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Friday, December 2, 2016

My Dad Died in a VA Hospital because HE Believed that the VA Care for Patience was as Good as anything you could find in the Private Sector and Folks, He Could Afford ANY Medical Care HE chose and on the East Cost there are some of the BEST Cancer Centers on the Planet!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Image result for Brig. Attilio Pedroli   

Where "IS" the Outrage from the VFW and the American Legion??????????????? I Belong to the Legion and I have Sent my Outrage to the National Commander!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

THIS Fucking BULLSHIT "IS" Totally WRONG and those Responsible should be in Fucking JAIL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

VA may have infected 600 veterans with HIV and Hepatitis
By Teresa Welsh

Nearly 600 veterans could have been infected with HIV, Hepatitis B or Hepatitis C at a Veterans Affairs facility in Tomah, Wis. because a dentist didn’t properly clean his instruments.

The Tomah VA is investigating the dentist, who has not been fired but was removed from patient care. According to acting Medical Center Director Victoria Brahm, the dentist was using his own equipment for routine dental exams, then cleaning it and using it again. This violates VA rules, which require use of disposable equipment to ensure sterility.

“It was purposeful that he was violating VA regulations,” Brahm said at a news conference Tuesday. “During all of the orientation, he used all of our equipment. He used it appropriately, so it was very purposeful from what we found in our investigation that he knew exactly what he was doing, and preferred to use his own equipment against procedure.”

The doctor has not been identified, complying with federal employee protections. He was one of four dentists employed by the VA, where he worked between October 2015 and October 2016.

As a precautionary measure, the VA is contacting all 592 veterans he treated to test for possible infections. It will provide free medical care to anyone who has an infection. VA spokesman Matthew Gowan said there is no indication any infections were transmitted, but “out of an abundance of caution it’s still the proper things to do.” He said the doctor was removed from patient care as soon as senior staff became aware of his actions on Oct. 21.

A review board will meet next week to determine disciplinary action for the dentist, who is currently performing administrative tasks.

The Veterans Administration......................What BULLSHIT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, November 21, 2016

Record 95,055,000 Americans Out Of The Labor Force
By Caroline May

While the unemployment rate dropped and the economy added another 178,000 jobs, the number of Americans out of the labor force hit a record high last month.

According to the Labor Department, 95,055,000 Americans were out of workforce in November, meaning they were neither employed nor had made an effort to find work over the previous month.

The level of Americans outside of the workforce last month — due to retirement, education, discouragement, or otherwise — represented a substantial 446,000 increase over the month of October.

The Labor Department added that in November there were 1.9 million Americans marginally attached to the labor force or people who looked for work at some point in the last 12 months but were not in the labor force. Among the marginally attached were 591,000 discouraged workers or those who are not looking for a job because they do not think there is a job out there for them. 

U.S. Unemployment.............The REAL Story!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Why Sunday could be a dark day for Europe...and the world

With Austrians choosing a new president, and an Italian referendum that could finish Premier Matteo Renzi, December 4 may have dire consequences globally
By David Dodwell

For those of us sideswiped by the upsets of June 23 and November 8, there is every possibility that Sunday – December 4 – will be another dismal landmark in a dismal year.

Forget “Black Friday” last week celebrating the Thanksgiving shopping orgy in the US, and instead think about a “Black Sunday” that may confirm Europe sliding down the same populist, xenophobic slope seen among UK and US voters this year.

It seems our own Asia-Pacific region will soon be the only part of the world able to report moderate growth, and encouraging openness to trade and investment as a means of sustaining it. And since the Asian region accounts for only a minority of global GDP and an even smaller minority of global consumption (even with China’s strong growth over the past three decades) the prospects of a depressive, protectionist contagion from Europe and the US hobbling our own region seem horribly real. 

Italy's Renzi next to be swept aside by 2016 populist wave?
Published on Friday, 2 December, 2016 at 07:25

(AFP) Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi heads into a career-defining constitutional referendum this weekend hoping a last-minute turnaround in voter sentiment will help him hold on to power.

The latest polls point to a defeat for the centre-left leader's proposals to streamline parliament -- an outcome that would cast him as the next victim of the populism that has buffeted global politics in 2016.

After Britain's vote to leave the EU and Donald Trump's presidential triumph in the United States, Italy's establishment is viewed as next in line for a slap from the fed-up and the forgotten.

It is a narrative that has played strongly internationally but less so in Italy, where the merits of the proposed reform itself have dominated discussion.

At stake Sunday is whether to slash the size and powers of the second-chamber Senate and centralise some powers currently held at local or regional level.

Italian Banks Flirt With Disaster Again as Government Teeters
By Edward Robinson and Sonia Sirletti

They’re burdened with a mountain of bad loans. Their stocks have cratered. And they have to operate in an economy prone to recession and political upheaval.

Signs have been mounting for months that Italy’s weakest lenders, and in particular Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena SpA, were sliding toward the precipice, threatening to reignite a broader crisis.

But don’t be surprised if Italy’s troubled banks sidestep disaster yet again.

The next chapter could start Sunday, when polls suggest Italian voters will reject a constitutional change to streamline the legislative process, a decision that could lead Prime Minister Matteo Renzi to resign. Should he quit, Italy may enter a period of political and market turmoil just as its fragile banks are struggling to win back the confidence of investors and regulators. Monte Paschi is in the middle of a 5 billion-euro ($5.3 billion) capital raising, while UniCredit SpA, Italy’s biggest lender, is considering its own stock offering.

Crises have become routine in a nation that’s been ruled by more than 60 governments since World War II. While Britain’s decision to quit the European Union and the election of Donald Trump as the next U.S. president shattered expectations, investors have been girding for Italians to thumb their noses at their own establishment for some time. Shares in the nation’s top 12 banks have tumbled 10 percent in the last three months, compared with an 8 percent jump in the Euro Stoxx Banks Index.

“A ‘no’ vote is widely expected and priced in by markets, so I expect less volatility and speculation than we saw in Brexit and the U.S. election,” said Mario Spreafico, who oversees 2 billion euros as chief investment officer at Schroders Wealth Management Italy. 

A Potential Banking Crisis Awaits the Next Eurozone Exit

There’s one kind of debt that governments won’t be able to inflate away. And its value could be crushing.
By Marcello Minenna

Commentators have speculated for years about whether this country or that would be leaving the eurozone. The debate has focused on political arguments about European solidarity and macroeconomic arguments about competitiveness and currency valuation. Now, thanks to new data, another question is coming into focus: As a practical matter, can a country leave even if it wants to?

As with so much else in the eurozone, this is a question of debt. One of the most plausible arguments for leaving the common currency is that doing so would allow a country to devalue its way out of a solvency crisis. Were Italy to leave the euro, perhaps as an eventual consequence of this weekend’s constitutional referendum, a re-created lira could in short order plausibly lose 40% of its value against the euro. The British pound lost 25% of its value after Brexit, and that was with a government committed to fiscal responsibility.

This scenario assumes that debt would have to be redenominated in the new currency. A sharp, sudden devaluation would make it difficult to repay old debts in euros. To avert widespread defaults of banks, enterprises and households, a government leaving the euro would soon find it impossible to avoid invoking lex monetae—an internationally recognized principle under which a government may set the currency to be used to settle debts contracted under that government’s jurisdiction without automatically triggering a default. That would include money borrowed locally from a foreign entity. A mortgage borrowed by an Italian from the Florentine branch of a German bank would be subject to such redenomination.

Economists and politicians who support leaving the euro are correct that this would allow governments to inflate away debts, and that there’s little anyone could do to stop them. The only check would be political, since this would also eat away at the $1.6 trillion in bank deposits Italians have stashed away in Italian banks.

But there’s one huge pile of debt this euro-exit plan doesn’t account for: debt contracted overseas. This includes debts such as bonds issued in Frankfurt by a Greek company, or derivatives contracts made by an Italian company in London or New York. Because these contracts wouldn’t be under the jurisdiction of the government leaving the eurozone, they wouldn’t be subject to forcible redenomination. And because the eurozone has encouraged the internationalization of European debt markets, the amounts of such debt are huge. 

Europe Braces For Italy's Referendum

Interviewee: Robert Kahn, Steven A. Tananbaum Senior Fellow for International Economics
Interviewer: James McBride, Senior Online Writer/Editor, Economics

On December 4, Italians will vote on constitutional changes aimed at streamlining the country’s complex political system. Prime Minister Matteo Renzi has said he may resign if the reforms are defeated, raising fears of prolonged political instability in Italy and renewed economic turbulence across Europe. If Renzi’s government falls, the government’s bank rescue efforts could be impaired. “That uncertainty could easily generate a self-fulfilling run on the banks as capital pulls out of the country,” says CFR Senior Fellow Robert Kahn in a written interview. Italy’s problems reflect the vulnerability of the broader European economy, he says, and trouble in its banking system could tip the continent back into crisis.

New EPA rules push regulatory costs past $1 trillion, $3,080 per person
By Paul Bedard

The new implementation of EPA rules on heavy trucks has boosted the 10-year regulatory burden on America past $1 trillion, 75 percent of which have been imposed by the Obama administration.

That amounts to a one-time charge of $3,080 per person, or an annual cost of $540, according to a new analysis from American Action Forum.

"In other words, each year every person, regardless of age, in the nation is responsible for paying roughly $540 in regulatory costs. These burdens might take the form of higher prices, fewer jobs, or reduced wages," said AAF's Sam Batkins, director of regulatory policy at the watchdog group.

The staggering amount is likely to surge even higher as President Obama scrambles to lock in several environmental regulations before leaving office. He has already broken records for new regulations and added red tape this year and still has 50 days in office.

Incoming President-elect Trump has promised to kill two current regulations for every new one he adds.

The new high in regulatory costs, said Batkins, came after new fuel standards for trucks were implemented.

His study goes back to 2005, when George W. Bush was president, and said that Obama is responsible for about three-quarters of the added regulatory costs.

"The Obama Administration surpassed 500 major regulations last summer, imposing $625 billion in cumulative costs. Earlier this year, regulators published the administration's 600th major rule, increasing burdens to $743 billion. Now, thanks to data from the last term of the Bush Administration and another billion-dollar rule from EPA, the regulatory tally has surpassed $1 trillion. These figures are direct estimates from federal regulators, but it will take more than an effort from these regulators to amend hundreds of major regulations. Congress, the next president, and even the courts must participate in the next generation of regulatory modernization," he reported. 

""GAME OVER""..............Taxpayers take a Fricking Beating and the Central Banksters come away Accomplishing NOTHING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Uncle Ben's ""QE"" VooDoo FAILED Everywhere it was Tried!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

Exclusive: ECB to extend asset buys but may signal eventual end
By Noah Barkin , John O'Donnell and Balazs Koranyi | BERLIN/FRANKFURT

The ECB will extend its bond purchases beyond March and consider sending a formal signal after its policy meeting next Thursday that the program will eventually end, senior sources with direct knowledge of discussions said.

Even some skeptics of more stimulus on the bank's Governing Council have accepted that an extension beyond the current expiry date of March is inevitable given weak underlying inflation and heightened political risk, they said.

They are still wrestling with the question of how to structure that extension, however, according to multiple senior sources at the European Central Bank and national central banks.

European Central Bank is caught between a rock and a hard place

ECB President Mario Draghi faces tough choices as Italy heads into a constitutional referendum and the US prepares to raise interest rates
By Nicholas Spiro

Spare a thought for Mario Draghi, the Italian president of the European Central Bank (ECB).

Next Thursday, Draghi will hold one of his most eagerly awaited press conferences following the ECB’s monthly policy meeting. He will be speaking four days after a high-stakes referendum on constitutional reform in Italy which premier Matteo Renzi is expected to lose and six days before the US Federal Reserve’s widely anticipated decision to raise interest rates for the first time since last December.

Both of these developments are likely to have significant implications for global financial markets, already in a state of flux because of expectations that US President-elect Donald Trump will unveil a hefty fiscal stimulus programme that will fuel inflation, forcing the Fed to raise rates more aggressively next year.

The immediate concern for the ECB is the fallout from a “No” vote in the Italian referendum on Sunday.

The closely watched yield on Italy’s 10-year bonds has surged nearly 100 basis points since mid-August - with nearly half the increase occurring over the past month - to just under 2 per cent amid fears that renewed political instability in the euro zone’s third-largest economy could precipitate a full-blown banking crisis in a country burdened with a dangerously high share of non-performing loans (NPLs). 

What a GREAT Combination for the Winter(The Slowest Time for Global GDP) Higher Crude Oil Prices and Higher Yields on Global DEBT.....................RECESSION Dead Ahead!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

China's Central Bank Is Facing a Major New Headache
Bloomberg News

People’s Bank of China Governor Zhou Xiaochuan already has one policy headache with the currency falling to near an eight-year low. He could have an even bigger one next month.

That’s when a $50,000 cap on how much foreign currency individuals are allowed to convert each year resets, potentially aggravating capital outflow pressures that are already on the rise. If just 1 percent of China’s almost 1.4 billion people max out those limits, that’s an outflow of about $700 billion -- more than the estimated $620 billion that Bloomberg Intelligence estimates indicate has already flowed out in the first 10 months of this year.

Middle class and wealthy Chinese have been converting money into other currencies to protect themselves from devaluation, exacerbating downward pressure on the yuan. Outflows could intensify if Federal Reserve interest-rate hikes fuel further dollar appreciation.

That leaves Zhou in a bind identified by Nobel-prize winning economist Robert Mundell as the “impossible trinity” -- a principle that dictates nations can’t sustain a fixed exchange rate, independent monetary policy, and open capital borders all at the same time.

"At a moment like this, you have to compare two evils and pick the less-worse one," said George Wu, who worked as a PBOC monetary policy official for 12 years. "Capital free flow may have to be abandoned in order to maintain a relatively stable currency rate."

