Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Today's links

"The response of the euro zone ministers (Eurogroup) to the Greek government reveals the ruthless character of this capitalist body. Greek voters, who elected Syriza based on the party’s election promises to end austerity, have been told their votes count for nothing. The financial aristocracy and its institutions will tolerate nothing that impedes the transfer of wealth from the poor to the rich."
WSWS


The US-instigated war in Ukraine since March 2014 has caused a humanitarian catastrophe, one which the US-steered German and other western media have blocked out of their coverage. More than one million Ukrainian citizens, losing their homes or in fear of being destroyed in the insane US-instigated carnage that is sweeping across Ukraine, have sought asylum in Russia. They have been welcomed as brothers according to all reports. That is a human response that has untold resonances among ordinary Russians. Because of the wonders of YouTube and smart phone videos, Russians are fully aware of the truth of the US war in eastern Ukraine. Russians are becoming politically sensitive for the first time in years as they realize that some circles in the West simply want to destroy them because they resist becoming a vassal of a Washington gone berserk......


This for me is the heart of an emerging renaissance of the spirit among Russians that gives me more than hope for the future. And, a final note, it has been policy among the so-called Gods of Money, the bankers of London and New York, since at least the assassination in 1881 of Czar Alexander II, to prevent a peaceful growing alliance between Germany and Russia. A prime aim of Victoria Nuland’s Ukraine war has been to rupture that growing Russo-German economic cooperation. A vital question for the future of Germany and of Europe will be whether Germany’s politicians continue to kneel to the throne of Obama or his successor or define their true interests in closer cooperation with the emerging Eurasian economic renaissance that is being shaped by President Putin’s Russia and by President Xi’s China."
Russia’s Remarkable Renaissance, F. William Engdahl, Sputnik
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Central Banks Are Crack Dealers & Faith Healers






1--NATO begins military manoeuvres in Black Sea, wsws


Juncker’s proposal was welcomed above all by the German government. Through deputy spokeswoman Christiane Wirtz, German Chancellor Angela Merkel (Christian Democratic Union, CDU) called for “intensified military cooperation in Europe.”


German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier (Social Democratic Party, SPD) and Defence Minister Ursula Von der Leyen (CDU) spoke out in favour of a European army. “For the SPD, the long-term goal of a European army is an important political issue and has been part of the party programme for many years,” Steinmeier told the Berlin-based Tagesspiegel .
“Confronting the new dangers and threats to our peaceful European order” requires “a rapid adjustment and modernisation of the joint European security strategy,” said Steinmeier. “I am pushing for that. We have brought our ideas to Brussels on this.”


2--Greece told deeper austerity needed to secure additional loans, wsws


The Eurogroup “needed to see signs that reforms are being implemented,” he demanded, warning that there “can be no talk about early disbursement if there is no agreement and no implementation.” The Greek government, he added, had promised the Eurogroup that it would take no unilateral actions or roll back austerity measures already adopted.


Without billions of euros being made available in loans, Greece faces default on its €320 billion foreign debt in a matter of weeks. The euro zone meeting took place amid dire warnings that Greece’s banks can no longer finance the economy due to their lack of liquidity and an ongoing flight of deposits.
Nearly €20 billion were withdrawn from the banks in January and February. There is a nearly €80 billion gap between the €135 billion available in the banks’ deposits and their loan balance, which exceeds €210 billion. The banks only have temporary access to high interest rate emergency liquidity assistance (ELA) from the ECB, which can be ended at any time....


Upon taking office, Syriza began its rapid capitulation to the demands of global capital, insisting it had already agreed to 70 percent of the austerity measures in place. Addressing Syriza’s latest proposals Sunday, Dijsselbloem said, “Those absolutely won’t be accepted as the 30 percent that they wanted to replace.”....


