Saturday, March 15, 2014

Today' Links

1---Consumer Sentiment in U.S. Unexpectedly Falls on Outlook, Bloomberg

2---Exclusive: Signs of declining economic security, AP (archive)

3---Media blackout in the US, Testosterone Pit

The warning, issued officially and publicly by a Cabinet member, to target the dollar, has been vigorously ignored by the mainstream media in the US. It’s a touchy subject here. The dollar reigns supreme. Its status as the sole world reserve currency, which has provided the US with enormous economic advantages, remains unquestionable forevermore. Or so wishes the Fed, which has done such a wonderful job of managing the dollar for the last 100 years that it has lost most of its value, though it’s still a heck of a lot better than the ruble.

“I have a suspicion the Western media don't want to report on this,” Mândrăşescu said. “It could be a bit unpleasant for the S&P 500 and the nanobots trading the US stock market.” Better keep them in the dark.

4---19 Signs That The U.S. Consumer Is Tapped Out, zero hedge

Real disposable income per capita continues to fall.  In the fourth quarter of 2012, it was sitting at $37,265.  By the time that the fourth quarter of 2013 had come around, it had dropped to $36,941.  That means that average Americans have less money to go shopping with than they did previously.
#2 In January, real disposable income in the U.S. experienced the largest year over year decline that we have seen since 1974.

#3 As disposable income decreases, major retailers are closing thousands of stores all over the country.  Some are even calling this "a retail apocalypse".

#4 From September 2013 to January 2014, the personal saving rate in the United States dropped by a staggering 16 percent.

#5 During the fourth quarter of 2013, we witnessed the largest increase in consumer debt in this country that we have seen since 2007.

#6 Fewer Americans are applying for mortgages these days.  In fact, the MBA Purchase Applications Index is now the lowest that it has been since 1995.

#7 Overall, the rate of homeownership in the United States has fallen for eight years in a row.

#8 Many Americans are finding it increasingly difficult to afford a new car or truck.  The following comes from a recent CNBC article...

A new study shows the average household in 24 of America's 25 largest metropolitan areas cannot afford to pay for the average priced new car or truck.
"Just because you can manage the monthly payment doesn't mean you should let a $30,000 or $40,000 ride gobble up such a huge share of your paycheck," said Mike Sante, managing editor of "Many people are spending money on a car payment that they could be saving."

#9 Incredibly, 56 percent of all Americans now have "subprime credit" at this point.

#10 Total consumer credit has risen by a whopping 22 percent over the past three years...

While Barack Obama has been in the White House, median household income in the United States has fallen for five years in a row.
#14 U.S. workers are taking home the smallest share of the income pie that has ever been recorded.

#15 One recent study found that about 60 percent of the jobs that have been "created" since the end of the last recession pay $13.83 or less an hour.

5---Brzezinski Mapped Out the Battle for Ukraine in 1997, antiwar

Why would the United States run the risk of siding with anti-Semitic, neo-Nazis in Ukraine?
One of the keys may be found by looking back at Zbigniew Brzezinski’s 1997 book, The Grand Chessboard in which he wrote, “Ukraine, a new and important space on the Eurasian chessboard, is a geopolitical pivot because its very existence as an independent country helps to transform Russia. Without Ukraine, Russia ceases to be a Eurasian empire.”

“However, if Moscow regains control over Ukraine, with its 52 million people and major resources as well as access to the Black Sea, Russia automatically again regains the wherewithal to become a powerful imperial state, spanning Europe and Asia.”
The former national security advisor to Jimmy Carter from 1977 to 1981 and top foreign policy advisor to Barack Obama, Brzezinski wrote that US policy should be “unapologetic” in perpetuating “America’s own dominant position for at least a generation and preferably longer still.”

Brzezinski delved into the importance of little known Ukraine by explaining in his 1997 book, “Geopolitical pivots are the states whose importance is derived not from their power and motivation but rather from their sensitive location… which in some cases gives them a special role in either defining access to important areas or in denying resources to a significant player.”

