December 20, 2014

Weekly Headlines

Click on a headline below to go to that news item

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Commentary

Trying to tame a nation: Obama and Cuba, doing a good thing for the wrong reasons?

World News

Rebuilding a nation: Putin addresses the bears & Detaching Russia’s economy from that of the Western Axis: The trade in diamonds, hydrocarbon-based energy and currencies

Commentary

ISIS—the new Israel & In response to our scary world: Nation building by Israel; Islamic State; Iran

Commentary

They say you can judge a man by the company he keeps: Breitbart praises Stephen Harper as the true leader of ‘North American values’

National News

Peering behind the facade: Gap between rich and poor greater than most Canadians think

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Commentary

Turmoil in Hong Kong, terrorism in Xinjiang: America’s covert war on China

Commentary

Economic warfare the main Western Axis weapon. A former Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Treasury and the head of Russia’s external intelligence agency agree Western Axis responsible for ruble, oil price collapse. Dispatches from the war

Commentary

Western Axis war on its own people: How much longer will people allow themselves to be scammed or, worse, robbed? Trickle-down economics? It’s a scam, confirms OECD & The global bankers’ coup: Bail-in and the shadowy Financial Stability Board

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Living

Hanukkah: Bringing light into a dark time

World News

Pentagon preparing for mass civil breakdown. Social science is being militarized to develop ‘operational tools’ to target peaceful activists and protest movements

Commentary

The government most Japanese don’t want. Abe liquidating the three basic charters on which post-war Japan rests

Environment

Civil society—angry, frightened, restless. Immigration and terrorism will increase with climate change, says military leader & Level of opposition to the dangers of transporting explosive oil in DOT-111 rail cars continues to grow

National News

Not just falling oil prices and fierce British Columbia civil society protests challenging Harper’s petrostate dreams: EU effort to label tarsands dirty not dead yet & Liberals, following NDP, create distance from Energy East

Monday, December 15, 2014

World News

Venice Commission (European Commission for Democracy through Law) faults Ukraine’s law on government cleansing & Russia: Lavrov says Russia wants east Ukraine to stay with Kiev under reformed constitution; Medvedev says the planned economic cooperation between Ukraine and the European Union looks very much like neo-colonialism

Commentary

How Ayn Rand helped turn the U.S. into a selfish, greedy nation

Commentary

There are lies, damn lies, and Stephen Harper & Voters ready to embrace coalition to remove Harper from PMO

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Commentary

USA framing China as the great betrayer of peace and security in the South China Sea. On the folly of the American “strategists” in South China Sea: From “assuring freedom of navigation” to “drill, baby, drill” in the South China Sea

Commentary

Japan: Election result ensures rip-roaring asset prices and a continued shift of income and wealth to the rich, restarting of nuclear reactors and strengthening the nation’s military, all of which a majority of Japanese oppose

Commentary

Harper got it right: The UN’s so-called plan to fight climate change is a socialist, money-sucking scheme & Lima climate conference tensions may bring storm clouds to Paris

Posted at: December 20, 2014 - 7:01 am -- Posted by: SSNews -- Permalink: # -- Email This Post

December 19, 2014

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Delegates to UN conference struggle over weak proposal: World climate deal further away after disappointing Peru talks

Nick Fillmore is a Canadian freelance journalist who specializes in covering climate change issues and financial matters. He worked as an investigative journalist, documentary maker and producer for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation for nearly 30 years.

World climate deal further away after disappointing Peru talks
Nick Fillmore December 18, 2014

With yet another United Nations-hosted climate change conference making very little real progress, a near miracle will be required if countries are to reach a meaningful and binding global agreement on carbon emissions in Paris next December.

The ‘Lima Call for Climate Action’ document, agreed to on Sunday by 194 countries, is not a new “deal” for the climate. It is a 12-month work plan leading to COP21 a year from now.

The major change – a victory for rich countries – expects countries with rising economies, such as China, India and South Africa, to take action on climate change in much the same way rich countries will contribute.

In another setback, developing countries gave up on a 20-year feud that caused considerable animosity between South and North. Rich countries will no longer be expected to carry the burden of cutting carbon emissions in the South with contributions of $10-billion a year to underdeveloped countries.

One of the very moves forward was a promise that countries already seriously threated by climate change – such as small islands being swallowed up by rising seas – will receive special compensation for their losses.

Following the meetings, which had to be extended by two days to reach any sort of an agreement, the European Union said “we are on track to agree to a global deal” at the Paris summit. Even so, officials admitted that decisions put off concerning a great many issues will lead to difficult discussions next year.

Many NGOs are angry over what they see as a lack of progress. A frustrated Sam Smith of the World Wildlife Fund said that “the text went from weak to weaker to weakest and it’s very weak indeed.”

Rising temperatures still a threat

NGOs warned the plan was not nearly strong enough to limit warming to the internationally agreed limit of 2C above pre-industrial levels. Already more than seven-million people, mostly in developing countries, are dying prematurely yearly from pollution. 

If the world is to have a meaningful climate change agreement 12 months from now, countries will need to overcome some enormous challenges.  

First of all, the UN has been facilitating these negotiations for 20 years with barely any success. This is because the UN has no power in the process to make any country implement anything. In the developed world, powerful multi-national corporations that are responsible for a great deal of the damage have pressured governments into making hardly any concessions.  

Developing countries face greater challenges now. Concessionsmade in Peru mean they face a larger share of responsibility for fighting climate change. The South had been hoping to receive $10-billion a year from the North for 10 years to a total of $100-billion, but the issue was pretty well removed from the table in Peru. The $10-million amount was raised for this initial year, with the U.S. contributing the most, $3-billion.

Now the new Peru document says only that wealthy nations will help developing countries fight climate change by investing in energy technology or offering climate aid.

Twenty or 30 years ago, the United States and European countries likely would have been willing to provide several billions a year to poor countries, but now practically every so-called rich country is broke.

Pressure on South major emitters

Northern countries reiterated in Peru they expect the South’s major emitters to begin cutting back on carbon emissions. But this is unlikely to happen any time soon. China and India, the two biggest polluters in the South, say they will need to burn millions of tonnes of coal in the coming years so they can develop their economies.

The public interest group Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO) says that powerful multi-national corporations played a big role in making sure that the conference did not meet the expectations of many people present. They say that companies and their lobby organizations convinced western governments that if stronger emission controls were introduced many thousands of jobs would be lost.

To the shock of many participants, Shell Oil was permitted to speak at the main session about its preferred way of fighting carbon emissions – carbon capture and storage (CCS), a still unproven technology. Another oil giant, Chevron, was permitted to sponsor side events inside the negotiations.

No wonder the energy giants want to block emission regulations. A well-researched study released in September 2013 found that just 50 corporations were responsible for 73 per cent of the greenhouse gas emitted by the world’s 500 largest companies. Of the carbon-polluting corporations the most egregious offenders were within the energy sector and, as a whole, these companies were doing little to change their ways.

NGOs kept on the sidelines

Eighty-two NGOs and one International NGO were accredited as observers at the conference. The various drafts of the agreement were negotiated in secret, and any party making a statement was kept to three minutes.

NGOs had so little status in Lima that they had to get approval from the UN for the slogans placed on their protest banners. Neither countries nor corporations were allowed to be named on the banners. A march by 10,000 protesters had no impact on the proceedings.

Looking ahead to next year, the Peru agreement calls on countries to show by March how they will cut carbon emissions, but there’s no penalty if they fail to do so. If they receive enough detailed information, the UN will then see if the pledges will be enough to limit climate warming to 2C. But scientists are already saying projections will be above the 2C target.

Given the track record of most countries of holding back on climate change commitments, it’s likely the UN and all 194 countries will be operating in crisis mode again next year.

For now, the delegates are returning home to get some well-deserved rest. But they can be expected to be back working hard within a few days in their effort to try and pull off a miracle 12 months from now.

Posted at: December 19, 2014 - 3:02 pm -- Posted by: Jim Scott -- Permalink: # -- Email This Post

December 18, 2014

Trying to tame a nation: Obama and Cuba, doing a good thing for the wrong reasons?

Jim comment: For what its worth, I think this stems from a desperate desire to bring Cuba firmly back into America’s sphere of influence and to impose all that that implies. The US is losing the control it used to have over Latin America and it is not happy. This is the start of an attempt to prevent further Cuba’s growing ties to China and Russia (more extensive every day) and to blunt Venezuela’s influence, not only economically but also ideologically, i.e., the Bolivarian Revolution (popular democracy, economic independence, equitable distribution of revenues, and an end to political corruption).

U.S. and Cuba: Is it the start of a new relationship?
Amy Goodman rabble.ca Canada December 18, 2014

The failed United States policy against Cuba, which has for more than half a century stifled relations between these neighbouring countries and inflicted generations of harm upon the Cuban people, may finally be collapsing. On Wednesday morning, we learned that Alan Gross, a U.S. government contractor convicted in Cuba for spying, had been released after five years in prison. Another person, an unnamed Cuban imprisoned in Cuba for 20 years for spying for the U.S., was also released. This has made global headlines. Less well explained in the U.S. media are the three Cubans released from U.S. prisons. They are the three remaining jailed members of the Cuban Five. The Cuban Five were arrested in the late 1990s on espionage charges. But they were not spying on the United States government. They were in Miami, infiltrating Cuban-American paramilitary groups based there that were dedicated to the violent overthrow of the Cuban government.

By noon Wednesday, President Barack Obama made it official — this was not just a simple prisoner exchange: “Today, the United States of America is changing its relationship with the people of Cuba. … I’ve instructed Secretary [of State John] Kerry to immediately begin discussions with Cuba to re-establish diplomatic relations that have been severed since January of 1961.”

