously working to circumvent the sovereign vote by offering parliament members bribes in Syntagma square, is that what you have been reduced to?</p> <p style="color: #222222; font-family: 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; line-height: 23.7999992370605px; margin-bottom: 0.825em; font-size: 14px; text-align: justify;">As for me, I would be more than happy to see the cradle of democracy put the imperial autocrats and financial kleptocrats in their place, teaching them a thing or two about enlightened self governance. &nbsp;Perhaps the ascent of Alexis Tsipras simply reflects the frustration of the everyday common man on the street, who’s completely fed up with these self seeking oligarchs and their self interested banking elites that keep offering up the same poison pill to cure a lethal debt epidemic that they themselves were central to spreading in the first place. &nbsp;It’s high time somebody wakes up these all knowing, self-serving, self important, bogus bureaucrats..................Opa!</p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-blog"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_blog" width="521" height="600" alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user85367/imageroot/bob-dylan-young-piano-harmonica.jpg?1419682484" /> </div> </div> </div> http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-12-27/cradle-democracy-rocks-autocrats-kleptocrats#comments B+ CRAP Creditors Crude European Central Bank European Union Eurozone Fail Greece International Monetary Fund Meltdown Middle East National Debt New York Times None World Bank Sat, 27 Dec 2014 12:14:44 +0000 Bruno de Landevoisin 499595 at http://www.zerohedge.com Putin: It Is Time To Play Your Ace In The Hole http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-12-26/putin-it-time-play-your-ace-hole <p><a href="http://www.thedailybell.com/editorials/35944/Ron-Holland-Putin-It-Is-Time-to-Play-Your-Ace-in-the-Hole/"><em>Submitted by Ron Holland via The Daily Bell</em></a>,</p> <p><em>You&#39;ve got to know when to hold &#39;em<br />Know when to fold &#39;em<br />Know when to walk away<br />And know when to run<br />You never count your money<br />When you&#39;re sittin&#39; at the table<br />There&#39;ll be time enough for countin&#39;<br />When the dealin&#39;s done.</em><br />&quot;The Gambler&quot; by Kenny Rogers</p> <p><strong>The entire world is watching Putin play poker with the Western politicians lead by Obama and followed by Washington quislings in London, Brussels and Berlin. </strong>America&#39;s goal since the end of the Cold War has been to weaken by financial, economic and, if necessary, military means any real competition to its global financial and resource domination through the petrodollar and dollar world reserve currency status.</p> <p>The current trade and economic sanctions against Russia and Iran follow this time-tested action that is never successful on its own, as we know from the 50-plus-year blockade of Cuba. But this strategy can lead to opposition nations retaliating by military means, often their only alternative to end blockades etc., which are an act of war and allow the US and other democracies to bring their ultimate superior military power to bare against the offending sovereign state. This worked for Lincoln against the Confederate States of America, by Woodrow Wilson against the Central Powers before World War One, against the Japanese Empire before World War Two, Iraq, Libya &ndash; the list is endless.</p> <p>Recently the US has created the oil price collapse, working closely with its client state Saudi Arabia, in order to weaken the economic power of both Iran and Russia, the two main nations opposing US <a href="http://www.thedailybell.com/definitions/params/id/2452/">hegemony</a>, foreign policy and petrodollar policy. Yes, this will play havoc with the US shale oil industry as well as London&#39;s North Sea oil industry but oil profits pale in comparison to the importance of maintaining Western power over Russia and China.</p> <p><strong>I hope Putin realizes the US is not playing games here, as this is a financial and strategic game to the death for Washington and it&#39;s Western allies that have foolishly followed the Goldman Sachs/<a href="http://www.thedailybell.com/definitions/params/id/2958/">central banking</a> cartel&#39;s deadly <a href="http://www.thedailybell.com/definitions/params/id/2409/">sovereign debt</a> recipe and for growth and prosperity. The time is up; the debts can never be repaid and sooner or later must be repudiated one way or the other.</strong></p> <p>China is waiting in the wings as the new world economic power and while it is too big to challenge, US strategy is to take out its top two allies, Iran and Russia, to buy time for Wall Street and Washington. The strategy might be a competitive economic course of action but the risk of military consequences and even a third world war loom on the horizon and no country has ever defeated Russia in a land attack. This is risky brinkmanship just to protect our banking and Wall Street elites and their profits at the expense of the American people, I might add, but the US has done this before.</p> <p><u><strong>Is This Just a Repeat of the Versailles Treaty, Russian-style?</strong></u></p> <p><strong>This has all happened before. It&#39;s the same old game with different players.</strong> I fear we are watching a repeat of the Versailles Treaty, Russian-style. If you look closely at real history rather than the establishment-directed propaganda dished out to the public, you&#39;ll realize that the Western financial elites and central banking cartel seldom change tactics. Why should they? Their financial empires continue to grow during all major wars and financial crises and if they should guess wrong, then they get taxpayers to bail them out.</p> <p>The Goldman Sachs, Rothschild and Soros types control the Western <a href="http://www.thedailybell.com/definitions/params/id/1862/">democracies</a> as well as the financial markets and use paid or blackmailed cheerleaders and front men to advance their best interests to the populace as acceptable economic or political policies.