In reality, everything is being done on the troika’s terms, as has been the case since 2010. Even the pretence of renaming the troika has been ditched, with German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble purposefully using the word numerous times as he entered Monday’s meeting and other euro zone ministers, including Dijsselbloem, following suit. Far from an end to the troika’s monitoring of the Greek government in Athens, the technical talks beginning Wednesday will be held in both Brussels and Greece, Dijsselbloem told the press conference.
The response of the euro zone ministers to the Greek government reveals the ruthless character of this capitalist body. Greek voters, who elected Syriza based on the party’s election promises to end austerity, have been told their votes count for nothing. The financial aristocracy and its institutions will tolerate nothing that impedes the transfer of wealth from the poor to the rich.


3--The carnage in fracking, sputnik


experts point out that the astonishing growth of US oil production has finally slowed down as the oil market has been suffering from a 50 percent decline in prices since June 2014. For instance, the Eagle Ford in Texas, the American second-largest oil field, is expected to reduce its output by 10,000 barrels per day, while oil production in the Bakken region in North Dakota is likely to drop by 8,000. Experts stress that the overall number of drilling rigs in the US has already plunged by 41 percent; this while investments have been cut back and employees laid off


4--Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov said that Moscow would respond to NATO military buildup near Russian border "in an adequate way."



5--US Dollar at 12-year High, Puts Emerging Markets in Jeopardy, sputnik


The S&P advanced some 207% in 2009-2015, driven by the Fed’s ultra-easy monetary policies and record high corporate earnings. Similar dynamics were seen twice during past century: in 1974-1980, preceding the Reaganomics, and early 1929, just before the dramatic end of the Great Prosperity in October that same year. Both situations, despite preceding two completely different further developments in America’s economy, had also laid the cornerstone for the dollar’s appreciation.
6--Recession Alarm: Wholesale Sales Plunge Alongside Factory Orders, Worst Since Lehman, ZH



7--Why Is Per Capita Energy Consumption At Recession Levels After Six Years Of "Recovery"?, ZH


8--Consumer Spending Tumbles: BofA Blames Snow, Oil; Claims Its Models Are Right, Reality Is Wrong, ZH


9--Market selloff is about the dollar: Koesterich, cnbc


You've got the dollar up about 23 percent from the summer lows, and people are realizing this is starting to bite into earnings" BlackRock's Russ Koesterich said during a "Squawk Box" interview.


A stronger dollar makes U.S. goods more expensive abroad and dilutes the value of earnings when American companies bring overseas profits back home. With price-to-earnings ratios already fairly extended, it will be harder for the United States to post gains this year without earnings growth, he said.
The dollar is due for a pullback at some point this year because it is currently at the center of an incredibly crowded trade, Koesterich said. He expects the dollar to continue to appreciate as monetary policy around the world remains loose.


"The fundamentals are what they are and the reality is the U.S. is going to outgrow Europe and Japan, the path of U.S. monetary policy is very different than the rest of the world, and you've got a much lower current account deficit because of domestic oil production, all of which favor a stronger dollar over the next few years," he said.


10--Dear Federal Reserve: *Now* is the Time to Raise Interest Rates? Really? Seriously?!?, NC


GREAT ARTICLE


11--So did Syriza win a victory?, saker


The point to understand is that unless there is a restructuring of Greece’s debt, either by a lengthening of the terms of repayment or through an outright debt write-off (surely the most logical option), then flexibility on the size of the primary budget surplus is limited since the whole point of setting it at the ridiculous target of 4.5% of GDP is to generate a sufficient surplus to start paying off the debt.  Needless to say, given the size of the debt, on the existing terms of repayment that would mean running such a surplus for decades, something, which would utterly devastate whatever is left of Greece’s economy if it were done, which of course it won’t be.