It was President Dwight Eisenhower who severed relations with Cuba, on Jan. 3, 1961, two years after Fidel Castro took power. President John F. Kennedy then expanded the embargo. Months after Kennedy took office, the CIA invasion of the Bay of Pigs, intending to overthrow the government of Fidel Castro, went awry. It is universally considered one of the greatest military fiascos of the modern era. Scores were killed, and Cuba imprisoned more than 1,200 CIA mercenaries.

Cuba became a flash point, most notably as the Soviet Union attempted to place short-range nuclear missiles on the island, precipitating the Cuban missile crisis in October 1962. This episode is widely considered the closest that nations have come to all-out nuclear war. The U.S. also tried to assassinate Castro. While the U.S. Senate’s Church Committee identified eight such attempts, Fabian Escalante, the former head of Cuban counterintelligence, uncovered at least 638 assassination attempts.

The Cuban revolution has its critics, but the transformation of daily life there can’t be denied. Throughout the 1950s, under dictator Fulgencio Batista, most Cubans suffered in dire poverty, with scant access to education, health care or decent-paying jobs. The Batista regime was brutal, engaging in arbitrary arrests, torture and executions. Batista allied himself with the U.S. Mafia, personally profiting from widespread corruption, especially from the opulent hotels and casinos in Havana. Today, Cubans enjoy the same life expectancy as their neighbors in the U.S. and experience less infant mortality. Cuba has among the highest literacy rates in the world, surpassed only by Finland, Denmark, New Zealand and Australia, according to the United Nations Development Program, which ranks the U.S. as 21st globally, two notches above Kazakhstan.

Cuba, often battered by hurricanes, has developed one of the best disaster-response medical systems in the world. They recently deployed 250 doctors to West Africa to combat Ebola. Then-President Fidel Castro offered to send 1,500 doctors to the U.S. in 2005, in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. The administration of George W. Bush did not respond.

The embargo has long been central to national electoral politics, as the Cuban community in Miami, many of whom have long been staunchly anti-Castro, has been considered crucial to winning Florida in a presidential election. Miami also has served as the haven for anti-Castro terrorist groups. One of the Cuban Five, Rene Gonzalez, was released in 2011 after 13 years in prison. I spoke to him from Cuba in 2013. He told me, “It was part of our development or common experience to have seen people coming from Miami raiding our shores, shooting at hotels, killing people here in Cuba, blowing up airplanes.”

In 1976, an Air Cubana flight was blown up by terrorists. It exploded in midair, killing all 73 people on board. In 1997, hotels across Havana were bombed, with one Italian tourist killed. Former CIA operative Luis Posada Carriles took responsibility for the hotel bombings, and evidence strongly links him to the bombing of the airliner. The Cuban Five were guilty of investigating the terrorist activities of these men, and the non-profit front groups that supported them, like the Cuban American National Foundation and Brothers to the Rescue. Posada Carriles currently lives in Florida, a free man.

The Cold War is over. Cuba’s government is communist, but so are the governments of China and Vietnam, both of which have deep ties to the U.S. The 11 million people of Cuba, as well as all of us in the U.S., deserve an open connection as neighbours, based on equality, grounded in peace.

Posted at: December 18, 2014 - 3:54 pm -- Posted by: Jim Scott -- Permalink: # -- Email This Post

Rebuilding a nation: Putin addresses the bears & Detaching Russia’s economy from that of the Western Axis: The trade in diamonds, hydrocarbon-based energy and currencies

At least 80% of the Russian population stands solidly behind Vladimir Putin. He has brought them universal education, health care and fixed infrastructure that was decaying after the fall of the Soviet Union. The range of answers at Vladimir Putin’s annual meeting with the media varied from purely practical to practically poetic and even personal.

Western nations want to chain ‘the Russian bear’ – Putin
RT Russia December 18, 2014


Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during his annual press conference in Moscow on December 18, 2014. Photo: Alexander Nemenov/AFP. Visit this page for its audio links.

Western nations want to chain “the Russian bear,” pull out its teeth and ultimately have it stuffed, Russian President Vladimir Putin warned. He said anti-Russian sanctions are the cost of being an independent nation.

Putin used the vivid metaphor of a “chained bear” during his annual Q&A session with the media in Moscow in response to a question about whether he believed that the troubles of the Russian economy were payback for the reunification with Crimea.

“It’s not payback for Crimea. It’s the cost of our natural desire to preserve Russia as a nation, a civilization and a state,” Putin said.

The president said that even if “the Russian bear” started “sitting tight… and eating berries and honey,” this would not stop pressure being applied against the country.

“They won’t leave us alone. They will always seek to chain us. And once we are chain, they’ll rip out our teeth and claws. Our nuclear deterrence, speaking in present-day terms,” Putin said.

“As soon as this [chaining the bear] happens, nobody will need it anymore. They’ll stuff it. And start to put their hands on his Taiga [Siberian forest belt] after it. We’ve heard statements from Western officials that Russia’s owning Siberia was not fair,” he exclaimed.

“Stealing Texas from Mexico – was that fair? And us having control over our own land is not fair. We should hand it out!”

The West had an anti-Russian stance long before the current crisis started, Putin said. The evidence is there, he said, ranging from“direct support of terrorism in the North Caucasus,” to the expansion of NATO and the creation of its anti-ballistic missile system in Eastern Europe, and the way the western media covered the Olympic Games in Sochi, Putin said.

Related: Below: Cutting out the Western Axis middle men?

Russia’s Alrosa to sell more diamonds direct to India
The Economic Times India December 10, 2014

NEW DELHI/MUMBAI: Russia’s state-controlled diamond monopoly Alrosa will sign a dozen deals with Indian buyers on Thursday to increase direct deliveries to Asia’s third-largest economy, as financial capital Mumbai aspires to expand as a trading hub.

Alrosa earns half of its revenue, or around $2.5 billion, from Indian-funded clients. Most of its sales go via trading centres like Antwerp, Dubai or Tel Aviv, with $700 million coming from direct sales of rough diamonds to India-based companies.

The direct deals, to be signed during a visit to India by President Vladimir Putin, would reduce the cut taken by middlemen in the secretive precious gems trade.

“A lot of our Indian customers buy rough diamonds through Antwerp or Dubai. For them it will be more comfortable to deal directly,” Alrosa Vice President Andrey Polyakov told Reuters in New Delhi.

Putin and his host, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, are expected to preside over the signing of the contracts at a diamond industry conference during the Kremlin chief’s one-day visit to New Delhi.

India does not produce any of its own rough diamonds but cuts and polishes around 80 per cent of the world’s output, its Gem and Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC) estimates.

“Only a few big diamond players are purchasing directly, otherwise most of the stones come through middlemen,” said Sabyasachi Ray, executive director at the GJEPC. “That increases the transaction costs and adds (to) the burden on the industry.”

While a direct sales route to India might reduce risks linked to Western sanctions imposed over Russia’s annexation of Crimea and support for an uprising in eastern Ukraine, India will also need to streamline its tax and import rules if direct trade is to take off.

“India will have to simplify procedures and relax taxation for direct diamond trade,” said Ray. His industry group has proposed allowing diamond imports by consignment and assessing taxes based on the presumed value of shipments.

Alrosa is the world’s leading diamond miner, accounting for 27 per cent of global production by carats. Output totalled 36.9 million carats last year, the company says.

Below: Peter Koenig is an economist and geopolitical analyst. He is also a former World Bank staffer and worked extensively around the world in the fields of environment and water resources. He writes regularly for a number of publications. Peter Koenig travels widely giving seminars on money and is the author of 30 Lies About Money. He is also the author of Implosion – An Economic Thriller about War, Environmental Destruction and Corporate Greed – fiction based on facts and on 30 years of World Bank experience around the globe.

Free fall of the Ruble – A brilliant ploy of Russian economic Wizards? Who’s chess game?
Peter Koenig Vineyard of the Saker International December 18, 2014

The world is still hell-bent for hydrocarbon-based energy. Russia is the world’s largest producer of energy. Russia has recently announced that in the future she will no longer trade energy in US dollars, but in rubles and currencies of the trading partners. In fact, this rule will apply to all trading. Russia and China are detaching their economies from that of the West. To confirm this decision, in July 2014 Russia’s Gazprom concluded a 400 billion gas deal with China, and in November this year they signed an additional slightly smaller contract – all to be nominated in rubles and yuan.

The remaining BRICS – Brazil, India and South Africa – plus the members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) – China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kirgizstan, Uzbekistan and considered for membership since September 2014 are also India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran and Mongolia, with Turkey also waiting in the wings – will also trade in their local currencies, detached from the dollar-based western casino scheme. A host of other nations increasingly weary of the decay of the western financial system which they are locked into are just waiting for a new monetary scheme to emerge. So far their governments may have been afraid of the emperor’s wrath – but gradually they are seeing the light. They are sensing the sham and weakness behind Obama’s boisterous noise. They don’t want to be sucked into the black hole, when the casino goes down the drain.

To punish Russia for Ukraine, Obama is about to sign into law major new sanctions against Russia, following Congress’s unanimous passing of a recent motion to this effect. – That is what the MSM would like you to believe. It is amazing that ten months after the Washington instigated Maidan slaughter and coup where a Washington selected Nazi Government was put in place, the MSM still lies high about the origins of this government and the massacres it is committing in the eastern Ukraine Donbass area.

Congress’s unanimity – what Congress and what unanimity? – Out of 425 lawmakers, only 3 were present for the vote http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article40489.htm. The others may have already taken off for their year-end recess, or simply were ‘ashamed’ or rather afraid to object to the bill. As a matter of fact, of the three who were present to vote, two at first objected. Only after a bit of arm-twisting and what not, they were willing to say yes. This is how the ‘unanimous’ vote came to be, as trumpeted by the MSM – unanimous by three votes! The public at large is duped again into believing what is not.