China is moving further away from balance among trinity variables, at least temporarily, and "it may take a while before the situation stabilizes" for the yuan and capital outflows, said Wu, who’s now chief economist at Huarong Securities Co. in Beijing. 

U.S. Government Debt Selloff Continues, With 10-Year Yield at 17-Month High

Higher oil prices adding to expectations of higher inflation, driving investors to switch into TIPS
By Min Zeng

The bond market rout is deepening.

The yield on the U.S. benchmark 10-year Treasury note rose to a 17-month high Thursday, following the biggest monthly increase in November since 2009. The yield recently was 2.477%, according to Tradeweb, compared with 2.365% Wednesday. Yields rise as bond prices fall.

Selling Thursday was driven by higher oil prices, which have extended Wednesday’s rally after the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries reached a deal to curb the continuing oil supply glut. Higher oil prices tend to boost inflation expectations, which chip away at bonds’ fixed returns over time and is a big threat to long-term government bonds.

The oil move drove investors to sell Treasury debt and buy Treasury inflation-protected securities on Thursday. The allocation sent the 10-year Treasury note’s yield premium over the 10-year TIPS to 1.98 percentage points, the highest since Oct 2014.

That level suggests that investors expect U.S. inflation to run at an annual rate of 1.98% on average over the next 10 years. Known as the 10-year break-even rate, it had soared by 1.36 percentage points shortly after the Brexit vote. The break-even rate last traded at 2%—the Fed’s inflation target—in September 2014, a level some analysts say is likely to break soon if inflation bets gain more traction.

A solid U.S. manufacturing release Thursday boosted optimism toward the U.S. growth outlook, driving more investors to sell Treasury debt—typically a haven when the economy falters.

The U.S. nonfarm payrolls report is due Friday, one of the most important monthly economic statistics. Traders say an upbeat report could fuel more selling in bonds.

The 10-year Treasury yield has soared by more than 1 percentage point from its record low set in July. The selloff has been intensifying after the U.S. election in early November. Investors are betting that the prospect of expansive fiscal and economic policy under the new U.S. administration would lead to stronger growth, higher inflation and potentially a faster pace of interest-rate increases by the Federal Reserve.

This represents a big shift away from the notion of soft growth and low inflation that had been a main driver sending investors piling into Treasury debt and sovereign bonds in other developed countries, driving bond yields to historic lows this summer.

Higher Treasury bond yields have rippled globally as the selloff wiped out more than $1 trillion in November from the global government bond universe, based on the changes of market value in Bloomberg Barclays indexes data.

Some of the world’s large money managers have changed their view that yields would stay lower for longer.

“We are moving to a new regime in the bond market,” said Nick Gartside, international chief investment officer of global fixed income at J.P. Morgan Asset Management, which had $1.8 trillion assets under management as of Sept. 30.

Mr. Gartside said he believes that Treasury bond yields had hit rock bottom in July following a 35-year span of lower yields. He said the 10-year yield would rise to 3% during 2017—a level where it had last traded in early 2014.

What Happens “If the Boom Ends with a Bang?”
By Wolf Richter

OECD frets about Canada’s House Price Bubble

In its economic outlook released today, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) is generally gung-ho about the Canadian economy, and practically bubbling over with new enthusiasm for the global economy. It now expects global growth to accelerate from 2.9% this year to 3.3% in 2017 and to 3.6% in 2018. Call it the “Trump effect” gone global.

But for Canada, despite its hunky-dory economy due to the “moderately expansionary policy stance in the 2016 federal budget,” the OECD has a stark warning: “House prices, housing investment and household debt are very high, posing financial stability risks.”

The OECD’s chart shows the house price indices for Vancouver and Toronto, which make up about one-third of the national housing market, versus the index for the rest of Canada. Note the hook at the top of the red line: a feeble sign that house prices in Vancouver might be heading south: 

Housing prices are hurting Canada's middle class, OECD warns

GDP expected to grow 1.2% in 2016, but economy to pick up pace next year
By Susan Noakes, CBC News

Canada's economy is on the upswing, but Canadian households remain vulnerable because of debt and high housing prices, according to the latest report on the economy by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development.

The Paris-based intergovernmental agency said Canada's economy has adjusted to the fall in commodity prices, with activity shifting from the energy to non-energy sectors. It predicted Canadian GDP would grow 1.2 per cent in 2016 and 2.1 per cent in 2017, a rate slightly more optimistic than the latest predictions from the Bank of Canada.

But it warns middle-class families in Vancouver and Toronto are being squeezed by high housing prices, leaving them vulnerable to higher rates or a correction in prices.

It acknowledges recent changes in mortgage rules which could discourage buyers from entering these expensive markets, but urges "regionally focused measures" to further help with housing affordability.

The report also warns against high levels of consumer debt.

A sustained period of low interest rates has encouraged Canadians to take on more credit, "with household debt continuing to edge up from already high levels," the OECD said. 

OECD Economic Surveys


The EU "IS" Soooooooooooooo Totally FUCKED in 2017!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

President François Hollande of France Won’t Seek Re-Election

PARIS — President François Hollande stunned France on Thursday when he announced that he would not run for a second term in next year’s presidential election.

In a televised address from the Élysée Palace, Mr. Hollande said that he was “aware of the risks” of a candidacy that would not “rally” enough people to it.

“I have thus decided not to be a candidate in the presidential elections,” Mr. Hollande said.

Mr. Hollande, a Socialist, ended weeks of speculation about his intentions to participate in a re-election bid that few observers thought he could win. He has had some of the worst approval ratings for a president in modern French history.

Polls had indicated that Mr. Hollande, who has struggled to significantly reduce unemployment and whose term has seen some of the worst terrorist attacks on French soil, would not make it past the first round of the elections, which will be held in April.

On Sunday, a socially conservative, budget-cutting former prime minister, François Fillon, won the center-right Republican Party’s nomination for president in a primary. 

Hollande Takes Himself Out of France’s 2017 Presidential Race
By Marthe Fourcade and Gregory Viscusi

French President Francois Hollande said he won’t run for re-election, stunning the nation and opening the way for his more popular prime minister to enter the 2017 presidential race.

Hollande made the announcement in a televised address on Thursday evening, saying that his lack of support opened the country to the risk of extremist movements. He becomes the first president since the Fifth Republic began in 1958 not to seek re-election.

While Hollande didn’t say who should represent the Socialist Party in next year’s election, the move potentially clears the path for Prime Minister Manuel Valls, who has said he’d run if the president decided against a bid.

“I am aware of the risks of a candidacy which would not unite,” Hollande said. “I have decided not to be a candidate.”

Mistakes Acknowledged

ROTFLMAO in Tears just thinking what the Socialists in Brussels have coming at them in 2017!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Image result for rotflmao

""LAB RATS"" of Planet EARTH, You're going to want to READ this because the BLACK Swans coming at YOU in 2017 are going to be HUNGRY for YOUR Money!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

EUROPE'S MOMENT OF TRUTH Elections, rising nationalism and banking crisis could spark ‘cataclysmic’ break-up of the EU next year

The next 12 months are set to be critical for the European Union
By Victoria Craw,

IF you thought 2016 was eventful, wait until you see what ""2017"" has in store.

The next 12 months are set to be critical for the European Union which is facing a series of major events, from referendums to general elections across its core members.

It comes amid a backdrop of rising nationalism and populist politics, fuelled by the migrant crisis, terrorism and years of austerity measures that have left people across the continent fed up with the status quo. The recent election of Donald Trump and UK’s Brexit vote have put European leaders on notice — all bets are off.

“Since the November 9, times have changed,” said German ING economist Carsten Brzeski in reference to the US election. “You can walk through all these political events one by one … I think each has the potential to derail the eurozone, to further disintegrate the eurozone, to maybe possibly even lead to a breakup of the eurozone — but only in the worst, worst-case scenario.”

Starting on Monday, here’s what’s coming up in what could be Europe’s most dangerous year yet. 

EU may fall apart due to failed neo-liberal policies – Noam Chomsky to RT

The surge in right-wing and anti-establishment sentiments as a result of failed neo-liberal policies in Europe is likely to lead to collapse of the EU in “a tragic development,” prominent American linguist, scholar and activist Noam Chomsky told RT.

France’s right-wing presidential candidate Marine Le Pen, who is rooting for a referendum regarding France’s membership in the EU, stands a good chance of winning the elections and thus likely initiating the so-called Frexit, Chomsky said in an interview with RT on Wednesday.

“I don’t think Germany would initiate it [the collapse of the EU] because they are beneficiaries of the union,” Chomsky said.

“If the union falls apart, I think it would be a tragic development,” he added.

Chomsky said that failed “neo-liberal policies of the past generation” influenced such a significant rise in popularity of the right-wing parties.

“These programs were designed in such a way so that they would lead to stagnation and even decline for a large part, actually, majority of the population. They also severely undermined democracy, which is even more true in Europe than in the US,” he said.

“The result of these processes is that people are angry, disillusioned, their hopes for the future have collapsed,” Chomsky said. 

Why Europe’s populist revolt is spreading
By Josh Lowe, Owen Matthews and Matt McAllester 


Is there really an international wave of a hard-right populism? Are the masses rising up around the world to topple corrupt elites?

Or is talk of this colossal political shift just jargon, guff and cocktail chatter concocted by analysts searching for patterns when the victories of Donald Trump in the US presidential election and Britain’s decision to leave the EU — to name the two most significant results in the West — could just be unconnected blips?

A year ago, the evidence for a global phenomenon was weak. Some midsize European countries, Hungary and Poland, had elected rightist, anti- globalization governments, and France, the Netherlands, Sweden and a few other European nations had parties that were beginning, maybe, to look like electoral contenders.

The UK was heading for a vote on its EU membership, but few people thought the majority would vote for Brexit. At that point, Trump seemed to be just a whacky sideshow in a Republican primary.

T he evidence of an international populist surge has grown since then. Trump’s victory has made it harder for centrists to close their eyes and hope nationalism will just disappear.

His triumph was a shock in many ways, but one of the most sobering aspects of it is his warmth toward prominent authoritarian leaders and foreign politicians with alarming views. Trump’s counterparts in Europe, long confined to the margins of politics, will watch with admiration as Trump, soon to be the world’s most powerful person, takes office on January 20.

Latest forecast: 2.4 percent — November 30, 2016

*****The GDPNow model forecast for real GDP growth (seasonally adjusted annual rate) in the fourth quarter of 2016 is 2.4 percent on November 30, down from 3.6 percent on November 23. The forecast of the combined contributions of real net exports and real inventory investment to fourth-quarter growth fell from 0.61 percentage points to 0.18 percentage points after last Friday's advance economic indicators report from the U.S. Census Bureau. The forecast of fourth-quarter real consumer spending growth fell from 3.0 percent to 2.2 percent after this morning's personal income and outlays release from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis.

The next GDPNow update is Thursday, December 1. Please see the "Release Dates" tab below for a full list of upcoming releases.

Evolution of Atlanta Fed GDPNow real GDP forecast 

A WARNING to ALL American ""TAXPAYERS"".....................YOU Folks are going to NEED a VERY Large Supply of K-Y Jelly and Preparation H for YOUR ASS because YOUR Fricking STATES, Counties and Cities are Going to Expect YOU to Fucking PAY out the ASS for Municipal Bankruptcies and Failed Public Pensions over the NEXT 4 YEARS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

America, I have WARNED You ALL many TIMES HERE that ""BIG Government"" Ain't YOUR Friend!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Municipal DEBT Public Pensions........................The DEBT HELL of 2008 "IS" Coming at YOU....................AGAIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Dallas Stares Down a Texas-Size Threat of Bankruptcy

DALLAS — Picture the next major American city to go bankrupt. What springs to mind? Probably not the swagger and sprawl of Dallas.

But there was Dallas’s mayor, Michael S. Rawlings, testifying this month to a state oversight board that his city appeared to be “walking into the fan blades” of municipal bankruptcy.

“It is horribly ironic,” he said. 

Trump doesn't have a SNOW BALLS Chance in Hell of Making Anything Work in 2017 thanks to Obama and his Fucking ASSHOLES He Brought to Washington in 2009 and 2013!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

America, YOU Fucked Yourselves!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Image result for rotflmfao

Subprime Auto-Loan Delinquencies Surge to NY Fed’s Attention
By Wolf Richter

Six million Americans are 90-plus days delinquent.

The increasingly turbulent sector of subprime auto loans bubbled to the attention of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. In its Liberty Street Economics, it worries about the “notable deterioration in the performance of subprime auto loans” – Fed speak for the momentum with which these loans are going to heck.

About six million people with subprime credit scores (below 620) are now at least 90 days past due on their payments for their car or truck.

The New York Fed worries about the lenders that specialize in these loans, and it worries about the “large number of households” whose vehicles are at risk of repossession: “The increased level of distress associated with subprime loan delinquencies is of significant concern, and likely to have ongoing consequences for affected households,” it says.

If the vehicles are repossessed, people might lose their ability to go to work, go to the grocery store, and do the normal things in life that drive the economy forward. Six million people are in that position.

Auto loan balances jumped by a breath-taking $32 billion in the third quarter, to $1.135 trillion, according to the New York Fed’s current Household Debt and Credit report today. According to the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve, which released its own set of numbers a little while ago, auto loan balances jumped by $30 billion in Q3, to $1.1 trillion (chart below). Both agree: It was the biggest jump in auto loan originations in US history for any quarter and year-to-date.

All of it on flat new vehicle sales so far this year: 

Russia, USA and China are prepping for all-out SPACE WAR

SUPERPOWERS are preparing to dominate in a devastating space war, which could destroy life on Earth as we know it, experts have warned.
By Alex Hickson

As countries seek to maintain control in outer-space, competition between nations will give rise to apocalyptic cosmic attacks, according to security officials.