As it happens, I think it is most unlikely that Greece is actually running a primary budget surplus at all.  Output appears to have fallen sharply in the last quarter of 2014 (with the fall beginning before the election was called) whilst tax receipts seem to have fallen off a cliff since the start of the year.  Whether Greece ever did run a primary budget surplus for any part of 2014 (and my brother for one believes that claims that it did were smoke and mirrors) I think it is very unlikely that it is doing so now.  With the economy in the state it is in, I think that any plan to run a primary budget surplus at whatever level so that Greece can remain in the Eurozone and pay its debts is anyway an utterly fantastic one.  I am sure that Yaroufakis at least is clever enough to understand this.


In my opinion the only realistic way forward is for Syriza to use whatever grace period it has got (and it may turn out to be a lot less than 4 months) to prepare the Greek economy and the Greek people for a default and (since the European authorities in their great unwisdom have decided that a default is incompatible with membership of the Eurozone) for a Grexit.


12---Russia's remarkable renaissance, Engdahl


My first of many visits to Russia was more than twenty years ago, in May, 1994. I was invited by a Moscow economics think-tank to deliver critical remarks about the IMF. My impressions then were of a once-great people who were being humiliated to the last ounce of their life energy. Mafia gangsters sped along the wide boulevards of Moscow in sparkling new Mercedes 600 limousines with dark windows and without license plates. Lawlessness was the order of the day, from the US-backed Yeltsin Kremlin to the streets. “Harvard boys” like Jeffrey Sachs or Sweden’s Anders Aaslund or George Soros were swarming over the city figuring new ways to rape and pillage Russia under the logo “shock therapy” and “market-oriented reform” another word for “give us your crown jewels.”


The human toll of that trauma of the total collapse of life in Russia after November 1989 was staggering. I could see it in the eyes of everyday Russians on the streets of Moscow, taxi-drivers, mothers shopping, normal Russians.


Today, some two decades later, Russia is again confronted by a western enemy, NATO, that seeks to not just humiliate her, but to actually destroy her as a functioning state because Russia is uniquely able to throw a giant monkey wrench into plans of those western elites behind the wars in Ukraine, in Syria, Libya, Iraq and well beyond to Afghanistan, Africa and South America.
Rather than depression, in my recent visits to Russia in the past year as well as in numerous discussions with a variety of Russian acquaintances, I sense a new feeling of pride, of determination, a kind of rebirth of something long buried.




The renaissance I detect is evident in more than protests or polls, however. The US-instigated war in Ukraine since March 2014 has caused a humanitarian catastrophe, one which the US-steered German and other western media have blocked out of their coverage. More than one million Ukrainian citizens, losing their homes or in fear of being destroyed in the insane US-instigated carnage that is sweeping across Ukraine, have sought asylum in Russia. They have been welcomed as brothers according to all reports. That is a human response that has untold resonances among ordinary Russians. Because of the wonders of YouTube and smart phone videos, Russians are fully aware of the truth of the US war in eastern Ukraine. Russians are becoming politically sensitive for the first time in years as they realize that some circles in the West simply want to destroy them because they resist becoming a vassal of a Washington gone berserk......


Russia and its leaders are hardly trembling behind Kremlin walls. They are forging the skeleton of a new international economic order that has the potential to transform the world from the present bankruptcy of the Dollar System. Moscow and Beijing recently announced, as I discussed in a previous posting, their project to create a joint alternative to the US credit rating monopoly of Moody’s, S&P and Fitch. President Putin’s travel agenda in the past year has been mind-boggling. Far from being the international paraiah Washington and Victoria Nuland hoped for, Russia is emerging as the land which has the courage to “just say No!” to Washington.
Russia’s president has been in Cyprus where possible basing for the Russian navy was discussed, in Egypt where General al-Sisi warmly welcomed the Russian leader and discussed significant economic and other joint cooperation. Late last year Russia and the BRICS states agreed to form a $100 billion infrastructure bank that makes the US-controlled World Bank irrelevant. The list grows virtually every day...






13--The euro slipped to just below $1.0725 today, marc to market


14--Santelli on Euro troubles, cnbc


15--Market selloff is about the dollar: Koesterich, cnbc









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