What new sanctions does this repeatedly propagated bill entail? – It addresses mostly Russian energy companies and defense industry with regard to sales to Syria, as well more anti-Russia propaganda and ‘democratization’ programs in Ukraine – and Russia; all countries with the objective for regime change.

How do these sanctions affect Russia, especially since all Russian energy sales are no longer dollar denominated? – Sheer propaganda. The naked emperor once more is calling an unsubstantiated bluff. To show his western stooges who is in power. It’s an ever weaker showoff.

Now – as a consequence of declining oil prices and of western ‘sanctions’ – of course, what else? – Russia’s economy is suffering and the ruble is in free fall. Since the beginning of the year it lost about 60%; last week alone 20%. As a result and after serious consideration, says MSM, the Russian Central Bank decided a few days ago to increase the interest of reference from 10.5% to 17% to make the ruble more attractive for foreign investors. It worked only for a few hours. Raising the interbank interest was Putin’s reply to Obama’s bluff – feeding at the same time western illusion about Russia’s decline.

The propaganda drums tell you Russia is helpless because the world has lost the last bit of confidence in President Putin – of course. Regime change is on the agenda. Mr. Putin must be blamed as the culprit, hoping to discredit him with his people. He is leading Russia into a deep recession; the worst since the collapse of the Soviet Union. The mainstream media show you interviews with average mainstreet Russians saying they have lost all their savings, their salaries and pensions are worth nothing anymore and they don’t know how to survive this coming calamity.

In reality, at least 80% of the Russian population stands solidly behind Vladimir Putin. He has brought them universal education, health care and fixed infrastructure that was decaying after the fall of the Soviet Union. President Putin is literally revered as a hero by the vast majority of Russians – including the country’s oligarchy.

In fact, nobody in the western economic system these days is dealing in rubles. In short-sighted connivance with Washington, the treasuries of the western vassals are releasing their ruble reserves – which Russia does not buy, thereby flooding the market. Russia not only has large dollar reserves, plus the ruble is backed by gold, a fact consistently omitted in the MSM. For now, Russia prefers to let the ruble plummet.

Under another ‘arrangement’ by bully Obama, Middle Eastern oil producing puppets like Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States are overproducing and flooding the market with petrol and gas, thereby driving the price down to the ostensible detriment of Russia and Venezuela, both countries where Washington vies for regime change. A double whammy thinks Washington, buying kudos with the stooges. The sheiks that control their energy output apparently have been promised enough goodies from Washington to bite the bullet and take their own losses.

Russia needs rubles. That’s her currency. That is the currency Russia needs for future trading – detached from the western monetary system.

When Russia deems that her currency has reached rock-bottom, she will buy back cheap rubles in the market with massive amounts of dollars. Russia may then flood the western market – with dollars, and by now we know what that does to a currency – and simultaneously buy back rubles from the West. A brilliant move to reestablish Russia’s currency in a new emerging monetary system – which Europe would be welcome to join, but willingly, no by Washington style arm-twisting.

Is this another precursor to war? A nuclear confrontation or Cold War II? – Precursor to a false flag attempting Moscow to fall into the trap? – Not necessarily. Russia is playing a clever chess game, diplomacy at its best. Instead of sabre rattling – Russia is coin rattling. It might lead to a western financial fiasco early in 2015 for the dollar and euro denominated economies. And the winner is…?

Below: Jim comment: Offered for consideration only. This often ‘tin-hatty’ site is highly suspect. It appears to be a stage for extreme American-style libertarian propaganda. Its About section begins, “European Union Times is an international newspaper based in Europe with operational branches in America and Canada. Our online edition of The European Union Times (also known as The EU Times) is constantly updated to bring you the top news stories from around the world. It is produced by a dedicated staff from the European Union and by contributors from all around the world.” I haven’t been able to verify any of that. For what its worth, WHOIS results indicate the site is registered in Panama. In the following item, the source is said to be WhatDoesItMean.com, (see Sorcha Faal). Most of its imbedded links are to Cato Institute essays. The Cato Institute is an American libertarian think tank headquartered in Washington, D.C. founded as the Charles Koch Foundation in 1974 by Ed Crane, Murray Rothbard, and Charles Koch, chairman of the board and chief executive officer of the conglomerate Koch Industries. In July 1976, the name was changed to the Cato Institute. Cato was established to have a focus on public advocacy, media exposure and societal influence. The Institute’s website states, “The mission of the Cato Institute is to originate, disseminate, and increase understanding of public policies based on the principles of individual liberty, limited government, free markets, and peace.” You have been warned. I’m posting it here because it contains enough verifiable information to be of relevant interest.

Putin orders feared “Samson Defense” to collapse US-EU economies
EU Times ? December 17, 2014

Visit this page for its embedded links.

A chilling report published today by the Ministry of Economic Development (MED) is warning of potentially “catastrophic unknown consequences” relating to President Putin’s issuance to the Central Bank of Russia (CBR) of orders to initiate what is commonly known within the Kremlin as the “Samson Defense” designed to crash the Russian ruble, while at the same time insuring the economic collapse of both the United States and European Union.

The CBR’s “Samson Defense” is a Russian monetary strategy designed to economically mirror Israel’s feared “Samson Option” deterrence strategy of massive retaliation with nuclear weapons as a “last resort” if military attacks threaten its existence.

In Putin’s action against the US-EU, this report says, the CBR’s stunning move earlier today in raising the interest rate to 17% from 10.5% has had its desired consequence as the ruble plunged more than 20% and to date and has now lost about 57% of its value versus the US dollar since the start of the year, which exceeds the 36% plunge related to the 2008 global economic crisis.

Most importantly to note about this currency plunge, however, this report notes, are that Russia’s fiscal domestic accounts are denominated in depreciating rubles and its oil exports are invoiced in an appreciating US dollar, meaning that the fiscal blow from lower oil prices will be cushioned by a weak ruble, and was a strategy that Putin warned about earlier when he stated that the Federation was braced for a “catastrophic” slump in oil prices.

Equally as important to note, MED analysts in this report say, the CBR agreed to lend money this week against 625 billion rubles (over $10 billion) of bonds freshly printed by oil giant Rosneft allowing it to hoard its export dollars and meet a $10 billion loan repayment later this month, and another $4 billion in February.

As to how catastrophically low oil prices can fall, this report continues, it notes that OPEC has already stated that they are willing to push prices as low as $40 a barrel in their bid to take on Russia and US shale, a stance which began this past September when the Obama regime reached a secret deal with Saudi Arabia in order to flood the world with oil to collapse the Russian economy, but which has now backfired on them as the Saudis seek to bankrupt US shale producers too.

With 15% of US shale gas producers are already losing money because of the Obama regimes secret deal with Saudi Arabia, this report warns, up to half of all of Americas shale operations will face financial ruin if oil prices slip below $55 a barrel leaving millions without jobs in an already collapsing economy.

To the ability of the Federation withstanding a “Samson Defense” economic war against the US and EU, this report says, it should be noted that the current debt of the US stands at a staggering $18 trillion [an amount so large it is now mathematically impossible to ever pay back] while the EU is, likewise, at a equally staggering amount of €12 trillion ($15 trillion).

Compared to the combined US-EU debt of $30 trillion, this report notes, Russia has only $678 billion in foreign debt, has very little outstanding debt and its public debt to gross domestic product ratio is 10% – an excellent figure compared to the EU’s dismal average ratio of 90.9 and the US’s 71.8%.

Likewise to note, MED analysts in this report say, is that while Russia’s debt to GDP is roughly 14%, the EU currently stands at 90.9%, the US at 80.2%, and Japan’s at 227%, meaning, simply, that the Federation can withstand any economic hardship the Western alliance puts against it.

Also, and as independent analysts confirm, Moscow‘s coffers are well-filled, giving Russia the durability to weather a double external shock – tanking oil prices and Western sanctions.

The Finance Ministry controls two sovereign wealth funds, which contained some $172 billion as of December. The money, held in foreign currency, has been accumulated during the past 15 years of high oil and gas revenues and has been earmarked as a piggy bank, primarily for the pension system.

Additionally, the CBR’s overall foreign currency reserves stood at a healthy $416.2 billion dollars in early December.

And most critical to note about the “Samson Defense”, this report concludes, is that Russia will not cut its oil production against the headwinds of collapsing prices, and may, indeed, increase its amount as the plunging ruble, combined with a rising US dollar, actually makes Federation oil the most affordable in the world.

Posted at: December 18, 2014 - 3:30 pm -- Posted by: Jim Scott -- Permalink: # -- Email This Post

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ISIS—the new Israel & In response to our scary world: Nation building by Israel; Islamic State; Iran

Canada has joined the vast multi-national war effort against ISIS, but the group’s origins and motivations remain only sketchily understood by most Canadians… even as “know your enemy” remains the most important adage in the fight against terrorism.

ISIS—the new Israel
Chris Hedges Truthdig USA December 15, 2014


Demonstrators chant Islamic State slogans last June as they carry the group’s flag in front of the provincial government headquarters in Mosul in Iraq. Photo: AP. Visit this page for its embedded links.

The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is our Frankenstein. The United States after a decade of war in Iraq pieced together its body parts. We jolted it into life. We bathed it in blood and trauma. And we gave it its intelligence. Its dark and vicious heart of vengeance and war is our heart. It kills as we kill. It tortures as we torture. It carries out conquest as we carry out conquest. It is building a state driven by hatred for American occupation, a product of the death, horror and destruction we visited on the Middle East. ISIS now controls an area the size of Texas. It is erasing the borders established by French and British colonial powers through the 1916 Sykes-Picot Agreement. There is little we can do to stop it.