“Ukraine, Azerbaijan, South Korea, Turkey and Iran play the role of critically important geopolitical pivots,” he wrote in The Grand Chessboard, a book viewed by many as a blueprint for US world domination.
Brzezinski wrote that Eurasia is “the chessboard on which the struggle for global primacy continues to be played,” and that “it is imperative that no Eurasian challenger emerges, capable of dominating Eurasia and thus also of challenging America.”

6---The double whammy that slammed stocks, CBS

Economists at Societe Generale wrote in a note to clients that the data came in "vastly below our below-consensus forecasts, confirming the fast deterioration of China's economic growth entering 2014." Factoring in the already weak export data and the simmering trouble in China's financial system, and things aren't looking so great for policymakers in Beijing.

Especially as they try to balance the needs of short-term growth against the need to rein in a dangerous debt bubble and the desire for long-term structural reforms of their credit markets.
Another pressure point was the currency markets, which I've written about frequently lately. Stocks and other risky assets had benefited throughout 2013's record-setting performance from the consistent weakness of currencies like the U.S. dollar and the Japanese yen against the euro. Pair trades known as "carry trades" became popular as hedge funds would sell the weak currency short against the euro and use the proceeds to buy stocks.

Over the last few weeks, these trades have been under pressure as volatility has returned. The yen carry trade, proxied by the ProShares UltraShort Yen (YCS), collapsed at the start of the month on concerns over the Russian military deployment into Crimea. But then it ripped higher following that Putin press conference, pulling stocks along with it.

It's now sliding again, retesting recent lows -- and more deterioration looks increasingly likely.
The weakness in the yen carry -- caused, confusingly, by strength in the yen -- was helped by a dramatic intraday drop in the euro on comments from European Central Bank officials that new, extraordinary cheap-money stimulus measures could be forthcoming because a strong euro has damaged Europe's economy by trimming exports and pushing the inflation rate uncomfortably low.
Then there were no hints of any new stimulus measures out of the Bank of Japan earlier this week -- which disappointed a market expecting something in the wake of weak Japan GDP numbers over the weekend and the looming sales tax hike scheduled for April. That sent carry traders scurrying as the euro dropped hard against a strengthening yen. They sold stocks to close yen short/euro long positions.

7---Russia, Israel and oil,  moon of Alabama (comments section) mostly links

From a 2006 article: Where does Israel get its oil? I’ll answer this question first: It's not where it gets its oil now, it's where it wants and needs to get its oil that matters most.
Meanwhile, Israel continues to seek nearby suppliers. In the lead-up to the war in Iraq, there was some talk of restarting an abandoned pipeline that runs from Mosul, Iraq, to Haifa. In order for this to happen, Israel would need to somehow wrangle the support of the Syrians, since they control part of the route.

Israel has long sought a local source of oil, especially since the oil crisis of 1973. Having a nearby supplier would increase Israel's energy security and reduce the cost of its imports. Iran filled that need for a while: Starting in 1968, the Israelis used a pipe called the "TIPline" to import Iranian oil from the Red Sea. But the shah was overthrown in 1979, and Iran shut off the tap.
Prior to the bombing of Lebanon, Israel and Turkey had announced the underwater pipeline routes, which bypassed Syria and Lebanon. These underwater pipeline routes do not overtly encroach on the territorial sovereignty of Lebanon and Syria.
On the other hand, the development of alternative land based corridors (for oil and water) through Lebanon and Syria would require Israeli-Turkish territorial control over the Eastern Mediterranean coastline through Lebanon and Syria.
The implementation of a land-based corridor, as opposed to the underwater pipeline project, would require the militarisation of the East Mediterranean coastline, extending from the port of Ceyhan across Syria and Lebanon to the Lebanese-Israeli border.
Is this not one of the hidden objectives of the war on Lebanon?