Nightmare scenarios might leave vast swathes of the planet in the dark as intergalactic weapons knock out satellites and launch cyber attacks.

General John Hyten, head of US Strategic Command, told CNN: "As humans go out there, there has always been conflict. Conflict in the Wild West as we move in the West ... conflict twice in Europe for its horrible world wars.

SPACE WARfare!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

$1 Trillion Money Manager Downplays The OPEC Deal
By Tsvetana Paraskova

The market should not be overly enthusiastic over today’s oil price surge on reports that OPEC has managed to reach some kind of a deal to reduce supply, David Hunt, chief executive at asset manager PGIM, said in an interview with Bloomberg Television on Wednesday.

Hunt, CEO of the asset management group that manages US$1 trillion in assets, said the oil price surge today is “probably not” sustainable.

Earlier today, OPEC managed to reach the much-hyped agreement to cut output in a bid to boost oil prices. The ministerial meeting in Vienna is said to have clinched a deal to cut output by 1.2 million barrels per day to 32.5 million barrels per day, but the deal may come with a condition that non-OPEC producers also cut production, by some 600,000 bpd.

Oil prices are soaring on the OPEC deal news, and as of 10:50 AM (EST), WTI Crude was surging 7.21 percent at US$48.49, and Brent Crude was soaring by 7.65 percent at US$50.94, staying above the US$50 mark for a couple of hours now.

“For us who are long-term investors, we tend to look at the group of people who are gathering in Vienna and say ‘they’re fighting against history... The cost of producing crude, largely due to fracking technology, has dramatically changed the marginal economics of oil,” Hunt told Bloomberg Television. 

A Second Look At The OPEC Deal: Here's What Can Go Wrong

Defying numerous skeptics, today's historic OPEC decision to cut production, a first since 2009, marks a clear turning point in cartel, and especially Saudi Arabian, politics: individual country quotas have been allocated to all members, a third-party production verification process has been established, and the world’s largest crude oil producer Russia has committed to freeze production.At least, that's what the deal looks like on paper.

For those who missed today's fireworks, which saw oil soar as much as 10%, here are the key details.

The OPEC deal features explicit country level production adjustments that target a reduction in OPEC crude production to 32.7 mb/d, down 1.2 mb/d from October (as measured from secondary sources). Libya, Nigeria and Indonesia (an oil importer) are exempt from any adjustment and apart from Iran, the remaining country production decline is 4.6% vs. October (September for Angola). Iran's participation, while essential to this deal, still leaves questions unanswered with the agreement allowing for a 90 kb/d increase in production when compared to October OPEC secondary sources, but requiring a 180 kb/d cut from October production when measured through direct communication. While no details were provided, non-OPEC countries are expected to join this deal with a target of reducing supply by 0.6 mb/d and Russia expected to commit to a 0.3 mb/d production cut.  While Russia embraced the deal, it made it clear it would be very slow in cutting production due to "technical issues", and refused to explain from what level it would make the 0.3mb/d cut - Russia previously suggested it may cut from a projected budget output level for 2017, suggesting Russia won't actually cut production at all.

OPEC and Russia have agreed to cut production to 32.5 mb/d and 0.3 mb/d respectively 

Russia invasion IMMINENT: Vladimir Putin mobilises 55,000 troops for ‘frightening war'

Vladimir Putin Russia Crimea Ukraine War Troops Invasion

RUSSIA has massed 55,000 troops along their eastern border as they prepare to unleash a "frightening war" upon Europe.
By Henry Holloway

Military bosses claim Vladimir Putin has sent his mighty army to disputed frontiers along Eastern Europe.

Putin’s mass military deployment comes as Russian lawmakers threatened a looming “frightening war” unless their enemies back down over the annexation of Crimea.

Russia has been at loggerheads with NATO ever since it seized the peninsula on the Black Sea in 2014.

Shockingly earlier this year Russia withdrew from the International Criminal Court after the organisation branded its occupation illegal and said it was an act of war against Ukraine. 

'If You Want Peace, Prepare for Resistance'
By Jan Osburg, Stephen J. Flanagan, Marta Kepe

A Lithuanian army soldier holds the national flag during the NATO Force Integration Unit inauguration event in Vilnius, Lithuania, September 3, 2015

In a rare and courageous step, the government of Lithuania recently issued a guide on how its citizens can resist a potential Russian invasion and occupation — by force of arms if need be. Given the disparity of conventional military forces between Russia and the three Baltic states, as well as Russia's geographic advantage in the region, this is a measure that makes eminent sense. It is worthy of moral and practical support from the United States and other NATO allies.

Lithuania hopes to deter aggression by making it clear to a potential attacker that even if an invasion should initially succeed the fight would be far from over, and thus loss of territory will not mean loss of the war. But preparing for resistance is not the only defensive measure Lithuania is taking to maintain the peace. Resistance is a key element of the “Total Defense” strategy which all three Baltic states have been pursuing to varying degrees in recent years, spurred on by Russian aggression in Crimea, eastern Ukraine, and elsewhere.

Total Defense involves the entire society, from the government to the private sector to individual citizens. Citizen involvement has been a vital part of Lithuanian thinking on national defense, and it is embedded in its Constitution, National Security Strategy and 2016 Military Strategy. Total Defense aims to make it harder for a potential aggressor to destabilize a country in the run-up to an attack, and, should this and other elements of deterrence fail to prevent an invasion, to make the country “indigestible” for any occupying force. Estonia has long had a similar defense concept, and the Latvian government is committed to strengthening its National Guard and urging all citizens to play an active role in resisting any aggression.

Baltic history is rich with examples of resistance, from the “Forest Brothers” partisans who heroically fought first Nazi, then Soviet occupiers during and after World War II, to the peaceful “singing revolution” that led to Baltic independence from the collapsing Soviet Union in 1991. However, the history of the Forest Brothers, who were ultimately wiped out by the KGB and its predecessors after several years of valiant fighting, also shows that popular resistance against a ruthless occupying force may not be enough to liberate a country. Resistance can delay an invasion, demonstrate that the country under attack remains a sovereign entity even under occupation, help rally international support and impose a heavy toll on the occupation forces, but assistance from outside will ultimately be needed to force out an entrenched occupier....

The No Growth In US Trade Does Matter
By Jeffrey P. Snider

While certain markets continue to dream of the economy that might be, we continue to be stuck with the economy that continues to be nothing like it. Last week the Census Bureau reported that exports fell slightly year-over-year in September 2016 after rising slightly in August for the first positive number in two years. On the import side, marginal US demand remains non-existent; imports fell almost 3% year-over-year in September.

The brunt of domestic weakness continues to fall on the Chinese. This year is by far the worst year for US imports of Chinese goods since the Great “Recession.” Year-to-date through September 2016, imports have declined by more than 6% from the first nine months of 2015. That is a huge downturn from even last year’s weakness, where exports YTD through September 2015 were up 6% over the same period in 2014. As always, Chinese economic and financial baselines were written for 20% growth; single digits are trouble, negative single digits big trouble.


While a good part of that decline in 2016 occurred to start the year with the rest of the global economic disruption, it hasn’t really improved over the intervening months. Since this is US imports from China, a relatively good proxy for the US “demand” as a whole, we have to make the same claim about the US economy as a whole.


In September, inbound trade from China fell another 8%, the worst month since April, making it the third worst month since 2009. These estimates confirm what China’s economic statistics have projected throughout this year. We can reasonably assume that these declines relate to the relatively high levels of inventory that remain in US possession, so retailers and therefore Chinese factories would need an actually robust Christmas shopping season in order reduce those levels and restart a buildup. Black Friday, as has become usual, was described in the media as a blowout just as it was last year (and the year before), to which the Chinese will strongly protest that highly inappropriate characterization. It was another inauspicious start of a crucial economic period.

It isn’t just China, however, as imports from Europe fell nearly 3% in September, too. While in the traditional view it may take some time for the euro’s decline to act as a catalyst for more US directed trade coming from the EU, like China the figures so far this year show the same weak but not getting weaker US economy that is holding back the rest of the global system.

MORE CHARTS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

The Path To Actual Reflation Could Be Very Complicated
By Jeffrey P. Snider

After sticking around 53 bps since the middle of September, 1-month LIBOR has jumped almost 7 bps since November 11 to register above 60 bps for the first time in years. With the December 2016 FOMC meeting fast approaching, it is quite natural to assume eurodollar markets are picking up what has been “hawkishness” over recent weeks. This would be a repeat of last year, where the 1-month rate didn’t really start upward until November 17 in anticipation of what did happen one month later.

The other maturities of LIBOR, however, argue for more nuance and complexity, perhaps mystery. The 3-month rate passed 93 bps, a great deal more than what the upper boundary of the federal funds rate would be if the FOMC lives up to itself next month.


So where the 1-month rate is more likely following the monetary policy channel, further down the curve there is more to it. The history of the past few years displays these changes quite well, dating back to December 1, 2014. Before that date, 3-month LIBOR and shorter fixed below the FOMC’s upper boundary without question. That date is notable as it related to rubles, oil, the UST curve and therefore “dollars.”

By summer, the 3-month rate picked up a persistently positive spread to the boundary. That spread hasn’t diminished over 2016, and, in fact, has only grown to the point it will be enlarged even if the FOMC does hike another 25 bps next month.


It is possible that eurodollar participants are thinking about more than a single rate hike in December 2016, but that in my view is highly unlikely as even FOMC officials are reluctant to generate those kinds of expectations after being so embarrassed by having already done so last year. What we find instead is that the LIBOR curve is blowing out toward the farther ends; where 3-month LIBOR has jumped already more than two 25 bps hikes, 12-month LIBOR is pushing toward five.

YEP...............MORE CHARTS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Rising Dollar = Dollar Shortage = Global Liquidity Shortage
By Jeffrey P. Snider

Before October 1997, what would become known as the Asian flu was just another opportunity for the mainstream to dismiss what many people, including many prominent, competent people, had been warning about for years before. The usual refrain thrown back at them was some form of “you are missing out.” People, of course, never really learn from these episodes because they have a very human way of convincing themselves it will be different the next time.

What changed that October back amidst the roaring dot-coms was first the Thai baht. Thailand’s currency had plunged earlier in summer of ’97 and the Bank of Thailand was no longer able to contain it, though it did try. In what might have been the first instance of the “ticking clock”, each of their forward operations simply made the next one inevitable and inevitably worse. It was the spread to other Asia countries that one after another became swept up in what was the first wholesale “dollar” problem for anyone to take much notice. Thailand, though an Asia “tiger”, was still just a speck on the global economy, and the baht didn’t really register as anything more than a “hot money” niche.

On October 17, 1997, however, Taiwan left its currency peg. A week later, the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) in order to defend the Hong Kong dollar (HKD) briefly drove overnight interbank rates above 250%, spending more than $1 billion in dollar support. The Hang Seng stock index between October 20 and 23 crashed by 23%, down 10% in one day alone. That finally got the world’s attention.

Though most of Asia was trapped by the “dollar” liquidity problem, Hong Kong, despite its inauspicious entry into the episode, fared quite well. HKMA successfully defended its currency peg where almost everyone else was forced to abandon theirs, and throughout 1998 Hong Kong was actually included as one of the so-called second line of defense contributors who, along with Australia, China, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, and the US, meant to pool sufficient “dollars” so as to end the growing disaster.

The reputation of HKMA thus established, Hong Kong has since largely been a very boring place; which, of course, is exactly the point. Even in the events of 2015 and early 2016, there were only passing concerns about Hong Kong proper even though it is in most ways fully integrated within China. Though it has an offshore financial relationship and a separate currency regime, there are more linked channels than the general assumption.


What you find in review of the Chinese fireworks from last August from the Hong Kong perspective is that reputation. Just to be clear, what you see above and what will be presented below is HIBOR for Hong Kong dollars, the local currency for Hong Kong and separate from HIBOR (CNH) which is instead Hong Kong (offshore from the Chinese perspective) delivery of Chinese RMB. During the first eruption of global liquidations of which mainland China and CNY were a catalyst, excess liquidity pulled back into HKD especially at the longer maturities. Thus, HIBOR rates, though hugely depressed near zero already, actually dropped further as Hong Kong was one of the few ports of safety (the role of Japanese and British banks should be noted here, but I don’t want to get too far off topic by examining these links further).

The Hong Kong situation changed somewhat in later November 2015 as CNY began to fall again, where 1-week HIBOR (HKD) rates moved back up if even so slightly. It remained that way throughout the second global liquidations in January and February, only to see a return of large excess funding once the PBOC intervened on February 11. The direction of the 1-week rate changed yet again in mid-May 2016, as the Chinese “ticking clock” struck and CNY began falling all over again.


Up to that point in May, however, these were really minor variations that reflected, I believe, the reputation of Hong Kong and really the superior situation brought via the HKMA. There was a growing quarter-end phenomenon that we have become familiar with in dollar money markets, though that may have indicated a return toward normalcy (before August 2015) than anything. In mid-August this year, however, minor shifts have become less minor. We know mid-August very well for all that changed in China, as CNY suddenly divorced from onshore RMB liquidity later in the month. 

Obamanomics has Totally FUCKED Planet EARTH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

Renzi faces pressure to stay in office as Italy referendum defeat looms

When a handful of European leaders met Barack Obama in Berlin this month to say their goodbyes, Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi informed the group that he may well lose power before the US president. While Obama leaves office on January 20, Renzi has promised to resign if he does not win a December 4 referendum on constitutional reform, opening the way for renewed political instability in the eurozone's third largest economy.