ISIS, ironically, is perhaps the only example of successful nation-building in the contemporary Middle East, despite the billions of dollars we have squandered in Iraq and Afghanistan. Its quest for an ethnically pure Sunni state mirrors the quest for a Jewish state eventually carved out of Palestine in 1948. Its tactics are much like those of the Jewish guerrillas who used violence, terrorism, foreign fighters, clandestine arms shipments and foreign money, along with horrific ethnic cleansing and the massacre of hundreds of Arab civilians, to create Israel. Antagonistic ISIS and Israeli states, infected by religious fundamentalism, would be irreconcilable neighbors. This is a recipe for apocalyptic warfare. We provided the ingredients.

I and Loretta Napoleoni, the author of the book The Islamic Phoenix, spoke at a Dec. 2 event in Manhattan at the headquarters of the New York Society for Ethical Culture. Napoleoni pointed out that the message imparted to Muslims by ISIS is radically different from that of other jihadist groups, especially al-Qaida. ISIS does not call for martyrdom and self-immolation. It has launched a jihad against secular and discredited regimes in the Middle East rather than against Western targets abroad. It is seeking to establish, as the Zionists did in Palestine, a utopian, religious state. It holds up the ancient Caliphate—which united Muslims throughout the Middle East in the seventh century and whose time is considered the golden age of Islam—as an ideal, much as Jews held up the biblical kingdoms chronicled in the Hebrew Bible. ISIS, to build its state, has called on engineers, doctors and technicians to immigrate to the area it controls. And ISIS, although devoted to a fundamentalist form of Salafist Islam, is thoroughly modern. It has mastered sophisticated forms of electronic communication and delivers its messages through social media. And unlike groups such as al-Qaida, which bans television sets and radios, it views the technical advances of modern society as an asset. The mixture of fundamentalist religion with modernity is a potent and intoxicating brew for disenfranchised Muslims. And ISIS has attained what peaceful uprisings in the Middle East have not—liberation from detested regimes, at least for now.

From the archives: In response to our scary world: Nation building by Israel; Islamic State; Iran
Salt Spring News British Columbia Canada December 4, 2014

Three links. Most in the Western Axis characterize ISIS and the nation of Iran as gangs of brutal thugs, whereas Israel is a brave and stalwart democratic nation of heroic descendants of an oppressed, persecuted people. Would that the world were so black and white.

Posted at: December 18, 2014 - 1:50 pm -- Posted by: Jim Scott -- Permalink: # -- Email This Post

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They say you can judge a man by the company he keeps: Breitbart praises Stephen Harper as the true leader of ‘North American values’

As Obama wavers, Canada’s Harper is the true leader of North American values
Michael Coren Breitbart London USA/UK December 18, 2014

Just a few weeks ago Canada suffered its first terrorist attacks in more than two generations. In one incident a young convert to Islam ran down two soldiers in Quebec, killing one of them. When he was shot dead by the police he was carrying a large knife and was presumably intent on slaughtering his victims as Lee Rigby was slaughtered in Woolwich.

In the second attack, another Muslim convert killed a soldier in Ottawa and then ran into the House of Commons and was only yards away from a group of MPs when he too was shot dead. Amongst those MPs was Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

The Conservative leader has been in office for more than eight years now and his response to the terror attacks was entirely typical. Firm, resolute, controlled, slightly boring but utterly uncompromising.

While opposition leaders and liberal newspapers were reluctant to even describe the crimes as terrorism, Harper used the word repeatedly and spoke of the need to combat this darkness internationally as well as domestically. Indeed, along with Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbot, Harper has led the world in candour concerning Islamist aspirations and the need to affirm western values.

In September 2011 in an interview with the CBC, the country’s public broadcaster, Harper said that, “The major threat is still Islamicism.” He continued, “There are other threats out there, but that is the one that I can tell you occupies the security apparatus most regularly in terms of actual terrorist threats. When people think of Islamic terrorism, they think of Afghanistan, or maybe they think of some place in the Middle East, but the truth is that threat exists all over the world.”

The CBC along with the country’s chattering classes is notoriously liberal and this did not go down at all well. Mind you, Harper’s views on the Middle East, Islamist terror, Canada’s need to be close to the United States and its western allies and his refusal to join the climate change train all alienate him from the country’s establishment.

Whatever the motivation, Harper is regarded by many as the loudest and purest political voice defending North American values and North America’s allies, the alternative of course being Barack Obama. While the US President plays around in the relativist playground and insists that ISIS and the myriad others Islamist terror groups have nothing to do with Islam, Harper implicitly responds that perhaps millions of Muslims who disagree with the President know just a little better than the Chicago community organizer.

He is also the only world leader to have resisted the repeated and insistent calls to buy into conventional thinking, funding and joining around global warming. It’s deeply ironic, and entirely delightful, that a country obsessed with ice hockey should be the only member of the club of the big economies to have eschewed the hockey stick theory.

Harper is hardly what the left insultingly described as a “denier” but he argues quite rightly that while the great dictatorship China is also the great polluter and while is genuine dispute around climate science, responsible democracies such as Canada should not have to pay fines and be punished for their environmental policies. He is a stand out concerning climate change and this had made him a champion among critics of the green obsession but a pariah, a public enemy, within eco-fanatic circles.

Harper has also led the free trade charge, removed some of the convoluted and draconian regulations restricting free speech in Canada, withdrawn public funding from various local immigrant groups that have supported extremism abroad and taken a firm stand in defence of Ukraine against Russian expansion and invasion.

As Harper’s former Immigration Minister Jason Kenney and possible successor once told me, “We are on the side of democracy and freedom, and against terrorism and oppression. It’s pretty straightforward really.” Straightforward perhaps, but breathtakingly refreshing. In Canada of all places. Who knew?

Related: Transcript: Harper explains why he still wants to be prime minister
Steven Chase Globe and Mail Canada December 17, 2014

Visit this page for its related links.

Ottawa – Prime Minister Stephen Harper has spent the last year balancing the budget in preparation for an expected 2015 election campaign, a fight which Canada’s sixth longest-serving prime minster is already waging by announcing massive tax cuts for families. He’s condemned Russia for invading Ukraine and annexing Crimea, sent Canadians on a new combat mission to Iraq and accused the Chinese of hacking into government computers just months before he made a much-watched journey to Beijing. A former Conservative MP, who has since resigned, has been convicted of election act breaches and two Conservative Senate appointees face charges related to their expenses.

Mr. Harper’s message to voters is that only he can be trusted to helm the Canadian government right now, with the balanced budget and resulting tax cuts the evidence he points to as proof he’s getting the job done.

Mr. Harper sat down with The Globe and Mail’s Steven Chase for a wide-ranging interview on Dec. 15 in Ottawa.

Posted at: December 18, 2014 - 9:26 am -- Posted by: Jim Scott -- Permalink: # -- Email This Post

Peering behind the facade: Gap between rich and poor greater than most Canadians think

Jim comment: The global political economy devised and orchestrated by Western Axis nations is a Potemkin village, a construction built solely to deceive the masses into thinking that their economic situation is better than it really is. Canada is a neighborhood in the village.

The Broadbent Institute is an independent, non-partisan organization championing progressive change through the promotion of democracy, equality, and sustainability and the training of a new generation of leaders.

Gap between rich and poor greater than most Canadians think
Sara Mojtehedzadeh Toronto Star Ontario Canada December 16, 2014

Visit this page for its graphic, “Who Controls Canada’s Wealth?”

Canadians drastically underestimate the country’s wealth gap but still show broad support for policies such as higher income taxes to address the problem, according to new research by an Ottawa-based think tank.

The study, published Tuesday by the Broadbent Institute, drew its results from an online poll of 3,000 people. The findings said that Canadians believe the richest fifth of the country own about 55 per cent of wealth, and thought the poorest fifth held about 6 per cent.

In reality, the gap is much starker. The richest segment of Canada’s population controls close to 70 per cent of the country’s wealth. Its very poorest segment has no share at all.

“This is the first time this question has been looked at in Canada, namely people’s perception of the wealth gap versus the reality,” the Broadbent Institute’s executive director, Rich Smith, told the Star.

“There’s a huge discrepancy between the kind of Canada that people want and the kind of Canada that actually exists.”

The research showed a strong appetite for government intervention to alleviate income inequality, with over 85 per cent of the country agreeing that the wealth gap was a problem.

“In public policy terms, that’s nearing unanimity,” said Smith.

Canadians agreed on specific measures to address inequality, too. Eighty per cent of those polled by the Institute supported higher federal income tax rates for the richest Canadians. Almost the same proportion were in favour of introducing higher corporate taxes. Canada’s general corporate tax rate has dropped from around 22 per cent to 15 per cent under the Stephen Harper government.

An earlier report from the Broadbent Institute issued in September used Statistics Canada data to show that the top 10 per cent of Canadians saw their median net worth grow by 42 per cent between 2005 and 2012. Meanwhile, the bottom 10 per cent of the country saw their median net worth shrink by 150 per cent.

Posted at: December 18, 2014 - 9:24 am -- Posted by: Jim Scott -- Permalink: # -- Email This Post

December 17, 2014

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Turmoil in Hong Kong, terrorism in Xinjiang: America’s covert war on China

Jim comment: China’s treatment of the Uyghur in Xinjiang (East Turkestan) is an abomination. The planned population displacement, the racial/religious persecution and the cruel, violent repression of dissent is equal to, if not worse than, Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians. I fully support the Uyghur’s ambition for sovereignty within their native homeland where they have lived since 2,000 BCE.

Tony Cartalucci is a Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer.

Turmoil in Hong Kong, terrorism in Xinjiang: America’s covert war on China
Tony Cartalucci New Eastern Outlook Russia October 21, 2014

Visit this page for its embedded links.