Also involved in this project is a pipeline to bring water to Israel, pumping water from upstream resources of the Tigris and Euphrates river system in Anatolia. This has been a long-run strategic objective of Israel to the detriment of Syria and Iraq. Israel’s agenda with regard to water is supported by the military cooperation agreement between Tel Aviv and Ankara.
So there you have just ONE Zionist motive for helping to fabricate war with Iraq at the OSP (Office of Special Plans Defense Dept.), plotting ways to destabilize Syria and topple Assad and pushing for war with Iran. And I by-passed their Lebanon adventures which are a fascinating read in that article and oil exploration in the Golan Heights. But Zionists don’t only have the oil & water goals in mind. Their aim goes far beyond that and that’s why Congress is Zionist-occupied territory.
@ Toivo 53 wrote:
Israel has no dog in this fight at all. In fact, their foreign ministry values good relations with Russia and I seriously doubt that they would let some of their more zealous Zionist allies spoil that

From the same article above:
The objective of Israel is not only to acquire Caspian sea oil for its own consumption needs but also to play a key role in re-exporting Caspian sea oil back to the Asian markets through the Red Sea port of Eilat. The strategic implications of this re-routing of Caspian sea oil are farreaching.
Diverting Central Asian oil and gas to the Eastern Mediterranean (under Israeli military protection), for re-export back to Asia, serves to undermine the inter-Asian energy market, which is based on the development of direct pipeline corridors linking Central Asia and Russia to South Asia, China and the Far East.
Ultimately, this design is intended to weaken Russia’s role in Central Asia and cut off China from Central Asian oil resources. It is also intended to isolate Iran.
Meanwhile, Israel has emerged as a new powerful player in the global energy market.

Since Michel Chossudovsky wrote this prophetic article Russia already has an established military port in Tartus, Syria.
Meanwhile, Moscow has responded to the US-Israeli-Turkish design to militarize the East Mediterranean coastline with plans to establish a Russian naval base in the Syrian port of Tartus:
“Defense Ministry sources point out that a naval base in Tartus will enable Russia to solidify its positions in the Middle East and ensure security of Syria. Moscow intends to deploy an air defense system around the base – to provide air cover for the base itself and a substantial part of Syrian territory. (S-300PMU-2 Favorit systems will not be turned over to the Syrians. They will be manned and serviced by Russian personnel.)
(Kommerzant, 2 June 2006)
Tartus is strategically located within 30 km. of the Lebanese border.
Moreover, Moscow and Damascus have reached an agreement on the modernization of Syria’s air defenses as well as a program in support to its ground forces, the modernization of its MIG-29 fighters as well as its submarines. (Kommerzant, 2 June 2006). In the context of an escalating conflict, these developments have farreaching implications.

And that’s not all the Russians are up to with Syria to get under Zionist skin:
And Russia’s working on signing another similar deal with Lebanon.
So Zionists not only have a dog in this race, they're intention is to OWN THE RACE and U.S. foreign policy which is undoubtedly already a fait accompli.

8---Nazis in Kiev, moon of Alabama (comments)  links mostly

letter to swedish embassy on FM statement concerning Ukraine and what it ignores
embassy email:

Hello Swedish embassy
Your FM has made this statement on the crisis in Ukraine, whereby a neonazi govt for first time since 1945 has been put into power in europe:
On March 14th, Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt made a statement in the Swedish parliament on the current state of affairs in Ukraine
it condemns russia for its natural national security concerns, while justifying a coup d'etat by fascists elements, a reading of it shows FM cant be very familiar with the 'current state of affairs' in Ukraine.

here is what FM Bildt ignores:
1. the presence of fascists in the Euromaidan,,,indeed leading it. Svoboda and Pravy Sektor, the latter currently terrorising people in east ukraine.
Svoboda was condemned BY the EU in 2012:
Svoboda was condemned in an official resolution voted and adopted by the European Parliament. The document, titled “European Parliament of 13 December, 2012 on the Situation in Ukraine,” is available online.
In section 8 of the resolution, the EU’s legislative body declares itself “concerned about the rising nationalistic sentiment in Ukraine, expressed in support for the Svoboda party, which, as a result, is one of the two new parties to enter the Verkhovna Rada,” the Ukrainian parliament.
Stating that “racist, anti-Semitic, and xenophobic views go against the EU’s fundamental values,” the European Parliament “therefore appeals to pro-democratic parties in the Verkhovna Rada not to associate with, endorse, or form coalitions with this party.”

they are now in power:

Read about the neo-nazis intimidating the Central Election Commission in order to secure rule and personnel changes in order to favor the ultra-right in the forthcoming elections. Thug Aleksandr Shevchenko informed the CEC that armed activists will remain in CEC offices in order to make certain that the election is not rigged against the neo-nazis. What he means, of course, is the armed thugs will make sure the neo-nazis win. If the neo-nazis don’t win, the chances are high that they will take power regardless.
Members of President Yanukovich’s ruling party, the Party of Regions, have been shot, had arrest warrants issued for them, have experienced home invasions and physical threats, and are resigning in droves in hopes of saving the lives of themselves and their families. The prosecutor’s office in the Volyn region (western Ukraine) has been ordered by ultra-nationalists to resign en masse

2. Bildts article mentions snipers,implies they were government..ISnt he aware of the Ashton leaks? where clearly the snipers work for the Maidan insurgency, a classic color revolution tactic

Oleksandr Yakymenko, the former head of Ukraine's Security Service, claimed this week in an interview with TV channel Rossiya that pro-Maidan (pro-Western) organizers were the ones behind the Feb. 20 shootings.
Yakymenko said the shots came from Kyiv's Philharmonic Hall. That particular building was overseen by the Fatherland Party's deputy Andriy Parubiy, known unofficially as the "commander of Maidan." After President Viktor Yanukovych fled Ukraine, Parubiy assumed the post of Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council for the interim Ukrainian government.

So given these issues,how can FM BIldt claim the new kiev regime is legitimate? or that any good govt can be formed in free and fair elections, when Praevy sektor has been terrorising other partyt members?

3. Given the above, why attack russia? if has legitimate security concerns that the EU and US have formed a dangerous russia phobic regime right next door to it. How would sweden if US formed a sweden hating regime in Finland?
the new neonzazi regime threatens russia with nukes... imagine if Iran was to threaten israel with nukes?

so why has swedens FM ignored all thjis info? its been known for weeks. and why has noone apprised him. is all this is at it seems: a calculated move by US and EU to rol NATO to russias doorstep??

9---What the Western-backed regime is planning for Ukrainian workers, wsws

On Thursday, the Ukrainian parliament voted to establish a 60,000-strong National Guard recruited from “activists” in the anti-Russian protests and from military academies.
The force will be overseen by the new security chief, Andriy Parubiy, a founder in the early 1990s of the neo-Nazi Social-National Party of Ukraine. His deputy, Dmytro Yarosh, is the leader of the paramilitary Right Sector. It is the Ukrainian equivalent of Hitler’s storm troopers.
In addition to aiding the West in its provocations against Moscow, the main responsibility of these elements will be to carry through a social onslaught against the Ukrainian working class at the behest of international capital.

Much worse is to come. Ukraine’s total debt is now estimated to be around $80 billion. With its currency having depreciated by 20 percent on the dollar since the start of the year, depleting currency reserves and increasing capital flight, Ukraine’s debt will rapidly grow even larger.
The IMF and EU are said to be working on a “rescue” package of just $15 billion. Not only is most of this earmarked to cover repayments to the Western banks, it is also tied in to massive cuts in spending for pensions and fuel subsidies. Since 1998, Ukraine has been involved in various IMF “structural reform” programmes, all of which have had to be abandoned within one year because their consequences were considered too socially explosive.
It was what former Prime Minister Mykola Azarov described as the “extremely harsh conditions” of a renewed IMF loan brought forward on November 20 last year that led to the government’s decision to put off signing the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement. That decision, in turn, became the pretext for the US- and EU-sponsored protests and resulting putsch.
The Western powers now intend to seize the moment they did so much to engineer. Writing in the Financial Times in February, Anders Aslund, a former adviser to the Ukrainian government, welcomed the Western-backed coup as an opportunity to impose austerity. The crisis in Ukraine meant that a “radical reform programme should be easier to undertake… than in many countries that have faced similar crises in the past,” he wrote.
Behind incessant rhetorical invocations of a “democratic revolution,” Ukraine’s newly-installed government of former bankers, fascists and oligarchs is preparing draconian austerity measures.
The plans being drawn up are openly described as the “Greek model,” i.e., the programme of savage cuts imposed on Greece by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and European Union (EU) that has caused Greece’s economy to collapse by nearly 25 percent in five years and produced a massive growth in unemployment and poverty....

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