"I have no desire to hang around if I lose," Renzi told the gathering, according to a diplomatic source who was at the low-key November 18 meeting. Opinion polls now predict Renzi's defeat, in what would be the third big anti-establishment revolt by voters this year in a major Western country, following Britain's unexpected vote to leave the European Union and the US election of Donald Trump. Pressure is mounting on Renzi to drop his threat and instead agree to remain in power to deal with the fallout from a 'No' vote, including the risk of a fullblown banking crisis.

Obama himself said in October that Renzi should "hang around for a while no matter what" and a number of businessmen and senior government officials contacted by Reuters said they feared the worst if the prime minister abandoned his post. "My personal opinion is that Renzi should stay," Industry Minister Carlo Calenda said in an interview on Friday. "What needs to be considered ... is what is good for the country."

Three centre-left politicians who are in regular contact with Renzi told Reuters that he would honour his word and immediately resign if he is beaten, worried that failure to do so would do irreparable damage to his political image. The Italian president could appeal to Renzi's sense of responsibility and ask him to seek a new mandate from parliament. His response might depend on the size of any defeat, with one advisor saying the 41-year-old premier could quit politics altogether if he suffers a huge snub next Sunday.

"He is young and impulsive," said the official, who declined to be named. "If the result is terrible, he might decide to call it a day and do something else with his life."

The referendum proposes constitutional reforms to strengthen the lower house of parliament and reduce the authority of the upper house Senate. Regions would lose some decision-making powers to bolster central government. Renzi says the project is necessary to make Italy, which has had 63 governments since 1948, governable enough to enact reforms needed to revive its moribund economy. Opponents say it would reduce democratic checks and balances.

The Beginning of the End of the European Union
By: Jeff Berwick

Is this the most important time in the EU’s history?

Italy and Austria take votes at the beginning of December that could destabilize or even end the euro and the EU itself.

This is part of a destabilizing trend that we’ve long noted and anticipated, some 16 months ago with the destruction of the EU’s Schengen agreement that used to stand for free-travel throughout Europe.

The two potential upheavals are the Italian referendum and the Austrian election, both of which are set to occur on the same day, December 4th.

Not long ago, we mentioned how a collapse of the troubled Italian banking giant Banco Monte dei Paschi could prove to be problematic for the Italian economy and in turn, the entire Eurozone.

There are also three other mid-sized Italian banks, Popolare di Vicenza, Veneto Banca and Carige, which are in varying levels of distress, but additionally pose direct threats to the Italian financial system.

However, the precursor to bank failures In Italy is this upcoming constitutional referendum. The basis of this reform would lessen the number of Senate seats from 321 down to just 100 politicians. (Which, to be truthful, is still exactly 100 too many.)

Another proposed change has to do with the way Senators are elected. The new proposition is to have the Senate members be made up of “regional councillors” who will not be salaried as most of the current Senators are.

One more stipulation will allow the president to appoint five senators to serve for seven years each – in hopes of checking the power of the five current lifetime Senators.

The outcome of this referendum is particularly significant because it is likely to be a deciding factor in whether or not the populist Five Star Movement gains yet more power.

Stronger support for this party, which has vowed to carry out a new referendum for an “Italexit”, is certain to create a great deal more uncertainty in markets. International financiers are already sweaty palmed thinking about this disastrous prospect in light of the current prime murderer, Matteo Renzi’s threat to step down should the referendum fail.

Those behind Renzi are not merely observing passively, however. The political establishment, according to the UK’s Financial Times, intends to modify election laws to make sure the Five Star Movement cannot gain power no matter the outcome of next Sunday’s referendum on constitutional reform.

On the other hand, the real issue is not a “movement”, but the increasing disaffection of Italian voters. The recently completed trade agreement with Canada and the not yet accomplished and increasingly unpopular TTIP (Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership) are yet further examples of how the EU continues to drive full speed in a direction that Italy (and other European countries) don’t want to go.  

Italy's vote could spell years in the wilderness

Despite warnings that the outcome of Italy’s referendum on constitutional reforms could lead to a Brexit-like stalemate, Italy’s "No" camp is ignoring the doomsday scenario. Megan Williams reports from Rome.
By Megan Williams

Anti-referendum rallies have erupted in cities throughout Italy in recent weeks, with "No" posters slapped up across Rome by groups as disparate as neo-Fascists, Conservative Catholics, the Five Star anti-establishment movement, anti-immigrant Lega Nord, Berlusconi's Forza Italia and even members of Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi's own Democratic Party.

As populist movements sweep across Europe and the US and "establishment" politicians fall, comparisons to the Brexit battle and the American election are hard to avoid.

On the one hand, you have centrist liberal politicians backed by business leaders and culture stars - everyone from tenor Andrea Boccelli and Oscar-winning director Paolo Sorrentino to 3-star Michilen chef Massimo Bottura - publically trumpeting their "Yes," to a series of reforms aimed at streamlining Italy's legislative process and bringing political stability to a country that has seen 63 governments in the past 70 years.

On the "No" side: an array of disenchanted citizens who have seen their standard of living steadily slip over the past decade with unemployment at 40 percent among the young, despite Renzi's employment reforms and who worry that the changes will remove essential checks and balances to Italy's democracy that in post-war years have kept authoritarianism at bay. 

Italy's banks could need €40BILLION bailout after Renzi defeat

ITALY'S crisis-hit banks could need a massive €40BILLION (£34bn) rescue if, as expected, the Prime Minister loses Sunday's crucial referendum.
By Lana Clements

As many as eight Italian lenders face collapse after Matteo Renzi staked his career on the vote over constitutional reform.

Eurozone authorities would be forced to act and pour money into the banks- or risk a crisis that could quickly spread across the bloc.

Fears are growing the mayhem will be sparked by Mr Renzi's resignation after losing the vote.

The step-down is set to engulf the country in political uncertainty and throw doubt over a bailout plan put together by Mr Renzi's government.

Spooked investors - reluctant to keep money tied up in ailing banks amid the turmoil - would likely rush to sell stock, sending share prices off a cliff. 

Planet EARTH...............Brazil "IS" Your Future and it's going to be made VERY Clear to YOU ALL if the FED Raises Interest Rates in a Couple of Weeks(Dec. 14th). The Dollar "IS" creating All Kinds of HELL with U.S. Multinationals Corp. and the Emerging Markets are going to be Pounded when they are faced with the Added Costs to Refinance their Dollar Based Debt in 2017 

The GREAT Currency and Credit Crisis of 2017 has already Begun!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

Oil Price Pop Not Going to Last
By Ben Cross

The oil market roller coaster continues to be the focus of the commodity sector with a report that a 1.2-million-barrel cut is helping the Saudis and OPEC as a whole keep some credibility. It took Russian concessions to "seal the deal," which not only makes me skeptical but just confused about how OPEC is going to follow through on their promises of transparency. The Russian ruble should benefit from a knee-jerk move above $50 as should the Vaneck Vectors Russia ETF (RSX) , which hit new 52-week highs since no one really believes Russia will curb output but will opportunistically take advantage of a price spike in crude.

I believe today's price action, especially following yesterday's selloff, is just short covering and the rhetoric will ripple through Asia tonight and bring added technical length tomorrow to break $50 for the January contract. Brent crude traders were especially caught short on this move as the short interest rose to record levels over the past few weeks while net length in WTI was 188,000 contracts as of last Tuesday compared to a record of 291,000 in October. As the contango narrows (Jan. 17 +$3.82 compared to Dec. 17 +$2.85) I would prefer to fade the rally by outright selling or selling the nearby months against the back months. This is not only a buy-the-rumor-sell-the-news move, but also the market needs global demand to pick up to reduce the glut. We should keep in mind that this is only a six-month deal whenever the terms are decided. Volumes that spiked on yesterday's selloff are tumbling today. Both API and EIA inventories, which are a sideshow this week, showed a draw of less than 1 million barrels.

Gold is slipping on continued ETF selling, as well, and renewed dollar strength. It seems that everyone has a reason for gold to fall, but U.S. dollar strength and the lack of "black swans" in this risk-on Trump equity rally is diminishing the value of portfolio protection. Obviously, I feel that inept central bankers (who have little credibility) and the risk of a European bank crisis is still on the docket, but being long risk-off assets in the present environment is a lonely place. Net length through last Tuesday was the lightest it has been since mid-March in. Gold and the ETF outflow was another four tons yesterday. This definitely should weigh on the junior miners, which are going to find the combination of rising interest rates and gold below $1,200 making it more difficult to access the capital markets. Palladium remains the best precious metal performer as it is the only metal in deficit while global auto sales continue to surprise to the upside. Rising incentives over Thanksgiving sales may have put U.S. sales (released tomorrow) back on above a 17.3 million sales pace.

Base metals are steady with the equity rally after yesterday's selloff. Copper continues to be helped by the Trump infrastructure hype, which will be more of a 2018 story. I must say, though, driving through the U.S. East Coast this week, I was impressed by the amount of cranes that I saw. The main driver in both ferrous and non-ferrous metals is the Chinese spec community. The Chinese government is trying to steady the depreciating renminbi and curb capital outflows so the main exchanges have raised margins on certain contracts to curb speculation. The iron ore and steel rebar contracts on Dalian are the main spec bubble, as they have been limit down the past two days. Copper and the base metals on Shanghai Futures Exchange (SHFE) are not as much at risk as most of the SHFE traders are square copper, but the London Metals Exchange and Comex length may be reduced if further signs of Chinese government tightening measures are seen. There are billions of dollars in Chinese funds that trade on these two exchanges and their average holding period is less than a few hours so liquidity will be a factor. 

Oil Prices May Plunge To $20 If OPEC Fails To Clinch Deal
By Tsvetana Paraskova

Two months ago, OPEC took the market by surprise by saying that it ‘agreed to agree’ on a deal to cut production to between 32.5 and 33.0 million bpd in a bid to reduce oversupply and lift oil prices. Two months later, exactly to the date, the cartel has not yet reached any agreement on the specifics of a possible deal. A marathon meeting of OPEC experts on Monday failed to reach an agreement for OPEC ministers to discuss on Wednesday.

For two months OPEC officials and non-OPEC producers such as Russia have been vague on details and grand on hollow comments, hints, suggestions, and optimism that a deal will be reached.

Analysts are a bit more optimistic now than they were in late September. However, it seems that the rift between OPEC’s biggest three - Saudi Arabia on the one hand, and Iran and Iraq on the other hand - is just as wide as it was two months ago.

The chances of OPEC ministers reaching a deal on Wednesday are still pretty much 50/50, Amrita Sen, chief oil analyst at Energy Aspects, said in an interview with Bloomberg on Monday. Should a deal fail, however, the oil market will see a “sharp correction” and oil prices may plunge to US$20, Sen noted. A no-deal would be met with a very negative perception by the market, and the impression OPEC would be leaving is that this is the end of the cartel, the analyst said. 

Oil Majors Set To Lose $490 Billion If OPEC Talks Fail
By Irina Slav

OPEC is just a day away from a historical meeting that could see the cartel act in concert for the first time since 2008 to prop up prices, battered by a buildup of crude around the world over the last two years—and if it fails to agree, it will deal a huge financial blow to the industry.

If the deal gets the go-ahead from all OPEC members, the energy industry will rejoice after months of cutting costs, laying off people and striving for greater operational efficiency, among other belt-tightening measures such as quitting large-scale projects.

If the deal fails, for whatever reason, Big Oil alone stands to lose as much as US$490 billion. This is how much the international supermajors gained in terms of market value since the January trough of US$27 per barrel of Brent. According to Bloomberg, this has been the biggest gain for these companies since 2010 and compares to a loss of US$850 billion last year and US$720 billion in 2014.

Falling Crude Oil Prices.................Nothing Will Change!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

There Will be NO Cuts by OPEC and RUSSIA thanks to ""The GREAT Obama Recession of 2017""!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

China to add curbs on yuan outflows as pressure builds

China added new restrictions on pulling yuan out of the country as authorities seek to prevent a flood of capital outflows from destabilising the financial system.

Officials won’t approve requests to bring the yuan overseas for the purpose of converting into foreign currencies unless applicants provide a valid business reason, according to people familiar with the measures drafted by China’s central bank. The monetary authority has noticed funds are increasingly leaving the country as yuan payments, according to the people, who asked not to be named because they aren’t authorised to disclose the measures.

China is throwing up fresh administrative roadblocks to contain capital outflows before a likely US interest-rate increase next month and the reset of Chinese citizens’ $50,000 annual foreign-exchange quotas in January. The equivalent of $275bn exited the country via yuan payments this year through October, versus a $101.5bn inflow in the same period of 2015, as the Chinese currency weakened to an eight-year low against the dollar.

“The underlying depreciation pressure on the yuan has picked up enough to cause alarm,” said Sean Callow, a senior strategist at Westpac Banking Corp in Sydney. “The People’s Bank of China has lots of weapons at its disposal, so they should be able to slow the pace of capital outflows and thus relieve the pressure on the yuan in the short term. 

But if it is true that new restrictions are being imposed on capital flows, then it is a setback for the long-term plan to open up China’s financial markets and internationalise the yuan.” 

China’s borrowing costs surge, sending economy into cycle of implicit monetary tightening
By Cathy Zhang

China’s benchmark lending rates have risen sharply, increasing the cost of borrowing capital and sending the economy into a cycle of implicit monetary tightening, while the country’s currency plumbs daily lows.

The price of 10-year government bond futures for March delivery fell by a record 0.71 per cent on Tuesday before declining a second day by another 0.49 per cent on Wednesday. The price has dropped by nearly 3 per cent since late October.

The yield on the benchmark 10-year bond has risen sharply, hitting 2.94 per cent on Wednesday, prompting many analysts and investors to talk about the possibility of it breaking 3 per cent. Bond price declines when the yield rises.