China is facing increasing pressure along two fronts. In its western province of Xinjiang, terrorists have been stepping up destabilization and separatist activities.

In China’s southeast Special Administrative Region of Hong Kong, protests have disrupted normality in the dense urban streets, with protest leaders seeking to directly confront Beijing while dividing and destabilizing both Hong Kong society and attempting to “infect” the mainland.

What is more troubling is the greater geopolitical agenda driving both of these seemingly “internal” conflicts – and that they both lead back to a single source beyond China’s borders. With the so-called “Islamic State” (ISIS) now implicated in receiving, training, and employing terrorists from China’s Xinjiang province, and considering the fact that ISIS is the result of an intentional, engineered proxy war the US and its allies are waging in the Middle East, along with the fact that the unrest in Hong Kong is also traced back to Washington and London, presents a narrative of an ongoing confrontation between East and West being fought on the battlefield of fourth generation warfare.

It is not a coincidence that ISIS is standing in for and fulfilling America’s deepest imperial aspirations from North Africa, across the Middle East, and now inching toward the borders of the West’s two largest competitors, Russia and China. Nor is it a coincidence that “Occupy Central” protesters [in Hong Kong] are parroting verbatim talking points scripted in Washington earlier this year. It is no coincidence that the US State Department’s NED is found involved in every hotspot of instability and conflict both within China’s borders and beyond them. It is a documented conspiracy that is now increasingly seeing the light truth cast upon it. Whether or not that is enough to end the unnecessary barbarism and bloodshed that has resulted from the West’s hegemonic aspirations remains to be seen.

Jim comment: SOTT (Signs of the Times) is an aggregate news site—the news there comes from hundreds of different websites. But besides the wide selection of news, SOTT also has a team of independent writers and researchers from all over the globe who contribute articles about many different topics. SOOT is not for the faint of heart, nor those that do not at least tolerate ‘new agey’ sentiments. I have to carefully and critically pick and choose from the site, but I often find solid stuff. And more often than not, that special blend of solid and slightly spacey, such as the post below. Of himself, the author Anenas Georg says: “I’m a train manager and ticket inspector on international train routes in Europe. I’ve been reading SOTT since 2003 and first joined the editorial team in 2007 after realizing I had to do something about the deteriorating state of our world. I’m particularly interested in ‘following the money’ to track the machinations of the deceptive ones in high places. I suppose you could say I’ve taken my chosen profession to a new level, and now with SOTT I’m “inspecting the flows” of people and money in more ways than one.”

China is on to U.S. regime change tactics
Aeneas Georg Sott.net International November 17, 2014


Though it has a new catchy name, the recent “revolution” in Hong Kong followed a very familiar pattern of US engineered regime change and destabilisation. And the Chinese are well aware of it!

Now we know that Russia knows full well the ways and means of ‘regime changing’ the empire of chaos uses over and over to ensure its supremacy. This was made clear by Putin in his Valdai Club speech:

Incidentally, at the time, our colleagues [the US] tried to somehow manage these processes, use regional conflicts and design ‘colour revolutions’ to suit their interests, but the genie escaped the bottle. It looks like the controlled chaos theory fathers themselves do not know what to do with it; there is disarray in their ranks.

China has also been subject to attempts at regime change both in the Xinjiang province in West China and most recently in Hong Kong. The question is how aware are the Chinese of the US role in these protest movements? A recent YouTube video makes it abundantly clear that the Chinese read the geopolitical chess game very well, if the views presented also reflect the views of Chinese people generally. The video maps out 12 steps that the US uses for regime change and goes on to explain how these “regime changes” around the world and the antagonizing of Russia and China follow a pattern that could lead to World War III.

The 12 Steps to regime change, employed by the USA as outlined in the video:

Anyone who has being paying just a little attention to the world events can recognise this pattern. Psychopaths are not that creative and therefore tend to use the same method again and again. And mostly it works out to the benefit of the psychopaths in power, to whom it doesn’t matter if their hand in the regime change is exposed after the installment of a new puppet. The subservient MSM is always on hand to further the propaganda and knock down any objecting views that reveal the hand of the man behind the curtain and can always rely on name calling when arguments are lacking. An example of how this works with regard to the Hong Kong protests can be seen here:

Though the video blames it all on the Freemasons, it would be more correct to say the pathological elite. One of the key defining traits of this subspecies is the fact that they have no conscience and therefore care naught about human suffering and deaths. It could even be argued that they relish such suffering.

As always the onus is on us to acquire knowledge and to wake up to this nightmare and the fact that there are predators among us who don’t have essential human qualities. This is becoming easier as the empire of chaos, in its desperate battle to maintain hegemony, is showing its true nature for all to see. Thus the emperor is exposed as being naked, something that the BRICS countries and a number of other countries are becoming aware of. There is no doubt that greater cooperation among these countries has helped to spread knowledge about the psychopaths’ modus operandi. The above video is an example of the exposure of this pattern.

Posted at: December 17, 2014 - 3:04 pm -- Posted by: Jim Scott -- Permalink: # -- Email This Post

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Economic warfare the main Western Axis weapon. A former Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Treasury and the head of Russia’s external intelligence agency agree Western Axis responsible for ruble, oil price collapse. Dispatches from the war

Intro: About Us
Russia: Another Point of View USA

We are a group of people who are affiliated with the Center for Citizen Initiatives (please check the History section). Fortunately, we have a wide range of contributors – experts on Russia, professors, Congress members, foreign analysts working in Russia, American CEOs living and working in Russia, former diplomats, tens of thousands of Russians at all levels of society and 30,000 American business and civic leaders who have trained the thousands of Russians brought to the US for training.

Campaign to end cold or hot war with Russia
Russia: Another Point of View USA December 8, 2014

Friends, for the remainder of 2014, I will send articles to help us examine the nature of the U.S.-Russia relationship and how it has developed over the past 130 years. Until we understand the differences in the evolution of these two cultures, we cannot hope to untangle the current picture which is now dangerous for the entire world. Until we understand the impact of public media on the relationship between the two countries, we will be hopelessly trapped in a mesh of misunderstandings and misinterpretations. We must find ways to hold journalists responsible for irresponsible headlines and faulty war-making scenarios. Sharon Tennison

Russian spy chief blames U.S., EU for ruble, oil price collapse
Ilya Arkhipov Bloomberg News USA December 4, 2014

The U.S. and its allies are seeking to change the regime in Moscow through sanctions and attacks on the ruble and the oil price, Russia’s spy chief said.

A decline of more than 30 percent in the oil price this year is caused partly by U.S. actions, Mikhail Fradkov, the head of the Foreign Intelligence Service, said after President Vladimir Putin’s annual address to parliament.

Foreign investment funds are “taking part” in ruble speculation via intermediaries, Fradkov, a former prime minister, said in an interview in the Kremlin. “Any speculation has specific schemes and the schemes have a number of participants,” he said.

The ruble has lost 39 percent of its value against the dollar this year, the world’s worst performance after the Ukrainian hryvnia, as the U.S. and the European Union imposed sanctions after Russia’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula in March. They also accuse Russia of providing military support to separatists in Ukraine’s eastern Donetsk and Luhansk regions, a charge Russia denies.

The U.S. and its allies want to oust Putin from power and achieve regime change, Fradkov said. “Such a desire has been noticed, it’s a small secret” he also told reporters. “No one wants to see a strong and independent Russia.”

The ruble weakened 1.8 percent to 54.1770 at 5:27 p.m. in Moscow, after Putin vowed that Russia would never back down over Crimea in his address to legislators at the Grand Kremlin Palace. The president pledged to punish speculators attacking the ruble, while he made no comment on the slump in the oil price in his 70-minute speech.

Sanctions are forcing Russia to focus on solving domestic issues, Fradkov said. The confrontation with the U.S. and the EU will continue until Russia’s adversaries learn to stop attacking the country and respect its geopolitical interests, he said.

It will take two to four years to reach the “more objective understanding needed for lifting some barriers and cooperation,” according to Fradkov.

A different point of view: Martin Hutchinson over at the Prudent Bear (“Oil free market is bad news for U.S.”) writes: “The fall in the oil price is caused by a fundamental shift in the market. Price is now being driven by supply, whereas previously it was driven by demand. This has happened before: the oil price fell from $27 a barrel at the beginning of 1986 to $10 at the year’s end, where it remained until around 2000, with only a short blip during the Gulf War. … The market and its Keynesian boosters have taken the fall in oil prices as yet another positive sign for the beleaguered U.S. economy. The cheerleaders are wrong.”

Items: The engineered decline in oil prices: Economic warfare is the West’s main weapon
Takis Fotopoulos Global Research Canada December 8, 2014

Visit this page for its appended links.

In the globalization era, economic warfare is the main weapon used by the Transnational Elite to integrate into the New World Order of neoliberal globalization any country resisting the loss of economic and national sovereignty that joining it implies. Its conclusion is that only the building of an economic and political union of sovereign nations, like the original conception of the Eurasian Union was, which would embrace the nations all over the world still fighting the NWO of neoliberal globalization, from Europe and Asia up to Latin America and the Arab world, could possibly create conditions of self-reliance and self determination and, at the same time, an alternative pole to the present criminal unipolar world.

In recent developments, it became clear that economic warfare is the main weapon used by the Transnational Elite, (TE- i.e. the network of the elites based mainly in the G7 countries which run the New World Order of neoliberal globalization), to subordinate Russia and integrate every other country still resisting the process, e.g. Iran and Venezuela. This includes not just the usual economic sanctions, or the blocking of new projects to facilitate distribution, like the South Stream project but, also, as the dramatic decline in the price of oil has shown in the last few months, the induced fall in its price. This was the case of the last OPEC meeting when Saudi Arabia was the main organ for the implementation of this plan.

