In case the world needed any more geopolitical risk "hotspots", overnight Venezuela's flailing president Nicolas Maduro, faced with an unprecedented economic crisis at home, decided to do what most authoritarian rulers do when faced with imminent civil unrest: point the finger abroad, and in this case, at Washington, as a distraction. Overnight Maduro switched from broad generalizations to specifics when, as CNN reports, Maduro said Saturday an unspecified number of Americans were arrested "a few days ago" for engaging in espionage and recruitment activities. Additionally, a group of prominent U.S. officials, current and retired, will be banned from entering Venezuela because of what Maduro said was their involvement in "bombing Iraq, Syria and Vietnam" and other "terrorist" actions. The officials include George W. Bush, former U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney, former CIA Director George Tenet.
Who controls NATO, or the IMF? I’m sure you understand it’s not you. Still, when an organization exhibits aggressive behavior in your name, or lends out your money in your name, you should at all times feel that you are in control, through those you elect to represent you. Well, do you? Or are you merely thinking: that’s too far away from me? Organizations, like so many things in life, don’t scale up well, if at all. Beyond a certain critical mass, they become counterproductive, as Illich states. They become predators on their own creators. That goes as much for NATO, IMF and EU as it does for schools and hospitals.
No; Mr. Obama has not seen “the great light,” remaining as blind in Middle East affairs as he has been in his belligerent, anti-Russia approach in Eastern Europe. He, like Don Quixote, is still riding his Rocinante as he charges the windmills. Saint Paul did see the great light and is now known as Apostle of the Gentiles. As for Obama, given his present lackluster status, it’s unlikely he will be politically canonized, much less be known someday as Political Apostle of either Americans or Non-Americans.
"The best environment for man is the environment of liberty." - former President of the Czech Republic, Vaclav Klaus
Liberty is a fundamental human right; it is the cornerstone of our existence. But liberty is under attack from all directions, whether through higher state control or individuals themselves. Liberty is in search for its protector.
Former Ukraine Deputy PM Says "Another Coup Can Not Be Ruled Out" Among Currency Implosion, Central Bank ChargesSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 02/24/2015 12:52 -0500
A year or so on from the last coup in Ukraine, Ukraine’s former Prime Minister Sergey Arbuzov told TASS, with growing popular discontent, "another state coup can’t be ruled out in Ukraine." As the cease-fire deal hangs torn and tattered in the Debaltseve winds, the nation is a mess: a new gas dispute looms as Gazprom demands upfront payments; capital controls have been tightened as the $17.5bn IMF loan may not be enough; and the central bank governor faces prosecution as the economy craters. All of these factors have driven massive outflows from Ukraine and the Hryvnia has crashed to over 33 to the USD - a record high (and 70% devaluation from the last coup).
NSA Spying Worse than Stasi or Nazi Germany, J. Edgar Hoover … Or Orwell’s 1984
We would do well to consider the possibility of war strategies when it comes to the global stockpiling of petroleum reserves. In the years leading up to the German invasion of Poland, the world witnessed dramatic decreases in the price of oil as well as massive increases in petroleum inventories, especially as the Texas fields began to produce. These shifts in the global oil markets ran parallel to the deflation which had begun in October, 1929, and as such, we can see the same pattern repeating today as oil prices collapse, inventories are growing, and world wide deflation is deepening.
** Greek Bank Runs Accelerate as Possible ‘Grexit’ Looms
** Fatigue with Greek Crisis Breeding Massive Complacency
** Ukraine a Significant Setback for NATO
** India Demand To Rise To 35 - 40 Tonnes This Month
** Gold Oversold - Fundamental and Technical Position Good
US Sends "Tankbuster" Jets To Europe Over Russia Fears After Germany Says "A Large Scale War Could Develop"Submitted by Tyler Durden on 02/18/2015 11:27 -0500
Karl-Georg Wellmann, a lawmaker in Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union has warned that, despite its efforts to avoid arms being provided to Ukraine, Germany "will no longer be able to stop weapons deliveries from from the U.S. and Canada." Almost too coincidental to these comments, CNN reports, the U.S. Air Force is sending its A-10 "tankbusters" back to Europe in order to "increase rotational presence in Europe to reassure our allies and partner nations that our commitment to European security is a priority." As Wellmann ominously concludes, seemingly confirming Putin's warning yesterday that if Kiev aims at a military solution, war will never end, "a large-scale war could develop out of that."
What's an equity investor to do these days?
You know it's bad when... you start blaming speculators. Very reminiscent of the "it's not us, we have a solid balance sheet, it's the short selling speculators" bullshit in the days before and after the stock crashes of American Insurance Group, Bear Stearns, Lehman Brothers and Merrill Lynch; mere days after his bank's bonds crashed, the CEO of Raiffeissen Bank (Austria's 3rd largest) has stated (unequivocally) that "panic was created artificially," blaming short-sellers for his bank's demise.
As leaders from France, Cyprus, Germany, US, Russia, and Ukraine drop tape-bombs of turmoil at one another, the following somewhat stunning clip suggests on the ground in Eastern Europe, other - far bigger - bombs are being lobbed...
Given the spate of recent poor economic numbers in the U.S. and internationally, analysts are beginning to question the veracity of some of the U.S. government's economic statistics including their jobs numbers today. “The official unemployment rate, which cruelly overlooks the suffering of the long-term and often permanently unemployed as well as the depressingly underemployed, amounts to a Big Lie ...”
With Ukraine, Germany, and France all expressing their concern this morning about "conflict escalation" between pro-Russian separatists and the Ukraine military, the so-called "truce" appears to be hanging by a thread of semanticism (despite OSCE's please for respect of the cease-fire and the demarcation line). Today's triple whammy of 'escalation' appears more focused on the non-Russian side as first, France begins sending tanks into Poland; second, Ukraine shifts its tanks to the front-line; and third - and potentially most inflammatory for Putin - NATO has confirmed plans to create permanent command centers in Eastern Europe. Putin has not responded yet but reports of 'nuclear bombers' flying above the English Channel "with transponders turned off," suggests the sabre rattling continues.
Until now, central banks have restricted monetary policy to domestic economic management; this is now evolving into the more dangerous stage of internationalisation through competitive devaluations. The gold price is an early warning of future monetary and currency troubles, and it is now becoming apparent how they may transpire. The ECB move to give easy money to profligate Eurozone politicians is likely to have important ramifications well beyond Europe, and together with parallel actions by the Bank of Japan, can now be expected to increase demand for physical gold in the advanced economies once more.