“The deep correction in the bond price is attributable to the change in the cental bank’s attitude,” said Deng Haiqing, the chief economist at JZ securities. “Since September this year, the central bank’s moves have shown obvious signs of tightening, ranging from limiting big banks’ lending to raising borrowing cost through open market operations.”

Meanwhile, the Shanghai Interbank Offered Rate (Shibor), the interest rate used in lending activities between Chinese banks, saw gains across the board for the 15th consecutive day on Wednesday.

Overnight Shibor climbed 1.4 basis point to hit 2.3160 per cent, the highest level since early October, approaching the year-high of 2.3270 per cent. The rate has surged by over 6 per cent from 2.1820 per cent on November 9.

Singapore central bank says banks must guard against rising bad loans

Singapore's central bank on Tuesday urged the city-state's banks to guard against a potentially protracted economic slowdown amid a rise in bad loans, but said the financial system remains capable of withstanding a severe stress event.

In its annual financial stability report, the Monetary Authority of Singapore said its stress test found the banking system to be resilient even though banks' provisioning cover was down at 98 percent at the end of the third quarter.

"The banking system's overall NPL ratio has increased over the past year alongside the weakening economic environment and emerging asset quality risks," the MAS said. (

"Banks should continue to maintain sound credit underwriting standards, and set aside adequate provisions to withstand more NPLs should the economic slowdown be protracted."

The central bank's report comes at a time when bad debt charges among Singapore banks have jumped as credit woes deepen for the offshore energy services sector, which has been hit hard by an almost two-year rout in oil prices and a slowing economy.

The banking system's overall non-performing loan (NPL) ratio rose to 2.1 percent in the third quarter of 2016 from 1.5 percent a year ago, the MAS said. The aggregate NPL ratio of local banking groups' edged up to 1.4 percent, it added. 

Asia 1997.........................AGAIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

*****Brazil plunges deeper into recession

(Reuters) - Brazil's economy plunged deeper into recession in the third quarter, dashing government hopes that a lift in consumer and business confidence would jumpstart a recovery after the impeachment of former President Dilma Rousseff.

Gross domestic product shrank 0.8 percent in the third quarter from the second after seasonal adjustments, statistics agency IBGE said on Wednesday, in line with the median expectation of 37 economists in a Reuters poll.

Brazil's economy shrank 2.9 percent from the third quarter of 2015, IBGE said.

Investments dropped sharply, frustrating hopes that a modest increase in the previous quarter, the first in more than two years, represented the beginning of a turnaround. 

Household Debt Hits $12.4 Trillion As Subprime Loan Delinquencies Hit Highest In 6 Years: NY Fed

The latest just released Quarterly Report on Household Debt and Credit  from the New York Fed showed a small increase in overall debt in the third quarter of 2016, prompted by gains in non-housing debt, and new all time highs in student loans which hit $1.279 trillion, rising $20 billion in the quarter.11.0% of aggregate student loan debt was 90+ days delinquent or in default at the end of 2016 Q3.

Total household debt rose $63 billion in the quarter to $12.35 trillion, driven by a $32 billion increase in auto loans, which also hit a record high of $1.14 trillion. 3.6% of auto loans were 90 or more days delinquent. 

Beige Book Finds Modest Economic Slowdown: Strong Dollar "Headwinds" Cited

The Fed's latest Beige Book released Wednesday found seven regional Fed districts reporting economic activity as growing at a modest or moderate pace, a decline from 11 in the last report, with strong dollar headwinds among one of the more frequently cited reasons for the weakness.

While the Beige Book information was collected up until Nov. 18, 10  days after the U.S. elections, uncertainty about the influence on politics on economic activity was cited eight times in the report.

"Reports from the twelve Federal Reserve Districts indicate that  the economy continued to expand across most regions from early October  through mid-November," the Current Economic Conditions report known as  the Beige Book said. The report will be presented at the upcoming  Federal Open Market Committee meeting Dec. 13-14.

The Beige Book did shed light on some issues the FOMC will take into consideration as they chart the path of the fed funds rate into the coming year.

The report showed "demand for manufactured products was mixed during the current reporting period, with the strong dollar being cited as a headwind to more robust demand in a few districts."

Of note, echoing recent comments by Fed officials, the strong dollar was cited as a headwind to more robust demand in a few districts. Some more examples: 

The Global Economy "IS" Soooooooooooo Totally SCREWED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Planet EARTH..................Be VERY Afraid of Italy, Austria and FRANCE because the END of the EU "IS" Coming!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Juncker Pleads with Hofer: “No Referendums” (Will of People Must be Suppressed)
By Mike "Mish" Shedlock

European Commission President, Jean-Claude Juncker issued a warning to Austrian presidential candidate Norbert Hofer, regarding referendums.

Hofer, an anti-immigration, candidate is in a tight race for the election coming up on December 4.

If he wins, Hofer said he would hold in-out referendums if Brussels seeks to expand it power.

Please consider European president Jean-Claude Juncker pleads with EU leaders not to hold ‘in-out’ referendums – because voters will choose to Leave.

Austria................""OH SHIT""!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

Sweden, Finland & Norway Deepen Defense Ties with the West
November 30, 2016 | Kaitlin Lavinder

Sweden, Finland, and Norway (the only NATO member of the three) are inching closer to the western sphere of defense. Russian incursions over the past few years – from Georgia in 2008 to Ukraine in 2014 – and the need to bolster overall defense in response to an increasingly unstable security environment in Europe have prompted the move.

This month, a senior Russian lawmaker said Russia would move its S-400 anti-aircraft missiles into Kaliningrad, a Russian territory sandwiched in between Poland and Lithuania on the Baltic Sea, opposite Sweden’s southern tip. Russia has also reportedly moved some of its nuclear-capable Iskander short-range ballistic missiles into Kaliningrad. Last month, Russian media claimed Russia is adding warships armed with long-range cruise missiles to its Baltic Fleet.

Sweden has reported multiple air violations by Russia, and Finland suspects Russian SU-27 fighter jets violated its airspace on two separate occasions in October.

Yet Sigurd Neubauer tells The Cipher Brief, “They [Sweden and Finland] are not going to radically change their relationship with the Russians. Rather, their movement toward the U.S. and NATO is based on the decision to upgrade their own defense capabilities. Some of today’s global insecurity is really impacting the security of these countries. Cross-border terrorism, extremism, and migration are real threats.”

Neubauer, who is from Norway and now works at a defense consultancy in the Washington-area, adds, “Finland and Sweden are unable to manage new cross boundary threats by themselves. They need a wide array of strong partners, and that comes in the form of NATO.” 

India and NATO: Partners in Arms?

The time is ripe for increased cooperation between India and the U.S.-led alliance.
By Hriday Ch. Sarma

Since the end of Cold War, India and NATO (the North Atlantic Treaty Organization) have been on trajectories that will likely converge in the not-too-distant future. Scholars and strategists, like Michael Rühle, Robert Helbig, M.K. Bhadrakumar, David Scott, and a few others argue for India and NATO to come out of their respective shells and openly partner to deal with issues of common interest and concern. This article looks into the present undercurrents relating to an India-NATO partnership, and argues that the process has already begun but needs to come out in the open.

Recent Turnaround Events

On March 22, 2016, U.S. Congressman George Holding, co-chair of the House India Caucus, introduced the U.S.-India Defense Technology and Partnership Act (HR 4825). The bill proposes to amend the Arms Export Control Action in order to formalize India’s position a major partner, on par with America’s NATO allies and closest partners. Holding told the House, “The legislation will cement the process that has already been made and will lay a foundation for future cooperation and growth.” The bill has been referred to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, and is currently under consideration for being passed into a law.

Heckler & Koch promises to sell guns ethically
MP5 Heckler und Koch (picture-alliance/dpa/B. Weißbrod)

A manager at Germany's most important gun manufacturer has told a news agency that it is planning to stop sales to non-NATO members. But activists are skeptical about what the anonymous pledge really means.
By Ben Knight

Germany's most notorious gun-maker, whose rifles have armed NATO armies, US police forces, Middle East dictatorships and terrorist organizations, has apparently discovered a conscience. An unnamed male employee has told the DPA news agency that the firm was about to change direction.

"We only want to deliver to solid countries - that means unequivocally democratic, definitely not corrupt, and in NATO or close to NATO," the employee, described as a "manager," was quoted as saying. He said such countries would now be considered "green," while others, including Saudi Arabia, Mexico, Turkey (ironically a NATO member), and India were "yellow" and therefore taboo.

He put the strategy shift down to Germany's stricter arms export policy (even though Germany's weapons sales, especially in ammunition, have risen recently), as well as the negative press that H&K has received in recent months. "We can certainly understand the ethical criticism of such exports," he said, before adding that the strategy was still being "heatedly debated" in the company. 

NATO Russia Military!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

PERSPECTIVE: Are relations between Pakistan and Russia beginning to thaw?

*Islamabad seems likely to give Moscow access to its deep sea water port, Gwadar in Pakistan
*First time in 14 years a senior official from Russia has visited Pakistan

By Kaswar Klasra

The ice is melting between Pakistan and Russia, two Cold War era foes.

Islamabad is likely to give Moscow access to its deep sea water port, Gwadar, for import and export of goods.

The decision was taken following the secret visit of Alexander Bortnikov, chief of Russian Intelligence Federal Security Services and former chief of KGB, to Islamabad a week ago.

It was the first time in 14 years that any senior official from Russia visited Pakistan.

During his visit, Bortnikov held several meetings with top officials of Pakistan's intelligence and defence, including Pakistan's spy master - ISI chief Lieutenant General Rizwan Akhter.

Officials in Islamabad revealed that the Russian had expressed the desire to be part of CPEC and use Gwadar Port for import and export.

'Pakistan has welcomed Russia's request to be a part of the multi-billion dollar project of CPEC,' a senior Pakistani official told Mail Today.

Turkey To Join Pakistan, China, Russia Superpower Bloc?
By Polina Tikhonova

Turkey has just fueled speculations about a possible superpower rectangle between Turkey, Pakistan, China and Russia. While indications that the Pakistan-China-Russia superpower triangle is becoming a reality keep piling up, other nations are expressing their interest in joining the new bloc, which could become a game-changer for Asia and the world as a whole.

Just days after his visit to Pakistan in mid-November, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan suggested that his country should pursue joining a bloc dominated by China and Russia. Erdogan said his country doesn’t need to be fixated on joining the European Union and should join forces with China, Russia and Pakistan instead. Although Turkey has had decades-long hopes of joining the EU, apparently there’s an alternative for Ankara if the EU keeps stalling talks about Turkey’s membership.
Turkey wants to be part of Pakistan-China-Russia triangle

If Turkey–which has just held talks with Pakistan about strengthening their economic and military ties–joins the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), it would be a clear indication that Pakistan, China and Russia are gaining a new-old friend on their team. If Turkey gives up its efforts to join the EU, we could see the rise of the Pakistan-China-Russia-Turkey rectangle, an even more powerful alternative to the Pak-China-Rus triangle.

In fact, Erdogan said he had already discussed the idea of his country joining the SCO, which is dominated by China, Russia and Central Asian nations, with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev. Erdogan’s comment that Turkey doesn’t need to join the EU “at all costs” is a breakthrough development in Turkey-EU relations, which have reached their lowest in the aftermath of the failed anti-government coup on July 15.

China dismisses report of military patrols in Afghanistan
By Reuters

BEIJING: China's Defence Ministry on Wednesday dismissed reports Chinese military vehicles were patrolling inside Afghanistan, after an Indian media outlet said Chinese security forces were making regular patrols there.

India's WION news outlet this month published pictures on its website showing what it said were likely Chinese security forces patrolling in Afghanistan's far northeastern Little Pamir region, where the country shares a border with China.

Chinese Defence Ministry spokesman Yang Yujun dismissed the report.

"Reports in foreign media of Chinese military vehicles patrolling inside Afghanistan do not accord with the facts," he told a regular news briefing.

Yang said China and Afghanistan did work together in some places to fight terrorist activity and cross-border crime. 

7 soldiers, including 2 officers, killed in militant attack on Nagrota army camp
By Ravi Krishnan Khajuria
Hindustan Times

Seven soldiers, including two Majors, were killed when militants dressed as policemen stormed a military camp in Jammu and Kashmir on Tuesday, triggering a fierce gun battle that raged for more than 12 hours.

A defence statement said the bodies of three militants were recovered and “operations are in progress to sanitise the complete area”.

The brazen attack was the second in as many months since the siege of another army base at Uri left 19 Indian soldiers dead, spiking tensions between India and Pakistan.

In a separate gunfight, 70km from Nagrota, three infiltrators were killed and a senior BSF officer and five jawans were injured near the international border in Chamliyal area of Samba sector, officials said.

While the operation in Chamliyal was over quickly, the gun battle at Nagrota, a town on the highway between Srinagar and Jammu, continued well after sundown.

Pakistan's outgoing army chief sends warning to India over Kashmir
By Asad Hashim

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - Pakistan's outgoing army chief issued a stern warning to India over violence in the disputed region of Kashmir on Tuesday as he handed over command, saying patience should not be mistaken for weakness.

Tension between the nuclear-armed neighbors has ratcheted up in recent months, leading to almost daily cross-border shelling at the Line of Control that acts as a de facto frontier dividing Indian and Pakistani-administered Kashmir.

Dozens of people, including soldiers and civilians, have been killed on either side of the border in artillery and small arms fire. Both sides accuse each other of instigating the shelling.

"I want to make it clear to India, that taking our policy of patience (in Kashmir) as a sign of any kind of weakness will prove to be dangerous to it," said General Raheel Sharif, who handed over the reins to General Qamar Javed Bajwa at a ceremony full of military pomp.