In fact, the present dramatic fall in the price of oil is part of a long-term plan to force the ‘nationalist’ part of the Russian elite to submit to the Transnational Elite’s (TE) rule, despite the aspirations of the overwhelming majority of the Russian people that follows it. This was clearly shown when this majority enthusiastically welcomed the only real counter-attack so far against the continuing and intensifying attack by the TE against Russia, i.e. the re-integration of Crimea.

Therefore, only the building of an economic and political union of sovereign nations like the original conception of the Eurasian Union was, which would embrace the nations all over the world still fighting the NWO of neoliberal globalization, from Europe and Asia up to Latin America and the Arab world, could possibly create conditions of self-reliance and self determination and, at the same time, an alternative pole to the present criminal unipolar world. This is the only way to effectively disable the West’s economic weapon, which successfully led to the collapse of USSR and threatens a similar fate today to the aspirations of the Russian people for a sovereign Russia.

Below: Matt O’Brien is a reporter for Wonkblog covering economic affairs. He was previously a senior associate editor at The Atlantic.

Sorry, Putin. Russia’s economy is doomed
Matt O’Brien Washington Post, Wonkblog USA December 15, 2014

Visit this page for its embedded and related links, its chart and video.

A funny thing happened on the way to Vladimir Putin running strategic laps around the West. Russia’s economy imploded.

The latest news is that Russia’s central bank raised interest rates from 10.5 to 17 percent at an emergency 1 a.m. meeting in an attempt to stop the ruble, which is down 50 percent on the year against the dollar, from falling any further. It’s a desperate move to save Russia’s currency that comes at the cost of sacrificing Russia’s economy.

But even that wasn’t enough. After a brief rally, the ruble resumed its cliff-diving ways on Tuesday, falling another 14 percent to a low of 80 rubles per dollar. It was 60 rubles per dollar just the day before. The problem is simple. Oil is still falling, and ordinary Russians don’t want to hold their money in rubles even if they get paid 17 percent interest to do so. In other words, there’s a well-justified panic. So now Russia is left with the double whammy of a collapsing currency and exorbitant interest rates. Checkmate.

It’s a classic kind of emerging markets crisis. It’s only a small simplification, you see, to say that Russia doesn’t so much have an economy as it has an oil exporting business that subsidizes everything else. That’s why the combination of more supply from the United States, and less demand from Europe, China, and Japan has hit them particularly hard. Cheaper oil means Russian companies have fewer dollars to turn into rubles, which is just another way of saying that there’s less demand for rubles—so its price is falling. It hasn’t helped, of course, that sanctions over Russia’s incursion into Ukraine have already left Russia short on dollars.

Add it all up, and the ruble has fallen something like 22 percent against the dollar the past month, with 11 percent of that coming on Monday alone. As you can see below, the Russian ruble has fallen even further than the Ukrainian hryvnia or Brent oil has this year. The only asset, and I use that word lightly, that’s done worse than the ruble’s 50 percent fall is Bitcoin, which is a fake currency that techno-utopians insist is the future we don’t know we want.

Putin’s Russia, like the USSR before it, is only as strong as the price of oil. In the 1970s, we made the mistake of thinking that the USSR’s invasion of Afghanistan meant we were losing the Cold War, when the reality was that they had stumbled into their own Vietnam and could only afford to feed their people as long as oil stayed sky-high. The USSR’s economic mirage, though, became apparent to everybody—none less than their own people, who had to scrounge in empty supermarkets—after oil prices bottomed out in the 1980s. That history is repeating itself now, just without the Marxism-Leninism. Putin could afford to invade Georgia and Ukraine when oil prices were comfortably in the triple digits, but not when they’re half that. Russia can’t afford anything then.

Putin might be playing chess while we play checkers, but only if we lend him the money for the set.

Russian ruble’s fall: A classic ‘currency collapse’
Chris Matthews Fortune USA December 16, 2014

The decline of the ruble is the result of Western policy. The question now is how will Putin respond?

The fall of the ruble has been swift and devastating. Carl Weinberg, chief economist at High Frequency Economics, referred to the currency’s plummet as “an unrecoverable spiral” in a note to clients on Tuesday. He argues that what we are seeing now is a classic “currency collapse,” brought on by both economic factors like sanctions and falling oil prices as well as financial factors like the Russian central bank printing money to help state-owned oil company Rosneft cover its debt denominated in foreign currencies.

Normally, when countries find themselves in a situation like Russia’s, they turn to the IMF, which would provide funding and debt restructuring in exchange for the enactment of economic reforms. But as University of Oregon economist Tim Duy writes, it’s tough to see either the IMF swooping in to help an international pariah like Russia or Vladimir Putin submitting to any reforms imposed by the West.

So, how will Russia’s currency crisis affect the U.S.? It’s tough to say for sure. A recession in Russia won’t have much of an effect on the American economy, as the two nations conduct very little trade with each other. But make no mistake, the crisis in Russia today is at least partially a result of the diplomatic policies of the United States. We are seeing the kind of economic misery the U.S. and Europe aimed to inflict on Russia as a result of its aggression in Ukraine.

The question now is whether the economic pain will convince Russia to back down, or double down, in Eastern Europe. Weinberg, for one, worries that Putin will instruct Russian companies to renege on their foreign obligations. This could spell bad news for banks and investors across Europe and the U.S. that have loaned money to Russian companies, and it could allow Russia’s financial instability to infect other emerging markets and the already shaky E.U. economy.

How OPEC destroyed the Russian Ruble
Frances Coppola Forbes USA December 16, 2014

Visit this page for its embedded links.

The Central Bank of Russia (CBR) was doing everything right. Responding to recent oil price falls, it floated the ruble and allowed it to fall in line with the oil price, intervening only to smooth out sharp price fluctuations. It hiked interest rates to counter domestic inflation despite the weakness of the Russian economy, due (in part) to Western sanctions. It resisted political calls to intervene to defend the currency, even when it was accused of being an “enemy of the country”. It sought, and obtained, political backing at the highest levels for its actions.

The CBR’s Governor, Elvira Nabiullina – no doubt mindful of previous disastrous attempts to support falling currencies – expected that allowing the ruble to fall freely would enable Russia to ride out the storm without suffering catastrophic loss of reserves. If the oil price stabilized at say $65 a barrel, the ruble would also stabilize, the Russian economy would be down but not out and everyone would laud her as a heroine. But she reckoned without OPEC. Or rather, she misunderstood OPEC.

Despite appeals from its smaller members such as Ecuador and Venezuela for production to be cut, OPEC has allowed the oil price to fall freely. On November 27thit announced that it would not cut production. And on December 15th, the United Arab Emirates’ Energy Minister suggested that oil could fall as low as $40 a barrel.

This was disastrous. The CBR’s worst-case scenario for the Russian economy assumed the oil price would fall to $60 a barrel. A price of $40 a barrel was simply unimaginable. Russia’s economy is terribly dependent on oil: if the oil price falls so low, severe economic recession is inevitable and default becomes a real possibility. The ruble’s slide worsened, bond yields spiked and CDS rose exponentially as capital flight intensified.

At this point Nabiullina’s inexperience became apparent. Any other central bank governor faced with such carnage would have openly talked up the ruble and calmed fears of economic collapse and default, and would have ensured that politicians sang the same song. Media management is an essential skill for central bankers, but unfortunately it does not seem to have featured largely in Nabiullina’s training. And because of this, it all went horribly wrong.

This is Nabiullina’s Norman Lamont moment. But Lamont still had the ace of leaving the ERM up his sleeve. Has Nabiullina run out of ammunition?

Not quite. She is belatedly learning media management, it seems. Reuters reports that on Russian state TV this morning, the Governor described the ruble as “undervalued”, and said the central bank was ready to coordinate with the government to support its value.

The geopolitical aspects of this game make it impossible for a central bank to play it alone. Nabiullina made a terrible mistake yesterday, but today she has done the right thing. Her strategy has failed partly because OPEC played a harder game than she expected, and partly because the political tensions around Russia are spooking investors. Now she must mobilize the heavy artillery. In the end, responsibility for the economy rests with politicians, not central bankers. Capital controls will probably be needed to stem capital flight and restore confidence. Over to you, President Putin.

Here’s why the Russian Ruble is collapsing
Natalie Kitroeff and Joe Weisenthal Bloomberg Businessweek USA December 16, 2014

What’s the best-case scenario for Russians right now?

In an ideal world, Putin would see that his economy is crumbling (the weakening currency and surging interest rates make for a deadly combination of economic contraction and rampant inflation) and take steps to convince Europe and the U.S. to ease the sanctions. That would probably be enough to stem the panic and also offer real economic benefit. To do that, he’d have to dramatically pull back activity in Ukraine; frankly, that’s extremely unlikely. Putin’s adventures in Ukraine are very popular in Russia, and that’s the one thing he has going for him.

Worst case scenario? Are we there yet?

Out-and-out economic collapse and hyperinflation. It’s frightening to think what Putin might do in response to that, but the big fear is that he will become even more aggressive on the geopolitical front to persuade his people that Russia’s problems are being caused by an outside enemy and that the time is now to stand up militarily.

Below: Among the many positions in his long and varied career, Paul Craig Roberts is a former Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Treasury. Roberts also held the William E. Simon Chair in Political Economy at Georgetown University for a dozen years. As well, he was a senior editor with the Wall Street Journal. He is a prolific periodical writer and is the author of several books. Dr. Roberts produces articles every week for the public to read free of charge on his website, PaulCraigRoberts.org.

