Friday, April 24, 2015

Today's Links

1--"Obsessive" Buybacks Could Be Big Mistake, "Serious" People Tell Unserious People, zh

Buybacks by S&P 500 companies rose to $219 billion in the first quarter, the highest since the fourth quarter of 2007, according to TrimTabs. Meanwhile, S&P 500 corporate dividends rose to a new record of $376 billion in 2014, according to FactSet…

And there are many, many more. Here are some visuals that illustrate the situation:

"I'd like to believe that defaults are still a long way off," she said. "But my concern would be—if you think about how a company should position itself for further growth, you want to think of them as taking the cash they do have and using it to invest in something that generates growth”...

"If you think about the stock market today, it feels fairly overvalued," Padgett said.

"So you see a lot of companies buying back their shares at relatively high valuation, instead of taking that money and putting it into something more growth oriented."...

To be sure, this theater of financial engineering - because stocks are not going up on any resemblance of fundamental reasons but simply due to expanding balance sheet leverage - will continue only until it can no longer continue

2--Amazon: The more I lose, the richer I get, wolf street
3--Stephen Roach Nails It Again: Fed Is In Total Denial, Replicating Same “Deadly Trap” As Last Time

4--Russia's Lavrov says EU charges against Gazprom "unacceptable"

5--Why Is Yemen Our War?, Pat Buchanan
6--Greek finance minister tells magazine: Grexit no bluff if more austerity imposed

7--The EU-Gazprom war, pepe escobar

Nabucco – a previous, never-ending ‘Pipelineistan’ opera – is all but dead. The new salvation would be a competitor to Turkish Stream with gas starting to flow also in 2019 not from Russia but from the Shah Deniz II fields in Azerbaijan, and later on, in the most optimistic hypothesis of sanctions being lifted as soon as possible, also Iran.
Gas from Azerbaijan, though, would be enough only for Bulgaria and Greece. That’s far from what is needed. The EU badly needs Iran.

Here’s something to watch carefully; a key platform to test Washington’s true desire to go for a final nuclear deal. Washington knows that Brussels is absolutely desperate for Iranian energy – but for that to happen all sanctions must be lifted immediately, as well as hasty negotiations leading to a tsunami of investment in the Iranian energy industry. For all this to be accomplished it will take not months, but years.

8---The trouble always starts in Washington: Washington started all modern military conflicts - Russia’s General Staff, RT

Now the US has deployed hundreds of military instructors to Ukraine to train troops. Yet Russia’s Defense Ministry spokesman Major General Igor Konashenkov accused Washington of sending its soldiers not to training ranges, “but directly in the combat zone near Mariupol, Severodonetsk, Artyomovsk and Volnovakha.”

“The US appears to be the ultimate instigator of all military conflicts in the world. The Western countries have begun to hold themselves out as ‘architects’ of the international relations system, leaving to the US the role of the world’s only superpower,” Kartapolov said at a military-scientific conference dedicated to the 70th anniversary of Russia’s victory in WWII.

9--US military instructors in eastern Ukraine combat zone – Russian military, RT

10--Iran, P5+1 start drafting on sanctions removal: Araqchi

A senior Iranian nuclear negotiator says Iran and the P5+1 group have started drafting the text of mechanisms related to the removal of sanctions imposed on Tehran over its peaceful nuclear program.
Speaking to Press TV following meetings with representatives of the P5+1 group in the Austrian capital city of Vienna on Friday, Iran's Deputy Foreign Minister for Legal and International Affairs Abbas Araqchi said that the US negotiating delegation gave the Iranian nuclear team “very useful” explanations regarding the removal of anti-Iran sanctions.

“This time we only worked on the question of sanctions but the fact is that we had worked on other issues some months ago; I think in July last year. We have already [drafted] some parts of our text. We had already done some drafting in the past, but then it was stopped because we had no solution on major issues. Now we have solutions in almost all issues. What we have to do is to write down these solutions in form of a draft of an agreement. We have also started now from the sanctions and we will go to other issues next time,” he said.

11---Iran disputes US nuclear deal 'fact sheet', guardian

12--Good clarifications made on removal of anti-Iran bans: Araqchi" Press TV

13--Petras: Moles in the state dept?

14--Trans Pacific Partnership, John Ratliff
15--China’s perspective on the Pivot and the TPP

16-- Glazyev
This is what is happening at present: The U.S. is attempting to resolve its accumulated economic, financial, and industrial imbalances at other countries’ expense, by escalating international conflicts that will allow it to write off debts, appropriate assets belonging to others, and weaken its geopolitical rivals. When this was done during the Great Depression of the 1930s, the result was World War II. The American aggression against Ukraine pursues all of the above-mentioned goals. First, economic sanctions against Russia are intended to wipe out billions of dollars of U.S. debt to Russia. A second objective is to take over Ukrainian state assets, including the natural gas transport system, mineral deposits, the country’s gold reserves, and valuable art and cultural objects. Third, to capture Ukrainian markets of importance to American companies, such as nuclear fuel, aircraft, energy sources, and others. Fourth, to weaken not only Russia, but also the European Union, whose economy will sustain an estimated trillion-dollar loss from economic sanctions against Russia. Fifth, to attract capital flight from instability in Europe, to the USA.Thus, war in Ukraine is just business for the United States

17--Blackwater Mercenaries Spotted in East Ukraine

The private military company was brought into further disrepute earlier this month when four ex-Blackwater guards were sentenced for the massacre of unarmed civilians killed in Baghdad.
“In the territory controlled by the Ukrainian armed forces, namely, in Volnovakha, the presence of 70 representatives of the private military company Academi has been revealed,” explained Eduard Basurin, Defense Minister of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic.

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