Militants Attack Indian Army Base in Nagrota, Inflaming Tensions With Pakistan

NEW DELHI — Tensions between India and Pakistan were raised again on Tuesday, when a group of heavily armed militants disguised as police officers attacked an Indian Army unit in the northern state of Jammu and Kashmir, killing seven soldiers, the Indian government said in a statement.

The assault began early Tuesday in the officers’ dining hall at Nagrota, about two miles from the army’s regional headquarters for the country’s northernmost state, which has been at the center of a nearly 70-year dispute with neighboring Pakistan.

After killing four soldiers there, the militants moved on to two other buildings, where they held hostage a group of 16 soldiers and relatives, including “two ladies and two children,” the statement said.

All of the hostages were rescued, the government said, but an officer and two soldiers were killed in the operation, along with three militants.

Also on Tuesday, Indian security forces in Jammu and Kashmir reported killing three heavily armed militants after a battle near the town of Ramgarh, on the Pakistani border, that lasted several hours. Dinesh Kumar Upadhyaya, inspector general of the Jammu frontier area for the Border Security Force, said the militants were armed with AK-47s, wore suicide belts and hurled about a dozen grenades before being killed. 

India Pakistan WAR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Japanese Intelligence Tells Pentagon China Engaged in Multi-Year Takeover Attempt of Senkaku Islands

Tokyo spy agency warns Beijing also bolstering forces for military control of oil shipping routes
BY: Bill Gertz

TOKYO—China is escalating a campaign of military maritime coercion against Japan’s Senkaku Islands, according to Japanese intelligence data disclosed as part of a joint Pentagon-Japan research program.

Additionally, China is doubling the size of its coast guard forces over the next five years to prevent the disruption of oil supplies that travel from the Middle East through the Indian Ocean and South China Sea, according to Pentagon-sponsored reports about the joint U.S.-Japan collaboration. Two reports produced by a contractor for the Pentagon’s Office of Net Assessment, a secretive research group, provide a rare glimpse of Japanese intelligence assessments of Chinese military activities in the East China Sea and South China Sea.

In addition to adding large numbers of new coast guard and navy ships to its fleets in Southeast Asia, China is building military facilities on newly created islands in the South China Sea. It will eventually militarize the East China Sea using floating oil rig platforms, according to analyses provided by Japan’s Cabinet Intelligence and Research Office, known as CIRO.

According to CIRO, China has greatly increased unilateral oil and gas development near the line separating Chinese and Japanese waters near the Senkakus.

The number of oil rigs operating in the area increased from four to 16 between 2013 and 2015. CIRO believes the rigs will be used for military purposes because the large number of sea platforms is not economically practical.

As part of a plan to increase its coast guard presence, in 2015 the Chinese boosted the number of large ships used by the maritime law enforcement service by 33 percent. The coast guard is on track to double in size by 2019, according to the defense contractor reports produced for the Office of Net Assessment, which reports to Defense Secretary Ash Carter.

However, Japanese intelligence identified weaknesses in China’s coast guard that render it less powerful than its Japanese counterpart due to a lack of trained personnel needed to operate the new ships. CIRO also identified maintenance problems with the new Chinese ships, indicating they were poorly constructed. 

China's Shiny New Air Bases in the South China Sea

Chinese J-10 0A seen at Zhuhai airshow. Wikimedia Commons/Creative Commons/@Retxham

A Chinese analysis reveals significant difficulties with new airstrips built on top of reefs.
By Lyle J. Goldstein

A colorful graphic insert from the June 2016 Chinese naval magazine Naval and Merchant Ships [舰船知识] offers a troubling glimpse of one possible future for the South China Sea. A map on the graphic accurately displays Beijing’s three new long runways that have been built up since 2014 in the Spratlys, alongside overlapping range arcs for HQ-9 air defense systems (200km), YJ-62 truck launched anti-ship cruise missiles (300km), as well as for J-11 and JH-7 fighter/attack aircraft (1500km). More disquieting still is that there is next to the map an image depicting a burning aircraft carrier, struck by cruise missiles launched from surrounding Chinese frigates, as well as from shore-based launchers. Part of the caption for this colorful graphic suggests that “each of the reefs can offer mutual support to one another effectively enabling control of our country’s South China Sea area” (…各岛礁相互配合可有效达到对我国南海地区的控制).

A somewhat less bellicose (but hardly benign) interpretation was offered by a report from the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative (AMTI) of the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington at about the same time. That report concluded that extensive hangars were being built on all three islets in the South China Sea (Fiery Cross, Mischief and Subi), so that the new bases could “soon have hangar space for 24 fighter-jets plus 3-4 larger planes.” Perhaps given the above evidence, it is too late to hope that Beijing would resist fully militarizing the new facilities that it has constructed. On the other hand, the AMTI illustrations did each carry the caveat that the authors had themselves drawn jet silhouettes directly onto the satellite photos so that “aircraft [were] shown for illustrative purposes.” Somewhat surprisingly, so it seems, there has still only been one confirmed visit by a Chinese military aircraft to the reef air bases back in spring 2016 and that was for the purpose of rescuing some ill workers.  The actual Chinese garrison, capabilities and missions for these bases remain a mystery to a large extent. 

Mischief Reef: President Trump’s First FONOP?
By Bonnie Glaser, Zack Cooper and Peter Dutton | November 30, 2016
Freedom of Navigation, South China Sea

The election is barely over, but the pressure will soon be on the new administration and its national security team to demonstrate U.S. resolve to support international rules and norms in the South China Sea. Observers will be watching closely for any sign of the new administration’s willingness, or unwillingness, to accept risk in response to China’s recent assertive behavior. In particular, regional experts will judge the new administration on where and when it conducts its first freedom of navigation operation (FONOP) in Asia. China too may be tempted to test the new administration’s policies with assertive operations, as was done in 2001 and 2009.

Latest FONOP: Challenging Straight Baselines in the Paracels

The FONOP conducted by the U.S. Navy on October 21 was qualitatively different from the previous three South China Sea FONOPs. Those operations, which were carried out on October 27, 2015, January 30, 2016, and May 10, 2016, challenged China’s right to require warships to obtain permission for transit through the territorial sea, even when the vessel exercises innocent passage. The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) permits a vessel to conduct innocent passage through a coastal state’s territorial sea without prior permission, so long as it does so “continuously and expeditiously.” The first three FONOPs in the South China Sea reaffirmed this freedom against China’s attempt to impose restraints on it.

Unlike the prior operations, the most recent FONOP did not challenge China’s attempt to impose excessive conditions on freedoms of navigation in the territorial sea. Rather, the United States challenged China’s claim to encompass the entire group of Paracel Islands within a ring of sovereign waters.

In May 1996, China established 28 basepoints from land features in the Paracel Islands and connected them using straight baselines. This action was contrary to UNCLOS, which only permits archipelagic states to draw straight baselines around island groups. According to UNCLOS, an archipelagic state is “a State constituted wholly by one or more archipelagoes and may include other islands.” In other words, to qualify for straight baselines around island groups, a state must be comprised entirely of islands with no continental territory. China is a continental state and therefore is not permitted to establish archipelagic straight baselines around any of its offshore island groups, including the Paracels.

Nonetheless, China’s 1996 claim asserts a ring of baselines around the outermost of the Paracel Islands and claims for China all the water space within it, plus a twelve-nautical-mile territorial sea belt around the island group. Inside the ring, China appears to claim fully sovereign internal waters. Normally, UNCLOS requires all ships to obtain the coastal state’s permission before entering internal waters. Both China’s baseline claims and its internal waters claim are illegal. Accordingly, as several observers have noted, the USS Decatur crossed China’s illegal straight baselines and conducted maneuvering drills. Maneuvering drills are exercises of high seas freedoms, which are lawful in waters beyond 12 nautical miles from any feature and therefore outside any legitimately claimed internal waters or territorial sea. Contrary to China’s claims, the Decatur was in an area in which high seas freedoms apply.

Why does it matter that the operation undertook high seas freedoms? If it had simply transited through the waters inside China’s unlawful straight baselines, the Decatur would have effectively challenged China’s internal waters claim inside the baselines. But exercise of innocent passage through the Paracels’ waters would not have challenged China’s specious claim to a territorial sea around the entire group of islands, rather than around each island individually. In fact, such a transit could have signaled acceptance.

Following the FONOP, a Department of Defense (DoD) spokesman said that the Decatur conducted the transit “in a routine, lawful manner.” DoD spokesman Commander Gary Ross further elaborated in a phone call that after crossing one of China’s straight baselines in the Paracels, the Decatur loitered and held maneuvering drills before crossing a straight baseline again as it exited the area. The ship did not approach within 12 nautical miles of any individual land feature entitled to a territorial sea. Instead, it remained beyond sovereign waters, operating in accordance with international laws and standards. Furthermore, Commander Ross noted in a subsequent email, “U.S. Navy ships previously challenged excessive straight baselines drawn by China in 1997, 2011, 2013, 2014, and 2015. This included challenges in the Paracel Islands. The DoD Maritime Claims Reference Manual reflects the 1997 challenge, and it will be updated to reflect the 2015 challenge. The 1997 challenge was not listed on the DoD Annual Report that year, but we have confirmed that it did occur despite not being included in the DoD Annual Report.”

Next Up: Challenging Entitlements from Mischief Reef?


Russia’s Tactics and Strategy in the South China Sea

By Anton Tsvetov | November 1, 2016
Russia, South China Sea, Strategy   

Russia’s involvement in the South China Sea has historically been marginal. Since withdrawal from Cam Ranh Bay in Vietnam in the early 2000s, Russian military presence has been scarce, though the navy still makes port calls regularly. Russian leaders have not expressed much interest in the ongoing sovereignty disputes, mostly because Russian interest in regional affairs has been relatively weak and limited to maintaining bilateral relations with Northeast Asian states and Vietnam.

Generally, Moscow has taken an explicitly neutral stance on the maritime disputes, usually issued by the foreign minister or the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) spokesperson. They have repeatedly stated that Russia does not take any sides on sovereignty issues, supports a diplomatic solution, non-use of force, adherence to international law including the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and the 2002 Declaration on Conduct, and calls for an early conclusion of negotiations over a binding code of conduct.

Russia has been low-key in the South China Sea because it simply doesn’t have much at stake. Little of Russia’s energy resources travel through the waters of the South China Sea. Russia does not yet have the reach or need to participate in regional squabbles, and does not have any major economic interests to protect there. Awareness in Russia about the South China Sea is very low, and rarely a matter of presidential politics.

The interest in the disputes that does exist comes from Russia’s close ties to both China and Vietnam. Russia is a long-time arms supplier to both countries and has been central to Vietnam’s naval modernization, especially with the Vietnamese navy’s six Kilo-class submarines capable of carrying Klub missiles. That is in addition to the corvettes, frigates, fighter jets, and missile defense systems that provide Vietnam the capability for retaliation and possibly deterrence against China.

Russia’s position between the rivals was expected to become an issue as its political ties with China blossomed after 2014. Both of Russia’s partners seem to understand the nature of the dilemma and have generally been very accommodating toward Russian balancing. However, there has been concern in Vietnam that if Russia’s economic situation worsens, Russia might fall into over-dependence on China and thereby be leveraged into disposing of its neutrality.

Such fears increased as the July 2016 arbitral ruling on the Philippines’ case against China loomed. Observers noticed another bullet-point in Russia’s South China Sea stance – the opposition to external interference and, essentially, internationalization of the disputes. This likely stems from Russia’s allergic reaction to Western engagement in the post-Soviet space and the traditional criticism of foreign interventions in Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya. However, many saw this as evidence that Russia was leaning toward China.

Another important development came at the G20 Summit in Hangzhou in September 2016, where Russian president Vladimir Putin first publicly stated support for China’s defiance of the arbitration ruling. Since then, Russia has spared no effort to reiterate that this addition does not change Russia’s neutral stance and does not concern sovereignty or politics. The statement was likely made in view of a similar UNCLOS-based suit that could be soon filed by Ukraine against Russia over the waters surrounding Crimea, and partly in continuation of Russia’s non-participation in and non-adherence to an international tribunal on the Arctic Sunrise case brought in 2013. Still, the effort to demonstrate continued neutrality indicates that Russia seeks to maintain autonomy from Chinese influence, or at least to look like it is doing so.

More recently, Russia and China held joint military drills in the South China Sea bolstering coordination on, among other things, “island-seizing.” As menacing as such an exercise may sound, we should be careful in interpreting it as Russian support for China’s South China Sea stance. The exercises took place off the coast of Guangdong province, as far from the disputed area as possible while still in the South China Sea. Last year’s drills were also held in the controversial waters of the Mediterranean and Black Seas, but far from the Crimean Peninsula. This is why the 2016 drills most likely do not show any change in the level of Russia’s support for China, at least not beyond giving Beijing the opportunity to spin the story with headlines like “Russia and China Hold Drills in South China Sea.”

Despite these shifts, Russia maintains the same low-profile strategy. At the core of it is a desire to avoid taking sides and maintain an image of power, reach, and independence. It is fortunate that neither China nor Vietnam have been too assertive in wooing Russia over the South China Sea, because picking either would result in severe diplomatic and reputational damage for Russia. Actual participation in any dispute settlement initiatives at this point is also unlikely, as is an increased military presence. Russian politicians, pundits, and government officials speak of “returning” to Cam Ranh Bay from time to time, but it is safe to disregard such proclamations as intended for a domestic audience. Policymakers in the MFA are well-aware of Vietnam’s opposition to foreign bases and the low practical benefits of having an actual naval facility in Cam Ranh.