Is ruble collapse act of war-Paul Craig Roberts
Greg Hunter USA Watchdog USA December 17, 2014

You can watch Greg Hunter’s full interview with Paul Craig Roberts (38:54) from this page.

Former Assistant Treasury Secretary Dr. Paul Craig Roberts thinks the only thing that explains the plunge in the Russian ruble is that it is being attacked by America. Roberts contends, “It is not a currency crash in the sense there are no economic reasons for the ruble’s fall. Unlike the United States, which has a massive trade deficit, and if the currency markets were not rigged, the dollar would be collapsing, the Russian economy has a trade surplus. Therefore, there is no pressure on its currency for economic conditions.” Dr. Roberts goes on to say, “This is not some independent action of market forces. So, it’s either hedge funds, currency speculators like Soros, or it’s an Act of War on behalf of the United States government by the Federal Reserve or the Exchange Stabilization Fund. . . or possibly both hedge funds working with the federal government.”

Manipulating the markets, any market, is supposed to be illegal, but don’t count on the bankers going to jail. Dr. Roberts, who has a PhD in economics, thinks, “The big banks, the big Wall Street money, are essentially agents of the government. This is why they don’t get prosecuted. This is why they can break all kinds of laws, commit felonies and settle with a fine. This is what we’ve been watching in the financial arena. When these financial gangsters are caught, instead of being indicted and put on trial, they pay money.”

How could the Russians retaliate? Dr. Roberts says, “If the Russians wanted to do payback, it’s very easy for them. The next time all of these contracts, paper gold contracts, are dumped on the futures market, the Russians need to go and buy them all up, then demand delivery because there is no gold to deliver. The whole system would collapse. So, the Russians could cause a gold squeeze here anytime they want. . . . They would blow the system wide open because they can’t make delivery.”

On war, Dr. Roberts says recent resolutions passed in Congress certainly point to it. Dr. Roberts explains, “These resolutions demonize Russia and define it as a great threat. They call on Obama to arm the Ukrainians so we can use the Ukrainians to fight Russia. In other words, we are going to fight Russia down to the last Ukrainian. Of course, the Ukraine can’t fight Russia. The whole purpose of this is to have the Russians slap them down, then we can go to the Europeans and say see, see the Russians invaded and look how dangerous they are. You’re next. They will be in Berlin tomorrow. They’ll be in London by the end of the week. Paris will fall, and Rome will burn. We can’t wait to tell the Europeans this because the whole purpose of this is to completely break every kind of relationship, economic, political and cultural, between Russia and Europe. That’s what Washington’s goal is. That’s what it’s all about. This includes attacks on the ruble and sanctions. They are setting up a war that nobody can win, for what reason? For American superiority? You don’t have superiority if the world is awash in radioactive waste and there is nuclear winter. The climate has collapsed. The whole thing is an absurdity.”

Russia has enough resources to reverse ruble crisis – Medvedev
RT Russia December 17, 2014

Visit this page for its related links and its audio and video components.

Russia has enough market instruments to soothe the drastic ruble drop, which is a result of a “game on emotions,” said Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev.

Russia’s Government and the Central Bank of Russia have worked out a joint strategy to stabilize Russia’s financial market, Medvedev said at a meeting with leading officials from the Central Bank, the ministries dealing with the economy, and the largest Russian companies.

“As for all economic and production goals which you set, our country has foreign currency resources to attain them, you know this, there are market instruments needed to satisfy the specific demand,” he told his audience.

“We will coordinate actions”, he said, specifying that it would include an increase in foreign exchange bank refinancing, and balancing demand and supply of foreign currency through increasing provision of foreign currency liquidity if necessary.

Medvedev admitted there are certain fundamental factors behind the weakening ruble, like lower oil prices and no access to international financial markets, but said the psychological factor is huge.

“… the numbers that we’ve seen in the exchange offices over the past few days do not correspond to the real situation, and are way beyond the limits of the range comfortable for the economy and for the people,” he said, adding that emotions have played a big role in this situation.

The Prime Minister said this isn’t the first ruble turmoil for Russia.

“…we have an experience of anti-crisis decisions,” he said, adding he also held a meeting on the financial and economic situation on Tuesday.

Medvedev said everyone admits the ruble is now undervalued.

“Its course has pulled away from fundamental indexes and does not reflect the state of the economy,” he said.

Restoring order in the foreign exchange market is in everyone’s common interest, but stressed that Russia wouldn’t use any extreme measures, the PM said.

“Our future actions should be based on market mechanisms.”

One of the biggest worries for Russia’s Western partners is the risk of capital controls, which Russia has repeatedly denied it would introduce.

The MSCI investment group has warned that it would exclude Russia from the MSCI Emerging Markets Index should it start controlling capital flows or currency transactions.

The Central Bank of Russia (CBR) has spent more than $80 billion of its foreign exchange reserves since the beginning of 2014 propping up the ruble. As of the start of December, Russia’s FX reserves stood at $418 billion, which far exceeds the $16 billion Russia had saved up ahead of the 1998 default.

Russian ruble firms sharply as government pressures exporters
Vladimir Abramov and Alexander Winning Thomson Reuters Canada/UK December 17, 2014

Visit this page for its related links and video report (2:25).

MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russia’s ruble strengthened sharply on Wednesday after dramatic falls on the previous two days as the government pressured exporters not to hoard foreign-currency earnings and the central bank announced new measures to support financial stability.

The ruble was around 9 percent firmer against the dollar in volatile trading, with the market also boosted by central bank plans to ease concerns over approaching external debt repayments by Russian firms and stabilize the ruble.

Traders also saw targeted sales of foreign currency by exporters, in part because of upcoming monthly tax payments.

,,,

The ruble has come under heavy selling pressure this week, falling around 20 percent against the dollar at one stage on Tuesday, sparking fears of financial meltdown, despite the central bank hiking its key interest rate by 650 basis points.

The situation poses a major challenge for President Vladimir Putin whose popularity, based partly on providing stability and prosperity, is at risk from a ruble decline that is damaging Russia’s credibility among investors.

“Sooner or later they’ll flood the market with foreign currency, that’s what the market expects. We’re awaiting foreign currency from exporters, the finance ministry and central bank,” said Igor Akinshin, a forex trader at Alfa Bank in Moscow.

Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev called on Russia’s top exporters on Wednesday to behave “responsibly” with their forex revenues after meeting with the heads of state exporters including Gazprom and Rosneft.

The Finance Ministry, meanwhile, said it had started selling foreign currency left over on its accounts.

Analysts say the ruble’s slide has meant exporters have held on to as much of their forex earnings as possible.

The slide was deepened early this week by concerns Russian oil major Rosneft, which recently issued 625 billion rubles ($10.11 billion) in bonds, was converting the money it had raised into foreign currency to meet debt repayments.

Rosneft has denied the money would be used to buy dollars and is expected to repay a $7.6 billion portion of a bridge loan that matures on Sunday.

Putin holds his annual end-of-year news conference on Thursday, when he will field questions from a studio audience and television viewers around Russia, and is expected to comment on the ruble’s decline of about 45 percent this year.

Putin failed in a state-of-the-nation address on Dec. 4 to offer any big ideas to turn around the economy – which is sliding towards recession after being hit by Western sanctions over the Ukraine crisis and by a fall in the global price of oil, on which the Russian economy is heavily dependent.

The ruble’s slide has stirred memories of the 1998 Russian financial crisis, when the currency collapsed within days.

Related: Shopping frenzy, social media fuss and jokes in Russia as ruble collapses
RT Russia December 17, 2014

Visit this page for its related links and its audio and video components.

Luxury cars, jewellery, fridges and TVs are selling like hot cakes. Russians are rushing to buy retail after ‘Black Tuesday’ – the day the Ruble lost 20% of its value. And you can watch it on social media.

Consumers scooped up iPhones and iPads at prices over $100 lower than in the US . Apple’s Russian website stopped online sales “due to extreme fluctuations in the value of the ruble…”.

Currency exchanges have been overwhelmed across Moscow and local media outlets are reporting get-rich-quick schemes.

Amid the ruble collapse Russian social media is exhibiting its usual knack for humor.

Shopping in Russia just got really weird
Natalie Kitroeff Bloomberg Businessweek USA December 17, 2014

The Russian ruble lost as much as 19 percent of its value on Tuesday, partly because of Western sanctions and plummeting oil prices, but also because of mass panic. Russians of all stripes—traders, car buyers, and furniture shoppers—are clamoring to get their money out of the country. The hysteria has turned a slow-burning problem into a nightmare, and has also led some unexpected things to happen, both in Russia and elsewhere. A few odd side effects of Russia’s currency horrors:

Posted at: December 17, 2014 - 1:44 pm -- Posted by: Jim Scott -- Permalink: # -- Email This Post

Western Axis war on its own people: How much longer will people allow themselves to be scammed or, worse, robbed? Trickle-down economics? It’s a scam, confirms OECD & The global bankers’ coup: Bail-in and the shadowy Financial Stability Board

Trickle-down economics? It’s a scam, confirms OECD
Linda McQuaig rabble.ca Canada December 11, 2014

This article originally appeared in iPolitics. Visit this page for its embedded links.

No doubt the rich and powerful have been cracking up with laughter for decades over their ability to peddle “trickle-down economics” to a trusting public.

But a surprisingly strong report just released by the prestigious Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) may cause the public to regard these wealthy snakeoil salesmen more skeptically in the future.

Essentially, the OECD report reveals the immensity of the trickle-down scam, which the report shows has not only failed to foster economic growth as promised, but has proved to be an overall killer of economic growth.

And the report puts actual numbers on how much growth has been reduced as a result of trickle-down. In the case of Canada, the reduced economic growth amounts to about $62 billion a year — which economist Toby Sanger notes is almost three times more than the estimated annual loss to the Canadian economy of lower oil prices.