</p> <p>For example, Woodrow Wilson&#39;s Fourteen Points statement given on January 8, 1918, claiming the war and US intervention was a moral cause to advance peace in Europe after World War One, was one of the leading reasons the Germans sued for peace. In hindsight, we know that American intervention was really instituted to prevent an Allied loss or negotiated settlement that could make it impossible for French and British banks to pay back their massive loans to the US banking establishment and thereby bankrupting our leading banks of the day.</p> <p>Once the war was over the platitudes about freedom, self-determination and making the world safe for democracy dissolved into the <a href="http://www.thedailybell.com/definitions/params/id/1934/">Treaty of Versailles</a>, probably one of the most vengeful and unfair peace treaties ever forced on a defeated foe. The entire Austrian-Hungarian empire was totally destroyed except for the small area of present Austria and Germany, which was stripped of much of its territory and subjected to a vengeful, unpayable war debt comparable to America&#39;s current national debt today. Sadly, the treaty created the public anger and economic chaos that eventually brought Hitler to power and set the stage for the Second World War.</p> <p><u><strong>So Where Does Russia Go from Here?</strong></u></p> <p><strong>First, the US cable pundits are suggesting that Putin might retaliate by invading Ukraine.</strong> Why would Russia want Ukraine? Except for substantial agricultural resources that can be purchased on the open market, this is a bankrupt country with a long list of failed governments. The country has become a pawn in the battle between East and West, and its people have already suffered so much. Now Russia might move in the East to protect Russian-speaking areas and could be willing to suffer the additional economic consequences of creating a land bridge to Crimea but the military option appears quite limited and counter-productive at best.</p> <p>No nation will win a shooting war between the US, UK and EU versus Russia and China. The consequences are too horrible to be contemplated but Russia has an ace in the hole that can win the financial and economic battle going on today.</p> <p><strong>First, Russia should join with China in a new gold, oil and natural resource backed monetary union as an alternative to the failed debt democracy model pushed by Wall Street, the central bank cartel and self-serving politicians in the West.</strong> It simply does not work in the long term to finance prosperity and improved standards of living through mountains of debt placed on future generations.</p> <p>Washington has destroyed every tax haven and bit of personal and financial privacy in the world because of its desperate need for revenue. Every financial haven has caved, including Switzerland, because they cannot hope to prevail against the US, UK and EU. The US intends to make Russia a pariah state and cut it off from trade, funds transfer, banking and Western credit markets. It will not relent until Putin is overthrown and Russia is compliant with and a supporter of the New World Order. Next in line following Russia will be China. Thus, a monetary union could provide the needed support for Russia necessary to guarantee the independence and self-determination of China.</p> <p><strong>Second, Russia should act offensively rather than defensively on the financial front by creating corporate tax-free/low income tax zones and welcoming corporations, successful individuals and entrepreneurs to take up residence and create jobs and prosperity. </strong>The Hong Kong model does work to create industry, service industry and free-market prosperity and to win, Russia needs far more than a resource-based economy.</p> <p>Russia needs more population and a larger middle class and should offer residency and citizenship opportunities to productive and successful workers, entrepreneurial businesses and corporations etc. with the right of reasonable financial and corporate privacy along with the low tax benefits.</p> <p>Canada, the wonderful country I live and work in today, offers permanent residency benefits and citizenship to hundreds of thousands of foreigners wanting to work and immigrate to Canada together with low corporate tax benefits.</p> <p>Russia can and should do the same, although the market will require bargain prices as Russia does not have the long history of rule of law, security and peace like Canada does. Russia should look at good climate areas like Crimea and other areas around the Black Sea and maybe Kaliningrad in the north directly in the middle of the EU.</p> <p>Competititon, <a href="http://www.thedailybell.com/definitions/params/id/1942/">free markets</a>, minimal regulation and low taxes are the 21st century solution to military aggression, over-indebted and resource-hungry empires. Putin said it best in his news conference last week.</p> <p><em>&quot;They won&#39;t leave [the bear] alone. They will always seek to chain it. And once it&#39;s chained, they&#39;ll rip out its teeth and claws. The nuclear deterrence, speaking in present-day terms. As soon as this happens, nobody will need [the bear] anymore. They&#39;ll stuff it. And start to put their hands on its Taiga [Siberian forest belt] after it. We&#39;ve heard statements from Western officials that Russia&#39;s owning Siberia was not fair.&quot;</em> &ndash; Vladimir Putin</p> <p><strong>Vladimir Putin, now is the time to play your ace in the hole.</strong> Russia can win the financial and economic war being waged against it but not by playing the same old game of poker where cheating prevails. Show the world that Russia is worthy of 21st century leadership in a peaceful and competitive manner by using the debt, currency and banking weaknesses of the West to defeat an opponent out to chain Russia as it has the rest of the world into surrender and serfdom.</p> <p>If you are as concerned as I am about where the world is headed, consider securing a second home internationally in the right location as a means to protect you and your family. Think of it as lifestyle insurance.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="507" height="446" alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/20141226_putin.jpg?1419615772" /> </div> </div> </div> http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-12-26/putin-it-time-play-your-ace-hole#comments China ETC Germany Goldman Sachs goldman sachs Hong Kong Iran Iraq National Debt Reserve Currency Saudi Arabia Sovereign Debt Switzerland Ukraine Vladimir Putin Sat, 27 Dec 2014 03:15:17 +0000 Tyler Durden 499593 at http://www.zerohedge.com