However, the South China Sea will still factor in Russia’s grand strategy in Asia, if that strategy takes shape soon. Pivoting to the east, Russia’s likely bargaining formula is to sell diplomatic and security capabilities in exchange for economic cooperation. Among Moscow’s key talking points in Asia is a call for an inclusive multilateral security architecture. Implementing a project like that would be difficult without taking a more active role in the South China Sea or suggesting a viable approach to untying the knot.

As Russia’s Asia policy develops, it is also likely to become more diversified and less focused on China. This trend is manifest in Moscow’s 2016 push toward Japan and South Korea, as well as Russia-ASEAN summitry and free-trade ambitions. Will Northeast and Southeast Asian partners ask Russia for a deeper engagement in the South China Sea as another step in their cooperation? They might, and in that case Russia will once again face a tough balancing challenge, with China remaining its number one partner in Asia.

Finally, one of the great issues at stake in the South China Sea is freedom of navigation and the interpretation of this principle. While China does not have meaningful blue water navy capabilities, Russia does, and is actually more inclined toward the U.S. interpretation of what foreign military ships can and cannot do in other states’ exclusive economic zones. After all, the 1982 UNCLOS was written by and for global naval powers like Russia.


This Could Be the Surprising Spark for Asia’s Next Big Mega War
By Brahma Chellaney

Tensions over water are rising in Asia—and not only because of conflicting maritime claims. While territorial disputes, such as in the South China Sea, attract the most attention—after all, they threaten the safety of sea lanes and freedom of navigation, which affects outside powers as well—the strategic ramifications of competition over transnationally shared freshwater resources are just as ominous.

Asia has less fresh water per capita than any other continent, and it is already facing a water crisis that, according to an MIT study, will continue to intensify, with severe water shortages expected by 2050. At a time of widespread geopolitical discord, competition over freshwater resources could emerge as a serious threat to long-term peace and stability in Asia.

Already, the battle is underway, with China as the main aggressor. Indeed, China’s territorial grab in the South China Sea has been accompanied by a quieter grab of resources in transnational river basins. Reengineering cross-border riparian flows is integral to China’s strategy to assert greater control and influence over Asia.

China is certainly in a strong position to carry out this strategy. The country enjoys unmatched riparian dominance, with 110 transnational rivers and lakes flowing into 18 downstream countries. China also has the world’s most dams, which it has never hesitated to use to curb cross-border flows. In fact, China’s dam builders are targeting most of the international rivers that flow out of Chinese territory.

Most of China’s internationally shared water resources are located on the Tibetan Plateau, which it annexed in the early 1950s. Unsurprisingly, the plateau is the new hub of Chinese dam building. Indeed, China’s 13th five-year plan, released this year, calls for a new wave of dam projects on the Plateau.

Moreover, China recently cut off the flow of a tributary of the Brahmaputra River, the lifeline of Bangladesh and northern India, to build a dam as part of a major hydroelectric project in Tibet. And the country is working to dam another Brahmaputra tributary, in order to create a series of artificial lakes.

China has also built six mega-dams on the Mekong River, which flows into Southeast Asia, where the downstream impact is already visible. Yet, instead of curbing its dam-building, China is hard at work building several more Mekong dams.

Likewise, water supplies in largely arid Central Asia are coming under further pressure as China appropriates a growing volume of water from the Illy River. Kazakhstan’s Lake Balkhash is now at risk of shrinking substantially, much like the Aral Sea—located on the border with Uzbekistan—which has virtually dried up in less than 40 years. China is also diverting water from the Irtysh, which supplies drinking water to Kazakhstan’s capital Astana and feeds Russia’s Ob River. 

WAR "IS" Coming to Asia!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

China Japan Military!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

Pentagon Links Chinese Cyber Security Firm to Beijing Spy Service

Joint Staff warns of cyber espionage dangers
BY: Bill Gertz

A Chinese cyber security firm is covertly working with Beijing’s Ministry of State Security intelligence service in conducting cyber espionage operations, according to Pentagon intelligence officials.

The company known as Boyusec, officially the Bo Yu Guangzhou Information Technology Co., is also working with China’s global telecommunications company Huawei Technologies, which has been identified by U.S. intelligence agencies as linked to the Chinese military.

According to an internal report by the Pentagon’s Joint Staff J-2 intelligence directorate, Boyusec and Huawei are working together to produce security products that will be loaded into Chinese-manufactured computer and telephone equipment. The doctored products will allow Chinese intelligence to capture data and control computer and telecommunications equipment, said Pentagon officials familiar with the report.

“It’s closely connected to the [Ministry of State Security] and Huawei and they are developing a start-up program that will use malware allowing for capturing and controlling devices,” said one official of Boyusec.

No other details of Boyusec’s activities could be learned.

The employment of a cyber security firm as cover for intelligence gathering has been used in the past by Russian intelligence. China appears to be following the same pattern, analysts say.

The Defense Intelligence Agency reported last spring that Russia’s Kaspersky Labs was marketing security software for industrial control networks that the agency warned could create cyber vulnerabilities.

Government cyber actors from both China and Russia have been detected mapping American critical infrastructure networks, including the U.S. electrical grid.

Boysec’s website reveals that the company is based in Guangzhou, China, and is a “cooperative partner” with Huawei, along with the Guangdong Provincial Information Security Assessment Center, a government bureau that conducts security assessments of software.

China Cyber Attack!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

The Stage is Set for an Escalation: The Meaning of Syria’s Attack on Turkish Forces
By Can Kasapoglu

On November 24, 2016, the Baathist regime of Syria attempted an escalatory plot by attacking the Turkish contingent in Syria on the anniversary of the downing of the Russian Su-24. Press sources reported that the attack was carried out by one or more Albatros aircrafts and that three Turkish soldiers were killed. At the time of writing, Turkish media marked the fourth casualty from the attack.

The Assad regime’s rancor stems from Turkey’s tangible military achievements on the ground that could be translated into permanent policy gains by a further push into the key town of al-Bab. Clearly, despite all drawbacks, especially the challenges emanating from anti-tank guided missiles and divisions among different opposition factions, Turkey’s Operation Euphrates Shield managed to successfully secure considerable depth in northern Syria, up to the very edge of al-Bab within three months. Moreover, Ankara’s diplomatic efforts enabled rapprochement with Moscow, and thereby, made it possible to support ground units with airpower, free of Russian molestation.

Discerning the meaning of the recent attack — its intent and the signal it was meant to send —  in the context of other developments remains crucial to understand the Baathist regime’s next escalation patterns, as well as the trajectory of the northern front in the Syrian civil war. It seems clear that the regime has been preparing for such a provocative move since no later than the end of September 2016. 

Moscow demands answers after Erdogan vows to oust 'tyrant' Assad
By Afp

The Kremlin on Wednesday demanded an explanation after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Ankara intervened in the Syria conflict solely to topple President Bashar al-Assad.

Turkish forces are pressing on with a three-month operation inside Syria in support of anti-Assad forces, while Russia is the chief ally of the Syrian president in the conflict that has claimed more than 300,000 lives since 2011.

At the same time, Turkey and Russia have also been working hard to improve relations after clinching a reconciliation deal in June to repair ties brought to a historic low by Turkey's shooting down of a Russian jet in November 2015.

Turkey Has Declared War On Syria – Does This Mean That World War 3 Is About To Erupt In The Middle East?
By Michael Snyder

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has just announced that the only reason Turkish military forces have entered northern Syria is to “end the rule of the tyrant al-Assad”.  By publicly proclaiming that Turkey intends to use military force to overthrow the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Erdogan has essentially declared war on the Syrian government.  Of course this puts a member of NATO in direct military conflict with Russia, since Russia is working very hard to prop up the Assad regime.  If all-out war breaks out between Turkey and Russia, could that be the spark that causes World War 3 to erupt in the Middle East?  And once Turkey and Russia start fighting, would the United States and the rest of NATO be dragged into the conflict?

The big mainstream news networks in the western world are almost completely ignoring what Erdogan said on Tuesday, but without a doubt this is major news.  The following comes from a Turkish news source… 

Trump and the Middle East Cauldron
By Christopher R. Hill

Christopher R. Hill, former US Assistant Secretary of State for East Asia, was US Ambassador to Iraq, South Korea, Macedonia, and Poland, a US special envoy for Kosovo, a negotiator of the Dayton Peace Accords, and the chief US negotiator with North Korea from 2005-2009.

DENVER – One of the hallmarks of a presidential transition in the United States is a comprehensive policy review, aimed at determining which policies to retain and which to eliminate or change. As President-elect Donald Trump moves toward taking office, he seems eager to make plenty of changes – some more positive than others.

Some US policies seem destined not even to receive their day in court. The fate of the 12-country Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement seems already to have been sealed, with Trump assuring the public that he would shelve that deal – concluded but not ratified by the US Senate – on his first day in office. This is unfortunate, as the TPP would have revolutionized intellectual property rights and boosted transparency to unprecedented levels, while lowering tariff and non-tariff barriers. But Trump seems unlikely to reverse course.

In another crucial policy area, however, change by the incoming Trump administration would be welcome: the Middle East. The incremental approach to the region taken by the last two administrations, under George W. Bush and Barack Obama, has meant that the US has failed to keep pace with events.

The Obama administration, in particular, often hesitated to expand its role, anticipating a time when the US would not be absorbed in a region that, to paraphrase Winston Churchill’s line about the Balkans, had produced more history than it has consumed. Nonetheless, Obama understood the value of maintaining a consistent stance in Iraq – something that his critics often fail to recognize.

SYRIA.................The Pathway to World WAR III!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

And Don't Forget about Ukraine!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

Russia deploys anti-air system in Crimea ahead of Ukraine's drills (video)

Russia could be plotting a major provocation say volunteers 

In the afternoon of November 29, movement of Russian military convoys was recorded in the Crimean city of Kerch.

Activists of the open-source intelligence "InformNapalm" community identified S-300VM "Antey-2500" anti-aircraft missile system among other military equipment spotted in military convoys moving across the occupied Crimean peninsula.

According to the activists, deployment of the anti-aircraft complex may be associated with an attempt to disrupt the Ukrainian missile tests over the Black Sea, scheduled for December 1-2. 

Yes America, YOU Totally DESERVE the HELL Coming at YOU in 2017!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Over the last 8 YEARS Obama and the FUCKING ""LIBERALS"" in the House of PAIN(Congress) have been working Overtime to make America the Largest Socialist State on Planet EARTH and with their Efforts to Fundamentally Change this Country WE Face the Greatest THREAT to our National Security and Identity..........................EVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

I Highly Recommend YOU Folks start Reading UP on the History of the 1930s because America and Planet EARTH are Heading back in TIME thanks to the ASSHOLES Running ""***BIG Government***""!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Air Force: Hypersonic Missiles From China, Russia Pose Growing Danger to U.S.

U.S. falling behind in race for high-speed maneuvering weapons
BY: Bill Gertz

The United States is vulnerable to future attack by hypersonic missiles from China and Russia and is falling behind in the technology race to develop both defensive and offensive high-speed maneuvering arms, according to a new Air Force study.

“The People’s Republic of China and the Russian Federation are already flight-testing high-speed maneuvering weapons (HSMWs) that may endanger both forward deployed U.S. forces and even the continental United States itself,” an executive summary of the report says.

“These weapons appear to operate in regimes of speed and altitude, with maneuverability that could frustrate existing missile defense constructs and weapon capabilities.”

Hypersonic missiles are ultra-high speed weapons that travel along the edge of the earth’s atmosphere at speeds above Mach 5, or five times the speed of sound. The missiles also can maneuver to avoid current missile defenses—all of which were developed to hit ballistic missiles with predictable flight paths.

The unclassified summary of the report, “A Threat to America’s Global Vigilance, Reach, and Power: High-Speed, Maneuvering Weapons,” was produced by a blue-ribbon panel of experts for Air Force Studies Board at the National Academies of Science. The summary was made public earlier this month.

It is the first U.S. military study to sound the alarm about an arms race quietly underway for several years to develop hypersonic missiles for both strategic nuclear weapons and conventional rapid strike systems.

Mark J. Lewis, chairman of the panel that produced the report, said the panel concluded that as a result of new hypersonic missiles from Russia and China “the United States may be facing a threat from a new class of weapons that will effectively combine speed, maneuverability, and altitude in ways that could challenge this nation’s tenets of global vigilance, reach, and power.”

“Offense and defense are two sides of the same coin; as in the days of the Cold War, the only reliable deterrent to the use of a hypersonic weapon may in fact be the threat of a corresponding hypersonic countermeasure that might hold at risk the very sites from which the adversaries’ hypersonic strike would originate,” Lewis stated in a forward to the summary.

Lewis urged the U.S. government to engage in a major effort to develop both offensive and defensive means to counter high-speed maneuvering weapons. He criticized what he termed the “relatively leisurely pace of disjointed hypersonics technology development” by the Pentagon. 

Donald Trump's Biggest Headache: Russia's Nuclear Weapons

Misconceived actions and emotional reactions have brought us to the brink of another senseless nuclear arms race.
By Jack Matlock, Jr.

The most important foreign policy task President-elect Donald Trump will face when he is inaugurated will be to restore cooperation with Russia to reduce the danger to the world posed by nuclear weapons. The only truly existential threat to the United States today is that of nuclear war. President Ronald Reagan and General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev recognized this danger in their 1985 Geneva Summit when they agreed that “a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought,” and concluded therefore that there could be no war between the United States and the Soviet Union. Their agreement on this point underlay the subsequent mutual steps that ended the arms race and, in remarkably short time, the Cold War itself. By the end of 1991, Europe was whole and free and at peace.

Over the past two decades, American and Russian leaders have allowed the truism recognized by Reagan and Gorbachev to slip from their attention. The recent presidents of both countries, through a series of misconceived actions and emotional reactions, have created an atmosphere of hostility and confrontation that damages both countries and militates against cooperation even when their interests are in harmony. That has brought us to the brink of another senseless nuclear arms race along with the danger that militarized competition over territory could escalate into actual war, which would be a catastrophe for all.