But while dropping oil prices are grabbing headlines, the serious negative economic consequences of Canada’s pro-rich economic policies are largely ignored. Certainly the Harper government promises to entrench these policies more deeply if re-elected.

First, a little background. As the dominant economic theory for the past 30 years, trickle-down economics — also known as Thatcherism, Reaganomics, neoliberalism or even just the “austerity agenda” — has led to a set of economic policies that have concentrated income and wealth at the top.

From the outset, critics charged that, despite its intellectual pretensions, neoliberalism was simply a confidence game aimed at redistributing resources to the rich.

Not so, responded most mainstream economists (particularly those employed by right-wing think-tanks). Rather, they insisted, neoliberal policies would — by providing generous incentives for top performers and cutting back expensive social programs — foster overall economic growth, with benefits ultimately “trickling down” to all.

This unproven claim became the justification for imposing this largely Anglo-American economic theory on the developing world as well. For years, powerful bodies like the International Monetary Fund (IMF) forced poor countries to adopt radical neoliberal reforms in order to qualify for desperately needed loans.

Meanwhile, there was mounting evidence — advanced by Joseph Stiglitz, Paul Krugman and other high-profile liberal economists — that neoliberal policies did little more than the obvious: making the rich richer, with no benefits for anyone else.

In the wake of the 2008 financial collapse, even the mainstream international economic organizations — including the IMF and the World Bank — began releasing studies with findings that seemed to contradict their organizations’ longstanding support for neoliberal orthodoxies.

With its report this week, the Paris-based OECD has gone farther still, stating unequivocally that its research shows that policies favouring the rich haven’t just failed to create overall economic growth, they have actually “curbed economic growth significantly.”

Related: The global bankers’ coup: Bail-in and the shadowy Financial Stability Board
Ellen Brown Web of Debt blog USA December 12, 2014


Visit this page for its embedded links.

On December 11, 2014, the US House passed a bill repealing the Dodd-Frank requirement that risky derivatives be pushed into big-bank subsidiaries, leaving our deposits and pensions exposed to massive derivatives losses. The bill was vigorously challenged by Senator Elizabeth Warren; but the tide turned when Jamie Dimon, CEO of JPMorganChase, stepped into the ring. Perhaps what prompted his intervention was the unanticipated $40 drop in the price of oil. As financial blogger Michael Snyder points out, that drop could trigger a derivatives payout that could bankrupt the biggest banks. And if the G20’s new “bail-in” rules are formalized, depositors and pensioners could be on the hook.

The new bail-in rules were discussed in my last post here. They are edicts of the Financial Stability Board (FSB), an unelected body of central bankers and finance ministers headquartered in the Bank for International Settlements in Basel, Switzerland. Where did the FSB get these sweeping powers, and is its mandate legally enforceable?

Those questions were addressed in an article I wrote in June 2009, two months after the FSB was formed, titled “Big Brother in Basel: BIS Financial Stability Board Undermines National Sovereignty.” It linked the strange boot shape of the BIS to a line from Orwell’s 1984: “a boot stamping on a human face—forever.” The concerns raised there seem to be materializing, so I’m republishing the bulk of that article here. We need to be paying attention, lest the bail-in juggernaut steamroll over us unchallenged.

Alarm bells went off in April 2009, when the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) was linked to the new Financial Stability Board (FSB) signed onto by the G20 leaders in London. The FSB was an expansion of the older Financial Stability Forum (FSF) set up in 1999 to serve in a merely advisory capacity by the G7 (a group of finance ministers formed from the seven major industrialized nations). The chair of the FSF was the General Manager of the BIS. The new FSB was expanded to include all G20 members (19 nations plus the EU).

Formally called the “Group of Twenty Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors,” the G20 was, like the G7, originally set up as a forum merely for cooperation and consultation on matters pertaining to the international financial system. What set off alarms was that the new Financial Stability Board had real teeth, imposing “obligations” and “commitments” on its members; and this feat was pulled off without legislative formalities, skirting the usual exacting requirements for treaties. It was all done in hasty response to an “emergency.” Problem-reaction-solution was the slippery slope of coups.

Buried on page 83 of an 89-page Report on Financial Regulatory Reform issued by the US Obama administration was a recommendation that the FSB strengthen and institutionalize its mandate to promote global financial stability. It sounded like a worthy goal, but there was a disturbing lack of detail. What was the FSB’s mandate, what were its expanded powers, and who was in charge? An article in The London Guardian addressed those issues in question and answer format:

Who runs the regulator? The Financial Stability Forum is chaired by Mario Draghi, governor of the Bank of Italy. The secretariat is based at the Bank for International Settlements’ headquarters in Basel, Switzerland.

Draghi was director general of the Italian treasury from 1991 to 2001, where he was responsible for widespread privatization (sell-off of government holdings to private investors). From 2002 to 2006, he was a partner at Goldman Sachs on Wall Street. He was succeeded in 2011 by Mark Carney, who also got his start at Goldman Sachs, working there for 13 years before going on to become Governor of the Bank of Canada in 2008 and Governor of the Bank of England in 2012. In 2011 and 2012, Carney attended the annual meetings of the controversial Bilderberg Group.

What will the new regulator do? The regulator will monitor potential risks to the economy . . . It will cooperate with the IMF, the Washington-based body that monitors countries’ financial health, lending funds if needed.

The IMF is an international banking organization that is also controversial. Joseph Stiglitz, former chief economist for the World Bank, charged it with ensnaring Third World countries in a debt trap from which they could not escape. Debtors unable to pay were bound by “conditionalities” that included a forced sell-off of national assets to private investors in order to service their loans.

Members were required to provide a “picture of the structure and finances of government” that was complete enough for an assessment of its “soundness” — but an assessment by whom, and what if a government failed the test? Was an unelected private committee based in the BIS allowed to evaluate the “structure and function” of particular national governments and, if they were determined to have fiscal policies that were not “sound,” to impose “conditionalities” and “austerity measures” of the sort that the IMF was notorious for imposing on Third World countries? Suspicious observers wondered if that was how once-mighty nations were to be brought under the heel of Big Brother at last.

For three centuries, private international banking interests have brought governments in line by blocking them from issuing their own currencies and requiring them to borrow banker-issued “banknotes” instead. Political colonialism is now a thing of the past, but under the new FSB guidelines, nations could still be held in feudalistic subservience to foreign masters.

Consider this scenario: the new FSB rules precipitate a massive global depression due to contraction of the money supply. XYZ country wakes up to the fact that all of this is unnecessary – that it could be creating its own money, freeing itself from the debt trap, rather than borrowing from bankers who create money on computer screens and charge interest for the privilege of borrowing it. But this realization comes too late: the boot descends and XYZ is crushed into line. National sovereignty has been abdicated to a private committee, with no say by the voters.

Marilyn Barnewall, dubbed by Forbes Magazine the “dean of American private banking,” wrote in an April 2009 article titled “What Happened to American Sovereignty at G-20?”:

It seems the world’s bankers have executed a bloodless coup and now represent all of the people in the world. . . . President Obama agreed at the G20 meeting in London to create an international board with authority to intervene in U.S. corporations by dictating executive compensation and approving or disapproving business management decisions. Under the new Financial Stability Board, the United States has only one vote. In other words, the group will be largely controlled by European central bankers. My guess is, they will represent themselves, not you and not me and certainly not America.

Are these commitments legally binding? Adoption of the FSB was never voted on by the public, either individually or through their legislators. The G20 Summit has been called “a New Bretton Woods,” referring to agreements entered into in 1944 establishing new rules for international trade. But Bretton Woods was put in place by Congressional Executive Agreement, requiring a majority vote of the legislature; and it more properly should have been done by treaty, requiring a two-thirds vote of the Senate, since it was an international agreement binding on the nation.

“Bail-in” is not the law yet, but the G20 governments will be called upon to adopt the FSB’s resolution measures when the proposal is finalized after taking comments in 2015. The authority of the G20 has been challenged, but mainly over whether important countries were left out of the mix. The omitted countries may prove to be the lucky ones, having avoided the FSB’s net.

Jim comment: But bail-in is the law in Canada and now the United States. Canada: Economic Action Plan, submitted March 21, 2013 (AKA the Canadian Federal Budget), pages 144-145. …. ” The Government proposes to implement a “bail -in” regime for systemically important banks.” United States: See below a comment from a former Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Treasury, Paul Craig Roberts. (Roberts held the William E. Simon Chair in Political Economy at Georgetown University for a dozen years.)

Is Ruble collapse act of war-Paul Craig Roberts
Greg Hunter USA Watchdog USA December 17, 2014

You can watch Greg Hunter’s full interview with Paul Craig Roberts (38:54) from this page.

On the teetering economy and possible economic collapse, Dr. Roberts says, “We know something serious is wrong. The only provision of Dodd-Frank that has any teeth is the provision that says if the big banks are going to be casinos and gamble on derivatives, they cannot do that in the depository institution where depositors have their accounts. They have to farm it out into subsidiaries. So, if the subsidiaries get into trouble, the subsidiaries have no access to depositors’ money. This is the only real reform part of Dodd-Frank. Citigroup got put into the recent spending bill, the repeal of this, so they can gamble on derivatives, and taxpayers and depositors are on the hook for the losses. Why would you do that unless you had a lot of derivatives trouble. It could easily be the oil derivatives. . . . The banks can gamble all they want and they are covered by the FDIC, which has no money. . . . This gives the banks access to depositors’ money. . . . This is sick, and it shows the United States government is the most corrupt government on earth, far more corrupt than Russia or China.”

Posted at: December 17, 2014 - 1:37 pm -- Posted by: Jim Scott -- Permalink: # -- Email This Post