Restoring cooperation with Russia on nuclear issues will be possible only if we overcome the confrontational mentality that pervades much interaction between the United States and Russia today. In fact, the most fundamental interests of both countries are not in conflict: whether it be avoiding a nuclear arms race, combating terrorism, coping with the effects of global warming, building mutually beneficial economic ties, or managing the many problems stemming from failed states, cooperation between the United States and Russia—along with the European Union, China, and India—is essential.

The Obama administration attempted a “reset” that had some important positive results, notably the New START treaty, but eventually failed following the developing civil war in Syria and, above all, the shock of the Maidan revolution and its aftermath in Ukraine. President Trump’s challenge will be to work with President Putin to transcend differences over these issues so that both countries, along with the European Union, can concentrate on dealing with the global challenges that face us all.

Cooperation to solve or contain all the acute problems our countries face will require more than a “reset” in the existing operating system. We need a different operating system. The way Presidents Reagan and Gorbachev found their way from confrontation to cooperation may provide an example for Presidents Trump and Putin to emulate.  

Symposium: Advice to President Trump on U.S.-Russia Policy

New content added daily.
The National InterestCarnegie Corporation

Editor’s Note: The following is a multi-part symposium commissioned by the National Interest and Carnegie Corporation of New York. Check daily (Monday-Friday) for new entries. Below you will find a brief introduction to the series by Jacob Heilbrunn, editor of the National Interest.

Monday, November 28: Graham Allison, Steven Pifer, Paul Saunders, Ian Bremmer, Joseph Nye, Angela Stent

Tuesday, November 29: Barry Posen, Jack Matlock Jr.

Wednesday, November 30: Michael Kofman, Matthew Rojansky

With the election of Donald Trump to the presidency, the issue of U.S.-Russia relations is acquiring a new importance. Russia figured prominently in the discussion of the U.S. elections and in debates about the direction of American foreign policy. Now the central question is whether or not the possibility of warmer relations between the two sides—or even a new détente—exists? What would it take to adopt a fresh approach?

To answer such questions, Carnegie Corporation and the National Interest created a symposium on Russia and the United States. The essays contained in this collection are particularly pertinent now that the possibility is being discussed, both at home and abroad, of reassessing the frosty relations between Moscow and Washington. These stimulating and enlightening essays, written by an impressive array of leading experts, offer a possible roadmap forward for a new U.S. administration. They consist of analysis and recommendations from policymakers, think tank members and academics. The precise answers may vary, but the authors are receptive to the idea that change is imperative.

For example, Graham Allison, the director of Harvard University’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, argues that the stakes could not be higher. According to him, “the next U.S. President must do everything possible to prevent an accidental U.S.-Russian war, now the likeliest it’s been since the end of the Cold War.” Allison suggests that overturning President Obama’s interdiction on communication “at every level from President-to-President to Secretaries of Defense and regional commanders” can lessen the risk. He also cautions that a Trump administration must build a “credible deterrent” to deter Russia from aggression against U.S. allies but also “bear in mind the potential consequences of further alienating Russia—like a closer military-political alignment between Moscow and Beijing.”

Barry R. Posen, director of the Security Studies Program at MIT, maintains that Russia is best viewed as a great power in decline that is seeking to preserve a modicum of security and prestige. In his view, Russian President Vladimir Putin has not managed to reverse Russia’s slide, but he has been able to retard it. In his view, “because the West is strong, and relative to Russia likely to get stronger, it is in a position to accommodate some Russian concerns.” There should be no surprise, Posen writes, in Russia’s attempt to push back against its decline as a great power. When Russia history is taken into account, the surprising thing would have been if Moscow did not react allergically to the expansion of NATO.

Whether an improvement in relations will actually take place remains an open question. Ian Bremmer, the president of Eurasia Group, says that there is no point in calling it a “reset” but “U.S.-Russia relations will benefit if President Trump adopts a different approach to Moscow than the one we’ve seen from President Obama.” The diverse essays contained in this symposium offer a potentially valuable path forward for policymakers in the Trump administration.

FUCKING READ People!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

These Weapons are ""First STRIKE"" Technology and Designed for ONE Purpose..................Destroy America!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

*****""Hypersonic Missiles"" 

Federal Debt of the United States WILL Break $20 Trillion Dollars before the END of 2016!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Eight Italian Banks to Fail: Renzi Seeks Scapegoat
By Mike "Mish" Shedlock

The Financial Times says “Up to eight lenders risk being wound up if No vote triggers prolonged market mayhem”.

Please consider Fears Mount of Multiple Bank Failures if Renzi Loses Referendum.

""Up to eight of Italy’s troubled banks risk failing if prime minister Matteo Renzi loses a constitutional referendum next weekend and ensuing market turbulence deters investors from recapitalising them, officials and senior bankers say.

Mr Renzi, who says he will quit if he loses the referendum, had championed a market solution to solve the problems of Italy’s €4tn banking system and avoid a vote-losing “resolution” of Italian banks under new EU rules.

Resolution, a new regulatory mechanism, restructures and, if necessary, winds up a bank by imposing losses on both equity and debt investors, particularly controversial in Italy, where millions of individual investors have bought bank bonds.

The situation is being closely watched by financiers and policymakers across Europe and beyond, who worry that a mass failure of Italian banks could trigger panic across the eurozone banking system.

In the event of a “No” vote and Mr Renzi’s exit, bankers fear protracted uncertainty during the creation of a technocratic government. Lack of clarity over a new finance minister may lethally prolong market jitters about Italy’s banks. Italian lenders have more than halved in value this year on concerns about their non-performing loans.

Italy has eight banks known to be in various stages of distress: its third largest by assets, Monte dei Paschi di Siena, mid-sized banks Popolare di Vicenza, Veneto Banca and Carige, and four small banks rescued last year: Banca Etruria, CariChieti, Banca delle Marche, and CariFerrara.

Italy’s banks have €360bn of problem loans versus €225bn of equity on their books after successive regulators and governments failed to tackle a bloated financial system where profitability was weakened by a stagnant economy and exacerbated by fraudulent lending at several institutions.

But the market solutions, including a JPMorgan plan to recapitalise Monte Paschi and the efforts of a government-sponsored private vehicle Atlante to backstop problems at smaller banks, are looking shaky in the face of expected market turbulence if a “No” vote wins, said officials and bankers.

Senior bankers and officials said that the worst-case scenario was where a failure of Monte Paschi’s complex €5bn recapitalisation and bad-debt restructuring demanded by regulators would translate into a wider failure of confidence in Italy and imperil a market solution for its ailing banks.

Under this scenario, officials and senior bankers believe that all eight banks could be put into resolution. They fear that contagion from the small banks could threaten a €13bn capital increase at UniCredit, Italy’s largest bank by assets and its only globally significant financial institution, planned for early 2017.""


Draghi Italy Banks!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Kyle Bass AQR Europe Banks!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

Italy's referendum will COLLAPSE EURO - chilling warning from investor who forecast Brexit

AN INVESTOR who correctly predicted Britain would leave the European Union (EU) before the referendum has now forecasted the euro will collapse.
By Jon Rogers

Jim Mellon, the Chairman of the Burnbrae Group, has warned the currency will become a victim in the growing anti-establishment surge which will cause the EU to fracture - all within five years.

He said: “Brexit is going to be a sideshow to the problems of Europe that are becoming more and more evident.

“The euro as it stands at the moment is just a very inappropriate mechanism — I give the euro between one and five years of life.” 

Welcome To The Currency War, Part 23: Europe Will Devalue Or Dissolve
By Dollar Collapse

No rest for the wicked. With the shockwaves from Brexit and President Trump still reverberating around the world, the established order is bracing for more bad news. Next up is a December 4 Italian constitutional referendum that might end the reign of centrist prime minister Matteo Renzi and replace him with a bunch of anti-euro iconoclasts from the Brexit/Trump part of the spectrum. Here’s an excerpt from a much longer, deep-context

Guardian UK article:

And not long after Italy takes its shot at the status quo, France will go to the polls for a run-off presidential vote pitting far-right François Fillon against extreme-right Marine Le Pen. Check out the latter’s rhetoric: 

SHORT the EURO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

In France as in the U.S., the populist insurgency is gaining ground

Conservatives in France pick a far-right candidate to face extreme-right Le Pen
By Darrell Delamaide

France is now facing a likely choice in next spring’s presidential election between a candidate of the far right and a rival from the extreme right.

Further proof — after the victory in the U.S. of a presidential candidate many voters see as a right-wing extremist with fascist tendencies — that Western democracies are swinging to the right, n’est-ce pas?

Not really.

If anything, the upset victory of former Prime Minister François Fillon in the primary vote of the conservative Republicans this month shows that the classic distinctions between right, left and center are losing much of their meaning. The big-picture trend is a widespread populist insurgency against the political establishment.

Fillon’s victory over former French President Nicolas Sarkozy and another former prime minister, Alain Juppé, on a platform nearly as nationalist and Islamophobic as that of the National Front marks another rejection of mainstream politics. Fillon, a dour personality who Sarkozy himself made fun of, was an underdog candidate, polling in third place just days before the primary vote. 

French Election Hints at a European Shift Toward Russia

The Interpreter

The victory of François Fillon in France’s center-right presidential primary is the latest sign that a tectonic shift is coming to the European order: toward accommodating, rather than countering, a resurgent Russia.

Since the end of World War II, European leaders have maintained their ever-growing alliance as a bulwark against Russian power. Through decades of ups and downs in Russian-European relations, in periods of estrangement or reconciliation, their balance of power has kept the continent stable.

But a growing movement within Europe that includes Mr. Fillon, along with others of a more populist bent, is pushing a new policy: instead of standing up to President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia, stand with him.

Mr. Fillon has called for lifting sanctions on Russia and for partnering with Moscow in an effort to curtail immigration and terrorism. He is friendly with Mr. Putin. If pollsters are right and Mr. Fillon wins the French presidency in the spring, he could join several rising European politicians and newly elected leaders who are like-minded.
Continue reading the main story

Their movement, scholars stress, is driven by forces far more formidable than any elected leader: the populist upsurge that is remaking the Continent and, simultaneously, the impersonal but overwhelming pressures of international power balancing. 

Shipbuilding in Japan, Korea, China Collapses in Death Spiral of Orders
By Wolf Richter

“Worse than the one following the Global Financial Crisis.”

New orders received by Chinese shipyards – now infamous for undercutting competitors and sinking into bankruptcy – have plunged 58.5% so far this year through October, compared to last year, according to shipping industry data provider BIMCO, cited by the Nikkei. At South Korean shipyards, which include the three largest in the world, orders have plunged 84.2%; at Japanese shipyards, 90%.

They all focused on large dry-bulk vessels, tankers, and containerships. But this year, orders for tankers globally plunged 80% and for container ships 84%.

Global trade, which collapsed during the Financial Crisis but then recovered in a V-shaped manner, was expected to continue soaring. Instead, it has languished over the past few years. Carriers that transport these goods in dry-bulk vessels, tankers, and container ships, face rampant overcapacity and crushed shipping rates. Smaller ones have sunk. In August, Hanjin, the sixth largest carrier and a formerly too-big-to-fail company in South Korea, was allowed to fail. And they all stopped ordering ships.

However, orders at European shipyards have jumped 45% through the first eight months this year. On the global scale, they’re small players, accounting for only 9.3% of the order book. But they focus on the smaller thriving market for cruise ships, ferries, and tugs.

Globally, orders for ships plunged 77% so far this year through October. But 2015 had already been down 13% from 2014. And 2014 had been down 26% from 2013, the first good year since before the Financial Crisis. In 2007, orders had peaked at 92 million compensated gross tons (CGT). So far this year, orders are down to 10 million CGT.

At this rate, 2016 will be the worst year in BIMCO’s data series going back to 1996. Even back then, orders amounted to 18 million CGT.

No industry can survive for long when orders collapse at these rates. But next year might be worse, according to Peter Sand, BIMCO’s chief shipping analyst. For the Asian shipbuilders concentrated in the container, dry-bulk or offshore segments, “there is a possibility for postponements and cancellations.” Outright cancellations are bad enough. But “postponements can add a further headache to the shipyards’ liquidity, as the final payments in these cases may be delayed.” 

Container Freight Index!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wishing YOU All A Merry Christmas and a Happy NEW Year because YOU All are going to need ALL of the ""BEST Wishes"" You can Find because 2017 "IS" going to be a Total BITCH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I'm Shutting Down the Blog and I HOPE You have LEARNED ONE Very Important FACT while Reading HERE...........................""BIG Government"" Ain't YOUR Friend!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Image result for rotflmfao

We Are Being Set Up For Higher Interest Rates, A Major Recession And A Giant Stock Market Crash
By Michael Snyder

Since Donald Trump’s victory on election night we have seen the worst bond crash in 15 years.  Global bond investors have seen trillions of dollars of wealth wiped out since November 8th, and analysts are warning of another tough week ahead.  The general consensus in the investing community is that a Trump administration will mean much higher inflation, and as a result investors are already starting to demand higher interest rates.  Unfortunately for all of us, history has shown that higher interest rates always cause an economic slowdown.  And this makes perfect sense, because economic activity naturally slows down when it becomes more expensive to borrow money.  The Obama administration had already set up the next president for a major recession anyway, but now this bond crash threatens to bring it on sooner rather than later.

For those that are not familiar with the bond market, when yields go up bond prices go down.  And when bond prices go down, that is bad news for economic growth.,%20A%20Major%20Recession%20And%20A%20Giant%20Stock%20Market%20Crash